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City of Seattle

December 19, 3:44 PM click here to comment > 2

The Reader – Developing an ultra-fast broadband network

From the Office of Mayor Mike McGinn
News, Updates, and Information
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Developing an ultra-fast broadband network
The City of Seattle has reached an agreement with broadband developer Gigabit Squared to develop and operate an ultra high-speed fiber-to-the-home/fiber-to-the-business broadband network. The plan will begin with a demonstration fiber project in twelve Seattle neighborhoods and includes wireless methods to deploy services more quickly to other areas in the city. The initiative, leveraging the City of Seattle’s excess fiber capacity, the expertise of Gigabit Squared, and the community leadership of The University of Washington, aims to stimulate business opportunities, spur advancements in health care, education, and public safety, and enhance quality of life for the residents and businesses of Seattle.

“This is a very promising proposal that can help bring 21st century infrastructure to Seattle,” said Mayor McGinn. “I’ve heard from residents and businesses that Seattle needs better broadband service, and this agreement lays the groundwork for building that network. I’m excited to work with the University of Washington and Gigabit Squared to provide new Internet service choices.”

As Blair Levin and Ellen Satterwhite said in an op-ed this week, “Seattle’s announcement is significant for its size, but more importantly because it points to a path, with proper strategy and planning, that any community can follow to an upgrade. This project shows how smart use of community assets like rights of way and dark fiber can improve the conditions for investment in next generation networks.”

Watch KING5’s coverage below.

Mayor testifies against impacts of coal trains
Thousands turned out for the Seattle hearing on a proposed coal export facility that would cause as many as 18 additional coal trains, each over a mile long, to pass through Seattle. We have heard concerns from many in our community about the possible impacts of these trains on commuters, maritime and industrial businesses, emergency responders, and transit, as well as health impacts of coal dust.

Mayor McGinn explained these concerns to the Department of Ecology and the Army Corps of Engineers and asked for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement, including all areas along the proposed route. The City’s traffic study found that railroad gates would be down an additional one to three hours per day. We are also commissioning a study of local economic impacts of these trains.

Ask the Mayor live on Seattle Channel, Wednesday, December 19, 7 p.m.
What’s your question for the mayor? Mayor McGinn joins host Brian Callanan for Ask the Mayor on Seattle Channel, Cable 21. Here are the ways you can get in on the conversation:

City invests in urban agriculture projects in 2013
Mayor McGinn announced the creation of additional space for community gardening and urban agriculture in the city. Approximately 185 P-Patch community garden plots will be developed or made available, along with 14,500 square feet of land dedicated to large tract gardening.

“Fresh, organic food is important to our health and to the environment,” said McGinn. “And in addition to serving as a gathering place, our P-Patches build community among gardeners and neighbors. We are pleased to invest in this opportunity to help grow the program and serve more community members.”

The city is providing these opportunities by investing $427,000 of inflationary funds that were not spent as part of the 2008 Parks and Green Spaces Levy. The funds will be used to add approximately 115 new community garden plots, create two urban agriculture sites on city-owned land in Squire Park, and double the size of the Marra Farm Large Tract Project to provide additional gardening space for three low-income farmers. In addition, existing P-Patch plots will be resized in 13 P-Patch community gardens to provide gardening opportunities for 70 families.

City awards $19.5 million to construct and preserve permanent affordable housing
Mayor McGinn and Councilmember Nick Licata announced more than $19.5 million in capital funding for the construction of five new apartment buildings that will serve homeless individuals, low-income individuals graduating from high-service need housing, seniors, rent-burdened and homeless families and low-wage workers. The investment, primarily Seattle Housing Levy funds, will help create 302 new permanent apartments, including some set-aside to serve veterans. In addition, the funds will preserve 272 units of existing affordable housing.

“This investment will provide affordable apartments while creating living-wage construction and building operation and maintenance jobs,” said McGinn. “We are a growing city. And projects like these help support a diverse and vibrant community. I thank Seattle voters for making these investments in affordable housing possible.”

McGinn made the announcement with Office of Housing Director Rick Hooper and Councilmember Licata near the parking lot of Hirabayashi Place at 424 South Main Street. This project will help revitalize a block of boarded up commercial space into 85 units of low-wage housing.

Single-gender swimming opportunities
The City of Seattle will begin offering single-gender swimming opportunities at four Seattle Parks and Recreation swimming pools to serve women who, because of cultural, personal or religious reasons, cannot swim in a co-ed environment. Beginning in March, 2013, Seattle Parks and Recreation will host women-only swimming at Meadowbrook, Medgar Evers and Southwest pools. The program will also be extended to Rainier Beach Pool when it re-opens in fall 2013. Single-gender swim participants will pay standard public attendance fees. The program will be held at times when the pools have the traditionally lowest usage. Staff will cover the windows during the swim, and only female lifeguards will be employed.

Seattle Parks and Recreation has offered single-gender swimming at three public pools for about 10 years, but the program has been underwritten as a private rental and paid for with grants procured from outside agencies. Historically, the rentals have been well attended, and interest in the program has increased in recent years. In the more than 10 years since the program first began at Meadowbrook Pool, it has grown from one location for 1.5 hours a month to three locations and 9 hours a month, serving as many as 120 women. Private funding for the rentals has become unstable in recent years, prompting the City to include it as a regular program. Participants largely identify as Muslim. Orthodox Jews also participate, along with other women, who for various personal reasons have chosen to seek out and participate in single-gender swims. Immigrant and refugee swimmers report they do not have many opportunities for physical exercise, have limited financial resources, and use English as a second language.

Video highlights (for more see

Economic impacts of coal trains Ultra-fast broadband network

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Posted by: Nathaniel Merrill


Comment from Matt the Engineer
Time December 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm

I noticed the map of broadband matches the light rail tunnel fairly well. Was the tunnel instrumental to this project? Would a second rail tunnel on the west side have a side-benefit of adding broadband to more of the city?

Comment from AC Repair Miami
Time May 27, 2013 at 11:06 am

Are there any plans to bring google fiber to seattle? I think this would take our city to the next level in the technology field and could spark a big wave of innovations.