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Weekly Digest: September 12th - September 19th, 2022

Here's a selection of The Urbanist's most compelling articles from the past week. You can catch up on other recent articles directly on our online magazine or never miss a story by adding us to your RSS feeds.

Also, get ready for The Urbanist's first book club meeting, Tuesday, October 18th, at 6pm, in which we will be discussing Skid Road: On the Frontier of Health and Homelessness in an American City with author Josephine Ensign. Pick up a copy of the book and mark the event in your calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!

Featured Articles

Majority of Bellevue Residents Support Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning, Housing in New Poll 
In a survey of 475 Bellevue residents commissioned by the Bellevue Housing Research Coalition and conducted by Change Research, 68% of those polled said that the housing market in Bellevue is not currently meeting the needs of the community, compared to 27% who said it was. Additionally, 46% of those polled said that housing affordability was an issue that has affected them personally, and a majority of residents (51%) know someone who works in Bellevue but must commute from far away to afford housing. Read

Next Round of Neighborhood Grants Circle Back to Overlooked Projects
The Neighborhood Street Fund is probably one of the most overlooked components of Seattle’s 2015 Move Seattle transportation levy. With a $24 million pot of funding, community members have been able to submit their own ideas for transportation improvements and, if they were selected, see those projects through to completion. Relatively expensive projects, ranging from $100,000 to $1 million, have been eligible for the fund, and so far, in the levy’s first two rounds of funding, SDOT has constructed 19 projects across the city, with another eight in progress. Read

Salmon Killing Chemicals Can Be Treated with Bioretention, but King County Says No
Bioretention is a versatile stormwater management facility and the only known water quality treatment method to address 6PPD, a pollutant that research has linked to the death of coho salmon. 6PPD is an additive to extend the life of car tires. The toxic pollutant has been discovered within stormwater runoff entering our streams. Other water quality facilities such as sand filters, grass lined bioswales, and detention ponds have not demonstrated an ability to address 6PPD. Read

State and Local Leaders Participate in Week Without Driving Challenge
Next Monday, September 19th, Disability Mobility Initiative will begin its Week Without Driving Challenge, which invites people to refrain from driving themselves in any vehicle, for any activity, for a full week in order to increase awareness of what it’s like to navigate the world as a nondriver. For reasons of age, ability, and economics, nearly one quarter of Washington State’s population is unable to drive, yet a lot transportation policy and investment continues to prioritize the needs of people in vehicles over those who rely on walking, rolling, and transit to get around. Read

Tacoma Council Proposes Buffer Zones Around Homeless Shelters, Additional Sweeps
Back in May 2017, the City Council of Tacoma declared a public health emergency related to homeless encampments. The following month, the Council passed a resolution allowing for the creation of temporary shelters throughout the city to get people off the streets and protect them and communities from health risks associated with encampments. Read

National Railroads Labor Dispute Affects Northwest Passenger Rail, but Full Shutdown Has Been Averted
On Wednesday, freight railroads had yet to come to terms with union workers, creating chaos across the United States as movement of goods and passengers began grinding to a halt. The companies had been refusing to fully meet the demands of well-meaning workers who could go on strike as soon as Friday, and marching toward a potential lockout anyway, but a tentative deal was struck early Thursday morning. Read

Lynnwood Votes to Streamline Additional Housing in City Center, Avoiding Reactionary Backslide
On Monday night, the Lynnwood City Council voted to continue permitting new housing units and office space in its City Center neighborhood, immediately adjacent to the coming Sound Transit light rail station, under a streamlined environmental review. The vote represents an endorsement of the city’s longstanding plan for dense mixed use housing in the neighborhood and a repudiation of several councilmembers who had been intending to send a reactionary message about adding new housing in Lynnwood. Read

Transpo Notes: Repairing Leaks, New Fare Paid Zones, and Sounder Service Changes
This Transpo Notes roundup touches on a mix of transit stories, including:
  • Leaky ceiling repairs underway at U District Station;
  • New Fare Paid Zones coming to Downtown Seattle Link stations;
  • Community Transit’s soon-to-launch microtransit pilot; and
  • Short- and long-term Sounder S Line service changes. Read
Judge Shadid: Therapeutic Courts Save Lives and Money
As the Presiding Judge of Seattle’s Therapeutic Courts for the past four years, I have seen lives destroyed by the lack of a comprehensive social safety net. The individuals who appear before me are often at the lowest point in their lives: lost in drug addiction, untreated mental health problems, and living on the streets for years at a time. Almost all have experienced severe trauma in the past, a circumstance  contributing to their present symptoms. Read

What Will the Legacy of the West Seattle Bridge Be?
Seattle’s long nightmare is over. Nine-hundred and nine days after the West Seattle Bridge was closed out of an abundance of caution around its structural integrity, it reopened Sunday without much fanfare. One moment a superstructure that once carried around 100,000 vehicles on an average weekday had closed, and seemingly just as quickly, it was open again.

Transpo Notes: New RapidRide Lines to Be Studied, Transit Staffing Decrease, Green Lake Outer Loop Cycletrack 
This Transpo Notes roundup touches on a mix of transit and bike stories, including:
  • An update on staffing levels a local transit agencies;
  • Details on a forthcoming study of candidate RapidRide corridors;
  • News on the opening of and equitable transit-oriented development in Roosevelt;
  • An update on the Green Lake Outer Loop; and
  • Details on competing King Street Sounder platform improvements to be studied.   Read

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