Category: Washington

Councilman Jon Snyder on how Complete Streets are helping to improve Spokane, WA

Bike lanes in downtown Spokane. Photo by Orin Blomberg, via FlickrBike lanes in downtown Spokane. Photo by Orin Blomberg, via Flickr.

During his first term on the Spokane, WA City Council, Councilman Jon Snyder, a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, experienced a lesson that he has carried with him since. “As a leader, you need to understand the difference between a policy that may take several years to develop, and those that represent a flaw in the system that should be called out and remedied quickly.”

Councilman Snyder worked for two years to pass a Complete Streets ordinance (PDF) in Spokane, a process that took time, perseverance and creativity. Snyder credits a broad coalition of support to the ordinance’s eventual passage in 2011: During the meeting where the City Council approved the ordinance, a diverse group of community members, including representatives from schools, older adults, persons with disabilities, the local farmers’ market, and businesses all spoke in favor of policy adoption.

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SeaTac, WA Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson on placemaking through transit-oriented development

Tukwila Station
SeaTac’s Tukwila International Boulevard Station, located at the center of SeaTac’s South 154th Street station area. Image by Sean Marshall via Flickr.

SeaTac, WA, is a new, exceptionally diverse city adjacent to both Seattle and Tacoma (as its name suggests) and home to the region’s international airport. So what’s it lacking? Transit-oriented development and neighborhoods that will lure new residents to take advantage of what SeaTac has to offer. Deputy Mayor and City Councilmember Mia Gregerson supports using smart growth strategies to achieve both.

Gregerson is a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, a nonpartisan group of municipal officials who share a passion for building great towns, cities, and communities. Gregerson, who has served as a member of SeaTac’s City Council since 2008 and is also the city’s Deputy Mayor, says that that a main challenge for SeaTac is that its convenient location and new road infrastructure have not been enough to create a compelling sense of place in the young city.

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New legislation makes it easier to clean up brownfield sites in Washington state

Esplanade Park in Tacoma, WA
Esplanade Park in Tacoma, WA, is a former brownfield site that was cleaned up and redeveloped. Newly passed legislation will help more sites achieve this success. Photo by the Washington State Department of Ecology via Flickr.

In June 2013, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill that will make it easier for communities to clean up brownfield sites across the state.

SB 5296 modifies Washington’s Model Toxics Control Act and creates new tools for brownfields cleanup. “There are a large number of toxic waste sites that have been identified in the department of ecology’s priority list,” the bill explained. “Addressing the cleanup of these toxic waste sites will provide needed jobs to citizens of Washington state.”

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Partnership in the News: EPA Smart Growth Assistance recipients announced

Three areas across the country will receive assistance to implement smart growth strategies from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The State of Rhode Island; Mississippi County, Arkansas and Kelso, Washington hope to strengthen their local economies while protecting public health and the environment through intentional planning efforts.

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Smart Growth Stories: Mayor Marilyn Strickland on development in Tacoma, WA

Tacoma, WA Mayor Marilyn Strickland considers her city “the best kept secret in Washington State,” and smart growth strategies are helping make the city an even better place to live and work.

“Tacoma kind of got bypassed during the whole urban renewal phase of the late 60s and 70s, so as a result a lot of historic property did not get razed,” Strickland says. “So we have this beautiful stock of old warehouses and historic property.”

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Introducing LOCUS state chapters

LOCUS is proud to formally announce that we are expanding our efforts to six key regions across the country with LOCUS state chapters. LOCUS state chapters, working closely with LOCUS members in these states, will complement and enhance our ongoing national work to promote walkable development through education, advocacy, and technical assistance.

We have already begun work in the chapters states of Alabama, California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington. Thank you to the LOCUS members and allies who have met with us in these states thus far.

LOCUS members are invited and encouraged to join the work of these state chapters. If you are not yet a LOCUS member and are interested in joining, submit a membership application today.

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Tacoma, WA guides economic revitalization with LEED-ND


A rendering of the long-term vision community planners have for 25th and Pacific Ave (Dome/Brewery District). Photo from the Brewery District Development Concept Study.

The City of Tacoma currently has its sights on two major smart growth initiatives that will aide in the economic revitalization of two inner city neighborhoods: the Dome/Brewery District and the Martin Luther King Jr. neighborhood.

Due to the recession and budget constraints, however, the city currently lacks the tools needed to effectively set goals and benchmark, evaluate and recognize progress for the projects. Tacoma is therefore looking to leverage existing efforts and resources to successfully revitalize these two neighborhoods. In this vein, Tacoma applied for and received a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America funded by EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. The two day workshop focused on using LEED-ND to accelerate the development of sustainable communities.

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Partnership in the News: Secretary LaHood visits TIGER-funded Spokane site

On the afternoon of August 23, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA., visited Spokane County, WA to tour the construction being done on the U.S.-395 North Spokane Corridor.

This project is ongoing, funded by a DOT TIGER grant and about halfway completed, and has also recently received another $10m TIGER grant to continue construction, totaling $45m in grants thus far.

LaHood also took the opportunity to announce a new national Freight Policy Board, with the hope of double American exports within three years.

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