Friends of Vision 2029
When this campaign is over, this website will be recycled into the website for a new group called Friends of Vision 2029. We’ve been a fan of Vision 2029 since 2015. We love how it focuses on Shoreline as a vibrant destination because of its various neighborhood centers, each with character and amenities.
Since then, we’ve watched opportunity after opportunity pass for that part of Vision 2029. We’ve protested to City staff and City Council, but it’s going to take more than us.
The City’s Wayfinding Sign Program barely mentioned commercial areas except those along Aurora. The City’s Bicycle Plan gets people through the City, not to destinations in the City. The City’s Public Art Plan puts art in parks and in and near City Hall, largely ignoring commercial areas. The ADA Transition Plan puts only low priority emphasis on sidewalks in commercial areas. And now Prop 1 focuses on arterials, not walkability houses in neighborhoods to commercial areas.
It’s time for Vision 2029 to make a comeback, especially since it celebrates its 10th birthday next year. And it’s having a bit of a midlife crisis.
WHAT IS VISION 2029?
Vision 2029 is a four page document of long term goals written by City Council members in 2009. We think it should be printed out and hung in every office and cubicle in City Hall, and it should be a huge poster on the back wall of the Council chamber.
WHY DO WE LIKE VISION 2029?
Vision 2029 talks about five concepts.
The third concept in Vision 2029, Aurora Avenue as a “signature boulevard”, is now secured as a vision actualized after ten years of intense effort. The Aurora Corridor received $190,000,000 in federal and local funding for a total redo. A, very nice City Hall is now located in what is supposed to be the new “city center” at 175th Ave NE. Shoreline Center at 155th Ave NE is now on its way. And we’ll soon be asked to fund a recreation center at 180th Ave NE. It’s time for City Hall to stick a fork in Aurora and call it all but done.
The first and second concepts in Vision 2029 are “A City of Neighborhoods” and “Neighborhood Centers”. Neighborhood Centers are defined as “commercial areas” and “vibrant neighborhood main streets that feature a diverse array of shops, restaurants and services”. We think this is where the City should focus sharply over next ten years. The City should reallocate staff and funding to placemaking, repairing and upgrading infrastructure, and enhancing economic development in the existing various small neighborhood centers where the rest of us live: Richmond Beach, Westminster, Ridgecrest, Briarcrest, Ballinger, and North City. There are varying levels of vibrancy in each area, and many residents, new and longtime, hope that someday their neighborhood will be cool enough to shop and dine in.
But except for North City, the City has long deferred maintenance and upgrades in the right of way (ROW) for these areas. In many areas, the City has done no significant improvement since the city incorporated in 1995. This is because the City’s policies focus mostly on City-owned assets, like parks and government buildings, or municipal assets, like schools and public transport. City-owned assets are important too, but we want balance going forward. Outdated sidewalks, worn crosswalks, and tired ROW areas in commercial areas don’t help attract businesses to Shoreline. The City needs to be a good neighbor wherever it owns and maintains property.
In addition, we want the City to focus on the two subarea rezoned areas at the light rail stations in Ridgecrest and North City. The City has started to focus on these from the standpoint of road redesign, but there is so much more to talk about: walkability, design standards, and so on. The City has an obligation to help residents guide the future of these neighborhoods instead of leaving the look and feel of future development up to the developers.
The fourth and fifth concepts in Vision 2029 are A Healthy Community and Better for the Next Generation, particularly at the neighborhood scale. These will inevitably follow from a City of Neighborhoods. Neighbors will walk to local amenities, neighbors will spend more of their money locally, neighbors will meet each other and take care of each other.
We know a lot of you will like Vision 2029 based on the 2108 Shoreline Satisfaction Survey. 92% of us are happy to live here. But only 42% of us think that Shoreline is a good place to shop. Only 28% of us agree Shoreline is a good place for dining and entertainment. Only 66% of us think the condition of our neighborhoods is good. Only 62% of us think of Shoreline as a “place to connect & interact with neighbors.” Only 62% of us think Shoreline is a great place to work. Only 56% of us “support the City’s long-term emphasis on economic development”.
The Satisfaction Survey mostly focuses on the services the City currently provides, and generally, the survey respondents think that the City’s doing just fine with their services. 85% of us are satisfied with City parks, and 94% of us feel safe in our neighborhood during the day. And of course the Shoreline School District is very well-regarded. So we have great parks, schools, and police, and reasonable proximity to the amenities of Seattle.
So while the City is tempted to do what it knows how to do, which is iterate its programs to even awesomer for the 2020 Shoreline Satisfaction Survey, we say it should reallocate focus and resources to address what is less satisfactory, which is making Shoreline better through neighborhood centers with opportunities to shop, dine, and connect, and even work. While the City doesn’t feel it has the expertise needed to do that, we can help.
And, there are two new appropriate sources of funding already on the horizon. The smaller source of funding is a new internal landscaping team, which we are excited about for improving the ROW in business areas. The other bigger source of funding is - wait for it - a new Business & Occupation tax. The B&O tax was passed in December 2017 and is estimated to bring in $1,000,000 a year starting in 2019. And it was not earmarked for anything. It’s just an additional source of revenue. We think there is no better use for a B&O tax than to focus on neighborhood centers and “commercial areas”. And the timing is perfect, now that we are launching the second half of Vision 2029.
If you agree with us and want to be a Friend of Vision 2029, please stay tuned, or email us at email@example.com. We want to attract residents all over Shoreline to help City Hall realign its various policies towards Vision 2029. We welcome everyone to get involved at any level.