West Seattle, Washington
As first reported here two weeks ago, the Andover pedestrian/bicyclist bridge over the west end of the West Seattle Bridge is closed, and SDOT says today it will stay that way until after its upcoming earthquake-safety work is completed. Today’s update says the work will start next month; Mukilteo-based Combined Construction is the contractor chosen for the levy-funded $1.9 million project, expected to last up to three months. And SDOT promises the 60-year-old bridge will be reopened after the work is done. That work will include “installing new bridge expansion joints, which allow the concrete to naturally expand and contract without cracking, and strengthening the base of the east side of the bridge,” So what about the “illegal activity reported by community members” that SDOT blamed for the early closure? They say they’re “evaluating other long-term options such as fencing, gates, and other security measures to prevent illegal activity on the pedestrian bridge and to reduce trespassing onto the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge.”
With school starting next week for most local students, the city’s school-zone speed cameras will be activated starting Wednesday (September 1st) – and SDOT has just announced that for the first time in six years, there’s a new one in West Seattle. In addition to the existing automated cameras, SDOT says it’s added one on 35th SW between SW Willow and SW Othello, near Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School. That stretch has long had a warning about enforcement because SPD had on occasion deployed a mobile speed-camera van, but now there’s a permanent camera. It’s one of 15 around the city, also including sites on Fauntleroy Way SW near Gatewood Elementary, on SW Roxbury near Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School, and on Delridge Way SW near Louisa Boren STEM K-8. (SDOT confirmed, when we asked on followup, that the new camera will have a 30-day warnings-before-tickets period as has been the case in the past.)
We missed it in real time but followed up this morning on a Seattle Fire “rescue extrication” response logged just after 3 am near West Marginal Way and Puget Way [map]. SFD tells us a utility-van driver crashed into a tree, and its crews were on scene for about 45 minutes extricating him from the vehicle. He was transported to a hospital in critical condition,
One more theft to report today – this time, Derek‘s motorcycle:
My white 2000 Harley Davidson Road King police motorcycle was stolen at 1 am this morning on 11th Ave. SW and SW Holden St. Neighbors say they heard it take off around 1 am so I assume ignition was busted. I am offering a cash reward for information leading to my bikes recovery and/or an arrest.
Plate is WA 8G1755; police incident # is 21-215522.
P.S. Motorcycle theft is technically “auto theft” by state law, and that’s one of the categories of crime addressed in this month’s newsletter sent today by Southwest Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Danner:
Smoke alert, heat alert – and now, a burn ban. Here’s the announcement from the Seattle Fire Department:
The City of Seattle has joined King County under a State 2 burn ban effective immediately. During a Stage 2 burn ban, any outdoor fire such as a backyard fire pit or campfire using chopped firewood or charcoal is prohibited.
Under the ban, any person with a recreational fire who fails to take immediate action to extinguish or discontinue when ordered or notified to do so can be charged with, up to and including, a misdemeanor. Seattle firefighters have also been directed to extinguish any illegal fires during this ban.
Manufactured portable outdoor devices are allowed, including barbecues and patio warmers that are used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Approved fuel devices – including those that rely on charcoal, natural gas or propane gas – are also allowed.
Seattle has experienced two large brush fires along I-5 this week, and the long spell without significant rainfall, the risk of fire in vegetated areas remains high. Let’s do all we can to reduce the risk of an unintentional fire:
• Follow the Stage 2 burn ban
• Safely discard any smoking materials (e.g. don’t snuff out in potted plants)
• Check your vehicle to make sure nothing could drag and create sparks while driving
• Avoid parking on dry grassy areas as hot components could start a fire
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you see a brush fire so we can send crews right away.
Just in case you heard the sirens/saw the lights – there were two short-lived water-rescue responses off West Seattle shores tonight. First one was around quarter to 8, off the 1100 block of Alki Avenue SW, initially reported as a paddleboarder possibly in trouble; second one was at about 8:30, off the 3500 block of Beach Drive SW, initially reported as a person on a raft possibly in distress.
Both responses were canceled within minutes.
Thanks to commenter Bryan for reporting that the signs came down today on the South Alki beaches affected by a sewer leak from the Harbor West condos on Beach Drive. Seattle Public Utilities confirmed to WSB tonight that “Samples show acceptable levels and in consultation with Public Health-Seattle & King County, Seattle Public Utilities staff have removed the warning signs and reopened the beach. It’s been almost two weeks since first word of the leak.
If you ride Metro – occasionally or often – but haven’t yet answered its safety survey, today’s your last chance. The survey is part of what Metro calls its SaFE Reform Initiative – safety, security, and fare-enforcement reform. The survey is available here in 13 languages. You don’t have to answer all the questions – you’re allowed to skip any you don’t want to answer. Once Metro comes up with recommended reforms, pilot programs will launch next year.
Lots of questions this morning about all the activity at the former Roxhill Elementary campus (29th/Roxbury) – it’s certainly eye-catching if you pass by, as we just did on our way to and from an unrelated event. We stopped for a few photos.
Back when Seattle Public Schools was drawing up the plan for the BEX V levy, there was talk of rebuilding on this site, since the old Roxhill building is so rundown – but it didn’t make the cut. However, the BEX IV levy passed by voters in 2013 did provide money for seismic (earthquake-safety) improvements here.
According to SPS, the work being done this summer will: “Lower the chimney [height], improve shear wall capacity in classrooms, (and) improve roof-to-wall connections in gymnasium, auditorium, and covered play area.” The chimney was the focus of work when we stopped by.
The contractor is MJ Takisaki, which has a contract for just under half a million dollars; the work is scheduled to be complete before the new school year begins in September. Previous seismic work on the 63-year-old building dates back to 2002, according to SPS. Though the Roxhill Elementary program moved to the former EC Hughes campus three years ago, the old Roxhill is not idle – it is home to programs including special education and part of the alternative high school Interagency.
SIDE NOTE: This is just one of several projects happening at local SPS campuses this summer.
The decision is finally in on the West Marginal Way protected bicycle lane replacing a half mile of the outside southbound traffic lane north of the Duwamish Longhouse. The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force has just been told – in their monthly meeting (watch here) – that the lane will be built.
It’ll be a 4-foot, 2-way protected bike lane with a jersey barrier (here’s our previous coverage of the design that was recently unveiled).
SDOT contends that losing the lane at that spot will have a “negligible” effect on travel times. The construction will not start, however, until after the bridge reopens in 2022. In Q&A, Zora says the mayor has signed off on this. Here are the topline reasons for the decision:
In discussion post-announcement, SDOT director Sam Zimbabwe noted that traffic on WMW is not likely, post-bridge-reopening, to be anything near what it is now. He insists SDOT is committed to freight mobility (the city’s Freight Advisory Board opposed the bicycle lane, and the Port of Seattle expressed concerns). Other updates from the meeting will be in separate coverage.
Just called 911 – police said they will try to find … crowdsourcing might help find these knuckleheads.
Teenagers in a black Tahoe throwing fireworks at people in North Admiral. Threw one at me; then I saw them throw one at a 10-year-old. Poor kid ran inside and was upset; talked to the dad and said it just happened to me.
Didn’t get license plate but did notice one unique identifier, on back of black Tahoe (or SUV) was a Finland flag sticker – somebody has to know that car!
If you do, call 911.
In case you were wondering, Night Out officially makes its comeback this year. The night of block parties celebrating community safety and neighborhood collaboration will again be the first Tuesday in August – that’s August 3rd. Southwest Precinct crime-prevention coordinator Jennifer Danner just sent word, including the RSVP link if you’re planning to close your non-arterial street for Night Out. You can contact her at email@example.com if if interested in swag, crime-prevention handouts, or other materials for distribution at Night Out.
We don’t know how the first night of early Alki Beach Park closure went last night – except that no major incidents were reported – but tonight police are out in force. We drove the beach from 63rd/Alki to Seacrest and back between 9:55 and 10:20 pm, and saw groups of officers on foot, on bikes (photo above), and in vehicles. Some were staged at Don Armeni Boat Ramp. While the beach was still moderately busy at 10:15 pm, officers have since told dispatchers they’re “clearing the beach” now.
Seattle Parks announced Friday that Alki would be closed at 10 pm nightly through Monday, in hopes of deterring problems from violence to fireworks. Its northern counterpart Golden Gardens, meantime, is being closed at 10 pm nightly for nine months, also to tamp down on trouble..
Scammers try to reach you by just about every messaging means possible – even text messages: Patrice Lewis sent this warning:
Watch out for phony health-care-related text messages. I received one Thursday morning that appeared to come from my health-care provider. It told me to click the included link for a health message. I’ve been waiting for a notification that the result of a recent routine test is ready for me in my online health chart, so for a minute I thought it might be that, but the link looked suspicious. I called my provider’s customer service and they confirmed it was fake. So easy to be fooled by these links if you don’t take a minute to question them – so do be careful.
Even a health-care expert can almost get fooled – Patrice is a health-insurance specialist.
P.S. You can report fraudulent messages here.
That’s part of the road damage we first told you about Monday, on 36th SW near SW Oregon. SDOT says repair work starts tomorrow morning, and it’s extensive, so it could stretch across almost two weeks. Here’s the advisory:
Seattle Department of Transportation SDOT crews are planning on doing urgent pavement repairs on 36th Ave SW between SW Oregon St and SW Avalon Way. This work will begin tomorrow morning (Friday, July 2) and will potentially last as long as July 16.
This street was closed on Monday, June 28 due to severe damage caused by extreme temperatures. Crews will need to demolish, remove and replace 8 concrete panels.
Extreme heat can damage roads and bridges. Concrete pavement is designed to expand in hot temperatures and contract in the cold. During extremely hot weather events the heat can sometimes be so great that the expanding pavement has nowhere else to go but up, creating “buckles” in the road.
SDOT crews are continuing to respond to weather-related damage around the city, prioritizing needs with public safety as a top and hazardous conditions first. SDOT engineers are currently evaluating several other locations experiencing heat related distress around the city. Once we perform field assessments of the pavement conditions, we will be targeted and strategic in our approach to make the repairs prioritized based on public safety needs.
Every season brings different kinds of challenges to respond to, and SDOT crews work year-round to maintain to our roads, sidewalks, and curb ramps. For example, in 2020 SDOT crews filled 15,000 potholes but high temperatures can often cause previously repaired potholes to form again so our crews will be ready to respond and repair them again. We expect to continue seeing more pavement damage throughout the summer and expect to continue ongoing repairs over the next several months.
SDOT would like to remind everyone to be aware of these conditions and to be careful. You may see roads closed, signs or cones to warn of a hazard. Please be careful and obey all traffic control signs and devices. If you see road damage, please call 206-684-ROAD to report the conditions.
Every year, Seattle Parks announces it’s keeping lights on for a few hours on the night of July 3rd and 4th at certain locations to try to deter fireworks use. It’s just announced this year’s list. Lights will go on around 8:30 pm and off at 11 pm this Saturday and Sunday at locations including these in West Seattle:
Delridge Playfield, 4458 Delridge Way SW
Hiawatha Playfield, 2700 California Ave. SW
Walt Hundley Playfield, 6920 34th Avenue SW
West Seattle Stadium, 4432 35th Ave. SW
The Parks announcement notes that fireworks, among other things, destroy artificial turf, which would cost more than a million dollars to replace on a full-size field. Also noted: “The fields will be monitored by security from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.”
P.S. We’re checking with other jurisdictions with local parks/sports facilities to find out about their deterrence plans, if any.
9:51 PM: Thanks to everybody who messaged us about that downed tree across 48th SW in Seaview, just before the stretch that leads to/from Lowman Beach. When we went over a little while ago to check it out, police were moving it aside:
One person wondered about the best way to report something like that. If it’s a road hazard, you can always call 911.
ADDED EARLY SUNDAY: Two people have mentioned another tree problem further north on 48th – near Brandon/Findlay – earlier in the evening.
9:43 AM: Thanks to Danny Lean for the photo. According to the dispatch log, that car-on-side crash on California south of Stevens happened around 5:15 am. No medic unit sent, which indicates no major injuries – SFD dispatched only an engine – but a private ambulance was sent, so we are following up with SFD.
2:54 PM: SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo says a 23-year-old woman was treated at the scene, and declined to be taken to a hospital.
This morning’s rescue drill at the Infinity Shore Club (WSB sponsor) is over in the 1200 block of Alki Avenue SW. Senior project superintendent Matt Ohlinger sent the photos and report:
Great turnout this morning for the rescue drills by the members of SFD Station 32
Engine 32 & Ladder 11 crews performed a variety of drills that would be used in an emergency situation for the upper floors of mid-rise building.
Great cooperation from SFD, and thanks from the members of the Alki Builders construction team.
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).