FEB 3, 2023
Dear City of Olympia Councilpersons and Staff;
As you may know, the City of Olympia has been making plans for a revamping the Westside Capital Mall area, (known as the “Triangle sub-area Plan”). This area includes Harrison and Division streets, Capital Mall area, as well as the residential area around Capital High School and the Target Store, on Harrison AVE NW.
Our neighborhood associations (Southwest and West) have actively lobbied for inclusion of plans for affordable housing, protected pedestrian and bike commuter access, a Senior Center at the mall, a day care center, and a café or grocery store. The City indicated that our Neighborhood Associations (NAs) have been designated as stakeholders, but we have heard little from them recently. The City did hold an Open House on this issue last night. (2-2-23) Unfortunately, many of us were unable to attend because of the short notice.
At this point, it looks like the neighborhoods’ suggestions have been completely ignored. The “stakeholders” now all appear to be developers who are pushing for high rise buildings instead of neighborhood-friendly amenities and services. The scoping EIS plan has morphed into these 3 “alternatives” for the Harrison and Division streets area:
#1 Alternative; No change
#2 and #3 Alternatives, Plans include a 14-story high rise building ( I presume near the bowling alley & Grocery Outlet, that is what I was told.) There is no extra parking demanded of the apt developers.
The City also proposed blocking off one lane of the 2 lanes along Harrison (in each direction) as “dedicated bus lanes”. We are very concerned about any increase in the traffic gridlock along Harrison and Division. We are also concerned about lack of parking, the City advocates that the high rise apt renters will “park on the a-joining neighborhood streets”. No extra parking will be built at the apt complex site. This is wrong. The low income housing that currently exists behind the Bowling Alley, and Grocery Outlet store is wonderful. This low income housing should not displaced by high rise apt buildings. There is no mention of the huge stormwater issues that will exist with all of the proposed apt houses. There is little mention last night, of the $10 mil. off ramp from HWY 101 into the Capital Mall area. Who will pay for this? This is a waste of tax payer money. This off-ramp is merely to help developers, not the residents, not the neighborhoods. The City says that this planning grant money is limited. The City now thinks that the WA State legislature will pay for this planning. "No" to that!
I am in support of Alternative #1; NO CHANGE.
I do not trust the city to listen to the neighborhood associations. The City talks about bike lanes, tree ordinances, and other good issues, but if you try to press them for details, they have none. The only thing that they are sure of is high rise apts. I do not think having high rise apts in our area of Harrison and Division ST NW is a good idea. We have grid lock already; traffic is terrible during high traffic times of the day. Plus parking is difficult to find. Alternatives #2-3 are a nightmare for residents. (LET THE DEVELOPERS PUT THE HIGH RISE APTS WITHIN A BLOCK OF HWY 101)
PLEASE EMAIL TO THE CITY, TELL THEM WHAT YOU THINK!
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