Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Pedestrian Zone Legislation, Including Sand Point Village, Public Hearing Today


Today at 2pm at Seattle City Hall, the City Council will be holding a public hearing regarding
legislation to create or expand 39 Pedestrian Zones (P-Zones)  The City's Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee, chaired by Councilmember Mike O’Brien will be overseeing the meeting. At 5:30 the Council will hold a meeting.

For the last year, the Pedestrian Committee has been researching and evaluating retail areas within various  neighborhoods to determine where to suggest adding to existing pedestrian retail areas (pedestrian zones) and coming up 39 new or expanded areas to protect and promote pedestrian retail.

The committee is also proposing modifications to current regulations that would apply to existing and new pedestrian zones to meet the changing needs of these pedestrian-oriented business districts.

One pedestrian zone is requested in the area around City People's and Sand Point Village, specifically the two blocks along Sand Point Way NE between 47th Avenue NE and 55th Avenue NE. 

It was been recommended as one of the 39 Pedestrian Zones, and if approved it will "add use provisions and development standards to strengthen, protect and promote walkable shopping and service areas."

The proposed bill requires that buildings in P-Zones have a commercial use at street-level, that overhead weather protection be provided on at least 60% of building frontages on Principal Pedestrian Streets, that different design departures be allowed for new buildings, among other changes.

The information about the Sand Point Way area states:
This neighborhood commercial district extends approximately 2 blocks along Sand Point Way NE between 47th Ave NE and 55th Ave NE. The area is surrounded primarily by a low density residential neighborhood. This area includes a larger commercial building broken up into several small neighborhood serving uses, a hardware store, restaurant, a bank (with drive-in lanes) and a gas station, along with a few residential uses.  
There are 8 parcels within the study area; 2 (25%) contain uses that would be nonconforming* in a pedestrian zone. In most cases, the buildings are built up to the street, however, a large surface parking lot breaks up the more pedestrian oriented businesses in the middle of the study area.
 This area is identified as a medium-priority area in the Pedestrian Master Plan.

Preliminary DPD Recommendation
While open for discussion, based on initial analysis, the preliminary  recommendation is to designate the area as a pedestrian zone.

Factors favoring a pedestrian zone designation:
Majority of uses pedestrian oriented: Yes


Higher residential and housing unit density: No
Surrounded by residential uses: Somewhat
In an urban center or urban village: No
On an arterial and both sides of the street are zoned NC: No
Across or adjacent to a park, more institution or other use that attracts pedestrians: Yes
Good sidewalk conditions with limited driveway crossings Somewhat
Priority area identified in Pedestrian Master Plan Somewhat
Low number of pedestrian / auto conflicts Yes
Existing medium to high frequency transit Somewhat
On a future high priority transit corridor (identified in the Transit Master Plan) No
Existing bicycle facilities (lanes, trails, etc.) Yes
Future planned bicycle facilities (identified in the DRAFT Bicycle Master Plan) Yes
Walk score >70
Bicycle score >70
Transit score >70

A summary of the legislation, including mapped boundaries of proposed P-Zones in individual neighborhood business districts, is available here. A citywide map is available here.  
(photo courtesy of http://bikeshops-seattle.com)


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