City Light installed new lights at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park and Emma Schmitz Viewpoint in West Seattle at the request of the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Parks and Recreation. This and a number of other safety improvements are planned for the area in the wake of the unsolved murder of Greggette Guy in March.
Beach Drive park safety improvements, including new lights, happening now and throughout summer
The March 11 murder of 51-year-old Greggette Guy near Me-Kwa-Mooks Park and Emma Schmitz Viewpoint along Beach Drive in West Seattle motivated neighbors to call for a number of safety improvements, and Seattle Parks has presented a plan for future improvements along with acknowledgement of what’s already been done.
Most recently, on June 12, City Light installed three new LED street lights near the parks. According to David Rose with Q13 Fox, “The new lights came after City Light received a request from Seattle Police, Seattle Parks and a community action group” of Beach Drive neighbors.
Karen O’Connor with Seattle Parks and Recreation provided the Herald with a report (see below) on what has been done, and what is planned for the summer. Many of these requests came out of a June 1 safety walk put on by the SPD Southwest Precinct and Seattle Parks.
Seattle Parks and Recreation response to West Seattle parks June 1, 2012 walk-through: What we have done and will do at Me-Kwa-Mooks Park and Emma Schmitz Viewpoint in the summer of 2012.
Pruning: Parks did most of the requested pruning in March.
•Parks removed a hedge on the east side of the street, opening up visibility into Me Kwa Mooks park and removing a barrier someone could hide behind.
•The crew lowered the hedge on the west side (Emma Schmitz Viewpoint) and did pruning to improve sight lines on the pines.
•Additional pruning called for in the following two items will be done by the end of June:
A little more pruning was requested during the 6/1/2012 walk on one of the pines next to the bus stop. The pruning on this pine was done fairly recently. It was not clear if the requester realized this work had been done but we will look and see if any more work would make a difference.
People pointed out the entrance to the trail that leads up the hill into Me Kwa Mooks Park. It is difficult to see the start of the trail and a tree planted there blocks visibility. We will try to improve visibility but the tree is healthy and should not be damaged or removed.
•Several people pointed out a corner as one goes down the south-most stairs. There is a weed (common names include American Bamboo and Knotweed) growing there. Unfortunately, if we cut it down now we will not be able to do management measures that were planned later in the summer or early fall (the best time to remove it effectively). The only effective way to deal with this problem is to wait. It is a very tough weed to control, and the management program will take years. It has been around for more than 20 years.
•City Light suggested two lights that will increase lighting on the southernmost stairs. It appears they have already installed lighting on an existing pole. Thank you City Light!
•Parks will add a sign where people go down the first stairs on the south and will place another at the north end of the park. Need to confirm parks hours signs match the official hours.
•There is a storytelling area built by a partner school about a block in from where the trail starts. The area has been used as an unofficial fire pit for many years. The crew will pull the blocks and post a temporary no fires sign. This will be done by end of June.
•Finally, Parks did not replace the screen around the sanican when it was destroyed last summer. There have been no complaints, and the visibility around the sanican is better without the screen for people walking down the street or using the sanican.