Transportation headlined last night’s Highland Park Action Committee meeting, led by chair Charlie Omana:
(Early concept for proposed Highland Park Way roundabout – final design may NOT resemble this)
ABOUT THE ROUNDABOUT: James Le from SDOT recapped the history of the long-proposed, little-funded Highland Park Way/Holden roundabout proposal, including the 2017 Find It, Fix It Walk during which $200,000 for design and $300,000 for construction was announced. While an application for a state grant was unsuccessful, the project got lots of support from local leaders, including U.S. House Rep. Pramila Jayapal. Another grant is being sought now – Le says WSDOT encouraged SDOT to seek the City Safety Grant for this project “because it ranked really high.” (No word yet when the decision is due. Le says SDOT has a grant coordinator who wrangles all that.) So far they have spent $50,000 of the design money and they are currently mapping the spot; another $100,000 will be spent to come up with two alternatives for the location, and the final $50,000 is being set aside as grant matching. The estimated cost for the project is $2.5 million (that’s up from a $2.1 million estimate in 2015). That includes, Le explained in response to a question, $800,000 labor and materials, and about $500,000 design costs.
Some of the design challenges will include how the roundabout would handle the intersection’s grade. And, in response to another question, Le reiterated that the eventual design might not resemble the existing concept rendering, which dates back a few years. HPAC leadership and attendees had lots of questions about how the proposed roundabout might work, and the bottom line right now is that it’s too early in design to tell. Some things mentioned: Maybe there would be a barrier about halfway down the hill. If you’re interested in seeing the city step this project up, lobby the City Council, because they too have the power to allot money.
Meantime, what about other urgent Highland Park transportation-safety needs? asked HPAC vice chair Gunner Scott. “What can be done at this point to start putting this on the map so people can see there’s some progress happening? … What can we do now?” Le said his scope of involvement is limited to the roundabout project and HPAC would have to talk to a Transportation Operations rep. Could a crosswalk – envisioned as part of the roundabout project – be installed first? Omana asked. Short answer from Le, it’s more complex than it sounds, so, no.
ONE MORE TRANSPORTATION NOTE: Later in the meeting, Omana mentioned he’s also talking to SDOT about left-turn signals at 16th/Holden.
DELRIDGE TRIANGLE: Kim Barnes (who you might know as Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Coalition co-chair) spoke about her project to get this spot improved. A Your Voice, Your Choice grant has been awarded to get it designed; a separate grant would be needed to be built, and a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant is being sought. Barnes came in hopes HPAC would support that. She also invited everyone to Roxhill Park‘s newly announced June 9th community barbecue.
HPIC UPDATES: Uncorked last weekend raised more than $25,000, reported Christie Sjostrom. Coming up – Corner Bar first Friday, Art Lounge with live (clothed) models second Friday, Movie Night third Friday, and the second Saturday in June will be second annual Album Side Saturday, 4-8 pm with food and fun outside. (You can keep up with HPIC events via the website.)
ADU OPTIONS: Scott pointed out that the city is seeking feedback right now on Accessory Dwelling Units (aka backyard cottages, mother-in-law units, etc.). It was pointed out that these are wide-ranging changes proposed in the Environmental Impact Statement, which is what’s being commented on right now. (Find out more here.)
CITY UPDATES: Scott mentioned that Andres Mantilla, the acting Department of Neighborhoods director, is a Highland Park resident and was in attendance at last week’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council. He also mentioned the request for feedback on SDOT‘s search for a new director.
RV PARKING: One of the city’s hottest topics came up at HPAC too. Discussion centered on what are, and aren’t, the current rules. RVs are parking at Riverview, attendees said. They’re going to invite SPD leadership to a future meeting, and perhaps other department reps.
SPEAKING OF THE CITY … MAYORAL VISIT: Scott invited the mayor to Highland Park, and she accepted, during her Town Hall meeting at the Senior Center of West Seattle. HPAC is still working on scheduling this.
FUTURE MEETINGS: HPAC meets fourth Wednesdays at HPIC (1116 SW Holden), 7 pm, all welcome. Watch hpacws.org for updates between meetings.