Let’s Bury I-5: Redux

Logo-01-01-01Earlier this year I proposed capping Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle. The original idea was radical, and it received a flood of positive and negative feedback. This entry looks at the project more critically, dials it back to a reasonable scope, and includes additional details. I’m tackling this again because I plan to pursue it as a thesis for my master’s degree over the coming year. I chose not to update the original post in order to preserve it as a record, but to accommodate new readers I have repeated (and edited) some of the original content here.

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Posted in Government, Housing, Land Use, Landscape, Megaprojects, Parks, Public Space, Schools, Sustainability, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The Alaskan Way Viaduct Must Come Down

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Under the Park My Viaduct proposal, this view won’t change much.

A group of Seattle residents called Park My Viaduct is campaigning to convert the city’s waterfront freeway into a linear park, akin to New York’s High Line. They are proposing to save 14 blocks of the concrete double-decked structure, put the idea to a vote in the November 2015 election, and construct safety improvements at a cost of $250 million. But this idea is in opposition to the entire purpose of the ongoing waterfront reconstruction, which has already had a public participation process, is already partially funded, and is currently being built. The entire viaduct should be demolished as planned.

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U-District Open Space Forum Wraps Up

 The third and final public meeting on an update to the U-District neighborhood’s park plan was held on Wednesday night. Like the first meeting (I missed the second), the event was well attended and organized. Here, city staff and their consultants presented a synthesis of ideas they heard during group discussions at the previous meeting. The direction that the plan will take is ambitious and will embody the core values of the community. The current plan, last updated in 2006, hasn’t been extensively acted upon, but the recent creation of the Seattle Parks District will help improve and add park spaces here and citywide.

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Posted in Housing, Land Use, Parks, Policy, Public Space, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Paving the Way for Bike Safety on Roosevelt Way

Roosevelt Way, looking south from 45th Street. During most of the day traffic is relatively light.

Roosevelt Way, looking south from 45th Street. During most of the day traffic is relatively light.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) expects to repave arterial streets every ten to twelve years, and each cycle presents an opportunity to comply with the city’s complete streets ordinance and improve mobility for all users. One such project is due to be completed next summer in northeast Seattle. The repaving of Roosevelt Way between 65th Street and 40th Street will include the replacement of a parking lane with a protected bike lane in the area south of 45th Street. In an unprecedented move, a temporary version of the protected bike lane will be constructed within the next two months before the full repaving next year. This may hint at the growing influence of active residents and a change in the City’s responsiveness to safety concerns.

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Posted in Biking, Buses, Cars, Government, Parking, Policy, Public Space, Roads, Transportation, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

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The Pacific Northwest is already being impacted by climate change, according to the latest National Climate Assessment (NCA). The consequences for the region’s economy and natural resources are significant. Washington, Oregon, and Idaho can expect reduced snowpack for water supplies, coastal inundation and ocean acidification, loss of forestland to fire and disease, and changes to the agricultural landscape. Even so, changes here will be less severe than elsewhere, and the region could expect to see environmental refugees as storms, floods, and fires ravage the rest of the country.

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Seattle Area 2014 Election Results


The votes are still being counted, but the early results of the 2014 election indicate good news for urbanists and transit advocates in the Puget Sound area. Here is a brief rundown on the key measures and races as of Tuesday evening. The Seattle Times is providing comprehensive coverage of all elections statewide. Analysis below the jump.

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Posted in Buses, Government, Rail, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Legacy and Prophecy: The 2014 APA Washington State Conference

The annual two-day Washington state planning conference wrapped on Friday in Spokane, and I came away with a refreshed sense of the many issues planners face both now and in the coming years. The sessions covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from farmland preservation and family housing to economic development and comprehensive plan updates. The two keynote speakers reiterated the need for smart growth strategies and keys to success of retail districts. I only attended a few of the many sessions, and what is offered here is a brief review of them and ongoing planning in Spokane, the state’s second largest city.

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Event Recap: U-District Open Space Forum

Some 100 University District residents and employees attended a new community forum on Tuesday night that seeks to revitalize the neighborhood’s vision for its existing and future public spaces. Seattle’s standards for open space are 1 acre/1,000 households and 1 acre/10,000 jobs, and currently the neighborhood has a 3 acre deficit. With 1,500 residential units now under construction or planned, and an additional 4,000 units expected by 2035, the neighborhood’s open space deficit will surely grow. Amidst other planning processes, including an upzoning centered around the 45th Street light rail station, the goal of the forum is to publish an updated public space plan for the U-District that will guide future planning and development.

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