These footnotes belong with the Subarea Plan Community Connections Survey.
Whereas many Olympia neighborhoods are within easy walking distance of community parks and open space amenities such as Priest Point, Watershed, Mission Creek and LBA Woods, Eastside residents are limited to two small neighborhood parks, Lions Park and Madison Scenic Park. The 2016 Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan found there is a strong demand for trails and natural open space areas. The study also showed that water quality, wildlife habitat, public access and scenic value were important reasons to preserve open space. Olympians requested that the City “Buy open space/natural areas” and “Buy land while it’s still available.”
The Eastside has just this type of opportunity. From its origin in Bigelow Lake, Indian Creek flows approximately 3 miles to Budd Inlet. It crosses under I-5 near the PSE facility on Pacific Avenue, follows the Woodland Trail, re-crosses I-5, passes through the southwest corner of the neighborhood, and enters an underground pipe near 12th Avenue and Eastside Street. Like many urbanized stream corridors portions of this one have been degraded. However, the portion of the creek which runs through the southwest corner spreads out and forms a large wetland. Because of the limited development in this area this stream and its associated wetlands presents an excellent opportunity for habitat preservation and restoration.
There are four parcels totaling about 9½ acres. Three of the parcels are owned by one party. With the addition of an undeveloped right-of-way the area available is a little over 10 acres. These mostly undeveloped lands need to be set aside from development to protect their special characteristics. They could provide a close-in opportunity for the community to experience and connect with flora, fauna, and natural habitats, including substantial stream and aquatic habitats. Trail development could allow public access. Less sensitive portions of the site may be appropriate for recreational activities such as a community garden or dog park. The neighborhood and the rest of the City should work with the Parks Department to develop an appropriate long-tern plan to acquire and preserve the land and its resources.
A “Neighborhood Hub” is a small attractive lively shopping area serving two or more residential neighborhoods. A primary purpose is to provide spaces where residents of nearby neighborhoods go to shop, eat, drink, hang out and socialize. The subarea plan proposes establishing a Neighborhood Hub west of Boulevard Road, near 4th Avenue E and State Avenue NE. It would serve primarily the Eastside, Bigelow Highlands and Upper Eastside neighborhoods.
Olympia’s Comprehensive Plan identifies 17 Neighborhood Centers. However, none are located in the Eastside neighborhood. Olympia’s Neighborhood Centers are generally zoned Neighborhood Retail. This designation limits Neighborhood Centers to one acre. The proposed Neighborhood Hub would be larger than a Neighborhood Center, possibly two acres or more, appropriately-sized to encourage neighborhood-serving pedestrian-oriented businesses.
The Comprehensive plan recognizes the need to build a roundabout to replace the signalized intersection at Pacific Avenue and Boulevard Road. Such a project has the potential to profoundly affect traffic on 4th Avenue, State Street, Martin Way, Wilson Street and others. In turn the traffic improvements could fundamentally change the nature of the business community. Instead of an area people pass by on their way to somewhere else, they will be inspired to stop and shop, congregate and connect.
This area is currently within the 4th and State High Density Corridor which extends a half block north of State and south of 4th. The three High Density Corridor zoning designations (HDC-1, 2 & 3) allow a wide variety of office, commercial and residential land uses. To date, this area has experienced only limited high density residential development. A Neighborhood Hub would attract future high-density corridor residents while, at same time, increased residential density in the area would encourage businesses to locate in the Neighborhood Hub.