First Fast Ferry Run Impresses, Leaves Room for Improvement

On Monday Kitsap Transit’s new Fast Ferry officially started operations between Seattle and Bremerton, offering a faster transit option for commuters and visitors. Read our previous coverage of the launch for background information and scheduling details. First impressions on were favorable, but the service has a number of kinks to work out before it can be a positive force for change in the Puget Sound region.

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Kitsap Transit’s Fast Ferry Starts Monday

The Rich Passage I. (Photo by Kitsap Sun)

After 14 years, Seattle and Kitsap County will once again have a rapid transit route linking them: a passenger-only fast ferry run by Kitsap Transit. Free service begins with a single boat to and from Bremerton on Monday, July 10, and then fares start being collected in August. With a crossing time of 28 minutes, less than half that of the Washington State auto-ferry, the new service may spur economic development on the peninsula and open up more housing options for regional commuters.

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Seattle Convention Center Hosting Public Benefit Event December 7

Rendering of the Convention Center Addition, at the corner of Pine Street and Boren Avenue next to Interstate 5. (LMN Architects, Washington State Convention Center)

Rendering of the Convention Center Addition, at the corner of Pine Street and Boren Avenue next to Interstate 5. (LMN Architects, Washington State Convention Center)

The next phase of the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) is being planned, and associated with it may be millions of dollars in discretionary public benefit funding. Occupying four city blocks, the WSCC Addition project will transform a long-neglected corner of Downtown Seattle and offer more meeting and event space for locals and visitors. And perched on the edge of Interstate 5, the new facility will further reconnect the urban office core with the nightlife and residential community on Capitol Hill.

Ideas for the public benefits offered by the project will be showcased at an open house next week. Event details follow, and below the jump is more history and information about the project.

Wednesday, December 7
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Room 2AB, Convention Center, 705 Pike Street
Facebook RSVP (unofficial)

There is also an online version of the open house available.

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Posted in Land Use, Lid I-5, Megaprojects, Public Participation, Public Space, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Movement Seeks to Empower Seattle Renters

20160924_145305_editOn Saturday the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict hosted a Renter Summit to kick off a community conversation about rising rents, renter protections, and transportation options. The half-day event at Miller Community Center drew at least 100 residents from the Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Central District neighborhoods and was headlined by a variety of prominent officials, including Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Kshama Sawant. The goal of the event was for residents to understand the latest data on housing and transportation, share information with each other, and begin to develop priorities for local and state advocacy.

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Posted in Housing, Policy, Public Participation, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Melrose Promenade Awarded $3 Million for Construction

Melrose Avenue, looking north from Thomas Street. (Photo by the author)

Melrose Avenue, looking north from Thomas Street. (Photo by the author)

Last week the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) released its recommendations for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal transportation funding. The Urbanist has the rundown on the most high profile local projects, including improvements for Denny Way and partial funding for the 1st Avenue Streetcar, but there are many smaller awards throughout the region. A significant result for Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is a $3 million grant for the Melrose Promenade, a greenway and public space project that seeks to transform an underutilized street.

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Posted in Biking, Parks, Public Art, Public Space, Transportation, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vote No on Seattle Initiative 123

Overview Waterfront RenderIt’s time to vote down one of the most disastrous ballot measures to come before Seattle voters in years: Initiative 123, a rouge attempt to disrupt over a decade of planning and waste millions of dollars in design for Seattle’s new waterfront park. I-123 would undo the community’s vision for a shoreline reborn with the removal of the highway viaduct, the creation of a new seawall and waterfront promenade, and a new pedestrian connection to Pike Place Market. This irresponsible and unaccountable measure must be defeated at the ballot box on August 2nd.

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Posted in Biking, Public Space, Roads, Sustainability, Transportation, Walking, Water | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Whose Sign Is It, Anyway?

20160711_171751_editAs a commuter moving up and down Olive Way every day, I always notice when something changes on the street. And on the morning of February 29th, what I saw was admittedly anticlimactic: a missing pedestrian sign and signal at the on-ramp to Interstate 5. I tweeted the problem to local government agencies, expecting a quick fix, but what followed was a blame-shedding game of hot potato and a disappointing look into the bureaucratic agencies that manage our safety on the streets. Urbanists expect better from our local transportation departments.

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Posted in Government, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Build Bike Lanes on 4th Avenue

20160517_164104(0)The City of Seattle has cut back significantly on its plans for street safety projects citywide, but especially in Downtown and the southern neighborhoods. This has left advocates confused and frustrated, as the City had extensive plans for protected bike lanes and greenways that would create a comprehensive network. And voters just overwhelmingly approved a $930 million levy to build these projects. While that is sorted out and the City adds on another layer of Seattle Process with a “Center City Mobility Plan”, there is one key opportunity that we could implement today at low cost: redesigning 4th Avenue through Downtown.

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Posted in Biking, Buses, Cars, Parking, Transportation, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lid I-5 Charrette Draws Big Crowd and Big Ideas

20160507_105034Last Saturday a diverse mix of Seattle residents, designers, and community leaders converged on the 12th Avenue Arts building to imagine lidding Interstate 5. At least 75 people packed a conference room all morning and gathered around tables full of maps and trace paper to hash out ideas for how lids should be designed and integrated into the city’s existing urban fabric. Designs universally included park space, but there was also a strong showing of bike and pedestrian trails, housing, and even an elementary school. The charrette succeeded in kicking off a broader public conversation of lidding I-5 and building a grassroots movement to correct the mistakes of 20th century infrastructure.

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Posted in Editorial, Event Writeup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments