West Seattle, Washington
From WSB photojournalist Christopher Boffoli: SDOT crews are putting up 2-hour signs along a stretch of 41st SW this afternoon – part of the Junction parking plan recently finalized, almost two years after first word of the city review. (You’ll recall, the review resulted in a decision for NO pay stations, and NO “restricted parking zones” – just some new 2-hour-zone signage; see the map in our most recent story.) ADDED 6:26 PM: In e-mail this evening, SDOT project manager Dante Taylor confirms the sign installation and included a reminder that there will be a meeting later this year open to anyone who wants to hear and talk about how the changes are working.
Story and photo by Christopher Boffoli
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
At Tuesday night’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting: Information from SDOT on the implementation of the West Seattle Junction on-street parking changes (as well as discussion of some wider transportation issues), updates on the status of Junction Plaza Park, and a plug for West Seattleites to attend upcoming Southwest District Council meetings.
That’s the finalized map from SDOT showing the end result of the two-year West Seattle Junction parking review, posted online yesterday and mailed to Junction-area businesses and homes. (Click the image or here to see the mailer full-size.) The review began in February 2008 (here’s our first report), elicited mostly sighs of relief five months ago when SDOT announced no pay stations were forthcoming, then ended in November (WSB coverage here) with a recommendation of signage changes along several blocks in the “study area.” They’re the same ones announced at the November meeting – on the map above, the ones marked in green will be posted as 2-hour zones, and the ones marked in dark blue will change from 1-hour to 2-hour zones, with the signs going up “in early 2010.” Here’s the official city infopage for the Junction parking review – that’s where you can read the background documents including evaluations of the Junction parking situation as surveyed during the review. Also worth noting if you missed our November report – though the city’s original plan was to study another West Seattle neighborhood’s parking situation in 2010, SDOT said that plan’s now changed, and there won’t be another survey here (Admiral, Alki and Morgan Junction are on deck, eventually) before 2011.
Two headlines out of tonight’s meeting of the West Seattle Junction Parking Project Committee: First, 21 months after first word of the then-impending review, it’s all over. Results: A relatively minor set of changes in the works – anticlimactic since the city announced in July that the Junction study would NOT result in pay stations. Second, while the city’s original plan called for the 2009 Junction review to be followed up by a 2010 Morgan Junction review, Community Parking Program boss Allison Schwartz confirmed tonight that only 2 neighborhoods in the city will be studied next year (down from 5) because of budget cuts, and neither will be in West Seattle. So, back to the conclusion of The Junction’s parking review – read on for details on the changes, and what happens now:Read More
JUNCTION PARKING FEEDBACK DEADLINE: If you have something to say to the city about its proposal for parking changes in The Junction – no pay stations, no RPZs, some areas changing to 2-hour limits – today’s the deadline for getting your comments in; contact methods are listed here, along with details on the proposals. (Thanks to Forest for the reminder.)
SCHOOL BOUNDARY MAPS PUBLIC HEARING: Tonight at 6 at district HQ downtown, the Seattle School Board listens to public comment on the proposed attendance-area maps. (Here’s our story about the map discussion at board member Steve Sundquist‘s Saturday meeting in High Point.) You have to sign up in advance; as of early this morning, the list on the district’s website indicates there may still be slots left – here’s how to sign up.
PARK FUND DRAFT CRITERIA PUBLIC HEARING: Another public hearing downtown tonight with West Seattle ramifications: The Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee will listen to comments about the draft criteria for proposals to get a share of the levy’s Opportunity Fund. 7 pm at Parks HQ downtown, no advance signup needed. (See the draft criteria here.)
LOOKING AHEAD TO LATER THIS WEEK: Check out the WSB Events calendar for the full list. But two things to call to your attention for starters – Wednesday is Veterans Day, which means schools, banks and community centers are closed (normal trash pickup, the city says); Thursday night is the monthly West Seattle Art Walk – here’s the fall-quarter walking map/list of participants.
SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: Tonight’s agenda includes Dante Taylor from SDOT briefing the group on the proposed changes in Junction parking. The map you see above is the official version of the one that was shown in rough draft to the recent Parking Project Committee meeting (WSB coverage here); it’ll be on a mailer going out to area homes/businesses shortly. Also on the agenda for tonight’s meeting: 7 pm, board room at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor).
NORTH DELRIDGE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL: 6:30 tonight, Delridge Library.
COMBINED SEWER OVERFLOWS – AND WHAT THAT MEANS TO LOCAL BEACHES: Tonight and tomorrow night, King County Wastewater Treatment Division comes to West Seattle to talk about two projects involving pump stations and “combined sewer overflows” — what happens when the system gets overloaded – which affects Puget Sound and local beaches more than you might realize. Tonight’s meeting looks at the “Murray basin” – related to the underground pump station at Lowman Beach north of Lincoln Park. It’s at 6:30 pm at The Kenney; background information here. Tomorrow night, it’s the “Barton basin,” related to the underground pump station next to the Fauntleroy ferry dock – that meeting’s at 6:30 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy; background info here.
From last night’s meeting of the West Seattle Junction Parking Project Committee (photo left): 19 months after first word of the parking study study in the greater Junction area, SDOT has one more recommendation (besides the announcement two months ago that pay stations would NOT be suggested: The city is now proposing adding 2-hour zones in several spots, including most of California SW between Edmunds and Dawson, 44th SW between Edmunds and Alaska, a section of California north of Genesee, much of 42nd between Alaska and Oregon, the south half of 41st between Alaska and Oregon, and the south side of Alaska between 40th and 41st. In addition, two blocks of 1-hour zones on Alaska between 36th and 38th would be changed from 1-hour zones to 2-hour zones. A rough-draft map was shown at last night’s meeting as well as a West Seattle Junction Association meeting earlier in the day; project manager Dante Taylor says an official version of the map is in the works right now so it can be shared publicly as soon as possible. He told the group that the message emerging from the Junction parking study was a need for consistent time limits on parking – and this would be a way of achieving that. The city found that most people who come to The Junction are there for no more than three hours. This still doesn’t address the major concern of residents in the residential zones along 41st and 42nd between Alaska and Oregon – daytime parking taken up by workers from nearby construction workers, for example – so they remain interested in Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) deployment; the Junction Neighborhood Organization and Junction Association will need to discuss possible boundaries and hours, it was noted. Next step: The proposal is scheduled to be presented at the Southwest District Council‘s next meeting, 7 pm October 7th, board room at South Seattle Community College; more background info is available on the project’s official website.
From tonight’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting:
JUNCTION PARKING REVIEW PROGRESS: SDOT‘s project manager Dante Taylor (right) briefed the group –Though the decision NOT to propose pay stations for street parking in The Junction has been in the books for a month and a half, the decision on whether to make ANY changes in parking in that area hasn’t been made yet – but it’s getting closer. The Junction Parking Project Committee will meet again toward the end of this month (no date announced yet); Taylor says whatever proposal emerges after that will be put up for public comment in October; a decision would be made in November; and implementation would happen early next year. Some Junction-area residents, particularly east of the commercial core, say they’d like to see a Restricted Parking Zone so that their streets wouldn’t be crowded with “park-n-hiders” who they say drive from other parts of West Seattle to catch the bus. But Taylor showed a variety of parking-usage stats that seemed to cast some doubt on whether the spaces were consistently full enough to merit an RPZ. JuNO president Erica Karlovits said, “I don’t know what the numbers are going to tell you, but I can tell you what I see outside every day – people are lined up waiting for anybody to pull out of their space, and those people don’t come back (for their cars) till 6, 6:30 (pm).” One other tidbit: Where restrictions are posted, there’s a 90 percent compliance level — he didn’t know, however, how that compared to other parts of the city. He also distributed numbers on parking usage in various areas at various times of day; you may not be surprised to hear that the least-used spaces are The Junction’s private-lot paid spaces – checks at 1 pm on two different days reported no more than 46% utilization on weekdays, no more than 19% utilization on weekends. While the RPZ issue is still clouded – Ann Sutphin with SDOT said a compromise measure might be parking restrictions in neighborhoods for certain hours of the day – Taylor said there’s a possibility that some time-limit signage could be implemented in areas that don’t have it now, toward the south end of the commercial district – he’s got a meeting coming up with the West Seattle Junction Association to listen to businesses’ thoughts.
JUNCTION PLAZA PARK: According to Karlovits, Friends of Junction Plaza Park is getting close to the end of fundraising for the $350,000 or so needed to finally build the park, years after the site was purchased. She also says that – as happened with Morgan Junction Park to the south – much-needed sidewalk work will be done in conjunction with park construction; a $60,000 grant has been secured to help with that, and SDOT is seeking funding for the remaining $14,000 or so. Karlovits says there will be one more public meeting to finalize details of park design before construction – likely in early October. If all goes well, groundbreaking could happen next February, and the park could be complete in May.
JuNO usually meets every other month, second Tuesday, 6:30 pm, at Ginomai Arts Center.
We’ve been covering the West Seattle Junction parking review since it was first announced a year and a half ago (archived here, newest coverage first). Last month, the city announced pay stations would not be recommended – but the parking review continued, and a committee meeting tonight revealed more of its possible results.
By Jack Mayne
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Even though paid parking kiosks are off the table for The Junction’s business district, a small contingent of the West Seattle Junction Parking Project Committee expressed worries tonight about parking problems once various apartment projects and new business spaces are finished.
Currently, in terms of potential changes to city-controlled parking in The Junction, it appears only some adjustment in the number and placing of “2-Hour Parking” signs is needed, the city says. Dante Taylor, heading the parking review in the Junction area for the Seattle Department of Transportation, told three members of the committee at the meeting at Ginomai that the city could come back and check how things are going in six months and possibly again six months after that.
(Yusef Mahmoud and Tyler Webster in “Dark of the Moon”; photo by Nichole DeMent)
Two more events on tonight’s slate, in addition to the Hiawatha concert mentioned earlier: First, tonight through Sunday, ArtsWest presents its summer Theater Conservatory production, “Dark of the Moon,” billed on the AW website as “is a dramatic stage play in the vein of Romeo and Juliet set in the Appalachian Mountains during the 1920s,” with a supernatural spin — a “witch boy” falling in love with a “human girl.” More info here.
Second: Though the city announced a month ago that it’s not recommending paid street parking for The Junction, that’s not the end of the Junction Parking Project, which may yet result in other changes. You can find out about the next steps in the process by attending the Junction Parking Project Committee meeting tonight, 6 pm, Ginomai (42nd/Genesee; map). More about tonight’s meeting in our preview from Aug. 11th.
Though it seemed to have a ring of finality, remember, the July 23 announcement that the city wouldn’t recommend paid street parking for The Junction was NOT the end of the year-plus-long city parking review of the area. Full findings and recommendations are yet to come – will some areas see more restrictions? fewer? or? — and if you want to be part of the process, here’s your next chance: The West Seattle Junction Parking Project Committee‘s next meeting is now set for a week from Thursday – 6 pm August 20th, at the Ginomai arts center (southwest corner of 42nd/Genesee; map). Dante Taylor, who’s heading the parking review for SDOT, explains, “At this meeting we will discuss the findings from the parking study and available parking management tools for WSJ.” You don’t have to be a committee member to be at the meeting. Need to catch up on what’s been reviewed and studied so far? Here’s our archive of Junction parking-review coverage; here’s the official project page on the SDOT website.
SDOT has published the “draft findings” of the Junction Parking Review – one and a half years in the making (here’s our coverage archive) – on its new “blog.” Quote: “SDOT doesn’t think paid parking is the right approach for The Junction at this time.” More as we continue reading this. Excerpt:
The parking study examined how full the parking spaces were and how many people were staying longer than the allowed two hours. In the Junction’s commercial area, about 56 percent to 71 percent of parking spaces are generally full. When 75 percent or more of the spots in an area are full it gets hard to find a parking space. That’s our threshold for making significant changes to existing parking regulations, like the use of paid parking. Compliance with the two-hour time limit signs was also high, meaning that the signs are working well to create customer turnover and paid parking isn’t needed at this time.
ADDED 1:12 PM: Here’s the full document with the “preliminary findings” including the full chart of what was discovered during the study. It’s been 17 months since SDOT first announced it would study parking in The Junction (here’s our first report from February 2008) – other West Seattle neighborhoods are to be studied in the future, including Admiral, Alki and Morgan Junction. Today’s announcement doesn’t necessarily mean “no change” in The Junction – other possible “parking management” options have been discussed along the way – any such proposals will be in the final report later this year.
ADDED 3:12 PM: Official reaction from West Seattle Junction Association executive director Susan Melrose: “Junction merchants will be thrilled with the results. We’re pleased to see that the city process worked here in The Junction … also it’s nice to know that the West Seattle community is using Junction parking in the way that we want it used – come in, shop for a couple hours, and move on … I think it represents a good relationship with the West Seattle community and Junction merchants, and it works both ways and that’s what we want in our little neighborhood of downtown West Seattle.” We also have a followup out to SDOT, asking if there’s been any change in the timetables for reviewing parking in the other neighborhoods, and will let you know what we hear back.
It’s the city department we discuss the most here, so we’re guessing you’ll want to check out SDOT’s new website. With it – a new Twitter account through which they promise traffic alerts, @seattledot (they used a different one a bit during last year’s snowstorm). And they’ve put the Community Parking Program, which includes the Junction parking review that’s been under way for a year and a half, on Facebook. Plus, you can get their news releases via RSS. (We’ve had state transportation news on our Traffic page via RSS for a while so we’ll add city shortly too.)
RPZ PROPOSAL: The City Council’s Transportation Committee took a look today at the proposed changes to the Restricted (formerly Residential) Parking Zone rules – changes that have drawn concern from some West Seattle neighborhood leaders. Admiral Neighborhood Association vice president Jim Del Ciello was among those who spoke at today’s hearing, as the Seattle Post-Globe reports, while also noting that councilmembers made a few tweaks, such as lowering the percentage of non-resident cars that have to be noted in a neighborhood for RPZ consideration (the original proposal said 50%, councilmembers want 35%). A public hearing is set at City Hall next Wednesday, May 27th. Next update focuses on Junction parking of all kinds:
JUNCTION PARKING COMMITTEE MEETING: The Junction Neighborhood Organization has been hoping to get an RPZ designation for part of its area, in the city’s Junction parking review that’s under way now (photo above is from our coverage of the second “walking tour” back in March). Last night, the next step in that review took place, with the first meeting of the Junction Parking Committee. Members received the latest timeline for the parking-review process:
Meeting 1: May 2009 – Overview of parking project and committee
Meeting 2: July 2009 – Review of preliminary parking study results and on-street parking tools, including bicycle, motorcycle and scooter parking
Meeting 3: September 2009 – Review of final parking study results and off-street parking, including city policies, Junction off-street lots, park and rides
Meeting 4: November 2009 – Draft preliminary recommendations and Transit & TDM, including RapidRide, In Motion
Meeting 5: January 2010 – Draft final recommendations
Meeting 6: March 2010 – Announce final plan and prepare for implementation
This is the same process first announced more than a year ago (original February 2008 WSB report here), which could result in new parking policies for The Junction, possibly even on-street pay stations.
The city is studying Junction-area parking right now – but area businesspeople and residents are worried the study’s results will be out-of-date as area developments (like almost-done Mural, above) start to open. That’s one of the issues that emerged at midday today during the second — and likely final — walking tour offered as the city Transportation Department‘s Junction parking study begins in earnest. The dozen-strong tour group included the project manager, Dante Taylor (at center in the photo above), his SDOT colleague Mary Catherine Snyder, Junction businesspeople, residents, and leaders of two Junction churches.
As did the first tour on February 28 (WSB coverage here), this one focused on the blocks away from California Avenue SW – read on for photos of what was seen, and toplines on what was discussed:Read More
(looking north along 42nd from Jefferson Square during the 1st walking tour, February 28)
Reminder: If you can spare the time at midday tomorrow, it’s your next chance to get directly involved with the city’s review of parking in The Junction – a review that will eventually lead to a decision on whether the city will install pay stations, Residential Parking Zones, new time-limit signage, and/or other parking-management “tools.” At 11 am tomorrow, you can join the group rendezvousing outside Cupcake Royale at California/Alaska – as reported in our coverage of the first tour Feb. 28, the city reps want to hear about your observations and concerns. (Though the posted time is 11 am-1 pm, most of the first tour was done in about an hour.) If you can’t make the tour, you can have your say in other ways – contact info is on the parking review’s website. (Archived WSB coverage of the ongoing Junction parking review can be found here, newest to oldest.)
(WSB photo from 2/28/08 Junction walking tour)
Last Saturday, we reported on the first SDOT Community Parking Program walking tour of The Junction, gathering information about the parking situation, not just on the main business-district blocks, but also the surrounding area, as the next step in the city review that will decide — among other things — whether pay stations and Residential Parking Zones will be installed. This afternoon, the time and date are now finalized for the next one, 11 am March 18; you can still RSVP to be part of it — firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s Dante Taylor from SDOT, project manager for the city’s West Seattle Junction parking study, announced almost exactly a year ago (here’s our 2/21/08 story) but not really launched in earnest till a walking tour this afternoon. The open invitation was accepted by fewer than a dozen people:
Taylor and a fellow SDOT manager, Mary Catherine Snyder, say what was seen and said today will help their department prioritize which blocks of The Junction will be studied most closely before any proposals for possible changes (new restrictions? pay stations? or?) can be made – read on for more details of today’s tour, and what happens next:Read More
More highlights from the current edition of the West Seattle Weekend Lineup (jump here to the full Saturday list):
RAT CITY RUMMAGE: In White Center, the first-ever Rat City Rummage takes over the old skating rink, 10 am-6 pm, and we’re told vendor spaces are sold out, should be lots to browse and buy.
JUNCTION PARKING REVIEW WALKING TOUR: Even if you didn’t RSVP, you’ll still be welcome to join in. Noon-2 pm, meet at Cupcake Royale (California/Alaska). Archived coverage of the parking review is here; by the way, the results of the Fremont parking review are being installed as we speak.
Almost every time we report on this, it draws a mini-crowd of people worried about the prospect of city-managed pay parking in The Junction. Here’s your big chance to have a say directly in person: The first “walking tour” of the study zone has just been set. And it’s on a weekend, to maximize your chance of participating. Just RSVP, and then show up. Here’s the announcement we just got from Dante Taylor, who’s working on the West Seattle Junction parking study for the city Transportation Department:
SDOT will conduct a walking tour of the West Seattle Junction next Saturday, February 28 from 12 pm to 2 pm. This is an opportunity for you, community members and me, the project manager, to meet and identify parking concerns in the Junction area. We will walk around parts of the Junction that are within the outreach boundary and make note of any areas where you feel the parking study should focus. I will have maps of the outreach area so that you can take notes. Please note that we may not need the full two hours, but it would be helpful if you were available during this time just in case.
Let’s plan to meet at the Cupcake Royale at the northeast corner of Alaska and California. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.
Updates constituted most of the highlights from Wednesday night’s Southwest District Council meeting — representatives from neighborhood groups and other key organizations dealing with the section of West Seattle that the city calls the SW District (map). In the photo above is Dante Taylor, who’s traveling the West Seattle meeting circuit to remind everyone that the city’s Junction parking review is getting under way (all our coverage is archived here). Regarding the big question, whether pay stations will be the result, Taylor stressed nothing is settled – the study is supposed to determine whether they would be needed anywhere to keep cars moving and create a steady flow of people through the business district. One of his previous appearances (WSB coverage here) was at the January meeting of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, whose president Erica Karlovits is co-chair of the SWDC; she reiterated concerns her group wants to keep on the front burner – “park and hiders,” who drive to Junction neighborhoods and leave their cars while catching buses to downtown, and construction workers parking in neighborhoods. Ahead, another Junction item – the latest on the 42nd/Alaska park – and more SWDC notes:Read More
New information from Dante Taylor, who’s managing the upcoming Junction parking review that may — or may not — lead to signs like the one at left. Our last update was January 13th, when Taylor appeared at the Junction Neighborhood Organization (JuNO) meeting and said the first phase would involve both informational mailers and walking tours. If you live in the area that’s being studied (Dakota to Brandon, 47th to 39th, plus the Triangle area) you should receive a mailer within the next week. As for the walking tours – Taylor would like to hear from you if you are interested in participating – it’ll involve scheduling a time to join a small group walking around the area and discussing the reality of the parking situation, good and bad, and whether any specific “tools” might be needed to improve the situation – e-mail him at JunctionParking@seattle.gov ASAP.