All those arguments about development? Here’s THE meeting to go to; plus, Q/A with mayor re: growth control

March 31, 2014 at 11:36 am | In Development, West Seattle news, West Seattle politics | 27 Comments

(Equity and Wolff projects in The Junction, photographed recently by Long B. Nguyen)
The discussion – sometimes contentious, sometimes thoughtful – goes on. How much development is too much development – or is there no such thing as “too much development”? Do “growth targets” set in the past mean anything – considering, for example, the greater West Seattle Junction area is reported to be already past a future target, with major projects in progress and more on the way? When we talked one-on-one recently with Mayor Murray, he said one way to revisit that will be through the Seattle 2035 process that’s just launched. A West Seattle meeting is scheduled, one week from Wednesday. But before we get to those details – here’s the mayor’s 1-minute response to our question of whether growth should be allowed to expand seemingly infinitely even if so-called targets are passed:

Now, details of the meeting, one of five open houses citywide:

April 9th, 6-8 pm, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW). From the city announcement:

DPD is hoping to reach out to different neighborhoods and gather comments on the Planning Alternatives that are currently under discussion. Comments can be submitted through April 21, 2014.

DPD is scoping an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will evaluate the City’s Comprehensive Plan update. The EIS will examine the possible impacts under three different growth scenarios.

Consistent with regional growth projections, all three scenarios assume the city will grow by 70,000 households and 115,000 jobs over the next 20 years. All the scenarios follow the Comprehensive Plan’s urban growth strategy that aims to concentrate most of the growth in the city’s designated urban centers and urban villages. The alternatives differ in how the projected growth would be distributed:

Alternative 1 would evaluate most of the growth in the six urban centers, in keeping with the regional plan of concentrating development in centers.

Alternative 2 would still project a lot of growth in the centers, but would shift some growth to the urban villages in order to strengthen those neighborhood business districts.

Alternative 3 would evaluate more growth in the urban villages that contain existing or planned light rail stations.

The Comprehensive Plan the City ultimately adopts could combine aspects of each of these alternatives.

DPD is taking comments on these alternatives and the topics to be covered in the EIS until April 21.

Even more information about the alternatives is here, as well as how to comment on them now (in addition to commenting in person at the April 9th meeting).

27 Comments

  1. April 9th from 6:30 – 8:30 is the Seattle 2035 meeting as well – at Youngstown. One giant meeting?

    Comment by AmandaKH — 12:24 pm March 31, 2014 #

  2. That’s what this is about, the Seattle 2035 meeting. Which, I will point out, had not been announced to media so I didn’t hear about it until seeing it mentioned on tomorrow night’s WWRHAH agenda. The city website says 6 pm – as linked above -
    .
    http://2035.seattle.gov/calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D109711151

    Comment by WSB — 12:27 pm March 31, 2014 #

  3. Google “London Congestion Charge” and you will learn the essence of the Seattle 2035 plan, while keeping in mind that Seattle won’t have a subway/rail transit system like London.

    Comment by Mr. CW — 1:11 pm March 31, 2014 #

  4. for those of us who cannot immediately access video, can you please write out maybe one sentence summarizing the Mayor’s response; thanks

    Comment by Diane — 2:35 pm March 31, 2014 #

  5. it’s in the story: “… he said one way to revisit that will be through the Seattle 2035 process that’s just launched.”

    Comment by WSB — 2:37 pm March 31, 2014 #

  6. 99% of all the ‘worry’ about this growth could be just removed by simply extending light rail into West Seattle (OFF grade, not on the existing road). Done. As long as you have SOME way to get out of West Seattle (car, train, boat) then the growth issue is purely an “aesthetic” issue, what we want it to LOOK like.

    Comment by David — 3:01 pm March 31, 2014 #

  7. And the “London Congestion Charge” thing seems INSANELY premature. Congestion? West Seattle is SO uncontested (apparently) we have NO parking meters, NONE! Not in the junctions, not on Alki. None. We don’t even TRY to make folks pay to drive/park here. Heck, we have 3 FREE PARKING lots in our main business junction. 3. Free. So how “over congested” can we be if we don’t even have parking meters like any town over 10,000 does? It will be funny if we jump from no meters and free parking lots directly to “congestion charge” like jumping from a town of 10,000 to a city of millions. Something seems odd there.

    Comment by David — 3:07 pm March 31, 2014 #

  8. @David

    With ROW light rail getting us all over the Seattle Metro area/North and Sound Sound being the potentially better option.

    Comment by East Coast Cynic — 3:07 pm March 31, 2014 #

  9. @gwarman, Surely you can get your point across without a rape analogy, can’t you? It’s really gross and below the discourse of WSB. Also what’s going on here is not at all like being forcibly raped. Let’s be adults here.

    Comment by Lindsey — 4:40 pm March 31, 2014 #

  10. The WS JUnction Assn. and the business districts have fought for the no parking meters, etc., and they pay for the three free parking lots, to keep them free. More and more lots are being taken over by Diamond, which, in my book , is a swear word. But just my opinion.

    That doesn’t mean that the area is uncongested (or “uncontested”, as David put it (auto correct?)…)

    I certainly hope David is not advocating for paid parking all over just to prove to the powers that be that the area is indeed congested !

    Comment by JanS — 5:09 pm March 31, 2014 #

  11. Light rail is not the solution. Please, for the love of God, stop bringing that up.

    Light rail now and even into the next 10 years IS NOT A SOLUTION FOR WEST SEATTLE.

    We are not getting it now, and it is not planned for the near future.

    We need real solutions. Now. Not 15-20 years in the future.

    Light rail even into the future does not go that many places. When you factor in catching trains then catching busses or cabs to the real destination, you are wasting 10s of thousands of hours of peoples’ time.

    LIGHT RAIL IS NOT A SOLUTION.

    Comment by Ray — 5:43 pm March 31, 2014 #

  12. Murray’s “Let them eat cake!” approach is disheartening to say the least. Intelligent/informed voters knew he was a heartless corporatist – but his callousness regarding the lawlessness of the SPD, “growth control”, and parking, borders on vindictiveness. We gave up Nickels for this??

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 6:35 pm March 31, 2014 #

  13. What about a Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) like other neighborhoods in Seattle. It seems reasonable to pursue an option where residents get first dibs at parking, and where multi-family housing has limits on the number of RPZs issued to residents of that dwelling. So in this case, the city would only issue say 5 RPZs with proof of residency (via utility bills, etc) to this development and residents would be made aware of such an arrangement prior to moving in to the building. It’s not a perfect solution, but so is saying no to every development just because it might limit a public good–street parking (as opposed to say, parking in your own yard/driveway). The London Congestion Charge seems like a good option in theory, but in practice the implementation boundaries would have to take into consideration port activities. David appears to understand the necessity of incentive structures to deal with an issue that directly impacts many residents. RPZ seems like that would be a better option than paid parking and lining the pockets of Diamond. Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) makes RPZ applications very difficult for community members to organize, but perhaps through discussions with the Mayor and collective pressure, SDOT would initiate the process. Has anyone on this forum attempted to get RZP designations? How has that worked out? We could definitely benefit from it.

    Comment by Neighbor — 7:52 pm March 31, 2014 #

  14. Look’s more like Ballard everyday :D
    When they are done, you should be able to find parking down by Arrow Head Gardens.

    Comment by Wendy — 8:07 pm March 31, 2014 #

  15. Neighbor – I’m pretty sure that in a RPZ, ALL residents get equal dibs, including residents in apartment buildings. The RPZ is designed to keep non-residents from using it as a park-and-ride, and to keep businesses such as movie theaters or restaurants from taking all the parking. In this area, the businesses are providing customer parking, so the only way a RPZ would apply would be to keep people from parking there while they catch a bus downtown.

    Comment by Community Member — 8:20 pm March 31, 2014 #

  16. Community Member – I’ve lived in neighborhoods where residents of certain apartment buildings were not allowed to be issued RPZ because the developer chose to not build sufficient parking and it was considered a choice to live there without a car. RZP was in this case, not allowed if your residence was not designated as RZP eligible. It’s also something done in the U District. But generally, such an agreement must be established during the design review process before the building is constructed so that the developer can weigh the costs and benefits of such a policy. It would at least be worth asking the Mayor about… see if he puts his money where his mouth is. Also, given that at least half a dozen people park from other neighborhoods park in front of my house daily to catch the bus, RPZ seems like a good option. Unfortunately, SDOT makes it incredibly difficult for individual residents, or even organized residents on one block, to pursue RZPs – they bury us in paperwork. Thus perhaps the Mayor could weigh in here if he actually represents us and have SDOT do something productive.

    Comment by Neighbor — 8:44 pm March 31, 2014 #

  17. Thanks, Neighbor. I didn’t know that.
    .
    Oh, and I agree 100% with Lindsey, and I’m surprised the referenced comment is still there.

    Comment by Community Member — 9:49 pm March 31, 2014 #

  18. I would love to hear what people are doing about commuter parking in their neighborhood. It is happening in North Delridge, my best guess is eliminating the street parking on Delridge and Genesee is pushing these people to park in front of our homes all day every day. When I looked in to the RPZ process it didn’t address this kind of issue, where it is only impacting small areas (I think it said a 10 block area had to be affected for an RPZ to be considered?). At any rate, any suggestions the community has for getting the commuters to stop using our block as their own personal park and ride . . . I am all ears!

    Comment by North Delridge Resident — 10:04 pm March 31, 2014 #

  19. ray:
    .
    Light rail is not the solution. Please, for the love of God, stop bringing that up.
    .
    no.
    .
    what’s your solution, then? more roads? more cars, more development, and less parking? more bus lanes? a second road bridge from WS? ooh! how about a deep bore tunnel?! pneumatic tubes, maybe? teleportation?
    .
    seriously. continually pouring money into road work is the real productivity killer. how many hours are wasted idling in traffic?
    .
    trains have the advantage of taking cars and busses off of the roads, and they have zero emissions.
    .
    besides, if we do get light rail, no one is going to force you to ride it.

    Comment by redblack — 4:54 am April 1, 2014 #

  20. Well, R/B, I’m in for rail but I’d sure like some REAL BRT in the ensuing 10-15 yrs. before we can get rail built. And we should be prepared for that spur to cost between $750M/$1.5B as the most effective grade separation in our tight ingress/egress corridor will be underground. Yes folks, if you want rail, you’re going to need another round of Bertha in WS. (They already did it in Capitol Hill and U-District.)

    You could spend $40M to build a dedicated BRT lanes from the AK Junction to either the upper or lower bridge. Just sayin’… Anything else has less value add for the $ in my mind.

    Like they say, the best time to plant a tree is 20yrs. ago…or today.

    Comment by wakeflood — 8:35 am April 1, 2014 #

  21. I appreciate many of the thoughtful posts here. Personally, I would support light rail – a line that traveled north from Burien and went downtown to connect with the transit lines going north and east.

    But in the real world, there is no political will to do this anytime soon. I wish I was wrong. Northlink and Eastlink are still in design/early construction phases. And the financial reality is that the cost of building a bridge over the Duwamish will add spectacularly to the cost of a Westlink route – making this even more challenging.

    Not meaning to be doom and gloom – just dealing in reality. We’re not going to have light rail in W. Seattle for 20 years. So we have to look at what do we do between now and then. I wish I had a good answer.

    Comment by wscommuter — 11:14 am April 1, 2014 #

  22. I agree wakeflood. Get light rail in planning and increase BRT in the mean time. Even on our current bus lanes, just an increase in bus service would do wonders.
    .
    And clean up the buses. Too many people acting in sketchy or intimidating ways both on the bus and at the stops. Just aggressively enforce fare dodging and loud or drunk/high behavior and it’ll improve. See what they did in NYC. I think the sketch factor of our buses needs more attention and is keeping them from wider use. My wife won’t take the bus because of this, even though she rarely drives and hardly needs a car. It’s a shame.
    .
    I’m not against the density or even zero parking apartments per se… but we need to have real solutions to transport in the works. We don’t right now.

    Comment by JVP — 1:16 pm April 1, 2014 #

  23. Hey wscommuter, tell me why spending $40-$50M sometime in the next 5 yrs. to get a dedicated lane separated Bus Rapid Transit line from AK Jnctn to Downtown running double length buses with 5 minute headways DOESN’T address an interim solution?

    You turn the lots behind Husky Deli into a 6 story pkg garage and you design an overpass to get you onto a new cantilevered dedicated lane that picks up by Delridge. You get something approaching rail capacity for a fraction of the cost and you’ll already have your park and ride for the underground station that you’ll have to have to make rail work in WS when it’s politically/economically tenable in 2035.

    Comment by wakeflood — 3:55 pm April 1, 2014 #

  24. wscommuter is just being a realist here. I personally believe in miracles!

    .

    wakeflood, not bad, could work, agreed that we DO need park and ride but::::::::::::: how would you motivate the driving (and trucking) public to shut off a whole lane to them for that route? Plus, not everyone on the road commutes just WSDowntown.

    Comment by bolo — 5:54 pm April 1, 2014 #

  25. I would love to see the comments thread on an article detailing a proposal to build a 6-story parking garage in The Junction….

    Comment by Mickymse — 4:17 pm April 2, 2014 #

  26. wakeflood: but why?
    .
    why pour another dime into fossil-fuel-relying buses – which rely on roads? roads are already beyond capacity and inadequately funded, and the only thing that adding transit to roads will do is add to congestion.
    .
    to be fair, though, i’ll concede that BRT has the added benefit of adding frustrated passengers to congested roadways.
    .
    like i’ve said many times, adding faster buses to beyond-capacity roadways will only get buses to gridlock faster.
    .
    BRT would have merits if – and only if – there were two or more roadways from WS that could handle the dedication. but there’s only one road from WS to downtown that will handle buses, and that’s the jeanette williams memorial bridge. want to add to its capacity by restricting lanes further?
    .
    enough is enough.
    .
    the best solution is to create a new right-of-way that doesn’t allow fossil fuel-reliant transit.
    .
    yes, it’s the most painful; yes, it’s the most expensive way; and, yes, it’s 30 years too late.
    .
    so what are we waiting for? 2035? screw that. we can – and should – do better. not just for posterity, but for ourselves.
    .
    think about this option: for now, rail from WS only has to go to georgetown. thence, LINK already goes downtown and to the airport. and, in my mind, that is the cheap and expedient solution. better pie-in-the-sky rail solutions involve junction-to-SEA/TAC and junction-to-downtown. but for now, just get us to georgetown.
    .
    rail ROW over the duwamish is key for any EFFECTIVE transit solution.
    .
    and frankly, i’m disappointed that a card-carrying lefty like you would so quickly concede to the status quo, and opt instead for the relatively cheap and ineffective expediency of BRT.
    .
    i’ll take this to forums later, if time allows. feel free to start without me.

    Comment by redblack — 8:47 pm April 3, 2014 #

  27. “think about this option: for now, rail from WS only has to go to georgetown. thence, LINK already goes downtown and to the airport. and, in my mind, that is the cheap and expedient solution. better pie-in-the-sky rail solutions involve junction-to-SEA/TAC and junction-to-downtown. but for now, just get us to georgetown.”

    You know, I hadn’t thought about that option. Seems simple yet elegant. But where in Georgetown? Are you saying LINK stops in Georgetown?

    Comment by bolo — 10:05 pm April 7, 2014 #

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