Friends of Marymoor Park

March 22, 2017 Meeting Summaries

-- see also the February 22, 2017  meeting summary

1) Introductions

Norah Robinson, King County Parks – Marymoor Park lead; Greg Helland, FOMP President and SODA rep; Michael Hobbs, FOMP Secretary, Webmaster; Shane Berry, AEG Live; Travis Roach, TOPS; Glenn Eades, Eastside Audubon, neighbor; Christian Miller Marymoor Velodrome Association; and a team from Sound Transit: Lauren Swift (Senior Environmental Planner), Leonard McGee (Project Manager), Ryan Bianchi (Community Outreach Specialist), and Brianna Henderson

2) Sound Transit - Downtown Redmond Link Extension

The Link Light Rail system is scheduled to open their Redmond Technology Center Station (near the Microsoft campus) in 2023, and extend the line to downtown Redmond by 2024, with two stops: one at the NE corner of Marymoor, and the other in downtown Redmond.

ST2 included funding for design of the extension from Overlake to Redmond, but the economic downturn limited design to conceptual only, until now. Between the tail of ST2 funding and the new ST3 funding, design work and construction can move forward.

A Preferred Alternative was approved in 2011, but much has changed on the ground since then.  ST is now working on a “Project Refinement” to make sure the preferred alternative still makes sense. Since 2011, SR-520 was widened, and the rail corridor through downtown Redmond was converted to a very nice trail and park.

The City of Redmond continues to strongly endorse the routing of the 2011 Preferred Alternative, where the line would follow the SR-520 right-of-way to the Southeast Redmond station at the NE corner of Marymoor Park, and then curve sharply back to the west to follow the old rail line into downtown.  This route was assumed during cost estimates that had to precede the ST-3 ballot issue.  In contrast to the 2011 Preferred Alternative, Redmond is now asking for an elevated line into downtown, with an elevated station near Town Center, rather than further west.

In discussions with WSDOT and Redmond, and it looks like SR-520 won’t need further expansion. But even so, there’s not much space between the park (and established sports fields) and the highway. At the west end, the Link is entirely within the WSDOT. At the east end, it is entirely within the park.

Further details of the route are still very much to be figured out.  The trickiest problem is how the line will cross the east end of SR-520; the line might fly over the top, or might go partially subterranean, or might go somewhere in between.  This would then effect the elevation of the Southeast Redmond station.  The prospect of an elevated Southeast Redmond station led Sound Transit to budget that the line would run elevated along SR-520 along the north edge of Marymoor Park.

They did show two possible routes at the extreme east end, with one a lower height station and a route that cuts more of the park at the velodrome and extends more into Redmond's Marymoor Subarea neighborhood, or a very high station leading to an extremely high flyover of the SR-520.

Regardless of at-grade or elevated, at the east end of the park, the Link Rail will have to use some small strip off the north end of Marymoor Park. This may impact the wetland that’s between the soccer fields and the cricket field, and will have increasing impact on the Event Pad and the Velodrome.

The Marymoor Velodrome Association is concerned about possible vibration impacts on the velodrome track structure. MVA’s track is 40 years old and could easily crack.  It could be rebuilt in a smaller configuration if necessary if money were available.

Archeological assessment along the right-of-way will be conducted. If they find a lot of artifacts, that could make an elevated alignment more attractive. They will be conducting geotech analysis at the same time.

Greg expressed an aesthetic complaint about an elevated alignment; a very obvious man-made structure would dominate the view to the north.  Michael expressed concerns that an elevated line would separate the Bear Creek forest from Marymoor from an avian perspective.  This could diminish the desirability of both Marymoor and the Bear Creek corridor to birds. Glenn suggested that an elevated line would be awesome and dramatic.

A diagram of the line proposals can be downloaded here: images/ST_RedExt_RollPlots_032117.pdf  (Please note that the map on page 4 has North at the bottom; I presume these are all oriented so that the outbound direction is to the right, but after the hairpin turn entering downtown Redmond, this can wig you out.)

Further information can be found at Redmond.gov/LightRailExtension.

For questions of comments, contact Ryan Bianchi at ryan.bianchi@soundtransit.org or at 206-854-0456.

3) CIP/Project/Facilities Updates

a) Bird Loop: Planting is being hampered by archeological concerns. Parks is hoping to get some areas of the park pre-cleared as being non-significant within the top 18-24 inches, so that future plantings in those locations can proceed at any time.

b) Community Gardens: Work on the paths is proceeding, though greatly hampered by rain.

c) TOPS tennis facility: TJ Davis expects to have a draft of the Terms of Agreement between KC and TOPS for next month’s meeting. Early May is still their target for presenting to King County Council.

d: Lot B Entrance: Parks want to widen the entrance to Lot B from Pea Patch Rd., so that 2 cars AND pedestrians can simultaneously enter/exit. Michael asked, and Norah confirmed, that (to her understanding) the widening would be on the north side of the existing entrance, not eating into the aspen grove.

e: Taiwan Friendship Garden: Back on the table. Site won’t be in the Historic District. It might be along the east edge of the east entrance, or it might be somewhere along the north edge of the Marymoor Connector Trail east of the Park Maintenance buildings. Glenn expressed concerns that this is not really something that fills a need, but is something “outside” possibly being placed in the park.

5) Other

Greg expressed dissatisfaction with what he has perceived as an increase in the number of (temporary) signs, in violation of past signage agreements that have been discussed at FOMP. Of especial note are the Lucia signs. According to Norah, those are part of the agreement with Cirque du Soleil. She has also agreed to movable sandwich boards for Wash Spot and Bear Creek Coffee. The City of Redmond has required the illuminated reader board on WLSP so that Redmond neighbors know what’s going on, and when events are occurring.

Next meeting, March 22, 2017, IN CLISE MANSION

These notes do not constitute an official record of the meeting.  They may have inaccuracies and omissions.  If anyone has any complaints about the content of these notes, they should direct them to Michael Hobbs at fomp@marymoor.org, and he will endeavor to correct them.

 

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