News Roundup: No Chance

Photo by Zargoman

This is an open thread.




Comments

  1. Charles says

    The article on Surrey is food for thought about how we might view Seattle’s suburban cities and proximity of people to jobs.

    • says

      It’s interesting, but it seems like people are just repeating the same old mistakes, the ones that probably caused people to flee Vancouver for Surrey in the first place. Over density, which raises prices, causes congestion and makes people flee to an exurb…which in turn goes through the same centralizing and decay process.

      I wonder what a Reverse City would be like. By that, imagine instead of building everything at the very center and making people travel inward to the same place, if we put all the housing in the center, and then built everything on the ring on the outside of the “city” so commuters would diverge rather than converge.

      • Mike Orr says

        People are not “fleeing” Vancouver for Surrey, except to the extent that they’re being priced out by highest-in-North-America real estate. The Lower Mainland’s population is increasing, and it’s increasing faster in Surrey than in Vancouver. That’s not the same as people fleeing Vancouver turning it into a ghost town.

        Another point, which I meant to make to one of your earlier comments (about exurban Pierce and Thurston counties being the fastest-growing in the state) and I probably forgot to, is, the smallest things are always the “fastest growing”. It’s just a trick of numbers. If 10,000 people move to a small suburb, it’s a 100% increase. Wow, what growth! But if 10,000 people move to Seattle, it’s a 2% increase, which is a rounding error and barely noticeable.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        “put all the housing in the center, and then built everything on the ring” Are you proposing making housing more dense than offices? Remember, there’s less room in the middle than on the outside.

        While we’re dreaming, here’s something for you.

      • phil says

        JB,

        so your saying while King County had a population increase of 11% on 2 million residents, the 14% increase for Washington State as a whole, 6 million, has far more meaning

        The answer would be No. King County is part of WA, so any increase here would be reflected in the WA totals. You should be comparing King County to the rest of the state.

      • lazarus says

        Sounder north of Everett hasn’t been in any of the voter approved plans. Nor has it been seriously considered.

      • Lloyd says

        Not even Stanwood – can you imagine rural Snoho voting to “TAX” themseleves for a socialist train? I’d suggest, nicely, that Mary Margaret sold Amtrak and WashDOT a bill of goods on that Stanwood station…

      • Mike Orr says

        I read the feasability study Kevin posted. It’s interesting that they’re proposing it as a separate route from Everett to Blaine to Everett timed to meet Sounder, rather than running a single train from Seattle to Blaine. That keeps the political and funding issues in the hands of Snohomish-Skagit-Whatcom Counties, independent of Sound Transit. So what really matters is whether those counties want it enough to build it.

        I’m skeptical that that many people want to travel between Bellingham and Mt Vernon every day. (Why? They commute to their farm? They have two farms? They commute from Skagit to WWU?) And who exactly is going to make a 3-hour trip from Bellingham to Seattle every day? I know some people do, like inexplicably some people commute between Stockton and San Francisco or San Diego and Hollywood, but really that many? (Of course, many people who commute such long distances do so only once or twice a week.) People who travel for non-work reasons would be more likely to use the train, but they’ll find the train is not running, or it’s running for only one direction of their trip.

        The last interesting point is that the report was issued in 2000. Erm, the real estate crash has slowed down the anticipated growth in the North Sound. On the other hand, 2000 would be right when the dotcom bust was settling in, so their predictions are probably based on the previous boom of the 90s. With all that, I’d push the “may be needed by 2030″ date to 2040 or 2050.

        Of course, it’s hard to believe the oil-based economy will last that long; i.e., that they’ll be able to get diesel for their trains or install an electric-train infrastructure. But you have to assume things will remain somewhat the same, otherwise if they are when you get there, you’re unprepared.

    • Sam says

      People who choose to work in Seattle and live north of Everett shouldn’t haven’t their un-green lifestyle rewarded.

  2. Geoff says

    I love the continuing transformation of SLU. I would, however, like to see some regulations that require a percentage of the old buildings be gutted and repurposed, rather than just torn down. It would provide a good mix of new and old and help prevent an overly bland modern neighborhood.

    • Matt the Engineer says

      We have a historic preservation process, but the problem with SLU is that there wasn’t much worth saving. I don’t love the bulldoze-to-blank-slate style development, but I’m not sure what the alternative would be there.

      • Jason Mitchell says

        Even partially maintaining some warehouse facades—a la the Pearl District and the Bravehorse building—would be nice.

      • Mike Orr says

        The old brick buildings, if they existed, were torn down fifty years ago for then-modern warehouse-type buildings and parking lots. The neighborhood has been in a development freeze for the past forty years, waiting for the city to decide what direction it wanted to go with the neighborhood (and thus what the most lucrative real-estate deals would be). Allen suggested the Commons but that was rejected. He then suggested a biotech hub and highrises, and that was accepted — because it was the 90s and urban living was cool again and the city didn’t want to miss out on a big office/residential neighborhood.

        We can also notice how Aurora and the Mercer Mess led to the neighborhood’s decline, much as the El Corbiseurs/Moseses/Bailos don’t believe it. A land of off-ramps and connector ramps: how much people will love the green landscaping around the ramps! They’ll flock to them like to Olmstead parks — or just admire the greenery as they drive by. The modern warehouse-buildings that grew up next to the highways had the same feel: automobile-scaled, with no attention to detail or quality up close, because people looking through their car windows wouldn’t be able to see the detail anyway. And who cares if the buildings are really boring to walk past and take a long time to walk past, because nobody walks anymore anyway. So the lack of attention to quality and to the pedestrian scale leads to a lack of quality and maintenance and decline, just like the blocks where the offramps and connector ramps are.

      • says

        Brings up a point…despite all the talk about “walkability” in big cities, specifically most people don’t walk the entire city. There are long stretches of No Man’s Zones such as warehouse districts and even skyscraper canyons that are completely unwalkable. (Have you ever walked around Avenue of Americas in winter time when the wind is blowing??)

        So, it’s actually a lot like the suburbs — in that people want to go to the “good places” (by transit, or car) to do their walking/partying/etc. Why is that any different from driving to a mall?!

    • joshuadf says

      I also prefer a mix of building ages, but keep in mind most of the Amazon land was formerly parking lots (check out Google Earth’s Historical Imagery).

      Several small older buildings have been renovated on Westlake Ave, including Serious Pie/Soulwine and Republic/Tesla buildings, and of course MOHAI is doing the Armory. However, a newly renovated building looks almost as shiny as a newly built one. Nothing but time is going to provide a real lived-in look.

    • Kyle S. says

      Why arbitrarily require preserving old buildings? Newer buildings are vastly more energy-efficient. If a building or a piece thereof is of significant value, the developer will ensure to preserve and incorporate that piece.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        Older buildings can be just as energy efficient – especially if you’re just keeping their fascades. The general idea is that *they don’t make ‘em like that anymore*. Modern buildings are cheaply constructed compared to the brickwork of the past, and it’s a shame to tear the good stuff down. Plus having buildings of varying age and construction makes a block much more enjoyable to walk down.

        There are many other reasons to keep older buildings (better retail spaces, less parking, less setback, higher density, narrow storefronts, etc.) that have more to do with the silly codes we’ve implemented in the past half a century than any real constructability issues. But changing our building code is hard.

      • Geoff says

        You can modernize any building you want and still keep the facade. Have you ever been to the area of San Diego surrounding Petco Park? It is absolutely incredible what they have done down there.

      • Aleks says

        There are lots of advantages to old buildings. Like Ryan says, even the most energy-efficient, green-construction new building will take so much energy to construct that it will likely take decades to pay off. Assuming 30-year depreciation, it’s possible that the building will end up using more energy over its useful life. (If you ever wonder why new buildings suck, there’s your answer.)

        Of course, it’s questionable whether we should be building buildings that only last 30 years. But that’s how tax/accounting laws work today, and so that’s what we’ve got.

        Old buildings are also a great way to have diversity in a neighborhood. A tenant who wants (and can afford) a spot in a shiny new building is very different from a tenant who has a smaller budget and can use an older space. For example, artists tend to congregate in older buildings, where rent is much lower, space is ample, and the downsides (noise, few amenities) aren’t so bad. Art walks are one of the first signs that a neighborhood is starting to gentrify.

        Having said that, if you stop all development in the name of historical preservation, what you get is Pioneer Square. No one lives there, since there are almost no dwelling units (and even fewer market-rate ones). Thus, the only night-time activity is the kind that no one wants. There are no eyes on the street.

        All in all, I have a hard time taking exception to what’s happening in SLU/Cascade. (For better or worse, the official name of the urban village is South Lake Union.) In most of the city, even in the heart of urban villages or right next to train stations, it’s hard to build anything at all. In SLU, not only is construction everywhere, but almost all of it is dense and mixed-use. Let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

      • Matt the Engineer says

        Ew. Why would you want green space in an urban environment? I’m only half kidding – parks belong where the parks belong, not in on a lively street.

      • Erik G. says

        As compared to the dying industrial area that was there before, Amazon gets an A. It is not Jeff Bezos’ fault that Seattle voters defeated the Commons/Hinterberger Alley.

  3. Lloyd says

    Spent the day in SF yesterday, and the best thing they’ve done is install the Clipper readers (ORCA in Seattle-speak)on the LEFT hand side of the stairs at the entry to their buses. That way the fumblers and questioners are not holding up those of us w/ fare cards. MUNI have also placed them at the rear entries; even though there are large and loud signs at all back doors saying entry is only at the front, many folks board at the back and tap-in there.

  4. Matt the Engineer says

    With Amazon buying the Clise properties with plans on 3 million sf of new office space (twice the Columbia tower), options for more buildings, and SLU asking to upzone for even more offices, Seattle had better get ready to upzone for the next round of condos and plan for more and better transit. The alternative is clogged roads and more sprawl.

    • lazarus says

      All-in-all it’s a good thing. I’d rather have 3M ft**2 going into 3 buildings near the urban core, than have 3M ft**2 going into a multitude dispersed low-rises in the burbs. This is a good thing: Central, relatively close to transit, close to services, etc.

      And it’s sort of interesting that just recently City College also announced that it was moving into the same neighborhood – and that they specifically called out transit when making their decision. Obviously the SLU SC hasn’t caused all this, but maybe it has contributed enough growth to the area to finally push it over the tipping point.

      As an aside, has anyone traveled I-5 between DT Seattle and Northgate lately and tried to count the construction cranes? You’d never know there was a recession on because it is a sea of construction projects.

    • Girl Power says

      While I am a big Amazon fan, I have to question Amazon’s strategy of creating a dense, downtown centric, physical infrastructure. Unless the first ten floors of their buildings are parking structures, unless they are also going to build and provide a dedicated transportation infrastructure for its employees who live in the suburbs, with private shuttles from Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland, like Microsoft does for its Seattle employees going to Redmond, Amazon and the Seattle planning bureaucrats who approved their building permits, are aiding and abetting the traffic and other congestion problems that plaque downtown.

      When it comes to large businesses, suburban campuses are very much a better approach, because they move traffic in varied directions, usually away from downtown congestion, and often enable more employees to live very close to work.

      Microsoft has done a great job with this in Redmond. When Microsoft started building their campus 25 years ago, the Redmond land around it was nearly empty, but in response to its campus construction, the area around it has become the residential home of most of its employees. That kind of city planning has encouraged its employees to live as close as possible to the Redmond campus, and has encouraged residential builders to construct high quality housing close to the campus that matches employee need and desire. That kind of synergy isn’t possible when creating more huge downtown towers that will clog the city’s parking infrastructure and stress a nearly bankrupt bus system.

      Although Amazon and its executive have executed strategically to build their online infrastructure, one has to question their judgment about the construction of the brick and mortar back-end infrastructure they are building to support its activities.

      It seems appropriate to address the subject that Amazon has had other options for building its corporate campus from the beginning. Adding three million square feet of fully occupied office space in the Denny triangle, at the base of Belltown, it what is currently a virtually “empty area”, has both positive and negative potential consequences. Amazon has a responsibility to explain what measures it is going to implement to mitigate its impact on downtown infrastructure. In addition, Seattle city planners have a responsibility to insure that the buildings they plan include accommodations for vehicles and for support of the impact that many employees will have on the surrounding transportation systems, and impacts on other forms of infrastructure. Surely, local small business will benefit, but there are problems that such a level of development create. For example, it is important not to forget that there isn’t even much, if any, on street parking in that area of downtown, and what parking exists costs $4.00 per hour. Amazon and city permitting officials have a lot to consider while planning these buildings.

      • psf says

        Nicely trolled…

        How many acres of parking does MSFT campus have?

        You appear to be stating that that AMZN moving to the burbs (Federal Way perhaps?) would be –better– urban planning than building in Seattle?

        MSFT main campus appears to be bigger than all of SLU, Cascade, and the entire Denny triangle. Perhaps that area should all be razed for parking lots?

      • joshuadf says

        I’ll guess you’re either new to Seattle or simply not interested in the details of planning, but in case you want it here’s the Environmental Impact Statement for the current Denny Triangle zoning (enacted 2006):

        http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Planning/Downtown_Zoning_Changes/Overview/

        Assuming Amazon wants to use that zoning (500 ft I think), they will not need to do a separate EIS.

        Oh, and there’s a new EIS for SLU too by the way, zoning changes to hopefully be enacted sometime this year:
        http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Planning/South_Lake_Union/EnvironmentalImpactStatement/default.asp

      • Mike Orr says

        It sounds like you have a car, and you’ve never thought about how easy it is to get to those jobs without a car, or, if you live next to your suburban office-park job, how difficult it is to go anywhere else without a car. Microsoft’s Redmond campus, and its former location on Northup Way, had only skeletal transit for years. Other companies have office parks in Issaquah, Bothell, and Canyon Park with even less transit. Do the buses run peak-only or also evenings and weekends? It may not matter if you only work there, but it matters if you live in the area.

        Downtown has a hundred years of transit infrastructure and four-lane streets every block. It can handle an influx or more jobs and more residents, and if we need to upgrade the transit (SLUT is so minimal) it’s relatively easy to do there, and there’s such a huge transit market around Amazon that they’ll ride it too. As for parking and access roads, I don’t know much about what Amazon’s buildings have, but given Seattle’s behind-the-curve zoning I’m sure they have an adequate amount of parking. Oh, but the access roads. Well, Seattle is preserving access roads with its regrades of Mercer and Aurora, and if that’s not enough capacity, well, I don’t care much as long as the buses and trains can bypass the traffic.

      • Breadbaker says

        The best bus routes to the new Amazon location are the current 26-28 routes down Dexter/Seventh. They would go right by the proposed buildings in both directions. Amazon should be encouraging employees to live along both routes’ corridors.

      • Eric says

        Breadbaker, while you’re correct that the 26 and 28 (local) currently have stops right next to those blocks, the original proposal for this fall’s service restructure was to eliminate the local versions of both of those routes and serve that corridor with the 5 instead. Those changes could still be implemented in the future.

        One of the downsides of bus transit is that when you choose a place to live there’s no guarantee that the transit routes passing by that address will keep serving the same destinations in a few years.

      • Erik G. says

        I wonder how much *new* impervious surface the Microsoft campus was responsible for versus what the new Amazon development will create. Also, alot more people will be able to access Amazon without a car. MSFT had to create a transit network out of scratch because they were so dependent on the car.

      • Eric says

        The new Amazon development is likely to actually *reduce* the amount of impervious surface since the lots are mostly parking right now but will likely have some amount of decorative vegetation when they are developed.

      • Mike Orr says

        “One of the downsides of bus transit is that when you choose a place to live there’s no guarantee that the transit routes passing by that address will keep serving the same destinations in a few years.”

        This is where Metro needs to publish a frequent-transit map and commit to some corridors. RapidRide is a start, but C, D, and E don’t cover enough of the city. There’s something wrong when the 5, 71, 17, and 25 have the same frequency and look exactly the same on the map. Um, should I live on NE 65th or 70th or Greenwood if I want good bus service in the long term? Will 8th NW have a bus in 10 years? Is it really a tossup between 8th and Greenwood?

      • phil says

        The land for MSFT’s campus was dirt cheap and unaccessible. Try and find land for a very large suburban campus today, that is accessible and cheap enough to make make the numbers work.

        Most of Amazons workforce is already downtown in leased offices.

      • barman says

        Amazon is a huge provider of server space, and SLU happens to be right on top of some of the fastest fibre optic internet connections in the country. This makes sense for them.

  5. Ryan on Summit says

    Thanks for determining Paul Allen “right”. Now the ugly office towers will be slightly larger.

      • Ryan on Summit says

        Really? Because I think the neighborhood’s being designed poorly, I’m a proponent of “backwoods” thinking?

        I mainly oppose the idea that one person is “right” (Paul Allen) and the other “wrong”.

    • Mike Orr says

      Define ugly, and what would be better. Modern buildings are uglier than City Beautiful, Art Deco, and Beaux Arts buildings, but that issue is much bigger than the handful of buildings Paul Allen is building. The new buildings since the mid 90s are at least better than their 70s and 80s predecessors. As I understand it, the public and patrons have gotten tired of modernism but the architects still believe it. Eventually the architects will rediscover aesthetics and human scale, or their patrons will force them to, hopefully sooner rather than later, but it’s hard to predict when the tide will turn. I’d love to see a new school that takes the values of City Beautiful and Art Deco, adds some contemporary traits (a little bit of modernism is OK), and makes a new/old style for the 21st century.

      • Aleks says

        I’ve heard that the problem with many of these newer building is that they didn’t bother to hire architects at all. :) I don’t know if it’s true, but certainly, the haphazard use and juxtaposition of materials that you see on almost all modern mid-rise buildings is pretty much unheard of anywhere else. Look at the dozens of newer buildings with a brick facade on 2-3 sides for a few stories, and stucco everywhere else. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single older building that uses brick so arbitrarily.

  6. Zed says

    What do you think of the location of the proposed new NBA/NHL arena just to the south of the Safeco Field garage? It seems like an awful location for access by transit or by foot. It’s too far from the King Steet Station hub and in-between Stadium and Sodo Stations. I wonder if the location is a done deal, or if part of the process will involve looking at more appropriate locations. It’s too bad this couldn’t have been done along with the North Lot redevelopment.

    • lazarus says

      I think it is a great location for transit. It isn’t that far from the LR Stadium Station, and 1st and 4th Ave are great for buses. And if a Ballard-West Seattle LR line ever gets built the new facility will essentially be bracketed by LR.

      I say it is a pretty darn good location (transit wise) right now, and will only get better in the future. And besides, people will walk further for the occasional game then they will walk for their daily commute.

      And having all these seasonal facilities co-located will certainly help the businesses in the local area.

      It’ll be great.

      • Kyle S. says

        I don’t know what map you’re looking at, lazarus, but it’s pretty far walk to Link through an industrial district.

      • ericn says

        It’s not a great location, but it also isn’t untenable. The fastest way from Link to the stadium would probably be via the overpass at the Atlantic St. I-90 onramp. This wouldn’t be much farther than walking from Link to the Safeco Field home plate entrance, although that route could definitely use better lighting/signage.

        Ideally there would be a pedestrian overpass from the south end of Stadium Station to the west but the interstate onramp, bus base, and Amtrak maintenance base are all directly in the way.

      • GuyOnBeaconHill says

        The arena will be almost halfway between Stadium and SODO stations. It looks like Metro routes 50, 124, 131 and 132 will be the closest bus routes. Rapid Rides C and D won’t stop anywhere near the new arena. It might be possible for Sounder trains to stop right next to the new arena; but with a max capacity of about 20,000 fans, the new arena might not generate enough passengers to warrant special Sounder service.

      • JW says

        I’d be interested to hear how the current bus service on 1st and 4th fares during the crush of traffic that appears on Mariners/Seahawks/Sounders game days. If we’re going to build yet another arena in the same area, that means practically a year-round set of traffic impacts.

        So…where are the transit lanes on 1st and 4th so that bus riders (some of whom just need to get somewhere other than a game) don’t have to pay the price for having this arena with their time? When it comes time to remove street parking to create those lanes, which complaints will count?

      • Gordon Werner says

        Couldn’t they build a station in-between SODO and Stadium that would only be used when there are events?

      • Lack Thereof says

        4th has 15-minute headway all-day service between downtown and S Michigan St, from the combined 23 and 124, and there’s a stop right at Holgate. There are also a couple other buses that only serve 4th as far as S Lander before ducking over to 1st – I’m not familiar with their headways. During game traffic, these buses are all rerouted to use the Busway instead, but can still be delayed by the Royal Brougham zig-zag right after the game, although the police do their best to get the buses through (Manual TSP!).

        1st has no stops between Lander St and Pioneer Square, although a few buses do run from Lander to Atlantic in order to take advantage of the grade-separated rail crossing there. That stretch is damn near impassable during game traffic.

        This thing is going to front on Holgate, and honestly the best part about this stadium deal could be grade separation of the rail crossing there. If Holgate is to get any sort of refresh or upgrade (recognizable and complete sidewalks on both sides, anyone?), I expect BNSF will demand it as a precondition for the project. They absolutely hate the sodo grade crossings – before they got the Royal Brougham bridge, they had to repair vehicle damage to the crossing gates an average of twice per day.

        And the city will most likely insist upon sprucing it up. This is what Holgate looks like now at the site. It’s worse on the other side of the street.
        Side note – there’s a couple dozen apartments in that warehouse across the street, in addition to the obvious commerical uses. They’re affordable but tiny.

      • Keith says

        The new stadium location would be a lot more convenient to light rail if the Stadium station had an exit to the south and the SODO station had an exit to the north (both of which allowed access to 4th).

        Getting to Holgate from either one of those stations is doable, but it’s a royal pain, especially when you realize that a non-trivial chunk of the walking you have to do is backtracking because the sole station exits forces you to go a direction you don’t want to go…

    • Eric says

      I think the location of the proposed arena is great. It will be easily accessible by Link (and by the time it opens, Link will be carrying riders from both the north and the south) in addition to the numerous buses going through SODO.

      While SODO isn’t the most pleasant area to walk through today, with appropriate investments, that can change. And if there’s anything that’s going to make those investments happen, it’s going to be the construction of a new arena.

      On the surface, the Qwest Field north lot may seem better because it’s more in the center of things, but you have to remember that while a basketball/hockey arena will have good crowds when there’s a game going on, at all other times, it’s going to be almost completely empty. Given that we have a finite amount of land in the center of downtown, I’d rather have the Qwest Field north lot be redeveloped into something that will get use all day everyday, such as apartments and retail. The arena should go somewhere that is accessible enough by high capacity transit to handle the crowds on gamedays, but not consume prime real estate on all other days. I believe the chosen SODO site strike the right balance here.

      • BA says

        You are aware that North Lot construction is currently underway with the first phase of a mixed use project?

    • Mike Orr says

      Putting the stadium outside the inner city would cause the same problems that putting office-parks in the outskirts cause. It’s fine if it’s in downtown Everett or Bellevue or Kent — then there’s at least a hope of frequent transit to it either now or in the future. But if they plunk it down in no man’s land like the outskirts of Kirkland or the Auburn Supermall, then it’s a major hassle to get there without a car.

      • Zed says

        I’m glad it’s going near the existing stadiums, it just seems to be a very awkward location given the locations of existing transit infrastructure. It’s over a half-mile, rather indirect, walk from Stadium Station and a mile from the International District / King Street Stations. There will have to be big improvements to make that walk bearable for most people.

    • Moose says

      I think the location of the stadium, if it goes ahead, makes a great case for extending the revived Waterfront streetcar south past the Triangle Pub down at least to Safeco.

      • Cascadia Bryan says

        Wait, Matt the Engineer. I am shocked! Wouldn’t a gondola be a good solution here, too????? :)

        Actually, a streetcar would be perfect for the area.

    • Geoff says

      I love the location of the new arena. Centralizing all the sports stadiums in one district like this will be very beneficial to the neighborhood. Right now there are big enough gaps between seasons that prevent full scale investment in the area IMO. Adding the NHL and NBA (along with concerts) will create a full year calendar of events in that area, which should spark investment. With investment will come resources such as transit.

      My only grievance with transit in that area is after sporting events. You almost have to walk back into Pioneer Square to catch a bus due to pedestrian obstructions, etc. If they could channel routes more cleanly through the area, it would be fantastic.

  7. joshuadf says

    Hmm, I wonder if the drop in dinner business in the International District might have something to do with Amazon moving thousands of workers to SLU, instead of a few bucks for parking?

    • Keith says

      If true, Metro has pretty much lost me as a supporter for groundbreaking changes to make the system better due to this waffling. Did they honestly not expect significant hue and cry from the folks impacted by such a major change? Did they not expect they’d have to withstand an onslaught of criticism and hold true to their vision for the betterment of the entire network? Keeping the #2 as is probably better than their BS second salvo of changing the #27 to run up Spring/Seneca, so in that context I guess I should be happy…

      How about this as an alternative – since the folks who want to keep the #2 as is don’t seem to care about route frequency or reliability, why not only run it with hour long headways and develop a new route (call it the 2R – for “reliable”) that runs along the original proposed new route/frequencies for the 2S (E. Union to Madison to 1st and back up the hill along Marion). With the improved reliability and shorter overall route the numbers might actually make this a service hour neutral change. Then you can check back in a year to see which route has the better metrics…

      And as much as this suggestion would likely screw me over too, I seriously hope that all the route changes that Metro is now backtracking on due to local interests are the ones that get the most screwed over in a few years time when Metro’s temporary funding sources dry up and they get no additional money from the State since they haven’t shown a willingness to improve the overall system…

      • Lloyd says

        The chickens WILL come home to roost, and soon. Metro’s route and frequency “systems” must be rationalised in order for the system even to survive, let alone prosper.

      • justinf says

        I’m so excited about continuing to waste 20 minutes everyday going 3 blocks on Spring so some folks can have a one-seat ride to the Seattle Center a few times a year. That will do wonders for ridership.

        I like Keith’s recommendation.

    • Bruce Nourish says

      The reports in Capitol Hill Seattle and Central District news regarding Route 2 are not accurate. Nothing about the status of Route 2 has changed. There will be a post about this tomorrow morning.

    • Mike Orr says

      If the 2 continues to Seattle Center that will be tolerable. If it goes all the way to 6th & Raye at the cost of leaving the 13 with half-hourly service, that’ll be a blow to Queen Anne and the entire county.

  8. MIke says

    No wonder Cleveland’s RTA is in the shitter. They hired a blond babe to ride the trains for $32 mil. over 3 years. I’da become a cross dresser for that kinda loot, and bid much less.
    Let’s see…. that’s 256,000 bus hours, or about 50 all day routes for a year – or one chick riding the train… tough call!

  9. says

    Interesting article on Obama’s energy budget:

    President Obama Follows Through on Energy Innovation in 2013 Budget Request

    n particular, the President’s budget request envisions using almost two-thirds of the additional investment to not only bolster existing technology categories like next-generation biofuels and vehicle batteries, but also next-generation natural gas and hydrogen transportation fuels. The remaining third is envisioned to focus on baseload clean energy and infrastructure technology development.

    http://theenergycollective.com/breakthroughinstitut/76496/president-obama-follows-through-energy-innovation-2013-budget-request

  10. Lack Thereof says

    The vehicle-mounted cameras for transit lane enforcement would be excellent on the SLUT, for vehicles blocking the tracks (delivery trucks!)

    • Dan Carey says

      It is interesting to see that there is interest in the Canadian side of the border for a Blaine stop. I always thought it was odd that the Cascades only stopped at Vancouver, but I also realize it does that for customs and immigration reasons.

      What is the likelyhood of this stop being added I wonder?

      • MIke says

        Depends on how ‘prickish’ the border guards want to be with bus loads of Canadians trying to make a train.

      • Dan Carey says

        I assume that a stop in Blaine takes place after the US does its customs/immigration check of the train. Any Canadians getting on at the stop have already crossed the border. You are right that the border personnel aren’t going to care about processing people any faster so they can make a train. I don’t see that as relevant as far as Amtrak or WSDOT deciding to add a stop there. Still, who likely is it that Amtrak Cascades would add this as a stop? I wonder what WSDOT’s position on it is.

  11. Breadbaker says

    Glad to see the likely progress on fixing the tracks north of Kelso. I had to commute there last year and wanted to take Amtrak rather than drive as often as I could, but the mandatory and unscheduled stop just north of Kelso made it too unreliable for a commute. There were times when if I could have gotten off the train, which stopped at the rest area on I-5 just north of Kelso, I could have walked to town quicker than waiting for the train to start again. So, a good thing.

  12. Charles says

    Does anyone have more and current information about the Greyhound Station status? There was news in December that they had lost their lease and were frantically trying to find a suitable depot. I had heard that King Street Station was one of the sites being looked at.

    • phil says

      Kind of late looking aren’t they? The developer originally filed applications with the city to demolish the downtown Seattle Greyhound bus station and build a 51-story, 1,200-room hotel on the site back in Jan 2008 (via Seattle Times Jan 31, 2008).

      • Charles says

        Well, I had read they weren’t too interested in moving but are now frantic. So I don’t know what is going on. Will Seattle continue to have Greyhound service?

  13. ryanmm says

    They will certainly have a stop somewhere in Seattle proper, and I imagine they will try very hard to find something close to downtown. Just makes sense in terms of demand and connections.

    If not, the alternative could be a move to a cheaper location with easy I5 access–Northgate perhaps?

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