Should the state spend $20M more to save the Montlake Market?

Some Montlake neighbors are calling on the Washington State Department of Transportation to add some 45 days and $20 million of construction to a key SR-520 project in order to save the neighborhood’s grocery and quick stop market.

Thursday is the final day of an online survey process WSDOT is using to gauge public interest in three main possible scenarios — preserve the Montlake Market but close it during construction, preserve the market and allow the store to continue operating through construction, or tear it all down. You can take the WSDOT survey here through 5 PM Thursday. Continue reading

Meet the architect who wants to build a lidded park over I-5

(Image: Patano Studio Architecture)

We’d pay $5 to see the plans for this (Image: Patano Studio Architecture)

With Wednesday’s announcement of the $147 million sale of Convention Place Station and the end of buses in the transit tunnel by 2019, the way is now paved for the $1.4 billion Washington State Convention Center expansion to open in 2020. Another nearby project of even larger scope might soon take smaller steps toward joining the new convention center wing in improving the connection between downtown and Capitol Hill.

Small steps is the way architect Christopher Patano, the man who wants to put a lid over the I–5, believes the 45-acre urbanist’s fantasy park can eventually become reality. Patano believes crowdfunding is his next step.Seattle CAP2 Seattle CAP

Patano’s architecture studio is carrying forward the seemingly quixotic idea to construct a lidded park over the interstate. The plan would cover the stretch of I–5 from First Hill all the way up to the Roanoke exit with a public, two-mile park. Patano’s plan would also include an expanded meeting facility, a hotel and an arena.

Ever since he made the first pitch, Patano said that the response has been overwhelmingly positive and the studio is ready to move forward. The studio has the ideas — now it needs the money. 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

Here’s why your friends in Montlake are extra cranky this week

(Image: WSDOT)

(Image: WSDOT)

The good news? “Nighttime activities are not planned between Dec. 24 and Jan. 4.” In the meantime, Montlake is going to be taking one for the team the next couple weeks as 520 Seattle-side replacement work gets hard and heavy. A bulletin from WSDOT on planned nighttime construction is below. You can learn more here. And, of course, be thankful they’re not trying to tunnel to Medina.

Upcoming construction activities in the Montlake Interchange area
Major construction kicks off this month around SR 520’s Montlake Boulevard interchange as part of the West Approach Bridge North Project (WABN). Crews plan to begin a variety of local street improvements, starting with the widening of the eastbound SR 520 ramps to and from Montlake Boulevard during the week of Dec. 15. Montlake-area improvements are designed to provide additional capacity on 520 ramps and local streets, and safer travel for bicyclists and pedestrians when WABN is complete. As construction plans are finalized and work proceeds in the Montlake area, additional notifications will be sent.

Noisy work expected during the night at SR 520 eastbound ramps

To widen the ramps, crews will perform work between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. on the following weeknights:

Monday, Dec. 15 – Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014
Monday, Dec. 22 – Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014
Monday – Thursday nights, Jan. 5 – Jan. 29, 2015
Note: Nighttime activities are not planned between Dec. 24 and Jan. 4.

Work includes site preparation, cutting through the roadway surface and installing drainage to prepare for future intersection modifications.


Crews are performing this work at night in order to avoid disrupting weekday traffic. Nearby residents and businesses may hear noise and feel vibrations from the construction activities. All work involving noisy impact equipment, such as jackhammers, will occur before 10 p.m. as required by the city of Seattle temporary noise variance. In accordance with our construction contract and the city of Seattle noise variance, the work will be performed using construction best management practices and sequenced in a way to minimize noise as much as possible.

Off-Hill: One year later, Bertha might be more stuck than ever

One year ago, Seattle stood by as the giant boring machine drilling the state’s new waterfront Highway 99 tunnel got stuck behind some sort of “mystery object” some 60 feet below the surface. At the time, we noted the “extraordinarily lucky” dig to complete twin tunnels beneath Capitol Hill for the U-Link light rail extension.

Now, after a year of waiting and digging to unstuck Bertha, word comes that the process to rescue the boring machine might be making an even bigger mess:

Settling of ground beneath the Alaskan Way Viaduct poses no danger to those driving on or walking underneath the 1950′s-vintage freeway, earthquakes aside, the state Department of Transportation assured Seattle City Council members on Monday.

What is unsettled, however, is when the giant, 7,000-ton digging machine called Bertha can be repaired, and tunneling resumed on the $2 billion project to replace the Viaduct. Bertha stopped a year ago.

“March is not looking like when we restart,” DOT’s Tim Moore told council members, referring to a restart date that was still in the state agency’s web site a week ago.

Not looking like a restart is one not so great thing, in a mealy mouthed kind of way. Settling buildings in Pioneer Square are another:

About 30 buildings in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood will be inspected both inside and out for damage after the soil deep below slumped an inch from Highway 99 tunnel work.

The $2 billion project was planned to create a 2-mille tunnel as part of a replacement for the more than 62-year-old Alaska Way Viaduct. The WSDOT project was planned to open in late 2016.