Local holiday shopping by bicycle

Now that the holiday season is upon us, shopping is on the minds of many.  Black Friday is infamous for the crushing crowds at the box stores and the malls and now “Cyber Monday” has become a major phenomenon, as folks turn to the internet for convenient holiday shopping.  Both these forms have shopping have something in common: they do not support local businesses.  On Beacon Hill this is a chicken and egg issue—not much holiday shopping occurs locally because there are not many places to shop, and there are not many places to buy gifts because people tend to drive elsewhere to do their holiday shopping. But it was not always this way.

I was curled up with Images of America: Seattle’s Beacon Hill yesterday and came across this quote from Pete Caso (born 1923):  “There were many businesses before and now there is absolutely nothing. There were four drugstores on Beacon Hill, three bakeries, five grocery stores, and all your daily shopping was done on Beacon Hill. Why did the businesses close? The businesses were there in the 1940s. They closed up after World War II, with supermalls and everybody got a car. Before those days, nobody had a car. Up until then you used the street car or you walked.”

In 1937, the east side of the 15th and Beacon Junction, now home to the ABC Supermarket and the big empty building that is Hui Intertrading, was home to Eba's Mutual Grocery, Ray's Barbershop, a hardware store, and a small Safeway. Photo from the Puget Sound Regional Archives.

Biking was also popular before the War, as evidenced by the fact that a popular bicycle repair shop (Mr. Ellis’s Repair Shop) used to exist on Beacon Avenue at the current location of La Bendicion.  Because it was difficult to get off the Hill by foot, bike, or long street car ride, people stayed up here to do their shopping and the local economy boomed.  Today, the Department of Planning and Development‘s answer to bolstering the local economy is density and transit oriented development. Generating more shoppers will help, but just as important is to reorient existing residents inward.  One way of doing this is changing how we get around.

So before I walk up to Red Apple to get some groceries, and El Centro to pick up my Christmas tree, I thought I would share another quasi-local route to a great shopping destination that is fun for the whole family: Goodwill!

This route is safe for bikers of any level and because it uses 18th Avenue South to get back up the hill, it is not too strenuous.   I look forward to the days when I can stay on the Hill to do all my shopping; until then, I have my bike as a viable transportation alternative that forces me to keep it local (and keeps me from getting trampled trying to pick up a NERF N-Strike™ Stampede ECS™). Happy Holidays and please respond with your favorite local shopping destinations!

Beacon Hill to Goodwill on Dearborn (SAFE ROUTE) at EveryTrail

Happy Thanksgiving from the Beacon Hill Blog!

Photo by TheCulinaryGeek (Creative Commons)
Happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for all of our wonderful readers. We hope that at least some of you will be celebrating it with Emmett Watson’s famous Thompson Turkey recipe. “You do not have to be a carver to eat this turkey. Speak harshly to it and it will fall apart.” Long-time Seattleites should be quite familiar with this one, but there are a couple of other variations on it as well.

Here’s a BHB holiday tradition of our own: a great pumpkin pie recipe from my grandma’s recipe collection. I’ve used this recipe many times and it is very good. If you forgot to get evaporated milk, this recipe will save the day for you—it doesn’t use it, and you won’t miss it.

Pumpkin Pie

Start with 1 recipe pie crust. Set the uncooked shell aside.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Put 2 cups pumpkin (or one small can) into mixing bowl.

2 eggs beaten slightly (Egg Beaters work just fine if you want it to be lower-fat)

1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla

then add:
1 c. scalded milk (skim milk works fine if you wish to use it, and so does soy milk)

Mix all together. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, turn the heat down to 350, bake 45 minutes. It’s done when you can stick a knife in the middle and it comes out clean.

Makes 1 pie. For two pies, use a large can of pumpkin and double everything else exactly.


Vintage postcard photographed by riptheskull, via Creative Commons.

Today is another icy day; commute carefully

A new record low overnight temperature was set this morning: 14F at Sea-Tac Airport. The bitter cold means that many streets are still quite slick today, and driving may still be hazardous. Take transit if you can. King County Metro says that buses are still on snow routes, but fewer routes will be cancelled. (Route 38 on McClellan, however, is one of them.) See the Transit Alerts Center for the latest information. Sound Transit’s alert page is here.

SDOT tweeted that “Snow routes in good condition due to overnight work. No significant problems in that network of streets.”

Seattle Public Schools and the University of Washington remain closed, as do many county offices. A list of closed county offices is here, and as usual, school closure information is here.

The Seattle Times (BHB news partner) has an interesting article on why Seattle can’t handle snow. It explains, among other things, why the anti-ice chemicals sprayed on major arterials in advance of the storm actually made things worse: the brine was diluted by the melting snow, making it ineffective against further snow, and then refroze into a slick sheet of ice.

Speaking of ice, there’s a lot of ice still on sidewalks, steps, and walkways. Please clear the ones you’re responsible for—falling on the ice can be really dangerous.

More snowy sights on Beacon Hill

More images of a snowy Beacon Hill from the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr. Do you have photos of Beacon Hill? We invite you to add them to the pool, and thank those of you who have contributed!

Near the fire station at Beacon and Spokane Street. Photo by Furchin.
By RS_Photographs.
The historic church building at 16th and Forest catches the rays of Tuesday's sunrise. Photo by Wendi.
Photo by K. Shuyler.
In this snow and light, the temporary fence at Jefferson Park almost looks like art. Photo by Furchin.

We have winners!

We have winners in the Sights of Route 36 Contest!

As you might remember, in the contest we posted 16 images of Beacon Hill locations that are on the #36 bus route. The first person to get all 16 right is the winner. As it turned out, both winners are couples who worked on the contest together!

In first place, with all 16 correct, are Liz Mack and Derrick. They win a NAMSAYIN “Know where you came from” t-shirt with a picture of the #36 bus, and a $50 gift card to The Station coffee house.

In second place, with 15 correct, are Lina Hwang and Nick Crivello, who win a NAMSAYIN shirt as well. Lina and Nick came up with more detail than Liz and Derrick did on a couple of the answers, but were unable to answer all 16.

We’ll post the answers soon, but first, we wanted to give you a couple of days to speculate on the answers yourself. The images are here. Where do you think those Route 36 sights might be found? Show off your knowledge in the comments here.

Congratulations to Liz, Derrick, Lina, and Nick!

Snow has stopped, but baby, it’s cold

About 4:00 pm. Photo by Wendi.
It was a long, strange trip for a lot of folks yesterday—from work to home. The Monday evening commute took hours for many, as snowy, icy conditions turned local streets into curling rinks, parking lots, and probably a few other things that no thoroughfare should be. It reminded some of us of December 18, 1990, when a similar storm wreaked havoc on the afternoon commute. (That one, with 8 to 14 inches, was worse.) This animated gif gives you an idea how bad it was last night. (We found it in a tweet from @KIRO7Seattle, but we aren’t sure who originally created it.)

We got about 4 inches of snow on North Beacon Hill, but the wind and blowing, drifting snow makes the actual measurement difficult to determine. The conditions here as of 3:00 am are very cold and windy, with dry, granular snow that is, in some places, drifting on top of earlier ice. Walking is treacherous and driving is worse. The snow isn’t melting any time soon—as of now, the National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 25 and a low tonight of 13 for Beacon Hill.

As far as today goes, here’s what we know:

The University of Washington Seattle campus and Seattle Public Schools are closed today. See schoolreport.org for the status of other schools, colleges, and universities.

King County Executive Dow Constantine released a statement urging County government employees who are not first responders or mission-critical to telecommute or take a day of vacation instead of going to work today.

Metro is once again on snow routing. Your buses may not follow their usual routes or keep to their usual schedule. Some routes may be cancelled. (Route 38 along McClellan is one of these.) See the Transit Alerts Center for the latest information. Sound Transit’s alert page is here.

Link Light Rail performed like a champ on Monday, and should do so again today. Sound Transit ran the trains all night long to keep tracks/wires clear of ice. Expect large crowds on Link today, as people who may not always ride Link decide to try the train to avoid another hellish commute. If you do need to leave the Hill, and live at all near a station, Link is your best option.

Here’s the Seattle city snow and ice emergency page, with tons of links to useful information.

There was a series of power outages on Beacon Hill last night, mostly in an area immediately around Jefferson Park. Service is back on to most now, but there are still small outages near 24th and Hanford and 33rd and Holly. You can see all current outages here.

Please dress warmly and take good care of yourself today, neighbors. Don’t drive unless you absolutely have to! We encourage you to visit one of our local coffee shops for a warm drink or three, and keep an eye on our Twitter feed throughout the day for additional info.

Here are some images from yesterday:

Jefferson Park. Photo by Joel Lee in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
This snow-laden tree looks rather like a giant spider. Photo by K. Shuler in the BHB photo pool.
Beacon Hill Station in the snow and wind. Photo by Wendi.

Armed man killed by SWAT team

From our news partner The Seattle Times:

…Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz, said that a passer-by called 911 at 2:25 p.m. to report a man slumped over the steering wheel of his car that was parked in the 1400 block of South Atlantic Street. Seattle Fire Department spokeswoman Sue Stangl said that paramedics responded to the scene for a 911 call regarding a man who was possibly ill in a car.

Metz said the firefighters tried to get the man to open the vehicle door, but he refused.
When a firefighter finally got the door opened, the man pulled out a handgun, said Metz. He said that the firefighters backed off and took cover as police were summonded.

SWAT officers responded. The man “still had the weapon in his hand,” and the SWAT officers “ordered several times for him to drop the weapon,” he said.

Neighbors were confined to their homes temporarily while investigators worked the scene.

Read more in The Times. And more about the possibility of “suicide by cop.”

11/23 Update: More details on the SPD Blotter blog.

Snow my goodness!


It’s sticking on the street in the middle of the crosswalk (where the cars don’t drive) in front of the library at 6:30 this morning. So far, just little flakes, but coming down steadily. How are things in your part of the hill?

Broadstripe issues resurgent

A flood of messages on the BAN and Beacon Hill neighborhood mailing lists this weekend appear to indicate that over the last several days, widespread connectivity and bandwidth issues have been affecting Broadstripe customers on the hill.

Some neighbors have observed significant packet loss, an issue that has a definite negative effect on data throughput. At 13th and Atlantic, Kevin D. noted when using the pingtest.net website that he was “getting 7% and 8% packet loss regularly. Upwards of 28-31% packet loss as the worst case.”

Amy K., having attended last week’s UPTUN meeting, recommends some people to contact with complaints:

Please send your complaints to Broadstripe and City of Seattle as listed below.

Seattle office: (800) 781-0947
(Monday-Friday) 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. PST
(Saturday) 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. PST
John Bjorn: jbjorn@broadstripe.com

City of Seattle:
Office of Cable Communications – http://www.seattle.gov/cable/
Tony Perez: tony.perez@seattle.gov

Residents in Mid- and South Beacon Hill have Qwest DSL options. Most of North Beacon is too far from a “central office” to get adequate DSL service. Clear wireless internet is available throughout the hill, but many residents find it difficult to get adequate reception quality.

(We, too, are Broadstripe internet customers located near Beacon Ave and South Stevens. Our most recent tests at 8:30 pm show 9 Mbit/sec downloads and 2 Mbit/sec uploads via speedtest.net — we’d love to know what your speeds are like and where. Please give it a try yourself and note your results in the comments.)