Madison Park Scene


By Ryan Murray

At around 10:30 p.m. on the night of Oct. 16, Seattle firefighters responded to a fire in a single family home in the 300 block of 27th Avenue East.

Responders were able to knock down the fire by 11:30 p.m. No one was injured in the blaze.

Fire investigators determined the fire was caused by discarded smoking materials on the duplex’s deck. The fire spread to the home itself. Estimated damages are $175,000.

Calls to the Seattle Fire Department public information line were not returned.

Syndicated from the Madison Park Times

By Brandon Macz

The East Design Review Board on Wednesday praised changes made to plans for a future mixed-use development that will include a PCC Market on East Madison. A majority of Madison Valley residents in attendance at the recommendation meeting said it will destroy the neighborhood.

This was the fourth time Studio Meng Strazzara came before the EDRB to pitch its design for a six-story mixed-use development that will replace City People’s Garden Store at 2925 E. Madison St. The total project will include 82 residential units, a 24,500-square-foot PCC Market and a 1,500-square-foot corner retail space.

Studio Meng Strazzara principal Charles Strazzara was quick to point out Wednesday night that zoning allowed for a 50,000-square-foot grocery store.

Strazzara highlighted widened sidewalks along the East Madison side of the development — 19.6 feet wide at the PCC entryway — and changes to the design of six townhomes added to the back of the project, facing residences on Dewey Place East. The board had asked the design team to simplify the design and articulation. Strazzara said the main floor was elevated, the setbacks aligned and the pitched roofs were ditched.

The design team received support from SDOT for a departure for dual vehicular access, putting retail parking and commercial loading on East Madison and residential parking on Dewey Place East.

EDRB chair Curtis Bigelow said he felt the dual access parking would provide a better pedestrian experience on Madison and Dewey, eliciting grumbles from the audience.

“I second the hope that we will all presumably be getting out of our cars soon,” said EDRB member Barbara Busetti, drawing more criticism from the crowd.

The neighborhood will change soon with the addition of the Madison Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

The EDRB also supported a departure to go beyond the allowable 30-foot curb cut to 40 feet, in order for delivery trucks to have an easier time turning into the loading entrance. Busetti said she’d like the portion between the customer and loading entrances on East Madison reduced, while EDRB member Andrew Haas said he’d like developers to explore whether the full additional 10 feet of curb cut is necessary. The board agreed to request further study on the matter.

The design board also lauded the inclusion of a pedestrian stair linking the East Madison and Dewey Place East sides of the project. The pedestrian stair was required by the city.

Many residents at the Sept. 13 EDRB recommendation meeting remained opposed to the project, saying the height, bulk and scale is still out of place in the neighborhood and will result in the removal of a mature tree canopy.

Neighborhood group Save Madison Valley formed last year to oppose the project for those reasons.

“Through three EDGs (Early Design Guidance meetings) the east facade of Dewey has remained pretty consistent in mass and height,” said Melissa Stoker with Save Madison Valley, adding it does not fit in well with the narrow length of that street at the proposed setbacks.

She said she does not believe the pedestrian experience will be positive, particularly with a massive project on a 30-foot slope, overlooking the neighborhood.

Shannon Underwood said the project doesn’t adequately address the board’s request for public space.

“The widened sidewalk and supermarket entrance is commercial space,” she said. “It’s not inclusive, it’s not for everyone; it’s for the supermarket to sell to people, and for shoppers. Just because customers greet each other doesn’t make it a public community space.”

Underwood said the project’s design has been compared to the Madison Lofts across the street, but that structure also doesn’t fit in the neighborhood.

“This building will be a community destroyer on all three sides because of its unbroken mass, its height and its oversized garage, which draws more traffic than we can accommodate,” Underwood said.

Proposed commercial and residential parking stalls are set at 70 each.

Cherie Sato provided a physical model of the design to the EDRB, asking them to consider whether it fits with the height, bulk and scale of the neighborhood. She said a 12-foot-wide planting strip in front of the townhomes does not provide an adequate buffer for the neighborhood, and bemoaned the loss of the mature canopy.

“This proposed building is an antithesis of the design guidelines — the Seattle Design Guidelines,” Sato said. “The design review board, which you serve, was created specifically to prevent a project like this from destroying our neighborhoods.”

Resident Mark McDermott suggested neighbors ban together and file a lawsuit if the city were to allow the project to move forward. He said municipal code calls for reducing the impact of removing trees and vegetation from a steep slope area.

“The proposal of these developers is to come in and mow the entire canopy down,” McDermott said, with the city looking to replace that canopy elsewhere. “… And I say to you, my fellow neighbors, if the city tries to cram this project down our throats, we need to open up our wallets and load up and file a lawsuit and fight this sucker until they comply with the spirit and letter of the law…”

Resident Andrew Engelson said he supports the project because Seattle needs more housing, and it will mean having a nearby grocery store.

“Save Madison Valley does not speak for every resident of Madison Valley,” he said.

Cynthia Ford also voiced support for the project, but said she wanted to see more bike parking. She said she believes PCC will be a good steward of the neighborhood.

The EDRB did ask the design team to consider more bike parking, possibly adding that in the garage, and also set a condition that bike parking along the sidewalk be set between tree plantings as to not inhibit pedestrian traffic.

Responding to public comments, the board also requested that the design team address privacy concerns between the retail portion of the project and neighboring residences.

Syndicated from

By Ryan Murray

A major infrastructure project is slated to get underway this winter right in the heart of Madison Park.

The intersection of East Madison Street, McGilvra Boulevard East and East Garfield Street is a messy, convoluted one. The Seattle Department of Transportation has heard complaints from residents and is seeking to make some major changes to make it safer and easier to navigate. The focus of the project is to add curb bulbs to effectively narrow the street but make turns into traffic along busy Madison Street less direct and with better visibility.

Five changes to the intersection were proposed, including two which came directly from community suggestions. Both of these were denied for various reasons.

Sue Romero, senior public relations specialist for SDOT, said that the department took residents’ thoughts into its plans.

“SDOT did take community concerns into consideration, which is why we reviewed the project and looked at ways to lessen the impact on trees,” she wrote in an email. “As a result, only one tree is scheduled to be removed at Madison/McGilvra (the tree is not in good condition) and we are also adding a tree. The new tree will be on the west side of McGilvra Boulevard and will be larger and more mature than customary replacement trees.”

The tree removed at 3914 E Garfield St. is in section one of the project, which also includes the loss of two on-street parking spots and the moving of a disabled parking space to the west. SDOT claims the removal of the tree will accommodate a shifted bike ramp and make pedestrians more visible

The second approved change in the project is at 3927 E Madison St. with another shifted bike ramp, to help avoid cyclists from riding on a property owner’s lawn. The third approved change is another bike ramp between the corner of McGilvra Boulevard East and East Madison Street to the west side of Madison.

All told, four on-street parking spaces will be eliminated in the already packed area.

The two community proposals were rejected because they failed to meet some standards.

“The proposal to reorient curb ramps to face one another on the west side of Madison at Garfield does not meet SDOT standards because multi-use ramps are required to be 10 feet – the proposed location was only 6 feet,” Romero said. “This also does not meet ADA standards as facing curb ramps would be too steep for users.”

The other change, a midblock crossing on the north side of Madison/McGilvra was rejected because SDOT does not install mid-block crossings.

The project is slated to cost $490,000 and is funded by MOVE Seattle and the city of Seattle’s Neighborhood Park and Street Fund, which is now part of the participatory budgeting process. While it was still running, it “provided funds annually to neighborhoods for small-scale improvements to streets and parks.” Projects funded by this fund scheduled for 2017 totaled up to $2 million, with $90,000 going to the Garfield Street project in Madison Park.

MOVE Seattle is part of Mayor Ed Murray’s “10-year strategic vision for transportation.”

Design on the project is complete and construction is expected to begin this winter, according to SDOT.

Syndicated from Madison Park Times

By Brandon Macz

The Seattle Department of Transportation is considerably more optimistic it will have the federal funding needed to complete a major bus corridor project along Madison Street than it was when President Donald Trump released his budget plan back in May.

“We’ve been following this very closely,” said Andrew Glass Hastings, SDOT transit and mobility director. “When the president came out with his budget back in May, it was very disturbing sort of for the future of the federal government’s partnership with cities like Seattle.”

Trump’s budget proposed to eliminate the TIGER and Capital Investment Grant transportation funding program, the latter SDOT is depending on to fund 50 percent — $60 million — of the Madison Bus Rapid Transit project.

“Even though there’s not a lot of weight to the (president’s) budget, it kind of set the floor,” Hastings said, “so anything other than zero was better than Trump’s zero.”

Dedicated bus lanes are planned along three-fifths of the Madison BRT project, with bus platforms running along the future RapidRide G route from First Avenue in downtown to Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Madison Valley.

Before its August break, Congress passed two appropriations bills — one from each chamber. The House bill would have eliminated the TIGER grant, but phased out the Capital Investment Grants more slowly. It would have put SDOT in better shape to complete its Center City Connector streetcar line connecting the First Hill and South Lake Union lines through Pioneer Square, Hastings said, but not the Madison BRT project.

On July 27, Washington Sen. Patty Murray’s office reported the Senate Appropriations Committee had approved multiple transportation infrastructure investments, including $2.1 billion in the Capital Investment Grants Program that includes Madison BRT funding.

The project remains estimated at $120 million, and the Madison BRT design is proceeding under an assumption the federal funding will come through, Hastings said. There are contingencies being worked out, including shortening the corridor or adjusting the level of investment in the project.

“That’s just sort of the worst-case scenario, if you will; if we don’t get that federal funding,” Hastings said.

Both the Madison BRT and Center City Connector projects received high rankings from the Federal Transit Administration, which were also released in May, he said.

“We take that as a very positive sign, Hastings said, “that the FTA is doing independent rankings of these projects and both of these projects are worthy of funding.”

SDOT now believes it could have everything in place for a mid-2018 construction start. The transportation department had initially expected to have a funding agreement signed later this year.

“That became clearly sort of overly optimistic in the face of a Trump administration,” Hastings said.

SDOT provided a 60-percent design to the public for review this spring, and expects to be at 90 percent by early 2018.

“At this point there aren’t a lot of significant changes,” Hastings said. “A lot of it is sort of refining and adding design details to get it to the fundamental design.”

Neighbors and community stakeholders toured the intersection of East Madison Street, East John Street and 24th Avenue on May 19.

Another stakeholder walk regarding the 12th Avenue/Union Street and 14th Avenue intersections took place on June 29.

One request to consider making East Union Street one-way between 12th and 11th was determined to be unsafe unless another pedestrian signal phase were created. The design team committed to further assessment there.

Hastings said it’s important to get this complex intersection right in its design, and its next design should make it more intuitive for users, especially pedestrians and cyclists.

People also worried about the loss of on-street parking in Capitol Hill, which already struggles with parking availability. Most parking west of 24th Avenue will be removed to accommodate bus facilities and dedicated lanes.

An option for protected bike lanes on Union Street that showed up on a locally preferred alternative map two years ago that was not meant to be in the Madison BRT plan isn’t dead. In April, SDOT chief of staff Genesee Adkins committed to finding a place for the project after its disappearance — likely in the five-year Bicycle Master Plan.

“Analysis on that is moving forward,” Hastings said of Union protected bike lanes, “not on the Madison BRT project, because that’s not part of our federal scope.”

He added business and residential restraints on Union has caused analysis to take longer.

Syndicated from the