Lid I-5 Charrette Draws Big Crowd and Big Ideas

20160507_105034Last Saturday a diverse mix of Seattle residents, designers, and community leaders converged on the 12th Avenue Arts building to imagine lidding Interstate 5. At least 75 people packed a conference room all morning and gathered around tables full of maps and trace paper to hash out ideas for how lids should be designed and integrated into the city’s existing urban fabric. Designs universally included park space, but there was also a strong showing of bike and pedestrian trails, housing, and even an elementary school. The charrette succeeded in kicking off a broader public conversation of lidding I-5 and building a grassroots movement to correct the mistakes of 20th century infrastructure.

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Lid I-5 Charrette Set for May 7

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The Lid I-5 campaign is kicking into high gear with its first major public event scheduled for May 7 at Capitol Hill Housing. The event is open to the public, and people are encouraged to reach out to friends and neighbors to form design teams beforehand. Teams will arrive at 8am for an introduction to the vision of lidding Interstate 5, be provided background information, and set off for several hours of brainstorming, drawing, and mapping. The details are listed below.

What: Lid I-5 Neighborhood Design Charrette
When: Saturday, May 7, 8am to 1pm
Where: Capitol Hill Housing (1620 12th Avenue, Suite 205, Seattle, WA)
Who: Open to all (RSVP here)

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Introducing The Bainbridge-Bellevue Freeway: Bridge to Somewhere

SR-520With the state government so gungho about new highway construction we might as well build more of them whether they make sense or not. Widening I-405? Fine. Extending SR-167? Amateur. I can draw lines on a map too. So, here’s an idea that would go further than the current SR-520 rebuild: extend that freeway to Bainbridge Island to connect with Bellevue. It might create jobs and decreate congestion. The opportunities are endless with enough concrete.

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Seattle Bus Restructure Takes Effect, And an Ode to the 70-Series

20160325_223418Last Saturday, one week after two new light rail stations opened in Seattle, King County Metro implemented its major service change intended to more efficiently connect people with the stations. The changes consist of new, revised, and deleted routes mostly north of the Ship Canal but there were also a few changes that effect riders in the Capitol Hill and Central District areas. With this post I’ll give a quick rundown of the changes and offer an ode to the 71/72/73, which have ended their reign as the workhorse routes between northeast Seattle and Downtown.

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University Link Opens To Great Fanfare

DSCN0860_editTwenty years ago, when voters first approved Sound Move, the idea of rapid rail transit in Seattle was only a fuzzy concept. It was something that had been declined by 1960s voters and only the oldest residents might have recalled the city once had a sprawling network of streetcars. But finally, in 2009, the central portion of Link light rail opened between Downtown and the airport and opened up a new realm of transportation. Seattle’s transit world grew again with the next two stations that opened Saturday.

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Posted in Density, Land Use, Megaprojects, Mixed Use, Public Art, Rail, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

CascadiaCast Episode 6: Nathan Vass

NathanOn this episode of CascadiaCast I had a lively chat with Nathan Vass, who splits his time between driving for King County Metro and his artistic pursuits in photography and video. He also frequently writes short stories about his experience operating buses on his blog, The View from Nathan’s Bus, and cross-posts many entries to The Urbanist.

Of his preferred shift, the nighttime 7, he said, “It’s the lowest seniority route in the entire system…because of the clientele and the parts of town it goes to in Rainier Valley. It’s my favorite route. For the very same reason. I love those people, there’s good people everywhere.”

Born in Los Angeles but largely raised in Seattle, we discuss Nathan’s early fascination with transit and how he came to study photography at the University of Washington. He finds a deep, humanistic link between driving buses and photographing scenes of urban life and people. Nathan prefers film, saying “…film has the ability to do things that are a little more painterly that can offer emotional truths, that the very crisp literal truth of digital cannot quite get to.” He wants to answer the question, “…what does ordinary life feel like this in this corner of the world? Or, how can I capture something that I couldn’t quite get down in words, but maybe I can get with a picture?”

Nathan and I talked further about Seattle’s growth, neighborhood advocacy, and changes in cultural norms: “Once the service industry slash working class folks are priced into having to drive, because they have to live so far away, you’ve really killed something in terms of the economics of the city and how it can function.” He anticipates how University Link will improve his commute and considered how Seattle’s transportation network can evolve further. Nathan is also inspired by his travels to locales as diverse as Italy and South Korea.

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CascadiaCast Episode 5: Cathy Tuttle

Cathy Tuttle photoAfter a bit of a lull, CascadiaCast is back! (And with a hell of a lot better sound quality.)

I had the exciting opportunity to talk with Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. We took a fascinating dive into her background as a Seattle parks planner, Planning Commission staffer, and local sustainability advocate. A sabbatical in Sweden and her family’s challenges in bicycling and walking around Seattle inspired her to advocate for safer streets for everyone. Today her influence is apparent in the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, greenways and corridor safety projects across the city, and the policy agenda of the Seattle City Council. She also helped lead the city’s adoption of the Vision Zero movement and the voter-approved Move Seattle levy, a ten year, $930 million package that will improve transportation options citywide.

We conclude with advice on how people can begin similar grassroots efforts in other communities:

We can have cities that are inclusive, that really pay attention to the values that families have, that everyday people want to have when they’re walking and biking. And driving! And living lives that are full of dignity on our streets. I mean, you have to keep on building coalitions. You can’t just make it, grassroots are interconnected roots. You can’t just say ‘it’s my blade of grass’. It’s a field of grass.

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Posted in Biking, Buses, CascadiaCast, Demographics, Government, Housing, Land Use, Parks, Policy, Schools, Transportation, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment