West Seattle, Washington
One week before a Thanksgiving we’re urged to spend at home, here’s where the pandemic stands:
NEWEST KING COUNTY NUMBERS: From the Public Health daily-summary dashboard, the cumulative totals:
*36,797 people have tested positive, up 804 from yesterday’s total
*834 people have died, unchanged from yesterday’s total
*2,901 people have been hospitalized, down 2 from yesterday’s total (“data correction” per PHSKC)
*608,055 people have been tested, up 4,247 from yesterday’s total
One week ago, those totals were 32,570/826/2,772/583,480.
STATEWIDE NUMBERS: Find them, county by county, on the state Department of Health page,.
WORLDWIDE NUMBERS: 56.8 million cases worldwide, 11.7 million of them in the U.S. See the nation-by-nation breakout here.
CAMPUS CASE: A staff member at Denny/Sealth tested positive, the district says.
SENATOR EXPLAINS LETTER: Late last night, a reader sent us this link to an Everett Herald story about nine state legislators sending a letter to Gov. Inslee opposing his ban on indoor dining, Among them, our area’s State Sen. Joe Nguyen. We talked to him about it today. He said the letter was drafted before the governor’s announcement, mostly out of frustration that they hadn’t been briefed on the criteria for the drastic decision. Sen. Nguyen says they’ve learned more since, and he fully supports the action now, adding that the focus has turned to what can be done for workers, particularly lower-income workers bearing the brunt of pandemic-related job losses. He told us about getting takeout from a worker who was in tears, expecting to get laid off for a second time. He said there should be some news about economic help soon – and in the meantime, he supports raising “progressive revenue” such as capital-gains tax or a high-earners tax to raise money to help.
URGING FEDERAL HELP: The governor, meantime, sent the feds a letter urging them to get back to work on pandemic relief.
GOT PHOTOS/TIPS? 206-293-6302, text or voice, or firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
Continuing our coverage of today’s big news – the West Seattle Bridge repair decision – we have reaction from the community coalition that formed in response to the bridge’s sudden shutdown eight months ago: West Seattle Bridge NOW. The group has been advocating for choosing the repair pathway, and now it’s happened. Here’s their reaction, sent by WSBN’s Kevin Broveleit:
The West Seattle Bridge NOW team is very happy with today’s announcement by Mayor Durkan to repair the West Seattle Bridge.
This is a decision that we celebrate with everyone affected by the Bridge’s closure. As a community, we rallied together to raise our voices up to be a part of this process and to not just sit by while others decided our fate. To the thousands of people who added to our call to repair the bridge, we say THANK YOU!
We also want to thank Mayor Jenny Durkan and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for their leadership in getting us moving again. They listened to the experts and to the community. Now we should have our bridge back sooner, rather than much later.
The process of getting the Bridge reopened can now truly begin. We intend to watch this process carefully and will continue to advocate for our communities’ best interests as the repairs are completed.
The past few months have shown what’s possible when we come together to support one another. Congratulations, West Seattle, you did it!
WSBN sent the mayor a letter and online petition in August, two months after an SDOT manager first said the bridge seemed fixable.
Announced today by Seattle Public Schools:
We are writing to let you know that a staff member affiliated with the Denny/Chief Sealth School site has been confirmed to have COVID-19.
We are sharing this information in an abundance of caution, as the staff member was last at the school site, which serves as a meal distribution site, on Tuesday, November 17. Individuals who came in close contact with this staff member have been identified and instructed to follow Public Health guidelines.
As a reminder, COVID-19 continues to increase in King County. We each can play an important role in reducing transmission of the virus. Please continue to wear face coverings when you leave your home, keep at least 6 feet away from others as much as possible, and wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
If you have questions about COVID-19 or need help finding health care or a free testing site, please use the King County Testing location link below or call King County’s COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977. The call center is open 7 days a week between 8 AM – 7 PM. …
The Denny/Sealth meal distribution site will continue to be open for curbside service and meal distributions the remainder of this week.
As we often mention, one of the city-operated testing sites is in that area – six days a week at the Southwest Athletic Complex parking lot (2801 SW Thistle); you can make an appointment here (as of our check just now, it’s booked up until Wednesday).
Continuing our coverage of today’s announcement that the West Seattle Bridge will be repaired (WSB coverage here), the advisory Community Task Force is meeting with Mayor Durkan to hear/talk more about her decision. She had promised the CTF would get word first, and they indeed had a quick briefing just before this morning’s public announcement. Video is above; we’ll add notes as this goes.
3:45 PM: “We needed to have a reasonable level of certainty,” the mayor said, in recapping her decision (see our earlier story for more on the reasons). After her statement, it’s on to SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe, who reiterates that the stabilization work done so far – which had to be done regardless of which path was chosen – is “performing well.” Though the repairs will not be “complex,” as discussed at this morning’s event, they are still “challenging,” he said, and need to be designed and planned carefully – “we can’t skip steps.” But “we’ll do everything we can to accelerate (the estimated) timelines,” which as reported earlier suggest the repair work will be completed in “mid-2022.”
He also says the $50 million listed in the briefings as funding “traffic mitigation” will cover the cost of “transit investments” too.
3:55 PM: Now, task-force members get a chance at Q&A. Marci Carpenter asks about the conflict between “repaired bridge could last 40 years” and “maybe build a multimodal bridge incorporating Sound Transit,” which would be launched sooner. She also asked about federal-funding likelihood, absent a “falling-down” bridge. The mayor said she still plans to seek federal funding to.help with repairs but unlike rapid-span replacement, that won’t delay the work.She says she has confidence in “our federal delegation’s ability to get funding.” (West Seattle-residing US Rep. Pramila Jayapal sent a news release, in fact, reiterating two possibilities.)
Deb Barker asked where the maintenance/operations money will come from, and what kind of permits are needed for repairs. For the former, Durkan said they need to look “holistically” – not just at the $20 vehicle-license fee that councilmembers proposed. For the latter, Zimbabwe said they’re not sure yet but it’s “not expected to hold us up in the process we’re going through.” Diane Sosne worried about unanticipated delays and using “good money now” to do something that might not last. The mayor stressed that restoring mobility is vital to protect jobs including those that will be at Terminal 5 when its modernized berth starts operating next year. Regarding timeline unknowns, Zimbabwe said that during the stabilization they’ve hit the milestones in the predicted timelines, so they’re reasonably confident that will hold.
4:15 PM: West Seattle Bridge NOW‘s Jen Temple thanks the mayor for the decision and for not waiting any longer. Then the mayor offered a few closing remarks, reiterating that neither the repair nor “rapid span replacement” options would have allowed for incorporating light rail, but in the need for an eventual new bridge, “let’s see if we can imagine a better bridge,” maybe light rail AND transit.
What’s next for the Task Force? The mayor said ongoing involvement would be great, ‘some level of interest and accountability,” if the members are willing.
The group will take up that topic at its next meeting December 2nd. This meeting wrapped at 4:28 pm. One more meeting tonight will include a discussion of the decision – the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, 6:30 pm, attendance info here.
Two quick West Seattle Crime Watch notes before our bridge-decision coverage continues:
STOLEN VEHICLE: Alison reports, “I live in the Admiral District and my car (1997 white Subaru Outback Impreza) was stolen last night off California. License plate BHA1397. Small bear sticker on the back, crack in windshield.” Call 911 if you see it (or any other known stolen car).
PACKAGE THIEF ON VIDEO: The security video (see it here) is from Molly, who says the theft happened on her Gatewood porch last night, near 41st/Holden.
2:10 PM: Time for a bit of other news before we get to the second bridge story of the day – Kersti Muul of Salish Wildlife Watch tells WSB that a large group of resident orcas is headed this way, southbound off Golden Gardens, closer to this side of the Sound, at last report, so likely in view from here soon. Let us know if you see them!
3:01 PM: Not here yet.
3:38 PM: Jeff Hogan from Killer Whale Tales called to say they’re in view in the Bainbridge ferry lanes, from Alki. Kersti also has posted updates in the comment section below.
(Above: Video of hourlong announcement event)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The suspense is over.
Mayor Jenny Durkan announced this morning that the city will repair the West Seattle Bridge, eight months after she announced its shockingly sudden closure.
The alternative – replacing its damaged midsection with a shiny new steel span – was appealing, she and SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe acknowledged in a pre-announcement media briefing, but covering its cost and achieving a “rapid replacement” timeline seemed out of reach. So, to get West Seattle moving again as soon as possible, she decided that repairing the bridge is the way to go.
Before we get to details, quick answers to 6 big questions:
WHEN WILL IT REOPEN?
Some traffic might return to the bridge in “the first part of 2022” but the projected completion is “mid-2022.”
WILL ALL LANES REOPEN?
That’s what SDOT expects, though an early-2022 reopening might have to be “phased in.”
WHEN WILL REPAIR WORK START?
WHO WILL DO THE WORK?
Consultant WSP is designing the repairs, and then a contractor will be sought to build/install them.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
The Cost-Benefit Analysis made a rough estimate of almost $50 million but that won’t be refined until the repairs are designed.
HOW LONG WILL REPAIRS LAST?
Projected – 15 to 40 years.
So here’s the rest of the story:
Busy day/night ahead – here are the highlights:
WS BRIDGE COMMUNITY TASK FORCE: Hours later, the mayor has a prescheduled meeting with the Community Task Force at 3:30 pm. You can watch that here.
SIGN-WAVING: Organizer Scott will be back at 16th/Holden leading the twice-weekly sign-waving demonstration for racial justice, 4-6 pm.
DESIGN REVIEW: 5 pm online, what could be the final meeting for the 115-apartment project at 3417 Harbor SW. Viewing/commenting information is here.
WEST SEATTLE DEMOCRATIC WOMEN: Online meeting at 6 pm. Spotlight topic: The Electoral College. Email email@example.com ASAP to get the attendance link.
WS TRANSPORTATION COALITION: 6:30 pm online, with guests from SDOT (if you have questions after the bridge announcement, be there!) and the Port of Seattle on the agenda. Attendance information is in our calendar listing.
ALKI COMMUNITY COUNCIL: 7 pm online, with the agenda including community concerns and electing board members. Viewing information is in our calendar listing.
6:12 AM: Welcome to Thursday, the 241st morning without the West Seattle Bridge – the day the mayor will announce the plan for its future. (Added: 9 am.)
Delridge project: Paving and utility work continues in multiple areas. Here’s the bulletin for this week.
CHECK TRAFFIC BEFORE YOU GO
West Marginal Way/Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
Restricted-daytime-access (open to all 9 pm-5 am) low bridge:
The main detour route across the Duwamish River, the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map) . Here are two cameras:
The other major bridge across the river – the South Park Bridge (map). Here’s the nearest camera:
Going through South Park? Don’t speed. (Same goes for the other detour-route neighborhoods, like Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge.)
Checking for bridges’ marine-traffic openings? The @SDOTBridges Twitter feed is working again.
Metro – Fare collection has resumed.
Water Taxi – Also charging again.
Trouble on the roads/paths/water? Let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.