Monday, September 30, 2013

Let's not forget the bigger problem here (Briggs Village, walkable neighborhoods and urban villages)

 A few weeks ago I was quoted in the Olympian regarding my opinion about the erosion of the ideal Briggs Urban Village. First floor retail, second story office and apartments. Its a great idea, but not one apparently very popular with the people who own most of my neighborhood.

Don't get me wrong, it is absolutely a great idea, and I would have really loved to see it happen. But, I'm okay with it not. Or, I could see myself living in a place where it doesn't happen.

And, that's because, despite it being a shy version of a grand vision, it will still result in some walkable commercial zoning in a part of Olympia that absolutely lacks it.

That said, I'm not satisfied if the Briggs strip mall is the only commercial we end up with out here. Allowing such a large portion of Olympia to develop without any small, walkable commercial or community spaces was one of the biggest mistakes we've made around here. And, Briggs won't help solve that much.

What we really need to do is backtrack to older neighborhoods in the Southeast and encourage in-fill commercial to take over some residential along main roads and open lots. But, I'm not even sure if that's a thing. I haven't found an example yet of a city or county slowly breaking of a decades old expanse of low density single family residential with new commercial areas.

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