Capitol Hill parks notes | Summit Slope legal fight, I-5 Columns design, Montlake lid

Summit Slope Park (Image: CHS)

Summit Slope Park (Image: CHS)

With the most excellent news of Volunteer Park’s new bandshell and amphitheater rounding into shape, here are a few more bits of news and notes from the Capitol Hill area’s parkland and open spaces.

  • Summit Slope Park: Here is some unhappy news from the Unpaving Paradise group that shaped the vision for the small — but growing — Capitol Hill park just off E Olive Way:
    Some Parks employees are starting the process of removing the table, benches, and BBQ from the upper area of the park this morning. They are taking the BBQ today. Their work order was to remove the boards of the table, leaving the metal frame. They had a call in to someone to see if they were also supposed to remove the boards from the benches. Then a Parks supervisor of some sort came by and she said they should remove the benches and table completely, since leaving the metal frames would be a safety hazard. They plan on moving them out in the next few days. But it all seemed to be a moving decision process, subject to change at any moment Continue reading

43rd District leaders on health care, homelessness — and what it’s like working with Washington Republicans

By Tim Kukes for CHS

What is it like working with Washington’s Republicans?

“We tried everything we could have. Cajoling, complaining, amending, making procedural motions, protesting and acting out in various ways,” State Senator Jamie Pedersen said Saturday at a town hall meeting with the 43rd District’s leaders.

Pedersen’s story of the state’s education “levy cliff” battle had a happy ending Saturday. Instead of, they lived happily ever, Pedersen’s happy conclusion went like this: “… finally senate Republicans agreed on Wednesday at the very last bill before the cutoff to pass the levy extension.”

Constituents of the state’s 43rd legislative district filled the Seattle First Baptist Church sanctuary, on Harvard Ave on First Hill just above the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Organizers said it may have been the largest 43rd town hall gathering yet as the old church’s pews were filled. Yes, the town hall has officially outgrown the church’s basement. Continue reading

With no plan for return of service, First Hill Streetcar slide latest problem in $27M batch

Engineers may have pinpointed what failed on car 405 but the near-term fix — and the paperwork — to get the First Hill Streetcar line back in action could take “weeks,” the Seattle Department of Transportation’s head of rail told a city council committee earlier this week. In the meantime, Seattle officials are beginning to look into whether the streetcar’s manufacturer should be on the hook for the cost of lost service on the line which serves around 3,000 riders a day between Pioneer Square, the International District, First Hill, and Broadway.

“If we find out it’s a manufactured error, what sort of recourse do we have about asking for them to compensate the city for this loss of service?” Seattle City Council transportation committee member Rob Johnson asked. Continue reading

What the latest designs for RapidRide G look like, Madison Bus Rapid Transit block by block

The RapidRide future of E Madison means a redo of one of the Hill's most chaotic intersections where Madison meets 12th and Union

The RapidRide future of E Madison means a redo of one of the Hill’s most chaotic intersections where Madison meets 12th and Union

The City of Seattle has released its latest designs and is collecting public feedback on what is being billed as a powerful overhaul of E Madison that will change east-west travel in Central Seattle from downtown, through First Hill, Capitol Hill, the Central District, and into Madison Valley. Judging by a few of the designs for blocks along the route, Seattle City Hall will need your help to get it right.

This month, public feedback will shape the final designs for the Seattle Department of Transportation’s updated Madison Street Bus Rapid Transit project — now known as RapidRide G. You can provide feedback in person beginning Thursday on First Hill or again next week on Capitol Hill. You can also weigh in online:

Thursday, March 9
11 AM – 1 PM
Town Hall, Downstairs
1119 8th Ave

Wednesday, March 15
5:30 – 7:30 PM
First African Methodist Episcopal Church
1522 14th Ave

ONLINE
MARCH 8-22
Give feedback online!
MadisonStreetBRT.participate.online

If you can, make time for an in-person visit and add your thoughts online. Last year, SDOT collected public comments on the proposed project that would create a BRT line from 1st Ave downtown to Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The project team has furthered the project’s design since then, reshaping the $120 million plan. Continue reading

Jayapal talks health care, climate change, fake news, battling Trump

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Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, representing Capitol Hill’s 7th District in Washington D.C., held her first town hall since taking office Monday night, appropriately enough, at a packed Town Hall Seattle.

“Some people have called me the anti-Trump, and I’m so proud,” Jayapal said in front of a crowd that put its “AGREE” signs to frequent use.

Jayapal’s office estimated 1,000 people attended the First Hill session.

Jayapal took questions about a number of issues surrounding work she’s done during her first two months in office and her fight against the president’s agenda.

Immediately notable as the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House of Representatives, Jayapal started her career in D.C. with an early stance of opposition against the new president when she declined to attend the Trump inauguration. Jayapal joined the protest against the first Trump immigration ban with a call for the release of individuals held at Sea-Tac and joined Governor Jay Inslee in declaring Washington a hate-free state.

Jayapal’s status as a resistance leader puts her in good company replacing Rep. Jim McDermott retired after representing the 7th District for 14 terms and was considered by many as one of the most left-leaning members of Congress. She sits on two subcommittees — the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, as well as the Committee on the Budget.

Monday night, the crowd greeted Jayapal with a standing ovation and signs supporting the congresswoman, making the event feel almost like a rally, but members of the public did ask her about the next moves for the seemingly pinned-down Democratic Party and how she and her fellow party members plan to fight the administration and Republicans in Congress on a number of issues. Continue reading

Check out five proposals for painting the I-5 columns between First Hill and downtown

The First Hill Improvement Association has its work cut out for it. Some 4,000 new units of housing are scheduled to be built in the neighborhood over the next few years. In January, we told you about one project to help add some color to the neighborhood with a call for artists to create designs for the forest of columns supporting I-5 between First Hill and downtown. Now you can vote on which design the FHIA should bring to life under I-5:

The First Hill Improvement Association is excited to be able to make changes to the columns underneath Interstate 5 between Cherry and James Streets. We’re grateful to have the help from Urban Artworks to install and paint the selected art design. Before our partners at Urban Artworks are able to paint the selected art design, we need your input! Please review each proposal from 5 local artists and vote on the design you’d like to see underneath the Interstate. The proposals are provided below, as well as a link to vote. Remember, you can only vote once! Get to it!

Check out the designs and vote here by March 8th!

Participating artists are Angelina Villalobos, Baso Fibonacci, Forrest Perrine, Nathan Watkins, and the team of Rose Alyea and Gabriel Stromberg.

 

Service on hold after First Hill Streetcar lost power, slid two blocks down Broadway

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SDOT detailed the incident for media at the ID maintenance facility late Friday — gold culprit car #404 lurks in the background

The First Hill Streetcar lost power Wednesday morning on Broadway with an operator and two passengers on board helpless to stop it before coming to a fortunate stop at Yesler. There were no collisions or injuries in an incident that has prompted officials to keep the service closed until more can be learned about why car 405 — the gold streetcar — failed.

The early hour of the 6:07 AM incident and good fortune left the roadway clear of obstacles for a streetcar route that shares lanes with vehicular traffic.

Andrew Glass Hastings, the Seattle Department of Transportation’s director of transit and mobility, called the failure “an electromechanical malfunction” and said inspectors have isolated the problem to a circuit breaker-like load contactor that shut down the vehicle’s power to its operational system. Continue reading

How you can help Hugo House return to Capitol Hill

Hugo House, these days, operates in exile on First Hill as construction continues on the six-story, mixed-use apartment building on the corner the writing center is slated to return to when the project opens in 2018. But state money lined up to help Hugo House return to Capitol Hill and pay for its new home is still a question mark, is an unfinished story er, might go to some other worthy project… here, let’s let somebody better with words handle this. Here is a call for support from Hugo House director Tree Swenson:

Please help Hugo House realize a long-held dream to have a permanent facility of our own! We have been recommended for a grant from Washington State through the Building for the Arts program. This funding is critical. However, the State has many funding needs this year, and this grant is far from assured. As a friend to Hugo House, we know you understand that the arts matter. You can make a big difference by contacting your State legislators to let them know why you think it’s important to have public support for a new and permanent home for Hugo House. Below is an example of a note to legislators with a brief statement about why Hugo House matters. Your own words are even more important, but any contact helps. Please take a minute right now to call or email. Time is short; the budget is in progress. You can find your State legislators and their contact information here.

For those of you in the 43rd, you’ll want to fire up your email machine for jamie.pedersen@leg.wa.gov, frank.chopp@leg.wa.gov, and nicole.macri@leg.wa.gov.

Here is somebody else good with them words at the Seattle Review of Books to help inspire you:

You can find a sample email and a link to a site that will tell you who represents you in the state legislator right here. If you’ve bemoaned the loss of important institutions during the Seattle real estate boom, this is your chance to speak out, to ensure that one piece of Seattle that’s been around for decades continues to have a new life in the decades to come. Go make yourself heard.

In 2018, Hugo House is slated to return to Capitol Hill in a new 10,000 square-foot writing center on the ground floor of the six-story apartment building under construction at the site of its longtime home at 11th and E Olive St. The new new center will include six classrooms, offices, two performance spaces, and space for writers to, um, write.

The interim Hugo House is located at 1021 Columbia. You can learn more at hugohouse.org.

Madison BRT, now RapidRide G, rounding out pedestrian, bike elements with aim for 2019 start of service

Seattle is ready to put the final design touches on a powerful new east-west public transit corridor set to be carved out of Madison from downtown through First Hill and Capitol Hill to MLK. The Madison Bus Rapid Transit project will be known as the RapidRide G Line when it begins serving riders along its 11-stop route in late 2019. In addition to more reliable bus service, transportation planners say the line will bring needed improvements to sidewalks and crossings along the route — and add a new protected bike lane, likely on E Union.

In March, you will have an opportunity to add your feedback to help planners shape final elements of the project including those pedestrian and bike improvements along the corridor:

We’re holding in-person and online open houses this March to share the updated project design.

IN PERSON

Thursday, March 9
11 AM – 1 PM
Town Hall, Downstairs
1119 8th Ave

Wednesday, March 15
5:30 – 7:30 PM
First African Methodist Episcopal Church
1522 14th Ave

ONLINE
MARCH 8-22
Give feedback online!
MadisonStreetBRT.participate.online
(Link will go live March 8)

Stretching from 1st Ave to Madison Valley, the future Madison BRT will travel in a dedicated center lane with island stops from 9th Ave to 14th Ave while the rest of the route will run curbside with right-turning traffic or in mixed traffic.

Under the “locally preferred alternative” design adopted by City Council last year, transit travel time from 23rd to 1st Ave is expected to improve by 40% from 16 minutes to 10 minutes while single occupancy vehicle travel time will increase by 4 minutes. Sorry, cars.

Once the project opens in 2019, people riding the bus are expected to travel the corridor 5.2 and 7.3 minutes faster (eastbound and westbound, respectively) than they would if the project were not built. People driving are expected to travel the corridor 5.6 and 2.9 minutes slower (eastbound and westbound, respectively).

The project’s traffic analysis will be available later this year but the draft of the study found “some traffic will divert to other streets,” while identifying “several key intersections SDOT could improve through various treatments.”

Some of the biggest questions about the coming RapidRide G Line are already off the table: Continue reading

McDemolition: First Hill fast food franchise set to make way for 700-Big Mac-tall apartment tower

It’s been a long time coming, but the slow path to the development set to replace First Hill’s most well-known fast food restaurant will reach a sad milestone for Big Mac fans in coming weeks.

The City of Seattle has approved the demolition permit for 1122 Madison — the Madison McDonald’s. The plan is for the nearest Capitol Hill-elevation location for the global fast food franchise to be razed in April. “Assuming acquisition of the appropriate permits in a timely manner,” the construction report filed for the address reads, “demolition of the existing structure is expected to begin April, 2017 and continue through April, 2017, at which point shoring wall and excavation will begin.” Continue reading