Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn held a town hall meeting at the Southwest Teen Life Center in West Seattle on Aug. 28.
Mayor Mcginn responds to West Seattle concerns
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn held a town hall meeting with West Seattle residents on Aug. 28 to answer a multitude of questions.
McGinn opened the meeting with a summary of Seattle’s economic situation, saying our city is leading the state in job creation, but still sits at 6.5 percent unemployment, meaning “there is a lot more work to be done,” in the form of job training and working with businesses to understand their needs.
Here are some highlights:
Salaries and library closures
An attendee representing Stand Up America asked that McGinn consider lowering his salary in the face of serious budget cuts and the current weeklong library closure. McGinn responded, on the library front, that closures should not occur in the future since Seattle voters passed the library levy in the most recent election.
“I do make a good salary … and I work pretty hard,” McGinn said, adding that he donates $10,000 a year to Seattle charities, chosen by his wife and children.
“I love this job, I’d do it for free,” he continued. “If the city council wants to change my salary, they can go ahead and do that.”
Delridge Way S.W. “boulevard”
Mat McBride with the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council asked the Mayor to consider embracing “the tremendous possibility” of improving the Delridge thoroughfare with wider sidewalks, more green spaces, better lighting and transit stops near business hubs to give it more of a “boulevard” feel.
Plans are currently in the works to rechannelize Delridge.
McGinn said the idea was “intriguing” and recommended Delridge community members and city officials from his office and SDOT meet up to discuss what might be possible. Marshal Foster with Seattle’s Planning and Development dept. said he was in discussion with the Office of Economic Development regarding Delridge Way improvements and that, while planning can be done now, actual improvements would not happen until 2013 at the earliest.
FAA flight path changes could mean more noise over West Seattle
Tony Fragada from the Alki Community Council asked if the city is actively monitoring the FAA’s Greener Skies plan to alter flight paths into SeaTac. The proposed plan will bring more air traffic near the Duwamish Head, and possibly creating more noise for Alki and other areas in West Seattle, Fragada said.
McGinn said he is familiar with the plan that claims a smoother descent will make for less noise (along with less fuel use) and has heard concerns from several Seattle neighborhoods.
With the possibility of “potential winners and losers” with the Green Skies plan, he said, “what I’m hearing is we really need to have the city involved,” adding (although the FAA makes the final decision) he will work towards a city position on the plan.
RapidRide lanes taking away car lanes
A woman asked the Mayor why car lanes have been removed to make room for RapidRide-only lanes along Alaska Way (King County Metro’s RapidRide service starts Sept. 29, with the C Line servicing West Seattle, SODO and downtown Seattle).
McGinn responded with statistics, saying data taken over the last ten years indicates driving has dropped seven percent in Seattle as people opt for alternative modes – from biking to walking to taking a bus.
Faced with the reality that there isn’t much space in Seattle to expand roads to handle more cars, the city has to look at more efficient options for getting people in and out of the downtown core. He said RapidRide bus service is a step in that direction.