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

(May 17, 2017) – Traditional "Large Lot Zoning" is "Greener" than "Smart Growth" within Urban Growth Boundaries . . . Copyright 2009 – 2017 . . . Tom Lane . . . Photographing California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.

(June 29, 2011) Bellevue, Washington – The Best Mid-Century, Low Density, “Green Suburb” of “Smart Growth Seattle” – Kemper Freeman Installs Electric Car Charging Stations

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:  https://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: https://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:   https://smartgrowthusa.wordpress.com/2010/10/17/kemperfreemanlightrailbellevuesquare/
Here are a few photos to start with, more on the way –

Sunset over downtown Bellevue and the 19 Acre "Bellevue Downtown Park."

Memorial Grove in Bellevue Downtown Park.

Waterfall at Bellevue Downtown Park.

Bellevue Downtown Park Waterfall at Sunset.

Water feature surrounding the circular lawn at Bellevue Downtown Park.

Circular Water Feature around Bellevue Downtown Park.

Bellevue Downtown Park sign and waterfall, across the street from Kemper's Bellevue Square.

Bellevue Way, looking north into downtown, with Kemper's Bellevue Square to the left (see the Macys sign if you click and zoom in), and his Westin Hotel to the right. Bellevue Downtown Park is just south of Bellevue Square, along Bellevue Way.

Bellefield Office Park, built over the Mercer Slough. Native vegetation has been preserved in abundance in this Office Park.

Bellefield Office Park. Abundant Natural Vegetation.

In the winter, the tree colors are the same as the building colors in Bellefield Office Park. How would this office park, built over a wetland, survive in an earthquake on the Seattle fault, running from Seattle to Bellevue?

Very nice wide street in Somerset, with large homes with yards, and native trees (Douglas Firs, Western Red Cedars, and Bigleaf Maples).

The Somerset Neighborhood, southeast of downtown, features large homes on large lots, and an active neighborhood association.

Even wider streets in this photo in Somerset, with a divider in the middle. This, along with low traffic due to low density, provides the best in walkability and for bicycles - in sharp contrast to narrow congested streets in "smart growth" design.

Another view in Somerset. Note the hillside with Old Growth Douglas Firs and "old growth" (mature) Bigleaf Maples.

Large homes from the 1980's in the "Traditional" Style, near or in Somerset. Envrionentalists and nature lovers love these neighborhoods, wheras "smart growth" advocates do not like these neighborhoods, despite their high level of walkability, with wide sidewalks, and abundant native vegetation with wildl birds.

Culdesacs are also despised by "smart growth" advocates, despite their ability to provide children with room for sports such as basketball hoops.

From Horizon View, located above Somerset, here's a basketball hoop framing the sunset over Seattle to the West. The Toyota Tacoma brings up another point. Smart growth properties are not large enough, and/or have ordinances against, working on cars.

Near the top of the hill in Somerset, this road becomes divided, with a sloped grass berm in the center,

Horizon View neighborhood, above Somerset, features sweeping views of downtown Seattle and Bellevue (the skylines are barely visible among the trees in this photo).

From 330 degrees to true north, with the Bellevue skyline and the Seattle LDS (Mormon) Temple. Note all the native trees in the northern two thirds of Bellevue - what you are looking at is north of I-90.

Looking north from Horizon View, at Northeast Bellevue (heavily covered with trees), along with Lake Sammamish. The white building is the Seattle LDS (Mormon) Temple.

Looking ENE from Horizon View towards Lake Sammamish and the Cascades.

Looking west from Horizon Ridge, towards the skylines of Seattle and Bellevue, and the Olympic Mountains.

Looking northeast from Horizon Ridge, and a spiral staircase, at sunset towards the Cascade Mountains (Jan. 2011).

From the City of Newcastle Golf Course, the next three photos show, from NW to NE, the various neighborhoods in South Bellevue above Coal Creek Canyon, including Somerset within part of this photo.

Looking north, and overlapping the previous photo in coverage.

Looking NE from the Newcastle Golf Club, overlapping the previous photo - the Central Cascades are in the distance.

Medina –

Medina is a very small incorporated city along Lake Washington, west of Bellevue, housing the rich and famous, including Bill Gates. It's a wildlife sanctuary, with preservation fo tall native trees. This is Evergreen Point Way

Medina Post Office, on Evergreen Point Way.

Medina grocery, post office, and Evergreen Point Way extending to the north.

Is this Medina, West L.A., or Palm Springs? Note the Magnolia and Palm Tree catching the rays of the setting sun. Varieties of both are hardy in mild areas of the Seattle-Bellevue area.

The last photo connects the dots. This is the day before the grand opening of the Microsoft Store in Kemper Freeman's Bellevue Square mall. If it wasn't for Kemper Freeman and other successful businessmen in Bellevue, such as Bill Gates of Microsoft, then would Bellevue exist as the community that you see in these photos? Or, were the urban planners responsible for what you see? Of course, the answer is - contrary to what most urban planners erroneously believe - Kemper Freeman, Bill Gates, and all other businesses in Bellevue. Strong communities and the zoning policies they HOA

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:

CLICK TO ENLARGE AND READ TEXT within your web browser. Map of downtown Bellevue.


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