Safer Biking Becoming More Likely in Ballard

Are you a cyclist? If so, you’re probably aware that the Ballard District Council is working to make biking and walking safer in our neighborhood. Not too long ago, the Seattle Department of Transportation approved greenways throughout the city, including Ballard, in an effort to promote safe bicycling and walking in the city. According to the Ballard Greenways website, greenways are “slow, low-traffic streets connecting parks, libraries, schools, and businesses for pedestrians and bicyclists who need safe and comfortable routes through the City.” Ballard’s greenway would go along 58th Ave NW from 6th Ave to Golden Gardens. If adopted, it will create a safe east-to-west bicycling option in the heart of Ballard!

However, this route still poses challenges, as 58th St NW crosses multiple busy roads (8th Ave, 15th Ave, 20th Ave). So, it may require a Neighborhood Project Fund grant to make those crossings a bit safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the greenways, attend the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways meet-up tomorrow. SDOT staff, Peter Hahn and Dongho Chang, will be there to answer greenway questions. The meet-up is on Thursday, March 22nd from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. It will take place at the Phinney Neighborhood Center. For more information on the advocacy group, check out the Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Facebok page.

Ballard’s Cultural Center Fundraising for its New Home

Although Oslo is over 4,000 miles away, the Nordic countries have a major impact on the identity of Ballard. Although some say Ballard is losing its appeal, the former fishing village honors its Scandinavian history regularly. It is very much a part of being a Ballardite. To recognize its origins, Ballard’s Nordic Heritage Museum will be moving and expanding, becoming a more prominent symbol of downtown Ballard. The Nordic Heritage Museum will be in its fundraising stage for the next six months, as it raises money for the $55 million construction of its new museum and cultural center at 2600-2800 Ave and NW Market St. in Ballard, according to the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

Expected to be completed in late 2014, the new Nordic Heritage Museum will highlight the past and present of Scandinavian history, as it morphs into a neighborhood hub west of 24th. Looking at early conceptual designs, the future neighborhood hub will resemble a fjord and feature exhibit space, an auditorium, event space, classrooms, a Nordic classroom, and more. It will be three-stories high and occupy 65,000 sq. ft, linking the retail center of Market St. with the business area of Ballard and the Ballard Locks. What I’m especially happy to hear is there is a Finnish native on the architect team, who specializes in Scandinavian design. Staying consistent with Scandinavian design, the new Nordic Heritage Museum will also have sustainable elements.

With the right planning, the Nordic Heritage Museum can have a very positive impact on Ballard. As the only pan-Nordic museum in the United States, it has the potential to be a tourist attraction, as well as an educational center. With all the real estate construction and changes happening in Ballard, it’s nice to know that Ballard isn’t forgetting its roots.

The Annual 2011 Christmas Ships Are Coming to Ballard!

2011 Christmas Ship Festival in SeattleSeattle’s annual Christmas Ship Festival officially kicks off this Thursday, December 1st, and you don’t want to miss it when it floats by Ballard.  The 62 year Seattle tradition is a sure way to get you and your family into the holiday spirit.

On December 7th, head over to either the Ballard Locks or Golden Gardens Park in the evening to see the largest holiday floating parade in the world. The brightly decorated Christmas ships will stop in front of the Ballard Locks for 20 minutes, starting at 8:10pm. It’ll continue on to Golden Gardens Park and be there from 9:05-9:25pm. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate, warm your hands by the bonfire and listen to the Dickens Carolers.

If you’re busy on Wednesday, you can catch the ships up near Carkeek Park on Sunday, December 11th. The Christmas Ships arrive in Carkeek Park a bit earlier, around 6:00pm. For more information, check out the full schedule here. Happy Holidays!

Ballard Locks to Close June 7th

The Ballard Locks will close briefly on June 7th from 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. for inspections.  Crews will inspect the salmon exclusion structure that helps prevent the trapping of salmon in the saltwater return system.  The system was put in place 3 years ago.  The Locks will be closed to marine traffic, but not to visitors.  For more information, please visit the official website.