From Destination Casa Blanca, the Latino Voice in Politics, comes this very interesting clip that discusses how transportation and land use policies either help to eliminate or perpetuate social inequities. Among the key one-liners is this one from Deron Lovaas of the NRDC:

“Clearly, a public investment program that caters to the automobile also caters, largely, to white people, and that’s a huge problem.”

What do you think? Are we investing in our built environment in smart ways to help eliminate these historic inequities? How could we do better?

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Seattle PARK(ing) Day is coming!  On September 17th parking spaces throughout Seattle will be transformed into mini-parks.  Here’s the latest news from Max at Feet First.

All of the permit applications have been filed with the City of Seattle and I am waiting on their approval. In the meantime, I am working with The Trust For Public Land to produce a map of all the PARKs throughout the city. This map should be produced in a week or so and will be available for download so that people can explore all the sites on the day of the event. There will also be Central Park again this year, located in the People’s Parking Lot at 500 E Pine on Capitol Hill.
In addition, for First Thursday and the International District Art Walk on September 2, there will be a PARK(ing) Day display in a storefront on the corner of 7th and Jackson. We are currently planning a wrap-up party for the night of September 17th, details of which will be finalized shortly. Then on Saturday, September 18, the Brite Collective and WKND Studio will continue with the festivities by hosting many of the PARKs from the 17th at an abandoned parking lot in the International District (more details forthcoming).
All in all, nearly 60 on-street parking spots throughout the city will be occupied by green space, people, and art on the day of the event. This is double the amount of converted on-street parking spaces last year. PARK(ing) Day Seattle 2010 is on its way to becoming a huge success and we are very excited.
To learn more visit the Seattle PARK(ing) Day site or contact Max at max@feetfirst.info
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But leave your cars at home.

One of the things great cities do well is accommodate a crowd. A lively, bustling city is a place like no other so we’re always thinking about ways to draw the energy into Seattle and minimize the grind of urban life. Because it’s not Manhattan gridlock that makes Midtown. That’s why we are a founding member of the Streets for All Seattle campaign. We know Seattle can grow and flourish with more folks living here but it is already too many a Seattleite that is car-dependent.

With the State of Washington officially abandoning pedestrian-only ferry service, it is encouraging to see Kingston, to the west, picking up the slack. Because while some folks (at all income levels) will simply always prefer to live outside the city, we just hope the infrastructure of the future better supports a car-free lifestyle for them, too.

Crosscut wonders, could this be the beginning of the return of the Mosquito Fleet? We hope so.

Passenger-only ferry service on Puget Sound continues to make a comeback, with the announcement of a proposed schedule for a Kingston-Seattle foot ferry, and more car-free possibilities on routes as far north as the San Juan Islands.

Could Washington State see a return to the era of the “Mosquito Fleet,” the swarm of passenger-only steamers that covered the Sound before the automobile pushed pedestrian travel aside?

In Kingston the answer appears to be yes. Scheduled to begin service in mid-October, the Kingston-to-Seattle SoundRunner will join two other passenger-only routes on Puget Sound: Kitsap Transit’s Port Orchard-Bremerton-Annapolis service and the King County water taxi, which ferries people from West Seattle to the downtown waterfront. Interest in the expansion of car-free service is widespread, and more foot ferries are likely to join the roster in years ahead. More…

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Via the Seattle Condo Review blog, we found this cool video of some pretty versatile furniture for city living…  Enjoy.

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Here from NPR is another interesting way libraries are branching out to new areas to provide grocery access to local residents.

On a bright spring morning in Baltimore, retiree Gwen Tates goes over her weekly grocery list — oatmeal, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, pea soup. But it’s where she’s shopping that might surprise you: at the public library.

Under a new city program, patrons can order groceries online and pay with cash, credit or food stamps. The orders are filled by Santoni’s supermarket, a longtime Baltimore grocer. They deliver the items to the library the next day. Tates says she loves the convenience.  More…

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Via Planetizen, here is some more great image-driven commentary from Great City board member Chuck Wolfe — in an international blog collaboration on “the evolution of place.”

Two people who have never met (Venezuelan architect Ana Maria Manzo, who blogs at the place of dreams, http://anammanzo.wordpress.com/, and American environmental and land use lawyer Chuck Wolfe, founder of myurbanist, http://www.myurbanist.com) merge writing and imagery to create an evocative, interactive story of the evolution of place, blending multiple dimensions and cultures.

Together, in simultaneous postings in English and Spanish, they argue for a “broader, holistic effort” among professionals, mindful of context, “a movement that evokes positive emotions in those who inhabit cities, and a movement which makes us dream.”

Through 22 comparative images, the authors emphasize not only history, but a “best practices” effort to achieve a common goal: human life in a better urban landscape premised on, inter alia: sense of place, climate, sound, population density, geographic orientation and neighbor buildings.

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Sounder Commuter Rail

Via Designer Dale

The Ballard News Tribune has a story today on a citizen petition effort to build a station for Ballard on the existing Sounder commuter rail line through the neighborhood.  Is this a quick and easy way to help foster a car-free lifestyle for the northwest corner of the city?

When Crown Hill resident Kevin Morgan watches the Sounder trains whoosh past Golden Gardens and the Shilshole Bay Marina on their way between Edmonds and downtown Seattle, he sees missed opportunity.

“If you really want to get people out of their cars, you have to get serious about it,” Morgan said.

Morgan is pushing for Sound Transit to construct a Sounder Commuter Rail stop in the Golden Gardens area to accommodate Ballard riders. In the past weeks, he has gathered 80 to 100 signatures of support on posters he put up around the neighborhood.  More…

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