2:30 PM: Even before we get to the summery weather expected this weekend, Alki Avenue and Beach Drive have already drawn summer-size gatherings of drivers. We heard last weekend from several residents of those areas who had called police about illegal parking, reckless driving, and noise, among other things, with photos like this:
The Southwest Precinct plans to have “additional police resources” at the beach this weekend; precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis explains:
We have revamped our existing traffic emphasis program to include using parking enforcement and other assets that will further assist us as we address the dangerous driving and noise issues. Taking in account of the approaching warmer weather, we are going to post extra patrol officers in our highest areas of interest. We are also attempting to secure designated “Police Only” parking zones so that our traffic enforcement, emphasis officers and our stationary Mobile Precinct will be able to occupy and secure our most popular areas before the car enthusiasts have a chance to take over and engage in poor and reckless behavior. We are sincerely hoping that our City Officials and other City agencies support us in this ask.
Precinct operations commander Lt. Steve Strand says they’ve been there before but, “Unfortunately we can’t be there all the time and under current conditions the crowd shows up unexpectedly during various days and nights. Sunday evening in particular.” He adds, “We will respond to 911 calls but this is a lower priority than most other calls for service if it is only noise and nuisance, versus public safety. We have done some outreach to neighbors on how to report crime effectively and accurately because we are not enforcing the Governor’s stay home, stay safe order. We are asking for voluntary compliance with social distancing and assisting parks with trespassers if they close.” They’ve been in direct contact with some of the residents to try to clarify how and what to report. If you see reckless driving, you can call 911 because that’s an immediate public-safety issue; if police can’t respond immediately, Lt. Strand says, you also can send info such as plate numbers to email@example.com.
Meantime, we expect to hear more shortly about the city’s other plans for the weekend, in a news conference with the mayor and Parks/SDOT directors – separate story ahead.
3:04 PM: Two things that just emerged at that news conference are relevant to this, so we’ll note them here first: “Major parks” including Alki (also Lincoln Park and West Seattle Stadium) will be closing at 8 pm starting this Friday, until the stay-home order lifts. Also, SDOT plans to add Beach Drive between Alki Avenue and 63rd to the “Stay Healthy Streets” list – we’re seeking clarification about how soon that will start.