In a recent editorial, The Times repeated claims that density is good for Seattle because it “creates more vibrant, walkable neighborhoods.” [“How to build denser Seattle neighborhoods,” Opinion, Sept. 9.]
Well, I beg to differ.
Seattle’s vibrancy is not enhanced by the current policy of blindly permitting “density” housing no matter how it looks, nor how cramped or jampacked. Just take a trip to Ballard and gaze at the monstrous and hugely unattractive high-density nightmares at 15th Avenue and Market Street.
Only a Pollyanna could call this the face of a “vibrant” city when, in fact, it is merely a glorified block tenement obscenely out of place in terms of size and style. Such disastrous results, and others like it throughout the city, are the predictable end product of Seattle’s single-minded policy of density at any cost.
Planners have drunk the density Kool-Aid for too long and too deeply, without realizing that today’s apartment-dwellers are predominantly young. It’s a good bet they will look positively on raising future families away from Seattle’s cramped rabbit-warren-like living spaces, migrating instead to nearby communities that offer more choices while they approach growth with a creative balance rather than a zealous insistence on density.
James Kobe, Seattle