Morning Fizz: The Campaign Spirit
Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring Harrell's electioneering, Kubly's urbanism, food deserts, and microparks.
1. Perhaps getting into the campaign spirit (all nine city council members have to run next year, either in their new geographical districts or in the two council seats that will remain at-large), council member Bruce Harrell plans to introduce a resolution this week (in the public safety and technology committee) calling on Congress to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions.
Although the resolution will likely be more warmly welcomed than socialist Kshama Sawant's proposal, last week, to condemn Israel for its actions in Palestine, it will be equally non-binding.
2. Earlier this week, we highlighted Park(ing) Day—get on those applications—a Seattle Department of Transportation-sponsored day for people to convert parking spots around the city into microparks for one day. (PubliCola is doing one, details coming soon.)
But SDOT also has some permanent microparks—or parklets, as they're officially called.
Two of them are already open; there's one on 6th and Weller in the ID in front of the Oasis Tea Zone, and there's on on Olive Way as you head from dowtown into Capitol Hill in front of the Montana Bar. (Footnote, parklets are not extensions of businesses; you can hang out and sit in the park whether you're patronizing a nearby business or not. Nor is table service allowed; though you can certainly buy a tea or soft drink in the shop yourself and then enjoy it in the adjacent parklet.)
SDOT announced yesterday that three of the 13 planned new ones are going to open in the next several weeks. Featuring musician stages, seating, and groovy sustainable designs, they are: at the Southwest corner of Battery and Bell in Belltown (the City Hostel Parklet); at 2nd and Pike just north of the food truck lot on 2nd (by the new Elysian Brewery); and at 24th and Union by the Cortona Cafe.
A parklet planned just four blocks away at 20th and Union by Chuck's Hop Shop got canceled when local landlords pressured Chuck's to back out of being a sponsor. (Parklets do need signoff from adjacent businesses in the current pilot phase of the parklet program, but SDOT says that won't be necessary once the concept is well-established.)
3. Speaking of SDOT: For those who think they voted out the bike-friendly, hippie agenda when they booted Mayor Mike McGinn last fall ... Better keep your beta blockers handy when you check out Scott Kubly, Mayor Ed Murray's pick to head SDOT, at his city council confirmation hearing yesterday.
Kubly was talking up the hipster lifestyle.
Sounding like he'd jsut read the latest Brookings Institute urbansit propaganda communique, Kubly began his confirmation this way:
"I'm an advocate for cities. Seattle's the fastest growing large city in the country. Seattle must be nimble, and it must be innovative to meet those challenges in the most efficient and environmentally sound ways possible. I want every Seattleite to be able to get from point A to point B quickly, reliably, and safely relying on whatever mode best meets their needs. You might get on a rapid ride [bus] to get to work, use Car2Go to get to a happy hour, and Uber home. The next day you might want to get up and ride your bike to and from work on a bike trail or protected bike lane and maybe you want to take your child for a ride on a greenway [redesigned streets to accomodate bikes] that weekend."
Click on the transportation committee link here to listen in on more of Kubly's agenda.
P.s. Yesterday wasn't all good news for urbanists, though.
Erica had some other news that came to light at yesterday's Kubly hearing: The implementation of the bike master plan has been mysteriously delayed.
4. Stockbox Grocery, a small grocery store that was billed as a cure for South Park's "food desert" (an area where fresh foods aren't easily accessible by transit, biking, or walking) is closing shop after just two years in business.
According to an email from owners Carrie Ferrence and Jacqueline Gjurgevech, their plan is to expand their second Stockbox location instead on First Hill—an area that doesn't exactly qualify as a food desert.