City of Seattle

Courtesy james corner field operations and City of Seattle

Should the Pike Place Market be connected to Elliot Bay with new walkways?

That’s one of many expensive questions on the minds of landscape designers in charge of rebuilding Seattle’s waterfront.

In less than a week, the city will once again convene stakeholders and the public for help shaping the future of the city’s  “front door” on Puget Sound.

The group Waterfront Seattle is calling on the public to join in discussions that will help determine what the new waterfront will look like, after the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down.

Florangela Davila / KPLU

It’s been a long running problem – how to keep and create affordable spaces for artists to live, work and perform in.

That’s the focus of Cultural Space Seattle, a two-day event beginning Tuesday at Town Hall. The City of Seattle is asking a wide range of people to roll up their sleeves to look for ways to preserve Seattle’s vibrant arts scene.

The Seattle City Council is considering a ban on thin single-use plastic bags at checkout stands. The ban will also include a pass-through fee of 5 cents for paper bags.

The council is holding a public hearing on the proposal tonight at 5:30

Bruce Irschick / flickr.com

Vancouver, B.C. comes in 5th on Mercer's 2011 Quality of Living survey, while Seattle is ranked at 48 (just below New York City).

Dave Knapik / Flickr

Young people in Seattle are committing fewer violent crimes than they did a couple of years ago – especially in areas that, historically, have had the most juvenile offenses, according to a new city report.

The drop could be the result of a citywide effort to combat the problem.

Gwen Harlow / Flickr

"Paper or plastic?"

Seattle wants to take that choice away in order to save the environment and money. The city council is considering a ban on single-use plastic bags, because they are harmful to marine wildlife as well as to recycling machinery.

King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks

When you go to the grocery store, it’s easy to forget to bring a reusable bag with you.

But the consequences of just taking the plastic bags that are doled out at most grocery chains is devastating to the health of local waters and wildlife. That’s the message from Environment Washington – a group that has issued a renewed call for a ban on plastic at checkout stands in Seattle.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Seattle has selected a contractor to build its new fleet of streetcars. The city is gearing up to start construction of a route through First Hill. 

Officials say it could be the beginning of many more streetcar possibilities.

A snapshot of everyday business practices displays a pattern of discrimination against black and disabled renters in Seattle. That’s the conclusion of an undercover investigation by the city’s Office for Civil Rights. 

The city contracted with the non-profit Fair Housing Center of Washington to test 48 properties that were randomly selected. It found more than half of all properties tested showed evidence of illegal housing discrimination.

Emiliano Pennisi / flickr.com

If you live in Seattle and want to avoid receiving piles of phone books that you don't need, the deadline is September 23. The city has an opt-out website at www.seattle.gov/stopphonebooks

Seattle voters will face a proposed car tab fee on the November ballot. The city council has unanimously agreed to ask for an additional $60 annually for the next 10 years to help pay for road and transit projects. 

The news comes just a day after the King County Council added a temporary $20 car tab fee to maintain bus service.

Flickr

University of Washington, the City of Seattle and King County all face possible credit rating downgrades because of the federal government stalemate over raising the national debt ceiling.

SIF

“We live in this amazing community where so many people are trying to make a difference …”

Seattle has become a hub, or more accurately a hodgepodge, of international do-gooders. And, well, nobody seems to really have a handle on everything going on.

That’s where another internationally oriented foundation in Seattle comes in. Appropriately enough, it’s called the Seattle International Foundation.

Read more.

Jen Nance / Office of Seattle Mayor

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has signed an ordinance that will regulate medical marijuana shops like any other business.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

Seattle residents and businesses have hit an all-time high for recycling rates. And from the front yard of a model recycling family in Seattle, Mayor Mike McGinn gave the city a pat on the back:

“53 percent – an all-time high– 53 percent of the waste produced in the city of Seattle is taken out of the waste-stream and recycled,” McGinn said.

"Good Lord, how did we get here ..."

Seattle has become the first city in Washington to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. A number of other cities have banned the businesses outright.  The Seattle City Council decided to take the opposite approach after efforts to regulate medical pot at the state level failed.

Mayor McGinn's photostream / flickr.com

The city of Seattle is greening up its fleet of vehicles with the addition of five Nissan Leafs. The city plans to have a total of 35 Leafs by the end of 2012.

Seattle is one of 18 cities taking part in The EV Project, the nation's largest electric vehicle demonstration.

Flickr

With roughly 25,000 Seattleites “legally” smoking marijuana for medical reasons, the city council has decided to step in where Gov. Chris Gregoire dared not tread. The city will begin holding hearings on an ordinance for regulating the growing and sale of medical marijuana.

Flickr

You can expect region-wide congestion this weekend, the state Department of Transportation says, because State Route 520 will be closed between Montlake Boulevard in Seattle and Interstate 405 in Bellevue.

And, the city of Seattle will close the Interstate 5 ramps to and from Mercer Street.

Justin Baeder / flickr.com

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is proposing a 25 percent hike in drinking water rates spread over the next three years. SPU says the typical monthly household bill is currently $31.70. The proposal would increase that monthly bill by $2.41 in 2012, $2.68 in 2013 and $2.91 in 2014.

sea turtle / Flickr

The Seattle City Council has unanimously endorsed The Happiness Initiative, reports Sustainable Seattle, an organization that develops regional indicators of well-being and sustainability.

“Measuring the subjective happiness or well-being levels of Seattle residents is an important tool that can help our council make effective policy decisions and can engage our community in conversations about what we really want from life and from our economy,” City Council President Richard Conlin said in a press release.

Seattle Parks and Recreation

Some neighborhoods could lose their central gathering spots for kids and seniors. The city is considering closing several community centers or reducing hours to cut costs. 

The Seattle Department of Transportation writes in its blog that sure enough, a number of on-street parking pay stations “recently experienced some technical problems.”

SDOT says a cell tower lost signal strength intermittently and that caused all the trouble.

James Hall / Flicker

The city of Seattle's revamped Shoreline Master Plan would limit the number of people living on boats to 25 percent of slips in any marina. The boating website Three Sheets Northwest reports the proposed regulation would dramatically reduce the number of liveaboards and place new requirements on the marinas they call home.

Business banning together to influence elections in Washington is nothing new, but this group may not be the usual suspects with the usual politics.

The newly formed group, the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), announced in a press release today that it is poised to take action in the upcoming Seattle elections with more than 40 companies already supporting it. The PAC members, it said, represent sectors that include restaurants, retail, manufacturing, construction, tourism and recreation, real estate, finance, professional services, transportation and life sciences.

Shawn McClung / Flickr

New air services connecting Seattle to Iceland and Asia have helped Washington state lead the nation in attracting visitors from overseas, according to the U.S. Commerce Department and Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau. Tying with Nevada for the highest percentage growth in foreign visitors from 2009 to 2010, Washington state visits increased by 32 percent compared with an 11-percent growth nationally.

Among top U.S. cities, Seattle and Los Angeles led with a 33-percent increase in attracting foreign visitors. Other cities with double-digit increases were Las Vegas with 31 percent; Atlanta, 25 percent, and San Diego, 24 percent.

Charla Bear / KPLU

A new effort could make internet speeds 100 times faster for some small businesses and residential customers in Seattle. Mayor Mike McGinn announced a plan to bring fiber optic broadband to Pioneer Square as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the neighborhood.

A vote on whether to build a tunnel to replace the aging Alaskan Way viaduct can take place, a King County Judge ruled today (Friday).

King County Superior Court Judge Laura Middaugh said some parts of the agreements that cover utilities, insurance, right-of-way and other issues can be in the referendum but others can't. She'll hear arguments next Friday on which parts could be included in an August vote and whether she has the authority to partially rewrite language in the referendum.

ezlocal.com

A federal judge has ruled the city of Seattle can go ahead with its effort to limit free phone books on doorsteps. Yellow pages companies were trying to block the city’s anti-phone book plan.

Publicola.com

Starting today (Thursday) a new online registry will allow Seattleites to choose whether or not they receive yellow pages phone books. But an industry group says it’s redundant, because there’s already such a website in place nationwide.

The City of Seattle site is www.seattle.gov/stopphonebooks.

Pages