Public Health and Monorails

Public Health

The recently passed indoor smoking ban takes effect Dec. 8. The new law prohibits smoking within 25 feet of entrances, air vents, and open windows of public buildings. Some speculate that smokers will need to be 25 feet away from pretty much everything. It's the most restrictive smoking ban in the country. But Roger Valdez, head of tobacco prevention for Public Health–Seattle and King County, says smokers can still light up within 25 feet as long as smoke isn't going into the building. For now, anyway. "We're still trying to figure out what enforcement looks like," says Valdez, who admits there is no objective way to determine if smoke is going into a building. One thing is clear: Seattle police will not be enforcing the 25-foot rule, according to an SPD spokesperson, unless a smoker refuses to leave when asked—a trespassing offense. As for bars and restaurants with outdoor seating, Valdez says, "If you don't get any complaints and there are no concerns from customers and no smoke is getting inside, you are fine." PHILIP DAWDY


Hardly had the glass stopped falling from the monorail collision over Fifth Avenue last week when Geof Logan began composing his letter to City Hall. Logan was a high-profile campaigner against the other monorail—the failed Seattle Monorail Project (SMP)—hoping to keep that one from cutting through the middle of Seattle Center. Now he wonders if the old 1962 line should come to a full stop, too. Logan says Mayor Greg Nickels and the City Council should be asking if the old monorail should be torn down. If not, can it be renovated and maybe even extended? For funding, might the city ask the Legislature for permission to tap tax money currently dedicated to the recently aborted SMP? "I'm not saying that it's time to pull the plug on the Center monorail," Logan wrote, and "even bringing this possibility up will unleash a firestorm of irrational protest from historic and transit sentimentalists." But, he says, "The responsible and realistic option to remove the Center monorail needs to be on the table, with equal weight and consideration." RICK ANDERSON

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