Former Washington State Transportation Commission chairman Aubrey Davis has an op-ed explaining why Light Rail is the best solution for transportation on the Eastside. Aubrey lives on Mercer Island, which will be losing their special carpool entrance to I-90, so that means he must be really for light rail to support it this way.

The debate over whether we should invest in more highways, buses or trains has gone on long enough and it’s time that we stop talking and start building.

This means we must invest in the transportation mode that makes sense for each corridor and does the best job of moving the most people. In the case of connecting the Eastside and Seattle, the right transportation choice is building light rail across Interstate 90.

He does have something that I disagree with:

The Eastside is growing at an unimaginable rate. New office buildings, condominiums and retail centers are increasing the urban density in downtown Bellevue. In the very near future, the Eastside will be equal to Seattle in the number of jobs and residences.

Residences might be true, but Seattle is building more office space right now than Bellevue has in total. According to the Seattle PI Bellevue currently has 8 million square feet of office space, about 25% of Downtown Seattle’s 40 million, and will have 13.1 million sq ft by 2020. Some 2 million sq ft will open this year and another 2 million next year, with another 13 million sq ft in design review or development right now between the Financial District, Uptown (the Bill and Melinda Gate’s foundation buildings are 1.9 million sq ft), South Lake Union (Amazon’s campus alone is nearly 3 million sq ft), the Denny Triangle and the Selig Properties on Western.

Why is this important? Because the growth of Downtown Seattle means that connecting the Eastside to Seattle will be even more important in the future than it is today. As more people commute from Seattle to the Eastside and vice-versa, connecting the two jobs and residential centers will be critically important, and as Aubrey says, “Only light rail has the capacity and reliability to serve the cross-lake connection at the level that we are going to need”.

15 Replies to “Aubrey Davis in the Times”

  1. Note that he actually said “the Eastside” and not just Bellevue. I suspect you are still correct, but Redmond and Kirkland obviously have a few sq feet of office space too.

    1. Absolutely they do, I think Redmond has nearly as much as Bellevue. I just offered this up as a comparison of scale.

  2. The opinion piece by Mayor Rybak of Minneapolis is pretty awesome, too. He got his Governor to put light rail on the new I-35 bridge and now he wants to make it possible for cities to use more federal money for transit.

  3. I am requesting blog change its name to something else. I don’t believe the focus of this blog is transit. This blog reads more like a rail enthusiast or rail cheerleader blog. I am politely and seriously requesting that you consider this request. I feel like there’s some bait and switch going on here. I come here for transit information and talk, but the majority of it seems to be pro-rail propaganda. I’m not asking for you to cut back on the rail cheerleading, rather to change the blog title’s to better reflect the content. Might I suggest “Seattle Rail Enthusiasts?”

    Again, I am not being sarcastic. This is a completely serious request.

    1. It’s an election year.

      We are currently considering a ballot item that is most heavily-invested in rail.

      The rail portion is the most heavily-contested.

      Therefore, it is in the best interest to address and combat dis-information and poor attitudes towards rail transit to make sure that we can get proper investment in transit as a whole.

      Capisce? Molto Buono.

    2. Sam, if you’re saying that the current name is so cunning and deceiving that it continues to trick you into visiting this humble blog then I suspect user error.

      Listen, we’re clearly a transit blog with a strong pro-rail bent — there’s no pretense otherwise. I don’t think we stoop to the level of propaganda, but if you feel we do then I’m sure you’d have similar feelings regardless of our site name.

    3. I love buses, and ride them every day. I think you’d find we cover buses pretty well. But there’s not as news about buses right now as there is about rail, because as John says, there’s a huge rail plan on the ballot this year.

    4. Might you be confusing “transit” with “bus”? Last time I checked “transit” equates to buses, rails, and sometimes ferries.

      mmm, yep, still the same:

      Noun 1. public transport – conveyance for passengers or mail or freight
      autobus, bus, charabanc, double-decker, jitney, motorbus, motorcoach, passenger vehicle, omnibus, coach – a vehicle carrying many passengers; used for public transport; “he always rode the bus to work”; transport, conveyance – something that serves as a means of transportation; deadhead – a train or bus or taxi traveling empty; limited, express – public transport consisting of a fast train or bus that makes only a few scheduled stops; “he caught the express to New York”; local – public transport consisting of a bus or train that stops at all stations or stops; “the local seemed to take forever to get to New York”; shuttle – public transport that consists of a bus or train or airplane that plies back and forth between two points; railroad train, train – public transport provided by a line of railway cars coupled together and drawn by a locomotive; “express trains don’t stop at Princeton Junction”; transportation, transportation system, transit – a facility consisting of the means and equipment necessary for the movement of passengers or goods.

    1. Tell that to Kemper Freeman, Tim “Fauxlex” Eyman and Dino Rossi who wedge it all together any chance they get.

      What do you call Bellevue, anyhow? Aside from, you know, Bellevue.

  4. In addition to the points made by AJ, because it is an election year with a mass transit proposition on the ballot, much of the general media coverage will on the subject, and not just on this blog.

    Not to mention the fact that Seattle is nearing completion on the first of its light rail lines. There is just a lot of buzz around this subject because of these reasons.

  5. “I come here for transit information and talk, but the majority of it seems to be pro-rail propaganda.”

    Hey, Sam: prove your point. Give STB readers an example of “pro-rail propaganda.” In other words – and I know this is going to be difficult – prove your point.

    Aubrey Davis came to his position after decades of studying the notion of light rail across the lake; as opposed to the mono-modal, anti-transit bent of many BRT activists who wage ideological battles tied to their pro-roads property rights political bent, Davis (and STB) approach transit from a logical and scientific perspective. And that, in your view, is worthy of a propaganda effort??

    In addition, Davis steps away from the usual self-serving Mercer Islander view, honoring the 30 year old agreement that solo MI drivers would someday need to relenquish the unique perk of driving on their own private highway.

    I believe STB covers bus & train issues better than the local papers, and gets into many of the complex issues the dailies won’t touch. Why? Because STB writers ride the bus, and report from the field, and from many different information sources.

    If you want anti-rail propaganda, read the Seattle Times…or watch how the PI struggles to report basic facts correctly.

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