A packed agenda for your Montlake Community Club Board last Tuesday night (June 14), but the Board was up to it. President Bryan Haworth offered our Community’s thanks to the Board members completing their terms: LeAna Alvarado-Smith, Tomitha Blake, Kathy Laughman. He announced that Kathy Laughman, though retiring from the Board, has agreed to be Project Lead on the City funded initiative to create an improvement plan for Montlake’s business district. Haworth then gave election results and welcomed the five new Board members: Darcy LaBelle, Rohit Manokaran, John O’Neil, Tyler Blitz and Carol Cordy. Congratulations to these five new community members who’ve stepped forward to serve their Montlake neighbors. (Their photos and bios will appear soon on the Montlake website.)
Special guest, Paul Fuesel of Studio KPG kicked off conversation with the Board and guests about our Business District Improvement Project and the work KPG will be doing as the contracted consultants. Paul described how this project, funded by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, will result in a plan crafted by KPG in collaboration with the MCC project team and designed specifically for our neighborhood. It will take advantage of what they’ve learned from changes that worked well in other locations in Seattle as well as surrounding communities.
The Project’s Functional Goals: Revitalization of the Business District to support Existing Restaurants and Service Businesses, Increase of Outdoor Seating; Pedestrian Safety, Accessibility & Street Crossings; Street Diet Traffic Calming on 24th; Safe Routes to School Children across 24th; Wider Sidewalks where feasible; Street Tree Replacement; Signal at E. Lynn Street; Friendlier Bus Stops.
The Project Aesthetic Goals: “Place Making”, so that the business district is “a place people want to spend time;” District Identity & Branding; Bike and Pedestrian Wayfinding (bike routes to/from Arboretum and the U-District; Support Historic Character; Public Art Integration; Connect ‘isolated section’ between Montlake Bridge & Business district; Enhance Montlake Boulevard Market at 520 “Look & Feel”; Enhance 22nd Ave E. Greenway Connections “Look & Feel.”
Fuesel responded to questions from the Board members and talked about next steps in the planning process. Up first will be outreach to the community. To that end, the Board agreed to schedule a Community Meeting inviting all Montlakers for an informative session, with opportunities for comments, questions, and input of ideas. That meeting is scheduled for July 26, with location to be determined. Be assured that you’ll get more details and reminders of this meeting as the date near.
Several other special guests were given time to present information or request action on other issues. Scott Forbes, former MCC Board member, explained that he was now a candidate for State Representative for the 43rd District. Allan Seidenverg and Ann Rudd asked the Board to offer a letter of support for the ARCH. It would use a highway ramp piece to be placed in the Arboretum as a concrete memorial structure reminding us of the courage of local citizens who led a successful campaign to stop the construction of the R.H.Thompson freeway in the early 60’s. Lyle Bicknell, Seattle’s Montlake liaison to the WSDOT 520 construction project, reported on progress of the construction effort through Montlake and highlighted positive changes to the design stimulated by earlier community input. He talked of the timeliness of our planning project in relation to the 520 work and the near-future Phase 3 City construction efforts along the 23rd/24th Avenue corridor.
Your truly, Nathalie Gehrke, was recognized for her agreement to serve as the community reporter for the coming year’s business district improvement planning initiative. Watch for my reports as things progress. I’ll try to keep them lively.
*You can get all the details of the evening’s agenda by visiting the Community Club Meeting Minutes at Montlake.net