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Lower Queen Anne bike/ped overpass totally harshing Hempfest’s mellow

The W Thomas Street walking and biking overpass project could get in the way of Hempfest, prompting the “protestival” to file a lawsuit against the city. Organizers argue that the city should push construction back until after August so that the 20th anniversary of the festival can take place in it’s standard Myrtle Edwards Park.

The overpass has been in the works for years, but it has been on hold due to lack of funding. SDOT announced in December that it had received a grant to make the project happen. It will do wonders to connect Lower Queen Anne and the park (and its bike trail).

I can’t say I really have a horse in this race. I didn’t enjoy Hempfest the one time I went, but I’m down with the cause. I thought Myrtle Edwards was a miserable location for such a packed event (though it would be much nicer if there were also an entrance at W Thomas Street). It was shoulder-to-shoulder and everyone was walking really slow. Then again, I don’t enjoy pot, so perhaps I am not the festival’s target audience. So long as the overpass is built this year, I’ll be happy.

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8 responses to “Lower Queen Anne bike/ped overpass totally harshing Hempfest’s mellow”

  1. Chris

    “I can’t say I really have a horse in this race. I didn’t enjoy Hempfest the one time I went, but I’m down with the cause. I thought Myrtle Edwards was a miserable location for such a packed event”

    I have no problem at all with Hempfest, but I too think this was a miserable location for the event. I used to bike through there everyday as part of my commute to work. IIRC they start setting up for the event on Wed and are given until the following Tuesday or Wed to get out of the park. During that time there are 18 wheel trailers brought in and numerous people driving around on the bike trail in their cars. The park is just not designed for that. The last time I went through after the event was over the park was torn up, irrigation sprinklers broke, and to put it mildly the volunteers were less than motivated to help take down the event equipment.

    Since the event has continued to grow each year and they moved the cruise ship terminal to the Magnolia area, I think it’s time to have the event in a different location. Maybe the Quest Field parking lot, Evergreen State Fairgrounds, the highly unlikely Magnuson Park area or some other place with enough space. If I read the Seattle Times article correctly, the city informed the organizers last year that they could potentially need to find another location because of this project.

  2. Kevin

    …is that CGI guy ripping a bong in the foreground part of the stock photo?

  3. I know nothing about the issue, but I have to comment on bitchin’ headline, Tom! Love it.

  4. Rick

    I commute through the park every day, I would be really happy to see this thing moved somewhere else. If it lasted only the weekend I think it would be alright, but with the setup and clean-up, it lasts a week. If you include the stragglers walking the park looking in the grass for weed that others dropped, you are well over a week. During this time it’s next to impossible for anyone else to enjoy the park. I think the workers/volunteers are nice and courteous, but as Chris mentioned above, all the vehicles, trailers and equipment are much more than the park was designed for. It has definitely outgrown this park.

  5. Leif

    Yeah, long narrow public spaces do not make good locations for crowded festivals. Too bad the Seattle Center isn’t available, seems like it would be a great venue.

  6. Charlie

    It seems like every year there’s another reason that Hempfest is suing the city. Like you Tom, I support the cause but the location seems to be crap. Why would you have a giant event with stages and only two or three difficult access points?

    I’ve never been to Hempfest but I do ride that trail everyday and as other commenters have pointed out, it becomes dangerous and annoying when the festival is being set up and taken down.

  7. […] high gear as soon as Hempfest is over. Work on the overpass was supposed to begin in March, but organizers of Hempfest filed a lawsuit (note my completely mature illustration of a man taking a bong rip in the overpass rendering), and […]

  8. […] Edwards Park and Lower Queen Anne. Construction was supposed to start in the middle of 2011, but a lawsuit filed by Hempfest delayed construction until after […]

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