Week in Review: Seattle’s new police chief, transportation, and the state of the pandemic

Bill Radke discusses the week’s news with independent health care journalist Joanne Silberner, political analyst and contributing columnist Joni Balter, and Seattle Times David Kroman.

Mayor Bruce Harrell announced Tuesday afternoon that Adrian Diaz would officially be named Seattle Police Chief. Diaz was named Interim Police Chief back in 2020 after Police Chief Carmen Best resigned.

“I approach this work with optimism, mindful of the trust that was shattered by the events of 2020’s… murder of George Floyd; of the combined trauma of the community and our officers alike; and of the long path of reconciliation ahead of us. “Not just between SPD and the community, but also between the city, the department, and the men and women, sworn and civilian, who form the heart and soul of SPD,” Diaz said.

What does it say that Harrell chose Diaz?

Speaking to KUOW’s Soundside This week, Greg Spotts, the new director of Seattle’s Department of Transportation, said that one of his top priorities is Vision Zero, an effort to eliminate traffic related deaths. He also talked about creating a more climate-resilient transportation infrastructure. Where does he stand on hot topics? Bike lanes?

The Seattle City Council will vote on a strategic shift for 3rd Avenue in downtown Seattle on Tuesday. The vision includes widening sidewalks, eliminating a lane, and putting in a median. Several businesses in the area have closed due to increased crime on 3rd avenue. How would a median or lane reduction or sidewalk expansion or attracting pedestrians affect crime?

President Biden said that the ‘pandemic is over’ in an interview with 60 minutes that aired Sunday. Yet between 400 and 500 Americans are still dying every day from Covid-19. Additionally, Governor Jay Inslee declared an end to the Covid emergency in Washington state. What does that mean and to whom?

The West Seattle Bridge reopened Saturday night. It was estimated that around 100,000 drivers a day used the bridge before it closed. The bridge was shut down for roughly 2 ½ years while repair work suffered many delays. Has it affected congestion/commute times?

Smoke from the Bolt Creek fire blanketed the Puget Sound region this week. Despite a relatively lighter wildfire season, air quality suffered on multiple occasions this summer in Western Washington, prompting experts to recommend staying indoors if possible. Is this it for fires and smoke this year?

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