(Delridge District Council chair Mat McBride & City Councilmember Sally Clark)
Wednesday night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting featured a special guest – but first, the centerpiece: Pitches on applications for the Neighborhood Park and Street Fund – one big responsibility for district councils is to review applications like these and decide which ones to recommend the city fund. Here are the presentations made, in chronological order:
11TH/HOLDEN: Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Carolyn Stauffer pitched rapid-flash beacons for this intersection – see the document here. She said it’s fairly self-explanatory and the project is pretty cheap; it’s a busy street and a lot of people need to cross it, she said. The flashing lights would be pedestrian-activated – they’re on the sides of the street – something like what’s shown in this video from Oregon.
26TH AVENUE GREENWAY RAMPS: Patrick Baer of North Delridge said this would be meant to make up for the city creating a greenway without all the pedestrian-safety features – but he submitted other proposals and said this was the weakest. Here’s the document.
JUNEAU STAIRCASE REJUVENATION PROCESS: Baer’s next presentation was focused on the staircase between North Delridge and Puget Ridge, between 21st and 23rd, near the Boren school building. Among other challenges, the staircase currently has only one light – lighting and vegetation removal are the top priorities in the project, he said. His proposal includes adding a bicycle runnel/wheeling ramp so bicycle riders can use the staircase too. Here’s the document.
PUGET BOULEVARD RECREATIONAL TRAIL: Baer’s third application would, among other things, improve east/west connectivity in West Seattle and “complet(e) a project first envisioned more than a century ago,” he said. This would request city design of the trail to get to the “shovel-ready” phase. It would include a sidewalk along SW Brandon west of 26th SW, starting at the foot of Snake Hill. It would follow some of what the historic Olmsted plan envisioned as a boulevard through east West Seattle, 4/5 of a mile long paved trail for non-motorizeed use, ADA accessible, and with the 26th Avenue Greenway would comprise a 2-mile pathway. Here’s the document.
ROXHILL PARK IMPROVEMENT PLAN: Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council chair Amanda Kay Helmick opened this presentation by declaring, “Roxhill Park is kind of a mess.” Some “really wonderful” things have happened there – the playground and skatepark – but it has problems, too. WWRHAH has talked with the community about the park, from varying standpoints, and is requesting funding to, among other things, add lighting – the presentation, with permission, included this WSB photo, looking at the unlit northwest corner of the park:
The proposal also seeks to enhance the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail signage (much of which Helmick said is now defaced) and add adult exercise equipment. Asked how she would prioritize the requests in the grant, Helmick said lighting was the top priority; the signage was the next thing, because its current state of disrepair is something of a “broken window” indicator. A discussion ensued about whose responsibility the lighting really is. Here’s her doc.
BOREN SCHOOL TRAFFIC CALMING/PEDESTRIAN UPGRADES: Craig Rankin made this presentation, mentioned in our recent story about the safety challenges at the soon-to-house-800-kids Boren building. It requests speed-radar signs to get drivers to slow down – possibly even a future speed camera – and pedestrian islands for its future crosswalk. Don Brubeck of West Seattle Bike Connections spoke in favor of it. Two attendees wondered if Graham might not be a better place for a crosswalk than midblock on Delridge. Rankin said they’d wanted two crosswalks but SDOT urged them to focus on one. Here’s the doc.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE GRANT APPLICATIONS: Voting will now be done by e-mail among DNDC voting members to see which three projects DNDC will submit to the next step in the process. If the city rejects any of the recommendations, the next-highest-rated among the DNDC voting members will take its place
CIVICS, WITH A CIVIC LEADER: Councilmember Sally Clark spent her time on the agenda listening, rather than speaking – though toward the start of her appearance, when the subject of the council’s new mostly-elected-by-district status came up, she said that while she’s running for a citywide City Council seat next year, she wasn’t here on a campaign visit. DNDC chair Mat McBride told her the district (consisting, per a handout, of Cottage Grove, Highland Park, High Point, Pigeon Point, Puget Ridge, Riverview, Snake Hill, Sunrise Heights, Westwood, and Youngstown neighborhoods) is “scrappy.” Clark then heard reps for most of those neighborhoods have a word, or two, or 10 about them.
*Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Carolyn Stauffer spoke for Highland Park/Riverview, mentioning the hopes of getting the Dumar ex-substation site changed to an NC1-30 zoning designation. Clark said it might be better to rezone a larger area including that site, per a conversation that she had with staff after last week’s City Council briefing on the ex-substations. “So the only challenge,” said Clark, “is where do you line up the funding to get an initial assessment to get you at or near the top of the line … since so many communities want to do node planning.”
*North Delridge Neighborhood Council‘s Michael Taylor-Judd said the neighborhood is “doing pretty well right now.” He pointed out that one of Metro’s most-used routes, 120, goes right down Delridge. He also called attention to Boren now being the permanent home of K-5 (soon K-8) STEM, with the building finally being taken care of after its years of being intermittently a temporary/emergency school building. Craig Rankin brought up the issue of the crosswalk slated for Delridge at Boren in 2015 being needed much sooner. Former NDNC chair Mike Dady also raised the issue of single-family-home development proposals having erupted for much of Delridge’s vacant land. “Tremendous disconnects,” he said, after spending days on the phone with city agencies about drainage problems. He said it’s important that the side streets that are flooding not be ignored in favor of attention given only to Delridge Way. Clark invited him to send her a few addresses.
*High Point Neighborhood Association president Deborah Vandermar recapped the death of pedestrian James St. Clair and followup on how to make 35th SW safer. “SDOT is writing a budget paper,” she said. High Point is cautiously hopeful, but glad for a few immediate small improvements.
*Speaking for Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council, Pete Spalding also brought up one of the surplus substations, and wondered why Seattle City Light was able to come in and clear-cut dozens of trees at the 21st/Andover property with no neighborhood notification – why the alleged contamination is suddenly such an issue when it’s been there for decades. Clark pointed to last week’s Energy Committee meeting and SCL’s take on the rules it was following. She said that if they had “let more people know how many trees they were going to take out,” it might not have played out the way it has – she agrees “that’s a lot to take out at once.” He also seconded Dady’s concerns about drainage issues – development is happening piecemeal and nothing is happening with the underlying understructure.
*For Puget Ridge, Willard Brown (of Youngstown’s parent DNDA) mentioned the Sanislo wetland and the hopes that a salmon-bearing Puget Creek will be back someday – they’re working on restoration with grant money.
*For the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, chair Helmick spoke. AH is “still waiting on sidewalks” since annexation decades ago, she noted. “You bet they are,” sighed Clark. Helmick also mentioned AH Elementary’s impending rebuild and the school’s temporary move to Boren as of this fall. For a wider area, she mentioned the SW Roxbury traffic story, “moving forward very rapidly.” And she mentioned Roxhill Park, “a focal point of that whole area,” including the bog problem, and hopes it might help with the drainage in the rest of Delridge. (See our recent story, and ensuing discussion, here.) “It’s a beneficial thing for all of Delridge,” Helmick declared – while also noting, the project will need $.
Also at the meeting:
SO LONG, ED: Chair McBride offered a tribute to Ed Pottharst, who (as previously noted here) is leaving the role of neighborhood-district coordinator, a liaison between the city Department of Neighborhoods and community members including the district councils (of which West Seattle has two, this one and Southwest, with reps from western West Seattle). “I can’t imagine anyone stepping in and doing a better job than Ed did,” he said, recalling the trepidation when previous longtime district coordinator Ron Angeles retired. Pottharst is moving to another city job – “he’s not going far,” noted McBride. Tonight’s meeting was his last with the DNDC. “I’ll miss working with all of you but I won’t be too far away,” Pottharst affirmed, saying he’d be looking for more ways to “create partnerships with the Delridge community and city government.”
OFFICER ELECTIONS: McBride said he’d happily hand over the chairperson role to someone else with passion and energy – but none threw their hat in the ring, so he’ll keep serving. Spalding was nominated as co-chair. Meantime, WWRHAH’s Helmick accepted the nomination to represent the Delridge NDC on the City Neighborhood Council. Various other committees reviewing grants among other things got volunteers, including Brown and Dady.
23RD/FINDLAY CITY LIGHT SITE: Dady said it was added to the list of the visits when City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen joined the West Seattle Green Space Coalition touring the surplus ex-substations recently (WSB coverage here) – even though it’s not on the list of surplus properties, he says, it’s got the potential of helping with Delridge’s drainage problem.
HIGHLAND PARK DE-PAVING: This Saturday, HPAC co-chair Stauffer reminded, is the de-paving event at HPAC – more details here.
TWO EVENTS ON AUGUST 9TH: Big day – Gathering of Neighbors in the morning at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, announced Spalding, and the Delridge Day festival in the afternoon at Delridge Community Center/Park.
NEXT MONTH: One big hint about the agenda for April’s meeting – a “DPD-fest,” McBride said, referring to the city Department of Planning and Development.
‘GETTING CIVIC’: Underscoring one of the meeting’s themes, a local student named Liam showed up to carry out a Boy Scout assignment to “take notes at a council meeting.” He got a big round of applause for going to the trouble.
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