Wallingford 4 All will meet 5-7pm on April 26th at Ladd & Lass Brewing.

Wallingford 4 All invites you to build a vision of new neighbors at an April 26th meetup.

The gardens of Wallingford are blooming! Purple, yellow and pink flowers paint the neighborhood. Birds are building nests in the trees and the playground is bustling. Soon the strawberries in my yard will be ripe for the picking. There are parts of Wallingford that are incredibly charming, such as walking through the P-Patch garden and stopping by the little free library to see if any good books were added recently. 

Would all of this charm be erased with additional neighbors? Well, it depends a lot on who you ask. Members of Wallingford 4 All envision a neighborhood that embraces change, filling in parking lots along 45th with new housing and thriving businesses, ensuring there is a more affordable path to home ownership with middle housing, and pedestrianizing neighborhood streets so children can play and new trees can be planted. 

When I think about the future of my neighborhood, I imagine my child making friends, playing in car-free streets with the freedom to bike to buy a donut or popsicle. I think about a place where new neighbors can move into affordable apartments or chart a path towards home ownership in a fourplex on a quiet residential street. I think about people taking a chance to make their dream come true by starting a local business in a newly built mixed use building along 45th. 

If you align with this vision, then join the Wallingford 4 All group at our next meeting on Wednesday, April 26th from 5-7 PM at Ladd & Lass Brewing (722 NE 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98105). RSVP here. We will bring snacks and activities for kids and plan how we want to build community and support a vision that makes room for new neighbors. We will also have a chance to hear from District 4 City Council Candidate Ron Davis

The Washington State legislature recently passed a critical bill to permit affordable, walkable, abundant housing across the state. Termed “missing middle” housing because it is lacking in so many neighborhoods, the law will allow gentle increases in density by permitting additional homes on all existing lots in Seattle. Whether that’s new townhouses, dividing existing homes, or a return of the beautiful triplexes that used to be built, housing opportunities will increase.

While supply is not the only tool we need to push forward, it is a critical step in addressing our housing crisis. (Hello rent stabilization and tenant protections!) Yet so many neighborhoods and cities in the Puget Sound would like to think of themselves as too special to accommodate more housing. The State Legislature is taking a hands-on approach to encourage density in the growing Pacific Northwest because so many cities and neighborhoods shirk their duty to welcome new neighbors. Someone has to step up and push the barriers aside, like our housing champion Rep. Jessica Bateman (D – Olympia), who spearheaded work on housing in the legislature with support by 43rd Legislative District representatives Nicole Macri and Frank Chopp, as well as 46th Legislative District representatives Darya Farivar and Gerry Pollet. 

Building affordable housing is tough. There are so many barriers in the way and people who clutch pearls over neighborhood character are absolutely creating more barriers. Townhomes are a little bit more affordable than single family homes. Fourplexes and duplexes will still be costly to build, as is everything right now, but they will allow more people to live in this neighborhood. It is also incredibly expensive to buy the “as is” craftsman that has fallen into disrepair and fix it up. 

Transportation and housing are two sides of the same coin, and as a transportation policy expert, I cannot stress the importance of making sure smart, forward looking projects get added to plans as early as possible. Today’s issues of forcing people to live far away from their work, childcare, healthcare, friends, and interesting places were set in motion decades ago. Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan update will decide if the next 20 years will be the same or different.

Driving alone is a major source of our greenhouse gas emissions in the region. If we, as a neighborhood, city and region seek to mitigate our impacts on climate change, we must holistically look at the interconnection of housing and transportation in the comprehensive plan. Change is necessary for vibrant cities. When new things arise, it doesn’t mean that every older thing is destroyed. It is an iterative process of growth. The Comprehensive Plan will be our chance to influence that growth.

Wallingford 4 All will work to ensure that the vision for our neighborhood reflects the need to meet our climate goals and make space for new neighbors. We hope you will join us next week on April 26th at Ladd and Lass, please RSVP here!

Article Author
Kelli Refer (Guest Contributor)

Kelli Refer is Move Redmond’s Executive Director. Move Redmond is a Transportation Management Association based in Redmond, Washington that advocates for safe streets, trails, and transit access. Kelli also serves on The Urbanist's Executive Board.