This was a great weekend to visit Mercer Island. Just not by car. As WSDOT has been saying in numerous venues for many weeks, a section of westbound I-90 had to be closed this weekend for the second phase of maintenance on a freeway joint that was installed in 1989. Initially, they left a westbound ramp open on the island, but that caused extensive backups when navigation systems directed drivers to use the island’s surface streets to bypass the construction. In response, WSDOT closed Mercer Island’s westbound onramp altogether. Access for emergency vehicles, transit, and bikes was unimpeded. The project is now complete and traffic is flowing.
Hurricane Ian is about to hit Florida and Cuba. The storm is expected to hit western Cuba this evening, and then proceed north toward the west coast of Florida. Currently a Category 1 storm with 80-mph winds, it may hit Category 4 by mid-week.
Death Under the Bridge was very nice. This weekend saw the return of the PNW’s most ferocious death-metal concert series, with Abhorrency, Diabolic Oath, Noroth, and Funerelic playing under the 1st Ave Bridge. Nice to see local youths keeping out of trouble.
Monkeypox is declining, but not gone. The vaccine is now easier to obtain, and two studies are underway into its efficacy. Case numbers are still going up in a few places, including Indiana, Virginia, and Massachusetts. Health experts are saying that mass vaccination is still the best shot at containing this particular viral outbreak.
“A happy ending is ours to write.” Celebrated author Dame Hilary Mantel passed away this weekend at the age of 70. She wrote the Wolf Hall trilogy, which won two separate Booker prizes, and she spoke candidly about her experience with disability.
We just wrapped up Falls Awareness Week. But it’s never a bad time to check to make sure there are no falling hazards in your home, especially if there are elderly folks about. Here’s some guidance for reducing risk.
Bye, boats. Two sunken ships have been removed from the river near Portland. They were both old Navy vessels, and there were plans to turn them into museums before funding dried up. Two years ago, they both sank, with metal-salvagers blamed. Now they’ve been hauled off for repairs, leaving regional government and the Coast Guard to handle cleanup.
#USCG is overseeing the removal of the sunken vessels Alert and Sakarissa from the Columbia River in #Portland. The Sakarissa has been dewatered & re-floated. Crews are now determining the best way to transport it to Diversified Marine Inc. to offload any remaining oily waste. pic.twitter.com/1T8a53IRJy— USCGPacificNorthwest (@USCGPacificNW) September 16, 2022
There’s a memorial ride and demand for safer streets this Friday. Robb Mason was biking home in July when a driver hit him and fled the scene, leaving Robb to die by the base of the West Seattle Low Bridge. This Friday, friends and family will meet for a memorial ride. They’ll be joined by SDOT Director Greg Spotts. You can contribute to a GoFundMe for Robb’s widow, Claudia, here.
That building just ran into the street out of nowhere. A driver crashed into a building near 5000 Phinney Ave N overnight, across the street from Woodland Park Zoo. Three occupants of the car were sent to the hospital in stable condition.
5000 block of PHINNEY AVE N: all three patients are in stable condition and are being transported to a hospital for further care. We requested a tow truck to remove the vehicle. All other units are returning to service. pic.twitter.com/xSIqsF11jF— Seattle Fire Dept. (@SeattleFire) September 26, 2022
Teach that asteroid a lesson. This afternoon, NASA will crash a spacecraft into an asteroid. It’s part of an experiment to see if we can change the trajectory of large space-bound objects. The impact will be streamed live starting at 3 pm Pacific, and you can watch here.
Welcome to town. Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, was in Seattle this weekend. She seems to have had a lovely time biking around, visiting the locks, and meeting up with complete-streets advocates.
Speaking of transportation safety … The NTSB released a new report calling for alcohol detection systems in all new vehicles. The recommendation follows a 2021 crash in which an impaired driver killed nine people, including seven children, while speeding. NTSB wants the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require new vehicles to stop operating if they detect alcohol impairment, and to require equipment to prevent speed-related crashes.
Bikes will be allowed to return to Green Lake Park. Specifically, they’ll return to the inner loop, which imposed a new ban on anything wheeled a few months ago. That pushed many park-users, including small children on bikes, to an unsafe path next to dangerous traffic. The park will revert back to allowing bikes on the safer path by November 1.
Louise Fletcher is with the prophets. Fletcher passed away in her sleep this weekend. The actress is known for having played some particularly beloved villains, from Nurse Ratched to Kai Winn Adami, among many others. You might also know her from Joan of Arcadia, 7th Heaven, Cruel Intentions, or her very lovely Oscar acceptance speech.
A shakeup with Boise cops. Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee is out, following numerous complaints from other officers. Lee came to Boise from Portland, and workers complained that he showed favoritism toward other officers from the city while berating everyone else.
Thanks to the volunteer cleanup crew. A group of neighbors picked up trash and trimmed encroaching vegetation this weekend along city sidewalks. (Because the City’s team of goats can’t be everywhere.) Check out the before and afters:
2/3 Before & after pics of the work we did:— Bob Svercl 🚲🌸🏔 (@bobco85) September 24, 2022
-looking downhill from Beacon/13th
-uphill from Beacon/College
-downhill from Beacon/College
-uphill from Beacon/12th@BHSafeStreets @RVGreenways @CSGreenways
Interested? Join the Seattle Street Fixers: https://t.co/IfIpXbK3WA pic.twitter.com/RHecpgviDf