By reporter Steven Smalley
West Point Treatment Plant Sewer News announces a proposal to install a gate on Discovery Park Boulevard to limit automobile access to the beach.
The newsletter states, “For several years, King County and the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation have dealt with illegal activities on Discovery Park beaches and uncontrolled vehicle access to the West Point Treatment Plant, beach areas, and lighthouse. To address these ongoing and serious problems, King County and Seattle Parks and Recreation are proposing to install a new security gate on Discovery Park Boulevard to control access to these areas.”
Although the Parks Department wishes you to either walk or bike, if you visit the lighthouse by car, there is an official procedure by which you must obtain a permit from the Learning Center. It’s clear not everyone obtains a pass, and that causes problems, according to City of Seattle and King County.
Following an alert by a vigilant news tipper, Magnolia Voice attended a public meeting at Discovery Park Wednesday in which city and county officials received casual feedback. The meeting began at 4:30. There were obviously more bureaucrats than there were attendees which some said was because of the early hour.
Many Magnolia residents in attendance were clearly not pleased with the proposal, which is slated to take the next 18-months.
“This is the most beautiful place in Seattle. Restricting access to the public is a tragedy,” exclaimed Mary Steele-Klein, a Magnolia resident. “I think they want to eliminate it for everyone but hikers. Limiting the public access to these scenic places by public officials is a disease that has taken over. It’s very hurtful. It’s really tragic – a disaster for the people of Seattle.”
“If people will follow the rules, the gate will not be any different,” said Donald Harris, property manager for Seattle Parks. “The Master Plan for Discovery Park was developed with a huge public process. The plan that we adopted said that Discovery Park is a natural park and that there was not to be vehicle access within the park…that there was not to be a lot of traffic despoiling the environment…. I don’t see us providing more parking availability in the foreseeable future because I think it’s a violation of the Master Plan…,” he said.
“People right now are tending to ignore the permit-only parking. It’s part of what we believe to be a benefit of having the gate. It would direct people back to the Visitors’ Center. They would get a permit and park in the spaces allotted,” explained a spokesperson for King County Wastewater. “Right now people ignore the signs that tell them to stop, and they just go down there.”
It was difficult to find anyone other than government officials who wanted the new gate.
“The proposed gate location is almost a half mile from the beach itself,” writes a Magnolia Voice news tipper. “I know that there are many runners and others who use the trails to get to the North or South Beach Trail, but many of us also use cars to get down to this spot so we can enjoy the Puget Sound and the beach with our children, or simply because we can’t walk down that hill and up again without causing injury or considerable discomfort as a result! Why (will) a second gate solve a problem that the first gate hasn’t fixed?”
What are your thoughts? Magnolia Voice appreciates your comments.