East Precinct’s new commander takes on Pike/Pine crime

Capt. Paul McDonagh in what we *think* was his first public appearance as the new East Precinct commander Friday morning (Image: CHS)

Capt. Paul McDonagh, speaking, in what we *think* was his first public appearance as the new East Precinct commander Friday morning (Image: CHS)

In a Friday morning meeting with business owners from Pike/Pine’s biggest clubs to its smallest and with representatives from retailers like Elliott Bay Book Company and local real estate development companies, East Precinct’s new commander Capt. Paul McDonagh addressed concerns that not enough is being done to police Seattle’s current busiest nightlife and entertainment district.

McDonagh, newly returned to the post he helmed for two and a half years starting in 2009, told the business owners and representatives that increased patrols are already underway and that detective work and investigations are already making a difference. “You’re not going to see officers on every block,” McDonagh said. “That doesn’t mean that we’re not working.”

The meeting came after a letter to city officials and the mayor from more than 40 Pike/Pine businesses in March calling for more cops to patrol the booming neighborhood. “Capitol Hill has a quickly increasing number of residents and people visiting it,” one portion of the letter said. “This increase needs to be met with an increased budget for policing and social services.”

According to details discussed at Friday’s meeting, six to eight officers are typically on patrol at any given time. Emphasis patrols essentially double the police force on the streets. “There will be nights where I put even more out,” McDonagh said. Continue reading

New ‘smart’ parking payment machines coming to Capitol Hill this year, Pike/Pine in 2016

The new station... coming soon to Capitol Hill

The new station… coming soon to Capitol Hill

New, “smart,” variable rate parking payment machines will be installed around Capitol Hill streets later this year with Pike/Pine to follow in 2016 in a $20 million overhaul of Seattle’s paid street parking system.

The new machines are first being installed in Pioneer Square. Provided by contractor IPS Group, the new machines will reportedly perform better than the current fleet of persnickety machines on the city’s streets. “The older technology in the current pay stations is slower to process transactions, provides less reliable cellular communication and includes old credit card readers no longer supported by the vendor,” a Seattle Department of Transportation statement on the new machines reads.

12th Ave, Cherry Hill, and First Hill installations will also follow in 2016. Continue reading

City funds year-round youth shelter at 19th and Madison

61464_172894822849602_1913562182_nThe much needed — but temporary — set of beds inside 19th and Madison homeless youth facility Peace for the Streets by Kids from the Streets is still needed. And no longer temporary.

Mayor Ed Murray’s office announced Wednesday that PSKS will receive an additional $130,000 needed to operate as a year-long shelter.

Earlier this year, the 19th Ave community center used city funding to add its shelter beds as a temporary cold-weather measure. The shelter admits anyone between the ages of 18-29, and executive director Susan Fox said PSKS strives to make the space as safe as possible for queer youth. PSKS has a queer youth internship program, a transgendered support group, and has LGBTQ staff members.

The new grant will also allow PSKS to add an additional five beds to the facility starting in June.

“In a region like ours where there is such tremendous wealth, it’s heartbreaking that any of our youth experience homelessness,” Murray said in the announcement of the grant. “That’s why it is vital that we provide a warm bed, a pillow, and some relief from the dangers of the street. While permanent, safe housing is the ultimate goal, securing these additional resources will mean a few more young people every night won’t have to sleep on the streets.”

The funding meets a recommendation from a committee on homelessness advising the mayor and will also address some of the needs that have been expressed as solutions for countering hate crime on Capitol Hill including the demand for LGBTQ youth shelter space.



44 vie to fill temporary slot on Seattle’s City Council

CouncilHeader23Sally Clark’s mid-term, mid-election retirement from the City Council has, indeed, created some new twists in Seattle’s politics. 44 people have registered to fill her position until the fall election brings in the new district-based council members. You’ll see some familiar names like Peter Steinbrueck, who played to the slow-growth crowd in his bid for the mayor’s office in 2013, and former City Council and County Council member Jan Drago. Others are less familiar. Others, you’ll need to tell us all about. CHS shared Council President Tim Burgess’s framework for finding Clark’s short-term replacement earlier this month. Part of the deal is the candidates will need to pledge not to use the short-term appointment as a springboard for a run at joining the council full-time. The roster and more on the process provided by the City Council is below. Continue reading

City Council Notes | New development parking recommendations, paid family leave, bike plan updates, candidate workshop

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Developers built about two living units for every parking space, says DPD and SDOT

Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the City Council’s chambers:

  • Parking recommendations: Last week, we told you of outgoing transportation chair Tom Rasmussen’s call to reconsider the city’s rules around requiring — or really, not requiring — parking as part of new development in areas well-served by transit. This week, DPD and SDOT have delivered a report on revamping the city’s rules. But the mayor is setting a slightly more urbanist tone than his legislative cousin. “Seattle is experiencing tremendous growth as our economy continues to expand and add tens of thousands of new jobs. It is our challenge to do more to ensure Seattle is affordable and livable for current and future residents,” Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement on the new report (PDF). “To do this, we can’t rely on the parking strategies of the 1950’s. Instead, we must pursue innovative policies that will give residents more transportation choices and smartly manage our current parking supply. The report includes a set of recommendations for you to chew on:
    • Require bus passes for new residential developments in center city neighborhoods and other areas frequently served by transit, along with car share memberships, bike share memberships, or similar services.
    • Remove City code barriers and promote shared parking of underutilized parking spaces.
    • Update City code to include improved bike parking for more types of new development and promote guidance for placing bike share stations on private property.
    • Review residential parking conditions and the Restricted Parking Zone program to identify demand management strategies in growing neighborhoods.
    • Promote garage designs that facilitate sharing parking among different buildings in a neighborhood.  This would include providing guidance for optimal access, layout and security.
    • Promote transportation options and ensure that our neighborhoods continue to be well served by transit.
    Also... parking is expensive

    Also… parking is expensive

    More interesting might be findings including:

    • In areas where parking is not required, about 3/4 of new developments provide parking (average is 0.55 spaces per dwelling unit), that is, 167 out of 219 projects permitted since 2012. Only about 12% of the 19,000 housing units have been built without parking.
    • Development with reduced or no parking is clustering in areas with frequent transit service including Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods such as University District and Ballard. Continue reading

City Council Notes | Parking requirements in new Seattle developments could be up for debate

Here’s a look at this week’s Capitol Hill-centric highlights from the City Council’s chambers:

  • Parking requirements: Inspired in part by backlash in West Seattle, retiring transportation chair Tom Rasmussen has sent a letter to his fellow Council members calling for a review of Seattle’s parking requirements for new developments. “The goal of lowering construction costs is important in light of our housing affordability challenge, and I am not interested in requiring developments to build parking spaces that go unutilized,” Rasmussen writes. “However, residents in a number of neighborhoods would argue that the competing goal of avoiding on-street congestion of parked cars has been ignored and that there is significant spillover of parked cars.”
    Continue reading

Rocker John Roderick enters at-large council race with Capitol Hill roots


(Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Calling John Roderick the “arts candidate” for City Council would be somewhat limiting unless the definition includes a candidate who sees affordability and transit as part and parcel to supporting the arts. As the front man for Seattle indie rock band The Long Winters, Roderick says he knows first hand that it takes a village to raise an artist.

Roderick officially announced his candidacy Monday for Council Position 8, one of two at-large seats up for grabs this November. Also seeking the seat are current council president Tim Burgess, former Tenants Union director Jon Grant, activist David Trotter, longshoreman John Persak, and City Council agitator Alex Tsimerman.

Roderick, 46, lives in Rainier Beach, is a founding member of the Seattle Music Commission, co-host of a weekly podcast, and a former Seattle Weekly music columnist.

Having spent 17 years living on Capitol Hill as a working musician before moving out of the neighborhood eight years ago, Roderick sees himself as belonging to a belated awakening of 90s rockers who squandered an opportunity to get political when the iron was hot.

Imbued with the sense of “we’re in charge now,” Roderick said this year’s switch to district elections opened a window for non-traditional candidates to run for office.

“To keep arts out of public life and reserve City Council for a professional class of lawyers and activists is to miss an opportunity to build a civilization here rather than just a municipality,” he said. “We’ve lost sight of what makes American democracy fantastic, which is that citizens can participate in the political process.” Continue reading

14 Park and Street Fund proposals include Cal Anderson lighting, Pollinator Pathway

(Image: Joe Wolf via Flickr)

(Image: Joe Wolf via Flickr)

Exactly how community bodies like the East District Council fit in the future District 3 framework may not have been entirely worked out but the neighborhood representatives still have some important responsibilities. Tuesday night, the EDC will hear from finalists with projects proposed for parts of the $2 million in Neighborhood Park and Street Fund grants available in 2015. The fund can be used for projects up to $90,000 to fund park or street improvements.

Included in the roster are several ideas that have come up in recent CHS coverage including a proposal for funds to trim Cal Anderson’s trees and improve lighting to make the park safer and extending the area’s “Pollinator Pathway” infrastructure to connect to Cal Anderson.

Tuesday’s meeting starts at 6 PM in a 12th Ave Arts conference room if you want to stop by to support the applicants and check out the council’s prioritization vote. Three ideas will make it through with, believe it or not, the Mayor’s office holding the final decision based on feasibility.

Here are the ideas up for consideration around the East District and Capitol Hill:

  1. Cal Anderson Park — Lighting and tree trimming in the park
    Safety issues in Cal Anderson Park are a primary concern for the neighborhood. The Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce has been awarded a grant from the Office of Economic Development (OED) to fund a lighting plan for the Park. We have discussed the funding with Eric Freidli, Deputy Superintendent. Eric’s only caution was that community expectations around infrastructure projects remain realistic, given the amount of maintenance and infrastructure improvements in current Park planning. With that in mind, our intention in applying for this grant is to be helpful and proactive in this process. While the renovation of the Park completed in 2005/2006 was created w/ Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) standards, the past 10 years have shown that the landscaping and lighting plan could use further attention. Our goal is to spend 2015 thoroughly exploring the options for a safe, active, public space with lighting and landscaping improvements with monies from the OED grant and use the Neighborhood Streets and Parks grant monies, if awarded, to help implement that work.
    Continue reading

600+ new apartments around Capitol Hill this year, even more ready in 2016

(Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

(Image: Kate Clark via Flickr)

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Seattle in Progress and more than 90 either planned or permitted (below)

Seattle in Progress shows 23 projects completed around Capitol Hill in the past year (top) and more than 90 either planned or permitted (below)

Greater Capitol Hill will be home to at least 600 new apartment units in 2015 as the most recent wave of ongoing construction projects finally finish up. A recent report from Dupre+Scott Apartment Advisors projects 729 new units will open in 2016 and 707 in 2017.

In all likelihood, the true number will be even higher as the Dupre+Scott report doesn’t count microhousing, subsidized/nonprofit housing, or buildings that have under 20 units.

Last year, the real estate analysts counted 778 new units in the Capitol Hill region, which includes Eastlake and First Hill. Across the Puget Sound, a record total of 12,000 apartments are expected to open this year, Scott said. Some 48,000 apartments are expected to open in the region by 2019.

So can all this new supply keep up with demand and put the brakes on climbing rents? Continue reading

WANTED: Seattle City Council member available for short-term replacement, uninterested in challenging status quo

(Image: Seattle City Council)

(Image: Seattle City Council)

Seattle City Council member Sally Clark’s retirement is coming early and the city’s legislative branch is beginning a search for her short-term replacement. There’s only one catch.

“Given the Council’s work and the unprecedented character of this fall’s election, I believe we should appoint an experienced ‘caretaker’ who pledges not to seek election to the Council this year,” Council president Tim Burgess said Thursday in a statement.

CHS reported earlier on the flood of City Hall newbies throwing hats in the ring for the city’s first ever district-based City Council election.

With the opportunity to lead on appointing Clark’s short-term replacement, Burgess’s call for a pledge not to run eliminates his opponents for the at-large City Council Position 9 seat. Sorry tenant champion Jon Grant. You, too, City Council chambers troll Alex Tsimerman.

As for Clark, she’s off to a job at the University of Washington where she’ll be director of regional and community relations. Clark, some might recall, was appointed to the Council back in 2006. In 2007, she ran for the seat and, of course, won.