WSB Q/A with Mayor Murray: #3 – About that ‘alley vacation’

Continuing coverage of on our one-on-one Q-and-A with Mayor Ed Murray, one topic at a time: Two weeks from today, the requested “alley vacation” for the 4755 Fauntleroy Way project – aka The Whittaker, and/or the Whole Foods project – goes back to the City Council Transportation Committee, which held a public hearing two weeks ago (WSB coverage here). Last summer, the mayor’s predecessor had told SDOT to recommend rejection of the request. After Mayor Murray took office, we asked for his comment on the situation, and his spokesperson had told us he wasn’t commenting. So we asked during our one-on-one interview Friday; here’s his reply:

The proposal to grant the project’s developers the opportunity to buy the alley land for not-yet-specified “fair market value” ultimately goes to the full City Council for a final vote, possibly as soon as April 14th, depending on what happens at the committee meeting April 8th.

Our next question for/answer from the mayor is also a development issue – his thoughts on the relatively new city rules allowing housing without off-street parking if it’s a certain distance from what’s considered frequent transit, though the city can’t guarantee the ongoing availability of said transit.


Question #1 – West Seattle Bridge traffic
Question #2 – SPD’s not-yet-activated surveillance cameras

22 Replies to "WSB Q/A with Mayor Murray: #3 - About that 'alley vacation'"

  • wsn00b March 25, 2014 (4:04 pm)

    FFS. Just build the damn thing already. This is the most unproductive debate in a while.

  • boy March 25, 2014 (4:28 pm)

    We cannot give up this alley. If this alley goes we loose a major trafic coridor an we will never be able to get around westseattle

  • Person March 25, 2014 (4:43 pm)

    Yeah, I can’t believe this is still going on. Well, yes, unfortunately I can…

  • SteveP March 25, 2014 (5:10 pm)

    I totally agree, build it already. Its a DEAD END alley that the city will get top dollar for.

  • David March 25, 2014 (5:20 pm)

    Agreed. My problem isn’t with the building (for OR against, could care LESS) it’s with this INSANE process. I understand wanting to discuss and have community “input” (on property you don’t own), fine, that’s neat. But it should NEVER take more than a year. Either agree to build this, have a half dozen meetings to change/tweak designs, or deny it. But 3-4 years to DEBATE this is INSANE. This isn’t some world shaking architecture, some 200 story building cantilevered over a canyon or something, it’s JUST A GENERIC apartment building with retail on the ground floor, like exists in thousands of similar buildings around the country. Either build it (with changes from a years worth of community input) or deny it for size/scale/zoning. But I’m TIRED of hearing about this, and this fake “alley” no one but the car dealership used in the last 40 years. This is crazy. I know we want to “Get it Right”(tm) but it shouldn’t take THIS long.

  • Diane March 25, 2014 (5:25 pm)

    I cannot access video; can you please give me a clue as to what he said? even a sentence?

    • WSB March 25, 2014 (5:34 pm)

      When I get a chance, maybe Friday, I hope to add transcriptions to all of these. In short – he replied that he’d just say what he said he said during the campaign: He’d be willing to open a dialogue if anyone thinks economic considerations should be made a part of the alley-vacation process in the future, but in the meantime it’s not right to do these as one-offs and suddenly bring criteria such as tenant concerns into this one that haven’t been brought into others. It’s important to evaluate this one the way the process is set up now. <

  • Diane March 25, 2014 (5:56 pm)

    thank you TR

  • Ws gal March 25, 2014 (5:58 pm)

    Amen David!
    I enjoy seeing the videos posted on different topics, makes you realize all that is going on!! Thanks WSB!

  • Diane March 25, 2014 (7:24 pm)

    where are people coming up with this “3-4 years to DEBATE”?
    it has only been a year and a half, started fall of 2012
    1 ½ yrs to process a project that is possibly the biggest ever to be built in the history of WS, at the gateway to WS, and should last 50 – 75 yrs; this is what residents and visitors to WS will see as they enter our neighborhood for many many many years to come
    1 ½ yrs is very fast for a project of this size, and small price to pay to get it right

  • Neighbor 2 Whittaker March 25, 2014 (8:49 pm)

    Can’t wait for the Whittaker. Agree that the comment period has been long enough, when the anti-Whittaker union folks came to my door asking me to sign a petition against this project, I provided constructive feedback on what the developers could actually do to improve pedestrian safety in the area… the union petitioners asked if I would sign a petition against the Whole Foods and when I said no, I watched them cross out my comments and then they pretty much ran away from my house. The anti-Whittaker folks don’t care about the “gateway” to WS or they surely would have been horrified by the car dealerships and then years of blighted empty car lots. When petitioners came to my house, they were never, ever actually concerned about what residents and visitors to WS would see, they were 100% trying to rally me against Whole Foods. NONE of the anti-Whole Foods union crowd who came to my door (a few blocks from the site) even lived within a few blocks of the project… many didn’t even live in West Seattle. So how bout we just quit trying to block this project before we end up with a 9 story 600 unit monstrosity with no parking. Game over. Move on to more useful dialogue… like a campaign to fix pot holes or require residential parking permits in WS on residential streets.

  • JanS March 25, 2014 (9:39 pm)

    when people drive through that gateway right now, what do they see? Is it attractive and welcoming? Of course not, it’s an ugly corner. What I’m afraid of is, if this argument continues, the developer will change his mind, and that corner will sit there…ugly…until the process starts all over again with someone else. Is that what we really want? Is that “getting it right”?

  • Diane March 25, 2014 (9:47 pm)

    fear not Jan; this developer is not going anywhere

  • Old time resident of WS March 25, 2014 (11:50 pm)

    Know wonder nothing gets done in Seattle when we are alway quibbling about crap like this. Sell them the ally!!!!!!!!!

  • Rick March 26, 2014 (7:33 am)

    This is an obviously much loved and used alley (possibly by the unions?) so we should preserve it for the betterment of West Seattle. Parks Department? Can we get a little love here?

  • miws March 26, 2014 (7:49 am)

    With all of the passionate, controversial, discussion about this, the alley is definitely going to need a vacation!


    I suggest Alki….


    Relaxing under the palm trees…





  • Scott March 26, 2014 (8:35 am)

    Let’s talk about what the Mayor said, “Public Right away”. What Public right away is there with regards to this ally that is not ever used on a piece of land that is not even used. I see no go in keeping this unused ally and therefore, I would suggest that they need to give it up and move on.

  • Diane March 26, 2014 (12:28 pm)

    Scott; it’s a public-right-of-way, owned by the people of Seattle, being sold to a private developer; that’s the point, not whether or not it is currently used

  • Scott March 26, 2014 (12:54 pm)

    Diane; I don’t care that it is owned by the people of Seattle, being sold to a private developer. I would understand if this was an ally that was being used, but it is not. If we look back at most people commenting about this they don’t care if it is sold.

  • WS Gal March 26, 2014 (2:17 pm)

    Someone told me yesterday they use it all the time, and then when i asked how because it dead ends, they didn’t know how to respond…..they were perplexed! To be honest, I don’t think most know where this alley even is. Secondly, where was all this screaming when Admiral got its alley vacation, or the Equity project, or the Spruce!! How many people attended council hearings or wrote to council to stop those vacations?

  • dcn March 26, 2014 (3:15 pm)

    Maybe if Whole Foods planted palm trees in the alley, it’d be more vacation-like, and then everyone would be happy. It would give the “gateway to West Seattle” a “beachy-whimsy” feel.

  • phil dirt March 29, 2014 (11:14 am)

    Stop selling to developers!! They are quickly destroying what’s left of what used to be a great place to live. I’m especially distressed over all of the new condos/apartments/apodments etc and the accompanying lack of parking. Traffic is becoming a real mess. I shudder to think of what’s next.

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