Pike/Pine business owners could finally get some relief from the neighborhood growing pains they say have battered their prospects for years. While each block and venture faces its own unique challenges, owners say the major issues are well known: The rush of construction is overwhelming the neighborhood and the area’s precious few parking spaces get unfairly tied up by unresponsive construction companies while constant sidewalk closures push customers away.
After more than a year of meetings, the city’s Office of Economic Development and Seattle Department of Transportation have told business owners they’re ready to release a “precedent-setting” strategy to help those businesses stay afloat. But business owners working with the city are still unclear about what those policies will include.
“I’m eager to see the details,” said Philip Shaw, president of the 11th and E Union design firm Golden Lasso.
In an April meeting with city officials, business owners floated several ideas, including having developers pay for local business parking spots in private lots, offering public parking in residential underground garages, or having developers put together purchase coupons for retailer or restaurants to give to their new residents.
“24 years in business and this city doesn’t value it.”
Last year, the city tried to step in by launching Capitol Hill Construction Hub meetings with neighborhood business owners. But if the group’s spring meeting that CHS attended was any indication, many owners feel the city still isn’t doing nearly enough. The next session, by the way, is Friday.
Parking complaints have included “no parking” times that last well into the night and weekends when work seems to be at a standstill, construction vehicles that block load zones, and subcontractors who snatch up parking spaces all day with private vehicles.
Last fall, CHS reported on 10th Ave’s Sweatbox yoga studio’s claim of $11,000 in business lost to construction issues.
“24 years in business and this city doesn’t value it,” said one frustrated Pike/Pine shop owner during the April meeting, adding that the city should consider the longevity of a business when deciding how to allot construction impact assistance.
James Kelly of the city’s Office of Economic Development said the policy proposals would be used to create an ordinance that would likely get submitted to City Council sometime next year — a timeline that some owners have said is unacceptable.
Dave Meinert, co-owner of Lost Lake, the Comet, and Big Mario’s and a CHS advertiser, said that many developers in Pike/Pine are simply bad neighbors and the city has done little to enforce those rules already on the books.
… the increasingly mixed-use nature of Pike/Pine and Capitol Hill means whatever solutions the City Hall reps bring back will most likely help residents as well as businesses
Currently, the construction hub program attempts to enforce special requirements on developers in the hub and create open lines of communication with nearby businesses. Requirements for developers include getting an approved construction management plan, haul route, traffic control plan and “confirmation of Project Information Outreach to businesses, residents and stakeholders within a one block radius of the project.”
Capitol Hill’s hub boundaries are defined as a north-south rectangle from E Harrison to E Madison between Broadway and 15th Ave:
Capitol Hill Hub: Area bounded by E Harrison St to the north, Broadway to the west, E Madison St/E Spring St to the south, and 15th Ave to the east.
Before you file this away under “common business complaints,” subcategory “moaning about parking,” realize that the increasingly mixed-use nature of Pike/Pine and Capitol Hill means whatever solutions the City Hall reps bring back will most likely help residents as well as businesses.
Pike/Pine residents and visitors will surely appreciate the Seattle Department of Transportation’s continuing efforts to work with developers to mitigate parking impacts. SDOT’s Wayne Gallup said the city wants to have construction companies give specific details in future contracts about how they’ll handle the influx of hundreds of workers and their cars in high density areas like Pike/Pine.
Communication between developers and businesses continues to be a major hurdle to resolving parking issues in Pike/Pine, Gallup said. To address it, Gallup said SDOT is now creating a website that will eventually show all planned work in Pike/Pine.