Today Puget Sound Sage released a new report on Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the Rainier Valley. It outlines changes seen in the Valley over the last decade, makes an environmental and social equity arguments for a greater emphasis on affordable housing and living wage jobs in TOD, enumerating racial justice principles for TOD, and calls for urgent and aggressive actions and creation of tools necessary to achieve these principles. Tonight at 5:30 at the Filipino Community Center (5740 M.L. King Jr. Way South, Seattle, WA 98118) Puget Sound Sage will hold a panel discussion on their findings.
I have only had time to skim the document, but my first impress is that the report does a good job setting the context, honing in on specific problems of concern not usually focused on, and then proposing strategies to address these problems. Many of these strategies however, not surprisingly, require public money to get them off the ground as well as legislative changes on the regional and state level. I’m also very happy to see that the report is not a rebuke of TOD and development in the Valley, but rather in my reading, a call for TOD that more aggressively aims to benefit existing residents.
Below is a list of recommendations included in the executive summary.
- Prioritize implementing the non-zoning components of the recently completed Neighborhood Plan Updates.
- Preserve affordable land now for community TOD goals as gentrification occurs.
- Maximize creation of local, high-quality jobs in TOD projects in Rainier Valley – including both short term construction jobs and long-term, on-site jobs.
- Encourage higher job quality for low-wage industries prevalent at regional job centers along the new light rail system, including Downtown Seattle, First Hill and SeaTac Airport.
- Connect low-income workers of color in Rainier Valley to high quality jobs throughout the rail corridor.
- Ensure affordable childcare near transit stations to increase job security for working parents.
- Encourage family-sized units (2+ bedrooms) in market-based housing policy.
- Encourage development of units affordable to households making 30% to 60% of area median income (AMI) to provide needed housing for low-wage workers.
- Bring the City of Seattle’s Incentive Zoning policy in-line with other US cities to generate more units and deeper affordability.
- Create a tax increment finance tool that generates revenue for low-income housing in TOD.
- Preserve existing, privately-owned multifamily buildings that serve low-income families.
- Use surplus property owned by Sound Transit to create affordable housing through joint development projects.
- Expand the City’s Neighborhood Equitable Transit Oriented Development (NET) Initiative to achieve scope and scale.
- Support and promote community-controlled development as a primary strategy to stabilize Rainier Valley residents.
- Include communities of color who are stakeholders in TOD planning and policy to be part of decision making in order to achieve racial equity outcomes.
- Local governments and elected officials should support and promote the use of stakeholder-led agreements with developers, such as Community Benefits Agreements and Community Workforce Agreements.