Thursday is Dump The Pump day – following bike to work month, this is your day to (if you don’t already) try out using public transit! Maybe you usually drive because taking the bus would be inconvenient – why not do it tomorrow?

Locally, Metro will have free refreshments at three transit centers – Northgate, Federal Way, and Bellevue. Sound Transit will staff the latter two as well. Go have a look! In the past there have been good pastries, and isn’t that a good enough excuse to ride the bus today?

25 Replies to “Dump The Pump Tomorrow!”

  1. Thanks for the heads up! I was planning on sleeping in (1st day of summer break), but I think I’ll take a transit trip instead :)

    1. Woah, that is pretty cool. I guess I’ll head to the Seattle area via Northgate, if they don’t tear it all down by 9:00 or so.

  2. Hmmm…time to hop LINK from Mount Baker to the ID and then a reverse Sounder trip to Tacoma Dome. At least I’ll be relaxed when I get to work!

  3. I’ve been meaning to say “hello from Portland” to the general Seattle Transit Blog readership for some time now. I’ve thought it’s rather strange that TriMet never seems to participate in national events, which seem to be huge elsewhere.

    I apologize if this is too out of place, but does anyone know if there is any organized support for the Intercity Transit ballot measure and/or what I’m sure will be the upcoming Pierce Transit ballot measure? I see the whole thing as related – if transit service is available on a major advertising/demonstration day, then it needs to also continue to be available on other days when people need/choose to use it, too.

    1. Jason,

      I really don’t relish the role of raining on Seattle Transit Bloggers’ parade, but…

      It seems that only transit agencies that run dinky, dysfunctional, unappealing, and generally inadequate transit systems feel the need to make a lot of hoopla about this sort of event.

      TriMet, in spite of recent painful cuts, runs a system that more or less works properly, providing a reasonably time-efficient and cost-effective way to get around on a daily basis. That sells itself.

      (Before anyone tries to interject that Portland’s transit share of trips is similar to or lower than Seattle’s, remember that Portland is a very small city, with many unclogged areas where S.O.V. use is to be expected, whereas Seattle is a big, choke-point filled city where a great deal of S.O.V. trips are taking begrudgingly on account of the horrible public transit.)

      1. Clearly you haven’t spent much time in Portland’s rush hour traffic. Portland is also not a “very small city,” it’s nearly as populous as Seattle (about 40k less, iirc) and, oh yeah, entire swaths of the city in Northeast and Southeast are sprawl on an Aurora scale with even less charm. Remember how much the City of Portland has annexed since 1980; almost all of that is sprawly sprawlsville.

        Tri-Met, like Metro/ST, is a good, albeit flawed, system. There’s a lot i like about it (day passes, generally good bus drivers, no tolerance for fare evasion, more light rail) and a lot i hate (crosstown service is a joke, buses get overcrowded, timed transfers are nonexistent, bus bunching, etc.).

        Your intent seems to be to demean Seattle’s transit system; we all agree it has some flaws, but the depth of your criticism seems to be a blanket demeaning of the system; i’m all ears as to specifics.

      2. Portland is not a mecca of transportation as it’s deemed to be. I have a reverse commute here in Seattle and the auto is the best option for me (even though I do have some really good options). If I lived in the same type of area in Portland and had to do a similar reverse commute to our building in Portland, I wouldn’t have light rail, commuter rail or even a commuter bus as an option. An auto would be the only option.

        So while I applaud Portland on their efforts and they do a really good job, Seattle is doing a pretty good job catching up and even using some of Portland’s best lessons learned to create a viable mass transit system.

        Instead of all the Seattle-Portland-Vancouver bashing and raving, maybe the tri-Cascade area of cities should work together for better transit. Heck, our mayors actually put one step forward on that point this week.

      3. As Gwen said (in the context of making the common municipality/metro area error), Portland has plenty of “sprawly sprawlsville.”

        So it has smartly focused on making transit workable in the truly urban area (including the medium-density communities east and northeast of the river to a significant extent), while sending tendrils of rail out into the exurbs that they know will best work combined with park-and-rides. Neither perfect nor ideal, but a thoughtful response to pre-existing development patterns.

        Michael, your second sentence says it all: you have “some really good options” in Seattle, and yet “the auto is the best option for me.” That basically applies to all Seattleites — the preponderance of Metro trips are (de facto) 6 times as long as driving. Thus the “auto is the best option” conclusion and the gridlock.

      4. By the way, are you sure that your hypothetical equivalent employer in Portland doesn’t offer a shuttle from some exurban MAX station to the office park? You might be surprised.

      5. Portland’s transit mode share growth has been stagnant for nearly a decade, despite recent heavy investments in light rail. I guess its not “selling itself.”

      6. Portland’s bicycling share has been growing during that time, as much of its medium-density terrain is easier to bike than Seattle’s. But thanks for bothering with my disclaimer at all.

        Whatever, Zed. Take any transit trip in Portland, and you get the sense that many elective riders are on board. In Seattle, it’s still the mode-of-last-resort and feels like it.

      7. Ah, but remember that a lot of office park sprawl was built during that time period.

        MAX ridership grew as an absolute value but the it’s share did not change, in my opinion because of a corresponding amount of growth in sprawl. And if you’re looking for “heavy investments” check out ODOT’s highway projects:

  4. People will take transit more when it is nearly as convenient as driving or at least much cheaper. Since very few can get by with no car we are only really looking at per trip costs. If you don’t have to pay much to park and you’re commute is not more than 5-10 miles it can be as cheap or cheaper to drive. Especially if you cannot get a subsidized bus pass.

    Social responsibility, guilt, and pastries will only get you so far. When you have a bus system as mismanaged as Metro its going to be hard to get people to use it more. Routes that work are often way to packed for comfort and the rest are to infrequent to be of much use.

    1. Thank you, Giffy. I’m tired of being seen as this forum’s whiny naysayer for pointing out the obvious.

      Truth is, I’m actually more optimistic than many, in that I don’t believe “very few can get by with no car” under a much-improved system. There’s no reason anyone between 34th W and 34th E, between N 90th and, say, S Morgan, should need full-time ownership of a car.

      1. Unless you want to do a decent shop at Costco,
        bring some stuff for home projects back from Home Depot,
        a sofa from Ikea, or a few bags of bark mulch for the yard from McLendon’s.
        If you are alone or two, living in a 700 sq ft apt, no car is probably o.k.
        If you have a family, pets, and a house with a yard, maybe not so easy.

      2. Old Timer,

        Your examples involve infrequent trips. Zipcar for Costco. Ziptruck for the others. Transit should (but doesn’t currently) cover the rest.

        The real sticky wicket would be those who live in said area but need to make frequent trips outside of it. They clearly still need to own a car, though they shouldn’t (but currently do) need it for in-city trips.

      3. ZipCar is my lifeline, and without them I’d probably need to own a car, though I won’t pretend it could work for everyone. Take a look at its car locations, and you’ll see that it matches pretty well with youth, whiteness, and transit density. Aside from a couple cars in Columbia City and White Center, they focus on downtown, Capitol Hill, Ballard, Green Lake, and the UDistrict. If you live outside these areas and need to do any kind of hauling, car ownership is still necessary. ZipCar is still a niche, yuppie service (perfect for me), but I can’t wait until the day it makes economic sense for them to expand their customer base!

      4. If you have a house you could get by with 1 car, at least in most Seattle neighborhoods. I have a family and a small apt and do just fine with none. IKEA (and just about every furniture dealer) delivers by the way.

      5. old timer,

        I agree that many families will have trouble going completely car free. But there’s very little reason that they can’t go to one car.

  5. I can confidently say that I went to several places today, but without my car! It was fun trying out new transfers to try to find the most efficient routes.

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