Morning Fizz: Declined to Endorse
Caffeinated news and gossip featuring play streets, a universal ORCA, transit hopes, and zoning woes.
1. Fizz hears that the board of the Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Program, a nonprofit housing developer on Capitol Hill, has declined to endorse a set of principles supported by the Housing Development Consortium (the umbrella group that oversees all nonprofit housing developers in the county).
The principles include support for incentive zoning (the existing city program that gives developers additional density if they pay into a fund that supports affordable housing) and a measure supporting "on-site performance," which would require that 15 percent of square feet in all new commercial and residential developments to be affordable to renters making less than 80 percent of the area median income.
We have calls out to CHHIP for comment.
2. Scott Kubly, the newly appointed director for the city's transportation department, confirms that he's interested in creating a sort of universal ORCA card (over his objections, we're calling it the KublyKard) that would work for all modes of publicly available transportation, including not just buses and rail but the streetcar, Car2Go, Zipcar, the upcoming Pronto bikesharing service, Uber, Lyft, and more.
The idea is that instead of having a half-dozen cards in your wallet to work with all the different transportation services that are available, you'd have just one, and load it up with funding as needed.
Although the concept hasn't been put into place in any city yet, Kubly says, "It's very achievable.You take something like ORCA, which already works across all the different transit modes, and make it work across private modes as well. From a technology standpoint, it shouldn't be extraordinarily challenging—the challenging part is, how do you go about structuring revenue reconciliation and financial partnerhsips" with private companies.
3. Kubly also gave Fizz the lowdown on SDOT's Play Streets program—a Pedestrian Chronicles-endorsed idea that will allow residents, at no cost, to shut down a block of their (non-arterial) street, on a one-time or recurring basis, and turn it into a "play street"—whether "play" means a dance party, a hopscotch court, a yoga circle, a hula hoop contest, or a potluck.
"We have all this public space out there in the form of right-of-way. The idea is that we're much more than just a transportation department that's about moving cars or moving people. We're able to affect people's quality of life by allowing people to use that right-of-way," Kubly says.
4. With the Voters' Guide deadline passed, no group has stepped up yet to challenge November's Seattle-only bus funding measure, the $60 vehicle license fee and 0.1-cent sales tax to raise about $40 million for buses.
Don't think Seattle is capable of mounting a 'No' campaign when it comes to taxes for liberal items such as transit? Guess again. Last April, King County's Proposition 1 transit measure was challenged by two groups; Families for Sustainable Transit and No on Prop 1 raised about $20,000. And just this month, parks funding faced an official challenge from Our Parks Forever, which raised about $40,000.
(Both the anti-parks measure effort, which failed to kill parks funding, and the anti-bus funding campaign, which—take note—successfully killed April's countywide bus measure, were funded in large part by north Seattle property owner, Faye Garneau.
The pro-Seattle transit campaign, an environmental, labor, transit, and civil rights coalition that ran April's countywide campaign, is feeling good that no one is funding an opposition campaign yet, while Yes for Seattle Transit, the pro side, has raised $1,500 so far from Professional & Technical Employees Local 17, Seattle and King County public engineering and IT workers.