Abandoned platform, Toronto, by serhio
  • Publicola, which is the best addition to the local blogosphere in recent memory, has a great piece about how Rep Jay Inslee (D-WA) is working to ensure pro-environment voices are heard in the stimulus conversation as co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition. I’m kind of surprised that no Republicans are in the 35 member committee, but I guess they are working against the stimulus at the moment, so it would be odd for a Republican to fight for projects in a bill he’s oging to vote against.
  • Accoridng to Glenn Thrush via a Senate Aide and Transportation for America, transit was not on the list of items cut from the Senate Stimulus Bill. I’m not trusting that Senatus blog again. The Senate will vote Tuesday. Via Streetsblog.
  • This is very misleading. First, there’s the ridiculous claim that 30% of garbage sent to landfills is from building demolition. Next, there’s the bizarre “scientific explanation” for how a cut-down tree releases all its carbon into the atmosphere (only when it’s burned…). Then there’s an argument that light rail is pushing up residential and retail rents, so we should build fewer homes and store fronts. Huh? What happened to supply and demand? But the grand finale is that building density around light rail stations is going to force people to drive. You can’t make this stuff up.
  • Vivace is up and running in the Brix condo building on Mercer after having to move from the old place on John to make way for the Capitol Hill Station construction. Everyone seems happy, so I am too.

8 Replies to “News Round Up: All Stimulus, All the Time”

  1. Why is it misleading that 30% of garbage is construction debris? I thought the percentage was higher?! Really: I thought landfill debris was up to 50% from construction. I suspect this varies with the economy, though.

    I don’t agree with the displacement coalition about their fears of TOD. They strike me as a classic example of resistance to change. But that resistance is fierce. It drowned out many of the other opinions at the Mt. Baker Community Center meeting last week. People are very afraid their essential street parking will disappear, even more than 1/2 mile away, when the Mount Baker station is built. People *are* afraid, despite direct, in-person clarifications from Futurewise, that the density will be greater than San Francisco.

    It would make a lot more sense if the resisters here would investigate all the light rail developed in the West over the last 25 years. Was there a lot of eminent domain use in Sacramento, Portland, Vancouver, Salt Lake, Phoenix, Albuquerque? It seems some folks are unnecessarily paranoid.

    1. That 30% number may have been true in 2005 or 2007 during the heights of the building boom, but there’s no way that’s true today.

  2. Construction debris by weight is staggering. The cost of disposing of drywall is about the same as buying it new. Concrete is another big component. The environmental impact however is mitigated by the fact most of this is recycled. Concrete is ground up and reused in place of gravel which means less is being dug up in gravel pits.

    Why do we need HB 1290? Transit drives development and it’s inevitable that higher density will occur near stations. If you take the view the station sites were well chosen then there’s no reason to add yet more complexity to the process. If the station sites were poorly chosen then neighborhoods have much to fear from loss of local control. Of course I noticed that our professional sports were all catered to (yes Huskey football is professional, the most profitable franchise in Seattle).

  3. Oops, I meant HB 1490. But 1290, “Concerning local tourism promotion areas” is also has some relevance to transit. Tourism and business travel are related and one of the great benefits of running light rail to the airport. The route that it takes, that is the picture it presents to visitors impacts not just where people choose to vacation but where they will be willing to invest.

    The piece quoted on the Rainer Valley Post is wacko. Take there numbers of 300 trees in 65 acres. That’s probably inflated but even so it works out to about four and a half trees per acre. Show me that’s not better for the environment than four homes per acre being built out on the Sammamish Plateau, Snoqualmie Ridge, Trilogy in Redmond and I’ll eat a pine tree.

    Something the article failed to address is that much of what was torn down was falling down. I’m all for restoring or reusing old structures. What’s the name of the grand school just south of I 90? Development like that only happens if you reinvest and re-invigorate a neighborhood.

  4. Yeah I read the RVP piece and declined to comment there. Too much cognitive dissonance that refutation by facts would probably only net an angry, dissonant response. AFAIK, I learned all I need to know about the Displacement folks during the mid-1990’s when they tried to extort the City and Nordstrom over the Pacific Place garage/Frederick and Nelson’s refurb deal. Emotion and victimhood are their strengths and facts and public policy are not.

  5. I don’t get the logic behind the displacement coalition: they say that there are no guarantees that people living in TOD around light rail stations will not own or use their cars instead of transit, on the other hand their alternative is buidling more bus transit centres, build higher densities around those stations and encourage more people to use buses. If they are no guarantees that people living TOD around light rail will use light rail and won’t own or use their cars, likewise, there is no guarantee either that people living around bus transit centre will use the bus and won’t own or use their cars.

    What makes them think that people would prefer the bus to light rail? Light rail will use its own right of way whereas buses will use the same road network like everyone else, which would do little to relieve congestion.

  6. Y’know, if people who live near train stations didn’t use the train, there would be no increased development around train stations. Problem solved.

    John Fox exists mainly to illustrate what we mean when we say that “Figures don’t lie, but some liars sure can figure”.

  7. I don’t get why so many in SE Seattle think HB 1490 is all about them? I’d be surprised if current zoning around the Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainer Beach stations doesn’t already meet the 50 units/acre minimum in the bill. Other than the displacement provisions there is little change for any station location in Seattle. Rainer station for East link might require an upzone, but given current land use in the area I don’t see that as a bad thing.

    This bill is primarily about transit facilities outside of Seattle. IOW Sounder stations, transit centers, and North/South/East Link. If anything upzoning around the suburban stations should take some development pressure off Seattle.

    If I read the bill correctly it will also force the city to come up with a plan to put in sidewalks on streets within the 1/2 mile station circle that don’t already have them. People in SE Seattle should be cheering this bill not fighting it.

    BTW speaking of Rainer Beach station, do you know that the last working farm in Seattle is within 1/2 mile of the station?

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