"Smart Growth" and "New Urbanism" … Compared with "Large Lot Zoning" (Tom Lane) [ Home Page - Click Here ]

(April 1, 2013) – Traditional "Large Lot Zoning" is "Greener" than "Smart Growth" within Urban Growth Boundaries . . . Copyright 2009 – 2013 . . . Tom Lane . . . Photographing California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington

(UPDATED May 12, 2012) Kemper Freeman Sues Three Times To Stop Illegal Light Rail on I-90 – Photos of Bellevue Suburbs

Above: F. Kemper Freeman Jr. and his 3-D architectural model of Bellevue.

(May 12, 2012 Tom Lane) – Sound Transit has refused to back down from its arrogant and illegal plans to build light rail on I-90.  Consequentially, I’ve written numerous posts on the current status of light rail, bus rapid transit, and Kemper Freeman’s lawsuits.  These posts will be consolidated in chronological order.  Meanwhile, click this link for a list of posts, and the latest news is below -

http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/category/light-rail/

Video of Kemper Freeman -

This video interview features F. Kemper Freeman Jr., advocating Civil Engineer Dr. William Eager’s model of increasing freeway lanes by 6%, in order to reduce Seattle area congestion by 36%. This link is from Dr. William Eager’s web site: “http://TheTruthAboutTraffic.Org” (Web site appears to no longer exist.)

More Videos from Kemper Freeman, Light Rail, and I-1125

Click here for my You Tube page, that does not appear in the list of posts above:

Eastside Transportation Association (ETA) Appeals East Link I-90 Light Rail Ruling

(May 12, 2012) Just a few days after Wendell Cox’s speech, The Eastside Transportation Association (Jim Horn, Kemper Freeman, and others), who represents individuals who drive automobiles in the State of Washington, appealed the recent ruling allowing light rail on I-90.

From the Eastside Transportation Association:

Former State Senator Jim Horn, Spokesman for the Eastside Transportation Association, (ETA) announced today that they have instructed their attorneys to appeal to the State Supreme Court a recent ruling in March by Kittitas County Superior Court that dismissed ETA’s suit to prohibit the State from transferring the two center lanes of the

I-90 Bridge to Sound Transit. Sound Transit wants to use the center lanes for light rail use between Seattle and Bellevue to the exclusion of all other vehicular traffic including busses, HOV’s and Mercer Island traffic.

The suit was filed by ETA on behalf of all Washington State citizens, based on the strict protection of the State’s 18th Amendment, which disallows gas taxes paid for by road users to be used for anything other than the construction and maintenance of roads – which is defined as “highway purposes” in the Amendment. Previous Supreme Court rulings have upheld this view, and determined that “rail” programs are not a highway purpose.

Horn says the plaintiffs are also concerned that a placement of Sound Transit Rail on the Center Roadway could put the entire 1-90 Bridge at risk of failure. With rail, the bridge will be operating at 98% weight capacity. Parts of two floating bridges, the 1-90 Bridge and the Hood Canal Bridge, have sunk in the past.

Says Horn, “Public safety requires that these concerns be addressed before the commitment to build is made.”

You can read more on Michael Ennis blog, here:

http://www.washingtonpolicy.org/blog/post/eta-appeals-ruling-light-rail-across-i-90

Here is the April 27, 2012 Press Release from the Eastside Transportation Association web site:

http://smartgrowthusa.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/eta-press-release-court-appeal-jim-horn-may-2012.pdf

East Link Light Rail on I-90 Violates the Washington State Constitution 18th Amendment

I am very glad to hear that Jim Horn, Kemper Freeman, and others with ETA are appealing the March, 2012 ruling. There is no question that using gas tax monies for non-highway purposes such as light rail is illegal under the 18th amendment to the State Constitution. I campaigned for a YES vote on I-1125 in November, 2011, and have written about this extensively on my web site, including this link:

http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/republicans-endorse-initiative-1125-democrats-pelz-oppos/

We need more freeway lanes, since light rail will never take more than 1% to 3% of all vehicle trips. Construction of light rail will also causes significant economic disruption to businesses in Bellevue. This was documented by Hebert Research and summarized in this article in The Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2016762939_railstudy14m.html

“Hebert Research reported that shoppers will visit stores less frequently, 100 businesses will move or shut down, 7,239 workers will lose their jobs and business losses will reach $1.4 billion over four years.”

(April 21, 2011) Breaking News: Court issues a ruling; light rail is essentially “on-hold” again, as Kemper plans to sue again.

(April 22, 2011) Listen to Kemper Freeman on KIRO-FM Radio – Be sure to hear Kemper Freeman and his attorney Phil Talmadge on KIRO Radio, with reporter Brandi Kruse; audio and transcript, at this archived audio link: http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=11&sid=467717

(April 21, 2011) Seattle Times – published on-line, 10am – Thursday 4/21/2011 – “I-90 light-rail opponents led by Kemper Freeman lose case at high court”

“The Washington State Supreme Court has rejected an attempt to keep light rail off the Interstate 90 floating bridge, prompting cheers from transit backers. However, opponents expect to wage a second legal fight, perhaps through lower courts.”

Read More at: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014835731_kemper22m.html

This is very sad news, and it’s incredible that the Washington State justices were dishonest and unprincipled, in choosing to not vote in aggregate on the Constitutionality of Sound Transit. As Kemper says in the KIRO-FM radio interview, it’s like the judges escaped out the side door, and refused to address the issue of Constitutionality. Therefore, given forthcoming lawsuits, light rail (“mass transit”) remains on hold for Interstate 90, between Seattle and Bellevue.

Fortunately, the article says that Kemper Freeman plans to issue another lawsuit. Kemper Freeman’s attorney Phil Talmidge says that the future of light rail on I-90 remains “uncertain.” I very much doubt that Bellevue residents will allow light rail through their exclusive neighborhoods, places of work and worship, and world class shopping areas. They will continue the fight against Sound Transit (under the State Dept. of Transportation) and the Puget Sound Regional Council.

We need to increase public discussion concerning land use and transportation issues. I was hoping that Kemper would win this case, and that it would set a precedent for light rail nationwide, and would bring more attention to the fact that light rail only works in high density cities, such as New York.

The web site Demographia at this link: http://www.demographia.com/db-ua2000dense.htm, reports densities for hundreds of US metro areas of 100,000+, based on the 2000 Census. Seattle ranks well below New York, Denver, Phoenix, Vegas, L.A., San Francisco, Sacramento, Miami, Salt Lake, San Diego, Portland, Boulder, Dallas, Houston, Detroit, and dozens of others. However, none of these cities have densities approaching New York.

I have reprinted the metro area density data from Demographia at this new link: http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/seattle-bellevue-density-kemper-freeman-sues-suing-sound-transit-mass-transit-light-rail-transit/

As you can see from this photo of Bellevue and the Cascade Mountains at sunset, Bellevue is a low density city – indeed, note all the tall native Douglas Fir trees –

Bellevue across Meydenbauer Bay at sunset with the Cascades and tall native Douglas Fir trees.

Kemper Freeman Hires Internationally Known Transportation Experts

The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett-Tacoma metro area has a very low density, even less than Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and probably Phoenix. Las Vegas and Phoenix both have a better system of freeways and very wide boulevards, and consequentially, people drive the speed limit, and therefore do not want mass transit. Since the 1970’s, Seattle planners have refused to widen I-405 and I-5 to 12 lanes, and have refused to build a 6 to 8 lane loop freeway through the Snoqualmie Valley.

In hiring internationally recognized transportation engineers,
http://www.awb.org/articles/transportation/q_a_with_kemper_freeman_wasting_money_on_mass_transit.htm
, Kemper Freeman found:


“I may be the only person in America who has done a study on the correlation of population density and transportation, which is a core issue. More than half of all the people in the United States who ride mass transit are within the city of New York. This is a great transportation solution for the great city of New York. To make it work, the population densities in New York, especially in Manhattan, range from 30,000 to 60,000 per square mile.”

That’s the kind of densities you need for successful mass transit. In Washington there’s a precinct or two — I think it’s on Queen Anne — that approaches the lower number, about 30,000. For most of us in the greater Seattle area, the average density per square mile is about 2,500 to 2,600.

Seattle’s density is too low for mass transit, at only 2,000 persons/square mile. Kemper’s engineers also found that increasing Seattle area lane miles by only 6% would reduce congestion by 36% (!). Certainly, Sound Transit lines alone could never do this.

The people of Bellevue do not want light rail. This reminds me of the sad day last fall, when Oregon DLCD officials John VanLandingham and Richard Whitman issued a remand against expansion of Bend’s urban growth boundary, despite the fact that the people of Bend want their city to expand.

Links to Kemper Freeman’s Engineering Data

Please ignore the information below until this is updated. I have a new page on Dr. Eager’s work at -

Cick the links below for Kemper Freeman”s Engineering Studies, prepared by Dr. William Eager of TDA Inc. of Seattle and Denver. The blue study below is from the American Dream Foundation: http://americandreamcoalition.org/landuse/densityconge.pdf.

I have repeated these links on several of my web pages, since with few exceptions, the Seattle media is biased in favor of mass transit and smart growth. I would like to spread the truth that Sound Transit’s efforts will not help the region’s congestion. I hope that others will forward Kemper Freeman’s studies, so that we can add more freeway lanes, and increase economic productivity.

See this study at the American Dream Coalition: http://americandreamcoalition.org/landuse/densityconge.pdf.

Additional studies on how to end Seattle gridlock can be downloaded at the burgundy TDA Inc. web site: http://www.tdanet.com/tda_inc_downloads_page.htm

Read additional studies at TDA Inc. – http://www.tdanet.com/tda_inc_downloads_page.htm

“We the People” need to Defeat Sound Transit and the Puget Sound Regional Council (i.e. Regional Planning Agencies)

“We the people” (quoting Socialist radio commentator and author Thom Hartmann), need to continue to speak out against those who run state and regional planning agencies. We also need to investigate the constitutionality of their regional plans, as Kemper Freeman has done. Too often, we forget that non-appointed personnel on planning agencies are still public employees.

We can contact our elected representatives if we disagree with their views, and ask that the non-appointed officials be relieved of their duties. I have advocated for quite some time that pro-smart growth personnel are very principled and philosophical, and could be re-appointed as University professors in environmental studies and public affairs.

We also need to identify and support those who have the money and political strength to fight these Socialist agencies (i.e. Kemper Freeman against Seattle light rail, and in the case of Bend, the Central Oregon Association of Realtors and others, against the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development).

Land Use Planning and Comprehensive Plans, but not Zoning, constitute Socialism

Remember, Land Use Planning was an original part of Socialism (see the classic text “Economics” by Paul Samuelson). In fact, large scale land use planning has no relationship to either physical urban planning (i.e. designing and planning a city, its roads, and its parks), or to Eucledian zoning. Eucledian zoning is a democratic (small d) process, by way of public meetings with City Councils and town planners.

In sharp contrast, comprehensive plans, from the Puget Sound Regional Council in Seattle, the DLCD in Oregon, Metro in Portland, the DRCOG in Denver, and many similar agencies, are not democratic since they involve limited citizen participation, and are subject to excessive philosophical motivation (i.e. planning roads and bikeways to reduce VMT’s (vehicle miles traveled) to reduce greenhouse gases pursuant to the global warming hypothesis).

As citizens, we need to stop those who believe that Socialist smart growth and mass transit – by way of centralized land use planning – constitute legally and/or ethically binding planning systems. Eminent domain and urban growth boundaries are both unethical. To be specific, urban growth boundaries cause land speculation, resulting in housing bubbles, and expensive housing for middle class families.

Instead, we need to recognize that traditional Eucledian zoning, and the establishment of parks and open space, and even including environmental groups raising money to buy open space, is collectively paramount to maintaining what the majority of several generation of Americans have desired – large homes on large lots, as indicated by the recent 2011 Smart Growth Survey from the National Association of Realtors.

While many of my Conservative readers may have a knee jerk reaction against zoning, remember that it’s a representative, democratic process, involving extensive citizen participation at City Council meetings. (And, City Councilors are elected.) And, zoning began in the 1920’s, in an attempt to establish safe, single family neighborhoods with yards, away from apartments, railroads, and factories. Furthermore, since zoning takes place at the local level, citizens can have an impact by talking to their elected representatives. Zoning contrasts sharply with comprehensive plans for millions of people, from non-elected, appointed bureaucrats on regional planning agencies (such as the Puget Sound Regional Council and Sound Transit).

Some of the material below also appears at this address:
http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/4290kemperfreemansoundtransitcourtruling/

From the roof of Kemper Freeman

Introductory Comments

Due to continued revisions, any html mistakes or broken links are my responsibility. Please post corrections, and your opinions on transit, in the comment section, even if you disagree. They will arrive in my email box and I will make corrections.

And, as of April 18, 2011, I’ve added a second page on Bellevue urban planning at this link. Bellevue is Seattle’s premier low density suburb. Ultimately, I plan to photograph and cover all the Bellevue neighborhoods at this link. Then, Salt Lake and Denver. http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/bellevue2

Kemper Freeman et. al. v. Christine Gregoire et. al.

Kemper Freeman, noted Bellevue (near Seattle) entrepreneur, real estate developer, philanthropist, transportation advocate, and owner of Bellevue Square, appeared in State Supreme Court on Thursday September 17, 2010, as “Kemper Feeman et. al. v. Christine Gregoire et. al.” Kemper Freeman is suing the state (Gov. Gregoire) for state agency Sound Transit’s proposed illegal move to use lanes on Interstate 90 for illegal Seattle light rail. Kemper owns much of the real estate in downtown Bellevue, including Bellevue Square. Light rail is planned for 112th NE, near his Bellevue Square, the #1 mall in the Northwest.

Kemper Freeman is absolutely correct, under the Washington State Constitution, using state funds for purposes other than roads is “illegal.”

Furthermore, Seattle needs more freeway lanes, on all its freeways. Bike lanes, mass transit, and buses will not have any major impact on such a large region of over 3 million persons, where 95% of all trips depend on automobile transportation.

Kemper Freeman Hires Internationally Famous Transportation Experts

Kemper hired several internationally famous transportation experts, demonstrating that light rail is not practical for the entire Puget Sound region. Kemper is quoted in this article in Washington Business Magazine, Link to article: http://www.awb.org/articles/transportation/q_a_with_kemper_freeman_wasting_money_on_mass_transit.htm


“You’re going right to the crucial point. I may be the only person in America who has done a study on the correlation of population density and transportation, which is a core issue. More than half of all the people in the United States who ride mass transit are within the city of New York. This is a great transportation solution for the great city of New York. To make it work, the population densities in New York, especially in Manhattan, range from 30,000 to 60,000 per square mile.

That’s the kind of densities you need for successful mass transit. In Washington there’s a precinct or two — I think it’s on Queen Anne — that approaches the lower number, about 30,000. For most of us in the greater Seattle area, the average density per square mile is about 2,500 to 2,600.

Our study showed that the mode of transportation used depended on density. We found that as density went up from 2,600 per square mile to 30,000, the use of roadways went up with it in a straight line. Only after reaching a density of 30,000 does the rising use of roads begin to slow down.

Thus as you grow through these densities, your road system must grow along with the population density. As densities reach 60,000 per square mile, use of roadways declines. At 60,000 people per square mile, you’re back to needing the same amount of roadway you needed at 2,600 per square mile.”

Therefore, adding more lanes is required to keep up with the additional 1.7 million people who will move to the Seattle metro by 2040. Transit oriented developments at regional growth centers, connected by mass transit as envisioned by The Puget Sound Regional Council’s Vision 2040 (http://www.psrc.org/growth/centers/), will not alleviate traffic problems.

Kemper’s Engineers Found a Solution to Seattle Gridlock

Kemper’s engineers also found a solution to Seattle gridlock; quoting from the previous article:

“The engineers found that if we simply increased the capacity of the overall road system — 6 percent more lane miles, half of which would be additional lanes on existing freeways, the other half would be additional lanes mostly on existing arterials — we would reduce congestion from today’s level by 36 percent. And it would fully accommodate the 45 percent increase in trips expected over the next 30 years.

And we’re not saying that transit doesn’t have a place. It’s been oversold, though. Advocates of transit have been trying to fool us, saying that it is how we’re going to solve future transportation problems. I contend that it is mathematically impossible. It will not happen.”

Kemper Explains the Political and Media Bias For Transit, and Against More Freeway Lanes

In this companion article in Association of Washington Business, http://www.awb.org/articles/transportation/q_a_with_kemper_freeman_puget_sound_needs_better_roads.htm
Kemper has additional comments about the region’s failure to increase freeway capacity on Insterstate 5, through Downtown Seattle. Kemper said:

“Here’s another classic… Others in this region start with the answer and they come up with a plan that has no footing under it. The Alaskan Way Viaduct is one of these. This is where a political decision has been made to replace the viaduct.

One of the things we learned in our study was more than half the people using the Alaskan Way Viaduct aren’t there because they want to be. They’re there because I-5 is broken.

We also found that I-5 through Seattle is number one out of 27 projects needed to reduce congestion. And while you’re fixing I-5, if you add some capacity for far less money than you can fix or replace the viaduct, you could tear down the viaduct and make a nice boulevard, all that’s needed if I-5 is handling the load.

It’s political, and I’m not sure where that’s coming from. If I was from Seattle and I knew there was a better alternative for less money, an alternative that actually solves more transportation problems than rebuilding the viaduct, I’d want to know about it. The public is not being allowed to hear what I just said.

Well, you just heard Kemper’s logical analysis here, courtesy of the two articles from the Washington Association of Businesses. Yes, the media is generally biased in Seattle and adjacent Portland, as it’s pro-mass transit and against freeway lanes. This is Seattle, not Las Vegas, Phoenix, or L.A. where people love to speed on their wide streets and freeways.

If you live in Seattle, forward this to your local representatives, and let’s solve the region’s traffic problems by building 6% more freeway lanes. And, this will also create thousands of new jobs in a region with 9% to even double digit unemployment in some areas of King County (especially in predominately blue collar areas, due to a decline in housing starts and remodeling).

And, in a third article, Kemper favors more buses and even bus rapid transit, which he thinks would cost a fraction of light rail yet accomplish the same goal — yet in only three years of construction (versus several years, if not decades for mass transit, given the very real potential for cost overruns, lawsuits, and continued economic distress).

Will Kemper win next time? Hopefully. He has always brought logical arguments to the light rail debate, formulating his arguments from well respected transportation and light rail consultants.

Here’s a map of Puget Sound area density from the Sightline Institute of Seattle, available at: http://www.sightline.org/maps/maps/Sprawl_Sea_02m Bellevue and the eastside (Redmond, Issaquah, Sammamish, etc.) have significantly lower density than Seattle city limits:

Population density in the Seattle area. From the Sightline Institute of Seattle, http://www.sightline.org/maps/maps/Sprawl_Sea_02m, Accessed Feb. 16, 2011.

Looking East at the Bellevue Skyline and Cascades at dusk in mid-winter.

Did Henry Ford’s Model T Start Urban Sprawl?

While some argue that the auto is a direct cause of urban sprawl, it’s actually a result of human nature. Robert Breugmann, Professor of Architecture and Art History at the University of Chicago, and author of “Sprawl, A Compact History,” points out that cities have “sprawled” away into low density suburbs, ever since Rome. People move away from the congested crime ridden central business district, as they seek safer neighborhoods, better schools, and private yards.

Indeed, Breugmann shows how low density can be greener, with solar power and permaculture, in his article “Urban myths: Sprawl gets a bad press but it has given us privacy, mobility and choice” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2006/jan/28/comment.comment)

I will be adding more about Breugman soon. Be sure to check out his web site for free PDF articles: http://www.robertbruegmann.com and a free link to a chapter in his book “Sprawl a Compact History.”

Breugman endorses low density properties for permaculture and solar panel:

“There is no inherent reason why low-density living needs to lead to more energy use or produce more pollution than high-density living. In fact, at low enough densities it is possible to imagine urbanites producing almost all of their own energy through solar, wind and geothermal power, harvesting water and returning waste water to the ground locally, all without the vast centralized systems that were necessary to sustain the dense industrial cities of the 19th century that we now often mistake for the natural urban state.”

Html notes: All of the above updated at 1:49am, Sat, 23 April, 2011.
Tiny url feature and html links in text do not work.
Full links will not display properly. Further editing required.
Add: Specific densities for 1) Metro areas, and 2) City limits.

Kevin Wallace, Bellevue Councilman, Proposes Alternative Routes for Bellevue Light Rail

Recently, Bellevue City Councilman wrote an editorial for the Seattle Times detailing significant problems with Sound Transit’s current route. This would destroy 47 homes in the beautiful large lot Enatai neighborhood (photos shown below). Wallace has proposed two alternative routes: 1) an existing railroad bridge over I-90, parallel to I-405, and: 2) “Vision Line,” with light rail along I-90.  The engineering study for the route across the existing railroad bridge cost the City of Bellevue $670,000 of its own money.

In this Unconstitutional era of eminent domain, urban renewal districts (smart growth), and light rail, this is yet another example of a state run institution (Sound Transit: http://soundtransit.org) trying to take away the rights of a City Councilors to meet the demands of its constituents.

Of course, we know that the affluent Bellevue City Council and its residents organized in approximately 100 neighborhood associations, will not let Sound Transit destroy its neighborhoods and economy.

Seattle Times Inappropriately Attacks Kevin Wallace (March 2011)

The City of Seattle and King County, along with the Puget Sound Regional Council, want light rail everywhere in the region. Kevin Wallace and Kemper Freeman, and many Bellevue residents, do not want the line through Enatai into downtown Bellevue.

Bellevue as a traditional low density, mid-century, car-oriented large suburb with a world class downtown and mall (Bellevue Square). Towering light rail pillars would ruin the current aesthetics of the City, and result in the loss of 47 homes in Enatai and even Old Growth Douglas Fir trees. I think that metropolitan Bellevue should be preserved, exactly the way that the Freemans and many others developed it several decades ago. If the system isn’t broken, why fix it? I cannot think of a more economically successful and attractive large suburb of just over 100,000 persons.

That’s why Kevin Wallace has alternative routes. He is doing his job as a councilmember, by protecting his constituents in Enatai.

Wallace also proposed building a private light rail line with a private company on tracks between Redmond and Snohomish, several miles north of Bellevue. These tracks are not part of Sound Transit. Unfortunately, The Seattle Times chose to attack him, claiming that he was going to extend this line into Bellevue, creating an “unspecified” conflict of interest.

However, even their own article quoted Wallace stating that the proposed line was only between Snohomish and Redmond. And, Wallace said that any possible future extensions to Bellevue would have to meet the City of Bellevue’s standards. Furthermore, the private rail company went bankrupt months ago, before the Seattle Times launched a series of ridiculous attacks on Wallace’s credibility.

In this article from the Seattle Times on March 8, 2011, Wallace said:

“There is a widely shared present concern that an externally-controlled government agency – Sound Transit – is not listening to Bellevue’s concerns for our neighborhoods. Rather, Sound Transit, as its financial woes grow, continues to change its plans for bringing light rail through our city, using ever cheaper means to do so, even though what they would build would forever compromise the very things that have made our city great.”

“We were at that point of exploring the connection between Redmond and Snohomish with a nonbinding agreement,” Wallace said. “… If anything happened in Bellevue, we were going to have to explore that further with our legal counsel.”

Wallace said he doesn’t expect to move forward with the deal because of the railroad bankruptcy case.

“From our perspective, it’s fair to say it’s water under the bridge,” he said. “… We think their endeavor is very interesting, but the bankruptcy filing really made our nonbinding agreement sort of meaningless, so we sort of walked away.”

Wallace told the Seattle Times:

Wallace said he didn’t seek a legal opinion on the arrangement with GNP because the railway company hasn’t tried to buy real estate in Bellevue or run trains into the city. The nonbinding agreement was subject to Wallace obtaining a legal analysis concluding the pact wouldn’t conflict with his City Council responsibilities.

This is not news; it’s tabloid journalism.. Clearly, Wallace told the Seattle Times that he had no plans to run trains into Bellevue, until talking to his lawyers. In fact, it’s water under the bridge, since the private rail line is bankrupt.

Why Is a Bankrupt Rail Company News to the Seattle Times?

It’s unfortunate that the Seattle Times appears to have chosen to go after someone in such an aggressive manor. It’s intriguing to note that Wallace doesn’t go along with Sound Transit and the Puget Sound Regional Council. Wallace is also a rookie on the City Council, so is easily an innocent target of editorial bias, from what appears to be a stuffy pro-mass transit / pro-smart growth newsroom.

Many readers here are in Bellevue, against sound transit, and favor preservation of Bellevue’s suburban character with its large lots, tree ordinances, and open space. They can see through stories like these in the Seattle Times as red herrings.

Not All “Liberal” Markets have Smart Growth, Mass Transit, and Urban Growth Boundaries

Those of us familiar with growth management and environmental quality in other markets know that mass transit, comprehensive plans, urban growth boundaries, and smart growth towers are often not found in very liberal, pro-environment markets. For example, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Durango, and Fort Collins do not have urban growth boundaries. In fact, Northern New Mexico and the mountainous counties in Colorado are arguably more liberal than Western Washington, given that most rural counties vote Democrat in n. NM and sw CO, and most rural counties vote Republican in Washington.

In fact, Durango and Santa Fe both have “Ecovillages” on County property, since there are no ordinances stopping moderate density developments outside of urban growth boundaries. In King County, lots are 5 acres outside the UGB – minimum – unless development rights are grandfathered in.

Santa Fe and Palm Springs do not require smart growth building design, and homes are limited to one story in Palm Springs. And, doesn’t Albuquerque’s light rail line run on preexisting rail tracks for much of its route? I’ll research this.

In addition, when connecting mass transit, New Mexico just built the track where the people already live. They did not worry about construct towering condos in smart growth centers, like the Puget Sound Regional Council does. Instead, they started the line in Belen and it ends in Santa Fe, crossing dozens of miles of open, undeveloped land – that’s 100 miles total! That’s longer than the total distance of light rail in the Seattle area, from Pierce to Snohomish County. Albuquerque’s line would be similar to establishing a light rail line over a 100 miles from Olympia to Everett, on existing tracks! Albuquerque-Santa Fe mass transit: http://nmrailrunner.com/index.asp

Kevin Wallace’s plan to use the BNSF track for sound transit is therefore not unprecedented, given what Albuquerque and other cities have done. However, since Sound Transit and the PSRC are very provincial and stuck on the TOD concept (Transit Oriented Developments in Regional Growth Centers: (http://www.psrc.org/growth/centers/), they are quick to dismiss novel ideas. I will verify that Albuquerque used existing tracks for its Rail Runner and post a link.

Bellevue City Council Disagreements over Light Rail

Some argue that Bellevue City Councilor Claudia Balducci should recuse herself from voting on transit related issues, since she’s on the Sound Transit Board. Others argue that Councilor Grant Degginger should do likewise, since he also apparently has some connection to Sound Transit.

However, these are not conflicts of interest, since these politicians also must vote for what their Bellevue constituents want, in order to get reelected. It is not uncommon for politicians to serve on multiple boards.

If Kemper loses and Degginger and Balducci do not vote for Wallace’s alternative line, which is preferred by the voters, then they will violate the public trust and won’t be re-elected. However, smart politicians know how to tread water carefully in these scenarios. In the final analysis, if Kemper loses, the Council will have to unanimously approve one of the two alternative lines, in order to get reelected. Indeed, everyone on the council wants to become mayor of Bellevue someday. Nobody is going to cut their throat over voting the wrong way on light rail, when their own political future is sitting on the (rail) line (pun intended).

Clearly, continued speculation on alternative routes and bankrupt rail lines is silly, and “best kept out of the papers,” until we find out Kemper wins his lawsuit or not. Here’s a recent Seattle Times in-depth article (Jan. 11, 2011)describes the varying positions of Bellevue City Councilors over light rail: “Light Rail Fractures Bellevue City Council.” http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013909038_bellevueyear12m.html

Here is the Bellevue City Council:

The Increasingly Famous Bellevue City Council.

Photo of the Alternative Route

Here’s the alternative route, east of the exiting line over an old train overpass on I-90. Why does Sound Transit have a problem with this route?

I think this is the proposed route for light rail across I-90.

From the same location, here is the intersection of I-90 and I-405. Why not route a noisy, screechy light rail line along freeways, instead of adjacent to a quiet residential neighborhood (Enatai)?

From the same location of the train bridge, heres the intersection of I-90 and I-405. Doesnt it make more sense to route a noisy, squeaky, light rail line near interstate highways … instead of pristine neighborhoods such as Enatai?

Here’s a view of Bellevue, looking north from I-405 in Newscastle. I-90 runs across the bridge, and the dark trees behind it secluding the Entatai neighborhood. However, the real threat to Entatai is when the Sound Transit line makes a 90 degree turn, within the evergreen forest to the left of the photo:

Bellevue from I-90 in Newcastle.

From under that I-90 bridge, here the view north to Enatai lakeshore properties and Lake Washington. These homes (and, hundreds of others), would be affected by the screechy light rail.  Here is a Seattle Times article on Enatai: “Where The Woods Meet The Water.”

Here’s a map of Enatai:

The Enatai neighborhood, next to I-90 where light rail may run, and then turn north on Bellevue Way – destroying 47 homes, and waking everyone up at night with loud screeching noises. Sound Transit and the Puget Sound Regional Council do not care about your private property. Let’s hope Kemper wins and stops this Sound Transit nonsense.

Ugly Towering Condos on Mass Transit Corridors

The massive light rail project from Seattle to Redmond (where Microsoft is) involves transfer of development rights, and upzoning, where builders in the already congested Bellevue-Redmond area can build at an even higher density (upzoning), in exchange for preserving forests and farmland in rural King County.

I’d rather have an acre out in rural King County; certainly not a place in a towering condo next to a noisy extravagantly designed mass transit station (like the one near the airport, pictured below), in a very congested urban area.

The City of Bellevue ordinances for this project represent very strong land use regulation, such as this pdf link. Here is another one, over 100 pages long, and with many restrictions on what can and cannot be done. If you are fan of limited government, and allowing people to commute to work however they want to (car, bus, bike), then you will not like the strict policies in these ordinances.

On the other hand, if you are a Bellevue resident, they may protect your property values, and this is a good thing. As famous Dartmouth land use economist William Fischel always points out, there’s a big difference between zoning from local cities to maintain good schools and property values, versus complex regional growth management plans extending beyond city limits from Sound Transit and the Puget Sound Regional Council.

The organization “Building a Better Bellevue,” wrote this about Sound Transit, the multi-county mass transit organization, on its very informative blog:

“There is a widely shared present concern that an externally-controlled government agency – Sound Transit – is not listening to Bellevue’s concerns for our neighborhoods. Rather, Sound Transit, as its financial woes grow, continues to change its plans for bringing light rail through our city, using ever cheaper means to do so, even though what they would build would forever compromise the very things that have made our city great.”

I’d never live in Seattle since it’s too expensive, having achieved Superstar Status years ago. Indeed, just as Liz Dunn and associates have proclaimed, Seattle remains a smart growth “laboratory” (“Preservation Green Lab”) for smart growth principles. I’d rather not be part of a mass experiment.  I’d be on a ten acre organic farm somewhere away from Urban Growth Boundaries in Western Colorado, New Mexico, or North Carolina.

Kemper Freeman Resigns from Bellevue Downtown Association in February, 2011

Kemper Freeman resigned from the Bellevue Downtown Associationdue to their pro-light rail position. This is unfortunate, since Kemper’s Father (Kemper Freeman Sr.) founded the council decades ago.

Kemper’s resignation started a series of articles in local newspapers and on web sites. I cannot believe the vicious attacks on Kemper and his family on various “comment” threads and even internet articles. If it was not for Kemper Freeman, Bellevue and the eastside as we know it today would not exist. And, Microsoft might have high rents in overtaxed Seattle. In fact, the entire eastside economy depends on Bellevue. Any threat to Bellevue, such as light rail lines destroying homes or businesses, could have significant consequences in this recession, and destroy the eastside, especially with inevitable cost overruns.

Even the aesthetic ugliness of light rail, elevated light rail tracks, towering smart growth towers near the stations, and the loss of old growth trees, could have negative effects.

Here’s an article from the Seattle Times on Kemper’s resignation, Feb. 7, 2011: “Kemper Freeman quits Bellevue business group his father founded”

“Kemper Freeman has left the Bellevue Downtown Association after being a member for more than 30 years.” By Nancy Bartley. Seattle Times staff reporter


“Kemper Freeman Sr., who developed Bellevue Square, was among nine from the city who founded what’s now called the Bellevue Downtown Association in 1974. While there apparently aren’t any records of total membership for the early years, by 1983 there were 122 members. Today there are 242.”


“Kemper Freeman, a member of the Bellevue Downtown Association (BDA) for more than 30 years and whose father was one of the founders of the group, has quit the nonprofit, citing differences in opinion over the direction the agency is going, particularly over its endorsement of light rail.”

Jon Talton of the Seattle Times Says Bellevue is an Old Fashioned, Auto-Dependent, Sprawling Community

Following Kemper’s departure, Jon Talton of The Seattle Times offered http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/soundeconomywithjontalton/2014162330_the_contradictions_and_tension.html”>this interesting critique of Bellevue. In his view, it’s an outdated auto-dependent subdivision. Readers agree and disagree:

“Bellevue, a place that Freeman and his father did so much to develop in its present form, has grown up. As to the identity crisis: Crossing Lake Washington, the observer confronts an impressive, urban-looking skyline attached to a 1960-style automobile suburb, anchoring a string of automobile suburbs. No surprise, then, the tension between the old car-centric way of development and the evolution of high-quality density and desire for light-rail, which is anathema to Freeman. We can argue about light rail all day, but road warrior metros have built successful systems. It’s about offering choice and preparing American suburbia for a high-cost energy future.”

Contrary to what Jon Talton says, Most Americans Want Private Yards, Even if they have to Drive Further – Results from April 2011 National Association of Realtors – Smart Growth Survey

However, contrary to what Jon says, according to the April 2011 Smart Growth Survey from the National Association of Realtors, most Americans prefer single family homes on large lots (http://www.realtor.org/government_affairs/smart_growth/survey)

Among many conclusions, the study found:

1) Americans prefer detached housing with sidewalks, but not necessarily within walking distance to stores.

2) Most would rather driver further to stores if it meant they could have a larger lot.

3) Most prefer single family detached properties, versus townhomes and towering smart growth condos, like at Issaquah Highlands, the smart growth community near Seattle developed in part by Ronn Sims (now Obama’s Deputy Secretary of HUD).

4) 80% prefer to live in single-family, detached houses over other types of housing such as townhouses, condominiums, or apartments.

5) 59% would accept a longer commute and having to drive to shops and restaurants if it meant they could live in a single-family detached home … rather than living in an attached townhome or apartment (38%).

6) 61% prefer larger lots and driving to work, vs. smaller lots within walking distance to walk to schools, stores, and restaurants (37%).

Well, I don’t know how many miles “walking distance” represents. However, most will not carry milk and eggs home from the store, unless you are a cyclist with a milk crate on the back (pun intended).

The executive summary was ambiguous, indicating that the survey methodology was too complex and lacked focus:

“The 2011 Community Preference Survey reveals that, ideally, most Americans would like to live in walkable communities where shops, restaurants, and local businesses are within an easy stroll from their homes and their jobs are a short commute away; as long as those communities can also provide privacy from neighbors and detached, single-family homes. If this ideal is not possible, most prioritize shorter commutes and single-family homes above other considerations.”

However, low cost single family homes in the monocentric city model (Anas 2010) generally have longer commutes, and are in the distant suburbs.

“The preference is not as clear when choosing between larger lots and needing to drive (56%) and smaller lots and being able to walk to parks, playgrounds, and recreation areas (43%). In another set of questions, the public places a greater priority on having sidewalks and places to take walks (77%, important) than on being within walking distance of specific places in a community, such as stores and restaurants (66%).”

“Younger people who are unmarried tend to prefer the convenience of smart growth, walkable communities. Subdivision-type communities appeal more to middle-aged, married couples.”

“Political views are predictive of what type of communities Americans prefer. Democrats and liberals tend to prefer smart growth-type communities, while Republicans and conservatives are more likely to favor sprawl-type communities.”

Well, I’m a young person who is socially liberal, yet fiscal conservative, and my dream is a 5 acre estate with organic vegetable gardens and passive solar, and a 4 car garage to work on my cars and mountain bikes. So, you can’t fit me into any of these categories. And, most Americans do not fit, either.

Generalizations about Mass Transit and Housing Preferences are Worthless without Economic Data

Therefore, generalizations about housing and transportation preferences projected by the results of this study, or from The Seattle Times’ Jon Talton, should be taken with a grain of salt. In fact, one ingredient is always missing from these studies, including the Smart Growth Photo Survey linked to the top of this site — Economics.

One must look at the cost of mass transit versus freeway lanes, and see how to accommodate more commuters for the money. Local planning agencies such as Sound Transit and the Puget Sound Regional Council don’t need to worry about running out of oil, since the Federal government takes care of that with gas mileage standards, oil imports, tax credits for fuel efficiency, and domestic oil drilling.

In terms of sprawl, with current gas prices, it’s still much cheaper to buy a $200,000 house at Fallingwater or Lakeland Village in Bonney Lake and commute 40 miles from Seattle, than a $500,000 house in Bellevue adjacent to Seattle, or a $600,000 cottage with a five foot backyard in Issaquah or Redmond Ridge. On the other hand, the Seattle metro does not fit a monocentric model, and most jobs are in the suburbs, anyway.

The concept of light rail serves the old 1970 monocentric city model, where people commute to the center of a city like spokes on a bicycle wheel. Very few metro areas are like this. Most are like an abandoned spider web that extends at different distances at each compass point. The Seattle metro is nearly 100 miles from the north to the southwest, and anywhere from 8 to 40 miles wide, excluding areas west of Puget Sound.

Contrary Views on Transit from Web Site Special Interest Groups Grist, Publicola, vs. the Washington Policy Center

Finally, Erica Barnett of the pro-transit / pro-smart growth / anti-green alternative Internet news site “Publicola” sponsors two articles from experts with passionate opposing viewpoints. The first is from David Roberts, of the Internet site “Grist,” entitled: “The War on the Carless”

http://publicola.com/2011/01/28/the-war-on-the-carless/

The opposite point of view is from Michael Ennis, of the Washington Policy Center, entitled: “Seattle’s War on Cars is a War On Drivers:”

http://publicola.com/2011/01/26/seattles-war-on-cars-is-a-war-on-drivers/

Additional Articles on Kemper Freeman, His Lawsuit, and Bellevue

For video of the court proceedings video of Kemper Freeman et. al. v. Christine Gregorie et. al. click here for the 67 minute hearing, from the State of Washington’s video recording services.

Here’s a bio of Kemper’s successful life, from when his Father broke ground on Bellevue Square (near Seattle) on a strawberry farm, 60 years ago.

And, here’s another profile on Kemper.

And, here’s an interview with Kemper Freeman with noted radio personality Patty Payne in the Puget Sound Business Journal

To read more, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2014158819_kemper08m.html”>including 165 comments, click here

Mass Transit Stations are Ugly, Towering Eyesores, just like Ugly, Towering Smart Growth Condos

Many aspects of smart growth are not aesthetically pleasing, such as towering smart growth condos, and narrow streets choked with parked cars. Mass Transit stations and elevated tracks are ugly, and destroy views from neighborhoods. Below are the Airport’s transfer station and elevated track.

And, Light Rail isn’t “Light.” It’s Noisy and Very Expensive to Stop the Noise.

In nearby Tukwila, residents have complained nearly 24/7 of screeching noises disturbing their sleep. The 10′ wall on the second photo is not sufficient to block high pitched train noises, although it may block the low pitches of nearby SR-518.

On March 11, 2011, the Seattle Times revealed that Sound Transit has spent 12 million in “soundproofing” noisy, screechy light rail lines, including near private homes and office buildings. When you think about it, this sounds ridiculous, since when many mid-century suburbs formed after WWII, they were built in areas AWAY from the CBD (Central Business District) and its noisy traditional rail.

Just another reason why light rail devalues property, by adding noise 24/7, waking you and your kids and dogs up at night. The noisiest part of the line is at the Duwamish Bridge, at over 80 Decibels! The Seattle Times discusses a variety of noise abatement modalities, including:

1. Lube: Gel squirted into rails at curves (Yuck!).
2. Barriers along elevated trackways (Then why elevate them in the first place?)
3. Insulation of private dwellings (The last resort, I guess.)
4. Switches retrofitted to reduce “ka-thunk” (That’s the Times’ word, not mine. Have no idea what it means, and I don’t think I want to know. (Likewise, with the Lubing Procedure).
5. Soundproofing is $30,000 per house, and even includes fans to circulate air when windows are CLOSED. (No outside air? Sounds like places to lock the metheads and potheads up, and get them out of expensive Bellevue apartments! They’d get secondary, and tertiary highs!)
6. Train operators must use alarms less often and at lower levels (Beware, cyclists and pedestrians crossing the lines!).

The Airport light rail transfer station along with its surface paring lots is an ugly eyesore near Sea-Tac, and for the neighborhing neighborhoods of Tukwila and Riverton Heights.

Towering pillars surrorting light rail at the Airport station. A neighborhood on the other side of the wall, Tukwila, complains of screeching noises.

Here are ugly, towering Smart Growth towers in Redmond, along the mass transit corridor. Note the “Sound Transit” bus in the second photo. Sound Transit administers mass transit in the Puget Sound area, along with several bus routes (in addition to the older Metro transit).

Interstate 90, from Seattle to Bellevue needs more lanes, not mass transit. So does I-405:

Interstate 405 backs up every day along its entire span, especially from Renton / Newcastle to Kirkland (through downtown Bellevue). Here are hundreds of cars stalled in traffic, waiting to merge onto both northbound and southbound I-405 from NE 8th (where I’m standing 500 yards from I-405):

Traffic jam on NE 8th getting onto both northbound and southbound I-405 in Bellevue at sunset.

Driving closer, here’s one of the Microsoft Towers at Sunset, at NE 8th and I-405. Bellevue depends on efficient auto based transportation for its major corporations, who then hire everyone else to build their homes and fix their cars. And, employ the chefs after work, including the steakhouse on the first floor of the tower. The Freemans founded Bellevue with a vision that unfolded just like this, with business feeding each other. Now, their legacy is in jeopardy, as light rail may destroy
As is often said, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Clearly, Bellevue freeways need more lanes. However, the entire system does not need replacement with light rail and towering smart growth condos.

One of the Microsoft Towers in Bellevue at Sunset, at NE 8th and I-405.

The text for the mural reads (City of Medina, Joseph Barboza, 2005):

“And now the sturdy ferries no longer ply from Leschi to Medina; the axe blade has given way to the bulldozer. Nor do strawberries grow on the land. Yet there is a spark; a feeling that unites today with yesterday – and augurs well for tomorrow.” – Unknown

Mural on the Medina Post Office. Bill Gates lives in Medina west of downtown Bellevue. CLICK to enlarge.

And, yes indeed. The spark is alive. On that note, here’s another mural, for a new restaurant coming to Kemper’s Bellevue Square, painted on one of the skybridges. New businesses are essential for the continued success of Bellevue. This requires a business friendly environment, including the absence of both traffic problems and light rail lines, that will destroy private property, and ruin Bellevue’s character:

Munchbar, coming to Kemper Freemans Bellevue Square.

Bellevue Downtown Park water feature extends in a circle around the park.

Bellevue Downtown Park Waterfall and Memorial Grove.

Large Lots, Native Trees in Beautiful Bellevue

Of course, Bellevue means “beautiful view.” Not only is this true in respect to overlooking Lake Washington and Mt. Rainier, it’s also the case in your own backyard, observing your native trees on your large lots. For example, here’s a panorama of 17 photos from the Enatai and Beaux Arts Village neighborhoods, both south of downtown. These are not annotated; the lake several photos below is Lake Washington, with the Olympics and Seattle in the distance. Below the photos is an article from the Seattle Times on Kemper Freeman et. al. v. Christine Gregoire.



Here’s today’s (Sept. 17, 2010) report of the court session from the Seattle Times -

Rail foes challenge I-90 plan

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012920249_lightrail17m.html

Bellevue mall developer Kemper Freeman and others brought a case before the state Supreme Court on Thursday to try to block the state from selling the center lanes of the Interstate 90 floating bridge to Sound Transit to hold a light-rail line.

By Mike Lindblom

Seattle Times transportation reporter

OLYMPIA — As long as the Interstate 90 floating bridge serves highway traffic, it’s unconstitutional for Washington state to sell the center lanes to Sound Transit, opponents argued Thursday before the state Supreme Court.

Several justices appeared intrigued by this latest challenge to the regional light-rail program, brought by Bellevue mall developer Kemper Freeman, trucking supporters and the pro-roads Eastside Transportation Association.

Sound Transit argued that it will reimburse the Department of Transportation by paying for two carpool lanes, to replace the two express lanes that would be closed for light-rail construction in five years.

Voters approved the I-90 route two years ago as part of a sales-tax increase to fund the new East Link line from Seattle’s International District/Chinatown Station to downtown Bellevue and Overlake by the early 2020s, as well as lines to Lynnwood and north Federal Way.

The cost of the east line was estimated at $2.6 billion.

That vote wasn’t even mentioned in court Thursday. Instead, the arguments focused on whether the state Department of Transportation has constitutional authority to make a $153 million, 40-year deal with the regional transit agency.

The state constitution requires that gas taxes be devoted to highway purposes. Phil Talmadge, a former Supreme Court justice and attorney for rail opponents, argued that at 142,000 vehicles a day, the bridge is certainly not surplus — and therefore, a sale or lease is forbidden.

“For the state to argue the center lanes are no longer needed for highway purposes, it almost fails the straight-face test,” he said.

Justice Richard Sanders mentioned that he drove across Lake Washington when the center I-90 lanes were closed for maintenance, and “it was the most terrible gridlock I’ve ever seen.”

However, Chief Justice Barbara Madsen wondered if it was proper for the court to even rule, as there is not a final sale of land under way. Talmadge pointed to an August statement of intent between the state and Sound Transit. Bryce Brown, senior assistant attorney general, argued that the state is allowed to lease its lands as part of its role to administer state highway funds.

Justices mentioned the concept of “deference” — meaning that Washington courts have supported local government’s right to make judgment calls, such as whether a project serves a public need, or where land should be condemned for construction. Talmadge answered there’s no deference if a deal is unconstitutional.

Sound Transit’s chief counsel, Desmond Brown, explained the new carpool lanes would be finished using Sound Transit’s money, so that by the time light-rail construction blocks the center roadway in 2015, there will still be the same eight total road lanes.

“The only result is that you can move more people, and you have the same number of traffic lanes available,” he said of the benefit of having eight traffic lanes plus light rail on the bridge.

He also displayed language from multigovernment agreements in 1976 and 2004 saying I-90 would be available for rail transit. The entire I-90 crossing from Seattle to Bellevue cost about $1.5 billion, predominantly federal money, two decades ago, DOT officials said Thursday.

After the hearing, Bryan Boehm, representing American Container Transport of Ellensburg, said trucking would be more difficult, as some bridge lanes will be narrowed from 12 feet to 11 feet.

The court sometimes takes months to issue an opinion.

The agency has prevailed against other high-profile legal threats — by winning the power to collect taxes indefinitely to cover more than $1 billion in cost overruns in the early 2000s; beating initiative promoter Tim Eyman so the transit car-tab tax will stay in effect until 2028; and fending off a federal case claiming it discriminated against minority communities in Rainier Valley by running trains along the ground instead of in a tunnel.

9 comments on “(UPDATED May 12, 2012) Kemper Freeman Sues Three Times To Stop Illegal Light Rail on I-90 – Photos of Bellevue Suburbs

  1. treasurect
    2010

    I suppose only a few lawyers are keeping tabs on how much the negligence lawsuits are costing Light Rail/ Metro. It was obvious from the beginning – the danger without physical barriers. What utterly vast incompetence.

  2. The Density Dude
    2010

    Does downtown Bellevue have low density with the wide streets? Light rail would destroy that neighborhood characteristic. Wide streets best for cycling and dispersal of air pollutants.

    Who is F. Kemper Freeman?

    Does he hold political office?

  3. JAY HALPERIN
    2010

    Hi density dude; here’s some info on Kemper Freeman in a recent Nov. 18, 2010 article – We love visiting Bellevue ever time we fly out to Seattle. -JH

    How Things Work – Sage Words from Kemper Freeman Jr.
    Brent Frei – Nov 18 2010 – 4:37pm

    I heard some great remarks last night from a gentleman named Kemper Freeman. Here in Smartsheet’s hometown of Bellevue, WA he’s a household name. His family all but created this town by buying a 10 acre strawberry farm in the 1940’s on which they built Bellevue Square, the retail hub that spawned this city. That in itself is a fascinating story of bucking the naysayers, but the comment that really grabbed me was a simple sentence:

    “People fall in love with ideas and don’t bother to understand how things actually work.”

    – Kemper Freeman Jr.

    Freeman has spent a lifetime leveraging his research of “how things actually work” into business success. He regaled us with a myriad of examples of how business people and politicians ignore realities in favor of loved ideas that end in failure. This of course got me to thinking about the technology industry and how often we entrepreneurs fall in love with our product idea and ignore the realities of how our customers actually work.

    We get over 75 unique pieces of customer feedback every day. And, we’re fanatic believers in the old adage that the “customer is always right”. The key, however, has been to consolidate these very specific requests into features that will reflect how they will actually use them. This often doesn’t exactly match the customer’s sense of appropriate design – see Eric’s post from March 2009 on customer feedback and design.

    Product Design Request Prioritization

    We have over 900 distinct enhancement requests that are being woven into then next set of product releases. That’s a lot of design pressure on the product team. So, to paraphrase Kemper’s point, knowing how people work is a top priority around here. Keep the feedback coming.

    -Brent Frei

  4. wm
    2011

    It looks like Kemper is not even in that picture over I-90. (Photoshopped in?) Perhaps he was too busy to get out of his office.

  5. jg
    2011

    Kevin Wallace and Kemper Freeman remind me of the Buchannan’s on One Life to Live. A rich family, Grandfather and grandson, who run Buchannan Enterprises (mystery company), and probably own oil wells in Texas.

  6. goldmanis
    2011

    Tom, it is absolutely amazing that you would not know that the light rail line is going to happen… I was on ETP for many years and against the concept of light rail. When Jennifer Dunn Supported the light rail line with the 600 million for the Seattle line and the eastside got sub area equity the game was over! I do not see your point and looking back over 20 years, one would think that the game we have been trying to change is not going to change.. As a result it is better to get in the game and see how best we can make the plan.. [truncated - inappropriate] [Y]ou surely have put in an enormous amount of time into this effort. Figure out your gains? [truncated - personal insult] It appears you need a life or maybe a pet??? [truncated - inappropriate] … Sven Goldmanis…

  7. Tom Lane
    2011

    Sven,

    Could you please elaborate as to who Jennifer Dunn is, what she approved, what ETP is, and related issues that you wrote.

    What do I have to gain from this? Nothing more than advocating for the historic preservation of our beautifully landscaped and carefully designed suburbs, in Bellevue and elsewhere, from high density smart growth towers and townhomes. I also oppose narrow streets too dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, and oppose gravelscaping that includes no native plants, and no gardens and orchards to attract birds and wildlife.

    Furthermore, you hit the nail on the head when you ask if I have a pet. That’s another great reason to disagree with smart growth.

    Dogs and cats need backyards to play in. In my view, it is tantamount to abuse, to keep a pet locked up within your smart growth townhouse, all day long, until you get home and can walk it at the community park (since smart growth townhomes often offer a five foot fence as a backyard).

    Finally, light rail in Bellevue is definitely not a reality, until the courts rule in Kemper Freeman et. al. vs. Christine Gregoire et. al. (the latter analogous to Sound Transit). Clearly, light rail is illegal on I-90 under the Washington State Constitution. See the above discussion and link to the State of Washington’s video of the September, 2010 trial (the court has yet to rule).

    The pro-growth Puget Sound Regional Council, advocating ridiculously high density smart growth mixed-use, is opposed by most residents in their very own four county jurisdiction. It’s not just Bellevue. You might check out:

    1) The early 2010 remand, to the City of Black Diamond, from the Growth Management Hearings Board, who agreed with anti-smart growth residents, that the City had not followed its own public hearing process, in its approval process for 6,000 housing units from developer Yarrow Bay Holdings (a Kirkland based developer).

    2) The controversy over the mixed use smart growth development in Snohomish County, built on seismically unstable land, where only one road reaches the project, by way of King County. Residents from Shoreline and Wedgewood are opposed.

    3) The outrage against the City of Normandy Park City Council, City Manager, and three City planners, who have accepted a TDR grant from the Department of Commerce, for smart growth infilling along 1st Avenue South, including a roundabout on a 4 lane road. This will involve tearing down numerous heritage businesses, and conservative, status quo, Normandy Park residents are strongly opposed, voicing their concerns at a recent meeting.

    Overall, Smart Growth and Mass Transit, face tremendous opposition in this region. If you favor private property rights, then you are against socialistic land use and transportation planning from regional governments such as Sound Transit and the Puget Sound Regional Council (Vision 2040).

    If you are like me, and favor private property rights, yet are also an environmentalist, then you favor large lots with tree ordinances (such as Enatai in Bellevue), conservation subdivisions, intentional communities with organic gardens and passive solar, more parks and open space, and more bike lanes, more buses, rapid transit, mountain bike trails, and support philanthropic organizations that preserve open space, plant trees, and build trails.

    Durango, Colorado; Santa Fe, NM; and Albuquerque, NM do not have urban growth boundaries, are arguably more liberal than the entire Seattle metro region (since the rural counties vote Democrat, not Republican), and have more applications of passive solar and solar panels than the Seattle area. -Tom

  8. Susie Watkins
    2011

    No development is as inspired as that which is responding to a demand.

    “What is called PLANNING is the forcible suppression of millions of people’s plans by a government imposed plan. . .

    What is considered to be chaos are systematic interactions whose nature, logic, and consequences are seldom examined by those who simply assume that ‘planning’ by surrogate decision-makers must be better.”

    -THOMAS SOWELL

  9. Frank
    2012

    Perhaps like Mr. Freeman, there are several other fictional rich ambitious families. Such as the Buchanans on One Life to Live. Asa Buchanan cared about his family, but made sure his company profited on oil on their Texas Ranch. The actor died at the age of 83, sadly before the death of the Soap One Life to Live. http://www.celebutopia.net/2009/02/oltl-actor-phil-carey-dies-at-83/

    However, Dallas is returning to TNT, and JR and Bobby look nearly the same as when they exited the show, as it ended a number of decades ago. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/59/Dallas_cast2011.jpg

    Perhaps talking about money/big oil tycoons is back in again, and as a result the Kemper Freeman empire may continue to prosper!

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I, Tom Lane, pledge to always be the “Voice of Independence,” in a world dominated by “true believers,” of the ephemeral, and very unpopular, urban planning paradigm, of “smart growth.” I will always advocate family friendly, green neighborhood design, with large private yards, oversized parks, organic gardens, mountain bike trails, and native plants protected by ordinance. Everything must be in harmony with nature, in the grand traditions of designers Ian McHarg and Frank Lloyd Wright.”

Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, New Mexico. NO URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARIES = AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Salt Lake City – Rio Rancho, New Mexico – NO Urban Growth Boundary = AFFORDABLE HOUSING on LARGE LOTS – More Photos Forthcoming

Mysterious Massive Walls and Clearcutting at Issaquah Highlands … vs. Green Neighborhoods in Arizona and Oregon … Click Here …

Durango Smart Growth – La Plata County Comprehensive Plan – Cancelled (Nov. 23, 2011) – CLICK IMAGE for Plan Maps and Photos -

* NEW * October 8, 2011, Seattle – KEMPER FREEMAN VIDEO – If You Drive, Vote YES on I-1125, Kemper Freeman on TV-W w/ Doug MacDonald

Dr. Bill Eager – “End Gridlock Now” – Stop Seattle Gridlock Today

Kemper Freeman Sues a Third Time over Seattle Light Rail – May 9, 2012

SEATTLE – Why Washington’s Anti-Tolling and Anti-Transit Initiative (I-1125) Didn’t Pass (12/6/11) – CLICK IMAGE of the skyline from West Seattle -

* HEY SEATTLE * – VOTE YES on Kemper Freeman’s Initiative I-1125 – Protect Your Gas Taxes and Tolls – Stop Illegal East Link I-90 Light Rail – Stop the Destruction of Downtown Bellevue with an Ugly Transit Oriented Development -CLICK HERE –

Salt Lake City’s Legacy Parkway – A Green Solution for Seattle Gridlock

*CETA* Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives (Seattle) – John Niles – August 22, 2011 Letter to Ray La Hood advocates Bus Rapid Transit on I-90

* SEATTLE DISPLACEMENT COALITION * – John Fox and Carolee Colter – Defending Lower Income Apartment Residents against Greedy Smart Growth Developers and Seattle Politicians – CLICK HERE for web site & columns -

*GREEN ALTERNATIVE * to Smart Growth – *WATCH VIDEO* from Pique Architects – Do They Present Something SIMILAR to the “LANDSCAPE URBANISM” Concept of Harvard’s Dr. Charles Waldheim? Image Source: http://vimeo.com/user4133046/videos – Pique LLC of Bend, Seattle, & Montana -

* SMART GROWTH * – The Wolf at Your Front Door – You Tube – (5 Minutes) – Image Source: http://www.youtube.com/user/regsgridlock -

Stop Obama’s Smart Growth … Preserve Organic Farms and Parks on Acreage … We Have No Choice but to Vote Republican … The Truth from Talk Host Mark Levin … Defending Private Property Rights Every Day – Coast to Coast, 3P-6P, Pacific … CLICK for Free Archives.

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