Vox looks at how the way we work may change in the future and what that means to society.
Housing for all: Advocates are asking the Washington State Legislature for another $100 million to address homelessness.
Pausing a race to the bottom: Sound Transit is stepping back on outsourcing operations of bus services ($) to private companies.
The next governor: If Governor Jay Inslee (D-Washington) successfully runs for president, who is in line to take his place?
Slowing rent increases: The rate of residential rent increases continues to slow in Seattle ($).
Approved in Mill Creek: In a split decision, the Mill Creek City Council approved a 350-unit urban apartment development ($).
Opposition to SB 50: Suburban single-family housing interests are very unhappy California State Senator Scott Weiner’s (D-San Francisco) newest land use and housing bill.
Wrath of bad McCleary decisions: Due to budget shortfall created by the Washington State Legislature, Seattle Public Schools could be forced to cut 24 full-time librarians to part-time.
Stop the violence: CityLab highlights three anti-gun violence laws that are working.
Code for curb space: How should cities manage their curb space when everyone wants a piece of it.
New versus old: The Guardian shared several historic transit system maps of cities versus their modern ones.
Refusing to support injustice: Seattle artists are rejecting the call to create public art for King County’s new youth jail.
Amazon in B’vue: Amazon plans to create several thousand jobs in Bellevue ($) in the next few years.
Piloting solutions: San Jose is America’s petri dish for trying out solutions to the affordable housing crisis.
SFR DC: Where are the single-family housing areas in Washington, D.C.?
Map of the Week: What areas in America are housing costs devouring peoples’ incomes?
The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) only plans to construct about half of the miles of protected bike lanes (PBLs) that it promised when voters approved a $930 million transportation levy in 2015, according to the Bicycle Master Plan implementation schedule released late last week. According to the plan, the department will completely stop constructing PBLs after 2021, when it has spent all of the Move Seattle Levy funds that were allocated toward them, and almost completely stop building neighborhood greenways after 2022.
The plan, which was due to city council by the end of March as laid out in a council resolution, is the first update to the implementation schedule for bicycle facilities in Seattle since 2017, and the first since last year’s “reset” examined project costs for completed bike projects and found that the original estimates were incredibly optimistic. Costs for almost all programs are coming in over estimates, as the updated workplan for every other program that was released last November outlined, but the bicycle subprogram also ended up paying for expensive street rebuilds that were required for its centerpiece projects, adding drainage and utility costs to these bike projects.
The reduced scope of the Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) subprogram means more pressure to select the most crucial projects, which will go furthest toward creating a fully connected bicycle network that everyone in Seattle has access to. But here too the plan falls short, with key network segments dropped from the plan and Southeast Seattle yet again getting left behind in terms of direct connections to other neighborhoods, particularly Downtown.
The fact that the project list went through Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office before being approved is notable, especially coming on the heels of the decision by that office to cancel a planned protected bike lane on 35th Ave NE in Wedgwood that was fully designed and ready to be put in place. That office also spent at least $14,000–money that came out of the bike budget–hiring a mediator who failed to win support for the City’s design for 35th Ave NE bike lanes by overcoming virulent neighborhood opposition, which had included death threats and the sabotage of City equipment with fireworks.
The bike lane on 35th Ave NE was part of a planned repaving project, which meant that the cost-per-mile of adding safe bicycle facilities to 35th Ave NE was way below the cost to add facilities to a street not getting repaved. Months earlier, SDOT cancelled a planned protected bike lane on N 40th St in Wallingford also being constructed as part of a planned repaving last year, with no real alternative offered for safe bicycle access in that corridor.
SDOT has grouped its bicycle projects in a new way, with “low risk” projects separated from projects that it says come with risk of delay, and the precedent from the Mayor’s office suggests that the projects with risks could also be a list of projects that get dropped from the plan if there is political pressure.
Planned Protected Bike Lanes
Below is a list of the protected bike lane projects that SDOT says to complete for the next few years:
Over the next 30 years, the Central Puget Sound Region is slated to grow by more than 1.8 million residents and 1.2 million jobs. The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) is well underway in the planning process guiding how growth should be apportioned through 2050. In February, the PSRC released a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) evaluating three alternatives for growth:
- A no action alternative (i.e., stay the course with the existing approach to growth under VISION 2040);
- A transit-focused alternative (i.e., focus most growth around high-capacity transit facilities existing and planned); and
- A reset urban growth alternative (i.e., use the development trends from 2010 to 2017 to focus growth).
Underpinning the long-range planning effort is the designation of existing Urban Growth Areas, Rural Areas, and Resource Areas as well as the classification of cities and unincorporated areas, and areas with special Regional Centers designations (i.e., Regional Growth Centers and Manufacturing Industrial Centers). The designations are associated with specific growth targets, which differ between each of the alternatives.
From filing a failed ethics complaint to accusations of absenteeism, Bowers is waging an aggressive campaign against Councilmember Sawant.
On a sunny Saturday morning I had the chance to speak with candidate Logan Bowers about his run for the District 3 council seat. The meeting was impromptu. We had both participated in a walking tour of the Lid I-5 study site in First Hill and Capitol Hill, but, for me, running into Bowers at a community event was also not a huge surprise.
Ever since launching his campaign, Bowers has been zigzagging Council District 3, which stretches from Montlake to North Rainier, attending many urbanist-themed events along the way. As his campaign Facebook page reveals, he hosts coffee shop meetups at which he encourages constituents to “stop by and ask him anything,” a bold proposition coming from a city council candidate currently best known for riding an electric unicycle and selling legal pot.
As a councilmember, Bowers pledges to have an “easy and convenient way” for constituents to reach out to him: “I want to be someone who will be there and have discussions that matter to people.”
Bowers’ campaign is highlighting accessibility to differentiate him from incumbent Kshama Sawant, who has faced criticism from some constituents, and now council challengers, for absenteeism in her district, a charge she firmly denies. Sawant has defended turning her attention citywide and to the national issues as best serving the working poor and furthering the class struggle.
Bowers, however, is not buying Sawant’s defense. “Everyone who I have talked to in city government has said Sawant is never there,” Bowers said.
However, absenteeism is not the only reason Bowers believes voters should ditch Councilmember Sawant in the upcoming election. In early March, Bowers filed a Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission complaint against Sawant, after SCC Insight published a collection of internal documents from Sawant’s Socialist Alternative party. These documents revealed that Sawant’s votes on city council were decided by voting within the registered members of Socialist Alternative. In Seattle, the party has about 200 registered members–with another 1,000 or so registered members nationwide.
Bowers’ complaint accused Sawant of violating the public records act by withholding some records; additionally, he alleged that her involvement with Social Alternative has resulted in her giving city funds and personnel to the party, which could be a felony.
Sawant has defended her party’s methods in a full statement that can be read here.