Driving is costly in more way than you might think: Most people don’t realize the enormous cost of driving; operation costs are much higher than most people expect, over $5,000 a year for the least expensive cars. AAA most recent study puts the cost for the average sedan close to $9,000 per year. But operation costs don’t even come close to account for the entire costs of car ownership. Another huge chunk is spent on accidents. A study by the US Department of Transportation pins the cost in 2010 at nearly $900 per person in the US, or $871 billion dollars.
Design matters: Greater Greater Washington chronicles the failure of urban park space. When we make green space, it needs to be well thought out.
Making streets safe is cheap: The cost from one year of car accidents is nearly 30 times larger than the cost of making the entire country safe for biking. We also know where we need to make streets safest for cyclists. But, there may be some serious discrimination of pedestrians based upon race.
Farewell to a transit designer: Massimo Vignelli has passed away, a designer known for many different products and logos. He was most beloved for his unique redesign for the New York City Subway’s famous map of the 1970s and the DC Metro wayfinding pylons.
$15/hr moves forward: The city council took action this week to move forward and amend legislation that would enact a $15/hr minimum wage. Though, the effective date for the law may be delayed until April 2015.
Transit is cost effective: Planetizen has a great rundown of funding public transit and concludes that it is very cost effective, especially compared to automobile ownership.
Small lots lose: The council passed legislation requiring smaller lots to have lower rising buildings than their neighboring buildings on larger lots. Matt originally broke down the bad news with this legislation for us.
Next up on the chopping block: The council is also poised to pass legislation that will more minutely regulate small units, referred to as micro-housing. Perhaps the strangest part of this legislation is the requirement that units cannot include a food prep area and have a limit on the voltage of the electrical connection allowed in the room. The legislation states that only 25% of all units are allowed to have a food prep area and an electrical outlet that could be used for a stove. It’s hard to see what the goal of this particular regulation is besides making the units less useful for residents (units use for college dormitories are exempt from the rule).
Streets for the kids: The city has completed it’s first ‘play street’ in Madrona. What’s a play street? Essentially it’s a street closed off to traffic that people can use as a public space like any other park. This program creates a safe outdoor are for children and families to enjoy their city. And if you’re interested in getting one in your neighborhood, check this information from SDOT.
Parking spaces for all: More parklets are popping up int he city as well. There is a new one in the International District. The one we previously mentioned here is now funded, and there a whole bunch more that have been approved for 2014.
Rules of engagement: City Lab gives us a good laugh this week with the rules of engagement for riding transit in European cities. There’s actually a lot of truth to this.
Get involved: The Department of Planning and Development has two projects open for public comment. One on Minimum Density rules for Pedestrian Zones and another on Lowrise 3 Zones. Meanwhile, SDOT will hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the Northgate Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge for the new light rail station.
Free for the taking: Who say all developers are evil? This one wants to save old houses and is even giving them away for free if you’re willing to move it elsewhere.
Driving is plummeting: The trend lines are still the same, and they keep heading south with people driving less and less. We peaked in the 2000s and are now at 1994 levels.
This week in architecture: Dezeen discusses the reawakening of architecture in post-9/11 NYC, highlights a clever commercial rowhouse in Copenhagen, and transformation of a former police station. Paris freaks out over a modern take for a historic department store. Capitol Hill Seattle Blog praises the recently opened, historically preserved, and newly dense Sunset Electric Building. And while we love cities, we also love the countryside, especially the Spanish countryside. This renovation may leave you salivating for a trip to the Spanish hinterlands.
Capitol Hill murals: There are lots of good design for new murals to line Olive Way to 15th Ave E. The good news here is that you can help vote on these!