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Neighbours alley lined up for ‘pedestrian-friendly, safer’ design

The alley between Broadway and Harvard Ave — aka, the Neighbours Alley (Image: CHS)

Part of the 2018 allocation of some $1.2 million in City Hall funding for neighborhood projects across Seattle will go to get the ball rolling on a project to make a surprising part of Capitol Hill “a more pedestrian-friendly, safer environment.”

In spring of 2010, CHS mused about an underutilized Capitol Hill asset — the neighborhood’s alleys:

Most of Seattle’s alleys are currently dark and spooky streets, left mainly to trash and rats. But in other places, alleys come to life and provide a uniquely pedestrian experience for locals and visitors alike.

Melbourne’s Laneways are a good example. Over the years some of these tiny streets have developed into tourist destinations of their own, with all kinds of creative store fronts, restaurants, and art pieces withdrawn from the traffic and congestion of the arterials.

A project being carried forward by Capitol Hill Housing which owns and operates the Broadway Crossing building alongside it could set the groundwork for a similar approach in the alley running through the block between Pine and Pike, midway between Broadway and Union.

The so-called “Neighbours alley” is currently used by patrons lining up on club nights to enter the dance venue and by service vehicles dealing with garbage and recycling.

We’ve asked for clarification on how much the alleyway project will be granted and will update when we hear back. UPDATE: A grant will cover $25,000 to design the project for Capitol Hill Housing’s community efforts including:

  • Expanding attendance at the annual Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day and improving connections with the local business community;
  • Working with the Office of Planning and Community Development to complete long-overdue updates to the Capitol Hill neighborhood design guidelines;
  • Working with local businesses, property owners and other community groups to ensure zoning changes under MHA allow similar density bonuses for office space as they do retail space, to support more daytime local retail activity;
  • Partnering with businesses, property owners and other community groups to ensure the Pike Pine conservation overlay remains effective after passage of MHA upzones.

We don’t yet have a dollar total for the alley design project. A CHH representative says the additional money for the alley project design will go toward “funding to work with the community and local businesses to develop a new design and activation strategy for the Egyptian/Neighbours alley.”

“Seattle’s small businesses are part of who we are as a City: innovative, dynamic, and unique. Supporting our neighborhood small businesses is key to making our City more vibrant, innovative, and affordable,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in the announcement of this year’s neighborhood funding for marketing, promotional, and safety projects. “If Seattle is going to continue to be the City that invents the future, we must do all we can to support our small businesses.”

Earlier this month, Durkan announced the initial roster for her newly formed Seattle Small Business Advisory Council including a handful of familiar Capitol Hill business names.

We don’t have much additional information on the alleyway initiative but we’re told that CHH is heading it and the funding announced Monday will go to powering the design phase of the project.

Additionally, the city’s Only in Seattle program earmarks $87,000 in funding in a joint proposal including the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Broadway Business Improvement Area to help with the BIA expansion efforts and another $104,000 in grants for the Central Area. You can see the full roster of the $1.2 million allocation here.

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