Comments

1
"...the labor of three crew members for five hours cost $2,718."

That's $181 an hour! Where do I sign up for that gig?
2
The workers didn't get 181 an hour
3
Seattle uses bike racks to discourage illegal camping, loitering, and soiling of public property for the benefit of pedestrian right of way and safe passage. Oh fuckin no.
4
It's a good thing.
5
Great idea to re-purpose city assets. Homelessness is a glaring problem in this city. Leaving encampments like this one in place out of 'sympathy' is totally misguided. These impromptu encampments become open sewers immediately. Human waste, rotten foods and piles of garbage accumulate rapidly around them. The drugs of course come too. These conditions invite vermin, disease, infections, and crime... creating a public health problem in in the public right-of-way for you enjoy and maybe bring home!

This is a case where sympathy will cause a helluva lot more damage than taking a reasoned adult approach. That means removing the encampment simply out of public safety.

This doesn't cure homelessness and it wasn't meant to. This is the city is doing its proper duty to eliminate a very serious public health hazard.
6
This is a practice in urban design called hostile or defensive design to keep homelessness out of certain areas...the difference in Seattle with this design is to pass it off as progressive and more palatable to our liberal NW eco-bike desire...interesting spin (see what I did there?).

Anyway...here's other west coast examples...still a little "nicer" than the spikes they use in London...

http://www.spur.org/publications/urbanis…

7
@6) Or it was simply easier and cheaper to use the bike racks they had rather than spring for something expensive.
8
Stretch a tarp over those racks and I’m seeing a pretty nice little pup tent set up.
9
@2: No shit.
10
Maybe the homeless needed a place to lock their dubiously obtained bicycles? #AllBikesMatter.

Really though 8500 homeless in our ugly climate is a disaster; every time the city moves people along they should also spend significantly more getting them stable.
11
@8 nailed it.

Those racks make for some really sweet supports for tarps or to tie off a tent line. If I were homeless, I'd take full advantage.

Were there really homeless camping on that particular part of the sidewalk - right on the curb? Or did SDOT's usual incompetence just really come shining through on this?
12
@7: it wasn't. The City specifically sought out the racks, even turning down crappier outdated racks to go with the newer standard racks.
13
I support this public safety effort.
14
@12) Uh, sourcing on that or it is just hot air (you made it up).
15
So? Why is this a story? Elected officials/government agency doing their jobs.
16
Who are we kidding with these? If you lock your bike to that it will be the last time you see it.
17
We shouldn't regulate where people live. Sidewalks, parks, freeway medians, your apartment, your mom's vacant rental, all fair game.
18
@15 Apparently this is a story because one guy in Belltown is upset about these bike racks, and forwarded to the Stranger public records he obtained about the project.

19
As the Bike-share business ramps up to the point of excess inventory, this is where to park them, rather than on the sidewalk or street in pedestrian or vehicle traffick
20
I'm a belltown resident who walks by this site at least twice a day. Three years ago it was generally one or two friendly guys with tents set up. Over the past year the site changed dramatically. There were frequent fights, increased trash, urine and feces in the middle of the sidewalk nearly every morning, and a greater prevalence of needles or other drug paraphernalia. The trash was leading to an increased number of rats as well - it was not uncommon to see multiple rats rummaging through the trash during the day. While the bike racks may not have been a proper solution, it is clear that a great deal of public resources were being spent on the underpass. In the past, the city employees who clean Belltown area streets would sweep and pick up the occasional pieces of garbage around the tents. Shortly before the installation of these racks, nearly every morning the street cleaners were there with Police escorts - the people living/camping under the bridge would fight or heckle the cleaners if they didn't have the police support. I appreciate the reporting done here, but to discuss the cost of this one-time replacement without any investigation or discussion regarding how much money was being spent on the location on a regular basis prior to their installation is disappointing. If this is truly about how the money could have been better spent, tell the whole story.
21
@20: Garbage, urine, feces, and syringes right next to the public restrooms, dumpsters, and sharps containers? That's outrageous.

Oh, wait--there were none? You mean there's nowhere nearby for people to acceptably urinate, defecate, or dispose of syringes and other refuse? Wow, who would have predicted that the stuff would end up on the streets and sidewalks like a Capitol Hill alley during a snowstorm or a Pioneer Square alley after a sportsball game? It's baffling.
22
accept shelter or move along. don't want to follow rules or think you are above the shelter, then eff off. get a job and stop living off the back of society, be self sufficient - it feels good to not beg, steal, etc.
23
this is basically the same as those office buildings with those anti-skater protrusions, features. it deters you from using the space in a way that was unintended.
25
Illegal camping is illegal camping whether in Belltown, at Greenlake or Mt. Rainier. Until Seattle City Hall equally enforces one set of laws for all people -- rich or poor -- sidewalk squalor, denuded greenbelts and vulnerable populations preyed upon by modern-day Fagins will be a growing problem for all.
27
It's a lot more expensive to sweep these areas over and over again then it is to do a one-time install of some bike racks. In this place is dangerous both for the people camping there as well as for the health and safety of the neighborhood.

And I gotta say, are you effing kidding me? Homeless enablers are bitching about not just "hostile architecture, " but also "lighting that makes it hard for people who use drugs to find a vein?" So we're supposed to make sure the little darlings have good light to kill themselves?
28
Homeless man to his wife: “Well lookie there ma, the city put in some of them permanent tent supports for us. Its gotta be for that ‘cause, who rides a bike in the winter? We should thank the city for all their hard work helping to provide affordable housing. Now go on and tie off the tarp to that cross bar....”
29
@21, No.. I'm not surprised in any way that as more people came these issues increased. Just noting that they did, and that the daily cleanup became a much more involved process. I'm not arguing for the bike racks. But to accept the poor conditions and the increased public resources needed to keep excrement and used needles off of a public ROW seems short sighted. Yes, the money spent on bike racks could have been used in a more positive way - but I'm not seeing any solutions offered in your comments here. My point was simply that the article places a dollar value on this "public project" without discussing the public funds already being spent on maintenance and safety of the unpermitted encampment.
30
@29: So you advocate shooing people away--along with their urine, feces, syringes, and garbage--instead of providing restrooms, garbage cans, and sharps containers?
31
@30: Yes. Here's a question for you: Do you believe making these vagrants and addicts more comfortable with their urban camping lifestyle will result or more of them here, or less?
33
So, what's the problem? The Gates Foundation did this with the sidewalk outside their building after Scott Morrow debunked all his homeless army to camp on the sidewalk until they got some money out of them. No one complained about those sidewalks being "hardened" and innane chatter by scientists being played on a loop practically 24/7.
34
@30, Where do you see me advocating for anything other than complete reporting? I literally said "I'm not arguing for the bike racks." My only goal was to present additional observation to supplement the original article.
35
@29: "I'm not seeing any solutions offered in your comments here." Potential solutions to out-of-place urine, feces, syringes, and garbage: 1) Provide public restrooms, sharps containers, and garbage cans. 2) Install unneeded bike racks so that the urine, feces, syringes, and garbage will end up in different inappropriate locations.
36
@31: I do not believe that having public restrooms, garbage cans, and sharps containers would contribute in any significant way to the rate of immigration of people experiencing homelessness. I believe that having these amenities would result in less of the things people cite as problems with other people living on the street--feces, urine, syringes, and garbage.
37
@35. When I'm really high/drunk, junk sick and/or off my meds, making sure my mess ends up in the appropriate location isn't really a priority, ya know?
38
@35 Honestly, do you really, really believe that the occupants of these camps would take the time to clean up after themselves if the city provided garbage cans and sharps containers? And ever see a port o potty that has been over-used. Yeah.
39
The city tried installing dumpsters and bathrooms at various camps. The Seattle Office of Civil Rights reported they were "surprisingly" (their word) unused. Well, go figure.
40
@37: Fortunately, everyone's priorities are not the same as yours.
41
If I lived around there, I'd really, really want to meet Jeff Few on the street. Not a dark alley, cuz I'd want him to be real clear about what he earned and I'd want to see clearly what I was giving him. How utterly moronic.
42
We sprinkled dumpsters in our tent camps. The vagrants will be within feet of one and STILL throw their trash on the ground. It's their 'mark' on the world and they seem proud of it. Twice a week city crews go through the camp and pick up after them.

We don't call our packs 'homeless,' they are VAGRANTS and CRIMINAL TRANSIENTS (CTs). Homeless people have nowhere to go. OTOH, our packs of vagrants are EXACTLY where they want to be - next to drug dealers, a grocery store to steal from and customers to prey on, a busy street to panhandle on, and in a neighborhood of upper middle class homes to live off the fat of the land from.

Like other comments here, they refuse to go to shelters. Reasons are varied. Some have a pet. (Now, I do to, but it seems a foregone conclusion that when you are living off govt dole you might not have all the privileges other people do.) Some people have acquired possessions too numerous and bulky to bring into a shelter. (Same as before, maybe now isn't the time to build your household and not on land that isn't yours. Almost exclusively such accumulations occur from discarded things on curbs and not anything from Grandma's heirlooms.) More commonly, many are dealing with substance abuse be it alcohol, opiates, crack, kush, or whatever and being rowdy and disorderly in a shelter is gonna get you booted. Some are mental cases.

They block intersections here to panhandle and hold quart bottles of beer in their hand while they do it. Don't want to get dehydrated while doing that hard work after all.

But whatever their reasons, there are plenty of morons out there like Jeff Few who feel the vagrants have the right to piss, shit, steal, panhandle, rave, trash, and obstruct our sidewalks, streets, parks, and neighborhoods. Usually such morons like Few don't live close to the mayhem of vagrants. There are places in shelters here but noooooo, we're gonna stay on the street living off the fat of the land and disrupting the lives of people around us.

If you go near where they camp and hang out, it is nonstop fights and arguments. Police, firemen, ambulances are there at all hours. They scream, shout, fight and rave at each other all the time. There have been several murders in the tent camp close to me.

I could go on about the joys of living near a tent camp but I have found the only ones who will 'get it' are the victims of these camps who live, work, or commute near them - the rest are usually complacent or morons who are extravagant with other people's money and lifestyle - like Few. You don't see the reality of vagrants and it's comforting to think of them as "There, but for the grace of God go I," but their paths to that lifestyle are varied and long, marked with hundreds of wrong choices.

As far as a solution? Sanctioned tent camps. It's truly the most important step. Society can't afford to give them permanent housing that all of them feel entitled to and many of us resent providing such a huge handout to people showing no indication of reform.
43
@38: Yes, I do believe so. Last week, at a Capitol Hill Community Council open house, I met two women from Seattle Public Utilities who work on their department's sharps disposal pilot project. One has also been involved in providing garbage bags and filled-bag removal at unsanctioned encampments as part of SPU's encampment trash pilot program. She has seen people bringing their purple bags of garbage to SPU's pickup locations even after a camp was swept.

Not everyone will clean up after themselves given the same opportunity for curbside refuse pickup that most of us have, but many will.
44
I like Phil M’s vision of Seattle — in which anyone can use the “Spot It Sharp It” app or website to report current or potential transient gathering spots, leading to the immediate dispatch of a team of 24/7-on-call sharps collection installation specialists.
45
@44: Even better, in his vision, illegal homeless encampments don't pose a threat to the rest of the city by being hot-beds for acquisition and transmission of Hepatitis A.
46
@30 I work in an area where many homeless people camp. Several public restrooms, garbage cans, and sharps containers have been added to the area, and yet I still see needles and shit on the ground every day on my walk to the office. The resources have only a marginal effect.

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