This episode of CascadiaCast is with Laura Goodfellow. A runner since middle school, she started combining her workouts with transit routes when she moved to Seattle and took advantage of citywide and regional connections. With marathon training, most of her runs are six to eight miles but often reach into double digits. She has started attending Seattle's pedestrian and transit advisory board meetings to get the inside scoop on local projects.
"What makes it fun is I don't have to take long, expensive vacations to faraway places because a weekend feels like a mini-vacation," Laura says. "I go on this running adventure to Vashon Island, to Bainbridge, or to Gig Harbor."
We talk about the urban marathon circuit, pedestrian safety, the state of Seattle transit, King County's new Trailhead Direct service, and multimodal funding constraints. While it's easy to get lost in project details, Laura says, "What's important to me is pushing the shift of seeing transit as desirable." For example, "To get from a meetup, people would offer me a ride home...they thought, 'that poor girl, she has to ride the bus home'. I know it's very generous of them, it comes from a place of kindness. But it also reflects that our society sees transit as an undesirable last resort."
This episode of CascadiaCast is uniquely co-hosted with Hunter Bevis, my older brother and producer of the aviation podcast Time In Flight. By coincidence, for both of our podcasts this is episode eight!
Hunter spent his formative years in North Bend, Washington and now resides in Pasadena, Maryland. He recently made a career change from consulting to flight instructing. We both recently acquired our commercial drone pilot licenses, leading to a great discussion on why I chose this route to expand my skill set. We also talk about recent changes in the unmanned aircraft industry and the regulatory environment. We cover drone applications for urban planning, potential safety and sky clutter impacts as drones become more widespread, and the relationship with manned aircraft.
We also touch on my own passion project of lidding I-5 and Hunter's perspective on how rapidly cities are changing and facing affordability crises.
On this episode of CascadiaCast I had a wonderful conversation with Laura Loe (Bernstein), a queer educator, musician, and gardener from Colombia, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago who has lived in Seattle since 2009. As an advocate for fair housing policies, she adapted the YIMBY (yes in my backyard) movement to Seattle and has more recently taken on the YIOBY (yes in our backyards) perspective.
Laura came to Seattle as a musician and a science teacher, and got involved in local politics during the 2015 City Council race as a campaign manager. She discovered significant barriers to getting engaged in government decisions on land use, and found herself jumping headfirst into housing advocacy citywide.
She attributes the Seattle YIMBY movement's success to Washington's Growth Management Act, which sets a framework for concentrated growth, and the region's light rail expansion stimulating conversations about high density development. We also dive into why certain housing messages are effective (for instance, emotions win out over data) and the tension between free market and social justice urbanists.
In 2017 she was elected to Sierra Club's Washington State Chapter Executive Committee and also serves on the Seattle Group Executive Committee.
She receives half of her income through the generous support of individual patrons. Women urbanists are welcome to join her Facebook group intersectional densinistas (#yimby #yioby #seattle) to discuss the future of growing cities. Follow her on Twitter @YIMBYsea. And catch her keynote speech at the YIMBYtown 2017 conference!
On this episode of CascadiaCast I had a lively chat with Nathan Vass, who splits his time between driving for King County Metro and his artistic pursuits in photography and video. He also frequently writes short stories about his experience operating buses on his blog, The View from Nathan's Bus, and cross-posts many entries to The Urbanist.
Of his preferred shift, the nighttime 7, he said, "It's the lowest seniority route in the entire system...because of the clientele and the parts of town it goes to in Rainier Valley. It's my favorite route. For the very same reason. I love those people, there's good people everywhere."
Born in Los Angeles but largely raised in Seattle, we discuss Nathan's early fascination with transit and how he came to study photography at the University of Washington. He finds a deep, humanistic link between driving buses and photographing scenes of urban life and people. Nathan prefers film, saying "...film has the ability to do things that are a little more painterly that can offer emotional truths, that the very crisp literal truth of digital cannot quite get to." He wants to answer the question, "...what does ordinary life feel like this in this corner of the world? Or, how can I capture something that I couldn't quite get down in words, but maybe I can get with a picture?"
Nathan and I talked further about Seattle's growth, neighborhood advocacy, and changes in cultural norms: "Once the service industry slash working class folks are priced into having to drive, because they have to live so far away, you've really killed something in terms of the economics of the city and how it can function." He anticipates how University Link will improve his commute and considered how Seattle's transportation network can evolve further. Nathan is also inspired by his travels to locales as diverse as Italy and South Korea.
I had the exciting opportunity to talk with Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. We took a fascinating dive into her background as a Seattle parks planner, Planning Commission staffer, and local sustainability advocate. A sabbatical in Sweden and her family's challenges in bicycling and walking around Seattle inspired her to advocate for safer streets for everyone. Today her influence is apparent in the city's Bicycle Master Plan, greenways and corridor safety projects across the city, and the policy agenda of the Seattle City Council. She also helped lead the city's adoption of the Vision Zero movement and the voter-approved Move Seattle levy, a ten year, $930 million package that will improve transportation options citywide.
On this episode of CascadiaCast I chat with Patty Lent, Bremerton Mayor and former Kitsap County Commissioner. Bremerton is the largest city in Kitsap County and home to the strategic Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Lent shared that she strongly believes families, Millennials, and the Navy are key to Bremerton's future success as a regional economic and cultural hub. She highlighted the importance of school-to-job pipeline programs and the city's capitalization of its downtown waterfront. We also discussed her vision for high speed ferry service to Seattle (and how to get tech companies to pay for it), a recent surge in housing developments, and the lost battle to bring NASCAR to the Pacific Northwest.
In this episode I sit down with Michael Maddux, a paralegal and Democratic Party leader running for Seattle City Council in District 4. Michael helped spearhead the formation of permanent parks and recreation funding through the voter-approved Seattle Parks District in 2013. And hailing from Eastlake, a neighborhood that has not seen its fair share of public investment over the past two decades, Michael has a vision for a more vibrant and equitable city. His ideas include reforming the land use code to better protect neighborhood character while increasing housing stock, improving how police officers and construction workers are recruited from within the community, creating a more progressive tax structure, and investing more in schools as the city grows.
This week I'm joined by Cory Crocker, an active University District resident who helps head up U District Square. The group is working to secure parks and open space amenities as the neighborhood rapidly grows and faces a population boom with the arrival of a light rail station in only six short years. The U-District has a dearth of open space that the city is trying to address, and Cory is passionate about the option of a large central plaza. He's also been working on a streetscape project with a new parklet and possible sidewalk cafes. We also discussed the medley of transportation and housing options in the neighborhood and recent trends in the design and management of public space.
Today we start with Ben Schiendelman, a software developer who moonlights as an activist and policy wonk in the realms of transportation and land use. He founded Seattle Subway and cofounded local websites Seattle Transit Blog and The Urbanist. We discussed the future of the Puget Sound, including a vision for high speed rail and the potential impacts from climate refugees, along with the prevailing political headwinds that are challenging better urban development today. Ben also shared his views on removing height limits, how Sound Transit should expand, and the upcoming Seattle City Council races.