1. The official policy debate on microshousing begins this week. First, today at 2pm, city council member Mike O'Brien will introduce legislation to regulate microshousing, also known by the brandname, aPodments. The battle continues this Friday afternoon in O'Brien's land use committee (the PLUS committee for planning, land use, and sustainability.)
Speaking of sustainability: 120,000 new people are coming to Seattle in the next decade, along with an expected 115,000 jobs. This means the need for new housing is going to be acute—particulalry the need for affordable housing, as many of those upper-tier economy jobs (Amazon .... Weyerhaeuser!) will push up real estate prices.
Developer lobbyist Roger Valdez, who lives in an aPodment himself (a nicer one that fetches a four-figure rent) is wary of O'Brien's regulations because they would dictate square footage, requiring 220 square foot minimum averages per complex; there are no requirments now and aPodments are typically between 90 and 190 square feet. Valdez warns that O'Brien's legislation "could negatively impact microhousing by forcing microhousing through extra review and process that will end up in fewer and more expensive options for renters. " His point? Getting to the 220 foot average in each building will by definition drag the size (and expense) of micro-units far above the current average.
2. Mapping Nerd Dennis Bratland has posted income and race data details about the locations of Seattle's new bike share system.
Pronto, which debuts on October 13, is starting off with 500 bikes at 50 stations and Bratland's maps locate them, for example, by income.
The bike share stations are clustered in downtown and the U. District—jagging into Belltown, South Lake Union, and Capitol Hill.
Here's a list of the station locations; the flaw in the apportionment of stations doesn't seem to be along social equity lines, but rather, there's a miscue on pairing bike share stations with transit centers such as the Mt. Baker transit center or the Northgate transit center.
3. An email fundraising appeal from a group called Shift Washington, a website that's out to counter what it believes is a liberal bias in the media with conservative stories of its own, accuses the Washington Bus, a youth GOTV group best known for packing the Showbox's Seattle city election debates, of "brainwashing young people."
The same email describes the brainy Sightline Institute as providing "daily radical environmentalist talking points."