On the matters of the appeal itself, I suspect the Neighborhood Association making the appeal will have a difficult time. I don't see errors by City Staff - do you?
Within the framework of the existing regulations and process, the proposal seems licit and the outcome likely to affirm the Planning Administrator's decision.
But the framework itself has serious shortcomings.
At the highest level, the proposal amounts to demolishing existing mid-century cottage housing and a somewhat later office building and replacing them with a gas station.
That seems like it's a clear downgrade in land use, the kind of thing the regulatory environment should inhibit rather than allow or encourage.
|The office building to be demolished in grey at arrow,|
Clark Creek running underneath.
(Color juiced from City stream map for clarity)
|Proposed Fred Meyer Gas Station Site, Possible Median, and|
Commercial Vista Corridor Study proposals (June 8th Memo)
So just at the summary, policy level, this project seems like it is a failure on multiple grounds.
But it probably meets the letter of the law.
The more interesting thing, then, is the way the Traffic Analysis is confined by the premises of hydraulic autoism and gives insufficient attention to users of the road other than drivers and their autos. This remains a great shortcoming in our policy and regulatory frameworks and is a structural contradiction with our interests in reducing drive-alone trips and in improving conditions for the traveling public not making drive-alone trips. If we truly want to reduce drive-alone trips and to reduce emissions, at this nuts-and-bolts level of planning decisions we should see the outcome and evidence - and we don't.
|High level policy goals in the Comprehensive Plan|
The Traffic Analysis included the claim that 38% of trips to a Fred Meyer gas station also included a stop at the main store.
|(yellow added except as noted)|
|Levels of Service, Delay, Volume/Capacity|
Proposed gas station near Madrona and Commercial
The crash rate is expressed in terms of the number of crashes occuring per one million vehicles entering the intersection (MEV). As a general rule, when intersections have crash rates higher than 1.0 collisions/mev, additional analysis may be performed to identify specific crash patterns and evaluate the potential for safety improvements. All of the study crash rates fall below this threshold.People on foot and on bike would not agree that this is a "safe" section of road or cluster of driveways and intersections. It feels perilous! While there were only 5 reported crashes involving people on foot or on bike during the window of 2009-2013, this certainly underreports the minor collisions, "close calls," speed, and proximity, that contribute more generally to a personal assessment of safety.
The Commercial-Vista Corridor study did a much better job of capturing this, it should be noted. (Still, relative to the car traffic modeling, analysis is not as sophisticated.)
|Grading walking and biking - mostly poor (yellow in original)|
Commercial Vista Corridor Operations and Safety Analysis
So here are the Traffic Impact Analysis conclusions, which only assess the road as a firehose for cars.
Bike Parking at Gaiety Hollow
The kerfuffle over bike parking at the Lord & Schryver museum also goes before the Hearings Officer on the 13th.
I'm not sure there's anything substantive to add to previous notes:
- On Zoning and Encroachment - the changing Mission Street neighborhood
- Notes on the Appeal
- More notes on the Appeal
- The property tax exemption for a "public park or public recreation purpose," which you'd think would include bike parking.
Anyway, here's 34pp of wrangling over bike parking!
Cherriots and the Chamber
In the packet for a work session yesterday, Cherriots included a draft of the legislation being circulated by the Chamber of Commerce to fund transit expansion.
It creates a "Transit Expansion Fund," which "consists of moneys deposited in the fund from any source and may include moneys appropriated, allocated, or tranferred to the fund by the Legislative Assembly..."
You'll note that the proposal doesn't actually appropriate any money or identify any funding source.
So as I read this thing, it's Potemkin bill, designed to look like doing something, but designed not actually to do anything.
Indeed, it would be surprising for the Chamber to support new taxes to support transit in a more substantive way. At best this looks like a "zero sum" approach that calls for reallocating from some other funding source.
Maybe this will develop in more interesting ways, but at the moment it doesn't look like a very serious proposal.
(See below for note on edit.)