Weigh in now on Madison Bus Rapid Transit — 23rd Ave RapidRide coming next

You will have another opportunity Wednesday night to kick the tires in person on the plan to create Bus Rapid Transit on Madison. In the meantime, King County and the City of Seattle have released a RapidRide expansion plan that includes the 2019 startup of Madison’s RapidRide G as part of a growing, cross-city network of optimized bus corridors including a plan for what we presume would be RapidRide M or N or O or P on 23rd Ave by 2024. Continue reading

Black Dot dispute clouds future of Africatown ‘inclusive development’ at 23rd and Union

14570556_563197213867977_1386588592077165332_o (1)With a multimillion land deal looming in the background that could make the community group part of what it calls “inclusive development” in the Central District, Africatown says it is taking on “Trump-style real estate discrimination” over the effort to evict work space and business incubator Black Dot from the 23rd and Union shopping center.

The community organization run by K. Wyking Garrett has called for a press conference Monday afternoon at the site of Black Dot’s space inside Midtown Center complex:

Today, at 4 p.m., community leaders in support of Black Dot – a business incubator and economic development center providing technical assistance to African American-owned and operated businesses and microenterprises – will host a press conference and rally protesting the recent illegal attempts made to evict the business advocacy group from its current headquarters.

The dispute follows efforts last week for the Midtown Center Partnership, the Bangasser family company, to clear out Black Dot including changing the locks on the commercial berth being used for the work space following the end of the contract with the leaseholder in the partnership of community groups that helped start the location last year.

Police were called to help sort things out Friday but left the property owners to deal with starting a formal eviction process: Continue reading

After a 21-month road diet, first phase of 23rd Ave work complete

DSC00851The new, post road-diet 23rd Ave is now open.

The Seattle Department of Transportation began construction on the first phase of the three-phase project in June 2015, closing the road to northbound traffic between Jackson and John streets.

The newly designed road has gone from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction, with a center turn lane. It’s also been widened near bus stops, to allow cars to get past buses as they load and unload passengers. Continue reading

CD’s 23rd Ave overhaul slated to end in early 2017, full project still has no timeline

(Image: SDOT via Flickr)

(Image: SDOT via Flickr)

The Central District’s long neighborhood nightmare is almost over. The 20-month project to overhaul a busy section of 23rd Ave is on track to finish in February 2017.

Final paving at 23rd and E Union is scheduled to be completed next weekend, weather permitting — though, it was already pushed back a week due to rain. Crews will also continue to work in the area through February to rebuild sidewalks, install electrical components, and complete finishing touches like landscaping and signage.

During that time northbound 23rd Ave will remained closed from E Union to E John. The full northbound detour, which sends traffic to MLK Way, will stay in effect through early 2017. Starting next week, crews are also scheduled to commence several weeks of road work at E Olive, which will include moving the 48 bus stop about 200 feet south on 23rd Ave.

After that, Central District-proper should be in the clear, but 23rd Ave as a whole still has a way to go before the upheaval is over and the full benefit of the major infrastructure investments are realized. Late next year, work will move to the avenue’s outer reaches for Phases 2 and 3 of the improvement project, which still do not have a definitive timeline. Continue reading

Friends raising funds to help after minivan crash destroys 23rd Ave apartment

Imagine coming home to your apartment looking like a minivan crashed into it… because a minivan did. Central District resident Stephen Nocentelli arrived at the 23rd Ave building he calls home to find news crews and a scene of vehicular carnage after getting a call from police following last Wednesday night’s crash. The driver and the occupant of the ill-fated Dodge fled the scene. Continue reading

Garfield High football players plan to kneel for national anthem

The Central District’s high school football team is planning to join a number of professional and student athletes nationwide in an ongoing demonstration against racial injustice during the school’s Friday night game.

The Garfield Bulldogs will travel to West Seattle where the entire team has decided they will kneel for the national anthem and continue to do so for the rest of the season. Coach Joey Thomas tells CHS the decision came out of ongoing conversations the team has had about race and social injustice. Students were particularly motivated to do something after learning about the rarely recited third verse of the Star-Spangled Banner, Thomas said, which celebrates the killing of rebellious slaves.

“One thing we pride ourselves on is we have open and honest conversations about what is going on in this society,” Thomas said. “It led kids to talk about the social injustice they experience … and it led to coaches to talk about what we go though. We’re teaching life skills through sports.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting for the national anthem during the NFL’s preseason, sparking a national debate over the gesture. Kaepernick cited police brutality and the killing of unarmed African Americans as primary reasons for his demonstration. Thomas, whose father and grandfather served in the military, said those who argue the protest is disrespectful to service members are misinformed.

“It’s because they are over there fighting for our rights that we can stand for what we believe in,” he said. “It’s because of our military that we can have this silent protest.” Continue reading

Rocker Hendrix part of Judkins Park light rail station design

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Entrances from 23rd Ave (above) and Rainier Ave. (Images: Sound Transit)

Jimi Hendrix will be looking down when you hear that train a comin’ at the Judkins Park Station in 2023. The Central District’s most celebrated son will be honored with two large murals at his home neighborhood light rail station, according to the latest designs for the Judkins Park Station.

Architects from Hewitt and Sound Transit presented the most recent artwork and schematics for the elevated station to the Seattle Design Commission Thursday. The station design is currently 90% complete, putting Sound Transit on track to start construction by next spring. Continue reading

First stretch of reconfigured 23rd Ave opens to two-way traffic

Joel Connelly can hop into his jalopy for a pleasant drive — a long kinked-off segment of 23rd Ave reopens to “two-way traffic” with its newly reconfigured lanes today:

Two-Way Traffic Resumes on 23rd Avenue Today from East Cherry Street to East Union Street

SEATTLE – The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) advises travelers that beginning today, July 27, two-way traffic on 23rd Avenue will reopen from East Cherry Street to East Union Street, allowing better access to businesses, homes, and community organizations in the area. This work is part of the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project. Continue reading

Central District church burglary, graffiti investigated as hate crime

Sunday as its congregation prepared to celebrate the church’s 67th anniversary, leaders at the Central District’s Curry Temple CME arrived to find a terrible mess inside the 23rd Ave house of worship and hateful messages spray painted across the walls.

“Our church has been vandalized & items were stolen,” a message posted to the church’s Facebook page reads. “We had worship service we also had our 67th anniversary celebration at 3 o’clock the Devil is a Lie we should not be defeated and no weapon formed against us will ever prosper.”

Police are investigating the burglary and vandalism as malicious harassment, the state’s hate crime statute. The damage and messages are similar to the destruction that happened last month at the Africatown Center. In that investigation, police said a volunteer had been arrested in connection with the case.

At Curry Temple, the church is vowing to overcome the damage. A donation page has been set up and parishioners and the community are planning to gather Saturday at 10 AM for a prayer vigil and “call to action.”

“We are calling for Faith based leaders and Community leaders & Members to come together, stand with Curry Temple in Solidarity in [the] the Central District,” the announcement reads. “We are like a tree planted by water we shall not be moved.”

 

Project to electrify the 48 bus is underway on 23rd Ave

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Red sections indicate where overhead wires will go up. (Image: SDOT)

Red sections indicate where overhead wires will be installed. (Image: SDOT)

Amid the massive overhaul of the 23rd Ave corridor and the uproar it’s caused with local merchants, another project on the street has quietly got underway: building the infrastructure necessary to transition the route 48 diesel hybrid busses into a fleet of all-electric trolleys.

Connecting the U-District to Mt. Baker through the Central District and Capitol Hill, the 48 is the workhorse of 23rd Ave transit, shuttling riders the entire length of the corridor. Much of 23rd Ave has overhead wires to accommodate the 4 and 43, but the 48 has to run diesel hybrid busses due to gaps in the line.

There are currently 1.7 miles of missing overhead wires needed to run electric trolleys on the 48, with gaps from John to Cherry, and Dearborn to Plum.

The Seattle Department of Transportation, which is handling funding and construction for the King County Metro line, estimates the project will cost $14.6 – $17.5 million, with $9.4 million already secured through federal grants. Construction will include installing trolley poles, overhead wires, and traction power sub stations. The second phase of the project is expected to get underway next year, setting up the 48 to go electric in 2018.

“The Electric trolley bus is the really tried and true transit wet have here in Seattle,” said SDOT’s transit deputy director Bill Bryant at a recent city-county joint transportation meeting. “It is particularly well suited for our hilly environment and lots of starts and stops.”

There are clear environmental benefits, too. With its 4 miles per gallon busses, the 48 route uses roughy 185,000 gallons of diesel fuel a year. Electric trolley bus technology was found to be $3.7 million cheaper annually than diesel hybrids, according to an SDOT study. Electric trolleys will also significantly reduce noise along the busy corridor.

In 2023, the 48 will also be the only transit line to directly connect non-downtown stations on all three Link lines: Central Link (Mount Baker Station), East Link (Judkins Park Station), and North Link (Brooklyn and UW stations). Continue reading