Last week, King County announced it was donating the surplus land next to the future Northgate Light Rail Station to be used for affordable housing. The county is moving quickly to permit and allow construction to begin on the site by a nonprofit developer after rejecting the previous proposals to build on the site.
The idea of building dense, affordable housing directly on top of rapid transit stations, also known as transit-oriented development (TOD), is to both make the housing accessible while also making it possible for residents to move about the city aboard the greenest form of transportation. A TOD project like the one at Northgate solves many of the most pressing issues of our region, such as providing affordable housing, reducing traffic congestion, and slowing climate change through lower energy use in transit and housing.
By donating the land upon which the development will sit, King County has made use of a new law passed this spring in the Washington Legislature, which allows for donating land if it is used for non-for-profit affordable housing. Previously, cities and counties were forced to sell the land, even when simply transferring the land between two different local governments.
Want to help expand TOD in our region? Sound Transit is currently taking suggestions for their new light rail stations in Snohomish County. Using their interactive map, you can simply click on a station location and let them know you’d like to see more space for people to live and play near the expanded light rail network.
Want to read more about TOD projects happening near you? Here’s a list of recent articles we’re reading about the subject:
- Affordable housing is finally going to sprout right on top of the Capitol Hill light rail station. Construction of new housing has broken ground at the Capitol Hill light rail station, but some worry too few units are being built there [Crosscut]
- Sound Transit plans to facilitate affordable housing near light rail stations. Sound Transit will now be setting aside most of its surplus land around stations to be used for housing [Seattle Weekly]
- Sound Transit rail stations could help solve our housing crisis. An opinion piece encouraging the building of housing around light rail stations to meet the growing demand [Seattle Times]
- 18-story building will house Lynnwood’s next generation. A new housing development is planned for Lynnwood near the light rail station opening there in 2024 [Everett Herald]
- Light Rail station area planning for unincorporated Snohomish County. Sound Transit has started the planning phase for the stations they will build in unincorporated Snohomish County, looking at land use and station locations [The Urbanist]
Eric Bronson is the Digital Advocacy and Engagement Manager at YWCA. He manages the Firesteel blog in addition to its social media streams and action initiatives. A graduate of Oberlin College, Eric focuses on the intersection of race and gender within the American political economy.
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