“Assault” on the Bull Moose

Five years ago, the Roosevelt neighborhood produced a progressive, anti-NIMBY, comprehensive plan in the good faith that said plan would be approved by the City Council and implemented by DPD. Now, at the last second, a collection of “bloggers”, “outsiders”, and “urbanists”, ostensibly, without a stake in the neighborhood’s future, come swooping in telling the Bull Moose what their neighborhood ought to do to support the region, fight climate change, and paint their buildings. Where were these bloggers five years ago? Where was the Mayor, before he could unilaterally change the work of so many? And what right do these “urbanists” have telling a decent neighborhood how it should develop?

The catch is, the urbanists are right. Sound Transit, and the north King County sub-district in particular, is about the drop a roughly $300 million investmentright into the middle of the Bull Moose. I voted for Link light rail and I pay my taxes, so it’s my money that’s helping raise Roosevelt’s property values, though that’s not why I voted ‘Yes. I voted yes because I want to encourage Transit Oriented Communities, give current and future residents a choice about owning a car, and keep rent and real estate reasonable for teachers, cops, nurses, machinists, and those who need affordable housing. If Roosevelt is allowed to keep the station to themselves, that vote and the benefits of light rail will be diminished.

But these facts do not absolve urbanists, myself included, of the fact that we’re late to the game and should acknowledge as much. The neighborhood had the foresight to convince Sound Transit to move the original station from the original and foolish location underneath I-5 to the center of their neighborhood. But then they pulled their punches and didn’t zone for the density that would make them the regional destination that every stop on Link ought to be. The early efforts are appreciated and celebrated and ought not be forgotten, but the later decisions are now, thankfully, being reviewed. The mayor, with Councilmember Burgess’ open support, and DPD have proposed modest revisions to the plan which add vital potential living space and greater commercial opportunities. It’s not the outlandish towers requested by some, but it’s not the lowrise neighborhood desired by others. The City Council should approve this plan without significant change.

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