This is the 5th and final piece we will post on this bill [CB119398] for this round. Links to the first four posts are provided at the end of this post.
The most recent one on January 5 summarized the bill's negative, if unintended, consequences — and the questions the City can't, or won't, answer about critical legislation.
Exempting downtown towers from transportation mitigations required for smaller developments outside the core is the biggest adverse impact and mystery. Downtown is overwhelmed with traffic, and it will continue to intensify with added density as illustrated in the graphic below. Virginia Street is fast becoming a dysfunctional choke point for downtown, since it is the only east-bound arterial for these towers and the only practical way to leave downtown or reach I-5.
There's also been no answer to why the new standard only tracks SOVs when according to data in the Seattle Comprehensive Plan 2035 (on which this legislation is based), 77% of downtown traffic comes from other sources, such as commercial deliveries and ride hailing services. No one at the City has been able or willing to identify the type and percentages of the majority of downtown traffic. How will this majority of vehicles be tracked and mitigated under the fuzzy new LOS standard?
As downtown residents working to lessen the negative impacts of density, if this legislation passes it eliminates any legal basis the public has for challenging adverse transportation impacts of downtown towers. The current situation was unfortunately predicted in the attached Seattle Times article, “City’s vision for a carless Seattle doesn’t match reality”. It didn’t then, and it still doesn’t today. 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. Please amend CB119398 and bring reality to City policy.
Links to our previous posts on CB119398: