Photo by Zargoman

This is an open thread.

126 Replies to “News Roundup: Lazy Days of August”

  1. Kudos to Sound Transit for webcams pointing to the light rail station construction!

    I wish there were some webcams aimed at the light rail tracks with streaming video broadcast to the Internet. In the DSTT would be a useful location, and at one of the MLK Jr Way Stations.

  2. I was researching a parking violation (did you know you’re supposed to park only on the right, even on 1-lane roads?), and noticed we still have a law on the books forbidding you to park a train on Railroad Ave, which comes with a $100 fine for violation (written in 1909). Since Railroad Ave is now 99: ***Do not park your train on the Viaduct***

    1. They should really put some signs up on the viaduct, I don’t think many people know about that rule.

    2. Then it would appear that these cars are parked illegally. Surprisingly, SPD has never ticketed any of them for parking of the left of the road.

      Interestingly, the road has underwent some changes earlier this month; parking is now free on both sides of the street 24/7. The right side “no parking from 16:00 – 18:00” has been removed and a bike lane was squeezed in next to the parking where that curb lane was.

      1. Sorry for not being clear. You can park on both sides of a one-way road. But common practice in Seattle is to also park in both directions on those little one-lane roads in the neighborhoods. I hadn’t seen that before elsewhere (or little one-lane roads, for that matter), and it felt strange parking on the “wrong side” at first. After living here for 7 years I don’t even think of it anymore, hence my surprise at finding out it’s illegal.

      2. Wow, you got a citation for that? Its seems there’s minimal enforcement of the rule at least around the U-district. I’d see the parking officers out while walking to class and they would walk right past people who parked “backwards,” only giving tickets to those parking too close to a stop sign or blocking driveways.

      3. Here‘s the citation. It’s probably globally ignored. A parking officer gave a friend a “courtesy notice” based on a neighbor complaint – almost definately a neighbor I have a bad relationship with.

      4. About a month ago I saw a bike cop rolling up the 4100 block of 12th Ave NE, and she stopped and ticketed a car parked with the others. I examined the ticket, and it was for “improper license display” since the car had no front plate. A day later I heard some people getting in a different car and they got the same ticket. And a few weeks later that same first car got a ticket again, though I didn’t check what for.

        Thankfully the 72 hour rule isn’t enforced. If it was, I may have had to fork over $40+ a month for a reserved spot.

      5. “improper license display”
        That’s BS. WA doesn’t require a front license plate.

        if only one license number plate is legally issued for any vehicle such plate shall be conspicuously attached to the rear of such vehicle.

        If you have a front plate you have to have the proper tab on it but prove to me that just because the clerk handed you two plates means that both were legally issued. You don’t have to have one. My ’65 Mustang doesn’t even have to have tabs (registered as a vintage vehicle). Try explaining that to the average traffic enforcement cop. Or why you can’t enforce seat belt laws when they weren’t required safety equipment or even turn signals. Hint, if you strip off turn signals on a motorcycle you still meet the criteria for a lawful road vehicle by using arm signals.

      6. @Bernie: Your ’65 Mustang doesn’t have to have tabs because it’s illegal to drive a car with collector plates for “regular transportation in the manner of a fully licensed vehicle.” You don’t pay regular taxes on it because, of course, you don’t use it like a regular car. ‘Cause if you did drive it to work or the store, well, heck, you’d just be a tax cheat.

        And the key to the part about license plate display is if you’re only issued one plate then that plate goes on the rear. But if you’re issued two plates, you must display one on the front and the other on the rear. And the RCW states that “The director shall furnish … two identical vehicle license number plates… PROVIDED, That if the vehicle to be licensed is a trailer, semitrailer, or motorcycle only one vehicle license number plate shall be issued for each thereof.” So the vast majority of vehicles are issued two plates and thus need to display two plates. And I suspect the “average traffic enforcement cop” knows (or can look up) which vehicles are issued two plates.

      7. Watch out Tim. They enforce the 72 hour rule on my block. They started enforcing back when they added a 2-hour parking zone, because that came with a parking officer that’s around enough to notice. Luckily I had just finished building a garage.

      8. It still freaks me out, Matt. If there’s one at the corner I often mistakenly assume it’s a one-way street for a moment.

      9. So, the ’66 drove today for the first time in over 19 years. Yeah, another car back on the road! Props to son Nolan that nursed it “home”. What does this have to do with transit… pretty much nothing. A generational handoff to the “car culture”? Maybe, but I hope he retains the knowledge of things like carburetors (evil pieces of crap) and gets involved with stuff like
        How It All Began

  3. Reg. Husky Stadium station final approval: I thought there are discussions as part of the 520 bridge efforts to change the pedestrian and bike flow at the triangle and not build a pedestrian bridge crossing Montlake. Does this final approval mean that the original plan will move forward?
    If the Montlake pedestrian bridge is not going to be built, why does the station need to be two stories high?

  4. linked article says
    “The two story facility will include a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Montlake Blvd.”

    If true, good news.

  5. It’s good to see support for tolling on 167. Unfortunately, that same letter urges WSDOT to extend the terminus of the highway (which is the stated reason for the tolling). The last thing we need in this region is a single mile of new highway, much less 3 or 4 of them going through what is now mostly farmland.

    If the concern is freight mobility, take a lane of I-5 for freight-only purposes through the Tacoma area. Or if it has to be on that exaccorridor, add freight lanes on River Road. Or take the money to increase Sounder and Link capacity so that you pull some SOVs off the road.

    1. It depends on what you mean by the ‘Tacoma area’ when it comes to taking away lanes. Due to our schedules and need to have a military ID to enter Post there is almost no way to get to JBLM (when did this change by the way, it must have been sometime between March of 09 when I left and this summer) via transit. So come quitting time it can often take 45 minutes to an hour to get to the gate, up the ramp, on the freeway and out of the danger area. You’d screw over alot of soldiers and airmen by taking a lane in that area.

  6. National transit trends –The Economist

    MARTA (Atlanta) cuts subway service by 14%; eliminates 30% of bus
    routes. This after a suburban county (Clayton) eliminated bus service
    completely. “Around 160 urban or regional transport systems in
    America cut service, raised fares, or did both in 2009 and 2010, even
    as ridership in public transport nationwide has risen to levels unseen
    since the 1950s.”

    A 50-year high in ridership!

  7. Parking minimums would be a great concept to apply to overdense downtown Seattle.

    I wonder what a “real city” (and in an exurb) would look like if it were redesigned to recognize that the car is the transportation system of choice for 95 percent of Americans.

    We might find that waiting 10 years for a tunnel is unthinka-ble, and instead, implementing a surface option immediately lets downtown redesign the waterfront with a brand new mall-entertainment-plex option and brand new parking areas and garages to adequately handle demand!

    If Seattle were built-down instead of up, all the traffic problems of having a bottleneck hub would disappear. I-5 could flow freely. Seattle could be making millions in retail revenues as shoppers flock to the SeaWall Shopping Center, able to take 99 from North and South and drive right into a modern free parking center.


      1. Kent, WA, It’s a heckuva town.

        The Hill is Up and the Valley is Down.

        The people drive cars on surface streets on the ground.

        Kent, WASHINGTON!!!!

        IT’S A HECKUVA TOWN!!!

    1. So do you like the residential-ish side of Kent? Or do you find it too dense?

      “Seattle could be making millions in retail revenues as shoppers flock to the SeaWall Shopping Center, able to take 99 from North and South and drive right into a modern free parking center.”

      That was the same mentality that caused the viaduct and I-5 to be built. That people would not live in the center, but would still come to the center to work and shop and play. It didn’t work out that way. Freeways destroyed the neighborhoods they passed through, and people and jobs and recreation dispersed to the suburbs. (Hint: Seattle’s depopulation occurred in the 1960s, not in 2010.) Seattle wasn’t destroyed as completely as some other cities — in fact it’s probably in the top 10% of cities that remained mostly intact — so it’s not a typical example of the destructive impact of freeways. (Of course, freeways should go between cities and around cities, just not through cities.)

      1. I challenge your notion of something being “destroyed”.

        Freeways “Created” new opportunities for people and families, to move to the green, clean suburbs and have land and good schools and low density life style that makes them happy.

        What the freeways did was open up the Free Market for people to choose where to live. It’s not their fault that the old urbs could not compete.

        But now that they have depopulated, there is hope. This is the opportune time to clean up the mess and redevelop Old Seattle to look like a suburb.

      2. I’d be curious, absent an authoritarian government, if you can find anywhere on the planet where low-density development has sprung up on any scale whatsoever, outside the commuting distance from an urban center.

        Suburbs demand a nearby urban center, and tremendous government spending, in order to exist. The history of humanity is the history of cities, where commerce began and where it continues to thrive across the planet.

        Free Market?

        Keep up the illusion as long as you can. The free market is coming to freeways in the form of tolls, privatization and congestion pricing. That’s a good thing, because it will price the “good” with less government induced distortion.

      3. I thought you’d at least try somewhere like Wenatchee, where the level of Federal dollars flowing into the community isn’t nearly as distorted as the Tri-cities.

        But then, Wenatchee has a high density core, and an overall population density roughly 50% greater than, say, Kent.

      4. Bruce you can have sprawl without an urban core, look at the place where I am currently exiled to Fayetteville, NC. Miles and miles of nothing but strip malls and subdivisions. 350K metro area, and the downtown is two blocks and the tallest building is 8 stories. I believe next tallest is 4. It literally takes 45 minutes to get from one side of the city (near Hope Mills where I live) to the other side (out of Ramsey Gate) where my buddy lives. AND THAT IS WITH NO TRAFFIC.

        Free Market at work!,_North_Carolina
        (check out the poverty rate while you are there)

        Oh wait, you mean hosting the largest military base (in terms of population) in the US, and the resulting billions isn’t Free Market?!?!?!

        Oh wait, you mean hosting the the

      5. Isn’t LA the ultimate example of a City without an urban core.

        In fact, it’s very success is because there is not one “center” but it is a multipoint “cloud” of neighborhoods, linked by an excellent highway system.

        Because I hear the litany of “oh but the cars…blah…blah…” remember, for most people in America…and the world, LA represents the ultimate lifestyle…the ultimate class and success.

      6. Wenatchee has a high density core, and an overall population density roughly 50% greater than, say, Kent.

        OK, population density is 4k per square mile vs 3k for Kent (about the same as Bellevue) but Kent is four times the size. Wenatchee has no reason to annex outlying areas because there’s nothing but apple orchards or desert which don’t help the tax base. Wenatchee’s downtown is in pretty sorry shape. Calling it high density is a stretch. I’d say that only Seattle and Bellevue have anything resembling a high density core in Washington. DT Walla Walla is more vibrant than Wenatchee. Back at the beginning of the 20th century these downtowns may have been considered high density.

        Cascadian Hotel Wenatchee’s grandest and tallest building, this 11-story hotel, built in 1929, featured a restaurant, ballroom, pharmacy, cleaners, barber and apple shop. It is located on the northeast corner of Wenatchee Ave. and First Street. The building now houses 84 Federal low-income housing units with commercial space on the first floor.

      7. Exactly. The idea of a super dense core only became reality during the skyscraper boom of the early 20th century.

        Throughout history, “cities” like Rome, or London, “sprawled” as wide as they could because of low rise housing. Their “density” was the same at all parts.

        Take Paris. Paris for most of its 1000 year history, has had low rise buildings that sprawl for miles.

        Big wide boulevards convey automobiles in concentric loops, while the have-nots make do with the Metro.

      8. John–

        Paris isn’t low density, it’s fairly moderately dense everywhere. And there must be a lot of “have-nots” riding the Metro and RER, with the annual ridership of those rail systems near 2 billion.

        And, LA’s highway system isn’t “excellent.”

      9. I think when John presents London and Paris as evidence for low density “sprawl”, he is showing a fundamental misunderstanding about what cities are, why they exist, and why they continue to drive commerce and human progress as they have throughout history.

        This type of thinking is the same as folks that think agriculture predates cities, instead of the reality that agriculture depended on cities from the beginning to even exist.

      10. He’s partly right. Skyscrapers were possible only after the elevator, and older construction methods (those thick stone walls and arches) may have also limited the number of stories. Until the late 1800s, cities had one- or two-story buildings. Edinburgh was unusual in having four-story buildings, because the topography forced a large population into a small area.

        The difference between old cities and sprawl is the size of the houses and yards. Old cities have compact row houses with small yards. Or the houses form a rectangle around a courtyard. Rich people had isolated houses in the countryside. (And only the wealthy or farmers could live in an isolated house. You’d either have to produce your own food or have a servant go to the village market every morning.)

        What did not exist was detached houses on quarter-acre lots, or scores of commuters living in semi-rural houses. Those take up four times as much land as a row house.

      11. Hold on. Paris is listed as having an average density of 54,000 people per square mile. Almost twice as many people live in one square mile of Paris as the entire City of Wenatchee. Or, to put it another way, if the City Paris was the same density as Kent it would encompass 773 square miles; an area equal to the size of Thurston County.

      12. Yes, Paris may not be especially vertical but there are other ways to be dense. A huge amount of its surface is dedicated to medium-rise buildings. There are narrow streets, minimal setbacks and very few parking lots.

      13. I see you subscribe the Republican version of the free market where the corporation/industry/lifestyle that gets subsidized the most is clearly the winner.
        (props to Matt I believe who posted this above)

        Obviously the free market at work. And that is just dollars and cents we can discuss zoning laws and utilities regulations (requiring flat rates to all customers) and the host of other government intrusions into the free market to encourage sprawl.

      14. You say “encourage sprawl” as if people didn’t like big houses will lots of yard space and free parking.

        You don’t have to “encourage sprawl”…they built it, and people came!

        Unlike the last 20 years of failed attempts to put the cows back in the barn by wasting billions of dollars in failed “reurbanization” projects in Seattle!

        It’s hilarious that more people flee density, the more arcane and costly are the “solutions” by you clowns to cram people into $3000 a month condoes when they’d rather live in $1600 4 bedroom homes with yards and atriums.

      15. And why are those mythical condos $3k/month? Could it be that, relative to suburban areas, urban housing is highly demanded and inadequately supplied, while in suburban areas it is modestly demanded and lavishly supplied? I just don’t see how you can reconcile your myth of the ‘undesirable city’ and your faith in the market, especially when the very market prices that indicate demand clearly show that urban housing is very valuable indeed.

      16. John, why to ignore every fact brought up in my response and restate your point in different words.

        Can we throw this broken record away yet?!?!

      17. Yeah, I have been waiting since 1963 for Seattle proper to look like the Federal Way of today. It is difficult to wait any longer….

      18. Yes, John, freeways gave people the opportunity to flee to the “green suburb” (though I would assert that there’s nothing green about raping a forested land and replanting lawns, a giant energy-inefficient house, and non-native flowers), thus causing a torrential rift between our racially segregated neighborhoods. You know what we happened when we built freeways, John? We stoked income inequality like there was no tomorrow. Ignore the fact that crime and poverty in urban cores spiked drastically during post-war white flight. I dare you to make your assertions an inner-city community group, and you tell me if people were happy.

      19. there’s nothing green about raping a forested land

        So, what you really want is to undo the damage that ensued after the Denny party landed in Alki? Seattle, tear down that city! Cities are the cancerous cell that spawns the tumor called sprawl.

        You know what happened when we built freeways, John? We stoked income inequality like there was no tomorrow.

        Huh? The income inequality was there. Freeways may have separated the have nots from the have taxes but I’m not seeing the connection with freeways “stoking” inequality. Especially since housing costs close in are much higher than in the surrounding cities. Yes, cities; not suburbs… Lakewood used to be a suburb of Tacoma. It’s now a city. People in the City of Lakewood will soon have a rail connection to the City of Seattle.

        Ignore the fact that crime and poverty in urban cores spiked drastically during post-war white flight.

        Ignore the fact that cramming too many people into a small unsustainable environment leads to crime and poverty? You’d like Bellevue to be more like Mumbai? If you’re really so enthralled with Seattle why don’t you move there instead of trying to sprawl the Seattle lifestyle across the lake?

      20. If there’s anything worse than replacing a natural environment with a built environment is calling the latter green and natural, Bernie. Someone like you, who purportedly balks at the cost of parking and sprawl, does not seem to have a problem with freeways?

        Bernie, don’t try to be misleading. You know that the inner-city and city center are not one and the same. That’s like equating the South Bronx and Manhattan. I’m rather appalled that you would assert suburbanization had nothing to do with the social injustice problems that we face today.

        See for yourself. Mixed-race and mixed-income neighborhoods fare far better in the early 20th century than what was left of them after the war. But if you like racial segregation, be my guest.

      21. Sherwin, the landmark segregation case was Brown vs the Board of Education back in 1954-55; before even I was born! That was the same period in history, over a half century ago, that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. As a military brat I was living in Mississippi back in 1965 and I won’t deny that blacks were still treated differently. But by 1978 things had come full circle with the Bakke case. Women have it tough, short people have it hard. People have a choice; make excuses or make the most of it. Those who choose the later are successful. There isn’t a country in the world where somebody with nothing has more opportunity than the USA.

        If there’s anything worse than replacing a natural environment with a built environment is calling the latter green

        On this I couldn’t agree more. I hope you’ll agree to stop the nonsense about cities being “sustainable” and that concrete and glass structures that pierce the skyline are eco-friendly. Of course you’re really not a city dweller at all. You just want the hip lifestyle transplanted to Bellevue so that you can have your suburbia and ride the train too. I’m not a pretender. I love my property with it’s vegetable garden and pasture and enjoy my seven mile bike ride to work in the morning over low traffic roads. It’ll be even better when the BNSF ROW gets converted to trail so I won’t have to dodge any of the techies driving to Microsoft or the Seattle bound cut-through drivers.

      22. Bernie, your latter paragraph is missing Sherwin’s point entirely.

        Your property with its vegetable garden and pasture is part of a built environment. There are electricity lines, water pipes, sewers and/or septic systems, and tons and tons of pavement. Without that, living on your property simply wouldn’t be possible.

        Higher densities, by virtue of minimizing the land footprint of people’s housing and the distances they have to travel, shrink all of these costs. Fewer drivers and shorter distances mean less pavement and less parking. It’s just geometry.

      23. Also, comments like “you’re really not a city dweller” and “I’m not a pretender” are veering into “no true Scotsman” territory. I don’t know where Sherwin lives, but the kind of lifestyle he wants does not make his vision for Bellevue any less valid than yours or anyone else’s.

      24. BS. Yes, I love being connected to the electric grid (who’s path from generation to the “big city” goes through the suburbs). In conjunction with a new roof I had a couple of solar projects quoted. Even with insane government subsidy they don’t work (the bigger you make it the worse it gets). City water is a “wash”. The property was on a well when it was a producing farm. It was on a new well, commanded by code, for years after is was subdivided. I could easily provide my own water and am in the process of at least converting all rain water recovery to plant use. The City still has serious barriers to reestablishing a well for which the structure is still there and I’m pumping hundreds of gallons out of the basement sump just to put it back on the surface. Diminishing the land footprint is another BS argument. You’re living off of crops grown in Chile and Iowa. They’re being shipped thousands of miles for the convenience of cities to be able to “walk” to the source of their groceries. Not to suggest that suburbs like Belleuve are supplying any significant part of their food requirement but cities certianly aren’t any better.

      25. Cities aren’t sustainable in form, they are much more so in function. We can’t replant old growth forests in place of our skyscrapers, but why lead new development in places where there are existing forests when there’s plenty of vacant infill? See what they’re doing out in Sammamish and Issaquah?

        Transplanting what hip lifestyle? How is that in conjunction with suburbia and the train? I never said anything about re-culturing Bellevue. I just want alternative mobility.

        There’s a very key point about my experience living in the suburb and what you’ve mentioned. I know exactly why suburbia is attractive, but I don’t pretend to hate it. Let’s ignore for a moment that my mobility is constrained as a dependent student. Suppose everyone chose to live this way– what kind of ecological state would we be in? That’s why it’s not all about choices. If we all could choose to do what we wanted, then why do we have laws? Get back to me in a few years: trust me, I will no longer be a suburban dweller.

      26. The land argument is not BS–we’re not using every square inch of undeveloped land for agriculture, are we?. Tying it to the food miles thing is just a straw-man. That’s a completely different debate. Is it not simple enough that our energy consumption goes up with the amount of land we encroach on? Or that it is usually at the expense of some kind of habitat?

      27. You should probably read David Owens’ Green Manhattan. It may be biased, but it addresses this purported paradox you find with dense urban cities.

      28. “the landmark segregation case was Brown vs the Board of Education back in 1954-55…”

        And now there isn’t any de facto segregation anywhere, ever. Phew! So glad that little unpleasantness is behind us.

      29. Bailo, and my first question? Is east Kent ideal from your perspective? Or is Centralia better? Or Selah?

        “I challenge your notion of something being destroyed. Freeways Created new opportunities for people and families, to move to the green, clean suburbs”

        The destruction is in the neighborhoods the freeways pass through. First, the houses and businesses that are removed in the right-of-way. Second, the unceasing noise they cause. Third, the dust and grime they blow into your house, and the air pollution. Fourth, the cross-bridges or underpasses are ugly and take several minutes to walk across. Fifth, some areas don’t even have cross-bridges so you have to walk a mile along the freeway to the nearest bridge, then a mile back. (Quick, how many cross-bridges are on I-5 between Denny Way and the Ship Canal, or on 405 between NE 8th St and 522?) Unsurprisingly, people just stop going to the other side at all. This divides the neighborhood in two, and severely strains its vitality.

      30. The funny thing is, the original freeway planners intended that people would use them to visit the countryside on weekends. Or that a modest number of people would move to the burbs but continue to work and shop in the city. They had no idea that the freeways would cause a mass exodus to the suburbs, low-density sprawl, and the movement of jobs and manufacturing to the burbs. (Let’s not forget about white flight, the main motivator of the suburban exodus in the 60s, to ensure their kids would attend white schools.)

      31. I think that was the case in the 1930s and 40s when they were called “parkways” (as in the Belt Parkway). If you’ve ever been on it, it’s so dangerous it’s almost hilarious! It is 3 lanes either way, no shoulder, old concrete style surface, and it makes every twist and turn around the coast of Western Long Island (Brooklyn/Queens). The thing it — it was such a road designed to bring wealthy Manhattanites to the shore — but, it evolved into a bumper to bumper highway serving as a conduit to the Verazzano Bridge and New Jersey.

        However, Robert Moses in the 1960s, when he built and rebuilt the LIE, the Van Wyck and the Grand Central Parkway, he was specifically doing social engineering to open up the surburbs to the middle classes and make that green, prosperous lifestyle I mentioned.

        The highways were part of a Utopian vision, built along side the ’64-65 Worlds Fair. Cars were part of the “personal transit system” of the future.

      32. The depopulation begins:

        U.S. Birth Rate Sets Record, Hits Lowest Level In A Century

        “The birth rate dropped for the second year in a row since the recession began in 2007. Births fell 2.6 percent last year even as the population grew, numbers released Friday by the National Center for Health Statistics show.”

        Why plan more infrastructure for a generation that will need less…much less…why make the mistakes that will mortage their lives?

      33. Begins? I thought you said it had already happened. You realize of course that the US has had a declining birth rate (defined as less than 2.1 per female because of infant mortality) since 1972 and hit a record low in 2002. Yet, “The United States, at a population of over 291 million, is the world’s third most populous country, after China and India, and has the highest population growth rate of all industrialized countries.

        vt \(ˌ)dē-ˈpä-pyə-ˌlāt\
        Definition of DEPOPULATE
        obsolete : ravage
        : to reduce greatly the population of
        — de·pop·u·la·tion\(ˌ)dē-ˌpä-pyə-ˈlā-shən\ noun

        You must somehow be using depopulation in the first obsolete sense of the word since clearly definition number 2 doesn’t apply and obsolete certainly seems to fit your picture of depopulation.

    2. “Choice” is a loaded word. In choosing their mode of transportation, Americans have less agency than you think. Their choice has been influenced by decades of massive roadway subsidies, parking subsidies, zoning, etc., and inertia makes it difficult to overcome these past mistakes.

    3. Parking minimums would be a great concept to apply to overdense downtown Seattle.

      Darn that government, allowing the free market to determine how many parking spots to build and how much to charge for them!

  8. Is there any good reason Metro doesn’t license vendors (coffee, newsstand) in the DSTT mezzanine levels? This seems quite odd, especially at Westlake which really looks like it was designed specifically to have vendors.

    1. That would be nice, but I feel like I heard a reason a few years ago that they can’t do that here, and they can’t do it very much in other cities with older subway systems anymore either. Something to do with security, I think.
      In other vendor news, a hot dog stand has popped up at Occidental Park! I hope it’s successful, that’s a great place to get street food vendors. It was pretty incredible to see the huge prevalence of street food vendors on the streets of New York when I visited there a couple weeks ago.

    2. Nope. Nor any good reason that they don’t sell system-wide advertising on their bus shelters and information kiosks. LOTS of untapped revenue in both options and without a tax hike or cuts to driver pay and benefits.

      1. Yes, there is a good reason that they don’t sell system-wide advertising on their bus shelters and information kiosks. It’s a law that prevents advertising being installed…I don’t remember the specifics. The SLUT got an exception, and buses aren’t covered since they’re not fixed.

  9. Now these guys are gonna need some tunneling equipment:

    China hatches plans for 1,000 kph maglev trains for 2015

    China is hoping to complete a massive rail network that would help the country cut down on pollution in addition to moving folks around on trains that are as fast as jets. To get them going that fast, though, Chinese engineers are considering a special tunnel system.

    Even though maglev trains glide along without feeling friction from the track, there’s still one big force acting on them and slowing them down: air resistance. As such, Chinese engineers want to do away with that barrier, too, and get the trains moving faster.

    So, what’s the solution? Well, have the trains travel through tunnels, and then suck all the air out of them. (The tunnels — not the trains.) The vacuum-sealed environment would allow the trains to carry on at unheard of speeds, which could be as fast as 1,000 kilometers per hour (or 620 miles per hour).

    1. DBTs are only needed when you want to preserve what’s on top. When you are totalitarian regime that can just grab land at will (for the good of the people) cut and cover is the solution.

      1. I heard a little while ago that a Chinese city (I can’t remember if it was Guangzhou or Shenzhen) had something like 100 tunnel boring machines operating constantly to expand their Metro. So yes, they use tunnel boring machines, although they’re still probably built and operated for a tiny fraction of the price that we spend.

      1. CAHSR is planned for 220mph, and Florida HSR is planned for I believe over 150mph. Of course, our currently “HSR” averages around 80mph from DC to NYC…

    2. Bailo, if you can help bring HSR from Seattle to California and Seattle to Chicago, that would be great. Anything from 110 mph to 620 mph would be welcome. As long as it doesn’t take money away from our urban transit projects, which are more vital. One takes urban transit every day. One takes long-distance transit a few times a year, maybe once a week at most.

  10. Thanks for the links! Remember, TANSTAFP–there ain’t no such thing as free parking.

    Some exciting open thread news for me…I’m going to be on the Bellevue-Redmond Metro sounding board. I also just got my first ORCA card from the Bellevue School District. Sadly won’t be activated until September, 1 and has a $10 replacement fee (not the normal $5)

    1. I’m not sure if congratulations or condolences are in order.
      It won’t be much fun presiding over the dismantling of east side service to get the budget under control.

      1. I’d rather be in control of determining the purse strings (as much as I can be) than be at Metro’s mercy.

  11. BMW Drives Hydrogen-powered Vehicle Design

    Hydrogen, which is highly volatile at normal temperatures, is stored in liquid form in a tank at -250° C in order to achieve a sufficient energy density and cruising range.

    Why doesn’t the government just subsidize development of perpetual motion? It would do far less harm with respect to distorting markets and is only slightly less plausible than hydrogen powered cars ever being practical.

    1. Ike’s support of the interstate system was post WWII after having to defeat the Nazis who had built the Autobahn system which contributed to the blitzkrieg. The practice labeled “redlining” is exactly what insurance companies do today in assigning risk. Lenders foresaw the risk in certain inner city neighborhoods and wanted to limit exposure to this risk. The only color banks care about is green. If banks were controlled by the KKK whites would have been given low interest development loans and the redlined neighborhoods would have turned into Mayfield.

      1. Bernie, when a white person can’t get a loan at all to buy property in a densely populated urban area because the presence of a single person of color has led the banks to redline the neighborhood, that person will go and buy where he can get the loan… in the suburbs.

        This was redlining as practiced before non-discrimination statues were understood to apply to private enterprise as well.

        This was very much at the root of “white flight.”

      2. because the presence of a single person of color has led the banks to redline the neighborhood

        Oh please, the banks are equal opportunity abusers. Lenny Wilkens didn’t kill financing in Bridle Trails. This class warfare argument is particularly annoying since it perpetuates the idea that if you’re a minority you shoudn’t even try. “The Man” is out to get you.

      3. Bernie, the banks did a lot more than assessing risk. They assumed, without evidence, that neighborhoods with even 10% minority families were likely to default, that their old-fashioned houses were passe and not worth renovating, etc. (They completely missed the fact that these houses would become highly-desired vintage units four decades later.) Or rather, the banks simply followed the FHA, which shunned those houses, and the banks didn’t want to hold loans which weren’t insured by the FHA.

      4. Much better put than I was able to muster in last night’s jet-lagged state! Thank you, Mike!

      5. Banks don’t have a four decade window for ROI and besides, the red lined districts aren’t where those historic Seattle bungalows have soared in value with the recent city chic revival. Most loans are bundled and sold within a few years. As an investor, which is what banks are, there are assumptions you have to make without evidence. Markets are not a science you can study and “figure it out”. It’s driven by humans that are trying to out guess what other humans are going to do. It doesn’t matter what makes sense or what is a long term profitable business. It really only matters what people think is going to happen. Besides, the assumption is self fulfilling. If none of the banks are willing to finance houses in an area the market will be depressed. No banker that wants to keep their job is going to jump out in front of that bus. As for “reverse redlining”, no monopoly there either with respect to minorities. Loads of poh white folk have been duped by the credit card companies over the last few decades. I’d also point out that the government push to “right this wrong” is behind the housing bubble that created the great recession. Starting with Bush the 1st and extended with each following administration the government has pushed mortgages on people that exceeded their ability to pay. For a while the Ponzi scheme worked. Real estate values kept appreciating above their underlying value just because the government incentives made it a “no brainer” to invest.

      6. Bernie, what the banks were doing in the redlining era is now widely understood to have been unconstitutional, not to mention perpetuating of the poverty cycle and education gap. Be careful; it sounds like you are defending gross bigotry as wise business decision-making.

        As you say yourself, the assumption that an area is “on the decline” is self-fulfilling. So what makes you think, without redlining and without misguided government policies to push sprawl, that urban areas would have spent four decades in a coma (per your ROI comment)?

        Bush Sr’s “ownership society” obsession does bear some blame for the caustic assumption that home-ownership is the be-all-and-end-all of American life. But the idea that “righting wrongs” had anything to do with creating the housing bubble or the subprime mortgage crisis (subprime loans didn’t actually meet the criteria to be backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; they got dragged in later) is pure Fox News falsehood.

      7. As a Southerner I find it hilarious there are seemingly educated Yankees arguing that our government and economic system weren’t institutionally racist until relatively recently. Am I to assume this part of our history is only required to be part of the history curriculum in the South?

      8. Anc,

        Institutional racism — especially environmental racism — seems to have been glossed over in suburban curricula. I suppose the guilt might puncture thier precious children’s isolationist bubble.

        And don’t forget the outsized say that a textbook panel in Texas, grossly unqualified and elected-on-an-unabashedly-right-wing-platform, has in determining the content of textbooks that must be taught in Texas and, thanks to economies of scale, wind up mass-produced and adopted by cheap-and-lazy school boards nationwide.

      9. [A few typos in there, caused by moving clauses around and not subsequently updating the grammar or double-checking the spelling. Sorry. I figure it’s worth mentioning when the topic at hand is eduction.]

      10. “the red lined districts aren’t where those historic Seattle bungalows have soared in value with the recent city chic revival”

        I thought you were talking nationally. But anyway, my friend who grew up in Rainier Valley, where houses were worth nothing in the early 80s and 90s because people were worried about drive-by shootings, couldn’t find a well-built house there he could afford in the mid-2000s despite looking for six months, and ended up getting one in SeaTac. And then later in 2009, in the middle of the recession, a house in Columbia city was listed for $600,000 and somehow it actually sold for that. I couldn’t believe what kind of sucker the buyer must have been, but anyway. So the former redlined areas are doing just fine, at least in Seattle.

      11. Gentrification, Integration or Displacement?: The Seattle Story

        “I’m concerned and I am frustrated because I don’t know what the alternatives [to gentrification] are. [This process] clearly isn’t racist, it’s economic. The real question you have to ask yourself is: Is this good or bad?” – Norm Rice, 2006

        It’s interesting in the article (pre Link) that it says some people were forced to move from the CD to the RV. Now that expensive condos are replacing the old houses around the stations I wonder how long it will be until those folks are pushed out to Kent and beyond? Hum a few bars of “Those Were the Days”.

        It’s really not as difficult as Henry W. McGee, Jr seems to be puzzling over. Odd, since he’s a large as life example of the answer. If you’re poor you don’t have any money. No money no nice house in a nice neighborhood. How do you get a good job and land a big house as opposed to landing in the Big House? Education, hard work and a bit of luck. Sure a level playing field helps a lot but the most important component in that regard is education. Immigrants have come to this county, many without even being fluent in English and in a generation are middle class and in some cases multi-millionairs (that’s where the luck helps).

      12. “No money no nice house in a nice neighborhood.”

        The thing is to make transit available in working-class neighborhoods. One flip side of the 70s and 80s was the poor had the best transit. Now as Seattle gentrifies, we’re getting into a situation where you have to afford $650 minimum, $1000 average rent in order to have good transit. That’s why south Link, the A, and some good east-west buses are important, because that’s where people go when they can’t afford to live in Seattle.

    2. It was more middle class flight.

      Take my uncle Jimmy who moved from Brooklyn to Deer Park, LI.

      He went from a tiny narrow brownstone to a 1/2 acre plot with split level.

      He still commuted in to his city (union) job as a Sanitation Department Supervisor, on the highway, because he felt the lifestyle change was worth it.

      To me,that’s just good economic sense, made possible by the genius of Robert Moses.

      In the same way, people here, saw the opportunity to escape the high taxes of the established elite and get their fair share of the American Dream, at a price they can afford.

      Now, today, the elites want to tax the exurbs and force them into cubbyhole condoes so they can levee high taxes on the populace. These Sheriffs of Urbninghams cannot allow a free middle class to own property and cars, because it challenges their cultural supremacy.

      1. Wow, Robert Moses is being honored on STB. That. Is. Amazing.

        I’ve got to believe this is all satire. It’s one thing to prefer the exurbs over urban life, and intercity rail over urban transit. It’s another to come up with complete fantasy facts like Seattle is depopulating, a Westfield mall on the waterfront is just what we need, exurbanites use less energy than city dwellers, those wonderful freeways are so useful we need five more of them in Seattle, etc.

      2. The problem for many people here is that they aren’t critical thinkers, and they don’t want to observe real life situations.

        You’ve simply bought into a memeplex (“cars are bad”) and keep re-iterating it to yourselves over and over.

        The introduction of new data or opinion is met with resistance which, as exhibited in the argumentation here, is ever more shrill and less comprehensible to any disinterested party reading strictly for content.

      3. Interestingly, Robert Moses had a small influence on Portland, OR…which many here would rate as superior in transport to Seattle:


        As in New York, Moses did not force anything on an unwilling city. Rather, he gave the leadership of Portland exactly what it wanted—a blueprint for keeping the city economically competitive in the postwar world. It proposed a $60 million construction program to employ as many s 20,000 workers. It included $20 for a freeway loop around downtown, $20 for improvements to sewers, schools, public buildings, and airport, $12 million to upgrade existing parks and streets, and $8 million for highways outside the city. Newspapers and business leaders embraced the plan. So did public works commissioner William Bowes (who viewed himself as a local Moses disciple and equivalent).

      4. Me: “This was very much at the root of ‘white flight.'”
        John: “It was more middle class flight.”

        Your last name’s Italian, John.

        Am I right in guessing that Uncle Jimmy was probably white?

        Good chance that if he weren’t, the loan for that Deer Park home wouldn’t have been forthcoming. And if Uncle Jimmy wanted to buy in Brooklyn, he probably couldn’t have for the reasons Mike Orr explains so well.

      5. You make a statement about causality.

        I explain, using a real life personal example how the cause is something else.

        Then you ignore my argument, and try to gainsay it with some other nonsense.

      6. I have no idea whether or not Uncle Jimmy had a larger contextual understanding of why he was making the “choice” that he did.

        But you, John, tend to suggest “free will” when anyone with a modicum of history knows otherwise. Your comprehension, John, is as narrow as a back-alley in a city you despise.

      7. John, you can’t just keep saying “people want [x]” or even that “people are accustomed to [y]” as if spacial preferences exist in a vacuum.

        You must understand the reasons that human settlement exists as it does, and the history behind it, much of which is sordid.

      8. You: “People want cars and lawns and cul-de-sacs and picket fences because they want cars and lawns and cul-de-sacs and picket fences.”

        Me: “History guides their familiarity and their preferences. Much of that history is nasty and unjust, is hardly random but is arbitrary as hell.”

  12. Out-of-town question here. Say I was coming into Seattle on Amtrak and needed to get from I.D. Station to Westlake. Rather than paying for a ticket and waiting for a train couldn’t I just hop on the first bus and take it to Westlake? I guess my real question is, is ID Station in the Free-Ride zone?

    1. Yes, ID Station is in the Ride Free Area. Keep in mind, however, that the RFA vanishes between 7pm and 6am.

    2. It’s just over a mile if you don’t mind walking. Google Maps says 1.1 or 1.2 miles.

  13. BBC World Service

    One Planet
    Hydrogen for transport

    Vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells promise pollution-free transport as their waste product is water.

    The idea of using hydrogen has been around for decades but has not so far gone much beyond a few experimental projects.

    In this edition of One Planet, Gareth Mitchell explores if hydrogen can ever realistically replace oil as the fuel for mass transport.

    1. “In this edition of One Planet, Gareth Mitchell explores if hydrogen can ever realistically replace oil as the fuel for mass transport.”

      Sounds like a short episode.

      1. SunHydro to Receive Toyota Fuel Cell Vehicles

        SunHydro today announced an agreement with Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (TMS) to place ten (10) Toyota Advanced Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles (FCHV-adv) in the Connecticut area this fall. The vehicles will support the new SunHydro solar-powered hydrogen fueling station, located at Proton Energy Systems’ headquarters in Wallingford, Conn. Proton Energy Systems is the world leader in on-site hydrogen generation, and its equipment will be used at the SunHydro station.


        SunHydro is the world’s first chain of privately funded fueling stations that provides hydrogen to fuel cell cars. SunHydro’s hydrogen is produced right on-site using solar and water, which means zero emissions.

      2. If the solar-energy hydrogen production process will work on large scale, then that’s pretty impressive!

    1. John, you have been asked to only post under one handle. Do you think people here don’t post on/read Publicola so haven’t seen ‘The Information’ post about Kent, hydrogen, Seattle depopulation, tax rapists, etc?

      1. “…you become numb to insults, particularly if you teach yourself to imagine that the person uttering them is a variant of a noisy ape with little personal control. Just keep your composure, smile, focus on analyzing the speaker not the message, and you’ll win the argument. An ad hominem attack against an intellectual, not against an idea, is highly flattering. It indicates the person does not have anything intelligent to say about your message.”

        Black Swan
        by Nicolas Taub

      2. And by the way, I just called you out in Publicola.

        Let’s see your real name, a picture and a home page.

        Otherwise, everything you say or print is suspect.

      3. So you admit to violating the express wishes of the admins of this site by continuing to use various sock puppets?

        And as I have said before my online handle is much more personal as it is the only one I have ever used on the internet (Ancalagon, Anc, Anc82, etc) whereas Matt Johnson is about as unique as John Doe.

  14. Wow, I should probably just go to bed. I’m finding myself agreeing with the Sierra Club on how we should spend billions of dollars on roads:

    Fix It First

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