‘We are here’ — $3M Melrose Promenade project takes shape

Community leaders, neighbors, and advocates at last week’s Melrose Promenade open house (Image: CHS)

By Dagmawit Kemal, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

There’s a $3 million plan to reimagine and reengineer Melrose Ave as a safer, more active street and center of community on the western slope of Capitol Hill. Dozens of community members interested in the re-construction of Melrose gathered last week below the Melrose Market for an open house to shape the plan. If we can’t completely reconnect Capitol Hill with downtown and Eastlake, at least we can have a new promenade with an excellent view of our neighbors.

For the past eight years, community members have been meeting and conceptualizing the idea of making the avenue safer, vibrant and accessible for bikers and pedestrians. They’ve created a visual design book of different outcomes for the street which include things like implementation strategies, as well as public outreach.

Claire Corley, owner of Butter Home located inside of the Melrose Market, said transforming Melrose is a dynamic idea and something that Seattle could use especially because there are so many more people and we need more outside spaces. Continue reading

Weigh in on one-way idea and more at Melrose Ave open house

Rendering of the coming soon community crosswalk (Images: Melrose Promenade)

Seattle Department of Transportation and Melrose Promenade community group representatives will be on hand Tuesday night for an open house to gather ideas and feedback on a potential slate of improvements lined up to “reimagine” Capitol Hill’s Melrose Ave. It’s a list that sounds good for most any street — but especially one where SDOT has found an eager community partner, killer view of downtown fro across I-5, and a lot of potential:

  • traffic calming
  • sidewalk upgrades
  • street crossings
  • public space
  • lane redesign
  • wayfinding signs
  • lighting
  • seating
  • bike facilities
  • pavement repair

Open House | Melrose Promenade Project

“Our project goals build off the promenade vision to connect people and places while improving safety. The corridor is a key walking and biking connection in our citywide network,” SDOT says about the project.

“We’re engaging with the community this spring to learn what’s working and what’s not with the corridor, and to better understand what people want us to invest in and where,” the Melrose Promenade group wrote about the open house. The biggest change being considered as a new initiative for the group is the possible reconfiguration of Melrose to one-way traffic between Pike and Pine.

In 2016, about $90,000 in Melrose enhancements made the city budget.

The Melrose Promenade group has also pushed forward with a plan to add colorful community crosswalks on the street. That work should be scheduled soon this spring, SDOT says, weather permitting.

Capitol Hill Community Post | Help redesign Melrose Ave: Open house 4/3

From Melrose Promenade

Capitol Hill residents, businesses, and regional safe streets advocates have worked for years to reimagine what an updated Melrose Ave could mean to the community. Their vision has focused on a “vibrant and visually stunning promenade.”

We want to talk with you about the project and learn what you think. Please attend our open house on Tuesday, April 3, 5:30-7 PM, at Melrose Market Studios (1532 Minor Ave).

Project map and info are below: Continue reading

The Baltic Room, Capitol Hill nightclub legend, ready for new owner

(Image: The Baltic Room)

Capitol Hill nightclub The Baltic Room is changing hands but before its owner said goodbye after a decade fostering a longtime piece of the neighborhood’s nightlife culture, he wanted to get things right at the club.

“How do I properly get this set up for somebody to take over in a responsible way?” Jason Brotman said he asked himself about the work in the past year to prepare the Pine club bridging the gap between downtown and Capitol Hill ready for a new era. Brotman spoke with CHS a few weeks back as he waited to finalize the deal to take over the club. Continue reading

Euro fashion retailer Scotch and Soda set to join Melrose Ave

Scotch and Soda’s U Village store (Image: University Village)

The corner once home to quintessential Capitol Hill coffee shop Bauhaus is today home to an upscale cycling lifestyle “clubhouse.” The space around the corner on Melrose that used to be an art gallery before being built into the gargantuan, seven-story Excelsior mixed-use building? Amsterdam-based Scotch and Soda is adding the retail berth to its growing roster of U.S. locations.

Company officials haven’t confirmed the new store, the chain’s second in Seattle joining a location in the University Village mall. Permits filed with the city indicate the start of planning is underway for the shop on the eastern side of Melrose adjacent the entrance to the mixed-use building’s 280-vehicle underground parking garage and across the street from Melrose Market. Continue reading

December 19th, 2008 — the day a bus *almost* slid off an icy Capitol Hill onto I-5


CHS’s view that day. We went straight to Thomas and only slipped and fell three times while trying to cover the crash (Image: CHS)

History doesn’t always repeat but sometimes it echoes.

It was this day in 2008 that two wayward charter buses narrowly avoided tragedy on an icy, snow-packed Capitol Hill in a crash that left one of the coaches jutting out from Melrose and hanging precariously above I-5.

While the scale of Monday’s tragedy was much greater and much more terrible, the dangling Amtrak car in the DuPont derailment reminded us of that Friday, December 19, 2008 afternoon when CHS was new to the neighborhood news beat and found itself trying to cover an unbelievable story playing out at the base of an icy Thomas where the two buses slid into Melrose’s I-5 barriers. Fortunately, we had a lot of help from readers and neighborhood photographers.

“Just in from the scanner. Bus with around 50 passengers on board has crashed off Melrose and is hanging about 10 feet over the lanes of I5 below,” we reported confidently that day as the situation first was unfolding — though we were mostly unsure what we were hearing was really happening. “Accident involves two buses and there are reports of injuries. Heading out now for coverage and pictures.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | A Melrose Market feast

OK, so it was probably a lot less charming — but certainly less gory — that the prized birds were encased in cardboard boxes. There were no scenes of Scrooge having a boy pull a giant turkey through snowy London. But the preparations for a feast were in full swing Sunday at Melrose Market along with a jazz quartet, wine tasting, and plenty of trimmings for sale.

Rain Shadow Meats and the market’s merchants made an event out of the butcher’s annual turkey order pick-up day as customers stopped by to get their Northern California-raised, “slow growth vegetarian, non-GMO project verified diet” birds — and maybe a Tofurky at QFC on the way home.

Not everybody has a feast planned but there are ways to make sure you’re part of a day of goodwill and community. We’ve posted information on donation drives and volunteer opportunities around Capitol Hill for 2017 — please let us know about any others we should add.

Melrose community group ideas include one-way between Pike and Pine, festival street

In October, CHS reported on new colorful crosswalks coming to Melrose as part of $90,000 in improvements to the street. The community group behind that project is looking ahead to what’s next for Melrose as it continues to focus on the street’s core in front of the Melrose Market and surrounding businesses including the Starbucks Reserve Roastery.

This Melrose Promenade survey will help the group make some big decisions.

Continue reading

Help set the table local style with Melrose Market Turkey & Trimmings party

Whether you are planning to spend the day with family or at a classic Capitol Hill “orphan’s Thanksgiving” with friends, you can get your fixings local style this year (complete with slow-growth turkeys imported all the way from NorCal, if you act quickly) as Melrose Market will host a Turkey & Trimmings party on Sunday, November 19th:

Melrose Market Turkey & Trimmings Thanksgiving Event

Capitol Hill butcher Rainshadow Meats is already sold out of some sizes but still had small and EXTRA LARGE turkeys available for sale as of Thursday afternoon.

Customers picking up their birds will be part of the show on the 19th. You can also check out a live jazz quartet and enjoy a cocktail while you shop. Melrose Market’s new Marseille Bottle Shop will also be ready to help you pick out a bottle to bring to Turkey Day.

The Hill’s restaurants, cafes, and shops also offer a cornucopia of Thanksgiving-worthy trimmings, pies, and desserts. You can let others know about any favorites in comments.


With another first on Capitol Hill, Starbucks Roastery rolls out Princi, chain’s latest stab at premium chow

Ciao. Arrivederci. Welcome to Capitol Hill, Rocco Princi. Tuesday, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Melrose at the base of Capitol Hill is introducing its first Princi bakery to the world. Because it is Starbucks, the world should get ready for more.

“Rocco Princi is an artisan who, at an early age, discovered a love of bread making and through determination as well as an obsession for finding the perfect ingredients, has created an Italian food experience that I think is unparalleled,” Howard Schultz, now executive chairman at Starbucks said in the announcement of the opening. “His passion for authentic food and respect for Milanese culture come through in everything he does, and I think our customers are going to fall in love with Princi.”

Here’s how Starbucks describes the first location for its partnership with the European chain: Continue reading