“Slow the speeding cars on 24th.” “Clear the traffic jams.” “Keep pedestrians safe from harm.” “Make Uptown & Downtown Montlake attractive.” “Give us parking for our businesses.” “Discourage cut-throughs.” “Rescue the Boulevard Market.” “This is a great idea!” “And we don’t much trust SDOT or WSDOT.” That’s what we heard from a crowd of residents who jammed the Tudor building at the Community Center on Tuesday night (July 26).
KPG consultants working on Montlake’s Business District Development project carried away a ton of useful input about just what needs to be fixed and what needs to be treasured to keep Montlake businesses thriving and Montlake’s neighborhood livable.
Paul Fuesel and Liz Gibson of KPG and your Montlake Community Club (MCC) Board members set up posters and maps and set out comment forms and sheets both to offer possible ideas AND to invite ideas from Montlakers. The Mother Pluckers, our favorite local ukulele band, provided lively “mood music,” while neighbors browsed the posters and maps, munching cookies and downing cold beverages. (Need I mention that it was hot and crowded?)
MCC President Bryan Haworth welcomed everyone to the community meeting to introduce the Business District Development Planning Project. MCC Project Lead, Kathy Laughman, next encouraged everyone to get involved and offer their ideas on this exciting project funded by a grant from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Paul Fuesel of KPG was handed the microphone to give an overview of the goals and issues, followed by a lively, enthusiastic, though sometimes skeptical, but mutually respectful Q & A session.
Pretty quickly, many concurred that traffic through the business district was the biggest issue to be addressed, followed by parking and cut-through effects on the rest of the neighborhood.
We couldn’t be dealing with these street and auto issues at a better time, for the best ideas can be included in a final report to those leading the SDOT reconstruction of the 23rd/24th corridor. The Montlake segment of that major project (Phase 3) is next to be initiated, though funding and scheduling are not yet confirmed.
A committed contingent of those present was focused on gaining information and plans for action to defend the recently threatened Montlake Boulevard Market. Haworth took time to describe the several ways MCC is working to support the business owner and preserve this valued community hub—this in the face of possible destruction for previously unannounced plans to use the site for WSDOT construction staging. He urged everyone to contact the Mayor and all City Council members to make their objections known. It’s clear that many of us see the Blvd. Market, not just as a fine business, but as a social and service center that would be a great loss, especially when other alternatives appear adequate for WSDOT’s claimed needs. (See this post for guidance on what you can do.)
The MCC and KPG consultants aim to keep you informed and welcome your input. Keep giving thought to what would help make our business district flourish and our neighborhood an even better place to live. Send your ideas and comments to Kathy Laughman (firstname.lastname@example.org) She’ll see that your great ideas get into the hopper. Watch the Montlake Forum, Flyer, and Montlake.net for events and updates as the project progresses.
View the slideshow below to see your neighbors and more photos from the evening.