About Ari Cetron

Ari is a Seattle-based writer and editor. Find out more about him at www.aricetron.com

Work set to begin to make John/Thomas intersections safer from Capitol Hill Station to Miller Park

After two years of citizen advocacy, a series of pedestrian-focused improvements is coming to the John/Thomas Street corridor with construction set to begin in early July .

David Seater, co leader of Central Seattle Greenways, began calling for the project two years ago. Seater said he walks along the corridor frequently, and finds it challenging to cross either of the streets, which tend to be high on traffic, and low on places to cross.

“I felt like it shouldn’t be that tough,” he said. Continue reading

To make sure Capitol Hill’s Bullitt Center does not stand alone, Seattle looks to boost Living Buildings

(Image: Bullitt Center)

Over the years since the Bullitt Center first rose on Capitol Hill, Seattle has tried to build a system to repeat the project’s success across the city. Seattle is, of course, facing an affordability crisis — but it also faces the risks of continued global warming and climate change. In an effort to make construction of super-duper environmentally friendly buildings more attractive, the Seattle City Council Monday is ready to approve new legislation giving developers more incentives, and a lighter punishment for a failed attempt to create “Living Buildings.”

The original Living Building program started as a pilot program in 2010, (amended in 2012, 2014 and 2016) to allow up to 20 buildings to be constructed. By meeting energy and water use reduction, property owners would be permitted a bit more density than the zoning would typically allow. Continue reading

Cantwell, Jayapal, Macri on the ballot in August primary

August is coming, and amid the mad summer dash to enjoy every rooftop deck and patio in town, we also get to vote in the primary. This year is considered an off-year election, since there’s no presidential race, but there are still a number of elections at various levels of government. Washington has a top-two primary system, meaning that the top two candidates, regardless of party, will face off in November. Locally, that can mean a left-leaning candidate will run against a lefter-leaning candidate, though there are races where Capitol Hillers might see an actual (R) on the ballot in the fall.

To register to vote online, you need a valid Washington Driver’s License or ID card. The deadline for that is July 9. If you miss that deadline, or don’t have either of those ID’s, you can register in person at the county’s election annex. The Deadline for that is July 30.

King County Elections expects to mail out voter pamphlets July 17 and ballots July 18. Returned ballots must be postmarked by Aug. 7, or placed in a ballot drop box by that date. There is a box on Broadway in front of Seattle Central Community College, another by the Garfield Community Center, and more scattered across the county.

U.S. Senator: The highest profile race on the ballot is for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D), who is seeking a third term. Continue reading

‘Tree-point system’ — In quest to stay leafy, Seattle looks at new canopy protection rules

Tree

Seattle homeowners could need a permit to remove some trees from their property and developers would need to follow a “tree-point system” to determine how many trees would need to be planted when there is new construction under a new set of tree preservation regulations being considered at City Hall.

The city’s current tree preservation regulations were developed in 2009, but were considered at the time to be interim rules, said Yolanda Ho, of the city council staff during a May meeting of the council’s Planning Land Use and Zoning Committee.

A set of draft regulations was then developed in 2012, but it didn’t end up going anywhere. Now, the council is trying again to develop a set of rules that could help the Emerald City reach is goal of 30% tree cover. Continue reading

New guidelines set to refresh design of Capitol Hill development

The design of the next waves of Capitol Hill redevelopment could get a refresh under a set of proposed design guidelines that would govern buildings in the neighborhood.

“I think there’s an acceptance there’s going to be growth and there’s going to be change,” said Patrice Carroll, an urban planner with the city who is helping with the development of the new guidelines.

Capitol Hill Design Guidelines Open House

The original guidelines for the area were established in 2005, then revised in 2013 to reflect a larger, citywide update. In broad terms, the guidelines give developers an idea for how a building should look, and what sorts of amenities are important to the neighborhood. Continue reading

Up against a wall of *if*, here’s *how* Seattle head tax money would be spent on Capitol Hill


If it survives a voter referendum cooked up this week by business and economic groups opposing the plan… And if the spending plan put forward by the City Council somehow can survive mayoral opposition…

How much of the roughly $237 million over five years in head tax revenue will come to Capitol Hill? The short answer is, some, but it’s too early to say exactly. A Seattle City Council resolution, however, gives a starting point. Along with the head tax, the council approved a companion resolution that laid out broad preliminary plans for the windfall of cash.

The resolution is non-binding and could change during the council’s budget process in the fall. Additionally, the Mayor Jenny Durkin’s office has indicated that she opposes the preliminary spending plans, council staff say. Continue reading

With or without head tax cash, businesses make push for homelessness outreach on Broadway

(Image: Alex Garland/CHS)

Even with the city’s new head tax on the books, a group of Broadway businesses have decided not to wait for new funding streams to start — and their decision on how best to put the money to use shows how the priorities to the issue can differ in the distance between City Hall and Capitol Hill. The Broadway Business Improvement Area will fund its own outreach worker to help people experiencing homelessness and be available to area merchants when issues arise.

In past years, the city had run a program funding outreach workers to visit areas around downtown to assist the homeless population. That program was then expanded to the International District and then to Capitol Hill. That program, at least the Capitol Hill portion of it, lasted for about two years before closing in March.

At the time, the businesses which make up the BBIA began looking to find a way to allow the program to continue, and now that may be taking shape, said Egan Orion, administrator of the BBIA. Continue reading

Environmental nonprofit Nia Tero ready to put down roots with new Pike/Pine office

A nonprofit dedicated to helping indigenous people efficiently manage the environment is coming to Capitol Hill. The nonprofit Nia Tero looks to move into offices being renovated this summer at 501 E Pine.

The organization will work with indigenous people around the world to help them continue to act as stewards of their land.

“For millennia, indigenous peoples have thrived through connection with their territorial lands and waters. These connections between people and place have shaped societies that sustain some of the most vital natural systems on the planet. Nia Tero exists to support and amplify this guardianship through equitable partnerships with indigenous peoples to sustain and govern large-scale territories,” says the group’s website. Continue reading

25 years of Rudy’s Barbershop on Capitol Hill — and, why they called it Rudy’s to begin with

Eight million haircuts. Rudy’s, the Capitol Hill-based haircutting empire, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and the company estimates they’ve given more than 8 million haircuts in that time.

The first Rudy’s was opened in January, 1993 on E Pine, by friends Alex Calderwood, Wade Weigel and David Petersen. According to company lore, the trio was looking to make a place where they could hang out with their friends.

In those grunge-era days, Capitol Hill was a very different place in terms of the demographics, and sheer numbers of people, but that was starting to change. Rudy’s opened, along with now-stalwart Linda’s, and once-beloved Bauhaus coffee. Those three were one factor in changing the neighborhood into the one we recognize now, said Danny Segal, director of marketing and brand for Rudy’s. Or at least they were a factor in changing it into the neighborhood we used to recognize, but now don’t anymore, depending on how long you’ve lived here. Continue reading

Workshop will try to get community priorities out in front of coming, taller 15th Ave E redevelopment

15th Ave E from above

By the time the bulldozers show up, it’s way too late to have any impact on how a new building might look.

So a pair of architecture firms located on 15th Avenue East are planning to get ahead of any development on the street they call home. Board & Vellum and Environmental Works are hosting a design workshop, open to the public, to discuss what 15th Ave E could look like as redevelopment happens.

Thus far in the recent building boom, 15th has largely been spared much redevelopment, save for the old Chutney’s site being replaced by the Stream 15 building in 2013. And the lack of change hasn’t just been during the current boom. Chris Parker of Board & Vellum notes that in going back through archived photos, the neighborhood looks largely the same as it has for decades.

“It hasn’t changed much since the 1950s,” he said. Continue reading