West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“Frustrating” was the word City Councilmember Lisa Herbold used tonight to describe an SDOT-led meeting in which she participated last night.
Last night’s meeting was a “roundtable” during which SDOT unveiled proposed “near-term improvements” in the area of the on-hold Fauntleroy Boulevard project, to be funded by a fraction of the Move Seattle levy money earmarked for the full project. Herbold’s comment was made at tonight’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (separate story on that later).
One of the aspects with which others also indicated frustration is a lack of clarity about what will happen with the possible improvements when Sound Transit finalizes which West Seattle light-rail route will be the “preferred alternative.”
Since that decision is still more than half a year away, roundtable invitees “were not being asked to make any choices,” facilitator Susan Hayman clarified at the start of the discussion.
Here’s who was invited:
About 100 people had already settled in outside the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) about an hour before sunset, and right about now are well into “Wonder Woman,” first West Seattle Outdoor Movies feature of the year. At the concession stand, we found someone costumed in the spirit of the movie:
The night’s concession options included popcorn, water, and gummies. Every West Seattle Outdoor Movies event spotlights a nonprofit, and tonight it’s the WS Helpline, with a table just past the screen and $3 raffle tickets for some cool prizes:
Those prizes included a Mountaineers family membership and two tickets to a Seahawks game. Next week’s nonprofit is WestSide Baby – bring diapers! – and the movie is “Secret Life of Pets,” at dusk July 28th. You’re invited to show up as early as 6:30 pm. The Y is at 3622 SW Snoqualmie in The Triangle.
Big turnout for a special storytime tonight at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) – in honor of Pride Month, Mama T was the guest for Drag Queen Story Hour.
Via Instagram, she said, “I love being able to work with children while opening their minds and hearts to the magical and diverse world we live in!”
P.S. The Pride Month toiletry-donation drive for LGBTQ+ youth continues at the Y (3622 SW Snoqualmie) through Saturday.
June is Pride Month, and the front-desk decorations are just one way the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) is celebrating. From executive director Shalimar Gonzales:
For more than 165 years, the Y has played a central role in knitting together the vibrant fabric of America. We believe the Y must continue to lead the way to a brighter future by following our belief that we are stronger when our doors are open to all. We want to ensure all people- across all dimension of diversity- feel welcome and valued as part of the Y family.
At the Y, we use the month of June to celebrate and highlight our LGBTQ+ community, members, and staff. We honor those who have done the hard work for equity and have dedicated the Y to be among them. We remember the brutality and inhumanity that has been and is perpetrated against our LGBTQ+ family. And most of all we honor all those who are living life as their authentic selves and those who are on the path to that discovery.
No matter who you are, you are seen, appreciated and celebrated at the Y.
The West Seattle YMCA has several opportunities for folks interested in showing their support:
· Through June 30: Toiletry Drive for LGBTQ+ Youth. This month we are supporting Lambert House, an LGBTQ drop-in youth center on Capitol Hill. They have requested sock and travel size personal care products to support LGBTQ youth throughout Seattle that access their services.
· June 28, 6:30-7:30 pm: Drag Queen Story Hour: Join special guest, Mama T, for a fun-filled hour of stories, photos, and fun! Sharing stories that celebrate inclusion, acceptance, and diversity, Mama T will provide a fun and lighthearted story time at the West Seattle YMCA for kids and their families. Feel free to bring your pillows, blankets, or favorite stuffed animal! Light refreshments will be available. Hold your spot by (going here).
· Join the West Seattle and Fauntleroy YMCA without paying a joining fee through Sunday, June 10th, using the code “PRIDE.”
The Y’s main West Seattle location is in The Triangle at 36th/Snoqualmie; in Fauntleroy, it’s at 9140 California SW.
A rare honor for our area’s newest Seattle Fire station – it’s been certified as Platinum LEED, the city has announced, recognizing sustainable design and construction practices. From the announcement:
… The Fire Station 32 project incorporated sustainable features such as solar hot water systems, photovoltaic arrays, green roof, water-efficient landscaping, energy-efficient LED lighting systems, energy-efficient HVAC systems, recycled building material use, low volatile organic compound (VOC) building material use, natural daylighting of common spaces, and individual thermal controls of sleeping areas. …
Station 32, the city says, is one of only two Platinum LEED-certified fire stations in Seattle, one of three in the state. The Bohlin Cywinski Jackson-designed station opened last August, on the same site in The Triangle (38th/Alaska) as the former Station 32.
July 21 – Wonder Woman
July 28 – The Secret Life of Pets
August 4 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
August 11 – A Wrinkle in Time
August 18 – Coco
August 25 – Black Panther
Gates open at 6:30 – bring your own chair/blanket(s) to sit on. The movies start at dusk, and of course that time gets earlier as the summer rolls on. Preshow fun includes kids’ activities at the Y (which supports the series, as does the West Seattle Junction Association, with co-sponsors including WSB); food trucks, concessions, and the always-popular nonprofit-benefiting concessions are in the plan for this year too. See you at the movies!
Just so you know what that short-lived Seattle Fire “full response” at 37th/Alaska was about – turned out to be a dryer fire in the Link Apartments building, per SFD, and most of the crews have been canceled.
Inside and out, it’s a big day at the West Seattle YMCA (36th/Snoqualmie; WSB sponsor) – free fun for Healthy Kids Day, until 1 pm!
The Seattle Police Mounted Patrol – based in Highland Park – was visiting while we were there:
Along with activities to keep kids on the move, you can also learn about healthy eating. And the Y staff is ready to help you with everything from summer camp signups to memberships:
Demonstrations too – see the updated list on the Y’s Instagram feed! Today’s fun is all free.
Lots happening tomorrow, as you know if you’ve browsed the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar, including one of the year’s biggest family events, Healthy Kids Day at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor). This free event packs tons of fun into three hours, 10 am-1 pm on Saturday, and it’s open to everyone, regardless of whether you’re a Y member. Activities include healthy cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, fun games, free cycle helmet with fittings (for the first 100 kids), and program demonstration to motivate and teach families how to develop and maintain healthy routines at home throughout the summer months. Performances too! Here’s the schedule:
10:15 Halau Hula ‘o Lono
11:30 Y Staff Dance Team
12:00 Y Karate Demo
12:30 Zumba Dance-a-Long
The Y is at 36th SW/SW Snoqualmie (map) in the West Seattle Triangle. And if you decide to become a member during HKD – no joining fee.
FIRST REPORT, 3:53 PM: Tonight, as we’ve been reporting, the Junction Neighborhood Organization has a Fauntleroy Boulevard project update on the agenda. This afternoon, we’ve learned it will be a MAJOR update: The project is on hold, because of concerns that have long been raised by some community members – including that it might conflict with Sound Transit‘s light-rail plan, leading to the same stretch of busy roadway being torn up twice. Just posted to the project webpage:
We’re putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold.
… Based on community input and continued coordination with Sound Transit, we are putting construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project on hold. This decision responds to community concerns about prolonged construction and effective use of taxpayer dollars.
Sound Transit’s current proposed route for the voter-approved West Seattle Light Rail Extension includes an elevated rail line on Fauntleroy Way. If built after the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project, there is the possibility that Fauntleroy improvements would need to be removed and potentially rebuilt.
During our recent design outreach, we heard community concerns about dealing with major construction twice in such a short amount of time. The community also asked whether constructing the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project now, and potentially having elements of the project removed later, would be an effective use of public dollars. Our decision to put construction on hold will help to ensure that SDOT’s and Sound Transit’s plans for this stretch of Fauntleroy Way don’t conflict. We recognize West Seattle has multiple paving and transit priorities, and we will reallocate Fauntleroy Boulevard Project funds to address the community’s needs.
Sound Transit is still in the early stages of their design for light rail to West Seattle, and they anticipate choosing a preferred alignment by mid-2019. Last month, the City announced plans to work closely with Sound Transit over the next 18 months to identify a preferred route for the light rail tracks and stations to the West Seattle Junction.
The Fauntleroy Boulevard plan stemmed from a community-generated proposal dating back to the turn of the millennium. It proposed a rechannelization of Fauntleroy Way SW between SW Alaska and 35th SW, adding safety and multi-modal features, and stretches of landscaped median. It was idle for some years (concepts were explored in 2010) and then “re-activated” in 2016, with the final design announced last year. But as the Sound Transit West Seattle to Ballard planning phase ramped up recently, so did the questions and concerns about why millions would be spent on this stretch only to potentially see it torn up again a few years later (it’s in the draft alignment, and ST hopes to start construction as soon as 2025).
ADDED 6:09 PM: We asked City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for comment. Her reply:
We’re working to insure that if Sound Transit builds the representative alignment then Sound Transit will be responsible for rebuilding to project-level standards if they dig up the same portion of the street. If Sound Transit, on the other hand, chooses a different alignment and we move forward with the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project and SDOT determines that there are increased costs as a result of cost escalation due to the delay, then we’ll work to see that Sound Transit picks up those extra costs. Sound Transit won’t make final alignment decisions until late 2019, so in the meantime, we need to be working to prepare for a possible reallocation of levy dollars, based on what we have heard and will hear from the community about West Seattle’s transportation priorities. We don’t want to wait on Sound Transit to keep delivering levy improvements in West Seattle.
Another business hit by thieves – this time, Mountain to Sound Outfitters (3602 SW Alaska in The Triangle) reports:
We had 2 Thule Cargo Boxes stolen from in front of the shop last night. A Thule Force Large and a Thule Force XL. This is now the 3rd total that has been ripped off this year, and we want to let the community know to be on the lookout that local small businesses are being targeted.
If you have tips for the investigation, the SPD incident number is 17-457102.
The West Seattle Trader Joe’s store was expected to reopen this morning after its four-day power outage ended last night, and indeed, multiple WSB readers report, it did. The outage started very early Saturday after a suspected DUI driver rolled his car into the transformer and other equipment on the north side of the store at 4545 Fauntleroy Way SW; City Light told WSB that its part of the repairs were completed by Saturday night but other equipment belonging to the store had to be fixed before they could reconnect, and that took until last night. (While any prolonged closure of a business would be news, this store holds a special place in West Seattle lore due to the many years community members clamored for it, a long wait that finally ended when the conversion of a former car-sales business was completed with the store’s opening in April 2012.)
The West Seattle Trader Joe’s is still closed right now, third day since a power outage caused by a flipped-car crash early Saturday, as first reported here that morning. We have new information from Seattle City Light, after a conversation with spokesperson Scott Thomsen. He explains that the crash damaged not only SCL’s “pad-mounted transformer” – in the spot shown in our photo above, on the northeast corner of 39th SW and Fauntleroy Way – but also “some equipment that belongs to the customer” (Trader Joe’s). Thomsen says SCL completed its work, including replacing the transformer, by 7 pm Saturday. The delay since then is because the electrician working on TJ’s equipment has not yet finished fixing it; once they have, Thomsen says, they are ready to reconnect the power. Side note, answering some questions that had come up in the comment discussion: The damaged transformer did NOT contain PCBs: “The transformer that was hit was one of our new ones, containing certified FR3 vegetable oil. No PCBs. We cleaned up the oil that did leak.” We also sent an inquiry to Trader Joe’s this morning and have not yet heard back; if and when we do, we’ll add the information to this story. Meantime, SPD was investigating the crash as a possible case of DUI; Angela caught the crash aftermath on video:
The driver (who SPD says is a 26-year-old man) was taken to the hospital by private ambulance, which indicates his injuries weren’t major.
9:11 AM: Thanks to everyone who’s texted us about this, reporting that West Seattle Trader Joe’s is closed right now because of a power outage caused by the flipped-car crash we reported early this morning. Angela, whose photo is in our original report, also sent this video:
One person went to the hospital via private ambulance, indicating their injuries were not life-threatening. Meantime, the City Light map says they’re hoping for restoration around 10:30 am – as with all outages, could be sooner, could be later.
9:22 AM: We just went over to the store to find out more. Lots of crews working out front on repairs. A Trader Joe’s staffer tells us they don’t know how long it’ll take – they’ve been warned it could be several hours.
12:05 PM: Still out, per the SCL map and per driving by. No restoration estimate now. Meantime, as noted in comments, SPD classified the crash as a suspected case of DUI.
SUNDAY MORNING NOTE: The SCL outage map shows the power still out. We hope to get over there around 9:30 to verify that the closure is continuing.
10:17 AM: We haven’t made it there yet but multiple reader messages confirm the closure continues.
NOTE: Our Sunday followup is here.
If you have to head out, avoid Fauntleroy/Alaska for a while. Though no major injuries are reported, a flipped-car crash there has raised some safety concerns because of a leak from the car. (Thanks to Angela for the photo.)
ORIGINAL ‘HAPPENING NOW’ REPORT, 11:30 AM: As promised, the Seattle Fire Department is welcoming visitors at Station 32 right now for the first time since the August move-in.
Until 1 pm, it’s the first open house for the newly rebuilt and expanded station in The Triangle at 3715 SW Alaska. More to come!
ADDED 2:11 PM: Since we already took you on a tour of the $18 million station, our added photos focus on who we saw there. Many potential future firefighters:
Eight more photos ahead: Read More
Shortly after West Seattle’s new Fire Station 32 was occupied two months ago, we requested a tour and showed you some of what’s inside. Not long after that, we confirmed that SFD planned an open house on November 4th – and now, it’s almost here! The department published an official reminder today, saying that Saturday’s 11 am-1 pm event will include your chance to “tour the new station, meet (your) local firefighters, explore children’s activities, and enjoy refreshments.” And the city’s Office of Arts and Culture says the artist who created “Station 32 1/2“ for FS32, Sean Orlando, will be there too. Everybody’s welcome; the station’s at 3715 SW Alaska.
Checking the West Seattle traffic cameras a short time ago, we noticed this:
That’s the Shell-station sign at Fauntleroy/Alaska. No injuries, apparently, because no Seattle Fire dispatch was logged, and no SDOT traffic alert. Then we received this ground-level photo from Brian Presser of TouchTech Systems:
Brian says a semitruck was involved in the collision too. As of right now, the live webcam shows the car is still there on the corner – so pedestrians beware, and north/east-bound drivers too, as eventually a tow truck will have to come take it away.
Your chance to buy/sell skis, snowboards, boots, clothing, and other winter accessories is just days away at the 2017 West Seattle Ski Swap, presented by Mountain to Sound Outfitters. It’s happening next door to M2SO at American Legion Post 160 (3618 SW Alaska). Here’s the schedule:
Sellers drop off items for sale:
Friday (October 13th) 3 pm-7 pm
Sale, day 1:
Saturday, 10 am-5 pm
Sale, day 2:
Sunday, 10 am-4 pm
Sellers pick up unsold items:
Sunday, 4:30-6 pm
If you’re interested in selling, register here.
See the full final design on SDOT’s website, and in a smaller version below:
From the SDOT announcement:
Throughout the design process, we’ve been committed to improving mobility on Fauntleroy Way SW for all users – people who walk, bike, and drive. The final design includes two lanes of traffic in each direction on Fauntleroy Way, as we have today, with new sidewalks and crosswalks, a protected bike lane, traffic signal revisions to improve flow, landscaping improvements and more. Read more about the final design on our webpage.
Based on technical analysis and input from the community, we have incorporated into the final design a 2-way left-turn break in the median near 37th Ave SW, while maintaining the traffic calming effects of the landscaped center median. You can read the full summary of public feedback about this design change here.
Construction of the Fauntleroy Boulevard Project is currently anticipated to begin as soon as early 2018. This fall, we’ll begin pre-construction outreach, including sharing more information about traffic routing during construction.
This announcement went out one day after we asked SDOT specific questions about where the project stood, including the “traffic routing during construction” question – so apparently they have yet to decide whether to go with the longer construction schedule, which would involve keeping one lane open each way on Fauntleroy during the project, or the shorter schedule, which would involve making that stretch of Fauntleroy temporarily one way. The answers to our questions, which came in concurrently a short time ago along with this general announcement, also included the note from SDOT spokesperson Norm Mah that “We’re continuing to coordinate with Sound Transit on our collective project timelines.” That was also mentioned by City Councilmember Lisa Herbold in her weekly update last Friday.
This Welcoming Week (through Sunday, September 24th), the West Seattle YMCA will join Welcoming America, hundreds of YMCAs and other organizations nationwide in hosting free events to celebrate immigrants’ contributions to communities and bring together all residents in a spirit of unity. Welcoming Week activities are all free, open to the public and include a focus on cultural experiences.
“At the YMCA, we believe we are stronger when everyone in the community feels welcome and we can all work together for the common good,” said West Seattle YMCA Executive Director Shalimar Gonzales. “Welcoming Week is an opportunity for neighbors – both immigrants and U.S.-born residents – to connect, find common ground and celebrate our shared values – all for a better us.”
West Seattle Y’s Welcoming Week activities include:
Sept. 19, 9-10 am and 6:30-7:30 pm. Our Global Y: Presentation and Discussion. West Seattle staff member Austin Cassell will share his reflection on his recent trip to the Tijuana YMCA.
Sept. 20, 4:30-6 pm. Cooking Across Cultures. Stop in for a FREE community cooking demo where you’ll learn and taste how potatoes are prepared in three different countries: India, Korea, and Mexico. Chef Kim O’Donnel will lead an immersive culinary adventure by preparing aloo gobi (India), gamja jeon (Korea), and papas con rajas (Mexico).
Sept. 22, 6-7 pm. Film Screening of 8 Borders, 8 Days.
A single mother shows us the consequences of closing America’s doors to people fleeing war. With no answer to her application for resettlement in the US, a smuggler’s raft to Europe was the only way out. 8 Borders, 8 Days is a 60-minute documentary following their story.
Sept. 22, 5-6 pm. Afro-Cuban Dance with guest instructor Mark Lilly. Join us as we explore the traditions of the Yoruba people of Nigeria with instructor Mark Lilly. In this class you’ll learn the traditional Orisha dance movements. These dances came to the Americas during slave trade (Maafa) and are taught in the Afro-Cuban technique.
The West Seattle Y is in The Triangle, at 36th SW/SW Snoqualmie.
We promised to let you know when the Seattle Fire Department set the date for an open house at brand-new Station 32. It was still being worked out when we toured the new station last month – but now the date’s finalized – set your calendar for 11 am-1 pm on Saturday, November 4th. SFD’s official announcement won’t be until the date is a little closer, but they confirmed the date after a reader texted us (thanks!) to say they had heard about it while stopping by the station. The new $18 million station is at the same spot (37th/38th/Alaska) as the old one, but much larger, and now home to the area’s battalion chief as well as Engine 32, Ladder 11, and Medic 32.
The long-anticipated SW Alaska crosswalk on the west side of Fauntleroy Way is now open (lower half of the top photo). First word came in a short time ago from Matt, who also sent the photos:
Finally! They painted the stripes this morning and it was open by the afternoon. They also re-striped East across Fauntleroy.
The walk signal is about 15 seconds long and the turn arrow does remain red; however, I did observe one southbound car start to proceed through the right turn when the signal turned green for the other two lanes only to stop quickly when they saw a pedestrian crossing. I’d suggest caution when crossing here as it may take a while for people to get used to a crosswalk being here.
This crosswalk has been years in the making – though SDOT installed it, it was part of The Whittaker‘s (WSB sponsor) “public-benefit package,” required for its alley vacation; the crosswalk goes from The Whittaker’s northeast corner across SW Alaska to Spruce (LA Fitness + apartments). We’re told there’s still a little more work ahead at this intersection, so don’t expect to see it crew-less just yet.