CITY BUDGET: Noise enforcement, bus-lane crackdown cameras, and other proposed changes to be discussed Tuesday

The next list of possible city-budget changes is out tonight – in advance of a discussion with the full City Council (meeting as the Select Budget Committee) tomorrow morning – and there are some items of West Seattle interest.

These two are proposed by our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who is chairing the budget committee this year:

‘SPD ENFORCEMENT OF VEHICLE NOISE AND CRUISING ON ALKI’: That’s the title for the budget proposal spelled out in this document, though it doesn’t actually order or fund enforcement – it would order this:

By February 23, 2018, the Seattle Police Department is requested to submit a report to the Councilmember representing Council District 1, the Chair of the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, and New Americans Committee, and Council Central Staff Director on SPD’s enforcement policies and practices with respect to vehicle noise and cruising in the Alki neighborhood during the warm-weather months.

This was teed up by the recently announced results of this survey. The report would also be required to include “identification of and consideration of emerging technological approaches to vehicle noise
enforcement,” possibly a reference to something proprietary that’s being worked on by an entity including a citizen who made repeat appearances at local community-council meetings over the past year-plus. The proposal also notes that Fauntleroy also deals with vehicle noise issues, and that this report should address “how approaches to noise and cruising enforcement” could be applied there and elsewhere, too.

‘AMEND THE DELRIDGE MULTIMODAL CORRIDOR PROJECT CIP … AND IMPOSE A PROVISO’: This one is more-bureaucratic, as the title suggests. You can read it here. It would put a spending lid on the Delridge Multimodal Corridor Project, which is currently largely focused on the Metro Route 120 conversion to RapidRide H, until a council committee sees its 10 percent design and then passes an ordinance to lift that lid.

Speaking of Delridge RapidRide:

‘IMPLEMENTATION OF MOVE SEATTLE BRT CORRIDORS’: This one (read it here) would ask SDOT to report by next July on ways to make sure Delridge RapidRide and the six other “bus rapid transit” projects in the works happen, despite “the uncertainty with federal transportation funding under the current administration.” Councilmember Mike O’Brien is proposing it.

Not West Seattle-specific but also of interest:

‘AUTOMATED ENFORCEMENT OF BLOCK-THE-BOX AND TRANSIT-ONLY LANE VIOLATIONS’: The latter comes up often in WSB comment discussion – suggestions for cameras to catch bus-lane violators. This proposal (read it here), also from Councilmember O’Brien, would require SDOT to report by next March on what it might take to implement them, as well as cameras to enforce “block-the-box” intersection violations.

HOMELESSNESS RESPONSE: A variety of proposals are on Tuesday’s list of possible changes, including:
Add $1.2 million for four more authorized encampments (locations not specified), proposed by Councilmember Kirsten Harris-Talley
Add $450,000 for two more authorized encampments (“one in each Council District that does not currently contain an authorized encampment”), proposed by Councilmember Kshama Sawant
Proviso on “unauthorized encampment removals in certain areas,” also from Councilmember Sawant. This would basically prohibit removals “except when the persons or property are on school property, active rights-of-way including sidewalks and stairways, activated park spaces, City utility rights-of way, or controlled-access areas of City-owned property, or unless authorized by future ordinance.”
-“Proviso on unauthorized encampment removals,” from Councilmember Herbold. This includes various provisions to ensure that removals follow the laid-out rules for prioritization, including:

(1) Objective hazards such as moving vehicles;
(2) Criminal activity beyond illegal substance abuse;
(3) Quantities of garbage, debris, or waste;
(4) Other active health hazards to occupants or the surrounding neighborhood;
(5) Difficulty in extending emergency services to the site;
(6) Imminent work scheduled at the site for which the encampment will pose an obstruction;
(7) Damage to the natural environment of environmentally critical areas; and
(8) The proximity of homeless individuals to uses of special concern including schools or facilities for
the elderly.

And there’s much more in the 50+ proposed changes – some of which will likely get big citywide scrutiny – these are just a few of the items that caught our eye. The discussions start at 9:30 am Tuesday, and will continue in a 2 pm session; if you have something to say and can get down to City Hall (600 4th Ave.), there are public-comment periods in both. You can e-mail council@seattle.gov too. And if you just want to watch/listen from wherever you are, it’ll all be live on seattlechannel.org (and cable channel 21).

64 Replies to "CITY BUDGET: Noise enforcement, bus-lane crackdown cameras, and other proposed changes to be discussed Tuesday"

  • ScubaFrog November 7, 2017 (4:29 am)

    I live on Alki, that’s going to be an awful burden for the SPD without more officers.  It’s not the officers fault this stuff happens down here.  I can totally empathise with the SPD now — I used to be angry at them.  But the SPD works really hard, and they’re doing triage on their shifts.  

    I’d pay more in taxes for more officers down here.  This may end up being unfair to other parts of West Seattle that need the SPD more than Alki does, if the SPD focuses more resources down here.

  • Concerned November 7, 2017 (4:58 am)

    Enforce the vehicle noise ordinance that has been around since at least the early nineties when car stereos became ridiculously loud? That’s a novel idea.

    If I remember right, the fine was around $300 a pop. Maybe raise some revenue for the city besides taxing people for the umpteenth time in a short amount of time. 

  • UberBeth November 7, 2017 (6:55 am)

    I would love if buses had a front-facing camera that Metro drivers could push a button to capture a photo of ‘block the box’ or bus lane violations. Treat this camera like a red light or speeding camera. 

    • Brewmeister November 7, 2017 (7:31 am)

      Ha,  I wish I had a camera to record all the buses who routinely run red lights and block intersections downtown.  I’ve seen multiple pedestrians almost run over by buses that can’t seem to wait for the next green light.  I would want bus drivers having that kind of responsibility when they don’t obey the laws themselves.  Not all bus drivers but a lot of them. 

      And I do hope SPD can do something about the noise. Friday, Saturday and even Sunday nights sounds like a drag strip near where I live. 

      • West Seattle since 1979 November 7, 2017 (8:32 am)

        Yes, that’s bad too and needs to be stopped.  However, there are also instances of cars blocking the intersection on 3rd Ave. during afternoon rush hour, so that buses end up having to wait through a couple cycles.  And cars also ignore pedestrians.  We just need better driving all around.  

    • KM November 7, 2017 (7:58 am)

      That would be awesome!

  • Mark November 7, 2017 (7:22 am)

    Noise needs to be put in check.  

    Emergency vehicle sirens are extremely loud, sound transit trains horns hurt the ears, train horns are too loud.  Maybe its time to review the noise levels of these items.  I get they need to be heard but maybe not at such a high decimal level.

    • HappyOnAlki November 7, 2017 (4:46 pm)

      You’re being sarcastic, right? Softer emergency sirens and train horns? Um, no.

  • West Seattle Hipster November 7, 2017 (7:31 am)

    Yes on bus lane cameras.  Tired of the ****** with a sense of entitlement.

    • West Seattle since 1979 November 7, 2017 (8:28 am)

      Yes!  Sometimes it seems like the bus lane on Avalon is just there for looks,  because it seems that people just ignore it and nothing is done about it. 

  • artsea November 7, 2017 (7:42 am)

    Our courts need to be allowed to do more than just give all kinds of offenders a slap on the wrist.  We need penalties that will truly be deterrents.  If fines are given, repeat offenders need to be given dramatically increased fines for each subsequent violation.  

    • Scott November 7, 2017 (5:10 pm)

      Or they need to get rid of that lane and change it back to all lanes open. 

      • Jort November 8, 2017 (12:08 am)

        That’s not going to happen. If you don’t like being in traffic, I strongly recommend you hop on the bus instead! It’s much better, and you will be a happier person on the inside!

  • ArborHeightsRes November 7, 2017 (8:35 am)

    I would love to have the city install speed limit cameras along length of Fauntleroy, as well as Parking Enforcement have more of  presence during the afternoon commute along Fauntleroy in order to enforce the no parking areas along Fauntleroy from the bus stop south to Endolyne. Parking Enforcement n this area tends to focus only ticketing the vehicles parked after 2 PM, and not on the ferry traffic parked illegally.

  • The King November 7, 2017 (8:45 am)

    More revenue generating cameras for the city. The first problem I have is that tickets are sent to the owner of the vehicle, in the case where your car was stolen etc., it is up to you to provide evidence that it wasn’t you. So the guilty until proven innocent idea goes against some bedrock foundations of our constitution. Why don’t we just recommission the SR-71 Blackbirds from the museum of flight to do flyovers and make sure our garbage doesn’t have any food that should be in clean green. Have the military bust down your doors and check your pets license. Why people here are so willing to give up freedom is baffling. I don’t feel safer with cameras everywhere, it’s a creepy feeling of being watched from the minute I leave the house. 

    • Mark Schletty November 7, 2017 (9:20 am)

      The king— Right on. It really scares me that most people don’t get the validity and importance of your position, especially when our government is getting more authoritarian daily. From both sides of the political spectrum. 

    • Peter November 7, 2017 (9:50 am)

      You are ignoring the fact that the almost all cars are being driven by their owners, and it is almost always the owner of the vehicles breaking the law. So yes, it is appropriate for the burden of proof to be on the owner because they are ultimately responsible for the use of their car.

      • The King November 7, 2017 (3:46 pm)

        There were 33,286 stolen cars in Washington state in 2016. Assumptions are made by saying things like “almost all” or “most of the time”. 

        • KM November 7, 2017 (5:19 pm)

          33k out of 2.5 million registered vehicles? Yeah, “almost all cars” is a safe assumption by Peter.

          If we withheld structuring enforcement because we were too concerned about the exceptions, we wouldn’t enforce anything…which in this region, might be the point–come to think of it.

        • Jon Wright November 7, 2017 (7:36 pm)

          If 99% doesn’t qualify as “almost all” or “most of the time” I don’t know what does.

        • Peter November 8, 2017 (10:38 am)

          If your car is stolen, then report it stolen and they won’t ticket you.

    • Lagartija Nick November 7, 2017 (9:59 am)

      You have zero expectation of privacy in public places.

      I would welcome the city generating some much needed revenue vis a vis bus lane and red light cameras. Maybe they wouldn’t need to raise the property tax so often.

      • The King November 7, 2017 (3:48 pm)

        I have the right to not be stalked in public when a private citizen does it. Maybe I need a restraining order on the local government. 

        • Lagartija Nick November 7, 2017 (5:04 pm)

          Using cameras to enforce traffic laws is not “stalking”.

          If you don’t want the government “spying” on you by taking a picture of your car if you break the law, you have two choices: 1) don’t break the law, and 2) you can take an alternate route that doesn’t have cameras.

          • JanS November 7, 2017 (5:14 pm)

            Lagartija Nick…..it’s easier to complain online  ;-)

          • Jort November 7, 2017 (7:10 pm)

            There’s another option: 3) get off our PUBLIC roads that were paid for by the PUBLIC and build your own, special private road so you can get to work without being held accountable for breaking the law.

    • Jethro Marx November 7, 2017 (10:17 am)

      This is not valid because the registered owner does not have to prove they weren’t driving, they just have to sign an affidavit saying they weren’t. At least for red-light running tickets, it’s a simple matter of checking a box and signing it.

       As for the rest, you make it sound a little ridiculous with your vintage airplanes and all, but you don’t have a right to break traffic laws any more than any other laws. If we don’t like the laws, try to change them, but the government enforcing laws is not a case of authoritarianism run amok.

       For most people this boils down to a nonsensical position where they want those “undesirables” ticketed while they want to retain their “right” to exceed the speed limit by whatever they deem reasonable.

      • The King November 7, 2017 (2:17 pm)

        Thank you for helping prove my point. You are not initially asked was this you in the vehicle, nope, you are assumed guilty. You must sign an affidavit, under the penalty of perjury to prove this wasn’t you in the vehicle. Guilty until proven innocent. 

        • Concerned November 7, 2017 (3:42 pm)

          Your initial reply is full of hyperbole and straw man arguments

        • Peter November 8, 2017 (10:44 am)

          Also, “guilty until proven innocent” is a concept of criminal law and does not apply the same way to civil infractions. As with all tickets, you can challenge them in front of a judge, but there is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt required.

    • Mrdumasse November 7, 2017 (3:27 pm)

      This is a Ridiculous argument. How many people are getting speeding tickets from cameras for their stolen vehicles? Deal with it-you won’t be held liable, and that’s part of the cost of doing business as a car owning citizen.

      • The King November 7, 2017 (3:52 pm)

        Ever had your license plates stolen

        • Jort November 7, 2017 (7:13 pm)

          No I have not!

      • JanS November 7, 2017 (5:17 pm)

        MRDUMASSE…I love your WSB screenname :D

    • Chuck Jacobs November 7, 2017 (4:17 pm)

      http://www.seattle.gov/courts/red_light/red_light_faq.pdf

      Q. WHAT IF THE REGISTERED OWNER WAS NOT DRIVING THE VEHICLE AT THE TIME OF THE VIOLATION?

      A. You may submit a sworn statement to that effect to the Court to rebut the presumption, established in RCW 46.63.075, that you were driving the vehicle at the time of the violation. A Declaration of Non-Responsibility form can be obtained from the Court in any of the following ways:

      Download or print the form from the Court’s website: http://www.seattle.gov/courts.

      Call the Court at 206-684-5600

      Visit the Court in person (1st Floor) at 600 Fifth Avenue (at James Street, downtown).
      Return the completed form to the Court in person (1st floor), by fax to 206-684-8887, or by mail:

      Municipal Court of Seattle, ATTN: Photo Enforcement Citations, PO Box 34987, Seattle, WA 98124-4987.

  • TJ November 7, 2017 (9:40 am)

    I won’t pay extra taxes for more police, and it would be a slap in the face if we were asked for that. Job number 1 of government is protection, and with all of the extra tax revenue being generated by the economy, the city isn’t properly funding it. I avoid the beach in the summer do to the undesirables down there, but I went down one evening this summer for a birthday and it was a zoo. Not many police around, but they were there and were turning a blind eye to obvious law breaking. Marijuana smoking (which I agreed with legalizing) was going on in plain sight. Music blaring. People sitting on cars dancing while they were driving. Motorcycles racing

  • Peter November 7, 2017 (9:41 am)

    It is long past time for SPD to start enforcing bus lanes. No amount of complaints thus far have gotten the police to ticket any of the drivers using the Avalon bus lane every day. It’s time for drivers to face consequences for their constant lawbreaking. Drivers using bus lanes is a ubiquitous problem throughout the city, and it’s time for them to pay up and then obey the law.

  • annika November 7, 2017 (10:05 am)

    Cruising down Alki?  Put speed bumps down all of Alki Ave.  The whole length of it – that should take fun out of cruising. 

    And please put more speed bumps down 59th Ave between Alki Ave and Admiral.  That will make it a lot safer for all the kids, pets and others in the neighborhood.

  • anonyme November 7, 2017 (10:14 am)

    Another $2 million to throw at homelessness,  6 new encampments (one for every district) and reduced enforcement of drug and other violations at encampments?

    NO.NO.NO.

  • TreeHouse November 7, 2017 (11:53 am)

    I am foaming at the mouth for bus cameras to ticket offenders. It is always a special BMW or Audi driver that uses the bus lane on the West Seattle Bridge. Cameras like this helped reduce the issue in San Francisco.

    Since we are discussing cameras, can we also get a speed camera on 35th? Camera enforcement would free up our limited police force to deal with more pressing problems. It would be a win-win all around!

    • B-Dawg November 7, 2017 (1:42 pm)

      I agree! We need a camera to enforce the speed limit on 35th.  As in, make sure the traffic moves at the posted speed, not the 15-20 mph that is all too common.  It’s a clogged up mess much of the day.

  • BJ November 7, 2017 (12:08 pm)

    This noise ordinance needs to be amended to include the whole of Delridge Ave. It’s ridiculous what they get away with on this stretch of road.

  • Admiral Mom November 7, 2017 (12:25 pm)

    Is there any contact info regarding the noise ordinance that they are putting in place? I’d love to add Hamilton Viewpoint to the mix. It seems like the loud cars that like to cruise travel to Alki and then up California Way to Hamilton Viewpoint where they show off their cars. That would be wonderful if they could add Hamilton Viewpoint on their route for noise violations. If anyone is part of this venture, could you please reply back. Thanks!

    • WSB November 7, 2017 (1:05 pm)

      Hi! It’s not about a new ordinance, but rather about enforcing the existing one in certain places – if you follow the link to read the proposed summary, that’s with the recognition that the enforcement could be applied in other areas. Councilmember Herbold is the sponsor so you could certainly start by contacting her – look for info at http://herbold.seattle.gov – TR

  • Jort November 7, 2017 (1:43 pm)

    I am glad to see that bus lane cameras are being discussed. Driving in a bus lane is the peak of selfishness and, arguably, a sign that somebody is fundamentally a deeply flawed sociopath. I can not even begin to fathom the thought processes of the kind of horrible monster that would put their selfish wants and desires directly in the path of a bus carrying hundreds of smart, socially-conscious commuters.

    I am thankful the council is considering this compromise position. They did not, apparently, like my personal suggestion, which would use automated tools to identify people driving illegally in bus lanes, and then activate a tire spiking and pneumatic launching system that would immediately disable the car, give the driver 30 seconds to get out, and then explosively rocket the car on a direct trajectory for the bottom of Puget Sound. (The driver would then be booked into prison for 30 years.) I am willing to compromise with the automated ticket enforcement.

    • pjmanley November 7, 2017 (7:51 pm)

      @Jort, you sound exactly like Castro, Stalin and Mao’s supporters who despised the individuals who failed to tow the party line of “the people.”  And while it appears your attempt at humor above is in jest, your lust for authoritarian government control, and of course, most of all,  punishment(!) reveals deeper sociopathic tendencies than any bus lane scofflaw could dream of having.  

    • Jethro Marx November 7, 2017 (8:12 pm)

      I love a TSPL system as much as anyone; I am, however, questioning whether you have ever been on a bus or not, as your description of an apparently gigantic bus, filled with people who are both smart and “socially conscious,” whatever one takes that to mean for oneself, does not align with my limited bus-riding experience. Not to say bus-riders are any different than drivers; indeed, as Seinfeld would tell us, we’re the same jerks and @$&#oles as you find anywhere else.

       I can never understand how people get so worked up about something that affects them so minimally.

  • pjmanley November 7, 2017 (2:02 pm)

    Wow.  So many authoritarians endorsing an ever-larger Nanny state to employ an even larger number of tax and fine collectors to waste our money.  And of course a nice garnish of resentment-driven class-warfare (BMW & Audis) – but never a Prius!  Right.  This avidity to punish others who one thinks have it better than they is so distasteful, yet so reflective of the prevalent socialist thinking I hear so much of today.  What a dreamworld!  Soon every neighbor can rat out the other when their dog pisses on someone else’s lawn.  Or their kid speaks a dirty word, or they leave their garbage cans out too long.  Let’s all go tell mommy and get them in trouble.  Gross.  

    • Jort November 7, 2017 (4:01 pm)

      Found the bus lane driver!

  • flimflam November 7, 2017 (4:46 pm)

    this approach on homelessness is nuts. you can’t have two sets of laws. you simply can’t. if hard drugs are illegal at my house, hard drugs should be illegal in your house, tent, camp, whatever.

    the same goes for relaxing the laws on car campers – everyone needs to have current tabs, valid insurance, emission standards. everyone.

    i can’t imagine it legal to literally have two sets of laws.

    • wetone November 7, 2017 (6:11 pm)

      100% agree, but you need to add a 3rd set of laws for bicyclist here in Seattle as city enforces zero. Biggest one the helmet law with a long list following…….

      • Jort November 8, 2017 (12:09 am)

        How many cyclists have killed or critically injured other people in Seattle?

  • flimflam November 7, 2017 (5:05 pm)

    oops – forgot to add that our newest, unelected councilmember is wasting no time getting in lock-step with her new comrades.

  • zark00 November 7, 2017 (5:11 pm)

    Distracted driving second most pressing concern overall, aaaaaand no mention of it at all.

    • pjmanley November 7, 2017 (5:51 pm)

      Don’t worry.  It will be addressed by an ordinance requiring cameras and microphones inside cars.  We really need more protection from ourselves.  So glad Big Brother is there to watch over me.  

      • Jort November 7, 2017 (5:59 pm)

        Oh well for you! Better not drive in the bus lane if you don’t want to get a ticket! Sorry for your luck.

  • ScubaFrog November 7, 2017 (5:46 pm)

    It’s time to get rid of the bike lanes.  McGinn really screwed us with those.  the cyclists never use those lanes anyhow, they’re in and out of traffic, and running lights, kicking pedestrians, bleh.

    Most Seattleites don’t ride bikes.  The future of Seattle’s public transportation, not bikes.

    • WSB November 7, 2017 (5:56 pm)

      Sorry, Scuba, the bike lanes were not his doing. The Bicycle Master Plan goes back to Greg Nickels, an entire decade ago:
      https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/nickels-unveils-bicycle-master-plan-aims-to-triple-commuter-cycling/

      Even back then, the city estimated a third of Seattle residents do some bicycling.

      • pjmanley November 7, 2017 (7:58 pm)

        I’m a biker, but the location of many lanes don’t make any sense.  I’ve biked throughout the city for 30+ years, without incident.  It seems to me the City is stoking a controversy by putting cars and bikes in conflict with each other, as part of a greater effort to get people out of cars, instead of focusing on safety and traffic flows.  Bike commuting is here to stay and we should encourage it’s growth.  It’s a good thing.  But the way the city is drawing up the routes, to me, is just insane.  

        • ScubaFrog November 8, 2017 (1:15 pm)

          I’ve never met a cyclist who agreed with many of the lanes.  It’s interesting.  But yeah, the routes drawn by the city are just bizarre.  Of course the SDOT isn’t exactly known for being a bastion of geniuses.  

          And a city that “estimates a third of its citizens ride their bikes to work” is wrong.  End of discussion, there’s just no way that bears fruit, and no way to quanity that.

  • Jon Wright November 7, 2017 (9:00 pm)

    I used to be adamantly anti-camera on account of privacy concerns and civil liberties. But now I feel like  the  prevalence of sociopathic behavior is a bona fide existential threat. Not sure why some folks feel it is okay to drive way faster than the speed limit, run red lights, pass in the left-turn lane but they put us all in danger. I would gladly forsake what illusion of privacy exists for a law-abiding world. Face it, a few more cameras is not going to have a material effect on your privacy and if it keeps us safe–and the bus lane free for buses–it is well worth it!

    • KM November 7, 2017 (9:28 pm)

      Perfectly describes my change in heart as well.

  • 1994 November 7, 2017 (10:21 pm)

    My experience with a Good to Go! toll traffic camera on the highway 520 bridge left me questioning the use of these cameras. I was sent a ticket, something like $2.50, for not having a Good to Go! reader sticker and being told I traveled over the bridge on a certain date so I owed the toll fee. Since 520 has been tolled I have never driven across the 520 bridge. I called the tolling people, asked for a copy of the photograph taken of my car and license plate. I was put on hold for a few minutes and the tolling person told me the photograph of the license plate is fuzzy so they can’t be certain this was my car driving over the bridge without paying the toll…..this I found to literally be highway robbery!  A person filled in the fuzzy unreadable numbers/letters on the license plate photo, and viola – they came up with a valid license plate and sent me a ticket!…They agreed to remove the ticket from being connected to my car. I told this story to a number of people who said they would have just paid the $2.50. Like I said, literally highway robbery.

  • anonyme November 8, 2017 (6:45 am)

    Rules aren’t just for children.  If it weren’t for the fact that modern society is overrun with infantilized adults, a so-called “nanny state” (people who use that phrase invariably sound like whining brats) would not be necessary.

    The law applies to everyone: no special exemptions.  Grow up and get used to it.  BTW, I fully support traffic cameras so that police are freed up to enforce all those other laws that aren’t being enforced at the moment…

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