Colorful October

Robinette Struckel posted some wonderful photos of autumn on Beacon Hill to the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr, including these amazing leaves. Thanks, Robinette!

We’d love to feature your Beacon Hill photos, too. If you have images of Beacon Hill to share, please consider contributing to the pool. Sometimes we aren’t able to use photos right away, but we do appreciate all of them. Thanks to all the wonderful Beacon Hill photographers out there!

Photo by Robinette Struckel in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.

Tonight: Early Design Guidance meeting for station block project

As alluded to in this space yesterday, this evening is the Early Design Guidance meeting for the proposed four-story commercial/residential structure at 2721 17th Ave. S., the southeast corner of the Beacon Hill Station block.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Wellspring Family Services community room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S.

The property was previously used for staging during the construction of Beacon Hill Station, and before that, contained single-family homes. Since the station opened in July 2009, the lot has been bare and surrounded by chain-link fence.

This proposed building would only cover part of the station block property. The triangular lot at the southwest corner would not be developed, nor would part of the rest of the block, as those properties have different owners. The development firm involved in the project is Pacific Housing NW.

Neighbor Carol Sanders posted to the Beacon Hill mailing list yesterday, encouraging interested Beacon Hill residents to attend the meeting:

“This is the best chance for the public to offer comments about design and the siting of the development. We’re going to have a lot of density coming our way with developers building up housing around the light rail area. It would be really great to have the neighborhood involved in making sure that these buildings will contribute to the look and feel of Beacon Hill and not just become big sterile boxes for folks to live in. We can really impact things like how the sidewalk areas interact with the building, possible public spaces, greenery, etc. if people get involved early in the design process and speak up at these meetings.”

View Larger Map. This is the location of the proposed apartment building at the Beacon Hill Station block.

Learn about rain gardens at Sustainable Rain workshop

Sustainable Seattle is hosting rain garden workshops to celebrate their installation of new rain gardens in several areas as part of their Sustainable Rain program.

A workshop will be held on Beacon Hill on November 12 at El Centro de la Raza, 2524 16th Ave. S., from 10 a.m. until noon. The workshops will present information about the Sustainable Rain project and how neighbors can install their own rain gardens. They will also announce “scholarships” to fund more neighborhood rain gardens.

Two of the projects demonstration gardens are located in Beacon Hill: one at El Centro de la Raza, and the other at the Helen B. Ratcliff women’s transitional facility on the north end of the Hill.

Beacon Hill neighbors opposed to “significant upzones”?

A post by Roger Valdez in the Seattle Transit Blog today discusses the proposed four-story, 30-unit residential/commercial building currently planned for part of the Beacon Hill Station block.

Valdez, a former Beacon Hill resident, would prefer more density than a 30-unit apartment building would provide, and suggests that Beacon Hill needs “big changes” to get where it needs to be.

He is pessimistic about tomorrow’s Early Design Guidance meeting for the project, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at WellSpring Family Services’ community room, 1900 Rainier Ave. S: “I’m really hoping that isn’t the case, but my sense of land use politics tells me that, like most design review meetings, neighbors will emerge with all kinds of reasons why this project is wrong for Beacon Hill.”

But Valdez expects such responses to be only a small roadblock, and the new development on 17th and McClellan to be “a wedge for more development” on Beacon Hill.

Comments recently on this blog seem to indicate a fair amount of support for more density around Beacon Hill Station, in contrast to Valdez’ perception of Beacon Hill neighbors as people who have “vigorously opposed significant upzones around the station.” What do you think?

The empty lots around Beacon Hill Station look desolate. (This photo has been sepia-toned.) Photo by Wendi.

Mercer is a “School of Distinction”

Beacon Hill’s Asa Mercer Middle School is one of five public schools in Seattle that has been recognized as a “School of Distinction” for outstanding academic achievement in improving math and reading. Schools with this honor have placed in the top 5 percent of highest-improving schools in Washington.

The other schools in Seattle to earn this honor are Alki Elementary School, Hamilton International Middle School, Madison Middle School, and Orca K-8 School.

Mercer has received this honor for the last three years in a row. Congratulations to everyone at Mercer!

A brightly-painted walkway at Mercer Middle School. Photo by Wendi.

Westbound Spokane Street Viaduct to close tonight

Going to West Seattle late tonight? It will be a bit more complicated than usual. The Seattle Department of Transportation is closing the westbound lanes of the Spokane Street Viaduct between I-5 and SR99 from 10 p.m. tonight, Thursday, October 20, until 5 a.m. tomorrow morning, October 21, to test techniques for preparing old deck for new paving.

Traffic from Beacon Hill via Columbian Way will be detoured onto 6th Avenue South to a route leading to the lower-level Spokane Street swing bridge.

See more about the Spokane Street project here.

Also take note that October 21 at 7:30 p.m. is the beginning of the nine-day closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which is likely to cause congestion in Sodo and downtown. See the Washington Department of Transportation website for more information about the closure and alternative routes.

We were curious about the exact process going on with the Viaduct replacement project, and found this interactive project simulation on the WSDOT website that explains it visually.

Beacon B.I.K.E.S. meeting tonight

Dylan Ahearn writes:

The October Beacon BIKES meeting will be held tonight from 6-8 pm at the Beacon Hill Library. Sam Woods from SDOT will be presenting information on our 17th/18th Greenway (currently under construction). Deb Brown (SDOT) will be presenting the tree planting plan for the same corridor (planting to occur in November). We will also be discussing Red Apple bike parking, upcoming grant opportunities, and the city-wide Greenway effort.

Hope to see you there!

Tile-making party takes place tonight at BHIS

The first of two tile-making parties is today, October 19, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Beacon Hill International School Multipurpose Room. Neighbors and friends of the school can take part in the creation of a tile mosaic for the south-facing wall of the BHIS entryway. (Previously mentioned here on the BHB.) Mosaic artist Julie Maher will lead the project.

The tiles and supplies will be provided, as will dinner. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Beacon Hill International School is located at 2025 14th Ave. S.

For more information, download the PDF here.

The next tile-making party will be Wednesday, November 9 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

Anti-“Big Oil” rally on Beacon Hill today

Beacon Hill doesn’t see a lot of political rallies, but one is coming to the Hill today. The Seattle “End Subsidies for Big Oil” rally, organized by Environment Washington, is coming to the BP gas station at 2415 Beacon Ave. S. this morning at 10 a.m. Speakers scheduled for the rally include Katrina Rosen of Environment Washington, Pete Mills from the office of Congressman Jim McDermott, and Rachel Padgett of Fuse Washington.

This is one of several rallies scheduled throughout Washington State over the next couple of days. Tacoma and Olympia will see rallies this afternoon, and tomorrow morning there will be a rally in Yakima.

Location of the BP station on Beacon Avenue South. View Larger Map

Save the date: Halloween festivals at local community centers

Jefferson Community Center will be haunted on October 28. Photo by Wendi.
Both community centers on Beacon Hill have scheduled Halloween festivities for Friday, October 28, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Van Asselt Community Center (2820 S. Myrtle St.) is hosting a free Halloween Carnival that evening for kids aged 12 and under. Games and goodies are promised for the carnival guests. Wear a costume, and bring a bag or basket to collect treats and prizes. Refreshments will be available for sale.

Jefferson Community Center (3801 Beacon Ave. S.) is holding their own Fall Festival and Haunted House for kids 11 and under (the haunted house is for older kids, per parents’ judgment). Games will be 25 cents each or 5/$1, and the haunted house admission is $1. As at the Van Asselt festival, guests should dress in their best costumes and bring a bag or basket for treats.