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RE: Fremont Ave N

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  • Kate Martin
    Thank you for your response Eric. It may be useful to look at the amount of paving for vehicular movement and parking of vehicles before you start balancing
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 3, 2008

      Thank you for your response Eric.


      It may be useful to look at the amount of paving for vehicular movement and parking of vehicles before you start balancing your impervious surface calculations and natural drainage needs with inadequate provisions in the way of pedestrian infrastructure. 


      I don’t see drivers of cars being asked to navigate through natural drainage swales and bark as pavement to make the drainage calculations work.  It seems like it’s just pedestrians paying the price.  Pedestrians, who at best are getting 10 – 20% of any street right of way while the vehicles get 60% and sometimes more should not be paying the price.  We want people out of cars, so let’s put our money where our mouths are.


      Note the examples around the club that illustrate the failure of the solution proposed by SDOT.



      Disastrous planting strip at busy parking area just south of North Seattle Boys & Girls Club at Denise Hunt




      Another non-navigable disastrous planting strip along N 87th adjacent to North Seattle Boys & Girls Club. Note the busted up extruded curbs as well.  Just a few years old and trashed.   





      Another non-navigable disastrous planting strip along Evanston across from North Seattle Boys & Girls Club at Greenwood Park .  This one is a fake drainage swale that actually has a sewer inlet at the low point. 




      We simply need a small strip of curbside paving and some places to get across the planting strip without trampling tree roots, plants, chips, mud, dog doo or whatever else.  And we want to take the crime-prone area around the club and suggest other behavior.  The park-like plantings in the strip from Denise Hunt past the club is an opportunity to do it and has community support.  We must look beyond capital projects into the realm of maintenance and beyond.  Traipsing through plantings and bark chips and calling it pedestrian circulation doesn't work.  This is not practical and is not what we discussed at early meetings last spring when a couple of Boys & Girls Club reps and a Greenwood Community Council rep met with Sandra and Therese. 


      This is a Neighborhood Street Fund Project!  And it’s way over due from when it should have gone in.  It should be a project driven by neighborhood needs.  We need a way to create a park-like environment along the sidewalk, a way to protect the plantings, facilitate the maintenance, and a navigable way to get across natural drainage planting strips.  We need agency support for this idea of a park like planting strip and a way for people to actually get to the passenger doors to load / unload kids, and more.    


      The location of the Boys & Girls Club and Greenwood Park make this a very important route in our neighborhood.  Additionally, it abuts the Urban Village boundary and in doing so should not be interpreted as just any residential street.  This is a prime bike & pedestrian connector in Greenwood .  And the Boys & Girls Club is the only youth facility in our entire neighborhood.  Greenwood Park is one of our only open spaces.    


      When planting strips became plant material other than turf grass, the idea of needing curbside paving became intuitive as can be witnessed from one end of Seattle to the other.  Why do I feel like I’m trying to convince SDOT there’s an obvious problem when people are solving the problem everywhere.  Why can’t we seem to solve it on an agency level?


      As I documented in a former email, the conditions that you create with you’re your non-solutions are unsightly, inaccessible, and impractical even in lightly trampled planting strips.  In addition, they create a maintenance nightmare.


      I'm really tired of seeing us get the dregs when it comes to infrastructure in Greenwood and certainly I'm tired of pedestrian infrastructure taking a hit to balance the unbridled and voracious use of the right of way by vehicles.  Look around the blocks surrounding this area and you can see that the failure of the solution you propose abounds. (See photos included here.)


      I have asked 3 times for examples of where the solutions you propose work and I've gotten nothing.  I submitted many pictures of how it doesn't work in our neighborhood. 


      I have offered to negotiate additional right of way from the Boys & Girls Club so that the pavement area requested can be balanced with more natural drainage area which would solve the drainage calculations problem. 


      We simply don't need the ghetto results your solutions provide in this location. (Again, take a look at the pictures.)   I would also like to note that the maintenance of this strip would be on the Boys & Girls Club, so leaving a mess for them to deal with in the way of bark as circulation and trampled plants is pat hetic.  And that’s just what you’ve already left them on N 87th St .    


      Let's stick to the original plan and what we set out to achieve. 


      I would like to schedule an on-site visit to see all the disastrous conditions in the environs of this location firsthand since my photos seems not enough.  Please advise as to your earliest convenience.  I have included SPU folks in this email because we all need to solve this together.    


      Again, let’s not throw the baby out with the surface water.  This is workable if we work together.  


      Thank you for your attention to this matter. 


      Kate Martin, Club Friend, North Seattle Boys & Girls Club, Greenwood Community Council President





      Kate Martin

      office (206) 783-6538

      cell (206) 579-3703

      fax (206) 706-1528




      -----Original Message-----
      From: Eric Widstrand [mailto:Eric.Widstrand@...]
      Sent: Thursday, October 02, 2008 9:17 AM
      To: Kate Martin
      Cc: Liz Ellis; Megan Hoyt; Sandra Woods; Shane Dewald; Therese Casper
      Subject: Re: Fremont Ave N




      I appreciate all the thought you have put into the planting strip on Fremont Avenue North in front of the Boys & Girls Club but I need to reiterate that SDOT will not support adding more concrete to the existing design.  As I have stated earlier, adding additional sidewalk adjacent to the curb or between the natural drainage swales is not appropriate for a non-arterial street in a residential neighborhood.  In addition, we have worked extensively with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) to meet the drainage code requirements triggered by this project.  The added impervious surface has significant negative consequences to the function of the natural drainage swales as well as to the project budget.  With proper maintenance, the existing design will work and is similar to community centers and residential areas throughout the city.


      Earlier we stated that one foot of mulch adjacent to the curb with plantings set back a foot from the curb would be installed to allow for any foot traffic to occur without compromising the integrity of the plantings.  This will address any plant maintenance issues as people exiting their cars can use the mulched area to access the walk through areas (also mulched). 


      Attached you will find the current design which will be going out to bid in the next few months.  Thank you.




      Eric M. Widstrand, PE, PTOE

      Seattle Department of Transportation

      Traffic Operations Manager

      700 5th Avenue - Suite 3869

      Seattle , WA 98124



      >>> "Kate Martin" <katemartin@...> 9/9/2008 4:06 PM >>>







      Kate Martin

      office (206) 783-6538

      cell (206) 579-3703

      fax (206) 706-1528

       <mailto:katemartin@...> katemartin@...




      From: Kate Martin [mailto:katemartin@...]

      Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2008 3:29 PM

      To: 'Therese Casper'

      Cc: 'Barbara Gray'; 'Rebecca Deehr'; 'shane.dewald@...';

      'liz.ellis@...'; 'Megan Hoyt'; 'Luke Korpi'; 'Jim Curtin'; 'Nick

      Licata'; 'Lisa Herbold'; ' seattlepedestrianmasterplan@yahoogroups.com '

      Subject: Fremont Ave N




      Hello Therese. 




      I hope your vacation was good.




      I'd like to come down and talk about the modifications I'd like to see for

      the plan that Perteet made for Fremont Ave N sidewalks, planting strip,

      natural drainage and curb along the Boys & Girls Club. 




      People have to be able to get out of the passenger side of the cars,

      especially along this stretch to access the townhomes, the club, and the

      park.  People are often loading kids in their cars from the passenger side.

      In general, passengers are sometimes the least able bodied at curbside.  




      I realize that you have space limitations in the ROW, but this fits within

      that.  As we move the encroaching fence at the club in to the property line

      or potentially beyond, we need to jog the sidewalk over enough to

      accommodate a practical curbside solution for getting out of a car and to

      the sidewalk. In my calculations of a 60' ROW, that puts the edge of the

      sidewalk  on the Club property line... (11 of street to the Centerline to

      make a 22' roadway, 6" curb, 2' curbside pavement, 5' planting strip, 6'

      sidewalks = 30' or half the ROW) though really, I'm sure I can negotiate

      another sliver from B&G Clubs in order to make this work if necessary. 




      I super appreciate the natural drainage swales that will accommodate the

      surface water infiltration from the sidewalks.  We now need to detail it to

      an extent that will also work for human habitat and pedestrian habitat in

      general.  Why throw the baby out with the natural drainage so to speak. 




      I have attached a conceptual sketch of what I'd like to see and also some

      pictures of the less than accommodating curbside situations we already have

      with in a block or so of the club and park that need not be repeated.  I

      also attached a picture from the church at N 80th St across from Bagley

      Elementary. They recently built a similar solution to what I'm talking

      about.  The pavement would actually make a nice "dam" for the swales playing

      the same role that the high point of Perteet's detail would play, but maybe

      even better.  If we wanted to pick up some street water in this scheme, it

      could be easily modified to do that and perhaps we should.  Just catching

      the sidewalk surface water is maybe shooting low. 








      Personally I don't think the idea of not having pavement to occasionally

      cross over planting strips works for anyone even when it's grass, but just

      putting chips down with some shrubs and groundcovers and calling it good

      will create a scruffy maintenance nightmare for us at the Club like 87th

      does west of the Club alley and will not be negotiable by many.  We're

      looking to do a wonderful job with a thoughtful planting scheme and then

      using the community to maintain the park-like sequence along there.

      Something that will be beautiful and welcoming for the seniors to access the

      park from the senior center and for the folks travelling from the #48 on

      85th to the club and park.  Also, this is the bike street on the BMP and

      making it a park-like boulevard makes perfect sense.  


























      We just can't  ignore the idea that trampling the planting strips will

      destroy the efforts nor do we need to sacrifice pedestrian safety and

      practicality for natural drainage.  They can work together so that we have

      nothing that even vaguely resembles this:








      I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to meeting with

      you at your earliest convenience.




      Also, we'd like to be able to use the same tree that we introduced around

      the Club already and that is a Galaxy Magnolia.  It's working perfectly with

      no irrigation from a Fall planting last year at the club.  All 12 of them

      survived beautifully.  I used them at St. John School and they're been more

      than satisfactory there and very drought tolerant.  I can supply a plant

      list for the rest of the plantings and a plan if that works from your end as

      we really do want to make a park-like boulevard there and the same old tired

      stuff is not going to get it done.




      Thank you for your help.




      Kate Martin




      Kate Martin

      office (206) 783-6538

      cell (206) 579-3703

      fax (206) 706-1528

       <mailto:katemartin@...> katemartin@...




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