Get a closer look at station block development plans

This artist’s rendition shows a view of the planned building from the southwest, including a view down the alley toward El Centro de la Raza.

More information is now available about the McClellan Apartments development proposed for the southeast part of the Beacon Hill Station block at 2721 17th Ave. S. The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has posted the Design Review compilation from the architects of the project which will be presented at the November 13 Design Review meeting.

The PDF contains a wealth of information about the project, including artists’ renditions of the building, floor plans, shadow studies, cross-sections, and more. The project will be a six-story building with residential units ranging from studios to two-bedroom units, including three units designated as “affordable housing.”

The Design Review Board will meet on Tuesday, November 13 at the Wellspring Services Community Room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S. to discuss the project and how well the design addresses the priorities established at the previous Early Design Guidance meeting. At this meeting, the public will be allowed to comment, but the comments are limited to design considerations.

Thanks to Matthew for the heads-up!

16 thoughts on “Get a closer look at station block development plans”

  1. wanna bet these units will be close to the greenhouse and othello stations renting levels. affordable my ass

  2. My main concern is cars leaving on the alley will not be able to merge onto McClellan in front of the light- they’ll either pull forward and block the crosswalk or hang back and block the sidewalk (though perhaps there is enough length for a car to be in the alley driveway section between the sidewalk and the street). There might not be a lot of cars going in or out, but the proximity of the alley to the intersection still seems problematic.

  3. Lucas: I wonder if that problem would be solved by making the alley one-way and requiring people to exit onto the Festival Street. Since there are only a few parking spaces in the building it wouldn’t be a high volume of traffic to put there, and it might make more sense.

  4. That’s an option, though festival street does get closed occasionally – proper warning to the residents would probably be fine. We’ve also got to think ahead to the development of the adjacent parcels of land- the larger plot to the north could have access from 17th, and the triangular plot to Beacon (or no parking at all) with no greater volume in the alley, but the competing desire is probably to maximize store frontage on the busier streets, or ‘dwelling unit entries’ on the residential portions.

  5. Personally, I would prefer it to be one way to the south, with a right turn only sign. The strip between the street and sidewalk is shown as 16 feet, which should be sufficient staging space for the size of car parked in an underground apartment garage. I think exiting should not significantly affect traffic and should allow room for pedestrians. I am more concerned with the occassional car trying to enter the alley from east-bound McClellan blocking the crosswalk and even the north-bound lane of Beacon and getting stuck there because there is a car sitting at the light on McClellan.

    Regardless of the permanent direction, it will need to be flexible. In the future there may be at least one more building with parking. Even during Festival Street closures, it will be important to maintain alley access to those buildings for parking, deliveries, emergency vehicles, etc.

  6. Alley access may be necessary but I do think sometimes people overdo it by wanting to keep it 100% car-focused when all it needs is occasional automotive use. (Chris, I know you didn’t say this — just something that various people have said throughout this process.) I’ve seen people say “We can’t make this an active alley at all because of emergencies, deliveries, cars coming through to park…” but it’s done all the time in pedestrianized streets in European cities.

    For example,
    That is Linzer Gasse in Salzburg, Austria. It’s a pedestrianized street. It’s very clear at all times that it belongs to pedestrians. But you can see a car in the distance, because cars are allowed in to make deliveries, cabs drop people off, etc. When the cars come in they drive verrrrry slowly and it is not really a problem. People step out of their way and then go back to what they were doing. Because it’s not constant car traffic, just occasional, and both pedestrians and autos can co-exist perfectly well in that context.

    This could be done here if people weren’t blinded by the expectation that an alley must be for cars and garbage.

  7. Oh, and I think you are right about one-way to the south. To the north would be a problem because of cars waiting to enter the alley from McClellan. (Though there won’t be all that many of them.) So entering from Festival Street and exiting to McClellan is probably a better option.

    What to do during Festivals, though? Well, following the Linzer Gasse example above, you just let the cars through slowly and people step out of their way. (Once again, there won’t be that much traffic — the building has fewer than 20 parking spaces.) When you set up an event like Beacon Rocks you make sure that there is a car-wide path the cars can exit through — onto 17th, probably.

    I am just brainstorming here.

  8. I would re-word your statement to “Alleys should be for more than just cars and garbage”, because cars and garbage (and deliveries, etc,) should still be a partial use. I would rather they use an alley to access their buildings than to put big ugly garage doors on the street frontage (i.e., 17th, which I have heard that some people would prefer) and have the garbage trucks and delivery vans block vehicle and pedestrian traffic on the street and sidewalks. That said, I totally agree that the vehicle use, while important to maintain, is only a small percentage of the time that an alley may be used. Somehow keeping it closed to all but residents and deliveries and not have it be another way to drop bus or train riders off would be ideal. Build it similar to other green alley projects ( using permeable pavement or even a vegetated surface using a product like grasspave ( and I think it would work. I’m not sure about the feasibility of maintaining space for a small amount of seating for a storefront, etc. due to a lack of understanding of the codes associated with that sort of thing, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be done.

  9. There were mentions of the difficulties with that alley and intersection at the meeting (but no changes arising from them), and I think I heard that the alley will not be paved to the north of the building (the next development to the north would be responsible for it?). That would discourage usage of festival street for entry or exit, and maybe the fence and gate would persist which would preclude it altogether.

  10. I don’t think you have to worry about people using the alley to drop off/pick up bus and train riders. It would seem so much easier to just pull over in the space allotted for that on the festival street.

    I could not attend the meeting because there were too many things scheduled to happen at the same time last night. If you have any information on what happened, please post!

  11. At the meeting there were also public comments in addition to the ones about the alley and intersection that the building was too big (it’s as tall as the zoning upgrade allows), ugly, didn’t have enough external lights (which I think did result in an action to add more), would encourage crime, parking would be difficult and impact the neighborhood since there weren’t enough underground spots (the transit overlay zoning doesn’t require more), there weren’t any three bedrooms, and the apartments will cost too much (all will be market rate).

    The top floor had a set back on the 17th side that was deemed insufficient, a design with a ten foot set back was desired by the review board. They also granted two exceptions to the code, one exception was to allow the residential side to be less grade separated from street level than normally required, and the other exception was about less than required residential-to-commercial frontage on the McClellan facing side.

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