Beacon Hill Station, by litlnemo

As reported in the Beacon Hill Blog and later in Publicola, three groups of SE Seattle residents have appealed the City’s attempt to fast-track finally proceed with upzones of the neighborhoods surrounding the Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker, and Othello stations.

There were also dueling columns in BHB: one by appeal signatory Frederica Miller Merrell, and an opposing one by BHB columnist Melissa Jonas.  The prehearing for the Beacon Hill and Mt. Baker appeals have already occurred; Othello’s is at the Seattle Municipal Tower today at 10am.  The hearing will be March 15th.  If I read the DPD website correctly, there are hearings about Beacon Hill on March 9 and April 7.

If my neighborhood (Columbia City) comes up, I’ll be sure to attend; density is what creates truly walkable neighborhoods, by providing the economic intensity to support lots of businesses close together.  The least that cities can do is remove regulatory obstacles to free-market attempts to provide that density.

Proposed Upzone - 25 ft on about 4 square blocks

[UPDATE: For those looking for the plan in dispute go here]

90 Replies to “Individuals fight density in SE Seattle”

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. It’s worth noting these appeals aren’t very “individual”. They are identical–word for word–except for the names of the appellants. It’s clear that they are part of a coordinated anti-density effort.

    What’s frustrating is that the appeals are stalling proposed updates that had already been part of an extensive, inclusive, accessible process. They proposed updates were open to further public comment and scrutiny by the City Council. Now, they’re stuck.

    Wendi at the Beacon Hill Blog wrote a great post with links to all three appeals and information re: the counter-appeal filed by El Centro de la Raza.

    1. Hey Melissa so I looked through the plan and I have to say that I’m utterly shocked how timid the upzone is. Am I correct in saying that this only increases zoned hight 25′ for about 4 square blocks.

      In my opinion this is not a station area plan, this is an upzone that should have occurred regardless of of Link. I have seen TOD around the world and adding 25′ to the to of 5-10 buildings does not qualify as TOD. It just seams like a *very* low threshold, just enough to get TOD like amenities without substantially increasing density.

      I’m assuming community members would disagree with me but I think timid up-zones like this are really token in the big picture. If we want high performing TOD timid up zone like this will won’t do.

      1. I agree, Adam. 65′ isn’t that big, and with strategic design will fit into the existing neighborhood design guidelines quite well.

        The biggest difference will be in areas that are currently SF500. <El Centro de La Raza, built originally as Beacon Elementary and operating as a multicultural community center for about 30 years, is technically zoned Single Family. They cannot do any development on their property until this is corrected.

      2. That’s my impression–that the El Centro rezone, in particular, is something that’s just never been done. My read on the proposed update is that is was supposed to be a fairly straightforward process focused on lifting some height restrictions–creating an opportunity for transit oriented development in a small zone.

        I don’t understand how it turned into a huge debate about concurrency, environmental impact, etc.

      3. Because Pat Murakami, Ray Akers, the “Save our Valley” crowd, and John Fox want to turn everything into a debate about concurrency, environmental impact, etc. They don’t want any change in SE Seattle at all.

      4. That’s what I thought as well. However, we don’t even have zoning that allows anything higher than 65′ around the Cap Hill station. Beacon Hill residents getting up in arms about 65′ doesn’t surprise me that much.

      5. Well us evil pro-density types feel there should be no height limits within 1/4 mile of any Link station. Imagine the area around Beacon Hill, Mt. Baker, Columbia City, and Othello covered with lots of tall towers like Vancouvers’ West End or Hong Kong.

  2. “Fast track rezones”?? The neighborhood planning process in those places lasted the better part of a year, and involved almost unprecedented levels of outreach

  3. We have this idea that density means Manhattan or the Tenderloin. There is such a thing as “smart/good density”

    1. What’s wrong with Manhattan? Lots of people and eyes on the street at all hours, plenty of people to support a great variety of restaurants, shops, great transit, etc. Manhattan is fantastic!

      1. Yes! By percentage of income, it’s similar to Seattle – but a lot of your costs (like the things you buy on Amazon) are fixed no matter where you live, so you end up with more money left over.

      2. The average income may be $147,000, but the median income is around $50,000. The very rich really skew the numbers.

        Also, make no mistake, your amount of expendable income will drop if you move from Seattle to New York. Even if you make more money for an equivalent job, everything is more expensive and there are much higher taxes.

      3. Any insight on the number of families in Manhattan? I think the numbers suggest that high income singles or couples like to live in dense neighborhoods. I’d love to see some analysis on where families stay/go as a consequence of having kids. I know Mt. Baker is losing families with kids when they reach school age due to the Seattle Schools, particularly with the new plan.

      4. Families don’t stay/go. They just aren’t created in the first place. Singles/couples in Manhattan just choose not to have kids. This is what cities do – and it’s fantastic for our future.

      5. How is it fantastic for our future? It bodes for no future if there aren’t more people being made. It kind of makes sense to wipe out inner city schools and lower the taxes dramatically if there were no kids. Interestingly it might bring lots of folks back to the city with its lower cost and increased density. Hmmmm….

      6. [Jake] One of mankind’s largest problems has been population growth. Our 8 Billion people take a whole lot of resources. The good news is that as people become educated and move to cities, they reproduce less, and it looks like world population will peak around 9 billion.

        Don’t get me wrong – I like people. But there are too many of us and I’d rather slow down on producing them than have them die off when we run low on food and water.

      7. One thing that has been happening in NYC is some of the denser neighborhoods have been seeing a bit of a baby boomlet. It seems a lot of young urban couples aren’t moving out to the burbs when they have kids but staying in the city and in dense urban neighborhoods.

      8. Actually, since 2001 about 25% of Manhattan population growth has been families with children:
        http://www.tnr.com/article/urban-policy/trading-places

        Ben: fewer choose to have (and/or adopt) kids, but a statistically speaking in a few years some of your young friends will be having kids. It’s an evolutionary certainty. It’s easy to joke about crazy people with 20 kids or whatever, but demographically pretty much every developed county already has replacement rate or lower natural population growth (i.e, number of babies minus old people passing on). The source of the massive growth of metropolitan areas is migration from rural areas and smaller towns, or from other countries. There is also good evidence that population growth in developing countries drops off as women gain access to education and jobs.

        By the way, in Seattle, our urban villages are in pretty good shape, but urban centers are poorly prepared for families with children; there are few playgrounds and even fewer residential options. If you don’t want your friends to move out of urban centers when they’re around 35 it’s time to fix that:
        http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Planning/Center_City/CenterCityforFamilies/default.asp

      9. Nothing is wrong with Manhattan, Seattlites just don’t like that much density.
        The point is that there is a middle ground.

  4. It’s really interesting that in a city all about the environment that we won’t let neighborhoods grow naturally. It seems as though we want to pour the fertilizer of mandated growth on neighborhoods that continue to struggle to get above the crime, poverty and dearth of good jobs in the South End. The problem is that we are fertilizing the weeds instead of picking them first.

    On another note, it is very curious that no one mentions the 2001 plan for the Mt Baker Rail Station. It is a beautiful plan that had reasonable increases in density/zoning and seemed like a well thought out plan. The council went on to approve and implement the zoning changes in the plan.

    Given the 2001 plan, it is baffling as to why the city needed to spend yet more money on the new set of plans – at least for Mt. Baker. I understand that the North Rainier Plan encompasses a greater area but the new plan doesn’t leverage off the earlier work. I question why there needs to be an even higher increase in zoning so soon after an approved plan. Yes, the environment has changed somewhat and yes, we can’t have that beautiful traffic circle originally envisioned for MLK and Rainier. But you have to wonder whether there are stronger forces at work – there are some interesting comments over at this article at Publicola -http://www.publicola.net/2010/02/13/where-did-this-nice-little-urban-pocket-come-from/. Homesight, Pettigrew, public land and subsidies are mentioned.
    Sounds like great fodder for a collaborative investigative article by SeattleTransitBlog and Publicola.

    Oh, and these “individuals” were smart to pool their resources in filing their appeals. They have more support than appears on the surface.

    1. “It’s really interesting that in a city all about the environment that we won’t let neighborhoods grow naturally.”

      I think you misunderstand zoning, and perhaps you belong on the other side of this issue. Seattle has restrictions on “natural” growth: zoning laws. Zoning keeps developers from building what they believe the market wants, by restricting such things as building heights.

      Relaxing zoning laws won’t “mandate growth”. It will simply remove the mandate for sprawl.

      Zoning can be useful in directing where a city wants to develop. But it absolutely stifles this “natural growth” that you seem to care about.

    2. It’s clear they have support, and I agree that it’s better strategy to pool resources than to work alone. I can’t support presenting yourself as an individual who represents the community while secretly working with a group of anti-density activists. It’s either unnecessarily shady, or they’re deliberately hiding the involvement of certain individual(s).

      Why not name the lawyer who drafted the appeals? Why not be transparent about whose interests are really being represented? It’s not the communities involved–neighborhood councils and community members have been in favor of the proposed updates moving forward. Who benefits from blocking development?

      1. What processes do Seattle neighborhood councils have in place to ensure that their opinions actually reflect those of the community they represent? Residents who disagree with the neighborhood council are nonetheless residents, members of the community, equals of those who sit on the council. There’s something dishonest about pretending pro-density voices are entirely organic to every community, while opposition comes only from outside activists.

        I support density and think these upzones are timid, but I would stop short of disenfranchising the many community members who disagree.

      2. I don’t think any community is 100% pro-density or 100% anti-development. There will be always be a combination. The hundreds of neighbors who agree with the proposed updates are having our input pushed aside while the appeals are working their way through the hearing process.

        As is, I’m not sure how representative neighborhood councils are or what processes are in place to ensure the maximum number of voices are heard. The North Beacon Hill Council makes it very easy to become a voting member–attend one meeting and at the next you’re a voting member. Meetings are held in a consistent, accessible place (the local library branch). They’re advertised a few different ways. It works for me–I am proud of our council and I enjoy being part of it. However, I’m also glad DPD didn’t rely only on councils to collect input on the proposals. They would have missed a lot of people.

        How do we ensure that everyone who wants to be heard is represented? Collect information in a variety of ways (online, by phone, in person, by mail) in a variety of settings, in as many languages as are spoken by the community. Offer people many opportunities to share. Hope for the best. This is how DPD collected input for the three proposed Neighborhood Plan Updates.

        There are people who will never attend a council meeting. Their voices should be heard–especially on broad-reaching issues like these upzones, major developments, etc. The people who submitted the appeals shared their opinions, over time and in a variety of ways. They are taking advantage of the appeal process as another venue to push their opinion.

    3. If we let neighbourhoods grow “naturally” if they include single family homes going into what was once rural farmland, we have a thing called sprawl that comes.

      1. Hard to say, really. What today we call sprawl was originally driven by low-density zoning limiting the ability of cities to develop naturally.

        Low-density suburban development was a planning goal consciously pursued by the social activists of the day, seeking to liberate oppressed workers from crowded city living. (Seriously, read some of the nonsense professional planners and activists were writing in the early 20th century. They set the ideological playing field that was filled in with post-WWII suburban development.)

  5. Recommend visits to the Cottage development directly across Greenwood to the east of Shoreline Community College- and the project by the same developer at Langley, on Whidbey Island.

    My wife and I would love to see several of these complexes come to Ballard.

    It’s possible to have attractive single-family homes arranged so they take up very little space, but still afford privacy- and gardening.

    Many of the town-house developments of these last few years are repulsively unimaginative- which gives “density” an undeserved bad name.

    There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything.

    Mark Dublin

  6. density is what creates truly walkable neighborhoods, by providing the economic intensity to support lots of businesses close together

    I challenge this notion entirely.

    Walking doesn’t require density. I know, because my favorite place to walk is the Green River Trail here in Kent, that goes along the meadering Green River. Along this river are many low density townhouse apartments and homes. It is a beautiful place to live (well until they put the big sandbags on the bike trail…but that’s another story).

    Shopping I do with a car. I prefer going to a mall, throwing stuff in the trunk, and lugging it to my apartment.

    Walking and biking I do on country trails, like Green River and Soos Creek trail.

    Commerce is best done with larger warehouse stores because they decrease the energy needed to transport from freight trains and trucks.

    Pushing goods to very small retail stores requires a lot of energy…high density is not environmentally friendly.

    But low density exurbian living is far more pleasant and “Green” than you would have the courage to imagine…

    1. “I challenge this notion entirely.” No you didn’t. You talked about how much you like living in the exurbs, which was off-topic. Perhaps you misunderstand what is meant by “walkable neighborhoods”.

      “Commerce is best done with larger warehouse stores because they decrease the energy needed to transport from freight trains and trucks.”
      Except that it doesn’t. I can imagine an argument that it requires more human labor to unload goods into small stores, but not energy. Goods have to be trucked from port cities like Seattle to get to your big box stores. Not to mention that your big box store goods are more likely to come from far away than goods bought in small, locally owned stores.

    2. You’re conflating recreational walking with walking to complete daily errands. My neighborhood has nice sidewalks and so on, too, but there’s nothing to walk to. You’re welcome to prefer shopping with a car but I have a different view, and I was talking about my neighborhood.

      I grew up in a suburb and lived in a single-family cul-de-sac neighborhood as recently as 2007, so I don’t have to “imagine” as much as you might think.

      1. Thank you, Martin, for drawing that distinction. Walkable neighborhoods – and bike-able neighborhoods – aren’t really such if you don’t have any destinations. I like the Lake Washington shore, and the loop around Seward Park, for recreation – but those are entirely different.

      2. So you’re saying that walking to a blind in the middle of a wetland is not a “destination” ?

        Or taking the Interurban Trail from Kent to Southcenter for lunch at the food court by bike is not worthy?

      3. Walking for recreation certainly counts. But recreation is only one piece of life. The point of walkable neighborhoods is that you can easily walk to almost anything you need in life. If you live downtown, this may include everything except but that once a month walk in the wetlands. If you live in the wetlands this includes only that wetland walk.

      4. John, it’s not that it’s not worthy – it’s that the point here is to provide a place where people choose to walk for trips where they’d otherwise drive.

      5. And to make it possible to not have a car. You drive to the store. Is that because you enjoy driving, or because it would take an hour to walk or take a bus to the store? Suppose you broke your leg, or got old, or were under 16. Would you be able to fulfill your daily errands without somebody else driving, or you spending the entire day just to go here and there for errands?

      6. No, John. He’s not saying that at all. Pay attention.

        We’re talking about average people (not people who really like to walk on a recreational trail to look at the wetlands, in other words) using their feet to do a portion of their everyday errands – grocery store, hardware store, coffee shop, book store, even work, whatever. It doesn’t mean everyone gives up their cars. It doesn’t mean that those people who really like living in the burbs have to change. It doesn’t mean that people who like to walk to the wetlands have to even notice that 99 percent of the rest of the population doesn’t do this.

        It does mean that living in the middle of a moderately dense city doesn’t *require* a car.

      7. There should also be good transit to to recreational destinations. In Switzerland and Vancouver, you can take transit to the ski slope. There is widespread transit to parks.

        Seward Park? An occasional bus in the daytime. Marymoor Park? A mile from the bus stop. Cascade foothills and Snoqualmie Falls? Only on weekdays (when you’re at work). Dash Point? You must be joking. The Gorge Amphitheater and shows at casinos? Get a car, buddy.

      8. The cable cars on Yesler and Madison were built to provide access to the Lake Washington beaches. The interurban to Everett had a stop at the amusement park that used to be where Bitter Lake is now. The city streetcars used to serve Alki and Luna Park at Duwamish Head.

        Metro and other area transit agencies should do a better job of serving area parks. As you point out some of the best places for recreation either can’t be reached or can’t easily be reached by public transit.

      9. Data request:

        How high is the density in your neighborhood?

        How often on a daily basis do you walk? How many miles?

        How often do you purchase goods and tote them to your dwelling as a walker?

        Do you own a car?

        If yes, how much do you drive per day average and for what reason?

      10. How would I look up the density of my neighborhood? what’s the scale used?

        I live in N. Beacon Hill. I walk daily, at least 1 mile with the dog and an additional .5 – 1 mile for errands and/or to transit (might be more, but doesn’t seem like much). Our combined household walking is probably 3miles/day.

        I shop on foot and carry goods at least 3x/week (including library trips, grocery store, and other retail purchases). Our combined household shopping trips on foot are probably 8x/week.

        I drive my car 3-4 days/week, primarily to transport clients to appointments or errands. When I don’t have to transport clients, I take Light Rail to work or work from home. I drive to the grocery store 1-2x/month for larger purchases.

      11. My walkscore is 92. I walk daily to shop near my home, reach the bus for work, and run errands while at work. I probably walk a mile or two a day. I do own a car (two actually) and use 2-3 times a week for errands. My neighborhood is as dense as I’ve seen for single-family zoning in Seattle (30′ plot widths), and I’m 3 blocks from a neighborhood main street.

      12. That’s actually not very dense at all, and it’s certainly not pleasant. It’s also not mixed use, and it’s *not walkable*.

      13. While I was happy to leave that neighborhood several years ago, it actually is reasonably dense — lots of 2-3 story apartments, significantly higher density than most neighborhoods of Seattle. A bit north of the address shown, the walkscore is around 75 when approaching the neighborhood business center clustered around Kent-Kangley and Benson Highway.

        When you get away from the center into the acres of multi-family housing, it’s not very walkable, scores in the mid-30s, but works reasonably well by bike, since most destinations are still under a mile.

      14. My walkscore is 95. I do almost all my errands by foot, including carrying groceries, purchases, or library books. I don’t own a car, and commute by bus.

      15. Walkscore: 88
        Daily Walking: 1-5 Miles
        Purchasing on Foot: Daily
        Purchasing by ZipCar: Monthly
        Own a car: No
        Drive a ZipCar: 50 Miles/Month

      16. Walkscore: 68
        Daily walking: 1-4 miles
        Walking purchases and lugging home: 2-3 times/week
        Car ownership: no

        I aspire to own a car, but I also aspire to live in a denser, more walkable area.

      17. I live near Summit so my walkscore is a ridiculous 94. I walk to almost everything except work. Weekdays I walk a total of 1 mile to the bus stop and transfering. After work I take the bus to the store or library or gym, and walk home from there. On weekends I walk a mile each way to TraderJoe’s/Madison Market, and another mile each way to the laundromat (unless I combine these trips).

        I go down to Costco every couple weeks, taking the 14 + Link + 23/124, and usually taking the 23/124 all the way back. If I skip the 14 segment, it’s a mile walk. If I skip the 23/124 segment, it’s another mile. I take a backpack and a gym bag to haul stuff home.

        When I lived in Ballard, I could walk to half these errands. The other half I had to bus to, so I was on the bus seven days a week.

        I don’t have a car. The cost, the frustration of parking, and worrying about accidents would be an unacceptable detriment to my quality of life. This limits where I can live and work. I grew up in darkest suburbia, which I never want to go back to. But maybe I’ll move to one of those dense suburban centers someday, when they get adequate transit.

      18. Walk Score: 74 (N. Beacon Hill — not as dense as Capitol Hill, but denser than the part of Lake City I grew up in)

        How often on a daily basis do you walk? How many miles?: I walk most days that I leave the house, but I couldn’t tell you mileage. I walk to the store, the library, to Link light rail to go other places.

        How often do you purchase goods and tote them to your dwelling as a walker?: Several times a week

        Do you own a car?: Yes

        If yes, how much do you drive per day average and for what reason?: On an average day I probably don’t drive. (I used to. I don’t anymore unless I have to.) If I do drive, it’s because I’m going some place that isn’t reachable easily by Link, or I have to carry stuff that I can’t carry myself, or it’s after Link closes for the night, etc.

      19. Yes, Mike, but I’m not usually walking at a consistent speed for a certain amount of time — it’s more like walk a bit, stop to look at something, walk a bit more, go into a shop and shop around a bit, etc. :) When I walk to one of my jobs I know it’s about a mile + light rail, but I also walk around downtown sometimes before going straight to work. So it is difficult to know the exact mileage.

        I just thought of another reason I drive sometimes — some of my friends aren’t willing to walk. Last month we all went to the Thai restaurant near Mount Baker station and we did drive because one of my friends really, really did not want to walk and I gave up arguing about it. It is about 7 minutes total walking each way for the whole trip, including walking to the Link stations at both ends of the trip.

      20. Belltown, so 12,000 per square mile or so?

        I walk A LOT each day. To my bus stop at Westlake, to the library, to the grocery store, to the weekend entertainment…

        I do probably 80% of my grocery shopping via walking. Sometimes I will drive to the local QFC and do a big run.

        Yes I do own a car. I certainly use it much less than when I lived in Wallingford and infinitely less than when I lived on Spokane’s South Hill.

        I drive maybe 3 times a week. Usually it’s errands to do on the east side after work, purchasing items too big for the bus, or other random events not walkable or accessible by transit. I also carpool when it makes sense. Oh and of course the occasional trip to the great outdoors :-D

      21. Over the holidays one of my brothers-in-law made a joke about us not driving so I said we still drive when we need to, maybe a couple times a month. A niece went wide-eyed and said, “Wow, we have to drive like 10 times a day.” Hope for the future, that.

        Also, after we moved to SLU from the U-District my wife mentioned that since everything is so close that maybe we’re not getting enough exercise anymore. :)

      22. Cascade in SLU where I live has density something like 32 units/acre existing today, and is zoned SM55-SM125 everywhere. If fully built out (i.e., replace PEMCO’s parking lots) Cascade could easily approach 100 units/acre, but unfortunately major landowners like PEMCO and Blume have only commercial plans, not residential. Walkscore is “only” 94 because we don’t have a movie theater. The thing that walkscore can’t capture that really makes Cascade shine for walkability, though, is that it’s centered around the playground and has relatively light through traffic due to the street configuration (one of the few advantages of I-5 and Seattle’s crazy streets).

        We walk everywhere on a daily basis. Probably less than an hour a day, though, so it’s a good thing our 2 kids keep us active. We walked up to Fremont last weekend which was nice.

        We purchase nearly everything on foot or delivered, with occasional zipcar trips.

        We no longer own a car. With so many zipcars close by, as little as we need a car it would be a waste of money.

    3. Kent is not the exurbs, at least by my reckoning. The exurbs are the place “beyond the suburbs”. Puyallup, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Black Diamond. Suburbs of suburbs. Places that were isolated towns outside the commuter belt until the 1990s.

      Exurbs are also semi-rural areas that get a mall or Wal-Mart, like Silverdale. Only die-hard ruralites lived there before the mall. Now it’s attractive to suburbanites, people who formerly would have moved to Bellevue or Issaquah or Kent.

      The difference is that in a 1940s suburb or 1970s suburb, you’re only ten or twenty miles from the city, there are plenty of neighborhood stores as well as big box stores, and your yard is a quarter acre or less. In the 1990s suburb or exurb, the city is more than 20 miles away, there’s probably a bigger suburb between you and the city, the only stores around are big box stores (except the dying shops on Main Street), your yard may be a half acre or bigger, and the town center may have weekday transit if you’re lucky.

      1. Just a technical point, but wouldn’t Marysville and Lake Stevens be suburbs of Everett, not exurbs? Or are you counting Everett as a suburb?

      2. Everett and Tacoma have this strange dual role because they’re historic cities and also de facto suburbs. I’m calling Marysville and Lake Stevens exurbs not because people commute from there to Everett, but because they commute from there to Seattle. (Or to Bellevue or Redmond…) In 1990 a few people did this but now it’s commonplace.

      3. According to the US Census Bureau, Everett and Tacoma are one of four major cities (with Bellevue) that make up the ‘Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area.’ Seattle is obviously the heart of the area, which is why it is often shortened to just ‘Metro Seattle.’

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seattle_metropolitan_area

        Major:

        * Seattle
        * Tacoma
        * Bellevue
        * Everett

        Other:

        * Auburn
        * Bothell
        * Burien
        * Edmonds
        * Federal Way
        * Kent
        * Kirkland
        * Lakewood
        * Lynnwood
        * Marysville
        * Mercer Island
        * Puyallup
        * Redmond
        * Renton
        * Shoreline

      4. Yes, the census doesn’t recognize suburbs. These are all called “principal cities”, or at least Bellevue is and probably Redmond and Kirkland. And that makes some sense, because Bellevue does have a lot of jobs and people commute into it, and it’s self-sustaining in the sense that one can meet most of one’s needs without leaving the city limits. But even though the suburbs can stand on their own more now, they’re still satellites around a larger city.

        I would not call San Jose or Oakland suburbs, even though when people there say “the city” they mean San Francisco. But I wouldn’t say the same about Tacoma, and especially not about Everett. They’re too close and not as autonomous, and the ratio of local jobs to out-commuters is more equal. But they’re not “just” suburbs either. They’re kind of in between.

      5. The term I’ve heard most often used to describe places like Tacoma and Everett is “satellite city.”

  7. How many couples have bought a single-family dwelling and then put in an illegal basement apartment or create an illegal granny suite to help pay the mortgage? Or rent out a room to a college student to help with the expenses, but against the zoning codes?

  8. FYI everyone, John Bailo is Blue Swan/Crazy Guy/The Riddler/T. Undretti/Jobailo (it has to keep changing it’s name b/c people catch on to the troll and stop feeding it) keep this in mind when responding to it.

    1. That said, suggesting that purchases from big box retailers has a smaller footprint than neighborhood retailers, if true – shoots the whole concept behind purchasing items on the internet.

      Perhaps Amazon should only deliver then to your closest Costco or Walmart? Then, you can pick your packages up when you stock up on stuff – saving all of those small UPS deliveries to individual addresses.

      1. If you use USPS (which Amazon does for its free option) it’s a trip that’s already happening.

      2. It is not a trip if the demand was not there. I’m not being to serious, but shopping malls, like park & rides, are artificial substitutes to create the benefits of density.

      3. A truck making a wholesale delivery to a neighborhood store is more efficient than fifty cars each driving 5, 10, 20 miles to a big box store.

        It’s like if you take the mileage of a bus and multiply it by the number of passengers. I think an empty bus runs 3 mpg. But with two passengers the net mileage is 6 mpg, compared to if they drove their own cars. With 12 passengers it’s 36 mpg, which is an above average car. With 24 passengers it’s 72 mpg, which only a motorcycle can get, and the bus is still only half full. Similarly, a truck load is enough goods for dozens or hundreds of people.

  9. I agree with Jake since there is no way I would walk to from the light rail. Stations are poorly lit and sidewalks are narrow as Rainier Ave traffic speeds by!

  10. I think Swan should take a nice tour of Greenwood on the 5, and note the similarities and differences between it and the “density” in eastern Kent. A streetcar suburb and a modern suburb. Houses, slightly higher density. Stores and restaurants and Fred Meyer, much closer. Take a pleasant stroll on Dayton Avenue N between 100th and 85th, and note the artistic front yards. It’s a good place for a bike ride too, a little jaunt to Greenlake or Golden Gardens. No “too dense horrid urbanity” about it.

    Now imagine light rail on Aurora, taking you quickly back to downtown Kent. And then a boring 2-mile walk to the Benson Road, past office parks and houses with 2-car garages, and no store in sight. Well, maybe you’d enjoy that, it’s quiet and peaceful.

  11. Does anyone have an example of imposing higher density on a crime ridden area and having the crime go down on a per capita basis. Oh, and not changing the demographics at the same time. Just hoping that Rainier Valley turns into Manhattan and not the South Bronx or Newark.

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