There is a new organization in town. It’s called Friends of Seattle, and it’s mission is…
Friends of Seattle envisions a city that grows substantially in the next fifty years, yet becomes an even better place to live. Seattle residents and local government act progressively to create a sustainable, healthy, and livable future for all who live here, while respecting our unique cultural, environmental, and architectural assets.
To achieve this future, Seattle can and should aspire to be a city of walkable neighborhoods, more affordable housing, an efficient transit network, a restored natural ecology, and more parks and public gathering spaces, all while taking responsibility for its impact on the environment.
Pretty basic stuff, right? Seattle has a rap of being a progressive city, right?
Lets look at the facts.
Certain state and city leaders are pushing for a rebuilt Alaskan Way Viaduct. That’s a new freeway through the heart of “Let’s Reduce Greenhouse Gases” Seattle. Not too progressive, I’d say.
Old Seattle is fighting housing density tooth and nail. Single family housing, by far the largest zoning designation in the city, is sacrosanct. Have you tried to buy a townhouse in Seattle? Not too many of them, and their all as expensive as a single family house. Buying condos outside the downtown core? Good luck with that, too. “Progressive” Seattle takes another hit.
What about transportation in Seattle? We have to be ahead of the times here, right? Not so much. There’s no push to expand the currently-under-construction Seattle Streetcar on Lake Union. What’s more, city leaders are fussing over a novelty streetcar that carries tourists. Progressive points get knocked off here, too.
There are so many more places where “progressive” Seattle needs a kick in the ass, and Friends of Seattle is the organization to give it to them. Their launch party is this Tuesday, and I’ll be there.
The event is free, but a $10 dollar donation gets you membership in FoS and includes an exciting free FoS cocktail.
Location: Twist Restaurant & Lounge
2313 First Ave (First Avenue and Bell Street)
Progressive Seattle is another term for “High taxes Seattle” – especially the property kind.
Oh, I guess all us regular people can live in a studio apartments and give over our lifetime homes to the veddy,veddy rich.
What’s it to you, anyway.
Roger Rabbit spews:
How can a cocktail that costs a $10 “donation” be “free”?
Roger Rabbit spews:
How can rebuilding an existing state highway be a “new freeway”?
Roger Rabbit spews:
ye publick notice
Roger Rabbit will not be posting much for a couple days. Roger is not dead, but Roger’s computer is dead.
Stephen Schwartz spews:
I do not think we would agree on what progressive means.
High density housing? Sure, but where? There is a huge threat by Nickles’ developers to many neighborhoods, esp. Capital Hill. High density on Broadway? That is a good thing. High density on Broadway without parking to make the retail core viable is just plain stupid.
The SLU development? Someplace between fanatsy and civic ripoff, it seems to me. Most of the new construction I have seen has the architectual charm of a Stalin era project in Moscow. Cheap siding, no courtyards, no public places, ….I heard last night that the mean income of families who have (so far) moved in is $250,000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is this going to be a neighborhood or some Manhattan like high priced dormitory? What happens in 20 years when the red blue and ornage corrugated siding is tawdry and tired?
Biotech park? Really??? I am fairly plugged into the biotech scene and to the best of my knowledge NOONE has made an offer to move in. Guess why? Biotech requires three things: 1. An academic core. The hutch is great bit the UW (i work there) has no vision in re biotech. None of ehat is planned for SLU is biotech directed. 2. Incubator Space. most startups do not have the $$ to build, esp at the awesome squ foot rates Vulcan charges the UW. Seattle area does have incubator space but none of it is in SLU. 3. Easy transportation. SLU is about as inaccessible as Beacon Hill. I am nto exaggerating. The time from our building at SLU to the main UW campus is 30 minutes each way!
Finally, take a lok at Vulcan, the City, or the UW .. see if you can find out who is leading this effort .Ain’t there.
We do agree on two things. Seattle needs high density and high density needs good urban mass transit. BOTH require a level of leadership we do not have in this city. Between the fiasco over the monorail and the silly choo choo train Nickles built for Alan (think … WHO is going to want to use the streetcar to go from SLU to Westlake???? ), the only bright spots are the REGIONAL light rail project and AMTRAK.
Both will bring more people into Seattle and once here those folks will be at the mercy of the Metro bus system.
While I am YELLING here is some more:
Seattle Schools: WADR, the leadership sucks. Seattle has a tiny Black population but spends most of its political capital on this on problem. Succcesful schools and programs .. APP, Garfield for example, are penalized because they do not address the problme of 5% of our population. The School Board … with no recompense, naturally attracts unemployed, under educated, folk with n0othing better to do with their time.
So … let me offer MY plan:
My understanding is that most I99 traffic is into and out of Seattle, not through. Restructure the problem around access to the city and devote whatever minimal resources are needed to allow NS commercial traffic. WE SHOULD NOT BE ENCOURAGING USE OF THE SEATTLE WATERFRONT FOR COMMERCIAL TRAFFIC THROUGH THE CITY.
Require regional plans from megadevelopers like Vulcan. This means requiring Vulcan to pay for an urban plan for SLU to include representatives of the Hutch, the UW, the city, Metro and the schools. The plan should explain how the new neighborhood will generate/find enough jobs to support itself and generate more taxes than it consumes.
3. Urban Culture
Seattle needs an urban culture plan that intelligently picks neighborhoods for cultural developments that can anchor housing and shopping..
The lack of plans for Seattle Center and the Lake Union area are nuts. Seattle Center has been raped by this city’ First we located the convention center downtown to please the hotels .. making the facilities at Seattle Center uneconomic. Then we hired Venturi t clone a shopping center and call ti the Seattle Art Museum. I won’t discuss Benaroya Hall. Now we are short sheeting the Seattle Seaport concept in return for a boring nw home for the already boring Museum of History of Industry. The gallery district aka Pioneer Square is dieing because no-one thought through the impact of the sports stadia.
We is headed nowheres. Whatever leadership plan we shold have, the current mess needs to go.
5. Mass transit
The CITY needs a transportation plan that is not built on Paul Allen’s blackmail or the sort of populist misdirection resulting in the monorail. A lot of this is OBVIOUS. The slow growth of intellectual industry arounf Lake Union would be accelerated by a circum-lake transit system. Fremont to the U to SLU .. isn’t this obvious? If Vulcan wants t turn Seattle into a long term investment to keep Paul Allen in megayachts, then Allen/Vulcan ought to show some leadership.
6. Seattle Center
OK the Sonics can go, BUT what is to be there? What holds it together? If the Center is our performing arts distirct, then lets make a serious effort at building a multiplex movie theater and attracting museums. How about locating Seattle’s first Central Academic High School on the grounds???
If we really are giving up on Pioneer Square as an arts district, then lets encourage gllaeries on Queen Ave and Roy Street …
If aquaman shows up(or Paul Allen) they can change their moniker to “the Superfriends of Seattle”.
If Seattle was a dish of Phad Thai, these people would be the fried tofu: delicious, yet predicable.
Carl Ballard spews:
There are plenty of neighborhoods outside the urban core where there is some nice multi-family housing. I’ve been looking at appartments in West Seattle and Westwood. There’s nice appartments in Freakmont and the U-District. And some in Sand Point, although not enough. Could there be more, especially in the North End? Yeah, but I think you’re over selling the point.
Stephen Schwartz spews:
I agree that there is some high density housing in the neighborhoods. What is MISSING is any sense of neighborhood development. Look at the mess along Eastlake or the North shore of Lake Union.
For that matter, look at the U District. Does anyone leive there anymore?
Call it the Los Angelization of Seattle.
Everything you list, what you see is only a fraction of what could be- what should be- possible if we were really serious about affordability and density in Seattle.
How fucking OLD are you, SeattleJew?
Loads of people live in the U-District.
Shut the fuck up about “Los Angelization”… That’s a numbnutted term. Use actual words, and don’t knock LA.
I’ll knock LA. Fuck LA. Look in the dictionary for the word LA, and it says “see shithole”. Even the roaches have moved from there because they are afraid of the gangs.
LA is great, busdrivermike.
Great fast food, cheap Mexican food, sunshine all the time.
Women in LA are more attractive, and aren’t big bags of meat like in Seattle.
LA is a great place in ways Seattle isn’t. Knocking LA is for pussies.
Stephen Schwartz spews:
1. I am 65
2. I have had the misfortune of living in LA (actually Long Beach) once for 13 months.
LA does have a lot of good things .. food, cheap stores, ethnicity we don;t have. But as a CITY is a mess. The neighboring territory form LA to the mountains and form Obispo to the Marines, is one endless suburb. About the only escapes to tranquility are golf courses at night.
3. I have lived in Seattle, except for the time in LA, since coming here in the late 60s. Some good things have happened … we used to have horrible restaurants and now many restaurants here are great. We used to have no prof sports teams. They rolled up the sidewalks at 7:30.
we have a fourth rate museum and a scultpure park worthy of a chainstore exhibit. AND we have lost a lot of great exerimental art galleries.
we had a great gay neoighborhood, now it is a dim reflexion of once greatness.
we had a real scandahoovian neghborhood . not s now.
Look, I like a real city. I grw up in a great city (Boston). But, endless ticvky tacky condoes do not a great city make.
When we consider the viaduct, don’t forget in addition to the majority of the drive thru traffic, there is significant traffic which has limited alternatives. There is some industry in Ballard, and the garbage from Seattle’s North Transfer Station (Wallingford) all moves south via the viaduct. There will be impacts if it goes away. How about a lower capacity, higher cost (tolls) alternative?
Stephen Schwartz spews:
K sure ..
but what % of 99 traffic is of the sort you describe? I suspect the total is fairly small and if we had a covered tunnel, as Nickles latest proposal makes, but limit it to commercial traffic, it would be plenty.
Cheap fast food? Great Mexican food?
Wow. You told me. LA is a great place. I would also like to thank the LA city planners responsible for the great weather. With deep thinkers like you, I’m sure it will become part of Mexico any day now……Whoops, too late!
As for better looking women, you can have those botoxed bimbos, baby.
Well, considering it USED to BE a part of Mexico…
Who’s talking about botox? LA is manifest destiny of gene pools. Seattle’s dance card is full of muffin-topped skanks with backpacks. Catch a clue.
It’s just like Seattle people to dis on OTHER places. Fuckin’ WHATEVER.
I just love the people who come to my city because it is so nice, then decide they need things to be just like they had back on the Grimebelt east coast, or some shithole CA city.
Then, you have the nerve to complain when us yokels(who obviously need to be educated away from our backwards ways) about what needs to be done.
Here is what needs to done done. Spend the money to upgrade the Viaduct to seismically acceptable standards. If you want a tunnel, spend your own fucking money on it.
Well, you and your Superfriends of Seattle will never get a vote past a public who knows it is all about a water view for your rich developer buddies. So you will figure out a way around a democratic vote.
Just like the Republicans.
“Friends of Seattle” is a group mostly comprised of younger people.
The meeting YOU want to be going to is “Wheezy Old Folks Talk About How Seattle Used To Be Good”. Membership: Joel Conelly, Knute Berger, Ted van Dyke.
Ted van Dyke LOVES complaining about Paul Allen, so you’ll love him.
You’re a lunatic, Mike.
Where did I say I want a tunnel?
You’re going to get your vote on the tunnel/viaduct, and it won’t matter a damn because the vote is a worthless vote. Why? It’ commits no money eihter way. It’s advisory. It’s about as useful as your weird anti-immigrant whining.
BTW, I’m Seattle born and raised.
Gosh, I’m sorry, I took you at your word when you wrote that blowjob-in-print about the Superfriends of Seattle.
Possibly, you could do some research next time before you open their fly?
Y’know, they have a website. BTW, I lived in that shithole called LA for awhile. It is more than Griffith Park and Universal Studios.
I also like the way you try to get a rise out of me with your catty namecalling. Your so brave in your living room.
Their official position is: No Rebuild. They are not anti-tunnel. But they aren’t pro-tunnel. Might want to do your own fuuuhkin’ research before you hit “Submit Comment”.
Vulgarity, Mike! Blow-job in print? If you don’t like it, you don’t have to reeeeead it.
Do you want a medal for living in LA? Lots of people live-lived in LA. You must have been in the shitty parts of it. All places have shitty parts. The palces I’ve seen, lived, etc were decent and on par with par with most of Seattle. We’re not that special, Mike.
So Mike, what’s your union job you refer to at your blog?
Are you pro-rebuild? Is that why you feel content to slag-off young people joining forces to change the city?
Friends of Seattle spews:
Looking forward to seeing you there, HA readers.
Yes, event is free. To clarify, Roger Rabbit, attendees have the option of buying a $10 drink ticket if they want to become FoS members. It’s also happy hour all night long, so attendees are welcome to simply buy drinks at the bar.
Dan Rather spews:
Get a grip. Seattle is not LA, NY SF or Chicago and never will be. I lived here all my life and have never been able to pin point the true character of Seattle. Friendly yet aloof. Big yet small. Almost entirely beautiful yet a little ugly. Yes it rains a lot but for the most part it is way over exaggerated. I do not understand why people move here but I know I love it. In many ways Seattle is a city that is beyond a stereotype. It is what it is, whatever it is, and is unique and totally different from anywhere else in the country.
Roger Rabbit spews:
Before getting too excited about the idea of scrapping SR-99 as a through route, consider this: It takes only one accident to close I-5 through downtown, and when that happens, SR-99 is the only alternate through route. If you don’t replace the viaduct with a rebuild or tunnel, future I-5 closures will make Seattle an impassable barrier. I-405 couldn’t possibly carry the traffic and would become a parking lot.
A little historical perspective:
Seattle has long had a “small town” mentality. A lot of the older residents resisted the growth which came with increased trade through our ports. The city (and its outlying regions and sister-cities to the north and south)was composed mostly of middle-class working families, with the breadwinners engaged in skilled trades related to timber, fishing, steelworking, boatbuilding, and aircraft manufacturing. The city reflected the quite, private, and parsimonious nature of the Nordic immigrants which had settled in Ballard and spread throughout the city, starting almost a century earlier.
But with the 1970’s and the discovery of Seattle as a rather scenic city, without the gang/crime problems of L.A. to the South and the larger cities to the East, lots of immigrants started to arrive, attracted also by the relatively cheep housing (compared with the other coastal cities). Older residents mourned the loss of their “old Seattle”, and Emmett Watson, the Seattle newspaper columnist, took a satiricle hit at the “Greater Seattle” campaign by chamber-of-commerce types, and did his best to encourage Seattlelites to warn people away from moving here, by emphasizing the constant rain.
So while the town was undergoing significant growth, the traditional residents didn’t finance for future growth. Instead, they seemed to be convinced that growth had peaked, and that they were in for an ecomomic decline, instead. During this time they made some rather strange (in hindsight) public infrastructure decisions. They approved the building of the Kingdome, but made it just too small to ever host a Superbowl, and by insisting on a multi-use facility, they set up a pattern of conflict between the city and the sports teams for the next twenty years. They built a Public Safety Building right next tot he courthouse, but to save some money on archtecture fees they bought the plans for a building already designed for Florida, and then suffered for twenty years in one of the least energy-efficient buildings in town before it had to be replaced. Being late to the interstate highway system, they dithered about until the money was no longer available, creating the “freeway to nowhere” (I-90) who’s ramps were left reaching halfway to the sky as if it were a modernistic sculpture gone bad (until it was finally completed some thirty years later).
As the city grew even larger during the Microsoft expansion of the 1980’s (even while the trditional industries of fishing, logging, stillworking, and boat-building dissapeared), the resistence to growth continued. But growth outpaced resistance, and immigration from the Pacific nations, the boom of internet businesses (Amazon.com, RealNetworks, Microsoft, etc.) and bio-technology, as well as the continued expansion of Boeing through the late 1990’s effectively doubled the population of the Seattle metropolitan area.
Adherents of “Lesser Seattle” tended to move away from the city, to more rural areas to the east, north, and south of the city. But the city kept expanding into those areas, irritating them greatly. They resisted by refusing to approve any taxes which might support the greater traffic problems caused by growth, and actively attacking any such attempts through anti-tax initiatives, etc., leaving Seattle with what is essentially a traffic system designed a half-century ago, for a city which was a quarter of the size it is now.
And here is how it is being played out in the L.A. press:
Roger, that doesn’t hold water. 99 isn’t a great throughway through Seattle like 5… It has lots and lots of stoplights. If there is an accident on I-5, that’s going to be bad no matter what. Better to mitigate such things.
Why not build another honest-to-God bypass freeway around the city? I-605? That is, if we’re serious about moving people through the I-5 corridor. 99 mostly carries Seattle folks downtown, not through town.
“Friend of Seattle” or “Friends of Belltown”?
Alex Bartholemew spews:
So who are the people behind this?
Just look to the south at Portland. They seem to be getting things done on transportation issues. It is hard to take Seattle-green seriously when we just drag on feet on rapid transit.
um, Seattle as a whole. But God knows Belltown needs some friends in city hall (and some more cops on the beat).
I know two of them, one is a friend. It’s a bunch of folks, really. I’m going to be there to find out.
No kidding! Portland has lots of transit options, while in Seattle, it’s stinky slow busses just about most places.
In 27, “stillworking” is in error. It should have read “steelworking”.
“Stillworking” is possibly a real word, but instead we use the phrase “moonshining”.
The people calling the shots in Seattle don’t give a flying fuck about “high-density” housing. All they’re interested in is high-profit housing.
Our daughter moved to Los Angeles in 2000. Since then we’ve been down to visit quite a few times, and both my wife and I have been surprised to find the place a lot less daunting than what we remember from our younger days. A large part of that is that the sprawl and the traffic (GAWD, the traffic) have become so much worse here in the last quarter century. One thing, though, is that Angelinos have been living in a great big place for so long that they’ve been forced to get pretty good at it. We seem to be losing our way here, as we sacrifice what used to be our unique “northwest character”.
Right Stuff spews:
The problem lies more with the prevailing transportation philosophy of “Get folks out of their cars and onto mass transit” versus “How do we best move people in their single occupancy vehicles”…
Like other “failed policies” It is time for a “new direction” or “a different way”.
Let’s stop building carpool lanes and add general purpose lanes…. How about we try that one for a while…
Huh? What about folks without cars? General purpose lanes do nothing to offer options to folks like me and others.
36. That’s pretty funny. Righties blather about doing away with sex education and putting condoms back under the counter because they don’t want to encourage kids to have sex, then turn around and advocate building more and more roads as a way to reduce traffic.
If there’s a “Friends of Seattle” group, it stand to reason that much of the rest of the state is in the “Enemies of Seattle” group.
The universe does not revolve around Seattle. Get over yourselves!
39: Seattle’s tax dollars subsidize the rest of the state. Until that changes, please help yourself to a steaming bowl of STFU when it comes to Seattle. Seriously.
Great! Just what we need, another “Friends” of this or that. “Friends” sounds like a front org. for Nickel’s “super-density” Sardine vision of Seattle (two million people crammed into the city limits – wonderful!), created by developers, where the unique neighborhoods that make this a Great City have all been razed to accept townhouses wall to wall. (While we all buy the developer BS and let it happen. It’s so wonderful!)
We’ll be Green alright – can’t use your car because the City has decided to do away with parking requirements on developers and you won’t be able to move your car two feet, because of over parking on the street, and grid-lock from 5AM to 9PM.
Oh, but you’ll be able to walk 14 blocks to the huge box stores “nearby” like the Target in Northgate. No corner grocery like what a few neighborhoods have left. They don’t matter. – – – not part of the European vision thing, I guess.
And for you younger types (since there was a gripe about someone being 60 and not with it), I guess a front porch and talking with your neighbors over the back fence doesn’t matter (there won’t be any backyards in Nickel’s New World anyway) because what counts is coming home and turning on the HD wide screen, bloggin’, facebookin’, gamin’, etc. – – – screw the neighbor next door – don’t have time to get to know ’em anyway. That’s the NEW-SEA we be abuildin’ today with the vision of our wonderful, in-the-pocket-of-developers, Mayor and his well lunched staff.
What a vision! Let me add that since all the money for everything will have been sucked out of the economy (and your wallet) to support all the sports arenas (probably soon to number seven or eight) we will just shut down all of our schools, ’cause why should Seattle care about having families? They’re a lot of extra work anyway and we’ll all be so busy buying and selling our wonderful developer created condos and townhouses, playing the “buy-up” game (to support your favorite neighborhood realtor and your corner developer) that we won’t have time for a family anyway!
Screw educating kids. After all Seattle will be for all the young types and anyone over thirty five who wants to raise kids in a real neighborhood ought to say to hell with the nightlife and move to sprawland in Kent, Issaquah or Arlington.
Seattle First? If anyone wants to make Seattle first 1) support schools, 2) kick Nickels and his henchmen out of office 3) tell developers to go back to California 4) preserve inner city neighborhoods and business districts and promote the unique character of all 5) provide five kinds of public transportation that connects The Neighborhoods together, not just to downtown (and kill that stupid Trolley while you’re at it). – – – –
And I can go on and on… what needs to happen is a very strong uprising on the part of the Neighborhoods. Any of you that think that densification “Nickel’s Style” is improving Seattle, come take a look at Fremont, Wallingford or Ballard. Those neighborhoods are in the process of being bulldozed under – made unrecognizable. What replaces all the nice old homes, parks and business districts is a ubiquitous, boring and dangerous world where there are no neighbors – – – only a bunch of me-first-ers all looking for the-next-townhouse-to-by-up-to. Oh, and don’t forget to add in a bunch of nightclubs nearby ’cause that adds so much ‘flavor’ to the district.
Yes, I can see how density (so well planned) is adding so much to Seattle, making it so green, livable, walkable, sustainable, family friendly, etc., etc. – – – what a crock.
And this is why I think Friends of Seattle is either a developer’s front or just plain stupid.
(But convince me otherwise and place your names, affiliations and phone numbers on your web site – – – I could be wrong.)
World Class Cynic spews:
*stands up and applauds Paulo*
With friends like these, who needs enemies? Friends of Schell — errr, Friends of Seattle(TM) strike me as a bunch of transplanted poseurs who are about as much interested in the livability of this city as Mark Foley is in hooking up with MILFs.
Will, you claim to have lived in Seattle all your life. That’s either horseshit, or else you haven’t left Belltown in the past 10 years. If you would actually explore the plebian parts of town (contact The Mountaineers if you need help with the expedition), you’d be surprised to find that there are plenty of condos going up all over the city beyond downtown. Of course, if you want something that isn’t built like crap and looks like crap, then you’re shit out of luck.
Seattle — the real Seattle, not the Seattle(TM) envisioned by those who want a “world-class city” — has plenty of wonderfully livable neighborhoods where you can walk to the grocery store or walk to go shopping. That’s why, despite a school system with a dodgy reputation, Seattle neighborhoods consistently command higher prices than, say, Lynnwood or Federal Way. That’s why more people commute from Seattle to the Eastside instead of the other way around.
Those who like Seattle should fight “tooth and nail” to save it from those who want Seattle(TM). This is our town, not some playground for trendoids from New York and LA who have inferiority complexes. If you want to live in a world-class city, then move to one.
World Class Cynic spews:
A few more things before I head to bed:
Highway 99 is used as a through route whether you like it or not, Will. You talk about Aurora (who told you about that part of town, anyhow?), but Aurora Avenue isn’t the part of 99 that’s causing the controversy. It’s the viaduct. Nice try with the I-605 strawman, though.
@27: Thanks for posting the LA Times article. Great read.
Oh, sure, I know you didn’t mean it as that, but it was still a great read. I’m not interested in what other people think of Seattle. I’m interested in fixing the problems we have from too much growth. If you have an inferiority complex, go to a therapist.
@36: Building more general-purpose lanes won’t help, even if it were possible, which it isn’t. Our problem here is that we’re trying to stuff ten pounds into a five-pound bag, and some people seriously think the solution is to add five more pounds. Insanity.
@34: You called it. This has everything to do with cash and nothing else.
@40: You are entirely correct. But don’t expect the folks in Raymond and Colfax and Grandview to accept this as long as this waterfront squabble is going on. Frank Chopp knows there’s a Washington state beyond Lake Washington and 145th Street; Friends of Seattle(TM) think Mount Rainier is a nice stage prop.
One final thing: The “horseshit” comment was an unintentional pun. I’ll be back, hopefully to agree next time instead of disagree.
You shit on FoS, but at least they’re trying.
Density and growth are good for the environment, as cities are more efficient than suburbs. Where do you want people to move if not here?
Besides, it’s my town too, and I’m younger than you and I’m in better shape, so I’ll be around a lot longer than you!
I think Seattle’s future will be the struggle between your world view and mine, in a nut schell (hyuck!). You see development as fundamentally bad. I don’t. You see density as foreign to Seattle. I don’t. That said, the way you and your types reflexively fight all change has REAL consequences.
Seattle is unaffordable to lots of people because the housing stock has not increased. People like Danny Westneat whine about housing prices, but he got in early and reaps the benefit of ownership. My working class father would have loved to buy a town home in Seattle back when they were affordable, but the supply was scant. No growth-types dashed those dreams (Charlie Chong wanted my dad to move to Issaquah! He actually said that!)
I want Seattle to be more livable for my neighborhood FIRST. Lets keep the good stuff about Seattle’s neighborhoods, especially yours. But lets also make room for more folks who want the same things.
Thanks for commenting!
Seattle was not built around the automobile, the neighborhoods developed around the streetcar, and yes 70 years ago there was a line in South Lake Union, it went all the way to the U-District, and crossed by way of the 1919-vintage University Bridge. The Fremont and Ballard Bridges also hosted them, included on the Fremont was a line to Everett. The city planners began planning to dump the streetcars in favor of Trackless Trolleys in the mid-1930s, the Beeler Plan was the result, and it failed at the polls in 1937. The Union fought it tooth and nail, they even had a problem with how the city brought in a demonstrator bus from Twin COach, and the Union cried foul to no avail over it. They suggested using a PCC Car for demonstration. That was the new type of streetcar that the presidents of streetcar companies public and private had designed to improve effeciencies, and hopefully hold off the automobile and bus. It was a good design, and if the companies had not abandoned streetcars so soon, they would have proven to be the best ever. Some are still in service today, in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Kenosha, Wisconsin(where they serve the Chicago Metra comuter rail terminal), a museum line in Minneapolis, and Dallas. The first of the PCCs were built in the Mid-1930s, the last of the postwar model, rolled off the production lines in 1952 for U.S users, 1955 for Toronto.
Now as for Transportation Governance, I think the RTC report has a good point, there could be a good example to model a regional transportation governance commission on, just around 100 miles away, in Vancouver. Road and Transit planning are under one roof. Tranlink(the name of the Greater Vancouver Trasnportation Authority) has the authority to contract out transit operations. This is a new thing, just 10-15 years ago, BC Transit, which is an arm of the provincial government in Victoria, still had responsibility for Vancouver. They get revenue from several sources, including fares, gas tax(12 cents per liter) and a few other sources. Another operation that might be a good one to look into, and the RTC had it in their report, and it was Valley Metro in Phoenix. It is a complex operation on the Transit side. ValleyMetro oversees express and intercity bus routes that connect communities in Maricopa COunty. The cities plan the city routes. Most operate under the ValleyMetro brand. Phoenix set the model that they others follow in Maricopa County. Phoenix, when the Urban Mass Transportation Act passed, just bought the system and leased it back to the former owner.
As for bus ridership, it is up. King County Metro had 103 million riders last year, 27 million short of the record Seattle Transit had for the region in 1944. Although the 130 million riders that Seattle Transit had in 1944 came when fewer people lived in the region, plus the fact that Gasoline was in short supply. The decision to replace the streetcars with trackless trolleys instead of motor buses proved good, as trackless trolleys did not need fuel. Later this year, SOUNDER is due to add service, 1 round trip from Tacoma, possibly 2 from Everett. Metro buses pick up riders at King Street Station and take them further into downtown. I observed that waiting for a bus recently. I was waiting at 3rd and Main for a Ranier Valley bus, and saw people get off of any bus that goes near the station, including routes like the 7 and 42, and run for the platform entrance. I do have problems with Sounder-North, and that is that Locomotive-Hauled Rolling Stock is not needed on it, a Diesel Multiple Unit would work great.