So what is the argument for Sound Transit again? Helping a handful of developers get even richer?
We should vote no on ST2 for three main reasons. The tax is the wrong kind - the legislature will give ST a more progressive tax. If we wait construction costs will be cheaper because labor and land acquisition will be cheaper (more unemployed), and materials will cost less (less building worldwide). We can lock those savings in by using a Design/Build contract. Finally, we need to see if it works and if we like it before deciding whether or not to agree to a 30-year tax hike. It isn't like ST has brought the first part on-line yet . . . .in the immortal words of Missourians: show me.
Light rail along MLK cuts through one of the poorest sections of town. I know, I live there. Who is going to be able to afford to move into these new, conveniently located, digs? Never mind the goods and services part - we're used to not having anything but stinkly little groceries and trinket shops that sell embroidered slippers. Most of the people who live in this area don't speak English, don't take public transportation - the females don't work and they all drive Dodge Caravans. They're not going to use light rail.
Mass Transit: It's not just for poor people anymore!
I just moved to the neighborhood, and appreciate your nailing, quite eloquently, the description of this part of town. Dodge Caravans is right!
Dominic is correct. It must be done. But it should be done correctly.
1 - "So what is the argument for Sound Transit again?"
Everybody knows we need it to save the polar bears.
If "light rail" doesn't refer to how light it is, then what does it refer to?
You know, 40 to 100 story tall inexpensive residential rental apartment buildings with mixed income groups on each floor sure would help avoid all the conversion of single family housing areas to duplexes and monster townhouses ...
Dominic. The word you forgot to mention is displacement.
The affordability proposals from the mayor will largely be smoke and mirrors corporate welfare for private developers under the auspices of something like MFTE. Just like the 50 token units of affordable housing that Paul Allen built to diffuse criticism of the dozens more he demolished and the million dollar condos whose construction are going to accelerate displacement in the Cascade neighborhood.
Rents will dramatically increase in Rainier Valley. That's why SHA has used eminent domain to dispossess immigrant businesspeople of their land near light rail stations-- they aren't the people these plans are being made to benefit. Environmental sustainability platitudes are fronting for gentrification, a word that no one seems able to mention.
It doesn't have to be this way, density vs diversity. And you should report the alternatives. But that also requires a more critical eye, perhaps starting with the question of why the announcement was made in Mt. Baker. This is hardly a "bitter pill" for them. They have opposed affordable housing development in the valley for years.
Oh, and do you think that when light rail runs north of the U-District (underground instead of above ground, of course) that a similar upzone will take place? Maybe, so long as it's not in Wedgwood, Ravenna, Roosevelt, Maple Leaf, Green Lake, or other largely wealthy white neighborhoods. Maybe in places where the sidewalks end, like Lake City, or Northgate, or View Ridge.
Well, so long as we have this city council, Trevor.
@7: "Light rail" refers mostly to passenger loads, not so much the weight. Full-sized trains (like the Sounder, or the Chicago/NYC subways) count as heavy rail, smaller tram-style cars get categorized under light rail. The dividing line is fuzzy.
I love that the City's glad to legislate the "it must be done" bit for Rainier Valley, and is careful to leave out the "done right" part for a later day that will never, ever come. Electeds know we're mostly patsies, and that citizen-sized campaign contributions don't play a determining role in Council election war chests.
@9: Switch Wedgwood (which has very few sidewalks) with View Ridge (which has sidewalks on most every street, as well as buried electrical and phone wires, so the residents don't have to live with the burden of unsightly utility poles).
"Light rail along MLK cuts through one of the poorest sections of town. I know, I live there."
Sure, but I believe the part they are talking about upzoning isn't on MLK at all (or not much) -- I think they mean the area around Rainier and McClellan, where the Mt Baker rail station will be. And, yes, it needs to be done. That is a horrifically pedestrian-unfriendly area.
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