Growing a Neighborhood Around 130th Street Station

A rendering shows a green space next to a plaza with a fountain where people are gathering. The top portion of the rendering show six story mixed use building and another five story mixed use building. There is a small building with a green roof on the right side.
An artist's rendering of a plaza in the Heights District of Vancouver, Washington, a mixed-use neighborhood planned to offer more affordable housing to residents in upcoming years. Like its neighbor to the north, Seattle is in need of increasing affordable housing, especially near major transit investments like 130th Street station. (Credit: The Heights District Plan, City of Vancouver)

Light rail is coming to North Seattle at 130th Street in 2025. Thanks to advocacy by the many grassroots organizers involved in the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition and deft leadership by Claudia Balducci, a whole new swath of Seattle will have frequent, grade separated transit in just a few short years. Our neighborhoods and the rest of our political leaders need to seize the opportunity.

At the moment, the city is blowing it, with a feeble plan and requests for feedback from a few thousand local residents. This is the perfect way to tee up the aristocratic veto and keep out the working class people who actually need access to great transit. Instead, they should solicit feedback from the tens of thousands of possible future residents, the millions of voters who paid for the station, or (gasp!) people who actually ride transit.

A photo map shows the area near two the 130th and 145th street light rails stations with a circle showing the area that would be walking distance to the stations.
An aerial photo of the the future 130th and 145th Street Link Light Rail station areas. (Credit: Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development)

The light rail stop is one of five along the Lynnwood extension, which comes in around $3 billion including the infill station costs for NE 130th Street, or roughly $600 million per station. In a state where public investment is limited and often borne more heavily by our working class residents, it’s our moral duty to make sure these tax dollars have maximum impact on climate targets, access to jobs and housing, environmental justice, and quality of life. This means aggressively adding housing, including affordable housing, with top-tier walkways, protected bike lanes, and prioritized transit access. It means carefully avoiding displacement of poor residents, preserving and expanding the tree canopy, and paying close attention to placemaking. In other words, it means doing a much better job than we have in the past.  

We blew it last time in the U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate, with many years to prepare. Large swaths of their walksheds are still zoned for single-family homes and lowrise living. In Roosevelt alone, this shut out 11,000 families from a transit-rich neighborhood with great schools and parks, the formula for upward economic mobility. In Roosevelt and the U District, we’ve already built or issued permits for housing beyond what was predicted by 2035 — clearly underestimating demand for housing near stations. We’ve failed to pedestrianize even modest stretches of streets in dense areas. Biking connectivity is incomplete and usually unprotected, and transit prioritization is anemic.

Eye-watering housing supply

We can do much better in Pinehurst and Haller Lake. Let’s start with housing. It is easiest to think about the area in four zones: Core, Inner, Jackson Park (which should be renamed after someone who didn’t commit crimes against humanity), and Outer.

Core needs densities along the lines of the Mirabella in South Lake Union, though only in a very small area around the station, to maximize car-free living. At about 12 stories, these buildings are tall, but still qualify as midrise and can be designed with human scale in mind at the street level. Then we quickly move to more classic mid-rise scales in the Inner zone. We’ll do something similar in the Jackson Park zone, setting aside 60 of the 160 acres for housing, as envisioned by Ryan DiRaimo in these very pages. (Note: I use much more conservative calculations for the number of homes that can be accommodated.)

Two views of the Jackson Park golf course, the first as it exists now and the second with prospective future housing areas outlined in white. (Credit: Ryan DiRaimo)

Since midrise buildings are probably the best urban form for preventing greenhouse gas emissions, I’ve used them in all my zones. Examples abound in places like Paris.

An aerial view of Paris shows a cityscape dominated by mid-rise buildings, which are thought to be optimal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (Credit: Unicellular)

To bring the concept closer to home, in nearby Northeast Seattle, this includes big buildings like the Iron Flats and Trailside, or narrower developments like DXU.

The Iron Flats building in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood represents a good example of a mid-rise building that brings density near future Link light rail transit. (Credit: Skidmore Janette: Architecture, Planning, and Design)

Finally, the Outer Walk would involve more modest four story buildings, like the one that houses Herkimer near Ravenna Boulevard, or found in abundance in Amsterdam. All are close to ideal urban forms when it comes to climate and walkability.

A photograph shows a modern mid-rise building with large glass windows as viewed from the street.
The Herkimer building in the University District is a strong example of low-rise. (Credit: NWMLS)

The Core zone could produce 21 million buildable square feet. The Inner zone would offer another 40.7 million. The 60 acres of fairway set aside for building in Park, 14.6 million, and the Outer zone, another 34 million. The total adds up to a bit more than 100 million square feet of zoned capacity. Given 10 million set aside for nonresidential space, that leaves 90 million square feet of residential space

That’s enough for 76,112 homes, assuming they are larger than average for Seattle. We should do this to accommodate more families. Given the neighborhood’s ample parks, the massive building potential, its non-central location, and the dearth of new family housing in the city, this is the perfect neighborhood to target more multi-bedroom units. If we assume the average unit will have just over 1.7 people, that’s 130,000 people, a net of about 122,500 new neighbors. It brings the density to a cosy but not crowded 75,000 people per square mile.

If that sounds extreme, keep in mind that this is slightly less dense than New York’s Greenwich Village, one of our nation’s best known, most walkable neighborhoods. It’s more space per person than several sections of Beacon Hill, arguably Boston’s most beautiful neighborhood and one of our country’s most picturesque. Paris also offers examples: several famous Parisian arrondissements are more thickly populated, like the area around the Church of the Sacred Heart. Pinehurst would be comparable to the arrondissement just to the north of Notre Dame, and the one that houses the Place de Bastille. None of those neighborhoods have high rises or feel crowded; all are destinations in their own right. Pinehurst could be too.

A gold mine for affordable housing

This kind of ambition could raise enormous funds for affordable housing. Depending on whether the city council upgrades the neighborhood from a “low” to “medium” cost area and whether the zones get M, M1, or M2 intensity labels, this would raise anywhere from $750 million to $2.3 billion. Assuming they choose “medium” and M1, that’s $2.1 billion. We would get even more per square foot from the golf course. Of the 48 (net) acres set aside for housing, half could be sold to raise funds for affordable housing and create an integrated, mixed-income community in a heavily treed park. Presumably, access to this setting would command prices comparable to Roosevelt and the University District, about $80 per developable square foot. That would generate another $585 million and leave space for building over 6,000 units on the remaining land set aside for housing. The total dollars raised by the district would be $2.685 billion. 

Although new affordable housing for extremely low income (30% area median income or less) families costs $350,000 per unit, they typically only cost the city about $70,000, as they attract private funding. It’s even less per unit if you consider workforce housing, priced for 60% to 80% of the area median income. If we are conservative, and pick an outlier cost of $100,000 per unit, that’s 26,850 affordable homes for Seattle! Of those, 6,000 could be put in the park, alongside 6,000 market rate units. Even if we have to foot the whole $350,000, we could build 7,673 affordable homes. 

A rendering shows a park with children's play equipment full of people of all ages playing. There are three to four story residential buildings surrounding the park.
The Heights District in Vancouver, Washington is a mixed-use neighborhood growing around a commercial center. It will offer diverse affordable housing choices to residents. (Credit: The Heights District Plan, Vancouver, BC)

As gentle as displacement can get

All major redevelopments bring displacement risk. Fortunately, this case comes with a significant means to mitigate displacement: the golf course. The fact that we can build homes on the fairway, including 6,000 affordable units, means that far more than every single displaced low-income family will have a place to go before any homes are torn down. And they will live in a forest in the same neighborhood, probably farther from the freeway, alongside a pedestrian only street (see below), with light rail in walking distance, as well as a fully connected bike and bus network. No displacements are ideal, but this is as good as it gets.  

No resident is “ideal” for displacement. But there are some advantages here. This is among the more sparsely populated parts of the city, which minimizes the absolute number displaced. It’s almost all single-family zones, with some lowrises along a few arterials, and a few acres of midrise. The census tracts are about as white as the rest of Seattle. The poverty rate shows as slightly higher than citywide, but probably by a statistically insignificant amount. The percentage of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) residents is slightly lower than the city as a whole, but again, probably not by a statistically significant amount. Given the long and ugly history of poor and nonwhite, especially BIPOC, displacement, we should be particularly concerned with this.

Ownership rates are also higher, which also reduces displacement risk, or at least offsets it with lucrative windfalls for owners. In fact, given that homeowners make up about 52% of the households, we are probably talking about 3,500 people that might have to move somewhere. Local family size is 2.2, so that’s about 1,600 families. Assuming 30% of families earn up to twice the poverty line, we could give each displaced renting family a $10,000 bonus for less than $5 million, in addition to comparably sized subsidized housing in the park. 

Climate justice, for once

This vision has inherent climate justice advantages. First, we would turn over public land that is currently dedicated to golf, an overwhelmingly wealthy, white, male sport. We’d get rid of the admission charge and put thousands of units of affordable housing on the fairways, moving more than ten thousand lower income residents away from freeways and spaces where climate impacts are disproportionate. 

Their new home would be built in the middle of a beautiful, 100-acre park, with ample trees to help serve as a filter for freeway pollution and counter heat island effects. And this park would be within walking distance for all 130,000 residents, along with the 20-acre Northacres Park, also rich with trees. Such a transit-rich neighborhood would aggressively reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled for a huge number of residents, a benefit to the many BIPOC people shunted into spaces alongside Seattle’s freeways by inequality and systemic housing racism.

A rendering of the climate district in Copenhagen shows children playing under small trees with larger trees and a tall building in the distance.
A rendering of Sankt Kjelds Plads, the centerpiece of a new climate district in Copenhagen. (Credit: SLA)

Currently, the city requires that building on parkland be offset with new parkland elsewhere. While they could change this rule, and there is some question as to whether the golf course qualifies, this would be a great opportunity to set some of those funds aside to build high quality parks with strong tree canopies in underserved neighborhoods in South Seattle.  

There are still some negatives — the station is near I-5, which is a heavy polluter. But walls, trees, and electrification can make a dent. We should also consider a small freeway lid, which looks feasible near NE 130th Street and would be ideal for increasing pedestrian access.

Walkability and placemaking

In the new neighborhood that would be created, the pedestrian experience would be especially strong. The central street through the park should be pedestrian-only, continuing south along 8th Avenue NE until Roosevelt Way NE. NE 130th Street should similarly be set aside for people on foot, from Roosevelt Way NE to 15th Ave NE, hugging the south side of the Park. The portion of NE 135th Street near the current golf-course parking lot, plus 10th Avenue NE all the way south to Roosevelt should also be set aside. This would convert about 1.25 miles of road and add just over another half mile of walkway for the folks living on the former fairway in Jackson Park. 

A map showing future pedestrian oriented streets. (Credit: Ron Davis)

Right now, a lot of the smaller streets lack sidewalks, a perennial problem in Seattle’s farther flung neighborhoods. But multifamily construction brings sidewalks, and the entire area will be open to it, and demand for buildings will be high because of light rail. That means private developers will build out much of the needed sidewalk infrastructure. This will minimize the cost to the city of filling in what remains. If there is no freeway lid, the sidewalks on both overpasses need expansion. NE 130th Street, at 75 feet, can handle it. NE 145th Street shows as narrower in the Seattle database, but at five and six lanes, it appears that it is simply divided up with Shoreline and there is plenty of room. 

The commercial presence will be strong as well, with 10 million nonresidential buildable square feet. This mixed use plan sets aside 1.25 floors out of ten in the Core zone, one out of eight floors in the Inner zone, 80% of the time, and in the Park zone, one out of eight floors a little under 40% of the time (primarily along the pedestrian road). The Outer zone set aside is one out of four floors, 25% of the time. This will be a neighborhood filled with easy access to daycares, libraries, schools, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, book stores, grocery stores, drug stores, and all the other essentials for a 15-minute community.

With such a strong pedestrian experience and no need for a car, plus ample parks, and a heavy dose of ground-floor retail, this could become one of the best parts of the city when it comes to a sense of place.

Bike Connectivity

Genuine, protected bike lanes bring many marginal bikers out of their cars, and this neighborhood will be ripe for car-free and car-light lifestyles. So we have to get it right. Doing so will also significantly increase the likelihood that people who live beyond the 10- to 15-minute walkshed use Link light rail.

A map indicating future bike lanes in the 130th Street station area. (Credit: Ron Davis)

For north/south travel, that means two-way protected lanes on 5th Avenue NE from NE 145th Street to NE 130th Street. These will have to cut into the edge of the park property for the northern stretch, but otherwise there is enough road space to accommodate them. The bike lanes will split near the station. Northbound will run on Roosevelt Way NE, as a continuation of the existing northbound lane, but with barriers added to the current configuration. The southbound lane will run down 5th Avenue NE, all the way to Northgate way, freeing up space on Roosevelt for barriers for the northbound bike lane. 15th Avenue NE will also have a north/south bike lane with a small barrier, all the way down to Pinehurst, where it will join up with the existing network.

To connect the station with the west side of the freeway, a two-way bike lane should be put in place all the way west to the Interurban trail. This will require removing either two lanes of traffic and replacing one with parking, or just one lane of traffic. After crossing I-5, bikes will take the southbound lane mentioned above on 5th Avenue NE to NE 125th Street, and will turn west onto protected lanes running all the way to 15th Avenue NE. NE 145th Street will need similar treatment, running from 15th Avenue NE, all the way to Interurban, but that should be part of the plan for the NE 145th Street station and will likely require coordination with Shoreline.

Transit connectivity

Fast, frequent and reliable transit is key to getting people out of cars. If we can provide that, including a connection to Link, which is fully separate from traffic, the impact on ridership will be profound.  

Bus access will be put alongside the station on 5th Avenue NE. From 145th to 130th, both directions will have transit-only lanes. Similar to the biking plan, the southbound transit-only lane will continue down Roosevelt to NE Northgate Way, whereas the northbound lane will split off to 5th, running in parallel all the way to NE Northgate Way. 

A map indicating future bike lanes in the 130th Street station area. (Credit: Ron Davis)

East/west is more important and much more difficult. I would be inclined to turn 125th from 10th Avenue NE to 15th Avenue NE into transit (and biking) only, with an eastbound only lane from 5th Avenue NE to 10th Avenue NE, since the southbound lane on Roosevelt also runs west at that moment, as Roosevelt is diagonally placed right there. This much transit priority would be a tough sell and might require running the bike lanes through the adjacent properties in the tighter spots. Beyond 15th, buses could run in their own lanes alongside general purpose lanes, all the way to 35th, with the current road width. West of the freeway, we face a similar problem when the street narrows to 44 feet from Northacres Park to Bitter Lake. I’d like to see the whole street set aside for transit and biking, but that may be beyond what can be done. If so, I’d add bike lanes adjacent in those tighter stretches.


These right-of-way changes will substantially increase throughput, since transit and bike lanes can accommodate far more people than general purpose lanes. They enable a complete transit, walking and rolling oriented lifestyle. But the road diet would be substantial, which is always a challenge to get through City Hall and past the yuppie-veto. 5th Avenue NE next to the park would have no Northbound car lane, until the off-ramp, and in some spots, the bike trail would have to cut into the park. Below 130th, 5th Avenue NE would lose all its parking, given over to a transit lane, bike lane, and two car lanes. Roosevelt Way NE would fall from four to two general purpose lanes, to be replaced by a protected bike lane and transit-only lane. 15th Avenue NE would lose a general purpose lane to bikes, and possibly may warrant turning over another to parking, as this will be more of a destination than it is today. NE 125th Street from Roosevelt to 15th Avenue NE, would need narrower lanes for adequate bike facilities. In fact, all these additions require skinnier lanes, although these are in line with (Seattle bike blog link). The narrowest parts of NE 130th Street, east of I-5 would also need to drop a general purpose lane in each direction, in order to accommodate the bike lanes and as mentioned before. They would have to give up general purpose entirely if protected transit is introduced, or widen for a few blocks.

An Ambitious Plan Our City Needs

This is an ambitious plan, admittedly, a break with the city’s incrementalist political dynamic. In the past, the Seattle process has trapped us in small-potatoes thinking. But we have multiple legitimate crises on hand and this addresses them. Our planet is cooking. We have too little housing to keep prices reasonable for all but the rich. This limits access to the great opportunities the region offers for the rest of the population. And we have a once in a century sized homelessness humanitarian disaster, where we have let our neighbors suffer unnecessarily because we have been unwilling to shoulder serious solutions.

These problems are big. It’s time to think big.

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Ron Davis (Guest Contributor)

Ron Davis is an entrepreneur that has spent most of his professional life working to improve the lives of workers and seniors. He's a former member of the Citizen Oversight Panel for Sound Transit and is active in trying to make Seattle a more just, inclusive, clean, walkable, city. He has a JD from Harvard Law School and lives in Northeast Seattle with his wife, a family physician, and their two boys.

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James D. Bucher

This guy doesn’t comprehend the golf courses make $ for the city.

David Pope

Ron, you claim to be advocating for the working poor in our city but your solution will do nothing to create more affordable housing. Selling public property at less than market value to incentivize affordable housing doesn’t deal with the core issue, the increasing wealth gap between the rich and poor. Until we deal with this core issue nothing you propose will work. Just the same old arguments used to placate the caring and benefit the rich.

Ryan DiRaimo

Oh please. Adding housing supply helps every affordable home around the city. By limiting supply you make those naturally occurring affordable homes and make them more expensive. Every square foot of this new development will generate a fee for MHA. MHA has been a wild success and you know it.

I hope for your argument’s sake you don’t support parking mandates. Because at $50,000 per spot, that makes things quite a bit more expensive.


David – I don’t advocate selling public property at less than market value. I advocate selling part of it at full market value and dedicating all that money to affordable housing.

Galena White

There MUST be at least one parking space assigned to each residence. Parking is essential for poor, young, disabled, and otherwise disadvantaged people, as well as for people who are simply unwilling to give up convenience. We cannot pretend that all services are available within an easily-walkable or easily-bussable distance from this project. Being unable to find a parking space because others have filled the spots puts an unnecessary burden on those who absolutely need to use a car but aren’t able to obtain a disabled parking permit. Time constraints prevent many people, especially those with families, from being able to use the bus, since taking the bus can add an hour or two more than simply driving. In a busy world, picking up your kids from school by bus and then getting to work and getting back to the school and then home within a reasonable time frame is simply impossible by bus. If you do not provide at least one parking space per residence, you’re contributing to the oppression of the lower class; you’re preventing people who badly need it from using something that you merely think of as a ‘convenience.’ It is not a convenience. My back allows me to walk short distances, and so I can’t get a disabled placard, but I am in torture with every step I take, and I rely on my car to get my kids to and from school in a timely manner. My car is an absolute necessity for my family, and if you made too few parking spaces at this new development, the lack of parking spaces would spill over into the neighborhood. More people would park on the street, making it harder for me to find a parking space close to home to save my back pain and make it easier to wrangle my young children. You MUST make at least one parking space for each dwelling unit.


Your home has a garage, right? Why then would it harm you if your neighbors chose not to build one?

Galena White

What an assumption. My little family lives in an apartment. There are not enough parking spaces for everybody in the neighborhood, so people frequently park illegally or in other people’s paid spaces. When I have no place to park close to my home, I have to herd two toddlers down the sidewalk with my back absolutely KILLING me, carrying groceries and whatever else we need. It’s a horrific situation, caused by the fact that *simply not building parking spaces doesn’t mean parking spaces won’t be needed.* When you choose to kneecap car use for everyone in the neighborhood, the burden falls on people like me.


Interesting. You seem to be saying that you require a parking space near your home for medical reasons, yet you chose a home where there was no guarantee that you would have that. Why did you do that?

Galena White

You do realize that there’s a housing shortage, don’t you? You do know that sometimes people have to make choices based on what they can afford, and on multiple other factors? You do realize that some people DON’T GET EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT FROM LIFE AT ALL TIMES?


Last edited 16 days ago by Galena White

So you mean to tell me that housing without parking is cheaper? And that someone without much money might not be able to afford to pay extra for a reserved parking spot? But at the same time it’s better for poor people to take that option away from the next generation by requiring all new homes to come with parking spots? Please make it make sense.

Galena White

When developers tell you that ‘it costs extra’ to make parking spaces, what they’re talking about is lost income for them. Not including the parking spaces doesn’t actually make the apartments much cheaper to produce or take away much space from the square footage. It just costs the developer money. Don’t try to make that the poor person’s fault. What the developer is talking about is not being able to make as much money from the area that is used for parking. That’s not to say that the building isn’t feasible for low-income housing with parking for everyone. It’s not to say that making parking makes it impossibly expensive for low-income renters. IT JUST MEANS THAT THE DEVELOPER OR OWNER WILL HAVE LESS PROFITS. That’s it. And you’re trying to use that as justification for literally torturing people like me.


It literally does cost extra to build parking. Tens of thousands of dollars per space. There’s no free lunch. You can’t just add requirements for what must be included in the minimum home and expect the cost of providing that not to be reflected in the price.

Suppose we required that every new apartment must have at least two bedrooms. Do you think that would result in no change to the rent for the cheapest new apartment, compared to today where it’s legal to build one-bedroom and studio units? I think that’s a fantasy. It’s just as fantastical to say that an apartment with a parking garage would be offered for the same price as an apartment without a parking garage is offered for today, if only we banned the parking-free buildings from being built.

Galena White

You do realize that parking spaces are considered standard? But lately, developers have been told, “You can make more money if you cut the parking spaces out!” I’m not asking for something unusual. I’m asking for something which has been considered standard in housing for decades. NOT including parking spaces is just a ploy to make even more money off the misery of poor people. This isn’t about developers being able to afford to make the developments. THEY CAN AFFORD THEM JUST FINE. AND THE POOR PEOPLE CAN AFFORD SAID LOW-INCOME HOUSING JUST FINE. This is about making MORE money off of the suffering and privation of people like me. Parking spaces are part of the built-in cost of building housing. Attempting to take that cost OUT of housing is a NEW MONEY-GRABBING TACTIC which is HURTING people who NEED that parking. You’re trying to make me arguing for what is STANDARD look like a fantasy, but you’re the one who is asking for something impossible. You want me to just magically find four extra hours in my day to truck my kids back and forth to school, and you want me to magically grow a new spine so I can carry all our groceries, and you want me to all of a sudden have a brand-new job that affords me a house in the suburbs. YOU’RE ridiculous.


I want you to have a place in the city, in housing that allows you to live a good life that accommodates your disability. What I don’t expect is magic.

I’d love if you could grow a new spine and not live in pain all the time, but at this point that would probably require magic. I’d love if you didn’t need to spend hours carting your kids back and forth from school. No magic required there, just adequate public funding for education.

I’d also love if we could simply decree that nobody can build housing without certain features, and expect that for-profit developers would build just as many homes as they would otherwise, and sell/rent them for the same amount as they would otherwise. That would be a true magic trick.

Galena White

They would. That’s why regulations exist. In fact, there were regulations which required exactly that, until recently when people decided to stop requiring that in the name of mass transit. Developers paid the price just fine in the past, and they must again.


No, it was renters who paid the price. This is just the way it works. If it costs an extra ten grand a unit (because you need to include parking) then this is factored into every decision. If rent is high, builders don’t care. If rent is low, builders don’t build. As a result, fewer places get built, which means that landlords can charge more.

Requiring parking means that rent is higher for everyone, even people who don’t move. It is a public good, paid only by renters and those looking to buy a condo. If folks really think it is worth the money, then the city should pay for it, like they do public pools.


Using the long arm of the government to require parking everywhere also is part of how we engineer so much demand for driving, which is making us unhealthier and cooking our planet as well.


I should also note that in “The High Cost of Free Parking,” Donald Shoup decisively showed that parking minimums harm everyone, and disproportionately harm the poor. I do not support parking minimums for this area (or any area, for that matter). If anything, it should be parking caps, and/or taxes on offstreet parking.


I find the bike maps confusing. The City of Seattle is building the Maple Leaf-Pinehurst connector on 8th Ave. NE, but that’s missing here.


A few notes:

Kent Keel deserves special recognition for making this happen. It was his proposal, after all. Council Member Juarez worked tirelessly for the station in the first place, and I’m sure was heavily involved in making it happen sooner, as was Mayor Durkan. But a special shout out to Renee Staton, who organized the movement for the station. Without her, you would have nothing more than people writing essays on blogs (of which I’ve written my share). Renee organized a group of concerned citizens, helped focus our representatives on the issue and kept fighting, even when things looked pretty bad.

Second, any discussion of changes to the neighborhood should include what the city has already talked about. In my opinion, they have all of the major issues covered.

Tom Ziman

In reviewing the plan for housing over Jackson Park it would appear that development would lead to a capping or at least a revamp of the path of Thorton Creek. That would be an ecological disaster and undo the many years of hard work and millions spent by local neighborhoods, NGOs, and government organizations like Sound Transit to improve Thorton Creek by naturalization and not development. The results of that improvement can be seen in the first Salmon spawning in the creek in the past few years, a species vital to the region. Small things cascade into bigger effects. By forgetting about the value of Thorton Creek and other natural habitats we risk more than a housing shortage and underutilized transit.

Ryan DiRaimo

What does I-5 do for the environment? What does the current golf course do to Thorton Creek?


I’d like to note that, although I feel strongly about the park part of this proposal, the fairway replacements are responsible for only 16,000 of the 72,000 housing units. I am not ready to give up on the park, but most of this proposal is not about the park.


It is worth noting that the station will be a little bit north of 130th. This makes it worse from a pedestrian access standpoint. Much of the area closest to it is in the park, and a lot of that is wetland. In general, very few people will walk more than a 1/4 mile to a transit stop (which is roughly equivalent to a 5 minute walk). It would be more than double that for a lot of the areas shown on the proposed rezone map (e. g.

The area within a five minute walk are actually quite small. You are never east of 8th or north of 127th. This makes a logical border for six story buildings (it is silly to propose twelve story buildings, as even Roosevelt doesn’t have that). To the west 133rd and 3rd makes for a decent cut-off point (even though most of that would be more than a five minute walk).

Surrounding that area should be low rise. This preserves what is already there (reducing the risk of displacement) and builds on it (when home owners decide to sell). I would go with 125th to the south, 10th to the east, 135th to the north, and 1st to the west. If you look at a walking distance map from the station, that would cover just about everyone within a ten minute walk. You could go out further, but you would get few additional people walking to the station. That would be worthy in its own right, but that sort of rezone should happen everywhere, and has little to do with this station.

To paraphrase Jarrett Walker, this isn’t about the line, or the station, this is about the transit network.

Ryan DiRaimo

If you build walkable infrastructure, people will walk.


There are a number of factors, and the pleasantness of the walking is one. But that has its limit.

As far as the area is concerned, there is only so much that can be done. From the west, you have to cross the freeway. This could be improved (and this is part of their plans by SDOT) but it is very difficult to turn a walk across the freeway into a pleasant stroll. The little section directly east should be both easy and pleasant walking (which is why I it makes sense for the biggest upzone). As you move south though, walkers have to deal with Roosevelt — a busy street, with buses (hopefully) running by frequently — or 5th, which parallels a noisy freeway.

This is what happens when you run a freeway line next to the freeway.

Ryan DiRaimo

Don’t limit your vision. What we propose isn’t some future city in the desert. It’s replicating things already done around the world. Why can’t we do it?


I agree with Ross that if you want to make a walkable neighborhood, a place with a freeway running through the middle is a major obstacle to that vision. There’s no way around that. It’s a one-block wide swath of worse than nothing, with a single bridge from one side to the other, running right through the area you want to fill with dense development. There are plenty of reasons besides walkability (noise, air quality) that people would not really be enamored with the idea of living next to a freeway.

I support the upzone proposed in this article, and then some. I see little justification for any legal limit at all on the amount of housing that can be built near our light rail stations. If someone wants to build towers on that land, more power to them. I just think that there are plenty of places that are objectively better places for that sort of development, and it’s a shame if our zoning forces it to happen next to the freeway instead.

Ryan DiRaimo

Remove the freeway.


Remove the freeway.

I’d likely vote in favor, but that’s so far outside the Overton window at this point that you’d need binoculars to see it.


There is a stretch there that may be amendable to freeway capping. It’s not good enough, but it’s much better.


Thanks for engaging! I do want to push back on something. The assumption that people will only walk five minutes is empirically false. That’s not true for grade-separated, rail transit, and it’s not even quite true for buses, where 40% will go 10 minutes.

For commuter rail, the mean and median will walk just about half a mile, and the 85th percentile walker will go over 3/4 a mile.


It gets complicated — very complicated — but there is a reason why professional planners use a 400m standard ( You can see by that essay that Walker is very aware of the complications.

Yes, some people will walk more, but a lot of people will simply catch a bus and transfer. Transfers get complicated too (there is a lot of data about that as well) but it is silly to treat an area 3/4 of a mile away from a station as if it is special. It is not. Given the choice, the vast majority will take the same bus to the station as those 3 miles away.

The station was designed for buses. It will get most of its riders from buses. You can upzone the fu** out of the area and it will still get most of its riders from buses. Pretending this could be the next Capitol Hill Station (even though the station is literally right next to the freeway) is silly.


There are other issues with being so close to the freeway. One of the biggest is that a disproportionate number of trips will be taken by car. There is a fair amount of evidence that suburban metro stations by the freeway perform very poorly for that reason. As a resident of Pinehurst I wouldn’t call it a suburb, but it kinda is.

So if the goal is to focus the development in an area where people won’t drive, than you will be sadly disappointed as development extends outward. If the goal is to build communities where hardly anyone drives, we would be better off focusing the development in areas that are already urban — or at least have an urban framework — whether those areas have a subway line or not.

Oh, and referencing data about commuter rail misses the point. This isn’t commuter rail. Commuter rails run infrequently and really long distances while carrying relatively few riders. That is like arguing that half hour frequency is good enough for transit while referencing a study about intercity rail. For a metro, the numbers go down as expected. The development plan I outline would follow that curve, with the biggest buildings within 400 meters, and low rise at 800 meters (and nothing outside of that).


The article you cited for the erroneously claim that professional planners assume people will walk 400M to transit specifically says that this is for “slow stop local service.”

It specifically says 1000M for “rapid transit (usually rail).”

Link is obviously the latter.


Most of this is unrealistic. But one particular section shows how the author really doesn’t understand why we should have the station there.

I would be inclined to turn 125th from 10th Avenue NE to 15th Avenue NE into transit (and biking) only, with an eastbound only lane from 5th Avenue NE to 10th Avenue NE

That would mean a bus would detour from the main arterial! The main reason the station makes sense is because travel along the 125th/Roosevelt/130th corridor is fast. Buses will be able to make that trip easily, any time of day. Having those buses make three extra turns right next to the station would be nuts. The 41 has to go on that section, because it is headed towards Northgate. But future buses won’t do that. They will connect the two big destinations north of Northgate (Lake City and Bitter Lake) via the fastest route (125th/Roosevelt/130th). That is why this station is being built.

North-south bus service in the area is much lower priority. I expect a bus on 5th, but it will likely be less frequent, simply because there is no great place for it to go, north of 130th. All the action will be on the crosstown bus.

Likewise, I wouldn’t take any lanes on the main corridor for bike travel. Sorry, but this is too important for buses (just as Eastlake was too important for bikes). In our meetings with the city we discussed several options. None are great, but I favor the following (shown as 3A on this map):

From Bitter Lake, add an Aurora traffic light crossing and beg button at 128th. This would connect into Interurban. East of there, improve 128th all the way across, to Northacres Park. Then riders would be expected to cross 130th on 1st to the north side of the street, and follow a new wide pike/pedestrian path across the freeway. This avoids the freeway ramps. After crossing the freeway, head to 125th, to pick up existing bike paths, or head south (under the train) to 117th, where a new, easier to use bike path would connect them to Pinehurst. North of 130th, improvements would be made to Roosevelt and 137th. Some of this would be expensive, so it might take a while. But it would be worth it.

As for the golf course, get real. We should continue to push for converting the area into a general use park, since it would be the nicest park for miles. But there is no way that market rate housing would be built. At best there would be a little bit of public housing (i. e. social housing).

As for the neighborhood surrounding it, this will likely be upzoned. But don’t expect large numbers of walk-up riders. It is simply incapable of it. The park takes up a large chunk, and so does the freeway and the various roadways. But I do expect the area closest to the station to gradually become midrise housing (with maybe a little grand floor commercial) transitioning to the existing lowrise development that surrounds it already.

This station was never about walk-up riders, or people on bikes. It was always about bus riders from Lake City and Bitter Lake.


I disagree with the notion that the only reason for a station is the East/West connections, although those are extremely important (and you make a great point about minimizing turns).

The whole article proceeds on the assumption that we can much further maximize the use of the station by adding 100k people to the immediate surrounding area. That’s a lot more people than are in Lake City. In any case, they aren’t mutually exclusive.


I disagree with the notion that the only reason for a station is the East/West connections

The station will be literally next to the freeway — the worst possible location for a subway station.

Sound Transit has no interest in typical subway stop spacing. There is no stop at 55th NE, or Campus Parkway for example. For that matter, there is no station at 80th, which has similar (although inferior) east-west dynamics. The board fought the idea of a station at 130th for years, even though anyone who knows anything about transit would say it is essential from a network standpoint. The only reason it is being built is because people were able to convince them of that.

As for adding 100K next to the station, it simply won’t happen, even if the city allowed it. Because, again, it is right next to the freeway. You can upzone, but it doesn’t mean that people will build Toronto style towers there.

And who says we should, anyway? What the city needs, more than anything, is to change the zoning everywhere. You aren’t going to get affordable market rate housing by drawing tiny circles around stations, while ignoring the vast majority of land that prohibits any increase in density. Especially if those circles are right by the freakin’ freeway.

You want to maximize the value of the station — push for better bus service. That’s why it was built, and since the vast majority of transit trips will occur on the bus (even after ST3) it would be a wise public investment.


I am pushing for better bus service as well.

I also agree that zoning should be increased to at least row-housing density pretty much everywhere, at minimum. But around major public assets, it should be higher.

Sarajane Siegfriedt

You are deeply misleading people when you write as though you can wave your magic wand and eliminate the last that says park land may not be diverted for other uses, it can only be swapped for similar same-quality land elsewhere. Period. End of your fantasy.

Also misleading is the idea that the land values and therefore the density of Capital Hill or Roosevelt can be assumed for 130th St. N. The City won’t allow 10 stories there. A Lake City landowner begged for that zoning and was turned down flat, despite community support. We have rules! It will be decades or a lifetime before business and jobs such as you depict can be supported. We’ll be lucky to get a coffee shop and a convenience store, let alone a full-service drug store and a full grocery. Remember the QFC on 35th NE in Wedgewood that just disappeared?

Ryan DiRaimo

Sarajane, you are one of the most misinforming people in this conversation. I know because I used to be included in your Land Use Advocacy Forum Google Group where your group would rally around how to manipulate information to build a “concise message” when attending the HALA focus groups.

There is a weird thing done in the political spectrum when someone creates a bad faith argument–like you all did–and feel so insecure about what you’re doing that you immediately accuse the “other side” of the very same thing because you need to justify your own action.

Please stop doing that.

The QFC in Wedgewood closed because grocery stores need 10,000 people to operate and Wedgewood is an exclusive, low zoned neighborhood that is losing population. Meanwhile dense neighborhoods have a lot of grocery stores popping up.


Sarjane, it’s a little tough to take it when you say, “these things can’t happen” when the main blocker stopping such things from happening is folks saying “these things can’t happen!”

At least many of these things will eventually happen. The question is whether we will waste billions of dollars and millions of tons of carbon before we get there.

I’ve also noted that the parkland can be made up for in areas with less park access (meeting the ordinance requirement) or that the ordinance can be adjusted (since this design would depend on city council approval anyway).


It would really be nice if people like you would be more concerned with allowing local residents to determine their own future rather than trying to take over the world and make it according to your ill-conceived desires. Jackson Park will never be replaceable as an open public space. It should always remain public space even if it transitions away from being a golf course to something usable by more people. By your theory NY’s Central Park should be taken over and replaced by housing. To say that people like me who actually live here would be given new housing to live in while our homes are taken over is beyond hallucination. Some of the people on my block including myself grew up in this neighborhood and have lived here over 60 years – all of us working our whole life to make this a better community. People who are proponents of taking over what they do not own and have not earned should perhaps have what little they own taken away in the same manner they are advocating – by force – then perhaps they would have a little compassion for all the people who work hard their whole lives trying to build what someone with no investment apparently wants to tear down… because they have “ideas”. No experience, just ideas.


People like me pay taxes for that light rail station and those parks, and our housing prices are affected by housing production, in your neighborhood and elsewhere. You don’t own the public pieces of your neighborhood. Those are owned by all of us.

Tens of thousands of other people would like access to jobs and opportunity that a city like ours holds, but refusals like yours have turned successful metros like ours into gated-communities that largely shut the poor and brown out of these opportunities.

I’m glad you love your neighborhood. I love mine too. I’m sentimentally really attached to some stuff here that would go away if we were serious about urban infill in Seattle. So I also advocate for serious change in it too, and have done so in these pages. We have a collective action problem that is impoverishing millions and cooking the planet. That matters more.

Nicholas Lopez

Hi Ron, I want you to know that I am thankful someone actually thinks of the future unlike some of the commentators, I want to live in Seattle but find it more and more exclusive to “outsiders” like me. Thank you for giving us a chance. I don’t understate when saying Seattle is the best city in the country but unless actions are put forth the city will be doomed to the gated community ideals

Last edited 18 days ago by Nicholas Lopez

Nicholas – that is such a nice thing to say. Thank you. You are as morally entitled to live here as anyone else, and I thank you for being a fellow concerned citizen.


To be fair, nothing would be taken “by force”. The author is just proposing a rezone. Things would change — but only if people sold their property.

I agree with you about the park. It is nonsense to assume that a huge green space in the city be converted to commercial housing. At most there would be a little bit of public housing (like Discovery Park and Sand Point) but that’s about it. The main thing we should all be pushing for is converting that park to general use. Keep the driving range, add a playground there somewhere, and convert the rest of it to a park (like Wayne Park in Bothell).

Ryan DiRaimo

Why do you get to design the neighborhood, because you’re there already?

Ryan DiRaimo

Funny you brought up Central Park. In 1860 it was entirely single family homes on large lots around the park. They upzoned the whole area and in 20 years it looked like a city. So yea, that’s a great example. I am sure people said “New York City is a small town” back then too and wanted to provide their input to protect their self interest. But thank god the planners in NYC didn’t listen.


I don’t think anyone thought NYC was a small town in 1860?

The Central Park analogy would be to develop density around Jackson Park but not within the park. A large block of green space becomes more valuable as the immediate vicinity densifies. The great insight of Central Park was to reserve the land before urban development arrived. Agitating to develop Jackson Park to solve a housing crisis (which NYC has had from 1860 to today) would be to take the opposite approach of Central Park and the Olmsted plan.

I don’t mind the idea of developing some parkland immediately adjacent to the station, offset with new park space elsewhere, such as SE Seattle. But to point to Central Park as a supporting example is bizarre.

Ryan DiRaimo

Whatever it may have been perceived as is irrelevant. In 1860 NYC was mostly single family homes on large lots. It isn’t anymore, and nobody misses that.

Renee Staton

Hi all,

Just letting you know that the 130th community crew who led the initial effort for the station in 2015 and again pushed with CM Juarez in 2020 for a 2024 opening is back leading a community effort around the rezone, as we always committed to doing. We have over 50 people in our group so far. It’s exciting to see a broad, diverse group from the larger community come together to support this. All are welcome to join. You can follow at our FB page or join our mailing list by emailing us at

Renee Staton

Here is the FB group link:

Renee Staton

Also, please share your thoughts with us here:


AWESOME, thank you!


Does this mean that if Link ever goes up Aurora or out to Sand Point, Woodland Park and Magnuson Park will also be turned into large apartment complexes?


Aurora right next to Woodland Park would be a pretty dumb location for a Link station given the current uses. So yeah, if they did put a station there I’d hope they do so with a plan to have something in the walkshed besides a big park and the back side of the zoo. If they put it down by 45th where people actually live, I’d expect some upzones in the currently-developed areas but no need to mess with the park.

Ryan DiRaimo

Like when Magnuson was a military base and had lots of housing that is still there today? Yeah, probably.

Also, you know that Aurora was plowed right through the park against Olmsted’s wishes by a DOT manager, right? Or did you think Aurora just always existed exactly as is, paved by the natives in 1600?


Aurora was plowed right through the park

So is Aurora a good example of how we can repurpose parkland? Not really sure what you are driving at there.

Magnuson was a military base

I think the key insight here are the words was a military base, i.e. not a park. If the Feds gave the NOAA campus to the city, sure I’d be all for developing that into housing rather than expanding Magnuson Park. But I don’t think anyone is going to the actual Magnuson Park and saying, “Hey, since this was, at one point in the past, not a park, let’s make it no longer a park.”

Ryan DiRaimo

My point is this poster has no issue with Aurora plowing through a park, yet complains about what happens to a golf course (which is not a park). Magnuson was a base with DENSE HOUSING ON IT. So I found that example excellent for pointing out how it worked there.

Ryan DiRaimo

This is a brilliant idea

Brian Nelson

Ryan you should probably update that Jackson Park housing graphic to include access roads and turnaround points for emergency vehicles, delivery trucks, etc. At a minimum all these buildings have to be accessible to fire trucks.

On an aside, it’s great that there’s light rail nearby but our public transportation system isn’t a full transportation replacement for most people – it’s a great augmentation that reduces hours driven but not a total replacement for most. Think we’re doing a disservice to lower income housing recipients if we artificially reduce transportation options to public only. Don’t see much in the way for car access/storage for people living there or the family and friends that will come to visit, instead we’re basically saying here’s wonderful low income housing for you, now figure out how to live your life without a car. Again, may work some people but it doesn’t for most, especially when that transportation trade-off doesn’t come with the services and amenities found in Manhattan, Barcelona, Amsterdam, etc.

Ryan DiRaimo

Fire trucks get around Rome, Copenhagen and Barcelona just fine. If we design cities around big clunky trucks we are doing it wrong.

My article on this subject outlined how the access would work. No need in getting wound up on details. Small scale stuff.

75% of NYC residents don’t have cars. It works just fine. We have an extensive bus network that can be upgraded. It already has the capacity to move 3 million people easily.

We don’t have to do this chicken or egg circle. Build the housing. Upgrading a bus line is easy and cheap.


Agreed. Many walkable places were filled with cars before they chose to become the kind of livable neighborhoods they are today. They had to make a choice, instead of hiding behind their “but the chicken!” and “but the egg!” rhetoric. We have to commit.


Can you please document that 75% figure? I can only find 55%.

Ryan DiRaimo

of the residential land, seattle has 40 square miles. single family zoning takes up 30 square miles, leaving 10 square miles for anything from a townhouse to a highrise. you can find the figures in acreage on the city’s website.

30/40 = 75%

Brian Nelson

What does that have to do with “75% of NYC residents don’t have cars”…?


But you wrote that 75% of New Yorkers don’t have cars. I can’t find that stat.
In Seattle in 2018, over 80% had at least one vehicle. That might decline over time, but for the next few decades, with density increasing much faster than vehicle ownership decreases, it’s going to be unbearable. In fact, in North Seattle where there are very few sidewalks, it’s already becoming quite hazardous for pedestrians.

Ryan DiRaimo

oh woops lol. i got this mixed up with a zoning comment.

i meant manhattan. 75% of manhattan’s 2 million people do not own a car.

overall, 55% of the entire city of 9M doesn’t own a car.


The lack of parking shown in the picture is the only reason most of the trees are preserved. If you take that design and throw in a parking space for every unit, plus access roads, what you will get is virtually every single tree chopped down and the entire park converted into nothing but concrete and asphalt.

As unrealistic as redevelopment of Jackson Park is, the picture does at least illustrate a hidden cost of designing every home to accommodate a car for every person. Virtually any neighborhood, you can have a lot more tree canopy if you’re willing to sacrifice on parking to make room for it.

Brian Nelson

Yup agreed. Feel like Ron and Ryan are painting an idealistic picture of what will go there rather than what would actually land if this redevelopment were to be realized. At a minimum there will need to be access roadway for emergency vehicles throughout the site, which as you point would remove much of the tree canopy. This comes across as one of those Urbanist thought exercises that ignores some hard realities.

Ryan DiRaimo

the space between the buildings is 25′ wide. if that doesn’t work, get smaller trucks.

Ryan DiRaimo

Parking minimums are stupid. There is no need for them. If you drive and need a car, fine, but don’t mandate it on everyone else. I lived in Capitol Hill and didn’t move my car for months.

Parking is nothing but a weapon used by anti-growthers hoping to either make the project too expensive by building parking garages under ground or make it impossible to supply with surface lots, then they do this weird thing where they complain about the cost of housing after adding $60,000 per unit for under ground garages, or they whine about the tree loss after forcing them to build a surface lot.

Bad faith arguments are lame.

Brian Nelson

That’s great Ryan that you have a lifestyle that allows you to function without moving your car for several months. Most people don’t have that luxury and just because you plop their housing next to a light rail station doesn’t completely de-couple them from needing a car.

And yes, the space in between the units is up to 25’… all of which you’re presenting in your graphic as tree canopy/green space. Much of that would need to be converted into roadway for vehicle access, there’s no getting around it.

Finally, just a pro tip: obviously you’re very passionate on a lot of this but you’re responses throughout the comment section are coming off as uber aggressive and ideological – there’s *some* good ideas in this article but you’ll get no where with them if you’re completely dismissive of people that disagree with you or bring a different perspective that doesn’t completely align with your vision.


Homes without parking will naturally be a better fit for people who don’t own cars. You don’t need to make every home work for every lifestyle.

If you are going to build homes without parking anywhere (and I think we should!), where better than right next to a train station that promises to also be a major bus transfer point?

Brian Nelson

Eric, I agree to an extent. A highlight within this article is turning Jackson park into housing for lower income families. I tend to agree with that approach but differ on a couple points:

1. Think that the development should be more accurately described, there will be much more green space removed than what’s being mocked up.
2. A quadrant of the park should be cut out and left undeveloped.
3. There is limited low income housing stock in this city and those that need to be recipients of it unfortunately don’t have the opportunity to be choosy. This is where I disagree with your comment – this type of development would add a significant hurdle to folks lives who have low incomes yet are car dependent for any myriad of reasons that won’t be removed by living next a light rail station.

Put another way, this is a great concept for the affluent/those that have financial freedom to choose homes that match their lifestyle choices. Lower income families’ lifestyles are often dictated by financial constraints, this would be artificially adding another.


Requiring all low-income housing to have attached parking makes it more expensive to build, which means you get less of it.

I totally get that many folks can’t live without a car. Some, perhaps most, of our subsidized housing should have some parking. That doesn’t mean that this particular site, in an ideal location to live without a car, needs to be included in that number.


Brian, I really appreciate your comments and thoughtfulness regarding lower income families. Part of why I’ve included so many BAT lines in the area is the presumption that this would be used for additional lines (which would be easy with so much population). My assumption was that this would make car-free living possible for low and moderate income families. That may certainly be incorrect.

But in any case, if some level of parking were a priority for those responsible for development, it can be provided below ground. All of my analysis used densities from other areas where parking was not in an adjacent lots (e.g., Centerline in Roosevelt), but rather, underground.

Bryan K

“Lower income families’ lifestyles are often dictated by financial constraints, this would be artificially adding another.”

I think on balance the financial constraints are the fact that housing with high walk scores and great transit access tend to cost more, so lower income families can’t afford to live there, thus they are stuck with a car dependency.

Enabling lower income families to have a better shot at living without a car is a massive uplift – as the cost of a car is a brutal percentage of income, and dependency on a low reliability car leaves folks vulnerable to missing work, school, etc (and maybe losing a job).

Last edited 18 days ago by Bryan K
Ryan DiRaimo

90% of the city is designed exactly for people with single family homes and cars driving everywhere. we can’t have 1 little neighborhood next to a billion dollar light rail station? good grief. i guess the whole city belongs to you.

pro tip: i am not in this forum to make friends or run for office.


Except when parking is unavailable or expensive you wind up with vehicles cruising the streets looking for parking, clogging every public ROW with parked cars, and pushing pedestrians into the street. Voice of experience here.


Any multi-family development would involve frontage improvements. Pedestrians therefore wouldn’t be pushed into the street because there would now be sidewalks.

Ryan DiRaimo

yeah i remember when i lived in capitol hill, the densest, most vibrant neighborhood in the whole state, and someone said “nobody goes there anymore, there’s no parking”


A Joy

Jackson Park’s golf course should go away, but not for housing. If this year’s sweltering heat taught us anything, it is that our urban golf courses need to be turned into heavily treed parks for all. It will take time before anything looks like Ravenna or Carkeek Park, but that is no reason not to start now.


Ravenna Park is 49 acres, Jackson Park is 160 acres. You could fit two Ravennas into Jackson Park with plenty of room left over for affordable housing. Normally I’d agree to convert it all to parkland, but it’s smack-dab in the middle the walkshed of two of the only light rail stations in North Seattle.

Last edited 19 days ago by Justin

Yes, this leaves 100 acres of trees, far more than Ravenna Park, which is definitely a jewel.


(And it only fills the fairways, which are grass and not good for the environment anyway).


How nice that this person wants to fill Jackson Park with houses. As if having a park is somehow a bad thing, or ruining a park this way is allowed under city law, or that building houses in a park somehow means it’s still a park.

Last edited 19 days ago by CHRISTOPHER H BURKE
Ryan DiRaimo

Can you have a picnic in this park for free at any given time? Can we throw down a blanket and let the kids play on the 9th hole green? Or does it cost $115 for a family of four to get to use this park with guidelines for continuously moving? Sure doesn’t sound like a park for me.

Also, we can change that law. Citizen vote would likely do the trick.


Oh, I agree about the golf course. Jackson Park would make a very nice park, I always say.

Oly Hills resident

The park includes forest trails free for use, including to walk to the 130th St. station, except that you have to be on the lookout for campers (from the perspective of unvaxed, unmasked, unpredictable, aggressive behavior, not class warfare), who also regularly steal from/pollute adjoining [multi-unit] housing/Thornton Creek. And encampments have effectively blocked the use of several trails/trailheads.

So sure, go ahead with that picnic. There are several open areas you could theoretically use, which some people play with their dogs in. Most at JP keep walking. Nothing to do with golf. This park and other Puget Sound area courses regularly host low-income kids (“financial assistance always available”) for golfing, btw, Parks’ own report.

Parks are natural resources, never intended as housing factories, and the statement that we could leave the park be were it not for the stations we the humans created, says it all. We can indeed leave it be — we’re not ruled by our own creations; we have free will. The station will not stand or fall on that (its advisability is another story; done and dusted).

Also fail to see how building affordable housing (which would destroy, not revive the tree canopy) would make this a park again. Have you been in the “park” near Greenwood library, also the one near WF SLU, token open space with a couple of benches, surrounded by housing? Talk about hot! Nor can you swap mature trees for seedlings, by any climate measure.

You can try to make this about privilege. But if you travel JP (also the site of a neighborhood P-Patch) and keep your eyes open, you will see that it’s actually about respecting the law/the earth vs. not.

Ryan DiRaimo

Yeah i have walked that route too. there’s a huge fence with barbed wire on top, i felt really welcomed.


Hi Christopher. I like parks. I’m talking about filling in the fairway of a golf course near a $3/4 billion transit asset in the middle of a once-in-a-century housing crisis, not the vast majority of the land, or any of the treed part.

The decision would be made by the city, and the ordinance you speak of is under their control.

It’s also worth noting that I noted that some of the money could go toward putting a park in one of our much less well served neighborhoods (in terms of parks and tree canopy) in the South.

You are acting like I want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot. I want to take the gates off paradise so everyone can come in, fill the fairway with affordable housing so everyone has access to the forest and make the world one where we don’t need parking lots.


“As if having a park is somehow a bad thing …” Remember, Seattleites voted against the Seattle Commons park. That area of SLU is now covered with office buildings.


Why is the urbanist re-running stories from 2019? It is 2021, and now few need or want TOD like this. Far too much TOD already was built around other light rail stations for those that need to use the trains frequently. Now that employers use remote work policies people who have jobs are buying and renting as far from TOD as they can.


How can you look at current house prices and say we have too much TOD? We obviously still have a massive supply shortage. Seattle was the fastest-growing big city in 2020 despite the pandemic and remote work policies.

Last edited 19 days ago by Justin

Nate, what you are saying simply isn’t true. Plenty of people – service and retail workers, healthcare workers, industrial workers, anyone working for a company that still wants people in-office – still need to get to their places of work. Not to mention – everyone still needs housing. So where are you going to put it? Where it makes sense, near transit.


Nate – do you have any evidence that people are leaving TOD or that prices are dropping comparatively in areas adjacent to TOD? These are still very much in demand.