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What if we all imagined a transportation system designed
around the human body, instead of a 40-ton truck?

aLIVe (a Low Impact Vehicle exploration) investigates how artists can re-imagine our existing transportation, transit and storm water systems and inspire the community towards action, innovative solutions and change.

Join us for aLIVe: a Low Impact Vehicle exploration at Bumbershoot

  • Johnnie Olivan of Rejuiced Bikes will offer rides on his fleet of Bike-Cars
  • Peter Reiquam will display his Walk and Roll and offer demonstrations
    of this innovative LIV
  • Julia Field of Undriving™ will be issuing Undriving Licenses all weekend
  • An LIV/DIY craft table will offer the opportunity to make your own low
    impact vehicle model

Look for aLIVe in Center Square by the Experience Music Project near the 5th & Broad Street entrance to the festival.

aLIVe is an artist-initiated project envisioned by Cheryl dos Remédios working in partnership with 4Culture, Great City and One Reel.

Would you like to volunteer during Bumbershoot and receive a free pass into the festival? Please contact Cheryl dos Remédios for more info.

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Fall colors and walkability improvements are two reasons we're excited about November 2011. And layers. Because we're all about dressing in layers.

Thanks to a strong showing at City Council last week, the ballot measure to increase investment in transit, bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure will be decided by voters this November. This is the measure we’ve been advocating for, through Streets for All Seattle, for almost two years and it almost didn’t happen.  City Councilmembers, in endorsing the ballot measure, cited the passionate and thoughtful appeals they heard from advocates at the hearing and in emails which helped convince them.

Check out Seattle Times coverage of the measure (below) and sign up to get involved and stay tuned.  An exciting campaign for a future of better mobility is about to begin!

City Council sends $60 car-tab fee to Nov. ballot

Seattle residents will vote this November on a $60 car-tab fee, about half of which would go for transit projects.

The fee would bring in $204 million over 10 years, according to the Seattle City Council, which voted 9-0 Tuesday afternoon to endorse the measure.

No specific list of projects yet exists, and within the next few months the city is to complete a Transit Master Plan. On Monday, the Metropolitan King County Council approved a $20, two-year car-tab fee to sustain existing and promised bus services. …More

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We’ve blogged about our ideas for reforming sidewalk cafe rules before, noting that it would take a change at the state level to put sidewalk seating in smarter locations from a mobility and accessibility standpoint. We’re thrilled to learn, via the West Seattle Herald, that a new interim rule does just that:

The Washington State Liquor Control Board this week adopted an interim policy allowing Seattle restaurants to establish sidewalk cafés in more locations. Existing rules limit sidewalk café alcohol service to areas immediately adjacent to a building. In many cases, sidewalks in these areas are not wide enough to allow for both pedestrian travel and a café. The new rules give restaurants more flexibility, including an option for curbside sidewalk cafés.

“This rule change is a big win for our local businesses and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “We worked closely with the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Department of Planning and Development, and the Liquor Control Board to get this done. Allowing more sidewalk cafés will help improve urban vitality and give restaurants and patrons more choices.”

“We support the City of Seattle’s efforts to make outside dining more accessible,” said Washington State Liquor Control Board Chair Sharon Foster. “This has been a collaborative process that we hope will be positive for licensees choosing to participate. While the effort was shouldered by the City of Seattle, this interim policy will apply statewide.”

“We’re really excited about this new rule change,” said Josh McDonald, of the Seattle Restaurant Alliance. “This will help bars and restaurants expand and provide a better climate for new customers, and will also help with the city’s plan to activate outdoor spaces including sidewalks, plazas and parks.”

Restaurants with an on-premise liquor licenses will be able to extend their food and alcohol service to the curb side of a sidewalk public right-of-way areas if their request to the Liquor Control Board is approved and if they are given a permit from the City of Seattle.

This new policy supports Seattle’s comprehensive Nightlife Initiative, which aims to maintain public safety and provide businesses with greater flexibility to adapt to the market demands of residents and visitors. Last month Mayor McGinn took the first step toward changing state policy to allow extended service hours. More information about the Nightlife Initiative and its components can be found at http://www.seattle.gov/nightlife/.

via New policy expands sidewalk café options for restaurants and bars | West Seattle Herald / White Center News.

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Thank you to the dozens of passionate transportation advocates who joined us in City Council chambers Wednesday to urge a ballot measure reflecting the full recommendations of CTAC III!

A brief Cliff’s Notes version of the story: around two years ago we helped form Streets For All Seattle, a coalition of more than 60 organizations in who share the belief that now is the time to make long-needed investments in transit, bicycling and walking in Seattle. Streets For All successfully advocated for the creation of a Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee, which recently released its recommendations for the full utilization of Vehicle License Fee limits allowed under state law. Their proposal is an exciting vision of transportation investments for a less car-dependent and more mobile, sustainable, equitable future.

Now it is up to Seattle City Council, scheduled to vote on the issue this coming Tuesday. They need to hear from you before they make their decision, so email them now and urge them, one more time, to get this exciting package of transportation investments on the November ballot.

Email Councilmembers now, and then take a deep breath and consider what Streets for All Seattle has accomplished so far.

For more, check out:

  1. Tweets from the Transportation Benefit District board (AKA City Council) meeting
  2. MyNorthwest.com: “Overwhelming support for Seattle car tab fee”
  3. Councilmember Tim Burgess’ Survey
  4. Seattle Transit Blog analysis of the proposal
  5. Seattle Planning Commission letter of support for CTAC III’s proposal
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We are big fans of ASLA’s The Dirt, and big fans of thinking big-picture on climate change. Instead of simply looking at new technologies that will allow us to do more of the same (use lots of energy in our daily lives driving everywhere we need to go and living and working in inefficient buildings – minus the pollution) we think the inefficient land use and transportation patterns of modern life are not only problems worth solving to save the earth, but also to improve our quality of life. As this book points out, transportation and buildings are the number one and two sources of climate-disrupting emissions. Transforming land use and transportation will make our cities not only more sustainable but more adaptable, according to Bloomberg’s architecture columnist. Read on for more.

Out with the Old: The Agile City

The agile city would evolve out of innovative policies that “deploy regulations straightforwardly, balancing them with incentives. Rules will reward performance (energy, water, and emissions saved) rather than prescribing what lightbulbs we’ll use and what cars we’ll drive.” These regulations will also boost well-being and produce economic values that gross domestic product (GDP) fails to measure, like increased real estate values from repaired natural systems and health care costs saved from reduced rates of cancer.

In The Agile City: Building Well-being and Wealth in an Era of Climate Change, James S. Russell, architecture columnist for Bloomberg News, argues against taking a mainstream, business-as-usual-approach to addressing climate change in the U.S.  The current global warming debate focuses on harnessing “alternative energies” strategies, like hydrogen-powered cars and biofuels, clean coal, and reinvented nuclear that Russell calls speculative technologies that may not prove viable, require significant investments and have large environmental effects. He proposes a different approach, one that could have manifold benefits and achieve faster and more effective results than making massive alternative-energy investments that amount to tax gimmicks. There is just one sticking point: they would require the U.S. to move away from the “normalcy” of overconsumption.

Russell’s solution for adapting to climate change and achieving carbon neutrality is based on proven efficiency measures and some renewable energy. He targets buildings and transportation, the two largest sources of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that respectively account for 40 percent and 28 percent of emissions. Addressing them simultaneously with denser, energy conservation-oriented and transit-centered development, Russell says, could result in more agile cities, those that are able to adapt to constant change, simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions while coping with climate-change effects  …More

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Great City’s Leadership for Great Neighborhoods meets tomorrow at GGLO’s Space at the Steps to discuss the future of station area planning efforts. Our friend Roger Valdez opines on the state of local Transit Oriented Development, or the lack thereof, on the Seattle Transit Blog:

Amend Seattle’s land use code to get real Transit Oriented Development

Roosevelt Night Life (Photo by author)

This summer has been good for land use and transit in Seattle largely because of the discussion—some would say argument—over appropriate density around the Roosevelt station area. Wednesday this week is a big day for Roosevelt, the Seattle City Council’s Committee on the Built Environment (COBE) is having a hearing on the subject and later that day Leadership for Great Neighborhoods is having a brown bag lunch discussion. The discussion in both places ought to include something about amending Seattle’s toothless station area overlay designation in its land use code.

Seattle hasn’t encouraged or even allowed true Transit Oriented Development. Any visitor to Beacon Hill will attest to the bizarre sight of a light rail station sticking out of the ground like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Other station areas have yet to deliver on the promise of dense, walkable, housing and retail built around light rail stops. Why does Seattle lag so far behind places like British Columbia and Vancouver where there is lots of new housing around light rail?

Part of the problem is our single-family focused culture and economy. It’s easy to forget that one big private property interest in Seattle is single-family homeowners who benefit from attenuating the supply of housing. That’s not a slur, but a simple economic point. If housing is in short supply, then those who already own it benefit by keeping that supply limited. Diminished supply and increasing demand means existing homeowners can watch their property values increase …More

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