Tag Archive for 'Lower Queen Anne'

2011 Worst Intersection in Seattle

The pedestrians have spoken!

2011’s Worst Intersection in Seattle… isn’t an intersection at all. At its cross streets that don’t actually cross – John, Thomas, Harrison, and Republican – Aurora presents a nearly half-mile long barrier to pedestrian movement. Aurora Ave is a human-made scar through Seattle that obstructs the flow of people – nowhere worse than between the dense Lower Queen Anne / South Lake Union areas.

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The street grid will eventually be reconnected, but not until the completion of the Alaskan Way Deep Bore Tunnel boondoggle in 2015 or 2016. Councilmember Tim Burgess earlier requested that WSDOT open crossings at the completion of the Mercer Corridor Project in 2014.

Regardless of when these intersections are restored, it’s too long to wait. In the three year period between April of 2005 and March of 2008, five pedestrians were struck within the 0.4 mile length of Aurora between Denny and Mercer – this is more than were struck in the 4 miles immediately to the north between Mercer and Green Lake.

Opening these crossings to people on foot would make it significantly easier to access Seattle Center and for workers on either side to access more lunch and happy hour options. The closed intersections mean that many trips take an extra 10 minutes of walking, which is inconvenient enough to discourage people from walking at all.

Reopening the intersections could improve safety for vehicles as well. There were 72 collisions on Aurora from Thomas to Republican during the time period referenced above. Vehicles here move 40-60 miles per hour, so providing signalized intersections would protect motorists as they turn onto Aurora.

I’m not optimistic that we’ll see changes anytime soon. This section of Aurora carries roughly 60,000 vehicles daily, and signals would delay these vehicles. Highway 99 is under the jurisdiction of WSDOT, an organization whose goal for decades has been to move more cars, and adding a signal here – where Aurora is essentially a freeway – would go against their deeply-ingrained traffic engineering standards. 60,000 drivers could generate a lot of complaints, sadly more than a few concerned pedestrians can.


West Thomas overpass construction to start in March

Work will begin in March to connect Lower Queen Anne with the Myrtle Edwards Park via a pedestrian and cyclist bridge over Elliott Ave and the railroad tracks. From Seattle Likes Bikes:

After years of work (and fears the project had stalled for good), SDOT has announced that it has the funding to move forward with a bicycle and pedestrian overpass connecting Lower Queen Anne and Myrtle Edwards Park. The bridge will be built in the middle of a 1.2 mile stretch where the park and the neighborhood currently have no crossings. The project will make the park and the Elliott Bay Trail much more usable for both recreation and transportation.


Cab driver rams pedestrian

A pedestrian who complained about a cab driver’s driving ended up being the victim of vehicular assault:

Describing the Dec. 5 incident, Seattle Detective Timothy DeVore said the alleged victim was walking in the alley with two friends when, at about 9 p.m., they were nearly struck by Christy’s cab.

Christy, a driver for Yellow Cab, was stopped and attempting to turn on to Mercer Street when the three pedestrians confronted him, DeVore told the court. The victim, a resident of the neighborhood, said he was tired of cabs driving too fast down the alley where he and others walk.

A slice of pizza in hand, Christy was unrepentant, the detective continued.

“There are no normal people left in Seattle, nothing but (anti-gay slur) and scum,” Christy is alleged to have replied.

Christy then pulled into traffic and appeared to be leaving the scene when he made a U-turn at 1st Avenue North and drove toward the trio, who were crossing Mercer Street, the detective continued. Having driving past, Christy is alleged to have cut a second U-turn and drove into one of the men who’d confronted him.

“Christy sped his cab toward (the victim) striking him on the left side of his body,” DeVore told the court. “Just prior to being struck by the vehicle, (the victim) jumped in the air and bounced on top of the cab and then onto the street.”

The man sustained minor injuries and was treated by Seattle Fire Department medics. Christy, the detective said, fled the scene but was located by officers after a witness noted his cab number.

The driver was charged with second-degree assault.


Mobility planning kickoff

Neighbohood groups in South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne are holding a mobility planning kickoff meeting this Thursday. The mobility plan will integrate the various studies and current projects in these areas to create an overall transportation plan.

Join Mayor Mike McGinn, City Council Transportation Chair Tom Rasmussen & City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw at the Kick-Off Open House for the SLU and Uptown Queen Anne Mobility Plan, Thursday Nov. 4; Seattle Center Northwest Rooms, 4:30 p.m.

The organizers are seeking input from the community on connecting the two neighborhoods, planning for a multi-modal transportation system and growing the transit options, as well as enhancing the street experience. You can find more and RSVP at the meeting’s facebook page.

There will also be an opportunity to review and comment on the Thomas Street green street proposal. Here’s an editorial from Publicola on the deficiencies in the design of the green street.


Mobility planning kickoff for South Lake Union and Queen Anne Uptown

With many projects in progress impacting the South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne areas, Several groups in South Lake Union and Lower Queen Anne are starting a project to create a mobility plan for the area. This mobility plan will incorporate elements from the various studies and current transportation projects for these areas.

Join Mayor Mike McGinn, City Council Transportation Chair Tom Rasmussen & City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw at the Kick-Off Open House for the SLU and Uptown Queen Anne Mobility Plan, Thursday Nov. 4; Seattle Center Northwest Rooms, 4:30 p.m.
Special program at 5:30 pm

The project team is looking for community input on how to connect the neighborhoods, planning for an integrated multi-modal transportation system, and enhancing the street experience. You can find more information and RSVP on facebook


Walking Lower Queen Anne

Packed with restaurants, bars, and retail, Lower Queen Anne is a fun urban area for a walk.

View Walking Lower Queen Anne in a larger map

Start at Roy St & 5th Ave. There is plenty of parking around Seattle Center as well as several bus routes that will take you close to our starting point, including the 3, 4, 16, and 30. Several other buses will take you to other points along our walking route: the 1, 2, 8, 13, 15, and 18.

Many of the streets we’ll be walking along are fairly busy with vehicle traffic, but are comfortable to walk along thanks to wide sidewalks that are insulated from traffic by trees and street parking.

On the northwest corner of this intersection is Silver Platters records, one of the music stores in the area. Walk westward along the north side or Roy St. The left side of the street is well shaded, but passes alongside a large parking garage and a parking lot. On the north side of the street are several restaurants, including a few Asian eateries.

Continue past 1st Ave N and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, built in 1940. On your right is Counterbalance Park, which has several places to sit. At night, the park’s walls are colorfully lit.

Counterbalance Park

Counterbalance Park, opened in 2008

Turn left across Roy St along Queen Anne Ave N. You’ll pass the MarQueen Hotel, built in 1918. On the opposite side of the street is Monkey Love Rubber Stamps, a local business with paper, envelopes, and, of course, stamps.

Continue south along Queen Anne Ave N for 5 blocks. You’ll pass local music store Underdawg Records on your left along with a few eateries and bars. After passing Republican St, storefronts and restaurants are replaced with offices and apartment windows in a variety of building types.

Uptown Theater

Uptown Theater

Turn left on Thomas St. Walk for a block along Thomas St and turn left on 1st Ave N. Continue walking north along 1st Ave N, passing KeyArena and Seattle Center on your right. The former home to the Seattle Supersonics, KeyArena is still the home to the Seattle Storm WNBA team.

Continue north for a few blocks and cross Mercer St and turn left along Mercer. You’ll pass Easy Street Records, which has a good collection of vinyl records.

Continue west along Mercer St, past several more eateries and bars, and turn left at 2nd Ave W (not to be confused with 2nd Ave N, five blocks east). The KFC/Taco Bell on this corner is perhaps the only national chain restaurant in this neighborhood (other than Taco Del Mar, which is based in Seattle).

Continue south for a block and turn left at W Republican St. This area is much quieter than the retail-intensive streets we’ve been on. You’ll pass Safeway at the next block, one of several large supermarkets in the neighborhood.

At the next block, Queen Anne Ave N, turn left and pass by the AMC Loews Uptown 3 theater. Turn right at Mercer St and continue for several blocks. After crossing 1st Ave N, the streetscape will quiet down and vehicle traffic will speed up. Soon you’ll be walking by Seattle Center, including McCaw Hall and SIFF Cinema. Mercer St sees a lot of traffic, but the sidewalk here is wide and comfortable, though the streetscape of building in Seattle Center is somewhat lacking. On the left side of the street is Teatro Zinzanni, which has been described as “the Moulin Rouge meets Cirque du Soleil,” with food cooked by local celebrity chef Tom Douglas. Turn left and cross Mercer at 5th Ave N to return to our starting point at 5th Ave N and Roy St.

highlights: restaurants, bars, retail, diversity of building types and ages
lowlights: heavy vehicle traffic, not much green space, can be crowded especially if there is an event at Seattle Center


Driver runs red light, hits elderly pedestrians, not charged

Last night, two pedestrians in Lower Queen Anne were hit by a driver who ran a red light at the intersection of Roy St & 1st Ave N. The driver was interviewed by police but was not charged, though police are continuing to investigate. The victims were taken to Harborview Medical Center, but their injuries are not life-threatening.

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Uptown Loop Discussion Brownbag

Great City has set up a lunch-time talk downtown next Thursday about the Uptown Loop:

Imagine a looping urban trail that includes a breath of sea air in Myrtle Edwards Park, art in the Sculpture Park, breakfast spots in Belltown, the Seattle Center, coffee spots in Lower Queen Anne, and tennis or picnic in lower Kinnear Park. An entire day of activities, highlighting Seattleā€™s finest, all in one easy stroll.

Come discuss ideas about how this Uptown Loop strengthens pedestrian accessibility and secures the relationship between urban forests, walkable city streets, community amenities, residential living, and waterfront vistas.