Driving in Seattle Should Be Like There's a Blizzard Happening Every Day

Streets should be for people, and if a car needs to get anywhere, it should have to wait until people get where they’re going first.



Seattle can promote itself as the town without cars until the cows come home, but there's no way it can break through 100+ years of ongoing propaganda about the "freedom" of having a car.

And by loosening the parking requirement for multifamily housing without requiring that a certain percentage of the units in the development be set aside for affordable housing for the next thirty years, the city is giving developers a big old wet kiss. Those developers will laugh all the way to the bank, and the increasingly affluent people buying or renting those units will just park their cars on the street, or put them in private garages (the next big growth market).




@1 -- I find it odd that people criticize developers, like they are producing something evil. They are producing more places to live. I wonder if you have the same attitude towards farmers. Fucking Farmers! Allowed to grow any food the want! Assholes.

Requiring parking when building new homes costs money. Ultimately, it is every renter who pays. It pushes up the cost of new housing, which means it pushes up the cost of all housing. This is how you end up with a city where only the affluent can afford to live here. Euclidean zoning is essentially a cartel, where existing home owners maintain their wealth, and everyone else has to pay extremely high prices to live in the city.


Anyway, back to the article: Don't forget transit (and freight, for that matter). The bus mall on Third Avenue downtown, for example, would suck if it was only one lane each way. We need space for buses, bikes, and pedestrians, and it doesn't always make sense to give that all to pedestrians. It really depends on the street.


Maybe the urbanist dream of high density, low carbon footprint living is a utopian dream because no one really wants to live that way. Many people live in Seattle because their jobs are based there and they don't want to endure hours long commutes by car or mass transit. If the pandemic has done anything it has shown that making 50K plus people a day commute to an office 5 days a week is no longer a necessity. It's time we embrace the promise of technology and let those who yearn for more than a 1000 sq ft box to work where they prefer.


Post Alley looks the way it does because Post Alley is an alley. Dumbass.


I don't understand the snow shoveling law. If it's so important to keep the sidewalks clear, then why isn't it the city's responsibility? You're not responsible for street sweeping in front of your house, so why should you be blamed for the snow?


And, in other news, puerile pie-in-the-sky kvetchers always know they have a safe haven at The Stranger. Used to be, back in journalism days, this item would have been put on a spike by an editor with some judgment.


Maybe its time to write another fn article about furries. Was transgressive like twenty years ago but at least you know what you are talking about. Urban planning, not so much. And fuck, another "cars bad" article from the Stranger.


@5 "Maybe the urbanist dream of high density, low carbon footprint living is a utopian dream because no one really wants to live that way."

Except for all the people that do. There are plenty of retirees who could live anywhere in the world, but prefer to live in the big city. Then there are the people who have jobs that can't be done remotely (doctors, nurses, cooks, bartenders, etc.). The latter isn't going away, and it is likely a big reason for the former.


Thank you for explaining the role of developers to me, Ross dear, however naive it might have been. And the non-sequitur about farmers was truly charming. Promise me you'll always keep that youthful enthusiasm for unbridled greed and political machinations.

A careful re-reading of my original comment would reveal that I proposed that in lieu of providing parking, a developer should be required to provide a certain percentage of low-income housing that is guaranteed to stay low-income for thirty years. Thus the public receives a benefit (affordable housing!) in exchange for the burden to the public (reduced or static inventory of on-street parking, despite an increase in demand by the increase in population).

As for zoning, many of the traditionally lower and middle class neighborhoods have already had their zoning changed to allow for density. The lot across the alley from us - a standard city lot that was previously undeveloped - is having five units built on it. (three SFR's and two Detached Accessory Dwelling Units, with three parking spaces). My prediction is that those homes will go for about $700k each (the homes with the accessory units will probably sell for $900k). I'm all for density, but I don't see it increasing affordability. I see maximum utilization of land for maximum acquisition of bucks. And of course I don't see it happening in the waterfront and view neighborhoods.

So as for creating a city "where only the affluent can afford to live", I rather think we're there already. Don't you?


I mean, it was only like that because almost nobody was working because of the snow day. Yes, we would all love to live in a fairy dream world where nobody works or we all live right at our fucking work building so don't have to commute. You act like people who own cars enjoy smog and noise when really they are the most convenient way to go from place to place. Why was this even written?


@7: The least the city could to is to stop the plows from pitching the street snow up onto the sidewalks. Personally, I'm OK with unplowed streets. Plow the sidewalks. Let people walk to where they are going. And keep them a safe distance away from the cars that do use the streets.


PSA for ya'll. definitely during this covid craziness, it's really important to keep your health up. and use something that's made specifically for your penis if you're having issues. and make sure to get tested, use condoms and keep your health in check. using a penis care product is good too.


@11 - more construction will only help affordability after it catches up with demand. The prices you are seeing only show how far from that point we are. I don't know if we will ever build enough to make it cheap to live here again, but I can't think of another big halfway-desireable city where it IS cheap to live. The affordable housing requirements are a good idea though and would be a start.