Sound Transit: Northgate Wetlands Mitigation Would Be Spent on Knickerbocker Project

Thursday night’s meeting of the Thornton Creek Alliance featured employees of Sound Transit who spoke at length about the impact of Link light rail construction on Thornton Creek. As part of the mitigation for impacting the wetlands at Northgate, Sound Transit has proposed paying for Seattle Public Utilities Knickerbocker Project in Victory Heights. SPU has no funds to finance the project itself which began with test drilling last week. While it might seem unfair and unconnected to the Northgate project, the amount of space to increase wetlands at Northgate (which often dry up during the summer) is limited due to the existing interstate and surface streets. Whereas the Knickerbocker Project, described as “shovel ready,” would be a substantial improvement to the quality of Thornton Creek. The Sound Transit money is not enough to finance the entire cost of the project which could still be delayed or canceled, but it is hoped it will attract grants to make up the rest.

During the six year construction of the Northgate Link Light Rail next to 1st Ave NE, Thornton Creek will be diverted into a culvert to protect it from dirt and other runoff. This was agreed by all the parties as the best solution, after which the creek would be daylighted again except for a 20 foot section to allow truck access across. A proposed pedestrian bridge over I-5 would cost an estimated $20 million. Sound Transit is committing $5 million to study it, with the city matching it with another $5 million. The rest would have to come from other sources if it were to be built.

Other TCA business included a unanimous vote to add Heather Ferguson to the board, revise membership levels, and a report from the treasurer of sufficient funds to finance activity through March 2013.

Brad Johnson reported that barring a last minute appeal, SPU would begin its controversial work on Meadowbrook Pond on July 9th.  Fifty to sixty trees are to be removed as part of much needed dredging in the pond (some places are only six inches deep).  Three hundred and eighty dump truck loads of sentiment (and invasive mudsnails) are to hauled to a site in Monroe for processing as safe soil.

After the meeting, a brief tour was made of the Meadowbrook Pond and confluence area around the community center.


Reminder: Thornton Creek Alliance Meeting Thursday

Thursday night at the Meadowbrook Community Center at 7 PM the Thornton Creek Alliance will be having a meeting that will feature a program about the North Corridor of Sound Transit around Northgate. More details here.

Speaking of which, the Seattle Transit Blog has a post up today detailing the latest developments about the proposed parking garage at Northgate at the Light Rail station as well as a pedestrian overpass across the freeway to link to North Seattle Community College. In addition, the Cascade Bike Club has posted an Action Alert to encourage Sound Transit to go ahead with the overpass.

East/West Routes From Victory Heights

I love Seattle but driving cross town (that is, east to west) can be frustrating due to the lack of through arterials and various geographic barriers. Trying to get from Victory Heights over to Greenwood for example is a challenge at the best of times, and with construction this summer on Northgate Way (see Pinehurst Seattle’s story), and NE 85th Street, this is a good time to seek alternative routes.*

Allow me to share one of my favorite secret shortcuts. This can get you to Greenwood in under 20 minutes any time of the day, or to Thornton Place in less than 10 without having to use Northgate Way. (Note: this will take you through residential neighborhoods, so keep your speed under 25, watch for pedestrians, and be cautious approaching uncontrolled intersections.)Victory Heights Shortcut Map

Starting from Victory Heights Park (green line on map), go west on NE 107th, across 15th Ave NE, around the curve at 12th Ave, then a quick left on NE 108th (caution narrow one-lane bridge over the creek), then turn left on Roosevelt. To get to Greenwood, turn right off Roosevelt at NE 92nd Street, cross 5th Ave NE at the light, over the freeway, past the community college and turn left on Wallingford Ave. Turn right at the next 4-way stop on NE 90th, cross Aurora at the light, up and over the Phinney ridge and finally turn left at the light onto Greenwood Ave.

To get to the Thornton Place, follow the instructions to Roosevelt, then use the blue line on the map: turn right on NE 105th, left on 8th Ave NE, then right on NE 103rd, cross the light at 5 Ave NE and there you are.

Feel free to share your favorite short cuts.

* Although taking Lake City Way south to NE 80th/85th can be an alternative to Northgate Way, traffic in the late afternoon backs up at 15th Ave NE making this a less than desirable workaround.

Thornton Creek Alliance Meeting June 28th

The Thornton Creek Alliance is having their next meeting on Thursday, June 28th from 7 PM to 9 PM at the Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Ave NE.

PROGRAM: Please join us for a panel discussion of the changes and challenges to Thornton Creek as the North Corridor Transit Project becomes further developed.  Come to learn and come to share your questions and concerns about Thornton Creek and the Watershed.


  • Sound Transit
  • Seattle Public Utilities
  • State Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • State Department of Ecology


MEETING: Following the Educational Program there will be a brief update from committees and a presentation of our annual work plan

Knickerbocker Floodplain Construction Friday

Residents around the Knickerbocker site of Thornton Creek (the intersection of 20th Ave NE and NE 100th Street) received a notice late today from Seattle Public Utilities,

There will a construction crew working at the Knickerbocker site tomorrow, June 22, 2012, from approximately 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will be drilling seven (7) groundwater wells 6-8 feet deep using an excavator with a small drill rig. It will generate some construction noise. The wells will be capped when they’re done.


There will be another crew there next week to hand-dig three (3) additional shallow wells, approximately 2-3 feet deep, for devices that will show the elevation of the stream. All work will be done next to the stream and not in the water itself

More information is available at the SPU site.

Save The Dates For August

Pinehurstfest will be held Saturday, August 4th from 2-5 PM at the Pinehurst Playfield, 12029 14th Ave NE. Read more about it at the Pinehurst Seattle blog.

The Seattle Night Out Against Crime is scheduled for Tuesday, August 7th. Communities can sign up online with the city and let their neighbors know.  Nobody has registered anything for Victory Heights yet, but stay tuned.

And Saturday, August 11th will be the 10th annual Jokem Fest at Victory Heights Park with music, food and beverages.



Meadowbrook Pond Project Meeting June 16th

The Thornton Creek Alliance reports:
Meadowbrook Pond will be undergoing big changes very soon! Join Seattle Public Utilities for a Question & Answer Drop-In Session this Saturday, June 16th, 10am – Noon, near the 36th Ave NE Entrance (at NE 107th). SPU, “Meadowbrook Pond will be CLOSED late-July – September for dredging and to make improvements to restore its water quality benefits and increase the ease and safety of maintenance.” SPU plans to cut down 50-60 trees, build new 15-ft wide impervious asphalt roads, rip out (destroy) mature native vegetation (replacing with tiny gallon starts, etc). But is all of this really necessary? Are SPU’s rushed plans the smartest way to achieve their goals? Come find out on Saturday!

View invitation (pdf file)

Thornton Creek Work Party Sunday

Rick reminds us:

We are meeting this 3rd Sunday of the month for our regular work party. Last time we worked for a couple hours, then went on a leisurely stroll through the park viewing other restoration sites, removing trash, and generally enjoying each others company. This time we’ll be able to check out all the work that the Washington Conservation Corps completed on Wednesday.
Please register via the link below, and feel free to forward this email to anyone.

I hope to see you soon, and friends are welcome!
Meet at the trailhead at the bottom of 17th Ave NE and the creek at 10 AM.  Street parking is located nearby at the intersection of 17th Ave. NE & 104th St.
**17th Ave is only accessible from the North and East**

Solar Cookout and Cooker Building Event July 8th

Sustainable NE Seattle announced a Solar Cookout and Cooker Building event to be held July 8th at the Hunter Tree Farm, 7744 35th Ave NE (next to the Wedgwood Post Office).

Let’s cook dinner together using solar power!

Bring your solar cooker to the Hunter Gathering Place during the day and we’ll potluck feast there together in the evening. Bring your instruments if you’d like to participate in any jam sessions.

All are very welcome, regardless of solar cooking knowledge or ability to stay for the whole event.

Don’t have a solar cooker? Come take the free morning box cooker building workshop!

The workshop will be limited to 20 people max. Email to reserve your space.

Event schedule:

10am-noon: Solar cooker building workshop

10am-5pm: Solar cooking, socializing and jam sessions

5pm-7pm: Potluck feasting!

Invite your Facebook friends:

We are working on setting up a free transportation plan within northeast Seattle for the event. Let us know if you need a ride.