West Seattle, Washington
1:54 PM: Tomorrow morning, if you’re riding/walking/driving/rolling/running in the 1200 block of Alki Avenue SW, you might notice unusual Seattle Fire Department activity. An “elevated rescue drill” is planned at the Infinity Shore Club (WSB sponsor) condo construction site, according to senior project superintendent Matt Ohlinger. “No traffic impacts, other than a visual distraction,” he says. The drill is scheduled for 8:30 am-noon Friday.
2:48 PM: We asked SFD what this drill will involve. Spokesperson David Cuerpo says, “Engine 32 and Ladder 11 will be conducting a rescue drill at the construction site from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Crews may utilize Ladder 11’s aerial ladder to lower a stokes basket down to a hard-to-access area while additional firefighters work on safely extricating the patient (mannequin).”
Just out of the WSB inbox, from Aimee:
My daughter and I spotted a river otter at the Solstice P-Patch this morning around 10:30 AM.
Unfortunately we didn’t get a picture but am hoping you might have a good way to give folks a reminder to watch the roads.
Despite the name, river otters are what you see in Puget Sound – not sea otters. (Learn about them here.) Their dens are on land. Most often in this area. they’re seen crossing Harbor/Alki Avenues – here’s our favorite photo, of one on the Alki Trail years ago:
(WSB file photo)
To get to Solstice P-Patch, next to the tennis courts that are across from the north end of Lincoln Park, the otter would have had to cross Fauntleroy Way SW, so consider that a potential otter route too. A few years back, young otters wandered up Fairmount Ravine into the neighborhoods near Hiawatha!
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“This feels so eleventh-hour,” one frustrated parent said toward the end of an online meeting today about asbestos-removal work at Lafayette Elementary.
That wasn’t an exaggeration. In response to copious concerns voiced by staff and parents, Seattle Public Schools‘ project-team leaders met with them this afternoon toward the end of the last workday before the work is set to start. The work actually was supposed to get going this past Monday – as noted here a week ago when the district sent us a community notice – but was pushed back so concerns could be addressed. (Here’s a letter from staff and PTSA members spelling out the concerns.)
The asbestos removal is the opening act of a project that has been in the works for going on two years – earthquake-proofing work, fire-sprinkler installation, and replacement of the school’s 70-year-old boiler. It’s the consolation prize of sorts for Lafayette having been passed over for a rebuild in the district’s most-recent BEX levy, though it was listed as “priority” for condition/capacity concerns during levy planning. (It’s not likely to be up for a rebuild for 10 to 15 years, one district official said today when the topic came up.)
Though the overall project is long-planned, the asbestos-removal component wasn’t mentioned until last week, staff and parents say.
Thanks to everyone who’s messaged us about the fence that has suddenly appeared around that play structure at Westcrest Park (thanks to Jon for the photo). We asked Seattle Parks about it – reply: “The playground has deteriorated and we have closed it. We will be replacing it, in-kind, as part of our Westcrest Off-Leash Area Project.” The reply did not mention a timeline, so we’re following up. It’s one of several Seattle Parks play structures closed in recent years for safety concerns; the south play area at Lincoln Park is still awaiting its replacement 4 years after its sudden closure (construction now set for this fall).
From the “you asked, so we asked” file – those new black-plastic-covered signs in Arbor Heights are for the upcoming speed humps/cushion installations, and we’ve found the plan is for more than originally announced. When we first reported on them after a reader tip last month, SDOT‘s map showed them within a few blocks of Arbor Heights Elementary and Westside School (WSB sponsor). But now the plan has gone behind that map – three added on SW 106th “in the long block between 39th Ave SW and 35th Ave SW” (above), and two planned for Marine View Drive (below):
SDOT says the Marine View Drive speed humps are meant “to improve safety along the [bridge] detour route as part of the Reconnect West Seattle program.” All the signs will be uncovered when the speed humps/cushions are installed soon.
In case you passed by and wondered what happened: A two-car collision at 38th/Genesee this past hour left two cars off the road – one on the sidewalk, the other through a fence. The photo was sent by the owner of the fence, who says nobody was hurt. On the other side of the fence, the primary damage, reports the owner, was a lilac bush.
Just about every year, the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties organizes the Rampathon – local builders helping people in need of better access to their homes by building ramps, for free (500 since 1993). Longtime WSB sponsor Potter Construction participates each year and asked us to help get the word out that applications are open: “It is an amazing program that helps individuals and families in the community. Its purpose is to provide our neighbors the freedom to move about.” Applications need to be in by June 21st; here’s how to apply.
Two days after Seattle Public Utilities closed the area off Bonair/Alki to “water activities” because of a sewer overflow, it’s open again. SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register tells WSB that the latest water-quality tests show it’s safe. As reported Wednesday, the overflow – approximately 1,655 gallons – is blamed on a century-old sewer line failing. We’re continuing to follow up to see what’s planned for repair/replacement.
As mentioned briefly in the morning traffic watch, sidewalk construction near the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse begins this weekend. After hearing about this last night, we asked SDOT for more details today, and here’s their reply:
SDOT is building sidewalks on the west side of West Marginal Way near the Duwamish Longhouse. The new sidewalk will provide safer and easier access to the Duwamish Longhouse and will also provide direct access for people in wheelchairs who are rolling to the Duwamish Longhouse from the parking lots on the east side of West Marginal Way SW. Construction will happen during the weekends and will begin on Saturday, May 1 through Sunday, May 30. Work hours will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. One southbound lane and at least one northbound lane will be maintained during construction. People driving through the area during construction should expect potential delays. If possible, we ask they plan weekend travels accordingly to detour around this work and avoid the work areas. For more information or questions, people can contact 206-684-7623 or 684-ROAD@seattle.gov.
The sidewalks are part of the long-planned project that will include installation of a crossing signal near the Longhouse later this year, separate from the protected-bike-lane proposal. A decision on that hasn’t been made yet, SDOT said at last night’s HPAC meeting, which is where we got first word of the sidewalk work. (Full meeting report to come.)
The photo is from this past Saturday’s Drug Take-Back Day event outside the Southwest Precinct – sent by Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner along with the results, and what you can do with unwanted/unneeded/expired medications if you missed it. Dropoffs filled 9 boxes, totaling 295 pounds. That’s more than the other Seattle location, the North Precinct, with 286 pounds. You don’t have to wait until the next Drug Take-Back Day if you still have something to get rid of – this flyer (in English y en Español) lists year-round locations including the pharmacies at QFC in The Junction (4550 42nd SW) and Walgreens in High Point (6330 35th).\
Thanks to Brad for the photo/report – that’s the aftermath of a 2-vehicle collision at 47th SW and SW Hinds; one car ended up in a yard. Brad reports, “The homeowner indicates this is not the first time this has happened but it’s the worst.” No apparent injuries, and no SFD dispatch.
Thanks to Collin for the photo and report about a crash “blocking right lane of Olson Place SW and Cambridge st. going uphill toward White Center. Police and incident (response) on scene. Ironically took down the speed limit radar sign; we live on this road and continue to see speed as the contributing factor in this zone, especially with elevated traffic levels due to bridge closure.”
Got expired and/or no-longer-needed medications – prescription or not? The Southwest Precinct (2300 SW Webster) is one of two collection points in the city for National Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday (April 24th), 10 am-2 pm. The announcement:
Too often, unused prescription drugs find their way into the wrong hands. That’s dangerous and often tragic. That’s why it was great to see thousands of folks from across the country clean out their medicine cabinets and turn in – safely and anonymously – a record amount of prescription drugs.
Please bring your unwanted and/or expired medications (no questions asked) … on Saturday, April 24th.
We will also have a variety of crime prevention and informational materials available for pickup.
The precinct confirms they can take liquids as well as pills, and also vape devices (but not the part with a battery). Just go to the front parking lot – dropoff is outdoors and distanced.
The intersection of 35th SW and SW Graham, scene of deadly crashes over the years, is about to get a signal and other safety features – and SDOT says work will start before the week’s over.
Here’s the announcement:
This week, construction will start at the intersection of 35th Ave SW and SW Graham St for the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway Phase 2 project. Construction of Phase 2 of the West Seattle Greenway began in late February 2021. This Greenway will be completed as early as mid-July 2021.
Changes at the 35th Ave SW and SW Graham St intersection are shown in the graphic and include:
Adding a crossing signal for people using the Greenway. When activated, the signal will turn red for people driving on 35th Ave SW.
Removing high-risk turning movements:
People driving on SW Graham St (eastbound and westbound) will not be able to turn left onto 35th Ave SW or to drive straight through to the other side of SW Graham St. They can only turn right onto 35th Ave SW.
People driving southbound on 35th Ave SW will not be able to turn left or right onto SW Graham St. They will need to drive around one block to access SW Graham St.
People driving northbound on 35th Ave SW will not be able to turn left onto SW Graham St. They can still turn right onto SW Graham St.
Building new crosswalks
Improving lighting at the intersection
Painting green markings for people biking to cross the intersection
Building speed humps on SW Graham St approaching the intersection
What to expect during construction
Typical weekday work hours of 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
Occasional weekend work, hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
Temporary on-street parking restrictions, with “No Park” signs placed in advance
Parking restrictions to allow space for work and equipment
Driveway closures when crews are prepping and building the sidewalk in front of driveways
Flaggers directing people driving and biking around the work
Lane reductions near the work area for people driving
Detours around the work area for people walking and driving
Noise, dust, and vibrations during work hours
We will work with neighbors and the construction contractor to minimize construction impacts as much as possible.
It’s been five years since the signal was mentioned as a possibility as part of the second phase of the 35th SW Safety Project; it subsequently became part of the Greenway project instead.
That’s the question the American Red Cross has for you. If you’re not sure – they have something else for you – a free personal online session to review fire safety. Here’s the explanation they asked us to share with you:
The goal of the Home Fire Campaign is to reduce home fire fatalities by educating clients on home fire safety and installing free smoke alarms in homes that do not have them. Due to COVID, we have pivoted to delivering free virtual home fire safety sessions to interested clients. These virtual calls take less than 20 minutes and review topics such as the most common causes of home fires, how to create and practice a home fire escape plan, how to test your smoke alarms, and additional local hazard preparedness information (e.g. earthquake). Interested folks can request a free virtual appointment on our website.
You can go here to set up that appointment. (You might even be eligible for a free smoke alarm if you don’t have one already.)
(WSB file photo: Stack of donated car seats from past WS Baby drive)
With community help, local nonprofit WestSide Baby works to help families keep babies safe, warm, clean, and dry. One important component of that: Car/booster seats for wee ones to ride in. This Saturday, WestSide Baby’s collecting them – and you can help even if you don’t have one to donate:
Donate your new or used car seat
Car Seat Details
Donated seats MUST meet the following requirements:
For Infant Car Seats: Donated items must be at least 6 months from the expiration date. Expiration dates are typically 6 years after the manufacture date. This date is often located on either side or under the car seat on a sticker.
For Convertible/Combination/ Booster Car Seats: Donated items must be at least 1 year from the expiration date. Expiration dates are typically 6 years after the manufacture date. This date is often located on either side or under the car seat on a sticker.
Have not been in an accident. You will be asked to sign a waiver stating that this car seat has not been involved in a vehicle accident.
Have not been washed with harsh chemicals, like bleach. Although we love to receive clean items, bleaching the straps impacts the webbing, as it easily frays, allowing children to come out of the seat in a crash.
In addition, whenever possible, please visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov to quickly review whether your seat has been recalled. You may be surprised. Many issues can be addressed by ordering a part (usually free of charge from the manufacturer). This individual effort on your part allows us to move items safely and quickly.
Other info about donating to WestSide Baby is here.
The West Seattle Bridge closure detours have linked the peninsula and Duwamish Valley communities – South Park, Georgetown – more closely than ever. Two weeks ago, we reported on a deadly crash in Georgetown, in which a 54-year-old man riding a bicycle was hit and killed by a semi-truck driver. Today community members are organizing a ride in the victim’s memory. From the announcement:
Georgetown residents have organized a Community Ride “Critical Mass” bike ride event, (after a) vehicle-related fatality which took place March 24th. The meetup is at 4:00 pm, Friday, April 9th, in the parking lot of the Georgetown Campus of South Seattle College, 6737 Corson Ave S. This event will be a legal and peaceful 1 1/2-hour ride on public streets, highlighting the dangers of biking in the Georgetown neighborhood.
The event organizers aim to:
–Remind drivers in an area of both heavy vehicles and heavy traffic that they need to share the road;
–Remind the city and the community that biking in and through Georgetown is dangerous and scary
–Ask city leaders that Georgetown improvements are prioritized and centered for bike infrastructure, especially as we experience West Seattle Bridge detour traffic
–Create a safe space to bike in and around our community
The ride was announced at two local meetings in the past three days – District 1 Community Network on Wednesday and West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force on Thursday, which also had a moment of silence both for the victim in this crash and for the scooter rider killed on Beach Drive last week.
That map shows where SDOT is planning speed humps to slow drivers near Arbor Heights Elementary and Westside School (WSB sponsor). We contacted SDOT for more details after a postcard landed in Arbor Heights mailboxes and reader Andrew forwarded it as an FYI. The map (here’s a PDF version) shows 29 speed humps planned for streets that already have 20 mph school-zone signage, says SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson. He adds that this is part of the Safe Routes to School program. Construction isn’t scheduled yet, he says, but won’t happen any earlier than May; the mailer was meant to be an early warning of sorts.
ADDED WEDNESDAY: SDOT explains the color-coding as – red for speed humps, blue for speed cushions. Here’s an explanation of how they differ.
With Seattle Public Schools‘ elementary students returning to classrooms starting tomorrow, West Seattle’s Roxhill Elementary is one of the first four schools to pilot a new SDOT no-through-traffic program, School Streets. These are similar to Stay Healthy Streets – explained by SDOT as “closed to most cars and open to people walking, biking, and rolling to school (to) provide more space for social distancing at school pick-up and drop-off.” This will affect the block of 34th SW in front of Roxhill, between SW Holden and Kenyon, in effect stretching the existing Stay Healthy Street one more block south.
Here’s an SDOT flyer explaining the plan. The Roxhill block is the only School Street in the first four to launch citywide, but SDOT says it will work with other schools interested in requesting one.
Work will start as soon as tomorrow for some of the 70+ new speed humps on the way to Highland Park/South Delridge as part of the Reconnect West Seattle Home Zone plans. The map and announcement are from SDOT:
SDOT will be installing speed humps on SW Henderson St between 10th Ave SW and 12th Ave SW to discourage speeding.
• Construction is anticipated to begin around March 25. The date may change depending on weather and crew availability.
• Work hours are approximately 9 AM to 3 PM to avoid peak commute times.
• We will put up “no park” signs near the speed hump locations in advance of the construction.
• A flagger will direct traffic around speed hump locations while they are being built.
• It will take a few hours to build each speed hump and let them dry/cool down before people can drive on them.
• Temporary chevron markings will be put on the speed humps. They will be replaced with permanent markings after one month once the speed humps fully “cure” (harden).
The full plans for this area and the rest of Highland Park/South Delridge/Riverview were shown at a meeting earlier this month – here’s our coverage.
That sign, which informed us we were speeding on northbound West Marginal Way SW this evening, is one of several that SDOT has added to West Seattle streets since the high bridge closed almost a year ago. More are on the way in the weeks ahead – here’s the list provided by SDOT’s Ethan Bergerson:
New speed radar sign locations:
1 on Dumar Way SW (northbound)
2 on Avalon Way (between SW Spokane St and SW Yancy/SW Andover)
4 on Fauntleroy (1 on each side of the road near the Ferry terminal parking lots; 1 northbound side at Fauntleroy/Raymond; 1 southbound side at Fauntleroy/Brandon)
2 on SW Barton St (1 on northbound side at Barton/26th; 1 on southbound at Barton/30th)
These are NOT enforcement-camera signs – just signs to tell you how fast (or slow) you’re going. Each of these signs costs $25,000, according to the SDOT website.
Thanks to Thomas B. for the photos – that happened about an hour ago on 35th SW at SW Snoqualmie, across from the entrance to the stadium and golf course. The driver crashed into the pedestrian-safety island. Apparently no major injury, as no SFD medic unit was dispatched, just an engine, but we’ll check to be sure. A tow truck had already arrived by the time Thomas took these photos:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Only one thing’s for sure about southbound West Marginal Way between the bridge and the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse: As it passes under the bridge, it will remain one lane.
Beyond that, a variety of options are on the table for that stretch of the street, as SDOT launches a public-comment period, with a mailer headed to 33,000 local mailboxes this week, and an online “open house” set for February 18th.
We first showed you the options a week ago, after SDOT included West Marginal in a wide-ranging West Seattle Bridge-related update at the WS Transportation Coalition meeting. Then last week, the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board got a detailed briefing, and today we met with SDOT reps for followup questions so we could take a closer look.