We had a chock-full agenda at our March 2021 meeting, learning about Seattle City Light’s proposed EV charging station, SDOT’s Stay Healthy Streets program and an update from Ballard-Fremont Neighborhood Greenways. Video is fully archived on YouTube (see links to specific portions of the meeting below) and below is a selection of meeting minutes, with links to some of the presenter’s full slideshows, as well.
We are also grateful to My Ballard for providing a report of the event.
3/10/21 Meeting Notes
Welcome and Introductions (YouTube link)
Seattle City Light Proposed EV Station (YouTube link)
Jacob Orenberg from Seattle City Light gave a detailed overview of the Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station proposed for development at SCL’s former substation lot at 2826 NW Market Street (between the VFW and the Sloop Tavern).
Deadline is Friday, March 19, to provide public comment. Email: SCL_CommOutreach@seattle.gov
EV Station Q&A (You Tube link)
- Discussion about “best public use” and community input
- Q: has Parks Dept interest in closing gap for public space been reconsidered for this property? A: clarification that property is not considered “surplus,” its status is “active,” still has use for City Light (and rate payers) so it cannot currently become a park, also houses electrical infrastructure for Metro Transit,
- Q: will there be a landscape buffer from the sidewalk (toward front end of site)? will paving be permeable / any rain gardens? A: design is very early but that is definitely under consideration, on their radar, also some areas are required to remain open space around infrastructure so that will be accommodated in design.
- Q: can the lot be subdivided A: no
- Q: how will the bidding tgake place for the EV spots? A: RFP (request for proposal) will be issued to a select list of vendors and ones will be selected that can provide most reliable service to community
- Q: what SCL infrastrucdture A: electrical transformer that powers King County Metro rectifier for trolley buses
- Q: can constraints be changed around use of the property so it can be used as a tiny house village? A: nothing is impossible, but the utility sees long-term value for the property to remain in service for rate payers. Not a permissible use for SCL property (would have to be compensated).
- Q: What are the long-term plans for the EV charging station? A: initial lease of 5 years, with extensions possible of 5 years. Probably a 20-25 year life span for this use, unless SCL determines there’s a better, higher use at lease renewal point.
- Q: Any public art budget or for improving the pedestrian experience in nearby area (art wraps on poles, wayfinding or improvements to new sidewalk/media areas)? – haven’t looked into that yet but can talk with partner agencies and community and look further into that.
SDOT Stay Healthy Streets Update (YouTube link)
Summer Jawson from Seattle Department of Transportation gave an update on the City’s Stay Healthy Streets program, including feedback from last summer’s public survey (9,000 people responded). In 2020, over 20 miles of Neighborhood Greenways were upgraded to Stay Healthy Streets — opened to people walking, rolling, and biking. The City is now considering making many of these permanent changes.
Contact email: StayHealthyStreets@seattle.gov
Stay Healthy Streets Q&A (YouTube link)
- Golden Gardens Drive pros/cons/impacts during summer/fall temporary “Keep Moving Street” vehicle closure – not currently under consideration for permanent closure because it’s an arterial. Happened in collaboration with Parks Department to help reduce crowding during that time of pandemic.
- Clarifying distinction between Greenways (the name of a type of street and the name of a community organization) and Stay Healthy Streets
- Is 17th Ave NW in Ballard almost a shoo-in as a permanent Greenway because of how well it did in survey? A: there is mixed feedback despite immense popularity so they are continuing conversations
- Q: reported racism on 17th? A: no specific reports of issues on 17th, but in other parts of city there have been incidents of people of color who are legally driving on a Greenway being yelled at by pedestrians/cyclists. It’s something they are carefully monitoring, whether people of color feel like kids can play in street and “be loud” without being unnecessarily reported.
Ballard Neighborhood Greenways (YouTube link)
Bryant Mason, co-chair of Ballard-Fremont Neighborhood Greenways (@BFGreenways), provided background on the history of their community group with a focus on recent successes and future plans for improving safety and access in the Ballard area for pedestrians and cyclists. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has an extensive coalition of neighborhood-based, volunteer-led chapters throughout the city, empowering communities to reclaim Seattle’s streets so that they are more welcoming for people of all kinds to walk, bike and safely get around town. Their next meeting is March 24 and they welcome Ballardites to join in.
Greenways Q&A (YouTube link)
Q: what is the best way to give input on Greenways routes? Can the 17th Ave NW Greenway extend south to Shilshole and the 20th Ave NW street end? A: Let SDOT know and add your voice to the Greenways group. It all started with a few neighbors talking. Join in with your ideas. It starts small and grows as more people get involved.
Q: There is a map showing some new street changes around Sunset Hill Park that might make 34th Ave NW local access only. Wondering about possible plans. A: Not currently a Greenway project. May have been part of brainstorming about Stay Healthy Streets and Keep Moving Streets early in pandemic. Or, people might be looking at a map that notes “safe neighborhood rides” that the Greenways group encourages people to use as quiet streets but they are not officially proposed as upcoming Greenways routes.
Q: Are Stay Healthy Streets a Greenway on steroids and taking away from expanding the Greenways network? Why is “street closed” posted for Stay Healthy Streets but not Greenways? A: State law requires “street closed” designation for pedestrians to have right of way in street. These efforts are happening nationally but our local regulations are different than places that are able to just post “local access only.” State legislative agenda may address this at some point, so that civil/traffic engineers aren’t by default prioritizing cars over people walking and biking.
Q: Will Stay Healthy Streets program reduce outreach and development for Neighborhood Greenways? A: SDOT is not planning to. They are still trying to figure out source of funding for Stay Healthy Streets becoming permanent. Funded via Move Seattle Levy, ending in 2024. Up until now, SHS funded via federal coronavirus funding.
Q: Is there overlap with Safe Routes to School? A: Yes. New sidewalks and crossing improvements often partnered between efforts. Community collaboration. Ballard 17th Greenway connects up to Whitman Middle School, for example. Another example: new traffic signal crossing on Holman Road to Dick’s (many students like to cross here).