VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 3: Tunneling machine picks up speed; changes made for Monday traffic

Just in from WSDOT, the update for Alaskan Way Viaduct Closure, Day 3, with tunneling-machine progress and traffic-flow changes:

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(Updated map from tunneling-progress page on 99closure.org)

Tunneling progress

Welcome to day three of the #99closure. After a slow and deliberate departure from the planned maintenance stop near Yesler Way, Seattle Tunnel Partners’ tunneling crews picked up speed in accordance with their plan for tunneling under the viaduct. As of 2 p.m. Sunday, Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, had mined 39 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the viaduct reopens to traffic. STP determines the appropriate rate to mine safely and mining rates will vary as the machine passes underneath the viaduct.

Visit our tracking page to see a map showing Bertha’s progress.

Traffic overview

Expect a more challenging commute Monday since Mondays are a traditionally heavier traffic day than Fridays. Go to our maps and resources page or see our travel alternatives handout to explore options other than driving. WSDOT continues to run a 24-hour-per-day command center with constant, real-time communication taking place with other agencies. And WSDOT’s Transportation Management Center also has extended hours with up to 12 additional Incident Response Teams ready to clear state roads of incidents as quickly as possible.

The Seattle Traffic Operations Center examined Friday’s commute and is adjusting by extending parking restrictions on Fourth Avenue South from peak periods only to all-day restrictions to help transit and traffic flow. In addition, the Seattle Department of Transportation added protected left turn signals at First Avenue South and South Hanford Street as well as First Avenue South and South Holgate Street to improve traffic flow.

SDOT will continue to work with the Seattle Police Department to monitor and adjust signals as necessary to maximize flow.

4th was a major trouble spot on Friday, according to commute reports from commenters during our morning and afternoon/evening coverage. We’ll be starting traffic/transit coverage early again tomorrow, 5 am.

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HAPPENING NOW: Westside Garden Fair, day 2!

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The second and final day of the first-ever Westside Plant and Garden Art Fair is on! We stopped in just as the gate opened at 11 am and were pointed to the sign you see above, celebrating what a huge success Day 1 was. If you get there soon, you’ll still find some plants:

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But there’s lots else to see and do, including kids’ activities. This is all happening in the lot outside Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation at 7141 California SW in Gatewood.

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Before you go, browse the official website!

West Seattle weekend scene: Highland Park community cleanup

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Some of your West Seattle neighbors have been out doing awesome things this weekend. Thanks to Highland Park Action Committee chair Gunner Scott for the photos and report on Saturday’s HP Community Cleanup:

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Thanks to the 15 neighbors who came out to pick up trash at Highland Park Playground; on SW Holden from Highland Parkway to 16th Ave SW; down Highland Parkway to Othello and the 3 traffic circles on 12th Ave SW at Thistle, Cloverdale, and Trenton.

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A few more areas of West Seattle have cleanups in the works for this month – stand by for news on those!

VIDEO: ‘Style ’16’ a ‘smashing success,’ helping cancer patients via NW Hope and Healing

Northwest Hope and Healing presents Style '16 Fashion Show Benefit from Captive Eye Media on Vimeo.

Lots of West Seattle involvement again this year with the annual fashion show raising money to help breast- and gynecologic-cancer patients via Northwest Hope and Healing. For starters, NWHH’s executive director Kristina Dahl is from WS (as is NWHH’s founder Christine Smith), as is videographer Edgar Riebe, whose Captive Eye Media created the highlight video above. From Kristina:

Style ’16 was a smashing success this year, and we are so grateful to this community! Local boutiques Carmilia’s, Coastal Surf Boutique and West Seattle Runner (as well as other area boutiques) showcased fabulous fashions, and Ola Salon & Spa glammed up our inspirational models. The female models were all cancer survivors (several of whom are from West Seattle), some of whom are currently in treatment, and this year we were joined by the Bellevue Fire Department to model the men’s clothing (and they were a big hit!).

(Photo by Matt Browning)

Thanks to the incredible support of our community, the event raised an astounding, record breaking $205,000 to support women undergoing breast or gynecologic cancer treatment at Swedish Cancer Institute who need help with groceries, rent, utilities, and more, and we couldn’t be happier that NW Hope & Healing is growing so that we can help more women than ever in 2016.

NWHH’s next big fundraiser is the Alki Beach 5K on August 28th. Meantime, Kristina adds, “The need for our grants has risen dramatically, and we are determined to rise up and meet that need. Anyone wanting to get involved is welcome to contact me at kristina@nwhopeandhealing.org.” Find out more about NWHH via this video, also produced by Captive Eye Media.

West Seattle Sunday: What’s up as May begins

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(Saturday photo by Chris Frankovich)

Compared to Saturday … the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar is relatively quiet for this first day of May. With a few exceptions:

BICYCLE PRACTICE RUNS: Viaduct Closure, day 3. Want to try out bicycling from West Seattle before the next weekday commute? West Seattle Bike Connections members are leading rides at 9 am, from the High Point Library (info here), from Lowman Beach (info here), and from Morgan Junction (info here).

WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm in the street, in The Junction. (On California SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska)

WESTSIDE PLANT AND GARDEN ART FAIR, DAY 2: 11 am-3 pm, second and final day of this brand-new event in the lot at Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Gatewood. See the official website for info on the vendors, kids’ activities, and more, including Jane the Goat from noon-2 pm! (7141 California SW)

WEST SEATTLE 5K REGISTRATION PARTY: Noon-4 pm today at West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor): “Not registered for the West Seattle 5K Run/Walk yet? Join us from 12:00 – 4:00 for an in-store registration party. Special early registration prices will be offered for the last time. Stop by, get yourself and family registered for the race, then take a look at the great products offered at WS Runner.” The WS5K (with WSB among the sponsors) is three weeks from today, on May 22nd. (2743 California SW)

RADIATOR CHARLIE’S MORTGAGE LIFTERS: “Fun mix of ’20s, ’30s, ’40s swing music” at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 3-5 pm. (5612 California SW)

‘LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE’ MATINEE: 3 pm at Kenyon Hall, last chance to catch this spring show by Twelfth Night Productions. (7904 35th SW)

‘DEATH OF A SALESMAN’ MATINEE: 3 pm at ArtsWest Playhouse. (4711 California SW)

MORE FOR TODAY AND BEYOND … on our complete calendar.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Brazen burglary at Emerald Water Anglers

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A particularly brazen business burglary tonight: Just as we were heading to Alki to find out more about tonight’s shooting, we heard from Dave McCoy, proprietor of Emerald Water Anglers (WSB sponsor) in The Junction, that someone had broken into his shop (42nd SW/SW Oregon). On our way back from Alki, we went by the shop to find out more. Dave told us the burglar(s) broke off the door handle and forced their way in, making off with 11 rods (that’s his photo above, showing where they had been). Though the alarm was set, that wasn’t enough to stop what apparently was akin to a smash-and-grab. The door and lock are already being repaired, as shown in our photo:

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This comes just two weeks after thieves hit EWA while it was open on a Saturday afternoon, distracting an employee and stealing three reels. And it comes hours after EWA participated in the Junction Day of Giving, earmarking 10 percent of today’s proceeds for charity.

UPDATE: Gunfire on Alki, man shot in the hand

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(WSB photos)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:29 PM: Big response heading to 57th and Alki for a reported shooting – a man is reported to have been shot in the hand. More to come.

9:35 PM: Crews arriving on scene confirm that the injury is not major. A silver vehicle might have been associated with the shooting.

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9:53 PM: We’ve arrived in the area. Searching is centered by the Alki Playfield tennis courts/Whale Tail Park (Lander/59th SW). Heard on the scanner while en route, the victim was to go to the hospital via private ambulance, but was described as “uncooperative.”

9:59 PM: Police tell us at the scene that the victim is in his 20s.

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They’re still looking for shell casings in the search area we mentioned above. We’re adding photos.

10:54 PM: Nothing additional from SPD so far. About 45 minutes after our first report, they tweeted
“(Officers) responded to shots fired call on Alki, found one man with non life-threatening injury to hand. Investigation ongoing” and that’s the only info they’ve published. See the comments below for multiple reports of what people in the area heard and saw.

Car fire on West Marginal Place, no one hurt

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Thanks to Jerry for sending the photo from a car fire about an hour ago on West Marginal Place just north of West Marginal Way SW, under the bridge and by the bicycle trail. We just talked with the car’s owners, as they await a tow truck; they said they were driving when suddenly the car started filling with smoke, so they got off the road (this area is a cul-de-sac), called for help, and got out safely before SFD arrived.

PHOTOS: International TableTop Day @ Meeples Games

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It’s International TableTop Day and that means it’s a day … and night … just made for the gaming that’s at the heart of Meeples Games (3727 California SW; WSB sponsor). We dropped in to see what was up; above, players were in the middle of a game of Here, Kitty, Kitty!. The full schedule for today/tonight is here – including Meeples Bucks giveaways for activities including posing with Captain America and mini-Wil Wheaton (who has a show called Tabletop):

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If you don’t make it to Meeples before this big day/night ends (open until midnight!) – there’s always something going on, proprietors Brian Taylor and Laura Schneider remind you:

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The schedule’s on the right side of the Meeples homepage.

VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 2: Saturday’s tunneling update

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(WSDOT photo – crews monitoring The Viaduct during the closure)

On the second full day of the two-weeks-or-so Alaskan Way Viaduct closure, a “precaution” until the Highway 99 tunneling machine finishes going beneath the AWV, here’s the brief update WSDOT just published:

After completing the first ring, STP crews have been preparing the machine to move out of the concrete of the maintenance stop. The transition from concrete into soil is an important part of tunneling under the viaduct and STP crews have been working to ensure that the transition goes smoothly. Once the machine is fully prepared to mine through this transition, crews will advance slowly and deliberately.

So as of this update, no additional distance has been added to the first-day 6.5-foot tally. Next update is expected about this time tomorrow; still almost 380 feet left to go to get all the way beneath The Viaduct.

Previous WSB coverage:
First-night tunneling-progress report
First pm commute
First am commute

Looking for traffic cams/infolinks? Go here

HAPPENING NOW: Shop, dine, help @ West Seattle Junction Day of Giving

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“Enjoy a day in The Junction and feel good about spending local” – that’s what the West Seattle Junction Association is hoping you’re doing today, during its Day of Giving, with participating businesses donating 10 percent of their proceeds to the nonprofits of their choice. Above, Sierra demonstrated her enthusiasm outside her workplace VAIN West Seattle (4513 California), which has chosen the Senior Center of West Seattle as its beneficiary; below, Wallflower Custom Framing (4735 42nd SW) proprietor Courtney Sievertson, who’s chosen to help the animal advocates of Pasado’s Safe Haven:

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Menashe & Sons Jewelers (4532 California SW) is supporting the West Seattle Food Bank – that’s Josh Menashe smiling below:

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And at Click! Design That Fits (4540 California SW), Art with Heart is today’s beneficiary – represented in the shop by Lisa:

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VAIN, Wallflower Custom Framing, Menashe & Sons Jewelers, and Click! Design That Fits are all WSB sponsors, as are three other participants – Emerald Water Anglers (4502 42nd SW, benefiting the Wild Steelhead Coalition), and, both helping the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (4410 California SW) and Thunder Road Guitars (4736 California SW).

In all, more than 30 businesses are participating – see the full list, and their chosen beneficiaries, here, and get out to The Junction before 6 pm if you’re not already there!

HAPPENING NOW: Second anniversary for My Three Little Birds

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(WSB photos)

Happy second anniversary to Jennifer Young and her upscale-kid-stuff-resale (plus some new toys/accessories) shop My Three Little Birds (WSB sponsor) at 6959 California SW in south Morgan Junction. It’s an all-day celebration until 5 pm, including face-painting until 2:

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More details about today’s celebration are in our calendar listing.

UPDATE: Gray whale, possibly in trouble, seen off West Seattle

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11:29 AM: Thanks to everyone who has texted and e-mailed about this, including Delfino Muñoz, who sent the photo above: A gray whale is in the middle of Puget Sound between West Seattle and Vashon Island and may be in trouble. Those who have watched it from afar and up close say it hasn’t moved much for some time. We looked through binoculars from the south end of Emma Schmitz Overlook and also noted that it was fairly stationary. We know it’s been reported to the local marine-mammal stranding network, Seal Sitters (206-905-SEAL), and to the state. Gray-whale sightings in Puget Sound aren’t rare, but this time of year, some that don’t make it back out to the open ocean for the annual Pacific Coast migration may be lingering because they are ill or undernourished. Earlier this month, one such gray whale was first seen in the Ballard Locks and then found dead between north Vashon and Fauntleroy. We’ll update if we find out anything more about the whale that’s out there right now.

2:43 PM UPDATE: Just got an update from Robin @ Seal Sitters, that those keeping an eye on the whale might see a boat closer to it than boats are supposed to be – researchers from Fish and Wildlife and Cascadia Research Collective are headed out to try to assess the whale’s condition and make sure it’s not entangled. WSB’s Christopher Boffoli got this view from Beach Drive, though the whale is much closer to the other side:

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Christopher reported the whale is definitely blowing regularly, though not moving much. Robin also says they’ve advised the Coast Guard about the whale, since it’s in the shipping lanes and they want cargo ships to know to steer clear – Christopher photographed one passing:

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We’ll continue to update when more information’s available.

HAPPENING NOW: Healthy Kids Day @ West Seattle YMCA

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Healthy Kids Day is on, until 1 pm at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) in The Triangle (4515 36th SW). Our photo above shows the inflatable obstacle course out front – you’ll also find a climbing wall, dunk tank (photo below), face-painting, arts and crafts, bubbles, family races, photo booth, scavenger hunt, and a long list of other ongoing activities.

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Some of the time-specific events coming up:

11 am, east gym: Chief Sealth IHS Latin Dance Team
11:30 am, east gym: Family Zumba class
Noon, east gym: YMCA Karate class

1-3 pm, open swim @ pool

So get to the Y before 1 pm – you don’t have to be a member, but you can find out more about membership, as well as about Y programs such as preschool. Also, find out about other local organizations/businesses:

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That’s Phil from the School of Rock. Also at HKD – find out about a time-saving way to feed your family via Dream Dinners (WSB sponsor), try smoothies from nearby Chaco Canyon Organic Café … the list goes on. This event is also a chance to find out about the Y’s upcoming expansion project, with work starting in early May and official groundbreaking June 2nd.

West Seattle Saturday: Junction Day of Giving; Westside Garden Fair; Tabletop Gaming Day; Healthy Kids Day, Drawtastic! & more

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(Photo by Claudio Gonda)

Good morning! No need to leave the peninsula and deal with the second day of Viaductlessness today. Here are the highlights:

ST. JOHN’S RUMMAGE SALE: 9 am-3 pm, second and final day of the fabulous annual sale at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. (3050 California SW)

‘DAY OF GIVING’ IN THE JUNCTION: Shop and dine at more than two dozen West Seattle Junction businesses today (official hours are 10 am-6 pm), and you’ll be helping a long list of local nonprofits too. Participants – listed here, along with their chosen beneficiaries – are donating 10 percent of today’s proceeds. Some participants also have special events scheduled, so just get to The Junction and see what’s going on!

INTERNATIONAL TABLETOP DAY: Big day to play at Meeples Games (WSB sponsor)! It’s a daylong celebration of all things tabletop, with events scheduled starting at 10 am and continuing into the evening. See the schedule here. Plus, a donation drive for West Seattle Food Bank – bring nonperishable food to donate. (3727 California SW)

WESTSIDE PLANT & GARDEN ART FAIR: 10 am-4 pm, it’s day one of this brand-new event. Plants, art, and even animals, including Cruise the miniature horse, shown in this photo provided by organizers (Cruise is there today only):

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Find out more on the official website. It’s happening at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation campus in Gatewood. (7141 California SW)

HEALTHY KIDS DAY: 10 am-1 pm, it’s the free fun annual extravaganza at the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) – more info in our calendar listing. (4515 36th SW)

MY THREE LITTLE BIRDS TURNS TWO: Second anniversary celebration of the store in Morgan Junction, which also has just launched online sales too. Celebrate all day, 10 am-5 pm, with face-painting and Full Tilt Ice Cream 11 am-2 pm – more info here. (6959 California SW)

DRUG TAKEBACK DAY: Expired/no-longer-needed medication in your home? Take it to the Southwest Precinct for a no-questions-asked dropoff. 10 am-2 pm. (2300 SW Webster)

DRAWTASTIC! Another first-ever event in West Seattle – a festival of drawing and animation. 11:30 am-5 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. See our calendar listing for details. (4408 Delridge Way SW)

VIETNAMESE STORYTIME: 11:30 am at Delridge Library. (5401 Delridge Way SW)

ARABIC STORYTIME: 1 pm at Delridge Library. (5401 Delridge Way SW)

SEATTLE WRITES: POETRY: 2-4 pm at Southwest Library, Seattle’s civic poet Claudia Castro Luna (a West Seattleite) will show you how to “use the city” in your writing. Free and no pre-registration required but first-come, first-served seating, so come early. BYO pen/paper and/or laptop. More info here. (35th SW/SW Henderson)

AUTHOR READING: Jack Lewis reads from his book “Head Check: What It Feels Like to Ride Motorcycles,” 4 pm at Barnes & Noble/Westwood Village. (2800 SW Barton)

BELLS OF THE SOUND: The handbell choir’s spring concert at Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor), 7 pm: “Now Starring … The Music of Stage and Screen.” Details in our calendar listing. (3940 41st SW)

BURGUNDY PEARL: Acoustic duo performs live at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)

DANIEL MARTIN MOORE: Live in-store concert, free admission, 7 pm at Easy Street Records in The Junction. (California SW/SW Alaska)

OWL HOOT: 7:30 pm at Camp Long Environmental Learning Center, for ages 6 and up – but you need to preregister! Info’s in our calendar listing. $5/person. (5200 35th SW)

SEE WHAT ELSE IS UP today/tonight/days & weeks ahead, by going here.

ILLEGAL TREE-CUTTING: City investigating another case, in North Admiral

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The city is investigating another case of illegal tree-cutting in north West Seattle’s Duwamish Head Greenbelt.

Seattle Parks confirmed to WSB that there is an “ongoing investigation” involving tree-cutting on city-owned land near a popular informal roadside viewpoint in North Admiral, at Sunset and Seattle.

Two area residents told us about a letter sent to “neighbors,” seeking information about the tree-cutting, which the city believes happened in February. One neighbor sent us images of both sides of the letter, which Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch confirmed to WSB is authentic.

This is the photo in the letter:

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Above that photo, the letter begins:

We need your cooperation to resolve an illegal use of park property: unauthorized treecutting in Duwamish Head Greenbelt. This tree-cutting violates Seattle Municipal Code 18.12.070 and the responsible person(s) are subject to fines to cover the cost to replace the trees and maintain them until they are established.

The second page includes this “ground-level” view of the site where the illegal tree-cutting happened:

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The letter continues:

We need the cooperation of neighbors and concerned park users to be the “ears and eyes on the ground” to ensure the protection of our valuable open space, keep our park areas safe, and maintain a peaceful environment for all the public to enjoy.

If you have any information about who cut the trees, or if you observed any tree-cutting activity anywhere within the park, please phone me directly at 206-615-0932. Verbal information given can remain anonymous by request and is not subject to public disclosure.

Richard Gholaghong
Senior Property Agent, Seattle Parks and Recreation

We called Gholaghong after receiving the letter via text, and he indicated he was heading into a meeting but would reply with more information soon. We subsequently received a note from Hirsch only confirming that the letter was for real, that the investigation was ongoing, and that she was looking into the answer to our question about how many trees were cut.

A visit to Seattle/Sunset did not yield a firsthand view of the reported tree-cutting – the slope down from the street side is extremely steep, and the downslope view is blocked by overgrown including blackberry vines. County files indicate the city bought the 2 1/2-acre site for less than a quarter-million dollars in 1992.

We will continue trying to find out more about this case, which emerged one month after The Seattle Times first reported on a large-scale case of illegal tree-cutting in east Admiral, also in the Duwamish Head Greenbelt. We have continued to follow up on that case, but there is nothing new to report, and no word yet of charges.

VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 1: First tunneling-machine progress report

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That map is from the first official progress report on the Highway 99 tunneling machine since the Alaskan Way Viaduct closure began. Here’s the WSDOT announcement we just received:

As of 6 p.m. Friday, Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine, had dug 6.5 feet of the approximately 385 feet of tunnel that must be completed before the Alaskan Way Viaduct reopens to traffic. This pace is what we expected. The machine will proceed slowly and deliberately throughout the first few days. Visit our tracking page to see a map showing Bertha’s progress.

Bertha must dig through a few more feet of concrete to exit the maintenance stop before she starts to dig through the soil near the intersection of Yesler and Alaskan Way. Look for another progress update Saturday afternoon.

WSDOT has said that the machine will be digging around the clock while it goes beneath The Viaduct. Tonight’s full update, including the afternoon traffic overview, is here. Here are our coverage links from Day 1:

*Morning traffic/transit coverage
*Afternoon/evening traffic/transit coverage

BIZNOTES: Tony’s Market produce stand WILL open; Propel biodiesel station will close

Two West Seattle biznotes, both from 35th and Barton.

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YES, TONY’S MARKET WILL OPEN: It’s been the most-asked question in the WSB inbox for weeks now – will the family-owned produce stand Tony’s Market ever reopen? We have been going by daily for weeks and haven’t seen anyone to ask; the phone number’s out of service; other ways of trying to find out just didn’t work. Today, someone texted us that activity had been sighted at the red/white/green tent, so we headed that way. Yes, the stand WILL open, in a week to week and a half, we learned. No other details but for those fearing that Tony’s would not reopen this season at all, there’s the answer. Last year, the market didn’t reopen until May 1st, attributing the later-than-previously-usual start to site work including parking-lot rehab.

PROPEL BIODIESEL WILL CLOSE: While taking the photo of Tony’s from the other side of Barton, we noticed this sign on the Propel biodiesel pump island:

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It’s been eight years since the little biodiesel station opened on the north side of what was then an Exxon station and mini-mart, and has since become a 7-11. According to this online reply to a disappointed customer, Propel is focusing “on E85 and DieselHPR in California.”

VIADUCT CLOSURE, DAY 1: Friday afternoon/evening traffic/transit updates

(SDOT MAP with camera/incident links; OFFICIAL INFOSITE for #99Closure; BRIDGE CLOSURES; morning coverage HERE)

(Click any view for a close-up; more cameras on the WSB Traffic page)

4:05 PM: Good afternoon – we’ll be covering traffic/transit this pm in our usual morning style, since it’s the first inbound commute of the two-weeks-or-so Viaduct closure.

Updates first: WSDOT confirms that the tunneling machine did start its beneath-the-Viaduct journey around 9 am. The first progress report is expected in a few hours … @voght tweeted that the 30th/Yancy/Avalon intersection, scene of safety-project work the past few hours, is now fully open again.

4:17 PM: Car vs. pedestrian crash reported at 1st/Horton. … Moments later, also via scanner, police report they and SFD responders aren’t finding either car OR pedestrian.

4:52 PM: Multiple commenters report the Lander bus reroute headed this way is delay-plagued because of trains.

5:08 PM: Remember the stadium zone is extra-busy because the Mariners are home tonight, hosting Kansas City. We’re headed outbound to see what the inbound routes look like outside of webcam range.

5:21 PM: Crash under the bridge, near 26th/Spokane, with injuries. We’re heading that way. (added) Per the photo Josh tweeted, passing on a bus, it’s along the trail on the westbound side of Spokane. Per scanner, victim is a pedestrian hit by a vehicle; injuries include a broken leg.

5:39 PM: Right lane of westbound Spokane is blocked, right by the 26th SW sign (and a “stop for pedestrians” sign).

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Left lane is getting by. Bike/pedestrian trail is open. The victim, a 57-year-old woman, will be taken to the hospital by medic unit. The driver is still at the scene, talking with officers. Transit note: Standing-room-only 21 just went by.

5:47 PM: After leaving that scene, we’re continuing eastbound to see how some of the inbound routes look. Low bridge is wide open. We’re on surface East Marginal north of Spokane now, passing the cargo terminals; little traffic also flowing well both ways – more southbound bicycles than any other vehicles.

5:58 PM: Heading back into West Seattle. The crash scene mentioned above on westbound lower Spokane is now completely clear.

6:24 PM: For the first time in more than 12 hours, and only the second time today, the “low bridge” is closing to land-based traffic so it can open for vessel traffic, per @SDOTbridges (which we are linking to the top of each commute report during the Viaduct closure).

6:34 PM: Big current problem – apparently a train-crossing gate on Lander is stuck in the down position and buses using that as the reroute are backed up in a big way.

6:38 PM: The “low bridge” has reopened to land-based traffic.

7:01 PM: Scanner – the train gates should be “functioning” again. Meantime, the Water Taxi’s about to shift into its hourly mode for the rest of the evening. We stopped by Seacrest briefly about an hour ago.

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As a sizable group (we’re hoping to get the pm numbers later) disembarked, a downtown-bound line awaited. In comments, Elton says about 100 people were in line downtown a short time ago, awaiting the current run back this way. Michelle shared this look at what the downtown queue for the 5:15 trip to WS:

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That photo was courtesy of her sweetie, who was first in line.

8:30 PM: We’ve learned from King County DOT that the run all those people were waiting for had a ridership of 236 – not far from capacity, and more than four times the passengers on the same run last week.

West Seattle Crime Watch: Burglars hit O’Neill Plumbing

Another West Seattle business has been hit by burglars. This time, O’Neill Plumbing (WSB sponsor) in Morgan Junction. Tim O’Neill tells WSB that they “cut open a fence, punched out locks on trucks, and made off with several tools.” They have surveillance video and are offering a reward. First video shows the burglars’ truck arriving:

Second shows one burglar:

Third clip shows another:

The burglary happened early this morning at O’Neill’s headquarters at 6056 California SW.

UPDATE: Police search in Highland Park

12:57 PM: We’re getting word of a big Seattle Police response near Highland Park Way and Holden right now – you might see the Guardian One helicopter helping with the search too. SPD tells us it’s a foot pursuit of someone who ran from police, a possible suspect in a package theft. We’re on the way to find out more.

1 PM: We’re not there yet but hearing via scanner that the suspect might be in custody.

1:14 PM: About all we can verify is that the search is over – helicopter left and police cleared just as we were running up – had to park on the other side of Holden and traffic was too jammed for an easy crossing. Will follow up shortly with media relations in hopes their system has the info.

What’s up for the rest of your West Seattle Friday

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(Photo by Lynn Hall – first cruise ship of the season, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, seen from Alki this morning)

So you survived the first Viaduct-closure commute. Or, you didn’t commute at all. Here’s what’s happening for the rest of today tonight, from the WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:

ST. JOHN’S RUMMAGE SALE: Want to hone your shopping skills for West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day, which is two weeks from tomorrow? Here’s a big sale to shop today! Until 7 pm, it’s day 1 of the big rummage sale at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. (3050 California SW)

WORLD DANCE PARTY: 6 pm at Delridge Community Center, the kickoff to DNDA’s Cultural Events Series! Details here. (4501 Delridge Way SW)

SENIOR CENTER RAINBOW BINGO: “Pajama Party” is the theme; the night starts with treats at 6, then bingo at 7. More info in our calendar listing – check ASAP to see if there’s still room! (California SW/SW Oregon)

LIVE MUSIC: Christy McWilson at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor), 7-9 pm. (5612 California SW)

‘LOVE, LOSS, AND WHAT I WORE’: 7:30 pm at Kenyon Hall, presented by Twelfth Night Productions. Ticket info is in our calendar listing. (7904 35th SW)

‘DEATH OF A SALESMAN’: 7:30 pm at ArtsWest Playhouse in The Junction. Ticket info here. (4711 California SW)

MUSIC WITH A HEART: At Alki UCC, to benefit West Seattle Helpline. 8 pm – full details in our calendar listing. (6115 SW Hinds)

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