The days are slowly getting longer here in the Pacific Northwest.
It has not been ‘too cold’ (always a relative term: 50 °F/10 °C) and we have had a nice stretch of six days of dry weather.
The rain is coming back tomorrow, though, and will bring more snow to the mountains as well.
P.S. The traffic adjustments and volumes with the Alaskan Viaduct now closed, has not been too terrible at all.
The Alaskan Way Viaduct (opened 1953) that runs along the Seattle waterfront, was closed at 10 pm on Friday night. It took traffic officials until well after 11 pm to get the revelers and the final vehicle off of it.
On Saturday, pedestrians had to be shooed off of what has now become a construction/ demolition site.
It will take three weeks to finalize the opening of the State Route 99 Tunnel below the Viaduct. We will know by Monday night how disruptive this period will be to commuters to downtown Seattle. Transport officials’ advice to the 250,000 commuters: shift your schedule/ walk/ bike/ take the bus/ train/ carpool / try the water taxi. Just do not drive in by yourself.
I’m home! .. but it’s going to become a stretched-out Friday for me!
That’s what happens when one flies east across the international dateline. Let’s see: 18 hrs in Japan on Friday + 9 hrs flying + 14 hrs in Seattle until Friday midnight. That’s a 41 hr day. Whoah.
The rain is back after a dry week, and we did not see the sun all day.
It’s not all bad, though: the cloud cover and rain keep the day temperatures well above freezing. Today it was 46°F (8°C) here in the city.
I ran out to the Apple store today to upgrade my iPhone 6s camera to an iPhone Xs camera. (It’s a little joke. Of course the iPhone Xs functions as a phone as well! .. and has a bigger, brighter screen; more powerful processor; and more storage).
Here are some first pictures that I took in Volunteer Park here in Seattle. (Note: The last two pictures will take longer than usual to load over slow connections. I did not reduce their pixel count).
The Seattle Mariners baseball field – south of downtown – is set up as a Christmas light maze (the Seattle ‘Enchant’ Christmas market and festival). So that’s where we went after beers & dinner tonight. There were forests of light trees, a scavenger hunt for Santa’s reindeer in the maze, and a little ice rink as well.
The Rainier Square Tower (59-story, 850 ft/ 259 m tall) in downtown Seattle, is getting off the ground, with its completion scheduled for early 2020.
Traditionally, a rebar-reinforced concrete core has been the preferred method of construction for Seattle’s towers. These cores are very good at bracing against wind and seismic loads. The construction process is slow, though: three to four days per floor, with the steel framing for each floor dependent on completion of the concrete work.
For Rainier Square Tower, a new steel plate & concrete composite fill design for its high-rise core is used. It has been developed by Magnusson Klemencic Associates (MKA) over many years. The system uses two steel plates connected by steel spacing ties, and then the cavity between the plates is filled with high-strength concrete. An added boon is that this method is expected to reduce traditional construction time by 30% or more.
(That’s a classic Meatloaf song title). I attempted three errands this morning, and was successful with two. 1. To the dentist for my 6-monthly ‘chomper check-up’ & cleaning: success. 2. To the bank to deposit a big check (yes, I know I can take a picture with my smartphone & deposit it, but I had a question about the check). The bank people are always very nice to me (because they have a lot of my money): success. 3. To Seattle Central Library to download my international newspapers onto my iPad: fail. It was only 9.25 am, they only open at 10.00 am, and I wanted to go home to have my oatmeal, blueberry & yogurt breakfast.
I went down Denny Way to go check on the construction of a condominium tower called the Nexus today, just north and east of downtown. The construction boom is still going full-steam with dozens of downtown and South Lake Union projects only now getting off the ground.
It was a beautiful day here in the city but definitely not warm: 53 °F /11 °C!
I put on my scarf and went down to Pike Place market to take another look at the Alaskan Way Viaduct, before it is retired (at age 65, incidentally). Its replacement tunnel is just about ready, and demolition of the Viaduct will commence in January.
The No 48 bus makes for an easy run up to the University (of Washington) District for me, and I did that today. (The main draw there for me is the big university bookstore, and the smaller second-hand bookstores, as well).
In another two years or so, the new Light Rail train station right there will be completed, and then I can take the train instead. That would be great!
I guess Seattle has many gleaming glass and steel towers nowadays, but the Seattle Tower is one of the city’s original art deco gems.
Its construction was completed in 1929, and at the time it was called the Northern Life Building.
Word had leaked out by Monday night (before an official announcement from Amazon), that the two sites of the much anticipated Amazon HQ2 (second headquarters) will be Long Island City (in New York City) and Crystal City (in northern Virginia, just south of Washington DC downtown).
I think – I’m not sure – that it’s good news for Seattle that HQ2 will be split in two. Seattleites were fretting that HQ2 might eventually become bigger than Seattle, and this seems to make that less of a possibility.
This is the time of year for some mushrooms to sprout in urban gardens here in the Pacific Northwest, and I discovered a new type under my laurel fence this year. Maybe they’ve been coming out every year, and I just haven’t noticed before!
I made my way down to the Amazon biospheres today to catch a glimpse of Morticia*, the name given to the giant corpse flower that is blooming there. (Report by local TV station King5 here).
I had to be content to just check the flower out from the sidewalk. It was too late to book a time slot (all were taken), and I don’t have a friend employed by Amazon that could take me in as a guest! Aw.
*I suspect this is a reference to Morticia Addams, a fictional character from The Addams Family television and film series. A memorable quote (Morticia to her husband): ‘Don’t torture yourself Gomez, that’s my job.’
We have had a streak of beautiful blue-sky days here in the city, reaching all of 72 °F (22 °C) on Tuesday. A high pressure system parked above the Pacific Northwest will give us even more clear weather days, all through the weekend, say the meteorologists.
I was a little shocked today when the message ‘Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen passed away’ appeared on my phone. Allen disclosed earlier this month that he was receiving treatment (again) for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but I did not know that his health was deteriorating rapidly.
Born in Seattle, he wielded his enormous fortune to transform South Lake Union into office buildings and apartments, to help the Seattle Seahawks to stay in the city (he owned the team since 1997) and to make contributions to a large number of causes and charities.