Congestion

Revisiting the Question: Is Seattle Still a Great City?

“By my grading [2016], Seattle scores six out of 11, at best”, said Westneat. "At my kid’s middle school, this would prompt an after-school retake.”  So how has this changed since 2016, for the better, or for the worse? We went through the same list again this week, and we could only give Seattle a four out of 11, at best. "Whether it’s poor leadership, misplaced priorities or just a temporary struggle with too much runaway success, something’s not quite right.”

Revisiting the Question: Is Seattle Still a Great City?

The Downtown Alley Cat Is Now On The Prowl: Part 9

My dad, Dac*, started this series of posts three years ago. Now that he’s retired, I have decided to come out of the shadows to continue his good work and share with you what I see today walking the downtown alleys. And I’m afraid it’s not pretty. If the Mayor and City Council don’t “see the light” and make some meaningful improvements to Alley Code, you’re going to see some real “cat fights” in these alleys (See what we need and why we need it at the end of this post).    --*Downtown Alley Cat

The Downtown Alley Cat Is Now On The Prowl: Part 9

Another Terrible Traffic Study: C’Mon Man!

The original TENW Traffic Study for First Light #3026416 at 2000-3rd Ave. and its Update of 1/3/19 (posted 1/16/19) are incomplete and misleading. The foundation of the study’s projection of future traffic volumes (and cumulative impact) is completely invalid having excluded the project’s closest tower neighbors .

Another Terrible Traffic Study: C’Mon Man!

Too Big To Fail: Part 3 of 4; Jiffy Lube Site/Silver Cloud Hotel [#3025502]

The Applicant ignored all substantive design guidance from EDG1: loading design, turn radius study, alley circulation, waste storage niche --only to focus on ribbons, colors, palette, etc. That’s like saying "The patient is terribly sick and may die...but is wearing a lovely color of hospital gown.” And what did the Board do in response? They passed the project on to the Recommendation Meeting phase. Unbelievable! If you agree, please voice your displeasure by writing to prc@seattle.gov.

Too Big To Fail: Part 3 of 4; Jiffy Lube Site/Silver Cloud Hotel [#3025502]

Please amend CB119398 and bring reality to City policy.

City Council is scheduled to vote on CB119398 this coming Monday, January 14, at 2 PM. Exempting downtown towers from transportation mitigations required for smaller developments outside the city core is the biggest adverse impact and mystery in CB119398. While we understand and applaud the goal of bringing alternative transportation options to the SOV into greater usage, Transportation Performance [i.e. travel time] should be our primary measure of success or failure, not just a fuzzy feel good SOV reduction standard.

Please amend CB119398 and bring reality to City policy.

Public losing right to challenge urban tower transportation impacts; Write now asking Council to vote NO on CB119398

CB119398 may be well intentioned, but it is dangerously incomplete. While smaller projects outside the urban core will need to mitigate their traffic impacts, new downtown towers are exempt. The bill eliminates Director’s Rule 2009-5 that says if a tower’s projected vehicle trips exceed street capacity at key intersections, it is required to address its adverse impacts.

Public losing right to challenge urban tower transportation impacts; Write now asking Council to vote NO on CB119398

DOCK MANAGEMENT PLAN…that dog won’t hunt!

The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections (SDCI) commonly uses the term Dock Management Plan as a “cure-all” for inadequate loading and waste facilities in proposed downtown high-rise projects, but the City of Seattle has no practical experience with their operation ,due either to the newness or incompleteness of the projects involved.

DOCK MANAGEMENT PLAN…that dog won’t hunt!

Too Big To Fail: Part 1 of 4; First Light at 2000 - 3rd Avenue


First Light Condominium at 2000-3rd Ave. boasts a rooftop pool and some of the best sunset views in the Pacific Northwest. Its problems come on the ground, where it is not a functional design.  As home to an anticipated 1,600 condo dwellers and office workers, this small village is requesting fewer and smaller loading berths than required by code. Most trucks won't be able to access the berths because the project's narrow alley is lined with dumpsters from neighboring older buildings, home to some of Seattle's most popular restaurants. And ingress and egress from its parking garage will be challenging, if not impossible.

Too Big To Fail: Part 1 of 4; First Light at 2000 - 3rd Avenue

Too Big to Fail: Part 4 of 4; 5th & Lenora [#3026266]

Just as in what appears to be the Design Review standard script, the Downtown DRB approved yet another major downtown Seattle high rise apartment building (MUP3026266, 2025-5th Ave) with only one, symbolic and for all practical purposes, unusable loading berth! 

How can the Design Review Board keep a straight face while claiming loading berths, waste storage, or parking aren't issues for them to consider? This is the same endless loop of pass the buck we've been fighting for over four years.The DRB says it’s not their purview and will be taken up in SEPA. In SEPA, it is presumed that it has been considered by DRB, when in reality no one has considered functional design.

Too Big to Fail: Part 4 of 4; 5th & Lenora [#3026266]

More gridlock ahead: Seattle’s 100-year-old alleys were not built for mega-towers.

Density done right could alleviate traffic congestion, but no one is considering the cumulative impact of spiked demand for access and service in alleys from a new round of mega-towers in downtown Seattle.

More gridlock ahead: Seattle’s 100-year-old alleys were not built for mega-towers.

Seattle’s Downtown Delivery System Needs Major Overhaul

Explosive growth, not enough private loading bays, and too many new projects approved with inadequate loading designs, is resulting in too many failed first delivery attempts and too much parking time in loading spaces…a recipe for chaos. This has caused SDOT to rethink how they manage street curb parking and alley operations for trucks and other delivery vehicles. 

Seattle’s Downtown Delivery System Needs Major Overhaul

Too Big to Fail: Part 2 of 4 [Project #3028017, Griffin Building & Sheridan Apartments]

While the basic building design is more aesthetically attractive from the street than many of the “big box” designs we’ve seen, this design is not functional, and thus is nowhere close to meeting the standards for approval today. Further, they are not “preserving” the two historic buildings, only using the preservation of the façade to avoid necessary alley setbacks.You will be doing the Applicant a favor by requiring them to come back for a 2nd EDG with a functional ground-floor alley-side design. As is, you have a recipe for loading, servicing, and resident parking disaster.

Too Big to Fail: Part 2 of 4 [Project #3028017, Griffin Building & Sheridan Apartments]