The TV cameras were there for the Pike/Pine “crime spike.” But Wednesday night’s Capitol Hill Find It, Fix It walk with the mayor and several top city officials was mostly about things like streetlights, dumpsters, and blocked sidewalks.
“This is not about one night of safety this is about building relationships with the departments,” Mayor Ed Murray said at the conclusion of the walk, the eighth and final his office organized over the summer.
While the TV crews pressed in tightly for SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole to reiterate her strategy for Pike/Pine emphasis patrols and data-driven policing, City Hall representatives including the head of Murray’s Department of Transportation, his Seattle Fire Chief, and City Council member Sally Clark waited patiently for the walk to leave the park and make a handful of stops between 12th Ave, E Pike, and Broadway to hear from community representatives about some of the issues — and opportunities — the neighborhood is facing.
- Homelessness: At 11th Ave’s Central Lutheran where Community Lunch On Capitol Hill serves meals to hundreds of homeless people every week, Pastor Cindy Salo told the assembled city officials, police, and community members that this had been “one of the most difficult summers” in terms of the numbers of homeless she is seeing. Earlier this year, CHS reported on the increasing amount of trespassing enforcement around Capitol Hill to move homeless campers along. The mayor has pledged $1.5 million in his 2015 budget plan for more services to serve the city’s homeless population.
- 12th Ave Arts: The tour then took to the sidewalks of 12th Ave before spilling into the intersection at 12th and Pine for Capitol Hill Housing’s Michael Seiwerath’s bullhorn-aided update on the 12th Ave Arts project, the $47 million
$38 million, 29,000 square-foot development creating 88 affordable apartment units, office space, retail space and a theater facility above parking that will also be utilized by Seattle Police’s East Precinct. To fit the Find It, Fix It theme, Seiwerath presented the building as a “fix” to the old problem of an underutilized police department parking lot. We’ll buy it.
- Pedestrian issues: At the same intersection, an SDOT representative made the case that his department is working hard to improve pedestrian access around construction sites. While he probably should have made his presentation on 11th Ave, there has been progress on Capitol Hill thanks to the SDOT Construction Hub project. CHS wrote about the Capitol Hill hub here and we’ll have more soon on the program that is working to better coordinate issues between developers, contractors, business owners, and neighbors. The next drop-in meeting is Friday, by the way. If you can’t make it, the link has information for contacting the coordinator via email. Do it.
- Garbage: At Pike/Broadway, we talked…. dumpsters. Not super exciting. But, yes, Pike/Pine overfloweth with both trash and trash receptacles.
We suspect the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce was the most excited about this particular agenda item. Earlier this year, the “business improvement area” it runs for the Broadway area was expanded by about a block but there is interest in a larger expansion — to manage services like garbage clean-up, graffiti removal, and the like — to Pike/Pine.
- Cal Anderson safety: Both Seattle Central president Dr. Paul Kilpatrick, standing across from his Broadway campus, and Chamber director Michael Wells, just outside the west entrance to the park, talked about efforts to increase safety around Cal Anderson. Nagle Place is dark and scary, Wells said, and people he knows won’t walk it at night. The street’s lighting and lighting throughout the park is being looked at for an upgrade. Meanwhile, you’ll probably see more trees and bushes being cut back to help eliminate any shadowy corners. Maybe more effective will be efforts like those of the Cal Anderson Park Alliance to keep the park busy with activities like the Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day. CAPA representative Rachael Brister said the group is looking for more volunteers. September 27th, there will be an ice cream social at the park’s Shelterhouse starting at 2 PM. You can stop in to “find out how you can become a Seattle Parks and Recreation volunteer.” Or you can just sign up here. Click on “Online Green Space Application” and, under “Assignment Preference,” choose Cal Anderson Park. Meanwhile, a Parks representative also said, though the summer concierge is gone, the department has brought in a sports field coordinator to help make the transition between hang out space and game time smoother on Bobby Morris field.
If the tour didn’t make it to your neck of the Capitol Hill woods, you can fill out a form or download the Find It, Fix It app here to let the city departments know about issues on your street. CHS is going to ask for Harvard Ave’s potholes and pavement to be smoothed — during construction on the main drag, it’s the bounciest Broadway biking detour… ever. What other Capitol Hill Find It, Fix It spots should we know about?