Seattle Design Review Board Meeting June 18th 2013
A local developer is planning a behemoth hotel-condominium-retail building at the soon-to-be old Greyhound site at 9th & Stewart in Seattle. The plan includes a cut-through for traffic and ped access which would run from 8th to 9th avenue thus creating a third intersection of sorts in the middle of those busy streets.
I attended the first Design Review meeting and expressed my concerns as a bike commuter who works and rides in that area. I was not alone, the room was packed with members of the public voicing concerns about the impact that such a building would have and ranged from aesthetics to safety to traffic etc. That initial proposal by the architects was not approved and they were sent to revise the plan with regard to the public comments.
The next meeting, a review of the second draft, is tomorrow night June 18th Tuesday at 5:30 in downtown Seattle. All members of the public are welcome and encouraged to come in and submit an oral comment. The first plan was only revised because people came out and spoke. This is a wonderful and rare example of your and my individual voice meaning something in how the city around us takes shape.
This stage of the design process only deals with the proposed structure itself and concerns relating specifically to that will be heard. Concerns dealing with parking rates, rents, jobs etc are for another meeting. Below the links is my prepared comment for the meeting, to give you an idea. It is similar to my last comment, updated for this meeting.
My name is __________________, and I am a hotel worker who bikes to work in downtown. I am encouraged to see that based on our comments that we made last time, it seems like there is a more sane plan for the parking, and a second entrance and exit to alleviate congestion along the 8th ave side.
However, I donít think there is enough discussion yet about the traffic and safety within that through-block. How will pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, busses interact in the space in a safe way?
As I mentioned at the last EDG meeting, the cut-through between 8th and 9th Avenues stands to add to the confusion that drivers already demonstrate while navigating the 5-way intersection of Howell, Olive and 8th Avenues, in addition to the presence of one-way streets and right-hand turns at red lights. Moreover, bike traffic that passes directly in front of traffic using both the cut-through and the loading dock on 8th Avenue is a major concern that must be addressed. And even after two months, it still hasnít been addressed.
I have been commuting by bicycle regularly for the past four years and I gain little security from a sharrow or bike lane unless the cars near me can see it as well. Putting an additional through-way in the middle of this already confusing mess further diverts a driver's attention away from both my and others safety. If this development is going to encourage workers to walk, take the bus, or bike to work (like me), I think there should be an analysis of any potential hazards, and a discussion about how the design will reduce those hazards.
I urgently request that a more complete study of these hazards with respect to the safety of workers in the area, both those on foot and on wheels. Thank you.