News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood

 

Entries from December 2008

Streetcar expansion proposal approved

December 8th, 2008 by master

The Seattle City Council wants to see a network of streetcars, but they haven’t figured out how to pay for the $600 million project.

The Council approved a measure today which will expand the network from the current South Lake Union streetcar and the previously-approved First Hill line to other areas of the city. One of those proposed lines will go from downtown Seattle to Fremont and Ballard. “In these economic times, a potential street car network is exactly the type of public works project we should be considering,” states City Councilmember Tim Burgess. “The line creates another efficient, affordable alternative to driving, which will help position the city to accommodate anticipated population growth and manage its transportation needs.” No money has been committed for this project.

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‘Kiwi’ now open on Fremont Ave.

December 7th, 2008 by master

The smoothie and frozen yogurt shop Mooberry in Ballard has opened a second location in the old Sonic Boom location in Fremont.

But instead of Mooberry, it’s called Kiwi. The shop opened on Wednesday with all the Mooberry favorites. And coming soon to the menu: hotdogs. Right next door, an organic sandwich shop called “Homegrown” is plans to open next year.

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Lenin lights up for the holidays

December 5th, 2008 by master

Updated: Just returned from the annual lighting of the Lenin statue, complete with the McClure Middle School band and hot chocolate for the kids.

And Santa and his helper. In true Fremont fashion, Santa was handing out tangerines, not candy canes. As for Lenin, this year the lighting is a little more ominous, casting a red glow on the trees around it.

Which inspired us to go around and snap some other photos.

Looking up 35th St.

The Rocket, of course.

Even the Fremont Bridge is in the holiday spirit.

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Done deal: Paid parking coming to Fremont

December 4th, 2008 by master

After a series of community meetings and heated discussion, the Seattle Department of Transportation has released its final parking plan for Fremont. The following changes will occur in February:

  • Two-hour paid parking will take effect in Fremont’s retail core — a total of about 115 spaces — at a rate of $1.50 an hour.
  • Time-limit signs will be installed outside Fremont’s retail core. Restrictions will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Saturday. On some streets near restaurants, time limits will continue until 10 p.m.
  • Residential parking zone (RPZ) will take effect on streets north and east of the business district. RPZ signs will be installed on one side of residential streets (the other side will remain unrestricted) with 2-hour parking allowed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for non-permit holders, and from 8 p.m. to midnight with no non-permit holder parking allowed. The RPZ will be in effect Monday through Saturday.

The “retail core” is a rather concentrated area that encompasses the absolute center of Fremont — 115 parking spaces out of a total of 700. This popular area along 35th St. by the Rocket will be paid parking:

But go one block to the west, and it’s free with time limits. Here’s the map (.pdf) that outlines the specific zones and provides more details. Beginning in a couple weeks, eligible residents will receive RPZ permits in the mail. In January, sidewalks will be marked where paid parking kiosks and signs will be installed. In February, the installation begins.

As we’ve been reporting, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce has fought the plan all along with its Keep Fremont Free campaign, generating an outpouring of support from local businesses. So what do you think, will paid parking help or hurt business in the retail core?

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Lake Union Loop Trail officially open

December 4th, 2008 by master

In a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor Greg Nickels has opened the six-mile trail around Lake Union, known officially as the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop Trail. “The trail creates a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy access to neighborhoods and parks, and to explore some of our history along the shores of Lake Union,” Nickels said. As part of the improvements over the last year, the city extended the path along Westlake Avenue 870 feet to meet the Fremont Bridge. Now, as many hikers and bicyclists know, it’s far from a seamless journey around the lake (see the map in .pdf), and the city is planning more improvements to come.

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Winter Beer Fest at Hale’s Ales

December 4th, 2008 by master

It’s getting c-c-cold outside, a perfect time to break out some of those tasty winter brews. This Friday and Saturday, you can sample big, bold winter warmers from over 30 Washington breweries (list) at the 2008 Winter Beer Festival at Hale’s Ales. The Washington Beer Commission event goes from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday and 1 to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $23 advance and $25 at the door — you get six beer tastes (5 ounces each) and can buy additional tokens on the spot. And be careful, because winter beers pack a punch!

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Will the streetcar come to Fremont?

December 3rd, 2008 by master

The Seattle City Council will vote this coming Monday on whether or not to pursue building more streetcar lines throughout the city, including one that would run from downtown Seattle to Fremont (see map).

Back in July, residents spoke out at a community forum about the proposed expansion. Opinions seemed to be split down the middle. And according to the Seattle Times, the city council is divided and will actually be voting on two separate resolutions on Monday: one against building more lines and one in favor of more lines. If the council decides to move ahead with the project, there is no timeline for construction and some of the funding is still in question. Councilmembers Nick Licata and Tom Rasmussan both have more questions about the project, while other members on the transportation committee are in full support. We’ll let you know what happens.

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Chamber: City parking plan is about the revenue

December 1st, 2008 by master

With the SDOT due to release its final parking plan for Fremont any day now, the Fremont Chamber of Commerce says the city cares more about making money than managing parking. “Everybody feels this is a revenue-generating tactic from the city,” says Jessica Vets, the chamber’s executive director in an interview with Fremont Universe. “There are paid parking lots all through Fremont, (but) nobody uses them. They’re underutilized.”

The chamber has led an aggressive campaign called “Keep Fremont Free” to protest the city’s plan to add paid parking meters throughout the neighborhood. The city, meanwhile, has called the parking situation in Fremont a “crisis,” holding community meetings and walking tours to get feedback on the plan. “When use of on-street parking spaces reaches 75 percent or higher, as it is throughout Fremont, SDOT considers implementing parking management changes to ensure that parking spaces are available for customers,” explains the SDOT web page on the Fremont plan.

SDOT revised the plan in late October, making adjustments to the map after hearing community feedback (see presentation), but most parking meters remain. Vets maintains that the city’s motivation is not to improve Fremont parking, but drive more revenue, potentially driving away Fremont visitors as businesses struggle with the economy. “We talked to the individual business owners, and they said, ‘This is just not my clientele. The people who shop here, the people who come to my store, they’re not parking meter people,'” said Vets. We’ll let you known when the final parking plan is made available.

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