West Seattle, Washington
Tonight would have been Night Out in hundreds of local neighborhoods, if not for the pandemic. So here are the Not-Night-Out toplines:
KING COUNTY’S NUMBERS: From the Public Health daily-summary dashboard:
*15,779 people have tested positive, up 145 from yesterday’s total
*657 people have died, up 1 from yesterday’s total
*1,984 people have been hospitalized, up 1 from yesterday’s total
*307,450 people have been tested, up 3,208 from yesterday’s total
One week ago, those totals were 14,729/644/1,900/280,150.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them here.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: Find them here.
COUNTY ANNOUNCES STUDY: From King County:
How many people have been infected with COVID-19 in King County? Who is more likely to be infected and how severe are their symptoms? And are there common risk factors we can identify among people who became infected so we can reduce risk Public health officials are hunting for answers to these questions and more with a new study. About 5,000 randomly selected households from across King County will be receiving postcards in early August 2020 from Public Health – Seattle & King County, asking them to volunteer to have a few drops of blood taken from a finger. This is known as a seroprevalence study (“sero” referring to the blood). Participants will also answer a confidential questionnaire that will help understand the spread and severity of disease. Taken together, information from the study will ultimately help to save lives. There is also a statewide seroprevalence study this summer being conducted by UW Medicine in partnership with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. There is also a national study that will follow a similar process for a study of people in all states. Read more about antibody testing and the King County study at this Public Health Insider blog post.
NEED FOOD? 2-5 pm Wednesday and Friday, you can drive up/walk up and get a free box of food at Food Lifeline‘s HQ (815 S. 96th).
GOT INFO? email@example.com or text/voice 206-293-6302 – thank you!
NUMBERS UPDATED AT 9 PM: In Congressional District 7 – which includes West Seattle – incumbent Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D) leads with 80 percent; second is Craig Keller (R) with 8 percent.
For Governor, incumbent Jay Inslee (D) leads a 36-candidate field with 52 percent, Loren Culp (R) is second with 17 percent.
For Lieutenant Governor (no incumbent), the 11-candidate field is led by Denny Heck (D) with 28 percent and Marko Liias (D) with 17 percent.
For Secretary of State, incumbent Kim Wyman (R) has 50 percent, with Gael Tarleton (D) in second at 45 percent.
While both local (34th District) State House Reps. – Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon – are running for re-election, neither has an opponent.
Other statewide results are linked here. We’ll update those above (King County results won’t update again until tomorrow, but the statewide results will, with other counties’ tallies).
If you’ve driven, walked, rode, or run past Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook (4503 Beach Drive SW) in the past few weeks, you’ve seen the seawall work – but not from the beach side. Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Seattle Parks shared progress photos.
The new $3 million seawall is being built in front of the failing old one.
Building the 465-foot-long seawall will last about half a year, project leaders said at the pre-construction meeting we covered in June.
If you’re keeping track of the potential cost of repairing/replacing the West Seattle Bridge, this afternoon SDOT is out with details of what you might call the down-payment costs:
SDOT is looking into all possible federal, state, and local ways to fund repairs or replacement of the High-Rise Bridge and ensure they are resourced to do what’s best for West Seattle and the surrounding region for the long-term. In the meantime, however, SDOT has an immediate need for additional revenues to carry out critical stabilization work and move other efforts forward simultaneously without missing a beat. To do this, SDOT is advancing legislation to the City Council that will:
-Authorize a $70 million interfund loan to cover 2020 and early 2021 costs related to the West Seattle Bridge Program
=Establish a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) that outlines funding estimates for the first two years of work for the West Seattle Bridge Program
The interfund loan legislation will provide the needed cashflow to cover West Seattle Bridge Program expenses in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 as SDOT works to secure other significant funding opportunities.
SDOT estimates spending between $160 million and $225 million over 2020-2021 on the West Seattle Bridge Program. There is still a great deal of uncertainty around the West Seattle Bridge Program needs and this range represents the best understood cost estimates at the current time. These costs include expenses related to
=Bridge monitoring and testing
-Emergency stabilization repairs
-Planning and design costs for repair or replacements
-Low Bridge monitoring and maintenance
-Traffic and travel mitigation projects including Reconnect West Seattle projects.
Currently, the CIP only goes through 2021 and does not include all of the potential West Seattle Bridge repair or replacement related costs.
SDOT will continue to refine the project costs for this CIP. Once the repair or replace decision process is completed, they will evaluate and update the CIP project description as options are further refined, as well as cost estimate
The $70 million interfund loan would be borrowed from the City’s cash pool and be repaid by SDOT with a $100 million bond sale in 2021. Any needed spending above $100 million through 2021 will be supported by a separate interfund loan, to be established, if necessary, sometime in early 2021.
City Council will be considering this legislation in September. SDOT is hopeful that both the CIP and interfund loan will be approved so that they can continue our immediate response efforts, keep all options for repair or replace moving forward, and fund needed traffic mitigation projects through Reconnect West Seattle.
City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s most-recent newsletter has a few more specifics – including exactly which sources that $70 million would come from.
Meantime, a reminder – the next WS Bridge Community Task Force meeting is at noon tomorrow; here’s how to watch/listen.
2:16 PM: Just under way, 15 minutes later than originally announced, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best are having a news conference to “discuss the City Council’s proposed 2020 cuts to the Seattle Police Department.” Tomorrow, councilmembers are scheduled to vote on the amendments that would lay the groundwork for those cuts (here’s our Monday coverage). You can watch live via Seattle Channel‘s stream, above or here; we’ll add notes as it goes.
The mayor opens by re-stating that she had originally proposed a $20 million cut in the 2020 SPD budget, with the chief’s involvement, because of the city’s COVID-19-related budget crunch – and that they already have proposed an additional $76 million in changes for next year. She insists, “The chief and I share the goal of much of Seattle” of “reimagining policing.” Then she notes that the council has to some degree changed its tune on halving this year’s remaining SPD budget, and says that “the council is looking in the right places but in the wrong year.” She contends that the council is still proposing something “all but impossible,” an almost immediate 100-officer cut. She also contends the council’s suggestion that the chief pursue “out of order” layoffs so that those cuts wouldn’t come from the newest, most-diverse recruits would be an unimaginably red-taped process. She also says it’s short-sighted for councilmembers to cut “data-driven policing” and “implicit-bias training.”
2:28 PM: She’s all but pleading for collaboration with the council and says she spoke today with its president, Councilmember Lorena González. Then she says she’s disappointed that to date the council has not spoken with the chief, who she calls a “national leader.” Another plea to the council: “Take the time to get this right. … We will only get this right if we work together.”
2:37 PM: The chief takes the microphone and begins by saying she and SPD have “heard loud and clear” the calls for change. She defends the department as a national leader in reform “and we have more planned.” She acknowledges “we can function better (and) more equitably. … We implore you to hold us accountable.” Regarding the council’s specific proposals, she says some are good ideas but lack “a plan.” She says she can’t make dozens of layoffs all but immediately without a plan to “bridge the gap” in services that she says would result. She says it’s up to her to figure out how to deploy her staff to ensure public safety, not “granular” instructions from the council, which she calls an attempt to manage SPD’s “day to day” operations. She also brings up the council’s proposal to cut the Public Affairs Unit, which she says would slow down getting information to the public. She also says the department wants to “hear from every member of the community.”
2:55 PM: In Q&A, the chief is asked (among other things) whether she agrees with the council’s expectation that 30 officer jobs can be cut via attrition – not necessarily, she says, absent clairvoyance. Responding to another question, the mayor says she agrees the department could have a smaller “footprint” of armed officers but that takes planning. “We shouldn’t be looking just at the numbers of how many police we have (but also) we should invest in community.”
3:07 PM: The mayor wraps with a plea for “working together.”
WHAT’S NEXT: We’ll add the archived video when it’s available. Meantime, the council’s budget meeting is scheduled for 10 am tomorrow (Wednesday, August 5).
4:26 PM: Video added.
In recent weeks, Metro has previewed the “action plan” it’s been working on for West Seattle, post-bridge closure. The plan, which details both what’s been done and what’s ahead, has just gone public. See it in its entirety here or below:
Some of what’s in it has been discussed already at meetings we’ve covered – but if you want every single detail of what’s been discussed and what’s ahead, plus costs and even communication plans, this is your document. This includes the Water Taxi as well as buses and vanpools.
A few excerpts – first, its origins:
A Metro Core team (“WSB Response Team”) was formed immediately following notice of the West Seattle Bridge closure to develop a Metro Transit Action Plan (Plan), which would address the Peninsula’s mobility needs. The closure affected all WS routes that used the West Seattle Bridge (RapidRide C Line, 21, 21X, 37, 50, 55, 56, 57, 116, 118, 119, 120, 125) plus those routes that use the 1st Avenue South/ South Park Bridges (60, 113, 121, 122, 123, 131, 132) which will see extremely congested conditions once traffic approaches pre-COVID levels.
And an overview:
As of the time of publication, Metro and the City of Seattle have identified five high visibility mobility improvements that the two agencies will jointly plan for based on potential availability of third party or other funding. These concepts, including detailed descriptions, annual costs, and transportation benefit will be developed over the course of summer 2020 and would be ready to implement upon a return of demand and identification of funding.
High-Visibility mobility service improvements:
1. Water Taxi service upgrades: up to two boats all-day (peak, off peak, weekend) year round, roughly corresponding to the 5am-9pm daily period when SOVs are not allowed on the low bridge
2. Route 773/775 Water Taxi shuttle improvements: new route(s) and/or substantially increased frequency
3. RapidRide C Line service frequency upgrades: add additional peak and off peak trips
4. All day fixed route service between Admiral and Downtown: such as and all day Route 56, which historically provided this all-day service until 2012)
5. Route 50 service frequency upgrades: add additional peak and off peak trips as far east as Sodo Station
Note that phrase “third-party funding.” The plan refers to the expiring Seattle Transportation Benefit District funding, but it should be noted that a new 6-year STBD funding plan to pay for “extra” Metro service, including some money earmarked for West Seattle, is going to city voters in November.
The ‘action plan” also addresses the current pandemic-specfic challenges:
Currently Metro monitors passenger loads daily and identifies trends in which routes and trips experience crowding beyond COVID-based thresholds. Overcrowding is tracked using per vehicle-based crowding thresholds for social distancing (e.g. 12 passengers on 40’, and 18 passengers on 60’ coaches). Service Development and other teams support the effort. Additional trips are then deployed as needed, and as possible within workforce and budget constraints. The typical turnaround is approximately one week, but we have the ability to move faster if needed, and because these added trips are not published publicly, we do not need to add extra time for customer communications. In general this turnaround time is needed to distinguish between trends and one-off occurrences. We will be further identifying resources available in Metro’s upcoming 2021/2022 budget, but do currently have the ability to add service to quickly meet demand.
The plan also addresses routing alternatives that would be needed if the low bridge was out of commission for either bridge-repair logistics or high-bridge collapse. And it recaps Metro’s plans to expand some service in September:
Table 4 highlights Metro’s fixed route service plan beginning with the September 2020 service change, on Monday, September 21. Most all-day route in West Seattle will operate without temporary reductions or suspensions. Due to reduced funding from the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD), many routes will operate at reduced service levels compared to pre-COVID levels. Peak period service that is currently suspended will resume at reduced service levels due to reduced STBD funding on the following routes:
• Admiral, Alaska Junction, Genesee Hill, Alki (55, 56, 57)
Service suspensions will continue on several West Seattle routes:
• Peak-only downtown-bound Vashon and Fauntleroy service (116, 118 Express, 119 Express)
• Peak-only Alki bus service (37)
• Route 22 service in Arbor Heights, Gatewood, and Alaska Junction (intra-West Seattle)
Additional supplemental service will be available to deploy and quickly respond to crowding issues on West Seattle service as it arises.
One more excerpt of interest – Metro has four park-and-ride lots in West Seattle now but has pondered expanding:
Steps could be taken to expand park & ride capacity serving West Seattle transit routes by:
• Reconfiguring existing lots to yield more spaces. In particular, additional parking spaces could be striped at the Spokane Street park & ride
• Leasing additional parking capacity, concentrated around major bus transfer points. An initial analysis identified up to 93 locations throughout West Seattle that could be appropriate for leasing, including lots serving commercial properties, churches, public parks and residential complexes. This analysis identified up to:
o 550 spaces within walking distance of Seacrest Park
o 375 spaces within walking distance of bus stops at the Admiral Junction
o 430 spaces within walking distance of bus stops at the Alaska Junction
o 130 spaces within walking distance of bus stops at the Morgan Junction
o 315 spaces within walking distance of bus stops and the ferry dock at Fauntleroy
o 1200 spaces within walking distance of bus stops at Westwood Village
• Partnering with technology platforms that match drivers with reserved parking spaces. Metro’s Innovative Mobility group is in talks with Spot Hero and other companies that allow travelers to reserve and pay for parking spaces operated by private owners ranging from retailers to residential property managers. This model could be adapted to help travelers access transit, and could potentially be used to offer TDM incentives
A lot of this is “could” rather than “will,” not just because of funding, but also because they’re just not sure what’ll happen with ridership – many employers, private and public, have extended teleworking until at least the start of next year.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
In less than a month, Seattle Public Schools starts the 2020-2021 year.
Two weeks ago, the district announced the new year will start the same way the last one ended – no in-person classes.
But many details of how that’ll work have yet to be rolled out, and – especially given the deficiencies of the final three months of last year – that’s a source of frustration for many families.
Some of them were in a video/phone meeting Friday night in which they hoped for answers, but were disappointed there too.
Reminders for the day ahead…
VOTE! It’s Primary Election day, and your ballot includes choices for Congress as well as Governor, Lt. Governor (no incumbent), and more. If you’re going to send your ballot via postal mail, do that ASAP because it has to be postmarked today; you can get it to a King County Elections dropbox until 8 pm – the nearest ones are in The Junction (south side of SW Alaska, just east of 44th) and outside three libraries – High Point (35th/Raymond), South Park (8th/Cloverdale), and White Center (1409 SW 107th).
EXPLORE: With the full moon, the low tide is out to -1.6 feet at 12:04 pm.
DEMONSTRATE: Scott from Puget Ridge Cohousing continues coordinating twice-weekly streetcorner demonstrations for racial justice, 4-6 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays at 16th/Holden, “endorsed by Hate-Free Delridge. Signs available.”
WATCH: Can’t guarantee a view like the one Trevor had, but the almost-full moon rises at 9:42 pm.
Family and friends are sharing this remembrance:
Anne Elizabeth (Betty) Sward Aronson
April 3, 1924 – July 29, 2020
Anne Elizabeth (Betty) Sward, 96, died July 29, 2020. The day before her death, the family was able to be with her to say goodbye.
Born in Seattle of Swedish parents, Carl and Hedvig Sward April 3,1924 at Waverly Place east of Queen Anne. In 1932 her parents “exchanged” houses (no money changed hands) and moved to West Seattle! She attended Lafayette Grade School, James Madison Junior High, and West Seattle High School Class of 1942. She attended Seattle Pacific College for one year, took two years off to work at Boeing during the war, resumed her education in 1946, graduating in 1948 in Elementary Education.
Betty met her husband-to-be Connie on a one-day trip to Victoria on the SS Princess Marguerite in 1946. She was playing hymns and choruses on the piano, Connie joined in the singing. They soon discovered they shared a Swedish heritage and shared childhoods where Swedish language was spoken in the home … that would eventually lead to many trips to Sweden to visit family and friends. Connie and Betty were married in 1949.
She taught 5 years at High Point Elementary School, took a break from teaching until her youngest of three children started school. At that time she resumed teaching as a substitute at the West Seattle elementary schools for several years. Following her short teaching career, she began working with her husband at C. “Connie” Aronson, and later known as Aronson Security Group. She fully retired at 89 years old.
Betty had a huge heart, a serious gift of hospitality, often hosting Swedish pancake suppers, traditional Swedish dinners, and summer picnics on the beach. She loved getting to know people and made life-long friends in unusual places like riding the elevator in Maui, sharing a table on a cruise, or hosting a young man one of their friends met at a roadside rest stop …“just because he was Swedish”!
Betty’s favorite times included making memories with her granddaughters; baking, overnights, attending sports events and concerts. Betty was a member of West Side Presbyterian Church for over 50 years, 20 years as Sunday School superintendent with her late husband, and many years playing piano in the pre-school department.
Betty is preceded in death by her husband, Connie, and son, David. She is survived by daughter, Karol; sons, Paul (Kris) and Philip (Susan) Aronson; granddaughters Kristina (Jon) Gratton, Erika, Karlee (Benjamin) George, Andrea; and great granddaughter Lillian George.
Betty will be greatly missed but comfort for the family is that she is now with her Lord and Savior. No services have been planned at this time but the family hopes to in the future. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to West Side Presbyterian Church. You can sign an online guest book at www.howden-kennedy.com.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to firstname.lastname@example.org)
6:21 AM: It’s Tuesday, the 134th morning without the West Seattle Bridge.
*The RapidRide H Line project continues major work along Delridge Way, with weekend closures ahead – here are the updates for this week.
*Another 1st Ave. S. Bridge northbound closure is scheduled tonight, 10 pm-5 am.
CHECK THE TRAFFIC BEFORE YOU GO
Here’s the 5-way intersection camera (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
Here’s the restricted-daytime-access (open to all 9 pm-5 am) low bridge:
The main detour route across the Duwamish River is the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) . Here’s that camera:
The other major bridge across the river is the South Park Bridge (map). Here’s that camera:
Going through South Park? Don’t speed.
Check the @SDOTBridges Twitter feed for info about any of those bridges opening for marine traffic.
Metro – Still reduced service and distancing – details here.
Water Taxi – On its “winter” schedule, with the 773 and 775 shuttles – see the schedule here.
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.