Garage, Capitol Hill’s pool hall and bowling alley, turns 20

unnamed-5

Garage’s original pool hall and 2003 bowling addition on the left. (Images: Garage)

Even before the first rounds of pool and bowling were played at Garage, ball games were essential to start of the Broadway bar and restaurant celebrating its 20th anniversary this month on Capitol Hill.

The first was a 1994 charity softball game where Alex Rosenast met Mike Bitondo. Rosenast, already a successful Seattle club owner, would later ask the inexperienced, recent college graduate to manage the new pool hall he was opening on Capitol Hill.

The second came eight years later with a pair fortunate seats at SafeCo Field. It was 2002 when Bitondo and Rosenast were sitting down at a Mariners game and realized the man sitting directly in front of them was the property owner of the building adjacent to the Garage, then just a restaurant and pool hall. Rumor had it the owner was preparing to sell the auto-row era building — then home to a fish tank wholesaler — to an office supply chain store. Continue reading

Driver cut from vehicle after smashing into Broadway delivery truck

(Image: SDOT)

(Image: SDOT)

Broadway might be one of the most complicated driving environments in Seattle. But that doesn’t mean people are slowing down.

Seattle Fire responded to a serious crash Thursday morning just after 8 AM involving an SUV that slammed into the back of a delivery truck in front of the Broadway Building at Broadway and Pine. Arriving SFD crews used hydraulic rescue tools to remove the injured driver from his vehicle. Witnesses reported the vehicle’s roof had to be completely cut away. A Seattle Fire spokesperson said the adult male victim was rushed to Harborview with what was described as serious injuries.

With the addition of an actives streetcar line to the street and its accompanying separated bikeway, Broadway’s lanes, markings, and lights make up a complicated driving environment. While we haven’t yet compiled statistics about collisions along Broadway, Thursday’s crash joins a few anecdotes showing that the busier street environment isn’t necessarily translating to calmer driver behavior. In March, two passengers and a driver were injured when he smashed a rented PT Cruiser into the back of a Metro bus while reportedly darting around traffic on a busy pre-commute Broadway. One of the three people in the car suffered life-threatening injuries, while two people on the bus were also injured. According to court records, no charges have been filed in that crash.

Council member O’Brien wants Central Co-op to anchor Capitol Hill Station development

Favorites-1-of-4-1-600x400Council member Mike O’Brien has made an unexpected endorsement, not for a political candidate, but for a Capitol Hill grocer.

In a letter to the developer of the four-site retail and housing project that will one day surround the Capitol Hill Station, the District 6 rep expressed his support for Central Co-op to become the development’s anchor tenant over Portland-based New Seasons Market. Both grocers are vying to occupy the future prominent retail space on Broadway, poised to be an extremely high-trafficked site given the thousands of light rail riders who are already moving through the block daily.

Members of the 16th and E Madison co-op announced in April to pursue a second location in the “transit orientated development” following reports that developer Gerding Edlen was in talks with New Seasons.

A group of labor organizations and Council District 3 rep Kshama Sawant previously voiced concerns about an “anti-union climate” at New Seasons stores. Citing Central Co-op’s early implementation of a $15 minimum wage and “spirit of sustainability,” O’Brien said the Capitol Hill-born grocer would be a better fit for the neighborhood.

“I was in the room when they announced their desire to pursue the TOD space,” O’Brien said in his letter. “I was inspired by the energy and excitement of hundreds of people, all of whom are owners of the business, turning their energy towards a common goal and vision.” Continue reading

Broadway Hill Park, last of its kind, now open on Capitol Hill

BroadwayHillPark- - 11

It just might be the last of its kind. The fences have come down around Broadway Hill Park, 12,000 square feet of grass, benches, community gardening space, and a sure to be popular BBQ grill in the middle of Capitol Hill. There may never be another.

Seattle Parks acquired the land at the corner for Federal and Republican in 2010 for $2 million after a townhome project slated for the property fell through. In the time since the project started, Parks has opened small greenspaces just off E Olive Way at the garden-filled, skateboard-popular Summit Slope Park and near 15th Ave at the sleepy Seven Hills Park. It also opened 12th Ave Square Park across from Seattle U, but even that woonerf-y paved square featuring sculptures and seating doesn’t appear to be the direction Parks will be taking for future Capitol Hill-area open spaces. Continue reading

With the roar of Dykes on Bikes, love trumps hate at Broadway and John

DykeMarch2016- - 4
Saturday night’s Seattle Dyke March was the 22nd edition of the event — the march invited some new, well-known guests just in time.

For the first time, Dykes on Bikes, the “motorcycle honor guard responsible for claiming and holding space for dykes in the streets,” led the march. “We’ve heard for years that people want the Dykes on Bikes to lead the Dyke March,” organizer Whitney Fraser said. “The Dykes on Bikes really embody the energy and the excitement of our event, and command respect and attention in a way that no one else can.”

Continue reading

Trans* Pride 2016 dances through the rain on Capitol Hill

TransPride2016- - 3

An incredible downpour didn’t stop Trans* Pride — but it definitely made more than a few people including Gender Justice League organizer Danni Askini consider calling it a night to head somewhere warm and dry. Instead, they danced:

Again in 2016, a few thousand members of the LGBTQ communities and their allies joined the Trans* Pride March, ending at Cal Anderson Park. This year, the event came under the shadow of violence both far — and right here on Capitol Hill. As volunteers scrambled to set up the Trans* Pride rally grounds in Cal Anderson, Askini answered questions and stood by beating victim Michael Volz who described a horrible assault Wednesday night by an anti-trans attacker. “Part of our efforts to do things like Trans Pride Seattle is to create community and solidarity so that people do not feel isolated,” Askini said at the media conference.

During the rally, District 3 representative Kshama Sawant recalled the start of Trans* Pride in Seattle. “I remember only 2013 I was a candidate for City Council running as a socialist. Everybody thought that was crazy,” Sawant said. “People also thought it was crazy that was there was the first year we had our first Trans* Pride march and rally. And there was not a single politician here.”

“This year we forced the Seattle City Council — the entire Council — to declare today officially as Trans* Pride Day.”

Friday night, marchers came to support each other, to be visible, and because some say Sunday’s official Seattle Pride parade is overcrowded, commercial, and exploitative. Continue reading

Study highlights pedestrian mobility ‘d’ohs’ around Capitol Hill Station

Obstructed-Crosswalk-1-1024x768

Utility equipment blocks the crosswalk path to the Capitol Hill Station. (Image: David Seater, Central Seattle Greeways)

U-Link light rail service made it possible to effortlessly glide beneath Capitol Hill, but accessing the Broadway station above ground can still be a challenge for anybody. For someone in a wheelchair, some routes are impossible. Sidewalks obstructed by trash cans and utility equipment, drivers making dangerous turns into crosswalks, and awkwardly aligned sidewalk ramps are just a few of the access issues identified in a study of intersections surrounding Capitol Hill Station.

In February, Central Seattle Greenways and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways conducted an access audit of the subway station before it opened March. The analysis looked at five intersections around the station and how they ranked in three areas: street crossing safety, obstructions in crosswalks and along sidewalks, and sidewalk capacity. The intersections included: Broadway and E Olive Way, Broadway and E Denny Way, Broadway and Thomas, Harvard and E Olive Way, and 10th and E John.Map-1024x669

Continue reading

Demolition clears the way for Broadway Whole Foods and 16-story apartment building

Demolition season continues around Capitol Hill. Here is the apocalyptic scene currently underway where First Hill meets Capitol Hill and the 16-story Whole Foods mixed-use apartment building is slated to rise.

Crews have spent the week tearing down the 1928-built, three-story masonry medical building at the tri-corner of Harvard, Broadway, and Madison. They have plenty more to go. The work at the corner is heavy with the smell of mildewy dust and the satisfying thuds of large vehicles of destruction laying waste to decades-old infrastructure. Continue reading

Capitol Hill candy shop Rocket Fizz ready for lift off on Broadway

Sindelar (Image: CHS)

Sindelar (Image: CHS)

Theresa Sindelar moved from Omaha to Seattle just to set up a candy shop on Capitol Hill.

Retro soda and candy shop Rocket Fizz in the Hollywood Lofts retail space next to Dick’s Drive In, announced that it was coming to the neighborhood in March.

The franchise store part of a national chain of sweet spots first opened for business three weeks ago, and will have its grand opening on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon.

Sindelar says that she helped her brother with his Rocket Fizz shop in Lincoln, Nebraska, and it inspired her to open her own.

“It was just so fun to have happy customers every day – i just kind of fell in love with concept and found out Seattle didn’t have one yet, so he kind of helped me get it off the ground,” said Sindelar. “We figured Capitol Hill has a great vibe and a kinda fits in with our inventory.” Continue reading