Author Topic: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle  (Read 3698 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« on: April 23, 2015, 12:45:01 AM »
Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle



The vibrancy of cities comes in all shapes and sizes. Many believe that what works in internationally known cosmopolitan settings may not be applicable for cities such as Jacksonville, which have struggled with embracing walkability. If we look hard enough, we may realize that this type of view should be challenged. Despite the diversity around the globe, all lively cities, downtowns, and urban cores have something in common: being pedestrian friendly. Today, Metro Jacksonville visits the streets of a Pacific Coast peer: Seattle.


Read More: http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2015-apr-visions-of-vibrancy-seattle

spuwho

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2015, 01:13:02 AM »
I agree, the vibrancy of Seattle is pretty incredible right now.

Belltown and South Lake Union are booming like crazy, though people are worried about the new Amazon HQ overwhelming the space. Fortunately, there is a healthy mix of high density housing going in all around the HQ, you could walk to work in this case.

BNSF has been gradually donating or selling old ROW's along the lake and canal routes to turn into bike trails. It really does make for a bike friendly environment.

I lived in Queen Anne for a few years, and I kind of liked the "quiet" side, being so close to the urban core, but not getting swamped with traffic and light pollution.

The most ripe for the next wave of transformation is the North Elliott warehouse district. When the Alaskan Viaduct finally goes underground and they tear down the old ROW, it is going to cause a waterfront transformation all the way from the Occidental District up to Interbay.

The urban cruise terminals has brought new waves of tourism to Seattle Center, which it really needed.

But the taxes are getting stiff to support all of the initiatives they are trying to undertake.

Between sports taxes, transit taxes, high fuel taxes to support the ferries, it is getting a little tough in certain places to find reasonable housing.

One thing Seattle has going for it, they have great transit based zoning and have a clear picture on how urban permitting should operate. If you live within in certain proximity of the urban core, its really tough to get a garage built with your new domicile. (if you build new). To facilitate new business, they will waive a parking deck in some cases if you are rebuilding an existing establishment that has street access. If you want to build a new biz building, gotta have parking built into the plan or its a non-starter.

For example, when Marriott took advantage of some waterfront property across from one of the cruise terminals, the city made them build a subterranean garage for parking. No small item considering the property was less than 50 yards from the shore. Seepage remediation was expensive, but they did it.

I definitely think Jacksonville could learn a lot from Seattle on TOD and urban land planning.

simms3

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2015, 01:52:15 PM »
Seattle is dirt cheap compared to SF, and is also a tech center.  That's probably the biggest combo going for it right now, so yes, Seattle is expensive, but there are droves of people who leave the Bay Area for it, Portland, Denver, and Austin every year, and companies too for that matter.  It's probably the 2nd biggest tech center in the country and is a bargain compared to the biggest.  It also happens to be a city where people want to live, so all of that is propelling its huge boom right now.  Not to mention it builds enough housing, relatively speaking, to accommodate its growth (which is why SF is soooo expensive and Seattle hasn't yet gotten out of control).  I hear gentrification is a big ticker item, there, too, particularly in Capitol Hill and other popular areas.

The West certainly does cities very well and this is one of the best - I'd easily call this my 2nd favorite western city and it might even be close to tied for first.
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thelakelander

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2015, 01:56:22 PM »
^How is Portland, compared to Seattle?
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

finehoe

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2015, 02:01:57 PM »
Seattle is dirt cheap compared to SF

Virtually every place in the country is dirt cheap compared to SF.

camarocane

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2015, 02:59:16 PM »
Seattle is dirt cheap compared to SF, and is also a tech center.  That's probably the biggest combo going for it right now, so yes, Seattle is expensive, but there are droves of people who leave the Bay Area for it, Portland, Denver, and Austin every year, and companies too for that matter.  It's probably the 2nd biggest tech center in the country and is a bargain compared to the biggest.  It also happens to be a city where people want to live, so all of that is propelling its huge boom right now.  Not to mention it builds enough housing, relatively speaking, to accommodate its growth (which is why SF is soooo expensive and Seattle hasn't yet gotten out of control).  I hear gentrification is a big ticker item, there, too, particularly in Capitol Hill and other popular areas.

The West certainly does cities very well and this is one of the best - I'd easily call this my 2nd favorite western city and it might even be close to tied for first.

+1,

fsujax

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2015, 08:37:34 PM »
I visited Seattle last summer for the first time and boy I was impressed. They have an amazing, thriving city center. People, businesses and transit everywhere. They also have done a nice job of embracing the water front and making it active as well.

JaxJersey-licious

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2015, 12:53:29 AM »
Great article. I'm curious if when you were there if you were able to talk to people about gentrification issues in less dense older neighborhoods like Wallingford, Ballard, or whatever parts of town going through Springfield-esqe reclamation and rediscovery?

thelakelander

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2015, 02:25:36 PM »

Had some great cod cakes here.

I spent some time in Ballard but it was more "Happy Hour-esqe" than educational. From what I did see, it didn't remind me of Springfield. Much more activity, walkability, infill and connectivity to maritime related uses. Although on another level in terms of vibrancy, Ballard felt like a neighborhood like Lake Shore or St. Johns Park could eventually develop into.


A BRT station attached to a gas station in Ballard at intersection of NW Market and 14th Avenues.


Walking along a railroad siding serving Ballard boatyards along Salmon Bay.
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ProjectMaximus

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2015, 02:42:21 PM »
^How is Portland, compared to Seattle?

Portland's transit infrastructure is much better for the area it serves. The urban area seems much more compact. Green/Sustainability (LEED buildings, car charging stations, etc) seemed even more prevalent than Seattle. Ridiculous number of food trucks too...we're talking numerous pods of 40-50 trucks each. I prefer Seattle though because they're making great strides with transit, have tons of walkable areas, and on the whole you can just feel that it's a larger more international metro.

simms3

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Re: Visions of Vibrancy: Seattle
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2015, 04:06:11 PM »
If I had to choose between either, it would be very difficult.  Portland is perfection.  Seattle is immense.  Denver's another one that leaves me impressed, and from what I hear, Salt Lake is on the up and up (haven't been since grammar school).

The West in general has my favorite collection of cities.  On average far better cities, in my opinion, than other regions of the country.  I recently drove through Stockton coming back from a ski trip, a tiny industrial town with a terrible rap compared as "Inland Empire North" for the Bay Area, and I actually was pretty impressed.  It was the nicest "dump" I've ever been to.

RE: Portland, it's seamless in all directions and VERY walkable.
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