Tag Archives: beacon hill station

Garbage fire caused Monday’s station fire alarm

The “fire” that shut down the Beacon Hill station tunnel on Monday evening was actually smoke from a fire set outside the tunnel by homeless campers, reports the Seattle Times.

The smoke, which smelled like burnt plastic or something electrical, shut down rail service for almost two hours. One Beacon Hill neighbor told us: “We drove past the station just before 8 p.m. There were bunches of fire trucks, etc. with the whole station blocked off. I checked 911 online when I got home and found the mention of the 6:30 (give or take) calls categorized as ‘tunnel fire’ and saw that they appeared to have dispatched everybody.”

No smoke alarms tripped in the tunnel, and full service started again by 8 p.m.

Put on your 3D glasses: Beacon Hill Station in 3D

Former BHB staffer Jason Simpson was visiting Beacon Hill yesterday and took this 3D photo of Beacon Hill Station with a FujiFilm FinePix 3D camera. You’ll need standard red/green 3D glasses to see the effect, and I strongly recommend you click through to the large copy of the image to see it at its best. If you don’t have those, check out this “wobble” gif that gives a 3D effect without glasses.

Click on this image to see a larger version. Photo by Jason Simpson.
Click on this image to see a larger version. Photo by Jason Simpson.

August changes include new/returning art, opening of Tippe and Drague

The Tippe and Drague is almost open! Photo by Wendi Dunlap.
Change is in the air in North Beacon Hill these days, with the long-awaited opening of the Tippe and Drague Alehouse just around the corner, alongside some new (and returning) art on view around Beacon Hill Station.

We’ve been hearing that Tippe and Drague (in the old ROCKiT space at 3315 Beacon Ave. S.) would probably open this week or next, but Seattle Beer News provides more details on the new establishment, and says that owners Melissa Cabal and Robert McConaughy plan to open next week if all goes well. SBN reports the opening tap list is heavily local, and the menu will include “simple but good food with fresh ingredients; don’t look for any fried food here.” Hours will be 4 p.m. until late, 7 days a week, with weekend brunches.

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Photo by Wendi Dunlap.
In other neighborhood change: the metal banner art designed by Carl Smool has finally returned to Beacon Hill Station. One of the flagpoles fell in a windstorm in March 2011, so the poles were removed to improve them for safety. Earlier this year, Sound Transit tried to reinstall them but discovered a problem, so the poles were removed again. Now, the banners are back to decorate the station plaza once again.

You can see in these photos some indications of how the poles have been retrofitted:

The original pole bases looked like this. Photo from March 2011 by Wendi Dunlap.
Where one of the pole bases broke and fell. Photo from March 2011 by Wendi Dunlap.
The retrofitted pole bases look like this. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.
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Photo by Wendi Dunlap.
Just across Roberto Maestas Festival Street from the station, the El Sabroso taco truck is also looking more artistic these days. The truck was closed for a while this week while it was painted with decorative murals.

Fixing things up at Beacon Hill Station

The flags at Beacon Hill Station returned briefly on Wednesday before being removed again. Photo by Betty Jean Williamson.

A few neighbors let us know on Wednesday that Sound Transit was restoring the metal “flag” artworks by Carl Smool to the station plaza. The colorful artwork, mounted on several poles, was removed for retrofitting after one of the poles fell in strong winds in March 2011.

When we went by to check out the returned artwork Wednesday afternoon, however, we were surprised to see that the poles were gone again. Sound Transit representative Bruce Gray tells the BHB: “We ran into some installation issues and need to double check a few things before we move ahead with the reinstallation. We want this to be the last time we do this, so we’re being extra cautious.”

Also at Beacon Hill Station, travelers may have noticed some unsightly mess in the passage between the two platforms. Gray tells us that that there is a leak in the ceiling there, but it is being fixed under warranty by the station’s contractor.

Photo by Betty Jean Williamson.
The leak inside the station passageway. Photo by Wendi Dunlap.

Station banners to return soon

(Editor’s note: This post was scheduled to go live on the morning of April 2 but due to a software error, did not actually publish. Sorry for the delay.)

On March 10, 2011, one of the metal banner artworks installed on the plaza at Beacon Hill Station collapsed in a windstorm. Luckily, no one was hurt when the metal banner and pole hit the ground, but all three of the banner poles were removed as soon as possible after the collapse. It’s been more than a year, and Beacon Hill community members were beginning to wonder if the colorful banners were history.

We checked with Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray last week, who gave us reassuring news: “The short answer to your question is yes, the flags are returning after a thorough refurbishing. Should be back up this spring.”

The flags are part of a larger work at the station by artist Carl Smool, Community Threads, which includes etched textile “carpets” in the plaza’s walkway and on a cut-metal louver on the outside north wall of the station building as well as the three cut-metal banners that flew above the plaza until the windstorm last year.

Sound Transit security staff look at the fallen art banner at Beacon Hill Station, March 10, 2011. Photo by Wendi Dunlap/Beacon Hill Blog.

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.

Apartments may come to Beacon Hill Station block

These lots have been empty for more than two years. The lot proposed for development is in the back of the photo, to the left. Photo by Wendi.
An apartment building may be the future of one of the empty lots around Beacon Hill Station. An early design guidance meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 25 to discuss a preliminary proposal to build a four-story commercial/residential structure at 2721 17th Ave. S., the southeast corner of the station block. Several lots on that block have been vacant and surrounded by chain-link fence since shortly after the opening of Beacon Hill Station in the summer of 2009. The lots were previously used for staging during the light rail station construction project.

Pacific Housing Northwest is proposing to build an apartment building with 30 housing units as well as 800 square feet of ground-floor retail. There would be underground parking. The Department of Planning and Development pages about the site and the associate permits are here and here. The site is currently owned by Alphonso Tucci-Grastello.

The early design guidance meeting will be held at the Wellspring Family Services community room, 1900 Rainier Avenue South, at 6:30 p.m. on October 25.

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

Opinion: Seattle school buses should use existing Community Bus Stop

By Brook Ellingwood

For the 2011-2012 school year, the cash-strapped Seattle Public Schools Transportation Department has come up with a plan designed to cut costs while still providing school bus service to many students. A primary part of this plan consists of consolidating multiple stops into central locations designated as “Community Bus Stops.” An FAQ on the SPS site (PDF) describes how Community Bus Stops will work.

Q. My transportation eligibility is “Community Bus Stop.” What does that mean?
A. Community Stops are located at or near your neighborhood school and within the walk zone of the school. This could require up to a one mile walk. If you do not live in a walk zone for an elementary or K‐8 school, the bus stop will be at a regular neighborhood stop and could require a walk of up to a half a mile. If you live within a half a mile of the regular transportation zone, you can apply for space available transportation and walk to a corner stop within the zone.

For my family, this will mean traveling a half mile to the Beacon Hill International School so my son can catch the school bus that used to pick him up across the street from our house. Sure, it’s an inconvenience, but I’m well aware of the financial problems the district is facing and while I hope they get their house in order, I’d rather they make cuts to bus service than to educational programs.

But on the other hand, when I read the phrase “Community Bus Stop” I think “Don’t we already have one of those in front of Beacon Hill’s Link Light Rail Station?”

To provide efficient public transportation, Metro Transit and Sound Transit have coordinated their services so that they converge in one spot. From this one location on Beacon Avenue, mass transit riders can board bus routes 36, 38 and 60, or take the elevator to the light rail platform and board a train. What they won’t be able to do under the new Seattle School District transportation plan is see their child safely onto a school bus and then easily board a Light Rail train or a number 38 bus. Instead, parents of children assigned to the Beacon Hill International School bus stop will find themselves half a mile from our neighborhood’s existing Community Bus Stop for the entire community.

The School District is suffering from terrible reputation problems, fueled by highly publicized scandals and an impression of lax oversight and poor responsiveness to community needs. I would suggest that a step towards restoring the district’s reputation and better fulfilling its mission could include aligning its transportation services with the services offered by Metro and Sound Transit. Effective education means understanding the needs of families, not just the children in those families, and making choices that better help working parents better juggle getting their kids to school, themselves to work, and everyone safely back home would be an indicator that the Seattle School District understands this.

As a practical matter, school buses can’t block the Metro bus stops on Beacon Avenue. However, they could conceivably stop on Roberto Maestas Festival Street, 16th Avenue, or even on the other side of the block on 17th Avenue across the Festival Street from where a school bus stopped at the El Centro de la Raza driveway all last school year.

What matters less than these details is that the stop would be near a real Community Bus Stop that already meets the transportation needs of many families. The School District projects an image of a out-of-touch bureaucracy that plans in isolation and is incapable of managing its affairs. Aligning school bus stops with Metro and Sound Transit’s regional transportation plans won’t change this perception overnight, but it could help demonstrate an awareness of the need to work better with the communities the District serves.

While on vacation last week I sent an email to the Seattle School District Transportation Department proposing this idea. This week I’m going to follow up by emailing the School Board and both emailing and calling the office of School Board member Betty Patu, who represents the Southeast District, linking to this post and asking that they please consider this idea.

If you agree and would like to express your support, here is direct contact information:

(Thank you, Brook! Have an opinion on something? The Beacon Hill Blog welcomes opinion articles. Email us.)

(One sentence was edited for clarification after publication at the request of the author.)