West Seattle, Washington
Above are artists Kay Kirkpatrick, Judith Camann, and Kelly Lyles, who – along with Monica Cavagnaro – have just unveiled Highland Park Improvement Club‘s first “outdoor sandwich-board art display.”
They describe “Drive By and Sign Hi” as a “Burma Shave Ad-inspired recycled creation … a multimedia, multicultural, multilingual piece created to amaze and amuse your WS Bridge Detour route drive.”
It’s on the north side of busier-than-ever SW Holden, right outside HPIC (between 11th and 12th SW), and expected to be up into September.
8:53 PM: For the fifth time in 11 nights, the Evening March protest group is in West Seattle again tonight. Last night, they were in North Delridge, outside City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda‘s home; before that, dating back to Friday, July 24th, they’ve been to the homes of City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold in Highland Park and Lorena González in The Junction, as well as County Executive Dow Constantine in west Admiral. Each of those elected officials came out to talk with them. Tonight, they gathered at and just left from Highland Park Elementary, which might mean a return to Herbold’s home. A livestreamer with them is being featured here. Updates to come.
9:22 PM: They are at Herbold’s house and she is coming out to talk with them – for the second time in a week and a half.
9:42 PM: She’s seated on the pavement talking with the group’s leaders. Main topic is what happened when armed neighbors blocked them from going to SPD Chief Carmen Best‘s house in Snohomish
last Saturday night. (added) Herbold noted that in her work as a community organizer in other states many years ago, she had organized protests at the homes of “people in power.”
10:03 PM: The conversation turned to the council’s proposed SPD cuts/changes and Herbold is explaining why they can’t cut as drastically and quickly as activists want. (added) As other councilmembers have told the group, the process of determining next year’s budget starts in six weeks, and that’s where they might be able to do more.
10:24 PM: The conversation has wrapped up.
10:55 PM: They’re now marching back to the school, where they started the evening. (Cars and bikes caravan with them.)
ADDED: Here’s the video that Malcontentment Tango streamed, including the conversation with Herbold.
The photo and report are from the Highland Park Improvement Club:
Please Help – Someone has stolen the BLM banners from the Highland Park Improvement Club fence – we have recovered half of them but are still searching for the rest. The piece we have was found around 14th & Thistle. Please email with any leads – email@example.com
HPIC is a nonprofit community organization headquartered in a century-old building at 12th and Holden, and has been busy even with the pandemic putting gatherings on hold, offering free food for families, among other things.
Even as the Reconnect West Seattle feedback process continues, Highland Park already has had some traffic-calming measures in the works. Last week, Cindy sent us a photo of a sign that’s already installed and waiting along 9th SW – though the speed bumps it mentions aren’t in place yet:
We checked with SDOT on the installation status, and they sent us the map above, saying, “We have completed installing all of the traffic calming measures everywhere except 9th Ave SW, which we are still working to schedule.” As noted on the map, the 9th SW installations are planned as “speed cushions” – here’s the difference, as explained by SDOT:
Speed humps are designed to slow traffic speeds on low volume, low speed streets. They are a solid hump across the travel lane and are installed near streetlights where they will be visible to people driving and biking.
Speed cushions are typically installed where average speeds are 5 mph higher than the speed limit. Speed cushions leave space for emergency vehicles to pass through quickly and are used on designated fire and emergency routes on residential streets.
This project also included the Highland Park Way/Holden traffic signal that was rush-installed right after the West Seattle Bridge closure, after local residents had worked for years to get safety upgrades at that intersection.
P.S. If you live/work/travel through the area, be sure to give your feedback on the neighborhood-specific list of more potential projects, before July 31st.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
This month’s meeting of the community council for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge was mostly an open discussion of what’s been problematic since the West Seattle Bridge closure turned up the volume on traffic along routes to the 1st Avenue South and South Park bridges.
Highland Park Way SW – particularly the hill between SW Holden and West Marginal Way SW – is a lot busier since the West Seattle Bridge closed (three months ago today). Part of the hill is a bit more usable, thanks to volunteers. Don Brubeck from West Seattle Bike Connections sent the video, with this explanation:
While we’ve been waiting for SDOT and SDON to reveal a glimpse of their neighborhood traffic plans and engage us in discussions about biking and walking improvements for the neighborhoods most affected by the West Seattle Bridge closure, several people from Highland Park Action Committee, West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails Group and West Seattle Bike Connections have being doing DIY improvements on Highland Park Way. We uncovered a long-buried and forgotten sidewalk that links the West Duwamish Trail to the trails in the greenbelt that go up to South Seattle College and other trailheads.
P.S. As previewed here Monday, HPAC is talking about detour traffic tomorrow night.
The message can be large, like on the skyline (above) or the street (below) ,,,
… or simple, like a sign you hold. You have two chances to do that this week – Scott (who also sent the street-mural photo above) sends this announcement – he and neighbors at Puget Ridge Cohousing are organizing Black Lives Matter sign-waving events at 16th/Holden this Tuesday and Thursday (June 23 and 25), 4-6 pm both days.
The neighborhoods served by HPAC – Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge – are among those for which the city promises a mitigation plan for bridge-detour traffic. HPAC will talk about it – and listen – this Wednesday night. The announcement:
Let’s Talk About Upcoming SDOT Mitigation Projects Process for Our Neighborhoods!
HPAC Community Listening Session – Join Us This Week!
Join us this Wednesday, June 24, 7-8 pm .for a community listening session around the increasing West Seattle Bridge detour traffic through our neighborhoods and ideas we have for mitigation projects. We will also share what we know about the upcoming Project Prioritization Process.
We will have at least two members of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force who represent our area in attendance to hear from the community.
The meeting is open to all but due to Zoom capacity we will prioritize attendees from Highland Park, South Delridge, Riverview, and Roxhill.
See the HPAC website for information on how to access the meeting.
Highland Park Elementary said goodbye to its 5th-graders tonight with a sendoff like no other. Not only did it have bananas, it also had a snake …
That’s Milo the snake, in attendance because the students wanted to see him. The ceremony was both drive-up and walk-up:
The future middle-schoolers each got a bag containing crafts, some reading, and their diploma.
And if all that wasn’t exciting enough on this sunny evening outside the school …
… they even had live music!
Three more school-related reminders:
— Genesee Hill School (@GeneseeHill) June 18, 2020
Tonight, Highland Park Elementary is celebrating its 5th graders with a drive-up/walk-up event in front of the school 5-6:30 pm.
Historic Highland Park Improvement Club has continued to be a community hub despite operational constraints during the pandemic. And it’s getting some TLC, too. The update is from HPIC trustee Kay Kirkpatrick:
While we are closed due to the Stay-Home Order, activity continues at the Highland Park Improvement Club.
As readers may know, we are helping distribute food to children and families in need Monday – Friday from the club parking lot. (11 am-1 pm)
In addition, we are taking advantage of the down time by doing some long-needed building repairs using a facilities grant from King County 4Culture.
On Saturday, our contractor team from Metis Construction, a worker-owned company here in Seattle, landed and staged a re-enforcing roof beam into the center of our 100-year-old building. Taking advantage of a brief break in the rain, they lifted and fed this 3500-pound steel beam from the parking in through the side of the historic hall.
Inside, they will be lifting it into place over the next couple of weeks to stabilize the roof support structure, and get the club building ready for whatever the next 100 years throws at us.
In “normal” times, HPIC (at 12th/Holden) is a nonprofit community hub for a wide variety of activities and events – classes, celebrations, meetings, more.
10:02 PM: Big Seattle Fire response to the 8800 block of 9th SW [map]. Updates to come.
10:04 PM: SFD says it’s a small exterior fire at a vacant building. The response will be downsized.
10:23 PM: We’re at the scene. 9th is blocked just north of Henderson.
10:37 PM: Fire’s out. Firefighters described the scene as a “derelict building.” Cause is under investigation; no one was hurt.
11:41 PM: The “derelict building,” according to city records, is slated for demolition, to be replaced by four townhouses. It’s also been reported multiple times in recent years, most recently in a February complaint that described it as a “trash-filled broken-down house.”
9:46 PM: Police are closing 9th SW between Elmgrove and Kemyon in Highland Park because of what was described in radio communication as a gas leak that may have been caused by a crash. They’re also evacuating some nearby residents. More as we get it.
10:05 PM: The gas has been shut off and the street is expected to reopen soon. We are in the area to see what else we can find out.
10:29 PM: Raad’s open again. Police told us at the scene that the gas line, on a driveway serving multiple residences, was hit but the driver was gone when they arrived. No other damage.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The proposal to remove one downhill lane of Highland Park Way traffic and add an uphill protected bicycle lane is shelved for now.
That was the big headline from last night’s HPAC discussion with SDOT, a week and a half after that particular detail of the Highland Park Way/Holden safety project update came to light, sparking controversy.
Instead, SDOT will focus on figuring out how to expand the trail along the downhill lanes.
But first, HPAC got a West Seattle Bridge update that segued into traffic issues. SDOT’s Heather Marx recapped where things stand and what’s been done related to traffic effects – all of which we’ve reported on, but if you’re interested in a recap, check out this SDOT post from earlier this week, and our most-recent update. On the bridge itself, they’re preparing for Pier 18 work, and the new Community Task force and Technical Advisory Panel will have their first meetings the week of June 8th.
Traffic-mitigation projects will be focused on what can be done in less than a year and for less than $100,000 because that way SDOT doesn’t have to send them out to bid and can move faster. Plans, she said, will address effects on SODO, South Park, Georgetown, Highland Park, Riverview, South Delridge, Roxhill – in other words, the areas now getting barraged with detour traffic. When the draft traffic-mitigation plans are out, they’ll look for community prioritization. The timeline for the plans is approximately:
If you live and/or work in Highland Park, Riverview, or South Delridge, your community council HPAC invites you to the monthly meeting online tonight at 7 pm, featuring guests from SDOT. The main topic: The newly unveiled details of the Highland Park Way/Holden Safety Project. A brief West Seattle Bridge update is planned too. See the agenda, and how to access the meeting via Zoom or phone, by going here.
10:23 PM: Though this ss NOT related to a helicopter some reported hearing over the Admiral area a bit earlier, the Guardian 1 helicopter is currently over Highland Park/Puget Ridge, helping police track a suspect who is reported to be wanted for eluding. (The helicopter’s track before this was in south King County, so the Admiral reports remain a mystery.)
10:30 PM: According to radio exchanges, this all started in Kent. The search has now moved on to Westwood, where police have converged on a reportedly related vehicle.
10:42 PM: Kent Police are reported to be on the way too, and a possible hit-run crash along the way on Puget Ridge is factoring into all this too.
11:02 PM: One clarification in the Guardian One crew’s post-departure tweet – they report the suspect “abandoned [the first] car in West Seattle and got into another car.”
ADDED THURSDAY AFTERNOON: We asked Kent PD for more details, and Cmdr. Robert Hollis replied:
Around 2200 hours on 05/20/2020, a on-duty Kent Officer noticed a red vehicle driving at a high rate of speed eastbound in the 10200 block of SE 240th St. The officer was able to catch up with the vehicle and when he activated his lights and siren, the suspect vehicle started driving away at a high rate of speed. Officers pursued the vehicle until speeds became too great and stopped pursuing the vehicle. Because King County Guardian One was up and following the vehicle, officers determined they could stop and locate the suspect at a later time. … Our officer did take the suspect into custody for Eluding.
If you live and/or have a business in Highland Park, Riverview, or South Delridge, you’re invited to be part of HPAC‘s new subcommittee to focus on traffic issue caused/worsened by West Seattle Bridge closure detours. Here’s the invitation to its first meeting Thursday:
Let’s Talk Navigating Our Own Neighborhoods
HPAC Subcommittee Forming – Join Us This Week
In order to prepare for further discussions, requests, and mitigation plans about the impact of the detour through Highland Park, Riverview and South Delridge during the closure of the West Seattle Bridge, HPAC is hosting a working subcommittee, West Seattle Bridge Detour Subcommittee. We are looking for neighbors to assist us in continuing to identify the needs of the neighborhoods, follow up and hold accountable SDOT, elected officials, and the Mayor.
Join our Zoom meeting for WSB Detour Subcommittee
May 21, 2020 – 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
This subcommittee and this meeting is open to residents of and business owners in Highland Park, Riverview and South Delridge.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 819 1899 0702
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+1 253 215 8782
Meeting ID: 819 1899 0702
SDOT says it’s working on neighborhood-specific traffic plans but hasn’t presented any of them yet.
9:45 AM MONDAY: For decades, the Highland Park community has been fighting for safety upgrades at Highland Park Way and Holden. Within a week of the West Seattle Bridge closure, a “temporary” signal was rushed into place, followed by a few other tweaks. But SDOT promised the full “safety project” would still happen, and has just officially unveiled an early-stage plan, outlined in a flyer that arrived in some HP mailboxes over the weekend (thanks for the tips!). It spans other streets too, despite the title, but HP Way/Holden is the heart of it. Here’s what the proposal looks like:
(You can see it larger here in PDF.) The plan includes a protected bike lane on the uphill side of Highland Park Way, from West Marginal Way SW at the bottom of the hill to Holden at the top. That is discussed further, along with other nearby plans, in the slide deck presented by project developer James Le in this video from the project website:
Here are two key slides showing potential side-street “traffic calming” (Monday afternoon update – the entire deck is now online):
Once you’ve considered all that, you can take the “early design survey” in which you’re asked to prioritize what you think the area needs. It’s open through May 31st. A few days before that, SDOT expects to be part of the next monthly HPAC meeting – 7 pm Wednesday, May 27th; watch for details at hpacws.org.
11:16 AM TUESDAY: We asked SDOT to clarify the channelization proposal for the Highland Park Way hill, and the reply, just in, confirms the interpretation that one lane is proposed for downhill motor-vehicle traffic:
Highland Park Way SW between SW Holden St and West Marginal Way currently has two southbound lanes and two northbound lanes. Creating a southbound uphill protected bike lane would provide a needed bike connection between the Duwamish Trail and the Highland Park neighborhood. Creating space for this bike lane would require removing one downhill, northbound car lane. This change would also have a safety benefit by reducing speeding toward West Marginal Way.
Traffic modeling and counts of the number of turning vehicles conducted prior to the West Seattle bridge closure indicated that removing the northbound car lane would have a minimal impact to traffic. However, we know that Highland Park Way SW is one of the most heavily used detour routes into and out of West Seattle. We have been listening closely to community comments and monitoring traffic since the bridge was closed and expect to make a decision on this proposed change in the coming weeks based on the community’s input and new traffic data.
Almost two months after campuses closed, some schools’ staff and families are finding a way to see each other at a distance – through car parades like the one from and for Highland Park Elementary this evening.
Signs and smiles were abundant:
Most staffers were in cars- but some bicycled, too:
A few were in convertibles:
Check out the driver here:
Lots of cheery beeping:
HPAC – the community council for Highland Park, Riverview, and South Delridge – got a fast reply from SDOT on its letter centered on 13 requests related to the West Seattle Bridge closure and its effects on those neighborhoods. We spotlighted the letter here on Tuesday; HPAC circulated the response tonight. It’s signed by Heather Marx, who’s leading the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge Safety Project. The letter, which you can see in its entirety on HPAC’s website, also incorporates topics from HPAC’s April meeting (WSB coverage here). From the response, here are HPAC’s points, and SDOT’s replies:
… Below are the specific requests we heard from HPAC – at both your meeting and in your letter – with the status of each request:
Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St Intersection
*Request for a left-hand turn signal for turning onto SW Holden St from northbound lane on Highland Park Way SW
Status/update: We installed a temporary traffic signal at this intersection and it’s not currently possible to add a left-hand turn signal to it. We are, however, sharing this feedback with the team designing the permanent traffic signal scheduled to be installed in 2021.
*Request for extra traction on uphill southbound lane on Highland Park Way SW
Status/update: The Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St Safety project team will evaluate high friction surface treatment. This treatment has typically been done where crashes have occurred when roadway conditions were slippery.
*Request for separate green signals for pedestrians and drivers in the northwest corner of the intersection
Status/update: We installed a temporary traffic signal at this intersection and it’s not currently possible to add these features to it. We are, however, sharing this feedback with the team designing the permanent traffic signal scheduled to be installed in 2021.
Turning from arterial streets onto SW Holden St
*Request to see painting and/or signage to prohibit blocking of the intersections
Status/update: Because these treatments have limited effectiveness and high maintenance costs, SDOT is focusing on more effective tools, many of which are below and will also be reflected in the neighborhood traffic plans we are preparing.
Traffic calming in the neighborhood
With no detailed city plan yet for handling West Seattle Bridge-less mobility when the stay-home order lifts, local groups are continuing to spell out their proposals. Today, we hear from HPAC, the community council for the areas most affected by detoured traffic – Highland Park, Riverview, South Delridge. While SDOT guested at HPAC’s meeting April 22nd (WSB coverage here), they had no specifics beyond the Highland Park Way/Holden signal that was installed in the first week post-bridge closure. So HPAC has sent a letter (see it here in PDF) to the mayor, council, and SDOT, noting that “… we are now in week 7 of the closure and very few of the public concerns that have been raised have been adequately addressed.” HPAC has these 13 specific concerns/proposals:
… Issues and areas that need to be addressed before the stay-at-home order is lifted:
1. At the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St:
● A left-hand turn signal is needed for turning onto SW Holden from Highland Park Way/9th Ave SW northbound. Currently, traffic coming up the hill on Highland Park Way and going right does not stop, with SW Holden being so narrow, only one car being turning onto SW Holden, so traffic trying to turn left are stuck at the light for several cycles or cutting through SW Portland St at higher speeds.
● Extra traction on the uphill southbound lane on Highland Park Way.
● Separate green signals for pedestrians and drivers in the northwest corner of the intersection.
2. Traffic signal adjustments to address traffic backups at the following intersections:
● Add a left hand turn signal at 16th Ave SW and SW Holden St as previously requested for
over the last 6 years.
● Delridge Way SW and SW Holden St.
● Orchard St. and Delridge Way SW
● 8th St and SW Roxbury St.
3. Traffic calming features on our neighborhood streets:
● For the school zones of Chief Sealth HS, Roxhill Elementary, Sanislo Elementary and Highland Park Elementary.
● Police presence to curb excessive speeding on 16th Ave SW
● Signage at 4-way intersections to ease transit for vehicles, bikes and pedestrians. Signs
along SW Thistle St at 20th and 18th Ave. Stop sign at 11th and Kenyon St.
● Work with the neighborhoods to identify streets to become one-way to help mitigate cut- through traffic.
4. Turning onto SW Holden St from streets both east and west of Delridge Way is extremely difficult with increased traffic.
● Mitigation requested.
5. West Marginal Way S:
● Increase the number of lanes to get onto the on ramp for the 1st Ave bridge.
● Request for better bike lane marking at the intersection with Highland Park Way SW
● Request to fill potholes and fix road deterioration near the railroad tracks
● Request for two lanes northbound at the intersection with Highland Park Way SW
6. Pedestrian path on the east side of Highland Park Way after the SW Holden intersection:
● Request to consider widening the path to allow for more use
● Request to clean moss off from path
7. Left-hand turn signal requests at the following intersections:
● 16th Ave SW and SW Holden St
● 16th Ave SW and SW Roxbury St.
● 8th Ave SW and Roxbury St.
8. King County Metro Route 131
● Make a bus-only lane starting at SW Holden and Highland Park Way going on through to West Marginal Way then over the 1st Ave bridge toward Seattle.
● Request to adjust signal at Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden for bus priority
● Increase Route 131 service.
9. We want to clearly understand the traffic patterns throughout the peninsula. SDoT has never taken into consideration the east-west traffic flow throughout West Seattle. We want to know what routes people are taking and which streets are becoming major arterials. Monitoring should be placed at the following intersections:
● SW Orchard St. and SW 35th Ave
● SW Orchard St. and Delridge Way SW
● SW Holden St. and SW 35th Ave
● SW Holden St. and Delridge Way SW
● SW Thistle St. and California Ave SW
● SW Thistle St. and SW 35th Ave
● SW Thistle St. and Delridge Way SW
● SW Trenton St. and SW 35th Ave
● SW Trenton St. and Delridge Way SW
● SW Barton St. and SW 35th Ave
● SW Henderson St. and Delridge Way SW
● SW Henderson St. and 9th Ave SW
● SW Roxbury St. and 35th Ave SW
● SW Roxbury St. and Delridge Way SW
● SW Roxbury St. and 9th Ave SW
● Olson Pl SW and 1st Ave S
10. For the City of Seattle to increase Metro bus service for access for east and west transit on the peninsula itself i.e. access to California St./ Junction areas only offer the 128, which is hard for the rest of the peninsula to get to without using their cars.
● The transfers through the Westwood Village has been difficult for Highland Park riders since the reroute of the 136/137. Highland Park and Delridge Neighborhoods have been designated food deserts by the city.
11. A commitment from the City to repair the streets that were damaged during the bridge closure.
● Once traffic resumes we will have a better understanding of which of the streets that will be, but assume at least: Roxbury St, Delridge Way SW, SW 35th Ave, Highland Park Way SW, and Olson Way SW.
12. Heavy freight routes clearly designated and enforced.
● This type of vehicle will cause massive and immediate damage to our more residential
streets (i.e. Holden St) and will significantly slow traffic since these types of vehicles will
have issues turning the tight corners. Both Avalon St. and Roxbury with their wider lanes
and concrete enforced lanes are better suited for this type of transit.
13. We want an immediate bridge replacement plan without a $33 million expenditure for the current bridge or a two-year evaluation period. SDOT’s current plan will put an undue burden on the daily lives of our West Seattle residents.
Please learn from the I35 bridge failure and replacement in Minneapolis and the rapid rebuild of the Genoa, Italy bridge. No one waited for two years before making a decision on viability – just replace this bridge.
The $33 millioh reference, if you missed the original report, goes back to the April 15th briefing covered here – it’s the projected cost of stabilizing the bridge, planning traffic control, and doing maintenance on the low bridge.
MONDAY REPORT: As announced last week, more east West Seattle streets are now closed to through traffic as part of the city’s “Stay Healthy Streets” program. The first round two weeks ago included streets in High Point and a bit south; the new stretch is primarily in Puget Ridge and Highland Park. (Update – text list was inaccurate so we’ve removed it; please see the SDOT map.)
The SHS-designated streets are closed to all but local motor-vehicle traffic – defined as residents and deliveries – and open to bicycling, walking, running, etc., 24/7, TFN.
The city has said it’s continuing to evaluate potential expansions. This afternoon, the advocacy group Seattle Neighborhood Greenways proposed what it called a “crowdsourced, 130-mile, network of Stay Healthy Streets,” including some potential West Seattle additions such as the entirety of Beach Drive SW. See the SNG proposal mapped here. The group also has an FAQ document here.
TUESDAY NOTE: If you didn’t catch the difference between the green and blue lines on the map, as Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections (part of the SNG coalition) points out, much of Beach Drive is proposed for parking-lane conversion, not the full width.
Two things coming up tonight:
CORNER BAR, ONLINE: First Friday means the Highland Park Improvement Club Corner Bar. Still can’t do it in person, so tonight they’re presenting an hour of live music online, 8-9 pm:
Come join us for an hour this Friday evening. We missed April’s event and who knows when we are all going to get together again. This one will be from the comfort of your own home.
Evan Flory-Barnes will livestream us some songs and we can all sit around at home, have a drink, and dance along.
[The livestream will be via HPIC’s Facebook page]
These are difficult times for a lot of us. Please feel free to tip Evan at your favorite sites – Venmo @Evan- Flory-Barnes PayPal firstname.lastname@example.org or the Cash App. $EvanFloryBarnes
Also, there are no events at the club since the stay at home order has been in effect – feel free to join the HPIC as a member, and help us chart our course for the future.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, #3: If you missed the mention in last night’s roundup – look for SFD trucks/engines driving through neighborhoods, with flashing lights and maybe even siren bursts, 6:30-7:30 pm tonight.
It’s set to happen in the highlighted areas on this map.