News

Seattle’s Flower Show Returns

February 8, 2022 4:43pm

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show went dark after 2020 – in fact, it was the last big public event Seattle hosted before the pandemic lockdown in March. Color-lovers and gardeners will be thrilled to hear it’s back this year, with all the display gardens, shopping, and seminars that have made it one of the nation’s most beloved shows for over 30 years.

At the Washington State Convention Center from Wed. Feb 9- Sunday, Feb. 13, the show marks Seattle’s unofficial start of spring. Wearing masks as well as proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or proof of having received a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours of the event are required to attend.

Today’s press premiere of the 24 display gardens revealed a focus on exuberant, unapologetic color, repurposed materials, vertical gardening, and a merging of home and garden decor. The City Living gardens – smaller indoor and patio settings – have moved to the main room, where you can view them all together.

The popular Fleur de Villes exhibits from 2020 are back, in support of breast cancer research. These life-sized floral mannequins are jaw-dropping in their intricacy and handiwork. Here’s a preview:

A note on the workshops: because of some pandemic-related schedule shifts, it’s best to check the online schedule for the latest information.

Experienced gardeners and new houseplant parents alike will find inspiration in the expert-led seminars, live design competitions, and workshops, not to mention the shopping. Crafts, greenhouses, clothing, gifts – and many, many, plants are available for sale, from dahlia and lily bulbs to houseplants and seeds. One of those collapsible fabric carts like you might bring to a farmer’s market would be perfect to corral your purchases.

Tickets can be purchased online, at the show, or at local nurseries like Ravenna Gardens. As for logistics, parking can be challenging – not to mention pricey – but the light rail from Roosevelt to Westlake is about 12 minutes followed by a five-minute walk.

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A Complete Bike Loop for Green Lake?

November 2, 2021 4:54pm

You may have yearned for a less crowded way to circle Green Lake – especially if you are a cyclist. Since the city took bikes out of the inner path to allow social distancing at the start of the pandemic, cyclists had to patchwork their way around the lake. Now is your chance to make your voice heard and learn about the options on the table. Seattle Department of Transportation is opening community input in the Green Lake Outer Loop project, starting with a virtual “open house” on Tuesday, Nov. 9. from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Sign up here for the virtual meeting. The city is proposing a protected path for bikes and walkers.

This map shows the area to be completed in two sections.

Proposed protected walk and bike path. Courtesy Seattle.gov

SDOT says:

“The Green Lake Outer Loop envisions a connected outer walking and biking path around Green Lake Park. This outer loop would provide more travel options for people walking, running, biking, and create better connections to surrounding neighborhoods. Over the next few months, we will be collecting community feedback on designs for the Aurora and Green Lake Dr N segments outlined below.  

As a part of this effort, we will also work with Seattle Parks and Recreation to plan for better biking, walking, and rolling alternatives to the inner park loop.” 

The work could be completed by spring of 2022 according to SDOT.

If you’d like to be in the loop – haha – add your name to the dedicated email list here.

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Are you Halloween-Ready? Find Trick-or-Treat Spots or Add Yours on this Map

October 28, 2021 3:12pm

Wondering where to bring the kids this Sunday? Or want to let folks know to visit your place? This crowdsourced map shows all of Seattle, and breaks down variables from whether treats are in bags, if a COVID-distancing candy chute is involved, and whether the chocolate bars are giant-sized. Let’s see some more Green Lake representation!

The Grivas family Tube of Wonder Photo: E. Grivas

For more inspiration on distancing Halloween ideas, see my Seattle Times article.

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Green Lake Community Center Landmark Virtual Vote Oct. 6

September 26, 2021 8:38am

Detail of the 1928 facade of the Green Lake Community Center
www.Seattle.gov
Rendering of renovated Community Center. Courtesy Berger Partnership

The 1928 building has the chance to become a landmark before it undergoes renovation. See below for details.

From a press release:

Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board will consider the nomination of Green Lake Community Center at 7201-7359 E. Green Lake Drive N. on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. The meeting will be held virtually. Meeting participation is limited to access by the WebEx meeting link or the telephone call-in line that will be provided in the agenda posted to our website one week prior to the meeting.
 
The public is invited to participate in the virtual meeting and make comments regarding the nominations. You may sign up to address the Landmarks Preservation Board for up to 2 minutes on matters on this agenda. Speakers must be registered to be recognized by the Chair/Board staff. Online registration will begin two hours before the 3:30 p.m. meeting start time, and registration will end at the start of the Board meeting. Members of the public who wish to speak can either use the call-in number or use the WebEx link in the meeting agenda. The agenda for this meeting will be sent one week prior to the meeting, and will be posted on the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods website.
 
Written comments are also accepted and should be received by the Landmarks Preservation Board by 3:30 p.m. on October 5, 2021. Written comments can be submitted:
 
Via email: erin.doherty@seattle.gov  
Via US Mail: Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods, PO Box 94649, Seattle WA 98124-4649
 
A copy of the Landmark Nomination is posted on the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods website under the heading of “Current Nominations.”
 
A landmark nomination provides a physical description of the building, object, or site, and information on its history, current and historic photos, site plans, maps, drawings, and more. To learn about the nomination and designation process, visit our webpage.
 

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Restaurant Christine Opens in Tangletown

September 25, 2021 9:23pm

Tangletown’s small but mighty Restaurant Row has a new player. Billed as “PNW comfort food,” Restaurant Christine just opened in the space recently left by the Himalayan Sherpa House at 2227 N 56 St.

The website’s sample fall lunch menu includes meat and vegetarian options, like a burger with gouda and truffle aioli, harvest risotto featuring beets and goat cheese, as well as clams vongole and a shrimp po’ boy.

We are a 100% scratch kitchen using seasonal, local ingredients to satisfy all your NW cravings. A sample menu is provided and subject to change based on our opening date. This menu will change regularly based on availability of seasonal ingredients. We are happy to accommodate all allergy, food preference or dietary restrictions.

Restaurant Christine WebsitE

For those missing Tibetan momos and soup, The Yelp entry for Himalayan Sherpa House – which had been in Tangletown since 2014 – indicates it plans to reopen August 2022, but its website offers no information as to where. Greenlaker reached out for comment.

Welcome to Green Lake, Restaurant Christine!

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Two-Way Traffic and Bike Lane Open on W Green Lake Way Now

September 25, 2021 1:30pm

Beating its expected deadline of Oct. 1, the Seattle Department of Transportation has completed and re-opened W Green Lake Way, with a new protected bike/walk lane, a slower speed limit, and better road signage.

Remembering it was open, I tried it today driving back from Ballard on 65th and found it a seamless transition. The speed limit is now 20 mph.

SDOT rendering of new traffic patterns on W Green Lake W, looking North

SDOT writes on its website:

This design is based on City standards and best practices for safety, as well as community feedback to reopen the street to people driving as soon as possible. The features include reducing the speed to 20MPH, a new tuff curb and flex posts to delineate a two-way path, adding new stop signs at N 63rd St and W Green Lake Way N, reconfigured transition for people coming or going to E Green Lake Way N, and improved markings at intersections and parking lot entrances.

There was significant community pushback – including a petition, phone/email campaigns, and protests -about the closure of the road as a “Keep Moving Street” since May 2020. Critics felt the closure was hurting park use more than it was helping, as well as cutting off access to surrounding neighborhood businesses and increasing traffic pressure on 50th and 80th streets.

What’s Next?

The post goes on to say, as we’ve reported, that SDOT is considering ways to improve the connection between Lower Woodland Park and Green Lake, as well as potentially creating a continuous bike loop outside the lake, including sections of Aurora Ave. N.

“Beyond returning vehicle traffic lanes to W Green Lake Way N, we’d like to explore creative solutions for making the street less of a divider between Woodland and Green Lake parks. We have a rare opportunity to build on the Keep Moving Street and reimagine how W Green Lake Way N can serve multiple functions. 

We’ll seek community input on how to improve connections between the parks by keeping speeds calm and including possible solutions like more crosswalks, additional walking improvements, decreasing the speed limit to 20 MPH, and temporary changes in street operations to encourage community use and celebrations.  

Talk with neighbors about how we might expand a walking and biking path connecting around the lake, building off the recently completed Green Lake and Wallingford Multimodal Paving Project.

We’ve heard a lot from the community who are interested in creating a full outer loop for people to walk and bike around the lake, including repurposing the eastern-most lane of Aurora Ave N adjacent to the lake. We will be gathering feedback and sharing concepts with WSDOT (Washington State Department of Transportation), our partners in the corridor. “

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W Green Lake Way Construction Starts

September 16, 2021 6:15pm

Seattle Department of Transportation announced that construction started a few days ago of the new two-way bike/walk lane in the section of W Green Lake Way N that has been closed since May 2020 during most of the pandemic. The target opening date is Oct. 1.

Construction Sept. 13 on W Green Lake Way N – from Seattle Department of Transportation

An e-newsletter sent Sept. 16th said,

“This design is based on City standards and best practices for safety, as well as community feedback to reopen the street to people driving as soon as possible. The features include reducing the speed to 20MPH, a new tuff curb and flex posts to delineate a two-way path, adding new stop signs at N 63rd St and W Green Lake Way N, reconfigured transition for people coming or going to E Green Lake Way N, and improved markings at intersections and parking lot entrances.”

Here are some renderings of the work being done in detail:

From Seattle Department of Transportation
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Drop-in Flow Yoga at Green Lake

September 16, 2021 2:47pm

We could all use some time to breathe, stretch, and take a minute – or 50 – to pause and reset right now. Yoga instructor Michal Lahav, who has been teaching since 1998, is offering drop-in slow flow yoga classes in the field behind the Seattle Public Theater (7312 West Green Lake Dr N) on the west side of Green Lake.

Classes will be one hour long. Registration is not required. Walk-ups are welcome. The fee is $15 per class, payable through Venmo or Paypal. Lahav says, however, that no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

As far as equipment, all you need is a yoga mat, some layers for warmth, and an optional blanket for the final savasana.

For updates and info about additional pop-up classes, you can email Lahav at michalahav@gmail.com.

Yoga instructor Michal Lahav https://michalahav.wordpress.com/yoga/


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W Green Lake Way to Reopen in October

September 9, 2021 4:39pm
Currently open only part-way in one direction, West Green Lake Way is planned to reopen with a new bike lane

Seattle Department of Transportation announced the section of W Greenlake Way N that has been closed since May, 2020 as a “Keep Moving” street initiated at the start of the pandemic, will fully reopen in October – that’s BOTH WAYS this time – with an added bike lane.

“We’ll be starting the construction and installation work of the new 2-way walk and bike path on W Green Lake Way N as soon as next week,” SDOT’s web site says. “Our goal is to complete the installation in early October with a target date of October 1 for reopening. After completion, we’ll have a street for people of all ages and abilities to safely walk, roll, and bike on”.

As we’ve reported, while some appreciate the car-free zone, the closure has caused frustration from many quarters – particularly people and businesses on both sides of the lake unable to use this major East-West crossing or to access parts of Lower Woodland Park, and park-goers finding the street congested with RVs.

The road partially reopened in one direction to enable some access to the tennis courts and off-leash areas, but many were not satisfied with this solution. Some never saw the benefit of the closure in the first place, since there is a full pedestrian loop inside the park, especially since bicycles were removed from the inner lake loop.

More changes ahead?

SDOT says “we’d like to explore creative solutions for making the street less of a divider between Woodland and Green Lake parks,” including lowering the speed limit to 20 MPH, and adding crosswalks. Saying it welcomes neighborhood feedback, it is also looking at creating a full pedestrian and bike loop on the exterior of the lake, incorporating the eastern-most lane of Aurora Ave. N and connecting the new bike lanes along the North and East sides of the lake.

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Mayor Bans Cross-Country Training in Lower Woodland Park Due to Encampment

August 21, 2021 9:48am

Cross-country youth coaches citywide are getting their fall permit requests denied to train in Lower Woodland Park, a favorite training ground due to its varied terrain offering hills, trails, and fields. Today, as in parks throughout Seattle, those trails are being camped on and around, particularly in the upper area of the park, with large camps north of the 50th Street entrance and around the picnic shelters above the Off-Leash area.

A pre-pandemic cross-country meet in Lower Woodland, Oct. 2019
from themiter.org, Maya Quinanola

“They’re not issuing any permits for usage there,” Corey Batten, one of the head coaches for the Rain City Flyers, told KOMO news.

The Project Seattle team reached out to the parks department and mayor’s office, reports KOMO, and was told the permit denials were “due to concerns around the current conditions at Woodland Park, including reports from our grounds crews of encampments blocking some trails.”

Writing in the Seattle Times, Danny Westneat notes in a column today: “By Seattle parks standards, it’s a fairly routine scene, and on a recent day some parkgoers tossed Frisbees and walked dogs around the tents. But there are parts of the running course now where kids would be effectively racing through a homeless encampment, within feet of tents, piles of debris, and, in one spot, electrical extension cords crisscrossing the trail.

The Rain City Stampede, an October meet held in Lower Woodland Park for 30 years, will not run there this year.

According to KOMO, several thousands of young athletes are affected, including over a dozen schools as well as private running clubs.

Coaches are scrambling to find other venues for training and races, like Magnuson, Lincoln, and Genessee Parks, but they cannot accommodate as many runners, nor offer the same training challenges, KOMO reports.

The tension has been building for years between a growing need for helping and housing the un-housed, and the use of parks as safe, healthy natural refuges, but never more so than since the pandemic, which has seen an unprecedented expansion of tents and RVs across the city. As KIRO-TV reported in May, the tension goes both ways – incidents of crime, reports of violence, and backlash harassment against the homeless are all on the rise.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s web page for Woodland Park still reads:

East of Aurora, just south of Green Lake Park, the park is an ideal spot for picnics with reservable picnic areas, barbecues, woods, pleasant grassy hills and pathways. It is also one of the city’s most active hubs for sports and recreation….

Let’s find a way to get back there together.

A picnic shelter transformed. Image, Erika Shultz for the Seattle Times

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