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In the late 1980s, Maple Leaf Community Council representatives participated in the public process for locating a future transit center. Because of increasing cut-through traffic on Maple Leaf’s residential streets, Maple Leaf advocated for the transit center to be located to the north, such as at NE 145th or NE 175th so that transit would be located closer to where new growth was occurring. However, the decision was made to locate the transit center at Northgate. In an effort to address the traffic situation, a traffic study was funded and it was complete in 1989. The traffic study predicted gridlock at Northgate once the development allowed by existing zoning was built out.
This traffic study led to an interim stop to development while the Northgate Area Comprehensive Plan (NACP) was developed in the early 90s. The NACP was Seattle’s first neighborhood plan and it was adopted in September 1993. See the original NACP at http://www.cityofseattle.net/neighborhoods/npi/plans/northgate/NorthgatePlan.pdf.
The portion of Maple Leaf that is north of NE 85th Street is included in the NACP. The NACP planning area includes an “Overlay District” (the larger planning area) and the “Northgate Urban Center” or “Core” (the smaller area of dense zoning around Northgate Mall). See the Northgate Planning Area map by clicking here.
In 2005, NACP Goals & Polices adopted into the City Comprehensive Plan and these are now the goals and policies that govern City decisions made for the Northgate planning area:
- NG-G1 A place where people live, work, shop, play and go to school-all within walking distance.
- NG-G2 A thriving, vital, mixed-use center of concentrated development surrounded by healthy single-family neighborhoods transformed from an underutilized, auto-oriented office/retail area.
- NG-G3 The surrounding single-family neighborhoods are buffered from intense development in the core, but have ready access to the goods, services, and employment located in the core via a range of transportation alternatives including walking, bicycling, transit, and automobile.
- NG-G4 The most intense and dense development activity is concentrated within the core.
- NG-G5 Commercial activity outside the core is smaller in scale and allows for a mix of uses that serve the adjacent residential neighborhoods.
- NG-G6 An economically viable commercial core with improved alternative means of access, good vehicular and pedestrian circulation, and an enhanced, interesting environment that attracts customers, visitors, and employers.
- NG-G7 Medium to high density residential and employment uses are concentrated within a 10-minute walk of the transit center, reducing the number and length of vehicle trips and making travel by foot and bicycle more attractive.
- NG-G8 Quality open space exists in sufficient quantity and variety to meet the needs of workers, shoppers, students, and visitors, as well as recreational and natural spaces for the growing residential population.
- NG-P1 Encourage development of the core as a major regional activity center for retail, commercial, office, multifamily residential, and educational uses with densities sufficient to support transit.
- NG-P2 Use land use regulation to cause new development to locate close to transit stops and provide good pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout the area so that intra-area vehicular trips and locally generated traffic are reduced.
- NG-P3 Use a Northgate Overlay District to address the special characteristics of development in the area.
- NG-P4 Concentrate employment activity where the infrastructure and transportation system can best accommodate it.
- NG-P5 Promote a mixture of activities including commercial and residential uses in areas that have Neighborhood Commercial and Residential Commercial zoning designations.
- NG-P6 Promote additional multifamily housing opportunities for households of all income levels to the extent that a compatible scale and intensity of development can be maintained with adjacent single-family areas.
- NG-P7 Reduce conflicts between activities and promote a compatible relationship between different scales of development by maintaining a transition between zones where significantly different intensities of development are allowed.
- NG-P8 Maintain the character and integrity of the existing single-family zoned areas by maintaining current single-family zoning on properties meeting the locational criteria for single-family zones.
- NG-P9 Promote the efficiency of the transportation system by accommodating more person trips rather than vehicle trips.
- NG-P10 Enhance transit service and facilitates to make it a more attractive travel mode for persons living and working in the Northgate Area.
- NG-P11 Promote pedestrian circulation with an improved street level environment by striving to create pedestrian connections that are safe, interesting and pleasant.
- NG-P12 Manage parking supply, location and demand to discourage the use of single occupant vehicles, and to improve short-term parking accessibility for retail customers, patients, and visitors, without undermining transit or high occupancy vehicle (HOV) usage, or detracting from the creation of an attractive pedestrian environment.
- NG-P13 Seek to reduce the impact of increases in traffic volume by limiting conflicts with local access streets, and improving traffic flow, circulation and safety, without increasing vehicular capacity.
- NG-P14 Seek to reduce the impact of a high capacity transit station on surrounding neighborhoods by emphasizing non-motorized access, transit supportive land uses, and an attractive pedestrian environment at and near the station.
- NG-P15 Promote a system of open spaces and pedestrian connections, to guide acquisition, location, and development of future open space and to establish priorities for related public improvements.
- NG-P-16 Promote reduction of potential runoff into Thornton Creek, and encourage restoration of the Creek to enhance acquatic habitat and absorb more runoff.
- NG-P17 Encourage quality human services for all segments of the population.
- NG-P18 Explore and seek to develop a variety of strategies for financing implementation of these goals and policies.
Learn more about Northgate Guidelines and Plans at this web site:http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/Planning/Northgate_Revitalization/GuidelinesPlans/default.asp
Information about the NACP can be found at: www.seattle.gov/dpd/planning/Northgate_Revitalization/Overview/