1. In the debate over "microhousing," "aPodments," and tall, skinny homes on "substandard" lots, one thing that tends to get lost is the actual people who choose to live in smaller homes (even most of the single-family homes on small lots that have some neighbors so exercised are actually quite small, between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet).
Neighbors who oppose the new houses argue that the houses "loom" over their Craftsman neighbors , that they're "out of character" for the neighborhood, and (perhaps most saliently) that they're "ugly."
Over at Smart Growth Seattle, a developer-backed group that formed to promote small-lot development, small-lot home owner Derek Williams writes about why he loves his modern two-story house in Madison Valley, even though it isn't huge and doesn't have a big yard. Williams writes:
Some of my neighbors in an attempt to enlist the support or our community went so far as to call these houses (my house) “ugly boxes” and “unsightly.” I looked at some of the examples they gave of before and after photos where similar such houses had been built in side-yard and back-yard spaces (See photos). In almost every case I actually thought the houses were cool looking and improved the street appeal of the neighborhood. They may not have been like the houses around them, but then you wouldn’t expect a builder to build a new house like something built 30-100 years ago. People lived differently then.
2. Speaking of opposition to development, though of a very different kind: The Economist picks up on the battle over the Columbia River Crossing bridge, which is opposed for very different reasons by some environmentalists (who lament the fact that the project would dramatically widen the I-5 bridge between Washington and Oregon) and some conservatives (who lament the fact that the project includes largely federally-funded light rail linking Vancouver and Portland.)
Seattle came in at No. 10 on an American Express-sponsored ranking of the top US cities for women-owned businesses, moving up from the 11th slot last year. "Sometimes it's a wonder anything gets built," the Economist writes. "Talk of a 'green-tea party' uniting environmentalist and conservative critics may be premature. But foes share the belief that a better design can emerge if the current plan is ditched."
3. In happier news for light rail, the Bellevue Reporter reports that early estimates of the sound and vibration impacts of East Link light rail through Bellevue predict that parts of the alignment will actually see less traffic noise, thanks to a new sound wall and retaining wall and the relocation of the tracks west along with a planned HOV lane, which could improve ambient noise between three and 12 decibels along Bellevue Way.
In the Rainier Valley, noise levels along the light rail tracks turned out to be much higher than Sound Transit officials anticipated, forcing the agency to implement repeated mitigation measures.
4. Geekwire reports that Seattle came in at No. 10 on an American Express-sponsored ranking of the top US cities for women-owned businesses, moving up from the 11th slot last year.
Seattle had nearly 78,000 companies owned by women, which produced nearly $11 million in sales last year.