This could be us, Seattle.
This could be us, Seattle. Asanka Ratnayake / Getty Stringer

Get used to café streets. Councilmember Dan Strauss introduced a bill to extend free outdoor dining permits through this time next year. (The current provision was set to expire in the spring.) It’s being billed as a “pathway to permanence,” and will be heard by the Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee on February 1. A final vote could come as soon as February 8.

Yes to fish, no to highways. Just in time for this year’s budgetary wrangling, a new survey shows that Washington residents overwhelmingly support climate protection and public transit over freeway expansion. Among the topics of most public concern: Creating safe fish passages. Hey, wait a minute, why are all the survey responses covered in fin marks?

Got any plans for this Monday? It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day next week, and there’s still time to devote your time to a good cause, such as United Way’s MLK Day of Service. They’re looking for help with a rally, at community gardens, with online mentoring, and more. We’ll be taking the day off in observance, and we’re not alone — here’s a list of Monday’s park closures.

Congratulations to UW researchers on whatever this is! The journal Nature Methods has named the 2021 method of the year, and the winner is: Protein Structure Prediction, thanks to the hard work of UW researchers like Minkyung Baek and David Baker. What the hell is Protein Structure Prediction? Beats me, but this paper indicates that it’ll rapidly advance the discovery of new vaccines and medication, so I’ve decided I’m in favor of it.

Here’s the jerk holding up traffic across the state. It’s hard to get a sense of scale from the picture, but this boulder is about the size of a minivan and it could come crashing down onto White Pass at any moment. Heavy rain exposed the rock, and it’ll need to be removed by a professional crew before anyone can use the road. No ETA for reopening yet.

That boulder must have relatives in Seattle. There’s been a landslide down by Delridge, with a tree tumbling out onto the street along with a bunch of dirt. Some lanes have been re-opened but traffic is slow. Just another day of easy access to and from West Seattle.

Why is vaccination access so unequal? You can watch a forum about international vaccine availability this evening, featuring Rep. Pramilla Jayapal and state health officials. Only 9% of people in low-income countries have had at least one vaccination dose. Nine percent!!! Not acceptable!!!

Speaking of transpo priorities … Transportation lobbying days are coming up at the end of the month. You can sign up to meet with your representative via Zoom to advocate for various good causes — sign up with the Transportation Choices Coalition and they’ll help you through the process.

Well that got people talking. On Monday, we published an interview with Senator Marko Liias, the new chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, in which he said that 95% of traffic fatalities are due to human error. That didn’t sit right with local transportation nerds, who called him out on Twitter. Now the feds have gotten in on the act, with Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the National Traffic Safety Board, letting Liias know that she’s eager to work with him … immediately after tweeting a link to an article about how that 95% figure is bullshit. (Basically, it only accounts for the one last thing that happened before a crash, and doesn’t account for all the factors that led up to it. It’s like saying that weak hearts and lungs are responsible for killing smokers, rather than the cigarettes that weakened them.)

Simon Sefzik is the new Doug Ericksen. Whatcom County Council has appointed 22-year-old Simon Sefzik to replace Doug Ericksen, an anti-vax-mandate Republican who died last month after coming down with COVID. Sevzik has locked down his social media and there's not much info about him online, aside from some answers to a questionnaire. He recently graduated from a conservative Christian college in Virginia; received a $3,500 scholarship from the NRA; and he interned for North Carolina Trump boot-licker Ted Budd. His mother ran for the same district's House of Representatives seat in 2020 and lost in a particularly expensive election.

New Kirby trailer. Ohhhh, THAT'S what Bowser's Fury was a prototype for.

Some fine news from the Port. Commissioner Hasegawa has confirmed that she’ll be joining the Puget Sound Regional Council Transportation Policy Board — whew, that’s a mouthful — which is very encouraging. Hasegawa has a great commitment to making big reforms for sustainable transpo. This is why we endorsed her, and why you voted for her. The board’s first meeting is tomorrow, and they’ll mostly be talking about money stuff. You can watch it online if you’re that kind of nerd.

What is this, some kind of joke? A local fake-news website is holding a workshop next month — and no, it’s not The Stranger. The Needling, our regional version of The Onion, will conduct the workshop via Zoom over several weeks, teaching “fundamentals of writing real fake news journalism.” I hope they don't give away all my secrets.

What’s the matter, you don’t want to stain your deck in the middle of monsoon season?

Hey, wait a minute. Here's a promo for a failed 1982 ABC sitcom starring Patty Duke as a mom and Helen Hunt as her high-school-age (!!!) daughter. And while that casting sure is interesting, what really caught my eye is their kitchen. Look familiar? Here's a hint: The show was created by Susan Harris.