- Think the Wallace v. Balducci spat was bad? Don’t try speaking at a Vancouver WA city council meeting.
- Robberies in the Rainier Valley. Link must be the cause, right?
- Three injured in close call on ST 522 at Lake City Way and I-5.
- Stolen car flips onto MLK, disrupting Link.
- Once again, please don’t walk on the tracks. Also, looking both ways helps too.
- TriMet operators plan ‘sickout’ to protest healthcare contributions. Imminent chaos or just a rumor?
- Anti-density forces lose one.
- Cycling has doubled on Dunsmuir St in Vancouver BC since the construction of separated bike lanes. More lanes to be constructed soon.
- 13 northwest mayors co-sign a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper trying to save Amtrak 513/516. Governor Gregoire drafts a similar letter of her own to Vic Toews, Harper’s Minister for Public Safety.
- Spokane Transit releases an updated plan to cut suburban and rural routes next year.
- With new Gold Line service up and running, WSDOT delves deeper into intercity bus service.
- Kingston-Seattle foot ferry launches Monday.
- Tuesday’s horrific day on the Coast Starlight. Minutiae for the nerds here.
- BNSF construction to close W. Main St. in Auburn October 18-22. Pedestrians will use the Sounder station overpass to cross the street.
- Bellevue Councilman John Chelminiak leaves the hospital after recovering from bear attack. He lost his left eye but will otherwise make a full recovery.
- A meditation on sprawl and housing busts, with stunning aerial photos from Florida. Be grateful you live here.
- Yonah Freemark breaks down the census mode share data every which way.
This is an open thread.
55 Replies to “News Roundup: City Council Tantrums”
I like the comment on the article someone wrote about the 522 this morning. They said the driver did an excellent job avoiding the accident with the other vehicle. Unfortunatly, most don’t know that there still was an accident, with the injured passengers.
The problem a driver faces is, he/she avoided the accident but in return caused an accident with the passengers. This driver may end up with a preventable accident, which is not really fair. But Metro says, don’t cause an accident by avoiding another. If the bus driver would have just hit the car and it was the car’s fault it would be a non-preventable accident, but because some passengers were injured while the bus driver avoided hitting the car, it could come back against the bus driver. Again, not really fair, but that is how Metro judges it sometimes. Hope the driver or another passenger got the car’s license plate number.
Unlikely that the driver will be found to have a preventable accident. Had something similar happen driving the 44. When another car reduces your safe stop distance to less than zero – it’s not your fault. Had car cut around the pack as I left the zone on Market street and buzz around my left, causing the need to brake suddenly. Launched a passenger out of her seat and sprained her ankle. Came back non-preventable. Safety is actually pretty reasonable and have seen a lot of similar accidents to be able to evaluate cause and effect.
As I recall, we are actually trained to NOT slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. Obviously we’re not supposed to cream an errant driver but injuring multiple people on my bus isn’t a fair trade off to avoid injuring the bozo who caused the whole thing.
That said, the instinct to slam on your brakes to avoid a collision is difficult to overcome, no matter how much training tells us to avoid “causing an accident to prevent one”.
Sounds like the decision to route LINK through South Seattle is a stunning success, as gold chains, purses and iPhones will provide needed revenue to spur urban redevelopment.
I hope you’re being sarcastic…
It’s important to note that the robbing is not actually occurring on the trains, which seems to have been the fear of some of the “loot rail” folks, who worried that routing Link through the Rainier Valley would make the trains unsafe.
Rather, the muggings are occurring on the streets in SE Seattle, where they’ve long occurred. The problem is neither created by, nor will it be solved by, transit improvements. Improving the safety of SE Seattle’s streets will require the sort of changes that have worked to reduce crime in other areas that suffer from street crime.
I know I take light rail when I want to go on a robbing spree.
Shouldn’t the local media be focusing on all the high-end prostitution that is attracted to the concentration of luxury hotels that have been built in downtown Seattle?
And then there is the threat of al-Qaeda to sidewalk cafes:
Yeah, because Link doesn’t have video cameras *everywhere* that can be used to ID you. And yes, they do use those images for crime prevention. There was a graph at the base of DVR incidents downloaded. The line is marching upwards not because the number of total security incidents are up (they’re actually down) but because they’ve been adding more video surveillance to our fleet. Virtually every bus I had at Central had a video camera on it – including forward facing video – yay for catching bozos that cut you off on video!
For the sake of accuracy, the item on Councilman Chelminiak should follow the lead of the Times and insert “otherwise” ahead of “make a full recovery.”
I am curious about the passenger ferry service from Kingston to Seattle. Does anybody have good information on how ferry transit compares to other forms of transit with regard to energy efficiency?
The ferries are awful. Passenger miles per gallon about twice as bad as a SOV. This report on Comparative Energy, perhaps bias toward buses lays it out.
But POF from Kingston to Seattle is almost certainly far, far better mileage than taking the Edmonds-Kingston ferry and driving down from Edmonds.
Well, since the ferry is involved either way yes; assuming that you take a car across to Edmonds instead of transit. But then, what’s the point? You just take said car on the Bainbridge run to DT Seattle.
Don’t forget the guy who harassed & threatened a passenger on the 7, yelled “I swear to God I’m gonna do this shit”, followed the passenger off the bus and broke his jaw. No mention if the driver or any passengers called the cops before or after the attack.
Even if bus stops don’t attract more trouble than any other street corner, unlike any other street corner, transit users are obliged to stand around at stops and stations. If that doesn’t make them more dangerous per se, it certainly makes them feel more dangerous. I dare anyone to wait for a bus at SB 3rd & Bell and tell me it’s something they’ll gladly do every day.
And once you get on transit, if someone starts threatening you, what are your options? Get off immediately, hope the person doesn’t follow you, then wait for the next bus? Stay seated, hoping that another passenger or the driver will come to your rescue? Good luck.
Those stories linked to above are definitely the sort of sensationalistic journalism that I generally hate. But I also hate riding transit in this city, and if it takes stories like that to get Metro or ST to do something about the people that make transit feel unsafe, I’m all for more sensationalism. After all, if it weren’t for the national media fallout from the DSTT beating, we’d still have tunnel security guards that are required to just stand around and do nothing.
I should say, though, that I think Link is probably safer than any bus in this city. You usually don’t have to wait long and the stations are well-lit, which can’t be said of 99% of buses and bus stops in this city. Fare inspectors provide a note of reassurance, and I’ve seen armed transit police just walking the aisles. In 15 years of riding Metro buses, I’ve never seen a cop just get on the bus and ride. Maybe hop on and talk to the driver, but never actually walk the aisle and see what’s going on.
Properly licensed, are you allowed to concealed carry on Link?
I saw a passenger on Link the other day with a shoulder harness holster with a revolver under his jacket (after he removed his jacket). Of course, he also had handcuffs hanging from his belt. He was dressed in civies, so I don’t know if he was just a plainclothes officer going to or from work, or what.
ST’s Passenger Conduct rules say “unlawful weapons and firearms” are not allowed. I’d assume that means that lawful weapons are allowed.
Of course. Only place you can’t conceal carry in WA are bars, courthouses, some govt buildings, airports and schools.
Techncally you could open carry on Link without a CPL too, although I wouldn’t.
I absolutely agree about the contrast between ST’s security on Link versus METRO. Though most bus routes are perfectly safe, there are some bus routes (e.g. #7) where robberies, harassment, assaults and anti-social behavior in general is tolerated. I don’t blame the bus drivers, who have a primary responsibility to maneuver huge vehicles through city streets. METRO should be taking notes on Link’s security. Reducing bus stops and carefully selecting well-lit, well traveled locations would be a good move. METRO should also have security randomly boarding troubled routes instead of just following bus in police cars. Perhaps plain clothes officers could be used as well, and violators should be barred from riding again, with as strict of enforcement as is possible. The culture of our region is very non-confrontational, and unfortunately that tends to mean that we avoid confronting anti-social and criminal behavior until it becomes impossible to do so.
It is really expensive to have any sort of security aboard buses or trains. I see security on Link trains almost never, aside from fare checkers, who are not armed.
The big problem with Link is how far people have to walk to and from the stations. Especially in the winter months, when it gets dark early, this leaves Link passengers very vulnerable going to and from stations along MLK Jr Way. That is where most of the crimes against Link passengers occur — walking to and from stations — not on the trains themsleves.
However, I did have a young male on a Link train the other day ask if he could “borrow” my cell phone. I suspect he was not planning to call his mother to let her know what he was up to. I hope nobody is stupid enough to loan a cell phone, or anything else, to a stranger on a Link train or a bus.
Okay I ride the 7 periodically, and it’s really not that bad at all. It gets dangerous if you’re riding in the back alone at 12:30 at night, but riding it during daylight hours and probably til 9 or 10 in the evening even when it’s dark out it perfectly safe, as long as you sit in the front of the bus and aren’t already in a gang.
@alex: The guy who threatened the passenger on the 7, followed him off the bus and broke his jaw? He did that on a Friday at 11 in the morning. The victim is not a gang banger, and according to witnesses, he didn’t say a word or do a thing to provoke his attacker.
That it’s common sense among regular transit users not to sit in the back after a certain hour or on certain routes is indicative of how out of hand the problem is. To say, “just don’t sit in the back of the bus after 9:30” is an appalling cop-out. You should be able to sit anywhere on public transportation at any hour of the day without feeling threatened. If you can’t, there’s something wrong with the system.
Feel threatened? Act crazy, talk to yourself, spin around, wear three coats, stuff garbage in your bag, and let it hang out, pray loudly.
Crazy people are unpredictable, even thugs don’t want to mess with them because there is no telling what is going to happen next.
I tried this a couple of times just for fun, and it’s true, everybody gave me a very wide berth.
I have used this technique a few times when walking past the
crackdog park in Belltown at 3 or 4 in the morning. Not so much the wearing three coats and stuffing garbage in my pockets, more the talking to myself (generic muttering, punctuated by emphatic obscenities). It does work.
That Vancouver councilwoman (I won’t use names) scares me!
Really. I’m sure there’s a lot of backstory to this meeting, but that was some crazy stuff.
“Either on a bus or train, at a stop, OR NEAR A STOP”…
Uh… Where in Seattle are you NOT ‘near’ a freakin’ bus stop?
i am getting so sick of all these fatalities on bnsf tracks this year in the northwest. the results are absolutely devastating to us crew members, family of the deceased, etc. please obey crossing gates, they are for your own good.
i almost worked the coast starlight out of portland last night, thankfully i didn’t have to. an 8 hour late train would have too many angry (and rightfully so) passengers.
on a positive note. this report says the second canada train will continue for another year thanks to the canadian federal government.
My wife and I were on that train as a sleeper passenger. The first delay was caused by a faulty reefer in the dining car. The second delay occurred north of Santa Barbara when the emergency brakes came on without cause. We were able to proceed about another 20 miles when it occurred again. Amtrak tried numerous tricks, including trying to run on one engine. Later they swiped an engine off the southbound Starlight. That didn’t work either. Eventually, after many attempts the problem was resolved and we went on our way.
I have to give credit to UP for trying to keep us on schedule, with only one bad delay at Canby, OR. As far as passenger attitude went, the sleeper passengers took it rather calmly, especially after the daily wine tasting was provided free as compenstation. I can’t speak for the coach passenger.
One side benefit is that we got to see California north of Sacramento in daylight, riding up the headwaters of the Sacramento River. We made it past Klamath Falls before dark; we even got to see the slide at mile post 552 that shut the route down for so long.
No, it wasn’t great fun being so late, but I think most of us realized that this breakdown was not a regular occurrence as it was in the past. On three previous trips on the Starlight, we were on time or nearly so. The south bound trip was an hour early into Sacramento, allowing us to catch an earlier all train trip to Bakersfield before we changed to the dreaded bus to Union Station, L.A. Seattle’s King Street station should look so good.
Glad to see you look to the silver lining. It totally sucks when our trains are that late and I hate when it happens.
They screwed the pooch holding you guys south of Eugene to wait for us (the 507) to come in and do our station stop, change ends, do a brake test and then head north into the yard. I ran into some UP guys at the Eugene hotel this morning and they told me about the Canby holdup.
Anyways sorry your trip wasn’t as expected, hopefully any future ones are much better.
“The first delay was caused by a faulty reefer in the dining car.”
Don’t people know you only smoke reefer in your own cabin? Even in California!
Amtrak Service to Continue to Vancouver
and here: http://www.vancouversun.com/travel/Federal+government+extends+Amtrak+train+another+year/3673679/story.html
It would be nice if they just commit to it permanently.
That is good news, maybe the increase in ridership over the next year will make a case for a permanent extension.
And then a 3rd train.
It would be nice if it could be permanent, but the BC government are truly going to have to put up some big dollars for ROW improvements and eventually spring for a trainset. We (meaning OR and WA and Amtrak) cannot continue to foot the entire bill for this operation.
Baby Steps, Jim.
I think the folks at the Port of Kingston are smoking seaweed if they think this is going to stay above water financially. You can drive to Bainbridge and take WSF for $6.90. How many people are going to pay $15 for service that only runs twice a day? Essentially dead heading back makes the second run a lost cause and tying up that much Capital for a boat than only makes one round trip is a loser too. From Kingston you could just go to Edmonds and transfer to a bus or train for less money. Question, how come WSF charges less ($5.15) for a Motorcycle & Driver than a Bicycle & Adult Rider ($7.90)? I’m pretty sure that you pay only the $1 bicycle surcharge one direction so $8.90 round trip on a bike vs $10.30 for a motorcycle but bicycles essentially take up zero deck space (tied off to the wall) and a motorcycle uses about 1/4 of the space of a small car and may be as much as a 1/4 of the weight. Carrying passengers and bicycles has a negligible additional cost and the lions share of building the terminals and the boats is to accommodate cars. Cars should be $30 ($60 round trip) and passengers $1.50 ($3 round trip). If you’re going to put a surcharge on bicycles why not on baby strollers, wheelchairs, wheelie shoes… maybe umbrellas.
I think you doubled up on the bike surcharge on the round trip: adult fare for Edmonds-Kingston is $6.90 and the bike surcharge is $1, both of which are only charged once, so that’s $7.90 round trip for a bike + rider. Regardless, I agree it’s absurd that a bicycle costs more than a motorcycle.
Costs more for one-way, I mean.
What do you do with your car after you drive to Bainbridge? Parking is $10 and up, if you’re not taking the car with you.
It’s taken me 30 min. just to drive off Bainbridge Island on one of the few times I’ve taken the Seattle – Bainbridge ferry on a late Friday afternoon run.
Finding a transit angle is a clever move by the police department during budget season. Maybe we can assign some SPD to ride the 7.
“TriMet employees have one of the best benefits packages in the nation, with the agency paying 100 percent of a composite rate for medical costs for full-time employees, dependents and retirees. An annual TriMet audit released last week showed fringe benefits now are 152 percent of wages.”
So if you make $20/hour, you get benefits worth an additional $30.40. That works out to more than $100k/year in wages + benefits for a full-time employee. What sort of fringe benefits are provided? That 152% figure is difficult to believe.
For comparison, I get a 401(k) contribution, health insurance, bus pass, and paid vacation and my own fringe rate is roughly 17%.
To the Vancouver, WA. City Council, individually by name and as a group:
I don’t recall that either the junior high or high school student governments I served in ever witnessed displays of immaturity and bad manners like those displayed here. We did have adult advisers, though we never needed them as badly as you do.
Of course, it may be that this video was really a rehearsal for either “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” or “Royal Canadian Air Farce” on Canadian television. If that’s the case, you guys are great! The councilwoman in the middle definitely outdoes the Canadian comedienne who also plays “Heather Coulter.”
All three of those Council Members highlighted in that video are also on the C-Tran board (or at least were).
While the actions of the Council speak for themselves, you have to think that some of this was taken out of context.
The no bridge, no toll, no LRT crowd has regularly been attending C-Tran board meetings, where I have personally listened to their testimony. The mayor and two councilwomen have heard this again and again – often from the same people.
Got a flyer on the door of the TNW club house in Freighthouse Square about the D-M Street project. Looks like things are finally starting to happen. About time.
This oughta snarl traffic good and pretty, according to the flyer Pacific Ave will be closed between south 23rd and 25th Streets, as well as a host of other closures. I will try to find more about this.
CT Transit bus fleet to lead industry
Just to be clear, this appears to be Connecticut transit and not Community Transit.
Swiss complete world’s longest rail tunnel
That’s right and it’s a “real” tunnel — 34 miles long.
This is the tunnel we should be building — one right through the Cascades for year round high speed access to the East.
And it should have a Maglev HSR train line…Spokane to Seattle in an hour.
Wow I really hope the people of Vancouver see this before Councilmember Harris’s next election comes up…
So Dick’s is opening their new drive-in at 220th and Highway 99 – only a short distance from the 216th Swift Stations – d’ya s’pose CT could be persuaded to move the stations to 220th?
According to Google Maps, it’s a walk of only five minutes, with sidewalks on both sides of Hwy 99.
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