As the “T”s are added and crossed at Capitol Hill station before the gates open for the first time on March 19th, King County Metro is finalizing its work plan around bus service serving the new light rail stations. This is really just the final bit of bureaucracy on this long process, as most of the changes have been approved for months now. But there are some notable things that can be learned from the work plan, and I want to lay them out here.
The work plan estimates that transfers between buses and light rail at the vicinity of Broadway and John will go up by only 560 people per day, which is a pretty remarkably low number of transfers. Only 280 people per day will transfer from a bus to a light rail train and vice versa at the station, according to the documents presented to the King County Council. This after a months-long discussion in our neighborhood to figure out how to reorganize our bus system to best utilize light rail.
Ridership is projected to total 14,000 riders per day, meaning that Metro’s current estimate for transferring is less than 5% of total ridership. These numbers assume that 95% of riders will arrive at the station via a mode other than a bus. It is unclear why Metro is estimating this number to be so low
Bus Stop Re-locations
The eastbound stop, currently in front of the Forever Tan on E Olive Way between Harvard and Broadway, will move to be directly in front of the station on the east side of Broadway. Riders transferring from an 8 coming from Seattle Center or a 10 from Downtown will have a very easy transfer to their bus by simply walking outside the station. Continue reading
CHS found a different kind of Valentine’s Day gift for sale on Broadway Monday morning. Author and artist Saab Lofton was on the plaza at Seattle Central with stories for sale.
“Here, this is one of the best Lesbian vampire stories,” Lofton said Monday, leafing through his stapled stacks of stories. His tales mix explorations on race and privilege with science fiction and bizarre twists on mainstream characters. What if Superman is Black?
It’s all a little weird and not completely romantic — in other words, perfect for your Valentine.
Lofton said he’s back in Seattle after a stint in Las Vegas and that he might turn his attention to stories from the neighborhood. You can find him sometimes on Broadway — look for the Valentine’s sign this week — or at saablofton.com.
Demolished (Image: King County)
Those enjoying a free ride on the First Hill Streetcar may have noticed one of Broadway’s old buildings was torn down last week. At the corner of Broadway and James, the former home of Yasuko’s Teriyaki and, now long ago, El Mestizo, and the 1906-built, two-story, 4-unit masonry apartment building they called home has been demolished.
The path for the 550 Broadway project is an example of the roadway large projects around the neighborhood sometimes take as financing windows open and close and the review and permit process trundles forward. In this case, the teriyaki restaurant’s owner Yasuko Connor also owned the old building and sold to developers in 2011 for $3,339,000, according to county records. That knowledge might soften the blow of sadness fans of the restaurant felt when it finally shuttered last fall. The acquirer was George Webb and the Stratford Company, the prolific real estate investor and developer we last reported on amid accusations of economic evictions at a recently acquired Capitol Hill apartment building.
The developers moved forward a plan for a seven-story, mixed-use apartment building at the site. Here’s our report on the design review from late 2011. Then the project seemingly went on ice as the process to do something with the property ground to a halt. Finally, in December 2014, Webb’s company flipped the property and the permitted development project for $7.5 million to Seattle-based Intracorp Real Estate.
While the first round of permitting expired last spring, the company was able to submit and updated application. In December, the city approved the plan for a seven-story building designed in 2011 with 5,000 square feet of commercial space and underground parking for 110 vehicles. With the old building demolished, hopefully it won’t take another five years for construction to begin.
For an event billed as the State of Downtown, there sure was a lot of talk about Capitol Hill.
Downtown Seattle Association’s annual gathering last week drew over 1,000 business owners, residents, and office tower workers to The Westin hotel Thursday morning. Amid the reports of downtown’s growing density (20 new buildings in 2015 added 3,600 units) and booming job growth (half of Seattle workers are now downtown), speakers also stressed the importance of connecting downtown to other neighborhoods, especially Capitol Hill.
The reasons are twofold. Putting Capitol Hill’s arts, culture, and dining within easy reach adds to downtown’s claims as a livable, family-friendly neighborhood. Enhancing that connection also presents a clear marketing opportunity for downtown developers and investors. Continue reading
Tuesday night will bring your opportunity to publicly comment on a community-generated proposal to add more blocks around E Madison to the city’s Restricted Parking Zone 2.
The meeting will also help show you how an RPZ is born if you’re into that kind of thing.
“The Capitol Hill Community Council has requested the City make more blocks eligible for RPZ 2,” the Seattle Department of Transportation notice for the meeting reads. That’s mostly true.
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.
Monday, February 15th Tuesday, February 16th 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.”