Design reviews: Knights of Columbus development’s Harvard plans, plus a ‘mass timber’ first on First Hill

A split decision last spring will bring one of twin new projects planned to rise around the historic Knights of Columbus building in front of the East Design Review Board again Wednesday night. Meanwhile, another project coming in front of the review board would create Seattle’s tallest “mass timber” building.

The 704 E Union component of the Knights of Columbus project — a planned seven-story, 37-unit apartment building that will neighbor the overhauled landmark — passed through the first stage of review in April with the board’s only concern centering on a “gasket” connection planned with the 106-year-old masonry clubhouse structure.

But before the full development can move forward to the final recommendation phase of Seattle’s design review process, its larger twin planned for the land currently dedicated to surface parking along Harvard still has a few rough edges that need to be smoothed including “unresolved issues relating to tree placement, open space and the relationship of the project to the neighbor,” the board’s report on the April session reads, the St. John’s Apartments and, most importantly to you summer drinkers, encroachment on the St. John’s bar patio. Fighting words, no? Settle down. There’s a plan. Continue reading

Driver reportedly runs over man sleeping at First Hill parking entrance — UPDATE

A man reportedly sleeping along the sidewalk at a Terry Ave parking garage entrance was treated by medics after being hit by a driver early Monday morning, according to emergency radio dispatches.

Seattle Police says it responded to the incident and may have more information soon and we have not yet heard back from Seattle Fire on specifics regarding the man’s non-life threatening injuries. UPDATE: SFD reports the victim, a 57-year-old male, was transported to Harborview in serious condition. Continue reading

Serious crashes on major arterials in Capitol Hill, Central District and First Hill area up from 2018, long road to Vision Zero, SDOT data shows

In April, a car seriously injured a bicyclist at the intersection of 24th Ave E and E Madison. A few months later, a driver was severely hurt in a crash just a couple of hundred feet up the street, on the intersection of 23rd Ave E and E John St.

The locations of these two crashes don’t just point to the places where lives were wrecked. They also offer a first glimpse into the traffic pain points on Capitol Hill, which have clustered on and near Madison in the first six months of 2019, data from the Seattle Department of Transportation show. The Seattle Times first reported on the data.

The two crashes are among the 98 serious or fatal collisions that happened in the first half of 2019. Ten people were killed in traffic. 88 were seriously injured, of which six on Capitol Hill, four on First Hill and eight in the Central District (including a sliver south of I-90). The dataset showed no fatalities in these neighborhoods in the first half of this year.

One important caveat, per SDOT: The data the department provided are preliminary. Usually, there’s a “pretty rigorous auditing process” in which SDOT works with officials from the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Patrol and hospitals to review and filter out discrepancies for a report that comes out at year-end, SDOT said.

Still, the data provides a glimpse into Seattle’s long road to Vision Zero, its plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets by 2030, and problem zones for Capitol Hill, the Central District and First Hill, particularly on or near arterials.

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Capitol Hill’s *other* train — City says First Hill Streetcar ridership continues to grow

Seattle saw a sizable increase in ridership for its streetcar lines in 2018 thanks to a 31% uptick on the First Hill Streetcar line, according to a new report submitted by the city’s Department of Transportation.

“2018 was a very positive year overall for streetcar operations,” SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe said at a Seattle City Council committee this week.

System-wide ridership went up by 18% in 2018 and indications show another increase in early 2019 over the same period last year. All of that jump came from the First Hill line, a 2.5 mile route that connects major medical facilities, Seattle Central College, Seattle University, and mixed income communities to the King Street transportation hub.

The line, which first opened in January 2016, has seen ridership increase over each of its first three years. It also went up by nearly a quarter in the first three months of this year. Chris Eilerman, SDOT’s streetcar and transit corridors manager, added Tuesday that increases continued through at least May.

“The First Hill line continues to grow,” Eilerman said. “So far, the numbers are encouraging through the early part of 2019.” Continue reading

Major QFC Harvard Market overhaul planned with big Amazon grocery coming to E Pike (and, hey, there’s going to be an Amazon Go First Hill)

Signage permit information for the First Hill Amazon Go

Amazon has announced it is indeed opening a new store on the Hill… First Hill!

Meanwhile, CHS has learned about a major project planned by QFC to prepare its Pike at Broadway Harvard Market store for competition from Amazon’s so far unannounced but under construction supermarket down the street. Continue reading

911 | Artist says Broadway jewelry shoplifting caught on video

See something others should know about? Email CHS or call/txt (206) 399-5959. You can view recent CHS Crime coverage here. Hear sirens and wondering what’s going on? Check out Twitter reports from @jseattle or tune into the CHS Scanner page.

  • Gun arrest: Seattle Police arrested a 24-year-old man in Cal Anderson early Monday after he reportedly struck a woman and pulled a gun on a group of bystanders when they tried to intervene:
    Just after midnight, police received a report that a man was brandishing a gun in Cal Anderson Park. Officers arrived and spotted the suspect running north through the park and arrested him. Police learned the man had been walking through the park with a woman when he began striking her. When several homeless people, who frequent the park, moved to intervene, the suspect pulled a gun out of his waistband and pointed it at one of them. After a search with a K9 unit, officers found the suspect’s handgun—which was reported stolen—stashed in some bushes near where police had taken him into custody. Continue reading

Design reviews include First Hill Trinity Parish condo tower, microhousing project set to replace Central District’s Chateau apartments

The future of The Chateau in the Central District

Design reviews this week for new multifamily housing development on First Hill and in the Central District will feature projects that have also raised issues around displacement in Seattle.

Thursday night, the Central Area Design Review Board will take up its first look at the four-story, 70 or so-unit apartment building planned to replace The Chateau apartments on 19th Ave.

Design review: 119 19th Ave

City Council member Kshama Sawant said residents of the former Section 8 subsidized apartments won an “unheard of concession” thanks to advocacy work this spring after the building was purchased by developer Cadence Real Estate. Continue reading

City rolling out delayed changes on Broadway to speed up streetcar

Fuchsia Streetcar

Bowing to local business pressure — and what it predicts will be a radically transformed transportation corridor thanks to the  $120 million, 2.3-mile Madison Bus Rapid Transit project — the Seattle Department of Transportation has updated its long-delayed plans for improvements to the First Hill Streetcar following pushback business owners and Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office. Despite complaints about the elimination of left-turns and the addition of red paint for a transit-only lane, SDOT still plans to alter traffic signals and implement a transit-only lane — eventually.

“Complex intersections where other vehicles might be making a left turn or otherwise blocking the intersection slows down the streetcar,” SDOT representative Ethan Bergerson said.

Last year, CHS reported on SDOT’s plans for potential changes to the First Hill Streetcar route to make the streets more efficient for the rail transit and, hopefully, boost ridership. But Capitol Hill businesses — led by the now-disolved Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce — and the mayor’s office pushed back on the proposals and the project has been stuck in neutral since.

SDOT officials say the department has since made changes to traffic signals and turns on Yesler in an effort to speed up that section of the First Hill Streetcar. Adjustments included restricting left turning vehicles from east and westbound directions during peak afternoon traffic times at Yesler and Boren, restricting left turning vehicles at Yesler and 12th, and synchronizing traffic signals at Yester and 14th.

Officials say SDOT now plans to make similar adjustments to the Broadway section of the streetcar, implementing changes as soon as this fall.  Continue reading

Madison Bus Rapid Transit design changes rolled out as project nears planned 2020 start of construction

How about some shorter crosswalks, for one!

The Seattle Department of Transportation and King County Metro are ready to roll out a near-final set of design updates for the planned Madison Bus Rapid Transit line that will reshape the street from downtown to the Madison Valley.

With a plan for a 2020 start of construction and service starting late in 2022, the latest Madison BRT design updates will be on display at a series of open houses and community tabling events in neighborhoods along the $120 million, 2.3 mile, 10-station route.

Madison BRT Open House

SDOT has also documented the project in an online open house where it is collecting feedback at RapidRideG.participate.online.

Changes in the latest round of updates follow an earlier series of community meetings on the project. The latest updates focused on improving conditions at key intersections including at 12th Ave and 24th Ave where the route will mix with busy traffic flows and bustling streets. SDOT says highlights include shorter crosswalks — and a major tweak that will prevent it from having to install trolley wires for blocks along the route:

  • Shorter crosswalks at key intersections so people walking have time to get to the other side of the street Continue reading

Police investigate shootout in First Hill alley — UPDATE

A picture from above provided by a CHS reader shows multiple shell casings and evidence markers spread throughout the alley and the vehicle that was apparently targeted in the shootout

Gunfire echoed through the streets of First Hill late Tuesday night in a shootout in an alley that left a car shot up and leaking gasoline but apparently no victims.

Police reported hearing the gunshots and multiple 911 callers reported up to 10 shots in a bout of gunfire around 10:35 PM near Boren and James, according to East Precinct radio updates.

SPD says it will have more information on the shooting later today.

According to radio updates, witnesses described a silver Mercedes occupied by two shooters and a driver and last seen speeding away from the scene in the alley below the Broadstone Saxton apartment building.

One eyewitness tells CHS the targeted vehicle had a bullbar style push bumper and had at least two bullet holes in the rear windshield and was leaking gasoline. UPDATE: Police say the car was a security patrol vehicle and provided a brief report on the incident:

Police are investigating after three gunmen opened fire on a security guard’s empty vehicle late Tuesday evening on First Hill. At 10:39 pm, police received multiple reports of gunfire in the 1000 block of James Street. When officers arrived on scene, they found a grey Dodge Charger, belonging to a private security company, which had been damaged by gunfire.

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