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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 8:17 PM
ThePhun1 ThePhun1 is offline
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I kinda wish Seattle had developed on Mercer Island

It may have become a New York of the west.
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 8:21 PM
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It's pretty hilly and much less connected to the areas across the water. Bellevue is reasonably easy to get to, but only for a short distance. The rest is a long way from a hilly island to a hilly opposite side. It's also only about 1/6 the size of Manhattan.

Also it only became ocean-accessible after the Lake Washington Ship Canal was built, along with the Ballard Locks.

The perimeter road makes a nice bike loop though.

Even getting to Seattle required I-90 to go through a tunnel to avoid Mt. Baker (the hill/neighborhood, not the mountain). Thankfully the expansion 20 years ago added a bike lane also through the hill.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 8:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
It's pretty hilly and much less connected to the areas across the water. Bellevue is reasonably easy to get to, but only for a short distance. The rest is a long way from a hilly island to a hilly opposite side. It's also only about 1/6 the size of Manhattan.

Also it only became ocean-accessible after the Lake Washington Ship Canal was built, along with the Ballard Locks.

The perimeter road makes a nice bike loop though.

Even getting to Seattle required I-90 to go through a tunnel to avoid Mt. Baker (the hill/neighborhood, not the mountain). Thankfully the expansion 20 years ago added a bike lane also through the hill.
I thought it was 13 sqM.? If so, that's roughly half the size of Manhattan at 23 sqM. And like Manhattan, they could have done some infill along the perimeter, presumably all the dirt from those hills.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 8:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ThePhun1 View Post
I thought it was 13 sqM.? If so, that's roughly half the size of Manhattan at 23 sqM.
according to wikipedia, mercer island has a land area of 6.32 miles, or roughly 1/4 the size of manhattan.

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercer_Island,_Washington



EDIT:

confirmed by quick and dirty google earth measurement: ~6.3 square miles
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 8:36 PM
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Interesting 'what if'.

Since we're talking about Seattle, what about the other side. What if Bainbridge Island alongside present day Seattle developed together. Instead of it being linked by ferry, suspension bridge and tunnels were constructed to connect to the mainland.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 9:30 PM
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The NY region's dense core patterns aren't really due to land constraints. It isn't like the density drops off heading from, say, Manhattan to the Bronx, or from Manhattan to Brooklyn. If Manhattan weren't an island, I'm not sure it would look any different.

So, if in some alternate universe, Seattle's core were on Mercer Island, it isn't clear that the overall built form would be different than today.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 9:35 PM
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The NY region's dense core patterns aren't really due to land constraints. It isn't like the density drops off heading from, say, Manhattan to the Bronx, or from Manhattan to Brooklyn. If Manhattan weren't an island, I'm not sure it would look any different.

So, if in some alternate universe, Seattle's core were on Mercer Island, it isn't clear that the overall built form would be different than today.
Really? If NY had the same physical features of the LA basin I would think it would be very different. It would probably be home to 30 million people and not 20 for example.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 9:38 PM
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Really? If NY had the same physical features of the LA basin I would think it would be very different. It would probably be home to 30 million people and not 20 for example.
This point isn't really related to your previous point re. core density, but I doubt it. Both the NYC and LA regions are fairly NIMBY, and have lots of physical and regulatory impediments to building.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 9:45 PM
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This point isn't really related to your previous point re. core density, but I doubt it. Both the NYC and LA regions are fairly NIMBY, and have lots of physical and regulatory impediments to building.
They are both NIMBY cities today, but back when NYC was rapidly developing in the 19th century it was not NIMBYish. Remove the waterways from NY with a flat basin and it could've created an urban fabric that could house 30 million today.

This can't be proven one way or the other, but it is just the thought process behind my 30 million claim.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 9:58 PM
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They are both NIMBY cities today, but back when NYC was rapidly developing in the 19th century it was not NIMBYish. Remove the waterways from NY with a flat basin and it could've created an urban fabric that could house 30 million today.

This can't be proven one way or the other, but it is just the thought process behind my 30 million claim.
A flat basin would have negated the need to build "up" (taller), especially more than a hundred years ago...
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 10:04 PM
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Chicago would've been pretty kick ass had it developed on the Door County Peninsula or...even more sexy....Mackinac Island
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 10:18 PM
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Chicago would've been pretty kick ass had it developed on the Door County Peninsula or...even more sexy....Mackinac Island
mackinac island is only 3.7 sq. miles. much too small for a major city, and it's roughly 2.5 miles away from the nearest mainland in st. ingace. that ain't no east river.

nearby bois blanc island, at ~35 sq, miles, would have been much more suitable size wise, but lacks mackinac's topography. and it's over 3.5 miles away from the nearest mainland.

if a major city were to have ever developed in the straits area, it would have probably been where st. ignace is located (better natural harbor than mack city).
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 10:33 PM
ThePhun1 ThePhun1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
The NY region's dense core patterns aren't really due to land constraints. It isn't like the density drops off heading from, say, Manhattan to the Bronx, or from Manhattan to Brooklyn. If Manhattan weren't an island, I'm not sure it would look any different.

So, if in some alternate universe, Seattle's core were on Mercer Island, it isn't clear that the overall built form would be different than today.
It's a chicken or the egg deal. Manhattan's density has a lot to do with its geography. It just may look different if it were connected to Queens and the Bronx. Developers wouldn't have needed to build up to such a degree.
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Old Posted Nov 29, 2017, 11:56 PM
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A bridge to Bainbridge Island would cost many billions and presumably some new technology. It would require supports in hundreds of feet of tidal water.
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Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 1:38 AM
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Mercer Island is waaaay too small.

Also, was never going to happen because the main raison-d'etre for Seattle being where it is was because of the harbor on Puget Sound. Back in 1850 you couldn't get a ship to Lake Washington.
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Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 3:16 AM
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would it look more like Jacksonville?
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Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 3:23 AM
ThePhun1 ThePhun1 is offline
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Why do you keep pushing that? I stand by it and I'm not backing off it. I like Jacksonville's skyline, as tiny as it may be.
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  #18  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 3:30 AM
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sure beats Toronto!
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Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 3:37 AM
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From a city design standpoint, assuming Mercer Island was flat (which its not), it would look wickely cool. Imagine the island full of skyscrapers, connected by bridges and tunnels, and the rest is residential, with Bellevue being the secondary CBD and major residential cluster.

The airport in this fantasy would be were West Seattle is at (see below).

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  #20  
Old Posted Nov 30, 2017, 3:57 AM
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Mercer Island is in the path of lahars when Mt. Ranier erupts again AND its steep slopes are vulnerable to landslides in the event of the inevitable megathrust earthquake. Meteors, North Koreans, etc. As a suburb, it is quality real estate, though.
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