City collecting feedback on plans for E Union protected bike lanes

While the department says its designs for the project are only at the “10%” conceptual stage and big decisions about things like whether part of the route will require riders to cross sidewalks and how many if any parking spots will have to be removed, SDOT is collecting feedback on what has become a current flashpoint in Seattle’s struggles to create useful bicycle infrastructure in the city — the planned E Union protected bike lanes.

Through May 31st, the Seattle Department of Transportation is running an E Union St Protected Bike Lane Survey. The short survey asks about your current transportation habits around E Union and how you think protected bike lanes might impacts your behavior.

It also gets to the heart of the matter for many who are criticizing the plan — choose 3! Continue reading

After deadly shooting at 21st and Union, where did SPD find a cache of military-style rifles and ammo in gang gun violence investigation? Two blocks away

One of the firearms seized from a Central District apartment building (Image: SPD)

As scads of city officials toured the area around recent scenes of Central District gun violence Wednesday and are considering approaches including simpler, faster solutions like Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design features, another factor in the ongoing violence has emerged.

Many of the powerful firearms swept up by Seattle Police, FBI, and ATF agents around Seattle in the weeks following a deadly shooting at 21st and Union were found in an apartment only blocks from where the deadly May 10th gang shootout went down.

East Precinct commander Capt. Bryan Grenon told the African American Advisory Council community meeting last week that some of the military style rifles and ammunition recovered by police was found in a nearby apartment building just blocks from where the deadly shooting occurred, a person who attended the meeting told CHS.

Among the weapons seized were two AK-47 style assault rifles, an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, and a large amount of ammunition. Continue reading

Neighbors say environmental design could be small step to help stop 21st and Union gun violence

While Friday’s murder of 19-year-old Royale Lexing can be clearly tied to an ongoing string of gun violence across the Central District, Capitol Hill, and Seattle, neighbors around the scene of the shootout at 21st and Union are looking at a much more local problem — and maybe solutions.

At Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of District 3 representative Kshama Sawant’s Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee, Central Neighbors said SPD’s emphasis efforts are welcomed but called on the city to look beyond policing in its efforts to curb gun violence.

They point to a series of shootings around 21st and Union — five different incidents across about 18 months — that indicate that while the violence is tied to citywide and regional issues of crime and inequity, 21st Ave and its place in the heart of the Central District might also be a major factor in the ongoing violence. Continue reading

UMadBro? 119-year-old Capitol Hill garage snubbed for preservation falls onto parked cars during demolition

Capitol Hill’s auto row history is coming down faster than expected.

A 1900-era building left out of the wave of Pike/Pine preservation-boosted development projects surprised a demolition crew and some drivers who are probably now regretful about their parking choices when the old auto row-era garage prematurely collapsed Monday. The Capitol Hill Historical Society wrote about the old UMadBro structure — Union, Madison, and Broadway — here last month to mark the building’s final days.

With demolition underway, the old single-story Complete Automotive Detail garage fell onto a handful of parked cars and across the sidewalk off E Union at 10th Ave around noon. Continue reading

Metier-Homegrown combo brings new ‘FoodArt’ to E Union

Thanks to the FoodArt Collection, Capitol Hill can lay claim to a homegrown pop art movement. Now the work of artist Genevieve St. Charles has busted out onto the streets of Pike/Pine.

Earlier this year, CHS reported on the link up between E Union’s cycling culture-centered Metier and the food+drink folks at Homegrown. That tandem is now riding smoothly and the combination has added a new mural to the neighborhood’s collection of giant sized art. Continue reading

Here’s what 150 or so new apartments surrounding the (newly landmarked) Knights of Columbus building will look like

Still only a massing proposal and a design concept, this is what could rise next to the Knights of the Columbus building

Here is the first look at early design proposals for the two projects that will work together to shepherd the newly landmarks protected Knights of Columbus building into its new adaptive reuse future and add more than 150 new apartments to the block at Union and Harvard.

Design review: 704 E Union St and 722 E Union St

The projects from developers SRM Development and the Runberg Architecture Group will begin the city’s design review process with a joint session Wednesday night. Continue reading

‘Conceptual’ — SDOT says now is the time to shape E Union’s 2020 plan for protected bike lanes

E Union from above 18th Ave — just add PBLs (Image: CHS)

Tuesday night, Seattle Department of Transportation officials will be at Washington Hall as part of a series of “conversations” in neighborhoods across the city about — and, yes, we know the Seattle is Dying crowd loves this — the plan for implementing Seattle’s bike plan.

SDOT Bike Master Plan cafe-style conversation

One topic newly installed SDOT head Sam Zimbabwe’s crew knows will be on the minds of neighbors and business representatives in this plan for the plan is a pretty solid embodiment of Seattle’s increasingly modest bike projects circa 2019: new, semi-protected bike lanes on E Union hoped to be under construction by the end of the year and, some advocates say, disappointedly compromised by a City Hall unwilling to take on a serious commitment to new bike infrastructure.

First, SDOT wants you to know the whole bike riders can ride on the sidewalk thing at the busy intersections of E Union and 23rd and E Union and MLK is only an idea right now — one of many planners need to sort through, SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells CHS.

“We realize because there is a gap, people could potentially ride on the sidewalk. One potential thing is widening the street but with all the development that probably isn’t possible,” Bergerson said.

“This is all conceptual.” Continue reading

Wall fire scorches building home to Union bar — UPDATE

(Image: CHS)

Firefighters battled a stubborn wall fire Sunday night inside the building home to Capitol Hill gay bar Union.

Seattle Fire was called to the scene just after 10 PM and found the fire in an area of the building’s second floor. Firefighters were able to quickly bring the fire under control. It was not clear how much damage the flames and fire response caused inside the building.

The intersection of 13th and Union was filled with fire trucks and a haze of smoke as nightlife patrons cleared the building and gathered from nearby venues.

There were no reported injuries. The Seattle Fire Marshal was called to the scene to investigate.

UPDATE 4/22/2019 12:40 PM: Seattle Fire says the incident has been ruled an accidental fire “most likely caused by an electrical/mechanical malfunction of the natural gas water heater.” The estimated loss is $70,000.

The investigation’s findings can put to rest any worries that the fire could be connected to a recent string of arson fires on Broadway.

No word yet on damage from Union.

UPDATE 11:00 PM: Union is temporarily closed to clean up after the damage from the fire:

Our Sunday Funday was so hot we caught fire, literally. We appreciate your patience while we temporarily close for clean up. ​ We sincerely thank the Seattle Fire Department, our staff, and all the kind messages from the community. ​ Stay tuned for updates, we will be open again soon!

Seattle’s increasingly modest plans for new bike projects include seven across Capitol Hill, CD — UPDATE

This page from the council presentation on the bike plan implementation update oddly includes an image of a Capitol Hill rider on perhaps the most un-pedal friendly in the neighborhood.

Seattle is criss-crossed by 1,547 lane-miles of arterial streets and 2,407 miles of non-arteries. In recent years, the city has added new bike infrastructure to only about 10 miles of those streets per year.

Tuesday afternoon, the Seattle City Council will begin the latest process to shake out the next five years of Seattle bike infrastructure investments. Following the relatively paltry output of the last couple years, the proposed plan includes projects that will likely add up to even less than 10 miles per year. But there are still some new improvements on the list for Capitol Hill, the Central District, and the nearby. Continue reading

CURA shop on search for ‘an intersection of artistry and equity’ in the Central District

(Image: CHS)

Akiko Eisner-Waters was not expecting the notes. When she found the two pieces of white paper taped to the door of her new Central District lifestyle shop CURA last Sunday morning, barely 12 hours had passed since the official opening celebration the evening before. The store had been open for about a week.

“Gentrification,” spell red letters on one of the sheets of paper. “The displacement of Black and Brown urban residents by more affluent whites — is a function of the same forces that emptied the cities of much of their white populations, generations ago: the movement of capital. Capital wants the cities back, and clears spaces for whites,” it reads in black letters below. Continue reading