Archive for September, 2008

Say It With Me Now: Single-Family is NOT SACRED

Anyone who pays even the slightest attention to such issues in Seattle has doubtless heard the oft-repeated edict: Our single-family zones are sacred. Discussions of future growth are almost invariably predicated in a tacit assumption that single-family is untouchable, that Seattle’s single-family zones will remain as they are from now until the end of time. […]

Hurry Up And Wait

Hugeass we have a problem. I think. If you have been experiencing significant delays connecting to this blog lately, please leave a comment. And likewise if everything seems to be normal. And if it’s so bad you can’t wait for the comment page to load, if you would be so kind as to send an […]

Sliders + Brain + Knobs + Buttons + Soul + Touchscreens + History = Art

In the land where every last quark of creative artistic energy is, or is soon to be culture-mined and commodified, to experience authentic human expression is a gift. And that, by the way, is why Burning Man still matters, but also why it was so awesome to see novaTRON last Friday night at Lo-Fi, in […]

Vote YES on Proposition 1

Skeptical? This list of debunked myths might help. The debate is endless, and no, Proposition 1 is not perfect, but no mass transit package ever will be. The City of Seattle always ranks near the top of U.S. cities for educational attainment. But all those big brains can be a curse, because most smarty pantses […]

Bel-Red Corridor TOD Planning

For Seattlites seeking inspiration on how to plan for transit-oriented development (TOD), the edge-city just across the lake may seem like an unlikely place to find it. But in 2007 the City of Bellevue completed a planning effort for the area east of downtown known as the Bel-Red Corridor that is well worthy of emulation. […]

Town Center Redevelopment

At the risk of giving the impression that I might possibly take any of this design and development wonkishness seriously, below is a piece I wrote for the August 2008 issue of Urban Land magazine.  Apologies for the small print, but since the piece is only available online to paying ULI members, I only have […]

Coveting Half

[ Conceptual rendering of Footprint at the Bridge project — Johnston Architects ] The Bridge Motel enjoyed a well-publicized, dramatic demise, and potentially, what’s to replace it will also warrant some notoriety. Not for the design–though since it is being designed by Johnston Architects it will likely be well done–but for the project’s goal of […]

Blame the Boomers

“What the Greatest Generation handed down to us — the richest, most powerful, most self-sufficient republic in history, with the highest standard of living any nation had ever achieved — the baby boomers, oblivious and self-indulgent to the end, have frittered away.” Pat Buchanan, who penned the riff from which the above quote was taken, is […]

Plug This

Sadly no, that “all electric vehicle” is not “zero pollution,” and the people who make them should stop asserting otherwise. Yes, an electric car generates no emissions at the “tailpipe,” but alas — and you heard it here first! — electricity does not self-reproduce. That is not to say electric vehicles have no merits — […]

Bipolar on Towers

[ Candela rendered elevations by Olsen Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects ] The Candela Hotel and Residences (renderings above) at 2nd and Pike is in the design review process, but just a block and a half to the north, the 1 Hotel and Residences has only made it as far as a bare hole in the ground dug […]

How Many Differences Can You Spot?

[ Photo taken 9/13/08 ] [ Rendering from Veer Lofts website ] Check out reality versus intention for Veer Lofts, located at 9th and Harrison in South Lake Union, developed by Vulcan, designed by Johnson Architecture. Obviously, the first thing they need to do post-haste is paint the bottoms of the decks orange. I like […]

Genius Land Use

“No disrespect to you bikers! Much respect!” That graffiti pretty well captures my sentiments for the people who made this place happen: Under the freeway between North Capitol Hill and Eastlake, I-5 Collonade Mountain Bike Park is an absolutely brilliant reclamation of previously useless urban land. The park occupies 7.5 acres owned by the Washington […]

The Trauma of the Rezone

[ Rendering of the proposed 6-story mixed-use building at 23rd and Union, via CD News ] Developer Jim Mueller has been granted a contract rezone raising the maximum building height from 40 to 65 feet for his site on the SW corner of 23rd and Union, see PI coverage here. It’s good news for that […]

No-Brainer of the Month: Taxis That Get Good Gas Mileage

The weird thing is how it took so long for cab companies to take heed of a very simple equation: higher gas mileage = more profit. Is there some competitive advantage to larger cabs — perhaps simply because people prefer them? — that has made gas-guzzlers like the Ford Crown Victoria the urban taxi standards […] Is So Pathetic

…in the face of the Republican political steam roller of death. Today’s email — subject: “disgusting” (oh my, but such strong language!) — hopes to enrage us with the news that “John McCain and Sarah Palin are repeatedly deceiving, manipulating, and flat-out lying.” Yawn. Whining about the other side playing dirty doesn’t win elections. […]

Pretty Green Wall

In case you weren’t paying attention over the summer, the list of options being considered by the Viaduct Stakeholder Advisory Committee no longer includes a retrofit/repair option. The mighty West Seattle Blog has posted piles of info. In short, the retrofit was taken off the table because it so blatantly fails to satisfy the safety […]

Drill Baby Drill! Right On Dude, High Five! (And May God Continue to Bless the United States of America)

You’ve heard about it already, but it’s so depressingly hilarious and sick at the same time I can’t stop myself from joining the echo chamber: In the biggest convention of one of the two most powerful political parties on planet earth, like a pack of drunken frat boys at a football game the crowd “spontaneously” […]

Here’s Your Public Benefit: An Anorexic Version of Harbor Steps

One hundred and three ~6-foot wide concrete steps dropping ~60 feet across a ~130 foot span. That’s the public benefit the citizens of Seattle will receive for allowing the development of a luxury condo/hotel in one of the most prime urban locations in the entire Pacific Northwest. As we’ve already discussed on this blog, the […]

Private Public Realm

This alley off the southern edge of Harbor Steps between University and Seneca Streets is one of the nicest examples of pedestrian-oriented public realm into downtown Seattle. Except that like the rest of the Harbor Steps open space, it’s not actually public. The alley and the University St. right-of-way between 1st and Western were “vacated” […]

Sightline is the Bomb

Perhaps rather more polite and soft spoken than your typical bomb, but totally the bomb nonetheless. As in this recent Daily Score post about the irrelevance of GDP, with the opening line, “This just cheeses me off.” Or this little gem of a title: Less Driving Means Less Dying. But the post I want to […]