Category Archives: Development

Lake City Starbucks moved into trailer during remodel

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The Starbucks Coffee on Lake City Way near NE 120th Street has moved into a small trailer as the store kicks off a major remodel.

The coffee shop can be a buzzing spot some evenings, with dozens of people camped in the location’s comfortable chairs, doing school work, using the Wi-Fi or socializing.

But the seating area is now a few outdoor chairs under umbrellas in what used to be the parking lot. A chain link fence surrounds the store as construction crews take over the location.

Walk up and drive up service continues at the location, but the comfortable atmosphere is now a construction zone.

The project is expected to take about two months.

PHOTOS: Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project kickoff

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project sign is unveiled. (LCL photo)

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project sign is unveiled. (LCL photo)

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project kicked off on Friday, March 28 with a safety walk and sign unveiling at the intersection of NE 125th Street and Lake City Way.

The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project is a joint effort between agencies and citizens to improve safety along Lake City Way from Northeast 78th Street to NE 145th Street. The team is comprised of three teams —engineering, enforcement and education— that will identify problems and develop action plans using short term, low cost solutions to reduce serious injuries and deaths.

The Friday event featured officials from the Seattle Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation, Seattle Police Department, Washington State Patrol, and Seattle City Councilmember Sally Clark.

Community members marched with signs, socialized and unveiled a large street sign that will inform drivers of the project and enhanced traffic enforcement. Probably the most exciting moment was when two dozen motorcycle cops and officers in cruisers launched form the event to begin a blanket of traffic enforcement. You can see photos of the event below.

Marchers are pushed to the edge of the crosswalk by a car. (LCL photo)

Pedestrians are pushed to the edge of the crosswalk by a car during the event. (LCL photo)

Members of the Free Wheelers participate. (LCL photo)

Members of the Free Wheelers participate. (LCL photo)

Students from Nathan Hale High School participate. (LCL photo)

Students from Nathan Hale High School participate. (LCL photo)

Washington State Patrol Troopers pose for a photo at the event. (LCL photo)

Washington State Patrol Troopers pose for a photo at the event. (LCL photo)

Nathan Hale students and other community members participate. (LCL photo)

Nathan Hale students and other community members participate. (LCL photo)

A sign written in Arabic is held up. (LCL photo)

A sign written in Arabic is held up. (LCL photo)

A sign in Spanish is held up. (LCL photo)

A sign in Spanish is held up. (LCL photo)

Nathan Hale students and other community members participate. (LCL photo)

Nathan Hale students and other community members participate. (LCL photo)

City Councilmember Sally Clark speaks. (LCL photo)

City Councilmember Sally Clark speaks. (LCL photo)

Washington State Patrol troopers and Seattle Police officers begin enhanced traffic enforcement. (LCL photo)

Washington State Patrol troopers and Seattle Police officers begin enhanced traffic enforcement. (LCL photo)

“Good Morning, North Seattle!” hosted by North Seattle Chamber

Website picsEarly Registration Ends
Wednesday, March 26!

Click here to register for Good Morning, North Seattle and save 50% on admission.

Friday, March 28, 2014
7:30AM-9:15AM
Hotel Nexus
2140 N Northgate Way

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  • Freestyle networking
  • Round-robin networking
  • Bonuse Pre-Event:  Free Coaching with
    Sandy Bjorgen, 7-7:30AM 
  • Continental Breakfast
  • New Contacts
  • Door prizes and drawings! Bring a door prize to have your name mentioned in the program.

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For more information, please call 206.363.3287 or email Diane Haugen, North Seattle Chamber of Commerce, northseattlechamber@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project kickoff scheduled for Friday, March 28

Flyer announcing the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project.

Flyer announcing the Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project.

You may have already noticed the billboards, flyers or walkers carrying signs in recent months along Lake City Way. But on Friday, March 28, The Lake City Way Traffic Safety Project will formally kickoff with an event on Lake City Way.

Neighborhood residents march on Lake CIty Way on November 12, 2013. (LCL photo)

Neighborhood residents march on Lake CIty Way on November 12, 2013. (LCL photo)

The project is a coordinated effort between the community, the City of Seattle, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and the Washington State Department of Transportation. The project will bring engineering improvements, extra enforcement, and greater safety awareness to the busy Lake City Way traffic corridor.

Corridor Safety Projects are one of the tools employed by the WTSC to achieve the agency goal to end traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. There have been two other traffic safety projects in Seattle, Rainer Avenue South and Aurora.

Data compiled for Lake City Way from Northeast 78th Street to NE 145th Street between January 2007 and December 2011 show that on this 3.7 miles stretch of roadway there have been:

  • 717 crashes (143 per year)
  • 21 serious and fatal crashes (4 per year) and
  • 438 total injuries (88 per year)

At 3:30 p.m. there will be a walk along the street and at 4 p.m. the project will launch at Chase Plaza on the southwest corner of 125th and Lake City Way.

The LCW Traffic Safety Project task force is organized into three teams —engineering, enforcement and education— to identify problems and develop action plans using short term, low cost solutions designed to reduce serious injuries and deaths.

You can learn more about the project by clicking here.

Two Jane Addams?

Is anyone else confused by the double Jane Addams’ school names in Lake City? Hopefully this will help…

Jane Addams building and playfield

Jane Addams building and playfield

 

The Jane Addams Name

It starts with the Jane Addams building, located near Nathan Hale High School. The building itself has been called Jane Addams since its inception in 1949, despite housing different programs over the years, including Summit K-12 and the Seattle Light Opera. It is Seattle School District policy to keep the name of a building, regardless of the program occupying it. Five years ago, the district opened a K-8 program in the building, aptly-named Jane Addams K-8 (or JA K-8). The JA K-8 program is in the Jane Addams building today, but will move next year.

 

So What’s Changing?

The District needs more middle school capacity, and needs it fast. To make room, the JA K-8 program will be relocated (first to an interim site at John Marshall near Greenlake, then to its final location along Pinehurst Way). Along with the move, the JA K-8 program will be renamed.

Middle school choice worksheet - orange indicates JAMS, yellow indicates JA K-8 option

Middle school choice worksheet – orange indicates JAMS, yellow indicates JA K-8 option

Next fall, the Jane Addams building will house a new comprehensive middle school program- and guess what it’ll be called? Jane Addams Middle School (or JAMS)! Middle school students currently living in the Lake City area will be automatically assigned to JAMS; this includes 6th and 7th grade Lake City students currently enrolled at Eckstein Middle School. In fact, families should have already received their enrollment letters notifying them of this.

The confusion comes because there are two schools offering middle school options for fall of 2014, both currently using the Jane Addams name AND both offering informational events in the Jane Addams building!

Unfortunately, district processes take time. The JA K-8′s new program name will not be available until after the open enrollment process has ended, so prospective families must know to select “Jane Addams K-8″ on their school choice forms, since it’s an “option” school, not an “assignment” school.

As for JAMS, though the program won’t officially open until the fall, planning is well underway. A principal is in place, staff hiring has begun and future JAMS parents are invited to learn more by attending informational events – in the Jane Addams building.

 

Where Will My Middle-School Student Go?

That’s up to you. If you live in Lake City your child will be automatically assigned to JAMS. However, you can choose to enroll your student elsewhere, through the district’s school choice enrollment process, happening now through March 7. You can still enroll after March 7th, but students who enroll before then will receive priority.

 

Reclaiming a Neighborhood Park

VirgilFlaimsign_editedJust a year ago, Virgil Flaim Park, (also known as the Lake City playground) was plagued with negative behaviors. Public drunkenness, drug use and sales, prostitution, fighting and aggressive behaviors drove many park visitors away.

 

Neighbors living near the park banded together to help change that, and they succeeded. Today, it’s a Lake City success story.  On a sunny day like today, you’ll find children playing, people of all ages utilizing the walking path around the park, soccer games, BBQs and more.

 

How’d they do it?

Kris Meyers, one of several neighbors who helped spearhead the efforts cites the “Broken Window” theory as their starting point.  The theory asserts that an area which looks poorly cared for will attract negative behavior, while an area that is well-kept is more likely to attract positive behavior. Positive behavior, in turn, activates the area and helps deter crime.

 

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Empty alcohol containers found at the park last year

Last year, Meyers and several other neighbors began walking the park daily in teams of 2 to 5, picking up trash. They wore orange reflective vests, carried buckets and pinch-style trash grabbers. On any given day they’d pick up a variety of disturbing items: dime bags (small plastic bags used to package and sell cocaine and methamphetamines), colorful used condoms a child might easily confuse with a deflated balloon, needles and other paraphernalia. During one particularly notable week, Meyers said they collected 80 empty beer cans, an empty bottle of rum and two empty bottles of wine, then found almost the same number of empty alcohol containers again just two days later.

 

As they worked, they began recognizing faces – both of neighbors out to enjoy the park and others using the park for illegal activities. Meyers said they always kept a calm, friendly demeanor. If they were collecting empty containers near someone, they might ask, “Do you mind if I pick these up?”  If there was any hint of confrontation, Meyers said they would simply smile and move on.

 

Playground_editedMeyers also helped organize the neighborhood by starting the Hiram Place Neighborhood Association. Like a neighborhood watch group, the association has no fees, it’s just neighbors working together to address safety concerns.  Neighbors were encouraged to join and Meyers and his crew provided coaching on how to call 911. Meyers was quick to point out the difference between complaints and legitimate safety concerns. Noisy kids playing ball might be upsetting to some, but  not a real safety issue.  Someone drinking alcohol, yelling and acting aggressively, on the other hand, would be a legitimate safety concern.

 

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A worker from the Lake City Professional Building enjoys his lunch in the afternoon sunshine

Meyers and his neighbors also worked with the city and nearby landowners. They persuaded Lorrig and Associates, the owner of the Lake City Professional building, to trim back a large laurel hedge which visually separated the building from the park. The hedge was lowered to just below eye-level, providing more visibility. The northeast corner of the park also tended to attract the worst behaviors, so they worked with the Department of Parks and Recreation to remove low-hanging branches from trees in that corner of the park. The increased visibility helped deter crime.

 

Meyers notes how much the park has changed over the year. He still checks the park regularly for trash, but finds little.  The frequent 911 calls are now few and far between. And best of all, a blossoming sense of community has built in this quiet pocket of Lake City.

 

 

History of Virgil Flaim

Virgil Flaim has a long history in the neighborhood. The park once served as the playfields for the Lake City School before it became what it is now – the Lake City Professional Building.  After the school closure, Virgil Flaim became one of the first projects created with a grant from Seattle’s Neighborhood Matching Fund. The area has served as a neighborhood park and playground ever since.  Recently, Skate Lake City was awarded a grant to design and build a skate spot at the park. Neighbors hope it will bring further positive activity to the area.

Fire Station Tour Saturday

New Fire StationmodifiedThis Saturday, February 8th, the Lake City Fire Station will open its doors for an Open House event in conjunction with Seattle’s Neighbor Appreciation Day. Bring your kids to tour the station and meet your neighborhood fire fighters; the event is free.

 

Fire Station #39 Open House
2806 NE 127th St
Saturday, February 8
11:00am – 1:00pm

 

History

“Neighbor Appreciation Day began in 1995 when Phinney Ridge activist Judith Wood suggested that the City designate “a special day to celebrate the goodness in those around us and to reach out and strengthen our bonds to each other.” Mayor Norm Rice proclaimed the Saturday before Valentine’s Day as Neighbor Appreciation Day. The observance has grown every year since.”  (excerpted from www.seattle.gov)

The  Neighbor Appreciation Day website even has a place where you can send specialized ecards to your neighbors. Or, if you have a great story you’d like to share about a positive experience you’ve had with a neighbor, why you love your neighborhood, or what you’re doing to celebrate the day, you can submit it here.

Lake City Way becomes Lake City Bay in global ice melt scenario

HERE (Click image to see full map)

A clipping from Jeffrey Linn’s Islands of Seattle map shows the hypothetical Lake City Bay and Thornton Bay, the result of the melt of all global ice sheets. (Click image to see full map)

You may have seen this map being shared in the last few days on social media.

Jeffrey Linn has created a unique look at Seattle. His “Islands of Seattle” shows what our city would look like if polar ice sheets all melted, raising the sea level —significantly.

While not something that is expected to happen in the next few millennia, a climate event of this magnitude, and the topography of North Seattle, would change Lake City Way into Lake City Bay. Cedar Park would become Cedar Heights Island and much of the Thornton Creek watershed would be underwater.

From Linn’s post on the University of Washington’s The Whole U blog:

This map is based on real-world information—I created the Seattle sea levels from publicly-available LiDAR data, rendering the rise of the seas in 10-foot increments for the animation, starting at the current shoreline, and ending with the 240-foot level. The Islands of Seattle poster was rendered at 240 feet of rise, which is roughly what would happen if all the world’s ice sheets melted.

Now this extreme event is not something to cause you to worry that your yard may be underwater in thousands of years. But it is an interesting look at what our small slice of the globe could look like in the distant future.

Linn said in his post:

I don’t know how long it would take for this to happen. One estimate says roughly 5,000 years. If this is accurate, then our descendants living with this level of sea rise would look back on our time in the same way that we might look back on the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt. The time of the pharaohs would be closer to us than the time of the Seattle Archipelago. So, although we should all be very concerned about the effects of climate change, including the resulting sea rise, don’t base your next apartment rental decision on this map.

You can view Linn’s map in much more detail here on his site.

Pedestrian island on NE 125th prompts questions from residents, city answers

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A pedestrian island being installed on NE 125th Street at the intersection with 20th Avenue NE has promoted questions from Lake City residents. Some say the island makes using the turn lane difficult there. Others say the island is an obstacle that will likely damage cars.

Changes on the road have prompted much controversy in recent years as it was rechanneled from four car lanes to the current configuration of two travel lanes, a turn lane and two bike lanes.

Recently Brian Dougherty from SDOT provided the following answers about the island to the community.

Why did the crosswalk at 20th Avenue NE and NE 125th Street get marked?
There were no marked crosswalks across NE 125th Street between 25th Avenue NE and 15th Avenue NE – a distance of nearly half-mile. The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) marked the crosswalk and installed school crosswalk signs to make crossing the street easier, to improve pedestrian connections between neighborhoods, and to make the crossing safer and more appealing to existing and potential transit users. There are bus stops, a church and a child care center located at this intersection. The walk zone for Olympic Hills Elementary extends south of NE 125th Street and this marked crosswalk provides families living in the Victory Heights neighborhood a safer, more direct option for crossing NE 125th Street on foot.

Why is SDOT installing a pedestrian safety island at the marked crosswalk?
The island improves safety by providing two-stage crossing of NE 125th Street. This two-stage crossing gives people a place to stand and wait in the middle of the street where they are less exposed to moving traffic. Additionally, since the crossing may be used by families walking to Olympic Hills Elementary, SDOT is providing this additional safety feature to give families a safer way to cross the street.

Will this island restrict left turns at the intersection?
The pedestrian island has been designed to accommodate vehicles, including cars, SUVS, pickup trucks and delivery trucks, turning on and off NE 125th Street without hitting the island. Vehicles will have to slow down in order to access the turn pocket, which is a safety feature.

What are the benefits of this new pedestrian island?
Crossing the street can be a complex task for pedestrians. Pedestrians must estimate vehicle speeds, adjust their own walking speeds, determine adequacy of gaps in traffic, predict vehicle movements, and time their crossings appropriately. Drivers must see pedestrians, estimate vehicle and pedestrian speeds, determine the need for action, and react.

Raised medians and pedestrian refuge islands allow pedestrians to cross one direction of traffic at a time. This significantly reduces the complexity of the crossing. Federal Highway Administration research shows pedestrian islands have a 46 percent reduction in pedestrian crashes. Similar research found a reduction of motor vehicle crashes by 15 percent. These islands also visually narrow the street, reducing the number of people exceeding the speed limit.

Medians are especially important at transit stops. Transit stops are frequently located along busy streets. Providing medians can make these crossings safer and more appealing to existing and potential transit users.

Will there be additional enhancements to the pedestrian island?
At this time no additional enhancements are planned. SDOT plans to evaluate the crosswalk again in 2014 to determine if additional safety enhancements are needed.

Construction started on ‘Safe Routes to School’ sidewalk on NE 130th

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Construction has started on a new sidewalk on the south side of NE 130th Street between 25th Avenue NE and 28th Avenue NE. The stretch of sidewalk will connect existing sidewalks and will provide a safer route for pedestrians walking between Olympic Hills Elementary and the Lake City Library and Community Center. Currently pedestrians must walk in the street to travel between the facilities.

The project includes building a new concrete sidewalk and planting strip on the south side of NE 130th Street between 25th Avenue NE & 28th Avenue NE. The project will also install new trees, ground cover and additional street lighting. The total cost for the project is expected to be around $735,000. It is expected to be complete in March.

SDOT applied for and received a grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation to build the sidewalk. The grant also includes funding for education and encouragement of walking and biking to school, additional traffic enforcement and formal evaluation of arrival and dismissal patterns at the school.  SDOT’s partners in these efforts include Feet First, Cascade Bicycle Club, and the Seattle Police Department.

Construction was originally planned to start in 2013 but was delayed. Last summer neighbors rallied and helped a senior resident remove part of an elaborate garden she built that was along the route of the planned sidewalk. The sidewalk link is infrastructure that some longtime residents say they have been requesting for decades.

Joyce Hsu's "Flyways"

Joyce Hsu’s “Flyways.” Click image to see more about art project.

The sidewalk construction project will include a public art element. “Flyways” will be an installation by artist Joyce Hsu and is described as a free standing carousel of northern flicker birds mounted on top of a metal pole. It is planned to be installed at the intersection of NE 130th Street and 28th Avenue NE.

“It is my intention to create an artwork that is playful in look and field so as to attract the attention of school kids in addition to becoming an icon in the neighborhood,” said the artist in her proposal. Click here for more info on the art installation.

Click here for more information on the sidewalk project.