Letter to the editor: My vision for Westgate – a welcoming entrance to city

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Editor:

In a recent article, Edmonds City Council member Lora Petso asked citizens to share their visions for the Westgate neighborhood with the city council. Mrs. Petso challenged us to determine whether the proposed municipal code would align with our visions for the area.

Most of us agree that change is coming to Westgate. Demographically, we are an aging community. We have an opportunity to attract younger people to our community by building relatively small apartments with restaurants, shops and specialized grocery stores on the first floor.

Westgate serves as a “gateway” to the City of Edmonds. A vibrant, well designed neighborhood would most likely be a magnet for visitors from nearby jurisdictions. A newer and hipper Westgate would also catch the attention of Edmonds residents from other neighborhoods. The incorporation of green building practices into this project would appeal to those of us who are passionate about the environment.

Slightly taller buildings, in my opinion, would be acceptable as I would expect that ample public spaces would be an integral part of this project. Theoretically if you build a bit higher, more open space would be available for public use. Places for hanging out with friends and for sharing healthy meals; tables for playing checkers and chess; plazas for people attending mini-concerts, poetry readings, or lectures; raising vegetables in pea patches; walkways and more!

Yet my vision for Westgate is at odds with parts of the proposed municipal code for the Westgate area.

First of all, I have a problem with the concept to divide the Westgate project into four separate self-sufficient areas.

That goes against the way that city planners view the workings of a city. The state’s Growth Management Act speaks of a city’s Comprehensive Plan composed many required Elements including but not limited to land use, housing, capital facilities, utilities, utilities, transportation, and parks and recreation. The Act stresses the need for compatibility among the various Elements of the Comprehensive Plan. In other words, the Act views a city as a complex, integrated, interrelated entity.

As an example, I and many other residents shop at QFC, PCC and Bartells. As you undoubtedly know, it is difficult to navigate through the area – as a driver or pedestrian. Can you imagine how it will be with more people living, visiting and shopping at Westgate? The Westgate project should take into consideration how pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trucks move through the entire area.

Second, Mrs. Petso is correct about the proposed required percentage – 15 percent – of open space. My interpretation is in accord with Mrs. Petso’s reading of the code. Private and public spaces both count towards the fifteen percent. It is possible that the great majority of the open space will be private. Nothing in the code prohibits that from happening.

Third, while I am an advocate of public transportation, the parking space requirement is not adequate for a suburban community like Edmonds.

In the last several years, condos and apartments have been built in my old neighborhood, Greenlake, in Seattle. A parking space requirement of 1.2 spaces per unit is appropriate for a city with excellent public transportation. One parking space per 500 square feet of commercial space is appropriate in Seattle where we can walk or ride the bus to a wide variety of stores and restaurants.

Insufficient parking will frustrate tourists and deter visitors from shopping and / or attending events at Westgate thus negating the area as being labeled a valid destination.

Fourth, Mrs. Petso points out that the code would allow for massive building virtually lining State Route 104 and 9th Avenue. As Westgate is seen as a “gateway” to Edmonds, I would rather see a grand entrance welcoming people to our city. Wouldn’t you?

Sincerely,
Barbara Tipton

9 COMMENTS

  1. Great ideas Barbara. All very good points. Let’s get this neighborhood up to date and get some young hipsters coming to town, affordable housing and make this a happening place four our town! The millennial also have some very good ideas about the collective and things for the GOOD of all. Let’s encourage them to be a part of the conversation……..recent very positive article in the New York Times about their way of thinking and all that they really care about.

  2. I agree that pedestrian considerations should be part of this plan. Connecting the four corners is important. One concern as an example: cars are allowed to turn right from l00th to Edmonds Way while pedestrians have the walk signal to cross 100th on the south side. This is not safe for pedestrians. I am sure others would have concerns about pedestrian safety. I would like to see that corner be a welcoming entrance to Edmonds.
    The traffic flow is heavy so a creative approach will be necessary.

  3. The traffic flow at that area is not only extremely heavy but also many large vehicles are travelling 50 miles an hour on that highway. Standing or walking right there adjacent to 104 is a very scary proposition (like crossing at light from QFC to Bartells on foot). It is NOT for the feint of heart. Even pulling your car out on to 104 from the Goodwill or QFC parking lot is not for the feint of heart…..For some reason, it was designed wrong in the first place, so QFC could get as much parking in that lot as possible I am assuming (standard for QFC, QFC first) rather than have some way to actually really SEE what is coming (50 miles an hour) before you pull out onto the highway. I avoid this whole area as much as possible because it is so highway 99 like and not really made for people that might be lingering or just walking.

    Maybe build a nice sky bridge there for all pedestrians (Shoreline has that) to cross SAFELY and have some nice markings in regards to entering Edmonds – The City By The Sea…..or something hip, new and cool.

  4. I plan to support and vote for council members that bravely and smartly embrace growth in our residential footprint. And hey, November is just around the corner.

    • The next general election for Edmonds City Council members is November 2015. If a Primary is required, that will be in August 2015.

  5. Tere, The grocery store was not designed for QFC it was an Olsons before QFC. I have lived in Edmonds about 30 years and have never found the Westgate area to be scary even with the addition of Bartells and other new stores. I would like to thank the planning board,EDC and city staff for there hard work in coming up with creative ideas for Westgate. Nothing is perfect. Even though I am by many still considered a new comer, I have not been able to find as many things wrong with our wonder town as you have. I guess it is all in how you look at things and life. Being positive is so much better than being negative and most times leads to possitive solutions

  6. I believe it is WHO YOU KNOW in Edmonds. It doesn’t take much research to see WHO is CONNECTED to WHO here and who is part of the boys club. THAT is why things have not CHANGED in a long time Just the fact (and this is a FACT) that there is very little DIVERSITY in Edmonds says EVERYTHING. Well, except for the diversity up in the “other Edmonds”

    I encourage ALL citizens that would really like to actually SEE some CHANGE here, to RESEARCH ONLINE all those that be here and then VOTE…….Yes, there is a VOTE coming up shortly.

    Well, how I look at things is SOMETHING is WRONG when there are two DEAD elderly people on our streets and basically NOTHING is done regarding PUBLIC SAFETY, even when citizens write in to point out areas of concern. I don’t like it when LAWS are broke and MILLIONS spent without citizen input. I don’t like it when some of our elected officials go along no matter what.

    The smart and brave people I see around here are the ones NOT part of the ol’ boys club……The ones speaking up and asking those questions, not just going along….you know, those things some of you refer to as “negative”….What a line. I guess it has worked for a while for you guys.

    The smart & brave……..THESE are the people that will make CHANGE, to HAVE even SIMPLE things like SIDEWALKS at the very least for our children, elderly, citizens throughout our city……Very simple. We’re not in the 1950s now….We don’t have to just go along. The tax paying citizens of Edmonds have a RIGHT to have questions answered

    We KNOW exactly WHO is trying to keep EVERYTHING the same! and it’s not those who are speaking up…..

    And Donald Williams, your comment regarding lolli-pops, rainbows, etc. that says everything about you

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