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Wednesday Links: April 26

Transportation is this week’s theme, with SDOT announcing a new pilot program that will allow shuttles for private companies to use regular bus stops for their pick ups and drop offs.  This is pitched as an effort to more efficiently use public curb space.  The shuttle stops are currently available only to Microsoft and Children’s Hospital shuttles, and the shared stops are concentrated mostly in the dense neighborhoods near downtown and the canal, but there’s also a pilot stop in West Seattle.  It’ll be interesting to see how sharing the space will work out.

Sharing space is part of what helped the new 520 bridge bag the prestigious ACEC award for engineering on an infrastructure project.  Not only does the bridge float, but it has capacity to support pedestrian and bike traffic and, someday, will support the light rail’s expansion across Lake Washington.  That is, in fact, pretty nifty, and it’s great to see our bridge get that level of recognition.

Speaking of congestion and increased capacity…okay this is a stretch, but the Seattle Bubble has a good analysis of the new Case-Shiller numbers for February.  We’re still growing faster than we were before.  Yay!  (This is going to be a long, long summer market.)

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Wednesday Links: April 19

I was just singing the Seattle Bubble’s praises, but I’m going to do it again.  They’ve put up an analysis of housing affordability in the area, with adjustments for what the index would be with different interest rates.  I highly recommend reading the article as a whole, less for its information about affordability rates in the area, and more because it winds up being a very useful discussion of interest rates, where the current rates fall in comparison to historical norms, and the potential affect they can have on the market.  With affordability reaching for historical lows and interest rates creeping back toward more normal ranges, the rising interest rates could put some pressure against rising prices in many markets.  I don’t foresee it having much of an impact on that front in the Seattle market since we have plenty of cash, and high-cash buyers who can avoid or mitigate those effects, but it could start to affect national trends which will, eventually play into the Seattle market.

If you’ve been paying attention to the upzoning going on around the city as part HALA, then you’ll be wanting to pay attention to the next neighborhood up for review: the International District.  And not just because increased density in that neighborhood might increase floorspace for tea shops.  (Though, in my opinion, that’s a very good reason to pay attention.)  The two neighborhoods that have already been through review had unanimous approval, but they were also, arguably, the least controversial choices.  There was small but significant opposition to the downtown plan because many activists wanted an increase in the Mandatory Housing Affordability component of the downtown plan, the opposite of the NIMBY trend expected in most neighborhoods, but overall these were straightforward approvals.  The International District is a different creature altogether, and relatively unique in the city, too.  Paying attention to the conversations going on during its review could be enlightening about what to expect as HALA approvals move into more controversial parts of the city.

And a final farewell to Bertha.  After many years, many breakages, and a lot of disappointment, she’s finished her job and gotten dismantled.  SDOT has continued their support for webcam curiosity and has a video up to let you see the giant drill head for her final resting place. (She’s mostly getting recycled.)

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Bussing Broker: Week 5 Part 1

Today was a trip to the U District-Wallingford-Green Lake corridor, with a showing in each.  It rained.  I got very damp.  Also got off to an inauspicious start when I missed not one, or two, but three buses I wanted to take to the first open in the U District.  That meant I didn’t leave my office in Capitol Hill until eleven when I’d meant to be at the first property by then.

Things recovered nicely from there, though, and the rain let up halfway through.  I was very pleased to have brought a thermos with tea in it.  English tea with bergamot and a bit of honey cures rain.

I had to transfer buses to get to the first open, but the transfer went smoothly! Bus from first to second, and foot to the third, then bus back to the office with another transfer en route.  But, I made the final transfer less than two hours after getting onto the first bus.  I call that success.

Location: University District, Wallingford, Green Lake
Time: 2.25hr
Transit modes: Buses / Feet
Cats petted: 1
Tea consumed: 1 Thermos
Properties Viewed: 3