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.