News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Feet First invites you on a Northgate walk Saturday

April 25th, 2012 by master

Although it’ll be another eight years until the first Sound Transit light rail train officially rolls into the Northgate Station, it’s never too early to start planning walking routes to, from and around the station.

Feet First, a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting walkable communities, is doing just that with “Walking in Northgate … Opportunities with Light Rail,” a walk around the neighborhood from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 28:

Come take a walk with us around the neighborhood to learn how Northgate can become a great place to live and work, and to walk and bike.

Staff from Seattle Department of Planning and Development, Sound Transit, King County Metro, and Puget Sound Regional Council will be on hand to answer questions.

Interested? Meet at 10 a.m. at Thornton Creek Plaza, N.E. 319 Thornton Place (next to The Jewel Box Cafe).

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Reminder from Feet First about our backyard gems

May 16th, 2011 by master

If you haven’t put your feet first yet, Chas Redmond certainly hopes you do soon, and that you take one of the Feet First maps with your on your excursion around the city.

Redmond, a Feet First board of directors member, passed around pedestrian-friendly maps of Northeast Seattle at last month’s Maple Leaf General Community Meeting, reminding Maple Leaf residents of the myraid gems that are hidden right in our backyards (see our own post “Scenes from the ‘urban trail’ to Matthews Beach“).

The maps do more than connect walkers from one place to the next through scenic neighborhoods and urban trails. They also offer suggested walks, including “The Maple Leaf Playground Loop,” which circles Maple Leaf Park and the reservoir, as well as “Two Reservoir Walk,” which takes pedestrian from that loop down to Froula Playground and Roosevelt Reservoir.

If you don’t have a map, they’re usually available at community centers and Seattle Public Libraries, and Redmond urges people to please let him know at if they find any discrepancies between what has been printed in the map and what is actually reality. Although it might take some time for the change to be made in the printed maps, he said they will be made quickly on the electronic version.

By the way, what do you think about these “wayfinding stations”? The one pictured above is a Feet First map made into art located in West Seattle, and Feet First is hoping to bring them to Northeast Seattle as well. Let them know if you like the idea (they would be funded by grants) and where you think they would best serve pedestrians in Northeast Seattle.

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Staircase at 20th Ave. and 98th St. repaired for now

April 8th, 2011 by master

It may not be as pretty as in its heyday last summer, but the multicolored wood now making up the staircase at 20th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 98th Street is better than the gaping hole that was in its place a week ago.

And there there will be more to come. Marybeth Turner with the Seattle Department of Transportation tells us repairs are done for now, but that this is just a temporary fix until crews can make a permanent repair when school is not in session. The staircase, which travels north over Thornton Creek from 98th Street to Northeast 100th Street, is near Sacajawea Elementary School and is used by many of its students.
Turner adds that the stairway was damaged by slope erosion two weeks ago.

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Collapsed stairway should be safe again by April 8

March 31st, 2011 by master

Marybeth Turner with the Seattle Department of Transportation has given us an optimistic update about the collapsed staircase at 20th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 98th Street:

The staircase located at 20th Ave NE and NE 98th St was damaged when a landslide caused its footing to move several feet.  SDOT has evaluated the damage and will begin repair work starting on April 1.  The repair work will take approximately one week and SDOT expects to reopen the staircase for full use on April 8.  These temporary repairs will enable safe use of the staircase now and will allow SDOT to schedule permanent repairs when school is not in session.

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Staircase heading to Thornton Creek collapses

March 29th, 2011 by master

What a difference a winter makes. Last summer, we posted the above photo of the pedestrian staircase where 20th Avenue Northeast ends at Northeast 98th Street.

Reader Seth Myers sent us the following photos of what the staircase heading down to Thornton Creek now looks like:

And no, we’re not talking about the lack of greenery, but rather the huge chasm now in the middle of the staircase.

Although the staircase is closed for the time being, we’re still waiting to hear back from the Seattle Department of Transportation about what exactly happened, and what the fate of the staircase will be.

Click below for a view of the staircase from the side, to see just how bad it is. Thanks for the photos, Seth. [Read more →]

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97th Street staircase open for pedestrians

August 9th, 2010 by master

Like many of the streets on the east side of Maple Leaf, you can’t count on Northeast 97th Street to get you in a straight line from 15th Avenue Northeast to Lake City Way. And for about a month, the one-block stretch where the street ends for vehicles between 19th and 20th avenues northeast also ended for pedestrians.

But the staircase that has connected those two dead ends for decades again is open for pedestrians after construction by the Seattle Department of Transportation gave us a bigger and better staircase with a double-handrail on both sides and some extra width to bring it up to new standards.

From the looks of it, the project isn’t done yet. The trail from 19th Avenue that leads to the bottom of the staircase also appears to be getting a makeover that not only will make it easier to walk on, but also will make it more visible to pedestrians who previously might have simply passed by the grassy entrance.

Check out more pedestrian paths through the neighborhood on the Northeast Seattle Trails map (pdf).

What are some of your favorite secret paths in Maple Leaf?

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Northgate Nature Walk kicks off a weekend of fun

July 9th, 2010 by master

Don’t let the heat keep you from enjoying the outdoors this evening.

Northgate Community Center invites you to beat the heat but still enjoy the outdoors during a nature walk from 6:30-8:30 p.m. tonight.

A naturalist from Carkeek Park will lead participants of the Family Fun Night event from the community center, located at 10510 Fifth Ave. N.E., down Northeast 105th Street to the beaver dam in Thornton Creek Park No. 6, then back to the west side of Fifth Avenue to the daylighted part of Thornton Creek that splits Thornton Place.

Northgate Community Center coordinator Patty Maxwell said the walk won’t be longer than a half-mile, making it suitable for all ages.  “It’s shaded and it’ll be nice and cool in there,” she added.

The event costs $5 per family. Also in and around Maple Leaf this weekend: [Read more →]

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Scenes from the 'urban trail' to Matthews Beach

July 4th, 2010 by master

If you haven’t picked up a Northeast Seattle Trails guide yet, here are scenes from a marked hike from Maple Leaf to Matthews Beach, via the Meadowbrook Pond. We began our descent at Northeast 98th Street. (Download a pdf of the map here, and the accompanying text with trail details here.)

This staircase at 98th Street and 20th Avenue Northeast is a gem that’s truly priceless while the bridge at 15th Avenue Northeast is closed not only to cars and bicycles, but also to pedestrians. If you’re traveling by foot, it takes you across Thornton Creek and into the Victory Heights neighborhood. (We didn’t take this route, just thought it was worth mentioning!)

Farther down 98th Avenue near Northeast 23rd Street, a tributary of Thornton Creek (what looks like Beckler Creek on the map) peeks through. [Read more →]

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Put your Feet First throughout Northeast Seattle

March 10th, 2010 by master

Looking for a new route to take the dog on or just to take a long stroll through the neighborhood?

We’ve already written about the Walk Score Web site, which by the way now rates Maple Leaf as the city’s 29th most walkable neighborhood. But what if nature is your destination instead of the shops, restaurants and other venues that help give us our score of 73?

All you need for that is the free Feet First trail guide for Northeast Seattle Trails. With map in tow and good shoes on your feet, you can travel as far north as Jackson Park, as far east as Sand Point and as far south as Laurelhurst to one of the two dozen parks in the region or any other destination.

The map offers plenty of walking routes throughout Northeast Seattle, including nature trails, creek walks and potential future trails, and lets you know where crosswalks, signals and even steep slopes are. The legend is plenty of fun on its own, including icons for water fountains, restrooms, parks, community gardens, skate spots, points of interest, grocery stores, farmers markets, shopping areas and much more.

There are even a couple of suggested walks for Maple Leaf, including the 1-mile Maple Leaf Playground Loop, which circles Maple Leaf Park and the reservoir. Or make that the 2-mile Two Reservoir Walk, which adds Froula Playground and the Roosevelt Reservoir to the scenery.

Don’t know where to find a map? Maple Leaf Community Councilwoman Janice Camp, who worked on the Feet First planning committee, said they’re available in Northeast Seattle businesses including Maple Leaf’s Cloud City Coffee, Ace Hardware and Reckless Video, as well as at area community centers and libraries, including our own Northgate  branch.

What’s your favorite walking route in Maple Leaf or the greater Northeast Seattle area?

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