In April I had the pleasure of presenting with fellow urbanists and writers at the 2015 National Planning Conference in Seattle. Our panel, “Planning with Grassroots Media”, sought to enlighten city planners on how local blogs and neighborhood websites can greatly improve planning processes and boost public participation. The audience was spilling out the door and we had some great questions, so the presentation and audio recording are now being made available in this post.
Posted in Editorial, Event Writeup, Government, Public Participation
Tagged 2015, American Planning Association, APA, blogs, conference, engagement, grassroots media, Josh Feit, National Planning Conference, neighborhoods, Nick Welch, Northwest Urbanist, NPC, online, Owen Pickford, presentaiton, public participation, PubliCola, Scott Bonjukian, Seattle, The Urbanist, traditional media
Bicyclists ride the new protected bike lanes on northbound Brooklyn Avenue NE. (Photo by the author)
Over the last few weeks the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) installed protected bike lane (PBL) projects on both ends of the University District. The neighborhood is popular for bicycle commuting, with over 5,000 bike daily trips to the University of Washington campus. The projects are a step towards implementing the city’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic deaths and fatalities, and they will encourage even more residents, students, and employees to bike. These projects are low-hanging fruit however, and key connections to the Burke-Gilman Trail and between the north and south ends of the neighborhood remain unfulfilled.
Posted in Biking, Transportation
Tagged 15th Avenue NE, Brooklyn Avenue, Burke-Gilman, Campus Parkway, Cowen Park Bridge, Cowen Place, design, dorms, installation, light rail, park, parking, PBL, photos, protected bike lanes, Ravenna Boulevard, residence halls, Roosevelt, Seattle Bike Blog, trail, university district, university of washington
The stoop of a demolished single-family house on NE 65th Street, one of many properties that Hugh Sisley has let deteriorate in the Roosevelt neighborhood. (Photo by the author)
On Monday the Seattle City Council will vote on whether to acquire a one-fifth-acre property from Hugh Sisley, an infamous slumlord in the city’s Roosevelt neighborhood. The city has been doing battle with Sisley for years over code violations and unpaid fines at his deteriorating residential and commercial structures. Earlier this year City Attorney Pete Holmes put his foot down and declared that the City will seek payment for the fines and to publicly acquire at least one of them for a new park.
Posted in Housing, Land Use, Parks, Public Space
Tagged light rail, street, park, fees, affordable housing, Ed Murray, Roosevelt, urban village, Parks Department, Sisley, Sisleys, litigation, properties, demolition, fines, eminent domain, condemn, property, 14th Avenue NE, green street, public housing, Roosevelt High School, Pete Holmes
An illustration of how some of the HALA recommendations would shape neighborhoods. (City of Seattle)
The Seattle City Council is considering recommendations to increase the city’s amount and variety of affordable housing options. Over the past year, the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda Advisory Committee (HALA) has been working to develop land use and housing program policies that will fulfill Mayor Ed Murray’s goal for 50,000 new housing units – 40 percent of those “affordable” – over the next 10 years. Here is a selection of the most important policies that will make Seattle more affordable for people of all incomes.
Posted in Housing, Land Use, Parking, Policy, Residential, Transportation
Tagged affordability, City Council, committee, design, developer, goal, HALA, housing, income, mayor, murray, neighborhood, plan, policies, real estate, recommendations, rent, residential, Seattle, top, unit, wages
The crash scene on Thursday morning. (KOMO News)
Author’s Note: This article was updated September 24 and 28, 2015 to add new information.
On Thursday morning a tragic crash on Seattle’s Aurora Bridge between an amphibious Ride The Ducks tour vehicle and a charter bus left at least five people dead and 52 people injured. While the investigation is only beginning and many factors could be at play, the design of the bridge is almost certainly a key cause of the crash. The Aurora Bridge must be redesigned to address the simple but critical safety issues of lane width and speed.
Posted in Editorial, Roads, Transportation
Tagged Aurora Bridge, barrier, bus, channelization, collision, crash, design, fatalities, George Washington Memorial Bridge, injuries, killed, lane width, median, redesign, Ride the Ducks, road diet, safety, sidewalks, speed, traffic
Author’s Note: This article was updated September 8, 2015 to correct details of the Initiative 123 campaign and proposal.
Last week the Seattle City Council reluctantly approved forwarding the Alaskan Way Viaduct preservation effort to the August 2016 ballot. The group known as “Park My Viaduct” will seek voter approval for Initiative 123, which would create a public development authority (PDA) to build and operate a mile-long elevated park on the Alaskan Way waterfront. I was one of the first local writers to cover the campaign in depth. Now that it’s headed to the voters new details are available, but I will reiterate my position the idea is against the public’s best interests.
Posted in Parks, Public Space, Transportation
Tagged Alaskan Way, ballot, City Council, DWPDA, earthquake, garden bridge, I-123, infrastructure, Initiative 123, James Corner, Kate Martin, Park My Viaduct, Pike Place Market, project, proposal, replacement, Seattle, tunnel, viaduct, Waterfront Seattle, WSDOT
On Tuesday King County Executive Dow Constantine transmitted his recommendations for connecting new light rail stops with Seattle bus routes to the County Council. The recommendations come after nine months of public feedback and detailed input from a community Sounding Board, on which I sat. The goal was to come up with a refreshed bus network that will complement, and not duplicate, light rail service and provide more frequent service to a greater number of Seattle residents. Previous alternatives were narrowed down to this proposal. Some sacrifices had to made in geographical and temporal coverage, and some issues like inconvenient transfers remain. The King County Council is now accepting feedback on the final ordinance that will put the changes into effect early next year.
Posted in Buses, Government, Transportation
Tagged sound transit, Seattle, light rail, university of washington, Link, King County, metro, bus, Capitol Hill, service, Council, Executive, SDOT, revision, system, schedule, U-Link, restructure, frequency, Sounding Board, recommendations, Northeast, comment, transfers