West Seattle, Washington
Three reports in West Seattle Crime Watch:
TWO GUNFIRE REPORTS: According to emergency-radio communication, police are investigating both of these reports right now – someone reporting that a person on a motorcycle shot into their house in the 9200 block of 14th SW, and someone else reporting their house was fired at in the 7000 block of 16th SW. No injuries reported so far. THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: No additional info on the 16th SW report but the preliminary police summary on 14th notes: “No one was hit, but bullets did penetrate through the residence – into the living room where minor children were watching TV.”
FAIRMOUNT-AREA ATTACK: This happened Tuesday afternoon and we’ve been pursuing more information but didn’t get it until finding online court documents tonight. A 38-year-old North Shorewood man is in jail after two incidents a short time apart. Police first got a call that a man jumped into a car with two women – mother and daughter – inside; the daughter fought back and he bolted. While they were on their way to that call, they got a report of a man trying car-door handles a few blocks away. Officers who detoured to that call detained what turned out to be the attack suspect. The victims told police they were getting into their car in the 5900 block of Fauntleroy Way SW when the man came up to their car, knocked on the window, then jumped in through the unlocked back door. He grabbed the older woman by the shoulder; the younger woman took out her pocket knife and started hitting him with the handle. She kept hitting him and finally he got out of the car – leaving his phone behind. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested at the other scene near Fauntleroy/Edmunds, and identified by one of the victims, neither of whom needed medical treatment. The suspect is being held in lieu of $15,000 bail, including $10,000 for a prior drunk-driving charge.
ANOTHER AXE ARREST: Police got a call about a burglary in progress in the 3400 block of Harbor Avenue SW around 3:45 pm today. According to the preliminary report, they were told that a man “was using a hammer and axe to break into vehicles and units.” When police got there, they reported finding the man “hanging out the front windshield of a vehicle he had bashed in.” They arrested him and booked him into jail.
5:30 PM: This Friday marks 16 months since the emergency closure of the West Seattle Bridge. Tonight, SDOT is presenting updates and answering questions at a community meeting. You can watch above, via YouTube, but if you want to ask questions, participate via Zoom – here’s the link. We’ll post notes every 10 minutes or so.
SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe welcomed attendees, reminding them that he too is a West Seattle resident. Since the bridge closure, “our priority has been first and foremost public safety,” he said, and reiterated the “mid-2022” reopening projection. He was to be followed by Deputy Mayor David Moseley, but technical challenges intervened; instead, Zimbabwe summarized Moseley’s prepared remarks, saying Mayor Jenny Durkan couldn’t be there because she’s “in the other Washington.” City Councilmember Lisa Herbold followed. She said she’s been hearing about traffic and safety issues since the bridge closed, and noted that SDOT had “built more than 200 projects so far” to address them. “We rely on the community to identify these emerging issues.” She also noted that the council has “committed to funding” both the bridge repair and the traffic/safety projects. “Now that businesses are opening up again, we hope these projects are going to makee it easier for people to spend time in our neighborhoods.”
5:53 PM: They’re running polls along the way – first, what zip code participants are in; 98116 led, followed by 98136, followed by 98106. Then: How did you hear about the meeting? Email newsletters came in #1, WSB #2. After that, Deputy Mayor Moseley was brought on. He spoke of a call today involving West Seattle Bridge issues and Washington state members of Congress. He announced $12 million in new federal dollars, routed through the state, bringing total federal funding for the project to almost $38 million.
Bridge program director Heather Marx followed, noting she too is a West Seattle resident. She recapped what’s happened along the way, saying the bridge cracking “was likely caused by insufficient post-tensioning [steel strengthening]” in the bridge. That wasn’t an error, but just the bridge being “built to the standards of the time,” she said.
When will the bridge reopen? She said that at intermediate design, it’s too soon to say anything more specific than “mid-2022.” As has been said multiple times lately, construction of the repair work will start late this year.
She also showed new schematic designs that were debuted at last week’s Community Task Force meeting (see them in our coverage).
She also tried to explain why the design work is “a careful, highly mathematic process” and “how important it is that we get this design exactly right.”
6 PM: Marx handed the baton to Maureen Sheehan, the low-bridge program director. She recapped why low-bridge access is restricted, and which groups are eligible for authorization to use it during the restricted hours. (See all that info here.) She also noted that they are surveying current users as part of determining how access might change once Terminal 5 launches cargo-ship service early next year.
Next poll – how do people want to hear bridge updates in the future? Of the options presented, email newsletters/blog posts led.
6:10 PM: Sara Zora, who manages the Reconnect West Seattle program, was next up. The 200 projects of which she spoke include the speed humps, radar speed signs, and other installations you’ve seen in multiple neighborhoods, particularly Highland Park, many under the Home Zone umbrella. She also touched on West Marginal Way (including, most recently, the future-protected-bike-lane decision).
Then, a pitch for mode-shifting, which SDOT has talked about since the start, to try to keep traffic semi-manageable even as people return to commuting. What you do affects everybody else, she reiterated.
6:20 PM: Wes Ducey, yet another West Seattle-residing SDOT manager, talked about planning for replacing the bridge … in 2060. “Where the replacement bridge” should be built – or maybe a tunnel – is the focus of the study they’re doing. Its “draft findings” will be available this fall. Then the last poll – what do you want to hear about going forward? (Consultant/facilitator Angie Thomson said respondents could make multiple choices.) “Repair progress,” unsurprisingly, led. Then, a quick reminder of ways to stay updated.
Q&A followed. As noted in comments, the written questions submitted via Zoom were NOT visible to all (we’ll be asking for the list). Questions were addressed to specific participants, so that’s who replied.
#1 – What can be done to speed up the repair? Zimbabwe replied. “I can assure you there is urgency in our work to achieve the repairs.” He said “very delicate design” and material procurement are things that take time. He insisted “everybody at SDOT is working urgently … day in and day out.”
#2 – Why hasn’t the design been done over the time the bridge has been closed? Marx: “Design has actually been under way for a significant portion of the closure” – first the stabilization, then full repair design started last November.
#3 – Can we promote more local services in West Seattle to “stay local”? Herbold: “I’m happy to do whatever I can.” She said she would be happy to use her weekly newsletter to promote things, and “we all can do more.”
#4 – Have there been any thoughts on increasing frequency of/extending hours of water taxis, and adding one from Fauntleroy? Zora noted that King County runs the WT, and ridership has been increasing. They did look at adding foot ferries, but “the assessment we had seemed like it would not necessarily improve the mobility option in the timeframe we needed it.”
#5 – Once bridge is reopened, will work continue to plan for a replacement? Ducey said that the study focusing on siting as well as figuring out how traffic would flow during a replacement will be helpful.
#6 – Why not open the low bridge at more times? Sheehan noted that the weekend mornings added 3 hours recently, “and we continue to evaluate.” But if they opened it further, it would be too crowded for emergency passage.
First verbal question at 6:34 pm – #7 – Why can’t Uber/Lyft use the low bridge more hours? Sheehan replied that while they’re evaluating, “it’s a finite resource” and the rideshare group is “too large” to grant access and still preserve emergency vehicles’ mobility. Marx added later that traffic apps have been a bit problematic lately and SDOT is working with them.
#8 was a written question. There’s construction everywhere – how is it being coordinated? Marx said for one, the Delridge project will be done in a couple months. Otherwise, “we ARE coordinating construction.” She gave examples such as the early-morning work hours for the West Marginal/Highland Park Way weekend work. “We do everything we can to be sure we can complete work in off-hours.”
#9 – Is Zimbabwe working from home or commuting? He said “a mix of both” (he was at his home near The Junction while participating in the meeting).
#10 – Will a mayoral change mean changes in the bridge program? Herbold said the Council approves funding and no dramatic change would be possible without councilmembers’ support. She doesn’t see “any big changes” likely no matter who moves into the mayor’s office next year.
#11 – What are law enforcers doing to prevent line cutting, especially at the 99/509 onramp by the transfer station? SDOT’s Trevor Partap said enforcement is the best way to address that and there’s been some – they’ll “send a reminder.”
#12 – Are motorcycles allowed to use the low bridge and if not, why? Sheehan said no, because urgent trips and emergencies are prioritized. (We published a longer reply to this months ago.)
#13 was a verbal question at 6:45 pm – What could have prevented the bridge getting to the point it needed to close, and what’s being done to keep other bridges from getting to that point? He also voiced concerns about side-street safety. For the first part, Zimbabwe said “the bridge was built to the standards of the time” as Marx had said earlier and all the records have not revealed “a fatal flaw.” The stabilization work, and repair work, require opening up the bridge deck and so whenever the problem was caught, a closure would have resulted. As for other structures, they’ve added “real-time monitors” to look for the kind of problems that might require closures. Regarding side-street safety, Zora said the Home Zone program has been focused on that. firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific areas you want to see evaluated.
#14 – Has SDOT considered opening the bridge for limited traffic? Marx said no, because there are holes in the road surface so the interior can be accessed. Also, the engineer of record says “that is not a safe option.”
#15 – What is the plan for light rail on the new bridge? Ducey said that the Sound Transit need for a new cross-Duwamish bridge does not align with replacement planning for the bridge but their work keeps “informing each other.”
#15 – How can all these construction projects improve traffic – should we be doing so many while the bridge is closed? Zimbabwe said a lot of “large scale and small scale changes” have been made and they did require construction – remember the emergency signal at Highland Park Way/Holden? He said the safety improvements are vital.
#16 – Could new park-ride lots be set up near the low bridge? Zora pointed out the existing one under the high bridge.
#17 – Will you be offering low-bridge passes for students who have to cross the Duwamish? Sheehan said school buses can use it and they urge people to get ride-share permits.
#18 – Toll? Herbold said that would require a public vote. And it wouldn’t be fair to restrict access to those who could pay.
#19 was a verbal question at 6:55 – he said the closure was the city’s fault for adding a fourth lane on the bridge and not limiting weight of vehicles. Zimbabwe addressed it, saying “We don’t plan any change to the operation of the high bridge when it opens. …. There’s no indication that the change in travel lanes led to the structural problems.”
#20 – Does SDOT intend to promote a kindness initiative for drivers using the detour route? Marx said that was a great idea. “We are all in this together. All the people on the detour routes are your friends, your family, your neighbors … Make sure you extend to people the grace you hope they would extend to you.”
#21 – Any way the bike paths can be cleaned? Bridge to South Park to Tukwila, also Fauntleroy Way. Zora said yes.
#22 – Will the same number of lanes be used when the bridge opens? Will the .4 mile bus lane be removed when the bridge reopens? Marx reiterated, “We expect to return the bridge to its original configuration,” maybe with wider shoulders on the westbound side. “All those buses were using it before the bus lane.” so it’s not considered to have been a problem.
#23 – a verbal question at 7:02 pm: Is 9 pm the wisest time to start low-bridge access? There’s a massive backup at 8:58 pm every night. Also – re: construction, why did they all have to be started at the same time? Sheehan replied to the low-bridge questionm saying it’s likely to happen whatever time the low bridge opens, Zimbabwe answered regarding the construction that they’re trying to mitigate some of the bridge impacts as quickly as they can, so that’s why so much construction.
#24 – When will we start seeing workers on the bridge? Marx said some were up there on Monday – some asbestos testing – and if you watch the bridge, you’ll see more things like that. But much of the repair work will be inside the bridge. (Work platforms will go up in November, as previously announced.)
#25 – Thistle Street/35th has become problematic with detour traffic. Zora said they can get some folks out to analyze the signal timing and see if other improvements can be made.
#26 – Are they working with the Port re: T-5? Marx said yes, they’re working closely, and T-5’s first berth is expected to open in January. “Freight is an incredibly important part of our system” and that’s why they need to ensure things flow smoothly.
#27 – How are you managing traffic at Highland Park/West Marginal, and can you install signage at the Chelan intersection? Partap said regarding the first, they are “constantly monitoring intersection operation and adjusting signal timing as needed” plus have improvements under way. At Chelan/WMW, “we can work with SPD to be (look at enforcement)” regarding cutting but they also can look at engineering possibilities.
#28 – Did the heat wave cause any new cracks? How did the bridge perform? (We reported on that.) Marx said the stabilization work prevented anything from going awry and they’re “really confident” in what they’ve done.
That was the last question and the meeting wrapped at quarter past 7 (with a video recap of the situation to date). If your question didn’t get answered, an FAQ will be posted. Marx also said questions are always welcome at email@example.com.
7:32 PM: The archived video is playable now in the window above.
Some asked today in comments and email about a Washington State Patrol plane flying over West Seattle repeatedly overnight. We inquired with WSP, and here’s what they told us: It’s related to the ongoing investigation of people throwing rocks at vehicles along I-90. WSP says it’s had a plane up using FLIR – infrared radar – in hopes of spotting trouble before it happens, in areas where someone’s “heat signature” might reveal what troopers can’t see on the ground. They’ve been mostly flying “rounds” – circle the emphasis area (particularly I-90 at Rainier) for a while, go away for 15 minutes or so, come back. And WSP says they’ve been trying to fly high enough that it’s not a noise problem for neighborhoods, but they have to fly lower when there’s cloud cover, and that’s why you might have heard them overnight but not other nights. WSP has arrested some suspects – including one just yesterday – but the problem persists. (The plane, by the way, is based in Olympia. WSP does not fly helicopters.)
For the first time in two years, benefit barbecues are back at West Seattle Thriftway (4201 SW Morgan; WSB sponsor). First one is this Saturday, 11 am-4 pm. Look for the outdoor tent and get a burger ($7) or hot dog ($5) lunch, with proceeds benefiting Pencil Me In For Kids. That’s a West Seattle nonprofit supported by Illusions Hair Design (WSB sponsor) and the Rotary Club of West Seattle, that for 25+ years has helped ensure that kids have the school supplies they need.
2:16 PM: If you’re wondering about all the sirens, police and fire have headed to the 2nd SW/SW Michigan vicinity beneath the 1st Avenue South Bridge, after a report of a man with a gunshot wound to the leg. So far, officers have told dispatchers, they haven’t found him.
2:20 PM: They’ve since found the victim, as well as what were described as shotgun-shell casings. They’ve been told a tan Cadillac with tinted windows might be involved.
2:44 PM: No updates so far.
3:57 PM: SFD says the ~40-year-old man who was shot was taken to the hospital in stable condition.
7:50 PM: The preliminary police report says:
During the mid-morning hours, a fight disturbance occurred in an encampment near SW Michigan St / SW Peninsula Pl. The fight was reportedly over narcotics and money. A few hours later, witnesses reported a large group of subjects arrived at the encampment looking for those involved in the fight. The group left a short time later. Just prior to (2 pm), a vehicle arrived, and four suspects exited. They approached the victim’s tent carrying a shotgun and edged weapons and confronted the victim. After a brief encounter, one of the suspects fired the shotgun twice, striking the victim on the right leg just below the knee. The suspects then fled the scene and left in the vehicle they had arrived in. Witnesses called 911 and requested police assistance while others began tending to the victim’s injury and loaded him into a vehicle. Officers arrived, located the victim and secured the scene while requesting SFD response. The victim was transported to HMC for further medical treatment. An area search was conduced with negative results for the suspects.
Thanks to Paul Benade of Always Local Photos for the latest view of the Northern Elephant Seal that’s lingering in West Seattle waters – he was seen off the 4100 block of Beach Drive. If you see him, here’s what you should know, courtesy of Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
Thanks to Lynn Hall for the photo. The low tide was out to -2.4 feet at 9:15 this morning, on the way to another round of low-low tides this week. So you can plan your shore exploration, here are the dates and times:
Thursday – 10:05 am, -3.0 feet
Friday – 10:53 am, -3.3 feet
Saturday – 11:40 am, -3.2 feet
Sunday – 12:26 pm, -2.8 feet
This is low enough that the Seattle Aquarium is sending out its volunteer beach naturalists so you can get expert advice/information – they’ll be at
Constellation Park (63rd/Beach Drive) and Lincoln Park (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW) beaches Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; times vary, as listed here. Wherever you go, tread lightly!
ADDED THURSDAY: The naturalists have dropped Constellation Park this time because of the sewage leak – so, just Lincoln Park on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
An unusual sight off Seacrest this morning. The photo and report are from Catie:
A floatplane touched down in Elliott Bay a little after 9 am today. Pulled into the rocks at Seacrest Cove (by the pier closest to Salty’s). The pilot jumped out and checked on the plane, then hopped back in and took off.
Floatplane – more formally, seaplane – takeoffs/landings are a much-more common sight on Lake Union, north of downtown.
Thanks to Laura for that photo of a duck family at Longfellow Creek. Here’s what’s up on land in the hours ahead:
HOCKEY & BURGERS: In celebration of the Seattle Kraken expansion draft today, the Dick’s Drive-In burger truck is visiting West Seattle Brewing in The Triangle (4415 Fauntleroy Way SW), 4-7 pm. (Any other venues with Kraken-related events for the occasion? Let us know and we’ll add to the list!)
‘ENORMOUS’ AT ADMIRAL THEATER, WITH Q&A: Seating starts at 6:30, screening at 7 pm for this one-time showing of the documentary “Enormous: The Gorge Story” at The Admiral Theater (2343 California SW), with a special Q&A afterward – info’s in our preview.
MORGAN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION: 7 pm online. Morgan Junction’s community council has its quarterly meeting – the agenda and participation info are in our calendar listing.
GET FIT, WEST SEATTLE INFO NIGHT: 7 pm at West Seattle Runner (2743 California SW; WSB sponsor), learn about the return of Get Fit, West Seattle, a free couch-to-half-marathon training program that kicks off soon.
OPEN MIC NIGHT: 7:30 pm signup, 8:30 pm performances for the weekly open mic at The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW)
6:20 AM: Jacobsen Road is blocked both ways by the tree that took out power three hours ago.
6:05 AM: Good morning, Today’s forecast includes eventual sunshine..
SW Genesee – For the next week or so, Genesee will be down to one lane, alternating, between 26th and 30th, because of vehicles working on the nearby “pond.” As explained here, the work is expected to happen 7 am-6 pm.
Delridge project – Southbound Delridge is still closed between Holden and Trenton. So is Henderson on the east side of Delridge; other closures are ahead, according to this week’s update.
Weekend reminder – Highland Park Way/West Marginal intersection: Here’s a preview, including new work hours and lane reductions for Saturday and Sunday.
Buses are on their regular schedules – except for the Route 120 reroute because of the southbound Delridge Way work and the Route 128 reroute because of the SW Henderson closure east of Delridge. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of bus cancellations.
For ferries, regular schedule. Watch and @wsferries for updates.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
485th morning without the West Seattle Bridge. (Community meeting tonight!) Here are the views of other bridges and routes:
Low Bridge: Automated enforcement cameras remain in use; restrictions are in effect 5 am-9 pm daily – except weekends; the bridge is open to all until 8 am Saturday and Sunday mornings. (Access applications are available for some categories of drivers.)
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden:
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
And the 1st Avenue South Bridge (map):
For the South Park Bridge (map), here’s the nearest camera:
Trouble on the streets/paths/bridges/water? Please let us know – text (but not if you’re driving!) 206-293-6302.
5:01 AM: Thanks for the tips. 144 homes are without power on Beach Drive. A downed tree in the 5200 block of Jacobsen Road [map] gets the blame, according to email; the 911 log shows a “wires down” call there just before 3:30 am.
6:15 AM: Jacobsen is still blocked both ways by the tree. The closure sign isn’t until part of the way down the hill, however, so while we were there, drivers were starting down the hill – then having to turn around once they came to the sign. (Added) Here’s a closer look at where the tree is tangled with the wires:
We’ll check back in a few hours.
11:15 AM: Update in comments from Tom – the road had cleared for a while but is now closed again for City Light work.
1:58 PM: As noted in comments and confirmed by the SCL map, the power is back on. (Added – We have confirmed that the road is open again, too.)