News Gleams: Viadoom Fizzled; Minimum Wage Had Minimal Impact on Groceries

curated by Emerald team

Viadoom’s lessons for an environmentally sustainable future

Activist organization Transit Riders Union has said that the closure of the Highway 99 Viaduct has shown that Seattle commuters are prepared to embrace public transit and bicycling, shifting people to a more environmentally sustainable modes of transportation.

The Alaska Way Viaduct carried a predicted 90,000 cars each day, but the expected region-wide congestion did not pan out as public officials had warned. In fact, despite the warnings, a Seattle Times report noted that traffic volumes on highways across the region decreased 1 to 6 percent. The Transit Riders Union said in a release that more information is needed but said that it appeared that public transit and bicycling saw an increase.

“Viadoom just gave us the blueprint on how to reduce climate emissions from transportation,” the group said in its release.

Minimum wage, minimum impact at the grocery store

A University of Washington study released in January found that Seattle’s new $15-an-hour minimum wage had minimal influence on the prices of groceries in Seattle. Researchers examined more than 100 different food items and tracked their prices before the implementation of the new minimum wage law and three times after the law took effect, the last check being two years after implementation. According to the study, “Low-income workers may be able to afford higher quality diets if wages increase yet supermarket prices stay the same.”

The study was conducted by the University of Washington but funded by the City of Seattle, Arnold Ventures and a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institue of Child Health and Human Development grant.

Town Hall, coming to you

The opening of Seattle’s historic Town Hall was delayed for at least 60 days as the building continues to undergo renovations to restore and improve the space. During the renovation, Town Hall has scheduled events around Seattle, including the South End and Central District. That will continue through March at various locations. At the Royal Room on March 9, Thaddeus Turner will combine soul, rock and talkbox styling for a family concert. The Rainier Arts Center will host actor Amber Tamblyn discussing her book “Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution” March 14; and International musician Lorraine Klaasen March 29. The Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center will present Woodwin virtuosos Nina Tern and Daphna Mor in an event titled “Music of the Sephardi Diaspora” March 17; and a KUOW discussion on artificial intelligence, geoengineering and bio engineering as part of the stations That’s Debatable series on March 24. Visit Town Hall’s website for a complete listing of events.

Othello Commons announces scholarships

The University of Washington Othello Commons is kicking off its first courses at its new Southeast Seattle branch and is offering scholarships. University of Washington announced a new tech program and scholarship at its new location at Othello Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Classes begin April 11 for a 10-week course on database management systems. Scholarships covering 80 percent of the tuition will be available to 15 students this spring. Applications are due March 1. The Othello Commons opened in January.

WTIA seeking Skyway applicants for collaboration fellowship

Tech group WTIA is seeking applicants for a six-month fellowship to work on the Ion Collaborators project, which seeks to build connections between public, private and social sectors to tackle homelessness, workforce development, education and health inequities. The group is seeking applicants from the Skyway neighborhood for its next cohort. For more information, visit

Featured Image: The Alaska Way Viaduct closed in January and traffic kept moving with increased ridership on public transportation. (“Alaskan Way Viaduct” by afagen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.)