West Seattle Bridge July 10 Update; West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Updates; Budget Committee Update;Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens Youth Rights Ordinance; Coronavirus Updates; Summer Food Assistance and a Public Shower Hotline



West Seattle Bridge July 10 Update

Today the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is launching Reconnect West Seattle.

The Reconnect West Seattle Framework outlines SDOT’s approach to identify traffic mitigation projects along bridge closure detour routes, establish new mode share goals by zip code, and identify SDOT’s plans to help travelers make their trips on different modes.  It is a draft and the final plan will be informed by the people affected by the closure.

SDOT is asking residents in West Seattle and surrounding communities to take one or both of two surveys by July 31.

The Reconnect West Seattle Survey is for everyone who lives or works in West Seattle. The survey is the community’s chance to let SDOT and our partners know what they need to move on and off the West Seattle peninsula at similar rates to before the High-Rise Bridge closure, but with a significant reduction in travel lanes.

Neighborhood Prioritization Process Ballots are an opportunity for people who live in Roxhill, Highland Park, Riverview, South Delridge, SODO, Georgetown, or South Park to identify the projects that would be most helpful to improve safety and traffic outcomes in their neighborhoods. The ballots include a list of potential projects; you can also make suggestions that aren’t included in the list.

Next week postcards will be sent in the mail to the neighborhoods listed below.  Here’s a link to the Reconnect West Seattle draft framework.

Here are links for surveys in English:

Here are the surveys in English, Chinese Traditional, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer, Korean and Oromo.

Reconnect West Seattle Survey: English, Español, 繁體中文, af Soomaali, 한국어, Tiếng Việt, Oromiffa, ភាសាខ្មែរ

Roxhill, Highland Park, Riverview, & South Delridge Ballot: English, Español, 繁體中文, af Soomaali, Tiếng Việt, Oromiffa, ភាសាខ្មែរ

South Park Ballot: English, Español, 繁體中文,af Soomaali, Tiếng Việt, ភាសាខ្មែរ

Georgetown Ballot: English, Español, 繁體中文, af Soomaali, 한국어, Tiếng Việt

SODO Ballot: English, Español, 繁體中文, Tiếng Việt

Paper copies of the survey and ballot are available by request at westseattlebridge@seattle.gov or by calling 206-400-7511.

Reconnect West Seattle has two main goals: to restore travel across the Duwamish to similar levels seen before the West Seattle High-Rise Bridge closure and using an equity focus to reduce the impact of detour traffic in some Duwamish Valley neighborhoods.   If you have feedback on the plans, you can, in addition to completing SDOTs survey, let me know and I will work to advocate for your recommendations.

Prior to the bridge closure, a vast majority of people in West Seattle drove cars on and off the peninsula as their primary means of transportation. For example, in 2019 over 80 percent of morning commuters heading eastbound drove, while just 17 percent took the bus. Now that the bridge is closed, and travel lanes have been reduced from 21 to 12 lanes there are not enough travel lanes to support the same travel habits and number of cars on the road.   SDOT’s goals are to increase West Seattle bus commuters from 17 percent to 30 percent.

Metro is also working to develop its own service scenario options that respond to the closure as well as any potential emergency closure of the Spokane Street bridge (low bridge). Metro’s goal is to develop range of mobility options for fast, reliable service between WS and downtown that is travel time competitive (or better) than driving.

Today the Council began deliberations on the proposed the Seattle Transportation Benefit District (STBD) for vote in the November 2020 election in order to continuing the 0.1% sales tax we are paying now. Though State law allows us to propose a 0.2% measure, we are not pursuing an increase because of the economic crisis many are experiencing.  The measure would raise half the amount of what we are raising now because Tim Eyman’s statewide Initiative 976, opposed by a majority of Seattle voters, eliminates  our ability to collect the car tab dollars. The City of Seattle and other cities are suing to overturn I-976.

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, STBD provided funding for 36% of C Line service. The Council voted to amend the criteria to allow additional service on Route 120; those are two of Metro’s top 10 routes in all of King County.  The STBD has expanded access to frequent, reliable transit by growing the portion of households within a 10-minute walk of transit service arriving every 10 minutes or less from 25 percent in 2015 to 70 percent in 2019.

Thanks to Councilmember Pedersen for his work as Transportation and Utilities Chair to move this forward. Here are the materials for the first Council briefing: Central Staff memo, draft legislation, presentation and here is the STBD webpage.

I am pleased that Mayor Durkan’s proposal includes a commitment to address the unique access problems West Seattle faces without the bridge by making investments that address acute mobility needs in areas like West Seattle.  The proposal includes funding for West Seattle service investments, listing $3 million annual average investment over six years, though more of that could be spent in earlier years, while the bridge is closed.   This funding could support targeted transit service or transportation demand management strategies to mitigate the West Seattle Bridge closure.

West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force Updates

The West Seattle Bridge Community Task Force meeting on Wednesday, July 8 included updates.

SDOT will be doing a cost-benefit analysis to compare repair and replacement scenarios using a broad range of criteria; they will present draft criteria to the Community Task Force in August. Here’s the path for decision making:

SDOT indicated that it’s likely that any replacement or even repair of the bridge would exceed the City’s financial means without outside funding.  SDOT is exploring numerous potential funding sources:

SDOT indicated it will be releasing a request for proposals for an investment grade traffic and revenue study:

On July 13, the Council will discuss and may vote on Council Bill 119826. This would authorize SDOT to accept a $3.5 million grant from the Puget Sound Regional Council (LINK) that includes $2 million to conduct a Type, Size and Location Study for the eventual replacement of the West Seattle Bridge.

The study will examine potential replacements, such as rebuilding the bridge or an immersed tube tunnel. It would for the basis for environmental review of alternatives and developing cost estimates.

Update on Traffic

Traffic volumes remain high on West Marginal and Highland Park Way, and are trending above the pre-COVID baseline on the South Park Bridge, Roxbury, and Michigan Street in Georgetown. The 1st Avenue South Bridge is also 7% above the pre-COVID baseline.

Below are the most recent travel time estimates:

Budget Committee Update

The Council’s Budget Committee met on July 8 to consider revisions to the 2020 budget to address the more than $300 million revenue shortfall because of COVID19 and its impact on our economy.

The Budget Committee began with a panel presentation from Decriminalize Seattle, King County Equity Now, and the Participatory Budget Project.  It’s important that we listen to community voices moving forward in reimagining what policing and public safety look like.  The panel proposes that the City Council cut 50% from the SPD budget and earmark those funds for reinvestment in community-led health and safety initiatives.  They suggest cuts might come from:

  • Freezing hiring
  • Reduction in patrol staffing, prioritize for reduction those officers with highest number of complaints
  • Remove the Office of Collaborative Policing, including Navigation Team
  • End contracts with private firms that defend SPD and the City against police misconduct
  • Cut SPD’s recruitment and retention budget
  • Cut SPD’s public relations budget
  • Cut SPD’s spending on Homeland Security
  • Cut SPD’s training budget
  • End overtime pay for police officers
  • replace current 911 operations with a civilian-led system

One of the presentations was a Seattle Police Department 9-1-1 Call Analysis from SPD. I requested this presentation to examine the categories of work involved in SPD response, to begin the process of identifying what work currently done by police officers might best be done by other types of professionals. The idea was proposed by Decriminalize Seattle in the Budget Committee meeting on June 17 that 911 calls should be referred, where appropriate, to non-police responders including community-based workers who can provide mental health support, family and community mediation, drug-user health, and many other crisis services.  Their presentation highlighted emergency response systems that were not dispatched by police departments like:  the Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams in Salt Lake City and the M.H. First team in Sacramento.

Three weeks ago, after learning about this model from Decriminalize Seattle, I requested this presentation on 911 call analysis.  Soon after, the Chief announced support to “Assess non-criminal 911 calls, current outcomes, and alternate responses” and my colleague, Councilmember Andrew Lewis last week announced a proposal to “create and fully fund a new mental health and substance addiction first-responder program, based on a Eugene, Oregon program called Crisis Assistance Helping Out On the Streets, or CAHOOTS.”

The Budget Committee will meet again next Wednesday to hear Central Staff issue identification memos, including issued identified by Councilmember for potential cuts and additions to the 2020 rebalancing budget package.

Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens Youth Rights Ordinance

Children often can’t exercise their constitutional rights when in contact with the police.  Studies have found that children’s immature brain development results in not understanding their Miranda rights and difficulty asserting their constitutional right to silence. Black children, with experiences and knowledge of the experiences of their community, have fear and distrust of police that elevate the barriers to asserting their rights.

For these reasons, we must establish safeguards for police interaction with children.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry recommends that “juveniles should have an attorney present during questioning by police or other law enforcement agencies.”

I am working with Councilmember Morales and a coalition of community members who have proposed the Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens Youth Rights Ordinance to protect children under the age of 18 by “ensuring that they consult with counsel prior to waiving their constitutional rights and prior to any interrogation or request to search.”

Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens was a 17 year old who killed running from plainclothes deputies who, as part of a sting investigating a hit-and-run death, pretended to be a 15-year-old female in search of alcohol.  Dunlap-Gittens was not involved in the crime that they were investigating

Research shows that:

  • Children are more susceptible to police coercion and have a willingness to comply with authority.
  • Children don’t fully understand what can happen when they waive their rights.
  • Children are more likely to give false confessions.
  • 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.

The Youth Rights’ Ordinance would require that:

  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 limited exceptions for information sought to protect life from an imminent threat; delay would hamper the protection of life from an imminent threat; and only if, in this exception, the questioning is limited to those matters.
  2. An officer, prior to requesting any consent to search a youth or their property, home or 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 choose to have a parent, guardian or legal counsel, advise the officer whether they want to exercise their constitutional rights.

In 2017, California passed a similar law for youth 15 and younger.  San Francisco, in 2019, expanded the protection to youth 17 and younger. When children understand their rights, trust, accountability, and due process is enhanced and children, especially children of color, are less vulnerable to practices that lead to disproportionality in both police charges and incarceration.

Coronavirus Updates

Rising COVID rates:  Coronavirus has been increasing in King County since mid-June, with the largest increase in new cases in young adults and Seattle residents. With more re-opening of businesses, community activities and contact with one another, Public Health Seattle & King County is warning that the risk for infection has increased.

Maintaining the safety principles that led to our initial success against the outbreak has never been more important. These include:

  • Practice physical distancing of 6 feet or more
  • Minimize contact with others outside your home
  • Frequent hand washing or sanitizer
  • Use cloth face coverings in public
  • Avoid group gatherings and poorly ventilated spaces.

Free testing locations:  Coronavirus testing is free in Washington state.  Consider being tested if you have recently been in close with anyone with Covid, or if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches, headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you have a healthcare provider, contact them about getting tested.  If you don’t have a healthcare provider, this webpage has a list of free testing locations for you.  All are available regardless of immigration status, and provide free language interpretation services.  District 1 locations include:

Neighborcare Health at High Point (West Seattle)

6020 35th Ave SW, 1st Floor, Seattle, WA 98126

Phone: (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: (253) 681-6600

Languages: Spanish, Interpretation available

Sea Mar Community Health Centers at White Center

9650 15th Ave SW #100, Seattle, WA 98106

Phone: (206) 965-1000

Languages: Spanish, Interpretation available

UW Mobile Clinic at South Seattle College

6000 16th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98106

Phone: (206) 744-0400

(Open Fri., 10am-3pm, no appointment necessary)

Languages: Interpretation available

New mask requirements:  Face coverings are required in all public indoor spaces, and outdoors when you cannot remain 6 feet apart.  Effective July 7, the Governor’s statewide order directs businesses to require and enforce the use of face coverings by all customers or clients.  Learn more about face coverings here.

A face covering is not needed when you are outside walking, exercising, or otherwise outdoors if you are able to regularly stay 6 feet away from other people who do not live with you.  Some people do not need to follow this directive, including:

  • Babies and toddlers under age 2 should never wear cloth face coverings. Children ages 2-4 are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering.
  • All children ages 5 years & up should wear a face covering unless medically directed to do otherwise.
  • Anyone with a disability that makes it hard for them to wear or remove a face covering.
  • Anyone who is deaf and moves their face and mouth to communicate.
  • Anyone who has been advised by a medical professional to not wear a face covering because of personal health issues.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or unable to remove the face covering without help.

Confused about what’s open and what’s not?

  • Check out this webpage from Public Health of Seattle & King County that explains what is open and not during Phase 2, and contains links to specific guidance and requirements.
  • Seattle Parks and Recreation keeps this blog post continuously updated with the latest on parks and amenities openings and closings. You can find a neighborhood park here.

Pediatric vaccinations keep your child safe

Keep your child safe by staying up to date on vaccinations during COVID-19. Clinics have changed to make it safe for your child to get needed vaccines.  While there isn’t a vaccine against COVID-19 yet, the good news is that vaccines can protect children from 14 other serious diseases. Delaying or missing vaccines could put your child, your family and your community at risk for these diseases. Vaccinating children on time is the best way to protect them.

Talk with your child’s doctor, nurse or clinic about the immunizations your child needs to stay healthy, and ask about the clinic’s safety measures to protect your family when you visit.

  • Need help finding a doctor or clinic, or other health resources? Call the Help Me Grow Washington Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.
  • ¿Necesita ayuda para encontrar un médico o clínica u otros recursos de salud? Llamea la línea de Help Me Grow Washington al 1-800-322-2588.

Summer Food Assistance and a Public Shower Hotline

Free summer meals in District 1:  The City’s Summer Food Service Program began on July 6th and will run through August 21st.  It provides free breakfasts, lunches and afternoon snacks for children ages 1-18.  Many sites are available to the public, so any child 18 years and under can come to receive a meal.

Summer Food Service Program sites will operate with precautions in place to minimize risk while serving meals to the community.  Sanitation and distancing practices will be followed in accordance with CDC and local health department guidelines.

District 1 Meal Sites include: South Park Community Center, Highland Park Playground, High Point Community Center, and Cascade Middle School.  Find the meal site closest to your house at https://www.uwkc.org/free-summer-meals/.

Public hygiene facilities:  With community centers, libraries, and some service providers closed down, the public health emergency has been particularly difficult for people who rely on public hygiene facilities.  The City of Seattle has published a map of hygiene facilities (including toilets, handwashing stations, laundry, showers, and day centers) that may be helpful to anyone who relies on public facilities to stay clean and safe.

In addition, the City just launched a hotline that will be kept updated with locations and hours for mobile shower facilities: (206) 386-1030.  A flyer is attached with more information.  The current plan for the shower locations is below, but this may change – that’s why it’s a good idea to call the hotline at (206) 386-1030 first.

  • King Street Station: 303 S Jackson St.; Monday – Friday; 10AM to 4PM
  • Seattle Center: 305 Harrison St.; Tuesday – Saturday; 10AM to 4PM
  • University Heights Center: 5031 University Way NE; Sunday & Monday; 10AM to 4PM

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