Lake Forest Park faces many issues that the next City Council must address. I have been following several current topics and have covered them as a writer for the Shoreline Area News over the past year. I have also spoken with many residents to hear their concerns and ideas. The following is a list of many of the top issues we face. I share what I have learned and some of my ideas on approaches we might take. I also invite you to contact me with your ideas on these or other concerns you may have.
Responding to and mitigating climate change is going to be the work of municipal, county, state and national governments worldwide for the next decades. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the problem, and the long time periods it takes for climate changes to manifest. But just as all individual actions matter to help combat climate change (like not buying a new smartphone every year), so too do the smallest collective actions – like at the level of cities. Cities through zoning and permitting regulations can create policies that combat climate change, and the sum of these actions worldwide will be a linchpin in determining how much our lives will be disrupted by climate change.
LFP needs to publish a Climate Action Plan, a roadmap of what actions the city will take to mitigate the effects of climate change. Other cities in our area such as Kenmore and Shoreline have already done so.
Developing and implementing the Climate Action Plan will require a commitment on the part of the city to devote staff time and resources to this topic. One possible action is to hire a point person, a climate plan coordinator, to oversee city efforts. Here’s an article about Shoreline’s environmental services coordinator.
The current city council has made some thoughtful changes to the zoning code at Town Center. Chief among the changes is a whole new section on parking garages, in response to Sound Transit’s chosen site for a Park and Ride Garage on Town Center property. Other changes in the zoning code prevented the ubiquitous “5 + 1” (five residential floors above a ground floor retail/parking) structures abounding in the north King County area, which would not have fit the character of the rest of Lake Forest Park.
Here’s my most recent article about the zoning changes.
Social justice came to the attention of many people after the George Floyd murder and subsequent nationwide protests. As a citizenry, we should work with the police department, in order to assure that they deliver the amount and quality of police services the community expects.
Here’s an article about the LFP Police Department and body-worn cameras.
The issue of equity encompasses social justice, and applies it to climate change mitigation to create the idea of “climate justice”. The effects of climate change fall disproportionately on the poor, the unhoused and people of color. What good is heat pump technology if you can’t afford it, or don’t have a home? Will banning natural gas hookups help reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at the cost of driving small family-owned restaurants out of business? These are not easy questions to answer, but we have to start and continue asking them at the city level.
If the pandemic has demonstrated nothing else, it has shown how valuable open spaces and the connection to natural environment are. Lake Forest Park, according to a recent city survey, is under-parked for its population. However, with the additions of Five Acre Wood, and other parcels, we will get some much needed public open space, including Lake Washington shoreline frontage (yes, a beach!). This will all cost money to develop and maintain, and we can’t rely a lot on King County parks and recreation funds, which is why I’m in favor of seeking grants and other funding sources.
Here’s Mayor Johnson’s article about the acquisition of the Lakehaven property, which will become Lake Forest Park’s beach access.
Unlike a decade ago, our city’s finances are in good shape, even coming out of the pandemic (here’s an article about that). This doesn’t mean that there is money to develop new parks
One of Lake Forest Park’s signature attributes is our two streams (Lyon Creek and McAleer Creek) and their tributaries. Groups like the Lake Forest Park Stewardship Foundation, the Rotary Club of Lake Forest Park and Lake Forest Park Streamkeepers work to maintain the health of our streams and their riparian environment that is the home to a wonderfully diverse ecological community, including spawning salmon. The city has done a good job of attracting funding for improving our streams and their critters.
Here’s an article about the Lyon Creek culvert replacement at NE 178th St. Trust me, it’s more interesting than that sounded.
Lake Forest Park has a number of awesome parks but if you’ve ever tried to walk from one to another, you may have had less than an awesome experience. The Safe Streets part of the Lake Forest Park Big Five Projects plan adopted by the city council in 2016, prioritizes the pedestrian and bike connections between schools, parks and Town Center, and, given how walking and biking were critical for my mental health during the pandemic lockdown, it is a priority for me as a potential city councilmember. Grants and other funding sources would make possible such improvements that would be a benefit to anyone who’s ever wanted to walk or bike from one part of LFP to another.
Here’s an article about the potential pedestrian crossing over Bothell Way at Town Center.