Update on the East Ballard Green Streets

23 03 2015


Come meet Cari and learn more about this project at Groundswell NW’s Annual Meeting and Civic Social on Tuesday March 24 6pm at the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Project Update:
Big changes are in the works for the planting strip area between the sidewalk and the street, along 11th Avenue NW between NW 58th and 56th streets. A design team comprised of local engineers and landscape architects, Antioch University Seattle students and faculty, Ballard High School students, Surfrider members and community volunteers from East Ballard are poised to construct a series of voluntary roadside rain gardens.

Polluted runoff starts as clean rainwater that then comes in contact with toxins in our built environment, such as vehicle exhaust particles that settle on the ground, oil leaks, pet waste, garbage and other chemicals that end up on our roads, parking lots, roofs or other hard surfaces and flows into the nearest catch basin, which collects runoff underneath the drains found on most street corners. Currently, rain water flows freely down the roadway surface and into the nearest storm drain, and often overwhelms the system and causes localized flooding.

East Ballard contributes approximately 2 million gallons of roadway runoff to Salmon Bay each year through catch basins that connect into one big pipe that empties into Salmon Bay near the Fred Meyer store at the 11th Avenue NW shoreline street end, with no treatment or filtration. Pollution from roadway runoff enters the food chain and affects the health of marine creatures and the people who eat fish or shellfish.

Imagine three Olympic sized swimming pools filled with roadway runoff draining into Salmon Bay every year!

What are roadside rain gardens?
Our roadside rain garden projects, also known as natural drainage or biofiltration, will be engineered to absorb and filter the roadway runoff through cuts in the curb that allow water to flow into planted swales that will drain quickly to prevent ponding.

The group has been working with Seattle Department of Transportation and Street Use to apply for a Voluntary Roadside Rain Garden Street Use permit, while also working with City staff to make the permit rules more accessible by community organizations. In the future, there may be grant programs or other opportunities for community organization or groups of neighbors to apply for a permit to transform their block, and this project will provide information, guidelines and lessons-learned.

Neighborhood history – the “11th Avenue Creek”
We learned from residents and our research at the Seattle Municipal Archives, that an historic creek used to run parallel to 11th Avenue NW, from above where Ballard High School football field is down to Salmon Bay next to where the Fred Meyer store is located today. Prior to 1860, this area was densely forested with several small creeks draining down into Salmon Bay, which had a large area of tidal mud flats and marshes ringing the edge of the bay. One of the creek’s early names was the Lushootseed name for Evergreen Huckleberry, a native plant with edible berries. Evergreen Huckleberry will be one of the featured plants in the 11th Avenue NW roadside rain garden planting plan.

In the early 1900s the creek was put into a pipe as the City of Ballard expanded and was developed. Even on dry days you can hear the creek flowing in the pipe under 11th Avenue NW (please be very careful if you stand in the roadway!) under the manholes that have “BSS” stamped on them.

What is East Ballard Greenstreets?
In an effort to improve urban water quality and neighborhood livability, The Russell Family Foundation awarded Antioch University Seattle with funding to site, design and build demonstration roadside rain gardens in the East Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. We welcome any residents from the area to get involved and help coordinate the design and construction process with the E. Ballard property owners.

For more information, please contact Cari Simson, Project Manager:
cari@urbansystemsdesign.com / 206-234-5102

Learn more about the project on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EastBallardGreenstreet

Help Prepare Ballard Corners Park for the Summer

23 03 2015

photo courtesy of Friends of Ballard Corners Park

The Friends of Ballard Corners Park invite you to a work party!

Ballard Corners Park Work Party
March 28, 9AM-2PM
17th Ave NW and NW 63rd
rain or shine!

You will be preparing plants for Spring, weeding, spreading wood chip mulch, and cleaning up debris. The bulbs you added last Fall are getting ready to bloom – come enjoy the fruits of your past labor and help get the Park in shape for Summer fun! Some tools and refreshments will be provided. If you have your own gloves and tools please bring them.

Any questions, please contact Gabriella

You’re invited to Groundswell NW’s Annual Meeting & Civic Social March 24

18 03 2015


You’re invited to this special event that will change the landscape of your community and grow the public green.

This year, Groundswell NW will be highlighting the findings from the Ballard Open Space Plan and looking to you to spark future parks, public art, gardens, green space connectors and habitat in Northwest Seattle.

Because you are a mover and shaker in this great community, your participation in this collaborative event is crucial.

Groundswell NW will also present “Local Heroes” awards, which recognize individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to parks and open space in Ballard.

Doors open at the Nordic Heritage Museum at 6PM for an open house where you can learn more about Groundswell NW’s partners and projects.
The Civic Social will begin at 6:30PM.

You bring your best ideas, Groundswell NW will bring the treats.

Save Our Substations Open House March 22

17 03 2015


If you’ve ever walked to the bus at 15th and 65th or to El Camion for a taco, you’ve probably walked by the vacant Monroe Substation at 1407 NW 65th and wondered what the heck is going on there. Well, the truth is, nothing, at least not yet. This vacant substation along with many more in our neighborhood and across Seattle are former Seattle City Light substations that are still owned by the City and could be up on the auction block to private developers in the near future. You are invited to join Seattle Green Spaces Coalition on March 22 at the Sunset Hill Community Club from 5-7PM to show your support to “keep these public lands in public hands” and share your ideas on how these spaces can used in your community.


Join Whittier Heights Involved Neighbors for 15th Ave NW Street Clean up

11 03 2015

Whittier Heights is just a bit north of East Ballard, but I know we all travel along 15th Ave NW at one time or another. So why not come out and help these ambitious neighbors help make 15th a bit nicer.
Whittier Heights Involved Neighbors (WHIN)
15th Ave NW Street Clean Up 
Saturday 3/14, 1PM-3PM
Meet at NW 85th and 15th Ave NW in front of Walgreens

Organizers will have trash bags and some gloves and trash grabbers but please bring your own gloves if you have them as supplies are limited. Wear reflective gear or bright colored clothing if possible.

For more info, contact: Gina Frank, gina.a.gibbs@gmail.com and if you live in the Whittier Heights, sign up to be a member of WHIN’s Facebook page

A sneak peek at designs for the 11th Ave NW Shoreline Street End Project

9 03 2015

Bird’s eye view


If you attended the 11th Ave NW shoreline street end project open house in January, then you’ll remember an energy-filled evening at the Ballard Library. During this evening, talented and enthusiastic UW students from Professor Daniel Winterbottom’s Landscape Architecture Design/Build class presented their design ideas to transform the 11th Ave NW shoreline street end into an inviting public space.

After the open house, Professor Winterbottom’s students returned to the classroom with your feedback and collaborated with Seattle Dept of Transportation’s Jennifer Wieland and Shannon Glass to develop a “final” design for the 11th Ave NW Shoreline Street End and Viewing Deck that will now advance through City’s permitting process.


Shoreline view

You’ll see that the “final” design blends aspects of many of the preliminary designs, including a maypole, a meandering pathway, a swing, and a deck with seating at the water’s edge. The design also includes a new fire access point for the adjacent property to the west and accounts for the turning radius needed by the business to the east. The design also incorporates bike parking, an ADA-accessible parking stall, and a wide variety of native plantings.

Here’s a link to the site plan drawings. You can access the same file via DPD’s website by entering 3018782 in the Search by Number field. If you sort by Capture Date, you’ll find a posting from 2/19/15 called “Plan Set: Plan SetV3.” These are technical drawings rather than renderings.

The EBCA also has also been in touch with Professor Winterbottom’s class to receive site illustrations, a couple of which we’ve provided in this post, that will help you really visualize what this space will look like.

You are also invited to an event on March 13 to view the final designs and attend a panel discussion on design education, its form, experimentation, opportunities and constraints, and a student’s perspective.

11th Ave NW Shoreline Street End Presentation and Panel Discussion
Friday, March 13th 12-1:30pm
UW Campus, Gould 110
A Poster for this event is here.

Once permitting is complete, the students will be ready to build and we’ll be asking you, our neighbors, to come out and help with the build and help us steward this little slice of public open space for us all to enjoy.

If you’d like to learn more about this project, please contact SDOT’s Shannon Glass (shannon.glass@seattle.gov or 206-375-1181).

Show your support for 3 East Ballard Street projects up for vote at Ballard District Council Wed March 11

8 03 2015

If you’ve never attended a Ballard District Council Meeting before, the meeting on Wednesday March 11, 7-8:30pm at the Ballard Library, would be a good one to attend and show your support for 3 proposed East Ballard street projects that will be presented and prioritized for funding through Seattle’s Neighborhood Park and Street Funds program.

Here’s an overview of the 3 East Ballard projects up for review and prioritization:

Seeking a safer crossing at 11th and Market

Seeking a safer crossing at 11th and Market

1. Improved crossing at Market St and 11th Ave NW
The application is asking for improved safety of the pedestrian crossing across Market St at 11th Ave NW to access eastbound and westbound bus stops from the adjacent residential neighborhoods. “This is a walking neighborhood. Improving the safety of crossing at this intersection would not only improve access to the bus stops along Market for the heavily travelled route 44, it would also improve pedestrian connections to schools, parks and playfields, the Burke-Gilman trail and the 11th Ave NW street end improvements. It is a key node in our pedestrian network that requires attention.” View the complete application here.

Crossing 8th Ave NW

Seeking a safer crossing of 8th Ave NW south of Market St


2. Improved crossing of 8th Ave NW south of Market St
“8th Avenue NW is a wide arterial with heavy traffic volumes. Despite a significant increase in pedestrian traffic in this area, there are few opportunities to safely cross 8th Ave NW to access metro stops. Pedestrian activity is also high at these locations, to and from transit as well as Gilman Playground, Ross Park, the Burke-Gilman Trail, local schools, shops, and employment.” View the complete application here.

Improved safety along 6th Ave NW between NW 43rd and 49th

Seeking improved safety along 6th Ave NW between NW 43rd and 49th

2. Improved safety along 6th Ave NW between NW 43rd and 49th
“Schoolchildren as young as 2 years old and other neighbors use 6th Ave NW and it’s cross streets for daily walks and access to the Burke Gilman Trail. Pedestrian safety in the area is our primary concern. Vehicle safety moving from the east to the west across 6th Ave NW at NW Bright Street, NW45th, and NW 44th tends to be fast as it comes downhill through unmarked intersections. In addition, parking, and vehicle and pedestrian traffic become congested during drop off and pick up at Pacific Crest School, which further limits pedestrian safety.” View the complete application hereUPDATE: We just learned that this project didn’t make the cut by the Executive board of the Ballard District Council. If you want to have this project considered, we encourage you to attend and speak up at the meeting on Wednesday.

Ballard District Council is open to the public. You will have an opportunity at the beginning of the meeting to introduce yourself and make a short statement in support of the street projects. We’re looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!




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