If you look hard enough into the Shoreline and Lake Forest Park websites you’ll find some real, official insights into what we’ll be doing into upcoming decades. Check it out!
Shoreline’s Comprehensive “Comp” Plan is undergoing its regular Major Update. The City Council intends to enact the new update by the end of the year, so hit the “DRAFT Comprehensive Plan” and “DRAFT Land Use Map” buttons at the upper right to get details and then the “2029 Vision Statement” button toward the bottom right of the page to read a broader, conceptual description of Shoreline halfway to 2062. You could also go to the last scheduled public meeting on October 18, 2012.
Shoreline is looking ahead to the completion of Sound Transit’s Lynnwood Extension Link Light Rail line. In “Our Next New Place” I riffed on the subject and how it might impact one particular neighborhood. It turns out my assumption on its alignment was right: “…the light rail alignment will run along the east side of Interstate 5, with two stations potentially at NE 145th or NE 155th and NE 185th Streets.” Details of the station placement are still lacking.
This is the general project timeline:
May 14, 2012 - City Adoption of Station Area Framework
End of 2012 – City Adoption of Comprehensive Plan
Spring 2013 – Sound Transit Draft EIS
Summer 2013 – Sound Transit Preferred Alternative
2013-2014 – City Update of Land Use Map
2014 – City Zoning and Station Area Planning
2014-2015 – Sound Transit Final EIS
2018-2023 – Construction of Light Rail and Stations
2023 – Light Rail Service Begins
Both Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are also working on new Shoreline (as in waterfront) Master Program, required by the State Department of Ecology to govern cities’ efforts to develop, use and preserve their saltwater shorelines.
Shoreline is consolidating its Design Standards and Zoning to make it easier to attract investment in our Town Center and similar districts. One thing about this I do object to is, “The basic proposal is to not change the area, height, or bulk of these different commercial areas…” How, really, do you expect to promote real density if you won’t let it grow? We must change this piece to strongly encourage the private investment which will make much better, more vibrant neighborhoods, especially in our downtown!
Speaking of salt water shoreline, there’s Point Wells. You maybe thought that was a dead issue? No. It’s still there, but the city intends that whatever is built there be much smaller than the developer and Snohomish County, with their “Urban Center” designation envision. It will be a highly sustainable, LEED gold or platinum place, and the upland portion of the site will remain with Town of Woodway, since their road system connects easily to it and there is no connection to the lowland portion, which can only be accessed through Richmond Beach. Its building massing and placement will be limited to preserve some views and reduce excessive traffic impacts. I think this document is pretty good, though it leaves a great deal of ambiguity as to expected results, nominally so it doesn’t completely hem in and discourage a developer. If I could imagineer for a moment I’d say (in accordance with Policy Point Wells-9 and Point Wells-11) this would be a perfect opportunity for the city and Metro to institute a new transit route from Point Wells through Richmond Beach, Town Center, and North City, down to Lake Forest Park Town Center. That would connect each to the others seamlessly and minimize car traffic along the whole route, from Shoreline to shoreline.
Their “Legacy 100 Year Vision” includes a concept many may find useful: “Green Infrastructure”:
“…the concept of Green Infrastructure recognizes that air, land, and water are equally as important as gray (roads, etc.) infrastructure. Green Infrastructure helps frame the most efficient location for development and growth.”
“This may include established public parks and protected natural sites, riparian corridors, unmanaged and undeveloped sites, and planned open spaces within new built development. The following is a partial list of potential planning and design components that can be utilized in a Green Infrastructure plan.
Hubs: Act as an “anchor” for a variety of natural processes and provide an origin or destination for both people and wildlife.
Reserves: Lands that protect significant ecological sites.
Parks and Open Space Areas: Landscapes that may protect natural resources and/or provide recreational opportunities. Examples include public parks, natural areas, playgrounds.
Recycled Lands: Lands that were previously damaged by intense public or private use and that have since been restored or reclaimed.
Greenways/Creekways: Linear areas, such as river and stream corridors, greenways and creekways that serve primarily as biological conduits for wildlife and may provide recreational opportunities.
Link Corridors: Open spaces that connect hubs, reserves, parks, and provide sufficient space for native plants and animals to flourish. These linkages may contain cultural elements, such as historic resources, provide recreational opportunities and preserve scenic views that enhance the quality of life in a community or region.
Green Streets: Vehicular streets that use vegetation to manage stormwater runoff; improve pedestrian and bicycle safety; and increase urban green space.
Recreational Trail Corridors: Pedestrian and bicycling trails through greenways and creekways.”
This sounds great, but we (they) have to do whatever is necessary to get some of that “gray infrastructure” out of the way of the lower courses of Lyons and McAleer Creeks so they can do what streams are supposed to do
without the flood damage that comes from excessive pavement and poorly placed buildings and roads.
I bring all this up so you know it’s not just me spouting dream-bubbles in the breeze. Our cities are really thinking about what our future will be like and now you know where to go to make your opinions heard. After all, we’ll be living in that future!