Work Starts on Railroad Way Pedestrian and Bike Space Near SoDo Stadiums

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Railroad Way is envisioned as a new pedestrian corridor between Alaskan Way and Lumen Field. (City of Seattle)

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) says work will start this month on one of the final pieces of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program: completing connections to city streets around the SR-99 tunnel’s south portal. This spring, WSDOT awarded a $25 million contract to complete a number of projects that will wrap up work on that end of the tunnel project, including a repaving of S Dearborn Street, and a rebuilding of 1st Avenue S and S Charles Street near Lumen Field. But some other projects focused on increasing bike and pedestrian connectivity around the stadiums have likely not gotten as much attention as some of the more high-profile projects on the central waterfront.

Cityside Trail

The primary bike trail along the waterfront is referred to as the Portside Trail. It connects S King Street to protected bike lanes on East Marginal Way and by extension West Seattle. Ultimately, the trail will run along the rebuilt Alaskan Way all the way to Pine Street, where riders can connect with the new Elliott Way bridge over the railroad tracks and access Belltown. (Hopefully a direct connection to the Elliott Bay Trail at Myrtle Edwards Park can be made as well.)

Another trail, dubbed the Cityside Trail, is being built that will also connect at S King Street but run along the other side of Alaskan Way south to S Atlantic Street.

Renderings showing the connection to both the Portside Trail and the Cityside Trail at S King Street and Alaskan Way. (City of Seattle)

Ryan Calkins 2021 Questionnaire – Seattle Port Commission Pos. 1

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Ryan calkins stands in front of cranes on the Seattle waterfront.
Ryan Calkins is seeking a second term on the Seattle Port Commission. (Photo courtesy of campaign)

Ryan Calkins is running for his second term on the Port of Seattle Commission. He won his Position 1 seat in 2017, earning The Urbanist’s endorsement in that election. Calkins works as a consultant and coach at Ventures, a charitable organization that helps low-income start and grow their businesses in the Puget Sound area. Previously, he ran an import and distribution company in Seattle recognized for its sustainability initiatives. Calkins began his career in Central and South America, working for disaster relief and human rights nonprofits. Check out Calkin’s campaign website for more information.

The Urbanist Election Committee followed up on our questionnaires with Zoom interviews to fill in the gaps. We released our Primary Endorsements in late June and endorsed Calkins. Since just two candidates are vying for this Port seat, both automatically advance to the general election and the race isn’t on the primary ballot. Primary ballots should have arrived in your mailbox and must be postmarked August 3rd. No stamp needed; postage is included. For voter information or to register to vote, visit the State election website.

Below are Ryan Calkin’s questionnaire responses. 


The Port itself is set to meet its carbon reduction targets earlier than anticipated, but the region as a whole is stagnating. How can the Port do more to address stagnating emissions levels around the region? 

The impetus behind my initial campaign for the Port of Seattle Commission was to accelerate the Port’s actions to address climate change. With less than a decade left to avert the worst outcomes of the climate crisis, we need leaders who act boldly and urgently.

Just because we are on pace to meet our reduction targets does not mean we should let up on our efforts to continue lowering our impact as one of the region’s major drivers of emissions. We should set the example for ports by continuing to pursue ambitious reduction goals and investing in the innovative practices and bold technologies needed to make those targets a reality. My hope is that the public’s perception of the Port will be its leadership on the environment.

Coordinating with county and local government partners on shared efforts to tackle climate change is crucial to ensuring the entire region makes the changes needed to prevent the worst outcomes of climate change. We are already leading on items like conservation and restoration programs, land use discussions, and alignment around transit and transportation options. We must take these efforts further.

What strategies would you push at the Port of Seattle to develop more alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle trips for Port employees and visitors? 

We know that vehicle traffic on airport property and connected streets and highways is a massive source of pollution – rivaling airplane impact. I’ve spearheaded an effort to create a transportation management association that would include all 350 businesses operating at the airport to reduce commutes, incentivize transit, and limit congestion.

Midweek Video: Vienna Co-Housing

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What is it like to live in co-housing? This video shows what life is like in a Vienna co-housing community.

Walla Walla: A Washington City Without Single-Family-Only Zoning

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A view of Main Street in Walla Walla. (The Urbanist)

Walla Walla flew under the radar in 2018 when the city adopted zoning changes entirely eliminating single-family zones. These zoning changes alongside the new city comprehensive plan went by without much fanfare after a nearly two-year process, despite the sweeping reforms for a city of about 33,000 residents.

Nestled in Eastern Washington near the famed rolling Palouse hills, the small city has seen modest growth over the past two decades, increasing by 3,214 (10.8%) residents from 29,686 in 2000 to 32,900 in 2019. By 2038, the city is expected to grow a further 6,370 (20.2%) residents to 39,530. Zoning changes precipitated by the city’s major comprehensive plan update to meet this growth meant that the city had to take reasonable actions to support that level of growth primarily within the city and urban growth area.

Thus, the scope of zoning changes was broad encompassing things like procedural processes, subdivision standards, street connectivity requirements, and adaptive reuse of non-residential buildings in residential zones. However, some of the most significant changes were the consolidation of single-family zoning into a single low-density zoning type, a wider variety of allowed uses in the lower density zone, a reduction of residential parking requirements, and more flexible accessory dwelling unit regulations.

Seattle Must End Single-Family Zoning to Create an Equitable Housing System

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West Woodland. (Photo by Doug Trumm)
Single-family homes in West Woodland. (Photo by Doug Trumm)

This morning the land use committee takes up Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda’s proposal to rename Seattle’s single-family zoning as “Neighborhood Residential.” It’s just a first step in breaking the hold of exclusionary zoning that is making it very hard for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and younger generations to find housing in the city that they can afford. Many more steps toward housing justice will need to follow, but this first step is still significant and it’s a long time coming.

We at The Urbanist urge you to reach out to your City Councilmembers in support or testify at the meeting this morning.

The move to rename single-family zoning builds off the racial equity toolkit on the City’s urban village growth strategy that Councilmember Mosqueda fought to get funded, completed, and released — albeit belatedly due to obstruction and slow-walking from Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration.

The analysis conducted by research institute PolicyLink came to a damning conclusion on single-family zoning’s impact. The urban village strategy funnels the vast majority of the city’s growth into officially designated Urban Villages and Urban Centers, which consume about 10 square miles while leaving 30 square miles for single-family zoning virtually off limits to growth. Dedicating the majority of residential land to the most expensive housing product has limited opportunities for people of color to stay in the city or move into it.

“With 75 percent of residential land excluded from accommodating more affordable housing types, low-income BIPOC residents are left confined to certain sections of the city competing for limited affordable housing opportunities,” the PolicyLink report states. “Accordingly, despite the advent of the Race and Social Justice Initiative, and the good intentions behind the urban village strategy, the approach has not achieved its goals because it ultimately perpetuates the same housing insecurity of low-income BIPOC residents that has been in place for years.”

In fact, PolicyLink concluded that single-family zoning was incompatible with achieving the City’s desired racial equity outcomes and breaking the cycle of exclusion.

“Given its racist origins, single-family zoning makes it impossible to achieve equitable outcomes within a system specifically designed to exclude low-income people and people of color,” PolicyLink wrote. “In order to advance racial equity at the scale codified in Resolution 31577, the City must end the prevalence of single-family zoning. This will not only create much-needed additional housing opportunities in high opportunity neighborhoods for low-income residents, is also a reparative approach with the potential to create intergenerational economic mobility for BIPOC Seattleites.”

The Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) wrote a memo at the start of the report responding to the findings. The memo pledges to consider many of the report’s recommendations while not squarely addressing the elephant in the room: the core finding that the status quo zoning and land use policy is deeply inequitable, perpetuates past racial injustices, and needs a complete overhaul.

Even if it’s not clear what the City will do with it, the racial equity report is an opening, and housing advocates and urbanists would be wise to seize it. We do not have to accept the inequitable status quo: hyper wealth accumulation for some while many others are pushed out or increasingly rent-burdened as already sky-high rents continue to climb.

What We’re Reading: Circuitous Train, Virtual Schooling, and Olympic Architecture

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A view of Downtown Bellevue from the city’s main park. (The Urbanist)

Circuitous train: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting his circuitous LaGuardia Airport train after all ($).

Public space remade: Providence is rethinking how to do public space across the city.

Permanent program: San Francisco is keeping parklets and street cafés, having made them permanent ($).

Bad rap: Paul Krugman argues that cities wrongly get a bad rap ($) and the economic consequences to society as a result.

TOD: Canadian federal minister Catherine McKenna talks about the importance of transit-oriented development in relation to Vancouver.

Big community benefits: A large redevelopment in Portland could have big community benefits.

Suing for accessibility: Disability advocates are suing Baltimore over sidewalk conditions.

Red hot: Redlined neighborhoods are more susceptible to harsher impacts from extreme heat events.

Solving the crisis: Katie Wilson argues what Seattle’s next mayor could do to solve the housing crisis.

Stephanie Bowman 2021 Questionnaire – Seattle Port Commission Pos. 3

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Stephanie Bowman is running for a third term on the Seattle Port Commission. (Photo courtesy of campaign)

Stephanie Bowman is seeking a third term on the Seattle Port Commission. Bowman is executive director of Washington ABC, a nonprofit focused on asset building through investments in education, homeownership, savings, and small business development. Before joining the Seattle Port Commission, she worked at the Port of Tacoma in Federal Government Relations. She has a MBA from Seattle University and lives in Beacon Hill. Check out Bowman’s campaign website for more information.

The Urbanist Election Committee followed up on our questionnaires with Zoom interviews to fill in the gaps. We released our Primary Endorsements in late June. Since just two candidates are vying for this Port seat, both automatically advance to the general election and the race isn’t on the primary ballot. Primary ballots should have arrived in your mailbox and must be postmarked August 3rd. No stamp needed, as postage is included. For voter information or to register to vote, visit the State election website.

Below are Stephanie Bowman’s questionnaire responses. 


The Port itself is set to meet its carbon reduction targets earlier than anticipated, but the region as a whole is stagnating. How can the Port do more to address stagnating emissions levels around the region? 

I’m proud of my public service on the Port Commission that has prioritized carbon reduction and is set to meet our goals ahead of schedule through investments such as bringing shore power to our marine terminals, heating more than 50% of SeaTac Airport using renewable natural gas, and sponsoring carbon sequestration projects on the waterfront. But I’m not stopping there. As the Co-Chair of the Port’s Energy and Sustainability Committee, I have a three-pronged approached to reducing our carbon footprint: 1) through energy efficiency projects at all Port facilities ranging from the airport to Fisherman’s Terminal; 2) through carbon reduction, such as the use of electric ground equipment at SeaTac (ex: airplane tugs) and the seaport (ex: electric drayage trucks), and 3) innovations in carbon sequestration, such as our “Blue Carbon” projects in Elliott Bay using marine grasses to filter carbon AND provide marine habitat. Finally, I believe we all have a responsibility to clean up the Duwamish, Seattle’s only river, and protect the lands we have the honor of living on now. The Port’s investments in reducing emissions and cleaning up our air and water can be a roadmap for other public agencies looking to reduce their environmental impact.

What strategies would you push at the Port of Seattle to develop more alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle trips for Port employees and visitors? 

As a lifelong user and public promoter of transit (I bought my home 10 years ago solely because of its future adjacency to light rail), I brought these values to the Port Commission and began working immediately to reduce single-occupancy trips to and from SeaTac Airport, since it’s the largest generator of vehicle traffic of any Port facility. First on the list for me was and is increasing the use of transit to SeaTac by both workers and passengers, such as working with Metro to expand bus service, and bringing golf carts to shuttle passengers from the light rail station to the terminal, free of charge, to make it easier for those with mobility issues or extra bags to take Sound Transit to SeaTac. Additionally, I led the effort to require ride-share companies (Uber / Lyft) to meet emission and trip reduction goals, the first airport in the country to have these standards. As we come out of the pandemic and air travel begins to resume, I’m looking at new technologies in car-share services, baggage pre-check. and automatous, connected vehicles that hold promise for reducing single trips to SeaTac and the emissions generated by them.

Hamdi Mohamed 2021 Questionnaire – Seattle Port Commission Pos. 3

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Hamdi Mohamed is running for Seattle Port Commission. (Photo courtesy of campaign)

Hamdi Mohamed is running for the Seattle Port Commission Position 3 against incumbent Stephanie Bowman. Mohamed served as Deputy District Director for Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal before taking a position as a policy advisor to the King County Office of Equity and Social Justice. Her website notes some results she’s gotten in that position: “Our efforts have supported forty international immigrant-owned women business-facing displacement in SeaTac.” Mohamed’s family arrived as refugees from Somalia when she was three. Mohamed’s mother worked in service at Sea-Tac Airport. She lives in Tukwila with her husband, who is a longtime Sea-Tac employee. Check out Mohamed’s campaign website for more information.

The Urbanist Election Committee followed up on our questionnaires with Zoom interviews to fill in the gaps. We released our Primary Endorsements in late June and endorsed Mohamed. Since just two candidates are vying for this Port seat, both automatically advance to the general election and the race isn’t on the primary ballot. Primary ballots should have arrived in your mailbox and must be postmarked August 3rd. No stamp needed as postage is included. For voter information or to register to vote, visit the State election website.

Below are Hamdi Mohamed’s questionnaire responses. 


The Port itself is set to meet its carbon reduction targets earlier than anticipated, but the region as a whole is stagnating. How can the Port do more to address stagnating emissions levels around the region? 

The Port of Seattle must be a leader in carbon reduction both regionally and nationally. I applaud the Port’s goal to become the greenest Port in America and I will use my position as Port Commissioner to make this goal a reality. However, the Port’s work toward a greener future cannot stop with its own activities if we are truly dedicated to meeting the scale of our environmental crisis. 

As Port Commissioner, I will utilize my strong connections with local, regional, state and federal leaders to push for climate action and carbon reduction measures. I will work in partnership with other governments to advance mutual climate goals and ensure that the areas we work in benefit from our actions, rather than face adverse environmental consequences. I am committed to expanding the South King County Fund Environmental Grants program to partner with local nonprofit organizations doing the direct work to reduce carbon. The work of a Port Commissioner does not stop at the Port; Commissioners must be advocates for our communities and stewards of our environment. As Commissioner, I will proudly partner with governments, nonprofits, and communities to meet and exceed carbon reduction targets. 

What strategies would you push at the Port of Seattle to develop more alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle trips for Port employees and visitors? 

As a major transportation hub, the Port has an obligation to maximize the accessibility of transportation and incentivize alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle trips. The Port must be a strong partner with Sound Transit to support the expansion of the Link light rail. There is still room for improvement to make the light rail connection to the terminal at SeaTac more accessible for people with disabilities. As Port Commissioner, I will promote partnership with Sound Transit to increase employee and traveler usage of the light rail while prioritizing investments in accessibility.  

SeaTac Airport has the potential to be a leader in bicycle-air travel. As Commissioner, I will promote and increase the accessibility of cycling. Making cycling to the airport convenient, particularly for Port employees, will help to offset the environmental impact of SeaTac. Investment in bike storage boxes rather than bike racks will help encourage cyclists to leave their bikes at the airport when they travel. The Port must partner with surrounding cities to increase bicycle mobility, particularly given how many Port employees live in neighboring cities. Investments in this infrastructure, incentivizing Port employees to ride to work, and celebrating cycling at the Port will help to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips.