Walk with me through my Seattle neighborhood, and I’ll show you the unintended consequences of what happens when ideologues capture local government.
I live in a 35-year-old, middle-class, First Hill condo: no sauna, no exercise room, no concierge. Check out our landscaping, and help me pick up the needles that junkies leave. Earlier this year, we spent nearly $10,000 to enclose a rear corner that was a favorite shoot-up spot. Make sure the garage door closes before we leave: Transients have broken into cars there.
Up the street from my place is First Hill Park, largely unmaintained and un-policed, judging by the cigarette butts on the ground and people drinking on the benches. Less than two blocks down the street, where Union, University and Boylston meet, the city will unilaterally install (by a director’s rule with no formal hearing or Council approval) a “test” park and partial street closure this summer. It’s a top-down design based on the ideological First Hill Realm Action Plan. (Isn’t it nice that our neighborhood has become a “realm”?) The city designed the “test” park before developing criteria by which to measure success or failure. It doesn’t know if the test will be there one year or three years.
But there will be a bike lane.