News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Motorists to expect delays during final phase of Northgate Way repaving project

September 9th, 2014 by Mike

This post is from our sister site My Ballard.

SDOT will begin the final phase of its repaving project on North Northgate Way today as construction crews repave the one-block section of Northgate Way, immediately to the west of I-5.

The stretch, between Meridian Ave N and Corliss Ave N (the street immediately adjacent to the west side of I-5), will be reduced to a single travel lane in each direction. The lane reduction will remain in place until the repaving is finished in mid-November and is likely to create traffic backups.

Motorists should be aware that heavy traffic volumes during the afternoon commute could also result in backups on both the north- and southbound I-5 off-ramps. Motorists exiting I-5 at Northgate are encouraged to consider using off-ramps to either the north or south, if possible. Doing so will help to reduce congestion on Northgate Way and the I-5 off-ramps to it, as well as shorten motorist commute times.

The travel lanes of Northgate Way between Aurora Ave N and Meridian Ave N, which are currently reduced for repaving, will be fully restored to two lanes in each direction this afternoon.

Improvements that are part of the North 105th/North Northgate Way Project include complete roadway repaving, new sidewalks and curb ramps, drainage improvements, street lighting and street trees from Greenwood Avenue North to Corliss Avenue North.

SDOT is also upgrading traffic signals from Greenwood Ave N to Lake City Way NE (and along Lake City Way to N 120th St), as well as installing two new dynamic message signs to provide drivers with real time travel information.

The entire project is scheduled for completion in mid-November. Click here to learn more.

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More Northgate Way construction under way

August 7th, 2013 by master

Last week the city officially kicked off the Northgate Way/North 105th Street Project that we warned you about in February, when the road construction project that snarled traffic around Northgate Mall finally ended.

This time, the project extends 1.3 miles away from Maple Leaf, from Corliss Avenue North to Greenwood Avenue North, and involves completely paving North 105th and Northgate Way along that stretch, constructing new sidewalks and curb ramps, upgrading and adding street lights, and installing drainage improvements. Work on signals will continue all the way to Lake City Way with the project including upgrades to traffic signals and other “Intelligent Transportation System” components, which include electronic message boards and traffic cameras.

N 105th, N/NE Northgate Way Improvement Project

The project is expected to cost $9.2 million, and improve (eventually) nearly 27,000 trips each day. From the news release:

“Focusing on the basics like pavement and sidewalks is part of our Transportation Action Agenda,” said McGinn. “This project will help improve conditions on one of the major arterials in North Seattle.”

Demonstrating SDOT’s ongoing commitment to environmentally conscious design and construction, this major infrastructure project features several environmentally friendly elements. Over 20 percent of the new sidewalks will be pervious, allowing rainwater to be absorbed into the ground instead of running off. Additionally, the project will make significant drainage upgrades and use environmentally friendly paving materials.

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New 7-story building planned on Northgate Way

March 10th, 2013 by master

Before you head out the door in search of a few of Northgate’s favorite ethnic restaurants, you should take stock of what’s closed as plans develop for a seven-story building just east of the 24 Hour Fitness at the corner of Eighth Avenue Northeast and Northgate Way.

Of the businesses shown above, we know that Espresso Repair Experts has moved to Maple Leaf at 9522 Roosevelt Way N.E., Northgate Rare Coins & Precious Metals relocated to 11319 Pinehurst Way N.E., and Frame It also moved nearby to what is apparently now called the BevMo! Plaza at 10712 Fifth Ave. N.E. Masala of India Cuisine is still open for now, and isn’t moving far with a sign already up underneath the 24 Hour Fitness next door.

As for Kim Nails and Pho in the USA, the buildings are simply empty and vacant.

The situation is even more grim on the eastern half of the development. Although a sign at Indo Cafe indicates its moved to 13754 Aurora Ave. N.E., and that the Sprint has moved next to Masala, there are no moving signs at Scorecard Bar & Grill (which actually closed its doors in August), Sunny’s Hair Design, Cigar Land, International Salon, Savvy Mattress Outlet or Countryside Donut House, which we should note had boasted the No. 1 spot on our restaurants list.

As of Sunday, Supercuts at 543 N.E. Northgate Way was the only business still open, although the year-old BECU branch and SleepCountry in a separate building just to the north appear to be staying.

And what did all of these businesses close or move for? A seven-story building with 22,967-square-feet of commercial space, 262 residential units and 270 underground parking spaces.

As you can see above, if you don’t like it, it’s too late to say anything because the comment period ended nearly a year ago.

But you’ll have other opportunities as there are likely even more developments planned since the Gene Juarez Academy just south of that retail area also has relocated to 6007 A – 244th St. S.W. in Mountlake Terrace.

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Phase 2 of Northgate construction begins

August 15th, 2012 by master

You’ve probably figured out by now that avoiding Northgate is your best way to avoid major traffic woes this summer because of the NE Northgate Way and Fifth Avenue NE Intersection and Pedestrian Improvements Project. That’s not ending anytime soon.

Tomorrow the second phase begins, as the Seattle Department of Transportation builds a second left-hand turn lane for westbound traffic on Northgate Way turning onto southbound Fifth Avenue Northeast. This phase also includes extending the right-hand turn lane for northbound traffic on Fifth Avenue turning eastbound onto Northgate Way. Which means, one-lane travel will continue through mid-September as follows:

  • Eastbound NE Northgate Way from Third to Eighth avenues
  • Westbound NE Northgate Way from Third to Eighth avenues
  • Northbound Fifth Avenue NE from just south of Key Bank through the intersection
  • Southbound Fifth Avenue NE from NE Northgate Way to just south of Key Bank

Eastbound Northgate Way will remain one lane until project completion, which is scheduled before Thanksgiving. A news release from SDOT continues: [Read more →]

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More construction on Northgate Way

August 3rd, 2012 by master

In addition to Seafair traffic this weekend, brace yourself for the start of more construction on Northgate Way as the NE Northgate Way and Fifth Avenue NE Intersection and Pedestrian Improvements Project continues.

The gist of it is to simply stay off of Northgate Way, at least for the next two weeks while the Seattle Department of Transportation builds a new landscaped median on Northgate Way, and possibly until Thanksgiving when the entire project is scheduled for completion.

Here are the details from the project page: [Read more →]

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Major intersection – Fifth Ave. at Northgate – to close this weekend

April 30th, 2012 by Mike

A major Maple Leaf intersection will be shut down this Saturday and Sunday mornings when the city’s transportation department closes Fifth Avenue Northeast at Northeast Northgate Way.

The work, to remove existing utility poles and replace them with two 90-foot poles, will close Fifth north of Northgate on Saturday, May 5, from 6 a.m. to noon. On Sunday, at the sames times, Fifth will be closed south of Northgate.

The large crane needed to install the new poles will take up much of the roadway, the Department of Transportation said.  It suggests using Eighth Avenue Northeast as an alternative to Fifth.

Beginning this summer, the department will be working on major improvements to the intersection.

They include:

· An additional left-turn lane from westbound Northgate onto southbound Fifth.
· A landscaped median with trees on Northgate just west of the intersection.
· An extended northbound right turn lane on Fifth that turns eastbound onto Northgate.

It’s all part of the  Northgate Coordinated Transportation Investment Plan. For more details on the intersection, click here.  For a larger map, click here.

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Of neighborhood vehicle prowls – plus cars that make loud noises in the night

February 8th, 2012 by Mike

Update Feb. 9: Maura emails to say her car was stolen overnight.

We live on Fifth Avenue Northeast, very close to 80th as the cross street. They had to jimmy the lock, dismantle the alarm and hotwire the car to drive off, Silver Chrysler Sebring- nothing special about the car… All while we were sleeping in the house, nearby. My husband heard a dog barking loudly at about 3a.m….but who knows when it happened. They not only took our car, but car seat &~ golf clubs were hidden in the trunk. So bummed about this.

How can we become more involved with helping stop the crime in Maple Leaf? This is definitely going to hit the pocket book.

See her comment below – Maple Leaf Life


Jim emailed this morning to say: “Our car prowled on 8th Avenue Northeast at Northeast 91st Street.

“Busted a window and took $5-$10 in coin, broke the coin tray.”

Like many neighbors, Jim experienced the most common crime in Seattle – a car prowl. “Most car prowls themselves take less than two minutes. The damage done to locks and windows can be very expensive to repair and cause great inconvenience,” according to Seattle police.

We last wrote specifically about car crimes in October. Then, 23 cars here were reported broken into or stolen over 28 days.

There are places where the risk is greater. One of them is Northeast Northgate Way, among the parking lots adjacent to the mall and across the street, and in the  block immediately east of the mall. (See example above.)

Terrie Johnston, Seattle Police crime prevention coordinator, ran car prowl numbers this afternoon for December, January and February to date for police patrol district Nora 3. (See map.)

Of 43 total car prowls during that time, a third of them occurred along that stretch of Northgate Way, she said.

Why? Well, “it’s a target-rich environment,” Johnston said.

Reading down the list of reports, she came up with thousands of dollars in merchandise stolen from shoppers’ cars in minutes.

It’s where last week’s cherry picker was stolen, too.

The police advice sheet on keeping cars safe starts with: “Take all valuables with you when you park, and make sure all items, regardless of value, are not visible.”

Speaking of troubles involving autos,  a neighbor in Maple Leaf’s south-west corner emailed over the weekend that he’s having problems with an early morning delivery car “that has a muffler modified to sound like a race car, and it is very noisy at the 4:30 a.m. hour that he comes through.

“It is very loud and can be heard over a 1-2 block radius as he winds through the area.”

The delivery car’s dispatcher says additional complaints would be needed before taking action, according to the neighbor, who is hoping to round some up.

Anybody else being bothered in the wee hours by loud cars? Let us know.

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A snowy morning trek to Northgate

January 18th, 2012 by master

This Maple Leaf Life co-editor’s car is staying in the garage today, but a trek down to Northgate found that for many of the area’s retail and food establishments, it’s business as usual. If you can get there.

The journey begins on a snowy Roosevelt Way Northeast, with just a Porsche (seriously?) braving the road on my watch.

Although many of Maple Leaf’s side roads are too snowy for cars, they’re perfect for sledders!

Hardly a tire track or a footprint on Northeast 98th Street (heading toward Fifth Avenue Northeast) at 9:15 a.m.

But plenty of cars and buses were braving the hills (with success) on Fifth Avenue.

And amid all of the snowy chaos is beauty. Even the “Bad Buoys” in Thornton Creek are covered in snow!

Fun for dogs (and dog walkers), too! [

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And the best place in town for a kid to get arrested is … the mall!

January 5th, 2012 by Mike

Recent posts here on tree vandalism, new apartments and a toy store closing have attracted so many comments that we’re, frankly, astonished.

One thing all the posts have in common is the Northgate area. And many of the comments allege that policing, particularly of juveniles and young adults, is lacking there.

We don’t have numbers on that. But we CAN tell you that more – a lot more – juveniles are arrested at Northgate Mall than any other place in the city.

About a half-year ago we spotted a story in the on juvenile crime “hot spots.” According to the piece, Seattle City Council members were told: “In the past 14 years, half of the reported crime in Seattle occurred on less than 5 percent of street segments or blocks.”

The point of the story was whether focusing police resources on those hot spots could reduce juvenile crime. But when we saw it we wondered, “where are those hot spots?” And asked for the numbers.

Some of them we expected. Fourth and Third avenues downtown were in second and third place in numbers of juvenile arrests. Broadway Avenue and University Way were high on the list, as was Aurora Avenue North.

But in only one place did arrests rise into five digits. Between 1989 and 2004 (the years of the study) police made 11,051 juvenile arrests at the mall. And another 4,225 in the 300 and 400 blocks of Northeast Northgate Way.

This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. “Malls and movie theatres for example, are well-known ‘hang outs’ for youth, and indeed such businesses seek to draw young people as customers,” according to “Hot Spots of Juvenile Crime: A Longitudinal Study of Arrest Incidents at Street Segments in Seattle,Washington,” a paper that looked at the local reports.

Moreover, because such activity spaces will attract large numbers of not only potential offenders, but also potential targets, we might expect large concentrations of juvenile crime in such places. For example, several researchers have found that juvenile delinquency is strongly associated with time spent socializing in unstructured activities with peers in the absence of authority figures .

Sgt. Peter Verhaar, with the Seattle Police crime analysis unit, pointed out that although there is undoubtedly some spillover to the surrounding neighborhoods, “the large majority of the crimes affect the retail businesses at the mall.” Think, shoplifting.

When we mentioned all this to Terrie Johnston, Seattle Police crime prevention coordinator, she said, “of course,” and asked if we knew which city has – by far – the state’s largest number of crimes per capita, year in and year out.

“Tukwila,” she said.

Sure enough, according to state crime statistics, Tukwila – home to Southcenter Mall – had 189.5 crimes per 1,000 residents in 2010. For Seattle, that number is 65.

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More apartments planned for Northgate – can the streets handle the traffic?

December 28th, 2011 by Mike

Above, possible development just northwest of Northgate Mall – City of Seattle.

Below, the existing Northgate Apartments.

As Northgate continues to evolve into a regional transit and shopping hub, two collections of high-rise apartments are being planned just north and east of Northgate Mall.

To the east, Bellevue’s Wallace Properties has proposed building a new seven-story apartment building with 238 units above retail space on Northeast Northgate Way between Fifth and Eighth avenues northeast .

It would be just east of 507 Northgate, a 163-unit apartment complex Wallace opened in 2009 which is now 96 percent leased, emails Sue Geving, president of the Northgate Community Center advisory council.

To the north, an 8.4 acre site – marked “B” in light blue on this map – is now occupied by the Northgate Apartments, 207 low-rise apartments that currently rent for between $700 and $1,000 a month, according to the city, plus two single-family homes.

There, height restrictions would increase from 60 feet to 85 feet, allowing for redevelopment of higher-rise buildings  for mixed or commercial use.

The proposed street scape along Northgate Way would be similar to the drawing at the top of this post.

The Northgate area is lagging behind the city’s proposals for residential density. But some are concerned the growth will stop traffic, specifically along Northgate at First, Third and Eighth avenues. There’s a discussion of the issue here at the Pinehurst blog.

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