ALKI ELEMENTARY REBUILD: Hearing examiner rules that ‘no parking’ plan must be reconsidered

(Rendering by Mahlum Architects – north side of school)

4 PM: The ruling is just in on the appeal of seven of the nine zoning exceptions (“departures”) sought by Seattle Public Schools for the rebuild of Alki Elementary. City assistant hearing examiner Susan Drummond, who heard the case July 25th (WSB coverage here), denied the appeals of six of the exceptions – but granted the appeal on arguably the most fervently argued point, the plan to rebuild and expand the school with no off-street parking. From the 11-page decision:

The Appellants met their burden to demonstrate that the impacts the neighborhood would bear from no on-site parking has not been sufficiently considered in relation to the site’s unique and constrained conditions. Appellants also met their burden to demonstrate that it is not necessary to eliminate all parking to meet educational needs. The approach exacerbates the difficult parking and circulation issues already present in the immediate area even without the expansion. The parking analysis was completed during an extraordinary time-period that does not reflect current or expected conditions. This issue should be revisited, with further thought given to how to improve the balance between school needs against the parking and circulation challenges the area faces.

As the appellants – four nearby residents – pointed out (and is also noted in the decision), Alki’s parking crunch is so intense, the area has a city-imposed “parking overlay” in which one and a half spaces must be provided for every residential unit built.

So what happens now? The decision concludes, “The decision is returned to the Department for proceedings consistent with the Examiner’s decision.” That would be the Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI), whose original decision to grant the nine requested zoning exceptions is what was appealed (two of the nine – the new school’s height and a driveway configuration issue – were no longer at issue at the time of the hearing). We’ll be following up with SDCI and other parties.

6:07 PM: We asked the appellants via email for their thoughts. This is from Shauna Causey:

We were up against lawyers hired by Seattle Public Schools and it felt like an impossible situation but in the end, I’m glad the hearing examiner listened to the community.

I started an online petition before the hearing and 492 people responded in just 48 hours asking they reconsider the plan to remove ALL on-site parking. Some of the comments from the petition were shared during the hearing. From elderly who live near the school who have already had a tough time with ambulances reaching them, families with special needs who use ADA parking, to bus drivers, teachers, and parents at Alki Elementary who are frustrated, to seal sitters who help on the beach who felt like they could no longer volunteer if the accessibility and parking situation gets any worse. The community response and personal stories and comments were truly overwhelming.

Right now, most teachers have parking on-site. The new plan would come close to doubling staff (from current staff numbers) with zero parking — all just one block from the beach. It’s hard to believe this plan was even approved in the first place.

9:22 PM: Here’s context on how much parking would be required without a zoning exception – another section of today’s ruling, which refers to some of the evidence and testimony presented:

The code requires 48 parking spaces. With the removal of all on-site parking, the School is proposing no parking. Current on-site parking allows for over 20 parking spaces and the lot is “always completely full” with the parking space “well used.” As the striping is old, there is not an exact parking space number. This parking is coupled with a space to the north (but owned by the City) which can accommodate about 27 vehicles and is used for school events.

A paved surface with room to park about 20 vehicles is located on the south side of the school buildings and is accessed from a driveway at the south edge of the site on 59th Avenue SW. Much of the parking lot striping has faded, but historical aerial images indicate the area has been used for parking 20 or more vehicles. This area is also used for trash and recycling container storage and pick up.

The hard-surface area north of the building is City of Seattle Property … but is also used for school-event parking. Historical aerials indicate the surface can accommodate about 27 parked vehicles.

Public school parking requirements are based on new assembly space (commons and gymnasium) rather than daily school day demand, so do not necessarily account for day-to-day needs. For Alki, the calculation is based on the 3,800 square feet of dining commons and excludes the 6,000 gym square foot gym as total gym space is not being increased.14 If included, 123 spaces would be required. For private schools without assembly space, one space per each staff member would be required (75 spaces).

We’ll be contacting SDCI and SPS tomorrow to find out about what will happen next as a result of today’s ruling.

ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: SPS says only, “The district is reviewing the ruling.” (We’ll check again next week.)

89 Replies to "ALKI ELEMENTARY REBUILD: Hearing examiner rules that 'no parking' plan must be reconsidered"

  • Anne August 10, 2023 (4:18 pm)

    Good! Unbelievable that having adequate parking wasn’t included in the original planning & took having to go to these lengths. 

    • Amy T August 10, 2023 (7:14 pm)

      I agree it is a ridiculous proposal and with all the other construction in our are that already doesn’t create enough parking for even all the apt units they build and even worse in a highly populated area is bs I’m tired of the city pushing mass transit down our throats but yet have no solvable real solution 

      • Ts August 14, 2023 (12:10 am)

        Is there  bus service yet around Alki or up and down admiral way? Would school/childcare staff be able to reliably get to and from school everyday?

    • Precious August 11, 2023 (7:30 am)

      Yea!Tear down the school and “put in a parking lot.”Joni had no idea! 

    • Alki Mom August 11, 2023 (3:19 pm)

      Ideas to help the parking situation.  Increase bus available for the middle of the day.  I have been stuck downtown with only an Uber as an option to come home in the middle of the day to pick up my kids.  This means that if there is a risk that I might need to pick them up I have to drive a car in and back, and end up dropping kids off in my car. Safety improvements to the “other drop off” area on the community center side.  Some folks park on 57th then walk their kids in on that little Stevens Street.  There is no visibility and the sidewalks don’t run the whole way, forcing kids into the street.  It’s a tragedy waiting to happen.

  • onion August 10, 2023 (4:25 pm)

    My guess is that the school system would love to buy a portion of the park and playfields to turn into a parking  lot.

    • Greg August 10, 2023 (10:44 pm)

      Or imminent domain on neighboring properties?

  • Why August 10, 2023 (5:14 pm)

    My guess is the Parks Dept will NEVER sell their properties for a parking lot.

    • Amy T August 10, 2023 (7:21 pm)

      And they shouldn’t what should happen is stop over populating our area with ridiculous apts with no parking so have to park on the street oh wait ya in the junctions a lot of those spots are now taken away because of outdoor restaurants I got it during pandemic but really you take away parking then build buildings with pretty much no parking and force mass transit down our throats with no solution cuz mass transit works if you can get to it or if not the rapid lines reliable 

  • Derp August 10, 2023 (5:17 pm)

    What isn’t funny,  other schools in the district don’t have very many spots either. Parents should not be parking on school grounds for pick up drop off. 

    • Conrad August 10, 2023 (5:30 pm)

      What stinks is that most schools have a nightmare drop off zone that makes riding or walking to school stressful or even dangerous.  It would be nice if kids could walk/ride/bus to school instead of being driven everywhere by their parents.  

      • Alki resident August 10, 2023 (9:26 pm)

        A lot of parents work and enjoy the little time they have with their kids and dropping off and picking up is great bonding time. 

        • Precious August 11, 2023 (7:23 am)

           What a sad revelation!
          “A lot of parents” work and enjoy little time with their kids.”
          Are these the same parents we see holding up traffic at stoplights checking their phones with their children strapped in to their own phones/videos in the back seat?Take some time.
          Enjoy the process.
          Try walking or biking or carpooling or just making time for your kids. 
          And, please, always read them stories at bedtime.

        • WestSeattleBadTakes August 11, 2023 (8:16 am)

          I bet they’d love it even more if they weren’t crammed into a metal box.

      • Canton August 10, 2023 (9:39 pm)

        If we had safe neighborhoods, maybe kids could walk. Nowadays it’s not worth the chance of putting your kid into that situation. Too many predators out there. Hence the recent Highland Park luring.

        • Ts August 14, 2023 (12:15 am)

          Closing schools, condensing services to save money would make it so much harder to walk to school if neighborhood schools close and more kids will be on long bus rides since there are not enough drivers so some routes will be added on top of a drivers already existing route.

      • PF Dad August 10, 2023 (10:48 pm)

        The stress and dangers are largely the fault of the parents driving their kids to school. I’ve witnessed all too many examples of excessive speed, aggressive driving, and dangerous choices by parents taking their kids to school at Pathfinder and Genesee Hill. It is maddening when you live in these neighborhoods with a school and the parents disregard the safety of the families that live in the neighborhood and the kids attending the school. I can’t imagine how it works at Alki. 

    • Ferns August 10, 2023 (7:08 pm)

      And where should the employees park? The ones I need to be there on time to teach the children? In a downtown urban environment some schools don’t have parking but West Seattle is not a downtown urban environment and there’s no reason to double the attendance at the school while eliminating all on site parking. 

      • Derp August 10, 2023 (8:20 pm)

        There are more schools in the outline areas and they don’t have parking.  They use street parking. Why do we need to induce more damaging fossil fuels to our children just so you don’t have to walk a half block. We need more green spaces,  not parking lots.  And I thought this was West Seattle, tree hugger paradise, everyone wants to get rid of cars and ride bikes.  How about more bike tracks.  NO PARKING NEEDED

        • Why August 10, 2023 (8:46 pm)

          Every school in West Seattle has, at minimum, 30 parking spaces, except Alki.  Most have far more I.e. the high schools with 180 and the middle schools with 60. 

          • Sarah August 10, 2023 (10:45 pm)

            Fairmount Park and Gatewood each have fewer than 30 parking spots. Those are just two I’m really familiar with, but I’m sure there are more.

          • Why August 10, 2023 (11:31 pm)

            Fairmount Park has 35 parking spaces and 2 handicapped. Gatewood has 33 parking spaces and 2 handicapped.

        • Ts August 14, 2023 (12:29 am)

          Half block? How far are kids required to walk before they get a bus, in a hilly neighborhood? What if student/parent or Grandparent has a disability? Are you really saying no disabled parking? Just bike parking which what is being proposed is less than what is needed anyway? 

    • ttt August 10, 2023 (7:39 pm)

      I don’t think you are correct. Every school I have been to has a parking lot for staff.

  • Mike August 10, 2023 (5:29 pm)

    This comedy show is fantastic, it’s hilarious 😂

  • Charles Burlingame August 10, 2023 (5:36 pm)

    Seattle cares more about cars than kids, part 1000

    • Jim August 11, 2023 (1:32 am)

      That’s not true at all. They seem more focused on rattling their cup for money while at the same time always saying they don’t have enough

    • Rhonda August 11, 2023 (2:33 am)

      The vast majority of parents drive their kids around in cars.

      • Precious August 11, 2023 (10:45 am)

        Yes, but should the vast number of parents continue to drive their kids around in cars?
        What is the future of more parents driving their kids around in cars?

  • Bus August 10, 2023 (6:11 pm)

    Good-bye, playground.

    • Why August 10, 2023 (8:42 pm)

      The playground belongs to the Parks Department and as mentioned earlier, Seattle Parks will never sell to the School District for parking.

  • Jon August 10, 2023 (6:33 pm)

    Car dependency is not the way forward.  Lazy parents and lazy teachers who choose not to ride the bus or use active transportation should have to purchase parking at a market rate, preferably at an inconvenient location. Parking everywhere is what put us into the car dependent BS we’re in now. We need to stop providing parking, actively disincentivize driving, and insist students and teachers ride the bus or use active transportation. 

    • ltfd August 10, 2023 (8:40 pm)

      Your zealotry is showing.

    • Community Member August 10, 2023 (8:46 pm)

      Ok, Jon, so you’re calling a near-minimum-wage substitute lunch-server lazy if she chooses not to pick up last-minute gig work at this school. You can insist all you want that she should be forced to ride the bus, but you might consider that it  would be entirely optional for her to pick up the low-paid sub work in the first place. 

    • flimflam August 10, 2023 (8:46 pm)

      Jeez, what an awful take. Anyone that doesn’t ride the bus or bike is lazy? Just stop.

    • Alki resident August 10, 2023 (9:33 pm)

      Why should children, babies and parents take public transportation with so many people riding the bus these days smoke fentanyl on them. You go take a bus buddy, we’ll continue in the safety of our own  vehicle that we pay good money for. 

      • Derek August 11, 2023 (8:55 am)

        The people that act like the bus is full of drug users is an easy way to weed out people who don’t actually ride regularly. I do and I rarely encounter a problem. In fact I haven’t in almost three years.

      • DC August 11, 2023 (9:36 am)

        I ride the bus everyday and have never seen anyone taking drugs (not saying it doesn’t happen, just that it is very rare). Also, you are much more likely to be killed and injured in a car than a bus. If you actually cared about safety, and not isolating yourself from the community, you’d limit car use. 

        • Ws prayers August 13, 2023 (3:21 pm)

          I’m a bus rider and yes there is fentanyl use on the bus 75% of the buses I take. U may not realize what it smells like (burnt popcorn); I always open windows when I get on it’s super dangerous to breath that crap in I’ve been on buses where bus drivers have stopped the bus told whoever smoking get off we are not moving til they do -sat one time 30 mins was late for work 

          • Bus August 13, 2023 (5:36 pm)

            I take the bus all the time and have for years and have never encountered someone smoking Fentanyl on the bus, or anything smelling like burned popcorn.  One time-ONE TIME-in 20+ years someone lit up a cigarette in the back – and yes, it was a cigarette – and immediately got off the bus.  It’s crazy how certain people seem to always be on the bus with Fentanyl while 99% of bus riders have never even encountered it once.  

    • GHE parent August 10, 2023 (9:57 pm)

      Yikes. What a horribly incorrect take. What about a parent that has to get to work at exactly a certain time, and riding transportation adds extra time onto it, as our current transport model is so inefficient that it’s nearly impossible to get anywhere without having to transfer? Walk you say? Yes, let’s tell these kids that live in the outskirts of the alki zone to walk in December with their backpacks getting soaked and it being so dark that it’s actually dangerous because they can’t be seen. Sounds safe for everyone. Get off your high horse and recognize that there is a LOT of differences in what people can and are willing to do. 

    • Why August 11, 2023 (12:42 am)

      It’s lazy thinking (most likely the result of Seattle Public Schools) to ascribe social problems to personal attributes.  Car dependency has been foisted on the  population of the United States for at least four generations and it’s a product of our economic system.  There’s more profit in personal vehicles with planned obsolescence, than there is in rapid transit that benefits society as a whole.  The forces of advertising, marketing, and public relations, with constant exposure via television and, more recently, the internet, is a powerful force for social engineering.  You may as well believe in Santa Clause and the tooth fairy if you think people are going to abandon their cars with no reasonable alternative on the horizon.  A bus every 30 minutes is not a reasonable alternative for urban families.  Neither  is a bike, frankly.   It takes only a couple days’ visit in most any European city, for example, to understand freedom  from the car.  It has nothing to do with laziness.

    • Derek August 11, 2023 (8:53 am)

      Jon is right. All I have to say. Car dependency is killing the environment.  And the post above me is wrong. Cars are absolutely NOT more profitable than rapid transit. The only issue with rapid transit is that you have to get up a little earlier. Sorry. That’s just how it goes.

      • Rhonda August 11, 2023 (10:56 pm)

        Derek, electric cars will be the norm very soon, so the “bad for the environment” excuse will be nonexistent.

      • Why August 12, 2023 (5:28 pm)

        Derek: Meh.  I can’t believe I even have to say this.  In free-market capitalism, public procurement doesn’t count for profitability.  Or, since economics is hard! Let’s just talk about operationally, then.  Name any public transit authority, with functional high-speed transit, in the USA, that is profitable.  Or what the heck!  Even >>without<< high-speed transit, in the USA..  I’ll wait.

      • Mon August 13, 2023 (7:57 am)

        Bad take. You’d like me to walk 15min to the junction (mostly up hill) with a 2 and 5 year old in bad weather to catch a bus to daycare? When we get there we’d have to walk another 10min to get to said daycare. Then I’d have to walk back to the bus stop and take a bus downtown. All while I have only 10 hours max of childcare per day. Yeah, sorry. Not happening. Driving allows me to leave my kids at daycare for far less time. 

    • MLI August 11, 2023 (1:21 pm)

      I take the bus to work and a lot times it is late or sometimes doesn’t come at all. What happens if kids take the bus to school and get there late because of it? Do the kids get in trouble for being late? 

  • B August 10, 2023 (6:54 pm)

    Let’s be smarter, City, double the parking space! During the summer and weekends let the PTA sell parking to the tourists/visitors and use the funds for school or students needs. Maybe a garage style under the building….

    • T August 10, 2023 (9:44 pm)

      Great idea.

    • Why August 10, 2023 (10:29 pm)

      This idea is waaaaaay too smart and pragmatic for the school district to conceive of.

  • JTinWS August 10, 2023 (7:13 pm)

    Devastating news. Very disappointed that the city is forcing the school to induce more driving into this neighborhood that already gets overcrowded with cars.No one should drive to work in West Seattle. There’s a bus (50) that comes right by here, and great bike access. Adding parking will endanger kids by incentivizing more people to drive here. Very sad day for the neighbors and the community to get this extra car traffic imposed by a pro-car examiner.

    • admyrl byrd August 10, 2023 (8:27 pm)

      Have you tried to use the 50 for regular transportation?  Really doesn’t go anywhere useful/have to connect to 128 or others and, ala-kazam…you’ve made a 20 minute commute 90 minutes by bus.  The vision of WS being a metro city served by reliable mass transit is still an illusion.  There’s already a worker shortage and we want to complicate it?

      • Kadoo August 11, 2023 (7:05 am)

        I agree. Bus transportation for this area is spotty. The 50 only runs every 30 minutes and the 56 is often cancelled. 

      • Derek August 11, 2023 (8:56 am)

        We need to fight for better transit then, not better parking accommodations. You’re fighting a backwards fight. 

  • JakS August 10, 2023 (7:40 pm)

    One of the appellants conducted a study of all West Seattle public schools and surveyed enrollment, special needs enrollment, vehicle parking and handicap parking spaces.  She also described the bus parking at all these schools.  There were two schools without any marked handicap parking (Alki was one);  all others have between 2 and 7.  The two high schools have 180 and 185 parking stalls.  The middle schools have roughly 60. The ten elementary schools surveyed have anything between 21 (Alki being the lowest) and 80; the average is 48.  Alki drives the average down;  some of the elementary schools have a lot, for ex Genesee at 80 and Roxhill at 77.      Genesee was recently remodeled and increased parking was one of the “improvements.”                                                So the statement that other schools in the district do not have many spots is not true.    Until we have a transportation system on par with the great majority of the developed urban spaces in the world (except the USA), it’s unrealistic to expect people to get out of their cars.

    • Bus August 10, 2023 (8:37 pm)

      The current Roxhill is at an older building that already had a lot of parking.  The old Roxhill had much less, and it was fine.

      • Rhonda August 12, 2023 (2:08 pm)

        My son lived about 200 feet away from the old Roxhill and parents, teachers, and staff parked in front of his house all day M – F. There was very limited open street parking spots on 30th SW and 31st SW for most of those days. Just because it doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about area residents.

  • Actually Mike August 10, 2023 (7:41 pm)

    The sad truth is that SPS is often a lousy neighbor in many ways. Sounds like the neighborhood got lucky with a good hearing examiner in this case–or at least, on this issue.

  • ParKING August 10, 2023 (7:42 pm)

    Good! We need parking at that school! 

    • Jeff August 14, 2023 (9:20 am)

      We do NOT need parking. Think beyond cars people!

  • K August 10, 2023 (7:50 pm)

    They should sell the land and rebuild Schmitz park. I’ve been to almost every school in West Seattle and it seems like they all have some parking. Should be a minimum number required.

    • Wsteacher August 11, 2023 (8:14 am)

      This is the best idea. I don’t understand why Schmitz is not rebuilt to take over for Alki.  And instead of selling  Alki land, rent it daily as a parking lot and rake in the money like the Diamond family.

    • Lola August 11, 2023 (10:22 am)

      K,  I said this from the beginning.  Schmitz Park was donated to the Seattle Public schools and they cannot sell the land to build on unless it is a School.  They certainly have the land to go up on this school and it had parking to boot.  Not sure why this can’t be the new ALKI school and make the whole ALKI old School a Playfield for Sports for the Kiddo’s.  

    • Kyle August 11, 2023 (12:24 pm)

      The district already spent millions on design and this would be a failure of years of time and money to throw it all away and start from scratch on a new location. This is like the first ave street car but for SPS.

      • Why August 11, 2023 (3:04 pm)

        If the school district spent millions on design, it was NOT to design a school that would fit in to the small footprint owned by the school district, surrounded by city property in the Alki neighborhood.  There are standard designs in Seattle for a small(ish), medium and large schools and, according to what the school district told neighbors, the reason there is no parking included is because the design #1 (the small one) would not fit unless all parking was eliminated.  This school design trifecta is apparently a recent development and Alki School is the first test case.

        There is so much smoke and mirrors at play in this project, it’s a sad commentary on Seattle governance, or more precisely, on the school district itself.  The only oversight of the district falls to a group of unpaid volunteers; unfortunately this structure does not work to produce optimal results for the students, the parents, or the community at large.

        • WSB August 11, 2023 (3:19 pm)

          What I have asked the district – and so far what they have not answered (as noted at end of story, all I have so far is that they’re “reviewing the decision”) – is whether they had a backup design that met code and did not require zoning exceptions. I have covered many private developments through the Design Review process and one of the early requirements is that a project team present options including one that does not require zoning departures, but I don’t know (maybe someone reading this does) if designing a school or other institution can be done without that. – TR

  • McFail August 10, 2023 (7:56 pm)

    My guess is a new parking lot by standard then portables down the line.  People will ask, why didn’t they build the school bigger?

  • Lucy August 10, 2023 (8:27 pm)

    If teachers were paid a wage that allowed them to live in the neighborhood where they worked, they could walk to school.   Kids should walk to school. Get out of your cars. Use public transportation or your bike or your feet.  You can’t keep voting against fossil fuels and keep driving your cars!

    • Canton August 10, 2023 (9:48 pm)

      There are a lot of working class people that don’t earn a livable wage to walk to work. Why should teachers be the exception?

    • KinesthesiaAmnesia August 13, 2023 (10:32 am)

      Thank you, Lucy. It’s nice to see a post thinking about the school employees’ access to their jobsites.My mom was a special ed assistant for Everett & Seattle districts. Mom is retired from working at the schools now. But she would not have been able to afford to live near Alki or Fairmount where she’d worked. We looked at homes there but couldn’t pull it off. She had to live north of Seattle. Eventually she quit working in Seattle and got a job closer to home.I looked up what her public transportation commute would be from home just north of town to Alki. Almost 3 hours each way.Based on other comments, it seems like people are expecting underpaid school employees to choose to live only near Alki, or have a six hour round trip commute?

  • Alkiparentbutmaybenotforlong August 10, 2023 (8:34 pm)

    So the build will be delayed and our students will be stuck in portables at Schmitz Park even longer than the planned two years? WSB- any idea on the timeline of next steps here? With other SPS rebuilds, they’ve worked right up to the deadline and the demo schedule is already behind after waiting for this verdict.

    • WSB August 10, 2023 (9:28 pm)

      That’s what I will be working on tomorrow – the ruling was posted fairly late in the day and there was no way either SPS or SDCI would have been prepared to answer that question by day’s end. – TR

      • Neighbor August 10, 2023 (10:58 pm)

        I truly hope the project is not delayed any further. This has been in the works for years – years!!! Our kids deserve to be in the new Alki school by the start of the 2025 school year. 

        • Beachteach August 11, 2023 (7:37 pm)

          Keep in mind that when Seattle voters approved the levy for the Alki rebuild, the public meets stated the new school would only have a max capacity of 400 students because it is the smallest building /land footprint in the district….. fast forward to today, and the design has ballooned by hundreds….. when asked why this was, both SPS and the design firm stated that the staff who made those levy presentations several years ago were no longer with the district, so they could not be responsible for information presented back then….. SERIOUSLY?!?…. We approved the levy for the designs you presented! Voters should be outraged.

  • Community member August 10, 2023 (10:59 pm)

    Unrelated, to this current article but, WSB any insight if Schmitz building is safe for students and staff? Rumors of how bad of shape it is in are circulating 

  • Chemist August 11, 2023 (12:31 am)

    I hope that everyone saying that the school doesn’t need to provide car parking are also upset that the plans only called for 40 bike parking spots, asking for a code departure to not provide as much bike parking as required. That seemed like a tragic oversight too.

  • Jay August 11, 2023 (10:16 am)

    When I was a little one going to school, parents didn’t drive their kids. There were these large vehicles, painted yellow. I think they were called “buses.” We could bring something like this back. “Bus for school?” “Kid’s bus?” or maybe we could call it… a… “school bus”? Yeah, that sounds good. A “school bus” that only goes between houses and schools at a set time when school is scheduled to start and that the general public is not allowed to ride, mitigating the “kids next to fentanyl users” that’s brought up as a concern. I know this sounds a lot like socialism, but I’ll bet we could make it happen.

    • WSB August 11, 2023 (10:55 am)

      There already are school buses serving Alki Elementary but part of the plan, as discussed in the hearing, was that even if the school does double in enrollment, the number of buses won’t increase because existing ones have room.

      • Jay August 11, 2023 (12:15 pm)

        I know, but I keep hearing an anti-bus sentiment and know that a lot of people who have access to bus service still choose to drive. I’ve seen stats saying that 54% of parents living on bus routes chose to drive. Choosing the bus could have a dramatic impact on decreasing congestion. When I was going up, it was the exception to drive and usually only rural parents drove their kids to school. It was just accepted that kids take the bus to school. Today driving is the default.

      • Beachteach August 11, 2023 (7:31 pm)

        “…Double in size”?!? The school enrollment this year was in the low 230’s this year…. The new design is for a max of 652….. (you’ll hear pushback on that, but they always build in contingencies…. ) Ask Genessee Hill… they were over 800 students at one point….. but when designed, that new building was also designated at 652.

    • Frog August 13, 2023 (1:48 pm)

      Somehow, the issues of transporting students to school and staff parking get confused more than is justified, even though they are not strongly related.  The parking at the existing building was entirely for staff, and played no role in delivering students to school in the morning.  Delivering students was always a bit of a squeeze.  It would definitely get worse if the number of students was increased 50%, but it’s barely related to parking. There is a loose relation between afternoon pickup and on-site parking:  if staff  take up spaces on the street, that would will force parents to park farther away if they pick up their students in cars.  That’s mostly a matter of convenience.  The more urgent issue for the school would be if lack of parking drove away staff, and limited who was willing to work there. Buses currently deliver Alki students who live outside the defined walk zone.  The walk zone is much too large, however, for younger students to travel alone, so parents must deliver them somehow.  The school district hates transportation cost, and isn’t likely to expand bus service.  Many walk their children to school some or all of the time, and a very few deliver them in cargo bicycles.  But some also drive them. Also overlooked in the noise is the fact that the blacktop portion of the school playground was usually open evenings and weekends for parking of about 15 cars for events at the school itself, or community center, or play fields.  That’s totally outside the school day, but was helpful in sustaining activities at the play fields like kiddie soccer and t-ball, and community center like skate night.

      • Why August 13, 2023 (4:07 pm)

        This is a great perspective.  The loss of teachers seems like a very real possibility.  OTOH, just pointing out that the “blacktop portion of the school playground” is property that does not belong to the school district.  This fact always gets lost in the noise.  The school district does not own any land outside the four walls of the building, except for a strip where the teachers park currently, by the service delivery, as well as a strip where the steep slope is located behind the school.

  • Rhonda August 11, 2023 (1:58 pm)

    THREE WORDS: underground parking garage.

    • Neighbor August 11, 2023 (3:09 pm)

      Out of budget

  • Admiral-2009 August 11, 2023 (2:34 pm)

    Alki ES is located in a residential neighborhood with limited public transit service.  The existing school had parking that was fully used, the new school is bigger with no parking?  I would think that providing some parking, such as accessible stalls and some stalls for guests at a minimum is a no brainer.

  • Beachteach August 11, 2023 (7:21 pm)

    This is so darn FRUSTRATING!!! I’m a teacher at the school, and I am on the design advisory team…. The very FIRST thing that was brought up to the design firm AND Seattle public Schools, was adequate parking and a SAFE drop off and pick-up area for families. These were the top two concerns mentioned by the staff ongoing, for more than TWO YEARS!…. I was privately told by the design firm and the SPS representative (10 months ago…. ) they knew then it was going to be a hot issue, AND that they were not going to provide either. I was told to not mention that publicly…. (Again, I’m an employee and I’m on the advisory team….) The issue kept coming up in subsequent meetings…. But they would NEVER provide designs that addressed these issues.….. I will not be surprised if the district now does something extremely negative for all concerned. I applaud the neighbors that recognize the issues, are concerned about safety, and have pursued this as far as they have.

    • Jaks August 12, 2023 (2:20 am)

      Wow! Thank you for hanging in there.  Did you develop any theories as to what their motivation is?   Do they just want to build a big shiny mega project, with NO consideration of the community, NO concessions to safety, NO thoughts of the staff, NO access accommodations for special needs individuals in any capacity……just because they can?  Is the thinking that a big modern structure will impress the public and win back the respect they feel they deserve?  There is so much about this project that doesn’t make sense, given the district’s own stated mission and values.

      And BTW, I’m curious what “something negative for all concerned” might be……

  • Gaslit August 13, 2023 (9:37 am)

    I find it fascinating that whenever these discussions start, we get the “nobody should be driving cars” crowd piping in. Washington state, and Seattle/King county in particular loves all of us in our cars every day. Exorbident car tabs, gas taxes, tolls, parking fees. We hand them a mint every day to drive. At the same time, any public transportation improvements are always met with funding challenges & shortfalls. The alleged “street racing” cameras are going to be another government windfall. Can’t get any of that if you have everyone on the bus.

  • Tony August 14, 2023 (10:23 am)

    Looking at aerial photos, it’s seems like every single apartment building and single family home within many blocks of the school has off-street parking. Are the local residents lodging this complaint utilizing the off-street parking they have? Additionally, people want to go to Alki and will continue to do so; this will do absolutely nothing to alleviate the traffic issues in the area.

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