The Friends of Mount Baker Town Center is working to solve the infrastructure deficits which surround the Mount Baker transit station. This year (2014) the City rezoned the station area to allow dense growth up to 125′. While density will certainly add eyes on the street, the streetscape has a long ways to go to achieve the City’s minimum standards for livability. The open space gap was identified by the Department of Parks years before this new density, and the area also happens to be one of the most dangerous for pedestrian travel — with residents, students and employees needing to cross 10+ lanes of traffic to go east / west near the station.
How do we help achieve the vibrant town center that was called for by North Rainier residents in the planning process? It won’t be easy. But our group is glad to see the City’s planners and decisionmakers back in North Rainier Valley. The current situation will require more than wide sidewalks and extra trees. Let’s help the City, Sound Transit and others partner on the investments needed to reset the table and provide a recipe for smart, balanced growth. The diverse North Rainier Valley community deserves the same levels of breathability and safety as other great Seattle neighborhoods.
Thank you for being part of the conversation on smart growth management in Seattle. We look forward to engaging and encouraging the investments needed to correct the unfriendly and unsafe surrounds confronting Seattle’s newest “Town Center”, and reconnecting the historic Olmsted Parkways which 100 years ago were intended to connect this neighborhood with Beacon Hill to the west, and Lake Washington Boulevard to the east.