Thursday, August 20, 2009

Seattle Tops List for Sustainable Cities over 250,000

A list of Sustainable Cities put together by the Natural Resources Defense Council places Seattle at #1 - San Francisco and Portland placed a respective 2nd and 3rd place. Seattle topped the lists in terms of its Green Building, Air Quality, and Energy Production & Conservation. It also placed top 10 in several other categories.

The article points out that "congestion remains a problem for Seattle, but the city is finishing a light rail system to link its downtown core to SeaTac airport, scheduled for completion by the end of 2009".

To read the entire article, click here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Setting the Record Straight on the Viaduct Replacement Project


Dear Chamber Members:

As the primary campaign heats up, we're hearing more and more rhetoric about the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project. In particular, two candidates, Mike McGinn and Mike O'Brien, are attempting to make the Tunnel+Transit solution a campaign issue.

While we respect that there are many different components to a campaign, this is an issue the Chamber has invested considerable time and energy on. It's important to set the record straight for all candidates and voters so we can move on and avoid another prolonged period of conflict and impasse.


In opposing the Tunnel+Transit solution, a couple of candidates are getting their basic math wrong. The fact of the matter is, the tunnel portion of the project costs $1.9 billion, and state funding to the tune of $2.4 billion has already been allocated to cover it--that's codified in state law

The stark reality is that with the 'surface option,' advocated by McGinn and O'Brien, the costs to local taxpayers would have actually gone up, not down. State legislators have already said they would provide *less than half of their current financial commitment* under this scenario. And instead of getting a world-class waterfront which our citizens can enjoy, the surface option would have given us a super-sized parking lot for cars and trucks on the waterfront, downtown and I-5. Indeed, an independent consultant retained by the city of Seattle concluded that the surface plan would have undermined the livability of downtown and its pedestrian feel by choking up city streets. Our citizens deserve better.


I'm proud of the central role the Greater Seattle Chamber played in the stakeholder process and negotiations that led to a Tunnel+Transit compromise. Every stakeholder gave something up to support the solution, but in the end stakeholders reached something not achieved during the eight years since the Viaduct was shaken by the Nisqually quake: *a broad-based consensus about a positive path forward*. Our Mayor, County Executive and Governor rallied around this consensus decision, and the state legislature subsequently ratified the


And this solution is endorsed by over 100 individuals, elected officials and organizations, from AAA to Allied Arts of Seattle, from Anderson Hay & Grain in Ellensburg to the King County Labor Council, Snoqualmie Indian Tribe, People for Puget Sound, the Pike Place Market PDA and the Seattle Parks Foundation. Support spans across the state from Spokane and Wenatchee to the industrial and manufacturing zones around the Port of Seattle and up and down the I-5 corridor.

The Tunnel+Transit solution preserves capacity for freight and commerce, increases transit and creates a pedestrian and bike-friendly waterfront, reduces air and water pollution and improves the quality of the Puget Sound. It avoids the enormous potential negative impact of viaduct-related construction activity on the regional and state economy, ensures public safety, creates thousands of jobs when we need them most, and assures long-term business growth by providing the needed transportation mobility for small, medium and large businesses

in the city and region. Most importantly, this solution puts to rest a project that has been plagued by expensive political deadlock and delay for too long.

Instead of generating more controversy and inaction, let's pull together to move our region forward with the needed infrastructure and transit that will keep our economy strong and create a waterfront that generations can enjoy for years to come.


Tayloe Washburn

Chair, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce

Two New Viaduct Videos Released by WSDOT

Check out the two viaduct videos released by WSDOT on August 10th - the first video is a virtual drive through the new tunnel. The second video is a tour of Seattle's new and improved waterfront.

Monday, August 10, 2009

SODO Warehouse Fire - Video

One of Urban Visions' industrial structures was set ablaze early Wednesday morning - KIRO TV News captured footage of the fire and posted it on their website:

The tenant, Lawrimore Project, remains open for business as the structure only suffered minor aesthetic damage.

Many thanks to the swift response from the SPD and SFD.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Seattle recieves $20M grant for EV Plug-In Infrastructure



Gregory J. Nickels, Mayor
For Immediate Release: Aug. 5, 2009

Contact: Alex Fryer, (206) 684-8358 or (206) 941-5931 (cell),

Seattle: Get Ready to Drive Electric
Federal grant will fund charging stations throughout the city

SEATTLE – Mayor Greg Nickels today thanked President Obama and the U.S. Department of Energy for funding the largest electrification project in the history of transportation. Under a $99.8 million grant announced today, Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation (eTec) will establish up to 2,550 charging systems for electric vehicles in the Seattle area, as well as four other metropolitan areas across the country. The charging station network will enable drivers to use electric vehicles throughout the region with the security of knowing a charging station is nearby.
“This news heralds the end of the filling station and the beginning of the era of the charging station,” said Nickels. “We are going to be leaders in converting our transportation from oil to electricity. We started with the Seattle streetcar and made giant strides last month with the opening of light rail. And now we’ll make it simple to drive a car powered by clean City Light electricity.”
Nickels thanked federal and regional partners, including U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, U.S. Reps. Jim McDermott and Jay Inslee, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire and King County Executive Kurt Triplett. These and other leaders helped usher this plan through Congress and implement it locally.
Setting the stage for today’s announcement, Nickels and Nissan North America signed an agreement last April to make Seattle one of the first markets to introduce Nissan’s
LEAF – a zero-emission, all-electric car. In return, Seattle pledged to take regulatory and other steps to get ready for the arrival of Nissan’s electric car in October 2010. According to Nissan, the LEAF will go 100 miles on a single charge and be priced in the range of a typical family sedan.
The grant, announced today, will offer purchasers of the Nissan vehicle who participate in the program a 220-volt charging station in their home at no cost. In addition, eTec will establish a charging network throughout the Seattle-area that can be used by any electric vehicle equipped with industry standard connectors. eTec and project partners will study electric vehicle and charging infrastructure usage to help streamline future charge station deployment across the country.

At current residential electricity rates, the Nissan LEAF would cost approximately $190 to drive 10,000 miles, or just under 2 cents a mile. To drive the same distance in a car that gets 25 miles per gallon – the 2008 national MPG average – would cost approximately $1,100 at $2.76 per gallon, the current average cost of gasoline in Seattle.
The demonstration grant will not just benefit car owners with garages. A unique aspect of the program will offer the general public the ability to test drive and use advanced technology vehicles. Zipcar, the world’s largest car sharing service, is a partner in the eTec program. Zipcar and the city of Seattle expect to collaborate on placing electric vehicles in the Zipcar Seattle fleet to be available by the hour to city employees and the general public.
Nickels has made cleaner transportation a priority since his first years in office, beginning with the city’s own fleet of hybrid electric cars and trucks. In 2008, the city of Seattle began a pilot project to test plug-in hybrid electric cars.

Monday, August 3, 2009

HardRock Cafe Construction Update

Construction continues at The Liberty Building, HardRock Cafe's forthcoming home along Pike Street. The interior of the building has been stripped down to its skeleton - look for a more detailed construction update later this week. For now I've attached two photographs of Hardrock's new exterior signage.