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Potala Village and two disallowed driveways | Letter
It appears that Lobsang Dargey’s team has hired a consultant for a new traffic study and one of the points being made is that the driveway location at the south end of the property (where Public Works policies do not allow a driveway) is no worse than putting a driveway in the middle of the development along Lake Street South (also a location disallowed by city policies).
Isn’t that like saying that although 60 miles per hour is disallowed on the boulevard, 62 miles per hour is proven to not cause any more danger, so 62 is to be allowed (when both are against the rules)?
The study done has numerous other flaws, mostly just leaving out the real issues:
1. The developer has never shown that a driveway cannot be built on 10th Avenue South as indicated by Public Works from the beginning. In fact, most of the property line along 10th fits the requirements for driveway placement. It is fully possible to meet the setback, offset and spacing requirements and line-of-sight requirements.
As a matter of fact, all the other corner developments (also on a sloped incline) have put their driveways onto the side street since the 1960s as a city requirement.
2. The new study completely ignores any mention of the driveways across the street and the required offset.
This is in spite of the fact that residents from every development across the street has written letters and emails, testified in front of the Planning Commission and the City Council and picketed to make sure that the city enforces its own “required” driveway offset policy.
Neighbors have even asked for the more protective “recommended” driveway offset, since clearly the proposed driveways both conflict with the requirement that “Developments must meet the city’s driveway policies.” Well, it appears the developer had the consultants
ignore this important detail (likely, he did not give the information to the consultant.)
3. As the citizens previously commented, the pneumatic tubes do not provide adequate information on “safe gaps.” So the newest study was done with the appropriate video tape. Citizens were on-site during the days of the study and observed no safe gaps during peak PM traffic.
The consultant comments that when there were not gaps, drivers were to be provided “polite” or “courtesy” gaps by those in queue. Needing to rely on “courtesy” or “polite” gaps means that the industry-required “safe gap” has failed. Additionally, citizens have alerted in an email with more than 250 signatures that “courtesy” and allowing cars to safely ingress or egress is
no longer happening along Lake Street South. This is because the queue has become so long and is so slow that drivers are unwilling to allow an additional car to add to their delay.
This letter to the editor is also being forwarded to the City Council and to staff. The developer is asking the city to “be reasonable” about the driveway situation. What is reasonable is that when there are rules they are enforced.
Anything else is arbitrary and capricious handling and preferential treatment, especially in this situation where others have been told their driveways must follow the city policies and that driveways (even for a two-unit building) must be onto the side street and not onto Lake Washington Boulevard and Lake Street South.
It is also reasonable for all to understand that city documents refer to subject property when they detail “property on the southwest corner of Lake Street South and 10th Avenue South.”
City documents describe the ingress and egress problem of the particular site and state that development of commercial uses should be “limited” but should be allowed to remain because it serves the neighbors (for example, folks who can walk there and not require ingress and egress).
The only thing that is reasonable is to obey the city policies and respect what is known about ingress and egress difficulties at the site. It is not reasonable to say that one disallowed site doesn’t create any more problems that the first disallowed site, and somehow weave this into permission for either disallowed location.
Karen Levenson, Kirkland