King County Metro will be replacing the current 15 and 15 Express buses which serve Crown Hill with Rapid Ride D Line by the end of 2012. As shown on KC Metro’s graphic (at the end of this article), both the Northern and Southern end of the line details have yet to be firmed up (see below for proposed route). Rapid Ride Line D will serve the route between Crown Hill and Downtown Seattle via Queen Anne.
General information on Rapid Ride is available from Metro’s Rapid Ride web page. Rapid Ride offers many improvements over the current bus service. Some of the improvements include:
Faster boarding via three doors rather than the current single point of entry
You won’t need a timetable. Service as frequent as every 10 minutes during the commute periods and into a larger portion of the non-commute day. 15 minute interval at other times during the day, and the same interval as the 15 for the wee morning and late evening hours
Pre-paid boarding. Pay at the kiosk, and walk on.
Fewer stops speed transit up with the tradeoff of having to walk a little more
Improved amenities at stops, including improved lighting, and stop request signals to notify bus drivers of waiting riders
Of interest to many in Crown Hill, Blueridge and Olympic Manor will be how the bus is routed on the northern terminus. The current routing of the 15 turns around using a loop comprised of the residential streets 14th Ave NW, NW 105th St, 13th Ave NW, NW 103rd St, and 14th Ave NW. According to Paul Roybal of Metro, Line D is proposed to use a loop comprised of Holman Rd, 7th Ave NW, NW 100th, 100th Place, 3rd Ave NW, and Holman Road. Stops have not been determined, as yet. This will be music to the ears of many living on the current terminal loop, as articulated buses will no longer be driving on the residential streets adjacent to their homes at all hours. However that also means a longer walk to reach the new bus from many areas in Crown Hill, Blueridge and parts of Olympic Manor. Additionally, this will force a pedestrian crossing of Holman Road for those riders residing North and South of Holman to either board or alight from the bus. The changes will mean easier connections to the 75, 28 and 5 routes running respectively along Holman, 3rd and 8th Aves, and Greenwood Avenue.
In the last round of project submissions for the Bridging the Gap Levy funds, the Ballard District Council recommended three Crown Hill Projects for funding. The three projects are: 1) Walkway along 13th Ave NW from NW 90th to Holman Road, plus walkway along 90th from 13th Ave NW to 14th Ave NW; 2) Walkway along 13th Ave NW from NW 95th to NW 100th; and 3) Walkway on 18th Ave NW from NW 85th to NW 89th. It is estimated there will be approximately $340,000 to spend within the entire Crown Hill/Ballard area.
On Wednesday, May 19th, 2010, the Seattle Department of Transportation released their preliminary cost estimates for the three projects. The first two projects (originally submitted in 2007) come in at $994,000 and $480,000 respectively, and the third project (submitted in 2009) comes in at $480,000. You can see all the projects costed out by SDOT on their website.
Clearly any of the three projects, as estimated by SDOT, exceed the Ballard District’s fair share of the pot city-wide. The estimates are for traditional sidewalks, rather than less expensive walkways or paved paths, and there is the possibility that some of the cost of the walkway on 18th could be offset by funds available for Combined Sewer Overflow abatement (that project location is in the North Beach CSO area).
What’s next? The Ballard District Council will reconvene its committee to look at the projects, and possibly change the scope so that one or more can be built within the allotted funds. Then a final recommendation will go forward in June. The recommendation will go forward to the city-wide Bridging the Gap oversight committee to assess which projects will be built over the entire city. The oversight committee’s recommendations will then be forwarded on for approval by the Mayor and City Council.
The traffic cameras at NW 85th St. and 15th Ave NW have now gone live, and are beaming back minute by minute images of the intersection. The cameras were installed earlier in the year at 15th and 85th, 15th and 65th, 15th and Market, and 15th and Leary. They are available on the Department of Transportation’s Travelers Information Map. Refreshing this page will update the image if a new image is available.
These are traffic information cameras designed to provide close to real-time information about traffic congestion. During the Alaska Way Viaduct replacement project, 15th Ave NW is projected to receive additional traffic and these cameras will also provide information to manage the additional traffic. The images from 15th Ave NW and NW 85th will not be used to issue traffic citations. However, red light cameras are installed for both North- and South-bound traffic at 15th Ave NW and NW 80th.
Upon moving to Crown Hill in 2002, I noticed many blank walls on buildings, often tagged with graffiti, painted out graffiti, re-tagged, re-painted out, etc. What is it about a blank wall that encourages vandals to leave their marks? Our major streets, 15th Ave NW, Holman Road, and NW 85th Street appeared quite tired, even dreary. As new businesses have moved in, old businesses and new alike have taken to spiffing up their storefronts with bright colors, and … murals. Most recently the Value Village relocated a couple of doors south on 15th, and engaged the services of Seattle muralist, Ryan “Henry” Ward. Henry’s murals drew much attention in the press (MyBallard article, and even some television and radio coverage). It has certainly sparked lots of discussions among neighbors and passerby (as I snapped photos early on a Saturday morning, 6 people volunteered their opinions, four very positive, one negative, one shrug).