Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Laurelhurst Community Club Annual Neighbors Meeting Summary Including Talaris Update

This information was in the most recent Laurelhurst Community Club newsletter:

Annual Neighbors’ Meeting a Hot Success

About 40 neighbors enjoyed refreshments and conversation to open the annual meeting of the Laurelhurst Community Club on an 80-degree-plus June 8. After a welcome from Jeannie Hale, LCC president, and the treasurer’s report presented by Emily Dexter, six trustees were reelected to serve two-year terms: Emily Dexter, Linda Ann Luiten, Colleen McAleer, Connie Sidles, Stan Sorcher, and Leslie Wright.
Featured guest Scott Kubly, Director of Seattle Department of Transportation, discussed Seattle’s priorities for improving pedestrian, bicycle, and road safety as well as the infrastructure backlog. Mayor Murray’s proposed 9-year, $930 million levy to Move Seattle is now before the Seattle City Council. The proposed new levy would be paid for through a property tax that would cost the median Seattle household (valued at $450,000) about $275 per year, for nine years. The expiring Bridging the Gap levy costs the median Seattle household about $130 per year.  
Several neighbors in attendance raised questions about the lack of benefits to Northeast Seattle and the high price that would be paid by Laurelhurst homeowners. At this point, Laurelhurst bus service is scheduled to be eliminated; Montlake traffic is a mess with no easing in sight; the Husky light rail will open in March 2016 but there is not yet a plan that allows neighbors to get from here to there, or back again. No park and ride, shuttle, or bus.  
The levy does not appear to address long, congested commute times and the lack of mobility around the city other than through traffic signal adjustments and urging more people to get out of their vehicles and use public transit options. Most of the funding concentrates on sidewalks, bike lanes, bridge and roadway safety and maintenance, improved bus service, and enhanced delivery and freight mobility. Bridging the Gap is expiring and fresh funding is needed.  
Our city is growing and there are geographical constraints to expanding roadways. It’s obvious there is a very big gap yet to be bridged.  
Former Councilmember Sally Clark was introduced as the new UW Director of Regional and Community Affairs, replacing Theresa Doherty who will begin work on the UW’s next Master Plan.  
LCC trustee Connie Sidles provided an update on the boardwalk and progress at Yesler Swamp, an environmental delight rich with wildlife. She also briefed neighbors about efforts to create shorebird habitat at Union Bay Natural Area, which was detailed in the April and May newsletters. Connie brought several bird specimens from the Burke Museum collection to show us some typical birds of the Swamp, up close and personal. Friends of Yesler Swamp had an informational table and photos. They request that visitors not bike or run on the new boardwalk as the vibrations disturb the wildlife causing them to hide from view. 
Trustees Colleen McAleer and Brian McMullen provided an update about current thinking on residential development for the 18-acre historically designated Talaris site. The core of open area is retained as well as most of the existing buildings. New single-family homes and town homes (approximately 72 units) surround the site’s perimeter. The proposal is subject to review and approval of the Landmarks Board.  
Lastly, one neighbor brought up his concern about increasing crime in the neighborhood. His home was broken into on a recent weekday afternoon. A cinder block was thrown through a window and, even with the alarm blaring, the intruders were in and out within four minutes, taking jewelry with them. The police did not arrive until six hours later. The neighbor would like to see increased coverage and coordination between the private security patrol and the police. LCC’s crime prevention committee will follow up.

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