Just posted on My Edmonds News TV: Video of Westgate Town Hall meeting

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Edmonds City Councilmember Joan Bloom's town hall meeting Sept. 15, 2014 focused on the future of Edmonds' Westgate neighborhood, and sparked spirited discussion among the more than 100 attendees.
Click the photo to watch the video of Sept. 15’s Town Hall meeting on proposed redevelopment of  Edmonds’ Westgate neighborhood.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Council member Bloom, thank you for your efforts. Public meetings are healthy and helpful for democracy.

    SR 104 is at the easternmost end a highly predictive and functional, multi-modal intersection with SR 522, or Bothell Way in Lake Forest Park. The SR 104 portion of this intersection carries about the same vehicle volume as the Westgate area of SR 104 – about 18k cars counting both directions. The SR 522 lanes carry about 45k cars, making this an extremely busy intersection that is somewhat complicated in that it is a three-way SR intersection, plus a driveway for a civic lake club, and the walking trail, and nearby side streets, and a major shopping mall and office complex, etc. This area is highly walkable and easy to navigate on foot, bike or car. When driving the S-curves on Ballinger Way in Lake Forest Park, I’ve never had the feel that I’m on a highway, even though technically it is. The speed limit is 30mph in areas and the side-streets are numerous. Similarly, while driving on Edmonds Way from the SR 99 area thru to the divergence of SR 104 and 5th, there is no feel of being on a highway. As well, 196th Street in Lynnwood is a highway too, SR 524 is very walkable with about 40k in volume. There is certainly no highway feel to 196th in Lynnwood.

    In point #6 of your handout, you suggest that state highways are incompatible with destinations and urban villages, yet we are surrounded with examples where it works very well such as Bothell, Woodinville, Lynnwood and several neighborhoods in Seattle like Lake City. Interestingly there were several negative mentions of Ballard and Kirkland at your town hall meeting, neither of those areas have a state route in or out. It’s as if urban villages or destinations are more difficult and congested if they DON’T have a state route supporting traffic demands. Your assertions become difficult to accept as they are not very well supported by example of other cities in our surrounding region. I feel that these exaggerations of what Edmonds Way/SR 104 really is, diminishes your overall position. It’s perfectly ok to have bias, we all do. But providing and/or promoting misinformation is counter-productive.

    Separately, a thought regarding leadership and decorum. I think that anytime someone in the audience is consistently rude, arrogant, insulting, hostile, any of these things – that the leader in the room should put an immediate verbal stop to. As council member, demanding respect and civility is your responsibility.

    • I lived in Wegewood in Seattle for over 30 years. To mention Lake City Way, you must have no idea of the crime (and Colacurcio at one time with part of his dealings right there, his house, etc. right up until the time he was finally jailed after many years), Highway 99, people that have disappeared there ……Check out the high incidences of crime, drugs, prostitution, etc. These areas that are highway areas for cars cannot be made into “urban villages”. What you are saying is simply not true. The City of Seattle has tried for 60 years to clean up Highway 99. And regarding Ballard, the developers have ruined this whole area and I know because I grew up there. The citizens there are right now outraged……ditto for Kirkland, what used to be a quaint town

      Do you have any idea of how many crimes including murder have occurred in these areas?

      Edmonds citizens do not drink this development koolaid speak. ……It’s not f or the benefit of our town.

  2. Very few citizens of Edmonds have known about this. Mr. Clifton said notices went out within a half mile radius regarding this…….Well, that is not the whole of Edmonds citizens. And actually seems like a very small number of citizens of Edmonds. Does the staff and commission members believe that all citizens off Edmonds would not want to be totally aware in detail in regards to mega development in that whole Westgate area? Development as shown listed and noted on the drawings would totally change how our town looks. Why would anybody think all of the citizens would not need to be notified. I saw nothing (and I try to stay up on things regarding development) and I heard nothing until recently. …….

    and who peruses the legal section of newspapers???…….I did fill out one survey and it showed no detail of any kind of major development like this.

    It is easy to see now why this was being rushed through. That is simply wrong.

  3. Thank you, Mr. Waldron, for your thoughtful and reasoned comments yesterday, and this morning, which stand in marked contrast to the HYPERBOLE that I frequently read on the My Edmonds News website.

      • I hope Mr. Waldron you are not referring to sensationalist journalism (linked to my name) that has been written regarding the still covered up Edmonds OPEN CASE of the murder of my innocent 15 year old sister, Allison Nakashima, 38 years ago here in Edmonds. It was bad enough that deflamatory, racist comments in the case paper-work (and I had to do any FOIA just to find anything out about the case) were made 38 years ago of my murdered innocent sister who had been raped back then and disappeared before she was due to testify in court about this (and that is why the case was never solved, just hidden away for 38 years ago, and the family never interviewed, never told it was still open until I accidently found out 4 1/2 years ago when I moved here!!! ) I hope you are not using those total untruths from that sensationalist paper and something you know nothing about to also trash my name now and if your are, it is shameful of you, Mr. Waldron because there are simply no truths in that article regarding my sister’s case and my family, and particularily my mother who never spoke of it again and was hospitalized so she wouldn’t commit suicide……. . And the person that wrote the article has ties here, and interestingly enough the last people who saw my sister alive were from here in the area along with others ……Edmonds, Ballard….. I would also like to add that there are plenty of people waiting for this case and the people involved here coming out into the light of day, and that will happen.

        And yes, my research goes back 38 years ……..So, you might say I know a lot of what has transpired in many areas in and around Edmonds/Seattle going back to 1976 to make plenty of comments, particularily in regards to development and areas where a lot of crime occurs.

  4. Council member Bloom. I wanted to revisit your handout from the public meeting you held last week. Your item # 2 suggests that a “circulation of traffic – SR 104 study should be done in advance.” Meanwhile, Neil Tibbott has pointed out on My Edmonds News that a traffic study has been done, and the report is available on the city website – Planning Board Meeting Agenda, May 28, 2014, attachment #3 transportation analyses – dated June 2013. It is downloadable and is a traffic study and estimation provided by Heffron Transportation inc.. This is a project labeled SR 104 Corridor Study/Westgate Redevelopment.

    I’m hoping that during tonights council discussion on the Westgate, you will explain why you did not reference this study by Heffron and why you feel it is not relevant to this issue.

  5. I don’t know anything about this company or it’s “study” but I do know that there are many studies done on many things and just about anybody can come up with the studies wanted now days……………It’s kind of like politics, court cases, etc. In a court case one can sit there and listen to two “experts” talking about the same subject and giving entirely different interpretations of what really happened………….These are the “experts”. As I said before I have no idea about the company mentioned or the study which I haven’t read, but it doesn’t take much to know that that whole area is totally congested and hard to navigate now, let alone add 1600 or so more residents, businesses. Most times, simple common sense, tells all. I think the people that live here and there know exactly what they deal with every day there with the traffic and congestion, including all the ferry traffic. Some times, the “experts” are just there to tell you there isn’t an elephant in the room, when you can simply, clearly SEE the big elephant standing there.

    • Well said, Matthew. As a retired, 35-plus year veteran of the environmental impact assessment and permitting business, I can tell you that Marnie Heffron and her collegues are among the very best transportation consultants and traffic analysts in the region. I haven’t read the study either, but will, and I suggest you give us all the courtesy of doing the same, Ms. Ryder and Ms. Bloom.

      Heffron Transportation and many others that consult to the City of Edmonds and many other municipalities throughout the U.S., are highly capable consulting professionals with vast, well-applied expertise that your emotions and predispositions apparently won’t allow you to recognize or even deal with. I am constantly amazed that those with “gut-feel instincts” just intuitively know that those with superior educational qualifications, experience, and technical understanding have somehow missed the mark, or (worse yet) are “on the take”. As professional consulting engineers, scientists, and planners, we have an inherent obligation to be objective in our analyses. If we are not, we are soon out of business. We do not bend our results or opinions to pander to our clients–we often deliver “bad news” that alters or even terminates developmental actions. Yes, Ms. Ryder, we are the “experts”, and the real facts can be hard to take–on both sides of an issue.

      At the same time, we, as experts, recognize that emotions come into play on many issues (even those that are straightforward from a regulatory standpoint), and they need to be addressed and often accommodated. Just recognize which side of the spectrum you are on. And I don’t want the future of my city (where I have resided happily for nearly 40 years), defined completely by “feel”, or (even worse) as a result of disrespect or denial of expert professional input.

      And, guess what? Traffic is increasing everywhere in the region–it comes with growth. We can deal with it, and companies like Heffron Transportation can help.

      So, if we want to embrace a more diverse population and provide housing that can accommodate all, as you and Ms. Bloom have suggested (a concept with which I and most others I know would agree), where and how would it take place?

      As for the Westgate plan currently on the table, it could certainly benefit by some well-concieved modification. Maybe we should consult the experts…emotion and NIMBYism doesn’t offer our city much of a future, and we’ve got to grow somewhere.

      Elephant in the room? It’s not as apparent for many of us as it is for some.

      Edmonds Forward. And yes, Matthew–the elections are in the Fall. Can’t wait.

      • I am very familiar with the “experts” that have consulted with the City of Edmonds…….going way back. As long as the City of Edmonds is involved in mass development, these “experts” will be needed of course, and there is always business and money to be made. I listened to one “expert” at a Town Council meeting right after Oso, and there was not one mention of science predictions for the future, only historical past happenings (just about almost pre global warming when this radically started affecting our environment) in regards to mudslides, earth movements, etc. …….I assume that “expert” did not believe in global warming, as it was not mentioned once……..which was particularily odd as we live geographically next to water with steep cliffs that regularily have slides between Seattle and Everett. I have seen the map……

  6. Mr. Waldron,

    Here is a paragraph from the conclusions of the 81 page study referenced by Mr. Tibbot:

    “The analysis projected that an additional 461 PM peak hour trips would be generated by build-out of planned land use with the proposed change. With land use build-out under existing zoning, the SR 104/100th Avenue W intersection is projected to operate at level of service (LOS) D in 2025, with an average intersection delay of 44.6 seconds. With additional trips generated by the land use change, the intersection delay is projected to increase by about 10 seconds, but would still maintain LOS D operation. The City’s adopted level of service standard and concurrency requirement for arterials is LOS D. Local concurrency requirements do not apply to intersections along SR 104 because it is a Highway of Statewide Significance; however, the City identifies intersection deficiencies if LOS D is exceeded.”

    The study I am referencing to be done prior to finalization of the Westgate plan is the study of the entire SR 104 corridor, which will include a focus on the Westgate plan and issues of traffic and pedestrian circulation, and parking. Council approved a contract with Fehr and Peers for this study at our Sept. 16 Council meeting. Their work will begin soon. You can find a copy of the scope of work of that study attached to the agenda of the Sept. 16 Council meeting.

  7. Council member Bloom. I read the conclusions in the Heffron report the day after your public meeting, which I attended. I recall that late in the discussion regarding traffic, you randomly mentioned that there was a report that indicated the LOS would not change, but that you don’t agree with that conclusion. Can you explain and support your position that the Heffron report is flawed and inaccurate?

    I too look forward to the conclusions by Fehr and Peers.

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