Fremont Neighborhood Council Meeting – July 22, 2013
Board members present: Stephanie Pure, Elfreide Noble, Toby Thaler, Matt Gasparich, Norma Jones, Kevin McClain, Shawn Mulanix, Linda Clifton, Matthew McCauley, Judie Clarridge.
Stephanie opened the meeting and invited everyone to introduce themselves and share any announcements:
· Ralph Weathers attended the July 1st LUDC meeting as the Fremont representative. He reported that Jonathan Dong, SDOT, gave a presentation on the Business Access and Transit (BAT) lanes proposed for Aurora Avenue. There was much discussion and feedback, mainly about the effect on businesses and freight along the route. For the Neighborhood Parks and Street Fund, they are approving: (1) Lighting at the Cascade P-Patch, Cascade People’s Center, and the YMCA, and (2) installation of a pedestrian crossing at Eastlake Ave. N. at E. Allison. For Neighborhood Streets Fund:, they are approving: (1) pedestrian access traffic signal across N. 40th Street at Sunnyside Ave. N. and (2) building a median in Green Lake Way N to create a cyclist and pedestrian safe zone). The LUDC is asking SDOT to brief at the September 9th meeting (there will be no meeting in August) on cycle tracks. City Council member Tim Burgess will be the guest speaker at that meeting. Ralph welcomes questions or comments he should raise.
· Linda announced that there will be a Clean-Up of the 46th Street Mural on Sunday, August 11th from 10:30 to 12:30. Please bring brooms and gloves. More info: the FNC website and Facebook.
· Judie shared that Art Brochet, SDOT, said that the Fremont Bridge will be repainted in its current colors beginning in March/April 2014. Art will attend the FNC August meeting to provide more information.
Light Rail Study Briefing: Kevin gave a briefing on the Light Rail Study regarding possible transit improvements between Ballard and downtown Seattle. The next step is that the study team will present options based on feedback gathered from past input. It is important that interested FNC members and the board review information because the comment period on the options may be short. See site below:
Kevin noted that Sound Transit’s light rail would run in its own right-of-way, separated from regular traffic. At this time, possible corridors shown on the website include running from downtown through Interbay to Ballard, or along Westlake or Dexter through Fremont. Some show tunnels across the Ship Canal or under Queen Anne. These possibilities will be reduced to options for the next comment period.
Each option will not need to be supported in its entirety. It will be possible to “mix and match” by identifying specific features from one option and other features from a different option.
There was discussion that the board may want to address issues/values that are important, i.e. how light rail will be connected to other types of transportation on each end, how light rail will impact cyclists, industrial areas, businesses in Fremont, etc.
Karen Waterman is Sound Transit’s Planning and Project Development Manager and Michael James is SDOT’s Project Manager for the study. They will speak at the August 26th FNC meeting.
Council Candidate Forum: Mike O’Brien and Albert Shen, candidates for City Council Position 8
Background – Mike: Is finishing up his 1st term as a council member. He lives at 45th and Fremont with his wife and 2 sons. Has been a Chief Financial Officer for a law firm: chaired the Sierra Club. On the council, has focused on issues of sustainability (carbon neutrality, public transportation), social justice (parking lots for use by homeless people who live in their vehicles) and construction projects that employ people from the neighborhood where the project is located.
Background – Albert: owns a civil engineering firm. Lives on Capitol Hill with his wife and 2 children. His firm has worked on big projects (3rd runway at Sea-Tac, Waterfront Redevelopment).
Coal Trains: Mike is absolutely against them and said that coal should stay in the ground. Said Seattle needs to work with other cities along the proposed rail line for the trains. Albert said it is a complex issue – there are places in China where people still rely on coal. Said we need to reduce our carbon footprint. Have to take care of Puget Sound. Said he would work with the City Attorney on greater SEPA EISs regarding the coal trains.
Park Space and specific Fremont issues: Albert would go back to basics: would reinstitute the Little City Halls throughout the city. Would work to empower neighborhoods as opposed to centralized power downtown. Mike said that as more people move into Seattle, more common space becomes a critical need. With the cost of land, need to look at opportunities for using smaller areas and using existing buildings for community centers.
Affordable housing being mandated in large development projects, i.e. south end of Lake Union: Mike supports the placement of the affordable housing close to developments that will provide employment so that people will live close to where they work. Albert supports affordable housing being placed in locations where there is existing infrastructure to support residents and gave examples in the International District.
What are the differences between the two candidates? Albert said he is a small business owner. He has served on the board of trustees of the Seattle Community Colleges and would work to establish an Education Committee on the City Council. Mike said that he supports affordable housing being placed at the sound end of Lake Union.
Traffic Signal Box Project: Matt reported that Urban Artworks has promised to paint the boxes by the end of August. Suggestion that the artist be invited to the August meeting for photos next to one of the boxes. The grant request that was submitted to the Fremont Chamber for this project was for $3,500.
Pedestrian Safety on N. 43rd and Fremont Avenue: Matt offered to set up a meeting onsite with Jonathan Dong, SDOT, during the weeks of August 5 or 12. Suggestion made to have it at the end of the workday.
Land Use: 36th N. and Greenwood: Board members met with the developer and architect of mixed use project. They shared concerns about the impact on adjacent townhouses and about the viability of the small commercial spaces in the current plans. They discussed not having open community space overlooking George and the Dragon. The developer plans to ensure that residents are aware of noise, etc. from the pub.
Toby was notified about the pending Skanska Fremont commercial project south of N. 36th near the Foundry. Also said that there is interest from local residents, the Chamber, etc. are in contact with Chase Bank about the removal of the awning from the McKenzie Building on the corner of Fremont and N. 34th. He said that the appeal period on the project at Stone Way and N. 38th is running out but he does not have time to write it.
Treasurer’s Report: Kevin presented the report shown below.
Pay Pal: $ 483.74
BECU Checking: 3,610.11
BECU Money Market: 56,098.56
BECU Savings 5.00
GRAND TOTAL $60,204.41
46th Street Mural $ 566.39
Membership: There will be a membership drive in the fall.
Minutes: Judie will include the board’s thank you to Jenny Frankl in the minutes posted on the website. Stephanie moved that the minutes be approved as amended. The motion was seconded and passed.
Meeting adjourned. The next meeting will be on Monday, August 26, 2013.