This is an open thread.

69 Replies to “News Roundup: Less Primal Scream”

  1. You guys don’t get it. You see, while Seattle has been densifying, the world’s population is continuing to grow unsustainably! The correlation irrefutably proves the causation.

    Seattle densification is also to blame for the expansion of governments possessing weapons of mass destruction, the explosion of insipid realiTV shows, and the rollout of Windows 8.

    1. My comment response to the article on sprawl and density (you guys have probably heard it before, yeah).

      My argument has been, what people want is “more Seattle”.

      That is…they are given a choice of unaffordable small plot homes in the city near amenities. Or super large sprawling homes in the middle of nowhere. Or teeny tiny “apodments” (which have a very high cost per sq. foot to lease).

      What people want is “more Seattle”. By that I mean builders should recognize that there may be demand for smaller plot homes, closer together, but still independent. Dense enough to support commercial services nearby like restaurants and theaters, but sparse enough so people aren’t crammed on top of each other and families can have a kid or two.

      Part of this is changing from a Seattle-centric transit system to a County or even State-centric system so all these spread out mini-Seattles can interchange for jobs, centralized resources like stadiums. It also means that each and every new centralized resource (like say the new NBA/NHL stadium) doesn’t have to be crammed into the same 5 sq. miles of downtown.

      The message is..sprawl, but densely.


      1. I agree that smaller houses on smaller lots have a big part to play when it comes to achieving density (or just development in general). A lot of this can occur within the city limits or closer suburbs, though, and doesn’t have to occur in far flung suburbs. For example, look at these houses: http://goo.gl/maps/QaKpR
        These are large houses on large lots. The smaller buildings (as big as some Seattle homes) are parking garages. This is a new housing development, built in the last ten years. If the market (and even the community) decided, then small houses on small lots or an apartment building would have been built. But this neighborhood doesn’t allow that. Keep in mind, this is all within the Seattle city limits, and just a few blocks from where a lot of people (myself included) want to see a train station added (at 130th Ave NE).

        My point is that we don’t have to have nearly as much sprawl as we do have, if we allowed for more density in the city and the closer suburbs. A lot of that density could be in the form of small houses on small lots — which, as you point out, are very popular.

      2. I’m glad that you have newly realized — or have finally been able to articulate — that small-lot houses would be a good solution in the suburbs, allowing people to have more walkability and transit without having to pay $350K+ for a Seattle house or move to an apartment. Town centers and streetcar suburbs are the traditional expression of this, and it would be great if they were revived over “subdivisions”. But how to get from here to there? And how to avoid it being co-opted by large-lot sprawl?

        Is there even one small-lot house in Kent that has been built since 1945? Does the zoning code allow it? If we allow more housing at the edge of the urban growth boundary, what’s going to guarantee that they’re small-lot houses with real neighborhood centers, and not just large-lot peanut-butter sprawl?

      3. Issaquah Highlands looks exactly like what I think people might want:


        Except it seems geographically isolated from jobs and amenties…for example, can you walk, jog, bike to a coffee shop and back? How far to a transit stop…or a school?

        In any event, as a design, in the abstract — and if they can blend it in to facilities beyond the home — they should be thousands of these types of neighborhoods, yes.

      4. Yes, the Issaquah Highlands is about the best example of compact exurban development we have. I mentioned it before, and someone else said it’s the only place outside Seattle he’s considering moving to, because of its closeness to the mountain trails.

        When I was there a couple months ago it looked like two large commercial blocks are under construction, which may have a supermarket and coffee shop and perhaps a shopping center. It’s a five-minute walk from the houses to the P&R and presumed shopping center. The P&R has the all-day 554 and other routes. Of course it’s larger scale than a historical neighborhood: the streets are wider and the garages are 2+ cars.

        Beyond the commercial area there’s a gap to downtown Issaquah where the road looks like an expressway, and I hope the trail parallels it. Ideally developments like these would be adjacent to suburban downtowns rather than isolated. But an isolated walkable neighborhood is better than an isolated non-walkable neighborhood.

      5. All day…and weekend!


        Issaquah Highlands has 45 minute turnaround to downtown, day and night!
        This is more express service than Kent has (unless I park at Auburn and take the 577).

        And it looks like there’s a small mall, food court type thing on the edge:


        I say…build more, and make it less expensive for the average person. You could probably fit twice or three times the population of a typical suburb in these neighborhoods. No need for apodments if you can integrate with transit so workers can get to jobs as needed. Plenty of town homes. Maybe some rentals for people still deciding.

      6. Issaquah Highland’s 45 minutes to Seattle is about on par with Kent’s. It takes about 25 minutes from Kent to Tukwila P&R and about 20 minutes to IDS They don’t get 15 minute headways like the 150 does on Saturdays. Also, Kent to Seattle off peak usually means a 45 minute bus ride. Peak service it can be closer to 60 minutes but then you have other options to speed your trip. Kent seems ill positioned geographically to place “express” service, because of the valuable connections that can be made at Southcenter. Believe me, I live in Kent, and taking that away to provide someone else a luxurious nonstop trip to Downtown Seattle is a waste of money in my eyes.

    2. I have been pointing this out for what seems like nearly a decade.
      However, in some sense I do not feel the burden of proof to make an “argument” is not on me.

      We acknowledge that there is demand for small plot, single family homes.

      And yet no one builds to these specifications.

      All we see is:

      1) New but extremely large or small new housing types that no one really wants
      2) Existing small plot housing that everyone wants (but which is unaffordable for new buyers)


      3) Fast transit that was supposed to solve county widespread traffic problems but which
      4) Has stalled out in very circumscribed narrow bands in the old center city

      I only ask why.

      1. A couple weeks ago was the first time I’ve heard you say “small-lot houses” or “more Seattle”. Before it sounded like you want large-lot houses with light rail and high-speed rail directly to them. If you’re really talking about small-lot houses like Wallingford, within walking distance of a neighborhood center, with small gridded streets, and a trunk transit stop at the center, then that’s a form of new urbanism. It’s not solely about midrise apartments. Although around Sounder/Link stations you’d need some apartments so that more people can walk to the station. But feeder bus stops wouldn’t need those as much; they could be just houses clustered around the stop.

        Getting to that point will require convincing suburban councils to allow small-lot houses, and to have rules that encourage developers to design houses within walking distance of a supermarket complex and a bus stop, and to make street grids rather than cul-de-sacs. If you focus on where your ideas overlap with the urbanists, you’re more likely to accomplish something together. But if you propose things that have loopholes large enough to drive a large-lot cul-de-sac through, the urbanists will be against it.

      2. What I said in that 2012 comment was

        .What people want is the classic “small home” in the city. This was the original reason that people in the 80s moved to Seattle — because it was the last middle class city in America.

        What is a “middle class city”? Affordable homes. Real Neighborhoods. Low crime. Good schools. Nearby jobs. Public spaces like nearby parks with facilities that aren’t covered in graffiti. They want cars and garages and drive ways but they also want the option of nearby buses.

      3. America’s Fastest-Growing Counties: The ‘Burbs Are Back

        What these findings demonstrate is that more people aren’t moving “back to the city” but further out. In the last decade in the 51 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, inner cores, within two miles of downtown, gained some 206,000 people, while locations 20 miles out gained over 8.5 million.

        Although the recession slowed exurban growth, since 2011, notes Jed Kolko at Trulia, suburbs have continued to grow far faster than inner ring areas as well as downtown. Americans, he concludes, “still love their suburbs.”


      4. The thing is, when you just say “moving to the suburbs” or “decentralization” or “further out”, it does NOT sound like you’re talking about compact neighborhoods. It sounds like you’re talking about the suburban/exurban status quo, and that’s what would be built if we just allow more development with no policy changes. Development like Timberlane and Maple Valley and east Lake Meridian. That is NOT walkable and has no center, even if you can drive to Safeway and Fred Meyer.

        You did say “classic small home”, but that alone is not enough to get the point across. If somebody reads, “Affordable homes. Real neighborhoods. Low crime, Good schools. Nearby jobs.”, they’ll not think of Wallingford, they’ll think of Timberlane and Federal Way and Lynnwood, because that’s what they think a normal house and neighborhood is. The job is to convince them that they’d actually be happier in a more compact neighborhood on a smaller scale, and that neigborhoods like Wallingford function better than those like the Renton Highlands. Compact neighborhoods haven’t been built since 1930, so old people barely remember them and young people haven’t experienced them, and the ones that existed in Kent and Renton have been almost completely torn down. So it has to start with a vision, illustrating what you mean by smaller houses and lots, and dealing with the “But that’s too cramped” arguments.

      5. Yes, I agree. I think many people would be happier in a smaller home — especially if we can get the prices down in an expensive area like this to say half the cost of a standard home — more like condo prices but for a fully owned home.


        There are two specified density thresholds under Compact Neighborhoods which must allow for:
        a minimum of 4 units per acre for single family development
        a minimum of 8 units an acre for multi-family (any structure with more than one unit)


        Ok…although I would want maximum numbers as well so they don’t devolve into apodments and high rises! That would be a selling point, that the neighborhood would say as is for a certain amount of time and not be densified any more.

        Looks like there are economic incentives:

        Massachusetts Introduces Compact Neighborhoods Policy

      6. You wouldn’t like it John. Ohio City is within spitting distance of downtown Cleveland. Sort of like Queen Anne, but with a river in the way instead of a hill.

      7. Here’s a thread from Facebook with a bunch of people chiming in about small homes. (Just some real world evidence about some who prefer smaller houses.) Some comments:

        We are a family of 5 and live in a 1250 sf home. I think that “needing a big house” myth is another thing that should be debunked here.

        Family of 5 in 1,000 sq. ft. home. I think we are a closer family because we share a smaller space.

        We are a family of 6 in a 900 sq ft house. We do just fine. Our only issue is that there is only one 18″ x18″ closet for storage. Other than that, we are happy here.


      8. Rowhouses were the classic small houses on small lots. They’re still immensely popular, but they’re illegal to build in most places. (Garbagey “Setback” regulations.)

    1. While single car rides have decreased, car rides in toto have only declined by about 4%.

      This jives with what Metro said when it presented 3 versions of light rail planning back in 1993. The most expensive plan, at $9 billion, Metro said, would decrease car traffic by about 3%. The ended up spending much more than $9 billion and we decreased it by 4%. Hooray.

    2. Also interesting in the article is that Seattle has the 4th highest percentage of walk commuters of any major city.

    1. It probably depends on what they do with the money. 100 million is not a trivial amount of money, but its pretty small in comparison to the project cost so far. I believe the most expensive part is the tunnel though, so maybe the money (assuming its new money) could buy more work hours to speed up track and station construction.

      Its also possible that the money could free up existing local funds set for U-link and move it towards speeding up north link instead. Alternately, if south 200th (Angle lake) is any guide, 100 million is about 1/4 the amount needed to tack on a new elevated station, so if money gets moved around they might be able to start talking about more south link stations…

      1. Subarea equity will keep the money from being shifted out of the north subarea. But it could cover the extra cost of the additional station, provide a legal war chest so ST can install the missing ventilation shaft sooner rather than later, build a couple additional turn-back tracks to minimize the distruption of future breakdowns, and maybe, just possibly, enable that IDS center platform to get built. It could also enable more bike cages, better pedestrian, bicycle, and bus rider access to future stations, and more ORCA VMs.

        But a couple small things I’d like to see done are (1) cover the supposed lost card sales revenue for the remainder of the 10-year contract with Vix, and make ORCA free (or at least free with some minimum purchase or registration); and (2) set aside a portion of that money to subsidize fares for low-income and no-income riders. Yes, I realize using one-time money for operational subsidies is not a best practice, but the benefits of the grant money get diffused to a lot more people than just those future LInk riders who don’t yet know they will be future Link riders, and there are only six years left in the Vix contract. DIffused benefits mean votes.

        Another operational subsidy with an expiration date might be the north subarea paying its share into 545 and 550 operating and capital costs. Those routes have to keep adding trips, and ST has used up most of the places it can pull platform hours away from. ST Express platform hours will need to increase to hold onto the ever-booming ridership until East Link opens.

    2. New Starts funding is provided over several years. The $103 million is just part of the $813 million provided from FTA for U Link; it’ll bring the total to $613 million so far.

  2. I’ve just skimmed the ITDP report. First, I have to ask: what is the ITDP? I’d never heard of them before last week and, while their report is interesting, I think it’s going to take some whacks.

    Take this statement on page 21: “there are currently no cases in the US where LRT should be
    favored over BRT”. I know Kemper, et al. would agree, but I think that’s a highly debatable conclusion.

    Cleveland’s Health Line is profiled in detail and lauded for its ability to leverage real estate development along its route. But if you look at the many pictures of the Health Line displayed in the report, you will notice that something is missing in almost every picture–PEOPLE! The city of Cleveland has lost more than half its population since 1950. It makes sense for Cleveland to consolidate its infrastructure investments around a key corridor and hopefully grow from there. The report makes it clear that there isn’t much pedestrian activity in the corridor and very little of what’s happening adjacent to the Health Line is walkable, street activated development. But with limited investment dollars available, the Health Line BRT investment makes sense and it has generated a significant amount of private investment near the corridor.

    Also, there’s no mention of Seattle’s Link in the report. The SLU Streetcar is profiled and, surprisingly, gets pretty good reviews from the ITDP, but Link isn’t even mentioned.

    1. As strongly as I support a renewed emphasis on rational and empiricism-based transit investments, this study does not appear to be participating in any such discussion.

      The idea that $5.8 billion in investments have miraculously appeared as a direct result of investment in a single corridor in an underpopulated city is, to put it mildly, simplistic. My understanding is that health care and adjunct facilities constitute the vast majority of those investments, and that most were in the pipeline before the BRT was even conceived.

      Which is not to say that the BRT hasn’t made getting to and from those facilities a whole lot easier, or that it hasn’t helped cohere an eastern swath of the city in an important way, or that it doesn’t represent a success story in a part of the country desperately craving success stories (and replicable models). It’s just to say that numerically overstating consequences tends to lead to some troublesome extrapolations.

      The study’s attempt to spin Pittsburgh positively is even more credibility-straining. For those who don’t know, the Pittsburgh East Busway is startlingly anti-urban in form and station placement, and functions more as an expressway for commuter buses than as any kind of urban transit amenity. The interlining is totally uncoordinated, with many buses making no stops along the urban segment; as a result, the busway lacks the predictability of service that would allow you to just show up and use it (if you can even find/reach a station). Despite being fully segregated, Pittsburgh’s BRT is terrible urban transit. (Did I mention pay-as-you-leave?)

      Neighborhoods like East Liberty are reviving because Pittsburgh as a whole is reviving, and because the neighborhood has some halfway decent urban bones (attractive urban buildings, a grid). It didn’t revive in the first 30 years of busway operations, and the busway isn’t remotely responsible for its revival today.

      The document isn’t all bad, though. The analysis of Denver RTD’s poor corridor choices is spot-on, and Sound Transit would do well to pay attention to the consequences of Denver’s mistakes. But I can’t help but think that ITDP’s obvious BRT-specific agenda and emphasis only on development (at the expense of larger mobility/freedom-enabling concerns) is distorting their analysis to the point where it cannot be absorbed agnostically.

      1. I think the only reason it’s getting any play is because Jarrett Walker is desperate to tell people “buses can produce TOD too if you build it the way you build streetcars!” so he wrote a blog post holding up this study from a group that’s explicitly pro-bus while even disclaiming he disagreed with (and thus acknowledged) the bias behind the report.

      2. I didn’t see his post on the subject. While I’m a fan, I do agree that he will sometimes overlook problematic particulars in the examples he uses in his rush to reinforce his larger thesis about mobility-versus-symbolism and choosing the right tools for the job.

        Cleveland’s BRT is definitely a success, though, despite any silly overestimations of its development influence. All of the destinations it connects were preexisting, and the line connects them in a quicker and simpler way than they have ever been connected before. The Health Line makes for a particularly strong illustration of Walker’s “be on the way” axiom. It’s good transit, and good transit will help to grow a healthier city, where other favorable conditions are present (by contrast with the Magic TOD theory, which fails no matter what form of transit you build).

      3. The Pittsburgh East Busway is even worse than you described already, because it was actually built by *paving over* one of the few reasonable commuter/intercity rail routes in the area. As the result, Amtrak is sharing track with freight, when it shouldn’t have to….

    1. I agree. That was an interesting column and the numbers on biking are especially impressive. Not the growth, exactly, but the growth along with the overall percentage. It is one thing to grow from 0.01% to 0.03% of the total (a 300% increase!) it is another thing to grow from 1.9% to 4.1% of the total. That is what happened: http://seattletimes.com/ABPub/zoom/html/2021890363.html

      I think a lot of the changes have to do with the growth patterns in the city. Most folks don’t want to walk ten miles to work or bike twenty. Fortunately, a lot of people don’t have to. I wonder if they track the distance people commute — because my guess is that this number has gone down significantly (and accounts for much of the change in commuting choice).

  3. Attention STB: it’s a small thing, but it’s not “Northgate Link” that has alarmed the nation of Latvia; it’s “Lynnwood Link”. Good ‘ol ST, now bringing you international incidents.

    1. I would rather not delay either line with legal problems… but I don’t think Northgate link can afford any more delays.

      2021 is late enough as it is.

    2. At the DEIS meeting in Northgate this summer, some ten people from the Latvian Community Center testified one after the other about how the surface option would destroy their center and they couldn’t afford to rebuild and all these educational and cultural programs and Latvian synergy would go away. The only other people who testified were one woman who gave a general pro-rail message, and myself. So the Latvians are mobilized.

      I asked ST staff afterward whether they could modify the surface option to save the center, like extending the elevated track a bit further to descend beyond the center. They said that was one of several possibilities ST would consider with the center if the board chooses that alignment.

      1. I noted in the article, however, that the Latvian community seemed to be in favor of light rail and wanted to work with ST in finding a solution. Their mitigation proposal did not sound unreasonable, particularly considering they had been moved from their old site for a public project as well.

  4. Anybody catch this article: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021884328_talarislaurelhurstxml.html

    My apologies if the issue has been dealt with before (I tend to skim over articles containing the word Laurelhurst). The entire thing is ridiculous. Keep in mind, unlike a lot of folks on this site (authors or commenters) I’m a huge fan of parks. I believe that in general, Seattle could use more of them (and I’m willing to argue that point). But this is ridiculous! Looking at a map, the entire area is full of parks. There is Laurelhurst park to the east. There is a huge swath of parkland that is owned by the city or the UW, all of it publicly accessible. If you are willing to walk a little ways, there are plenty of other parks, including the wild and wooly Ravenna. In short, the entire area is the envy of most park loving neighborhoods in Seattle. It really doesn’t need more park land (or retain it, in this case).

    Then look again at where this is. If there is an area that should have high density housing, this is it. Again, there are lots of parks there. One of the arguments for urban parks is that it makes the city more attractive — why worry about a owning a backyard if your backyard is Greenlake. Well, the same is true — maybe even more so, for this area. But enough about parks. There is a major university there. There is decent public transportation there. There should be Ballard or even Belltown style buildings here. Good God, it is across the street from Children’s Hospital! If they ever build an east-west line from Ballard to the UW, it will probably stop (or go through) Children’s. Until then, residents are a short and pleasant bike ride (or walk) to a transit station at Husky Stadium. That same pleasant bike path, of course, extends to Ballard (sort of) and Bothell.

    Now, I respect classic architecture, and apparently this place has it. So, what does the developer propose? “A maximum of 350 units would be built in two- to four-story buildings that would have taken up less than 2 acres, said Thurtle.” That is hardly Ballard style development. That is, frankly, ridiculous for the area. It should be way bigger than that. But even that was rejected by the city. Then the owner went ahead and proposed that “the company completely take over the site with more than 80 single-family homes.”. Great. We lose the classic architecture, and only add 80 homes, in a city where rent is rapidly approaching 2 grand a month. Just crazy.

    I don’t know what happened here. I don’t know if the city just got scared and refused to deal with Laurelhurst neighbors or what. It is an election year, so maybe they punted, and now the developer wants to move on this thing. But this really should be an election year issue. I want to know what the mayoral candidates and council think of this. Personally, I think it should be upzoned to allow six story buildings (Ballard style) along with some preservation of existing structures (which would probably also preserve some of the park). That would be a good compromise that would keep the architectural buffs happy, but still add some needed density to an area that needs it. Mowing it all down to add only 80 houses sounds like the worst of all worlds.

    1. Oh yeah, I think they’re scared of offending some local upper middle and some middle class money.

      It’s a great idea. Geez, I’ve tended to believe that Laurelhurst should be the next home of Nickelsville.

      I’d love to witness the rage at the community meeting at the possibility for an upzoning of the neighborhood.

  5. Following up on the discussions of the 11 yesterday, I would just like to point out that part of the reason it’s so slow is that the stop spacing on Madison is INSANE.

    17th, 18th (which the GPS/announcement system doesn’t know about), 19th, 20th (which you can read the 11 on the flag from 19th stop), 22nd, and 23rd. I get off at 23rd but I imagine it continues like that.

    It’s crazy.

    I catch the 11 at 9th and pike every day, and I prefer it over the 43 because the slog up Olive in the peak is also insanely slow. But the 11 could be made significantly faster just by eliminating a few stops.

    1. Last I’d heard Metro is “looking into” the stop spacing along Madison on the 11. I hope they take out half of them between 15th and 23rd. The stop spacing east of 23rd is a bit more sane.

      1. Not entirely – it continues every two blocks two Lake Washington Blvd: 25th, 27th, 29th (this one really needs to go), Lake Washington Blvd.

  6. “The city also determined Sound Transit’s C3 option, which runs parallel I-5 to the Lynnwood Park & Ride station, would negatively impact future development along the City Center block, locate a station too far from the current bus transit center, require reconstruction of the existing bus loading areas, and impact the city’s ability to maintain and expand one of its sanitary sewer stations.”

    Good, but what about the fact that it’s a LONGER WALK from downtown destinations?

    “After reviewing each of the options, Simmonds says the city decided to develop a modified C3 option he says avoids most of the residential, business, and environmental concerns considered in Sound Transit’s proposed routes and station locations.”

    OK, but what is it? And would it make the walking distance any better? Or can Lynnwood do something to mitigate the walking distance, like moving sidewalks?

  7. Out of curiosity, on a cost-per-mile basis, how does a moving sidewalk compare with a streetcar? I ask because in terms of actual mobility, a First Hill Moving Sidewalk probably would have been more effective than a First Hill Streetcar (by eliminating wait times).

  8. I bet if Microsoft’s Redmond Campus included lots of on-site employee housing, I’m talking 20,000+ units, a lot of the eastside’s traffic problems would disappear.

    1. I doubt it. I think the problem with suburban employment destinations is that not that many people want to live in that particular suburb (or any suburb). Even some of the ones that would be willing to live there have spouses that don’t want to. On the other hand, one of the nice things about locating your business downtown is that folks don’t have to live there. A lot of them do (or live close enough to walk) but for the ones that live in other parts of the city, or the suburbs, it is very easy to catch a bus. Microsoft is nice enough to provide a bus for employees, but it doesn’t serve the folks that work as contractors.

    2. The issue is not so much living in the same suburb, as living right next to your workplace where you see it even on your days off. Microsoft itself is on the outskirts between Redmond and Bellevue, and I suspect most employees live in the immediately-surrounding cities. But there are doubtless some people who would like to live within walking distance of Microsoft, and in such a large company even a “few” might be thousands.

      The biggest difference it would make to Eastside traffic is right around the campus, because that’s where everyone from diverse origins is converging. I don’t know what traffic around 156th and the 40th Street exit is like: is it really slow? is it worse than 405? Does it back up traffic that’s just going through the area the way stadium events do Seattle?

      1. During the AM commute there’s usually a good backup eastbound for the 148th and 40th exits. It usually only blocks the HOV lane (currently on the outside) while the general purpose lanes are slightly slowed. Sometimes the GP lanes will clog up too for a mile or so. I can’t speak to westbound in the AM coming from Redmond and points east.

        In the PM, westbound is usually OK. However, every once in awhile there’ll be a perfect storm and the WB exit to 148th will back up into the 40th onramp to WB 520. When that happens it can take 5-10 minutes just to get from the freeway stop onto 520 proper.

        Lately the worst part of the PM westbound commute is the section just west of 405, where WSDOT has removed the HOV lane for construction. It’s usually worse than the congestion due to the exits to 405 backing up.

      2. During the AM westbound commute on 520, there can be lots of congestion around the W. Lake Sammamish entrance ramp and the exit ramp to the NE 51st and NE 40th collector distributor. There can also be congestion around the entrance ramps from Redmond Way to 520. Given Microsoft’s flex-time, the backups can last until 10am or later.

      3. More people within walking distance of work won’t do anything to improve traffic around Microsoft if they all get in their cars anyway to drive across the street.

  9. Real Change is a pock on this city. Their writing is antagonist, excessively classist, lacks critical depth of the complex issues it proposes to address, and is completely absurd. And, their paper sellers should be fined for their constant accosting of the public. They’re worse than the NARAL/World Wildlife Fun/(other charity) peddlers and assaulting homeless panhandlers that they protect. Not surprising that they’d push an idiotic article on urbanism creating spiraling suburban sprawl, nonsensical/data-lacking information about canopy loss, increasing driving rates, etc. Excuse me while I puke a bit.

    1. I don’t always agree with their editorial line, obviously and especially in this case, but I haven’t had the negative experience you mention at all. I’ve never experienced any tactics more high pressure than eye contact + “Real Change?” The opportunity and income it provides its sellers (a couple of whom I’ve known, one of whom was able to use it to get to the point where he was eventually able to become no longer homeless and employed in more stable work) far outweighs any minor annoyances they might cause, let alone frustration with their content.

      And it’s pox, not pock.

    2. Real Change isn’t the problem. John Fox is. He has less understanding of economics than my cat, who will at least respond sensibly when demand (from my other cat) is threatening to outstrip supply (of food).

      Edit: I should have my cat write a piece about housing for Real Change. It would make more sense than Fox’s.

    3. I’m glad that Real Change is actually written and published by local homeless people, and that any money goes directly to them. In the UK there’s something similar but it’s run by a national organization, so it’s like buying USA Today from a local vendor, and who knows how much of your money goes out of your community to the central office.

    4. I love Real Change. They were the only media (outside STB) to admit that the only real purpose of paper transfers is so that some desperate homeless individuals can sell them on the street, and not feel like they are panhandling.

      I also think John Fox has done a few wonderful things for society, too, but I wish he would get off his bizarre quest to blame densification for the rising cost of housing, since everything he does vis-a-vis stopping development, is the real culprit. Everything he does to push sprawl destroys tree canopies. He can’t face reality, so he goes into denial and transference.

      1. Honest question… what has John Fox done that is valuable?

        I see him as an advocate focused on a single issue (low-income housing) and yet pushing a solution that can only have two possible outcomes: wealth entirely fleeing areas of the city, resulting in more poverty for everyone, or housing getting radically more expensive.

      2. If wealth leaves, the opportunity for improving transit leaves too. It’s no coincidence that the buses are more frequent now than they were in the 80s, or that we’re building Link now rather than then.

  10. I though Amazon Fresh was using the Safeway DC…?

    And what’s going to happen to all those vehicles being stored/serviced by MV Transportation dba Microsoft Connector?

  11. Is John Fox auditioning to be the new Joel Kotkin / Wendell Cox / Randal O’Toole ? A deranged hack working for oil companies while spouting irrational, content-free bile?

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