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Harvard Market will work with SPD to keep parking lot free of troublesome weekend crowds

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The entrance to Harvard Market’s troublesome parking lot (Image: CHS)

The owners of a Capitol Hill parking lot at the center of a string of recent shootings have agreed to restrict access to the property and work with police to keep the Harvard Market shopping center clear of late night weekend crowds, the neighborhood’s chamber of commerce announced Monday.

According to the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce announcement, Harvard Market ownership will be “enforcing a parking lot closure” on Friday and Saturday nights:

Working in close partnership, the property owners and Seattle Police Department will be enforcing a parking lot closure on Friday and Saturday nights between the hours of 10:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. to any person without a valid residential permit. In addition, no trespassing rules and towing regulations will be enforced between these times.


Chamber director Sierra Hansen said the group met with property owners, tenants of the shopping center that includes national grocery retailers QFC, and the Seattle Police Department “to come up with a strategy to address late night violence at this location.”

Police flooded the area around the parking lot around 2 AM on Saturday, August 6th after a woman was hit in the chest in a shooting on the second level of the shopping center above Pike and Broadway. The victim survived the shooting. There have been no arrests. The incident was one in a string of weekly weekend shooting incidents around the 2 AM “last call” time when crowds spill into the streets around Pike/Pine and Broadway.

“Capitol Hill is the region’s nightlife destination, and the vast majority of folks who come to the area simply want to eat, drink, dance and have fun, and community partners came together to find solutions to reduce illicit and sometimes dangerous activities that are happening in late night hours,” the chamber’s statement reads.

Morris Groberman, who along with an investment partnership, owns the Harvard Market retail property. We wrote about the development of the Harvard Market and its troublesome parking lot here. Groberman referred CHS to Seattle Police for more information following the most recent shooting.

One parking lot, of course, is not to blame for Pike/Pine street crime. SPD has been balancing available staffing levels for weekend emphasis patrols in the area for years now. In 2014, a spike in Capitol Hill street robberies and assaults prompted Chief Kathleen O’Toole to deploy emphasis patrols to crackdown on nightlife violence. O’Toole announced that SPD gang unit personnel would increase patrols in Pike/Pine and around Cal Anderson Park to help root out reported issues with gangs of young males involved with everything from theft to drugs. In the weeks following, SPD brass claimed a dramatic reduction in crime in the area. The weekend push remains an ongoing effort. Meanwhile, a larger law enforcement effort is working to quell the spike in firearms and gang-related activity on Capitol Hill. In 2015, the FBI announced nine people had been taken into custody in a law enforcement operation focused on guns and drugs in the area around 23rd and Union following a deadly summer of Seattle shootings. Similar efforts are underway again this summer.

Hansen acknowledges the Harvard Market lot closure is a “whack a mole situation” where the late night crowds and drug activity will likely move to other nearby locations. “Hopefully this cuts down on the spots the bad people can hang out at, and this area is particularly challenging because it is much more out of sight than the others,” she tells CHS.

 

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zeebleoop
4 years ago

“…the Harvard Market lot closure is a “whack a mole situation”…”

agreed. while i’m glad something is being done. just closing this lot for a few hours isn’t going to solve the problems with violence. how about active patrolling of the pike/pine area and getting people to move along once 2am bar closure happens? no reason for groups of people to be hanging around in parking lots or on the streets.

here’s where i think the bars that operate (and profit) on pike/pine need to chip in with funding to get some additional police presence up and down the pike/pine corridor on weekend nights.

iluvcaphill
iluvcaphill
4 years ago
Reply to  zeebleoop

There is nothing illegal about hanging out on a public sidewalk and talking with people after bars close. Police can’t just make people move along if they don’t want to. People can stand on a public sidewalk all night if they want. The Constitution isn’t void just because of a few bad apples. The public parking lots owners can have people who might be loitering trespassed off, but it isn’t the police’s job to stop people from loitering on private property, unless the owner asks them to on a case by case basis.

And it is totally ridiculous to think that bar owners should be responsible for paying for law enforcement. Law enforcement is all of our shared responsibility. Trust that the bars pay more than their fair share of taxes.

DB McWeeberton (@DBMcWeeberton)
Reply to  zeebleoop

There are two parking lots directly across Harvard from this one, and others on the east side of Broadway. It does seem like this just removes the problem (and bad publicity) from the Harvard Market owners and moves it across the street and to other area lots.

Timmy73
Timmy73
4 years ago

I don’t mind people hanging out and socializing after the bars close. It allows time for folks to sober up, coordinate their rides home, meters the usage of taxis/Ubers/Lyfts etc. Expecting the partygoers to evacuate the area simultaneously opens up a whole new set of problems.

What we should be focused on is the core of gun violence and in the short term, require bars and nightclubs to foot the bill for robust security patrols.

fluffy
4 years ago

I hope that part of this coordination involves installing CCTV cameras and the like.

Closing the lot is not a solution. Actively monitoring the lot for criminal activity might actually help. The problem isn’t that people are using the lot after-hours, the problem is what the people are using the lot *for*.

zxyz
zxyz
4 years ago

I’m just not convinced that “closing” it during certain hours won’t just make things even sketchier around that qfc. How about add better lighting? A couple security guards? The problem is the lack of foot traffic and the number of dark corners up there. If they close this lot the problems will probably just move to the lot across the street. Seems more like this is based in legal liability than actually making any sort of difference.

Also, another thing to think about is while this change might give the police the ability to remove whoever they want from the lot. I think creating more situations where innocent law-abiding people are going to have to be inconvenienced, told to stop what they’re doing and leave by police has the potential to do more harm than good.

Whichever
Whichever
4 years ago

To the person that called them ‘public’ parking lots – they’re only public insofar that you can park there, at the grace of the property owner. If it’s placarded (Conditions of Entry) then the police have jurisdiction over it.

See http://www.seattle.gov/police/prevention/business/trespass.htm

Aaron Hutson
4 years ago

When it was mostly just the gay bars and the comet tavern in that area there was never much trouble. But some bars have closed and different ones that attract a less civil clientele have opened in place. So some of the responsibility lies with the bar owners and the kind of customers they are bringing into the area.