Category Archives: Design

Sound Transit releases the RFP for Capitol Hill Light Rail properties

Sound Transit released the Request for Proposals (RFP) yesterday. Inexplicably buried within a “closed” document (perhaps for the RFQ), the proposal lists the requirements for each property. Here are the general documents:

  1.  RP 0010-14 Capitol Hill TOD Request For Proposals
  2. RP 0010-14 Housing Tool All Sites
  3. Attachment B Sound Transit Timeline
  4. Attachment D Technical Documents

Here are Exhibit A Reference Documents

  1. Urban Design Framework
  2. Urban Design Framework cover letter
  3. Sound Transit Tunnel Easements
  4. Development Agreement and Coordinated Development Plan
  5. LBA-Capitol Hill Station Survey

Here are the lot specific documents:

  1. SITE C – Retail Approach
  2. SITE C – Parking Approach
  3. SITE C – Housing Approach
  4. SITE C – Green Factor and Sustainability Approach
  5. SITE C – Development Program
  6. SITE C – Community Center Approach
  7. SITE C – Amenity Areas
  8. SITE B SOUTH – Parking Approach
  9. SITE B SOUTH – Housing Approach
  10. SITE B SOUTH – Green Factor and Sustainability Approac
  11. SITE B SOUTH – Development Program
  12. SITE B SOUTH – Amenity Areas
  13. SITE B NORTH – Parking Approach
  14. SITE B NORTH – Housing Approach
  15. SITE B NORTH – Green Factor and Sustainability Approac
  16. SITE B NORTH – Development Program
  17. SITE B NORTH – Community Center Approach
  18. SITE B NORTH – Amenity Areas
  19. SITE A – Retail Approach SITE A – Parking Approach
  20. SITE A – Housing Approach
  21. SITE A – Green Factor and Sustainability Approach
  22. SITE A – Development Program Scoring
  23. SITE A – Community Center Approach
  24. SITE A – Amenity Areas

 

 

Seattle in Top Ten of Top 30 Largest U.S. Metros for Walkable Urbanism

From Builder:

Walkable real estate development projects and places are on the rise nationwide, but certain metro regions are progressing faster than others, according to a new report.

“Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros” ranks the country’s top 30 metropolitan areas based on the amount of commercial development in Walkable Urban Places (WalkUPs). While metro areas like Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago ranked among the top current areas for walkable urbanism, the report found that other cities—including Miami, Atlanta, and Detroit—are well positioned for future growth of walkability given current efforts in those the communities. The study is a project of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business in conjunction with LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, a program of Smart Growth America.

Walkups

“These places are witnessing the end of sprawl,” says Christopher Leinberger, president of LOCUS and one of the study’s authors. “It represents a pretty significant change in how we invest and build the country.”

The study, which noted higher education levels and one-third higher GDP per capita in high-ranking cities, underlines the economic power of walkable places and identifies which metro areas are adding them fastest. These spaces are home to 46% of the U.S. population and account for 58% of the country’s total GDP, Leinberger notes.

“As economic engines, as talent attractors, and as highly productive real estate, these WalkUPs are a crucial component in building and sustaining a thriving urban economy,” he says. “Cities with more WalkUPs are positioned for success, now and in the future.”

The trend toward walkable and transit-oriented living is here to stay, the study’s authors conclude: “This is not just a passing fad,” Leinberger says. “It’s going to take 20 to 30 years for cities to catch up with the demand for walkable spaces.”

The newly released “Foot Traffic Ahead” report finds that areas found to have high levels of walkability are models for the future development patterns of many of the largest 30 U.S. metropolitan areas. The study breaks down the top 30 metros into 4 levels: high, moderate, tentative, and low walkable urbanism.

Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 11.29.39 PM

 Other key findings of the study include:

—There are 558 WalkUPs, or regionally significant walkable urban places, in the 30 largest metro areas in the U.S.

—Walkable urban office space in the 30 largest metros commands a 74% rent-per-square-foot premium over rents in drivable suburban areas. These price premiums continue to grow.

—Walkable urban development is not limited to the revitalization of center cities; it also is the urbanization of the suburbs.

Click here for the full list of rankings and to download the report.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Boston, MACleveland, OHDetroit, MI,Houston, TXSan Diego, CASan Francisco, CAWashington, DCAtlanta, GA.

For the original article

8 developers chosen to submit bids for Cap Hill station developments

CHS reported this morning that

Sound Transit has selected eight firms to submit bids to develop four housing and retail properties that will surround the future Capitol Hill light rail station.

The shortlisted firms will also sit down with the Capitol Hill Championgroup at a June 2nd public meeting to make sure they understand and adopt the community priorities forged over several years.

Read who made it and more here.

 

Ten Cities Where the Most People Walk to Work

According to 247wallst.com, Seattle rates number 7 in cities where people walked to work. Of course, Capitol Hill plays a large part of this, despite the proliferation of residential building in Belltown and South Lake Union.

Just 2.9% of American workers walked to work as of 2012, according to data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the Census Bureau notes that there were massive regional differences in the proportion of people who chose to walk to a work. Different factors influence commuters’ preferences, including a city’s layout, climate, and infrastructure.

Boston residents were the most likely Americans to walk to work, with 15.1% doing so as of 2012. By comparison, less than 1% of workers in Gilbert, Arizona and Plano, Texas commuted on foot. Based on U.S. Census Bureau figures, these are the cities with the highest percentage of commuters walking to work.

While commuters choose walking for various reasons — ranging from lack of resources to simply residing near their place of business — many of the cities reviewed were also pleasant places to walk. The publicly accessible walkability index generated by Walk Score gave seven of the 10 cities a score of at least 70, a rating described as “very walkable,” as measured by residents’ proximity to amenities as well as friendliness to pedestrians. New York City, where more than 10% of residents walked to work, had a walk score of 87.6, the highest in the nation

High population densities also tended to encourage walking. For example, the New York City metropolitan area was the densest metro area nationwide, with 31,683 people per square mile in 2010. The area included two of the cities where a high proportion of commuters walked to work, New York City and Jersey City. Five other cities on this list were among the country’s 10 most densely-populated metro areas.

A walkable city also tends to support public transit and bike infrastructure. The cities where people walked most to work also had among the nation’s top five transit systems, as measured by Walk Score. These include New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, which all have well-developed and heavily used public transportation systems. On an average weekday, the New York area’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a dailyridership of more than 8.5 million people.

Cities where people walk to work are also often ideal destinations for residents who enjoy riding bikes. Five of these cities were among the 10 best large cities for the quality of biking. Most notably, San Francisco was the third best such city, with a bike score of 70, according to Walk Score. In fact, some of these cities not only had a high proportion of workers who walked to work, but also a substantial proportion of commuters who biked. In Madison, Wisconsin, more than 5% of workers commuted by bicycle, the second-most of any major city.

Of course, with walking a viable option for a large number of workers in these cities — in many cases supplemented by biking and public transit — relatively few households elected to own cars. As of 2012, just 9.2% of households nationwide did not have a car. In New York, that number was greater than 56%, the highest in the U.S. At least a third of households did not own a vehicle in half of the cities where people were most likely to commute by walking.

Many cities promote walking as a way to get-around due to the various health benefits associated with regular, brisk walking. According to the American Heart Association, walking half an hour a day reduces the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and stroke, while helping people improve their blood pressure and lower their body weight.

Based on recently released U.S Census Bureau figures, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the cities with the most workers walking to work between 2008 and 2012. Walk Score produced the figures on the quality of walking, biking and public transit. Data on population-weighted density and the percent of households without a vehicle are based on the 2010 Census and 2012 American Community Survey (ACS), respectively. We used the 2012 ACS for population data.

 

…..

7. Seattle, Wash.
> Pct. walking to work: 9.1% (tied for 6th)
> Walk score: 70.8 (10th highest)
> Pct. households with no car: 16.7% (23rd highest)
> Population density (of metro area): 4,721.6 (24th highest)

Seattle had the ninth best public transit score among all cities, according to Walk Score, which also ranked the city 10th for walkability, and 11th for bike friendliness. As a result, many residents chose to avoid driving to work. More than 9% commuted to work on foot and another 3.4% by bike, both among the highest proportions in the country. According to the Seattle Department of Transportation, the city’s long-term goal is to become the nation’s most walkable city. Although the Seattle metro area is more densely populated than most cities, the population is still relatively widely dispersed in comparison to New York, Boston, San Francisco, and other large cities of similar size.

 

Read more: Ten Cities Where the Most People Walk to Work – 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/05/16/ten-cities-where-the-most-people-walk-to-work/#ixzz32BUEpEf3

 

 

 

Development on Capitol Hill

In anticipation of our development-focused General Meeting on 5/22/14, here are a few pictures of some of the latest buildings being erected, as well as some buildings that have had neighbors complaining.

General Meeting 5/22/14, 6:30; focus on Development

Agenda
Capitol Hill Community Council
General Meeting
Cal Anderson Shelterhouse
May 22, 2014, 6:30

Updates
6:30 Welcome and announcements:
Elections
CAPA yard sale

6:35 CH Champion update John Akamatsu and Cathy Hillenbrand 5 min
Upcoming June community meeting
6:40 Streetcar Extension Update (Emily Mannetti) 10 min Where the project stands, upcoming open house, and opening dialogue with community
6:50 Committee Report:
· Safety Summary

7:00 By-laws: John and Erie 10 disc (to be discussed one more time in June, and voted on during the July meeting).
· Resolution

· Revising quorum
7:10 City Light and City Construction Hub team 25 min

7:35 Mike Podowski, DPD 40 min
· update on zoning heights and microhousing legislation

8:10 Brady Walkinshaw, Representative of 43rd Legislative District 10 minutes

8:30 Adjourn

—-
John Akamatsu, Vice President

March Minutes 2014

The March 20, 2014 General meeting took place at the Cal Anderson Park Shelter House at 6:30 PM. 

Announcements:
Tim Durkan from the city announced that there are three finalists out of 10 projects submitted for the neighborhood grants project. The final winning project for our district will receive $90,000. The three finalists are 1) sidewalk repairs along Madison, 2) Crosswalk improvements on Madison  3) Improvements to the intersection at 23rd and Boyer. See our website for more information.
The Sustainable Capitol Hill organization is looking for unharvested fruit trees they can help harvest this summer and fall. The food will be taken to local food banks. To help or to offer your trees for gleaning, contact pshazz@gmail.com
The Transit Coalition announces that Prop. 1 will be on the ballot April 22nd and will restore funding to local Metro tranist. To learn more about this propostion see www.movekingcountynow.org  The measure will raise $130 million per year for both road maintenance and tranist needs.
The Capitol Hill Champion will hold a public meeting in early June to bring the qualifying developers and the community to discuss the light rail station. Volunteers are needed for this meeting. The Cap Hill Community Council will vote in April as to whether or not we will help support this meeting with a donation of $200 that would be used to purchase food from the Farmers Market for the reception.

Elections:
We have an opening for a Treasurer and that position could be filled at any time in the coming months or at the general election in July.
Zachary Pullin was elected as our new Member at Large by a unanimous vote of the membership present.

Updates:
The Stunning Seattle Murals project has been reborn, free of legal snares, and is now called The Seattle Murals Project. We had pledged $200 to this project last year when it was Stunning Seattle Murals but did not give the funds due to the various legal troubles it was having. At this meeting we voted to honor our $200 pledge to this project, which will bring 5 new murals to various Capitol Hill locations.  More info at www.seattlemuralproject.org

Presentations:
Don Harper and Carol Fisher from the Save our Parks group came to speak against the city’s proposed Metroplitan Parks District. It is possible that this topic will be on our voter ballots in August, put there by the city. www.OurParksForever.com

The Mayor has recently sent out this information the parks district initiative:
“What’s a park district? Who will govern the park district? Who will provide oversight on how Parks spends taxpayer dollars? Those questions and more are answered in the FAQ onour Seattle Parks Legacy Funding webpage.  “
Bylaws:
Amended by laws for the following articles. Changes in bold.

Article IV: final line–

“These boundaries are inclusive of both sides of any street listed as a boundary”

Article V:
“A meeting schedule for the CHCC shall be established by the current CHCC Elected Officers. The Secretary shall take steps to ensure that the community receives notices of forthcoming meetings. Meeting dates will be listed at least once in community-based media such as Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, The Capitol Hill times, Facebook and Twitter, posted electronically via email, the CHCC blog, and posted in public places as applicable such as the Capitol Hill Branch of the Seattle Public Library and local print media if available at no charge.”

Article V sec. 8:

“To ensure that Council meetings run smoothly, items for the next meeting should be received by any member of the Executive Committee by the first Monday of the month.”
Strike last line: Agenda cannot be altered once the meeting has commenced.

Meeting adjourned

Three projects considered for neighborhood funds

From Capitol Hill Seattle blog:

Last week, a Department of Neighborhoods community group considered nine new street and parks project for central Seattle and Capitol Hill. Below, you’ll find the three projects that made it through and are being studied for feasibility by the city to be part of some $1.2 million in funding through the Neighborhood Parks and Street Fund. We’ve also included descriptions of all the proposals just in case you want to rally around one of the passed-over ideas next year or you find something to inspire a similar project in your own neighborhood.

….

Project 2014-064 would create street, sidewalk and crossing improvements to E Madison for pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety at the site where a man was seriously injured in a collision with a cyclist last year.

Project 2014-021 would add curb bulbs and marked cross walks at the busy and frequently-crossed intersection of 23rd Ave and Boyer.

Project 2014-012 would repair a half-block stretch of “heaving” sidewalk on the north side of E Madison between Boren and McDonald’s.

No projects from Capitol Hill were chosen, mainly because only one Capitol Hill project (2014-052) was submitted.

To see all the proposals and read comments from District Coordinator, Tim Durkan, go here.

CHS: City considers curbing building heights in response to outcry from neighborhood groups

From Capitol Hill Seattle Blog

A group of neighborhood activists organizing against taller building appear to have landed a major victory despite a year of rising demand for housing on Capitol Hill — and rising rents.

Following a petition and flyer campaign, Council memberSally Clark has called for the City of Seattle to consider lowering building heights in areas zoned for lowrise townuses and apartments.

The code correction would specifically target Lowrise 3 multi-family zones which includes most of the lowrise areas in Capitol Hill. “There is a sense that these new generation buildings have more height than necessary,” said city planner Geoff Wentlandt.

The Department of Planning and Development will hold a public meeting January 14th at 6:30 PM at Lowell Elementary to get public feedback on lowering the height limits. You can also provide feedback via email.

 

According to planners, lowering the height limits would mean fewer surprises for neighbors of new developments and would ensure those developments fit with the character of lowrise neighborhoods.

2013 was marked by a continued rise in housing costs on Capitol Hill as rents continued to soar and solutions like rent control became a serious part of political debate in the city. A recent report touted by the Seattle Times predicts that the city’s soaring rents may “stabilize” in the coming year — but even that report indicates a significant improvement in affordability in the area is unlikely.

In the meantime, CHS has noted a “mini-explosion” of townhouse development activity in the neighborhood.

The groundwork for the lowrise conflict was laid in 2010 when Clark spearheaded an update to the multifamily zoning code, including allowances for higher buildings. Now that the first generation of buildings under the new code has been constructed, many neighbors have complained the buildings aren’t keeping in the spirit of lowrise development. Where lowrise development is generally thought of as three to four-story townhouses and apartments, some developers have used incentives to cram five stories into tightly packed apartment andmicrohousing buildings.

A five-story microhousing building at 17th and Olive St., along with a handful of others, have sparked an outpouring of complaints that developers were pushing the height limits in onerous ways. In the meantime, Seattle’s Hearing Examiner will consider an appeal this week of a decision to approve rules to further regulate microhousing developments brought by some of the slow growth groups and Capitol Hill land use activist Dennis Saxman.

For the process to reconsider lowrise zoning, in an October letter (PDF), Council member Clark requested the DPD reconsider the height limits after meeting with some of the activists:

The concern they raised that I find most compelling has to do with ways some developers are combining incentives and the new approach to measuring height. Bottom line – I never envisioned or intended that developers would be able to achieve five stories in LR3 zones. I think five stories is too big a change in height and scale for the LR3 zone.

You can learn more on the city’s Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections page.

Lowrise Multifamily Code Correction Community Meeting
When Tuesday, January 14, 2014, 6:30 – 8pm
Location Lowell Elementary School
1058 E. Mercer St.
Seattle, WA
Website Lowrise Multifamily Code Corrections
Event Contact Geoff Wentlandt
Event Contact Email Geoffrey.Wentlandt@seattle.gov
Event Contact Phone (206) 684-3586
What
We are studying recent buildings constructed in lowrise multifamily zoned areas, particularly the lowrise 3 areas. We will be considering code changes to help ensure the new buildings fit into the neighborhoods. To help guide our clean-up of the Lowrise 3 multi-family zones, we’re reaching out to interested groups. In particular we want to hear from neighborhood residents who live in or near lowrise multi-family zoned areas. We also want to hear directly from builders and designers of housing.

DPD Jan. 14th Community Meeting – lowrise zone building heights

The January 14th meeting is a citywide meeting to talk about the citywide issue of building height limits in Lowrise Multifamily zones. (Links to meeting info and project website are below.)  We want to hear from residents and others about how buildings built recently in lowrise zones are fitting into neighborhoods.  Capitol Hill has several areas of lowrise zoning. We’re evaluating possibilities for reducing allowable building height.

The meeting will be held on Capitol Hill at Lowell Elementary School at 6:30PM – 8:00PM. Please contact me if you want to discuss, and please pass this information on to members of your group if you would like.

Meeting info:  http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/aboutus/news/events/default.htm?trumbaEmbed=eventid%3D108385105%26view%3Devent%26-childview%3D

Project Website:  http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/codesrules/changestocode/lowrisecorrections/whatwhy/default.htm

Sincerely,

Geoffrey Wentlandt  AICP, LEED AP

 Senior Planner
City of Seattle
Department of Planning & Development
Geoffrey.Wentlandt@Seattle.gov
p. 206-684-3586