Alki trashed: Saddening/maddening sight at the beach

Here’s hoping Alki isn’t trashed by tomorrow morning the way it was this morning, by several accounts. First, Kristina posted it about it on the WSB Facebook wall; then we discovered Seal Sitters‘ Robin Lindsey had written about it on Blubberblog (with a call for volunteer help) – and before we could get down to Alki to check it out ourselves, David Hutchinson had sent three photos along with this writeup:

Alki Beach, as usual, is a popular destination on sunny weekends like this. It’s a great place for a picnic, a walk, or to just sit on the sand and take in the view. A reoccurring problem during these busy times is the overflow of garbage that tarnishes the experience for visitors and residents alike. Saturday was one of those days and by evening, the garbage cans were overflowing.

David continues:

Throw a few hungry gulls and crows into the mix and you end up with a less than ideal situation. The photos were taken just east of the Alki Bathhouse at about 8:45 Sunday morning. This was despite the fact that there are 2 dumpsters nearby. Unfortunately, people seem unwilling to walk the extra distance to these as both were virtually empty. Seattle Parks & Recreation has installed a number of large, new style garbage containers along the promenade between 59th Ave SW and 64th Ave SW, but these get little use. They have a small “porthole” opening with a stiff rubber hinge that discourages people from using them. Similar scenes were noted at a number of locations up and down the beach.

With the ongoing budget crisis at Parks, there is probably little hope that this situation will dramatically improve in the short term. When you go to the beach for a picnic, it would be a good idea to come prepared by bringing a plastic garbage bag from home. There are 2 green dumpsters just east of the Bathhouse for garbage and 1 blue dumpster west of the Bathhouse for recyclables.

A Parks employee arrived shortly after 9:00 to empty the cans and suggested that if anyone has concerns or suggestions, please send them to Seattle Parks & Recreation. Contact information can be found at

This also happens to be a weekend between furlough days for Parks, as explained here – but that’s no excuse for people who won’t walk a few extra feet to a trash container, or pack out their own trash if they don’t find anywhere to throw it.

54 Replies to "Alki trashed: Saddening/maddening sight at the beach"

  • alki_2008 May 9, 2010 (5:50 pm)

    Some folks decided to put their bottles in my front yard, but at least that means they’ll be recycled (by me).
    Besides the sheer ugliness of the trash-strewn boardwalk, and the sadness of realizing how disrepectful of property some people can be…is that much of the trash put into the garbage cans is recyclable (glass bottles). Personally, I pass by trash cans until I find a recycle bin if I’m carrying ‘trash’ that is recyclable. Too bad some folks are too discourteous and/or lazy to do the same. :(

  • GenHillOne May 9, 2010 (5:56 pm)

    Are the dumpsters mentioned available for public use? I usually assume that dumpsters aren’t mine, so I shouldn’t use them.

    That first pic definitely looks like critters got to the full cans. How frustrating all around :(

    Oh, and the burned couch? Totally unnecessary…wish someone had seen them in the act and been able to call the police.

  • Bonnie May 9, 2010 (6:04 pm)

    I went for a long run this morning along Beach Drive/Alki/Harbor Ave and up through the Junction and I saw scenes like this throughout West Seattle. Very sad.

  • Babs May 9, 2010 (6:17 pm)

    I rode my bike down there at 730 this morning and I was shocked, besides the trash bin overflow there were beer bottles here and there along the bike trail. Cups and trash. Yes birds might have moved some but not that much. Plus if its there birds salvage. What makes me mad are the folks who do litter have nary a care about dumping trash in such a beautiful place. Plus the drinking that must go on down there when the sun goes down. I hope this is not a sign of the upcoming summer…. :(

  • Cheryl May 9, 2010 (6:19 pm)

    I wish people would carry their trash HOME w/ them, especially since the city clearly doesn’t provide enough receptacles (not an Alki problem btw, I’ve noticed a severe lack of trashcans ALL OVER THIS CITY).
    Gross. And sad. And yes, more plastic to end up in whale stomachs. Grrrr.

  • michael May 9, 2010 (7:05 pm)

    same is true for lincoln park—too many lazy people—-
    please re cycle !! mg

  • JanS May 9, 2010 (7:40 pm)

    michael..lazy is not the term that came to mind when I saw these pictures. Frankly, the term that immediately popped into my brain was “pigs”. But that’s insulting to actual pigs.

    The lack of respect that people, especially many young people, have for our world and environment is atrociously amazing.

    remember the hall of shame re: dogs on the beach? Well…maybe it’s about time to document some of the humans that are doing this. Just a thought. Sadly, I truly think that they wouldn’t care…they’d just see it as publicity.

  • Neal Chism May 9, 2010 (9:06 pm)

    The people doing this are not reading the West Seattle Blog, do not care, and will not care until sometime in the future when a mess made by someone else will have to be picked up/cleaned up by them.

    One governing thought here is that the more trash (sweatpants) you pick up, the less trash (fewer sweatpants) the animals will have to choke on.

    So forget about the human pigs and try to pick up some trash for animals that we know will be harmed if we don’t.

    (Take along a trash bag and a digital camera on the morning walk.)

    Neal Chism

  • saney May 9, 2010 (10:05 pm)

    I live in West Seattle. Alki Beach is so closeby, but when the weather is nice, and I should be thinking “this would be a perfect day to go to the beach”, I actually cringe at the thought of dealing with these type of people that inevitably ruin it for the rest of us.

  • on board May 9, 2010 (10:28 pm)

    at least no one has been shot yet here this year.

    Would someone please post when the last day of High School is for those of us not in the loop?

    • WSB May 9, 2010 (10:32 pm)

      As has been noted in the WSB Events calendar

      since the start of the school year, the end of the Seattle Public Schools year is June 22 – TR

  • JanS May 9, 2010 (10:30 pm)

    Saney…one of my favorite things to do is to take a “beach run” – in the car. Drive from one end to the other, look at the beauty, smell the air…but I don’t ever plan a day’s outing just to go to the beach, and I almost never go down there to eat. It’s a public area, and anyone can go…but it’s crowded, and basically ruined for me to do those things. Sigh.

  • A May 9, 2010 (10:48 pm)

    I can’t stand it there when all the “cool kids” and wanna be gangstas start cruising alki… It ruins the place

  • Lou May 9, 2010 (10:49 pm)

    I have a bus stop in front of my house. I am also on the corner of a very busy street so I get a lot of foot traffic. Nearly every day people leave trash on my steps, on the sidewalk, in my rockery, grass, etc.. I should be used to it by now but I am still appalled at the lack of basic civility and consideration by my fellow West Seattleites. A previous poster was correct in saying these people do not read this blog nor do they care. Not sure what can be done.

  • Mr. Matt May 10, 2010 (3:47 am)

    Yeah, it kind of speaks volumes about the sort of crowd here at Alki where, on a fantastic Saturday afternoon, I headed up to the northern part of Golden Gardens instead of staying here at Alki Beach… which is all of 1 block from my door.

  • bluedog May 10, 2010 (6:20 am)

    Let’s start charging for parking, or make Alki a gated community with an entrance fee to help pay to cleanup the mess left by the “tourists”.

  • jiggers May 10, 2010 (7:13 am)

    You should see the Junction. It’s always a mess.

  • Mama o'four May 10, 2010 (7:58 am)

    Sad and frustrating to say the least…

  • bridge to somewhere May 10, 2010 (8:00 am)

    unfortunately, this behavior is not limited to alki: my neighborhood park, roxhill, usually looks like a dumpster exploded every weekend. and actually, the trash tends to be all over the roads outside the park too (29th and cambridge). (by the way, i’d estimate 90% of the trash is either malt liquor cans or mcdonald’s garbage). seattle city parks on the weekends and most warm nights are magnets for trash, human and otherwise. i wish, wish, wish the SPD would foot patrol the parks more (i haven’t seen the SPD foot patrol roxhill in 5 years), and make the thug life out there uncomfortable enough to go back home to litter all over their living room floors . . .

  • West Seattle May 10, 2010 (8:18 am)

    “type of people that inevitably ruin it for the rest of us.”

    What ‘type’ of people, white yuppies?

    “wanna be gangstas start cruising alki… It ruins the place”

    Yeah truth!

  • JTM May 10, 2010 (9:35 am)

    To a few posters in particular, I notice all types of people that have some serious disregard for our home, not just younger people, yuppies or gangsters.

    Please recognize personal bias. The problem is not a person’s age, income or dress, its their behavior, which is a characteristic that crosses stereotypes.

    We as a community can organize or take individual action and make a difference here. Seattle Parks, personal bias and general whining will not solve this problem.

  • I. Nertia May 10, 2010 (9:37 am)

    Need more trash cans. When one idiot puts his/her trash on top of a full can, it gives permission to the next one to do the same. They treat our parks like a movie theater or ball game, assuming the cleanup crew will come through after they leave. A few years back I visited NYC during the summer and went to the beach. The NYC beaches were cleaner than Alki. This was before the ban on fires outside the firepits. Easiest solution at this point is more trash cans.

  • Rick May 10, 2010 (9:42 am)

    Truth is trash is trash, be it objects or beings.(Ya know ~ human beings!)

  • dbsea May 10, 2010 (9:54 am)

    More cans in more obvious spots? 1 Parks person can’t be assigned the beach strip to empty cans, deal with trash and abandoned items? What about hiring someone privately to do this? I wonder if there is a business or resident’s association that could to that? Of course some people will volunteer and take this upon themselves. But the pigs will always be pigs and the community ought to be able to manage this with a little coordinated effort. Easy for me to say.

  • jiggers May 10, 2010 (9:55 am)

    I ride the bus and I notice that most of the trash is in the back of the bus…lol

  • luckymom30 May 10, 2010 (9:58 am)

    And so why aren’t those people in the picture taking the time to pick up this trash? People just don’t care anymore, thinking it is someone else’s trash and problem when it is everyone’s problem. Very sad. When at O’Reilly’s this past Saturday I sat and watch several people get out of their cars and walk right over a pile of trash, never offering to pick the trash up. Before leaving I got out and put the trash in the trash can, not a hard concept people!

  • Bob Loblaw May 10, 2010 (10:18 am)

    Not to go too far off-topic, but our Mother’s Day stroll down Alki to take in the sites, sounds, scenes of this beautiful area was, as many previous trips to Alki have been, absolutely ruined by the crotch-rocket riders doing doughnuts and wheelies, and the little Japanese car kids (they call themselves Ricers, but I don’t know if that’s PC) doing burnouts and revving their fart can exhaust systems last night. Where the hell are the police? You would think it’s a no-brainer that nice day at Alki = need for your presence (?)

  • Jeff May 10, 2010 (10:47 am)

    There are cans every 100 yards or so on the main section of the beach. The problem is that by midday on Saturday they’re completely full. Maybe the city needs to figure out another solution like hiring some kids to dispose of the trash on weekends.

  • saney May 10, 2010 (11:32 am)

    “type of people that inevitably ruin it for the rest of us.”

    by type, i mean the type of person that has no respect for the environment or for the enjoyment of others. the type of person who feels entitled to use the beach but doesnt feel responsible for the footprint that they leave on the area.

    dont assume that “type” refers to race, age, or social group.

  • CandrewB May 10, 2010 (11:36 am)

    Bob, the police ignore it every year until someone gets shot. After that big surprise, they start patrolling again.

  • Christy May 10, 2010 (11:48 am)

    Anyone want to meet me down there tonight to pick some of it up? 7 p.m. at the Liberty statue?

  • J May 10, 2010 (12:23 pm)

    You beat me to it, Christy!

    Don’t know yet if your timing works for me, but if not then, I’ll come earlier or later or tomorrow.

    Anybody else want to take action? I suggest bringing bags and gloves. Can anyone who lives near check on the availability of space for what we collect in the dumpsters or trash cans? Otherwise, we’ll have to cart it home. I have a mini-can, so that’s not going to work really well.

    Long-term–could we form a posse that would patrol the beach DURING the peak use hours to set an example, swooping down on any trash immediately, to make a point to those who are less careful than we’d like with their trash? Again, we need city support with places for us to put it.

  • Blockwatcher May 10, 2010 (12:30 pm)

    Made me so sad yesterday as my kids kept bringing bottles/cans, wrappers and broken glass up to my husband and I as they attempted to play on the beach. My 8 year old was so upset, he just doesn’t understand why people would litter on the beach. We ended up getting a grocery bag from our car to deal with the mess around us (near the volleyball courts). People, pick it up and take it home if you can’t find a trash can! Let my kids run barefoot on the beach- I think they have the right.

  • Janet P. May 10, 2010 (12:45 pm)

    The cops need to make a few arrests for littering with a big fat fine attached to teach some of these pigs that they should use a trash can! How hard is it to walk your butt over to a trash can and throw your trash away respectfully?!

  • Molly May 10, 2010 (1:09 pm)

    I second the call for more trash cans. And to have a dumpster or wide mouth can near the picnic shelter. Some people actually take the time to clean up after their picnics, putting everything into a trash bag that is then left next to the trash can (because it does not fit in the trash can and the dumpsters are not obvious if you are over by the picnic shelter). Then the birds tear open the bag and the garbage goes everywhere. I don’t think people realize that bagged trash easily becomes litter when left outdoors.

    Also, at the end of last year, at least one trash can was removed from the the western end of the beach and it would be nice to see it put back.

  • d May 10, 2010 (1:36 pm)

    As of 1 PM Monday, the trashcan areas have been cleaned, but I did not go on the sand itself.

    I wonder if pickup personnel couldn’t leave a few extra bags at each can, tucked under the lip if the lid? If not feasible (why the heck not?) then maybe regular folks could tuck a few extra contractor size bags in themselves in advance of high season crowds. I know we shouldn’t have to do that, but maybe some will do it anyway and MAYBE it will help a bit. As Neal said, there will always be those who will never get a clue.

    Also, I have started my own practice of carrying 13 gal trash can liners with me when I walk the dog.

  • Neal Chism May 10, 2010 (2:30 pm)

    The trash removal process is important:

    1) A Grabby tool to pick the stuff up
    2) A Five gallon egg bucket makes it easy to receive the trash
    3) Garbage bags for temp. holding
    4) 4 cubic yard green Dumpster(s) or bigger with regular pickup service space evenly along the water

    Put a lock on the dumpsters with an access code maybe. Or just open them up in the high traffic hours, and lock’em up at night again.

    Once you set a precedence on behavior, then it makes it real
    easy to spot the big offenders that should get the fines. Sort of like wearing your seatbelt.

  • David Hutchinson May 10, 2010 (2:38 pm)

    Parks employees were by Alki this morning and did a great job emptying the dumpsters, the garbage cans, and picking up litter. Coming down on sunny weekends, particularly Saturdays, would have the greatest impact if anyone wants to get involved on a personal level with this problem. I had a chance to talk with Parks employee Dan about the possibility of adding more garbage cans in the worst areas. Many of you who regularly walk the beach are familiar with Dan, who is always responsive to community input.
    Robin Lindsey, of Sealsitters, has some good ideas about organizing a community effort to clean up the beach areas – be sure to read her posting on this subject on the Sealsitters Blubberblog:

  • Bronco May 10, 2010 (3:02 pm)

    How bout that couch, gross huh?

  • alki_resident May 10, 2010 (3:57 pm)

    This is a shame – I saw police cruisers ride right by those kids riding crazy on their fast motorcycles, and revving their engines in the little honda cars (and flying by). Then, the lowriders were out with their music turned all the way up, again riding right by the “police”, with no recourse. I live ON Alki, and these same individuals ruin it every year for everyone. I bet if we saw how many people were cited for excessive speed/loud exhaust/loud sound systems, we wouldn’t see 1 citation from the weekend. What a shame. And now they’re physically trashing our home. Thanks thugs/thug wannabes, and thanks SPD.

  • Tonya May 10, 2010 (4:03 pm)

    I pick it up as I see it when I walk my beagles at night but I am also seeing more grafiti which REALLY pisses me off.

  • patt May 10, 2010 (4:12 pm)

    I walked to the Sunday Market at the Junction. We bought some things there to take home and some things to eat. After eating there I took the cups and napkins (that came with the food I bought there) to throw them away.

    I walked them around the place and didn’t see one trash can. The only one I found was at the bus stop.

    The same on the streets, trash cans only at bus stops. The stuff in those cans come from bus riders and from people walking buy. WS has grown a lot in the last 5 or 6 years.
    More events happen here. More people moving through.
    The cans over fill.

    People are trying to do the right thing by putting things by the trash cans. Why do we have fewer cans the 5 years ago?
    What happened to all the white or blue cans for recycling and garbage? I remember one a block.

    What happened to them? Funding cuts, or a “not on my block movement”?

  • natinstl May 10, 2010 (4:16 pm)

    Same scene at Lowman Beach last night. People couldn’t fit it in the bins so they strewed their garbage all around the garbage cans. My husband and I commented on it and took what we can when we left there. Some of it was in plastic bags that they couldn’t even bother to tie shut and therefore it was coming out.

  • Baba May 10, 2010 (4:38 pm)

    I think a lot of people here take this whole trash disaster way too seriously. It’s just a sign of times, folks…There are more standard of living decreases to come, unfortunately. All we can do is to learn how to live with it. Sadly…

  • barry May 10, 2010 (5:26 pm)

    everytime i go down to alki the trash is getting worse and worse. the sand is full of peices of glass from bottles and mcdonald wrappers and starbucks cupss left everywhere. I think someone needs to patrol the beach on the weekends and nice days to stop the littering. they also need bigger garbage cans or someone to dump them

  • Branden May 10, 2010 (5:36 pm)

    I think Alki has reached capacity, and we should petition to have a max number of people allowed in the area. I lived 4 years next to Spuds, and you just get used to the absolute zoo that becomes Alki in the summer.

    Now, I live down by the bridge on Harbor (moved to escape the traffic), and what happens this weekend? A line of cars in BOTH DIRECTIONS on Harbor/Beach dr. A parking lot, almost 3 miles from the actual beach. Don’t even get me started on the 4th of July.

    When it takes me 45 minutes to leave my house, go 500 feet to 7/11, and come back, something is wrong. Does anyone know if there are plans to deal with this mass of people, such as new roads/redirecting traffic to streets with more capacity? It just doesn’t seem sustainable.

    • WSB May 10, 2010 (5:46 pm)

      Branden – we got stuck in that yesterday afternoon. I tweeted this photo at 3 pm. We were trying to get to the 3 pm Water Taxi – made great time from our house to The Bridge, and then, whammo.
      New roads? No. There has been talk for a long time, though, of maybe more shuttles; also, police have said that if Alki traffic backs up to California Way during the summer, they will close the road and redirect people back up the hill. Yesterday, though, things began to break up right AT Seacrest – the logjam seemed to be Salty’s/Seacrest-related for Mother’s Day … TR

  • Sue May 10, 2010 (6:20 pm)

    Last week while we were at the beach we saw big pieces of broken glass in the sand. That is the last time I will allow my kids to walk on the beach without their shoes. Perhaps I was naive to allow them to do so in the first place.

  • Baba May 10, 2010 (6:41 pm)

    How can we afford Big Bellies? ( what a great idea by the way !!!) when Greece and other PIIGS need our bailout money?

  • been here a long time May 10, 2010 (6:59 pm)

    just wait until sea fair….

  • Noelle May 10, 2010 (9:55 pm)

    Those “porthole” opening style trash cans are hard to use and thus no one wants to use them. I was walking down by the water and heard a mother say to her little child, “No don’t touch that! Its icky and covered in germs!” (Talking about the port hole door on the trash can) Her little son wanted to through away his napkin. So, the mom ended up taking the napkin and putting it in her bag. My point is, doing the right thing should not be the “icky” option. People should be able to just drop trash in the cans and not have a drama about it. No over flowing trash cans. No mouse-trap like doors. . . . . Just drop your little bit of trash and go. It should Not be that big a deal.

  • patt May 11, 2010 (11:24 am)

    totally agree with Noelle about “doing the right thing should not be the “icky” option”

Sorry, comment time is over.