By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
New hope that the Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout will get designed and built – that was the big news during last night’s Highland Park Find It, Fix It Walk, which brought Mayor Murray and an armada of city reps to the neighborhood. Most prominent among them, City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who got to announce the roundabout breakthrough in her own neighborhood, when the 4th of 6 preplanned stops took walkers to the top of the HP Way hill: $200,000 to turn the “concept” you see above into a buildable design.
First, Highland Park Action Committee co-chair Michele Witzki recounted the long history of the intersection’s troubles:
There’s WSB coverage for all those incidents she mentioned – including the flipped-car-gas-leak incident in March 2016. We’ve also covered the years of HP trying to get the ~$2 million roundabout beyond “conceptual design” stage, efforts that left residents skeptical in advance of last night’s walk. Meantime, here’s Councilmember Herbold announcing the design funding, and SDOT’s Jim Curtin talking about a meeting with one group that could help the city get the money to build it:
Transportation was a big topic during the walk. A short distance west along busy SW Holden, site of preplanned stops #2 and #3, Alan Robertson had talked about the side-street speeding problem caused by people trying to dodge its backups:
SDOT says it’s working on more safety features – the 11th/Holden flashing-beacon crosswalk was just a start – including a raised crosswalk on Myrtle.
SDOT’s walk presence included a briefly fiery pothole-fixing demonstration:
Pothole demo during Find It Fix It Walk / fiery! pic.twitter.com/QD3CI4vDMn
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 26, 2017
Part of the purpose of the FIFI Walks is to tout the city’s app of the same name, which you can use to report problems including potholes (those can be reported via the city website, too). But the concerns and requests in Highland Park are much bigger, too – as are the aspirations and community-initiated work that’s already been going on for years. The first stop on the walk was Riverview Playfield, where Paul West talked about trail work and plans in the nearby West Duwamish Greenbelt as well as needs at the playfield itself.
You can find out more about the ongoing West Duwamish Greenbelt Trails work by going here. Also at Riverview, the city recapped the good news that we reported earlier this week – the arson-damaged restroom/storage building will be fixed and reopened this year – starting with roof work in July.
As with many of West Seattle’s hilly neighborhoods, Highland Park has stairways in need of TLC, and the one at 14th and Holden was stop #5. Then the group continued down Holden to the final stop, the former substation on the southwest corner of 16th and Holden. Its future remains in question – City Light intends to sell it; the community has asked that it be rezoned to allow commercial development, to enhance Highland Park’s business district – a nearby entrepreneur, Jenni Watkins of Dutchboy Coffee on the southeast corner, spoke briefly about the joys and challenges of running a small business:
Also at the final stop, Brennon Staley of the Office of Planning and Community Development, talking about the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) as well as site-specific information:
Mayor Murray picked up the growth/zoning topic:
He also closed out the walk there by declaring it to be the most positive one of the 23 that have happened so far (two others were in West Seattle – North Delridge in 2015, Westwood/Roxhill last year).
The event began with a mini-resource fair in the patio and parking-lot areas outside Highland Park Improvement Club, whose scrappy history was recounted by Julie Schickling:
The welcomes also included words of praise for Highland Park neighborhood advocates from Councilmember Herbold, who, as mentioned, is a neighbor:
The mayor gave opening remarks there too, explaining the purpose of the FIFI Walks, and introduced the highest-ranking city reps on hand, as well as giving shoutouts to the walk’s organizers:
Will there be a fourth Find It, Fix It Walk in West Seattle next year? Depends on which of the 21 mayoral candidates succeeds Murray, and whether they decide to continue the program. In the meantime, participants from this one have a group photo as a souvenir, taken near the site of the aforementioned roundabout announcement:
(We’ll substitute the official city photo if and when we get it. Seattle Channel was along for the walk, too, and we’ll be watching for their report.)
P.S. One more group view – we recorded this at the Riverview stop:
P.P.S. While at HPIC before the walk, we talked with some city reps about non-HP events/projects of interest – watch for those stories soon!