Conference Tours

All tours carry a nominal fee to cover transportation costs and refreshments. It is possible to sign up for more than one tour. Space on each tour is limited, and pre-registration is required.

Thursday, February 4th

Tour #1 – Seattle: Beauty and the Beast of Environmental Justice
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Cost: $50

The city of Seattle, surrounded by mountains, embraced by salt and fresh water, a vibrant downtown, an industrial hub and busy Port, is also home to several Environmental Justice communities. Join local community organization representatives for a mobile workshop demonstrating the environmental challenges they face, those they have overcome and what they envision and work toward in their diverse communities. We'll begin the mobile workshop with a tour at the Duwamish Tribe Longhouse with Tribe member and Longhouse Director James Rasmussen. We'll cross the street to Herring House Park on the Duwamish Waterway, an EPA Superfund site, to see the impact of industry and rehabilitation efforts on the river. Our community representatives will then guide us through South Park and Georgetown, two seriously impacted, ethnically diverse and low-income Duwamish river communities, which have recently completed an inspiring community development visioning process. Not far beyond Georgetown, and very close to downtown, is the Seattle Chinatown International District. We'll walk through and experience the area with two community representatives. We will see the challenges, the successes and hear the vision for this vital historic community. Transportation for this tour includes a bus and light walking. Breakfast and Lunch will be provided.

Tour #2 – Small Places Provide BIG Answers in Smart Growth
8:00 am – 1:00 pm
Cost: $28

Small towns are often flexible enough to bring about Smart Growth change faster than large metropolitan areas. The Pacific Northwest has been a leader in the Smart Growth and healthy communities’ movements. The town of Bainbridge is just a ferry ride away from our conference, and it is near the heart of it all. This visit explores many issues with Smart Growth, but it especially provides best practices with sensitive infill projects on small plots of land. Come and discover ideas and implementation strategies of how small urban or suburban towns are reshaping and remaking their built environment to provide active transportation and lifestyles, accommodating aging-in-place strategies, and taking baby steps, as well as huge strides, toward healthy, socially engaging and financially sound pathways to the future. This affluent bedroom community to Seattle has been especially concerned with preserving green space and keeping a tight control, yet providing smart investments and sensitive, attractive, and highly functional residential, commercial and mixed use properties. Transportation for this tour includes King County Metro Transit, Ferry, and walking. Lunch will be provided.

Tour #3 – Redmond: A Tale of Two Centers
8:00 am – 12:30 pm
Cost: $35

While some may think of Redmond as the home to international technology giants such as Microsoft and Nintendo, others remember it as a once quiet rural farming and lumber town. Redmond is really that and much more. It is a microcosm for the many urban dilemmas and solutions that confront successful urban growth management in the 21st century. This tour will begin with a review of the transformation of the traditional downtown that has it origins in the preserved historic district begun in the early 20th century. We will view development in the emerging new downtown focusing on pedestrianism, mixed use development and alternative transportation that preserves the character and pedestrian scale of the historic center. Participants will then tour the Overlake Center; home to Microsoft and Nintendo and also tour the emerging Overlake Village area, where the city is laying the groundwork for the conversion of a mid-twentieth century auto dependant suburban shopping district to a vibrant mixed use midrise center served by light rail. Tour leaders will focus on the issues of transformation of these two centers and provide practical solutions to planning and infrastructure issues that can be utilized in most local jurisdictions. Transportation for this tour includes a bus and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tour #4 – Farming for Smart Growth
8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Cost: $35

Agriculture in King County faces many challenges. Growing for a commodity market is becoming increasingly difficult in King County and the trend is moving towards small farms that market their products directly. Learn from farmers and see how local programs such as FarmLink and the Farmland Preservation Program help preserve agriculture and result in improved access to fresh food in urban areas. This workshop will be a tour of agricultural areas in King County to understand how land use decisions and policies support agricultural and other related issues. Transportation for this tour includes a bus and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tour #5 – South Lake Union – Integrating Sustainable Transportation, Life Sciences and Housing in Seattle’s Newest Neighborhood
8:30 am – 11:30 am
Cost: $15

Come and take a ride on the SLU streetcar for an in-depth look at South Lake Union. We will first visit the South Lake Union Discovery Center, an award-winning green building developed by Vulcan Inc. to showcase the unfolding development projects and long-term vision for the neighborhood. The tour will proceed on foot to see public and private projects completed and underway, including new pedestrian trails, transit signage and wayfinding, the new Lake Union Park, University of Washington Medicine, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute and the new 1.6M square foot campus under construction for Amazon.com. Transportation for this tour includes the streetcar and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tour #6 – Ride the Rail: Exploring Seattle’s Most Diverse Neighborhoods
8:30 am – 11:30 am

Cost: $15

Take a ride on Seattle’s new light rail and see the beginning of a community transformation! Southeast Seattle is home to the city’s most diverse neighborhoods and recently welcomed the opening of Link Light Rail. With great potential for transit-oriented development (TOD), Southeast Seattle is poised for rapid growth. This mobile workshop will highlight Seattle’s projects and programs to improve transportation mobility and support progressive land use planning around the light rail station areas. Participants will learn about the neighborhood plan update process for three station areas along the Link line, including an innovative outreach process to under-represented populations. At several stations, the group will discuss parking policies and management around the light rail stations and explore bicycle and pedestrian improvements. And along the way, tour leaders will share their experiences in promoting transportation alternatives to diverse communities and identify opportunities for TOD and economic development. Transportation for this tour includes the light rail and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tour #7 – Multi – Modal and Mixed Use for a Sustainable Future
12:00pm – 5:30 pm
Cost; $35

Take the chance to see two very different cities in different stages of their development.  Both part of the vibrant south Puget Sound region, Sumner is a community over 100 years old that is working to keep its historic Main Street relevant while University Place is a 10-year-old community that is planning its town center. What's the same with both cities? What's different? Find pieces in University Place's modern plans that echo what was built 100 years ago in Sumner. When it comes to concepts like walkable communities, mixed use development and transit-oriented development, you'll find that "old" is often "new" again. Transportation for this tour includes commuter rail, a bus and walking. Light refreshments will be served.

Tour #8 – How Seattle Celebrates Rain: A Walking Tour of Two Smart Growth Communities Built Around the Creative Treatment of Seattle’s Famous Weather Condition
12:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Cost: $35

Tour two of Seattle’s most notable smart growth projects: Thornton Place (and the Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel) and the HOPE VI High Point Redevelopment, and explore how the City’s pioneering green infrastructure was integrated into these projects. At Thornton Place you will see what many call Seattle’s first true Transit Oriented Development. Steps away from Northgate Mall and the Northgate Transit Center (and future Light Rail Station), Thornton Place features 109 condominiums, 278 market rate apartments, Regal Cinema’s flagship theater complex, 50,000 square feet of retail space and a 143 unit seniors housing community – all overlooking the 2.7 acre Thornton Place Water Quality Channel (WQC). Meandering through the development, the Channel, cleans stormwater runoff from over 650 surrounding acres of urban development and provides walking paths, bridges, public art, and viewing plazas at the headwaters of Thornton Creek. Then, after a bus ride featuring views of Seattle’s Elliott Bay, you’ll walk along the water path in High Point, the award winning HOPE VI 120 acre mixed-income neighborhood in West Seattle. This part of the tour starts with the newly completed targeted LEED Gold Neighborhood Center and ends with a view of downtown Seattle and a drainage pond that will surprise you. Along the way you’ll experience a street design that incorporates natural drainage systems, skinny streets, vegetated swale, porous concrete sidewalks and much more. Bring your waterproof shoes! Transportation for this tour includes a bus and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tour #9 – Evolving 1950’s Suburbs to the 21st Century
1:00pm – 5:00 pm

Cost: $35

During World War II, Boeing housed workers building warplanes in simple duplex housing units in a community just south of Seattle close to the plant. These “temporary” houses lasted for more than half a century as a public housing project called Park Lake Homes. Now the site has been reborn as Greenbridge, an award-winning King County Housing Authority project in the White Center community that is projected to grow to 1,000 units. You’ll learn how many former residents of Park Lake Homes have been relocated into the new Greenbridge community. You will get to walk the new 98th Street Connector – a pedestrian and bicycle path funded, in part, with a Federal Stimulus grant that links Greenbridge residents to the commercial center of White Center. The second stop on the tour will be the City of Burien, a first-ring suburb that is just 16 years old. You will visit the new Town Center, a public-private partnership between the City of Burien, King County Library System, King County Housing Authority and Urban Partners. When fully developed, Burien Town Square will have approximately 400 housing units and 70,000 square feet of office retail. In addition, there will be a one-acre park, City Hall and a new library. You’ll learn how the city developed a strategy and an innovative funding plan to create the identity and focal point for this new city. Transportation for this tour includes a bus and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tour #10 – Growing Smart: Downtown Bellevue and the Bel-Red Corridor
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Cost: $35

This mobile workshop will show how Downtown Bellevue and the Bel-Red Corridor, while at very different stages of their evolutions, are models for smart growth. Now the second densest urban center in the region outside Seattle, Downtown Bellevue is taking on the characteristics of a mature downtown with a growing focus on livability. Originally planned during the post-war period around a car-centric grid with 600-foot superblocks, recent years have seen planning, infrastructure investment and private development working together to recast the downtown as a multi-modal urban center. At a much earlier stage of redevelopment is the City’s Bel-Red Corridor; it represents the future of transit-oriented development in the Puget Sound Region. The area was originally developed in the 1950’s, primarily with low-density light industrial and commercial uses. In 2005, the City and local stakeholders began a process to re-think the future of this 900-acre area in a holistic manner. The newly adopted vision for Bel-Red includes higher density development nodes focused around planned light rail stations, a comprehensive stream restoration strategy and an advanced density incentive system. Transportation for this tour includes a bus and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tour #11 – Healthy Parks Building Healthy Communities: A Tour with the Green Seattle Partnership
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Cost: $15

Community-based restoration helps protect forested parks and fosters civic pride, while providing people of all ages opportunities to work and learn outdoors; to become engaged in neighborhoods; and to cultivate an ethic of volunteerism. Restored, forested parks help clean the air and water, prevent erosion, retain runoff, provide wildlife habitat, and make neighborhoods more attractive and livable. Come hear, first-hand, from community members who are taking a leadership role in transforming their neighborhood and building community by restoring their local greenspace. Also learn how the City of Seattle and local non-profits are working together as the Green Seattle Partnership to restore and maintain 2,500 acres of valuable urban-forested parkland across the city by 2025. Transportation for this tour includes the light rail and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Sunday, February 7th

Tour #12 – Emerging Town Centers: Density, Diversity and the Devil is in the Details
8:30 am – 12:30 pm
Cost: $35

Take a trip to Kirkland and Mercer Island! These two town centers demonstrate a sustained commitment over time to creating compact, walkable, transit-oriented, urban places. This tour will spotlight denser urban housing, retail, civic buildings and spaces, and pleasant streetscapes. Transportation for this tour includes a bus and walking. Light refreshments will be provided.

Tour #13 – Downtown Seattle Walk Audit with Walkability Guru Dan Burden
9:00 am – 11:30 am
Cost: $15

Dan Burden, a senior urban designer and principal at Glatting Jackson, is the co-founder of Walkable Communities, Inc., and the Bicycle Federation of America. In 2001, Time magazine listed Dan as one of the world’s six most important civic innovators. Having worked in over 2500 communities, leading over 3000 walking audits throughout North America, Burden is both the inventor of walking audits and the "Johnny Appleseed" for spreading walkability around the continent. This walking audit (also known as a walking workshop) will explore the technique and methods of discovery by foot; trekking portions of downtown Seattle, including Pioneer Square, 1st and 2nd Avenues, staircase streets, innovative alleys, plazas and other public realm features. The discovery includes an interactive exploration by participants of streetscapes, urban development, urban infill, public space, parking and traffic management principles and practices. This is a walking tour. Please wear comfortable shoes and other appropriate attire.

Tour #14 – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (Bike Tour)
9:00 am – 11:30 am
Cost: $15

Join Cascade Bicycle Club on a tour of Seattle’s city streets. We will see recent additions to bike infrastructure, facilities that work (and some that don’t) and places that need improvement. Take a first-hand look at how bicycle-facilities-planning works in the real world and what improvements helped propel Seattle to a Platinum-level bicycle friendly community. Bicycles will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring their own bicycles and helmets to Seattle. Please get out to see the Emerald City from a cyclist’s eye view! This is a bicycle tour. Light refreshments will be provided. Please wear appropriate attire.