Junction parking review – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 26 May 2018 06:45:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 TUESDAY: Parking & park, @ Junction Neighborhood Organization http://westseattleblog.com/2017/09/tuesday-parking-park-on-junction-neighborhood-organizations-agenda/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/09/tuesday-parking-park-on-junction-neighborhood-organizations-agenda/#comments Tue, 19 Sep 2017 03:41:45 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=895385 For the first time in almost a decade, SDOT is reviewing parking in The Junction. Department reps will talk about it at the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s next meeting, tomorrow (Tuesday, September 19th). Here’s the “fact sheet” for the review, just added to the city website today:

(Click image for full-size PDF on city website)
Q&A is promised, too. (Whether or not you’ll be there, the city’s just opened this online survey as part of the review.)

Also on the JuNO agenda: Next steps for the future Junction park in the 4700 block of 40th SW, following the recent “open house” – Seattle Parks reps including project manager Karimah Edwards will be there. And with the final HALA Mandatory Housing Affordability Environmental Impact Statement and its proposed upzoning maps due soon, the JuNO Land Use Committee will present an update, too. All welcome at tomorrow night’s meeting, 6:30 pm, at the Senior Center/Sisson Building (4217 SW Oregon).

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Junction parking plan: 2-hour signs going up today http://westseattleblog.com/2010/01/junction-parking-plan-2-hour-signs-going-up-today/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/01/junction-parking-plan-2-hour-signs-going-up-today/#comments Thu, 28 Jan 2010 23:06:33 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=28473

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.

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Junction Neighborhood Organization: Parking plan & park update http://westseattleblog.com/2010/01/junction-neighborhood-organization-parking-plan-park-update/ Wed, 13 Jan 2010 09:56:26 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=26975

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.

The meeting began with a presentation by Danté Taylor, Associate Transportation Planner for SDOT, who gave a brief review of the Junction parking study completed last year.

Though they did find that particular streets did have high utilization rates, the majority of the streets around the Junction are used for short stays of less than three hours. So the area did not meet the minimum standards for an RPZ (Restricted Parking Zone). However, SDOT did decide to tweak restrictions slightly by amending parking time limits in a few places adjacent to businesses and community spaces. This will convert some current 1-hour zones to 2 hours. And it will add new 2-hour limits where none existed before. The changes will take effect in coming months.

Taylor said the goal was to help to steer short-term parking off residential streets and that the effort represents a compromise. “It is always a challenge to find a solution that both businesses and residents are both happy with,” he says. “But it is important for people to know that there is some flexibility with this plan. We want to see how it works and we will be checking back in six months to gather input about how the changes are working.”

A SDOT brochure on the parking changes was recently mailed out. And Taylor says they will be letting people know soon about a more precise implementation timeline and when they will actually change the signs. He also noted that the new 7 am to 6 pm restrictions in some residential areas were designed with residents in mind as the limits are not in effect by the time most people arrive home. And though some residential street parkers may not leave for work as early as 7 am, due to the 2-hour limit their cars wouldn’t have to be moved until 9am.

JuNO President Erica Karlovits asked Taylor, and his colleague SDOT Strategic Adviser Margo Polley, also present at the meeting, if Mayor McGinn’s recent move to ease parking restrictions along the light rail line might be a harbinger of policy changes that would affect Junction area neighborhoods. In particular, Karlovits wondered if the new mayor would maintain Mayor Nickels’ moratorium on adding new Park & Ride lots in West Seattle. Taylor said the SDOT has had no indication thus far that Mayor McGinn would seek to amend that policy.

Karlovits had opposed a Park & Ride plan that had been discussed as a possibility in a now defunct proposal for a large apartment building at 4515 41st Ave SW. But Karlovits qualified her statements by saying that she sees potential opportunities for Park & Ride locations, even on temporary basis, with currently empty lots in the Triangle area. She said, “I think there is potential for those empty lots to alleviate commuter traffic issues.”

Karlovits wondered if the city could find a way to proactively start a conversation with the landowners as, despite risk and liability issues, the lots are already zoned commercial and there is revenue potential. But Taylor questioned whether the city is the appropriate party to catalyze that conversation and added that Park & Ride facilities are generally “…not good neighbors for residential neighborhoods.” Karlovits articulated her concerns regarding the upcoming RapidRide buses, saying that their presence will create huge challenges for Junction neighborhoods and that she does not see them as an effective solution. She said she had heard rumors about a Park & Ride that was already in place in White Center and wondered if it would be a site worth studying.

Polley rounded out the discussion on the RPZ study by telling the group that the city is indeed “feeling the impacts and growing pains” of parking issues in the Junction area but that “curb space is precious.” In reference to JuNO’s longtime advocacy for an RPZ for Junction-area neighborhoods, Polley said that the SDOT is essentially data driven. “We have criteria that we simply cannot fudge,” she says, “and in fact, recent decisions by the City Council have made the process even more stringent.” She explained that the essence of RPZ’s is that they are very restrictive of public rights of way and that the City has an interest in making sure that curb space is regulated appropriately. “Current data does not support an RPZ, “ she added, “But when it does we will be back.”

Karlovits said that she is sometimes frustrated by the quality of communications between neighborhood groups and City Hall on transportation policy issues. She said, “As a neighborhood we’re always trying to look ahead, anticipating infrastructure needs and necessary changes, but city policies often seem limited to being reactive and always barely catching up with growth.” Polley expressed optimism in the new mayor’s request for transportation policy review which has been fast-tracked to happen in the next 30 days. Taylor added, “We’re always open to creative solutions.”

From there the discussion turned to a recent announcement by Metro that this year they are considering the replacement of electric buses with diesel hybrid vehicles. Initial studies have indicated that the upfront costs of the latter are considerably lower than the electric buses. But Karlovits distributed a fact sheet that was prepared by
Jonathan Dong (of SDOT) and distributed at the SW District Council
meeting last week (WSB coverage here), indicating that, despite higher costs per vehicle, the electric buses offer a number of advantages over diesel hybrids. These advantages include longer operating life, quieter operation, double the energy efficiency of internal combustion buses, an energy source that is 100% carbon neutral, and better torque for hill climbing and operation in inclement weather.

Though West Seattle currently has no electric bus routes, Karlovits said that Dong has asked the SW District Council to get the word out to West Seattle neighborhoods to encourage citizens to urge Metro to consider more than just the upfront cost benefit before making a decision in 2011 before purchasing a new fleet in 2013-14. Dong distributed a short questionnaire (posted in the WSB Forums) and has asked anyone willing to participate in his informal survey to please e-mail him at the address provided.

Turning to discussion of the Junction Plaza Park project, Karlovits said that planning work is proceeding along swiftly. She and other neighborhood advocates working on the park have recently reviewed the plans with landscape designer Karen Kiest, and Karlovits said those plans are now 95% complete. They will be presented to the City for approval tomorrow.

They are in the process of finalizing private donor recognition and expect the work to be put out to bid by the end of this month. The group is hoping the bids will come in under what has been budgeted which will allow them to upgrade elements such as better pavers, increased lighting and various other landscape features. Though the City requires much of the work to be performed by qualified contractors, Friends of Junction Plaza Park will be organizing a planting day to provide the community with an opportunity to come together to do much of the actual planting.

But much work must be done before that point. Major drainage and electrical work will need to be done at the site. And SDOT will be funding sidewalk modifications and upgrades. Karlovits says the work can begin as soon as the bids are finalized. Though she had no exact date she did say “to expect to see activity at the park soon.” She says that she has asked the Parks Department to have the bulk of the work done before the start of West Seattle Summer Fest so that there aren’t pedestrian safety issues as there were last year with the sidewalks along the south side of QFC being closed, forcing people to walk in the street. Karlovits did say that a decision has not yet been made as to whether it would be more prudent to delay final plantings at the park until after West Seattle Summer Fest to avoid the potential risk of having nascent plants trampled.

Finally, Karlovits closed the meeting by encouraging anyone who is able to attend upcoming Southwest District Council meetings, which are held the first Wednesday of each month, from 7-9 pm, in the President’s Board Room at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor). She co-chairs the SWDC and says citizen participation will be more important than ever this year as the Council will be focusing on the issue of neighborhood planning. The February meeting will provide an overview and history of the neighborhood planning process. The following monthly meetings for March, April and May will be devoted to a closer look at Admiral, Morgan, and Alaska Junction issues, respectively, followed by a joint meeting in June between the Southwest and Delridge District Councils.

Karlovits says that, though each neighborhood has its own issues, there are many parts of the neighborhood plans that interconnect. She adds, “This is a great opportunity to educate our community about the neighborhood planning process before we begin to seek resources from within the community (eg. architects, urban planners, etc.) to guide us.”

The initiative will re-write and modernize existing neighborhood plans which were last updated in the late 1990’s. One example of what is “broken” with the current neighborhood plans, says Karlovits, is existing zoning regulations; principally how transitions between residential and commercial buildings are managed. “Right now there’s a half-block transition and it just isn’t enough,” she says.

Furthermore, Karlovits says that Junction Neighborhood design guidelines were adopted as policy with the last plan but that developers are not held to them. “A lot of work went into those design guidelines but there is no teeth in their enforcement. There is also a big disconnect between the Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the SDOT and neighborhood organizations. There’s really not enough communication about problems, especially with issue of growth,” she says. “Though I do think there are a lot of possible solutions.”

Karlovits says that one of the goals of the Southwest District Council will be to develop talking points about the various neighborhoods in the district in order to have something to provide for visiting city officials. “We want to distill what we think are all of the things that are most essential about our neighborhoods.”

Ending on a positive note, and perhaps providing a reminder of the potential benefits of a refreshed neighborhood plan, Karlovits says that the real success stories of the old plans in West Seattle have been in preserving public space and parks. “Even the landscape designer for the Junction Plaza Park recently commented on how it is one of the only projects she has worked on in which the citizens were able to raise so much in private money for a city park.”

Junction Neighborhood Organization meets every other month, 2nd Tuesday.

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West Seattle Junction parking changes: The final map http://westseattleblog.com/2009/12/west-seattle-junction-parking-changes-the-final-map/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/12/west-seattle-junction-parking-changes-the-final-map/#comments Wed, 30 Dec 2009 18:36:38 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=25902

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.

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Junction parking review ends – last one in West Seattle for a while http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/junction-parking-review-ends-last-one-in-west-seattle-for-a-while/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/junction-parking-review-ends-last-one-in-west-seattle-for-a-while/#comments Tue, 17 Nov 2009 06:34:49 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22434 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:

Perhaps the biggest result is what’s NOT in the plan – besides pay stations: Despite strong advocacy from Junction Neighborhood Organization president Erica Karlovits and others for a Restricted Parking Zone in part of the residential area on the east side of The Junction, the city does not have any RPZs in the final plan. A draft final map shown by SDOT’s Dante Taylor tonight isn’t available in electronic form yet, but it has only two tweaks from this one, showing where 2-hour zones will be put in place, or where 1-hour zones will become 2-hour zones:

The final map’s changes from that map are:

-Leaving California between Dakota and Genesee without restrictions, mostly by request of the businesses there

-Leaving most of the east side of 42nd between Oregon and Alaska without restrictions, because the slated-for-demolition homes there are likely to be around longer than first believed, without a timetable for the 4502 SW Oregon development to start construction

Area residents will get mailers within a few weeks explaining the overall plan, which will then be put into place – signage and all – sometime in the first quarter of next year. The SDOT team stressed that they will be open to revisiting the decision not to go with an RPZ; Taylor promised they’ll “check in” after six months. “This is not a black hole, this is a malleable plan,” he said; Karlovits warned that the problem in her neighborhood “is not going to go away” and worried aloud that restrictions on adjacent streets will drive even more day-parkers to the residential areas; Schwartz reiterated, “We want to hear from residents if you are seeing a significant change.”

The main concerns there remain long-term day parking by “park and hide” bus riders who drive in from other parts of West Seattle, and by Junction-area employees; David Allen from SDOT’s Transportation Demand Management program talked about incentives available through the Way To Go project for those who try driving less.

West Seattle Junction Association executive director Susan Melrose suggested an idea that’s come up before – shuttle buses from other areas of West Seattle, to try to make it more convenient for people to try driving less.

She and Allen discussed conversations with major local employers regarding how to get workers to use transit; he said he’ll be meeting soon with the management at the new QFC (where, according to Karlovits, more than 80 percent of the staff is driving to work) and promised to talk to the future Office Depot‘s management too.

Karlovits suggested set-aside parking for employees would solve more street-parking problems than trying to cut down on car use: “We just don’t have a good enough transit system to have (more) people not using cars right now.” Allen agreed that was generally true.

The oft-voiced question “why can’t the city build a park-and-ride?” came up, and the SDOT delegation reiterated that city policy wouldn’t allow it, but maybe a private developer could take on the challenge.

The talk then moved to bicycle parking, which had been discussed at previous committee meetings; Taylor says no location’s been finalized yet for a sizable bike-parking rack on the street, but the space in front of Elliott Bay Brewery remains a major contender.

As the meeting wrapped up, we asked about the status of the plan to study more West Seattle neighborhoods, since – as noted in our February 2008 story – it was originally rolled out as The Junction this year, Morgan Junction in 2010, Admiral in 2011, Alki in 2012. That’s when Schwartz said factors including budget cuts had changed the plan, and no West Seattle neighborhood would be formally studied next year. (What the timetable is beyond that – too soon to say – they haven’t even settled yet on which neighborhoods they WILL study next year.) But she said they do want to hear from anyone who feels they have a neighborhood parking problem/concern – communityparking@seattle.gov.

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Today (and beyond): 3 ways to have your say – and more http://westseattleblog.com/2009/11/today-and-beyond-3-ways-to-have-your-say-and-more/ Mon, 09 Nov 2009 14:03:41 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=22245 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 Walkhere’s the fall-quarter walking map/list of participants.

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Tonight: Junction parking @ SW Council; North Delridge; CSOs http://westseattleblog.com/2009/10/tonight-junction-parking-sw-council-north-delridge-csos/ Wed, 07 Oct 2009 13:30:01 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=21302

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.

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West Seattle Junction parking: More 2-hour zones proposed http://westseattleblog.com/2009/09/west-seattle-junction-parking-more-2-hour-zones-proposed/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/09/west-seattle-junction-parking-more-2-hour-zones-proposed/#comments Fri, 25 Sep 2009 04:06:18 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=20960 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.

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Junction Neighborhood Organization: Updates on parking, parks http://westseattleblog.com/2009/09/junction-neighborhood-organization-updates-on-parking-parks/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/09/junction-neighborhood-organization-updates-on-parking-parks/#comments Wed, 09 Sep 2009 05:03:11 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=20465 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.

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West Seattle Junction parking: What might change, what might not http://westseattleblog.com/2009/08/west-seattle-junction-parking-what-might-change-what-might-not/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/08/west-seattle-junction-parking-what-might-change-what-might-not/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2009 06:36:40 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=19997 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.

Taylor said data for the commercial core suggests that current parking is not at capacity and that the two-hour parking restrictions are well respected. For example, Taylor said the city found 262 spaces in the commercial area on California Avenue, that the two-hour parking spots had an average utilization of 62 percent leaving plenty of spaces for additional cars to park. The peak utilization increased to 71 percent, but there was a 90 percent compliance with the two-hour parking limit.

In addition,there was a good supply of parking spaces not regulated by the city (but limited to 3 hours – these spaces are owned by Trustee Properties and overseen by the West Seattle Junction Association). That city study showed the Junction had 289 free spaces, 190 spaces in retail specific lots and 279 paid parking spaces. In all counts by the city these spaces showed utilization rates in the 50 to 68 percent range with the highest usage around lunchtime. The city does not control parking after 6 p.m. so no figures were gathered for the evenings.

“There appears to be plenty of parking in the area and that is why we looked at the date early and found no reason to not tell people right away that paid parking was not warranted,” said Ann Sutphin, Seattle Department of Transportation strategic adviser who accompanied Taylor to the meeting.

But Erica Karlovits, president of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, says the figures do not contemplate the problems when the various apartment unites recently finished or soon to come on line, especially considering the addition of traffic and store employee parking for the new QFC store in the building at 41st and Alaska, which sources tell WSB is set to open in a month.

Karlovits said 125 QFC employees would have to scrounge for parking on the streets, or other lots, noting that not all will be working at the same time. There are spaces for shoppers included in the project.

“I live in the area and a lot of people are “park and hide” parkers,” she said, adding those are people who ride buses downtown or work in the area and park all day. “If I come home at 4:30 there are no places to park, but by 6:30 after the buses bring the riders from downtown, there are plenty of spaces.”

When asked about Restricted (formerly Residential) Parking Zones, Karlovits said the city has told her in the past the area does not qualify for such a zone. Restricted Parking Zone allow residents parking passes to park on the street, but bars others from parking during certain hours. The city used to require a 5-block contiguous are for such a zone, but the rule changes in the works focus on a 10-block contiguous area.

Taylor said the city could come back and check on how the study is working and make adjustments as needed. If the impact of the new residential and commercial developments is causing problems, the city can consider other remedies, he said.

If you have comments about the Junction Parking Review, you’re invited to send them to junctionparking@seattle.gov

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Also tonight: “Dark of the Moon” at ArtsWest; parking committee http://westseattleblog.com/2009/08/also-tonight-dark-of-the-moon-at-artswest-parking-committee/ Thu, 20 Aug 2009 18:20:42 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=19980

(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.

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West Seattle Junction parking changes? Review’s not over yet http://westseattleblog.com/2009/08/west-seattle-junction-parking-changes-reviews-not-over-yet/ Tue, 11 Aug 2009 21:39:36 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=19709 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.

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BULLETIN: SDOT says no paid parking for The Junction http://westseattleblog.com/2009/07/bulletin-sdot-doesnt-think-paid-parking-is-right-for-the-junction/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/07/bulletin-sdot-doesnt-think-paid-parking-is-right-for-the-junction/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2009 20:02:37 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=19155 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.

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Seattle Department of Transportation rolls out online upgrades http://westseattleblog.com/2009/07/seattle-department-of-transportation-rolls-out-new-web-site/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/07/seattle-department-of-transportation-rolls-out-new-web-site/#comments Thu, 16 Jul 2009 21:06:25 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=18848 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.)

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2 parking notes: RPZ proposal change; Junction parking meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/2-parking-notes-rpz-proposal-change-junction-parking-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/05/2-parking-notes-rpz-proposal-change-junction-parking-meeting/#comments Wed, 20 May 2009 01:10:20 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=17017 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.

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