The First Hill Streetcar vs. The 60 (Image: CHS)
75 years — and some major testing delays — later, streetcars returned to Capitol Hill in January. The launch was a rush job with little ceremony. But officials say the 2.5-mile, 10-stop route connecting Pioneer Square, the International District, First Hill, and Capitol Hill will get its celebration February 13th. The celebration will bring to an end the free ride for the route which has enjoyed more riders than expected thanks to its no-fare introductory period.
Starting, Monday, February 15th, riders will need to purchase $2.25 adult fare at station platforms using an ORCA card or ticket machines. 3,000 riders are expected to use the streetcar every day — though many have been critical of the delays the FHSC sometimes encounters as it travels in the traffic lane, sharing space with automobiles, buses, and the occasional, extremely poorly parked car or truck.
Renters must be engaged about HALA. After all, renters comprise nearly half of Seattle’s citizenry and it is renters who face getting priced out of neighborhoods by rising rents.
Late last month, Mayor Murray hosted a cheerleading session for the City’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda or HALA. It was a packed room filled with enthusiasm for implementing the 65 recommendations that emerged last July in response to Seattle’s housing crisis. Comments by Sara Maxana, a homeowner in NW Seattle, were a highlight. Referring to the rapidly escalating value of homes like hers and the resulting impacts on renters, Maxana said:
“I don’t see why one class of people, homeowners, should be getting a windfall from the same phenomenon that is causing other people in Seattle to struggle,” she said. “I don’t think that’s okay.”
Before closing the meeting, Murray took a handful of questions from the crowd. “Guy in the Striped Shirt” asked an important question: “How will renters be engaged in discussions about HALA?”
The mayor responded very generally, saying that we need to engage everybody: owners and renters, young and old, etc. and etc. I would respond more directly. Renters must be engaged about HALA. After all, renters comprise nearly half of Seattle’s citizenry and it is renters who face getting priced out of neighborhoods by rising rents.
But engaging renters to address neighborhood issues isn’t easy. Continue reading
Millie, the Goldendoodle is a regularly seen on 19th between Roy and Mercer where her human, Mary, runs Moonjar. Millie was recently found at Fuel Coffee, patiently waiting for her treat as Mary waited for hers. Millie “leans in” for pets and ear scratches and has been spoiled by the baristas at Fuel.
We ask photographer Alex Garland to follow marchers in the rain and do crazy things like trying to make yet another picture of yet another huge apartment building look interesting. We thought we’d ask him to do something a little more fun. Capitol Hill Pets is a semi-regular look at our furry, fuzzy, feathered, and finned friends found out and about on Capitol Hill.
Help is on the way for small business owners on 23rd Ave who say they are on the ropes as a major overhaul of the busy corridor has choked traffic and pushed pedestrians off sidewalks. But it’s not the help they asked for.
Friday afternoon, City Hall representatives tell CHS “project improvements and community financial assistance” are coming to the street at the direction of Mayor Ed Murray.
“As we reconstruct 23rd Avenue, we will do more to respond to the needs and concerns of business owners, with marketing assistance, improved signage and individualized consultations. We want all of our Central Area businesses to succeed during the disruption,” Murray said. “When the project is complete, neighborhood businesses and residents will enjoy a more walkable, active atmosphere with improved access to shops and services.”
23rd Ave owners will not be getting the direct cash relief they have called for, but two city agencies are promising to address some key concerns with the 23rd Avenue Corridor Complete Streets Project.
Responding to community concerns about the project, the Seattle Department of Transportation will reorder its construction schedule to reopen 23rd between Jackson and Yesler in March, one to two months earlier than currently planned. The Office of Economic Development will also provide $102,000 of new funding for marketing the area and business support — but not direct mitigation payments to area businesses. The city said the additional funding follows recent grants of $220,000 for “economic and cultural development projects” in the Central District.
SDOT will also introduce a variant of the Construction Hub program that has been utilized to help improve conditions for businesses around Pike/Pine’s busy blocks of redevelopment. An inspector for the project has been named and designated as a point person for merchant concerns during 23rd Ave construction. You can reach Eric Sadler at (206) 391-7854 and help him in his role “to closely monitor contractor construction activities, and to hear and respond directly to business concerns.”
Part of a ripple of Seattle boutique grocery markets — and a member of a small but ambitious family of food+drink venture — has shuttered in Portage Bay after less than a year of business.
Canal Market, on Fuhrman Ave E squeezed between the north tip of Capitol Hill and the water, closed without fanfare this week due to “business reasons,” a former employee tells CHS. Neighbors wondering about the suddenly darkened stretch of retail asked CHS to check in on the market. A representative for the business has not responded to our inquiry about the closure.
The project from Capitol Hill food and drink entrepreneur and chef Ericka Burke took over the space of a former neighborhood bodega with a vision for a marketplace and cafe as other ventures like 19th Ave E-born Cone and Steiner also were forming to give the small-scale grocer business a try.
(Image: Canal Market)
“I want this to be the quintessential neighborhood market, a vibrant hub,” Burke’s press release read at the time. “Canal Market will be a meeting place for neighbors to catch up over a cup of coffee, quickly grab a bottle of wine, and shop for dinner. We’re even going totally old school, offering house accounts to make getting in-and-out easy and convenient.”
Designed by Graham Baba and beset with construction delays, Burke finally opened Canal Market last May as her Volunteer Park Cafe settled in after a dispute with neighbors at 19th and Galer and as she geared up for her largest, most ambitious and expensive project — the centerpiece of Pike/Pine’s preservation-friendly Chophouse Row development, Chop Shop.
State corporation documents indicate the company behind the Canal Market has ceased operations. The companies behind Chop Shop and Volunteer Park Cafe, meanwhile, remain active.
An advocate for the homeless and low income housing expert is the first candidate to
jump *splash* into the 43rd District race to replace Rep. Brady Walkinshaw in the State Legislature.
Nicole Macri, an 11-year Capitol Hill resident, announced her plans to run Thursday in the November election.
UPDATE: It’s a Capitol Hill showdown. Political consultant and LGBTQ advocate Thomas Pitchford quietly entered the 43rd District race in January. The Capitol Hill resident told CHS he decided to take a “slow approach” to the campaign and would likely have a public-facing campaign launch in March.
As the housing director for the Downtown Emergency Service Center, Macri oversees housing and service programs for some 6,000 chronically homeless adults. She is also the board chair of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and serves on Seattle’s Housing Levy Oversight Committee.
“This was neither an easy decision for me nor one that I took lightly,” Macri said in an email to supporters. “But, my decision to run for the legislature boils down to this: Olympia needs more advocates and champions for affordable housing and mental health.” Continue reading
Newly completed 12th Ave Square Park is the kind of open space you need to create in a tightly packed, Central Seattle neighborhood. Where once was an empty, 7,322-square-foot, gravel-covered lot, now is a paved plaza with native plantings, raised pedestals, and a rubber coated mound that answers the cross-neighborhood call of Cal Anderson’s Teletubby Hill. Above it all floats a sculpture by artist Ellen Sollod.
All that and you can drive through it thanks to the James Ct woonerf that runs softly (and one way, only) through the edge of the new public space. Continue reading
(Images: Revolution Wines)
Revolution owners Mark and Carmen Brown. (Image: CHS)
With so much beer and coffee news over the past year, Capitol Hill wine lovers may have been feeling a little left out. Demand, it seems, remains strong as the owners of Revolution Wine discovered during their packed opening over the weekend at Belmont and Pike.
Opening Capitol Hill’s newest wine shop and wine bar was a decade in the making for owner Mark Brown, who first drew up the business plan in 2005. Several years working for Xbox’s marketing team put the dream on hold until last year when Brown and his wife, Carmen, secured the former home of The Feed Bag pet shop. Continue reading
(Image: Puppy Bowl)
Free First Saturday: Lunar New Year
Looking for something to do on and around Capitol Hill this weekend? Here are a few ideas from the CHS Calendar. Something we missed? Add your area events to the list.
For more, check out the CHS Calendar. Continue reading
Downtown, where MID patrols began, isn’t so far from Capitol Hill (Image: CHS)
As Mayor Ed Murray seeks more local, state, and federal funding to address the growing crisis, one successful homelessness outreach program has made its way to Capitol Hill.
Outreach counselors from the Metropolitan Improvement District have begun joining East Precinct officers on morning patrols. Cal Anderson is a regular part of the beat. It’s part of a long term strategy to do the hard work of confronting chronic homelessness: Counselors learn who sleeps on the street by name, what issues they face, and slowly, try to find ways to help.
“It’s really a relationship model,” said MID vice president Dave Willard.
Outreach workers often start with offering people socks or blankets to open up a conversation, Willard said. They can also provide city and regional bus tickets, motel vouchers, connections to homeless shelters, and other social services.
The effort follows promises made in the wake of a shooting at Broadway and Pike in November to bring more services to Pike/Pine to help free up East Precinct officers who have found themselves on the front lines of Seattle’s homelessness crisis.
There are currently two outreach workers assigned to Capitol Hill and a third drug abuse and mental health counselor on the way. Willard said the program is on the search for an empty storefront or small office space in the neighborhood. “Just a place to meet with people out of the rain … a table, a couple chairs, maybe a coffee pot,” he said. You can email Willard with any ideas.