Monday, November 24, 2008

Neighbors voice concerns about proposed Northridge Park Nodes

Northridge Park is large in size (about 40 acres) and it’s unique within the COB. It’s classified as a “Community Park” because of its land mass. (Copy of letter courtesy of ABN).

Two Nodes (parks) will be built into the forest hilltop, supporting wetlands and wild life. The schematic designs are pleasing, and the draft copy is descriptive.

When the land was acquired in 1992; P&R knew there would be challenges for the community to access this park (stated by Park rep. on 11/20/08 at GAC meeting.) The intent “is to keep park facilities at the neighborhood park level due to the access from local streets,” (Fact Sheet Northridge Park, 2/20/02.)

The South Node is directly located off the arterial street of Barkley Boulevard. “The arterial net work is the “backbone” of the roadway system and accommodates the most trips for all modes” of transportation (reference taken from: Seattle Right-Of-Way Improvements Manual.)

The North Node is located off a collector street and is also a dead end street. The Community has already out grown a “neighborhood” park that has not been built. Barkley Village has arrived and construction levels are still increasing. All the land around, and below the park has been developed and Barkley at Woburn is continues to develop.

Here are some of the obstacles Carrington Way currently faces:

Traffic, it shouldn’t have been opened as an access street from the County at its conception, the physical street of upper Carrington is settling 3-4 inches in one area and the rest of the street shows the same type of settling, it was not designed adequately to accommodate a “Community” park, upper Carrington street is less is size than lower Carrington, it was intended only for the traffic of its residents and visitors.

Residential streets are designed to promote the residential quality of the neighborhood.

The Tweed Twenty neighborhood uses Carrington as a connector to Barkley Boulevard. That traffic use on to Carrington Way has largely grown in the 13 years of this neighborhood’s development. Traffic speeds have pick up, and a large amount of those vehicles do not yield as stop signs. This is a daily occurrence witnessed by the residents.

Now, onto the park land: It’s a dense hilltop forest, of old growth trees, supporting wetlands and wildlife. Barkley Hill provides the backdrop to the MBNA. Due to the dense tree population, the soil is never at a total dry stage. An example of moist soil is in my back yard. It sits on the forest floor and it never has the time to dry out because of it’s forest location. My side and back yard are spongy 10 months of the year.

The park property accommodates natural storm drainage and run off. Some wetlands are small, others large and a duck pond exists on the property. The land has several trail connections to neighborhoods and a tunnel under Barkley Boulevard connects with other neighborhoods. Currently there are only two usable, street vehicle access points to the park. N.P will be designed as a neighborhood park but it’s intended for community use. Such development can not be supported by the parking accommodations and the entry points; more pavements for parking are not the answer.

Background Information on streets and neighborhoods:

References to street descriptions were taken from the “Seattle Right-Of-Way Improvements manual:”

“Side streets are built to mostly and intended only for the traffic of their residents and visitors. However, many side streets that do not
dead end are also used for rat running by motorists in congested areas.

In urban planning culs-de-sac are created to limit through-traffic in residential areas. While some culs-de-sac provide no possible passage except in and out of their road entry, others allow cyclists, pedestrians or other non-automotive traffic to pass through connecting easements or paths.

In traffic engineering parlance, the cul-de-sac defines the local street as having primarily an 'access' (to properties) function rather than as one having a 'transport' or 'through' function.
Taken from Bellingham Neighborhood Traffic Study Program:

Residential streets, or local service streets, make up the majority of Bellingham's street system. These streets serve local auto, bicycle, and pedestrian circulation
needs and provide access to local residences and businesses. Residential streets, unlike arterials, should not carry significant volumes of through-traffic. The City
does not apply the NTSP program to designated arterial streets (see below).

The most common problems on residential streets are high vehicle speeds and
excessive volumes of through-traffic. Consequently this can lead to related
problems such as traffic noise, increased pedestrian and bicycle conflicts, and an
overall decrease in quality of life.

…” (roads) designed to promote the residential quality of the neighborhood…”
City of Bellingham Municipal Code

Design guidelines:
c. Existing wetlands, streams, significant trees, topographical features and other natural features shall be saved, preserved and enhanced to the greatest extent possible consistent with reasonable and appropriate use of the subject site. Links between open spaces and pedestrian routes shall be facilitated whenever possible.

City of Bellingham Municipal Code15.42.020 -
For purposes of this Chapter, the following definitions shall apply: A. Arterial: A road or street primarily for through traffic. A major arterial connects an Interstate Highway to cities and counties. A minor arterial connects major arterials to collectors. A collector connects an arterial to a neighborhood. A collector is not an arterial. A local access road connects individual homes to a collector.

DD. Native vegetation: Vegetation comprised of plant species, other than noxious weeds, that are indigenous to the coastal region of the Pacific Northwest and which reasonably could have been expected to naturally occur on the site. Examples include trees such as Douglas Fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, alder, big-leaf maple, and vine maple; shrubs such as willow, elderberry, salmonberry, and salal; and herbaceous plants such as sword fern, foam flower, and fireweed.

CCC. Wetlands: Those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from non-wetland sites, including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities, or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway.

Wetlands may include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from non-wetland areas to mitigate the conversion of wetlands. (Waterbodies not included in the definition of wetlands as well as those mentioned in the definition are still waters of the State.)


Traffic conditions on residential streets can greatly affect neighborhood livability.
When streets are safe and pleasant, quality of life is enhanced. When traffic
problems become a daily occurrence, sense of community and personal well-being may become threatened.

The City of Bellingham has developed a Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program
(NTSP) to enhance the safety and livability of residential streets in neighborhoods.

Under this program, the City's NTSP Team works with residents to help identify
neighborhood traffic problems and implement solutions that are both acceptable and appropriate for the residential streets in their neighborhoods.

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