Community Post

Coming Soon: A Slower, Calmer 18th

For a long time, the Jackson Place neighborhood has been a tempting target for drivers looking for a shortcut to and from I-90 or Rainier Ave. Their most recent attempt to change that is now under construction on 18th between King and Lane streets. The neighborhood won a grant from the city’s Large Neighborhood Street Fund to narrow the street by a total of 6 feet, creating wider planting strips on each side and less room for drivers to speed through.

Here’s a diagram of what things will look like once it’s finished in the next several weeks:

And here’s how things looked when I walked over earlier today:

Want a similar project for your part of the ‘hood? I wish I could say it was easy, but this FAQ seems to say otherwise. Basically, you’ve got to go through the Central District Council, which handles the final prioritization of large projects. Their next meeting will be March 12th at the Garfield Community Center, and I’m sure the folks in charge there could get you up to speed on exactly how things work.

0 thoughts on “Coming Soon: A Slower, Calmer 18th

  1. Would cut out a lot of this friggin’ bureaucratic garbage. You take your concerns to X rep for your area and they work to make it happen. Lots of the issues we have politically stem from the at large system, a nice quaint idea that is fundamentally broken.

  2. In our current system, you have 9 council members you can appeal to. In a district system, your one rep can disagree with you and you have no alternative.

  3. Well, the today’s system is getting us so much attention now, let’s stick with it.

    In the current system, there is absolutely no incentive for any politician to make the CD a priority. It has no political base, little political power, and its problems are harder nuts to crack than, say, Ballard or SLU, without the payoff if things go well.

    We can continue wondering why, but it’s right in front of us.

  4. In our current system, we have 9 council members who are bought and paid for by downtown real estate interests. This system may have worked in 1960, but it’s not 1960 anymore.

  5. The subject of this thread is city council.

    But I’d be careful what you wish for with district representation. That’s what we’ve got at the county level, and it doesn’t seem to have done us any favors around here when you look at things like metro service, juvenile hall, etc. There’s more of a risk of folks becoming entrenched as councilperson-for-life.

  6. Yes, I agree and it is the reason that it would not be good to for any further district type representation to be implemented. Plus, look at the Gerrymandering that constantly divides the CD and never allows its numbers to represent it as an area.

  7. Yes, never ever think about changing things. It’s much easier and more fun to rail against the current system.

    In the meantime, we’re losing our schools, we have gang violence, we have a crime wave, but hey – it just *might* be worse if we were to try something different. We might end up like Chicago.

  8. Actually it was Bridging the Gap street funds, not a matching grant.

    The year we received the grant, the total street funds for the neighborhood groups citywide to allocate was something like $6.5M. We received about 10% of that money to do this work and a couple of curb bulbs and chicanes on a different street.

    A lot of worthy projects out there and the city makes it a drawn out process for the district councils to fight over the scraps.

    The process is absurd, time consuming and humiliating.

  9. Not to belabor the point, but you are never guaranteed a great council member, in either an at-large system or a representative system. The only way to get one is to work hard on supporting the right candidates, and booting the ones that don’t cut it. The at-large system has seen it’s share of dead weight.

    Specific to Metro service, have you guys contacted Larry Gossett? You gotta make your concerns known frequently, being a borderline pest. But at the end of the day 80-20-20 pretty much ties his hands, sans new taxes.

    To be clear, the suggestion at the top wasn’t a wholesale change; rather, I think it makes sense to swap 5 of the 9 seats and make them representative, keeping 4 at-large so each district has more options per the point above.

  10. I agree with Elvis. I lived in a place with a combo of district reps and at-large. The at-large tend to work for their citywide issue based constituencies. The district reps either work for their district or it’s just not that hard to doorbell a limited geographic area to get rid of them when they don’t. I know because we did it. And, the primary campaign did not even start until summer in that case. The new guy was not perfect, but he kept the majority happy and fought effectively for things we needed in our district. And, we had at-large to pick up on issues where our guy seemed a bit weak.

  11. While the idea of District representation can be tempting, districts are also often gerrymandered. For instance, the Central District has been divided in two by County Council Districts and Legislative Districts and in a way that the candidates are not necessarily dependent on our votes. As the area has gained voters and increased voter turnout it has been an area that has been increasingly divvied up among other areas. Try dividing Montlake.

    Maybe we would have had more power with all the School Board members if they weren’t elected by District in the primaries. Gerrymandering happens there too.

    Redistricting typically occurs after every census and on different schedules and by different bodies of government depending on the level of government and is not an easy process to influence.

  12. Yeah the LDs are screwed up. Does the school board even have any at-large? I’d go with 5 council districts, using the police precinct map.

  13. The top two winners in the District (Primary) are elected at-large in the General. A candidate has to have the support of the District to go forward and only rarely and with a very slim loss has a the person who came in second in the primary won a general election. If less than two run in the primary then no primary race. Please look at the maps:

    The District system is not very empowering and to us even though we aren’t split. The North end has 4 Districts with one taking a slice out of the Central cluster. Montlake is empowered and kept whole with Laurelhurst. I watched this quick redistricting and know that easily the Central, South and West Seattle could easily have had 4 Districts with a slice out of the North end. In fact population wise it would have been easier to draw 3 main ones in the North end. 4 votes is a majority and then there is the question of who runs.

    We have plenty of voters and can easily if united seriously influence city-wide elections. The politics of drawing District lines only adds to another process to which that the average citizen does not have access.

  14. Who do you think would decide the Districts? How do you think the redistricting committees are formed? Why District? The only advantage is that it is easier for someone to begin a political career. That part makes it appealing, but as it plays out in Seattle it does not help the citizens. Let me know if you see the County Council, or School Board or any other District type representation as more successful over time than the at-large system in this city. Poor representation can be had under all systems if we don’t pay attention.

    I believe Chicago has by District representation and has a reputation for corruption. District representation may not be the reason, but it certainly has not helped.

  15. That districts ‘nominate’ and then they are still elected at large? We are talking about a combination. 5 districts and 4 at-large. Districts elect their person. At-large is done totally at-large. I’d never want a purely district based system. But, I’d suggest that there are certain current council members who are there ‘for life’, they ALWAYS mention their community like they have cred there and then you meet people from where they live and it’s a different story. I’ll say it’s mainly those from Central and SE who act that way. I’d rather have it within my power to hold them directly accountable.

  16. Yes, I understand that it seem like you could hold one person responsible, but alot more than that is involved. How you are going to make sure that lines are fairly drawn and who decides what is fair?

    Essentially the school board is by District since you may say they are elected at large, but each position nominated is by District and the top 7 vote getters don’t become the School Board. Each position represents a District when we vote in the General and remains by District.

    Districts can be drawn so that your vote has little power. The elected officials, ie the legislatures, or School Board or County Council members appoint the redistricting committees whose job it is to draw areas of about equal populations and then the elected body approves the plan. First on the agenda is ensuring that each of the elected officials still has a District from which they can remain elected. That usually means that a majority will also support a plan with the same balance of power, basically as is. While there is much wording regarding respecting communities, the only ones that seem to bring the fear of a court case relate to ethnic groups being disenfranchised. Otherwise, persons considered influential by the elected body are appointed and protect the elected officials in areas that they will approve.

    Do you remember participating in the County Council redistricting? Do you feel well represented? Do you remember any of the redistricting processes? I’m just saying think about it and first attempt to influence the District type representation and the process before you wish for anther one.

    In your area which School Board member do you and your neighbors hold responsible and for what? Which County Council member? At my address I would hold both Phillips and Gossett responsible but only vote for Larry who also represents the Roosevelt area which is not divvied up and therefor may actually have more power.