Two (sort of) related news bits on this busy Monday:
1) If you have access to Facebook (I know, I know), there's an interesting discussion going on over at the Hugeasscity group's discussion board about a recent editorial by Seattle Displacement Coalition members Carolee Coulter and John Fox.
The editorial argues that a bill in the state legislature that would provide incentives for dense, affordable, walkable development around light-rail stops is bad for the environment (because of the loss of trees and emissions from construction), will force people to live in unaffordable housing too close together, will harm neighborhood business districts, and will cause people to move further away from where they work. On that last point, Fox and Coulter argue that because "An increasing portion of our region’s population and employment is going into Lynnwood, Renton, Bellevue and further out in the county," a better solution would be creating bus transit centers, which people could drive to from their far-flung houses, all over the Puget Sound region.
Leaving aside that tortured bit of logic (which is it, John? Do you want "an increasing portion" of our region's population to live in car-dependent exurbs? Or do you want to increase the supply of affordable housing in the city?), Hugeasscity readers have raised some smart objections to Fox's and Coulter's editorial. One, Seattle Great City Initiative founder Michael McGinn, notes that even if construction increases emissions and uproots a few in the short term, sprawling communities use "more asphalt, building materials, water, etc, which also raises emissions due to the ‘embodied energy’ in those materials. ... A new sprawling development also wipes out more trees and habitat than a compact development." Another reader notes that rents in Southeast Seattle (and, for that matter, Lynnwood, Bellevue, and Renton) are going up already; the only difference is that right now those areas lack the kind of dense development that actually makes sense near transit stations. If you don't have Facebook, a similar discussion took place on the Hugeasscity blog itself last month.