(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
Before Proceeding … Tom Lane’s Other Posts on Bellevue, I-1125, Light Rail, and Kemper Freeman -
Click the following link for a list of all of my posts on these topics. (Posts and Photos Copyright 2010-2011, Tom Lane, except the Video screenshots from Firefox, with appropriate credit provided.)
Second, please click this link, for my I-1125 You Tube Video page.
Third, for my letter to public officials advocating a yes vote on 1125, click this final link. Note: Neither the 2nd or 3rd link appears in the first link above.
Bellevue – The Prototypical Mid Century Suburb of Seattle
(April 18, 2011) A recent article in “The Seattle Times caught my eye. The Camellia plants in the 50 acre Bellevue Botanical Garden were eaten by deer. And, the park is just one mile from downtown Bellevue and I-405! You can read more here: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/reader_feedback/public/display.php?thread=475193
This is a tragedy for the horticulturalists operating the garden. Nevertheless, this indicate that the City of Bellevue’s commitment to open space, and proximity to regional parks, allows native vegetation to grow in abundance, providing food for wildlife – including deer.
Overall, Bellevue has 60 parks, with a population of just over 100,000. It’s THE prototypical green mid-century suburb of Seattle, and perhaps the most financially successful. Due to business friendly policies, and the success of Kemper Freeman and his family, the City is home to many major corporations including Mircosoft (who also has offices in nearby Redmond). According to this article written in 2005, the city did not raise taxes from 1990-2005.
There’s somewhat of a “rivalry” between Seattle (west of Lake Washington) and Bellevue (east of Lake Wa.). Bellevue features low density planning, wide streets, and seems to resist many smart growth concepts. In contrast, Seattle has embraced smart growth, and is part of Dr. Lizz Dunn’s “Preservation Green Lab,” featuring Seattle, San Francisco, and Dubuque, Iowa as smart growth prototypes: http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/seattle-san-francisco-dubuque-iowa-to-become-smart-growth-carbon-taxed-meccas-preservation-green-lab/
Indeed, in some ways, Bellevue is the “Scottsdale” of Seattle. Scottsdale, Arizona is a large suburb of Phoenix, with well over 100,000 people. Bellevue, Washington is a large suburb of Seattle, Washington.
However, both Scottsdale, Arizona and Bellevue, Wa. are more conservative, with a greater concentration of wealthy folks and higher college attainment rates, than their “parent” neighboring cities. Both are also much more trendy than their “parents.”
And, Scottsdale’s residential density is less than Phoenix, just as Bellevue’s density is less than Seattle.
Overall, I prefer Bellevue and other low-density eastside communities of Kirkland, Sammamish, Issaquah, and Newcastle. Compared to Seattle, these cities – in aggregate – have more parks, more bike trails, less traffic, and less crime. And, they have wide streets that are better for bicycling, compared to Seattle. Issaquah even has a mountain bike park, that continues to expand: http://www.kingcounty.gov/recreation/parks/trails/backcountry/duthiehill.aspx
Some of the Bellevue neighborhoods associations, such as Enatai, even have tree ordinances for Old Growth Douglas Firs, to block noise from I-90: http://enataineighborhood.org/enatainneighbors.aspx Of course, many economic studies show that native vegetation increases property values, provides habitat for native bird populations, and disperses air pollution. And, proponents of high density “smart growth” clearcut native trees prior to development, as I show in this post: http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/timber-companies-destroy-trees-for-smart-growth/
Seattle and Bellevue also feature very different strategies in attracting shoppers to their Central Business Districts. Parking for the Bellevue 50 acre botanical garden is free, just as parking at Kemper’s 19 acre Downtown Park is ALSO free, and his Bellevue Square parking is also Complementary. Equivalent facilities in downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill often charge very high rates for parking, even up to $4 an hour.
In addition, Kemper Freeman just installed Electric Car charging stations in his Bellevue Square mall parking garages. His 15 stations are the first private, versus public, charging stations in the Pacific Northwest. See this on You-Tube:
I will begin to organize my photos of Bellevue on this entry. I’m not sure how to organize all the photos, given the diversity of quality low-density neighborhoods in Bellevue, with approximately 100 neighborhood associations. Previously, I’ve posted photos of Bellevue on the post discussing Kemper Freeman, Kevin Wallace, and the mass transit controversy: http://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/kemperfreemanlightrailbellevuesquare/
Here are a few photos to start with, more on the way -
Note: For additional photos of Bellevue, including the Enatai neighborhood, see my post on Kemper Freeman and mass transit:
Finally, here are Kemper Freeman and his associates on how they created success at Bellevue Square. In the video, Kemper states, “Most every success story that I’ve seen, was some modest idea that the store owner or one of the employees had, that didn’t cost any money.” Kemper’s associates elaborate on this statement with specific examples. This is from You-Tube success at Bellevue Square: