of workforce development, small business and housing,
which will include new and rehabilitated dwellings.
“We’ll build on parking lots east of the river as well as
other empty lots for a mix of market-rate and affordable
housing in what is a historic district.
“We’re also funding a home-buyers club for people east
of the river to boost financial literacy for residents and
provide access to capital for those who are interested in
buying to capture some of that rising equity and stay here.
“We wanted to hit this early before property values start
to go up. If you own your house, that’s great, but it you
are part of the 75 percent east of the river who rent, there
is the potential to be displaced. We wanted to get a jump
on this before the market takes over.”
Katz’s group has raised $15 million out of a total goal of
$45 million to date.
“It’s enough to begin pre-construction and that’s pretty
exciting,” he said. “We’re doing everything from permit-ting and right-of-way and further design work. We hope
to begin construction in 2018 and the earliest we’d open
up is 2019.”
Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle
In Seattle, the 12-mile-long Burke-Gilman Trail begins in
the Ballard neighborhood on Puget Sound, goes through
the University of Washington campus, continues north on
Lake Washington and east into King County, and links
with another 25 miles of additional bike and pedestrian
paths. Started in 1978, it is considered one the granddad-dies of all urban trails in the United States.
Peter Lagerwey, who was a project manager for the city
on many of the trail segments, said several pieces were
already in place before he moved to Seattle in 1984.
“More than 1 million people rode their bikes and walked
on it this year, making it one of the most heavily used trails
in the United States,” he said. “So it’s been a great success.”
He said he worked with numerous neighborhood groups
and businesses on the trail and agreements were reached
with all of them except for several in an industrial district of Ballard.
As a result, there is a missing link of 1.5 miles that have
been blocked by several lawsuits and injunctions, the last
of which required a full environmental impact statement
(EIS) on the trail.
“The EIS is out now and there is a window for people to
appeal in court, and I suspect they will,” he said. “The
city already owns the land, but the businesses say the trail
would conflict with their truck traffic, so cyclists still have
to ride in the street.
“The city will prevail eventually, this just adds to delays
and costs. We did lots of planning and meetings with
people, but opponents have used the courts to block what
almost everyone would agree is a great trail and a real benefit to the city and its residents.”
Like the linear parks themselves, the process of creating
these urban developments can move from inspiration to
discussion to planning and even litigation, but backers
and residents agree the journey is worth the work.
Brian E. Clark is a Wisconsin-based journalist and
a former staff writer on the business desk of The
San Diego Union-Tribune. He is a contributor to the
Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dallas Morning News and
More than 1 million people rode
their bikes and walked on the
Burke-Gilman Trail this year.
Photo by TIA International Photography