If waiting until 2038 for a Ballard line has got you down, watch this 25-minute 1975 KOMO documentary on urban growth and transportation plans for Seattle. It surveys the current options for growth, what agencies might play a leading role, and ends with the emerging consensus for building the DSTT and the I-90 HOV lanes, both of which were still 15 years away.
The doc speaks glowingly of the planned community of Reston, VA, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary. San Francisco’s subruban-oriented BART, which was brand new at the time, is presented as a cautionary tale, with high operating costs and reliability issues (which have only gotten worse, it appears) wooshing people into the city from the suburbs without meaningfully addressing sprawl.
Seattle can’t get away from comparing itself to San Francisco, it seems. While we’re in the wayback machine, check out this 1992 New York Times piece by Timothy Egan on urban villages (via @bruteforceblog):
With its high real estate prices and low percentage of families with children, San Francisco is a city that has largely closed the door to middle-income residents, the Mayor said. “The worst thing that could happen to Seattle would be to become like San Francisco,” Mayor Rice said in an interview last week. By creating urban villages with schools and parks, and not just new apartments or condominiums, the Mayor said he hoped to attract families rather than single adults.”
While the Eastside has grown in the intervening 24 years, attitudes haven’t changed as much:
Still, even with the water threat, the plan has been well received east of Seattle, where the combined population of cities like Bellevue, Redmond and Issaquah will soon surpass that of Seattle, which has 516,000 people.
“This is the first time that a Seattle mayor has ever had the guts to stand up and accept the fact that the city has to accept its share of growth,” said Mayor Cary Bozeman of Bellevue, the largest of the cities surrounding Seattle. “Politically, it is very difficult to buck the no-growth, not-in-my-backyard neighborhood groups.”
One such group in North Seattle has attacked the Mayor’s plan as a blueprint for more crime and congestion. “I don’t buy that we have to accept all the growth,” said Cat Newsheller, a neighborhood leader, at a public hearing on the plan last week.
As of 2015, Seattle has an estimated 662,400 residents.