Vote Here!

This page is dedicated to reporting what we learn from asking for the guidance and opinions of users of the Lowman Beach Park recreational area — runners, walkers, bicyclists, kayakers, and others.

Let us know what you think about the redesign of the area that is taking place now — a redesign that narrows the street and provides no increase in the size or safety of sidewalks, among other things.  (See second image below)

Please note:  Please don’t vote here if you are an employee or contractor of King County or the City of Seattle.  If you are such an employee or contractor, please feel free to write comments and submit them with a clear declaration that you are an employee or contractor.

Please note:  Please don’t try to “game” this blog’s attempt to gather genuine opinions from genuine users and neighbors of the Lowman Beach Park recreational area.   If you have never visited Lowman Beach Park or you are not a resident of West Seattle, please do not vote here.

Six views of the neighborhood can be seen further down this page.  Worth viewing prior to voting!

Below are six images for your consideration. Worth viewing prior to voting!

1. One shows the current configuration of the neighborhood.

2. The second one shows the current (5/10/2012)  King County  design for the changes to the neighborhood due to the 1 million gallon sewage tank being installed across the street from Lowman Beach Park.

3. The third one is a rough draft of an alternative design that is considered to (1) provide more safe access to recreational activities, including bicycling, walking, running, and off-loading kayak or sailboard equipment without having to double park in the street, etc.; (2) a turnaround that does not require backing up into pedestrian and bicycle traffic, (3) wider sidewalks by eliminating all street parking adjacent to the park, and (4) by eliminating all street parking next to the park producing  a greatly improved ambience to the park (no vehicle clutter) and improved safety (no doors opening into bicycle traffic, no double parking on street to offload kayaks or other recreational equipment, no roof-racks extending into the street to hang-tie bicyclists, etc. (safer).

4. The fourth one shows location of possible off-street parking and 2-car length loading and unloading zone.

5.  The fifth picture shows the current (5/13/12) configuration of the telephone poles which significantly take up space on the current inadequate sidewalk and make it nearly impossible to pass through the space between the southeast telephone pole and the hedges next to it with a wide baby stroller, forcing such strollers and their accompanying walkers and runners into the street.

6.  The sixth picture shows how King County is taking away a public right away which allows parking and not replacing it with an equal amount of public parking on some other portion of the land on which they are installing the 1 million gallon CSO tank.

Click on a picture to enlarge it.

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7 responses

31 05 2012
Greg

I do windsurf out of Lowman Beach… and I unload my windsurfer/sailboard right there, and put my sail/rig together on the wonderful grass lawn. I have sailed out of Lowman 3 times since last Nov. I plan on doing it more this summer. Also, I am part of a “greater Seattle area” windsurfing group, and I have told other’s about this great park and how fun it is to sail there. I understand that progress sometimes needs to occur, however…
* The compromise plan, offering a “load zone” right at the park is absolutely needed.
* And off-street parking, as it’s shown, seems to be a very good use of space.
* Also, I drive a mini-van (just saying, it’s not a Suburban) and since there is no good safe turn-around at this time, I just do it carefully there on the street. However, if the street were narrower, this “might” be impossible, and it “certainly” would not be safe. (And for those with BIG cars, turning around “would” be impossible and dangerous.)
* I like most all the other suggestions as well. Meeting these needs is important, in the design of this space. Thanks, Greg

29 08 2012
Lowman Neighbor

I really don’t believe the off street parking is needed, and neighborhood would really benefit more by having more green space than another parking lot.

-I don’t know the number, or propose to, but by observation I see that many people who do visit Lowman park are very local and walk there.

-Lowman is a really small park (less than a small city block) and if 23 people (the number of spaces of off-street parking proposed) were concurrently using it, you would feel,,, a bit crowded.

-I doubt that you could actually get 23 parking spaces in that space (and still be able to open the door to get out)

-There are always plenty of parking spaces within a very short walk to the park on Lincoln Park Way, SW 48th St, and on Beach Drive north of the park, easily enough for people to fill the park.

-A parking lot would have to be gated and closed at night for the same reasons that the parking lots are closed at Lincoln park.

Those are some of the reasons I believe an additional green space with pedestrian walk through, as is the current plan, would do more to enhance the appearance and live-ability of the neighborhood versus another parking lot.

4 09 2012
whatnowman

Dear Lowman Neighbor: Ron Sterling here, author of this blog. I have refrained from replying to your post to see if anyone else wanted to respond first. Since there has been no response so far, here goes.

1. The parking lot proposed on this page by me would significantly DECREASE the appearance of VEHICLE CLUTTER. When you allow vehicles of all types to be parked on the street, you are allowing VEHICLE CLUTTER to spread throughout the whole length of the park. By continuing that parking strategy, when the new “park-like” CSO project is final, it will have a line through it of parked cars. Doing that makes no sense at all if the design goal is to provide a more park-like experience.

2. You miscalculate how much space is available for a small parking lot at the north end of the CSO site. Currently, the street is 38 feet wide at that point. If, as my design shows, you take away all on street parking fronting the park, you will be able to narrow the street to something like 18 feet. That adds a huge amount of extra space to the north end parking lot that you are not calculating into the equation. Something like 20 by 150 feet.

3. I have done the calculations using satellite images, and the preliminary drawing shown on this page of the parking lot area is a draft drawing. However, my calculations clearly show plenty of room for about 23 vehicles, which is more than what will be available in the King County redesign of this neighborhood.

4. The north end of the CSO site will not be available for use as a park in any significant way, so a parking lot there would not take something away from the so-called “park-like” atmosphere of the final CSO site.

5. No gate is needed for a parking lot to keep people out at night, etc. There is no gate now and people park on the street and party at night at all hours. Any parking lot will be used the same way, inappropriately. That is not prevented now, so there would be no change in status there. However, it would be much easier for police to monitor the park and the parking lot for late-night inappropriate use of park if all the parking was at the north end, close to the intersection, rather than spread out south on both sides of Beach Drive fronting the park. In addition, if you wanted to bring attention to those using the parking lot between 11 pm and 4 am (park closing hours) you could put a downward facing bright motion activated light that is on a timer for spotlighting the park if used during closed hours, which, again would allow for much better policing than is currently allowed or would be allowed by providing parking on the street (decentralized and harder to monitor or discourage for closed park hour use).

Be glad to discuss further and hear your thoughts on this.

5 09 2012
Lowman Neighbor

Ron,

Respectfully, I have to disagree with the bulk of what you are saying.

Lowman is a very tiny park, and current (and proposed) street parking provides plenty of spaces. A lot is just NOT needed.

Installing a green space instead of a parking lot WILL enhance the look and usability of the park for the neighborhood. A parking lot will only detract from it.

I see your design looks to add some “permit only” parking spaces. who gets to use those spaces? are you one of them? shouldn’t this public land be usable by all? you claim to be a neighborhood advocate but your hard push for this parking lot sort of makes me wonder what your real motivation is.

6 09 2012
whatnowman

Hi Anonymous Neighbor: It’s nice to be anonymous, isn’t it? You can throw out thinly-veiled accusations to try to bias readers as to “my intent” without any worry of anyone being able to know who it is.

Permit parking, as you should know, are areas open to ALL residents in the vicinity of that allotted parking. It allows people, like yourself, possibly, to purchase at a very modest annual cost, the right to use that permitted area for parking, up to two cars per permittee. The reason I included such a possibility in my crude conceptual design was for the purpose of representing the voiced desires of several renters and owners in this area who have limited parking further south. The rationale for about 6-10 permitted parking spaces on or adjacent to Beach Drive SW at or around Murray Ave. is to provide for some guaranteed parking space in light of how often parking on the street is completely unavailable for quite some distance most of the summer and every weekend. It has absolutely nothing to do with some nefarious motivation on my part. Geez…

As for your insistence that Lowman Beach Park is a TINY park — trying to spin your argument to your advantage by repeating TINY over and over is clearly your way of marketing your argument. Fact check? Tiny has nothing to do with user base. The park is extremely popular and attracts huge numbers of kayakers, sailboarders, and other water-related recreationalists, not to mention large numbers of parents and children, tennis players, swimmers kite flyers, etc. It provides one of the rarest things on this particular coastline — reasonable public access to the beach and the adjacent water. I guess, not important to you, I suppose.

Finally, again, the parking lot proposal is an ALTERNATIVE to street parking fronting the park, NOT IN ADDITION to street parking. It would eliminate street parking fronting the park, providing a hugely different experience of the park, one without cars in view. It would allow for better safety and policing, including a turn-around that is safe. Police have no jurisdiction to deal with partiers in parked cars on the street. They have jurisdiction to deal with partiers parked in “park” parking, since the parking would have posted hours the same as Lowman Beach Park. Resident permittees would still be able to use the parking lot for overnight parking. That would be my recommendation, if you really want all those things.

Repeating something over and over does not make it true. It is not axiomatic that a parking lot is always unattractive or a worse solution from a design, ambiance, or safety standpoint in all instances.

I am not sure how often you use the park, since you don’t say. Quite frankly, the rate of use of the park or the beach or the water by the beach by residents living south of the park on Beach Drive SW is very, very small, and 80-90% of the time the observed uses of the park by such residents is for toileting dogs. As if that is what a public park is for.

9 09 2012
Lowman Neighbor

whatnowguy> “It’s nice to be anonymous, isn’t it?”

-yes it is , your site, your rules.

whatnowman> “is to provide for some guaranteed parking space in light of how often parking on the street is completely unavailable for quite some distance most of the summer and every weekend. It has absolutely nothing to do with some nefarious motivation on my part. Geez…”

-geez… a guaranteed parking space! sounds like at least a little bit of personal motivation for your design to me. (but hey, I could be wrong)

whatnowman> “As for your insistence that Lowman Beach Park is a TINY park — trying to spin your argument to your advantage by repeating TINY over and over is clearly your way of marketing your argument.”

-geez, i guess the same thing would be true if I were continually stating how huge and how big the parking problem is,,, marketing.

whatnowman> It provides one of the rarest things on this particular coastline — reasonable public access to the beach and the adjacent water. I guess, not important to you, I suppose.

-sorry , wrong again, just because I am not advocating to ugly-up the neighborhood with an unneeded parking lot, doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate and want to protect the water front access. if i had my choice, i would like to see a community P-Patch in that green space

whatnowman> Police have no jurisdiction to deal with partiers in parked cars on the street.

-hmmm, somehow, again, I think you are wrong about that.

whatnowman> Repeating something over and over does not make it true

-sort of like the repetition of your message for marketing a parking lot?
got a chuckle out of your doggie-do comment, it’s so true.
at any rate, this has been fun, thanks for your opinions and allowing me to express mine, which is that the currently proposed design with street-side parking and a green space is the right thing for the neighborhood, and that a parking lot is really not needed.

9 09 2012
whatnowman

Hi Neighbor: Debate, what a concept…

So, I never said we “needed” a parking lot. I said “a parking lot would centralize vehicle clutter instead of spreading it out throughout the green space of the current park and the “new” CSO garden across the street. Continuous green without two lines of ugly metal in between for the whole length of the car. Ugly is, clearly, in the mind of the beholder, I suppose. But, I see ugly as something that should be kept out of view as much as possible, not in view throughout the whole park.

As for the definition of “parking lot.” Currently, the Lowman Beach Park Parking Lot is there, distributed on each side of Beach Drive SW for the length of the park. I like parking lots out of view, not in view. A parking lot in the spot I recommend would not even be visible to drivers from the hillside of Lincoln Park Way.

As for repeating something that is wrong? Yes, site the data, okay! Repeating something that is documented by data is not spinning, it is “fact quoting.” You say “tiny” to mean “small user base.” You did not say “tiny” to mean “small acreage.” From a user base standpoint, I have the data that it is not even close to tiny. Per square foot, it is an overutilized park, in that sense.

I know police don’t have jurisdiction (or, if they do, they refuse to exercise it) relating to activities within parked cars unless it is very very loud music after 10 p.m. So, we have tons of cars showing up between 11 pm and 4 am, for the purpose of taking a pee, having a quick love session in the park, or drinking, partying, and starting beach fires. Believe me, I know what 911 will do and won’t do and how much resistence a person gets to trying to get any action on after-hours use of the park.

As for permitted parking. Sure, I would use it. However, the idea that it is just me that I have in mind is ludicrous, if you knew me, which apparently, you don’t. One completely missing thought in all the discussions at CAG and DAG is access to rental units such as mine and in my vicinity — any wheelchair “bound” or “disabled sticker grantee” would not be able to rent due to access obstacles and distance from parking to home, and sidewalk and street condition, etc. Those are the kind of things I think about. Clearly, you only think about “self-interest.” Look up the psychological term “projection” sometime. You will find it interesting.

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