50 years after ‘Freeway Revolt,’ I-5 lid between Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle visions take shape

There’s a sort-of joke that floats around in land use circles that when deciding what to put on a piece of property: They’re not making any more land.

But if a Seattle group has its way, the city just might make more land — smack in the middle of it all — by putting a lid on I-5.

“A freeway lid is literally making land out of thin air,” said David Yeaworth, a consultant who worked with the group proposing the idea.

Lid I-5 Collaborative // Final Presentations

A citizen-led effort to put a lid over I-5, and develop ideas for what to do with the new real estate, is nearing a new phase with a presentation event next Wednesday night, October 3rd, on Capitol Hill. Teams will share their ideas shaped over months of community design gatherings for how a lidded I-5 might look, and what sorts of buildings and facilities could possibly go on it. Continue reading

Community groups begin education and outreach on Pike/Pine bike improvement plan

Neighborhood and Central Seattle Greenways activists volunteered their weekend to survey the merchant community along the Pike and Pine corridor from Broadway west toward Downtown. A $10 million protected bike lane route through the busy thoroughfare is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019.

Brie Gyncild of Central Seattle Greenways says the outreach campaign is simple. “Our entire goal is to ensure that the design works for everyone, including businesses. Understanding their needs, whether they be loading or parking or pedestrian safety or even aesthetics, lets us advocate for a design that accommodates their needs,” Gyncild said. UPDATE: We have updated Gyncild’s comments and removed a quote that was mis-reported by CHS. We apologize for the error. Continue reading

City Council set to put a little muscle behind 2020 push for downtown bike plan

The City Council is set to put its support behind a plan for a Seattle Center City Bike Network and an 18-month implementation schedule to create “a connected, protected bicycle lane network in downtown Seattle by 2020.”

“With Wednesday’s committee meeting, we’re reaffirming our commitment to establishing a connected, protected bicycle lane network in downtown Seattle,” council member Mike O’Brien said Wednesday at a press conference before his committee meeting introducing the a resolution outlining the new push. Continue reading

Community group, SDOT in 2019 push to make Pike/Pine a safer route for bikes

(Image: CHS)

A missing east-west connection in Seattle’s bike infrastructure could open next year. Or it might not happen until 2021. Either way, bike lanes along the Pike/Pine corridor, connecting Broadway to 2nd Ave are coming.

Bike advocates are hoping that linking these two existing corridors will help increase bike usage overall. By linking the two north-south routes, it creates a network for bikers to ride safely around town.

“The real problem is we don’t have connected infrastructure,” said Brie Gyncild, who is working on the project with Central Seattle Greenways. “We expect to see more use of the Broadway bike lanes after the connection.” Continue reading

Meaty Johnson’s brings ‘Seattle barbecue’ to Capitol Hill

Pine’s newest addition is surely a win for the meat lovers of Capitol Hill. In May, Meaty Johnson’s BBQ opened at 1201 Pine.

“It’s one thing to make barbecue good, it’s another thing to make it good all day so that people can enjoy it,” said Meaty Johnson’s namesake, Zac Johnson, who also works as a real estate agent and music promoter. Johnson began barbecuing as a hobby, and it quickly became a hit with his friends and family. He then began catering for huge house parties of friends and the reception continued to be overwhelming.

Meaty Johnson’s got its entendre-ful start at Cowgirls, Inc., the notorious country bar concept with a 1st Ave Seattle location. Continue reading

Victrola’s downtown cafe brings along Capitol Hill roots (and opportunity to make some big new giant retailer friends)

Born in 2000 on 15th Ave E, Victrola has survived neighboring competitive corporate mimicry — remember 15th Ave Coffee & Tea? — and downright overwhelming investment on a global scale. This week, the small chain of cafes has expanded into new Seattle territory directly in the maw of massive brands downtown at 3rd and Pine — and it has made some surprising alliances along the way.

Wednesday, Victrola opened its new cafe inside the Macy’s building, well off Capitol Hill.

Victrola’s Andrew Wheeler tells CHS one of the 15th Ave cafe’s earliest customers called that shop “the living room of the neighborhood.” It’s an ideal Victrola hopes to carry downtown. Continue reading

Seattle looks at insurance on Downtown Transit Tunnel traffic in Convention Center expansion deal

The future of Boren at Olive

The $83 million “community package” of public benefits including cash for affordable housing, bike infrastructure improvements, and Freeway Park enhancement will go in front of the Seattle City Council Monday afternoon for final approval in a move that should clear the way for the vacation of city right of way needed to construct the $1.6 billion Washington State Convention Center expansion in downtown Seattle at the foot of Capitol Hill.

There is, however, one small point to consider on the vote necessary to allow the project to begin construction of the expansion later this year with a goal of opening the new 1.2 million-square-foot structure in 2020. The City Council will consider an insurance plan of sorts on the the traffic impact from moving buses out of the downtown transit tunnel. “If the WSCC sends a request to King County to close the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) to buses in March 2019, the WSCC shall provide $50,000 to SDOT when the closure request is sent to King County,” the proposed substitute version of the bill up for vote Monday reads. “SDOT shall use the funds to analyze the impacts of closing the DSTT on transit service on 2rd, 3rd, and 4th Avenues between Jackson and Stewart Streets.” Continue reading

‘Community Package’ including affordable housing, park cash gets support in Convention Center expansion hearing

Council member Mike O’Brien (right) views a model of the planned convention center expansion (Image: CHS)

Fine tuning some $83 million in public benefits — and how quickly the cash to pay for them will be delivered — was the theme of the night as neighborhood, transit, and public space advocates came to City Hall Wednesday.

“The sooner we can get more money for affordable housing the better,” said Seattle City Council sustainability and transportation committee chair Mike O’Brien.

Wednesday’s hearing featured mostly speakers in support of the Community Package Coalition formed to create a shared platform of community priorities for a roster of public benefits to be exchanged for the vacation of “Block 33, Block 43, Block 44, Olive Way & Terry Avenue.” The city land is planned to be part of the construction of the estimated $1.6 billion Washington State Convention Center addition and development that will create a massive new exhibition facility across I-5 between Pike and Olive Way.

“Equity and equitable outcomes should be at the forefront of discussions around large real estate projects such as this one,” said McCaela Daffern from Capitol Hill Housing. “I ask that you make note of the significant contributions toward affordable housing secured thanks to advocacy of Capitol Hill housing and the rest of the coalition.” Continue reading

Seattle’s bid to cut emissions and traffic includes downtown tolling by 2021, Pike and Pine protected bike lanes ‘ASAP’

City Hall is putting together a plan to toll downtown Seattle streets before the end of her first term in 2021, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Tuesday.

Meanwhile, City Council transportation committee head Mike O’Brien is pushing for a more immediate effort to complete new protected bike lanes on Pike and Pine with money from the Washington State Convention Center expansion.

Both efforts come as Seattle seeks to ease congestion in its core and cut the some 6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions created every year in the city. Continue reading

Process begins to finalize convention center expansion public benefits package including affordable housing, street improvements

The process is underway for the City of Seattle to shake out a final deal for handing over public right of way to the developers of the Washington State Convention Center expansion.

The Seattle City Council’s sustainability and transportation committee chaired by Mike O’Brien held its first session on a proposed vacation of “Block 33, Block 43, Block 44, Olive Way & Terry Avenue” to make way for construction of the estimated $1.6 billion Convention Center addition and development that will create a massive new exhibition facility across I-5 between Pike and Olive Way. Continue reading