News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood

 

Entries from September 2010

Electronic tolling coming to the 520 Bridge

September 30th, 2010 by master

Commuters heading from Wallingford to the Eastside will be hit with a toll starting next year. The Washington State Department of Transportation sent out this alert:

In the spring of 2011, all-electronic tolling will begin on the SR 520 Bridge to help pay for the construction of a new, safer bridge. Good To Go! electronic tolling uses technology to keep traffic moving with no toll booths, no stopping, and no slowing down.

Good To Go! account customers can set up prepaid accounts linked to a Good To Go! Pass that is installed in your vehicle or linked to your license plate. Automatic replenishment allows you to never have to worry about running low in your account. Simply link a bank account or credit card to the account and your Good To Go! account is automatically replenished when you run low.

Toll rates will be determined this fall by the Washington State Transportation Commission. The Commission is studying two toll rate options: a lower toll rate for vehicles with Good to Go! accounts and a higher rate for vehicles that receive a bill and pay-by-mail. The Commission also will set toll rates that vary by time of day and on weekends to encourage driving during less-congested periods. For example, rates during weekday morning and afternoon peak periods will be higher than during off peak hours and weekends.

The Commission is following a process outlined in the Washington Administrative Code that will include public hearings this fall that will be well-publicized in advance. Final toll rate decisions are expected to be made by early next year. You can review Commission meeting agendas and minutes, as well as submit your comments about toll rates, at www.wstc.wa.gov .

Starting in early October and continuing next year, Metro and Sound Transit will be adding nearly 130 bus trips a day across the SR 520 bridge. These service enhancements, along with park-and-ride and bus stop improvements, will give drivers an alternative to paying tolls when electronic tolling begins in spring 2011.

Good to Go! passes will be available in mid-January 2011.

More information on the 520 project and tolling can be found here. You can sign up for Good to Go! information and other incentives here.

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Wallingford library and SHARE funding discussed at budget hearing

September 29th, 2010 by master

A plan to remove the on-site librarian from the Wallingford library and funding for the Seattle Housing and Resource Effort (SHARE) were just some of the topics of discussion at Wednesday’s public hearing on the city budget in Northgate. 

“The library changes and improves lives,” said Tony Provine of Friends of the Seattle Public Library.

A crowd lines up to speak at Wednesday night’s budget hearing in Northgate

Under the mayor’s plan, the Wallingford library and 7 other smaller libraries will be converted to “circulating libraries.”  The Wallingford library will continue to be open 35 hours per week and offer collections, holds-pickup, and computer access.   But access to specialized services will be provided online or by telephone access to staff at the Central Library. Programming will be primarily focused on youth and provided by librarians from other locations.  At all library branches, a one week systemwide closure (the week before Labor Day) will continue in 2011.

“We ask you to consider restoring some critical library service hours,” Provine told the City Council.

Supporters of SHARE also turned out to ask the Council to continue funding its programs to house the homeless.  The mayor’s proposed budget reduces Human Services as a whole by 5 percent.  SHARE currently gets about $300,000 in installments from the city each year but recently asked for more money in order to avoid closing some of its shelters.  Donations helped avoid any closures.  SHARE recently opened a homeless shelter inside the Gift of Grace Lutheran Church in Wallingford.  While SHARE supporters were on hand at Wednesday’s public hearing, one of the ideas proposed on the City Council’s online budget suggestion page calls for stopping all funding to SHARE.


Supporters of SHARE at Wednesday’s public hearing

One other budget issue impacting Wallingford involves the Wallingford Playfield wading pool which will once again only be open three days a week during the summer months.

To see more on the mayor’s proposed budget, click here.  The next public hearing on the budget takes place Wednesday, October 13 at South Seattle Community College at 5:30pm.

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Cyclist alert: Burke-Gilman detour on Sat.

September 29th, 2010 by master

If you plan to hop on the bike and head to the Burke-Gilman Trail this Saturday, Oct. 2, be aware that more than 200 students from John Stanford International Elementary School will be biking, scooting and rollerskating on one section of the trail for their annual Move-A-Thon fundraiser. Julie sent us information about trail impact:

We will be using a section of the Burke-Gilman Trail from just east of Meridian & Northlake Way to just west of Latona & NE Pacific St (Dunn Lumber). Students will be riding up and down the course on whatever wheels they want to raise funds for the JSIS. Detours will be signed but every year we have cyclists who ride through the course. We suggest avoiding the course all together unless you want to become a Kindergartener’s road kill!

Burke-Gilman riders will be detoured to N. Pacific St., which runs adjacent to the trail, along the route.

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Final Farmers Market today; what's the future?

September 29th, 2010 by master

The last Wallingford Farmers Market of the season is today in the south parking lot of the Wallingford Center. Warm weather will greet it, and shoppers should be sure to get out to the market to say farewell.

Readers who have been following the story of the market’s future know that this has been a frustrating season for the Seattle Farmers Market Association (who also put on the Ballard, Fremont and other markets) and the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the market. The market wasn’t supposed to stay in the Wallingford Center parking lot; organizers intended it to move to a larger location, but no other sites met all stakeholders’ needs. So the market stayed small and unprofitable this year. (All previous stories on the market are listed at the end of this post, if you need a lot of background.)

Chamber president Kara Ceriello told us recently that they were back at square one with the location and day of the week for the market next year, and feared that it might not return if community leaders couldn’t find a suitable site that met the criteria of all stakeholders.

We also checked in with Market Master Judy Kirkhuff, who affirmed Ceriello’s assessment and addressed concerns that some local businesses had about hosting a market on their street. Two locations — Wallingford Ave. between N. 44th and N. 45th and Interlake and N. 46th — were ruled out because a handful of businesses objected.

You are right, we are at the starting gate again.

SFMA [Seattle Farmers Market Association] is committed to a 2011 Wallingford Farmers Market. We have already begun exploring sites around the district that will be suitable for the farmers market needs.

We will be meeting with the district residents throughout the process as well as with Wallingford Community Council, the Wallingford Chamber of Commerce, the Seattle Dept. of Neighborhoods, and the Office of Economic Development to facilitate our search and decision. We will be as transparent as possible as we go through the many steps of the process, including organizing community meetings and contact with the community newscriers when any kind of option becomes clearer for us.

We’ll be sure to alert you to any developments on the market from now till spring, when we hope to see the Wallingford Farmers Market return to the neighborhood. If you’d like to make suggestions for the SFMA or the Chamber, feel free to leave them here or post on our Facebook page. You can also email Ceriello directly at kara@wallingfordchamber.org.

Previous stories on the Wallingford Farmers Market:

Controversy over farmers market draws big crowd

Community meeting tonight on future of farmers market

Farmers Market expansion “dead,” future uncertain

Farmers Market expanding to Wallingford Ave.

Wallingford struggles to keep its farmers market

Farmers market staying put this year

Wallingford’s farmers market, this year and beyond

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Wallingford pastor organizes 24 hour prayer vigil on Aurora Bridge

September 28th, 2010 by master

For the second year in a row, a Wallingford pastor will lead a group of people back and forth across the Aurora Bridge as part of a 24 hour prayer vigil.  The vigil, set for October 8 and 9,  is designed to bring attention to the problem of suicide jumpers. 

Pastor Heath Rainwater, a Seattle firefighter who also leads the Vine Christian Ministries in Wallingford, started the “Take Back the Bridge Project” after responding to a suicide on the bridge.  He was with the fire crews staging at the bottom of the bridge when he looked up and saw what was happening up top.

“I could see the young man.  He was desperate,” Rainwater recently told KIRO-FM.  “My heart wanted to be on top of the bridge saying something that could give him hope.”


WSDOT photo

Unfortunately, that young man jumped and died instantly. The “Take Back the Bridge Project” now helps raise money for the Crisis Clinic in Seattle which fields tens of thousands of calls a year. Rainwater says he also hopes the new suicide prevention fence currently being built across the Aurora Bridge will help.

“The reason why we’re so happy about the fence is it causes that separation of time for you to be able to get through that moment when you would impulsively jump and make a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” said Rainwater.

The 24 hour prayer vigil starts Friday, October 8 at 11am.  That’s followed by a community march across the bridge on Saturday, October 9 at 12pm.  Click here  for more information or to register.

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Sunday: 5-year-old throws zoo fundraiser

September 28th, 2010 by master

There’s hardly a child who doesn’t love seeing the animals at the zoo, but 5-year-old animal lover Lucas Engles-Klann has taken his animal adoration a lot further. This Sunday, October 3, little Lucas (with the help of his moms) will host his third dinner benefit for Woodland Park Zoo, at Elemental and Elemental Next Door (3309 Wallingford Ave. N.) this Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m.

The zoo blog posted a letter from Lucas that says the fundraiser garnered $5000 last year for gorilla animal care and habitats.

This year, Dine Out will benefit even more animals: the zoo’s gorillas plus also the turtles in the Day Exhibit, the Northern Trail grizzly bears, and the wildlife impacted by the oil spill in the Gulf.

If you come to Dine Out, you will feel really, really good about helping to save animals. You will have a great time, great food, a fun community to hang out with and new friends to make. I helped pick the menu—it’s all vegetarian, of course, and really, really good, including a “make-your-own” scrumptious pizza. Many cool auction items are being donated by the zoo, local painters and jewelry artists, a Wild Ginger gift card and much more.

You can read about last year’s fundraiser in this article from our news partner The Seattle Times.

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Changes to bus routes arrive Oct. 2

September 28th, 2010 by master

Bus riders, take note: Don’t get too attached to your current schedule. Metro is revising some routes, beginning this Saturday, Oct. 2, and there’s good news and bad news in here:

  • Route 5 – On weekdays, two trips will be added to improve service frequency from downtown Seattle to Greenwood Avenue North and North 105th Street to every 15 minutes until about 8 p.m.
  • Route 30 – With the addition of 80 trips per week, there will now be service between the Seattle Center and the U-District until midnight seven days a week. Weekend service between the Seattle Center and the U-District will begin about 6 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday. Four of the limited trips between Sand Point and the U-District on weekdays and five each on Saturday and Sunday will be discontinued.
  • Routes 16, 30 & 31 – Select trips will be discontinued.

Metro says it’s making the schedule and route changes to save money, preserve bus service, and operate more efficiently. Bus riders should check fall schedules for the routes they use most often to see what’s new. You can prepare by picking up a new orange timetable, Special Rider Alert brochure, or use the online Trip Planner for some advance research. Be sure to input a date of Oct. 2 or later, when using the Trip Planner.

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Mayor's proposed budget impacts Wallingford library, wading pool

September 27th, 2010 by master

Mayor Mike McGinn unveiled his proposed 2011-2012 budget today, and it will impact Wallingford’s library and wading pool.  Under his proposal, the Wallingford library will no longer have an on-site librarian.  It will continue to be open 35 hours per week and serve as a gateway to the resources of the entire library system.  It will still offer collections, holds-pickup, and computer access. Access to specialized reference or collection services will be provided on-line or by telephone access to staff at the Central Library. Programming will be primarily focused on youth and provided by librarians from other locations.

Meanwhile, the Wallingford Playfield wading pool (pictured below) will once again only be open three days a week during the summer months.

To see more on the mayor’s proposed budget, click here.  

The City Council will now dive into the proposed budget.  One of three public hearings will be held this Wednesday (9/29) at 5:30pm at the Northgate Community Center gym at 10510 5th Ave NE.  The Council has also set up a web page where you can submit ideas to balance the budget and vote on other suggestions.  You can find that page here.

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Avila sold, will become Malaysian restaurant

September 27th, 2010 by master

Seattle’s North End has an abundance of Asian restaurants, but one cuisine has been missing of late: Malaysian. Not for much longer — a couple of young restaurateurs will open Satay, with a menu inspired by Malaysian street food, in the space that most recently housed Avila (1711 N. 45th St.).

Business partners Peter Ringold and Patrick McCredie have been pursuing the idea of opening a Malaysian street food restaurant for more than a year. The notion took root on a trip to Southeast Asia a couple of years ago, when they were students at Occidental College. Ringold has a Malay aunt, and he grew up eating the food, which tastes like a blend of Chinese, Indian and Thai cuisines. But one aspect of Malaysian cuisine stood out: “We liked the idea of street food, where they do just a few things and do them really well,” Ringold told us when we sat down in the restaurant.

The pair looked at more than 20 properties in the more densely populated Seattle neighborhoods before settling on the former Avila.

When Satay opens with a new decor, the plan is for patrons to order up front and pick up food in the upstairs area. There will be seating in both areas.

McCredie and Ringold were delighted to find that everything in the restaurant was almost new (Avila was open for less than a year after an extensive  renovation) and made an offer on the space even though they’d been searching for a smaller venue. They plan only to change the decor and take out a counter or two, and will keep the back room and deck closed for a while.

The eatery is somewhat a family affair for Ringold, whose aunt shared her family recipes for Satay’s menu. The duo also have gotten advice from Ringold’s cousin Brendan McGill, now chef-owner of Hitchcock on Bainbridge Island. Ringold is a native Seattleite (raised on Phinney Ridge), and McCredie moved to Seattle from Southern California in January.

The only other Malaysian restaurant in Seattle is Malay Satay Hut in the International District. The Satay menu will be much smaller, featuring satay, of course (in chicken, beef, lamb and tofu), plus roti canai (a pan-fried bread served with curry dipping sauce), mee goreng (a fried noodle dish), laksa (a noodle and shrimp soup), and curry puffs.

McCredie jokes that they’re opening the opposite of Avila, which was an ambitious, innovative upscale restaurant. Satay will have a menu of 11 items, no table service, and prices that start at $6.95 for a full meal of satay, rice, cabbage salad and peanut sauce. They also plan to serve beer and wine and may stay open late.

The Satay partners are setting up their Health Dept. inspections and hope to be open sometime in November. They’re trying to recruit a Malay chef friend of Ringold’s aunt to run the kitchen.

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Green Lake getting painted street

September 24th, 2010 by master

Update: Due to rain and wet pavement on Sunday, the Stone Avenue Street Painting has been re-scheduled to Friday, October 1, from 3:30 p.m. until dark.

Looks like painting streets is an idea that has taken hold of imaginations in North Seattle. A couple of months ago, there was only one painted street in Seattle, a ladybug at 49th and Burke. Last month the bug got some company, a sea turtle at 41st and Interlake.

This weekend, dozens of neighbors will take to the street at Stone Ave N between N 80th St and Green Lake Drive N, next to Bethany Community Church and across the street from Daniel Bagley Elementary School with paintbrushes in hand. By the end of Sunday, the street will look like this:

The block will be closed to traffic from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday to prepare the street and paint the design by Andrea Moon, called “water swirls.” Our sister site My Green Lake has more information on the painting and will cover the story this weekend.

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