On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Richard DeBolt, Pod People, Parking Overkill, and Safe Streets
1. On his blog, Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin says that in an effort to address micro-housing ("aPodment") developments that were using different standards to calculate the number of units in a building for different purposes, the city will now require developers to report the same number of units consistently to all city departments.
As we reported in a post about the rule change couple of weeks ago, some aPodment developers were counting each micro-unit as a single living space for the purpose of getting city tax breaks while counting each floor as a single unit for the purposes of getting around design review by the city's Department of Housing and Development—an obvious inconsistency.
The council's transportation committee is holding a brown bag discussion on microhousing tomorrow at 11:30 at City Hall (600 4th Ave.); public comment is at the end of the meeting.
2. Time is running out for the Safe Streets Bill, legislation that would allow cities to lower speed limits on some non-arterial streets to 20 mph without going through a lengthy and expensive review process.
Today is the cutoff date for policy bills like the safe streets bill.
Last year, the bill passed the full house and the senate transportation committee, but failed to get a vote on the senate floor—exactly the point the bill is at now, Seattle Bike Blog
reports. Today is the cutoff date for policy bills like the safe streets bill.
UPDATE: The bill passed the seante 45-2 late this afternoon. It was the last bill considered before the 5 o'clock cutoff.
Citing an unspecified medical emergency, house Republican leader Richard DeBolt (R-20, Chehalis) announced today that he's stepping down from his leadership position, the Everett Herald
reports. DeBolt said he plans to serve out the rest of his current two-year term.
Looks like that whole supply and demand thing works after all: Just as people tend to ride transit more when cities provide more transit, people tend to drive more when they live in developments provide more parking.
Seattle Transit Blog
reports on a new study that concludes that the more parking a city provides, the more people tend to drive.
People tend to drive more when they live in developments provide more parking.
Conversely, fewer parking spaces correlates with less driving. There's a cost element at work too: Make parking cheaper, the study found, and more people will drive; make it more expensive, and people opt for options like transit, biking, and walking.
5. But we're still building more and more spaces for cars. According to a study by My Parking Sign, the US has between three and eight parking spaces for every car—a vast oversupply. Nationally, depending on assumptions about the cost of parking construction, researchers found that Americans indirectly subsidize free parking to the tune of up to $310 million a year. So when someone tells you parking should be free, just point them to this handy, well-sourced infographic.
6. The Columbia River Crossing project isn't just getting hammered in the state senate. As Streetsblog D.C. reports, the bridge is also under siege in Congress, where Republican freshman Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-3), lit into transportation secretary Ray LaHood over the Obama administration's support for the project, which Republicans oppose because it would include light rail.
Noting that the light rail line, which would link Vancouver and Portland, would only shave one minute off commutes, Herrera Beutler asked LaHood whether that small reduction justified the multi-million-dollar project. “We don’t promote building roads or bridges to get places faster."