The Westwood and Highland Park communities are two distinct neighborhoods which have joined together to plan for their diverse neighborhoods. They offer business services, religious institutions, shopping, recreation, and many other positive elements. They are located next to unincorporated White Center. Beyond the old downtown shopping district formed by the intersection of Delridge Way SW and SW Roxbury Street, there are quiet, tidy neighborhoods of single-family houses, low-rise apartments, some mid-height apartments, and, further north, near the Westwood Town Center shopping center, some condominium buildings.
The shopping center, park, and high school sit on the western slope of the two ridges and provide opportunities for both neighborhood residents and people from surrounding communities for education, recreation, and work. To the north of the shopping center, several developments of townhouses sit running north along 22nd Ave and 25th Ave, providing a denser style of housing than the single-family housing to the south, but offering neighborhood intimacy of another sort. Along the eastern ridge, Delridge Way runs from the north straight into central Westwood and Highland Park.
The shopping area around SW Roxbury and Delridge Way SW, with its sidewalks and small shops, keeps residents returning for familiarity and convenience. These important features help to establish the urban village center and contribute to its function as a host to outsiders passing through. Westwood and Highland Park are attractive communities, acting as a base for residents as well as a destination for visitors.
Urban settlement began in earnest after the installation of the Highland Park-Lake Burien Railway in 1912, which provided easy access up the steep slopes of the Duwamish River ending at Henderson Street. West of the Boeing Company's Duwamish operations, the community grew and matured as this industrial company's activities increased during and after the Second World War. Other parts of Seattle's booming resource-based economy caused settlement in the area, and after the war, automobile mobility increased settlement further. In recent years, little attempt has been made to address the ongoing community problems and opportunities within the Westwood and Highland Park communities. The advent of the new Seattle Comprehensive Plan in 1994 initiated the neighborhood planning program, which has enabled these two neighborhoods and their urban village cohorts throughout West Seattle to initiate community-based planning and develop strategies that will enable them to grow with grace in the future.
The planning process began in 1996 with community organization and visioning. This established the scope of the plan and prepared community leaders for the process--which has involved assessing the importance of issues, development of solutions, and preparation of this Plan. While there is no issue with the ability of the preliminary urban village area to accommodate the projected comprehensive plan growth, the way in which that growth can be accommodated is dependent upon market factors and community image rather than on public regulations or incentives.
As the work of the Westwood and Highland Park Planning Committee progressed, the concept of building community has focused to a great extent on open space, pedestrian access, and amenities to provide safe, convenient, and attractive connections throughout the community and hopefully unite the two neighborhoods with each other as well as with the magnets such as the business districts, schools, and community facilities. These ideas tie in very well with what the community has articulated. The planning area has a wealth of tremendous resources--they are just not well connected to each other. During Phase One, a series of community meetings and workshops were conducted. These were designed to solicit feedback on the concerns of residents, merchants, agencies, and other stakeholders. This process resulted in an assessment of conditions which were used to organized the Phase Two planning. The community responses to the Phase One process came up with the following "top 10" visions:
Some of these were appropriate to address in the neighborhood planning context and others (police presence, expanded library hours, Block Watch, and trash cans) are not as appropriate. There were a total of 35 items evaluated during Phase One within the categories of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, Community Services, Housing and Land Use, Public Safety, and Economic Vitality. The Planning Committee used this guidance to shape the plan recommendations along with the analysis, Committee evaluation, and other information that has informed the process. These recommendations will be further evaluated by the community, City departments, and City Council and then be used to frame the adoption of the Plan.
Each of the Key Strategies on the following pages consists of activities for a single complex project or theme that the neighborhood considers critical to achieving its vision for the future. While the Key Strategies are high priorities for the neighborhood, they are also part of a 20-year plan, so the specific activities within each Key Strategy may be implemented over the span of many years.
The Westwood and Highland Park communities have significant public facilities, and regional and local commercial activities provide a variety of choices for their residents, but pedestrian and bicycle circulation and access suffer from the topography and diversity of land uses. With an area-wide pedestrian trail linking the two neighborhoods and their public facilities centered on the existing but inaccessible Longfellow Creek, this Key Strategy provides the missing piece in the planning area--a pathway system adapting and highlighting existing travel patterns, strengthened and made safer. The Longfellow Creek's improvements are one piece of the city-wide Millennium Project. Therefore, the proposed Westwood and Highland Park Plan's improvements are part of specific efforts that merit timely attention.
Create a trail for creek access. The specific steps are:
Identify public right-of-way points at Longfellow Creek. Design and build trail, connecting the major community facilities and attractions along the main Longfellow Creek alignment, and establish links to other community attractions to the east and west.
Build a viewing deck at the bus stop at 25th Ave SW and SW Thistle St. on the public property to provide a viewpoint and connection to the Delridge Neighborhood's segment of Longfellow Creek.
Improve existing trail in SW Kenyon St right-of-way between 24th Ave SW and SW Kenyon St, where dead-end turnaround is at the Westridge Park Apartment complex.
Pave existing pedestrian paths in area around SW Kenyon St.
Design the Legacy Trail with features which use Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles.
Define specific trail segments which have distinct character and related standards:
Establish standards for trail between the landmarks (Hughes Playground, Sealth High School, Denny Sealth athletic complex, Westwood Town Center, Roxbury Village, and Roxhill Park) and other community assets.
Develop segments to support full pedestrian movement including wheelchair accessible cuts, crosswalk signalization, and striping.
Draft an action plan for this trail, including each segment and with stakeholders and property owners, which will suggest individual actions on private ownership land.
Coordinate with existing organizations and agencies to create an implementation task force.
In partnership with Delridge core businesses, residents, and Westwood Town Center managers, include the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail in marketing materials and as neighborhood pedestrian access. Identify points on the trail that merit pavement markers, banners, street furniture, art work,and landscaping. Design and install these amenities where appropriate along trail system at locations such as the western perimeter of Denny/ Sealth Playfield, 25th Ave SW and SW Thistle St, Hughes Playfield at 28th Ave SW or 29th Ave. SW, and within the Westwood Town Center.
Identify transit connecting points along the trail.
Upgrade bus stops to include distinct shelter decoration and high standard pavement and seating.
The Seattle School District's Master Plan for the Denny/Sealth Recreation Area represents a unique opportunity for the neighborhood to leverage its goals with this substantial capital improvement project and include specific neighborhood needs not previously identified in the Master Plan. Much like the Ballard Neighborhood's proposed Municipal Center, the Westwood and Highland Park communities view the planned improvements at the complex as the chance to bring focus and attention to the complex as its civic center. The redevelopment also represents a chance for the neighborhood to discuss alternative impact mitigation strategies. Chief of among these for the neighborhood is the change in vehicle and pedestrian access to and circulation around the recreation area after completion of the project. Because the recreation area adjoins the regional shopping center, there are additional congestion problems to be resolved.
Integrate the Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail design and goals with the Denny/ Sealth Master Plan, including residential access and recreational priorities as identified in the Neighborhood Plan. Develop the site master plan to ensure safe pedestrian access from the on-site parking areas to the recreation areas of the Complex.
Design and install crosswalks at intersections including, but not limited to, SW Thistle St, SW Trenton St, and 32nd Ave SW to ensure safer pedestrian access to Recreation Campus. This includes striping, pedestrian crossing lights and signs, curb bulbs at intersections, street trees.
Create continuing and self-governing stewardship body to monitor and maintain Recreation Complex's exterior areas for litter, safety, teen work training, and event-day traffic and crowd control.
In cooperation with Seattle Public Libraries, consider future branch library on Campus.
Depending on site constraints at Roxhill Park and programming such a center, consider alternative of locating Longfellow Creek Headwaters interpretive/nature center on recreation campus.
Consider the following services in the Campus Master Plan:
Conduct a project-oriented circulation study encompassing vehicular and pedestrian access and parking (management) to assess:
Event-generated vehicle access and parking under SSD 1999 Improvement Plan
Nonevent-generated recreational vehicle access and parking under SSD 1999 Improvement Plan
With above data, create transportation plan that (a) secures resident's access to on-street parking during events, (b) maintains free movement during events, (c) offers, where assessment shows necessary, additional parking and transit service, including temporary stops and bus idling areas, (d) includes agreement with Westwood Town Center to provide event-day parking at Center nearest to recreation campus, with crowd and traffic personnel, (e) provides safe pedestrian access at all times, and (f) provides measures at all times, including speed control on SW Thistle St in downhill parts of street.
Work with King County Metro to provide increased event-day transit service.
Design and install road configuration improvements to enhance vehicle movement and to reduce backup at specific intersections such as Delridge Way SW/SW Thistle St. and 35th Ave SW/SW Thistle St. Recreation Center
Install strobe-effect crosswalk at 5-way intersection of Delridge Way SW, 17th Ave. SW, and SW Cambridge St and install planters and upgraded surfaces on pedestrian island.
Reconfigure planter at SW Roxbury St and 16th Ave SW to "activate" the existing public plaza. Consider allowing small drive-up or walk-up commercial uses to replace underutilized public plaza.
Work with SEATRAN to survey and develop work plan that addresses all of the sidewalk buckling in the Triangle Commercial Core area rather than piecemeal maintenance. This is specific to a three-block area.
In partnership with the Salvation Army, and timed to their capital improvement program, develop pedestrian circulation and street crossing solutions that meet the needs predicted by the Army.
Install either strobe-effect or traditional (street striped, blinking yellow -block crosswalk on 16th Ave SW at Salvation Army to increase numbers of children crossing from human services on the west side of the street to the recreational activities on the east side of the street.
Develop District signage, bench location, and transit stop plan.
Develop parking alternatives, including on-street angle parking and off-street options, as guided by the business association.
Work with the property owners of the Rozella building and Tool Rental store to develop parking solutions and pedestrian connections between the buildings and between DeIridge Way SW and 16th Ave SW.
Develop a gateway at the intersection of Delridge Way SW, SW Roxbury St., and 16th Ave SW. Install decorative crosswalks, welcoming signage, planters, other landscape treatments, and ancillary public amenities, such as banners and hanging flower baskets.
Add benches to the triangular-shaped park at intersection of 18th Ave SW, SW Barton St, and Delridge Way SW in a way that respects the existing veterans' monument there.
Improve all public rights-of-way in the Triangle Commercial Core.
Request that City Light assist property owners with alley lighting improvements, concentrating particularly along the alleys located between Delridge Way SW and 16th Ave SW.
Use CEPTED concepts to enhance safety in various specific location in the area and to identify candidate locations where CEPTED can have additional preventative benefits. In addition, using CEPTED concept, address presence of security bars on merchants' windows, and use city incentive program to install safety glass using matching funds.
Develop an accountability program with business association, apartment owners, and SEATRAN to maintain shrubs and greenery on Cambridge Ave. SW and Delridge Way SW, keep planting strips mowed, and enforce no trespassing and loitering.
To address site-specific problems, including retail locations and city parks, work with SPD to first identify sites and then monitor loitering, to change the public telephones to outgoing only, to better prescribe parking lots for shoppers only, and to enforce dumpster location code, loading limits, and use. Certain sites can be identified immediately.
Resolve safety hazards at County-side merge from two lanes to City-side one lane on 17th Ave SW at SW Roxbury St:
Conduct traffic operations and safety study at the intersection of 17th Ave SW and SW Roxbury St.
Create solution, including removal of first two-parking stalls on City side and permanent striping throughout danger area (through intersection) for safety.
Provide the following improvements for the 5-way intersection located at DeIridge Way SW, 17th Ave SW, and SW Cambridge St to improve long waits, dangerous turns, and insufficient radius:
Consider future rezoning of L3 to Ll and SF to RSL / T and RSL / C.
Develop requirement for on-site managers at rental apartment buildings where number of units is above a certain amount. This accountability will improve the situation of the larger apartment buildings where property stewardship is a problem.
The area bounded by SW Henderson St, 15th Ave SW, SW Roxbury St, and 20th Ave SW is the core of the Westwood and Highland Park Urban Village. While Westwood Town Center provides many regional services, the 16th Avenue Business District area has the potential to bring more business and activity to the urban village, as well as for increased residential density, with some specific improvements. It should include physical improvements, business infill strategies, parking, traffic management, and design guidelines with particular emphasis on gateways, pedestrian, and transit improvements.
Relocate bus stop to maximize safety, comfort, and accessibility.
Include pedestrian improvements at bus stop locations, such as curb bulbs, refuge islands, signals, and pedestrian crossings.
Work with SEATRAN, Sound Move, and King County Metro through the Transit Initiative Strategy to improve service links from Westwood and Highland Park to other communities and centers, which will augment newly introduced service. This includes Regional Express service, local transit, and potential future models. Plan for the location and development of transit centers and stops integrated with other community initiatives like the Delridge Way SW, Gateways, and 16th Street Area Plan.
Remove advertising prohibition in transit shelters in order to make available advertising revenue to maintain the shelters.
In coordination with The Delridge Neighborhood Plan and the peninsula-wide transportation improvements, prepare Comprehensive Delridge Way SW Corridor Traffic Control and Pedestrian Safety Plan:
Establish project "Task Force" or "Work Group" Westwood and Highland Park and Delridge Way SW neighborhood group representatives, SEATRAN, KC Metro Transit.
Develop alternatives based on new traffic counts for intersection/roadway lane configuration, channelization, and traffic control options (including installation of left-turn lanes) for existing signalized intersections, SW Barton St/ Delridge Way SW, 17th Ave SW / SW Cambridge / Delridge Way SW, and SW Roxbury St / 16th Ave SW / Delridge Way SW.
At Delridge Way SW, SW Henderson St, and SW Cambridge St, specify and collect intersection traffic counts (turning /through movements).
Roadway configuration, side street connections, intersection channelization, and traffic control in the Delridge Way Corridor do not adequately support safe, convenient traffic operations at numerous locations. Implement the following work program enabling community-recommended pedestrian facilities and amenities to be incorporated into the currently-planned and funded signalization project.
The Delridge Way SW corridor plays multiple roles in the street system serving the Westwood and Highland Park neighborhoods. Delridge Way SW links the neighborhood north to the West Seattle bridge and the Delridge, Admiral, and Alki neighborhoods. Delridge Way SW also links the neighborhood south to SR-509 and the First Ave South Bridge (via Roxbury St and Olson Place) to the White Center area. In addition, Delridge Way SW provides access to neighborhood commercial areas and distributes traffic to and from the east-west streets providing access to neighborhood residential areas. King County Metro transit operates bus service on Delridge Way SW.
In playing these roles, Delridge Way SW must serve as a main thoroughfare for peak commuter traffic, for local traffic, and for bicycle traffic. Delridge Way SW must also accommodate transit by facilitating efficient bus operations and by providing safe and convenient pedestrian access to and from bus stops. Because some of the roles of Delridge Way SW may conflict with others, it is important that Delridge Way SW be designed and operated in a way that balances the needs of traffic capacity, bicycle and pedestrian safety, and neighborhood access.
During the course of Phase II neighborhood planning, it became evident that planning for human development and public safety has implications broader than the Westwood and Highland Park neighborhood. Therefore, efforts of the Human Development and Public Safety Committee were focused primarily on working with other neighborhood organizations throughout West Seattle. A West Seattle Human Development Strategic Planning Group has been formed. The Westwood and Highland Park Committee currently participates in this group and will continue to do so beyond the Neighborhood Planning project. Recommendations from this group include:
Developing a Human Services Provider Information Network that would result in more knowledgeable referral information being provided to the consumer of human services.
Developing a multi-faceted set of tools, such as WEB page, written flyers, nonwritten communications/ announcements, public service announcements, etc., for distribution throughout West Seattle.
Identifying which human services are not available in West Seattle.
Developing a proposal that addresses the link between neighborhood growth and the increased demand for social services. The proposal should identify which agencies will provide services that are currently not available in West Seattle.
In the big picture, West Seattle is a peninsula with an extremely limited number of connections to the rest of the city and the regional highway system. With growth and development in West Seattle and with increasing traffic congestion on the roads to which the West Seattle linkages connect, access to and from West Seattle is becoming increasingly difficult. Congestion and delay on West Seattle's external connections degrades accessibility and mobility for residents and businesses alike. The issue of West Seattle access is being addressed in a separate study in which the Westwood and Highland Park Committee is participating with other West Seattle neighborhoods. topics being discussed in this cooperative neighborhood effort include:
A comprehensive "action program" of transportation system improvements and actions to fully address access needs of the entire West Seattle community.
West Seattle Bridge-Spokane Street Viaduct bus operations
Regional Express (RTA) bus service
Elliott Bay "Seabus"
Public transportation facilities and services providing access to and from West Seattle
The activities listed in this section are not directly associated with a Key Strategy. For each activity, the City may identify next steps as a part of the City's work program in response to the Neighborhood Plan. Many of the next steps are actions to be taken by the City, but in some cases, the neighborhood or other agency will be able to take the next steps. As with he activities listed for each Key Strategy, these activities are intended to be implemented over the span of many years.
ON SW Thistle St and SW Trenton St, analyze right-of-way widths for design of improvements for bicycle lane on street and for sidewalks, street trees, pedestrian signals, speed bumps, and crosswalk striping and lighting.
On SW Trenton St, conduct a community tree planting project from 35th Ave SW to Delridge Way SW. Other SW Trenton St improvements should include street lighting, benches, and painted crosswalks.
Coordinate actions of Housing Authority, DOPAR, School District, and community to integrate headwaters wetlands interpretation center in Roxhill Park, Roxbury Village, and Legacy Trail.
Based on available information (and using existing BG Cummings wetlands plan), map out wetlands.
With SHA, resolve conflicts with SHA's projects and wetlands area.
Using existing Cummings wetlands plan, create pathways within Roxhill Park and on SHA property to wetlands area.
Create study area signage and maintenance agreement with DOPAR, SHA, and SSD.
Develop Thistle as the primary pedestrian connection between the Westwood and Highland Park neighborhoods. Design and build a SW Thistle St Art Walk from 9th Ave. SW to the SW Community Center. Provide other amenities that should include benches, banners, street lighting, and a pocket park at the 12th Ave SW hill climb.
At pedestrian points of entry to Town Center, install markers and banners as part of Westwood Town Center renovation. With assistance of trail planning group and Westwood Town Center managers, designate dedicated pedestrian paths to be designed to function with or without the attached Legacy Trail.
Create design principles for enhancing the qualities of the housing project itself and work with DCLU to implement departures from code beneficial to community.
Provide for design review of new buildings, signage, lighting, parking, and landscaping at Town Center as mandated by Town Center's inclusion in Urban Village, using CPTED principles. Work with Westwood Town Center managers to incorporate Longfellow Creek Legacy Trail as new construction requiring design review in Urban Village.
Work with the DCLU to shape neighborhood-based design guidelines that will encourage sensitive infill development.
Develop design and density standards for multifamily and single family housing within Urban Village
Develop recommendations for retaining and improving residential housing stock in SF 5000 zones, particularly where parcels are 10,000 square feet.
Develop cottage housing options in the allowed zones (per code)
At the northwest corner of 26th Ave SW and SW Roxbury St, include present westbound bus stop in design and design principles of Housing Authority structures at that corner to combine retail, warm shelter, and safe transit waiting area, including a safe street crossing.
In concert with other transportation improvements (see below), relocate bus stop to maximize safety, comfort, and accessibility. Other pedestrian improvements at bus stop locations should include curb bulbs, refugee islands, and signals. Include other pedestrian crossings at other bus stops and other selected crossing locations.
Analyze right-of-way width of SW Roxbury St between 28th Ave SW and 14th Ave SW, for Boulevard treatment, including curbed, bermed and landscaped median and bus pullout on westbound SW Roxbury St at the northwest corner of SW Roxbury and 28th Ave SW transit stop.
Design and install street improvements to enhance vehicle movement and do reduce backup at specific intersections and locations--should be coordinated with the proposed Delridge Corridor Improvements:
Develop a phased action program for installing sidewalks, traffic circles, curbs and gutters, and storm drainage facilities in areas which are underserved. SW Thistle St east of Delridge Way SW should receive initial priority to include pedestrian and bicycle improvements linked to the arterial improvement program recommended for SW Thistle St west of Delridge Way SW.
Work with DOPAR to develop strategies to install playground equipment and designate leash free areas at Westcrest Park.
In honor of the donor of the properties which became Westcrest, rename the Westcrest Park the "Clyde Sherman Park."
To ensure better litter control, install trash cans at transit stops. Include in this requirement a trash pickup schedule, focusing on Triangle Commercial Core, SW Roxbury ST and Delridge Way SW, and Westwood Town Center.
Depending on current Seattle City Library plans, add additional evening and weekend hours for the Roxhill Park Library.
Establish a program that promotes local businesses through distribution of targeted advertising to existing and new residents. Work with local merchants to establish regular events connecting community celebrations with business promotions.
Acquire small open space areas for local neighborhood use at locations such as east end of SW Thistle St, at bus stops on SW Thistle St and 25th Ave SW, at SW Henderson ST and 25th Ave SW, and at the west entrance to the Westwood Town Center on SW Henderson St.
Work with the City and the Seattle School District to evaluate future uses of the Hughes School site and building. Consider future school use and, if unfeasible, other community-serving uses such as office space for non-profit organizations, housing, or recreation.