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Monday, May 5, 2008

Design Reviews: Rebuilding Frellingford

posted by on May 5 at 14:40 PM

Two projects between Fremont and Wallingford scheduled for design reviews today would bring lots of residents and business to the area, but residents are concerned they could also bring more traffic problems.

Stone Way Village

The corner of North 40th Street and Stone Way North for years has been home to a despairing pit, but several months ago Prescott Homes announced plans to build a five-story, mixed use development containing 155 units.

Alicia Van Buskirk organizes a committee of neighbors that has met with the Department of Planning and Development several times over the past few years to discuss plans (originally QFC planed to build on the site but then dropped its proposal). “This is already a very traffic intensive neighborhood—they just need to make sure the traffic doesn’t make it any more dangerous,” says Van Buskirk. “They are going to put 150 homes in a half block… It seems like new projects should be able to keep impacts on their site—that means providing enough parking for residents and customers.”

After an early design-guidance meeting in February, a report from the Department of Planning and Development quoted neighborhood comments: “190 parking spaces are not enough for 160 proposed units. (This was mentioned by several speakers).”

Another issue regarded the scale of the project, which stretches a full block from 39th to 40th. Michael Derr, Director of Development for Prescott, said after the meeting, “We’re trying to make a design that is not monolithic… and design in a way that villages tend to grow, breaking it up into two distinct sections.”

But that wasn’t enough for the design board: “The four Board members unanimously urged the architect to reduce the overall massing of the project… [the design] should resemble a village of four to five structures rather than the three shown in the design review packet,” said a recently released report. So tonight’s proposal attempts to satisfy the board’s request. Here is the preferred scheme:



Baylis Architects

“I’m worried that it’s just going to be one solid box,” says Van Buskirk, who hadn’t seen the designs. “They said they wanted to make it look like different buildings, but I think it’s just going to be one bulky piece with a few indentations.” The design meeting is tonight at 8:00 p.m. in room 209 of the University Heights Community Center, 5031 University Way NE.

Union View


TSA Architects

The second development is kitty corner, at North 39th Street and Stone Way. The proposal is for a four-story residential building, containing 62 apartments and 3,500 square feet of retail on the ground floor. Parking spaces for 78 vehicles would be inside, however, after some of those spaces are used for commercial vehicles, that would “leave only one parking space per residential unit, and that’s not enough,” says Van Buskirk.

“We’ve had a traffic study done, and we’re looking to accommodate the parking required within the project,” says Kent Smutny of TSA Architects. “As far as those [vehicle] trips, we’re looking at reducing those best we can—getting credit for bus service, that type of thing—that’s where’s we are right now.” The design meeting is tonight at 6:30 p.m. in room 209 of the University Heights Community Center, 5031 University Way NE.

RSS icon Comments


Google shows zero previous uses of the word "Frellingford", but as a Farscape fan I support its immediate mainstreaming.

Posted by Nat | May 5, 2008 2:56 PM

Is Frellingford north or south of Wallingfmont?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | May 5, 2008 2:56 PM

"190 parking spaces are not enough for 160 proposed units"

I don't understand this.

Posted by stinkbug | May 5, 2008 3:00 PM

Everybody knows it's Wallymont, not Frellingford.

And between Ballard and Fremont? Frelard.

Posted by Will in 98103 | May 5, 2008 3:01 PM

Who is going to pay for this in the middle of a recession with pending famine and food riots in Seattle?

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | May 5, 2008 3:05 PM

No shit. Especially since you can quickly get just about anywhere in the city from the bus stop across the street.

Posted by c | May 5, 2008 3:07 PM

That TSA sketch (third thumbnail) really isn't much help.

Posted by frederick r | May 5, 2008 3:11 PM

They are likely planning on retail at ground level, perhaps even still a grocery store. This would account for the extra parking.

Posted by cmaceachen | May 5, 2008 3:12 PM

@3: That's plenty of parking, especially since this location has great bike and bus connectivity. In fairness, though, because Wallingford is largely single-family houses, many Wallingfordians don't realize they live in a city.

Posted by Steve | May 5, 2008 3:15 PM

Copy that #s 3, 6, 9. Bunch o'crap indeed. Cyborg beasts.

Posted by Miss Stereo | May 5, 2008 3:25 PM

@5, sadly, is the most insightful.

But, it's not like the proposed location is literally on the 16, 31, and 74 bus lines ... oh, wait, it is.

I'd add more bicycle spaces in the parking garage part, though - and electric plugs for the plug-in hybrids that most people will be buying when it's finished construction.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 5, 2008 3:32 PM

Dudes. That area is called Freford.

Posted by Aislinn | May 5, 2008 3:34 PM

and, technically, the east side is Wallingford (South Wallingford starts below N 40th) and the west side is Fremont. Stone Way is the dividing line, as everyone knows.

Now, why the "design review" meeting is being held so far away .... that's another question.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 5, 2008 3:35 PM

Frefordites will be the first up against the bus when the Revolution comes!

Frelard uber alles!

Posted by Frelardians against Freford | May 5, 2008 3:37 PM

Please someone call a whaaaaaaaaaaaambulance for Ms. Van Buskirk.

One parking stall per unit is more than enough for a place with great bus service. It is long past time to build for a car culture.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | May 5, 2008 3:37 PM

We at BRAIC see no need for more parking stalls. Motorized vehicles should be kept in a pit over crocodiles or alligators, with a rickety walkway for those who dare use them.

Fixes unite! We have nothing to lose but the SMOG!

Posted by Bikers Revolt Against Internal Combustion | May 5, 2008 3:39 PM

I always thought it was Wallingmont, but what do I know.

#8, that's why I thought the uproar in Fremont over the transfer station was stupid. It's not even *in* Fremont.

#4, I prefer Freball. It doesn't quite fit the mold, using the first part of each and all, but it sure does appeal to my immature male tastes.

There's also a little area between Wedgwood and Morningside (not a "real" neighborhood, except according to Google, but pretend it is for the purposes of this joke) that I like to refer to as Morning Wood.

Posted by w7ngman | May 5, 2008 3:42 PM

67% of Seattle residents still commute to work by car.

Deal with it.

Posted by Mr. X | May 5, 2008 3:43 PM

in holland they would laugh at "breaking the form up into 5 separate buildings".

way to mandate a hodgepodge, DRB.

Posted by max solomon | May 5, 2008 3:44 PM

Ms. Van Buskirk is supposedly worried about traffic in the area, but she is doing everything in her power to maximize the traffic generated by the project.

Her silly list of demands makes it pretty clear that her real objective is to just kill the projects. She hasn't seen the proposed design, but she already knows that it will be a big box.

If she wants to live in the suburbs, she should feel free to move to the eastside. They have lots of parking over there.

Posted by justinf | May 5, 2008 3:50 PM

If this is built, most of the people who live in this building will not work anywhere that can be "quickly" reached by bus from here. Those bus lines do not go "anywhere in the city"; they mostly go downtown. That's the only place in the entire region that can be reached quickly from anywhere. This is reality.

Posted by Fnarf | May 5, 2008 3:54 PM

@21: from that intersection one can easily take a 31 or 74 to the udist. I'm sure there are many UW staff, UW students, and udist employees that would love to live in a hip building like this one and commute via bus OR via walking. It is extremely easy to walk from that intersection to the UW campus.

Posted by stinkbug | May 5, 2008 4:06 PM

as someone who works in Wallingmont, 50 feet from motherfucking Stone Way, I have to put in my 9 cents and say, that the last thing this part of town needs is more traffic and more parking doesn't do a very good job of the traffic it has now, and this part of town is NOT pedestrian friendly.

Posted by michael strangeways | May 5, 2008 4:08 PM

@17 - it stinks in Fremont, so it counts.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 5, 2008 4:14 PM

If you walk a few blocks you can catch the 5, 358, 26 and 44 as well.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 5, 2008 4:17 PM

@22: yes, and then three years later they get a different job in Factoria. And their husband gets a job in Kent. What then?

Posted by Fnarf | May 5, 2008 4:17 PM
Posted by stinkbug | May 5, 2008 4:17 PM

Then they move from their condo in Wallingford or Fremont and the one furthest away gets to use the plug-in hybrid to get to work.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 5, 2008 4:18 PM
Posted by stinkbug | May 5, 2008 4:19 PM

@21 is right. Try to ride the bus to work in Fremont from anywhere. Also every route seems to leave the center of the universe at :10 and :40 after the hour(more or less), so there isn't a bus downtown 10 minutes later. Is that a merchant conspiracy? At least I get 2 hrs of reading everyday.

Posted by Fremont Commuter | May 5, 2008 4:19 PM

@30: I used to commute via bus to Fremont from a non-downtown area. It worked great in the morning. Very quick, very pleasant.

However, heading home was a pain. The buses were often very late, due to downtown traffic, mercer traffic, bridge being up, etc. It was often more relaxing to just walk (or bike) home.

Posted by stinkbug | May 5, 2008 4:34 PM

@30: buses that come less often than every ten minutes are not mass transit. Any bus where the normal variation in service is less than the scheduled time, making printed schedules useful and necessary, is worthless. On a real bus line, the buses come so often that you don't need or want a schedule; you just go get the next one.

Posted by Fnarf | May 5, 2008 4:39 PM

@30 - we told you to set your watch back ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 5, 2008 4:50 PM


Love all the Seattle centric land use postings. But what's up with the scant notice. It's generally, "hey guys, there's going to be a design review board meeting for this crazy condo project in 20 minutes. be there." Where/how can I find this stuff out ahead of time, so I can arrange my schedule and plan ahead to be at the meetings? I think you deserve some frontage in the calendar section for this. thanks, AF

Posted by tna | May 5, 2008 5:02 PM

@34, well here's a good starting place to find out about upcoming meetings:

Posted by stinkbug | May 5, 2008 5:05 PM

As part of a 4-person family with 1 car living about 5 blocks from there, I've found it incredibly easy to get anywhere quickly. DT, U-dist, Ballard, Sand Point, Northgate, Green Lake. Much easier than when we lived in the CD. Sure I'd like more frequent runs on all the routes, but part of living in a city is adjusting your schedule to make it work. Perhaps if they build this there will be more demand for frequency at that corner.
And just because 67% commute by car doesn't mean we have to continue to plan for them. People can change their behavior, sometimes they just need to be forced.

Posted by c | May 5, 2008 5:26 PM

It is Wallingmont. And I should know, because I live there.

Posted by Blacksheep | May 5, 2008 6:11 PM


Forced to do what - park on the street because the new building doesn't provide enough parking to meet demand?

Posted by Mr. X | May 5, 2008 6:16 PM

Or not have 2 cars per unit. One per is plenty. And if you have 2 then maybe this isn't the place for you unless you can learn to do without one of them.

Posted by C | May 5, 2008 6:33 PM

@38, @39: Doesn't it seem likely the developers have considered this as part of deciding to have 190 spaces for 160 units?

Most people/couples living in these apartments will need one space at most. Some may need two; they'll have the option to rent one of the extra spaces or park on the street with all the hazards associated with street parking (that it's not available sometimes, that their car gets keyed, etc.)

Why is it more complicated than that? Can't we just all get along?

Posted by Steve | May 5, 2008 6:48 PM

@39 Units aren't bedrooms - what about two adults living as a couple or simply as roommates? 2 people with jobs most likely means 2 (or more cars).

@40 I wish, but I find it hard to get along (which in Seattle really means "go along") with (and yes, I'm using the word) elitist armchair planners who both presume to tell people how to live and simultaneously refuse to deal with the planning implications of how they are actually do live.

I don't know the parking requirements for this particular project, but my guess is the developers are probably providing the bare minimum number of spaces required (usually 1.2 per unit, if memory serves correctly), or perhaps a few more to account (minimally) for any retail.

Posted by Mr. X | May 5, 2008 7:18 PM

Elitist armchair planners?

Dude, this is Seattle.

Trust me, Mr. X, there are no elitist planners ANYWHERE in this city, just a bunch of NIMBYs.

Oh, and get off my pocket lawn.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 5, 2008 7:33 PM

No one's telling anyone how to live, they're just saying that IF you want to live HERE, these are the parameters. And they just happen to be you don't get to have 2 underground parking spaces per unit. (which is how they plan these things, not bedrooms)
This IS my backyard and I think it's a good thing to have fewer spaces allocated per. Behavior doesn't change unless it's expected. Like I said, if living here means you can't park 2 cars in the building then some people will go elsewhere. Some will make themselves crazy circling the neighborhood for parking. And some will simply decide they don't need the extra car because of the location and easy transit options.

Posted by C | May 5, 2008 7:59 PM

Baylis just announced that they are hoping to have *217* parking spots for the 160 units. They increased the number after getting comments from people in the past.

Posted by stinkbug | May 5, 2008 8:17 PM

Why do single family homeowners need on street parking preserved for them? Most single family homes have driveways and garages. The result of this is that new residents will have to pay more for housing so existing single family homeowners can use their garages as storage units. Not only that, free parking leads to more traffic because it subsidizes auto use. Now that's a public policy I can get behind -- more driving and higher housing prices so people can own more stuff.

Posted by michael | May 5, 2008 9:56 PM

@45 - for our guests, natch.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 6, 2008 12:39 AM

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