Monday, February 11, 2019

WHITE is the magical color of the day. Even the gardens along Queen Anne Avenue are sporting it! Hope you’ve been finding time to enjoy all this beautiful snow.

While life has slowed down somewhat, we’d like to visit the topic of the Safeway Project to provide some background information about PPQA’s role in the redevelopment of this property.


By Kathy King
PPQA Board Member


The major goal of PPQA is to promote and oversee the Queen Anne Avenue Streetscape Master Plan which was finalized in 2006. This document is the outcome of three community meetings held to identify community preferences for the improvement of QA Avenue from Galer to McGraw. These meetings were conducted by Zimmer-Gunsul-Frasca Partnership. This urban design firm was selected by PPQA and their work was funded by a grant from the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

The resulting vision became the Queen Anne Avenue Streetscape Master Plan. It reflects the community’s desire for an attractive and safe commercial core that includes:

• Gathering places with seating
• Safe sidewalks
• Street-level vegetation
• Public art
• Pedestrian-level lighting
• No litter
• Clear street signs
• Human scale store fronts

Whenever a new development is proposed for the commercial core along QA Avenue, a representative of the PPQA board attends meetings of the QA Community Council’s Land Use Review Committee (LURC) to make sure that developers are aware of the above elements of the Streetscape Master Plan. When comments about the project are requested by the City, we analyze how well the project reflects the Streetscape Master Plan and also submit suggestions and examples of preferred changes.

PPQA found the first go-round with the initial group hired by Safeway to redevelop the block to be a frustrating experience because we did not seem to be getting commitments for significant pedestrian amenities such as seating, landscaping, and setbacks from the sidewalk. Safeway parted ways with this group mid 2018.


The new team began planning in December, 2018 and is a breath of fresh air! Maria Barrientos of BarrientosRYAN ( is the developer and has taken the initiative in requesting input from the community. In December two members of the PPQA board met with her, Kris Snider of Hewitt Landscape Architecture, and Brian Runberg, of Runberg Architecture Group, to discuss how the project can best embody the spirit of the Streetscape Master Plan. They expressed enthusiasm for the principals of good urban design embodied in the Master Plan. The discussion around pedestrian amenities such as providing a significant seating courtyard, building setbacks from the sidewalk, plentiful landscaping, and possible increased connections between the store interior and exterior went very well.


Legally a developer has the right to build up to the maximum height allowed on the property by the City’s zoning code—there is nothing the community can do about that. The City also determines how many curb cuts will be allowed for cars and trucks entering the site and where they can be placed—not negotiable. There are constraints--but our community can have significant say about many other aspects of a development. For instance, to reduce the ‘canyon effect’ of a tall building, we can ask that the upper stories of the building be stepped back to allow more light to reach the ground. The architects expressed a desire to do this.

Uniquely, three of the key players working on this project are Queen Anne residents. Each of them has expressed a desire to create a mixed-use project that they and their neighborhood can be proud of. We feel this development is now on a very positive track.

You can be assured that the PPQA board will continue to stay involved with this expansive and significant development as it is being designed. If we think changes should be made, we will offer suggestions we feel will make it more community friendly. We will speak up for our neighborhood. Stay tuned.