News blog for Seattle's Fremont neighborhood


Thunderbird Motel To Become Affordable Housing Complex

November 1st, 2011 by master

The Thunderbird Motel has sat vacant on Aurura Ave. ever since ever since Seattle Police Chief John Diaz declared the inn a chronic nuisance property in 2010 and the place was foreclosed on.

Now, Catholic Housing Services, an arm of Catholic Community Services, has received funding from the state and the city to rebuild the complex and try to do some good with it.

Image from Google street view map

CCS Division Director Dan Wise made the announcement recently:

I am please to announce that Catholic Housing Services receiving funding from the State of Washington and the City of Seattle to build 71 units of affordable permanent housing on the site of the of old Thunderbird Motel.  We hope to start demolition and construction in the fall of 2012 and would move tenants into the building about 12 months after the start of construction, in 2013.

The Aurora renaissance continues as this project will join the impending hotel project expected to make the Fremont-area of the major road look a whole lot nicer.

CCS already runs the nearby Aloha Inn, where residents work in exchange for room and board.

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Help Design New Aurora Hotel, Meeting Monday Night

October 17th, 2011 by master

It might sound strange, given all of the decaying or outdated hotels and motels dotting Aurora Avenue, but someone would like to build a brand new fancy one along that street as well.

Emerald Hospitality, a hotel management and consulting company, would like to build a four-story, 101-room hotel on the vacant lot at 3926 Aurora Ave. N.

Deemed the “Fremont Hub Urban Village” in their write-up, here’s how Emerald Hospitality describes the proposed complex:

A 4-story extended stay hotel building with public spaces on the ground floor and below grade parking. The project will consist of guestrooms on the 1st-4th floors. There will be a mix of studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom guestrooms. The below grade parking will be accessed from the alley. The hotel entry will be accessed by vehicles and pedestrians from Aurora Ave N.

Just so you know we’re not talking about another drive-thru motel, check out these drawings from their plans:

As examples of like-minded projects, the builders cite the Ballard Blocks and Holiday Inn in South Lake Union, amongst others.

Check out the extremely-detailed plans for the hotel here (PDF). In them, you might noticed that there are a couple different designs floating around. If you have an opinion on what makes the most sense for Fremont, make your voice be heard at a public design meeting tonight. Come to the University Heights Community Center (5031 University Way N.E.) at 6:30pm to find out more about the project and share your opinions.

Images courtesy of Clark Design Group.

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More Improvements & Changes Coming To Aurora

August 29th, 2011 by master

We’ve seen a lot of new and improved features on Aurora Avenue recently, including radar speed signs and earthquake retrofits. According to a recent blog post by SDOT, there’s still a lot more to come.

The post outlines a whole bunch of impending improvements and changes in the area, while some of them will take place right in our own backyard.

Further south, SDOT is preparing to implement a series of safety improvements centered around the Aurora Bridge.  New signage will be installed warning drivers to expect merging traffic prior the Fremont Way and Halladay Street entrances.  This project will include improved directional signage to the Queen Anne neighborhood and minor tree trimming to improve the visibility of these signs.  Channelization improvements will be implemented concurrently on southbound Aurora at the Fremont Way and Raye Street entrances to Aurora.  At Fremont Way, a solid white lane line will replace the existing dashed lane line and extend 200 feet south of the point where the two roadways become one.  Since it is illegal to cross a solid white lane line, this new configuration will allow drivers entering Aurora to get up to speed before making lane changes.  At Raye Street, a new edge line will be installed to provide drivers with better sight lines when entering Aurora.  Coupled with the recently completed improvements at Halladay Street (for drivers entering and exiting northbound 99), the roadway around the Aurora Bridge will certainly funtion better.

I know the current set-up can cause some uneasiness when it comes to merging traffic heading onto the bridge so it sounds like these changes could help.

Read more about SDOT’s Action Plan here.

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Aurora Ave Closed Saturday For Marathon

June 24th, 2011 by master

The Rock ‘n Roll Marathon and Half Marathon will be taking over parts of Seattle on Saturday.

A look at the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon and Half Marathon route. For larger image, click here (.pdf)

The Alaskan Way Viaduct and Aurora Avenue North will be closed at 5:45 a.m., starting at North 39th Street in Fremont. The Seattle Department of Transportation anticipates the southbound lanes should re-open by 1:15 p.m., and the northbound lanes will re-open by 4 p.m. The full list of road closures is here (.pdf.)

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Radar Signs Coming To Aurora Ave.

May 2nd, 2011 by master

The Aurora Traffic Safety Project just keeps on making updates to Aurora Ave. in an attempt to improve safety through low cost engineering, enforcement, and educational efforts.

Starting today, SDOT will begin adding radar signs to Aurora at various locations. The Halladay Street exit from Aurora northbound Aurora will be the first to get a sign as they get rolled out one by one.

Other Northbound radar sign spots include Prospect St, N 39th St, and at W Green Lake Way N.  Meanwhile, southbound traffic will see these signs go up at N 48th St and near the Dexter Ave exit.

Also coming soon will be reflective pavement markers between the dashed lane lines on the Green Lake curves of Aurora Ave.  These lane markers are intended to reduce the number of vehicle versus jersey barrier collisions that occur in this stretch of Aurora by providing drivers with additional guidance through these curves.

More projects are coming soon to Aurora.  Stay tuned to the SDOT Blog for more information, or, for a sneak preview, check out the Action Plan on our website:

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Aurora Traffic Safety Patrol Catches 677 Violations

April 15th, 2011 by master

This article was originally written by Thea Chard at Queene Anne View

Beginning at approximately 7 a.m. and running through the rest of the day on Thursday, April 14, Seattle Police Department and Washington State Patrol officers conducted a major safe driving enforcement patrol along Aurora Ave N.

Over the course of the day patrol officers tracked a total of 677 violations, wrote up 509 citations, clocked 331 speeders and doled out 198 warnings to drivers, according to the SPD Blotter. These numbers include 62 people caught driving while talking on their cell phones, 80 driving without insurance, 23 without a license, and a total of six who were arrested and charged with DUIs. Here’s the breakdown of violations, and subsequent tickets, for the day:

Tickets issued for the following violations:

Aggressive driving – 19
DUI Arrest – 6
Negligent Driving – 2
High speed – 66 in a 40 MPH zone
Cell phone – 62
No insurance – 80
No Operators License – 23
FTY to Pedestrians – 1
FTY Right of Way – 2
Unsafe Lane Change – 21
Follow to close – 2
School zone – 8
School zone (speed van) – 42
Bicycle – 2
Inattention – 2
Defective Equipment – 8
Illegal turns – 16
Signs Obey – 15
No seatbelt – 30
Vehicle License – 5

While SPD did dish out quite a lot of tickets along Aurora yesterday, officers say the primary aim of the patrol was safety. “The overall goal of the Aurora Avenue emphasis patrol is to promote safe driving behavior, not necessarily to write tickets. Tickets are however, a product of traffic law enforcement,” SPD said in a statement.

What do you think? Did the patrol help remind the public to drive safely along Aurora, which has an extremely high collision incident rate, or was it just an excuse for officers to hand out more tickets in a shorter amount of time? What do you think SPD and the city could do to make Aurora safer?

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Major Traffic Enforcement Patrol On Aurora April 14th

April 13th, 2011 by master

I know you always drive safely on Aurora Avenue. You always stay focused, drive calmly, don’t chat on your cell phone while driving and certainly avoid drinking and driving. We’re on the same page with all of that. I just want to make sure you know to REALLY do all of those things (or not do those things, as the case may be) on Thursday.

The Aurora Traffic Safety Project will be performing a “safe driving enforcement patrol” on Aurora Avenue North all day.

On April 14th beginning at 6:30 am and running all day and evening, the Seattle Police Department, Washington State Patrol and Washington Liquor Control Board will be conducting a major traffic enforcement patrol to deter aggressive and distracted driving on Aurora. Specifically the patrol will focus on the behaviors we know are contributing to collisions, injuries and deaths along Aurora such as speeding, following too close, unsafe turns, DUI, cell phone usage and other in car distractions.

More than 50 Seattle Police Department personnel will be participating including motorcycle and squad car units, the aggressive drivers response team and the DUI squad. Joining SPD will be six patrol units from the Washington State Patrol and three teams from the Washington Liquor Control Board. A unified command center will be established at 125th and Aurora.

The April 14th patrol is part of the Aurora Traffic Safety Project – a two year effort to improve safety through engineering improvements, increased enforcement, and educational outreach. Between April 2005 and March 2008, 1,581 collisions occurred on Aurora between the Battery Street Tunnel and N 145th Street – that’s nearly 46 collisions per month. Since the start of this project in 2009, collisions on Aurora have been reduced by more than 20 percent.

For more information about the Aurora Traffic Safety Project visit

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Collisions Down On Aurora Avenue

March 7th, 2011 by master

Since June 2009, The Aurora Traffic Safety Project has been working to reduce collisions on Aurora Avenue North. Comparing the time between now and then to the time between April 2005 and March 2008, collisions have been significantly reduced Here are the details:

  • Total collisions on Aurora have decreased 21 percent
  • Serious and fatal collisions on Aurora have decreased 22 percent
  • Injury collisions on Aurora have decreased 23 percent

Street improvements such as new sidewalks, curb ramps and new crosswalks as well an increased police presence and driver awareness have all been credited with helping.

See all the details on the project over at SDOT’s blog.

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Fremont News, Notes, Happenings & Whatnot 12/6

December 6th, 2010 by master

Some news, updates and happenings in and around Fremont to be aware of…

Fremont’s Starbucks gets a great write-up and tons of photos over at Starbucks Melody.

The old Italia Motel at 4129 Aurora Ave. N. has now been boarded up and cleaned out.

Atsuko Tamura, president of Fremont action-sports gear retailer Evo, gets quoted in this article about the influx of snow in the Seattle area.

Over in Wallingford, the big Wallingford sign atop the QFC got lit up for the holidays.

Want some more photos of the Lenin Lighting? Here’s a slideshow for you.

The 46th Street Mural Project survey, which invites the community of Wallingford and Fremont, and users of the N 46th Street underpass to share their opinions of the newly completed mural, will close next week. Speak your mind ASAP in their survey.


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Aurora Southbound closures today

July 27th, 2010 by master

Fresh from SDOT:

Crews from the Seattle Department of Transportation will be mowing overgrowth along southbound Aurora Avenue North this morning, from W. Raye Street to W. Galer Street, from about 9 a.m. to no later than noon. There will be a rolling closure of the curb lane to allow crews to work safely. Bus stops will be left open.

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