News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


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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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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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.


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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Live north of 85th? Metro Transit is offering free ORCA card

August 7th, 2014 by Mike

This post courtesy of our sister site PhinneyWood.

Metro Transit’s new In Motion program for North Seattle and Shoreline aims to encourage people to use transit, bicycle, walk or carpool.

So it’s offering a free ORCA card good for two weeks of unlimited travel to anyone who pledges to change some of their trips from driving alone. This round of the program is for anyone who lives or works in north Seattle north of  Northeast 85th Street, or in Shoreline.

Just register online and record your weekly progress. (Must be at least 16 years old and have at least one car in your household to participate.) The program runs for 12 weeks.

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Car tabs to rise $20 – without voter approval – to keep buses running

August 12th, 2011 by Mike

Updating our Thursday post on paying more to register your vehicles, the King County Council this morning announced an agreement to let a super-majority of the council increase vehicle licenses by $20, without going to voters.

The money will go to fend off cuts in service by Metro buses, including several routes serving Maple Leaf and the Northgate Transit Center. An official council vote is expected Monday.

The deal settles a standoff between County Council members from Seattle, which needs more bus service – or at least to keep the service it already has, and suburban cities, where buses often run with few passengers. Part of the deal eliminates the downtown free-ride zone for buses. Another part gives $20 in free bus passes to any taxpayer who gets hit with the $20-per-car charge.

Our news partners The Seattle Times are updating the story here. Erica Barnett at Publicola is updating here. There’s also a background piece on the issue in Crosscut last month here.

Still to come: How much more money will the Seattle City Council ask voters to pay for vehicle registration? That council is expected to vote Monday on an increase of up to $80 per vehicle – but this time it is expected to be on voters’ ballots.

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$80 – more or less – added to your car tab fee to back transit, street repairs, bikes and pedestrians?

August 11th, 2011 by Mike

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:”

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.”

She says:

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.

Seattle Channel Video can be played in Flash Player 9 and up

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Maple Leaf gets best schools ranking on NabeWise

August 10th, 2010 by master

It appears that enough Maple Leaf residents finally chimed in about all the perks of our neighborhood to put us in the rankings on NabeWise.

The website ranks neighborhoods in specific cities based on reviews from its own residents, who must be members of the site to contribute. Since the site added Seattle in June, Maple Leaf already has climbed into the No. 1 spot for the city’s best public schools, according to the Maple Leaf page.

And despite the parking brouhaha that has erupted since the Seattle Department of Transportation proposed eliminating parking on the west side of Roosevelt Way Northeast from 75th to 85th avenues northeast (don’t fret, the plan is now on hold), residents seem to think parking around the neighborhood is pretty easy, ranking us the second-easiest neighborhood to find parking citywide.

We’re also in third place for day cares/preschools, fifth for access to public transportation and sixth for sense of community (check out photos of the recent Maple Leaf Summer Social and last week’s National Night Out if you need proof).

Out of the city’s 196 neighborhoods now rated on the site, our lowest rankings are for income, at 103rd; rent for a two-bedroom apartment puts us in the 91st spot; we’re only in the 32nd spot for cleanliness; 22nd for parks (but we’re likely to rise in that ranking when Maple Leaf Reservoir Park opens in 2012); and 20th for quietness.

Some of the basics about our neighborhood still could use some work, however. The description of Maple Leaf says there are “some 20,000 residents” as opposed to the 4,000 listed on Zillow, and the map cuts through the middle of the reservoir as opposed to the larger map the Maple Leaf Community Council uses.

But Seattle is still “seeding” on the site, which means there’s still work to be done. So keep ranking us high and we’ll see if our home values finally start to rise a little.

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Help design our new neighborhood light rail stations

June 3rd, 2010 by Mike

Update: Sound Transit says these light rail stations will open in December of 2020. We’ve corrected that below. Also, the links to Sound Transit sites are live again.


When Sound Transit moves north from the University District with its North Link trains, two light rail stations will serve Maple Leaf, one near Roosevelt High School, the other at the Northgate Transit Center.

A final design meeting for those stations, and one on Brooklyn Avenue Northeast at 45th Street, will be held Wednesday, June 16, at Roosevelt High, 1410 N.E. 66th St. Details are here. The stations are to open by 2020.

The underground Roosevelt station will be 90 feet beneath 12th Avenue Northeast, and will include two entrances with pedestrian plazas at 65th and 67th streets. The north entrance will be outside the high school about where the QFC is today.

The elevated Northgate station, two miles north of the Roosevelt station, will be sandwiched between Interstate 5 and Metro’s Transit Center, just about where the express lanes now exit the freeway. It will span Northeast 103rd Street  just east of First Avenue, with entrances on Northgate Mall property and near the transit center.

Sound Transit has provided overhead diagrams of each station and the area within a five-minute walking distance. Here’s the  Northgate station (pdf). And here’s Roosevelt (pdf).

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