Sound Transit is not only charged with building light rail tunnels and the Capitol Hill station in the ground along Broadway between Denny and John. By 2016, they will have also developed the area into a transportation, housing and retail center on some of the most valuable real estate in the city of Seattle. It’s a tremendous opportunity — and responsibility — for the agency. They’ll need ‘community support’ — that’s you! — to make it happen.
Tonight from 6p to 8p at Seattle Central, Sound Transit continues this ‘transit oriented development’ process with a public meeting to collect community feedback about the area’s retail and housing needs.
Sound Transit is trying two new approaches after feedback about their first TOD discussion being too much of a presentation and not enough of a feedback opportunity. Full disclosure: I was both a presenter in the first session and a source of feedback that a better format is needed!
- Sound Transit has arranged extra space for tonight’s meeting to allow people to break into smaller groups, discuss issues and then come back together as a large group to share findings.
- ST has created a survey to collect feedback in a more quantitative format and, best of all, to better involve people who can’t make tonight’s meeting. The Sound Transit Broadway Housing and Retail survey can be found here.
We’ve broken out one of the key questions from the survey here on CHS in an even less scientific poll format. The point of Sound Transit’s effort is collecting feedback — not science — so think of the poll as a practice run and a way to see where CHS readers are leaning.
The survey and tonight’s forum hinge on a few key discussions:
- What housing types can Sound Transit’s development rules encourage?
- Should there be an emphasis on rental housing, ownership or a mix?
- What types of retail can Sound Transit’s development rules encourage?
But what is still not clear is how proscriptive Sound Transit can and will be in defining how the development is ultimately used. Can elements like square footage and size of retail spaces and the amount of parking provided really determine if a bakery is part of the light rail station development when it opens in 2016? Unlikely. Asking more questions — and providing more solutions — for how Sound Transit can ultimately act on the collected feedback has to happen. And there are no survey questions about that, of course.
There’s also not a survey question that gets to the heart of the matter regarding retail — so here’s a CHS bonus question for you to ponder:
Tentative schedule for the forums is below. If you have questions or suggestions about the topics and schedule, contact Michelle Ginder firstname.lastname@example.org
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