News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Entries from March 2016

Public meeting tonight on Banner Way safety

March 30th, 2016 by Mike

Thanks to Thor for emailing:

Today I got a mailer about a meeting tomorrow about safety improvements to Banner Way. It’s at the Fairview Church at 844 N.E. 78th St. from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Maybe it’s worth a post?

Seems like it should be. (Banner Way is the street in Maple Leaf that in part parallels  Interstate 5 on our western border.)

Little hard to say, though. Here’s the  link, the meeting is tonight.

Here’s the (gist of) the text from SDOT:

Following the collaborative work with the community for the NE 75th Street project, we’re continuing this work through Banner Way NE to implement the Pedestrian Master Plan and Bicycle Master Plan. We are committed to building a transportation infrastructure that supports a safe and vibrant community.

We’ll work with the community to consider changes to this street in an effort to bring down speeds and make the roadway safer for neighbors and all travelers, as part of our Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths and serious injuries on Seattle’s streets by 2030.

Together, we will determine the specific nature and design elements of these changes through the process described below. New safety measures may include, but not be limited to: signage improvements, arterial traffic calming, roadway design changes, traffic signal modifications, pavement repair, and safety enhancements for people walking and biking.

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New light rail taxes and Councilwoman Juarez

March 26th, 2016 by Mike

Update: Seattle Transit Blog has an overview here.

Speaking of transit; two things:

1) Sound Transit this week released preliminary proposals for a $50 billion expansion that would cost homeowners an average of $400 annually – apparently forever.

From The Seattle Times:

This fall’s Sound Transit 3 ballot measure would deliver light rail to Ballard as late as 22 years from now, while Everett would wait 25 years, under a draft the agency’s governing board issued Thursday.

Or Publicola:

The Sound Transit board stressed yesterday that there are some “early wins” to address immediate transportation needs (and presumably to get voters excited about something that’s happening sooner than your grandson’s bris) such as improvements on the Rapid Ride lines.

2) Meanwhile, Debora Juarez, the Seattle city councilwoman who represents almost all of Maple Leaf, criticized the proposal because it doesn’t prioritize a light rail station at Northeast 130th Street. (This is one of her top three priorities.)

The draft Sound Transit 3 proposal designates the potential boon of a NE 130th Street Station as a “provisional” project. This means that no funding is currently included in the package, and that the Sound Transit board would need to secure funding to make this station a reality. This is unacceptable.

Her full post is here.

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Neighbors want action against park graffiti

March 26th, 2016 by Mike

We do have a mural in the park, but also:

“Speaking of art in the park, how about the new 3 graffiti tags on the hitting wall, on the river stones on SE corner, and one stone on path outward to 88th? ‘GI’ is the tag. Kind of a bummer,” says Jarvis  on our previous post.

On the same post, An Observer says: “I have seen an uptick in tagging along Northgate Way, and Lake City Way close to Nathan Hale. Seems every five years or so a new crop of taggers comes along only to be otherwise engaged (jail, work, or adult responsibilities) soon enough.”

And over at Nextdoor Northgate/Maple Leaf, Grace is leading the charge:

I am so sick of seeing graffiti on everything now. Idiots tagged one of the beautiful rocks at the north entrance of the park that leads to 12th. The more we get used to graffiti the more it will proliferate.

Before I wait around for city officials to clean up graffiti I’m ready to do it myself to get rid of it before more people get ideas. I’m happy to try to clean off that rock if anybody can suggest to me what I can get that will do it.

And she’s getting support, from these and eight other responses:

I would happily offer up some elbow grease, i.e. join in on efforts to clean it up, just name the time this weekend and I should be able to be there. I agree with the comments about being persistent with getting rid of it; if left it looks like no one cares it is there. Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point has a fascinating chapter all about graffiti – best way to combat it is quickly and consistently remove it.

I have a hand held water jet cleaner. Works quite well for cleaning rough surfaces. If you get your hand in front of the pinpoint stream you can draw blood and much language.. Is the approximate address NE 89th and 12th Ave NE ?

Here’s the best way to report graffiti at the park.

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It’s here! New bus routes start now

March 25th, 2016 by Mike

Update: Here’s another shot at this from The Seattle Times.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things.”

Actually, no.

The time has come to note that bus service changes as the week ends.

Trying to talk about those changes is a thankless task.

Exhibit A: Comments on our last bus post. (See: “No clue.” Also, there’s a lot of good information in those comments.)

Exhibit B: This befuddling series of videos from Metro about the changes.

Fact is, there are enough changes that folks need to scowl at their own routes. Here is Metro’s site for changes beginning March 26nd.

Bottom line: Some bus routes that until now went downtown will instead go to Sound Transit’s newly opened University of Washington light rail station.

Is that good? Here, in the above comments, is Lisa’s report from Tuesday:

I tried a “dry run” today to see what it will entail to get from downtown to the corner of 85th and 15th NE by using the link light rail to transfer to the 73. Looks as if ST has worked its usual magic of making a 25 minute or so trip now take 45-50 minutes with a 1/3 mile walk included (this would be for riders taking the 73 from downtown)….

I’ve contacted Metro and Debora Juarez’s office’s office about this – neither have responded to email. This change is definitely for the worse …. I don’t know if we can get anywhere, but this is a real nightmare scenario with four buses (66, 68, 72, and 73) in our area being eliminated entirely and others reconfigured to connect at the UW station.

More positively, the Seattle Transit Blog has a piece here: ULink Bus Restructure Begins Saturday: More Service, More Transfers, Faster Trips.

Let’s not lose the sheer magnitude of Metro’s bus restructure, the largest in decades and one that will change tens of thousands of daily trips, mostly for the better.

The basic theme of the restructure, especially in NE Seattle, is higher frequency service paid for with a reliance on ULink and increased transfers. The ease and reliability of these transfers is an open question, and their success or failure will largely determine the public’s view of this restructure over time.

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It’s Spring – and we have new art to say so

March 25th, 2016 by Mike

The mural at Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. Spring returns today, followed by rain Saturday night.

Remember the community Easter egg hunt here Saturday at 11 a.m.

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Councilwoman Debora Juarez’s top three tasks

March 20th, 2016 by Mike

Debora Juarez,  the Seattle city councilwoman representing virtually all of Maple Leaf, has posted this guest column over at CityLiving.com: A lot accomplished in first 100 days.

Specifically three things:

In our first 100 days in office, we set out with three goals to deliver on the promise of district representation. First, we aspired to create momentum around the three major capital projects planned for our district. Second, we planned district tours of major enterprises in North Seattle. Third, we opened a district office, where our constituents could speak with my staff and myself without the need to travel downtown to City Hall.

The district office is at North Seattle College, College Center Building, Room 1451, though I can’t seem to find a link to it on her web site.

The capital projects are:

1) The new north police substation at Northeast 130th Street and Aurora Avenue North.

2) The oft-discussed pedestrian bridge between North Seattle College and the Northgate Transit Center. From the city’s web site:

With the passage of the Move Seattle Levy, the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge project has acquired full funding for the construction of the bridge. The project team will continue to refine the design of the bridge.

3) “Finally, I have been advocating for our district’s second light rail stop, slated for Northeast 130th Street and Interstate-5. This station would serve the Lake City, Bitter Lake and Haller Lake communities.”

There is no mention of Pronto, which surprisingly, continues to be a flash point over the city budget (see comments at link).

Her guest column is here. Juarez’s own blog features “Happy International Women’s Day.”

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Found: Black Lab with no collar

March 19th, 2016 by Mike

Steph emails:

We found a black lab with no collar and are looking for his owner. We currently have him in our backyard.

Please call 206.420.1585

Our neighbor ran him up to maple leaf vet to see if he is chipped. We’re at 8th ave NE @104th.

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About that flashing red light at NE 95th St.

March 17th, 2016 by Mike

For those who’ve been wondering about the flashing red light at Roosevelt Way Northeast and Northeast 95th Street:

“The wind storm caused an outage and the controller at this intersection had a difficult time restoring from the loss of power. We ended up having to replace the controller yesterday in the afternoon,” the Seattle transportation department reports this morning.

For those who haven’t, the pedestrian-activated red light at that intersection suddenly turned on as a flashing red light after this weekend’s windstorm.

Traditionally that makes it a four-way stop, except that the lights only face north and south on Roosevelt. Which created some confusion.

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We’re Number One (in car prowls)

March 15th, 2016 by Mike

Seattle Police, over at Nextdoor, today posted:

“To date there have been almost 3,000 car prowls in the city for 2016. This number is up more than 500 from last year.”

In an accompanying graphic, police have identified the top 12 sites to get your car prowled.

Northgate Mall led all the rest with 17 prowls; downtown came in second with 11.

As it happens, this is actual news. Northgate has long been a hot spot, but Capitol Hill was the leader two years ago.

Police have tips on not being a victim:

[Read more →]

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What is Councilwoman Debora Juarez thinking?

March 14th, 2016 by Mike

Note that the original question – what went wrong with the March 1 vote? – remains.

The six City Council members sitting next to one another at this table on March 1 either could or couldn’t count to six.

Update: Councilwoman Juarez’s staff has sent me a statement (!). Here it is:

“After careful deliberation, today I voted yes on legislation which removed restrictions on $1.4 million of $5 million previously budgeted for the Pronto system by council vote in November of 2015. Today’s action allowed the Executive to purchase the bike share system’s assets from Pronto.

Had this proposal failed, the city would have been obligated to repay $1 million in federal grant money and the three thousand yearly members of our bike share system would be left without a service they paid into.

The introduction of the Pronto bike share system in Seattle has faced serious problems since its launch in October 2014. I share the concerns of Seattleites who look at our major challenges citywide and debate whether money should be spent on a program that has so far not lived up to expectations. This is why I also voted for the successful amendments to the final ordinance that significantly increase council oversight and accountability for this program.

I am looking forward to enhancing the transparency, service area equity, and overall vision of bike share in Seattle. Today’s action gives us the best chance at achieving this goal.”

– Councilmember Debora Juarez, March 14, 2016

Update: She voted “yes” to save Pronto. The full council voted 7-2 in favor, with Maple Leaf’s other councilman, Rob Johnson, also voting yes. Opposed were Lisa Herbold (west Seattle/South Park) and Tim Burgess (at large).

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On the first day of the month a Seattle City Council committee deadlocked 3-3 on bailing out the failing Pronto bike rental service.

Except it didn’t.

The record now reads that newly elected Councilwoman Debora Juarez, who represents north Seattle including virtually all of Maple Leaf,  actually voted to save the system.

That was not the vote announced at the meeting and heard by the six council members present, and by support staff.

What happened?

A week ago today, on Monday, March 7,  we emailed Juarez’s legislative assistant, BrynDel Swift (bryndel.swift@seattle.gov), to ask.

We’re following the Pronto vote and I’ve been keeping an eye out for Councilwoman Juarez’s statement on her vote last Tuesday. Somehow I’ve missed it, but am quite interested. Can you provide? Thanks.

No answer.

So two days later on Wednesday, March 9th, we forwarded the email to the rest of her staff, Mercedes Elizalde (mercedes.elizalde@seattle.gov), Tyler Emsky (tyler.emsky@seattle.gov) , Sabrina Bolieu (sabrina.bolieu@seattle.gov), and to Juarez herself (debora.juarez@seattle.gov).

No answer. And we haven’t seen it answered elsewhere, either. (Except, kind of, here.)

Our earlier post on Pronto, including updated links to other news organizations’ stories, is here.

In comments there, and elsewhere, Pronto seems to have become a stand-in for how the city prioritizes its spending.

An example: In Danny Westneat’s Seattle Times column last week on a Greenwood food bank closing for lack of city funding, one commentator wrote:

Explain how the city has millions of dollars to spend on a bloated failed bike share program which most citizens don’t want or use while this needed food bank program is shut down. Misguided priorities and lack of common sense.

And another:

OK Debora Juarez: Here’s where you show you’re the adult in the room. Instead of voting yes on that losing proposition Pronto how about using those funds to keep this food bank going? Things like food banks are important. Pronto is just a Murray dream that ends up being a nightmare for everyone else. I had great hopes for you when I cast my ballot for you but now I’m not so sure. So far all I’ve seen from you is more of the same council we had before the election.

The full City Council vote on Pronto is set for this afternoon.

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