News in and around Madison Valley

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The Little Free Library

JULY 30, 2013 | EDITOR

Little Free Libraries are a growing phenomenon, with nearly 6,000 worldwide. These small exchange boxes, typically built on the street corner, allow neighbors to lend and borrow books. The aim is to promote literacy and community. 

Jerry Sussman built a Little Free Library for the community near Swanson’s Alley, on 34th Avenue E. The official dedication for the library took place on the 4th of July, following a potluck salmon barbecue (see photo). He is encouraging his neighbors to stop by and take a book or leave a book.

For more information on the movement, and a photo gallery of artistic exchange boxes, see this article.


Post a Comment | Topics: Books

Bastille Bash 2013 Photos

JULY 28, 2013 | EDITOR

Bastille Bash was a smash!

Bastille Bash 2013 Photo 8

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Bastille Bash 2013 Photo 5

Photography by Heather Curbow and Duell Fisher from Team Photogenic.


Post a Comment | Topics: Bastille Bash

Car2Go: A new way to get around town


Have you seen those pint-sized white and blue “smart” cars around town? Car2Go is a new business in Seattle that changes the model for car sharing services: the best feature of Car2Go is that you can take it on a one-way trip. In contrast, competitor Zipcar requires users to pick up and drop off a car in its designated parking space. Car2Go’s flexibility means that you can walk or take the bus out to a concert, and grab a car for the late-night drive home. Best of all, leave the car parked in front of your house for the next C2G customer to pick up when she needs it.

You can find and reserve a car on the website or through the handy mobile app, or simply walk up to a car and hold your membership card over the reader unit on the windshield to activate the rental. Ready to go! You can also make “stopovers” along the way – handy if you’re using the car to run errands or go shopping – simply take the keys with you so another person doesn’t take the car in the middle of your trip.

There are some rules about where you can park the car at the end of your trip, but with a service area that runs down to Beacon Hill, out to West Seattle, and up to N. 130th Street, there are plenty of places to take a Car2Go. Just don’t leave the car in a bus zone or a commercial lot! On the bright side, you can park in a 2-hour metered parking space without having to feed the meter.

If you seldom need a vehicle, Car2Go is a reasonably priced alternative to owning a car or paying downtown parking fees. The service costs 38 cents per minute, up to $14 an hour. Gas, insurance, and maintenance are all included. There is a one-time fee of $35 to sign up, but they offer occasional promotions that reduce the registration fee or give you free driving minutes as a bonus.

There are already over 300 Car2Go cars in Seattle. With so many of these little smarts tooling around our neighborhood, you are sure to find one when you need it!

Post a Comment | Topics: Transportation

Metro Bus Service on East Madison


Metro BussesRecent queries about Rapid Ride expansion and the state funding mess — a matter of politics and budgeting issues — have put Metro Transit and our local bus service back in the news.

I, like many of you, ride the Route 11 East Madison bus, and use Metro for work, shopping and appointments. Our bus service has seen a few improvements over the years: air conditioning, no more loops to West Seattle, some faster service during peak hours (funded by the City of Seattle), and added Sunday morning service. But you’re in real trouble if you expect Metro to meet its published schedule, and reliability hasn’t improved despite the fact that the #11 no longer goes to West Seattle. 

I inquired about our level of service and the expansion of RapidRide on East Madison recently, and here is what I found.

Several years ago I attended a Metro presentation on a plan to replace our bus with RapidRide, but given everything I’ve been able to learn from Metro, Madison Valley and Madison Park are no longer included in the plans. RapidRide would have offered us 15-minute service and route changes but the change would also have resulted in fewer bus stops — this is how they speed up service! One has only to look at the distance between bus stops on MLK to see the problem. 

The biggest challenge for Metro today is the 17% revenue shortfall. Route 11 is on the list of lines that may face reduced service as early as next year. Since the state funding has not come through, King County may have no other options but to reduce service. There have been four fare increases in the last few years. Service cuts and fare increases could mean more people forced into cars — causing more traffic congestion in Seattle!  

Online services such as OneBusAway for smart phones have helped when the service was up and receiving reliable bus locations from Metro. For those in Madison Park, this service loses the bus once it is in the Park and only starts working when the bus is about a minute from your stop. Thankfully, OneBusAway works for other East Madison bus stops. 

So the question is, if you ride the bus, can you deal with reduced bus service on the 11 and all areas Metro services? Several years ago at a Metro presentation, one attendee was fine if the bus didn’t show or was late — her response was to take a good book for reading. I know this won’t do for those who use the bus to get to work or appointments!

This is not the time to be reducing bus service in Seattle, especially since so many of us today are dependent on it. We must be working together to improve service such as offering 20-minute service on the #11 all day, rather than 15-minute service during peak and 30-minute in off peak.

I feel that the Community Councils that represent the communities on East Madison should be working together with King County Metro and the City of Seattle to insure that we maintain a usable level of service and not go the route of Pierce County transit. I must also ask, why is the City of Seattle working on the expansion of street cars lines on Broadway and elsewhere when Metro is facing a 17% cut in funding and service?

What do the communities on East Madison have to say about their bus service?


Post a Comment | Topics: Community Planning, Transportation

June Police Reports


Fewer crimes in Madison Valley were reported to the police during June than in previous months. In May, for example, there were approximately 35 crime reports but in June there were only about 25. As in May, the number of car prowl thefts remained low (only two reported incidents in June), and reports of property damage/graffiti almost disappeared (2 incidents). Harassment reports were more frequent than any other type of type of incident, but there were only four such cases. There were three burglaries during the month, and in none were police able to find fingerprints or other evidence.

1. Sometime during the night of June 5–6 someone stole a valuable racing bicycle (Trek Madone 5) and a 19-inch flat screen television/DVD combination from an unlocked garage off of 19th Ave near Roy.

2. On June 7 around 11:30 AM an intruder entered an unlocked office on 19th Ave. near Republican and stole a valuable item not specified in the police report.

3. On June 11 sometime between 4 and 9 PM someone stole two Mary Kay cosmetic suitcases containing approximately $1400 worth of cosmetics from an unlocked garage on 24th Ave. near Mercer.

In addition, there were two reports of auto theft, one non-injury assault near Union and 23rd Ave. and an arrest for possession of methamphetamine near Madison and MLK. Let’s hope that the near absence of crimes against persons during June continues for the rest of the summer.


Lowell Hargens is a Madison Valley resident and former University of Washington professor of sociology specializing in the statistical analysis of data.

Post a Comment | Topics: Crime

The Central District in Seattle Now Has a Time Bank!

Post a Comment | Topics: Services

Neighborhood Solar Energy Project Open for Registration


Solar Panel

Solar energy is currently powering hundreds of Seattle homes, and residents of Madison Valley and other central and southeast Seattle neighborhoods are about to get a special opportunity to add their rooftops to our city’s growing solar array.

Through a nonprofit-led program called Solarize Seattle, homes and small businesses can qualify for special pricing and take advantage of many incentives that make solar installations more affordable than ever.

Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) and Seattle City Light are working with several community groups to launch Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast, a solar energy education and installation program that starts today and runs through October. The program will be co-led by a community coalition of local volunteers, which will spearhead neighborhood outreach. Supporting organizations include Sustainable Seattle, Sustainable Capitol Hill, and Sustainable Central District. 

The campaign features a group-buy program that provides a streamlined process for residents and small businesses to purchase solar systems for a discounted price. Participants learn how solar works in Seattle, how it is installed, what tax and production incentives are available to bring the price down, and how low-interest financing can spread out the cost. The limited-time campaign intends to install over 200 kilowatts of solar energy in central and southeast Seattle by the end of 2013. 

Through a competitive bidding process, the Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast Community Coalition selected Puget Sound Solar and Artisan Electric as the project’s solar installation team. These contractors will offer solar systems at discounted rates to project participants. 

Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast will be the seventh campaign of Northwest SEED’s Solarize Washington program. Northwest SEED’s four campaigns in Seattle have resulted in over 1 MW of solar added to the city’s electric grid. To date, Solarize Washington campaigns have educated over 1,750 people at public workshops, encouraged nearly 300 residents to install solar on their homes, and injected more than $7.5 million into the local solar economy.

Registration is open to Seattle residents who live in the geographic area bordered by the Montlake cut to the north, I-5 to the west, Lake Washington to the east, and the City of Seattle boundary to the south. Free educational workshops will be held on Jul. 23, Aug. 15, Aug. 27, and Sep. 18. For more information, visit


Solarize Washington Logo


Post a Comment | Topics: Energy & Conservation

Bastille Bash is tomorrow!

JULY 12, 2013 | EDITOR

Bonjour! We can’t wait to see you at Bastille Bash tomorrow! We’re decking out East Madison with French flags, banners and all things blue, white, and red, and getting ready to enjoy la vie en rose. We’ve had so much fun planning with Madison Valley businesses to bring you the best food, shopping, chef demos, and so much more that our little village has to offer. 

While you are attending the event tomorrow use the tag #BastilleBash with your photos and posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so we can follow along! 

With all the fun festivities in store, the local media has been buzzing. Here are some highlights if you missed them from our Facebook page. Click on the links to view articles, listen to radio interviews and get all the Bastille Bash scoop.

  • The Stranger Suggests you hightail it to Bastille Bash to catch a glimpse of our Marie Antoinette impersonator!
  • They love our Francophilia and retail offerings over at Seattle Met Magazine.
  • Seattle Magazine says Bastille Bash is a MUST for this weekend.
  • Daily Candy can’t wait to enjoy our Spirits Garden at Rover’s in a neighborhood reminiscent of a bucolic village in Provence.
  • KIRO Radio’s “Let’s Eat” hosts had a blast chatting up Nat Stratton-Clarke, one of our event creators and planners, about the amazing chef talent for our demos and enjoying French culture in Seattle.
  • Our neighborhood paper, the Madison Park Times, is excited we’re back for a second year!
  • Chat With Women radio network host Holly Brown, of The Brown Lounge, chatted with Nat about all the delicious French food and wine offered at Bastille Bash, eating local, and how to cook simple French food at home. 
  • The Seattle Times highlighted Bastille Bash in their Sunday NW Arts & Life section as a must attend event this week!
  • The moms at Red Tricycle gave us the thumbs up for our kid-friendly activities like art classes at Thrive, and the event proceeds that benefit the Children’s Response Center.

Tickets on sale at the event! Merci!

Post a Comment | Topics: Social Events, Bastille Bash

Enjoy Wine, Beer & Spirits at Bastille Bash!


Bastille Bash is upon us this Saturday, July 13th! Our map and program are out now and include all of your favorite French bites from local restaurants, our live entertainment schedule, chef and garden demo lineup and more!

But let’s cut to what’s really on your mind … enjoying local wine, beer and spirits in the sun this Saturday from 3–8 p.m.! Bastille Bash will have a Wine Passport that allows you to taste at locations up and down East Madison including a Spirits Garden in Rover’s courtyard and a Wine Garden outside of Cafe Flora.

Purchase your Wine Passport online in advance for $20 per person to secure your tasting glass. You can also purchase at the event starting at 3 p.m. but we will have a limited quantity on hand so please purchase in advance!

Bastille Bash is free to attend and enjoy live entertainment, shopping and our festive French décor.

Thank you to the following wineries, breweries and distilleries for being part of Bastille Bash—Vive La France!

Wineries: Balboa Winery, Beresan Winery, Facelli Winery, Forgeron Cellars, Hestia Cellars, Kiona Vineyards & Winery, OS Winery, Patterson Cellars, Pomum Cellars, Swiftwater Cellars, Walla Walla Vintners, William Church Winery

Breweries: Fremont Brewing, Mac & Jack’s Brewery, Ninkasi Brewing

Distilleries: BroVo Spirits, El Zacatecano, Fremont Mischief Distillery, Sidetrack Distillery


Post a Comment | Topics: Social Events, Bastille Bash

Bastille Bash: Menu, Map, and Entertainment Schedule

JULY 7, 2013 | EDITOR
Post a Comment | Topics: Social Events, Bastille Bash

Bastille Bash Specials and Sales

JULY 3, 2013 | EDITOR

Madison Valley merchants are offering a variety of specials and giveaways during Bastille Bash, July 13, and the week prior. Giveaways include three nights in Paris (sign up during the Bash). Many stores will offer substantial discounts on selected merchandise. The full list is below.

The week of July 8th these shops are offering the following specials:

Honey Skin Spa

  • Week of July 8 Facial Specials: Purchase a package of 3 Custom Honey Facials for $375 (regularly $450). Purchase a package of 5 Custom Honey Facials for $625 (regularly $750)
  • Week of July 8 Lash & Brow Specials: A full set of lash extensions for $125 (regularly $225-$250). Expert Brow Consult & Waxing $18 (regularly $35). Lash & Brow Tint $25 (regularly $40)

Fast Frame
Fastframe will be offering 25% off all framed and unframed art for sale. The sale will start Monday, July 8 and end with the Bash!

Retail Shops Offering Discounts:

All The Best

  • Bobbing for balls, “yappetizers” and pet photos

City People’s Garden Store

  • 25% off French milled soap from Pre de Provence
  • 25% off all lavender
  • 25% off culinary herbs

France: Homestyle

  • Enter to win a weekend in Paris

Bastille Day sale up to 50% off selected items.

Hoa Salon

  • On July 13 stop by during Bastille Bash
  • Bastille Bash, sign up for any service at a future date and receive 20 percent off plus a complimentary goodie bag, and enter win prizes like facials, brow shaping, and lash and brow tinting.

Koselig Design

  • Offering a 20 percent discount on nearly all store items including home furnishings and jewelry during Bastille Bash only.

Fury Consignment

  • For every $50 spent on Bastille Day, you are entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certicate at Fury.
  • Featuring $10 and $20 sale racks.

Lavender Heart
Discounts throughout the shop.

River Song

Stallman Gallery

  • Stallman Gallery will open early, before the Bastille Bash celebrations, starting at 1 p.m. with local wine and cheese for guests to mingle and view their local art.

Vian Hunter
Marie Antoinette-themed sale with live models in the windows.


Bobbing for Balls


Post a Comment | Topics: Sales, Social Events, Bastille Bash

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