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Open letter: Coal train impacts need to be studied

January 22nd, 2013 at 6:44 am | 2 Comments | Posted by admin

Today at 5 p.m. is the end of the “scoping period” to submit written concerns about the proposal to run new coal trains through South Seattle near Beacon Hill from the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point. Comments submitted in this scoping period will help in defining the impacts to be included in the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Neighbor Mira Latoszek wrote this commentary letter:

Dear Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Ecology and Whatcom County Council:

I am a resident of the North Beacon Hill neighborhood of south Seattle. I live directly to the east of the train tracks that would carry an increased number of trains to and from the Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point. Beacon Hill is a large Seattle neighborhood of approximately 40,000 people. I am asking that you study impacts associated with the increase of trains at crossings in south Seattle, specifically at Spokane St., Lander St. and Holgate St. These are major intersections connecting Beacon Hill to the Industrial District, the Port of Seattle, the waterfront, and downtown.

I, along with many of my neighbors on Beacon Hill, are dependent on goods and services from the SODO area which would be directly affected by the increase of trains at these crossings. In addition, many of us work in an around the SODO area and the southern end of downtown Seattle, including several owners of small businesses. I travel by car and bike through these intersections on a daily basis to get to my job on Second Avenue in Pioneer Square. Being able to get across the train tracks quickly and safely is an important part of my life.

According to the applicant’s Project Information Document (Feb. 2011), full build out of the coal export facility would result in nine full northbound trains along this line a day, which equates to 18 train trips a day; however, nothing in the project materials specifies a maximum. The 18 trains per day round trip could be increased if export capacity of the proposed port were expanded in the future. The current port proposal occupies 350 acres of a 1,000-acre site. Each train may be over 1.5 miles long, which at 50 miles per hour would mean approximately 3-4 minutes between train approach warning/gate closure and ultimate gate opening. At 35 miles per hour it could take approximately 6-7 minutes to clear a crossing as the siding near
this area is rated for 35 mph. The 18 trains per day would equate to approximately one additional coal train every 1.3 hours, all day long, in addition to existing train traffic. That would translate to an addition of approximately two hours per day that vehicles and people would not be able to cross these major intersections in south Seattle.

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Crosscut: Not much hope for airplane noise reduction

January 14th, 2013 at 4:52 pm | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Expected airplane noise changes under the new plan. Green means less noise, brown means more. Source.

Expected airplane noise changes under the new plan. Green means less noise, brown means more. Source.

Eric Scigliano of Crosscut has posted an article about the airplane noise situation on Beacon Hill. It’s not hopeful:

“Greener Skies’ environmental assessment, which the Federal Aviation Administration approved in November, finds that noise impacts will diminish in broad vertical swaths from Wallingford and Fremont to downtown Seattle and Federal Way on the west and from Lake City to the Rainier Valley to the town of Pacific. But they’ll increase along the axis of Sea-Tac Airport’s runways, over Greenlake, the U-District, Capitol Hill, and, especially, Beacon Hill.”

Read more here.

Elsewhere on Crosscut today, Scigliano writes about retired airline pilot (and Beacon Hill neighbor) Dana Gerry, who argues that the airport could take steps to improve the noise situation, such as reducing airport hours and enforcing limitations on when jets can drop their landing gear and wing flaps.

According to Gerry, dropping landing gear and flaps too early burns more fuel and makes more noise. He has seen pilots heading to Sea-Tac drop their gear as early as 6,000 feet, about 18 miles from the airport.

“‘If they would just hold gear and flaps up till they got to the outer marker, about 1,700 feet, they’d save as much fuel as they’d use on a roundabout approach.’ An approach like the Elliott Bay to Duwamish loop that spares residential areas, but which the airlines reject because it adds distance.”

Read more here.


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Columbian Way/West Seattle interchange repair work continues this weekend

January 10th, 2013 at 7:50 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

The ramps from South Columbian Way to the West Seattle Bridge and Sixth Avenue South will be closed all weekend (January 11-14) for the continuing bridge expansion joint replacement project. The closures will begin at 10 p.m. on Friday night, and end at 5 a.m. Monday morning. A detour will be provided for drivers needing to access the West Seattle Bridge or Sixth Avenue South via I-5.

This nighttime work is noisy, and nearby North Beacon neighbors may hear it. If the noise is bothersome, you can call 206-440-4DOT (4368) to receive a free pair of earplugs or pick up a pair in person at Jefferson Community Center.

The project will continue through April. Find out more about the project and download a detour map at the project website.


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WSDOT warns neighborhood: construction to be noisy

December 28th, 2012 at 7:14 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Enjoy holiday peace and quiet while you can. According to the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), neighbors living near I-5 need to prepare for noisy construction work over 11 weekends starting on January 4, 2013 and ending in April. This is to replace 31 steel expansion joints in ramps on northbound I-5 near Georgetown, and between I-5 and the West Seattle Bridge, 6th Avenue South, South Spokane Street, and Columbian Way South.

WSDOT warns that nearby neighbors may hear jackhammers, sawcutters, air-powered tools, and other noise. Work crews will use noise shields when feasible. If you want to ensure your sound sleep, free earplugs are available to nearby residents; call 206-440-4699 for more information.

Along with the noise, there will be complete closures of the affected ramps during work weekends, and occasionally during the week. Detours will be provided.

See more about the project here.


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Blue Angels to buzz Beacon this week

August 3rd, 2011 at 6:34 am | 1 Comment | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Blue Angels flying directly over 17th Ave. S. Photo by Wendi.

The Blue Angels are back in town for Seafair, which means that Beacon Hill residents can expect the usual close-up view of the Angels as they practice and perform their choreographed aerial acrobatics directly over our neighborhood.

The squadron will practice on Thursday, August 4 from 10 a.m. until noon and again from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Actual performances will be on Friday, August 5, through Sunday, August 7, each day from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Practices and performances will force complete closures of I-90 due to Federal Aviation Administration safety rules, so be aware that there will be congestion. If you need to drive across the lake using I-90 on Thursday – Sunday mornings, you should drive at least one hour before the closure times.

On Thursday, I-90 will be closed twice. The express lanes will close at 9 a.m. and reopen by 3:30 p.m., and the mainline will close from 9:45 a.m. until noon, and then again from 1:15-2:30 p.m.

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the express lanes will close at least two hours before the shows and reopen by 3:30 p.m., and the mainline will be closed from 12:45 – 2:40 p.m. each day.

There will be loud noise from the jets during the practices and performances, so take special care of your pets. As on the Fourth of July, some pets react negatively to the loud noise from the Blue Angels and may run away.

For further information about this year’s air show, see the Seafair website.


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Beacon Bits: Spanish classes, squeaky rails, and help with the bills

June 8th, 2010 at 7:43 pm | 2 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Alleycat Acres and ROCKiT space are planning to transform this yard into an educational garden for the community. Photo courtesy of ROCKiT space.

Alleycat Acres and ROCKiT space have been pretty busy in the neighborhood lately. Now, they are working together to build an educational community garden in the backyard at ROCKiT space. On Saturday from 1:00-5:00 pm, the two groups are inviting the community to a work party to transform the space. They will also sell plant starts and baked goods to help raise funds for the garden, and there will be music and artsy activities as well as a potluck. To help out, email rockitspace@gmail.com or volunteer@alleycatacres.com or just show up on June 12th. ROCKiT space is located at 3315 Beacon Avenue South. For more information, see the website.

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El Centro de la Raza is hosting another series of Spanish classes, to begin on June 28. Classes are instructed by professional native Spanish speakers in an interactive community-based setting. Classes will be on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 pm to 7:30pm. Go here for information and a registration form. If you have questions, please call (206) 957-4605 or email execasst@elcentrodelaraza.org.

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The last two parts of Kevin Minh Allen’s three part series in the International Examiner, “Beacon Hill, Our Story,” are online now. Read the full series here: part I, part II, part III.

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Local Metro driver and YouTuber punkrawker4783 has posted a video tour of Beacon Hill Station.

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Speaking of Link, Mike Lindblom reported in Sunday’s Seattle Times (BHB news partners) that there are still issues with the noise of the trains in Tukwila, along Martin Luther King Jr. Way South, and along the curve near Mount Baker Station and the Beacon Hill tunnel, though a lubrication system added last winter has helped somewhat. Have you noticed the noise, and have you noticed any improvement?

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Dan Bennett took this cool panoramic photo of Jefferson Park recently. Click on it to see a larger version. Once you’re there, click “Original” to see a much larger version.

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A land use application has been filed to allow change of use in the basement of an existing apartment structure at 1731 South Horton Street to a religious institution (Zen Buddhist Meditation Center); it would require approval of an Administrative Conditional Use to allow an institution in a single family zone. See this bulletin for further information. The comment deadline is June 20.

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Lastly, we wanted to pass on some information about a financial assistance program that is currently open for low-income families in Seattle. Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP) offers an Energy Assistance Program that provides financial assistance through LIHEAP and Puget Sound Energy HELP to help low-income families and individuals pay home heating bills and minimize future home heating costs. Eligible clients can receive up to $1,000 through LIHEAP or Puget Sound Energy for utility payment assistance and up to $5,000 for dysfunctional heating system, chimney, or window repair or replacement. For more information, see the website or call the Appointment Hotline at 1-800-348-7144.

Once, many years ago, I was in a very bad financial situation and CAMP’s program was what kept the heat from being turned off in my apartment that winter. I want to take this opportunity to thank them for being there when I needed help. If you know anyone who might need similar help, please do make sure they get information about CAMP’s program.


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Boeing Field may be a bit noisier for a while

April 3rd, 2010 at 2:48 am | No Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

"Too loud!" Photo by Nicki Dugan via Creative Commons.

Are you noticing increased noise from Boeing Field, sometimes after 10:00 pm? This press release from King County International Airport may explain why:

Residents of some adjacent airport neighborhoods may experience temporary increases in aircraft engine noise levels as described below by The Boeing Company:

Over the next several months, King County International Airport may experience elevated noise events due to The Boeing Company engine runs, a critical part of its flight testing. These flight tests are part of the certification requirements for the 787 and 747-8 programs. Both types of aircraft will be at the airport in higher than normal volumes during this time. This is an important test period where the airplanes are completing their initial configuration testing to support the certification programs.

To the extent possible these engine runs will be kept outside the curfew window between 10pm-7am daily. However, there may be a rare circumstance when The Boeing Company will need to conduct engine runs outside of curfew hours. This is most likely to happen early in the testing program and all proper protocols will be followed and notifications issued. This is necessary in order for Boeing to meet the stringent FFA requirements that allow both airplanes to be certified and put into revenue service.

For more information on flight test operations, please see the flight test fact sheet provided by The Boeing Company at http://www.kingcounty.gov/airport or contact Jennifer Hawton at The Boeing Company, (425) 444-1600.

Thanks to Steve Louie for sending us this info!


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Upcoming events: Camp, music, Duwamish, art, etc.

February 19th, 2010 at 11:37 pm | 1 Comment | Posted by Jason

Saturday, February 20th, 2 to 4pm: Camp Long at Jose Rizal Park

Monday, February 22nd, 7pm: Beacon Hill Music organizational meeting. From Paul Ray:

Jessie at ROCKiT space has again generously offered to host this meeting about organizing a Beacon Hill music series at ROCKiT Space (3315 Beacon Ave S., Seattle), on Monday Feb. 22nd at 7pm.

Things are starting to move along in our efforts to try and organize a series of 4 music events over the summer of 2010, performed at the Festival Street next to the Beacon Hill Link Rail station. This series would feature musicians who live, work or attend school on Beacon Hill or groups that contain members that fit that criteria.

Our permits were approved for 4 events, spread out over 4 Sunday afternoons, June 13th, July 11th, August 8th, August 29th, YEAH!

With the dates approved we are at the stage to start taking the steps to make this happen. The next hurdles are paying for the permits and the event insurance (and determining exactly how much the insurance will cost) and getting electricity to the site. But with the dates approved we are ready to start organizing the production of the events, including musician selection, communications and publicity, community outreach, and making plans for the staging on event days, etc. One of our goals at this meeting is to assign some actual tasks to some actual volunteers.

Anyone interested in this project is encouraged to attend.

Wednesday, February 24th, 10am to 4pm: Hanford Steps clean-up. From Jorji Knickrehm:

It’s been a long time since we worked together on the Hanford Steps! Let’s put a little work in, to make sure it looks good and is safe this spring. The weather is lovely and we’ve scheduled a work party. It’s during the week because the Larson Casteel Landscape company has graciously agreed to help us dig out blackberry, and they need to set the schedule (they owed us a little more time from our last grant). We’d love all of you to join in if you’re home from work and have an extra shovel.

The plants we put in last year are doing well for the most part, but blackberry and morning glory are trying to take over again. We need to dig out these invasive weeds while they’re young and weak. The more we dig them out, the weaker they will return. Weeding will be the main task of the work party.

Clean-up is weather-permitting. Jorji is bringing treats! You bring a shovel and/or pick, gloves, a treat for sharing if you can.

Wednesday, February 24th, 5pm: Airplane noise workshop, from Marco Milanese, Community Relations Manager at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, (206) 787-7734:

Part 150 Noise Study Public Workshop Set for February 24th in Des Moines

The first in a series of public workshops for Sea-Tac Airport’s Part 150 Noise Study is scheduled for February 24th at Mount Rainier High School (22450 19th Ave. S.) in Des Moines. Doors open at 5 PM, with the program beginning at 5:15 PM. The Part 150 Study will look at ways to reduce aircraft noise impacts on communities. Throughout the study, the public is invited to participate in the solution and recommendation process through active engagement in a series of topical workshops.

The February 24th workshop will include a brief presentation followed by facilitator-led, small-group working sessions designed to gather the public’s input on refining the scope for the Part 150 Study. So, please review the meeting agenda and come prepared with ideas.

February 24th, 6:30 to 8pm: Via Steve Louie, the Greater Duwamish council meeting at Georgetown City Hall. Agenda:

6:30 to 6:40pm — Introductions, Judith Edwards, GDDC -Chair
6:40 to 6:50pm — Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
6:50 pm-7:00 pm — Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Parks, Seattle Center, and Waterfront Planning, Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods
7 to 7:30pm — Q&A
7:30 to 7:45pm — Neighborhood Projects Fund, Judith/Steve
7:45 to 8pm — Announcements Park Safety/Rangers, Brock Milliern
Open

Updated 2/23 with revised agenda from Steve Louie.

Saturday, February 27th, 9am to 4pm: Credit Smart and First-Time Home Buyers seminar at El Centro

Saturday, February 27th, 6 to 10pm: Nepo (A humorous approach to the serious art of living)


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Beacon Bits: Squeaky wheels on the Information Superhighway

September 25th, 2009 at 4:15 am | 2 Comments | Posted by Jason

The squeaks, screeches, squeals, and thumps Sound Transit’s light rail trains make as they round the bend and enter the Beacon Hill tunnel apparently exceed federal noise limit standards, so yesterday the agency’s Board of Directors approved emergency funding of up to $1 million to address the problem — Seattle P-I

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Beacon Hill’s bandwidth problem was mentioned by mayoral candidate Mike McGinn at a recent town hall meeting. Glenn Fleishman delves into McGinn’s Internet platform plank in an interview at Publicola.

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Craig Thompson is wrangling a number of SPU “CityQuest” community service volunteers (as well as willing neighbors!) this Saturday the 26th, living out SPU’s mission of “engaging the culture and changing world.” For details about the projects spanning the hill from Lewis and Jose Rizal Parks to El Centro to the Cheasty Greenspace and how you can help out, read Craig’s posting at Beacon Lights.

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Our neighbor Sheba wrote to the mailing list:

Giddens School, where I work and my daughter attends school, is offering child CPR and First Aid training and certification for parents and caregivers this Saturday (9/26), 9 am – 1 pm. The class fee is $35 per person and there are still a few spots open. Giddens is located at 20th South and S. Lane Street in Judkins Park. Contact me directly at my work phone or address if interested: 324-4847 ext. 37 or sburney-jones@giddensschool.org.


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Did you hear that?

December 18th, 2008 at 5:56 am | 16 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Just before 5:40 am today we had two of the loudest possible thunderclaps imaginable. I was actually looking through my camera viewfinder, to take a picture of the falling snow, when there was a flash, then only a split-second later, a bomb-like boom that shook the house back and forth and caused car alarms to go off on our street. Then a couple of minutes later, it happened again. Did you hear them? Did they wake you up? Tell us about it in the comments to this post.


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