Major construction is complete on the apartment building kitty-corner from our home, called Dimension by Alta. People not wearing hardhats are sometimes seen inside now. At twenty-seven stories it’s taller than we expected to see hereabouts.
It also doesn’t seem particularly graceful if you ask me, but there may be an explanation for that. Apparently the City has required that new buildings not be “monolithic,” hoping to avoid the drab facelessness that resulted from some earlier, utilitarian development. Bright yellow ridges affixed to the outside, contrasting with Z-brick around the base, would seem to fill the bill. The building should mostly fade into the mist like the monoliths behind and to the left, though. We hope that new neighbors will mean lots of new shops and services too.
In its shape the new building mirrors the one to the right, Seattle Heights. The last apartment we looked at, just before finding the one where we live now, was on the seventh floor there. Sometimes we see the people who moved there in our stead, grilling on their terrace for instance. They have a much “better” view of the new Dimension, which we admit is one reason that we chose to live at the Mosler Lofts. On the other, left, side of the new building, at the same level, is visible a corner of the Lexington Apartments, a home through most of the 1980s.
Our vision for our living space here in Seattle was always pretty simple, but from the beginning it came with the notion of a paprika-colored rug. After a couple of years we finally got around to doing something about it.
This rug was made in Nepal to benefit Tibetan refugees there. We imagined that it would live in our bedroom, but it is free to move around and spends most of its time out by our windows.
That’s actually the second one we bought. The first, a similar color but larger and with a subtler, darker pattern, is from Pakistan and hangs on our largest wall.
Second Avenue isn’t important just for its new bike lane. To a young grad-school dropout in the mid-70s, it was the street that most of the photo labs were on, and therefore a popular place for pavement-pounding. Through much of the 1980s, though further uptown, it was a place to live cheaply. Here’s a picture from that latter period — note the then-fairly-new articulated buses, which today would be relegated to the 3rd-Avenue Downtown Transit Tunnel:
This old vantage point is now obscured by trees, but here is a modern version taken from across the street to the north. I had not realized that the City’s old three-globe street lights still survive down here, just east of Pioneer Square.
Back in Seattle, our French vacation behind us, we didn’t stop riding — our summer was mostly warm and dry. Many of our rides these days are familiar trips with a reliable restaurant at the end — we’re not exactly tourists, but we seem to carry enough extra stuff with us that we need panniers.
For a couple of years now our preferred route south through Downtown has been Second Avenue, and recently the City has marked much of the length of the street as dedicated two-way cycle track. This has made a huge difference, and not just to us — since the change, there are three times as many bikes using the route daily.
Operation was a little sketchy at first (we were there on Day 1) but signalization was changed after the first week. The biggest problems remaining have to do with connections: southbound the route ends by Yesler, which leaves you short of the waterfront trail, itself disrupted by tunnel construction. Northbound, both before and after the new track, cyclists are tempted to ride wrong-way on the old single bike lane, and the new track ends at Pine Street. Still, it’s a lot better than nothing; though a week too late for local attorney Sher Kung, whose white “ghost bike” bears flowers at the intersection with University Street.
[Note: much progress has been made on Seattle’s bike system since this post appeared. See, for instance, our entry “Second Avenue Again.”]