WWRHAH meeting covered a lot of ground

information from the Westwood/Roxhill/Arbor Heights Community Council

Here are the notes from our January 7, 2014 meeting! We had 15 people in attendance, and plenty of room and chairs to spare in the upstairs room at the SW Branch of the Seattle Library on 35th & Henderson, if you want to come in February. The meeting was from 6:15pm to 7:45pm.

We need more volunteers for projects around Roxhill Park!

If you are unable to join us in person you can join us at Facebook, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WWRHAH

Introductions & Community News:

30th Ave sidewalk construction
30th Ave sidewalk construction

We had a lot of brief community news items this month.

30th Ave SW construction: the sidewalk from Roxbury south to 97th is finally underway for being built.
SDOT has work orders in to fix the “depression” on 30th between Barton & Cambridge. This was the breakage caused during the few months of bus re-routing onto 30th last year, and had gotten worse over time.
Richard Miller told us about the West Seattle Crime Prevention Council’s upcoming schedule: Ann Grays from Animal Control will be the guest on January 21st at 7pm at the SW Seattle Police Precint’s offices on Delridge, next to Home Depot. The next meeting afterward is February 18th, and their guest is a City Court judge answering questions then.

Khsama Sawant is having a $15/hour rally is next Sunday, January 12th, at 2pm at the Seattle Labor Temple at 2800 1st Avenue, between Broad and Clay streets.
Don Brubeck of wants to organize a community event or action/march over the issues surrounding 35th Ave SW and the recent unfortunate death of an elderly gentleman after he was hit by a car last month crossing at 35th & Graham. You can contact West Seattle Bike Connections at their site: http://westseattlebikeconnections.org

Mat McBride, Chair of the Delridge District Council, told us about items coming up at the next DNDC meeting:

Sustainability Ambassadors has grants available for community interactions and partnerships with schools and other groups, and will be presenting next week at the Delridge District Council meeting at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.
The Department of Planning and Development will be presenting and doing a Q&A.
Parks Legacy Funding will be talked about. More grant money possibilities.
District Council boundaries will be discussed, and whether or not they should be reviewed. WWRHAH (so far) has not taken a stance on this but will be discussing it’s pros and cons in our February meeting to stake out our position. This has direct impacts on representational power and authority of the community to city government.

Review By-Laws; upcoming elections:

We went through them, and nothing special came up yet. Feedback will be open on them still until February when we vote to adopt or not as-is. Officer nominations and/or declarations are to be done by March 2014, with elections in May 2014, for one year terms. Our current leadership team is the following (elected positions in bold):

Chair: Amanda Kay Helmick (Westwood)
Co-chair: Eric Iwamoto (Arbor Heights)
Secretary: Joe Szilagyi (Arbor Heights)
Treasurer: Open
District Rep to the Delridge District Council: Pablo Lambinicio (Westwood)
District Rep to the Southwest District Council: Iwamoto and Rory Denovan (Arbor Heights)
Representatives to the West Seattle Transportation Coalition: Helmick and Szilagyi
If you’re interested, please come to the next meetings. We have no limits on positions and are more than happy to have a co-Secretary, for example, if you have time to spare (and the Secretary would likely appreciate the help).

Infrastructure Committee news:

Lots of items tonight here–more than usual.

Roxbury Safety Study

All the studies are done. SDOT has met with both King County Metro and their King County DOT peers several times now. They came up with an extensive list of minor to moderate modifications along the length of Roxbury from 35th all the way east to Olson & 4th that they believe can improve the flow of traffic, bring speeders in line with the posted legal speed limits, and significantly improve the safety of the arterial corridor. SDOT has not heavily detailed the solutions to us, but they emphasized that compared to other arterials, the work on Roxbury shouldn’t be particularly difficult or invasive, and would utilize simpler solutions.

SDOT will run outreach programs to White Center, Arbor Heights, Westwood, Roxhill, North Highline, Highland Park, including at least two public feedback meetings, one in the day and one in the evening, and will run outreach booths at the Roxbury Safeway. The public meetings will be coming in the February to March time frame, at locations and times to be determined.

Additional good news to come out of this: the missing link of the Roxbury sidewalk across the street from Roxhill Elementary School, on the south side of Roxbury between 30th and 27th, is in the process of being funded via a grant with the County. For the first time in as far as most people seem to be able to remember, Roxbury will have continuous sidewalks.

At this point, WWRHAH, HPAC, and NHUAC aside from providing additional feedback are done, and this is fully an SDOT operation now.

35th Avenue SW Safety Study

We are going to approach other community groups up the length of 35th Ave SW to request a very similar safety study on 35th Ave SW. We are going to engage multiple groups in a similar fashion to what we did with Roxbury (banding together WWRHAH, HPAC, and NHUAC), but on an even broader scale with more groups, institutions, and businesses into a coalition for the project. Right now, this is all extremely preliminary and we have requested various details from SDOT on conditions related to 35th Ave SW. No one should expect any sort of traffic-impacting work (if it were to happen) anytime in 2014 here.

Westwood Village Traffic Safety Tour:

Amanda Kay Helmick ran the meeting through an overview of the tour we took around Westwood Village with various agencies.

Here are some additional notes:

King County has claimed to Scott Blackstock that they haven’t received a report related to the park in 7 months. SPD has constant ongoing reports.
Metro said they cannot use 29th west of Westwood Village for bus layovers without SDOT permission.
Metro said Trenton may be a possible layover location for overflow buses, so that they don’t need to be stuffed into one block.
25th’s bus layover design, on the east side of Westwood Village, is terrible by the county’s admission and needs to be redone.
One possible quick fix is to push all the layover buses on 25th further back toward Staples.
The exit and traffic flow design of Westwood all around the facility needs revision; there are numerous sightline issues.
Henderson & 25th needs a 4-way light, full stop. While we were there most officials seemed mortified at the state of the exit and crosswalk here.
Metro had no immediate solutions or suggestions to the “Wall of Buses” on Barton in front of Roxhill Park. By their admission, this is one of the tougher issues to sort out here.
Metro will NOT get rid of the “Bus Bulb” at the terminal stop. There are Federal requirements for this related to Rapid Ride funding.
The cross walk from the Rapid Ride stop into Westwood Village needs massive illumination upgrades and improvements for safety.
One King County Sheriff claimed we cannot upgrade lighting in the immediate area of the Rapid Ride stop without major capital costs (multi-million dollars plus) to improve electrical throughput to the Westwood area. We’re going to follow up with City Light about this.
SDOT and Metro are together working on solutions and promised a response and possible solutions by the end of January 2014 to WWRHAH.

Roxhill Park:

As usual, we had lots of discussion about Roxhill Park.

Hydrating the bog on the east side of the park.

We’ve made substantially more progress in discussions (covered heavily in previous meeting notes) of the work that would be needed to rehydrate the bog, which should have a half a foot of cold, slow moving water in it as part of Longfellow Creek. We are going to from a Hydration Subcomittee with various stakeholders who will work toward this. The next steps are to identify every group or agency that may play a role or be required to play a role here, and them move toward an environmental study to identify what previous work or maintenance caused the bog to drain out, and what can be done to fix it.

If you are interested in this—it will be an email address with all members and likely some fairly technical ecological discussions and planning around those lines—send an email to contact@wwrhah.org.

Recreational improvements on the west wide of the park

We’ve narrowed down (a bit more) the ideas for additional recreational enhancements to the park—do we want to find room for an add a public basketball court, by the Skate Park, for example? Having a nice basketball facility right near the bus terminal will work to draw even more people to Roxhill Park. On a good weekend day, when soccer is on, we could have multiple hundreds of people in the park routinely.

For this work, we’re going to create a dedicated Roxhill Park Subcommittee. If you are interested, this would be some research, some planning, narrowing down of ideas, and probably a trip or two over to the park as a group on the weekend to look around, bounce ideas, maybe take measurements, and then write some grant applications. If you are interested, send an email to contact@wwrhah.org.

Educational programs at the park for ecology and volunteering

In addition to the ecological work of rehydrating the bog and improving again the recreational facilities to bring more people into the park, we want to create a service and educational program for students at our nearby elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools around the bog. The bog is the only publically accessible bog in the region, and perhaps beyond. The rough idea would be a 60 to 120 minute program depending on the age groups, as an example, with a mixture of education and exploration for the younger children. For the older kids, who have service hours obligations to graduate from high school, part of that would be fulfilled by helping to clean up Roxhill Park after the educational component was done.

If you are interested in working on this, again – send an email to contact@wwrhah.org.

Lighting in our neighborhoods:

The last item, because we don’t have enough coals in enough ovens: lighting. We resumed an old conversation from the spring of 2013 about lighting levels in our neighborhoods in general, on city streets. In short, there are defined standards. In the shortest terms, light poles should not be more than a certain distance from each other. It’s a bit of an open joke that the further southwest you get, the darker the streets get. We are going to work with City Light to see what we can do about this, researching it over the next few months. If you think the street lighting levels are too low or unsafe in your neighborhood, email us and tell us.

Important Reminder – West Seattle Transportation Coalition event next week:

WWRHAH, a member of the WSTC, would like to remind you to come to Youngstown Cultural Arts Center on January 14th by 6:30pm, next Tuesday. The WSTC will be hosting a Q&A Panel with guests:

Charles Knutson, Senior Policy Advisor to Washington State Governor Jay Inslee.
Chris Arkills, Transportation Policy Advisor to King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Andrew Glass Hastings, Transit and Transportation Advisor to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.
Tom Rasmussen, Seattle City Councilmember and Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee.
We will be discussing all of West Seattle’s major transportation issues and what can be done about them. Click here for the Facebook meeting event.

Next WWRHAH meeting, February:

Tuesday, February 4th, 6:15pm to 7:45pm, at the SW Branch of the Seattle Public Library at 35th SW & Henderson, upstairs. See you there–the meetings are quick (and quickly over!), brisk and lively. We actually did manage to cover every single topic listed here in 90 minutes.

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