20120131-233403.jpgAs people move to the Puget Sound region, less people die, and more are born we are going to have more people here. The best way to handle that challenge—more people in the same size space—is to embrace it, welcoming more people living closer together in our cities. Bruce Ramsey’s recent article in the Times bashes Sound Transit rail service from Seattle to Everett for being inefficient and expensive, but ends up making argument in support of density: more people in the same place means more efficient transit.

The punch line to Ramsey’s rather one-sided article slamming Sound Transit commuter rail to Everett is “buses, vans and other rubber-tired vehicles are better than trains.” Ramsey makes that point by repeating a local engineer’s analysis finding that the service from Seattle to Everett is more expensive than buses. But the sweetest spot in the article, the one I’ll quote over and over again is right before the punch line:

Railroads, says engineer MacIsaac, are good at moving thousands of people from point A to point B — if that is what thousands of people want to do, all at once. But in our low-rise urban area here, he says, the real task is moving people “from thousands of points A to thousands of points B” when they decide to be moved.

Thank you Bruce Ramsey and Mr. MacIsaac. That’s exactly why we can’t allow people to sprawl. MacIsaac is correct; when you have low-density development you get less efficient transit. It’s not like it was my idea to make that point first, but a while ago I made a similar argument in a post about how lack of density—thousands of people going from thousands of points A to thousands of points B—makes for very expensive transit. This way of doing transit means two thirds of its cost has to be funded with tax payer dollars.

As people look for housing in our region they run up against limited supply in the places we most want people to live, the city. If it’s easier to build new single-family housing or sell that housing out in the ‘burbs, the supply out there will be greater. Seattle’s hesitant attitude toward up zones to create Transit Oriented Development not only keeps housing prices high, but also means that costs for maintaining transit service to far-flung reaches of King County will go up too.

Geoff Patrick, Sound Transit Spokesman, has it exactly right, rail is an investment (maybe even a hopeful one)in a future when politicians start getting land use right. When they do, we’ll have a rail system in place to take those thousands of people in one place, point A, at the same time to one point B. When we do that, transit will be efficient and affordable.

55 Replies to “Bruce Ramsey: The Best Way From Point A to Point B is Density”

  1. I don’t know about “not allowing people to sprawl”, but I definitely think we should stop making it illegal to live densely.

    1. Or illegal to build the small-lot, no-setback houses that make Seattle’s old neighborhoods in such demand by buyers.

      1. +1 As an alternative to upzoning, let’s drop some of our pointless restrictions from our SF zones. Some of the most beautiful homes and the most lively and valuable neighborhoods were built before zoning existed and couldn’t be built the same today.

  2. Every time I’m up in Everett, I’m simply perplexed about the lack of any kind of dense housing near the Everett Station. Is this a problem with the economic downturn, or has Everett not done its part in upzoning the area around the station?

    1. There was a plan to add a lot of density with a streetcar project, however it died when the economy tanked.

    2. The last time I was in Everett a few months ago, I noticed how everything was one-story, even on Broadway.

    3. A Google search revealed a PSRC document from early 2000s talking about the “Everett Regional Growth Center.” It would seem that Everett has an equally attractive TOD opportunity as compared to, say, Kent. And yet, nothing…

    4. Here’s the doc (PDF) http://psrc.org/assets/271/everett.pdf.

      It really is quite striking. I just did one of those timeline scans in Google Earth and frankly, the sat images tell a very interesting tale of a lost decade for Everett. Aside from a few government buildings, nothing has been built anywhere near the sounder station for more than 10 years.

      Again, I just don’t know if this is from the poor economy, but I suspect that Everett and Snohomish County’s land use policies played a huge role in utterly failing to develop any sort of dense core centered near the rail station with a very quick connection to Seattle and other points south.

      Also, regarding a street car…that’s great and all, but main Everett isn’t very big. Most people would be able to easily get around simply be walking or riding a bike.

  3. “not allowing people to sprawl” would never fly. But pushing to change policy so that drivers pay the actual costs of their transportation habits would lead us to a place of much greater efficiency. If we didn’t subsidize roads so heavily, rail wouldn’t need to be subsidized to be competitive.

    1. BINGO !!!

      and YES, it’s as simple as that.

      If you don’t want to privatize the road system, which would allocate the costs properly, then at least have a plan that the public can evaluate and vote for.

  4. According to your theory then, why don’t we all just move to New York City?

    Seattle and the entire nation could be ceded back to the original owners, who would maintain it as wildlife. We would occasionally take excursions on horseback outside of the perimeter, but mostly spend our days gazing out on Central Park, visiting the Hayden Planetarium or having a zeppoli at the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy.

    1. I DO think we all should move to New York City. The only reason I’m here is because the tech industry is on the west coast. If instead the high-tech employers were there I’d move there in a second.

      1. Well, that’s just a sign of sprawl.

        For example, the whole “city” of Seattle is in some sense just a suburb of LA. Think about it — in the last two decades how did Seattle’s population increase occur? Childbirth? Not with the highest percentage of (aging) single adults.

        No, people from California, especially LA, “sprawled” across the West Coast to Seattle and Portland.

        So, following the logic, we should re-densify LA by sending those people back from whence they came.

        If you want the ultimate density and transit, we should all move to Chicago, New York or LA and out of the Sprawl Cities of Seattle, etc.

      2. Manhattan is actually hitting the limits of density.

        Queens, on the other hand, badly needs more density. It’s just sprawled out enough to make it difficult to provide subway service or exclusive bus lanes, but it’s still dense enough (and closely tied to Manhattan) to make it congested, and essentially impossible to serve with cars and other “rural services”; it needs much more mass transit, but it’s just a tad too dispersed to get any more of it (beyond the three subway lines it already has).

        Brooklyn appears to be the “hot” density level right now.

      3. @John B: Seattle isn’t a suburb of LA by any reasonable definition of suburb. Migration patterns are not sprawl — sprawl is the expansion of a city.

        In a style of analysis suggested by Jane Jacobs in “The Economy of Cities”, most cities have a “parent city”: the city that was its first important market. In Seattle’s case that was (AFAIK) San Francisco, to which it sent timber. Seattle, generally, grew into a city by periods of rapid economic growth characterized by increasing production of local goods and services to replace imports while maintaining and diversifying its exports (and, in such a major trading city, services for trade and visitors), allowing for more interesting imports and constantly shifting patterns of import, export, and production. It’s this process that defines Seattle (by which I mean our whole continuous region) as a city, not a dependent town. Archetypal “dependent towns” include company towns that don’t have the freedom to spin off their own industries, but many normal towns, for whatever reason, don’t do this themselves, have stagnant economies, and must decline when faced with any economic change. Seattle isn’t an independent city (there’s no such thing), nor a dependent town, but an interdependent city with many connections to the global economy.

      4. Queens, on the other hand, badly needs more density.

        Definitely…if Queens could densify to the level of Manhattan you could fit the whole population of Seattle inside of it.

      5. @Al Diamond

        Imagine that LA wanted to do a corporate takeover of Seattle — you know, “bain” the whole operation. What would it take to absorb it’s functions, sell off the assets, and shut it down.

        I would say, not much. There is nothing here that has to be here.

        Microsoft? That could float away to any place that has a net connection (well, near a trunk line). In fact, like Boeing, the more they are less a monopoly, and more competing in the Free Market, the less sense it makes to be stuck in the middle of Nowheresville instead of near their largest customers.

        Boeing? They already proved they don’t need Washington’s hydro power by moving their newest product lines to South Carolina.

        The only industry that “has to be here” are commodity industries like oil, fishing and timber. Those would actually benefit if the entire population moved to LA and left the state as a natural resource operated by few remote workers.

      6. The LA Metro area has 12 million people:

        2 Los Angeles–Long Beach–Santa Ana 12,828,837
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Los_Angeles_Area#Metropolitan_Statistical_Area

        You could take the entire 6 million population of the State of Washington and move them to LA.

        That would be only a 50 percent increase (which by the way, is the kind of growth that planners used to forecast back in 2000 for Seattle) for one city in LA.

        So, rather than build a lot of brand new sprawling and redundant transit systems, we could optimize, build up the LA metro area, and maybe finally get the HSR and rail transit systems that STB proposes.

        I don’t think you’ll ever get what you want here.

      7. Bailo, three times the population of Seattle is already in Queens. You wouldn’t even need to come close to Manhattan levels of density. Going to Brooklyn levels of density would allow another two Seattles to fit in Queens. Queens is huge.

        Disclaimer: I love Queens. It’s diverse, middle-class, great for biking in, and built in a bizarre and fascinating architectural mish-mash of the various forms of all kinds of buildings that got built in the last 150 years.

        Nathanael, I’d agree that Queens can use more density (though Long Island City and Flushing are booming these days), but I disagree that it’s not dense enough for more subway access. A Northern Boulevard subway is probably the best per-rider subway investment NYC could make (after the 2nd Ave line is done, that is). But given the nature of the politics, it’s not going to happen.

      8. [Bailo] A significant portion of our economy has to be right here. Absolutely everything that goes to AK comes through our ports. There’s a reason Alaska Airlines is headquartered in Seattle. Same with much of the NW quarter of the US – it’s all loaded on and off ships in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Vancouver and heads eastward on trucks and trains.

        The question can be asked in the other direction as well. Why does LA have to be where they are? It seems all of that manmade waterway and expensive air conditioning would go away if we moved them up here. Though I’d rather them go to SF, where there’s little heating or cooling needed and they have awesome ports.

        Or, we can all stay where we are.

    2. 290 million people can’t fit in New York City. One person who had grown up in NYC told me, “New York was designed for 10 million people but it has only 7 million now.” If we assume 10 million, and that densifying Queens and Brooklyn and the Bronx and Jersey City (a quasi-borough) would bring it up to 12-13 million, and we round to an optimistic 15 million, that means even the “denser” NYC would have to be extended to 19 times the size, or 19 other cities upgraded.

      I’ll take 19 cities with 15 million people, please. Or perhaps better, 58 cities each with 5 million people. Pugetopolis is on track to become one of those, but ideally it would withdraw to a line surrounding Tacoma, Puyallup, Auburn, Covington, Renton, Issaquah, Redmond, Woodinville, highway 9, and Marysville. Even that gives a generous amount of single-family neighborhoods, and it would focus our attention on where Link and multifamily density should go: Tacoma-Marysville, and shuttle lines or secondary lines to Auburn, (not Sumner), Kent (maybe Covington if it densifies), Renton, Issaquah, Redmond, Bothell, Edmonds, Mukilteo, and that’s about it.

      1. New York City proper, but New York Metro area probably has something like 75 million people considering it includes areas of the two most densely populated states in the Union…Connecticut and New Jersey. But even still, much of those areas are simply “sprawl” by your definition. If we were to Mahattanize the whole area there would be enough room for probably 1 billion people.

      2. Ok, let’s use your number 20 million.

        The 6 million people of WA State would only increase the New York metro area by 1/3rd.

        And a rich dense infrastructure already exists.

        Why re-invent the wheel? Seattle in toto is “sprawl” relative to the extra capacity of better cities. I say densify and leave Seattle to nature…in 50 years it will a pristine nature preserve.

        Face it, almost everything here that is manmade is ugly and unserviceable. Bad design, crappy materials, over priced wood houses. We should begin relocating people to better areas immediately.

    3. A suburb is within a metropolitan area, meaning a lot of people regularly commute between the cities. Nobody travels between Seattle and LA daily, and the only people who may do it weekly are the super-rich and those with dual-location jobs. If there were a Bailo High-Speed Rail Hourly Express [TM], and it were somehow as cheap as the Cascades (perhaps after a breakthrough in nanotechnology), it would expand the commuting belt to western Washington, but not all the way to LA. 125mph or 300 mph rail may entice people to live 100 or 150 miles from where they regularly travel, but 500 or 1000 miles would be just silly, even to them.

  5. The worst thing you can do in transit is to sink gobs of money into capital costs only to buy yourself poor frequencies, and that is exactly what Sounder North does. It’s a horrible waste, but it’s laughably fallacious for Mr Ramsey to use Sounder North to infer the inherent superiority of rubber over steel. The technology is the means, and mobility is the end. Sounder North fails because it’s circuitous, infrequent, and $1.00 more expensive than a competing bus 50′ away, NOT because it’s a train. Roger’s point is well-taken, that good transit requires density, and that running transit in low-density places gives you bad transit. With something as capital-intensive as commuter rail, running at poor frequencies through low-density areas is a recipe for maximum inefficiency.

    Sounder’s “double endpoint” problem makes it easy for critics to make their point: for Seattle-Tacoma and Seattle-Everett trips, express buses perform better on every relevant metric (except, ironically, on awful traffic days like today when Seattle-Everett trips take 90 minutes). But for Mukilteo, Edmonds, Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, and Puyallup, Sounder is faster, more comfortable, better patronized, and relieves congestion far better than competing bus service.

    If we can never expect higher frequencies, higher running speeds, or better reliability against mudslides, I’d be happy to entertain a discussion of killing Sounder North if it meant giving the Snohomish subarea a quicker buildout of Link to Lynnwood.

    1. running transit in low-density places gives you bad transit.

      And bad “density” like people moving to Covington because they can drive to the train station and have a subsided sprawl commute to DT Seattle. The expense of rail only starts to make sense if there is a major draw at each end of the route (think Seattle/Portland). Sounder North should be ended ASAP. South Sounder would make sense if Tacoma were also a major jobs center. It’s not and it’s not looking good for several more economic cycles. In fact it’s continuing to slowly sink into the mud flats with mill closings and Russel jumping ship.

      1. The point is not whether people drive from Covington to the Sounder station. The point is that they’re not driving all the way to downtown. Would you cancel Metra, LIRR, and Caltrain too because people drive to stations? What about people who don’t have a car and want to get around the area? They did what people asked: they got rid of their car. Now they need transit to get around the area, and it’s reasonable to ask for all-day rapid transit to at least Kent and maybe to central Covington too. The more you extend Link and RapidRide to ALL city centers, the more people will not drive at all, or will drive just the two miles from their house to their suburban downtown.

      2. The point is they are being rewarded with a huge ass public subsidy for moving to Covington and buying a pick-up truck instead of the money being used for transit that might actually lead to better land use. At least the ferries cover 50% of their operational expense.

        The more you extend Link and RapidRide to ALL city centers, the more people will not drive at all, or will drive just the two miles from their house to their suburban downtown.

        Are you really so seriously deluded that you believe people move to Covington and live car free? Suburban downtown; you crack me up.

      3. If you punish people by giving them practically no transit, you can’t complain that they’re driving.

      4. People without a car will live where transit is better, but sometimes they go to Kent or Covington to visit people or attend events. That’s what I meant by “getting around the area”. Not having frequent transit punishes them as well as the people living there.

        Would you cancel Metra and LIRR and Caltrain?

    2. Why prefer extending Link to Lynnwood if we could instead invest in rebuilding the north line to improve not just Sounder service but Cascades as well?

      1. Because Sounder will never, ever run at 10-15 minute frequency. In our best hopes it may be hourly someday. Cancel both Sounder North and Sounder South and put the money into extending Link to Tacoma and Everett, interim bus routes for Puyallup, Auburn, and Kent (going downtown peak hours and to a Link station off-peak). Metro could chip in with full-scale RapidRide between Kent/Link and each of Auburn, Renton, Southcenter, and Covington. that would make transit more usable in those areas without requiring another Link line.

      2. Mike, we don’t need or want 15-minute frequency over that distance. 15-minute frequency to Lynnwood is a subsidizes sprawl just like a highway!

      3. No amount of investment will give Sounder North the kind of ridership Link to Lynnwood will have. The biggest issue is the limited access to the line due to the water and the bluffs. Second most of the population and employment in South Snohomish County is concentrated along the 99 and I-5 corridors.

    3. Sounder North does seem to be totally impractical, what with missing all the interesting points in between Edmonds and Seattle. And being hit by mudslides all the time. That coastal route is bad. It’s a pity there isn’t a natural alternative route.

      The corridor needs to be upgraded for Seattle-Vancouver Cascades service anyway, though. If the Sounder trains could be made *reliable* so that “on awful traffic days like today when Seattle-Everett trips take 90 minutes”, the Sounder still runs on schedule, the train would probably be worth running for the reliability factor.

      Sounder South is another matter, but is clearly significantly more successful. The route is not ideal for direct Tacoma-Seattle traffic, but makes it very useful for all the intermediate points. More interesting is to compare the timings to the express bus from Tacoma to Seattle; Sounder runs 58 minutes, while between the same pair of locations the bus is scheduled to run 40 minutes (best time, attained only contra-peak), or 52 minutes (peak).

      It looks to me like very little improvements would make Sounder South faster than the express buses. (How much time will that planned trestle replacement in Tacoma save? I know that’s a slow zone.) The train already ought to already be preferred for commuter traffic leaving around the same time as the bus, and I believe it is.

      The express buses currently are running at massive frequencies, however — practically “don’t need to look at the schedule” frequencies.

      http://www.soundtransit.org/Schedules/ST-Express-Bus/590.xml

      To match that, Sounder South would have to be running every 30 minutes. I’m not sure what sort of deal would have to be cut with BNSF for that!!! Or if there’s even enough demand (though I suspect there is).

  6. “Future urban interstates may have tolls, and flow unimpeded.”

    That was supposed to start off with an “In the” in front right?

    Either that or he’s completely bailoed and thinks we might build some new interstates in our urban core.

    1. Depends on how he means “future”, “urban”, and “interstate”. Loose definitions of “future” and “interstate” would include the Deeply Boring Tunnel (it’s intended as a replacement for an existing road, and not part of the Interstate system, but it’s an urban freeway that doesn’t yet exist and will in the future). Relax the definition of “urban” from “urban core” to something like “urban area” and the 520 rebuild fits the bill as well. Similar funding schemes on future projects could send us to a future with road tolls almost everywhere. It seems unlikely to provide truly unimpeded flow, though.

  7. I wonder how many of the detractors here regarding the Sounder Northline actually ride it on a daily basis. I don’t see the “always has mudslides” issue being valid enough to use as an argument to kill the service. Nor the fact that ridership is low. So were the roads at one point, until they were subsidized enough to be built into a large enough network to make it viable for all those who had cars.

    I do ride it daily, and yes this line has its issues. In time though as I-5 gets perpetually worse it is my opinion that it will gain ridership, and by a lot; kind of like the Sounder South, it’s now packed to the gills on practically every trip south.

    But of course that does nothing to alleviate the current problem unfortunately.

    As for Ramsey’s piece, yuck. No wonder people are buying less and less of the big daily papers if that is the best they can do for an editorial. My writing may be juvenile, but his isn’t much better and doesn’t adequately explain why to kill Sounder Northline at all.

    1. How many people here take the 510 or 511 because Sounder isn’t running at that time, is going the wrong direction, or doesn’t serve Lynnwood?

  8. I thought it was sweet that the folks at the Times gave some space to a fellow senior citizen to voice his straight-out-of-1962 opinions. After all, it is the 50 year anniversary of the Century 21 Exhibition. Retro is in.

    I actually did appreciate one of the commenters, however, who talked about how he lives down south and works up north. It’s too bad they can’t just run the trains from Tacoma to Everett to accomodate reverse commuters and people who work on the other side of Seattle. But I suppose that is a storage issue of some sort.

    1. In the printed newspaper, Section G, and at this link from the Seattle Times is why you will never see a clear comparative analysis of road capacity enhancements, and how they compare with other transportation options.

      It’s the money, folks. They’ll loose too much ad revenue if they get certain people mad.

  9. “That’s exactly why we can’t allow people to sprawl”

    I hope you’re smart enough to express these sorts of sentiments to select, receptivegroups of audiences. Cause it’s a sure fire way to be highly unpopular with the public at large.

  10. When Link goes to Lynnwood, the north Sounder is going to look especially ridiculous because we will already have a train available that bypasses congestion on I-5 which will run all day extremely frequently. Anyone who could ride Sounder to downtown from any location could have a ride at least as fast with much better frequency by simply taking a shuttle to Lynnwood and riding Link. And the money saved by not having to run the north Sounder would pay for lots and lots of shuttles – just because buses up there run hourly at best today doesn’t mean it always has to be that way.

  11. The entire purpose of Sounder North is NOT for the commuters of I-5. The expresses that serve that corridor and Link, if and when it gets up that direction, will also serve that purpose. While there is that side benefit, most of those commuters on the trains come from the Washington State Ferry System and some from the areas surrounding Everett.

    In the many times I have taken a joyride on the train North, most of the commuters get off at either Edmonds or Mukilteo. All have consistently asked for a station at Broad Street and a bus/streetcar/something that runs from there along the waterfront.

    If there was a large parking available at either of the ferry terminals (Clinton or Kingston) you would probably get a large influx of walk on passengers that would take Sounder more because it is cheaper that the drive over, even if they were to charge a dollar for the parking, it’ll still dramatically beat the price of driving into Downtown Seattle.

    WSDOT will not ever do that because it would take one of their biggest bread makers into a passenger only ferry system, which they got out because “it wasn’t making money”

    The biggest issue with Sounder North is the lack of a station at the North end of Downtown Seattle. Get that and a shuttle bus (and/or restart the Waterfront Streetcar) into Downtown Seattle and I guarantee that the ridership on the trains would triple in a year of it being implemented.

    The lack of forward thinking when it comes to this train is pretty damn laughable.

  12. the underground rail tunnel dips below University Street Station. Couldn’t they theoretically build a station there and connect it to the University Street Station… Then Sounder North/ South could stop right in the middle of downtown….then there is the direct connection with Link. I’m sure the cost is this is extremely high….and will never happen…but man it sounds cool.

    1. I can’t find it now, but I remember seeing a visualization from the Cascadia Center that showed such a thing. The thing that makes it a fantasy is the ventilation and fire safety that would be needed to build a connection there. Now if the tunnel were electrified, and there weren’t potential hazmat cargoes going throught the rail tunnel.

  13. Author Valdez: “…we can’t allow people to sprawl.”

    How’s that not-allowing-people-to sprawl working out?

    Population growth, 2000 to 2010, according to U.S. Census
    Washington State – 14.1%
    City of Seattle – 8.0%
    City of Monroe – 25.4%
    City of Arlington – 53.0%
    City of Bonney Lake – 79.4%
    King County – 11.2%
    Snohomish County – 17.7%
    Skagit County – 13.5%
    Whatcom County – 20.6%
    Pierce County – 13.5%
    Thurston County – 21.7%

    1. Percentages are slaves whose value is dependent upon the absolutes to which they refer. Use absolute growth figures instead and I bet Seattle comes out looking a lot better.

      Take two theoretical cities. Sprawltown has a population of 5, and Metropolis has a population of 500,000. Over 10 years Sprawltown gains 25 people and Metropolis gains 5,000 people. John Bailo then writes a comment, saying “Look, Sprawltown grew by 400%, while Metropolis only grew by 1%! Obviously people prefer sprawl. Central cities are dead.”

      That’s why statistics must be used carefully. Sprawltown would indeed have a growth rate 400 times higher than Metropolis, but it would also simultaneously be the case that Metropolis would have gained 200 times more people in the same period.

      1. From 2000 to 2010 King County added 194,215 people. Seattle absorbed 45,286 of them. A city that started with a third of the population accounted for less than a 1/4 of the growth. Carefull of what you wish for.

      2. Touché, but Bailo should have made the argument like you did. Percentages without reference points mean nothing.

      3. Actually it was John Niles that posted the percentages. This was well hashed over a series of blog posts that came out when the census numbers were released. Both locally and nationally the predominant pattern of growth is small cities becoming large. To some extent it could be claimed natural that growth would slowed in the denser areas because they are built out. But it boils down to cost. It’s way cheaper to build in the boondocks. The only balancing force is the cost of travel and our transportation system, roads, buses, trains, ferries all are designed to minimized the cost to individuals in both time (roads) and money (transit).

        One thing that you do have to be careful of throwing out percentages for cities is that a lot of the increase in outlying cities has come from annexation. OTOH, they are annexing because of the high rate of suburban growth.

  14. the basis point of the Ramsey piece is valid: Sounder north is not cost-effective. The Mayor of Everett opposed the 1995 RTA measure; the 1996 measure was amended to include more regional express bus service and two-way north commuter rail; the dream was to serve Boeing Everett; the measure passed; the negotiations with BNSFRR did not go well; a reasonable response by the ST Board would have to been to cancel north commuter rail; several Sound Move projects were cancelled, postponed, or amended); instead, the ST board implemented the limited one-way service that Ramsey criticizes.

    the Valdez point is also valid: the best markets for Link LRT are closely spaced urban centers; the alignment between Mt. Baker and Northgate via downtown Seattle, Capitol Hill, U District, and Roosevelt will be very strong. Unfortunately, we will not have it in service until about 2021.

    please note the land use advantages of the old metro cities: Everett, Tacoma, Bremerton, and Seattle. They have tight street grids and sidewalks (mostly); they are the opposite of sprawl. as they are not very dense yet, they have room to grow. their street grids provide a solid foundation. the old downtowns of Edmonds, Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton, Burien, and Kent also have good street grids and are growing. all of these areas were developed before WWII and before the limited access highways.

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