10:27 PM: Police are blocking off SW Thistle at 34th because of a crash just to the east, at 32nd and Thistle. Multiple cars involved; our crew is still trying to find out more at the scene.
10:33 PM: At least two people are hurt; one is being taken to the hospital, and the other is still being evaluated at the scene. Three cars are involved.
10:37 PM: Police at the scene tell us TCIS is not being called out – no life-threatening injuries – so this scene will clear after tow trucks arrive to move the vehicles. SFD has tweeted that it’s taking a 33-year-old man “in stable condition” to Harborview Medical Center.
11:59 PM: Just got a chance to go check the area to be sure the scene is clear … it is.
(WSB photo from June 1st @ Denny)
Two weeks after Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole visited Denny International Middle School and heard students request more help from police in staying safe (WSB coverage here), members of her department followed up to start making good on that promise. Southwest/South Precincts Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon shares these notes of what happened when they visited the Denny/Sealth campus this past Monday, one day before the last day of school, particularly to lay the groundwork for a safer start next fall:
* SPD Reps met up with students and staff at 12:40 at classroom
* Walked SW Kenyon Street between 2600 Block and Delridge SW
* Walked from Kenyon & Delridge to Holden & Delridge; observed Holden Stairs; returned to Denny via same route
* Mark drove routes between Denny/Sealth Campus and Westwood Village to observe areas about which students expressed concerns.
* SPD Officers spoke with students about ways to minimize their chances for victimization (Robbery/Assault)
* Discussed the possibility of SPD officers getting together with students at the beginning of the school year to discuss safety measures; being proactive and focus on prevention vs. being reactionary.
Measures in Progress
* Mark will work with Youth Ambassadors and Denny Staff through the summer to engage surrounding neighbors to form Block Watch groups with have Denny/Sealth student safety as a prime focus.
* Mark will facilitate communication between the Youth Ambassadors Program and The Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative regarding the Safe Passages Program (a group of adult volunteers who provide a presence in the Rainier Beach community between the 1400-1800 hrs on school days to deter youth violence and disorder). The goal is to try to implement this program for the Denny/Sealth campus area by the fall of 2015.
* Raise tree canopy on SW Kenyon Street Between 2400 – 2600 Blocks. Tree canopy should be no lower than 8′ to ensure good lines of sight for pedestrians transiting SW Kenyon ST.
* Request SDOT conduct additional vegetation clearing at dead end of SW Kenyon ST & 24th Ave SW.
* Request SDOT conduct vegetation clearing along trail/walkway/bridge over creek between Delridge WY SW & 24th Ave SW along SW Kenyon Street (Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail).
* Request additional vegetation clearing be done on the Holden Stairs, between Delridge WY SY & 20th Ave SW. (possible return of the goat herd?)
* Request vegetation clearing along the non-through streets of 26th Ave SW, 25th Ave SW and the North/South Alley that runs parallel between those two streets, between SW Thistle Street and SW Trenton ST. Students use these corridors to transit anyway; let’s open them up to reduce cover and concealment.
* SPD conduct student safety assembly at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.
(Sealth staff & students’ procession at start of this afternoon’s ceremony)
Story by Tracy Record
Photos/video by Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
You probably know that’s short for “You Only Live Once.” It started and ended what language-arts teacher Breanna Whited told the Chief Sealth International High School Class of 2015 at its graduation ceremony this afternoon. (More on her speech later.)
Though commencement is considered to be the start of the rest of graduates’ lives, as Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer detailed, the 267 graduating seniors already have achieved quite bit. She went through a long list of achievements including more than 20,000 hours in community service and $1.2 million in college scholarships.
The principal noted some of the class’s “bold” accomplishments – from a World Water Week focus on the unglamorous but life-saving topic of toilets, to Hafid Yassin‘s dunk seen ’round the world.
The first student to speak was Timothy Wo, who observed that “we’re all thinking right now … ‘it’s over’.” (That’s him in the frame grab below, but the video is of the entirety of the rest of the ceremony, beginning with the principal’s speech.)
To get to “the promised land of graduation,” he said, he and his classmates “crossed the land of procrastination.” Whatever lies ahead for them in the immediate future, he expressed confidence they would “reap success, whatever it is, and make it into whatever it can be.”
Another student speaker, Monica Harris, urged her classmates to “stand tall – we have nothing to fear.”
And she celebrated the fact that “by persevering, we have proven we deserve to be here today.” The proud family and friends had proven that too, and they were saluted during the ceremony.
They of course exhibited plenty of exhilaration themselves:
Back to staff speaker Whited, introduced as “hilarious and beautiful.”
She spoke warmly and personally to her now-former students, saying she watched them while chaperoning the senior prom three weeks ago: “It was OK for me to cry there, which I did, because I had to be strong to speak to all of you today.”
Mentioning she was a 1985 high-school graduate, she said, “I am you in 30 years … and yes, you’ll still be this fabulous.” With the help, Whited continued, of three things to remember, starting with: “Apologize quickly, even when you are right – you will be loved and you will be happy. It’s better to be happy than to be right.”
The essence of her other advice: Shut down your “negative self-talk,” and “do what you love,” which she said she’s been doing for decades. And shortly thereafter, the Chief Sealth Class of 2015 was off to find a way to follow her advice.
OTHER NOTES: One of the valedictorians and the salutatorian, Sophia Boyd and Olivia Boyd, are sisters, and the daughters of former longtime CSIHS principal John Boyd. Samuel Orlin also is valedictorian. … SPS executive director of southwest schools Israel Vela had a stand-in, northwest ED Jon Halfaker, because he was at his son’s graduation in Kent … Last year, umbrellas were in use because of the threat of rain; this year, one was in view because of the sun:
In a West Seattle Crime Watch report earlier this afternoon, we mentioned that crime will be the focus of tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. Since then, the person who sent the announcement, co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick, has sent a Crime Watch reader report of her own:
I had my 1980s Panasonic ladies bike stolen from my porch last night. 10 speed with Schwinn cruiser handlebars. It has a rear fender and bike rack. A light and bell on the handlebars and a clip for a basket on the front. Lots of star stickers, a Proletariat Pizza sticker and an Amanda4D1.com sticker too. It’s not worth a lot, but it’s My Bike! You know? I reported it to the police, and I’ve been driving around the ‘hood like a stalker…. the picture is from when I first got it almost 5 years ago. So BUMMED!
If you see it … let police know, and then consider commenting here as well.
RECENT BICYCLE CASES: None of these have been resolved so far as we know, so we’re mentioning them again (all three have photos too): 12-year-old boy’s silver Fuji Absolute stolen May 28th, also in Westwood; child- and adult-size bicycles found in Westwood and Highland Park respectively, published here May 20th – we suggested to the finders of the latter two that they be reported to police for pickup.
You could call Westwood Village the epicenter of Starbucks in West Seattle, with a standalone shop, a stand inside the QFC supermarket, and Starbucks coffee featured in the Barnes & Noble bookstore café. If that isn’t enough for coffee-loving shoppers – city permit files show that another one is on the way: While digging through recent applications overnight, we found this project filing for 2800 SW Barton, carrying the notation: “Addition of a new Starbucks within existing food service footprint in existing Target store.” While that page doesn’t show an application date, the permit number suggests it was filed within the past week. Not a new concept, as the two chains have been working together for more than a decade, but we thought you’d want to know.
BY THE NUMBERS: This will boost the number of West Seattle Starbucks outlets, existing and planned, to 13, by our count: Along with the aforementioned four in Westwood, there’s Admiral Way, Admiral Safeway, Alki, Avalon, Jefferson Square Safeway, Junction QFC, Junction 47 (planned), Morgan Junction, Roxbury Safeway.
Within minutes of each other late last night, two reader reports came in (email@example.com) about bicycles found in West Seattle – stolen and dumped? or? – Above, Alicia spotted that child-size bicycle in the 8800 block of 30th SW, “lying out on the grass parking strip across the street from our house – for a few days now. It’s a newer bike and looks like it was ditched. Perhaps stolen.” Below, Alan spotted this bicycle “in a location where we have had multiple dumped stolen bikes (14th & Holly)”:
He added, “This one looks like someone may have found it in the woods and brought it out to the street. The tires are flat and the chain is rusted. Still, it looks like a bike that someone cared about at some point.” We’ve suggested to both that the bicycles be reported to police, but in the meantime, in case they look familiar, we’re sharing the photos and reports.
In Westwood today, a spring ritual for the Barton Street P-Patch – the wood-burning masonry oven was fired up for a round of community bagel-baking.
The garden is in its fourth full growing season, and some of what’s grown is donated, too:
It’s one of eight community P-Patches in West Seattle, according to this city-created map.
Our toplines from last night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting:
CSO PROJECTS: It’s been about three months since Seattle Public Utilities started working on improvements to its two combined-sewer-overflow storage-tank sites in eastern West Seattle, one a few blocks east of Westwood Village, one on the east side of the Delridge/Orchard/Dumar intersection. Project manager Tara Wong-Esteban came to WWRHAH with updates. Both projects will be done by year’s end, she says. The one that’s in WWRHAH’s area of interest, CSO #3 at 22nd/Henderson, is is the midst of major work right now, including a diversion facility at Barton St./Barton Place. Soon an access path for city trucks’ maintenance access will be built; it will include paving stones surrounded by grass. The landscaping overall will make the area more open, she said. Here’s the design concept:
The project also is getting an art installation, as part of the Municipal Art Plan; artist Rebecca Cummins was introduced at the meeting. She’s going to use water valves like those found in CSOs to make cameras obscuras – you can see an image on this city webpage (scroll down to the bottom and click the image for a closer look). Two will be installed along the Barton side of the project, the smaller one intended for kids walking by.
ARBOR HEIGHTS MICROSURFACING UPDATE: As he had at last month’s Southwest District Council meeting, SDOT’s Art Brochet provided an update on this summer’s plan for more microsurfacing in AH.
Compared to chip seal, microsurfacing needs time to set and dry, once it’s put down. They’re still trying to work out logistics for the roads going into the Arroyos in southwesternmost West Seattle; the project is out to bid and the contractor’s not chosen yet, Brochet said, so that’ll be worked out once those details are finalized. He was asked about some other pavement issues in WWRHAH’s area, including the Westwood Village area, and promised to pass those along. WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick noted at that point that issues had arisen during the recent multi-agency walking tour around WWV (WSB coverage here) and they hadn’t received updates from the city reps who had participated, so she said she’d take Brochet up on his offer to help them find out where things stand.
WWRHAH meets on first Tuesdays, 6:15 pm, Southwest Library.
West Seattle Crime Watch reader reports to share:
LUNA PARK TRUCK THEFT: Bob discovered this morning that someone had taken his white Chevy Blazer from what’s supposed to be a secure garage at City View Apartments in the Luna Park area. License plate 105YGD – call 911 if you see it.
STOLEN PLATES: From Andi:
This morning I discovered someone had swapped my back license plate on my car with someone else’s. I have reported them as stolen, so if anyone sees plates ASU6665 call the police. The ones they put on the car were ANK8876, and the officer said he recognized them from a call this morning. I live on Trenton & Delridge [map] if anyone saw anything.
This happens more often than you might think, so it’s always worth a quick glance at your plates every time you go out to your vehicle, if it’s parked outside.
POSSIBLE STOLEN BICYCLES: Two posts in the WSB Forums regarding bicycles -
**Vintage Puch bicycle found in a Westwood/Roxhill-area backyard
**Redline bicycle frame spotted in Admiral in unusual circumstances
HIGHLAND PARK MAIL THEFT: In the 9400 block of 10th SW (map), Fran A spotted several mailboxes open this morning, with mail littered on the street, including an envelope that was supposed to contain her husband’s new driver’s license.
We finally have an answer to the question we’ve been asked most often these past several weeks: “When is the Tony’s Market produce stand at 35th and Barton opening for the season?” Since photographing the new tent almost three weeks ago, we’ve gone by every day, but no one’s been there. We finally spotted proprietor Joey Genzale outside the stand while driving by about an hour ago, so we changed course and stopped to ask him what’s up. First, the opening date: This Friday, May 1st. Second, why the delay? In addition to putting up the new tent, the parking lot needed some work. So if you’re a Tony’s fan, now you know.
(UPDATED 2:11 pm with letter sent home by Denny/Sealth prinicipals)
Just in, from Seattle Police:
Police are investigating after a 15-year-old girl was grabbed while walking through Westwood Village Tuesday morning.
The girl told officers she was walking to school at 6:30 AM when a man approached her and asked where he could buy a phone charger. She answered his question and made her way to a nearby coffee shop. The girl said that when she exited the cafe, the man continued to follow her, at one point wrapping both of his arms around her. The girl broke free and ran the rest of the way to Denny International Middle School, where she reported the incident to administrators.
The victim described the man as in his early 30’s, black, wearing a black hoodie and sweat pants. If you have any information in this case please call 911 and speak with an officer.
This is the first walking-to/from-school incident reported against a Denny or Sealth student in more than a month – last one in our archives was in early March.
Reminder that, as mentioned earlier, the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meets tonight, so if you have questions/concerns about this or anything else recently in WS, come hear from and talk to police, 7 pm @ the precinct (Delridge/Webster).
ADDED 2:11 PM: We asked Denny principal Jeff Clark to please share the letter that we expected would be sent home to parents. Here it is (it’s to be sent to Sealth families too) – please note that they still need volunteers for the safety effort we spotlighted here last month:
April 21, 2015
Dear Denny and Chief Sealth Scholars and Families,
We want to share with you information right away regarding an incident that was reported this morning involving one of our scholars on her way to school.
At approximately 6:20 am an eighth-grade female scholar was followed around Westwood Village by a man who persistently asked her questions. He was described as an East African man in his early 30’s, thin built with short curly hair and a goatee, who spoke with an accent. He continued to follow her through the parking lot and on the path from Westwood through the Southwest Athletic Center toward our campus. When she approached Thistle, he grabbed her. She broke free from his grasp and ran to school and reported the incident to school staff right away. Denny Staff notified the family and the Seattle Police Department, who are actively investigating.
The safety of our scholars is our top priority. We are continuing to coordinate with the SW Precinct Captain to discuss the safety and their increased policing efforts. We will continue to collaborate with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Public Schools Safety and Security to help monitor the surrounding area. As a part of these efforts, we are recruiting a team of volunteers to be trained and posted around the neighborhood to serve as part of a “block watch” system as our scholars come to and from school. If you are interested in helping with this, please contact Jeff Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-252-9000.
You can help your children stay safe by talking to them about personal safety. Tips to discuss are:
• Walking in pairs or groups and being aware of their surroundings at all times.
• Leaving for school at times where there are high levels of pedestrian traffic.
• Immediately reporting anything suspicious to trusted adults (school staff and family members).
• Keep earbuds off and expensive phones out of sight.
More tips and information can be found on the Seattle Police Department website: http://www.seattle.gov/police/prevention/child/default.htm.
AS-IT-HAPPENED COVERAGE: SDOT unveils SW Roxbury plan at Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meetingApril 7, 2015 at 6:19 pm | In Safety, West Seattle news, Westwood | 56 Comments
That’s the plan for SW Roxbury, which SDOT is about to unveil at the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council‘s April meeting, under way until about 7:30 pm at the Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson). An open house is also planned April 16th. First, WWRHAH is hearing briefly from City Council District 1 candidate Lisa Herbold (we’ll add details later on what she says, and other parts of the meeting that aren’t related to the Roxbury presentation).
6:27 PM: SDOT’s Jim Curtin begins his presentation, saying the details (which you can see in the slide deck above) aren’t much different from the previous discussion, and that implementation will start in mid-August. The package, he recaps, has short- and long-term “engineering solutions” for SW Roxbury from Olson on the east to 35th SW on the west. He also recaps the road’s conditions, which are at the start of the slide deck – 52 percent of what’s along Roxbury in that stretch is single-family residential housing. The traffic flow goes from an average of 13,000 vehicles a weekday at 35th to 25,000 vehicles each weekday at Olson. The roots of the project lie in the fact so many people speed – more than 5 mph over the speed limit, on much of the stretch – the average at 30th SW is 41 mph, “a big problem” in SDOT’s view. The stretch has seen 223 crashes with 112 injuries over just the past three years.
The changes are at 60 percent design, close to “ready to go,” Curtin said, and they are coordinating with partner agencies including Metro and King County Roads (though SDOT is accountable for the road from curb to curb). 100 percent design is expected in June, and that’s when they’ll mobilize their crews, in hopes of getting the work done by the first day of the 2015-2016 school year.
Just a few tweaks from the draft plan. From 17th to 35th SW, rechannelization is proposed, “which means we will eliminate a lane of traffic and bring Roxbury down to its surroundings, including parks and schools … while still maintaining travel times that are essentially unchanged for people who are driving. There will be short sections of bus lanes for the 120 and RapidRide; we are going to repave Roxbury from 17th to ’18th and a half’ … a really, really rough section of road.” The curb will be fixed and ADA-complaint curb ramps will be put in, 8 each at 17th and 18th SW.
300 new linear feet of sidewalk will go in, on the south (county) side of the street across from Roxhill Elementary (photo added above), past the auto-parts store and casino – “the last section of Roxbury without sidewalks,” Curtin said, adding that the city and county have secured a grant to pay for this.
No rechannelization is planned east of 17th. At the White Center intersection – 15th/16th “funky five-way split,” as he described it – curb painting and audio pedestrian signals are part of the plan. Then from Olson to 15th SW, the speed limit will be reduced to 30 mph; two new radar speed signs will go in to support that; and other “spot signage” improvements are planned. That will include changes targeting the “persistent collision patterns” at 4th SW and 8th SW. For the latter, Curtin said, the patterns are rear-end crashes. The county has put in a “warning” beacon that isn’t making a difference. Engineers concluded, Curtin said, “we need people to slow down” – as is the case with the “spinout” crashes at 4th SW – and they believe that will make a difference. (Later, he said, they hope to take that “all the way down the hill” toward 509.)
Back to the west – A “shared bus lane” will go in near Roxhill because of operational requirements for Metro and school buses; a potential bus-layover zone is being considered by Roxhill. The Metro transit stop that’s currently right in front of Roxhill Elementary will be moved to the west of 30th (where it had once been). WWRHAH’s transportation chair Chris Stripinis asked if that would create a situation like the notorious C-Line stop at Fauntleroy/California – Curtin cited reasons why it won’t, including a “partial lane” that vehicles will be able to use to get around.
No bicycle lanes right now; bicycle facilities will be considered “later” – likely 2016 – said Curtin; right now, the curb and pavement are not in good-enough shape, and so the area that later will become bicycle lanes will for now be “buffers” between vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
For rechannelization doubters, Curtin hauled out a slide he acknowledged has been shown at many meetings lately – other rechannelized streets including Fauntleroy and (outside West Seattle) NE 75th have seen decreases in crashes even as traffic volume edged up a bit.
Beyond all this, he said, in the long term: If the Transportation Levy to Move Seattle passes, SDOT hopes to “completely rebuild” SW Roxbury, with repaving and even in some places “taking it down to the dirt” and redoing it. Also, a pedestrian signal at or near 12th SW would be a long-term priority, according to Curtin (it came up often at previous meetings). Anything else missing? he asked. WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick suggested a crosswalk at 24th and Roxbury. Between 35th and 30th, Stripinis suggested, some visual cue for crossers would be helpful, since because streets don’t connect from both sides, and drivers don’t tend to stop even for the implied crosswalks at corners.
WWRHAH secretary Joe Szilagyi asked about the parking spots along Roxbury by Taqueria Guaymas at 17th. They’re staying, said Curtin, adding, “Despite what you read … we actually like parking at SDOT,” for reasons including, “it slows people down.” Speaking of slowing down, though they’re not proposing rechannelization of the entire length of Roxbury now – even though it was frequently suggested, Curtin said, during the comment period – it might be looked at again in the future. Also for the wish list, Helmick added, a roundabout for the Olson end, and more mowing and vegetation clearing so people who are walking and biking can get through.
Though it’s technically beyond Roxbury, several people brought up the walking/biking dangers of going down the hill from Olson toward SW Cloverdale and South Park, as something that should eventually be examined.
Curtin then put up the engineering plans for Roxbury, starting with the 35th/Roxbury intersection, which he said “works remarkably well.” (A side discussion erupted regarding sidewalks on 35th, and Curtin reiterated that the city has some in the works all the way to 106th. Not part of the project in the spotlight tonight, but still of interest.) One stretch is still undecided – the eastbound side near Roxbury Safeway, where they had been looking at a bus lane but decided they don’t need it. Maybe a right turn lane? Right now, by the way, Curtin said, the 28th/Roxbury intersection “functions really well,” too. At 26th, there’ll be a right-turn-only lane heading southbound, and then it’ll be a bus-only lane on the outside, east of 28th, with a bus-and-turn lane on the westbound side, turning onto 26th and heading toward Westwood Village. This intersection’s design isn’t completely finalized, though, acknowledged Curtin – “we’re still kind of wrestling with (it).”
7:20 PM: Overall, he summarized, “this project is universally loved by everyone at SDOT,” where he says some wondered how the road ever had “so many lanes.” If you have comments, go to the Open House, and/or e-mail Curtin – email@example.com – ASAP.
SW Barton is blocked between 25th and 26th on the southeast side of Westwood Village after a car and Metro bus collided. Our crew says the car’s driver is going to the hospital; no injuries on the bus, which had no passengers as it was en route back to the terminal. A tow truck is expected in half an hour or so to clear the scene.
ADDED: Thanks to Heath for this photo:
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
You can complain and explain until you’re out of breath, but few things beat showing a problem spot firsthand to those who can at least help find solutions. That’s the idea behind the classic “walking tour” with community members and government reps.
One in Westwood on Monday afternoon was a sequel/followup to a similar one exactly 15 months earlier (WSB coverage here), from the “wall of buses” on Barton to the one on 25th, and beyond. It showcased what had changed, what hadn’t changed, and what will soon change.
This one, like the one at the end of December 2013, was requested by the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, represented this time by chair Amanda Kay Helmick and WWRHAH’s Southwest District Council delegate (and SWDC co-chair) Eric Iwamoto. Also like the December 2013, other participants included Metro, SDOT, SPD, Seattle Parks, reps from County Executive Dow Constantine and City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s offices, plus King County Sheriff’s Office transit deputies.
Ahead – what’s changed, what hasn’t, and more:
Thanks for the tips – we just checked out an incident that drew fire, police, and a private ambulance to Westwood Village, outside Marshall’s. SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl tells us the initial report was that two people were hit by a driver. We were told at the scene that one was being taken to the hospital by AMR, a woman who apparently had just been shopping at the store; her injuries were not major – she was talking with emergency personnel as they took care of her.
TUESDAY MORNING: Quick followup to our Monday report answering questions about where the Westwood Village Post Office‘s drive-up/ride-up dropoff mailbox went: Regional USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson tells WSB this morning that instead of having to wait for a new one: “Our maintenance department will be able to repair the damaged collection box. We expect it to be back in place by this Wednesday, March 11.” Until then, you’ll have to go inside, or use the drive-up/ride-up box by the Junction PO (4412 California SW).
WEDNESDAY MORNING NOTE: The installation was under way when we went by around 9:45 – we tweeted a photo:
As promised, the outdoor dropbox at Westwood Village is returning. Installation under way now. pic.twitter.com/c9Zi7XtoTJ
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) March 11, 2015
ADDED THURSDAY: Just for the record, a photo:
Over the weekend, we started getting questions about what happened to the drive-or-ride-up drop-off mailbox at the Westwood Village Post Office – it was suddenly gone, with no sign to say what happened or whether it would return. We checked first thing this morning with regional USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson, who replied, “The collection box was hit by a car and incurred significant damage and had to be removed. A new one has been ordered.” No word yet on the expected timeline; in the meantime, the lobby maildrop at Westwood is open 24/7, or you can go to the drive-or-ride-up mailbox at the Junction Post Office (4412 California SW).
Just two days after the Westwood transit hub took centerstage at the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting, a new illustration of a not-so-new concern presented itself:
(Thursday photo courtesy Joe Szilagyi)
On Thursday, WWRHAH secretary Joe Szilagyi took that photo in the middle of a very recognizable crosswalk on SW Barton between the Roxhill Park bus stop and Westwood Village. He sent the photos to city leaders with this note:
I am writing about the crosswalk from the Rapid Ride terminal site at Westwood Village in West Seattle. At some point overnight or today, a car plowed through the crosswalk and demolished it, while leaving debris all over.
We have asked repeatedly for nearly two years for assistance and budgetary relief to fund proper, full, and safe mitigation for pedestrians crossing here in the form of a controlled crosswalk if possible, and failing that at minimum a user-activated flashing visual beacon. As of yet we have only heard several variations on how this is not feasible, beyond current budget realities, or ‘not proper’ or appropriate for this location due to the nearby streetlights at Barton and 26th for the Westwood Village entrance.
There is a user-controlled full crosswalk one block south on Roxbury adjacent to the intersection of Roxbury and 26th, by the Safeway supermarket. Why is that location appropriate for these controls to service that Rapid Ride C stop, while the full end-of-line terminal a block away on another arterial is not? It’s a miracle that no one was in the crosswalk when this happened.
If this slows traffic down on Barton that is an irrelevant concern to the safety issues. Please advise us with a schedule as soon as possible of when this specific crosswalk’s dangerous conditions will be rectified to the satisfaction of the community.
Please note that we are not asking for assistance or guidance on applying for a grant on our own for this. We are asking for SDOT and the City of Seattle to immediately begin remediation of the dangerous conditions at this location.
We were CC’d on that note, and on several replies so far. Councilmember Tom Rasmussen told Szilagyi that he would ask SDOT to respond. SDOT director Scott Kubly said, “I will have my team work with King County to get the shelter repaired and to evaluate what we can do to improve safety at this location.” One of the people from whom he requested followup, city traffic engineer Dongho Chang, replied this morning that he would get it reviewed, then wrote again this afternoon:
The sign was repaired today. We’ll need to chip out the concrete and install a new post anchor. I had staff review our records and we didn’t have any specific concerns that I was able to find today for the crossing. However, I spent some time observing and walking the area and I have some thoughts that I’d like to have a quick conversation with the community.
We verified before sunset that the sign has indeed been repaired:
(WSB photo taken late today)
But that doesn’t address the ongoing issue. The e-mail chain continued late in the day with WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick pointing out that the safety issue had been discussed with SDOT’s new transit division director Paulo Nunes-Ueno at the last West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (WSB coverage here) and that she had a walkaround tour set with him for March 30th. All involved are now deciding whether that is soon enough for an assessment, or whether the timetable needs to be accelerated.
The transit-hub-related issues discussed at WWRHAH’s monthly meeting last Tuesday at the Southwest Branch Library involved more than safety. Helmick had already announced that Metro had committed to sidewalk and lighting improvements; Metro’s Paul Roybal was at the meeting to confirm all that, saying the sidewalk work will go from 26th to 29th on the south side of SW Barton, and ADA improvements will be included. Preliminary engineering work is under way, he said, and a survey crew will be out soon; if all goes well, work could start late in the year (which would be two years after WWRHAH’s original walking tour with Metro and other reps).
Also at the meeting, Metro’s Doug Johnson talked about Metro changes that will take effect June 1st as a result of Proposition 1 money. Area residents remain concerned that the 21 isn’t getting much and the previously slashed 22 isn’t getting anything, with Arbor Heights service still suffering as a result. Johnson said this isn’t the only round of improvements; there will be more in the future. Helmick is gathering comments on how the 21/22 reductions have affected riders.
With some other routes – particularly the RapidRide C Line – getting added service, Helmick asked the Metro reps if that meant more layovers and more buses stacking up at the Westwood hub, where the “Wall of Buses” along Roxhill Park has been notorious. Johnson said drivers will still have breaks there but the buses will be moving more frequently to keep up with schedules, so it won’t be that noticeable.
Also at the meeting, Andy Thompson from Westwood Village’s owners, Madison Marquette. WWRHAH told him the center isn’t as walkable as it could be. He said they’re continuing to look into pedestrian safety concerns and questions, but that overall safety has been improved since the Seattle Police bike patrols began.
WWRHAH also talked Tuesday night about Roxhill Bog, one year after its first big discussion; a new report about its issues – particularly, why the bog isn’t much of a bog any more – is out. We’ll publish that part of the March WWRHAH story this weekend.
The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meets first Tuesdays, 6:15 pm, SW Branch Library.
1:39 PM: Thanks for the tip about the police search in Westwood. Officers were out with a K-9, looking for suspects in an attack that left someone hurt. Very few details so far, according to our check with SPD public affairs – they’re not sure if it was also a robbery, and it’s not clear exactly where the man was assaulted; the Seattle Fire medical response was to 30th/Cloverdale (map). The only description available so far is “five or six males, Hispanic and black, last seen headed southbound on 30th SW.” We’re checking with SFD to see if we can find out whether the victim had to be hospitalized.
4:40 PM UPDATE: SFD tells us that the victim was a 16-year-old boy, treated for “multiple scratches and abrasions over his body, after (saying) he was assaulted and forced to jump into blackberry bushes,” and taken to Highline Hospital in stable condition.
The Westwood transit hub is a perennial hot topic, for a variety of reasons, particularly safety at the bus stops as well as in Roxhill Park and at Westwood Village. If it interests you, consider making time to be at tomorrow night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting. We just received the agenda and it includes a discussion of the hub, with reps confirmed from both Metro and Westwood Village. The meeting is at Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson), starting at 6:15 pm Tuesday and wrapping up by 7:45 at the latest, when the library clears everyone out in advance of closing time – all welcome.
(WSB photo taken on northeast corner of 35th/Roxbury)
If you’ve noticed the police activity at Westwood Village and/or the 35th/Roxbury bus stop – here’s what’s happening: Police have arrested at least one suspect in a case of shoplifting-turned-robbery at the Westwood Target. Seattle Police spokesperson Det. Drew Fowler says it was first reported as juveniles stealing liquor from the store, and one “sprayed” a security guard (that’s apparently why Seattle Fire medics were called to the scene). The police search included buses in the area and several possible suspects turned up on one at 35th/Roxbury; while we were talking to Det. Fowler, he confirmed a witness had positively identified at least one suspect. That’s all we know so far; more if and when we get it.
Spotlight topics at this week’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting included how the area’s “urban village” has fared in city spending, plus, potential White Center/North Highline annexation.
(WSB file photo: Roxhill Park-side ‘wall of buses’)
The Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Neighborhood Council has been working for more than a year to push Metro and the city for safety improvements in the area of the Westwood “transit hub.” One year ago, WWRHAH led a walking tour with Metro, county, and city reps. Progress on some of the issues was reported four months later; other changes have included SPD bicycle patrols. Today, WWRHAH co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick sent an update on more of what they’ve been working to get:
We are pleased to announce that Metro Transit will be upgrading the sidewalks along the bus stop from the Rapid Ride stop to 29th Ave SW this year. In addition to new ADA-compliant sidewalks, Metro will also be adding lighting in the same area.
Metro asked King County for additional funds for capital improvements to the Rapid Ride, and that includes $170,000 for sidewalks and lighting for the bus stop along Roxhill Park.
Design work has started, with implementation this year. No firm date has been given as of yet. We have asked Metro to come to our March 3rd WWRHAH meeting for further updates in regards to the Transit Hub. We will also be asking SDOT to be there as well to discuss Barton Street concrete panels that are sinking, and crosswalk improvements to critical intersections.
WWRHAH meets first Tuesdays (next one, February 3rd), 6:15 pm at Southwest Library.
With a week to go until Christmas Eve, a little extra holiday cheer emerges almost everywhere you look – and listen. Tonight, Shorewood Foursquare Church‘s Ignition Youth Group kept its promise to head out on a caroling journey, walking to Westwood Village, where we caught up with them:
Along with giving the gift of song, they handed out candy canes with an invitation to their church’s Christmas Eve service (one of a dozen churches listed in the “services” section of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide – if yours isn’t, please get us the info ASAP!).
For the second time in nine days, Wyatt’s Jewelers (WSB sponsor) at Westwood Village has been burglarized. It happened this evening – exactly when, the proprietors and police were still trying to figure out when we heard about it from a texted tip and went over a little more than an hour ago. Once again, someone broke the front door to get in, same way entry was made during the early-morning break-in on December 7th. We’ll be following up with them and police tomorrow.
Should the issue of improving safety on 35th SW also take into consideration the proliferation of signs at some businesses? An attendee at Tuesday night’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting brought that up, according to meeting notes from co-chair Joe Szilagyi. And from pre-scheduled agenda items, what he describes as “a rolling discussion about the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda and future growth impacts on the Westwood/Highland Park Urban Village” yielded a dozen discussion points.
— WWRHAH Council (@WWRHAH) December 3, 2014
See those points, and the rest of the meeting notes, here. Next WWRHAH meeting: 6:15 pm January 6th, Southwest Branch Library.
12:31 PM: Thanks to Deb and Melissa for the notes about this. A power outage is affecting some of the stores at Westwood Village. Melissa says it’s in the center of the mall, including Barnes and Noble, which is closed for the day since repairs are not estimated to be complete until after 4 pm. Again, this has not closed ALL the WWV stores, but if you’re headed that way in the next few hours, you might check first if your destination is open or closed.
4:15 PM: The outage is no longer on the City Light map, which indicates it’s fixed.
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