West Seattle, Washington
Just a few simple words from the Arbor Heights family of Amanda Knox — but they had to put it out on a public relations press release service (PR Newswire), since the European media in particular is in a frenzy over this case. A judge in Italy ruled a few hours ago that Knox would remain in jail, along with the other suspects, while investigators continue to sort the case out. Interesting side note from this Times article on logistics assistance for Knox’s mother, who is now in Italy, to deal with what’s going on.
Seattle City Council President Nick Licata came to High Point last night to meet with the HP Neighborhood Association. His evening began with a walking tour led by neighborhood reps Denise Sharify and Miranda Taylor showing him what they consider the hot spots for pedestrian danger and explaining what they want the city to do. Our videographer recorded much of it — but nothing underscored the point as well as this bit of unexpected suspense, when a little boy on a bicycle showed up nearby, needing to get across 35th SW:
One week ago tonight, West Seattle bicyclist Peter McKay was shot while riding on Delridge, not far from his home. No one is under arrest yet, but local groups are doing what they can to change that: Read here and here about Seattle International Randonneurs and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington raising more than $5,000 so far to give somebody the impetus to bring the culprits in. (If you want to donate, all three of the links in the preceding line will send you to the right place.)
We monitored some of this afternoon’s King County Ferry District hearing on the water taxi and other proposed foot-ferry operations. The district board members, aka King County Council members, had just received the proposed operations plan/budget (which we are awaiting to pass on to you) — they have a lot of decisions to make, and the next meeting is Tuesday morning. One thing we were glad to hear — toward the end of the meeting, West Seattle’s KC Councilmember Dow Constantine talked about the excellent in-person turnout (we saw some known WSB readers at the podium!) and also the fact more than 50 people submitted “online testimony” — for which the specific link was created after a WSB reader asked about it. Way to go for public participation, and stand by for more details on the decisions to be made and how it will affect you, both in terms of transportation and taxation. 4:15 PM UPDATE: Here are those details, contained for starters in the County Executive’s “transmittal letter” (read the full text here) — we’re still reading through it ourselves, but one topline is the proposed funding plan (quoting from the document now): “a property tax levy of 5.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed value over ten years.”
There’s a real bulletin this time around in the semiweekly city Land Use Information Bulletin that just came out: A request to rezone both sides of California, between Hanford and Hinds on the east side, and from Hanford to 100′ south of Hinds on the west side. If this is granted, the zoning would change from NC1-30′ (the last number is max height) to NC2-40′. Looking now to find out more about what’s behind this, but wanted to pass it along in the short run – we’ve been following the LUIB fairly closely for more than a year and haven’t seen anything like this in that time.
Just in, courtesy of this city press release: Remember the call for citizen votes earlier this fall on how to spend city money on neighborhood transportation projects? From the long list of West Seattle nominees, the mayor is recommending approval of two sidewalk projects: Alki Avenue from 65th to Beach Drive (stretching west from the area above where the sidewalk ends now), and in east West Seattle, a sidewalk along 30th between Findlay and Juneau.
We weren’t here for the years before the “high bridge,” but we understand life was quite different when everyone trying to cross the Duwamish into and out of West Seattle was at the mercy of marine traffic. Now, we have the “high bridge” (completed in 1984) and the “low bridge” (completed in 1991), which elegantly swings open to allow marine traffic to get through. It’s that bridge Jennifer e-mailed WSB about to suggest a discussion:
I was wondering if there has been any discussion on the WSB or elsewhere about the opening of the lower bridge during rush hour? I began a daily trip across the lower bridge about two months ago, in order to reach my son’s day care on East Marginal, and I’m continually amazed at how frequently the lower bridge is opened around 8 AM and 5 PM, peak traffic times. Combine it with trains, the hellish traffic light at Spokane/West Marginal, and the occasional accident on the West Seattle Bridge (and all the folks who think they’ll beat the traffic by hopping down to the lower bridge), the roads leading to the lower bridge are gridlocked quite frequently.
Before I incur the wrath of indignant commenters (Ride the bus! Find daycare closer to home! Don’t complain because ships are people too! Go back to California!) I’d like to point out that this isn’t a whiney complaint; I’m really just interested to know what folks might know about it. I’m surprised that the trucking traffic coming out of all the Port terminals doesn’t take precedence over the ships passing through. Is there really a well-devised plan to take into account the needs of ship traffic, weighted against the huge traffic tie-ups that result during certain hours of the day? Forget the measly little commuters in their SUVs – what about the business impact to the industry in the area?
Also, my observation is that the lower bridge affects everyone who commutes in and out of WS – including bus riders, bicyclists, workers in the Duwamish area, truckers, and everyone on the ‘big’Â bridge – because when the lower bridge is closed, everyone heads up there and does some kind of crazy u-turn in the 1st Avenue South area.
Thanks for any insights.
Here’s what the Seattle Department of Transportation has to say about it. (The bottom-line quote from that link, “The Southwest Spokane Street Swing Bridge opens on demand, even during rush hour.”)
Tonight before the High Point Neighborhood Association meets (6 pm, High Point Library), members of its Pedestrian Safety Committee plan a walking tour with City Council President Nick Licata. One of the recent tragedies that concern this group and other West Seattle residents is the accident at 35th/Othello on October 27th that killed longtime area resident and educator/engineer/inventor Oswald Clement. His memorial is now set for next Wednesday (11/14) at St. James Cathedral, according to friend and former student Sharon Stone, who has written an obituary to tell us all more about Mr. Clement and his life, which ended just two days short of his 86th birthday:Read More
In the past week, we’ve been talking here on WSB about a recent wave of graffiti/tagging vandalism in the Alki/Beach Drive areas, including railings and bulkhead concrete in this area just south of Alki Point (deliberately shot wide so as not to showcase the tags), reported by Betsy the other day:
We’ve also received word of a particularly ugly tag, one of those crowns, thrown up on the restroom building at Whale Tail Park. There is on occasion some headway made against these crimes, such as the tale of two tweens caught in the act (noted briefly here). But invariably, these vandalism reports come in with the question, what to do about it, and who to call? Comment #5 from LGS below last Friday’s post has the detailed information, excerpted here:Read More
Less than a week after the Elliott Bay Water Taxi sailed into the sunset for 2007, its final ridership totals for the year are just out, thanks to King County Councilmember Dow Constantine‘s office: 161,331, up from last year’s 122,650. Previous high before that was 2001, when ridership totaled 132,058 — but keep in mind the WT ran for 7 months that year; this year, it ran for 6 months. Meanwhile, another reminder – tomorrow’s the public hearing on the operating plan and budget for the King County Ferry District; final details of the plan have taken a while to work out but the Constantine team says they’ll get them to us tomorrow morning. If you can make it to the King County Courthouse to testify in support of the Water Taxi and waterborne transit in general, 2 pm tomorrow is the hearing; if there’s no way you can make it in person, send your comments — about the Water Taxi and other potential King County foot ferries, not about related services such as the land shuttle — by using this web form.
Just heard from Eva on Alki that a tv report mentioned orcas spotted following a fishing boat along Alki about an hour ago — it’s not on the Orca Network sightings page yet but there’s no question that this is the time of year the orcas follow chum runs into this part of Puget Sound (lots of sightings listed across the water around Vashon and Blake Islands). Let us know if you see any — pix and video appreciated too! 3:20 PM UPDATE: As pointed out in the comments, a tv helicopter has procured orca video (watch it here). And if you want to try listening for underwater orca sound – this is a cool site to check.
OK, so last night’s election results suggest nobody’s in much of a mood to give government more money. However, as we have reported here previously, this is the time of year when local governments are deciding what to do with the money they already have (or are slated to get) – and Seattle Public Library supporters have an urgent call for library users to help make sure the library’s needs are “on the books” if you will:Read More
1:20 AM UPDATE: Yet another update from King County’s elections dept., which appears to be finally calling it quits for the night after one more vote update. Now 99% of precincts are counted, but of course thousands of votes mailed as late as Election Day will still be trickling in. According to the county site, the votes counted so far represent 25% of registered voters in King County. One shift in the latest count: Incumbent Alec Fisken is now behind Bill Bryant in the race for Seattle Port Commission Position 5.
11:55 PM UPDATE: Yet another new count is out in the past half-hour. The Seattle Port Commission results are worth watching, given West Seattle’s ties to port operations. Incumbent Bob Edwards is losing; incumbent Alec Fisken is barely ahead in a squeaker.
11 PM UPDATE: The second batch of King County votes is in. No changes on the races mentioned below. Steve Sundquist looks to be on his way in as West Seattle’s next school-board rep, still ahead of Maria Ramirez 60%-40%. And Roads & Transit Prop 1 is losing 44%-56% — back to the drawing board (again) for the people trying to work out transportation solutions. Next big transportation issue to be tackled here in King County, remember, is the Ferry District, which includes Water Taxi operation, with that major public hearing coming up Thursday.
9:40 PM UPDATE: If you are waiting breathlessly for the next round of updated vote counts — King County says it’s not planning to release that next round till about 10:30. (But you can keep checking the links below just to see if it happens sooner!) Other notes from the first round of results: The City Council turned out to have a couple interesting races. Venus Velazquez (who has WS ties) is well behind Bruce Harrell; David Della is losing in a big way to Tim Burgess. In the school board districts outside West Seattle, the incumbents who are behind, at least in the first round of returns, are Sally Soriano (who has WS ties) and Darlene Flynn.
8:20 PM UPDATE: First results are in. King County voters are going against Roads/Transit, 45-55%. Steve Sundquist leads Maria Ramirez for West Seattle’s school board seat, 60%-40% (and two incumbents are losing in other races). Incumbent Dow Constantine leads challenger John Potter for West Seattle’s King County Council seat, 75%-25%. Here are the direct links for the latest numbers in races of particular West Seattle interest:
Roads & Transit Proposition 1 and statewide ballot measures
King County Council including District 8 (West Seattle/Vashon Island)
Seattle School Board including District 6 (West/South Seattle)
Seattle Port Commission (two races)
Seattle City Council Positions 1, 3, 5 (including West Seattle’s Tom Rasmussen, who had no opponent)
Seattle City Council Positions 7 & 9
All other results from King County & its cities/districts
Between the end of tonight’s bridge backup and the start of tonight’s election results … we wanted to take a moment to share this happy e-mail from Kathy Harper:
West Seattle Blog readers should know that West Seattle’s own Junior Football Team, the SWAC Cougars, won the Puget Sound Junior Football League Championship in the Bantam Division (Ages 9 to 12) with a victory over the Benson Bruins (7-6) this past Sunday in Auburn. These boys went nearly undefeated in their division with a final record of 9 and 1. They will go on to play the Puyallup Rough Riders in the Junior Football Super Bowl this Sunday in Sumner. Our season is almost over for this year, but join us next fall for another exciting season of football. Home games are played at the Southwest Athletic Complex on Thistle, across from Chief Sealth High School. SWAC is a nonprofit community organization that provides a healthy environment where youth learn teamwork, sportsmanship, and athletic skills. For more information, go to www.swacfootball.org.
We wish the Cougars good luck in Sunday’s big game!
6:35 PM UPDATE: All westbound lanes of the high bridge are open again, after being closed for 4-plus hours just past Admiral because of a motorcycle accident that injured two men. Check the “live” cameras in the post below for the latest views of the backup that will take a while to clear. EARLIER: We also have received e-mail about an accident on Delridge near the currently empty ex-Boren Junior High – the 911 site shows crews have cleared but that doesn’t mean the road is cleared, so if you are planning to head that far on Delridge, beware.
The SDOT camera that points west shows the backup being directed off at the Admiral/Avalon exit right now (the bridge is still closed westbound just beyond that point because of the motorcycle crash). Here’s the link; refresh this page for the latest image – NOTE: the city moves this camera from time to time so if you are seeing a blank image, we have no control over that – if it doesn’t come back soon, we’ll take the camera off this page but you can keep checking the WS CAMS tab at the top of this page, which has links to freeway cameras all over the area:
One report quotes the city as saying the westbound closure just past Admiral is expected to last a few more hours — so alternate routes are highly encouraged. Remember that you can head south on 99 and then up through White Center to double back into West Seattle, in addition to other alternates such as the “low bridge.” (If you have other advice for your fellow westbound drivers, please leave a comment on this post! We’ll keep it at the top of the page till this is all cleared up, with updates as available.) ADDED 5:30 PM: The city bridge cam looking east (toward 99 and I-5) is important too – showing what a mess this still is, and is likely to be until at least 7:30 pm, according to the latest reports:
Bad accident, involving two motorcycles, west end of westbound, between Admiral exit and “Walking on Logs.” 3:45 PM UPDATE: Our traffic spotter just went by in the other direction and says eastbound is open, though busy, but the high bridge westbound is COMPLETELY closed just past the Admiral/Avalon exit, so if you’re heading west, you have to get off there. If you have to get to south West Seattle, get off sooner – take the Delridge exit – or take the low bridge.
That’s the scene after the morning voter rush at Peace Lutheran @ 39th/Thistle, with poll worker Frank at right. Conventional wisdom among poll workers seems to be that this is probably not the very last in-person election after all — looks like they’ll be working the presidential primary in February — but most likely the last “big” election, if King County really gets mail-only voting in gear for November 2008, with President, Governor, and more on the ballot. (More info on today’s election is in this earlier post; you can check here for local results and West Seattle-specific notes once the counting begins @ 8 pm.)
Two weeks have zoomed by since we brought you the West Seattle Food Bank’s request for your help this holiday season. Lots of great response so far – and room for more – literally … take a look inside the WSFB cooler; we did, during a visit to interview WSFB executive director Fran Yeatts, who narrates:
Frozen turkeys and other Thanksgiving-dinner donations will help the most people if you get them to the Food Bank by the end of next week. Meantime, Fran also told us something you probably don’t know about the people the WSFB serves:Read More