Celebrate PARK(ing) Day in Ravenna-Bryant Friday

Some of our Bryant and Ravenna neighbors are erecting PARK(ing) Day projects to make our streets safer tomorrow, Friday, September 18 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. These neighbors are parents of very young children who want to make their streets – and their neighborhoods – safer for their families and their community.

Winning designs from the first annual Seattle Neighborhood Greenways PARK(ing) Day Design Competition will be built this Friday. These are tactical urbanism projects – quick, inexpensive, and effective demonstrations of how streets can be safer for all of us. Projects celebrate safe streets for people.

Ravenna NE 65th & 20th NE. In Ravenna, Andres Salomon and his three-year-old son Atom are frequently out and about walking and biking in our community. Andres and his friends from NE Seattle Greenways will build a protected climbing lane for people who bike along NE 65th St between 20th Ave NE and 22nd Ave NE. Andres found that the sidewalk on this stretch of NE 65th was narrow, uneven, and often blocked by cars, while biking in the street felt very unsafe.

In support of PARKing Day projects, Zeeks Pizza is offering 15% off to anyone who mentions that they like the PARKing Day project in front of their restaurant.

PARKing Day 2015 B-G
Plans for the PARK(ing) Day event in Bryant.

Here is a link to the Ravenna project: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643210336540098560

Bryant Burke Gilman Trail & 40th NE. In Bryant, Kenneth Trease, father of two young children, and Jen Goldman, mother of three whose oldest is celebrating her sixth birthday on Friday, will build a protected crossing in a high conflict area for people who walk, bike and drive at 40th Ave NE and the Burke-Gilman Trail.

Jen says, “I am providing mini cupcakes to hand out. Sort of a shared birthday party for my daughter, who loves to bike and frequently crosses there. She is turning six on Friday. She is excited about the idea of getting a nicer spot to cross for her birthday!”

Here is a link to the Bryant project: https://twitter.com/NEGreenways/status/643212933208477697

PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers, and ordinary people improve streets and transform on-street parking spaces into temporary parks for a day. It is an official Seattle event, with all temporary improvements requiring approval from the city.

District 4 Neighborhood Issues Debate October 14

Save the date!

City Council District 4
NEIGHBORHOOD ISSUES DEBATE
with Candidates Rob Johnson and Michael Maddux

Wednesday, October 14, 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Chapel (4th Floor) at the Good Shepherd Center
4649 Sunnyside Ave. N (Wallingford)

Do you have neighborhood-specific questions that you would like the candidates to address? Submit questions for both candidates about your District 4 neighborhood by October 9 by writing it in the comments section below.

Summary of RNA LUA Session 1

The Roosevelt Neighborhood Association (RNA) is hosting a Land Use Academy (LUA) made up of a series of five community forums. The first in the series, Roosevelt 101, was held July 25, 2015. A video of the first meeting may be viewed below and on YouTube.

Former RNA board member Jim O’Halloran moderated the forum, starting by saying that the idea behind the RNA LUA is to “empower” the neighborhood, get everyone “on the same page,” and “have [our] voices heard.”  By the end of the LUC in Fall of 2015, he plans to produce some “statements” about the three main issues Roosevelt is dealing with these days; the Sisley properties, the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) at the Sound Transit Station, and the possibility of the Roosevelt reservoir being decommissioned.

The new Director of the Department of Neighborhoods, Kathy Nyland, spoke around minute 6:00.  She started by saying that she thinks the City could do a better job getting people educated and empowered about the issues affecting them in their neighborhoods.  She would like to make this information more relatable and understandable; she cares less about the outcome of the LUA and more about the process itself.

At around 21:00, the City’s Department of Planning and Development’s (DPD’s) Ryan Moore spoke about the big picture, the City’s Comprehensive Plan, and how that gets translated into how a community actually looks and feels.  Ryan said that there aren’t other neighborhoods in the City that deal with neighborhood planning at the level of sophistication that Roosevelt does.

Renee Davis, a member of the group from the 1990’s called “Tomorrow’s Roosevelt” spoke (starting at 28:00) about the effort they lead to get consensus on the direction the residents of Roosevelt hoped their neighborhood would take.  She said that after an extensive survey (all hand-delivered), the overwhelming majority of Roosevelt residents wanted the light rail station underground and near the business core.  They also identified that they wanted the density associated with the new station to be tiered; tall buildings shouldn’t buttress single family homes.  They wanted parks and open space as well.  Most folks thought the reservoir should be a park, pool, or community center-they were told it would be “capped.”

Ravenna neighborhood activist Barbara Warren spoke (57:00) about the process of putting together the update to the Roosevelt neighborhood plan.  Barbara, a retired affordable housing lawyer, said the overriding objective for the 2006 neighborhood plan update was to plan for the increased density and growth targets.  The 2006 update ended up exceeding the growth targets given by the City.  The committee identified neighborhood priorities, again, through surveys. Respondents asked to absorb the density while maintaining the mountain views from Roosevelt High School (RHS), provide a range of housing options, and preserve the architecture of the single family homes.  The 2007 announcement by Roosevelt Development Group (RDG) to put 16 stories in front of RHS whittled down to a 2011 contract rezone for 12 stories.  The contract rezone application was never finished, however, as a 2012 legislative rezone increased the zoning in front of RHS from 4 stories to 6 stories.

Jim O’Halloran gets into the details of the legislative rezone around 1:11.  After Mayor McGinn changed the zoning from 4 stories to 6 stories in front of RHS, a plan called the “Sustainable Livable Roosevelt Plan” or SLRP offered more density along I-5 in the form of MR (mid-rise zoning that is being developed now) in exchange for leaving the 40′ zoning on the “Fruit Stand Block.”  All 9 City Council members came to RHS one night in 2011 to hear about 400 people stand up and give comment.  He said that in the end, “things didn’t turn out our way,” but the legislative rezone did give concessions to the neighborhood in the form of further setbacks from the street and designated green streets on NE 66th from 15th to 8th and 66th to Ravenna Boulevard, making the rezone “easier to swallow.”

At around 1:21 into the video, RBCA’s Land Use Chair Sarah Swanberg adds that Ravenna residents got involved in the Roosevelt rezone because 65th and 15th is the gateway to Ravenna.  Sarah felt that it was hard to make an informed decision about whether 6 stories in front of RHS would actually block the view of the mountains but, in the end, the decisions were made by people who showed up at the meetings.  Ultimately, the City Council made the call to put 6 stories instead of 4 in front of RHS.

The second forum, Current Issues in Land Use Planning, will take place Saturday, September 19. Visit the RNA website for more information.

More crisis intervention services needed in north Seattle

A recent Seattle Times article, SPD report: Minimal force used in contacts with mentally ill, highlights the large number of crisis calls police respond to. During a 90-day period, the North Precinct reported responding to 699 crisis calls out of a City total of 2,464. The North Precinct is second only to the West Precinct (reporting 719 crisis calls), which includes downtown, when it comes to responding to crisis calls.

The article echoes a letter the North Precinct Advisory Council’s (NPAC) Social Services Committee sent to King County Councilmember Dembowski this summer requesting additional funding for the Mobile Crisis Team. Following is an excerpt:

This year, members of the Seattle Police North Precinct Advisory Council (NPAC) formed committees to focus on public safety issues of particular concern to north Seattle residents. We are members of the Social Services Committee and one of our goals is to increase services in north Seattle to address social and health-related problems that police are often called to address. We are particularly interested in increasing mental health services to help police when they receive calls from community members to address crisis issues like suicidality and drug abuse.

 We are writing to you today to thank you for your continued support of the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) program and to urge you to increase funding in the next budget for the Crisis Solution’s Center’s Mobile Crisis Team. The expansion of the Mobile Crisis Team’s services would allow police to link more people with needed support.

 In a 90-day period, more than 700 north Seattle calls to 911 are deemed crisis calls. Of those calls, more than a quarter are related to suicide. In most cases, people facing these types of crises can be served better by the Mobile Crisis Team instead of police.

Right now, when police call the Mobile Crisis Team, it can take them anywhere from about 30 minutes to four hours to respond to the crisis. The longer the response time, the more missed opportunities to serve our neighbors in need. To gain more service with faster response times, police need to call the Mobile Crisis Team more often so that their statistics reflect the need. However, if response times are up to four hours, police are less likely to call. This, in turn, means that call data kept by the Mobile Crisis Team may not reflect the true need in the north end. Increased availability of the Mobile Crisis Team would increase use of the program by police and would better serve people in crisis.

The North Precinct Advisory Council is a community organization devoted to promoting partnership between residents, schools, businesses, and the Seattle Police Department to effectively address public safety issues. NPAC members represent community associations and other groups located in the North Precinct. NPAC meets the first Wednesday of every month at North Seattle Community College. All meetings are open to the public.

Tips for keeping kids safe on their way to and from school

Bryant Elementary Waslking School BusOne of the most common public safety complaints made by Ravenna-Bryant neighbors is about pedestrian, bike, and traffic safety. With the start of a new school year upon us and less daylight, now is a good time to remember safety tips. Here are a few from SPD North Precinct Captain Sean O’Donnell, who attended schools in the Ravenna-Bryant area during his childhood.

For drivers

  • Abide by speed limits, especially when entering a school zone. Speeding in a school zone can result in a $214 ticket.
  • Watch for children entering the street from behind buses or running to catch a bus.
  • Drive slowly when approaching children riding bicycles and walking near the street.
  • Never pass or overtake a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk. A pedestrian is probably in the crosswalk. Doing so can result in a $136 ticket.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way at ALL intersections, whether in a marked crosswalk or not. On a two-lane road, the pedestrian must be completely across the roadway before drivers begin moving again.
  • Do not drive distracted (cell phone, eating, etc.)
  • NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE or drive under the influence of drugs.

For pedestrians

  • Pay close attention to surroundings, avoid being on “automatic pilot.”
  • Pick routes with good lighting, clear visibility, and sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the road, always walk facing traffic. See and be seen – drivers need to see you to avoid you.
  • Plan a safe walking route to school that is direct with the fewest street crossing and, if possible, with intersections that have traffic controls.
  • Pedestrians do not have the right of way when crossing mid-block. Cross streets only at corners, marked crosswalks, or intersections.
  • Avoid walking while listening to an iPod, cell phone, or other device with ear buds or headphones. Like with drivers, these cut down on your awareness of what’s happening around you.

Better know a neighborhood: Ravenna-Bryant zoning, NC2P-40

By Inga Manskopf, RBCA President

As I wrote in a previous post, so much of our local civic conversation is around land use these days. As we discuss how the use of land in our communities may or may not change within the next twenty years, it’s important to know where we are now.

Zoning in Ravenna-Bryant

I recently took a look at a zoning map for my immediate neighborhood (surrounding Bryant Elementary, area 62 on the zoning map). While the vast majority of the area is zoned Single Family, land along NE 55th and NE 65th are zoned differently. A zoning map of NE 55th between 25th and 35th Avenues shows multiple designations and that much of the area is ripe for increased development.

The northwest corner of NE 55th and 35th Avenue NE is zoned NC1-40. The previous post describes NC1-30 zones. Add 10 more feet and you have NC1-40.

55th and 35th
From the northwest corner of 35th Avenue NE to the alley, NE 55th Street is zoned NC1-40 or Neighborhood Commercial up to 40 feet tall (generally 4 stories). Currently, the land contains single story buildings. The rest of the block is zoned NC1-30 or Neighborhood Commercial up to 30 feet tall.

What is NC2-40?

Further west on NE 55th Street, starting at 30th Avenue NE (where Pair is located) all the way down the hill through 25th Avenue NE, zoning on both sides of the street changes to NC2P-40 or Neighborhood Commercial 2 Pedestrian, 40 feet high. (The pedestrian designation was added earlier this year.)

Typical land uses in NC2 zones include medium-sized grocery stores, drug stores, coffee shops, customer service offices, medical facilities, and apartments.  Non-residential uses typically occupy the street front.

City code defines NC2 as meeting the following function and location criteria.

Function: To support or encourage a pedestrian-oriented shopping area that provides a full range of household and personal goods and services, including convenience and specialty goods, to the surrounding neighborhoods, and that accommodates other uses that are compatible with the retail character of the area such as housing or offices, where the following characteristics can be achieved:

  • A variety of small to medium-sized neighborhood-serving businesses;
  • Continuous storefronts built to the front lot line;
  • An atmosphere attractive to pedestrians;
  • Shoppers can drive to the area, but walk from store to store.

Location: A Neighborhood Commercial 2 zone designation is most appropriate on land that is generally characterized by the following conditions:

  • Primary business districts in residential urban villages, secondary business districts in urban centers or hub urban villages, or business districts, outside of urban villages, that extend for more than approximately two blocks;
  • Located on streets with good capacity, such as principal and minor arterials, but generally not on major transportation corridors;
  • Lack of strong edges to buffer the residential areas;
  • A mix of small and medium sized parcels;
  • Limited or moderate transit service.
Drawing courtesy of Department of Planning and Development

Adding the designation of a pedestrian retail area to the NC zone:

  • Preserves areas that offer a mix of street-level, pedestrian-oriented destinations accessible by foot, bike, and transit;
  • Identifies and encourages areas that have potential to transition to a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood business district;
  • Encourages more walking, biking, and transit use to and within neighborhood business districts by preserving and promoting active destinations.

In pedestrian zones:

  • Residential uses may occupy no more than 20% of the street-level street-facing building facade.
  • Buildings cannot have large blank facades on the street-facing pedestrian level.
  • A parking lot on the building site cannot be in front of the building or abut the street. Parking must be under the building or behind it.

Better know a neighborhood: Ravenna-Bryant zoning – NC1

By Inga Manskopf, RBCA President

HALA! City of Seattle Comprehensive Plan! Urban villages and urban centers! So much of our local civic conversation is around land use these days. As we discuss how the use of land in our communities may or may not change within the next twenty years, it’s important to know where we are now.

Zoning in Ravenna-Bryant

I recently took a look at a zoning map for my immediate neighborhood (surrounding Bryant Elementary, area 62 on the zoning map). As expected, most of the area is zoned Single Family 5000, meaning most homes need to be on 5000 square foot lots. However, land along NE 55th and NE 65th is zoned differently.

For example, the land on NE 65th Street between 31st and 35th is zoned NC1-30, or Neighborhood Commercial 1, 30 feet high.

65th and 35th south side
NE 65th Street just west of 35th Avenue NE, south side, is zoned Neighborhood Commercial. Currently, these buildings are not used for commercial purposes.

What is NC1-30?

According to City Land Use Code, Neighborhood Commercial 1 (NC1) zones have the following function and location criteria.

  • Function: To support or encourage a small shopping area that provides primarily convenience retail sales and services to the adjoining residential neighborhood, where the following characteristics can be achieved:
    1. A variety of small neighborhood-serving businesses;
    2. Continuous storefronts built to the front lot line;
    3. An atmosphere attractive to pedestrians;
    4. Shoppers walk from store to store.
  • Location: A Neighborhood Commercial 1 zone designation is most appropriate on land that is generally characterized by the following conditions:
    1. Outside of urban centers and urban villages, or within urban centers or urban villages where isolated or peripheral to the primary business district and adjacent to low-density residential areas;
    2. Located on streets with limited capacity, such as collector arterials;
    3. No physical edges to buffer the residential areas;
    4. Small parcel sizes;
    5. Limited transit service.

The 30 in NC1-30 means that building cannot be taller than 30 feet, generally up to three stories.

Drawing courtesy of the Department of Planning and Development.
Drawing courtesy of the Department of Planning and Development.

Next up: I will take a look at NE 55th Street, which has multiple zoning designations.

Do you know how your immediate neighborhood is zoned?

Find out how the land in your part of the neighborhood is zoned. The Department of Planning and Development has maps easily accessed online at: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/toolsresources/zoningmapbooks/default.htm.

Definitions may be found in the Seattle Land Use Code: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/codes/landuse/default.htm. Definition summaries are located online, too: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/codes/zoning/default.htm.

RBCA expresses accessibility concerns with proposed changes to Metro service

Earlier this month, the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association Board sent a letter to King County Executive Dow Constantine about proposed changes to bus service in our community once light rail is available in the University District. Below is the letter and the response from Kevin Desmond, General Manager of Metro.

Dear Executive Constantine,

On behalf of the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA), I am writing to offer comments regarding the proposed King County Metro (Metro) route restructure associated with the opening of Sound Transit’s University Link Light Rail (LINK). While RBCA finds many positive changes associated with the new service plan for Ravenna-Bryant, we also have concerns with specific components of the plan that do not take into account accessibility for all people who use transit.

Bus-Rail Connection at Husky Stadium

RBCA is concerned that the bus-rail connection between the routes serving Northeast Seattle is inadequate. The University of Washington Husky Stadium Station is in a challenging location to serve with a convenient bus connection, separated from Upper campus by Montlake Boulevard, which is often gridlocked in the southbound direction. In particular, the connection from the station to the closest Route 372 stop is, by our estimation, over 500 yards from one existing bus stop on Stevens Way and over 600 from the other. Even with the recently constructed land bridge over Pacific and pedestrian bridge over Montlake, this connection is sub-optimal in terms of time for the able bodied and unacceptably far for those who are not. Transferring between buses and trains should be quick and easy to navigate. With this problem in mind, we offer three suggestions, with reference to the attached Metro route map for the Montlake Triangle area:

• Loop the Route 372x, or some number of the Route 372x runs, such that the northbound route uses Montlake Boulevard, as the 65 is planned to do. This would allow the mobility impaired direct access to and from the station, while giving everyone a much more seamless connection from LINK to Northeast Seattle going north.

• Create a bus stop along Stevens Way directly in front of the land bridge pathway, which would reduce the walk by 150 yards. This would create a closer connection and a much better perception of connection to the station (and perhaps safety) by having the LINK station in direct line of sight from the drop off points.

• Work with Sound Transit to add more secure bike parking spaces, as only 140 total are planned for a station that is at the end of the high-capacity line, on a university campus, and adjacent to one of the most heavily utilized bike trails in the country.

Over the long-term, we hope Metro can work with SDOT and UW to create a more permanent fix to the situation by creating a southbound HOV lane along Montlake Boulevard or transit access through the UW parking lots.

Direct Bus Service to the University District

Metro plans to eliminate Route 71, which currently links Ravenna-Bryant with the University District and Downtown, with Route 16 which will bypass the University District on its way to Seattle Center. While we appreciate the renewed direct connection to Seattle Center, RBCA is concerned about losing a bus route that directly links community members to the University District and South Lake Union. Transferring from the new Route 16 to LINK at the Roosevelt station or another bus to get to the University District will prove difficult for the seniors and people with disabilities who rely on direct bus service to access medical services, religious organizations, and social programs located in the University District.

While we appreciate the goal of moving commuters from their homes to workplaces Downtown, RBCA requests that Metro also ensure that people who use transit for purposes other than getting to and from work be served by direct bus routes to places where important social and health services are provided in Northeast Seattle. The University District is only going to continue to grow to offer more programs and services for seniors and people with disabilities. Direct bus service reduces accessibility barriers so that they may connect with all that the University District offers them.

Thank you for your attention to these accessibility-related concerns.

Sincerely,

Inga Manskopf, President
Ravenna-Bryant Community Association

———————————————————————————-

Dear Ms. Manskopf:

Thank you for your email of July 19, 2015, to King County Executive Dow Constantine, offering comments regarding the proposed King County Metro (Metro) route restructure associated with the opening of Sound Transit’s University Link light rail. Executive Constantine forwarded your email and asked me to respond to you directly. Metro staff has thoroughly reviewed and considered your concerns and suggested changes to the proposal.

Before addressing your specific concerns and suggestions, I first want to acknowledge that Metro’s proposal for Northeast Seattle represents a significant change to the current route network in Northeast Seattle – a part of our system that has been relatively stable for decades. We know that many thousands of Northeast Seattle riders rely on Metro bus routes to meet their daily travel needs and have become well accustomed to using the system in its present form.

The proposed changes to bus service would be made in conjunction with University Link (U Link), the most significant transit investment the region has seen since the initial launch of light rail service in 2009. Beginning in early 2016, Link light rail will provide fast, frequent, and reliable service between the three largest markets in the Metro system: downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, and the University District (U District). Our proposed restructure is consistent with our adopted service guidelines and with the ongoing effort to more fully integrate Metro and Sound Transit service. And, perhaps most importantly, the proposal is consistent with what most riders have told us they want and expect from Metro in relation to the U Link extension: better frequency, reliability, and connectivity.

In your letter, you suggested that Metro revise Route 372 to “loop,” such that the northbound route operates on Montlake Boulevard. While Metro staff seriously considered this routing alternative earlier in our process, we ultimately decided to propose bi-directional operation on Stevens Way for several reasons. An overwhelming majority of Route 372 riders currently use the route to access destinations in the U District and on the University of Washington (UW) campus, which we anticipate will continue to be the case. Given the steep slope between Montlake Boulevard and UW campus, and the limited number of places to safely cross Montlake Boulevard, shifting the route to Montlake Boulevard would significantly degrade access for many of our existing customers.

Whereas we proposed to have Route 65 “live loop” through the U District (operate through the U District without a scheduled layover), we ruled out the possibility of “live looping” Route 372 due to the length of the route and the congestion that it experiences along its pathway. It is imperative for Route 372 to have scheduled layover time in the U District to ensure reliable operations and to provide drivers with breaks. Also, staff had concerns about significantly increasing the number of buses turning onto Northeast Pacific Place from Northeast Pacific Street beyond what is already included in the proposal.

Your second suggestion was to create a bus stop along Stevens Way directly in front of the land bridge pathway (near Rainier Vista) in order to shorten the walking distance between access to Route 372 and UW Station. I am pleased to report that the University of Washington has authorized Metro to install a pair of stops just east of Rainier Vista, near Mason Road.

Third, you asked that Metro work with Sound Transit to add more secure bike parking spaces. Metro has been working closely with Sound Transit and UW throughout the Link Connections project, and bike parking has been a topic of prior discussion among staff. The information we have received from Sound Transit is consistent with the description in your letter: the current plan is to provide enough storage for about 140 bikes. Metro staff will follow up with Sound Transit and UW to inquire about the possibility of providing additional bike storage capacity at UW Station.

Finally, you expressed concern about Metro’s proposal to eliminate Route 71. While it is true that the proposed network does not include a “Route 71” per se, the functionality this route currently provides would largely be replaced by other proposed service, including:

• More direct peak commuter express service between Northeast Seattle and downtown on Route 76
• More frequent north-south service along 35th Avenue Northeast on Route 65
• More frequent north-south service along 25th Avenue Northeast on Route 372X
• More frequent north-south service along University Way on routes 45 and 67
• More frequent east-west service along Northeast 65th Street on Route 16
• Service along 15th Avenue Northeast on Route 73

With the proposed routes noted above, 94 percent of current Route 71 riders would have access to frequent, all-day service to the U District within about one-quarter mile of an existing Route 71 stop – a significant improvement over today.

For riders unable to access the north-south routes that provide direct connections to the U District, revised Route 16 will connect to routes 45 and 67 in the Roosevelt neighborhood. Because the stops in this neighborhood are located in close proximity to one another and the routes in question would provide frequent service, these connections would be relatively convenient. Additionally, the revision of Route 16 would connect Ravenna-Bryant to several new destinations including Magnuson Park, Green Lake, Wallingford, Fremont, and South Lake Union.

Thank you again for your email. If you have further questions or comments, please feel free to contact Mike Beck, Acting Supervisor of Service Planning, at 206-477-5860 or via email at mike.beck@kingcounty.gov.

Sincerely,

Kevin Desmond
General Manager
Metro Transit Division


 

Tuesday: RBCA Board Meeting – Al Fresco!

All neighbors are welcome to join us tomorrow, Tuesday, for our monthly RBCA Board Meeting. Although we typically meet indoors at the Ravenna Eckstein Community Center, it’s going to be a beautiful evening so bring a chair or blanket and meet us outside behind the playground.

It’s also the second (but not last) time the Board will be discussing getting down on paper an RBCA vision, so it’s a great chance to hear from Board members on their thinking about the future of our neighborhood.

And, if you want to learn how to contribute to the memorial walk for Andres Hulsander, biker killed on 65th by a DUI driver on June 27th, we’ll be sharing that information as well.

Here is tomorrow’s complete agenda:

AGENDA

7:00 Welcome & Introductions

7:05 Introduction: Lauren McGuire, School Board candidate

7:10 Board Reports             

  • Secretary’s Report: June Minutes 
  • Treasurer’s Report 
  • Land Use Committee Report 
  • Transportation Committee Report 

7:45 The Future of Our Community: RBCA Vision

7:55 Letter re: Proposed Changes to Metro Services

8:10 Seattle Parks Supplemental Use Guidelines & Ravenna Park 

8:20 Memorial Walk for Andres Hulslander          

8:25 Reports from Associated Community Groups

 

All are welcome!

New Project on Union Bay Place

The project will replace parking garages for Lake View Medical Dental and Union Bay Place Medical Offices with apartments above.

 

A new project on Union Bay Place across from Tully’s at the “Five Corners” will create 60 residential units right along the Burke Gilman Trail, parking for roughly 115 cars, and add 4,000 square feet of commercial space along Union Bay Place.  You can read the complete Early Design Guidance package here .

The impetus for this project was to improve the parking and circulation for both the Lake View Medical Dental building and the Union Bay Place Medical Offices, all owned by affiliates of ICP Capital.

This project is next to the Burke Gilman Trail but it is unclear if a connection to the trail will occur given several challenges facing the site.  In addition to a steep slope between the building site and the trail presenting elevation issues, there is a City right of way that runs between the site and the trail that would require an easement.  Access approval from Seattle Parks would also be required to connect to the Burke.

This is not the first time a developer has applied to build along the Burke Gilman in our neighborhood.  In 2013, developer Ron Sher explored building a “bike hotel” on 45th in the old “Bill the Butcher” site.  He eventually opted to put two new restaurants on his property, set to open in July/August 2015.

Union Bay Place recently got some pedestrian safety upgrades, but this new development will also be required to put new sidewalks in front of its project.

Union Bay Place is zoned NC2-40 (neighborhood commercial with 40 foot heights) on the Burke Gilman side of the street, but it is zoned C2-65 (commercial with 65 foot heights) across the street.  It seems likely that this entire street will soon be redeveloped as the new Sound Transit Station soon opens at Husky Stadium.

There is an Early Design Review Board meeting Monday July 6th, 2015 at 6:30 at University Heights, room 209.


zoning_UBP

 

 

 

 

A pedestrian zone at NE 65th Street & 35th Avenue NE?

Our city is booming. Last year, 21,900 people moved into Seattle. By 2035, the city is expected to grow by 120,000 people and 115,000 jobs. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Ravenna-Bryant increased by 1,810 people.

green house
The “Big Green House” on 35th Ave NE near NE 73rd Street was demolished earlier this year. Photo thanks to Wedgwood in Seattle History: http://wedgwoodinseattlehistory.com/2015/02/17/the-big-green-house-thanks-for-the-memories/

As is evident by the multiple cranes that are now part of our skyline, the boom in population is leading to a boom in development. We see it downtown, in South Lake Union, and in Ravenna-Bryant. Change is everywhere, including along 35th Avenue NE.

In addition to changes to The Theodora and the development of Bryant Heights in the southern area of R-B, the “Big Green House” where R-B and Wedgwood meet provides a good example of changes in our community.

Where the Big Green House used to stand, town homes are being built. Those town homes will have very little to no commercial space, which is not what the community said we wanted. Neighbors have repeatedly reported wanting places to walk to and an inviting business district with destinations like bookstores and restaurants. To do this, more commercial space is needed.

Community change prompted many R-B and Wedgwood neighbors to participate in Wednesday evening’s meeting hosted by the Department of Planning & Development (DPD) in partnership with RBCA and the Wedgwood Community Council.

65th node
DPD’s board suggesting that the area along 35th Avenue NE just north of NE 65th Street be designated a pedestrian zone (in orange).

During the meeting, DPD shared recommendations they have for changing zoning along 35th from NE 65th Street in Ravenna-Bryant up through Wedgwood. Their recommendations were guided by a plan the community developed over the past few years. Since a community can only go so far in turning plans into reality, DPD was asked by community members to step in and help move plans forward.

At NE 65th Street and 35th Ave NE, DPD recommends that instead of increasing the heights of buildings, the area could be designated as a pedestrian zone, like the area around NE 75th Street and 35th Ave NE.

In pedestrian zones (P Zones):

  • Residential uses may occupy no more than 20% of the street-level street-facing building facade.
  • Buildings cannot have large blank facades on the street-facing pedestrian level.
  • A parking lot on the building site cannot be in front of the building or abut the street. Parking must be under the building or behind it.

These regulations are meant to encourage businesses to open and increase pedestrian activity.

The R-B and Wedgwood communities can reject DPD’s zoning suggestions along with zoning recommendations in the community-developed plan, which are much more ambitious than DPD’s. This is the time for the community to decide: do we want development along 35th to keep happening like it has been, or do we want to encourage development that creates a vibrant, walkable business district? Either way, change is afoot.

What do you think? Provide feedback to DPD via their online survey.

Restoration and Construction Set to Begin at Theodora Site

The Theodora 6559 35 NE
The Theodora 6559 35 NE

65th and 35th is a busy place these days with the construction at Bryant Heights and the Theodora, right across the street.  RBCA has always known that change was coming to our neighborhood and was involved in the Future of 35th Ave NE Project.  On Wednesday June 24th from 6-7:30 at Congregation Beth Shalom, the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will ask for feedback from the community about the potential up zoning along 35th Ave from NE 65th to NE 95th that was endorsed by the 35th Ave Committee, RBCA, and the Wedgwood Community Council. Goodman Real Estate has provided the following information to RBCA about their project on 35th Ave NE, just south of the NE Library.

“Construction and staging activity at the Theodora is photo (5)underway as the project prepares for interior renovations to the existing Theodora units and common spaces, exterior cleaning and painting, refreshed landscaping, and the addition of new units in the existing south parking lot.

In addition, activity through the summer and fall will include:

  • Cleaning the building exterior and repainting all wood to match the existing color
  • Installation of new entries at the north and the east sides of the building to help open up the building to better pedestrian access
  • Excavation at the south parking lot for a new below grade parking garage
  • Construction of new apartment units over the new parking garage

As construction begins to ramp up, we will also ensure regular communication with Polygon and their NE 65th St. project.

A month or so ago, the Volunteers of America (previous site owner) and Goodman Real Estate (current owner) finalized the transition of all previous Theodora residents to new permanent housing. Residents worked closely with a relocation specialist to help determine their new housing needs – one of the positive results of this work was that 73 percent of residents were able to stay in Seattle.

All residents who received Section 8 subsidized rent were able to retain their reduced-rent vouchers and use them in their new homes. In addition, 12 residents who were not currently receiving Section 8 subsidized housing vouchers were qualified through the relocation process and now receive federal rent subsidies.

Assuming we have approval from the Landmarks Board, we plan to discuss these updates and provide detailed information about parking, traffic planning, overall design and plans for the south building, as well as our onsite tree and shrub plan when we attend the Ravenna Bryant Community Association July 7th board meeting.

In the meantime, questions about construction or timelines should be directed to Rita Burden at rburden@goodmanre.com.

June 24: Provide input about creating a vibrant 35th Ave NE

At the urging of the Future of 35th Ave NE Project, supported by both the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association and the Wedgwood Community Council, Seattle’s Department of Planning & Development (DPD) is considering zoning changes to the neighborhood business districts along 35th Ave NE at the cross-streets of NE 65th, 75th, 85th, and 95th Streets, to provide more opportunities for retail goods and services. This rezone could involve changing some areas currently zoned for low rise development to neighborhood commercial, increasing the height allowed in existing neighborhood commercial zones from 30 feet to 40 feet, and designating the business districts at NE 65th and 95th Streets as pedestrian zones.

DPD will hold a meeting on Wednesday, June 24th, to gain input from the community. This meeting will help the City evaluate whether the community is supportive of the proposed zoning changes and their effect on the way 35th Ave NE functions. Come and share your thoughts about how to make 35th a more vibrant commercial experience.

Meeting details:
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Congregation Beth Shalom
6800 35th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. — Open house
6:00 – 6:20 p.m. — Presentation and general questions
6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Open house, recommendation-specific questions, and comments

Feedback is also being sought through an online survey.

Community input will be shared with the Mayor and City Council, and DPD will report back to the community afterwards. Out of respect for the venue, please do not bring any food to this meeting.

What is a pedestrian zone?

In Ravenna-Bryant, the pedestrian zone designation has been applied to the 35th Ave NE and NE 75th Street intersection, the 25th Ave NE and NE 55th Street intersection, the 40th Ave NE and NE 55th Street intersection, and the NE 65th Street business district. The pedestrian zone provides for minimum ceiling heights on the ground floor (13 feet), prevents live/work units, and requires that ground-floor retail spaces have tenants that attract and encourage pedestrian activity, such as restaurants, shops, and gyms. The pedestrian zone also requires ground-floor retail to have amenities such as overhead weather protection (a canopy for pedestrians when walking along the sidewalk.)

Your Input Needed: Community Center Strategic Plan

This Saturday, June 20th 10am-noon at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion (305 Harrison Street) the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will host a mini-summit to guide their citywide Community Center Strategic Plan. The agenda will be a short presentation followed by small break-out discussion groups.

Kids in a tube
We love playing at our local community center!

The endeavor is the beginning of a broader analysis called for in the 2014 Parks Legacy Plan, which lays out two goals for the city’s community centers:

  • Ensure community centers are focal points in our neighborhoods for connecting, building community and offering health and activity programming
  • Ensure community centers are physically emotionally safe and welcoming for all individuals

Seattle has 26 community centers with an operating budget of more than $11million annually. Each center has its own operating hours, activity and service offering, with programs and staffing often operated by the Associated Recreation Council.

The next steps after the June 20th meeting include an internal evaluation of the current staffing and programming followed by a draft plan for the future of facility and program planning. The process is scheduled to complete by the end of 2015. Read more about the process here.

 


 

Here at home in Ravenna Bryant, we’re fortunate to have nearby our own Ravenna Eckstein Community Center. RBCA board member David Ward sits on its Advisory Council. Ravenna Eckstein CC is also one of the busiest in the entire city, and yet we hear comments at the RBCA frequently that it isn’t meeting the needs of many would-be users.

So, whether or not you can attend the mini-summit this weekend, as the city’s planning process unfolds, now is a good time to begin thinking about what would help make Ravenna Eckstein CC a go-to place for you or your family. Here are some questions worth exploring:

  • Does the programming meeting my needs? Is there are variety of activities and programs for all ages, at times that make sense for me? What programs would draw me in to visit the CC more often?
  • Facility use. Would I use the CC for more passive uses such as internet or computer work? (PS – they just launched wireless internet!) Is it comfortable and safe? Do the tennis courts, the play ground, the fields have what I or my family are looking for?
  • Hours of operation. The overall CC hours across the city have declined in the last 5 years. What times of day would be most useful to you and your family and increase the likelihood that you might visit?
  • Is there the right balance between free and for-pay services? Many of the CC’s uses are free, but many programs have a fee in order to remain operable. What suggestions do you have about fees, and are there programs you’d like to see where you would be willing to pay for the fees to operate?
  • What’s the best part of our community center that you simply couldn’t live without?

Send us your thoughts in the comments, or at ravennabryant@gmail.com. Alternatively, you may send them directly to the city by emailing susan.golub@seattle.gov.

 

How should Ravenna-Bryant grow? Provide your comments by Thursday

Seattle 2035 is a yearlong, citywide conversation about change – where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we want to go over the next 20 years. By 2035, the city is expected to grow by 120,000 people and 115,000 jobs.

As part of this conversation, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was released and includes outlines of four growth alternatives. Community members are encouraged to provide their thoughts for how Seattle should grow over the next 20 years. Click here and provide your input by June 18.

Three types of urban villages
The drafted plan builds on the current Urban Village model and creates 3 types of urban villages.

1. Urban Center: very dense villages with housing and a high number of regional jobs. The University District is considered an urban center and includes the U-Village area, which is the southern part of Ravenna-Bryant.

2. Hub Urban Village: dense villages with a balance of housing and jobs.

3. Residential Urban Village: the least dense urban village with housing and local jobs. Roosevelt is considered a residential urban village. On average, residential urban villages are designated and zoned with a balanced mix of commercial/mixed use (31 percent), multi-family residential (33 percent) and single family residential (33 percent) zones. As with hub urban villages, land use designations and zoning vary between individual residential urban villages.

Four alternatives for growth
The DEIS proposes four different ways that the city can grow. Each would affect Ravenna-Bryant differently.

Alternative 1: Continue current trend (no action)
Growth will generally follow current market trends. Residential growth will continue in the urban village neighborhoods that have experienced significant growth in the past 20 years, with a relatively low level of change in other urban villages. New jobs would occur primarily in Downtown and South Lake Union.

For Ravenna-Bryant, this plan would continue residential growth patterns that we are currently witnessing. This alternative would increase residential growth.

Alternative 2: Guide growth to urban centers
Urban centers, like the University District, will become magnets that more strongly attract new residents and jobs faster than over the last 20 years. This change may lead to a significant rise in the number of people walking or biking to work, and a corresponding decline in driving and car ownership. Alternative 2 represents a significantly more concentrated pattern of new growth in the urban centers compared to past trends.

Since the southern part of R-B around U-Village would be part of an urban center, this alternative may significantly increase development in that area. Growth could be particularly substantial considering the area’s proximity to the Husky Stadium light rail station, the Burke-Gilman Trail, two major employers (UW and Children’s) and easy-to-access shopping.

Alternative 3: Guide growth to urban villages near light rail
This alternative puts an emphasis on growth in urban centers but also in urban villages near the light rail stations. It includes boundary adjustments to urban villages with light rail stations to encompass a 10-minute walk to the station.

Under alternative 3, the growth anticipated in urban centers would likely be a mix of mid-and high-rise development while growth in transit-oriented development nodes would likely be mid-rise. Areas of expanded urban villages would likely convert from existing lower intensity to higher intensity development. For example, if a light rail station is planned for an area currently zoned predominantly single-family, future land use actions would likely rezone the areas within a ¼ or ½ mile of the station to accommodate low-rise multifamily and possibly local-serving commercial uses.

Expansion of urban village boundaries could increase Roosevelt Urban Village to include Ravenna to about 22nd Ave NE (10 minute walk from Roosevelt Light Rail). Alternatives 3 and 4 project that housing would grow for 1500 people and jobs would increase by 1600 in the Roosevelt Urban Village. In areas outside of the urban villages, including the rest of Ravenna-Bryant, the overall development character and pattern would likely remain as currently exists. This means that residential growth would continue in most of R-B.

Alternative 4: Guide growth to urban villages near transit
Growth would take place in areas with the greatest number of transit-oriented places—served by either bus or rail. In addition to areas covered in alternative 3, more growth would also be concentrated in other urban villages that currently have very good bus service. Relatively more urban villages would be subject to increased growth and possible boundary changes.

Potential Impact on R-B:
• Expansion of urban village boundaries could expand the Roosevelt Urban Village to include Ravenna to about 22nd Ave NE, a 10 minute walk from Roosevelt Light Rail. See Alternative 3 above.
• The rest of Ravenna-Bryant would see a smaller share of residential growth than is currently occurring.

3 Ways to Play in Your Street this Summer

The City of Seattle has given us 3 ways to shut our streets down to cars for play and parties–Play Streets, National Night Out, and Block Parties.

PLAY STREETS

play_streets
The blue dot represents a current play street. The red dots are previous playstreets. Go to http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/playstreets.htm for the interactive map.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has a pilot program called Play Streets that will close your street down for play on a reoccurring basis.  In 2014, there was a block (shown to the left in the blue) that had a play street for every home Huskies football game. There is a nice Play Streets Handout you can pass around so we can get more dots on this map.

 

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT

Earlier this week we reported on National Night Out funds being available.  National Night Out is sponsored by the Seattle Police Department as way to create community, and therefore deter crime.  National Night Out is always the first Tuesday of August and you can apply by going to SPD’s website.

 

BLOCK PARTIES

As we reported last summer, if you decide that the first Tuesday in August for National Night Out isn’t a good time for your block to have a party, you can close your street down any time you wish as long as you follow the simple rules below:

  • Do not live on an arterial street,
  • Do not close your intersection,
  • Do not have a bus stop on your block,
  • Clean up and restore your street before 10pm,
  • Do not request more than one block party per month.

 

Funds available for neighborhood Night Out Against Crime activities

NightOut_logoOn Tuesday August 4, the City of Seattle will celebrate the 31st Annual Night Out Against Crime. The registration link for Night Out 2015 is: http://www.seattle.gov/police/nightout/default.htm.

Night Out is a national crime prevention event to heighten crime prevention awareness, increase neighborhood support in anti-crime efforts, and unite communities. Neighbor participation in Night Out continues to grow every year. In 2014, over 1,400 Night Out events were registered city-wide. It’s fun, it’s free and it’s a great chance to reconnect with neighbors and share information with each other while learning more about crime prevention. Getting together with your neighbors, re-committing to watch out for each other, and reaffirming you will report suspicious activity to police are ways to show you care about your community. You do not need to be in an active Block Watch to hold a Night Out event.

If your neighborhood plans to participate in the 31st Annual Night Out on August 4th, the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods has a fund to support your event. The Small Sparks Fund provides matching dollars for neighborhood-initiated projects that promote community engagement. Community groups can request up to $1000 to help fund Night Out planning and activities such as outreach efforts, educational fairs, bike parades, and neighborhood cleanups, to name a few. The deadline for applications is Monday, June 22 at 5:00 p.m. but you must register first by June 19 to apply.
For information on the application process, visit www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/nmf/smallsparks.htm, or call 206-733-9916.

District 4 Candidate Forum June 17th

There is another opportunity later this month to hear from the five candidates running for office in the new District 4. Hosted at the beloved University Heights Center, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to candidates as well as submit questions to them in writing at the event.

uheights-facade

Your Ravenna-Bryant Community Association is a proud co-sponsor alongside the Northeast District Council, Wedgwood Community Council, Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, University District Community Council, Laurelhurst Community Club, University Park Community Club, and Eastlake Community Council

Here are the details:

Seattle City Council District 4 – Candidates Forum

Wednesday, June 17th

University Heights Center, 5031 University Way NE, Room 209

The Forum will feature Seattle City Council District 4 Candidates including: Jean Godden, Rob Johnson, Michael Maddux, Abel Pacheco & Tony Provine. (Please note since the last forum we posted on, a new candidate, Pacheco, has entered the race and another, Lagos, has dropped out.)

6:00 p.m. Mix and mingle and enjoy snacks

6:30-8:00 p.m. Candidate forum

Funded with support from the Department of Neighborhoods Neighborhood Matching Fund. Support also provided by the University Heights Center.

Access to the 2nd floor of UHC is by chairlift, please allow extra time if you are someone who may need to use this option. 

For more information, look for updates here or on the NEDC website.  Want to volunteer for set-up or take-down? Contact Gabrielle Gerhard at ggerhard1@gmail.com

Better know a neighborhood: Ravenna-Bryant

As anyone concerned with the overcrowding in NE Seattle schools can tell you: the number of children living in our community has grown over the past several years. Between 2000 and 2010, Ravenna-Bryant households with people under 18 years old increased by 14%, compared to 9% citywide. One quarter of R-B households now include one or more persons under the age of 18 living in them, compared to 20% citywide.

At the same time, households with people 65 years or older increased by 2% and make up 17% of the R-B population, similar to citywide population. The total population of our neighborhood increased by 8% to just over 24,000 people.

Why is this important? Because our neighborhood, along with our city, is expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future. It’s a rather safe bet that the number of households with children will continue to grow. Ravenna-Bryant is fortunate to be home to desirable schools, is relatively safe, and scores high for walkability, making it attractive to families.

In fact, Ravenna is listed as one of the city’s ten best neighborhoods in the April 2015 edition of SeattleMet magazine in part because of good schools and parks:

Not only was Ravenna the most competitive Seattle housing market in 2014, it was one of the top 10 hottest neighborhoods in the country, according to a Redfin report. Homes stayed on the market for an average of just seven days, with an overall 11 percent increase in home value from the previous year.

Its old age in part makes the neighborhood so desirable, with its Craftsman and Tudor homes built mostly before 1940. Close proximity to the University District doesn’t hurt either, nor do the parks and highly ranked schools.

As a city, we are planning for significant population and job growth over the next 20 years. Ravenna-Bryant will need to do the same. And since every neighborhood it unique, it’s important that we create plans that meet the needs of specific neighborhoods — one size does not fit all. Knowing that families find R-B a desirable place to live, planning efforts can ensure that the needs of children and families continue to be met.