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According to the Washington Department of Ecology, diesel oil spilled from a 74-foot yacht on Tuesday, July 19th. Workers noticed oil on the water at approximately 6:30 a.m. on the morning of the spill, reported it to authorities, and deployed an oil spill containment boom.

“The amount spilled and the cause of the spill remain under investigation. and it appears that fuel leaked from at least one of four tanks on board into the vessel bilge, activating the bilge pump and discharging fuel overboard,” the Department of Ecology’s website states.

KOMO News reported that the fuel tanks had only just been filled on Monday, and by Tuesday morning they were completely empty. An estimated 630 gallons of diesel fuel had leaked into the water.

There was a strong odor of diesel, but vapors were monitored well below the level of risk for fire or explosion.

In addition to the State’s Department of Ecology, Seattle Public Utilities and the U.S. Coast Guard have formed a unified command to respond to and clean up the spill. “The owner has hired spill response contractors who are acting under the agencies’ oversight.”

Cleanup efforts included removal of the diesel from the surface of the water, as well as hand cleaning under docks and along the shoreline. Materials such as containment booms, oil-absorption materials, vacuum trucks, and other vessels, equipment and vehicles have been used to support efforts to clean up after the spill.

As of 5 p.m. on July 20th, the Department of Ecology reported that all oil that could be recovered from the water and shore structures had been removed. “Some sheen may be visible on the water, a layer of oil too thin to recover, that will dissipate in the next day or so… Ecology crews are assessing environmental effects. There have been no reports of oiled wildlife.”

Investigation as to the cause of the fuel spill continues.

Featured photo source: KomoNews.com

With ever-increasing urban growth in Seattle, even the city’s bodies of water are becoming congested. Lake Union has become a liquefied freeway afloat with boats, paddleboards, kayaks and seaplanes with no lanes or signals. The safety hazards associated with this amount of traffic on the lake have sparked a proposal for a seaplane landing strip.

Komo 4 News reports that Kenmore Air president Todd Banks is waiting for government approval on his proposal, which would designate a takeoff and landing strip on Lake Union with floating buoys. These markers would light up and flash during a takeoff or landing, activated by the pilot from the cockpit. This signal would alert boaters to stay clear of the area. According to the article, the system would cost about $80,000.

Currently, seaplane pilots must search for a clear area on Lake Union to navigate seaplanes. There are up to 50 take offs and 50 landings per day, according to Komo 4 News. A clearly marked runway would eliminate the crossing of paths with boaters or jet skiers, an increasing safety hazard as the lake gets busier for the summer.

There is no timeline for the implementation of the proposed seaplane landing strips. According to Komo 4 News, the City of Seattle is in the process of getting necessary permits from agencies such as the Coast Guard to continue pushing forward on this project.

Be safe out there, Seattle!

Featured photo found here

Seattle has recently become greener. In an effort to raise drivers’ awareness of bicyclists on the road, he city’s first green-colored bike lanes have recently been installed in two locations. The existing bike lanes were transformed to green rather than the same pavement color at the points where the bicycle and car lanes cross.

In South Lake Union, a new green bike lane has been installed on Dexter Ave. N. just north of Denny Way. At this section, drivers turning right must cut across the bike lane going straight. The second green lane is on E. Greenlake Way N. just north of 50th Street in a triangular corner next to the right-turn lane where motorists might not expect to encounter bikers. The material used in these bike lanes is a green construction substance that is glued onto the concrete. It has been tested by SDOT and found to be reliable, durable, and non-slippery for bicyclists. About 12 more green bike lanes are expected to be installed throughout the city in the next three years. These distinctive paths for bikers are part of SDOT’s goal to reduce the rate of biker/driver collisions by one third between 2007 and 2017.

Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan states “A bikeable city is one where people ride bicycles because it is a convenient, fun, safe, and healthy choice. It is a city in which people of all ages and abilities bicycle for any trip purpose. The Seattle Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) aspires to encourage and accommodate more people to ride a bicycle. The BMP provides a blueprint to make it easier to decide to ride a bicycle. The vision of the BMP, which signifies an important shift in the way Seattle will accommodate people riding a bicycle, is ‘Riding a bicycle is a comfortable and integral part of daily life in Seattle for people of all ages and abilities.’”

Click here to see Seattle’s bike map in its entirety.

Featured photo via @Knotis

Just as the lane configurations on Mercer Street seem to change daily, the Seattle Department of Transportation is constantly reevaluating what can be done to reduce gridlock for drivers and headaches for pedestrians in South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne, an area experiencing unprecedented growth. After implementing several changes this fall, SDOT continues to facilitate communication among construction companies and community members as part of its Construction Hub Coordination Program.

Anyone who has spent time sitting in their car on Mercer Street, watching traffic lights cycle through green and back to red without moving an inch, knows that improving traffic flow on the main thoroughfare is a high priority for the neighborhood. With input from the South Lake Union Community Council, SDOT has made the following changes:

  • Traffic signal at 5th Avenue North and Mercer Street has been reconfigured to allow flow of both eastbound and westbound traffic simultaneously.
  • Revised signal at Queen Anne Ave. North and Roy Street to prevent vehicles from blocking the crosswalk.
  • Left-turn-signal time extended at Fairview Avenue North and Mercer Street.
  • Rapid Ride D Line bus given priority signal.
  • New signal timing for special events at Seattle Center.
  • Facilitated coordination between construction companies to ensure that sidewalks aren’t closed on both sides of any street, improving access for pedestrians.

While the Mercer corridor reconfiguration project is expected to be completed in mid 2015, construction in booming South Lake Union shows no signs of letting up, meaning your input will be as important as ever. Any questions or feedback can be submitted to the Construction Hub Coordination Program at SDOTConstructionHub@seattle.gov.

A movie-like chase, wine thief, and water scavenger make up this month’s Lake Union crime recap.

October 13: A rather movie-like chase took place between police and a suspected auto thief around the Lake Union area. Officers responded to suspicious activity at a parking lot, where they found a man lying underneath a pickup truck next to a large gas can. The suspect fled when he saw police approaching, ran to a loading dock, then to another parking lot near Fairview Avenue and Aloha Street. Officers continued their pursuit as the man jumped into the lake. Police talked the man into accepting rescue, and pulled him to shore with a flotation device. He was transported to Harborview Medical Center before being booked into King County Jail for investigation of auto theft.

October 13: Police responded to an apartment in South Lake Union where residents reported a suspect had stolen several bottles of wine from them. When the theft victims went to the man’s apartment to get the wine back, the suspect reportedly pointed a shotgun at one of them. Officers arrested the suspect and booked him into King County Jail for investigation of harassment.

October 7: Police officers arrested a man who was found scavenging inside the building that used to be the Seattle Times headquarters. Owners of a nearby restaurant notified police of their water being cut off, which police found to be due to a suspect stealing copper pipes underneath the space. The suspect was carrying a variety of tools. He was booked into King County Jail for investigation of burglary.

South Lake UnionDrive anywhere in South Lake Union these days and you are likely to run into at least one roadblock. Road work on Mercer Street and on 9th Avenue combined with countless construction projects in progress in the area has led to street and sidewalk closures, reduced parking availability, and near-constant traffic gridlock.

Throughout 2014, the Seattle Department of Transportation has been making efforts to alleviate some of these problems through its Construction Hub Coordination Program and Access Seattle Initiative. As a result of feedback from neighbors and business owners at a recent South Lake Union Community Council meeting, drivers and pedestrians should see some changes happening in the near future. Here’s a summary of the issues that are being addressed:

  • Amazon is using off-duty Seattle Police officers to restrict access to Harrison Street to aid in emptying their parking garages, which has increased traffic on neighboring Republican Street. SDOT says they will no longer allow this.
  • Heavy traffic on Mercer Street is deterring people from visiting surrounding businesses. SDOT says that an additional eastbound lane on Mercer will be opening in less than a week, and new signal timing should further reduce backups.
  • Construction workers who commute to the area are taking up a large chunk of street parking in the area. SDOT and the Department of Planning and Development will increase requirements for construction companies to provide off-street parking for workers.
  • Heavy traffic, including from construction vehicles and equipment, does not make the area pedestrian friendly. SDOT will install all-way walk signals at the intersections of 9th & Republican, 9th & Harrison, 9th & Thomas, John & Minor, Yale & Minor, and Yale & Thomas.

Also, click here to see a map of SLU construction projects.

After what seemed like a long time coming, Seattle has finally acquired its very own bike share program. Pronto! Cycle Share launched in the city on Monday, drawing plenty of anticipation and curiosity from Seattle residents.

The system provides 500 bikes at 50 stations located throughout the city. Bikes are available for rent any day, any time. The two-wheelers can be rented by the half hour, or users have the option of purchasing day, three day, or yearly passes. Helmets are available at each station.

Will this new transportation option help alleviate the stress that is Seattle transportation? We’ll have to test it out and see. Many eager riders have already taken the bikes out for a spin—see what users are saying about their first bike sharing experiences:

Featured photo via geekwire.com | Taylor Soper

Seattle commuters are no newbies to traffic. And not just any traffic—carpocalypses. The city streets turning into parking lots is nothing new to Seattleites, and this weekend will bring yet another severe gridlock. The closure is due to construction related to the Highway 99 tunnel, which will include removal of an Aurora overpass.

A four-day closure on Highway 99 will begin Friday night through 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 27th. Thousands of drivers and passengers will face delays, and the Friday night Seahawks game won’t help ease up roads. Metro Transit is advising riders to consider alternate forms of transportation, so get your walking shoes ready. Re-routes will apply to RapidRide E Line and four other North End routes. Click here to see specific routes that will be detoured. Metro routes that travel along Fifth, Westlake and Dexter Avenue North will be slowed by these detours. Expect long delays.

Commuters are not looking forward to the stop and go snarls. Check out how Seattle is preparing for another traffic nightmare.

Featured photo found here

Highway 99 Closure

  1. Highway 99's coming 4-day closure: Be prepared for a mess – The Seattle T http://bit.ly/1tjrxLU h5TO6
  2. Weekend traffic reminders: Highway 99, Alki Beach 5K, other citywide events, plus ramp closure TONIGHT  http://dlvr.it/6h2vbV 
  3. Highway 99 closure, construction and the Seahawks: Seattle’s Carmageddon begins  http://bit.ly/1mqQzmf 0vFLAz1
  4. PLAN AHEAD: Major four-day Hwy. 99 closure starts Friday in downtown #Seattle (MAP) >> http://t.co/oJD10lmPI2 http://t.co/ZDRQnQH2gK
    PLAN AHEAD: Major four-day Hwy. 99 closure starts Friday in downtown #Seattle (MAP) >>  http://go.q13fox.com/XDClJg  pic.twitter.com/ZDRQnQH2gK
  5. Stop us if you've heard this one before but an upcoming closure of a major roadway is about to gridlock Seat http://seattle.curbed.com/archives/2014/08/highway-99-closure-traffic.php xiIFN
  6. "Gridlockin': Stop us if you've  http://ift.tt/1v08oR5 tp://t.co/x1ItnKh38J via Curbed Seattle
  7. Nightmare cometh: Highway 99’s coming 4-day closure starts Friday: Be prepared for a mess via The Seattle http://ht.ly/3oCA4v xjOusvc
  8. Highway 99 is about to close for construction. Tell us how this will affect your commute and/or weekend plans:  http://bit.ly/1oSjUvB 
  9. Highway 99 closing for 4 days on Friday, expect traffic messes: Highway 99 through Seattle will close for four…  http://dlvr.it/6gMcxG 

A speeding spree, bar fight gone wrong, and a flying peeping Tom make up this month’s Lake Union crime recap.

July 21st – A man was arrested by Seattle police officers after he swung a stick and stole beer inside the 7 Eleven convenience store on Denny and Broad Street, heading for the Chihuly Glass Gardens.

July 18th– A drunk driver sped through downtown in a stolen Mustang, colliding with a valet and then a bus. No drivers were injured but the suspect’s vehicle was severely damaged. The spree ended when the car halted right in front of the Seattle Police headquarters.

July 12th – A man was shot twice outside a bar in the Westlake neighborhood. Police officers responded to a bar fight and were alerted of shots fired on their way to the scene. Witnesses described seeing a car leaving the area that was involved in the fight. One victim arrived at Harborview Medical Center with gunshot wounds to the leg and backside. This shooting is being investigated by detectives.

June 22nd – Police responded to a woman’s call after she had spotted an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or drone, hovering outside her apartment window. The resident was concerned the flying object was spying on her, so she alerted the building’s concierge who contacted police. The concierge went outside and saw two men piloting the drone as well as carrying a tripod and video camera, who drove away once spotted. Police are looking for any surveillance footage in the area that may have captured the incident.

Featured photo found here

Each month, we provide a brief summary of Lake Union crime activity from the previous month. Read on for this month’s recap of criminal activity…

  • Police Continue Their Hunt for Homicide Suspect: On April 6th, a man was shot near 5th Avenue and Olive Way. The suspect is still at large, and SPD are asking for any witnesses or people with information to step forward. The suspect is described as being a light-skinned black male with a short, curly afro. He is estimated to be in his early twenties, about 5’11” – 6 feet tall and of skinny build. At the time of the crime, he was unshaven and was wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans. He also has a marking above his right eye.
  • K9 Officers Track Down Suspects in Attempted Burglary: SPD were called to a vacant building in the 200 block of Fairview Avenue N on Thursday, April 17th after 10 p.m. with reports of a group of men on the roof, hitting a compressor with a sledgehammer. As officers arrived on the scene, the suspects fled and hid in the building. When they ordered the men out without response, they took a K9 unit named Ziva into the building. They found two of the suspects in closets and another was hiding in a roof vent. SPD recovered a backpack filled with tools and an ax. They booked the three suspects into King County Jail.
  • Serious Injuries Result from Pedestrian-Vehicle Collision: At about 4:45 p.m. on May 20th, two male pedestrians were involved in a collision with a vehicle near the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Denny Way. The pedestrians, ages 39 and 62, were thrown onto the windshield of the vehicle that struck them. They were transported to Harborview Medical Center in serious condition. No other details are known at this time.
  • Lake Union Boat Fire & Explosion Injures One: Seattle Fire responded to the a boat dock at 2732 Westlake Avenue North at about 9:30 a.m. on May 22nd from reports of a boat fire. Medics found the owner of the boat, a 33-year-old male, with extreme burns on his upper body. According to news reports, the fire was started when a spark from a vacuum cleaner ignited spilled gasoline (the man was attempting to clean up the spilled fuel with the vacuum). The man was burned on his hands, arms, torso and face with second- and third-degree burns, before he jumped into the water. He was transported to Harborview for treatment. His girlfriend was also on the boat at the time, but she avoided any injury. The estimated damage from the fire is $55,000.

Featured photo from KIROtv.com.