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Updated: 2018-02-21T15:46:16-08:00

 



Six homes for sale along Metro route 40

2018-02-21T15:46:16-08:00

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From Downtown to Northgate

King County Metro route 40 is a long route that starts downtown and winds through several neighborhoods in Northwest Seattle.

After picking up in both the downtown core and South Lake Union, it winds through Westlake, then over the Fremont Bridge. After hitting downtown Fremont, it moves onto Ballard on Leary, then runs north on 24th Avenue to Loyal Heights, then east through Crown Hill and Greenwood.

It ends its run in Northgate, by North Seattle College, Northgate Mall, and the Northgate Transit Center.

Along the way, housing stock moves from denser options like townhomes and condos and slowly moves to more single-family zones, especially farther north. Right now, there’s a little bit of everything, but it doesn’t come cheap—especially if you’re looking for a little outdoor space, or something closer to the center of Ballard.

We’ve found six notable homes along the route, from condos to townhouses to craftsmans to midcentury pads.




With cold weather ahead, Seattle Center Exhibition Hall to become temporary emergency shelter

2018-02-21T15:23:56-08:00

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100 extra beds will be available from Sunday through Tuesday Thursday with no referral needed

Update, February 21: Seattle’s Human Services Department announced today that the emergency cold-weather shelter would continue operating nightly through Thursday—adding the nights of Wednesday, February 21 and Thursday, February 22 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Original article, February 16:

It’s been a chilly week in Seattle, and with more cold weather ahead, Seattle’s Human Services Department is opening up a temporary cold weather shelter from Sunday, February 18 through the evening of Tuesday, February 20 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall at 301 Mercer Street on the north side of the Center.

The shelter, run by Compass Housing Alliance, has room for 100 people and will not require a referral for entry. The entrance will be on the lower level of the hall, and will be open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day.

HSD deputy director Jason Johnson adds that the department asks “that all shelters ensure all available space is used to help bring people out of the cold.”

Area service providers, said HSD, have been notified. Many buses serve the Seattle Center, including Metro routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, and 13, plus the Rapidride D line.

Temperatures are likely to hit a low of 25 degrees on Sunday night, according to current forecasts by the National Weather Service, with freezing temperatures sticking around through at least Tuesday. Snow is possible.

The temporary shelter comes as the city wrestles with the aftereffects of a rebidding process for providers of homeless services, which meant that while some new providers got funding, some longtime providers—especially those that provide mats on the floor—were cut. HSD is keeping those shelters open through the winter, although some community groups are calling for funding restoration.

This article has been corrected to reflect correct shelter times.




Mayor announces free transit passes for public high school students

2018-02-21T14:19:23-08:00

The plan would give year-round transit access to high schoolers—and some college students At Mayor Jenny Durkan’s first State of the City address on Tuesday, she announced some big news for area high school students and their families: “ORCA Opportunity,” a plan that would provide free bus pases to Seattle Public Schools high school students and Seattle Promise scholars at Seattle Colleges. Under the plan, around 15,000 students would get year-round ORCA bus passes for free, valid on most area public transit agencies: King County Metro, King County Water Taxi, Seattle Streetcar, Sound Transit, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Kitsap Transit, and Everett Transit. During the program’s first year, it would be funded jointly by King County Metro and the Seattle Department of Transportation. The Seattle Times reports that the program would cost the city $3.8 million from the Transportation Benefit District, with $1 million from King County Metro. Seattle has been slowly building up transit accessibility for young people. After extensive lobbying from students at Rainier Beach High School, Seattle implemented a program for low-income students to get free bus passes. A pilot program over this past summer slashed youth bus fare on King County Metro buses to 50 cents (or $1 for Sound Transit). At the time, City Councilor Rob Johnson told us that he was working toward a loftier goal: free transit for everyone under the age of 19. While this program isn’t quite as sweeping as Johnson’s idea, or plans floated by other mayoral candidates like Cary Moon and Nikkita Oliver during the mayoral race—this applies to public school students, not all youths—it’s still among the most generous in the nation, reports the Seattle Times. Other cities that implement similar programs will often restrict them to households of certain incomes, or limit them to during the school year. Seattle already has a number of free bus pass programs in place for low-income students—about 2,700 of them year-round—or students that live a certain distance away from their school. The city’s own programs show that easier access to transit increases student ridership. After that summertime pilot, youth ridership on King County Metro rose 35 percent over the previous summer, with 376,000 boardings, and 42 percent on Link light rail. A study from Rutgers and Columbia—and another from University of Cardiff—show that transit-riding habits that are established early in life can last a lifetime, meaning that programs like this can boost transit ridership in the long-term, not just among youth. “As a city, we are committed to combating climate change, increasing economic opportunity, and decreasing housing costs,” said Johnson in a statement. “The best way to achieve all three of those goals is to increase access to frequent, reliable and affordable public transportation; expanding affordable transit access for students is something I feel very passionate about. I am thrilled to see this program take root and grow after the highly successful pilot I helped implement last summer and that we continue our work to make a positive impact on Seattle’s students.” “We’re doing this so students can worry more about their grades and less about how they get places—so that working moms and dads can save a little money each month and know their children are safe,” said Durkan in her State of the City address. “I look forward to working with the City Council to make this a reality for our students for years to come.” A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office told Curbed Seattle that the plan is to implement the program this fall for the 2018-2019 school year. During her first State of the City Address, Mayor Durkan Announces ORCA Opportunity Which Provides Free ORCA Passes to High School Students and Seattle Promise Scholars [SOM] Youth ridership surged on buses, light rail and streetcars last summer during ORCA pilot project, doubling expectations [KC] The Transit Ridi[...]



Property sale will fund housing programs—and could restore shelter funding

2018-02-21T11:42:50-08:00

Originally meant to just fund new programs, proceeds could restore funding to longtime providers Two stories about low-income housing and homelessness have converged: $11 million in revenue from the sale of a city-owned property in South Lake Union will not only fund Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed rental assistance pilot program, but restore funding for hygiene and emergency services for those experiencing homelessness. The Seattle City Council voted Tuesday to pass the “Building a Bridge to Housing for All” proposal floated by Durkan last month. Originally, the plan was to use the sale proceeds fund a rental assistance pilot program; some new shelter options, including one targeted toward chronically homeless women; and a new Seattle Fire Department facility—plus relocation money for a Seattle Police Department communications shop that used to operate out of the building. In a version passed out of City Council on Monday, the $1 million that was going to be used for the fire department will divert to hygiene services for those experiencing homelessness, with the idea that it goes back to programs that were cut in a recent rebidding process. The Seattle Human Services Department is providing bridge funding to get those service providers through the winter. Advocates, including the Housing for All coalition, which includes many local service providers and advocacy organizations, have been pushing back against loss of funding to organizations like Low Income Housing Institute, SHARE, and WHEEL. Back in December, the coalition delivered a letter to the mayor and city council demanding they find funding to reverse the cuts. About $5.5 million will go toward getting shelter to people currently experiencing homeless, starting with a project focusing on chronically homeless women this spring, but eventually to other projects too. That potentially includes projects like tiny home villages. Another $2 million would go toward the rental assistance pilot, which aims to help families that would otherwise be stuck on the Seattle Housing Authority waiting list. That project targets families making 30 to 50 percent area median income, which depends on family size—but for a single person, that’s $20,200 to $33,600 per year, or $28,800 to $48,000 for a family of four. $1 million, originally intended for the fire department facility, will go toward emergency and hygiene services, specifically nodding to service providers that lost funding—although it could go to any provider. The fire department facility will instead be funded by proceeds from a real estate excise tax. The sale of the property, located at 1933 Minor Avenue, is expected to close this summer. That will also include a mandatory housing affordability (MHA) payment of more than $7 million, with $2 million upfront. $1 million for hygiene services for Seattle homeless people restored [Seattle Times] City councilor joins effort to restore shelter funding [CS] Coalition calls on City Hall to restore shelter funding [CS] $34 million in city contracts overhaul Seattle’s funding for homeless services [CS] Proposal: Use $11 million from property sale to address homeless crisis [CS] [...]



8 Seattle works designed by black architects

2018-02-19T10:00:02-08:00

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From ECC to NAAM

On the surface, Seattle’s architectural heritage can seem very, very white. But black architects have been contributing to Seattle’s urban fabric for decades.

A bit of history: Benjamin McAdoo founded Seattle’s first black-owned architecture firm in the middle of the last century, and gained renown for everything from churches to educational facilities to private homes. Leon Bridges founded the second in the early 1960s before moving to Baltimore and becoming the first registered black architect in Maryland.

Of course, many would follow. Mel Streeter had an extremely prestigious career dating back to the 1950s which included having a hand in both Quest and Safeco Field as well as Seatac Airport. Roderick Butler touched homes all across the region with N3 Architects. Many practicing Seattle architects are shaping our area—and the world, depending on the specialty—right this second, including Donald King, Weber Thompson’s Susan Frieson, and DLR Group’s Rico Quirindongo.

Miss any of your favorites? Send us a tip; we’ll include it on our next update.

Special thanks to AIA Seattle’s diversity roundtable for guidance.




Thinking of ditching your car? Just do it already

2018-02-19T08:00:02-08:00

A suburbia-raised Seattleite who has never lived without a car takes the plunge I made it all the way up I-5 before the engine light flicked on. It happened on an overpass—that one right by the stadiums in downtown Seattle. My car, a 2007 Kia Rio 5, had never done well on inclines, so the sudden lurch didn’t scare me. The engine light did. “$1,500,” said the mechanic. “Are you sure you want to keep it?” He knew I’d been playing chicken. This time last year, a similar spring had sprung. He told me then what he told me now: “If you want this car to keep running, you need to put at least $1,500 into it.” Practically, I knew it was a good deal. The car was 11 years old and 60,000 miles in; $1,500 to get it back in working shape wasn’t a bad long-term investment. I just didn’t want to do it. I was sick of fighting for a parking spot. Sick of buying overpriced gas. Sick of dealing with engine lights. Sick of owning a car. And so I decided I wouldn’t. Goodbye, car I’m not alone in making this choice. Last year, the percentage of Seattle households that own a vehicle declined — the first time that’s happened in decades. More specifically, car ownership among Seattle residents under the age of 35 dropped by an estimated 3 percentage points. That’s the biggest dip among the 50 largest U.S. cities (No. 2 was Detroit, of all places). It’s no surprise: Our very own city council is encouraging us to stop driving. A recent proposal aims to reduce parking throughout Seattle in an attempt to increase people’s likelihood of opting for options where they don’t have to park. This news would shock my insurance agent. When I asked him what my options were for insurance to cover my new car-sharing, ride-sharing lifestyle, he paused. “I’ve never tried to live without a car before,” he said, only a hint of judgement hanging in the air. I would go on to have several similarly stalled conversations with my agent as well as spend hours Googling my insurance options. What I found: plenty of horror stories but very little practical information about what (if any) car insurance I needed if I wanted to keep driving occasionally, but didn’t actually own a car. Clinging to car insurance I’ll spare you the gory details but lesson No. 1: There is such a thing in the world as “non-owners’ insurance.” It helps cover the “gap” in coverage that insurance companies tell you can jack your premiums if you ever decide to buy auto insurance again (by how much, they don’t disclose). In my case, non-owners’ offered less coverage than my traditional car insurance but for a nearly identical price. Lesson No. 2: The insurance baked into ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber should, in most cases, cover you more than that baked into car-sharing companies like car2go or ReachNow, if only because you’re not driving the car and so, theoretically, not at fault in an accident. Car-sharing companies also offer insurance. It’s at least the minimum that your particular state requires (in Washington state, this is $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $10,000 in property damage). My insurance agent assured me such “low numbers” would “never be enough” in case of an accident I caused, which is why his company offered $100,000, $300,000, and $100,000 in the same situations. He’s probably right but, again, couldn’t offer me a option that would provide me that kind of protection while recognizing the reality that I now rarely drive a car. You can, of course, look up every ride-sharing and car-sharing company’s specific amounts of coverage (gird yourself before you do; insurance jargon is gnarly). I also recommend you talk to your agent; maybe they’ll know more than mine did. The bottom line Insurance aside, actually getting rid of my car was easy. For a number of reasons, I donated it to Seattle-based radio station KEXP. Whatever they sell i[...]



Limebike’s electric scooters could eventually come to Seattle, too

2018-02-16T15:25:44-08:00

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They’re still a ways off—but could provide an option that’s not a bike

Earlier this week, Limebike became the first of the bike-share companies operating in Seattle to add electric bikes, called “Lime-E,” to its fleet, making using a shared bike a little more accessible on Seattle’s hills.

At some point in the future, there could be another electric, hill-climbing option: scooters.

Limebike has electric scooters—which its calling “Lime-S”—at the ready, although they haven’t officially launched anywhere yet. The vehicles are currently being tested in cities within the San Francisco Bay area.

“As for Seattle,” said Limebike spokesperson Mary Caroline Pruitt over email, “we’ve had collaborative discussions with the city about scooters, and while we don’t have any specifics to share at this time, we hope to bring Lime-S to Seattle in the future.”

The Seattle Department of Transportation, which oversees the city’s bike shares, had a similar response: nothing to share at this time, but the idea is intriguing. It couldn’t operate under the current framework for bike shares, though.

“The city is always interested to learn about new transportation options, but has not yet received any proposals about free-floating electric scooter share,” said a statement from SDOT shared with Curbed Seattle over email. “The idea would require close examination for feasibility and development of its own permit program.”

Lime-S bikes are standing scooters—less moped, more Razor—with a 250-watt motor and a 37-mile travel range, which, depending on the route, could get a rider as far as Tacoma from downtown Seattle. The price point is the same: $1 to unlock and 10 cents for every minute of ride time.

“The multi-model mobility solution also helps to meet the various needs of that first and last mile transportation challenge,” said Limebike CEO Toby Sun in a blog post announcing the scooters.

The scooters do provide another option for people that have issues with cycling—never learned, busted knees, or a host of reasons why bicycles aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. But it’ll likely be a decent amount of time before they’re available in the Seattle area.




Explore these tiny buildings at this year’s Seattle Home Show

2018-02-16T14:18:39-08:00

Looking for a cottage? An office? A shed? The Seattle Home Show starts this weekend and runs all week, with vendors peddling everything from flooring to window treatments to fire pits to the Home Show classic starry-ceiling painters at Stellar Vision. Like last year, the Home Show has a strong emphasis on tiny homes, spaces, and retreats—whether for a backyard getaway, an accessory dwelling unit, a vacation destination, or small-scale homeownership. While not every small, prefab solution that you can live in can fit inside the Exhibition Center, one exhibitor, Carriage Houses Northwest, will be showing off their goods again. This year, the houses will have a little something extra: smart home technology, which was absolutely a big thing at last year’s home show, just not in these little packages. This tiny house has Alexa-controlled lighting, security cameras, and music. Courtesy of Seattle Home Show “Home ownership is out of reach for so many, so tiny is a viable option,” said Carriage Houses Northwest owner Kurt Galley in a statement. (The company also builds tiny homes for the homeless.) Galley acknowledges that “tiny is both a liberating and difficult decision,” though: “You really need to determine if organizing your life in such a way that living tiny would be life-giving rather than a hardship you have to just learn to deal with.” Because restrictions in building code—and the high price of land alone—a lot of these items are going to end up as outbuildings on existing properties, anyway, not more affordable solutions for people that don’t already own a home. That includes another repeat from last year: backyard, gendered clubhouses—standalone dens branded as “she sheds” and “man caves,” but could be enjoyed by anyone of any gender, depending on their personal aesthetics and interests. Just be prepared for some very binary branding on these kinds of buildings. One doesn’t have to identify strictly as a woman to enjoy some breezy beach looks, like French doors, pendant lights, and curtains in one option on display again this year by Aurora Quality Buildings. And one doesn’t have to subscribe to any notions of masculinity to want a fully realized dive bar in their backyard, like one offering last year by the same company. Courtesy of Seattle Home Show A few options by Heritage Portable Buildings range from more homey—with a small porch and a welcoming front door—to a slightly revamped garden shed with a side window. Courtesy of Seattle Home Show The Seattle Home Show runs from Saturday, February 17 through Sunday, February 25 at Centurylink Field Event Center in Sodo. [...]



Seattle rent comparison: What $2,700 rents you right now

2018-02-16T11:12:49-08:00

A Pioneer Square loft or a Northgate house? Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, where we explore what you can rent for a certain dollar amount in the Seattle area. We found six listings within $100 of today’s price: $2,700. Via Craigslist ↑ In Pioneer Square, this 1600-square-foot live/work loft with a bathroom and a half is going for $2,700. That includes hardwood floors, in-unit laundry, and a private outdoor patio, plus access to a bigger roof deck with the standard suite of roof deck features: doggy turf, a fire pit, barbecues. Pets are welcome; parking is $300 extra per month. Via Craigslist ↑ Head to Bitter Lake for this three-bedroom townhouse with hardwood floors and a fireplace. The upstairs bedrooms have vaulted ceilings—both of those have en-suite baths, too—an the property comes with both a garage and a small backyard area. Small pets are okay; rent here is $2,695 per month. Via IRO ↑ In the University District, this three-bedroom apartment with a fireplace, a balcony, and 1390 square feet of space is going for $2,700 on the dot. That includes access to a shared, central patio. Up to two pets are okay, but pet rent applies. Parking is extra. This was listed along with a larger, more expensive unit, so photos might be of either. Via Craigslist ↑ This extremely beachy apartment on a pier in Madison Park is renting for $2,650, which includes one bedroom, one bathroom, and access to a private dock. It’s full of extremely adorable vintage details, like vaulted ceilings, built-ins, and hardwood floors. Cats can come along, and the building—not the unit—has laundry. Parking is not included, but it’s right along not just the lake, but the 11 line. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/--U3y5i8fRU?rel=0&" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> ↑ In West Seattle just off the Admiral junction, this two-bedroom, 1940s brick rambler is going for $2,650 per month. It has hardwood floors, laundry facilities, a dishwasher, and newer appliances and paint than pictured in the video walkthrough, plus a two-car detatched garage. A yard is maintained by an owner and manager. No pets allowed. Via Craigslist ↑ In the north end of the Northgate area, this 1970s split-level has a whopping five bedrooms, two bonus rooms, and two and a half bathrooms, two kitchens, and a huge yard to be maintained by the tenant. Pets can come along on a case-by-case-basis, and the house has laundry. Rent here is $2,695. [...]



Seattle weekend traffic and transit: Presidents Day edition

2018-02-15T16:16:02-08:00

What’s blocking up traffic this weekend—and how to ride transit to it (or around it) Another weekend, another whole list of things that could disrupt getting around. Some of these events might be things you’re doing, too: maybe you have a three-day weekend and are getting out and about, or maybe you don’t and want to know what to avoid. We’ve combed through the alerts and advisories from both the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and the Washington Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to deliver transit-friendly solutions for your weekend outings. Some of this weekend’s advisories—and transit-oriented alternate routes to events—are listed below. Weekend events: The Home Show and Canna Con Starting today and running through Saturday, it’s appropriately-named cannabis convention Canna Con at the Washington State Convention Center. Multiple buses run through the Convention Station (for now!), including Metro routes 41 74, 101, 102, 150, and 255, plus Sound Transit 550. Outside the tunnel, westbound 7, 10, 43, 47, 49, and 150 take you a block away. Starting Saturday, the Seattle Home Show is at CenturyLink Field Event Center, running all week. Light Rail goes to Centurylink (take your pick of the International District or Stadium stations), as does the First Hill Streetcar and a ton of bus routes from Metro, Community Transit, and Sound Transit. Friday, Christian recording artist Tobymac plays at Key Arena at 7 p.m. Get to Key Arena directly using King County Metro routes 1, 2, 8, 32, or Rapidride D. Road work and bus service changes First and foremost, let’s take a look at holiday-related service changes: Sound Transit Sounder trains and Sound Transit Express buses will operate on a regular weekday schedule for the holiday. Link light rail service will operate on a Saturday schedule. King County Metro buses will be running on a “reduced weekday” schedule. King County Water Taxi will not be running. In regular ol’ reroutes, the 113 will get shifted around in White Center—like it has been all week—on Friday. Presidents Day doesn’t mean a break from construction, though. Now through Friday, Howell Street is be reduced to one lane between 9th and Boren from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday night through Friday morning, WSDOT crews will close the northbound I-5 exit to Madison Street from 10 p.m. to 2 p.m. for surveying. Also Thursday night through Friday morning, the right lane of the northbound I-5 exit to Seneca Street will be closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Second Avenue downtown will be closed overnight for a tower crane. Columbia Street will be down to just one lane between First and Third from 9 a.m. Saturday until 10 p.m. on Sunday for restoration. That includes the loss of a right turn lane onto Second. Note: We put immediate and new closures in this section, but not every single planned street closure appears here. Explore all 99 active SDOT projects, many of which involve street and lane closures, here. Here are Sound Transit rider alerts; here are King County Metro rider alerts. Sports: UW Basketball University of Washington’s men’s basketball team has two games this weekend: one against Utah on Thursday night at at 6 p.m. and another Saturday at 5 p.m. at Colorado. UW’s women’s basketball team plays Colorado first—Friday night at 6 p.m.—playing Utah at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All those games are at Alaska Airlines Arena, which is right by Husky Stadium; Link Light Rail goes right there, plus the 44, 45, and 73. [...]