West Seattle, Washington
Last weekend, SDOT repaved two blocks of storm-rutted SW 106th east of 35th SW. This weekend, more repaving is planned, this time to the west:
On Saturday and Sunday, we will repave a section of SW 106th St between 39th Ave SW and 42nd Ave SW. We’ll begin this work as early as 7 AM and expect to be done by 5 PM both days. People driving can expect delays, lane closures, and detours during the paving. SW 106th St will remain open outside of the work hours.
10:09 AM: Your phone might have just sounded an alarm saying King County is under a tsunami advisory because of the big volcanic eruption in the South Pacific that happened last night:
1.14.2021: Large volcanic eruption near Tonga (Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano) today as seen from outer space. Shown on visible imagery using the Himawari satellite. #hiwx #tsunami #earthquake pic.twitter.com/zOTj6Qu1Wv
— NWSHonolulu (@NWSHonolulu) January 15, 2022
It’s important to know this does NOT mean the stereotypical giant wave (which would be a possibility if the event were somewhere nearby). Even on the open ocean coast, the “tsunami” might be 1 to 3 feet – but do heed warnings if you happen to be visiting that area.
10:19 AM: Here’s a map of where the eruption happened.
3:14 PM: And if you’re still worried, note that the state Emergency Management department clarified that the advisory is not for areas like ours. Meantime, one commenter asked what to do if there WAS a serious tsunami threat – short answer is to head inland/uphill, much longer answer (and lots more info) is here.
5:20 PM: For the areas of our state’s ocean coast that WERE under an advisory, it’s been canceled.
Two months ago, SDOT said its contractor had about two months of earthquake-safety work left on the SW Andover walking/biking bridge over the west end of the West Seattle Bridge. So is it almost done? No. The department sent an update today saying completion is delayed because of the ongoing concrete strike:
This project, and several others, have had to pause concrete paving work until the strike is resolved. This is a challenge, and we support a fair resolution among the parties. In the meantime, we’re continuing other project work at the site and behind the scenes and will be sure to share more about the strike outcome and any impacts to this project as information becomes available. We remain hopeful that this issue will be resolved soon and that we can continue making even more progress delivering projects for our Seattle communities.
The concrete strike’s been under way for two months, so we asked SDOT how much time this project has lost, and which others are affected. We’re still waiting for those answers. The bridge has been closed since two months before the work began, after a sudden shutdown blamed on trespassing concerns.
SW 106th east of 35th SW is one of the stretches of road we’ve featured in this week’s post-storm pothole alerts as part of our first-thing-in-the-morning traffic watches. Good news for those who use that road – SDOT has announced plans to repave two blocks this weekend – here’s the alert:
On Saturday and Sunday, we will be repaving two blocks of SW 106th St between Seola Beach Drive and 32nd Ave SW. [map] We’ll begin this work as early as 7 AM and expect to be done by 3 PM. If you are driving on SW 106th St during this work, impacts include single lane reductions. Please anticipate traffic delays. We do not expect impacts for people walking and biking in the area.
We’ll have other weekend alerts in the Friday morning traffic watch.
Two lanes of Highland Park Way will remain closed until at least tomorrow, SDOT says, in the aftermath of two landslides (Friday and Tuesday). That’s a “safety precaution due to the risk of more landslides while it continues to rain,” according to spokesperson Ethan Bergerson. So what’s being done to address the ongoing risk? Bergerson says SDOT is working with Seattle Parks – which owns much of the slope alongside the uphill lanes – “to plan temporary erosion-control measures now, as well as to promote more vegetation in the spring.” Among those measures are “concrete blocks at the base of the hill to support and hold back the land” – those were installed before the road was partly reopened last night. In spring, when conditions are better for vegetation growth, the plan includes hydroseeding the slope “to protect the near surface soils.”
These slides came five years after a massive slide closed the same stretch for two days. Five months after that, the City Council was considering supplemental-budget funding for a $60,000 “rock buttress” along that same section of Highland Park Way; we’re still researching what eventually happened – Google Street View shows concrete blocks along part of the road, across from the SW Othello intersection – adjacent to where the new ones have been placed, as shown in the top photo, following Tuesday’s slide.
One more post-snow problem – more potholes. So we asked SDOT about what’s planned and what to do if you notice new/renewed potholes. The email reply from SDOT’s Mariam Ali:
SDOT crews work year round to fill potholes, and filled over 14,000 potholes in 2021. But winter storms cause substantial damage to our roads and cause previously filled potholes to reappear throughout Seattle. We are expecting to receive a surge of requests to fill potholes in the coming weeks, and ask for the public’s patience as it will take us longer than usual to respond as our crews continue to work day and night to respond to a large number of storm-related issues.
Last year, we filled 85% of potholes within three business days after they are reported to us, however, with the recent snow and ice this may take longer than usual. The crew members who fill potholes are the same people who have been working day and night for the past 12 days on storm-response activities like driving snow plows and shoveling walkways. We’re still working incredibly hard to deal with multiple challenges and are prioritize our work based on public safety.
Snow and ice causes damage to our roadways as water finds its way into cracks in the pavement. Freezing temperatures causes the trapped water to expand into sharp ice which cuts through the pavement and forces apart fissions in the roadway. When heavy vehicles like trucks and buses drive over these fissures, pieces of pavement break loose and form larger holes.
The weather will continue to be a big challenge all winter long, as future storms may cause more potholes to form. Repairs that we make in weather like this don’t always last because the asphalt won’t bind to the surrounding pavement well when it’s too cold or wet. So many of the potholes we fill today will likely need to be repaired again over the next few months until the weather is warmer.
New potholes appear all the time, and we can only fix potholes that we know about. If you see a pothole, report it on the report it on the FindIt FixIt App, submit an online report, email 684-ROAD@seattle.gov or call us at 206-684-ROAD . To learn more about where potholes have been reported and filled, check out our interactive Pothole Repair Status map. This map shows the locations of all the potholes which have been filled in the past 90 days (one dot may represent up to 30 potholes on a single block):
A texter sent that photo from Fairmount Ravine this afternoon and contacted SDOT to suggest this road should be closed. We’re publishing it as a reminder that aside from arterials, streets are still mostly covered in snow/ice and will be for a while longer – significant rain, and above-freezing air, isn’t due in until Sunday pm. SDOT offers this general reminder:
People driving in the city are advised to avoid steep, untreated streets – whether the street has a “road closed” sign or not. If you must drive, please stick to our plowed and treated snow network as much as possible and avoid the steep or challenging areas of the city.
Yes, some snow is likely this weekend and beyond, says the National Weather Service, but not enough to even issue an alert (yet). The bigger forecast news is that it’s expected to be REALLY, REALLY COLD – colder than we’ve seen in a long time. The big cooldown is forecast to start on Sunday, with a high near 30 and a low possibly in to the upper teens; then Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, highs in the 20s, lows as cold as the lower teens. With all this ahead, the mayor led a briefing this afternoon, including a meteorologist who also stressed that the extra-cold air is the big news, a “rare event.” Here’s the video:
Managers from multiple departments/agencies – including SDOT, Seattle City Light, Metro, Seattle Public Utilities, Human Services – also were part of the briefing, and the roundup of reminders and resources is here, including info on how to keep pipes from freezing (and what to do if they do anyway).
That’s the Admiral Way bridge over Fairmount Ravine, always festively (and mysteriously) decked in bows this time of year. This time next year, though, it might be decked in construction equipment. Earlier this month, a reader noticed what appeared to be an official-looking team assessing the bridge, and wondered if its earthquake-safety work were imminent. We checked with SDOT, whose spokesperson Ethan Bergerson replied: “The SW Admiral Way Bridge is planned to receive an earthquake-safety upgrade as part of the Levy to Move Seattle. Two members of our bridge team visited the site to view the vegetation around the bridge and get a closer look at the bridge in order to scope painting needs. This project is currently in the design phase, and we expect to reach the construction phase in late 2022 or in 2023.” The other Admiral Way bridge is in line for a seismic retrofit too.
We’re getting questions tonight about what’s described as a nationwide situation with social-media-driven concerns about school threats. So far the parents from whom we’ve heard say Seattle Public Schools hasn’t sent any direct communication to families. The district did publish this on Twitter earlier this evening:
We are aware of a national social media trend on TikTok challenging threats of school violence on Dec. 17. While there is no evidence of a specific threat at any of our schools, SPS Safety and Security is closely tracking these incidents in partnership with Seattle Police Dept.
— Seattle Public Schools (@SeaPubSchools) December 17, 2021
National coverage we’ve found (such as this story) underscores that the rumors have not been found to be credible. But some districts have decided to take precautionary action anyway, such as Tacoma, which plans to start the day in lockdown. Even before this – several days ago – SPS superintendent Dr. Brent Jones sent this video message about a recent increase in threats (thanks to the reader who shared the link).
The Longfellow Creek bridge at SW Yancy, by the West Seattle Health Club, is open again tonight, after almost six days of blockage by trees/debris from last week’s windstorm (WSB coverage here). Two readers asked us about its status earlier today; by mid-afternoon today, Seattle Parks responded, work to clear it was completed.
Back in March 2020, early in the pandemic, we got a call from a local USPS letter carrier who asked us to share a request with you. The carrier called again with a simple request for this busy time of year, when they and their colleagues are working long hours: Leave your porch light on. During these short days, they are delivering in the dark more often than you might know. If you’re getting notifications about mail/package deliveries, fetch them as soon as you can. And a few final words – Like so many businesses, the USPS too is shortstaffed right now; be kind and patient with them too.
Updates on two stretches of “Stay Healthy Streets” in West Seattle:
PUGET RIDGE/HIGHLAND PARK: SDOT announced today that they’re removing some sections and continuing to evaluate the SW Trenton section that’s drawn the loudest community clamor for change:
… We are using the (recent) community outreach to develop the permanent route of the Stay Healthy Street. We expect to share the permanent route map in early 2022. The earliest the permanent features (like the updated street closed signs) would be built is summer 2022.
(Before then) We will be removing the below sections of the Stay Healthy Street near Sanislo Elementary. The sections are also shown in the map (above).
21st Ave SW from Croft Pl SW to SW Myrtle St
SW Myrtle St from 21st Ave SW to 18th Ave SW
18th Ave SW from SW Myrtle St to SW Webster St
SW Webster St from 18th Ave SW to 16th Ave SW
These sections were proposed for removal in our recent outreach. … We also heard from people living near these sections and from parents driving or walking students to school that they were not supportive of keeping the sections near Sanislo Elementary. Community members said the streets are already narrow in this area, making it more difficult to safely navigate around the signs and people using the Stay Healthy Street. Student pick-up and drop-off near the elementary school had also become more difficult because of the additional street closed signs on already narrow streets.
Collecting traffic and speed data on SW Trenton St: In our recent outreach, we proposed keeping the Stay Healthy Street section on SW Trenton St from 11th Ave SW to 17th Ave SW. This is because our initial data collection showed fewer people driving on the SW Trenton St section and slower speeds of people who are driving on the street. Additionally, we heard community support for a connection and extra space for walking and biking to destinations in the Highland Park neighborhood.
We heard in our recent outreach that people like to drive on SW Trenton St instead of driving on adjacent arterial streets, like SW Henderson St which is designed to handle more vehicle traffic. Specifically, people driving like to use SW Trenton St from 16th Ave SW to 17th Ave SW to drive to Delridge Way SW and other locations west, like the West Seattle Junction area. We also heard that we needed to better understand the traffic volumes and speeds of people driving on this section of SW Trenton St, in particular between 16th Ave SW and 17th Ave SW.
Before making a decision on keeping or removing the SW Trenton St section, we are collecting and evaluating data along the street, as well as considering the additional community input we’ve received this fall.
There’s more on the SDOT website.
ALKI POINT ‘KEEP MOVING’ STREET SURVEY: SDOT is still asking for input on “permanent design” options for the stretch around Alki Point. This survey will close on December 21st (one week from tomorrow); you can also email your thoughts to AlkiKeepMovingStreet@seattle.gov. (We reported on the proposed options in September.)
Thanks to the commenter who mentioned this: The new crossing signal by the Duwamish Longhouse on West Marginal Way has been activated, after the accompanying crosswalk was painted a few days ago. We asked SDOT for confirmation; spokesperson Ethan Bergerson says, “The signal was turned on yesterday and is operational, but there are still a few adjustments that need to be finished today. One of these items is connecting the push buttons, so we temporarily programmed the signal to display a walk signal automatically until that has been completed.” The signal technically is “temporary” – the permanent one is being designed and is expected to be installed next year. The Duwamish Tribe and community advocates had long pushed for safety improvements here, not just for people parking on the east side of WMW for Longhouse events, but also for better access to the riverfront park, which has major cultural significance.
for this weekend’s Native Art Market and Holiday Gift Fair at the Duwamish Longhouse, crossing guards are still stopping traffic on West Marginal Way, because the newly installed signal isn’t ready yet. Earlier this month, SDOT told the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force that they expected to turn on the signal in “late November,” if weather permitted the crosswalk to be painted. Turns out the weather got in the way of a different aspect of the project. We followed up on the signal statuw before the holiday and got this explanation:
Seattle Department of Transportation crews completed all of the initial work to install traffic signal poles and equipment in early November. The next step is for Seattle City Light to hook up power to the traffic signal so that we can turn it on. Due to the series of severe storms leading to widespread power outages, Seattle City Light has had to reschedule this step for the first weekend in December. Once the power is connected, SDOT crews are ready to take the final steps to unveil the signal lights and paint the crosswalks, which will require dry weather. We intentionally wait to do this until the signal is ready to be turned on in order to avoid confusing travelers.
This signal is technically temporary, with a permanent one to follow.
Three months after SDOT closed the Andover bicycle/pedestrian bridge over the west end of the West Seattle Bridge, they’re one month into construction of its retrofit, with two months to go. Here’s the update we just received:
We began construction in mid-October on the SW Andover St Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge Seismic Retrofit Project and are on schedule to complete construction in the next two months.
The SW Andover St Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge is a vital pedestrian connection between the Youngstown and Genesee neighborhoods. The bridge was built in 1961, prior to the modernization of the seismic design code. This project will strengthen key bridge components to better withstand seismic events like earthquakes.
What’s happening now?
We’re installing new bridge expansion joints, which allow the concrete to naturally expand and contract without cracking. The bridge deck was originally supported by three joints that were not adequately connected to each other to withstand an earthquake. The bridge will be fused together with steel plates, additional rebar, and concrete to improve its resilience to earthquakes.
We’re also strengthening the east side of the bridge where it is secured to the ground. Four long steel rods, called ground anchors, will be installed 40 feet deep into the ground to support this side of the bridge. These improvements will make the bridge stronger and safer in the event of an earthquake.
We are on schedule to complete the work in the next two months. As soon as construction is done, we’ll open the bridge for use again.
Cost of the project is estimated at $1.9 million.
Firefighters at Station 36 alongside the West Seattle Bridge [map] have been attacked from above, twice this week.
A station officer, Aaron Patterson, summarizes what happened as: “Five firefighters’ vehicles were targeted and damaged. Objects were thrown off of the defunct eastbound onramp to the WS bridge. Rocks, bottles, eggs, metal pipes, logs, a car radio, and even a shopping cart were found on and around the firefighters’ cars.” This photo shows the shopping cart:
The first attack happened early Tuesday morning. According to the Seqttle Police report, responding officers noted damage to at least two firefighters’ personal vehicles, including windshield cracks rendering them undrivable, and found rocks in the parking lot, including “a large rock approximately 6 inches in diameter.”
The second was discovered around 9:30 pm Wednesday. The report from the station officer says, “Numerous large rocks, lengths of metal pipe, beer cans, large pieces of fallen trees, and trash were found on and around vehicles. Investigations by the responding SPD officers and the SFD personnel present surmised that both attacks were carried out from the defunct West Seattle bridge eastbound onramp.” After the first attack, the report says, “members had parked bumper to bumper on the east side of the station to avoid being directly underneath the overpass. … These vehicles were directly targeted as the distance was much greater from the overpass to the vehicles. The objects were thrown directly at the vehicles with malicious intent.”
The report adds, “This direct and blatant physical attack against members’ personal vehicles causes us to have real concern for our own physical safety. Had any one of the objects thrown stuck a person, it could have resulted in severe bodily harm, including death.”
While there’s no word of a witness, the officer’s report goes on to detail encampments nearby, including one that is described as having frequent fires, including some from which smoke goes into the air intake for firefighters’ living quarters. The report says, “Engine 36 has had multiple interactions with the resident of this encampment and directed him to extinguish the fires. He continues to burn. Also, it is of grave concern to the members of 36’s that this same homeless individual has erected multiple effigies of firefighters surrounding his encampment.” The report adds, “It is currently unknown who is responsible for these vandalism attacks on the members of 36, but we have reason to suspect that they are related to this issue.”
The report also has requests on improving safety for the station: “To provide for the physical safety of Seattle Fire Department employees and to protect the publicly and privately owned property (Marine 80 and a SFD Gator are stored outside) we would request that action be taken immediately by erecting a fence along the onramp surrounding the station, installing a video camera surveillance system surrounding the station, and requesting that SDOT, SPD, and other appropriate City agencies clear all encampments from this area.”
We asked SFD what they’re doing about the requests; spokesperson Kristin Tinsley tells WSB, “The department’s Services Division is aware of these incidents and is taking steps to help address the complaints. Right now our focus is on adding security lighting, and we are also looking at possible fencing options.”
Two years ago, the city announced that 45th/Admiral crossing improvements had “won” in the Your Voice, Your Choice program – in which people could vote on whether certain small transportation projects would be developed. Jeff emailed us a few days ago to ask why the promised improvements had yet to materialize; concerned community members had been seeking safety improvements there for years before the YVYC vote. So we asked SDOT, which pointed us here, where the plan is recapped as “a new curb bulb on the northeast corner, new curb ramps, new marked crosswalk, and adding a pair of rectangular rapid flashing beacons on the east leg.” As for the construction schedule, spokesperson Ethan Bergerson says it’s expected sometime this fall/winter: “The exact construction schedule is still being determined, and will depend on the weather and crew availability.” The. project (originally proposed for 44th/Admiral) is expected to cost about $120,000.
It’s not just the streets and drains but also the sidewalks that should to be kept clear of all those leaves the wind and rain brought down (ever tried to use a sidewalk covered in slippery/mushy leaves?). If you have yard-waste pickup service, now’s the time to do it, because you can put out extra yard waste for no extra charge every collection day in November. From the city reminder:
If you do find that you have more leaves and yard waste than can fit in your food and yard waste cart, SPU has you covered! This November, SPU is providing FREE extra yard waste collection for household customers, up to 10 extra bags for every collection throughout the month. Simply set out your extra yard waste next to your food and yard waste cart on your collection day.
Extra yard waste must be contained either in kraft paper bags or placed in an extra container that is clearly marked to indicate it contains extra yard waste. Please make sure your extra yard waste collection bags or container only contain yard waste, not food waste. Fallen branches and twigs can be set out for extra collection as well. These can be tied into bundles up to 4 feet long by 2 feet in diameter and tied with fiber twine. Do not use wire, nylon cording, or plastic banding.
(Thanks to Eddie for reminding us about this!)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
SDOT has proposed a permanent route for the Delridge/Highland Park “Stay Healthy Streets,” with some current blocks to be dropped – but keeping the stretch that’s been the source of the loudest community concerns. They’re nonetheless asking for opinions, and hosting an outdoor “open house” today on 11th SW by Highland Park Elementary, 2-4 pm. In advance of that, SDOT reps were at Wednesday night’s HPAC meeting to talk about the Stay Healthy Streets as well as traffic-mitigation/calming events elsewhere.
STAY HEALTHY STREETS: first, a little backstory. These streets are closed to through-traffic, open to drivers who live, work, study, or otherwise have business on them, and open to people walking/running/riding/rolling in the street. The city launched the SHS concept early in the pandemic as a way to get around with more social distancing, but has expanded the mission beyond the pandemic, and is now making many of them permanent. The Delridge-Highland Park SHS network (designated in May of last year) would be the second in the city (after Greenwood) to be made permanent, SDOT’s Madison Linkenmeyer told HPAC.
She recapped what they’ve heard from the community:
That’s 35th/Graham, which was supposed to have a signal by now, but doesn’t. It’s been almost half a year since SDOT announced the start of improvements at the intersection for walking/biking – after deaths in both categories in the 2000s and 2010s. Most of the work is done, but not the signal. Andrew emailed the city and us, wondering what happened. We noted that the project website had been updated two weeks ago to say, “The final work at this intersection includes getting electrical power to the traffic signal and installing the detection in the street for recognizing when a person biking is waiting at the traffic light. Due to construction crew capacity, as well as COVID-19-related supply delays, we expect to complete this work in mid-October.” So, now it’s mid-October, and we asked SDOT today for a status report. The reply: “Last week, we received electrical power at the new signal location. We expect to install the new signal arms and turn on the signal in the next couple of weeks.” The signal was originally proposed as part of the 35th SW Safety Project but then was moved into the West Seattle Neighborhood Greenway extension.
If you have something to say about public safety beyond what the stats show, here’s your annual chance.
Seattle University is administering the 7th annual citywide Seattle Public Safety Survey, which is accessible at publicsafetysurvey.org from through November 30th and is available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese. The purpose of the survey is to solicit feedback on public safety and security concerns from those who live and/or work in Seattle. A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to help them better understand your neighborhood’s safety and security concerns. More information on the Seattle Public Safety Survey can be found here.
You can see past survey results here.
The report and photo are from Kelsey:
So many accidents and near misses at this corner in this school zone near Madison Middle. Every single day. Desperately needs a 4-way stop. Today it was a police car pulling out in front of a car (his fault, he acknowledged). No injuries.
Since most “minor” accidents aren’t reported, it is not seen by SDOT as a problem corner. Spend one day here and you will know. Especially worse now during the week, when West Seattle Elementary kids are heading to Schmitz Park [Elementary].
Time to look into this more seriously before someone is seriously hurt.
This happened just after 2:30 this afternoon. The intersection is one block east of the top of the steep Charlestown hill