Junction Association updates: It’s not just about development

April 14, 2008 at 10:17 pm | In Environment, West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news | 31 Comments

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It’s no secret that entering West Seattle, Junction-bound, from the “Fauntleroy Triangle” area, you’re not exactly greeted with an inspirational view (photos above were taken as we drove westbound on Fauntleroy during the Saturday-afternoon sunshine). But you might be interested to hear that in this time of transition (related topic below), there’s a move afoot to change that — spearheaded by local leaders including West Seattle-residing Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen and West Seattle Junction Association president Dave Montoure. They’re strategizing a way to beautify the “gateway to West Seattle,” and working on a strategy meeting to be held later this month. In a recent chat with WSB, Montoure — proprietor of West 5 — also talked about a new way that his establishment and the Junction’s other food businesses are going green — and making history in the process:

As of this month, the West Seattle Junction Association is the first group of its type with its food-service members — more than 30 — recycling food waste. It’s the first phase of a long-range project to recycle more of what winds up in the alleys — to reduce the “dumpster footprint,” as Montoure put it:

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It’s a true recycling program; Cedar Grove is picking up the food waste three times a week and returning compost back to The Junction to use in landscaping. (Cedar Grove is the same company that recycles what is put out for city yard- and food-waste pickup.) So far, Montoure says, he’s getting good feedback from the participants, some of whom — such as Elliott Bay Brewery (read more about their efforts here) — already had been heading in a green direction.

Montoure says the Junction Association will work on cardboard recycling before the end of the year, followed by other types of recycling including tin/aluminum/glass/plastic.

This is just one of the big projects the WSJA is working on; the first-ever Pet Fest is less than two weeks away, for starters — we have more details to share on that tomorrow, along with plenty of West Seattle Summer Fest ’08 advance scoop from our chat with Montoure.

31 Comments

  1. It would be nice to have a more appealing entry into West Seattle. Just please dont “develop” this area in such a way as to create a lot of traffic congestion. We already have to wait to get off of the bridge betwen 4 and 6 PM at 35th and Fauntleroy. I can just see us waiting down at the bottom of the hill near the Admiral Way exit or worse if there are too many distractions for lack of a better term. Develop it but do it intelligently with current and future traffic volume take into consideration. No offense to Huling but the WS gateway can look better than 2.5 blocks of car dealerships (with sales guys jaywalking all day). I don’t want to see 4 – 8 story apartment / condo buildings .. this will create a lot of congestion and throwing in a few token businesses on the ground floor (California Ave condos for example) is not going to make this any more appealing than car dealerships and I imagine is not going to make residents too happy.

    Comment by toomanyratsinacageakaWS — 8:21 am April 15, 2008 #

  2. The “make it look pretty but don’t impede our cars” mentality is exactly why this area looks so soul-crushing in the first place. The genesis of the horrible sprawl we have all over our country was in bending the rules of urban planning to always maximize for the presence of cars and for the convenience of drivers. The best way to beautify our built environment is to prioritize the presence of pedestrians. We need interesting, people-scaled architecture, focal points, trees and plantings. Road space should be allocated for public transportation and bicycles FIRST and private cars should come dead last on the list. With the kind of density we’re going to have in the near future people are going to have to start getting used to the idea that our current car-centric model is unsustainable.

    Comment by Christopher Boffoli — 9:31 am April 15, 2008 #

  3. “No offense to Huling but the WS gateway can look better than 2.5 blocks of car dealerships (with sales guys jaywalking all day).”

    No offense to Huling? Who cares about that? Please offend them all you want. I don’t think any of us residents have much interest in preserving the rich heritage of West Seattle car dealerships.

    But no, please no 4-8 story apartments, either. Has no one noticed we’re in a housing crash in the US and that no one’s going to need condos and crappy townhouses for about ten years?

    Comment by Eric — 9:31 am April 15, 2008 #

  4. Christopher, bravo. That is a great comment and I couldn’t agree more.

    Comment by Eric — 9:33 am April 15, 2008 #

  5. The first and easiest way to beautify the “Fauntleroy Triangle” is to plant shade trees. The Triangle is underzoned and the building in it are — let’s be kind — relatively unstimulating, architecturally and esthetically. Just your garden variety broadleaf maples, when mature, would add plenty to this area.

    But as West Seattle upzones, and more people come, they will bring their cars with them, whether Mr. Boffoli likes that or not, and any traffic plans for the area had damn well better not impede mobility. That means NO bike lanes on Fauntleroy, reducing traffic to one lane in each direction. They need to strangle THAT baby in its crib.

    The “car-centric model” is and will remain sustainable as long as people choose to sustain it. Until the population increase makes feasible separated-from-grade rail transit through West Seattle and points south, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

    Comment by ivan — 10:14 am April 15, 2008 #

  6. How about we start by planting some trees, maybe in a median strip?

    How about some practical retail development? A deli where you can pull over for a nice sandwich on your way to Lincoln Park? A bakery? A wine store? A book store? Some good Indian, Chinese and Vietnamese eateries to match the superlative quality of Buddha Ruksa?

    How about some art to replace “Walking on Logs”? I appreciate the feelings people from West Seattle have for the sculpture, but I personally think it’s kitsch. I vote for something that can’t be so easily appropriated by people for their various pet causes, no matter how noble they may be. Campfire Girls t-shirts have their place. It isn’t on public artwork though.

    There is so much friggin potential for that street. No offense to the pawn shop, the surfeit of dead car dealerships, the hideous Teriyaki joint, the sun tan parlor and the cosmetic dental implant place (what are dental implants, btw???). They are eyesores on the most heavily trafficked street in our fair neighborhood.

    Comment by n — 10:54 am April 15, 2008 #

  7. I agree with the need to address traffic…. (I’m sure we all do!). I think it would help a lot to have a turning light at the intersection of 35th and Avalon….. for all 4 directions! The lack of one is always holding things up in that hub area.

    Comment by DB — 11:02 am April 15, 2008 #

  8. It’s going to continue to get harder to drive your car everywhere in Seattle even if we happened to get to live with vacant car lots here for the next 50 years. Even if we slap down a big superhighway straight to downtown that is elevated 2000 feet in the air, it’s never going to be like driving from Podunk to Backwater City on a clear day.

    So, can we accept that we need some viable alternatives? It is possible that we’re not going to get something without giving up something else.

    Comment by JW — 11:40 am April 15, 2008 #

  9. Move the Vashon ferry terminal downtown and take all the 50mph-vehicle thru traffic off West Seattle streets.

    Try an experiment some weekday: Stand out front of Diva Espresso at around 5:10 am and look toward the SW. You’ll hear them long before you see the swarm of single headlights – yes, you’ll think you’ve woke up in the middle of “The Wild Ones” or some other motorcycle gang B-movie. And following close behind them see the rush of racing cars, all in some sort of death-match race to get off the island and through West Seattle.

    There ought to be a law!

    Comment by Eddie — 12:10 pm April 15, 2008 #

  10. Eddie, when we used to commute downtown in the mornings, we always tried to get to Fauntleroy/California before about 7:15 am, because that’s when a huge rush of ferry traffic including another wave of motorcycles would generally come rolling past that corner. Anybody remember the push for a bridge across Vashon and West Seattle a decade-plus ago?

    Comment by WSB — 12:28 pm April 15, 2008 #

  11. I believe that much of the traffic coming off the bridge at 35th and Fauntleroy is caused by the light at KFC. People turn left on to 35th only to stop at the light or stop and wait for someone turning left on to Avalon. Although it would be a bit of an eyesore, if there were some sort of an over/underpass to bypass that intersection, or if the two intersections were somehow redesigned into one, much of the traffic stopped down the hill would be alleviated.

    Comment by Ron Burgundy — 12:30 pm April 15, 2008 #

  12. I grew up on Vashon, and let me tell you: THERE WILL NEVER BE A BRIDGE TO SEATTLE. trust me on this one. Move the Fauntleroy dock traffic to downtown? yeah, because that dock has SO much extra room and is run SO efficiently. Have you ever tried to drive the waterfront during commute times? Imagine now how much fun that will be when we have a “surface option” rather than the Viaduct. Better yet, let’s just get rid of the ferry traffic altogether and let those &^#%@&! islanders fend for themselves. Maybe if there were police patrolling Fauntleroy- doing their jobs- there would not be 50+ mph traffic off the boat every morning. Just sayin.
    Maybe the key is to fight high density development in our own neighborhood and stop worrying about a few islanders trying to get to work in the morning.

    Comment by Jen V. — 12:51 pm April 15, 2008 #

  13. I don’t really care if the Fauntleroy triangle remains an eyesore to most of the people on this blog. A visually unappealing corridor is ideal b/c it might force drivers to focus on the road instead of looking at pretty trees or public art work. In defense of the Walking on Logs sculpture…my sister and I still crack up remembering when someone put granny panties and big bras on them awhile back. It’s like our own Waiting for the Interurban to dress up as we see fit. Hmm, I guess I sound hypocritical appreciating that art, but oh well!

    Comment by CMP — 1:05 pm April 15, 2008 #

  14. Developers should be more receptive to how its immediate surroundings will affect the neighborhood. If there isn’t a proven viable plan in place to help ease traffic congestion for their businesses, they should be held responsible for creating the stress factor that goes along with it. The new complex when its finished across from Jefferson Square on Alaska, is going to be a nightmare for commuters coming up on Alaska Way and the bridge.

    Comment by Ari — 1:07 pm April 15, 2008 #

  15. Jen, while I don’t have any issues with commuters in general…. it is true that Fauntleroy becomes a bit of a main highway in the mornings- directly because of the folks coming from the ferry. I live on Fauntleroy and expect traffic noise- but the roar of the motorcycles before the sun comes up all summer long is more than you should have to deal with in a small neighborhood like ours. I had new windows put in- partially just to help cut the noise from this problem. So yes, you islanders have lots of issues with us, I’m sure… but it cuts both ways.

    Comment by DB — 1:09 pm April 15, 2008 #

  16. The strategy of making everything ugly to minimize distraction hasn’t ended traffic accidents anywhere.

    Shouldn’t our neighborhood be worth slowing down to look at? Shouldn’t our neighborhood be worth getting out of your car to experience? Isn’t having a walkable neighborhood (with all of the attendant physical and mental health benefits) worth changing our expectations of drivers/worth changing our expectations of ourselves?

    Comment by JW — 1:23 pm April 15, 2008 #

  17. DB- I don’t consider myself an islander any more- heck, I haven’t lived on the rock since I was 17….but geez- you bought a house on Fauntleroy knowing the ferry was there…I fail to see how that is the Washington State Ferry System’s fault, or anyone on Vashon for that matter. I would hate it too- so what would you propose they do? Noise restrictions on motorcycles? Not allowing motorcycle commuters on the early runs? Well, that ain’t gonna happen – and the more packed traffic is and the higher gas prices go up you are going to see more motorcycle commuters. Not allowing commuters from Vashon is not a viable solution to anyone’s problem- except yours.

    Comment by Jen V. — 1:25 pm April 15, 2008 #

  18. DB, I just re-read that- and I came across as a rude B. Sorry about that. We’re all in this together in WS.

    Comment by Jen V. — 1:36 pm April 15, 2008 #

  19. And, without the Vashon ferry, how would all us West Seattleites get our bikes off the mainland for a little weekend island excursion? Personally I love the Vashon Islanders and have come to expect Fauntleroy to be somewhat busy during morning and evening rush times and to wait patiently for a pause in the flow during the rest of the day. We seem to forget but Vashon Islanders use West Seattle businesses more than they use downtown or Southcenter businesses. We’d be cutting off one hand if we killed the ferry landing here. Who hasn’t gone down there to watch the ferries coming and going? That’s part of being a West Seattleite, too.

    Comment by chas redmond — 1:47 pm April 15, 2008 #

  20. Exactly… I don’t have an issue with the ferries or the commuters… but I doubt any home shopper would have any idea of the huge volume of motorcycles that come through the fauntleroy area between 5:30am and 8am unless they had actually experienced it.

    But you are right…we are in it together…. my wish of course is that the commuters be mindful as they race through the neighborhoods and not go as fast as they can, revving their engines in one unified blast as they go (slightly tongue in cheek here). I have the same thoughts about the teenagers who sometimes drive around our blocks in continual circles with their souped up cars just to see how much noise they can make.

    I trust our community to continue to strive to make the best decisions. Because the commuters aren’t going anywhere and we are certainly getting denser and denser (because EVERYONE wants to live in the fab West Seattle)!

    But could we have better traffic flow? Certainly. Could we have better paved streets, more streetlights, crosswalks, speed bumps and turn lanes w/ lights? Absolutely.

    Keep fighting the good fight…. and we’ll keep inching back towards our lovely ideal “mayberry” environment.

    Comment by DB — 2:06 pm April 15, 2008 #

  21. you’d think the fact that our glorious Mayor lives here would make some difference!

    Comment by Jen V. — 2:14 pm April 15, 2008 #

  22. Agreed, we definitely need to beautify that Fauntleroy entrance at 35th/Fauntleroy. Maybe a sign along the lines of this.

    Comment by OP — 2:46 pm April 15, 2008 #

  23. Fauntleroy was designed as an arterial and should be kept as one in the future. Why can’t it be “transformed” by making it a tree lined boulevard with turn lanes. Nothing will make WS more inviting than fixing our own “mercer mess”.

    Comment by seattle golfer — 3:51 pm April 15, 2008 #

  24. Getting to and thru the junction in a few years will be almost impossible.

    Comment by Ari — 6:49 pm April 15, 2008 #

  25. The idea of prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle traffic is admirable, but not suitable for one of the limited access points to our peninsula. Moving cars quickly through the Fauntleroy triangle area is important as it is a “pinch point” that can cause back-ups in several directions. Forcing cars to creep along and idle increases air pollution and makes it unappealing to pedestrians.

    Comment by Jerald — 8:02 am April 16, 2008 #

  26. Let’s see…the problem is pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles? It couldn’t be the sheer volume of automobile traffic itself? Nah, that simply couldn’t be the problem.

    Comment by Al — 8:37 am April 16, 2008 #

  27. The problem is other people in cars!!!! Other people who dare to think they should be allowed to live here! I don’t contribute to bad traffic, it’s other people’s fault!

    Comment by MeMeMe — 11:27 am April 16, 2008 #

  28. I think we should keep the entrance to WS unattractive so more people won’t move here. It’s crowded enough as it is. It took me 25 minutes to get to 99 North this morning from Gatewood Hill. The traffic here is ridiculous.

    Also, the distance to get places is never going to change, so people will continue to rely on their cars so this city needs to plan better for that. Not all of us can contain our lives to a 5 mile radius or limit our activities to Metro’s limited schedule.

    Comment by m — 9:08 am April 17, 2008 #

  29. I’m glad that the issue of the “gateway” to West Seattle is getting so much attention. I live within a block of the triangle area and have wondered for the last ten years why West Seattlites didn’t demand that something be done to clean up the eyesores in the triangle area. Alki Lumber should be ashamed of they way they keep up their properties. The parking strips and sidewalk next to Alki Lumber which front along Avalon are hardly ever mowed and are constantly filled with trash. There are always piles of broken pallets and trash on either side of their business on 36th. I long ago decided that I wasn’t giving any of my business to Alki Lumber since they obviously have so little respect for the community as demonstrated by how they keep up their business. Obviously some of the small business in that area could do more to keep up appearances. Luckily, we will be getting rid of the horrible motel. Let’s hope we get something desirable in its place. Another thing to mention about the gateway is the poor way in which the city has keep up the landscaping on either side of the entrance/exit ramp between the bridge and Fauntleroy. The Fairmount Community Association (our territory abuts the triangle area) is working with the West Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods Coordinator and the city to put together a “clean up day” which will use volunteers and resources from the City to get the area from the “Walking Logs” up to the intersection cleaned up: trees and shrubs trimmed, blackberries cut back, etc. Stay tuned for more on this effort – we will be looking for additional volunteers.

    Comment by Nancy38 — 8:05 pm April 17, 2008 #

  30. Thanks Nancy38 for organizing a gateway clean up campaign. Additionally, it would be a neighborly gesture to have the current and new owners of triangle properties to remove the razor wire and fencing around vacant lots. Example, the new Lien Animal Clinic parking lot and the newly acquired lot by Harbor Properties. Honestly, fencing with razor wire is not what our neighborhood is about.

    Comment by seattle golfer — 9:45 am April 18, 2008 #

  31. Nancy38- I live in that neighborhood too. I will be happy to volunteer! contact me at vanmatrejennifer@gmail.com
    :)

    Comment by JenV — 12:57 pm April 18, 2008 #

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