Tacoma Link at 17th & Pacific
Tacoma Link, photo by Siobhán2009
  • Curb Bulbs are becoming a sticking point in the Mercer Street fix design. Without the curb bulbs, Mercer Street could be seven lanes instead of six, which a lot of truck drivers want.
  •  This Wired piece notes the budget short falls facing transit agencies across country are not being noticed by Congress. The Stimulus package includes help for state budgets and money for transit capital projects, but no money to keep transit service from being cut.
  • According to Forbes, Seattle has the 5th most improved commute. My commute definitely feels improved over the past year or so, but I wonder how much of that is related to the downturn in employment.
  • American Progress says Seattle is one of the best cities in the US to live without a car, along with San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Boston, DC, Philly and New York. I lived the first twenty or so years of my life in Seattle without a car, and I can attest that it can be pretty easy, but it depends where you live (I grew up on Capitol Hill and in Wallingford).

12 Replies to “News Round Up: Recession”

    1. Most improved! They’re not saying it’s good, they’re just saying it’s slightly better than abysmal. All those Sounder users are certainly happy.

  1. I don’t know about the others but compared to SF and NYC, Seattle has a long way to go match those cities when it comes to getting around without a car. Maybe it will improve with Link, new streetcar routes and other transit improvements.

    1. It depends on where you live in Seattle. It’s worth noting that most people live in areas where you can get around without a car, though there are still vast expansives of purely suburban auto-dominated neighborhoods within the city limits.

      1. I agree with you. I used to live on Queen Anne. Getting downtown on Metro bus was easy but to other parts or neighbourhood in Seattle or shopping for groceries, well…. you all can imagine….

  2. I have to agree with seasfny… Seattle’s not even close to being in the same league as either SF or NYC. And for sake of comparison, city-size-wise, Seattle also falls short against the likes of Portland and Boston. Living without a car in Seattle is only really sustainable if you happen to live in the inner neighborhoods. It gets much more difficult very quickly as you go further out. And that’s from the perspective of a healthy young man. We have an over-reliance on roadways in Seattle; buses only work when roads are not congested.

    Which leads me to ask, what is consider the “commute” and is its improvement relative to how miserable it was recently? In scanning the Forbes article, it looks like the improvement is only based on metrics divorced from a larger context. An increase in lane miles? Nothing about actual traffic-flow. Nothing about improvements as investments that build toward more sustainable, flexible system in the future. Nothing even about being capable of sustaining those “gains”. Metro’s ridership is at an all-time high, but their finances are in a world of hurt and service cuts are in the works. Fares just increased (again) and the biggest incentive to ride the bus (inflated gas prices) has evaporated. So before we pat ourselves on the back…

  3. My husband and I live near Green Lake. We’ve been without a car for years and we get by pretty well. We rent a car occasionally, but as long as our feet hold out, we won’t be buying one.

    1. Yay! I used to live there, and no car here either. I did eventually move to Capitol Hill to make life easier for myself, but it’s more because I commute to the eastside.

  4. I agree that our commutes in Seattle have greatly improved!

    I don’t think they’re saying we’re good – they point out that we lose 45 hours per capita (is that right? jeez) in commute delay per year. But my 545 has gone from 10-12 minute morning service frequency to 6-9 minute morning service frequency. We’ve got six Sounder South trains in the peak direction – didn’t we start 2008 with four? Despite gas prices being down, transit ridership remains up, and I think traffic is down.

    I do rather dislike that this article just connects ‘road construction’ with traffic improvement.

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