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Bike the Vote! Where to drop your ballot (+ NO on the Viaduct Park, YES on housing)

Click for full map.
Click for full map of dropbox locations.

Voter turnout for the August 2 primary is looking very low so far. Don’t miss your chance to help the housing levy scream to victory.

And hey, dropping your ballot at a dropbox is a great excuse for a bike ride on a beautiful day. It’s also good practice for ST3 in November.

We were in no place to make a full run of endorsements in this primary, which is why we didn’t publish a voters guide when ballots hit mailboxes. But if you are looking for last-minute advice, check out the guides from Seattlish and The Stranger.

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And though I’m not sure how many people are still on the fence on the two issue votes in Seattle, here are our thoughts:

YES on the housing levy

The housing levy (Prop 1) will not fix Seattle’s housing affordability crisis. But it’s a vital piece of the city’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda. The bigger the margin it wins by, the stronger the political pressure to push for more affordable housing changes as the City Council and Mayor’s Office works to enact HALA recommendations.

There are two ways to increase affordable access to safe and convenient biking: Build more bike routes in lower-income, underserved areas and build more affordable housing near quality bike routes we already have. We need both.

NO on the Viaduct Park

While the idea of preserving part of the Alaskan Way Viaduct to create an elevated park on the waterfront (I 123) does sound pretty cool at first, the concept collapses (pun intended) under scrutiny.

The existing viaduct just isn’t structurally sound. Support for this idea dries up pretty quickly when you realize that the plan would actually involve tearing down most of the existing viaduct and building a new one in its place. Preserving remnants of city history (even awful parts of it like the viaduct) can be a good idea when it works. But this isn’t such a case.

And approving this measure would not even fund the project. It would just create and fund a new “public development authority” that would then try to somehow figure out how to get the money to actually build the thing (the City Council does not support the plan, and they should control the city budget).

We are no fans of the state’s existing plans for a surface highway on the waterfront. But the city’s developing waterfront park is pretty cool and has received tons of public feedback over the course of years. These are two different projects (state highway and city park) that people may have linked in their minds. The city park is shaping up to be pretty cool, complete with its own functional overlooks.

If this vote were to shrink the waterfront highway to help the city’s park plans be even better, we would vote the hell out of that. But this is not that vote, sadly.

Kate Martin is a friend of the blog who has been working on this idea for years. It’s hard to give up an idea that could be so cool, but it’s just not going to work. I am glad someone pushed the idea to see if it was feasible. But when you are rebuilding a new viaduct to mimic the old one that can’t be preserved, well, you have your answer. This will make a fine addition to that awesome section of MOHAI showcasing Seattle urban plans that were never realized.

Your endorsements?

Do you have a candidate you want to plug to last-minute biking voters? Make your case in the comments below.

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7 responses to “Bike the Vote! Where to drop your ballot (+ NO on the Viaduct Park, YES on housing)”

  1. Gary Anderson

    I voted for initiative 123. Thought about it for a long time and finally decided that the city’s plans for the rebuilt Alaskan Way were pretty boring with a huge multilane highway, a bike path, and a pedestrian walkway (promenade). Lots of traffic signals plus ferry and freight traffic — just not a nice place to enjoy the views of the sound.

    1. William

      I am all for the Housing levy but I am really frustrated that the city does not make all developers of expensive housing contribute to affordable housing (and to the other infrastructure needed to support densification)

      1. dave

        That’s the idea of the new “Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA)” program. Developers would be required to either include affordable housing in new development projects or pay into a fund that the city would use to build new affordable housing.


  2. Dave

    I live in a southern Washington town that has it’s own housing levy on the ballot; they’re all chasing a horse that’s left the barn already–the real need is for the state to force housing prices down by command. Otherwise, get used to lots of homeless people as it will be a permanent status for many.

  3. Gary

    If you want to lower housing prices, support Sound Transit 3. The more land mass which has fast consistent travel time from home to work, the less any individual piece of land will cost. Yes this leads to sprawl, but the alternative is high rises which are nice, are not great for raising kids.

    When Tacoma gets hooked into the light rail system, all those lower priced housing units are going to be reasonable commutes to jobs in and around Seattle.

    Also I read that Seattle is building more housing units right now than have been built in the last 100 years. This will stabilize the price of housing as the supply increase will lead to vacancies, which drive down prices.

    As any economist will tell you, the solution to high prices is higher prices. It forces people to look for alternatives.

    1. William

      “When Tacoma gets hooked into the light rail system, all those lower priced housing units are going to be reasonable commutes to jobs in and around Seattle.” – Given that the light rail travel time from Tacoma to Seattle will substantially exceed today’s commute time by bus, it is not really clear that this is so.

      1. Gary

        It’s likely to be less than the bus travel time via I-5 in 15 years when the line is finished.

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