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 hpacws.org for updates.