The 2004 Comprehensive Plan designated South Lake Union as an urban center, and it laid out ambitious growth targets. Since then we’ve seen solid growth in the neighborhood through the Hutchinson Cancer Center, Amazon’s relocation, and of course the Seattle Streetcar. But the real potential for densification lies in incentivized upzones, and to that end the City of Seattle has released a draft Environmental Impact Statement, South Lake Union: Height and Density Alternatives. It studies the environmental impacts of three zoning alternatives that would create space for 23,000-31,500 jobs and 15,000-21,000 residences.
More after the jump… (more…)
We talk a lot on this blog about why people drive. Frequent points are made concerning perceived freedom, the motorist’s willingness to “pay time to save money,” the undercapitalization of transit infrastructure, the low marginal cost of individual driving trips once a car is owned, the modal lock-in caused by low-density development, etc., etc…
But I’ve been especially frustrated lately by 3 perverse incentives that don’t get as much press:
1. The continued illegality of usage-based auto insurance. Current Washington State insurance regulations require that the full cost of an annualized policy be stated up front, effectively negating usage-based pricing factors (other than moving violations). Insurers and motorists thus have contractual frameworks in which risk is priced only as an all-you-can-drive buffet, actively penalizing those who own cars but drive comparatively fewer miles. Sightline.org has continually lobbied for a regulatory change, Unigard won federal money in 2007 for a pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) pilot project in Seattle, and in early 2009 State Sen. Tracey Eide (D-Federal Way) introduced legislation (SB 5708) to correct this… (more)