@ North Delridge Neighborhood Council: Route 50 no slam dunk

February 4, 2009 11:55 pm
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 |   Delridge | Transportation | West Seattle news


With just days left to tell Metro what you think about proposed Route 50 – which would include bus service between North Delridge and The Junction – Metro reps told the North Delridge Neighborhood Council tonight that the new route is no slam dunk. That’s just part of the news resulting from tonight’s meeting – read on for the full report:

Route 50, as we’ve been reporting for the past few months, is a proposal to change bus service when Sound Transit Link Light Rail starts up this summer (July 3rd is the date mentioned at tonight’s meeting).

Two weeks ago, Metro had an open house at Youngstown Arts Center. As a followup, Metro’s Sarah Luthens and Katie Chalmers came to NDNC to provide updates and gather comments.

Luthens said that while the official end of the public-comment period is supposed to be this Friday, it likely will be extended to Tuesday. Once all the comments are reviewed, final recommendations will come out. She noted that people in West Seattle “seem to be generally favorable” toward the Route 50 proposal, but it’s not so popular with those who may lose Route 39 if this plan goes through – it will take away that direct route from Seward Park and Columbia City to downtown.

Questions from those in attendance at NDNC focused largely on the route – whether Genesee is the best street for the service to use, if it happens, to travel east-west. Chalmers said, “We’ve had several staff members looking at” concerns, while acknowledging that testing with an actual bus will have to happen before a route could be settled on. She added, “It’s possible this routing may not work … but if we like the CONCEPT of this routing, we could find one that works.”

They also took note of a suggestion from Delridge neighborhood coordinator Ron Angeles, who mentioned the transit needs of young people, particularly routes that serve gathering places, such as getting teens from High Point to programs at Youngstown Arts Center.

Nancy Folsom noted a longstanding dream for a shuttle-size bus from Delridge to other parts of West Seattle, while Michal-Ann McElhany reiterated the need for east-west connections, since Delridge otherwise is well-served between north and south: “We can get to White Center and Burien, but we can’t get to Alaska Junction to go out to eat.”

Bottom line, according to Luthens, if you like the idea of a Delridge-to-Junction bus connection, be sure you tell Metro that ASAP: “It’s really unclear what will happen, so if you have a strong opinion, now is the time.” There are several ways to have your say, all described here.

Chalmers followed up the Route 50 discussion with a few updates on other West Seattle bus issues: Design is under way right now for parts of the “facilities” that will be built along the route for West Seattle RapidRide, still scheduled to begin in 2011; she says Metro is likely to “come out into the community again” before then to solicit opinions on “changes to other routes” to dovetail with RapidRide’s start.

Other items: Folsom recapped the successful Adopt-A-Street cleanup last month, with NDNC partnering with Chief Sealth High School‘s PTSA to cover a wider stretch of Delridge – we caught up with some of the participants along the way that morning:

Next Adopt-A-Street will be in late April, and they’re hoping for another smash success.

On a different issue of cleaning up Delridge, NDNC co-chair Mike Dady mentioned an ongoing quest to speak with owners of rental properties that seem to be magnets for illegal dumping. He recounted the story of tracing one absentee owner, leaving messages that never got returned, then finally getting help from the city, which led to the junk getting cleared away. Attendees were reminded that the city has a complaint line about illegal dumping: 206-684-7587 (or you can report it online).

Next, Betsy Hoffmeister had news of a new direction for the proposed “tot lot” at Cottage Grove Park:

Hoffmeister and other volunteers had sought and received a $15,000 city matching-funds grant in pursuit of play equipment for younger children at the park. But a recent meeting with the city and an architect volunteering on the project provided a startling revelation: Adding some play equipment, and the chips/concrete framework that would be required, could cost up to $200,000.

That’s way out of the price range for this project, so, Hoffmeister said, the city suggested “a different direction” — looking at the existing structures, “maybe repurposing the existing underutilized playground and revisiting the structures that are there, moving them around.” She acknowledged that the existing Cottage Grove Park playground isn’t used much and doesn’t seem to suit the needs of neighborhood kids, so “we can deal with the children we have, not the hypothetical children” who were supposed to be enjoying the area.

To pursue the revised goal, a $50,000 matching-funds grant has been applied for – and there’s a new partner in the project: Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association, because, Hoffmeister explained, making the playground more functional would fulfill part of the mission of the King County Food and Fitness Initiative, with which DNDA is deeply involved.

NDNC also got a visit from two of the Sealth students who are working on a West Duwamish Greenbelt project with Cooper Elementary students, visiting Cooper fourth and fifth graders every Wednesday (mentioned in our last report on the Delridge District Council). They’ve been doing classroom work for a while now and will soon be getting out into the greenbelt – this Saturday, in fact, is the first work party, 10 am-2 pm, and they are hoping for community involvement, including their fellow high-school students from around West Seattle.

Also related to KCFFI, the NDNC heard briefly from Galena White, who we told you about earlier today – she’s working on a Delridge Produce Co-op — “preferably organic and cheap!” — and hoping others will join her to make it happen (more info in our afternoon report). Till the Co-op is up and running, here’s one suggestion, said Michal-Ann McElhany — shop in the open-air ethnic markets in White Center, where she reports finding a wide variety of produce at great prices.

And Ron Angeles mentioned a KCFFI-related meeting for “Team Delridge,” 6 pm next Monday at Highland Park Improvement Club.

The last major item on the agenda was a discussion of the process for the Neighborhood Street Fund, which is open for applications for a wide variety of small projects — such as “traffic-calming” features. It was noted that there’s usually intense competition for a fairly small pool of money – less than $100,000 for the entire Delridge Neighborhoods District – and it might take a few tries, but the results can be heartening. Applications will be accepted through February 27; you can get one online here.

One other note – The city’s Golf Course Master Plan got a brief mention toward meeting’s end; it’s on the city Parks Board agenda for next week (Thursday 2/12, 7 pm, Parks HQ downtown) for a briefing, the next step leading toward a vote on board recommendations in April. You can read about the plan here.

The North Delridge Neighborhood Council meets the first Wednesday of each month at Delridge Library, 6:30 pm, and you’re always welcome.

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