New ‘seated’ option Wheels join Seattle’s scooter share fleet

A “a more accessible” scooter with a ride the company behind it says is smoother and more “suited to Seattle’s hills and weather” has joined the city’s fleet of private company-share transportation options.

Wheels has released its seated rental scooters onto the streets of Seattle Monday:

Wheels are designed far differently from traditional stand-up scooters. A seated riding position and low center of gravity provide a safer and more stable ride — one that’s more accessible for a much broader demographic, as evidenced by the fact that half of Wheels‘ riders are women and one-third are over the age of 35. Large 14-inch tires create a smooth ride across bumps, cracks, and uneven surfaces. And, unlike other offerings, Wheels comes with its own integrated helmet system! Initially, 20% of Wheels scooters in Seattle will have integrated helmets, but this will soon be scaled up to cover the whole fleet.

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With sunny and dry days ahead for repainting of Capitol Hill’s Black Lives Matter mural, rain is not a risk — but the return of smoke season is — UPDATE

E Pine was stripped of its BLM mural last week as part of a project to recreate a more durable version (Image: Alex Garland)

The project to remake Capitol Hill’s Black Lives Matter mural as a permanent feature of E Pine should move forward this week with a forecast for dry weather making the pavement a suitable canvas for the effort.

A Seattle Department of Transportation representative tells CHS that artists are planned to be on the street starting Wednesday to begin the process of repainting the 16 10-foot-tall letters. SDOT is planning a four-day window for the project but they’re expecting the work might wrap up early. E Pine will be closed to traffic during the painting and sealing work. Continue reading

For more space to walk, run, and roll during COVID-19 restrictions, Seattle now issuing ‘Stay Healthy Block’ permits

Capitol Hill will not be getting a “Stay Healthy” street designed to give people more space to walk, run, roll, and spread out during the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions but your neighbors might want to join you in creating a Stay Healthy Block.

The city has announced it is making the permitting process free for non-arterial, residential street closures to encourage more open space in the city during the pandemic:

If your organization wants to apply for a permit, keep these things in mind:

  • You can go to our Stay Healthy Blocks website to apply now.
  • You’ll be responsible for notifying neighbors, closing the street with barricades and printable signs we developed, and monitoring for safety.
  • You’ll also be responsible for ensuring compliance with public health guidelines.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways is also giving the effort a boost by offering a limited number of free signs and volunteer support to organizations looking to create their own Stay Healthy Block.

The new initiative builds on the Stay Healthy Streets effort that has created routes closed to “through motor vehicle traffic to provide more space for distancing, exercise, and recreation. Officials also hope the routes can help connect people to services and businesses without the need for cars or public transit. The streets remain open to “local traffic” and deliveries and the rules are in effect 24×7.

In the Central District, the route includes 25th S starting near Judkins Park north to E Columbia, E Columbia between 12th and 29th, and a finger on 22nd Ave stretching north to E Howell.

In May, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the routes will be a new permanent part of the city’s infrastructure. The Stay Healthy Blocks, meanwhile, are only temporary.

Learn more at the Stay Healthy Blocks website.

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Scooter-share finally rolls onto Seattle streets

The first provider of pay by the minute electric scooters has launched in Seattle with the green and white scooters already part of the Capitol Hill and Central District landscape.

Lime rolled out the first in its fleet Wednesday as part of Seattle’s newly launched scooter-share pilot program. Continue reading

Central District’s ‘Stay Healthy’ street gets Hopscotch CD addition

Hopscotch CD returns

By Lena Mercer

Wear a mask and play a game. The Central Area Neighborhood District Council is bringing hopscotch back to the Central District this weekend, leveraging a neighborhood street already quieted as a safe space for neighbors to walk and get some exercise during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. For the Labor Day weekend, stretches of Central District sidewalk will be decorated with a smaller but still impressive Hopscotch CD 2020 course.

The all volunteer-backed CAND is hoping add a little joy into the world in these pandemic times. CAND president John Stewart is optimistic. “The pandemic has been hard on everyone, young and old alike, for all kinds of different reasons,” Stewart said. “We can’t fix that, but we can give folks a place to go have some fun with absolutely no strings attached.”

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Dining in the street may be the future of Capitol Hill food and drink — at least for the rest of Seattle summer

Let’s trade parking for places to sit and enjoy some pizza (Image: Harry’s Bar)

As King County nears the two month mark of the so-called “Phase 2” of reopening and restrictions on indoor dining have tightened  — with seating limited to members of the same household and scaled back bar service — dining al fresco seems to be the best way to enjoy your favorite reopening restaurants. Unfortunately, many Capitol Hill and Central District restaurants and cafes don’t have outdoor space. To help, the city has begun a free, “streamlined” process of offering six-month outdoor café and street closure permits.

UPDATE: So far 27 Capitol Hill restaurants have applied for temporary outdoor café permits compared to just 8 Central District businesses, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation, and nine Capitol Hill businesses — and none in the Central District — have shown interest in street closure permits.

“[W]e are preparing to do targeted outreach to small businesses on specific streets in high priority areas to ensure this information is available and accessible,” SDOT’s Brian Hardison said. “To avoid perpetuating existing inequities in the neighborhood, we’re working to ensure that we meet the needs of both businesses and residents.”

Some smaller, fast-moving examples can be found along 15th Ave E. Olympia Pizza III and adjoined Harry’s Bar are some of the first Capitol Hill spots to start outdoor curbside dining.

Owner Harry Nicoloudakis said building the sturdily fenced-in island — also known as a “streatery” — was an easy decision. Continue reading

Set to become permanent part of neighborhood, here’s how people are using the Central District’s Stay Healthy Streets

(Image: City of Seattle)

What does a lot of civic energy and a few signs do for creating safe neighborhood streets? As Mayor Jenny Durkan has announced the routes will be a new permanent part of the city’s infrastructure, early numbers for the Central District’s stretch of “Stay Healthy Streets” show some promising results for walking, running, and biking.

Seattle Bike Blog reports that, just to be clear, the new Stay Health Streets are not “closed” — they’re repurposed:

Traffic volumes are down 91% on the Central District SHS compared to 2017 levels after the neighborhood greenway was installed. That 91% decrease far outpaces the the 57% decrease in overall car traffic since the outbreak began, a sign that the signs are working.

Durkan announced last week that “at least 20 miles of Stay Healthy Streets” will become permanent. In addition, 3 more miles of Stay Healthy Streets were added in Rainier Valley and 1/3 mile of Beach Drive SW in Alki. Continue reading

Cooped up? Brainstorm some 2020 Capitol Hill and Central District street+parks improvements

The Olive Way offramp was identified for improvements in 2017 — “Construction anticipated in 2020 pending WSDOT coordination,” reads the latest update on the project from SDOT

While you are cooped up and hunkered down, do some Capitol Hill and District 3 streets and parks brainstorming.

Seattle’s annual “Your Voice, Your Choice” citizen-budgeting process is in the “idea collection” phase for 2020. The deadline, the Seattle Department of Transportation says, is Wednesday, March 18th — but we’re checking in to see about any possible COVID-19 extension.

Each project must:
+ Benefit the public
+ Cost $150,000 or less
+ Be a physical project that is located within Seattle’s parks or streets.
Idea Collection is open to anyone age 11 and up (13 and up to participate online) who lives, works, goes to school, worships, receives services, volunteers, or participates in activities within the City of Seattle.

CHS wrote about the grassroots process of what comes next as neighbors meet with city officials to hash out the proposals and come up with lists of workable projects. Continue reading

With love for raised crosswalk, speed humps, curb ramps, curb bulbs, and protected bike lanes, Melrose next for Capitol Hill street overhauls

Empowered by a few million in funding, enthusiastic biking and pedestrian advocates, years of community meetings, piles of survey data, and a welcoming business community, the city’s Department of Transportation is set to remake Melrose Ave as a microcosm of Seattle street design circa 2020.

That means a raised crosswalk, speed humps, curb ramps, curb bulbs, and protected bike lanes in sections, repairing damaged pavement and sidewalks, and… back-in angle parking. Continue reading

How Capitol Hill’s tile and terra cotta mystery ruins ended up at Harvard and Roy

The projects are commonplace now. One currently underway is creating a route of accessible curb ramps, raised crosswalks, pavement repairs, and a new Rapid Flashing Beacon on the streets between Lowell Elementary and Meany Middle School across Capitol Hill. But an early effort in the mid ’90s to make a Capitol Hill corner safer also created a mystery at Harvard and Roy.

How did ancient downtown Seattle ruins of terra cotta and tile end up at a corner in the middle of Capitol Hill?

A CHS story way back in 2009 dug up the answers. You can thank a City of Seattle safety program called Making Streets that Work, a $64,000 grant, the Cirque Apartments for maintaining the area over the years, and the work of some community members to change the neighborhood.

CHS commenter Glenn explained the project:

At the time I was a student at the U.W. Urban Planning school and lived just down from the corner (still do). The corners were broadly cut at the time, with huge curb radiuses, mirroring the Cirque. (If you want an idea how wide, they bordered the sidewalk that goes by the building). As a result, for pedestrians crossing Harvard while walking east on Roy meant this meant walking across a lot of road with cars making fast right turns on to Harvard. So I thought it would be a good idea to bring the curb out to closer to a 90 degree angle, create some public space and make things safer for pedestrians.

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