Some news nuggets while we fight with our highly annoying comment issue:
Tonight’s candidates and issues forum starts at 7 p.m. at Olympic View Elementary School. The Maple Leaf Community Council is providing free licensed child care.
Skipper the cat is missing from nearby Ravenna, and Robin wants to know if he’s been spotted.
“Lost domestic short-hair orange male tabby with very short tail. Skipper went missing on Oct. 10th, he has a hangy-belly and is very friendly and will follow the hand that feeds him. We miss him very much and hope to find him again. If you have seen Skipper please contact Robin Stacy at 206-372-4118. “
Skipper lives at Second Avenue Northeast and Northeast 68th Street.
Kiddie Parade of Costumes this year will be held on Sunday, Oct. 26th, at 3 p.m. Details TK and to be posted here. For last year’s photos (and the official opening of Maple Leaf Reservoir Park) go here.
Native Plant Sale at the Perkins School, 9005 Roosevelt Way N.E.,will be held this Saturday, Oct. 18th, from 10-4 p.m.
Sidewalks and speed cameras. The current hard-copy issue of the Community Council newsletter, which should have arrived at your home by now, discusses the possibility of sidewalks along 20th Avenue Northeast near Sacajawea Elementary. You can read more there, but note the funding might come from “larger-than-expected revenue from the City of Seattle’s school-zone speed cameras.” ???
The Seattle Department of Transportation last week announced that all lanes again are open to traffic, and that all of the planned intersection and pedestrian improvements are completed at Northgate Way and Fifth Avenue Northeast. What it means for you:
To help ease traffic congestion, two turn-lane improvements were made. The crews added a left-turn lane from westbound NE Northgate Way onto southbound Fifth Avenue NE, and also extended the right-hand turn lane from northbound Fifth Avenue NE onto eastbound NE Northgate Way. They also built a landscaped median with trees on NE Northgate Way just west of the intersection, created decorative crosswalks on all four sides of the intersection, installed a new traffic signal system, and improved drainage and water quality.
But this spring, SDOT is planning another Northgate construction project along North 105th Street and Northgate Way, all the way from from Greenwood Avenue to Lake City Way. Completion is expected in spring 2014. In a nutshell:
This project will improve the corridor along N 105th Street and N/NE Northgate Way from Greenwood Ave N to Lake City Way NE. Improvements will include roadway repaving, new sidewalks and curb ramps, drainage improvements, street lighting and traffic signals, and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) components.
But more importantly:
This project will have considerable impacts on traffic and the public.
Join your neighbors on Jan. 30 to discuss some of the issues that are important to fellow Maple Leafers!
The January Maple Leaf General Community Meeting is from 7-9 p.m. at the Olympic View Elementary School Cafeteria, 504 N.E. 95th St. Free licensed child care service will be provided.
The main topic of the meeting will be transportation challenges, which are front and center in many Maple Leaf neighbors’ minds after last week’s bus fire on Interstate 5 that brought traffic both on the freeway and through Maple Leaf to a standstill.
But cars aren’t the only topic bound to come up in the transportation discussion, which likely also will include pedestrians, bicycles, buses and more. You’re invited to share you concerns with the Maple Leaf Community Council’s executive board, along with representatives of local government agencies who have been invited.
“The Seattle Department of Transportation will open all lanes of traffic tonight– just in time for Thanksgiving travel and holiday shoppers. The intersection will remain clear of construction activities through the holiday season,” the department’s Laura LaBissoniere emails this morning.
The construction has been centered around Northgate and Fifth Avenue Northeast. Areas of the sidewalk that are unfinished will wait until January, when crews return to install new street light and signal poles and complete the sidewalks.
This project will ease congestion and improve pedestrian safety. Specifically, the project:
Built an additional left-turn lane from westbound Northgate Way onto southbound Fifth.
Extended the right turn lane from northbound Fifth onto eastbound NorthgateWay.
Added a landscaped median with trees on Northgate Way just west of the intersectio.
Created decorative crosswalks on all four sides of the intersectio.
Installed a new signal system and improved drainage and water qualit.
In most of Maple Leaf sidewalks end around Northeast 85th Street, but a new stretch of sidewalk going in on Lake City Way this spring proves there is still hope that the North End will someday become more pedestrian-friendly.
The new sidewalk, bridging a span of Lake City Way from the staircase at Northeast 95th Street, is connected to a six-unit housing development being built at Northeast 95h between Lake City Way and 20th Avenue Northeast.
The Maple Leaf Community Council and neighbors have been actively supporting the sidewalk addition, which will provide safer access to nearby Sacajawea Elementary School, among other schools and bus stops.
Initially the developer had no plans to construct a sidewalk, arguing that since the houses wouldn’t have access to Lake City Way, a sidewalk didn’t have to be built. But with plans to convert the staircase just west of Northeast 95th into a driveway for a development, the Maple Leaf Community Council ensured that the city require the sidewalk.
“Because sidewalk funds are so limited in the city, as neighborhood advocates you resign yourselves to the fact that you take what you can get,” said David Miller, a member of the council’s executive board. “We didn’t get everything that we wanted, but you never do. We get a sidewalk on Lake City Way, which never would have happened any other way.”
Many community members, especially parents, are concerned about the impacts of the construction site. Parents are worried about the safety of their children at Sacajawea, located on 20th Avenue Northeast.
Scott Kemp, a city senior land use planner at the Department of Planning and Development, said that the school district has expressed similar concerns. To protect schoolchildren during construction, the developer has proposed to improve the intersection of 20th Avenue and 95th street. [Read more →]
For those who were following our post on “Sidewalks, streets: Debate over $60 car tab hike on November’s ballot,” first, our apologies.
Our server on Saturday had a hissy fit, otherwise known as a “kernel panic,” and ate several posts, including that one. We’ve re-posted the original and, with some help from Jen, the 18 or so comments it had generated.
The gist is that Seattle voters in November will decide whether to hike vehicle license fees by $60 to pay for some still-unknown list of transit, cycling and pedestrian projects.
Now Publicola has a piece on a debate Wednesday between Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata, who’s for the hike, and opponents Maple Leaf resident David Miller (of Sidewalks and Streets for Seattle) and John Fox of the Seattle Displacement Coalition.
Miller is quoted as saying he personally thinks: “Kids walking in the middle of the street in North and South Seattle” because there are no sidewalks is “more important than bike parking.”
Licata says “if you believe that transit should improve in Seattle, I think it’s something you should support.”
In addition to that Publicola post, there’s an ongoing debate here.
Editor’s note: A system problem on Saturday reset the site to Sept. 7. We’re re-posting this as a significant number of commentators had chimed in. So far, though, I haven’t figured out a way to restore the comments.
Sidewalks and Streets.org. Red indicates lack of paved sidewalks.
Few issues have generated as much interest since we started Maple Leaf Life as – sidewalks. (And you thought I was going to say “strip clubs.” Or “crime.” Or, gasp, “bike lanes.”)
Turns out sidewalks – or the lack thereof – are indeed a major issue here. Safety aside, at the Maple Leaf Summer Social we had a Realtor tell us sidewalks are a big consideration for home buyers.
Much of Maple Leaf, north of about Northeast 92nd Street, lacks paved sidewalks. That’s also true of much of north Seattle.
Sidewalks may turn out to be a key issue in new moves making it more expensive to license a car here, by a potential total of $80 per vehicle.
A little later in August, the Seattle City Council voted to add an additional $60 to the tabs, and put that hike on the November public ballot. That money is aimed at transit, cycling and pedestrian projects, but none of them are specified, as our news partner The Seattle Times pointed out in its thoughtful piece “Seattle’s $60 car tab fee: where it could go.” The official release from the council, acting as something called the Seattle Transportation Benefit District, is here.
That Seattle Times story quotes David Miller, an active member of the Maple Leaf Community Council and longtime sidewalk advocate, as saying: “Seattle taxpayers deserve more specifics for their $20 million a year.”
Miller is working with one of two groups opposing the fee hike this time around. His group, Sidewalks and Streets for Seattle, points out:
Elementary school children across much of north and southeast Seattle have to walk in the middle of the street to get to school because of a lack of sidewalks. Sidewalks deserve a higher priority than this measure gives them.
The other opposition group is Citizens Against Raising Car Tabs.
The Seattle P-I.com’s Joel Connelly has written a piece pointing out that Proposition 1, as the Seattle car tab hike is called, “is going to see an actual campaign with real-life opposition, unlike many other taxes and levies promoted in recent years by the city’s activist interest groups and political elites.”
The election is Nov. 8. The original ballot title, saying Prop. 1 would fund “transportation facilities and services benefiting the City of Seattle, including: street and bridge repairs,” has been changed after opponents noted none of the money is earmarked for bridges, according to this story in the Times.
Update: David Miller of the Maple Leaf Community Council is on the video (at the bottom of the post) at 48 minutes 48 seconds. Donna Hartmann-Miller, also on the council executive committee, follows him.
We’ve had a couple of readers this week wonder about the additional car license fees that voters may face this fall.
1) Andrea wrote on Wednesday: “I saw a flier posted at the 72/73 bus stop on 15th Avenue Northeast at Northeast 75th Street today advocating for the $20 Congestion Relief Charge that needs to be adopted by King County Council in order to not lose our 72 and 73 buses.
“According to the flier, the final decision is to be made on Monday, and this website was named: www.stopbuscuts.com.”
The King County Council is now supposed to vote on that $20-per-car tax hike for buses on Aug. 15, according to our new partners The Seattle Times. That’s the day before the deadline to put the issue on the November ballot. We last reported on the issue, which could also affect routes 67 and 41, in July.
2) Today Louise took note of a story The Times published last night on a Seattle City Council board hearing on a different tax voters might be considering this fall.
That one relates to a fee of up to $80 per car that the City Council might put on the fall ballot, as Mayor Mike McGinn strongly urges.
Louise, a Lake City resident, quotes the Times story on last night’s public hearing: “The Cascade Bicycle Club also urged support of an $80 license fee and collected more than 800 signatures online.
“Some Maple Leaf residents urged the council to spend more on sidewalks so people could get safely to transit and to their local schools and shops.”
I’d like to get in touch with the Maple Leaf residents mentioned above who favor spending more on sidewalks. If the Cascade Bicycle Club can gather 800 signatures online to promote more bike lanes, those of us who favor sidewalks for pedestrians should be able to collect at least that many.
Want to watch the full (two-hour) hearing from Wednesday night’s meeting of the council’s Seattle Transportation Benefit District Board Public Hearing? Here’s a link. The video is below.
During the Q-and-A, McGinn stressed that many of the city’s present budget woes are the result of years of deferred maintainance of streets, parks, water systems – all vital infrastructure.
“It’s been a difficult budget-balancing exercise,” he said. “The streets are in really bad condition right now.”
Many of those attending were interested in pedestrian safety and the lack of sidewalks in much of Maple Leaf and Northgate. There were complaints about lack of walkability along Northeast Northgate Way and Roosevelt Avenue Northeast, and at the intersection of Northgate and Eighth Avenue Northeast.
“We’re seeing a desire by many people to live in a more walkable area,” McGinn acknowledged. “We should be prioritizing pedestrian projects. “
Asked about proposals to preserve Seattle’s tree canopy, McGinn noted the sensitivity of the issue. A former Sierra Club leader, McGinn wants to save trees. “But how restrictive will we be for people who want to cut down trees on their own property?” he asked.