Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) initiative is advancing through the cycles of public comment and feedback. One of the major venues is an online tool hosted at http://hala.consider.it, where each neighborhood’s proposing zoning changes are detailed and commented on individually.
Unfortunately, a quick trip last weekend through the current opinion “levels” in some of the HALA pages was disappointing — a whole lot of neutral or negative opinions in many of the places where ST train lines are already coming, and sooner (Roosevelt, Northgate) rather than later (Ballard).
One in particular deserves special mention for its markedly negative responses: the West Seattle Junction proposal, which roughly covers the two denser areas of the Triangle and Alaska Junction. The future of this area is unambiguous, thanks to the passage of ST3; there will be Link stations in the not-quite-so-distant future that can be predictably ballparked to center around the busy intersections of 35th/Avalon and Alaska/California — the two densest parts of the neighborhood. But looking at the zoning proposal’s response pages you’d never know it — a whole lot of SFH ranting and raving about how density will ruin neighborhood “character” and destroy their property values (?!). West Seattle has a chance to be truly prepared for the arrival of the train lines given the ST3 time horizon, and a lot of people aren’t seeing it.
My point is simple: Seattle needs HALA, and now, HALA needs us, the urbanist, density-supporting community. Those opinion pages won’t be ignored; online comments (especially negative ones) tend to be taken pretty seriously by agencies around here. I want to call on the STB community to act, to take a few minutes and write comments in support of HALA’s proposals. The links below will take you directly to the response page for each neighborhood proposal.