The RBCA Land Use Committee is hosting a public meeting Thursday to preview several development proposals along 25th Ave NE at U Village and Travelodge sites. Specifically, you will hear from University Village, Greystar (developer for the Travelodge site), and Phoenix (developer for a new residential project behind the Travelodge site.) The goal of the meeting is to provide community members with a holistic view of proposed development slated for 25th Ave NE on these several blocks. We would like to hear from the community, so come give your feedback at the meeting or leave a comment after this post and learn about the changes happening in our neighborhood.
Concerned with University Village’s initial design proposal for a new garage along 25th Avenue NE, the RBCA board provided comments to the Seattle Design Review Board in December.
In a follow-up memo, the Design Review Board provided the following guidance to University Village.
1. Theme: Enlivening and Enhancing 25th Avenue NE
a. Ground level retail uses and enhancement of the pedestrian experience along 25th Avenue NE are the primary issues concerning the proposal.
b. UVillage has a proven track record in creating pedestrian experiences within the village and should be able to successfully create a viable pedestrian edge experience along 25th Avenue NE as well.
c. Traditional retail along the entire length of the west façade would likely not be viable, but some kinds of micro-retail could be — and the Board would be supportive of granting departures (e.g. shortened required depth) to help make it work.
d. Landscaping alone does not seem to be enough to overcome a less than enlivening pedestrian experience along this stretch of sidewalk.
e. One, two or three strategically designed retail spaces (connected to the bus stop and pedestrian entry/exit, for instance) might do the job; landscaping would not appear to be enough to enliven this long stretch of sidewalk.
f. Although, if the ground level is amazing, a boring upper can be forgiven, the design team was encouraged to explore further architectural expression of the upper levels as they related to the modern form of the building.
2. Theme: An Inviting Pedestrian Walkway through the Garage
a. This was a critical element for a successful overall design.
b. As shown, the elevators at the end of the pedestrian entry from 25th appeared to provide a wall rather than an invitation through the space. There needs to be something more exciting (and maybe more light and transparency) at the end of the walkway.
c. Provide clear wayfaring directions at the end of the passage.
3. Theme: Don’t Ignore Treatments of the North and South Faces of Garage
a. The cantilever along the north face a “missed opportunity” as shown.
b. The northwest corner needs more attention due to its visibility.
c. The “terracing” of the south face, as an acknowledgement to the new RH building, needs to be more explicit and convincing.
RBCA will continue to monitor the project and provide additional feedback, if needed. A pedestrian-friendly and safe neighborhood is important especially as our community continues to grow.
Sound Transit and the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association invite community members to an open house to discuss future development at the Roosevelt light rail station construction site. The open house will take place January 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Roosevelt High School commons, 1410 NE 66th Street.
As the Roosevelt Station takes shape, the area used for construction adjacent to the future station will become available for transit oriented development (TOD). TOD usually involves a mix of housing and commercial uses that support the transit facility. Combining housing and commercial activity, clustered around and adjacent to the transit station, will make it easier for people to get around via transit, support local businesses, and contribute to neighborhood growth, making Roosevelt a better place to live, work, and spend time.
Sound Transit and the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association are eager to hear from community members. This meeting is an opportunity to comment on the type of housing, community amenities, and urban design features to be included in the future development of the site. To submit questions or comments to Sound Transit: RooseveltTOD@soundtransit.org or 206-398-5300.
Two Ravenna-Bryant Community Association board members attended the December 19 Seattle Design Review Board meeting to provide comments about University Village’s plan to build 100,000 square feet of commercial space and 915 parking spaces in a new garage. Comments were also shared with the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections through the following letter.
December 19, 2016
Dear Mr. Dorcy,
The letter provides feedback on University Village’s western garage and retail expansion project on behalf of the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA). Our primary concern is the size and scale of proposed western parking garage along 25th Avenue, and its potential impacts on street character and transportation. We are concerned about the impact of an approximately 350’ long garage along 25th with no retail frontage or any activation of any type along the street. The garage is also proposed to be seven (7) stories tall, which will shadow the street in the mornings, but with enough façade treatments (similar to the south garage), the visual impacts can hopefully be mitigated to some extent. We are also concerned that the elimination of the private drive (“47th Street”) will have traffic impacts that need to be mitigated and that the garage will further contribute to the light pollution. Our comments are summarized below, by category.
25th Avenue Streetscape
The western garage is the third large scale-parking garage proposed to be constructed on the property. The prior two have earned mixed reviews that are worth noting for context.
The northern garage turns its back (a 70-foot tall, 400-foot long CMU wall) to the neighborhood to the north, with only a modicum of attempt to screen the facility. There is no access through the garage for pedestrians arriving from 27th avenue to the north, so pedestrians must detour around this visually unappealing barrier to the mall.
The southern garage is visually appealing from the mall and the façade treatment when viewed from Montlake Boulevard from the south is fairly attractive for a giant parking garage. However, once again, there is little consideration for pedestrians arriving from the south (and from bus routes along Montlake). There should be a pedestrian entrance from the south the connects to the parking garage lobby, but instead there is only a small path around the structure to the west and no connecting pedestrian facilities connecting to the mall around the east side.
For this third garage, we hope that University Village will do more to provide physical connections to engage the neighborhood, but, at present, we believe that the structure will add a third barrier to the surrounding neighborhood. We appreciate that there is at least a pedestrian walkway planned through the building at the ground floor (across several lanes of ingress/egress traffic, however), but the overall plan once again focuses all the creative design inward and almost none outward. We hope that the Design Review Board will guide the design towards neighborhood engagement and creating a more vibrant 25th Avenue corridor. While this portion of 25th is not designated as a “Pedestrian” zone, we believe is seems reasonable for a major retail center adjacent to the state’s flagship university, and within biking distance of light rail, and located in a city purporting to seek carbon neutrality, to do more to encourage walking and biking. We believe that a thoughtful ground level design could create at least some retail and a generous pedestrian connection through the structure.
The Preferred Option eliminates the private street access know as 47th Street, which is replaced with an entrance to the parking garage. In concept, this takes cars directly from the arterial to the parking. This simplifies the internal circulation and could, theoretically reduce traffic internal to U-Village. However, drivers seeking to drop off or pick up shoppers, or access the QFC lot for easier access to the both QFC and U Village, will have only 49th Street as an option. This may create both a left hand turning queue from the north and a right-hand turn queue from the south. This will: 1) aggravate the dangerous situation that already exists with the adjacent curb cuts (49th and the Office Max access drive) and 2) combine with the planned monolithic western garage in further discouraging pedestrians from using 25th and taking some cars off the road. We would like for the project to study ways to improve the safety of turning movements to and from 25th to mitigate impact to pedestrians in support City goals for pedestrian safety. Second, we request that transportation mitigation funds from this expansion project be used to support pedestrian and bike access from adjacent neighborhoods that should be well within a walkshed for a major retail center but are not well utilized due to poor connections:
No sidewalks along streets like 50th and interrupted sidewalks along Blakely
Marginal pedestrian connections along Union Bay Place
No pedestrian connection to cross new main through access point at 49th.
Poor bike connection between the Burke Gilman trail and University Village from approximately Pend Oreille Road
No bike connection from the Burke Gilman east of the mall to along approximately 47th Street
We appreciate the Design Review Board’s Consideration. The RBCA Board would be happy to meet and discuss this matter further with the City of Seattle and the applicant, as possible.
A year ago, the RBCA board of directors adopted a vision statement: Ravenna-Bryant is a welcoming, thriving, safe, diverse, and connected neighborhood. This statement of shared values now guides the work we do. When the RBCA board considers actions, we ask ourselves if what is being considered will contribute to our vision. Our neighborhood is growing, with many changes coming in the next few years. It’s important that no matter how each of us feels about these changes, we look for the common ground of our shared vision.
Annual meeting: In the spring, RBCA hosts an annual membership meeting. (Anyone who lives or works in the Ravenna and Bryant neighborhoods is a member.) In May, RBCA’s annual meeting focused on the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, known as HALA. Other organizations, including the Seattle Department of Transportation, the University of Washington, and Seattle Parks and Recreation, were on hand to provide information and answer questions. The main presentation was about HALA’s Mandatory Housing Affordability policy and most of the concerns expressed by our neighbors were about maintaining and establishing affordable housing in Ravenna-Bryant.
Support for housing levy: Listening to what we heard from community members who participated in the annual meeting, the RBCA board voted to endorse the renewal and expansion of the Seattle Housing Levy. RBCA was the first neighborhood association in Seattle to publicly support the levy.
Mobility survey: During most community meetings about changes to our neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods, conversations often include issues about parking, motor vehicle traffic, and pedestrian and biker safety. To develop a plan for addressing the most pressing mobility-related issues in Ravenna-Bryant, the RBCA board conducted an online survey to supplement comments collected during meetings and informal conversations with neighbors.
Results were used to develop a Mobility Safety Action Plan. While many mobility safety issues impact all of us, with limited resources RBCA chose those which are of most concern to people. Pedestrian safety, especially along NE 65th Street, was the most commonly identified problem. Speeding motor vehicles on all of our arterial roads was a common complaint expressed by neighbors who drive, bike, and walk.
Throughout the rest of the year, the #Fix65th coalition advocated for funding for a study through Twitter, testimony before the City Council’s Transportation Committee, and meetings with District 4 Councilmember Rob Johnson. In December, CM Johnson announced that our message was heard and funding for a study of NE 65th Street is included in the 2017 city budget!
Re-activated Emergency Preparedness Committee: After several years on hiatus, a new RBCA board member re-activated the RBCA’s committee focusing on emergency preparedness. The committee is sending out “A Task A Month” emails to community members through the RBCA email list encouraging everyone to be ready for a natural disaster.
Advocacy for NE 50th Street sidewalks: Considering the street provides a connection between Ravenna-Bryant and University Village, no sidewalks along NE 50th Street south of the cemetery makes it dangerous for pedestrians. A long-standing RBCA project, advocacy efforts paid off when U-Village asked SDOT to earmark mitigation dollars (associated with building the new space for Restoration Hardware) to go toward sidewalks on NE 50th Street. However, SDOT estimated that the funds would only cover half of the costs for putting in a sidewalk between 30th and 35th Avenues NE.
University Village design review comments: University Village released expansion plans which include a large parking garage on 25th Avenue NE. RBCA board members attended the December design review board meeting and asked that the building include outward-facing (toward 25th Avenue) retail to create a more pedestrian-friendly and engaging environment. With the University of Washington planning more student housing north of U-Village and developing the parking lots south of U-Village, and with light rail a mile from the mall, people walking through the area will increase in the near future. This will especially be true as motor vehicle traffic on Montlake becomes increasingly congested.
RBCA board membership: In 2016, we added 3 neighbors to the RBCA board. Our board membership is now at 14, just shy of the 15 spots available.
The RBCA board is looking forward to another year filled with activities to make our vision a reality.
More opportunities to become prepared for an emergency: The Emergency Preparedness Committee is currently planning to host community meetings the third Tuesday of January, February, and March about preparing a block, many blocks, and our region for a natural disaster. On April 18, the RBCA annual meeting will focus on emergency preparedness.
Continued implementation of the Mobility Safety Action Plan: RBCA will continue to partner with RNA and NE Seattle Greenways to educate community members about safety improvements and advocate for road design changes proven to reduce collisions that hurt drivers, bikers, and walkers. We will continue to advocate for sidewalks where there are none.
Improved RBCA operations: Two task forces were formed in December to review and update bylaws and to develop a formal community outreach plan. Both task forces have an overarching goal of increasing contributions of people who bring diverse points of view to discussions and actions.
Continued forum for land use changes: As land use policies change in Seattle, RBCA will continue to monitor and educate neighbors about the ones affecting Ravenna-Bryant. We will continue to provide public comment about projects that impact our community.
A note about changes to the Department of Neighborhoods outreach activities: This past year was a somewhat tumultuous one for some neighborhood-based groups. The Mayor issued an executive order changing financial and staffing support that used to only support district councils, including the NE District Council. While RBCA is a member of the NE District Council, we are not losing funding (we did not receive any) and we will continue to reach out to and work with City staff, when needed, as we always have.
An open invitation to all Ravenna-Bryant community members: RBCA activities reflect individual board member’s interests. For example, in 2016 the Emergency Preparedness Committee came out of hiatus because a new board member is interested in the topic. Another board member is passionate about making NE 65th Street a safer place for everyone and, therefore, we partnered with other organizations to form the #Fix65th Coalition. RBCA is always looking for people who are passionate about making a positive impact. If you want to work toward the realization of the RBCA vision, please consider participating in an upcoming board meeting and working with others who want to, as well! We meet the first Tuesday of every month except August, 6:30 p.m., at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center. Please join us!
The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association (RNA) is hosting, and RBCA is co-facilitating, a community-driven workshop to discuss the City of Seattle’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA).The Meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. at the Calvary Christian Church at 6801 Roosevelt Way.The meeting will primarily on proposed land use changes within and around the Roosevelt Urban Village, which includes a portion of the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood east of 15th Avenue NE. In addition, the meeting will address other aspects of HALA that address housing affordability in both neighborhoods.
Goals for the meeting are to:
·Bring members of the Roosevelt and Ravenna-Bryant neighborhoods together to develop awareness of the City of Seattle HALA Report.
·Provide an opportunity for these neighbors to provide feedback on issues that are important in the Roosevelt and Ravenna-Bryant neighborhoods regarding HALA & potential zoning changes and solicit constructive ideas from the community.
A message from the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project:
We would like to invite you to join the next West Approach Bridge North (WABN) monthly public meeting on December 7. Along with updates about current and upcoming WABN construction activities, we will also provide a presentation and opportunity to learn more about the next phase of SR 520 construction, known as the Montlake Phase. This phase is scheduled to begin in 2018 and includes the Montlake lid and land bridge.
Date: Wednesday, December 7
Time: 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Location: Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Drive E
A 45-day comment period ends November 21. If you’d like to comment, please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Comments may also be mailed to: Julie Blakeslee, Environmental and Land Use Planner, Capital Planning & Development, Box 352205, Seattle, WA 98195-2205.
In approving the master plan, our city council has a quasi-judicial role such that they are not to talk about the plan or the EIS. If they do enter into a conversation with the public, they may be required to recuse themselves from the proceedings. It is strongly advised you do not go to the city council with questions or comments but comment using the information provided above. Be specific in your comments citing the page, document, and section to which your comments pertain.
August 2 is the primary election and at the end of your ballot is Proposition 1, which will renew and expand the expiring Seattle Housing Levy. The RBCA board of directors endorsed this important affordable housing measure and we encourage you to vote YES when you mail in your ballot by August 2!
Seattle’s Housing Levy has a 35-year track record of success. It helped to produce and preserve of over 12,500 affordable rental homes for hospital workers, pre-school teachers, people working in retail and restaurants, and seniors and other people on fixed incomes, as well as supportive housing for people who are homeless. This new levy will produce or preserve at least 2,150 units of affordable housing. These homes are maintained affordable for at least 50 years after production ensuring our neighborhoods are affordable to all people who make our communities strong.
Since 2002, Seattle’s Housing Levy has also provided emergency rental assistance to 6,500 families, with additional services to help these families regain stability and avoid homelessness. It’s critical that we prevent homelessness before it starts and this new levy will provide emergency rental assistance for thousands more households.
The Mayor, all nine Seattle City Council members, and affordable housing advocates agree: expanding the levy is the right thing to do. That means hundreds of additional affordable homes for low-income seniors, people with disabilities, lower-wage workers and families with children.
Click here for a fact sheet outlining all the investment programs this Levy will support.
This new levy will cost the owner of a typical $480,000 home only $5 more per month.
Ballots were mailed yesterday. When you vote, remember to go to the end of the ballot and vote YES for Proposition 1, Seattle’s Housing Levy! Be sure to mail in or drop off your ballot by August 2 so Seattle can take a major step forward in addressing our housing affordability crisis by providing affordable homes for thousands of our fellow Seattleites!
During RBCA’s annual meeting in May, many Ravenna-Bryant neighbors said that they would like to see more affordable housing options in our community as the City starts implementing plans for increasing housing availability throughout Seattle. With rents rising and houses being sold for over asking prices, Ravenna-Bryant needs housing that is affordable for all.
On July 14 at noon, people can “lunch & learn” at City Hall about Seattle’s Equitable Development Implementation Plan. This joint meeting with the Land Use & Zoning Committee and Civil Rights, Utilities, Economic Development & Arts Committee will include a discussion of solutions to create access to opportunity in communities most impacted by the threat of displacement. The Equitable Development Implementation Plan also includes policies that would ensure increased affordable housing and housing assistance in high opportunity neighborhoods, like Ravenna-Bryant.
The Plan is part of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan update which includes many land use and related policy proposals to guide our city’s growth through 2035. There are many chances for citizens to learn more and to weigh in on proposals. Visit Seattle 2035 to find out when and where they are. Don’t have time to attend meetings? Weigh in online!
The RBCA board of directors meets Tuesday, July 5, 6:30 p.m., at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center playground. (The community center building will be closed. In case of rain, we will meet at Harissa.) The board does not meet in August.
Board meetings are open to the public. Everyone is welcome!
6:30 Welcome & Introductions
6:35 Board Reports
Secretary’s Report: Minutes
Land Use Committee Report
In Motion event
#Fix65th Safety Walk
7:05 Sameer Ranade, candidate State Rep for 43rd District
7:10 Learning more about proposed land use changes
Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA)
Policies for discussion during future board meetings
Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA), part of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), was discussed during the May RBCA annual meeting and during this week’s RBCA board meeting. On Tuesday, June 21 at 9:30 a.m., the City Council will hold a public hearing about MHA for residential development.
Under the MHA-R program, new multi-family residential development would be required to provide affordable units (performance) or make an in-lieu payment. The MHA-R program will be implemented as increases in residential development capacity are approved. Among other things, the proposed ordinance would:
·Establish the Council’s intent as to implementation of the MHA-R program;
·Establish the applicability of and exemptions from the program;
·Establish requirements for units provided through performance; and
·Establish procedures for seeking modifications to program requirements.
Written Comments may be sent to: Councilmember Rob Johnson, Legislative Department, 600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2, P.O. Box 34025, Seattle, WA 98124-4025 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments should be received by Monday, June 20 at 12 p.m.
The Seattle City Council is considering amendments to the Seattle Comprehensive Plan and the City’s Land Use Code to implement the Mayor’s Recommended Comprehensive Plan, known as Seattle 2035. The proposed amendments are available at 2035.seattle.gov or seattle.legistar.com (search for Council Bill 118683). The Comprehensive Plan guides land use throughout Seattle.
The Mayor’s Recommended Plan proposes to significantly rewrite the Seattle Comprehensive Plan. Some of the changes proposed are:
Include a growth strategy to distribute the City’s share of growth allocated by the King County Growth Management Planning Council, which is 70,000 new housing units and 115,000 new jobs by 2035 by allocating growth estimates to urban villages throughout the City. The recommended growth strategy calls for continued growth in urban centers and urban villages with particular emphasis on centers and the villages with very good transit service.
Emphasize Race and Social Equity as a core value of the Comprehensive Plan, implementing Resolution 31577.
Change the way urban centers and urban villages are depicted on the Future Land Use Map, identify a potential future urban village at N. 130th Street at Interstate 5 and allow for potential future expansions of urban villages near frequent transit.
Identify appropriate scales and densities within different types expected in each category of urban center and village.
Add a section about transportation safety.
Add policies supporting fair housing and seeking to overcome historic patterns of segregation.
Create a new Parks and Open Space Element. Remove numeric goals for open space amenities. Recognize the importance of public open spaces that are not City-owned parks.
Simplify the Neighborhood Planning element, removing policies that specify how neighborhood plans should be prepared. No changes are proposed to any neighborhood plan.
Additional information regarding the scope of changes and a comparison of the existing and proposed Comprehensive Plan is available in the “Directors Report” available at 2035.seattle.gov.
The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Zoning (PLUZ) Committee will hold a public hearing to take comments on the Mayor’s Recommended Plan on June 27, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. The hearing will be held in the Seattle City Council Chambers at City Hall: 600 Fourth Avenue, 2nd Floor, Seattle, WA 98104.
For those who wish to testify, sign-up sheets will be available outside of Council Chambers starting at 5:30 p.m. Childcare will be provided.
Written comments on the proposal will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on June 27. Please send comments to Amy Gore in Councilmember Rob Johnson’s office via e-mail at: email@example.com.
How equitable is Seattle right now? When developing the drafted Comprehensive Plan update, access to opportunity was considered in all areas of our city. Access to opportunity includes things that contribute to social, economic, and physical well-being. As is shown in the map below, the Ravenna-Bryant neighborhood is identified as a neighborhood that has average to high access to opportunity.
The May 3 committee meeting presentation indicates that the City’s equity goals include increasing opportunity in neighborhoods that are currently considered areas of low opportunity and increasing housing choices in neighborhoods currently considered areas of high opportunity.
A recent article in the Seattle Times reports that living in a low income community is among the aspects of poverty that are particularly damaging and can be addressed by public policy. In addition to addressing low family income and poor education, which are also among the aspects identified, local policy can impact where people live.
The roots of current equity disparities in our city may be found when reviewing local history that included severe segregation policies. For instance, from the 1910s through the 1960s, many Seattle neighborhoods, including Ravenna-Bryant, practiced overt racial exclusion through land use covenants. To this day, communities are still working to right the wrongs of the past and create equity throughout the city. Now that we are coming to terms with past policies that created segregation and contributed to poverty, and now that we can identify the factors contributing to continued poverty, we have the opportunity to establish new policies that can reduce disparities and increase equity in our city.
The Seattle City Council yesterday unanimously voted to include a $290 million Housing Levy on the August 2, 2016 Primary Election ballot. The levy proposal focuses on increasing affordable housing production and preservation, supporting homelessness prevention, and fostering home ownership for low-income residents.
The levy is part of the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) which will be the focus of RBCA’s upcoming annual meeting. Join us and learn more about the levy and other HALA policy proposals.
Most Ravenna-Bryant residents are comfortable with more development along NE 65th Street, according to a 2013 survey conducted by RBCA. Will the Mayor’s Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda (HALA) set the stage for increased development on NE 65th Street? Attend the RBCA’s annual meeting and find out.
Of the 610 residents who took the survey, most agreed that traffic congestion is their biggest concern. People also agreed that the community needs better pedestrian and bike safety features; to work with developers to ensure neighborhood-friendly development; and ensure parking spaces are included with property development. Many people who reported being comfortable with more development stated that they want to discourage automobile usage while people who reported not being comfortable with more development were more likely to be concerned with the loss of parking.
The biggest concerns among the 64% of Ravenna-Bryant residents who indicated that they are comfortable with more development were:
Pedestrian and bike safety
Driving should not be encouraged.
Need to cater to modes of transportation other than cars
Limit parking so people will choose other modes of getting around.
Need for bike lanes/walking amenities/better streetscape
Yesterday, Mayor Ed Murray unveiled his proposal to enact a residential Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA-R) program which will require that new multifamily residential development in Seattle contribute to affordable housing, either with affordable homes in the building or payments to help construct them throughout the city.
This map shows the areas in north Seattle to which the program could apply, including the area around University Village and NE 55th Street. (See our previous post about NE 55th Street for information about how it is zoned.)
HALA contains many policy proposals, including MHA-R. Community members are invited to learn more about HALA and other land use issues affecting Ravenna-Bryant during our upcoming annual meeting. City staff will be on hand to discuss HALA policies and answer your questions.