Ernst Park - Photo by Beth Somerfield
Ernst Park – Photo by Beth Somerfield

First Fremont Neighborhood Council meeting of 2017 was this Monday night, January 23. Nico Martinucci,* Associate Transportation Planner for SDOT presented detailed information about the City’s plan to reconfigure the bus stop at N 34th and Fremont Avenue to try to solve the problem of crowding where so many board the bus, walk, drive and ride bicycles to and from the bridge.  FNC President Stephanie Pure said, “In short, the City is having the tricky task of integrating pedestrians, bikes, transit, freight, cars, strollers, you name it in this space. We provided feedback mostly based on safety as a #1 priority.”

Here are links to the materials from the presentation:





Questions raised included the impact on drivers trying to turn right from Fremont onto the one-way section of N 34th in front of Starbucks, encouraging drivers going to N 34th to avoid this intersection at all, whether Metro needed to stop all four bus routes on that one single block, and how reconfiguration might accommodate a bike lane, or not.

The board also discussed a letter being circulated by East Fremont/ West Wallingford residents that questions many aspects of the proposed up-zones in the Wallingford Urban Hub. A few excerpts from that letter:

“The most drastic changes proposed by City planners for the Wallingford Urban Village will hit EF/WW, by completely converting our neighborhood to multifamily housing. This would force our Single Family (SF) zoned streets to up-zone to Lowrise 1, 2 and even 3 (LR1, LR2 and LR3). LR1, LR2 and LR3 are also being re-defined to take more height and bulk. The result will be buildings with heights of up to 50-60 feet that overshadow the smaller homes that make these streets livable now. These changes would turn EF/WW into a high-density area, despite its designation as a “low density residential urban village.” Yet EF/WW lies furthest from the center of the urban village near QFC & Wallingford Center on N. 45th. We maintain we offer appropriate density already, with a robust mix of multi-family and single family zoning, and ample capacity under current zoning to meet growth targets. …

”  1.  “[We]…. agree that HALA and MHA-driven up-zones have a laudable purpose: to add badly needed low-income housing in Seattle. However, no data has shown that the up-zones will produce any significant stream of revenue or actual housing, while existing data shows that displacement will be MORE than the amount of new housing.

” 2. Our EF/WW neighborhood meetings, discussions and survey revealed broad agreement on our real desire for affordability and diversity here, and deep concern that we would see improvement on neither of these metrics. …[We] believe that we would lose dramatically on livability. Going forward, we must preserve affordability and encourage diversity right here. The proposed rezoning is accelerating the loss of affordable housing already, driving down diversity and affordability for homeowners and renters with low or fixed incomes.

“3. [We] suggest several measures to bring affordability and accommodate growth:

  •   The City must catalogue and protect currently affordable rentals. …
  •   Limit up-zones in Single Family zones. …These family homes provide a greenbelt buffer from our main transit and commercial corridors, offering tranquility, relief from concrete, greenery, yards for families, sunlight, and homes for birds and wildlife. ….
  •   Cancel “Hidden Up-zones,”    Keep Lowrise 1 and Lowrise 2 zones at currently defined limits and heights. ..”

The letter also suggests accommodating more growth on Aurora instead of in the smaller streets between Winslow N and Stone Way N. FNC will take up the matter in depth at its February meeting.

FNC meets the fourth Monday of every month except December at 7:00 pm at the Doric Lodge, 619 N 36th St, Seattle, Washington. Join us as we work on pedestrian and bike safety, public parks and amenities, land use and much more.

*Nico Martinucci, Associate Transportation Planner, Seattle Department of Transportation   (206) 684-8674 | SMT 3893B