Junction members discuss HALA, preserving parking and new open space at quarterly JuNO meeting
By Gwen Davis
Tuesday night’s JuNO meeting was full of information and energy.
Rich Koehler of the JuNO land use committee, gave an update on HALA/MHA, the city’s affordable housing plans. Among other activities, the group met with King County Executive Dow Constantine, he said, who is sympathetic to the concerns of West Seattle and agrees the plans should be neighborhood-directed, as opposed to the city calling the shots.
“The other major activity is the amendments,” he said. “Our [neighborhood-oriented] amendment has passed through the first stage of the review. But the city’s amendments also simultaneously passed,” which would give Seattle power to determine the fate of the Junction, instead of the neighborhood itself.
On October 17, the Department of Neighborhoods will hold an open house about the amendments.
Jonathan Williams and Ruth Harper of SDOT told attendees about the West Seattle junction parking study, which is currently underway for commercial and residential areas.
Williams gave an update on studies he was conducting.
“We asked for an RPZ (residential parking zone),” he said. "We want to take a comprehensive look at parking trends.”
An RPZ was requested by the neighborhood as a way to ensure that residents will be able to park in front of their homes, even as the area becomes more dense due to business and housing increases.
"We are going to do three different types of parking studies: ground parking, commercial streets, and all-street lots,” Williams said.
SDOT will also put out surveys to get a sense of people’s parking habits.
“We’re collecting that data from those parking studies through the end of the year, and will have findings next year,” Williams told the group.
But even with the traffic studies and RPZ request, attendees were concerned about residents not being able to park in front of their own homes.
“Our goal was to make sure that when folks come home from work, they can park in front of their house,” an attendee said, obviously frustrated.
However, others tried to project optimism about SDOT’s parking studies.
“The data [from the studies] is going to be fantastic,” an attendee said. “They will help SDOT see where the [parking issues] take place. Regarding next steps after the study… we’ll deal with it.”
Karimah Edwards and Susanne Rockwell presented a timeline for a new park on 40th Ave. SW between Edmunds and Alaska Ave. SW.
"We have nearly two million dollars to develop this park,” Edwards said. "Right now we’re in planning stages -- we do not have a plan for this park, and have just started planning.”
The land was purchased in an effort to create more open space in West Seattle. The city is doing outreach to gather ideas for the park’s design through booths and surveys. Planning will be completed by 2018.
Odds ’n ends
JuNO members discussed opportunities to volunteer and give input for a neighborhood grant awarded to the WS Junction Association. The group was also addressed about democracy vouchers for the upcoming November election. JuNO is looking for volunteers to help staff a booth at the Harvest Fest on October 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The next JuNO meeting will be in January.