Denny Way Reduced to One Lane in Each Direction Until Mid-November

The Mercer Mess is likely to be much worse for the next few weeks. The Seattle Department of Transportation has closed all but one lane in each direction of Denny Way through November 21st. The lanes are closed to allow construction of an electric substation between Stewart and Minor Avenues (approximately two blocks).


Featured photo source: Ellen M. Banner for the Seattle Times.

More than 23,000 vehicles travel Denny Way each day, and with the closure, there’s significant congestion at the Stewart and Denny intersection. It’s also putting significant stress on nearby throughways, such as Mercer Street.

Although the onramp to southbound I-5 via Yale Street will remain open, the intersection is going to be a real choke point through mid-November. King County Metro Transit expects that bus routes 8, 70, 40, RapidRide C, and the South Lake Union streetcar will all be affected and delayed during the project.


South Lake Union Affordable Housing Building Project Breaks Ground

It may come as a surprise, but the booming construction in South Lake Union entails more than just expensive condos and Google/Amazon’s competitive land-grabbing. Last Tuesday, October 4th, ground was broken on an affordable housing apartment building.


screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-11-41-55-amThe Anchor Flats is going to be a 71-unit building on Dexter Avenue North near Aurora Avenue. Rents will range from $840 to $1,200, which is half the market rate for this area of South Lake Union. The units will be available to people with single-person incomes of $31,000 – $37,000 per year, or $36,000 to $43,000 per year for a two-person household income.

Anchor Flats is being constructed in part with $7.3 million in city money for the Incentive Zoning program of the South Lake Union neighborhood. This comes as part of the city’s plan to create thousands of affordable housing units throughout the city, to combat Seattle’s increasingly expensive rental market. The project is being designed by Runberg Architecture Group, and it’s contracted by Rafn Company.

Construction is now underway, with an expected completion date of March 2018.

Once complete, the building will be managed by Bellwether Housing. The company is looking forward to serving people who make $35,000 (single-person income) or less each year at the new Anchor Flats. “Our vacancy rate is almost zero.  Once a vacancy pops up, it’s taken almost immediately by a family who needs it,” said Susan Boyd, a Bellwether Housing representative.

The Boys in the Boat


A little piece of our local history: KCTS public television recently aired a special called “The Boys of ‘36” regarding the 1936 USA rowing team that unexpectedly won gold at the Olympics held in Berlin, Germany during Hitler’s reign. These young men were from the University of WA rowing team, and came from humble origins: sons of loggers, fishermen, and shipyard workers. They overcame great odds (financially, physically, and emotionally) during the Depression era to accomplish this. One of them even joined the team so he’d have enough food to eat each day. Recently, the last remaining member of the team passed away in his 90’s.

A book entitled “The Boys in the Boat” was written by local author Daniel James Brown about this team, which became a bestseller. This Olympic event was an important moment in not only Seattle’s, but our country’s history.

Bertha is Now Halfway to South Lake Union

The Washington State Department of Transportation announced Monday that Bertha, the tunneling machine digging its way under State Route 99, has passed the halfway point of the project. On Friday, September 30th, the machine tunneled past Pike Place Market, which was the halfway mark of the 9,270-foot tunnel underway.

“This program turned a corner earlier this year,” said Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar. “We’re now closer to the end of the tunnel than we are to the beginning, and everyone on the team is working toward the day when the machine comes out the other side.”

Over the past five months, since April 29th, Bertha has tunneled more than 3,000 feet. The machine is currently approximately 190 feet under 1st Avenue between Pike and Pine Streets. According to Seattle Tunnel Partners, the contractor on the project, the machine will mine a little bit further before stopping to receive about a month of planned maintenance.

During the stop, which is expected to last about a month, STP crews will replace cutterhead tools that are found to be in hyperbaric conditions and inspect machine components.

“Bertha has been steadily on the move and made her way to the second half of the tunnel,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “This is good progress and I appreciate everyone’s focus on making sure we safely complete this project.”

Bertha is tunneling toward a receiving pit at the north end of downtown at Thomas Street, which is now mostly complete. The final connections to the highway will still need to be made toward completion of the project, but many of the ramps into and out of Bertha’s tunnel are finished. The tunnel operations buildings at each portal are also complete.

STP’s most recent tunneling schedule puts completion at summer 2017, with the work to finish the interior structures of the tunnel and install and test all systems to be finished late in 2018. WSDOT estimates that the tunnel will open for traffic early in 2019.

Lake Union Events: Things to Do in October

There are several beverage tastings and other fun Lake Union events coming up in October – read about them below…

October 6: SLU Chamber First Thursday Happy Hour
5pm – 7pm | Novilhos Brazilian Steakhouse
Join the South Lake Union Chamber of Commerce and other community members for the First Thursday Happy Hour! This month, the event is on October 6th, starting at Novilhos Brazilian Steakhouse, and then attendees will hop on board a Waterways Cruise with more light appetizers and beverages. The cost is $30 for members and $40 for non-members.

October 7: Dover Quartet
5pm – 7pm | 415 Westlake
Enjoy Beethoven’s early, middle and late string quartet masterworks from the in-demand ensemble Dover Quartet in their Seattle debut on October 7th at 415 Westlake. The price is $45/person (includes one beverage).

October 7: Annual Beer & Wine Tasting
7pm – 9pm | MOHAI
Sip from local breweries and wineries, taste delicious appetizers, and enjoy the fun of a silent auction, raffles and more at the Museum of History and Industry’s 7th Annual Beer & Wine Tasting. It’s an event highlighting the transformative work of Rebuilding Together. Tickets start at $100 per person.

October 8: Fire Day at MOHAI
10am – 2pm | MOHAI
Try on firefighters’ gear, learn about fire safety, enjoy firefighter storytime and investigate the difference between the fire engines of history and those of today at MOHAI’s Fire Day on October 8th. This family-friendly event offers free admission to the Grand Atrium.

October 8: Perfect Pairings Wine Luncheon
1pm – 3pm | Serafina Seattle
Serafina chefs Christian Chandler and Cody Westerfield have joined up with Sommelier Salomon Navarro to host a Perfect Pairings Wine Luncheon on Saturday, October 8th at 1 p.m. There will be a discussion on pairing principles, the grape varietals being showcased and their characteristics, and more. Enjoy your wine alongside a paired four-course lunch at $95/person plus tax and gratuity.

October 22: Better with Bitters Cocktail Class
1pm – 3pm | Serafina Seattle
Herbal remedies known as ‘bitters’ became popular in the bar world in the late 1800s, mostly because of their characteristic of adding depth to a cocktail, drawing out subtle flavors. Take an in-depth and hands-on look at bitters in this cocktail class from Serafina on October 22nd. The price is $80/person plus tax and gratuity, and includes instruction and beverages.