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West Seattle Bridge Repair Update; Sound Transit Draft EIS Formal Comment Period Begins; Gun Violence; Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates from 1/25; Get Vaccinated at the South Park Library on Saturday; Join the Families, Education, Preschool & Promise (FEPP) Levy Oversight Committee; Seattle Promise Deadline Extended to 3/1; Seattle Home Fairs

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West Seattle Bridge Repair Update; Sound Transit Draft EIS Formal Comment Period Begins; Gun Violence; Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates from 1/25; Get Vaccinated at the South Park Library on Saturday; Join the Families, Education, Preschool & Promise (FEPP) Levy Oversight Committee; Seattle Promise Deadline Extended to 3/1; Seattle Home Fairs
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West Seattle Bridge Repair Update

The next important step in the repair of the West Seattle Bridge is the installation of the second external work platform, near Pier 18 on the east span of the bridge. This is scheduled to be raised into place on Saturday, January 29th.

The work platforms allow for the installation of carbon fiber wrap and epoxy to the exterior of the bridge.

 

Sound Transit Draft EIS Formal Comment Period Begins

Today Sound Transit announced the start of the formal 90-day public comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the West Seattle and Ballard light rail project. Public comment runs through April 28. Virtual public meetings are scheduled for March, with a West Seattle-focused meeting on March 30th.

The West Seattle and Ballard Draft EIS webpage includes all the documents Sound Transit has released. It’s a lot of information, including Chapters 1-6 of the Draft EIS as well as a few dozen appendices. The Executive Summary is the most user-friendly single document.

To see the alternatives the DEIS examines in West Seattle, below are the maps and charts of just the West Seattle-related portions of the Executive Summary.

Here’s a link to the 14 pages in the Draft EIS Executive Summary that cover the three segments for West Seattle: 1) Duwamish crossing; 2) Delridge (which includes both the Delridge and Avalon Stations); and 3) West Seattle Junction. This includes the alternatives shown on maps; cost estimates; impacts; charts showing the height of stations and elevated guideways; and some visual simulations.

Below is high-level information about the three segment alternatives, with maps showing the routes and charts showing the costs and impacts of the three segments. If it doesn’t display well, you can click on the link above for West Seattle, or if you’d prefer, the links for each of the three individual segments below.

In the maps below, the Preferred Alternative(s) selected by the Sound Transit Board is listed in red; the Preferred Alternative(s) with Third-Party funding is in brown. Dashes indicate elevated lines; dots show tunnels. There are a few instances of short portions that are at-grade, or retained cut, as explained below.

Duwamish Crossing segment

The first of the three West Seattle segments is the Duwamish crossing. This covers the area from SODO across the Duwamish to north Delridge.

There are three alternatives: two that go to the south of the West Seattle Bridge, and one to the north. One of the options to the south was identified by the Sound Transit Board as the Preferred Alternative for the Draft EIS. It is shown in red as the option that would travel close to the West Seattle Bridge (the other option is further south, toward the edge of Harbor Island). All options are elevated.

The preferred alternative has an estimated cost of $1.2 to $1.3 billion; the other two options are at $1.3 billion and $1.5billion. All would have some impact on businesses and employees; the south alternatives would have residential impacts:

Delridge segment

The second West Seattle section is the Delridge segment, which includes both the Delridge and Avalon stations. This segment runs from where a bridge crosses the Duwamish to the Avalon station at 35th and Avalon.

This includes station options in Delridge at a variety of locations; all have residential and business impacts. The Avalon stations are in the same general area; one option has lower heights. Both have residential and business impacts.

For the Delridge stations, cost estimates range from $400 million to $700 million. The station options for Avalon are estimated at $400 million and $500 million.

West Seattle Junction segment

The third West Seattle segment is the West Seattle Junction, which goes from the Avalon station area around 35th and Avalon to the station in the Junction.

There are two elevated preferred alternative options selected by the Board, that go to Fauntleroy at Edmunds, and to 41st and 42nd.

The Board also selected two preferred alternatives with 3rd party funding for tunnels at either 41st or 42nd and Alaska.

In addition, there are two partial tunnel options: Short Tunnel and Medium Tunnel. Both would go to 41st at Alaska. Near the Avalon Station area, they include a either a “Retained Cut,” where the trackway is cut into the ground with retaining walls, or at-grade leading into a retained cut (this is easier to see in the maps shown for each option in the link above).

The elevated preferred alternative to Fauntleroy is estimated at $900 million; the elevated preferred alternative to 41st/42nd is estimated at $1.3 billion. The two preferred tunnel alternatives with 3rd party funding are estimated at $1.7 billion. The Short Tunnel is estimated at $1.3 million, and the Medium Tunnel at $1.1 billion. All options have residential and business impacts.

Some of the segment alternatives connect with one another, but not all. Here’s a link to a table that shows the connections between segments. It’s in Appendix N-2, Visual and Aesthetics Technical Report.

Through April 28, comments may be sent via email to WSBLEDEIScomments@soundtransit.org or by voicemail at 800-471-0879.

The project webpage notes, “The Sound Transit Board will consider the analysis in the Draft EIS, as well as public, agency and Tribal comments, and additional information, before confirming or modifying the preferred alternative later this year. Sound Transit will then prepare a Final EIS. After publication of the Final EIS, the Board will make a final decision on the project to be built.”

Gun Violence

Rates of shots fired in Seattle continue to be higher than usual. In 2021 Seattle had 612 verified criminal shooting incidents and shots fired incidents city-wide – a 40% increase in overall shooting incidents over 2020, and an 86% increase compared to 2019. Of these, 31 incidents resulted in a fatality; 143 resulted in non-fatal injury.

I sincerely appreciate Chief Diaz’s recognition in the linked article that there is no single cause of the increase in gun violence in Seattle, as well as in jurisdictions throughout the nation. “We’re seeing upticks in every aspect of this, it’s not just one specific thing,” Diaz said. “You’re wondering is it related to COVID? Is it because you almost have to re-socialize everybody together? We have to almost realize that people have so much angst and so much anxiety and if they have access to a gun they’re willing to pick up a gun and use it.”

The rate of gun purchase over the last two years has also been documented in a recent New York Times article: “Americans bought many more guns in 2020 and 2021 than they did in previous years. The guns purchased in 2020 also seemed to be used in crime more quickly than firearms bought in previous years. And Americans seemed more likely to carry guns illegally in 2020. In short: Americans had more guns and were possibly more likely to carry and use them.” Research generally shows that where there are more guns, there is more gun violence.

In Seattle, SPD reports seizing 1,237 guns last year. As member of the King County Regional Gun Violence Prevention Leadership Group, convened by King County Executive Constantine and Renton City Councilmember Ed Prince, I appreciate their leadership to ensure King County is taking a public health approach to community safety and wellbeing while interrupting instances of violence through prevention, intervention, and restoration. Together, we must make a difference and save lives.

The City of Seattle 2022 Washington State Legislative Agenda is more important than ever. Here are the priority items: “We support common sense, responsible solutions to reduce gun violence, including efforts to limit high-capacity magazines, rejecting intimidation by limiting open carry of firearms in politically charged and contentious environments. We believe in maintaining funding for critical gun violence prevention research and intervention projects and that local governments should have the ability to regulate firearms or weapons to ensure the safety of their communities in accordance with local circumstances.” If you have interest in testifying to the State Legislature on these bills, you can find information about how to do so here: Alliance for Gun Responsibility (everyaction.com).

As mentioned, the increase in crime and gun violence is occurring throughout Seattle neighborhoods. I have also repeatedly discussed with Chief Diaz the organized retail theft, the open-air resale of these stolen goods, and the violence that often accompanies this activity. 12th Avenue South and South Jackson Street in Little Saigon and 3rd Avenue Downtown in the Pike/Pine area are two such areas where a lot of retail thefts and shootings have been reported over the last few weeks. The Chief has let me know that there is significant police activity at both locations. SPD is also in touch with neighborhood groups in these areas and in touch with SDOT as well about how to make changes that allow for SPD to observe suspected criminal activity. I care about downtown, but I also know that our neighborhood business districts are suffering too, including District 1. If you are a business owner, or a supporter of the businesses in your neighborhood, you may want to consider learning more about this bill in the State Legislature to address organized retail theft in instances where items are sold online.

Here is a recent statement from Mayor Harrell about the increase in gun violence:

“Every Seattle resident deserves to feel safe in our City, but repeated incidents of gun violence threaten and harm our collective sense of public safety. My office is committed to taking comprehensive and urgent action to address this preventable public health crisis. Our solutions must be both responsive and proactive.

“That’s why in my first month in office, I’ve hired a Gun Violence Prevention Coordinator to work directly with those impacted by this kind of violence and to help coordinate and drive community-based outreach and solutions.

“I will continue to advocate and support appropriate staffing levels at SPD to ensure quick responses to public safety emergencies and thorough investigations of acts of gun violence.

“And I will advocate for new investments like pilot programs for proven technology like Automatic Gunfire Locator Systems, along with regional coordination and change at the legislative level that allow us to pursue new policies to address the gun violence epidemic.”

Public Safety and Human Services Committee Updates from 1/25

  1. $13.8M Available from Human Services Department

At Tuesday’s Public Safety & Human Services committee meeting, I invited the Human Services Department to tell us about the new funding that will be made available to community organizations this year. The 2022 Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFA) includes a planned $13,814,738 in investments:

If you are a service provider, make sure you get notified when applications become available! HSD shares updates in several ways:

Learn more about the funding opportunities here, and view HSD’s committee presentation here.

  1. Discussion with Consent Decree Monitor

I also hosted an update from Antonio Oftelie, the court-appointed Monitor for the Seattle Police Department Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice, about his work during 2022.

You can watch the presentation and discussion on the Seattle Channel archive for this meeting. Here’s the Monitor’s presentation, along with a Central Staff overview of the Consent Decree.

The presentation included the questions the Monitor is seeking public input on as part of the community engagement meetings he is co-hosting with the Community Police Commission. The Monitor is publishing what are called “preliminary assessments” on crisis intervention, stops and detentions, and use of force, to inform public meetings, and seek community input.

The community input will be used to finalize compressive assessments that he will file with the Court, as part of his role as Monitor. He indicated these assessments could be filed sequentially or all at once.

At the first of the community engagement meetings earlier this month, on crisis intervention, there were three questions the Monitor asked based on the Preliminary Assessment on Crisis Intervention:

  1. What specific ideas do you have to improve crisis intervention in Seattle?
  2. What research or advocacy on crisis intervention should the Seattle Community Policing Commission pursue in 2022?
  3. What crisis intervention policy and practice areas, if any, should the Federal Monitor oversee implementation on in 2022?

If you have input on these questions, you can contact the Monitor team through the Consent Decree Monitor website.

Meetings will take place on Stops and Detentions on February 8, and Use of Force on March 8, 2022. Preliminary assessments will be available at the Monitor’s website.

The Monitor will also be developing a 2022 plan. The plan will cover: a. continuing ongoing work on accountably, b. efforts to support the Sentinel Event Review carried out by the Inspector General, and c. technical assistance the Monitor provides.

Get Vaccinated at the South Park Library on Saturday

If you can’t make the South Park Library clinic, check here for more vaccination locations: Getting vaccinated in King County – King County.

Join the Families, Education, Preschool & Promise (FEPP) Levy Oversight Committee

Are you interested in serving on a public committee to advise on how the City of Seattle advances equity in education through policy & financial investments? Applications are open now for Department of Education & Early Learning’s FEPP Levy Oversight Committee for 2022! Learn more at education.seattle.gov/fepp2022/.

 

Seattle Promise Deadline Extended to 3/1

Keep calm and hang in there. Seattle Promise extended its deadline, and they’re here to help. Get your Seattle Promise application and college admissions application in by March 1, 2022. Seattle public high school seniors, apply today at seattlecolleges.edu/promise.

All graduating seniors attending Seattle public high schools are eligible for Seattle Promise, regardless of grade point average (GPA), income, ability, or country of birth.

Seattle Promise is a college tuition and success program with three core components:

  • Free tuition at any of the Seattle Colleges: North Seattle College, Seattle Central College or South Seattle College for up to two years, 90 credits or a student’s first degree, whichever comes first.
  • Equity scholarships, which provide flexible funding to students, for books, transportation, housing, etc. for those with financial need.
  • Student support and advising beginning in the junior year of high school and lasting through completion of a degree, certificate, credential or transfer to a four-year institution.

Learn more and apply at Seattle Promise: More than a Scholarship — A Partnership | Seattle Colleges.

Seattle Home Fairs

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections is hosting Home Fairs online. The virtual home fairs are an opportunity to learn about the permitting process, code requirements, renting in Seattle, and more. You can check-out their website and signup here.

Here are the dates and presentations:

Our January 29 Seattle Home Fair schedule is:

Our January 30 Seattle Home Fair schedule is:

 
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