News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

City Council votes to expand staff; Debora Juarez chases NE 130th light rail station

April 28th, 2016 by Mike

Update: The Seattle Times has an editorial column on the gold-plated Seattle City Council.

Mentions The Pronto vote, too, in the fourth graph.

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Eight of the nine Seattle City Council members voted this week to add an additional staffer per council member – potentially bringing their individual staffs to four each.

Only budget chair Tim Burgess, who said the cost will be an extra half-million dollars annually, voted “no.”

The rationale: Now that seven of the council members represent neighborhood districts, they actually have more work to do. Erica C. Barnett has a post: Council: Smaller Districts Require Larger Staffs.

From Seattle Council Insight’s piece here:

Council members Lisa Herbold and Debora Juarez, who hold district-based positions (unlike Burgess whose seat is city-wide), were the vocal proponents for the change this afternoon….

Juarez, (who represents the vast majority of Maple Leaf), took the point further, claiming that when voters passed the initiative switching the Council to seven districts, it was because “the voters wanted someone to advocate for them, while keeping in mind the greater good of the city of Seattle.” She rattled off a long list of issues she and her staff have needed to deal with in their first 100 days on the job, saying “you can’t expect three people to be expert in all that.”

Burgess disagreed. From The Seattle Times:

Council members in similarly sized U.S. cities with district council members have only one to three aides, according to a 2014 report by the City Auditor, Burgess noted, mentioning Austin, Boston, Denver, Jacksonville, Fla., Oakland and San Francisco.

The Times story is here (including the information that in addition to council-member aides, the council is supported by more than 20 shared “central staff” policy analysts).

Meanwhile, Juarez continues to prioritize pushing for another light rail station at Northeast 130th Street.

In two separate emails yesterday she issued a “130th Street Station Call to Action.”

If we are going to see some an amendment to the Draft ST3 Plan we need you to write in and tell the Sound Transit leadership that we need a commitment to build the 130th Street Station!

I am not sitting around hoping there will be a change, I am out here pushing every button and looking for all the possible ways to get North Seattle what it needs.

She’ll be at the Sound Transit board meeting this afternoon, 1:30 at 401 S Jackson St., and wants you to be there, too.

Here’s her full post, including a suggested letter to send Sound Transit.

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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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First Ave. N.E. to close nightly for weeks

August 1st, 2015 by Mike

Crews working overnight to relocate utility lines will close First Avenue Northeast between Northeast 95th and Northeast 100th streets for several weeks.

The closure is from 7:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. A detour will be marked to Fifth Avenue Northeast.

That section of First is already heavily impacted by preliminary work on light rail, and the utility relocation is necessary before beginning construction of Northgate Station early next year.

From Sound Transit:

This work is expected to take approximately two to three weeks to complete. No high impact noise activities (such as jackhammering or saw-cutting) are scheduled to take place after 10 p.m. Access to homes and businesses will be maintained.

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Quick update on the Northgate pedestrian bridge

February 10th, 2015 by Mike

The story thus far:

* There WAS a plan to spend around $20 million to connect the neighborhoods across Interstate 5 to Maple Leaf and the Northgate transit center and light rail station via a pedestrian and bike bridge from North Seattle College to the station. Got that? (It entirely avoids the word “interagency.”)

* It ran out of money. Specifically, Sound Transit set a July 2015 full funding deadline, after which it would withdraw the $5 million it committed. Seattle failed to get a federal grant, leading to a cliffhanger going into the new year….

* Now the Seattle Bike Blog reports:

In a recent response, Sound Transit staff say they will recommend that their Board extend the deadline to February 2016. While not a huge amount of extra time, it will give leaders more opportunities to identify funding options.

That letter from Sound Transit is here.

As Charles B. commented late last month: “Stay tuned….”

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Silver Platters, SAS Shoes, others to leave Northgate Station for light rail

August 4th, 2014 by Mike

Sound Transit got back to us today, confirming it will acquire Northgate Station –  the strip mall that houses Silver Platters, SAS Shoes and several other stores.

The site will instead become a part of the link between the Maple Leaf Portal and the Northgate Light Rail station.

“As the station and guideway construction plans moved past 90% it became apparent that we would not be able to maintain reasonable access for the businesses for at least two years while we build the guideway through the area,” emails Bruce Gray, public information officer for Sound Transit.

“Four of the large columns supporting the guideway will be on the property and as the designs progressed, it became clear that we can’t put them in while maintaining access to the tenants.”

The mall is immediately south of the Northgate Transit Center, and just east of First Avenue Northeast and Interstate 5.

Gray said that by now all the businesses in the mall should have been contacted.

Sound Transit will pay for all moving expenses and up to $50K in costs associated with reestablishing their businesses at a new location. Our people will also help the businesses find suitable new locations and work closely with them throughout the process.

In other light rail news, Sound Transit emailed on Thursday:

The first of two tunnel boring machines that will build the Northgate Link tunnels between the University of Washington Station and Northgate Station is having a good start. Today it will have travelled 500 feet since crews began mining south from the Maple Leaf Portal near NE 94th Street in early July. Crews expect the first TBM to reach Roosevelt Station in early 2015.

The light rail line here is set to begin operating in 2021.

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Two nearby news items – a shooting and a TBM (the T stands for tunnel)

July 9th, 2014 by Mike

Two press released arrived this afternoon. One is on a shooting nearby in Victory Heights. The other is the launch of Brenda – the Tunnel Boring Machine heading for the University District.

From Seattle Police:

Police are investigating after a man was wounded in a shooting in the Victory Heights neighborhood Wednesday afternoon following a dispute over an apparent drug debt.

Police responded to the 1700 block of Northeast 103rd Street, where they found the victim, who had been shot in the foot. Medics transported the man to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

At the scene, witnesses told officers two men had fled the scene in a black Lincoln Town Car. Police are now searching for the two men, described as a white male, 5’8, wearing a black tank top, and a white male, 6’0, wearing a blue dress shirt.

From Sound Transit:

The first of two tunnel boring machines that will dig new twin light rail tunnels from the Northgate neighborhood in Seattle to the University of Washington began mining today.

That would be Brenda. You can read more here.

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Why's that lane closed by the freeway? (hint: Brenda's coming)

May 7th, 2014 by Mike

Contractors for Sound Transit this morning closed a lane near the popular Interstate 5 entrance off Northeast 80 Street to install monitoring equipment to check on Brenda as she tunnels her way south from the Maple Leaf Portal.

“As early as Wednesday, May 7, Sound Transit’s contractor will install equipment along the Northgate Link tunnel alignment to monitor vertical movement of utility pipes (water and sewer lines) for the Northgate Link Extension,” according to a release from Sound Transit.

The monitors, called Utility Settlement Points, are glued to the top of a utility pipe inside a cast iron cover and inserted below the surface of the road and will be in place throughout construction of the Northgate Link Extension. This work will be done throughout the month of May and will take 1 to 3 days to complete at each location.

• Installation of the monitors requires drilling into the concrete, removing ground material with a vacuum truck and attaching the monitor to the utility.

• The contractor will perform this work between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. No high impact work will occur until after 8 a.m. A vacuum truck makes a noise similar to a diesel engine running at high rpms.

There are five work locations:  [Read more →]

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Why’s that lane closed by the freeway? (hint: Brenda’s coming)

May 7th, 2014 by Mike

Contractors for Sound Transit this morning closed a lane near the popular Interstate 5 entrance off Northeast 80 Street to install monitoring equipment to check on Brenda as she tunnels her way south from the Maple Leaf Portal.

“As early as Wednesday, May 7, Sound Transit’s contractor will install equipment along the Northgate Link tunnel alignment to monitor vertical movement of utility pipes (water and sewer lines) for the Northgate Link Extension,” according to a release from Sound Transit.

The monitors, called Utility Settlement Points, are glued to the top of a utility pipe inside a cast iron cover and inserted below the surface of the road and will be in place throughout construction of the Northgate Link Extension. This work will be done throughout the month of May and will take 1 to 3 days to complete at each location.

• Installation of the monitors requires drilling into the concrete, removing ground material with a vacuum truck and attaching the monitor to the utility.

• The contractor will perform this work between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays. No high impact work will occur until after 8 a.m. A vacuum truck makes a noise similar to a diesel engine running at high rpms.

There are five work locations:  [Read more →]

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Crow's eye view of the Maple Leaf Portal dig

March 14th, 2014 by Mike

A reader sent us this link to a construction cam atop the Maple Leaf Portal work site.

(Sometimes we can get it to work. Sometimes we can’t. Go figure.)

He also says First Avenue  Northeast at the site, which is currently one-way southbound, may not reopen in both directions as scheduled at the end of this month.

“The contractor just requested that they keep it one lane through May. (Sound Transit) hasn’t decided yet if they’re going to grant that yet, and part of that decision will be up to SDOT.”

A different reader, who clearly knows a lot more about the light rail project than we do, emailed the below last week.

Glossary (by editor):

TBM =  Tunnel Boring Machine (we think).

ST = Sound Transit.

Brenda = TBM named after a project manager’s wife, according to comments on an earlier post. Brenda is not Bertha, the whopping big TBM stuck on its way under downtown.

North Link = light rail that will run from Husky Stadium to Roosevelt Station to Northgate. It should reach Northgate in 2021.

Togo and Balto: From the same comments: “The two TBMs that are digging from UW to Capitol Hill were named Togo and Balto after famous Huskies – the four-legged kind.”

The fact sheet regarding tunneling in the North Link document archive notes that one TBM will be launched from Maple Leaf toward Roosevelt, where it will be trucked back to Maple Leaf for re-launch. Two TBMs will be launched from Roosevelt toward UW.

Brenda’s remnants are definitely at Maple Leaf, ST noted that in an earlier press release. Probably fitted with a new shield assembly and cutter head. I believe the original shield was left in place in the tunnel near the Paramount. I’m guessing Togo and Balto will likely be reused on the Roosevelt to UW segment, as that would be a cost effective move for the contractor and probably figured into their bid. Maybe rename them Brendaborg, Togoborg and Baltoborg. 🙂

Looking forward to this group trying to beat the ULINK bar for cost and schedule, but we shall see, hopefully no immovable objects stand in their way.

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Crow’s eye view of the Maple Leaf Portal dig

March 14th, 2014 by Mike

A reader sent us this link to a construction cam atop the Maple Leaf Portal work site.

(Sometimes we can get it to work. Sometimes we can’t. Go figure.)

He also says First Avenue  Northeast at the site, which is currently one-way southbound, may not reopen in both directions as scheduled at the end of this month.

“The contractor just requested that they keep it one lane through May. (Sound Transit) hasn’t decided yet if they’re going to grant that yet, and part of that decision will be up to SDOT.”

A different reader, who clearly knows a lot more about the light rail project than we do, emailed the below last week.

Glossary (by editor):

TBM =  Tunnel Boring Machine (we think).

ST = Sound Transit.

Brenda = TBM named after a project manager’s wife, according to comments on an earlier post. Brenda is not Bertha, the whopping big TBM stuck on its way under downtown.

North Link = light rail that will run from Husky Stadium to Roosevelt Station to Northgate. It should reach Northgate in 2021.

Togo and Balto: From the same comments: “The two TBMs that are digging from UW to Capitol Hill were named Togo and Balto after famous Huskies – the four-legged kind.”

The fact sheet regarding tunneling in the North Link document archive notes that one TBM will be launched from Maple Leaf toward Roosevelt, where it will be trucked back to Maple Leaf for re-launch. Two TBMs will be launched from Roosevelt toward UW.

Brenda’s remnants are definitely at Maple Leaf, ST noted that in an earlier press release. Probably fitted with a new shield assembly and cutter head. I believe the original shield was left in place in the tunnel near the Paramount. I’m guessing Togo and Balto will likely be reused on the Roosevelt to UW segment, as that would be a cost effective move for the contractor and probably figured into their bid. Maybe rename them Brendaborg, Togoborg and Baltoborg. 🙂

Looking forward to this group trying to beat the ULINK bar for cost and schedule, but we shall see, hopefully no immovable objects stand in their way.

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