Yesterday, it came out at Publicola that Mallahan’s advisory committee contains no other than Judy Clibborn – chair of the House Transportation Committee and proponent of a new mile of highway for every child born.

Clibborn, of course, is front and center in the fight against building light rail on I-90.

If you needed a kick in the pants to realize that Mallahan is anti-light rail, this is it.

136 Replies to “Do You Need Another Reason?”

  1. Not just anti-light rail. Anti-transit, pro-highway, pro-car, pro more cheap parking. He’ll probably say something about how he supports BRT, but sure as hell won’t support dedicated right of way. And the fact that he’d tout Clibborn’s support is mind-boggling – she seems to do everything she can to block smart transportation projects in Seattle. Maybe he’ll add Kemper next.

    1. I wish I could vote for either one of these bozos. Again, thank you, irrational Nickels-haters, for leaving us the choice of Mr. Highways and Mr. Fantasyland.

      1. Agreed Michael – shame that the primary was held in the “silly season” of August – the results bear witness to the reality of this…..

        I wish that Greg Nickles would place himself as a “write-in” candidate if it is not possible to present himself as an independent as Lieberman did over in Connecticut.

      2. Reading all of this lamenting over Nickels loss in the primary is helping me understand Ben’s frustration with thick-headed monorail supporters who simply won’t accept the fact that the Monorail was never going to happen. Likewise, Nickels winning re-election was never going to happen.

        When an incumbent Mayor with a 4-to-1 fundraising advantage, having just cut the ribbon on the most popular mega-project in Seattle history, which he himself was directly responsible for, and having all the support of business, labor, developers, urban-density-ophiles, the last remaining daily newspaper in the city, most of the democratic party and every single environmental advocacy organization with the sole exception the Sierra Club, who then somehow manages to lose a primary election to two no-name candidates from left and right field respectively, that is proof that Nickels was so vulnerable and so disliked by the general populous that he could NEVER have won the general election. I did not realize how vulnerable Nickels was, but the results of the primary speak for themselves.

        For all of you complaining about having to choose between two candidates you aren’t thrilled about, I say be thankful you have a choice, because if Greg nickels had gotten a couple thousand more votes actually squeaked through the primary, then any warm body could have defeated him. You would have no choice; whoever else made it through the primary would have been guaranteed victory in November.

  2. Money shot, right there.

    We need to get out the under-35 vote en masse this year. For KC Executive, Mayor and R-71. Crosstabs confirm that just doubling the under-35 participation, even if only in Seattle, can determine the outcome of all these races.

    1. You are absolutely correct about the under 35s vote – it is crucial this November, as it will be in every election in the future. Worth remembering that the greying among us consistently vote in nearly every election (I’ve missed only 2 in 40 years of voting) so to offset the conservatives/reactionaries in my age cohort, the under 35s MUST vote. All politics is (or starts out) local!

      1. “Worth remembering that the greying among us consistently vote in nearly every election”

        Unless you’re Joe Mallahan.


    2. Can we mobilize Mass Transit Now again, especially now that the colleges are about to start? Huge numbers are already signed up to vote–for Obama and ST2.

      1. Tim, writing in Nickels simply throws away your vote. They won’t even count it, because he’s a primary loser. You have to reorient and understand there are only two choices, then pick the better one.

      2. Tim, you disagree that we cannot change the past? Have you been living this whole time thinking that history is just some story we made up and can change whenever we want?

    1. Are you insane? A write-in for Nickels is a vote for Mallahan. I’m sorry, but this is the system, and unless you have a magical plan for implementing instant runoff before November, a write-in for Nickels will get you an anti-transit Mayor.

      1. Then why have a primary at all?

        Of course, if we went by the primary, we’d have McGinn as mayor already and Nickels a distant third.

      2. Not if he actively campaigns for it and makes people almost forget he lost the primary….

        I just think that an incumbent should have the right to stand and defend his record. I have seen too many occasions from my former country, England, where prime ministers have been tossed out by their parties (i.e. not by the electorate) and been replaced by lacklustre idiots. John Major replacing Margaret Thatcher and Gordon Brown replacing Tony Blair spring to mind. The primary system is deeply flawed in my opinion because we only allow two people to go through to the main election. If we must have a primary system, it should be about who gets the right to challenge an incumbent – not about replacing him at such a stage.

  3. Listen up, Nickels supporters. I’m a huge fan of Nichols and voted for him. But that election’s past. It’s McGinn or Mallahan, and we know we don’t want Mallahan. Take another look at McGinn – he’s a wonderful candidate with a huge amount of energy that can change Seattle for the better. Don’t just vote for him – actively support him.

    1. Yes. Without active support for McGinn from everyone, we’re going to get Mallahan – he polls better among the conservative off-year crowd.

      1. Like I said, check crosstabs.

        The conservative base is 3x stronger in an off-year. This is good for Republicans Joe Mallahan and Susan Hutchison, but bad news for true progressives like McGinn or for progressive values like equality for all families.

      2. He’s a Democrat, and in this State anti-transit positions really aren’t inconsistent with being one.

      3. He’s also anti-progressive, a fan of big development, doesn’t participate in civic activities, blasts environmental positions, promises to cut spending, has a lukewarm stance on social issues and is more than willing to take GOP money.


      4. He’s also anti-progressive, a fan of big development, doesn’t participate in civic activities, blasts environmental positions, promises to cut spending, has a lukewarm stance on social issues and is more than willing to take GOP money.


        Exactly, we don’t need or want his kind in this town

      5. I don’t really see any evidence of that. If his positions were identifiably Republican, he’d have no chance in a City like Seattle and wouldn’t be getting labor endorsements right and left. Instead they’re a mix of indescribably mushy and sops to the anti-rail left.

        There’s lots of stuff to attack Mallahan on without resorting to totally unsubstantiated name-calling. This isn’t like Susan Hutchison where she has a really long track record of supporting Republicans.

      6. Martin, they’re endorsing him out of fear. He was union-busting at T-Mobile, and they even asked him about it, he just claimed he had no idea.

      7. Can you provide us with some evidence that unions are endorsing him out of fear? If you can’t, it’s hearsay. In addition, his job description at TMO reportedly dealt with picking markets to expand cell coverage. If you have evidence of him personally busting unions or making decisions to bust unions at TMO, bring it forth. Otherwise, it’s borderline libel.

        For the record, I’m truly undecided about either candidate, but am leaning Mallahan. But my mind is not made up.

      8. Jeffrey, if you care about transit at all, how can you lean Mallahan?

        And his evasiveness on the union issue – he’s flatly lying by saying he has no idea, everyone at T-Mobile knew about it – is terrifying.

      9. Ben, I asked you before, and I’ll ask you again. You made a statement of fact that he was engaged in union-busting, something I find abhorrent. However, you offered no proof, instead adding to the fire by saying he is lying when denying it. You made the statement, you must have proof. Bring it to the table. Otherwise, it is libel.

      10. OK, looks like we all need a few days break from any McGinn or Mallahan news. Save it for a roundup post and in the meantime let’s all cool off. Go post at the Times if you want vitriol.

      11. From Publicola:

        The KC Democrats, who did not endorse in the primary, voted 34-4 last night to endorse Mallahan in the general.

        A vote on endorsing McGinn lost 11-22.

      12. There is no need to exaggerate. Mallahan is a Democrat and could more or less be considered a liberal. But, despite where he lives, it’s something more like a suburban liberal. He’s clueless on environmental issues, transit, density, etc. Mallahan thinks transit is irrelevant if we all just had Priuses. Seattle is a place to drive through on our way back to our sacred single-family dwellings. Seattle has made a lot of progress under Nickels toward becoming a truly great urban center. We cannot turn away from that now.

        To all those still-disgruntled Nickels supporters, consider this: McGinn agrees with most all of Nickels plans except for the tunnel. While McGinn ran strongly against the tunnel in the primary, he never ran as an anti-Nickels candidate (despite the great potential of support that would garner). Mallahan, meanwhile, based his campaign almost-entirely on being anti-Nickels, setting himself against most of Nickels’ plans and vowing to fire his appointees. etc. It seems clear now that Mallahan thought he would be running against Nickels in the general and is unprepared to offer anything else.

      13. That statement contains no information. “Some Seattle Republicans” obviously contains people with left-wing views on particular issues. For example, plenty of Republicans oppose the tunnel because they don’t want the tax increase. Moreover, most issues facing the city, like streetcars vs. buses, don’t really fit neatly on a left/right spectrum.

        Even the tunnel is obviously left-wing from a union’s perspective, while obviously right-wing from an environmentalist’s perspective.

      14. Ben and AJ – I know you guys are rabidly in support of McGinn and that’s cool. But you’re way out of line calling Mallahan a Republican. I was just at the GSBA Candidate Forum today (the gay chamber of commerce) where Mallahan gave an emotional and passionate speech about his support of that community and what he’s been actively doing to help R71 pass. I also had the chance to pull him aside and ask him 1 on 1 about light rail, and he personally told me he supported the ST2 expansion. Based on the remainder of that personal conversation with him, I believe Clibborn’s involvement relates to the tunnel, not to light rail, as he genuinely seemed disturbed when I brought up Clibborn’s opposition to light rail on I-90.

      15. The trade unions do like them some road projects. Note that the unions like SEIU, UFCW, and CWA haven’t made endorsements yet. Perhaps those other unions might take a different view of Mallahan’s tenure with his union-busting former employer.

      16. The unions are only going Mallahan because of the viaduct. They know he’s no friend of unions in general.

        I expect SEIU to go McGinn, and at that point you’ll see the split between the folks who care about unions, and the folks who just care about getting their tunnel.

      17. So you want me to believe that both the Police and Firefighters unions have gone for Mallahan because of the tunnel project? You’ve lost me on that one.

      18. I also think Mallahan is a fine Democrat and not right-wing at all (though at least at this point I don’t think he would make a very good mayor). But let’s be honest:
        While it’s probably a good idea to hire more police if we can find funding, the police endorsed him right after he said he would hire more police.

    1. I did on the day he announced he’d give us a light rail vote, and yes, I encourage everyone to.

  4. Do you honestly think McGinn is any better? He wants to shut down the AWV plan, with no real plan for transit other than a few token bus hours and perhaps a vote within the next few years on a westside light rail line.

    1. Shutting down the AWV plan is great for transit – it shifts a good percentage of those trips onto buses and trains, and makes people much less likely to choose longer burb-to-burb commutes that are difficult to serve with transit.

      The situation we’re in – with sprawl, little transit service, and lots of congestion – hasn’t happened because of a lack of transit, it’s happened because we’ve heavily subsidized automobile travel. The first step in any plan to seriously change the way we travel is to *stop* subsidizing long car trips, and that’s exactly what stopping the Viaduct does.

      A vote for rail in the next couple of years would be perfect for Seattle. We’re itching for it – Sound Transit won’t be back until 2016, but positive support for transit is building from Central Link already, even before the ridership starts to look really good once we get to the airport.

      Right now, an anti-transit mayor could do serious damage to the light rail work we’re doing in the next decade. A somewhat-pro-transit mayor is light-years ahead. Please don’t think “some support for transit” and “anti-transit” are anywhere close to equal.

      1. What trains? There is NO credible plan to expand train service in the SR-99 corridor. Buses in the corridor are already overcrowded and adding even more buses downtown will only saturate the system.

        And … as others have been saying, any cancelled-99 funds would likely be shifted to 520, 405, 509, or another road project in the region that further increases sprawl.

      2. “And … as others have been saying, any cancelled-99 funds would likely be shifted to 520, 405, 509, or another road project in the region that further increases sprawl.”

        Nope, once McGinn gets to Olympia on his e-bike, he’ll kick some ass. Afterall who is better to propel Seattle to the post-carbon economy?

      3. What kind of twisted logic is this, Ryan?

        You personally feel that there’s no way to add rail service (against, of course, the previous planning done in the corridor, and now a politician saying he’d like to continue that), so just throw the whole thing out the window and start attacking a bus straw man?

        Stop it.

        This isn’t about 99 funds, either. He said he’d use LIDs or a TBD, which is plenty of money.

    2. There, Mallahan talking point. McGinn is against the AWV tunnel in principle, but he’s stated he believes there should be a vote which means he’s amenable to public agreement instead of polls or “because the state said so”. Saying he wants to block the tunnel ignores the finer nuances of his opposition to the tunnel.

      And read McGinn’s page and tell me he has no plan: – Buses, buses, buses.

      Versus Mallahan’s: – Roads, roads, roads, roads, roads. More roads. And no ideas, no plans, just blah blah blah roads, blah blah blah, I like driving.

      1. Besides he is at least talking about a Seattle financed in-city Link expansion. If he’s elected we may actually see something on the ballot in 2011 or 2012.

      2. Buses are a critical step in transitioning Seattle from an auto-dependent region to a transit oriented one. Buses are inferior to rail, but they can be deployed quickly, unlike rail (especially grade-separated rail) which can take decades. Buses fill the gap in the mean time and help build a constituency for light rail expansion. Who do you think is more likely to vote for light rail: a person stuck in congestion, or a person stuck on a slow, bumpy, crowded bus? Running buses along the lines you ultimately plan to build rail also allows development to cluster around those lines in anticipation of the rail that will ultimately come. The catalyst is not as strong, but it’s better than nothing.

        Vancouver, BC has done some amazing work with three fully grade separated heavy rail lines, but the key to their success was to build a great bus system in the interim. As more people rode the bus, and the B-Lines got to the point in which a 60 foot articulated bus would run down a corridor every 2 minutes packed to the gills, it made the most compelling case possible to upgrade that corridor to rail, not because ridership would hopefully materialize once better transit was put in place, but because the ridership was clearly already there and it was impossible to manage it without a higher capacity system.

        Of course, the same thing happened in BC as happens everywhere else, not only did the new train capture the existing bus riders (which was more than enough ridership to justify the rail line on its own), but it also attracted new riders and spurred TOD. Now Skytrain (BC’s heavy rail system) is completely packed with 4-car trains every 60 seconds packed to a crush load at rush hour.

        Unlike some conservative advocates of BRT who push buses as an inferior alternative to rail, McGinn has made it clear that he sees buses as a stepping stone on our way to rail, just like they have been in BC.

    3. Yes he’s leaps and bounds better. Explicit plans or not (and I’d say the plan he’s advocating for AWV is solid), he has demonstrated he has a thinking-outside-the-car mindset and the wherewithal to push for the right stuff. As far as political candidates are concerned, that’s a lot of the battle.

    4. Given a choice between a weakly pro-transit mayor who might not be effective in improving it, vs an anti-transit mayor who might be effective in setting us back years, I’d rather go with the former. The important thing is to preserve as much momentum/infrastructure as we can through the next mayoral term until the following election, at which point there might be a more pro-transit candidate or even maybe Nickels.

  5. Ben, I usually agree with you and haven’t decided in this race. But Clibborn supports Mallahan because of the tunnel, not because he is against light rail. You overstate your case here.

    McGinn is better than Mallahan on transit issues. But I fear neither has the ability to be an effective voice for transit in Olympia or Seattle.

    1. I agree with RBC. I perceive Mallahan as a “blank slate” on transit who is unfortunately being courted by anti-transit interests like John Stanton. That makes him worse than McGinn, but not necessarily Kemper Freeman.

      1. How are you perceiving a guy who’s come out against the First Hill streetcar as a blank slate on transit?

      2. Unfortunately, by circling-the-wagons around McGinn this forum is leaving the Mallahan blank slate for Stanton and crew to write on. There is a very real possibility that Mallahan will be the next Mayor, so it would be best if we worked with him to at least minimize the damage.

        However, I think in reality we won’t see much out of the next mayor no matter which one gets elected. Mallahan is too fiscally conservative to be an advocate, and McGinn will ruffle too many feathers to be effective.

        And I think either way we still get the tunnel.

      3. So far, Mallahan hasn’t reached out to the transit community at all. I don’t think he’s interested.

      4. Mallahan probably won’t reach out (much) to the transit community. He’s probably figured that what will swing the election is the AWV replacement, and he’s probably right.

        Transit is a bit of a side-show this time around. With U-Link under construction and ST2 already approved and underway, it’s just not an issue that most voters are going to key on as their “single issue”.

      5. ST2 across I-90 certainly isn’t approved, and it’ll take the city to make it happen. I don’t think we’ll get East Link with Mallahan.

      6. I think we will, if for no other reason than Mallahn has made it clear that he doesn’t want to keep re-visiting the same old issues after they have already been decided. I think we will still get the First Ave SC too.

      7. Sorry, First Hill SC, I think the First Ave SC might have to wait 4 years no matter who our next Mayor is.

      8. Perhaps, just perhaps, the First Avenue streetcar should wait. I’d rather spend what little money we have allocated to the streetcar system on expanding the current line up Eastlake to the University District and adding a second line (leveraging the existing track) to run up Westlake to Fremont and either Ballard or the zoo. Then the buses that run those routes could be reallocated to underserved areas.

      9. Jeffrey, that’s why you’re not a transit planner. 1st Ave has much better ridership, and you can do bus reconfigurations there as well.

      10. Mallahan hasn’t reached out to the transit community at all. I don’t think he’s interested.

        I think you’re right that he hasn’t reached out to the “transit community” in Seattle. Even if their positions on transit were identical the “transit community” would be leaning heavily McGinn on Sierra Club priorities. The passion isn’t so much pro transit as it is anti automobile. If this were a race for King County Executive I think you’d see him trying to reach the suburban commuter vote but within the electorate that will decide the Mayor’s race Mallahan can’t win many “transit community” votes away from McGinn no matter how many empty promises he makes and it would only serve to turn away many of the undecided voters. Really the race comes down to who now can position themselves to be more like the man (i.e. Nickles) that they attacked in the primary. Mallahan’s gone all in on the viaduct issue. That’s got him not only the “car community” but it’s bringing home the union vote because the construction project will be a windfall to union labor and a lot of blue collar workers depend on the viaduct for commercial traffic.

      11. Ben, cut it with the condescending remarks. It’s offensive.

        First Avenue is a parking lot, even on days when there are no games. Trying to thread a streetcar through there will be a disaster, because the traffic will cause the streetcar to be chronically late and unreliable, and there’s one thing us transit riders hate, and it is transit being late and unreliable. And once the streetcar is viewed as unreliable, you’ll lose the ridership.

        If you’re deadset on running it from Belltown to Pioneer Square, consider running in southbound on Second and northbound on Fourth. You largely avoid the traffic issues and I bed you’d get as much ridership on that line, as you would on First.

        One of the biggest complaints against the current streetcar, which will be raised again when you try and shove through a First Avenue streetcar, is the dismal ridership of the current streetcar, plus the fact that the city just had to bail it out again. You neuter that argument, and stand a chance of actually having the streetcar run in the black financially, by running it up to UW. There’s huge ridership on that line, from the UW to downtown. If there are studies to the contrary, show them.

        You also show that you are willing to build a SYSTEM, capitalizing on all that has been done today, instead of starting from scratch elsewhere.

      12. [We] stand a chance of actually having the streetcar run in the black financially, by running it up to UW. There’s huge ridership on that line, from the UW to downtown.

        Which is why U-Link is being built. How many people are going to spend 1/2 an hour riding the streetcar when Link will get them there in less than half the time.

      13. Ben,

        You’re not a transit planner either so knock it off.

        Personally I tend to agree with Jeffrey CapHills remarks – running a SC on 1st Ave presents some real challenges, and it doesn’t come even close to solving the perception problem that is being created by the financial situation that our current SC is in. If our first SC ends up being a money pit, do you really expect anyone to be willing to invest in more streetcars? It won’t happen, nor should it.

        Besides, if the eventual goal is to put real LR on 2nd Ave anyhow, then the current ridership estimates for 1st Ave are pure bunk. A real transit planner would request more data….


        U-Link and an extended SLU SC would serve different markets. One would serve the U to Cap Hill and points south market, the other would serve the U to Eastlake and SLU market. They are different things.

      14. If you read about the SLU streetcar loan, it turns out to that it was more or less due to the down economy which hurt sponsorships (not to mention sales tax reciepts!). Sure, if we had known the economy would tank and we’d be scraping together transit money we probably wouldn’t have built it at all, but now it’s there.

        Ridership is in no way “dismal”–it’s on track and I see no reason it won’t hit the expected 4200 per day once Amazon opens. That will make it comparable to the top Metro bus routes in ridership. Even today’s “low” 1300 per day for the SLUT beats nearly every Eastside route (note the graph is only the top routes):
        It’s comparable in ridership to the 31 Magnolia-Fremont-UW.

      15. U-Link and an extended SLU SC would serve different markets. One would serve the U to Cap Hill and points south market, the other would serve the U to Eastlake and SLU market. They are different things.

        There is no eastlake market. At least no eastlake market that warrants rail. If there were a simple extension of SLUT would serve it. It’s a void between downtown and the U district (relatively speaking). Running rail across draw bridges that are going on a century old makes no sense.

      16. NO, if you read about it there was a large predicted surplus. Pie in the sky even with the creative “accounting” SDOT likes to use. Ridership has been pretty close. Advertising is down but it still doesn’t close the gap from surplus to begging for money.

      17. “At least no eastlake market that warrants rail. If there were a simple extension of SLUT would serve it.”

        The comment you were referring to was talking about an extension of the streetcar on Eastlake.

        There is a pretty significant transit demand on Eastlake. Eastlake is a dense, narrow neighborhood with lots of students and professionals who work downtown and in the U-District. The 66 and 70 that run along Eastlake are packed most of the day. There is an especially large demand for service between the UW and SLU due to the biotech and global health campuses in SLU. I know that Fred Hutchinson and the UW already are paying for extra service on route 70, even though it runs every 10 minutes during peak hours. The combined average daily ridership for the 66 + 70 is over 6000.

      18. Actual the performance reports site the routes you quote as decidedly average (or below). The 70 in fact is down to 8% fare recovery at night and flagged as below acceptable performance on all metrics across the board. The 66 Express to Northgate does well but even the 70 peak hours is not really that good by Seattle standards. Now, if we had that sort of performance on an eastside route that would be something to shout about! But even if Link wasn’t an option looming on the horizon this rail route doesn’t look very good. Remember, rail needs pretty strong ridership throughout the day; not just peak hours.

      19. I didn’t express an opinion about rail on Eastlake, just that there is, in fact, very high transit ridership in the Eastlake corridor. I know this first-hand because I used to commute by #70 several times a day between the UW and SLU, a market that Link won’t serve.

        The 70 doesn’t run at night, because routes 71,72,73 run as locals down Eastlake after 7:00, so I’m not sure where the “night” numbers are coming from in that report. Maybe it’s just based on one or two runs.

      20. High ridership and the need to install rail are entirely different. Yes, compared to eastside bus service (which shouldn’t exist) there is very high transit ridership in the Eastlake corridor. But nothing even close to what warrants rail. Westlake to SLU already has rail that is in need of a big boost. Link connects the U district with Westlake which should help but with the given Link expansion plans; extending SLUT to the U district don’t make sense. Although I know SLUT supporters are dying to make some sort of extension that makes it into something other than a Vulcan give-away.

      21. As a frequent rider of the 66 I’d say the demand along Eastlake is there were the SLUT to be extended to the U District. Even with U Link and North Link a streetcar in that corridor can serve to connect it to Link.

        Furthermore a streetcar along the Ave might help revitalize the retail in the neighborhood which has been on a downward trajectory for 30+ years.

      22. Bernie,

        I realize I’m replying many hours later but if you read this I’m wondering if you could describe in general terms what sort of route “warrants” a streetcar. I feel like we’re always talking past each other when we’re discussing streetcars and I really don’t understand where you’re coming from. For example, how about European high street streetcars, or the Portland line from 23rd down through the Pearl?

        In my view the advantages of streetcar over bus are: easier to get on/off (especially for people with disabilities or with carts/strollers), larger so more riders per operator, and smoother ride.

        However, the disadvantages are also substantial: much higher capital costs, may require a new or expanded operations base, harder to swap out in case of construction/accidents/etc. They also should always perform worse than rapid transit in terms of passenger miles, because they’re primarily for local access (say, within about 3 miles).

        A couple things I don’t buy, personally:

        — “Flexible routing” of buses… many Seattle routes (including the 70) are the same as the arterial streetcar system of 100 years ago:

        — The “people just like streetcars” argument. There is empirical evidence, but I think its simply new and fun, or a unique experience for tourists like the waterfront streetcar. I’m betting this largely disappears as modern streetcars age and become more common.

      23. “[Eastlake] is a void between downtown and the U district.”
        Are you kidding? Have you ever been there? 4-8 story condo and apartment buildings line the street for almost the whole way. There are still vacant lots but a ton of them have Notice of Proposed Land Use Action on them so once the recession is over that corridor will increase in population and employment even more. Putting a streetcar in there would serve all those residents and workers and spur development on the remaining properties around there that aren’t built up. Also, it would be great for those going from the UW Medical Center up to 45th and would serve all the riders on the UW-SLU shuttle run by the University. The shuttle leaves every 20 minutes for most of the day and gets a lot of riders.

      24. You’re right about Eastlake, but I’m not understanding the Gray Line shuttle or UWMC to 45th connection. The proposed route is to Campus Parkway, not UWMC, though of course other routing is possible.

      25. I realize I’m replying many hours later but if you read this I’m wondering if you could describe in general terms what sort of route “warrants” a streetcar.

        In general terms when the route will have ridership that comes close to numbers that would equal the seating capacity of a bus. And that demand needs to be relatively constant over it’s hours of operation. There are certain places where a streetcar makes sense and a bus doesn’t. The Waterfront Streetcar is a prime example. Replacing the Seattle Monorail with a bus wouldn’t fly either but that doesn’t mean we should replace other bus routes with a monorail. A monorail or a streetcar might be the ideal form of transit in some situations.

      26. alexjonlin, you’re quoting me out of context. I wrote, “It’s a void between downtown and the U district (relatively speaking).” Relative to downtown and the U district Eastlake is a void. 156th and 148th in Redmond are lined with apartments and condos too but it still doesn’t mean they need a streetcar. Extending the SLU line to the UW might make sense if Link weren’t already on track to connect downtown with the U district (both Montlake and the upper campus) in a few years time.

    2. Mallahan has also received campaign contributions from anti-rail donors like John Stanton, Suzie Burke, and Martin Selig.

      As a fun exercise look up the contributors to NOTOPROP1.ORG and REDUCECONGESTION.ORG then look to see who they’ve contributed to this election cycle.

  6. “A vote for rail in the next couple of years would be perfect for Seattle.”

    We seem to have a lot of votes in this town which don’t result in actual desired outcomes (e.g. stadium, monorail, AVW replacement ). Its like holding a vote for “do you like mean people?”

    1. That’s kind of ridiculous.

      Stadium – we voted against using city money, so the county chose to fund it.
      AWV replacement – we voted against a cut and cover. You’re right that people don’t want to pay for a tunnel, but we’ll have to vote against this plan to kill it.
      Monorail – a public vote killed it because they went back to voters with a new plan.

      A vote for rail in the next couple of years would be perfect for Seattle, yes.

      1. Ben,

        A vote for rail in the next couple of years would be perfect for Seattle ONLY IF IT PASSED. If such a vote were to fail, it would be disastrous for LR in this city.

        I have many concerns about rushing a plan and a vote through the system, especially if they dumb the system down to increase coverage. To me it smacks of monorailizm, and I’ve already witnessed enough drum circles in my live.

      2. “A vote for rail in the next couple of years would be perfect for Seattle ONLY IF IT PASSED. If such a vote were to fail, it would be disastrous for LR in this city.”

        That’s what many on this blog said about ST2.1. Don’t be afraid to ask voters their opinions. If they go for it, great. If not, then we figure out what they really want.

      3. lazarus,
        Two or three years is hardly “rushing a plan and a vote through the system”. It is more than enough time to study corridors, put together a financing plan, and have something that is to the level of detail needed for a ballot measure. Just because the current Central/U/North link line is the result of 20 years of studies and planning doesn’t mean we have to do that for every single rail transit line in the city.

        As for “dumbing the system down to increase coverage” it is true the resulting plan, particularly the phase 1 aspects will be somewhat limited and are more likely to look like light rail in Portland than they are to look like Link between ID station and Northgate. However I doubt there is any other corridor in the city likely to see 70,000 riders per day in its opening year either.

        At-grade light rail to Ballard and West Seattle, and even through downtown will still be much better service than the current Metro service, the promised RapidRide, or even the proposed streetcar line to Ballard. It may be that demand will outstrip capacity quite quickly, but that is why you have people who know what they are doing run studies so you don’t underbuild the line.

      4. Sorry, but I disagree 100%. If Link and the failed monorail have taught us anything, they have taught us that doing things on the cheap with no eye to the future is a failed paradigm. What next? Single tracking, 90 ft stations, and minimum headways so we can cheap out on buying LRV’s?

        Na, if this new 2nd Ave LR line is every built, it should be built to Central Link standards. If we currently can’t afford to build to Central Link standards, then we should look at other short term projects that we can afford to build (extended ETB’s, maybe more SC’s, general bus infrastructure, etc.)

      5. There is quite the continuum between “doing things on the cheap with no eye to the future” and saying every line has to be a $600 million per mile Taj Mahal.

        We don’t even have a plan yet so you can’t say an at-grade line would also have 1 car platforms, single track, or long headways.

        I don’t think what Portland, San Diego, Los Angeles, or San Francisco have is that bad (or Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, Houston, etc. for that matter, though I haven’t had the opportunity to ride those systems). For a lower ridership corridor not making regional connections what is wrong with building the line to the same standards as Link down MLK?

      6. What Portland, San Diego, LA, SF, Salt Lake, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, and Houston did with their light rail is fine. But what New York, DC, Chicago, LA, and the Bay Area did with their rapid transit (and what we did with Central Link) is better. It’s not a $600m/mi “Taj Mahal,” it’s a $600m/mi reasonable investment.

      7. I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense to build U Link and North Link the way they are being built, but I’m saying not every possible rail transit route in the city justifies that level of investment. A West Seattle Link line simply isn’t going to ever see the ridership one serving Capitol Hill, the UW, the U-District, Roosevelt/Green Lake, and Northgate will.

        For that matter we could have given Rainier Valley the tunnel some residents wanted. Would doing so have improved capacity in that segment? Yes it would have. Would doing so have reduced travel times? Again it would have. However the significantly higher cost for building a tunnel down MLK and for building 3 or 4 additional underground stations wasn’t justified by the potential ridership. Even in the far future when Link stretches all the way to Tacoma.

        If we’d insisted on 100% grade separation for Central Link it very likely would not have been built at all.

        Remember the perfect can be the enemy of the “good enough”.

    2. It is called nimbyism or to use a more recent phrase “TEA” for ‘taxed enough already’. It is an irrationalism that irritates the heck out of me because a society can only stay one if we give up some of our natural self-centered egos for an unnatural common good. My core belief is that people do in fact like all of these things but just can’t be bothered to either help pay for them or chip in something. Always bear in mind, that public spending is only more visible, accountable, broader and less influenced by what will be profitable than is private spending. It does not mean, however, that ipso facto it is therefore more wasteful. Private enterprise wastes money all the time – in buildings that don’t get to be more than holes in the ground (think No. I hotel on Second and Pike Street in Seattle by the Macy’s Garage), needless business travel when a video conference would do as well to urban blight caused by businesses uprooting themselves for somewhere cheaper or bigger or going out of business when their plans fail and leaving governments to have to put together plans for cleaning up the mess left behind.

      1. “It is an irrationalism that irritates the heck out of me because a society can only stay one if we give up some of our natural self-centered egos for an unnatural common good.”

        Thought exercise. Should we subsidize daycare expenses to enable more women to return to work sooner or should we not because the best caregivers for children are their parents?

        Exactly what is the agreed upon “common good”?

      2. Interesting argument on ‘daycare’ and I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with you, although I would say that in today’s world, it doesn’t have to be the ‘mother’ that stays at home with her child. I worked my daily schedule so that I could always bring my daughter home from school and it was my wife who sort of worked till the early evening. However, this isn’t really what I had in mind.

        I would define the ‘common good’ very much in terms of what a strong local and state government as it would apply in Washington State in good economic times could provide as a contribution to the common weal. Strong environmental, social and transportation services are core elements to this.

        I see little benefit to society in the current situation where we currently have local government that is weak financially and appears to have little trust from the electorate it serves with the little it does have in the pot. A strong local government flush with funds by contrast, has way more power and considerably greater means to effect the changes in society that have both majority AND minority support – both equally benefit. Most of our angst on this Blog comes simply from the fact that local government doesn’t have the money to support and accelerate the changes we believe in here and which we think are for the common good. Therefore local government is weak and the electorate divided because we can’t get all that we want and feel we need in order to make for a safe, vibrant community.

        So the ‘common good’ only really exists when local government is strong financially and has the trust of the electorate it serves. It doesn’t really exist when local government is weak, the financial coffers are empty and no one can agree on what we should be doing with the little that does exist. In such situations, the electorate becomes more fragmented and desperate and weaker as a result. On this Blog, we have a legitimate desire to see monies spent on strong local and regional transportation, but on other Blogs, I am sure there are plenty of people advocating for a myriad of other causes. We are all that much poorer as a result and the ‘common good’ that much less attainable.

    3. “We seem to have a lot of votes in this town which don’t result in actual desired outcomes (e.g. stadium, monorail, AVW replacement ). Its like holding a vote for ‘do you like mean people?'”

      Actually, we just had a “do you like mean people?” vote. It was called the Seattle mayoral primary. Guess what, the tough-minded, butt-kicking, screw-the-Seattle-process, my-way-or-the-highway incumbent lost big time. I guess we don’t like mean people here in Seattle.

    1. Let’s see, we have, so far, proposals to seize the Seattle school district, expand services to refugees, fighting the state over the usage of earmarked road monies, a vote for more rail, now additional bus service. Is there anything McGinn is not proposing to get my vote?

      I am still waiting for the chicken in the pot and an e-bike in every driveway

      1. And Mr. Mallahan wouldn’t be spending “other people’s money”? Or he’d just be spending it on other things, ones that you approve of?

  7. If Judy Clibborn is in favor of Mallahan because of the tunnel, that is all to the good, but the reality is that both mayoral candidates are much at sea and just fishing around for things to support, ideas to toss out and constituencies to create as a ‘base’.

    The race for King County election doesn’t seem to be going that much better either either. Although I am sure that nearly all of us will vote for Dow in that one, Hutchinson is effectively presenting herself as a populist Tim Eyman-like figure who doesn’t seemingly have clothes enough to disguise her Republicanism. I just hope that enough people will realize that her wardrobe is completely see through.

    Back to the Seattle race, we need firm answers from both candidates on where they stand on the following and why?

    The tunnel vs. surface street replacement for the viaduct? (OK, we know this one, but I place it out there as part of this mix)
    Mercer Street mess reconstruction?
    First Hill Streetcar? (ST project but Mallahan doesn’t like it, right?)
    Transit-Oriented development around streetcar and Link stations?
    Streetcar expansion both for the existing line and for others to come?
    Old Waterfront Trolly line restoration?
    King Street Station continued restoration work?
    Light Rail between North-West and West Seattle?
    East Link expansion as the next mayor will be on the ST Board?
    520 Bridge replacement and tolling?
    Amtrak expansion of service – will the next mayor stand up for a possible restart of the Pioneer train service from Seattle to Salt Lake City and Denver or let the issue slide so that Portland gets the service. See today’s Seattle Times for an exciting piece on this subject:
    I doubt much will come of this wonderful
    idea but hopefully Brian can update us further on this one?

    Obviously there are other issues of importance, but as far as this Blog is concerned, hopefully, this is a pretty good run through of the issues at hand.

    1. Good idea Tim some form of candidate questionnaire would be great, though I think Hutchison and Mallahan not respond to such a thing.

      On the Mercer Mess I believe Mallahan was against the fix before he supported it (amazing what meeting with SLU’s biggest property owner can do to change one’s mind).

  8. How does the idea of a Hutchinson/Mallahan juggernaut sound? That would be, at the very least, a short term death to anything this blog advocates. I’m already having night terrors from that possibility. Anybody who supports this blog and votes for Mallahan (or Hutchinson) is seriously delusional. However you feel about McGinn or his crazy/not-crazy ideas, at least he isn’t going to be actively working against us.

    I’m hoping that R-71 will drive the liberal leaning Seattle base out.

    1. That team would have our region looking like Southern California in no time. It would be a real blow to what I consider Northwest values and I’d have a hard time living here with them in control. Gregoire has been a big enough let down, but adding Hutchinson and Mallahan to the mix would be a disaster.

      1. But just think, we’d have the best government John Stanton’s money can buy, especially if I-1033 passes too!

      2. Well, I definitely don’t want to see 1-1033 pass…but maybe that would be a ‘hitting bottom’ kind of thing. I mean, up until now the budget folks have performed triage in a very unsustainable, but not very painful way (at least to the consistent voting crowd). Maybe they just need to keep the Band-aids in the drawer, and let the proverbial feces-hit-the-fan in a close the libraries, toll the roads, shut down the poison center, don’t fix the potholes kind of way.

        Would I-1033 effect Sound Transit funding? Probably yes because I think everything Eyman does it designed to somehow punish ST.

      3. I have no idea if I-1033 would effect Sound Transit. If it does then there is some hope it might be tossed over interfering with bonds again. Heck since it is an Eyman initiative there is a good chance there are all sorts of unconstitutional provisions in it.

        Perhaps as you say if I-1033 passes it might force the legislature to put real tax reform on the table but I doubt it.

      1. Well I wasn’t being serious and of course I’ll help once we can all agree on something!

        Ben, you and I agree on just about everything but we don’t agree on the ramifications of Greg Nickles’ loss in August, its implications for mass transit in particular and for Seattle life in general or the issue of the tunnel replacing the viaduct. I am still not seeing a whole lot from either McGinn or Mallahan to suggest that we should hoist our petard behind either of them.

        Having said this, it is really only the tunnel issue that separates me most from favoring McGinn and even this is only because I see no benefit at all for Seattle in reopening the process of deciding what should replace the wretched Alaskan Way Viaduct when the City, the State and the County have already agreed on the option after all of these years of debate. If McGinn hadn’t decided to run on the damn issue, he would probably not have gotten through the primary as well as he did, but bear in mind, he only got around 27% of the vote which means essentially that over 50% went to Mayor Nickles and to Mallahan, both tunnel supporters.

        If McGinn would shut up on the tunnel, and have positive things to say on the other issues of concern to all of us here, then yes, I would support him and you and I could discuss this in peace, but until then, it is up to him and to you and Martin to say why Seattle benefits from opening this debate on the tunnel.

        Instead of harping on about me harping on about Greg Nickles, maybe we should both be harping on about getting more stuff built in our City that has already been decided upon at an elective level.

      2. Tim,

        I think we are starting to see McGinn come out with a number positive proposals, including the expansion of light rail. McGinn actually started his campaign with a number of fresh ideas built around the idea of Seattle taking responsibility for solving its own problems rather than pushing the responsibility onto someone else. His first three ideas (schools, transit and broadband) all center around this theme. People have criticized him for taking on responsibilities outside the traditional pervue of the mayor, but McGinn’s central point is that the people who are supposedly responsible for those sorts of things (the school district, the county, the telecoms) are not being effective, so the city needs to step in.

        McGinn got branded as “the guy who’s against the tunnel” by the media, though he did embrace that label because it was a salient issue that helped him break through the media wall and get enough attention to get through the primary. Now that the primary is over and people and the media are paying very close attention to him, he is coming out with a number of proposals.

        With regards to the tunnel, as I understand McGinn’s position, he wants to put the tunnel to a public vote. Given McGinn’s strong populist values, I am confident that if the public voted to support the current plan, McGinn would respect the will of the people. As such, if the people of seattle actually agree with you and just want to be done with this debate, they will vote to support the tunnel.

        However, I don’t think the majority of Seattle is tired of talking about the tunnel. Political hacks like us, who read and comment on blogs dedicated to local politics may be tired of it because we have actually been listening to it, but the average Seattlite has really not been paying that much attention. The average seattlite has not been sitting in a negotiating room arguing with irrational people who will never see eye to eye. The average seattlite doesn’t think that much about it, so it really doesn’t cost the average seattlite that much if we keep the process going. The people who hate it are the minority who actually pay attention to this stuff. The general public resents the seattle process when it results in delay on projects that they support, e.g. “why has it taken so long to build light rail?”, but when it’s a project they don’t really like, e.g. replacing the viaduct, they really have no reason to want to end the process now.

      3. “The general public resents the seattle process when it results in delay on projects that they support, e.g. “why has it taken so long to build light rail?””

        Or “why did they build along MLK? first, those people already take the bus”

      4. The general public has no idea how anything happens, and thinks their own personal ideas on “how things should be” should be front and center.

      5. “The general public has no idea how anything happens, and thinks their own personal ideas on “how things should be” should be front and center.

        Damn peasants

  9. I support McGinn, but the only problem I have is, after seeing him speak, I just wonder if he’ll be forceful enough to get anything done in this city known for the “Seattle process.”

  10. Mallahan is such a life-long democrat that he worked for a stint in Senator Slade Gorton’s office:

    That seems to counter is campaign’s bio ( that insinuates he’s a lifelong Democrat.

    Face it, his history, attitudes, and his newly-formed kitchen cabinet do not indicate that he’s the choice for taking Seattle where it needs to go (more transit, walking, and bikes).

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