First stretch of reconfigured 23rd Ave opens to two-way traffic

Joel Connelly can hop into his jalopy for a pleasant drive — a long kinked-off segment of 23rd Ave reopens to “two-way traffic” with its newly reconfigured lanes today:

Two-Way Traffic Resumes on 23rd Avenue Today from East Cherry Street to East Union Street

SEATTLE – The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that beginning today, July 27, two-way traffic on 23rd Avenue will reopen from East Cherry Street to East Union Street, allowing better access to businesses, homes, and community organizations in the area. This work is part of the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Ikina Sushi, built with late night hot dog cash, ready for E Pike rush

Michael Suzuki (Image: CHS)

Michael Suzuki (Image: CHS)

If the crowds that filled Ikina Sushi between acts during the 2016 Capitol Hill Block Party last weekend are any indication, the new Japanese restaurant and sushi bar is going to be a hit on E Pike.

“I’m really happy with this location. I think we’ll do quite well,” said Michael Suzuki, general manager and chief chef at Ikina.

Suzuki estimates the Block Party brought in about 500 guests. A soft-opening on July 20 was also a crowded, Pike/Pine-packed affair. The plan is to open for good starting today. Happy grand opening.

A Madison Park resident, Suzuki said he spent time on E Pike and noticed how packed the area is late into the night which changed his perception of how to run the restaurant during the later hours.

Ikina is outfitted with a great sound system, he said, so music and dimmed lighting will set the atmosphere for late-night guests who will be served cocktails and small plates at the sushi bar.

Entrepreneur Shinsuke Nikaido, who has been serving Japanese-style hot dogs from his Gourmet Dog Japon carts since 2010, is the mastermind and the money behind Ikina.

“Basically (Ikina) is built on hot dog business money,” Suzuki said. Continue reading

Bus Rapid Transit: Weigh in on Madison’s new station and road designs

BRT-Update-12-18-15The framework may already be set for a new 11-stop “bus rapid transit” line along Madison, but you can still have a say on the interior design.

Stretching from 1st Ave downtown to MLK Way in Madison Valley, the future Madison BRT will travel in a dedicated center lane with island stops from 9th Ave to 14th Ave while the rest of the route will either run curbside with right-turning traffic or in mixed traffic. Within that outline there are still some decisions to be made.

City planners are holding three community meetings around Capitol Hill in August to show off the latest BRT designs and to take public feedback on the project. Seattle Department of Transportation officials are specifically looking for feedback on updated station and roadway designs, which will be unveiled at the first meeting:

  • Wednesday, August 3rd, 5 – 7 PM
    Seattle University, Campion Ballroom, 914 E Jefferson St
  • Thursday, August 4th, 11 AM – 1 PM
    Town Hall Seattle, Downstairs, 1119 8th Ave
  • Tuesday, August 9th, 5 – 7 PM
    Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA, 1700 23rd Ave
  • You can also submit comments online by emailing

“In 2015 we sought feedback on which blocks the stations should be at, and now we’re narrowing it down to exact location within the identified blocks and how riders will access the stations,” said SDOT spokesperson Emily Reardon. Continue reading

Hugo House announces 2016/2017 season, its first on First Hill

(Image: Hugo House)

(Image: Hugo House)

Literary nonprofit Hugo House has announced the lineup for this 2016-2017 season, its first full season in an interim stay on First Hill.

Hugo’s Molly Woolbright writes:

I’m so happy to announce Hugo House’s 2016–2017 season, which features a diverse lineup of established and emerging writers throughout our two series—Hugo Literary Series and Word Works—as well as our one-off events. We’re thrilled to welcome Mary Gaitskill, Téa Obreht, Colson Whitehead, Karen Russell, Terrance Hayes, Patricia Smith, Alexander Chee, and many more.

Some of the best news in the announcement will come for Capitol Hill fans of the nonprofit’s popular Lit Series: Continue reading

First ever Lusio light art festival ready to switch on Saturday in Volunteer Park

On what is expected to be the darkest night of the year, artists plan to bring light to Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park.

Lusio, a celebration of light art organized by artist Mollie Bryan, will take place Saturday, July 30 in the park from 8 to 10 PM. The festival will feature more than 20 light and sound installation pieces, including collaborative and interactive pieces.


As the sun sets on July 30, Volunteer Park will slowly come to life and “awaken” with light and sound. Local artists will install and project multiple light installations all over the park for you to explore. The live ambient showcase from the Vancouver BC label, Silent Season, will orchestrate the entire event with beautiful, deep, natural sounds to delight the auditory senses. Visuals will be projected onto the amphitheater wall . Local artists brought in from all over to delight you with their craft.

Continue reading

Wise Orchid Tai Chi opens on E Union with an alternative to yoga — UPDATE: New home for Apex Aerial Arts

Wise Orchid led a Seattle celebration of World Tai Chi Qigong Day 2016 in May

Wise Orchid led a Seattle celebration of World Tai Chi Qigong Day 2016 in May


The army of local yoga studios are getting some competition. Paralegal-turned-Tai Chi teacher Viola Brumbaugh has opened her own Tai Chi studio in the Central District, in the space recently vacated by children’s toy and clothing store Magpie.

Wise Orchid Tai Chi opened for business at 2002 E Union with a series of free classes on the Fourth of July and has been up and running since then. While Central Seattle has no shortage of yoga studios, Wise Orchid is one of just a few Tai Chi centers in the area. Continue reading

Seattle’s neighborhood fight ‘not about silencing voices’ — And a response from a ‘neighborhood villain’

The future of Seattle's neighborhood council's probably looks more like the People’s Academy for Community Engagement -- now accepting applications

The future of Seattle’s neighborhood council’s probably looks more like the People’s Academy for Community Engagement — now accepting applications(Image: City of Seattle)

Kathy Nyland, director of the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods, has responded to the backlash from groups around Seattle that contend City Hall’s push to disconnect itself from the entrenched District Council system is an attempt to silence “neighborhood” voices. Here is the main thrust — the whole thing is posted here in the CHS Community section:

Seattle is a unique city, and we are fortunate to have so many valuable partners currently at the proverbial table. Those partners play an important role and that role will continue. While we are appreciative of the countless hours our volunteers spend making our city better, we recognize and acknowledge there are barriers to participation. There are communities who cannot be at the table, while there are some communities who don’t even know there is a table. This is where theDepartment of Neighborhoods comes in.

This is not a power grab. It is a power share. At the heart of this Executive Order is a commitment to advance the effective deployment of equitable and inclusive community engagement strategies across all city departments. This is about making information and opportunities for participation more accessible to communities throughout the city. Continue reading

Developer hopes better connection to E Madison enough to move Piecora’s building forward

A new look at 14th and Madison

A new look at 14th and Madison

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.42.02 AM Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 6.42.18 AMThe developer and architects of the six-story, mixed-use apartment project set to rise where the old Piecora’s building was demolished return to the East Design Review Board Wednesday night with hopes of convincing the body that their new plan truly is worthy of connecting E Madison to the overhauled McGilvra Park and world-renowned Bullitt Center, above.

Design Review: 1401 E Madison

In April, apartment giant Equity Residential and Ankrom Moisan architects were rejected by the board for a design that members said needed “more retail and transparency to engage and interact with the streetscape” on E Madison and needed to do a better job connecting to the neighborhood around the six-story, 137-unit project with parking for 78 vehicles and a planned 3,800 square feet of retail space. Continue reading

New law would ban conversion therapy for minors in Seattle

A message at 2016 Trans* Pride (Image: CHS)

A message at 2016 Trans* Pride (Image: CHS)

City Council member Lorena Gonzalez is proposing an addition to the Seattle Municipal Code to ban the use of conversion therapy on minors.

“Seattle must send a clear message that we stand with children who are currently subjected to or may be at risk of being subjected to conversion therapy,” said Gonzalez. “Research has repeatedly demonstrated that this practice is ineffective and results in negative health outcomes.”

Conversion therapy proponents believe it can make LGBTQ individuals become heterosexual. The practice is opposed by the American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, and the Human Rights Campaign, among others. Continue reading

Seattle — especially its businesses — falling short of recycling goals

Horse-drawn garbage wagon, 1915

Seattle Public Utilities is preparing a rate hike for the around 1 million tons of garbage, compost, and recycling the city’s citizens and businesses create ever year. But the bigger deal might be that even in green Seattle, we are falling behind recycling goals.

In 2015, the city recycled 58% of its MSW — municipal solid waste — that’s two percentage points short of goals set in 2013, according to a recent presentation to the Seattle City Council.

Tuesday, a council committee will discuss SPU’s proposed rate hikes of 7.2% in 2017, 1.9% in 2018, and 4% in 2019. The city says the monthly solid waste bill for a typical residential customer is currently around $44.85. SPU says the increases are necessary to help offset the costs of its Utility Discount Program for low income residents and to upgrade the recycling center at its South Transfer Station and complete the new North Transfer Station, set to be open by the end of 2017. Continue reading

What kind of house $15 million will get you on Capitol Hill

In a neighborhood where the average property is now worth $1 million, one of Capitol Hill’s newest listings is setting a highwater mark for real estate prices across the city.

This weekend’s $15 million listing of the Samuel Hill mansion at 814 E Highland is now the most expensive “single family home” for sale in Seattle:

ESCAPE THE ORDINARY ~ Noted Sam Hill Mansion commissioned in 1910. A peerless and creative collaboration of passion & brilliance. Located on one of Seattle’s most beautiful tree-lined streets in the stately Harvard-Belmont Historic Landmark District. Reminiscent of a true Manhattan Brownstone. Dramatic in form & contemporary in style, this sophisticated & chic residence frames unobstructed views of Lake Union, Olympic Mts & Puget Sound. Stunning rooftop terrace with two fireplaces & spa. Iconic!

Continue reading

2016 Block Party attendees talk about race, LGBTQ, and gentrification on Capitol Hill

The 20th edition of the modern format of the Capitol Hill Block Party again filled Pike/Pine with Block Partiers this weekend (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

The 20th edition of the modern format of the Capitol Hill Block Party again filled Pike/Pine with Block Partiers this weekend (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Potty-mouth named STRFKR delivered the crowd to planet dance (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Potty-mouth named STRFKR delivered the crowd to planet dance (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Another Capitol Hill Block Party has come and gone, the smashed beer bottles have been swept away, and the crowds that clamored to see ODESZA and CHVRCHES have dissipated. For some, CHBP was just another weekend of Capitol Hill bar hopping; for others, it was a sad reminder of the way neighborhoods and cities are changing here and across the country.

“This was a neighborhood for freaks, and that was dope,” said Alana Belle, a black woman who grew up in the area and now works on Capitol Hill. Over the years, the people she has seen on neighborhood have changed, and not for the better. “I would argue that it’s not as safe for the LGBTQ community as it used to be.”

Belle is a CHBP veteran, and said that she comes to the festival to support her friends, particularly other artists of color. Belle and her friend Ola Rae came out to support Porter Ray on the second day of the festival. “It was so dope to see black people on stage,” said Belle. Continue reading