What North Capitol Hill’s freeway lid will look like… in 2030

North Capitol Hill’s freeway lid will complement Montlake’s, but not until 2030

By Ryan Packer

With work well underway in Montlake adding a new freeway lid that will also sit under a newly reconstructed Montlake Boulevard, the Washington State Department of Transportation is still progressing forward with its plan to complete what it calls the “Rest of the West” projects. Earlier this year, WSDOT announced that the schedule for completion of the segment of 520 over Portage Bay and the accompanying freeway lid at East Roanoke Street would be delayed by a year, with the opening date pushed from 2029 to 2030.

(Image: CHS)

When North Capitol Hill’s freeway lid is complete at the end of this decade, it will completely remake the street grid around E Roanoke Street, providing bike and pedestrian connectivity that just doesn’t exist now and stitching the city back together a little. 10th Ave E and Delmar Drive E will be joined together by an open space lid almost as large as Roanoke Park to the north of it. Pathways on either side of the central green space will allow people walking or rolling to take shortcuts across the lid. Continue reading

Police investigate after North Capitol Hill bout of gunfire and road rage

“Police have closed the road at Harvard and Prospect. Neighbors saying there were two cars shooting at each other on this block. No injuries. Police investigating”  (Image: @whocanstandit via Twitter)

There were no injuries and no arrests in a Saturday afternoon bout of gunfire and road rage incidents on the usually quiet streets of North Capitol Hill west of Volunteer Park.

According to East Precinct radio updates, a series of road rage calls and hit and run collisions began on Belmont just after 2 PM and continued with gunfire reported near Prospect and Harvard and a hit and run and road rage incident at Broadway and Roy. Continue reading

A visit to the new Volunteer Park Cafe, carrying on the tradition of ‘a cozy corner spot’ on Capitol Hill

You might think, with Canlis alums and a Yakima winery owner as the new creative forces behind the neighborhood favorite, the new Volunteer Park Cafe would have three-star, four-course ambitions.

It’s a much softer affair.

“I’m just hanging out, doing my thing, trying to make a beautiful space for people,” Melissa Johnson tells CHS about the cafe that has reopened under new ownership and with an overhaul of the 1904-built cornershop house at 17th and Galer.

Baker Johnson and pastry chef Crystal Chiu have teamed up to create a new vision of the neighborhood cafe — “a fresh start,” Johnson says, “bountiful, and bright, and ever-changing.” Continue reading

After 16 months, you can attend Capitol Hill’s St. Mark’s Compline Service again

Kevin Johnson/Saint Mark’s Cathedral

For 16 months, the 65-year tradition of the Compline Service at Saint Mark’s has continued through the pandemic — but in an empty cathedral. Sunday, full life returns to the Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill as the weekly service reopens to the public:

During the pandemic, the safety of the congregation and the choir members has been a priority, with careful consideration given to ventilation of the space, protocols while in the cathedral, and isolation after possible exposure. There have been no known instances of COVID transmission inside Saint Mark’s Cathedral. All singers are fully vaccinated, and the choir remains masked at all times. Following current guidelines, masks are recommended for those attending the service at this time. A portion of the seats in the church are set apart as a “distanced section,” and those who choose to sit in that section are required to remain masked and distanced from others.

Continue reading

Overhauled Volunteer Park Cafe — and Pantry — reopens on Capitol Hill

(Image: CHS)

The spirit of Groucho’s lives on at 17th and Galer. The Volunteer Park Cafe is open again on Capitol Hill.

Melissa Johnson and Crystal Chiu are so busy in the overhauled kitchen and the cases are so full that they have barely had time to update the website or post operating hours. Those things will come.

UPDATE: “Now that the cat’s out of the bag, will we see you this weekend? We’ll be here with pastries, snacks and drinks galore (wine pours by the glass included 🍷) and AC,” the cafe’s latest update to Instagram reads.

For now, the Canlis veterans are learning the ropes of operating this new iteration of the neighborhood favorite. VPC is now the Volunteer Park Cafe and Pantry, a nod to aspirations to revive more of the cornershop spirit of one of the last spaces of its kind in a city that used to be a little more mixed in its “Neighborhood Residential” uses.

Restarting that history has been a chore. James DeSarno, principal at D3 Architects and co-owner of the Freehand Cellars winery, purchased the 1904-built, two-story market and apartment on this corner of northern Capitol Hill’s single family-dominated residential zone in a $1.4 million deal that was in the works for months after a previous plan to purchase the property fell through. DeSarno said his plan for VPC was to try to keep a good deal of the relationship with the neighborhood in place with cafe and coffee offerings but add a renewed focus on wine featuring his Yakima Valley winery’s creations.

For its start, the Volunteer Park Cafe is focused on daytime offerings and its pastry case along with a well-stocked selection of bottled libations. Continue reading

Pondering future growth and development, St. Mark’s receives major property gift

(Image: St. Mark’s)

The St. Nicholas building, north of the cathedral (Image: St. Mark’s)

By Jethro Swain

A major gift is helping an important Capitol Hill spiritual community shape the future of its 10th Ave E home.

This fall, Capitol Hill’s St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral was donated full ownership of the St. Nicholas school building by the Laura Ellen and Robert Muglia Family Foundation. The property is worth $8.4 million according to the latest county appraisal.

The St. Nicholas building, adjacent the church and purchased from the Cornish College of Arts in an LLC partnership by Saint Mark’s and the Muglia Foundation in 2003, is primarily used by two independent schools, the Bright Water Waldorf School and Gage Academy of Arts, but is also a hub for a variety of nonprofits in the community. Continue reading

Police: Medical emergency led to crash that killed man in street on 10th Ave E

The King County Medical Examiner has identified the man killed after being hit by a driver along 10th Ave E last week.

Meanwhile, the early investigation of the deadly Wednesday morning incident includes details that a medical emergency is believed to have led to the 9:15 AM crash. Continue reading

One struck and killed, driver to hospital in 10th Ave E crash

The 10th Ave E crash scene (Image: CHS)

A person was struck by a driver and killed Wednesday morning along 10th Ave E near the E Newton intersection.

Seattle Fire medic crews and Seattle Police rushed to the scene around 9:15 AM and found a person struck and pinned in the northbound bike lane beneath the red sedan that slammed into a utility pole during the crash.

Crews began life saving measures on the person who was hit and the driver. The pedestrian died at the scene. The driver was transported to the hospital. Continue reading

Closure after heavy rains wash away portion of Interlaken Park trail

(Image: Seattle Parks)

Monday’s heavy rains have claimed a structural victim on the slopes of Interlaken Park north of Capitol Hill.

Seattle Parks reports that a section of trail in the park has washed away near Boyer Ave E and E Howe above Montlake.

“That part of the trail has been closed and crews are assessing next steps for repair,” the department said Tuesday.

CHS hasn’t made it down to check out the damage yet but the collapse comes in the area where a new $205,000 Interlaken staircase and bike runnel was installed in 2018.

“The steep slopes and geotechnical recommendations required a robust concrete structure with shoring walls and steel pilings to construct the new stair and ramp connection between Interlaken Blvd and Boyer Ave E at E Howe Street,” Seattle Parks announced about the upgrade at the time. “Also included are community requested elements – a bicycle runnel, guard rails and a switchback that connects to the designated crosswalk.” Continue reading

Remembering Daniel Streissguth and looking back on the growth of Capitol Hill’s family-run hillside gardens

Daniel and Ben worked together to build the Woodland Path in Streissguth Gardens in 1974. (Image: Streissguth Gardens)

By Lily Hansen, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

On a steep hillside just off Broadway sits just over an acre of cultivated woodlands. Home to Seattle’s third-longest stairway, the Blaine Street Steps, with views overlooking Lake Union and the Olympic Mountains, the idyllic gardens are the 48-year product of one dedicated family: the Streissguths.

Its patriarch, Daniel Streissguth, created the garden in 1962 after purchasing a plot of land and constructed a four-story house just north of the staircase. In 1965, Ann Roth Pytkowicz moved into the house next door and began cultivating her own hillside garden.

Bonding over their shared appreciation for gardening, Daniel and Ann fell in love. They married in 1968, and welcomed a son, Ben Streissguth, in 1970. Together, the family of three built, expanded, and maintained the Capitol Hill oasis known as Streissguth Gardens.

On November 21, Daniel died peacefully at his home of natural causes. He was 96.

In honor of his father’s memory, Ben is remembering Daniel for the loving husband, skilled architect, avid gardener, and community socialite he was. With the help of his fiancee and Streissguth Gardens assistant director Jade Takashima, the two are working to ensure that the green space is maintained for generations to come.

In 1972, Daniel and Ann purchased two hillside lots across the Blaine stairs, looking to beautify the land and expand their garden. Although Ben was only two at the time, he has vivid memories of working with his parents in the newly acquired land.

“Some of my earliest memories are of playing in what’s now called the public garden,” he said. “And realizing, even back then, that the soil that we were working with was really horrible. I don’t know how my parents managed to make [gardening] fun for me, but they did. And I’m so grateful to them for that.” Continue reading