Walkers and bikers wanted for northern route testing of 23rd Ave greenway

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The greenway route, in blue, needs a northern route. (Image: SDOT)

When city planners selected the “hybrid” route for the Central Area Greenway in March, the project officially became the largest and most ambitious greenway the city has ever attempted. What wasn’t settled was how the northern section of the greenway would weave through Capitol Hill’s steep terrain north of Galer St, while avoiding 24th Ave, to connect pedestrians and cyclists to the Montlake Bridge.

In order to “crowdsource research” on the best route to Montlake, greenway supporters are inviting the public to meet at Montlake Elementary School this Saturday at 2 PM for Silly Hilly: a thigh-buring walk/ride through four of the potential route options.

“If you look at it, there isn’t a good way to go unless you go way out of your way,” said Silly Hilly organizer Merlin Rainwater. “What we would really love is to have greenways on both sides (of 23rd Ave).”

If the hilly part of the event doesn’t sound like your ideal Saturday afternoon, then show up for the silly:

Groups will set off on scavenger hunts to document and photograph ridiculously steep hills, sidewalks without curb cuts, scary intersections — as well as more moderately steep hills, good sidewalks, calmer streets, and other wonky things while donning festive hats, blowing kazoos, and exhibiting other silly behavior.

Through a mix of signage, pavement markings, speed bumps, roundabouts and other traffic-calming features, greenways attempt to encourage more people to walk and bike to their destinations. The Central Area Greenway, initiated by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, will eventually connect the I-90 Trail to Interlaken Park. Work on the southern section of the greenway is scheduled to start this year. Continue reading

Group Health to sponsor 15 bike share stations across Capitol Hill, SLU

bixi-montreal (1)Puget Sound Bike Share riders will be cruising Capitol Hill by September — and Group Health has tossed in its support to sponsor some of the 50 stations planned for Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Downtown and the U-District:

Local non-profit health care provider Group Health has announced its support of bike share docking stations for Seattle’s upcoming bike share network, signing up to sponsor 15 stations in Capitol Hill and South Lake Union.  Group Health has thousands of employees who work at four facilities – Capitol Hill Campus, Downtown Seattle Medical Center, Group Health Research Institute, and their headquarter offices – between the Capitol Hill and South Lake Union neighborhoods.

Additional local companies, including Vulcan, REI, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Spectrum Development Solutions and others have also signed up to sponsor bike share stations.

The new system will begin with 500 bikes. The program’s primary bike sponsor has not yet been announced.

The PSBS describes its bike stations as “free-standing and battery powered” with solar backup, sited in the public right-of-way, parks, plazas and on private property. The city must approve placements. Station sponsors will receive “naming rights to the station(s) of their choice,” according to the statement released by the bike share on the new sponsorship.

Each station will have docks for 12 to 20 bikes and will feature a kiosk where non-members can sign up for 24-hour, or multiday passes, and or access bikes using a code. Those who pay around $80 for an annual membership will be able to bypass the kiosk and check bikes out directly from their docks. In order for PSBS to operate in compliance with Washington State helmet laws, each station will also have a “helmet dispensing” device, and a helmet return bin. Helmets will be available to rent for about $2, will be sanitized after each use, and cycled out after a certain number of uses. Station locations are still being worked out. You can add your ideas and suggestions here.

Maybe Capitol Hill’s affordable housing won’t be built on Capitol Hill

The Decibel is part of a trio of affordable apartments planned along 12th Ave south of Capitol Hill

The Decibel is part of a trio of affordable apartments planned along 12th Ave south of Capitol Hill

It is possible the solution to affordable apartments for the people of Capitol Hill won’t actually be *on* Capitol Hill. The Decibel, the second in a triumvirate of affordable apartment projects from Seattle’s Spectrum Development Solutions on the edge of the city’s Yesler Terrace urban village project, is scheduled to take its first bow in front of the East Design Review Board on Wednesday night. It is joined on the docket by a four-story mixed-use project planned for a Central District corner home to a community hub – The Fatima Cafe. More on both projects, below. Continue reading

First count shows rocky road for Proposition 1 vote on Metro, transportation funding

Looks like “Plan B” has an uphill battle ahead. Proposition 1 which would authorize a 0.1% increase in sales tax plus an annual $60 car tab fee replacing a fee that expires this summer to help fund Metro and roads in King County is off to a rocky start in the first count of ballots in the April election released Tuesday night.

CHS wrote here about the potential cutbacks faced by Metro — including the lopping off of several Capitol Hill-area routes — if the proposition should be rejected by county voters.

Early counts in the by-mail elections have typically left more progressive issues and candidates underrepresented for a variety of reasons including the busy lifestyles of younger voters. Seattle’s bus riders had better hope that trend plays out strongly on this one.

The Seattle Transit Blog reports that Yes on Prop 1 sources inside the campaign had said they would be comfortable with a 55-45 no-yes split on Election Night given the way they expect subsequent tallies to play out.

Below, you’ll find the latest Metro plans for route cutbacks and eliminations. Continue reading

Tracking Capitol Hill’s cultural environment — 28 spaces, 2,982 seats and counting

Mapping the inventory shows Seattle's cultural hot spots

Mapping the inventory shows Seattle’s cultural hot spots

Here’s an environmental report that might not be as significant on a global scale as melting polar ice caps but, hey, what good is having a planet if it’s not filled with art and interesting people. As part of its effort to create spaces and foster the sustainability and growth of local arts organizations, the City of Seattle is creating an inventory a of its neighborhoods’ art spaces — including 28 on Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Save room to give at Capitol Hill’s 54 Dining Out for Life 2014 bars and restaurants

A bartender at 12th Ave's Manhattan prepares "a signature Dining Out For Life cocktail" (Image: Lifelong)

A bartender at 12th Ave’s Manhattan prepares “a signature Dining Out For Life cocktail” (Image: Lifelong)

Do good. Dine out. Thursday is the annual Dining Out for Life fundraiser for Capitol Hill-based nonprofit Lifelong. More than 150 restaurants in Seattle are participating in the 2014 event and will donate at least 30% of their proceeds to Lifelong. Funds raised support the community health organization’s mission to deliver food and provide housing and health services to people living with HIV/AIDS and other chronic illnesses.

“Participating in Dining Out For Life is an easy way to give back,” Lifelong CEO Randall Russell said in a statement. “We have long-time restaurant partners coming back as well as many new participants. The Seattle community is so supportive of this event. Such a simple thing – grabbing coffee or going out for a meal with friends – will make a big difference in the lives of the people we serve.”

While all participants give generously on the day, there are a handful of venues that will be donating 50% of their proceeds Thursday — on Capitol Hill, the “Gold Fork” participants are Fogon, Kedai Makan, Six Arms and Witness.

The full roster of participating restaurants around Capitol Hill is below. You can see a complete Seattle list venues here.

Capitol Hill

  • 8 oz. Burger & Co.
  • Americana
  • Annapurna Café
  • Ballet Restaurant
  • Barrio Mexican Kitchen & Bar
  • Bimbo’s Cantina
  • Bleu Bistro’s Grotto Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Corretto mixes the craft of coffee and cocktails for night — and day — on Broadway

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Brandon Paul Weaver at work (Images: CHS)

Brandon Paul Weaver at work (Images: CHS)

The sidewalk sandwich board announces “Finally! Another coffee shop on Broadway,” but the crew inside the recently opened Corretto are aiming to be more than just any old coffee slingers. In an effort to bring something new to such a drink savvy city, Corretto founder Travis Rosenthal reached back into espresso’s Italian roots for inspiration. What the Tango owner came up with was a bar featuring new spins on a classic coffee cocktail, caffe corretto or “coffee corrected”, and a distinctly Capitol Hill hangout.

“Think about it like a bar that happens to serve coffee,” said Corretto’s director of coffee Brandon Paul Weaver. “If you want to go to a bar to get a coffee on Capitol hill, where do you go? I think it offers something new to this block.”

On Monday Corretto opened for daytime hours after its official opening earlier in the month inside the former Panevino space. CHS previously reported on Rosenthal’s original plan to open in the new Pine+Minor building before deciding to relocate the project to Broadway, between Harrison and Republican. Be sure to stop in this week for half-off all coffee drinks.

One small business cannot completely embody a neighborhood, but it’s not uncommon for a single bar or cafe to reach symbolic status in a city, to be first thing that leaps to mind upon mention of a certain area or its inhabitants. Continue reading

On Bullitt Center’s first Earth Day birthday, greenest office building on Capitol Hill (and beyond) has more to prove

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

(Images: Suzi Pratt for CHS)

Powered by the sun -- complete with outdoor ping pong table

Powered by the sun — complete with outdoor ping pong table

It’s hard to believe that Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center, considered the greenest commercial building in the world, has anything left to prove on sustainability. But a year after the building’s Earth Day opening, the Bullitt Foundation is setting its sights on perhaps the most rigorous green certification in the world.

The International Living Building Institute awards the Living Building certificate to structures that essentially operate as living organisms — one that is sufficient for water and energy and actively promotes the health of its occupants and surrounding environment.

“It just provides a framework for sustainability in the building and shows the world what we’re trying to achieve,” said Bullitt’s Brad Kahn.

The solar-powered, rainwater-capturing Bullitt Center has certainly pushed the boundaries on engineering environmental sustainability, but sustaining tenants is proving to be a bit trickier. The reason the $18.5 million building hasn’t received the Living Building designation yet is because occupancy during its first year has remained below 85% (an important target as the environmental impact of an unoccupied building would be fairly minimal). Continue reading

Pho favorite Than Brothers moving into new, slightly used home across the street on Broadway

IMG_20140420_193727IMG_20140420_193714CHS has been a little rough with Broadway’s Joule building even using it recently as the poster child for “why Capitol Hill’s big mixed-use developments look, um, the way they do.” But a Broadway food and drink favorite likes the building just fine, thank you very much, and is about to show that, if you don’t love the first generation of new retail that pops up in some of Capitol Hill’s developments, maybe you just need to wait for the second.

“We are very excited to move to new location, nicer, brighter, more windows and open kitchen,” Chi Dang tells CHS about the plan for Broadway’s Than Brothers to make a very Capitol Hill-style, less-than-two-block move — across the street. Continue reading

City Hall | Public hearing on SPD union contract, microhousing regulation, May Day preparation

  • SPD contract public hearing: The contract with the union representing Seattle Police is up for renewal. Tuesday night, the public process around the negotiations begins with a public hearing:

    City Council and the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB) will jointly host a public hearing on the effectiveness of the City’s police accountability system on Tuesday, Apr. 22, at 6 p.m. (note revised time) in Seattle City Hall Council Chambers. Sign-up sheets for public comment will be available at 5:30 p.m.
    As directed by Ordinance 122809, adopted in 2008, the hearing will provide a forum for elected officials to hear directly from the public before the City begins labor negotiations with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG). The comments from the public hearing will help inform deliberations on the upcoming negotiations.

    The Stranger’s Dominic Holden documented his case against the status quo with the guild here. It’s a worthwhile read.

  • Small lots: Friday, the Seattle City Council chambers were filled with neighbors from around the city who wanted to go on the public record against dense, infill development encroaching into areas they consider to be best preserved as single family-style housing. The City Council’s planning and land use committee is again taking up legislation to close so-called “small lot development” loopholes following last year’s moratorium on the projects which plopped three-story buildings into the midst of old-school single-family homes.
  • Microhousing rules: While the “small lot” legislation expected to be finalized later this spring would also impact Capitol Hill’s neighborhoods, the more Hill-centric density issue of microhousing was also on the committee’s slate Friday as regulation of the dorm-style developments is also again moving forward. In February, CHS reported on the framework for the new microhousing legislation getting back on track following the city’s Hearing Examiner slapping down a Capitol Hill-born challenge that the the new proposed rules didn’t go far enough. The Council is also expected to deliver final microhousing regulation later this spring.
  • Car services: The debate over technology-enabled freelance car services in Seattle has swung back in favor of the companies like Uber and Lyft. The City Council-passed regulation of the new services has been suspended as the companies powered a coalition group’s drive to submit more than 36,000 citizen signatures to potentially put the issue on the ballot. Mayor Ed Murray is hoping to bring all sides in the debate together to work out a compromise without the need for a fall vote.
  • Minimum wage demonstration: Groups are planning to encircle the block around City Hall with a human chain Wednesday as the mayor’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee meets for its final time before this week’s Murray-imposed deadline for recommendations on raising Seattle’s minimum wage.

    (Image: CHS)

    (Image: CHS)

  • May Day 2014: Seattle Police’s command is again preparing for possible unrest in the city’s core during this year’s May Day march and protest. While thousands of marchers each year demonstrate peacefully for worker and immigrant rights, past years have been regularly marred by violence and damage on both sides of the police lines. May 1st will again include the May Day Anticapitalist march beginning at 6 PM from Broadway and Pine’s Seattle Central. 2013′s Workers and Immigrant Rights march was, as usual, a peaceful protest attended by thousands until incidents between groups of protesters and police flared up downtown in the afternoon and protestors were pushed up Capitol Hill by officers using crowd control tactics including pepper spray and flash grenades. Nearly 20 were arrested and windows were reportedly broken out at several Capitol Hill businesses including glass was broken at Hill businesses including Bill’s Off Broadway, Sun Liquor and Walgreen’s.
  • Prop 1 Election Day: Don’t forget. Your ballot in the vote on the Metro and roads-powering Proposition 1 needs to be in the mail Tuesday.

Blotter | Driver takes dangerous spin on Broadway sidewalk, SPD busts two after 12th/Jeff gunfire

Broadway regular Tim Durkan caught this crazy scene on Broadway Saturday night (Images: Tim Durkan)

Broadway regular Tim Durkan caught this crazy scene on Broadway Saturday night (Images: Tim Durkan)

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here.

  • Broadway sidewalk driver: A driver with little regard for human life picked the wrong Capitol Hill dude to pull a crazy stunt in front of on Broadway’s busy sidewalks Saturday night. The unofficial mayor of Broadway — and City of Seattle Neighborhood District Coordinator — Tim Durkan is always packing a camera. You’ll see his work frequently in the Capitol Hill pictures of the week. Saturday around 10 PM, Durkan was hanging out on Broadway when his fast lens captured this BMW suddenly speeding down the sidewalk at about 25 MPH with seeming disregard for pedestrians and property near the Vivace walk-up. Durkan tells CHS that some thought the driver had been seen earlier in a drug transaction nearby. Others reported seeing the car speeding around the Hill that night including an apparent run-in with a tree at one point. Though the license plate can be seen clearly in some of Durkan’s images and despite a small swarm of TV news coverage, SPD has made no arrests.
  • CD shooting victim: The victim in the shooting early Saturday at 22nd and Union has been identified by friends as Kevin Brown, a convicted drug dealer and a man prosecutors say was a member of Central District gang Deuce 8.
  • Arrests in 12th/Jeff gun incident: Police made two arrests after reports of gunfire in the area of 12th and Jefferson early Monday morning. Around 1:15 AM, SPD received multiple reports of gunshots and rushed to the area to investigate reports of a shooting. No victim was found but responding officers found “a pile” of shell casings near an alley in the 400 block of 13th Ave. One male suspect was arrested as he fled the area on foot. It’s not clear if the other arrest involved a black Lincoln Town Car found nearby that witnesses said was involved in the shooting. In addition to the bullet casings found by police, officers also found a shot out window in the nearby Capitol Hill Housing apartment building The Jefferson.

Lowell reinvents itself as *the* elementary school for Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle

Dr. Smith (Image: CHS)

Dr. Smith (Image: CHS)

Having a well respected, well branded advanced learning program can be a blessing and a curse for a public school like Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary. Prior to 2012 the 11th and Mercer elementary school was known primarily for its Accelerated Progress Program (APP). When the program left for Lincoln Elementary in Wallingford, so did a good chunk of students and a lot of parent interest.

Dr. Marion Smith assumed his role as the school’s principal in the midst of Lowell’s identity change and made it a personal mission to move the school beyond its APP days. This week, as the kids return from spring break and head into the final stretch of the school year, their school is in the midst of a redefinition.

“We need to rebrand ourselves… who is Lowell now without APP? That was a large part of this school,” Smith told CHS. “The goal for Lowell is to show that there is a viable neighborhood school option for free.”

That place on E Mercer where all the yelling kids go in and out of? It's called Lowell Elementary (Image: CHS)

That place on E Mercer where all the yelling kids go in and out of? It’s called Lowell Elementary (Image: CHS)

Continue reading