by Chason Gordon
– The Capitol Hill Times –
The first Capitol Hill council meeting of the new year entertained an array of issues that are on their way to being voted on and sent to the next level of community involvement. Here’s a brief roundup of what was discussed.
LGBT Community Center
Gordon Pieper, president of the Seattle LGBTQ Community Development, gave a presentation highlighting the necessity of the proposed LGBT community center at the Capitol Hill light rail station (at Site A), and offered a brief glimpse into how it would function. According to Pieper, a recent census put Seattle 2nd in LGBT populace per capita, and remains one of the few major metropolitan cites without a community center to serve this demographic. The City of Seattle’s LGBT Commission found that the primary concern of the 1,600 participants in the survey was to establish a community center as a connector for existing services, especially since the previous center on Pike closed in 2008. The goal is to build a center that is not reliant on government grants and donations, but one which is self-sustaining financially for the long term. Though details are vague, Pieper said the center would house event spaces, lockers for LGBT sports organizations, and generally be a place for people and organizations to gather. More info can be found at lgbtqseattle.org
Where the Sidewalk Ends
You may not have noticed, but there is a bit of sidewalk missing from Lakeview Boulevard between the East Blaine and East Howe Street stairs, which serve as a major access point for Capitol Hill, Eastlake, and the Lake Union area. According to community activist Chris Leman, the lack of sidewalk is a safety risk for hundreds of pedestrians who jog, commute, and sight-see around this point. Pedestrians are forced to walk on the roadway or make two crossings on Lakeview to access the sidewalk on the other side. The Eastlake Community Council is appealing to SDOT to find a solution. Those interested can learn more at the Eastlake Community Council website.
In the wake of the SPD’s desire to purchase more unmanned drones, Janice Van Cleve presented a resolution to completely ban drones from being used. Current regulations require the drones to be flown no higher than 400 feet and not at night. They must also stay within eyesight of the operator and an observer. The resolution draws attention to the scrutiny the police have been under by the U.S. Justice Department, and argues that, considering the controversy around their secrecy and failure to reform, such technology should not be an available tool. There was a bit of discussion as to whether the resolution should apply to hobbyist drones as well, though the wording has not yet been finalized. The Seattle Police Department was scheduled to make an opposing presentation, but cancelled. They will likely appear at a later meeting, when the resolution will be brought to vote.
Other Brief Notes
Seven applicants for Bridging the Gap funds were recently considered, with three sent forward to reviewed by SDOT for cost estimates, including sidewalk repairs on Madison, wheelchair accessibility at 12th Avenue and Howell Street, and 19th Avenue and Lynn Street improvements. The deadline is Feb. 4 and there 90,000 in funds available.
Those interested in seeing the various options for the North Broadway Streetcar can review them and take a survey voicing their opinion at seattlestreetcar.org/broadway. Up for consideration are how the street and traffic should be organized, and where the line will end on Broadway.
The next Capitol Hill Community Council General Meeting is scheduled for Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Cal Anderson Shelter House.