Seattle PBS channel KCTS asked local architect Rick Mohler to deconstruct Seattle’s new apartment buildings. Explains some of Vancouver’s look too, only we need the highrise version.Read more »
Daily Durning found another Great Mistake to add to the list, from Streetsblog:
Parking spaces are everywhere, but for some reason the perception persists that there’s “not enough parking.” And so cities require parking in new buildings and lavishly subsidize parking garages, without ever measuring how much parking exists or how much it’s used.
Now new research presents credible estimates of the total parking supply in several American cities for the first time. The report from Eric Scharnhorst at the Research Institute for Housing America, an arm of the Mortgage Bankers Association, provides city-level evidence of the nation’s massively overbuilt parking supply and the staggering cost to the public [PDF].
After decades of requiring parking for new construction, car storage has become the primary land use in many city areas.
In Seattle, one-third of the city’s parking supply is located in downtown garages. … the parking occupancy rate downtown is 64 percent. …
Scharnhorst concludes that cities should change course, and that in places with excessive parking developers should “allocate capital to non-parking uses” — a.k.a. housing, commercial buildings, and, in general, the sorts of things that make cities habitable for people instead of cars.
Images: Research Institute for Housing AmericaRead more »
Read more »
You have to admire the good folks in Seattle for their approach to making the argument for safe, separated, protected bike lanes.
Last week, in order to encourage the development of a continuous separated bikeway, volunteers came out to create a “people protected bikeway”. And they did a very good job, as documented on Twitter.
Read more »
How did a transit-backward town become a national poster child for ridership success?
So asks CityLab; since 2007, the fastest-growing city in the country has added nearly a quarter million jobs (thanks in considerable part to Amazon), and has grown in population by more than 15 percent since 2010.
Remarkably, though, Seattle has not gained more cars in its most congested areas. The number of commuters driving private vehicles downtown has declined by 10 percent since 2010, even as new residents and workers have spiked.
Another backgrounder on the housing dilemma from the Seattle Times. And just so you know, it’s estimated that 80 percent of residential land in Vancouver is zoned for ‘single-family’ — a misleading term, since it doesn’t define family, and almost every sf-home in Vancouver can have multiple units via secondary suites and lane houses. But you get the idea — they’re low-density, separated and super-expensive.
This is the second edition of real-estate reporter Mike Rosenberg’s new housing column, which takes a deeper dive into the booming housing market and answers reader questions. Read the first instalment here.Read more »
Last month the Seattle Times sent reporter David Gutman up to Vancouver for a story on the similarities and differences in transportation between the two cities – an unusual commitment in this day of constrained resources. He talked to a lot of people (including Price Tags) and here is a much-abridged version of what he found. (Full story here.)
With three fully-built light-rail lines and an interconnected bus network, Vancouver’s transportation system is like Seattle’s, just a couple of decades in the future. But the Canadian city differs in its rock-solid commitment to building housing right on top of transit.
Metro Vancouver — which comprises Vancouver and 23 surrounding cities and towns — is a region being built, more and more, around its thriving and ever-expanding light-rail system. …
South Lake Union, home of Amazon and the epicenter of Seattle’s construction boom, currently has 15 major projects under construction, about evenly split between apartments and office space.
South Lake Unions are sprouting up at SkyTrain stops all over Metro Vancouver. …
“There’s different attitudes about density than in Seattle, that’s for sure,” said Kevin Desmond, CEO of TransLink, the agency in charge of transit and roads in Metro Vancouver. “But if you’re going to manage congestion, which is getting worse and worse in Seattle, you’ve got to get people nearer to transit.” …
Throughout the region, 146 developments are being built close enough to a SkyTrain station or track that they need special permission from the rail agency.
In 2012, there were only two such developments. …
Seattle’s indispensable historian Knute Berger does a series on the city’s bike background:
How bikes led Seattle’s first roads renaissance
Meet Seattle’s first bike vigilantes
The car that broke the back of Seattle’s bike craze
Seattle was once a bicyclist’s city — and it could be again
From the Seattle Times, via Daily Durning:
Seattle will develop a plan to toll city roadways as part of its efforts to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse-gas emissions, Mayor Jenny Durkan said Tuesday.
Details of what such a plan might look like are sparse, and will hinge on a tolling study focused on downtown neighborhoods that should have initial results later this year. …
Durkan said she was hopeful a congestion-pricing system could be in place by the end of her first term, in 2021. …
Seattle could implement tolling within the city without the permission of the state Legislature, but it would almost certainly require the approval of city voters.
In 2015, 56 percent of Puget Sound-area voters said systemwide tolling was a bad or very bad idea, according to a poll from the Puget Sound Regional Council. …
Revenues from congestion pricing would be used to increase transit service throughout the city and to support more electric transportation infrastructure, Durkan said. …
Limited tolling is already coming to downtown Seattle, with the opening of the Highway 99 tunnel, scheduled for later this year. But the state Transportation Commission continues to struggle deciding how much to toll and when to start tolling.
Read more »
Along with a high-speed train link to Seattle as reported in Price Tags Vancouver, there is a new “by sea option” too. After seven years of planning Harbour Air Group will work with Seattle’s Kenmore Air to fly four times a week between Coal Harbour and Lake Union in Seattle, very close to Amazon.com’s headquarters.
The big challenge for this route as reported by Glen Korstrom in Business in Vancouver has been obtaining a Canadian Border Services Agency approval for a customs desk at Coal Harbour. There already is an American customs facility at the Lake Union dock in Seattle.
The proposed flights will land passengers in Seattle under one hour. In the interim the B.C. government is also contributing financially for a business-case report on the feasibility of the high-speed train link, bringing these two Cascadia cities closer together along the “innovation corridor”.
The Great Freeway Fight is one of the key mythologies of post-war Vancouver, still referenced as a key to understanding this place. But at exactly the same time – late 1960s to 1972 – a parallel fight was happening in Seattle. While I-5 had been built (and was used explicitly by the Vancouver Planning Commission to oppose the Chinatown Freeway), Seattle citizens were organizing to oppose two more freeways.
The so-called Freeway Revolt didn’t just determine the fate of Seattle’s built environment — halting the development of the proposed R.H. Thomson Expressway and Bay Freeway — it was also a galvanizing force in local politics, according to a new directory released by the Seattle Public Library.
Read more »
Seattle’s Freeway Revolt: A Citizen Movement that Shaped Seattle
In the late 1960s and 1970s, a broad coalition of activists in Seattle challenged plans for a dense network of freeways traversing and girdling the city. Seattle’s freeway revolt was remarkable in its scope and diversity, uniting geographically, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse groups across the city. Their collective actions over a multi-year period succeeded in halting two major freeways and significantly downsizing a third, saving parks, shoreline and thousands of homes and businesses. …
The freeway revolt was part of a unique period of activism and social change in Seattle, from the anti-war, environmental and Black Power movements to transformation of the Seattle City Council with a “new wave” of political leaders. The well-known “Save the Pike Place Market” initiative passed at the ballot only a few months before voters defeated the R.H. Thomson and Bay Freeways; leaders of the two movements were collaborators and colleagues.
Organizations such as the Seattle Model Cities program, Central Seattle Community Council Federation, Choose an Effective City Council and the Forward Thrust campaign came into being around this time and intersected with the freeway revolt around issues of community empowerment, civic leadership and mass transit.