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Seattle has been crazy with the road work. Denny way is all torn up for freakin ever.

I'm also amazed at the amount of construction downtown.

Posted by monkey | July 16, 2007 7:47 PM

My GOLEM!!! Noooooooo! Noooooooo!

Posted by kinaidos | July 16, 2007 7:54 PM

Did they pave your street with chip seal (a spray of bitumen covered with compacted crushed rock) or is it just a layer of rock on the road. Doesn't really matter. Even with chip seal you can expect six months of loose gravel piling up on the side of the road.

I noticed the city paving with chip seal in the north end about seven years ago in the Greenwood area. I do not know if it is part of a cost cutting measure for paving or if it is in some way related to salmon preservation in the Thorton(?) Creek watershed (I have heard references to permeable asphalt).

In any case the stuff sucks.

Posted by some other joe | July 16, 2007 7:56 PM

They did the same thing in the Greenwood neighborhood several years ago. I assumed it was for repaving. The cars press the gravel down instead of the pavers. Lazy or genius, I do not know, but that's all that happened.

Posted by Angela | July 16, 2007 7:57 PM

Chip sealing fucking sucks! For bicylists, it is like riding through molasses, even after the 6 months of cars-throwing-peanut-sized-shrapnel at your legs, torso, arms and face. Wear eye protection!!! I used to live in a place where all new paving was chipseal, it is a disaster. See @3 for technical description.

Posted by holes in legs | July 16, 2007 8:09 PM

Yeah, Chip Seal is Nickel's wonderful solution for cheap road work. AND little rocks everywhere.

Can we impeach Nickels already? He really is a fuck up!!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 16, 2007 8:11 PM

The city’s description of the chip seal process can be found here.

Posted by some other joe | July 16, 2007 8:14 PM

Chipped seal? This is an outrage! Where's PETA?

Posted by SteveR | July 16, 2007 9:47 PM

It's used all the time in Eastern WA/Northern ID. I suppose it's a step up from dirt...

Posted by Zach | July 16, 2007 9:57 PM

Some other joe: Chip seal is not the same as permeable asphalt. Chip seal is an inexpensive albeit messy way to add a few years life to a road, and is cheaper than a full overlay of pavement.

Permeable pavement is an expensive solution for installing a new road or walkway but the cost of the special pavement is far less than the cost of all the required drain pipes, detention ponds, and water quality treatment measures that are usually required.

It is only used in special cases right now, due to the initial expense and the special installation methods required. But its use is growing.

Posted by Dr_Awesome | July 16, 2007 10:09 PM

Awesome. I just have to applaud the golem person and the chipped seal contributor. Bravo.

Posted by lauren | July 16, 2007 10:52 PM

You can't blame Nickels for chip seal. They've been using it for ages. I remember when I was in high school, they repaved my street with lovely smooth black top (I used to roller skate down my hill, so the black top was awesome), then showed up a week or two later and chip sealed on top of it, turning my street from a smooth heavenly skate to a tooth-rattling, jarring, painful experience. Even with the softest wheels I could find, it was pretty much unskateable -- and that was after the cars had smushed the gravel down for a couple of months. Grrr.

Of course, many other neighborhoods continued to get nice pavement, but the area I lived in at the time got crappy chip seal, and no sidewalks to boot.

Posted by litlnemo | July 17, 2007 3:33 AM

come on spanenthal, you are a shoreline pretender to the thrown if you haven't been through this before.

Oh that's right, you don' have proprer city credintials.

Posted by django | July 17, 2007 3:47 AM

Chip seal is used all over, not just Seattle. As previously described, it's an inexpensive maintenance solution. Public Works budgets are tight. The alternatives are either let the roads fall into disrepair (for cars and bikes) or raise taxes for a more expensive ashpalt overlay.

Posted by Steve | July 17, 2007 7:18 AM

"raise taxes for a more expensive ashpalt overlay"

Lets do that one.

Posted by Giffy | July 17, 2007 8:17 AM

But hey, after a bit of traffic, all the hard edges are worn down, so instead of hard bumps, they're soft bumps. wheee...

Posted by Phenics | July 17, 2007 8:18 AM


Born and raised, man. I've just managed to avoid chip-seal up till now.

Posted by Jonah S | July 17, 2007 8:24 AM

chip seal is cheaper than new concrete, and it placates the asphalt & gravel pit lobbies.

with the pitiful condition of most seattle streets & the skyrocketing cost of construction, ANY construction, you should be grateful you're getting anything for your doubled property taxes. all i get is view-blocking spec homes.

Posted by maxsolomon | July 17, 2007 8:41 AM

We DID raise taxes to pave the roads. Bridging The Gap anyone? If I have to ride my bike on this crap I'm gonna go apeshit!

Posted by DOUG. | July 17, 2007 9:00 AM

So basically chip seal is like shoe-goo for roads; cheaper than buying new shoes, but also kind of pointless and ineffective.

Posted by Judah | July 17, 2007 9:07 AM

Fnarf and I can tell you it is "Thornton"

Posted by kt | July 17, 2007 9:10 AM

Thank you, KT, for sticking up for that neglected "n".

Shoreline? So who are you complaining about? Greg Nickels doesn't have anything to do with Shoreline. If you want to live out in the woods, you're going to have to expect some rusticality.

As for Greenwood, the reason they don't do a proper paving job there is because the whole damn place is a sinkhole, and there's no point spending a lot of money on good asphalt just to watch it disappear. I see they're building some condos in the old Hancock/Shop'n'Save parking lot; they're probably going to have to build it on pilings.

Posted by Fnarf | July 17, 2007 9:18 AM

Fnarf @22: Maybe they'll just suck the water out of the underlying bog, and every building within 5 blocks can sink another few feet.

Posted by Greg Barnes | July 17, 2007 10:21 AM

Yeah, they proposed a pretty big renovation of that area (just east of Fred Myers) a couple years ago. It'll be some serious gentrification of an area that I assume hasn't been gentrified because of the problems created when the ground randomly sinks from time to time. I too wonder what they're doing to deal with that...

That said, I grew up in Island County when pretty much every road was chip sealed. As a skater with no car it really sucked. The only roads you could skate on were the oldest most worn down ones and even those would make your feet go numb. I'm pretty sure that at certain downhill speeds the vibration would make you hover about 1/2 inch off the board, which wasn't ideal for obvious control reasons.

Posted by not original Andrew | July 17, 2007 10:26 AM

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