Mayor hosts walking tour of Crown Hill

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn rode up on his bicycle to join a small group of community leaders in a walking tour of Crown Hill on Saturday afternoon. The mayor takes several walking tours of Seattle neighborhoods each year, but this one was a short commute — McGinn lives nearby in Greenwood.

During the walking tour, the mayor heard concerns about a lack of sidewalks, traffic on Holman Road and drug dealing at Baker Park, among other things.

The first stop was the playground at the old Crown Hill Elementary School at 13th Ave. and Holman Road, which will soon become Crown Hill Park. Community leaders from Crown Hill Neighborhood Association and Crown Hill Business Association expressed concerns about safe access to the park. Construction is slated to begin next year.

The group paused along the pedestrian overpass over Holman Road. “Although it’s a very important transportation asset, it’s dangerous to drive on and dangerous to cross,” said Ryan McFarland, the president of the CHNA. As if on cue, the mayor watched as a bicyclist perilously weaved through traffic (above). McFarland suggested that adding a planted median along the street “could make the turn lanes more clear, provide islands for pedestrians and dramatically improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood.”

Since Holman road isn’t due for repaving anytime soon, the mayor said it boils down to funding in a difficult economic time. He said he plans to propose a “significant increase” in the commercial parking tax — above and beyond the city council’s proposed increase — to pay for transportation projects like these. “Help me out here guys, when we go in front of council,” he said, adding that he’s asked SDOT to look at different solutions for different neighborhoods.

The mayor also heard about the lack of sidewalks on many Crown Hill streets. Earlier this year, community members applied for a Bridging the Gap grant for sidewalks in the area that spans NW 85th to NW 90th between 15th Ave NW and 20th Ave NW. But due to a lack of funding, the proposed project was slimmed down considerably. “Tell the council to approve my proposed tax increases for pedestrian improvements,” the mayor said.

The next stop was Baker Park along 14th Ave. between 85th and 83rd Streets. Catherine Weatbrook, with the Crown Hill Business Association, told the mayor that neighbors often complain about drinking and vagrancy. “You’re very lucky you’re here after all the rain in September because the smell has substantially decreased, because there are no bathrooms,” she said. “There are fairly active drug deals that happen along that street (pointing to Mary Ave.)”

“It’s just the activation and usage,” the mayor said after hearing the park is not popular. “Have you looked at — I’m just going to toss out an idea — a pea patch? It would get people here every day.” He said pea patches have worked elsewhere, even if they’re just a secondary component of the park. With Crown Hill Park opening soon nearby, “maybe that’s a viable thing,” Weatbrook said.

A neighbor raised concerns about drug deals a couple blocks away, at 15th Ave. and 87th St., often behind the Radio Shack building. “I see it happen all the time,” Jon said, adding that police don’t always respond. “We’ve got a lot of people calling about it.”

On 87th and 17th, the mayor was given this photo of flooding in a low area there — a frequent problem. The mayor promised to pass it along to Seattle Public Utilities to find out what’s going on. “We’ll get you a response,” he said. “At least we’ll let you know where we stand.” A staff member accompanying the mayor wrote down questions and complaints raised along the walk.

After the walk, Weatbrook said she felt it went well. “I think we have a lot of commonality in things we’re trying to do,” she said. “We have the hard realities of the budget, the economic situation, so we’ll have to work through it.”

24 comments on “Mayor hosts walking tour of Crown Hill”

  1. Riiiiight – turning a corner of a park into a pea patch will stop the drug dealers from owning the park. How’s that working for the Ballard pea patch on 14th?

    Typical magic fairy dust from the mayor. At least he’s predictable.

    “As if on cue, the mayor watched as a bicyclist perilously weaved through traffic.” The proposed solution? Reduce road capacity (put in “a planted median along the street” – which makes the center left-turn lane unusable, which will only make traffic worse). Get ready – they’re laying the groundwork for another “road diet” – McGinn’s code name for reducing road capacity. God forbid they should take a look at the bicyclist who was (as they described) “perilously weaving through traffic” – hey, if bicyclists are riding like idiots, weaving through traffic, the solution is…make driving cars more difficult by making traffic worse. That’s right – lets wreck the city’s infrastructure so we can taylor everything to the needs of the most irresponsible bike riders. We certainly don’t want to do anything to try and get the idiots on bikes to ride responsibly.

    Meanwhile, he continues to play games in his continuing attempts to sabotage the highway 99 project – despite repeated and clear campaign promises that he would not do that.

    McGinn is a liar – he’s as dishonest as Dick Nixon and Dick Cheney.

    Good luck with your sidewalks, guys.

  2. ““Although it’s a very important transportation asset, it’s dangerous to drive on and dangerous to cross,” said Ryan McFarland, the president of the CHNA”

    Is there any evidence that Holman road is “dangerous” like SDOT statistics, or is it just this guy’s opinion?

    Seems like a low priority cosidering the budget, and the mayor should have said as much.

  3. I live at Bitter Lake, If I could, I would happily give Ballard the sidewalk (on N 133rd) along with the unused bike lanes (on N130th, taking away 2 car lanes) they gave us …

  4. In the photos, McGinn looks like one of the least fit “bicyclists” I have seen in a long time. “McGinn rode up on his bicycle…” – from where? How far away? Not that I suspect the bike to be nothing more than a prop … (*excellent* point about the helmet)

  5. i see mcginn all along my commute often. calories in/calories out. biking regularly doesn’t mean one has to be thin.

  6. I’m not certain a P- Patch is the answer. That’s a fairly secluded park all ready, and I hate to advocate for ripping out the trees and landscaping.

    The 14th Avenue P Patch has it share of problems from the transients: litter, stolen produce, human feces, people camped out and/ or drinking. Sometimes all in one day.

    It takes the neighborhood not making them welcome: that means calling the cops when they see criminal activity, not giving them money/ handouts, etc.

  7. The helmet is hanging off his handlebars while he went on the walk. I can see it in the 8th picture on the page on the left side of his handlebars.

  8. How about our chunky mayor focus on real solutions like zero tolerance for vagrants and more budget for foot patrols in our neighborhoods? It’s sad that a leftist do-nothing like him was voted in as mayor.

  9. “Hmmmm….cars are dangerous….I like bikes!! Bikes are awesome!!! We should have more room for bikes on streets!!! How can we do that??? Less cars…cars bad…..bikes good!!! Ask for more money for more room bikes…..less room cars…..that is answer!!!

    Hmm….Baker park smells like bum pee…..I like bums!!! Citizens want park to smell less like bum pee…..Me know!!! Pea patch!!! No worry about having police remove bums…..bums can pee on pea patch!!!”

  10. I think this mayor is spot on with his priorities.

    he’s trying to make our city more live-able as we increase density–sounds like bicycles would be a big part of the solution.

    no surprise that there’s mostly whiners around here complaing about homeless people as usual.

  11. OK, where to start.
    Things that get regular people into parks (including but not limited to pea patches) drive the drug dealers away. Doesn’t solve the underlying problem (the drug dealers/users themselves), but does at least get (some of) them out of the parks.
    Road alignments that make streets safer to cross do not necessarily reduce capacity. Reducing the number of lanes available to cars does not necessarily reduce capacity. For example, road diets that ADD a left turn lane make traffic flow more smoothly and allow the remaining lane to carry more traffic than before, while at the same time making left turns safer and making the street easier for pedestrians to cross. These changes usually make it harder to speed on the streets in question, but make them safer for law abiding drivers as well as people on bikes, pedestrians, and innocent bystanders at bus stops. Making public rights of way work for all members of the public who need to use them is not “wrecking the public infrastructure”, but enhancing it.
    Mayor McGinn is not a “bicyclist”. He is just someone who rides his bike places. There is an important difference. He’s just someone who is trying to get to the store, to his kid’s school, or to work. No need to be an athlete to do that. No need to wear lycra. No need for a $3000 bike (although I really think the mayor’s ride is getting pretty beat up)

  12. why even bother making sane factual comments on this site anymore.

    didn’t you hear the mayor is a fat communist who believes in fairy dust and hates cars and is as dishonest as richard nixon?

    you gotta love the idiocy of Old Ballard… these are the people we’re supposed to care two sh-ts about saving? I’ll keep my Bush tax cut for a second home thank you very much and you blue collar idiots can fend for yourselves.

  13. It is really funny to call him “McNuts” that made me laugh and laugh and laugh. GEEEEE you are One Funny Funny Man.

    McNuts!! LOL. MC NUTS, calling MAYOR MC NUTS!!! Ha ha ha McNuts!!

  14. God forbid that a cyclist have to follow rules. I saw a kid get hit by a car and killed as a kid at Crown Hill. He chose to run across Holman Road and not use the overpass. You cannot fix or legislate stupid choices. I wish it were that easy, but save the money on a median, people of normal intelligence can figure it out.

  15. God forbid that a cyclist have to follow rules. I saw a kid get hit by a car and killed as a kid at Crown Hill. He chose to run across Holman Road and not use the overpass. You cannot fix or legislate stupid choices. I wish it were that easy, but save the money on a median, people of normal intelligence can figure it out.

  16. Bike infrastructure is fine. I’m in favor of it.

    I’m NOT in favor of wrecking the streets in the name of bike infrastructure, reducing traffic capacity, and intentionally working to make vehicle traffic worse – which seems to be one of this mayor’s primary goals.

    Hate the cars all you want – when you finally succeed in making it impossible for anyone to use one, you will quickly starve to death.

  17. Catz, please start a petition to this effect. I’d really love to have future Bitter Lake funds sent to Ballard.

  18. Baker Park. Look at some p-patches – I generally see similar sight-blocking vegetation, and no one is there at night. Instead, trim vegetation between 3 ft and 8 ft. Put in lights. Put in cameras, since sight lines into the park are not good. Put in a red strobe light on a motion sensor and photo cell. Close the park at 10 pm, so police have something to enforce. Shouldn’t be that expensive.

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