Sunday, December 27, 2009

Margin Notes: Shopping, Signs, Ice Kiting

The 110th Ave NE entrance to The Bravern was noted in Bellevue, Washington on 22-December-2009--note the lack of any enclosures

KENNEWICK, WASHINGTON - While doing my final holiday shopping in Bellevue, Washington, I not only visited the "Bellevue Collection" (including Bellevue Square), but The Bravern, a new shopping complex near the NE 8th Street interchange with I-405. I'd really like to know what the designer was thinking--putting an outdoor shopping center in the Pacific Northwest climate full of high-end stores? I don't care if there is a Neiman-Marcus anchoring the complex; I don't plan to head over there and get wet, especially when the only store that seemed worthwhile to me was Sur la table.

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This new guide sign was found in Bellevue, Washington near Main Street and 112th Avenue NE on 22-December-2009--an informative sign, but why was it across the street from the hotels?

The city of Bellevue, on the other hand, seems to be thinking clearly with its new information signs for pedestrians located around the downtown core. The signs may be helpful in finding restaurants and shopping complexes, but some are oddly placed. Rather than being on the east side of 112th Avenue with a Sheraton, Red Lion, and Hilton, it was located on the west side of the street. I guess hotel guests have to commit to walking downtown before they can find a guide sign.

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The South Lake Union Streetcar had just reached its southern terminus near the Westlake Center in Seattle, Washington on 23-December-2009

Another relatively new addition to the pedestrian friendliness of the Pacific Northwest, now two years old, is the South Lake Union Streetcar in Seattle, Washington. The 1.3 mile line is Seattle's first modern streetcar system. The line is severely underutilized in terms of capacity, and is probably best known for its unofficial name--the South Lake Union Trolley, which has the unfortunate acronym of SLUT, leading to "Ride the SLUT" t-shirts becoming a staple in the Westlake area of Seattle.

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At least two people were noted ski-kiting on Keechelus Lake near Hyak, Washington on 26-December-2009

A completely different form of transportation was noted while driving past Keechelus Lake on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass. A pair of people were noted ski-kiting on Keechelus Lake--that's right, using a kite to power them around the iced-over northern end of the lake. This was the first time in many years of crossing the Cascades in the winter that I had seen such an activity there.

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The line between open water and ice covering on Keechelus Lake near Hyak, Washington was noted from I-90 on 26-December-2009

Another first from those years of traveling across the pass was seeing half of Keechelus Lake frozen over and half of it not, as seen in the photograph above. The low water level was fairly typical for this time of year, but the temperature profile was not.

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