Seattle cops don’t live in Seattle

Data-driven news blog FiveThirtyEight reports that only 12% of Seattle’s police force calls the city home ranking it among the worst big cities in America for the measure. You’ll note that the department’s black officers are much more likely to call the city home:

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In light of the continuing protests in Ferguson, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver discusses the significance of where police officers live:

In Ferguson, Missouri, where protests continue following the shooting of a teenager by a police officer this month, more than two-thirds of the civilian population is black. Only 11 percent of the police force is. The racial disparity is troubling enough on its own, but it’s also suggestive of another type of misrepresentation. Given Ferguson’s racial gap, it’s likely that many of its police officers live outside city limits.

If so, Ferguson would have something in common with most major American cities. In about two-thirds of the U.S. cities with the largest police forces, the majority of police officers commute to work from another town.

In 2011, I helped create this map for SeattleCrime.com showing where Seattle Police officers call home around the region:

At the time, the McGinn administration was floating ideas around residency requirements for SPD officers. In the continued fallout from Ferguson, it will be interesting to see if the push is renewed.

UPDATE: Here’s a note we received from an East Precinct officer who has asked to remain anonymous:

A lot more officers than 12% live in the city. Many of us, including myself, use an address of relatives or a PO Box to receive our mail and city correspondence. As far as mandating where an officer lives, that has been ruled illegal . An employer can’t force that issue in Washington.

The officer says that on his squad of seven, four officers live in the city — but only one lists a local mailing address.

Cable competitor bringing gigabit Internet to Central District homes, expansion to Capitol Hill under evaluation

It’s been years in the making, but super-speed Internet is finally making serious inroads into Seattle neighborhoods. Last week CenturyLink announced it would immediately start building out 1,000 megabit per second service — about 100 times faster than average U.S. residential Internet speeds — to homes in the Central District, Beacon Hill, Ballard, and West Seattle.

Unfortunately, Capitol Hill will have to wait, but Central District residents should start having services available by 2015.

A CenturyLink spokesperson said there was nothing inherently preventing neighborhoods like Capitol Hill from getting gigabit hookups, and CenturyLink was evaluating where to expand the service in Seattle. “We worked with closely with the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative to make sure we were serving under served areas,” she said. Continue reading

Q&A with Sally Clark at East District Council

mapThe East District Council is one of 13 in the city “for local neighborhood groups to share information” and to help the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods “rate citizen applications for Neighborhood Matching Funds.” It meets monthly from 5:45 to 7:45 PM in the Capitol Hill Library on the second Monday of the month. Lucky you, August 11th brings the body’s next meeting — and the body is bringing Seattle City Council member Sally Clark to Capitol Hill.

You can warm up for the Q&A session in comments, below.

We have the distinguished honor of hosting Seattle City Councilwoman Sally Clark who will be updating us on City Hall issues as well as taking questions and comments.
All are welcome – board member please let me know if you will be late or unable to attend.

6:00 – 6:10 Welcome and introductions (Chair)
6:10 – 6:15 New Business (All members)
6:15 – 6:45 Yesler Terrace Park Project update (Pam Klimente, Parks and Rec)
6:45 – 7:15 Seattle City Councilwoman Sally Clark (updates from City Hall and Q and A)
7:15 – 7:30 Other Business, Public Comments
7:30 – Adjourn

Murray declares ‘apparent’ victory in Seattle parks vote


Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.33.55 PMThursday’s final big count of August Primary ballots did nothing to change the outcome that was obvious after Election Night’s first tally. The majority of the city’s voters, supported the mayor’s Seattle Parks District plan to fund parks. Thursday night, Mayor Ed Murray’s office decided it was time to declare victory on the “apparent passage” of the proposition.

“I want to thank Seattle voters for their support of the parks district and commitment to creating a lasting legacy of open space and facilities for generations of Seattleites,” Murray says in the statement sent to media.

“This vote means a sustainable source of funding for our parks system. We will begin work immediately to address our existing maintenance backlog, working diligently to manage the needs of our park system as Seattle continues to grow as a city.”

The plan will give the to-be-formed district power to tax up to $0.75 per $1,000 of assessed property value to pay for the Seattle Parks system. Seattle City Council members who will make up the district board have said they do not plan to tax above $0.33 per $1,000 to fund the current parks budget.

Mother of legal pot law wants to be Capitol Hill’s first District 3 council representative

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(Image courtesy Alison Holcomb)

Writing the measure that ended marijuana prohibition in Washington state would’ve been enough to enshrine Alison Holcomb among Capitol Hill’s most celebrated residents. Now that voter-approved I-502 is finally rolling out, Holcomb is carefully considering her next move, which could include deepening her position as a neighborhood leader by becoming Capitol Hill’s first representative on the Seattle City Council.

In her current day job as criminal justice director for the ACLU of Washington, Holcomb has largely focused on protecting individuals from government overreach. In recent years she said she’s been drawn towards thinking about how the government can better serve individuals. “A little bit more about creating new policies instead of having to defend against bad ones,” she told CHS. Continue reading

Here’s where 10 Pronto bike share stations are planned for Capitol Hill

Screen-Shot-2014-05-25-at-10.11.00-PM-400x406unnamedThe City of Seattle has quietly begun notifying neighbors and neighboring businesses around ten Capitol Hill locations where planners have applied to place stations for the new Pronto bike share system slated to begin service across Seattle later this year.

UPDATE 7/22/14 4:50 PM: Pronto planners say the addresses listed in the SDOT permit database aren’t quite accurate. More at bottom of this post. UPDATE x2: Executive director Holly Houser tells CHS the locations we mapped did, indeed, have Pronto station permits filed with the city but that all of the locations may not end up being part of the service. “We applied for 75 permits for the 50 stations we need,” Houser said. “Some are secondary in case the first choice doesn’t work out.” She said the city has already come back asking for alternatives for around 10 planned stations that would “displace too much parking.” In addition to the SDOT public comment period, Houser said Pronto has an “outreach team” talking with businesses in the area of each planned station. “We’re going to every single business within a block radius,” she said.

A permit notice from the proposed station near 14th and John is below. The ten locations where permits have been submitted are spread across the core of the Hill with an apparent focus on grocery stores — four of the ten are located near Safeway, two QFCs, Central Co-op and a Trader Joe’s. There will be a station adjacent Cal Anderson Park but not Volunteer Park.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 11.35.32 AMWith concerns about how an open, point-to-point bike share service will perform on Seattle’s hilly terrain, seven of the ten planned Hill stations are located at Broadway-elevation or higher. All are planned to replace at least one street parking space to make room for the rental racks and service kiosk installations.

Boosted by a major sponsorship from Alaska Airlines, Seattle’s system lags behind programs in several other major cities. Seattle’s new system will begin with 500 bikes. Each station will have docks for 12 to 20 bikes and will feature a kiosk where non-members can sign up for 24-hour, or multiday passes, and or access bikes using a code. Those who pay $85 for an annual membership will be able to bypass the kiosk and check bikes out directly from their docks. In order for Pronto to operate in compliance with Washington helmet laws, each station will also have a “helmet dispensing” device, and a helmet return bin. Helmets will be available to rent for $2, will be sanitized after each use, and cycled out after a certain number of uses. A 24-hour pass will cost $8 or you can get three days for $16. Planners are collecting feedback on possible station locations from the community but have not yet announced the permit applications.

The permit notices include a September 1st start date.

UPDATE: Pronto director Holly Houser says the planned station addresses from the permit database we published aren’t completely accurate:

“Not only is it inaccurate in regards to specific locations,” says Pronto Cycle Share Director Holly Houser, “but it also shows both primary and secondary sites, so is somewhat misrepresentative of what the final network will look like.”1406070527-screen_shot_2014-07-22_at_4.03.20_pm

UPDATE 7/24/14: Pronto has released an updated list of planned Capitol Hill locations and a description of how the system will keep the community up to date on changes here:

Pronto! Emerald City Cycle Share, Seattle’s bike share system, has been authorized by the City under a program term permit. In accordance with the term permit, the non-profit operator of the system has submitted the following Street Use permit applications to install and maintain bike share stations in the right-of-way. Applications have been submitted for both primary and alternate station locations. Each station would feature bicycle docks, a solar-powered kiosk, and a helmet vending machine. Public notices of these applications have been posted at the proposed station sites in locations visible from the sidewalk. The system vendor, Alta Bicycle Share, has also conducted direct outreach with properties adjacent to the proposed bike share station locations.

The following tables are updated every Monday and Thursday afternoon.

Here’s the Capitol Hill portion of the table, below. We’ve updated our map at the top of this post and will add adjacent neighborhoods soon.

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Say goodbye to the 47 as Murray’s Metro funding plan heads to November ballot

The-47-on-Bellevue-600x397The Seattle City Council has unanimously approved sending a measure to the November ballot to save King County’s Metro bus service, but it will be too little too late for Capitol Hill’s Route 47. The $45 million plan (PDF) would prevent several rounds of Metro cuts, but not before the 47 and several other lines are slashed in the first round of service reductions scheduled for September.

The measure, first proposed by Mayor Ed Murray in May, is basically a local version of the county-wide Proposition 1 which failed to pass in April. The Seattle plan would raise sales taxes by .1% and add a $60 vehicle licensing fee in the city.

The council rejected an amendment proposed by council members Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata that may have saved the 47 by replacing the sales tax increase with an annual $18 employee head count tax and increasing the tax paid by commercial parking lot operators from 12.5% to 17.5%. Those revenue streams could have been enacted by council before the September cuts took place.

On the plus side, Murray’s plan has a solid chance of passing. Over 66% of Seattle voters approved Prop. 1 and nearly 80% of voters in Capitol Hill’s 43rd legislative district approved the measure, which included road funding that the current plan leaves out.

After Eastside and rural King County voters torpedoed Prop. 1, CHS’s Bus Stop said this about the 47′s deep history in the neighborhood:

The 47 is Seattle’s shortest trolley bus line, connecting downtown with one of the densest census tracts on the west coast of the US. For 105 years, a bus or streetcar has come up the Hill from downtown, dropped passengers off on Summit Avenue as it headed north, turned around once it hits Lakeview Boulevard, and then headed back down Bellevue Avenue. Its frequency may have gone up or down as the years elapsed, and the 13 streetcar turned into the 14 bus to Mount Baker, which was eventually decoupled to form the downtown-only 47. But this bus has always been here. That looks about to change.

Council to consider creating voluntary Seattle ID cards

badge4ed6f40164f5327a9b8fd072d86739dfe794e1f5Until everyone is embedded with an RFID chip at birth or employed by Microsoft, governments are going to continue to wrestle with how to best outfit people with paper and plastic ID cards. Councilmember Bruce Harrell announced Monday that he would begin to explore the creation of a city ID card, citing serious barriers to acquiring identification from the state.

“A municipal ID card can provide a much more affordable and easier pathway for residents from diverse communities to succeed and more efficiently access critical services,” he said in a statement.

Several cities already issue city IDs, including San Francisco. Harrell said Seattle residents could benefit from the card in multiple ways:

  • The ID car would be accepted as proof of identity by all city agencies, as well as other institutions in the city
  • Thousands of Seattle residents could more easily obtain library cards, further education, get medical help, cash a check, sign leases, find employment, or open a bank account.
  • The identification card would allow many of Seattle’s most vulnerable residents such as immigrants and refugees, the elderly, the homeless and members of the transgender community better access to participating in civic life.
  • The identification card will allow members of the immigrant and refugee community to gain greater confidence and feel more comfortable when seeking assistance from law enforcement.

The city council will be discussing the proposed program at Wednesday’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee meeting at 2:00 PM.

Capitol Hill ‘Construction Hub’ designed to keep people moving through development wave


Living, walking, and doing business on Capitol Hill isn’t always easy amid the forest of construction cranes that sometimes feels like it has taken over the neighborhood. But the City of Seattle says it is working to coordinate construction project in key areas of the city, including Capitol Hill.

SDOT_Construction_Hubs_Boundary_Map4.8.14-1024x662SDOT’s Construction Hub Coordination Program was launched this spring to help keep residents and local businesses moving even with unprecedented numbers of construction projects underway in Seattle:

The hub team of project and on-site coordinators assess permitted construction holistically, across public and private lines, in areas with multiple simultaneous construction projects in close proximity—otherwise known as construction hubs.

Capitol Hill’s current hub boundaries are defined as a north-south rectangle from E Harrison to E Madison between Broadway and 15th Ave: Continue reading

Council considers two Metro funding plans, both include sending $60 car tab to ballot

In an effort to buy back $45 million in Metro bus services, the Seattle City Council will be considering two competing plans on Thursday. Both would include sending a $60 vehicle licensing fee to the ballot in November.

The first plan, proposed by Mayor Ed Murray in May, is basically a local version of Proposition 1 which Eastside and rural King County voters torpedoed in April. The plan would raise sales taxes by .1% and add a $60 vehicle licensing fee in Seattle — a plan that would likely win voter approval in November. Continue reading

New head of SDOT a ‘bike-friendly’ leader


The city’s pick to head the Seattle Department of Transportation – on the left, above — is a bike-friendly dude.

Here’s what Seattle Bike Blog has to say about the appointment of Scott Kubly as SDOT chief:

“Scott is the visionary who will give transportation in Seattle the leadership it needs,” Mayor Ed Murray said during a press event introducing Kubly Wednesday. If confirmed by the City Council, Kubly will be the first permanent SDOT Director since Peter Hahn was swept out with the McGinn administration. Goran Sparrman has served as the Interim Director.

Kubly said Seattle’s challenge is to give people more options so people can continue to get around during a period of significant growth.

“We’ll give people choices, very attractive choices,” Kubly said at the press event. “People will chose to walk, bike and take transit because it is the most attractive to them.”

Kubly is clearly proud of the bike projects he has helped make happen, including a major role in launching Divvy in Chicago and expanding DC’s Capital Bikeshare. He also talked about creating protected bike lanes “for Seattleites 8-80″ years old.

“Scott is a transportation visionary,” said Mayor Ed Murray in a statement on the appointment. “He has a proven track record in Chicago and Washington, D.C. of advancing innovative solutions that address the full range of transportation needs of residents and businesses. He’s also a transportation renaissance man who’s virtually done it all: he’s worked on bikes issues, car share programs, traffic management and pedestrian safety strategies, rapid transit and street cars; he’s done long-range budgeting, strategic planning, cost reduction, major capital project development, and performance measurement and accountability. Scott is the transportation leader this city needs to take us to the next level in creating more livable, walking communities.”

Following the expected confirmation by the City Council, Kubly will earn an annual salary of $180,000. He is tasked with leading a department and planning process responsible for 750 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $400 million – in a city with the fourth worst traffic in the nation.

City Hall grapples with how to pay for downtown streetcar linking First Hill and SLU lines


The City Council put planning for one new transit project on temporary hold Monday and decided to quash a plan for public campaign financing in Seattle. Details on the vote — and non-vote — below.

Streetcar link-up
By 2018 Seattle’s street car system should be capable of shuttling riders from 10th and E Roy down to Pioneer Square, past Pike Place Market, and up to Westlake Center on a single ride. Add a transfer, and you’ll be able to ride back up to South Lake Union. The ride would be made possible by the Center City Connector – a proposed 1.1-mile downtown streetcar line along 1st Ave.

Continue reading