I went to the Move Transportation Levy meeting at Roosevelt on Monday night. I had figured the levy would just amount to adding a couple crosswalks to the neighborhood and then focus all the real money on Northgate and other light rail stops, but the draft proposal currently includes funding for making 45th and 50th one way streets. SDOT is maintaining the proposal will alleviate long standing complaints about East / West throughput in our area while also adding dedicated transit and bike lanes.

The current thinking is for 50th to be one way East bound between 15th Ave NE and Fremont Ave N, and 45th to be one way West bound between Green Lake Way and 15th. The East / West directions are being chosen so that cars can circulate between the two roads using right hand turns instead of left hand turns.

Each roadway will be 3 lanes wide, with one of the 3 lanes reserved as a transit (bus-only) lane. The bus lanes will be on the North side of 45th and the South side of 50th. SDOT maintains that separating out buses and then coordinating signals for one way traffic means that car throughput will be increase by 30%, and buses during rush hour will be able to pass through at over twice the speed they do today.

The final aspect of the plan is to add a protected bike lane to 50th on the South side of the roadway. SDOT states this will connect cyclists in Wallingford and Phinney with the U-District, meeting a key need identified in the bicycle master plan. With all the bike-only density going in on 45th, SDOT did not feel that an I-5 crossing could wait the 20 years or so it would take for the planned pedestrian and bicycle overpass at 47th to be built.

This is the configuration they are proposing for 45th, and then 50th:

45th configuration

45th reconfiguration, all traffic West bound

Draft proposal for 50th configuration

50th reconfiguration, all traffic East bound

One drawback of the change is that parking will no longer be allowed along 50th. SDOT states this is consistent with the general move to convert parking lanes into bike lanes, and that houses along the roadway have driveways and off street parking. They compare the overall effect being achieved to the recent reconfiguration of Roosevelt way, which also eliminated some parking options.

Finally, SDOT is stressing that the plans are preliminary, simply meant to illustrate the idea for the purposes of the levy. If the levy passes, there will be a public engagement process to come up with the final designs. There will also be some obvious reconfiguration of bus routes and impacts on secondary streets where they meet the arterials. Before proceeding to the detailed design stage SDOT needs the levy dollars. If you want to provide feedback on the draft proposal, the online survey is here.

Move Levy


Now and Then: Moon Temple Edition

Paul Dorpat style “Now and Then” posts in Wallingford are easy. Just go to 45th or Stone, take a picture, then look at what Google Street View has for the same place. Here is the site of the new CVS that will be replacing what was Moon Temple, Tully’s, and the Wallingford Neighborhood Office. The new store is supposed to keep the architectural look of the original building, so I assume the stonework at the top is just temporarily removed:

RIP Moon Temple 1

Moon Temple Then

There’s also a nice memorial at the site. Note the apodments looming in the background:

RIP Moon Temple 2

The memorial last week had a nice touch of an upside down smiley face balloon. Thanks to Olivier for this pic:

Moon Temple RIP 3

The project proposing to prevent Tangletown cut throughs by blocking easy I-5 access from Tangletown received 90 comments, more than all the other NPSF projects put together. Justin wrote the following, which seemed to encapsulate the general tone of many of the comments:

I live on NE 51st St at the corner of 5th NE, literally 50 feet from the proposed barriers. Yes, plenty of traffic “cheats” and cuts through the neighborhood rather than sit through the snarl that is the 50th St on/off ramps during rush hour. There is a pretty constant stream of cars past my house in the morning and afternoon. While a little bothersome, I don’t really see this as a problem. The biggest problem is those cars that are jumping over or going around the short curb from the southbound I-5 off ramp and cutting up our street to get around the light. This is especially bad in the summer, when westbound 50th backs up from the interstate to the zoo. The problem is that our little street is only wide enough for one car to pass, and when that uphill traffic meets the downhill traffic there is nowhere to go. I would really love for a proper barrier to be put up to force traffic exiting the interstate through to the light, but the second barrier that prevents me from accessing eastbound 50th street and both of the freeway on-ramps without battling downhill traffic to go around the light at Latona would be ridiculous for the PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY LIVE HERE. I think it’s cute that folks who live in Tangletown would happily inconvenience the home owners closer to the freeway to limit traffic in their stretch of the neighborhood.

So how about doing the limited change that Justin suggests? The change is small enough that it should not require a traffic study or a supplemental funding source- it just amounts to dropping some concrete barriers down, which SDOT does all the time for safety and construction. Here are some pretty pictures to illustrate the idea:


So, if you like the idea or don’t, please comment. If commenters here generally endorse the idea then I’ll take it to SDOT and see what happens!

New Again! The Wallyhood Calendar Returns

My hope is that the calendar will be of use to people that are sitting around with their coffee on Saturday morning wondering what to do with themselves or their kids. The calendar tab is now back in the Wallyhood menu and the calendar is up to date. I also cleaned up the page so it hopefully more legible and useful.

So that you and I don’t forget the calendar is there, my plan is to have an article featuring events every Saturday morning that I write up while updating the calendar every Friday. I’m going to focus on local performances, non-profit stuff with a general audience, important government stuff, and the occasional sponsored event. If I tried to include every wine tasting or happy hour or trivia night things would be a mess.

Which brings me to my first calendar dilemma. Has anyone figured out what to attend for the Wayward Music Series in the chapel performance space at the Good Shepherd Center? The series is lovingly maintained, but I have a hard time making sense of what they offer despite having attended a couple performances. I’m not expecting a bluegrass jam session, but can someone help me interpret this Saturday Night’s “Butoh/sound improvisation with noisepoetnobody (modular analog synth) and Vanessa Skantze (Butoh) + special guests Thunder Grey Pilgrim”? Maybe you’re friends with Thunder?

Chapel Coffins

Strange and occasionally interesting stuff happens in the chapel

On Monday night at 6 PM you get your one and only nearby chance to provide feedback in person on the new transportation levy. I have a Q&A out to the powers that be to see what the impacts will be in Wallingford. You can see more info on the proposed levy here.

The Wallingford Community Council meets this Wednesday (no agenda as yet) and Whirligig starts this coming Friday, which is always a welcome distraction if you have elementary age kids and it’s raining.

Finally, if you’re looking for a path to self expression, you could sign up for The Artist’s Way Class with Kate Gavigan (sponsored):

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is an international bestseller on the subject of creativity. Whether you see yourself as an artist or not, this book and class can be an incredibly useful resource to tap into your creative side which can benefit many parts of your lives. The 2 hour a week 12 week long class will take students through the 12 chapters with an emphasis on the accompanying chapter exercises and additional creativity exercises and strategies (i.e. meditation tools). This material can work with anyone, no matter how dormant or energized their creative life may be, and can enhance their ability to be more fully and genuinely themselves.

Julia Cameron uses 3 basic tools for students to enhance their lives and their creativity: morning pages (writing 3 pages longhand of stream of consciousness writing), artist’s dates (solo fun dates with yourself) and completing creativity exercises at the back of each chapter. To quote Julia, “In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it.” The basic tools and the additional creativity exercises that we incorporate into the 12 week course can help you do just that. No prerequisites required for this class.

Classes will be held at the Wallingford/Fremont Art Center: Windows Art Gallery, 4131 Woodland Park Ave N., Seattle.

Kate Gavigan has been facilitating Artist’s Way classes since January 2009. Kate is passionate about The Artist’s Way having personally experienced the benefits of the materials. Kate worked in social services as a trainer for over 10 years when she found herself drawn to the material in The Artist’s Way, which helped her uncover a passion for the arts. She credits her mid-life career change (now working at her dream jobs teaching these classes, acting, working in arts marketing and home organizing) to having gone through The Artist’s Way.

Section I:
May 8 – July 31
Fridays, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
$375 (12 weeks)
Instructor: Kate Gavigan
Note:  No class July 17

Section II:

May 4 – July 27
Mondays, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
$375 (12 weeks)
Instructor: Kate Gavigan
Note:  No class July 13

Wallingford Camp for Babies: PEPs

There’s few life transitions more abrupt and potentially isolating than having a kid. For one thing, there’s remarkably few people out there that want to hear about the color and consistency of your baby’s 3 AM poop. Discussion boards aren’t enough to do the topic justice, there’s no playground or school for 2 month olds, and it’s not like you want to hang out with somebody that has a 6 month old. Your baby on their back will look defective next to that baby sitting up all on their own.


Well, that’s why there’s PEPs, based in our very own Good Shepherd Center since 1993, where you can meet parents with kids and families that are precisely matched to yours. Groups are led by former members for the first 11 weeks, then keep going on their own after that. Sometimes the kids in the groups end up like extended family, in the good way. We went through the process and my wife led a couple groups, so when PEPs reached out to Wallyhood to get the word out about upcoming classes I figured I’d spread the word:

While You’re Waiting is a free, informational 1 time session, Newborn groups start nearly every day and rotate through the homes of new moms, and Adjusting to Parenthood is a drop in therapeutic session.

There are also a few formal classes that are in community locations and start quarterly if at least 5 families sign up.

Second Time Around is for parents with a newborn 0-4 months in a family with one or more older children. One parent attends with the baby, with a topic discussion related to the adventure of parenting a growing family and with a focus on the newborn. As one parent put it, “I loved getting together with other parents who “get it” when I talk about the challenges of my day!” Second Time Around meets for 11 weeks, beginning:

  • April 87-8:30 pm at the Illumination Learning Studio in Phinney Ridge
  • April 1410-11:30 am at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford

Baby Peppers is for one parent and a baby 5-12 months. Each meeting includes time for sharing parenting highs and lows, followed by a topic discussion related to the adventure of parenting. Meetings also include break time for socializing and connecting with other parents, as well as time to focus on baby’s development. Toys are provided. Baby Peppers meets for 11 weeks, beginning:

  • April 1512-1:30 pm at the Phinney Neighborhood Association

Little Peppers is designed for families with two children ages 3 and under. One parent attends with both children, with a topic discussion related to the adventure of parenting and time to focus on the development of baby and toddler. Babies and children remain in the room with their parents for the entire meeting. Groups are led by a professional facilitator, who is assisted by a trained Wondersitter childcare provider. Little Peppers meets for 11 weeks, beginning:

  • April 1710-11:30 am at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford
  • April 1710-11:30 am at All That Dance in Greenwood

PEPS for Dads is a great way to meet other Dads, have a structured activity with your baby, and learn what our area has to offer for new parents. This group works well for dads with flexible schedules, or are the part-time or full-time caregiver for their 0-12 month old babies. PEPS for Dads meets for 11 weeks, beginning:

  • April 20, 12:30-2 pm at Umbrella Tree in Queen Anne

Of course if you decide to have a kid in May instead of April, that’s fine too, classes keep starting up all year. Just remember PEPs.org!


Wallingford Kid Summer Camps: The 2015 Edition

If you have a dog then your summer plans consist of going on long, sunny walks. Aside from picking up the poo, it sounds nice. Kids are pricier and generally less grateful. My son has an awesome if dorky summer consisting of going to the DOTA championships at Key Arena, volunteering in Guatemala to build computer labs, then skipping ahead a grade in math by taking summer school.


Meridian School Kids at the Good Shepherd Center, where several different camps are happening

The current plan for my 11 year old daughter is to see how bored we can make her before she drives us insane. We are looking for alternatives, and here’s what I dug up for school age children:

  • Artist and Craftsman Supply: Art camp! Here’s a calendar. Especially good for older kids and/or adults looking to pick up a skill like cartooning.
  • Campfire at Woodland Park: August 10 to 14, Grade K-7, or look at their site for outdoor options further afield.
  • Community Centers: Camps for all ages, including basketball camp at Green Lake with the awesome Ernie Chatters, tennis camp at Lower Woodland Park, pottery camp, dance camps, STEM camps (MineCraft, Lego, MAD science, etc), and boating on Green Lake. See the awkward SPARC Website to register and for a description of boating camps that are not in the PDF catalog, because government.
  • Fremont Dance Camp on Stoneway. I’m sure it’s great, although I’d prefer it if they didn’t associate Stoneway with Fremont. Then again, there’s a Stoneway Hardware in Ballard now, so maybe I need to get used to sharing.
  • Meridian School Summer Quest: Ages 5 to 15, week to week at the Good Shepherd Center.
  • Neo Art: Class for ages 6 to 12, or be an art assistant from ages 12 to 15. We did this for a few years, it’s lots of fun. It’s at the Good Shepherd Center and is “Seattle’s oldest, locally owned art school for children.”
  • Seattle Parks Jobs For Teens: Your teen or preteen gets paid to go away and make the city better! When our son wanted a gaming computer this is how he earned it. Locations rotate around the city, it’s a great set of programs.
  • Sonic Crossfit Kids: Has camps featuring active gymnastics and outdoor activities behind Kabul restaurant- it looks like Wallingford’s own little Seattle Gymnastics Academy.
  • Stone Soup Theatre At Meridian Park: Up to age 13, with performances in the pagoda.
  • Tilth Summer Camps: Camps for younger kids at the Good Shepherd Center Children’s Garden, or be a counselor if you’re older.
  • The Wallingford Boys and Girls club: Has a walk in program for all ages where you pay a nominal fee once per year. The food and facilities are great and the clientele is diverse, but our coddled little shmoopy found it to be too regimental. It’s a shame it doesn’t have a range of offerings like the Ballard Boys and Girls Club does.
  • Vámonos Spanish Center: For ages 7-14 at 45th and Bagley. Spanish immersion through art and cooking projects, outdoor activities, dancing and more.
  • YMCA Camps: For ages K-6 at the University District YMCA, or outdoor adventure camps for all ages.
  • Zoo Camp: Up to age 14, or volunteer at age 14 or older. An interesting option for our daughter is the middle school focused Zoo Crew. As a special treat, all participants will get to eat a real elephant ear this year.

So there’s no shortage of options, and I’m sure there’s more out there. Suggestions or experience with some of the above options you want to share?

Our 1998 Neighborhood Plan, Now Happening

Did you know Wallingford has a neighborhood plan? It does! The Plan is 103 pages long and filled with flowery prose and pictures of bungalows. It was written a few months before I arrived in Wallingford, 17 years ago. If you’re having trouble going to sleep tonight, here it is.

The Plan used to really, really matter. It was put together when Jim Diers was in charge of the all powerful Department of Neighborhoods. The idea back then was to put neighborhoods in charge of their own development. Community meetings decided The Plan, then The Plan decided zoning codes for developers and where the city would spend money in the neighborhood.

Now adays the Department of Neighborhoods really only manages the Neighborhood Matching Fund. Development rules get updated by council members in exchange for funding their next campaign, which as of the 2013 reporting year was about $200,000 per candidate in competitive races.

But still, Wallingford’s zoning dates back to that magical day 17 years ago! And some people from back then are still around that care about zoning codes. Go figure. You can meet them at the Wallingford Community Council Land Use Committee, where they will tell you all the many ways they have lost fights over zoning codes.

They lose to a strangely successful alliance between moneyed, conservative developer interests and acolytes of The Stranger pushing car-free density. Together they form a political juggernaut that makes developer friendly rules changes regularly, rationalizing them as being for being for transit, or for micro-housing, or for green buildings, or for low income housing incentives, or so the executives at Brooks Sports can have a better view. It’s not likely to change either; in the last mayoral campaign Peter Steinbruck ran on reviving neighborhood control, then was soundly trounced in the primaries.

In broad terms, 45th and Stone are currently being plowed under as they are part of the”Urban Village” envisioned in 1998. Here’s Wallingford’s zoning today:

Zoning 2015

Which is more or less a direct copy from the charmingly hand drawn map in the Neighborhood Plan, from back before the days when PanaVision colorized everything:

Plan 1999

If you want the details, the Department of Planning and Development has a site you can get lost in for years.

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