In preparation for the startup of Seattle's new South Lake Union streetcar line this fall, Westlake Avenue and Westlake Avenue North between...

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In preparation for the startup of Seattle’s new South Lake Union streetcar line this fall, Westlake Avenue and Westlake Avenue North between Blanchard Street and Valley Street will be opened to two-way traffic, a switch from its current one-way pattern, starting Sunday evening.

Westlake Avenue North will become two northbound and two southbound travel lanes. New left-turn pockets also will be added at Valley Street, Mercer Street, Republican Street and Denny Way, with on-street parking on both sides of Westlake between Republican Street and Denny Way.

The city’s Transportation Department says the change will improve the area’s traffic pattern, especially for businesses and pedestrians.

Westlake is scheduled to be restriped Thursday and Friday. Motorists should watch for temporary “no parking” signs. The streetcar will run between the downtown core and South Lake Union.

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Civic calendar

Base security

Today and Thursday: McChord Air Force Base, south of Tacoma, is holding base-wide anti-terrorism exercises that are expected to cause traffic congestion in the area and more heightened security measures at all gates to the military facility. Visitors should avoid the base during the exercise unless absolutely necessary. Simulated emergencies are planned. Neighbors near the base may hear a variety of sirens and voices as the base public-address system announces varying security levels. The anti-terrorism exercises are testing McChord’s preparedness to respond to a security breach or attack. All public announcements will begin and end with the phrase “exercise, exercise, exercise.”

Getting around

Starting Monday: There’ll be only one boat on the state ferry system’s Port Townsend-Keystone ferry route starting next week, with the ferry leaving Port Townsend and Keystone daily about every 90 minutes. On busy days, evening sailings will be added on Friday and Sunday nights in both directions, continuing until the regular winter schedule begins Oct. 9.

Washington State Ferries typically runs two boats on the Port Townsend-Keystone ferry route from Mother’s Day in May to Columbus Day in October. However, because of vessel availability, the ferry system is switching to the one-boat winter schedule one month early.

Some sailings may sell out early, especially on weekends, so travelers are advised to adjust travel plans to avoid long waits. Schedules, ferry-wait times and other information are online at www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/.

To submit an item to Here & Now, e-mail herenow@seattletimes.com or call 206-464-2226.

Sept. 5, 1911: A long struggle for control of Seattle’s central waterfront came to a head when King County voters approved the Port of Seattle district. The election was a high-water mark for the local Progressive Movement, which advocated public control of essential facilities and utilities. It was a pivotal defeat for the railroads that long had dominated Seattle’s harbor.

Source: Historylink.org