Meeting our South Lake Union Neighbors

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Earlier this month I attended a meeting of the South Lake Union Community Council, a very well organized and committed group of people who work and live in the rapidly growing South Lake Union community. Thanks to chairman Mike McQuaid, and more than a dozen residents from Mirabella alone, I appreciated the turnout and involvement of all. We filled a large conference room at MOHAI on a cold December evening–impressive!


Photo courtesy of KOMO News

I asked each person in attendance to tell me about an issue most important to them: no surprise, the main concerns were around traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, economic vitality during construction, and affordable housing in a growing city.

The SLU Community Council has been working closely with the Seattle Department of Transportation to address traffic concerns. The Mercer Stakeholders Group has also been involved. Like other growing neighborhoods in our city, SLU feels besieged with more cars and delivery trucks than it can seemingly handle.


Photo courtesty of Yelp

Most of us have heard the statistic that Seattle is the fastest growing city in the country. We will be welcoming 100,000 more people in the next 20 years. South Lake Union is experiencing the growing pains, and this neighborhood and community will play an important role in providing housing to our children and grandchildren, who will be returning to our City in the coming years. I know adding to the supply of affordable housing is part of the answer: we need vibrant, walkable neighborhoods with amenities such as parks, schools, and libraries. I am working with City Departments, including Parks and the Seattle Public Library, to make sure the interests of the South Lake Union neighbors are heard.

SDOT has spearheaded new efforts for congestion reduction and pedestrian safety; Nyhus Consulting has been hired to help manage parking; Vulcan has also pitched in to ensure that pedestrian lighting is adequate during their construction projects. I am urging SDOT to continue to connect our Neighborhood Greenways and cycletracks to encourage more people of all ages and abilities (like me!) to ride our bicycles to reduce congestion. I also spoke about my confidence in our new SDOT Director, Scott Kubly, who is helping SDOT to “get to yes” with SLU and other neighborhoods.

While at the meeting, we also discussed the Seawall construction impacts on our Waterfront businesses and residents, and how the City is keeping businesses informed about the construction schedule. I shared the good news that the expedited schedule is working, with the goal of reopening businesses this coming summer. Bertha — which is WSDOT’s project — is unfortunately BEHIND schedule, but the Seawall — which is SDOT’s project is ON schedule.

Please stay tuned for future blog posts about the work we are doing to make sure the South Lake Union community and others are heard and that we are working collaboratively to solve problems to make this a more clean, safe, and welcoming city.


It took me about 20 minutes to bike from City Hall to MOHAI. I parked my bike outside and was able to bike directly to my next event.