About two dozen people filled a room at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center for the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council‘s September meeting on Wednesday night – and about half were city employees, mostly to talk about projects previewed here earlier, repaving the south mile of Delridge next year (map above), and reducing combined-sewer overflows into Longfellow Creek. Read on for the toplines on those topics and other key points:
WHO WAS THERE: Organizations represented in the DNDC membership on hand for the meeting included North Delridge Neighborhood Council, Westwood Neighborhood Council, Highland Park Action Committee, Camp Long Advisory Council, and Nature Consortium.
Here’s some of what they heard:
SDOT’S DELRIDGE REPAVING PROJECT: The repaving project updated here earlier in the day – scheduled to start next January and last up to a year – is the subject of mailers that went out to 4,000 households earlier this week, according to the four SDOT reps in attendance. Here’s the flyer they received.
Additional information shared at the District Council meeting: The new surface will be largely asphalt from Orchard to Holden, and concrete the rest of the way. Drainage under the roadway will be improved, and that’s good news for Longfellow Creek, they said. During the year-long construction process, northbound traffic will be preserved except for a couple weekends when intersections will be rebuilt, but southbound will be detoured to 35th SW. That means increased traffic for neighborhood cut-throughs, they acknowledge, and so that means the neighborhood is invited to apply for the Traffic Calming Program – signs, carts with portable radar signs, etc.
The planned rechannelization/reconfiguration also was discussed (you can take a closer look here). And they had a list of FAQs. They also mentioned the other rechannelization that will be put into place sooner, with a 6-9 am bus lane on north Delridge Way SW, and a southbound bike lane. (Here’s the latest update on that work, part of a project along Metro Route 120.)
They acknowledged the gap between the two projects, “we’re aware of it and we want to someday do something with it … right now it’s not prioritized, there’s no money,” said Carol McMahan. Meantime, the 26th SW greenway is moving forward, she added, with neighborhood outreach forthcoming, and implementation next summer; “the wayfinding signs will be going in this year,” she noted. The city has applied for a grant to widen the sidewalk from Andover to where it joins the trail, to 12 feet. If they get it, they will move forward with design and construction. One more project: SW Andover will get a bike lane on the south side including a bike box “to put you out in front of all the cars to make your turn.” And, she said the NW corner of Delridge/Andover is getting a “freight improvement” – right where the sidewalk is broken up because trucks have been running over it – the curb radius wll be widened a bit so trucks can stay on the road. The sidewalk will be thickened and strengthened so it won’t break so easily if trucks do drive up on it. That will be weekend work, to be completed before year’s end, McMahan said.
Jessica Murphy, pavement expert, also shared some technical details of how Delridge will be resurfaced – with the types of pavement that are appropriate for the sections where they’ll be placed.
Asked what kind of outreach is being done to let people know about the bike lanes, current and future the SDOT reps said that is a component of the Bicycle Master Plan, but weren’t entirely sure how the word was getting out through various parts of the community.
Pablo Lambinicio of Westwood brought up the fact that the paving project does not take into effect the longtime community interest in a “boulevard” concept for Delridge. Chair Mat McBride recalled bringing that up at Mayor McGinn’s recent Town Hall. (See “Question #7” in our coverage from that event.) SDOT’s Murphy said the majority of the segment that’s being repaved is 38 feet wide, “not wide enough for a boulevard concept.” But, Lambinicio said, they had heard there still could be things done for a “boulevard feel.” Murphy said that SDOT’s Jim Curtin followed up on that but did not surface anything from the neighborhood to be incorporated into the project. But, “what we’re doing now does not preclude doing something in the future,” though there’s nothing funded and nothing being studied right now, she pointed out: “We didn’t have anything tangible to incorporate.”
Community advocate Nancy Folsom then pointed out it’s frustrating when promises are made at meetings and then discussions take place but there’s no followthrough to let those who brought up the issues know what’s going on. She also added, however, that it’s “wonderful” Delridge is getting some attention. She also wondered if some expenditures would just be “patching” something that needed to be rebuilt. “I don’t think we can stop this project nor should we necessariiy … (but) are we building the road we really need? … Delridge is inadequate for the traffic it needs to support.”
(Click image to see larger version as PDF)
CSO PROJECTS: Tim Croll from Seattle Public Utilities said this is the official kickoff of the public-involvement process for the combined-sewer-overflow-reduction work the city has to do. (This, too, was the subject of a WSB story hours before the DNDC meeting – see it here.)
He explained that Delridge had two big tanks built in the ’80s to cut down on overflows into Longfellow Creek – “it’s a lot better now but it’s not where it needs to be.” First, they’re going to retrofit the two structures with new technology. Then – roadside raingardens (see map above) might help the city avoid having to build another storage tank in the area. The DNDC meeting kicked off a 2-year public-involvement process.
Questions included: Did the first round of outreach materials include an indication of how to get it in other languages, considering many are spoken in the raingarden target area, Highland Park? Short answer, no. But SPU said it’s reaching out to community groups and organizations that have connections with those. Another question: Why are roadside raingardens (which usually bring street/sidewalk work) proposed for neighborhoods that already have sidewalks, when so many don’t? That was asked by Patrick Baer, who brought up two blocks that were in line for new sidewalks, then suggested bioswales, which led to one block being dropped from the plan because there was no money – and suddenly now bioswales are being proposed for neighborhoods that already have sidewalks. Another SPU rep said basically, they couldn’t make a choice to pick neighborhoods without sidewalks; they had to plan this work for neighborhoods where they needed to reduce overflows. SPU said it wants to hear everyone’s ideas – maybe they can find “a nexus” for bringing sidewalks into the situation.
This project, too, has an upcoming public meeting – 6-8 pm October 4th at the Salvation Army center, 9050 16th SW. Details on that, and the project overview, are on this SPU webpage.
(Delridge Day 2012 photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
DELRIDGE DAY: The festival’s success was trumpeted – and so was the need for more help next year. 65 booths! Does Delridge Day have a goal? asked one meeting attendee. Baer pointed out that, among other benefits and accomplishments, the festival raised $1,300 for scholarships for kids to participate in Delridge Community Center projects (the bake sale pictured above was part of that), and also bolstered the area’s image communitywide. (Here’s our as-it-happened coverage from DD.)
LIGHTING FOR BRANDON NODE: Among other community needs – this isn’t happening yet and it was asked, why do they have to wait for the city? Maybe they should just start doing it themselves, someone suggested. “That would be very Delridge,” observed McBride. However, it would require people to participate on subcommittees.
SPEAKING OF LIGHTS: Baer also noted that K-5 STEM at Boren is asking for flashing school-zone lights and may not get them for months. “Being the location, and the age of the kids, I can’t believe the school district hasn’t addressed it,” he said. “They shouldn’t even have opened the school doors before it was addressed. I can’t see it’s going to cost that much money to put lights on the school signs.”
SW DAKOTA RIGHT OF WAY PLAN: Community advocates and Youngstown Flats developer rep Steffenie Evans were there on behalf of the quest for a grant to improve the street end greenspace to the west of the under-construction project. They all wore “I (Heart) Dakota ROW” buttons. Creek access and safety are among the goals of the “little plaza” with a path and plantings that they are hoping to see in the space. (The plantings will be low, so it is not a “lurker haven” as it is now, said neighbor Nicholas.) “We’re going to turn this into a place that will tie us into Longfellow Creek,” he said. They are seeking a matching-fund grant of more than $60,000 (and already have $65,000 in donated labor and cash for their share) and hope that the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council will vouch for them if asked.
OUTREACH AND COMMUNITY: Mike Shilley despaired about this …wondering how each individual community reaches out to the diverse ethnic communities in their area, or even if they do. Nancy Folsom says she volunteers in High Point and it’s a great way to meet people there. She also suggested putting together fun free events involving food, to catch people who wander by. McBride said perhaps the DNDC would serve as more of an incubator than a repository of activity and group reps. Lambinicio thought for starters the group needed a list of all the organizations in the area. Michael Taylor-Judd pointed out that plans for next year’s Gathering of Neighbors will start revving up shortly and that’s one great way to meet a lot of people. Shilley also said he’d need help in order to organize another volunteer-recognition event such as the one this year (WSB coverage here).
POLICE UPDATE: Lt. Pierre Davis recapped the fairly quiet summer, and the recent identification of “a group of individuals … causing some problems in the neighborhood, and we are addressing it.” He said he couldn’t go into details beyond that statement.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: The autumnal equinox will be celebrated at Camp Long, DNDC chair McBride reminded everyone, with the celebration/fundraiser tomorrow (Saturday 9/22) on behalf of their challenge course … October 17-21, the new Roxhill Playground will be built, he added, and “there is a lot of room for volunteerism on this project.” He reminded everyone of the new community website for the project, roxhillcastle.wordpress.com. … Michael Taylor-Judd reminded the group of major bus changes taking effect on September 29th, including Route 120 (here’s our most recent story on that).
The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council usually meets on third Wednesdays at Youngstown, 7 pm – public always welcome.