Happy Winter Solstice + Year in review

Happy Winter Solstice! Here’s a look back at the most viewed stories on Montlaker in 2012:


10. WSDOT: Obama motorcade pays 520 Bridge toll — CALTRANS: no toll over SF Bay Bridge

President Obama is scheduled to arrive at Boeing Field tonight shortly before 6pm and travel by motorcade up I-5 and across the 520 Bridge to a fundraiser event in Medina. King5 News reports 520 will shut down to allow the motorcade to pass. Hopefully, given all the drawspan openings recently this closure will seem somewhat routine — but be warned 520 commuters! — and follow live traffic cams here.

This bit of bridge news, inevitably, brings up the $4.41 question: will POTUS Barack Obama have to pay the 520 toll?

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9. Summer Dog boat brings hot dogs and bikinis to the waterways of Lake Washington

Image: Montlaker

First there were food carts, then food trucks and now food boats. Summer Dog, a new floating food venture combining a “love for hot dogs, bikinis, boating and kick ass fun times,” appeared east of the Montlake Cut on Sunday just in time for Seafair.

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8. Election maps for Central Seattle precincts

Governor: Inslee vs McKenna

Governor: Inslee vs McKenna

Courtesy The Seattle Times, here are the 2012 election results mapped precinct by precinct for Governor, charter schools, marraige equality and marijuana.

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7. Union Bay Watch: 520 Eaglets spread their wings, expected to fledge soon

Image: Union Bay Watch / © Larry Hubbell

The 520 eaglets are growing up fast. Union Bay Watch has new pictures showing how much their wings grew during the month of June. The image above shows a wee little eaglet spreading its wings (halfway it appears) on June 10th. Compare that with this image taken just two weeks later on June 24th:

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6. No deal: Talks end for Seattle Prep land swap near 520 Roanoke Lid

Image: Montlaker via WSDOT

Neighborhood green space and pedestrian safety advocates were encouraged in June when WSDOT released drawings of a potential park near the future Roanoke Lid that incorporated a little-used and overgrown Seattle Prep property adjacent to 520. The idea was based on a land deal allowing WSDOT to develop a landscaped path connecting Delmar Drive to Boyer Avenue, and Prep to use the freeway “underbridge” area for parking and sports facilities. Despite WSDOT getting community “support of pedestrian connection/Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) path on south side of the [Portage Bay] bridge,” a favorable deal could not be reached as both parties ran into complications.

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5. Seattle Design Commission strongly supports 520 Portage Bay bike lane

The Portage Bay bike lane along the future 520 replacement got a strong endorsement from the Seattle Design Commission, getting unanimous support as “an inherent part of the 520 project vision” ofreconnecting neighborhoods.

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4. Fate of 520 rests with federal judge after Coalition lawsuit gets its day in court

Signs of uncertainty for 520 pontoons under construction in Aberdeen, WA. Image: Montlaker tipster

Oral arguments for the Sustainable 520 lawsuit were heard Tuesday by US District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez and a standing-room-only gallery of observers. The suit challenges whether reasonable alternatives were studied in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the S.R. 520 Replacement. A ruling in favor could require further environmental impact review and possibly push the project toward a more ‘sustainable’ — and affordable design.

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3. Seattle Police: Log-throwing renegade gardener arrested near Arboretum

The Seattle Police arrested a man-on-a-rampage late Monday night near the Arboretum, for throwing a log at a moving car and then… doing some renegade gardening.

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2. How Sound Transit plans to quiet light rail noise in Montlake and Capitol Hill

A high-compliance rail fastener. Image: Montlaker

Following months of noise and vibration complaints during tunnel construction under Montlake and Capitol Hill, Sound Transit has announced its plan for controlling noise and vibration once light rail trains start running in 2015.

The noise problem was traced last fall to the contractor’s supply trains running on temporary steel tracks bolted to the concrete tunnel lining. As supply trains shuttled equipment through the tunnel, they traveled on poorly built track causing vibrations to propagate through the earth and shake houses at the surface.

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1. Born on I-5 Ship Canal Bridge, peregrine falcon “69-Z” identified in fierce pigeon hunt

“69-Z” carries away its catch. Image: © Larry Hubbell

To keep up with local birds of prey, the Union Bay Watch blog occasionally ventures beyond the shores of Union Bay. After photographing a young peregrine falcon take down a pigeon and fly away with it last September [2011], UBW birder Larry Hubbell just recently tracked down the falcon’s baby pictures. Turns out, biologists monitoring the Interstate-5 Ship Canal Bridge tagged the bird’s ankle “69-Z” in May of 2011. In just four short months, the peregrine grew from fuzzy chick to fierce predator and eventually one of the fastest creatures on Earth. Here is lil’ 69-Z’s nest (unclear which one might be her) with mama falcon during the tagging expedition last year:

Peregrine falcon nest on I-5 Ship Canal Bridge. Image: WSDOT Flickr stream

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