Yo yo yo homies! It’s time to get down with the Wallingford Calendar.

The Meaningful Movies dwells on our whiteyness with “WHITE LIKE ME” tonight at 7 PM, a discussion of “what it means to be white in a white society, run by whites, for whites. Plus how easy it is for whites to be oblivious to all the obvious advantages and more subconscious perks and less well-known benefits that come from being part of this “normal” group.”

Expect a communal conniption as liberal whitey town dwells on its whiteyness. Hey, at least we didn’t gentrify this place (take that, Central District!)

On Saturday Brooks Sports has decided to get involved with the neighborhood in the obvious way, by sponsoring a runner invasion of the neighborhood. You knew this was coming, right?

They bought their own domain for this event, calling it Brooks Trailhead. The race begins and ends at Gas Works Park in Seattle. “Runners will enjoy a beautiful counterclockwise loop of Lake Union with the 15K runners completing an out and back through Seattle Pacific University.”

As for collateral damage, don’t expect to be driving around Lake Union Saturday morning or parking in lower Wallingford.

On Tuesday at 7:00 Hamilton welcomes incoming middle schoolers! We’ll be there, my daughter insisted on Hamilton as she has friends going there, so even though her parents begged her to go to Hazel Wolf we’ll be there eating ice cream at Hamilton. I just wish Mr Levin and Mr Pounder weren’t retiring / retired from Hamilton, they were so good!

Finally, school lets out 2 hours early next Wednesday, making that the perfect time to take in the Wallingford Farmer’s Market. There’s enough food and fun there now you can just eat there like a picnic. Unlike a couple years back, you don’t have to be into buying organic, locally grown kale in order to enjoy it. Opening day last Wednesday easily had over a thousand people there by closing time, the most I’ve ever seen at the market:

Farmers Market

This picture doesn’t do it justice, I need to get one of those Parrot A.R. Drones

Wallingford Post Office Cleanup: Get Jeffe

Thanks to Jeff Lindstrom for writing the following for us after discovering that writing for Wallyhood can be like not just getting Jesse, but being Jesse:

Neighbors.  Love them or not we all have them.  Some are life-giving to our neighborhoods, like Paul down my street whose parking strip is always so beautifully planted, or the neighbors who occasionally repaint the huge ladybug in the intersection of 49th and Burke.  Others well, let’s just say we relish the day when the For Sale sign goes up.  However, some neighbors won’t ever move, like the Post Office.

I’d been driving by for several years, noticing the Wallingford Post Office’s growing jungle of a parking lot and sidewalks.  However, I didn’t pay that much attention until I actually moved our business into a small building on Stone Way, directly across the street.   The piles of debris, leaves, un-mowed parking strips, and graffiti (almost every single sign is tagged) defined the relatively large Post Office property.  I thought one day soon I’d see some landscaping company cleaning up.  But, nobody came.  Asking some of our neighbors, we learned that nobody EVER came.  There hadn’t been any cleanup for at least the past three years.

GraffittiThe surrounding neighbors were talking about the disorder, but I discovered nobody I spoke with knew if anyone had said anything to the Post Office.  I was finally able to track down and speak with the local Station Manger, Connie.  Connie was surprised I was asking about their landscaping, and didn’t understand what the problem might be.  She was gracious enough to humor me with a walk around their property and was also shocked to see how bad it was.  She said she always parked in their underground lot, and hadn’t actually walked their property in “years”.

I politely pointed out that by City of Seattle ordinance, property owners/landlords are required to maintain the sidewalks and parking strips in front of their home or business.  And, didn’t she want to be a good neighbor?  Connie was very apologetic, and explained the problem to me.  The Post Office has no landscaping budget, zero.  The Union who does their maintenance purports to only be responsible for the INSIDE of the facilities, nothing outside.  I checked back in with Connie often.  Finally, she received permission for a “one time” cleanup. For the first time in several years, it looked great.  Then, winter came, the leaves again started falling and piling up.  Those are some HUGE trees they have!  The sidewalks became dangerous, and I went back to Connie again and again.  However, she indicated there would be no cleanup this time; she did not have permission for any further landscape expenditures.  It got so bad, I hired at our company expense,  clean up of the piles of leaves from their Northern sidewalks all Fall, for the safely of our employees and clients.  Even the homeless guy Boggie living in the motorhome on 48th started raking leaves!

Pile of LeavesI pleaded with Connie for a permanent solution that would keep our neighborhood looking well kept, sidewalks safe, and comply with City requirements.  Each time she said she was working on it, but nothing happened.  I eventually reached out to Seattle Postmaster General, Trent McNeal, via email, but have yet to receive a response from him or his office.  In desperation, I reached out to Eric at Wallyhood.org thinking he might want to do a story.  He suggested I reach out to the Seattle Post Office Media contact Ernie Swanson for comment, which I did. (Thanks Eric!)  Ernie immediately emailed me to let me know a cleanup would happen soon, and that an employee would also be working on it.  Ernie also mentioned that Connie will be having an employee keeping the grounds clean, and be brining in an outside vendor to keep the trees, shrubs, and bushes looking good.  So much for no landscaping budget.

When asked to comment on the dispute with the Union workers not doing landscaping, Ernie’s only response was “There is nothing more to add”.

It’s disappointing to have a neighbor not maintain their property, let alone the Post Office, a pseudo-governmental organization which I would expect to comply with City ordinances.  But, thanks to Wallyhood.org and a little perseverance, I’m hopeful they will now get their act together.   And, if we are lucky, the internal dispute at our Post Office will no longer continue to blight the surrounding Wallingford community.  For now, their property and sidewalks look good after the second cleanup in three years, and I can stop spending my time standing in line to speak with the Station Manager.  That is, unless the grass again gets long, and the leaves start to fall…………

Tonight is the annual meeting of the Wallingford Community Council! The late breaking agenda from the always excellent Erika:

Wallingford CCWe hope you can join us for the WCC Annual Meeting in Room 202 of the Good Shepherd Center at 7 p.m. Wed 5/27

Come hear about the accomplishments of your community council and plans for the upcoming year. Help shape our programs on the Wallingford Waterway Walk (including opening WW20); cleanup of derelict buses & campers on Northlake Way; Land Use proposals; and other issues of interest. We’ll also elect new officers at the end of the meeting. See you there! Agenda:

  • 2014/15 WCC Overview
  • WW22 Spring Cleanup
  • WW20 WCC Permit Status
  • Waterway Project Update
  • Committee Updates (Land Use, Transportation, Quality of Life)
  • Board Member Elections

Also, the Wallingford Farmer’s Market at Meridian Playground reopens for the season! From 3:30 to 7:00 PM every Wednesday, on our calendar and hopefully yours. The essentials from their fine new Web site:

New this year at the farmer’s market: Locally Leavened Breads joins the mix. A whole array of sourdough bread made from wild yeast and Washington-milled grains.

Please park along Meridian Avenue N. No parking available in the Good Shepherd Center parking lot or along Sunnyside Avenue N.

Sounds like the farmer’s market is increasingly becoming a good place to grab dinner and eat it right there on site. I’ve been chatting with the Meaningful Movies about maybe screening movies right after the farmer’s market outdoors, wouldn’t it be cool to grab some food and then watch a movie? We’ll see!

Wallingford Farmers Market

There are 2 new developments that have popped up on our DPD map in the last month and a half since I last checked on April 8th.

First up, 1416 N 46TH ST, submitted on April 9, 2015: Land Use Application for Streamlined Design Review to allow a 3-story, 5 unit residential structure. Parking for 5 vehicles to be provided. Existing structure to be demolished.

Here’s a rendering, with the sun’s angle cleverly chosen to avoid casting a shadow on next door bungalows:

1416 46th

Second, a development at the corner of Woodland Park Ave N and Bridge Way N, 3860 BRIDGE WAY N, submitted April 13th. Design review early design guidance application proposes a 5-story structure containing 18 residential units and 5 live-work units. No parking is proposed. Existing structure to be demolished:

3860 Bridge Way N

The structure features no parking and borders a proposed regional greenway on Woodland Park Ave N. You’d think that greenway would be developed, but the Move Seattle Levy leaves it undeveloped as developing it would require adding arterial crossings and doing new pavement work.

Finally, the CVS development on 45th stalled because more foundation work was required than expected, but it’s still on track.


Varsity Movie Theater Re-Opens

What is a movie theater in 2015? In fact, it is many things. The business of operating a movie theater is in a state of flux. Movie theaters are trying to reinvent themselves. Are they bars? Restaurants? Charitable organizations? Places for mommy meet ups? Corporate meet ups? Music venues? Portals to a performance thousands of miles away?

In case you don’t know where The Varsity Theater is, it is in the University District at 4329 University Way. It was previously owned by Landmark Theaters, but is now owned by Faraway Entertainment which also owns the Admiral Theater in West Seattle. Landmark has been shedding cinemas for a few years now. They have sold The Neptune, The Uptown and The Harvard Exit. The The Uptown in Queen Anne was also closed but it was not owned by Landmark. It is now operated by SIFF. Landmark currently owns The Guild 45 in Wallingford. Should we be worried?

I visited The Varsity Theater for an open house they scheduled to show off their refurbishment after changing ownership. The place appears to be a whole lot cleaner than I remember. The seats look comfortable. Their web site states: “We have completed the conversion from 35mm film to all digital cinema with digital surround sound.” They are still capable of showing 35mm and 16mm films in case you were wondering.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, The Varsity and The Guild 45 both have crying rooms if you’re a new parent and you still want to go to the movies. It’s a great resource that few know about. For old times sake, I asked if I could see the Crying Room at The Varsity. It looked just as spiffy as the rest of the cinema. If interested, you should call either cinema for more information.

I hadn’t realized that The Varsity has free parking after 6:00 pm and on weekends. See their web site for details.

Another trendy diversification of movie theaters is to show arts or sports events, and so too will The Varsity.  On July 15th and July 22nd they will be showing live operas via satellite from The Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Can movie theaters be all of these different things? It will be interesting to see where the business lands in the next ten years. Meanwhile Meaningful Movies in Wallingford is bringing in a hundred people every Friday night, so maybe it is our definition of what a movie theater is that will change.

Here’s the District 4 wonkathon wrap up question! We might repeat the process for District 6 next (North of 50th), if anyone has deep thoughts on the questions or the format here please offer them up in the comments. In particular, are there specific questions regarding Tangletown you’d like to see asked?

The Question: Finally, an open ended question. In the end, priorities often matter more than policies. What are your top one or two priorities for Wallingford? How will life be different in our neighborhood if you are elected?

Abel PachecoAbel Pacheco’s Answer: Neighborhoods must be empowered. Doing so will not discourage progress, but will allow more effective, cooperative and innovative solutions to our problem. Community involvement is important because it literally “hits us where we live.” Leaving out people impacted by City Hall decisions doesn’t promote efficiency or creative progress.

One of my top priorities is to see that Wallingford has a meaningful and up-to-date neighborhood plan after broad-based community involvement. Wallingford is also where I live, and the only candidate that calls Wallingford home, so I too have a vested interest in ensuring Wallingford’s concerns are heard. I would like to see the city act on the South Wallingford amendment, considering any changes that may be necessary given the long period of inaction on part of the city.

Traffic and transit would also be a top priority. Development with or without parking must be decided on the basis of facts and practicality, not just philosophy. No doubt Wallingford residents supported taxing themselves to save or improve Metro within the city. However, Metro recently decided to make changes to routes in Wallingford with minimal input from the community. Once again, the opportunity for public involvement is critical for acceptance of not only current plans but those which may be proposed in the future.

Michael MadduxMichael Maddux’s Answer: My priorities as a city council member, beyond revenue reform, include identifying and funding meaningful investments in east-west connectivity through Wallingford, connecting Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, and U-District. In addition, I would work with the Wallingford Chamber and Community Council to come up with what the next neighborhood plan looks like, how we are going to absorb and welcome incoming residents to the area, while preserving the affordability for small businesses along and around 45th (as well as the commercial cores of all neighborhoods). Folks can learn more about where I stand, and my policy proposals, at www.michaelmaddux.com

Rob JohnsonRob Johnson’s Answer: Better Parking Management!  I’ve knocked on just about every door in Wallingford and the number 1 issue I heard about was how difficult parking is in Wallingford.  To help reduce the squeeze on parking in the neighborhood I’d like to work with developers to provide transit passes, bike share memberships, and other incentives to encourage more car-light or car-free residents to move to Wallingford.  I think the city should do a more thorough analysis of the availability and use of public and private parking in the neighborhood to make sure we’re not building more parking than we need and to better utilize the available parking that currently exists. The squeeze is only going to get tighter as light rail opens so we need to be working on solutions now that can be in place over the next few years as we get close to light rail opening.  I’m also a parent of kids that will be in Seattle Public Schools and I’ll advocate for the city be more intentional about using our city resources to support the public school system through intentional programming with our parks and libraries to providing more safe walking and biking routes to schools.

Tony ProvineTony Provine’s Answer: My top priorities for Wallingford are a smarter transportation system and a planning process requiring developers to work with the community to prevent the displacement of long-time residents.  Enforcement of current neighborhood design guidelines and support for updating them is critical for small businesses, long-time residents and other stakeholders to be engaged.  Wallingford residents deserve smart growth that includes community-driven discussions about density and careful studies addressing the impact new developments have in displacing elderly, renters, and other underserved populations.

Wallingford needs better access to the light rail station in the University District. Smart transportation solutions are needed to provide relief for residents and workers from the congestion on 45th and 50th streets.  Wallingford residents deserve to feel safe and to have more community based police officers.

I am passionate about representing our 4th District and will promote active community participation in decision making to make our city more inclusive. Our residents need to be paid fairly and to have equal access to information and opportunities.  I’ve always been an accessible, dedicated and effective neighborhood leader and I will continue to be as City Councilmember for Wallingford and all our neighborhoods.  Please visit www.tonyprovine.com to learn more about my platform.

Jean GoddenJean Godden’s Answer: I agree, it is time for the Wallingford Neighborhood Plan to be updated. I will work with community leaders and with the Department of Neighborhoods to ensure that Wallingford is at the top of the list for updating its neighborhood plan.  I believe the people of Wallingford are the most effective group to address Wallingford’s priorities, but we do need to ensure those people have proper training to advocate for their community.

I will make sure that Wallingford’s parks, Meridian and Gasworks in particular, benefit from the increased resources available through the recently passed Seattle Parks District. Gasworks is due for renovation of its pavilion and covered areas, adding ADA and playground improvements.

I will listen to the neighbors and address transportation needs in the community, ensuring that there are safe routes to Wallingford area schools and safe pedestrian and bicycle routes throughout the business community.

Which candidate do you think best answered the question?

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If you read the blog then I’m sure you saw this candidate question coming. Also, to keep the train rolling on these questions I’m skipping a separate calendar post this week, check out our calendar page for what’s going on in Wallingford over the next week.

The Question: 45th street over I-5 is one of the most congested, dangerous roadways in the city for pedestrians and cyclists, yet the Move Seattle Levy does nothing to help connect Wallingford pedestrians or cyclists to light rail in the U-District. This is the top ask by Seattle Greenways for district 4 and has been widely covered on Wallyhood. To fix the levy Wallingford needs money to be allocated for structural improvements on or near the 45th Street overpass by the 2021 opening of light rail.

Further, the Move Seattle Levy was devised and feedback was collected without levy planners ever setting foot once in Wallingford. SDOT has not incorporated any feedback into their plans that Wallingford did provide, and has released contradictory statements about what their plans even are. While the goals of the levy and integrated transportation planning may be excellent, the levy plans for Wallingford are completely mismatched to our community needs, with cycle tracks going where they aren’t wanted and critical connections needed to complete a safe and integrated transportation network going unfunded.

As our District 4 representative, will you vote against the Move Seattle Levy as it stands today? What changes to the levy do you need to see, if any, before you will support it?

Michael MadduxMichael Maddux’s Answer: I am generally concerned with the reliance on property tax levies, especially with the upcoming proposals from the County, as well as expected expansion proposals for the Library Levy, Families and Education Levy, and Housing Levy. These are all great things that we need, but, beyond the issue of levy capacity being bumped up against, also raise concerns about who is being priced out due to increases. While low-income seniors and disabled persons have access to programs to lower their property taxes, this does not apply to renters’ “pass through” by way of rents paid, or moderate income individuals and families. I cannot stress enough the importance of pursuing revenue reform in Seattle to move away from over-reliance on real property taxes, sales taxes, and flat fees – all regressive forms of revenue.

On the Move Seattle proposal, while I appreciate the funding to study what we can do to improve east-west connectivity pending future investments in light rail (Ballard Spur!!!), I do believe there is a need for a pedestrian/bicycle connection between Wallingford and the U-District. Having ridden across the 45th Street Overpass, I know I would personally feel safer with something protected, which, based on overall mobility needs, would likely mean a separate overpass akin to what is proposed in Northgate.

Rob JohnsonRob Johnson’s Answer: In my day job, I advocate for more and better public transit throughout Washington State, so I’m very excited about the opening of the new light rail station in 2021.  As we prepare for the opening of that new system we need to make sure that Wallingford has such great east/west transit connections that you can go to a stop without needing to look at a schedule and get quickly and easily to anywhere you’d like to go. I’ve been advocating for new funding in Move Seattle for better transit and safer bike and pedestrian infrastructure across the city, which is one of the reasons why I’ve been endorsed by both the Cascade Bike Club and ATU 587 (our bus/light rail drivers union). At a minimum we need to expand the sidewalk infrastructure at 45th to make it easier for people walking or biking to cross I-5.  A separate 47th street crossing would be an expensive option, and thus not likely to get included in this year’s measure, but the city should at minimum study the cost of a crossing so we can start getting it into our future transportation plans.

Tony ProvineTony Provine’s Answer: The Move Seattle Levy must include a plan to build a greenway connection for bicyclists and pedestrians across I-5 at NE 47th Street.  Additional funds should be allocated for structural improvements throughout Wallingford.  In the meantime, I would seek immediate funding to improve pedestrian and bicycle access on the NE 45th Street bridge across I-5.

Throughout NE Seattle neighbors feel they are being ignored by downtown decision makers. Outreach processes have been inadequate and stakeholder’s voices are not being heard.  Long-time residents are weary of this pattern and a strong majority chose to elect city council members by district.  I am a proven neighborhood leader with a history of advocacy for my community on local and city-wide issues.  Smarter transportation and community-led processes are needed to complete a safe and integrated transportation network in our neighborhoods.  I support many aspects of the Move Seattle Levy but it is only one tool the city has to fund our neighborhood’s transportation needs.   This Levy includes many desirable projects that are not immediate needs while failing to address the more urgent needs of neighborhoods like Wallingford.  So many of our roads and highways need improvement now to increase safety and alleviate congestion.

Jean GoddenJean Godden’s Answer: Seattle’s transportation system must include a safe and accessible connection for walkers and cyclists over I-5 to the U District Link light rail station. I will work to assure that connection is in the Move Seattle plan that goes to voters this fall.

The mayor is transmitting his Move Seattle levy proposal to City Council, and we will examine it and make changes to assure it best fulfills the city’s transportation needs for the next nine years. It’s important that the plan be broadly appealing to Seattle voters, because without the funding that levy will provide, there would be drastic cuts in our transportation budget. Not only would street improvements not get built, but basic maintenance like street repaving would be drastically reduced

Abel PachecoAbel Pacheco’s Answer: Outreach on the Move Seattle Levy, development projects and other programs is critical. Instead of having to fight against an entire program because it was sprung on a neighborhood without input is ineffective, wasteful, and creates unnecessary hostility. The Move Seattle Levy did have outreach, but some communities such as Wallingford were missed.

I’ve suggested that organizations such as community councils should be given an opportunity to “opt in” or registered to be notified of public and private projects which impact their neighborhoods. People who are interested and want notice, should be allowed to register to get it.

I won’t commit to opposing the entire Move Seattle Levy because it does not provide a solution for the 45th St. problem. It is a significant oversight in the levy that not enough input was considered, it must be evaluated as a whole. Before making a commitment to support or oppose the levy as it stands today, I need to have input from other communities in the fourth district. Going forward, our district election system will likely result in the need for more give-and-take and compromise. What I can say now is that I’m committed to our community and its constituents, having worked hard to promote our values on the Wallingford Community Council, and will continue to do so. Going forward we can’t lose sight of the problem, and I am committed to keeping neighborhood transportation issues in the forefront with regard to future plans.

Which candidate do you think best answered the question?

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