LICTON SPRINGS COMMUNITY COUNCIL
Minutes of Community Meeting, January 21, 2015
NSCC Campus OCE&E Building, Room 220B
Directors Present: Jan Brucker, Tom Meyer, Kay Mesirow, Melanie Davies, Liz Kearns, and Ellen Beck.
Board Representatives Present: Kathleen Braden (List Serve).
Visitors: Warren Brown (President of North Seattle College), Marcia Iwaskai (Office of Arts and Culture, City of Seattle), Christa Dumpys (Department of Neighborhoods, City of Seattle), Amy Lazerte (North Seattle College), W. Scott Trimble (artist selected for Seattle City Light North Service Center), Charles Bond, Julie Wagner, Mike Wagner, Casey Piez, Averi Norgaard, Ryan Neill, and Richard Truax.
Treasurer’s Report. The December 31, 2014 bank balance was $5,401.91.
Minutes. The November 19, 2014 minutes were approved as presented.
President Jan Brucker called the January meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Introductions were made around the table.
Department of Neighborhoods Updates. Krista Dumpys, our City representative from the Department of Neighborhoods, told us about meeting the Mark Secord, CEO of NeighborCare. A new healthcare facility is now being built behind McDonalds. The Meridian Center for Health1 will be located at North 105th Street and Meridian Avenue North. They are eager to connect with LSCC.
She also informed us that Mayor Murray’s small scale neighborhood walk in the Northgate area will take place on Tuesday, January 27th, beginning at 3:00 p.m. A representative from Licton Springs is needed to be part of the group accompanying the Mayor. Liz Kearns volunteered to be our representative.
Selection of Artist for Artwork for City Light’s North Service Center. Marcia Iwaskai, City of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, who represents our part of the City. She explained that the City has an art program. She also passed out informational brochures about Seattle’s public art. One percent of a capital improvement project budget goes towards the acquisition of public art. A panel2 was set up to choose the artist for City Light’s North Service Center new artworks. The panel, during the months of November and December, had two meetings. At their first meeting they looked at an artist roster of 39 artists from Washington and Oregon, and then the roster was narrowed down to eight artists, then down to the top four, who were asked to come in for an interview. Scott Trimble has been commissioned. It is unusual that an artist comes in after the architect, but in this case City Light was already moving quickly on this project. She told us she and Scott looked at City Light yesterday and met with staff, finding out what they do. Scott will also be going on ride-alongs with different teams to see what they do. Information is also being gathered about our neighborhood. He will do two artworks. Work will begin in the next couple months. This is happening very fast because City Light is moving fast. In a project of this kind, the involvement of the community is always sought. When Scott Trimble comes up with his artwork, it will have to be approved by the Public Arts Advisory and City Light, and will be installed by fall.
W. Scott Trimble, Artist. Scott Trimble showed us pictures of samples of his works and described them. He has done permanent and temporary public works at various locations: University of Washington (temporary, installed in October, but UW asked for it to remain longer; so it’s there until spring; southwest corner of campus), Bellevue Art Museum (fantastic works on wood by 39 Northwest artists; it’s beautiful work), a New York junior high and high/elementary and pre-K school called New Settlement located in the Bronx (a colored navigational system), treatment plant facility in Kirkland (a new service gate, telling the story of the work of the plant).
The artwork for the North Service Center will link City Light’s two locations (corner to corner). The art will also help people navigate City Light.
Marcia reported that City Light planned to be finished with the construction in May/June and the artwork would be dedicated in early fall of this year. She said we would be notified of the date for the dedication. She told us that the City would maintain the artwork. So, they should be notified if the artwork is damaged.
Scott said that he was interested in material/information about Licton Springs neighborhood. He was given the information/pamphlets we had available. Tom Meyer and others described the water connections, including the spring and pond in Licton Springs Park. The Emily Inez Denny book, Blazing the Way, was also recommended. Jan pointed out that Licton Springs and Duwamish are the only two neighborhood names in Seattle retaining their Indian names. Scott gave his e-mail address, email@example.com, and urged us to let him know if we had comments or suggestions. Several Board members told of other water connections. Marcia said that suggestions should be e-mailed to Scott in the next week or so because the project is moving forward quickly. Also, Seattle is one of the top arts places per capita in the country.
Northgate Pedestrian/Bicycle Bridge Over I-5. Charles Bond and Richard Truax spoke about the pedestrian bridge. The total estimated cost of the pedestrian and bicycle bridge to connect the west side of I-5 to the Transit Center and Northgate is $25 million and for folks from the park and ride and future light rail station on the east side to get to Licton Springs. The City of Seattle and Sound Transit reached an agreement to pledge $10 million towards the construction. So, funding for the bridge has a $15 million funding gap at present. The groups supporting the bridge are Feet First and the Sound Access for All campaign, among others. There are a number of sources available to close the gap, including state and federal grants, the state transportation budget, and a future Seattle Bridging the Gap Levy.
The bridge is needed to create a safe path for crossing I-5. North 92nd is not totally safe. It was built to 1960’s standards.3 The guardrails are too low. You remember that we had a tragic suicide by someone jumping onto the freeway from the 92nd overpass. Northgate Way is also a dangerous street to navigate as a pedestrian.
The present problem is that the funding is reaching a time limit. If the funding gap is not closed and the project fully funded, then the pledged amounts will evaporate. So, what supporters are trying to do now is to get Sound Transit4 to extend the deadline so there is time to get all the needed funding. TIGER grants are really competitive and so obtaining them is dicey. Projects all over the country are trying to obtain funds from the same pot of money. The bridge proponents did not obtain TIGER grant funds applied for and are uncertain about reapplying. This year TIGER grant funds are being reduced.
The Mountlake Light Rail Station is $160 million under budget, so that money is being sought for other projects. It is unclear if the money can legally be used for other projects. Sound Transit also got their interest rate lowered on one of their loans so that means more money can go to funding. However Sound Transit leaders don’t appear to want to commit more money for the bridge. No one can speak for them, but it seems that a lot of interest groups do not want to commit their money to the bridge. The cost of the pedestrian bridge is less than other projects that Sound Transit has. Haller Lake, Pinehurst, Maple Leaf, as well as Licton Springs will benefit from the bridge.
Traffic in our neighborhood will only increase with the two schools going in and the new medical center being built. There is more and more to draw people across the pedestrian bridge.
The Lake City Neighborhood Alliance has committed to writing a letter in support of extending the funding deadline. Jan stated that Licton Springs has already expressed support, but she felt that we would need to hold a community meeting to hopefully get the feelings and opinions of the neighborhood. We could request removal of the July 2015 deadline to give more time for obtaining the necessary additional funds.
President Warren Brown of North Seattle College, who has been here since July, said that the College is in favor of the bridge. It gives the students access to light rail. This College also has issues with the park and ride. Several of their students have been assaulted there. The College needs to look at safety issues. The bridge has to be safe and useful for everyone. Campus security can’t police the bridge. Safety has to be an issue for the whole community. The bridge has to be inviting and safe, and lit after dark. With the on/off ramp for folks going and coming from the bridge, a safe pathway through the green space needs to be established. President Brown said that he believed King County funds could be used for the approach to the bridge area, funds dedicated for wetlands and urban parks. The College would need a nice pathway through the green space.
But, the College feels the State Department of Transportation needs to pass a bill for funding. This hasn’t happened in nine years. All colleges apply for funds in a group and have to rank their projects. Therefore it takes time to obtain funding.
Jan remembered from early discussions years ago that a performing arts center was proposed that would draw people from the east side of the freeway and have more eyes around the bridge entrance. President Brown stated that nothing showing in the master plan for that. The other issue for the College is the high ground water table in the area. So any structure going in there is going to have to mitigate the ground water issue. Third, the State works on a seven year building cycle, seven years to plan, seven years to get on a list for funding, and seven years to build. Also, all 34 colleges are in the same cycle. The universities go individually and ask for individual projects, but not the colleges. Funding is difficult to obtain current. Community colleges get less funding than K12. Last year eight projects were approved initially for the colleges, and those projects were ready to be built. Funding only came through for four of those projects. The bridge is not in the master plan, but President Brown said it was his understanding that it didn’t need to be since it wasn’t a campus structure. Amy mentioned that there had been the discussions that Jan remembered, but they had only been discussions, not plans.
Cascade Bike Club is interested in turning North 100th into a green zone, a neighborhood green zone. North 100th would lead to the College and the bridge.
Melanie Davies reported a Safeways meeting had taken place on Tuesday at the College and folks were looking at safe ways to walk to school. They were studying all the school plans. It is clear that North 92nd is going to be a funnel for the new “Wilson Pacific” middle school kids coming to the school from the east side over. We also have the parents driving the APP kids, who are not necessarily neighborhood kids, who will be coming from all over the north end. We are going to get a ton of traffic coming over 92nd bridge. It is impossible to cross the freeway at 80th or 85th. We really need another way for people to get from one place to another. Another option is needed.
Tom reported from his experience on the North District Council, not all neighborhoods are in favor of the pedestrian bridge. They have been seeking funding, perhaps for years, of projects in their neighborhoods. Also, the City has not kept promises for sidewalks made 50 years ago. Haller Lake still doesn’t have sidewalks. If we don’t have collective support, the City will have a hard time funding the bridge. Sound Transit is a beneficiary of the bridge and yet they do not want to put more funds into building it. This is a revenue generating system for them. Tom said the City of Seattle has done a lot of time vetting, and funding searches. They’ve done a lot for the bridge.
All the mitigation the City has done in making Northgate an urban center has been on the east side of I-5. Nothing has been done on the west side. Eventually, something should come this way. Outreach has only gone east thus far.
The word needs to be gotten out about a potential meeting and about the February 26th deadline. Melanie wondered if we could get the mailing list used in prior big community meetings, i.e., about Wilson Pacific. Also, Jan stated she felt that we as a Council need to get a larger input of opinions from the neighborhood before stating a position. For a larger meeting, we could partner with Epic Church, and the other groups mentioned. Who is sending out the invites, who is heading up the meeting?
Melanie reported that the Greenway connected to us is entitled the Licton-Haller Greenways. The name was come up with two months ago. The core group supporting it is folks from Green Lake, Haller Lake, Lake City, and she is the only person from Licton Springs. That group is focused on safe ways, greenways. Gordon Padelford is with Seattle Greenways of the City of Seattle. Christian is in the group, and he’s at the College. They have energy, and have obtained a grant from the National Parks Department for help thinking through signage, wayfinding, etc. They helped a group in Rainier Beach. A representative from the National Parks was there to listen to ideas. This could be the umbrella group. Melanie urged us not to invent a new group, she can e-mail Lee Bruch from Green Lake, and Megan and say, “We want to have a meeting about this issue. Every group has a mailing list. Licton-Haller Greenways wants to get a big group out to discuss safeways, bike travel, etc., but really it is all really the same issue.” Maybe we could have a subgroup meeting with Lee, Megan, and Christian and a few others and see if we can get the most people possible to an event in the cafeteria before the funding deadline. It could be another brainstorming event, but getting people rallied around extending this deadline.
Jan stated in the spirit of full disclosure that she has not been a fan of the bridge because she thinks that one purpose structures are not a good use of money. Going back to our community planning, the group all wanted a connection to the east side of the freeway. There was no debate about that. But, for a lot of folks that the bridge concept was too narrow. Years ago, in 1999, the question was should there be another kind of linkage? What we were talking about then was daylighting Thornton Creek. Instead of going over, go under the freeway, broad, open and lots of plantings. It’s been lost over time, but that was the thought.
Many voices are needed to urge the elimination of the deadline. Sound Transit, most likely will “kick the can down the road a bit,” but it would be much better to have the deadline lifted.
Charles made the suggestion to create an active organization of people, who can put their voices together, and can act as one when there’s a need to bring attention to a matter. He said that we need to get parts of the city working together again, sending out e-mails, responding to surveys, showing up for events and meetings. That’s what’s needed, not just for the bridge, but for Aurora. We need a source for leadership.
The meeting is set for Saturday, February 21st, from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the College. The word has to be gotten out. We need to partner with other groups to try to get as big a turnout as possible. The Greenways people would be a good fit. We need to have a way for people to vote or express their opinions in some way whether you’re signing a petition, or something else.
Celebrate North Seattle. Casey Pier, from Epic Church and also Celebrate North Seattle event, explained the Church was very interested in being involved in community as part of their vision. They definitely want to work with us on projects, from neighborhood cleanup to business ventures.
The Celebrate North Seattle event has taken place at Oak Tree and is an event to attract people to the area to see what would happen if we all connected, specifically community nonprofits, community groups. The first year approximately 300 people came. Last year there were just shy of 2,000 people. When they first started the event, they had no way of knowing how successful it could be. They have also definitely been concerned with the Aurora corridor.
Jan said we were the only neighborhood plan that focused on Aurora and the safety of crossing or walking along it. We spent funding for experts that we received in hiring a safety consultant. We were also very interested in using the alleys to make the businesses easier to visit. The commercial zone is so shallow on the east side, so there has not been upgrading of the businesses. We felt that the business door on Aurora should not be their only entrance, but that there could be an entrance from the alley. Once the planning process was over, the City dropped the ball and there was no funding to follow through with plans or discussions made. So the efforts concerning helping Aurora businesses stopped.
All sections of Aurora north in Shoreline and south of our neighborhood have re-envisioned Aurora and revitalized their Highway 99 corridor. In our neighborhood, the Aurora Merchants resist any changes.
Multi-Neighborhood Intersection. It was reported that Rob from the Greenwood Community Council called a meeting regarding the intersection of Northgate Way and Aurora, an area where four neighborhoods meet: Licton Springs, Greenwood, Haller Lake, and Broadview. Was that intersection designated as an urban center? Nothing has happened with it. Now they are talking about putting a pedestrian overlay in that area. That would mean new businesses would have to orient themselves towards pedestrians. We need to discuss this more. There is a lot of room for improvement there, boarded up businesses, etc. Because multiple neighborhoods are involved, no progress has been made. There can be multiple voices saying to the City that something should happen here.
Our next meeting is Wednesday, February 18, 2015.
The meeting adjourned at 9: 20 p.m.
Ellen M. Beck, Secretary
2 Melanie Davies participated on behalf of LSCC.
3 There have been two suicide jumpers off the 92nd Overpass Bridge, one about five years ago, and a second at 6:00 a.m. on January 9, 2015, a foggy morning. Several cars collided, one had damage, but no drivers were hurt.