The White Center Blog » Archives » Early reaction to 16th SW plan, draft design standards, more @ North Highline Unincorporated Area Council March meeting

By Tracy Records
White Center Now Editor

Two projects proposing small and large changes to the White Center were in the spotlight during the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council monthly meeting, held online last Thursday evening.

16TH SW PLAN: Last month, NHUAC received a short presentation on this and a survey. This month brought the full presentation, as the poll continues until March 18.

To recap, the county plans to reduce 16th SW between 100th and 107th to one lane of vehicular traffic each way — the question is what that will look like and how the rest of the road will be distributed. “The goal is to reduce speeding and make it safer for people to cross the street,” said Broch Bender from King County Road Services. This section of 16, Bender said, saw 217 collisions between 2011 and 2020, 19 involving pedestrians.

It is a $1.6 million project, scheduled for construction in the summer/fall of 2024.

Once the county decides on the construction option, other aspects will be discussed. Bender had details of planned intersection improvements:

The road currently has two lanes of traffic in each direction, a center turn lane and 34 on-street parking spaces within the project area.

Option 1 would add a buffered bike lane on either side of the street, reduce vehicular traffic lanes to one in each direction, and add 19 parking spaces.

Option 2 would have one parking lane on each side, reduce vehicular traffic lanes to one in each direction. 39 parking spaces would be added.

Here is a comparison of the components:

In the questions/answers/comments, one participant expressed concern about traffic diversion in neighborhoods, which he says has increased during the closure of the West Seattle Bridge – could roundabouts be added to discourage this ? Bender said he heard this suggestion from other people. They are still evaluating data to combat traffic hijacking, Bender replied.

Another participant wondered why parking would be added, since it doesn’t seem to be necessary; yet another was concerned about the location of bike lanes between other lanes. fire chief mike marr wondered about the impact on public safety, with the loss of lanes. Generally, emergency vehicles use the center lane, was the response. Will this connect to a bike path on Ambaum so it’s not just a few orphan blocks? asked another participant. It will connect to a new bus-only lane south of 107th, and, the county team said, and there are thoughts cyclists might be able to use that — they’re interested in feedback. on this subject. “The combined bus/bike route is trash,” replied the participant. “I don’t even know how it could have happened to someone, to put the bigger vehicle on the road in the same lane with bikes.” Bender insisted that everyone, including those commenting at this meeting, use the poll to ensure their comments are “documented – that’s how we’ll do it, what we hear from the community will be integrated into this design”.

Speaking of which, they had some early results (we posted the survey link here and on the partner site West Seattle Blog after last month’s NHUAC meeting) – here’s how they distributed the survey:

So far, the cycle path option is in the lead:

This includes respondents who said they live nearby:

The King County team plans to return to the NHUAC later this year with an update. In the meantime, participate in the survey!

There is also a poll for the following topic:

NORTH HIGHLINE URBAN DESIGN STANDARDS: Jesse Reynolds facilitated this presentation. He pointed out that design standards do not involve zoning:

“If zoning was a cake, it would be the icing on the cake” – what the building, the street, the landscaping looks like, “what your eye sees when you walk down the street”. They are taking feedback/ideas until March 28 (here is the poll). Then on June 30 they will send a proposal to the Departmental Council. After a series of initial contacts, here is what he said he heard:

The standards, once developed, will apply to future development. One person thought there should be standards for marijuana businesses; Reynolds said the standards will not affect the use of the buildings, only their appearance. (In parallel discussion, Member Bill Kennamer noted that there was a request for another store in the former Rat City Records space on the 16th, and that it was disputed.)

Back to design standards – here’s how they’ll break down:

“We’re trying to put this in place so that you all have more of a stake in how development (takes place) in your community,” he said, explaining the public process this would result in and showing examples of what’s in the draft document, like these multifamily/commercial development renderings:

Reynolds also noted a concept called GreenCenter, as a “checklist that requires (a certain percentage) of landscaping”. And he said there will be standards for new buildings to match the current character of the neighborhood. Security concepts too.

There would also be a local business support fund that developers would pay into in return for increased business density.

In the Q&A, clarification was sought on how potential developers should determine context; it’s all spelled out, Reynolds said. NHUAC Barbara Dobkin asked who is on the committee working on this, because this is the first time this group has heard. This is the first “public meeting,” Reynolds said. Draft standards will be on the agenda for the next North Highline Town Hall March 22. In the meantime, take the survey!

CRIME/SECURITY: Deputy Kennamer said the shooting at Station 76 (it wasn’t at the library, as some had reported) was one of the biggest issues of the past month – the 13-year-old victim and another man were involved in a shooting. One of the weapons was recovered. There was a robbery on the 16th. The past month has seen a sharp increase in aggravated assaults, for unknown reasons. Flights are down; vehicle thefts are on the rise — “everywhere, not just White Center and Burien,” he said. He thinks it’s because car thieves “know the cops can’t stop them anymore, they can just drive away”. Commercial burglaries are down – a suspected prolific burglar remains in jail. Here are the statistics:

When discussing traffic issues, Kennamer noted, “As soon as the West Seattle Bridge is fixed, 90% of our issues will be resolved.” One participant recounted an early morning drive-by shooting at 18/100 on February 5 and wondered what was going on with the repeated shootings in the area. “Usually it’s early in the morning, and no one has seen anything,” so there’s no evidence to follow.

One attendee said he was glad to hear about the King County Catalytic Converter Task Force and wondered what steps to take to protect a vehicle. Deputy Kennamer said there is aftermarket protection you can install, but it would be better if there were stricter laws on the sale of catalytic converters. Other topics included loud music in the West White Center – the Liquor and Cannabis Authority officer present suggested this is a rental venue that has held very loud events.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Darlene Sellers from the Teen Program said that the fifth season of Log Cabin’s Got Talent is coming up, they’re accepting videos from all kinds of talent – Saturday, March 19 is the deadline; March 25 is the show. They will have a traveling art and ice cream truck that will stop at several parks. … jerry pionk local services reminded everyone of the aforementioned March 22nd North Highline City Hall “one last time by zoom”… Michael Morales introduced himself; he works on businesses displaced by last year’s big fires, to “help plan what they want to do next”, navigate the permitting process, find funding resources. “This block will be rebuilt,” he said.

NEXT NHUAC MEETING: 7 p.m. on the first Thursday in April – that’s April 7.



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