Good news Capitol Hill commuters headed to the Eastside: You can get to work without a car or a bus. Wednesday, the SR 520 Trail finally opened to pedestrians and cyclists and everything in between along the northside rail of the Lake Washington floating bridge:
The full length of the State Route 520 bicycle and pedestrian trail across Lake Washington is now open. Part of the West Approach Bridge North Project that built new westbound SR 520 lanes and off-ramps, the new 14-foot-wide trail is the final piece that connects about a dozen miles of trail along SR 520 between Redmond and the Montlake neighborhood in Seattle. The new path connects users to over 60 miles of regional trails.
Officials expect around 1,000 people a day to use the path. We’ll know for sure. Federal grants paid for a new bicycle and pedestrian counter at the trailhead in Montlake. “The counter will track bicyclist and pedestrian use in the 520 corridor, allowing WSDOT to better support these communities,” the agency said.
Wednesday’s grand opening gave the counter plenty of work to do.
Neighbors in Montlake are putting more community money into the legal fight to save a neighborhood market. The Montlake Community Club has announced it will pony up another $29,000 to launch an appeal after a September ruling against a lawsuit seeking to save the Montlake Boulevard Market and gas station from condemnation to make way for construction of an expanded 520 through the neighborhood.
“The MCC and our attorney, Dave Bricklin, argued that WSDOT did not consider the environmental impacts associated with closing the Montlake Market,” the club’s update on the lawsuit reads. “By intervening in the case, the MCC hoped to strengthen the argument for saving the market and force WSDOT to consider alternatives.”
A King County Superior Court judge ruled against the lawsuit in September, according to the club. The community club expects the appeal to be heard in January. Continue reading
A new round of changes is coming to 23rd Ave corridor between John and Roanoke streets starting next year. Yes, technically, it’s 24th Ave between Helen and Roanoke. Phase 3 construction of the 23rd Avenue Vision Zero project is likely to start in the spring or summer of 2018, but it won’t be nearly as disruptive as the first phase of the project, between John and Jackson streets, which took 21 months to complete, city officials say.
Phase 3 will continue the Seattle road diet strategy in an effort to reduce accidents and make roads safer for pedestrians. The biggest change in this phase will be between John and Boyer streets. Currently the road is two lanes in each direction. The redesigned road will have one lane going northbound (downhill), a center turn lane, and two lanes going southbound (uphill) the lane closest to the curb, however, will be bus only. SDOT hopes the new design will help address speeding in the corridor.
The bus only lane is designed to help keep bus travel time reliable, in advance of potentially placing a rapid ride bus on the road, though that’s not likely to happen until 2024. The bus only lane will continue to 23rd and Madison, where it will transition into the single lane southbound lane there now.
The stretch between Boyer and Roanoke will continue to be two lanes in each direction, a nod to the traffic volumes in that area around state 520. That area will get some improvements, along with the rest of the corridor. Continue reading
Montlake… home of the new 520 bridge… and, now, Purr
Capitol Hill is down one gay bar. Purr’s July “going away” party included an announcement of its surprising new home neighborhood…
Seattle Gay Scene has the scoop:
After nearly a 12 year run on Capitol Hill’s 11th Avenue between Pike and Pine Streets, Purr Cocktail Lounge will be packing up the video screens and vodka bottles for a new location in…Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood. That was the surprise announcement at Wednesday night’s “Purr Going Away Party” where owner Barbie Roberts thanked her regulars and staff for a great run at the 11th Avenue location but then made the announcement that everyone had been waiting to hear…where was Purr moving to? While most expected that the new location would be either on Capitol Hill, Seattle’s primary LGBTQ neighborhood or at least adjacent to the ‘hood, no one expected to hear “Montlake” as the new location.
Owner Barbie Roberts has said the move is an economic one with the more-than-a-decade-old lounge escaping soaring Pike/Pine rents. A former employee of Manray and The Wildrose, Roberts opened Purr in 2006 in the former home of the Bad JuJu lounge. In 2011, CHS talked with her about the features of a successful gay bar and surviving the changes of growth in Pike/Pine.
While Purr’s adventure off the Hill will bring more affordable rent and more than a few interesting rides on the 43, we’re sure, its new home will also come with some economic challenges. The Montlake Pub closed in the space after a rocky year of business — it closed so abruptly, CHS never had the opportunity to run a post on the new restaurant last spring. Before the pub, the Traveler family of neighborhood grills gave 24th Ave E a run after taking over for longtime favorite the Montlake Pub in 2014. 24th Ave and Montlake, meanwhile, are set for major changes with a new 520 lid and bridge work slated to completely overhaul the road network at the key interchange. Meanwhile, the approach from the north to the area is also planned for major changes in future stages of the 23rd Ave corridor “road diet.”
No opening date for Montlake Purr has been announced.
You can keep track of things on Purr’s Facebook page.
An unbelievably soggy March has neighbors in the sloping areas on the north of Capitol Hill worried about landslides.
A small slide closed 14th Ave E between Boyer and Lynn to through traffic Saturday morning. With continuing rains, you can expect to see more mud.
March has already reached its average rainfall totals following weeks of even wetter than usual weather around Seattle.
CHS has reported on small slides over the years and concerns about the slopes of northern Capitol Hill and around Interlaken Park. Our nature writer documented the landslide risk of the area in 2014 including the Hill’s geologic past of glacial till and water-pooling clay:
Then we come in. The grade is altered, creating new faults. Hills are denuded of trees, which hold slopes and mitigate flooding. Barriers to natural water flow diverts it toward unforeseen consequences. People understandably want views and build on cliffs, changing the loads on hills. Generally things more even more unstable. West Capitol Hill, Interlaken, North Capitol Hill. Slides every decade going back in our modern record. I won’t tally the slides in Hill history — that would take too long.
For the most part, recent slides have been mostly limited in damage. In 2011, cracks from the sliding hillside forced an indefinite closure of Interlaken Drive. It reopened after repairs five months later.
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
Leonardi (Images: Little Lago)
The northern neighborhoods around Capitol Hill take their local markets seriously. There’s a celebration in Portage Bay, Roanoke, and Montlake this week as Little Lago has finally opened its doors.
“We are there to serve the neighborhood’s needs,” owner Carla Leonardi told CHS this summer as the restaurant owner worked through the arduous city permitting process to get the new project open. “There will be cooking classes, wine maker events, community services, air for bike tires, dog friendly outdoor parking, dry pasta comparison tastings, and toothpaste.” Continue reading
The future Montlake lid “land bridge” — already better thanks to the Seattle Design Commission
With the new 520 bridge already doing its floaty thing on Lake Washington, the Seattle Design Commission Monday will present its recommendations for the “rest of the west” portions of the expansion and reinvention of the state route connecting the Eastside and I-5 via Montlake. The full WSDOT menu of planned Seattle-side projects is here:
A morning Seattle City Council briefing will focus on the recommendations with time for public comment before the afternoon full council session. While the Council won’t be voting on legislation or resolutions related to the “rest of the west” plan Monday, the discussion should help set the course for the city’s input on the Seattle-side, $1.64 billion component of the multi-year 520 replacement project.
Much of the Design Commission’s muscle is focused on the design of a planned Montlake lid and the body’s push for “smarter lid” design principles: Continue reading
As a $1.64 billion plan takes shape to completely transform State Route 520’s pass through their neighborhood, some Montlake neighbors are most worried about the neighborhood’s longtime market.
A representative from the City of Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development sounded the alarm in an email to neighbors before Tuesday’s meeting:
This is an important late breaking development. WSDOT is proposing to acquire and potentially demolish the Montlake Market. If this is a concern, please let WSDOT know at tonight’s open house (4:30-7pm, St Demetrious). If you can’t make the meeting you can make comments on the online version of the open house here http://sr520.participate.online until July 8.
Tuesday night, WSDOT officials were at Montlake’s St. Demetrios Hall to present the plans for the next phase in replacing 520 as part of $4.65 billion in projects that have already created the longest floating bridge in the world.
Wednesday, a WSDOT representative told CHS that the agency is preparing a statement on the planned acquisition and said it is in talks with the property owner. According to the rep, the property that is home to the market and the service station just off the 520 combined offramp and onramp on Montlake Blvd has been identified by planners as likely to be impacted by the new 520 design and what will be a changing grade around the onramp. “It actually has a bigger impact on property than we had earlier thought,” the representative said. “As you get further into design, you learn things.”
UPDATE 7:05 PM: In an update on the project, WSDOT detailed its reasons for needing to acquire the property:
- WSDOT needs the property to build some of the project’s planned improvements, such as retaining walls and fill, sidewalks, connections to shared-use trails, and utility relocations and modifications. We also will use the property for construction staging and traffic shifts.
- We determined in the 2011 environmental impact statement that we’d have to close three of the four driveway accesses into the gas station. The gas station and market are business tenants on the property. The change in driveway access will affect the operations of both tenants.
- We are in discussions with the property owner regarding WSDOT’s purchase of the site and the operations of the businesses.
“We know these businesses are important to many people in the Montlake area. We’ll keep the community updated as this process unfolds,” the update reads.
WSDOT also provided an update on the project’s timeline, below. The final phase involving a planned second Montlake bridge is currently slated to be completed around 2027.
Olive at the I-5 onramp *AFTER* a previous round of pedestrian improvements. Probably some more work to do, no? (Image: WSDOT)
Earlier in May, CHS shared details of 15 projects that could make Central Seattle streets and sidewalks safer. Each of the 15 probably could. But only five of them will — or will have a chance to thanks to the East District Neighborhood Council and the Neighborhood Street Fund. Below are the five proposals that were recommended by the council and will now be passed through SDOT’s “high level design & cost estimate” vetting process. Once that feasibility analysis is complete in September, the council can rank the five finalists and pass them back to SDOT for possible implementation. There are apparently no guarantees in the world of NSF projects. “There is NO guarantee they will pick any of our ranked projects – they have their own process separate from our own,” an email announcing the East District finalists reads. Continue reading