Obliteride spins through Montlake on Sunday

20130809-184147.jpgImage and post by Amy Anderson

Have you seen the bright orange Obliteride signs (like the one above) around town? They’re even a few in Montlake announcing the inaugural ride organized by Fred Hutch to obliterate cancer.

The first-ever Obliteride spins through Montlake this Sunday as the 180-mile riders head toward the finish line at Magnuson Park mid-day. No roads will be closed but organizers are asking people to look out for riders in bright orange Obliteride jerseys and cheer them on as they ride to end cancer.

Around 100 cyclists are participating in the 180-mile ride, the longest of the four Obliteride routes which also includes 25-,50- and 100-mile options. On Day 2, Sunday, August 11, the 180-mile Obliteride route starts at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma and finishes in Magnuson Park in North Seattle.

Look for cyclists in Montlake starting around 11 a.m. on Lake Washington Boulevard E., 24th Avenue E., E. Park Dr. East, East Shelby St., and Montlake Boulevard enroute to the Burke Gilman Trail.

Community Festival—More than a Bike Ride…

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Group purchase for rooftop solar systems offers steep discounts + Free PV for community orgs


Image: sustainableseattle.blogspot.com

Two great opportunities for converting all this glorious sunshine into usable electricity have popped up this summer, making it easier than ever to go solar. Solarize Seattle, a group purchasing program that is making solar panels mainstream one neighborhood at a time, is now coming to Central and Southeast Seattle:

Solar energy is currently powering hundreds of Seattle homes, and residents of  Montlake, Capitol Hill, the Central District, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, and other central and southeast Seattle neighborhoods are about to get a special opportunity to add their rooftops to our city’s growing solar array. Through a nonprofit-led program called Solarize Seattle, homes and small businesses can qualify for special pricing and take advantage of many incentives that make solar installations more affordable than ever.

Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) and Seattle City Light are working with several community groups to launch Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast, a solar energy education and installation program that starts today and runs through October.  The program will be co-led by a community coalition of local volunteers, which will spearhead neighborhood outreach. Supporting organizations include Sustainable Seattle, Sustainable Capitol Hill, and Sustainable Central District.

The campaign features a group-buy program that provides a streamlined process for residents and small businesses to purchase solar systems for a discounted price. Participants learn how solar works in Seattle, how it is installed, what tax and production incentives are available to bring the price down, and how low-interest financing can spread out the cost.  The limited-time campaign intends to install over 200 kilowatts of solar energy in central and southeast Seattle by the end of 2013.

Through a competitive bidding process, the Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast Community Coalition selected Puget Sound Solar and Artisan Electric as the project’s solar installation team.  These contractors will offer solar systems at discounted rates to project participants.

Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast will be the seventh campaign of Northwest SEED’s Solarize Washington program (www.solarizewa.org).  Northwest SEED’s four campaigns in Seattle have resulted in over 1 MW of solar added to the city’s electric grid.  To date, Solarize Washington campaigns have educated over 1,750 people at public workshops, encouraged nearly 300 residents to install solar on their homes, and injected more than $7.5 million into the local solar economy.

Registration for Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast opens Monday, July 8.  Registration is open to Seattle residents who live in the geographic area bordered by the Montlake cut to the north, I-5 to the west, Lake Washington to the east, and the City of Seattle boundary to the south.  Free educational workshops will be held on Jul. 23, Aug. 15, Aug. 27, and Sep. 18.  For more information, visit www.solarizewa.org.

Better than discounted solar panels are free solar panels, which the Solarize Seattle program is offering to community organizations with an available facility:

Qualifying community organizations must be located in central or southeast Seattle neighborhoods, must own their building or have a minimum 10-year lease, must be open and inclusive in engaging diverse community members, and provide a highly visible site with good access for the public to see and learn about the solar energy system.

The donated solar electric system will be rated at 3 kilowatts (kW) and will include all equipment and labor required for a rooftop installation, in addition to 10 years of maintenance service (the system itself has a life expectancy of at least 25 years).  The award of a 3 kW solar installation is approximately a $15,000 value for the installation and an additional value of up to $750 per year in electricity savings and Washington State production incentive payments.

The Request for Applications can be found at www.solarizewa.org.  The deadline for submitting an application is August 15, 2013.

City seeks 80 Montlake homes to join “Rainwise” program: Community meeting planned for Sept 19th

Image: Seattle Rainwise

By Julee Neuhart

​On Tuesday, July 30, Susan Harper, from Seattle Public Utilities spoke to a small group of Montlake residents at the Montlake Library. Susan reported the city wants 80 neighborhood home owners become “rainwise” to cut the amount of rainwater that overflows the city’s containment system in heavy rain storms, dumping polluted water into Portage Bay and the ship canal. Properties that are eligible for the program are:

  • the Shelby-Hamlin area
  • along 25th Avenue E. and 26th Avenue E. near the Arboretum
  • homes between Boyer Avenue and Portage Bay, west of 19th Avenue E..

To encourage participation, the city is offering rebates to help cover the cost of rainwise landscaping and/or rain collector cisterns. The rebate is $3.50 per square foot of roof that will direct rainwater into these features. Home owners can find out if their property is eligible for the program and if so, what projects are possible in their yard, by clicking here. This project does not cover modifications to the parking strip areas between the street and sidewalk.

​Susan reported that many homes in the Ballard and Broadview neighborhoods have installed rain gardens and or other features. The rebates have varied from $1000 to $4000, usually covering approximately 75% of the total cost. The website also has detailed information about the program and photos of rain gardens and cisterns used in Seattle. The utility has trained about 50 landscaper from many Seattle area firms. Their names and contact information is also included.

​A Rainwise Open House is scheduled for Thursday evening, September 19, 2013, at the Montlake Community Center. This event will provide interested home owners with more information. Representatives from Seattle Public Utilities will be on hand to answer questions and landscape firms will be displaying projects they have created and can answer questions specific to residents’ property.

Livable Streets Mayoral Forum comes to Madison Valley, Monday July 1

How will the next Seattle mayor help solve this mess? Image: Central Seattle Greenways via WSDOT

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has put together a Livable Streets forum for Seattle’s candidates for mayor on Monday, July 1st. The event will be 90 minutes of political talk about issues facing city streets: pedestrian safety, the Bicycle Master Plan, safe routes to school, access to transit, greenery, pavement and potholes. Eight candidates are expected to attend: Mike McGinn, Peter Steinbrueck, Bruce Harrell, Ed Murray, Charlie Staadecker, Kate Martin, Joey Gray and Mary Martin.

Coming on the heels of last week’s Bicycle Urbanism Symposium and the mixed reviews bike expert John Pucher gave Seattle streets, it will be interesting to hear how the candidates respond. Pucher praised the Seattle greenway movement — optimizing low-traffic residential streets for walking and biking — but said certain arterial streets were worse than anything in Manhattan. Knowing the candidates’ attitudes toward street improvements will help Montlake residents figure out who best to lead the city through 520 replacement planning, including the $300 million Montlake Lid.

Livable Streets Mayoral Forum — Monday, July 1st — 7-8:30pm — MLK Family, Arts, Mentoring, and Enrichment Community Center, 3201 E Republican St — RSVP here

Bicycle valet available!

Fire Station 22 to grand marshal Montlake family 4th of July parade

Image: Montlake Flyer

Image: Montlake Flyer

Montlake’s annual 4th of July parade and picnic is ready to roll through the neighborhood again this year. The festivities are set to begin at Montlake Community Center at 10am with bicycle, tricycle and stroller decoration before a “kidical mass” bicycle parade at “roughly 10:30” following an around-the-block route. The festivities continue at 11am with a fire engine visit from Station 22 on Roanoke Ave E and a bring-your-own picnic. Montlake Family Coop will provide decorations and popsicles. All ages invited!

Montlake family 4th of July parade — Thursday, July 4th, 10am — Montlake Community Center

Construction for 520 ‘West Connection Bridge’ off Madison Park set for next month

The West Connection Bridge. Image: WSDOT

The West Connection Bridge. Image: WSDOT

How do you connect a new 6-lane floating bridge to an old 4-lane highway? That’s the challenge for the next phase of 520 construction set to begin next month — the West Connection Bridge. This will be an interim span allowing the new floating bridge to transition to the existing 520 West Approach near Madison Park.

Mowat-American A Joint Venture will build the 1,330-foot-long structure under a $22.1 million contract. Completion is expected late next summer.

WSDOT has carefully planned the 520 replacement project in phases so that each new section will function until future sections are complete. When the new floating bridge opens, it will merge its 6-new-lanes into 4-old-lanes on the Seattle side. This interim West Connection will keep traffic moving until the next phase is complete.

However, the next phase, the West Approach Bridge North (WABN), has for the moment an uncertain future. The House Transportation Budget in April sought to delay WABN’s construction start from 2014 until 2015, or until tolls are implemented across the I-90 floating bridge. The WABN phase has been unpopular in Seattle, as it would continue the new 6-lane corridor all the way to Montlake Blvd with no funding in place to complete the rest of the $1.4 billion project. Given the dire budget situation in Olympia, Seattleites are leary of a bait-and-switch leaving us with even worse traffic in Montlake.

West Connection phase (blue) with the future WABN phase (orange). Image: WSDOT

West Connection phase (blue) with the future WABN phase (orange). Image: WSDOT

The fate of WABN will be settled just as soon as a budget deal is decided in Olympia (next week?). And while the West Connection is expected to finish next summer, delays with the floating bridge pontoons may push its completion into 2015.

To learn more about the project and its parts and pieces, you can talk directly with WSDOT folks at a series of public outreach events in Seattle next week:

  • West side drop-in event: 5-7 p.m., Monday, June 24 — Montlake Branch, Seattle Public Library, 2401 24th Avenue East
  • West Connection Bridge Project pre-construction meeting: 4:30-7 p.m., Wednesday, June 26 — Madison Park Pioneer Hall. 1642 43rd Avenue East
  • West side drop-in event: 12-2 p.m., Thursday, June 27 — U.W. Magnuson Health Sciences Center, Rotunda Foyer, 1959 Northeast Pacific Street

Free lecture: ‘Activism and Advocacy in the Arboretum’ to discuss 1960s R.H. Thomson freeway fight, Thursday May 23

20130520-224158.jpgHome on 26th Ave E in Montlake demolished in the early 1960s for the (never built) R.H. Thomson Expressway. Image: Seattle Engineering Archives, via the Montlake Community Club.

What do Saul Alinsky, the Black Panthers and the Arboretum have in common? The successful grassroots campaign that stopped the R.H. Thomson Expressway from carving up East Seattle neighborhoods in the 1960s and 1970s. A Thursday lecture hosted by the Arboretum Foundation will discuss the movement in detail. RSVP info below.

Remembering the Grassroots Campaign That Shut Down the R.H. Thomson Expressway

Advocacy on behalf of the Arboretum is one of the key components of the Foundation’s mission. Please join us at the Graham Visitors Center this Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m. to hear Franklin Butler tell his compelling story of activism from more than 40 years ago, when he joined with other citizens of Seattle to help preserve the Arboretum we know and love today.

Butler was a student at UW in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when state and city officials were proposing to construct a new freeway, the R.H. Thomson Expressway, through the eastern edge of the city of Seattle. If built, the expressway would have run right through many city neighborhoods, as well as through the west side of the Arboretum, destroying much of this Seattle landmark.

As part of a larger grassroots movement, Butler and several other students decided to oppose the project. They sought help from famed community organizer, Saul Alinsky, who came from Chicago to train the students in activist techniques. Radical groups such as the Black Panthers and the Students for a Democratic Society joined their campaign.

The infamous “ramps to nowhere” in the Arboretum – soon to be permanently removed as part of the upcoming 520 bridge replacement – are evidence that the campaign led by Butler and other local activists was a success.

Don’t miss this chance to hear Franklin Butler’s first-hand account of what happened.

Space is limited, so please RSVP soon to save your place. To RSVP, email Rhonda Bush or call her at 206-941-2550.

20130520-225343.jpgProposed S.R. 520/R.H. Thomson Expressway interchange in the Arboretum. Image: UW Special Collections