Jun 16, 2009

Miller Playfield improvements: letter from Parks Superintendent

(in reply to my letter to him. My reply is below. Your comments are, of course, most welcome)

June 15, 2009

Andrew Taylor
Miller Park Neighborhood Association
Vice-President, Miller Advisory Council

Dear Mr. Taylor,

Thanks very much for writing in with your suggestions.

1) Free time on the field for pickup games

We considered the possibility of setting certain times for drop-in play, but after discussion decided against it. The problem is that organizations would travel to the fields to use the open fields for (free) practice. Field demand always exceeds supply. What is proving to work well at Loyal Heights, and what we can do for Miller, is to post online the scheduled field times. That gives would-be drop-in players some sense of what times are available but is not so standard that organizations can count on it for practice times.

2) Encourage teams to use off-street parking

When we issue field permits, we provide teams with information on parking, and we’ll certainly do that at Miller Playfield.

Also, as part of the playfield renovation project if funds allow, we’ll install two pedestrian lights between the play area and the lower parking lot to make access safer at night.

We will also install a kiosk adjacent to the playfield, and we’ll use that to post a sign encouraging field users to use the lower parking lot instead of street parking or the upper (community center) parking lot. We can supply the map you generously offer to the teams and ask that they encourage use of the lower lot. It was also requested at the public meeting that additional lighting be added in the area of the outdoor accessed restroom. Here again we’ll do that if project funds allow.

Of course enforcement is always a problem. SPD’s Parking Enforcement steps in only when laws are being broken and, then, only when an officer is available.

3) Equip the outdoor bathrooms at Miller Community Center with automatic locks, to allow their use by players after evening games

If we can install automatic locks on the outdoor accessed restrooms at a reasonable cost that can be absorbed by the field project, we’ll do that. Staff have started researching that option. (The best systems require laptops, software, power.) It will take time for us to research work out a good plan.

In the meantime, starting June 15, we have contracted with Northwest Security to start locking the restrooms at night. Miller Community Center staff will open them weekday mornings, and Grounds Maintenance Crew staff weekend mornings.

Again, thank you for your good suggestions. We look forward to Miller’s new and improved playfield getting a lot of use when it’s ready for play at the end of August.

Timothy Gallagher
Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation

Larry Campbell, Parks Security, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Dennis Cook, Athletics Office, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Jeremy Doane, Miller Community Center, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Ted Holden, Miller Playfield Project, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Katie Mitchell, Facilities Maintenance, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Paul Wilkinson, Facilities Maintenance, Seattle Parks and Recreation
Christopher Williams, Deputy Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation

Many thanks for your prompt and very informative reply to my suggestions.

Several of your items are contingent on there being sufficient funds in the field renovation project to allow their completion. I gather that the bids for the field renovation work were, due to the recession, significantly lower than anticipated. I presume that these extra funds are being used elsewhere, but would hope that they could be tapped to fund the improvements we have discussed.

In my previous letter I mentioned signage: the lower Miller parking lot is not obvious from the main roads (19th, 23rd, John). i suggest that directional signs be installed at appropriate intersections to guide field users to the parking lot. This should cost very little, and will be of great utility: the field users I've talked to have often been totally ignorant of the existence of the parking lot. The routes noted on my map would be appropriate places for signs.

Thanks again,

Andrew Taylor

1 comment:

Charles said...

Dear Andrew:
1. Parking:
The most effective educational tool will be small flyer/maps left on cars in problem areas (congested areas) as the players will be very relieved to learn about alternative parking in an uncrowded area. Any text should mention that quiet at night would be greatly appreciated by neighbors immediately north of the lower lot who are good friends of mine.
There is still a grassy area near the lower parking lot on the south side between it and the Miller building where younger children can enjoy pickup games. Pickup games of eleven-a-side sports are rare. Occasionally my kids and I might join a stranger to kick the ball around at Bobby Morris field. We see many informal volleyball and ultimate games in VP as well.There are many adult co-rec and specialty soccer leagues such as Liga Latina, the select league system, and the youth rec city leagues organized by neighborhood. Most of the scheduled users at Miller will be youth belonging to Capitol Hill Soccer club and baseball players with local Pony league--at least that's my understanding.
best, Charles Ragen
Miller field user since 1975