West Seattle Blog... » Southwest District Council http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 01 Nov 2014 07:44:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Seattle’s transportation system is ‘fragile,’ new SDOT director acknowledges in first West Seattle appearance http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/seattles-transportation-system-is-fragile-new-sdot-director-acknowledges-in-first-west-seattle-appearance/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/seattles-transportation-system-is-fragile-new-sdot-director-acknowledges-in-first-west-seattle-appearance/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 05:23:32 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=284505 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

“We’re back to it now,” as Southwest District Council co-chair Sharonn Meeks said, launching the SWDC’s first meeting since July. The marquee guest for last night’s meeting: New SDOT director Scott Kubly, about 15 minutes late because he “had a problem with the reliability of the transportation system.”

He noted he’s lived in Seattle all of six weeks, “so I’m very very new to the city” and “learning a lot about it … One of the things that has been really apparent from my first moment on the ground … is that we have a pretty fragile transportation system.” As an example, he mentioned recent incidents, including, locally, the Highway 99 offramp fuel spill. Regarding West Seattle, “there’s very very few ways to get over here,” he observed, “a really challenging geography to work with,” while also acknowledging “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist” (to figure that out).

“I’m sure you guys are going to hit me with a lot of hard questions,” he concluded his introduction, adding, “We all need streets to work for everyone.” First question was from Chas Redmond – who brought a handout to accompany his.

Redmond brings up the inbound RapidRide station at 35th/Avalon that has been dismantled because of the construction project on the west side of 35th.

(Photo from Redmond’s handout)
He pointed out safety and other issues, and that this is the second busiest transit station in the area, saying, “SDOT and Metro should have seen that this was going to be an indefinite huge impact for a large number of people with no warning. … My question for you is, do you find this acceptable?”

“No,” replied Kubly. He noted sidewalks are shut down because of large construction projects downtown and said, “If a 5-unit project can put up a pedestrian canopy, so can” a large project.

“Please fix this situation,” Redmond – who, like Kubly, is a former DC resident – implored him. The new director promised to look into it. (A few minutes later, attendee Diane Vincent recalls the Design Review meetings for the 35th/Avalon project and says that while the developer talked about moving the bus stop to open up a plaza area once the building is done, they didn’t mention the stop would be dismantled during construction.)

Adding to the issue of dealing with developers, Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association brought up the difficulty of maintaining promised alley access in the Alaska/California construction zone. “We would appreciate SDOT’s support in maintaining public rights-of-way,” she says.

Junction street congestion was the next issue mentioned, specifically a concern about the west side, Oregon/Glenn vicinity. Then, the bus lanes through The Junction – particularly on Alaska – came up. SWDC co-chair Vlad Oustimovitch brought up RapidRide’s failure to connect to a grid of buses, as more of a “trunk system.”

Next Avalon Way conditions, and an attendee saying they often hear “it’ll get taken care of,” but no followthrough: “I don’t understand how SDOT can see it and not do anything about it.”

Kubly countered that so far he’s impressed with SDOT’s prioritization process for repavings and construction projects, “based on what’s the condition of the pavement, what type of street is it … we tend to focus on heavy transit roads, buses are harder on roads than semis are.” But if someone at SDOT said they’ll do something, and nothing happened, that’s a point of concern, he finishes.

Overall, Kubly acknowledged it’s easy to see why people are frustrated if they’re not getting the service they expect. And he said he’s heard a lot of frustration with developers and thinks it would be wise of them to be “a little bit better neighbors. … If you’re making it impossible for people to get around the city, it’s not going to be long before people have really strong reactions.” (One attendee was heard to murmur something about those “reactions” already happening.)

Invariably, a question about bicycle-safety infrastructure came up, and the perception that “not everyone can get around on a bike.” Kubly pointed out that cities all over the country – not just Seattle – are putting in bicycle infrastructure, mentioning the bike-share program he helped launch in Chicago, and that his parents visited and used it, even though they hadn’t been on bikes in decades. Being in a dedicated lane and feeling safe was a big part of them deciding to ride, he added, saying that infrastructure is vital so that bicycle riding isn’t just for risk-averse “young men.” Protected bike lanes “make it safer for everyone,” not just the bicyclists, he said. He tells an anecdote about a bike lane put in on a street in another city in which he worked, along an 80-foot-wide street. “After the construction was done, and people were seeing that semis are going (more slowly) through our neighborhood, they thought it was a great project.” He thinks bicycle-infrastructure development has become a “lightning rod” for people’s frustration/concern/fear about all kinds of changes.

Co-chair Oustimovitch, who skates along Alki, brought up a concern about Seattle Parks making the trail/path there dangerous by “using it as its service lane” for motorized vehicles that would seem to be easily able to use the street instead.

David Whiting of the Admiral Neighborhood Association brings up the notorious five-way intersection by the low bridge and a tour of it (last year?) that was preceding a design charette to which he said he couldn’t get an invite. A firm was then contracted and – “we’ve heard nothing back” since that meeting February. Kubly says he’ll look into it.

Is anyone at SDOT in charge of West Seattle? Kubly was asked. No, he replies, but he is considering the idea of setting up regional teams.

“We really want you to succeed,” Redmond told him.

The night’s other guest, before Kubly’s arrival, was also from SDOT, speaking about a specific program:

SDOT PLAY STREETS: Jennifer Wieland, who manages SDOT’s “public space” program, came to SWDC to speak about “Play Streets,” one of dozens of programs under her purview. 27 percent of the city’s geography is public right-of-way – streets, planting strips, sidewalks, etc. – she noted as she began. “People want places for lots of different kinds of things … to sit and eat, gather and meeting friends, garden, special activities, and places to play. All of those requests from people fostered the development of this new public-space program at SDOT. … We are really about helping people seize opportunities to use the right-of-way … as a place, recognizing we still need to balance” all the other ways it’s used.

Seattle is not one of the “play streets” cities funded by a program championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, Wieland noted, but the city has launched one and will decide by next summer whether it’s one that works here, or not. “Play Streets are not just for little kids,” she declared.

Applying is free; it’s “100 percent community-led – SDOT is not identifying where there ‘should’ be Play Streets,” she said. Among the applications so far are many afternoons, evenings, weekend proposals. “We do not close the street entirely to traffic” for a Play Street, she says – barricades go up at each end, and volunteers/neighbors need to help make sure residents retain local access.

In West Seattle so far, there’s an application for a recurring one on 51st SW between Charlestown and Andover, twice a month. You get “simple, free signs” if you launch a recurring play street, she added, also saying they’ve had “almost no negative feedback on this program so far” – except for one case where a neighbor was upset about access to her house. To resolve that, according to Wieland, SDOT worked with her and the “play street host.”

“Play streets” are not marked with No Parking signs ahead of time because of the cost, but if a host thinks it’s important, they’ll work with them. Play Street information is communicated to the Fire Department and put into a system that other city departments can access, to know the location, dates, and times.

She mentioned the giant Scrabble tournament held in the street as part of this program, and other things that could be done – badminton, Bocce ball, and more.

NEXT MEETING: 6:30 pm October 1st, SWDC expects to hear from and talk with City Councilmember Sally Clark, who just this week announced plans to work on a “housing strategy” for the city.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON P.S. SDOT director Kubly is now booked for TWO more West Seattle appearances this month – WS Transportation Coalition next Tuesday (September 9th), 6:30 pm, Neighborhood House’s High Point Center; Delridge Neighborhoods District Council on Wednesday, September 17th, 7 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

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New SDOT director booked for Southwest District Council meeting next week http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/new-sdot-director-booked-for-southwest-district-council-meeting-next-week/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/08/new-sdot-director-booked-for-southwest-district-council-meeting-next-week/#comments Fri, 29 Aug 2014 00:47:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=283938 The full schedule of community-group meetings gets going again next month, and the first one has a high-profile guest: New SDOT director (pending confirmation) Scott Kubly is booked for Q/A at the Southwest District Council meeting next Wednesday (September 3rd). All are welcome to the 6:30 pm meeting at the Senior Center of West Seattle (California/Oregon in The Junction);

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2 notes from tonight’s Southwest District Council meeting http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/2-notes-from-tonights-southwest-district-council-meeting/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/2-notes-from-tonights-southwest-district-council-meeting/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 04:49:39 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278130 As Southwest District Council co-chair Sharonn Meeks said toward the start of tonight’s SWDC meeting, its agenda didn’t have one central guest or topic because “we just need to talk.” Rather than rattle off a mega-list of bullet points from the ensuing talk, we’ll be following up on a few things for separate stories, and making note right now of two things:

LAND USE SUBCOMMITTEE: Other neighborhoods have land-use committees that often look at projects of note outside official government processes such as design reviews, and SWDC announced a few months back that it intended to get one going as a subcommittee. The first meeting is finally set – 6:30 pm Wednesday, August 27th. Location TBD, agenda TBD, but if you’re interested in West Seattle development and land use and want to be part of a citizen-led group looking at it, set the date aside.

PARK DISTRICT BALLOT-MEASURE FORUM: Admiral Neighborhood Association president David Whiting announced that ANA’s meeting next Tuesday will include guests from both sides of the August 5th ballot measure proposing creation of a Seattle Park District with permanent taxing authority, instead of sending levies/bond measures to voters every several years to raise extra money for parks. The ANA meeting is at 7 pm Tuesday (July 8th) at The Sanctuary at Admiral, 42nd/Lander. (The Delridge District Council had a forum on the proposal in May; we recorded video.)

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Quick calendar note: Southwest District Council meets tonight http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/quick-calendar-note-southwest-district-council-meets-tonight/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/quick-calendar-note-southwest-district-council-meets-tonight/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:30:27 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=278084 One calendar highlight for tonight – the Southwest District Council IS having a July meeting. The agenda includes a summary of the two recent city “conversation” meetings – Councilmember Mike O’Brien on June 4th (WSB report here) and “West Seattle: Let’s Talk” last Saturday (WSB report here) and a report on the district’s proposed Neighborhood Park and Street Fund projects, as well as an update on progress toward creation of a West Seattle Land Use Committee. All are welcome – 6:30 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle (upstairs at Oregon/California). To see what else is on the calendar today, go here.

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

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Development reviews, school-safety projects, parade, podcast, more: What the Southwest District Council discussed and heard http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/development-reviews-school-safety-projects-parade-podcast-more-what-the-southwest-district-council-discussed-and-heard/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/development-reviews-school-safety-projects-parade-podcast-more-what-the-southwest-district-council-discussed-and-heard/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 17:30:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=272677

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Southwest District Council‘s increased focus on development/land-use issues was a key topic of its monthly meeting last night, along with the plan for neighborhood organizations to pursue a higher profile in this year’s West Seattle Grand Parade, and an SDOT briefing on Safe Routes to School-related projects in the council’s area of emphasis (western West Seattle). Wondering what might be coming to a school zone for you? Read on for full details, including a look at the city’s list:

First, the development discussion:

WEST SEATTLE LAND USE COMMITTEE & OTHER DEVELOPMENT DISCUSSION: SWDC co-chair Vlad Oustimovitch says it’s taking a bit longer to get the new West Seattle Land Use Committee up and running than they had hoped. They’re working to set a meeting date, and it will be set up as a peninsula-wide group, including participation from the SWDC’s eastern West Seattle counterparts on the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council. “There are a lot of land-use issues that are ongoing in West Seattle,” he said, so they are hopeful of getting it up and running soon. Tonight’s public-comment meeting about the 40-apartment, 5-parking-space 4439 41st SW project was mentioned (7 pm, Senior Center of West Seattle), as was the ongoing appeal over the 30-apartments, no-parking 6917 California SW (the Hearing Examiner session that was originally planned for this week has been postponed until May 20th). Part of the California SW project appeal is based on the fact that the project appears to be taking advantage of a loophole in the zoning code that has led to less oversight for higher density than lower density. One thing both projects have in common is that they’re in the Lowrise 2 zoning, of which Oustimovitch says there’s “a lot” in West Seattle. Cindi Barker, who’s been focused on land-use issues, says that the city is getting ready to release information on the “low-rise-code corrections.”

There’s a movement afoot to get back to what was mentioned in the 1990s neighborhood plans, for the Department of Neighborhoods to advocate for residents on land-use issues. It was suggested that the SWDC support funding to restore that function to the DoN. They plan to bring that up in the forthcoming budget process (which will bring a meeting to West Seattle next week). Design Review was implemented, Oustimovitch pointed out, to help with neighborhood development disputes, but it’s not what it used to be, either, he said, and now “there’s so much litigation, so many issues going on, that (the process) hasn’t been functional (for a long time).”

As Susan Melrose from the West Seattle Junction Association said, at least groups that are closely monitoring and projects provide an opportunity to “say no, to fight back.” Oustimovitch mentioned that one challenge is that there’s no funding – in a process with the Hearing Examiner, for example, the city is there with its own lawyers, the developer is there “all lawyered up,” and then there’s the appellant, aka the neighborhood group, often lawyerless. “It’s David and Goliath but sometimes David gets crunched,” he observed.

Before the discussion moved on, it was repeated that anyone interested in area development should show up at tonight’s 4439 41st SW meeting, even if they don’t have anything to say about the project, because there’s no decision on it from the city yet and that puts advocates in a unique position.

SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL: SDOT’s Brian Dougherty brought an update on the city’s Safe Routes to School projects in the SWDC jurisdiction.

He started by mentioning Wednesday morning’s Bike To School activities in West Seattle (WSB coverage here). He also mentioned that the speed cameras in school zones around the city are providing money for safety projects. In the Southwest District (basically western West Seattle), a list he provided (embedded above) mentions the SW Roxbury safety project, some work already under way in the Roxhill Elementary area, a curb bulb going in this summer at Fauntleroy/Myrtle for Gatewood Elementary, and some potential future projects including two in the Denny International Middle School/Chief Sealth International High School vicinity – at SW Kenyon, “there’s a muddy path that connects to the back side of Denny, we’re going to look at paving that potentially,” and at 25th/Thistle, possibly a marked crosswalk and other “enhanced pedestrian improvements” because of kids crossing to the bus stop.

When Dougherty asked about concerns, those raised included crosswalks at schools that might need repainting. Dougherty said 700 crosswalks around the city are slated for that work this year. He also mentioned the brightly colored post covers that have been going up on traffic-safety signs, and said that signals close to schools around the city are all being converted to include pedestrian countdowns. Meeting attendees also pointed out safety concerns at 42nd/Oregon, along with the traffic circle at 42nd/Genesee (near Holy Rosary, Seattle Lutheran, Hope Lutheran), with vegetation that might be too overgrown for safety’s sake.

As previously announced, Roxhill and Holy Family will be getting speed cameras. (Safe Routes to School is now getting funding from the speed cameras’ proceeds.)

HISTORICAL SURVEY GRANT: Chas Redmond said they were still awaiting word on possible 4 Culture funding for a historical survey of California Avenue (explained in this WSB story from January). SWDC co-chair Sharonn Meeks pointed out that a grant list had been made public and that SWDC’s project wasn’t on it; after the meeting, Redmond learned that the SWDC grant apparently IS a go, according to a different list. More details on the process to come.

WEST SEATTLE PARADE PARTICIPATION: Neighborhood groups are planning an entry in the West Seattle Grand Parade this July. David Whiting from the Admiral Neighborhood Association talked about it and said it seems like the bigger the entry the better, “like a nucleus of 25 people.” Cindi Barker from Morgan Community Association also had been advocating for participation. What kind of entry/ies, has yet to be determined. Whiting says Admiral, for example, will hand out flyers for the concert series that will be starting shortly thereafter. Talk ensued about how to get the various groups involved. Parade participation applications are coming, noted Jim Edwards, longtime parade co0coordinator who attends SWDC meetings as a rep of the Senior Center. An ad-hoc committee will be formed to plan a potential parade entry; that committee might apply for a grant. More logistics were discussed (the parade route is a mile and a half long).

WEST SEATTLE SUMMER FEST: WSJA’s Melrose said there’ll be an opportunity for local groups to be represented in a community area at Summer Fest, possibly in four-hour shifts. (Watch for info on that soon, here on WSB).

WEST SEATTLE COMMUNITY GARAGE SALE DAY: WSCGSD (here’s the map for Saturday) came up for brief informal discussion and Barker mentioned on behalf of West Seattle Be Prepared that they’re looking for emergency-type equipment.

VIDEO PODCAST: A new one has debuted with neighborhood information and West Seattleites’ involvement; Barker talked about it as a source of somewhere to talk about neighborhood information/education, citywide – she and Redmond participated in the early edition:

It’s called “Seattle Neighborhood Crier“; you can find it (and future editions) via this YouTube channel.

RELAY FOR LIFE OF WEST SEATTLE: A rep from this upcoming fundraiser (here’s our coverage of last year’s event) made a pitch to get more people involved. This year it’s June 27th-28th. They already have hundreds of people participating but hope for more, with a goal of raising tens of thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society. If you’re interested in participating, go here.

GRANT PITCH: David Toledo from the arts-based youth nonprofit Unified Outreach spoke to let SWDC know about a project that’s seeking a major city grant (the Southwest District Council reviews such projects). It’s a work-training project; he says there’s a problem with kids getting trained to do something but then not what to do with it afterward. He talked about the organization’s fashion-show event last year, helping kids figure out how to make money in that industry. Now they’re hoping for a grant to assist them with staging an animation festival, potentially at the Admiral Theater – with youth not just creating the animation but also voice over, promotion, “a full work-training” program “so when these kids come out they can actually go out in the field and get jobs.” It’s targeting ages 12-18. His nonprofit is based at Ginomai Arts Center in The Junction.

ACTORS NEEDED FOR WEST SEATTLE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS HUB DRILL: The drill on May 17th will include a scenario of a lahar is wreaking havoc. West Seattle Be Prepared needs actors to portray roles in the drill. Interested? Contact information is on the WSBP website.

The Southwest District Council meets first Wednesdays most months, 7 pm, at the Senior Center.

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Big-picture planning, project-by-project review, historic survey: Southwest District Council talks land use http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/big-picture-planning-project-by-project-review-historic-survey-southwest-district-council-talks-land-use/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/04/big-picture-planning-project-by-project-review-historic-survey-southwest-district-council-talks-land-use/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 03:30:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=269460

Much of the major development happening now is the result of zoning decisions made more than a decade ago. Changes, Mayor Murray suggested in his recent WSB interview and again at the Westside Awards breakfast last Thursday, are most likely to be made as a result of the Seattle 2035 comprehensive-plan-review process that’s just begun. While the first official West Seattle open house/meeting is Wednesday night, the Southwest District Council got a preview this past week. The SWDC also took further steps toward forming a West Seattle-wide Land Use Committee to seek early, public looks at major development proposals, as happens in other Seattle neighborhoods. Details ahead:

About 20 people showed up at the Senior Center of West Seattle – which has increasingly become a public-meeting hub for this area – on Wednesday night for the April meeting of the SWDC, made up of community councils and a few other major organizations in western West Seattle.

SEATTLE 2035: City rep Patrice Carroll came to speak about the Comprehensive Plan-update process that’s just getting kicked off. The plan was first created, she said, in 1994, then updated in 2004, and they try to update it every 7 to 10 years. What policies do we need to have in place, or to tweak, as the city grows? That’s part of the mission. The growth since adoption was as expected for households, below expected for jobs, she said in response to a question. “Over the next year we’re going to be looking at all these policies,” she said. “Right now it’s written for geeky policymakers, but we want to make it accessible to everyone.” None of the individual Neighborhood Plans will be changed as a result of this, she noted. “Any schedule for funds available to update our Urban Village Plan?” asked SWDC co-chair Sharonn Meeks from the Fairmount Community Association south of The Triangle. What about jobs? asked Chas Redmond from the Morgan Community Association, noting that transportation challenges would lessen if more people could work closer to home.

“We’re going to be looking very broadly at different patterns of development,” said Carroll, in the Environmental Impact Statement they’ll be developing. But, “All the urban villages will grow; areas outside the urban villages will grow,” so they’re looking for different variations. And, “are we looking at the right alternatives … before we get our consultants cranking?”

So let’s say an alternative is chosen. Susan Melrose of the West Seattle Junction Association asked, “What tools will the city use to guide growth?” pointing out that the Junction is already way past its growth/density estimates. (She) said the EIS is meant to answer questions such as, what is the implication of having all that growth?

Who are the consultants? asked Meeks. “Studio 3 MW,” said Carroll, saying that firm – whose website is here – emerged from a Request For Proposals process.

Other issues came up, such as our area’s lack of a hospital and other matters vital to preparedness.

Overall, Carroll said it would be likely the result might be a “hybrid” of the listed alternatives. She said you can expect more online questions soon, too (there’s a survey online right now, for starters).

What alternatives didn’t they consider? asked Morgan Community Association’s Deb Barker. They didn’t get aggressive with transit, so no envisioning so far of Ballard/West Seattle light rail. How does the plan tie in with Seattle Public Schools‘ growth and planning? someone else asked. It doesn’t, replied Carroll, but it has some general “human development” elements.

What about the road-maintenance backlog? asked Dennis Ross from Admiral. What’s envisioned includes transportation of “all modes,” Carroll replied.

Redmond suggested there should be a “winter daylight” consideration so that building activity happens more east-west than north-south and doesn’t block all the winter sun. That sort of thing was written into the code in New York a century ago – “light and air” – noted SWDC co-chair Vlad Oustimovitch.

As mentioned here, there’s a West Seattle open house 6-8 pm on Wednesday (April 9th) at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW); the meeting will be informal, with boards for comments, and no presentation likely. And Carroll said social-media and other channels are available for sending info and receiving feedback. How is that all received and taken into account? asked one attendee. “We have a big giant spreadsheet,” she replied.

LAND USE COMMITTEE: The SWDC declared last month that it would form one (as reported here). Now the question – how? Who? David Whiting from the Admiral Neighborhood Association reported back on his fact-finding trip to Queen Anne to see how their committee worked. Diane Vincent said she had been there as well. This type of committee has more freedom, though it may not have teeth. But it becomes a must-go, explained Deb Barker – “something you can use as an early vetting.”

On Queen Anne, it’s a Land Use Review Committee, but for here, it was suggested that a West Seattle Land Use Committee would be more appropriate. Delridge could be invited to participate too.

Whiting said it seemed like they should model it after something that had success elsewhere in the city.

This also could replace the non-public ad-hoc groups that have evolved for almost every major project (usually with the developers contacting various community reps and convening meetings). This one “should be completely transparent (and) the more people that show up the better.” Many of those present volunteered to help form it; they debated a meeting night, separate from the monthly first-Wednesday SWDC meeting – no decision was reached, so that’ll be made later. We’ll publish an update when there’s news of when the committee will launch.

HISTORIC STUDY OF CALIFORNIA: They’re awaiting word on a grant of up to $12,000 for the California Avenue properties survey (reported here in January); word is due within the next month.

NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS AND STREET FUND: Only three proposals were submitted so they all get to advance to the city review stage. Coordinator Jenny Frankl didn’t have them handy, though, so no briefing was available on exactly what they were.

The Southwest District Council meets first Wednesdays, 7 pm, at the Senior Center of WS (California/Oregon).

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Southwest District Council to turn its eyes toward development http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/southwest-district-council-to-turn-its-eyes-toward-development/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/southwest-district-council-to-turn-its-eyes-toward-development/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 07:56:11 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=266838 By Patrick Sand and Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog co-publishers

With new development proposals appearing in West Seattle almost daily, the Southwest District Council is ready to keep a closer watch on what’s going on.

At tonight’s meeting, the SWDC – made up of reps from councils and organizations around western West Seattle – took steps toward forming a Land Use Subcommittee.

It’s a tool used elsewhere in the city (Queen Anne, for example), often providing a more consistent way for projects to get an early unofficial community review; right now, it’s literally and figuratively all over the map – sometimes developers engage community councils or round up stakeholders, sometimes they don’t.

SWDC co-chair Vlad Oustimovitch observed that development is one of the most top-of-mind topics in the area right now, along with transportation and public safety, so this is a natural move. He’s hopeful its members also can reach out to other neighborhoods to figure out more ways of collaborating when faced with similar challenges. The subcommittee’s membership isn’t final yet; once it’s up and running, it will provide regular reports to the council.

Also at tonight’s meeting: A farewell from Ed Pottharst, one of the neighborhood-district coordinators who has served this area for three years.

Ed’s not leaving city service, though – not even leaving the Department of Neighborhoods; he says a job came open working with the matching funds that help so many neighborhoods make dreams come true, so he’s moving to that side at the end of the month. His successor is being sought.

Other notes:

*Co-chair Sharonn Meeks brought up the Fire Station 32 rebuild (here’s our newest report) and the suggestion that electricity service be undergrounded in the area as part of the project, lest downed power lines keep crews from responding in case of catastrophe. She plans to talk with the city.

*New Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Steve Wilske came to introduce himself.

*New West Seattle Chamber of Commerce CEO Lynn Dennis came to introduce herself, and said the WSCoC would resume sending a representative to the SWDC meetings, which hadn’t happened regularly for a while.

The Southwest District Council meets first Wednesdays, 6:30 pm, at the Senior Center of West Seattle.

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Pedestrian zoning (again), safety, more @ SW District Council http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/pedestrian-zoning-again-safety-more-sw-district-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/pedestrian-zoning-again-safety-more-sw-district-council/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 01:45:25 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=264126 If you still haven’t seen a presentation about the city’s pedestrian retail zoning project, you haven’t been to a neighborhood meeting in West Seattle lately.

TonightNext month, Aly Pennucci (right) from the city Department of Planning and Development speaks about it again, this time at the Admiral Neighborhood Association‘s meeting (7 pm March 11th, Admiral Congregational Church). Last night, she was scheduled to talk with the North Delridge Neighborhood Council. Before that, three other meetings – including last week’s Southwest District Council presentation, which tops this report on that meeting.

This potential zoning change for some neighborhood business districts would come with changes, as she explained – auto-related businesses wouldn’t be allowed; parking might be reduced; curb cuts would be minimized … What might be required in existing pedestrian zones as well as new ones:

*Wider sidewalks
*Overhead weather protection
*Finalizing minimum floor-area-requirement rules implemented last year as emergency rules
*Arts facilities – should they be allowed in all pedestrian zones?

The 50-plus areas are not yet pedestrian zones nor subject to the rules governing them – they were designated study zones. The areas in purple on the map currently are “interim” pedestrian zones – subject to “80 percent of street level must be commercial” but no further rules about what TYPE of commercial – which this might change.

She reiterated that the preliminary recommendations “are meant to start a conversation.” They’re hoping to forward formal recommendations by end of summer, early fall, Pennucci said, after sending proposed formal recommendations around in late spring.

SWDC co-chair Vlad Oustimovitch (photo below) asked if pedestrian zoning would change density. No, Pennucci replied. The floor-area-ratio requirement is the closest thing – it’s meant to prevent sites from being underutilized, with, for example, a single-story building. But that’s only for urban village/urban area development, she explained. The documentation being circulated right now isn’t necessarily clear about that, suggested SWDC member Cindi Barker. Also clarified after a question from co-chair Sharonn Meeks (also in photo below): This would be looking at adding pedestrian zones AND adding requirements for existing ones.

“That’s why we want to hear from people and businesses who are in existing pedestrian zones (too),” said Pennucci. It wouldn’t be retroactive, but would be “associated with new development.” And it wouldn’t affect projects that are already “vested” – making their way through the system already. Would it change the setbacks for commercial development, if “wider sidewalks” were required? Pennucci said there are no specifics on that yet.

Chas Redmond wondered about the boundaries, why pedestrian zoning in The Junction, for example, wouldn’t be extended. Pennucci said extension isn’t really in the scope of this project. The discussion turned to whether it might be natural in the future to meld, perhaps, the Admiral and Junction areas. Oustimovitch then asked about some non-intuitive areas such as the Admiral and Junction areas perhaps eventually melding. And he wondered about what’s on the map as Zone 55 – a section of Harbor Avenue. That’s under the jurisdiction of the Alki Community Council, whose president Tony Fragada asked Pennucci to come talk to them about it.

She said that these proposed changes are not meant to transform areas into immediately bustling neighborhood zones – “we’re trying to both promote and protect …” And in fact, she said they had only “anecdotal” research on how fast areas that get this kind of help, develop. But it was meant to provide flexibility, she said.

A Seattle Housing Authority rep at the meeting observed that shortage of parking was leading to trouble for businesses in some of these types of zones.

Why are live-work units being prohibited in these zones? They’re not being used in a way that “contributes to a pedestrian oriented environment,” often just being used for home offices.

Barker pointed out that live-works in Morgan had perfumeries, a “yoga place”…

Meeks asked again, why is much of California left out?

Pennucci said the online survey deadline of February 27th is probably not going to work because they have meetings in March. (But take the survey ASAP!)

NEIGHBORHOOD SAFETY: Jim Curtin from SDOT came to talk about Neighbors for Road Safety, “one of the tools we have to achieve the goals set forth in our Road Safety Action Plan … really aimed at community councils, block watch captains, programs like that.”

Neighborhoods interested in participating can get custom analyses of the problems in their neighborhood including prioritization – “and data is a really really good way to prioritize; there’s no way around the data.” Once priorities are listed – starting with a “custom collision analysis” – then solutions can be figured out and funding can be found.

Some solutions, recommendations, and advice are “straightforward” but others are customized for our area. Curtin said it’s a way to “on a deeper level, address the issues that are occurring on our streets.” He said he was just here to pitch it in hopes that the various neighborhood reps comprising SWDC would take it back to their groups and see about getting involved.

Redmond asked about road striping and whether there’s a type of paint that works better in our visibility/weather conditions. Curtin said yes, they’ve been experimenting in recent years – “and we figured out that a new type of paint, MMA, (is) much more durable, longer-lasting type of paint, has glass beads embedded in it, and we’ve started to use it now, especially on our principal arterial corridors.”

Meeks asked how the program is funded. From the Road Safety Initiative, said Curtin, and “this has been part of my job for a very very long time.”

The program is a little more than a year old. So, have we seen any progress? asked Redmond, regarding young men, who are at highest risk of involvement of serious collisions? “We’ve made some significant strides in reaching out to them via social media,” said Curtin. “In one week we were able to reach more than 200,000 people in Seattle with humorous messages that have really important information.”

Are speed humps effective? asked Fragada. “Definitely,” said Curtin. “They bring speeds down.” And yes, some drivers insist on “flooring it” once they’re over them, “which is a concern of ours.”

At least sign up for the e-mail list, Curtin urged as he wrapped up his pitch.

CITY NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL: Redmond said there was discussion of the topic of how the number of city-created “districts” – 13, including two for West Seattle, Southwest and Delridge Neighborhoods – would be affected by the newly created-by-ballot-measure seven City Council districts. Delridge had voted not to support further reduction of the number of districts, and Southwest had previously said they’d back whatever Delridge thought, so West Seattle’s two district councils are opposed to a potential reduction.

DEVELOPMENT: Per Barker, low-rise changes will be drafted and likely presented in April. The microhousing appeal was denied and so is likely now a “live concern.” Rules regarding wall signage are in play, including fabric signs possibly being allowed as permanent, as part of a project called “Coordinated Street Furniture” to allow advertising on benches, for example. This could all come to a final vote in March. Other projects emerged when DPD‘s 2014 work plan did – including a review of the Design Review program, and Transit Oriented Development. “Please pay attention to this stuff for your neighborhoods!” exhorted Barker.

CALIFORNIA AVENUE SURVEY: Also from Redmond: He and other reps visited 4Culture and the Department of Neighborhoods in hopes of grant funding for the initial survey (see our previous report here), which would be the 3 or 4 blocks around The Junction, front and back, north and south. One glitch: Not having a separate nonprofit to front it. They are hoping the Southwest Seattle Historical Society will be their financial sponsor to submitting a grant request. Then they would have to get qualified historic surveyors. We’re “pretty close,” said Redmond – but the results are unknown. The first initial survey would show whether there’s the potential for a historic district, or just a couple buildings worth looking at saving.

NEXT MONTH: New West Seattle Chamber of Commerce CEO Lynn Dennis has been invited to next month’s meeting. The SWDC meets at 6:30 pm on first Wednesdays (most months) at the Senior Center of West Seattle.


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Earthquake safety: Will city require retrofits for brick buildings? West Seattle presentation ahead http://westseattleblog.com/2013/11/earthquake-safety-will-city-require-retrofits-for-brick-buildings-west-seattle-presentation-ahead/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/11/earthquake-safety-will-city-require-retrofits-for-brick-buildings-west-seattle-presentation-ahead/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 06:51:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=254962 For years, the city has been working on a plan to require earthquake-safety retrofits for unreinforced masonry (brick) buildings – the type that sustained the most damage during major earthquakes in 1949, 1965, and 2001. With the proposal getting closer to Seattle City Council consideration, and a presentation is planned in West Seattle at this Wednesday’s meeting of the Southwest District Council. According to documents on the city website, about 1,000 buildings in the city would be affected; they are primarily commercial and housing buildings, usually multiple stories, built with red bricks. According to a preliminary city survey, more than 50 of these buildings are believed to be in West Seattle; reviewing that list, we note that some are on development sites – including the California/Alaska corner building that’s just been demolished. The public is always welcome at Southwest District Council meetings; this one will be at 6:30 pm Wednesday (November 6), downstairs at Southwest Teen Life Center (2801 SW Thistle).

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First community meeting of fall: Southwest District Council http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/first-community-meeting-of-fall-southwest-district-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/09/first-community-meeting-of-fall-southwest-district-council/#comments Thu, 05 Sep 2013 03:21:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=162857 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The fall meeting season – after a summer break for many neighborhood/district councils – is off and running, with the Southwest District Council just wrapping up its September meeting, tackling topics from trees to Junction parking/development.

Co-chair Susan Ruppert, from the Genesee-Schmitz Neighborhood Council, led the meeting at Southwest Teen Life Center. Other organizations represented were the Admiral Neighborhood Association, Fairmount Community Association, Fauntleroy Community Association, Junction Neighborhood Organization, Morgan Community Association, the Senior Center of West Seattle, and the West Seattle Junction Association.

What you should know about what was discussed – ahead:

URBAN FORESTRY: City arborist Nolan Rundquist and fellow SDOT staffer Susan Paine came out to “give an update” on the topic. He mentioned hundreds of trees planted locally because of the Bridging the Gap levy, in neighborhoods including Seaview and Delridge. The program overall has planted about 5,000 trees around the city since 2007, according to Rundquist. Some types of trees, he noted, contribute more clean air/clean water value to neighborhoods than others. Evergreens are more valuable, of course, than deciduous, he said, since most of our rain falls “when the leaves are on the trees” and they help with more water retention, but they don’t work everywhere for reasons including visibility and other safety issues.

Susan Melrose from WSJA pointed out that pear trees didn’t do well on the north edge of The Junction; Rundquist said they’re calling it the “heartbreak tree” because it starts falling apart after about 30 years. Melrose asked him what’s under consideration for the future; he mentioned the ginkgo – “male” trees, so its foul-smelling fruit is not produced. They can live into triple digits, he said, and have been observed growing 18 to 20 inches a year, but will top out around 35-40 feet.

If the city plants a tree in your planting strip, SDOT is responsible for it; if you plant it, you’re responsible for it (however, keep in mind, Rundquist only has a couple other arborists on his team).

(Find out more about urban forestry and the city arborist’s work by going here.)

CITY LIGHT EX-SUBSTATION SITES: A Genesee-Schmitz member came to talk about the neighborhood’s hopes of seeing at least one of the six Seattle City Light surplus ex-substation sites in this area (listed here) preserved as greenspace – 4918 SW Dakota (city photo below) – if not all of them.

She’s hoping to form a coalition of people lobbying the city to keep them as green open spaces, even “just left alone,” rather than potentially being sold off for development (as happened to most of the sites in a similar process in the north end of the city, she said). October 2nd at 6:30 pm at High Point Community Center is THE public hearing before there’s a City Light decision, she said. Please come and comment for the record, she implored – or at least send a comment through the SCL website (scroll to the bottom of this page) if you won’t be able to be there. Two meeting attendees said what she showed of just that one parcel didn’t resemble the stark photos shown by City Light at its recent meeting. SWDC members discussed possibly sending a letter in support of preserving the sites instead of selling them off, or at least tabling potential sale plans until the community could find funding. Some thought the timing was odd, given that if this process had started sooner, some might have been able to try to get funding through the Parks and Green Spaces Levy‘s Opportunity Fund, a process that is just wrapping up.

JUNCTION NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATION: With development and other pressures on parking, René Commons, who is leading the re-launched Junction Neighborhood Organization, says they’re hoping to get the city to study Restricted Parking Zone possibilities again, especially considering the planned developments that have relatively little or no parking. She’s looking for input as they strategize how to make the case for another study. She also talked about a desire to create a Land Use Review Committee for the Junction/Triangle area, like the ones that exist in other neighborhoods and present an organized front when projects are proposed. She’s been talking to reps in other neighborhoods. Wallingford and Queen Anne, for example, have had committees since their neighborhood plans were drafted in the late 1990s, she found out. These committees would talk with developers early in the process, for example, something that doesn’t exist here now unless developers reach out to neighborhood leaders and convene an informal, not-public series of reviews, as has happened multiple times in recent years. Fauntleroy rep Vlad Oustimovitch, a former Design Review Board member, said he thought having a review group outside that process would be a good thing – not just to talk about proposed projects, but to talk about other related issues.

The Southwest District Council meets the first Wednesday of most months, 6:30 pm, downstairs at SW Teen Life Center (2801 SW Thistle), public always welcome.

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West Seattle microhousing: 3050 SW Avalon Way adds three stories; DPD director @ Southwest District Council http://westseattleblog.com/2013/06/west-seattle-microhousing-3050-sw-avalon-way-adds-three-stories-dpd-director-southwest-district-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/06/west-seattle-microhousing-3050-sw-avalon-way-adds-three-stories-dpd-director-southwest-district-council/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2013 18:37:45 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=153887

While “microhousing” – residential buildings with up to 8 individually rentable sleeping units sharing each kitchen – is old news for some neighborhoods in Seattle, it’s still somewhat new here in West Seattle, with several projects in the works but none yet completed. Today, two bits of news – first, a proposed microhousing building has revised its plan, triggering an official notice from the city today; second, we have toplines from Department of Planning and Development director Diane Sugimura‘s appearance at the Southwest District Council meeting last night.

First, the revised project at 3050 SW Avalon Way, currently the overgrown lot shown above: The revision notice says it is now proposed as a seven-story, 102-bedroom, no-parking building. It was proposed for four stories when we last mentioned it in March. The revision triggers a new comment period, through June 19th; here’s the form you can use to comment.

Ahead, what DPD director Sugimura told the district council last night – and the meeting attendee whose group is opposed to more regulation:

Some at the meeting were unsure what “microhousing” meant, so Sugimura started with something of a primer, explaining that the city allows up to eight people per housing “unit,” so developers started creating projects with one common kitchen for multiple units. She added, “I believe they are affordable housing that is being provided by the private sector rather than using levy money and all that … they tend to rent between $500-$700/bedroom, you don’t get a lot of space and it’s not for everybody, but if you only have (that much) for housing and you don’t want a roommate or to share a house or apartment or move further out and have transportation expenses, there are a number of people who find these serve a purpose for a time in their life.”

The city’s been dealing with concerns including that these projects were hard to detect because the plans were being filed with only a mention of how many “units” – each kitchen area counting for one unit, even if it was serving up to eight individually rentable sleeping rooms – they had, while developers were applying for tax exemptions (documents that are harder for the public to access) listing the total number of sleeping units. So for example, the newly revised Avalon Way project mentioned above is on the books as “14 units” with “102 bedrooms.”

Last week, three City Councilmembers issued a memo voicing their concerns about microhousing and what they would like to see DPD do; Sugimura says, “most of these were things we were working on.” Read the memo here.

SWDC co-chair Karl de Jong expressed concern about the concept in general, saying it sounded somewhat like “tenement housing.” Sugimura disagreed with that characterization, but in the end, said that challenging the existence of this classification of housing would be a political matter to take up with the council.

Her department’s new proposed rules, she said, will be proposed for a special meeting of the council’s Planning, Land Use, Sustainability Committee on June 28th.

But projects in the pipeline now – including the most recent proposal reported here, at 59xx California SW – will be reviewed under current rules, not the upcoming proposals. (Other West Seattle microhousing-to-be of which we’re aware includes under-construction buildings on Avalon by the 35th/Avalon 7-11 and on Delridge.)

The microhousing discussion veered off into the issue of whether developers should be paying impact fees to make sure infrastructure such as parks and transportation is adequate for the new residents that come to live in their projects. That, too, is a political issue, not anything that Sugimura can directly control.

Before the meeting ended, Roger Valdez, representing the advocacy group Smart Growth Seattle – previously heard from on the issue of small-lot development (which came up earlier in the meeting) – tried to take the floor to talk about their reaction to the councilmembers’ microhousing proposals. Co-chair de Jong did not allow Valdez to speak, as he was not officially on the agenda, but he did drop off printouts of his group’s response to the councilmembers’ memo; you can read it on the Smart Growth Seattle website.

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West Seattle meetings next week take on microhousing & Metro http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/west-seattle-meetings-next-week-with-hot-topics-microhousing-metro/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/west-seattle-meetings-next-week-with-hot-topics-microhousing-metro/#comments Fri, 31 May 2013 06:00:15 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=153228 Two local meetings next week feature two hot topics:

MICROHOUSING @ SOUTHWEST DISTRICT COUNCIL: After stirring concern in other parts of the city, “microhousing” started turning up here (browse WSB development coverage), and now the City Council is considering setting new rules for it. Here’s the recent memo from Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Nick Licata and Council President Sally Clark to Department of Planning and Development director Diane Sugimura, who is scheduled to discuss microhousing at the Southwest District Council‘s monthly meeting next Wednesday (June 5th). Also on the agenda: A Seattle Public Schools manager with updates on the school construction projects in the works here (which include the Fairmount Park addition and the new Arbor Heights and Genesee Hill schools). The meeting’s at 6:30 pm Wednesday, Southwest Teen Life Center/Pool (2801 SW Thistle).

METRO @ WWRHAH COUNCIL – AGENDA/GUESTS UPDATE: We’ve already mentioned that the new Westwood Roxhill Arbor Heights Community Council will focus its entire meeting on Metro next Tuesday (June 4th), and you’re invited even if you’re not within WWRHAH boundaries – there’ll be lots of time for community questions. WWRHAH chair Amanda Helmick has shared the agenda/guest list – read on:

Attendees: Metro Transit
Community Relations Planner: DeAnna Martin
Doug Johnson
David Hull

6:30 – 7:00: WWRHAH CC Business

7:00 – 8:00: Q/A from Community Council with Metro Transit

1) Bus layovers on Barton St cover a large portion of Roxhill Park. This makes it hard to see what is happening inside the park from the street. We have had some crime there, including an armed robbery. What is Metro’s intention for the Westwood Village area? Is Westwood Village to become a Transit Center?

a. Follow Up: There are a lot of bus routes now terminating at Westwood Village. Is there a plan for any of those routes to connect back to White Center?

2) Arbor Heights Residents will be without bus service if this next round of cuts are allowed to take place. Will there be an addition of connector buses to bring AH residents to a Rapid Ride area?

3) Routes such as the Commuter Routes 113/118/119 are slated to be cut. What routes do Metro assume these bus riders will use?

4) It appears as if Metro is forcing all of West Seattle to use the Rapid Ride buses. Given the scheduling and overcrowding problems already experienced:

a. What aspects of Rapid Ride does Metro consider successful and which parts are being improved?
b. How does Metro propose to solve the problem of additional overcrowding if the other listed routes are cut?

8:00 – 9:00: Open to Community for Metro Questions

WWRHAH has moved its meeting to a larger venue since Metro is of interest to so many – 6:30 pm Tuesday, Chief Sealth International High School Library, 2600 SW Thistle.

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Southwest District Council tonight: 4755 Fauntleroy megaproject; Seattle Parks’ Legacy Plan http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/southwest-district-council-tonight-4755-fauntleroy-megaproject-seattle-parks-legacy-plan/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/05/southwest-district-council-tonight-4755-fauntleroy-megaproject-seattle-parks-legacy-plan/#comments Wed, 01 May 2013 18:56:28 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=149913 Though this morning’s breaking news pre-empted our usual roundup of highlights from the calendar, we do want to call attention to one meeting tonight: The Southwest District Council is scheduled for a presentation by, and Q/A with, the developers of 4755 Fauntleroy, the 40th/Alaska/Fauntleroy/Edmunds megaproject with 370 apartments, a Whole Foods Market, and TBA drugstore. (Their planned appearance last month was postponed.) The agenda also includes a briefing on Seattle Parks‘ Legacy Plan (see the draft here) – which despite its name is about the future, not the past (as explained here). SW District Council meets at 6:30 pm in the lower-level meeting rooms at SW Teen Life Center/Pool (2801 SW Thistle).

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Video: SDOT director in the hot seat @ Southwest District Council http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/video-sdot-director-in-the-hot-seat-southwest-district-council/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/03/video-sdot-director-in-the-hot-seat-southwest-district-council/#comments Mon, 11 Mar 2013 00:20:59 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=144350

As previewed here, you had a chance to ask questions directly of the man who runs the Seattle Department of Transportation if you had gone to the Southwest District Council meeting this past Wednesday night. A few people took advantage of the opportunity to bring up neighborhood problems as well as larger issues. We recorded the wide-ranging 47 minutes of Q/A on video. If you can’t spare 47 minutes to listen – here are direct links to some of the topics (note – if the links don’t go to the spots they should, drag the playback bar on the YouTube window of the full clip above to the minutes/seconds spot mentioned):

14:00 – The bus bulbs at California/Fauntleroy

16:00 – Bus lanes on SW Alaska

21:31 – With increased development in The Junction, how involved is SDOT? “There are days we can’t go to The Junction because there’s no place to park.” Density is based on the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Hahn noted. He cited South Lake Union rezoning. “With 1,000 more apartments going up in The Junction, does SDOT say, we need (something) to help with traffic … ?” Hahn observed that the same question came up at the Sustainable West Seattle Transportation Forum last year (here’s our coverage, with video), and mentioned the alley-vacation process (frequently covered here) requiring “public benefit” from the developer. He mentioned that one developer downtown wound up buying another streetcar for the city. So, he was asked, could developers buy another bus, or ?

27:30 – Who makes the decisions to add bus bulbs, reduce lanes, etc.? asked another attendee, and how can the “silent majority” have their feelings known? “It’s not like individuals are just making up stuff,” Hahn said, citing again the city’s Comprehensive Plan, ultimately saying it’s a reflection of the City Council. He also says they often hear from people with a specific interest, more bike facilities, for example, so whatever your opinion is, come to meetings and have it heard.

31:00: SW Alaska on the RapidRide route through The Triangle – including parking and traffic concerns as well as unfulfilled promises about making that stretch a “pedestrian corridor,” with street trees. Ongoing parking issues exist, with parking commitments made to businesses between 36th and 38th in jeopardy again. Hahn says he could come out to walk the area and see the issues.

39:00 – Density in The Junction is already 104 percent of what was projected, but the capacity of the street has been reduced.

At 41:50, Vlad Oustimovitch from the Fauntleroy Community Association summarized much of what had been said to Hahn in the preceding half-hour-plus: “It’s almost like somebody deliberately designed something to not work.”

SDOT will be back in West Seattle this week – at the North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting tomorrow (Monday) night (6:30 pm at the Delridge Library), for example, a rep will discuss the new parking restrictions on SW Genesee to make more room for buses (here’s our February story on those changes).

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