Notes from Shoreline Council meeting Feb 1, 2021

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting for
February 1, 2021
Notes by Pam Cross

Mayor Hall called the remote meeting to order at 7:00pm.

All Councilmembers were present.

Proclamation
I, Will Hall, Mayor of the City of Shoreline, on behalf of the Shoreline City Council, do hereby proclaim February 2021 as BLACK HISTORY MONTH and encourage all residents to learn more about the history, contributions, and achievements of Black people past and present.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry



Our region, consisting of King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties, has moved to Phase 2 of the Healthy Washington Plan. That means there are a few more activities we can participate in and some restaurants can allow indoor dining.

Continued access to tennis/pickleball courts is dependent on users following the social distancing and mask wearing requirements.

We still need to meet 3 of the 4 criteria in order to remain in Phase 2, so people need to be diligent in adhering to the restrictions so we don’t see an acceleration in cases and don’t go back to Phase 1.


Please continue to protect our community and help us stay in Stage 2 by taking the following preventative measures:
  • Wear a face covering, especially indoors in public settings regardless of the distance between people.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands regularly.
  • Maintain six (6) feet of distance, indoors and outdoors.
  • Get tested at the first sign of illness. And then stay home. Do not go to work or to stores if you’re not feeling well.
  • It is safest to stay at home.

COVID-19 VACCINE
Although there is information available on Shoreline’s website, people are encouraged to go to CovidVaccineWA.org for the most up-to date information on eligibility and locations providing vaccines.

PROPOSITION 1 PRESENTATIONS
Proposition 1 for park improvements and park land acquisition will appear on the April 27 ballot. There will be factual community presentations beginning Feb 2.

Presentations will be conducted via Zoom. For more information about Proposition 1 and to get the Zoom link for the meeting go to shorelinewa.gov/prop1
Note: the remaining dates are:
  • Tuesday, February 9, 12 pm
  • Thursday, February 11, 7 pm
  • Tuesday, February 16, 7 pm
  • Thursday, February 18, 7 pm
  • Wednesday, February 24, 7 pm

Public Reminders
The Planning Commission will hold a remote meeting on Thursday Feb 4 at 7:00pm regarding the Department of Commerce Growth Management Act Briefing and the 2021 Comprehensive Plan Docket

Council Reports
Deputy Mayor Scully, standing in for Mayor Hall, met remotely with Representative Jayapal who shared with him and other elected officials what’s going on in D.C., mostly regarding Coronavirus relief. The attendees were able to express their needs and concerns.

Public Comment
Kathleen Russell, Shoreline, Save Shoreline Trees
addressed Agenda item 8a, the N 175th project, and requested the City consider saving significant trees the entire length of 175th.

Theresa LaCroix, Director of the LFP/Shoreline Senior Center
expressed her heartfelt thanks to the City, Council and residents for continuing support

Jackie Kurle, Shoreline
spoke about ensuring adequate protections around the new enhanced shelter for both the shelter residents and the neighbors

Christiano Steele, Shoreline grocery worker-
would like Council to pass $4 hazard pay for Shoreline grocery workers until a State initiative hopefully offers this.

Approval of the Agenda
Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

Approval of the Consent Calendar
Consent Calendar approved unanimously by roll call vote.


Study Item 8(a) Discussion of the Preferred Concept for the 175th Street (Stone Avenue N to I-5) Project


The staff report was presented by
Tricia Juhnke, City Engineer
Leif Johansen, Capital Project Manager

Staff is seeking Council’s support of the Preferred Design concept. In conjunction with this, staff is looking for direction on the recommendation to include undergrounding of existing overhead utilities as part of the preferred concept.

The design team used the public’s feedback from Phase 2 to develop a preferred concept.

Shared-use path concept A
A main concern was bikes sharing the same paths as pedestrians, especially eastbound bicyclists as they head downhill while mixing with walkers and children at Meridian Park Elementary.
On the other hand, there were positive comments about encouraging families to bike out of the roadway.

Buffered bike lanes concept B
The primary concern was that even with a buffer, there was too much exposure to traffic for bikes.
There was a lot of positive feedback for separating pedestrians from bikes.

Over 50% of users rated Shared-use path as “just right; over 60% of users rated Buffered bike lanes as “just right.”

For both concepts there was concern that the corridor was too wide, and too costly.

Using these results, we have created a Hybrid Concept.


From Stone Ave N (Trader Joe’s) to Wallingford Ave N (Meridian Elementary School)

Additionally, staff propose extending the corridor about 120’ west from Stone to Midvale, in order to provide a bike connection to the Interurban Trail.


Wallingford Ave N (Meridian Elementary) to Meridian Ave N (Ronald Bog)

Both concepts attempt to protect existing street trees.
The median will be hardscaped to avoid maintenance issues.

At the intersection of 175th and Meridian both a roundabout and a signalized intersection were considered. The area is too small for a good roundabout. The signalized concept improves operations, limits impact to Ronald Bog and accommodates bike lanes on Meridian. The signalized intersection eliminates the need to purchase parks property, has a lower capital cost, and lower risk (problems with permitting in sensitive environmental area with unstable peat).This concept was preferred by 70% of users.


Signalized Intersection

The final distance is from Meridian to the I-5 Interchange.


Undergrounding Utilities


The preliminary estimate of undergrounding utilities is a wide range because we are so far out from construction. The design phase may continue into 2023. We are at only 10% of the design phase. As we move towards 30% we’ll have a much better idea of what the cost will be and the ultimate impact to ratepayers.

This project meets the undergrounding criteria. It meets City code, is eligible for the City Light Franchise agreement, and is of sufficient size.

Staff recommends moving forward to 30% design and then reevaluating and developing a better cost estimate for undergrounding.

DISCUSSION

Why should we put bike lanes here? It’s between light rail stations and a busy road.
Reply: there isn’t a good off-corridor bike route between 175th and 185th that goes from Meridian to Midvale.

Should we be discussing the speed limit at this time?
Reply: reducing speed limit won’t change the design on this corridor.

Are buses still running along there? Are the stops still planned to be in the same locations?
Reply: we are working with Metro. Yes, buses are still planned plus maybe a new route on Meridian. Metro prefers not to have pull-outs. They prefer lane stops and plan to keep the stop on 175th where there is a bus shelter.

Hybrid concept with shared lanes while bikers are going uphill and then a buffered lane downhill is a great idea.

The Roundabout would require purchase of parkland. There is no mention of parkland purchase for the signalized intersection. Where will we find the roadway width for the 15’ shared use plan on the Southside of 175th between Meridian and I-5?
Reply: this area is part of the WSDOT coordination. Will have a better idea as we progress. We don’t know at this point but it’s likely some land will have to be purchased.

So either option, we’ll have to purchase some land?
Reply: yes

Roundabouts move a lot more traffic through. I realize the area is difficult to fit a roundabout because of right-of-way concerns and so forth. What kind of a trade off are we making with a signalized intersection as respects traffic capacity?
Reply: The more we worked on this project, the more similar these two options became. There is very little difference in capacity. This location has signals and they would still be there anyway.

Did you also model the AM and PM traffic volumes?
Reply: Yes we did. There was no significant difference.

Don’t think this project needs undergrounding. Since it’s not scheduled for re-development some of the benefits don’t apply here. The parcels that will be affected are the school and the park. In Seattle the city pays for undergrounding, but in Shoreline our residents pay for undergrounding. It’s not fair that Seattle City Light singles us out. Cost of undergrounding is a concern.
Reply: there will still be a cost to relocate the utilities overhead. The cost to underground them is in addition to the cost of relocating the utilities overhead. (About $5.7M for just over 3,000 linear feet of the $43M estimate). It is this additional amount that would be paid by the rate payers.

Everybody in Shoreline will pay. Projects are listed on the utility bill. The first one doesn’t sunset until 2032. Assume we add for 175th. And then we add again for 185th. Then another. This is going to add up.
Reply: Yes. The increase applies citywide.

Is there another project that might come up where we’ll be looking at undergrounding and might regret adding it here?
Reply: For 145th Council decided to not underground. On 185th I don’t think we have a recommendation yet. All new sidewalk projects might add undergrounding.

Have you sought public input on undergrounding?
Reply: not yet.

The segment from Meridian to I-5 stops at I-5 and does not go under it. We’re going to have a Trail Along the Rail and that would make a connection to it. Also the underpass needs some pedestrian safety.
Reply: we will be looking at possible ways to get pedestrians better access under I-5. It’s a challenge because the area is tight.

The staff report states $6M for right of way acquisition. Is this just for easements? Or purchase of some property outright?
Reply: It is possible 4 parcels will be purchased outright. Plus there will be a whole lot of easements.

Where the bus stop is on 175th by the Bog, could we put walkway from Meridian going behind that bus stop so people walking down the sidewalk don’t have to go through the folks waiting at the bus stop? It would just go along the sidewalk (not over Ronald Bog) and create kind of a boardwalk look.
Reply: the sidewalk is already cantilevered because of the bog. That would be very challenging.

We need to save all the trees we can, especially the mature evergreens. The non-native street trees can be replaced by adding native street trees, rather than going to great lengths to save an individual tree (except mature evergreens).

I’m wondering about the visibility of the new pedestrian crossing at 175th and Ashworth (east of Stone). Also, it’s in the middle of a long hill where drivers don’t expect a crossing.
Reply: It will probably have a beacon for visibility and there will be the refuge in the middle of 175th where people can stop before continuing across. The existing crossing at Wallingford will also be upgraded.

Speed limits are aligned with design speed and both of those should align with the target speed. The speed limit is currently 35mph. There are few driveways and no parking. Is physical design of the current road consistent with 35mph? Would this design change that?
Reply: What you look at is a sight distance. We learned there is a surplus of sight distance for 35mph. There aren’t any modifications we plan to do that would affect the design speed of the road. It is designed for an excess of speed over the current posted speed limit.

What would be changed if we designed the corridor for 30mph?
Reply: we will look into it and advise.

What is the minimum width allowed for travel lane at 30mph?
Reply: we’ve reduced some to 10’ but Metro requires wider lanes for the lanes they use.

If designed for Metro, then the driver of a vehicle will feel comfortable speeding. There is nothing to encourage drivers to slow down. In fact, drivers may feel like they can go faster.
Reply: We have reduced interior lanes to 10’ (the minimum), and Metro let us go down to 11’. We can also look at other traffic calming tools but putting in trees and amenities in the amenity zones makes the space seem smaller so people drive slower than if it’s a wide 4 lanes with nothing in the middle.

Guidance: Should staff proceed to 30% design with undergrounding so we can refine our estimate? We have to do it now, because we can’t add it in later. We’re not sure of the cost for design up to 30% because we don’t know what kind of problems the bog will cause.

There was general consensus that this would be money well spent because Councilmembers need additional information before making a decision.


Study Item 8(b) Discussion of Ordinance No. 897 - Amending Shoreline Municipal Code Section 20.50.620, Aurora Square Community Renewal Sign Standards

Nora Gierloff, AICP, Planning Manager, made the presentation


This is about a 70 acre area with Aurora Square (renamed Shoreline Place), the old Sears store, the WSDOT offices and the NW School for Deaf Children, as well as the Alexan Apartments. Locations outside of Shoreline Place are not required to advertise Shoreline Place on their monument signs.

By better addressing the signage needs of businesses, these amendments will support the planned redevelopment of Shoreline Place into a vibrant, mixed-use town center for the City.


We looked at general changes to the sign code such as content neutral language, specified size, type and number of signs, and clarification of sign area calculation. Additionally no business can be listed on a new freestanding sign until any old freestanding sign listing that business is removed or brought into compliance. The $100/day penalty for not installing new signs by September 1, 2017 has been removed.


We also wanted to allow unique or sculptural signs, subject to administrative design review.

Monument signs, located at or slightly above the ground, allow visibility as the tree canopy grows. Pylon signs become lost in the tree growth and lose their visibility.

Due to the size of the property and number of tenants, space for more tenants is allowed.

Retail leasing signs will be allowed due to the many available spaces and the multiple owners of the site.

Allow 1 sign per 250’ of street frontage up to a maximum of 3 signs per parcel per street. Signs must be 100’ apart on same parcel, or 50’ apart from a sign on a neighboring parcel.



Deletion of changeable electronic pylon signs was requested in keeping with the planned pedestrian mixed-use environment. Reduce the percentage of pylon sign area advertising Shoreline Place vs. tenants from 25% to 15%.

Increase in height for the pylon signs from 25’ to 35’ so the existing sign structure can be reused. The current pylon signs are about 35’. There are also allocations for pylon signs which will result in the same number (4) as currently exist but allows more flexibility for their placement.

Since there will be ground floor retail with apartments above, there will be additional sign allowance for ground floor storefronts in addition to the wall signs for apartments.

Ground floor walls without entrances can have signs if they put in windows, landscaping or architectural detailing.

Wayfinding (directional) signs require a 25’ setback from the street to avoid clutter and competition with the monument and pylon signs

Temporary signs advertising special events will be limited for less clutter.

Next steps are to identify any Council proposed code changes and return to Council Feb 22. Sign design guidelines for Shoreline placed will be developed later in 2021.

DISCUSSION

This CRA (Community Renewal Area) was put into place in 2012! Wow.

Allowing signage on the backs or sides of buildings on the street is really nice - it prevents a wall of just bricks and dumpsters.

Perimeter lighting is limited. What about holiday lighting?
Reply: It is consistent with the overall sign code for the City.

It can be pretty - or it can be hideous. Best to maintain prohibition of perimeter lighting.

This will come back to Council on consent.

Meeting Adjourned.



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