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Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill moves forward — Plus, Capitol Hill Ecodistrict bike tour


(Image: Courtney Hathaway, GGLO)

Municipalities may soon have the option to lower speed limits to 20 mph on non-arterial streets. Plus, Capitol Hill bikers will want to gear up for a community tour ride to learn more about the opportunities and challenges in creating a Capitol Hill Ecodistrict.

The speed limits measure, part of the Neighborhood Safe Streets Bill (SHB 1045), passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee last week, and now has until mid-April to get a full Senate vote before heading to the Governor for a signature, according to Seattle Bike Blog.

This is the point where the bill languished one year ago, but it now has much more time to get a full vote. Obviously, it’s never wise to let up until the job is done, but things are looking much better than one year ago.


Most attention is moving to transportation funding, especially for transit as King County Metro faces massive cuts in service without legislative action. Transportation for Washington and many other groups are working hard to get the legislature to allow local transit funding options to avoid what could be a completely unacceptable 17 percent cut in service.

Read more about the bill on Seattle Bike Blog.

Meanwhile, sign up now to learn about the Capitol Hill Ecodistrict effort to create a sustainable neighborhood by joining a bike tour April 4.

CHS has reported on Capitol Hill Housing’s green initiative here:

An “EcoDistrict” refers to a neighborhood committed to sustainability through reinvigorated infrastructure and a focus on various environmental areas like energy, water and transportation. The result could be a zone around Capitol Hill’s light rail station created with incentives for developers to build green, sustainable buildings — similar in ways to the Pike/Pine Conservation District’s incentives for encouraging preservation.

The bike tour beings at Sam’s Tavern at 4 PM and finishes at 5 PM with happy hour. Registration for the bike tour is free here. Here’s more about the event:

Cascadia Green Building Council is partnering with Cascade Bicycle Club and Capitol Hill Housing, celebrating our third ramp-up event to Living Future ’13 with a bike tour of the district. Leaders from the Capitol Hill community will highlight key features designed to address healthy living, walking and biking as part of an integrated environmental performance approach.


The bike tour will finish at a happy hour open to all. Dr. Howard Frumkin, dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health, will join the happy hour to lead a discussion about the relationships between design and health.

Seattle awarding contracts for community climate projects

Park(ing) day, originally uploaded by JeanineAnderson.

Have an idea on how to reduce household climate impacts in Seattle?

The city is looking to award contracts to community groups and neighborhood organizations that can help the city become a national and international leader in sustainability.

Applications are now being accepted for projects with a budget of $10,000 or less in four categories, including:Picture 8

Successful proposals will meet the following criteria:

  • Project fosters climate‐friendly purchasing, transportation or home energy choices
  • Project identifies a clear target audience, objective, and outcomes
  • Project decreases greenhouse gas emissions for an individual or a household
  • Project incorporates a means to measure success

Four to six contracts will be awarded. To get an edge on the competition, the city suggests the project engages a historically under-represented population. The project deadline is April 22.

Learn more about the project during an information session Tuesday at City Hall:

Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave

Boards & Commissions Room, L280 (in the basement)

Victrola’s single-origin, Capitol Hill-grown coffee beans

(Image: Victrola)

(Image: Victrola)

When a true, coffee-loving customer gifted Victrola Coffee Roasters with a 5-foot coffee plant a couple years ago, they weren’t quite sure what would come of it.

“We never really thought about growing our own coffee,” says Victrola Roastery administrator Sarah Jane Hoppe. “We’ve never heard about anyone growing coffee in Seattle or at sea level in general. But we replanted it, found a home for it in our cupping room and watched it grow.”

Victrola head roaster Perry Hook has gone to mingle with farmers at coffee plantations in Colombia and Guatemala and is familiar with the harvesting process, Hoppe said, so they decided to make the coffee plant a fun experiment.

“All of the sudden, it started producing flowers, and then cherries, and it was actually looking like the coffee plants you see in pictures,” she says. Continue reading

Capitol Hill clubs holding Capitol dance-in to fight tax

DanceInThe battle against the tax on dancing continues, with a dance-in on the Capitol Hill Steps in Olympia on April 1.

The dance-in is being organized by Century Ballroom, which is still hoping to raise a remaining $25,000 toward its $90,000 dance tax bill, to support SB 5613 – the bill that will repeal the Opportunity to Dance Tax.

“Yes it’s April Fools Day, but this is not an April fools joke,” the Century Ballroom announcement reads.  “We want all styles of dance represented! All kinds of music will be played, including music generally heard in “concert” venues, so that we can show that those who want to dance can dance to anything, anytime, anywhere.”

The dance party starts at 11:30 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m.and will go on rain-or-shine.

Babeland celebrates 20 years of sexuality and satisfaction on E Pike

Babeland Seattle’s staff, originally uploaded by jseattle.

In 1993, Babeland was just a new concept attempting to hit the sweet spot in Capitol Hill bedrooms. Twenty years later, their vibes have become all the buzz.

“Capitol Hill in 1993 was the hub of emerging Seattle culture,” says Rachel Venning, Babeland’s co-founder. “The neighborhood was packed with gay people, musicians artists, and creative people of all stripes. It was a great place to start a business that was based on a new concept: sex toys for women.”

While Pike/Pine has developed from the under-the-radar neighborhood Babeland moved into to the primetime corridor it is now, the sex toy store has maintained its steady growth while focusing on its values, Venning says.

“The creativity and revolutionary fire that led to us first opening Babeland still burns strong in the Seattle staff,” Venning says. “They are fierce advocates for sexual liberation and self expression.”

Babeland now operates three stores in New York – in SOHO, the Lower East Side and Brooklyn – but the original Capitol Hill store remains the only Seattle location. The company also does a growing percentage of its business online.

“It feels right to be in Capitol Hill,” Venning says. “Being in the gay neighborhood is big for us, because that’s a key part of our DNA as a business. Although the majority of our customers aren’t gay, we are a touchstone for the queer community in Seattle.”

No matter customers’ sexual preference, Babeland products are getting their fair share of use in Seattle bedrooms — and elsewhere. “Our bestsellers are the We-Vibe 3, the Jimmyjane Form 2, and the Minna Ola vibe,” she says. “We also sell great quantities of BabeLube, Seattle likes to keep it slick!”

The community is invited to celebrate the start of Babeland’s anniversary year with a party Thursday, complete with refreshments, trivia and a sex toy prize package worth $1,600.

20th Anniversary Kickoff Party
Thursday, March 21, 2013
7:00 PM, Free

Time flies when you’re having great sex. To celebrate our 20th Anniversary we want you to join us for an evening of revelry, festive refreshments, and of course: sex toys! Our lovable mascot, the Babeland Vulva, will share our top twenty tips for great sex and challenge you with sexy trivia and prizes. One lucky guest will win $250 worth of sex toys from our 20th Anniversary collection and everyone can enter to win the whole set valued at $1,600. So what are you waiting for? Raise a glass and help us toast to another twenty years of sexy shopping.

A larger, even sexier 20th birthday bash is planned for after summer around the time of year the first store opened in 1993 in the space now occupied by Sal’s Barbershop.

As for the next 20 years, Venning says Babeland plans to continue its slow growth as a shop dedicated to selling quality products while being an informative, encouraging place for those wanting to explore their sexuality.

How you can spring clean Capitol Hill

Splash of Color, originally uploaded by sea turtle.

Gather your pals and help spruce up Capitol Hill during the city’s 27th annual Spring Clean:

Spring Clean activities include painting out graffiti, picking up litter and illegally dumped materials, stenciling storm drains, cleaning school yards, removing invasive plants in planting strips and traffic circles, and planting trees.

springcleanThe city will support project volunteers from April through May with free bags, gloves, safety vests and waste disposal.

To sign up for a project call (206) 233-7187 or register online.

You can let us know in comments where you’re going to start!

City Council passes law to regulate use of Seattle spy cams

Police and other departments wanting to use surveillance cameras and drones in the future must first get the Seattle City Council’s approval.


The council voted unanimously Monday to require approval and review of equipment and operation protocol, after debates arose from numerous spy cam incidents, including the 2010 use of surveillance cameras in Cal Anderson Park, Seattle Police Department drones and recent installation of 30 waterfront cameras.

The council hopes the prior approval required by Council Bill 117730 will prevent those debates on protocol and privacy from happening in the future.

“With this inclusive legislation, the Council is proactively setting up a framework to ensure the public is involved regarding the use of surveillance equipment,” said Council member Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology committee and a candidate for mayor.  “The City establishes public trust by earning it through openness and transparency in its decision making.”

The department must also propose operational protocols that address how the equipment will be used and protocols that address logistics around data retention, storage, and access.  If the Council approves a department’s request to obtain the surveillance equipment, the department cannot use the equipment until Council adopts operational protocols by ordinance.

Departments that currently have surveillance equipment in place must also propose operational and data management protocols for Council review and approval no later than 30 days after the effective date of Council Bill 117730.

Police, however, would still be able to bypass the new law to use surveillance technology under a search warrant. Continue reading

Blotter | St. Paddy’s DUI crash, woman beaten for trying to take pictures of Pike/Pine assault

carsmashGot a tip? Let us know at chs@capitolhillseattle.com.

  • St. Paddy’s DUI at 14th/Howell: A CHS tipster sent this image from St. Patrick’s morning at 14th and Howell. Police were investigating the suspected DUI crash reported just after 4:30 AM that left a row of parked cars banged up. We’ll see what we can find out about any arrests related to the crash. Continue reading

Spring arriving on Capitol Hill with wind, rain, mountain snow

We’re not suggesting you break out your trashcan lids and get ready to sled down Denny, but just as spring is scheduled to make an appearance, a storm is rolling in.

Picture 2According to the National Weather Service, the first day of spring on Wednesday will be accompanied by rain, wind and snow in the mountains:

Rain and locally windy conditions will accompany a cold front passing through western Washington starting Tuesday nigh and continuing into Thursday.


A WINTER STORM WATCH is in effect for the Olympics and Cascades from Tuesday night though late Wednesday night.


Low pressure will impact western Washington Tuesday night bringing breezy to locally windy conditions. As the associated front passes through, widespread rain, locally heavy at times, will accompany the increased winds in the lowlands. In the Olympics and Cascades, snow levels will fall to as low as 500-1000 feet by Wednesday night, with storm total snowfalls of 12″-18″ possible in the Olympics and 2 to 3 feet possible western slops of the Central and Northern Cascades between Tuesday night and Thursday morning.

Temperatures are expected to be in the mid 40s to low 50s, according to NWS, with wind gusts as high as 47 mph on Wednesday and 1 to 2 inches of rain.

Capitol Hill streets busy with car sharing services

Capitol Hill residents can be bold in their pedestrian activities and range far knowing there’s a fleet of vehicles ready to give them a ride back to the neighborhood thanks to app-based pick-up services like Uber, rental services of Car2Go and ZipCar, and two new carsharing services called SideCar and Lyft.

“Ride sharing services like SideCar can make cities like ours less congested and less polluted,” says Lee Colleton who occasionally drives for SideCar around Capitol Hill.

Lyft cars are adorned with giant pink mustaches.

Lyft cars are adorned with giant pink mustaches.

Unlike taxi and rental services, car sharing services work by allowing drivers to use their own vehicles and work on their own time. Passengers are not required to pay the driver, which allows the companies to avoid commercial licenses required by taxicabs services.

“We make a donation recommendation based on the length of the trip, but they’re not required to pay anything,” says Amit Patel, the marketing manager for Lyft. “Fortunately, most of our passengers do.” Continue reading