December 11, 2018
St. Patrick’s Social Hall
Agenda and Notes
6:30 PM Call to Order & Welcome Pete Delaunay, President
Approximately 30 community members were in attendance
2018 Overview of Council Work Pete Delaunay, President
In February the Council sponsored a breakfast and bird lecture and slide show of the Birds of Portage Bay, by Eric Kowalczyk, the former director of the bird collection at the Woodland Park Zoo.
In April and May the Council, in support of Montlake, attended meetings with WSDOT regarding the fate of the Montlake Market during the future SR 520 Construction.
In June the Council supported the opening of the new Fire Station located on Roanoke St.
The Council worked with the City of Seattle to address the problem of a homeless encampment in Roanoke Park.
In August there were several Night Out gatherings in the neighborhood on Boyer Ave, E., East Hamlin St. and 11th Ave. East
In August the Council sponsored the Annual PBRP CC Picnic
In October the Council supported the 50 year anniversary celebration of ARCH (Activists Remembered, Celebrated and Honored). This group of activist citizens were able to block the building of the proposed RH Thompson Freeway in 1960 which was to be part of a network of freeways through Seattle.
In October, November and December the Council reached out to members of the City Council to raise issues concerning the SR-520 project. In a meeting with Council Member, Kashama Sawant, the ground work was laid for the beginning of a SR520 Oversight Commission.
Many hours have been spent by Pete Delaunay and Carl Stixrood in following the complicated process of the SR-520 project especially regarding the 24 hour, 7 days a week Noise Variance requested by WSDOT as well as concerns regarding traffic congestion and the pollution of Portage Bay.
Special Guest Nicole Macri, Representative for the 43rd District
Nicole serves as vice chair of both the Healthcare and Wellness Committee and of the Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs committee. She also is a member of the Capital Budget Committee. Outside of the Legislature Nicole is the Deputy Director for the Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) in Seattle. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.
Special Guest Curtis Knapp, Legislative Assistant to Representative Macri
Curtis has done a great deal of research on transportation issues and is very informed on policy issues regarding WSDOT’s SR 520 project.
Pre-Submitted Questions & Responses
Question: Please explain the work of the Downtown Emergency Service Center and how we as a community might be of help.
Response: There is an emergency in the need for housing for the homeless. 30% of the homeless have mental illness. 4000 housing units are needed. There is a housing crisis state wide so the State, city and county need to come together to address this challenge. It is not just a Seattle problem. We need to encourage the state and local government to make behavioral health strategies a priority. We need to invest more in community health clinics and outpatient services. Strategies to lower the housing crisis might be to make housing more affordable, to provide property tax relief, to simplify the building permit process for building affordable housing and for increasing work force development for young people. This year there have been requests for $240,000 to be used from the voter approved fund for affordable housing. This year $80,000.00 will be awarded.
People can support these efforts by looking up agencies such as The Plymouth Housing Group and Catholic Community Services to find out how they may help. Assistance may include donating funds, volunteering or sharing clothing and household goods.
Question: As Vice-Chair of the Healthcare and Wellness Committee in the Legislature, what are your ideas for preserving a healthy environment for impacted constituents, as WSDOT has been granted a 24 hour noise variance during construction of SR-520 through this dense urban area?
Response: WSDOT has hired an ombudsperson, David Goldberg, to be a liaison between WSDOT and the communities that will be affected by the construction of SR520. This is the first time someone has been hired in such a position in a major highway project. He has been a source of information for Rep Macri in hearing of some of the relevant concerns regarding SR-520. There are four main concerns that she has been made aware of regarding WSDOT’s construction of SR-520:
The 24 hour, 7 days a week, Noise Variance
Impacts of traffic
The potential loss of the Montlake Market
This is a very complicated project but certain households will bear the brunt of the construction over ten years.
General Comments and Suggestions
WSDOT is already over budget in this project and there is concern that there will be no money for mitigation for the “Rest of the West” section. The project is being run by engineers who do not have a holistic over view of the project and how it will affect the neighborhoods. The engineers do not seem to be open to citizen input. They were warned about their use of lower cost expansion joints and now are needing to address the noise problem caused by them. Instead they are now spending $175,000 for a grant to the UW Engineering Department to study this issue.
Since tolling began on the SR-520 floating bridge, traffic has been reduced by 30%. Cars now avoid the toll by using 1-90, then drive north on 1-5, and then east on SR-520 to exit at Montlake BLVD to reach the University. The eastbound exit to Montlake is now a continuous traffic congestion.
There need to be financial incentives built into the RFP to encourage the contractor to reduce noise at night.
WSDOT needs to be held accountable to retaining funds, originally promised for mitigation, and not use cost over runs as an excuse to not provide necessary mitigation.
We need to support the Governor’s target of reducing green-house gas emissions by proposing the use of barges to remove the debris from the removal of the Portage Bay Via-duct, instead of the projected 200 per day trips by haul trucks through the neighboring streets.
Plans need to continue to form an SR-520 Oversight Commission to meet regularly throughout the Rest of the West construction period of SR-520 Construction.
Rep Marci thanked the group for all of the ideas and information that was shared and will continue to listen to our concerns, as this project moves forward.
8:00 PM Adjournment of Meeting Pete Delaunay, President
Joan Stewart (substitute minutes taker)