On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Building the Streetcar, Upzoning the Valley, and More
Our daily roundup.
1. Yes, building a streetcar on a crowded downtown street (the downtown connector, which will link up South Lake Union and First Hill) will require the elimination of some parking. Yes, we've known this forever. So why with the screaming headlines about how the streetcar (barreling along the roadway and mowing down any car that gets in its way, one assumes) will "eliminate 144 parking spots," KING 5? Isn't it worth reporting that the streetcar itself will eliminate the need for some of that parking, by making it possible for people to get through downtown without a car?
2. The Puget Sound Business Journaltakes a more measured approach to the same story, as long as you ignore the sensationalist headline ("First Avenue Streetcar Would Link Transit, Gobble Up Parking Spots"). The PSBJ notes a major fact that the KING 5 story simply ignores: Of those 144 parking spots, 136 are already unavailable at peak hours anyway, to give drivers an extra lane.
3. City council member Nick Licata, who has been known to vote against pro-density zoning changes, explains his reasons for voting in favor of the upzone around the Mount Baker light rail station.
On his blog, Licata writes:
While some, including myself, opposed the surface light rail project through Rainier Valley that battle is over. It is now a reality and I don’t see how it can be ignored. The light rail station represents a huge investment. Let’s use it to attract development that will cater to residents or employees in this area.
In order to make it work, I think we need development around the light rail station to attract more residential development with a pedestrian environment and attract businesses to employee local residents.
Only Bruce Harrell, who will have to run for reelection next year in the newly created Southeast Seattle district where the station is located, voted against the upzone, citing neighborhood objections.
4. At the PI.com, Joel Connelly reports on the seeming disappearance of initiative maven Tim Eyman, who has apparently failed to raise the money he needs to hire signature gatherers to push his latest legislative supermajority initiative, I-1325. The measure would cut the state sales tax by half a percent unless the state legislature puts a constitutional amendment on the state ballot to require a two-thirds majority for any tax increases.
But Eyman's biggest benefactor, Woodinville investment banker Michael Dunmire, died recently, and none of his other big supporters from past years, such as Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman, have stepped forward, leaving Eyman with just a few thousand dollars in the bank.
"Eyman has proven to be a political cat with nine lives," Connelly writes. "But July 3 [the deadline for filing statewide initiatives] is fast approaching, he needs 246,372 valid voter signatures to make the ballot, and signature mercenaries are not approaching citizens in the usual places."