News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

How Mayor McGinn’s 2012 Budget Could Affect Fremont

September 27th, 2011 by Sean Keeley

The Mayor has released his proposed 2012 budget (.pdf) to the Seattle City Council and Fremont will be affected if it is passed as is.

Parking:

Earlier this year, the Seattle Department of Transportation decided to keep parking rates at $1.50 in Fremont to make sure parking was accessible. The goal was to have one or two available spots on each block at a given time. After doing research, the good news is that it looks like the $1.50 per hour rate is doing well here and will not go up (click here for pdf.).

Nearby in Ballard, proposed changes for 2012 include raising the rates in the core of Ballard back to $2.00 per hour.

Light Rail:
The Mayor is proposing a one-time use of $1.5 million “for planning related to high capacity transit in the five corridors identified in the Transit Master Plan.”


Here is a look at the light rail corridor from Ballard  through Fremont to downtown, as mentioned in the Transit Master Plan.

Community Centers:
From the proposed budget:

Under this recommendation, community centers are clustered into five geographic groups (Northeast, Northwest, Central, Southeast, and Southwest), with each team managed and programmed in a coordinated fashion, with partially or fully restored hours at the current limited use community center sites (Alki, Ballard, Green Lake, Laurelhurst, and Queen Anne).

We are continuing to sift through the proposed budget (.pdf) and will update this as we learn more.

There will be two public hearings about the 2012 budget. The first is October 4th, the second is October 26th. Both hearings are at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers (City Hall, 600 Fourth Avenue). If you’d like to speak, sign in time is 5 p.m. The city council will be voting on the final budget in November.

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Mayor McGinn To City Council: Be Bold, Fund Rail Expansion

August 11th, 2011 by Sean Keeley

Last week we talked briefly about SDOT’s Transit Master Plan, which included plans for a light rail that would connect Ballard and Fremont to downtown, amongst other neighborhoods.

Yesterday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn took to his blog and challenged the Seattle City Council to “be bold” and consider funding such a project.

For the distances served — neighborhood to neighborhood — it looks like the right choice for a number of corridors in Seattle. That includes Ballard to downtown via Fremont, the University District to downtown via Eastlake, and linking those to Seattle’s two initial streetcar lines to South Lake Union, the International District/Chinatown and Capitol Hill. Other cities have already demonstrated the promise of this approach, like Portland with its MAX system.

McGinn went to say that, even if the council didn’t want to act on the initiative, he “will not stop working to fulfill my commitment to expand rail in Seattle.”

Currently, the city council is working on approving a $60 car tab fee that would help save many King County Metro bus routes as well as provide some much-needed maintenance to Seattle’s roadways. But if they want to think big, like Mayor McGinn would like them to, they might discuss much grander plans soon.

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Big Changes Coming To Local Nightlife, Street Food & Medical Marijuana

July 20th, 2011 by Sean Keeley

This week, the Seattle City Council made three moves that will change the future of nightlife, street food and marijuana availability in Fremont, let alone all of Seattle.

We start with the nightlife, where Mayor McGinn’s proposal to change and/or extend bar hours in order to stagger police coverage was officially backed by the Council. The resolution let cities set their own bar-closing times, which could mean staggered schedules that make life easier for law enforcement.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned rule changes to Seattle street food vendors got the blessing of the City Council as well. Now, don’t expect a free-for-all of taco trucks to swarm Fremont. There’s going to be a lot of regulations and fees that street vendors will have to adhere to. Also, vendors will be forbidden from parking within 50 feet of food businesses, schools and building entrances. That said, expect to see a lot more street food vendors in town when the remaining questions are answered and the trucks start rolling in.

Finally, the City Council voted Monday to approve a series of regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. While still illegal on a federal level, the medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to operate locally, given that they comply with new regulations.

That’ll do, City Council. That’ll do.

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Mayor McGinn Announces Plan To Change Seattle Nightlife Hours

July 14th, 2011 by Sean Keeley

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has announced a proposal for changing state policy to allow cities to allow extended service hours for Seattle nightlife. The plan is part of Seattle’s comprehensive Nightlife Initiative, which aims to maintain public safety and provide businesses with greater flexibility to adapt to the market demands of residents and visitors.

In a nutshell, McGinn’s plan is to stagger closing times at certain bars and clubs to ease the strain on police resources. As it is now, Seattle Police can be stretched thin at 2am when every bar & club lets out, especially in certain areas such as Belltown and Pioneer Square.

Plus, there’s only so much our local superheroes can do.

“We’ve talked to the public, we’ve talked to businesses, we’ve talked to neighbors, and this is something the community wants us to do,” said Mayor Mike McGinn

The City Council will hear the resolution in committee on July 19th and a vote to follow soon afterward. The rule change application will be submitted to the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB) by August 31st. The LCB then has 60 days to decide whether to initiate the rule making process, Mayor McGinn hopes to have extended service hours implemented in Seattle in 2012.

Whether or not this will affect much in Fremont remains to be seen. There are certainly areas of the city where such an initiative is more pressing, though that doesn’t mean we won’t see changes to closing times here as well.

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The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee Wants YOU!

May 24th, 2011 by Sean Keeley

(Disclosure: The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee is a sponsor of FremontUniverse)

Tonight, the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee will be convening on Fremont and they’d like to see you there. They’re not up to much, just shaping the future of Seattle’s transportation systems, alternatives and priorities. You know, no biggie…

The 14-member CTAC, which is appointed by the mayor and Seattle City Council, will recommend new funding methods for the city’s transportation system. A public meeting and workshop Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. at the Fremont Library (731 N. 35th St.) will let you have a hand in how that happens.

Oh, and wear your finest. Mayor Mike McGinn will be in attendance.

For more on the CTAC, visit this site.

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Mayor’s nightlife initiative: your thoughts?

July 14th, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

Mayor Mike McGinn last night revealed a “Seattle Nightlife Initiative” that includes 8 major points:

  1. Code compliance enforcement
  2. Flexible liquor service hours
  3. Noise ordinance enforcement
  4. Security training requirements
  5. Precinct community outreach
  6. Professional development
  7. Late-night transportation alternatives
  8. Targeting public nuisances

Dubliner2

The Dubliner, one of many bars in Fremont that could be affected by the mayor’s new nightlife initiative

Of these priorities, the “flexible hours” may be the most dramatic, with bars being able to stay open later than 2 a.m., with the argument that the present system “which by unintended consequence encourages overindulgence while simultaneously pushing thousands of patrons on the streets with limited resources to effectively manage the activity.” In other words, too many inebriated people at one time overwhelm law enforcement, alternative and public transportation, drive home drunk causing accidents, etc.

You can read more about it in the Seattle Times, and you can comment directly on a survey the city has put out seeking feedback about it. Or, please comment here!

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Thousands answer call to Bike to Work today

May 21st, 2010 by Doree

Thousands more bicyclists than usual will be riding today, because it’s the annual Bike to Work Day.

Cascade Bicycle Club has teamed up with a number of other businesses to provide 44 commute stations throughout the region, offering freebies like water bottles and snacks, providing information on cycling, and some even have bicycle technicians ready to fix your flat tire.

In Fremont, hundreds of cyclists stopped to grab free goodies, including water bottles and safety lights from Bike to Work sponsor F5, as well as bike bells and socks from Smartwool (if you were willing to trade in the pair you were wearing).
Fremont commute

At about 7:30 a.m., 100+ riders followed Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn up Dexter Avenue and into downtown Seattle for a Cascade Bicycle Club bike rally outside City Hall.
McGinn presser bike to work day

If you took any pictures on your way into work, please share them with us! (e-mail tips@fremontuniverse.com)

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FAWN walk with the Mayor

April 22nd, 2010 by Athima Chansanchai

If you live in Fremont, and are not a subscriber to FAWN (Fremont Aurora Wallingford Neighbors), you’re missing out on weekly reports that will clue you in on break-ins, drug activity, prostitution and other illegal happenings.

When I moved to Seattle from Baltimore 5 years ago, I chose to live in Fremont – first in an apartment on 35th St., then to my current townhouse about 5 minutes away, one block east of Aurora. My landlord advised me to get on the FAWN listserv and every week for the past 10 or so years, they’ve done a neighborhood walk.

I finally went on my first walk with them – my neighbors – on April 8. (This entry, though, is my first as a Fremont Universe blogger.) About 20 people showed up at the corner of Whitman and 40th – the usual place the group begins its dusk-time walk. But usually, there aren’t this many people. The draw: Mayor Mike McGinn, who biked to the spot from his Greenwood abode. With him – 2 of his aides from the Mayor’s Office and 2 state police officers. The Fremont Neighborhood Council and the co-owners of Marketime Foods on Fremont Ave. were also there.

We didn’t take a long walk in these brisk but dry conditions. We walked north on Aurora, noted empty lots, some lights out and some suspicious loitering going on across Aurora before going into the warmth of a meeting room at an apartment building off Aurora and 43rd.

“I view this as a significant corridor,” McGinn said, once we’d settled in. “It shares common characteristics: a zoning mix of non-residential and residential communities, offices and motels. But these corridors really present challenges. I want to hear from you.”

And he did.

The Mayor, himself a victim of robbery at gunpoint and a frequent rider of the Aurora Express bus route 358, listened to neighbors who told him about their first-hand experiences of trespassing, physical assault (dragged by car), drug use in stairwells, shoplifting, drug dealing in parking lots and trying to explain these things to their children.

“I have a great view of these things morning, noon and night,” said Danny Sullivan, who lives next to the The Fremont Inn (formerly The Thunderbird motel), one of several motels owned by Dean and Jill Inman, and where, neighbors say, the problems fester. He has a hard time explaining gunshots, bags of white powder and knives being pulled out to his 10-year-old daughter. “I knew what I was getting into, I knew this was not the most Bambi in the Woods neighborhood. The problem is, businesses are not being run responsibly.”

Others at the meeting reaffirmed Sullivan’s experiences, particularly in areas near the motels owned by the Inmans - the Wallingford Inn, Fremont Inn, Seattle Motor Inn and Italia and Isabella motels- which were the subject of 180 criminal charges for various tax violations. (The Seattle Motor Inn closed in December.)

One apartment owner told the Mayor about one of her tenants breaking her lease. Reading from the letter, she described how the tenant witnessed knife fights and slashed tires, thugs surrounding cars. The apartment owner talked about having SWAT teams and other SPD sealing off the building and the block at times, and having to mirror some of her tenants’ windows so they won’t have to see what’s going on in the motel next door.

Representatives from Marketime Foods complained of a steady flow of people coming from Aurora on a daily basis, people who engaged in shoplifting, drug dealing in the parking lot and panhandling in front of the business, which they said has the effect of driving customers away.

But, neighbors emphasize, this is not about singling out certain people.

“This is not about people being poor,” said one of my former colleagues at the Seattle P-I, environmental reporter Robert McClure (now with InvestigateWest). “This is about people being criminal.”

“This is a great neighborhood. We have a problem that is a specific blight,” said Linda Clifton, one of FAWN’s regular walkers, who got involved with the group after one of many stolen, abandoned cars rolled down a hill and totaled her car 8 years ago. “We appreciate what the city and the police have done so far. We’re just looking at the next step.”

To contact FAWN: fawn.seattle@gmail.com

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