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

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

Madison Valley’s latest salon specializes in picking bugs out of your hair

Looking for another reason to ban children from Capitol Hill? Here is the slightly geographically challenged announcement of new Seattle “lice salon” Hair Fairies:

Seattle’s upscale Capitol Hill neighborhood, with its swanky shops, parks and cafés, might seem like a strange place for a head lice treatment salon to set up shop. But there’s Hair Fairies, nestled between a Tuscan restaurant and a French bistro on E Madison Ave, and CEO Maria Botham thinks it’s perfect. “We aren’t just any old lice clinic, we pride ourselves on being a destination for parents and kids to feel comfortable, and release some of the stigma associated with lice. Everyone can get lice – it doesn’t discriminate – and we strive to create a space that is accepting and welcoming to everyone.”

Located at 2810 E Madison, the salon gets done pretty much what you’d expect from a lice salon. But the local location for the national chain of around a dozen salons says its methods fit in with “natural” Seattle.

“We understand the importance of ‘natural’ within the Seattle culture. We use our all-natural, plant-based products to eliminate your head lice — 100% guaranteed — with no at-home combing required. Or, if you prefer to DIY, we can teach you to tackle the pesky pests yourself,” the description reads.

Besides, chemicals won’t necessarily rid your kid — and you and your kid’s friends and your friends and grandma — of lice. The bugs are doing what good bugs do — becoming increasingly resistant to the most widely used treatments.

Company founder Maria Botham tells CHS the demand for her service really knows no season — though trends do seem to cleve closely to the school year and things like summer camp season. She says moms and dads vary by market but that her West Coast locations definitely illustrate a DIY trend for parents.

“In San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, they roll up their sleeves,” Botham said of parents fighting the bugs. If that effort can’t get the job done, Botham says, that is where Hair Fairies can help.

The service isn’t cheap. The sometimes hours-long procedures run around $105 per hour.

Got an itch? You can learn more at hairfairies.com.

Madison Valley PCC project moves forward — barely

The four-story mixed-use development with a 30,000-square-foot PCC grocery store at its core will not have to return for a relatively unprecedented fourth round of early design review. The Madison Valley project set to rise where long-loved garden store City People’s stands today won approval to move forward to the second and final round of the city’s design review process Wednesday night. But it was a close call. Meanwhile, the preservation and development project set to create a five-story office and commercial building out of the old Value Village and 11th Ave’s auto row-era past sailed through its final review on the way to construction.

The response to the latest proposal in Madison Valley was much more measured. In sending the project through to the final “recommendation” stage, the board said it would set high expectations for many unanswered questions about the project to be answered before the project can move forward to construction. A wave of opposition from community members and the Save Madison Valley group had helped get the project this far, one board member said.

“A lot of traction has come from community and from the board,” she said. Continue reading

Mixed-use PCC development faces third round of review, Madison Valley residents still not satisfied

Will these proposed townhouse-style units be enough for Dewey Pl E?

Will these proposed townhouse-style units be enough for Dewey Pl E?

Developers behind the proposed E Madison PCC mixed-use development will return Wednesday night for a rare third round of early design review. Their new plan shaves off a few apartment units and 11% of the project’s parking to make room for a new row of townhouses on the development’s backside in a bid to satisfy nearby residents concerned the building won’t mesh with the single-family style homes destined to sit across from the four-story development’s backside.

It won’t be enough. Here is a copy of one of dozens of letters sent to the review board by residents:screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-6-22-36-am

Continue reading

Madison Valley house damaged by gunfire

Police are investigating after bullets crashed through a house’s walls in a bout of gunfire in Madison Valley early Thursday morning.

Police rushed to the area near 28th and Mercer after reports of several shots fired just before 1 AM. One caller reported bullet holes in his walls including one shot that lodged a slug in his bed frame. There were no reported injuries.

Police were searching the area for a car seen speeding away following the shooting. A vehicle parked near the house was also reportedly damaged.

Police said the resident at the house who reported the shooting didn’t know why the house would have been targeted.

There were no arrests.

City People’s has plan to stay in Madison Valley through 2017

(Image: City People's)

(Image: City People’s)

For Central Seattleites who buy their season’s greetings greenery at Madison Valley’s City People’s, a visit for the holidays won’t be quite as bittersweet with news the garden store is working on a lease that will keep the much loved retailer in its longtime home for another year.

Here’s the announcement made to customers this weekend:

We wanted to let you know that future City People’s Garden Store owners, Alison Greene and Jose Gonzales, are in negotiations for an 11-month lease to remain at our current location through 2017. The redevelopment project at the site has been delayed, providing this opportunity. The agreement is in the works with the property owners and developers, and they are hopeful this will go through. Their goal is for the store to reopen in February, with many of its current employees, business as usual — as they continue their effort in finding a more permanent site. We will keep you posted and appreciate your continued love and support! Stay tuned!

The store’s management says the plan would be for City People’s to finish up the holiday season, close for January, and then reopen in the new year for another 11 months in Madison Valley.

City People’s had been heading into what was expected to be its final holiday in Madison Valley doing the kinds of things it has done to help connect Seattle to its dirt since its 1979 founding on Capitol Hill at 19th and Republican. In late October, plans for the four-story PCC-centered, mixed-use development lined up for the property got kicked back in the design review process helping to give the retailer a longer lease on life along E Madison.

In March, CHS broke the news on the plans for the City People’s ownership to sell the land to developer The Velmeir Companies, a Michigan-based “full service commercial retail development company.” This fall, Dianne Casper, one of the longtime owners of City People’s and its unusually large tract of E Madison land, said the company held out for the right partner despite interest from developers of luxury condos and pharmacy chains. “This time we are leaving a legacy to be proud of,” she said.

Madison Valley not saved just yet: PCC mixed-use development kicked back for another review

The East Design Review Board agreed Wednesday night that the E Madison side of things look mostly solid. It is the part where Madison’s density seeps onto the single family home-lined Dewey Place East that’s the big problem.

In less a vote and more of an admission of the challenges in merging increased density into Madison Valley, the board Wednesday ruled to kick the 75-unit, mixed-use PCC grocery and apartment building destined for site where City People’s stands today back for a third round of early design review.

“You would think something as engineering-like as measuring walls wouldn’t be so elusive,” said one board member summing up the body’s uncertainty with the presentation from developer Velmeir and architects at Meng Strazzara.

The decision is a blow to the project’s timeline with City People’s already planned for an end of the year closure. Continue reading

Madison Valley, saved: Developers back with revised plan for mixed-use PCC building

You can call Save Madison Valley a bunch of NIMBYs if you like but the result of the community group’s pushback on the planned development to create a 75-unit, mixed-use PCC grocery and apartment building on the site where City People’s stands today will be a four-story, vine-covered, terraced building that includes community space and integrates and preserves much of the surrounding tree canopy. Or, at least, that’s the plan that will be presented Wednesday night by developer Velmeir and the architects at Meng Strazzara as the project takes the stage for its second try at passing through the city’s “early design guidance” phase of review.

UPDATE 10/26/2016 9:01 PM: Madison Valley isn’t saved just yet. The design review board Wednesday night threw down a challenge to the project developers that could call for some radical revisions to the plans for the large parking lot walls facing the residential neighbors along Dewey Place on the backside of the building. After a more than two hour session, the board agreed Wednesday to ask Velmeir to return for a third early design review to solve the problems around the building’s massing and relation to the single-family homes below. The decision is a blow to the project’s timeline with City People’s already planned for an end of the year closure. One possible solution to the major design challenge? Cut down on the 150+ car lot levels below the planned mixed-use building and integrate apartments along the building’s backside. We’ll have more on the meeting soon.

Original report: The developers say one key change will be increasing the amount at which levels of the building are pushed back from the parcel’s edges:

The increased setback allows for a response similar to a rear yard residential setback. Within the increased setback layered landscaping helps create natural beauty along the street. To provide visual interest throughout the year, a continuous green screen wall is located from the base to the top of the retail space.

“A mixture of ivy and native vines,” the presentation document for Wednesday night’s meeting continues, “will enhance the landscaping and serve to elegantly screen the building and eliminates the blank wall condition.” Sounds nice. And, according to the numbers, the developer didn’t have to cut a single apartment unit, grocery store square foot, and even can keep most of its plans for more than 150 parking stalls. Continue reading

Gift of Julia Lee’s Park celebrated in Madison Valley

#seattle #VSCOcam

A photo posted by Patrick (@patrickirl) on

Central Seattle has a new city park though neighbors around the Madison Valley are pretty familiar with the neighborhood open space. In a ceremony Monday, members of the Knudsen family celebrated the donation of the quarter-acre Julia Lee’s Park to the City of Seattle.

The plaza-like park at 27th, MLK Jr. Way, and E Harrison was established by Calvert Knudsen in 1993 “as a statement of his love for his wife and life partner Julia Lee Roderick Knudsen who passed away in 1990,” according to a statement from Seattle Parks and Recreation about the gift.

“Our father created this park as a physical representation of the depth and power of love between him and our mother,” daughter Page Knudsen Cowles said in the parks department statement. “He believed that a small neighborhood park in Madison Valley would uniquely serve as a memorial to her, while further enhancing the greater Madison Park community with a natural, quiet place for reflection and enjoyment.” Continue reading