CHS Pics | Water rockets above Cal Anderson, bridges across Seattle Central

Here’s some experimental inspiration. The kids of the Northwest Regional Science Olympiad Tournament took over Seattle Central and Cal Anderson on Saturday with science fair battles classic — the wooden bridge battle! — and newfangled — robot vs. robot! CHS was mostly an also-ran back in its high school science physics competition days though we did place well one year in the tennis ball catapult competition while gaining knowledge we can’t say we ever really put into use again…  yet. Happy science!

IMG_0581 Continue reading

Bus Stop | The 545

16452122607_deca224184_cSound Transit has been busy on Capitol Hill for years but, for a long time, the only public transit that Sound Transit has actually provided directly to Capitol Hill has been a dogleg on the 545.

The 545 is Sound Transit’s express bus to Redmond, home to Microsoft’s campus and many other tech companies. At most times of day, the 545 comes through downtown Seattle and gets directly onto I-5 via Olive Way. But in the morning, it takes a zig-zag up Pine to Bellevue Ave and picks up Capitol Hill “v-dashes” before getting back to its normal route and onto the interstate.

On a recent Thursday morning, Bus Stop went out to wait for the 545 after grabbing a pastry at City Market. Several Microsoft Connector buses drove by the crowd passing the time at the bus stop looking at their phones. Full time Microsoft employees get to ride in the private Connector buses, but contract workers (“v-dashes” and “a-dashes” in Microsoft parlance) have to wait for the bus with the rest of us.

The dogleg is nearing its 10th anniversary this year and owes itself to the work of one man, Anirudh Sahni. CHS wrote about Sahni’s fight to bring the 545 to Capitol Hill a few years ago.

It’s hard to find another example of a bus route in Seattle that is so saturated with people heading to one particular destination, day in and day out. The 8 between Capitol Hill and South Lake Union is nearing the 545 on this score, but is not there yet.

Eventually Sound Transit will have light rail in place between Seattle and Redmond, in what it hopes will be another 8 years. Then Capitol Hill to Overlake will only be about 30 minutes away by train, not counting transfer time downtown. Sound Transit is also studying the possibility of a transit-only Lake Washington floating tunnel at Sand Point, but this would likely also necessitate a transfer at the University District.

In the meantime, Seattle transit planners dream of installing a freeway station that could make a Capitol Hill stop easier and perhaps lead to all-day service. The Olive Way freeway station would go in right at the on-ramp to I-5 on Olive Way and cut the detour time to serve Capitol Hill to almost nothing. This could also serve riders of such routes like the 255 to Google in Kirkland.

In the meantime, Capitol Hill’s eastside commuters are thankful for the dogleg.

 

 

CHS Pics | A First Hill streetcar pulls in from Czech Republic

Thanks to reader Ed Nelson for the picture

Thanks to reader Ed Nelson for the picture

The SDOT director’s plans for Czech travels to untangle manufacturing problems has apparently paid off. The ship has come in.

CHS reader Ed Nelson sent this picture from the Saturday morning delivery at 14th and Main of what appears to be one of the six trams slated to serve the First Hill Streetcar line between Pioneer Square and Capitol Hill. Three of the six trains have been undergoing final assembly in Seattle, while three others remained in the Czech Republic. According to SDOT, production in Europe was on hold until assembly and testing finished in Seattle.

In recent weeks, the Maltese vehicle carrier MV Tiger had been en route to Seattle from Europe with the valuable cargo. Fortunately, the West Coast port slowdown won’t apparently add to the already delayed streetcar route which still doesn’t have an official start date and isn’t planned to be ready before late this summer at earliest.

This week in CHS history: Federal/Republican murder, ‘230 Broadway project’ digs in, Hill streetlight test

8445076091_59b98612d3_oHere are the top stories from this week in CHS history:

Following red tape, minimum wage battles, Good Citizen opens on E Olive Way

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(Image: Good Citizen via Twitter)

After two years of battling red tape — and the city’s move to a $15 minimum wage — Andrew Friedman quietly opened his Good Citizen bar Friday night.

“It’s designed to look like someone’s house… really comfortable and nice,” Friedman told CHS about the transformation of the former E Olive Way coffee shop a year ago as he made plans for a March 2014 debut for the bar. Friedman took over the space in 2013. Word back then was the bar was lined up for a summer 2013 debut. Continue reading

CHS Crow | Roberta, Marcy and Keith — ‘When you get something that tastes good and you can always find someone to just sit and talk with — this is a blessing’


After four years of serving up warm meals in a supportive social environment on Thursday nights, last month Community Supper added a weekly Wednesday night dinner to its offerings at All Pilgrims – the church that makes for a quintessential north Broadway landmark with its circa-1900 brick edifice bedecked with a giant “You Are Welcome Here” sign, and that plays many community-centered roles in Capitol Hill. The second night of supper seems to be gaining traction as word spreads, with about 80 meals being served this last Wednesday night to guests and volunteers, in addition to the average of about 140 meals that are served on Thursday nights, Don Jensen, director of Community Lunch on Capitol Hill, said. The Supper is an extension of Community Lunch’s long-running offerings at Central Lutheran on Cal Anderson Park.

Wanting to give space for the stories and perspectives of a few guests and regulars, which might in turn help tell the story of Community Supper in this moment of the program’s expansion, the CHS Crow dropped by and met with an aspiring support specialist with lots of love for the Hill, a Seattle-born soprano who’s created community through the meals and a father and grandfather, elder and pastor, who’s not done with his work yet.

  Roberta

Roberta

Who are you?
I’m in recovery, I’m 49 years old. I’m getting ready to try and endeavor in being a peer support specialist, because I’d like to work with homeless people and stuff. Because I’ve been homeless for about a year-and-a-half.

At first I was really taken aback by the community, and thinking I would never want to have [anything to do with it]. And then once you start to really know people in the homeless community, and you get their trust, they’re wonderful people. And they’re people from all walks of life. Continue reading

CHS Pics | This week in Capitol Hill pictures

The CHS Flickr Pool contains more than 24,000 photographs -— most of Capitol Hill images, many glorious, some technically amazing. The pool is a mix of contributions from Capitol Hill — and nearby — shutterbugs. Interested in being part of it? If we like your photo and it helps us tell the story, we may feature it on CHS so please include your name and/or a link to your website so we can properly credit you. Interested in working as a paid CHS contributor for scheduled assignments? Drop us a line –- our roster is full for general assignments but pitch us on an idea.


Continue reading

Grandfather of Capitol Hill Thai, Ayutthaya celebrates 30 year on E Pike

Owner Pai Boon and AJ at Ayutthaya (Image: Grace Qian)

Owner Pai Boon and AJ at Ayutthaya (Image: Grace Qian)

02By Grace Qian — UW News Lab/Special for CHS

Ayutthaya, one of the first Thai restaurants ever on Capitol Hill, is preparing to celebrate a milestone 30th birthday this year.

Pai Boon, the current owner of Ayutthaya and Bangkok native, attributes the restaurant’s popularity to its location and its early start on Thai cuisine in Seattle in the 1980s.

“When we opened, there were not that many Thai restaurants and the people at that time didn’t know about Thai food,” said Boon. “From then on to now, a lot of people know about Thai food.”

Named after an ancient Siamese kingdom, the E Pike at Harvard restaurant has been around long enough to see a robust dining district grow up around it. Continue reading

Sweet and sour success: Hill cocktail entrepreneur brings The Shrubbery drinking vinegars to market

We know. You were mixing shrub cocktails before they were cool. But the rest of us might have something to learn from one of the newest vendors joining Broadway’s farmers market.

“This is my neighborhood market. This is my business,” Capitol Hill drinking vinegar entrepreneur Rebecca SerVoss proudly tells CHS.

Her months-old business The Shrubbery produces small bottles of the flavorful mixers designed to add a sweet and sour punch to, well, your boozy punch. And more.

“The shrub provides multiple elements of a cocktail,” SerVoss said. “It lets you add additional flavors and play with wacky vinegars.”

SerVoss launched her business after getting spun out of the corporate world. “I’ve been making shrubs for my own uses for two and a half years now. Then I lost my corporate job,” she said.

Her response was to refine her recipes and start experimenting. “I get to be a nerd about my vinegar,” she said.

In addition to the farmers market, the Capitol Hill resident has found space on the shelf at E Pine’s Sugarpill apothecary and will also have one of her shrubs again featured in a cocktail at Broadway’s Witness when the spring menu rolls back around.

Her target market includes expert craft cocktailers who know their shrubs — “boozehounds totally know what I’m doing,” she says — and cooks looking for unusual new flavors for their sauces. Shrubs are, you’re probably not surprised, a popular trend as craft cocktail pros look for new ways to create old flavors. The name, by the way, doesn’t refer to botanicals or herbs but to the Arabic word sharāb — “to drink.”

SerVoss is also enjoying introducing those new to shrubs to the flavors she has concocted and is selling by the bottle every first and third Sunday at the Broadway Farmers Market.

The Shrubbery will be in place this Sunday, March 1st. Along with some of her standard flavorings, SerVoss says to make sure to try the early rhubarb and pear and honey shrubs. The latter goes perfectly with gin, SerVoss said she’ll tell the newbies who stop by this weekend.

“People who need education — they’re a whole other level of fun for me.”

You can learn more about The Shrubbery here.

East Precinct meeting talks pot, reform, but mostly violent crime in the CD with City Attorney and SPD brass

Thursday night, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and East Precinct commander Captain Pierre Davis met with community members in a packed Seattle University room to talk about updates on precinct crime and how SPD and the attorney’s office can better serve residents.

Many of those in attendance who spoke vented their frustration and concerns with both the nuisance of day to day criminal activity and more serious violence around Capitol Hill and the Central District.

“Cops can’t do everything,” Holmes told the crowd. “if there are building code violations, if there is something that SDOT can do… that [collaboration between departments] is something that my office is really good at helping pull in.” He added that law enforcement is not always the solution. “It could be civil, it could be regulatory.”

Violent crime, particularly in the Central District, was on most attendees’ minds, particularly the intersection of 23rd and Union, which has recently seen numerous instances of gunfire.

“It’s not about gentrification, it’s not about any of that shit. It’s about getting gangs off the streets … you can actually time it [when gun shots occur],” said one attendee.

Some speakers blamed the Midtown Center property at 23rd and Union for the criminal activity. One speaker called out property owner Tom Bangasser — who was present at the meeting — for not selling the property to developers fast enough because he was waiting as the value rises. Continue reading

Really good Garfield High boys basketball team faces really big challenge

(Images and video: Proof is N the Play)

As the pain of this year’s Super Bowl fades, here’s a chance to revive your Central Seattle sports spirit with some post-season basketball excitement from the Central District’s high school team.

The Garfield High School boys basketball team is really good — like top three teams in the state good. However, the team’s reclassification this year into the 3A division puts Garfield on track to face top ranked Rainier Beach in next month’s state tournament.

Last year, the Bulldogs won the state championship in their 4A division. Remarkably, the team managed to go undefeated in this year’s regular season with an almost entirely new lineup. The team’s final regular season win earlier this month briefly put Garfield in USA Today’s Super 25 national high school basketball rankings. Continue reading

‘A short path to more affordable housing,’ Seattle finalizing plan for homeless encampments

This map shows where in the city the encampments could be allowed. Amendments to be discussed next week could change some of the restrictions (Image: Seattle.gov)

This map shows where in the city the encampments could be allowed. Amendments to be discussed next week could change some of the restrictions (Image: Seattle.gov)

A plan that would regulate tent encampments in Seattle in a program creating space for 300 homeless residents received lots of support and lots of suggestions for fine tuning during a public hearing on the legislation Thursday at City Hall. Many of the speakers had first-hand experience with living in Seattle without a home.

“We know that homeless people are turned away each night because the shelters are full,” Real Change vendor Willie Jones said during the public comment period on the legislation. “We know because it has happened to each of us.”

The plan championed by Mayor Ed Murray’s office would change Seattle law to allow three homeless encampments on city or private land in non-residential areas. Many speakers Thursday night spoke out about the “red-lining” in the bill that would restrict the camps from the city’s residential areas. An amendment from Council member Kshama Sawant to be discussed at the next committee meeting on the legislation seeks to address the issue.

onc15-chartIn the meantime, churches would be allowed to continue to offer space to encampments like Tent City’s stays at St. Mark’s or St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill.

The most significant tent encampments in Seattle have been the Nickelsville projects that have moved around the city as land was available for the facilities. At one point in 2013, there were three different Nickelsville camps in the Central District. Some of those locations could again be under consideration under the new plan but city planners haven’t yet publicly discussed proposals for the dozen or so sites that are expected to be under consideration before choosing the final three.

Planning and land use committee chair Mike O’Brien tells CHS the bill is lined up for a full council vote on March 9th which would mean the first camps under the regulations could be open by late summer or early fall.

In the most recent “One Night Count” of homeless people sleeping on the streets of King County, volunteers tallied 3,772 people sleeping outside.

The city is emphasizing the “transitional” nature of the camps.

“It’s not a permanent solution,” O’Brien told CHS before Thursday night’s hearing. “It’s a step along the path and we have to make sure it’s a short path to more affordable housing.”

UPDATE: The Daily Journal of Commerce reports on one new development that should also help planned for 7th and Cherry:

Plymouth Housing Group will start construction in January on 83 apartments for formerly homeless people on First Hill, near an area under Interstate 5 where people now sleep at night.

 

 

Smash Putt a ‘go’ at 23rd and Union

10387630_362316220623926_6016634163602990726_nA community plan to buy the property? Those involved say it’s a long shot while simpler changes like better lighting and more business activity have helped.

And Smash Putt mini-golf themed madhouse bar? That’s in the hole:

SMASH PUTT! MEGA MINIATURE GOLF APOCALYPSE!
Limited Engagement Runs March 20th – July
Weekend evenings & Nights, 21+ with ID
1110 23rd Avenue (23rd & union st), Seattle
www.smashputt.com for tickets ($10–20) and times
Smash Putt! Mega Miniature Golf Apocalypse returns to Seattle for an epic throwdown. Presenting devious devices with wicked robotic brains engineered by industrial-artists and hackers. Putt-putt like you’ve never played it, in a pop-up nightclub setting like Seattle‘s never seen. Inventive, devious, and full of surprises.
Enjoy ingenious fun with an earnest low brow sensibility. Launch and load cannons, survive an earth- quake, challenge a poppin’ lowrider, dodge real lasers, and frustrate your friends with dynamic, destruc- tive games galore. Put your balls on the line for an experience you won’t forget!
Starting March 20th, a limited engagement of mechanized mayhem comes to Seattle‘s Central District. This unique grown-up playground is the perfect place for a date night, guys’ night, girls’ night, pub crawl, office outing, or just plain apocalyptic competition among friends.
Smash Putt! offers VIP lounges, a top-shelf bar with hand-crafted cocktails, local personalities, live entertainment, and good old-fashioned fun. Now available for private parties and corporate team-building.

Also coming to Capitol Hill’s underground light rail station and tunnels in 2016: wireless service

IMG_3562-2The Sound Transit board is set to approve a contract on Thursday to add cell phone service inside its light rail tunnels and stations. The bad news: no more phone silence when your train goes underground.

Last year, the company Mobilitie was selected to build out the neutral host 4G LTE cell network (i.e., a multi-carrier network with data) to service all underground light rail stations and tunnels. Installation is expect to start in the coming months, but service won’t be available until mid-2016.

Under the proposed contract (PDF), Mobilitie would be responsible for funding, installing, and maintaining the cellular system. The company will also pay Sound Transit $7,500 a month and a one-time $250,000 payment when the University Link tunnel comes online. The company will profit by selling network access to cellular providers.

University Link light rail trains remain on track to start rolling through Capitol Hill Station by early next year. The University Link line will extend underground from downtown to connect with Capitol Hill and University District stations. Sound Transit began boring for the Northgate Link tunnel in November, which will add three more stations north of the University Station: U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate. As of last month, construction on the Capitol Hill Station was around 78% complete.

In addition to enhancing rider experience, Sound Transit anticipates cell service could be used for direct communication with passengers:

Installing wireless communications coverage will improve safety, security, and information opportunities for transit passengers travelling in the underground facilities. It will also create opportunities for additional communications methods and media for transit operations.

Meanwhile, the Sound Transit board is still evaluating proposals to develop the housing and retail properties surrounding the Broadway light rail station. The board is expected to announce the winning contractor(s) in early March.

Broadway bikeway bollard braces

Never mind the bollards (Image: @checkereddan via Twitter)

(Image: @checkereddan via Twitter)

From the start, there were problems with the artful blue plastic bollards supposedly protecting riders in the Broadway bikeway.

Tagging was less of an issue than how easily the protective elements were moved despite being filled with hundreds of pounds of sand.

After one of the more concentrated failures of the bollards last week, SDOT is now working on a plan to secure the needle and thread inspired bollards with large metal bracings.

A picture of the new braces was shared on Twitter by city traffic engineer Dongho Chang:B-u1PAxUsAAKPSuWe’ve asked SDOT for information on when the new braces will be installed and what it will cost.

In the meantime, the new Seattle Bike Map is out. Check it out, below. Continue reading