Triangle – West Seattle Blog… West Seattle news, 24/7 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 08:02:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Will ‘near-term improvements’ be made while Fauntleroy Boulevard project’s fate awaits light-rail decision? Fri, 27 Jul 2018 06:00:04 +0000

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:

The meeting was not widely publicized; we mentioned it but originally only heard about it because two invitees told us. SDOT eventually said the public was welcome to observe but not participate. A few community activists did show up to do that.

Adonis Ducksworth, SDOT’s outreach lead for the project, gave a presentation. He listed the project’s goals as “respond(ing) to community needs identified in the West Seattle Triangle Plan and the Bicycle Master Plan.” The timeline noted “community-led planning” starting in 1999, the Bicycle Master Plan designating Fauntleroy Way for a protected bicycle lane in 2014, and the construction going on hold back in January after repeated community concerns. He said SDOT kept hearing “you’re going to spend all this money and then Sound Transit’s going to rip it all out” since the project zone is along a possible light-rail route. He revisited the final design from pre-idling.

He stressed that the project overall has not been scrapped – if the ST route doesn’t impact Fauntleroy, it’ll be buiLt as designed. If it does, they’l work with ST to implement streetscape improvements and “reallocate remaining project funds to other West Seattle mobility goals.”

Dan Enrico, the new project manager, said the near-term improvements have about a $1 million budget (the full project was estimated at ~$15 million) and would be intended to “improve safety for all users,” with “lower-cost” construction methods (he later repeatedly referred to “paint and post”). They would be refined this fall “based on roundtable feedback and technical analysis” and then would be shared with “community and stakeholder groups.” Work would start “as early as next spring.”

Then: SDOT went through what’s being considered so far. First, “general notes” would include refreshing all the markings on Fauntleroy Way from 35th to Alaska, adding bike crossings, look at adding a new pedestrian crosswalk.

*At Fauntleroy/Alaska, formalize the traffic island – painted, not raised – to “tighten intersection and provide guidance for traffic turning right.” Also, a new bicycle crossing across Alaska, with a left-turn “bike box.”

*Between 38th and 37th – where there’s currently a fire signal – a new signalized (push-button-activated) pedestrian crossing, new curb ramps on both sides of Fauntleroy, widen and realign the crosswalk at Oregon “to improve visibility.” The signal still needs to be designed and priced before they would know whether it can be included.

*36th/Avalon – add four off-peak parking spaces to reduce acceleration for traffic using right-turn slip lane. Also realign pedestrian crosswalk to shorten crossing distance (West Seattle Brewing southward), new bike crossing, close right-turn slip lane from Avalon to Fauntleroy, provide new curb bulb for people who walk and bike. New markings on the west side of the intersection (outbound side) to better define it.

*35th/Fauntleroy – update signage to current standards

Lora Swift from the West Seattle Junction Association wondered if repainting crosswalks will also address some of the cracks and other problems in the road. Enrico said, “We would certainly use our Pothole Rangers and fix those up.” Pete Spalding from the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce brought up the bike turn lane on Delridge and wondered whether one on Fauntleroy might be more liability than safety if just painted. He also wondered about lighting; Enrico said they’ll be looking at that.

Katie Trent from Rudy’s Barbershop wondered if near-term improvements would still happen if ST3 was NOT going down Fauntleroy. Enrico: “Depends on how fast we could dust off the design.”

Julie Mierzwiak from Realfine Coffee wondered about completion timeframe for the near-term work. If they started in April, by the end of summer, said Enrico. “We would phase the work so our crews could take care of it, we wouldn’t want to impact the community for a long duration.”

Ducksworth pointed out the Avalon repaving/rechannelization project – for which he’s also doing outreach – would start “sometime in the spring of 2019.” Enrico said they’re coordinating with that project and in fact this might be bundled with it.

Herbold said she hoped they would be ID’ing things that are already part of larger Fauntleroy project so that they wouldn’t have to stop down – this would be like phasing and then adding other pieces if feasible.”I wouldn’t want Sound Transit’s decisionmaking process to result in endless delay” for this, she stressed.

Enrico pointed out “(the full project) involves rebuilding the entire right of way” but some things are simple “pin and post installations” that would be removed if they do the full project.

Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections pointed out more bicycle safety features are imperative, including at 36th “where drivers are just whipping around the corner.” Doing these as mockups – seeing how they work – is an opportunity. “If these mockups can represent the final design in a mockup form …” Enrico said that indeed some of this is a chance to see how the changes would work. Maybe for example at 36th/Avalon they could shorten the light cycle and improve traffic flow.

Ducksworth noted that ST construction would start around 2025 so these features if built now could be in place for 5+ years. Enrico promised they’d continue collecting data and see how this all affects all modes. He added that five years is about the lifespan of these types of improvements anyway.

Area resident/community advocate Sharonn Meeks wondered if $1 million is really the budget for everything on the list. Enrico called it “an educated guess” from SDOT having done many “paint and post improvements … all over the city.” Actual costs would be identified in design over the next few months. Meeks also pointed out the city-owned triangle of land by Wardrobe Cleaners had possibilities.

Former City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen mentioned past walking tours in the area with community members and the need to improve pedestrian-activated crossings.

West Seattle Transportation Coalition chair Michael Taylor-Judd said WSTC has raised “a number of concerns with the final project design” – so “why not use this opportunity to test some aspects of the project ..” to see how traffic is affected, since that gives SDOT a chance to see if “it’s disastrous” or not.

The timeline came up for question again: “If by April of 2019 (Sound Transit) tells us they’re going to put in a tunnel and miss Fauntleroy, it would take six to nine months to get the project out to bid” – so that would mean construction (of the full project) maybe in 2020. And that would mean there’d be no point in installing the near-term improvements, just to have them torn out a year later.

So how much time would be wasted on this planning in general? is one question.

Enrico said there’s a group that’s “very efficient” in working on this kind of thing so .. his inference was … not much. They’re looking at another meeting like this in September or October when the near-term improvements would be at about 60 percent design.

Ducksworth said, though, “we are committed regardless of Sound Transit’s decision to make some of the near-term improvements.”

Pedestrian advocate Gordon Padelford wondered about dealing with sidewalk damage. Enrico mentioned planters.

Then the timeline, again:

Herbold said her expectation is that “even if Sound Transit decided to … not impact Fauntleroy, we would move forward with these near-term improvements.” She said she’s still seeing a conflict over these improvements occurring or not. “Are these the improvements we should be talking about now or is there a different set we would want to make regardless of Sound Transit’s decision?”

SDOT promised to figure out how to clarify it.

Triangle business owner Kandie Jennings said this all seemed premature given that in April it might turn out to be all for naught.

But West Seattle resident Peg Staeheli observed, “It’s actually been several years that we’ve been waiting for this” – and safety improvements are badly needed, so: “Whatever’s a no-brainer, we should go for it.”

The roundtable concluded shortly after that. Exactly what happens next, given all the concerns that were raised, isn’t clear, except that the full project’s fate will be known next spring, and that SDOT will continue design work on the “near-term improvements” for now.

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West Seattle Outdoor Movies’ 2018 season opener Sun, 22 Jul 2018 05:19:13 +0000

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.

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Pride Month storytime brings Mama T to West Seattle Y Fri, 29 Jun 2018 04:03:55 +0000

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.

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3 ways to celebrate Pride Month with West Seattle YMCA Sat, 09 Jun 2018 22:26:06 +0000 (WSB photo)

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.

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West Seattle’s new Fire Station 32 gets LEED Platinum certification Thu, 31 May 2018 20:59:16 +0000 (WSB photo from November 2017 open house at Station 32)

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.

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West Seattle Outdoor Movies 2018: Here’s the lineup! Thu, 24 May 2018 21:43:07 +0000

It’s official! The lineup is set for this summer’s slate of six free Saturday night West Seattle Outdoor Movies presented at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) in The Triangle:

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!

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Small fire brings briefly big response in West Seattle Triangle Thu, 10 May 2018 00:26:30 +0000 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.

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HAPPENING NOW: Outdoor/indoor fun at West Seattle YMCA for Healthy Kids Day Sat, 21 Apr 2018 18:24:06 +0000

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.

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SATURDAY: Healthy Kids Day 2018 at West Seattle YMCA! Sat, 21 Apr 2018 03:14:09 +0000 (WSB photo from Healthy Kids Day 2017)

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.

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BULLETIN: Fauntleroy Boulevard project ‘on hold’ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 23:53:00 +0000
(WSB file photo – 38th/Fauntleroy, in the zone set for the now-on-hold project)

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.

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WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Thieves hit Triangle business Tue, 12 Dec 2017 23:14:19 +0000 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.

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FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Trader Joe’s open again after 4-day power-outage closure Wed, 06 Dec 2017 17:04:32 +0000 Photo added 9:36 am

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.)

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FOLLOWUP: Third day of West Seattle Trader Joe’s closure because of crash-caused power outage Mon, 04 Dec 2017 18:12:23 +0000

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.

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FOLLOWUP: West Seattle Trader Joe’s closed because of power outage caused by early morning crash Sat, 02 Dec 2017 17:11:09 +0000

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.

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Crash at Fauntleroy/Alaska Sat, 02 Dec 2017 10:38:10 +0000

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.)

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