Land use on Capitol Hill

In the comments and response to the post on Roosevelt I’ve seen more than one reference to the light rail station on Capitol Hill and the process around it. I attended one of the meetings awhile back. To be honest, I haven’t kept up with it too closely.

But if you want to learn more about light rail — and lots of other land use related things — on Capitol Hill here’s your chance. Feet First is sponsoring a Walk and Talk with some people who have a lot of say over what happens with light rail. I have to say (and I am on the Feet First policy committee) these things can kind of be feel good events. That’s fine. But I don’t think it would hurt to ask some tough questions too.

And as if that weren’t enough, this weekend there is more Capitol Hill light rail stuff going on. The City is hosting an Open House for Capitol Hill Light Rail Station Properties at Seattle Central Community College.

On May 21, 2010, from 10:00 am-1:00 pm, the City of Seattle Department of Planning and Development will host a community Open House on the Draft Urban Design Framework for the properties acquired for light rail and station construction on Capitol Hill. The Urban Design Framework describes a community vision of what could be built when the red wall comes down – what will be there, how will it look and function, how will it build on community assets such as Cal Anderson Park and how it will relate to the broader community.

The Urban Design Framework is supposed to be a “bold and compelling vision” for the light rail station on Capitol Hill.


Here’s my cynicism shining through. The problem with all this process is that there are some basic tools missing here to really deliver on TOD in Seattle and perhaps in even in Washington. I’m not blasting the work that has happened. Thanks to everyone who’s put the time and energy in to this so far. And I am not pre-juding the Framework. I haven’t read it yet. I will.

What I get concerned about is what is going on in Roosevelt and what happened on Beacon Hill. We’ve got the process thing figured out. Home run, Seattle! What we have yet to figure out is how to make land use policy and develop the agency to make TOD happen. I mean agency in both senses of the word–an organization like the Portland Development Commission for example and the root sense of agency from Latin agere, to do or act.

Let’s keep the process going. Let’s keep talking about how make TOD happen. But we also need to start overcoming some of the self imposed conceptual and constitutional problems that inhibit, hinder, and stop us from getting a hearty TOD program. More on that later…..

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2 Responses to Land use on Capitol Hill

  1. Pingback: Being a pedestrian is more dangerous than it should be | Seattle's Land Use Code

  2. Pingback: Take a letter Maria . . . | Seattle's Land Use Code

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