Updates aplenty at 2015’s first Delridge District Council meeting

January 21, 2015 10:02 pm
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From transportation to tax returns, briefings, updates, and announcements spanned two busy hours at tonight’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting:

DELRIDGE MULTIMODAL CORRIDOR: SDOT‘s Sara Zora provided the briefing on this, which traces to an idea that Delridge neighborhood advocates have been discussing for a while. The concept of viewing a road as a “multimodal corridor” is at a “very conceptual level,” Zora said. Delridge is one of 10 corridors SDOT will be looking at in 2015, all “major arterials” to be reviewed through the “complete streets” prism.

Half of them will be looked at by traffic-management experts, the other half by transit specialists. She says this is necessary to accommodate all the new residents on our streets – adding or widening streets isn’t an option, so improving them in a “predictable” way is vital.

A University of Washington class will be doing a “health impact assessment” in connection with the Multimodal Corridor study of Delridge, and the North Delridge Action Plan will be linked in somehow – but, Zora clarifies, the corridor project will involve Delridge from the bridge all the way “to the city limits.” This is one of six corridors with which the citywide project is being launched. A public-outreach consultant team is being deployed, too.

Zora also mentioned “Vision 0” – zero fatalities, envisioning what it would take for the street to achieve that goal. (The most recent fatality on Delridge was the pedestrian hit and killed just two months ago.) They’ll be looking at the demographics of who lives around the corridor, including percentage of car owners and users of other types of transportation, plus health, food access, and other key issues. Once they collect data, they’ll have two open houses, as part of what she envisions as a 6-to-8-month project. They only have money for a 3% to 5% design – which really just addresses concepts, she says – but that’s something that will be discussed, before they get to design alternatives incorporating community feedback, in the first open house.

Once they get design alternatives, there’ll be a second open house for feedback, “and then we’ll really have a sense for the evaluation criteria … from the community side of it.” That would then be followed by looking at a “preferred alternative,” which would then springboard to a search for funding. Implementation might be in phases, she suggests. She expects to be back at the Delridge District Council’s meetings “often” over the course of this year.

Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council chair Amanda Kay Helmick invited Zora to her group, and she said she’d be happy to speak directly to any Delridge-area group that’s interested.

Asked about budget, Zora said hers is about $225,000 including SDOT charges plus technical team, to get to that early stage of design.

How to get the word out about open houses, which, as Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding pointed out, “don’t draw well in Delridge”? DNDC chair Mat McBride suggested “something radical,” such as a street-closing event, with the message and the spirit, “Let’s build something.” Zora thought that might work, with some modification “so buses could get through,” etc., but said she’s up to the challenge. Michael Taylor-Judd from the North Delridge Neighborhood Council suggested the summertime Delridge Day festival might also be a great time/place to do something related to the project.

COUNCILMEMBER TOM RASMUSSEN: The city councilmember said he had started his day at the same place as the meeting – Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in North Delridge – conferring with the Nature Consortium, with whom he volunteered on MLK Day as they planted hundreds of trees and more (he said he was on the “fern detail”).

He went on to talk about the port-truck backups last week and monitoring it (including via WSB coverage) as the day went on, finally going to the SDOT Traffic Management Center to verify it was basically gridlock. From there, he said, city and port resources got together to come up with a plan. He said there’s a new plan to hold trucks on 16th SW on Harbor Island when needed (instead of Terminal 5), and said he’ll “keep monitoring it.”

He brought up the proposal to underground utilities for the Fauntleroy Boulevard project (here’s our previous coverage), and confirmed that the potential $6 million cost would be on top of $11 million-$12 million for the rest of the project. So far, he said, he’s hearing support for undergrounding. (CORRECTION: The original version of this story mentioned at this point that a Thursday night meeting was planned; we have since learned there is no such meeting, just the previously announced plan to discuss the Fauntleroy Boulevard project at the next Southwest District Council meeting, 6:30 pm Wednesday, February 4th, Senior Center of West Seattle.)

Next, he mentioned the 5-way intersection that’s west of the low bridge, discussed at the last meeting of the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board (as reported in this update from West Seattle Bike Connections). Possibilities for addressing the dangers there could include a flyover bridge, but that would be a long-term fix; for a potential short-term fix, he said, pedestrian-safety measures would be in order.

And since the Bridging The Gap levy expires this year, the mayor is drafting a new proposal that could go to voters this fall. Rasmussen mentioned that the advisory committee overseeing the first BTG includes West Seattleite Ann Martin.

He also mentioned Neighborhood Conservation Districts, as he had at this month’s Junction Neighborhood Organization meeting (WSB coverage here), saying he’s “very excited” about them. He elaborated on what “preserving neighborhood character” might mean, talking about projects such as those you might have seen on Capitol Hill, with historic facades saved, and new construction above them, as part of the Pike-Pine Conservation District. “It’s more than just the facade,” he said – it also includes guidelines for features of the new construction.

WWRHAH’s Helmick asked Rasmussen about his announcement of the West Seattle Bridge Transportation Corridor Management Task Force. He recapped that its intent is to bring together key players to discuss strategies for managing the traffic/bridge/what feeds into it and leads out of it, as it is now, with practical ideas for what can be done (signage? for example). And he said, perhaps they can try again to get the U.S. Coast Guard to agree to a policy that would keep the low bridge from opening for vessels during rush hours. The philosophy for dispatching tow trucks is another thing that can be looked at.

He also mentioned this week’s action to make car-sharing more widely available in the city. As you’ve probably heard via citywide media, BMW is interested in serving Seattle; Rasmussen says that service, unlike already-here Car2Go, has two sizes of vehicles.

MAYOR MURRAY MEETING WITH DISTRICT COUNCILS: Chair McBride said the Delridge and Southwest District Councils are working on a plan for a joint meeting with the entire agenda featuring a conversation with Mayor Murray. No date yet.

UNITED WAY TAX ASSISTANCE: The United Way is offering free tax assistance at more than 20 places around the county. The nearest one is at the White Center Salvation Army building (which is actually in South Delridge). Read more about it here.

ALEX TSIMERMAN: The at-large City Council candidate, known well for his participation in comment periods at council meetings, spoke briefly about his hopes for election reform. He hopes to empower people to have a louder voice in government.

FRIENDS OF ART ON PIER 86: This was presented to the Southwest District Council earlier this month too (WSB coverage here). The group is hoping for more support for a grant that would fund the exploration of whether art on the grain elevators at Pier 86 is feasible – “to combine art and industry.” They are not asking for a commitment of support for the potential art itself, just support for some money to study the possibility. Council members voted to support that prospect.

MORE ANNOUNCEMENTS: WWRHAH chair Helmick is also budget committee chair for the City Neighborhood Council and in that role invited everyone to outgoing Councilmember Nick Licata‘s participatory budget discussion on January 27 at City Hall. Read about it here. … Pigeon Point’s Pete Spalding, who is on the Southwest Precinct Advisory Council, reminded everyone about the just-announced February 3rd West Seattle “community conversation” with Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, 6:30 pm February 3rd at the precinct. (Here’s the announcement we published Tuesday.) … On behalf of VIEWS, he also issued an invitation to what will be the second District 1 Candidates’ Forum, Saturday, March 14th, 10 am which also will feature the at-large candidates … DNDC also is looking to host a candidates’ forum in the spring, said co-chair McBride, focusing on eastern West Seattle-specific issues; no date yet … The Port of Seattle is presenting a boat tour of the West Seattle working waterfront on April 25th, announced Kerry Wade, district coordinator from the Department of Neighborhoods – stay tuned for how to register for free tickets. … Delridge Grocery is now up to 305 members and hoping to get to 600 by May, when they hope to open; once they are ready, it’s 90 days to build out, said Doris from the coop’s board; meantime, they are organizing fund- and information-raising events, including a board-game event next month. … Also announced: The next West Seattle Bee Festival is set for May 16th, at the WS Bee Garden, which will likely have honey this year. … The upcoming improvements that Metro will make at Roxhill Park, including lighting and sidewalks, as long requested by WWRHAH, were mentioned by Helmick toward meeting’s end.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: As mentioned on WSB earlier today, the deadline’s coming up February 9th for Neighborhood Park and Street Fund project applications, and McBride is hopeful applications will be forthcoming from this area.

The Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meets third Wednesdays, 7 pm, at Youngstown.

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