After a burglary wave a few months back, some promising news about crime was heartening to the 20-plus people in attendance at last night’s Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council meeting.
Southwest Precinct operations Lt. Pierre Davis said West Seattle-area burglaries/car prowls were at a “historic low” in May – “the bad guys just aren’t playing here right now.” The Pigeon Point neighborhood itself is “pretty quiet right now,” he added. Attendees were invited to ask questions – and their biggest concerns involved speeding through the neighborhood (which includes a couple of straightaways). Before Lt. Davis left, a meeting attendee called out that he wanted to express thanks for everything that Seattle Police have done while being “severely tested” recently – and that sparked a round of applause.
Much of the rest of the meeting included other public-safety topics, from Block Watches to traffic calming:
BLOCK WATCH CAPTAINS’ NETWORK: Lt. Davis had also stressed the ongoing importance of neighbors watching out for neighbors, and that set the stage for Deb Greer and Karen Berge from West Seattle Blockwatch Captains’ Network. Greer stressed that despite the name, their organization covers the entire area handled by the SW Precinct (South Park, too). If you want to start a Block Watch, she explained, first step is to contact Mark Solomon, SPD’s Crime Prevention Coordinator for this area. They’re also working on an online “Block Watch finder” type of tool. Once your Block Watch is set up, Berge added, be sure their organization knows about it – as well as the city. She also circulated “no soliciting” signs for anybody interested (since, as you might know, city law says that if you have a “no soliciting” sign, it’s illegal for someone to try to contact you at your home that way). They’re also looking ahead to Night Out, with special packets planned. One resident asked how to get somebody interested in taking on the BW Captain role – he said he’s still captain for a block where he hasn’t lived for four years in the house he owns there! Greer suggested selling the benefits as more than dealing with crime – there’s community-building, for example, and it’s “not as hard of a job as it used to be.” (P.S.If you’re a BW Captain, be sure you’re RSVP’d for the big party!)
NIGHT OUT: Tuesday, August 7th, is the annual crimefighting/community-building event Night Out, and PPNC chair Pete Spalding reminded attendees that 20th SW will be blocked off again (any Seattle neighborhood can participate, though arterials can’t be blocked off – watch this SPD webpage for information on registration, which does not appear to be open quite yet).
TRAFFIC CALMING: SDOT‘s community-traffic liaison Jim Curtin was a guest at the meeting, as neighbors discussed some of the area’s traffic challenges – such as the aforementioned speeders. Can you paint your curbs for safety? he was asked. Answer: Yellow, yes; red, no. And the city doesn’t do curb-painting any more, Curtin explained. “So if it’s up to us,” asked one resident, “what would happen if we painted it red?” Curtin replied, “Probably, not much,” but explained that yellow is the preferred color, because it’s not associated with a “don’t do (whatever)” rule that might not exist in the painted zone. Regarding visibility problems near intersections, he did say that if anyone is parking within 30 feet of a stop sign, they should be reported, since that’s illegal. And you shouldn’t park within 20 feet of any intersection, he said, since they all represent crosswalks – even if not marked – and it’s illegal to park within 20 feet of an intersection. There were concerns about clashes with bicyclists who are on their way to the low bridge, and Curtin said SDOT is pursuing a “big” state grant for a long-term solution to help with the issues raised by Delridge as the bicycle connection to the route off the peninsula. Delridge/Andover may see some signalization changes, too, he said, looking way ahead to a potential Delridge RapidRide a few years down the road. Back to the speeding issue, Curtin said SDOT does not (currently, anyway) install speed-limit signs on non-arterial streets, “unless they are a school zone.”
Though it’s not his specialty, Curtin was asked what can be done about a Pigeon Point road that doesn’t serve many homes but has problems with drainage and surface. Even the chip-seal program, he noted, has been cut back because of budget problems. Drainage issues were referred to Seattle Public Utilities, which had been invited to the meeting but did not send a rep. Overall, things are so “dire,” as Curtin put it, that even arterials aren’t getting all the attention they need, so he advised the neighbors to work with SPU to investigate the drainage situation first.
Sneak peek ahead – Curtin says the city is soon going to embark on a campaign to “refamiliarize people with the rules of the road.”
Attendees were eager to ask about a variety of SDOT-related issues, even those outside his specialty, including “what if a tree is buckling a sidewalk?” It’s the adjacent property owner’s responsibility, he said, unless the tree that’s to blame was planted by the city, in which case it’s the city’s problem.
NEW PIGEON POINT NEWSLETTER: The volunteer effort has just made its debut, put together by PPNC member Scott Morgan. Their website revamp is relatively recent too – see the site at pigeonpoint.org – and local residents are welcome to contribute information for the site and/or the newsletter.
COYOTE SIGHTING: One attendee reported spotting two coyotes “fighting” over the weekend, but finally separated and went their separate ways into Pigeon Point greenbelt areas.
PIGEON POINT GARDEN TOUR: Looks like it will return this year – a volunteer is stepping up to coordinate it.
PATHFINDER PLAYGROUND IMPROVEMENTS: The group heard an update on improvements in the works – organizers are seeking a “small grant” first – but they want to hear what kind of features local residents would like to see at the playground, what would encourage more use. They’re looking at ideas (over time) including spinning, bars, a large play structure in the corner, and a walking track around the playground.
Find out more about the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council at pigeonpoint.org.