A newcomer’s tip of the hat to Queen Anne, Magnolia

As a recent newcomer to Queen Anne, I want to express my gratitude to the people of Seattle and more specifically, the residents of Queen Anne and Magnolia. We moved here from the Deep South, and what a breath of fresh air (in several categories) it is to be here. 

Among other things, my letter is prompted by the editorial of Aug. 29, 2012 (“Cheryl Chow’s Haunting Bravery”), and Cecile Andrews’ column of the same day. Relevant and important topics, both. 

Then there is the young man who delivers our Queen Anne News: Owen Coutts. [It’s the] first time we have had such a nice welcome and thank-you note from someone delivering a paper. 

Folks in Queen Anne and Magnolia, keep up the good work!
 

Eric Wallens

Queen Anne

 

Kinnear column only tells part of the story

It appears that Mike Allenbach — while concerned and well-intended — has only a partial understanding of the proposed trail extension through Kinnear Park (“‘Bike Freeway’ Through Kinnear Greenbelt a Bad Idea,” Sept. 5). Here’s a more accurate account.

Lower Kinnear Park, a historic Seattle park with landmark status, is under-utilized, even though it is located in one of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods. Mike is correct that concerns about criminal activity have kept people away. And that is precisely why the Seattle Police Department supports the North Trail improvements outlined in the Lower Kinnear Park Enhancement Plan, because activating the park with legal activities is the best way to keep illegal activity out.

Many changes have happened since Mike’s attempted trail restoration several decades ago, most notably the construction of the Helix Bridge and the Olympic Sculpture Garden. People have more places to go and are asking for better ways to get there. That’s why, from the first community meeting in 2009, reestablishing the West Prospect [Street] park entrance emerged as a community priority. People of all ages and abilities wanted a safe, walkable trail to get them outdoors in fresh air, engaging in healthful activities. The trail is not a dedicated bike path but one to be shared with runners, walkers, people with strollers and, yes, bicyclists.

The trail design is in its conceptual phase so Mike’s comments about a “raised, fenced, concrete structure” are confusing because that kind of detail is not yet available. However, a recent topographical survey indicates that it will meet the design intent for ADA accessibility, be roughly two-thirds at grade and provide magnificent views for all to enjoy. 

Also, because it primarily goes through blackberries and ivy, few trees will be disturbed with any snags left for wildlife habitat. 

Slope stability is important, and the intent is to meet much of the Sustainable Site Initiatives, including shading the trail, reducing rain on the slope, limiting erosion and removing invasive species. The plan will integrate construction methods and restoration plantings to stabilize the slopes, reducing potential damage to downslope properties and minimizing subsequent maintenance and repair. A project like this involves the skills and knowledge of landscape architects, arborists and civil, geotechnical and structural engineers.

Mike Allenbach is to be commended for his past time and energy spent in the park, and today, the current plan will need to address many of those same issues he faced. 

However, having said that, we at FOLKpark (Friends of Lower Kinnear Park) believe that his column — by way of highlighting past mistakes compared to our future improvements — point the way to what needs to be done. But this time it will be done with a more comprehensive understanding of the issues: environmental, vegetation, soil stability and safety, as well as an active desire of the community to get outdoors and enjoy our city.

Deborah Frausto

Chair, FOLKpark steering committee