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    The Daily Troll: Prepare to be surprised on 520 bridge. Bell Street: Call that a 'park'? Frye Museum as launching pad.

    Psst, did you know Seattle is a writer's paradise?

    520: What is that?

    Get ready for a surprise if you're crossing the Highway 520 Bridge this weekend: Crews start installing a major pontoon on the Seattle side of the reconstruction project on Saturday. The pontoon comes with columns that will lift the roadway high above the portion of the bridge that rests atop the water. Should look quite striking, according to Washington State Department of Transportation officials. Let's just hope it floats and that, as promised, the work is all done by Monday morning. — J.C. 


    Key elements of the 520 project WSDOT

    Bell Street Park: Is it a park?

    Must-read writers at SLOG and Publicola are taking very different views of Seattle's new Bell Street Park, which Mayor Ed Murray helped open last weekend. The four-block project in Belltown features a single lane of traffic and parking revisions. The result? A "park like corridor through the heart of Belltown," according to the city. But the SLOG's Charles Mudede says Seattle has failed to create what city official Michael Shiosaki proclaimed, at the opening celebration, to be a place that works for pedestrians, bicyclists and car drivers alike. With some nice explanation of what the park could be, Mudede concludes, "It's just a fancy slow zone for cars." Publicola's Josh Feit says the project leveled the playing field for pedestrians and drivers, which he praises as a radical move. Feit says Mudede's car-centric position misses "the magic of cities: The chaos of mixing different lifestyles, cultures, needs, uses, and modes in one place paradoxicaly gives way to unbridled efficiency." — J.C. 

    Bell Street Park, closed to traffic during the opening celebration. Credit: Seattle Parks and Recreation

    Bye Bye, Frye

    Scott Lawrimore, the Frye's star curator for the last 18-months, told The Stranger's Jen Graves today that he's moving on — to an offer he couldn't refuse. Lawrimore is perhaps best known for his popular exhibit of environmental artist Buster Simpson's work,  no easy task for a body of installation work meant to be enjoyed in its natural surroundings. Lawrimore wouldn't say exactly where he's going or for what position, but he did toss Graves a few clues: It's a newly-created position at an existing local arts organization, where he'll have the chance to flex "both physical and mental" muscle. Hmm ... grab your magnifying glasses, gumshoes. — B.A. 

    Writer's paradise (9th place edition)

    Is there a better place to be a writer than in Seattle? Well, yes. In fact, there are eight. But if for some hard-to-fathom reasons you want to be on a coast — west or east — rather than in flyover country, then Seattle is the place for you. When MyLife.com compared the availability of jobs for writers, cost of living, number of people working in the arts and number of bookstores and coffee shops in some 100 large U.S. cities, somehow St. Louis wound up as the best place to be a writer, followed by Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Orlando.  Who knew humidity could inspire such unbounded creativity? Besides Seattle, the only other coastal city in the Top 10 is San Francisco, one rung behind us. Portland came in 16th. — J.C. 

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    Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.

    Berit Anderson is Managing Editor at Crosscut, where she follows tech, culture, environment, media and politics. Previously community manager of the Tribune Company’s Seattle blogging network, her work has also appeared in YES! Magazine and on the Huffington Post, Geekwire, Q13Fox.com and KBCS 91.3 radio. She served as Communications Director at Strategic News Service, a weekly newsletter that predicts global trends in tech and economics, and Future in Review, an annual tech conference which gathers C-level executives to solve global problems. You can find her on Twitter @Berit_Anderson or reach her at berit.anderson@crosscut.com.

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    Posted Fri, Apr 18, 6:48 p.m. Inappropriate

    Well, just as RapidRide isn't technically the Bus Rapid Transit(BRT) system it is billed as, the Bell Street improvements aren't a park. The new space is what the Dutch invented in the 1970s - a woonerf. Coincidentally, the Dutch decriminalized marijuana in the 1970s; Maybe there is a connection.


    Posted Sat, Apr 19, 11:23 p.m. Inappropriate

    Like any fan of slapstick, I look forward to the sights and sounds of sweaty overpaid bureaucrats and urban hobbyists high-five’n their way through an energetic “Social Engineering Bossa Nova” down Bell Street.

    But sadly, I don’t think the authors of this comedy can possibly fathom the resentment of the huge majority of Seattle citizens who must witness yet another waste of time and money on yet another downtown experiment/perk while the rest of the city does without.


    Posted Wed, Apr 23, 9:11 a.m. Inappropriate

    Totally agree. I volunteer in that area and drove through the "park" on my way to my volunteering location last week. I see this as just another ridiculous strategy for making drivers miserable. There was a bus ahead of me and it's width took up just about the whole width of the narrowed roadway. There were little tables and chairs out there, but no one using them although the afternoon was sunny and warm. And I have to wonder how alluring sitting at one of those tables would be with one of those huge, stinky, noisy behemoths very slowly rolling by (because one cannot go quickly through there). Not something I'd seek out. And the politicians wonder why we won't support, for example, Prop. 1? Here's one answer--this kind of waste is just absurd. Such things should be done, if allowed at all, by private entities, and preferably not in busy areas where they obstruct traffic.

    It took me 40 minutes to get from Aurora and Denny to 2nd and Blanchard. Part of that time was inching through this new "park."


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