With small slide below Interlaken, soggy March brings landslide concerns

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.

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

From toothpaste to pizza, Little Lago Italian grocery now open in Portage Bay

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

Seattle makes its push for ‘Rest of the West’ 520 recommendations

The future Montlake lid "land bridge" -- already better thanks to the Seattle Design Commission

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:

Presentation - WSDOT - Improving Safety and Mobility for the Region

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

Neighbors worry about loss of Montlake Blvd Market in plans for Seattle-side 520 replacement

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.

Continue reading

The *5* final projects that could make Central Seattle streets and sidewalks safer

Olive at the I-5 onramp *AFTER* a previous round of pedestrian improvements. Probably some more work to do, no? (Image: WSDOT)

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

The Magnanimous Seven: Former 43rd Dems chair joins crowded race for Olympia

(Image: Friends of Scott Forbes)

(Image: Friends of Scott Forbes)

Another week, another progressive Central Seattleite running to represent the 43rd District in Olympia.

Scott Forbes, Montlake attorney and former chair of the 43rd District Democrats, announced Thursday he will enter the crowded — but still room for more — campaign.

“I’ve been more active in the Democratic party and have been working across a broader range of issues,” Forbes told CHS Thursday morning.

“What I have done and what I have seen in the 43rd — I’ve been able to get rooms of Democrats to work together and be effective.” Continue reading

CHS Re:Take | Ice cream, beer, and the Montlake Drive-In Public Market

Montlake Drive-in market 1937 and 2016

Montlake Drive-in Market 1937 and 2016. Old one is a 1937 state assessor’s photo, from the Washington State Archives. Filed under 2200 24th Ave East. The new one I took on a recent cold morning after hiking down through Interlaken Park.

I did it! My 4-month streetcar history vigil forced SDOT to start operating the streetcar. Now that that’s over, let’s talk about some car-oriented architecture at 2200 24th Ave East at Boston Street, where the Boston 2200 building is underway. We’re going to need to talk about pickles and ice cream to get there, and about beer afterwards.

Horluck’s a-changing

Dear HistoryLink: Please pay someone to write a biography of George Horluck.

There’s not a lot of information about George Horluck out there, but this whole article revolves around him so we’re going to have to take what we can get. Google suggests that we read the History of Horluck Brewing Co and Sick’s [sic] Century Brewery. I did it for you, no need to click. 6/10. Unhealthy obsession with beer. Sprinkling of pre-beer facts with no context. Good effort.

As the page says, George was born in Nebraska to parents newly immigrated to the United States, but they came from Denmark. The family moved to Seattle by 1910.

With a bit more digging in newspaper and genealogy records, George Horluck’s life comes into focus. By 1910 his father Hans was in a partnership with Anton Hagen, selling pickles at the Pike Place Market and Westlake Public Market. Hans transitioned through two other partnerships in the next two years, selling pickles, bacon and pickled herring. (Any future biographer is probably going to stop at this point to scream the same words that sprang from my social network accounts: “Arg, no! Why am I researching the lineage of this pickle stall??”)

From about 1915 to 1916 George sold papers at 1st and Pike, and then delivered a Seattle Times route on Denny Hill. After high school he joined his father’s odd pairing of businesses in Port Orchard: growing and selling feed for farm animals, and operating mosquito fleet steamers. After a decade of hard work, in 1926 George traveled to his parents’ home of Copenhagen and spent a year exploring Europe. (June 30, 1929 Seattle Times page 68.) Continue reading

Capitol Hill Station ‘launch’ planned for March, indeed

IMG_8039-600x900CapitolHillStationSign-600x112 (1)March 2016 will be an epic month for Seattle’s transportation system. Sound Transit officials are planning for a “launch” event that month for the new light rail extension from downtown to Montlake via Capitol Hill, according to a Wednesday morning Seattle “special events” planning session.

Meanwhile, state officials are also planning a March 2016 grand opening event for the 520 bridge replacement project that will include a fun run across Seattle streets and WSDOT’s new floating bridge. No, the westside portion of the project won’t yet be complete. The Cascade Bicycle Club is also planning an Emerald City Bicycle Ride as part of the grand opening festivities, according to Wednesday’s meeting.

The opening of the two major infrastructure projects will be big news for transit geeks and commuters alike. The March 2016 light rail launch event will involve both Capitol Hill Station on Broadway and the UW Station near Husky Stadium. No specific dates for the events have been announced. Continue reading

City looks at improvements to Seattle-side 520 plan including new Montlake Cut bike/ped bridge

Screen-Shot-2015-01-20-at-4.43.31-PMThe City Council’s transportation committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday night as part of the process to finalize the plan for building the westside components of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s project to rebuild SR 520.

The state plan calls for “a box girder style bridge including a bike and pedestrian path over Portage Bay, redesigned highway lids with a new land bridge, and multimodal connectivity improvements,” according to the council’s announcement for the hearing. CHS looked at the final designs for Seattle-side 520 projects including a new Portage Bay Bridge, and a Montlake “land bridge” when the proposals were released in January.

A resolution is planned to document the City of Seattle’s requests for changes and improvements to the plan.

“The City is also asking WSDOT to consider an additional bike and pedestrian bridge across the Montlake Cut, transit priority enhancements, intelligent transportation system improvements (ITS), improved pedestrian safety at the Montlake interchange, and neighborhood traffic enhancements,” according to the the announcement.

The Urbanist blog, meanwhile, has outlined issues in the westside 520 project’s design that the city’s requests need to do more to address.

Continue reading