People jog and walk along the Burke-Gilman Trail along the canal in Fremont, with a tug boat chuggling along and the bascule bridge and steel high bridge in the background.
There's a gorgeous path before us. (Doug Trumm)

Let’s hit the ground running in 2024 – Give today!

It’s been a big year for The Urbanist. In 2023, we continued to grow our coverage and we also passed the milestone of bringing on our first full-time reporter. Hiring Ryan Packer to a full-time position was well earned after a decade of diligent reporting that saw them catapult to become a preeminent journalist covering the transportation beat in our region.

While volunteers are still a big part of what we do, The Urbanist compensated writers for more reporting than ever before in 2023 through our freelance program. More than 200 pieces earned compensation in 2023, with at least a dozen different freelancers participating. (Interested writers, please reach out to us!)

The Urbanist also brought on a new executive director, Rian Watt, on a part-time basis, which allowed me to focus more energy on the publication in my new “publisher” role. Four new board members are joining the mix as well. The Urbanist team is strong and ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities before us in 2024.

The year ahead will bring a variety of new transit lines opening across Puget Sound. Those celebrations will be tempered perhaps by storms on the horizon, as future rapid transit expansions get more expensive, harder to operate effectively, and planning continues to be mired in indecision and routing mishaps.

King County Metro continues to grapple with a staffing shortage, a slow rebound for ridership, and a fast rebound for traffic congestion that is clogging bus routes and squandering what precious service hours agencies can still muster. Pierce Transit is facing similar challenges and shelving bus rapid transit plans, but Community Transit could be a bright spot in the region, with strong growth charted in coming years.

Agencies are marshalling new resources for affordable housing and seeking to take advantage of new opportunities for housing growth, which is important at the housing crisis deepens throughout the region. 2024 will bring a wave of comprehensive plan updates across the region that will show if cities are embracing housing growth or backlash.

Washington State needs to take bold actions to stem the tide of rising traffic deaths and serious collisions, but local, state, and federal agencies alike have been hesitant to act on the scale needed. The same could be said of stemming the tide of climate catastrophe and averting environmental destruction. The Evergreen State can be a leader on both fronts, but resting on our laurels will not get us there.

The Urbanist is dedicated to telling stories that help us get there and avoid resting on our laurels or complacently accepting the mediocrity of the ways things have long been done. We need your help to do it. Give today for a brighter tomorrow.

2023 Year-End Donor Drive

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Doug Trumm is publisher of The Urbanist. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington in 2019. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.