February 18, 2022: Summary of the Week
The City’s Annual Housing Report is now available. The report is a comprehensive review of market conditions, affordability, quality & safety, and the future of housing in Lakewood.
Steilacoom Boulevard has reopened – the sewer main repair is complete and one of Lakewood’s most-traveled roads is back in operation.
New sidewalks are being built all over Lakewood. Custer & Hudtloff students will enjoy safer walks home from school thanks to new sidewalk construction underway along Steilacoom Boulevard and Phillips Road.
Lakewood’s 2022 event lineup is live. Coming up, join us for Parks Appreciation Day on April 23 and a youth fishing event on May 14. Mayor Whalen will host another Coffeehouse chat session on March 24 at the Fort Steilacoom Park Pavilion.
The City of Lakewood offers a detailed report on housing and market conditions every year to spot problems and suggest solutions. The cost of housing is rising – what are the root causes and what can be done about them?
One problem is material costs – an invasive insect threatens Canada’s lumber supply. Material costs have more than doubled since before the pandemic, adding $24,000+ to the cost to build a home. We may begin to see units built from concrete and other alternative materials.
One solution is the defense of existing affordable housing. Our Rental Housing Safety Program performs inspections to ensure safe living conditions. Our Dangerous & Nuisance Abatement program holds property owners accountable for neglect.
Steilacoom Boulevard is open! Closed for months as Pierce County crews performed an emergency sewer main repair, the roadway reopened on Wednesday (much to your delight).
Temporary striping has been applied, and permanent markings will follow later this month. Pierce County thanked Lakewood commuters for their patience during this important repair.
A new detour is in effect in the Lake City neighborhood. Gravelly Lake Drive has reopened between Veterans & Nyanza, but Washington Boulevard is now closed between Lake City & Gravelly Lake.
Lakewood’s Network of Sidewalks is Expanding
A priority of Lakewood’s Transportation Improvement Plan is “non-motorized access”. We envision a network of sidewalks and bike lanes to make Lakewood safer and more functional for pedestrians and cyclists.
Recent improvements to Lakewood Drive, Gravelly Lake Drive, and Veterans Drive have created long stretches of pleasant sidewalks. Steilacoom Boulevard and Phillips Road are both under construction as we install new sidewalks, and many other Lakewood neighborhoods will benefit in the coming years.
Mayor’s Community Coffeehouse
Thursday, March 24, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Fort Steilacoom Park Pavilion
Chat with Mayor Whalen about important community issues.
Parks Appreciation Day
Saturday, April 23, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Fort Steilacoom Park
Help us beautify local parks by helping pull weeds and picking up junk.
Youth Fishing Event
Saturday, May 14, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
American Lake Park
Learn to fish and keep your pole! This event is free, but registration is required.
Dancing in the Streets
Saturday, May 21, 4:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Fort Steilacoom Park
Bring your dancing shoes and cut a rug at Colonial Plaza downtown.
- Gravelly Lake & Nyanza: Gravelly Lake Drive is now open between Nyanza Road and Veterans Drive. Washington Boulevard is now closed between Lake City Boulevard and Gravelly Lake Drive.
- Steilacoom & Lakewood: Steilacoom Boulevard has reopened; the sewer main repair project is complete. Permanent striping will occur soon.
- Steilacoom & Custer: Sidewalk work is ongoing along the north side of Steilacoom Boulevard. The northern lane (right lane as you drive west) will remain closed for just a little while longer.
- Phillips & Onyx: Sidewalk construction will begin in May along the west side of Phillips between Agate & Onyx. Expect minor lane adjustments.
The meeting of Feb. 14 began with a tour of Lakewood’s new permit portal. Lakewood now shares a familiar interface with the Pierce County PALS system. Users may research permit history, pay fees, schedule appointments, request updates, and perform other tasks from a single dashboard.
Assistant City Manager Dave Bugher reviewed the City’s Climate Change Work Plan. Recommended by the Planning Commission, the work plan proposes 35 measures to lower emissions, advance sustainable development standards, and influence urban planning. City Council requested that each measure be scored for importance and for target metrics and estimated costs to be established.
Bugher additionally reviewed the City’s Annual Housing Report. The report is highly detailed. It contains information about market conditions, housing quality, subsidies & assistance, environmental factors, accessory dwelling units, mobile home parks, and other topics.
Rents rose (+14% YoY) three times faster than local incomes, although Lakewood remains the second-most affordable Pierce County municipality after Spanaway. One challenge is surging material costs (+188% since the pandemic began), adding over $24,000 to the cost to build a single-family home.
Long-Range & Strategic Planning Manager Tiffany Speir and Councilmember Linda Farmer briefed the council on the activity of the South Sound Housing Affordability Partnership. Farmer serves on the SSHAP Executive Board. Lakewood’s stated priorities will include low- and moderate-income homeownership, senior housing, multifamily rental housing, and displacement prevention.
City Manager John Caulfield briefed the council on state and federal legislative sessions. A proposed state transportation package, Move Ahead Washington, would fund several important infrastructure projects in Lakewood and the 28th Legislative District, including $75 million to redesign the I-5 bridge across the Nisqually Delta and $244 million to extend HOV lanes along I-5 from Tacoma to Lakewood.
- Monday, February 22, 2022