Alki Community Council: From new signs at Don Armeni, to new info about the Homestead renovation

(Photo courtesy Paul)
New parking signs are up at Don Armeni Boat Ramp – not new rules, but new signs (though a related rule change is under consideration). Thanks to a tip, we were already working on a story about the new signs before police explained them at last night’s Alki Community Council meeting. The signs, and other ACC toplines, including the SPD plan for Alki this summer, and Homestead/Fir Lodge updates from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, ahead …

The Don Armeni parking signs were part of the update from Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith. The Parks Department put them up Wednesday. We had subsequently inquired with Parks – the explanation, via Parks spokesperson David Takami:

The rules at Don Armeni haven’t changed — we’ve just installed new signs to
be more clear about what the rules are. Seattle Police asked us to clarify the parking rules here–again, not to change them, just to clarify them, so that they could be fair and consistent in enforcing them.

There’s already quite a bit of single-car parking at Don Armeni: 16 single-car spaces in all, eight on each side of the boat ramp parking. To maximize the available single-car parking, we’re considering a recommendation to set a two-hour limit. That would ensure that the single-car parking spaces are available to park users rather than being used for commuter parking.

(Tipster Paul had in fact noted that most of those spaces seem to be taken up by Water Taxi commuters.) Lt. Smith described the problem in similar terms: It wasn’t that people weren’t trying to comply with the previous signs, but it seemed, they had difficulty understanding the way those signs had laid out the rules. These signs are seeking to clarify. And if that doesn’t work, SPD has enforcement out and about as needed.

On to the summer plan for Alki: As always, Lt. Smith said, the major areas of concern are underage drinking, traffic, and “behavior.” Police are seeking to be sure the right tone is set at the start of the season – which means consistent police presence. The newly expanded bicycle patrol will be an important part of that, but even bigger than that will be the new mobile precinct – no arrival date yet but Lt. Smith says they expect it will be delivered before the start of the summer season.

Another emphasis right now involving Alki: Police are trying to reel in the racing. Alki and Seward Park are the two hot spots, and when SPD shows up in one spot, the racers head off toward the other. Lt. Smith says SPD has plans in place to thwart that this summer.

Last but by no means least, he brought up the overall increase in crime in West Seattle/South Park over the past month, compared to the same time last year, as shown on this slide from this week’s SeaStat briefing downtown – everything in red is a category that’s up year-to-year in that four-week span:

Lt. Smith says they’re making progress by arresting some of the major offenders and working to identify others. (We’ll see if that’s reflected in the next crime-trends update, next Tuesday at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, 7 pm at the precinct.)

ALKI HOMESTEAD/FIR LODGE UPDATE, AND WHAT ELSE SWSHS IS UP TO: Clay Eals, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, says new owner Dennis Schilling has many details to work out. For starters, SWSHS has helped him connect with a structural engineer who’s doing a survey of the building. And a cleanup crew is getting rid of some of the amassed junk inside – debris and random items in the old kitchen area. SWSHS will eventually be providing updates on the renovation project via its website.

Events ahead: On (corrected date) June 5th – one day before the anniversary of the totem-pole dedication at SWSHS’s headquarters, the Log House Museum Alki and Schmitz Park Elementaries’ students will walk over to the museum again, and this time they’ll be in a photo taken on the Homestead’s lawn. And on the 4th of July, always a big holiday for SWSHS, a fried-chicken cookoff is planned, followed by a This Place Still Matters group shot on the fifth anniversary of the “This Place Matters” photo expressing concern for the Homestead’s future.

The Alki Community Council usually meets third Thursdays, 7 pm, at Alki UCC.

23 Replies to "Alki Community Council: From new signs at Don Armeni, to new info about the Homestead renovation"

  • Diane April 17, 2015 (5:13 pm)

    glad you were at ACC to report; I had plumbing emergency, so couldn’t go anywhere; sorry to have missed this meeting

  • SGG April 17, 2015 (5:26 pm)

    As someone who sometimes parks there for the water taxi, I don’t mind this at all. It is a boat launch after all. I’m ok with a 2 hour limit for the car stalls. I’ll just park farther away, take the shuttle, or better yet, ride my bike.

  • Ken April 17, 2015 (5:53 pm)

    After reading this, I’m very confused about what the rules are. Rather than clarifying, they’ve done just opposite. As per the photo of the new parking sign: Parking PROHIBITED for Single Vehicles. However, as per spokesperson David Takami: There’s already quite a bit of single-car parking at Don Armeni: 16 single-car spaces in all.
    Seems like it’s difficult to have it both ways. So which is it? Parking allowed for single vehicles per the explanation, or parking prohibited, per the signage? Which option will actually be enforced?

  • miws April 17, 2015 (6:39 pm)

    Ken, I haven’t been to Armeni for quite some time, but remember the lot being striped with several long back-in spots, and some normal, one car length, spots.



  • JayDee April 17, 2015 (8:08 pm)

    As a boat owner, I applaud this. I have to pay a fee to park my car with trailer. Then, not being the best backing up trailer person I really hated having to worry about cars hogging the spots or contributing to the throughput. It is hard enough to obey the launching/landing boat regs without hitting cars who shouldn’t be parking there.

  • Eric1 April 17, 2015 (11:30 pm)

    I have a boat too and call the police every time for enforcement if there are unattended cars present. I call the police even if there are lots of open stalls early. I try to keep it open for the boaters after me.
    It is really hard to yell at somebody to move their car when you know you are going to leave your truck/trailer un-attended for several hours. Hence the pro-active calls.
    Glad to see the new obvious signs. I’d like to see 4 hours limits on the car stalls. I take people out who “meet” me at the ramp. Most of the time we fish for longer than two hours. They could charge $5 for the car stalls especially if boat fees are used to maintain the Don Armeni park area. That would keep commuters out of the lot.

  • WSince86 April 18, 2015 (7:32 am)

    This new signage makes me and the hubby very happy. Of course I have to say it, the signs one won’t change people’s behavior. As boaters who pay the launch fee faithfully, it is VERY frustrating to us to see the number of single, non trailered vehicles that are parked in the lot taking up the space meant for boaters. Of course they haven’t paid the launch fee either. The Parking enforcement phone # at SPD is 206-386-9012. Please call when you see illegal parking, like we do and Eric1 does. It obviously makes a difference.
    Ken- it’s not that difficult…. There are spots at the very north and south ends of the park that are for single, nontrailered vehicles. The rest of the spots with signs such as shown above, are for vehicles WITH BOAT TRAILERS that HAVE PAID THE LAUNCH FEE. Stepping off my soap box.

  • Paul Hage April 18, 2015 (7:49 am)

    Now retired, my wife and I visit Don Armeni several times a week to enjoy the view. I was told by SPD to leave the park or be cited. Parks staff told me of the new signs and said it is not a change. If my visits were tolerated for the past few years, and are now prohibited – that is a change. I am squeezed out by commuters who park for maybe ten hours a day, and boaters whose needs are confined to summer weekends for the most part. We need a public process on Don Armeni usage so the vehicle dependent recreational user is not denied access to this valuable public resource. If hot rodding is a problem, then cite the offenders rather than kicking me out.

  • Anne April 18, 2015 (8:20 am)

    Sorry Paul-I understand your frustration about parking situation-bus & water taxi commuters as well as divers parking for hours-but that’s just the way it is–my husband & I are retired too-so we have more choices & if we have to drive there we try to go when we think there’s a better chance to find a spot-sometimes it works sometimes not. Just disagree regarding Don Armeni– as stated by WSince86 there ARE some spots for cars-just count yourself lucky that you have “been tolerated” & not ticketed.
    Parking & speeding infractions should be equally enforced.

  • petert April 18, 2015 (8:23 am)

    So, let me ask a question for clarification.

    I use Don Armeni for launching my kayak, since I can get into and out of the water safely on any tide, and not have to carry my boat across several hundred feet of beach at low tide. My kayak is 17 feet long, fiberglass, and I carry it atop my car. So, in order to unload my boat, I need 17 – 20 feet of space to the rear of my car so I can put it on a cart, and take it down to the water. The north and south parking areas are unsuitable, since both put me directly in the path of entering and exiting traffic during load and unload. Am I prohibited from using the boat spaces ? I have no problems paying the day fee (which I do because I’m using the ramp for maritime purposes), but for the purpose of clarity and safety, I’d like to know what I’m entitled to.

    Who do I go to get this answered ?

    Thanks !

  • Born on Alki 59 April 18, 2015 (8:24 am)

    I think that enforcing the boat launch parking situation is long overdue. I would like to see a few more non trailer fee areas for all the kayakers that use the launch and currently don’t pay a dime. Say five bucks for kayakers. Not fair that a 12 foot boat pays 15 bucks while a 16 foot kayak pays nothing. To all the kayakers who pay the launch fee, I apologize. In 50 years of using Armeni launch I’ve never witnessed hand launchers pay.

  • Mike April 18, 2015 (8:38 am)

    “my wife and I visit Don Armeni several times a week to enjoy the view”
    Good thing there’s all that free curb side parking along the street just a few yards away.
    I’m really at a loss to people who complain that a boat launch dare enforce it be used for launching boats. How about this, let it be free for everyone and if any cars get destroyed by a boat trailer hitting them, the boat trailer owner gets paid $1,000.

  • Born on Alki 59 April 18, 2015 (8:41 am)

    @Petert. I think we had the same thoughts! Additionally, what about all cars and trucks that hand launch? You don’t always need a trailer to utilize the launch for maritime purposes. I think a dozen spots for hand launch would work. Same fee as trailer spot?

  • Born on Alki 59 April 18, 2015 (8:57 am)

    So here’s a thought. Take 12 spots on the south end that face the water and open up the east curb that joins the ” staging lane”. Now you have room for two vehicles per parking stall. Mark them ” Hand Launch Only”. The rear vehicle can back out while the forward vehicle exits forward. On busy fishing weekends lets these spots be utilized by truck/ trailers. Most fishermen return before the afternoon kayak crowd arrives. Just a thought to solve this problem for relatively nothing and give hand launchers a chance to pay and be legal.

  • Henderson erwin April 18, 2015 (9:10 am)

    Why is there any free parking down there in the summer? That’s a pretty high demand area.

  • Paul Hage April 18, 2015 (9:13 am)

    Trailers have priority when needed. From Oct-Apr the 86 stalls are between 70% and 90% empty, and often empty during weekdays in summer. Most curb parking and many single car stalls in the park are full of commuters cars by 8:15 AM. A total prohibition is not fair to vehicle dependant recreational users. We should have a public process for defining changes in public access to a public park. To suggest enforced prohibition is not a change is simply not true.

  • petert April 18, 2015 (10:07 am)

    Thanks for the information (WSB) and proactive comments. Shared use for all maritime conveyances is important, I think, but not for free. If I want free, then I’ll lug my boat over the rocks at Constellation Park, or any number of other places in WS. If I want convenience, I’ll pay the fee to use the ramp. I’m just concerned about the situation the way it is now, and the element of safety (and, to be frank, fairness) involved. To BoA59, a dozen spots for hand launch would be way too many. But three or four would probably be plenty.

    I know the commercial concern down the street launches on the south public beach, but the parking/unloading is really difficult, and a 17 foot boat being wheeled on the sidewalk has to compete with walkers, skaters, cyclists, etc.

    If there were some way to get hand carries from a staging area in Don Armeni to the beach, like a ramp or a wider accessway. that would probably be ideal.

    Anyway, I’d be interested to see if it’s possible to find a solution that works for all.

    Thanks !

  • wetone April 18, 2015 (10:15 am)

    Size, shape, power, sail, row has nothing to do with cost as one fee fits all. The fee is for use of launching and parking. I laugh every time I see one use launch then park their car on street, unless it’s a derby or opening day with overflow. If you use it pay for it. It will be interesting to see how well they enforce this with all the import car gatherings. The big problem Seattle has is the foot ferry location. Once again city put a transportation system in with little access for users as in parking, as in zero. If one wants to use FF you have to park on street. Leaving little for others that want to visit or live in area. Need to move FF to different location such as port property behind Jack Block park that has adequate parking. Or better yet move boat launch.

  • Eric1 April 18, 2015 (11:38 am)

    Actually all the boat launch areas are paid for by all the fees boat owners pay. If you go to Seattle parks, you will notice that the nicest parking areas are the boat launch parks. That is because the launch and registration fees pay for paving and paint.
    If you want the convenience of parking there for kayaks or visits, I am sure if you paid the $12 and put the sticker on your dashboard they won’t give you a ticket even without a trailer. Any judge would wipe the ticket if you showed them the receipt as the third line would cover you as you are not a vehicle without a launch permit.

  • petert April 18, 2015 (11:43 am)


    With that in mind, though, here’s my quandary:

    If I pay the fee, and I need the 17-20 feet of space in back of my vehicle to unload and load my kayak, does that entitle me to the use of the double-long boat spaces for that purpose ? In the interest of safety (and the ‘hand carry’ use inclusion by the city), I would say ‘yes’, but without any trailer behind me to take up the space, and only a rack atop my station wagon, I would think that others would look at my vehicle as not being permitted such use unless it was clear, one way or another.

    But, as Eric1 says, putting the ticket on the dash would probably legally quell any question on that.

  • FreGirl April 18, 2015 (8:08 pm)

    If we actually had a bus that connected directly to the water taxi, like the 128, and not just the very limited and small shuttle, perhaps the might help with some of that commuter parking? The fact that the 128 does not connect there has always seemed such a waste!

  • Mike April 19, 2015 (8:08 am)

    pertert, how long is your kayak? 20 feet? Wow… that’s like a yacht kayak, does it have a bathroom and kitchen on it?

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