MYNORTHWEST BLOG

Forget parks, Seattle needs housing now

Oct 30, 2017, 2:01 PM

A painted stream flowing through shards of multicolored kryptonite stands between a gas station and coffee shop in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood. It may appear odd to some, but to others in Seattle, it’s a park.

Since 2015, Seattle has been slowly converting odd portions of road like this one in the Roosevelt neighborhood into little parks. The Seattle Department of Transportation has a goal of having four pavement to park projects each year. So far, some have made sense. Others beg the question: Was this necessary? Doesn’t Seattle have other priorities?

RELATED: Seattle should build affordable housing, not developers

Rather than a Pavement to Parks program, Seattle needs a pavement to housing plan.

Let’s take a look at the problem:

Officials have a grab bag of solutions that range from new 24-hour shelters, sanctioned tent encampments, and incentives for developers to create a few affordable units in buildings they construct. As KIRO Radio’s Ron Upshaw recently said, it’s time for the city to step up and make its own affordable housing and not rely on developers.

So here’s an idea: stop converting streets into parks. Convert them into housing and provide them to renters at affordable rates.

Seattle pavement to parks … to homes

Seattle currently has about 11 of these pavement parks. Some streets were oddly shaped, others make you wonder why they ever took them away (along with parking). At the very least, these spaces could be used for tiny homes. At best, they could host small apartment buildings. After all, right now in Seattle, a 130-square-foot room with a toilet passes for a studio … we can do better.

In order for any of that to happen, the Seattle City Council would have to approve a street vacation, which is something sports fans in town are familiar with. It means that the city changes the street’s official use. The city has rules for street vacations. For example, the council could only approve one if it is in the public interest. I’d argue that right now, Seattleites are more interested in homes than painted pavement.

Another rule: Proposed vacations may be approved only when they provide a long-term benefit to the general public. If painting a street is the bar we have to pass, then let the construction begin.

All of the stated criteria for a pavement park — from community involvement to race and social justice — could easily apply to the need for housing. Seattle has 485 parks, with 6,414 acres of park space. What it doesn’t have is enough housing. After all, the current situation has led to plenty of people learning that Seattle’s parks are great places to live.

Author’s note: In regard to above kryptonite reference — yes, there are blue and yellow (gold) forms of kryptonite.

MyNorthwest Blog

Mayor Bruce Harrell, Sonics...
Nick Bowman

Mayor Harrell latest to pick up the torch on years-long effort to bring back the Sonics

Mayor Bruce Harrell is the latest city leader to take the baton on a years-long push to bring the Seattle Sonics back to their home city.
2 months ago
Bruce Harrell...
Nick Bowman

Harrell aims to ‘hit reset’ on strained relationship between Seattle mayor, city council

In his State of the City address, Mayor Bruce Harrell highlighted his hope to repair the strained relationship between his office and Seattle City Council.
3 months ago
ktth, bryan suits...
KTTH staff

KTTH debuts ‘Bryan Suits Show’ weekday mornings

Bryan Suits returns to Seattle airwaves as part of a new lineup on AM 770 KTTH. 'The Bryan Suits Show' airs weekday mornings from 6–9 a.m.
3 months ago
pet names...
Stephanie Klein

Top dog and cat names in King County last year

King County released its 2021 list of most popular pet names and 'Bella' and 'Luna' came out on top.
5 months ago
Seattle election results, Seattle City Hall...
Nick Bowman

What Seattle can expect in new year with shakeups at city hall on the horizon

Seattle City Hall is in for a shakeup at the start of the new year, with a new mayor, councilmember, and city attorney all taking office in January.
5 months ago
unvaccinated officers Seattle...
Nick Bowman

Durkan, Seattle council engage in one final clash in closing days of mayoral term

With Jenny Durkan set to leave office in a matter of days, she and the council appear to have engaged in one final feud, this time over trees. 
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Forget parks, Seattle needs housing now