First U-District Parklet Opens

The parklet on 43rd Street is a work in progress. (Photo by Andres Salomon)

The U-District parklet on 43rd Street opened during the neighborhood’s popular street fair. (Photo by Andres Salomon)

During the University District Street Fair last weekend the neighborhood welcomed its first official parklet. Located on 43rd Street at University Way, the parklet replaces two parking spaces and complements a Pronto bike share station outside of an ice cream shop and near several restaurants. It’s the latest example of the City of Seattle’s efforts to create open spaces in public right-of-way, and another is on the way just across the street.

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Posted in Biking, Parking, Parks, Policy, Public Space | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Metro Refines 2016 U-Link Connections Proposal


Traffic congestion at Denny and Stewart. Photo by the author.

Today King County Metro released a more refined “Alternative 3″ for how bus service can be restructured around Seattle’s two new light stations opening early next year. This proposal is a hybrid of two earlier options and incorporates a wide variety of public feedback. And, critically, this version includes Prop 1 service hours approved by Seattle voters last year. Throughout May Metro and Sound Transit are conducting another round of public outreach to see where tweaks can be made, and then a final proposal will be sent to the King County Council this summer and implemented March 2016. Check the Metro website for more information.

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Posted in Buses, Rail, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Protected Bike Lanes Coming to Northeast Seattle

Eastbound on Ravenna Boulevard. Photo by the author.

Eastbound on Ravenna Boulevard. Photo by the author.

Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) staff hosted an open house on Tuesday to present conceptual plans for improving bike routes in northeast Seattle between East Green Lake Way N and 20th Avenue NE. Most of the project will simply be the installation of standard plastic posts between the existing bike lanes and vehicle lanes on Ravenna Boulevard. The project will also extend protected bike lanes (PBL) east to 15th Avenue NE, install new PBLs on Cowen Place and the Cowen Park Bridge, and create a two-way route for bicyclists on NE 62nd Street.

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CascadiaCast Episode 3: Michael Maddux

Michael Maddux_crop

In this episode I sit down with Michael Maddux, a paralegal and Democratic Party leader running for Seattle City Council in District 4. Michael helped spearhead the formation of permanent parks and recreation funding through the voter-approved Seattle Parks District in 2013. And hailing from Eastlake, a neighborhood that has not seen its fair share of public investment over the past two decades, Michael has a vision for a more vibrant and equitable city. His ideas include reforming the land use code to better protect neighborhood character while increasing housing stock, improving how police officers and construction workers are recruited from within the community,  creating a more progressive tax structure, and investing more in schools as the city grows.

Michael closed by referencing the uncertainty around Sound Transit funding, saying, “We don’t need Olympia’s approval to be a great city. When we thrive our whole area thrives.…the last time we had massive, bold investments in the area was the 1960s and 1970s, Forward Thrust. Let’s do it again. Let’s do it for housing, for transit, and parks”.

iTunes | RSS Feed | Download (right click and “save as…”) | Stream below

Map of Seattle's new City Council districts. Seats 8 and 9 are citywide. Click to enlarge. (King County Elections)

Map of Seattle’s new City Council districts. Seats 8 and 9 are citywide. Click to enlarge. (King County Elections)

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

King County Metro Launches Broad Planning Effort


People discuss transit issues at the visioning workshop. Photo by the author.

On Tuesday night King County Metro kicked off public outreach for a Long Range Plan that will outline the future of public transportation in the Seattle region. It’s the next in a series of past plans that guide the agency’s provision of services, this one prompted by the region’s rapid growth and recent funding debacles. Last night’s event at the Seattle Central Public Library started with a brief workshop and moved to a panel discussion of notable figures in the transit world. Their remarks offered direction for Metro’s efforts in equity, technology, and community.

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Posted in Buses, Government, Land Use, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Internship Opening at The Northwest Urbanist


Hiring Sign

Update: This article is an April Fool’s joke.

The Northwest Urbanist has an outstanding internship “opportunity” for the qualified individual interested in city planning news and events in the Seattle region. The position is flexible and can be fulfilled at home or a real place of employment; occasional non-SOV travel may be required for strategy meetings. The intern will work directly under the supervision of the founder/writer/editor/graphic designer/director/manager. Compensation is dependent on leftover funding from student loan payments.


  • Observe and report
  • Write 1,000+ word articles on anything, anything at all related to cities
  • Manage the Facebook page with an eye for like-generating potential
  • Attend City Council meetings with zest
  • Research growth potential and new markets for one-man blogging operations with zero budget
  • Create snazzy graphics when the time is right
  • Smile and nod during explanations of the benefits of freeway lids
  • Manage logistics of spare batteries during podcast recordings

Desired qualifications:

  • Internet connection
  • Proficiency in the Adobe Creative Suite, Paint, Microsoft Office Suite, SketchUp, and iTunes
  • Typing speed of 500 words per minute
  • A high school diploma or 10 years experience in city planning, or some combination of education and work history that fulfills competency needed for the position
  • Appropriate taste in Instagram filters
  • At least one week of experience in blogging, tindering, tweeting, texting, snapchatting, and whatever else is cool these days
  • Mild tolerance for online comments; strong tolerance preferred
  • Ability to check the ego at the door

Submit the following to apply in a single PDF to northwesturbanist [at]

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • Photocopy of Pronto! bike share membership card and/or ORCA card
  • Essay on how your life came to this point
  • Answers to the 17 essential city planning questions
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On Growth, Transit, and Bikes in Vancouver B.C.

The entire city center is wrapped by a continuous multi-use trail, making for an excellent transportation, exercise, recreation, and people-watching corridor.

Vancouver’s entire city center is wrapped by a continuous multi-use shoreline trail, making for an excellent transportation, exercise, recreation, and people-watching amenity. Photo by the author.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting Vancouver, B.C. again and have finally gotten around to writing about it. I managed to stay for a weekend instead of 30 hours and had a real excuse to go: the SCARP Symposium. Planning students at the University of British Columbia (UBC) put on the seventh iteration of this annual one-day event about urban issues in Vancouver and the greater region. First up, the most important things I saw and heard at the symposium that other Northwesterners may be interested in. I’ll tie that into the city’s ongoing transportation referendum and my experience of the city by bike, which I hauled up via Amtrak.

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Posted in Biking, Climate, Event Writeup, Government, Public Space, Sustainability, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment