North Beacon Hill Council meeting this Thursday

The North Beacon Hill Council monthly meeting is this Thursday, at 7:00 pm at the Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South.

Here’s the agenda, as sent by Judith Edwards to the Beacon Hill Mailing List:

The North Beacon Hill Council Meeting will be a short one this month, as we must be out of the Library by 8:00. Though short, it’s very important.

Planning Director Ray Gastil of the Seattle Department of Planning and Development will be with us. Ray chairs the inter-departmental team that is updating our Neighborhood Plans.

On Saturday many of us met with Ray and others to provide input to the Station Area planning and ultimately, our Neighborhood Plans. Ray is meeting with us to answer these questions:

1. How can the community stay involved in the process, particularly concerning how the information gained at Saturday’s workshop is incorporated into our existing neighborhood plan and matrix?

2. What are realistic time lines for different phases of the planning process? How do zoning updates, review by other city departments, Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan, etc. affect this timeline?

3. How can we build a collaborative and trusting relationship with your department and others in the city? What can we expect from you? What do you expect from us?

Please plan to attend this important meeting. The agenda is as follows:

7:00 Hellos, Introductions, Announcements
7:15 Ray Gastil, Director, office of Planning and Development, City of Seattle
7:25 Q&A with Ray
7:40 Community Concerns – due to our limited time frame there will be no police visit this month.
7:55 Close

Blue wall removal begins; schedule and details announced

The station site sans wall, looking roughly southeast from 16th and Beacon. Photo by Jason.
The station site sans wall, looking roughly southeast from 16th and Beacon. Photo by Jason.
In December, Sound Transit told us the big blue noise wall around the light rail station site would be coming down in “February or March,” and suggested that it would more likely be earlier than later. In February we saw the first section of the wall come down. Now, just barely still in March, the removal of the rest of the wall is finally happening. Sound Transit says:

“As early as Tuesday, March 31, Sound Transit’s contractor, Obayashi Corporation will begin removal of the blue noise wall that surrounds the site of the Beacon Hill light rail station.

“The first phase will include the removal of the blue noise wall starting with the northernmost sections along Beacon Ave S., 17th Ave S and S. Lander Street… The second phase will include removing the remainder of the blue noise wall on the south end of the property. The second phase is currently scheduled for the middle of May to early June. Once the blue noise wall is down, the site will be secured by a chain link fence. As a result, residents may experience increased noise from construction activities.

“Pedestrians should use caution while using the sidewalk on the eastside of Beacon Ave (that borders the blue noise wall) as pedestrian access will be moved safely around the work site.

“The noisier activities (such as jack-hammering) will take place during the day, and will be restricted to the hours of 7:00 am to 5:00pm.

“Construction activities expected between the hours of 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm include the installation of brick veneer, site and roadway (S. Lander St.) restoration, plaza paving and landscaping.

“No surface-level construction activity is expected between 10:00 pm and 7:00 am.

“Sound Transit will continue to monitor construction noise levels and any activity whose noise is outside of acceptable limits will be restricted to the hours between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm.

“If you have any construction-related concerns, please call Sound Transit’s construction hotline at 1-(888) 298-2395.”

A map of the affected area is located in Sound Transit’s PDF.

Some portions of the wall already seem to be coming down, as seen in Jason’s photo above.

Neighborhood plan update comments

If you attended this morning’s meeting about updating the neighborhood plan at El Centro, I’d like to invite you to comment on what you saw there, and how you feel about the direction things are headed. Was there something that was missed? Something that needs particular attention? How’d you like the food? What worked well about this meeting? What should be done differently for the next one coming up in May? What did you hear that you liked? Disliked? Want more information about? Pretty much anything.

A few of my thoughts: The room was too small and too loud with all the groups working at once. The food (from Kusina Filipina and… er… Dahlak? Please, someone confirm or correct — I seem to have misplaced their card) was great. The ideas discussed were good, most of them were much in-line with what had been in the plan previously. P-I boxes to flower boxes is an entertaining idea. I’d like hear more about ‘micro villages’ outside the formal Urban Village area.

This isn’t an official feedback route to the city, but we’d love to hear what you think!

Update: Freddie Merrell has a pretty relevant comment she just added to an older article here.

NBHC looking for directors and volunteers

North Beacon Hill Council Chair Judith Edwards writes to the mailing list:

Several North Beacon Hill Council Directors positions will be open in 2009. Nominations for these positions will be brought forward at the May Council meeting. Residents of the community and business owners in the service area are invited and encouraged to fill these positions.

The North Beacon Council (NBHC) is a voice for our neighborhood, building relationships with City Council members, and City departments, applying for or acting as a fiscal agent for grants that result in improvements to North Beacon Hill such as stairway cleanup/enhancement, pedestrian crossings, public spaces, etc. These are some of the skills the Council is looking for:

  1. Someone with the ability to update and add new members to an existing webpage – and we’d be open to someone re-designing the page, making it really pop!
  2. A willingness to take minutes at meetings and provide them to the web-site monitor for posting to the website.
  3. Someone to act as a fundraising chair – getting people excited about an occasional fund raiser for the Council – a great position for an idea person!
  4. Someone to act as a liaison to media outlets, seeing that meetings and events are published, media attention is brought to the community in a positive way. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to establish media contacts!
  5. Someone to monitor and report to the council zoning requests/changes which will have or do have an impact on the BH area.
  6. And many other skills!

Directors are elected to two year terms, and are expected to attend one (1) meeting per month, on the first Thursday of each month. These volunteer positions offer a great opportunity for leadership in the community and a chance to be part of the exciting changes which Beacon Hill will see in the coming years. Sorry, no recompense – only glory! Interested? Contact Judith Edwards, NBHC Chair, by emailing

Thanks, Judith!

BeHi Bonsai on safari

Photo by Jason
Photo by Jason
Neighborhood hedge sculpture enthusiast blog BeHi Bonsai took an eighteen mile hike around the hill, capturing over 400 images of… well, mostly bushes, but also much, much more! As a teaser for the upcoming topiary treasures to be revealed, you’re invited to check out a movie compressing the hours of walking into under a minute and a half. (It’s got a nice soundtrack, too.)

See if you can spot your block, and put BeHi Bonsai in your bookmarks or feed reader to stay abreast of the best in Beacon Hill greenery.

Celebration of pedestrian improvements near Cleveland HS, March 27

The area just south of Cleveland High School on Swift Avenue South is notoriously pedestrian-unfriendly to students and others walking there. Fortunately, there are improvements coming to the area.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is completing a sidewalk improvement at the Metro bus stop on Swift Avenue South at 19th Avenue South. This will widen the 3-foot wide sidewalk to 9-feet wide at the bus stop. This sidewalk widening is part of a larger project that also includes a new lighted bus shelter, a new southbound bike lane, guardrail improvements, new school zone signs, and approximately 270 street trees in the neighborhood around Cleveland.

To celebrate these improvements, SDOT is hosting an event
next Friday, March 27 at 1:00 pm at the corner of South Orcas Street and 16th Avenue South. Grace Crunican, the Director of SDOT, will join approximately 30 school children from nearby Maple Elementary School to plant approximately 30 trees on South Orcas Street. The Mayor may possibly attend as well.

Thanks to Steve Louie for the information!

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Williams appointed as Aki Kurose principal

Mia Williams has been appointed by Seattle Public Schools as principal of Aki Kurose Middle School for the 2009-2010 school year. Williams is the current interim principal at Aki Kurose, and served as assistant principal at Denny Middle School for four years and assistant principal at Salmon Bay K-8 School for three years. She received the Distinguished Assistant Principal of the Year Award for 2002-2003.
Aki Kurose is located near Beacon Hill in the Rainier Valley, at 3928 South Graham.

North Beacon Hill neighborhood planning workshop next Saturday

The North Beacon Hill neighborhood planning workshop we’ve mentioned before is next Saturday. Judith Edwards sends this timely reminder:

What do you want Beacon Hill to look like in five years? Ten?
What about the plans that were made at the Pancake Breakfast last November? What’s happening with Jefferson Park? What kind of development is going to occur on the Hill? These and many more topics will be explored in the City of Seattle Neighborhood Plan Updates meeting on Saturday, March 28th. Your ideas are important! Please join your neighbors to talk about the changes that are coming to Beacon Hill, and the changes you would like to see.

‘Child care will be provided, as well as Interpretation services in Amharic, Cantonese, Khmer, Mandarin, Oromifa, Spanish, Somali,Tagalog, Tigrinya and Vietnamese. If you are in need of special accommodations or interpretation services, please contact Kerry Wade at 206-733-9088, or email her at”

This meeting is to begin the process of possible revision to the North Beacon Hill neighborhood plan, in light of possible changes from the arrival of light rail.

Need to get an idea what’s at stake? The existing neighborhood plan is online, here. The survey answers from last year’s Pancake Breakfast are here. (Thanks to David Gackenbach for sending us the latter file.)