Today in the PI, there was an article about a community meeting in the South Lake Union/East Queen Anne Area. The article mostly discusses increased heights for buildings and includes this lovely map featuring the current street car line and the possible addition of a second street car:

South Lake Union

Image Seattle P-I

Some of the article is just hilarious such as this quote:

Lamb’s friend, who is 39 and has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, worries about the neighborhood losing its small town feel. “I don’t think I’ll feel like I know everybody in the neighborhood,” she said.

You know where that “small town feel” is not being lost? Small towns. If you live minutes away from Seattle Center, you can’t really expect to know everyone in your neighborhood. This is a city after all.

Anyway, much of the rest is pretty interesting. They talk about bringing a new street car into the mix, bringing the existing SLU car up to the U-District, and increasing heights for current zoning from four-to-eight stories up to as many as 25 or 40! The whole plan is to bring people closer to their jobs, and to concentrate density in those areas best able to handle it. I do worry about the “Bellevue West” concept, where there’s an island of high rises and skyscrapers in the middle of a sea of single family homes and “neighborhood commercial”. Too much of Seattle is currently zoned for single family to seriously increase density to the level the mayor has called for in his long-term planning, and it’s still no where near the level required to increase transit ridership to the level needed to make a serious reduction in green house gases.

I guess the one flaut in my super pro-density thinking is removing single family zoning in the city would mean the demolition of the beautiful craftsman bungalows in those neighborhoods. This is less of a problem in places in the far north where most of the housing is post-war track rubbish, but in the places like Fremont, Wallingford, the Central District, Queen Anne and West Seattle, we’d be losing some seriously beautiful buildings. At least there’s a company who can move them.

Modular Homes

Image Seattle P-I

This brings me to the next read in today’s PI, the idea of prefab lego-style apartments. Every so often there is a piece in some paper about prefab housing and boy are they ugly. The article calls them “the iPhone equivalent for housing”. Yikes. Modern because it hides the cheapness I reckon. I hope we don’t se them springing up all over town to replace those beautiful bungalows I mentioned.

Sorry long post. What do you guys want to see South Lake Union look like? What about other neighborhoods planned for more density such as Roosevelt, Interbay, Ballard and the Central District?

3 Replies to “Housing and Transit-Oriented Development”

  1. I read that article as well. I actually disagree with the “neighborhood” feel.

    Sure, you may not know people a few streets down, but you’ll still have a neighborhood. I live across from the Croc and I feel as if I have a little neighborhood. Albiet, it’s only a 1-2 block radius, but still, it’s full of people.

    We know Georgia the kind homeless lady, and the guy who always wears black, and don’t forget Hans. Then there’s Pete and the Cafe Casba lady that lives next to Zoe’s. The naked guy, Sylvia, the guy who washes the windows, etc.

    Honestly, it feels like a neighborhood, we all say hello and stop to chat and keep an eye out for each other.

    Getting drunk with some friends (all of whom live on my floor) we discuss these folks just like we lived in Georgetown, or QA, or even Roy.

    A neighborhood can occur anywhere. It’s about people, not size.

  2. Interbay should be filled with housing, because I see a bunch of empty land with no purpose currently. Now a Whole Foods is going in, may as well fill in with people. I am truly concerned with the cost of housing however. That is another blog.

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