3 C's Help Mercer Traffic Flow and Construction Impacts Diminish

An artist's rendering of the reconfigured Mercer Street corridor and the reconstructed Aurora Street bridge leading into the north portal of the SR99 tunnel now under development.(Photo:  Seattle Dept. of Transportation) As 2014 draws to a close, construction in Seattle presses on with some help from the three C's: Coordination, Communication, and Collaboration. It's been another boom year, following the 2013 surge—a bounce back from the recession.

Learn more about how the South Lake Union Community Council led the effort to help the Seattle Department of Transportation get traffic flowing again along the Mercer Corridor and how its leaders are helping to alleviate the impacts of construction on neighborhood residents. Read the full story in the SDOT Blog.

Denny Substation Project Design Open House--November 20, 2014

2014_November_Flyer_FINAL_emailMark your calendars to attend a design open house concerning the Denny Substation Project. Learn about the latest project updates. Here's a great opportunity to ask questions, share your views, and connect with project planners and staff. When: Thursday, November 20,  5 - 7 P.M.

Where: Cascade People's Center, 309 Pontius Ave North, Seattle, WA 98109

For more information on the Denny Substation Project, visit the project website:

New Denny Substation To Be Built

s048676Seattle's next major infrastructure project is about to get underway in SLU's Cascade neighborhood. Here Seattle City Light (SCL) plans to build its largest substation, the first in 30 years, at John Street and Pontius Avenue North, designed by NBBJ. Necessitated by recent and anticipated growth primarily in South Lake Union, the Denny Triangle and downtown, the Denny substation will connect to a new network of distribution and transmission lines, spreading north, south and west from the substation. SCL's preferred equipment configuration will require expanding the site to Minor Avenue North by vacating Pontius between Denny and John streets, an action that requires approval by SDOT and the Seattle City Council in exchange for a package of public benefits. For this purpose, SCL has proposed on-site amenities consisting of open space featuring a pocket park and an off-leash area for dogs, street level and elevated walkways across the site, and two interior shell spaces to house an energy education center on Denny and provide community meeting space on the west facade. Off-site, two new pedestrian crossings and a bus shelter on Denny Way have been proposed plus right-of-way enhancements on Denny, John and Pontius.

The Final EIS will be issued in January. If SCL receives approval from the Seattle Design Commission and City Council by March, construction of Phase 1 of the distribution lines will begin in the third quarter of 2015, the substation itself in the first quarter of 2016 and the transmission lines in 2019 at the earliest. The substation is expected to be energized by the third quarter of 2017.

A task force comprised of SLUCC board members and other neighborhood stakeholders has been working with SCL over the past year to provide recommendations about the substation's area of greatest impact, the Cascade neighborhood. Our input to SCL include ways to communicate and mitigate construction impacts, ways to activate the shell community space, and feedback on the package of public benefits. This is Seattle's first substation to be built in such a dense residential neighborhood, with 36 multi-family apartment buildings, including over 80% of South Lake Union's low income and social service housing in the vicinity. SCL also meets periodically with a larger Community Forum it assembled to keep stakeholders in affected areas informed of the project’s progress. For details about the Denny Substation, go to www.seattle.gov/light/dennysub.

Safer Dexter Ave. Presented by SDOT to SLU Community Council

PictureAs most South Lake Union residents are probably aware, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is completing their utility work on Dexter Ave N for the north portal of the SR 99 tunnel. During the Sept. 2 SLU Community Council meeting Kyle Rowe of SDOT presented its proposed work to leverage restoration work along this corridor with the aim of making Dexter Avenue North safer for its users.

After analyzing the traffic data, SDOT is proposing to rechannelize the street from four lanes to three, with a center two-way left turn lane and right turn pockets. Additionally, the bicycle facility will be next to the curb, buffered from moving traffic by the parking lane.

If you would like more information about the project, or would like to email your comments, please visit the project website here: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/dexter.htm

Photo:  Courtesy SeattlePI.com

SLU Community Council Welcomes Netherlands American Chamber Director

South Lake Union has been garnering attention from around the globe in recent years due to its revitalization efforts, rapid growth, and the public process of bringing voices together to help shape its outcome.

One of our most recent visitors was Patrick Mikkelsen, executive director of the Netherlands American Chamber of Commerce. He was in Seattle early February as a part of a U.S. State Department professional exchange program exploring urban planning and design practices, and urban renewal efforts in America.

He and his team joined the South Lake Union Community Council  Policy and Planning Committee at the SLU architectural offices of Weber Thompson. We had a spirited conversation about everything from low income housing, to corporate anchors, the biotech hub, and to our public/private urban spaces. Patrick was inquisitive, enthusiastic, and had a lot to offer by allowing us to see ourselves through a European perspective.

The community council's Planning and Policy Committee meets monthly and reviews neighborhood planning, infrastructure, as well as development projects slated in South Lake Union.

To learn more about this committee and our work, please join us at the upcoming South Lake Union Community Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 from 4 p.m. To 6 p.m. at the Museum of History and Industry at Lake Union Park.

~ Jim Goodspeed is a board member of the South Lake Union Community Council, neighborhood resident and Principal of Goodspeed Architecture.

Next Meeting:

WHAT: South Lake Union Community Council Monthly Meeting DATE: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 TIME: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. WHERE: Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) 860 Terry Ave. North, Seattle, WA  98109 GETTING THERE: Walk, pedal or ride the Seattle Streetcar to the Lake Union Park stop. Public parking available through City of Seattle paid street-side parking. MORE INFO: www.SLUCommunityCouncil.org

City Council Hearing Wednesday, Nov. 14, 5:30 p.m.

Over the past 7 years, the South Lake Union Community Council and neighborhood stakeholders have been working with the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) to amend the Land Use Code to rezone land and create new development regulations. Most changes would apply to new development in the South Lake Union Urban Center. The City Council's Planning, Land Use and Sustainability Committee will hold a final public hearing to take comments on the proposal on Wednesday, November 14 at 5:30 p.m. An initial hearing was held on July 24, 2012. The hearing will be held in the:

City Council Chambers 2nd floor, Seattle City Hall 600 Fourth Avenue

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. For more information visit: www.seattle.gov/council/com_assign.htm. For those who wish to testify, a sign-up sheet will be available outside the Council Chamber beginning half an hour before the hearing is scheduled to begin.

This will be a very important hearing, so we encourage all South Lake Union stakeholders to attend.