Fremont Neighborhood Annual General Meeting – April 25, 2016
Board members present: Stephanie Pure, Linda Clifton, Shawn Mulanix, Matt Gasparich, Erik Pihl, Jim Engelhardt, Toby Thaler, Elfriede Noble, Norma Jones, Judie Clarridge.
Stephanie opened the meeting and invited everyone to introduce themselves and share any announcements:
Special Guest – City Councilmember, Mike O’Brien, District 6
Mike gave an update on the topic of lead in water pipes from a briefing today from SPU. They have found no heighten levels of lead in Seattle’s water. The standard advice is that pipes which have not been used in more than 6 hours should be flushed by running water for two minutes. He also stated that the Viaduct will be closed to vehicles for two weeks starting on April 29th, while the tunneling machine digs underneath it. This will be a major traffic disruption.
Among Mike’s major issues are transportation and sustainability. He said that six years ago there was very little construction work going on. Now, although construction is booming, the local economy is still hard on many people.
Ms. Noble raised transportation and traffic enforcement issues: whether photo enforcement along Fremont Avenue was still in effect now that the blinking light (indicating a 20 mph zone) has been moved. Also, the need for bus service between upper Fremont (north of N. 39th) and the Fremont Bridge. Mike responded that they will be reviewing new bus routes shortly. It is a challenge to increase service in one area and not lose it elsewhere. Funding of needed projects and services was discussed. A state income tax was supported in Seattle but lost statewide.
Mike talked about the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure that goes before the voters this November. There was concern that some of the projects covered in ST3 will not be completed for 25+ years. Mike said these are complex projects. Environmental reviews look at multiple options. Could the options be narrowed down earlier in the process so that lengthy analysis would be done on only the top contenders? He also mentioned that financing rules for large bonds require that a percentage of the revenue be received before the project can get underway. He also said there is discussion about the possibility of streamlining the permitting process for light rail. He talked about tradeoffs, for example, you could have construction crews working around the clock but how would neighbors feel about that? When asked why another tunnel is needed in downtown Seattle, he talked about expected ridership; for example, 140,000 people a day going from Ballard to downtown. The level of ridership already being seen since the UW and Capitol Hill stations opened is off the charts.
Other issues: The Bicycle Master Plan is an important component to managing transportation in the city. He said the city is requesting Federal grants for bus rapid transit on Madison Street from 1st Avenue to the Central District. He also talked about improving service on Route 44 between Ballard and the UW. What is happening to improve public transportation in Fremont? The Westlake Cycle Track is one example; it should be completed this summer. Mike would love to see more transit investments. There was discussion about the amount of construction going on. Will it result in excess capacity? A question was raised about the increase in the staff of the city councilmembers. Mike replied that additional staff is needed because the establishment of districts has resulted in residents having an increased expectation of responsiveness from councilmembers. Also, discussion about establishing impact fees for developers. Mike said that the regulations regarding impact fees envision scenarios, typically in suburban areas, where the construction of residential developments requires the building of new roads, etc. However, in Seattle, the need is for improved transit.
Pedestrian Safety Improvement, N. 36th and 1st Avenue N.W. – Cara Kuhlman
Cara Kuhlman presented concerns about pedestrians and cyclists crossing N. 36th between Phinney Ave., N. and N. 39th St. It has a high volume of vehicle traffic with no traffic calming measures. She proposes that the intersection of N. 36th and 1st Ave. NW be considered for improvements, especially because there are transit stops on both the north and south sides of N. 36th. This proposal, under the 2016 Neighborhood Park and Street Fund, was reviewed and recommended by the LUDC for further review by SDOT.
Board members suggested that meeting with an SDOT representative might be helpful to discuss data, such as traffic and accident counts, which could be useful in assessing the proposal.
Cara was asked to draft a letter to SDOT expressing the FNC’s support of the proposal and email it to Stephanie.
Vision Zero – Erik Pihl
Prior to the meeting, Erik emailed a draft letter of support for Vision Zero, a proposal to adopt a 20 mph speed limit for non-arterial streets and 25 mph for arterial streets, to the board members. The goal of the proposal is to reduce motorist and pedestrian collisions and pedestrian fatalities by reducing speed limits.
MOTION: Toby moved that the FNC send the letter to SDOT, Mayor Murray, and Councilmember O’Brien. Norma seconded. The motion passed.
SDOT Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) Policy Review – Mary Catherine Snyder
Erik stated that Mary Catherine has been a good partner and “go to” person in resolving concerns about RPZ issues.
Mary Catherine said that the RPZ policy has been in effort for over 35 years. SDOT is reviewing whether changing parking issues in the city warrant revisions in policy. Initially, it was that residential areas near hospitals, retail/restaurant areas, etc. experienced spill over parking. Now there are many situations where more permits are issued to residents within a block than there is space to park. Parking studies are underway. They are also looking at issuing permits online and under what situations to add or remove blocks to RPZs. They want to determine how RPZs are working.
There was discussion about accommodating short term parking around schools and fire stations in RPZs. Concerns were raised about granting variances in RPZs to contractors working on construction projects. The intersection of Phinney N. and N. 39th was discussed: it is a busy intersection and has many collisions, visibility is reduced because cars are parked too close to the corner. Mary Catherine said they are gathering input and plan for a draft to be issued for review in June. Concerns were raised that the city is permitting apartment buildings with little or no off street parking. Fremont has also seen cases where developers are charging such high rates for parking stalls, that renters park on the street. Mary Catherine said they are working with DPD.
2016 Board Elections:
Stephanie reported that current board member, Viet Nguyen, is not able to continue on the board because of other commitments.
The slate of officers and board members are:
President: Stephanie Pure Vice President: Toby Thaler
Secretary: Judie Clarridge Treasurer: Jim Englehardt
Linda Clifton Shawn Mulanix
Matt Gasparich Elfriede Noble
Norma Jones Erik Pihl
Stephanie announced that Peter Hornyack has volunteered to be a board member. He is a Fremont resident, a member of the FNC, and has attended all three of the board meetings in 2016.
MOTION: Stephanie moved that the slate of officers and board members, including Peter Hornyack, be approved. Shawn seconded. The FNC membership voted aye.
Jim reported the following current balances in the FNC’s accounts:
Verity Checking: $ 1,137.70
Verity Money Market: 56,548.23
46th Street Mural: $ 71.39
2016 year-to-date figures for dues/donations total $1,368.83: $858.83 through PayPal; $570.00 by check.
There was discussion about how to proceed regarding the invoice from Urban ArtWorks for $4,000. Stephanie will send an email to Kathleen Warren requesting an explanation for the amount.
Minutes: There was discussion about the motion at the March meeting regarding the figure to be authorized for the HALA mailing to Fremont residents. A new motion was presented.
MOTION: Erik moved that up to $3,000 be authorized. Toby seconded. The motion passed.
MOTION: Linda moved that the March 2016 minutes be approved as presented. Toby seconded. Motion passed.
The meeting was adjourned. The next board meeting will be Monday, May 23, 2016.