All posts by BHB Admin

Metro wants your comments about service changes

Franklin High School students boarding a Metro bus. Photo by Oran Viriyincy.
Franklin High School students boarding a Metro bus. Photo by Oran Viriyincy.
The latest version of Metro Transit’s proposed service changes (discussed earlier here) will be announced this Friday. You may want to mark your calendar for Tuesday, April 28, when the public will have a chance to comment on the proposed changes at a special joint meeting of two committees of the Metropolitan King County Council: the Council’s Physical Environment Committee and the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee.

The meeting will be at 6:30 pm in Council chambers on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse, at Third and James Street downtown.

As posted in the Council’s press release on Tuesday:

The council is scheduled to vote within the next six weeks on proposed Metro bus service changes for the southeast Seattle area and southwest King County that could occur next September or February.

Metro is proposing to change bus service once Sound Transit’s Link light rail service begins. The purpose of these changes is to connect neighborhoods to Link stations, avoid duplication of transit services, and make bus service more efficient.

These changes could affect Metro routes: 7, 7 Express, 8, 9 Express, 14, 32, 34 Express, 36, 38, 39, 42, 42 Express, 48, 60, 106, 107, 126, 128, 140, 154, 170, 174, 179, 180, 191, and 194.

Though the official version of the service changes will be posted on Friday, rumor has it the changes will include:

  • 36: will run every 10 minutes on Saturday. Route will operate to Othello station.
  • 38: service 8:00 am – 4:30 pm Mon-Sat with no Sunday service. The route will run between Beacon Hill and Mt. Baker stations only. No SODO service.
  • 39: will continue to operate, but off-peak service (mid-day, nights and weekends) will go to every 45 minutes. Peak service to remain every 30 minutes.
  • 60: Peak directional service (AM Northbound and PM Southbound) will go to every 15 minutes.

The public may comment before the council vote by testifying at the April 28 public hearing. You can also e-mail comments to, call (206) 296-1683 (TTY Relay 711), or mail a letter to: King County Council Physical Environment Committee, King County Courthouse, 516 Third Avenue, Room 1200, Seattle, WA 98104.

The April 28 meeting will be carried live on King County TV on Comcast and Broadstripe cable Channel 22.

Commentary: Beacon Hill’s internet service needs improvement

T-shirt slogan that many Beaconians can identify with. Photo by Will Glynn.
T-shirt slogan that many Beaconians can identify with. Photo by Will Glynn.
by George Robertson

(Editor’s note: This commentary was originally sent as an email to several members of the Seattle City Council today, as well as to the Beacon Hill Mailing List. Coincidentally, this evening our Broadstripe internet service was out for more than one hour.)

After comparing notes with some of my neighbors about their internet service, I thought I should ask once again for some relief from the dismal internet service we have on Beacon Hill. I have written to council members before on this topic and I have uniformly gotten referred to some bureaucrat by whichever elected council member I wrote to. Each time the bureaucrat was very nice, asked a couple of questions, and described the service we have, and refreshed the picture of whatever stage the City was in at the moment in negotiations with the monopoly providers of cable. And then they would sum it up by telling me that we have great internet service. If this is going to be another replay of that merry-go-round, just delete this message. If you actually give a damn about the ability of this city to incubate new small business in the south end, then please read on and reply.

The first thing you have to take seriously is that there is a problem. The second is that it won’t be solved without adding new competitive service provider(s) to Beacon Hill. By competitive, I mean services with higher real delivered, as opposed to advertised, upload speeds than Comcast and Broadstripe offer to their business class customers now, and with much better net neutrality in bandwidth management practices.
Continue reading Commentary: Beacon Hill’s internet service needs improvement

Commentary: Is It neighborhood planning?

(The existing neighborhood plans for the Beacon Hill, Othello, and Mount Baker light rail station areas are in the process of being revised. Frederica Merrell attended the recent Othello neighborhood plan update and has some things to say about the process, and the upcoming North Beacon Hill meeting.)

By Frederica Merrell

The City held its first “neighborhood planning” update meeting for the Othello neighborhood on Saturday, March 14. I went to observe part of their process. I was interested in whether the meetings were representative of the community; how scope, planning areas, and discussions were organized; whether people were provided with information on the previous plan recommendations; and whether comments were accurately recorded. For people interested in how our update process on Beacon Hill might look initially, here is what I observed (I didn’t stay for the wrap-up).

I arrived at about 10:00 am; about one hour after the meeting had started. I spoke with a consultant at the door who told me that the first hour was dedicated to an introduction and a summary of the previous plan effort. I asked if the participants were provided with the neighborhood plan. There was one summary of the plan at each of six tables. None of the plan summaries were translated. There were no copies of the matrix of recommendations provided to participants.
Continue reading Commentary: Is It neighborhood planning?

Reader Opinion: North Beacon needs higher density

Higher density near the Columbia City light rail station. Photo by Matthew Rutledge.
Higher density near the Columbia City light rail station. Photo by Matthew Rutledge.
(We recently asked a few people to write their opinions about House Bill 1490 and how it relates to Beacon Hill. The bill was altered and no longer directly affects the Hill, but Andrew Smith still has a few things to say about density in our area.)

By Andrew Smith

Recently House Bill 1490 has started a discussion in our region over density and transit-oriented-development. Originally the bill required cities to create zoning packages that would have allowed increased density in a half-mile radius around all light rail and commuter rail stations. In a recent revision, that requirement was scaled back to apply to only communities defined by the Puget Sound Regional Council as “growth centers”: Auburn, Downtown Bellevue, Overlake, Everett, Federal Way, Kent, Lakewood, Lynnwood, Puyallup, Redmond, Seatac, Capitol Hill, Downtown Seattle, Northgate, the University District, Downtown Tacoma, and Tukwila. I imagine many in Southeast Seattle breathed a sigh of relief when they read that, as many in that area were very concerned about increased density changing their neighborhoods. However, I’d like to make the case for increased density in these areas, focusing my argument on Beacon Hill, and point out that while increased density could change the neighborhood, that change might be a better change than what will happen if density is prohibited.
Continue reading Reader Opinion: North Beacon needs higher density

Beacon Bits: delays, development, and free flu shots

  • Remember the big I-5 repair project we warned you about a few weeks ago? After a weather delay, it starts tonight. One to three northbound lanes between Albro and Columbian will close between 7:00 pm and 5:00 am. There will be other closures soon as well; details hereSeattle Times
  • It may be a bit late in the season, but there are free flu shots and flu nose sprays available on Saturday, February 14 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club, 4520 Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. Children must bring parents, and a certified Somali medical translator will be on hand —
  • The City Council’s Planning, Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee has endorsed the proposed rezone for the Goodwill site on Dearborn, so the next step is for the full council to consider the rezone on February 17 — Rainier Valley Post

Guest Editorial: Schools and the cost of consensus

by George Robertson

(Editor’s note: this is a guest editorial, and as such, reflects only the opinions of its author, which may or may not coincide with the opinions of the editors. Would you like to write an editorial for the Beacon Hill Blog too? Email us.)

School closures in Seattle are simply a necessity caused by our unwillingness to pay more taxes and the absolutely irreducible minimum costs of operation. In Seattle now, the closures are far from an unreasonable action. Unlike so many tax revolt-driven consequences of democracy, this one makes lots of sense. Seattle has 80% of the buildings in operation today, that we did with double the enrollment in a time more than thirty years gone by.

Nobody has rectified this waste, because no neighborhood faction can accept that their pet school is going to be one of the goners. I am getting pretty old, and my mother, who was full of advice too, died in her mid-nineties about 15 years ago. I was struggling with my daughter’s school district over facilities issues back then. Her advice then, was to accept that no action of government, or even of a school board, would ever be right. That is, she meant, really right. No decision would stand up to close scrutiny as logically impeccable and wise in all ways. She suggested then, that it is important to just try to precipitate some action that improves as much as you can, in the time available, on no action. And then when it comes time to decide, just make sure that you do decide, and then proceed to make it become a prompt reality.

The money we have pissed away not deciding this question for a decade would build you a very nice school to replace that dilapidated junk pile next to Jefferson Park. Had we done it when we were still prosperous, it could have paid for at least some new teachers to reduce the student/teacher ratio in the classrooms of the remaining schools during that last decade. But we could not agree, so we bickered and delayed. We ran the district inefficiently for another ten years with a budget that was perpetually on empty. Now with no reserves and a huge district budget disaster looming, we have no choice; the money saved will merely reduce an impossible budget shortfall, and prevent perhaps some of the layoffs and class size increases we will suffer in balancing the costs of public education with the money we’ve given the district to pay for it. We are doing this now, at a time when bailing out ourselves with unemployment compensation is competing with the schools for our tax money.

That was smart. I should have listened better to my Mom, when I had the chance.

George Robertson is a long-time Beacon Hill resident. His website is

A Beacon Hill autumn in pictures

We’ve seen a lot of great photos of Beacon Hill lately. Here are some interesting autumnal views of the Hill. (Most of these, but not all, are from the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr, which welcomes your Beacon Hill photos!)

Photo by Matthew Rutledge.
Equality sculpture in Sturgus Park. Photo by Matthew Rutledge.
Mushrooms near Cheasty. Photo by Mahalie Stackpole.
Mushrooms near Cheasty. Photo by Mahalie Stackpole.

Several more cool photos, after the jump!
Continue reading A Beacon Hill autumn in pictures

Hello Beacon Hill!

Welcome to the Beacon Hill Blog. We’re just getting started here, putting together the pieces we hope will become a useful resource for our neighborhood. In the meantime, we encourage you to join the neighborhood mailing list(s).

The blog may be a little rough around the edges for a bit — we’ll be adding and improving things as time goes on. We hope you like it!