Police can’t solve all the beach problems, neighbors agree in discussion @ Alki Community Council

(WSB photo – SPD car on Alki Avenue early this evening)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

With a deadly shooting and the chaotic “kickback” throng, it’s been a summer to remember – or eventually try to forget – on Alki.

But those weren’t the incidents that took up most of Thursday night’s Alki Community Council meeting. Attendees at the online meeting wanted to talk about what they say they hear and see daily/nightly – racing, drinking, fighting, noise. They also were resolute about not just complaining, but taking action.

Guests at the ACC meeting included a lieutenant, sergeant, and officer from the Southwest Precinct, and a manager from Seattle Parks. The SPD contingent talked about the staffing challenges they’ve outlined at countless community meetings; the Southwest Precinct remains down about a third, because of departmentwide attrition.

But they also talked about what is in their scope. The officer said he spends hours at the start of his shift parked along Alki Avenue SW near Duwamish Head, watching for traffic violators, he said: “I know the issues and I want them to be addressed.” Residents said they’ve noticed that, but it’s usually too early: “Who’s there when they’re going 80 miles an hour?” Later at night, police explained, things get busy – one resource-intensive call somewhere in West Seattle or South Park will take away most of the available officers.

One resident said he understood, police can’t solve the problems alone. “We’ve got to work as a community to get this done.” He and others spoke of surveying residents and businesses to get consensus on the priority problems/issues and then decide what it would take to solve them.

That might be difficult suggested another attendee, who reported contacting SDOT about traffic calming strategies such as speed humps, but being told there’s no funding for that, so the neighbors should apply for grants or a program like the currently shelved Your Voice, Your Choi8ce,

Yet another said she was aware of the police staffing shortage and so wasn’t reporting incidents any more. The SPD contingent begged her to reconsider, saying they need incidents to be reported so they can see trends and strategize: “If we don’t know it’s happening, we can’t address it.” And if they don’t have data to show what’s happening, they can’t make the case that “we need more cops.”

Regarding the personnel shortage, an attendee asked, “Do you have a funding problem or a recruiting problem?” Both, they said.

In the meantime, they’re working with Parks nightly at the (now earlier) closing time, the origin of which was explained by the next guest, Joey Furuto, director of the Parks and Environment Division. He said Parks and SPD were having a meeting and discussing how it didn’t seem to make sense to call for extinguishing beach fires at 9:30 pm while the park remained open two hours beyond that, so they decided to try an earlier closing time. It’s currently set to end in mid-September but if it’s successful in reducing park trouble, “we may stick with it.” The challenge remains keeping people from coming back to Alki after the 10 pm closure, since, unlike Golden Gardens (the Ballard beach park, which also has an earlier closing time), it’s “porous.”

One other difference between Alki and Golden Gardens: The proximity of residences. That keeps Parks from deploying some trouble-dampening strategies Furuto said they’re using at GG, such as portable lights to illuminate the beach. (One resident had asked about a streetlight removal further east, wondering why they couldn’t get city info about why it was removed and when it would be replaced.)

Furuto also explained the placement of the Alki fire rings, saying they decided to cluster them closer to the beachside parking spots that are reserved for police. And he mentioned the new strategy of using portable illuminated signage to remind people about the 9:30 pm no-fires deadline. One beach problem he said was not likely to be tackled in a big way this year, since police have other priorities: Illegal food vendors. He said Alki has anywhere from 7 to 10 at any given time, mostly in tents on the beach.

That brought it all back to how the community could “holistically” take on problems large and small. Attendees who’ve been participating in neighborhood discussions said everyone needs to “come together (as) a neighborhood force asking for change.” They cited the campaign to make the Alki Point Keep Moving (Stay Healthy) Street permanent, pointing to its 1,000+ online petition signatures and saying that’s helped them get some attention from the city. But the problems have to be quantified, they noted – everyone complains about the same things, but “nobody’s tracking (them).” So that survey idea is likely what they’ll try first before organizing further; we invited them to share it here when they’re ready.

NEXT MEETING: The Alki Community Council meets at 7 pm third Thursdays, online.

68 Replies to "Police can't solve all the beach problems, neighbors agree in discussion @ Alki Community Council"

  • StopCuttingDownTrees July 17, 2021 (2:31 am)

    Racing, drinking, fighting, noise <—- SPD could solve all of those problems if they were properly-funded and fully-staffed.

    • Scubafrog July 17, 2021 (9:30 am)

      But that’s a bold-faced lie.  SPD has rarely  enforced any of the aforementioned laws, even when they were fully-funded.   They’ll watch suspects do donuts, or do wheelies, play loud noise and fight, and keep driving.  I’ve watched it happen for decades.  How convenient to blame “defunding” for bad SPD behaviour.

      • Alki Jack July 17, 2021 (10:48 am)

        You are 100% correct!

      • Rhonda July 17, 2021 (12:40 pm)

        NONSENSE. In 41 years of living 400 feet from Alki Beach I’ve never, ever seen Seattle Police ignore anything you listed if they witnessed it. 

        • Dburger July 18, 2021 (8:15 am)

          Rhonda, you must not be looking when it happens then. I don’t live on the beach, but I am down there frequently, and I have seen SPD ignore bad and/or illegal behavior at least 4 times that I can think of, just off hand. And I have a poor memory!

      • MSW July 17, 2021 (2:34 pm)

        Here’s a novel idea, vote out all of the current leadership who seem to not care about enforcing the law and then defund the police at the same time. But, hey, it’s more fun to complain about it and keep voting in the same people who don’t give a crap about your concerns. For some, SPD is an easy scapegoat. 

        • Seattlite July 17, 2021 (7:16 pm)

          MSW…True comment.  As long as voters vote for anti-law and order, anti-law enforcement politicians,  Seattle will continue to have crime and increase crime.

          • Dunno July 18, 2021 (6:37 pm)

            Spot on!  Let the defunders come up with a solution!!  Social workers?   Volunteers?  Give us the answer…Who blocks the traffic?   You move there, it’s like moving under the flight path.   You know what you’re in for.

      • Anne July 17, 2021 (4:26 pm)

        What Baloney!

  • Em July 17, 2021 (8:02 am)

      How about blocking all traffic except essential and residential after 10:00 and before 5:00 am

    • resident July 17, 2021 (9:00 am)

      I am pretty sure a gated community would not fly in Seattle. Plus, who monitors it?

    • Eldorado July 17, 2021 (12:21 pm)

      No Thank You. 

    • Jort July 17, 2021 (3:46 pm)

      It’s either all traffic or no traffic. You don’t get to privatize a public street because you don’t like certain people driving on it. I, of course, am in favor of blocking it to all cars, all day, every day, all year. It would be a massive improvement for all. 

      • WhoNeedsCarsWhenYouHaveMuscles July 17, 2021 (6:20 pm)

        I fully agree with 100% no cars except public services, bus, SPD, fire.

        • StopCuttingDownTrees July 17, 2021 (10:45 pm)

          Well, that would make it no longer a public roadway. That means means NO busses, NO service vehicles, NO SPD cruisers, and NO fire trucks can access, just like the Lincoln Park waterfront asphalt path. Bus passengers can walk or roll, SPD can walk or bike, and SFD can unfurl their hoses. Medic One can use their wheeled gurnies.  Residents can roll their waste/recycle bins to the pickup area. Service providers can hoof it. EVERYONE can “use their muscles”, right?

      • Tom July 17, 2021 (8:53 pm)

        I mean, that’s exactly what the city already did with beach drive and there’s a petition to make it permanent so there is existing and popular precedence for turning public roads into private gated communities. 

        • July 17, 2021 (9:33 pm)

          Beach Drive is not “private” nor “gated”. For the moment the city has restricted it to “thru” traffic. Also, it is not an arterial as is Alki Ave and 63rd and Admiral. As such, it also has speed humps which were installed after residents documented cars racing/speeding.

        • EducationForUS July 18, 2021 (11:18 am)

          My guess is because of the beach drive situation, the other roads are suffering, so I suggest no traffic for the rest of the streets. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTV-wwszGw8

      • Auntie July 17, 2021 (9:18 pm)

        I know you would like to see all cars blocked all the time everywhere, but to close off Alki Ave/Beach Drive would mostly benefit those who can afford to live there. What about those of us who have difficulty getting around on public transportation or on bikes or scooters? I guess we can just go somewhere else and leave Alki to the rich people and their private street. You mocked (and rightly so) the people citing “thugs,” but how does closing this area to cars become anything but elitist.

  • UselessPoliticians July 17, 2021 (8:13 am)

    Most of the focus needs to be on the racing/doughnuts/burn outs/clearly illegal and obnoxious exhaust.  Illegal street vendor, fire ring fires pale in comparison.  This affects so much more than just the beach area, Admiral is a speedway, the intersections on Admiral 60th, 61st, 63rd, etc are doughnut havens.  Maybe close the road in front of the beach to car traffic, speed humps on Admiral will keep them away…would probably cut down a lot on the other problems at the same time.

    • Arterial Tim July 17, 2021 (8:59 am)

      I live on a different arterial and have been told no speed bumps on main thoroughfares. Same for traffic circles, especially on bus routes.

      • Auntie July 17, 2021 (9:50 am)

        It looks to me like they are getting ready to put in speed bumps on 16th Ave SW, between Holden and Henderson. At least they have painted squares that look like speed bump placement markers. And that is a main thoroughfare. 

      • AMD July 17, 2021 (12:00 pm)

        There are traffic circles on bus routes in White Center (8th/102nd and 8th/108th).  They’re low enough the buses just drive over them.  There are also several speed cushions on 16th SW, which is home to two bus routes and a fire station, so I don’t see why Alki couldn’t have some too.

    • Eldorado July 17, 2021 (12:26 pm)

      No Thank You. Closing it off to car traffic… as in closing it off to the majority of people whom enjoy driving down along Alki without breaking laws?

      • UselessPoliticians July 17, 2021 (1:24 pm)

        Not the whole drag, just in the main beach area… pretty simple really.  All you naysayers who reject street limitations, speed bumps, improved policing need to stop commenting unless you can propose things that CAN work.  Any idiot can say what won’t work without an alternative

        • S.A. July 17, 2021 (4:59 pm)

          Well, if you no longer enjoy living there because of the diminished pleasure you are finding in living near a public amenity, you could sell and move elsewhere, and someone who enjoys the energy and vibe.

          • July 17, 2021 (5:41 pm)

            Well that’s a tired trope. Looking for solutions here. 

    • WhoNeedsCarsWhenYouHaveMuscles July 17, 2021 (6:22 pm)

      I would put roundabouts pretty much everywhere where there is a stop sign.

  • Alki Jack July 17, 2021 (8:19 am)

    IMPORTANT READ: Just take a drive on Alki from the boat launch to the restaurant area and back. Huge burn-out rubber marks made by super loud vehicles with ILLEGAL exhaust systems. Back firing, popping noises and loud quick spurts of accelerations over and over again. Many, many, round circles of rubber marks made by rubber burning hell raisers. YET, I have never seen anyone pulled over for these activities in the last two years. Yes I’m going back before the “defund movement” and all that. For those who live in the condo’s and houses on Alki Ave. we can’t even enjoy sitting out on our decks on nice days anymore. Why do I never see flashing blue lights behind any of these law breakers? I’ve seen these law breakers not realize a cop was behind them and make their loud popping noises and the trailing cop does NOTHING!!! Alki is getting ruined. Why should these creeps have more rights than the law abiding tax paying home owners???

    • WhoNeedsCarsWhenYouHaveMuscles July 17, 2021 (6:24 pm)

      100% with you. Follow the money. I guess Seattle wants no taxpayers to live here anymore. Why?

  • Designer July 17, 2021 (8:19 am)

    It would be interesting to embrace the food vendors, and give them some infrastructure to use and benefit everyone, something well-designed and non-institutional. WWOCD (what would other countries do). Same for Jack Block, btw. How about some recreational swimming infrastructure. WWOCD, again. 

    • UselessPoliticians July 17, 2021 (9:15 am)

      Again that is the LEAST of the problems.  Food is available at the beach in restaurants.  You don’t need to “embrace” anything or do what other countries do (no idea why that matters), the vendors have to Google “Seattle food vendor license” and go through the process.

  • Sam O'Nilla & E Coli July 17, 2021 (8:55 am)

    I wonder who is buying food from someone in a tent?

    • Catte July 17, 2021 (11:26 am)

      Someone desperate to get food poisoning?

    • noah jacolev July 18, 2021 (10:45 am)

      I think the food stands are awesome and actually add to what alki is.  I’ve been looking for the Mexican snacks they sell, need to try a latin grocer.

  • Passive Aggressive Seattleite July 17, 2021 (9:18 am)

    Maybe we organize a community street cruise from 10pm to midnight. Just drive slowly from Cactus to Jack Block and back, everyone spaced out about 10-20 cars lengths depending on attendance, just doing a long, slow loop. Cars going both directions for a few hours. We could even do shifts. Drive about 20 mph, enough to keep moving, but slow enough to irritate any would be racers.If you’ve seen Smokey and the Bandit, you know what I mean. It worked on Buford T. Justice, so it should work on anyone.

    • Alki Jack July 17, 2021 (10:45 am)

      I’m down for that, it’s something I’ve thought about many times. Doesn’t have to 20 mph, could even be at the speed limit of 25 mph. I have witnessed this many times. If you do this they will try to hang back until there is enough space in front of them to do their” little thug world” acceleration burst. So count me in. If it gets organized it will give me great pleasure to drive them out of here! One other mall thing, the Harley’s with the music so loud you could hear it for a half a mile….of course no citations are given. Many are correct this started WAY before the defund the police movement and their current lack of officers, way before.

      • Jort July 17, 2021 (3:48 pm)

        “Little thug world”? Jesus, man. Sometimes people don’t even try to hide it. 

        • S.A. July 17, 2021 (5:01 pm)

          Yeah, wow.  

        • Lina July 18, 2021 (7:35 am)

          Yeah, seriously.  This comment thread is making my stomach turn.  Folks barely attempting to cover up the racist language and stances.

        • Alki Jack July 18, 2021 (3:16 pm)
          I did not use the word “Thug” thinking of it as having any racial connotation. I meant it as someone who is dismissive, indignant, willfully unsympathetic. Someone who has zero regard for others and only cares about themselves or they’re desire to do what they think will impress others. I don’t have an extensive urban slang vocabulary. 
          • Auntie July 18, 2021 (4:14 pm)


            1. a violent, aggressive person, especially one who is a criminal.

      • WhoNeedsCarsWhenYouHaveMuscles July 17, 2021 (6:25 pm)

        Speed limit is an upper limit, so lower than 25 mph is fine.

    • Auntie July 17, 2021 (10:56 am)

      Um, I think there is some sort of anti-cruising ordinance at Alki, so that would apply to the aforementioned community street cruise, too, wouldn’t it? Oh – wait – that’s never enforced anyway. Cruise on!

    • Eldorado July 17, 2021 (12:31 pm)


    • OnAlki July 17, 2021 (3:52 pm)

      I love this! Alki Resident Convoy Night. Count me in. 

    • Chels P July 18, 2021 (8:35 pm)

      WHO has this much free time? I’m all about ending the issue but for Christ’s sake -Get a life! 

  • Scubafrog July 17, 2021 (9:24 am)

    Even when SPD was fully staffed, they never – NEVER addressed these issues;  Maybe 1 or 2 mass-patrols per year from the SPD.  SDOT has never engaged itself on Alki issues.  Only have the Parks Dept., after 1 4-victim shooting.   

  • John July 17, 2021 (11:26 am)

    It appears the low hanging fruit of these Alki problems is the food vending issue.Why and when did is illegal food vending become SPD’s responsibility?With King County regulating our restaurants, why is the county not enforcing its safety regulations.   Unregulated food services are a health risk that other countries may accept, with all of their consequences, but it is not the way of modern society.

  • Claud Henry Smoot July 17, 2021 (12:17 pm)

    We live on a side street and got a ticket out in front of our house the other day for expired tags (wife forgot to put new ones on the plate). Hope Parking enforcement is different from the regular cops, because it sure seemed like a waste of resources that could go to much more important issues.

  • Flo B July 17, 2021 (12:44 pm)

    Can’t wait for the story of Bubba saving the day with his gun’s a blazin.

  • Millie July 17, 2021 (1:48 pm)

     Does the City of Seattle have “code language” addressing some of the issues identified above enabling SPD  enforcement?   The other side of the issue is, of course, the City Council and its’ unwillingness to enforce any lawless activities.    In respect to the illegal food vending, I am surprised,  the Seattle/King County Dept. of Public Health has not sent out an inspector.  Perhaps, no one has reported this to them.

  • Greg Goldstein July 17, 2021 (2:44 pm)

    Charge for parking on the strip. It’s pretty easy and will raise revenue to fund things. Can’t imagine why everywhere else people have to pay for the privilege of putting their car so close to an attraction when it’s those very people often causing the problems. 

    • Alkibri42 July 17, 2021 (4:25 pm)

      Fantastic idea!

    • Runner July 17, 2021 (6:07 pm)

      I totally agree! The parking should be paid parking. Maybe the city could use the funds to actually keep the park looking good?  The other comments about closing Alki Ave along the beach makes a lot of sense as well. A lot of the cruisers would stop coming if they can’t hang out with their motorcycles or cars. 

    • Claud Henry Smoot July 17, 2021 (11:06 pm)

      Too many side streets to park on for free, so not sure it would have much of an impact down there.

    • scubafrog July 18, 2021 (9:59 am)

      BINGO, even expensive street parking for residents (since residents refuse to hold politicians accountable, and politicians let developers build structures sans parking).incumbents OUT!  Heaven only knows how much these filthy politicians have taken from lobbyists, under the table, and laundered.

  • Alki Beach July 18, 2021 (9:45 am)

    We’ve lived on Alki for over 15 years.  These problems mainly happen in the summer.   It’s mainly kids who are causing the issues.  For the rest of the year, Alki is quiet and homeowners have it to themselves.  Stop complaining or live somewhere else in the summer.   The police are doing a good job of maintaining a presence at the beach.  It’s been significantly quieter since the beach starting closing at 10.  It seems like some people will always find something to gripe about on Alki.  I wonder if some homeowners think it should be a private beach??  

  • MC July 18, 2021 (10:43 am)

    drugs are being shuttled by scooter to the beach from cars parked near the school if you hadnt noticed. 

  • MC July 18, 2021 (10:49 am)

    police just responded to some sort of altercation and was taking a man into their car just now. they were swift with sirens so they must have been listening to this. 

    • WSB July 18, 2021 (12:54 pm)

      That was an assault call (3300 block Beach Drive, we mentioned it on Twitter at the time). Assault in progress would always be Priority 1, which this was dispatched as.

  • V July 18, 2021 (2:58 pm)

    Is there any reason we do not have permit parking in the residential area?? Every other place I have lived/visited that was this busy and a hassle for the neighbors had permit parking. Would cut down the crowd size on the beach and also allow neighbors a peaceful experience when navigating/ parking on the streets that they live on. 

    • StopCuttingDownTrees July 18, 2021 (4:39 pm)

      Paid parking would make Alki Beach the only Seattle park with a fee. Discovery, Magnusson, Seward, Lincoln, Green Lake, Volunteer, Stan Sayers, and Madrona parks all have free parking. The residential area at Alki is literally part of the park roadway itself.

  • WS Resident July 19, 2021 (6:13 am)

    Paid parking would hurt more than help.  Countless families have day long picnics and volleyballers etc are there – all the peaceful day users would be penalized.  Side streets would need to have zoning to keep out people trying to park for free.  That presents it’s own problems.  Mainly, it seems like most of the bad stuff happens after 8 pm so paid parking won’t help unless it’s in effect 24 hrs/day.  Will we need parking enforcement personnel patrolling all night long?  Not going to happen.   Last point, most of the idiotic/illegal car activity (burnouts,speeding,loud exhausts) comes from drivers that are cruising, not parking.

  • fitz July 19, 2021 (6:35 am)

    “We have to work as a community to get this done…”   That’s the same as what Phil Donahue would say at the end of just about every show…  “who just need more education.”This is the outgrowth of city leadership (and the people who elected them) who bought into the ridiculous mindset of backing off criminal behavior.  The criminal element feels emboldened and the only way to reverse this is to return to a policing and prosecuting effort that is more aggressive.And look at what’s running for mayor…   is anyone in that group advocating for anything other than “stay the course?”

  • 1WS Resident July 19, 2021 (6:52 am)

    Regarding Alki food vendors.  I commend them for their efforts to make a buck.  They are actually working for it, not sitting at home waiting for free money to arrive. On the flip side, they have no oversight.  No license’s, no permits, no insurance, no health cards, no hand wash facilities etc.  None of the protections that Americans consumers expect to be in place.   And as a side note, sales are in cash.  I really doubt they pay taxes.  So they use the city property, use the city’s trash services, etc. and the city get’s nothing in return.  And if someone does get food poisoning, could the city be held partially responsible for turning a blind eye?

  • Raoul Duke July 19, 2021 (7:58 am)

    Wow…someone better call a whaaambulance! for most of these posters!My heart bleeds for you all. The unfairness of it! loud cars! all of those…people!…and their hubbub! They better stay off of my lawn, by jiggety, or I’ll turn my hose on ’em!

    • StopCuttingDownTrees July 19, 2021 (1:13 pm)

      Well, people are being assaulted, shot, and killed there, so they’re trying to prevent the need for more REAL ambulances and coroner vans, not “whaaaambulances”.

Sorry, comment time is over.