Local headlines: Residents of affordable housing in the Central District fear that they could lose their housing due to sale of their building. Pacific Place has traded hands in a recent sales for $271 million, the City-owned garage will stay in City ownership. Washington residents support a new gun control measure on background checks by a long-shot. Developers are building a lot of new housing stock, and they’re doing it with a lot less parking. One third of homes purchased in Capitol Hill are made fully in cash. Ridesharing services are now legal in the City of Seattle. The City is exploring voluntary identification cards for residents. And, Mayor Murray has tapped Cuc Vu as new head of the Immigrant and Refugee Affairs Office.
A jumble of maps: NOAA has a fairly disturbing map of California’s drought from last month, and it probably hasn’t gotten better since. Max Roberts, a subway and map enthusiast, has perfected a modern version of Massimo Vignelli’s famous NYC Subway map. Evidently you can follow the daily trail of New York City’s taxi drivers, in detail. Tableau has come out with free-to-use online software to create your own interactive maps. And, a cool interactive map of the future California High Speed Rail system.
Happening outside of Washington: A new mixed-use and wonderful shared space will be coming to Washington, D.C.’s Southwest neighborhood–this is a good model. Paris is looking to fine commercial property owners that leave their buildings vacant instead of converting the spaces into residential units. Strasbourg doesn’t get much talk, but it is small city with big city infrastructure and design. Apple has started work on their Cupertino spaceship campus, despite the fact that they could have made a more efficient and profitable mixed-use campus for their employees.
Grab bag: In the past few months, Car2Go has been sending out black membership cards to preferred members, and naturally there is speculation on what they’re for. The fleet of vehicles in the US has seen a dramatic, but quiet increase in fuel efficiency for all vehicle types in the past decade. It looks like Alta bikeshare programs will be delayed due to the death of their vendor Bixi earlier this year; however, Seattle will be an exception and rollout on-time. Nikki Sylianteng has come out with her third version of a simple-to-use parking sign. And, NACTO is now recognizing contraflow bicycle lanes as an option for designing streets.
Planning the city: It looks like there wasn’t much headway made by Council Member Mike O’Brien’s Microhousing working group. The final meeting has ended without any strong recommendations or consensus. Dan Bertolet over at City Tank argues that Rainier Beach has a lot of potential as a mixed-use and livable urban center in South Seattle. Bertolet floats his unique vision for this transit paradise and underutilized area. And, bicycle lanes are now a thing on the University Bridge.
National drama continues: Jon Stewart summarizes Congress’s failure to come up with a sustainable funding measure for the national transportation system well, declaring “This is so stupid.” The House Democrats opposed the Republican measure on funding, but went along anyway in the end (although most Republicans voted against their own bill). Of course, Republican Senators are still trying to throw wrenches into Senate’s companion bill.
Local transit: The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) has released a long list of transit-oriented projects for new funding this year. The PSRC acts as a pass-through for Federal transportation dollars. Central Link Light Rail has turned 5 years old, and ridership continues to beat projections. Capitol Hill Seattle Blog spotlights the Metro Route 2 and Metro Route 47, it will be tough to see the workhorse 47 go away. On the plus side, we will be having a city vote to reverse cuts and save Metro service. The fight over where to put the East Link Light Rail maintenance facility in Bellevue continues with no conclusive decision. And, Velo Bus Driver (aka Matt Leber) does a write-up on the future Mercer Island Station.