Lessons from Seattle and Vancouver for transit cities

Today went to a Committee for Perth talk with Lyle Bicknell who is the Principle Urban Designer at City of Seattle. 

He made the case for density and light rail with Seattle and Vancouver as case studies.

Some key points include:

*There is value in agreeing to a grand bargain with higher density areas for more facilities such as parks and libraries in exchange for more density

 *Light rail is a pedestrian system. Therefore don’t do park and ride but great urban environment. Multi-modal neighborhoods instead. 

*The 10 metre rule. For good urban design focus on the first 10m up and first 10m out – the rest including height matters a lot less.

*To fund light rail Lyle suggested a vehicle registration tax.  In WA we have 2 million cars then $50 would be $100 million dollar fund yearly fund. Only $1 per week per car – it would be a good start.

* And one of my favourite quotes “Building bigger roads to deal with congestion is like loosening your belt to deal with obesity.” 

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

4 Responses to Lessons from Seattle and Vancouver for transit cities

  1. Robert says:

    Brad you squandered a perfect opportunity in flogging off the car park cnr Banister and Packinham for an out of place “modern” building when it should,could have made a brilliant inner city park /garden for all. Much more appropriate and desirable!

  2. johnwv says:

    Hi Brad,
    I’m so glad Lyle Bicknell agrees with me. Reward high density vilages with more facilities.
    I draw attention to Northbank North Fremantle.

    Northbank North Fremantle is the highest density village in the City. North Fremantle is a major entertainment precinct outside of the Fremantle CBD and a light rail station near the Swan Hotel has to be a first priority destination for any light rail discussion in Fremantle.

    Northbank North Fremantle has the critical mass to make it work, with no need for park and ride given the high density living within the 0.8km2 village area adjacent the Swan River.

    Northbank has been waiting for a facility like this for nearly 20 years…bring it on

    Regards
    John V

  3. Jos Ellison says:

    Hi Brad,

    Interesting comments on urban design, “10m up and 10m out”, I tend to agree with Lyle. The pedestrian experience is usually dominated by the buildings form within these boundaries which is why placing tall buildings on podium structures tempers the sense of scale for the pedestrian.

    Did Lyle Bicknell talk about the value capture opportunities of light rail or BRT? Unfortunately I feel that a vehicle registration tax is an unlikely option in Western Australia for a number of reasons.

    Partnering with developers to construct higher density mixed use developments in and around stations has been used successfully in Hong Kong and parts of the USA. The benefits to society are maximised as high density development around transport infrastructure sees increased patronage, reduced congestion and the partial funding of the project by developers. I would highly recommend Robert Cervero’s work from the University of California, Berkley as he details an American experience of value capture.

    Great to see Perth actively engaging in these sorts of conversations.

    Kind regards

    Jos

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