Top 20 new District 3 businesses: Rideshare driver tops the list by a mile… again

Even with growing evidence that driving for companies like Uber and Lyft can be a real grind, the greatest bulk of entrepreneurial energy around Capitol Hill and the Central District continues to be professional drivers.

According to tax information from the City of Seattle, the “transit and ground transportation” category was, again, the single largest category of new businesses started in District 3 ZIP codes last year, topping its nearest rival with nearly six times more companies started in the area in 2017. Continue reading

Latest Metro boosts and changes mostly leave Capitol Hill routes unaltered


After a busy few years of upgrades, optimizations, cuts, and eliminations, the next wave of Metro bus route changes scheduled to roll out starting Saturday mostly leave Capitol Hill’s routes out of the equation.

“Riders will receive more King County Metro bus service starting March 10 on dozens of routes, including more frequent daytime service, more commute trips to ease crowding, and expanded evening and weekend service,” Metro crows in its announcement of the new changes.

Routes like the 8, 11, 12 are lined up to receive “additional resources to improve the reliability of service” but most of the big changes are off Hill and, in some cases, out of the city. Continue reading

Metro seeks companies for ‘shared employer shuttle’ pilot

A Microsoft bus (Image: CHS)

If you can’t beat them, join them. King County Metro is looking to form a consortium of “two to five employers” to form a “shared employer shuttle” pilot.

“Metro is exploring these partnerships to find new ways to connect people to transit service and provide customers with mobility options,” Metro GM Rob Gannon said.

The one-year pilot seeks to band together a group of employers somewhere in the county for a Metro shuttle program to transport employees to their jobs and homes. “Only workers at those companies would be eligible to ride shared shuttles,” the Metro notice on the call for proposals reads. Continue reading

Seattle effort to return historic Benson Trolleys to service has Capitol Hill connection

(Image: Friends of the Benson Trolleys)

With less than a week to go, backers of a community effort to raise funds to plan restoring Seattle’s historic Benson Trolleys for use on the city’s modern streetcar system are about halfway to their $28,000 goal. Though you’re unlikely to see Seattle’s two remaining 100-year-old trolleys on Capitol Hill’s tracks, the project has its roots in the neighborhood’s history.

George and Evelyn Benson owned and operated Capitol Hill’s Mission Pharmacy at 19th and Aloha for 40 years,” Don Blakeney of Friends of the Benson Trolleys tells CHS. “Also, apparently they used to drive around the Hill delivering prescriptions to families in a van painted to look like a transit bus.” Continue reading

SDOT plans summer ‘Broadway Corridor Streetcar Improvement Project’

The Seattle Department of Transportation has a plan to optimize signals, eliminate turns, and add a “Business Access and Transit” lane to Broadway between Pine and Madison in an effort to make traffic flow more smoothly and to help speed the First Hill Streetcar through the area.

Here’s SDOT on the proposed “spot improvement” project being lined up for summer of 2018: Continue reading

What’s next for Seattle’s new era floating bike shares

It’s a bit of a chaotic test. They get dropped almost everywhere — some literally dropped, for real — and by the end of January, the first electric-assist versions will be on the streets of Seattle. With the city allowing the multi-colored “floating” companies to operate during a Wild West trial period, It’s not a question of whether Seattle will continue to have a bike share program, it’s just a question of what the final rules will be.

“I cannot see a world where Seattle does not have a bike share system,” said Mafara Hobson of the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Jasmine Marwaha from City Council member Mike O’Brien’s office agreed. O’Brien chairs the council’s transportation committee, and be turning the cranks on what the final program looks like. Marwaha said that while there have been some concerns about parking the bikes, there has not been anything severe enough to merit ending the program.

Seattle had first tried owning its own bike share system using docking stations similar to those found in some other cities. But the system ended up failing to attract enough riders to make it viable. In July, the city embarked on a new system of dockless bikes. Three different companies — LimeBike, Spin, and Ofo — began scattering brightly colored bikes around town to be rented by the minute. Continue reading

With hope for 2018 construction start, time to finalize design tweaks on $1.6B convention center expansion

After three years of design review, the final touches on plans for the $1.6 billion expansion of the Washington State Convention Center are down to the nitty gritty. The refined massing, the updated glazing pattern, the landmark lighting plan — each will be broken down as the project takes what could be its final bow in front of the review board Tuesday night at City Hall. Continue reading

Updated Madison RapidRide G plans call for 2021 start of service

You will have to wait a few more years for that RapidRide G bus. Service now isn’t expected to begin on the bus-focused transformation of the Madison corridor until 2021.

Planners presented the latest update on the project to create Metro’s RapidRide G Tuesday night at the January meeting of the First Hill Improvement Association. The full presentation from Seattle Department of Transportation planners is below. Continue reading

Suspected Broadway shoplifter chooses wrong getaway vehicle: the First Hill Streetcar

The First Hill Streetcar is slowwww (Image: CHS)

As far as getaway cars go, we can’t recommend it.

A Capitol Hill shoplifting suspect chose pretty much the slowest possible way to flee from police Monday afternoon on a rainy and busy Broadway.

According to SPD, officers were called to the Walgreens at Broadway and Pine just before 4:20 PM Monday to a report a woman had left the store with merchandise she had not paid for.

As officers arrived, police say the suspect jumped aboard the southbound First Hill Streetcar near its Pike and Broadway stop. Continue reading

Get to Capitol Hill safely as you ring in 2018 with free bus rides, later light rail

The New Year is already shaping up to be better. King County Metro and Sound Transit have announced free bus service, more night service, and longer hours for light rail to ring in 2018:

For the first time, King County Metro will offer free rides on New Year’s Eve between 4 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31, and 4 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1, including DART and Access service. In addition, Metro will add service to its night routes. The Seattle Streetcar will also be free on New Year’s Eve and Sound Transit will extend Link light rail service between Angle Lake and the University of Washington.

“As we put the finishing touches on 2017, we want you to be able to get out on the town and come home safe,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in the announcement of the holiday service upgrades that safety advocates and nightlife industry have been calling for. “Whether you are heading to the Seattle Center or other King County destinations on New Year’s Eve, Metro will get you there and back, all for free. It’s our way of saying thank you for making Metro the nation’s best transit system, and we look forward to riding with you next year.”

CHS reported here on King County Council member Dave Upthegrove’s legislation introduced in early 2017 to make the changes possible.

In addition to free Metro service from 4 AM on Monday, December 31st through 4 AM on Monday, January 1st, Sound Transit will run its light rail trains later through the night, operating “extended Link light rail service” with trains running northbound from Angle Lake Station every 30 minutes until 1:30 AM. Southbound trains from the University of Washington will run until 2 AM. Sound Transit typically operates the light rail system with a four-hour downtime overnight. Capitol Hill Station and the rest of the line operates 5 AM to 1 AM on weekdays and Saturdays.

Additionally, the First Hill Streetcar will operate until 1 AM.

The county says Metro routes with added service will include 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 14, 24, 32, 36, 40, 41, 62, 65, 70, 101, 106, 120, 124, 150, 255, RapidRide A, B, C, D and E Lines, and ST 550, ST 554.

The fareboxes and ORCA card readers on Metro buses will be covered to remind customers not to pay. Regular fare will be required on Sound Transit services.

On New Year’s Day, buses and rail service will operate on Sunday schedules, and “regular valid fare will be required on all services.” Continue reading