Madison Park

Several people have reported to the Madison Park Community Council (MPCC) on the longer travel times heading north from the Park due to the introduction of the new traffic signal on Montlake Boulevard, which is intended to primarily benefit traffic heading westbound on state Route 520 and exiting to the north.

This slight inconvenience to us pales in comparison to what is headed our way if nothing is done to provide a proper eastbound connection to SR 520, directly from Lake Washington Boulevard, when the existing eastbound ramp is removed.

The state is under the impression that it can re-time the signalization where Lake Washington Boulevard meets Montlake so that we can access SR 520 via the existing ramp on the west side of Montlake. Of course, by allowing us some time to cross Montlake — a couple of thousand cars per day — the time has to be reduced from north, south and west approaches.

The Seattle City Council’s Transportation Committee held a meeting on Sept. 23 to take public input regarding the Montlake crossing design, to determine its input to the state. The meeting was chaired by Tim Rasmussen and attended by the other two committee members, Mike O’Brien and Jean Godden. MPCC gave a short presentation, as did the Laurelhurst Community Council. Unfortunately, it seemed that the whole focus of the committee was on bicycle travel improvements.

In other transportation news, we have been awarded a grant of $40,000 to help plan and redesign the intersection of Harrison Street and Lake Washington Boulevard.

We have also reached a compromise with Metro Transit over the re-routing of the No. 11 bus. Our consensus was that we wanted as little change to the current routing as possible; Metro’s bottom line was that it wanted the route to provide direct access to the new Sound Transit station on Capitol Hill. The new routing achieves both of these goals but will, unfortunately, add about five minutes’ travel time to the route.

MPCC has received many complaints over the years about its apparent lack of action in encouraging the owner of the longtime vacant commercial building in the business district to clean up the property. We have started seriously looking into this, recognizing that there is inherently a conflict between the interests of the community and private property rights.

On a happy note, the annual Madison Park Art-walk took place on Sept. 11. The weather again cooperated, and the 32 participating businesses and some 50-plus artists, saw most of the approximately 950 people who attended.

 Our crape myrtle trees along the sidewalk were in full bloom, much wine flowed and the music helped the festivities along.

The next morning, on Sept. 12, MPCC participated, along with Habitat for Humanity and our area ham radio group, in a trial run on a disaster relief program. Some 30 cyclists had signed up for the trials and some 35 showed up, mostly with cargo bicycles. Part of the trial involved scooping up two 5-gallon buckets of water from the lake and transporting them (and blankets) to the next stop along the route.

After the obvious success of the Music in the Park series in August, followed up by the Artwalk, a few brave souls in the business community tried to extend summer with Movie Night on Sept. 19. The chosen movie was the modern version of “Annie.”

About 75 people showed up, settled in on their blankets on the grass and watched about half the movie. It then started to rain lightly, and two-thirds of the folks departed. After a few minutes, the rain stopped, the movie continued and the hardier souls continued watching and enjoying the free popcorn and hot chocolate.

It’s that time of year when MPCC starts to think already about Christmas. So in concert with us, please put Saturday, Dec. 20, on your calendar for the arrival of the Christmas Ships at Madison Park Beach at 4:40 p.m. As usual, we will provide a band, a bonfire, hot chocolate, hot cider and lots of treats.

— Maurice Cooper, president