News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Entries from January 2016

Update: Public transportation – and a new City Council

January 30th, 2016 by Mike

Update on Mardi Gras:

The Seattle Times has an opinion piece here. It’s not supportive of Pronto.

Update Feb. 4:

The Stranger has a Pronto story here.

The Seattle Bike Blog has one here.

Update Feb. 3: Josh Feit over at PublicCola has an update on Tuesday’s hearing on Pronto rental bikes.

Bottom line: Not much happened. Any vote was postponed as apparently only two transportation committee members were present – including the chair, Councilman Mike O’Brien.

To O’Brien’s frustration, SDOT’s presentation didn’t come with a specific business plan other than the immediate pitch to stabilize the program—there are currently 50-plus stations with 500 bikes and 3,000 members—and then have the city put it out to bid again in 2017….

O’Brien’s committee didn’t take any action yesterday (Pronto will go under in March if the city doesn’t bail it out); O’Brien reasoned that his other council colleagues are likely to have questions. Indeed, letters have been coming in to city hall suggesting that the $5 million could go to homelessness programs.

Feit tweeted about the meeting here.

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A month into Seattle’s new City Council – in which council members are elected neighborhood by neighborhood – we’ll get a look at what this might mean for local public transportation.

Specifically, what will the council members – representing their districts – say about:

* Rescuing Pronto bike sharing rental.

* The apparent disappearance of much of our direct bus service to downtown.

On Tuesday, the City Council will discuss whether to spend $1.4 million to bail out the failing Pronto public bike rental  system.

Fifteen months after launch, Pronto is insolvent. Also, no one is riding the bikes.

As the map shows, there are no Pronto bikes available in Maple Leaf nor, for that matter, in all of Council District 5 (north Seattle), now represented by Debora Juarez.

There was a proposal to put a Pronto station at North Seattle College, but only if the feds paid for it. The feds declined.

Our earlier post is here. The Seattle Times has an updated story here: Seattle’s Pronto bike-share nonprofit teetering, seeks $1.4M rescue by city. (Note to “terriance”, in the +300-plus comments on that story: We don’t know what an “enterprise producer” is, either.)

Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who chairs the Transportation and Sustainability Committee, said he was disappointed to see Pronto “go financially sideways so quick” and said he’ll have to carefully consider whether to fund it.

“Just barely a year into it we’re going to throw a million and half into it to keep it alive and see what the next phase is.”

He said he believed bike sharing could work in Seattle, but O’Brien said, “If we’re not going to make it work, let’s figure that out as soon as possible and not spend money on it.”

The Seattle Bike Blog has posted here: With Pronto in the red, city outlines takeover and expansion plan.

The Times’ Danny Westneat has a column here.

In its first year, people took 142,832 rides on Pronto bikes. That’s only 391 rides per day. It’s about seven rides taken at each station per day. Each station brought in only an average $30 a day in revenue.  These are terrible figures considering the bike stations are dotted around places like the Amazon jungle, which we imagine should be meccas of alternative transportation.

Also, helmets.

Also, buses.

With the coming of light rail to the University District, there are proposed changes in Metro routes – but we’ll be damned if we understand them.

We weren’t at the Community Council meeting Wednesday evening, but reports on “Metro’s” presentation were not illuminating. [Read more →]

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Rainy days and Wednesdays – get ready

January 27th, 2016 by Mike

Update 7 a.m. Thursday: Rain in the past 24 hours at Maple Leaf Life South- 1.33 inches. Top wind speed so far: 24 mph at 5:15 a.m.

KOMO has an update here.

We are under a special weather statement: “HEAVY RAINFALL WILL LEAD TO AN INCREASED THREAT OF LANDSLIDES IN WESTERN WASHINGTON.”

“Major Atmospheric River Period for the West Coast” begins this evening, according to Cliff Mass.

From KOMO:

“Clouds will thicken up, too, and a vigorous cold front will arrive later as well. This front is going to kick up our winds – so much so that a HIGH SURF ADVISORY will be in effect along the coast and heavy rain will fall across the interior. Rainfall amounts could easily exceed .5-1″ and some of the downpours will take place during the evening commute.”

The official forecast is here. The Seattle Times has a story here.

Also, because we know everyone who follows Maple Leaf Life cares as much about the weather as we do and would really, really like to know how much it’s rained so far this year: 6.68 inches at Maple Leaf Life South, as of this morning.

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Return of the Scarlet-fronted Parakeets

January 25th, 2016 by Mike

Maple Leaf’s Scarlet-fronted Parakeets are back.

Or at least one is – on 12th Avenue Northeast just north of Northeast 89th Street, at 8 a.m.

We last posted on the feral flock in February 2015. We first wrote about them in 2010:

The flock has been around for decades, at least since the early 1990s, and possibly got started when bird-lovers discovered their pet parakeets were too loud to keep in the house. Local lore has it that the birds winter in Maple Leaf and spend summer vacations at Seward Park.

The size of the flock varies, but there don’t seem to be as many now as eight or 10 years ago, when a dozen or more parakeets would descend on the neighborhood. Over time they have been called parrots, Crimson-fronted parakeets, Red-fronted Conures and Mitred conures.

(Aratinga wagleri photo courtesy Dennis Paulson.)

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Mail theft – and an important Community Council meeting

January 21st, 2016 by Mike

Update Jan. 23: Jim has emailed directions for group mailboxes. We’ve posted them in comments.

A neighbor emails:

I’m writing to report that mail theft continues to happen in Maple Leaf. The latest was on Northeast 96th Street, between 15th Avenue Northeast and Roosevelt Way Northeast, and it happened between Tuesday 1/19 and Wednesday 1/20.

Aside from reminding readers to make reports to the police and to the USPS, I was wondering if you could also ask readers how they’ve gone about getting those giant, multi-residence locked mailbox units installed that are seen throughout the neighborhood.

Some of that information is available in comments on previous mail theft posts. The map shows mail theft reports here for all of 2015.

(Some good news: On Wednesday another neighbor posted on Nextdoor Northgate/Maple Leaf: “I got a call from SPD today. They called to tell me that they found some credit card convenience checks that were stolen out of our mail. They found them in a backpack belonging to a gentleman that they arrested.”

Another email, from the Maple Leaf Community Council, is important. The council is having a general meeting next Wednesday, Jan. 27th.

It’s largely concerned with land use, zoning and Metro routes.

But the council is also looking for additional members for its executive board – the folks who do most of the work on our behalf.

January represents our “Call to Election” for those willing to serve on the Maple Leaf Community Council Executive Board. Elections will occur in April and anyone interested in standing for election at that time will need to attend Executive Board meetings as an observer in February or March. With long-time volunteers Donna Hartmann-Miller stepping down from the Executive Board last year and David Miller retiring in April this year, we need volunteers more than ever.

The community council has a long and honored history representing our neighborhood. We’ve written about it before:

“The Maple Leaf of today did not just happen but instead reflects hundreds of volunteer hours dedicated on behalf of the Maple Leaf neighborhood.”

For more details read this post.

Next Wednesday’s meeting is from 6-9 p.m. at Olympic View Elementary, Northeast 95th Street and Fifth Avenue Northeast.

Here’s the council’s full email: [Read more →]

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What’s going in at the Maple Leaf Pharmacy?

January 19th, 2016 by Mike

Since the Maple Leaf Pharmacy, a fixture in the neighborhood for decades, closed in October, we’ve had many ask: “What will replace it?”

Three months later, the answer remains: No one knows.

The pharmacy site is a prime neighborhood retail location at the corner of Northeast 89th Street and Roosevelt Way Northeast.

Bob Jackman – son of the original pharmacist owner “Dick” Jackman, who died in 2012 – was in town over the holidays, but hasn’t found a new occupant.

In an email, Bob Jackman wrote:

“So far I have talked with two people and not found anything yet. I am making arrangements to be able to show the space and then I am going to put a sign in the window.

“I would like to get something in there that works well in the neighborhood and with the (next-door Roosevelt) Alehouse. I guess we’ll see how it goes. I have been reading the Seattle Times every day and Seattle seems to be doing pretty well so I am hopeful that good things will happen.”

Readers have variously wished for a grocery store, another restaurant, a bakery and a butcher store/deli at the site. Oh, and a used bookstore. And a small pet store. And a(nother) coffee shop.

Other ideas, proposals? You can reach Jackman through comments here.

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The park Christmas duck has found a mate

January 15th, 2016 by Mike

The Mallard drake spotted in north Maple Leaf Reservoir Park on Christmas Day has apparently found a mate.

They were together Thursday and this afternoon.

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Husky “Rika” still missing, plus small black dog lost

January 15th, 2016 by Mike

Update: Small black dog is home.

Rika has been missing since late September; we last posted on her here.

Potential sightings have continued, including shortly after midnight this morning, and she now has a Facebook page here.

In addition, this morning a small black dog with white paws, possibly still wearing a leash, was last seen near Northeast 92nd Street and Fifth Avenue Northeast. If spotted, call 206-321-1177.

Rika, dog of the mountains.

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Two news pieces – Councilwoman Debora Juarez and Thornton Creek (plus coyote)

January 13th, 2016 by Mike

Now that the new district-by-district Seattle City Council is sworn in, Crosscut has a piece today on Debora Juarez, the councilwoman representing north Seattle including Maple Leaf.

Headlined “Street-level politics come to Seattle, led by Debora Juarez,” it begins:

“Rule number one: Don’t call District 5 “Seattle’s Canada,” at least not to new Councilmember Debora Juarez’s face.

Read the full story here.

It notes Juarez’s top priorities locally – “Three major capital projects for District 5: the North Precinct Police Station, the Northgate bike and pedestrian bridge and securing funding for a second light rail stop on Northeast 130th Street.”

Meanwhile, our news partner The Seattle Times this week published a look at our own primary stream: “Thornton Creek gets a makeover from the ground up.”

It’s a bit of a slog (which is why it took two days to read – the “so-called hyporheic zone” is in the third sentence) but interesting. The gist is that Seattle Public Utilities is testing treating Thornton Creek like the Cedar River.

Our drinking water comes in part from the Cedar drainage, whereas Thornton for decades has resembled more of a storm water/sewer drain.

One of the test areas is in Maple Leaf, the renamed Kingfisher Natural Area.

And besides, it gives us the opportunity to highlight this video the Thornton Creek Alliance posted to our Facebook page last week. It’s of a coyote yipping in the Kingfisher Natural Area.

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Maple Leaf Reservoir Park minutes before sunrise

January 10th, 2016 by Mike

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See Hawks – Channel 5, 10 a.m.

January 10th, 2016 by Mike

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