We are making some progress with the plans to replace the Yesler Pier (next to the Bluwater Bistro). After the October meeting with spokespeople for the Parks Department, the Parks and Greenspace Committee became increasingly dissatisfied with the plans for a new Yesler Pier.
The existing pier is 47 feet wide and wood, but the new one is only 16 feet wide with steel grates. True, it is connected to a 12-foot-wide platform over a new breakwater that will be 500 feet long. But missing is a pedestrian-friendly space that can meet the social needs of the case in summer, small groups of friends and sunbathers, especially a lively place for teenagers to hang out on the pier in summer.
Unfortunately, the project design was jelled three years ago without virtually no serious public outreach. When the Leschi Community Council protested the design–our letter was in the November issue of the Leschi News–the Parks Department responded that there could be no changes in the dimensions of the pier due to the status of permits that had been negotiated. Current environmental requirements are strict about minimizing the coverage of platforms on the lake—in order to protect the migrating salmon juveniles from predator fish that hover in deep shade.
The most that could change, the Department said, would be the addition of a few benches. We don't have any places to sit now, so that is an improvement. We still were not happy after we found the 100% plans on the web. No benches are shown on the plans and there were no ladders to help people in the lake climb onto the pier.
The best news is that instead of steel grates for the surface of the pier, we will get a soft fiberglass grate material. The surface on the breakwater platform, because it is over deeper water, will be solid concrete.
We are pursuing an access landing and temporary storage for canoes and kayaks—to replace the low floating dock which was constructed by the Washington Water Trails and Leschi Community Council. Landscaping for the slope of Leschi Park south of the entry to the South Leschi Moorage: we have seen no landscaping plans.
One other improvement we may get is an entry structure with a sign that denotes the public character of the new pier.
City Council funded the project five years ago, but construction costs have climbed. The project, though, is a requirement tied to the environmental impact of the changes for the South Leschi Moorage.