• July 16, 2014

Roadside metal recyclers: Dumping or not?

Lots of discussion on the Yahoo! e-mail list regarding roadside metal recyclers near the transfer station. Some have taken their concerns to the city and received this reply – shared on the list today (as city communication, it’s public information) – indicating it’s being looked into, but so far, no evidence of any illegal dumping:

After becoming aware of the discussion on the South Park listserv, on Tuesday July 8 Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) sent a stormwater pollution inspector to the area to investigate. The inspector found 2 road-side metal recycling operations at or near the intersection of 5th and Cloverdale. He inspected for signs of oil dumping or staining in the soil as well as in our drainage system and found no evidence of surface water quality violations. One of the recyclers showed him a container she uses to collect used oil, for recycling at an auto parts store. Before leaving, the inspector advised the metal recyclers that automotive fluids cannot be poured into the ground or area drains. SPU staff also asked ECOSS to work with the recycler on Best Management Practices.

On Monday July 14, SPU’s Illegal Dumping manager visited the area to assess the situation. He found 3 road-side metal recycling operations: on the north side of Cloverdale at 5th Ave S, around the corner on 5th Ave S just north of Cloverdale, and north of there on the east side of 5th just north of S. Sullivan. The recycler at the 2nd location, across from an apartment building, was moving north to a new location closer to the transfer station. He did not find any debris accumulations that would qualify as illegal dumping.

Our surface water pollution and illegal dumping staff will monitor the area periodically during the next 2 weeks to check for illegal dumping and water pollution problems.

Further, I referred the issue to the City’s business license Regulatory Services and Operations section, which has a regulatory role over scrap metal recyclers. They plan to send staff to check on the recyclers. I also contacted the Department of Planning and Development, and SDOT’s right-of-way management staff, for potential follow-up. I will let you know if I hear more information that will be helpful to the neighborhood.

  • July 11, 2014

West Duwamish Trail-related work under way in South Park

From SDOT:

An intersection in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood—Seventh Avenue South and South Portland Street—will be closed for approximately four weeks starting as early as Wednesday, July 16, to accommodate major drainage improvements. Through traffic approaching the intersection will be detoured one block in advance of the intersection. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be allowed to continue through the work zone.

The improvements are part of a project to extend the West Duwamish Trail for bicyclists and pedestrians. A contractor working for the Seattle Department of Transportation will extend the trail from where it currently ends at South Holden Street and Second Avenue South, to Eighth Avenue South and South Kenyon Street. The trail will be 10 feet wide along the south side of Portland Street, with a three and one-half foot buffer separating it from the general traffic roadway which will be 23 feet wide. An existing bicycle route continues south on Eighth Avenue South through South Park. The West Duwamish Trail links to the Alki Trail and to the (low-level) West Seattle bridge trail into downtown Seattle. The trail extension on South Portland Street will provide a safer and more convenient trail connection to South Park.

The project includes drainage improvements in South Portland Street from West Marginal Way South to Eighth Avenue South, pavement on the currently unpaved South Portland Street and new pedestrian lighting. Paving Portland Street, like street paving in much of this neighborhood on the western flank of the Duwamish River, is complicated by low elevation and a high water table, requiring significant drainage improvements. The storm water system will comprise a 30-inch diameter pipe up to 13 feet deep in places.

The contractor started work this week and expects to complete the project by the end of the year. For more information please visit http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/westduwamishtrail.htm

  • June 30, 2014

New ‘River For All’ campaign debuts with famous, familiar faces, urging a ‘thorough cleanup’ of the Duwamish River

It was a little hard to see in the afternoon sunlight, but that’s Seattle’s own superstar Macklemore on a new billboard just south of the West Seattle Bridge and west of Highway 99, promoting the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition‘s campaign for a more-thorough cleanup plan. Here’s their announcement:

Seattle hip-hop icon Macklemore and a host of community leaders representing residents, Tribes, workers, fishing families and others concerned with the health of Seattle’s Duwamish River, have taken aim at an upcoming cleanup plan for the river that they say fails to protect the health of the river and its communities.

The group launched a public awareness campaign today to highlight the critical role the Duwamish River plays in many people’s lives, and the need to protect it. The “River For All” campaign call on EPA and local elected officials to support the community’s call for a health-protective cleanup of the river. The campaign features a billboard of Macklemore on Highway 99 South where it approaches the Duwamish River, and a webs site filled with personal testimonials from people affected by the river’s legacy of pollution.

“We are Seattle. No bridge, boundaries or invisible man-made lines divide us,” explains Macklemore. “This is our home, our people and our community. This is our city’s only river.”

The Duwamish River was listed as a federal Superfund Site in 2001, identifying it as one of the most toxic waste sites in the nation. EPA’s cleanup plan, released for public comment last year, states that it’s approach is unlikely to make the river safe enough to protect the health of people who regularly eat its resident fish, like perch and crab.

The river’s fishermen include Tribes, whose members have historic and treaty rights to the river’s natural resources, and many low-income, immigrant and refugee families from throughout the Seattle area.

The EPA says it plans to rely largely on a highly uncertain method to try to clean the river. That method, called natural recovery, doesn’t remove the pollution, but simply monitors the river bottom to see if newer, cleaner deposits bury the river’s contaminated mud over time.

“That’s simply not good enough,” says James Rasmussen, coordinator of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition, EPA’s Community Advisory Group for the site. “These communities deserve our full protection –and that means removing more of the toxic waste. We need a cleanup that we know will work, and that will last.” EPA defines removal of contamination as the only permanent remedy.

Rasmussen’s group represents Duwamish area residents; tribal members, like Rasmussen himself; and other affected stakeholders, and is helping to coordinate the push for a stronger, more health-protective cleanup than that proposed by EPA. It has hired independent technical advisors to work with the community to develop recommendations on how to improve the EPA cleanup plan. The recommendations include removing more of the toxic waste, and “kick-starting” recovery of the rest of the river by laying a protective layer of clean material over the remaining contamination. They also call for including a plan to reduce ongoing sources of pollution in the EPA order, expected later this year.

“Evidence from other cleanup sites around the country shows that ‘natural recovery’ can take decades longer than expected, and may not stop buried chemicals from getting into the food chain anyway,” according to the coalition’s environmental consultant, Peter deFur. “The responsible approach, from an environmental and health perspective, is to get the toxins out of the river altogether.”

Seattle, King County, the Port of Seattle and Boeing are partially responsible for the cost of the cleanup because of a history of sewage releases, polluted runoff from city pipes, and industrial waste. Together, they formed a group called the Lower Duwamish Waterway Group (LDWG), which is lobbying EPA to approve a plan that removes less toxic material than EPA has proposed . “Our own local governments, and Boeing, are asking EPA to require even less removal of the river’s toxic waste, instead of supporting their constituents’ call for a thorough cleanup,” says BJ Cummings, Policy Advisor for the community advisory group. “We’re not sure that our elected representatives are getting the full story.”

They also point to public comments EPA received on their draft plan, which were released earlier this year. More than 2,300 people submitted letters in at least 10 languages, reflecting the diversity of the communities affected. An analysis by the community advisory group shows that public comments supported more cleanup over less by a ratio of more than 10 to 1.

More information on the River For All campaign and the community advisory group’s
cleanup recommendations can be found at riverforall.org.

P.S. Here’s what Macklemore says about it on his Tumblr.

  • June 30, 2014

VIDEO: And the new South Park Bridge is in service

Our crew was there as the gates went up at 6 am and the first vehicles went across. Do note that it’s one lane each way for a while, as some last work is done in the outer lanes.

  • June 29, 2014

NEW SOUTH PARK BRIDGE: Parade video, photos

After the dedication ceremony, the speeches, the fireworks – after people had a chance to walk across the bridge for the first time – it was parade time!

Our video ended when the parade paused for a long time, right after the low-rider cars and high-riding bikes. But we have some video snippets and photos from what followed – here are the bridge-builders!

Awesome equestrians:

IAM 751 – headquartered in South Park – had a big parade presence:

And in a moment of closure – remember the classic buses that crossed the old bridge the night it closed? They were in the parade today to celebrate this one’s opening:

We talked with a few sets of parents who were there with kids who hadn’t even been born yet when the old bridge closed – this is likely the only one they’ll ever know, since it’s expected to last a century. Among those parents, County Executive Dow Constantine and wife Shirley Carlson with (in stroller, out of view) their new daughter Sabrina:

(Also in the picture, from left, Dow’s brother Blair Constantine, Chris Arkills from the executive’s office, and KCDOT director Harold Taniguchi.) Still some more photos to add on Monday.

  • June 29, 2014

AS IT UNFOLDED: New South Park Bridge celebration!

(UPDATES CONTINUE into the evening – scroll down!)

1:42 PM: If you haven’t gone to 14th Avenue South yet – the party is well under way! We arrived for some early photos between 12:15 and 12:45 and are adding a few here, including this quick panorama from UNDER the bridge:

Pieces of the old bridge are forever part of the new one and its surroundings:

We’re heading back for the 3 pm dedication and all the festivities that follow. Big question is “When can we walk on the bridge?” Answer: Right now you can walk on the south-side path to the south tower for “self-guided tours”:

After the 3 pm ceremony, starting by 4:30 pm, the bridge will be open to all. Two music stages – one by the bridge …

(added) … where Two Scoops offered “Open Up the Bridge”:

… and one a few blocks south at Donovan:

ESPN Deportes announcers are there too:

This is the coolest dancing-in-the-street we saw in the early going:

Art is happening, too:

And you can walk under the bridge as well as (later) on it:

More to come!

We’ll be posting to the West Seattle Blog Instagram feed inbetween official updates.

4:59 PM: Open for walking!

C’mon down if you haven’t been here yet!

5:56 PM: The parade was much bigger than we expected – including the South Park float, with Executive Dow Constantine and Roads director Harold Taniguchi doing the parade wave:

Here’s the view looking southward onto 14th, as people followed the end of the parade:

We’ll have a separate gallery with parade photos/video.

8:04 PM: And then as the evening began – Lucha Libre Volcanica took the stage on the southwest side of the bridge:

LLV is the region’s only school where you can train to become a luchadore – masked Mexican-style wrestler. And its luchadores now come to South Park for a show every year – this time, it coincided with the bridge bash.

The luchadores go through outrageous moves and antics in their matches.

Still more to add!

  • June 27, 2014

NEW SOUTH PARK BRIDGE: The art, behind-the-scenes

When we visited the bridge earlier this week (see photos elsewhere on TSPN), the art on the bridge railings and in the raingarden below – all reusing parts of the old bridge – really caught our attention. The video above, by King County TV, takes you behind the scenes with the artist who made it all happen, Barbara Grygutis.

  • June 27, 2014

NEW BRIDGE: Update on dignitaries who’ll be at dedication

Counting down to Sunday’s big party celebrating the new South Park Bridge! The county has sent a media advisory noting that besides, of course, King County Executive Dow Constantine and other county leaders, the dignitaries will include U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott. The ceremony’s at 3, followed by a parade across the bridge, and events into the evening including Lucha Libre at 6 pm.

  • June 26, 2014

City to ‘investigate’ as part of 14th/Concord sewer project

An alert from the city, via the South Park mailing list:

On July 1, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will be conducting geotechnical investigations as part of the 14th and Concord Sewer Improvement project. The work will take place on South Donovan Street near 14th Avenue South, and South Concord Street near 14th Avenue South. No roadways will be blocked and traffic flow on 14th Avenue South will not be impacted.

The 14th and Concord Sewer Improvement project will construct a parallel sewer line in this area in 2015. Geotechnical soil investigation is needed to determine current conditions around the sewer alignment. After testing and sampling work, borings will be filled and the surface restored. You may see crews and equipment on your block and in some locations, “No Parking” signs will be placed 72 hours in advance of the work.

Work related to the borings is expected to take one day to complete. Normal work hours will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

While the investigations are underway, you can expect:

• Some nearby on-street parking may be temporarily reduced
• Periodic noise, dirt and vibration from the drilling operations
• Pavement excavation and restoration

Questions? Please contact Project Manager Jason Sharpley at 206-615-0030 or jason.sharpley@seattle.gov. To learn more about the 14th and Concord Sewer Improvement project, please visit: www.seattle.gov/util/southparkprojects or see the attachment for a project fact sheet.

  • June 25, 2014

NEW BRIDGE: How Metro routing will change, once it’s open

Wondering how the new bridge will affect Metro routing? We asked:

The new South Park Bridge is scheduled to reopen for service between South Park and Georgetown at 6 a.m. June 30. At that time, two bus stops will reopen northbound and southbound on 14th Ave S just north of S Cloverdale St, serving the South Park business community.

When the bridge reopens, Route 60 will operate its former routing on 14th and 16th Ave S between S Cloverdale St and East Marginal Way S. Route 60 will no longer operate on 14th Ave S between S Cloverdale St and Highway 99, and on East Marginal Way S between the 1st Ave S Bridge and Carleton Ave S. Operating via the South Park Bridge is expected to save about 5-8 minutes per trip in each direction.