June 6, 2002

To your Honor,

Mayor Nickels;

Thank you for returning to the Miller Park Neighborhood Association meeting. During your campaign for Mayor you came to hear what we thought were the issues facing Seattle and our neighborhood specifically.
At that meeting I asked a broad question about where is the City's responsibility for basic services in a rapidly developing area. This was brought down to a specific topic of traffic and all of its ramifications.

At that time you agreed that a neighborhood wide study and plan was needed. Further you felt that such work was the City's basic responsibility to its citizens and should not be conducted with a Department of Neighborhoods grant. Since then we have met with the Seattle Transportation director, Ms. Grace Crunican. At the conclusion of that meeting she also agreed that an overall plan for the area was needed and promised that we would have a traffic planner assigned to our area. We have not yet received the name of that planner and therefor have had no other meetings to discuss the traffic issues.

You and now Ms. Crunican are well aware that there are major retailers and some 600 new apartment units planned for the Madison/Miller area. Those are the big developments of record. The Planning Department also upgraded significant areas from L3 to L4. This means that within a few short years we will have almost 2,000 new residents in the Neighborhood. That does not take into account all their friends and visitors plus the retail traffic which is primarily non-residential. So it is easy to assume that several thousand new people will be added to an already dense area on a daily basis.

It is easy to focus on such a big and concentrated area as Madison street. But the traffic impacts are compounded by the fact that we have within a few blocks a Park and Community Center with the most active play field in Seattle. The Park block is also shared with Meany Middle School with all of the bus and parental traffic. School traffic issues are significantly increased on our Northern boarder by Holy Names Academy and St. Joseph's School. Immediately adjacent and North of the Park block is Country Doctor, providing patient care. Churches exist at our North and South boarders. The list could go on.

We demanded and got a pedestrian activated crosswalk on 20th and Madison for our elderly and students. But still the speed and volume on the other arterials of 19th and 23rd must be addressed. There have been several severe accidents and near fatalities. Where does the City's responsibility lie when its citizens identify and warn the city, repeatedly, of a problem, no action is taken and then there is a fatality?

Over the years, especially those in which the neighborhood planning project was being implemented. There has been a chorus from the Mayor's office and the City Council. Those neighborhoods that were willing to take on the additional density that the city required to grow and accommodate new residents would be rewarded for their efforts. I believe that Miller Park has held up it's end of the bargain. What about the City?

Some of these same issues were starting to be addressed in the Miller Park Dreams Project, funded by the City in 1992. Traffic issues have only grown more important over the years and will be crucial to our future success. Miller Park residents have always been willing to roll up our sleeves and do the work necessary to accomplish our goals. We need the City as a willing partner to improve not only our lives, but those of the entire City. We want to insure the success of a new retail and residential core. But not at the expense of the existing residents who have worked hard and long to make their lives and neighborhood better.

Most Sincerely;

René Soulard
Miller Park Neighborhood Association