Editor’s note: With the election for Seattle mayor upon us, and many social, crime and development issues affecting residents in our immediate neighborhood, we asked both candidates for Mayor of Seattle for a guest post here on Lake City Live. Both candidates graciously answered the question of why people in our corner of Seattle should vote for them. Below Mayor Mike McGinn answers the question. You can read his opponent, Senator Ed Murray’s post here.
BY MIKE MCGINN
Lake City is one of Seattle’s great and diverse neighborhoods. Over the past 3½ years, my staff and I have been to Lake City many times for town halls, walking tours, and meetings with community members. Lake City and its adjacent communities of Little Brook, Cedar Park, Olympic Hills, Douglas Park and Meadowbrook is a community with many assets and opportunities and in the midst of a period of significant transition. I’ve learned a lot about the strengths and needs of your neighborhood and I have marshaled City departments to work with you to address a range of issues and problems you identified.
Based on our conversations, I envision Lake City as a destination neighborhood with a thriving commercial core along Lake City way with walking connections to the library and community center and nearby parks and schools. It’s important that we break down barriers, both physical and social, between segments in the community, so that all residents and visitors feel safe and welcome. In my second term I will continue the work currently underway to make this vision a reality.
In late 2012, in response to community requests to work strategically with the City on issues important to your, I directed Mayor’s Office staff to form and lead a City-Community Neighborhood Action Team comprised of representatives from City departments and neighborhood stakeholders to build on the work of the existing Lake City Neighborhood Plan and look holistically at greater Lake City and the steps that should be taken to build the neighborhood that residents want. Participating City departments include Neighborhoods, Police, Economic Development, Transportation, Planning and Development, Parks, Library, Human Services, Public Health, Housing, City Light, and Public Utilities. The Team has developed an Action Plan that is being vetted with the broader community while implementation is already underway on key work items.
One of the workgroups is focused on economic development and urban design. It’s taking steps to strengthen the North Seattle Chamber of Commerce and activate retail storefronts. It is also preparing an application for a City grant that will help strengthen the Lake City business district and possibly lead to establishing a Lake City Business Improvement Area. The Department of Planning and Development is also working with neighborhood stakeholders to develop an Urban Design Framework that will increase the vitality of the neighborhood by guiding the future development of streets, buildings, and public spaces.
Another workgroup associated with the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Corridor Project is taking steps to improve safety and access for all modes of transportation. They are working to identify road safety improvements, implement neighborhood greenways that prioritize walking and biking connections between neighborhood destinations, educate more people about road safety issues specific to Lake City, and identifying the most important enforcement steps that should take place to increase safety on our streets. They have identified 30 improvements that should be made. My administration has allocated more than $1 million to begin making improvements right away. Streets currently targeted for improvements include:
- 30th/little brook – new sidewalks, crossing improvements, and neighborhood safety improvements
- 95th St sidewalk design
- NE 110th/Lake City Way – road safety improvements including new sidewalks, curb ramps, and better transit access
- 145th- street curb ramps
The City has also completed repaving of 125th Street, which is over and above the $1 million and also includes sidewalk segments. Through our School Road Safety Initiative, the City is investing in road safety near several northeast Seattle schools in 2013 and 2014: Olympic Hills Elementary School, Olympic View Elementary, Sacajawea Elementary School, John Rogers Elementary, Nathan Hale High School, Thornton Creek Elementary, Eckstein Middle School, and Wedgwood Elementary.
A third workgroup of the Neighborhood Action Team is focused on addressing public safety issues, improving neighborhood parks, usage of the Lake City Community Center, and increasing programming for community members, particularly youth and seniors. To rejuvenate the community center I put $75,000 in my 2013 budget for planning purposes and have proposed $425,000 in my 2014-2015 budget for capital improvements. Police have engaged with the neighborhood to address troubling “hot spots” and service providers, advocates, businesses and resident groups are working together to address the neighborhood’s complex human service needs.
We have a long way to go but I have made your neighborhood a priority of my administration and it has the attention of many City departments. Over the next four years, I hope to have the opportunity to continue our City-Neighborhood partnership and build a neighborhood that is vibrant, safe, and welcoming to all of the residents and visitors.