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On Other Blogs Today: Paving Paradise, Replacing Trolleys, and More

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By Erica C. Barnett June 18, 2013



1. Minimum parking requirements don't just guarantee that you'll pay for a parking space when you rent or buy a unit even if you don't want to—they also more or less dictate ugly design.

Sightline has a photo essay that starkly illustrates the impact of parking minimums on the built environment in the Northwest—from vast seas of parking for mixed-use developments in the suburbs, to "dingbat" apartments suspended above carports across Seattle, to "courtyard" developments where the courtyard is a parking lot. 

"The next time you see an unsightly apartment building or a sea of parking in front of a store, consider how parking rules have contributed to the ugliness. Off-street parking regulations are at the root of what makes Cascadian cities and towns less attractive and livable."

2. King County Metro is replacing 141 of its increasingly outdated electric trolleybuses with all-electric New Flyer trolleys, Seattle Transit Blog reports.

Most importantly from this daily trolley-rider's perspective, though: They'll have air conditioning!

The larger, 60-foot versions will have three doors, lower floors for easier boarding, an updated system to secure wheelchairs, and the ability to operate off-line for short periods (so that getting stuck briefly won't mean a bus simply has to stop in its tracks).

Most importantly from this daily trolley-rider's perspective, though: They'll have air conditioning! Efficient though they are, environmentally friendly though they may be, the biggest problem with Metro's wired trolleys is that they get unbearably hot in the summer; on the hottest days, those little window openings are a cruel tease. 

3. The Seattle Times reports that a noisy group of taxi drivers gathered outside City Hall yesterday to protest two new types of largely unregulated competitors: Ridesharing services (which allow private car owners to pick up passengers for a fee) and for-hire vehicles, which negotiate a set fee for a trip.

The taxi drivers want more regulations on ridesharing and for-hire drivers, which they say undermine their ability to make a living and don't have to follow the same rules as taxi drivers, who aren't supposed to respond to hails and legally can only be dispatched to pick people up. 


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