A playful idea for Capitol Hill’s first pavement park

Summit Denny Meeting Boards.pg3An element of puzzling and play and lessons from the first pavement parks on First Hill could be part of the design for a new open space along E Olive Way after a community brainstorm on the project last week.

At Thursday’s Capitol Hill Community Council meeting, the Seattle Department of Transportation invited the public to contribute ideas for a new Pavement to Park project at Summit and Denny.

Among design ideas floated at the meeting were interactive features — perhaps a painted maze, like the one at the new Seattle Center playground. The Pronto bike racks currently housed on that stretch of Summit will remain, but could be moved as a block or split in two to form traffic edges. Coming up, the city will hold a community event at the park’s location to show off a design concept and gather more feedback. Continue reading

What should Capitol Hill’s first pavement park look like?

A successful program to transform areas of underutilized pavement into public spaces is spreading from its First Hill test parks across Seattle. The odd little stub of Summit between E Olive Way and E Denny Way is in line to be Capitol Hill’s first pavement park. What should it look like?

Thursday at the April meeting of the Capitol Hill Community Council, you can help start to shape the project:

The City is turning pavement at Summit & Denny into a park! And we need your help to decide what should go there. Bring your ideas to the April meeting of the Capitol Hill Community Council.

Learn more at: http://centralseattlegreenways.com/2016/04/pavement-to-parks-at-capitol-hill-community-council/

We’ll also be talking about walkability and safe streets on Capitol Hill. Share your stories and concerns so we can prioritize the Community Council’s work in the coming months.

(Image: SDOT)

(Image: SDOT)

According to the Central Seattle Greenways group, the base set of changes for the short stretch include removing parking but keeping the Seattle bike share Pronto station at the site. “This one-way segment serves only as a cut-through for traffic coming off Denny or Summit, and creates more potential for pedestrian conflict when there are already several busy streets coming together in the area,” the group notes.

The city is planning to roll out around four pavement park projects this year at a cost of around $50,000 to $70,000 each. CHS reported here on a study that looked at the first pavement park projects on First Hill, including “a colorful Mediterranean-style plaza that had replaced a dingy and utterly confusing semi-triangular intersection” at University, Union, and Boylston last summer.

The planned Summit park, by the way, is just up the road from Capitol Hill’s first streatery in front of the Montana bar on E Olive Way. The city’s parklet and streatery program continues though the rate of new projects has slowed to a near stop. Here’s where the most recent Hill-area parklets and streateries were being planned.

In its study of the First Hill sites, observations recorded sitting and hanging out as the most common uses, naturally, with only a couple people using the space as a smoking lounge. Among needs identified, the First Hill spaces could benefit from more frequent garbage pick-up, a variety of seating options, and a better pedestrian experience near the spaces.

So, what should the Summit park feature? We’re hoping for a tad bit more than what this new space in Ballard ended up with. According to the Seattle Department of Transportation’s Pavement to Parks Overview page, the projects are wide open to community guidance but require a “maintenance agreement” with a “community host” group to keep the area clean and safe. Also, because the projects are still in the pilot phase, the changes must be of a temporary nature meaning elements that can easily be removed or repainted. SDOT will also look at user and pedestrian surveys, and traffic data to evaluate how the park is performing.

The Capitol Hill Community Council will host a discussion of the Summit pavement park as part of the agenda at its monthly meeting, Thursday, April 24th starting at 6:30 PM at the 12th Ave Arts building, 1620 12th Ave.

You can Netflix and Chill in Volunteer Park whenever you want (but July 9th event is bunk)

12993572_996744510417136_8643009139894569224_nSorry, incredulous hacks, you’ve been had. As part of what is apparently a global marketing scheme that cost the company a marketing “director” salary to dream up, a series of Netlfix and Chill movie events have been announced in parks and plazas around the world this summer — including Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park this July:

We celebrate the launch of the [Dumb App Name] app in Seattle (joinDumbAppName.com) and are transforming the Volunteer Park into the largest free open air movie theater the city has ever seen. Take your partners, bring your friends, pack your favorite snacks and grandma’s picnic blanket and enjoy the best movies and series on Netflix with hundreds of other people. Line-up voting’s gonna follow.

[Redactions] are CHS’s.

The Facebook invite for the Seattle event has, of course, spread like Volunteer Park lawn daisies over the weekend and at least one local media outlet, of course, has already jumped on the story with more concern about making sure you know what Netflix and Chill means than whether they are mindlessly promoting Dumb App Name. Of course.

But Seattle Parks tells CHS the event is not happening because organizers have not applied for the necessary permits.

Still, with a solid wireless plan — and a good friend — you can Netflix and Chill in Volunteer Park anytime you like.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill’s slate of outdoor summer movies will again return in 2016 thanks to Three Dollar Bill Cinema (seen here!) and the Seattle Art Museum (seen here!). Not Dumb App Name.

2013: Gamera and Chill in Volunteer Park

2013: Gamera and Chill in Volunteer Park

Mayor Murray cuts the ribbon at 12th Ave Square Park

IMG_8347 IMG_8349

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

A stretch of warm and sunny days ahead will make this weekend the perfect time to check out Seattle’s newest park. Mayor Ed Murray helped cut the ribbon at the 12th Ave Square Park on Thursday alongside his husband, Michael Shiosaki, planning director at Seattle Parks and Recreation. Thursday’s celebration also included music by a Garfield High School jazz trio.

The park sits on the corner of 12th Ave and E James Court, across from Seattle University’s sports complex. It had been an empty lot until the land was transformed into a plaza-like park which unofficially opened in February at a cost of about $1.06 million.IMG_8250

At about 7,300 square feet and wedged between mixed-use housing, a cafe, and a restaurant, it’s on the smaller end of the park spectrum. To make the park pop, artist Ellen Sollod created the “Cloud Veil” — an installation of metal mesh and mirrors that hangs over the park space. The opening was also a milestone for the 12th Avenue Stewards group, which had long advocated for the park.

Though only the width of one block, Seattle Parks says the park’s woonerf “provides pedestrians and cyclists priority on the street,” and say the “technique of shared spaces, traffic calming, and low speed limits contribute to improved pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety.”

Jimi Hendrix Park finally ready to open this summer in the CD

plan_11-21After 10 years — longer than his meteoric music career — a park to honor Seattle native Jimi Hendrix is finally nearing completion. The fully designed Jimi Hendrix Park will open August 27th.

The 2.5 acre green space at 25th Ave and S Massachusetts was established in 2006 on the site of the former Colman School. A large fence had cordoned off much of the area as plans have inched forward to add facilities, design elements, and historic identifiers.

Thanks to a fundraising campaign and a $200,000 award from King County, The Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation has funded the last phase of construction of a shelter and Hendrix-inspired design elements. The park, which is adjacent to the Northwest African American Museum, will remain fenced off to allow grass to grow throughout the spring and summer.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 5.22.51 PMThe park’s rock and roll design is inspired by Hendrix, who grew up near the area. The entrance and main path will be alongside a long guitar-like structure. The Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation also hopes to host music events at the park and “beautify Seattle, motivate youth and others to achieve in music and art, and strengthen the cultural pulse of the Emerald City,” according to the group’s website.

Hendrix t-shirts are now for sale to help sustain the park foundation.

Once the park is complete, it will only be a comparatively quick seven years until light rail arrives just steps away at the Judkins Park Station. Construction on station is slated to begin by mid-2017. It will be the western-most station on the 10-stop East Link line which will connect to the Link line at the International District/Chinatown Station.

(Image: Murase Associates)

(Image: Murase Associates)

With Cloud Veil rising above, celebrate the new 12th Ave Square Park

Felipe says he and Leeloo pass through the park at least twice a week (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Felipe says he and Leeloo pass through the park at least twice a week (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Dustin works nearby

Dustin works nearby

Ellen Sollod had been involved in designing the new 12th Ave Square Park from the early stages. At about 7,300 square feet and wedged between mixed-use housing, a cafe, and a restaurant, it’s on the smaller end of the park spectrum. So while everyone involved in the design wanted some central identifying feature, Sollod, an artist by trade, knew it shouldn’t be something that would “interrupt” the park, like a big sculpture might.

And so “Cloud Veil” was born, and installation of metal mesh and mirrors that hangs over the park space.

“It has a kind of a big top quality,” Sollod said, and along with the pillars which support the mesh, it helps define the space as being a room.

Thursday night, Seattle Parks will celebrate one of its newest open spaces with a ribbon-cutting and music.

The park sits on the corner of 12th Ave and E James Court, across from Seattle University’s sports complex. It had been an empty lot until the land was transformed into a plaza-like park which opened in February at a cost of about $1.06 million.

From the early stages, neighborhood residents, in particular the 12th Avenue Stewards group, had wanted to take a collaborative approach to the park’s design. The idea was for art to be integrated into the fabric of the park, rather than just tacked on at the end. Continue reading

As thousands walk new 520, Arboretum begins Loop Trail construction


As thousands from around Seattle visited the new 520 bridge over the weekend — waiting in amazingly long lines so long, officials had to close down the celebration’s shuttle runs early to better handle the crowds already in the middle of Lake Washington — a much, much smaller part of the massive construction project is moving forward to create a new community asset to enjoy the swath of nature preserved at the eastern base of Capitol Hill.

The Washington Park Arboretum has seen plenty of alterations since it was sketched to an Olmstead plan in the 1900s. Now, with $7.8 million in 520 construction mitigation funds from WSDOT, the rambling park/botanic collection is getting an enhancement that has been on the wish list for years: a 12-foot-wide paved path for walkers, wheelchairs, slow bikes, and strollers. The “slow” in “slow bikes” is operable — the path is to improve access to the plant collection and was designed with curves undesirable for your fast bike commute.

Meanwhile, the new 520 — the “longest floating bridge in the world,” they say — is ready to open to traffic later this month. Watch for lots of planned closures of the crossing during the transition. Seattle’s western edge of the project including “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” remains under construction.Loop Trail map

In the Arboretum, starting at the southern end of the Arboretum at 31st and Madison, the 1.2 mile path will proceed along the east side of Lake Washington Blvd. to Arboretum Drive through what is often a swampy valley with puddles. It will connect to the existing paved path to make an accessible, all-weather 2.5-mile loop. Construction has already started, and is scheduled for completion in December 2017. Continue reading

Seattle Digital Equity Initiative bringing wi-fi to Capitol Hill community center

Fat pipe at Miller

Fat pipe at Miller

Capitol Hill’s Miller Community Center will soon be an even more useful neighborhood asset for meetings and events. All 26 of the Seattle Parks community centers are about to get tricked out with wireless internet as part of the new Digital Equity Initiative:

In tandem with Mayor Ed Murray’s Digital Equity Initiative, Google is working to bridge Seattle’s digital divide with $344,000 in grants that will bring free WiFi to Seattle community centers and affordable housing projects.  At least 15 percent of Seattle residents have no Internet service at home. Among Seattle’s lowest income residents and immigrant communities the numbers are even higher, according to the City of Seattle’s Technology Access & Adoption study.

“Too many Seattle residents have no regular access to the Internet, and find themselves disconnected from the wealth of educational and community resources the Internet offers,” said Darcy Nothnagle, head of external affairs for the NW at Google. “These grants aim to help bring access to those who need it most.”

Through the grant, Seattle Housing Authority will provide internet to 800 very low income K-12 students and their families who live in SHA housing. The residents served by the project are among those whose studies show are the most technology disadvantaged and disconnected. The project will focus on providing connectivity to students in grades K-12 in the NewHolly, High Point, Rainier Vista, Lake City Court and Yesler Terrace communities.

Google is also providing funding for WiFi at all 26 Seattle Parks and Recreation Community Centers, enabling access for public meetings and events, classes, and digital civic engagement and learning programs. The funding will also go towards the replacement of 31 outdated and obsolete computers at five RecTech Community Technology Labs – located in the Delridge, Rainier, Rainier Beach, South Park and Yesler Terrace community centers – which are used for digital literacy training and youth programs.

As part of the initiative, Comcast has dropped its prices for internet service for residents in public housing, KUOW reports. One element that won’t be part of the initiative’s thrust is municipal broadband. A 2015 touted by the mayor’s office concluded that the service was too expensive for Seattle to build without a private partner.

You can read more about the Digital Equity Initiative here via seattle.gov.

Plans for safer 10th/John crossing to Capitol Hill Station, Melrose enhancements make street fund cut

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 3.03.46 PM

Some of the crosswalk design concepts being kicked around by the Melrose Promenade group

Two important pedestrian areas of Capitol Hill should be on a faster track to safer streets after proposals for Neighborhood Park and Street Fund projects to build a raised intersection at 10th and John and new curb bulbs and colorful crosswalks on Melrose between Pike and Pine came out on top of a 2016 community ranking process, it was announced this week.

The East District Council in a meeting Monday ranked the proposals as the top choices for funding in the area. The $90,000 continuation of improvements from the group organizing the Melrose Promenade project and the Central Greenways-championed 10th and John project must be approved by the Seattle Department of Transportation before implementation. SDOT will also provide a more complete estimate on what the department expects the cost of implementation will be.

10th and John has long been a challenging crossing for pedestrians and drivers and the situation is even more critical with the increased activity in the area with the opening of Capitol Hill Station. The raised intersection could help make it easier to cross and help make the intersection safer for travelers of all types. Another project to create a safer approach to the station from the streets around 12th and Denny is also in the works. The group working on the 10th/John crossing say raised intersections in other cities “have costs ranging from $12,500 to $114,150″ — expectations are this one would come in on the higher end of that range.

10th and John as it appears today (Image: Central Area Greenways)

10th and John as it appears today (Image: Central Area Greenways)

Continue reading

CHS Pics | Cal Anderson egg hunt feels the (Easter) Bun

Happy spring. Before the big kids spilled into the park searching for answers about who will next lead the United States, the little ones showed them how it was done with an efficient, thorough, and mostly polite running of the annual Cal Anderson spring egg hunt Saturday morning.

In its fourth year in Capitol Hill’s central park, the Seattle Parks event this year shared a day with the Washington State caucus and Cal Anderson’s Bobby Morris playfield with groups of caucus-goers whose precincts had to be assigned portions of the park after Century Ballroom and the Odd Fellows building quickly reached capacity.

More pictures, below. Continue reading