West Seattle Bridge update, October 16; Budget Update; RV Pump-out Program; West Seattle Junction BIA Public Safety Meeting; Lowman Beach Racket Court Redesign; Free Learning Hub at SW Teen Life Center; Virtual Office Hours

October 16th, 2020

West Seattle Bridge Update, October 16

Three updates at West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Meeting

At the meeting of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force on Wednesday, we received three important updates from SDOT regarding the decision on whether to repair or replace the West Seattle Bridge.

First of all, SDOT Director Zimbabwe announced that SDOT will release the final Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) on Monday. The CBA is developed to inform the decision whether to repair or replace the West Seattle Bridge. It’s critical for the members of the task force (and the public) to have this information, in order to fulfill their intended function of providing advice about the decision. Members of the task force expressed frustration last week at the amount of information they had received, and not having cost estimates beyond dollar signs from one to five, for both construction and maintenance and operations. I’ve heard the CBA is approximately 80 pages, and will likely be released Monday, so it will be challenging for task force members to digest by the next meeting on October 21st. There will likely be another meeting added the following week to better allow members to fulfill the function of providing informed advice.

Secondly, given the timing of the availability of the CBA, the Mayor is no longer expected to announce a decision at the task force meeting on the 21st.

Third, SDOT Director Zimbabwe announced their design contractor, HNTB, has brought forward a  replacement alternative based on the Lake Champlain Bridge, a two-lane bridge between New York and Vermont which opened in 2011. Here’s a  “white paper” prepared by the two state transportation agencies and the Federal Highway Administration, available at the NYDOT project page. SDOT will be presenting about it  at the task force meeting on Wednesday; I have not received any information about this beyond what is publicly available.

The replacement options considered to date have been presented to inform the decision whether to repair or replace the bridge; a Type, Size and Location study will be needed to decide what replacement would be used. The options presented so far include estimated opening dates in 2026, compared to 2022 for a repair. There’s been a suggestion that a new “rapid replacement” option could potentially be done in three years.

According to the white paper, the Lake Champlain project was completed in shortly over two years, through approaches on permitting, design and construction, and demolition of the bridge.

The white paper notes there was an unusual amount of close cooperation on permitting, including with  federal agencies, and between federal agencies.  A design-bid-build process was used, which can save time compared to standard processes.

Environmental review was condensed to five months, rather than e.g. 5+ years. No EIS was required; the project was able to receive a “Categorical Exclusion with Documentation;” it was built along the same alignment as the original bridge.

Off-site construction was used to build bridge elements, and brought into place on a barge; the center span was raised 75 feet.

In addition, the previous bridge was demolished (see 40 seconds in), and went into the lake.

The white paper indicates 80% of funding was provided by the federal government, with the rest split between the two states.

Compared to that project, there is a more challenging environment adjacent to the West Seattle Bridge, with the Port of Seattle and numerous adjacent maritime businesses, a salmon run and Native treaty fishing rights, and an urban environment.  In addition, much of the bridge is above land. It’s hard to see approval for any permitting to demolish the bridge into the Duwamish, for example. In addition, conceptual options for replacement presented to date by SDOT for Superstructure Replacement and Full Replacement include replacing portions of the bridge that are over land. An earlier option to replace only the center span (which is mostly over the water) was deemed infeasible.

While it’s unlikely all these conditions of the Lake Champlain Bridge could be replicated for the West Seattle Bridge, it’s important to learn what we can about accelerating timelines from other projects, as well as innovative approaches toward permitting and interagency coordination  whether we proceed with a repair or a replacement.

Permitting Risk and BNSF Rail Bridge

Schedule and permitting risks are an important element of the West Seattle Bridge decision. One of the risks mentioned in the cost/benefit analysis is permitting, e.g. vertical clearance required by the US Coast Guard.

In this spirit, recent developments on the ship canal rail bridge are worth keeping in mind. Last week BNSF Railroad announced they will be repairing the 1914 railroad bridge over the ship canal.

Two years ago BNSF had announced they planned a new bridge, with a vertical lift span, that would have 155 feet of vertical clearance, 15 feet more than the West Seattle Bridge

I have heard that the Coast Guard may have wanted additional vertical clearance beyond that. So I believe the risk re: delays for Coast Guard permitting must be fully vetted, and strongly encourage SDOT to contact BNSF re: their experience. We cannot end up in that kind of position two years from now, deciding to change course.

Survey says?

On October 12 at approximately 7 p.m., I conducted an online survey asking whether people support a repair or a replacement of the West Seattle Bridge.

It’s not a scientific survey, and geographic responses aren’t representative of District 1 overall.  That said, it is useful for receiving feedback from constituents at this point in time. Thank you to all who engaged.

As of 7 p.m. on October 14, approximately 7,000 people had participated and of them, 59.8% favored repair, 36% supported replacement, and 4.2% supported other.

39% of replies were from 98116, the zip code furthest north in West Seattle. Other zip codes, such as 98106 and 98126, stretch from north to south, 98126 is in the central portion, 98106 in the eastern portion. 98136 is the SW portion of West Seattle, and 98108 includes South Park.  98146 includes the very southwest portions of the city.

Zip Repair Replace % of Total Replies
98116 66.8% 29.6% 39% of total
98126 64.7% 31.39% 24% of total
98136 58.6% 37.1% 16% of total
98106 41.7% 54.6% 16% of total
98146 37.3% 60% 4% of total
98108 34% 66% 1% of total

Traffic

Here are the most recent traffic numbers:

The most recent travel times are below:


This Week in the Budget

On Tuesday, the Council’s Budget Committee began work on Issue Identification sessions, where Central Staff reports on the Mayor’s proposed budget, and identifies potential issues for the Council to address. Councilmembers can also raise issues, or potential proposals. Here’s the schedule, and presentations available so far; departments not identified are included in the “Miscellaneous Issues” section.

October 15

Introduction and Issue Identification Overview | Presentation

General Fund Balancing Analysis | Central Staff Memo | Presentation

October 16

Department of Sustainability and Environment | Central Staff Memo | Presentation

Department of Neighborhoods | Central Staff Memo | Presentation

Seattle Public Library | Central Staff Memo | Presentation

Miscellaneous Issue Identification | Central Staff Memo | Presentation

Issue ID meetings will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday next week:

October 20:

  • Parks
  • SDOT
  • Police

October 21:

  • Community Safety
  • Human Services
  • Homelessness
  • COVID-19

On October 22:

deadline for Council Budget Actions and Statements of Legislative Intent (SLIs) that will be presented beginning on October 28th. Items must have three sponsors, and specific dollar amounts.

You can view or download the full Select Budget Committee meeting calendar here.  Sign up to receive Select Budget Committee agendas by email here.

Public comment will be taken at the start of each meeting at 9:30 a.m. You can register to give comment on this page. The signup form is available two hours before each session begins.

There will be a second public hearing October 27 at 5:30 p.m.

Below are some of the items I have proposed this week; more of my proposals will come next week:

Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs):

The Seattle Fire Department does not currently own AEDs, also known as Lucas Devices. These devices are used when it’s difficult or unsafe for a medic to perform CPR.

Funding for Bunking Gear:

Some of the Seattle Fire Department’s bunking gear that our Fire Fighters currently wear each day is getting older, expiring, wearing out, and does not provide our first responders with the best technology available to keep them safe at extreme fires and other dangerous emergencies. High quality bunking gear protects firefighters and contributes to savings lives.

Provide funding to a. reverse cut of Fire exams and b. reverse cut of 20 firefighters from SFD recruit class

This budget action would allow SFD to maintain current hiring and testing capacity. The hiring freeze instituted by the Mayor only effects civilian employees and therefore the SFD should maintain its ability to test and recruit new firefighters.  The Seattle Fire Department has recently seen an increase in firefighter separations, and If the same attrition pattern on average over the last five years (38 separations) continues in 2021, SFD could have 75 vacancies with an additional 412 eligible for retirement. The City should continue its testing and hiring to ensure that the increase in separations, if continued, does not affect SFD operations.

South Park Public Safety Coordinator:

One of my top priorities is to provide funding to continue the work of the South Park Public Safety Coordinator. This position was the top priority recommendation in the 2017 South Park Public Safety Taskforce Report funded by the City Council. The report recommended a bilingual resident to coordinate community public safety efforts in South Park, working with the South Park Safety Partners.

Current priorities include facilitating community safety dialogue around South Park’s experience around policing and alternatives to police in South Park; street and safety concerns due to West Seattle Bridge closure, business district concerns, and youth engagement. Recent work includes coordinating Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) work in youth art murals and a Clean Streets Initiative, community support during COVID, neighborhood walks, and facilitating and distributing a neighborhood newsletter in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

South Park is a low-income, majority BIPOC neighborhood, with numerous residents who are immigrants; a majority of South Park neighbors speak a language other than English at home; the median income is 33% less than the city average; 83% of students are eligible for free and reduced lunch programs.

Update on SPU RV Pump-out Program

In last year’s budget process I worked to add $180,000 to fund a RV pump-out pilot program that provides contracted mobile pump-out services, of black and gray water, to RVs located in environmentally sensitive areas. This effort was in response to recommendations of the City Auditor.  The program was originally planned to service between 40 and 64 RVs per month in order to protect our waterways as well as providing critical public health services to unhoused people who live in RVs.

At the beginning of the public health emergency in March Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) expanded their goals to provide increased hygiene services. Between July and August SPU averaged over 100 pumps-outs and they expect to continue providing this level of service. Furthermore, SPU has developed program flyers for outreach and has created a text service to communicate with RV occupants about when and where the next pump-out will take place. Finally, SPU has also begun partnering with Saint Vincent DePaul, helping to connect RV occupants with additional services during the pump-out.

West Seattle Junction BIA Public Safety Meeting

I participated in a meeting on Tuesday, October 13th hosted by the West Seattle Junction Business Improvement Area to discuss public safety concerns around Junction Plaza Park.  The City’s executive branch was represented by members of the Hygiene Station Team, including: Tess Colby – Senior Advisor, Office of the Mayor, Tom Van Bronkhorst – Strategic Advisor, Department of Neighborhoods, Bill Benzer – Seattle Public Utilities, Joe Everett – Precinct Liaison Attorney City Attorney’s Office, and Sina Ebinger – Operations Lieutenant Seattle Police Department.

Aaron Burkhalter, program manager for LEAD in West Seattle, also participated to talk about LEAD’s recent expansion into West Seattle.  I had connected LEAD with the BIA, which is coordinating neighborhood input, in order to begin to address some of the concerns expressed about Junction Plaza Park.  LEAD provides services to individuals who commit low-level criminal offenses (such as drug possession, sales, and prostitution offenses) in order to improve public safety, and its approach has been found to reduce criminal recidivism.  Aaron also participated in my Town Hall on September 30th; you can view his remarks here at about the 22 minute mark.

At some hygiene stations, the City has a contract with Millionair’s Club to provide cleaning services, staffing, and security.  I suggested this approach to the Hygiene Station Team during the meeting, and am inquiring about the cost of a such an approach.

As part of the 2021 budget deliberations, I’ll be proposing the addition of a homeless outreach worker dedicated to West Seattle and South Park.

Lowman Beach Racket Court Redesign

At Lowman Beach Park, 7017 Beach Dr. S W., the existing court will be removed as part of the Shoreline Restoration and Seawall Replacement project.  The Lowman Beach Park seawall began to fail in 2015. As visitors to the park have seen, the existing seawall is slowly falling over/sliding towards the water. SPR’s goal is to remove the existing seawall and continue the shoreline restoration work that began when the south half of the seawall failed in the mid-1990s and was removed.

For more information or to review the meeting in August please visit https://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/lowman-beach-racket-court-design.

Free Learning Hub at SW Teen Life Center (With Food!) for Your Middle or High School Student

Looking for a safe, welcoming space for your young person to work on daily virtual learning? Seattle Parks and Recreation has learning hubs for middle or high school students at seven locations across the city, including SW Teen Life Center.

Free, with wifi, these spaces are equipped with community center and youth program staff who can help your student get engaged in learning.  The facilities offer a stable, productive environment by providing access to Seattle Public School’s virtual learning portals, along with recreational, enrichment and mentoring programs and in-person assistance with connectivity and academics. Breakfast and lunch are provided daily.

The hubs adhere to current public health standards by performing regular cleaning, sanitizing and daily wellness/temperature checks. All staff and students are required to wear masks, and social distancing and room occupancy limits are followed.

Wi-fi is available; participants must bring a laptop or tablet. Bringing a refillable water bottle is also suggested.  The hub sites are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm, and run until June 18, 2021. For more information, click here or call SW Teen Life Center at 206-684-7438 – interpretation available.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday October 23, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm. These office hours are being rescheduled from October 30 due to a Budget Committee meeting scheduled all day.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, you will need to contact my scheduler Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Additionally, here is the tentatively scheduled office hours for the month of December. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, December 18, 2020; 2-6pm
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West Seattle Bridge Update, October 9; This Week in the Budget; Play Areas, Adult Fitness Equipment, and Parks Parking Lots to Reopen!; Seattle Parks Offers Virtual Programming and a Survey; Get a Digital Library Card; 2020 Census; South Seattle College’s New Ballot Box; COVID Cases are Rising in King County

October 9th, 2020

West Seattle Bridge Update October 9

Cost Benefit Analysis and Repair or Replace

As part of the cost/benefit analysis on whether to repair or replace the West Seattle Bridge, SDOT is using conceptual alternatives to inform the decision. On Wednesday, SDOT presented these conceptional alternatives to the West Seattle Bridge Community Task.

The Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) appointed by SDOT notes that all alternatives are technically feasible from an engineering standpoint. The TAP is developing guidance on the pros and cons of each:

The options SDOT presented include estimated costs by dollar sign, from 1 to 5, for capital costs and operations and maintenance (O&M), and include length of construction, duration of the structure, and risks. It’s not easy to assess without specific costs; SDOT indicates they are at 0% design.

The replacement options are designed to inform the repair/replace option only; a type, size and location study would be needed to study options for any replacement.

The first alternative, shoring, would take 5 years to build, last 5 years, and would not restore full capacity; it’s not receiving serious considerations:

The second alternative is repair. Compared to replacement options, it has a lower capital cost, and higher maintenance costs; SDOT estimates traffic could return in 2022, and would last 15+ years. They previously have listed a 15-40 year range.

They note lower seismic performance, though it’s fair to say that’s the intrinsic nature of repairs compared to replacements built with updated seismic codes.

The next alternative is superstructure replacement, which would replace the bridge from Piers 15 to 18. The capital cost is estimated higher than a repair, with the maintenance cost lower. Traffic is estimated to return in 2026, with 75 year duration. SDOT estimated this option (while noting design is at 0%) could be 5-10 times as much as repair for capital costs, though with lower O&M costs.

(a center-span replacement, Alternative 3, was deemed infeasible):

The next alternative is a full replacement bridge. A cable stay bridge is shown; SDOT notes that is just one potential approach. The construction cost is higher than the two previous options, and O&M is in between. SDOT estimates it would take six years:

The final option considered for the cost/benefit analysis is an immersed tube tunnel. SDOT estimates the  construction and O&M costs are estimated to be higher than other options, and construction would take until 2030:

Here’s a chart that compares the 10 attributes considered in the cost/benefit analysis. Alternative 2, Repair, is the baseline, so other options are scored in comparison.

Compared to a repair, replacement options are rated better for seismic; multi-modal impacts, and O&M; a replacement rates better for equity, business and workforce impacts, mobility impacts. Impact for residents isn’t mentioned, but it’s fair to include that as well.

Here’s SDOT’s assessment of the decision:

Here’s their description of how a replacement would proceed:

Here’s what will happen after the decision; it notes the “Type, Size and Location” will also proceed if a repair option is selected.

The task force is scheduled to meet on October 21st.  Members expressed interest in holding an additional meeting next week as well, for further discussion of the cost/benefit analysis, and providing  input as requested from the Mayor.

Here’s a link to presentation at the task force meeting. It introduces the term “certainty” a few times in the context of a decision; this wasn’t part of the cost/benefit analysis, and could potentially be more oriented toward a replacement.

The West Seattle Bridge is a critical lifeline for the West Seattle community. Its closure affects every resident and business on the peninsula. It is also a regional asset. The longer it takes for traffic and transit to resume, the more difficult it will be for West Seattle residents and businesses. A longer delay will also affect the Port of Seattle, and Terminal 5, which is being upgraded to handle megaship cargo vessels. I believe it’s vitally important to keep this in mind when making a decision.

Traffic/transit:

Here’s an update on traffic mitigation and Reconnect West Seattle work being done (the second phase of paving work this weekend on Olson/Myers is weather dependent):

The Lander Street Overpass has opened; as a result Route 50 will resume using the bridge.

Here’s the most recent traffic data and travel times:

Here are the most recent travel times:

Correction

Below is the correct slide for Technical Risks identified in the cost/benefit analysis as presented to the task force on September 23rd; last week’s newsletter had an incorrect slide.  Apologies for the error.


This Week in the Budget

The Budget Committee held a public hearing on the Mayor’s Proposed 2021 Budget on October 6th.

October 8th was the deadline for Councilmembers to identify issues for the Budget Deliberations and Issue Identification sessions. In these meetings, Council Central Staff will review the proposed budget and identify potential issues; issues identified by Councilmembers will also be included;  these can be questions, high-level proposals, or specific proposals. Budget Deliberation and Issue Identification Sessions are scheduled for October 15, 16, 20 and 21.

You can view or download the full Select Budget Committee meeting calendar here.  Sign up to receive Select Budget Committee agendas by email here.

Public comment will be taken at the start of each meeting at 9:30 a.m. You can register to give comment on this page. The signup form is available two hours before each session begins.

There will be a second public hearing October 27 at 5:30 p.m.

 

Play Areas, Adult Fitness Equipment, and Parks Parking Lots to Reopen!

All play areas and adult fitness equipment in Seattle parks are now open! Seattle Parks and Recreation staff, with support from Washington Department of Health and Seattle King County Public Health, have created some guidelines that can keep us all safe while using these spaces.  Please be aware that play areas and fitness equipment are not regularly sanitized or cleaned.

How to use play areas and equipment safely:

  • Play or fitness equipment is open to five or fewer kids or adults at a time
  • Some play areas have only one piece of play equipment (usually a climber/slide combo), and others have many pieces of equipment (swings, little kids climber, big kids climber, zipline, etc.). No more than five kids on a piece of play equipment.
  • Stay home if you are sick or if anyone in your family is sick.
  • Please wash your or your child’s hands before and after play/use.
  • Everyone, including all children over the age of two, must wear a mask. See here for mask information and exception because of disability.
  • Give yourself and others at least six feet of space.

Here are a few tips on how to keep us all safe and keep these spaces open:

  • Keep a close eye on your child to ensure that they are following the guidelines
  • Stay for a short time (30 min. or less) to give everyone an opportunity to play
  • No food or drink on the play equipment to ensure that masks are worn at all times.
  • Visit parks during less busy times. Visit less popular parks. Seattle has over 150 play areas (not including those at schools).
    • Mornings are less busy than afternoons
    • Weekdays are less busy than weekends
    • Lincoln, Green Lake, Seward, Magnuson, Discovery, Gas Works, Carkeek and Jefferson Park are some of Seattle’s busier play areas.
  • We are all in this together, so kindly remind others of the guidelines and find a different activity if the play area gets too crowded.

We cannot allow play areas to be places where COVID-19 is spread, so we need folks to use these spaces safely.

Parking lots that have been closed for the past few months will reopen on Monday, Oct. 19.


Seattle Parks Offers Virtual Programming and a Survey

Your favorite Seattle Parks and Recreation instructors have brought their talents to a screen near you! Community centers are closed, but check out online offerings below.  Take this survey to let Parks know what kind of virtual programming you would enjoy.  Learn more about online programs and sign up here, or click on the class names below.

Get a Digital Library Card

Although library buildings aren’t open to the public right now, you can still access Library resources with a Digital Library Card.  If you are 13 or older, live in Seattle and have a mobile phone, you can get instant access to e-books and e-audiobooks, start using Curbside Pickup at High Point or another location, and access to other resources within a few days.  Just fill out a simple application form hereSpanish and Vietnamese application forms are available.

Library staff are also ready to answer your phone call or chat or email through Ask Us.  Learn about the Library’s virtual or digital services here.

2020 Census

Haven’t responded to the 2020 Census yet? It’s not too late, but this your final warning! Go here to start the questionnaire, it takes less time than reading my weekly news letter, I promise.

Participating in the Census helps ensure an accurate count so that we all receive our fair share of federal funding and representation in Congress. If you have questions out the Census like how it works, data privacy, and history of the Census you can check out this FAQ here.

South Seattle College’s New Ballot Box

The South Seattle College wants to remind folks that there’s a new King County Elections Ballot Box on their campus located at 6000 16th Avenue SW. This is the third drop box we have in West Seattle now, the other two locations are the High Point Library (3411 SW Raymond) and Alaska Junction (Corner of SW Alaska Street and 44th Avenue SW).

The ballot drop boxes officially open on October 15, the day after ballots are mailed out and will remain open through election day, November 3. If you want to see a comprehensive list of ballot drop boxes around the County, you can see that here.

If you need to register to vote click here to register online.

COVID Cases are Rising in King County

You’ve probably heard that coronavirus is spreading at an accelerated pace in our community, including recent outbreaks at Salish Lodge and University of Washington.

We can make sure it doesn’t reach the levels it did last spring, and keep our neighbors, healthcare workers and first responders safe.  In fact, we have even more tools and information to fight coronavirus now than we did then.

TESTING

Seattle and King County is now recommending that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or close contact with someone who has COVID-19 be tested right away. Testing as soon as possible after symptoms appear is important to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to family, friends, and the community.  Call your healthcare provider to arrange for a test, or use one of the public testing locations in District 1:

Chief Sealth High School (ADA Accessible)

Make reservations online

2801 SW Thistle St., Seattle, WA 98126

Phone: 206-684-2489

Available, Mon-Sat, 9:30am-5:30pm

Languages: Interpretation available including ASL and tactile interpretation

Neighborcare Health at High Point

6020 35th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126

Available: Monsday-Friday, 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Call for appointment: (206) 461-6950

Languages: Amharic, Arabic, Cambodian, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Ukrainian; interpretation available

Sea Mar Community Health Centers at South Park

8720 14th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108

Phone: (206) 762-3730

Languages: Spanish, Interpretation available

The Greater Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network (SCAN) study is working to understand how COVID-19 is spreading throughout King County, and offers free, confidential, at-home tests. Enroll at scanpublichealth.org/screener.

Staying home is still safest

Maintaining the safety principles that led to the success against the outbreak has never been more important. These include continuing to practice physical distancing of 6 feet or more, minimizing contact with others outside the home, frequent hand washing or sanitizer, use of cloth face coverings in public, and avoiding group gatherings and poorly ventilated spaces.

Check out this blog post from Public Health on how to keep indoor spaces safe this fall and winter.

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West Seattle Bridge Update, October 3; District 1 Town Hall; This Week in the Budget; Grant Funding Available – Due 10/19; A New Proposal to Combat Rising Overdose Deaths in King County; Need Help With Child Care Costs?; Construction to Begin at Duwamish Waterway Park; Fare Share Legislation; Virtual Office Hours; Sidewalk Maintenance Report

October 5th, 2020

West Seattle Bridge Update, October 3

Automated Camera Enforcement Legislation

On Monday, September 28, the City Council adopted legislation that will allow for automated camera enforcement on the Spokane Street (lower) Bridge.

This was made possible by the action of the state legislature earlier this year under the leadership of Representative Joe Fitzgibbon, a long-standing effort the city has supported.

The state legislation allows for enforcement of transit lanes infractions and blocking the box. The state legislation authorized a pilot program through June 30, 2023.

Under the state law, only warning notices are allowed in 2020; fines of up to $75 starting in 2021, and half the funds would go to a state fund, and remaining funds may only be used for equitable access transportation improvements and mobility for persons with disabilities.

SDOT has indicated that uses of and access to the Spokane Street “lower” bridge can be reconsidered after camera enforcement begins, and resulting traffic patterns are reviewed.  SDOT has developed a subcommittee consisting of members of the Community Task Force to make recommendations for changes to lower level bridge access policies.

Currently, general access is allowed on the lower bridge from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., for school buses, and a limited number of employer shuttles, vanpools of essential workers, West Seattle businesses, and  Longshoreman. I’ve advocated for additional uses when possible, and recommended a resident of the northern portion of the peninsula be included in the subcommittee. I continue to hear requests  from for example residents, health care workers, businesses and residents.

Categories of Risk in the Cost/Benefit Analysis

In the cost/benefit analysis SDOT is doing on whether to repair or replace the West Seattle Bridge, one of the elements being considered is risk. There are three main categories they have identified: schedule, stakeholder/public, and technical.

Schedule risks can include delays in attaining funding, necessary permits, impacts of other projects, and discovery of new information. Here’s how they compare potential risks for repair and replacement:

Stakeholder/public risks include lack of support for repair or replace decisions or for future design alternatives. SDOT sees this applying for both repair and replacement:

 

Technical risks include accurately predicating how the bridge will respond to stabilization measures, and working with requirements of other agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Coast Guard, and accurately predicting which standards will apply. For example, the Coast Guard’s interest in a replacement providing adequate clearance for maritime vessels, and the FAA’s interest in not interfering with aviation.

On October 7, SDOT will present to the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force “rough order of magnitude” costs based on the cost/benefit analysis, and on October 21, a final cost/benefit evaluation, as well as a decision from the Mayor on whether to repair or replace the bridge

Traffic Data

The most recent traffic report is below, with high volumes continuing on West Marginal and Highland Park Way SW:

Here are the most recent travel times:


District 1 Town Hall

Thanks to everyone who participated in the September 30th District 1 Town Hall on public safety and the West Seattle Bridge. We had just over 530 attendees, and 88 questions.

Thanks as well to Police Chief Diaz and SW Precinct Captain Grossman for their participation, and the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) team for presenting the news about their expansion into the SW Precinct, and to SDOT for their update on the West Seattle Bridge. Thanks also for Brian Callanan of the Seattle Channel for hosting.

 

You can view the town hall on YouTube here.

This Week in the Budget

On September 29th, the Mayor proposed a 2021 budget for the City of Seattle. You can view it and the proposed 2021-2016 Capital Improvement Plan at the City Budget webpage.

The  Budget Committee began meeting the following day to hear presentations from the City Budget Office, and City Departments on the 30th, 1st, and 2nd.

Here’s a link to the presentations:

September 30:

October 1:

October 2:

You can view or download the full Select Budget Committee meeting calendar here.  Sign up to receive Select Budget Committee agendas by email here.

Public comment will occur at every Select Budget Committee meeting.  In addition, there will be public hearings on October 6 at 5:30 p.m. and October 27 at 5:30 p.m. You can register to give comment on this page. The signup form is available two hours before each session begins.

The second key event next week will be the deadline on October 8 at 5 p.m. for Councilmembers to send in “Form A” requests for Issue Identification discussions scheduled for October 15, 16, 20 and 21.

Grant Funding Available  – Due 10/19

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights is seeking applications for the 2020 Collaborative Grantmaking: Community Alternatives to Incarceration and Policing Request for Proposal (RFP). This RFP will provide funding for organizations and coalitions to develop alternatives to and address the harm created by incarceration, policing, and other parts of the criminal legal and immigration systems. A total of $1 million will be available to fund two to four proposals.

This funding is the result of community advocacy by groups including, Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) and Budget for Justice (BFJ), for investments in alternatives to incarceration. It also builds on the work and advocacy of organizations and coalitions like Youth Undoing Institutional Racism, No New Youth Jail, EPIC, the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, and European Dissent, who called upon our local leaders to support a vision free of incarceration and led to the passing of Council Resolution 31614 in 2015.

Learn more and apply here.

A New Proposal to Combat Rising Overdose Deaths in King County

At a 9/22/2020 meeting of the Public Safety & Human Services committee, which I chair, a representative of Public Health – Seattle & King County presented data on the steady increase of overdose deaths in our county since 2011:

He noted that the biggest increase is in overdose deaths of individuals with multiple drugs in their system.  In particular, there has been a drastic increase in two drugs implicated in overdose deaths: methamphetamine and fentanyl.  You can watch the presentation here; the Public Health data begins at the 2:07’ mark.

In 2016, the Mayors of Seattle, Auburn, and Renton convened the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force, bringing together a wide range of experts across multiple disciplines to recommend immediate actions to confront the epidemic. You can read the full report and recommendations here.

Community Health Engagement Locations were one of the Task Force’s recommendations; they are one type of Supervised Consumption Site or Service (also known as SCS).  There are about 100 safe-consumption sites (SCS) in other parts of the world, and there have been no deaths at any of these sites over the 30-year history of these sites operating.  Regarding the research base on Supervised Consumption, the Task Force found:

“Published studies support the effectiveness of the services provided at SCSs in reducing drug-related health risks and overdose mortality for individuals utilizing the SCSs.

“Research of established SCSs also did not reveal an increase in criminal activity or negative impacts on the communities following the implementation of SCSs in those areas.”

In 2018, City Council passed a Statement of Legislative Intent (SLI) that requested the Human Services Department (HSD) perform an assessment of the project, including a full cost estimate, scope, siting recommendation and necessary capital improvements.  You can review that assessment here.  As a separate action, City Council approved $1.3 million in the case that the assessment showed a positive, clear path forward. These dollars were not spent in 2018 and were carried over into 2019, when Council added an additional $100,000.

For 2020, Council approved a budget that included the carried-forward $1.4 million for CHEL facilities.  Earlier this summer, as part of the 2020 rebalancing package, I sponsored and Council unanimously voted to restore the additional $100,000, which had been errantly omitted from the carry forward ordinance.

Despite Council’s work to appropriate these funds, and broad public support of the approach, the City and County have not moved forward with creating CHEL facilities.  The $1.4 million appropriated remains unspent despite the continuing rise in overdose deaths.

The Public Defender Association and ACLU-WA have developed a new approach to supervised consumption that does not rely on establishing a specific new facility to provide supervised consumption services.  Instead, it focuses on providing services in locations that are already serving individuals.

At the 9/22/2020 Public Safety & Human Services committee meeting, Council members heard a presentation on this new approach, which does not require building or siting a new facility.  You can read the Supervised Consumption Services description here and review the presentation slide deck here.  You can watch a video of the committee presentation here; it starts at the 2:06’ mark.  Public Health – Seattle & King County participated in the presentation and stated that this new approach is in alignment with the 2016 Task Force original recommendations.

I have shared this new Supervised Consumption Services model with Human Services Interim Director Johnson and requested his review of the proposal; and requested a legal review of this new approach from the City Attorney’s Office.  I am exploring whether dollars that Council appropriated for a CHEL facility pilot could be used for this new approach.

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Construction to Begin at Duwamish Waterway Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation will begin construction of the Duwamish Waterway Park Improvements at 7900 10th Ave S in South Park in October 2020. SPR purchased the 1.3-acre site from King County after a community-led process to make the property a permanent neighborhood riverfront park. Working with the Seattle Parks Foundation, the Friends of Duwamish Waterway Park raised over $1 million for park improvements and catalyzed the renovation effort.

The community vision provides significant improvements to the park to make it a healthy and welcoming space for families, young people, and seniors. The final design provides more welcoming park entries and includes:

  • an improved perimeter pathway with a series of interpretive artwork boulders that enhance the river view with messages relating to the community and area history;
  • an all-ages accessible playground including a climbing structure and zip line as well as boulders, logs, and benches; and
  • new park furnishings with accessible picnic tables, barbecues, drinking fountain and foot wash, additional benches, and bike racks.

Awarding the construction contract for park improvements is expected in late September 2020, with construction starting in late October 2020 and completed in summer 2021.

For more information please contact Jessica Michalak, Capital Projects Coordinator, Seattle Parks and Recreation, at Jessica.michalak@seattle.gov or 206-470-9147 or visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/about-us/current-projects/duwamish-waterway-park-activation.


Fare Share Legislation

On Monday the Council unanimously passed Council Bill 119876 which will, in addition to establishing minimum compensation standards, establish notice, posting, and data requirements for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). As I’ve written about before this legislation is the capstone to the Fare Share plan which began in last year’s budget conversations where the City implemented a small fee of $0.51 per ride to support affordable housing near transit, the Center City Connector, and to establish an independent non-profit Driver Resolution Center.

This legislation was built on a months long process where the City connected with stakeholders including over 11,000 drivers, and included a study by researchers James Parrott and Michael Reich which found that drivers are making an average of $9.73 an hour after expenses are taken into account.

TNC drivers are hired as independent contractors, but they do not set their rate, which is controlled by the company for whom they drive. CB 119876 helps bring drivers up to Seattle’s minimum wage and compensates them for expenses they incur as independent contractors such as vehicle cleanings (especially important with the current public health emergency), vehicle maintenance, gas, and cell phone and plan.

CB 119876 also includes transparency requirements for both passengers and drivers, and requires the Office of Labor Standards to coordinate a study on the impacts of the legislation. This legislation will go into effect on January 1, 2021.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday October 23, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and go until 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm. These office hours are being rescheduled from October 30 due to a Budget Committee meeting scheduled all day.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, you will need to contact my schedule Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, December 18, 2020

Sidewalk Maintenance Report

Last year the Council adopted Resolution 31908 I sponsored, requesting SDOT develop policy options for maintenance of sidewalks. The committee presentation before the vote noted how hazardous uneven sidewalks can be for wheelchair users, and for vision impaired persons.

SDOT completed the report earlier this year: Policy Recommendations for Sidewalk Repair in Seattle, developed with the Evans School at the UW.

Here’s a memo from SDOT summarizing the findings and recommendations.

The report notes Seattle has over 2,300 miles of sidewalks, with a total replacement value of $5.6 billion (in 2015 dollars), and estimates the current repair and replacement obstruction removal need as between $500 million and $1.3 billion. Funding varies from year to year for sidewalk maintenance, in the range of $1.5 to $5 million per year.

With limited funding, SDOT has prioritized installing shims and bevels to address trip hazards. A bevel is when the uplifted edge of a sidewalk is cut off with a concreate saw; a shim is when a wedge of asphalt is applied to the top of the sidewalk to mitigate the uplifted edge.

The report notes that sidewalk repair in Seattle is generally held to be the responsibility of property owners.

Key findings include:

  • Sidewalk construction in Seattle has historically been privately financed through Local Improvement Districts or through redevelopment of adjacent parcels. The City has never had adequate funding or a workable enforcement mechanism to manage ongoing sidewalk repair after initial sidewalk construction.
  • Property owners are often unaware of their sidewalk maintenance responsibility and trip/fall liability exposure. Even when aware, the sidewalk repair cost usually exceeds the incentive for private property owners to make the necessary repairs. In addition, current permitting processes and external contractor procurement can be complex and difficult to navigate for a typical property owner.
  • Cities in North America typically take one of two primary approaches to sidewalk maintenance:
    • City-managed repairs with a dedicated funding source (e.g. Boston; Vancouver, BC)
    • Property owner repair responsibility with City-led enforcement (e.g. Seattle, Denver)
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how critical safe sidewalks are for everyone to be able to walk and roll around Seattle to access basic services and maintain physical and mental health.

Key recommendations are:

  1. Implement a citywide 5-year sidewalk shim/bevel plan as a first step to mitigate existing sidewalk uplifts and other deficiencies that can create accessibility barriers or trip/fall risks. This would require an additional $3 – $4 million per year, on top of the current annual sidewalk shim/bevel budget (which is a subset of the aforementioned SDOT sidewalk maintenance budget).
  2. Increase property owner awareness and education about sidewalk responsibilities, through citywide mailers, a social media campaign, and sidewalk contractor resources for property owners
  3. Simplify the sidewalk repair permitting process, through online permitting portal implementation and more upfront repair guidance at the time a warning notice is issued
  4. Institute an income-based cost-sharing program for lower-income property owners
  5. Implement clearer enforcement methods, including amending existing RCW and SMC sections that require Council approval to enforce sidewalk repair liens on non-compliant property owners
  6. Seek increased and stable funding for long-term maintenance of Seattle’s existing and growing sidewalk network

A map of work that could be done for the first recommendation if funded is below:

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District 1 Town Hall on Sept 30; West Seattle Bridge Update Sept 25; OPA Protest Findings; Big Bucks for Food Delivery Drivers; 2021 Budget Process and Timelines; Free Family Meals; Diaper Need Awareness Week; 2020 Rebalanced Budget

September 25th, 2020

District 1 Town Hall: Public Safety and West Seattle Bridge, September 30th

On September 30, I will co-host a District 1 Town Hall on public safety and the West Seattle Bridge, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

SPD Chief Diaz and SW Precinct Captain Grossman will be attending, along with SDOT Director Zimbabwe. There will also be a representative from LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) to talk about the expansion of the program to the SW Precinct.

The first hour will be on public safety, and the second hour will be on the West Seattle Bridge. There will be plenty of time for questions on each topic.

You can RVSP below; later in the day Tuesday we’ll e-mail information to the RSVP list about how to participate in the Q&A, and view the town hall.

 

West Seattle Bridge Update September 25

We are approaching the decision point for whether the replace or repair the West Seattle Bridge.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met on Wednesday, and continued its discussion about the cost/benefit analysis “attributes” that will inform the decision. The task force is scheduled to meet on October 7th, and will receive “rough order of magnitude costs” and other data from the cost/benefit analysis that will be used to develop the cost estimate. A decision from the Mayor is expected on October 21st, along with a presentation on the final cost/benefit analysis findings.

Below are the 10 attributes, and the ”units of measure” that will be used to quantify cost estimates:

Maintenance and Operations:

  • Inspection requirements (frequency, level of effort (high/medium/low)
  • Intelligent transpiration system required (yes/no)
  • Structural health monitoring systems required (yes/no, if so how many)
  • Painting/UV protection required (yes/no)

Constructability

  • Schedule impacts (duration of project)
  • Complexity (standard or complex construction?)
  • Specialty contractors and equipment (required, if so how many?0
  • Utility relocations (minor/average/major)
  • In-water work (amount needed)
  • Demolition (amount and complexity required)
  • Poor soil conditions (is substantial foundation work required?)
  • Staging/laydown area required (is the required footprint minimal, average, or major?)

Environmental

  • Noise and vibration (will pile driving be required?)
  • Duwamish Waterway (timing and duration of in-water work, proximity of construction ground disturbance to shoreline)
  • Section 4(f) resources (use of parks, trails, open space, wildlife refuges, etc)
  • Emissions (tons of greenhouse gases)
  • Wildlife impacts (timing and duration of construction during falcon/Great Blue Heron breeding season)

Equity

  • Duration of bridge closure (years of closure starting 1/2021)
  • Incremental vehicle miles traveled (through marginalized communities)
  • Incremental vehicle travel (crossing the Duwamish Waterway)
  • Incremental travel time (during construction, through marginalized communities)
  • Number of construction events/community disruption (in 75 year timeframe)

Forward Compatibility

  • Future roadway configuration (maintain a minimum of existing configuration)
  • Accommodate light rail (yes/no)

Funding Opportunities

  • Project eligibility (eligible for funding, number of funding sources)
  • Funding revenue general potential (historical experience)
  • Stability of funding source
  • Timing for availability
  • Administrative requirements (whether structure is in place)
  • Legal authority
  • Income and racial equality

Business and Workforce Impacts

  • Bridge closure impacts
  • Direct/indirect economic impacts and industry from construction
  • Economic and workforce impacts
  • Temporary construction easements (number/duration)
  • Utility interruption (number of times project will impact utilities)
  • Access impacts to local properties
  • Industrial and maritime industry impacts (quantitative and qualitative)

Mobility Impacts

  • Travel time (during construction)
  • Travel distance
  • Non-vehicle trips (during construction)
  • Regional mobility impacts
  • Safety (on detour routes)

Multi-modal Impacts

  • Increase transit service during construction
  • Bicycle traffic accommodation (high/medium low)
  • Pedestrian traffic accommodation (high/medium low)
  • Emergency access (response time increase during construction
  • Freight mobility (high/medium low)

Seismic/Safety

  • Seismic hazard levels (100 year, 210 year, and 975 year periods)
  • Operational classification post design earthquake service ((100 year, 210 year, and 975 year periods)
  • In-ground hinging permitted (yes/no)
  • Ventifcation excitations considered (yes/no)
  • Seismic compliance established (year)

Here’s how the attributes will be weighed:

West Marginal Way

SDOT presented six potential projects for West Marginal Way, which has seen significant increases in traffic since the March 23rd closure of the West Seattle Bridge. SDOT is proposing six projects, with funding from the $70 million approved by the Council.

One project is an interim and permanent crossing signal at the Duwamish Longhouse. I proposed funding for this in the 2020 budget, and the Council adopted $500,000 to get the project started; planning and design has continued during 2020.

This will fully fund the project, which was the top priority of the District 1 Community Network for the 2020 budget, and received strong community support. An interim signal is proposed for late summer 2021, with a permanent signal in 2022 (timing will depend on railroad permitting).

A second project is improvements at the Highland Park Way/West Marginal intersection, to reduce wait times at this intersection which has seen traffic increases of over 100%:

Other projects include radar feedback signs by the end of 2020; a west side sidewalk connection to the Longhouse (my March 6 newsletter noted this area in a walk organized by the Duwamish); a Duwamish Trail connection, and freight mobility improvements (which would involve e.g. reducing southbound lane capacity to 1 lane between the bridge and the Longhouse); while SDOT notes 80% of drivers use the middle lane, some members of the task force expressed concern about this (SDOT’s schedule lists late  summer 2021); the decision to repair or replace, and the timeline, will be helpful to know in the context of these changes.

Camera enforcement legislation

On Tuesday, the Council is scheduled to vote on legislation to allow camera enforcement of the prohibition on driving in transit lanes. Under state law, only warnings can be issued during 2020.

SDOT has indicated that uses of and access to the lower bridge can be reconsidered after camera enforcement begins.  SDOT has developed a subcommittee consisting of members of the Community Task Force to make recommendations for changes to lower level bridge access policies.

Traffic volumes

The most recent traffic volumes continue existing trends of high traffic volumes on West Marginal and Highland Park Way?

Below are the most recent travel times:


OPA Reports First Set of Findings re: Protests

The Office of Police Accountability (OPA) has received 19,000 complaints about police conduct since May 30ths regarding demonstrations, resulting in a total of 118 cases.

OPA has a Demonstration Complaint Dashboard to track the 118 cases. It shows the steps in  investigations, from 0% to issuing findings at 100% completion.

It is updated every two weeks, most recently on September 18th; the next update is scheduled for October 2nd.

Last week the Office of Police Accountability released a first set of findings after completing five investigations (a link to a PDF of the release is here).

Two of five cases so far have sustained findings, meaning OPA found that a violation had occurred.  In one of the 2 cases, use of force (an officer’s knee on an individual’s neck during an arrest) was found to be improper and inconsistent with SPD policy and training and the officer made statements that violated SPD’s professionalism policy.  This case is currently before Interim Chief Diaz to determine discipline to be imposed.  In the second case with a sustained finding OPA found that the officer behaved in an unprofessional way in violation of SPD policy

Many people contacted OPA to file a complaint about the child who experienced pepper spray.  This case was one the completed investigations this week with a finding of “not sustained.”  OPA found:  “OPA’s review of bystander and body-worn video found that the boy was not individually targeted. He and his father moved towards a protester who had grabbed an officer’s baton and was pushing into the police line. An SPD supervisor used pepper spray to move the protester back. In response, the protester ducked, causing the pepper spray to inadvertently affect the boy and his father. OPA deemed the use of pepper spray on the protester consistent with policy based on the protester’s actions. While the impact to the boy was an unfortunate result, he was not visible on the video at the time of the pepper spraying and therefore could not have been seen by the supervisor.”

Results of those cases are listed on the complaint dashbaoard.

Big Bucks for Food Delivery Drivers

You may remember that over the summer, the Seattle City Council passed legislation I sponsored, with Councilmember Andrew Lewis, to require premium pay to compensate drivers for the costs of maintaining vehicles in accordance with best health practices, including hazard pay for doing essential work that puts themselves in harm’s way. I wrote about it at the time here.

The Seattle Office of Labor Standards, after workers filed complaints, got an agreement with some Food Delivery Network companies for back pay and interest.  Now, $361,950 is due from gig companies like DoorDash and Postmates.

Thanks to this enforcement, thousands of impacted drivers will receive the money they’re owed.

Learn more about Seattle gig workers’ rights to hazard pay and sick leave here.

This Week in the Budget: 2021 Budget Process and Timelines

The City Council will soon begin consideration of the 2021 budget; the Council will meet as the Budget Committee, which includes all nine members. Here’s the timeline and process as it stands:

September 29: In accordance with state law, the Mayor will deliver to the City Council a proposed budget for 2021.

From September 30-October 2nd: the City Budget Office will provide an overview of the proposed budget, and selected departments will provide additional details on their proposed budget. Here’s the schedule:

9/30: Morning session: City Budget Office overview; afternoon session: Dept. of Education & Early Learning Office of Sustainability & Environment, Office of Economic Development

10/1: Morning session: Seattle Police Department; afternoon: Community Safety, Municipal Court

10/2: Morning session: Citywide homelessness response, Office of Housing; afternoon: Transportation, Parks

October 6th: first public hearing, 5:30 p.m.

October 8th: deadline at 5 p.m. for Issue Identification; Councilmembers can identify issues for the Budget Deliberations and Issue Identification sessions beginning on October 15; these can be questions, high-level proposals, or specific proposals

October 15-21: Budget Deliberations and Issue Identification; Council Central Staff will review the proposed budget and identify potential issues; issues identified by Councilmembers will also be included

October 22nd: 5 p.m. deadline for Council Budget Actions and Statements of Legislative Intent (SLIs) beginning on October 28th; with three sponsors, and specific dollar amounts of potential cut or budget addition identified

October 27th: second public hearing at 5:30 p.m.

October 28-30th: Council Budget Actions and SLIs presented to the Council Budget Committee and Public

November 10: Budget Committee Chair presents proposed Balancing Package

November 12: 5 p.m. deadline for amendments to the Chair’s Balancing Package, and must be self-balancing

November 18-19 Budget Committee votes on Chair’s Balancing Package and amendments

November 23: Committee vote during the morning session of the Budget Committee; Full Council adoption at the regular 2 p.m. meeting

You can sign up here to receive Budget Committee agendas by e-mail.

Free Family Meals through Seattle Public Schools

Seattle Public Schools are offering free meals for students’ families on Mondays through Fridays. To get more information, visit www.seattleschools.org/resources/student_meals or call 206-252-0675

Two meal programs are available for students and their families:

  • Student Meals by Bus provides prepared cold, meals available via eight bus routes, including Madison 3408 in District 1.
  • SPS School Sites provides sack breakfast and lunch meals prepared by SPS; and reheat-able meals prepared by FareStart. Meals are available Monday – Friday, 11:15am – 1:15pm for students, parents and guardians.  Food is available at 40 schools around the City, including these in District 1:
    • Madison Middle School
    • Boren STEM K-8 School
    • Arbor Heights Elementary School
    • Concord International Elementary School
    • Roxhill Elementary School
    • Highland Park Elementary School
    • Denny International Middle School
    • Chief Sealth International High School

Diaper Need Awareness Week

As Chair of the committee with oversight of human services, on Monday I presented a proclamation to representatives of WestSide Baby, signed by all 9 Councilmembers and the Mayor, proclaiming September 21-27 to be Diaper Need Awareness Week in the city of Seattle.  I thank my colleagues and the Mayor for their support of this national effort.

Diaper need is a lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep a baby clean, dry and healthy.  This proclamation is part of a national effort to bring attention to a health issue that affects 1 in 3 families in the United States.  Low-income families pay up to 14% of their entire income just for disposable diapers. WestSide Baby estimates a healthy supply of diapers for a newborn costs approximately $75-$100 per month – much too costly for many families making the minimum wage.

In King County, a 2017 survey showed 23% of families found it difficult to afford diapers. Black families, Indigenous families, and families of color (BIPOC) are disproportionately impacted by diaper need in the Seattle area; 61% of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander families and 42% of Black and African-American families are struggling to afford diapers.

WestSide Baby is a District 1 nonprofit that meets the need for diapers among families across our city.  Last year, West Side Baby distributed 1.5 million diapers to Seattle families. In just the first 6 months of this year, they’ve already distributed over 1.1 million diapers already. COVID, and the socio-economic effects of the pandemic, have severely amplified the need.

To help meet the increased need, West Side Baby is collecting donations of diapers and wipes right now.  You can participate in one of two ways:

  • Online, through its wish list at: ly/diapersforallbabies
  • Dropping items off directly at its White Center Hub, 10002 14th Ave SW, on Wednesdays from 10am-2pm or at its South Lake Union Branch, 435 8th Avenue N, on Mondays from 10am-2pm. Unopened boxes of diapers only at this time.

A diaper drive is a great way to show support during Diaper Need Awareness Week.  You can learn more about meeting diaper need at westsidebaby.org/diaper-need.

2020 Rebalanced Budget

At a Special Council meeting on Tuesday September 22nd, I joined most of my colleagues in overriding the Mayor’s veto of Council’s approved 2020 rebalancing budget.  My vote was not taken lightly. I had participated in conversations about an alternate bill, in the hopes of coming to agreement with the Executive. However, the Executive’s offer did not make either the important investments nor targeted, strategic changes to the 2020 budget that Council made through CB 119825.

The alternative bill short-changed community members and organizations who have the expertise we need to build community safety, by proposing a mere $3.5 million investment instead of the $17 million Council had appropriated.  The $2 million the Mayor proposed for investment in violence prevention and crisis intervention is wholly inadequate to the need, given the increase in gun violence that Seattle is experiencing. With the veto, Council appropriates the full $17 million:

  • $4 million to scale up gun-violence intervention and prevention that is necessary for true community safety efforts like the work of BIPOC led organizations like Community Passageways, Urban Family, SE Safety Network Hub Boys & Girls Club, and the Alive & Free Program – YMCA.
  • $10 million to grow the capacity of organizations that respond to 911 crisis calls; provide support beyond crisis intervention to criminalized populations; and interrupt and prevent violence.
  • $3 million for a community-led research process that will help build true community safety and launch a true participatory budget process, that offers a place at the table for everyone who has a stake in the outcome: community members who have been driving the work on community safety, kids, the undocumented, folks experiencing homelessness, the business community and others.

Council can’t force the Mayor to spend these dollars. But I plea with her to do so.

Further, the alternative bill took off the table any and all of the targeted reductions of 100 FTEs in the Seattle Police Department.  Specifically, the 2020 rebalancing package called for 38 FTE reductions, suggested from specific specialty units, that will take several months to bargain and implement.    Of the 38 FTE reductions, there are already 15 vacancies in these units, meaning the reductions will only result in – again, only after being successfully bargained – the net loss of 23 officers across these six specialty units.

The vetoed bill also included a 32 FTE general patrol reductions; I was surprised to learn that this also was off the table for compromise considering the list of 24 officers kept on the “Brady List” by the King County Prosecutor and City Attorney’s Office.  I hope, moving forward, the Executive will support efforts to seek out of order layoffs for these officers who, because of their record of dishonesty, racial bias, criminal charges, and convictions cannot fulfill their obligations as police officers.  Prosecutors are unwilling to file charges on arrests they make because defense attorneys can impeach their testimony.

While the Executive indicates they are open to changes in the Navigation Team operations that will result in more community safety, fewer encampment removals, and better services for people living unsheltered, they were unwilling to commit to putting their new approach in writing.  The Council’s approved budget increases the City’s investment in contracted providers who will do outreach and engagement with people living in encampments and focus on encampment locations that the City identifies as high hazard locations or obstructions of the public right of way.  I hope the Executive will act quickly to expand existing contracts with these providers.

I maintain my optimism that Council and the Mayor can turn the page on this and forge a path forward together in 2021 budget discussions.  I, and the City of Seattle, are indebted to the tens of thousands of people who have participated in this discussion by writing, calling, providing comment, and marching day after day.  This is the beginning of the conversation and the investment of $3 million by this Council to begin a participatory budget process, which was upheld this week, will ensure a true community process that redefines community safety. I will work to ensure that process centers Black and Brown communities who have been, and continue to be, most affected by our current system. To the business community who is asking to also be at the table, Participatory Budgeting is designed for everyone to participate, including you.

Junction Reuse and Recycle with Shredding

Do you have an old appliance, clothing, electronics or other hard to get rid of household goods? The annual Reuse, Recycle, and Shredding event is, while delayed a little this year, is coming up on Saturday, the 26th where you can recycle and reuse many difficult to dispose-of items for free! Masks are required.

When: Saturday, September 26 between 9am and 1pm

Where: West Seattle Junction Parking Lot located on the corner of SW Oregon and 42nd Ave SW.

Accepted Items Include:

  • Styrofoam
  • Household batteries
  • Fluorescent tubes and bulbs
  • Small electronics
  • Paper for shredding (limit 4 boxes) – you CAN bring confidential documents – thanks Junction Windermere
  • Clothing & linens
  • Household goods (for reuse – in good condition)
  • Small appliances (non-freon)

For additional information and to see a list of items NOT accepted please go here: http://wsjunction.org/blog/junctionresuerecycle2020/

Alki Point Stay Healthy Street

Many constituents have reached out to me regarding the Alki Point “Stay Healthy Street.” Stay Healthy Streets and Keep it Moving Streets were launched in April and May of this year by the Seattle Department of Transportation.  These are car-free streets selected to increase outdoor exercise opportunities for people to bike and walk in the road for areas with limited open space options, low car ownership and routes connecting people to essential services and food take out. Local traffic is still allowed on the streets.

The vast majority of people contacting me are very interested in making this area a permanent “Keep it Moving Street” which would result in roads being closed to through traffic. Neighbors have surveyed users of the Stay Healthy Street over the last few months. You can see some of their results in the graph below.

To support their efforts, I wrote a letter to SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe asking him two things:

  1. That SDOT expedite the analysis that the street meets the Greenway criteria and officially designate Alki Point as a Neighborhood Greenway.
  2. That SDOT allow the community process to fully run its course before opening up the street and in doing so, maintain the Alki Point Stay Healthy Street.

This week I received a response back from Director Zimbabwe. In short, SDOT is considering five possible outcomes for Alki Point:

  1. Return to previous street operation
  2. Convert to a neighborhood greenway, changes would include:
    1. Stop signs at intersecting streets will be added where they currently operate as neighborhood yield intersections (64th Ave SW, Point Pl SW, 64th Pl SW, 64th Ave SW)
    2. Additional traffic calming so that spacing of speed humps and raised crosswalks is approximately every 300 feet. Approximately 3-4 speed humps or speed cushions would be added.
    3. Connectivity to the citywide bicycle network would be enhanced through the addition of sharrow pavement markings and wayfinding signs.
  3. Upgrade to a permanent Stay Healthy Street, changes would include:
    1. All of the neighborhood greenway enhancements listed above
    2. Street Closed and Stay Healthy Street signs at every intersection with durable materials
  4. Upgrade neighborhood greenway with additional space for walking adjacent to beachside curb.
    1. All of the neighborhood greenway enhancements listed above
    2. Removal of parking and delineation (tuff curb and post) of additional space for walking adjacent to the existing sidewalk adjacent to the beach
    3. Increased space for walking would be adjacent to park beach only, not continuous where buildings are between roadway and beach.
  5. Convert street to operate as one-way northbound for vehicles, providing shared walking and biking space adjacent to beachside sidewalk
    1. Delineation of a continuous shared walking and biking space adjacent to the existing beachside curb (8’ to 15’ wide)
    2. Continuous shared walking and biking space would connect from the existing Alki Trail to the end of the Alki Point Keep Moving Street.
    3. Adjustment of the roadway to operate as one way northbound for vehicles, preserving parking primarily adjacent to east/south curbs.

Director Zimbabwe promised to maintain the Keep it Moving Street designation for Alki Point until the community engagement process concludes and there is a final determination regarding a permanent configuration.

I support the continued efforts of constituents advocating for a permanent Stay Healthy Street.

SMC/Vera Report Update

In early July this year I wrote about a report released by the Vera Institute of Justice to Municipal Court Probation Services on Strategies for Improving Policies and Practices. The report was commissioned in 2019 by the Court to evaluate the Courts Probation Services.

Last week, in response to these Vera Report recommendations, presiding Judge Willie Gregory issued a new administrative order to require Personal Recognizance Release for nearly all non DUI/DV defendants. The Bail Reform Working Group work from 2018 reviewed new pretrial strategies and helped laid the foundation for these new policies.  I wrote in September 2018 about Bail Reform.  Related to this, the Court has also announced that they will decrease their 2021 probation budget by 25% and, rather than relying on probation services for cases that do not require it, they will instead “collaborate with organizations to build a community-based intervention where judges can refer individuals to obtain critical support and services.” This has been a change that community has called on for years, notably the Budget for Justice in 2018.  Under state law, Domestic Violence Cases and DUI cases will still require probation supervision.

The Seattle Office for Civil Rights also recently released a report titled An Analysis of Court Imposed Monetary Sanctions in Seattle Municipal Courts, 2000-2017.  The report details the disproportionate impact of legal financial obligations on people of color in Seattle. My committee heard this report on Tuesday, presented by Drs. Alexes Harris and Frank Edwards.  On Wednesday, the Seattle Municipal Court judges announced that they would “eliminate all discretionary fines and fees imposed in criminal cases, representing one step in a court-wide commitment to lessen barriers and increase equity in the legal system.” Probation and records check fees can be $600 and $240 fees per person. More than 1,000 individuals per year are expected to be helped by these changes.

Finally, you might have heard that Community Court is starting up again.  We had a Community Court many years ago that was begun under former City Attorney Tom Carr.  It was suspended in part because criminal justice reform advocates were very critical of the model adopted by Seattle at the time. Community Court participants had to waive their constitutional rights to trial in order to participate in Community Court.  The new Community Court provides pretrial justice for participating individuals to be immediately released from custody and connected to community-based services while maintaining their constitutional trial rights.  In addition, criminal history is not a barrier to program entry.

These are big steps forward in Seattle Municipal Court reform. I want to thank the judges for their actions and for their commitment to re-evaluating our systems and ensuring better outcomes for historically disadvantaged and low-income communities.

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West Seattle Bridge Update // SPD Overtime Budget // Parks are reopening // Input needed for SW Brandon & SW Findlay Streets Trail // TNC Legislation

September 23rd, 2020

West Seattle Bridge Update, September 18 

SDOT has completed the Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan. Over 17,000 people responded to the survey and neighborhood prioritization ballots.  

The plan lists projects completed or in progress;  planned for completion during the rest of 2020; and projected planned for 2021.  

Here are the project prioritization lists by neighborhood: 

Highland Park, Roxhill, S Delridge, Riverview projects 

South Park projects 

Georgetown projects

SODO projects 

 Freight connectivity projects 

Bike network connectivity projects 

Here’s a map of where the projects are located: 

SDOT also indicated it will expand the Home Zone Program to coordinate, combine, and deliver safety and speed reduction efforts. Current pilot projects exist in South Park and Broadview.  

The projects are designed to address the closure of the bridge, and reduction in the number of available lanes to cross the Duwamish; there were formerly 21 vehicle travel lanes; now there are 12 lanes open 24/7, with the two lanes of the lower (Spokane) Street bridge open from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.: 

As noted last week, the freight plan included a project that received significant pushback from constituents; the proposal was to install a freight-only lane on West Marginal northbound. The plan published yesterday says “implement freight treatments”. The Community Task Force will discuss West Marginal Way on September 23rd 

SDOT also announced a “refresh” to the East Marginal Way bike lane, which travels between South Spokane Street, and South Atlantic Street. This is a key corridor for bike access from the lower bridge to points north.  

 The link includes a video of what the bike lane looks like heading southbound: 

The most recent traffic data shows continuing heavy traffic on Highland Park Way and West Marginal, and levels above pre-COVID numbers on the South Park Bridge, WSDOT’s 1st Avenue South Bridge, SW Roxbury, and South Michigan in Georgetown: 

Here are the most recent vehicle travel times: 

 

 

SPD Overtime Budget, Auditor Recommendations and Letter to the Chief/Patrol Reallocations

One issue that successive City Councils have struggled with is overtime within the Seattle Police Department.  Early this month, the Seattle Times published a Watchdog Times article entitled:  A Seattle police officer’s extraordinary pay raises questions SPD can’t answer.  They reported one officer was compensated for 4,149 hours of work over the year (just short of twice a typical 40 hour a day52 week year of 2,080 hours).  This same officer was also paid, in a single day on six separate occasions, for more than 24 hours SPD told the Seattle Times that they couldn’t determine whether this officer “worked all of these hours because it can’t effectively track overtime that is still filed on paper forms.” 

In 2016, in response to a request from then Chief O’Toole, the City Auditor studied the issue and then published a report, Seattle Police Department Overtime Controls Audit, which included 30 recommendations regarding budgeting,  and policy and procedures including tracking of overtime and off-duty work. SPD has implemented most of the recommendations.   

Seven of the recommendations were listed as “pending” in the Auditor’s Status Report on Implementation of Office of City Auditor Recommendations as of December 2019 (see p.7-8).  

Most of the recommendations listed as “pending” relate to work with the Seattle Information Technology Department to implement a new Work and Timekeeping system solution, to “automatically prevent payroll errors and instances of policy non-compliance.” The status report update notes “The new solution will contain automated controls for detecting payroll errors and non-compliance.” 

I sent a letter to Chief Diaz thanking him for the attention he is already dedicating to overtime, and asking for an update about implementation of remaining recommendations of the City Auditor. The recommendations relate to automated controls to implement SPD polices by detecting payroll errors; ensuring proper documentation of overtime authorization and approval; tracking of all work time, including off-duty work time, and requiring management approval for hours beyond the maximum allowable level.  

The audit recommended “SPD should either (a) implement new scheduling and timekeeping systems or (b) enhance existing systems to include automated controls and to facilitate tracking and monitoring of overtime.” 

On September 1st, Chief Diaz announced he would reallocate 100 officers from specialty units into patrol; the letter requests an analysis estimating the anticipated overtime reduction. 

The letter also requests an update on implementation of former Mayor Burgess’ Executive Order of September 13, 2017, which directed the Seattle Police Department  to establish an internal office, directed and staffed by civilians, to regulate and manage the off-duty employment of its employees. 

Finally, the letter notes my request of the City Auditor to determine whether SPD is still regularly implementing interim recommended oversight that does not rely on the yet to be implemented automated controls, including queries, spot checks, and analyses of payroll data as well as their report on what we can learn from this review about current practices related to use of overtime and off-duty work. 

Air quality is improving, so your parks are reopening 

Air quality has improved over the last 24 hrs, so parks, boat ramps, specialty gardens, athletic fields and golf courses will reopen starting Friday morning, Sept. 18. Smoke continues to be a concern for children, seniors, & those with health conditions. Stay up to date on air quality and your safety here: https://pscleanair.gov/   

Visit this blog post to find out current status for all activities, amenities and facilities during the pandemic, apart from the wildfire situation. 

As always, it’s important to stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid groups, and bring a face covering whenever you’re outside your home, including when you visit a park.  If you experience crowds at a park, use this site to discover a new park in your neighborhood. 

Input needed for SW Brandon & SW Findlay Streets Trail Improvements & Wayfinding 

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) invite the Delridge and High Point communities to participate in creating better pedestrian connections in the Delridge neighborhood. Please take a tour of the site by watching this video and provide your input via this survey.    

This design project will provide a plan for improving pedestrian paths along SW Brandon and SW Findlay streets and make trail entries to Camp Long and Longfellow Creek more open and welcoming to the public. One of the goals of this project is to improve access for the future new RapidRide H Line stops that will begin service in 2021 at SW Findlay and Delridge. 

Learn more about the project here.   

New grants available for small businesses, applications due September 28 

The Seattle Metro Chamber opened a new round of grant funding, with $580,000 total to be awarded to King County small businesses and 501 (c)(6) non-profit business service organizations (i.e. chambers of commerce, direct marketing organizations, tourism bureaus).    

Businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees can apply for awards of $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000 through the program, called the Federal CARES Act Small Business Emergency Grant Program.  Priority will be given to applications from: minority and women-owned businesses; most impacted industries including: Hospitality and Tourism, Retail, Air Travel, and Aerospace Industries, as outlined in the Greater Seattle Region Covid-19 Economic Impact Analysis; and most-impacted cities, as outlined in the Greater Seattle Region Covid-19 Economic Impact Analysis  

The Chamber estimates that it will be able to make grants to 60-115 businesses/organizations within King County.   The Chamber is accepting applications through Monday, September 28 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time. Full details about business eligibility and the application form are available at kingcountyado.com. 

 

TNC Legislation Update 

This week, the Office of Labor Standards presented Mayor Durkan’s proposal to establish minimum compensation standards for transportation network company (TNC) drivers. TNC drivers are colloquially known as Uber and Lyft drivers. These workers are hired as independent contractors and therefore are not protected by Seattle’s local labor laws.   

Council Bill 119876 would, in addition to establishing minimum compensation standards, establish notice, posting, and data requirements for TNCs. Staff from the Office for Labor Standards presented this legislation to the Finance and Housing Committee on Tuesday, and Chair of the Committee, Councilmember Mosqueda, stated her intention to hear amendments and possibly vote on the proposal in a special committee on Thursday, September 24.  

This legislation is the culmination of the Fare Share plan which began in last year’s budget conversations where the City implemented a small fee on TNC rides to fund: 

  • $52 million investment in affordable housing near transit 
  • $56 million investments to fund the Center City Connector streetcar, which has since been suspended 
  • The establishment of an independent and non-profit Driver Resolution Center 

However, due to the public health crisis, there has been a steep drop-off of TNC rides and the city is not currently anticipating collecting any revenue in 2020. 

South Park Pump Station Begins Construction 


This week I was excited to learn that Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) began construction on the long-awaited South Park Pump Station. This project has been over a decade in the making. I last wrote about this in 2019 when I visited South Park with SPU during what’s called a “King Tide” event.  

This pump station – located at 636 and 640 S Riverside Drive – will reduce flooding from heavy rains and high tides. During King Tide events many parts of South Park, but most notably the industrial areas, flood and can cause significant damage. With climate change this is only expected to worsen.  

As I wrote in 2019, community partnerships are working to leverage resources from SPU, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, Seattle Police Department, Seattle City Light, Department of Neighborhoods, Office of Economic Development, Office of Arts and Culture, and Office of Sustainability and Environment in order to develop climate resilience, affordable housing, safety, and open space in South Park’s residential and industrial areas. 

During construction, you can expect: 

  • Typical work hours are weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday work may be required to meet construction deadlines. 
  • Construction best practices to control noise, dust, dirt, and vibration 
  • Increased construction traffic 
  • Equipment and material staging near the pump station site 

 

Virtual Office Hours 

On Friday September 25, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and go until 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm. 

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, you will need to contact my schedule Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time. 

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change. 

  • Friday, October 30, 2020 
  • Friday, December 18, 2020 

 

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West Seattle Bridge Update, September 11; Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network; Crowd Control Weapons Recommendations Presentation; Good Things Happening in the West Seattle Junction

September 11th, 2020

West Seattle Bridge Update, September 11

Funding update

Through the end of August, SDOT had spent $7.6 million on high-bridge emergency stabilization, bridge monitoring and traffic mitigation efforts and projects. Future work will cost significantly more.

In order to fund work moving forward, on Monday the Council adopted legislation I co-sponsored along with Councilmember Pedersen, Chair of the Transportation and Utilities committee.  The legislation authorizes the loan of funds in the amount of $50,000,000 from the Construction and Inspections Fund and $20,000,000 from the Real Estate Excise Tax, or REET II, Capital Projects Fund to the 2021 LTGO Taxable Bond Fund for “early phases of work on the bridge repair and replacement project.”

The $70 million will fund:

  • Bridge stabilization work
  • Bridge monitoring
  • Repairs and enhancements to the Spokane Street (Lower) Bridge
  • Traffic and mobility mitigation projects including Reconnect West Seattle project
  • Planning and design of a long-term replacement

The internal city loan will be repaid through issuance of debt in 2021; I thank my Council colleagues for their support.

In addition, SDOT will be applying for a FEMA Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant in the upcoming cycle; applications are due on January 29, 2021. By this deadline SDOT will have better project definition, which will assist in developing a grant proposal. Thank you to Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal for her support and advocacy in supporting this application.

Community Task Force Updates

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force met on Wednesday, and received updates on several subjects as follows:

Cost Benefit Analysis

There was an update and discussion regarding the cost benefit analysis, which will inform the decision whether to repair or replace the bridge. Both a replacement bridge and an immersed tube tunnel are being used for the purpose of the replacement option analysis.

If replacing the bridge is chosen, a separate Type, Size and Location study would be needed to evaluate the various replacement options before choosing one.

Here’s SDOT’s timeline for the cost benefit analysis, leading to a decision whether to repair or replace the bridge in October (I asked if the timeline for a decision remained October, and SDOT affirmed this):

Here’s a slide that shows the weighting of various criteria as part of the cost-benefit analysis, by SDOT, the Technical Advisory Panel, and the Community Task Force, as well as the combined total:

Here’s a description of how SDOT and their consultant WSP will incorporate lifecycle costs into risk calculations, while noting a new lifecycle range for a repair of 15-40 years, whereas the previous lifecycle estimate for a repair was only 10 years:

Low Bridge Access Policy

SDOT is forming a subcommittee on access to and use of the lower bridge, consisting of members of the Community Task Force, consisting of business, labor, maritime users, employer shuttles, and schools. I suggested including a resident as well, especially from the northern portion of the peninsula.

Stabilization work

SDOT provided an update on stabilization measures, with images of the post-tensioning brackets inside the bridge:

Reconnect West Seattle

SDOT provided an update on implementation of Reconnect West Seattle projects, noting 23 community-projects for 2020, and 32 planned for 2021 (these projects require more planning and/or community feedback on whether a plan meets community desires). The initial investment for these critical mitigation projects is $6 million.

One project listed for implementation raised objections from former Mayor Nickels, and South Park representation: a northbound freight-only lane on West Marginal. SDOT indicated more community consultation would take place about this.

Traffic Update

SDOT is planning speed radar installations by the end of the month: two along Sylvan Way, two on 14th Avenue SW, and two on Cloverdale in South Park.

The most recent traffic volumes are below, with continued high use on Highland Park Way and West Marginal; the lower (Spokane Street) Bridge, the South Park Bridge and the 1st Avenue South Bridge all also have higher volumes than the pre-COVID baseline:

Here are the most recent travel times:


Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network

Today, in my Public Safety and Human Services Committee we heard legislation related to the Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network.  Seattle Fire Department Chief Scoggins presented the legislation but before he did, his opening remarks addressed the fact that today is an anniversary of a tragic event in our nation’s history.  I share his remarks here, as well as sharing in the sentiment expressed:

“We recognize that today is the 19 year anniversary of 9/11 when our country faced some very difficult times when we lost more than 2,900 people as well as 71 police officers and 343 firefighters.  On that day, the fire service made a commitment that ‘we will never forget.’  SFD had events honoring them.  We read the names of all 347 fire fighters at our fire stations this morning to honor our fire fighters who passed away that day.”

Photo credit to SFD

The Puget Sound Emergency Radio Network, otherwise known as PSERN, will be a new digital radio communication system primarily used for emergency response. This system will replace a 1995 analog system at 800 MHz, this older system will still be used by many City departments.

An interlocal agreement between 12 jurisdictions  (Auburn, Bellevue, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, King County, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Redmond, Renton, Seattle, and Tukwila) will create a new non-profit to own, operate, and maintain this radio network – that non-profit will be called PSERN.

The new network, once completed in 2023, will provide 97% reliability at street level in the King County area. The goal is to have all of the 12 parties approve the interlocal agreement by mid-September. My committee took action today to approve this interlocal agreement for the city of Seattle; another 50% of the cities/agencies have already signed on.  The Full Council will vote on this legislation on Monday, September 21.

Crowd Control Weapons Recommendations Presentation

Also at today’s meeting of the Public Safety and Human Services Committee meeting, the Community Police Commission, the Inspector General, and the Office of Police Accountably presented their recommendations regarding the use of crowd control weapons. I sponsored an amendment requesting this in the Council legislation adopted on June 15. I also sponsored an amendment to submit the legislation to US District Court Judge Robart, who oversees the 2012 Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice.

The three accountability bodies sent their recommendations in mid-August; each of the three accountability bodies have slightly different roles and responsibilities as part of the 3-legged stool that comprises our civilian accountability system. Here’s a link to their recommendations:

Here’s a summary chart; while it’s not a substitute for the individual reports, it contains a useful high-level comparison of the recommendations, where they overlap and where they diverge, of the three accountability bodies.

All three bodies note support for allowing for the use of some less lethal options outside the context of crowd control. Both the OPA and OIG propose re-authorizing the limited use of crowd control devices during crowd control situations when violence is present; the OIG indicates any re-authorization should be accompanied by changes in policy and training to reduce risk of harm to non-violent protestors; the OPA proposes conditions to minimize use.

Video of the meeting will be available at the Seattle Channel committee archive.

Here’s background about the court cases regarding use of crowd control weapons; US District Court Judge Robart approved a temporary restraining order on implementation of the Council’s ordinance that was requested by the US Department of Justice. A current motion would see resolution of the case in October.

To allow for further consideration of our approach addressing the issues raised by the DOJ, the Court, and the 3 accountability partners, we have requested a short extension of the current deadlines set by the Court. The court had previously ordered the parties to submit memoranda by Sept 12, “analyzing the interaction of the Ordinance with the Consent Decree, as well as with any SPD policies that the Consent Decree governs”. The court also directed the parties to respond to the reports submitted by the OPA and IG. In light of the necessary work to address the issues raised by the DOJ, the Court, and the 3 accountability partners, we recognize that more time will be needed.

In a separate case, On June 13th, US District Court approved a temporary restraining order sought by Black Lives Matter and the ACLU limiting the use of crowd control devices in protests; the City agreed to extend the preliminary injunction limiting the use of crowd control devices through September 30th.  On August 10th, in response to a motion of contempt by BLM/ACLU, the City agreed to the expansion of the injunction to further limit the use of chemical irritants or projectiles, and specifically called out a prohibition on use against journalists, legal observers and medics, and specified that declaring a riot does not exempt the city from its obligations under the order.

Good Things Happening in the West Seattle Junction

As they always do, the West Seattle Junction Association is working hard to promote our neighborhood business district with a critical emphasis on the need on economic recovery for the small businesses there.  Check out this video commissioned by West Seattle Junction Association to promote our beautiful district.

“West Seattle has its own vibe. We are set apart from the rest of Seattle in a very unique way – and it shows through our community, people, and businesses. Set in the heart of West Seattle is the West Seattle Junction: the center of art and commerce for the incredible people that encompass our neighborhood. Whether you’re looking to visit, or for a more permanent change of scenery – look no further than the soulful, vibrant community of West Seattle.”

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West Seattle Bridge Update; High Point Library Curbside Book Pickup; Crowd Control Weapons Recommendations; Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens’ Youth Rights Ordinance; Rental Assistance Dollars – County Seeking Feedback; Virtual Office Hours; E-mail Volume / No Newsletter Next Two Weeks

August 21st, 2020

West Seattle Bridge Update

On Wednesday the City Council’s Transportation & Utilities Committee voted  to approve legislation sponsored by Councilmember Pedersen and myself to authorize an interfund loan of up to $70 million to fund work on the West Seattle Bridge and related projects during 2020 and 2021. A Full Council vote is scheduled for September 8th, the day after Labor Day.

This is one of three new actions this week to advance critical work on the West Seattle Bridge. The Bridge is a declared emergency and we can’t use regular planning approaches, so I thank both my Council colleagues for recommending financing legislation to Full Council as well as SDOT for moving quickly to hire a designer, as announced this week. I’m eager to implement the third critical action discussed Wednesday – automated traffic enforcement on the low bridge.

The $70 million interfund loan would be borrowed from the City’s cash pool and repaid with a $100 million bond sale in 2021.  Any needed spending above $100 million through 2021 will be supported by a separate interfund loan, to be established, if necessary, sometime in early 2021. The legislation includes an updated Capital Improvement Budget page that lists an additional $30 million in bond proceeds for the 2021 budget, for the $100 million total.

The legislation will fund:

  • Bridge stabilization work
  • Bridge monitoring
  • Repairs and enhancements to the Spokane Street (Lower) Bridge
  • Traffic and mobility mitigation projects including Reconnect West Seattle project
  • Planning and design of a long-term replacement

The Transportation and Utilities Committee also held a briefing on the West Seattle Bridge. Due to COVID and the Council’s work to revise the 2020 budget due to declining tax revenues, this was the first opportunity for the committee to meet in several months. I thank Chair Pedersen for hearing this at the first opportunity.

SDOT has selected a designer for a replacement for the West Seattle Bridge, which will be necessary for all repair or replacement scenarios.

I appreciate SDOT taking this action now, rather than waiting on the decision of whether to proceed with a replacement or a repair. If we pursue a replacement, this decision will save time.

The design team includes 26 total firms, including 11 woman and minority-owned business enterprise companies.

SDOT will propose legislation to the Council soon for automated enforcement on the lower bridge. This is made possible by the years-long effort of Representative Joe Fitzgibbon to change state law in the 2020 state legislative session to allow for camera enforcement in transit lanes. This could begin as soon as this fall, and is authorized as a pilot project through June 2023. Monetary penalties would begin in January 2021.

Once camera enforcement begins, SDOT will have the opportunity to examine traffic patterns on the lower bridge, and may be able to adjust allowed users. Requests continue to come in for additional access, for example businesses and essential workers.

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force also met on Wednesday. Here’s demographic data for the Reconnect West Seattle Mobility Action Plan Survey results:

In South Park, there were 97 paper ballots in other languages, with 63 in Spanish, 27 in Vietnamese, and 3 in Somali.

There are significant community concerns about speeding, and traffic on side streets. Community suggestions include speed calming devices; speeding enforcement and local-only access to neighborhood streets.

Below are additional key themes:

The survey results also include responses about what would help people use buses and the water taxi more often (though it’s important to keep in mind that social distancing due to COVID-19 impacts people’s willingness to use transit). Travel time and frequency of service were the top results for buses; KC Metro will be adding back service in the Admiral neighborhood on buses 55, 56 and 57 on September 19th.

For the water taxi, more parking nearby, more frequent trips, and better bus/shuttle connections were the top results. KC Metro has issued an RFP for a second boat, but outside funding will be needed for a second boat.

SDOT has begun providing access for employer shuttles; KC Metro’s shared employer shuttle program is expanding access for smaller employers.

For biking, there is interest in increasing trips if facilities are improved and if e-bikes are more affordable though weather and time of day limit use.

Below are the most recent traffic volumes, which continue previous trends. The 25% increase over the pre-COVID baseline for the South Park Bridge is higher than previous counts:

Below are the most recent travel time estimates:

Below are the most recent traffic volumes for the lower (Spokane Street) bridge, for August 5 through 13, and since early March:


High Point Library Curbside Book Pickup

The Seattle Public Library system is launching curbside pickup service for library holds, and High Point Library is one of several sites available.  The curbside pickups are currently only available for holds placed before libraries closed on March 13.  If you have holds available for pickup, SPL will contact you by email or phone.

To schedule a curbside pickup, download the myLIBRO app or call 206-386-4190. When you’re on your way, tap the “I’m on My Way” button via the app so the library can gather your materials.  You can also pick up your holds without scheduling in advance. After you receive a notice that your hold is ready to be picked up, come to the branch listed during open hours and wait in the walk-up line.  Either way, bring your library card and a face covering.

Learn more about curbside pickup, including hours of service and directions for the myLIBRO app.  And stay tuned: SPL expects to announce the ability to place new holds soon.

Lowman Beach Park Racket Court Design

Seattle Parks & Recreation is hosting a virtual open house on Wednesday, August 26th from 6:30-7:30pm to gather input about the possibility of a new racket court at Lowman Beach Park .  As part of the Lowman Beach Seawall Replacement project, the existing court will be removed.  Learn more about the seawall replacement project and find links to attend the August 26th meeting here.


Free Covid Testing at Chief Sealth Starting 8/28

Starting Friday August 28th, free, walk-up Covid testing will be available at the Chief Sealth High School Athletic Complex in Westwood.  Register online starting on August 26th for testing between 9:30am – 5:30pm, five days a week.  Translation services are offered at all Citywide testing sites and can be requested while registering.

I thank the Seattle Fire Department for continuing to lead testing efforts by administering tests at the Citywide sites. In the early days of the crisis, SFD developed expertise in administering tests through new pilot programs including testing for first responders and Mobile Assessment Teams in long-term care facilities.  My office worked with SFD to make their excess testing capacity available to front-line service providers in an effort to help protect people experiencing homelessness and those who work with them.  You can learn more about SFD’s efforts to provide testing here.

Testing is free at the City of Seattle sites, and clients are not billed, regardless of health insurance status. For those with insurance, UW Medicine will handle the billing of Medicaid, Medicare, or individuals’ private insurance. Under Washington state law, insurance companies cannot charge co-pays for COVID-19 testing. For uninsured clients, UW Medicine will seek reimbursement directly from the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act Relief Fund for the cost of the test.

This community was successful beating back coronavirus in the spring and we can do it again. With the closure of the West Seattle Bridge making it harder to access testing, this additional testing capacity in District 1 will make a real difference. If you suspect that you are experiencing symptoms of COVID, or have been in contact with someone with COVID, please seek testing.

Crowd Control Weapons Recommendations

Last Friday the Community Police Commission, the Inspector General, and the Office of Police Accountably all sent reports to the Council regarding the use of crowd control weapons, as requested in the Council legislation adopted on June 15. At the time of passage, I sponsored an amendment to the bill requesting these reports by August 15th, along with another amendment to submit the legislation to US District Court Judge Robart, who oversees the 2012 Consent Decree. I appreciate the work of these three accountability bodies guiding our policy work related to policing practices and their necessary reform.

Each of the three accountability bodies have slightly different roles and responsibilities as part of the 3-legged stool that comprises our civilian accountability system. Here’s a link to their recommendations, which I’ve invited them to present to my Public Safety and Human Services Committee in September:

The recommendations of the three bodies are different, in line with their responsibilities as accountability bodies; the OPA perspective is informed by its responsibility to evaluate complaints filed; the OIG focuses on structural issues in SPD’s policies as compared to other law enforcement; and the CPC’s perspective focuses in part on the effect of policing policies on the community’s trust.

All three bodies note support for allowing for the use of some less lethal options outside the context of crowd control. Both the OPA and OIG propose re-authorizing the limited use of crowd control devices during crowd control situations when violence is present; the OIG indicates any re-authorization should be accompanied by changes in policy and training to reduce risk of harm to non-violent protestors; the OPA proposes conditions to minimize use.

The legislation was adopted in response to complaints from numerous residents, especially from Capitol Hill, who were deeply upset by the frequent use of tear gas near their homes for over a week. This resulted in, for example, a family fleeing their residence. Because tear gas seeped into their home, their newborn child woke up coughing and foaming at the mouth; they fled the neighborhood out of fear for their child’s life.

There are two court cases affecting the use of crowd control devices. On June 13th, US District Court  approved a temporary restraining order sought by Black Lives Matter and the ACLU limiting the use of crowd control devices in protests; the City agreed to extend the preliminary injunction limiting the use of crowd control devices through September 30th.  On August 10th, in response to a motion of contempt by BLM/ACLU, the City agreed to the expansion of the injunction to further limit the use of chemical irritants or projectiles, and specifically called out a prohibition on use against journalists, legal observers and medics, and specified that declaring a riot does not exempt the city from its obligations under the order.

In a separate case, US District Court Judge Robart approved a temporary restraining order on implementation of the Council’s ordinance that was requested by the US Department of Justice. He requested the three accountability bodies to submit recommendations to him as well; a decision could come as soon as September.

Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens’ Youth Rights Ordinance

In mid-July I wrote a blog post about this legislation, before it was brought to Council.  You can read that article here. I cosponsored this legislation with Councilmember Morales after calls from community members and advocates concerned about youth not understanding their rights when interacting with police officers.

The Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens’ Youth Rights Ordinance is named after a teenager who, in 2017, was shot and killed by plainclothes deputies during a misguided King County Sheriff’s Office’s sting operation that wrongly targeted two teens. Dunlap-Gittens’ was a high school senior set to graduate from Federal Way High School. His mother described him as a good son with a big heart, who wanted to be a lawyer and enjoyed writing poetry.

The Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens’ Youth Rights Ordinance requires:

  1. An officer, before any questioning and after administering a Miranda warning to a person 17 years of age or younger, allow the youth to consult with legal counsel in person, by telephone, or by video conference. There are exceptions for information necessary to protect life from an imminent threat.
  2. An officer, prior to requesting consent to search a youth/their property/home/vehicles, allow the youth to consult with legal counsel in person, by telephone, or by video conference.
  3. After consulting with legal counsel, the youth may, or can have a parent, guardian or legal counsel, advise the officer whether they want to exercise their constitutional rights.

The Full Council unanimously passed this legislation on Monday. Children of color are disproportionately contacted by law enforcement, incarcerated, and charged with offenses in King County juvenile court. In 2018, 73.2% of the children charged were children of color and 86.5% of the youth incarcerated between January and September of 2019 were children of color.

I want to thank Mi’Chance’s family for testifying before the Council and for their advocacy which made passage of this ordinance possible.

Rental Assistance Dollars – County Seeking Feedback

On Thursday the County announced a plan to spend over $40 million on rental eviction prevention and rental assistance. Landlords must agree to accept 80 percent of the rent or fair market rent, whichever is less, so that public funds can help more households.

  • Large Residential Property Fund ($17.9M)
    To reach the largest number of low-income households as quickly as possible, nearly $18 million is dedicated to a fund that is available to larger residential property managers and landlords with multiple residents needing assistance. Efforts will focus on Low Income Tax Credit properties and properties in the zip codes with the highest unemployment and COVID-19 disease burdens.
  • Individual Household/Small Landlord Fund ($10M)
    Another fund focuses on assisting any individual household that meets the eligibility requirements. Due to expected high demand, tenant selection will occur via a weekly lottery. Potential recipients will submit a form to enter the lottery process, with the first tenants and landlords drawn on September 14, 2020 and weekly thereafter until all funds are spent. Community-based organizations will assist tenants with the application process, and other nonprofit organizations will provide the actual rental assistance.
  • Manufactured Home Park Fund ($2M)
    Specialized assistance and funding is dedicated to help manufactured home park residents, many of whom are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, including approximately 70 percent Latinx. Similar to the Large Residential Property Fund, non-profit organizations administering the funds will work with park owners to assist households quickly. Community-based organizations will provide residents with language and other assistance, as needed.
  • Eviction Prevention – United Way of King County ($5M)
    Funding is allocated to United Way’s Rental Assistance Program to support households through UWKC’s Home Base program when the state-mandated Eviction Moratorium ends in mid-October, unless the moratorium is extended. If extended, the resources will be reallocated to support the other funds.

The remaining dollars will be spent on outreach and administrative costs. The County is seeking feedback on this proposal, and you can comment here through August 25.

If you are a tenant seeking assistance, please see this link to see if you qualify to receive funds. For small landlords, please see this link.

Virtual Office Hours

On Friday August  28, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and go until 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.

Due to the nature of virtual office hours, you will need to contact my schedule Alex Clardy (alex.clardy@seattle.gov) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.

Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.

  • Friday, September 25, 2020
  • Friday, October 30, 2020
  • Friday, December 18, 2020

E-mail Volume / No Newsletter Next Two Weeks

E-mail volume recently has been at an all-time high, with tens of thousands of e-mails coming in. I’m sorry it’s taking longer than usual to get back to everyone.

The City Council is on its summer recess for the next two weeks, and there won’t be any Council meetings during that time. My next update will be in September in a couple of weeks.

 

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West Seattle Bridge Update, August 14; Statement on Retirement of SPD Chief Best; Parks & Alki; Jumpstart Veto Override and Spending Plan

August 14th, 2020

West Seattle Bridge Update, August 14

Next week the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force will meet on Wednesday, and continue its review and input to the development of the cost-benefit analysis model that will be used in part to decide whether to repair or replace the bridge.  We will also continue review of and input to the draft Reconnect West Seattle plan.

On Wednesday August 19th, the Transportation and Utilities Committee plans to consider legislation to authorize two interfund loans  of up to $70 million to fund work on the West Seattle Bridge. I serve on the committee and look forward to supporting this legislation.

Through August 3rd, SDOT spent $3.8 million on bridge and related work.

Last week, in my ongoing conversations about the funding opportunities for the West Seattle Bridge with the office of US Representative Jayapal, I learned about a new potential federal funding source, called the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Building Resilient Infrastructure (BRIC) grant program. The application period for this opens on September 30th; applications are due on January 29, 2021. By this deadline SDOT will have better project definition, which will assist in developing a grant proposal.

BRIC grants are for states, local communities and tribes for pre-disaster mitigation activities. BRIC priorities are to incentivize public infrastructure projects; projects that mitigate risk to one or more lifelines; projects that incorporate nature-based solutions, and the adoption and enforcement of modern building codes.

I thank the office of Representative Jayapal for diligently monitoring potential federal grant opportunities, and quickly letting the city know whenever they are available.

According to SDOT, the lower bridge has opened 858 times through the end of July: 757 times for marine traffic, and 101 times for maintenance, testing or aborted openings. The most common operator is Broughton and Beckwith; openings last an average of 12 minutes; 357 openings occurred during peak travel hours.

I asked SDOT about openings in 2019. For the entire year, there were 1390 openings for marine traffic, 502 during peak travel hours, and 371 times for maintenance, testing or aborted openings.

The Coast Guard currently uses a “standard of care” that asks mariners to voluntarily limit their requests for openings during peak travel hours.  502 openings during peak travel hours for the entire year of 2019, as compared to 357 openings during peak travel hours through July of this year, has led me to make additional inquiries of SDOT of whether or not the Coast Guard is using the “standard of care” as intended.

Here are the most recent traffic volumes; traffic continues to be high on Highland Park Way and West Marginal, and above pre-COVID levels on the South Park Bridge and Roxbury, and South Michigan Street in Georgetown.

Travel times are listed below:

Traffic volumes for the lower (Spokane Street) bridge are shown from the start of February through August 1st:

 

Statement on Retirement of SPD Chief Best

Below is the statement I issued in response to Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best’s announcement that she plans to retire next month:

“As chair of the committee that oversees public safety in Seattle, I want to start by sincerely thanking Chief Best for her 28 years of dedication and service to our City.

“Make no mistake:  the Chief’s retirement is a staggering loss to leaders of the Black and Brown community.  I remember the 2018 annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, which occurred during another time of uncertainty for the future of her leadership.  One official after another spoke, each met with polite applause. That day, Chief Best’s speech received not one, but two, standing ovations.  I texted her at the time to say that I didn’t want to jinx her, but that after two standing ovations I believed she had cinched the top job and that I hoped it was the case.  The importance of her tenure and achievement as the City’s first Black woman to lead the Seattle Police Department can not be overstated.

“At times of social unrest, police chiefs are often in no-win situations. I’ve seen it before.  In the wake of the WTO demonstrations, Police Chief (Norm) Stamper resigned in the absence of clear direction from the Executive or obvious support from the Police Union.  The Council, now that we’ve passed a new SPD budget, needs to work with the Chief in order to successfully implement it. If she did so, she could lose the support of the police union, SPOG, which is continuing to move to a more conservative point on the political spectrum.  At the same time, if she doesn’t work to make deployment decisions that only she is authorized to make in order to implement the Council’s budget, she will continue to face criticism.

“Any career in policing, at this time in our nation’s history, will involve engagement with a large segment of the public questioning the third rail of local politics: that larger police departments equal better public safety outcomes.  Every major city in the nation has a police chief who is learning that leadership means understanding that they may need to figure out how to accept – and get their departments to accept – that the public wants less policing and more community safety.

“Policing at the highest levels in our country has been forever changed by what we’ve observed since George Floyd’s death.  We are in an historic time that requires everyone in leadership and service – in Seattle and throughout the country – to question, to learn, and to change.  This is especially true for law enforcement, an institution being called upon to reckon with the harm it has done to Black and Brown communities, while accepting the opportunity to embrace fundamental, structural change that will lead to true community safety.

“I am deeply and sincerely sorry that the Chief feels Council’s actions have been disrespectful toward individual officers and that our journey to reimagine community safety has been personally directed at her. As public safety chair, I take responsibility and offer my apology to Chief Best.

“The Council is in a difficult position as well.  We have to be able to say when we disagree, and strive for accountability when necessary.  We have to be able to ask hard questions about the SPD, and engage in difficult debate about the appropriate role of policing, the SPD budget, and SPD’s recent actions in response to demonstrations against violent policing here in Seattle.  After the first weekend of demonstrations, after the Chief addressed the Council, she told me that the Council had disrespected her in questioning her in committee about the actions of the police.  Indeed, it is the Council’s job to ask questions.  And with Council’s role in appointing a new Chief clearly spelled out in Resolution 31868 re Council confirmation of department directors), any candidate will be subject to the same scrutiny as Chief Best has faced.

“Chief Best deserves our recognition and respect for nearly thirty years of dedication to policing and public safety, duty, and service to the people of Seattle.  I am grateful for her service.  I am also committed to continuing the work around rebuilding community safety and trust in our City.”

 

Parks & Alki

After hearing from many members of the public, and receiving inquiries from my office as well, Parks & Recreation agreed to provide funding for SPD officers to close the gate at Don Armeni and assist with closing Alki Beach.  Specifically the announcement, reported last week on the West Seattle Blog and the Seattle Times, was that:

“The Parks Department has generously agreed to fund a three-officer detail to support Parks staff in closing Alki Beach and the Don Armeni Boat Ramp at night, starting tomorrow (Thursday), August 6th. The officers will work three hours, from 8-11 pm, every Thursday through Sunday night for the remainder of the summer, until Sunday, September 27th.”

My office immediately inquired with Parks Superintendent Aguirre, requesting an update on the situation, and whether we should expect a request for a Council approval of a transfer of funding from Parks to SPD for this purpose.

The question was resolved on Monday when we were informed that Parks will be contracting with off-duty officers to close Alki Beach and the Don Armeni boat ramp at night. Parks has the resources and appropriation authority to pay for this work so no further appropriation authority is needed from the Council.  I still have an outstanding inquiry with the Parks Department why they determined that Parks Ambassadors are not sufficient to close Alki Beach and the Don Armeni Ramp.  I recognize, having been in both locations at night, that there may be some closure compliance issues, but I’d like to understand why they cannot be addressed on a case by case situation, rather than relying on off-duty officers to close the park and boat ramp.

 

Jumpstart Veto Override and Spending Plan

On Wednesday this week, the Full City Council held a special meeting to discuss the Mayor’s veto of the Jumpstart spending plan passed unanimously by the City Council on July 20.

CB 119812 authorized spending from the City’s two emergency “reserve funds” in 2020 to support people and businesses impacted by COVID, including support for small businesses, nonprofits, immigrants and refugees; food security; rental assistance benefiting landlords and tenants; and immediate housing needs. The two reserve emergency funds would be replenished in 2021 with the projected new payroll tax revenue paid only by eligible large employers (with more than $7 million in total payroll) and based only on the number of highly compensated employees (only positions with payroll greater than $150,000/year). The Mayor vetoed this legislation on July 31.

The Council not only voted to override the Mayor’s veto, but we also voted on and passed, 7-1 (with only Councilmember Sawant voting in opposition) a new bill to address some of the concerns expressed by the Mayor in her July 31 veto.  It’s important to understand the Council’s Charter obligations for why we voted to override this veto, even knowing that we had a new piece of legislation to pass that would replace the vetoed bill.

Some argued we should just “mothball” the vetoed bill and introduce a new one to address the Mayor’s concerns.  We are prohibited by the City Charter from doing so.  The City Charter says that the Council “shall” vote to sustain or override the veto.  We don’t have the legal right to take no action.  This Charter requirement has as its foundation that the Council as a Legislative body must do its work in public.  We can’t make a non-public policy decision to ignore a bill that has been vetoed and start with a new bill.

Another suggestion was that, if we were going to propose a new bill to address the Mayor’s concerns with the vetoed bill, we should have just sustained the Mayor’s vetoed bill and then voted on the new “replacement bill” for the Jumpstart spending plan.  We couldn’t do that on Wednesday either, because the new “replacement bill” for the Jumpstart spending plan was drafted as an amendment to the original vetoed bill.

If we had voted to sustain the Mayor’s veto, in order to vote on the new “replacement bill” for the Jumpstart spending plan, we would have had to draft an entirely new bill and that would have to be officially introduced on the Council’s “Introduction and Referral Calendar,” which assigns a bill number to the legislation and creates a public record. The Council cannot vote on a bill the same day it is introduced. The second thing to understand is that the Council has a two week recess period every year at the end of summer (last two weeks of August), August 17th happens to be the last Full Council before recess this year, and unfortunately the Council was not able to introduce new legislation before August 17th that would allow the Council to allocate a smaller amount of money than what was vetoed in CB 119812. Therefore the Council took the action of overriding the Mayor’s veto so that we could act on a piece of legislation that was already introduced so that the City can get relief to people without additional delay.

After overriding the veto, in the same meeting, the Council amended the legislation with a new bill in order to reduce the spending from $86 million in 2020 to $57 million in 2020.  This reduced spending goal was in recognition of the need of the City to access additional emergency reserves in order to address an additional reduction in revenue.  In order to give maximum flexibility to the Mayor and Executive Departments charged with expending the COVID19 relief funding, I requested that the following language be added to the new bill:

“The Council acknowledges that the administration of this program will require new contracts and systems to distribute these critical services and direct relief to the community  may take time and could result in not expending the full $57 million in 2020. If the full amount is not expended in 2020, the Council is committed to working with the Executive to continue funding these critical COVID-19 relief programs in 2021 and to address newly identified 2020 revenue shortfalls.”

It’s important to recognize the importance of these critical relief programs, but it’s equally important to understand the City’s ability to allocate these dollars in a timely fashion. The Council is signaling – through these actions – its intent to work with the Mayor to disperse the $57 million as quickly as possible, but we recognize that it may not be possible to spend all of the money by the end of 2020.

  • $9.55 million of the funds are intended to address the COVID19 economic hardship to small business owners (including non-profits) with 25 or fewer full time equivalent employees (FTEs) and their employees due to loss of business income, grant funding reductions, layoffs and reduced work hours
  • $2.39 million of the funds are intended to address the COVID19 economic hardship to childcare providers and their employees experience due to loss of income, layoffs and reduced work hours.
  • $20.01 million of the funds are intended for existing homelessness prevention programs, rental assistance programs, rapid rehousing programs, and diversion programs, many that serve both tenants and landlords.
  • $3.2 million of the funds are intended for personal protective equipment, overtime and premium pay for staff, food service, and cleaning supplies to support COVID19 health practices as part of the work being done by shelter providers and non-profit housing providers.
  • $700,000 of the funds are intended for mortgage counseling and foreclosure prevention programs, including costs for housing counselors, legal aid, service coordination, and direct financial assistance.
  • $11.3 million of the funds are intended as direct financial assistance to Seattle’s low-income immigrant and refugee households who have experienced the economic impacts caused by the COVID-19 crisis, prioritizing those who experience structural or institutional barriers to accessing support from the government (e.g. language barriers, risk of deportation), are ineligible for other federal or state emergency assistance, or are receiving such assistance in a limited or delayed manner that does not meet their needs, or those who have had or whose families have had adverse health impacts from COVID.
  • $9.09 million of the funds are intended to expand the Emergency Grocery Voucher program to allow more people participating in existing City programs to be served by this program.
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West Seattle Bridge Update, August 7; 2020 Budget Re-balancing Deliberations; New Free COVID-19 Testing Location; Mayor Extends Eviction Moratorium; Community Input for Police Response to George Floyd Protests

August 7th, 2020

West Seattle Bridge Update, August 7

Reconnect West Seattle

Over 15,000 people filled out SDOT’s Reconnect West Seattle surveys in July. For the neighborhood prioritization ballots, Highland Park/Riverview/South Delridge/Roxhill had 1,072 responses; South Park 301; Georgetown 209, and SODO 69.

SDOT reports that most people expressed concerns, in the following order, about traffic and congestion; pedestrian safety and accessibility; speeding; and environmental impacts and pollution.

SDOT shared responses regarding how people travel; the COVID pandemic is a complicating factor in evaluating how people will travel once it recedes.

The survey shows the amount of people working from home has increased significantly, and it appears it may continue after social distancing resulting from COVID. The percentage of people considering the water taxi, vanpools, employer shuttles, and biking also appears higher. Buses register as lower than before social distancing, but significantly higher than current use:

Here’s a summary of responses regarding buses, the water taxi, bikes, and working from home, and what conditions would lead people to choose these options:

One area that did not have a project proposed in the neighborhood prioritization ballots was Sylvan Way, which has become a diversion route to access Holden to leave the peninsula. I heard concerns from residents about visibility, speeding and accidents, and relayed that to SDOT.

SDOT announced it has ordered four radar speed signs they will install in coming weeks, and will be trimming vegetation this weekend to improve sightlines between Delridge and Holly.

King County Metro Bridge Closure Action Plan

King County Metro has released a West Seattle Bridge Closure Transit Action Plan.

The plan notes Metros plan’s through September, and plans from September 2020 to September 2021. It also includes two network planning scenarios for diversion of buses if the lower bridge is closed.

The report notes lower capacity during the COVID epidemic:

Analysis of travel data shows strongest demand from West Seattle in the morning commute to other West Seattle locations, the Central Business District, and SODO, with notable demand to South Lake Union, SeaTac, and Southcenter. Several charts show trips during the morning peak by census tract:

The report includes two network planning scenarios. Scenario 1 is for when the lower bridge is open. This scenario represents current operations, and use of the lower bridge.

Scenario 2 is for if the lower bridge is closed, for either maintenance work, or due to instability or collapse of the West Seattle Bridge, resulting in an evacuation area;  it has two planning tiers, both of which would require reroutes.

Tier 1 of Scenario 2 is for when the lower bridge is closed for e.g. maintenance; Tier 2 of Scenario 2 would be for a closure of the lower bridge due to problems with the West Seattle Bridge (instability or collapse, resulting in an evacuation area). SDOT has indicated they do not believe the bridge is any imminent danger of collapse.

For Tier 1, trips to Downtown currently traveling on the lower bridge would access West Marginal from the Chelan 5-way intersection, then travel onto the 1st Avenue South Bridge, to either SR99 or 1st Avenue South, then continue with regular service.

Tier 2 would be more disruptive, with West Marginal not being accessible from the 5-way intersection. Page 24-25 shows the potential reroutes. A new shuttle would provide service to connect North Delridge to the water taxi at Seacrest dock.

The report also notes potential locations for park and ride locations, planned service changes in September 2020 and plans for water taxi, noting what requires additional budget. It further notes significant capital investment would be needed for either temporary or permanent dock space to add a third boat to the water taxi.

I appreciate King County Metro’s work in developing this plan.

Cost Benefit Analysis

Last week SDOT asked members of the West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force for input regarding the  Cost Benefit Analysis SDOT is conducting to inform the decision whether to repair or replace the West Seattle Bridge.

Here was my request that SDOT include an immersed tube tunnel among the six high-level options: “The lack of an immersed tube tunnel in for developing the cost-benefit criteria in the evaluation criteria could make is less likely to be seen a feasible future alternative.  Please include the immersed tube tunnel as one of the options for cost-benefit analysis.”

At the Community Task Force meeting, SDOT clarified its inclusion in the high-level options.

Other comments I submitted about the criteria included:

  • The need to account for short-term and long term impacts to residents and businesses
  • That equity criteria for air quality impacts, traffic impacts also account for both short-term and long-term impacts.
  • The need for criteria considering how available funding will affect the size of the structure i.e. how many lanes are included, and for which users, e.g. cars, freight, public transit.
  • The need for criteria quantifying how an option could have impacts on different communities. If, for example, a replacement option has a smaller number of lanes than the West Seattle Bridge, and thus reduced capacity, it could result in permanent diversion of traffic to the southern portion of the West Seattle to exit the peninsula,  and diversion of traffic on to the South Park Bridge
  • The need for criteria to measure how seismic standards influence decisions about constructability and funding feasibility, and the number of lanes a structure could provide, and for which users?

The cost-benefit analysis will inform the decision to repair or replace the bridge. The graphic below shows how analyzing alternatives for a replacement will work:

Council Consultant Hired

Last month the Council hired an engineering consultant to support the Council on key West Seattle Bridge issues such as review of the stabilization proposal; review of a repair proposal and/or review of replacement proposal. The consultant will focus on the Technical Advisory Panel memos as the key points to engage SDOT and the Council.

The consultant advised the Councilmembers on the Community Task Force re: the cost-benefit criteria proposed by SDOT described in the section above.

Budget Actions

The Budget Committee took action on two Council bills relevant to the bridge, as part of its revisions to the 2020 adopted budget. The Full Council is scheduled to vote on Monday, August 10th.

I’m sponsoring the first bill, which will create a West Seattle Bridge Immediate Response item in the SDOT Capital Program Budget.

The second bill revises city financial policies to specify that Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) revenues can be used to pay off bonds for work  to repair or replace the West Seattle Bridge.

SDOT has provided two relevant updates as well. First of all, SDOT has begun its search for a firm to conduct a Traffic and Revenue Study to study tolling. SDOT notes no decision on funding has been made, though this type of study is a requirement to pursue other federal funding options, such as Transportation Infrastructure Finance Loans.

The study will examine transportation demand over the next several decades, and will include an analysis of equity, and how travel patterns could change with tolls. This could result in additional use of transit, but could also result in permanent diversion of traffic to southern access points to the peninsula and the South Park Bridge, a relevant equity issue.

Secondly, SDOT provided additional information on its blog about the interfund loan legislation it has sent to the Council.

The $70 million interfund loan will provide funds to cover expenses in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021; SDOT will be working to secure other funding. The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) item includes funding estimates for the first two years of work, which SDOT estimates to be between $160 million and $225 million over 2020-2021, while noting a great deal of uncertainty.

The  CIP goes through 2021, and doesn’t include all potential costs related to repair or replacement. SDOT notes, “The $70 million interfund loan would be borrowed from the City’s cash pool and repaid with a $100 million bond sale in 2021.  Any needed spending above $100 million through 2021 will be supported by a separate interfund loan, to be established, if necessary, sometime in early 2021.”

Lower Bridge Use/Access Update

SDOT has extended use of the lower bridge with 13 permits for the West Seattle Chamber and the West Seattle Junction Association, and for additional vanpools for essential workers:

Traffic Update

Below are the most recent traffic volumes. Traffic remains high on West Marginal and Highland Park Way, and above pre-COVID levels on the South Park Bridge and SW Roxbury:

Below are the most recent travel times:


2020 Budget Re-balancing Deliberations

Wednesday’s Budget Committee meeting was a busy one, with Councilmembers voting on a slew of amendments related to the Seattle Police Department’s budget.  Along with Council President González, and Councilmembers Mosqueda and Morales, I introduced a package of narrowly-defined and careful cuts and budget provisos that includes:

  • 38 FTE reductions, starting in November, suggested from specific units, including Mounted Patrol, School Resource Officers, Navigation Team, Harbor Patrol, and Public Affairs, SWAT
  • 30 FTE from expected attrition through officers voluntarily leaving or retiring from SPD
  • 32 FTE suggested general reduction in sworn officers.

It’s important to understand that ultimately, Chief Best holds the authority to make decisions about how and where these reductions may occur.   While Council may determine the overall appropriate size of the police force, and suggest units (such as Mounted Patrol) where layoffs may be made, it’s the Chief of Police who will make the determinations as to where layoffs occur.

In addition, all the reductions take a very specific format, in order to set the City up for the most positive labor bargaining outcomes.  Instead of making cuts of positions, the amendments put a proviso on two months’ worth of salary for each position that is targeted for reduction.  We have received expert advice that it may take between two to four months for each reduction to be bargained.  If it takes longer than that, Council may need to vote to lift the provisos, so that the officers can be paid as the bargaining finishes up.  But the proviso format means that the City will have those dollars on hand, just in case they are needed.

The actions, if approved by the Council and bargained as described above, will result in a reduction of SPD’s police force by 100 officers (from the current level of about 1,400 officers), and result in savings of about $2.9 million in 2020.

The package also includes modest cuts to the SPD’s travel, training, and recruitment budgets, which seemed appropriate given current travel restrictions and the Mayor’s hiring freeze.  These cuts total less than $1M.

Finally, the budget actions also include and intention to create a civilian-led Department of Community Safety & Violence Prevention; and remove certain functions from the Seattle Police Department including:

  • Move 9-1-1 communication functions and funding from SPD to a civilian-led department
  • Move the Office of Emergency Management from SPD to a different City department
  • Move some Harbor Patrol functions from SPD to the Seattle Fire Department
  • Move parking enforcement functions from SPD to the Seattle Department of Transportation

The Budget Committee meets again on Monday and will consider legislation to make investments in community safety, as well as legislation I am sponsoring that re-establish budget spending levels for each of the 5 police precincts. Up until last year, the City Budget included budget control levels for each of the 5 precincts.  With the 2020 budget, the 5 precincts were combined into a single budget level, Patrol Operations, at $147.8 million.  With this amendment, the Council will be able to approve appropriation levels in each of Seattle’s police precincts.  With wild speculation that any cuts to the SPD budget may result in the closure of the Southwest Precinct, this legislation will give Council the ability to ensure this precinct will remain funded.

On Thursday, I participated in a press conference along with Council President González and Councilmember Morales to share the vision behind this package.  Here are my remarks:

Mayor Durkan keeps saying we should be “realistic” and that we’ve been irresponsible for committing to a goal before we had the details.

I have never, in my 22 years in government or 8 years prior as an activist – inside or outside government- seen a single hard thing, shaking up the status quo and responding to a historical moment, accomplished by limiting action to what seems “realistic.” In this instance, re-imagining policing, means imagining what may not at first seem realistic.

By signing onto a stretch goal, Council began a partnership with community that has brought us to the place we are now, a unified Council position on the 2020 SPD budget and a pathway AND A PLAN for how to leverage the decisions we are making now to reduce the size of the police Department in 2021. We have shared information about the very real barriers to our goals in real time with community as we were understanding those barriers ourselves. In doing so I hope we have built trust and made an investment in the leadership infrastructure of the people who are critical to this important movement. The activists, the advocates, the people who have experienced harm at the hands of our criminal injustice system and the allies who have never had these experiences first hand but know that the promise of justice will never be delivered if they remain complicit and silent to injustice that they see every day.

The Executive and Council clearly have a different approach to meeting the demands of the movement for true community safety. From what they have shared so far, it doesn’t seem to involve meaningful, structural change or partnering effectively with and empowering community members with lived experiences.

The Mayor says the Council and community have the right ideas, but this is the wrong time. She tells us that she’s working with the Chief to bring a package that “reimagines the police.” The problem with this is that it ignores exactly what the community has been saying – they’re not at the table and want to be. The community is here now pushing Council and working with us to do what she says we should do later.

The Mayor and Chief seem to be using the structural barriers in our government institutions to say what they CAN’T DO instead of trying to find a way for us to work together to try and accomplish what we all say we want to accomplish, reduce the footprint of armed police response for each and every social problem regardless of whether it’s the RIGHT response. Remember 56% of 911 calls are non-criminal and only 3% result in arrest. We are asking police officers to do too much and in doing so we make our communities less safe – whether in sending a police officer to a situation that doesn’t require an armed response or in reducing police capacity to address real crime.

There’s a lot of interest in the ability of the Chief to do out of order layoffs; this is one of the institutional structural, barriers I mentioned earlier. The bottom line is that the rule exists and thus it can be used. Our challenge is – the Executive and Council together should figure out how to use it to meet our shared objectives; not start from the supposition that a rule that clearly exists to be used can’t be used.

On Monday Daniel Beekman of the Seattle Times asked whether the Chief will submit an out of order lay off request with the Public Safety Civil Service Commission. The Chief answered that the decision lies with the Public Safety Civil Service Commission Director. We all understand that – the community understands that. Our request is whether she’ll work with us in developing a request to the PSCSC that has the best chance to preserve the diversity of the SPD in a way that is constitutional and legal according to labor law, does not choose law offs by race as some have claimed we are asking but instead does so in a way that preserves the efficient functioning of the department as the rule requires.

We’re re-imagining and so are local governments all over the country- how are they going to tackle these same issues? Let’s ask these questions and learn, and above all together, TRY.

And if we are unsuccessful then the council, using the proviso has voluntarily put ourselves in a position to be accountable and we will have to consider lifting the provisos. But if the Executive doesn’t try then they will be the ones being held accountable and the question to that branch of government will be, did you really want to re-imagine policing in our city?

New Free COVID-19 Testing Location

On Friday, July 31 the City announced a third location for free testing. Located at Rainier Beach High School in south Seattle it is a walk-up location that is open: Mon, Weds, Thurs, Fri, Sat, 9:30am-5:30pm.

If you want to get tested, please visit the City’s website here and select the most convenient location to see available times. You will also need:

  • A photo ID with your date of birth. Testing is available regardless of your citizenship/immigration status.
  • Insurance card, if you have insurance. If you have insurance, Medicare or Medicaid you must provide this information and UW Medicine will bill them. You will not be charged for the test.  You do not need to have insurance or a doctor’s note to schedule a test.

If you’re unsure if you need testing, COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • fatigue
  • muscle or body aches
  • headache
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • congestion or runny nose
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea

Mayor Extends Eviction Moratorium

On Friday, July 31 the Mayor extended the current Seattle eviction moratorium which says that your landlord “shall not initiate an unlawful detainer action, issue a notice of termination, or otherwise act on any termination notice, including any action or notice related to a rental agreement that has expired or will expire during the effective date of this Emergency Order, unless the tenant’s actions constitute an imminent threat to the health or safety of neighbors, the landlord, or the tenant’s or landlord’s household members.  Further, no late fees or other charges due to late payment of rent shall accrue during the moratorium.”

Further, the Mayor extended the moratorium on evictions on small businesses and non-profits. Both of these moratoriums are extended through December 31, 2020.

Community Input for Inspector General Event Review of Police Response to George Floyd Protests: August 13

Office of Inspector General (OIG) was established to “help ensure the fairness and integrity of the police system as a whole in its delivery of law enforcement services by providing civilian auditing of the management, practices, and policies of the [Seattle Police Department (SPD) and Office of Police Accountability (OPA)] and oversee ongoing fidelity to organizational reforms implemented pursuant to the goals of the 2012 federal Consent Decree.”

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis is a tragic reminder of the long history of deep individual and structural racial injustice in our nation’s policing system. During this critical time, the Office of Inspector General (OIG), in partnership with community and other agencies, is undertaking a sentinel event review of the Seattle Police Department response to recent protests against racial injustice in Seattle.

The OIG notes goal of a sentinel event review is to identify underlying causes of negative outcomes, like a large-scale use of force against protestors, to prevent the same bad outcome from happening again. This process identifies gaps and flaws in the system that contributed to the harmful event, so they can be addressed. Creating an innovative process, with community participation, to assess system flaws can be a way to challenge longstanding assumptions about policing practices and start building a different way of providing public safety that is responsive to concerns being expressed by community

Through this process, OIG seeks to improve the systems that guide law enforcement, in particular SPD’s response to protests, in a manner that is grounded in community priorities and perspective.

The complexity of this review and the thoroughness that is necessary will require that the work happens in phases. You can learn more about ongoing work at seattle.gov/oig/community. OIG is partnering with CPC and other community stakeholders to gather perspectives, input, and questions from community concerning SPD response to recent protests. The OIG will use information gathered from public hearings, news, social media, and speaking with community, to focus on areas of community concern in the formal review of SPD protest response, with community voices at the table.

The will be hosting virtual community listening forums for those who want to share their perspectives  on Thursday, August 13, 2020, from 9:30 am – 11:00 a.m.

There are three ways to join:

  1. Join online by clicking this WebEx link:
    https://seattle.webex.com/seattle/j.php?MTID=ma840e2fd03b2213574b6a50c3c463f46
    Meeting number (access code): 146 760 6561
    Meeting password: ZXw3GPStE53
  2. Join by phone:
    +1-206-207-1700 United States Toll (Seattle)
    +1-408-418-9388 United States Toll
  3. Join using Microsoft Lync or Microsoft Skype for Business:
    From within the app, dial seattle@lync.webex.com
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West Seattle Bridge Update, July 31; Age Friendly Seattle Virtual Events; Seattle City Light Scammers

July 31st, 2020

West Seattle Bridge Update, July 31

Funding

The Council has received legislation to fund necessary 2020 work on the West Seattle Bridge and related projects.

The legislation authorizes two interfund loans for a total of $70 million. The primary loan is for $50 million from the Construction and Inspections Fund, with a secondary loan of $20 million from the REET (Real Estate Excise Tax) II Capital Projects Fund. The loans will be paid back in 2021 by issuing bonds, with Real Estate Excise Tax proceeds used to pay the debt service on the bonds. REET is authorized under state law for use for capital projects and maintenance.

This funding will support a preliminary two-year work plan, including bridge stabilization work that may include shoring and/or controlled removal (if for example a replacement is pursued), bridge replacement options analysis and design,  lower bridge repairs and enhancements, and implementation of Reconnect West Seattle projects.

SDOT will work to identify potential partnership funding; at a presentation earlier in July, SDOT identified bonds, federal and state grants, and other potential funding sources.

The summary also estimates project cost through 2025, for purposes of the City’s six year 2020-2025 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budget at $191.9 million. That is the midpoint of cost estimate ranges from $159.2 million to $225.7 million. SDOT indicates this estimate will be reevaluated at 30% design. Clarity on whether repair or replacement will be pursued will also help inform future estimates.

Future bond sales are listed in the six-year 2020-2025 CIP page for a total of $150 million in funding, including 2021 and 2022 bond sales. In general, CIP funding sources beyond the current year are estimates that can vary year by year, especially in the early stages of projects; only the current year listed for CIP budget items will have appropriated funding, which is authorized annually by the Council.

Lower Bridge Use

SDOT published an update with additional details and a FAQ on their policies for use of the lower bridge. SDOT notes capacity for around 160 more vehicles per hour during the day, toward the bridge capacity of 450 vehicles in either direction each hour, and information about their decision to not allow motorcycles to use the bridge.

I asked SDOT about potential general use of the lower (Spokane Street) Bridge on weekends, and they note traffic levels are comparable to weekdays (July 18 and 19 were weekend days), and at times exceeds the authorized level of 450 vehicles per hour. They have additional information by time of day for July 11/12 and 18/19 in this blog post.

Overall, lower traffic volumes are above the pre-COVID baseline:

SDOT is planning to send legislation to the Council in late summer or early fall to allow for camera enforcement, and has indicated they will revisit policies for use of the lower bridge then.

Stabilizing the West Seattle Bridge

SDOT’s bridge stabilization contractor has completed raising four work platforms to allow work on measures intended to clow cracking. The platforms allow work crews to safely access the exterior of the bridge, and allow up to 10 people to work on the bridge. The platforms will be under the bridge for at least three months, and will be lowered onto barges when work is complete.

SDOT notes that over the next few months, crews will use the work platforms for bridge access to perform stabilization measures including:

  • First, we will inject epoxy to seal the cracks in order to protect the bridge’s skeleton of steal post-tensioning cables holding up the concrete.
  • We will wrap sensitive sections of the bridge with carbon fiber reinforced polymer to strengthen the bridge much like putting a cast on a broken bone.
  • Then we will install additional steel post-tensioning cables inside the hollow portion of the bridge to help hold up the bridge, like adding braces for extra support.
  • Next, we will repair the locked bearings at Pier 18 which are preventing the bridge from reacting to normal daily stresses as intended.
  • Finally, we will go back and install additional carbon fiber wrapping and post-tensioning cables for further strengthening and support.

During stabilization work, we will continue to use our intelligent monitoring system to watch the bridge’s response to the repairs to make sure it remains safe for workers and the waterway below.

Additional information is available here.

Traffic

The most recent traffic volumes show high rates continuing on West Marginal, Highland Park Way, with volumes above the pre-COVID baseline on the South park Bridge, Roxbury, and South Michigan Street.

Vehicle travel times are below:


Age Friendly Seattle Virtual Events

Age Friendly Seattle virtual events—Civic Coffee Hours and a new series, Close to Home: Stories of Health, Tech and Resilience—offer older adults in the greater Seattle area a weekly opportunity to stay connected. You’ll learn how local government, nonprofit organizations, and community members cope with the “new normal” of COVID-19 and a wealth of other topics. You can join them to get this valuable information, ask questions, and get answers.

All events start at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time and are accessible by visiting our Virtual Events hub that has everything you’ll need to participate online (use the blue “Join Event Now” button) or by phone (use the green “Get Instructions” button). If you join on your computer, you’ll have a choice of closed captioning in Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Russian, Spanish or Vietnamese.

Close to Home: Stories of Health, Tech and Resilience is a new series of programs that stream live on the first, second, and fourth Thursday of every month, featuring information and resources for older people, caregivers, and their families. Presenters include government, nonprofit, and community representatives.

Age Friendly Seattle’s popular Civic Coffee Hours now stream live on the third Thursday of each month (except December), continuing to provide a platform for community elders to interact with government decision makers. A broad range of issues have been discussed over the years (see previous events at the bottom of the Virtual Events page).

If you cannot attend the live virtual events on Thursday mornings, you can find previously streamed episodes in the Virtual Events playlist on their YouTube channel—with captions in all seven languages. When you visit, please Subscribe (and click the bell to be notified) of new episodes as soon as they are uploaded.

Detailed instructions are also provided on Age Friendly Seattle’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. They look forward to connecting with you soon!

Seattle City Light Scammers

I have received reports from constituents in District 1 about Seattle City Light scam calls. This seems like a good opportunity to remind my blog readers that Seattle City Light Employees will:

  • Never call, email, or make a home visit requesting an immediate payment.
  • Never call on the weekend
  • Never call to request credit card, banking, or financial information
  • Never email you to request credit card, banking, or financial information
  • Never request credit card banking or financial information during a home visit
  • Never shutoff service without providing written warning in advance
  • Always provide Employee Identification

If you receive a phone call asking for immediate payment or your power will be shutoff, please hang up and call Seattle City Light Directly at (206) 684-3000. Additionally, please check out Seattle City Light scam alerts page here for more information and to report a scam.

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