West Seattle politics – West Seattle Blog… http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sun, 18 Feb 2018 17:25:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Better Metro bus service for Admiral/Alki? Councilmember Herbold’s request to SDOT http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/better-metro-bus-service-for-admiral-alki-councilmember-herbolds-request-to-sdot/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/better-metro-bus-service-for-admiral-alki-councilmember-herbolds-request-to-sdot/#comments Sat, 17 Feb 2018 19:43:15 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=909243

It’s been a hot discussion topic in WSB transit/transportation coverage for a long time – north West Seattle’s relative lack of Metro service compared to other areas. In her newest weekly update, Councilmember Lisa Herbold announced she is asking SDOT – via the letter embedded above – to find out what it would cost to fix that. (Though Metro is a county service, city dollars pay for some of the service.) If you haven’t seen it via e-mail or web, here’s her update:

As District 1 Councilmember, I regularly hear from residents of the Admiral and Alki neighborhoods about the lack of daytime and evening bus service to and from Downtown. Non-rush hour service on Bus Route 56, which connects Alki and Admiral to Downtown, was eliminated in 2012.

As a result, Admiral is the only Urban Village in Seattle without off-peak transit service to Downtown. It is also the only Urban Village not served by the Frequent Transit Network included in the Seattle Transit Master Plan. Urban Villages were adopted by Seattle in the 1994 Comprehensive Plan to direct growth to areas with enhanced services, so the lack of service is noteworthy, and unique. The lack of off-peak service to Downtown for an urban village also does not seem consistent with our approach to managing growth.

I have written a letter to SDOT Director Goran Sparrman, requesting that SDOT assess the costs associated with improving off-peak transit service on Route 56, and inform me of the City’s funding capacity to meet this need with Seattle Transportation Benefit District funds passed by Seattle voters in Proposition 1 in late 2014, which directly funds bus service in Seattle. You can see the letter here. While King County Metro operates bus service, since 2015, with the passage by Seattle voters of Proposition 1, Seattle funds additional bus service.

Background information is included below about how the Admiral Urban Village fits into the city’s transportation and growth plans.

After the State Legislature passed the Growth Management Act in 1990, to stop regional sprawl and direct growth into designated areas. The City of Seattle adopted the Urban Village Strategy in its passage of the 1994 Comprehensive Plan. By 1999, the City had completed passage of neighborhood plans throughout Seattle, to implement the state Growth Management Act, and to direct growth into areas with enhanced services to match the growth.

Seattle has six Urban Centers, six Hub Urban Villages and eighteen Residential Urban Villages. Of those 30 areas targeted for growth in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan, only Admiral lacks off-peak transit service to Downtown.

Figures from the Seattle Transit Master Plan illustrate the unique status of the Admiral Urban Village. Figure 3-1 shows the City Capacity Transit Vision for High Capacity Transit Corridors. Figure 1-2 shows how these current and planned corridors align with the Urban Centers, Hub Urban Villages, and Residential Urban Villages adopted in Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan.

All of Seattle’s six Urban Centers and six Hub Urban Villages are included in a corridor—nearly all of which go to Downtown. In addition, 16 of Seattle’s 18 Residential Urban Villages are included in a corridor. The only ones that aren’t included in one of the transit corridors for RapidRide, Light Rail, Priority Bus Corridors, and the Streetcar are 1) Admiral and 2) South Park.

Figure 4-1 shows the status of the Frequent Transit Network as of March 2016; it notes a few areas on the map for “Priority Upgrade to Frequent,” including the Admiral Urban Village.

The Frequent Transit network included in the Transit Master Plan is designed to provide service every 15 minutes or better, 18-24 hours a day, seven days a week. This document shows bus routes that meet the frequent transit service level for land use purposes (SMC 23.84A.038), i.e. 15 minutes or less for at least 12 hours per day, 6 days a week, and transit headways of 30 minutes or less for at least 18 hours every day.

The current Frequent Transit Network using land use standards serves 29 of the 30 areas targeted for growth, but not Admiral.

Transportation Figure 5, from the Seattle 2035 Comprehensive Plan, shows the Planned Frequent Transit Network, which includes SW Admiral Way through the Urban Village.

It appears that among Seattle’s 30 Urban Centers and Urban Villages, the Admiral Urban Village is one of only two not included the High Capacity Transit Network, and uniquely 1) is not served by the current Frequent Transit Network, and 2) has no off-peak bus service to Downtown. In addition, it saw a decrease in bus service to Downtown, with the 2012 elimination of off-peak service to Downtown on bus route 56. No buses leave for Downtown after 9 a.m., and return buses from Downtown operate only during evening rush hour.

Given the geographic distribution of jobs and work patterns, direct access to Downtown is important. Unless we are able to provide sufficient bus service to the Admiral Urban Village, it is less likely it will be able to accommodate its share of growth.

Metro Service prioritizes crowding, schedule reliability and service frequency. Proposition 1 noted that revenues would be used for these purposes, consistent with the Seattle Transit Master Plan and Metro’s Service Guidelines.

However, I believe we are missing an important element of equity in not considering how we can increase ridership in areas with low ridership and minimal options available to improve ridership. The lack of off-peak service to Downtown for an Urban Village also does not seem consistent with our approach to managing growth.

While King County Metro’s Service Guidelines target a minimum service level of at least every 60 minutes, even an exception for less frequent off-peak service would be an improvement.

If you would like to talk with Councilmember Herbold about this or anything else, her next “in-district office hours” event is Friday (February 23rd), 2-7 pm at South Park Community Center (8319 8th Ave. S.).

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VIDEO: What happened @ meeting #2 of City Council’s special HALA upzoning committee http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/video-what-happened-meeting-2-of-city-councils-special-hala-upzoning-committee/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/video-what-happened-meeting-2-of-city-councils-special-hala-upzoning-committee/#comments Tue, 13 Feb 2018 13:04:08 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908786

While a vote is months away, the City Council is continuing its series of meetings about the legislation that could eventually upzone much of the city for the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). The Seattle Channel video above is from Monday, when councilmembers met for the second time (agenda here) as the Select Committee that will decide the plan’s fate.

They were briefed by city staffers, first on what was described as “how the proposal got shaped,” then on specific highlights for Council District 4 in North Seattle, where a public hearing was scheduled hours later. They also took public comment before the meeting ended.

Councilmembers asked questions along the way, on topics from tree protection to encouragement of “flats.” Our area’s City Councilmember Lisa Herbold asked about one of her key ongoing concerns, displacement, saying she’d learned of a development (not in this area) that would replace 66 affordable units and only require the developer to pay for the equivalent of 18 units. (Staffers said they could talk with her about it after the meeting.) She also asked whether the presentation points represented changes since the first round of upzoning proposals; staffers said the legislation, which is what the committee is reviewing, is “the first time we’re laying out all of the detail.” She also asked if some components address geographic specifics; staffers offered an example from Rainier Beach.

The public-comment period at the end of the meeting included two speakers from West Seattle, Cindi Barker from Morgan Junction (who was a member of the original HALA advisory group a few years back) and Christy Tobin-Presser from The Junction. Barker told the council that they’re “not asking for enough in exchange for” the potential upzoning – the MHA fees, she said, should be higher, for example.

WHAT’S NEXT: The council’s Select Committee doesn’t meet again until March 12th. The calendar of district open houses and public hearings is here; the ones for our area are not until May and June.

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PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: See what the city has scheduled for West Seattle in next 5 years http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/pedestrian-safety-see-what-the-city-has-scheduled-for-west-seattle-in-next-5-years/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/pedestrian-safety-see-what-the-city-has-scheduled-for-west-seattle-in-next-5-years/#comments Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:14:57 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=908206

Often, city projects that seem to appear out of the blue were actually in the works for years, contained in voluminous city Master Plans. So we thought you might be interested in a plan that was presented to a City Council committee this afternoon – the Implementation Plan for the recently updated Pedestrian Master Plan. It contains lists of specific evaluations and projects planned for specific intersections and streets around the city, so we broke out what’s on the lists for West Seattle, and when (for the full citywide lists, see the document, embedded above or here in PDF):

UNSIGNALIZED CROSSINGS & CROSSING EVALUATIONS

*2019
35th Ave SW & SW Graham St – New Signal
SW Roxbury St & 32nd Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
SW Roxbury St & 28th Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
SW Roxbury St & 23rd Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
SW Roxbury St & 21st Ave SW – Pedestrian Refuge Island
35th Ave SW & SW Snoqualmie St – Evaluate for Signal
29th Ave SW & SW Barton St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
62nd Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
Delridge Way SW & SW Webster St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

*2020
California Ave SW & SW Brandon St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
24th Ave SW & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
28th Ave SW & SW Thistle St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
23rd Ave SW & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
Delridge Way SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
26th Ave SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
8th Ave SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

*2021
Olson Pl SW & SW Cambridge St – Evaluate for Signal
18th Ave SW & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
21st Ave SW Turn Road & Delridge Way SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
60th Ave SW & Alki Ave SW – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
9th Ave SW & SW Cloverdale St = Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
Garlough Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
16th Ave SW & SW Orchard St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
48th Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
9th Ave SW & SW Trenton St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

*2022
3rd Ave SW & Olson Pl SW – Evaluate for Signal
California Ave SW & SW Findlay St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
25th Ave SW & SW Barton St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
10th Ave SW & SW Henderson St – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade
51st Ave SW & SW Admiral Way – Evaluate for Crossing Upgrade

ARTERIAL SIDEWALKS

*2018
35th Ave SW between SW 100th St and SW 106th St – 6 blocks

NON-ARTERIAL SIDEWALKS

*2018
SW Orchard St between SW Myrtle St and Dumar Way SW – half-block

*2019
24th Ave SW between SW Thistle St and SW Barton St – 4 blocks

STAIRS/WALKWAYS

*2021
SW Edmunds St between Cottage Pl SW and 23rd Ave SW – stairs

*2022
SW Kenyon St between Delridge Way SW and 24th Ave SW – walkway

The implementation plan also mentions the new RapidRide corridors around the city – including the scheduled-for-2020 H Line on Delridge – as providing “potential crossing improvements and curb ramps,” and mentions Delridge, Fauntleroy, and 35th SW as “Vision Zero corridors.” No specifics on what’s next for 35th SW, which is running behind previously announced timelines for Phase 1 updates and Phase 2 plans. As for the Implementation Plan itself, SDOT says it will be updated each year. Committee members voted in favor of the resolution that formally adopts this plan, though that doesn’t mean everything in it will become reality – scheduling, funding, and other details would be separate.

ADDED TUESDAY NIGHT: Seattle Channel video from today’s meeting:

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SMALL BUSINESS ADVISORY COUNCIL: Here’s who’s in the new city-convened group http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/small-business-advisory-council-heres-whos-in-the-new-city-convened-group/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/02/small-business-advisory-council-heres-whos-in-the-new-city-convened-group/#comments Fri, 02 Feb 2018 19:31:21 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=907819 The members of the new city-convened Small Business Advisory Council have just been announced, and we recognize two West Seattle businesses on the list. As explained in the news release from Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s office, the SBAC is “a group tasked with ensuring small businesses have a role in informing policies and programs, and have the access to resources they need to thrive and be part of the solutions to the challenges of growth and Seattle’s affordability crisis” and “will provide input on the impact of City decisions, make policy recommendations, and help increase access to tools and resources available to small businesses including arts and culture organizations.” The announcement notes that small businesses “account for more than half of all jobs in Washington State and employ nearly 200,000 people in Seattle.”

Here are the members announced by the mayor – we’ve highlighted those we know have local ties (please let us know if we missed someone!):

Co-Chair Joe Fugere, Tutta Bella Neapolitan Pizzeria
Co-Chair Taylor Hoang, Cyclo Corp., Ethnic Business Coalition
Co-Chair Donna Moodie, Marjorie Restaurant, Mint Holding
Co-Chair Tracy Taylor, Elliott Bay Book Company
Maryan Abdulle, Nasib Family Child Care
Zewditu Aschenaki, Salon Adidez
Joey Burgess, Queer/Bar, Grim’s Provisions and Spirits
Shaiza Damji, Hotel Nexus
Solomon Dubie, Café Avole
Annette Heide-Jessen, Kaffeeklatsch
Edouardo Jordan, Salare Restaurant, JuneBaby
Lacey Leavitt, Electric Dream Factory
Elise Lindborg, ZippyDogs LLC
Rachel Marshall, Rachel’s Ginger Beer
Michael Megalli, indie.biz
Debbie Millard, Ballard Oil Company
Molly Moon, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream
Linda Morton, Terra Plata
Gayle Nowicki, Gargoyles Statuary
Kamala Saxton, Marination
Lei Ann Shiramizu, Momo
Leigh Stone, Crybaby Studios
Gail Stringer, Hawaii General Store
Chuck Wang, Stage
Edwin Wanji, Sphere Solar Energy
Beto Yarce, Ventures
Lara Zahaba, Stoup Brewing

The SBAC also will have two city councilmembers serving “ex officio”: West Seattle/South Park’s Lisa Herbold and, newly elected to citywide Position 8, Teresa Mosqueda. The group’s expected to meet quarterly, starting with its first meeting on February 21st.

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VIDEO: One more step to go in Hamm Building landmark process http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/video-one-more-step-to-go-in-hamm-building-landmark-process/ Sat, 27 Jan 2018 00:11:26 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=907315 1937photo

Next Monday, the full City Council has the final vote on what’s known as the “controls and incentives” agreement that’s the final step of the city-landmark process for the Hamm Building on the NW corner of California/Alaska in the West Seattle Junction. That follows a committee discussion and vote this past Wednesday that had one twist of note.

At 16:15 into that Seattle Channel video of the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee meeting, the committee gets briefed on the agreements for a new landmark downtown and for the Hamm Building (known officially as the Crescent-Hamm Building for two of its original tenants). The agreement finalizes what part of the property is protected – “the exterior of the building.” (You can read it here.) At the table with Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell, and Erin Doherty from the city Landmark Preservation staff, was Tracey Hsia, a member of the family that owns the Hamm Building. Before the vote, Harrell said he’s always interested in feedback on the landmarking process. Hsia replied by saying that her family, which has owned the 92-year-old building for more than 35 years, “kind of felt like we were attacked” – the landmark designation was proposed by community organizations, and had so much support that they felt there was “no way we could fight it.” She stressed, however, that the family had, and has, no plans to make changes (aside from having a new tenant moving into the ex-Corner Pocket space next month, as noted here).

Also speaking at Wednesday’s meeting (at 5:42 in the video, during the public-comment period) was Jeff McCord, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, which played a key role in the process of pursuing landmark designations for the Hamm Building and for the Campbell Building across the street. Monday’s final vote is expected during the 2 pm full council meeting at City Hall.

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HALA UPZONING: City Council consideration starts new phase Monday http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/hala-upzoning-city-council-consideration-starts-new-phase-monday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/hala-upzoning-city-council-consideration-starts-new-phase-monday/#comments Fri, 26 Jan 2018 21:40:49 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=907304

Still trying to grasp what the Housing Affordability and Livability Act (HALA)-related upzoning proposal is about? The slide deck above (also viewable here) might help – it is from the agenda for Monday morning’s meeting of the City Council “select committee” that is starting its official work on the citywide upzoning proposal for HALA’s Mandatory Housing Affordability. The proposal includes upzoning in “urban villages” (West Seattle has four – Junction, Admiral, Morgan, and Westwood-Highland Park) as well as all commercial/multifamily property. The document’s title dubs it the “megabriefing.” All councilmembers are on the “select committee,” which meets at 10:30 am Monday at City Hall, with a public-comment period scheduled as part of the meeting. They’re expected to work on the plan at least into late summer before a vote.

P.S. If you’re a big fan of the small print, the full ordinance, as first proposed, is among the links you’ll find here.

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After week one in Olympia, here’s what your State Representatives are up to, from water to Sound Transit to bus-lane cameras http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/after-week-one-in-olympia-heres-what-your-state-representatives-are-up-to-from-water-to-sound-transit-to-bus-lane-cameras/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/after-week-one-in-olympia-heres-what-your-state-representatives-are-up-to-from-water-to-sound-transit-to-bus-lane-cameras/#comments Sun, 14 Jan 2018 05:57:03 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=906160 By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

What’s everybody talking about in Olympia? was our first question when we sat down to talk with our area’s two State House representatives after the first week of the new legislative session.

Water, replied Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon, both West Seattle residents who represent the 34th District, which also includes White Center, Vashon/Maury Islands, and part of Burien. (The 34th District’s State Senator Sharon Nelson, now Senate Majority Leader, couldn’t join our Friday afternoon chat at C & P Coffee Company (WSB sponsor) because of extra business in Olympia.)

So back to the water issue.

Fitzgibbon, in his eighth year in the State House, explained that they’ve had to pick up where they left off, working on water-rights issues that Republicans insisted be settled –
related to the state Supreme Court‘s “Hirst decision” – before they would pass a capital budget. They’ve been “trying to negotiate an agreement allowing rural homeowners to dig wells protective of instream flows for fish,” a hot issue in turn for many others. This week, they reached an agreement, explained Fitzgibbon, who chairs the House Environment Committee.

And it passed out of committee, Cody – the longest-serving member of the State House (in her 24th year) – added. So once that’s finalized, it’s on to the capital budget, Fitzgibbon continued, “which is good news for our district” because of some projects it funds. Those projects include a clinic for Vashon Island, Cody points out; she chairs the House Health Care and Wellness Committee and works as a nurse.

Navos (which has a mental-health campus in West Seattle), Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, and a safety project in White Center are on that list too, Fitzgibbon adds. So watch for word on the capital budget, and funding of local projects, soon.

Also big: Governor Inslee’s State of the State address, “which was focused on climate change, as am I,” Fitzgibbon said, noting the governor’s carbon-tax proposal, which is going through the State Senate first, “so (Sen. Nelson) is working on that.”

How would that affect constituents (aside from the big picture)? Both state representatives note that gasoline prices would go up. A “small effect” on natural-gas prices, too; Seattle City Light electricity customers would probably not pay more as a result, they say, but Puget Sound Energy electricity customers on Vashon might notice. The revenue would bring “a lot of new resources for clean-energy projects, energy efficiency, stormwater, habitat,” and more, Fitzgibbon added.

The first year’s revenues, though, are proposed by Gov. Inslee to make up a shortfall in education funding to fulfill the McCleary mandate, the representatives pointed out.

Fitzgibbon mentioned that he’s working on House Bill 2338, also related to climate change, to require oil refineries to gradually decrease greenhouse gases. (Cody is a co-sponsor.)

On to her focus, health-care issues. The biggest one by far, Cody said, is the response to the opioid crisis. One proposal on which they’re somewhat butting heads with doctors and hospitals who “think we’ve done enough” is a limit on the first painkiller prescription after surgery or dental procedures. “They give you 30 days’ worth when you might need (as few as 3).” Seventeen states have passed limits, and Cody clarified that the health-care providers are “not arguing about limits so much as about controlling it themselves.”

It can be a huge problem, though, she said, relating an anecdote from her nursing work – which includes chronic-pain patients – involving the difficulty of weaning a patient off opioids.

Another big issue – “reinsurance” (unofficial definition here). Cody says the state Insurance Commissioner has been “working all summer to figure out what to do to stabilize” the insurance market, which should mean less of a rate rise next year, and will continue ensuring that everyone in the state has access to insurance.

Also on the agenda – working for better mental-health funding.

And on housing issues – which are also part of the capital budget – Fitzgibbon said legislators are working to remove the sunset on a document-recording fee that has gone toward helping local governments fund “shelter and services” for people in need.

At this point, we asked about Sound Transit funding, having seen a flurry of regional stories go by saying that legislators were on the brink of taking action that would reduce it, and knowing that ST is close to top of mind in West Seattle right now with the light-rail planning gearing up.

Fitzgibbon started by explaining that Democrats and Republicans disagreed last year about how to solve the issue of ST using a valuation table that was considered to have led to too-high license-tab surcharges. Republicans wanted to “overturn the whole thing,” he said, but Democrats recognized that ST had already issued bonds based on the higher valuations, so “what we said was… they could use it until bonds (were) retired. … What we’re trying to do now is make up as much of the (to-be-lost) money in other ways.”

They have a few ideas, he said, to cover what would be a $700 million reduction in funding over 10 years. “One idea is to have WSDOT charge less for Sound Transit to build in (its) right-of-way … it’s complicated … we’re trying to close the gap so it doesn’t blow a hole in the Sound Transit Budget.” They’re also talking, he said, about how to ensure that “if Sound Transit has to start cutting projects, that light rail would be the last cut” – that park-and-rides, or Sounder stations, or bus rapid transit would be cut first. He added that ST is now getting more sales-tax revenues because of repealed exemptions such as bottled water.

Speaking of transportation, Fitzgibbon said he’s working on a bill to allow camera enforcement for transit lanes. He mentions the C Line getting stuck behind violators all the time, especially in the Avalon vicinity. “And it’s not really safe to have police enforce it [in person] – so we would have a pilot project … only in Seattle … There’s no point in having a bus lane if you can’t enforce it.”

Other issues to watch, briefly mentioned by the representatives –

*Higher-education scholarships
*Same-day voter registration
*Breakfast “after the bell” for students
*More remedies for the gender-based pay gap
*Mitigating the effects of the property-tax increase passed for school funding to address the McCleary situation

Because control of the Senate changed, many things “that had been held up … will get done,” Fitzgibbon declared, including a law to prohibit government keeping lists of people by their religious affiliation, and a “net neutrality” bill.

So, we asked in near-closing, if constituents want you to know something, what’s the best way for them to contact you?

Both reply – personal e-mail rather than form-letter-style.

Maybe even send a postal-mail letter, Cody adds – “we don’ get many of those any more.”

They insist they read everything they get, but it takes a while.

(Cody’s contact info is here; Fitzgibbon’s contact info is here. And Sen. Nelson’s is here.)

Last but not least – do they think this session is going to end on time, without the extensions/special sessions that seem to have become so common?

“Ending on time is goal number one,” they both insist.

Adds Cody, seeming to be only partly joking: “We’re all tired of each other.”

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VIDEO: Parking-policy changes’ backstory @ City Council committee http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/video-parking-policy-changes-backstory-city-council-committee/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/video-parking-policy-changes-backstory-city-council-committee/#comments Thu, 04 Jan 2018 01:09:41 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=905383

City Councilmembers’ first discussion of proposed changes in city parking policy – offstreet parking, especially what will or won’t be required for buildings – began with a primer on who owns cars in Seattle.

You can watch the entire briefing for yourself starting 12 minutes into the Seattle Channels video of the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee‘s meeting. The briefing was presented by council staffer Lish Whitson, who said car ownership is growing as the city’s population grows – though not at the same rate; as the city’s population grew 25 percent in recent years, car ownership grew 20 percent.

Other numbers included: 83 percent of Seattleites own cars; 75 percent of renters, and 95 percent of homeowners. “When people have access to ‘free’ parking, they are more likely to own a car,” Whitson noted.

Another number – $35,000 is the average cost per space to include underground parking in a project.

Whitson also provided a history lesson – saying that parking requirements didn’t make their debut in city zoning until 1957. He also touched on how a Hearing Examiner ruling (in a West Seattle-based case) had required the city to re-evaluate how it determines an area has “frequent transit service”; a new definition of that plays a large part in these new recommendations. West Seattle-residing Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Lorena González had questions about that part of the plan in today’s discussion. Herbold also said she hoped to hear more about the contention that housing might be cheaper if parking wasn’t required, and was looking for data comparing rents on apartments with and without it.

What today’s 26-minute briefing didn’t do was get into details of the proposed changes, originally released in November by then-Mayor Tim Burgess (WSB coverage here). Committee chair Councilmember Rob Johnson noted that more reviews are coming up, starting at PLUZ’s next meeting (January 17), and a public hearing is planned in February. Johnson also said that on-street parking recommendations are in the pipeline too, pointing out that those would be under the jurisdiction of the Sustainability and Transportation Committee, chaired by Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

SOMETHING TO SAY? Here’s how to contact the council.

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She’s now King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht: West Seattleite takes oath of office http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/shes-now-king-county-sheriff-mitzi-johanknecht-west-seattleite-takes-oath-of-office/ http://westseattleblog.com/2018/01/shes-now-king-county-sheriff-mitzi-johanknecht-west-seattleite-takes-oath-of-office/#comments Tue, 02 Jan 2018 19:13:16 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=905243

11:13 AM: We’re at the County Courthouse downtown, where Mitzi Johanknecht has just taken the oath of office and become King County Sheriff. She’s a West Seattle resident who has risen through the Sheriff’s Office ranks over a career of more than 30 years. The oath was administered by Superior Court Presiding Judge Laura Inveen; right after taking her oath, the new Sheriff led her staff in taking their oaths. Those scheduled to speak as the ceremony continues include two other prominent elected West Seattleites, County Executive Dow Constantine and County Council Chair Joe McDermott.

(Video added – the short speeches by Constantine, McDermott, and Johanknecht)

11:22 AM: “It is a new year, and a new day in King County,” Constantine began. He underscored the importance of public-safety services in citizens’ lives. He declared that Sheriff Johanknecht had “served well … and earned the right” to the office she now holds, hoping that she will help make King County “a safer and more-equitable place” for everyone. His brief speech was followed by that of McDermott. He noted that jobs like theirs take “an incredible amount of teamwork and listening” and said that he and his Council colleagues “look forward to working with you” on a variety of issues including budgeting. He expressed hopes that she will serve as an “accountable, transparent, and listening Sheriff.”

(The ‘all West Seattle’ photo, as one participant called it)

Then the sheriff took the microphone, thanking those in attendance for their presence on “this kind of special day” and she acknowledged the service of her predecessor, John Urquhart, who she defeated in November’s election. She said she hopes to “build and reimagine law enforcement” and looks forward to keeping “public safety … a high priority. It’s not just the Sheriff’s Office, it takes community to help us achieve those goals.”

(Sheriff’s wife Maureen pins on her new badge)

She concluded by thanking wife Maureen and the rest of their family, and describing herself as “honored and humbled.” We’ll add more photos and video when back at HQ.

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2017 LOOKBACK: Councilmember Lisa Herbold’s year in review http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/2017-lookback-councilmember-lisa-herbolds-year-in-review/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/2017-lookback-councilmember-lisa-herbolds-year-in-review/#comments Sun, 31 Dec 2017 06:31:45 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=905015 (WSB photo: Councilmember Herbold at the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council, November 2017)

We usually put together a few year-in-review items, and you’ll see ours tomorrow – the year’s not over until it’s over! But many others go public with their lookbacks a bit sooner, and among them is West Seattle/South Park City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. Since her 2017 year-in-review writeup is not on the city website yet, you’ve probably only seen it if you’re on her mailing list. It contains way too many links for us to try to republish it via cutting and pasting, but you should be able to see the browser version here – nine parts (transportation, public safety, housing, land use, government accountability, economic development/equity, arts, budget, constituent contacts), 34 shortcuts to those sections and their sub-sections, followed by the full review.

P.S. As previewed here the other day, Herbold is scheduled to be the main guest when the Southwest District Council meets 6:30 pm Wednesday (January 3rd) at the Sisson Building/Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon), so if you have questions/concerns, bring them!

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‘Neighborhood parking reform’ goes to City Council committee Wednesday http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/neighborhood-parking-reform-goes-to-city-council-committee-wednesday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/neighborhood-parking-reform-goes-to-city-council-committee-wednesday/#comments Sat, 30 Dec 2017 05:04:14 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=904939 On the second day of 2018 City Council meetings, the Planning, Land Use, and Zoning Committee will take on the “neighborhood parking reform” proposal. We first wrote about it in mid-November, when the proposed changes to parking policy were released by the office of then-Mayor Tim Burgess. Wednesday’s 9:30 am committee meeting will bring the first official briefing for, and discussion by, councilmembers, according to the agenda circulated today, which includes this map:

The map (also viewable here, in PDF) shows areas of the city where the proposal would lead to reduction or elimination of parking requirements (see the legend at the bottom of the map, explaining the color coding). The proposal enables this by expanding the definition of “frequent transit service” to cover more areas. You can read a relatively short summary in this agenda attachment, or the long version in the “director’s report” here. Along with the change in parking requirements, it also lays out the rules for “flexible-use” and “shared” parking, intended to increase usage of what the city says is underutilized offstreet parking that already exists, or will be built, and it would require rental properties’ owners to “unbundle” parking so that renters who don’t want it aren’t required to pay for it. There are also some changes in requirements/allowances for car-sharing and bicycle parking, and also a provision to close a loophole that some said was leading to parking stalls that were too small to use – it would “require that non-required parking for residential and live-work uses meet the existing minimum size standards for parking spaces” (currently, the standards only apply to required parking). The full 138-page bill is here.

HOW TO COMMENT: This meeting isn’t scheduled to include a vote. But you can comment on this, or any other, proposed legislation by e-mailing and/or calling councilmembers – this page includes all that information, as well as details of which councilmembers are on which committees – our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold is a member of the PLUZ committee that will start this proposal’s review Wednesday.

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You’re invited to see West Seattleite Mitzi Johanknecht take the oath of office to become King County Sheriff http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/youre-invited-to-see-west-seattleite-mitzi-johanknecht-take-the-oath-of-office-to-become-king-county-sheriff/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/youre-invited-to-see-west-seattleite-mitzi-johanknecht-take-the-oath-of-office-to-become-king-county-sheriff/#comments Fri, 29 Dec 2017 20:08:14 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=904905 One month after the final election results certified West Seattleite Mitzi Johanknecht‘s election as the next King County Sheriff, she will take the oath of office next Tuesday. Today’s advisory from the Sheriff’s Office says the public is welcome to attend the ceremony, 11 am Tuesday (January 2nd) in room E-942 at the King County Courthouse downtown (516 3rd Avenue). As noted in the announcement:

Johanknecht is a 32-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office. Throughout her career, she served in various leadership positions in every division throughout the Sheriff’s Office. Johanknecht rose to the rank of Major and was the first woman to command the department’s SWAT Team.

In the final vote count, Sheriff-elect Johanknecht defeated incumbent Sheriff John Urquhart with 56.8 percent (283,745 votes) to his 43.2 percent (216,214). Photo: May 2017, White Center Now coverage of North Highline Unincorporated Area Council

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Christopher Williams to be acting parks superintendent again, and other mayoral announcements http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/christopher-williams-to-be-acting-parks-superintendent-again-and-other-mayoral-announcements/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 22:34:51 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=904419 More mayoral announcements about who’s staying, going, including news that former West Seattleite Christopher Williams will be acting Parks Superintendent again. Here’s the announcement:

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced several new department leaders in her administration, including many with a focus on economic development and City planning.

With the previously announced resignation of Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, Mayor Durkan announced that Christopher Williams will serve as Acting Superintendent, effective January 13, 2018, as a search process for a permanent head begins. Williams currently serves as the Deputy Parks Superintendent.

With the resignation of Susan Coskey, Director of the Seattle Department of Human Resources, Mayor Durkan announced that Melissa Beatty will serve as Acting Director, effective January 3, 2018. Beatty currently serves as Chief of Staff at Seattle Department of Human Resources. Durkan will launch a search process to find a candidate for the permanent position.

“Both Susan and Jesús have served our City well for years, and I want to thank each of them for their dedication and vision,” said Durkan. “I have a bold agenda for Seattle, and our department leaders across the city will work closely with me to deliver results on our most urgent challenges of housing, homelessness and transportation and to ensure our City is striving for workplace equity. Through every department, our administration will be focused on tackling the affordability crisis from all angles, delivering services to our residents and businesses, and continuing to seize opportunities to build a better future for all of Seattle.”

In addition, Mayor Durkan announced that Lily Wilson-Codega will serve as the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Relations, subject to confirmation by the City Council, effective January 8, 2018. Wilson-Codega is currently the Political Director of Teamsters Joint Council 28, the parent body of twelve Teamster Locals representing Union members across Washington State, Alaska, and northern Idaho. Chris Gregorich will continue working in the Durkan administration as an advisor at Department of Finance and Administrative Services focused on major projects including expansion of the Washington State Convention Center.

As Mayor Durkan evaluates the City’s approach to solving homelessness, she announced that George Scarola has moved into a role as a strategic advisor for homelessness response at the Department of Finance and Administrative Services, which also aligns with the 2018 budget passed by City Council.

Additionally, Mayor Durkan announced several officials who will continue to serve in their roles including:
• Sam Assefa, Director of the Office of Planning and Community Development
• Kate Becker, Director of the Office of Film + Music
• Randy Engstrom, Director of the Office of Arts and Culture
• Jessica Finn Coven, Director of the Office of Sustainability & Environment
• Ben Noble, Director of the Budget Office
• Marshall Foster, Director of the Office of the Waterfront
• Glen Lee, City Finance Director
• Nathan Torgelson, Director of the Department of Construction and Inspections

“Our City has many unique opportunities as we are continuing to grow and plan for the future. Working together, we will work to keep our economy thriving, our businesses growing, and our neighborhoods affordable,” concluded Durkan.

Last week, Durkan announced many department leaders and previously announced a number of public safety and utility officials who would serve in her administration.

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CITY CHANGES: SDOT director Scott Kubly quits, and other announcements from the mayor http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/city-changes-sdot-director-scott-kubly-quits-and-other-announcements-from-the-mayor/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/city-changes-sdot-director-scott-kubly-quits-and-other-announcements-from-the-mayor/#comments Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:49:21 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=903847 Though he didn’t get that Texas job he was reported to be seeking, SDOT director Scott Kubly has resigned anyway, Mayor Jenny Durkan‘s office announced this afternoon. The announcement includes word of an interim successor, another high-level city official’s departure, and a list of some who are staying on:

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced several officials who will serve in her administration including department leaders focused on housing, homelessness, civil rights, transportation, and economic opportunity.

“From housing to homelessness to transportation, our City faces a number of urgent challenges. Our residents and businesses expect our officials to make progress and deliver results, and this administration will be accountable to the people we serve,” said Mayor Durkan.

Following the resignation of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) Director Scott Kubly, Mayor Durkan named Goran Sparrman as Interim Director, effective January 5, 2018. Sparrman was previously the Interim Director and Deputy Director of SDOT as well as the former Director of Transportation at the City of Bellevue and at Portland’s Bureau of Traffic Management. Durkan will launch a national search process to find a candidate for the permanent position.

“I want to thank Scott for his service to Seattle and wish him well as he pursues new opportunities. In a time of unprecedented growth, Scott set the stage for a significant increase in multi-modal investments in our city, which will have an impact for decades to come. Goran is well-respected leader and has immense experience as an engineer, manager, and planner in our region – I know he will execute over the months to come on my top transportation priorities,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our region has been trying to catch up to its transportation needs for decades, and the next few years will be critical for creating more safe, efficient, and well-connected transportation choices that make it easier and safer for residents to get around on foot, by bike and via mass transit. With a number of significant projects in the pipeline, the next leader must be well positioned to deliver on investments, improve bus service, effectively implement light rail expansion, and prioritize our maintenance backlog.

With the resignation of Patricia Lally, the Director of the Office for Civil Rights, Mayor Durkan announced Mariko Lockhart will serve as the Interim Director of the Office for Civil Rights effective January 3, 2018. Lockhart currently leads the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative – Demonstration Cities for the Aspen Forum on Community Solutions. She previously served as the Director of the City of Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

“Patricia has fought for civil rights for decades and know she will continue her work to advance social justice,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our City can and must do better to address institutional and structural racism in our government. I have worked with Mariko and know she is committed to addressing true equity across education, affordability, and the criminal justice system.”

Additionally, Mayor Durkan announced several officials focused on housing, homelessness, and economic opportunity who will continue to serve in their roles including:

Dwane Chappelle, Director of the Department of Education and Early Learning
Fred Podesta, Director of Finance and Administrative Services
Catherine Lester, Director of the Seattle Human Services Department
Rebecca Lovell, Acting Director of the Office of Economic Development
Steve Walker, Director of the Office of Housing
Cuc Vu, Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs

“My administration is committed to tackling the affordability crisis from all angles. As we create more affordable housing, implement the Seattle Promise College Tuition program, and move more people off the streets and into permanent housing, these leaders are committed to working together to find innovative long-term solutions,” concluded Mayor Durkan.

Last week, Mayor Durkan announced a number of public safety and utility officials who would serve in her administration.

Kubly was appointed by then-Mayor Ed Murray three and a half years ago.

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FOLLOWUP: City Council committee OKs Schmitz Park expansion purchase, years in the making http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/followup-city-council-committee-oks-schmitz-park-expansion-purchase-years-in-the-making/ http://westseattleblog.com/2017/12/followup-city-council-committee-oks-schmitz-park-expansion-purchase-years-in-the-making/#comments Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:03:21 +0000 http://westseattleblog.com/?p=903577 A long meeting of the City Council committee chaired by West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold just concluded with a vote supporting a small but significant expansion of Schmitz Park.

We published the Southwest Seattle Historical Society‘s announcement of this on Sunday. (They’re a supporter, though not a party, to the matter.) Today the Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development, and Arts Committee heard from the 5,000-square-foot site’s owner Bruce Stotler (right) and from West Seattle-residing former Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who shepherded the proposed purchase until his term ended two years ago, and handed it over to Herbold.

Stotler said at today’s meeting that he wanted to make sure his parcel on the southeast edge of the forested preserve – donated by the Schmitz family more than a century ago – wouldn’t someday become a “megahouse with a five-foot yard.” Under terms of the deal with the city, he will sell it for $225,000 but retain a “reservation of life estate” interest so he can continue living there until he dies (or if he chooses to move), at which time the city takes full ownership and will demolish Stotler’s house. The money will come from the levy-funded Seattle Park District.

The city originally didn’t have the money for this, the committee was told, but Stotler didn’t give up. And, said Parks’ Chip Nevins, “It’s important to protect the edges of these parks from encroachment by development.” The site might also be part of a new pathway into the park someday, Herbold noted.

The two committee members in attendance, Herbold and Councilmember Mike O’Brien, both voted to approve the deal, and the full council will have the final vote sometime next month.

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