What a year! And one of the best ever for Sightline’s blog. We’ve been through a complete redesign of the site and emails, introduced new issues, and penned over 380 posts that were read over 400,000 times. Thanks for sticking with us—it’s our readers (all 176,162 of you) who made 2011 such a success.

It’s late December, so ’tis the season for year-end roundups. Here’s a look at the top 11 Sightline blog posts of 2011:

1. Alley, Alley In Come Free: Alyse Nelson’s photo essay of alleyway transformations has the honor of our most viewed post this year—and why wouldn’t it? Stunning images reveal how little-used alleyways can be reclaimed for community space.

Photo by Lanefab, used with permission.

2. Home, Home on the Lane: Speaking of alleys, BC planner and Sightline board member Kamala Rao shares four great things about Vancouver’s booming laneway houses. Converting traditional garage spaces into single unit dwelling creates “hidden density” via small, green homes that are down-right adorable.

  • 3. Video: Breaching the Elwha: It’s not a common occurrence to remove a large dam from one of Cascadia’s beautiful national parks. We compiled a time-lapse video of this historic moment. If you haven’t yet, it’s a good way to spend 90 seconds of your day.

    Flickr, re-Verse

    4. Freeing Taxis: Likening taxis to pizza delivery, Sightline volunteer Vince Houmes takes a hard look at the tightly-regulated taxi industries in Northwest cities. A shortage of cabs means the region is missing out on a transportation mode to fill the gap for bus, bike, and foot travelers.

    Ladybug, Seattle, by bmaryman, flickr

    5. Coloring Inside the Lanes: What if all it took to build a better neighborhood was a can of paint? That’s the question Alyse Nelson tackles in her photoessay on painted intersections.

    6. A Generational Shift in Driving?: Clark takes a look at national trends showing a sharp decline in driving among younger generations. Could it be one of the reasons Clark has trouble finding cars?

    7. WSDOT vs. Reality: The state’s transportation agency is charged with looking into the future to predict traffic volumes. Yet looking back at their track record reveals the predictions don’t even pass the laugh test: while WSDOT continually predicts massive traffic growth across SR-520, in reality, trends show a slow decline.

    8. Unchain Bike Sharing: Part of Sightline’s series on regulatory barriers to sustainability, intern Jake Kennon reveals that a major impediment to a successful bike sharing program is a mandatory helmet law.

    9. “War on Cars”: A History: Eric de Place gets to the bottom of the phrase “the war on cars.” Started by liberal bike huggers? Try the right-wing Heritage Foundation.

    10. Jon Stewart Jumps the Shark: When Jon Stewart repeated deceptions perpetuated by the Heritage Foundation about Seattle’s green jobs program, Eric de Place took a hard look at the truth behind the six-month-old program to show that the allegations were false.

    Photo courtesy of Susan Taylor

    11. Unbanning Clotheslines: Elegant, efficient, simple, illegal. Homeowners associations across the continent levy regulations barring solar-powered drying. Sightline has been collecting locations of bans throughout the year to create a map. Does your neighborhood ban clotheslines?