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CHS Pics | Seattle’s first parklet under construction on Capitol Hill

IMG_2051It replaces only a handful of parking spaces and will take all of three days to assemble but the start of construction on Seattle’s first parklet still brought out a media crowd Monday on E Olive Way.

Montana co-owner Rachel Marshall held court with the TV cameras — and one neighborhood blogger — trying her best to be diplomatic with the sometimes confused TV crews. “90% of my customers are pedestrians,” she said when asked, again, about the loss of parking in front of her neighborhood bar.

CHS reported on the trial program to build three parklet spaces in Seattle earlier this summer. Montana co-owner Kate Opatz told us the bar approached the city about being part of the Seattle Department of Transportation program. SDOT’s Jennifer Wieland Monday said more parklets will be in the works next year if these early installations go well.

The concept design for the Montana parklet (Image: CHS)

The concept design for the Montana parklet (Image: CHS)

The E Olive Way addition designed by Boxwood will afford people a place to sit outside Montana and enjoy a treat from nearby Crumble and Flake or takeout from Kedai Makan. There’s no smoking and you won’t be able to bring a Montana draft cocktail onto the structure. The parklets use existing street parking spots and are paid for by merchants — on E Olive Way, thank Montana. The idea, Marshall said Monday, is to create a new kind of public space next to neighborhood businesses.

“It creates a meeting place,” Marshall said as hammering continued behind her.

The construction is expected to be completed Wednesday just in time for Friday’s 2013 Park(ing) Day.

Work crew member Huxley (Images: CHS)

Work crew member Huxley (Images: CHS)

UPDATE Thursday, 9/19/13 4:15 PM: Seattle Bike Blog calls the E Olive Way parklet an “instant hit.”

(Image: Seattle Bike Blog)

(Image: Seattle Bike Blog)

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51 thoughts on “CHS Pics | Seattle’s first parklet under construction on Capitol Hill

  1. This is awesome. It is a bit of a bummer that you can’t have a beer, but anything that prioritizes people over cars in my ‘hood is a welcome addition.

    • parking is NOT plentiful on the hill. I don’t know what Utopia you live in, but it’s a struggle. If it wasn’t a struggle, then there wouldn’t be residential parking zones.

      That being said, I think this is a great place to eliminate parking. When somebody takes time to parallel park on an arterial like Olive, it makes a complete clusterfiasco of traffic. It’s good to eliminate the parking there. Keep people moving.

  2. I do wonder if people will be welcome to use the parklet without purchase or if these will simply become extensions of the businesses. Also, “rights of the automobile”? How entitled does that sound? If you must be certain a parking spot is waiting for you, there are plenty of restaurants and bars up at Northgate Mall.

    • It will be a PUBLIC space, so anyone will be able to use it…but it will be rapidly trashed with graffiti/stickers/posters……mark my words. Who will be responsible for maintaining it and who will pay for this? And who will ensure that there is no alcohol use there?

      It’s no surprise the owners of Montana are very positive about this. They are getting a significant expansion of their business space for free from the City, and only have to pay for the initial construction costs, which would be minimal.

  3. I mean, it’s no Montana patio circa 2012 (which the city sadly took away), but at least it provides outdoor space! I think this is the best thing to hit Montana since Moscow Mules. Congrats Rachel, Kate and Adam.

  4. This really seems like a gift from Montana to their neighbors, Kedai Makan and Crumble and Flake. Since you can’t drink or smoke in the parklet, next best thing seems to be enjoying a tasty treat from KM or C&F. Sure I guess you could just hang there…but it’d be so much better with nasi goreng or a kouign amann.

    Montana, you so nice!

  5. These are dumb. I get the overall idea and concept but by taking away parking you are taking away customers. People drive and not everyone lives on the Hill.
    Capitol Hill is changing but if you want a car free zone with only unique store fronts you may as well move to a commune. A city neighborhood is subjective and requires many people to make it work not just those who live there.
    I do not live on the hill anymore but I work and hang out there and I drive. The Montana was a place I would go often but the statement that taking away a necessity of my visit is insulting just because I am one of the 10%
    What is the cost of building these and why would a business give up the availability of someone visiting their business.
    This is just another reason that the Hills entitlement is the reason it is changing. Hypocrisy at its worst. Exclusion at its best.

    • I do wonder who realistically ever expects to find a parking spot directly in front of whatever business they’re patronizing on the Hill. If you’re really here that often, six blocks or more should be nothing. This isn’t L.A., walking’s not gonna kill ya. I don’t think Montana’s doing this specifically to discourage driving, but rather sacrificing that one primo spot for a greater benefit to the majority of users.

  6. And I’d also like to thank SDOT for the omission of a safe and comfortable pedestrian crossing to Crumble & Flake at E Olive & E Howell.

    Since I (and who knows how many other hundreds of other Microsofties) can’t safely cross the street here on my way to the 545 bus each morning (and it’s just enough of a pain to get across the nearest traffic light), I know I’ve avoided countless pounds of weight gain and saturated fat.

    As a bonus, Crumble & Flake is closed in the evenings after I get off the 545, so I am able to avoid it entirely. Yay for unsafe streets making for healthier communities!

  7. These sorts of spaces are all over the place in Italy, and they’re absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think we’ll miss the parking as much as we think, and the benefits to the community will be far greater.

  8. Parking in this city is a problem. Capitol Hill is the worst in the city. I can’t count how often I have had to circle around, looking for a parking space for 20 minutes or more. I often give up and never end up at my desired destination. How much business is lost by Capitol Hill businesses because of this problem?

    It seems every where I go in Seattle, there are many ridiculous “no parking” areas. I look at some of these and they make no sense.

    This is just another dumb idea, and another ridiculous “no parking” area to add to the parking problem on Capitol Hill.

    • I want to echo the first part of your comment. I live in an adjacent neighborhood to Capitol Hill. For decades, the Hill was the closest business district and because of that most of my shopping was done on the hill. In the past several years, I don’t even go to Capitol Hill anymore to get what I need. Not because it’s not there, but because I too circle the block(s) desperately looking for parking and usually give up and leave. Enough of that experience and I just have stopped making the trip altogether. I too have wondered how much business has been lost from residents of Montlake, the Central District/Madrona/Leschi, and Madison Valley/Madison Beach. I guess our business doesn’t mean much to the current business owners on Capitol Hill. The people who can use alternate forms of transportation to get to Capitol Hill usually do. There are others that have cars, need those cars, and would like to use them to patronize businesses in Seattle neighborhoods. Shame on us car owners for our entitlement.

      • I truly understand there are those who bike and/or walk everywhere, and hence, cars and parking are irrelevant to them. I actually envy those who can get by without a car, but I am unable to join their ranks.

        And I can appreciate the sentiment and good intentions with the parklet idea. I am all for creating public common areas to enjoy our city. But the reality is that the majority of people drive cars, and need places to park those cars.

        It is also a reality to many – as mentioned by NT, that walking around at night and taking the bus are often not considered a safe alternative to driving ones car.

        It would be nice to hear any discussion regarding how to fix the parking problem, rather than the time and energy used for these parklets and the like.

      • i see plenty of surface lots on the hill with empty spaces. there are 4 buildings i know of on broadway, north of john, that have public parking in their garages and i’ve never seen any of them full.

        you say you need to drive? fine, but nothing says that you deserve to have free street parking on the block of your destination. if you have to drive, why can’t you use one of the MANY available pay lot options?

      • Parking business districts is not free most of the time. And of course private lots are much more expensive, so people naturally would like to find a place on the street.

      • I have to echo: Consider transit. Not only does it save you the stress of parking, it saves gas, is great for people-watching, and allows you to have more drinky at Montana without the consequences of drinking and driving.

  9. As most other people have pointed out, parking is a HUGE issue on the hill. They could have timed this a bit better, you know like AFTER the light rail station has opened. This city is so frustrating in that it wants to get rid of cars, but it doesn’t offer any viable options for mass transportation! Yeah, there is the bus, but they are even cutting back the routes on that. With muggings on the rise, I don’t feel safe walking around the neighborhood at night alone. And if I can’t get someplace by car and find reasonable parking, I just don’t go.

  10. Ah! Enjoying a Malaysian snack at the parklet in between people smoking outside Montana and bus and car exhaust on Olive. Couldn’t think of a better use myself.

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  13. It was my understanding that this parklet was to be for the residence of the neighborhood and not a beer garden for the Montana over flow crowd. I’ve been past the last 2 nights since it has been open and it has bee packed with patrons sitting and smoking drinking their beer and other adult beverages. I’m pretty sure the do not have a permit for these things.

    @jseattle who do I call to report this!

    • @Lucy’s Mom, the part of the structure that is physically in the street (in the former parking spot) is a public park – the Parklet. The part of the structure that is fenced off but technically on the sidewalk is a sidewalk cafe for Montana. Per health codes the bartenders/employees can bring drinks to patrons in the sidewalk cafe portion of the structure, but there are signs designating that they cannot take the drinks out of that area. So yes, Montana patrons will be using the structure, but drinking will only be allowed on the sidewalk cafe portion. The Parklet is open for eating, talking, hanging out with your dog, reading, people watching, or whatever else it is you’d do in a regular public park.

      • Great, create a bigger spot where more people can smoke LESS than 25 feet from entrances and windows that I get to walk through on my way home. Just another reason to avoid all of the businesses on that block.

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