West Seattle, Washington
Luna Park Café is celebrating its 30th anniversary today. Though the café says its “big bash” will be in the summertime, nonetheless it’s “happy to be a landmark business of West Seattle” and invites you to stop by and celebrate with specials including a Birthday Cake Shake that they’ll be offering for the rest of the month. The café’s announcement shared with WSB has words of gratitude for customers, too: “The local support throughout the years has been amazing!” If you’re new and haven’t been there yet, LPC is at 2918 SW Avalon Way, just south of the West Seattle Bridge. P.S. The building and area have even more decades of history, as the café website explains.
Until 7 pm, you can drop in at American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle (3618 SW Alaska) to ask questions and get info about SDOT‘s soon-to-start Avalon/35th/Alaska project.
It’ll repave the entirety of Avalon, between the West Seattle Bridge and Fauntleroy Way, as well as three blocks of 35th SW south of Avalon and one block of SW Alaska west of 35th. Avalon will also be reconfigured as part of the project, as shown here. While the final design was announced earlier this year, details that are just emerging now include the timeline and where the work will start. Project coordinator Adonis Ducksworth says the stretch on 35th is likely to be the first site:
The 35th section will have to be rebuilt, with a new water main, because of damage done in a break. On Avalon, Ducksworth says, the Genesee to Yancy stretch is likely to be the first site, and the crew might move northward during summer, which Luna Park Café owner John Bennett says would be the worst possible time of year for his business – the summer peak. He is among those we’ve seen and heard here and the doors are open to all until 7. P.S. If you have questions but can’t get here – the project mailbox is firstname.lastname@example.org.
SDOT says the SW Avalon Way/35th/Alaska repaving and rechannelization project will begin as soon as April, now that it’s reached final design. They’ve added some major new elements to the plan. They’re part of the toplines from SDOT’s Dan Anderson:
The latest design changes based on community feedback and city policy include:
*Closing 30th Ave SW at SW Avalon Way to reduce cut-through driving [see postcard, with map, here]
*Adding a new RapidRide transit island with a separated bike lane at SW Yancy St
*Shifting the northbound bus stop about 150 feet [north] for routes 50, 55, and 21 to remove bus/bike conflict at Luna Park
*Reducing speed limits on SW Avalon Way and 35th Ave SW by 5 mph
*Installing skid-resistant surface treatment on SW Charlestown St [outside project zone] and SW Genesee St
*Adjusting the curb line and adding a new planting strip at 3246 SW Avalon Way
*Closing the slip lane from SW Avalon Way to Fauntleroy Way SW
*Installing a new water main
*Continuing conversations with business stakeholders about the hours of operation for the inbound bus lane
That affects parking; here’s the map showing the parking inventory, reported here in November. Meantime, more details on many of the newly announced changes are on the project website. As shown on the map atop this story, the full project zone is all of Avalon from the bridge to Fauntleroy, plus 35th between Avalon and Alaska, and one block of Alaska west of 35th.
Back in August, when we last updated the Avalon/35th/Alaska repaving and rechannelization plan, SDOT said it was re-crunching the numbers on current and proposed parking. The assessment – with numbers – is finally ready, and SDOT says:
Our parking update findings show:
*Net loss of 67 parking spaces on SW Avalon Way between 35th Ave SW and SW Spokane St
*Net loss of 9 parking spaces on 35th Ave SW between SW Avalon Way and SW Alaska St
*39 remaining on-street parking spaces in the Luna Park business district between SW Spokane St and SW Yancy St. Today, there are 53 on-street spaces (24 on the west side and 29 on the east side). Our project design removes 14 spaces total (the sum of removing 16 on the west side and adding 2 on the east side). The east side spaces are “no parking” 6-10AM, Monday-Friday, as they mostly are today.
*13 remaining spaces in the off-street public parking area between Luna Park Cafe and The Shack. Today, there are 14 spaces here distinguished by privately-painted line markings. We remove one that’s been marked across the sidewalk/pedestrian area.
*3 remaining spaces in the off-street public parking area next to Luna Park Cafe and Avalon Glassworks. Today, there are 3 spaces here.
*31 parking spaces will be restricted Monday through Friday, 6-10 AM, to create a bus lane on the east side of SW Avalon Way between SW Spokane St and SW Yancy St. Today, there are 18 spaces restricted weekday mornings.
*We’ve kept load zones and a disabled zone to meet high-priority needs like business deliveries, and pick-ups and drop-offs at busy apartment buildings
*We’re planning to implement 2-hour parking time limits on SW Avalon Way in the business district north of SW Yancy St to improve customer and visitor access
Why the new design includes fewer parking spaces than today:
*We’re redesigning SW Avalon Way with a focus on safety. This will result in narrower travel lanes to lower overall speeds, reduce high-end speeding, and reduce crossing distances for people walking and biking to get around the neighborhood and catch the bus.
*We’re separating people biking from moving traffic with protected bike lanes, mostly between the curb and a “floating” parking lane. The floating parking lanes will have buffer areas, so car doors don’t hit people biking and there’s space for people parking to walk to and from their car. This design pulls parking farther back from intersections and driveways than today. Twenty-foot parking setbacks allow people driving to see people walking and biking better – their vision isn’t blocked by a parked car – to make collisions less likely at driveways and cross streets.
*We didn’t count spaces 5 feet from driveways, 15 feet from fire hydrants, 20 feet from crosswalks, and 30 feet from intersections, which are not legal parking areas under state and local laws, but may be considered legal parking today.
*Most street space for the protected bike lanes came from removing the center turn lane, but in narrower areas at the north end of the corridor we had to restrict morning parking on the east side to allow for the bus lane that moves thousands of people a day on RapidRide and other routes
*On 35th Ave SW, we removed parking spaces where we’re adding pedestrian crossing islands to help people get across the street at SW Alaska St to the West Seattle Stadium and transit
*We’ll post the 100% street channelization plans online with parking areas noted. We’ve already done that at 30% Design and 60% Design. Specifically, the community will see the number of spaces in each parking area and notes where we think load zones and a disabled zone will be located.
*We’ll post this information and this parking changes graphic on the website
*We’re scheduling a meeting with the Luna Park Merchants Association to discuss the latest update. Please let us know if you need a phone call or meeting with our project team to discuss this information.
*We want to continue to hear from the people who live, work, travel, and visit the neighborhood with requests for information, questions, and if there are any errors in our maps or analysis that need to be fixed
*We’ll then follow-up with the community this winter to share the final design, and pre-construction information since we’re expecting construction to start in spring 2019 and last 2 years
According to previous conversations with SDOT, that’s not two continuous years, but rather two construction seasons – roughly April through October each year. The project includes repaving of Avalon in its entirety, from the bridge to Fauntleroy Way, as well as about three blocks of 35th SW between Avalon and Alaska, and a block of Alaska west of 35th. The 60 percent design documents are all on the project website; the parking update we received today isn’t there yet.
An early-stage proposal has appeared in city files for a 30-townhouse development in the upper Luna Park area, at 3101 SW Bradford [map]. Documents describe the site as “vacant”; a collection of what’s listed on the city website as “site photos” shows a greenbelt at the end of SW Bradford, downslope from the approach to the West Seattle Bridge. Also in the file: A city letter to the site owner saying the project will have to go through Design Review, so they need to arrange for Early Community Outreach to neighbors. The information available online so far suggests the townhouses would have 34 parking spaces in an underground garage.
Three (re)development notes:
TRANSITIONAL RESOURCES PROJECT PROCEEDING: We first reported back in February that nonprofit Transitional Resources had an early-stage proposal to replace three houses in the 2800 block of SW Yancy with more than 40 microapartments. TR CEO Darcell Slovek-Walker has an update on the project, which has the official address 2821 SW Yancy: “Transitional Resources will soon be submitting funding applications to develop up to 44 studio units in two buildings (three stories each) that closely mirrors surrounding development scale. The buildings will have a single common entry with staffing 24 hours per day/7 days per week. Like our other projects, this housing will serve adults in need of behavioral health treatment and support to live independently in permanent housing.” Currently TR provides housing for 85 people in what Slovek-Walker describes as “a mix of owned and leased properties,” including buildings on SW Avalon Way near this site.
5 UNITS FOR 3014 CHARLESTOWN SW: Also in the Luna Park area, this site is proposed for four townhouses and one live-work unit, with four off-street-parking spaces. It will go through the Streamlined Design Review process; watch here for the comment period and design documents. The century-old house on the site, sold for $825,000 in May, will be demolished.
DEMOLITION SOON FOR 5917 CALIFORNIA: A demolition permit has been issued for the boarded-up Charmann Apartments, with a long history of complaints.
We reported back in February that an early-stage plan was in city files for eight townhouses at the site; that appears to still be the plan, making its way through the system. The property was sold in July for $1.3 million.
A reader texted that while on business in the Luna Park area off Manning this morning, they found empty Amazon packages, possibly evidence of theft. The addresses were for an apartment in the 2200 block of Alki, a house on the 5600 block of 37th SW, and the Amazon Locker outside Jefferson Square Safeway. They called police but absent reports from the theft victims, the calltaker would only refer them to the illegal dumping hotline. So the finder asked us to put out a general package-theft alert.
As first reported here last weekend, SDOT has reached another design milestone in the SW Avalon Way repaving/rechannelization plan: “60 percent” design. And that’s why they’re inviting you to an open house tomorrow (Thursday, August 23) for a closer look and comments.
SDOT offered a preview and we finally spoke this afternoon with Dan Anderson, so we could share toplines before the open house. Here are the highlights of what’s changed since the project hit 30 percent design last spring:
(See all the new project graphics on the city website here.)
BICYCLE RAMP: At the north end of the project zone, Anderson says, they heard a lot of comments against moving bicycles onto the sidewalk/trail north of the relocated non-Rapid Ride bus stop. So the ramp onto the sidewalk/trail will now be south of the bus stop.
STREET PARKING: They’re evaluating where street parking can be limited to 2 hours to encourage turnover, especially for Luna Park businesses. One place that looks possible: SW Bradford. Anderson says they’re asking for feedback on the rest of the corridor too (keep in mind that the project zone is not only the entirety of Avalon between Spokane and Fauntleroy, but also 35th between Avalon and Alaska, plus one block of Alaska between 35th and 36th).
The street-parking evaluation also includes load zones, and SDOT wants to hear from you where those would work best. They’re proposing “adding back one parking space on the west side by Luna Park Café” as a loading zone, but are looking for more extensive feedback given that the rechannelization of Avalon will take out the center turn lane, which has been a de-facto load zone in some spots. “Since that’s going away, we have to figure out how trucks can load,” Anderson said.
One parking issue they won’t resolve in time for the meeting – they were asked for “better numbers” in terms of a more precise count of current and proposed street parking, since SDOT’s measuring standards (as little as 16′, as much as 31′) don’t necessarily match what you might consider a parking space. This assessment won’t be ready until next month.
LEFT-TURN POCKETS: The one on NB 35th to WB Alaska will be extended, by community request. Turn pockets, however, will NOT be added at Avalon/Yancy – wouldn’t work with transit and bicycle lanes, said Anderson.
TIMELINE: Because of the extent of the work – including water-main replacement and complete rebuilding of the road on the 35th SW section – this “could be two seasons worth of paving,” Anderson said, so they want to hear from community members regarding “different phasing options.” It’s still planned to start next spring, but the phasing discussion would also tackle where they would start.
Again, tomorrow’s open house is 5:30-7:30 pm at American Legion Post 160 (3618 SW Alaska) – drop in when you can. And watch the project page, where updated maps/graphics for the 60 percent design should be posted soon.
ADDED 10:07 AM THURSDAY: We’ve just received from SDOT the boards and major map, added above.
In early June, SDOT held an open-house meeting to talk with community members about the SW Avalon Way repaving/rechannelization plan once it reached the “30 percent design” phase. They promised they’d be back in the fall once it hit the next milestone, “60 percent design.” That’s apparently running a bit ahead of schedule, because SDOT says it’s there now and they’ll be here next Thursday (August 23rd) to talk about it at another open house. The updated design hasn’t been made public yet – we’re expecting to see it in the next few days, before the meeting – but a postcard sent to area homes and businesses to announce the open house says in part:
Based on your feedback, we’re providing more parking on SW Avalon Way and taking some measures to reduce peak-hour neighborhood cut-through traffic.
The “30 percent design plan” shown in June proposed removing about a dozen street parking spaces on the west side of Avalon in the Luna Park business district. In addition to repaving/rechannelizing Avalon, the proposal also would pave three blocks of 35th SW between Avalon and Alaska, and one block of Alaska between 35th and 36th. This Thursday’s open-house meeting is set for 5:30-7:30 pm at American Legion Post 160 (“the building with the cannon out front”), 3618 SW Alaska.
One more meeting from last night to tell you about – the open house for the SW Avalon Way rechannelization/repaving plan. No new information emerged – it was meant as a chance to comment on and ask questions about what SDOT recently revealed, the “30 percent design” version of the project.
Above center is Luna Park entrepreneur John Bennett, who is concerned about parking – while the proposal has changed from an early version that removed dozens of spaces uphill, where now a weekday 6-10 am transit lane is proposed, this one takes out a dozen spaces on the west side of Avalon, and Bennett fears The Shack coffee shop will be especially hard-hit. Councilmember Lisa Herbold has been working with SDOT to try to minimize the parking loss; above left is her legislative assistant Newell Aldrich (Herbold was at the HALA hearing a few miles away).
Also there, West Seattle Bike Connections‘ Don Brubeck (second from left above). The design incorporates protected bike lanes on what is a fairly busy route to and from the “low bridge” as well as Alki. Various concerns along the corridor included helping buses move more smoothly and dissuading drivers from using side streets. There were also requests for turn signals at the Avalon/Genesee light. Here’s an “aerial view” of what’s in the 30 percent plan, as previewed here last month:
WHAT’S NEXT: Project spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth says that after this open house for the 30 percent design, they hope to have the project up to 60 percent for another round of commenting in the fall. Construction is expected to happen next year, starting in the spring. Along with rechannelizing Avalon as shown here (PDF), the project will repave it all the way from the bridge to where it ends at Fauntleroy, along with 35th SW south of Avalon to Alaska – where reconstruction is needed due to water damage – and Alaska from 35th to 36th too. Beyond last night’s open house, here’s your chance to comment through June 24th – an online survey about the project.
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
SDOT has unveiled its new in-progress plan for the SW Avalon Way repaving/rechannelization project, one year after it first came to light.
This time last year, SDOT had a community meeting after announcing it would repave/rechannelize Avalon plus a few blocks of 35th “after the Fauntleroy Boulevard project.”
Though Fauntleroy Boulevard is on hold pending Sound Transit light-rail decisions, SDOT confirmed this week that the Avalon/35th plan is moving ahead, and the project zone has expanded a bit. We met with two key members of the project team, project manager Bill Clark and communicator Dan Anderson, to get the rundown on what’s now in the plan.
Before we go any further – take note that SDOT does plan an “open house” community meeting, and a mailer; the former is set for June 5th in The Triangle, the latter will be on its way to project-area mailboxes soon (see it here now).
The project now calls for repaving the entirety of Avalon, from where it begins at Fauntleroy, to where it ends at Spokane. Plus, along with the stretch of 35th between Avalon and Alaska that’s to be repaved (and in some spots rebuilt), the repaving also will extend a block onto Alaska west of 35th.
Thanks for the tip. Luna Park Café confirms they’re unexpectedly closed for the rest of the day/night because of water trouble. They explain that Seattle Fire was doing some hydrant testing nearby and that left them with brown water that’s not expected to clear for some hours, so they had no choice but to close. They hope to reopen for regular hours at 7 tomorrow morning.
Start your Earth Day with some help around the spot where Harbor Avenue, SW Avalon, and Spokane Street meet. Tools, gloves, coffee, snacks provided! In case you haven’t already seen it in the WSB calendar, here’s the reminder from organizer Roxane Rusch:
You are INVITED to Our Neighborhood EARTH DAY Harbor Avalon work party!!!!!!!
This is a work party to celebrate Earth Day and maintain the work completed through our Neighborhood Street and Park fund grant project.
Please join our party and help us positively and uniquely brand this West Seattle gateway area for all to enjoy!
Don’t worry about RSVP’ing if you haven’t already – just show up to help!
Almost a year and a half after they were chosen for funding, two Neighborhood Street Fund projects proposed by West Seattleites are going out to bid. A notice in today’s Daily Journal of Commerce announces that the city is seeking bids on a package of five NSF projects meant to improve walking and biking safety, two of which are in West Seattle – the Chief Sealth Walkway Improvements and the Harbor Ave. SW/SW Spokane St. Intersection Improvements Project. The notice says bids will be opened March 7th; we’ll be checking with SDOT on the anticipated construction schedule.
Management at the Nucor steel mill in northeast West Seattle says they’re “working … to mitigate the problem” that’s caused startling booms in recent days. The one reported here on Saturday evening, after hearing from readers, was such a jolt, some said, they didn’t think it was from the plant because they’d never felt anything like it. We talked this afternoon with Nucor’s environmental manager Patrick Jablonski. He explained that this can happen “when we add wet scrap metal into our furnace … I think we are particularly vulnerable to it because of our climate; it happens more often in the wintertime.” He said Nucor is “certainly not happy” about this, and is trying to find out why it’s happened repeatedly in recent days, so they can work “to mitigate the problem.” Jablonski also told WSB, “We’ve worked over the years to minimize it … As far as I know, we are the only mill that built a large canopy to keep the rain off the scrap in our scrapyard … We’ve developed additional procedures over the years.” But that doesn’t get all the rain – or snow, if the scrap was brought over the mountain passes – off the steel, and when the wet scrap metal goes into the furnace (which is on the north side of the main building), the evaporation happens quickly and loudly. No one was hurt, he added. Some commenters asked about contacting the plant in case of an incident; you can call the general number, 206-933-2222, around the clock – if it’s after-hours, security can get in touch with someone to check into it, Jablonski said.
(‘Conceptual’ rendering by Lemons Architecture, from April 2017 Design Review presentation)
The project passed the first phase of Design Review back in April (WSB coverage here), which meant the developer was cleared to go ahead and apply for land-use permits. They have now just done so, which is the reason for the notices published today, opening a new public-comment period until January 8th (each address above is linked to the notice that in turn includes a “how to comment” link).
NEXT STEP: The second round of Design Review – no meeting date yet.
That’s West Seattle’s legendary, short-lived and long-gone Luna Park, circa 1910, from the Seattle Municipal Archives. If you have any Luna Park memorabilia/photos, Michael Falcone is hoping you’ll help:
I’m working on a documentary on Luna Park (amusement park 1907-1913) and would like to put out a call for any photographs/materials relating to the park and/or early West Seattle. I will be at the High Point Library Sunday, July 16th from 1-3 pm in the High Point Meeting Room for people to come by with any materials they would like to see included in the documentary.
I will have a laptop, scanner and camera present in case people allow me to copy images at that time. I am working with SW Historical Society in part on this project and seeking a Seattle CityArtists grant with the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.
If you have questions, you can reach Falcone through his website.
More than three dozen volunteers weeded, cleaned, and mulched in the Luna Park area this morning. Toward the right side of the top photo is Roxane Rusch, who organized the work party as part of the preparations for a Neighborhood Park and Street Fund project on its way to the area. SDOT-provided river rock is part of the landscaping preps, too:
At right, above, Luna Park Café owner John Bennett was among the volunteers, and he shared the next two photos, starting with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold pulling weeds:
So when you next ride, walk, or run through the area, you can appreciate the volunteer work – and if you would like to help, watch for word of the next work party.
The original vision for the future city-grant-funded work … with the way paved by volunteer help … is in this WSB story.
Reminder if you haven’t seen it in the calendar yet – you’re invited to start your weekend by helping clean up the Luna Park area tomorrow with neighbors, businesses, and city Tree Ambassadors. Organizer Roxane Rusch says it’s “another in a series of work parties to ready the site for the receipt of a Neighborhood Street and Park fund grant that your neighborhood councils, associations, and groups have generously endorsed. We are working with SDOT on final plans.” As the flyer says, meet at Luna Park Café (2918 SW Avalon Way) at 9 am Saturday. The work party is scheduled until noon, but even if you can just give an hour or two, your help will be welcomed.
This isn’t a request for much – $10 each from 400 people will make it happen.
Ola Salon in Luna Park “is in the midst of a campaign to send one of our stylists to Cambodia to have a direct impact on changing the life of formerly sex-trafficked youth. Over the next 2 months, we need to raise $4000 to make this happen,” says Ola proprietor Rachel Karlin. They’re working with the organization Justice and Soul. Stylist Julia Durfee has been accepted into the J&S program to provide training to people at risk of trafficking and is planning to go to Cambodia in April. If you are interested in helping, you can do it through this GoFundMe page.
Water crews are back out this morning repairing the 8-inch water main. Last night crews responded to the break and throttled the main until they could return today. Customers may have noticed a diminished volume in their water service last night.
Currently water is shut down and crews are fixing the pipe. We expect to have the repair complete and water back on by 3 pm today. About 9 water services are impacted by the shutdown.
We just checked with Luna Park Café and they are open, no water trouble, so it’s apparently NOT affecting the mini-business district there.
P.S. Thanks to original tipster Stephanie for the photo above.
9:22 PM: Though it’s a rainless night, water is rushing downhill in the Luna Park area under the West Seattle Bridge. We checked it out after a tip from Stephanie. A Seattle Public Utilities worker was checking it out along 30th SW, uphill and west of Avalon Way; he told us an SPU crew would be on the way over after fixing an unrelated break downtown. We have a message out to SPU to find out more, including whether anyone is without water service because of the break.
10:37 PM: Haven’t heard back from SPU, so we might not get any followup info until tomorrow.
1:52 AM: Thanks to commenter SEW for an update – not fixed yet.
4:26 PM: Thanks for the text – police/fire response at Avalon Way and Orleans (map) because of a crash, and at this time of day, that could be trouble. We’re en route to look.
4:39 PM UPDATE: Just went by. Crashed car and police car are in eastbound lane of Manning by the Luna Park commercial building. A tow truck is on the southbound Avalon shoulder.
4:46 PM: The scene has just cleared. Police tell us the driver of the car that had to be towed is being checked for a possible broken ankle; the other driver was not hurt.