North Delridge business-district project about to replace perpendicular parking with planting strip

February 17, 2014 at 9:16 pm | In Delridge, Transportation, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you’ve been to North Delridge’s Brandon Node business district – home to a cluster of businesses including Pho Aroma and Olympic Pizza restaurants – in the past four days, you might have noticed the “no parking” signs that went up Friday afternoon in what’s been a perpendicular-parking area on the north side of SW Findlay, west of Delridge (map).

The “no parking” signs alongside the mural on the south wall of the Super 24 store have a double meaning: Not only “no parking” because of an impending roadside project, but “no parking” in those spots permanently, once that project is done.

It’s a community-proposed, city-funded project, but Pho Aroma’s owners Melinda Nguyen and Scott Dang say business owners didn’t know about the project until a flyer arrived a few weeks ago announcing it was happening.

The project will remove the six perpendicular public parking spaces along the wall alongside Super 24. As explained by SDOT’s John Vander Sluis:

The project goal is to improve pedestrian access on the north side of SW Findlay Street at Delridge Way SW by providing a buffer between the sidewalk and parked vehicles. The existing parking cut-out is not designed to accommodate perpendicular parking. The parking cut-out is only 10′ deep, while perpendicular parking requires 19′ long stalls. As a result, the shallow parking cut-out often leads to the sidewalk being blocked by overhanging cars. This project will address the problem by replacing the parking cut-out with a curb and trees. On-street parallel parking will be allowed.

We photographed the sidewalk/cars confluence earlier in the day, after talking to Pho Aroma’s proprietors, and before the no-parking signs arrived:

The project is expected to cost about $70,000, coming from the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund. The process for such projects involves review by the nearest district council – a group of reps from local neighborhood groups and organizations – and this one was recommended for approval last year by the North Delridge Neighborhood Council. Vander Sluis explains the process:

Under the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund program, projects are requested by individual community members, community groups, or business groups. Each Neighborhood District Council reviews applications and select three projects to forward to the Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks and Recreation for detailed feasibility and cost analysis. Funding decisions are based on recommendations from Neighborhood District Councils, Parks and SDOT, with the final decisions made by the Mayor.

Losing a handful of parking spaces might sound fairly negligible, but the Pho Aroma proprietors point to increased parking pressure in the area from other changes, such as a busy commercial kitchen across Delridge (one reason you see food trucks parked in the area), and DESC‘s recently opened Cottage Grove Commons building, built with ~15 spaces, because its 66 formerly homeless residents weren’t expected to need parking. (That building’s retail space – expected to house the Delridge Grocery co-op food store – isn’t occupied yet.) They also say there should have been more outreach beyond a flyer arriving to announce the impending project.

Pho Aroma has perpendicular spaces alongside its own leased building, and its proprietors are worried that area residents might be pressuring the city to remove those spaces too. We asked Vander Sluis about that; he replied, “There are no plans at this time for any projects on the south side of the street.”

The sidewalk that currently runs behind the about-to-be-removed parking spaces connects with a relatively new crosswalk, which the restaurant’s owners say they supported; its installation resulted from a similar neighborhood-vetting process noted in coverage here three years ago, funded by the city in 2012.

10 Comments

  1. I am curious who purposed this project. Should be on record somewhere, as I recall if it had to pass through the District Council process, it was submitted from a neighbor or group first…and I don’t remember seeing this one last year, though I am no longer directly involved in the NDNC.

    Comment by Holli — 10:23 pm February 17, 2014 #

  2. 70K really? It looks like they could have compromised with parallel parking instead. Parallel would yeild much less, but *some* spaces, however all it would take is some pavement striping and pavement sign.
    .
    Are alternatives ever considered by SDOT?

    Comment by dsa — 10:53 pm February 17, 2014 #

  3. There will be a few parallel spaces (as John Vander Sluis’s quote indicates), with an indented curb installed alongside the new planting strip. I can’t quite tell from the notification flyer we saw at Pho Aroma how many – an educated guess might be two.

    Comment by WSB — 11:03 pm February 17, 2014 #

  4. Oh good I missed that. I still don’t get the cost, the way the markings are in the picture, it looks like they plan to replace the sidewalk. It looks fine in the picture.

    Comment by dsa — 1:27 am February 18, 2014 #

  5. The google view pre-dates the addition of the crosswalk so I don’t know how the corner is currently configured. *If* the sidewalk is going to be replaced, it is likely for one or both of two related reasons. First, federal regulations require that when work is done that impacts pedestrian rights of way, the ROW must be brought up to current accessibility standards. Second, if only some of the sidewalk will actually be affected, it is generally better (and not that much more expensive with the crew already there) to just replace the whole sidewalk for a variety of reasons.
    .
    The google view also shows little use of the street parking on Delridge in July 2011; even with the increased demand, it doesn’t seem like the loss of 3 or 4 of the existing 6 spaces should be a problem. Plus, there seems to be a parking lot behind and next to the store.

    Comment by metrognome — 3:10 am February 18, 2014 #

  6. I love Pho Aroma and what Melinda and Scott have done, and hope that this project will help them to realize that engagement with the NDNC and the formation of a Brandon Node Business Association with the few other area businesses is in not only their best interest, but also for the people who live in the area who have long fought to improve the public safety, friendliness and viability of the Brandon Node.
    -
    I would like to thank whomever proposed and pushed this project through. This is another small little chip in what needs to happen to the entire east/west street grid of not just SW Findlay, yet also SW Juneau, SW Brandon and SW Hudson. These streets from 23rd to the east, and 26th to the west have VAST areas of underutilized parking and pedestrian unfriendliness because they are a complete mess with willy nilly random car parking, car ranchers, junk storage, mud puddles and flooding, litter and the occasional castoff big screen tee-vee with the routine abandoned car. The same goes for all of 23rd, sections of 25th and all of 26th from Brandon south to its dead end. The reason they are all a mess is because the vast majority are without curbs, drainage, planting strips/swales, street trees and sidewalks that offer predictable walking and parking patterns. Even though they legally are allowed to do so, most patrons of Pho Aroma do not park alongside Findlay beyond the alley to the west or on Findlay to the east of DelWay because it ‘seems’ illegal to do so due to the streets incomplete status and a ‘sense’ one is parking in the flow of traffic. Note to patrons, you can park in these locations.
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    If all of Hudson, all of Findlay, all of Brandon and all of Juneau were brought up to modern Complete Street standards, like what this little $70k project is doing for a minute section of Findlay, there would not only be PLENTY of clearly delineated parking for the few exisiting businesses, it would also entice additional private capital investment in additional for profit businesses for the Brandon Node.
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    It ought to be noted that those residents of the North Delridge/Cottage Grove area who were apprehensive or outright opposed to the DESC project stated very clearly early on that adding a large building with such a minuscule number of ~15 parking places within it, and with all of is purported car free residents, was going to burden the area unless other improvements were made to the street grid in the entire Brandon Node.

    Comment by Mike D. — 4:17 am February 18, 2014 #

  7. Mike,

    Your explanation reminded me of the NDNC neighborhood walk in October 2009 where we looked at Findley and how narrow it is without proper markings of a sidewalk. At the time, Pho Aroma, Olympic Pizza and Pasta and the other business activity weren’t present.

    I know neighbors along 26th have been asking for the same sidewalk with proper drainage for ages, that’s why I’m surprised this section was chosen over all the others I saw in the past. But, I suspect it has to do with the overall scope and as you pointed out the infrastructure for a heavily used area.

    As an aside to the previous commenter, parking along Delridge will only increase as it is further developed.

    Comment by Holli — 9:04 am February 18, 2014 #

  8. Holli,
    I think another NDNC group/neighborhood walk might prove to be really helpful at helping us all to see the problems and issues on the ground and envision solutions and ways to fight for funding to implement the solutions.
    I concur with you that this project was chosen over the other many needs as it falls below or within the dollar amount of the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund program.

    Comment by Mike D. — 6:29 pm February 18, 2014 #

  9. Typically at peak business hours, you are lucky to find a spot at all there. I see people walk from their cars to pho aroma, never families going for a stroll. This is a BS project, $70k Is Highway robbery. What group is pocketing that money, time for an audit and investigation of fraud.

    Comment by Mike — 10:38 am February 19, 2014 #

  10. @ Mike — 10:38 am February 19, 2014
    -
    With the typical traffic circle clicking in between $10-20K the costs associated with the scope of work for a project like this one involving survey, design and construction work for one half block of curbing, planting strip basin, curb cut and driveway apron for vehicle access to the rear of the Super 24, sidewalk, tree’s and shrubs and a possible connection to a stormdrain and you can quickly get to the $70k price tag.
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    Your suggestion that no one walks or ‘strolls’ in the area amply displays your ignorance. I just now witnessed five kids on bikes with a chaperone, and a mother with her daughter out walking her dog in that exact area. And this is during the construction phase with corresponding blockades. If you actually lived nearby you might have a better understanding of the poor pedestrian flow. the entire Cottage Grove area has. Take a walk around the next time you are at Pho Aroma, and you will see the challenges of a disconnected pedestrian grid that this project will help improve and demonstrate how the rest of the grid in the Brandon Node can feel, work and look.

    Comment by Mike D. — 5:24 pm February 20, 2014 #

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