Wedgwood Elementary School’s annual Science Fair will be held on Wednesday, May 22, from 6 to 8 PM. Student posters and science exhibits will be featured and the traditional Egg Drop will be held. The goal of the Egg Drop is to build a contraption to protect a raw egg from breaking when dropped from great height!
A Book Fair will also be held that evening with fiction and non-fiction books for kids, plus books of interest to parents. If you would like to make an end-of-year teacher gift, you may contribute books to your child’s classroom library.
National Bike to School Month Rally
Wednesday, 8:00AM at Top Pot Doughnuts
(Ride Departs for Bryant Elementary at 8:40AM)
The weather outside is phenomenal for sure, but there’s even more of an incentive for kids to ride their bike to school now. May is National Bike to School month and what better way to start it off than with a Bike to School Rally, featuring the Seattle School District Superintendent, Dr. José Banda; School Board member Kay Smith-Blum; Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw;and Cascade Bike Club’s Education Director, Julie Salathé on WEDNESDAY, 8AM at Top Pot Doughnuts. According to the Cascade Bike Club, the ride will depart Top Pot Doughnuts at 8:40AM and make its way to Bryant Elementary for a brief press conference.
According to Bryant Bikes organizers, Superintendent Banda reminded all Seattle School District principals earlier this month in a weekly communication that May was National Bike to School month and stressed the benefits of biking (and physical activity in general) for kids, stating the following:
SPS asks all staff to engage students around the benefits of bicycling in the interest of creating the healthiest and safest school community environments and promoting healthier lifestyles. In addition to fighting childhood obesity and promoting environmental consciousness, studies have shown that students who take part in more vigorous physical activities perform approximately 10 percent better in core classes such as math, science, English and social studies. Please encourage your communities to organize group rides to schools and engage students in activities around bicycling on May 8 and beyond.
The weather is fantastic! So dust off your helmet (and your kids), pump up those tires, and get your bike riding on. You’re an example to your children!
Lance David Memorial Bike Ride
Tuesday, May 7th, 5:30PM
On a much more somber note, a memorial bike ride has been organized for May 7th at 5:30PM to remember Lance David, the man struck and killed by a truck on East Marginal Way on May 1st while riding his bike. We in NE Seattle are well aware of the need for safer streets, not just on NE 75th Street, but everywhere throughout the City. For those interested in participating in the ride, you can read more here.
The following is a guest post from the Wedgwood Open Space Neighborhood Coalition.
The Seattle School District’s latest idea for the Thornton Creek playing fields reminds me of Joni Mitchell singing “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” For many of our Wedgwood neighbors this will be the case if the plan goes forward to build a new 650-student school and “put up a parking lot” on the playing fields for staff cars and school buses. The School District says it will mothball the present Thornton Creek School building and may demolish it in 2021. Given present projections for growth in the NE, it is extremely unlikely the old school will remain unoccupied. The most likely scenario is for a 1,000 student campus, with severely limited space and time for recess.Most of us value Wedgwood’s modest-scale. Do we want developers, public and private, to respect the quiet livability our Vision Plan embraces? Should that vision extend to all of us or exclude some of us? What the District intends to build will overwhelm those who live in our area with an onslaught of traffic extending well beyond the streets bordering the school. We have been told to expect a tripling of traffic, leading to a tripling of air and noise pollution.
On 40th Ave NE there has been a steady increase in traffic these past few months. The little streets surrounding the present school are already choked with traffic at bell times. Routes leading to the school lack sidewalks, but there is currently no plan to improve pedestrian safety, except for completing the sidewalk surrounding the school property. At a time when we are looking at terribly unsafe conditions on 75th street, here comes the creation of a new and entirely avoidable hazard.
The BEX IV building plan for the playing fields has been poorly conceived in all of its mutations. This latest proposal to enlarge Thornton Creek School contradicts what the School District capacity managers have consistently told us: that the addition of a 650- student “attendance area school” was an absolute necessity while retaining the option school on the same site.
There are alternative solutions to over-crowding that would save open space, avoid placing the entire traffic burden on one corner of Wedgwood, and provide neighborhood schools that children could walk to. A very few years ago, the Seattle School District leased and sold schools in the NE which they could now buy back and refurbish. Once built on, the playing fields will be gone forever and in their place — a school plant for 1,000 young children with not enough room for recess, plus a traffic menace.
There is very little time left for us to make our views known, since the School District is fast-tracking the project. People who want to make their voices heard on this issue can email and call the Mayor’s office, city council members, and the School District to press for a better solution to school overcrowding.
Superintendent José L. Banda (206) 252-0180: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of the School Board: (206) 252-0040
Board President: Kay Smith Blum: email@example.com
Mayor Mike McGinn: www.seattle.gov/mayor/citizen_response.htm
Seattle City Council: http://www.seattle.gov/council/councilcontact.htm
The City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board are appointees who serve under the Department of Neighborhood’s Historic Preservation program. At the meeting on April 17 the Montlake Elementary School building was on the agenda for the board’s consideration. The nine board members who were present agreed that the Montlake School building is worthy of nomination based upon one or more of six criteria. The board now has about about six weeks to consider, and tour the building if they so choose. A final vote, called designation, will take place on June 5th.
The Montlake School landmark nomination has been brought forward with funding from the Montlake Community Council. They hired historic preservation specialists from BOLA Architecture + Planning to research the school building’s original design, architect and its eligibility for historic status. Of the six potential criteria for preservation, the Montlake School has been nominated on the basis of criteria (c) that the building is associated in a significant way with the cultural heritage of the community; (d) it embodies the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style; and (f) because of its prominence of spatial location, it is an easily identifiable visual feature of its neighborhood and contributes to the distinctive identity of Montlake.
What are the advantages of designating a school building as a City of Seattle landmark? The benefits include the management by the Landmarks Board of all future development or changes to the building, either as owned by Seattle Public Schools or, if ever closed and sold, the new owner. The goal of the Montlake Community Council is to preserve the school building and its site as a main feature of the Montlake neighborhood.
As you may recall, last month we posted a summary of a meeting we had with Ms. Pegi McEvoy and others with the Seattle Public School District about the process for design and construction of the new NE Seattle K-5 School. The new NE Seattle K-5 school is being constructed following the overwhelming approval of Proposition 2 by Seattle voters in November 2012. While the 650 student school had originally been proposed for construction on the Thornton Creek Elementary site, local opposition from neighbors opposed to the loss of open space at the school successfully lobbied the District to modify the language within the BEX IV levy program to the following:
Northeast Seattle elementary school: To meet growing capacity, add K-5 school on Thornton Creek site by 2016 or equivalent additional seating capacity at another location.
Due to this modified language and an agreement to complete a review of additional, potential sites or options provided by the community. At last month’s School Board meeting, District staff committed to presenting the results of their review to the Superintendent on Monday, April 1st. On Tuesday, April 2nd, the District published the results of their Capital Projects and Planning website and summarized their new recommendation to the School Board. Our summary of this revised recommendation is provided below. However, to understand this revised recommendation, it may be helpful to provide a brief history of this particular new K-5 school (so far as we’re aware).
In June 2012 I met with a member of the Thornton Creek Site Council who explained from their perspective how the District arrived at their recommendation to build at new 650-student K-5 (at that time a K-8) school on the Thornton Creek site. It was explained to me that in response to larger enrollment and District capacity management planning, the District wanted to bring in 4 new portables over a 4 year period and expand the enrollment of Thornton Creek Elementary school. Thornton Creek staff and parents thought that this proposal would hurt their program. After some public meetings, the District countered with a request that the school expands their geo-zone (e.g., where students are preferentially chosen from). The intent was to have Thornton Creek Elementary accept more students from the attendance areas of Wedgwood, Bryant, and View Ridge elementary schools. Also, new portables would also be added at Wedgwood, View Ridge, and Olympic View elementary schools. By December 2011, Ms. McEvoy asked Thornton Creek staff and its Site Council if it would be willing to become a K-8 school to also alleviate capacity needs at Eckstein Middle School. In response, the Thornton Creek Site Council said that it would grow up to 500 students if the District built them a new building on their site. The District never responded to the Site Council’s counter offer. Instead, the District proposed a new 650-student K-8 attendance area school within its Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which has since been revised to a new K-5 school. Thornton Creek Elementary, an option school, would have remained in its existing building at the site.
As we understand it, the District’s revised recommendation is essentially to build the new 650 student NE Seattle K-5 School at the Thornton Creek School site and then move the Thornton Creek Elementary program into the new school. If capacity forecasts remain the same, the plan will likely include demolishing the existing the existing Decatur building once the new school was built. It’s important to understand that this is only a recommendation at this point and no decisions have been formally made (to our knowledge).
Upon learning of this revised recommendation, we sent the following questions to the Ms. McEvoy and others at the District to clarify their new recommendation. Below are our questions and District responses.
Q1: Why did it take the District this long to acknowledge the Thornton Creek Parent’s Group’s offer to accept Ms.McEvoy’s counter offer, if that is what this recommendation is?
A1: Annually, the District receives updated resident enrollment projections in February. In order to ensure that the most current information was used for this important decision, the District decided to wait to make recommendations about the NE school configurations. Additionally, the School Board had asked for additional feasibility studies on which to base their decisions. These became available in late March.
Q2: My presumption that the District did not move forward with this counter offer was that it ultimately did not provide the capacity needs that we’ve heard about throughout NE Seattle, which was required to alleviate overcrowding at Wedgwood, View Ridge, and Bryant Elementary Schools. Does this proposal meet the District’s goals for meeting the forecasted capacity requirements in the Eckstein Service Area? If not, are there other capital improvements expected to be required during subsequent BEX levies?
A2: Per the BEX IV levy, four schools will impact positively the permanent capacity for the NE region, including Thornton Creek, Olympic Hills, Jane Addams K-8 at Pinehurst and the remodeled Cedar Park. With the subsequent boundary changes due to new schools being opened, the District believes that it can meet the projected capacity needs in the NE Seattle area.
Q3: Should this proposal be accepted by the Board, should we presume that Thornton Creek Elementary would become an attendance area school or remain an alternative school? Would Thornton Creek Elementary also become a K-8 program, as it was suggested last year (per my understanding)?
A3: At this time, it is recommended that the Thornton Creek Elementary program remain an option K-5 school although its geo-zone may be updated during the future student assignment plan updates to help alleviate over-enrollment at nearby elementary schools.
Q4: Within the BEX IV levy program, approved under Proposition 2, the project that voters approved is described as follows:
“Northeast Seattle elementary school: To meet growing capacity, add K-5 school on Thornton Creek site by 2016 or equivalent additional seating capacity at another location.” Does the District’s revised recommendation provide “equivalent additional seating capacity” at another location or otherwise? Is so, great. If not, would this recommendation meet the intent of Proposition 2?
A4: With the combined additional seat capacity for the four schools in the Eckstein service area, the revised recommendation would provide sufficient capacity to meet the current resident projections.
We weren’t the only ones caught off guard by this curve-ball-of-a-recommendation. You can watch the School Board meeting from the evening of Wednesday, April 3rd, when many of the School Board members were just hearing this revised recommendation for the first time as part of Agenda Item 11, which was to authorize the construction management contract for Heery International, Inc to manage the construction of the new NE Seattle K-5 School.
In the following video, Ms. McEvoy introduces Agenda Items 10 and 11 with rationale for why the District awards construction management contracts for these type of projects. The conversation that follows is focused on Agenda Item 10 though (not the new NE Seattle K-5 School).
The following video is the District’s presentation of their revised recommendation for the new NE Seattle K-5 School and their justification for the change. The School Board discussion and Q&A is very interesting.
We apologize in advance for a less-than-thorough post on this subject. We will expand on this shortly when time allows. However, we thought it prudent to get some information out to the community as best we can about significant changes proposed by the School District on what to do with the NE Seattle K-5 School that voters approved.
As we understand it, the District’s revised recommendation (summary of alternatives and recommendation) includes constructing the new NE Seattle K-5 school building at the Thornton Creek School site (as planned) with the intent that the Thornton Creek Elementary School would relocate to the new facility with the existing Decatur School building to be demolished. We have provided the District with a series of questions to get more information on the revised recommendation. We hope to provide that to you along with a more thorough blog post.
In the mean time, you’re passionate one way or another on this topic, there is a School Board Meeting tonight (going on now) and this topic is to be discussed along with a construction management contract for the new school. Here’s the website with all the detailed alternatives analysis and supporting information behind this recommendation.
UPDATE 6: On Tuesday, April 2nd, from 7-9PM at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center, the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association hosted a community meeting about last Monday’s tragedy. There were speakers-a-plenty and many local and state officials present to listen in. The Ravenna Blog live-blogged from it. (Live Blog link)
UPDATE 5: We are so grateful and thankful to live in a community willing to donate generously for a family in as much need as the Schulte’s. Their need is great, so continued fund raising is important to help on their road to recovery. As of today, we’ve raised about $10,000 for Karina and Elias’s medical fund and about $1,000 to Dennis & Judy Schulte’s memorial fund through the ProjektKarma and personal donations made to HomeStreet Bank. Additionally, the other medical fund created by Karina’s friend has raised more than $40,000. Thank you for your continued donations as they have a long road ahead of them. Your funds are already making a difference for the family.
UPDATE 4: A Meal Schedule has been created to help Dan Schulte and his family over the coming weeks with so many people in town and so much time spent at the hospital. If you’d like donate food, prepared meals, snacks, or gift cards to support the Schulte family, please sign up for the Meal Schedule or email » Jess.
UPDATE 3: A growing list of businesses are donating food or gift cards to the family. Special thanks to the following businesses!
Cafe Javasti, Trophy Cupcakes, Grateful Bread, Safeway, Eat Local, Metropolitan Market, Coopers Alehouse, and the staff at QFC!
The customers at the Van Gogh Coffeehouse collected $786.48 in tips from Friday-Saturday to donate to the Schulte Family!
UPDATE 2: Yesterday was Karina’s 34th birthday!…which she spent at Harborview Hospital (Thanks for the birthday cupcakes, Trophy Cupcake!). Wish her a happy birthday through the medical funds set up below for her.
UPDATE 1: There is a growing list of events for the community to participate in to show support for the Schulte family. Here is a list of those that we know. More to follow as they’re confirmed. Please comment below if we’re missing any.
- THURSDAY – March 28th, 7PM: Sand Point Community United Methodist Church (4710 NE 70th Street), where the Schulte’s attended, is holding a Prayer Vigil for Karina and Baby Elias instead of their planned Maundy Thursday service.
- MONDAY – April 1st, from 4-5PM: There will be a Memorial Walk for anyone interested. Mayor McGinn will join us in our walk from Top Pot Doughnuts (on 35th Ave NE at NE 70th Street) to Eckstein and back. You are encouraged to bring flowers to remember Judy and Dennis or canned food (to be donated to the University Food Bank).
- TUESDAY – April 2nd, 7-9PM: The Ravenna-Bryant Community Association is hosting a community at the Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center gymnasium (6535 Ravenna Ave NE). The following have confirmed their attendance: Peter Hahn (SDOT Director), Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, the Executive Director and Associate Administrator for Harborview Medical Center, criminal and civil attorneys from the City Attorney’s Office, and a representative of the Seattle Police Dept will be there. Other City staff/departments may come as well but have yet to confirm. The meeting is open to everyone.
Growing memorial for the Schulte family. (c/o Ravenna Blog)
The Wedgwood Community Council has established two funds at the Homestreet Bank – Wedgwood Branch office. Thanks to a crowd-sourcing guru from the neighborhood, we’ve created an easier venue for those looking to contribute to the Schulte family on Projekt Karma. Please, please, please help us spread the word about this so that we can really contribute to the grieving family. Also, friends of Karina’s have also set up a fund through FundRazr and have agreed to let us spread the word about their fund too. The need is great. Needless to say that everything raised will be given to the family.
You can now click on the links below to access the giving page for each fund or deposit checks personally.
For more information on making a deposit you can call this branch of Homestreet Bank directly at 206-525-2840.
Please continue to keep everyone involved in this terrible incident in your thoughts. We are grieving alongside the family’s Seattle and Indiana friends and family. We’d also like to thank both HomeStreet Bank and Projekt Karma for their help getting this up and running so quickly.
UPDATE: Mayor McGinn responds to a neighbors question about safety on NE 75th Street during the March “Ask the Mayor” show on the Seattle Channel.
We hope you won’t interpret this post as us placing blame or accusing SDOT. The Police clearly appear to have the person responsible in custody. SDOT has standards and codes that need to be followed and statistics that characterize street use. But we hope today’s tragedy is a call to action to address the safety and the morning/evening horse race along NE 75th Street.
In the wake of today’s tragedy in front of Eckstein Middle School we’re continuing to learn more on what happened (Ravenna Blog | Seattle PI | Seattle PD Blotter). It’s hard not to jump to conclusions, but the facts remain: 4 people were hit, 2 of whom died, by a man driving a truck westbound about 50 mph at around 4:10PM on NE 75th Street. A couple weeks ago, Seattle Police stationed an automated speed sign on NE 75th Street near where the accident occurred in the eastbound lane. Eckstein Middle School has an enrollment of about 1,300 students and one of the largest number of bike-to-school programs.
With this in mind, a lot of drivers have commented on just how fast and dangerous NE 75th Street is during commute hours. Is NE 75th Street a 2 lane road or a 4 lane road? We’ve been given permission to share this email exchange about such concerns at NE 75th Street and 28th Ave NE from a nearby resident (Erin Kennedy) with SDOT staff, which is exceptionally sad in hindsight. Unfortunately, Ms. Kennedy’s concerns were all too true.
To: Erin Kennedy
CC: Reiner Blanco; William Burns
Subject: Responding t your workflow message (Intranet Quorum IMA00434967)
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2010 13:31:44 -0800
Dear Ms. Kennedy:
Thank you for writing to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) regarding your concerns with NE 75th Street. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention, as SDOT shares your concerns with wanting our street system to operate safely and efficiently for all users.
Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) 11.14.375 states:
“Multiple lane street” means any street the roadway of which is of sufficient width to accommodate reasonably two (2) or more separate lanes of vehicular traffic in the same direction, each lane of which shall be no less than eight (8) feet in width, and whether or no such lanes are marked”
NE 75th Street in and around Wedgewood is of sufficient width on both eastbound and westbound t be considered a multiple lane street and able to accommodate two lanes in the same direction. However, the city does no typically mark two travel lanes when the traffic volumes along the street are relatively low. In this case, the traffic volumes along NE 75th are relatively low.
Some of the main factors that go into a decision about whether or no to mark a crosswalk are the characteristics of the roadway itself: features such as visibility, the number of lanes that pedestrians must cross, the proximity of the location in question to existing traffic signals, and the number of pedestrians who cross the street consistently at that location.
When marking a crosswalk, visibility is a crucial factor. If a driver cannot see a pedestrian because there is a curve in the road, a marked crosswalk will do little t improve the situation. In the case of 28th Avenue NE and NE 75th Street, the intersection is located in the middle of a hill which prevents drivers from seeing pedestrians and pedestrians who are crossing from seeing oncoming vehicles.
We generally find that on multi-lane roads with three or more lanes, a marked crosswalk alone without an accompanying traffic signal will do little to improve driver compliance or pedestrian safety. One of the main reasons is the risk of a multiple threat collision, a situation in which a driver in one lane stops for a pedestrian, but the driver in the next lane does not. We find that on busy streets the most beneficial improvements are either a reduction in the number of vehicle lanes or the installation of a traffic signal.
The location at 28th Avenue NE and NE 75th Street is located only a few blocks from the full traffic signal at 31st Avenue NE and NE 75th Street. The nearby presence of a traffic signal and the lack of strong pedestrian generators that would help provide consistent pedestrian traffic, suggest that this location is the preferred place to cross.
In summary, at this time we cannot recommend marking a crosswalk at this intersection. Although the legal responsibility of a driver is the same whether or no a crosswalk is marked or unmarked, the features at this particular intersection suggest that a marked crosswalk will no provide the benefit that pedestrians require in order to cross in comfort.
If you have any further questions or additional comments, please feel free t contact SDOT’s William Burns, Associate Civil Engineering Specialist, directly at (206) 684-5114 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Burns will be happy to assist you further.
Reiner Blanco, P.E.
Senior Civil Engineer
Seattle Department of Transportation
Subject: RE: Responding to your workflow message (Intranet Quorum IMA00434967)
From: Ms. Kennedy
CC: Reiner Blanco; William Burns
Thank you very much for your response. I appreciate the thought and consideration you put forth. I can understand why a cross walk would be dangerous being mid-hill. However, I think the bigger pedestrian and driver danger is that very few cars abide by the speed limit. Sooner or later, someone trying to cross the street is going to get hit by a car flying down the hill at 50mph. Is there anything to be done about speeders?
UPDATE: A lot of of bad things went down this afternoon in front of Eckstein, where one Tweeter pointed out to the Police and Mayor McGinn is where SPD had recently set up a speed sign. We corrected the title to reflect that 4 pedestrians were hit. Please keep the young, twenty-something woman and the infant, who are both at Harborview, in your thoughts. For that matter, keep all four of the pedestrians hit in your thoughts! A lot has been written about this already and there’s not much more we can add, so we recommend checking out the following posts:
As we write, NE 75th Street is blocked as 3 pedestrians were hit by a vehicle. Reports suggest that 2 of the 3
4 have died and that Police are evaluating the male driver for possible impairment. Seattle Police have set up detours while the investigation takes place. We will provide more information once reports provide more information. In the mean time, you can follow the @SeattlePD twitter feed
or their Seattle Police Blotter blog
At the March 20, 2013 Landmarks Board meeting the ten board members voted unanimously that Pinehurst School at 11530 12th Ave NE is NOT worthy of preservation. This means that the School District could potentially tear down the present Pinehurst building to rebuild or reuse the site in another way.
Larry Johnson, architect, prepares to make a presentation at Landmarks Board.
The presentation about Pinehurst School was made by architect and historian Larry Johnson of The Johnson Partnership Architects, on behalf of Seattle Public Schools. Mr. Johnson made a complete study of the history of the school, its surrounding neighborhood, and the architectural firm which designed the present building. The nomination report can be read under “Current Nominations” on the Dept. of Neighborhoods Historic Preservation page. The goal of the study was to find whether the school building met any of the six criteria for historic preservation, including outstanding design, association with a historic event, or embodiment of distinctive characteristics of an architectural style.
In 1950 the architectural firm of Mallis, DeHart & Hopkins designed the Pinehurst School and that same year they also designed Nathan Eckstein Junior High School at 3003 NE 75th Street. Eckstein (now a middle school) has already been “landmarked” because it was voted by Landmarks Board to be an outstanding work of Mallis, DeHart & Hopkins and a very distinctive work in the International Style of architecture. Eckstein’s curving glass front conveys International Style in its emphasis upon the beauty of the materials themselves, without reliance upon decorative trim.
Eckstein Middle School has already been designated as a historic landmark.
One of the reasons why Pinehurst School did not win landmark status is that the building’s design is not unified, with the plan made even more confusing in later years by several badly-placed additions. The Pinehurst building does not have any recognizable form or style. The failure of Pinehurst School to achieve landmark status may mean that a new school might be built in its place. I (Valarie) attempted to ask a school district official who was present at today’s meeting, whether the Thornton Creek School at Decatur (in Wedgwood) might also be under consideration for tear-down and replacement. The official replied, “I can’t answer that question because I am not a program manager.” Stay tuned for reports on Wedgwood-area schools as information becomes available.