Update on Gemenskap Park

5 09 2017

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We are getting very close to seeing this park that was conceived on a back of a napkin back in 2004 actually get built! We recently heard some good news from our Parks Project Manager, Toby Ressler, that Parks intends to sign a contract with Jansen, Inc to construct the Gemenskap Park! If all goes well, work could begin before the end of this year. We’re still trying to nail down the exact date with the Parks Department. We’ll continue to keep you posted..

If you’re new to the neighborhood and are curious about the details of the park, here are some highlights…

If you’re not an engineering geek and your eyes just glaze over at the site of all those lines in the engineering drawings, then no worries, we sat down with our designers at Mithun and compiled the following overview to help you out:

What’s the park going to look like?
Gemenskap Park (formerly 14th Ave NW Park) will be a 2 block linear park that runs along the east side of 14th Ave NW from NW 59th St to NW 61st St. The current sidewalks on the east side (for these 2 blocks) will be replaced with brand new 12′ wide concrete sidewalks that will be wide enough for walking and wheeled activities. The park will include rain gardens that will not only filter stormwater before entering Salmon Bay, but will also provide a buffer between park users and vehicle traffic. Vehicle traffic will run side by side on the west side (no longer separated by a median) between NW 59th and NW 61st.

How are cars going to be diverted at NW 59th and NW 61st traveling north?
Speed limit on 14th Ave NW between Market and NW 65th will drop down to 20 mph (today, it’s 30 mph). This significant drop in speed will allow for vehicle transition to be done at stop signs. There will be a 4-way stop at NW 59th, NW 60th and another at NW 61st. If you are traveling north, you will stop at NW 59th, transition diagonally to the west alongside south bound vehicles, stop at NW 60th and then stop again at NW 61st where you’ll transition back to the east side with vehicles separated by a median again. If you’re traveling south, you’ll stay in the same lane along 14th and will stop at NW 61st, NW 60th and NW 59th.

What about lighting?
Pedestrian scale lighting will be provided along the 2 block park that should provide adequate lighting of the walkway without affecting neighboring homes. The existing street-scale lighting will remain as well. It’s not clear what’s going to happen with the light between NW 59th and 60th that’s strung in the middle of the median. We’re pretty sure that’ll get replaced with pedestrian-scale lighting.

June2014_drawingWhat’s going on at the NW 60th intersection?
The intersection at NW 60th will have a 4-way stop and will be raised to sidewalk level so that people driving across the intersection will encounter a bump up when approaching and a bump down when leaving. People walking or biking along the park’s sidewalk through the intersection (north/south) will not experience an elevation change. There will also be bollards on the north and south sections of the intersection on the park side to provide a buffer from vehicles.

What about the trees?
Some existing trees will be removed and replaced with a mixture of larger and smaller trees where it makes sense. The significantly large tree near NW 59th on the east side will remain in place and accommodations will be made for its root system in the new sidewalk design.

Will there be play structures?
Not at this stage of the project. There will be a few grassy mounds to play/roll around on, plus the rain gardens will be accessible for learning and play. There will be grass space for lawn games as well. Once the park is complete and the community has played in it for a while AND there’s a strong interest for structured play equipment, this could be added at a later time.

What about an offleash dog park?
Sorry, no offleashing in this park. It’s really not big enough. You and your leashed dog will be more than welcome to enjoy the park!

Additional information about this park project and how to get in touch with our Parks Project manager can be found on the Parks Department website. You’re also welcome to contact us at the EBCA and we’ll do our best to get you the info you’re looking for.

If  you want to learn more about the 12 year history of this community-inspired park, check out the Gemenskap Park page on our site. If you’d like to get involved with the park or have East Ballard community project ideas, please contact us at eastballard@gmail.com.

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