I Skim The Seattle Times And Crosscut So You Don’t Have To


[ Point Wells, looking south.   Photo:  Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times ]

(Disclaimer: Seriously, I barely read more than the headline in each of the pieces discussed below.  I should be fired.)

Whenever the Seattle Times covers development you can safely bet the farm that they will frame the reporting with the OMG-development-is-evil-and-the-neighbors-are-howling-in-rage angle.  Like last week’s front page story on rooming houses, today’s front page story on a proposed waterfront development at Point Wells fits the formula perfectly, with the headline: Shoreline neighbors say Point Wells ‘urban center’ proposal tramples their beach-side turf.  In a sane City, the headline would focus on what an amazing development opportunity that site represents.

Over at Crosscut today, some dude apparently has some fear to monger about scary scary backyard cottages.  I would rather work on my income taxes than read it.  It pains me just to link to it, all the more so because it was written by the same virtuoso who previously penned the “stinking pile of doo doo” reluctantly critiqued here.

And just to prove that I’m not biased, I also didn’t read Mike O’Brien’s Crosscut piece on what’s wrong with the deep-bore tunnel even though I got about 72 facebook updates telling me I should.  No lie!

If anyone out there has more patience for this stuff than I do, please let me know what I missed.


14 Responses to “I Skim The Seattle Times And Crosscut So You Don’t Have To”

  1. Keo

    That would be an incredible place to live, not to mention make Shoreline a much more interesting place to live. It could be a classy town square for Shoreline, certainly more interesting than the current cluster around Aurora. As long as it has public amenities like public beachfront, shops and pays for it’s own infrastructure, good on it! I hope the development goes through and they build a Sounder stop there.

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  3. Ben Schiendelman

    Thanks for linking to Mike O’Brien’s piece. I wouldn’t have known!

  4. Michael

    I actually support density, especially in my back yard, and definitely support transit, but choosing the right location is important. I’m not sure we should be advocating density simply for the sake of having it.(Disclaimer: I don’t live in Shoreline or anywhere near this development.)
    The lccation of the Point Wells development does seem a bit problemmatic from a transportation and access perspective. Richmond Beach Drive as the only access (it’s a bit narrow and indirect to any major thoroughfare) would most likely have difficulty handling the associated traffic and transit options would be minimal. Sounder is a no brainer, but surely not frequent enough to provide for the needs of a population of 6000. The development would not likely enhance the neighborhood that much either as it isn’t easily accessible from any of the existing development by foot due to the steep bluffs. Unless it can be entirely self-sufficient, this property seems better suited as a green space.

  5. Sara

    I have to disagree with you on Point Wells. I do live in Shoreline, but up closer to the freeway. And I think densities should be drastically increased in my neighborhood. However, the idea behind density is to put it in accessible places, where transit can be useful for accomplishing daily tasks and where there are not significant barriers to implementing transit service. This is simply not true of Point Wells. It takes forever to get down to this area from the freeway on some narrow roads that are not great for operating buses on. Ridership on route 348 isn’t particularly high, and while you could say that adding 6,000 people will increase ridership, I would say that there’s a good reason people from that area aren’t riding the bus now: it’s not a practical option.

    If this were an exurban development that was going to add 6,000 residents to an area with an inadequate street system (Novelty Hill Road comes to my mind), I think you would have some doubts about it. That is essentially what this project is, though: a transit unfriendly development in an inaccessible location that will increase VMT. The Seattle Times article criticizes the development idea for the typical stupid NIMBY reasons, but that doesn’t mean that the development is a good idea.

  6. MJH

    Concurrency is a key consideration under GMA – development on the scale being proposed is not concurrent with existing or proposed infrastructure, and likely never will be (nor should be). Wouldn’t it be great to reclaim and restore this area so that it is en ecological asset rather than a toxic liability? COuld be a great park that could accommodate camping and other recreational activities – this would probably be the closest place to camp on the Sound for people living in the greater Seattle area.

  7. Cook

    I live in Shoreline too, and while I’d welcome development in most of Shoreline. I agree with what both Michael and Sara said: this would be a good development if it happened in an area that could handle it (transit and road related). In addition to the these points, something that disturbs me is that the original plan was for six story buildings, and the EIS the developer submitted was for 16 story buildings, which is quite a change and doesn’t really fit in at all (not even everett has that height, to my knowledge). The other thing is that since the development would happen in Snohomish County, the process almost completely bypasses us King County residents who would be most affected by the buildings.

    Finally, just so you don’t think Shoreline is against development, there was just a complex completed on the corner of 192nd and Aurora which was built on the former site of a gas station and part of a mobile home lot that put in six story buildings next to a major transit area (adjacent to the shoreline park and ride and just blocks from the aurora village transit center). That is the kind of development that makes sense and gets people out of their cars. Especially since the development would not be close to Sounder, unless they included a stop there, and the closest bus doesn’t even run that close to there (the 348).

  8. Sara

    There’s another issue that this proposal brings up, as well: Point Wells is completely in Snohomish County, but can only be accessed through King County roads. Any tax revenues from the development will therefore go to Snohomish County while the burden of transportation and transit (and perhaps other utilities, as well – I’m not sure how all of that works) will be borne solely by King County. Perhaps some kind of regional governance solution could possibly be devised that would both distribute tax revenues more fairly and make providing transit across county lines easier (disclaimer: I work for an area transit provider), but I’m pretty certain that our state legislature would not pass it if it did. I’m also not convinced that regional governance would really help transit agencies/customers much, but that’s another post…

    Also, the complex that Cook describes is really fabulous. It includes retail storefronts, a YMCA, apartment housing, and senior apartments, all within walking distance of two transit centers, a grocery store, a drug store, many restaurants/coffee shops, a thrift store, an elementary school, and a lake with a public park. More of these, please. Especially along the 185th corridor working toward the future light rail station.

  9. mike

    boy, that’d be prime real estate for a vauban-esque development.

    man i wish developers had balls in this state.

  10. Eric Pryne

    Hey Dan,

    Enjoy your blog, but I have to object to your characterization of my Rooming House piece last week. Read it again: first mention of some neighbors’ concerns doesn’t come until well into the story. In print, it wasn’t until after the “jump” from Page 1 to the inside page. The primary focus of the piece was the novelty of this housing type; neighbors’ objections were secondary, but certainly worth including.

    As a sidelight, early in my career, when I was working in Times suburban bureaus, one editor used to joke that he could put the same headline on many of the stories we produced: “Neighbors oppose project.” He had a point — such conflicts are commonplace. It takes a pretty special one for us to write about it these days.

    Eric Pryne
    Seattle Times

  11. michael strangeways

    NIMGNBY (Not In My Gay Nude Back Yard): anything that threatens the existence of the only secluded, gay nude beach in the Metro area is a bad idea, in My Big Gay Book of Selfish…

    also, i agree with everyone else’s concerns…this is a BAD spot for development for ecological and logistical reasons…and, do we really need MORE shittily built homes for the wealthy? (you don’t really think that this prime waterfront property is going to be developed for the middle or lower classes, do you?)

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