West Seattle Blog... » Neighborhoods http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Tue, 26 May 2015 04:19:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 @ Junction Neighborhood Organization: Spruce developer says ‘thank you’; City Light & Parks on unused sites http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/junction-neighborhood-organization-spruce-developer-says-thank-you-city-light-parks-on-unused-sites/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/junction-neighborhood-organization-spruce-developer-says-thank-you-city-light-parks-on-unused-sites/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 18:18:09 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=310142

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

What for years was “The Hole” is now, for some, “home.”

Last night, the developer of Spruce (3922 SW Alaska), Tom Lee from Madison Development Group, was among the guests at the Junction Neighborhood Organization‘s monthly meeting. He wasn’t officially on the agenda and didn’t have a presentation, but did answer some questions and offer a few updates:

*With one tower open and another expecting its “certificate of occupancy” soon, 30 apartments already are leased. (Which might explain the moving trucks we spotted while photographing the site this morning, above. Unless they are for …)

*LA Fitness, the project’s sole commercial tenant, is expected to “soft open” this Friday, Lee said he’d been told, provided it passes its last few inspections, including one that will allow the club to fill its pool.

*JuNO’s suggestion of a dedication for Lezlie Jane‘s plaza artwork out front (featured here Sunday) might be possible when “all the improvements at the corner” are done in a month or so.

Lee told JuNO he was there mostly to say thanks: “Thank you to everybody for being patient with us – it’s been a long project, a sore thumb in West Seattle for a long time, but it’s very close to being finished now and we’re excited that it’s almost done.” (His company bought the site/project for $32 million in October 2011, three years after the project stalled under previous ownership and its previous name Fauntleroy Place.)

Also at JuNO – a discussion about City Light property:

(Disclosure – we missed the first few minutes of this agenda item, delayed in getting back to West Seattle after covering the five-hour Port Commission meeting.)

City Light and Parks reps were there for a discussion not so much about the surplus substations – whose fate has yet to be decided – as about a property not on that list, the Avalon/35th ex-substation site. As we first reported in February, the former Beni Hoshi Teriyaki building is slated to become a Pecos Pit Barbecue restaurant; City Light owns the land as part of the former substation next door.

JuNO director René Commons, who lives in the neighborhood, wondered about the overall site’s future. For now, SCL said, the “bunker” building on the ex-substation part of the site is being used for storage, of which City Light needs plenty – transformers, poles, etc. This site, also, is NOT on the official “surplus” list, so it’s not slated for any kind of public process any time soon. SCL said that until a new tenant was found, they were being deluged with complaints about the site, from graffiti vandalism to drug dealing, so they were thrilled that someone wanted it, “somebody who’s willing to take care of the site and take pride in the site and provide a service to the neighborhood.” (As for how soon it will be developed into the new restaurant, that’s out of SCL’s hands; we’ve checked the file and no permit applications are in yet.)

Overall, Parks addressed the questions about why newly available city sites such as the official “surplus substations” can’t just be converted to parks. State law requires a formal disposition process, and even if they are transferred to another city department, they must be “bought.” In addition, departments such as Parks must consider how they would handle maintenance, which already is a challenge for existing parks.

More likely, some sites might become open space in a partnership with the community, when money can be raised to handle the cost; a site in Delridge is involved in this kind of process, for example, and has a relatively low valuation, $80,000, so there are efforts under way to get grants to cover the cost.

One question that was addressed: Why wouldn’t greenery on ex-substation sites be valuable as carbon offsets? Given the land’s value, it wouldn’t be cost-efficient, was the answer.

ALSO DISCUSSED: Another Junction-area Emergency Communication Hub, at Hope Lutheran Church, 42nd/Oregon, one that needs involvement, particularly from local apartment residents … In the ongoing community-council tours of local City Council candidates, District 1 hopeful Lisa Herbold spoke to JuNO. (This is the official filing week for candidates – by week’s end, we’ll know the official lineup for the August primary ballot.) … City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen‘s legislative assistant Evan Clifthorne made sure JuNO members had heard that the Fauntleroy Boulevard project had made it into the revised Transportation Levy (as reported here a week ago) – if all goes according to the current plan, though, he cautioned, it still isn’t slated for construction until 2017. … JuNO’s settled on second Tuesdays as a regular meeting night for now, 6:30 pm at the Senior Center of West Seattle.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/junction-neighborhood-organization-spruce-developer-says-thank-you-city-light-parks-on-unused-sites/feed/ 24
Mayor appoints Kathy Nyland as new Department of Neighborhoods director http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/mayor-appoints-kathy-nyland-as-new-department-of-neighborhoods-director/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/mayor-appoints-kathy-nyland-as-new-department-of-neighborhoods-director/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 18:58:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309616 The mayor’s office has just announced new directors for two city departments – including a new director for the Department of Neighborhoods, though it’s a name many will recognize. Here’s the official announcement:

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray today named Jessica Finn Coven to serve as director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment (OSE) and Kathy Nyland to serve as director of the Department of Neighborhoods (DON). Bernie Matsuno, who has served as director of DON since 2011, will be stepping down effective June 2.

Finn Coven comes to OSE after serving as Washington Director of Climate Solutions since 2011. Previously she worked at the U.S. Climate Action Network and Greenpeace. She serves on the board of directors of Washington Conservation Voters and Puget Sound Sage.

“Jessica brings deep connections to Seattle’s environmental community,” said Murray. “Her commitment to environmental justice will lend strength to Seattle’s new Equity and Environment Initiative. The benefits of progressive environmental policy must reach all our diverse communities more equitably, including low-income families, immigrants and people of color.”

“Anyone who knows Jessica appreciates her deep knowledge of environmental policy,” said Rashad Morris of the Bullitt Foundation. “Her commitment to economic and racial equity makes this an especially strong choice as Seattle works to bridge issues of sustainability and social justice.”

“Seattle has long been a proof point that we can create more broadly shared prosperity by prioritizing a clean and healthy environment,” said Finn Coven. “Mayor Murray has been a leader throughout his career on sustainable transportation solutions and equitable responses to climate change. I’m absolutely thrilled to join his team and to be part of Seattle’s next chapter in clean energy development and ensuring the health of all Seattle’s family.”

Finn Coven will be paid $132,000 and start at OSE on June 12. Finn Coven replaces Jill Simmons, who announced her decision to step down as director of OSE in April.

Nyland is currently a senior policy advisor on land use and planning in the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation. She is a former chief of staff to City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw. Before joining city government, she served on several community councils, founded the Georgetown Merchants’ Association and chaired Seattle’s City Neighborhood Council.

“During my first year as mayor, Kathy has become a trusted advisor,” said Murray. “Her personal history as a community advocate, her strong relationships with neighborhood leaders throughout the city, and her policy acumen make her the natural choice to step into this role. I look forward to her leadership in community conversations on private development, public investments and support for vibrant neighborhoods in our city.”

“I am honored by this opportunity to continue to serve the Mayor and the city in this new role at the Department of Neighborhoods,” says Nyland. “I’ve long believed that our communities are our strongest resources and I look forward to bringing more voices to the table. We want to support and strengthen all our neighborhoods in Seattle.”

Nyland joins DON on June 2 and will earn $136,000.

Matsuno came out of retirement to serve as director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, intending to serve only a few months, but staying on for more than four years. She developed and expanded new community programs at DON, including the People’s Academy for Community Engagement (PACE) and the Public Outreach and Engagement Liaison (POEL) program to expand civic engagement, especially in underrepresented communities.

“Bernie has been a true champion of our neighborhoods and a helpful advisor to me on community issues and needs,” said Murray. “She has advocated effectively for the community to have a greater voice in City government and their neighborhood – an important role that the department will sustain.”

“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to serve in Mayor Murray’s administration, but I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life,” said Matsuno. “I’m excited about this transition and intend to continue my professional work for the people of Seattle, as well as volunteer in my community.”

“Bernie Matsuno was one of my first and best hires 27 years ago,” said Jim Diers, former DON director. “Bernie initiated a powerful leadership development program and innovative outreach strategy to ensure that all voices are heard. I’m excited that Bernie is passing the torch to Kathy Nyland, someone who I have long admired for her leadership of the Georgetown neighborhood. I know that she believes deeply in the department’s mission and I can’t wait to see what she does in taking it to the next level.”

Matsuno will continue to lend her expertise to future City community-engagement projects.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/mayor-appoints-kathy-nyland-as-new-department-of-neighborhoods-director/feed/ 3
West Seattle scene: Cell-antenna opponents’ beach rally http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-scene-cell-antenna-opponents-beach-rally/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-scene-cell-antenna-opponents-beach-rally/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 03:41:14 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309551

About a dozen people rallied on the sand at Alki Beach tonight to call attention to their campaign against 12 cell-phone antennas planned on the roof at Stevens Crest Apartments (61st/Alki), as previewed in our Monday report. They had a bonfire, as announced, burning items representing the antennas, and displayed signs and exhibits about their concerns, which range from the antennas’ appearance to possible health effects. The next major step in their appeal of the city approval of a variance allowing the antennas is a conference later this month, in advance of the July 22nd hearing scheduled in the Hearing Examiner’s chambers downtown.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/west-seattle-scene-cell-antenna-opponents-beach-rally/feed/ 34
Alki cell-antenna opponents pursuing appeal, planning rally http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/alki-cell-antenna-opponents-pursuing-appeal-planning-rally/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/alki-cell-antenna-opponents-pursuing-appeal-planning-rally/#comments Mon, 04 May 2015 02:53:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=309102

(WSB photo)
The rooftop of the Stevens Crest Apartments on the southeast corner of 61st/Stevens in Alki is the latest battleground for concerns over the installation of cell-phone antennas in local neighborhoods. City approval for 12 new antennas on that rooftop has been appealed, with the city Hearing Examiner scheduled to consider the case in July, and before that, opponents who have formed a group called “Stop Alki Cell Towers” have announced a community rally at the beach for next Thursday (May 7th).

We mentioned the opposition to the proposed antennas back in March, when it was one of the issues that community members brought to Mayor Murray during his coffee-conversation stop after a Junction/Triangle walking tour; we also noted that an online petition had been launched. Here’s the “appeal statement” that has been filed with the city; nearby residents say they are worried about health risks, proximity to Alki Elementary (3 blocks east – here’s a map), noise, and visual effects. To the latter point, the following document from the online project file shows simulations of what Verizon and its project team say the antennas would look like if/when installed:

The installation also requires an equipment room – “supporting BTS (Base Transmission System) radio equipment” – in the building basement, according to other documents in the online file, apparently on the parking level, which is beneath three levels of apartments in the building.

Meantime, here’s what “Stop Alki Cell Towers” spokesperson Barb Morgen says about the plan for Thursday’s protest:

The group will be hosting an information rally and demonstration on the beach near the Bathhouse at Alki Beach Park on Thursday, May 7 at 7 pm, immediately following the PTA meeting at Alki Elementary School. Parents, kids, neighbors and all who use Alki Beach Park are welcome to join us. We will be making S’Mores for the kids, sharing information on the proposed towers, and how everyone can help with the group’s appeal to Seattle DPD to stop the towers from being built. The rally and demonstration will end with replicas of the 12 cell towers being burned in protest, in a fire pit at Alki Beach.

The construction-permit application for the antennas has not received final approval; the review is on hold until there’s a decision on the aforementioned appeal.

EDITOR’S NOTE, ADDED WEDNESDAY: Alki Elementary’s PTA tells us they do NOT have a meeting this Thursday – their next meeting is a week later, on May 14th, and is entirely unrelated to this topic – so we have struck that part of the group’s announcement, above.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/05/alki-cell-antenna-opponents-pursuing-appeal-planning-rally/feed/ 38
Alki Community Council: From new signs at Don Armeni, to new info about the Homestead renovation http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/alki-community-council-from-new-signs-at-don-armeni-to-new-info-about-the-homestead-renovation/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/alki-community-council-from-new-signs-at-don-armeni-to-new-info-about-the-homestead-renovation/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 23:54:05 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307378

(Photo courtesy Paul)
New parking signs are up at Don Armeni Boat Ramp – not new rules, but new signs (though a related rule change is under consideration). Thanks to a tip, we were already working on a story about the new signs before police explained them at last night’s Alki Community Council meeting. The signs, and other ACC toplines, including the SPD plan for Alki this summer, and Homestead/Fir Lodge updates from the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, ahead …

The Don Armeni parking signs were part of the update from Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Ron Smith. The Parks Department put them up Wednesday. We had subsequently inquired with Parks – the explanation, via Parks spokesperson David Takami:

The rules at Don Armeni haven’t changed — we’ve just installed new signs to
be more clear about what the rules are. Seattle Police asked us to clarify the parking rules here–again, not to change them, just to clarify them, so that they could be fair and consistent in enforcing them.

There’s already quite a bit of single-car parking at Don Armeni: 16 single-car spaces in all, eight on each side of the boat ramp parking. To maximize the available single-car parking, we’re considering a recommendation to set a two-hour limit. That would ensure that the single-car parking spaces are available to park users rather than being used for commuter parking.

(Tipster Paul had in fact noted that most of those spaces seem to be taken up by Water Taxi commuters.) Lt. Smith described the problem in similar terms: It wasn’t that people weren’t trying to comply with the previous signs, but it seemed, they had difficulty understanding the way those signs had laid out the rules. These signs are seeking to clarify. And if that doesn’t work, SPD has enforcement out and about as needed.

On to the summer plan for Alki: As always, Lt. Smith said, the major areas of concern are underage drinking, traffic, and “behavior.” Police are seeking to be sure the right tone is set at the start of the season – which means consistent police presence. The newly expanded bicycle patrol will be an important part of that, but even bigger than that will be the new mobile precinct – no arrival date yet but Lt. Smith says they expect it will be delivered before the start of the summer season.

Another emphasis right now involving Alki: Police are trying to reel in the racing. Alki and Seward Park are the two hot spots, and when SPD shows up in one spot, the racers head off toward the other. Lt. Smith says SPD has plans in place to thwart that this summer.

Last but by no means least, he brought up the overall increase in crime in West Seattle/South Park over the past month, compared to the same time last year, as shown on this slide from this week’s SeaStat briefing downtown – everything in red is a category that’s up year-to-year in that four-week span:

Lt. Smith says they’re making progress by arresting some of the major offenders and working to identify others. (We’ll see if that’s reflected in the next crime-trends update, next Tuesday at the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting, 7 pm at the precinct.)

ALKI HOMESTEAD/FIR LODGE UPDATE, AND WHAT ELSE SWSHS IS UP TO: Clay Eals, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, says new owner Dennis Schilling has many details to work out. For starters, SWSHS has helped him connect with a structural engineer who’s doing a survey of the building. And a cleanup crew is getting rid of some of the amassed junk inside – debris and random items in the old kitchen area. SWSHS will eventually be providing updates on the renovation project via its website.

Events ahead: On (corrected date) June 5th – one day before the anniversary of the totem-pole dedication at SWSHS’s headquarters, the Log House Museum - Alki and Schmitz Park Elementaries’ students will walk over to the museum again, and this time they’ll be in a photo taken on the Homestead’s lawn. And on the 4th of July, always a big holiday for SWSHS, a fried-chicken cookoff is planned, followed by a This Place Still Matters group shot on the fifth anniversary of the “This Place Matters” photo expressing concern for the Homestead’s future.

The Alki Community Council usually meets third Thursdays, 7 pm, at Alki UCC.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/alki-community-council-from-new-signs-at-don-armeni-to-new-info-about-the-homestead-renovation/feed/ 23
@ Morgan Community Association: Park-expansion update, side-streets traffic, sidewalk work, elections, more… http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/morgan-community-association-park-expansion-update-side-streets-traffic-sidewalk-work-elections-more/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/morgan-community-association-park-expansion-update-side-streets-traffic-sidewalk-work-elections-more/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:58:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307215 An update on the Morgan Junction Park expansion topped a busy-as-ever agenda for the quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting on Wednesday night:

(WSB file photo)
The city has owned the commercial site north of the park since last year and, according to MoCA president Deb Barker, hopes to have the current tenants, a mini-mart and cleaner, out by the end of May. A week or so of “remediation” (cleanup) work will follow. Development money was part of the plan for the Park District ballot measure, but design/development is still a ways off. One new possibility: Designating SW Eddy, which goes through the site, as a “festival street.”

Speaking of streets …

SURVEYING SIDE STREET TRAFFIC: MoCA has been working with SDOT to check perceptions of increased side-street traffic. Numbers attributed to SDOT’s Jonathan Dong:

37th: 150 extra cars a day, average speed of 20 mph
38th: 225, averaging 21 mph
39th: 365, averaging 24 mph

The typical nonarterial street carries about 500, and, MoCA was told, it’s not considered excessive until you get 1,000-1,200 vehicles a day. So SDOT recommended that 39th can pursue traffic calming. “The increase in traffic is real, but there’s no negative impact, according to the city, on the way the streets are supposed to work,” MoCA’s past vice president Chas Redmond said.

SIDEWALK IMPROVEMENTS: Full funding has been approved by the city for sidewalk repairs/improvements from California/Fauntleroy southward to the Ivy Court building (about a block). This will mean tree removal and replacement because the mature trees there now are “the wrong trees in the wrong place.” The project was pursued by Ivy Court’s owner “as a private citizen” applying for a grant, said MoCA president Deb Barker.

SETTLEMENT $ FROM ‘NO PARKING’ BUILDING FIGHT: A grant program is being set up to administer the $25,000 donation received in a settlement related to the 6917 California “30 units, no parking” apartment building, which is under construction. MoCA will vote on applications and manage them much as the city manages its neighborhood-grant programs. The money is being held by the Admiral Neighborhood Association as fiscal agent for MoCA, which is not an incorporated nonprofit.

CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE SITE PROJECT: A small update on the townhouse project planned for Church of the Nazarene-owned property next to the church at 42nd/Juneau, to raise money for its renovations. As previously noted, it requires a Comprehensive Plan change because the site is currently zoned single-family. This change is part of a citywide plan that has been appealed because of a different component, not related to this project, so that entire package of plan changes is on hold for a bit until the appeal is worked out.

NEW BIKE RACKS … Nine new bicycle racks are on the way to the business district, said MoCA’s Cindi Barker. Meantime, in the ongoing matter of whether a Morgan Junction Business Association might eventually be formed – MoCA’s Eldon Olson is point person and says it hasn’t quite started rolling yet, but local businesses are expressing an interest in some sort of frame work for them to work within.

PRECINCT ADVISORY COUNCIL: Cindi Barker mentioned that MoCA was not in the first wave of “neighborhood policing plans” but will eventually be in line for one.

MORE QUICK UPDATES (aka MoCA Moments): The new Little Free Library in Morgan Junction park was mentioned by Joe Paar, who built it … The 10th anniversary of the Morgan Junction Community Festival is coming up June 20 – the Bite of Morgan food tasting, the Bark of Morgan pet events, food trucks will all be part of it … April 25th, 1-3 pm, come help clean up Morgan Junction Park, followed by a post-cleanup celebration at Beveridge Place Park next door … …

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION HUBS: MoCA’s Cindi Barker provided a refresher on the hub set up for Morgan Junction. She says it’s no longer a matter of “be prepared for three days” – the city says, be ready for at least 7 to 10 days of self-sufficiency. The hub would be “a gathering place for information” among other things. Training is coming up – stay tuned. She also mentioned the city SNAP program’s upcoming training – two sessions in West Seattle about earthquake retrofits.

DESIGN REVIEW: The city is seeking to revise the Design Review program and the City Neighborhood Council was looking for some neighborhood input to give to the city as part of that – so it’s hoping to hear from district councils and neighborhood groups. MoCA feedback was sought on the spot – the first thing mentioned, it’s confusing that DR doesn’t accept feedback on parking and traffic issues. Also suggested: Avoid non-conversational terminology. P.S. If you have something to say about Design Review – take this survey ASAP.

YMCA EXPANSION: Josh Sutton from the West Seattle/Fauntleroy YMCA (WSB sponsor) gave a quick update on the planning for expansion. He talked about the “festival street” plan for SW Snoqualmie along the Y site in The Triangle. The Y is seeking a $100,000 city matching-fund grant and MoCA voted to endorse that effort. He thinks the “festival street” might be used 15 to 20 times a year – not by the Y, but by organizations that would want someplace they could have a festival in the street.

LEARNING ABOUT THE CITY’S FINANCE & ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES DEPARTMENT: MoCA schedules periodic guest presentations for a closer look at various departments/agencies. FAS is the result of a merger between two departments a few years back and has 600 employees. They operate the Neighborhood Service Centers, for example (West Seattle now has one, at the Southwest Teen Life Center/Pool building in Westwood). FAS also operates the city hotline at 206-684-CITY. They regulate taxis, handle business licensing, fleet management, and more. And they handle building projects – such as the new Fire Station 37, complete almost five years ago, she mentioned, and new Station 32, about to be built, currently in the bidding phase, with construction expected to start in June, lasting about 13 months. Side note on that: MoCA president Deb Barker is on the art committee for the project and said that the artist chosen, Sean Orlando, who has a “‘Burning Man’-type background” and was chosen from among 400 applicants, has chosen a “toy fire truck that’s going to hang off the side of the building.” (See it here.) MoCA had asked about any surplus city parcels in the area and was told of one at 7018 Lincoln Park Way SW – north of the Murray CSO project – that includes a wetland and steep slope; it’s scheduled to be preserved as-is TFN.

ELECTIONS: City Council District 1 candidates Lisa Herbold, Phillip Tavel, and Tom Koch each got five minutes to speak to MoCA. If you’d like to hear from candidates between official forums, stop by just about any community-council meeting between now and the election.

MoCA ELECTIONS: A majority voted for the slate of five who stood for election or re-election: president Deb Barker, vice president Jason Wax, secretary Jennifer Whip, board members Cindi Barker and Tod Rodman (who also will represent MoCA at Southwest District Council). Chas Redmond was thanked for his years of service – he stepped down as vice president to focus on his City Council campaign.

WEST SEATTLE LAND USE COMMITTEE: Rodman reminded everyone that the WSLUC meets at 6 pm, last Wednesday of the month, this time at Southwest Branch Library (35th/Henderson).

NEIGHBORHOOD CONSERVATION DISTRICT PROPOSAL: (We covered the West Seattle meeting about this last week.) “It’s all concept, but it’s on this fast track,” is how Deb Barker described it, as well as adding “like a homeowners’ association that’s regulated and administrated by the city.” But there was a caveat that this might not go forward because it could conflict with the affordable housing recommendations due out in May.

‘THINGS TO KNOW NOW THAT YOU’RE 50′: MoCA was one of several community meetings this week to get a pitch on this series of classes coming up at the Senior Center of West Seattle. Go here for information and registration.

The Morgan Community Association usually meets the third Wednesday in January, April, July, and October – between meetings, keep an eye on morganjunction.org. That’s also where you’ll find more information about the Morgan Junction Community Festival on June 20th when it gets closer!

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/morgan-community-association-park-expansion-update-side-streets-traffic-sidewalk-work-elections-more/feed/ 25
Admiral Way Safety Project, WSHS-vicinity 20 mph, more @ Admiral Neighborhood Association http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/admiral-way-safety-project-wshs-vicinity-20-mph-more-admiral-neighborhood-association/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/admiral-way-safety-project-wshs-vicinity-20-mph-more-admiral-neighborhood-association/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:22:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=307067

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two SDOT projects were at the heart of this month’s Admiral Neighborhood Association meeting, which filled the basement meeting room at The Sanctuary at Admiral with more than 25 people.

ADMIRAL WAY SAFETY PROJECT: This was the marquee presentation of the night, led by SDOT’s Emily Ehlers. A few hours earlier, we had published a preview with information and maps the city had sent – see that here. Much more information was contained in the slide deck that was presented during the meeting – you can scroll through it atop this story.

What was said, and asked:

Ehlers said that speeds along the stretch “are consistently higher than the posted speed limit.” Volume ranges from 6,000 daily at the bottom of the hill to 14,000 at the top. 22 of the 45 crashes involved “vehicle runoffs,” going too fast and veering off the road. Ehlers did not know the daypart breakdown, nor a count for bicycles.

With 441 on-street parking spaces along Admiral between California and 63rd, they tracked space utilization in December and determined it’s underutilized, Ehlers said. It was pointed out to her repeatedly as the meeting continued that they should measure in summer, when usage would almost certainly be higher. Ehlers agreed.

She showed six cross-sections, starting with 63rd to 60th, removing the two-way left-turn lane, preserving parking on both sides – 63 spaces – and adding a buffered bike lane., while reducing the lane width to 11 feet.

From 60th to Stevens, climbing the hill, maintain the 2-way left turn lane, reduce travel lanes from 12 feet wide to 10 feet wide, and consolidate parking on the north side – most of it is there anyway, and most homes on the south side, Ehlers said, have alternate access. 58 parking spaces would remain.

Cross-sections in the slide deck (see above) included:

-Lander to 47th, they’re consolidating parking on the south side, and will retain 71 spaces.

-47th to 44th, the street narrows,

-44th to California, no change to parking. Bicycle lane makes way for a shared lane.

Timeline: Once a plan is finalized, implementation is expected in August.


ANA member Mark Jacobs – who described himself as a frequent bicycle rider – said the corridor works fine the way it is.

Don Brubeck, an Admiral resident who is also president of West Seattle Bike Connections and described himself as a car and bicycle owner, says he will feel much more comfortable with buffered bike lanes. “There will be more people feeling they can (engage in everyday activities on bicycles)” with this change. “I think it’s something we can live with.”

Admiral resident Dennis Ross asked: How will consolidation of the parking spaces work – how will they be sure people don’t park in the areas where it will no longer be allowed? Ehlers: Well – it won’t be a legal parking space. She said most places where parking will be removed have alley access or other options. There are 800 on-street spaces within a block of Admiral, she said.

Another attendee wondered if studies of bicycle traffic were available (no, was the reply). How much will these changes cost? he asked. “It’s just paint, so we estimate $50,000 to $75,000,” Ehlers said. “How do we find out if it’s money well-spent?” Jody pressed – specifically, if more bicycles use it? Ehlers said there wasn’t a simple way to measure that but she said SDOT will try.

Transit advocate Marci Carpenter called attention to usage patterns around the former Life Care Center site at 47th/Admiral/Waite, where Aegis will be building another retirement center. ANA president David Whiting said the new facility will have a different entrance, so patterns might be different.

Area resident Jackie Ramels said that her neighborhood has no alleys; parking will remain on the north side there, she was told. She said people don’t park there because she and neighbors have had cars hit, repeatedly. Most of the crashes, other neighbors chimed in, are on the downhill side, and at night. Ehlers said that this re-engineering of the street will make it safer. The residents park on the south (uphill) side because it’s not safe on the north side, they stressed.

Another resident of that area spoke up next and talked about the “double curve’ in the area, suggesting there are more crashes than likely are shown in city records. “You either park in front of your house where your car is going to get hit sooner or later, or you park across the street and walk across four lanes, which I do every day – it’s dicey, because people come flying down the hill.” He said the street “totally changes in the summertime,” and people start parking on both sides. “I’ll end up having to park (up to) four blocks from my house sometimes.”

Ehlers at that point promised they will recount parking in June. She also said they could petition the city for an RPZ.

Kathy Dunn, saying she has been bicycling in that area for 20 years now, says she’s anecdotally seeing increased bicycle traffic. She lives within view of 63rd/Alki and sees speeders in the summer time – “the road is so wide, it looks like a speedway to them” as they head away from the beach and toward the bridge.

Another resident identifying herself as a pedestrian who lives in the Admiral business district area pointed out that parking around the Schmitz Park area is heavily used during the summer and wonders if that was taken into account. “How far does it spill past the park in summer?” Ehlers then asked. Way up the hill, she was told.

Jacobs then said, what about a protected bicycle lane going uphill, and shared bicycling going downhill, like on the stretch of Admiral Way north of the West Seattle Bridge? Ehlers said they’ll look at that.

A resident from 61st south of Admiral said the whole area is filling up for blocks year-round. In his view, removing the left-turn lane through the west stretch of Admiral would make it more hazardous because it’s used by many people. He also said the uphill path would make more sense than adding one on both sides and removing parking, and that he feels the best use of money in that area would be to fix sidewalks – which he said he uses all the time to walk on the hill.

Another resident who identified himself as a traffic engineer asked for more details on the parking counts. Ehlers said she didn’t have full details on exactly when they did it, but she believes that staffers went out early in the morning last December on two weekdays and a weekend day, not on a holiday.

Gary wondered about alternate routes for bicycles – such as through Schmitz Park. “When I bike, I prefer not to be on the arterial, because you’re breathing all the exhaust fumes.” Ehlers noted that 45th is identified as a future neighborhood greenway.

ANA’s Dave Weitzel said that doing this without studying the area during the peak time didn’t seem right.

Concerns were raised about the condition of the pavement where bike lanes are proposed. Ehlers said they thought it looked pretty good when they checked it, but that they had received photos from Brubeck showing otherwise.

Another question clarified that speed humps are not an option here because it’s an arterial.

Next person said that speed doesn’t seem to be the main danger on the stretch – it’s distracted driving – “at least speeders are looking up,” he said.

SDOT’s Sam Woods agreed that distracted driving is an increasing hazard. She rides her bicycle to work on an arterial (not in WS) every day but says, “the reason we want (buffered bike lanes) is that it gives you more space if someone IS distracted.” Distracted driving, she added, is “changing the way we design streets.” She added that maybe pedestrian-crossing improvements can be considered where people will have to cross the street to access parking.

It was stressed that, along with taking comments by e-mail – emily.ehlers@seattle.gov – there are other chances to discuss/find out more about the plan, including the May 6th Southwest District Council meeting (7 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle) and an open house set for Thursday, May 21st (update: details on the project webpage). Those who live along/adjacent to the corridor will get mailers, the SDOT reps promised.

P.S. If you can’t view the slide deck atop this story via our embedded viewing window, go here to see the PDF version on the city website.

Also presented/discussed at ANA:

20 MPH ZONE: Shauna Walgren from SDOT said this is part of the pilot project for the plan to lower non-arterial streets’ speed from 25 mph to 20 mph, as part of the Vision Zero initiative (first reported here two months ago, including the following map):

Orange on the map shows 2015 pilot zones, and blue shows what could be added in 2016. The area focuses around two schools and a park and a route down to Harbor Avenue SW. The signs and legends will be installed in May-June, and at least five studies already have been done – this would be one of eight pilot projects citywide, and afterstudies will be done in October. If speeds are still high – 85% over 25mph – traffic-calming devices will be considered – those would be more costly, Walgren noted, with traffic circles costing $20,000, for example.

The zone is basically, south of Admiral and east of Admiral – south of Lafayette and east of WSHS, including sections of:
42nd (south to Hanford)

SDOT chose the pilot zones based on collision history as well as proximity to schools. “Will there be any enforcement?” she was asked. “No,” was the quick reply.

SUMMER CONCERTS AT ADMIRAL: ANA’s Dave Weitzel said the popular series is set for July 23rd-August 27th, 6:30 pm Thursdays as in previous years, with Ayron Jones and The Way expected to be on the slate for this year’s series. ANA is still looking for sponsors (WSB will be among them, as we’ve been since the very first year back in 2009), and they’ll be looking for a new organizer for the series, as former ANA president Katy Walum plans to give up that role after seven blockbuster years.

SIDE NOTE: ANA, now a 401(c)(3), is acting as a fiscal agent for the Morgan Neighbors coalition to hold the $25,000 settlement from the 6017 California SW appeal. (It’s a role that other nonprofits in turn used to fill for ANA, until it obtained its nonprofit certification.) That means ANA gets five percent, $1250, “which is kind of like winning the lottery, for a small group,” president Whiting said, reluctant as they were to accept the funds. (One night after the ANA meeting, we heard an update on this at the quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting – MoCA will be administering the settlement money as a grant fund for neighborhood projects.)

CANDIDATES: Lisa Herbold and Tom Koch both spoke to the group, which, like most other community councils, is hosting visiting candidates as campaign season continues. Herbold said she’s been out talking to people and is glad to hear that people aren’t against growth so much as concerned that the city is doing a lousy job handling growth. She promised to fix that, and to bring people into the process “so that you can help make the right decisions.” Koch went into details of his major issue, which is related to growth – impact fees he says the city could have been collecting as part of the development process over the past quarter-century. He says those uncollected fees could have totaled as much as $1 billion by now.

Questions included whether the city is spending too much on helping homeless people. Herbold said a big reason why homelessness is increasing is income inequality – “we’re becoming a city of haves and have nots” – she said “it’s in all our best interests” to become a city ‘where everybody has a roof over their heads.” Koch said he’s frustrated with the city because, again, the impact fees that could be collected aren’t being collected. He also noted, “A lot of people who are homeless have jobs – this is something a lot of people don’t realize.”

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS: Marci Carpenter from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition said WSTC is collecting opinions before deciding whether to endorse the city’s draft transportation levy – you can contact WSTC through its website, as well as attending its next meeting. No timeline for its endorsement decision yet, she said.

NEXT MEETING: ANA meets on second Tuesdays most months, so that means 7 pm May 12th. Land Use 101 and more Council candidates are on the May agenda.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/admiral-way-safety-project-wshs-vicinity-20-mph-more-admiral-neighborhood-association/feed/ 24
Neighborhood Conservation Districts? Many questions, few answers http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/neighborhood-conservation-districts-many-questions-few-answers/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/neighborhood-conservation-districts-many-questions-few-answers/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:54:06 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=306538 Will the city make Neighborhood Conservation Districts available as a tool for interested neighborhoods to use if they choose to preserve their “character”?

City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen has been exploring the idea for a while, presenting a briefing on a study last September, and convened a discussion at the High Point Community Center last night, the second of three around the city (the third and final one is on Phinney Ridge tonight).

One challenge: The legislation to be brought up for a council vote hasn’t been written yet. So while those in attendance had many questions, few answers were available. Here’s the slide deck that was shown:

The first round of meetings is being held primarily to gauge community interest. One point made clear: These districts couldn’t be created to stop development projects already on the drawing board. Questions focused on what would or would not be allowed in a district, and how that might affect property owners’ rights, given that in theory, one could be implemented without unanimous approval of affected owners. Would it come down to something simple like, what kind of fence you could put up? Answer: If there are guidelines for that, yes. Wouldn’t that make this something like a homeowners’ association? another attendee asked. And what about people moving into the district long after it was created?

Other questions: What disclosure will there be for property owners regarding the costs of these districts? What’s the final cost to the city, considering that if an area can be as small as a block, hundreds could spring up. (Rasmussen’s legislative assistant Evan Clifthorne said he expected this to start slowly.) Which city department would run the program? Probably the Department of Neighborhoods - but nothing’s finalized yet.

Again, lots of questions – the answers will depend on what’s in the official proposal. We asked Councilmember Rasmussen afterward about the likelihood of this making it to the finish line before, or after, he leaves office; his view is that if the council sees enough interest from citizens, they’ll carry it through, and public meetings like this one are one way to do that. (Our informal count last night was around 20.)

If you’re interested in the topic and can get to north Seattle, tonight’s meeting is at 6 pm at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Avenue N.

SIDE NOTE: Speaking of centers, we noted that several people were confused about last night’s location (including our crew!). So many meetings are held at Neighborhood House‘s High Point Center (6400 Sylvan Way, not a city-run facility) that any mention of a “center” in High Point seems to send people there. The site of last night’s meeting is officially called High Point Community Center, a Seattle Parks-operated facility at 6920 34th SW.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/04/neighborhood-conservation-districts-many-questions-few-answers/feed/ 9
FOLLOWUP: Two dozen volunteers remove almost one ton of trash from Fairmount Ravine http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/followup-two-dozen-volunteers-remove-almost-one-ton-of-trash-from-fairmount-ravine/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/followup-two-dozen-volunteers-remove-almost-one-ton-of-trash-from-fairmount-ravine/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:29:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=305581

(First two photos courtesy of John Lang – above, some of the 24 volunteers who helped)
Under the Admiral Way Bridge, volunteers of all ages helped clean up Fairmount Ravine this past Saturday – and as coordinator John Lang reports, the job was a bit easier this year thanks to added assistance from city agencies:

The 23rd annual Fairmount Ravine Cleanup was a big success on Saturday 3/28. Thank you to the 24 volunteers who participated, young kids to seniors; about half removed trash under the Admiral bridge and the other half climbed the steep hillsides to remove invasive ivy from the mature trees.

The community appreciates SDOT reinforcing the fences at the corners of the bridge. It has reduced the amount of illegal activity under the bridge yet the hard working volunteers removed almost one ton of trash from the ravine!

Over 50 garbage size bags were filled with trash filling up the DOC flatbed truck hauling the trash to transfer station. Fortunately, homeless encampments were less of an issue this year.

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
We greatly appreciated participation by officers Flores and Lucas, with the Seattle Police Department, sweeping the area of any potential squatters prior to cleanup and helping with traffic control. Three cheers to our local merchants Metropolitan Market, Starbucks, and Zatz a Better Bagel for their generous support of this community effort.

Thank you to everyone who made this year’s cleanup a success. It is a great example of community pride and putting into action the teamwork necessary to tackle a difficult situation.

The ravine is along Fairmount Avenue, a much-used driving, riding, walking, running route between Admiral and east Alki.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/followup-two-dozen-volunteers-remove-almost-one-ton-of-trash-from-fairmount-ravine/feed/ 14
TOMORROW: Help clean up Fairmount Ravine; enjoy free treats http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/tomorrow-help-clean-up-fairmount-ravine-enjoy-free-treats/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/tomorrow-help-clean-up-fairmount-ravine-enjoy-free-treats/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 01:38:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=305308

(Photo from 2012 Fairmount Ravine cleanup)
One more reminder before tomorrow morning arrives: The more the merrier at the annual Fairmount Ravine Cleanup, starting at 8:30 am Saturday – meet at Fairmount/Forest (map). John Lang says, “Met Market, Starbucks, and Zatz have all graciously agreed to participate in supporting the nourishment portion of the project.” Wear boots and gloves; if you’re interested in helping remove ivy from trees – which is part of the cleanup – please bring a pruning saw and/or large loppers. Whatever time you can spare, the folks of Fairmount will appreciate it. (And if you have a question first, call John @ 206-932-5151.)

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/tomorrow-help-clean-up-fairmount-ravine-enjoy-free-treats/feed/ 0
‘Urban villages,’ 20 years later: Encore presentation in West Seattle tomorrow night http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/urban-villages-20-years-later-encore-presentation-in-west-seattle-tomorrow-night/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/urban-villages-20-years-later-encore-presentation-in-west-seattle-tomorrow-night/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 19:45:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=304082 The “urban villages” neighborhood-planning strategy from the ’90s paved the way for much of the development you see today. As part of the city’s process to map the next 20 years, former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck and his consulting firm presented a study in January looking at how the plans have played out, closely examining some of the designated urban villages around the city, including The Junction and vicinity, as well as Westwood-Highland Park. If you couldn’t make it to the downtown presentation but are interested in the topic, tomorrow night you get a chance to find out about it without leaving West Seattle, as Steinbrueck is a guest at the Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting – 6:30 pm Tuesday at the Senior Center of West Seattle (Oregon/California), all welcome.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/urban-villages-20-years-later-encore-presentation-in-west-seattle-tomorrow-night/feed/ 4
@ Admiral Neighborhood Assoc.: Triangle future; candidate chat http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/admiral-neighborhood-association-triangle-future-candidate-chat/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/admiral-neighborhood-association-triangle-future-candidate-chat/#comments Sat, 14 Mar 2015 07:40:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=303865

(WSB photo, March 4)
Now that Interim Fire Station 29 is up and running on the 44th/Ferry/Hill triangle – barely a block north of where permanent FS 29 is getting quake-safety upgrades – the Admiral Neighborhood Association took a look at its future during this month’s meeting:

The site’s fate couldn’t be resolved in one night, ANA president David Whiting cautioned, but he voiced hopes that ANA will be the organization convening the neighborhood to talk about the site’s future post-fire station. The city departments with which he had been talking weren’t able to send reps to the ANA meeting (held this past Tuesday) but they had told him that post-fire-station plans so far include tree replanting, soil amendment with organic materials, and reseeding.

Some of the site’s neighbors were at the meeting, including John, who had led the efforts to ensure the city was aware of concerns, including inviting Councilmember Tom Rasmussen to a weekend-morning on-site meeting shortly after the plan came to light. Though they’ve all heard the city say it wants to restore the site, he warned that it will be vital for the neighbors to make sure the city is accountable and lives up to its word.

Another neighbor, Ted, brought up the cautionary tale of the rancor that erupted when improvements were considered for the triangle during the California Place Park proposal vetting years ago. The simplest of improvements would be unlikely to stir up something like that, it was suggested – maybe a drinking fountain and a bench or two

Neighbor Sonya said she hoped it would revert to open space where kids can play. She and others also expressed hope there’ll be a source of water to take care of grass and trees once the station’s gone. Also discussed: Possible curb installation, and help from SDOT working with potholes and other rough surfacing on the roads around the triangle.

The interim fire station could be in place for up to a year, per the city, so this topic will come back some months down the road.

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE: While ANA had expected two of the 11 District 1 candidates to stop by to speak to the group, Shannon Braddock showed up but Brianna Thomas, also billed in advance, did not. (Phillip Tavel also was there, but wasn’t on the agenda to speak or take questions.)

Braddock touted her Admiral neighborhood ties, including two children attending Lafayette Elementary in The Admiral District. Working with the King County Council, she said the district-election system may be new to Seattle but not to her, since that’s how county councilmembers are elected, so citizens go to the person who represents their area, and she would be excited to be part of getting that off the ground in the city.

Questions she was asked included transportation issues – does she ride Metro? one person wondered. Yes, she said, three times a week. Would the newly added bus service – funded by new Seattle tax dollars – add to congestion? On the contrary, she said, more bus service means more transit riders and fewer cars on the street, so less congestion. The never-built monorail came up briefly, as Braddock noted, while discussing density and housing, that we’re living with a plan that included a transit mode that never came to pass.

Asked about the Terminal 5 lease controversy, she said she didn’t think there was much the city could do, but she thought Mayor Murray was doing the right thing by keeping pressure on the port.

(Note: If you see this overnight Friday into Saturday, remember the VIEWS-presented candidate forum starts at 10 am – after optional by-donation 9 am breakfast – at the Senior Center of West Seattle.)

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/admiral-neighborhood-association-triangle-future-candidate-chat/feed/ 1
You can help! Admiral Neighborhood Association’s first Adopt-A-Street cleanup of 2015, tomorrow morning http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/you-can-help-admiral-neighborhood-associations-first-adopt-a-street-cleanup-of-2015-tomorrow-morning/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/you-can-help-admiral-neighborhood-associations-first-adopt-a-street-cleanup-of-2015-tomorrow-morning/#comments Sat, 07 Mar 2015 04:55:01 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=303098 One way to start your weekend in the giving mode: Show up at Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) at 9 am tomorrow (Saturday) and join the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s first Adopt-A-Street cleanup of 2015. ANA president David Whiting says Met Market is providing coffee/pastries pre-cleanup and sack lunches afterward as it’s done in the past; tools/bags provided, so just bring yourself to the main entrance at 42nd/Admiral.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/03/you-can-help-admiral-neighborhood-associations-first-adopt-a-street-cleanup-of-2015-tomorrow-morning/feed/ 1
Crime, safety, art @ Admiral Neighborhood Assoc. on Tuesday http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/crime-safety-art-on-admiral-neighborhood-association-agenda-tuesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/crime-safety-art-on-admiral-neighborhood-association-agenda-tuesday/#comments Sun, 08 Feb 2015 20:10:29 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=300496

(Flyer photo by Christopher Boffoli for WSB, January 2015)
Crime/safety concerns in the Admiral area, especially after last month’s robberies? This Tuesday (February 10), bring your questions to the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s monthly meeting, with guests including Southwest Precinct Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores. That’s just one of the agenda highlights, as you’ll see if you browse the flyer above, shared by ANA president David Whiting. (If you can’t see the embedded version, here it is as a PDF.) All are welcome; the meeting starts at 7 at The Sanctuary at Admiral, the city-landmarked event venue across from the north side of Hiawatha Community Center park, at 42nd/Lander.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/02/crime-safety-art-on-admiral-neighborhood-association-agenda-tuesday/feed/ 3
West Seattle weekend scene: Seen in the stands at WSHS http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-weekend-scene-seen-in-the-stands-at-wshs/ http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-weekend-scene-seen-in-the-stands-at-wshs/#comments Sun, 01 Feb 2015 01:02:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=299833 Last night at the West Seattle High School gym, we spotted that familiar-but-not-seen-for-a-while smile in the stands, someone especially familiar to those involved with local neighborhood groups – former longtime Neighborhood District Coordinator Stan Lock. Four years ago, in a round of Department of Neighborhoods changes/cuts, Stan was moved to the Central Area; earlier this month, a DoN rep told the Morgan Community Association (as reported here) that Stan had just retired. Last night, he confirmed it, saying he has no plans right now except to enjoy his first grandchild – a girl born to his daughter on New Year’s Eve. Stan told us he misses everybody he knew and worked with in West Seattle. He was at the game with his brother, a Garfield fan.

http://westseattleblog.com/2015/01/west-seattle-weekend-scene-seen-in-the-stands-at-wshs/feed/ 1