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

Starting June 8th, you’ll only have 20 months to wait for a much-improved 23rd Ave

The future of 23rd Ave (Image: SDOT)

The future of 23rd Ave (Image: SDOT)

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 10.40.08 AMThe 20-month first phase of a$46 million overhaul to improve the flow and safety of 23rd Ave will begin in early June. While the artery is hoped to be greatly improved by the time all phases of the 23rd Avenue Corridor Improvements Project are completed in late 2017, you might want to plan a few alternate routes in the meantime.

Monday night, planners will be on hand for the first of monthly community check-ins on the project:

First monthly community drop-in session on May 18
Each month throughout construction, SDOT will host a drop-in session to answer questions and share the latest construction information. Join us for the first drop-in on May 18 (see details below)! Don’t worry if you can’t make the drop-in session, we will post all information online.

Monday, May 18, 2015, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Garfield Community Center – Arts & Crafts Room
2323 E Cherry Street, Seattle, WA 98122

Project details and updates can be found at seattle.gov/transportation/23rd_ave.htm. Phase 1 will entail work on 23rd Ave from between S Jackson and E John. Phase 2 covers the work south of Jackson and Phase 3 will handle 23rd/24th from E John to E Roanoke in Montlake. Phase 2 and Phase 3 construction plans remain in the air, however, pending funding for the projects. Continue reading

Montlake neighbors speak up to reunite homeless man and his dog

Residents between Montlake and 15th Ave E are speaking up to support an area homeless man seeking a reunion with his dog, Sunny.

William’s tale has drawn a lot of attention in a series of posts on the Nextdoor community social network for the area:

I know many of you have seen or even talked to William an older man who you see with a black Labrador Retriever juvenile female around the Montlake neighborhood. He lives on a small boat on the water east of the old MOHAI. He does ask for money on the Montake off ramp. I have got to know him over the past few years and he has had some tough luck and is not an alcoholic and does not use drugs. His love is his dog. He seems very gruff and loud but that’s just his way. I have never seen him mistreat either of his dogs. Where we might speak gently to our dog he may yell but again it’s his way. This past Monday he was at the Safeway on Capitol Hill and tied Sunny up outside and some well intentioned person called the police and Animal Control came and took the dog from William telling him that someone complained that he was cruel to the dog. He is really broken up about it. I just talked to him. He told me that she sleeps on his chest and that he feeds her only the best food sometimes going hungry himself. I have seen his cart many times and he has only good quality dog food in it. I know this is long winded but many of us could be in the same situation.

It has already been ten days since Sunny was taken into custody. Ann Graves of the Seattle Animal Shelter tells CHS that the situation is being investigated as quickly as possible. “While an investigation takes as long as it takes, we’re not dragging our feet, we want to bring this to resolution as fast as we can,” she said. Graves said he is not at risk of losing the dog only because he is homeless.

Graves said people familiar with William can fill out a statement form to assist in the animal cruelty investigation. You can contact Graves here via email. Refer to case 15-2148.

In the meantime, William is not able to visit Sunny until the investigation is complete but Graves said the dog is in good hands. “Sunny is being well taken care of,” Graves said.

Central Area Neighborhood Greenway begins with bike markings, better pedestrian crossings — and ‘speed humps’

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 10.48.31 AMcentralgreenway_map_vertical_feb27-212x550 (1)Work on the first phase of the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway is underway creating new bike route markings, new stop signs and better pedestrian crossings along a route connecting 21st, 22nd, and 25th Ave from John to Jackson. You’ll note that SDOT is also adding “approximately” one speed hump per block on the route.

CHS included the work in our list of transit projects to look forward to in 2015. The “Hybrid” option for a bicycle and pedestrian friendly parallel to the 23rd Ave corridor will begin at I-90 and pass up through the Central District along 26th and 25th Ave before a jog over to 22nd north across E Madison to Capitol Hill. Through a mix of signage, pavement markings, speed bumps, roundabouts and other traffic-calming features, the route will complement a $46 million overhaul of 23rd Ave. When complete, the 23rd Avenue greenway is likely to be the longest greenway in the city.

Seattle Bike Blog says the first phase of work is slated to be wrapped up later this winter. SBB also provides insights on some of the most important bike and pedestrian work still to come to make the greenway a reality.

If the plan doesn’t get mucked up for the northern end of the route, the area should connect nicely to Montlake’s bicycle and pedestrian resources included in the Seattle-side 520 replacement project.

Updates and more here:

Phase 1 runs between E. John Street and S. Jackson Street along 21st Avenue E, 22nd Avenue E, and 25th Avenue S. Installation elements include:

  • Bicycle pavement markings
  • Stop signs on all streets crossing the greenway
  • Flashing beacons for pedestrians and bicyclists at arterial crossings: 25th Avenue S and E Yesler Way; 25th Avenue S and E Cherry Street
  • Enhanced pedestrian traffic signal at 22nd Avenue E and E Union
  • Approximately one speed hump per block on the route

This work will necessitate some temporary on-street parking restrictions, pedestrian and cyclist detours, and some light construction noise. Access to businesses and residences will be maintained except when temporary restrictions are necessary. Normal work hours will be 9 AM to 4 PM. Installation is expected to be complete in late Winter 2015.

UPDATE 2/25/2015: Depending on your definition of “begins,” you might want to mark a different start date for the actual work on the project. SDOT says that the contractor’s work is *now* underway:

Central Area Neighborhood Greenway installation begins

SEATTLE –A contractor working for the Seattle Department of Transportation began work today on Phase 1 of the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway. The contractor expects to complete this phase of the project by spring, enabling Central Area residents of all ages and abilities to enjoy a calmer and safer route to walk and ride bikes. This phase of the greenway will run between East John Street and South Jackson Street on residential streets parallel to 23rd Avenue, including stretches of 25th Avenue, 22nd Avenue, and 21st Avenue East.

Much of the work to be done involves the repair or upgrade of curb ramps and sidewalks where the neighborhood greenway crosses arterial streets. Crews will work south to north, one intersection at a time, at the following locations:

  • 25th Avenue  and East Yesler Way
  • 25th Avenue  and East Cherry Street
  • 25th Avenue  and East Columbia Street
  • 22nd Avenue  and East Madison Street
  • 21st Avenue East and East John Street

One of four crosswalks at each intersection will be closed during ramp construction. Typical working hours will be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Other elements of Phase 1 greenway implementation include bicycle pavement markings on the route, stop signs on streets crossing the greenway, and approximately one speed hump per block. Flashing beacons for pedestrians and bicycles will be installed at 25th Avenue and East and Yesler Way and also at 25th Avenue and East Cherry Street. An enhanced pedestrian traffic signal will be located at 22nd Avenue and East Union Street.

SDOT expects all phases of the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway project will be completed by the end of the year, extending the route from East Roanoke Street to Rainier Avenue South on residential streets parallel to 23rdAvenue.

Neighborhood greenways are residential streets made safer and calmer for people of all ages and abilities to walk and ride bikes. Greenways can provide access to schools, trails, parks, transit, and neighborhood businesses. For more information on the Central Area Neighborhood Greenway, please see the project web page. Also, see a map of Seattle’s completed and planned neighborhood greenways.