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Op-Ed: 'Mammoth' New Parking Garages Belie Seattle's Green Talk

"Seattle is still a car town at heart," Danny Westneat writes, pointing to a number of gargantuan new parking garages like the 2,300-stall complex at Expedia's new headquarters.
July 1, 2019, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Danny Westneat blasts Seattle firms and transportation planners for engaging in "doublespeak" when it comes to the city's ostensibly green, multi-modal image. "This two-step between quietly nodding to our car-focused reality while espousing the greenest dreams perfectly captures what passes for transportation planning in the Emerald City. We wish you wouldn't drive, the government announces. But we know you're gonna, the private market whispers in echo," he writes.

Take the massive new "airport-style parking complex" at Expedia's new waterfront headquarters. Despite building a garage "twice as big as what is touted as the largest garage in downtown Seattle — the six-story-deep, 1,200-spot garage beneath Pacific Place," the company has expressed the sentiment that it'll be happy if employees choose other ways to commute, despite a deficit of transit to the location.

There's a similar pattern, Westneat says, in how city officials talk about parking and traffic, which exceed supposed "saturation points" as commuters keep driving and developers keep building parking. "Sheepish wishes aside, green-talking Seattle is still a car town at heart."

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Published on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 in The Seattle Times
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