Archive for December, 2008

Listen: The Final Word On The Viaduct

Like I said before, the one-way couplet is a lame compromise. And this Seattle Times opinion piece by Jeffrey Karl Ochsner totally nails it: “Putting three lanes of heavy northbound traffic on Western Avenue will devastate the blocks between Western and Alaskan Way. The streets will become completely unfriendly to pedestrians. Street-level retail will wither […]


At the risk of creating the impression that I’m just another of the hand-wringing masses obsessed with second guessing the guy who isn’t even president yet and how he may or may not be already failing to live up to his own “change” hype, I couldn’t stop myself from following up my two previous posts with a mention of the […]

What Stupid Is: Not Raising The Gasoline Tax

“The plunging oil price is like a dangerously addictive painkiller: short-term relief is being provided at a cost of serious long-term harm.” That’s not the hyperbolic rhetoric of some raving enviro-fascist. It is, rather, the worldly voice of the Financial Times, the U.K.’s version of the Wall Street Journal. The piece goes on to quote […]

The Ears Of The Obama Transition Team

They are lending them to some good people. Three weeks ago Ed Mazria, founder of Architecture 2030, was in Washington D.C. presenting his proposal for a stimulus plan that “integrates a mortgage buy-down program for residential buildings and an accelerated-depreciation program for commercial buildings with the energy efficiency targets of the 2030 Challenge.” And on […]

Color Does Exist In Seattle

The designers of the condo project at 1111 East Pike didn’t forget that people can see the back of the building too. Cool project, but is it cool enough to sell in this market?  Hang in there, cause Forbes says Seattle is the country’s number one long-term housing bet.

Me Me Me

As a test of how sensitively Google Analytics tracks declining site visits, I offer you a post that’s all about me. That sweet ride in the picture above is mine. If you look closely you’ll see that the tire is studded. Those studs got me safely back and forth from my house in the Central […]

People Are Non-Linear

When it snows in Seattle, people rediscover their legs. Out of necessity or just for fun, the walkers emerge. However wearily they may trudge, most appear to be enchanted. And lo, the right-of-way no longer belongs to the cars. People saunter carelessly right down the middle of the street. Kids on sleds zip down hills […]

Of Clean Coal, Unicorns, Falsies, and 350 ppm

“We suggest an initial objective of reducing atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm… “Present policies, with continued construction of coal-fired power plants without CO2 capture, suggest that decision-makers do not appreciate the gravity of the situation. We must begin to move now toward the era beyond fossil fuels. Continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions, for just […]

Asleep at the Switch Since 1976 (or thereabouts)

[ The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird at the Boeing Flight Museum ] In 1976, a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird hit 2,194 m.p.h. and reached an altitude 85,067feet — no airplane has flown faster or higher since. In 1976, Viking 1 landed on Mars. In 1976, this car was built — the first catalytic converters started to appear […]

The Neighborhood School

[ Clarence Perry’s conceptual plan for a “neighborhood unit,” published in 1929 ] As currently exemplified by the Seattle School District’s latest closure plans, pretty much nothing enrages parents more than a threat to their neighborhood school. And though some part of that sentiment may be raw parental instinct, the powerful unifying role that schools […]

To Incent Or Not To Incent?

This is pretty much a done deal: On Monday Seattle City Council is expected to approve a new plan for workforce housing incentive-zoning. But as much as I support the idea of incentivizing affordable housing in Seattle, my weak little brain is wracked with ambivalence over this approach. In short, my niggling angst is over […]

Ghosts Of Future Past

If you lived in a society with a true free market economy, the people who make the red car would win and the people who make the gray car would lose. And if you lived in a society that was smart enough to make sure that externalized costs were included in the price tag, the […]

Car-Free Christmas Tree

This year, for the first time in my life, I brought home a Christmas tree without the help of an internal combustion engine. That’s right, I schlepped a six-foot Douglas fir for a block and a half, arms sore, hands sticky with pungent sap. For years the two neglected houses behind the chain link fence […]

It’s Almost Painful To Witness The Seattle Times Editorial Board Continue To Flounder Towards Total Irrelevance. Almost.

And the kids over at SLOG get to have so much fun with it that it’s almost too cruel. Almost. Here, Erica Barnett disembowels James Vesely for his stupendously dumb plea for the taxation of bicycles. And here, Dominic Holden exposes the Seatimes’ curiously passionate fear of proposed incentive zoning, and how their main argument […]

“Frank Chopp is a Complete Jackass” and Other Less Obvious Viaduct News

Disclaimer:  Mind the quotation marks in the post title — I’m just reporting what one anonymous source said. Hugeasscity has no official position one way or the other on jackasses, complete or otherwise, and their alleged resemblance, real or imagined, to the honorable public servant Frank Chopp, a.k.a. the most powerful politician in Washington State. […]

No Parking Baby

[ Rendering of Plymouth Housing Group’s homeless housing project at 1st and Cedar; SMR Architects ] Listen: “No parking, either long-term or short-term, is required for uses on lots in downtown zones.” So dictates Seattle code. But as far as I know, only one new significantly sized project has yet to take the cue: Plymouth Housing Group’s […]

The Coal Mine Canaries Have Been Dropping Off Their Perches For Months Now

In case you missed it: a PI report on the ongoing bloodbath in architecture. For instance, this nice building is going to feel pretty roomy for a while. And lest you forget, architecture is leading indicator, duly noted by commenter BrianK: “Architects and engineers are the canary in the coal mine when it comes to […]