New Capitol Hill parks: One overdue for construction, one waiting for bid, one in search of grants

(Images: Jeanny Rhee)

(Images: Jeanny Rhee)

By Jeanny Rhee — UW News Lab/Special to CHS

This time last year, CHS posted updates on various small park projects around Capitol Hill, including Broadway Hill Park, 12th Avenue Square Park, and Cayton Corner Park. Here are our spring 2014 updates on Broadway Hill and 12th Ave Square and here is what we had to say about the naming of Cayton Corner.

Some of these small park projects have taken years to get off the ground, which can be baffling to neighbors who watch plots go unused season after season. The sluggish pace of development often comes down to lack of funding. Some cities, including Seattle, have cultivated corporate sponsorships to boost programming and construction times with mixed results.

Thankfully, funding is now complete or near compete for these three projects underway on Capitol Hill:

IMG_0756Broadway Hill Park — 500 Federal Ave E — Target: End of 2015
Thanks to a $750,000 city grant in 2014, bids are out to construct the Broadway Hill Park at Federal and E Republican. Work is expected to start this summer. “We are still looking at the end of the year to finish the project and will have better dates once a contractor is on board,” said project coordinator Toby Ressler.

The park is expected to cost $767,500. The remaining $17,500 from the Neighborhood Matching Fund Small and Simple grant will pay for for the schematic design, which will include community gardening, artwork and open spaces. Continue reading

City Council Notes | Preschool plan planning, homeless camps approval, Seattle Transit Advisory Board wants you

(Image: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)

(Image: Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr)

Here’s the latest from City Hall:

  • Pre-K plan: Wednesday, the City Council’s education committee will take up legislation from the mayor’s office for implementing Seattle’s new pre-K education plan:
    The implementation plan provides details about how the preschool program will be rolled out, and how it will work toward meeting its goal of closing the achievement gap for Seattle’s youngest learners.“Included in this implementation plan are the key ingredients to creating a successful program that will make a difference in the lives of young children and their families across our city,” said Murray. “With the plan’s focus on quality, we’re working to ensure that the children participating in the Seattle Preschool Program will be ready for school and have the foundation to succeed in school and life.”
  • Homeless encampments: The planning and land use committee and chair Mike O’Brien approved the city’s plan to regulate homeless encampments by permitting three camps in Seattle. Kshama Sawant’s amendment seeking to expand the area where the camps will be allowed to include residential neighborhoods was not adopted but an extension of the bill to allow the University of Washington and other schools to potentially host the facilities was approved. The full council will vote on the legislation March 23rd.
  • Only in Seattle funds: Wednesday, Mayor Ed Murray will make a public announcement about the $2 million in funding going to Seattle neighborhoods as part of the city’s Only in Seattle economic development grants. CHS reported on the plan for the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and Capitol Hill Community Council to put some of that funding toward staffing and administrative support.
  • Seattle Transit Advisory Board: Part of the city creating its own Transportation Benefits District was creating a Seattle Transit Advisory Board of citizens to help oversee it. You should jump in — “Seattle residents interested in serving on the Advisory Board should submit a resume and a letter of interest to Bill LaBorde of the Seattle Department of Transportation at
    The Board will be comprised of 11 members, plus a member of the Get Engaged program, all of whom will serve staggered two or three-year terms. Five appointments will be made by the Council and six appointments by the Mayor. The Board is expected to meet monthly.

    The legislation passed today calls for Board members to be representative of:

    ·         Different geographic areas of the city;

    ·         Different transit rider groups (persons with disabilities, senior and school age citizens, commuters, low-income riders);

    ·         Travelers of different modes of public transportation (e.g. bus, light rail, streetcar, and ferry);

    ·         Seattle residents with an interest in improving transit conditions within the City and region, and have experience with urban transit issues;

    ·         Transit-related organizations/clubs; and

    ·         Schools, business, and neighborhood organizations that particularly depend on the City’s public transportation system.

Capitol Hill food+drink | Li’l Woody’s says happy Seattle Burger Month

The Golden Beetle Burger -- "harissa aioli, lettuce, pickled serranos & onion, gruyere swiss, baharat seasoned 1/3 pound northwest grass fed beef, and mayonnaise with Sumac dusted fries"

The Golden Beetle Burger — “harissa aioli, lettuce, pickled serranos & onion, gruyere swiss, baharat seasoned 1/3 pound northwest grass fed beef, and mayonnaise with Sumac dusted fries”

Li’l Woody’s owner Marcus Lalario is a connected man. A Pike/Pine entrepreneur who has survived the neighborhood’s transition to the the entertainment district big time and investor in food, drink, and retail ventures on the Hill and beyond, Lalario’s Pine burger shop is making some fun connections of its own this month with a one-of-a-kind promotion featuring special creations from some great Seattle chefs:

Throughout March 2015, Li’l Woody’s will be featuring a new burger each week. From fried chicken skin to pickled serranos, these one-of-a-kind concoctions are not to be missed. For those who try each burger, they will receive an exclusive “I Survived Burger Month” t-shirt!

A few of the participants like Sitka and Spruce’s Matt Dillon have deep Capitol Hill roots. Others like Renee Erickson are just getting started. Here’s a look at the star chefs — and their creations:

  • Maria Hines is the head chef / owner of The Golden Beetle in Ballard. The winner of numerous awards, including the 2009 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northwest, Hines has been making noise in the chef game since 2003, even emerging victorious in Iron Chef America’s “Battle of Pacific Cod”. Hines now owns 3 restaurants (including Tilth and Agrodolce) with the highly esteemed organic certification from Oregon Tilth. Her Golden Beetle Burger includes harissa aioli, lettuce, pickled serranos & onion, gruyere swiss, baharat seasoned 1/3 pound northwest grass fed beef, and mayonnaise with Sumac dusted fries.
  • Matt Dillon is the owner and chef at Sitka & Spruce, Bar Sajor and more. A proponent of local and seasonal cooking, Dillon was the winner of the 2012 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Northwest as well as the 2007 Food & Wine Best New Chef award. Dillon is also the culinary mastermind behind The Corson Buildingand London Plane. His Kluck Burger boasts maple syrup, grilled raddichio, fried chicken skin, Beecher’s flagship cheese, 1/3 pound northwest grass fed beef and mayonnaise, on a bun grilled with brown butter. Continue reading

Blotter | Heroin overdose concerns, 11/Pike beating, Broadway/Pike phone robbery

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

  • Heroin ODs: Seattle Police are warning heroin users of a possible increase in overdoses and reminding people of the state’s good samaritan law after six ODs were reported Monday around Seattle including two simultaneous emergency responses inside Pacific Place mall:
    Police and Seattle Fire Department medics have seen an increase today in the number of reported heroin overdoses, and would like to remind the public of a Washington State law designed to curb opiate overdose deaths.As of 4 P.M. Monday, both police and fire officials received at least six reports of overdoses in North Seattle and downtown, requiring hospitalization.Washington’s “Good Samaritan Law”  offers legal protection against drug possession charges to anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose. If you or anyone you know is overdosing on drugs,please remember you can call 911 for help without the fear of prosecution. Continue reading

$1B Washington State Convention Center expansion means big changes across I-5

One concept for the center's expansion (Image: LMN Architects)

One concept for the center’s expansion (Image: LMN Architects)

There is a $1 billion plan afoot that will radically transform the connection between Capitol Hill and downtown. Tuesday night, a public process begins to shape the massive expansion of the Washington State Convention Center:

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 11.06.06 AM

The quadrilateral area above is the planned home for the expanded center (Image: WSCC)

The quadrilateral area above is the planned home for the expanded center (Image: WSCC)

Powered by its bonding authority, the WSCC has already acquired $56.5 million worth of land between 9th and Boren, and Howell and Olive Way that is today home to a Honda dealership. King County’s transit center block is also on the WSCC’s acquisition target list.

The Puget Sound Business Journal reports the total cost of the project is expected to reach $1 billion. The center hopes to begin construction by 2017. Continue reading

Sawant says economic disparities underpin Capitol Hill hate crimes ahead of LGBTQ forum

10498060_10101874770097606_3032210991963063043_o-21-356x550How to make Capitol Hill feel safer for the neighborhood’s LGBTQ community, especially during peak nightlife hours, is a question that seems to elude any simple answers. Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant is hoping to hear some solutions at an open community forum the councilor and candidate to lead District 3 organized for Tuesday night at All Pilgrims Church.

The forum will be moderated by Danni Askini, executive director of the Gender Justice League, and is slated to include the following panel:

Zach Pullin – Acting President, Capitol Hill Community Council

Lils Fujikawa –Queer Network Program Coordinator, API Chaya

Raven E. Heavy Runner – Acting Co-Chair, Northwest Two-Spirit Society, MSW

Christie Santos-Livengood – UW Graduate Student, Master Public Health

Shaun Knittel – President & Founder, Social Outreach Seattle; Seattle Gay News Associate Editor

Marta Idowu – Seattle LGBT Commission Liaison, Seattle Office for Civil Rights

Sawant is not generally seen as a leader on council when it comes to public safety, but it’s likely to be a key issue in this year’s Council District 3 race. Statistics and anecdotal accounts point to an increase in bias crime incidents within the newly formed district, which includes Capitol Hill and the Central District. The political concern is definitely on the rise.

For Sawant, her bread-and-butter issues of economic inequality and affordable housing are crucial to preserving LGBTQ culture and safety on Capitol Hill.

“I want to make an appeal to everyone to connect these (crime) issues to larger economic issues,” she told CHS. “Underlying all of this is that people of color, LGBTQ people, working people are finding this city increasingly unlivable.” Continue reading

Mayor lays out 10-year plan for Seattle transportation including Broadway streetcar extension, Madison BRT

“We’re redesigning streets like Broadway to provide many low-cost travel choices," Mayor Murray's plan promises

“We’re redesigning streets like Broadway to provide many low-cost travel choices,” Mayor Murray’s plan promises

"The list of new technologies impacting transportation expands every day"

“The list of new technologies impacting transportation expands every day”

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 2.09.21 PMTeeing up a ballot measure this fall to help pay for it all, Mayor Ed Murray rolled out his Move Seattle plan Monday including an “A to X” (come on city planners, you couldn’t think of two more initiatives!) roster of transportation projects being planned to make Seattle’s streets safer and more efficient by 2024. The plan includes projects with a combined budget of $835 million.

Longterm goals include a roster of safety initiatives and the target of providing “72% of Seattle residents with 10-minute all-day transit service within a 10-minute walk of their homes.” Continue reading

Gnocchi Bar finds a Capitol Hill food+drink home, gently used

Nakamura (Image: Gnocchi Bar)

Nakamura (Image: Gnocchi Bar)

1780969_602676619854323_1137015374871159130_oA Capitol Hill space that has run the food and drink gamut starting with a quickly shuttered investor-backed barstaurant start-up will take on new life soon with a project that has been seeking a home since early last year.

Lisa Nakamura will open her Gnocchi Bar in the Packard Building at 12th and Pine, the chef announced Monday. Highly anticipated by the city’s foodie crowd, Nakamura has been searching for a berth for her project celebrating the hearty pasta.  Continue reading

First Hill Streetcar contract now targets summer opening

A new month, a new target date for the First Hill Streetcar launch. Under a revised contract between the city and Czech manufacturer Inekon, the Capitol Hill-to-Pioneer Square streetcar line is slated to finish test runs by June with service to start soon after.

The delay was expected after Inekon failed to meet an earlier October deadline to deliver six cars that will run on the 2.5 mile line, and one additional car for the South Lake Union line. In January, CHS reported that the Seattle Department of Transportation was already preparing for a late summer service start. The revised contract forgives thousands of dollars in late delivery penalties, but imposes even steeper fines if Inekon misses the revised June deadline.

Three cars are currently in Seattle undergoing final assembly, three remain in the Czech Republic, and one was delivered to the Port of Tacoma on Sunday.

The new contract comes after SDOT director Scott Kubly made a trip to the the Czech Republic to put pressure on Inkeon to finish work on the streetcars. The Seattle Times reported Sunday night on the revised contract:

Friday’s new change order would charge Inekon $500, $750 or $1,000 per day of delay per train, based on whether final testing and acceptance are done in early June, late June or in July — for a total $7,000 a day if the schedule badly blows out.

The Seattle Times also reports that SDOT has agreed to an option to buy Inekon trains for a proposed downtown link.

Does Capitol Hill need a new group to press developers to meet community priorities?

"No, it's too expensive" (Image: evil robot 6 via Flickr)

“No, it’s too expensive” (Image: evil robot 6 via Flickr)

Last month, developers behind the project that will rise at the old Piecora’s site made an appearance at a Pike Pine Urban Neighborhood Council meeting. They weren’t there to defend design sketches, rather the Equity Residential team said they wanted feedback while architects were still at the drawing board.

P/PUNC’s mix of development professionals and community members offered specific examples of popular and unpopular corner-property developments in the area and used wonky terms to push for safer building designs.

The following night at the annual State of the Hill event, Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce director Michael Wells said another group’s work on the upcoming light rail station development marked a major neighborhood accomplishment. Capitol Hill Champion members worked for years forging a document of community priorities that the project’s developers will be required to follow when work starts this year.

Capitol Hill’s development boom has given rise to a small but increasingly persuasive group of community members pressing developers to build what they see as more neighborhood-appropriate projects. Early plans are now in the works to sustain the momentum by creating a Capitol Hill group modeled off the Central Area Land Use Committee. Continue reading

Broadway Whole Foods and apartment development begins design review this week

(Image: Tiscareno Associates)

(Image: Tiscareno Associates)

We showed you what the Broadway Whole Foods building will look like the minute we got our hands on the plans back in February. This week brings the first public test of the design proposal to create a 16-story, 288-unit, mixed-use development with parking for around 350 cars at the corner of Madison and Broadway where Capitol Hill and First Hill with its high-er-rise zoning meet.

The early design guidance for the Columbia Pacific Advisors development designed by Tiscareno Associates is Wednesday night:

1001 Broadway/Design Proposal (84 MB)
Review Meeting: March 4, 6:30 pm
Seattle University
1016 E. Marion St
PIGT Room #304
Review Phase: EDG–Early Design Guidance
Project Number: 3019050 permit status | notice
Planner: Lindsay King

The project will include a two-level 40,000 square-foot street-level “urban grocery” from the Texas-based chain of markets “specializing” in organic food. The project is targeted for a late 2017 to early 2018 opening and will replace the 1928-built, three-story masonry medical building currently at the site.

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Whole Foods has cited the coming First Hill Streetcar line and proximity to First Hill’s hospitals and nearby Seattle University as important factors in choosing the Broadway and Madison location.

We’ve embedded the full design proposal, below. Continue reading

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: