Photo by Oran

This is an open thread.

43 Replies to “News Roundup: City Government Ethics”

  1. Has anyone else noticed that bus tunnel security is being much more strict when it comes to the “yellow line”?

    At least at the station I frequent, the regular security folks (not the gun folks) are spending lots of time going up and down the platform ensuring that people are not touching the yellow line.

    The other day they did this and they encountered 1/3 of my shoe touching yellow. They told me I had to move and I replied that I was fine (not near where Link stops, no buses in site, felt safe, etc.). At some point I asked if standing behind the yellow line was a recommendation or a rule (the PA voice says “Please stay behind…”). He eventually left me alone but went to his buddy to confer and point me out. Soon after that buses appeared and all sorts of people were standing on the yellow line.

    Is there an actual rule/regulation that one can’t be touching yellow? Was there a recent incident that is causing them to be much more vigilant with this “infraction”? Are they just bored?

    1. I think that is kinda of been that way for a long time. Sometime last year, after a major event downtown, (I think it was after the touch light parade) I was waiting in the tunnel and there was 4 sheriffs officers and two security guards. The sheriffs officers did seem all that concerned about people standing on the yellow line whereas the security guards did.

    2. During tunnel training, I half-jokingly advocated for putting Nerf bats on the buses just in front of the mirror. The bat would hit any person stupid enough to walk on that strip while we’re driving by. Most likely they would duck after being hit thus avoiding the mirror.

      Being hit by a Nerf bat traveling at 15mph is probably enough of a lesson to keep people from venturing out on that strip at another inappropriate time.

  2. I was up in Whistler for a couple of days during the Olympics and some of the bus drivers were US Citiziens – some from as far away as Orlando.

    1. If you notice the licence plate on the Olympic buses you’ll see “California”. They’re also operated by a U.S. bus company (Edison Transportation).

  3. Oran and I were in Vancouver on Feb 15th, and the crowds were nowhere near that big. Pretty amazing photos and videos.

    1. I was in Vancouver on a day with crowds like that. I rode a crush-loaded Canada Line train, stampeded past other fans exiting UBC Thunderbird Arena to be able to get on one of the first 99-B Lines buses, and walked past lineups for trains going the opposite way as me. SeaBus seemed crowded at the quays, but the large boats really swallowed up the crowds – I think they’re not allowed to have any more people on that than there are seats.

      Also, I experienced the Olympic Bus Network between Whistler and Whistler Olympic Park. They moved a lot of people, but I never waited more than about 45 minutes. Apparently the first day they didn’t have enough buses, and one run of busloads took biathlon spectators from Whistler Olympic Park back to Whistler while a few thousand fans waited two hours for those same buses to drive to Whistler, empty their passengers, and drive back. That VANOC solved that problem by the next day is pretty sweet.

      1. I was up in Vancouver and Whistler on teh 18th – 20th. I used both city subway and buses to get to the UBC Thunderbird Arena and the Olympic Bus Network to get to Whistler. I like the fact that at bus and subway stations there were volunteers who answered questions and helped point people in the right direction. Making my event ticket good for a ride on any bus, subway or the seabus was helpful. The Olympic Bus Network worked very well. Overall it was easy to get around despite the crowds.

    2. I was up there on the 18th and 19th and it was incredible. All the downtown streets (especially Robson and Granville, which were pedestrian only) were incredibly packed and exciting. Everyone was jubilant and yelling about Canada (no matter how their team was doing at that point) and it was a great atmosphere.

  4. Anybody notice the problems Washington State Ferries had last night? The Kitsap had hull cracks below the water line and was towed to Todd-Pacific. That left the Walla Walla as the sole boat for the AM Rush Hour, and the Sealth was moved in to Bremerton. The Sealth is too big for the Pt. Defiance Run, and too small for the Bremreton run. The Hiyu was fired up and sent South to Pt. Defiance. The Chetzemoka’s construction is coming along good, maybe in a few years the pulling of one vessel will not effect the entire system. Especially now that the Super-Class boats are approaching their 50-year mark.

    1. Thanks to Tim E and how he mis-led the voters of WA, this situation will continue for a number of years at WSF.

      1. Most definitely, 9 boats retired in 10 years now, 4 of them car ferries, 5 of them Passenger-Only ferries. I saw a comment in one article in the Seattle Times from a resident of Friday Harbor practically laughing. Said at least Bremerton commuters have the Narrows, while they have nothing when a ferry broke down. San Juan County voters, by the way, rejected I-695. I remember when 695 was on the ballot, TV reporters were interviewing Bremerton commuters on a passenger only ferry, and they were asking about who they felt about the potential of the service going away if it passed, the response from the commuters was, the State was lying. I believe Kitsap County voters voted for 695.

      2. You are correct, SJ county voted for sanity, Kitsap voted for chaos.

        And at least another half dozen boats “should” be retired soon.

      3. To be fair the situation with the passenger only ferries is a bit different than the one with the steel-electrics, Rhody, Evergreen State class, and Super class vessels.

        The passenger only ferries were disposed of as a result of the State getting out of the passenger-only ferry business. Two are now down in San Francisco Bay working as commuter ferries. One is back in Alaska where it came from working as a tour boat. Presumably the remaining two vessels will be sold as well.

        The steel-electrics simply rusted out from under the ferry system. Hopefully the Chetzemoka and her sisters will come on line quickly enough to prevent any dire problems with the aging fleet.

      4. Would have been great to have had the Chinook and Snohomish yesterday. Passenger Only ferries are better than none at all.

        On a lighter note, the state is asking people for help naming the other two boats, and I hope the critics that commented on the article posted on MyNorthwest.com get rejected, first because they are not Native American names. The last time the state tried that, it lasted one boat. Not sure, but they might be trying it again. I would prefer Leschi for one of them.

      5. Yea, the Chinook and Snohomish were useful as relief boats, though I’d rather have a decent spare car ferry or two.

        I’d like to see the other two boats named the Klahanie, and the Kehloken. Though I suppose Humptulips and Duckabush would be fun names.

      6. Especially since the original Klahanie and Kehloken were sister boats to the original Chetzemoka. EvergreenFleet.com’s author originally was opposed to using one of those names because of some historical baggage it had.

        http://www.evergreenfleet.com/thenewferries.html

        Also, for the 144s when built, maybe call one of them Salish in honor of the new name for Puget Sound/Strait of Juan de Fuca/Georgia Strait/Inside Passage that nobody is going to use, the Salish Sea.

    2. “Anybody notice the problems Washington State Ferries had last night? The Kitsap had hull cracks below the water line…”

      Yeah, I noticed. I just happened to be underwater.

      Just joshing.

  5. At first I assumed the accusations regarding open meeting violations were hot air, but they look pretty legit. A quorum just can’t draft a letter in private and then call for an immediate vote as soon as they present it.

    1. I hope they and/or the city get sued to oblivion. I’ll never be moving back to Bellevue and by the end of next month my ex-roommates will have moved (to Ballard it looks like) so [obscenity]

      1. Even me & Adam are thinking about leaving Bellevue (and we were looking forward to a house on Bellevue Way next to the East Link station) – to think I had a house reconstructed to meet my wheelchair needs, only to have this city council now :\

      2. Don’t despair. The 4-3 vote is actually very good news, and the OMA violation only helps the pro-transit crowd. Here is living proof that the amendment to the preferred alternative was largely political. That’s all ST needs to override it.

      3. Something like who the elected officials are tends to be transitory. If you like other qualities of the area then I’d suggest staying.

  6. Another ferry story that is developing. An interesting debate at a recent Jefferson County Commissioners meeting over a potential Port Townsend-Seattle Passenger Only Ferry. One commissioner was for it, the other against it. The latter fears it could turn the area into another bedroom community.

    http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20100310/news/303109991

    Seattle probably can’t take much more of the proposals for Passenger-Only ferry service without improved landside connections from the ferry dock. Let’s see, we have the Vashon and West Seattle Water Taxis, plus proposed runs from the Bremerton, Kingston, and now Port Townsend. Might need to increase the capacity of Pier 50, and maybe bring back the Waterfront Streetcar, but would need more streetcars. Although in the near-term, probably only the Vashon and West Seattle routes will be staying, for now. Although the Kingston proposal now at least has a boat. Kitsap Transit is building a low-wake boat they are going to try out in Rich Passage.

      1. Hopefully the design All American Marine is using for the new boat will work out this time in Rich Passage. It is a foil-assisted catamaran design.

        Something that should be looked into, is how to restart the Waterfront Streetcar line, once the First Hill Streetcar opens. Siting the maintenance facility, and what mix of the fleet. Whether the old cars can be reactivated or would more of the cars in use on the South Lake Union line work. Although perhaps a mix of the two. The W-class cars can be modified for wheelchair lifts, as evidenced by the modified car in use in Savannah, Georgia. Although the car they are using, is a later Melbourne W-class car.

        http://www.railwaypreservation.com/vintagetrolley/Savannah_053009_interior_sm.jpg

      2. I’d like to see the Waterfront stick with the vintage trolleys. The Central Line will have new ones.

      3. Looks like the First Hill Streetcar might go as far as 2nd Ave now…wonder if they’ll use some of the exiting Waterfront Streetcar track? I hope the new FH barn will be able to support the WF vehicles and they can start running the WF trollys again. Even when the Viaduct is down, at least they can run the trollys from 5th and Jackson to Pioneer Square and to the Ferry station at Washington St.

      4. If they end up needing more cars of the old type, Melbourne is retiring the later W-Class Trams, so might be more available for export(although there is the Victoria State Government’s export ban, but the Market Street Railway down in San Francisco found a way to get one). Even if modern cars end up being needed on a reactivated Waterfront Line, I would still prefer some old cars on the line, because it fits into the character of the Waterfront’s attractions, at least the ones North of Pier 52 and South of Pier 66.

        Michael Arnold, thanks for the good news on the First Hill Streetcar. Just hope they do design a First Hill Streetcar barn to be able to accommodate the old cars as well.

      5. Michael, yeah I noticed that too in the last thread on the FHSC. I’m actually a bit wary of the extension to 2nd. Seems like it might be an attempt to crowd out the Central Line. I’d rather the extension be to Aloha, not 2nd.

      6. Short version: don’t look for Kitsap Transit POF service anytime soon.

        According to the January 2010 Kitsap Transit board meeting minutes (4.6 MB PDF), the low-wake POF prototype will be delivered on April 19 for sea trials in Bellingham Bay. Sea trials between Bremerton and Seattle have been postponed until April-October 2011 due to an “unfortunate delay” involving permitting and dock construction issues.

        The Seattle dock is a crucial part of the equation. At one point, a partnership between the King County Ferry District, the Port of Kingston, and Kitsap Transit was working on a plan to improve Pier 50. Nothing more was said publicly about this, by Kitsap Transit, the November 16, 2009 Kitsap Transit board Planning Sub-committee minutes (1.9 MB PDF), when it was noted that Pier 50 was no longer considered suitable, and …[Kitsap Transit director Richard] Hayes said KT would like to use a giant open space between the Seattle Aquarium and Pier 57, which is owned by Seattle Parks Department, and about which KT at one time had an arrangement with the parks department. That arrangement included several million dollars to improve the park, which would benefit KT as well, he said.

        At the November 17, 2009 board workshop minutes (1.6 MB PDF), Hayes mentioned utilizing one of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s downtown piers. The minutes, in a note at the end, then mention using Pier 50 for the sea trials, with regular service using Pier 56. There’s no discussion in any of these minutes of how the seawall replacement will affect construction and use of the location ultimately selected. (Personally, I think Kitsap Transit should have worked with the Port of Kingston to renovate the Washington Street Boat Landing, just south of Pier 50, which is much closer to the bus stops in front of the Colman Dock.)

        For the moment, the plan is to use the POF prototype for service between Bremerton, Annapolis, and Port Orchard until the 2011 sea trials. Currently, there are no funds to operate POF service between Kitsap County and King County, nor to purchase additional boats and build new docks. Remember, Kitsap Transit relies on the sales tax for its operating revenue, and routed service has been eviscerated due to that situation. The agency is barely hanging on as it is, so it can’t possibly take on POF service at this time. The only proposal of sorts, so far, for a permanent source of funding for POF service was one by Kitsap Transit Director Dick Hayes (detailed in the November 17, 2009 board workshop minutes) to form a combination HCT/TBD, which would then contract with a private ferry operator. Details were a bit fuzzy, and board didn’t appear very receptive to creating and overseeing a second, separate transit agency – especially one for which the sole purpose appears to be transporting ferry commuters. The HCT refers to the BRT lines proposed for Kitsap County.

        There’s a comprehensive report on the Kitsap Transit POF prototype attached to the January board meeting minutes (construction photos, drawings, diagrams, stats), and the discussion in the minutes by Kitsap Transit staff and the board of the state of the boat is quite interesting by itself.

    1. Well, if we could get rid of that giant parking lot at Pier 52 with all those idling cars (why is this allowed in our supposedly carbon-neutral city?)and the auto ferries we’d have a ton of room for passenger-only ferries large and small serving multiple destinations.

      1. At least cover it up with some kind of lid/green roof/retail development. Although for Bainbridge Island, try converting a Jumbo to a passenger-only boat, at least the side portions of the car deck. There are some vehicles that have to use it, or it is a long way around, like commercial trucks, and ambulances. Although I hope no car ferry on the Sound gets bigger than the Tacoma and her sisters and step-sisters(Jumbo MkIs). Takes forever to load and unload the Walla Walla. Saw it last week, and that was on a Saturday.

    1. Off the top of my head, KC Metro serves roughly 400,000 daily trips. Sound Transit serves roughly 50,000 daily trips, not including Link. Of those, the majority of those trips either go in or out of the Seattle. These numbers do not include commuter service from Community Transit. If we estimate conservatively, then I’d would speculate around 250-300,000 trips either originate or end in Seattle. That’s roughly between 125-150,000 cars.

  7. We don’t just need more ads on Link. I’d like to see ads on all Metro stop shelters, more in the DSTT, and even eventually wraps on the trains themselves.

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