West Seattle Bridge Update, September 18
SDOT has completed the Reconnect West Seattle Implementation Plan. Over 17,000 people responded to the survey and neighborhood prioritization ballots.
The plan lists projects completed or in progress; planned for completion during the rest of 2020; and projected planned for 2021.
Here are the project prioritization lists by neighborhood:
Here’s a map of where the projects are located:
SDOT also indicated it will expand the Home Zone Program to coordinate, combine, and deliver safety and speed reduction efforts. Current pilot projects exist in South Park and Broadview.
The projects are designed to address the closure of the bridge, and reduction in the number of available lanes to cross the Duwamish; there were formerly 21 vehicle travel lanes; now there are 12 lanes open 24/7, with the two lanes of the lower (Spokane) Street bridge open from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.:
As noted last week, the freight plan included a project that received significant pushback from constituents; the proposal was to install a freight-only lane on West Marginal northbound. The plan published yesterday says “implement freight treatments”. The Community Task Force will discuss West Marginal Way on September 23rd.
SDOT also announced a “refresh” to the East Marginal Way bike lane, which travels between South Spokane Street, and South Atlantic Street. This is a key corridor for bike access from the lower bridge to points north.
The link includes a video of what the bike lane looks like heading southbound:
The most recent traffic data shows continuing heavy traffic on Highland Park Way and West Marginal, and levels above pre-COVID numbers on the South Park Bridge, WSDOT’s 1st Avenue South Bridge, SW Roxbury, and South Michigan in Georgetown:
Here are the most recent vehicle travel times:
SPD Overtime Budget, Auditor Recommendations and Letter to the Chief/Patrol Reallocations
One issue that successive City Councils have struggled with is overtime within the Seattle Police Department. Early this month, the Seattle Times published a Watchdog Times article entitled: A Seattle police officer’s extraordinary pay raises questions SPD can’t answer. They reported one officer was compensated for 4,149 hours of work over the year (just short of twice a typical 40 hour a day, 52 week year of 2,080 hours). This same officer was also paid, in a single day on six separate occasions, for more than 24 hours. SPD told the Seattle Times that they couldn’t determine whether this officer “worked all of these hours because it can’t effectively track overtime that is still filed on paper forms.”
In 2016, in response to a request from then Chief O’Toole, the City Auditor studied the issue and then published a report, Seattle Police Department Overtime Controls Audit, which included 30 recommendations regarding budgeting, and policy and procedures including tracking of overtime and off-duty work. SPD has implemented most of the recommendations.
Seven of the recommendations were listed as “pending” in the Auditor’s Status Report on Implementation of Office of City Auditor Recommendations as of December 2019 (see p.7-8).
Most of the recommendations listed as “pending” relate to work with the Seattle Information Technology Department to implement a new Work and Timekeeping system solution, to “automatically prevent payroll errors and instances of policy non-compliance.” The status report update notes “The new solution will contain automated controls for detecting payroll errors and non-compliance.”
I sent a letter to Chief Diaz thanking him for the attention he is already dedicating to overtime, and asking for an update about implementation of remaining recommendations of the City Auditor. The recommendations relate to automated controls to implement SPD polices by detecting payroll errors; ensuring proper documentation of overtime authorization and approval; tracking of all work time, including off-duty work time, and requiring management approval for hours beyond the maximum allowable level.
The audit recommended “SPD should either (a) implement new scheduling and timekeeping systems or (b) enhance existing systems to include automated controls and to facilitate tracking and monitoring of overtime.”
On September 1st, Chief Diaz announced he would reallocate 100 officers from specialty units into patrol; the letter requests an analysis estimating the anticipated overtime reduction.
The letter also requests an update on implementation of former Mayor Burgess’ Executive Order of September 13, 2017, which directed the Seattle Police Department to establish an internal office, directed and staffed by civilians, to regulate and manage the off-duty employment of its employees.
Finally, the letter notes my request of the City Auditor to determine whether SPD is still regularly implementing interim recommended oversight that does not rely on the yet to be implemented automated controls, including queries, spot checks, and analyses of payroll data as well as their report on what we can learn from this review about current practices related to use of overtime and off-duty work.
Air quality is improving, so your parks are reopening
Air quality has improved over the last 24 hrs, so parks, boat ramps, specialty gardens, athletic fields and golf courses will reopen starting Friday morning, Sept. 18. Smoke continues to be a concern for children, seniors, & those with health conditions. Stay up to date on air quality and your safety here: https://pscleanair.gov/
Visit this blog post to find out current status for all activities, amenities and facilities during the pandemic, apart from the wildfire situation.
As always, it’s important to stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid groups, and bring a face covering whenever you’re outside your home, including when you visit a park. If you experience crowds at a park, use this site to discover a new park in your neighborhood.
Input needed for SW Brandon & SW Findlay Streets Trail Improvements & Wayfinding
Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) and Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) invite the Delridge and High Point communities to participate in creating better pedestrian connections in the Delridge neighborhood. Please take a tour of the site by watching this video and provide your input via this survey.
This design project will provide a plan for improving pedestrian paths along SW Brandon and SW Findlay streets and make trail entries to Camp Long and Longfellow Creek more open and welcoming to the public. One of the goals of this project is to improve access for the future new RapidRide H Line stops that will begin service in 2021 at SW Findlay and Delridge.
Learn more about the project here.
New grants available for small businesses, applications due September 28
The Seattle Metro Chamber opened a new round of grant funding, with $580,000 total to be awarded to King County small businesses and 501 (c)(6) non-profit business service organizations (i.e. chambers of commerce, direct marketing organizations, tourism bureaus).
Businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees can apply for awards of $5,000, $7,500 or $10,000 through the program, called the Federal CARES Act Small Business Emergency Grant Program. Priority will be given to applications from: minority and women-owned businesses; most impacted industries including: Hospitality and Tourism, Retail, Air Travel, and Aerospace Industries, as outlined in the Greater Seattle Region Covid-19 Economic Impact Analysis; and most-impacted cities, as outlined in the Greater Seattle Region Covid-19 Economic Impact Analysis
The Chamber estimates that it will be able to make grants to 60-115 businesses/organizations within King County. The Chamber is accepting applications through Monday, September 28 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time. Full details about business eligibility and the application form are available at kingcountyado.com.
TNC Legislation Update
This week, the Office of Labor Standards presented Mayor Durkan’s proposal to establish minimum compensation standards for transportation network company (TNC) drivers. TNC drivers are colloquially known as Uber and Lyft drivers. These workers are hired as independent contractors and therefore are not protected by Seattle’s local labor laws.
Council Bill 119876 would, in addition to establishing minimum compensation standards, establish notice, posting, and data requirements for TNCs. Staff from the Office for Labor Standards presented this legislation to the Finance and Housing Committee on Tuesday, and Chair of the Committee, Councilmember Mosqueda, stated her intention to hear amendments and possibly vote on the proposal in a special committee on Thursday, September 24.
This legislation is the culmination of the Fare Share plan which began in last year’s budget conversations where the City implemented a small fee on TNC rides to fund:
- $52 million investment in affordable housing near transit
- $56 million investments to fund the Center City Connector streetcar, which has since been suspended
- The establishment of an independent and non-profit Driver Resolution Center
However, due to the public health crisis, there has been a steep drop-off of TNC rides and the city is not currently anticipating collecting any revenue in 2020.
South Park Pump Station Begins Construction
This week I was excited to learn that Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) began construction on the long-awaited South Park Pump Station. This project has been over a decade in the making. I last wrote about this in 2019 when I visited South Park with SPU during what’s called a “King Tide” event.
This pump station – located at 636 and 640 S Riverside Drive – will reduce flooding from heavy rains and high tides. During King Tide events many parts of South Park, but most notably the industrial areas, flood and can cause significant damage. With climate change this is only expected to worsen.
As I wrote in 2019, community partnerships are working to leverage resources from SPU, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Parks and Recreation Department, Seattle Police Department, Seattle City Light, Department of Neighborhoods, Office of Economic Development, Office of Arts and Culture, and Office of Sustainability and Environment in order to develop climate resilience, affordable housing, safety, and open space in South Park’s residential and industrial areas.
During construction, you can expect:
- Typical work hours are weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday work may be required to meet construction deadlines.
- Construction best practices to control noise, dust, dirt, and vibration
- Increased construction traffic
- Equipment and material staging near the pump station site
Virtual Office Hours
On Friday September 25, I will be hosting virtual office hours between 2pm and go until 6pm, with the last meeting of the day beginning at 5:30pm.
Due to the nature of virtual office hours, you will need to contact my schedule Alex Clardy (firstname.lastname@example.org) in order to receive the call-in information and schedule a time.
Additionally, here is a list of my tentatively scheduled office hours. These are subject to change.
- Friday, October 30, 2020
- Friday, December 18, 2020