New Levels of Car Dependence Follow Seattle's Growth

By any measure, Seattle is growing at a breakneck pace. But with those new residents come cars, and all the infrastructure and land use inefficiencies they bring.

August 10, 2017, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Dan Lewis / Shutterstock

"You already know that Seattle is growing like crazy," writes Gene Balk. "What you may not know is that the city has added cars at the same rate as people."

Specifically, the city's population of humans grew by 12 percent between 2010 and 2015. The city's population of cars also grew by 12 percent over that period.

Seattle, it turns out, is much more car dependent than its reputation. "Among the 10 most densely populated big cities, Seattle easily has the most cars per capita — even more than Los Angeles," adds Balk.

Looking for causes for the city's dependency on the automobile, Balk notes the dominance of single-family zoning around the city—a symptom of its post-World War II growth. Also included in the article is a list of the consequences of Seattle's car-dependence—which expands, perhaps surprisingly, beyond concerns about congestion. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 in The Seattle Times

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