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It’s expected, but that doesn’t make it any more fun. A state transportation commission voted on Tuesday to raise tolls on the 520 Bridge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, as reported in this KOMO News article.

The increase will begin July 1, 2013 with a 2.5 percent rise across all toll rates on the 520 Bridge, so that the peak toll for crossing Lake Washington on 520 would be $3.70. This follows the SR 520 toll rate plan and laws set in place in January 2011. 520 Bridge toll rates also rose 2.5 percent in July 2012. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge will see tolls increase by $0.25 this summer, and again next year.

As KOMO reports, the Gig Harbor area is already experiencing economic difficulty because of the bridge tolls. This isn’t as large a concern with the 520 Bridge, where commuters and travellers looking to avoid the toll can take a longer route and use the Interstate-90 Bridge or travel around Lake Washington at its northern or southern points. However, it still has a distinct effect.

Although the vote has been made, the hike in tolls is not set in stone – lawmakers must first give the commission authority to progress with their vote. Public hearings regarding the increase are set to take place over the next 60 days. Stay tuned for more Madison Park news.

Featured photo from WSDOT.

Not much happened in the way of crime in Madison Park or Madison Valley over the last month, which is great news. However, there were some robberies and other criminal activities nearby and around our neighborhoods. The following are incidents within the vicinity, which may affect or be helped by participation from the Madison Park community.

  • Redheaded Robber At-Large: Although this happened in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, it seemed fitting to mention on our blog, since this bank robber is still at large. On February 27 at just after 6 p.m., a white male between 30-40 years of age and about 6’2” tall, with orange skin, long red hair, and tear drop tattoos under both eyes robbed the Chase Bank in the 300 block of Broadway Ave. E. He had a handgun, and remains at large after fleeing the scene. Any information or knowledge as to this man’s identity or whereabouts is requested by the SPD – please call 911 or contact the Seattle Police.
  • Attempted Car-Side Armed Robbery: Just after midnight on February 28th, a man sitting in his car near the intersection of 11th Avenue and East Harrison Street was nearly the victim of an armed robbery. The suspect knocked on the driver’s side window as the man was sitting in his car just after parking, and pointed a silver handgun at the driver. He demanded money and insisted that the intended victim roll down his window. When the victim pretended he didn’t understand the suspect’s demands, the suspect proceeded to attempt to smash the driver’s window with the butt of the handgun. When he was unsuccessful, the suspect yelled at the victim and walked away. The victim then drove to the East Precinct station to report to police. The suspect remains at large, and is described as being a black male in his late thirties, about 6’3” tall, with slight facial hair and a round face. He was wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt and baggy clothes at the time of the incident, and was armed with a semi-automatic handgun in silver. If you have any information, please contact police.
  • Ongoing Investigation into University Bridge Collision: Two cars, a Volkswagen Passat and Toyota MR2 collided at about 6:45 p.m. on March 12th as they were crossing in opposite directions on the University Bridge. The accident occurred when the Toyota, which was traveling northbound, crossed the centerline and hit the Passat, which was traveling southbound. Both drivers were transported to Harborview for injuries, and investigation continues to discover whether the accident was related to drug use. The University Bridge was closed for several hours after the accident.
  • Cop-Impersonator With Porn Arrested: As of February 26th, SPD was still looking for 46-year-old Ryan James Purdy (aka Tracy Byers), who on multiple occasions since December robbed victims in various Seattle parks by flashing a fake police badge. This happened several times at nearby Volunteer Park. Purdy has since been arrested, when he mentioned to a fellow bus passenger while in Auburn that police were looking for him for impersonating a cop. The passenger called police as soon as he got off the bus. They arrived and arrested Purdy.

As always, please email us if you see or are a victim of Madison Park crime – after you have sufficiently reported the incident to the police – so that we can increase awareness and keep Madison Park and Madison Valley safe.

Featured photo by Joshua Trujillo for the SeattlePI.com.

Tomorrow is the opening reception for the brand new “Grid on Madison” collection. As the artists convey in this collection, “Grids are all around us: in our homes, cities, closets, spreadsheets …”

The “Grid on Madison” art collection features pieces on the theme of grids in various mediums – paint, paper, wax and fiber. Through these renderings, “the grid becomes a format for imagery, a system of organization, and a dynamic visual structure.”

The Madison Park event and art opening takes place this Thursday, March 14th from 5 to 8 p.m. and will present The Mother Pluckers as musical guests to enhance this ‘ubiquitous feature of the modern world’ in art. Wine and cheese will be served for refreshment as you enjoy the opening.

Color, shape, pattern, and abstract, this new selection of works is from nine affiliated artists in the Seattle area. Artists include Joan Stuart Ross, Ellen Rutledge, Susan Fant, Kappy Trigg, Joan Wrench, Linda Brooks, Judy Talley, Karin Schminke, and Margaret Liston.

“Grid on Madison” will be on display at Baas Framing Studio on E. Madison until April 30th for your exploration and viewing pleasure.

When: Thursday, March 14 from 5-8 p.m.
Where: Baas Framing Studio, 2703 E Madison St. Seattle 98112
Cost: Free

Featured photo from the Baas Framing Studio website

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed a post over on the Madison Valley News’ Facebook page, which said a new cycling shop was going in just off of East Madison Street at 514 28th Avenue East. This location is in the triangular building between Luc and Rover’s and behind Madison Center – home of many notable Madison Valley restaurants and businesses.

The Madison Valley News' photo of the papered store front. Credit: Madison Valley News
The Madison Valley News’ photo of the papered store front. Credit: Madison Valley News

We contacted the owner of the building, The Schuster Group, and its representative for the leasing of the space, who named the new business’ owners, Glory Cycles. Based out of South Carolina, Glory Cycles is an online store where high-end cyclists can find everything they need for gear, from handle bar tape to the bikes and frames themselves. Their online store was opened in 2001.

But more than just an online retailer, Glory Cycles is an idea. Their first local bike shop opened in Greenville, South Carolina in 2011. It’s a space where cyclists can work on their bikes with a great space, the best tools, and supplementary how-to videos and professional racing featured on a flatscreen TV. BikeRadar.com recently published a Q&A with Glory Cycles’ owner, Clive de Sousa, which outlines that store’s concept and Glory Cycles’ story. Will the Madison Valley location be similar?

Unfortunately, all we know is that it will at least be a retail location. Mr. de Sousa was kind enough to respond to us when we reached out to him: “We will be opening a retail store at this location in the summer, but as yet do not have a firm date,” he said.

Stay tuned, and we’ll be sure to update MadisonParkInSeattle.com with any applicable Madison Valley news and if we hear anything from Glory Cycles before the estimated opening in summer 2013!

Featured photo from Glory Cycles’ Flickr Feed, of the South Carolina Shop.