ALKI ELEMENTARY REBUILD: Day-long appeal hearing airs challenges to zoning exceptions

(Renderings by Mahlum Architects)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Double the students, double the staff, no on-site parking.

That component of the Alki Elementary School rebuild is at the heart of an appeal fight that was argued Tuesday before a city hearing examiner.

The appellants, city and district reps, and other witnesses all completed their testimony in one day, though up to three were set aside for the hearing. As we reported Monday, one appeal was withdrawn after a settlement with Seattle Public Schools, and Tuesday it was revealed that took the new school’s height off the list of issues being challenged. The project’s architect said they had managed to lower the height of a rooftop equipment “penthouse” by three feet.

After Tuesday’s seven-hour hearing, assistant hearing examiner Kathleen Drummond said she would issue a written ruling within 20 days. Before we get into what was presented to her Tuesday, here’s the backstory:

The $67 million plan to rebuild Alki Elementary dates back to the district’s BEX V levy, approved by voters in 2019; the design for a taller school with double the space and no offstreet parking was unveiled at an online meeting in June of last year. Then last fall, the district announced it was seeking nine zoning exceptions (“departures”) for the project and solicited public comment; that process was extended into November. Meantime, the district’s contention that the project didn’t need full environmental review was challenged; in March, that challenge was rejected. Then in May, the city Department of Construction and Inspections announced it would grant the departures, and that’s what led to the appeals that resulted in Tuesday’s hearing.

In this appeal process, the burden of proof is on the appellant – they have to prove the city’s decision was wrong, rather than the city having to prove its decision was right. Otherwise, the proceedings are similar to a trial, with each side given the opportunity to present their case, to call witnesses, to question the other side’s witnesses, and to give a closing statement. Though the four remaining appeals were aired in one hearing, each of the appellants got to present her case and call witnesses. The appellants are Alki residents Shauna Causey, Kathleen Oss, Jackie Szikszoy, and Maryanne Wood (who is a current candidate for Seattle School Board, running on a platform of concern about “megaschools” including the expanded Alki Elementary). Representing SPS was Katie Kendall, a lawyer from McCullough Hill; there for SDCI was project planner Holly Godard.

Primary witness for the appellants was Gary Norris, a traffic engineer who works in the private sector now and offered a long list of credits in the public sector, including the cities of Seattle, Bellevue, and Renton. He picked apart the traffic study done for the district by Heffron Transportation, saying it fails to address the “most significant issue,” the traffic flow in the school area, which would affect parking too. By all accounts, pickup/dropoff times – with about 270 students, half of the rebuilt school’s projected capacity – are chaotic; Norris contended the traffic study did not properly calculate the stress on nearby intersections, including 59th/Stevens, where the pedestrian account would “dramatically” increase too. The city’s decision requires the district to come up with a Transportation Management Plan but that hasn’t been drafted yet and likely won’t be until the rebuilt school is close to opening, which Norris suggested “eliminates a lot of potential (solutions).” He also took issue with Heffron having studied parking in the area in December 2021 – low season for the nearby beach, which otherwise generates a lot of parking demand (not to mention that it was during the pandemic and the West Seattle Bridge closure) – and with “inadequate ADA parking” (one space is to be created across 59th from the school).

Appellant Oss was the second to testify. She declared that safety planning is lacking, even beyond the traffic-circulation issues – what if there were a crisis on campus that required responders to access the school quickly? She too voiced concern with the plan for only one ADA space – “so only one person in 600 will be able to use it?” – and observed that other new, sizable schools, such as Genesee Hill Elementary, were built with parking lots. She contended that there’s no safe place in the midst of the potential traffic jam for a parent and child to park blocks away and walk safely to the school. She said she has spent eight months “agonizing” about the situation and that educators in her family insisted that she stay in the fight. She wants to see an “independent review” and redesign of the project.

Appellant Szikszoy said the community’s voice hadn’t been heard much in the process, and that the school’s impact on the neighborhood needed to be considered, calling the expanded Alki Elementary “a school that looks like an airport.” She noted that she was no stranger to the city’s public processes, as a longtime community-group leader and participant in other groups, including serving on the city’s Board of Park Commissioners. She pointed to city code as saying that “flexibility in zoning” can be possible if “the impacts on the surrounding community are negligible or can be mitigated.” In addition to criticism for the traffic and parking study, she also expressed concern about another of the departures, granted to allow a lit message-board sign at the school. She said she’d been active in advocating for “Dark Sky” and was worried the sign would contribute to light pollution. She also questioned the need for expanding the school’s capacity, given that district projections showed enrollment would likely continue declining for another decade.

Yet other departures were part of what appellant Wood spoke of next. If the district is hoping to reduce car trips, then why plan for less than the required number of bicycle parking spaces, and fewer weather-protected spaces? she asked. The loading dock entrance on 59th concerned her too. And to the major issue of no on-site parking, she contended that’s unfair to educators, who at least should have that “amenity” available.

Appellant Causey, describing herself as a tech exec turned preschool teacher, stressed that she and neighbors support the concept of a rebuilt school and want it to continue being part of their Alki neighborhood, but are “appalled” by the current plan. She also took the district to task for a lack of involving the community in the plan, which she said they were sure would be “fixed” when they first heard about it – “but it wasn’t.” While “this exact school” might work in another neighborhood, Alki’s unique situation deserved extra consideration, Causey said, with one of the city’s most popular destinations barely a block away. She (and other appellants) also pointed out that Alki had a “parking overlay” requiring residential development to allot one and a half spaces per unit, and that meant that even a remodeling project required her family to spend a sizable amount of money to add an on-site parking space, so it’s difficult to understand why a project like this could just sail through without any. For the overall parking situation, she did a survey on foot in March that, contrary to what the Heffron study showed, turned up two open spots in 10 blocks. She mentioned the unofficial petition/survey she’d set up online and said it had brought in hundreds of responses from people who want the project to include some parking. She called two area residents as witnesses, and both said the parking and traffic situation in the area already is “chaotic.”

Next was Rebecca Hutchinson from Mahlum, the architecture firm on the project. She said that zoning departures aren’t unusual on school projects because they’re often in areas where the underlying zoning is a mismatch. She offered some background on the project and site, including an explanation of how there’s some overlap with Seattle Parks property next door (the school shares a gym with Alki Community Center, and that won’t be torn down) to the east and north, and said that would help with the ADA parking concerns, because an ADA space east of the community center could be used for the school as well,. She contended that they had done outreach “to collect and center community voice.” She referred repeatedly to the project’s “evolution” bringing down the height of the mechanical penthouse and enabling them to drop the need for a departure regarding the size of the curb cut for the loading dock. Regarding the decision to design the project without on-site project, Hutchinson said including parking would have reduced the amount of space available for educational purposes, space she said was needed so that the school could offer the type of spaces that are part of modern school buildings.

Continuing to explain the departures, she said they believed they’d ultimately have more bicycle spaces than required because of the partnership with Parks. And she said the illuminated sign would not contribute to light pollution because it’ll have a canopy keeping the light – lettering on a dark background – from shining into the sky. The messages needed to be able to change, she said, for reasons such as presenting a message in multiple languages.

The appellants had questions for Hutchinson. How many “neighbors” were on the School Design Advisory Team? One, she replied. What kind of outreach was done (one appellant got a postcard two days before a meeting/presentation)? Hutchinson said her firm wasn’t accountable for that, but did make posters and place flyers in mailboxes. Did she ever think about the impact the project could have on the neighborhood? “I believe in the project,” she said, adding that she also believed in the neighbors’ lived experiences. Was there ever any consideration of putting the mechanical equipment in the basement instead of a penthouse? The building doesn’t currently have a basement, and the project budget doesn’t have money to dig one, Hutchinson said.

After a lunch break, the district brought in its next witness, Tod McBryan from Heffron Transportation, to talk about the traffic/parking study. His firm, he said, has worked with SPS on 60 project sites. Their role is usually to support the early environmental-review process. Kendall questioned him on some of the issues the appellants had raised. Regarding their concern that the parking study was done in winter, and while the West Seattle Bridge was still closed, he said his firm used historical Google images, from May 2017 and 2019, to supplement their in-person studies with imagery of warmer, pre-pandemic, pre-bridge-closure times. (The school’s enrollment was significantly higher at those times, too, he said, up to 380 students, and a bit later, he said the school had 420 students in 2015.) Overall, McBryan acknowledged, parking usage on the surrounding streets would increase with a new, higher-capacity school, but not so much that the city would require mitigation measures (RPZs, etc.). Asked about Causey’s parking study, he suggested that Heffron’s methodology was more accurate.

Why isn’t the required Traffic Management Plan expected to be done any time soon? McBryan said that they prefer to wait until new schools are close to opening, because they want to work with the principal who will be accountable for managing the plan, and principals tend to move around. Some transportation plans are simple, some are complex, he added. He mentioned some components likely to go into this one – telling parents to use 59th as a one-way street at pickup and dropoff times, telling staff to park a certain distance away, telling parents of older kids to park a few blocks away so the nearby spaces can be used by parents of younger kids. How will events be addressed in the transportation-management plan? It might be recommended that events be broken into two sessions or nights, or separated by grades, or even held offsite. In response to other questions, McBryan said the district did not expect a higher volume of school buses, because the enrollment area wasn’t expected to change, and the buses they run now have room for more riders. He also mentioned Fairmount Park Elementary as a similarly constrained site, next to a park (although one appellant countered later that FPES has a parking lot)

Wood asked McBryan if the study would be revisited to consider a higher need for ADA parking than currently projected. The study is “complete,” he replied, but certainly if, after the new school opens, a higher need was found, “accommodations can be made.” The appellants’ transportation expert Norris then asked McBryan some questions. He restated his concern that the transportation-management plan wasn’t going to be drawn up for quite some time, and asked how residents on 59th would be made aware of the plan to operate it as a one-way northbound street during pickup/dropoff times. They’d be notified, McBryan replied, but they certainly couldn’t be required to use it that way. There was also some back-and-forth about estimated numbers again – such as a projection that nearby intersections won’t see a degradation in their “levels of service.”

Questioning over, it was time for closing statements. Norris reiterated that he felt that the traffic/parking study failed to fully address project issues and included data errors, suggesting McBryan “just wants you to believe everything will be OK.” Oss said she had worked in medicine and this situation was like “building a hospital and then figuring out how you’re going to get the ambulances there.” Wood said the needs of the school’s future “most vulnerable” students – special needs and preschoolers – are “not being met” by the current plan. Szikszoy said that with the traffic on Alki already “terrible,” wanting to double the size of this school is “ludicrous.” Causey said her survey/petition had drawn another 100 signers during the course of the day, and she read some of their pro-parking comments aloud.

City planner Godard said that those concerned about the project should refer to one of the final pages of the decision she wrote approving the departures – the page that lays out some conditions for the approvals. “This is a live document,” she said repeatedly, meant to be revisited each year, and open to city code-compliance enforcement if the conditions are being disregarded. And with that, she declared that SDCI stands by its decision and hopes the appeal will be rejected. Kendall said the same on behalf of the district, and with that, the hearing was over.

WHAT’S NEXT: Drummond promised her decision would be ready within 20 days, and said she’ll be visiting the site before ruling. Notification is generally sent to the parties to the case; the ruling also will show up in the Hearing Examiner’s case file online. Work at the school site has been awaiting permits; Alki Elementary classes are to be held at the former Schmitz Park Elementary for the next two years while construction is under way at its permanent site.

57 Replies to "ALKI ELEMENTARY REBUILD: Day-long appeal hearing airs challenges to zoning exceptions"

  • WestSeattleBadTakes July 26, 2023 (7:07 am)

    Forget the school. Just build a parking garage.

    • Cal July 26, 2023 (8:42 am)

      You tell it, WestSeattleBadTakes! How dare disabled people request parking by the building.

      • WestSeattleBadTakes July 26, 2023 (9:16 am)

        And all of the disabled that cannot drive? This city is downright hostile to their interests.

        Spare me the fake outage. If you actually cared about disabled people you wouldn’t weaponize them. Disgusting really.

        • wilber July 26, 2023 (11:11 am)

          WSBT. Fake outrage??? Your comment is the epitome.

        • Maryanne Wood July 26, 2023 (3:39 pm)

          My concerns about the lack of ADA parking around the school  stem from my real life experience with a special needs child that MUST be walked into the school by a care caregiver. She is also picked up from school with the same adult to adult hand off being necessary. This requires parking. You have completely missed the point of ADA parking at a school and have jumped to an erroneous conclusion as to why this appeal was made. I am running for school board and I will continue to fight design flaws in the new schools being built that harm special needs children. 

    • Ferns July 26, 2023 (9:22 am)

      Shockingly humans have proven capable of both building schools and parking garages together. I know it’s crazy, but I’ve seen it done before!

    • Kyle July 26, 2023 (12:24 pm)

      A bad take by West Seattle Bad Takes.

      • onion July 26, 2023 (5:00 pm)

        Some commenters want to make this about car culture. It is not. It is about gridlock and a huge and hazardous traffic mess twice a day every single day school is in session.  The parents, staff, students, and neighborhood do not need these daily sh*tstorms, so it’s hard to fathom why the school system brass are trying to ram this proposal down the community’s throats. Who in the Alki neighborhood actually supports this plan?

        • Reed July 27, 2023 (7:48 am)

          That area is gridlocked and a huge hazardous traffic mess twice a day (for pedestrians and bikes) already because of one simple reason: too many cars on the road. A parking lot will not mitigate this, it will only encourage more driving which will exacerbate the problem. 

        • Derek July 27, 2023 (12:45 pm)

          There is no gridlock during the school year when it’s cold and rainy. No one’s at Alki.

        • Been There July 27, 2023 (5:17 pm)

          It is never easy for a parent to walk children to school….especially if one parent has to carry a toddler on their hip…after just waking up a toddler from a nap….especially in the rain!

  • CeeBee July 26, 2023 (8:04 am)

    Fantastic summary, thank you!!

  • Ferns July 26, 2023 (9:20 am)

    Wow. If a project doesn’t have money to dig a basement, Then maybe the project doesn’t deserve to move forward. Dig underground parking! Expensive, professional, well-deserved, underground parking for everyone who’s going to be using that facility, for everyone is going to live in that neighborhood for everyone who’s going to be a tourist and desire to visit Alki beach. It’s disingenuous and cruel to imagine that all of these educators and children and parents and families are going to be able to magically fly in the rain and drop off their kids safely and then pick them up as this project is designed. It’s asinine. I’m shocked it’s gotten this far.

    • PA July 26, 2023 (10:03 am)

      Cruel? It interesting how in so many other parts of the world, with far less temperate climates than ours, adults and kids mange to get to school and work without cars. This is a uniquely car-centric American problem. Let’s address the issue by designating all of the parking along 59th as ADA only parking. 

      • Kyle July 26, 2023 (12:33 pm)

        You try being zoned a mile plus away from this school up the hill. Your choices are have your 1st and 3rd grader walk over a mile, some times in the dark in the winter since school starts at 755am. Or they can take the bus service (if it doesn’t get cancelled) by waking up an hour earlier as SPS bus service will take them on a joy ride all around the neighborhood in an effort for the for profit bus company to squeeze some $ off the contract they underbid. Parents will end up driving their young kids if they are able to.

        • PA July 26, 2023 (2:23 pm)

          My kids (2nd and 4th grade) and I do this everyday going to Genesee Hill, 1.17 miles each way. We’ve raised them with the norm of bus/bike first, car second, and they have never complained once about walking to school, even in the dark and rain. No one is forcing you to drive, and I don’t think the city is obligated to accommodate every individual who feels entitled to drive everywhere. Good luck!

          • Kyle July 26, 2023 (3:57 pm)

            No one is asking for them to have 500 parking spots. Nor should we also ask everyone to walk. The reality is most elementary school families will drive for pickup/drop off. I’m sure your family is the minority as there is a large backup for pickup at Genesee Hill everyday. This would be a different discussion for a different population.

          • Jort July 27, 2023 (10:40 am)

            I love hearing “the reality is” when defending cars-first, humans-last design and planning decisions. “The reality is” very different almost everywhere else on the planet. America is the outlier, here, and we have no obligation to continue down this unsustainable, unrealistic and foolish path. For decades, all over the planet, kids have taken buses and walked to school. They can re-learn how to do it in Seattle, too. Reality is what we make it. We don’t have to make it about cars, every time, all the time. 

          • EC July 27, 2023 (6:00 pm)

            Awesome, PA! Way to go! We need more kids stretching out their legs in the mornings and getting some fresh air! 

        • Derek July 27, 2023 (12:46 pm)

          Kyle, then maybe fight and fight for expansion of buses instead of a backwards-thinking garage. Just a thought…

    • neighbor July 26, 2023 (12:51 pm)

      @Ferns “Dig underground parking! Expensive, professional, well-deserved, underground parking for everyone who’s going to be using that facility, for everyone is going to live in that neighborhood for everyone who’s going to be a tourist and desire to visit Alki beach.”

      I’m not sure if this was meant as sarcasm or if you’re serious. You think the school should pay for underground parking for the whole neighborhood *and* all the summer beachgoers???

    • July 29, 2023 (9:07 am)

      I asked that earlier…why can’t a garage be built under the school? I was told it was due to the water table and soil under the school…or something like that!

      • Math Teacher July 29, 2023 (12:29 pm)

        The site is only about 20 feet above sea level.

  • jissy July 26, 2023 (9:35 am)

    This “process” just feels so gross in a we’re just going to shove it down your throat anyway kind of way.  It’s not even my neighborhood but I feel pissed for those that are nearby.  

  • flimflam July 26, 2023 (9:52 am)

    Very thorough coverage and quite a lot of input from qualified people – so naturally SPS will plow ahead with their preferred plan and ignore any logical concerns brought forth.

  • lovestwestseattle July 26, 2023 (10:36 am)


    1. It is deceitful to rely on traffic studies done during the pandemic lock downs and when the west seattle bridge was shut down. It was a ghost town in West Seattle. The studies should have been redone this past school year.

    2. Why isn’t the project relocated to Schmitz Park? It is about half a mile away and has room for parking?

    3. Why rebuilt Alki elementary to be such a big school given enrollment has apparently kept dropping since 2016 and enrollments in the Seattle schools has dropped? Why not rebuild later, if necessary, and instead use the money to improveme education (e.g. a trade school track for those students not going to college)? If the money has specifically been earmarked for construction, why not just rebuild Schmitz Park??

  • Joe Z July 26, 2023 (10:51 am)

    Cars and schools should not mix. Ban cars on 59th and make the drop-off zone on Admiral Way. 

    • neighbor July 26, 2023 (2:39 pm)

      This is an excellent idea. There’s already a crossing guard there at dropoff and pickup times. If you can somehow convince parents not to drive on 59th this would be much safer for everyone.

      • reed July 27, 2023 (7:57 am)

        Except for those of us who use the bike lane. Admiral is already bad enough, I don’t think choking it up with parked cars is an option. School parents, teachers, and administrators should push for more bus options.

  • Graciano July 26, 2023 (11:42 am)

    Does SPS really need Alki elementary, Schmitz’s park elementary is on the other side of the park… about 5 minutes away. I like how they gave attendance from 2015, what was it last year? 

  • Kyle July 26, 2023 (12:28 pm)

    Great coverage. No, a parking garage is not needed. Yes, SPS is speaking out of both sides of their mouth when saying they need to build a bigger school but don’t need to accommodate for more students accessing the site in the design because the boundaries haven’t changed yet. Adding a few spots that could be used for visitors etc. sounds like the best compromise so that SPS can keep the design they already spent millions on and that some of the neighborhood impact can be met. Or both sides can keep on with this all or nothing stalement.

  • Mrs. Shaw July 26, 2023 (12:51 pm)

    @Ferns – The water table may be too high to facilitate underground parking. That has been  a challenge at other Alki area development projects. 

  • Jort July 26, 2023 (1:30 pm)

    Again we see how we socially engineer almost every single aspect of our lives and society around serving the needs of large personal transportation machines, known as cars. Not the needs of human beings, not the needs of education for our society, not the needs of the environment: just the needs of cars. Cars, cars, cars. Where will I park my car? How can I drive my car? Car, car, car. It is believed to be a negative (!) “environmental impact” when it’s harder to drive. Note: cars (I can’t believe I have to say this) do not help the environment! Their presence and use is facially a net negative on the environment! Again: we design nearly every aspect of our lives and society to serve the needs of machines, not people. We insist on it! And you see it, crystal clear, right here. Look at these comments. “If you can’t build parking, then don’t build the school.” As though the school’s primary purpose is to provide PARKING!

    • Math Teacher July 26, 2023 (5:14 pm)

      Hey Jort – are you aware that the project has also received variances to exclude other transportation modes? The bike parking and bus drop-off areas are far below standard. 

    • Mel July 26, 2023 (8:20 pm)

      Hate to break it to you but most of the teachers and staff do not live within walking/biking distance. They should be able to drive to their place of work and have a place to park. 

      • Jort July 27, 2023 (10:34 am)

        There are literally dozens and dozens of miles of publicly-subsidized, free street parking available in this neighborhood. 

  • WS Taxpayer July 26, 2023 (2:13 pm)

    Folks, we’re getting hung up on parking – weather you are pro-car or anti-car or pro-environment or pro-bike or pro-teacher…the real issue is:

    1) SPS Does Not Need a expanded Alki Elementary to meet the needs of the community – there are a plethora of other options that have fewer community impacts. Being Locked into this one decision, made long ago, is a weakness of government bureaucracy – “well we’ve already got the money allocated and we can’t back away now.” This is OUR money they are spending!

    2) SPS and the city is jamming a square peg into a round hole no matter what angle you take (Accessibility, Parking, Safety) This is a bad fit for the Alki neighborhood and the powers that be are not held accountable for their lack of vision. (nor have I seen a compelling vision on why this is a good idea – it just – “hey this is what we’re doing.”)

    PS I don’t live on Alki, nor do I have kids in SPS.

    • Why July 26, 2023 (9:52 pm)

      Thank you, this is perfect.  I keep thinking about your second point, i.e. no one being held accountable.  It’s probably a failure of our school district organization.  All city departments are accountable to their directors and ultimately to the city council and mayor.  The school district is accountable only to a volunteer, unpaid and often inexperienced school board.  Is there any other explanation for why we find ourselves in this untenable position, with  a school district out of money, losing students, and yet building an inappropriate mega school?  I understand that we vote in the school board, as well as the mayor and council.  These two latter races have a much higher priority in the press. Serious question.  I don’t have kids in SPS.

  • Chemist July 26, 2023 (2:38 pm)

    Predicted to handle up to 500 elementary school students, which is likely to be at least 50 staffers too…. and only 40 bike parking spots in the design.  Seems like the area might be destined to become an RPZ area in the future.

  • Jay July 26, 2023 (2:53 pm)

    Does West Seattle not have school buses? I see them around a lot. When I was growing up I took a bus to school, and I was bussed to a school in a different district 15 miles away. Even though the city was completely suburban sprawl, driving to school was really rare and reserved for kids in rural areas that couldn’t be serviced by bus. When it’s time for my daughter to go to school, I’m going to walk with her because it’ll be like a mile away.  For the people asking about disabled students… the drive up is fine. I don’t get why everyone needs to drive their kids to school these days. And I waited for the bus in the Virginia rain, which is much heavier than Seattle rain.

    • Math Teacher July 27, 2023 (7:11 am)

      One of the zoning variances Alki received is having a very, very small bus loading zone. To receive the variance, the district has given assurances that there will be no increase in school busses serving the school. It’s really interesting to read the entire document and see all the contorted, contradictory promises that have been made to force this project through approval.

  • VN July 26, 2023 (3:55 pm)

    How would first responders be able to access the school effectively in a major event such as an active shooter situation, a fire or a major earthquake.  Without adequate parking on site, it would be impossible to extract students to ambulances or at the very least, get them to a safe location.  I cannot believe that the city and the insurance carriers believe this proposal protects the students and faculty.  

    • PA July 26, 2023 (8:19 pm)

      Far more likely that a child would get maimed by some inattentive, in a rush parent behind the wheel of a car over a school shooter.

      • Meh July 27, 2023 (2:13 am)

        Sadly, that’s not true. Gunfire is now the leading cause of child deaths in the U.S., not cars. So statistically speaking, a school shooting would be more likely. 

    • Jay July 27, 2023 (10:06 am)

      There’s a gate they can go through to the playground, and first responders don’t have to find a legal parking spot in an emergency.

    • Jort July 27, 2023 (10:32 am)

      “Because there might be a school shooting, we must prioritize building space for cars into the architecture of the school.” What an incredibly American statement to make. Again: as though the school’s actual purpose is to store cars. Not educate students. To store cars.

  • Alki resident July 27, 2023 (9:21 am)

    The term “Good enough for Government work” comes to mind regarding this problematic project. What a mess. The architect is being lazy. The traffic management plan is a joke. Shame on the entire “team” behind this project! 

    • Why July 29, 2023 (12:18 pm)

      The architect has misspoken often. I have to wonder about her level of experience as a project manager. The traffic consultant not been honest. There are many errors in the so-called parking study. Interestingly the so-called traffic management plan, which has not yet been created, is considered mitigation to the community, and is the only mitigation this plan offers to the community.

  • Jon Wright July 27, 2023 (10:20 am)

    The root cause of this is the state’s chronic underfunding of schools. Having fewer, bigger schools is more cost effective to operate. And teachers and staff are allocated to a school based upon enrollment. So if you want a nurse, a counselor, a librarian, and similar roles all staffed, that can only do that at a big(ger) school. The whole thing about cars is ridiculous though. We live in city, not the sleepy exurbs. Somehow they manage to have schools in Manhattan; Alki Elementary will manage without 100 parking spaces, too. And of course the surest way to solve the supposed parking problem is to monetize on-street parking at market prices. When people can’t store their private property in the public right-of-way indefinitely for free, you’ll be surprised how much parking will be available.

    • John Agrees July 27, 2023 (12:00 pm)


      Jon Wright gets it right.

      Thankyou for avoiding the myopism of the opposition.

      Monetizing all street parking is the solution. 

      Also, monetize (with demand pricing) drop-off zone(s) that are causing congestion 

    • EC July 27, 2023 (5:56 pm)

      Thanks, Jon, for your comments!

    • Because July 29, 2023 (1:59 pm)

      Aright. Have you seen the MTA (Manhattan Transit) transit map? Compare with WS, bus service every 30 minutes from selected spots. People would get rid of their cars if we had a transportation grid anything similar to 99% of European urban areas, with service every 3-7 minutes and transfers taking an average of 2 minutes. Faulting people for being born into, and subjected to, an economic system that prioritizes profit above all, is lazy and unproductive.

    • Because July 29, 2023 (3:00 pm)

      Aright. Have you seen the MTA transit map? Compare with WS, bus service every 30 minutes from selected spots. People would get rid of their cars if we had a transportation grid anything similar to 99% of European urban areas, with service every 3-7 minutes and transfers taking an average of 2 minutes. Faulting people for being born into, and subjected to, an economic system that prioritizes profit above all, is lazy and unproductive.

  • Amy July 27, 2023 (10:59 am)

    I wish the appellants luck in their appeal.  It has been my experience that appeals to the hearing examiner rarely win.  I hope that the concerns expressed by the appellants, the parents of students, and the neighborhood are addressed and adequately resolved.  However, I am not holding my breath that it will happen.

  • Wsmom July 29, 2023 (3:09 am)

    The concept of a neighborhood school is that, generally speaking, most students should be able to walk to school year-round unless all parents in the home have to be at work early.  It always amazes me how many families are dashing to and from school in their cars when their homes are really not that far away. There should be walking school buses like there are at the other local schools. They do need to change out that walking space in the design for staff parking though. It’s a trade off imo. Updated schools with double the school population = no increase in land to provide parking that was never there before. 

Sorry, comment time is over.