11 West Seattle areas proposed for ‘Pedestrian Zone’ tweaks

Last year, the city’s draft proposal for Pedestrian Zones was circulated to neighborhood and district councils around West Seattle and the rest of the city via a series of briefings, several of which were covered here, starting with one almost a full year ago in Morgan Junction.

It’s meant to tweak zoning in some business districts to ensure that future development is more pedestrian-friendly. And tonight, the mayor’s office has announced the final proposal is ready for review. The announcement came via a news release you can read here, and a sheaf of documents linked here. Maps show the 11 sections of West Seattle where changes are proposed; you can see the maps here. There are five maps – scroll through the first 25 until you get to:

*Exhibit Z, showing a stretch of Delridge Way from north of Juneau to just north of Brandon
*Exhibit AA, showing stretches of 35th SW in Morgan, Gatewood, Westwood
*Exhibit BB, showing a section of South Delridge
*Exhibit FF, showing a section of Admiral
*Exhibit GG, showing part of The Junction

(Specific information about each area proposed for tweaks can be found in this report.) None of the proposed rezoning shown would change maximum allowable height for development in the affected areas. This all goes now to the City Council, which will set dates for hearings and votes.

20 Replies to "11 West Seattle areas proposed for 'Pedestrian Zone' tweaks"

  • dsa January 16, 2015 (7:28 pm)

    The devil is in the details. This has been glossed so well it will probably get overwhelming support. However I have a question. Here is one of those details:
    ” The proposal includes recommendations on those areas and includes modifications including:
    Eliminate waivers to minimum parking standards specific to pedestrian zones.”
    Can someone translate that last sentence?

  • Cindi Barker January 16, 2015 (8:43 pm)

    From the Directors Rule, page 12 at http://seattle.gov/dpd/cs/groups/pan/@pan/documents/web_informational/p2227145.pdf

    “DPD is proposing to eliminate parking waivers specific to Pedestrian zones.
    Since parking waivers specific to Pedestrian zones were first adopted, the city has taken steps to implement a citywide approach to minimum parking requirements that implement Comprehensive Plan goals and the urban village strategy. In order to facilitate business turn-over, businesses would have access to a reduction of up to 20 required parking spaces for a new or change of use in an existing building, or an expansion of an existing use in an existing building. Further, this project is the first time that the Pedestrian zone will be used extensively outside of urban centers and villages and outside areas with existing or planned frequent transit service where there may be a greater need for parking.”
    There is also a second paragraph specific to Ballard.

  • Mark ws January 16, 2015 (9:18 pm)

    This city has too much space devoted to car storage.

  • dsa January 16, 2015 (9:21 pm)

    So the translation is that they can reduce the number of parking spaces normally required by implementing these pedestrian zones. And this is in the name of promoting business? I don’t think so. I don’t live in one or close to one and won’t walk to one. Hello White Center, Georgetown, Sodo.

  • Joe January 16, 2015 (9:24 pm)

    So you can’t park in front of businesses?
    I’m having a hard time understanding what this means

  • Anne January 16, 2015 (9:34 pm)

    Guess I’m a dummy- but I need a translation of that Directors Rule!!

  • ACG January 16, 2015 (9:50 pm)

    Aargh! The pedestrian zone planning at 35th and Roxbury is a terrible idea. There are NO SIDEWALKS for pedestrians to use to get there from the neighborhoods immediately west and south of the intersection. If I wanted weed, pizza, smokes or a haircut from the businesses there, I would have to DRIVE there because I have been nearly forced to jump in the ditch by cars passing when I have tried to walk there in the first place. So great idea- restrict parking!!!! That’ll really help those businesses survive when the folks in the neighborhood find it really inconvenient to get there. Way to go. In some areas, these zones might work out great. But if any city personnel yahoo had bothered to actually TRY TO WALK in this neighborhood they might have seen that this is NOT a pedestrian friendly area. I filled out the survey and told them about it, but no use, I guess.

    And, I am assuming this zoning change would not change anything for the proposed charter school at that intersection.

  • dsa January 16, 2015 (10:26 pm)

    It’s a terrible idea in all instances ACG. Seattle seems to always get things backwards. They should be supporting their businesses by making it easier for the majority to reach them with expanded parking lots.

  • anonyme January 17, 2015 (6:39 am)

    I would agree with this in relation to the proposed zone at 35th & Rox, if there were ANYTHING there worth walking to. Arbor Heights is completely lacking in amenities, and this corner would be a perfect spot to develop for that purpose. Instead, we get a charter school and a pot shop.

  • Friend of Border Collies January 17, 2015 (9:19 am)

    We’re 100% for the pedestrian-friendly movement and the corresponding “disciplining” of the car. This is precisely what West Seattle needs to make it an attractive and efficient urban environment.

    (1) Good, traditional urbanism allows people to live within walking distance of their daily needs. Urbanism can solve our car dependency and mitigate our fossil fuel dependency. Go to any great European city, or to the best business areas of American cities–there is no parking, and the business does not suffer from it. Many people *want* to live in dense, pedestrian-friendly environments. Those who enjoy driving a 3,000 lb piece of metal to accomplish all their errands can move to the suburbs.

    (2) Traditional urbanism is beautiful. The parking lot “aprons” that separate buildings from the street look god-awful and deter walking. It’s a horrible waste of space. European cities and the nice parts of some American cities look great because they aren’t ruined by parking lots.

    Cheap fossil fuels aren’t going to be around forever. By developing Seattle in a pedestrian-friendly way, Seattle is preparing for a more sustainable future. Bravo.

  • AIDM January 17, 2015 (9:52 am)

    Its too bad that the Morgan and 35th rezone does not stretch one block farther North to include the library and the medical and dental community clinics.

  • dsa January 17, 2015 (10:54 am)

    If you are serious about it close California to transportation in the three junctions.
    I won’t be using those businesses any longer anyway so I won’t need anywhere to park there.

    • WSB January 17, 2015 (11:01 am)

      Couple data points here. City docs are hard to read and I’m sorry I’m falling down on the job in terms of trying to read and interpret them – in this case, because this issue had come before almost every neighborhood council, I mostly just wanted to get the word out that the mayor had made a recommendation, in case anyone had not received some sort of direct notification. Morgan Junction, for one, is NOT going to be designated – by request – I believe I read. For two, these zoning tweaks would not kick in until properties are redeveloped. And just on first glance, some of the areas proposed for designation are not likely to be redeveloped for a long time. In The Junction, for example, I believe the map shows an area near Capco Plaza and Jefferson Square, neither of which is likely to face the wrecking ball for decades, IMO (the former is not even 10 years old). But please DO participate in the process and offer feedback when the time comes – believe it or not, in some cases it does make a difference. Somewhere in the documents, by the way, is a tabulation of comments from the survey that we linked here last March related to all this … TR

  • dsa January 17, 2015 (11:19 am)

    Thanks for the clarification, however this will be a permanent change to zoning.

  • JN January 17, 2015 (11:24 am)

    With all of the new residents moving into the new apartments and homes, the businesses in these areas (particularly the California Junction) won’t have to rely on customers driving in, and gearing these areas towards this new pedestrian emphasis only makes sense.

  • dsa January 17, 2015 (12:14 pm)

    Precisely, it creates more traffic, because the rest of us will have to travel outside of West Seattle for our goods and services.
    It’s the same way with the city’s refusal to adopt park and rides at transit hubs or anywhere else for that matter. If I can’t can’t get to the bus, or have to transfer too many times, I won’t take it.

  • AJ January 17, 2015 (3:09 pm)

    This is a solution looking for a problem. The Morgan street junction has changed into a better business district ON ITS OWN, without the city gov messing everything up. Please , just leave us alone. Unintended consequences always follow this social engineering crap.

  • Joe January 17, 2015 (5:24 pm)

    Can someone PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE explain. The literature is so “legal” I can’t begin to wrap my head around. We just opened a new business on Delridge in the Plan Z area with a long lease. Our business WILL fail if people can’t drive to get to us. Does this mean 100% no cars, or just reduced or short term parking. There are several auto businesses in this immediate area. I don’t understand how this will work without driving out the current long standing businesses that are here already. Where can I find out about community meetings in this area

  • John January 18, 2015 (7:26 am)

    “The Thriftway parking lot provides a large open area that is not filled with
    building mass which allows sunlight to fill Morgan Junction. This is actually
    a feature we want to retain as it provides a graphic break in the
    geographic bowl that creates Morgan Junction and provides visual “elbow
    space” to prevent a canyon effect at that significant intersection.
    • The open space, both on the ground and above, provided by the Thriftway
    parking is actually a feature we want to retain. It provides a visual break in
    the geographic bowl that creates Morgan Junction and provides visual
    “elbow space” to prevent a canyon affect at that significant intersection
    • We want to retain the gas station use, and while it was offered that the
    Pedestrian Zone map could be drawn to exclude that parcel, we would
    want that documented in code.”

    This is the letter from MOCA. I find it a remarkable embrace of the old fossil fuels, drive and park mentality, just the opposite of beautiful urbanism.
    As a MOCA member I wrote strongly opposing such a letter, but MOCA is not a democracy.

    And AJ, the Morgan Junction has changed because of the city government allowing density which has lead to the healthy business climate of Morgan Junction.

  • Mickymse January 18, 2015 (3:41 pm)

    Breathe, folks… These zoning changes are not about anything happening right now. They are about planning ahead for the future, and looking at areas where the neighborhoods would like to encourage more walkable, pedestrian-friendly areas. It’s about making sure that WHEN development comes, it will be development that fits that image. That’s all. For example, a new residential building without ground floor retail could not be built there. Or it encourages City infrastructure investments to promote walkability as these areas eventually come up for improvements.

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