Laurelhurst Community Club
Serving 2800 Households in Seattle’s Laurelhurst Neighborhood

September 11, 2001

Mayor Paul Schell
1200 Municipal Building
600 Fourth Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98104-1876
Fax 684-5360

Dear Mayor Schell:

At the recent Northeast Mayoral Forum we spoke to you briefly about neighborhood frustration with the proposed parking garage at University Village and the lack of adequate transportation infrastructure in the area to accommodate the proposed expansion. You seemed to understand our concerns and asked for ideas. Here is one we hope you will consider.

As you may know, the Ravenna-Bryant and Laurelhurst community associations have joined together to appeal DCLU's decision on the University Village parking garage and its failure to require an Environmental Impact Statement. The hearing is scheduled for September 20th. We were recently contacted by Rich Hill who represents University Village and asked to propose offsite mitigation for their consideration to settle the appeal. One of the items we are going to propose is the construction of sidewalks on 30th Avenue NE. This street is a major vehicle and pedestrian corridor servicing University Village, yet there are no sidewalks of any kind. Because so much University Village traffic uses 30th NE, we feel that the sidewalks are an appropriate mitigation for the increase in traffic that the new garage will cause.

Sidewalks are also a city responsibility. When the city designated the area surrounding University Village as an Urban Village, there was an implicit promise that infrastructure improvements would accompany increased development. It has so far been the cityŐs policy to wait for developers to add the needed improvements. Because there is no commercial property along 30th NE, there is little likelihood that sidewalks will be forthcoming without the cityŐs initiative. (The cemetery owners have indicated they are not willing to develop their site if it means paying for sidewalks.)

During this year's Neighborhood Street Fund/Cumulative Reserve Fund Process, the Northeast District Council rated sidewalks on 30th Avenue NE between NE 55th Street and Blakeley as its number three priority, after two inexpensive traffic circles, one of which was proposed to address serious safety hazards due to increased University Village traffic. Despite the $300,000 estimated cost of sidewalks on 30th Avenue NE and the recognition that funds in the Street Fund/Cumulative Reserve Fund would be insufficient to fund this project, the Northeast District Council sent a clear message about the importance of addressing transportation infrastructure needs in the vicinity of University Village, but rating this project number three out of sixteen projects.

It now appears we have an opportunity before us. We are hopeful that we can convince University Village to consider our sidewalk proposal, but at the same time realize that the price tag for this project may be more than what they had in mind. The city will need to build these sidewalks eventually, and they certainly arenŐt going to get any cheaper over time. We feel that it would be appropriate for the City to partner with University Village on the construction of the sidewalks, and ask that you assign a member of your staff to work with both the neighbors and the Village towards this goal.

Mayor Schell, we know you care deeply about SeattleŐs neighborhoods. Here is a chance to fulfill the promise that was made to the neighborhoods during the development of the neighborhood plans. We hope you will give our proposal your most serious consideration and anxiously await your response, as all parties are eager to resolve the pending appeal.

Sincerely,


Mary Whitfield, Acting Chair
Ravenna-Bryant Community Association
2911 NE 53rd Street
Seattle, Washington 98105
206-524-4653

Jeannie Hale, President
Laurelhurst Community Club
3425 W Laurelhurst Drive NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
206-525-5135
cc: Rich Hill


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