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Life Along the Corridor

Life along the 35th Ave NE corridor: workshop attendees marked their home location on a map.

The arterial 35th Ave NE is the main business and commercial corridor of the Ravenna, Bryant, View Ridge and Wedgwood neighborhoods, including the areas from NE 65th to 95th Streets. There are zoned “commercial areas” at the intersections of NE 65th, 70th, 75th, 85th and 95th Streets. For a pedestrian walking along the 35th Ave NE corridor, there are some places to eat and shop, and places to access businesses and services such as churches and the library. There are other stretches of the corridor which don’t have much to offer. Some of the commercial “nodes” are underdeveloped or have aging buildings which may be targeted for redevelopment. When trudging along 35th Ave NE as a pedestrian, how well-designed is the streetscape? Is it safe, convenient and functional? Are there clusters of businesses and services which are accessible on foot?

The Future of 35th Ave NE

The Future of 35th Ave NE project kicked off with workshops on April 22, 2014. This project is grant-funded and is led by consultants from MAKERS Architecture and Urban Design, and SvR Design which includes landscape architects.  These same consultants worked with Wedgwoodians on the Vision Plan completed in 2010.  The current 35th Ave NE project builds upon the principles established in the Vision Plan.

The evaluation questions of the current project include asking how the form and function of the pedestrian streetscape on 35th Ave NE will help create a safe and vibrant business district. What the 35th Ave NE project is not, is a “City” program which would address the roadway itself and traffic issues. What the project scope is intended to do, is create documentation for concerns for safe-crossing to businesses and services and the kinds of commercial options endorsed by neighborhood residents. With that documentation we can then interact with the City on issues of streetscape design, commercial zoning and the design of business buildings.

Work group on April 22, 2014: where can we safely walk to shopping?

A More Vibrant Commercial District

In survey results which are posted on the project page, 92% of respondents wanted increased commercial services along the 35th Ave NE corridor. This may require some redevelopment in present “empty spaces” and in older, low-rise buildings. Businesses need to be clustered together for viability, rather than strung out in isolated spots. Pedestrian safety and comfort have direct impacts on local business districts. In a recent project in the University District, businesses enjoyed a 6.18% increase in sales within the first four years after the street improvements. Vacancies of commercial storefronts decreased there, and one business owner said that better street lighting had increased sales by creating a safe nighttime shopping experience for his store.

Getting Ahead of Development

We know that some businesses along 35th Ave NE are in old buildings, and the property owners are beginning to turn over control to the “next generation” of their family. We are likely to see some of the present buildings replaced by new ones. To have a say in what will be built, we must get ahead of the projects by providing a framework of what is wanted by neighborhood residents, supported by zoning regulations and needed improvements to streetscape.

Construction of the Jasper: neighborhood unprepared for development which looms over 35th Ave NE.

One of the biggest “wake-up calls” in Wedgwood neighborhood history was the construction of what is now the Jasper Apartments at 8606 35th Ave NE, completed in 2012. By the time it was learned that a new four-story building was to go in, it was very difficult to have any input with the developers because they had already drawn up plans and applied for permits. It costs money for developers to do all the architectural plans and they resisted changes to the building requested by neighbors, because it would cost more money for re-drawing. One of the purposes of the present 35th Ave NE project is to document streetscape and building-type plans to be presented to and consistently requested from developers, so that future commercial buildings along 35th Ave NE would meet the needs of residents.

Join In, Let Your Voice be Heard

The Future of 35th Ave NE project has been endorsed by the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association and the Wedgwood Community Council. Anyone who lives in the area or uses the 35th Ave NE commercial corridor is invited to participate in the project. It’s not too late for you to join in on the process and let your voice be heard for improvements along the 35th Ave NE corridor. The next public workshop will be on Wednesday, June 11, from 7 to 9 PM at Messiah Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 7050 35th Ave NE. This workshop will address streetscape design and zoning: effective tools to balance competing interests along the linear and fragmented business district of 35th Ave NE. We need your voice!

The first workshop on April 22, 2014 for the Future of 35th Ave NE project was well-attended.

The History of Seattle as Seen in its Architecture

The Pontius mansion, built in 1889, was an example of the post-fire extravagant building boom in Seattle. Pictured here in 1904 are the children of the Mother Ryther Orphan home gathered on the porch. Photo by Asahel Curtis number 05330 Special Collections University of Washington.

On April 26 and May 10, 1 to 3 PM, UW professor and architectural historian Jeffrey Karl Ochsner will present an overview of Seattle’s architectural history in two lectures.  Each lecture will be 90 minutes with time for questions in the remaining 30 minutes.  The programs will be at the downtown Seattle Public Library in the auditorium accessed from the Fourth Avenue entrance.

The two lectures will cover the history of Seattle’s architecture from 1880 to the present.  Dr. Ochsner will discuss urban development, building types, stylistic directions and the major architects who shaped the architecture of the city and region.

April 26: Part 1, 1880 to 1935

Explore the development of Seattle’s architectural style during the city’s early growth. Important early architects, major stylistic directions and a range of building types will also be covered.

May 10: Part 2, 1935 to present

Examine the origins and development of modern buildings’ architectural forms and styles.  This lecture includes: modernism and regionalism; urban design and preservation; the works of notable architects and architectural firms in Seattle.

Dr. Ochsner has taught at the University of Washington for over 25 years. He has written and edited five books, along with numerous articles, addressing Seattle’s architectural and urban history. He is also editor and co-author of the forthcoming second edition of  Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects (2014; originally published in 1994).

Spring Plant Sale

Happy customers at FlorAbundance Plant Sale

The FlorAbundance plant sale will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27, in Building 30 at Magnuson Park in 2014.  This very extensive plant sale event helps support the Arboretum Foundation.  Dozens of specialty nurseries will be on hand selling a wonderful selection of locally grown trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, and edibles.

40 nurseries:  “There’ll be at least 40 nurseries in attendance,” says volunteer Event Chair Bob Lilly. “Expect a unique selection of high-quality plants, including lots of veggies for your kitchen garden. As always, Langley Fine Gardens will have an amazing array of vegetable starts. In addition, for the first time in quite a while, they’ll be offering a diverse crop of ornamental salvias.

A cornucopia of high-quality plants: “Look for a great selection of fine shrubs and fuchsias from Lee Farm and Nursery and Robinwood Nursery,” continues Bob. “You’ll find wonderful plants for the shade garden at Growing Girls Nursery and Keeping It Green. Bouquet Banque Nursery and Sundquist Nursery will have an amazing array of epimediums. And this is just a small taste of the cornucopia of botanical treasures awaiting shoppers at FlorAbundance.”

Hours of the FlorAbundance Plant Sale are 9 to 5 on Saturday, April 26, and 10 to 3 on Sunday, April 27.  Admission and parking are free.

Author Book-Signing at Seattle Audubon

Sibley Guide to Birds, Tuesday, April 22 from 10:30 to 11:30 AM. . . . → Read More: Author Book-Signing at Seattle Audubon

Seattle Public School District Seeking Comments on DRAFT SEPA Checklist for New Thornton Creek Elementary School

The Public Comment period for the new Thornton Creek Elementary DRAFT SEPA Checklist is open until 5PM, May 2nd. . . . → Read More: Seattle Public School District Seeking Comments on DRAFT SEPA Checklist for New Thornton Creek Elementary School

Food Bank Fundraiser at the Ale House

All day on Thursday, April 17, 30% of all orders will be donated. . . . → Read More: Food Bank Fundraiser at the Ale House

The Confluence in 2014

Road closure expected soon: no through traffic on 35th Ave NE at NE 107th Street. . . . → Read More: The Confluence in 2014

April 22nd Public Workshop to Discuss Streetscape Design and Zoning for 35th Ave NE

Public Workshops are scheduled to get community input on streetscape design and zoning recommendations for the 35th Ave NE Business District. . . . → Read More: April 22nd Public Workshop to Discuss Streetscape Design and Zoning for 35th Ave NE

Featured Advertiser: Johnson’s Auto Repair

Quality and service conveniently located in Wedgwood. . . . → Read More: Featured Advertiser: Johnson’s Auto Repair

Fill of Joy

Free program on Thursday evening, April 17, about the birds of the Union Bay Natural Area. . . . → Read More: Fill of Joy