See you soon! Bring your lunch and your insightful questions for Mayor McGinn…

Here is a quick snapshot of what we’ll be talking about, from The Stranger:

Specifically, McGinn’s budget proposal includes:

• $2 million to fund a corridor analysis of a downtown to University District line (perhaps along Eastlake)

• $1 million for corridor analysis of a Madison Street BRT line

• $500,000 to study a north/south crossing of the ship canal for pedestrians, bikes, and transit

• $2.5 million to fund the next phase of the development process—the design work—for whichever line is ready first… (Continue Reading: Ballard, U-District by 2018 – The Stranger)


Here’s a novel way to fill a new street-level commercial space: ask those out and about (on that street) what they’d like to see there.

Perhaps taking cues from guerilla-planner Candy Chang, Fast Company reports how one Seattle project is asking passersby to, at least in part, help with their market analysis.


People don’t often show up to town hall meetings unless they have a problem. That means in many cities and towns, there is a gaping hole where creative community voices should be. In Seattle, Swedish developer Skanska is trying to make a dent in the problem by letting the community influence what shops and restaurants go on the ground floor of a new 13-story office building near Amazon’s headquarters (the neighborhood is sometimes called “Amazonia”).

Before beginning construction, Skanska decided to ask the local community what they would like to see in the open-air market space on the first floor of the yet-to-be-constructed building. But Skanska isn’t asking anyone to show up to in-person meetings. Instead, the developer is using an online service called Popularise that lets people submit ideas for local projects and vote on them.

There are 36 ideas for the 400 Fairview project in Seattle, including a Babes in Toyland sex toy store, a brewery, a hot yoga studio, an indoor bocce ball court, a Stumptown Coffee shop, a blow dry bar, and a sushi restaurant. For anyone who isn’t digitally inclined, Skanska has also set up chalkboards at the project site for people to write down their suggestions… (Continue Reading 1 | How One Developer Is Making Sure That Its Buildings Are Shaped By The Community | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation)


Earlier this summer we hosted a presentation and discussion on the city’s efforts to retain and build upon the arboreal inventory which earns our burb its “Emerald City” nickname.

Between 1972 and 2007… tree canopy declined from 40 percent to below 20 percent. Join us at our [August 9] Brownbag Lunch to learn about the Urban Forest Management Plan: a 30-year plan that recommends steps that the City of Seattle should take to restore Seattle’s beloved urban-arboretum character.

One fundamental question persisted: we know that sprawling development has spread like wildfire across the Puget Sound region in recent decades, but has Seattle, proper, really seen that much tree canopy loss?

Today’s University of Washington Urban Ecology Lab Open House provided an answer on one of several presentations of recent research conducted within the College of Built Environments.

Human activity spreading into the foothills

While the city seeks to ensure Seattle grows up with space for trees in our midst, it seems clear the trees in the path of outward-oriented growth are unquestionably at risk.


Los Angeles is more dense than Seattle and has nearly a two-decade head start on building out is alternative transportation system but the idea that La-la Land could be the ideal setting for a 21st Century mobility city may strike some as nutty. Matthew Yglesias makes the case in Slate:

On a recent visit to Southern California, I began my day in Claremont, where I’d spoken the previous evening at a Pomona College event. I walked from a hotel near campus to the Claremont Metrolink station, where I grabbed a commuter rail train to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. From there I transferred to the L.A. Metro’s Red Line and rode up to the Vermont/Santa Monica station and checked into a new hotel. I had lunch in that neighborhood, and later walked east to meet a friend for dinner and drinks in Silver Lake.

My father, a lifelong New Yorker and confirmed L.A. hater whose screenwriting work has frequently taken him to the City of Angels, found the idea of a carless California day pretty amusing. But the city that’s defined in the public imagination as the great auto-centric counterpoint to the traditional cities of the Northeast has quietly emerged as a serious mass transit contender. It’s no New York and never will be—Los Angeles was constructed in the era of mass automobile ownership, and its landscape will always reflect that—but it’s turning into something more interesting, a 21st-century city that moves the idea of alternative transportation beyond nostalgia or Europhilia.

Los Angeles has made this remarkable and underappreciated shift because it has never stopped growing. The core Los Angeles municipality never experienced the kind of postwar population crash that afflicted Northern cities… (Continue Reading: L.A. Metro: How Los Angeles is becoming America’s next great mass-transit city. – Slate Magazine)


Capitol Hill Seattle looks at height and other dimensions of the proposed Capitol Hill Station project:

…Allowing the project to go to 85 feet high on all sides will help make getting involved with the project more desirable for developers while leaving room for developments to pencil out even with space left for a market plaza and, possibly, a community center. But the change could rankle some with the possibility of opening the doors to a building 45 feet higher than what is currently legal on the 10th Ave E side. Others, meanwhile, will ask why the developments above a key transit hub can’t be built even higher… (Continue Reading: Issues and opportunities arrive with development of Capitol Hill Station | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle)


Join us Thursday when we welcome our founding executive director, Mayor Mike McGinn, to a brownbag lunch on his plans for rail expansion on Seattle. Come learn how the next round of Seattle rail investments can build on lessons learned from the lines in use and under construction today. While Seattle’s plans may differ from the standard streetcar configuration characterized in the following blog post, check out The Transport Politic’s commentary as good food for thought on land use. We hope you will join us for a great conversation on the future of transit in Seattle.

In the United States, streetcars have assumed a dramatic new prominence, in part because of increasing federal support. In dozens of cities, new lines are under construction, funded, or in planning thanks to local political leadership that recognizes the benefits of such investments in relatively cheap new rail lines. While streetcars are typically not the most efficient mobility providers — compared to light rail lines and often even buses, they are slower and more likely to be caught in traffic — they are promoted as development tools. Streetcars, it is said, will bring new construction and the densification of districts that are served by the new rail lines.

But streetcars alone aren’t enough to spur construction of residential and commercial buildings in neighborhoods with transit service. Just as important are the municipal regulations guiding new development. If zoning prevents large buildings around streetcar corridors, how exactly will streetcars lead to new construction?

A comparison of two streetcar projects — one soon to enter construction in St. Louis and the other about to open for service in Portland — shows that there are very different rules guiding what can be built in the two cities. The result may be that one city sees significant new growth along its corridor and the other sees very little, despite both projects being new streetcar lines. Other cities looking to extract value from their transportation investments should consider how their land use regulations may affect new construction… (Continue Reading Don’t Forget the Zoning « The Transport Politic)


The Seattle Bubble Blog is asking its readers what is most important in the ideal home. The sand and the sea? Size? Scenery? Or, a sense of place? Check it out, and vote:

If I had to choose just one, I’d want a home…

  • with a view
  • on acreage
  • on a waterfront
  • with maximum walkability
  • in the quietest, safest neighborhood
  • with the shortest commute possible

From Seattle Bubble



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