West Seattle Blog... » Delridge District Council http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Thu, 26 Nov 2015 14:03:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council: Off-leash dog plan moving too quickly and quietly? Plus, Find It/Fix It followup http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-off-leash-dog-plan-moving-too-quickly-and-quietly-plus-find-itfix-it-followup/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/11/delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-off-leash-dog-plan-moving-too-quickly-and-quietly-plus-find-itfix-it-followup/#comments Sat, 21 Nov 2015 08:33:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=329601 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Popcorn and cheering.

Those were the highlights of the opening moments of this month’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center this past Wednesday night.

Chair Mat McBride wasn’t kidding when he declared it was an “exciting lineup.”

The cheering was for each person in attendance, as they went around the room to have everyone introduce her/himself. Extra cheers were awarded to three community members who showed up just to see what was happening in their neighborhood. By way of explanation, West Seattle has two city-determined “districts,” Southwest and Delridge, and the council for each district includes reps from neighborhood councils and major organizations/institutions in the area. Those in attendance at this meeting Wednesday night included reps from the Camp Long Advisory Council, Delridge Neighborhood Development Association, Highland Park Action Committee, Highland Park Improvement Club, High Point Open Spaces Association, North Delridge Neighborhood Council, Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council, Seattle Nature Alliance, Southwest Precinct, Southwest Youth and Family Services, Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council. City reps included neighborhood district coordinator Kerry Wade, and reps from the mayor’s office and Seattle Parks, there to talk about scheduled agenda items.

Parks’ move toward a new plan for off-leash dog areas was the spotlight topic. But first:

PUBLIC SAFETY SURVEY PITCH: Every community meeting is getting this pitch one more time, before the survey ends November 30th. You can voice your sentiments about everything from police to crime. Seattle U research intern Jennifer Burbridge, who’s been working with the Southwest Precinct, says SU will analyze the data and present it back to SPD, hoping to tailor efforts and outreach to neighborhoods’ view of SPD, for example. Some of the results will be made publicly available, though they haven’t figured out how yet. The Southwest Precinct area has provided 1,000 of the 6,500 responses citywide so far. The survey starts here.

MOBILE PRECINCT UPDATE: New Community Police Team Officer Clayton Powell told the DNDC that the new “mobile precinct” should finally be in action soon, and he expects to spend some time driving it. He’s a recent transfer from the East Precinct.

FIND IT, FIX IT UPDATE: A month and a half after the mayor and a small army of city employees, including more than half a dozen department heads, came to Delridge for a “Find It, Fix It” walk (WSB video/photo/text coverage here), his office sent a representative – Americorps intern Hilary Nichols – with an update. We photographed the handout:

A few more details – the Delridge P-Patch will get three new security lights, locations TBA; the city Office of Economic Development is working with the Delridge Grocery team and “trying to help them succeed” in the wake of their loan denial; in all, “what we’re learning on the (FIFI) walks this year are NOT ‘quick fixes’.”

When the council was asked if any other concerns had arisen, WWRHAH’s Amanda Kay Helmick voiced concern about drivers parking cars “almost in the crosswalk” recently installed at Louisa Boren K-8 STEM, starting point for the walk. SWYFS’s Ron Angeles brought up the need for interpreters so events like the FIFI walk could include more community members. DNDA’s Willard Brown brought up the ongoing dumping problems near Sanislo Elementary.

PEOPLE, DOGS, PARKS STRATEGIC PLAN: This is what was previously called the Off-Leash Area Strategic Plan, but evolved via a somewhat-under-the-radar process that’s been under way at Seattle Parks. The discussion at DNDC began with Susan Golub from parks superintendent Jesús Aguirre‘s office, who said, “We have no plan yet.” Parks was directed to come up with a plan for off-leash areas a while back, but, she continued, “we didn’t start that right away, didn’t have funding or staff” until creation of the Seattle Park District was approved by voters in August 2014, including funding to “improve off-leash areas.” So some of the Park District’s first-year funding is being used to develop a plan: “How can we improve what we have now, what is the demand for off-leash areas, what do other cities do …” The draft plan is due out in the first quarter of next year; when it’s out, they’ll invite the public to comment. They did a survey – we mentioned it here last summer, though it was announced by the Coalition for Off-Leash Areas, not by the department – and they’ve since done seven focus groups involving people who identified with certain sentiments – including people who were afraid of dogs, “because we know they won’t be organizing peple to come to meetings …” Golub acknowledged that offleash dogs are the highest source of complaints in parks and said there will soon be a team patroling parks for leash and scoop violations, an animal-control officer and a Parks staffer.

“Could the outcome [of the process] be more offleash parks or elimination of offleash parks?” she was asked.

The latter was unlikely, Golub said, but regarding the former, Parks has heard loud and clear that some are just too small. “There might be some expansion … we have an estimate of 150,000 dogs in the city, 112,000 dog owners, they’re looking for ways to recreate with their dogs offleash … so we need to recognize that as a demand in the city, and have to balance that with (park use for everyone) including people who don’t want to be around offleash dogs …”

Another question: Is Parks looking at new parkland (for off-leash-area expansion) or using existing parkland?

The OLA policy says “our policy is to look at non-Parks land first,” said Golub.

What kind of outreach has been done so far? She wasn’t sure how the focus groups had been chosen but said they’re very aware of the need to work harder at obtaining diverse feedback, since the organized off-leash-area-advocacy community is mostly a “middle-class, white community.”

Also noted: There’s been interest in specific hours at parks for off-leash use – for example, in another city it’s 9 pm to midnight, in yet another, it’s 6 am to 9 am: “We have been asking people about that in the focus groups.”

Back to “where” – Golub insisted they won’t expand in regional parks such as Lincoln, Discovery, Seward. “We’re going to look for areas. But what we heard in the survey and in focus groups … people want offleash areas they can walk to from their homes … we’re going to have to balance that but … you’re not going to put that higher than our environmental ethics.”

Those ethics were highlighted in a comment from West Seattle naturalist and botanist Stewart Wechsler, who mentioned the preponderance of dogs in parks and the damage they can do, tearing up vegetation, churning up the soil, leaving it vulnerable to weeds. (We covered this issue earlier this year.)

It was pointed out that while West Seattle has a large dog population – and that increasing density will increase that too – it has very little off-leash area, just the one at Westcrest Park in Highland Park, toward the southeastern edge of WS.

Next, the Seattle Nature Alliance, which had two reps at the meeting – Denise Dahn and Mark Ahlness – took its turn on the topic. Dahn read a statement – see it here – saying they’re concerned with some of the issues that Parks is bringing up. They advocate for passive use, wild nature, wildlife, etc. She said she attended a focus group and left the meeting with deep concern. SNA wants the process for the plan to be put on hold until “some critical problems could be resolved.” (Their letter to Parks is here.) The Alliance “support(s) off-leash recreation in appropriate places,” but believes the process so far has not been inclusive or impartial, and that it’s been “misleading.”

Dahn said the offleash area options presented at her focus group included 6 never tried in Seattle. Among them:

*Unfenced offleash areas in regional parks where dogs could run free at certain times of day
*Offleash on nature trails
*Offleash on beaches

She said those last two received unanimous yes votes from all the dog owners in her group, and “this is the crux of our concern.”

She expressed concern that the process will be very short regarding public meetings, once a draft plan is made available, and while the “offleash group will be prepared” – it has a formal stewardship relationship with the city, Golub noted – most of the public is unaware that this process is even under way, but deserves to have months of notice, not weeks (this online timeline indicates 2 weeks). Also, Dahn observed, other “important stakeholders” – such as Audubon, forest stewards, Seal Sitters – have not been invited into the process so far. So that’s why they are asking Parks to put it on hold and “restart.” Off-leash use is “indisputably high-impact recreation, and Seattle Parks have traditionally been reserved for low-impact. At what point did any form of high-impact recreation become an option?”

Some around the room chimed in that they hadn’t been aware this process was under way either – including chair McBride, who is involved with Parks as a volunteer, and district coordinator Wade. It emerged at this point that the discussion at DNDC hadn’t been suggested by Parks but instead by SNA, who suggested that the council “might want to know about this.” The alliance itself has its roots in another Parks issue that did not come to light widely until the department had been working on it for a while, the scrapped 2012 Lincoln Park GoApe plan.

What’s next? Watch this page. And if you have feedback, use this form.

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets on third Wednesdays, 7 pm, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. No regular meeting in December, though; the group voted to gather informally and voluntarily at the Highland Park Improvement Clubs Corner Bar event on December 4th.

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Delridge Neighborhoods District Council: Road-project postponement; port-tour update; substation situation; more http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-road-project-postponement-port-tour-update-substation-situation-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-road-project-postponement-port-tour-update-substation-situation-more/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 03:15:49 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=301450 Updates were the order of the night at last night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center:

(WSB photo from January, when the barricades/cones went up in the future work zone)
DELRIDGE/ANDOVER PROJECT: Alicia Molina from SDOT said the start of this six-week project – originally planned for this week, as previously reported – has now been postponed until March 2nd. Once the work gets under way, the first three weeks will be focused on the Delridge/Andover intersection, including some pedestrian detours; then “the sidewalk section” will be the focus of the second three weeks, and the connection from Delridge/Andover/23rd will be closed for part of that time. 23rd will be closed to vehicle traffic at times, she says, but there won’t be much other effect on vehicle traffic. The sidewalk – to be shared by walking/running/bicycling traffic – will more than double in spots, six feet to 13 feet, she said.

Willard Brown from the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association asked if drainage will be improved in the project, noting the huge puddle that sometimes blocks the onramp to the bridge during/after major storms. Short answer, yes, said Molina. Michael Taylor-Judd from the North Delridge Neighborhood Council brought up the long-uninhabited house on the slope right by the onramp, again suggesting it would be a good acquisition for the city. (County records show King County sold the property last December as part of a sale of multiple properties on which taxes were owed; we’re researching further.) There was some concern overall about whether the city had done enough community outreach to plan for this project in the context of Delridge community advocates continuing to work on a vision for the road’s entire stretch.

PORT OF SEATTLE: As they had done at the Southwest District Council meeting earlier this month, Port of Seattle reps pitched their upcoming April 25th boat tour for West Seattle community members, to help them learn about the working waterfront – it’ll leave from Pier 66 downtown at 10 am (boarding at 9:30) and free parking will be available in the Bell Street Pier garage. You can get on the list now by e-mailing portregistration@portseattle.org.

The tour will go down the East Waterway and will likely include someone from Vigor talking about its operations, as well as port info about the modernization and deepening projects near T-5, the Lower Duwamish Cleanup, Jack Block Park, seafood processing, and more – one hour of narrated commentary and one-on-one Q/A and briefing. The port reps asked council members’ thoughts about the tour’s focus, and they heard several requests for more information about the Duwamish rather than taking part of the tour to look at what happens on the north side of the waterfront, away from West Seattle. They also heard requests for more information about emergency preparedness and the port’s relationship with the Duwamish Tribe (last year’s controversy over artifacts was brought up).

CITY LIGHT SURPLUS PROPERTY: From City Light, Rory Denovan spoke about the former Delridge substation on 23rd SW, a 20,000-square-foot site that includes wetlands. SCL is “very interested in working with the community to preserve this piece of property,” Denovan said, adding that it’s been talking with DNDA, whose district council rep Brown elaborated, saying a coalition of groups put together “a really good proposal for the restoration of the wetland there,” including urban agriculture, but that it was unsuccessful in the first application for $80,000 from the King Conservation District. So they’re about to try again for grant money. Denovan said community support would be crucial, otherwise SCL will have to sell it for fair-market value, “likely to a developer,” while saying that SCL is hopeful the community plan will work out. The community support already obtained includes support from K-5 STEM, which could use the site as part of an environmental curriculum. Denovan also noted that contamination on the site is planned for cleanup work this summer. He did not have specific updates on the other West Seattle sites that are considered surplus.

DELRIDGE CANDIDATES’ FORUM? They’re exploring what kind of format is best to host candidates for the District 1 City Council seat, pre-primary, so they can hear the candidates’ views about Delridge issues. In addition to the VIEWS forum coming up on March 14th at the Senior Center of West Seattle, it was noted that other forums the 34th District Democrats are planning one on April 8th, and the Pigeon Point Neighborhood Council plans one on the second Monday in June. They’re still deciding which monthly meeting they’ll want to invite candidates to visit. Looks like the May meeting, as of this point; Deborah Vandermar from High Point wondered whether translation could be made available. One candidate, at-large position hopeful Alex Tsimerman, was in attendance and tried to speak; chair Mat McBride told him he was welcome to e-mail before a future meeting and ask for time on the agenda.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Amanda Kay Helmick from Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council announced a 10 am March 7th community cleanup in eastern West Seattle via Adopt-A-Street, starting from the Southwest Precinct and working southward … Pete Spalding from Pigeon Point mentioned Delridge Day, set for August 8th. … Watch for an official announcement of signups for PACE (People’s Academy for Community Engagement); Neighborhood District Coordinator Kerry Wade said registration is likely to open next week …

NEXT MONTH: The Delridge District has 11 applications for Neighborhood Park and Street Fund grants, and will be reviewing them at next month’s meeting, which will be on the third Wednesday as usual, 7 pm March 18th, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW).

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Updates aplenty at 2015′s first Delridge District Council meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/updates-aplenty-at-2015s-first-delridge-district-council-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/updates-aplenty-at-2015s-first-delridge-district-council-meeting/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 06:02:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=298859

From transportation to tax returns, briefings, updates, and announcements spanned two busy hours at tonight’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting:

DELRIDGE MULTIMODAL CORRIDOR: SDOT‘s Sara Zora provided the briefing on this, which traces to an idea that Delridge neighborhood advocates have been discussing for a while. The concept of viewing a road as a “multimodal corridor” is at a “very conceptual level,” Zora said. Delridge is one of 10 corridors SDOT will be looking at in 2015, all “major arterials” to be reviewed through the “complete streets” prism.

Half of them will be looked at by traffic-management experts, the other half by transit specialists. She says this is necessary to accommodate all the new residents on our streets – adding or widening streets isn’t an option, so improving them in a “predictable” way is vital.

A University of Washington class will be doing a “health impact assessment” in connection with the Multimodal Corridor study of Delridge, and the North Delridge Action Plan will be linked in somehow – but, Zora clarifies, the corridor project will involve Delridge from the bridge all the way “to the city limits.” This is one of six corridors with which the citywide project is being launched. A public-outreach consultant team is being deployed, too.

Zora also mentioned “Vision 0″ – zero fatalities, envisioning what it would take for the street to achieve that goal. (The most recent fatality on Delridge was the pedestrian hit and killed just two months ago.) They’ll be looking at the demographics of who lives around the corridor, including percentage of car owners and users of other types of transportation, plus health, food access, and other key issues. Once they collect data, they’ll have two open houses, as part of what she envisions as a 6-to-8-month project. They only have money for a 3% to 5% design – which really just addresses concepts, she says – but that’s something that will be discussed, before they get to design alternatives incorporating community feedback, in the first open house.

Once they get design alternatives, there’ll be a second open house for feedback, “and then we’ll really have a sense for the evaluation criteria … from the community side of it.” That would then be followed by looking at a “preferred alternative,” which would then springboard to a search for funding. Implementation might be in phases, she suggests. She expects to be back at the Delridge District Council’s meetings “often” over the course of this year.

Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council chair Amanda Kay Helmick invited Zora to her group, and she said she’d be happy to speak directly to any Delridge-area group that’s interested.

Asked about budget, Zora said hers is about $225,000 including SDOT charges plus technical team, to get to that early stage of design.

How to get the word out about open houses, which, as Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding pointed out, “don’t draw well in Delridge”? DNDC chair Mat McBride suggested “something radical,” such as a street-closing event, with the message and the spirit, “Let’s build something.” Zora thought that might work, with some modification “so buses could get through,” etc., but said she’s up to the challenge. Michael Taylor-Judd from the North Delridge Neighborhood Council suggested the summertime Delridge Day festival might also be a great time/place to do something related to the project.

COUNCILMEMBER TOM RASMUSSEN: The city councilmember said he had started his day at the same place as the meeting – Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in North Delridge – conferring with the Nature Consortium, with whom he volunteered on MLK Day as they planted hundreds of trees and more (he said he was on the “fern detail”).

He went on to talk about the port-truck backups last week and monitoring it (including via WSB coverage) as the day went on, finally going to the SDOT Traffic Management Center to verify it was basically gridlock. From there, he said, city and port resources got together to come up with a plan. He said there’s a new plan to hold trucks on 16th SW on Harbor Island when needed (instead of Terminal 5), and said he’ll “keep monitoring it.”

He brought up the proposal to underground utilities for the Fauntleroy Boulevard project (here’s our previous coverage), and confirmed that the potential $6 million cost would be on top of $11 million-$12 million for the rest of the project. So far, he said, he’s hearing support for undergrounding. (CORRECTION: The original version of this story mentioned at this point that a Thursday night meeting was planned; we have since learned there is no such meeting, just the previously announced plan to discuss the Fauntleroy Boulevard project at the next Southwest District Council meeting, 6:30 pm Wednesday, February 4th, Senior Center of West Seattle.)

Next, he mentioned the 5-way intersection that’s west of the low bridge, discussed at the last meeting of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (as reported in this update from West Seattle Bike Connections). Possibilities for addressing the dangers there could include a flyover bridge, but that would be a long-term fix; for a potential short-term fix, he said, pedestrian-safety measures would be in order.

And since the Bridging The Gap levy expires this year, the mayor is drafting a new proposal that could go to voters this fall. Rasmussen mentioned that the advisory committee overseeing the first BTG includes West Seattleite Ann Martin.

He also mentioned Neighborhood Conservation Districts, as he had at this month’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting (WSB coverage here), saying he’s “very excited” about them. He elaborated on what “preserving neighborhood character” might mean, talking about projects such as those you might have seen on Capitol Hill, with historic facades saved, and new construction above them, as part of the Pike-Pine Conservation District. “It’s more than just the facade,” he said – it also includes guidelines for features of the new construction.

WWRHAH’s Helmick asked Rasmussen about his announcement of the West Seattle Bridge Transportation Corridor Management Task Force. He recapped that its intent is to bring together key players to discuss strategies for managing the traffic/bridge/what feeds into it and leads out of it, as it is now, with practical ideas for what can be done (signage? for example). And he said, perhaps they can try again to get the U.S. Coast Guard to agree to a policy that would keep the low bridge from opening for vessels during rush hours. The philosophy for dispatching tow trucks is another thing that can be looked at.

He also mentioned this week’s action to make car-sharing more widely available in the city. As you’ve probably heard via citywide media, BMW is interested in serving Seattle; Rasmussen says that service, unlike already-here Car2Go, has two sizes of vehicles.

MAYOR MURRAY MEETING WITH DISTRICT COUNCILS: Chair McBride said the Delridge and Southwest District Councils are working on a plan for a joint meeting with the entire agenda featuring a conversation with Mayor Murray. No date yet.

UNITED WAY TAX ASSISTANCE: The United Way is offering free tax assistance at more than 20 places around the county. The nearest one is at the White Center Salvation Army building (which is actually in South Delridge). Read more about it here.

ALEX TSIMERMAN: The at-large City Council candidate, known well for his participation in comment periods at council meetings, spoke briefly about his hopes for election reform. He hopes to empower people to have a louder voice in government.

FRIENDS OF ART ON PIER 86: This was presented to the Southwest District Council earlier this month too (WSB coverage here). The group is hoping for more support for a grant that would fund the exploration of whether art on the grain elevators at Pier 86 is feasible – “to combine art and industry.” They are not asking for a commitment of support for the potential art itself, just support for some money to study the possibility. Council members voted to support that prospect.

MORE ANNOUNCEMENTS: WWRHAH chair Helmick is also budget committee chair for the City Neighborhood Council and in that role invited everyone to outgoing Councilmember Nick Licata‘s participatory budget discussion on January 27 at City Hall. Read about it here. … Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding, who is on the Southwest Precinct Advisory Council, reminded everyone about the just-announced February 3rd West Seattle “community conversation” with Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, 6:30 pm February 3rd at the precinct. (Here’s the announcement we published Tuesday.) … On behalf of VIEWS, he also issued an invitation to what will be the second District 1 Candidates’ Forum, Saturday, March 14th, 10 am which also will feature the at-large candidates … DNDC also is looking to host a candidates’ forum in the spring, said co-chair McBride, focusing on eastern West Seattle-specific issues; no date yet … The Port of Seattle is presenting a boat tour of the West Seattle working waterfront on April 25th, announced Kerry Wade, district coordinator from the Department of Neighborhoods – stay tuned for how to register for free tickets. … Delridge Grocery is now up to 305 members and hoping to get to 600 by May, when they hope to open; once they are ready, it’s 90 days to build out, said Doris from the coop’s board; meantime, they are organizing fund- and information-raising events, including a board-game event next month. … Also announced: The next West Seattle Bee Festival is set for May 16th, at the WS Bee Garden, which will likely have honey this year. … The upcoming improvements that Metro will make at Roxhill Park, including lighting and sidewalks, as long requested by WWRHAH, were mentioned by Helmick toward meeting’s end.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: As mentioned on WSB earlier today, the deadline’s coming up February 9th for Neighborhood Park and Street Fund project applications, and McBride is hopeful applications will be forthcoming from this area.

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets third Wednesdays, 7 pm, at Youngstown.

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City scraps controversial proposals to change Neighborhood Matching Fund program, process http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/city-scraps-controversial-changes-to-neighborhood-matching-fund-program/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/city-scraps-controversial-changes-to-neighborhood-matching-fund-program/#comments Sat, 03 Jan 2015 07:11:56 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=297001 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

We’ve learned that the city has scrapped proposed changes to the Neighborhood Matching Fund process – changes strongly opposed by West Seattle’s two District Councils.

This came to light after the Department of Neighborhoods sent out a news release today containing deadlines and other information about this year’s process and timelines for seeking the NMF grants. Noting that the announcement made no mention of the proposed changes, we asked DoN spokesperson Lois Maag to verify that they indeed were not being implemented; Maag confirmed that it’s “status quo” for this year, and said that council chairs had recently been sent word of that.

The proposals primarily involved who could apply for the grants and who from the neighborhoods would vet applications. They were presented (and criticized) at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council‘s October meeting (WSB coverage here) and the Southwest District Council‘s November meeting (WSB coverage here). The potential removal of District Councils from the application-vetting process was a particular sticking point.

We confirmed tonight with DNDC chair Mat McBride that DoN indeed had sent word the changes weren’t going forward. In her memo, department director Bernie Matsuno said in part:

… Over the past year, an NMF Advisory Committee deliberated and developed several proposals for the program. Due to the feedback received regarding these recommendations, we are not moving forward at this time. … We will continue engaging the community and having a more robust conversation about any possible improvements to the NMF program.

Meantime – if you are interested in finding out about this year’s grant opportunities, all the information is in the full news release made public today. One West Seattle-specific date – those interested in applying for a grant from the Large Project Fund (deadline May 4th) must attend a workshop, and the only one in West Seattle is set for Tuesday, March 10, 6 pm, High Point Community Center (6420 34th SW).

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Less local vetting for city’s ‘neighborhood’ grants? Proposed changes draw sharp questions @ Delridge District Council http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/less-local-vetting-for-citys-neighborhood-grants-proposed-changes-draw-sharp-questions-delridge-district-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/10/less-local-vetting-for-citys-neighborhood-grants-proposed-changes-draw-sharp-questions-delridge-district-council/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 08:52:44 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=289294 One more neighborhood meeting to recap from this past week, before the new week arrives: The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council. Guests included Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske, but the crime/safety discussion was subdued compared to concerns over proposed changes in the city’s Neighborhood Matching Funds – a key source of funding for community-initiated projects, often involving parks or roads:

The potential NMF changes are recommendations of an advisory committee whose members include West Seattleite Jackie Ramels, who’s been in the trenches on neighborhood issues as a former president of the Alki Community Council. Ramels came to DNDC to talk about the proposals, and it was quickly clear that local leaders have major concerns. Both Pete Spalding from Pigeon Point, guest-chairing the meeting, and Amanda Kay Helmick from Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights took vigorous issue with one major component: Changes in how the Large Project Fund grants are made.

For one, the advisory committee was tasked with developing “a process to allow for non-geographic-based applicants and projects” to apply for the Large Projects Fund. Right now, the focus is on geographic-based projects – for example, each of West Seattle’s two District Councils, Delridge Neighborhoods DC for the east and Southwest DC for the west, gets to review applications for grants in their respective areas, critiquing and prioritizing proposals before sending them off for city-level review. That part of the process also would change; the recommendations call for sending applications directly to the Citywide Review Team. The District Councils’ only review role would be via any representative(s) they have on the citywide team.

The changes, according to a document that Ramels brought along, were rooted in responses to a survey about the Neighborhood Matching Funds (about 150 respondents citywide, according to a notation on the document).

But the critics suggested the proposed changes would be antithetical to the mission of the Department of Neighborhoods. Helmick called it a reversal of Mayor Murray’s campaign promise to return to a neighborhood focus.

When questions arose about eastern West Seattle involvement in the process leading to the recommendations, Delridge Neighborhood Development Association‘s Willard Brown said he had taken the survey, heard about the proposals, and had no problem with non-geographic groups seeking grants, as long as they partnered with neighborhood groups.

Later in the meeting, Helmick suggested that DNDC should write a letter opposing the changes. The city’s timeline says presentations are being made to district councils now, with Neighborhoods director Bernie Matsuno to bring the changes to the mayor and council soon, before a final decision.

POLICING PLANS: Capt. Wilske explained that he’s working on more than half a dozen specific neighborhood-crimefighting plans for individual West Seattle neighborhoods and likely will wind up with a dozen. He stressed that they’re flexible plans, since reducing a particular type of crime in one neighborhood might just send it off to another. Property crime remains the major concern in every Southwest Precinct neighborhood, so a team will look at those crimes to help facilitate a unified response.

For Delridge-specific concerns, he mentioned that he and Community Police Team Officer Jon Kiehn have been working with DESC regarding issues at and around its Cottage Grove Commons building. They’re also focusing on some chronic concerns relating to area mini-marts.

And he says Delridge Way is likely to get a traffic-emphasis patrol like the one that worked 35th last summer, which netted 200 stops and about 120 tickets.

ALSO AT THE MEETING: City budget boss Ben Noble summarized the mayor’s proposal, which the City Council is continuing to go through. Their next public hearing is this Thursday. … SDOT reps presented an overview of the next “master plan” their department will be preparing, the Seattle Freight Master Plan. They’re just at the start of the process; the actual plan “that will serve as the 20-year blueprint to guide freight mobility investments and improvements” will take shape over the next year. Follow the process here.

The Delridge District Council meets third Wednesdays, 7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

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Port possibilities, crosswalk concerns @ Delridge District Council http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/port-possibilities-crosswalk-concerns-delridge-district-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/port-possibilities-crosswalk-concerns-delridge-district-council/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 22:15:33 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=286092

(Terminal 5, photographed earlier this week by Don Brubeck)
A triple bill of transportation-related guests at last night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting – Seattle Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire, City Councilmember (chairing its Transportation Committee) Tom Rasmussen, and just-confirmed SDOT director Scott Kubly, who, in his third West Seattle appearance in two weeks, heard about safety concerns outside two local schools.

First: With the expanse of closed-and-idle Terminal 5 in the line of sight for thousands of West Seattleites daily, its future was a major topic for Commissioner Gregoire.

Almost two months have passed since the last ship called at Terminal 5, and even if you’ve missed our coverage of why it closed – in short, for modernization – you can’t miss the stark sight of what’s not there. Back in June, the port explained the work that needs to be done so that it can handle the mega-ships that are coming online, some capable of carrying 18,000 containers.

Bigger ships mean fewer port calls, Gregoire noted, and that is heating up competition for those calls, up and down the West Coast, from Prince Rupert, B.C., to Long Beach, California. It means that despite the historic rivalry between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, they have to work together, she said, to keep business in the Puget Sound region. Tacoma, for example, is now home to some of the work that had been at Terminal 5, pre-closure. Collaboration between the ports benefits the entire region, she stressed.

But even with Terminal 5 modernizing and reopening – the port is targeting 2018 – and drawing the mega-ships’ business, the amount of freight here still would not be expected to pass historic highs, having peaked almost a decade ago. However, the terminal has factors in its favor for the future, such as rail access, which, Gregoire observed, takes trucks off the roads. On the other hand, the work to be done is several-fold, including a newly approved study about possibly deepening the channels, both the west waterway alongside T-5, and the east waterway.

Besides T-5, Gregoire heard about local brainstorming regarding what to do with T-5 before it reopens. While she was noncommittal, she expressed willingness to meet with the West Seattle Transportation Coalition (whose meeting last week included a citizen-led discussion) and other local groups to hear ideas, noting that ideally, the site will generate some revenue, somehow, during its out-of-commission years.

(P.S. Your next currently scheduled chance to hear from a Port Commissioner in West Seattle is October 9th, when Stephanie Bowman speaks at the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s monthly lunch – details here.)

Next: SDOT director Scott Kubly‘s third Q/A stop with West Seattle community groups, following the Southwest District Council on September 3rd (WSB coverage here) and the WS Transportation Coalition on September 9th (WSB coverage here).

In addition to general Q/A, Kubly heard about the ongoing concerns about Delridge Way pedestrian safety outside the Boren Building, now home to Arbor Heights Elementary for two years as well as K-5 (future K-8) STEM, permanently. Kubly was told that they need a midblock crosswalk (as originally pitched by the community) rather than what’s now been changed by the city into a crosswalk at Graham, which means the equivalent of two football fields of extra distance to be covered to get into the front doors. (We reported on the Boren Building community’s concerns and requests six months ago.) Though the city had voiced concerns about a midblock crossing, STEM parent Kathleen Voss presented Kubly with a long, printed list of citations showing that midblock crossings are acceptable in school zones. Kubly said he hadn’t been to the site yet but would look into the situation.

Finally: Councilmember Rasmussen’s discussion with the DNDC was highlighted by his pitch for Transportation Benefit District Prop 1 on the November ballot, the sales tax/car-tab fee to raise money to “buy back” some of Metro‘s planned cuts; he also was thanked for working on the issue of potentially requiring “impact fees” for development (here’s our report from last week).

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets on third Wednesdays at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 7 pm.

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Scott Kubly confirmed as SDOT director, due back in West Seattle at Wednesday’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/scott-kubly-confirmed-as-sdot-director-due-back-in-west-seattle-at-wednesdays-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/scott-kubly-confirmed-as-sdot-director-due-back-in-west-seattle-at-wednesdays-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-meeting/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 22:02:19 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=285802 Scott Kubly has just been officially confirmed as the new Seattle Department of Transportation director. He’s made two official West Seattle appearances already, both covered here – last week’s West Seattle Transportation Coalition meeting (link includes our video) and the September 3rd Southwest District Council meeting. If you have a question or suggestion for Kubly, you have one more near-future chance in West Seattle: He’s scheduled to be at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting this Wednesday (September 17, 7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center at 4408 Delridge Way SW).

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Save the date: Be ready to talk about land use/development on June 4th http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/save-the-date-be-ready-to-talk-about-land-usedevelopment-on-june-4th/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/save-the-date-be-ready-to-talk-about-land-usedevelopment-on-june-4th/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 05:56:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274128 Local community leaders have been working on more ways to convene discussions about one of our area’s hottest current topics, development. And while covering tonight’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting (full report to come separately), we got semi-early word of an event in the works, and wanted to let you know to save the date: On June 4th, DNDC will join the Southwest District Council on the SWDC’s regular meeting night, to host City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who chairs the Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability Committee (which this week alone has handled issues from small-lot development to microhousing). Some details are still being worked out, including the venue/time, but if you want to hear about and talk about where things stand and where they’re going, save the night of June 4th.

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Video: Pointed questions for DPD @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/video-pointed-questions-for-dpd-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/video-pointed-questions-for-dpd-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-meeting/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 20:12:08 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=270763 With three representatives from the city Department of Planning and Development due at last night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, we thought video might be in order. The interactions, in fact, were tense at times.

Land use and planning was the night’s theme. Before we started rolling, attendees at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center heard from their crosstown counterpart Southwest District Council‘s co-chairs Sharonn Meeks and Vlad Oustimovitch, talking about the West Seattle Land Use Committee that SWDC is launching with hopes of peninsula-wide involvement. (Stay tuned for news of its first meeting and how to get involved.)

The DPD presenters began with the Seattle 2035 comprehensive-plan-update process we’ve mentioned a few times (including the sparse-in-many-ways “open house” here a week ago). DNDC members’ pointed questions for DPD rep Patrice Carroll included North Delridge‘s Michael Taylor-Judd wondering why the city is looking ahead 20 years when current problems (including exceeded growth targets and inadequate transportation to handle who’s here now and who’s on the way shortly) don’t seem to be getting addressed. WWRHAH‘s Amanda Kay Helmick noted that none of the DPD handouts even mentioned West Seattle.

Second DPD rep was Aly Pennucci, who’s been making neighborhood-meeting rounds for three months talking about the potential rezoning for “pedestrian retail areas.” In the case of Delridge, it was pointed out, that too seems to be looking past a problem – how can you dither about tweaking business districts when there isn’t much commercial space available?

Third up from DPD was David Goldberg, talking about a new project to create a “Healthy Living Framework” for Delridge. A somewhat jargonistic handout was provided, including this paragraph:

“The planning process and resulting action plan will serve to engage the full range of community stakeholders including historically underrepresented communities. The outreach and engagement will focus on the opportunity areas, but may expand to address priorities for historically underrepresented communities. The process will also convene an advisory committee envisioned to transform into or help establish and ongoing and representative implementation committee.”

Part of the preceding bullet points (we don’t have an electronic version of this two-sided handout yet but are looking for) included a mention of “future SDOT improvements along Delridge,” but the DPD rep didn’t have information about upcoming Delridge projects, at and around Andover, which was a point of concern for Pigeon Point‘s Pete Spalding.

ALSO AT THE MEETING: Our crew had to leave after the DPD presentations, so we apologize that we don’t have Cindi Barker‘s land-use-primer presentation on video (but there’s lots of context and info in this one we recorded last fall). In a non-DPD item, North Delridge’s Patrick Baer announced that the city had agreed to fix the asphalt-covered planting strip that resulted from the recent Delridge/Findlay project mentioned here, for which Baer was the original proposer. Here’s our photo from this morning:

We have since confirmed the de-asphalting plan with SDOT’s John Vander Sluis, who says, “Based on public feedback, SDOT will be removing the asphalt and working with the community on the installation of a landscaped planting strip. … The decision to remove the asphalt was made late last week, so I don’t have details on schedule at this point.”

DNDC meets third Wednesdays at Youngstown, 7 pm.

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Face to face with DPD @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/face-to-face-with-dpd-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/face-to-face-with-dpd-delridge-neighborhoods-district-council/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:29:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=270652 If you’re concerned about development, it might be “the city department you love to hate” – the city Department of Planning and Development. Land use, zoning, permitting, reviewing – all under the DPD’s umbrella. You’re invited to tomorrow night’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting to hear from and talk with three DPD reps AND a community expert on grass-roots land-use research/activism. DNDC chair Mat McBride asked us to share the agenda :

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014 – 7:00 pm

7:10 p.m. Seattle 2035 – Patrice Carroll and Nicolas Welch, Department of Planning and Development

7:40 p.m. Pedestrian zones – Aly Pennucci, Department of Planning and Development

8:00 p.m. North Delridge Community Development Action Plan – David Goldberg, Department of Planning and Development

8:20 p.m. (What citizens should know, from a grass-roots perspective) – Cindi Barker

The DNDC includes reps from community councils and other orgs around eastern West Seattle, but you’re welcome no matter where in the area you’re from. If you are researching development in your own neighborhood, Cindi Barker’s information might be particularly helpful. Tomorrow’s meeting is at 7 pm in room 106 at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW).

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Delridge Neighborhoods District Council: Grant-pitching; councilmember listening; more http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-grant-pitching-councilmember-listening-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-grant-pitching-councilmember-listening-more/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 13:02:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=268175

(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.

Community-event announcements:

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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Delridge Neighborhoods District Council invites you to ‘lean in’ and ‘get civic’ tomorrow http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-invites-you-to-lean-in-and-get-civic-tomorrow/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/delridge-neighborhoods-district-council-invites-you-to-lean-in-and-get-civic-tomorrow/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 01:08:04 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=268058 Don’t just sit there – ‘get civic’! That’s the message we were asked to share with you by Mat McBride, chair of the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, in advance of its monthly meeting tomorrow night:

After reading multiple comments about civics education (and lack thereof) for both kids and adults on WSB, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council decided to engage. It’s not uncommon for City Councilmembers to attend our meetings, but usually it’s to announce a particular initiative. As our political climate is changing we feel that inviting all of our councilmembers to attend is important for two reasons: for them to get to know (better) the eastern half of our beautiful peninsula, and to get to know You (the people they work for). Our first representative in this series is Sally Clark, whose bio and committee info can be found here.

District Council meetings are always open to the public. But I want to specifically encourage you to take this opportunity to lean in. Having a personal, intimate conversation with your elected, policy-making representative is both powerful and empowering. All ages are welcome (one of my fondest memories is of a young man – working on a civics merit badge – who came to a DNDC meeting and had a great dialogue, with again, Sally Clark). So bring your questions, bring your ideas, and get engaged. Get civic.

Here are five more reasons to do that: The newest applications for the Parks and Neighborhood Streets Fund, which DNDC will review tomorrow night before making recommendations to the city on which to prioritize for potential funding. These are community-member-proposed projects and they’re not big enough to trigger further levels of meetings/feedback so this is when to take a look. The application docs are linked below:

*Rapid flashing beacons for 11th/Holden
*26th Avenue SW Greenway crosswalks
*5950 Delridge Way crossing
*Planning/design study for Puget Boulevard Trail
*Roxhill Park improvements
*SW Juneau staircase improvements

Check out the council at 7 pm Wednesday (March 19th), Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW).

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Community-proposed projects, repaving update, more @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council’s first 2013 meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2013/01/community-proposed-projects-repaving-update-more-delridge-neighborhoods-district-councils-first-2013-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/01/community-proposed-projects-repaving-update-more-delridge-neighborhoods-district-councils-first-2013-meeting/#comments Fri, 18 Jan 2013 07:27:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=137236 Big community participation at the first Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting of the year, with more than two dozen people crowding into a cozy conference room at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center last night. The agenda was weighted toward transportation topics — including the Bicycle Master Plan Update, community proposals for Bridging the Gap levy-funded grant money, and, kicking off the meeting, the latest on the Delridge repaving project:

(WSB photo from today – Delridge project pieces including manhole components have arrived)
DELRIDGE REPAVING, AFTER WEEK 1: Communications lead LeAnne Nelson and SDOT’s new paving-program manager Sue Byers opened with a quick update on the project, just finishing its first week. Nelson mentioned the changes made early on, including the 4-way stop at Barton/25th and the turn restrictions at Delridge/Trenton. She says it’s tentatively planned that the 2nd and 3rd weekends in February are when the two intersections (Delridge/Trenton and Delridge/Henderson) will be closed in both directions for work. Taking questions from those in attendance, the SDOT duo were asked about the Delridge/Trenton signal and why it hasn’t just been switched to 4-way flashing given the restrictions; they said they would have an engineer check on it. Cement grinding is now starting, the SDOT team noted, and this phase, they say, is still on track for completion around the end of February. (Updated detour map and other info is on this page of the city website.)

GRANT APPLICATIONS: Chair Mat McBride explained that the contenders are applying for a share of the last distribution from the past Bridging the Gap levy – though, he noted, a new Bridging the Gap levy is under consideration. Unlike some grant programs, there is no guarantee that any given district will have at least one project approved, it was explained; this presentation precedes a vote by member groups of which grant/s they will recommend for approval.

First project, Highland Park Greenway (route to make it easier for people to walk/bike). Craig Rankin made the presentation; co-sponsor Carolyn Stauffer, Highland Park Action Committee co-chair, was on hand too:
–Route would run between Roxbury and Myrtle on the south/north, between 16th and 10th on the east/west
–Schools, parks, churches are along the route
–Responding to a question, Carolyn said that some of what’s needed to make it a greenway is already there.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Second project, (5400 block) 23rd SW Drainage/Pedestrian Improvements. Patrick Baer and Aaron Jennings made the presentation:
-Location: The area is near the under-construction DESC Delridge Supportive Housing 66-unit complex and Boren school, currently home to K-5 STEM, as well as part of the Brandon Node business area – “it’s a little embarrassing to have the neighborhood adjoining the node be basically mud,” Jennings said.
-He also said the “extent of paving” on his street has been chip seal laid down about a decade ago. Though as of today the weather’s been dry for about four days, “there’s still water flowing down the street,” he explained.
–”Does the city know about this?” they were asked. The proposers believe it does – but nothing’s been done about the situation.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Third project: Olmsted Brothers’ Puget Boulevard/23rd SW (presented by Mike Dady).
Mapped out by the Olmsted Brothers, the fabled designers of Seattle’s historic park system.

–The current state of Puget Blvd. “is a disgrace,” Dady declared. He noted that homes were built without sidewalks, street trees, because city code at the time did not require it. The street is two blocks long from Alaska to Hudson and still has vacant lots on slopes, “all getting picked off by developers.” Dady proposes to bring it up to “complete street” standards – and hoisted a bike and cane to show that people who walk and ride can only do it in the middle of the street.
He also circulated a photo of a man going down the street in a wheelchair – against traffic – because there was no sidewalk.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Fourth project: Highland Park Way/Holden improvements (presented by Carolyn Stauffer).
–Route: “One of two ways out of West Seattle,” as Carolyn explained
–Signal or roundabout suggested, as well as new sidewalk (or sidewalk repair), crosswalk/s
–Stauffer said speed and other problems make it a dangerous intersection.
–Asked if the roundabout might not pose more of a challenge to pedestrian safety, Stauffer said she felt there would be ways to work around that.
–Chair McBride noted that “anecdotally, there seems to be a wreck or more per week at that intersection.”
–Read details of the proposal here.

Fifth project: Delridge and Findlay drainage improvements (presented by Pete Spalding and Steve Daschle):
–Same problems as the other drainage-improvement proposal – a continuation of it, really, the proposers note
–Replace failing wooden structures and connect into main drain
–Neighbors used to maintain – but that’s changed over the years.
–It’s not connected to the main drainage system.
–Concerns included whether this is an application related to impacts on the alley by the DESC project – for which the proposers sit on the Community Advisory Council – and “beyond the scope of what these grants should be funding.” It was suggested that instead of seeking a grant for levy funds, the District Council should consider pressing the city to take care of what is a long-neglected problem.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Sixth project: Brandon Green Superhighway. (Presented by Jake Vanderplas)
–This would allow people to get from Seaview to the West Duwamish Greenbelt via SW Brandon. It also connects to the 26th SW greenway, he noted.
–Currently, some of the city right-of-way along SW Brandon isn’t even usable by pedestrians
–”The vision is to be wide, have low-growing plants, paths, maybe ADA access,” explained Vanderplas. He says the only reason the right-of-way hadn’t been developed before is that “it’s too steep.”
–A concern was raised that the section between 30th and 34th might be too steep to be usable.
–26th and Brandon is a dangerous intersection, another person pointed out; and then it was noted that the intersection is slated for some improvements when work begins on the 26th greenway.
–Read details of the proposal here.

Seventh project: 26th SW Family Safety Sidewalk Project (presented by Meave Ellsworth and Jean Claude Derieux Cortes)
–”We’re a young family,” Ellsworth noted, saying that gave them a view into why many others want to come to this community and enjoy it.
–They were excited about their neighborhood – and then noticed what happened, for example, when it rained. She lauded North Delridge Neighborhood Council members for giving her advice on trying to do what she thought needed to be done on the street. She showed photos of the street with runoff, and cars parked over areas where oil would leak and leach into the watershed.
–Sidewalks would be built between Juneau and Brandon along 26th. “I understand it’s expensive and I have no idea how much it would cost, but …” She pointed out the recently completed 25th SW project using the same fund (with green stormwater drainage and sidewalks). The 26th greenway would stop before her street, she explained.
–Comments included a supporter saying this project is essential to make up for past neglect in the neighborhood. Ellsworth said the presentation was quick to make “because this is what I get up to every day. … I see a lot of opportunity for this community.”
–Read details of the proposal here.

BICYCLE MASTER PLAN UPDATE: It was almost a perfect segue as Sara Zora from SDOT was introduced right after the grant-application presentations. She said they have been hearing a lot from bicycle riders and want to hear more from non-riders, in hopes of encouraging more bicycle riding. Much can be read online, she said. Neighborhood greenways is a “huge” type of bicycle “facility,” she noted – about 200 miles of them are proposed for the city, “using residential streets for better bicycling and walking is a huge part of how we’re going to get people to ride bikes within their neighborhoods” – even if they don’t ride to work or shopping.

She said she wants people to envision that bicycling can be an important part of everyone’s daily life, even if they don’t ride for commuting – everyone means people of all ages and abilities. “We want people to recognize that riding a bike is a way to get around your neighborhood,” from kids through seniors. A draft network map is available for review through January 31st, she said – take a look at it and see what’s suggested for your neighborhood. Once the public-comment period closes, they’ll compile the responses and opinions.

The full bike master plan draft update will be out this summer, Zora said. That will launch another round of public comment, and they hope the city Council will adopt it toward summer’s end so that some of the projects can begin.

“We’re moving toward buffered bike lanes” with a little more separation, she said. That could reduce “dooring,” she said – particularly if the double-striped buffer was adjacent to the parking side of the parking lane.

Another way to separate them would be “cycle tracks” in the street, at an elevation raised from the rest of the traffic – maybe sidewalk height – she explained. (They’re proposed as blue lines on the map.) She said the options include having a cycle track that goes two ways on one side of the street, or cycle tracks that flow the same direction as other traffic on each side of the street. She invited everyone to share ideas with her and the rest of the city team.

Comments included whether the city might invest in more education – for example, the bike box installed at Delridge and Andover has just turned up without any such. Zora said that a high percentage of the comments they’ve received indeed had to do with people not knowing how to use or interact with the bicycle facilities, particularly new types such as bike boxes. (She referred to a video the city put online – but acknowledged it might be difficult for people to find, and said that one idea might be to incorporate bike-facility savvy into the driver’s test that people have to take to get licensed.)

Zora was also asked about bicycle access, and she said that’s something the city hasn’t figured out yet – “we have a lot of ideas about what we SHOULD be doing,” though.

DELRIDGE WAY PLANNING: Pete Spalding recapped talking with the city about the road’s future – from the north end of the paving project to the bridge. Even though there’s no money now, he said, if the community comes up with a plan and a request, they could pursue it being a “named project” in the next Bridging the Gap Levy. This could lead to a community forum in the latter half of March, where people could “just dream about what we want to see Delridge Way look like … nothing’s off the table.” He urged people to start “putting their thinking hats on.”

GATHERING OF NEIGHBORS: Michael Taylor-Judd noted that Saturday, May 4th, is the official date for the gathering (as has been noted at other neighborhood council meetings recently). He said the event needs more support from community councils and the District Councils – not a lot of meetings, but people to take on “specific tasks and really specific projects,” from designing a poster to updating the website to making phone calls for sponsorships from neighborhood businesses, and so on. “If you’re at all interested in helping us carry off this event,” he said, contact him – he’ll make more information available soon.

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, whose members represent community councils and other organizations from around eastern West Seattle, meets monthly on the third Wednesday, 7 pm, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

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Spraypark construction, school partnerships, Delridge paving, more @ 2-in-1 meeting in Highland Park http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/spraypark-construction-school-partnerships-delridge-paving-more-2-in-1-meeting-in-highland-park/ http://westseattleblog.com/2012/11/spraypark-construction-school-partnerships-delridge-paving-more-2-in-1-meeting-in-highland-park/#comments Fri, 30 Nov 2012 06:47:10 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=131418 At Highland Park Improvement Club last night, two meetings in one – the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council and Highland Park Action Committee together.

DNDC chair Mat McBride led the meeting. He pronounced it “very exciting” since, as he said, there’s been talk of “cross-pollinating” neighborhood councils. Among the topics:

HIGHLAND PARK SPRAYPARK, AND ART NEARBY: In about two weeks, Burien-based TF Sahli Construction will start construction of the long-awaited Highland Park Spraypark. We confirmed that today with Seattle Parks project manager Kelly Goold, who couldn’t be at last night’s meeting but sent the info with the team that came to talk about a proposed art project next to the spraypark.

Artist Leo Berk came to talk about that with Kelly Pajek from the city’s Public Art program. This project was chosen to get a “1 percent for art” feature – coming specifically from that fund, not out of the spraypark-project budget.

Berk’s proposal involves the WPA-era building adjacent to the spraypark-to-be; he found it “super awesome and cool” and studied architecture in the neighborhood, researching the details of Tudor architecture, which the house seemed to resemble. He plans to transform its exterior, including a Corian exterior that will be graffiti-resistant, and “monuments to windows” where it would have windows if it were being used. Some renderings were shown; we’ll be pursuing electronic copies. From the presentation, the top image is how the building looks now, the second how it might look.

Renovation of the building itself is not part of the park project, but it was stressed that nothing about the art aspect would affect the building’s usability or its ability to be renovated in the future. Details are still being worked on.

DELRIDGE REPAVING UPDATE: SDOT‘s LeAnne Nelson was back in the area for another update on the big, imminent project, which will now repave Delridge from Orchard to Roxbury (as a result of the contract award, reported here).

It’ll be mostly concrete, and it’ll include new drainage, she recapped. She reviewed previously publicized information about the project’s phases and detours, and SDOT’s commitment to keep northbound traffic flowing (southbound will be detoured).

By mid-December, Nelson said, she hopes to have information on what order the phases will be done in, and exactly what the detouring will be. She brought the answers to some questions that had emerged at her most-recent briefing (at the North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting earlier this month – WSB coverage here) – including, how will families be notified if school-transportation routes are affected? Answer – district notification. Also, she said, Metro will be out next month doing test runs to figure out the best detour routes. The project will move south to north, starting in January, and lasting much of the year.

She also mentioned that some traffic-calming features on 24th SW between Thistle and Trenton will be going in, and the fact that 21st SW and 26th SW Greenways are both now officially on the drawing board (as shown in this presentation from the recent Delridge Greenway open house – 26th SW for 2013, 21st for 2014).

Since Nelson had included some information beyond the scope of the paving project, that inspired some attendee questions – such as, what about traffic-safety measures near Boren, currently home to West Seattle STEM Elementary? She didn’t know but promised to get information.

As her presentation and Q/A ended, McBride reminded everyone that banding together as blocks/neighborhoods during the planning process of projects is the best way to have a say.

SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ CARMELA DELLINO: The combined group heard from the executive director of SPS’s schools in the Southwest Region (West Seattle/South Park). She lauded those on hand for the eastern West Seattle-led volunteer recognition – and got almost choked up talking about her four years as principal of Roxhill Elementary. As for her current job, “It’s a really fancy title meaning I’m just here to serve” the schools in the southwest region – which means “I”m serving the community – that’s what schools are, they are communities,” she said. And the community is what makes things happen, she said, echoing what McBride had said moments earlier. How do we merge our schools better with our communities? she wondered aloud, then noting she had spent the day at a consortium with other districts’ reps from around the region regarding birth-to-third-grade education. She said it inspired the idea of finding out “who are all the providers” in the area and collaborating with them so that when kids come to school for kindergarten, it’s not a sudden shift – it’s a continuum. She hopes to hear from providers in the Southwest Region, she said, before inviting Q/A/ideas about a partnership with the community and schools.

Highland Park’s Mike Shilley suggested bringing schoolchildren to HPIC, so that it’s not only hosting people from the immediate neighborhood.

Fellow HP’er Cheri Christensen mentioned that the wider community should know what’s going on at HP Elementary, everything from performing arts to multicultural nights.

North Delridge’s Patrick Baer wondered about the future of Boren, currently home to the STEM school, saying he considers it unfortunate that it’s a temporary home for various schools, instead of something permanent that “would help bring community to Delridge.” He believes it is kept as temporary housing because Delridge has no clout.

Also from North Delridge, Mike Dady said he also believes that the lack of a neighborhood school is a challenge to community-building in Delridge, since a school so often is the place where community members come together, where events are held – and with schools coming in and out of Boren every few years, “we lack that glue.”

Dellino suggested that concern should and would be shared with assistant superintendent for facilities Pegi McEvoy and with family-engagement specialist Bernardo Ruiz. “Maybe we can talk about … how we can build stronger partnerships with the (permanent) schools we do have in the meantime,” she said.

McBride, switching “hats” to speak as rep from the Camp Long Advisory Council, suggested CL could be better utilized by schools. Dellino said she thought that was a great idea and asked for a price list. Piggybacking on that was CL’s Sheila Brown (who noted she was also a former teacher), saying she wants to see how environmental education in West Seattle “can bring new elements of the community together.” She’s hoping to organize a forum on that, including state and community leadership as well as schools, to talk about how to help kids learn about the environment “and what would it take to be sustainable for the future.” Dellino thought that could play into the fact that science education needs to improve – and maybe somehow HPIC as a facility could tie into it.

At that point, HPIC and HPAC’s Julie Schickling pointed out that a raingarden project in conjunction with Sustainable Seattle would be starting soon and that could perhaps play into it too.

Dellino promised she would go back to district HQ and talk about a “beautiful community and beautiful space … that wants to get more involved.” And schools are for involvement with community members regardless of whether they are parents or have ever been parents, she stressed.

DEALING WITH VACANT HOUSES: In light of recent fires in Highland Park involving vacant/nuisance houses, North Delridge’s Dady was asked to talk about the effort he led x years ago to get some of that area’s nuisance houses taken care of. He said some of the city’s rules have changed since then, making it easier to address some situations, such as houses that can now be demolished without one being planned to take its place; he had advice about using the city’s website to find information from Client Assistance Memos #601, #605, #608 – “they provide really good layperson’s knowledge around what’s not supposed to be allowed at these properties and what’s supposed to be taking place.” His organization of a walking tour with not only elected officials but also department heads – Dady said their involvement is critical – was hailed by McBride as yet another example of “the power of a citizen and an engaged community.”

ANNOUNCEMENTS: A batch from HPIC president Rhonda Smith – December 5th is the Highland Park Improvement Club tree trimming, December 7th will be their holiday edition of the monthly “Corner Bar” (all ages – “a super-fun time to bring your friends and your kids”), December 8th is the HPIC holiday bazaar (which is “completely full,” it was announced, though vendors are still hoping for space!), this month’s Movie Night will be a double bill of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” (original) and “The Christmas Story,” and December 31st brings back the Not-So-Silent-Night Parade and “sage comet” (“actually rosemary,” Rhonda confessed) with a special edition of the Corner Bar for New Year’s Eve. No charge ever, “just bring your good energy and have a good time,” she invited everybody. … McBride noted that the City Neighborhood Council is looking for people to get involved with its Transportation Subcommittee – “open to all,” and the meetings are the last Monday of each month, 6:30-8:30 pm at City Hall downtown. He also noted that next month’s DNDC meeting – likely on December 19th – will be a holiday potluck celebration.

Gathering of Neighbors and Delridge Day are both in the works for next year, McBride mentioned. And he talked about the Roxhill Castle community playground build (grand opening December 22nd!) that he helped organize a few weeks back, and how a city grant for which they applied had factored into it – especially to get more tools that after the project went on to the West Seattle Tool Library – “enough, literally, to build your own park!”

Delridge Neighborhoods District Council usually meets on third Wednesdays at 7 pm, Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, while Highland Park Action Committee usually meets fourth Wednesdays at 7 pm, Highland Park Improvement Club.

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Delridge District Council: More details on 2 big city projects http://westseattleblog.com/2012/09/delridge-district-council-more-details-on-2-big-city-projects/ http://westseattleblog.com/2012/09/delridge-district-council-more-details-on-2-big-city-projects/#comments Fri, 21 Sep 2012 18:12:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=122547

About two dozen people filled a room at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center for the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council‘s September meeting on Wednesday night – and about half were city employees, mostly to talk about projects previewed here earlier, repaving the south mile of Delridge next year (map above), and reducing combined-sewer overflows into Longfellow Creek. Read on for the toplines on those topics and other key points:

WHO WAS THERE: Organizations represented in the DNDC membership on hand for the meeting included North Delridge Neighborhood Council, Westwood Neighborhood Council, Highland Park Action Committee, Camp Long Advisory Council, and Nature Consortium.

Here’s some of what they heard:

SDOT’S DELRIDGE REPAVING PROJECT: The repaving project updated here earlier in the day – scheduled to start next January and last up to a year – is the subject of mailers that went out to 4,000 households earlier this week, according to the four SDOT reps in attendance. Here’s the flyer they received.

Additional information shared at the District Council meeting: The new surface will be largely asphalt from Orchard to Holden, and concrete the rest of the way. Drainage under the roadway will be improved, and that’s good news for Longfellow Creek, they said. During the year-long construction process, northbound traffic will be preserved except for a couple weekends when intersections will be rebuilt, but southbound will be detoured to 35th SW. That means increased traffic for neighborhood cut-throughs, they acknowledge, and so that means the neighborhood is invited to apply for the Traffic Calming Program – signs, carts with portable radar signs, etc.

The planned rechannelization/reconfiguration also was discussed (you can take a closer look here). And they had a list of FAQs. They also mentioned the other rechannelization that will be put into place sooner, with a 6-9 am bus lane on north Delridge Way SW, and a southbound bike lane. (Here’s the latest update on that work, part of a project along Metro Route 120.)

They acknowledged the gap between the two projects, “we’re aware of it and we want to someday do something with it … right now it’s not prioritized, there’s no money,” said Carol McMahan. Meantime, the 26th SW greenway is moving forward, she added, with neighborhood outreach forthcoming, and implementation next summer; “the wayfinding signs will be going in this year,” she noted. The city has applied for a grant to widen the sidewalk from Andover to where it joins the trail, to 12 feet. If they get it, they will move forward with design and construction. One more project: SW Andover will get a bike lane on the south side including a bike box “to put you out in front of all the cars to make your turn.” And, she said the NW corner of Delridge/Andover is getting a “freight improvement” – right where the sidewalk is broken up because trucks have been running over it – the curb radius wll be widened a bit so trucks can stay on the road. The sidewalk will be thickened and strengthened so it won’t break so easily if trucks do drive up on it. That will be weekend work, to be completed before year’s end, McMahan said.

Jessica Murphy, pavement expert, also shared some technical details of how Delridge will be resurfaced – with the types of pavement that are appropriate for the sections where they’ll be placed.

Asked what kind of outreach is being done to let people know about the bike lanes, current and future the SDOT reps said that is a component of the Bicycle Master Plan, but weren’t entirely sure how the word was getting out through various parts of the community.

Pablo Lambinicio of Westwood brought up the fact that the paving project does not take into effect the longtime community interest in a “boulevard” concept for Delridge. Chair Mat McBride recalled bringing that up at Mayor McGinn’s recent Town Hall. (See “Question #7″ in our coverage from that event.) SDOT’s Murphy said the majority of the segment that’s being repaved is 38 feet wide, “not wide enough for a boulevard concept.” But, Lambinicio said, they had heard there still could be things done for a “boulevard feel.” Murphy said that SDOT’s Jim Curtin followed up on that but did not surface anything from the neighborhood to be incorporated into the project. But, “what we’re doing now does not preclude doing something in the future,” though there’s nothing funded and nothing being studied right now, she pointed out: “We didn’t have anything tangible to incorporate.”

Community advocate Nancy Folsom then pointed out it’s frustrating when promises are made at meetings and then discussions take place but there’s no followthrough to let those who brought up the issues know what’s going on. She also added, however, that it’s “wonderful” Delridge is getting some attention. She also wondered if some expenditures would just be “patching” something that needed to be rebuilt. “I don’t think we can stop this project nor should we necessariiy … (but) are we building the road we really need? … Delridge is inadequate for the traffic it needs to support.”

Bottom line: Go to the October 2nd open house, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm at Chief Sealth International High School. And keep an eye on the project webpage (where you can sign up NOW for e-mail updates, too).

(Click image to see larger version as PDF)
CSO PROJECTS: Tim Croll from Seattle Public Utilities said this is the official kickoff of the public-involvement process for the combined-sewer-overflow-reduction work the city has to do. (This, too, was the subject of a WSB story hours before the DNDC meeting – see it here.)

He explained that Delridge had two big tanks built in the ’80s to cut down on overflows into Longfellow Creek – “it’s a lot better now but it’s not where it needs to be.” First, they’re going to retrofit the two structures with new technology. Then – roadside raingardens (see map above) might help the city avoid having to build another storage tank in the area. The DNDC meeting kicked off a 2-year public-involvement process.

Questions included: Did the first round of outreach materials include an indication of how to get it in other languages, considering many are spoken in the raingarden target area, Highland Park? Short answer, no. But SPU said it’s reaching out to community groups and organizations that have connections with those. Another question: Why are roadside raingardens (which usually bring street/sidewalk work) proposed for neighborhoods that already have sidewalks, when so many don’t? That was asked by Patrick Baer, who brought up two blocks that were in line for new sidewalks, then suggested bioswales, which led to one block being dropped from the plan because there was no money – and suddenly now bioswales are being proposed for neighborhoods that already have sidewalks. Another SPU rep said basically, they couldn’t make a choice to pick neighborhoods without sidewalks; they had to plan this work for neighborhoods where they needed to reduce overflows. SPU said it wants to hear everyone’s ideas – maybe they can find “a nexus” for bringing sidewalks into the situation.

This project, too, has an upcoming public meeting – 6-8 pm October 4th at the Salvation Army center, 9050 16th SW. Details on that, and the project overview, are on this SPU webpage.

(Delridge Day 2012 photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
DELRIDGE DAY: The festival’s success was trumpeted – and so was the need for more help next year. 65 booths! Does Delridge Day have a goal? asked one meeting attendee. Baer pointed out that, among other benefits and accomplishments, the festival raised $1,300 for scholarships for kids to participate in Delridge Community Center projects (the bake sale pictured above was part of that), and also bolstered the area’s image communitywide. (Here’s our as-it-happened coverage from DD.)

LIGHTING FOR BRANDON NODE: Among other community needs – this isn’t happening yet and it was asked, why do they have to wait for the city? Maybe they should just start doing it themselves, someone suggested. “That would be very Delridge,” observed McBride. However, it would require people to participate on subcommittees.

SPEAKING OF LIGHTS: Baer also noted that K-5 STEM at Boren is asking for flashing school-zone lights and may not get them for months. “Being the location, and the age of the kids, I can’t believe the school district hasn’t addressed it,” he said. “They shouldn’t even have opened the school doors before it was addressed. I can’t see it’s going to cost that much money to put lights on the school signs.”

SW DAKOTA RIGHT OF WAY PLAN: Community advocates and Youngstown Flats developer rep Steffenie Evans were there on behalf of the quest for a grant to improve the street end greenspace to the west of the under-construction project. They all wore “I (Heart) Dakota ROW” buttons. Creek access and safety are among the goals of the “little plaza” with a path and plantings that they are hoping to see in the space. (The plantings will be low, so it is not a “lurker haven” as it is now, said neighbor Nicholas.) “We’re going to turn this into a place that will tie us into Longfellow Creek,” he said. They are seeking a matching-fund grant of more than $60,000 (and already have $65,000 in donated labor and cash for their share) and hope that the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council will vouch for them if asked.

OUTREACH AND COMMUNITY: Mike Shilley despaired about this …wondering how each individual community reaches out to the diverse ethnic communities in their area, or even if they do. Nancy Folsom says she volunteers in High Point and it’s a great way to meet people there. She also suggested putting together fun free events involving food, to catch people who wander by. McBride said perhaps the DNDC would serve as more of an incubator than a repository of activity and group reps. Lambinicio thought for starters the group needed a list of all the organizations in the area. Michael Taylor-Judd pointed out that plans for next year’s Gathering of Neighbors will start revving up shortly and that’s one great way to meet a lot of people. Shilley also said he’d need help in order to organize another volunteer-recognition event such as the one this year (WSB coverage here).

POLICE UPDATE: Lt. Pierre Davis recapped the fairly quiet summer, and the recent identification of “a group of individuals … causing some problems in the neighborhood, and we are addressing it.” He said he couldn’t go into details beyond that statement.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: The autumnal equinox will be celebrated at Camp Long, DNDC chair McBride reminded everyone, with the celebration/fundraiser tomorrow (Saturday 9/22) on behalf of their challenge course … October 17-21, the new Roxhill Playground will be built, he added, and “there is a lot of room for volunteerism on this project.” He reminded everyone of the new community website for the project, roxhillcastle.wordpress.com. … Michael Taylor-Judd reminded the group of major bus changes taking effect on September 29th, including Route 120 (here’s our most recent story on that).

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council usually meets on third Wednesdays at Youngstown, 7 pm – public always welcome.

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