Comments of the week: Fie on ‘buffer zones,’ keep MSFT away from city data, 500 Pine bleh

For many of the best CHS posts, the coolest information and ideas don’t come until after the article is already written or the photograph cropped and posted. Here is our weekly celebration of recent high quality CHS comments. Thanks for being part of the site.

First, we feature a comment that appeared on a different Capitol Hill blog.

Submitted by kevinseattle on Mon, 2009-08-24 11:42.

This blog SUCKS! No original content everything comes straight from CHS Blog! Take a look at this post from 3 DAYS EARLIER:

It raises some valid and well-argued points, no?

It’s been awhile since we heard from Vlad but he weighed in last week, pushing back on the idea that the city should create ‘buffer’ zoning between residential and commercial development:

RE: Hmmm... by Vlad Cole

response to max:

I live at 11th and Pike specifically because I like being able to walk from my front door to a bar and stumble back home. I feel safer living on streets full of a diverse crowd of people who are merrymakers, restaurant-goers, and so on.

Mixed residential and commercial neighborhoods are more vibrant. The idea of specialized zones for commercial vs. residential is an old way of thinking about cities and one that Jane Jacobs effectively discredited almost 50 years ago.

So fie on your idea of “buffer” zones between bars and homes. Fie on creating residential-only areas and commercial-only areas. And fie on the suggestion that people are going to move out because a neighborhood has an active nightlife. I moved *in* as a result of this area’s active nightlife!

I do like Comrade Bunny’s suggestion of better soundproofing mandates in neighborhoods that are well mixed. The sort of low-end soundproofing that is standard for quiet (read: boring!) suburban neighborhoods just doesn’t protect the sanity of people who want to live in more happening ‘hoods. The cost burden of better soundproofing will have to get paid for somehow (lower margins for developers or higher prices for renters/purchasers, or a little of both). It could also be achieved through simple disclosures. For example, an ambient decibel reading disclosure as part of the listing process.

While we’re working together to make things better, this comment wonders aloud why Sound Transit isn’t able to start working immediately in the Capitol Hill station construction area on Broadway:

Three months wasted by Eric
I am still wondering why they are letting the property sit for three months rather than starting to dig now. OK, perhaps they cannot dig towards downtown until they get the I-5 work finished, but could they not start digging towards the U District?

Our post about the City of Seattle’s lack of innovation in making data and information available to the citizenry raised an interesting point regarding the openness of the system and the risk of corporate involvement in the public sector.

public data should be provided using open standards using Free Software whenever feasible by Phil Mocek
Given the influence of our monopolistic neighbor to the east, implementation of such a project would require extra vigilance to ensure that data are provided using open standards via a Web site that doesn’t cater to bugs in Internet Explorer or require a bunch of proprietary plug-ins be installed in the user’s browser. Microsoft would likely want to be involved, but regardless of any altruistic intentions they might have, I doubt their ability to focus on doing something in a manner best suited to creating a public good and not to trapping more computer users in their web of bad UI, network security as an afterthought, and forced upgrades

Mike with curls left this grumpy and creatively worded missive against filling the Cal Anderson fountain with bubbles:

.. ho, ho …fuck vandalism by Mike with curls
Such stupid stuff is fun to middle schoolers, but it is high grade vandalism … some fool painted the cone a few months back as well.

The water feature is the best in the city and the most compelling action in the park. Those who fuck it up are fools, stupid, wrecking a giant community project and need o spend a few nights in jail.

No truck for such antics, at all.

Love that park, play your sad-sill-juvenile soap jokes on friends in the shower.

Turns out, he has a point:

Not too funny, really by kayzel
Every time someone does something like this, the water feature’s rather complex and sensitive filtering and draining mechanism is compromised, and considerable time and (taxpayer) money are spent to get it functioning again. With shrinking maintenance dollars, if this keeps up, Parks may shut the fountain down completely. Think about it. Surely there are other ways to enjoy the park.

And kazyel oughta know — she’s a member of the Cal Anderson Park Alliance. You going to argue with that?

Meanwhile, we heard from a happy new Cap Hill business owner:

Yea for Capitol Hill! by Leah
Thanks for the great mention. I am so excited to be relocating to Capitol Hill — I think the energy of the area, paired with all of the wonderful existing businesses — will be great for us and our customers. We are very excited to become part of the neighborhood!

Back to the grump, here’s a not-so-favorable review of the big 500 Pine Party/marketing event that went down in the Havana parking lot last week:

bleh by Lezzy Minell
how much money were they given to put this together? should’ve donated it to charity. it was lame, poorly organized and crammed into a small space. the decor looked like a garbage dumpster threw up in the parking lot. it was clearly catered to the pseudo-hipster crowd of capitol hill but that is not what the 500 pine block was about as it was inclusive of all capitol hill and seattle residents

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5 thoughts on “Comments of the week: Fie on ‘buffer zones,’ keep MSFT away from city data, 500 Pine bleh

  1. I don’t support separation of uses but we do need to find a solution to noise pollution. I can hear bars, coffee shops, and loud residences from my apartment but by far the worst noise offender is the grocery store. We need to reduce urban nuisance noises such as the back-up beepers on trucks, car alarms, leaf blowers, bad buskers, and low-flying aircraft.

    Increased sound insulation may help some but open windows are a necessity in this climate most of the year. Perhaps if we developed signage and other visual cues to remind people that they are in a neighborhood where people are trying to sleep at night, they will voluntarily go about their fun a little quieter. Maybe I’m naive but I like to think that the drunk people would keep it down a bit (not so much yelling in the streets, alleys, and parking lots) if they were reminded that people are sleeping above them.

  2. I have always had really great experiences when I make suggestions to drunk people. You just wouldn’t believe how eager they are for my input on how they should behave. ;)

  3. Semily: Regarding aircraft noise, see the information at

    AJ and the person who didn’t bother to sign his/her name or even to use a pseudonym: quoting a comment I left a couple months ago in response to the CHS post “The Lookout (formerly Artemis) Opens Today“:

    I tend to think that since we live in a city — particularly one in which most people do not close their windows and run air conditioning — we need to be extra careful about making noise at night, since there are so many people within earshot, and since the majority of them sleep at night.

    Here in the city, we share our space, and things work a lot better when we’re considerate of each other. Even if everybody is extra-quiet because we know there are a hundred people within earshot, there’s going to be more noise here in the city than there would be elsewhere. Most of us accept *that* noise as unavoidable. But that’s not the sort of noise we’re talking about here. This noise is avoidable. Its cost is entirely absorbed by the bar’s neighbors. Its benefit is felt entirely by the bar and its patrons. That’s not a very neighborly situation.

    If you don’t like keeping things quiet *outside* your home or place of business after 10 or 11 p.m. so your neighbors can sleep (remember, you can make all the noise you like *inside* as long as you close the windows and put up adequate sound insulation), you probably should go live or operate your business in the sticks where you can make all the noise you want because your neighbors aren’t nearby.

    As for whether people would keep their vocal volume down if reminded that people are sleeping within earshot, I suspect that 1) some people are just inconsiderate and wouldn’t care, 2) some people were not raised to speak only loudly enough that they can be heard by people to whom they speak and will always speak (and laugh, etc.) more loudly than they need to unless they really focus on keeping it down, and 3) it’s all in the delivery of the “hey, there are people trying to sleep up there” message (friendly sign: maybe somewhat effective; cranky person yelling out of window: likely to make the situation worse).