With hopes for federal support, Seattle City Council preparing I-5 lid resolution

A rendering from the 2019 study

The Seattle City Council is preparing a resolution calling for the lidding of I-5 through the city, reviving legislative efforts to spark what could be massively expensive — and possibly massively lucrative — developments and tying together neighborhoods in the city’s core.

The council’s Public Assets and Homelessness Committee heard a presentation on the resolution proposal Wednesday that is all but ready for approval. Officials want to finalize the planned resolution with the Washington State Department of Transportation before taking action at the committee and then the full council level.

Committee chair Andrew Lewis said a vote on the resolution could come later this month. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s ‘last bike shop,’ Velo lived through the evolution of Seattle commuter culture

(Image: Velo Bike Shop)

By Mary Murphy, UW News Lab/Special to CHS 

Velo Bike Shop has closed after serving the Seattle bike community for 55 years. Ten years ago, it left Capitol Hill. The shop’s lease was up, and after serving the bike community for decades, owner Lloyd Tamura is retiring.

“Seattle had this huge bicycle renaissance in the ‘70s in the ‘80s, and Velo became a real institution on Capitol Hill,” Tom Fucoloro, founder of the Seattle Bike Blog, told CHS about the bittersweet milestone. “They will forever have a very solid place in bike history.”

Founded in 1968, Velo started its journey at an abandoned gas station in Madison Park, renting bikes for people to ride around the University of Washington, Lake Washington Boulevard, and the Arboretum.

The store became so popular that after some time, Velo was able to open up multiple locations in Capitol Hill, the University District, downtown, West Seattle, and later South Lake Union.

Happy Bike Everywhere Day: Friday May 19th is Bike Everywhere Day with events and stations lined up to greet riders across the city. Seattle Bike Blog has the 2023 BED map here.

In the ’90s, Lloyd took over the family store, and Velo Bikes consolidated into one location: its well-known storefront in Capitol Hill at 11th and Pine where it was open for 27 years.

Velo later made the move to the South Lake Union neighborhood in 2013, for reasons concerning their building’s lease and the growing property rental rates in Capitol Hill.

During the time of Velo’s move to South Lake Union in 2013, Seattle created a mass increase of biking infrastructure downtown. At the same time, companies like Amazon, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, and Google were booming in the South Lake Union neighborhood.

Velo Bike’s journey tells a broader story about the evolution of Capitol Hill and Seattle’s ever-changing biking culture. Continue reading

21+ things CHS heard at Capitol Hill Housing’s annual community forum

Capitol Hill Housing served up a buffet of neighborhood discussion during its 9th annual community forum Thursday night. Five Capitol Hill speakers touched on a range of forward-looking topics, ranging from lidding I-5 to expanding the Broadway Business Improvement Area to retaining arts spaces in the neighborhood.

This year’s theme was Gearshift, “all about how we respond to the rapid changes facing Capitol Hill.” The presentations and follow up discussions could have been pulled straight from the headlines of CHS:

Expanding the Broadway BIA — Sierra Hansen of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce
Lidding I-5 to create developable land and open space — Scott Bonjukian of Lid I-5
Creating a Capitol Hill parking benefits district — Alex Brennan from Capitol Hill EcoDistrict
Building leadership and power for renters on Capitol Hill — Zachary Pullin of the Capitol Hill Community Council
Incentivizing developers to build or maintain arts space — Tonya Lockyer of Velocity Dance Center

Participants, who gathered for the event at The Summit on E Pike, took a dive into each topic and city leaders presented the results.

During the group discussion about how to build renter power, City Council District 3 rep Kshama Sawant said many people echoed Zachary Pullin’s concerns that renters are given far too little consideration in the city’s development planning.

“Our democracy should not be dependent on property ownership” said Pullin during his presentation.

There was considerable support for a parking benefits district — wherein a portion of metered parking fees are spent within the neighborhood — as long as it did not result in cuts to underserved neighborhoods. Participants proposed extending paid parking hours past 8 PM on Capitol Hill and using those extra funds for neighborhood projects. Continue reading