Category Archives: Health and Safety

Neighbors attempt to reduce impact of alcohol on Beacon Hill

As usual, the 10/4 North Beacon Hill Council meeting was jam-packed with a variety of topics. The majority of the meeting was dedicated to efforts to organize an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA) in North Beacon Hill. North Beacon Hill neighbors are attempting to organize an AIA to increase public safety. To learn more, visit their Facebook page at Beacon AIAI.

AIA supporters believe that implementing an Alcohol Impact Area in Beacon Hill will increase public safety and lower costs to taxpayers by decreasing the need for first responders (Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department, etc) called to assist those incapacitated by alcohol. A first step to implement an AIA is to report all incidents of public inebriation and collecting/taking photographs of all alcohol related litter (especially cans/bottles of restricted brands).

Per the WA State Liquor Control Board: “The purpose of an Alcohol Impact Area is for local authorities to have a process to mitigate problems with chronic public inebriation or illegal activities linked to the sale or consumption of alcohol within a geographic area of their city, town or county, but not the entire jurisdiction. An Alcohol Impact Area is designated by geographical boundaries as defined in Washington Administrative Code Chapter 314-12.”

The WA State Liquor Control Board evaluated AIAs in 2009. Results are here. One interesting conclusion: people living in Alcohol Impact Areas reported that they were happier!

“Overall, in comparison to the results of the 2006 survey, people living within the Alcohol Impact Areas are now more positive as evidenced by the following:

  • 26% of people rate the overall quality of life in their neighborhood as excellent (20% in 2006)
  • ƒ

  • 60% of people say they notice chronic public inebriates in the neighborhood (69% in 2006)
  • 18% of people say that drug activity has increased (24% in 2006)
  • But, 28% of people say that crime has increased (23% in 2006)”

(Source: Seattle Alcohol Impact Area Evaluation Executive Summary, 2009.)

City of Seattle studies did not inquire whether residents within AIAs enjoyed a higher quality of life, but did discover:

“…A decrease in offenses related to chronic public inebriation: Adult Liquor Violations, Parks Exclusions, and Criminal Trespass. In addition, the sobering unit van also saw a 9% decrease in pick-ups over the same pre-mandatory AIA and post-mandatory AIA periods of time.” (Source: June 2008 Report on Mandatory Compliance Efforts in the Seattle Alcohol Impact Area.)

Department of Neighborhoods Program Manager Pamela Banks attended Tuesday’s meeting and cautioned that North Beacon Hill would face an uphill battle to implement an AIA. Resources and staff are currently stretched very thin in Seattle and the AIA process is difficult.

Other options to reduce public inebriation and increase public safety were discussed, including asking neighborhood businesses to voluntarily participate in a “Good Neighbor” agreement limiting sales of banned beverages and requesting increased enforcement of existing laws.

Beacon AIAI supporters hope to engage the community in efforts to make Beacon Hill safer. For more information, visit their Facebook page or email

Beacon Hill: coyote country?

Coyote in the city. Photo by Dru Bloomfield.
Recently neighbors have posted reports of coyotes to the Beacon Hill Mailing List. Neighbor Heather wrote, “Saturday, at 7 p.m. there was a huge coyote in my backyard. I live on 12th Ave. S. and Stevens St. All my animals are accounted for, but I feel lucky to say the least… Just thought anyone on the hill would want to know.”

Another neighbor, Jean, replied: “They visit me too… 20th and Bayview. Keep your kids (pets) inside at night. Pleez!!”

A few days ago, the West Seattle Blog posted a sad tale about a resident losing his cat to what was probably a coyote. The WSB recommends the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Living With Coyotes web page for information and advice about the critters. The page advises:

“Coyotes are curious but timid animals and will generally run away if challenged. However, remember that any wild animal will protect itself or its young. Never instigate a close encounter.”

Alcohol Impact Area proponents organizing

Seen one of these in the neighborhood? (This one is actually in Maryland.) Photo by Guy Schmidt via Creative Commons.
A group of North Beacon Hill neighbors have concerns about the impact of public inebriation on the neighborhood, and have started a drive to form an Alcohol Impact Area (AIA). There are currently AIAs in effect throughout much of downtown and the University District.

According to the Department of Neighborhoods website, local jurisdictions are given more time to review liquor license applications and renewals inside an AIA, and the jurisdiction may also request that the Liquor Control Board restrict stores in an AIA from selling certain types of alcoholic beverages that are linked to local chronic public inebriation problems. Sales may be restricted entirely, or the businesses may be limited in the hours they can sell beverages “to-go.” By “certain types,” the city currently means this list of products: wines such as Boone’s Farm, Night Train Express, MD 20/20, and Thunderbird; and beers/malt liquors such as Keystone Ice, Olde English 800, Rainier Ale, and Steel Reserve.

Neighbors in favor of the AIA are currently collecting photos of the impacts of public inebriation on the neighborhood—specifically, photos of littered cans and bottles of those beverages which are banned in Pioneer Square and downtown, but are sold legally here on Beacon.

For more information on the Beacon Hill Alcohol Impact Area Initiative, see their Facebook page.

Responses wanted for public safety survey

The City of Seattle is currently conducting an online survey on the topics of public safety and the Seattle Police Department, with the help of graduate students from the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs. The project will gather Seattleites’ views about public safety concerns in their own neighborhoods and on public transportation. The resulting data will be used to help police and city officials improve police services.

The survey is anonymous and takes about 15 minutes to complete. You can access it here.

You can read more about the survey here.

Airport noise study open house on Saturday

A familiar sight on Beacon Hill. Photo by Helen Cook via Creative Commons.
Though it’s a bit distant from the Hill, the Part 150 Noise Study Open House on Saturday may be of interest to the many Beaconians who are irritated by noise from the overhead flight path in and out of Sea-Tac Airport.

The open house is the fourth in a series of public events related to the Part 150 Study, which is looking at ways to reduce aircraft noise impacts on communities around Sea-Tac Airport.

Topics at the open house will include:

  • The new, still in draft form, noise remedy boundary, which determines insulation eligibility
  • Discussion of noise abatement programs
  • Potential new sound insulation programs
  • An update on the Hush House, designed to suppress aircraft engine testing noise

The open house will be held on Saturday, April 9 at Sea-Tac Airport’s Arrivals Hall, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Arrivals Hall is at the south end of the main terminal, baggage claim level. From Beacon Hill, an easy way to get there is to take Link to the Airport Station. If you drive instead, park at the south end of the airport garage, on floors 5 through 8, near the yellow or green elevators, rows N through U. Take the elevator to floor 4 of the garage and walk across skybridge 1 to the main terminal. Look for signs directing you to the Arrivals Hall, next to baggage claim carousel 1. Parking will be validated.

Fitness activities for all ages at Van Asselt CC

Van Asselt Community Center wants you to know about some of their upcoming programs this spring through the Healthy Parks, Healthy You Initiative. The programs will focus on physical activity and wellness, with opportunities to get a healthy 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.

Toddler programs include a Mom and Me Creative Dance class, Busy Bees Creative Dance, and Toddler Gym Play Time. Youth will be served by the Hip Hop 101 class for kids 8-14. Adult programs include an aerobics class, and a new fitness room available for drop-in use every weekday until 8:45.

Other classes are available too. For more information, see the Spring catalog. You can register online if you like, using the SPARC system.

Van Asselt Community Center is located at 2820 S. Myrtle St.

Sewage spill latest problem for 12th Avenue building

Some North Beacon Hill folks had a smelly problem recently when a backed up drain caused raw sewage to back up in the parking lot of the apartment building at 1308 12th Avenue South. Neighbors on the BAN list reported seeing cars driving through the sewage and people walking through it, and that the smell was very bad.

A KOMO report showed a rather disturbing sea of brownish sewage with floating waste, and people wading in the spill, scooping the mess up with buckets and dumping it onto a walkway where it ran directly into a storm drain. The building’s owner, Walford Eng, told KOMO reporter Michelle Esteban that the cause of the problem was that a “stranger came in our apartment and peed.” The city is investigating, and the Department of Planning and Development website shows that a notice of violation was issued to the property owner on January 13, with compliance due today.

The apartment building has had quite a few reported code violations in the last few years, including reports of roaches, weeds and vegetation violations, junk storage, and other violations. Last July, we wrote about neighbors’ concerns regarding criminal activity, garbage, and broken windows at the building.

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Bad behavior in Stevens Place Park

Neighbor Tess writes with concerns about Stevens Place Park (commonly known as Triangle Park, located on Beacon Avenue South between South Forest and South Stevens):

View Stevens Place/Triangle Park in a larger map

I don’t know if a blog post is the best venue for this query, but i would love to get feedback from the community. I live on Beacon Ave S, right across the street from the little triangle park at S Stevens near the library. I also live very close to the #36 bus stop. Obviously, where we are situated we get a lot of traffic and noise from passers-by. However, we also get a lot of drunk people who hang out on the benches in the triangle park, sometimes cross the street and sit in the bus shelter and sometimes also migrate to the dentist’s office parking lot. We get a lot of yelling, screaming, singing, smashing bottles, foul language, and even public urination (against the tree in the triangle park or against the hedges in the parking lot). We have a family with little kids that lives downstairs and they often play on their toy bikes in front of the house. It’s hard to know what to do. Does anyone deal with this? Any suggestions?

The BHB headquarters is very near Stevens Place, and we have noticed the same occurrences, including public urination, confrontational behavior with neighbors in the park, and activity that looks very much like drug transactions; this has been the status quo at this park for a while now. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Sunbathing, sleeping, or worse? One Saturday this summer, four men were sleeping on the grass in Stevens Park. Aid cars arrived slightly later to attend to one of these men. We don't know about the men in this particular picture, but often the sleepers in the park are intoxicated or worse. Aid car and police visits to the park have been very frequent this summer. Photo by Jason.

Opinion: Alley speeders need to slow down

(Do you have something to say? Send an emailed letter or opinion piece to the BHB editors. You must sign your full name and address for your letter/opinion piece to be published.)

by Jennifer Zwick

I live on 14th and South Hinds Street, an area right by the freeway exit. People often drive very fast on this almost one-lane neighborhood street, in order to cut down to the freeway (thus bypassing 15th and therefore saving seconds of time). Since we don’t have sidewalks, and the road has two curves, it is very dangerous—poor visibility, and literally nowhere for pedestrians to go.

When even this shortcut takes too long, they also often bypass even 14th/South Hinds Street, and instead cut at high speeds through my alley. This is even worse, since it’s very narrow and abuts right next to all property—and of course, no alley sidewalks as well.

A few days ago, I was walking in the alley to my house (I take the alley due to lack of street sidewalks) when a man, smoking and driving a silver Lexus SUV, sped towards me up the alley from the freeway. Please keep in mind that I am very obviously pregnant, which makes me slower than normal. Regardless, apparently this short pregnant pedestrian didn’t move out of “his” way fast enough, so, barely stopping, he rolled his window down and shouted “this road is for cars.” No sir, it is not. It is an alley. It is for property access. There are actual roads to the left and right of this alley. This kind of thing is, unfortunately, common.

I feel this is very unsafe but don’t know what to do. My dream would involve a speedbump or two in the alley to prevent speeding impolite people shaving off fractions of a second of their drive by taking the alley instead of a road, and sidewalks on the curved stretch of South Hinds Street.

(Anyone have any advice for Jennifer? We suggested that she check out the SDOT Neighborhood Traffic Operations: Traffic Calming Program website, but we hope some of you have better advice.)

Boeing Field may be a bit noisier for a while

"Too loud!" Photo by Nicki Dugan via Creative Commons.
Are you noticing increased noise from Boeing Field, sometimes after 10:00 pm? This press release from King County International Airport may explain why:

Residents of some adjacent airport neighborhoods may experience temporary increases in aircraft engine noise levels as described below by The Boeing Company:

Over the next several months, King County International Airport may experience elevated noise events due to The Boeing Company engine runs, a critical part of its flight testing. These flight tests are part of the certification requirements for the 787 and 747-8 programs. Both types of aircraft will be at the airport in higher than normal volumes during this time. This is an important test period where the airplanes are completing their initial configuration testing to support the certification programs.

To the extent possible these engine runs will be kept outside the curfew window between 10pm-7am daily. However, there may be a rare circumstance when The Boeing Company will need to conduct engine runs outside of curfew hours. This is most likely to happen early in the testing program and all proper protocols will be followed and notifications issued. This is necessary in order for Boeing to meet the stringent FFA requirements that allow both airplanes to be certified and put into revenue service.

For more information on flight test operations, please see the flight test fact sheet provided by The Boeing Company at or contact Jennifer Hawton at The Boeing Company, (425) 444-1600.

Thanks to Steve Louie for sending us this info!