First look: inside Capitol Hill Station

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

With a message one Sound Transit official was so proud of he repeated it twice, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray lead a media tour Tuesday morning of the “ahead of schedule and under budget” U-Link subway line’s Capitol Hill Station.

“When U-Link opens early next year it will transform how people get around this city,” Constantine said before getting to the heart of the matter — a public push to pass the state transportation budget in Olympia including a fully-funded Sound Transit 3 package.

Mayor Murray echoed the call to Olympia before heading underground below Broadway. “Tens of thousands of people will use this as a way to commute to work,” Murray said, “to enjoy life when they’re not working. It’s going to make a difference.”

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Tuesday’s tour was the first public opportunity to see inside the $110 million station that stretches from John to Denny below two acres of Broadway just northwest of Cal Anderson Park. Later this summer, Sound Transit says it will begin “pre-revenue testing” on the twin tracks between downtown and Montlake via Capitol Hill. Starting around August, every train will continue from Westlake tunnel to put the system fully through its paces. Passengers, of course, will need to get off the train before it continues all the way to UW station.
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Broadway Shoe Repair cobbler Mitch Caddy remembered

Customers and friends at Broadway Shoe Repair are remembering cobbler Mitch Caddy.

A sign posted at the busy shop inside the Broadway Market shopping center announced Caddy’s passing. The West Seattle resident was 61.

Caddy worked with soles — and more than a few heels — on Broadway for 24 years. According to his obituary, he was a musician whose band once opened for Tower of Power and Merilee Rush. “He was a Cobbler who could fix ANYTHING leather,” the tribute notes. CHS can attest — our ball glove got a strap repair courtesy Caddy nearly 10 years ago. It’s held up just fine even if the cobbler didn’t quite match the leathers.

According to the sign posted at the shop, there will be no repairs on Thursday, May 28th so staff can attend services for Caddy. “He loved his Capitol Hill family and we sure do miss his kind and gentle spirit,” the sign posted at Broadway Shoe Repair reads.

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Thanks to Stacy for letting CHS know.

More transit prep on Broadway: If you spot ‘smoke,’ don’t worry — Capitol Hill Station airflow test

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A cutaway view from the north of Capitol Hill Station's main entrance at Broadway and John (Image: Sound Transit)

A cutaway view from the north of Capitol Hill Station’s main entrance at Broadway and John (Image: Sound Transit)

If you see smoke Friday night coming from the under construction Capitol Hill Station, you can probably relax. Sound Transit says contractors will be conducting tests of the station’s “airflow”

Friday, May 22, from 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Sound Transit’s contractors at both the Capitol Hill and University of Washington Stations will perform airflow tests in the University Link tunnels. Nearby residents and passersby may notice artificial smoke (a dense vapor produced by a fog machine) exiting vent shafts at the station sites. Additional airflow tests will also be performed on May 30-31 and June 6-7 during daytime hours.

If this were an actual emergency, never fear — Capitol Hill’s Fire Station 25 is home to Seattle’s only special tunnel firefighting machine.

(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

The work is part of preparations through the rest of 2015 to open Capitol Hill Station and the U-Link light rail extension connecting downtown to Montlake by way of Broadway.

You can get a sneak peek here of the UW station and a look here at what it’s like inside the 3.1 mile tunnels. Riders will descend around 90 feet via escalators and elevators to reach the Capitol Hill Station platform, according to Sound Transit diagrams. In addition to the main entrance near Broadway and John, the station will also be accessed by an entrance near Denny on the west side of Broadway and a third entrance on the south end of the site. By 2030, about 14,000 Capitol Hill riders are expected to board the light rail trains each day.

Above ground, the process to develop the sites around the Broadway light rail site with a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments, a community plaza, and commercial space — including a home being planned for a new grocery store – is underway and planners are adjusting bus routes in anticipation of the new transit service coming online. Meanwhile, the surface level streetcar has begun testing on Broadway with hopes of opening the service to riders later this summer.

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With better reporting, new tools, Seattle hate crime totals continue rise — UPDATE

Seattle Police Department officials say an increase in reports of bias crimes on Capitol Hill and across Seattle is actually progress and that more tools are coming to help the LGBTQ community report crimes and hate incidents.

In a report to the City Council public safety committee Wednesday afternoon, Lieutenant Michael Kebba said the rise in reports reflects an increased effort to encourage victims to tell police about bias incidents. “I don’t really see a lot of attack issues,” Kebba said.

Overall, there were 126 reported bias incidents in Seattle in 2014 up from 110 in 2013. In the East Precinct covering Capitol Hill, reports jumped to 34 “malicious harassments,” “crimes with bias elements,” and “bias incidents.”


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Testing, testing: First Hill Streetcar makes surprise Broadway appearance

(Image: @TheStreetcar via Twitter)

(Image: @TheStreetcar via Twitter)

Either the plan has changed or the First Hill Streetcar testing is ahead of its delayed schedule. Monday night, Broadway — apparently — had a surprise visitor.

“Did you see #TheStreetcar on Broadway last night? Low speed test completed as we continue startup prep,” the streetcar’s promotional Twitter account bragged.

(Image: @seattledot via Twitter)

(Image: @seattledot via Twitter)

“Hey All, Did you see Streetcar on Broadway last night?” SDOT’s account teased.

CHS didn’t see it. So it’s possible the First Hill Streetcar’s landing on Broadway was faked. But here’s what CHS wrote in March as we got a look at the new trains under construction and being prepared for testing at their International District trolley barn:

Don’t expect to see the streetcar on Broadway until very late in the testing process this summer. SDOT officials say the testing won’t make it up the Hill until there are three or four cars ready for service conditions. At that point, SDOT can begin a process of mimicking standard service. An official said at that point, the streetcar needs to perform as planned for about two weeks. Once it passes that test, the new trams — including our special hot pink car — will be ready for business.

There’s been no announcement of an acceleration in the plan to start service so we’re betting the low-speed test was just a little more ambitious than how planners described the process back in March. Continue reading

Developer shows off plans for Capitol Hill Station housing and The Market Hall

unnamedSiteMapv4-W-Map-1024x807-600x472-1-400x315For the first time since they were selected to develop the housing and retail sites that will one day surround the Capitol Hill light rail station, developers Gerding Edlen met with the Capitol Hill community Saturday to show off its early designs for the project.

The Portland-based developer set up posters inside E Pine’s Century Ballroom for a public viewing of the company’s winning proposal, which Sound Transit selected and made available last month. The event was co-hosted by Sound Transit and Capitol Hill Champion, a neighborhood group that’s worked for years to insert community priorities into the “transit orientated development” project.

Members from the Gerding team and architects from Schemata Workshop were on hand to answer questions and take public feedback during the three hour open house. The event was a kickoff of sorts to a new round of community engagement on the project as Sound Transit spent much of the past six months scoring proposals from four teams.

A dog swimming pool, music practice spaces, a newsstand, and more vibrant color palettes were just a few of the colorful suggestions attendees offered after viewing the designs Saturday. Continue reading

Vulcan comes to Broadway for the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace

(Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

(Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

Block 2E (Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

Block 2E. The redevelopment of Yesler Terrace is a big deal. How big? There is even a new Fir Street involved (Image: Runberg Architecture Group)

This April Fool’s, the joke was that Vulcan was redeveloping Cal Anderson Park. There was some truth to the farce. The Seattle development giant so closely associated with South Lake Union’s transformation is bringing its game uphill. But it won’t be part of the signature redevelopment project of the late two thousand teens on Capitol Hill at the Broadway light rail station. Instead, Vulcan comes to Broadway from the south as part of yet another signature redevelopment project for our shiny new Seattle.

Wednesday night, the developer’s vision for two of the three projects it plans to be part of the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace will begin the public design review process.

Here are the plans for Block 2E and Block 3 including more than 400 apartment units, some 10,000 or more square feet of commercial space and parking for something between 250 and 310 vehicles when all is said and done. Both projects will be presented in a double-header of a design review session Wednesday night. Continue reading

Meet the Capitol Hill Station developers

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(Image: Gerding Edlen)

Representatives from the company selected to lead the most significant development project on Capitol Hill… ever will be on hand Saturday to meet with the community and begin the public process of sharing their vision for the blocks of Broadway between John and Denny surrounding Capitol Hill Station.

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Capitol Hill Champion — Meet the Developers
Saturday, May 16th – 1 to 4 PM
Century Ballroom
capitolhillchampion.org

In April, CHS reported on the selection of Portland-based Gerding Edlen as the “master developer” for the multi-site retail and housing projects. A protest from Capitol Hill Housing could also put the local nonprofit developer in the mix to handle the affordable housing earmarked for the B-North site. Developers were allowed to plan for 85-foot tall buildings along Broadway in exchange for going above minimum affordable housing requirements.

The $1.8 billion light rail extension connecting downtown to the University of Washington under Capitol Hill is expected to open for service by early 2016. Sound Transit forecasts that by 2030, there will be 14,000 boardings a day at Capitol Hill Station. The transit oriented development around the station on Broadway will add some 400 apartments to the site as part of 100,000 square feet of “transit oriented development” including housing, commercial, and community spaces.

CHS Pics | 2015 Cannabis Freedom march brings signs, causes, and I-502 product placements to streets of Capitol Hill

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

IMG_7197Believer or not, there are elements of “cannabis freedom” greater than I-502 victories like “sophisticated” pot cookies and neighborhoods like 15th Ave E facing competition between potential multiple legal pot retail shops. Saturday, the various forces pushing for the next horizons of pot freedom gathered again in Volunteer Park for a rally and march for the cause.

Here’s a look at the march as it traveled down Broadway and Pine along with the messages of the many constituencies represented — from the cannabis as PTSD treatment “22” movement that marks the number of veterans believed to commit suicide every day, to the ongoing fight to have marijuana removed from the federal roster of controlled substances, to the fight against Washington’s plans to transition medical marijuana into the purview of I-502 retailers. And, in true I-502 spirit, there was also some community-friendly product placement thanks to providers like Nana’s Secret “cannabis-infused” sodas.

Meanwhile, Central Seattle potrepreneur Ian Eisenberg may not have had a float in this year’s march but he did have reason to celebrate. The lawsuit brought against his Uncle Ike’s shop at 23rd and Union by a neighboring church and community group has been dropped, the Seattle Times reports. CHS reported here on some of the early legal victories for Eisenberg’s store. Last month, Eisenberg told CHS he is planning to open a second I-502 retailer in the former veterinarian clinic building he purchased at 15th Ave and Republican.IMG_7269

More pictures, below. Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | Piggly Wiggly on Broadway

Blend of 1937 assessors photo showing Safeway on Broadway (Washington State Archives) and 2015 (Rob Ketcherside)

Seattleites, come over here for a minute and let me explain. “Piggly Wiggly stores aren’t the biggest grocery stores in the country or even the cheapest, but they cultivated a following by being unabashedly, intentionally local.” (Bloomberg)

Piggly Wiggly is a chain grocery store that continues today in the Midwest and South. It started in Tennessee and expanded through regional franchise licenses across the entire country during and after World War One. Piggly Wiggly is popularly remembered as the first American self-service chain grocery, starting in 1916. Continue reading