Seattle Metropolitan names Queen Anne one of the best places to live in Seattle in 2010!

Seattle Metropolitan magazine has named Queen Anne one of the best Seattle neighborhoods to live in in 2010!

And I can’t say that I blame them! Seattle Met chatted with Queen Anne Farmers Market director Julie Whitehorn about what makes QA–or as I call it, the other hill– so great. Read the full piece here.

Queen Anne appreciation moment: Here are some of neighborhood’s highlights:

  • Queen Anne was named top Seattle neighborhood in 2009 by Seattle magazine
  • QA is the oldest neighborhood in Seattle, with 121 of the most historic (and often hidden) stairways–Sunset Magazine thought that was pretty cool!
  • We have, arguably, a large array of some of the best restaurants and businesses
  • Fun events happen here all the time–like Mobile Chowdown & Michael Jackson ‘Beat It’ & Glee-themed flash mobs!
  • We have some pretty awesome Trick-or-treating action around Halloween
  • The Queen Anne Farmers Market simply rocks
  • You can even spot the occasional zombie…or mob of zombies, as it were
  • We’re right in the center of the 6th most walkable city nationwide, plus we’re bikable and climbable too!
  • And Seattle Center, EMP, the Space Needle & the waterfront are just down the street

Have another reason why Queen Anne rocks? Share it in the comments below!

Ballard Bridge painting to affect pedestrian & bicycle traffic this summer

One of the great things about Queen Anne in the summer is that the location provides a number of captivating and enjoyable routes for walking and cycling to and around town! But if you’re looking forward to taking a stroll over the Ballard Bridge in the coming months, you might have to put your plans on hold. This summer, Seattle Department of Transportation crews will be painting one half of the Ballard Bridge, affecting pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Rick Sheridan with SDOT tells us that pedestrian access on either the east or west side of the bridge will be shut down entirely during the painting. The other side of the bridge will remain open. No word on when painting will start or which side of the bridge crews will work on first. The side that isn’t painted this year will be painted next year.

Seattle Center now seeking proposals for redevelopment of remaining Fun Forest area

[Editor’s note: This story has been edited since it was originally posted in order to clarify a few points concerning the various Seattle Center RFPs.]

Back in December Seattle Center cleared away the rides in the north section of the Fun Forest, now known as Center Square, to make way for an array of project proposals for “interesting installations and activities to carry the space through to 2012, when Seattle Center will make use of the space to house activities related to the 50th anniversary celebration,” wrote Director of Communications Deborah Daoust. Center Square is intended to be used as public space, and according to Daoust, it will maintain this role after the 50th anniversary celebrations conclude.

Center representatives hoped to fill the space by testing a range of one-time events as well as longer installations, but admitted being “disappointed” by the lack of variety in the proposals they received. According to Daoust, though the Cente rwidely promoted the call for RFPs, only eight proposals were submitted.

This search for RFPs happened to coincide with another large and widely debated proposal for a 44,000 square foot glass house on the Center campus that would include, among other amenities, a Dale Chihuly exhibit. But Daoust says this project is not t0 be confused with the open and public Center Square space.

The proposal for the Chihuly Exhibition was first presented to Seattle Center in the summer of 2009.  After the Mayor’s Office and City Council gave Seattle Center the go ahead to pursue the proposal, Seattle Center worked with the Wright family on an agreement for a long-term lease (5 years, with 3 5-year options) of the space.  As the proposal became public, it received some opposition, and so Seattle Center decided to expand the public process and issue the RFP to allow others to come forward with their proposals. These proposals must be fully funded (no city contribution), and they can provide revenue and public benefits in varying degrees.

(Photo from the Seattle Center website).

Just last week the Center continued its effort to find a number of suitable bids for the space, issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment of “all or some portion of the 1 ½ acre Fun Forest south area” on Friday, April 23. According to the Center, the rides still remaining in the area south of the Seattle Center Monorail station, including 21,600 square-foot open space and concrete brick arcade building located southeast of Center House, will be removed by the end of September 2010 to accommodate new exhibits. Here’s a little information on what the Center is looking for:

Seattle Center, a City of Seattle department, will consider a broad range of proposals for temporary, long-term use (up to 20 years) of the area in keeping with the vision and mission of the department and the aspirations of the Seattle Center Century 21 Master Plan.

Seattle Center will accept proposals for revenue generating activities as well as those that return substantial public benefits. Selection criteria include a proponent’s demonstrated ability to fully fund, implement and operate the proposal.

The RFP states the preference for public use of the space to commence no later than summer 2011. The desire is to have a completed attraction in place by the six-month celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair in 2012.

Proposals are due by June 4, 2010. For more information on the RFP process and how to submit, check the project page or contact Neal Erickson at

Man sets fire to Ride the Ducks building

Police are investigating a strange arson that occurred early this morning, Tuesday, April 27 at the Ride the Ducks of Seattle building, located in the 500 block of Broad St. just across from Seattle Center and the EMP in Lower Queen Anne.

(Photo courtesy of KING5, reposted with permission).

According to the SPD Blotter, officers responded to an assist request from the Seattle Fire Department at the building at approximately 12:39 a.m., when firefighters reported that a Ride the Ducks employee had let them into the building and informed them of the exact location of the fire. When officers contacted the 50-year-old man, he admitted to setting the fire–but even stranger still, was the story behind it. From the Blotter:

He claimed that he set the building on fire because he was being chased by two unknown men from his apartment several blocks away. The suspect stated that he ran to the business where he works in an attempt to get away from the men. He further claimed that after he entered the building and locked the door and set the alarm, the unknown men began breaking the windows of the building in an attempt to reach him. The suspect stated that one of the men then went onto the roof of the building and cut the telephone lines, thus preventing him from calling 911. The suspect stated that he then went to a second floor office and intentionally set a fire. He stated that he hoped the fire would set off the smoke alarms that would alert the Fire Department who would then call the police and he could get the help he needed. The suspect stated that plan wasn’t working fast enough, so he jumped out the second story window and ran to the 200 Block of 5th Avenue North where he called 911.

The man then reportedly returned to the building after calling police. According to the SPD report, “there was no indication that the phone lines had been cut or that any windows had been broken.”

The suspect was arrested and booked into King County Jail for Investigation of Arson. “Drugs may be a factor in this case,” wrote SPD in the incident report, adding that detectives will continue to investigate.

Queen Anne’s Swedish Women’s Chorus to host annual spring concert & auction Friday

Ballard may have Scandinavian pride in troves, but here in Queen Anne we have the Swedish Women’s Chorus! The Chorus, a staple of Swedish heritage in Seattle since 1951, is having its annual spring concert and auction this Friday, April 30 at the Swedish Cultural Center, located at 1920 Dexter Ave N–just in time to kick off Sweden Week at the Seattle Center (May 2 to 9).

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7 p.m. Drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and gift baskets (part of the silent auction) will be available for purchase. All proceeds will be benefit the Chorus.

Anyone interested in joining the Chorus is welcome to drop in on one of the group’s weekly meetings, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. every Tuesday from September through May.

No Swedish nor an audition is necessary to join, just a love for singing with a bunch of great ladies!  For more information, please contact Judy Womack or 206-937-3285.

(Thanks to Annika Dragovich for the photo!)

Lane closures on Ballard Bridge this week

Heading to north Seattle in the next couple of days? You might want to reroute your commute to bypass Ballard, or plan for extra traffic time–SDOT will be closing lanes over the Ballard Bridge this week for repairs. On Tuesday, April 27 the right northbound lane will be closed from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and on Wednesday, April 28 the right southbound lane will be closed during the same hours. SDOT says motorists should expect delays.

PPQA to unveil completed Green Gateways project at community celebration Saturday

Picture Perfect Queen Anne has been working to beautify the entrances of the Upper Queen Anne business district along Queen Anne Ave N at Galer and McGraw through the Green Gateways program. Beginning with the construction of curb bulbs last year, the group has been busy raising money and organizing volunteers to help “green” these intersections and make them more friendly for pedestrians and passersby.

(Photo courtesy of PPQA).

Last week PPQA reached its fundraising goal of $16,000 to complete the Green Gateways project and cover landscaping and maintenance for the 2,200 square feet of garden space for the next two years, a feat PPQA Treasurer Elaine Talbot attributes to “the overwhelming generosity of our neighborhood residents, organizations, and business people,” alongside support from the Office of Economic Development and SDOT.

To commemorate the completion of the project, PPQA has planned a community celebration at the Galer gateway (meet at the foot of the Galer Stairs, at the intersection of Queen Anne Ave N and Galer) this Saturday, May 1 at 12:30 p.m., where they will unveil the paving stones and fully landscaped curb bulbs.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the Green Gateways Project,” said PPQA founder Kathy King in a press release last week. “Queen Anne is one of Seattle’s most walkable neighborhoods. Pedestrian safety and a family friendly environment are important to our neighborhood and the city. Not only will we have welcoming spaces, we will, with the engraved paving stone walkway, have a historic reminder of the people who made our neighborhood what it is today.”

Dine Out in Queen Anne Thursday, Help Fight AIDS

The 17th Annual Dine Out For Life event is this Thursday, April 29, when 150 restaurants throughout Western Washington will donate 30 percent of each diner’s bill all day to support social services for those with HIV and AIDS. The proceeds will benefit the Lifelong AIDS Alliance, a non-profit organization committed to preventing the spread of HIV and providing advocacy and life support services, including the delivery of fresh meals and groceries to the hungry, for those in the community whose lives are affected by HIV.

Dining Out For Life is a great way to support the community and have fun, doing something we do everyday. Everyone dines out, so why not dine out and have your meal make a positive difference?” said Lifelong spokesman Trevor DeWitt in a press release last week.

Participating restaurants in Queen Anne include Caffe Vita, Eat Local, Hilltop Ale House, McMenamins, Pasta Bella, Ponti Seafood Grill and Portage. See a full list of participating restaurants citywide here.

The Lights & Unnatural Helpers celebrate record releases at Easy Street Tuesday

Easy Street Records is hosting a joint record release party for both Unnatural Helpers and The Lights tomorrow, Tuesday, April 27. Swing by at 6 p.m. to party with the bands as they celebrate their respective albums–the Unnatural Helpers’ Cracked Love and Other Drugs and The Lights vinyl release Failed Graves.

(As always, thanks to Easy Street for the photos).

Update on Aurora Bridge suicide fence

We’ve gotten word that construction of the suicide prevention fence across the Aurora Bridge won’t happen tonight or tomorrow night. An equipment problem has caused a delay in the project. WSDOT tells us there’s a chance work could start later this week.

WSDOT conducted a test last week to gauge the noise level of the drilling equipment (pictured above). Greg Phipps from WSDOT tells us those tests provided some good news – things may not be quite as noisy as first thought.

My first impression was that the drills (there is one for concrete and one for steel) were much smaller than I expected. My second impression is that the drilling was much quieter than I expected. The drilling will be noisy, but not extremely noisy as the stories on this blog have suggested. At about 60-75 feet away the drilling was not audible. The true test, of course, will be at night when there is less traffic noise, and when the work is over water where the sound carries more. The grain of salt is that this was my impression and not a scientific judgment, and I expect there will be some skepticism as this is coming from a WSDOT communications guy, so I encourage you to see and hear for yourself when construction starts.

Of course, nearby residents in Queen Anne, Wallingford and Fremont will be the ultimate judges. The 24-hour noise hotline is 206-390-5697. Track the project here.