Finding the Burke-Gilman Trail’s Missing Link

The trail is especially popular during the warm spring and summer months. Photo by the author.

The trail is especially popular during the warm spring and summer months. Photo by the author.

On Thursday night the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) hosted an open house on the alternatives for completing the unfinished part of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Ballard. The 1.4 mile “missing link” is the only incomplete portion of the trail, and advocates have been trying to build it for decades. Planning and design was finally underway until 2009, when a group of industrial businesses along Shilshole Avenue sued; they argue its unsafe for their trucks and trains to interact with bicyclists and pedestrians. SDOT is now moving to complete a $2 million environmental impact statement (EIS) of three possible routes by spring 2016.

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Posted in Biking, Government, Industrial, Land Use, Public Participation, Rail, Roads, Transportation, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Planning with Grassroots Media

IMAG3167_editIn 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.

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Posted in Editorial, Event Writeup, Government, Public Participation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seattle Council Candidates Propose Citywide Streetcar System

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The SLU line at its southern terminus. (Photo by the author)

Two at-large candidates for the 2015 Seattle City Council election, John Roderick and Alon Bassok, have jointly proposed a vision for a citywide municipal rail system. Documents released on Wednesday propose a 75-100 mile network built within a decade and funded with a $1 billion property tax levy. It harkens back to the streetcar system Seattle had before it was dismantled in the 1940s. The bold concept goes far beyond what any local transportation agency is planning, and until the election in November it’s uncertain  whether the idea can gain momentum.

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SDOT Studying High Capacity Transit for the Roosevelt Corridor

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Roosevelt Way NE is just one part of the corridor being studied. Photo by the author.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is studying options for transit improvements in the Roosevelt corridor between Downtown and Northgate. Although Sound Transit is currently building Link light rail in the same area, the City’s Transit Master Plan (TMP) identifies this parallel corridor with high ridership potential. It includes South Lake Union and Eastlake, which Link will not serve. At a project open house last week, SDOT staff and their consultants from CDM Smith presented background information and early thoughts on speeding up transit service between these growing neighborhoods.

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Posted in Biking, Buses, Cars, Land Use, Parking, Rail, Roads, Transportation, Walking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Metro Refines 2016 U-Link Connections Proposal

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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 Rail, Buses, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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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