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Will ArtWorks make way for Sound Transit parking?


Last updated 11/7/2019 at 11:02am

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ArtWorks in Edmonds at Second Avenue South and Dayton Street.

The director of ArtWorks in Edmonds is voicing concerns about Sound Transit's possible plan to use the space leased to ArtWorks for parking.

"If this goes through, we can say goodbye to a program that provides classes, shows, exhibits, and countless other resources for local artists," said Meredith Arnold. ArtWorks is at Second Avenue South and Dayton Street, one of 50 potential projects to improve parking and access at the Edmonds and Mukilteo Sounder stations.

An online survey about Sound Transit's proposals, which the Beacon detailed Oct. 17, closed on Monday, Nov. 4.

"ArtWorks is a vital community resource for artists and the arts in Edmonds and surrounding areas," wrote Arnold in a letter to supporters and to Sound Transit. "Usage of the facility is increasing – five events last weekend alone, included an artists' group meeting, an arts fundraiser for traumatized youth and seniors, an open studio for artists with disabilities and brain injuries, an art class, and evening open studio time for artists to create their work."

Arnold said ArtWorks was recently named the site for a national arts education organization (SOAR) beginning in 2020 and beyond. ArtWorks is the headquarters for such arts organizations as Write On Calligraphers, the NW Polymer Clay Guild, Artists Connect, and the annual general meeting for Washington Women Painters, all nonprofit arts organizations. "Losing ArtWorks will displace more than just one tenant," she said.

Officially known as Dayton Street Plaza, it's also home to the Driftwood Players Annex.

"We are currently in the early planning phase of this project, but Sound Transit takes public feedback seriously regarding all our potential projects," said Scott Thompson, a Sound Transit spokesman.

"We have 22 projects we are considering to provide more access to the Edmonds Sounder station, including one at the corner of Dayton Street and Second Avenue South. Staff evaluations of all the options, along with public feedback we gathered from our survey, will help inform the Sound Transit board's decision on which projects move forward through our environmental process.

"So, no final decisions have been made. There will also be more opportunities for public comment as we move through our process. A final decision on these projects is scheduled for 2021. Sound Transit staff will continue to engage with stakeholders in Edmonds that might be affected by all of these projects."

"The survey ignored the fact that Edmonds is experiencing a parking crisis," said Tracy Felix. Felix, owner of ARTspot on Main Street, and Mary Olsen are developing Graphite, a mixed-use building and art studio two blocks north at Second and Main.

The City of Edmonds recently delayed a pending parking study, Felix said.

"Transit parking is experiencing the same shortages. Solving this problem independent from the needs of local residents and local business is irresponsible. Edmonds spent over a year winning designation as Washington state's first Creative District, and our ArtWorks facility is now on the chopping block?

"Or, at least, the parking that makes the facility useable. Completely unacceptable. How does one answer a survey that asks if this 'improvement' is important? Where is the choice for unacceptable? Shortsighted? At odds with other agencies that are struggling to improve the overall parking issues in Edmonds? Not only that example, but the parking at Salish Crossing has been nearly usurped by large areas set aside for transit, and unavailable to museum and restaurant visitors there."

Sound Transit is investing $40 million to improve access to the Edmonds and Mukilteo stations for riders, whether they walk, bike, use transit, are dropped off, or drive. The funds are from the voter-approved Sound Transit 3 plan from 2016. This investment could come in the form of direct Sound Transit construction of new facilities or by providing funding to another agency or local government to build an improvement.

In early 2019, Sound Transit started working with local partners and the community to identify potential access improvements that it said would best meet the goal of increasing ridership on Sounder North.


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