Major issues at a glance

The Slow Train Wreck > Major Issues At A Glance


Parking
High Street Closure
Acquisition Area
West Campus Drive / 21st St Realignment


Parking

University:

Increase on-campus parking by 200 spaces to 3,600 spaces. Addresses reducing the rest of parking demand through the WWU Transportation Master Plan, which includes approx 200 spaces at Civic Field for park & ride. Assumes city will provide 700 (in EIS addendum) to 1,800 (Chance Management study) spaces on neighborhood streets. Assumes de facto exemption from city land use ordinance will continue. Parking estimates are based on trip analysis.

City:

City land use ordinance requires adequate parking for new construction. Building permits for major projects have been issued without requiring parking. Ordinance grants no exemptions for programs like the TMP. Ordinance allows for joint parking agreements where facilities combine parking for several buildings. No such agreement has been made. After seven years of discussion with the University, Planning director Patricia Decker says she doesn’t know if the law applies to the University. Parking requirements are based on buildings as “use generators.”

Neighbors:

Discourage off-campus parking from some neighborhoods through Residential Parking Zones. Encourage City seek University compliance with existing ordinances. View University as having a parking deficiency.


High Street Closure

University:

Requests vacation of street from City. Originally proposed total closure to all but pedestrians and emergency vehicles. Now proposes only pedestrian, transit and emergency access, with the street being opened during inclement weather. Draft Master Plan assumes garbage, service and delivery vehicles will use the pedestrian mall, but does not address these issues.

Closed street to all but pedestrians, transit, service, construction, delivery and emergency vehicles since January. Has stated it will comply with City demand to reopen street to public from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Reopened street this month.

City:

Passed ordinance requiring High Street to be open to public from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. and during inclement weather. Opposes vacation of street to University.

Neighbors:

Want University to comply with existing City ordinances. Some residents have protested 24-hour closure and failure to open during inclement weather. Oppose increased closure.


Acquisition Area

University:

Has drawn acquisition boundary to include 13 block in the north end of Happy valley, two private homes at the end of 20th Street and four or five blocks along High and Indian Streets. All property acquired in area lies in area on or north of Douglas Avenue. Submitted acquisition boundary to Higher Education Coordinating (HEC) Board in 1990.

Began property acquisition in 1991 using funds from several sources including Housing and Dining. Claims legislative approval for previous acquisitions. 1997 legislative appropriation requires compliance with City land use laws and shows no prior appropriations for facility and property acquisition.

Wants a blanket rezone or “overlay” on entire acquisition area, so that property would be rezoned to Institutional at “the moment of purchase.”

In public meetings and interviews, University staff have proposed parking, housing, service and recreational uses. The official position is that only “service use” is planned in the proposed acquisition area. Service use includes all University functions that are not academic, parking, housing or recreational.

City:

Land is zoned Residential Multiple. University Physical Plant is zoned Public, as are Bellingham Schools property. City planners have stated that no zoning proposal is before the Planning Commission, but that a change of the WWU neighborhood sub-area boundary would have to be treated as a rezone. Has offered University a process to rezone acquired land as Institutional.

Neighbors:

Strongly oppose property acquisition boundaries proposed by the University. Point out that the acquisition area would deprive the city of needed high-density housing. Oppose the “blanket zoning” concept as an example of “spot zoning” which favors the University over all other buyers and places property owners at a disadvantage. Claim the University’s action would exclude all other buyers, deprive owners of fair market value and hinder their ability to get financing from banks.


West Campus Drive / 21st St Realignment

University:

Proposes moving 21st Street, West Campus Drive and South Campus Way to create a “processional entry” loop to the proposed South Campus Quad and a “bypass road” to Highland Drive. Will benefit from connecting 21st Street to Old Fairhaven Parkway. States new road would carry additional traffic from I-5 to campus if connected to Old Fairhaven Parkway.

The reasons given by the University include eliminating dangerous intersections, moving traffic farther out from the core of campus, converting existing parking lots to all-weather playing fields, reducing traffic noise at the end of 20th Street and correcting a dangerous curve on W. Campus Drive. University staff have cited numerous accidents, jack-knifed trucks during the winter of 1997 and an “inadequate guard-rail installed by the City” as hazards on W. Campus Drive.

Board of Trustees agree that off-campus impacts, such the extension of 21st Street to Old Fairhaven Parkway discussed in University plans, will be “the City’s problem.”

City:

Accepted University proposal in 1993. According to City Planners, the new road from Bill McDonald Parkway to Highland Drive will have no impact on traffic. Previous action by the City Council rejected the proposed extension of 21st Street.

Neighbors:

Oppose extending 21st Street arterial past Donovan Ave. Are concerned that the realignment of roads from 21st Street to Highland Drive will alter traffic patterns, increase traffic on 21st south of Bill McDonald Parkway and provoke another attempt to extend 21st Street to Old Fairhaven Parkway.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s