Electrical vehicle charging, Stay Healthy Streets, and greenways discussed at this month’s BDC meeting

The Ballard District Council (BDC) hosted their virtual monthly meeting Wednesday night, March 10th, marking it as the one-year anniversary of virtual BDC meetings since COVID-19.

The meeting covered the Electric Vehicle Station proposed by Seattle City Light (SLC) for the Market Street Substation location, the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Stay Healthy Streets program, and the Ballard-Fremont Neighborhood Greenways.

EV Charging on Market Street

The meeting began with a presentation from Jacob Orenberg, an employee of Seattle City Light’s Public Electric Vehicle Charging program. He was joined by other colleagues from SLC’s real estate and communications teams.

The presentation discussed the background of the former Market Street Substation as well as clarified what Seattle City Light is able to do with its properties. The project is being proposed because there is a need for additional public charging stations in the Ballard area, as the existing ones are at capacity and an EV charging operator was interested in adding stations in Ballard. The proposed charging station will likely include a new parking lot, new electrical infrastructure, and 14 electric vehicle charging spaces, but the design is subject to change.

The overall goal of the project is to fill in the gaps where EV fast chargers are unavailable, use the SLC site, and serve operators and the community. The project is still in the design stage and construction will likely not begin until the third quarter of this year. Public comments are accepted on this project until next Friday, March 19th, and can be sent to SCL_CommOutreach@seattle.gov.

Stay Healthy Streets

The Council then discussed the Stay Healthy Streets program, presented by Summer Jawson, the program manager, from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

The presentation covered the COVID-19 response to the program and the plans to make Stay Healthy Streets a permanent program in the future. The program was created to make space for community members to walk and bike while staying close to home. The routes were designed to connect residential areas to necessary locations like grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.

The program began in April 2020 on existing neighborhood greenways and has been maintained by SDOT. There are currently about 26 miles of temporary Stay Healthy Streets across Seattle, including Ballard, Green Lake, and Wallingford.

Ballard’s Stay Healthy Street (17th Ave NW from NW 58th – 88th St) received the most votes from the public to become permanent. By the spring/summer of 2021, the program plans to install 20 permanent miles of Stay Healthy Streets. For more information on those plans and the program, please visit here.

Neighborhood greenways update

The meeting then moved into the last presentation on its agenda, the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways program (SNG). Bryant Mason, a volunteer with the program and co-chair of the Ballard-Fremont Greenways group, joined the Council to talk about the use of the greenways in Ballard.

Mason went on to discuss how 2020 has had higher rates of pedestrian and cyclists fatalities than in past years, explaining there is a need to create more safe spaces and regulations for pedestrians and cyclists. The Ballard-Fremont Greenways is seeking funding to extend the 6th Ave NW Greenway to connect West Woodland Elementary and Woodland Hall Preschool BGT and Greenway on 58th St.

Mason is also pushing to make the Ballard Bridge and other local bridges safer for these modes of transportation. For safe access to transit locations, a new crossing to 11th and Market St is in the works, alongside safety updates to the Fremont Bridge and Route 40. For more information on the program, these projects, and ways to support or comment on these efforts, please visit here.

The BDC meeting concluded with a Q&A section of submitted questions from the public.

To watch the recorded live stream of the BDC March 2021 meeting, please visit here.