By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
As city leaders make decisions about the West Seattle Bridge‘s future and the impacts of its long-term closure, who can/should speak for the peninsula?
That was a major topic at the May meeting of the District 1 Community Network, a coalition of West Seattle and South Park community advocates, with 30 people in attendance via videoconferencing/phone.
D1CN members weren’t suggesting their coalition should or could take on that role. But in the course of two hours’ discussion, an idea took shape:
What about a stakeholders’ group?
Without a unified voice, D1CN members suggested, individual advocacy groups – those built around issues as well as those linked to geographic communities – could end up pitted against each other, marginalized, or both.
In the meeting’s early going, in fact, some of the individual groups’ efforts were discussed – the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, for example, whose letter to the city we published here, and the South Park/Duwamish Valley coalition whose letter we published here, plus West Seattle Bike Connections, whose letter we also featured.
Then there was the HPAC letter (published here), which, Kay Kirkpatrick announced, had quickly drawn a detailed response from SDOT (which we published hours after the D1CN meeting). And the new group West Seattle Bridge Now was mentioned, as well as another group that recently formed around shared interests as “West Seattle property owners.”
And some aren’t represented at all; Tamsen Spengler from the West Seattle Timebank wondered whether seniors’ transportation needs were addressed in any of the letters sent so far. She wondered if a shuttle service like the discontinued Ride2 might be revived.
That led to a discussion of the need for a “comprehensive package, in writing” – as HPAC’s Marianne McCord suggested – addressing how to get people off and onto the peninsula, and dealing with neighborhood impacts. (SDOT told WSB earlier in the week, though, “We do not expect to make a single announcement on this subject and be done with it; instead we plan to continuously work to find solutions on an ongoing basis for the foreseeable future, and will make both small and large improvements wherever we see the opportunity.”)
WSTC’s Michael Taylor-Judd observed it’s not just a matter of speaking with a unified voice, but also it’s important to consider who’s not at the table but should be.
Overall, many agreed “a central place to get answers to questions” would be helpful – someplace where everything’s public, someplace to get updates on what’s happening and going to happen.
The issue then became whether the community should form a group that the city would “have to deal with,” or whether it should be formed in collaboration with the city. Newell Aldrich from Councilmember Lisa Herbold‘s office promised to bring the idea to their next staff meeting. Consulting the mayor’s office was suggested, too. Meantime, Amanda Sawyer from the Junction Neighborhood Organization was planning to organize the various groups’ bridge-related correspondence online.
Also at the meeting last Wednesday:
EQUITY TOOLKIT: City programs are often presented through the prism of the equity toolkit from the Race and Social Justice Initiative. South Park’s Randy Wiger offered a brief primer. (If you’re not familiar with the toolkit, this document explains it.)
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Duwamish Valley Safe Streets has an online meeting at 6:30 pm May 19th – the info’s not on the DVSS calendar yet, so contact the group if you’re interested … The next West Seattle Art Walk – online edition – will be this Thursday, May 14th, with Morgan Junction participating … As previously announced, Morgan’s annual festival has a tentative new date for this year (September 12th) … The West Seattle Timebank plans a May 21st Zoom meeting with the West Seattle Food Bank … The West Seattle Junction Association expects flower baskets to go up soon, and will also be displaying rainbow flags again in June (available for adoption) … The West Seattle Small Business Relief Fund had raised $28,000+ by D1CN’s meeting night and Verity Credit Union (WSB sponsor) was matching $10,000 worth of donations … Delridge Day 2020 is off but as recently announced, organizers have made donations to local nonprofits the festival usually supports … Admiral Neighborhood Association won’t be able to launch outdoor movies until next year; the fate of this year’s Summer Concerts at Hiawatha will be decided in early June.
The District 1 Community Network usually meets first Wednesdays, so next month, that’s June 3rd.