Affordable housing and proximity to transit: Capitol Hill EcoDistrict wants to address Capitol Hill’s — and Seattle’s — north/south divide

 

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A recent REVIVAL market at Capitol Hill Station (Image: Capitol Hill EcoDistrict)

A new rain mural hidden at Broadway and Howell (Image: Capitol Hill EcoDistrict)

Capitol Hill no longer has a community council and its chamber of commerce is dead and gone. But the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict is moving forward to represent the neighborhood as Seattle makes new plans for growth.

Last week at a community forum held outside in the plaza part of the mixed-use housing and retail development above Capitol Hill Station, the organization announced a $300,000 grant from Wells Fargo to further power its work to champion development to bring some of the vital elements of life on Capitol Hill including robust access to public transit to more parts of the city while bringing more projects creating affordable housing to more parts of Seattle including densely populated areas like the Hill and the Central District.

“While we differ in our identities and we come from various walks of life, we want to suggest that feelings of safety and belonging can come from activation and accessibility, not necessarily surveillance,” Capitol Hill restaurant owner and EcoDistrict executive director Donna Moodie said at the Thursday evening forum. “With the climate crisis on our heels, what a better way to empower community than with affordable housing and proximity to transit. Our transit systems and especially housing affordability are critical to the success of public life in Capitol Hill.” Continue reading

Construction to shift lanes brings weekend closure of 520, permanent end for highway’s Arboretum onramp

(Image: WSDOT)

The overhauled western segment of the 520 bridge and the new Montlake Lid are slated to be completed in 2024 (Image: WSDOT)

The walking, running, and rolling trail along it will remain open but 520 across Lake Washington — “the world’s longest floating bridge” — will be closed in both directions this weekend as the project to replace the last western segment of the route and create a new Montlake lid continues.

The closure also marks a smaller but important milestone for the neighborhood’s streets as the longtime onramp to the highway from Lake Washington Blvd is now closed — forever. Continue reading

Seattle shaping plan to permanently share its bus stops with corporate shuttles at $5K a pop

(Image: City of Seattle)

Seattle is shaping a plan to permanently share its public transit stops with the fleet of corporate shuttles that serve companies around the city and the Eastside.

The Seattle City Council’s transportation committee Tuesday will hear an update on efforts that will make a “Shuttle Zones” pilot program in place since 2017 a permanent part of the city’s transit strategy while establishing a new fee structure and application process. The city would also collect more data from employers about ridership and more. Continue reading

Off the Hill: Seattle Council Public Assets and Homelessness Committee hears plan on a new ‘vision’ for challenged 3rd Ave

The DSA writes: “Third Avenue should be a welcoming retail experience with buildings that foster public life.”

The issues are far from new but there is something not quite right with Seattle’s 3rd Ave. Now the city is considering a plan to address “the pedestrian environment” along the street that has been reconfigured over the years as a transit corridor while concerns about street disorder and crime have grown.

The Seattle City Council’s Public Assets and Homelessness Committee received a briefing Wednesday afternoon on the plan from the business-focused Downtown Seattle Association.

“Very few of us choose to spend any free time on Third Avenue, though,” the DSA’s task force writes about the situation. “The sheer number of vehicles, weaving traffic and bleak pedestrian environment discourage recreational activity.” Continue reading

‘REDUCED’ — Trips cut in every route but one in Metro’s service update due to ‘workforce shortages’

An image from a recent Metro hiring promotion

An ongoing shortage of bus operators and maintenance staff will mean reduced bus service this fall on Capitol Hill and across the city.

Meanwhile, like nearly all corners of the economy, the public transit industry is looking at solutions to bring workers back into the fold and keep them that could take years to play out.

King County Metro’s announced fall 2022 service changes include reductions in the number of runs on nearly 60 routes while only one — Route 303 connecting Northwest Seattle to a circuit through First Hill — will see an increase in the number of added trips.

Metro operates around 160 routes, meaning around 60% won’t be reduced.

They typical cuts include around two to four daily weekday trips “deleted to address workforce shortages.” Continue reading

City Council holds Seattle Department of Transportation director confirmation hearing — See nominee’s written responses

Interim SDOT director Kristen Simpson and Spotts riding the SLUT (Image: @Spottnik)

The Seattle City Council’s transportation committee Tuesday morning will hold a confirmation hearing for Greg Spotts, the mayor’s pick to lead the Seattle Department of Transportation.

You can view Spotts’s responses to written questions from the committee below. “I will bring to Seattle a wide variety of experiences from my fourteen years of public service in Los Angeles,” he writes. “My focus as an executive at StreetsLA has been to help Los Angeles become more walkable, bikeable, transit-friendly, safer, greener and climate resilient.”

In the document, Spotts included his first-year priorities for the Seattle role:

  • Conduct an extensive listening tour to walk, bike, roll and ride transit with staff and constituents, inviting stakeholders to show me what’s working well and what needs improvement. This outreach will also extend to goods movement and the Port.
  • Conduct a rigorous review of the Vision Zero program to identify which interventions in which places are most likely to save lives. This review requires both extensive quantitative analysis and deep engagement with the communities who are most at risk. Continue reading

On streetcars, light rail trains, and buses, kids now ride free in Seattle

Kids ride free in Seattle. And in Bellevue, Kirkland, and Lynnwood, too.

September 1st has brought a statewide sweep of free public transit to Washington under Olympia’s latest transportation budget maneuverings that set aside around $1.5 billion for “local transit agencies on the condition they make trains, buses and ferries free for youth.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill has a new Pride-ful bus stop on 15th Ave E — UPDATE

(Image: SDOT)

There is a new transit friendly feature on 15th Ave E that has added a year-round celebration of Pride to the neighborhood.

As Pride weekend arrived, crews were putting the finishing touches on an enhanced bus stop serving the northbound Route 10 on the street. Moved about 100 feet north, the new stop includes a bus bulb designed to “expand and separate the passenger waiting area from the sidewalk.”

“This provides more room for people moving through the area, and the raised bulb makes boarding the bus a bit easier,” Stephen Cuplin, a planning intern for the Seattle Department of Transportation tells CHS. Continue reading

Sound Transit’s new plan maintains 10-minute frequencies at Capitol Hill Station during summer maintenance projects

Link light rail to Lynnwood, Shoreline and Mountlake Terrace is also slated to open in 2024 (Image: Sound Transit)

Sound Transit has backed off plans to drop service frequencies across its light rail system as it undertakes a roster of summer maintenance projects to prepare for upcoming expansions.

The decision means light rail trains are planned to maintain 10-minute frequencies serving stations north of the stadiums including Capitol Hill.

But the new plan means 20-minute train frequencies “that were previously announced to be systemwide” during the upcoming planned work will “now only apply between Stadium and Angle Lake stations. Continue reading

‘Is this a bus stop or a DoorDash pick up zone?’ — New hub collecting feedback and ideas for next Seattle Transportation Plan

 

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We love providing community news on CHS free for thousands of readers. What sustains the effort are voluntary subscriptions from paying supporters. If you are enjoying CHS, SUBSCRIBE HERE and help keep CHS available to all. Become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with no paywall. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

 
Have thoughts on Seattle’s transportation needs and priorities? City Hall has launched a new Seattle Transportation Plan Online Engagement Hub where residents can “take a new survey to share their transportation priorities, come to an upcoming event and tell the department what they see places for change.”

You can visit the hub here.

The effort comes as city leaders set out to shape the next Seattle Transportation Plan for the city, the high level, 20-year planning process used to prioritize and shape street and sidewalk projects. Continue reading