June 8, 1998
Business owners take issue with Park & Ride plans
by Barbara Sullivan
DUVALL--Metro plans for a park & ride on the north end of town have generated complaints from nearby business owners who are concerned that the facility could affect traffic flows and customer parking. Because the proposed facility is close to the river, a Shoreline Substantial Development permit is required. During the May 28 public hearing on the permit, several business owners complained that the hearing was the first opportunity for the public to comment on the Metro-proposed design. Metro Capital Projects Coordinator David Feltman reminded the council that the park & ride idea was originally brought to Metro several years ago by Sara Barry, then Administrative Assistant to the Mayor.
The city, which would provide the property, requested that Metro apply for federal funding for a joint use park & ride, providing parking for commuters during the day and for the trailhead during evenings and weekends. Feltman added that Councilmember Louise Miller would like to see the park & ride project in place before the 124th St. bridge closure in 2000.
The plan has a maximum of 47 parking spaces and has vehicles entering just north of the building housing Old Memories, an antique store. Vehicles would exit south of the store. Buses would line up at the area that is now used for business customer parking. At this stage, Metro acknowledges they "are $45,000 into design and development." Funding is through a grant from Federal Transportation and Metro.
But Duvall business owner Dave Harder wondered how the city got as far as it did with the project without input from community members. "We thought we would have some input before we're obligated to Metro for $45,000," Harder said. "How did we get so far?" The packed audience contained many local business owners deeply concerned that the plan makes no allowance for weekday retail parking and will actually take away from what little there is on the north end of town, in addition to further snarling and delaying traffic during the morning and evening rush hours.
Klev Schoening, one of the owners of (and representing) Skywest, Inc. of Kenmore (which owns the land between the bridge and the Duvall Tavern), said the the public hasn't had a chance to offer their opinions. "I don't believe we've had that opportunity and I encourage the council to hear our concerns before taking action on the Shoreline permit."
Arline Wallace, owner of Old Memories, also noted that Metro has spent $45,000, "but we've spent a lot more that that on our businesses-this plan is flawed. It affects all the business across the street and my customers. There is no way to turn north without going across the two lanes. We plead with Metro to see our side of this and our reasoning for having another exit."
The current Metro plan allows traffic to turn south towards the bridge but there is no easy way to turn north without crossing over lanes-a feat many described as dangerous and nearly impossible during certain times of the day. Jerry Kaptein, owner of Jerry's Ironworks which is just north of Old Memories, agreed. "All of a sudden this is upon us-we've had no time to share ideas or give input," he said. "The traffic flow has changed from the 60s when you could sit down and have lunch in the road. The whole project needs a lot more work."
Chuck Estrin of Rocking E Feeds, across the street from the proposed park & ride, added his misgivings, commenting on the problems now incurred by delivery trucks and customers trying to use the small space on Main or try to turn back towards the bridge.
"Before we continue to spend money on this, we need to rethink it," Estrin said. "From my standpoint it's not going to work and I sit across from it all day. If people in Duvall knew what Metro plans called for (ingress and egress) I think there would be a lot more negative input."
Christine Webb, a Seattle commuter, told the council she was also worried about getting in and out of the facility. "We're going to have to count on the courteous drivers to get out of there before 7 at night," she said. "Please give us a park & ride but not this one."
Schoening offered four alternative designs to the council that include use of the space, all but one of which offered use of the current parking area for two-hour parking, plus the lower level for commuters and trail users. His plans, allowing for upwards of 100 spaces, also utilized an under-the-bridge connection to Railroad Avenue, going past the site of the future City Hall and exiting to Main via Stewart Ave. "We think this is a good project and think it could be great with some community input and fine tuning," he said.
Ray Burhen, owner of the land across from Railroad Ave., told Metro that business owners have been looking forward to having more parking and asked if the park & ride would be multi-purpose. "That was the intent--to be for trailhead and retail use and lastly as a park & ride."
Feltman denied ever discussing the concept of "multi-purpose" use with the city. "Metro is not in the business of providing that kind of parking," he said. "We have no interest in cramming this down the city's throat," he said. "We're here at the city's request." The job, which he characterized as an "exciting project and very important to us," will cost about $225,000, "which is a bargain." Feltman said it was important to get the matter into perspective. "This is 44 cars, maximum 47; we're not talking about the Boeing facility at the end of a (work) day."
City attorney Ian Sievers assured the council that if the Shoreline Development permit were approved it would not lock the city into the plan. The council voted unanimously to begin application for the permit.