After returning from its summer recess, the Lynnwood City Council was briefed at its Sept. 3 work session on progress regarding a request from Destinations Lynnwood residents to resolve an issue with the building’s pullout driveway used for pick-ups and drop-offs.
For months, residents of Destination Lynnwood (formerly SHAG senior housing), located at 19501 40th Ave. W., have testified during council meetings about parking issues prohibiting DART buses from picking up residents. A petition signed by residents was brought to the council at its July 29 business meeting by Geraldine Merrick, a Destinations resident, who said they depend on DART buses – Dial-A-Ride Transportation provided by Community Transit — to get them to doctor appointments.
“I think this is not right,” said Merrick at the July 29 meeting. “It’s violating our rights and something needs to be done.”
Since then, city staff has met with the facility’s management, residents and representatives from Greystar Management Team, the company that owns and manages Destinations.
The complex’s first pullout driveway was installed a year ago by the prior owner, who authorized signage that allowed street parking that often prevents DART buses from picking up residents. At the Sept. 3 meeting, Public Works Director Bill Franz said Greystar has already submitted plans for a second pullout driveway to be installed south of the existing one. The new pullout driveway will be designated for DART pick-ups and drop-offs and parking will not be permitted. Plans for the new pullout have already been submitted to the city’s development and business services for review.
“The timing of that is in Greystar’s hands at this point and I’m sure they’re working furiously to get that back in,” Franz said. “That issue is well underhand.”
Mayor Nicola Smith said she spoke with Greystar representatives, who said they were pleased that the project is able to move forward so quickly. Smith said the project is a “living example” of how well the city works to improve the lives of its community.
Franz said the city anticipates being able to issue construction permits as soon as the final design is submitted by Greystar.
This is not the first time Destinations residents have come to council hoping for improvements around the complex. A new crosswalk is being installed near 194th Street Southwest and 40th Avenue West so residents will no longer have to walk downhill on 40th Avenue West to the crosswalk at 196th Street Southwest. Though the city has received requests in the past for a crosswalk at the intersection, Franz said the difficulty was the lack of signaling to cross safely. According to Franz, the new crosswalk will have a flashing signal and an outlined crosswalk, which are being installed by city staff. The crosswalk is scheduled to be completed by the end of September.
Franz also addressed other concerns from residents, like police traffic enforcement on 40th Avenue West. In the past, Destinations residents have accused the Lynnwood Police Department of unfairly issuing tickets to DART buses. However, police deny having issued any DART buses tickets.
“The idea that we would look harder at enforcing a violation on a DART or SHAG bus versus a private vehicle — we don’t do that,” said Deputy Chief Rodney Cohnheim
Police said they have only ticketed cars if they were illegally parked on 40th Avenue West and if there were signs in place. With the construction of the second pullout, the issue is expected to be resolved. Cohnheim said another solution would be educating the community through partnerships with public works and community development.
“Hopefully by educating them about the law they’ll understand and it won’t continue and we won’t have to take action,” he said.
Speeding on 40th Avenue West was also a concern from residents. The speed limit on 40th Avenue West is 25 miles per hour and police have deployed a speed trailer to monitor drivers. However, Franz reminded council that 40th Avenue West is a heavy traffic road set on a hill.
“Because 40th is a traffic arterial and it’s on a hill, speeding is an issue that’s hard to enforce,” he said.
Additionally, Greystar managing director Joanne Broadway addressed concerns from residents about potential rent increases. Destinations is slated for other building renovations like plans to install a new gate around the back of the complex and improve access to the building’s garage. Some residents worry they will end up paying for these renovations in their though spikes in rent.
Half of the complex’s units are priced for affordable housing and the rest are market value. The price for affordable housing units is set by Snohomish County, however Broadway said affordable units will not be raised to the maximum amount for affordable housing.
“That’s not our goal,” she said. “We’re not trying to max out what the city or county is allowing.”
— By Cody Sexton