New crosswalk, park ‘all-wheels’ plan, EV-charging lot update, more @ Morgan Community Association’s first 2024 meeting

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The Morgan Community Association‘s first meeting of 2024 was the first one in-person since pre-pandemic, facilitated by president Deb Barker. It was MoCA’s first in hybrid style – about a dozen attendees in person at Westside Unitarian Universalist, roughly an equal number via videoconferencing. As usual, it was a meaty meeting, with lots of news:

MORGAN JUNCTION PARK’S NEW PLAN: In advance of this afternoon’s 1 pm Seattle Design Commission review of the expanding park’s updated plan, with an “all-wheels” area, Susan Melrose of Seattle Parks joined remotely and Matt Johnston and Josh Radick were there in person. Their topic: What’s now known as the Morgan Junction All-Wheels Association. On behalf of the city, Melrose is supporting MJAWA in their part of the project, which has its roots in last year’s community activation of the empty park site as a makeshift skatepark. “The positive thing that came out of that was overwhelming community support for that kind of use of the space … an overwhelming message from the community that we wanted some kind of activation,” Johnston said. So they’re pursuing a 1,500 square foot “all wheels area” in the park for “anybody who wants to roll around” – bikes, scooters, wheelchair athletes, roller skaters, not just skateboard riders. “It’s not going to be an advanced skateboarding area or anything like that.” They’ve received a $44,000 neighborhood Matching Fund grant to bring this part of the design up with the rest of the park expansion. “We just want to get our part caught up with the rest of the park project.” They have a plan for public engagement and public meetings – the Parks team needs to be able to incorporate and use what this team creates. He added that the team is “very multidisciplinary and diverse” – “kids, moms, skateborders, bikers”- and they’re looking for more participation – Radick said they’re also looking to do some site cleanups in the next month or so “so it’s at least respectable to look at.” Johnston said the cleanup parties will start in February and supplies will be provided, all you’ll hace to do is show up.

Melrose showed some of the schematic designs – the “all-wheels area” would be closer to the park’s south side, not on the expansion site. She also recapped last summer’s public outreach work, with a booth at the Morgan Junction Community Festival and participants there agreeing that an “all-wheels area” would be a popular addition. So they subseauently looked at where in the park that could be located.

What about funding? Johnston said they don’t know yet, but a 1,500-sf all-wheel area probably won’t cost that much. They’re very concerned about doing what it takes to not drain funding from the rest of the project.They hope also to maximize spectator space too so the area isn’t just for the wheel users. “One of the things that makes spaces like this successful …. is to really soften the boundary of the space.” They want to ensure the space integrates well not only into the park but into the community. Their tentative schedule: Sign a consultant by March; have a public meeting in April; Parks project review before they show something to the public in May, then a third public meeting in late August to show the preferred design. In Q/A, they said no, it’s not going to be a “big bowl” – maybe some elevated pieces, something in the middle, but their consultant will be asked to explore a “distributed” concept with grass in the middle. Would there be signage or other ways to avoid pedestrian conflicts? Yes. No fencing but they envision some barriers to keep boards from going into the street, for example, Radick said. They’re also looking at ways to mitigate sound impacts. (We expect to have a followup after the presentation at this afternoon’s Design Commission meeting – here’s how to watch or listen live 1-2:30 pm.)

One other note – Barker said it’s looking like the long-planned soil cleanup on the expansion site at the park’s north end might finally happen this spring.

(Google Maps Street View image of Fauntleroy/Rose intersection)

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: SDOT‘s Ching Chan was back with followups on several Morgan Junction concerns, as previously discussed. Biggest news: She said a pedestrian crossing has been approved for Fauntleroy and Rose [map], which the Fauntleroy Community Association also has advocated for. They’re taking traffic counts now to prepare for design; installation is not likely before next year. Barker told Chan that it’s important to do traffic counts at various times – the Lincoln Park troll is a new weekend draw, for example. An attendee asked how lighting will be prioritized on the parking-lot side of that intersection, which currently has none. Chan said she’ll look into that.

Next intersection of concern: Fauntleroy/Graham [map]. Chan said SDOT took a closer look but it’s “not a high-collision area” so for that and “a number of other reasons” it’s not a priority for a pedestrian crossing right now. Priorities usually focus on sites near greenways, school zones, trails or paths, transit stops with frequent transit networks, and with pedestrian counts past a certain number. Barker noted the ~30-unit development slated for construction soon at 41st/Graham and that it’s likely to add pedestrians and vehicle traffic. She also wondered if the counts were lower because of pandemic-era lower traffic.

Next: California/Fauntleroy. MoCA had asked, could this be a walk-all-ways crossing? Chan said that’s known as a “scramble,” if a diagonal crossing is included. “Scrambles are very, very complicated for larger intersections” like this one, she said, which has many signal movements and phases – so they aren’t recommending one. If there are multiple bus stops, that could be challenging, implementing higher wait times for “everyone” (this intersection has bus stops at/near three of its four corners) and that would “likely compromise transit reliability.” Regarding safety concerns, she said they could look at increasing the LPI to give pedestrians even more of a head-start before the lights change; they could also look at implementing “no right on red.” Another attendee pointed out that the crosswalk is used by mobility-challenged residents of nearby Cal-Mor Circle. MoCA vice president Conrad Cipoletti also brought up the recent community member proposal for a scramble at Admiral/California; Chan said she’d take that back for consultation too.

An attendee also mentioned the California/Othello crosswalk and its perils for families headed to Gatewood Elementary. Barker suggested she and Chan connect offline.

(Seattle City Light graphic)

MORGAN CHARGING LOT: Guests from Seattle City Light joined remotely for this update. The lot on 42nd between Fauntleroy and Morgan is at 90% design, environmental cleanup is complete, and they’ve applied for cnstruction permits. But it won’t be built until the last quarter of the year because they had to switch what kind of charging stations they’re going to use, and the new equipment “has a very long lead time.” It’s still set for eight charging stations – 4 Tesla-type on the west side (but usable by some other EVs too), 4 City Light-managed on the east. They’ll all be fast-chargers. They’re hoping for as many trees and shrubs as possible on the north and south sides. There’ll be lighting, too. A third-party service will be accountable for most of the maintenance.

Once construction starts in the last quarter of this year, it’ll take three or four months, and it’ll likely be operational in “early 2025.” There’ll be some trenching across Fauntleroy for power cabling to supply the site. The work won’t close Fauntleroy but will require “heavy traffic control.” What about the problems with vandalism and theft at charging stations? the City Light team was asked. The utility is working with a consultant to look at stations citywide and that’s expected to be done by year’s end. But the stations at this site “have some protection against cable theft,” said another SCL rep. They’re also looking at replacing the stations in The Junction, after replacing the cables “a number of times.” What about the tagging of the cloth fencing? asked president Barker. SCL said they can’t do much about it – and maybe it’ll ease up when the site is activated? Barker pointed out that every property owner in the city is supposed to be cleaning up graffiti and the city should do the same with its own sites too. The SCL team will be invited to a future MoCA meeting for updates.

The meeting also included some shorter items:

MORGAN JUNCTION FESTIVAL: If the MJ Park remediation remains on the current schedule, that part of the Morgan Junction Park site will be “torn up,” but they’ll figure out how to configure the festival – first task, choose a date; everyone at the meeting got to vote. Saturday, June 15, won.

POLICE: Southwest Precinct Operations Lt. Nate Shopay said that SPD and partner agencies made a big dent in the Hyundai/Kia theft trend with a series of arrests, mostly juveniles. No specific crime trends in the Morgan Junction area this past month, he said. Barker put in a pitch for “if you see something, say something,” and Lt. Shopay reinforced that the number to call to report anything is 911 – they will refer you to the right person to take your call, you will NOT get in trouble for calling 911 if it’s not a three-alarm emergency.

ALKI ARTS: Proprietor Diane Venti was introduced to tell attendees about her business (a new WSB sponsor), which recently moved to 6030 California SW in north Morgan Junction – “local, original, affordable art” – she previously spent 3 1/2 years on Alki, and has a relatively short-term lease for this location, saying that’s a way to keep the art affordable; she has a year-long lease until the building’s new owners decide what to do with it. The artists whose work she shows and sells often partner with other galleries, and they try to keep the pricepoint lower – they’ll be hosting concerts too, including one this weekend (see the calendar at – and the gallery is available as an event space (no charge for nonprofits).

GATEWOOD PTA: Sarah Adler from the Gatewood Elementary PTA invited everyone to the June 1st Gatewood Gator Fair, second annual, 10:30-2:30. They’d love to have more Morgan community businesses out – they’re already partnering with some local businesses, such as Paper Boat Booksellers and West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor). She also noted a community event that the Gatewood PTA is co-sponsoring on February 5th at Genesee Hill Elementary – “Public School Funding 101.” (Here’s the flyer.)

NEXT MEETING: MoCA meets the third Wednesday in January, April, July, and October. Watch for confirmation of the next meeting.

13 Replies to "New crosswalk, park 'all-wheels' plan, EV-charging lot update, more @ Morgan Community Association's first 2024 meeting"

  • Alex January 18, 2024 (2:25 pm)

    Just out of curiosity, for the EV charging lot, is it intended that people stay in their cars while charging or do they go hang out elsewhere?   Are the cars towed if on the lot past the charging time?   

    • Drew January 18, 2024 (8:11 pm)

      They mentioned fast charging, which is a good indicator that most drivers will likely be at this facility anywhere between 5-60 minutes, on average. This differs from the Level 2-type chargers you’ll find at places like the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal, which can take anywhere from an hour to 8 hours+ to charge up a decent amount, depending on how much juice is needed.

    • CAM January 19, 2024 (7:23 am)

      At EV designated parking spots, vehicles not plugged in can be towed. (It would be amazing if this actually happened. I’ve been blocked by noncharging, nonelectric vehicles more than once in the last week at the single operating public level 2 or 3 charger in the junction area.) If a vehicle is plugged in and is no longer charging it begins accruing idle fees, per minute, after a set period of time for blocking the station from use. The fee schedules differ by company, same as gas prices, and sometimes by who owns the charging site. I assume this site will be managed by Shell Recharge like other SCL stations. I can’t find their idle fees listed online. At city fast charging stations there is a 1 hour parking limit and the stations will typically shut off after 1 hour. 

  • 2cents January 18, 2024 (3:16 pm)

    I wonder if by “Tesla type” they mean superchargers, or just some city-sourced charger with a NACS connector. Considering every EV automaker has adopted the NACS I’m glad at least 4 of these will be compatible for the years ahead.

  • KM January 18, 2024 (4:29 pm)

    We don’t even need a scramble, we need automated pedestrian signals! For now, if you miss the button you have to wait, and big intersection = big wait. I don’t understand how SDOT didn’t suggest this if they are concerned about wait time for pedestrians. If anyone else wants to request this upgrade to SDOT, I’ve been trying for 2 years with no avail.

    • Aaron G January 18, 2024 (7:01 pm)

      Totally agree. And the pedestrian intervals are too short. They end well before the traffic light goes red. It takes pedestrians forever to get to the opposite corner which discourages people from visiting those businesses. It’s not how Morgan Junction should work. 

  • Orb January 18, 2024 (5:23 pm)

    Would LOVE to see a mini ramp or mini bowl for the skatepark and hopefully not just ledges!!

    • Jethro Marx January 18, 2024 (6:20 pm)

      I don’t know if they will vacate the alley for this expansion but a mini downhill run would also flow nicely on the site’s topology. I remember a decent elevation drop from California SW to the dead-end alley directly west. It’s all blackberries and I will rejoice at that bit of deforestation if it can provide more active space.

      • WSB January 18, 2024 (7:13 pm)

        The alley won’t be vacated but the Eddy right of way (between existing park and expansion) will, according to the Design Commission presentation/discussion, which I expect to write about tomorrow.

  • Gertrude January 18, 2024 (11:16 pm)

    The answer to the California/fauntleroy intersection is to simply not allow a steady green light while the pedestrian crossing is active. No matter how many signs you put up, when people see green then they will go. I think we’ve all been guilty of that at least once in our lives. Something as simple as a flashing yellow would make the intersection safer for pedestrians as it signals to the driver to take caution and is much more in line with other driving norms. 

  • CAM January 19, 2024 (6:49 am)

    I’ve mentioned it before and I don’t understand why people designing these things can’t see it for themselves but I have ZERO desire to walk in/out of, spend time alone in an area that is completely not visible from the street and is fully surrounded by obscuring objects like trees. Please plan the charging station with consideration for people needing to access it at all hours of the day and for maximum visibility to make people feel safe doing so. There’s many reasons I don’t go walking in the woods by myself at night and there are many charging stations in this city that I avoid because they make me feel very uncomfortable using them past 8 or 9 pm when they are basically abandoned of foot and vehicle traffic. Please use human being friendly design. 

  • Mark H January 19, 2024 (8:59 am)

    Literally any other “development” on the charging site would have had to $improve$ and use the alley.City playing favorites…..

  • WSmom January 22, 2024 (11:12 pm)

    I’d love to see charging stations at Westwood village.

Sorry, comment time is over.