seattle

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?

Wake Up Jenny

Wake up Jenny! You need to quit running from one carefully orchestrated photo-op to the next playing City Cheerleader and proclaiming Seattle is thriving, when Bartells says “No more stores downtown. It’s too dangerous.” What we need is a tough problem-solving Mayor, one who is serious about dealing with the life-threatening, livelihood-threatening, and livability-threatening issues we have in Downtown and elsewhere.

Wake Up Jenny

We Deserve Better than this City Council

You would think that with all the missteps they have made and continue to make; and with this year being a local election year, that they would at least be feigning interest in what their constituents have to say. Evidently not!

We Deserve Better than this City Council

Open Letter to Mayor Durkan

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but you really blew it on Tuesday when you were asked about your response to the KOMO News feature, “Seattle Is Dying”; and you said that the show was not representative of Seattle, that most of the city is thriving. How can you be so out of touch with reality? And show no compassion for the people suffering and dying on the streets?

Open Letter to Mayor Durkan

The Downtown Alley Cat is On the Prowl: Episode 11

When will this human madness end? As I walk different alleys to try to find a safe place for my family and me, I just find more of the same. The proposed tower at 2nd & Virginia [#3033067] will hold 1,000 people in condos, hotel rooms, restaurants and offices yet it has no working loading berths and no space for trash collection on the alley.  It will share the alley with two other recent developments with no loading facilities. Between the trucks that line the alley and drivers trying to access 461 parking stalls, a worker on the block calls this alley a "nightmare.” 

The Downtown Alley Cat is On the Prowl: Episode 11

The Downtown Alley Cat Is Now On The Prowl: Part 10

As I walk the alleys of Seattle every day, I see more and more evidence of why an alley code amendment is long overdue. When I heard that the design team for the high-rise proposal at 1516-2nd Ave [#3032531] said they wanted to make the already busy alley behind the tower the "front door" of the building, I meowed under my breath “you cannot be serious!!!” 

The Downtown Alley Cat Is Now On The Prowl: Part 10

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

If you've ever wondered how City leaders can claim big initiatives you've never heard of have broad public support, they likely spring from forums like the Imagine Downtown Open House happening this Thursday at City Hall from 6-8:30 pm.   By summer this public/private consortium will have collected feedback to "refine, combine and compile Big Ideas" into a vision plan for the future of downtown. Don’t be left out. Please attend this Thursday's forum on Transportation or send your ideas via email.

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Slow Down and Get MHA Up-Zoning right!

As the City Council gets closer to passing the Citywide Mandatory Housing affordability bill, I believe that the results downtown should give them pause. The City has used downtown as the “canary in the coal mine”. And the canary died.

Slow Down and Get MHA Up-Zoning right!

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!

Here We Go Again! 5th & Stewart Altitude [#3018037]

Nothing has really changed on the 5th & Stewart [Altitude] plans. The tower's loading and waste design will cause major back-ups in its alley and surrounding streets. None of its berths will fit the trucks for which they're intended.  There is no space on the alley for garbage collection. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. If you agree, please express your concerns to PRC@Seattle.gov.

Here We Go Again! 5th & Stewart Altitude [#3018037]

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

Downtown: The Front Porch of Seattle

A cluttered front porch leaves a bad first impression, no matter what is behind it. The same with a city. We have so many great things in downtown Seattle, but on the way to them you’ll see trash, homeless tents, people passed out on sidewalks, drug deals & injections, traffic gridlock…and on and on. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so fix it now!

Downtown: The Front Porch of Seattle

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

One small step for man; one giant leap for downtown livability.

Huge win in Superior Court for downtown livability, as the 5th and Virginia’s (Douglaston) Appeal of the Hearing Examiner’s Remand on Daylighting/health issues was dismissed in Superior Court today. This means that the Hearing Examiner’s ruling stands that the city/developer must dig deeper into the health effects issue to Escala residents.

One small step for man; one giant leap for downtown livability.