West Seattle, Washington
If you’re headed out before the next expected wave of snow – be very careful. Some trouble spots haven’t been fixed and may not be. Above is one example – Monica sent that photo from 38th/Hanford, first reported yesterday and not yet fixed. Meantime, no photo but Sayoko wanted to warn people about 48th at Graham:
I wanted to let drivers know that the corner of 48th and Graham is very icy and dangerous. Since 48th is an arterial, people are driving way too fast, and coming down from Graham is super icy . We saw many cars just sliding into 48th and almost have accidents.
We just heard that mentioned by SPD dispatch. Certainly there are other trouble spots. But particularly if you haven’t been out, proceed slowly and carefully.
Another city grant program is seeking your thoughts on what should get funded. This time, it’s the Neighborhood Street Fund, and more than 20 projects are being considered in this area (West Seattle/South Park) alone – here’s the city’s clickable Google Map showing them:
Starting today, the “prioritization” process is under way, and the city’s asking you to do the prioritizing, as explained here. First, take a look at details of each project via PDFs linked here; then you can rank them online by going here – or at an upcoming meeting. There are two in D-1 – in West Seattle on Saturday (10:30 am February 2 at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW) or South Park a week from tonight (6:30 pm February 4 at South Park Hall, 1253 S. Cloverdale).
The NSF is an every-three-years grant program; one of the two projects approved for West Seattle in the 2016 cycle isn’t even complete yet (the Spokane/Harbor/Avalon intersection changes – just last week we learned the bicycle-crossing signal is still about two months away). The next phase after prioritizing of this year’s proposals, by the way, will be voting this spring.
Just received from SDOT, updates on three intersections that are getting safety improvements as part of 35th Avenue SW Phase 2 (first reported here last spring) :
35th Ave SW/SW Juneau St
As soon as Monday, January 28, we will sawcut all 4 corners of the intersection, then begin drainage work on the west side of 35th Ave SW/SW Juneau St intersection, followed by installation of curb ramps. To complete work on the west side of the intersection safely and efficiently, SW Juneau St will be closed to through traffic from 35th Ave SW to 36th Ave SW. Once the west side is complete, crews will move to the east side of the intersection and follow a similar procedure.
We anticipate delivering the construction notification later today to residents near the 35th Ave SW/SW Juneau St intersection.
35th Ave SW/SW Dawson St
Last week, we completed utility potholing in the sidewalk and planter strip area to help determine the location of future signal poles at this intersection. To reach underground utilities, crews removed some concrete/asphalt in planting strips near the 35th Ave SW/SW Dawson St intersection. They then backfilled holes with pea gravel and replaced loose concrete/asphalt over the top and sectioned off the area with cones. This site will remain as-is until work to add new curb ramps, repair pavement begins as soon as February. Actual signal installation will occur this fall once we receive the necessary equipment.
This schedule is subject to change depending on weather conditions and contractor availability.
35th Ave SW/SW Kenyon St
We expect to begin similar work to install accessible curb ramps and make drainage and pavement repairs at 35th Ave SW/SW Kenyon St as early as February 2019.
If you have questions, the project inbox is NeighborhoodImprovements2018@seattle.gov.
P.S. SDOT also notes, “Folks may also notice our Pothole Rangers next week working the length of 35th Ave SW from White Center to Spokane St.” (You can report potholes online here.)
Story and photos by Jason Grotelueschen
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Neighborhood advocates gathered on Tuesday night at the Southwest Precinct for the first 2019 meeting of the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network (WSBWCN), to discuss issues and opportunities for the community.
It was the group’s first meeting since October, and featured idea-sharing for neighborhood improvement, an update from police leadership and a presentation about 9-1-1 effectiveness.
WSBWCN co-leaders Deb Greer and Karen Berge called the meeting to order and asked attendees to go around the room and share thoughts regarding two key questions:
As announced by the West Seattle Block Watch Captains Network for Tuesday night ([corrected] 6:30 pm January 22nd):
Our main presentation topic is 9-1-1, something most of us take for granted until something goes wrong…
Our guest speaker will be Kayreen Lum, the E-911 Outreach and Training Specialist for King County. She will talk about the recent 9-1-1 outage, what caused it, and what to do if it happens again. She’ll also explain when and how to use the relatively new option, to send text messages to 9-1-1 (which is now available in Seattle and King County).
As always, a police briefing/Q&A will be part of the meeting too. WSBWCN meets at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster), all welcome – you don’t have to be a Block Watch captain or even member.
11:29 AM THURSDAY: The photo is from Stephanie at 35th SW and SW Dawson (by the entrance to Camp Long). She reports:
They are starting the work for the traffic light. I spoke with the survey team; the plans show four light bar posts.
SDOT announced the long-requested “full traffic signal” for 35th/Dawson as part of the “35th SW Phase 2” work first outlined here last April. Last fall, SDOT said crossing improvements at three 35th SW intersections including Dawson would start as soon as November, but then announced an indefinite postponement. We’ll be checking on whether they have a construction timetable yet.
9:04 AM FRIDAY: SDOT tells us, “While we don’t expect signal construction to begin until next month at the earliest, we’re surveying in preparation of utility potholing . This is necessary prep work for the installation of the new traffic signal.”
The frosted fishing pier at Seacrest was the clearest photo we got of the slickness that caused some trouble around West Seattle on Monday morning. With a similar forecast for Tuesday, and patchy fog already out there with near-freezing temps tonight, you’ll want to be extra careful whether driving, riding, or walking. We asked SDOT what’s planned; spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg replied, “Our crews will be out tonight treating right-of-way as needed.” If you encounter an icy patch of public path/road that needs attention, call 206-684-ROAD. (And then please let us know so we can include it in our coverage, which will start again Tuesday at 5:30 am.)
Thanks to Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding for the photo and word of SDOT work at Delridge/Andover today. We confirmed with SDOT’s Dawn Schellenberg that they were installing a turn signal for people turning east onto Andover from Delridge: “The Delridge/Andover intersection was identified through our Bike and Ped Safety Assessment as a priority location. We evaluated the location in 2016 and determined a protected left-turn phase was warranted to reduce potential vehicle and bicycle; and vehicle and vehicle collisions. This Vision Zero project was completed today.”
ORIGINAL REPORT, 6:03 PM SUNDAY: This weekend we’ve heard from several readers pointing out that the Beach Drive speed humps south of Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook have been removed, and wondering if they’ll be replaced. The signage is now covered.
Apparently nearby residents were not notified, as some of them are among the readers who’ve contacted us. We’ll be asking SDOT first thing tomorrow, but in the meantime, we’re mentioning it so area drivers/riders are aware and in case someone out there does know what the removal is all about. These speed humps date back to the ’00s and are on a straightaway section that was particularly popular with street racers; Beach Drive then got another set, near Constellation Park, just two years ago.
UPDATE, 12:42 PM MONDAY: SDOT spokesperson Dawn Schellenberg tells WSB the speed humps WILL be replaced, but not for a while:
The speed humps were damaged, and we removed them so that they wouldn’t be a hazard. Multiple maintenance visits had been made and they’d reached the point where we could no longer maintain them. We anticipate replacing them with permanent (asphalt) humps this summer in the same spot and generally the same configuration.
9:49 PM: King County has just sent this alert to media around the county:
King County asks that you let your readers, viewers, and listeners know that the 9-1-1 system in Washington State is down at this time. No calls are getting through to the 9-1-1 centers, either on landlines or cell phones.
People who are having an emergency in King County can call the ten-digit emergency number for the police or fire agency in their area on a landline or cell phone, or they can use Text-to-911 on their cell phone.
There is no estimate for restoration of 9-1-1 service. No additional details are available at this time.
Though the alert doesn’t mention it, there’s been a major CenturyLink outage that some agencies cited for 911 troubles earlier. CenturyLink says it hopes to have that fixed by early morning.
Meantime, you can reach emergency services at 206-583-2111 if you need to, per SPD.
12:16 AM: Update from the county:
The widespread 9-1-1 outage caused by a malfunction at CenturyLink continues to affect King County. 9-1-1 call centers are having difficulty receiving phone calls, both from landlines and cell phones. At this time, there is no estimate on when full 9-1-1 service will be restored in our region.
2:30 AM: No 911-specific updates since then but for its part, CenturyLink tweeted a little over an hour ago that it’s “seeing positive progress with our service restoration efforts.”
4:50 AM: Another CenturyLink update: “We discovered some additional technical problems as our service restoration efforts were underway. We continue to make good progress …”
10:53 AM: From King County: “Progress is being made to restore 9-1-1 service in King County. The CenturyLink network outage that affected emergency calls nationwide is being addressed, and 9-1-1 calls are again getting through. However, residents are urged not to “test” the system. There may still be intermittent issues …”
4:18 PM: CenturyLink also has since said 911 is working. But keep that 206-583-2111 number handy.
Just in from Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner, the reminder that King County has been circulating the news that it finally has the long-awaited capability of receiving 911 via text:
Text-to-911 service is now available in King County. But remember- call if you can, text if you can’t!
Residents and visitors in Seattle and King County who are speech impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or are unable to speak due to a domestic-violence or other incident can now send a text message to 9-1-1 in an emergency situation. Learn more about how it works and what to do by visiting www.kingcounty.gov/911
The service has its limits, as noted in the official announcement, and that’s why they’re stressing, for now, please only text 911 if and when you can’t make a voice call.
One more story about lights on one of the longest nights of the year: Several people have e-mailed to point out another chronic streetlight outage on the high bridge. Those lights ar the responsibility of Seattle City Light, and they’re certainly on the utility’s radar, spokesperson Scott Thomsen tells WSB. City Light is working with SDOT, he says, to come up with a traffic-control plan for repairs, which he says SDOT usually wants to see done at night or on the weekend to reduce traffic impact: “We are asking for a lane closure with a blinking, moving SDOT truck following our yellow City Light truck as the repairs are made. They whole job should take about 5 hours once we get the crew in place.” As for a timeline, he says that depends on how much longer it takes SDOT to review/approve the plan.
(WSB file photo: Highland Park Way/Holden crash)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Would a “mini-roundabout” be a better way to improve the Highland Park Way/Holden intersection while funding for a full roundabout is awaited?
Or – maybe it would be better than the full roundabout.
That’s what SDOT reps heard when they came to Highland Park this week to listen to concerns about the interim plan for the intersection. But as of week’s end, two days post-meeting, SDOT was still planning to proceed with a modified version of its interim plan, spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth told WSB:
Though the recently approved city budget takes a big step toward the long-sought Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout, it’s still at least a few years off, and the city has planned some interim changes for the increasingly busy intersection. What was announced last month has raised some questions, so SDOT will be in Highland Park this Wednesday for a community discussion/briefing. From Highland Park Action Committee chair Charlie Omana:
In October, the Seattle Department of Transportation informed the Highland Park Action Committee of proposed small changes to the intersection of Highland Park Way SW and SW Holden St to promote safety while we continue to wait for the installation of a roundabout.
Upon further consideration, neighbors determined that some of these small changes would not be beneficial, effectively cutting off access to their homes. In response, SDOT has removed the elements of concern and plans to move forward with the improvements.
Because neither HPAC nor neighbors were consulted in the original development of these plans, SDOT has offered to meet with the community to discuss the changes and listen to neighborhood concerns. This will not be a regular meeting of the Highland Park Action Committee, and will be presided over by HPAC’s Vice-Chair, Mr. Gunner Scott. We hope you will be able to attend, but otherwise look forward to your participation at our next full HPAC meeting in January.
The meeting is set to start at 6:30 pm Wednesday (November 28th) at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th/Holden).
If you travel on SW Trenton between Delridge Way and 35th SW, you have probably noticed those new crossing islands installed at 30th SW. It’s part of the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway, which is on 30th SW between SW Roxbury and SW Kenyon, before moving to 34th SW as it continues north. We’ve received a few questions about the islands – most recently, a reader wondering how emergency vehicles would get around them. We took that question to SDOT’s project spokesperson Adonis Ducksworth, who explained:
Your observer is correct, they will interfere with the turning movements of large vehicles. We designed them knowing that larger vehicles – specifically commercial vehicles – would have to drive over them.
To accommodate such large vehicles, the islands would have had to be designed in a manner that would not have provided as much refuge for pedestrians. So we decided on a compromise: design and locate them as originally intended for pedestrian safety, while making them mountable for the low volume of larger vehicles turning to/from 30th/Trenton. In other words, large trucks can drive over the islands. The curb is only about 4 inches off the ground versus the standard 6 inches.
The Phase 1 design (see the map here) also includes crossing islands at 30th/Thistle and 34th/Morgan.
We asked Ducksworth what’s next in the greenway project, which is in its first phase and eventually will stretch all the way to north West Seattle. He says that “almost all of the speed humps are in” for Phase 1. “We still have to put up the signs and paint the markings. That work will likely happen in the near future in 2019.”
Most of Seattle’s stairways are actually part of city streets, in spots where the right-of-way can’t quite accommodate anything else. There are more than 500 of them. A new one planned for SW Myrtle between Sylvan and 25th – as announced in August – has stirred up some neighborhood concern, so SDOT and SPD invited neighbors to the Southwest Precinct last night to talk about it.
At the front of the room, SDOT’s Greg Funk and Dan Anderson.
Funk said he works on about 10 to 12 stairway projects per year and this one’s a little different in that
it’s a stairway that needs to be installed from scratch. Most of his projects – all but an average of about 1 each year – are replacements, or major maintenance, for existing stairways.
Most of those in attendance said they use the existing path that’s there now because Sylvan is too dangerous to walk along – too much traffic and poorly defined pedestrian boundaries.
But there’s neighborhood concern about a serious uptick in trash along that existing path over the past year. Two residents who live by the east end of the future stairway say they’ve seen and heard lots of suspicion-sparking people, along with arguments, and they’re worried the stairway will be a magnet for more.
Overall, though, most attendees were in favor of the new stairway, with some noting that improved access to and from Myrtle will be especially helpful when Route 120 becomes the RapidRide H Line and has a station at Delridge/Myrtle.
Various questions related to lighting and, as already mentioned, trash. Funk said lighting is not in the plan; trash trouble can be reported via Find It, Fix It.
The precinct’s crime-prevention coordinator Jennifer Danner said she’d visit the area to talk about Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. The area’s Community Police Team Officer Ken Mazzuca said calling 911 and using Find It Fix It are both vital so any problems in the area can be not only addressed but also documented (as SPD is very data-driven).
What’s next? Since the project went on hold for a bit to address concerns, the one-to-two-month installation is not expected to happen before the first quarter of next year.
Two notes in West Seattle Crime Watch:
DOORSTEP THEFT: Not a package! Haley shared that video and said this happened very early last Sunday morning, near the Charlestown water tower. Recognize the people in the video? SPD incident # 18-415274.
SIGN UP NOW FOR SAFETY TRAINING: Announced tonight by Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner:
The Seattle Police Department is offering two Women’s Personal Safety trainings at the SW Precinct (2300 SW Webster) in the next month!!
-Monday, November 19th – 6 pm-9 pm
-Sunday, December 2nd – 12 noon-3 pm
Learn proactive tips and steps you can take to enhance your personal safety. This is a facilitated discussion and lecture about crime prevention and safety taught by female Seattle police officers. Please note: This is not a self-defense course.
Space is limited – please register today using the below links! Feel free to share this information with all the women in your life!
35th SW and SW Dawson, by Camp Long, is one of three 35th SW intersections where SDOT says work could start before Thanksgiving as part of the arterial’s Phase 2 of safety improvements. We first reported back in April on the SDOT plan for more work on 35th SW – primarily crossing improvements. The department is announcing that work is planned soon at three intersections – Dawson, Juneau, and Kenyon – and circulating this explanatory flyer to area residents either this afternoon or early next week:
35th/Juneau has already had some Phase 2 work done, back in summer. 35th/Dawson is the biggest project of the three that SDOT is tackling next, with a full traffic signal part of the package. (Earlier this year, SDOTs Jim Curtin told WSB that the signal has been a community request for more than a decade.) The other new signal in the Phase 2 package, at Graham, is expected to be installed next year. As for which of the three intersections in today’s announcement will be worked on first, SDOT says it will have a followup announcement soon with “detailed schedule and phasing information from the contractor.”
BACKSTORY: If you’re new – 35th SW Phase 1 involved rechannelization starting a short distance south of Morgan and continuing south to Roxbury. The original 2015 announcement suggested there would be more rechannelization north of Morgan starting in 2016, but that didn’t come to pass, and when Phase 2 details were finally announced earlier this year, rechannelization was ruled out – for now.
Quick reminder now that the weekend is in view: Saturday is the twice-yearly Drug Take-Back Day, and you’re invited once again to take unneeded/expired medication to the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster) to get rid of it, 10 am-2 pm. Keeping it around could be a danger to someone in your household and/or a target for burglars. Last time around, SPD says, dropoffs at its precincts including this one totaled half a ton!
While Highland Park continues fighting to get the city to build a roundabout at Highland Park Way and Holden, the city has repeatedly mentioned that it can make other, smaller changes to improve safety at the intersection in the meantime. Today, SDOT announced that those changes will be made in the next few weeks. The following letter has been sent to nearby residents, after notification to the Highland Park Action Committee, whose chair Charlie Omana forwarded it to us:
Subject: Highland Park Way and Holden Intersection Improvements
Dear Highland Park residents,
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) will be making some enhancements to the
intersection of Highland Park Way SW & SW Holden St (see below and graphic). The purpose of these
enhancements is to increase safety and make the intersection more predictable.
The work that SDOT will be doing includes:
• Enlarging the painted triangles in the northwest and southwest quadrants of the intersection
• Extending the southbound right-turning lane and installing advance lane configuration signs and
• Installing yield signs and markings
• Repainting the northbound left-turn arrow markings
• Installing a barrier to prevent eastbound left-turning vehicles from turning into the outside curb
lane of northbound Highland Park Way SW
• Converting SW Austin St to right turn in and right turn out only
We expect to make these changes within the next few weeks, when the weather is dry enough for us to apply paint to the road.
Please note, this work will not preclude a potential future roundabout at this intersection. SDOT has
applied for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) 2018 City Safety Grant for funding the full design and construction of the roundabout. We expect a decision about the grant in
If that grant is not received, Mayor Jenny Durkan promised HPAC last month that the city would come up with a “Plan B” for funding the roundabout.
Those are three of the RVs parked along SW Andover across from the West Seattle Health Club that have just been tagged by Parking Enforcement. That’s one of the developments since the club was damaged early Wednesday by a gas fire that erupted after the building was hit by a vehicle – initially described by Seattle Fire as an “RV” and later as a “shuttle van.”
Seattle Police confirmed to WSB today that the vehicle’s driver has yet to be found; they said on Wednesday that it matched the description of a vehicle that fled Admiral Safeway after a shoplifting incident shortly before the crash.
West Seattle Health Club management has told its members that the pool, in the wing of the building that was damaged by the crash and fire, will likely remain closed for a couple weeks. A Puget Sound Energy crew was at the scene this morning when we went to the area to check on a commenter tip about the tagged RVs.
WSHC says it’s been dealing with camping in the area long enough (we first reported on it almost three years ago) and “enough is enough” – they’re demanding city action. (We also chronicled an early-morning incident last July in which an RV careened through the WSHC lot and ended up on the bank over Longfellow Creek.)
City Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s staff, meantime, shared with us what she’s been telling constituents who have contacted her about the incident and the nearby RV camping, including:
Councilmember Herbold has contacted the Seattle Police Department, including Chief Best. She has also contacted Fire Department Chief Scoggins, Mayor Durkan, Deputy Mayor Fong, and other Mayor’s Office staff about this. Mayor Durkan responded swiftly and personally to let Councilmember Herbold know that Chief Scoggins would be in touch. Chief Scoggins responded to say that he did not believe that this was an RV fire. Councilmember Herbold understands that people in the community believe that, RV or otherwise, that this was a vehicle that was being occupied as a residence. Councilmember Herbold has spoken with Dan Lehr, the V.P. of Operations at the West Seattle Health Club and he assured her that not only was this a vehicle modified for living in, but that it was a vehicle that was being resided in at this particular location.
(Several WSB commenters reported familiarity with the vehicle in the area.) Also from Herbold’s reply to constituents:
The City has an RV remediation program designed by SPD and SPU. Below is SPD Deputy Chief Wilske’s description of that program, in response to Councilmember Herbold’s request several months ago to clarify for her, and for the public, the approach SPD is taking to address the impacts upon residents and businesses resulting from several hundred RVs parked throughout the City serving as dwellings:
“As everyone has noticed, we are seeing an increase in people who are living in vehicles, both cars and RV’s. In some cases we are seeing significant impact to the surrounding neighborhoods, and have partnered with Seattle Public Utilities to implement a RV remediation program to address these problematic sites.
The ultimate goal of this program is to try to connect the people to services, insure that they move their vehicles in conformance to city law (primarily the 72 hr ordinance), and ensure we clean up any debris that is left behind. Using a team concept also allows us to insure we are consistent with recent court decisions regarding vehicle residents, so that we do not inadvertently expose the city to unnecessary legal jeopardy. The goal is not to impound these vehicles, but instead have them move regularly and be less impactful on the locations where they park.
The team uses specific criteria to determine which site will be prioritized for clean up, with an emphasis on Public Health (large amounts of debris, rodents, needles etc) and Public Safety (crime statistics, 911 responses, officer anecdotal information). We are currently doing 6 plus clean ups a month on large locations, with some additional work being done via the precincts and the parking enforcement officers, but again using the same prioritization criteria.”
One court case decision Wilske references is a Superior Court decision from earlier this year raised challenges about the city charging fees for impounded vehicles that serve as residences.
Herbold’s staff said she asked SPD and SPU when the area near the club was “most recently assessed for remediation.” Their reply: Last month, but it “did not qualify for priority cleanup for the month of September.” At Herbold’s request, they went back yesterday and still said “it did not score high enough for service.” She subsequently spoke with Mayor Durkan, her office tells us, saying the mayor then “agreed to reassess the Andover St. area to potentially move it up the list for remediation.”
–Tracy Record, WSB editor
Every year, Seattle University oversees the citywide Public Safety Survey about crime, safety, and policing, with findings that are then reported to SPD – and you. If you’d like to take this year’s survey, it’s now open – go here to start (and note the variety of language options). Want to know more first? Here’s the announcement published when results of last year’s survey were released.
P.S. If you want to talk about crime/safety in a more immediate manner – remember that tomorrow (Tuesday, October 16th) brings the last West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting of the year, 7 pm at the Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster).