West Seattle, Washington
Thanks for the photos from tonight’s sunset! Above, the view from Upper Fauntleroy, by Gabby (who’s 10!); below, a photo from James Bratsanos:
The forecast suggests change is on the way before the weekend – “chance of showers” returns to the forecast for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
By Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
For the first time since the West Seattle Bridge’s sudden, shocking shutdown almost a year and a half ago, we were back on the bridge, briefly, today. The reason: Reporters and photographers were invited to accompany a delegation from D.C., Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. The feds are contributing to the funding for repairs, so the tour was touted as a chance to see where the money’s going.
The bridge visit was part of a morning tour that started at Terminal 5 in West Seattle (a separate story is coming about that). The cars and vans carrying the dignitaries and media left from Terminal 46 on the downtown waterfront and crossed the high bridge to get to T-5, seeing this work on the way (slow going because it’s a 10 mph construction zone):
That crane, we learned later, was lowering fiber-optic cable into the bridge, part of relocating monitoring equipment in preparation for the repair work this fall. (We reported recently that this kind of advance work is happening now, while the repair design and schedule are being finalized.) The crew was done and the crane was gone by the time we returned and were able to get out onto the bridge, but here’s what else we saw:
SDOT recently reiterated that one reason it’s not safe to even partly reopen the bridge is that there are holes in the deck. The ones above line the outer edge of the south side of the center span – they were cut for those platforms suspended from the bridge during the stabilization work last year, as SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe explained in a quick briefing setting the scene for visitors:
We took note of other openings in the bridge deck – such as this hole used for ventilation:
That ensure safe breathing conditions for people inside the bridge, explained SDOT’s roadway-structures division director Matt Donahue – sometimes the air that comes in from openings on the underside can be overwhelmed otherwise with, for example, diesel fumes from trains passing below (he was wearing a monitoring device just in case). In the westbound lanes, there’s a covered hatch with the warning NO DRIVE written all around it:
But the main access for workers – and visitors – is surrounded by this repurposed shipping container:
Donahue accompanied Sen. Cantwell, Dep. Sec. Trottenberg, and interested media crews down into the heart of the centerspan. We chose not to make the climb down, but obtained photos from SDOT:
In that last photo are the steel cables added to stabilize the bridge (with more planned as part of the final repairs).
After everyone emerged, Cantwell and Trottenberg took questions for a few minutes, calling the bridge “incredibly important”:
By then, they were running behind on a packed schedule that sent them to I-90 this afternoon to visit the Sound Transit light-rail expansion project. We and the rest of the media crews were shuttled back to Terminal 46, after another look at a view that we used to take for granted:
Along with the closed-early Andover foot bridge, SDOT has been planning seismic reinforcement for the 60-year-old Delridge Pedestrian Bridge, which spans Delridge Way between Youngstown Cultural Arts Center and Delridge Playfield. But now there’s a new proposal: Remove it instead. Here’s the SDOT announcement – including ways for you to comment:
As part of the Delridge Way SW – RapidRide H Line project, we are installing a new, accessible crossing on Delridge Way SW at the intersection with SW Oregon St. With this new crossing, we are currently evaluating removing or repairing the pedestrian bridge connecting the Youngstown Cultural Center and the Delridge Playfield. Before planning any potential changes to the bridge, we want to hear from the community and create a plan for this area that will best fit the needs of the Delridge neighbors by learning from the community about how they use and value this bridge. We will make a decision based on data collection and the community’s feedback later in 2021. Construction for repair or removal would begin as early as spring 2022.
As part of the outreach, we’d like to invite community members to visit us at the Delridge Community Center these dates and times to talk about the project.
Friday, August 27 from 2 to 4 p.m.
Sunday, August 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Location: Delridge Playfield near the Community Center entrance
Below are more project details:
As part of the Levy to Move Seattle, the Delridge Way SW Pedestrian Bridge was identified as a high priority for seismic reinforcement, which makes the bridge more resistant to ground activity, like earthquakes. This option means the bridge will meet updated seismic standards for pedestrian bridges and people could still use the bridge to cross Delridge Way SW.
Repairing the bridge will not bring the bridge to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, but people with ADA accessibility needs wishing to cross Delridge Way SW will instead be able to use the crossing on the street at SW Oregon St.
Removing the bridge will help support SDOT’s policies focused on people walking. The need for regular maintenance and expensive, complicated seismic reinforcement would also be eliminated. Additionally, removing the bridge may improve sightlines for people driving southbound on Delridge Way SW as they approach the signalized intersection at SW Oregon St. The ADA-compliant crossing on the street will be the only method to cross Delridge Way SW at this intersection if the bridge is removed.
In addition to the info sessions mentioned above, an online survey has just opened – it’s open through August 30. Find it here.
2:38 PM: Two weeks from today, it’s the first day of school for many students in our state, including most Seattle Public Schools students. But while summer vacation is almost over, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. So today Gov. Inslee is having a media briefing about the pandemic response, joined by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah, You can watch it above; we’ll add notes here as it goes.
2:42 PM: He’s expanding vaccination requirements among (updated) education employees.
K -12 educators, staff, coaches, bus drivers, volunteers and others working in school facilities will have until Oct. 18 to be fully vaccinated as a condition of employment. This includes public, private and charter schools. This does not impact students, regardless of age.
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) August 18, 2021
He’s also ordering mask-wearing in indoor public settings, statewide, regardless of vaccination status, starting Monday, for Washington residents age 5+. This is because, Inslee declares, not enough people are getting vaccinated.
2:51 PM: Superintendent Reykdal says the vaccination requirements are necessary because they want to keep schools open. “If we do not do this and we have to shut schools down again this year … students are impacted and jobs are impacted.”
3:09 PM: In Q&A, Reykdal says yes, the vaccine requirement will apply to substitutes as well. And he reiterates that what’s making this necessary is the rapid spread of the Delta variant (now responsible for 98 percent of WA cases): “We’ve got to up our game … and we can’t have 30 percent of our team unvaccinated.”
3:12 PM: Here are full details of what the governor has just announced. He also warns, “This may not be the end of our efforts if this pandemic continues.” But: “We are hopeful that these measures will restrain the pandemic.”
3:17 PM: Secretary Shah adds that while there’s no outdoor-masking order, it’s “strongly recommended” to wear one if you are in a CROWDED outdoor setting.
In case you haven’t seen this in the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar – tomorrow night you have the chance to help a local nonprofit school while enjoying an outdoor family-music concert. Dani & the Bee are performing as a fundraiser Thursday night (August 19th) for the Community School of West Seattle. The concert is at 6 pm in White Center Heights Park (7th SW and SW 102nd). It’s free to attend but “donations are greatly appreciated,” says CSWS board president Whitney Young. You can donate/RSVP by going here..
We are on the West Seattle Bridge right now for the first time in a year and a half. Two federal government reps are touring it today – Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg and US Senator Maria Cantwell – to see what federal dollars will help fund.
This followed a visit to Terminal 5. Full coverage later!
Four notes for the hours ahead:
SEATTLE AUTO LICENSING: The new vehicle/vessel licensing office at Westwood Village is going to start accepting credit cards today,
GOVERNOR’S PANDEMIC BRIEFING: 2:30 pm today, Gov. Inslee plans a briefing with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. You can watch the stream here.
MASTERCREEP THEATER: 6:30 pm at Admiral Pub (2306 California SW), join Old Witch for “Troll 2” – explained in our calendar listing.
6:39 AM: Good morning. The big overnight power outage continues for some, mostly south of West Seattle – remember that a nonworking signal means it’s an all-way stop. There are two freeway problems that WSDOT says are “power-related” – southbound 509 at Cloverdale is fully blocked, and not far south, 599 is fully blocked at its beginning (MP 1) just south of 99 “due to power lines on road.”
8:35 AM UPDATE: WSDOT says those highways have reopened.
The morning clouds are expected to make way later for sunshine.
26th SW– Northbound closure continues between Roxbury and Barton.
Delridge project – Miscellaneous work this week.
Buses are on regular schedules – except for the 26th rerouting. One exception: The highway closure mentioned above is affecting Sound Transit Route 560. Watch @kcmetrobus for word of bus cancellations.
For ferries and water taxis, regular schedule. Watch @wsferries for updates.
BRIDGES AND DETOUR ROUTES
513rd morning without the West Seattle Bridge. Here are 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 here for some categories of drivers.)
West Marginal Way at Highland Park Way:
Highland Park Way/Holden – No camera for a few weeks (explained here)
The 5-way intersection (Spokane/West Marginal/Delridge/Chelan):
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.
3:13 AM: Thanks for the tips. Power is out for more than 8,000 customers in south West Seattle, White Center, and beyond. Updates to come.
3:40 AM: City Light says the cause is “under investigation.” Some of the affected customers lost power in outages just last Friday/Saturday (here’s our Monday followup on those causes).
4:54 AM: Via Twitter, SCL says, “They know the cause and are working to get power restored safely and quickly.” (Please let us know when you’re back on, since the map lags – thanks!)
6:10 AM: Thanks to everyone who just texted that their power’s back. SCL says the cause was “Transformer wire fell on a distribution wire.”
6:23 AM: SCL map has updated and shows about half the customers are back, half still out.
6:50 AM: Now the outage is down to 585 customers, mostly south of South Park, though the Myers Way pockets are still shown as out.
12:22 AM: The next big chapter in the Stone Cottage‘s history is being written tonight, with the little stone-studded house getting moved off its soon-to-be-redeveloped site at 1123 Harbor Avenue SW. Destination: Port of Seattle land about a mile southeast, until a permanent home is found.
A crowd is here to watch renowned structural movers Nickel Bros take the house to its interim home; we’ll be updating as it goes. (Added: Among those present were family members of Eva Falk, the cottage’s creator.) First, shown above, the truck is moving into position.
1:03 AM: At least another 20 minutes until they start pulling the Stone Cottage off the site – which’ll be tricky, with a power pole close to its east side, a hydrant close to its west side.
1:51 AM: The moving has begun – in short bursts for starters as they carefully maneuver off the site.
2:35 AM: Still maneuvering. Some lines/cables are the newest hurdle to clear. … Ten minutes later, inching around the hydrant.
2:54 AM: Off the site! Now dealing with hydraulics to get under road-spanning wires.
3:06 AM: It’s now rolling down the road.
4 AN: Back at HQ, adding photos and video above. Plus – the next two, sent by Rachel, with a view from over Harbor Avenue as the Stone Cottage rolled by Don Armeni:
And here’s a pic from the pre-move wait – group photo of Save The Stone Cottage volunteers, whose many months of work (along with community support) made this happen:
(They were the ones cheering loudest toward the end of our video clip above.) We’ll be following up to see what’s next.
ADDED WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: Thanks to Stewart L. for the photo of the Stone Cottage after arrival at its temporary home:
Mike Shaughnessy of Save The Stone Cottage tells WSB that the Stone Cottage reached its interim site at 4:45 am – 15 minutes shy of when their street-use permit expired. “It was touch and go … threading the needle between cars, and we almost got stuck near 7-Eleven.”
And talk about touch and go … hours after the Stone Cottage was gone, the developers who own its former site demolished the remaining structures:
(That photo also is from Stewart L.)