"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.

(August 15, 2011) Bus Rapid Transit on I-90 – Better than East Link Light Rail to Bellevue

Bus Rapid Transit:  Introduction

(August 15, 2011, Tom Lane) While some view urban sprawl as a major problem, it’s only in the eyes of the beholder.  Most people when surveyed (such as the two Smart Growth Surveys at the heading of this page) prefer large lots, even if it means a longer commute.  One of these studies demonstrated that most prefer 3 to 5 acre lots.

However, we are facing peak oil, and long commutes with oil are not sustainable.  And, we’re importing oil from countries that do not like us and want to blow up Israel.  So far, methods of urban containment, such as Smart Growth, have failed to provide long term housing solutions, with folks ultimately moving to larger homes on acreage when they can afford it, as Dr. Peter Howley of Ireland reports, see:   (_____________, ________________)

Light rail can only take a few percent along a narrow corridor.  Bike trails are great, however, once again, the numbers are not convincing.  In terms of Seattle Metro buses, about 15% take the bus to work within the City Limits of Seattle (ref: http://city-data.com).

Therefore, what could work, to meet the demands for green space and big backyards?  One solution is high speed, high capacity, bus rapid transit, using the Seattle areas extensive network of HOV lanes.  Furthermore, additional HOV lanes can be built, along both freeways and high capacity boulevards and state highways.

Hybrid electric bus rapid transit, along with Kemper Freeman and other entrepreneurs establishing electric car charging stations, will be the future of transportation as we transition away from Middle East oil.  Every American family, every child, should have a big backyard for barbeques, baseball, and apple pie.

Tom Lane’s Other Posts on I-1125, Light Rail, and Kemper Freeman

Before proceeding, click the following link for a list of all of my posts. (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.

John Niles and CETA (Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives

I will expand this section on BRT Experts John Niles of CETA along with Dr. Richard Harkness of the ETA and Dr. Jim MacIsaac’s 12 Lane Myth



A video of John Niles with Stan Emert is at the bottom of this web page.


SR-169 from Renton to Maple Valley: Great Opportunity for BRT

(August 15, 2011)

Sound Transit light rail runs north – south, from Tacoma to north of Seattle. Their plan ignores an efficient high speed public transportation plan for the  heavily populated and often affluent Eastern Suburbs in King and Pierce Counties, such as Kent, Renton, Issaquah, Maple Valley, Black Diamond, Enumclaw, Bonney Lake, and many unincorporated areas in King County with acreage, such as Mirrormont, May Valley, and High Valley.

Unfortunately, a network of two and four lane, narrow roads connects these cities to the major arterials to the west, SR-167 and I-405.  These roads do not meet capacity and face significant gridlock.  They need widening to relieve congestion and increase speeds to 55mph, in order to increase gas mileage and decrease air pollution.  And, the addition of HOV lanes could provide for BRT, vanpools, and carpools.

SR-169 from Enumclaw to Renton (and through Black Diamond and Maple Valley) is an existing freeway that can be widened to 6 to 8 lanes, including HOV lanes in both directions, for BRT, carpools, and vanpools.  SR-410 from Enumclaw to Sumner (and through Bonney Lake) can also be widened in the same manner.

Transportation engineer Dr. James MacIsaac of the ETA and CETA proposes this map for BRT in the region, including Eastern King County.  As you can see, BRT provides a significant network covering several thousand percent more distance than a light rail line:

Civil engineer James MacIsaac's regional transportation plan with bus rapid transit includes lines extending outside the urban growth boundary. From page 19 of: http://www.bettertransport.info/rt/WhatYouNeedtoKnow8.31.07.pdf Accessed June 21, 2011.

SR-169 Photos, We can Widen to 8 Lanes for BRT

Below, you can see that there is room for three general purpose lanes in each direction, and one HOV lane in each direction for BRT, vanpools, and carpools.  Note that bike lanes would not be safe, since under this proposed widening, the SR-169 corridor travels at 55mph.  However, fortunately, there is already a 10 foot wide very popular cycling and walking path on the north side of SR-169, extending from Renton to Maple Valley.  This extensive trail along the Cedar River even has parking areas off of SR-169 for bike commuters.

Looking east on SR-169 about 8 miles east of Renton. Plenty of room for 8 lanes. Note the existing bike trail on the grassy slope to the left of the photo.

Park and ride ready to go on SR-169 about 8 miles east of Renton. No need to build an expensive light rail station.

Congestion on SR-169 just a few miles outside of Renton has reached the point of intolerance.

Between Enumclaw and a point about 10 miles east of Renton, SR-169 is a dark and dangerous 2 lane highway with heavy air pollution. However, there is plenty of room to widen to at least 6 lanes (4 GP + 2 BRT = 6). Remember, the bike / walking path is east of the highway along the Cedar River.

Counterarguments to Long Distance BRT Transportation

One counterargument raises against long distance BRT transportation is that people choose to live 30 miles away from city centers, and therefore should not be subsidized with public transportation. However, this does not reflect the realities of a growing urban metropolitan area. Today, most major US cities, including Seattle, are “polycentric,” meaning that most jobs are found in the suburbs, not the downtown areas. When Seattle was smaller, most jobs were within the City limits.

Therefore, Dr. Jim MacIsaac’s map above allows people to commute quickly from suburb to suburb. For example, Maple Valley, about 30 miles southeast of downtown Seattle, is a very affluent community with folks who work for Microsoft, who has offices in the suburbs of Redmond and Bellevue. Therefore, these residents could ride BRT, and would never use the more expensive light rail, that travels in one line north to south from Tacoma to north of Seattle.

And, these rural residents are paying the same tax as city residents for light rail, but they will never use it if they commute to Bellevue, Redmond, or Tacoma.

Furthermore, the externalities in terms of congestion, such as bad gas mileage, air pollution, and spending less time with your family, are worth compensation in terms of widening rural roads and providing rural public transportation.

And, of course, Eastern King and Eastern Pierce County offer tremendous amenities, from trails in the Mountains to Sound Greenway to mountain biking and river rafting down the Cedar River.

Finally, the Puget Sound Regional Council established an Urban Growth Boundary, curtailing growth withing a boundary in Eastern King County. However, new construction continues (see the D.R. Horton home below). And, population will increase outside the boundary on five acre properties, as I’ve discussed elsewhere.

New D.R. Horton homes on tiny lots in East Kent, near the edge of the Urban Growth Boundary. These folks have been left behind from the region's light rail plan. However, BRT on nearby SR-516 would allow these folks to commute down to Kent and then up to Renton and Bellevue.

Amenities bring families to the semi-rural suburbs, such as Mirrormont. This mountain bike jump is in a park with old growth trees and old growth tree stumps. You would not find this anywhere closer to Seattle.

Near Hobart, the Taylor Mountain Forest with hiking and mountain bike trails.

THIS IS THE END! This is in Selleck, Wa. as far east as you can travel on Public Roads. The distance between where I'm standing, and the Olympic Mountains at sunset, is about 80 miles. However, despite flat topography and the opportunity for large, 5 acre lots, only about 20 miles of this area (east to west) is included within the Urban Growth Boundary.

John Niles with Stan Emert on You Tube

John Niles with C.R. Douglas on The Seattle Channel


Seattle Channel Video can be played in Flash Player 9 and up

2 comments on “(August 15, 2011) Bus Rapid Transit on I-90 – Better than East Link Light Rail to Bellevue

  1. Julie

    Attention Kemper Freeman, Many people are sad that the http://www.dollart.com/control.htm

    Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art is going to close in March 2012. Supposedly the founder will retire. With the monopoly of the American Doll, is there any chance you could fund this museum to stay open? It is a one of a kind museum, and in the last 20+ years, I have sadly watched all dollhouse, doll museums close. This is one that has continued to survive for a long period of time, and it likely draws crowds and tourists from afar to visit it, and the surrounding Bellevue mall. Please Kemper Freeman, if you read this site, consider taking over this priceless treasure!

  2. Light rail hater

    Rail for passengers? Is this 1870? Lets make a step forward for a change!

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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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