Monday, July 7, 2014

What We Learned from Our Second Public Workshop

On June 11th, we hosted our 2nd of 3 public workshops to gather information from the community to develop streetscape guidelines and zoning recommendations.  Over 80 people attended the public workshop, which began with a brief presentation and overview of the planning process to date and followed by break-out sessions looking at zoning and streetscape options at the key "nodes" along the business district.

The presentation summarized the result of the 1st public workshop and provided background on how zoning and streetscape design alternatives were developed.  To help illustrate the potential extent of zoning changes, the consultant developed box illustrations of potential buildings if the business district was fully developed under different alternatives.

35th Ave Plan Public Workshop #2 from Wedgwood Community Council

After the presentation, 4 tables had been set up with posters illustrating potential streetscape design features and zoning alternatives.  Everyone was given a score sheet to fill out at each table where they were able to ask the consultants questions and provide feedback (see completed score sheets).  The consultants and members of the 35th Ave Committee were on hand to take notes.
The feedback from this 2nd public workshop will be used to refine the proposed zoning recommendations and streetscape guidelines which will be presented at the final July 31st public workshop at Messiah Lutheran Church from 7-9PM.  

Friday, July 4, 2014

Getting the Word Out

Every participant at each public workshop
was asked to place a pin on the map where
they lived. See where people came from.
UPDATE: On July 31st, 69 people attended the 3rd and final public workshop.  This means that 225 people attended and participated in at least 1 of the 3 public workshops.  After the public workshop, the proposed zoning recommendations and streetscape plan were posted on this website and a public feedback period opened for 2 weeks (August 1st-15th). A letter was also mailed to every landowner who's property would be affected by the proposed zoning recommendations.

As we approach our final public workshop on July 31st, we thought it would be a good idea to describe the public outreach and engagement that the 35th Ave Committee has undertaken to get the word out about this community-driven planning effort. Spreading the word is important to us so as many people, perspectives, and voices as possible are heard. There is only so much that we can do to get the word out, though. Ultimately, we need your help. We need you to tell your friends, family, and neighbors since word of mouth is the best form of outreach.

As we've written about before, this all grew out of the Wedgwood Vision Plan which occurred in 2010.  The vision plan showed that the community was dissatisfied with the 35th Ave NE business district and encouraged the community to undertake a neighborhood plan.

What Public Outreach/Engagement Have We Completed?
  • During January-February 2012 we hosted 2 public meetings to describe the planning process and invite people to join the 35th Ave Committee. One meeting was held in the Wedgwood and the other meeting was held in Ravenna-Bryant.  Together, 67 people attended these two meetings.
  • After these two meetings, the 35th Ave Committee partnered with the American Planning Association - Washington Chapter's, Community Planning Assistance Team to host 7 "coffee talks." These coffee talks covered a range of basic and introductory planning principals so that we as a community could become more educated on what is needed to make the business district more successful for both businesses and the community.  Together, 66 people attended these coffee talks.
  • We've hosted 2 neighborhood walks down 35th Ave NE to talk about the business district and streetscape.  
  • In 2013, we conducted a community survey of those that use the 35th Ave Business District.  The survey was largely completed online through a web-interface that was up for 6 weeks.  The Wedgwood Community Council, Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, and Ravenna Blog were all gracious enough to help advertise the survey.  Additionally, we had paper copies of the survey available at several businesses along the business district.  And finally, several members of the 35th Ave Committee took turns interviewing business district users at key intersections along the district to complete surveys.  In the end, 1,038 people completed the survey, 124 of which were submitted via paper copies.
  • In December 2013, we were awarded our grant from the City's Department of Neighborhoods to hire a consultant and assist us with the final steps of our planning process.  
  • In April 2014, we mailed a postcard to every resident within a 5 block radius of 35th Ave NE, between NE 65th St and NE 95th St, and every land owner along 35th Ave NE between these same cross streets.  The postcard provided a link to this website and had dates and locations for all three public workshops.  
  • We've posted flyers/posters at businesses along the business district and put up A-boards before every public workshop.  
  • The Wedgwood Community Council, Ravenna-Bryant Community Association, and Wedgwood View were all gracious enough to post the dates about all 3 public workshops on their websites.  Each public workshop has also been posted on the neighborhood social media website,  
  • In March-April 2014, we visited every business along the 35th Ave NE, between NE 95th St and NE 65th St.  We notified each business of our planning process and schedule, provided them a merchant survey for them to fill out, and invited them to a 'happy hour' event at the Wedgwood Ale House we called "Business & Beer."  We received 20 completed merchant surveys from businesses, which represents approximately 24% of the businesses within the district.  
  • A total of 156 people attended our first 2 public workshops (75 people for public workshop 1 and 81 people for public workshop 2).  136 attendees were unique at 20 of which attended both public workshops.  
  • In July, we mailed out a 2nd postcard to everyone who lives within 5 blocks of 35th Ave NE.
We've been trying to get the word out for over 2 years about this planning effort.  While we've made great progress, we could use your help.  Tell your neighbors, friends, and family about this planning process.