Send a Message to Washington State Representatives

Amend HB 2160 to Protect Urban Forests

HB 2160 will allow denser housing with a 10% affordability requirement near transit hubs, but is missing any mention of urban trees or the critical role trees play in walkability and livability. HB 2160, as currently written needs amendments to both make sure transit is accessible for pedestrians and that transit areas are not clearcut of trees and become new heat islands in our cities. Trees are important for public health and livable communities. Transit areas must be safe to walk for people to reach public transit.

We urge the House to adopt the following amendments:

  • Require planting of street trees in station areas to help reduce heat island impacts and encourage more people to walk and use transit.
  • Require sidewalks and walkways along with the street trees in station areas so that families, children and others are not walking in the street and competing with car traffic while walking to transit stops. Many areas in our cities have no sidewalks.
  • Allow increased height on buildings in station areas if trees are retained on building lots.
  • Require that trees removed be replaced on site with comparable sized trees at maturity whenever possible, or in other parts of a city with low tree canopy to increase environmental equity and climate resilience.
  • Require fee-in-lieu payments for removed trees, like Seattle and Portland Oregon do for replanting off site trees. In lieu fees pay for replacement costs and watering and maintenance to establish replanted trees.
  • Urge use of transportation impact fees for sidewalks and street trees and park impact fees for pocket parks as housing density increases.

Let’s create healthy communities with both more transit, neighbors and trees!

Please send an email today to urge the House to add the proposed amendments listed below to HB 2160.