Snow Delays Garbage Collection This Week

Due to the snow on Feb 5-6, Seattle Public Utilities suspended garbage collection on Monday and announced that all remaining residential services will be delayed one day this week.  If you are in Victory Heights and have a usual pick up on Thursday, it will be on Friday, February 10th.

If your materials are not picked up by the end of the following day, please put them out on your next regularly scheduled pickup day. Customers missed this week will be allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling and yard waste at no additional charge, on their next scheduled collection day. For service updates, please check http://www.seattle.gov/util. Follow SPU on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SeattleSPU.

Knickerbocker Project Brings More Truck Traffic

The Knickerbocker Floodplains Project off NE 100th Street will be bringing more truck traffic to the neighborhood in the next few weeks. Construction began last week on the project which so far has cleared the land in preparation for the relocation of Thornton Creek (see photo comparing the site over the past four weeks):
Knickerbocker02

In an e-mail to residents Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) said,

We’ve heard concerns about truck traffic in the neighborhood. Because of the nature of the neighborhood streets, our contractor carefully considered pedestrian and traffic safety when they chose a route for trucks to enter and exit the site. All delivery trucks larger than a pickup will follow the directions below.

-Exit I-5 Northgate Way and travel East on NE Northgate Way
-Turn right going South on 23rd Ave NE.
-Turn right going West on NE 102nd St.
-Turn left going South on 21st Ave NE
-Turn left [sic] going East on NE 100th St.
-Back down into site.

We have implemented the following safety procedures for all truck deliveries:
• All deliveries are required to call Project Superintendent 10-15 minutes before entering the neighborhood.
• The contractor will provide flaggers throughout the route for all semi-tractor trailer trucks.
• The contractor will place “No Parking” signs 24 hours in advance for semi-tractor trailer truck deliveries.
• Flaggers and drivers will not allow truck staging or idling on 21st Ave NE.

Why they don’t just go down Lake City Way and then straight up NE 100th Street from Summa is a mystery. It would be a much shorter and direct route rather than through the entire neighborhood. I guess that’s “carefully considered” for you (or a cheap-ass Google Maps route search).

As for the project itself:

Anticipated work during the week ahead
The contractor will:
• Prepare equipment that will divert the creek through flexible pipes while they construct the new creek bed and floodplain.
• Remove the steel frame of the current pedestrian bridge.
• Begin work in the creek July 1 and continue through the fish window.

If you would like to receive e-mail updates about the project from SPU, subscribe to this listserve.

Knickerbocker Floodplain Work Begins July 1st

The Knickerbocker Natural Area as seen in May 2014. In three months time, it will look much different.

The Knickerbocker Natural Area as seen in May 2014. In three months time, it will look much different.

Construction work on the long-planned Knickerbocker Floodplain Restoration Project will begin in July on Thornton Creek. Last night at the Knickerbocker Natural Area (NE 100th Street and 20th Avenue NE), staff at Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and the Parks Department met with neighbors to update them on the work. The project will relocate about 600 feet of Thornton Creek, create a 1.5 acre vegetated floodplain, and upgrade the pedestrian bridge over the creek. The new floodplain will store more water, wood, and sediment during storms and provide benefits to properties further down the creek (e.g. less flooding). It will also improve the habitat for fish and wildlife in the creek.

Related: Knickerbocker Restoration Would Be First In the NationKnickerbockerPlans

Some construction work will begin in June, while work in the creek will take place during July 1st and August 31st in an effort to protect fish populations. During that time, the creek will be diverted into two 12″ pipes, and the pedestrian path across the area will be closed for those two months. Once the new 80 foot bridge is installed, access will be reopened in time for the school year to begin.

The two and half million dollar project is a joint effort between the two Seattle departments (SPU & Parks) that have purchased parcels over the past several years. Some of the wetlands creation is being paid by Sound Transit as mitigation for construction at Northgate of the Link Light Rail station. After the contractors finish their work this summer, both departments will be responsible for maintaining the floodplain.

Just a mile east of Knickerbocker, another section of Thornton Creek is being updated when 35th Avenue NE is closed at Meadowbrook beginning Monday to install a larger bridge over the creek. The Seattle Times describes the project.

Visit the SPU website about the Knickerbocker project.

 

Holiday Garbage Collection Schedule

With the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, trash collection in Victory Heights will be on Fridays for the next two weeks, December 27th and January 3rd.

And after the holidays, if you should notice a dead tree in your house (sorry, an old Jerry Seinfeld joke), the city says Seattle residents who subscribe to curbside food and yard waste collection can put their trees and greens out on their regular collection day at no extra charge from Dec. 26, 2013 through Jan. 12, 2014.

Multi-family buildings can put out one tree next to each food and yard waste cart per collection day at no extra charge during this time.

Trees should be cut into sections of six feet long or shorter, with branches trimmed to less than four feet to fit into the collection trucks. Sections should be bundled with string or non-plastic twine. Metal, plastic and ornaments in trees and wreaths must be removed.

Trees that are flocked and/or have tinsel or ornaments will be collected as extra garbage. Customers will need to cut the tree into three-foot pieces and each piece will be charged as extra garbage. Each unit of extra garbage costs $8.60. Plastic trees are not compostable.

Seattle residents can also drop off holiday trees and greens for free at Seattle Public Utilities’ North and South Recycling and Disposal stations from Dec. 26, 2013 through Jan. 12, 2013. The tree sections must be cut to eight feet or less in length and the trunk must be four inches or smaller in diameter. The limit is three trees per vehicle. Only trees and wreaths without flocking or decoration may be composted free of charge.

The North Recycling and Disposal Station is located at 1350 North 34th Street. The South Recycling and Disposal Station is located at 130 S. Kenyon St. The stations are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., other than selected holidays.

And speaking of the North Recycling and Disposal Station, it will be closed for two years after January 20, 2014 in order for a new station to be built in the same location. To learn more about the North Transfer Station Rebuild Project, visit the project website.

While closed, station users are encouraged to use the new South Transfer Station facility at 130 South Kenyon Street in South Park.

Normal Trash Pick Up On July 4th

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) reminds customers that normal trash pick-up will occur on Thursday, July 4th in Victory Heights despite the Independence Day holiday.  This includes food and yard waste, garbage and recycling collections. Customers should place their containers out for collection by 7 a.m. to ensure collection.  The City of Seattle’s North Recycling and Disposal Station in the Fremont/Wallingford area will be closed on Thursday, July 4. The South Recycling and Disposal Station in the South Park area will be open during regular business hours:  8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Fireworks are banned in Seattle. Leaving unused fireworks around your house can be a dangerous to your children, pets, and your home. Fireworks, ammunition and explosives are NOT accepted at any of the local Household Hazardous Waste collection sites.  Call the Seattle Police Department at 206-684-8980 and an officer will collect them. Fireworks are not allowed within the City of Seattle limits and it is recommended that residents not transport them in their vehicles.

Everyone have a happy, safe (and hopefully cooler) 4th of July!

 

Knickerbocker Restoration Moved To 2014

KnickerbockerThe Seattle Public Utility (SPU) project to restore the Knickerbocker site of Thornton Creek (at the foot of 20th Avenue NE at NE 100th Street) has been rescheduled to  May 2014.

SPU announced in a letter to residents that,

Construction is planned to begin in late May of 2014 and be complete by October, 2014. City contractors will be on site early this summer to begin preparation for construction next year. They will treat and remove some invasive weeds to reduce re-growth following construction…. Crews will be making follow-up trips to the site in fall of 2013 and next spring.

Related: Knickerbocker Restoration Would Be First In The Nation
Related: Knickerbocker Site History

Originally the project had been announced to be done during summer 2013 but SPU is still working to obtain the completed environmental and building permits by late summer/early fall. Due to impact on fish and foot traffic during the school year, it can only be worked on during the summer months.

In addition, cedar trees in the north end of the project site will be removed, despite requests from the community that they be relocated. The city couldn’t afford to do so because of poor access and the low feasibility of their survival. But they wanted to note:

The project will incorporate the removed trees into the project design as in-stream structure, and more than 500 trees will be planted on the project site, including 265 cedar trees.

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Thornton Creek Alliance Meets Thursday

thorntoncreekalliancelogoThe monthly meeting of the Thornton Creek Alliance will be Thursday, April 25th and will feature Seattle Public Utilities’ plans for the Mayor’s new storm water goals, a Department of Transportation presentation about repaving NE 125th Street, and the Alliance’s past year’s accomplishments. They are also looking towards the future and want you to bring your ideas.

Everyone is welcome, the meeting is 7:15 PM to 9 PM at the Meadowbrook Community Center, 10517 35th Avenue NE.

 

Knickerbocker Site History

floodplain1960

Knickerbocker Floodplain site circa 1960. Photo courtesy Jay Amena.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has created a page detailing the history of the Knickerbocker Floodplain site (aka Thornton Creek at NE 100th Street and 20th Avenue NE).  Resident Jay Amena has provided a number of historic photographs that show the houses that once existed on NE 100th, the soon-to-be site of the Floodplain Restoration Project that begins works this summer.

Related articles: Knickerbocker Restoration Would be First In The Nation

SPU Outlines Knickerbocker Project Status

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Knickerbocker Restoration Would be “First In The Nation”

Mike “Rocky” Mrachovec of SPU outlined the Knickerbocker Floodplain project Thursday.

The Knickerbocker Floodplain Project on Thornton Creek will include innovative subsurface restoration techniques that would be the first of its kind in the nation and part of a studied, living laboratory, according to Mike Hrachovec of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).  Mike, known to everyone as “Rocky,” is a SPU engineer who has been designing the floodplain restoration on and off for seven years as funding came in leaps and starts. He gave an enthusiastic talk Thursday night at Sacawajea Elementary School as part of SPU presentation for local residents about the project which is planned to begin construction next summer.

Nearly two dozen members of the public attended including the original Knickerbocker family the site is named after (they sold the first parcel to SPU and the Parks Department including their house just south of NE 100th which has since been demolished). Cheryl Eastberg with the Parks Department began the meeting by describing the history of the project and acquisitions of property around Thornton Creek including the Rossi property on the south side of Thornton Creek that was accessed via the wooden bridge at the end of NE 100th Street (which will be replaced by a rock ford once the project is done).

Katherine Lynch then talked about the funding that made the project happen. Although the city has been interested in creating the floodplain for the past seven years, funding had all but dried up two years ago just as plans had finally been developed. A grant from the King County Conservation District helped move the project forward, while the Thornton Creek Watershed Oversight Committee sought out further funding which finally came from the Washington State Department of Ecology, the EPA, and most importantly Sound Transit which kicked in for floodplain mitigation as part of its Northgate Light Rail station project.

The main goals of the Knickerbocker project are 1) improve instream and riparian habitat, 2) optimize floodplain storage and slow peak flows, and 3) serve as a demonstration project. “Rocky” then began describing the process of engineering which he called, “an incredibly complex design.” Using the area of the creek just west of NE 102nd as a model for what the Knickerbocker site should look like (though with more large wood), he said the city needed to correct what been engineering dogma throughout the 50s and 60s, namely taking out any large trees and installing retaining walls.  “We shattered the habitat in the process,” he said. The Knickerbocker project will rip out the rockeries and retaining walls, remove 9,000 yards of dirt and replace it with logs (mainly under the surface) and create a floodplain.  Restoration will not only occur on the surface (with indigenous plants and rerouting and widening the creek), but under the surface as well by rebuilding the entire subsurface, a first-in-the-nation effort.  He admitted it would be “a radical experiment in stream ecology,” and “we’re just making educated guesses,” but as part of an ongoing plan the area would be monitored and studied extensively with adjustments made where needed. If you would like to see an extensive 30-page technical drawing of the project, check out this pdf from the city.

Project manager Arnel Valmonte talked about scheduling. Right now the project is at “90% design.” If any changes are to be made, now is the time. They hope to finish the design work by May 2013 and have all the permitting done. The earliest they could begin is June 2013 and wrapped up by the end of October.  They need to work around the fish window giving them between July 1st and August 30th as the creek is diverted into pipes while the construction goes on. An 80 foot bridge will replace the current one over Thornton Creek (part of the 20th Ave NE walkway), and they are timing it not to interfere with the school year as many students use it to access Sacawajea from Victory Heights.

Contractors in theory work from 8 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday but have the discretion to work past those hours and on weekends. Neighbors will be kept informed of activity if it impacts them. There will be noise and vibrations associated with the work, and the city will attempt to deal with problems with nearby residents.

Finally, Deb Hayden talked about the future of the site after construction is completed. “Our intention is to let the site grow naturally,” she said, but other than noxious weeds and invasive species being managed they want to remain hands-off. Sound Transit would assume responsibility for managing and maintaining the site (i.e. be paying the bills) for the first five years, after which it would be the domain of the Parks Department. “We’re open to feedback,” was the message.

Visit the City’s official Knickerbocker Floodplain website.