Rail advocates can be forgiven for a little bit of triumphalism. The region would indisputably have been better off this week if we’d had more light rail, and that’s not true of buses or highway capacity.
That said, no one who thinks rail is a bad investment is going to change their mind because it helps out a lot on a few days a year, any more than rail advocates throw in the towel because of an accident on MLK. I think the better point to be made is that the best transportation systems have redundancy.
Sometimes a big accident or storm renders highways impassable and the buses on them unusable. Other times, Link has a mechanical problem or Sounder is stopped by a mudslide. A robust system doesn’t force people to spend 10 hours in a car, because each mode is slowed by independent phenomena. As a region, we have dramatically underinvested in modes not dependent on highways, which is how you get this week. We’re working to rectify that but it will take time.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.