West Seattle, Washington
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.
No, it wasn’t just you. That was a fairly widespread, but brief, power interruption about 15 minutes ago. We’ve heard from people all around the peninsula who experienced it too – from Admiral in the north to at least as far south as here in Upper Fauntleroy – but we haven’t heard from anyone who lost power for more than a moment, and the Seattle City Light map shows only two 1-customer spots in North Delridge (an area where some also heard a possible transformer/fuse boom).
Thanks for the tip! Dere Auto is clearing out at 35th/Barton, after more than three decades. We went over to inquire after a texter sent a photo of this note on the door:
As the note says, they told us, they’re consolidating into their Rainier Avenue location. They also told us that the West Seattle site – which has been listed as “for lease” for a while – will be taken over by Meineke, which recently closed its 17th/Roxbury location (slated for redevelopment). We haven’t yet reached that company to confirm.
SDOT says it’s expecting to keep that section of sidewalk, on the west side of Highland Park Way SW between SW Holden St and SW Portland St., closed through Friday, September 8th. The notice says they’re rebuilding the sidewalk, with new curb ramps and a curb bulb, as part of the Highland Park Way/Holden Safety Project, which won’t be completely done until early next year.
A change in focus is ahead for Mountain to Sound Outfitters (3602 SW Alaska; WSB sponsor). As proprietor Greg Whittaker summarizes it, the Triangle shop – and its online operation – will be “focusing on the mountain side of it and the Sound side will be primarily located in Alki Kayak Tours,” his longtime business at Seacrest. Here’s the announcement:
Mountain to Sound Outfitters (M2S) in West Seattle announces it will no longer continue its Paddlesports department. After several years of attempting to grow the category, we have determined that it is no longer a feasible category for us in the Seattle market. Mountain to Sound Outfitters’ on-water location, Alki Kayak Tours, will continue to operate as a rental, instruction, and touring operation for paddle sports, and will offer demo kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) for certain brands. M2S will continue to be the go-to winter-sports provider for the Seattle market and is currently ramping up for the upcoming winter ’23-’24 season.
This Labor Day weekend, Mountain to Sound Outfitters is holding a clearance event to liquidate its inventory and has amazing clearance deals in the best paddle brands in the world. M2S is also holding a Scratch & Dent, and Boat Swap on 9/9 and will be selling off a lot of the used equipment from Alki Kayak Tours at that time as well. Information can be found at this link: m2soutfitters.com/boat-swap–scratch–dent-sale.htm
“It is a business decision that I have held off making with the hopes we could make the paddlesports department work,” says Greg Whittaker, owner of M2S. “We are paddlers and love providing the best equipment in the world for our customers, but the volumes don’t offset the overhead costs of the store to continue to be a stand-alone paddlesports shop.” Whittaker adds, “Since we also operate an on-water location, we will be shifting our energy toward growing the variety and offerings at Alki Kayak Tours, and will still be able to offer certain kayak and SUP brands to demo and purchase through our livery operation.”
Come by and support the shop online or in person as we clear out our remaining paddlesports inventory, and stay tuned for developments in our retail operations as we determine what best fits our store and community’s needs.
M2S is open Wednesdays through Sundays; you can see its hours by going here.
Two Crime Watch reports, starting with an attack that happened Monday evening:
BASEBALL-BAT ATTACK: That photo was sent by a West Seattle woman who says a man smashed her car’s windshield with a baseball bat, twice, while she was in the driver’s seat: “It was absolutely terrifying.” This happened near Fauntleroy/Alaska around 6 pm – the victim says she was trying to pull out of the Trader Joe’s parking lot when the attacker got out of his car “to fight someone” and instead attacked her. Police-radio exchanges included a partial description of the attacker as a Black man, mid-20s, thin build, in a car that had varying descriptions, but the last one broadcast by police was “dark gray Prius with blacked-out rims.” The victim was so shaken up – with glass in her mouth – that “Someone took my phone to finish the 911 call. Thank you to that anonymous person.” We’re awaiting the SPD report narrative to see if they learned anything more from witnesses or area video cameras – in the meantime, the victim is hoping more witnesses will come forward – the case # to refer to is 23-248790. SPD’s violent-crimes tip line is 206-233-5000.
Also in Crime Watch, this reader report of a stolen pickup:
TEAL F-250 TAKEN: Via email from Renee:
Sometime between11:00 PM 8/28 and 7:30 AM 8/29, my brother’s 1996 teal (green) Ford F-250 pickup truck with a long bed (8 foot) and a black rack, license B98508V, was taken from the front of our house in the 5400 block of 18th Ave SW. Report no. 23-249273. If you see this truck, call the police and Mark at 206-423-1650.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: Found in Shoreline.
11:34 AM: Seattle Fire is on the scene of a reported natural-gas leak on 36th SW just north of SW Hanford. They’re calling for Seattle City Light because they’ve noted a “high-voltage transformer” relatively close to the source of the leak.
11:45 AM: Puget Sound Energy – which handles gas service in our area – is still en route.
NOON: PSE has arrived, firefighters just told dispatch.
12:10 PM: And they’ve subsequently “secured the leak.”
(“Live” SDOT traffic cam in the heart of The Junction)
Here’s our highlight list for your last Tuesday of August, mostly from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
LOW-LOW TIDE: Just after 10 am, the tide was out to -2.3 feet, in summer’s last round of daytime low-low tides.
HIGHLAND PARK SPRAYPARK: Open 11 am-8 pm rain or shine. (1100 SW Cloverdale)
LINCOLN PARK WADING POOL CLOSED: Clouds and below-70s temperatures this afternoon, so the city says it won’t open wading pools today.
TRANSPORTATION PLAN INFO: Today brings the first of four SDOT informational pop-ups at West Seattle libraries to talk about the newly released draft Seattle Transportation Plan, 12 pm-1 pm at Delridge Library (Delridge/Brandon). Here are other ways to get info/offer feedback.
COLMAN POOL OPEN: Also at Lincoln Park, this outdoor salt-water pool is open noon-7 pm daily through Labor Day. See the session schedule here.
CHESS CLUB: Tuesdays 1:30-3 pm at the air-conditioned Senior Center of West Seattle (4217 SW Oregon): “Are you looking for a new activity to keep your brain sharp and clear? The Senior Center Chess Club welcomes both novice and experienced players. Join us at 1:30 p.m. for lessons, short tutorials, and chess for all levels of expertise.” (Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
FREE STEERING-WHEEL LOCKS: If you have an at-risk-for-theft Hyundai or Kia, the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster) is giving away more free steering-wheel locks, 2:30-6:30 pm.
DEMONSTRATION FOR BLACK LIVES: Long-running weekly sign-waving demonstration at 16th/Holden. 5-6 pm. Signs available if you don’t have your own.
SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS MEETING POSTPONED: As noted here Monday, the SPS online meeting about “well-resourced schools” has been pushed back to September 26th,
STORYTIME IN THE GARDEN: 6 pm stories and activities for kids at the Delridge P-Patch, weekly throughout the summer. (5078 25th SW)
SCRABBLE NIGHT: 6-10 pm, you can play Scrabble at The Missing Piece (9456 35th SW).
TRIVIA X 4: Four places to play Tuesday nights – 7 pm at Ounces (3803 Delridge Way SW), free and hosted by Beat the Geek Trivia; 7 pm at Zeeks Pizza West Seattle (6459 California SW), hosted by Geeks Who Drink; 7 pm at Admiral Pub (2306 California SW); also, 7:30 and 8:30 pm Sporcle Pub Quiz at The Lodge (4209 SW Alaska).
BELLE OF THE BALLS BINGO: Play bingo with Cookie Couture at The Skylark (3803 Delridge Way SW), 8 pm. Free, all ages!
You can see the future any time via our event calendar – if you have something to include on it, please email info to email@example.com – thank you!
From the West Seattle DAV chapter, headquartered at 4857 Delridge Way SW, a message for all veterans:
Do you need help filing a claim for disability?
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) West Seattle Chapter #23 has trained Service Officers to help you with your claim. There is no charge , we are available on a first-come first-serve basis every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 AM to 1 PM.
If you have questions, the chapter’s phone number is 206-933-8604.
7:46 AM: Fire and police are at the scene of a crash that’s requiring someone to be extricated from a vehicle. This is
at/near the north end of Delridge Way by the bridge. Updates to come.
7:50 AM: SFD medics are describing this as a vehicle hitting a West Seattle Bridge “pillar” at high speed and that the passenger who had to be cut out of the car has life-threatening injuries. … SFD says he is a man in his mid-20s. The driver got out of the car unassisted.
8:05 AM: A commenter says the Avalon entrance to the bridge is blocked. The logged address of the crash site is Fire Station 36 under the bridge – our crew is still en route so we haven’t seen the scene yet.
8:13 AM: Our crew just sent that photo from the scene. They explain the location as alongside the ramp up to the bridge from Avalon/Harbor, alongside the north side of Nucor – here’s another photo:
8:22 AM: Dispatch just told officers that Traffic Collision Investigation Squad detectives are on the way. … Dispatch is trying to find a better address to update the log (the initial address, 3600 23rd SW, as noted above, is the location of Fire Station 36, but this happened west of there). Both
men people in the car were taken to the hospital, the passenger in critical condition, the driver less seriously hurt.
8:50 AM: Live video from the closest traffic camera – under the bridge at Avalon/Harbor/Spokane – shows vehicles are being allowed to turn onto the ramp.
11:51 AM: We don’t have an update on the passenger yet, but the driver is a 20-year-old man, SFD says, who was in stable condition when transported.
TUESDAY NIGHT: Still no official update but commenters identifying themselves as a friend and relative say the passenger has died.
WEDNESDAY MORNING: Police have just confirmed that via this SPD Blotter post. They say the passenger who died was a 16-year-old boy and that the 20-year-old driver “showed signs of impairment … and was arrested for (investigation of) vehicular homicide.”
7:40 AM: “Rescue extrication” response at north end of Delridge. Separate coverage shortly.
8:36 AM: As reported in that coverage, the logged address of the crash was Fire Station.36 – by Delridge’s north end – but the actual scene was to the west along the onramp from Avalon/Harbor.
8:50 AM: The closest traffic cam indicates the ramp is open.
9:16 AM: A crash is reported on Highland Park Way SW between the 1st Ave. S. Bridge and 2nd Ave. SW, involving a solid-waste truck and a pickup truck.
6:03 AM: Good morning! It’s Tuesday, August 29th.
WEATHER AND SUNRISE/SUNSET TIMES
After some overnight rain and thunderstorm activity, there’s more in the forecast, with a high in the mid-60s. Today’s sunrise will be at 6:24 am; sunset will be at 7:56 pm.
BACK TO SCHOOL
Water Taxi – regular schedule.
Washington State Ferries – 2-boat service. Check Vessel Watch to see where the boats are.
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!
2:08 AM: The first “heard gunfire” report this time came from a police officer who was in the High Point vicinity. Then in short order, dispatch started reporting multiple 911 callers who heard it too, including one who saw “muzzle flashes” in the Walt Hundley Playfield vicinity. Officers have subsequently found shell casings “about 30 yards into the park.” 13 “pistol casings” found so far, as well as “rifle casings,” as officers described their findings to dispatch.
2:18 AM: So far no reports of injuries or property damage. One officer gave dispatch a more-specific location, in the park west of the 6900 block of 31st SW.
ADDED THURSDAY: The police summary of the incident describes the recovered casings as “twenty-two 9mm … and six .556.”