What We’re Reading: Mass Vaccinating Seattle, Criminal Legislation, and Urban Heat Island


Mass vaccinating Seattle: A new mass vaccination site has opened Lumen Field with promise of more than 150,000 vaccinations per week ($) when it’s fully operational with staff and doses.

Racist highway expansion: The federal government is reviewing civil rights complaints against Texas’ highway expansion plan in Houston.

Ghost lots: Zillow’s maps show the ghost of historic lots in many urban areas where highways were built.

Roaring back: Cleaner energy is growing, but carbon emissions have come roaring back.

Reinvesting: San Antonio has a new commitment to public housing.

Incentivizing grocery stores: New York City is looking at zoning incentives for grocery stores.

Cablebús: Mexico City has opened its first urban Cablebús aerial gondola line with plans for other expansions.

Under investigation: Congress will be investigating Texas’ inept and immoral energy grid regulator ($).

Sinking and rising: Louisiana is moving forward with $50 billion restoration plan for its threatened coastal areas ($).

Fate unknown: The Brooklyn-Queens Connector streetcar’s fate will be determined by the next New York City mayor.

Just like Texas: Louisiana wants to put a highway “connector” right through the heart of a Black neighborhood in Shreveport and a battle over it is heating up.

NYC’s new parks: Urbanize New York highlights some of New York City’s newest and interesting parks.

Had enough?: Pedestrian deaths are up 45% this past decade in America.

Criminal legislation: The state house in Oklahoma has approved legislation that would protect people who kill or injure protestors with their cars.

Banking on land: Newark is land banking long-vacant city properties for redevelopment.

Vancouver rising: Downtown Vancouver, Washington is seeing something of an urban renaissance and housing boom.

Washington’s reopening: Washington will be moving into Phase 3 soon with looser Covid restriction and accelerating eligibility for vaccines. Schools will also begin reopening in April under the governor’s order.

Tax capital gains: A capital gains tax has finally passed in the Washington Senate, possibly paving its way into law.

Regressive property taxation: Property taxes in much of America are not implemented and designed in a progressive way, making the poorest proportionally pay much higher than wealthy landowners ($).

Falling rents: Portland rents have fallen significantly in 2020, particularly in the city center.

Long road to recovery: The American Recovery Plan is now law and will greatly help transit restore service across the country.

Crisis from cuts?: The Seattle City Council is looking at budget cuts for the Seattle Police Department, but the department says that this could lead to a crisis “beyond mitigation”.

Volunteer Park’s amphitheater: Construction of a new $3 million amphitheater is beginning this week at Volunteer Park.

No more highways: A Washington coalition has formed to demand that the state stop investing in new highways until the state does its part to finally prioritize and catch up on walking, biking, rolling, and transit investments. The coalition is also arguing for ending the gas tax because it is racist and regressive.

Expanding capacity: The upzoning wave has really caught on in California.

Rhode Island: Strong Towns writes about how Rhode Island has all the pieces for an urban revival.

Cleaner fuels: Amazon wants Washington to pass a clean fuels standard.

Zero-emissions: Santa Monica has adopted a pilot zero-emissions delivery zone.

Urban heat island: A new study shows that Malaysian cities are getting hotter.

Housing and entertainment: An op-ed in Vancouver’s Daily Hive argues that housing doesn’t belong in the Granville Entertainment District.

Legacy of corruption: Elaine Chao, the former federal transportation secretary, was under investigation for criminal activities but the Trump administration’s Justice Department halted the process ($).

Obama’s presidential center: A quote from President Barack Obama will appear on the exterior of his presidential center in Chicago.

LA’s ADU agenda: Los Angeles is speeding up the permitting process for accessory dwelling units with pre-designed plans ($).

Fatal flaws: Sightline examines the fatal flaws of renewable natural gas.

Gun control: An op-ed in Crosscut argues that Governor Jay Inslee’s racial equity agenda must include gun control.

Modest extension: Phoenix is getting another modest light rail extension due for completion in 2024.

Housing vouchers in the DMV: Greater Greater Washington looks at how housing vouchers for all might alleviate the region’s housing crisis.

Hazard pay: King County has passed a hazard pay ordinance for many grocery workers in unincorporated areas.

Beyond EVs: Conor Bronsdon argues that electric vehicles alone won’t save us from climate change and that we should look beyond them.

Incentivizing e-bikes: The state house in Washington has passed legislation that would exempt e-bike purchases and equipment from the sales tax.

We hope you loved this article. If so, please consider subscribing or donating. The Urbanist is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that depends on donations from readers like you.

Stephen is an urban planner with a passion for sustainable, livable, and diverse cities. He is especially interested in how policies, regulations, and programs can promote positive outcomes for communities. Stephen lives in Kenmore and primarily covers land use and transportation issues for The Urbanist.