What’s next for Seattle’s new era floating bike shares

It’s a bit of a chaotic test. They get dropped almost everywhere — some literally dropped, for real — and by the end of January, the first electric-assist versions will be on the streets of Seattle. With the city allowing the multi-colored “floating” companies to operate during a Wild West trial period, It’s not a question of whether Seattle will continue to have a bike share program, it’s just a question of what the final rules will be.

“I cannot see a world where Seattle does not have a bike share system,” said Mafara Hobson of the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Jasmine Marwaha from City Council member Mike O’Brien’s office agreed. O’Brien chairs the council’s transportation committee, and be turning the cranks on what the final program looks like. Marwaha said that while there have been some concerns about parking the bikes, there has not been anything severe enough to merit ending the program.

Seattle had first tried owning its own bike share system using docking stations similar to those found in some other cities. But the system ended up failing to attract enough riders to make it viable. In July, the city embarked on a new system of dockless bikes. Three different companies — LimeBike, Spin, and Ofo — began scattering brightly colored bikes around town to be rented by the minute. Continue reading

Council Notes | A resolution to bring the World Cup to Seattle

  • World Cup bid: The full City Council voted 9-0 Tuesday approving a resolution from Mayor Jenny Durkan to support Seattle’s efforts to bring the 2026 World Cup to North America. Seattle is a potential host city in the U.S.-Canada-Mexico joint bid. Though CenturyLink would host Seattle’s games, training facilities would likely sprout at fields across the city. The U.S. hasn’t hosted the men’s World Cup since 1994. The U.S. men’s team will miss this summer’s World Cup hosted by Russia after being eliminated in qualifying last year. In 2015, Canada hosted the women’s World Cup with Team USA reigning as global champions. The 2019 women’s tournament will be hosted by France.

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Updated Asian Art Museum lease proposal includes free visits, arts education for Seattle Public School students

Up against an end of year deadline, the Seattle City Council committee overseeing legislation required before the start of construction on the expansion of Volunteer Park’s Seattle Asian Art Museum made a “ratify and confirm” decision on a 55-year lease for the continued operation of the cultural center. The council’s parks committee is now ready to get around to the confirm part of the business.

Friday afternoon, the Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Committee will hear public comment on the final two pieces of legislation in the SAAM expansion process. One bill, when approved, will alter city code to allow expansion of a “non conforming” museum inside a city park. It’s a custom patch written specifically for the SAAM expansion that will also limit any future expansion. Continue reading

Officials unsure how many thousands to expect on Capitol Hill as plan for 2018 Seattle Women’s March comes together

In 2017, the first marchers reached Seattle Center before the last marchers left Judkins Park (Image: CHS)

For the thousands hoping to come to Capitol Hill for the January 20th Seattle Women’s March, we have two words for you: light rail.

In 2017, officials believe more than 120,000 people marched from the Central District’s Judkins Park as part of the march, the city’s contribution to women’s rights marches across the country in the wake of Donald Trump’s election victory. But, to be honest, they’re not sure. It was impossible to count. In 2018 with a year since the election passed and with some advocates saying it is time to move beyond demonstrations, nobody knows how many thousands will gather January 20th on Capitol Hill for this year’s rally and march.

Organizers and city officials are preparing and gathered Wednesday to plan for how to help those thousands get to and march off of Capitol Hill in the smoothest, safest, most First Amendment-y way possible. Continue reading

After findings of bias and improper use of force, Seattle Police move into final phase of federal reform

The first phase in the five-year Department of Justice-mandated overhaul of the Seattle Police Department is complete. Wednesday, U.S. District Judge James Robart granted the City of Seattle’s motion that its police department is in “full and effective compliance” with reforms ordered after findings of biased policing and improper use of force.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan who led the U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle at the time of the consent decree said Wednesday that SPD still has more work to do. “It has been a long process, and I want to make very clear that the work needs to continue,” she said.

The mayor’s statement on the judge’s ruling included some of the data collected during the reform process:

The monitor took two years and studied all of the uses of force in the Seattle Police Department to determine whether there was full and effective compliance. In that two-year period, as the court indicated, there were 760,000 incidents to which Seattle police officers were dispatched – 760,000 incidents in a two-year period. Really important: less than one percent ended up in any force at all being used: .5%. And of those, 80% of them were the lowest level of force, what’s called type 1, which means there may be transient pain but no serious injury. Importantly, we did not even keep track of when that type of force was used before there was a consent decree. That was one of the requirements of the consent decree. Only 39 incidences were using the most—more serious levels of force.

An eight-month DOJ investigation of Seattle policing released in winter 2011 revealed troubling findings about the department’s use of force. Justice filed a consent decree and negotiated a plan with SPD to overhaul the department. SPD’s overhaul included a DOJ-approved use of force policy.

The next phase under the consent decree agreement calls for a two-year review period after which Seattle’s police department could be free from federal monitoring.

Durkan, meanwhile, is beginning her search for a new police chief after Kathleen O’Toole stepped down to start the new year. Carmen Best, the city’s first black woman to fill the post, currently serves as interim police chief.

Seattle inauguration 2018: mariachi, poetry, a lesbian mayor, and two Latina council members

(Image: @CMTMosqueda)

Poets, a pipes and drums corps, and the best high school mariachi band in the state of Washington were on hand Monday at Seattle City Hall as Mayor Jenny DurkanCity Attorney Pete Holmes, and at-large City Council members M. Lorena González (Pos. 9) and Teresa Mosqueda (Pos. 8) took their oaths of office.

With Monday’s event, Mayor Durkan officially set a new record for Seattle inauguration ceremonies following her day of being sworn-in across multiple stops of a November 28th citywide tour.

You can watch the ceremony including Washington state poet laureate Claudia Castro Luna, Seattle Firefighters and Seattle Police Pipes and Drums, and Wenatchee High School Mariachi Huenachi band, above. Continue reading

Step 1: Dream up $90K Capitol Hill, First Hill, or Central District parks & streets idea

Step 2: enjoy your improved neighborhood. The city’s annual Your Voice, Your Choice process is starting up again. You have until February 2nd to take part in the first phase of helping decide how to spend $3 million on park and street improvements in Seattle.

Need inspiration? These were the District 3 winners in 2017.

DISTRICT 3  

  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at I-5 Exit on to Olive Way (Cost: $75,000, Total Votes: 240)
  • Central District: Traffic Calming on 17th Ave S between E Yesler Way & S Jackson St (Cost: $15,000, Total Votes: 200)
  • Judkins Park: Improved Connections to Judkins Park from S. Dearborn St (Cost: $90,000, Total Votes: 173)
  • Capitol Hill: Crossing Improvements at 19th Ave E & E Denny Way (Cost: $83,000, Total Votes:  171) 

City departments were to include the winning proposals in their annual budgets with plans to implement the projects in 2018.

The process to collect new proposals ends Friday, February 2nd. Your ideas should adhere to three simple values. Your proposed District 3 projects should:

  • Benefit the public
  • Add a physical or capital improvement project in Seattle’s parks or streets
  • Not exceed a budget of $90,000

Add your proposal here

There is also a map of the project ideas from 2017 that will roll over to the 2018 process. “These are ideas that were submitted in 2017 and considered potentially feasible, but not funded through the 2017 process,” the city says.

After the hundreds of proposals are collected, Project Development Teams in each district will “turn ideas into concrete project proposals,” the city says. Over summer, the final proposals for each district will be put up for a vote.

Each of the city’s seven district will be eligible for up to $430,000 in projects.

Seattle’s ‘Neighborhood Parking Reform’ — reduced requirements, ‘unbundling’ of costs, shared parking

Proposed Areas With Parking Flexibility Map (Image: City of Seattle)

Legislation hoped to help reduce housing costs in Seattle by allowing so-called “shared parking,” giving developers fewer reasons to create large parking structures, and opening more buildings to offer parking on the open market will be taken up by the Seattle City Council’s planning and land use committee starting Wednesday morning.

CHS wrote about the legislation from the office of then-Mayor Tim Burgess in November and its potential for helping renters. Parking costs “make up 10-20% of typical construction projects,” according to the city.

The legislation package — hopefully titled Neighborhood Parking Reform — would require the “unbundling of parking space rental from multi-family dwelling unit rental and lease agreements in new and existing structures 10 dwelling units or greater in size, and new commercial lease agreements in new and existing structures 10,000 square feet or greater in size.” Continue reading

$150,000 settlement in Murray sex abuse lawsuit

City Attorney Pete Holmes looked to put an end to one of Seattle’s most troubling stories of 2017 announcing a New Year’s weekend $150,000 settlement in the Ed Murray sexual abuse lawsuit.

In spring, a civil lawsuit targeted Murray over allegations he sexually abused a drug-addicted teen he met on Capitol Hill in the 1980s before Murray launched his political career. That suit was eventually dropped before being refiled and adding blame to the city for allowing Murray to use his office to attack his accusers. Continue reading

Meet the Seattle task force charged with finding money to pay for homelessness services

But after 9, consider Broadway your bedroom. Make yourself at home!

OK. Now the clock is ticking. CHS reported last week on the Seattle City Council task force being set up to find revenue for homelessness services and the roster of affordability and housing experts, nonprofit representatives, and, yes, marijuana entrepreneurs who had put their hats in the rings to be part of the effort. Tuesday, the final task force roster was announced: Continue reading