West Seattle, Washington
Dr. Kenneth Beck wants to take you on a “Paleo Tour” of Alki – paleo as in paleontology. Even if you think you know everything about Alki’s history, his tour will almost certainly teach you something new – about something old.
Dr. Beck is a retired research scientist whose deep academic background (read about it here) includes paleontology and archaeology studies. And now he’s decided to put that to use: “I saw that few people in West Seattle knew anything about how West Seattle ‘got here,’ and that was sad. We live on one of the most interesting outcroppings in the world!”
He says the tour “will involve the ‘Adventurers’ in discovering fossils for themselves! Imagine that. Fossils from the Eocene Epoch (50 million years ago). Then, fast forward to 900 CE (AD), the Vikings were invading Ireland, the Classical Era was ending in India, and Alki rose out of the depth more than 25 feet in one of the grandest of grand earth-shattering quakes!”
The guided lecture/tour will cover two miles in two hours, on e-scooters or e-bikes (bring your own or rent one on Alki), not included in the $40/person honorarium (kids under 10 are free). You’ll meet Dr. Beck at Spud Fish and Chips (a part of Alki’s more-recent history). And this is by appointment only – he says he’ll offer the tour year-round, at low tide. You might see subtle sights like this, which he says is a fossilized clam:
If you’re interested, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some fall high-school sports start up even before the first classes of the year. High-school football season is about to begin. Tomorrow night (Friday, September 1st), West Seattle High School plays a home game at Nino Cantu Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle), 6 pm, vs. Columbia River (from Vancouver, Washington). Chief Sealth International High School was scheduled for a season-opener on the road at Foster High School in Tukwila, but the Metro League schedule page says the game’s been canceled and that CSIHS instead is playing at Bellingham, 1 pm Saturday (September 2nd). You’ll also see/hear football at West Seattle Stadium, where O’Dea – which plays its home games there – will play Union at 7 pm Friday.
Most local students who aren’t back in class already will return next week. If you’ve just moved here – or are rethinking your K-5 student’s plan for next year – independent Tilden School (WSB sponsor) wants you to know they still have a few spaces at each grade level. As noted here last month, Tilden has a new head of school, Dr. Jorge Olaf Nelson, and is looking ahead to the new school year with excitement. They’d be happy to give you a tour, even amid all the preps for the start of school – here’s how to contact Tilden School via email or phone. The campus is on the north edge of The Junction, at 4105 California SW.
Another change in south Morgan Junction: We noticed a big COMING SOON sign while passing 6971 California SW, and stopped to check out the sign next to it that explained what’s “coming soon.” The Fine Baking Co. is on the way to the middle space in the building (where massage clinics have been located in recent years). Via the email address on the window sign, we contacted baker Chely Smithgall, who told us:
I’m a home baker with a cottage food permit; since I had such a great turnout and feedback from people I decided to open up my storefront! So excited about it!!!
I do cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, personalized printed cookies and treats; they can be ordered or just come to buy at the store.
Not sure when we will get permits and all that, but hoping to be able to open before holidays – hopefully October!
You can see some of her creations here.
3:19 PM: Thanks for the tip. Washington State Ferries says M/V Issaquah had to go out of service for “necessary unscheduled vessel maintenance,” so the Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route is currently down to one boat. WSF says that “engineers are on board (Issaquah) working on the issue.” Meantime, M/V Kittitas continues the #1 schedule; you can check Vessel Watch for its location.
3:41 PM: WSF now says it’s a “steering issue” and they’re still working on it.
6:16 PM: No ETA for a fix yet. WSF says the wait at Fauntleroy is now up to 3 hours for drivers
That’s the first live seal pup of the season reported to Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network – a season that normally begins in June. The report and photo are from Seal Sitters’ David Hutchinson:
Just a reminder to your readers that we are still in harbor seal pupping season, which in our part of Puget Sound typically runs from June – September. The 2023 season has gotten off to an unusually slow start on our West Seattle beaches. Yesterday, Seal Sitters had our first response to a live pup on a local beach. Volunteers watched over this vulnerable young seal from mid-afternoon until dark. These animals are protected by federal law and if you come across one onshore, we ask that you keep back, keep people and pets away, and call the Seal Sitters’ hotline at 206-905-7325. Operators are on duty 7 days a week from 8 AM – 8 PM. If you call outside of those hours, please leave a message including the type of animal and its location.
Resting on a beach is normal behavior for harbor seals but the young pups haven’t learned to be discriminating about where they do this. You may encounter them on any of West Seattle’s public or private beaches. It’s particularly important that dogs are not allowed to run off leash on our beaches. While harbor seals are quick and graceful in the water, they are pretty slow while moving on land and would have trouble escaping from a curious dog. Even a small injury can quickly become infected and could be fatal for pups with developing immune systems.
Please note that the accompanying photo was taken with a telephoto lens from behind the tape perimeter. These photos are taken to provide a closer look at the animal to see if there are any external wounds or other signs of poor health and for ID purposes.
Thank you for sharing the shore with our marine wildlife neighbors!
WSDOT has just announced that the long-in-the-works clearing of the encampment on the east side of Myers Way is imminent:
After two months of state partners actively working with service providers, local partners, law enforcement and neighbors, WSDOT crews posted a notice to vacate the encampment at Myers Way this morning. Service providers with KCRHA (REACH and PDA/CoLEAD) have offered services and housing that would reasonably match the needs of the people on site. Over 80% of those who were staying at the site have been matched with shelter or housing that will work for them; many have already moved to those accommodations. Outreach workers will continue to help everyone who has accepted housing to move off site over the next several days. Next week, WSDOT will begin cleaning and repairing the site, removing excess vegetation and making other modifications at the site to help prevent resettlement.
Two weeks ago, in its previous update, WSDOT had said that one-third of the known 50+ people on the site had moved into housing. The last community meeting about the situation was in July, around the same time WSDOT said RVs and other vehicles needed to be removed before they blocked off access. (As is clearly visible to passers-by, some remain.) Three months have passed since West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold said the city and state – both of which are property owners in the area – were working on “resolution” of the encampment situation, following incidents including a murder. Even before that, Arrowhead Gardens residents across the street had been pleading for something to be done, citing crime and safety concerns at their senior-living complex.
This year, the Taste of West Seattle – benefiting the West Seattle Food Bank – returns in its original format, one big event with dozens of food/drink purveyors offering “tastes” to attendees. Original venue, too – The Hall at Fauntleroy (9131 California SW). WSFB is now selling tickets for the Taste of WS, which is set for Thursday, September 28th. $125 VIP tickets get you in first, at 5:30 pm; $75 general admission starts at 6 pm. Here are the participants the WSFB has announced so far:
Aroy Mak Thai
Dolcetta Artisan Sweets
Elliott Bay Brewing Co.
Papa Tony’s Hot Sauce
Pecos Pit Bar-B-Que
The Good Society Brewing Co
The Locöl Kitchen & Bar
Tuxedos & Tennis Shoes
…and more to come!
It’s a 21+ event, and usually sells out, so if you’re interested, go here to get your ticket(s).
Here’s what’s happening in the hours ahead, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
TALK ABOUT THE TRANSPORTATION PLAN: As reported here, SDOT has released a draft Seattle Transportation Plan and is seeking community comments in myriad ways. Another pop-up chance to comment and/or ask questions is 11 am-noon today at High Point Library (3411 SW Raymond).
SPRAYPARK OPEN: Daily operations continue through Labor Day at Highland Park Spraypark (1100 SW Cloverdale), 11 am-8 pm.
LOW-LOW TIDE: Out to -1.9 feet at 11:39 am.
WADING POOL CLOSED: Because the temperature is expected to stay below 70, Seattle Parks will NOT open its wading pools – including Lincoln Park, the last one open in West Seattle – today.
COLMAN POOL OPEN: Also at Lincoln Park, noon-7 pm – here’s the schedule of sessions.
DROP-IN ASSISTANCE: Neighborhood House has resources to help with a variety of things – noon-1:30 pm today, drop in to talk about utilities. (6400 Sylvan Way SW)
WEST SEATTLE UKULELE PLAYERS: All levels welcome to this weekly 1 pm gathering. Email email@example.com to find out where they’re playing today.
HIGHLAND PARK RUN CLUB: Also at HP Corner Store, meet up at 6:30 pm for a 3-mile run!
DISCUSS! You’re invited to The Bridge (6301 California SW) 6-8 pm for this conversation:
Are you concerned about the high cost of housing, widespread homelessness, and transportation problems?
Join Seattle YIMBY, Seattle Subway, and others in a friendly, convivial atmosphere to share ideas and solutions to these interrelated issues and how we can create a more affordable, inclusive, and well connected Seattle.
Full announcement is in our calendar listing.
THURSDAY NIGHT CORNHOLE: Go play at Ounces (3809 Delridge Way SW), 7 pm.
BENEFIT FOR KATIE: As previewed here, Southgate Roller Rink (9646 17th SW) is hosting a benefit for manager Katie’s fight with cancer, 8:30-11 pm.
Look ahead any time with our calendar!
Two reports from Kersti Muul: Transient orcas, northbound, about half an hour ago, and a gray whale, also northbound. Both sightings were reported north of the north end of Vashon Island. Let us know if you see them!
6:03 AM: Good morning! It’s Thursday, August 31st.
WEATHER AND SUNRISE/SUNSET TIMES
Chance of showers, high in the mid-60s. Today’s sunrise will be at 6:26 am; sunset will be at 7:51 pm.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Remember that some are back in class already, so don’t be surprised to see School Zone beacons flashing in some areas. Our full list of start dates is here.
Water Taxi – regular schedule. On Labor Day, the West Seattle Water Taxi and its shuttles will run on the Sunday schedule.
Washington State Ferries – 2-boat service. Check Vessel Watch to see where the boats are. The Triangle Route will be on its weekend schedule Monday
SPOTLIGHT TRAFFIC CAMERAS
High Bridge – the main camera:
High Bridge – the view from its southwest end (when SDOT points the 35th/Avalon/Fauntleroy camera that way):
1st Ave. S. Bridge – alternate route across the river:
Highway 99: – northbound side at Lander.
BRIDGE INFO: The @SDOTBridges Twitter feed shows whether the city’s movable bridges are opening for vessel traffic.
If you see trouble on the bridges/streets/paths/bay, please text or call us (when you can do it safely, and after you’ve reported to authorities). Thank you!
Two people contacted us about what happened in Arbor Heights tonight, including photos of the heavily tagged, crashed car (we’ve blocked out the tags):
My brother and sister-in-law live in Arbor Heights near Westside School. They witnessed a car, presumably stolen, drive wildly around the neighborhood, crash into the Westside School sign and then crash into the hill. The driver abandoned it there. They said there was a car following them and filming it all. They called 911 … The car was left running.
The other person we heard from said this car and the other one, described only as black, were earlier “racing on the streets near Arbor Heights Pool, around a corner (tires squealing) where children were playing … an adult walking a dog was able to move further onto the shoulder of the road and avoid being hit.” Police arrived just after we received the first note and identified the car to dispatch as a stolen Kia Forte, as they called for a tow truck.
P.S. We’ll mention it for the second time today – the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster) has another steering-wheel-lock giveaway, meant for people with Kias and Hyundais, Saturday (September 2nd), 9:30 am-11:30 am.
After three weeks, Seattle Public Schools has made its decision about how to respond to the city Hearing Examiner ruling granting neighbors’ appeal of a zoning exception that would allow the new Alki Elementary to be built without off-street parking: It’s going to court. That’s one of the options if you lose a case before the Hearing Examiner – going to King County Superior Court with a “petition seeking review of a land-use decision.” That’s what SPS filed today, according to documents we obtained tonight. The petition contends in part:
… The Examiner concluded that the SDCI [Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections] Decision lacked sufficient supporting information on this issue alone. The Examiner’s conclusion regarding the vehicle parking departure is incorrect. … Petitioner is aggrieved and adversely affected by the Decision because the Decision prejudices Petitioner’s ability to use its Property and is intended to interfere with the Petitioner’s legal use and enjoyment of the Property and the ability to develop the Project … the Examiner engaged in unlawful procedure, erroneously interpreted the law, made a decision that is not supported by substantial evidence, and committed clear error where it concluded that the Appellants met their burden to demonstrate that it is not necessary to eliminate all parking to meet the school’s educational needs. … The Decision’s determination that the parking analysis did not accurately reflect parking conditions was not supported by substantial evidence in the record. … The Examiner chose to give greater weight to anecdotal statements that parking conditions in December 2021 must not reflect normal parking conditions instead of expert analysis that concluded, in both the report and in testimony, that the parking conditions in December 2021 were likely higher than normal conditions given that many people chose to stay home (and park on the street) rather than leave due to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the West Seattle Bridge closure.
This is not likely to end quickly. The initial schedule set for the case requires a hearing by October 20th, but the case itself might not be fully heard until next January. The district has a permit for demolition, excavation, and grading of the school site, and has completed most of the demolition, but can’t get a permit to build the new school until this issue is settled. Building the school without a zoning exception for parking would require 48 spaces, and presenting a revised plan providing them was one of the other options the district had for responding to the Hearing Examiner’s ruling.
Seattle Police officers arrested one adult and three juvenile males after they were found fleeing from a stolen vehicle Wednesday morning.
Shortly after 5:00 a.m., officers responded to a reported theft near the intersection of 42nd Avenue SW and SW Dawson Street. Officers arrived and located a 27-year-old victim who told officers he was at a bus stop when five males in a black Kia approached and stole his backpack.
The victim provided officers with a description of the suspects and the vehicle. Police in the area located the vehicle and attempted to stop it, but the vehicle took off at a high rate of speed.
A short time later, officers learned the Kia was involved in a collision near 1st Avenue South and South Spokane Street.
Multiple officers responded to the scene of the collision and found the Kia engulfed in flames. All the suspects fled the scene on foot. Four of the suspects were apprehended a short distance away. A replica firearm was located at the scene.
Police contacted the registered owner of the Kia and learned the vehicle was stolen overnight.
A 63-year-old male driver of the vehicle the Kia collided with was treated by Seattle Fire Department personnel for minor injuries and transported to a nearby hospital.
The 20-year-old male suspect was booked into King County Jail for investigation of taking a motor a vehicle without permission. The three juveniles were identified and released.
Before local Seattle Public Schools start the new school year one week from today, volunteers and donors pitched in for another year of Pencil Me In For Kids, which procures and distributes school supplies for students in need.
Pencil Me In For Kids is a project of the Rotary Club of West Seattle, with help including donations from Fauntleroy Church. Volunteers gathered at the American Legion Post 160 hall on Tuesday afternoon to sort supplies, and distribution was planned today. You can support PMIFK with donations to the Rotary’s foundation.
We went back to visit Bruun Idun, the giant troll newly installed at Lincoln Park by artist Thomas Dambo with private funding and volunteer help, and have been watching for her to turn up on the Northwest Trolls website. Today, she’s there, along with the full poem that Dambo debuted at the troll-“unveiling” event Friday (WSB coverage here). She’s now also on the worldwide map of Dambo’s trolls. Bruun Idun (Idun, pronounced like Eden, in short) is the third of six he’s installing around the Northwest; the first two are in Portland and on Bainbridge Island, and the next three will be introduced in Issaquah this weekend and on Vashon Island and in Ballard in mid-September. (If you haven’t been to see Bruun Idun yet, she’s right behind Colman Pool.)
Thanks to Mike for the tip! Floors Plus Northwest has moved – but is still in Morgan Junction, now in the former Super Supplements space at 6451 Fauntleroy Way SW, where we stopped in and talked with co-proprietor Liliana Morales.
She says the new location is bigger and has offstreet parking for customers. The sign’s not up yet but they’ll install it as soon as it arrives.
Meantime, she says they’re having a sale right now “on all Gaia LVP lines, Abode and Kentwood Savannah Collections in hardwood, Aurora hardwood, and all Dream Weaver carpets.” She and husband Luis Morales opened Floors Plus Northwest almost three years ago; the building where they were originally located, 6959 California SW, was on the market recently, but county records don’t show a change in ownership.
Above and below are low-low-tide sights photographed by Rosalie Miller – above, Northern Lacuna sea snail eggs on eelgrass; below, Aggregating Anemones. Today’s tide tops our list of calendar highlights for the rest of your Wednesday:
LOW-LOW TIDE: It just bottomed out at -2.4 feet at 10:52 am, as this year’s last series of daytime low-low tides continues.
HIGHLAND PARK SPRAYPARK: Open 11 am-8 pm daily through Labor Day. (1100 SW Cloverdale)
WADING POOL OPEN: Seattle Parks says it will open wading pools today, including Lincoln Park (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW).
COLMAN POOL: Also at Lincoln Park, this outdoor salt-water pool is open noon-7 pm daily through Labor Day. See the session schedule here.
SOUND BATH AND COMMUNITY MANDALA FOR MAUI: Join Inner Alchemy for this opportunity to send love, light, and money to Maui fire survivors, at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park (4500 block of Beach Drive SW)
TRIVIA x 5: Five places to play tonight. At 6 pm, Locust Cider (2820 Alki SW) now offers trivia … there’s 7:30 and 8:30 pm Sporcle Pub Quiz at The Lodge (4209 SW Alaska); trivia starts at 8 pm at Beveridge Place Pub (6413 California SW); Larry’s Tavern (3405 California SW) hosts Wednesday-night trivia starting at 8 pm … at 8:30 pm, trivia with Phil T at Talarico’s (4718 California SW).
LIVE MUSIC AT THE LOCOL: 6:30 pm. 21+. Rotating performer slate. (7902 35th SW)
LIVE PIANO MUSIC: 7 pm at Otter on the Rocks. (4210 SW Admiral Way).
MUSIC BINGO: Play weekly at The Good Society (California/Lander), 7 pm.
SKYLARK OPEN MIC: 7:30 pm signups @ West Seattle’s longest-running open mic – no cover to watch. (3803 Delridge Way SW)
BLUE MOON: The full “blue moon” rises at 8:13 pm.
Planning a presentation, meeting, performance, reading, tour, fundraiser, sale, discussion, or …? If it’s open to the community, please send us info for West Seattle’s only comprehensive event calendar! firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
10:17 AM: Two stolen-car reports:
STOLEN GRAY RABBIT: The photo and report are from Lindsay:
1979 VW Rabbit / primer gray
license: WA AZJ7174
VIN ends in 606
Taken overnight (8/30) on the corner of 47th and Alaska, West Seattle
The car is primer gray with a painted light blue fender on the passenger side, and a darker blue horizontal stripe on the passenger door.Interior seats are white vinyl with a light blue VW symbol on each front seat headrest.
Please call 206-930-0471. Police report # 23-250382.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Lindsay says it was found, on Capitol Hill.
STOLEN AND FOUND: Tyler‘s car has been found but he wants to raise awareness:
(Monday) night my gray Kia Soul 2016 was stolen from 63rd Ave SW near Alki Beach. Sometime between 12 am and 6 am. Tthe car was recovered (in the 8100 block of) 24th Ave SW. The homeowner said it was the second Kia in 2 weeks abandoned there. The car was not drivable and they stole stuff in it. I Just want Kia owners in West Seattle to be aware.
MORE STEERING-WHEEL LOCKS: And a reminder for those with theft-prone Kia or Hyundai vehicles – the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster) is giving out steering-wheel locks again Saturday (September 2nd), 9:30 am-11:30 am.
ADDED 10:30 AM – DUMPED-LIKELY-STOLEN CAR: Rich just sent this – another Hyundai – seen at 41st/Ida and called in to police:
Rich says the car – a Tucson – was running and plateless, with broken windows.
Family and friends are remembering Greg Lorentz. Here’s what they want you to know about him:
Gregory Joseph Lorentz
February 10, 1937 – August 16, 2023
He did it his way!
Ring-a-ding-ding, the Chairman of the Board and last remaining member of the Rat Pack has left the building. Life-long Seattle resident Gregory Joseph Lorentz, 86, passed away peacefully on August 16, 2023. Greg was a truly unique soul who worshipped Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, football, beer, and USC. He religiously read the paper every morning, was a dedicated Seahawk and Mariners fan, never missed a hydroplane race, was an impressive bowler, and insisted upon wearing freshly shined wingtip shoes to work every day. Words to describe Greg: tough, hilarious, hard-working, goofy, polite, generous, sweet, and devastatingly handsome.
Greg’s early life was spent on Beacon Hill, where he attended St. George School. He had fond memories of his neighborhood gang of friends who got him into all sorts of trouble, as well as his beloved French grandparents who showered him with love and delicious French cuisine. He went on to graduate from O’Dea high school and then the University of Southern California. In between partying and sunbathing, Greg managed to earn a degree in business and printing from USC. After college, Greg served as an MP in the army and was very proud of his service. In the business world, Greg worked as a lithographer for both Craftsman Press and The Seattle Times. He was a devoted employee who worked through holidays and snow storms just so everyone could enjoy their morning paper — you’re welcome, Seattle! After retiring from the printing business, he kept himself entertained by working for The Seattle Mariners, where he enjoyed chatting with all the players.
Greg married Sharon Mitchell and they settled down in West Seattle to raise a family. Together, they fulfilled Greg’s childhood dream of traveling the globe. Some of his favorite destinations were Greece, Spain, Rome, Germany, and Runaway Bay in Jamaica. Gregory is survived by his son Mark, his wife Cheryl and their two children Quinn and Annie; daughter Anne-Louise, her husband Evan and their daughter Frances; and his beloved cat Edith. Greg was a kind, quirky, and gentle soul who was loved and adored by all who knew him. His family and friends are absolutely heartbroken to lose him and will miss him immensely. We can only imagine that when he got to the pearly gates he was ushered in by Frank Sinatra, who greeted him with a smile and a cocktail. We love you, Dad.
-There is no planned funeral at this time. The family will have a wake for Greg in the coming months.
(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to email@example.com)
9:55 AM: A RapidRide bus is stalled on the bridge, per a texter who says the bus’s “check engine” light came on,
6:01 AM: Good morning! It’s Wednesday, August 30th.
WEATHER AND SUNRISE/SUNSET TIMES
Cloudy with a chance of more showers, high in the mid-70s. Today’s sunrise will be at 6:25 am; sunset will be at 7:54 pm.
BACK TO SCHOOL
At noontime today at Delridge Library, SDOT reps hosted their first of four West Seattle pop-ups to talk about the newly released draft Seattle Transportation Plan. You probably haven’t read it yet. You might not even have heard about it. But the city’s intent on getting your thoughts about it.
The draft plan – more than 1,000 pages long – went public Thursday, ostensibly (among other things) a prelude to the next transportation levy, and “a 20-year vision for the future of Seattle’s streets, sidewalks, and public spaces informed by thousands of people who live, work, and play in Seattle.” SDOT says it incorporates 18 months of community feedback, and the lengthy document features many recaps of that feedback. They’re looking for more feedback now before finalizing the plan; they’ve set up an “engagement hub” from which you can read and comment on it in a variety of formats, including the in-person pop-up events that started today. More on those later. First, here’s what you might consider the overview – six overarching goals, and the toplines of how SDOT hopes to achieve them:
Lead with Safety
Goal: Prioritize safety for travelers in Seattle, with no serious injury or fatal crashes
• S1: Reduce vehicle speeds to increase safety
• S2: Concentrate safety investments at the most collision-prone locations
• S3: Make all journeys safer, from departure to destination
• S4: Provide safer routes to schools, parks, transit, community gathering spaces, and other common destinations
Transportation Justice is Central
Goal: Co-create with community and implement restorative practices to address transportation-related inequities
• TJ1: Center the voices of communities of color and underrepresented groups in planning and decision-making processes
• TJ2: Address inequities in the transportation system by prioritizing investments for impacted communities
• TJ3: Remove cost as a barrier so everyone can take the trips they need to make
Goal: Respond to climate change through innovation and a lens of climate justice
• CA1: Improve neighborhood air quality and health outcomes by promoting clean, sustainable travel options
• CA2: Green city streets with landscaping and street trees to better handle changing climate
• CA3: Foster neighborhood vitality and improved community health
• CA4: Support the transition from fossil fuel to electric vehicles for personal, commercial, and delivery trips
• CA5: Advance mobility management strategies to encourage walking, biking, and transit trips
Mobility – Connect People and Goods
Goal: Provide reliable and affordable travel options that help people and goods get where they need to go
• PG1: Create seamless travel connections
• PG2: Make walking, biking, and rolling easy and enjoyable travel choices
• PG3: Create world-class access to transit and make service more frequent and reliable
• PG4: Enhance economic vitality by supporting freight movement and growth in deliveries
• PG5: Manage curbspace to reflect city goals and priorities
Livability – Streets for People, Places We Love
Goal: Reimagine city streets as inviting places to linger and play
• PP1: Boldly reallocate street space to prioritize people while preserving access for goods delivery and emergency response
• PP2: Transform community and mobility hubs into welcoming places
• PP3: Co-create and enhance public spaces for playing and gathering to improve community health
• PP4: Activate and maintain public spaces to create a welcoming and age-friendly public realm
Maintenance & Modernization – Streets that Work, Today and in the Future
Goal: Improve city transportation infrastructure and ready it for the future
• MM1: Transform city streets for safety and sustainable travel choices through optimal timing of asset maintenance and replacement
• MM2: Reduce neighborhood disparities in the quality of streets, sidewalks, public spaces, and bridges
• MM3: Ready city streets for new travel options and emerging trends and technologies
We grazed through all 1,000 pages looking for West Seattle specifics – or, at least, items of particular local interest. The most local components of the draft STP are maps used to illustrate numerous sections – from transit routes to bike routes to “high-collision” areas, and more. It does get into some specific proposals, especially regarding bicycle and pedestrian connections. In Highland Park, the plan envisions a “multi-use trail on the west side of Highland Park Way” as well as protected bike lanes on SW Holden. Heading further east, a multi-use trail is envisioned on Sylvan Way, and there’s a mention of a Junction connection to light rail via California and Alaska.
Also of West Seattle interest is a freight-lane pilot for the “South Spokane Street corridor,” including the low bridge, with a note that this would have to be suspendable if something on the high bridge required general traffic to use the low bridge.
The plan talks about how progress will be measured – for example, on page 103 of the first part, two major measurements will be moving toward zero fatalities – which has been the city’s stated goal for years now – and traveling “fewer vehicle miles,” with a higher percentage of trips taken using some mode other than cars. And new ways of evaluating streets are suggested, such as a “Pedestrian Crossing Level of Service.” The city’s need to improve pedestrian conditions is discussed in depth, including the observation that 26 percent of the city is missing sidewalks (there’s a map for that, too, and plan readers are also shown where existing sidewalks are too narrow).
The draft STP talks a lot about transit, though most of those services are provided by other governments/agencies – Metro, Sound Transit chief among them, even envisioning where light rail might be expanded beyond the current Seattle plan (West Seattle in 2032, Ballard in 2039).
And the plan talks about that thorny transportation topic, vehicle parking – at the very least, expand street parking, it suggests, also suggesting that RPZs be reviewed – with the thought of removing some altogether or modifying them. There’s even the idea of charging for all residential street parking, via a “resident vehicle fee,” which the plan says Chicago has.
When it gets to “emerging technologies” such as self-driving vehicles, the plan has a fairly sunny view, saying they could be less polluting, more safe, more affordable.
That’s just a bit of what you’ll find in the plan. If you want to go through it raw, here’s part 1 and here’s part 2 (the second part isn’t as long as it looks – the “elements” in the back include repeats of sections found earlier). Or you can graze it chapter by chapter at the Online Engagement Hub, where myriad ways to comment are offered too. If you check out all the tabs on that page, you’ll even find one with the maps we mentioned earlier.
If you want to comment and/or ask questions in person at SDOT’s upcoming pop-ups – here are the three yet to come in West Seattle:
*Thursday, August 31, 11 am-noon, West Seattle Library (2306 42nd SW)
*Tuesday, September 5, noon-1 pm, High Point Library (3411 SW Raymond)
*Wednesday, September 6, noon-1 pm, Southwest Library (9010 35th SW)
SDOT says the plan will be updated this fall after this round of community feedback – set to continue until October 23rd – and the plan eventually will go to the City Council for adoption late this year or early next year. As for what follows its adoption – that’s up to mayor/council budgeting as well as the next transportation levy; the current one, passed in 2015, expires next year.
ORIGINAL TUESDAY STORY: Probably not the first self-driving car tested in West Seattle, but it’s the first one we’ve heard about: Craig emailed to say, “Spotted a Cruise self-driving car on Harbor Ave today. It caught my attention for its ‘sudden stops’ warning.” He notes that GeekWire reported on Cruise beginning its Seattle testing on Monday; its story notes that Cruise is the third autonomous-vehicle company to get a testing permit from SDOT. The permit requires that a human ride along at all times just in case of trouble. So far, Cruise’s self-driving cars serve as “robotaxis” in San Francisco, Phoenix, and Austin. Autoweek says Cruise’s testing is a prelude to doing that here too.
THURSDAY UPDATE: We received this clarification today from SDOT spokesperson Mariam Ali:
Cruise did not submit a permit application and did not give prior notice to the City regarding their operations. The City became aware on the morning when Cruise’s operations commenced. Upon learning of Cruise’s activities, SDOT initiated communication with the company. During this communication, Cruise informed SDOT that they will be conducting manually driven mapping operations from August 28 to September 1. SDOT’s understanding is that following September 1, Cruise will withdraw vehicles from Seattle. SDOT intends to collaborate with Cruise to gain a better understanding of their forthcoming plans and the schedule for their testing activities in Seattle.
Cruise does not need a permit for manually driven mapping. Cruise will need to obtain a permit from SDOT prior to testing their autonomous driving system, and will also be required to obtain a permit if they choose to self-certify with the Washington State Department of Licensing’s autonomous vehicle registration process.