If you make it north of the Canadian border, you will sometimes find yourself in a sea of 50-story towers adjacent to a train station running on 100-second frequencies. Now, you may not think you are in the suburbs of Vancouver, but you are. Cities like Surrey and Burnaby, areas that would equate to Shoreline and Lynnwood here in Seattle, are building these types of transit-oriented developments (TOD) all over the place. Many of these towers are already finished and at full occupancy when the first SkyTrain arrives, offering a quick and easy car-free commute to work, entertainment, and anything in between.

This type of planning takes a bold vision. Sure, Burnaby, Surrey, and the rest of Vancouver all have public outrage over changes to single-family zoning, which has the same racist and classist roots that started here in Seattle. The highly documented West Coast fight against housing growth in the United States doesn’t stop at the Canadian border. However, the difference is that their city planners don’t surrender the battle before it even starts by offering plans and visions of upzoning leafy suburban-like neighborhoods and asking current residents if they like it.

A photo of four tall residential towers in Surrey, BC.
This is Surrey, British Columbia, a suburb 20 miles outside of downtown Vancouver serviced by the Expo Line of the SkyTrain system. Thousands of homes are walking distance from the three main stops in this suburban city. (Image: Google Street View)

It’s ridiculous, but this is how the Seattle process works. And the result is that the city loses out on building thousands of units of much needed housing near expensive, publicly-financed light rail investments.

Earlier this month, Sound Transit and Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) held an open house to showcase the progress of each station’s surrounding developments. First up was the South Shoreline/148th Station in Shoreline. The focus? An expensive, carbon intensive new parking garage. No housing overview, no plan for housing, just some renderings of what the garage will look like from the platform and the sky after 100 trees are clear cut to get it built. This station opens in just three years and the only thing prioritized is parking, for cars, which is what the train is supposed to replace. The great irony is that one of the slides said the focus is “walkability, access, TOD,” which I guess occurs when you stroll from the garage to the station after you park your car? There is a development of a bike connection bridge over I-5 that wasn’t mentioned, further highlighting the obsession with planning and designing for cars.

A screenshot from a Zoom presentation on development at the 148th Street light rail station shows an aerial view of the station area and a small box showing the presenter - a man in a red and black plaid shirt.
Sound Transit outlined the surrounding development (or lack thereof) next to the South Shoreline/148th Station in Shoreline during the Community Update hosted by the NE 130th Street Station volunteers. (Credit: Screenshot of presentation)

Next up was NE 130th Street Station.

Seattle prides itself as a progressive city with an affinity for equity, social justice, affordable housing, and climate leadership. But that’s only for slogans on our yard signs rather than the foundation of our policy goals. Instead of outlining the proposed development of dense housing growth, the conversation focused on one measly block that was upzoned to be a lowrise building someone will criticize one day on Tik Tok. That’s it. One. Measly. Block. OPCD did, however, state they plan to get an upzone approved and passed as soon as 2023, less than two years before this multi-billion-dollar project opens. Even then, though, they only project 3,600 daily riders; so it’s clear they aren’t planning to lobby for anything significant. The Sound Transit board of directors did us the service of moving this station up by six years, but the City of Seattle returns the favor by making sure it will be as under-utilized as possible, as late as possible. 

A rendering shows an aerial view of several proposed towers indicated by gray outlines filled in white in the middle of an urban landscape.
15,000 homes being added in Burnaby, British Columbia, eight miles from downtown Vancouver serviced by the Expo Line of the SkyTrain system. The Vancouver Metro Area has dozens of these going up in suburban cities across the expanding train line. (Credit: Concord Pacific Development via Daily Hive)

Normally in Vancouver, they would have already had the neighborhood upzoned and the 65-story towers would be under construction. At this rate, with a design review adding hundreds of days of process, and hundreds of days more to obtain a construction permit, we won’t start building these homes until 2027 at the earliest. And that’s only if the zoning change is not stuck in a multi-year long appeal process, which is likely what will happen. Keep in mind, we have known this station was coming since voters passed Sound Transit 3 in 2016five years ago. 

Plenty of process, but no vision

Because of how systems work in Seattle, planners are instead bogged down in writing small scoped policy proposals ranging from zoned parking to how many daycares they hope to see. Rather than seeing the forest from the trees, they are forced to focus on pine needles like how to move cars, parking, and keeping a few dozen neighbors nearby happy, which completely disregards the new residents being shut out of this public process.

A map shows the 130th Street light rail station area. A single block is outlined in red.
Since passing the third expansion of light rail back in 2016, all we have seen changed near NE 130th Street is one small block upzoned to be a lowrise housing development. The zoning changes won’t come until the station is nearly opened, and there is no housing goal publicly quantified by the city of Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development (Credit: City of Seattle, TOD site highlighted by author)

Heaven help you if you suggest any serious change, say, to a money-losing public golf course that is directly next to both the NE 148th Street and NE 130th Street Stations. Seattle considers the golf course a “park” and this forces compliance with Initiative 42 if anything should be done with it. The initiative requires any park space slated for development to find equal sized space to offset the development. The city council could change the initiative or remove golf courses from qualifying as park space, but since we cave to angry neighbors on piddling housing policies and bike lanes, this is an unlikely scenario.

This “park” costs a family of four over $100 to step on it for one possible activity, but the City showed how it was once used for snow sledding as they made excuses for why they won’t use it for housing. Buying more park space is unlikely, and building another golf course would be impossible and costly. Since Seattle would never dare eminent domain Broadmoor and Sand Point Country Clubs to convert them to public use so we can realize a full development here, Jackson Park Golf Course is slated to stay exactly as it is or become an oversized park with too few homes nearby (side note: Broadmoor and Sand Point benefit from dramatically low land value assessments and the City could capture both for less than $20 million, which would open up the opportunity to develop thousands of homes on Jackson Park Golf Course and comply with Initiative 42).

An excerpt from a Zoom presentation show a slide about the Jackson Park Golf course. A photo shows children playing in the snow.
Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development (OPCD) outlined the reasons why Jackson Park Public Golf Course will not be developed for housing during this week’s Community Update hosted by the NE 130th Street Station volunteers. (Credit: Screenshot of presentation)

Later in the meeting, OPCD outlined 68 (sixty-eight!) policy goals they hoped to achieve with the NE 130th Street station development. The highlights included creating affordable housing (no quantity given), a daycare (singular), zoned parking requirements, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), and some nuance on how to make sure we don’t impact the environment.

As we all know, you cannot stop the growth of Seattle. And a bunch of backyard cottages are not going to get us the housing we need to meet demand. Seattle is not walled off like a medieval castle with a drawbridge to pull up and tell people to go away. Some will find their way in and drive up prices even further. Some won’t be able to and will just move somewhere else further out. They will likely be in a new suburb after a forest is bulldozed and, rather than have a train stop nearby, they will drive to work and create more traffic and menace on the road. Nowhere in the 68 policy goals was a firm number of additional homes defined. One would think this is the single most important goal, considering how far behind we are anyways.

It’s like Seattle is unaware of the housing crisis

We are a region with a fast growing job market and we are currently 45,000 houses in debt to match the ratio of jobs to homes since 2010. People don’t move to Seattle then wonder what they’re going to do for work after they secure housing. People move to cities for jobs, and the jobs are here, we just don’t have the homes. Despite this fact, the City’s planning staff is so occupied by the public outcries against any change, they spend all their time building thick and wonky documents to appease dozens of feedback opportunities like public workshops, surveys, and site walks, rather than hammering home the reality that we need to create housing and these places are where they are most valuable and fastest to get built. 

The people who show up to outreach efforts are always against change and probably won’t be there in the future anyway. Gene Balk at The Seattle Times illustrated just how frequently people move within our city, even homeowners. With fewer than 13% rooted in the same place for more than 30 years, it makes you wonder why we ask people what they think about a neighborhood plan when so many residents turnover anyway. It also ignores the people who would like to have a home here but never will because Seattle’s planning approaches let current residents cut down plans for housing towers like an arborist in their backyard.

Two renderings depict a tower development scenario for Jackson Park golf course.
We can house thousands of people however we like on this public golf course served by two brand new light rail stations. Either by midrises on fairways or towers on the greens. (Credit: images by the author).

When the Roosevelt neighborhood was planning their own upzone, neighbors got the towers cut from 21 stories to six or seven by outlining how they didn’t like shade and wanted to see the historic high school when they drove by on I-5. The City caved and most of those angry contributors are long gone out of the neighborhood anyway. Now they have their protected view from I-5 as they zoom by at 70 miles an hour. This entire process is broken if we let local reactionaries dictate the housing goals in a city with an expensive public investment like light rail.

It’s time to change

Vancouver has an urban site with a planned SkyTrain station owned by the Squamish Nation. They will turn 12 acres into 6,000 homes to house market rate buyers and renters, as well as their tribe who need shelter and affordable housing. This development is entirely exempted from the local zoning restrictions to height, tower sizes, and most important of all, is allowed to skip the gauntlet of “public process” where angry neighbors show up and scream that this will ruin their lives and just make money for “greedy developers.” Ironic, considering NIMBYism is rooted in supply constraints to make themselves more money when they sell their home someday soon.

A rendering shows towers of varying heights with green roofs in the the riverfront in Vancouver, BC.
Senakw Development by the Squamish First Nation Tribe is adding 6,000 new homes on a new urban light rail stop in Vancouver without having to comply with any local restrictions to building height or setbacks. (Credit: Daily Hive)

Seattle needs to allow TOD sites the same exemptions from local controls and skip the 68 policy goals, two dozen community surveys, and feedback on how tall people would like to see the buildings and let these developments turn parking lots into 5,000 homes overnight. The people who will fill these towers will vastly outnumber the naysayers down the street in their suburbanized home. We need to start thinking of the tens of thousands of new neighbors rather than hundreds of existing ones. 

Northgate Station is the latest terminus of the Link light rail system. Looking out from the station you see a waste of land use. A suburban mall, a newly developed NHL practice facility, parking lots and garages — some of which the public owns! This area is also seeing a series of small scale midrises, with offices and residential buildings up to 10 or 15 stories, with one or two reaching 20 floors. This, however, is not enough. In the parking lots publicly owned on the block of the station alone, we could build 3,500 homes, house 7,000 people, create an annual tax revenue of $50 million dollars, capture $7 million dollars at the farebox, build grocery stores, daycares, schools, and even add a community center. Instead, we will get a fraction of that and they haven’t gotten started anyway. Keep in mind, the Northgate Station planning has gone on for 13 years and what do we have to show for it? 

Two renderings show the current zoned development scenario for mid-rise buildings and a possible high-rise development scenario with six towers surrounding the station.
For over a decade we have known about Northgate Station. In the end, all it was zoned for were a few midrises and a tower or two that reach 15 to 20 floors. If zoned like Burnaby or Surrey, the parking lots could have supplied nearly 5,000 homes. (Credit: left image is City of Seattle; right image is by author)

If Seattle planners must insist on community input for the NE 130th Street station, the goals of housing creation need to be set in stone. Provide a policy mandate to create space for 5,000 new homes. Let locals squabble over preference of towers like Surrey and Burnaby, or shorter lowrises like Barcelona or Copenhagen. And educate them on how much land is needed and what upzones are necessary to achieve the housing goal in each scenario. This is an opportunity to teach the community how this works. Make the housing totals permanent and do not budge when someone complains about tower shadows but also wants to protect trees because they want shade.

Make the light rail investment worthwhile

The latest light rail expansion totaled $1.9 billion dollars. Even though it came under budget — a feat most road projects never achieve — each station cost us $633 million dollars, counting the guideway linking them. Every home lost is a wasted opportunity to pay this thing off. How much is that view of Roosevelt High School worth? Well, dropping the housing opportunities from 6,000 to 2,200 means the cost escalated from $105,000 to $290,000 per new home. That’s leaving $400 million dollars on the table for a potential return on investment in the same timeframe. Or, in other words, it will take three times as long to achieve the economic opportunity of a taller and denser project.

Seattle cannot waste another opportunity like this. If we must spend the next two years mulling over zoning changes around the last Seattle station on this line, we need to be bold in our leadership and strive for a development possibility to house as many as we can. We have been talking about this station since 2016 when voters passed ST3, suggesting, it will be seven years before we pass an upzone around this station at our current pace. During World War II, the Manhattan Project built a nuclear bomb from scratch in just three years. We are never bold leaders until we make something a priority. And something tells me the irreversible effects of climate change coupled with Seattle’s continued housing crisis is a bomb that already went off.

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.

Ryan DiRaimo is a resident of the Aurora Licton-Springs Urban Village and board member of the neighborhood group ALUV. He works at an architecture firm downtown and seeks to leave a positive urban impact on Seattle and the surrounding metro. He advocates for more housing, safer streets, and mass transit infrastructure and hopes to see a city someday that is less reliant on the car.

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Lee Bruch

Here’s a project in Vancouver BC that’s redeveloping an old shopping center that was very similar to Seattle’s Northgate.
Such an opportunity missed at Seattle’s Northgate:
https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/oakridge-centre-redevelopment-vancouver-2018-design

But wait! The above was the original concept (now under construction).

It has since (during construction) been increased in size:
https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/oakridge-centre-redesign-renderings

Last edited 23 days ago by Lee Bruch
Nobody In Particular

Agree with most of this. I’ve lived in downtown Seattle, in a condo, for 20+ years, and have no issue with density, especially in downtown and around transit hubs. My major complaint is that the condos being built are either (1) TINY (500 sq ft is far too small for a family or even a work-from-home couple); and (2) they lean heavily towards “luxury” finishes & pricing — effectively displacing young families, those nearing retirement, and those with high debt load (e.g. college loans).

If Seattle wants to remain a fairly diverse city, rather than becoming a temporary playground for 25-38 year old techies from China and India, then it has to do something to accommodate families and the vast majority of the population who do NOT work in tech.

Anthony J Hartnell

Well I must say, a very well researched piece but, it obviously misses the most important component of the difference between “Translink” and the joke that is Seattle’s failed attempt at rapid transit. Vancouver figured it out 40 years ago and invested heavily in the “made in Canada”, Skytrain technology which was made possible by HA Simoms Engineering. The city of Seattle knew of Vancouver’s huge success but, did nothing about it…which is a big and embarrassing mystery! Vancouver BC, Canada has one of the most successful mass transit systems in North America and it keeps expanding. Seattle chose, light rail and has 15% of Vancouver’s 550,000 ridership per day…really quite shocking and embarrassing for a metro area that pretends to be so large!

Jack Sparky

Great article Ryan–this is why I’m a regular supporter of the Urbanist. Keep up the good work!

Morgan

The first couple-three paragraphs are pointlessly inflammatory; I couldn’t read further. Perhaps if venting were removed, I’d be able to hang in there and discover something I haven’t read a dozen times in the past 15 years.

Ed and

This is needlessly arrogant and counter productive. There will be always be community input. We are a democracy and there is no need to abrogate our principles to make developers rich. Where we need to focus is on a city planning department that feels no accountability for providing the amount of housing the city needs. As you point out, the citizens didn’t stop Northgate from filling the area with midrise development. The city planners did.

Rick Rybeck

This article is correct that we spend billions on valuable infrastructure like transit and then squander it by allowing only a few homes (or parking spaces) to have access to it. As the author points out, planners and planning processes are not helpful in this regard. But there’s an even more fundamental problem.

Private landowners appropriate the lion’s share of value created by new infrastructure (e.g., transit) or new development opportunity (e.g., up-zoning). This is the fuel for land speculation – a parasitic activity that creates nothing of value. But as speculators hoard sites near high-quality infrastructure hoping for future appreciation, they create an artificial scarcity of development sites that translates into higher land prices. High land prices drive new development to cheaper, but more remote sites. We chase after this remote development with more infrastructure, only to have the cycle repeat. The ensuing sprawl is bad for the environment. It’s also bad for taxpayers who must fund the wasteful duplication of expensive infrastructure systems.

Fortunately, some communities are remedying this by reducing the property tax rate applied to privately-created building values while increasing the rate applied to publicly-created land values. The lower rate on buildings makes them cheaper to construct, improve and maintain. (Good for residents and businesses.) Surprisingly, the higher rate applied to land values helps keep land more affordable by reducing the profits from land speculation. Thus, without new spending or revenue losses, this tax shift can make both buildings and land more affordable. As a bonus, this system encourages development of high-value sites — which tend to be infill sites near valuable infrastructure like transit stations.

Ed and

Excellent point.

Ruth

Is it really just the zoning, or is it that developers are focused on making projects ‘pencil out’?
The following is quoting a developer in a documented meeting with SDCI and SDOT. They are discussing a project for Northgate TOD. “Type III building code requirements would be necessary at 85’ in height, but Type V construction code could be utilized if 65’. Type III is more expensive than Type V. We still need to test whether the additional height is cost effective or whether it makes more sense to build to the limits of Type V construction.”
Ultimately they went with the lower height.
Learning just how they are making these taller projects work in BC would be an informative read.

Eric

In areas where pretty much every new building is pretty much at the maximum of what zoning allows, it’s really just the zoning. When new buildings go in that are significantly smaller than what the theoretical legal limit is, then there are other factors at play, and that’s fine. We can’t make someone build 100 stories if they don’t think they could profit from building more than ten, but the reverse (limiting someone to ten when 100 could pencil out) is a missed opportunity. What’s the downside of zoning for larger buildings than market conditions will currently support? I have a hard time seeing any.

Ruth

Well, there’s no point in that conversation where the developer argues for anything taller than what I quoted. It would be interesting to learn what the investors have to say about the zoning heights.

Jack Sparky

Your example Ruth may reflect that developer’s level of experience and comfort factor with sticking to what they know–and preventing higher densities that would attract more sophisticated developers (market competition)

Ruth

I would still be interested to know what actual developers have to say about what they would build if only they could. The pressure for 50 story buildings isn’t exactly palpable.

Nobody In Particular

“The taller you go, the more homes you build, the cheaper it all gets.”

In. Theory.

But several new condo buildings that popped up in downtown Seattle over the past few years (on 1st and 4th) had prices starting at or close to $1 million.

Jay

Unfortunately despite building vastly more housing, Vancouver’s median home price has rise 1.58x over the last 5 years, (Sept-Sept) compared to Seattle at 1.34x. https://www.redfin.com/city/18823/WA/Vancouver/housing-market

This is even compared despite having a lower annual growth rate than Vancouver. Unfortunately I think that building new high rises only encourages wealthy people to move here from elsewhere, and as Seattle and the surrounding areas becomes wealthier, even more wealthy people want to move in. (Gentrification). I don’t think this is necessarily a terrible thing, but gentrification often results in loss of culture.

If someone has data on how building new high density, or especially high rise housing, (say anything above ~7 stories), affects median home values I would love to see it.

Eric

There are nice homes in every city. I don’t know of any wealthy people who would move to a new city solely because of the existence of new nice homes in that city; there has to be some other driving force such as compelling employment, business or leisure opportunities there. And if those compelling opportunities do exist, do you think the wealthy person is likely to stay away just because a particular luxury condo building wasn’t built? No. They’ll move into one of the other nice buildings in town.

As to data, this has been studied over and over again. Here’s a summary of recent research on the topic, with most results pointing to market-rate development reducing the cost of nearby existing housing.

Other Eric

Uh… you linked data for Vancouver, WA

Vancouver, BC housing prices have increased 19.3% over the past 5 years: https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/hmip-pimh/en/TableMapChart/Table?TableId=1.9.1.3&GeographyId=2410&GeographyTypeId=3&DisplayAs=Table&GeograghyName=Vancouver

In the same time period, Seattle housing prices increased 31.3%:

https://www.zillow.com/seattle-wa/home-values/

Last edited 1 month ago by Other Eric
Ed and

I view your article as something of a rant. You’re absolutely right that Seattlr needs much more aggressive TOD. But I strongly disagree that we can simply follow Vancouver, or that we need 50 story towers anywhere outside of the downtown cores. And nowhere do you provide anything constructive. So in that interest, here is what I would suggest to you: a citywide initiative to: 1) require upzones to enable 10,000 new units within x distance from each transit center; 2) exempt golf courses from the parks preservation initiative; 3) establish a specific “park and housing” plan for Jackson Park. You might find a lot of support for targeted up zoning if the randomizing “multifamily everywhere you racists” and “50 story towers at 2 mile intervals” themes get dropped.

Eric

Yes! We spend billions on light rail infrastructure and then keep pathetic zoning that severely limits the number of people who can use it. There should be no legal limit at all on the number of homes that are constructed within a five-minute walk of our light rail stations. None at all. If someone wants to build a 100 story tower, let them.

tacomee

There’s no way Seattle will make significant changes to residential code in 2 years… double or triple that. It’s the Seattle Way after all.

The thing that TOD gets completely wrong about America is the drive for, at the very least, home ownership. Add a yard and detached house to that and now you’re talking. Buying a house in Seattle is sooo smart. Build wealth for yourself, get a tax break, plus get a place to raise kids. TOD is stack and pack. You’re working for the landlord and the rents? They will always go up.

This isn’t Canada and it never will be. Yeah, maybe transit oriented development needs to grow up. Like building places for families, with home ownership and the American dream… I actually believe with smart planning, this may be possible.

Last edited 1 month ago by tacomee
Andrew

What you say is possible in theory. There’s no reason someone shouldn’t be able to own a (non-detached) home in TOD, build wealth, get tax breaks etc. We just need to get it to happen in practice.

Bryan K

IIRC a lot of Vancouver’s high rises are condos.

tacomee

Oh, I agree. I think TOD could, in theory, help with the Puget Sound’s housing problems. Often the media and local government focuses on the homeowners who feel like like a project is taking something away from their neighborhood. What’s lost are the new homeowners and new families that the development gives opportunity to.

If I was heading up a new TOD project, I’d start with a focus group of wanna-be home owners and build something they would be able to buy before it even got built. That way I’d have allies to fight off the negative crush from the media and NIMBYs.

tacomee

You’re joking right? Are you actually raising a family in a single family dwelling? Who believes in building housing not suitable for themselves? If you’re not ready to move into some soulless high-rise and live car free… why believe anybody else wants to?

Bryan K

Who believes in building housing not suitable for themselves?”

I’d sooner stick a fork in my eye than live in some sprawling house with a big lawn in a neighborhood where you can’t easily walk to commercial areas, but I don’t dispute some people do want that (since we have them in the city, and they have occupants), nor do I think we should make that choice illegal.

Eric

Who believes in building housing not suitable for themselves?

Me. I’m married with two kids. That puts our household at much larger than the Seattle average. A quarter of our city’s households are single people. The median household size is two. Only 20% of households in Seattle have at least four people. Why should I be opposed to building housing designed for the other 80%?

A one-bedroom home is not suitable for my family, but it’s perfectly suitable for the 25% who live alone, and probably for a lot of the two-person households as well. I therefore have no objection at all when someone proposes to build a structure full of one-bedroom condos. These folks need a place to live too.

I might prefer that they include some family-sized units as well, but I understand perfectly well why they don’t: our existing zoning pushes essentially all new homes suitable for the small-household majority into a small area of multi-family land. This unnecessary regulatory scarcity pushes up the price of a one-bedroom home, so where it’s legal to build one-bedrooms it’s hard for a three-bedroom to compete.

It’s a shame too, because like Ryan I live in a single-family home despite the fact that I don’t really value the so-called benefits of this housing type. Homes in our neighborhood are close enough together that I can hear the neighbors perfectly well if they decide to be loud. I derive no joy from yard work and would prefer not to have to worry about it. Lower-density development means I have to walk farther to get to neighborhood amenities, and transit service is less useful than in denser neighborhoods. Our kids spend some time playing in the back yard, but we’d probably like it more if we had a park with a real playground on our block.

If a three-bedroom condo was a thing that existed in Seattle outside of the occasional $2 million penthouse, I’d seriously consider buying one. But again, because our zoning has driven up the price of small homes in the limited areas where they’re allowed to exist, it’s hard for a family-sized home to pencil out in these areas.

tacomee

I respect true believers… even if I disagree with them. Looking at the history of the environmental movement and modern urban planning, I see a heck of a lot of racism and classism…. and much of it is still there. White college educated people get what they want and everybody else has to “cut back” to save the environment or support mass transit or whatever the “progressive” educated home owners deem as important. That’s exactly what Seattle’s current zoning does.

I don’t know where we go from here, but it starts with urban planning that looks after the welfare of all residents… outfits like Sound Transit play a big role in gentrification. The more Black or Brown residents in a neighborhood, the more likely it’s to be targeted for mass transit and/or upscale housing density. Would building huge 50 story apartment buildings help any of this? Maybe it’s time to try something different….

Eric

You can’t win sometimes. Build a transit line far from disadvantaged populations and it’s inequitable. Build it close to them and it’s gentrification. Should we just not build transit at all? (not a serious question, of course we should build transit)

tacomee

Actually, not building transit is an option…. one that should have explored. Seattle had a bus service already. Why not fix what’s already there? Fix the transit system that’s already serving the residents? And then there’s the whole walkability and cycling upgrades in neighborhoods idea. Increase density with smaller projects and ADUs, Add bump outs and new sidewalks for neighborhood business districts, build some lower income housing with retail underneath. Buy some public art and fix the rundown parks. Promote home ownership and families. Urban planning needs to be about serving the residents of a City.

The unspoken rule of transit in America is… “Trains are for Whites, buses are for Blacks.” Seattle went all in on fancy trains, high dollar development and endless downtown projects. Meanwhile the city’s bridges are falling down and the parks are full of homeless…..

josh

AMEN!