Comment period open for Emma Schmitz Memorial seawall project

With an official press release due out as soon as this Monday, Beach Drive Blog has been notified by Seattle Parks and the Seattle District of the US Army Corp of Engineers that public comment is now open in regard to the pending seawall replacement for the southern section of Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Park. Public Comment closes December 31st 2014. Click here for the Public Notice. Comments may be e-mailed to

Tanya M King, Public Affairs Specialist with the Corp is very interested in being the single point of contact for any unofficial comments or concerns residents may have regarding the project. There are several different public entities within the immediate scope of the project (Seattle Parks, King County sewer and road, City of Seattle utilities & sidewalk, etc) and Tanya is committed to work with all jurisdictions to get your answers “it may take a day or two or even longer in some cases, but I will do my best to make life easier for residents looking for answers or expressing concerns”. Please see Tanya’s contact info at the bottom of post.

We wrote an article back in April when Becky Rufin, Parks Engineering Manager with Seattle Parks & Rec was kind enough to share the 64 page proposed plan for the new seawall. Per Becky’s email today…

If approved by the federal government, the Seattle Parks Department will be entering into a cost-sharing agreement for replacement of this aging structure. Project design and construction would actually be executed by USACE.
Please note there is currently a public review period open for the proposal, and comments must be received by December 31, 2014.

Beach Drive Blog asked Tanya to confirm a few specifics regarding the project. She responded before I could even finish the post!

How much taller will the new wall stand above the existing? 2 to 3 feet

Is any type of railing going to be installed? Too early to tell. Not to that level of design stage yet but it would be built low if built at all.

What if any new landscaping will there be? Would work with parks dept. but low native shrub/vegetation is what we’d expect in respecting neighbor’s views.

One new aspect to the plan is in respect of losing a few feet of public beach when the proposed wall is built in front of the old wall…

Due to the close proximity of the sewer main to the existing seawall structure, moving the alignment of the new seawall landward was assumed to increase the risks of potential failures during construction and significantly increase overall costs of the project. Therefore, the decision was made to move the alignment slightly waterward and mitigate for any nearshore (beach) area lost as a result of the project. A small amount (0.02 acres) of beach would be lost due to the footprint of the new seawall. To offset the loss of habitat, the project would reclaim adjacent beach habitat by removing a portion of riprap placed in the 1998 City of Seattle emergency repair. This entails lengthening the amount of seawall installed in order to stabilize the shoreline back to or near its pre- 1998 alignment and removing the waterward riprap and fill materials. The proposed ratio would be a 1:1 replacement as this habitat reclaims the lost habitat imposed by the new seawall and could begin to function immediately post-construction.

I think Emma herself would be pleased to know her overlook park could grow a little wider…


This 1940’s photo shows Emma (on right) with her daughter-in-law Frankie posing beside the old family mansion that once stood where Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park is now. Courtesy of Bob Thomas who found the photo in an attic of a property he now owns.

Again, please contact Tanya for any unofficial (non-public) questions or concerns regarding this long overdue project,

Tanya M. King
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District
206-764-6958 (office)
206-422-2679 (cell)
206-764-3769 (fax) 



Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

My thoughts following Greggette Guy’s Vigil

As residents of Beach Drive, who live not far from Emma Schmitz Park, we joined with others to take part in Greggette Guy's vigil on Sunday evening. After taking a stand to walk united in her memory and listening to her father's tearful plea to make the park safer, some ideas have been formulating.

Greggette's father would like the dark lower sidewalk of Emma Schmitz, often covered in graffiti and not in street view, to be closed at dusk and better lit. He would also like a memorial in her name.  What if we, as a community, come together to have a light installed to make the lower sidewalk safer and have it dedicated in Greggette's name

I'm reading on West Seattle Blog tonight that the Seattle Police Department state they feel the murder probably took place in that section of the park.  Representatives from the city have shared stats of how safe Beach Drive is…in my opinion, two murders in that park in that area in 20 years in the same area is not acceptable.  Pruning back and removing shrubs is not enough.  Even with ALL shrubs removed, a murder or other crimes could happen without anyone being able to witness from the street.  The lower sidewalk, as Greggette's father said on Sunday evening, is a "death trap". 

Via Facebook today, I noticed that Sally Bagshaw was promoting a "large public funds neighborhood match" program.  I feel that the city should have the responsibility of keeping that sidewalk safe and well lit to avoid crimes.  Perhaps our Beach Drive community can help raise funds to do something special to dedicate the lighting in Greggette's memory.  Funds may also be raised to help increase the reward for tips leading to the capture of her murderer.

Again, just some of my thoughts in light of recent events.

What can we do?

What can you do?

Who do you know?

I'm proud to be a West Seattle-ite and love my neighborhood. I'm so saddened about what happened to Greggette. Let's take action as a community to do what we can to make sure this doesn't happen again.

I would love to start fund raising and would appreciate hearing any advice or input from our readers who have experience with this.

Everyone and anyone reading this post CAN do SOMETHING.

Moon Shell Harvesting–Your Thoughts?

DSC_0021 Last week I noticed a group of men that appeared to be collecting a significant amount of moon shells along the beach in front of Emma Schmitz Memorial View Point.    I also see this person (photo) on a regular basis doing the same…armed with decent size tote, plucking many shells from the beach. 

One day I asked this person what she was doing (she had gone well past the park and was on private property); she informed she was collecting moon shells and beach glass. 

One shell here or there may not make a significant change but weekly raidings may have an environmental impact.   I have no idea if the moon shells are being harvested for food or decor.

What are your thoughts?    

Another Beach Drive Teardown

The Barn Swallows, I’ve been writing about, have been living in a home that looks like is a flip on Beach Drive.   Today, some of the people who have been doing a few of the improvements on this property re-appeared to weed and tidy up the listing and in the process, removed their nest.

I know it’s not quite a tear down on a human scale.  I’m just listening to the birds chirp like crazy right now wondering what on earth happened to their humble home.   Hopefully it was time for the Barn Swallows to move on anyhow.

Update:  here is a great link contributed by a Beach Drive neighbor:

Bikes on Sidewalks


I’m always kind of surprised when I see a perfectly capable adult riding their bike on a  sidewalk when they could be on Beach Drive.  Come on folks, we have sharrows!

Beach Drive is loaded with hidden driveways and plenty of pedestrians too.   If a sidewalk-biker believes they are safer than being on the road, I beg to differ. 

The nice lady pictured here apologized as she blew past me and my dog last weekend.    I can totally understand being on the sidewalk with your bicycle…if you have training wheels.

Please Don’t Pass


I’ve been noticing more and more passing with anxious drivers along Beach Drive.   Last weekend, I witnessed a small red car (a Rabbit?) pass a driver who was going around 30 mph (which happens to be the speed limit).   The car went into the other lane and nearly missed a bicyclist that was approaching in the oncoming lane.   I’ve seen all kinds of cars from exotics to clunkers pass other vehicles with drivers of all ages.

This is Beach DRIVE.  Not Beach Freeway or Beach Highway.  This neighborhood is full of families and pets.  With all the parks and Puget Sound, Beach Drive attracts bicyclist, runners, walkers…just people out for a stroll.  It’s a small strip of road that is dense with population.   And with the swerves, bumps and side streets, it’s not accommodating to high speeds.    

The passing I’ve seen lately is dangerous and it’s only time before an accident happens and someone is hurt.   Slow it down to 30 mph, folks.  Please reconsider passing the driver in front of you…most times, if someone is driving too slow, taking in the view, they’ll pull over and let you by when there’s room to do so.   

Tired of Seattle’s Zoning?

Yesterday this comment was left on Beach Drive’s post about how to leave a comment.  In the absence of having a true "forum" I suppose that’s the best place to do this (until I figure something else out).   Anyhow, Tom’s comment about our zoning (or lack thereof) has been sticking in my mind.    I also feel strongly about what is being allowed to happen to our neighborhoods and thought I should create a post about this comment instead of allowing it to be "buried" as a comment.   From Tom:

As a builder in WS I am so tired to see the zoning that is allowed in some of our neighborhoods. The city is to blame for this, our great mayor and team of DPD specialists that do not make the requirements tougher. What about design review, steel buildings being built in WS? What is up with that? Zoning and an architectural review board needs to be established or we will all be victims of this crisis. Building nice looking and well laid out units can be done, the only problem with other builders are $$$ and can they buy the big yacht.

In my opinion, you can truly tell the builders who have pride in their work and who perhaps live in the area apart from those who are trying to cram as many units they can onto a small lot for the sole purpose of $$$.   Okay…I’ve said my part. 

What do you think?

PS:  Another local blog I’ve enjoyed reading, which addresses smarter land use decisions in Seattle, is Smarter Neighbors.

Spuds vs. Sunfish. Who has the best fish and chips?

The Seattle P&I reports that their readers recommend Sunfish for some of the best fish & chips around:

"Far and away the best fish ‘n’ chips in the city is Sunfish Seafood (2800 Alki Ave. S.W., Seattle). Once we found this place, we stopped our quest for the best." Jeff Ellis, Seattle

Personally, I agree.   Although when our family is at Sunfish, I typically order the seafood skewers which have halibut, prawns and veggies grilled perfectly over a basket of nummy fries.

During the Alki Hot Rod Show was the last time I was at Sunfish.   My husband and I ordered our skewers "to go" and sat in the grass overlooking the cars.   A participant, not from West Seattle, asked me "Wow, did you get that at Spuds?" and I told him "No.  I like Sunfish better".    He kind of scoffed at me like I didn’t know what I was talking about.    It has been a while since I’ve been to Spuds (years).   If I recall, it was a little too greasy for my taste…when I was a teen I probably would have loved it.   

What is your favorite fish & chip restaurant?

Sharrows…share how?


The official sharrows are showing up along Beach Drive with still no notice to the residents.   The only way to discover what the new paint or white-perma-whatever is along the road has been from either the West Seattle Blog or if you happened to attend the last Alki Community Council meeting.  No flyers…no nothing!   Or did the City of Seattle just miss our house? 

Let me begin by saying I have no issues with sharing the road with bicycles.  I ride a bike on the road to.   And, I would much rather see a bicyclist riding on the road instead of zooming down the sidewalks thru pedistrians.   

I’m just not sure what the sharrow is suppose to do?   Autos and bikes all ready share the road….we have been for years.    It’s not providing the bicyclist any more room or safety.   With most residents having to park on Beach Drive and people who are visiting the parks along our neighborhood having to do the same…there’s no additional room for designated bike lanes along our narrow pot-holed road.    How much did the City spend on sharrows instead of fixing Beach Drive so the people in cars (old and young…I’ve seen ya)  can speed faster on it?

If anything the sharrows will just help residents along Beach Drive with parking…the handy white lines will keep us closer to the curb and less in the street.   No real benefit for bikes IMHO.

What do you think?   

UpdateHere’s a link to an article just published from the Seattle PI stating "some wonder if they’re more than just goodwill gestures to cyclists. After all, critics say, what does it really change?"

Sharrows on Beach Drive

Thanks again to West Seattle Blog.   They just posted information about the "sharrows" along Beach Drive, which BDB addressed last week.   If you attend the Alki Community Council meetings, then this is old news for you.    If not, click this link to get the scoop from WSB.

  • Sharrows are designed to let drivers know bicyclist are on the road, too (duh).
  • There will be times when we will not be allowed to park on Beach Drive while the City implements the Sharrow Lanes.   We are suppose to have a 72 hour notice before they restrict our parking.

I’m sorry…a bit of a rant here, you would think our fine City officials would get the word out to those of us who were not present at the ACC meeting last Thursday.   

Maybe the sharrows will get the adult bicyclist off the sidewalks and onto the roads, um, I mean sharrow….