The East Ballard Community Association and 14th Avenue Visioning Project are awaiting potential funding from a number of sources to complete a two-block demonstration park boulevard on 14th Avenue Northwest.
Volunteers submitted an application for money from the city's Opportunity Fund in early February and a second application for money from the Parks and Green Spaces Levy is due in April.
"We told Parks we don't care where the money comes from, we just want it," said Dawn Hemminger of the East Ballard Community Association.
At the Feb. 10 Ballard District Council meeting, Peter Locke, an east Ballard resident and the vision behind the 14th Avenue park boulevard, said the purpose of the project is to create open space in an area that is lacking it while improving safety for pedestrians and vehicles.
The plan for 14th Avenue from Market Street to Northwest 65th Street, which was conceived five years ago, is to move traffic on the 100-foot wide street to one side, get rid of the parking median, and create a park on the east side of the street.
A contractor working for the Seattle Department of Transportation will paint the railing on a raised portion of Holman Road Northwest at Eighth Avenue Northwest from Feb. 1 to Feb. 12.
The sidewalk will be closed 24 hours a day.
During the first week, crews will close the northern sidewalk. Starting Feb. 8, the crews will close the southern side.
Pedestrians will cross Holman Road at Seventh Avenue Northwest and at 13th Avenue Northwest.
In November, Ballard Landmark residents Betty Kent and Ned Skavlen were collecting signatures supporting improvements to what they said was a dangerous crosswalk connecting the Landmark with the Canal Station Condos across Leary Avenue.
In about a month, the Seattle Department of Transportation will be adding new signage and paint to alert drivers to the crosswalk between 20th Avenue Northwest and Market Street and by May will have installed overhead crosswalk lights, said Richard Sheridan, spokesperson for the department.
"They are doing far more than we were even thinking of asking," Skavlen said. "An overhead light – that was really the dessert on the whole situation."
Skavlen said he thought it would take a big push in his meeting with the city for crosswalk improvements and expected to come away with a can of crossing flags on either side of the crosswalk.
But, the the situation was resolved in 10 to 15 minutes, he said.
Skavlen wasn't the only one surprised with the city's handling of their request.
"I honestly thought that I was going to get the political two-step," said Landmark Executive Director Peter Brookes.
With 2009 coming to a close, here is a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year. Click the image above for a slideshow of the year in photos.
Ballard thief arrested
By Michael Harthorne
A 46-year-old man suspected of stealing from numerous businesses in Ballard in the past weeks was arrested Dec. 31 near 20th Avenue Northwest and Market Street for an outstanding warrant in Missouri.
According to victims, the man is suspected of entering businesses on Market Street and Ballard Avenue during business hours and taking money from back offices, safes and employees’ purses.
“I’m glad he’s been caught,” said Kylee Harris, owner of Cugini Café on Ballard Avenue. “But, I think the real thing we need to figure out is how to bust him for what he’s stolen.”
Macefield house to be sold
By Michael Harthorne
The house once belonging to Edith Macefield that has stood empty in a cocoon of new development since her death in June will be sold by its new owner, Barry Martin of Ledcor Construction.
Almost two dozen neighbors stopped by the East Ballard Community Association's planter project kickoff event Dec. 16 at Nervous Nellie's to learn about the project, eat the free food and share their optimism about the future of 14th Avenue Northwest.
The community association received a $14,000 matching fund grant and 30 planters from the city earlier this year. The planters will be installed at the median ends along 14th Avenue from Northwest 59th Street to Northwest 63rd Street.
Dawn Hemminger, president of the community association, said the planters will increase visibility and safety for pedestrians and vehicles on the street as well as beautify it with instant green.
But, those are only the most superficial goals of the project, Hemminger said.
"This project is more than just planters," she said. "It's about building community."
More than 44 individuals and businesses have pledged time, money, goods and services to the project.
Well-known Ballard staples, such as Swanson's Nursery, Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel and Ballard Market, have gotten involved.
West Crown Hill, a small pocket neighborhood just off 15th Avenue Northwest, has many things: proximity to shops and bus stops, a sense of community and comparatively cheap housing.
But, there is one thing it doesn't have: sidewalks. And, a growing number of residents say they will not rest until that changes.
West Crown Hill is a half-dozen square blocks bordered by 15th Avenue and Olympic Manor to the east and west and Whitman Middle School and Northwest 85th Street to the north and south.
At the Dec. 9 Ballard District Council meeting, 30 neighborhood residents showed up to ask the council to consider them and their lack of sidewalks for a portion of the Bridging the Gap funds available to the city in 2010.
Deborah Jaquith, leader of the West Crown Hill sidewalk project, said she and a handful of other volunteers canvassed the neighborhood, asking residents how they would feel about sidewalks and informing them of the upcoming Ballard District Council meeting.
Jaquith said there is a real public safety need for sidewalks in West Crown Hill. Cars cut through the neighborhood, and on one block alone there are 13 children younger than 5, she said.
Betty Kent and Ned Skavlen are tired of feeling like they are taking a leap of faith every time they cross the street outside of their home at the Ballard Landmark on Leary Avenue. And, they have the signatures of more than 300 people who feel the same way.
"I almost got hit," Kent said of braving the crosswalk that connects the front door of the Landmark senior living facility with the Canal Station condos across Leary. "And, a lot of other residents have said the same thing."
Skavlen said slow-moving seniors with walkers become paralyzed by fast-moving traffic mid-crossing and don't know whether to keep going or turn back.
"You're taking your life into your hands to cross that street," he said.
Kent and Skavlen, as well as the more than 300 residents and visitors of the Landmark and Canal Station who have signed their petition, want to see flashing beacons installed at the crosswalk that sits between 20th Avenue and Market Street on Leary.
When Canal Station and the Landmark were completed, they brought approximately 400 residential units, plus a handful of commercial spaces, to an area that had been dominated by a car dealership.
Aaron Goss, owner of Aaron's Bicycle Repair at 6527 California Ave. S.W., took advantage of a beautiful fall Saturday Oct. 24 to ride his custom made "Tall Bike" to his shop.
Goss built the bike, about three years ago with some welding assistance from long time West Seattle resident Ken Olsen, "Just for fun," he said.
It stands about 6.5 feet tall and getting off and on the contraption is, apparently, not that difficult. He rides it a few times a month.
It has a cargo space called an "Extra Cycle" but is otherwise just a normal bike. Goss noted that he's "kind of the 'King of the Road' on this bike."
People laugh, honk their horn, smile, take cell phone pictures and give him the thumbs up. He gets asked a lot of questions about it - mostly about getting on and off.
It is part of his collection of unusual bikes, and while he does ride it at the street fair, he has yet to commit to riding in a parade.
"Maybe next year," he said.
Three years after the first cycle of neighborhood improvements, Ballard residents have another chance to compete for city funds for needed pedestrian improvements.
The Neighborhood Street Fund Large Projects started in 2007 and is funded by the Bridging the Gap levy. The fund operates on three year cycles, so the second cycle will start in 2010.
Since 2007, 17 projects, including the recent sidewalk repair on Ballard Avenue, were completed citywide using money from the fund.
This time around, the city wants neighborhood district councils to play a larger part in choosing the projects, Seattle Department of Transportation spokesperson Thérèse Casper told the Ballard District Council Oct. 14.
The Ballard District Council has until Jan. 15 to present the Department of Transportation with its top three projects for the neighborhood.
Ballard will be competing with every other neighborhood for a portion of the fund's $4.5 million.
Five Ballard projects, all the creation of sidewalks, from 2007's applications have carried over to this cycle and were presented to the council as possible projects.
This week, Seattle Department of Transportation paving crews plan to start repairing part of a sidewalk on the western side of California Avenue Southwest between Southwest Hanford and Southwest Hinds streets that has been damaged by tree roots.
They plan to begin work on Thursday, Oct. 8 and expect to complete the work in approximately one week.
The parking lane in the construction area will be closed while they are working, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, and will be used for a pedestrian walkway at other times.