Okay, we are quickly approaching the first 70-degree day in over six months, so it’s time to start thinking about trees and transit and industrial rezoning. Here’s your roundup of some wonderful meetups happening both online and on the Eastside, as well as a reminder that the city’s [sloganeered] Day of Service is coming up soon.
The Urbanist Meetup with Julie Timm
Sound Transit CEO Julie Timm is our guest speaker on Tuesday, May 9 at 6:30pm. Timm is nine months into her tenure leading the organization at a delicate but momentous time. Sound Transit will open 25 new stations over the next three years, and it’s also planning Sound Transit 3 (ST3) expansion projects that will take its light rail network to 116 miles, plus more than 50 miles of bus rapid transit. However, the current stations face issues with cleanliness, timeliness, and broken escalators. The new stations are looking at extended delays and operational issues that may not deliver the performance promised. The Urbanist editorial board offered the new CEO a to-do list to get Sound Transit on course, even before the whole Chinatown/International District station debacle.
Join the conversation on Tuesday, May 9 by signing up here.
Eastside Urbanism Weekly Meetup
Join city loving friends and colleagues on the Eastside every Thursday for conversations at the Crossroads Market Place in Bellevue. Grab some food at one of the many eateries in the international food court, and talk housing, commutes, and stuff that’s working around town. The next meet-up starts at 6pm on April 26, and everyone will congregate at the interior tables near QFC. Signups and more information are available at the Meetup event site. Family friendly and accessible by transit. And more info about Eastside Urbanism is here.
City Council Meetings on the Tree Ordinance and Industrial/Maritime Zones
While the work in Olympia is done (for now), there are several important legislative initiatives moving locally.
The Seattle City Council is wrapping up its consideration of the new Tree Ordinance. Expect the land use committee to move ahead with the (intricate, overwhelming, and not-very-many-tree-planting) legislation at its meeting this week, and the full council should vote on it the first week of May.
The Land Use Committee will also be getting underway on its review of the proposed Industrial and Maritime rezoning, with land use committee hearings expected May 10th. For those who want to read up on the legislative specifics, there’s five separate moving portions of legislation:
- New Industrial Zone regulations (this is the meat of the changes)
- Zoning change ordinance and maps
- Comprehensive Plan amendments
- Noise regulation update
- Ordinance cleanup (to delete the old stuff)
The legislation creates three new industrial zones, overwriting most industrial land to prevent more big box shops from taking employment centers and creating new interfaces between industry and urban villages. The upshot is that the legislation has a lot of potential, but its limited application and severance from the overall comprehensive plan update is ridiculous and threatens the health of the city’s non-tech employment. We will be covering the legislation more in depth next week, following up on quite a few stories about industrial lands and the process to get here, but spoke with our friends at Real Change about the rezoning’s overall benefits.
One Seattle Day of Service
While Mayor Bruce Harrell’s attempt to brand everything “One Seattle” is disturbingly narcissistic and painfully incorrect, there is no question about the city’s Day of Service. On Saturday, May 20, over 110 events will allow volunteers to clean up neighborhoods and help neighbors. From weeding and painting to packing food, there is are opportunities throughout the city. Some may even offer the chance to pressure wash something. And service can be applied to parking, camera, and non-criminal traffic tickets. Up to 3 hours of community service credit ($56) completed on the Day of Service can be applied towards unpaid fines, with more information here.
Ray Dubicki is a stay-at-home dad and parent-on-call for taking care of general school and neighborhood tasks around Ballard. This lets him see how urbanism works (or doesn’t) during the hours most people are locked in their office. He is an attorney and urbanist by training, with soup-to-nuts planning experience from code enforcement to university development to writing zoning ordinances. He enjoys using PowerPoint, but only because it’s no longer a weekly obligation.