The postelection celebrations on Capitol Hill reminded me of election night 2008, but much has changed. I can hardly imagine my neighborhood without light rail and improved bike lanes; and with the pandemic, I appreciate the safety precautions at local cafes, bookstores and restaurants. Even today, one can reap the benefits of living in a dense urban neighborhood.
But this density doesn’t just happen; it is intentional. Washington’s Growth Management Act (GMA), ratified in 1990, empowers the city to require mixed-use buildings, walkable neighborhoods, access to green space and historic preservation. It is, however, imperfect: Everything from protecting the environment and providing more transit to skyrocketing housing prices and displacing our most vulnerable residents is related to the GMA.
That the GMA touches so many aspects of our lives is precisely why it should address the most pressing issues of our time: climate change, housing affordability and environmental justice. In the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers will be updating the GMA, and now is the time to include these issues. I trust my 43rd Legislative District’s legislators will support the inclusion of these elements, and urge others across the city and state to do the same.
Keith Harris, Seattle