West Seattle Blog... » Junction Plaza Park http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 08:32:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 War on waste: Junction park sets up ‘designated pet areas’ http://westseattleblog.com/2012/03/war-on-waste-junction-park-sets-up-designated-pet-areas/ http://westseattleblog.com/2012/03/war-on-waste-junction-park-sets-up-designated-pet-areas/#comments Sun, 25 Mar 2012 05:20:21 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=104190

No doubt, the majority of dog owners are responsible and respectful of others. And then, there are the few who make things unpleasant for everybody else by not picking up after their pets. More than a few, in the case of Junction Plaza Park, the tiny oasis of public greenspace at Alaska/42nd, just steps from the heart of The Junction, which now has “designated pet areas” in graveled spots along the sidewalk, after its grassy central circle was so badly befouled, it was in danger of dying. It’s now marked with signs asking pet owners to NOT let their animals relieve themselves there:

We spotted the signs this past week, but had heard about the plan from Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association and Erica Karlovits of the Junction Neighborhood Association, both of whom worked hard to help make the park happen in the first place; Melrose brought the problem up at the Southwest District Council meeting back in February.

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Update: Junction Plaza Park ceremony – “It’s dedicated!” http://westseattleblog.com/2010/06/happening-now-junction-plaza-park-dedication/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/06/happening-now-junction-plaza-park-dedication/#comments Wed, 30 Jun 2010 00:35:41 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=41653

(The grassy west half of Junction Plaza Park, just before the dedication ceremony)
ORIGINAL 5:35 PM REPORT: Quite the crowd at the corner of 42nd and Alaska, and the event is about to start, ceremonial ribbon-cutting at all. Lots of Junction luminaries are here – and other parks supporters – plus City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Tom Rasmussen, present and past chairs of the council’s Parks Committee, deputy Parks Superintendent Eric Friedli, and Parks Board members including chair Jackie Ramels of Alki.

Todd Carden of Elliott Bay Brewery Pub is opening the ceremony, recalling how the vision dates back a decade, and how creating the park has been a true public-private partnership. 5:47 PM: Carden has just declared the park open – after the ribbon-cutting, and a series of short speeches – here’s our video of the ribboncutting:

With the big scissors, that’s Erica Karlovits, president of the Junction Neighborhood Organization, and Susan Melrose, executive director of the West Seattle Junction Association, who co-chaired the final push for park completion. (Karlovits and Melrose walked away from the stage cheering, “It’s dedicated!” Right about this time last year, they were still collecting donations – in jars and barrels at West Seattle Summer Fest.) The young helper in the video is Mia Presser, daughter of Junction-based TouchTech Systems proprietor Brian Presser.

6:01 PM: Just talked with Steve and Sharon Huling – there’s a plaque in the “performance area” on the north side of the park bearing the inscription “The Huling Family/2010″ – it’s in this photo with the Hulings and son Grant:

And of course, we talked about the forthcoming Trader Joe’s on one of his sites in The Triangle – we’d spoken to him shortly after the company made the official announcement earlier this month. (Steve Huling also tells us that brother Tom Huling and Tom’s wife Lori wanted to be there too to celebrate the park’s opening, but they’re on vacation.)

Meantime, violinist Pasquale Santos is playing “Don’t Stop Believing,” and that is a fitting anthem for the West Seattleites who worked so long and hard to make this park a reality.

(6:48 pm note – Event’s over, but we’ll be adding more photos and video!)

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Junction Plaza Park: Who’ll be at the June 29 dedication http://westseattleblog.com/2010/06/junction-plaza-park-wholl-be-at-the-june-29-dedication/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/06/junction-plaza-park-wholl-be-at-the-june-29-dedication/#comments Sat, 19 Jun 2010 21:49:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=40752

<(From left, Sharon, Marcie, Marie, Jane, Kyle and Joan from West Seattle’s Endolyne Garden Club last Saturday)
One week after the sun-splashed planting party in which volunteers like the group above helped place 1,000 native plants at Junction Plaza Park, the city has sent out another reminder (see it here) that the park dedication (first announced last month) is coming up in 10 days – 5:30 pm June 29th, one week from Tuesday. Beyond the basics in the announcement, we asked the Parks Department if there’s word yet on who will join in the dedication event, along with the West Seattleites who have worked so hard (like the planting volunteers!) to make it reality. Here’s the plan so far, according to Parks’ Karen O’Connor: The city will be represented by Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, who chairs the Parks and Seattle Center Committee, and Deputy Parks Superintendent Eric Friedli; the music they’re promising will be provided by popular Seattle violinist Pasquale Santos. Friends of Junction Plaza Park hopes the weeknight evening scheduling means more people can come celebrate the long-awaited completion of the park (northwest corner of 42nd/Alaska).

(Photo credits: Top, courtesy Endolyne Garden Club; bottom, WSB photo taken last Sunday)

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Happening now: Planting day at Junction Plaza Park http://westseattleblog.com/2010/06/happening-now-planting-day-at-junction-plaza-park/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/06/happening-now-planting-day-at-junction-plaza-park/#comments Sat, 12 Jun 2010 17:32:18 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=40052

From Friends of Junction Plaza Park, that’s Junction Neighborhood Organization president Erica Karlovits and West Seattle Junction Association executive director Susan Melrose. You might dub them the godmothers of Junction Plaza Park. They didn’t start the project – but they led the push to raise the money to finish it (here’s where things stood a year ago), more than five years after the city bought the site at 42nd/Alaska. They’re there today to preside over the volunteer planting party:

They’re working today in two shifts – morning and afternoon – to get about 1,000 native plants (purchased from the money raised for the project) into the ground. The construction of the park itself is almost done – the pavers just went in, and it turns out these are not your average bricks:

As JPP’s landscape architect Karen Kiest explained to us – she’s there today too – these are “pervious clay pavers” – water can soak through. Not easy to find, she said, but they managed to find a source in South Carolina. The pavers make up one “oval” of the park, while grass makes up the other, and there is a circular “performance area” on its north side.

The Junction Plaza Park dedication is 5:30 pm June 29, and everybody’s welcome.

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2 Junction notes: Shadowland sidewalk café; park-planting signups http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/2-junction-notes-shadowland-sidewalk-cafe-park-planting-signups/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/2-junction-notes-shadowland-sidewalk-cafe-park-planting-signups/#comments Thu, 13 May 2010 00:39:58 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=37433

First Junction note – as the weather warms up even more, another sidewalk café is in progress – driving by Shadowland this afternoon, we noticed work proceeding on its outdoor area. We mentioned the application here in early April. Now, another outdoor project:

(Photo by Donna Ryan Photography)
Second note: Construction work at Junction Plaza Park (northwest corner of 42nd/Alaska) is proceeding full speed ahead – and it’s time to sign up to join the community planting party right after it’s done. According to Friends of Junction Plaza Park, volunteers are needed to plant almost 800 native plants on June 5th – 20 for each of two 4-hour shifts. “Training, materials and refreshments are provided,” says the FoJPP announcement – just bring yourself (and family/friends if available!). RSVP now to susan@wsjunction.org or 206-935-0904 – then after helping with the planting party on June 5, beam with pride at your handiwork as the park is dedicated at 5:30 pm June 29th.

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Coming up in The Junction: Park planting, dedication; Health Fair http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/coming-up-in-the-junction-park-planting-dedication-health-fair/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/05/coming-up-in-the-junction-park-planting-dedication-health-fair/#comments Wed, 05 May 2010 20:34:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=36803 Three dates to share for The Junction: First, as shared by Friends of Junction Plaza Park, June 5 is set for the start of a community planting party after construction concludes at the new park at 42nd/Alaska – and June 29th is the date currently set for the park to be dedicated. From West Seattle Junction Association‘s Susan Melrose:

We’ve decided to have it on a weekday evening to make it easy to attend – after work, before dinner, and not interfering with weekend plans. The gathering will commence at 5:30; we’ll have some speakers, officially open the park and enjoy what we hope will be a lovely summer evening.

The park is slated to be complete weeks prior, but we’ll allow time for the concrete to cure and fresh roots to take hold. The grass area will remain closed beyond the park’s dedication to ensure a strong lawn, but will be open for Summer Fest on July 9, 10 and 11.

We’re also having a community planting day on Saturday, June 5 and maybe 6th. We have almost 800 native plants to install in the park and we anticipate having two planting shifts on the 5th. About 40 volunteers will be needed and if you’d like to sign up or have questions, please email susan@wsjunction.org.

Also, a new event’s planned in The Junction – WSJA is presenting a Health Fair on June 13th, 10 am-2 pm – you’ll get to meet Junction health-care providers including Westside Dermatology (WSB sponsor); more details to come.

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Junction Plaza Park: They’re really digging it http://westseattleblog.com/2010/04/junction-plaza-park-theyre-really-digging-it/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/04/junction-plaza-park-theyre-really-digging-it/#comments Fri, 30 Apr 2010 19:51:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=36223

Thanks to Brian from TouchTech Systems in The Junction for sharing that photo of the intensifying work at the site of Junction Plaza Park, where groundbreaking earlier this month followed more than a few long years of work to finish fundraising and designing it. The Parks Department has said it expects to have the park done by early June.

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Junction Plaza Park: Groundbreaking today, completion by June http://westseattleblog.com/2010/04/junction-plaza-park-groundbreaking-today-completion-by-june/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/04/junction-plaza-park-groundbreaking-today-completion-by-june/#comments Mon, 12 Apr 2010 18:37:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=34610

From left, Susan Melrose from the West Seattle Junction Association (WSB sponsor) and Cari Day Day wielded the shovels this morning at the ceremonial groundbreaking for Junction Plaza Park (northwest corner of 42nd/Alaska). The park will have both grass and paved areas, as well as numerous native plantings, and work should be done by June. Here’s a rendering from last fall, showing landscape architect Karen Kiest‘s design:

As soon as the park’s done, there will be a special community event to help with plantings, and everyone’s encouraged to join in – to get on the notification list for that, e-mail Melrose at susan@wsjunction.org. ADDED 1:12 PM: Early this morning, a few hours before the groundbreaking, the park contractor was out taking soil samples; Christopher Boffoli spotted the work and got this photograph:

After the ceremony, Seattle Parks project manager Gary Gibbons explained in a short interview what the sampling is for, and what happens next:

As we’ve been reporting over the past year-plus (here’s our coverage archive), while Junction Plaza Park has been in the works for more than a few years – the site was purchased in 2005 – one last major community-contribution push involving WSJA and the Junction Neighborhood Organization helped make the long-held dream a reality.

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Junction Plaza Park: Work officially begins on Monday http://westseattleblog.com/2010/04/junction-plaza-park-work-officially-begins-on-monday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/04/junction-plaza-park-work-officially-begins-on-monday/#comments Fri, 09 Apr 2010 16:16:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=34347

Just confirmed with the Parks Department that Monday will mark the official groundbreaking at Junction Plaza Park – two weeks after Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher announced at a Parks Board meeting that the construction contract was finalized. The pocket park on the northwest corner of 42nd/Alaska in The Junction has been years in the making; the city bought the site five years ago with ProParks Levy money, but it languished without construction funding until a new community effort revved into high gear a little more than a year ago. You can see the park design at its official city webpage; it’s scheduled to be finished in time for summer events in The Junction, including West Seattle Summer Fest. ADDED 5:49 PM: The West Seattle Junction Association has issued an official announcement of Monday’s groundbreaking, which includes a 10 am ceremony. Read on:

The West Seattle Junction has it all: friendly retailers, delicious food, arts, culture and convenient services; everything except an open space park for gatherings, playdates and concerts. In a joint effort to remedy that, the West Seattle Junction Association and the Junction Neighborhood Organization are announcing the Breaking Ground Celebration on the future site of the Junction Plaza Park on April, 12, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the corner of SW Alaska Street and 42nd Avenue SW, on the site of a former filling station that has been re-mediated over 10-years, with the old tanks removed and the land completely “greened” to remain so in perpetuity. Park completion date is slated for late May 2010.

Junction Plaza Park, designed by landscape architect Karen Kiest, will feature a plaza, complete with brick and concrete seating; a lawn with decorative benches; and a central performance area. All planting will be Northwest natives, including Vine maple, Northwest Flowering dogwood, Oregon grape and Sword fern.

After a large fundraising effort in 2005, with the help of citizens, neighborhood matching funds and the Seattle Pro Parks levy, the site is now owned by the Seattle Parks Department.

The park represents a strong partnership between the West Seattle Junction Association (WSJA) and the Junction Neighborhood Association (JuNO). “This new park will provide opportunities for community gatherings, a place to meet friends, and a place for leisure in the heart of The Junction. The Junction Association and neighborhood groups have been working towards this goal for almost 10 years and it’s a pleasure to see it underway,” says WSJA Director Susan Melrose. Erica Karlovits, President of JuNO continues, “We are so excited to be able to protect and use the limited green space we have left in our ever growing urban village. The creation of Junction Plaza Park is an incredible addition to our vibrant community.”

The community is invited to come help beautify the park on Community Planting Day immediately following park completion. Interested parties should contact West Seattle Junction Association Director, Susan Melrose at susan@wsjunction.org for more information on participation.

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@ the Parks Board: Junction Plaza Park has a construction contract http://westseattleblog.com/2010/03/the-parks-board-junction-plaza-park-has-a-construction-contract/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/03/the-parks-board-junction-plaza-park-has-a-construction-contract/#comments Fri, 26 Mar 2010 01:45:42 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=33162

(Junction Plaza Park design from last round of meetings in 2009)
We’re at the Seattle Parks Board meeting downtown – where the big news will be a briefing on the Parks budget situation, which we were just told in a pre-meeting conversation with board leaders, is a lot worse than you might think. One big problem: No money to maintain the new parks facilities funded by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, and barely enough to maintain what the department has now. But that’s not the reason we’re writing this in-progress update: Speaking of new parks (though this was NOT in that levy), Superintendent Tim Gallagher has just told the Parks Board that a contract has been issued for construction of Junction Plaza Park, and work should start soon, with completion in time for “several summer events.” (The park is on the northwest corner of Alaska/42nd.) We’ll be tracking that; meantime, we’ll have the full Parks Board story later after the budget briefing.

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Junction Neighborhood Organization: Parking plan & park update http://westseattleblog.com/2010/01/junction-neighborhood-organization-parking-plan-park-update/ http://westseattleblog.com/2010/01/junction-neighborhood-organization-parking-plan-park-update/#comments Wed, 13 Jan 2010 09:56:26 +0000 WSB 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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Junction Plaza Park: Design almost done; 1 more $ hurdle to clear http://westseattleblog.com/2009/10/junction-plaza-park-design-almost-done-1-more-hurdle-to-clear/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/10/junction-plaza-park-design-almost-done-1-more-hurdle-to-clear/#comments Tue, 06 Oct 2009 08:43:53 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=21270

That’s the updated design for Junction Plaza Park (42nd & Alaska) shown to about two dozen people last night at the Senior Center of West Seattle – or, for a somewhat more-3-D type of view:

Landscape designer Karen Kiest, who worked on the original design 3+ years ago, was back to explain how it’s evolved. And Erica Karlovits, president of the Junction Neighborhood Organization who’s also helped lead Friends of Junction Plaza Park, explained where the park-project money picture is now.

Kiest explained how the design evolved from “two (paved) plazas” to one plaza area on the small park site’s eastern half – “Your neighborhood has really changed in terms of some of its interests.”

Instead of being meant mainly as a place for performances and events, the park is now envisioned as a simple gathering place, where events are possible too – the circle at the top-center of the drawing is a “performance pad” rather than a raised stage. Some worried that the grass half of the park will be a magnet for the growing area residential population to bring their dogs to relieve themselves; others worried the park had too much pavement and too little grass.

Kiest explained the tree scheme (and underlying plantings) around the park, including a tentative plan for a “specimen tree” area front and center – maybe a Western red cedar, maybe birch, maybe even baby madrones to serve an “educational purpose.”

While project manager Gary Gibbons said the $300,000 in the budget — more than two-thirds of which came from a concentrated fundraising effort by Friends of Junction Plaza Park — will cover the “bones” of the plan, Karlovits says $40,000 more is needed to run power into the park to use for purposes including concerts and events, and to put some pole lighting in the park itself (right now the plan only calls for lighting on the streets, in the area governed by SDOT), plus to upgrade the type of “pavers” that would be used in the non-green areas – true brick-colored pavers, rather than gray concrete. (Whichever color is eventually used, the pavers are to be placed “permeably,” so water will run between them and into the ground.)

What else goes into the park? Some benches and “wall seating,” with options shown on this board:

Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association – also a leader in Friends of Junction Plaza Park – talked about standards now being outlined for “street furniture” such as benches and light poles – not just for consultation in projects like this, but also for developers.

The park won’t have an official play area, but “we do want it to be playful and friendly,” Kiest said. Its low plantings and shrubbery will come from a list of native plants, and its street trees will be “Greenspire Linden” like others in the area (including outside the new QFC) along Alaska, vine maple or serviceberry along 42nd; along the alley, in front of the existing birch trees by Alaska House north of the park, there’ll be a variant of dogwood. SDOT will be doing sidewalk work alongside the park; Friends of Junction Plaza Park got a grant for $60,000 of the $74,000 the sidewalk work will cost, and say that SDOT is looking for money to cover the remainder.

That leaves Friends of JPP with the $40,000 to raise for lighting, power and paver tone. They’ve sent out a letter to their mailing list but are also accepting donations through their website, junctionplazapark.org.

TIMELINE: Friends of Junction Plaza Park has till December to raise $40,000 more for lighting, power and brick pavers. Parks says the plan will be settled by the end of December, and the project’s likely to go out to bid early next year, with construction in the spring, done by summer.

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Final meeting set for Junction Plaza Park http://westseattleblog.com/2009/09/final-meeting-set-for-junction-plaza-park/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/09/final-meeting-set-for-junction-plaza-park/#comments Fri, 11 Sep 2009 23:27:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=20568 The final public meeting about Junction Plaza Park (mentioned in our coverage of Tuesday’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting) is now officially scheduled: 6:30 pm October 5 at the Senior Center of West Seattle. Topics will include what the Parks Department announcement describes as “plant selection and minor design elements.”

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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 WSB 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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Followup: No Junction pay stations – but what about other areas? http://westseattleblog.com/2009/07/followup-no-junction-pay-stations-what-about-other-areas/ http://westseattleblog.com/2009/07/followup-no-junction-pay-stations-what-about-other-areas/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2009 23:50:26 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/blog/?p=19162 One note of interest, following up on this afternoon’s bulletin that the city is NOT considering pay stations for street parking in The Junction, because the statistics just don’t show a need. (See our 1:02 pm bulletin here.) Knowing that the city had originally said it would do parking reviews in Morgan Junction next year, Admiral in 2011, and Alki in 2012, we asked if those timetables had slid, since this review has taken a year and a half. Here’s the reply from SDOT spokesperson Rick Sheridan:

The Morgan Junction is the only West Seattle area on the near term schedule for a review of parking. This community parking project is tentatively planned for 2010, but that may change due to staffing availability. We still plan to work with the Admiral and Alki/Harbor Drive neighborhoods, but that will occur much further down the road.

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