Archive for September, 2009

Special Guest Post: Tunnel Digest

Head spinning from all the conflicting stories around the tunnel proposal and Surface/Transit/I-5 in this campaign season? Here’s a record-straightening summary of what has gone on in the recent nine months and where we are now. Some very big problems are emerging for Seattle in this deal. Whatever you thought in January, you should be [...]

“The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.”

Gaylord Nelson’s statement is a powerful standard by which to assess politics, and a revealing litmus test to apply to Seattle’s upcoming mayoral election.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to concede that Joe Mallahan is aligning himself with interests that have  it the wrong way around, while Mike McGinn’s core support comes from those who think [...]

Field Work

Done did the Puyallup and saw much.  The transition out of the Seattle bubble couldn’t be any more dramatic than when I-5 dumps you out on Federal Way’s Enchanted Parkway—shown above—and yes, that’s a Fatburger right next door to LA Fitness.
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A few miles further south on S.R. 161 in Milton—when will we stop building stuff [...]

More Noise Please*

When I saw this headline:

Stable temps could chill work on climate treaty

on the front page of Wednesday’s Seattle Times I immediately assumed is was  shoddy climate change reporting reflecting that paper’s ideological leanings.  But no, turns out it was originally published by the New York Times and written by their top climate change reporter Andrew [...]

Not Easy, But Worth It

Sightline has a post up on land use patterns and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that makes my day cause it saves me the trouble of writing the same piece.   Some argue that restructuring our built environment to be more compact and location efficient is not a practical strategy for cutting GHGs because it is [...]

Saving Grace

[ The horrors of Snowpocalypse 2008 ]
One of the smartest decisions the next mayor of Seattle could make would be to retain Grace Crunican as the director of the Seattle Department of Transportation.  But sadly no, both Mallahan and McGinn have said said they would not.  Given Crunican’s record, it’s hard not to interpret that [...]

Another Endorsement For You Know Who

WARNING:  The following post is political, and not only that, it’s about  Seattle mayoral candidate Mike McGinn.  For those HAC readers who find such content upsetting, I beg you, close this browser window now before it’s too late!
( Editor’s note:  Alan Durning is the founder of Sightline, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most respected sustainability [...]

Chipping Away At It

Most Seattle sidewalks are not photogenic.  But to some of us, they are exciting nonetheless.  The sidewalk in the photo above didn’t exist a few months ago.  Back then, if you wanted to walk on Pine Street between one of the city’s most densely populated  neighborhoods and downtown, you could  only cross I-5 on the [...]

Don’t Even Think Of Trying Your Park(ing) Day Shenanigans On Any Other Day

[ Park(ing) Day on 1st Ave between University and Seneca ]
Yes, Park(ing) Day is the purest of wholesome urban goodness.   Last Friday in Seattle and cities all over the country, people took over street parking spaces, filled them with stuff, and hung out in publicly owned space that is normally and unquestionably surrendered for the [...]

Um, Excuse Me, But There’s Bacon In That Cupcake

The only question is why hasn’t anyone else in Seattle done this before now.  Or have they?  Such a seemingly obvious combination of two classic foods, loved by hipster and red-stater alike.    
Whether or not they’re first to market with the bacon cupcake, Seattle Coffee Works—on Pike between 1st and 2nd—has them today.  I ate [...]

Different Campaign Strategies

Over the past week, the McGinn campaign:

released position papers on the city budget,  public safety, and immigrants and refugees
announced a proposal for bringing more light rail to Seattle
held four public “Town Hall” meetings
opened a second campaign office in SE Seattle
held a land-use policy outreach/listening session
scheduled a high-profile fundraiser in conjunction with Dow Constantine and Pete [...]

The Value Of Doomers

Author Paul Hawken has a word for people who can’t shut up about how the whole world is going to hell:  doomers. But during his keynote address to the Sustainable Industries Economic Forum in downtown Seattle on Thursday, he spoke in defense of them.  Because doomers play a key role:  they make designers do a [...]

A Message From The People’s Waterfront Coalition

(Editor’s note:  The following is a letter from Cary Moon to friends and supporters of PWC, reproduced here with permission.)
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Dear friends,
It’s been a while since I wrote to share news with PWC friends and supporters. The politics around this viaduct decision were already tricky, and continue to get weirder. Here’s a recap from my [...]

Who’s Your Baddest Streetscape?

I’ve long thought that the east side of the block on 3rd Ave between Union and University deserves an award for being the most abominable pedestrian streetscape in the downtown core.   Behold its gawdawfulness:  at eye level the ~350 feet of street wall is completely blank save for a small length of sealed windows into [...]

Lo! Praise The Infrastructure!

A Voice Of Reason That Needs To Be Louder

The Seattle Planning Commission recently sent two letters to the City Council that  demonstrate its potential to provide a voice of reason in debates over planning policy.   The first letter recommends passing the cottage housing ordinance, with the important caveat that the 50 unit per year limit be removed, as was discussed in this HAC [...]

Even David Byrne Gets It About Density

His take on the perfect city, in the WSJ of all places:
If a city doesn’t have sufficient density, as in L.A., then strange things happen. It’s human nature for us to look at one another— we’re social animals after all. But when the urban situation causes the distance between us to increase and our interactions [...]

Hugeasscityscapes Vol. 1, Scene 5

Wu Xing

The ancient Chinese philosophy known as Wu Xing is based on cycles of five.   There are five seasons of the year, and the extra one is late summer, now playing.
Our culture is totally four-centric (Wiccans notwithstanding).  Five seasons just seems wrong.   You can have a four cylinder or a six cylinder, but not a five [...]

If The Dynamic Doesn’t Change, It’s Game Over

Though I suppose Joe Mallahan could still buy the election even if he doesn’t improve on the lackluster performance he exhibited at yesterday’s mayoral debate.   Despite Mallahan having a home team advantage—the debate was sponsored by the pro-business, deep-bore tunnel-loving Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce—McGinn clearly dominated.  And that’s not just my pro-McGinn bias [...]