Here’s what HPAC heard from SPD and SDOT at 2022’s first meeting

Here are highlights of what happened at HPAC‘s January meeting online last night, led by co-chairs Kay Kirkpatrick and Craig Rankin:

PUBLIC SAFETY: First, from the Southwest Precinct, acting Lt. David Terry was there along with one of the officers who work east West Seattle, Officer Macaully Lakin. Terry showed screens from two public SPD data dashboards – crime reports and dispatches. (You can use the dashboards to check stats from various neighborhoods by choosing the MCPP option.)

In discussion, he noted that police don’t deal with homelessness, so he posted a document with contact information compiled last summer – see it here. Kirkpatrick said HPAC has reached out to Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office about related concerns. She said they’ve had some community concerns about people who see stolen property. He said they don’t make misdemeanor arrests right now. He also reiterated the low-staffing numbers he has mentioned at other neighborhood meetings – as few as 3 officers some nights, when the minimum staffing per shift is supposed to be 10. That means proactive patroling is generally impossible, he said.

Shelby G from the LEAD program was a guest too. She said an outreach program just launched in West Seattle, she said, and workers are making contacts to help people access services that meet their needs.”The number one need right now is housing,” she said. She explained that no one new from the street is being placed in tiny-house encampments like Camp Second Chance in southeast West Seattle because spaces are being saved for people currently housed in hotel-based programs that will soon end.

One attendee talked about an unsafe situation involving a residential RV on 15th SW – unsafe both for drivers and for the resident of that vehicle. Street safety is an SDOT issue, she was told. That segued into another attendee wondering what ever happened to the idea of a “safe lot” for RVs. Shelby G said there was an attempt to launch them for people sleeping in cars, not RVs, but that mostly evaporated.

An extensive discussion about West Seattle’s RV encampments continued. One person said they can see allowing the parking, but the junk, trash, and hazards around them are worrisome – “when is it OK to have a junkyard on a public street?”

‘FLIP YOUR TRIP’: Kirkpatrick observed that the end of the West Seattle Bridge’s almost-two-years-so-far closure is finally in sight. That’ll be a particular relief for HPAC’s core communities, currently choked with detour traffi. SDOT’s Stephanie Frans talked about the department’s attempt to make a dent in that traffic – the Flip Your Trip program encouraging alternative ways to travel. It’s available to West Seattle, South Park, and Georgetown residents. Signing up gets you $25 in free rides via transit (Metro buses, West Seattle Water Taxi, Sound Transit express bus or light rail, streetcar, or scooter/bikeshares. You can access this via an app or a prepaid ORCA card. Frans also pitched Metro vanpools – you can start a new one with as few as two riders, and they’re free until the bridge reopens (vanpools can use the low bridge now). They’re having a live webinar at 6:30 pm February 2nd to introduce people to “Transit 101” – go here to register.

LANDSLIDES: The Highland Park Way slides earlier this month were briefly discussed toward the start of the meeting; SDOT is waiting for warmer weather before adding more control measures to the problem areas.

PUGET PARK: A work party is planned for greenbelt trails on February 13th, Rankin told attendees. (It’s now in our calendar.)

NEXT MEETING: HPAC meets fourth Wednesdays most months, so the next meeting will be at 7 pm February 23rd. Watch for updates.

8 Replies to "Here's what HPAC heard from SPD and SDOT at 2022's first meeting"

  • Jort January 27, 2022 (11:07 pm)

    SPD on homelessness: we “don’t deal with homelessness.”  SPD on road safety: “Street safety is an SDOT issue.” Oh ok. What are the police responsible for, again? If they require the biggest budget in the city, what is their job? Why are they constantly raising their hands and saying, “not my job?” What are they even doing anymore, besides constantly whining about being understaffed? Why should we “fully staff” an agency that seems to want take on zero responsibility for literally any public safety concern in the city?

    • Sunny January 28, 2022 (12:37 am)

      Aaaaand I finally agree with Jort. Lol

    • My two cents January 28, 2022 (8:02 am)

      Oh Jorty! What law/ordinance should SPD be enforcing for the street safety issue?

    • Use data to help answer January 28, 2022 (10:01 am)

      Jort asks: “What are the police responsible for again?” The article includes a link to two public SPD dashboards where Jort can find some of this answer.  The dashboard shows they are responsible for Violent Crimes (includes Homicide, Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault).  West Seattle had 446 of these reported in 2021, which is about 9% of the total for the City of Seattle. They are also responsible for Property Crime (includes Arson, Burglary, Larceny-Theft, Motor Vehicle Theft). West Seattle had 3,747 of these reported in 2021, which is also about 10% of the total for the City of Seattle.  They also cover reports of shooting or shots fired.  Certainly, not all crime is reported so the numbers are higher, but the numbers also don’t include the possible crimes deterred. If you take just the 4,193 reported violent and property crimes reported in West Seattle, or an average of 11 per day, how many SPD sworn officers would you like to respond, investigate, report while also deterring and being present?  The dashboard shows crime rates going down over time in the City of Seattle so keep that in mind as well.  Homelessness is not a crime. There were at least three responding officers to the accident on Admiral Hill this morning to support traffic safety. Not making misdemeanor arrests is a policy decision. If you feel unsafe perhaps you can hire Signal 88 to ride with you wherever you go.

    • GC January 28, 2022 (11:47 am)

      They are not whining about being understaffed Jort. THEY ARE UNDERSTAFFED!!! We have 19 officers per every 10k of population. One of the lowest of major cities. And because of people like you that have influenced the the politics and polocies recently crime is going up. Thankfully people are waking up and changing that direction.

  • CarDriver January 28, 2022 (6:36 am)

    Jort. Police stopped because there are too many people like you. They enforce any law and they’re attacked for “harassing” or “targeting” poor innocent people.  If enough people actually stand up and support police for enforcing EXISTING LAWS, they’ll be able to do their jobs. As far as SDOT? They’re a lost cause. Money in-nothing out.

  • Rara January 28, 2022 (7:46 am)

    Jort, from what I’ve heard it’s because of low staffing and they have to respond to emergencies first. Like gun violence. Unfortunately SPD has lost over 200 officers and that sucks. But they are hiring if anyone is looking for a job. And starting to do retention bonuses. I’d apply but this gal is a little too old now for the job. 

  • BR January 28, 2022 (8:56 am)

    The new portion of the Highland Park Neighborhood Greenway will go east on Barton St, right through the RV encampment where tents are now located on both sides of the street. The city won’t do anything to address power cables being run across the street, the garbage and junk piled up in the side walk, the tents, or the constant fires. Anyone who lives in the neighborhood can confirm these facts. I don’t really care if someone parks an RV in a public right of way as it is for parking vehicles but all these other issues need to be addressed. Once the greenway is finalized, the city will pat itself on the back and mention the promotion of safe streets, a safe walkway for students, and the creation of a street that is safe for biking – all while failing to acknowledge the reality of the situation.  

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