As one person put it at Monday night’s monthly North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting, it was “transportation theme night” – starring an explanation of the impending reduction of parking on SW Genesee plus a brief brainstorming round for Delridge Way’s future, also featuring an update on Delridge Grocery, formerly Delridge Produce Cooperative. Read on:
GENESEE PARKING CHANGES: A total of 60 spaces are marked for removal along SW Genesee between Avalon and Delridge, according to Jonathan Dong from SDOT.
He said the planned changes (which were reported here last month) are mostly attributable to new bus route 50 and new signal at Avalon/Genesee, saying the spaces could be removed as soon as next month, if the community doesn’t object. Another SDOT staffer and a King County Metro staffer joined in the explanation – with backstory on Route 50 as well as why the buses need more space on the road, even though Metro says it’s using the smallest buses possible – 35 feet long, with one door. Dong said they went out and surveyed one day (between 7 am and 7 pm, NOT at night) and only about 20 percent of the spaces were being used, on Genesee or on side streets. One resident said that she would estimate 85 percent usage at night when everyone’s home.
Michael Taylor-Judd of NDNC said he’s not happy about the parking-removal proposal – the community lobbied for the signal, the community lobbied for the bus route, and parking questions were asked previously, but the city, he said, assured them there was no problem – then suddenly months later, here’s SDOT saying it wants to take away 60 parking spaces. “I’m wondering why we should just accept this, because the bus seems to be running pretty fine right now.”
Another attendee said he was concerned about crashes if the buses and cars had to share too-tight space. Yet another said the parking removal worried him because at one spot, there’s nowhere else to park for Longfellow Creek trail access. Next question: “So – you don’t go out and measure the streets before you plan something like this?” Metro’s rep said this route plan was kind of a last-minute change and it was an “oversight” that they didn’t measure first.
Discussions of possible solutions ensued – such as, taking out the sidewalk on the side adjoining the golf course, which Taylor-Judd suggested is little used because there’s no access to the golf course there.
“We will go back and look to (re-evaluate),” Dong said, but, “we do need to get the changes done for the safety issues that have been raised.” (You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something to say about the Genesee parking-vs.-bus situation.)
DELRIDGE WAY ‘VISIONING’: Mat McBride and Pete Spalding from the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council prefaced this by talking about how the “boulevard” concept arose for the north part of Delridge (roughly Orchard to the bridge – it’s too narrow south of Orchard), including conversations with SDOT that Delridge Way was “more than a vehicle through-way.” So what could that mean for its future? “There is no bad answer here,” insisted McBride, depending on what community members want (lights? sidewalks? medians? trees?). There could be big ideas, too, said Spalding – such as a dedicated bike lane the entire length of Delridge, physically separated from traffic. But whatever the idea, “Let’s dream big, because if we don’t ask for it, we’re not going to get it,” he said. For example, he said, Nucor has a dream of their own entrance/exit to the bridge so they’re not dealing with Delridge/Andover. “Probably not going to happen,” Spalding allowed, but – again – why not dream big? There was a question about getting other neighborhoods involved in the discussion; Spalding said this is simply the first one, but this will be on the DNDC agenda next week, other groups after that, then a big community forum at some point.
Lots of discussion of process ensued before it was directed back to getting ideas on a big sheet of paper. Lighting was one suggestion; “pedestrian scale” another; make sure that some of the blocks just off Delridge get some attention too if this becomes a “named project” in a future Bridging the Gap-type levy. Laid out on the meeting table during all this was a big map base that will be taken around to the various meetings – stay tuned for details of next week’s Delridge District Council meeting (should be Wednesday, March 20th).
DELRIDGE GROCERY: That’s the new name for the all-volunteer group previously known as Delridge Produce Cooperative, as they move toward taking the commercial space in the new DESC housing building that’s going up at 5444 Delridge Way SW. The building is expected to be done in early 2014 but the commercial space build-out can’t be done during construction, so Delridge Grocery’s Ranette Iding said they would likely open around June 2014. While they’re getting some breaks from DESC, Iding said, they have no affiliation – aside from DESC being their landlord. The name change was because of confusion over “Delridge Produce Cooperative” – what exactly were they trying to do? – “We just want a grocery in the neighborhood,” Iding said. But they will be a “multi-stakeholder cooperative,” including the producers as members and owners of the business. Their public sales of memberships starts at a kickoff event March 23rd, to which everybody’s welcome – follow this Facebook event page for details.
CLEANUP UPDATES: The two past Saturdays’ cleanups took out 20 bags of recycling and 10 bags of garbage from “off the beaten path” areas of Greg Davis Park, reported Tanya Baer, amazed by the sheer amount of bottles they happened onto. They were heartened that more neighbors joined the cleanups, in addition to regular participants. The Genesee stairwell near Youngstown might be a future target.
DESC ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING: Another one is coming up March 26th, said Baer – watch this page for an agenda.
NDNC usually meets the second Monday of the month, 6:30 pm – Delridge Library most months but check the council’s website in case there’s a change.
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