On Other Blogs
On Other Blogs Today: Good News for Bikes, Bad News for Transit
Our daily roundup.
1. KING 5 did some impressive investigative footwork on a controversial proposal by the Port of Seattle to grant favorable rents and lease terms to 11 vendors owned by six business owners at Sea-Tac Airport, some of whom have given thousands to Port Commission members.
The deal with the six business owners offers no-compete, long-term leases to the vendors and the possibility of reduced rents in the future.
Other Sea-Tac businesses have complained about the preferential treatment, and, according to KING, the Port's own business and legal staff advised against the proposal, which Port Commissioners have said is necessary to mitigate for the fact that the vendors are in less-desirable areas of the airport.
2. When density opponents (like the residents of the Mirabella in South Lake Union who oppose Vulcan's plans in the neighborhood) say a development proposal is "out of scale" for a neighborhood, what do they mean?
At Seattle Transit Blog, Martin Duke points out that the Space Needle is "out of scale" for Seattle Center; the Eiffel Tower is "out of scale" with Paris; and the Empire State Building is "out of scale" with the buildings around it. "Manhattan isn’t exactly spilling over with spectacular natural vistas, but one will pay a substantial premium to live in a place that can see its skyline."
"In other words, I’m not sure why 'out of scale' is even a criticism. Now Vulcan’s towers probably won’t become a world heritage site. Perhaps many will find the buildings quite ugly. That would at least register as an actual downside, as opposed to 'bigger than everything around it.'"
Of course, the complaint about tall buildings is that they block views. Duke is skeptical about that point as well.
It’s "not exactly bizarre in the real estate market," Duke says, "to think that tall buildings are views. Manhattan isn’t exactly spilling over with spectacular natural vistas, but one will pay a substantial premium to live in a place that can see its skyline."
3. The Seattle Bike Blog, which has been poring through the city's massive bike master plan update, reports today on the latest plans for SoDo, South Park, and West Seattle. The "most exciting" part of the proposal, in their opinion? A proposed cycletrack on Airport Way in Georgetown.
Manufacturing and industrial interests, as we've reported, have argued that adding bike and pedestrian safety improvements on Airport will cripple their operations in Georgetown despite city traffic studies that show that just 10 percent of traffic on the street is freight-related.
4. Crosscut reports that a proposal to move the Greyhound bus terminal, which is being booted from its longtime downtown location at Sixth and Stewart Streets, to a location right next to the Stadium light-rail station, has run into problems with the artist who designed a massive installation called "Bloom" on the wall of a parking garage owned by the state Department of Transportation that overlooks the proposed new terminal.
The issue: The terminal and buses would block part of the view of the garage and the installation. The artist, Susan Zoccola, suggests that if the terminal does move forward, she may sue to stop it; if successful, that would leave the bus company without a home in Seattle as soon as April.
5. Two girls attacked and mugged a woman beneath the Mount Baker light rail station yesterday, the Seattle Times reports.
The station is at the top of long escalators overlooking a vast, empty, enclosed expanse that becomes dark and isolated at night; with the caveat that one mugging is obviously an isolated incident, the station doesn't feel safe at night. That's something Sound Transit should have addressed through better design.