"South Lanes," by Atomic Taco

This is an open thread.

133 Replies to “News Roundup: Agenda in Olympia”

  1. “Pity the UW Athletic Department doesn’t have to care what anyone thinks.”

    Actually, they do listen. You happen to be in the minority of people that would prefer to have Huskies play at Qwest field. And for what… slightly less congestion in the U-district on six Saturdays during the fall?

    Husky stadium is one of the greatest sports venues in the world, and you would want to give that up? No thanks.

    1. Ya, it’s pure craziness to suggest getting rid of Husky Stadium. It’s one of the greatest places to watch a game in America, and it will only get better with the rebuild and the lowered track.

      I can’t imagine that any of these “war on Husky Stadium” types are actually from here and understand what that stadium means to the UW or the city.

      1. It’s one of the greatest places to watch a game in America, and it will only get better with the rebuild and the lowered track.

        Supposing this is true, does that justify spending $250 million to upgrade it? Does that justify it’s location on one of the most valuable – if not the most valuable – pieces of land north of the Ship Canal? I’m sure Times Square would be a great place for a football stadium but only a fool would want to build one there.

        I can’t imagine that any of these “war on Husky Stadium” types are actually from here and understand what that stadium means to the UW or the city.

        This is the classic Seattle defense of the undefensible. “You couldn’t ever understand, your not from here”. Simultaneously parochial and ad hominem! You sir, win the award for adding nothing to the conversation!

        Never mind that I’m a “war on Husky Stadium type” and am from here (in fact, I’m a decendant of John Noble Wallingford, who was here so long ago a whole neighborhood is named after him, so argue with that).

      2. This is the classic Seattle defense of the undefensible. “You couldn’t ever understand, your not from here”. Simultaneously parochial and ad hominem! You sir, win the award for adding nothing to the conversation!

        Thank you! I’ve never understood this line of argument. Should people not be allowed to vote in Seattle elections unless they were born here?

        To the contrary, I like to think that diversity of opinion and background is one of the highlights of a world-class city.

    2. Let me rephrase your comment: “$250 million for what…six games in the U-District each fall?” Don’t get me wrong, if Husky supporters want to pony up, god bless them. But let’s not pretend it’s a reasonable thing to do in the middle of a nationwide economic crisis.

      1. Ah the “reasonable thing”. Spoken like a true social engineer.

        “Attention citizens! Please report to your designated TOD for zipcar and feline assignment! Welcome to Seattle!”

      2. Husky supporters are ponying up. The $250M in renovation costs is coming from major gifts and new stadium revenue. If it were city taxes, or money that would otherwise go to something better, you’d have a point. But it’s not. It’s money that the UW wouldn’t have otherwise.

      3. Unlike Qwest field, public tax dollars aren’t being used to finance the renovation project. All funding is coming from private donors and ticket sales. Some people have tried to argue that renovating Husky stadium will reduce funding available for academics, but that’s just dead wrong.

      4. MvB,

        This might come as a surprise to you, but actually the Husky fans/alums ARE the ones ponying up. And since this is a still a free country, they have every right to spend their $250M in any way they see fit and on any thing they see fit.

        Does it make sense? Absolutely it does! It would make no sense to move it away from all the other sports and training facilities at the U.

      5. Sure, the $250 million may be coming from private sources. However:

        1) If the University doesn’t end up getting the $250 million, the future students (via tutition) and the public at large (via taxes) would be on the hook since the schools a public institution.

        2) Being a public institution, that land is owned by the state. If there were no stadium there would you want them to put aside such a valuable piece of land for a football stadium?

        3) Finally, the issuing these bonds might drive up the interest rate the university pays for other bounds, and that could have an impact on the other public services the University provides.

      6. In response to Andrew Smith –

        Your response makes it sound like Husky Stadium stole the land from another project or purpose. Husky Stadium has always been on that land and it always will be.

        Also, it’s extremely unlikely that interest rates on other UW debt will be impacted by this project, since there is a separate and dedicated revenue source backing the bonds for Husky Stadium (ticket sales revenue).

        Additionally, the University (through the legislature) can issue general obligation debt, which is backed by the full faith and credit of the State of Washington. In other words, UW can leverage the State’s excellent credit rating for capital improvements or other academic purposes.

    3. @groan: Ha! ZING! Yes, wanting to use an *existing* centrally located $500 million stadium to play sports in is exactly like social engineering.

      @andreas: No, they are “projected” to pony up. This is an enormous debt project, with $200 million to come from increased revenues during, as I mentioned, a nationwide economic crisis. It could work out absolutely fine, but if it doesn’t, then the UW will have to look elsewhere for funding. What is the Plan B, there?

      1. MvD,

        Husky Stadium is centrally located to all the UW training and sports facilities in addition to being centrally located to the rest of the campus.

        Take your hatred for Husky football to some other forum — this is a transportation forum, and we really shouldn’t even be talking about where the Dawgs play.

      2. Are you familiar with the mechanics of bonds and how they are issued and repaid? The athletic department would borrow against *future* ticket revenues over a 20- or 30-year horizon, so even if ticket sales are lower in the near future, it would have a minimal impact on the project’s overall financial feasibility. Plus, I’m pretty sure attendance at Husky games was higher this season than years past, so your recession theory doesn’t hold.

      3. @MvB: UW has the 3rd best fundraising program of US public universities and the 12th highest of all US universities. In their last major fundraising push, they raised $2.68 billion in 8 years. In 2006, UW Athletics made $52.4M in revenue, $31.7M of which was from football. Yeah, I know, we’re in a recession. And yet 450,491 people have gone to Husky games this year, most of them buying tickets, drinks, food, paying for parking, etc. You can go ahead and worry about whether or not UW can pay this back, but you’ll be pretty much the only one.

      4. My .02 is the stadium is a HUGE waste, I mean used 7 times a year instead of having new high rise dorms on light rail? (a quick ride to the stadium for goodness sakes) For all the people saying they can afford it, all that money could go to other projects…

      5. @justin — you’re missing the point. This is private funding that probably would not be going to UW for any other purpose. That money cannot (and will not) be spend on other projects, such as your example of new dorms.

      6. That money cannot (and will not) be spend on other projects, such as your example of new dorms.

        How could you know that? If you were a donor to the school, you would say “hmm… not gonna donate my money unless I get a new box seat out of it!” Instead of saying “I want to support my alma mater” and let the UW spend the money as they see fit? I know both times I contributed to the UW I didn’t put a stipulation “You can only spend this money on X”.

      7. “How could you know that?”

        “The renovation’s funding model includes no public, state or university contributions, and the UW department of Intercollegiate Athletics will be responsible for all funding…UW ICA will use 30-year bonds to cover the project’s $250 million cost. Under the funding model approved by the Board of Regents, UW ICA will raise $50 million through major gift donations and generate the remaining $200 million through new revenues associated with the stadium including naming rights, increased Tyee season ticket revenue, and premium seating opportunities.”


        The athletic department will be seeking donations specifically for this project.

      8. You’re still assuming that those donors wouldn’t give for anything other than a stadium, and that no donors would change their minds about donating given the $250 million spent on a stadium.

      9. I’m not the one making assumptions about what people will or won’t donate for.

        Go spend some time in the UW donations department and you’ll find out just how closely donations and Husky Football are tied! For better or worse.

        And FWIW, the UW doesn’t have any trouble finding money to help students meet their financial needs even though the state gave up on funding higher education years ago. Thanks to donations from alumni, like me, the UW is able to cover the full cost of tuition for over 7000 students to the tune of some $70 million per year.

      10. Andrew –

        It’s extremely common for donors to restrict their funds to a specific purpose. In fact, if you make a donation to UW using their online portal, you can mark exactly which department or project you want your money to be used for.

        The donations that will be directed towards the athletic department cannot be redirected to some other academic purpose.

      11. zed it’s not just private donors, it’s also box office which would be similar if we played at qwest. that money could go to other sports programs or whatever they want.

        Besides if this rich people want to give their money to things I would rather it be ANY OTHER charity or anything else that didn’t represent a huge land use fail.

    4. Exactly. They do care–about what their customers want. We–the season ticket holders and donors–are paying for it, and they’ve certainly asked my opinion on it. It’s been used on those 6-7 Saturdays for 90 years now. If people around the U-District haven’t figured that out yet, I can’t help them. Unlike Qwest, the taxpayer isn’t paying for it.

      This isn’t even tangentially related to a transportation blog. You’d be better off discussing something like why the taxpayer is funding a new rental car facility at the airport when there’s already a garage and private lots there, and a light-rail line, and buses, and cabs… (not that I’m opposed to it particularly; a discussion on it’s just more relevant to transportation).

      1. Land use around light rail stations is absolutely related to a transit blog. Something that draws high volumes of people 7 times a year and approximately zero the rest of the time is a terrible use of rare and valuable land near high capacity transit.

      2. I wish they would build dorms and stuff to make that corner of campus vibrant even on non-gamedays. Of course, with all the sports in that general area, it seems like most days are gamedays.

      3. Martin,

        This notion that every square inch of land near a LR station needs to somehow be developed into its densest possible use is simplistic. Between the hospital, SE campus, and the entire sports complex this station will generate great ridership. The fact that the Husky Stadium site isn’t developed into condos is hardly material.

        But this isn’t a fight you are going to win. Husky Stadium has been there for decades, predates LR, and is a fixture of the UW campus experience.

      4. @Martin — I’d like to point out that there is a major research hospital across the street from Husky Stadium that will attract thousands of patients and employees, among others. Additionally, high capacity transit is being built FOR Husky Stadium and its surroundings, not the other way around. If it weren’t worthy enough for a light rail station, Sound Transit probably would have chosen a different alignment.

      5. You can say that about every single piece of land anywhere near a station.

        I am in full agreement with Lazarus’ comment above. I’d be for more housing. etc. along with the 90-year old sports complex, but the UW has planned for housing expansion in a different area.

        Sorry, but this one ain’t changing. It’s as pointless an argument as saying we shouldn’t have built light rail where it is because there’s a perfectly good rail right-of-way somewhere else, or whinging about building south first when north would have had higher ridership. It’s done. Sorry private investment is renovating Husky Stadium, but there it is. I’m sure we’ll all tout the ridership numbers on game days, since 20,000 of us already ride the buses there on game days and rail will be even better.

        And what about all that great land use at the SoDo station? Should we just tear down all the industrial sites and build condos?

        That doesn’t even include basketball traffic, or traffic transferring to go north to U Village or Sand Point. That station would likely have been built on the other side of the med center nearer the student housing if no stadium existed.

      6. Building TOD housing on the Husky Stadium site doesn’t make sense because no one really wants to live there.

        Grad students, faculty, and staff (including the UWMC staff) for the most part don’t like to live in the U-district at all. When I visited as a prospective grad student, almost everyone told me it was better to live outside the U-district, on a good bus line. It’s a fun area, but it’s perceived as too student-oriented: more noise, more crime, etc.

        And undergraduate students don’t really want to live on that part of campus anyways. The UW is trying to make on-campus housing more appealing to upperclassman, and their method is to build new dorms on the west side of campus, near the Ave. Given the choice between living on an isolated parcel near the waterfront and living right next to the social heart of the U-district, most of the students are going to choose being near the Ave. Some might like being close to the IMA (although there was talk in the Daily about a new branch of the IMA on the west side of campus) or to the sports facilities, but not enough.

        For TOD to work, people have to want to live there, and just being near a light rail station isn’t enough in this case.

    5. I don’t see why every pro “transit” person isn’t supporting Qwest, especially with the opening of LINK to the U. Dist. Being able to save $300 billion, through the use of optimizing resources via transit would be the best argument for it.

  2. This is a question I have had for a long time. When Metro or any other transit agency makes a large order of new buses how do they get delivered? Are they actually driven here or do they come by train/airplane?

    1. For some reason I imagined a convoy of Metro buses driving x-country with homeless people on board riding for free because the drivers can’t force them to pay a fare.

      1. Metro drivers are instructed not to block riders from boarding even if they outright refuse to pay a fare. This is to protect the drivers’ safety by keeping them away from possible violent confrontations.

        The driver is of course free to call the police on the non-paying rider, but in my experience, most drivers don’t.

    2. I have no idea about Metro buses, but I was stuck inside a massive convoy of new Comcast trucks moving up a 2-lane highway in California. They were slow and it was the middle of the night (and I was a kid with a sports car), so I passed dozens of them at a time. Despite miles and miles of this I never made it past the group before I had to turn off.

      1. Driven from Winnipeg (NewFlyer), the Bay Area (Gillig), Alabama (NABI), Quebec (NovaBus) and upstate New York (Daimler/Orion)

        Who’d I miss?

      2. They come in spurts as they come out of the factory. So maybe two or three at the most going together to any one city. If you drive regularly cross-country, it is one of the things you see along the way.

    3. I occasionally see new New Flyer hybrids coming over Snoqualmie Pass, with “Have a Nice Day” on the reader board.

    4. I realize that they don’t come all at once but it just doesn’t seem all that efficient to be driving hundreds of buses across country. Never the less does the manufacture drive the buses to the respective agency’s or is it on the agency to get the buses.

  3. All good points on Husky Stadium but when did this become a sports Blog?

    Per high speed rail its too bad some states are opting out but it looks like their loss is our gain.

      1. From the DoT press release:

        The $1.195 billion originally designated for those high-speed rail projects in Wisconsin and Ohio will now be used to support projects in the following states:

        * California: up to $624 million
        * Florida: up to $342.3 million
        * Washington State: up to $161.5 million
        * Illinois: up to $42.3 million
        * New York: up to $7.3 million
        * Maine: up to $3.3 million
        * Massachusetts: up to $2.8 million
        * Vermont: up to $2.7 million
        * Missouri up to $2.2 million
        * Wisconsin: up to $2 million for the Hiawatha line
        * Oregon: up to $1.6 million
        * North Carolina: up to $1.5 million
        * Iowa: up to $309,080
        * Indiana: up to $364,980

      2. Great news! Cascades came in third priority after the true high speed systems in FL and CA. Every little bit helps to improve our system. Surprising that the midwest system focused on Chicago didn’t get more funding (such as funding to IL or MO). Maybe there was a “screw the midwest” sentiment since WI and OH refused the money. There loss, our gain.

    1. re: sports blog. It’s relevant because light rail could allow UW to use the existing stadium. This is because it’s high-capacity transit with stops in both places.

    1. Not that I’ve heard. I think the Mayor is too busy fighting the tunnel.

      I just wish someone would fund the Aloha Ext study phase — it seems like a no brainer to me….

      1. And don’t forget his 2011 vote on the Ballard-West Seattle Light Rail Line, isn’t that coming up?

      2. I wasn’t in Seattle for the last mayoral campaign, but I’ve looked through some of the news archives in the last week. I’m really not quite sure what Seattle voters saw in McGinn, and I say that as a pro-transit environmentally-conscious center-left voter. I don’t think we have the money for big capital projects now or for the next few years.

        Why doesn’t he propose something doable, like small tax hike to pay for the Aloha extension, the 1st Ave Streetcar and maybe floating Metro some money for new ETBs?

      3. The city started an update of its comprehensive transit plan this year. I’m not sure if we’ll see it next year or the year after.

        The mayor promised a vote on a new rail route somewhere but never said where. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s still deciding or he just wants to avoid premature speculation. The most likely candidates are extending the SLUT to Ballard [it’ll be subject to the Fremont drawbridge], LR from West Seattle to SODO [pending a downtown alignment], LR to Ballard on 15th W, LR from Ballard to UW [I suspect this will be pushed till later due to the narrow rights-of-way], or a SLUT line on Eastlake.

        The Aloha extension is separate from all that. As far as I can tell everybody wants it, it’s just awaiting funding.

    2. There’s a transportation committee meeting on the 14th, but I’m not sure if it’s on the agenda. They should be selecting a general contractor for the First Hill line soon, and a bid request for streetcars should be going out at the beginning of 2011. The construction agreement for the First Hill line includes the Aloha extension as an option, so if they can find funding between now and 2012 the extension could be built without going through the bidding process again. The council is really behind the extension, so there’s a pretty good chance it will happen.

    3. Yeah, I recently saw that they’re looking at various routes through Downtown to connect the South Lake Union Streetcar with the First Hill line other than the Central Streetcar on First Ave. Although I still like the Central Streetcar, I like the idea that they’re studying of extending it up a 4th/5th couplet.

      1. Connecting the South Lake Union Line with the first hill line would seem to be a good idea, if only to give yourself more operational flexibility. Being able to move the trolleys between routes, and maintenance barns, as needed couldn’t possibly hurt.

        If you wanted to run them as one long continuous route through downtown, that’d be interesting too. It’d seem natural enough to split the current line at Westlake and Stewart, and send the southbound line down 5th, while the northbound returned on 6th. They could make it all the way to Jackson that way, and tie into the First Hill line. I’m not sure 6th is the best route though, as it’s kind of out of the way. Not to mention that the specs on the trolley’s we’re using, Inekon 01 Trios, call for a maximum 8& grade, and between Yesler and Washington 6th appears to be a little over a 10% grade. That’s assuming that my Google Earth surveying is at all accurate.

        Grade-wise maybe it’d be better to move them west a bit, maybe jogging over on Pike and Pine for example. However it happened a continuous loop from Aloha all the way to the current north end of the South Lake Union line might be well worth looking into.

      2. Oops, I goofed a bit. We’ve actually got Inekon 12 Trios. I guess the difference is that the 01’s only have a cab on one end, while ours of course can run either direction.

      3. 6th wouldn’t be that good, as most of it has half of its walkshed ruined by the freeway. 4th is right down the middle of Downtown, and could get a ton of riders.

      4. I live on 1st & Stewart, and work on 1st & Madison, so I’m very interested in the proposed Central Streetcar alignment, and I know a bit about each of the possible streets. Considering the downtown section from Stewart to Yesler, your options are:

        Western – Minimal current foot traffic, steep walk to get to 1st Ave. Similarly, it’s probably not until you get to Battery Street that a streetcar line could even leave Western.
        1st – Lots (and LOTS) of tourists who are potential choice/novelty riders (particularly if the old Benson streetcars can be put back in to use). Probably the highest foot traffic of all the possibilities.
        2nd – One way traffic, would require dedicated ROW or to be split up in a couplet.
        3rd – No space overhead for trolley wires, has gobs of busses anyway.
        4th – One way as with 2nd.
        5th – One way as with 2nd.
        6th – Walkshed ruined by the freeway as mentioned above.

        A streetcar on 1st, if it follows the initial proposal of going all the way up to Mercer, also ties in nicely with the Line D RapidRide. One RapidRide starts, either the 15 or the 18 will go away, which means 1st Ave will lose one of the few busses that traverses it all the way through Belltown to SODO.

        Connecting the SLUT to whatever line might be built is a no-brainer. A 4th & 5th couplet requires no work in that respect – a big advantage. Stewart is one way, so for 1st or 2nd you would need a dedicated lane.

  4. Breaking news: The State has selected a DBT contractor team and the final tunnel will be 2 feet wider than the State requested and it will open almost a full year earlier than anticipated.

    Cue the comments from the nay-sayers….

      1. Maybe. It’s less than half the length and only a single bore. And there aren’t any stations to build.

  5. “Light rail tunnel boring machines arrive from Germany

    “Two giant German machines that will bore light rail tunnels from the University of Washington to Capitol Hill have made the trip overseas to the Pacific Northwest.

    “Manufactured by German firm Herrenknect, they came all the way from Schwanau, Germany, and were off-loaded Wednesday at the Port of Tacoma . They’ll be assembled by Jesse Engineering in Tacoma and tested. Then, they’ll be partly disassembled and trucked up to their construction site in Seattle, Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray said.”

    So, why are the TBM’s being brought from Tacoma to Seattle by trucks, instead of on trains? I thought trains were supposed to be superior to trucks, and rails were supposed to be superior to highways.

    1. Because Tacoma isn’t that far from Seattle.
      To get to Capital Hill they have to be delivered by truck.
      Loading and unloading are expensive for large items.
      What Erik G says.

      1. [octopus] But we’re hitting peak Helium. Apparently to be priced correctly, balloons should be $100 each.

        I’d mention Hydrogen, but fear it would attract a comment from [Bailo].

      2. The Ukrainian (and Russian) giant cargo airplanes sometimes get these jobs of transporting big things that ought to go by ship because there are delivery deadlines that would otherwise be missed.

    2. In other words, Sound Transit finds using trucks on highways and streets to be superior to using trains, in this instance?

      And, how is ST getting rid of all the dirt from the tunnel boring? By trains? Or by truck?

      1. Sound Transit’s not doing any of it, their contractor is. And I must say this is a very pathetic attempt at trolling.

      2. “And, how is ST getting rid of all the dirt from the tunnel boring? By trains? Or by truck?”

        Both. There’s effectively a train behind the TBM that transports the dirt out to where it can be loaded onto trucks.

      3. Yes, since the rail construction sites are currently only served by road. Once the rail is built it could be used for future deliveries.

  6. If the Husky Stadium argument is about land use, then make it about land use. So far it’s been about telling other people how to spend their money and, gasp!, that the athletic department doesn’t listen to know-it-all bloggers. It’s a dead horse issue anyways, how much time are you going to spend beating it?

    1. The only post I’ve made on this subject is one that focused largely on land use. The rest have been links to people that agree with me.

      If you think it’s a waste of time feel free to skip over and not comment. I’m choosing to use my time this way and tqlk is cheap. We’re also not raising height limits enough in the RV, but I’ll maintain my opinions on it.

    2. Well lets see…

      The University of Washington, while very well endowed with cash, is still a public university accountable to the citizens of Washington State. $250M secured by future receipts creates risk that the taxpayers could be on the hook to cover in case of a default.

      A structure that creates concentrations of 70,000+ people on a number of days with its attendant traffic congestion creates real resource impacts on the city and the neighboring communities. So, this “private endeavor” is not really a strictly private affair. It is reasonable for the city and its citizens to have a say as to the continued efficacy of this facility.

      The University of Washington is characterized as a “Commuter school” in that the percentage of its students that reside on campus is quite small so the justification that it is adjacent to many facilities is rather irrelevant to the usefulness of its location. Very few people will be walking to Husky Stadium from their residence. If they are going to be driving or taking transit, then it would make just as much if not more sense to utilize Qwest field which is a modern state of the art facility in the midst of an oasis of transportation options including sounder trains, light rail, buses, ferries, and yes, even parking for cars. It allows the site at husky stadium to be redeveloped for other purposes that may be better suited to the university including housing, still more academic buildings possibly in a denser design. It removes the need for the city to provide additional street improvements to accommodate the periodic crush of stadium users. It could even simplify any rebuild of SR520 and the Montlake interchange if Husky Stadium didn’t have to be accommodated.

    3. Furthermore, Husky Stadium is a public facility on public land and I have just as much standing as anyone else to whine about it. If people want to donate money to ultimately enrich a millionaire football coach I agree that’s their business, although incredibly the Federal government will give them q tax subsidy to do so.

  7. A continuation of my weeklong nightmare: I just had another excruciating ride from Wallingford to Ballard. This time it was closer to 40 minutes, for an average speed of 3.75 miles per hour!

    Why is the 44 ever pay-as-you-leave!? They probably think it speeds its exit from the U-District (but it doesn’t). By the time the obscenely late, nightmarishly packed vehicle passes through Wallingford, each stop is a 2-minute dosey-doe in the aisles. Are driver’s forbidden from using their brains? If this happens to your run every single day, just switch to pay-as-you-enter so that you can open the f-ing back door!!

    1. It’s pay-as-you-leave when it is coming from a 43 that is coming from the Ride Free Area. If it was pay-as-you-enter, it would take just as long, it’s just the waiting would be when everyone enters in the U District, rather than when they exit in Wallingford. There are other things that should be done to speed up the 44, though, like better stop-spacing, bus bulbs in all the congested areas, and TSP.

      1. I don’t think any of the rush-hour buses come from 43s, and they all seem to be pay-as-you-leave in the Ballard direction, so I don’t think that’s a correct explanation.

        I disagree that the time penalty would just be shifted to the U-District. Maybe in the pre-ORCA era. But now the time painfully wasted jockeying for passing-room in the aisles outweighs the payment time penalty.

        I agree that Metro should be getting right on stop-spacing, bus bulbs, TSP, and some open floorplan vehicles for this most vital and worst performing of routes.

        But in the meantime, multi-door-exit beats one-door-everything hands down!

        Why the “logic” behind a policy is clearly refuted by the evidence, why cling to it?

      2. This graphic nicely summarizes the proposed improvements to the corridor and the minimum time savings achieved for each period of the day. 5.9 minutes can be saved during the PM-peak, outbound to Ballard trip of 44 minutes.

        I think they did it for consistency’s sake (no matter what the outcomes are). Look at the 43’s schedule from downtown and you’ll see early morning trips (5-8 am) and one or two trips (6-7 pm) continuing as 44s Monday-Saturday. Sunday service has them continue as 44s all-day. Pay-as-you-leave is confusing enough for many. Having to remember that some trips are pay-on-enter and some are pay-on-exit during the day and that Sunday is pay-on-exit all day is really confusing!

      3. “I think they did it for consistency’s sake (no matter what the outcomes are).”

        Oran, you’ve basically summed up the Metro experience in 14 words. Who cares if our service sucks, as long as our policies look consistent on paper.

        Between 7AM and the end of ride-free-area/pay-as-you-leave service, there is precisely one 43 trip that continues as a 44. So they’re willing to ruin thousands of their customers’ afternoons for to remain consistent with that single trip? (I believe it, but I don’t endorse it.)

      4. “I think they did it for consistency’s sake (no matter what the outcomes are).”

        Oran, you’ve basically summed up the Metro experience in 14 words. Who cares if our service sucks, as long as our policies look consistent on paper.

        Between 7AM and the end of ride-free-area/pay-as-you-leave service, there is precisely one 43 trip that continues as a 44 (I checked).

        So they’re willing to ruin thousands of their customers’ afternoons to remain consistent with that single trip? (I believe it, but I don’t endorse it.)

      5. Having to remember that some trips are pay-on-enter and some are pay-on-exit during the day and that Sunday is pay-on-exit all day is really confusing!

        Of course, no one remembers it anyway. Witness the fact that so many drivers put their hand over the farebox when riders are getting on, or constantly remind them “pay as you leave, pay as you leave”.

        As far as I can tell, the algorithm that most riders use is “pay as you enter, unless I’m boarding downtown or the driver tells me otherwise”. Thus, switching these 44s to pay-as-you-enter would probably be *less* confusing for everyone who isn’t a transit nerd. :)

      6. So…. how about this:

        What if we had a system where we could issue everyone a card, say, one that you could preload with a fare and just tap on a reader as you entered the bus. You could even put one of these readers at both doors on the bus. It really wouldn’t cost that much, no?

        Then just have everyone hold the card out as they walk by, and voila!, the fare is paid. Ride Free Area? Then have those folks tap back out as they leave, and no is fare paid.

        I’m sure that if you implemented a system like this, it would sure speed things up! If only there were a way to do this, it could save the transit system oodles of money.

        (And, yes, I have heard of an Orca Card. I even have one, since I’m such a transit geek. But as a casual observation from this currently non-resident of, but frequent visitor to, Seattle; I rarely see them used by most people.)

  8. Husky Stadium cannot be replaced with Qwest Field! Sorry, I’m not from Washington but as an alum of a PAC-10 (soon to be PAC-12) school I can say that Husky Stadium is well known throughout the country for its great setting and proximity to campus! I understand that light rail will run near the area as well and this makes sense. Even though there could possibly be better use of the land (high density development) there is still plenty of room in Seattle for such redevelopment.

    We are having the same discussion with Sun Devil Stadium here in Tempe for ASU. The stadium will either need to be retrofitted and expanded or completely rebuilt on a different site! If that happens Sun Devil Stadium will lose proximity to an existing light rail stop (the stop is actually adjacent to the stadium with no road interaction), its position between the famous “Tempe Buttes” and right next to Tempe Town Lake. I understand the need to expand from 74,963 capacity crowd to 83,000-96,000 and retrofit is necessary but these two stadiums have storied histories. The stadium in Tempe sits on the site of the first Territorial Cup Game (the oldest sanctioned NCAA rivalry trophy) played in 1899 (111 years between Arizona State and Arizona). I’m sure Husky Stadium has lots of meaning for the UDub as well.

    To those who oppose Husky Stadium I know that most PAC-10 schools, including ASU and possibly UW, have two seperate fund raising sources/foundations for academics and athletics. At ASU the ASU Foundation is specifically dedication to raising funds for academics; allowing those who want to donate to sports or academics or both the option of doing so with full knowledge of how funds will be spent.

    As for high speed rail funds; it is good that states in the West and Inter-mountain West are now receiving money from the Feds. Groan left out Arizona which wasn’t initially receiving funds. Now the state has received $500,000 (and possibly more) for an L.A. to Phoenix corridor. This is estimated to be the most heavily traveled route in the Western United States and the 15th busiest route in the nation. http://raillife.com/blog/2010/11/19/high-speed-rail-effective-transportation-system/

    Too bad it is not more and extremely disappointing that construction has started on a Tampa-Orlando rail line that will be sure to fail as these two cities are notoriously lacking density and at the least, poor city transit development. http://www.floridahighspeedrail.org/

    I fear this may give ammunition to those against further development of high speed rail in America. On top of a low 168mph speed rating for this connection (absolutely pathetic).

    1. UCLA plays 25 miles away from campus – in pasadena no less – and they have no trouble with “proximity”. From UW station to “Stadium” station will be, what?, ten minutes?

      1. L.A. is also arguably the most sprawled out mess in the nation. On top of that, add the low attendance rate of UCLA fans (granted they “suck” this year) I’d say if they were closer to campus attendance would be much higher; especially the student “section” of the stadium.

  9. I really like that that Washington is getting money for rail, but I don’t like that it’s getting High-Speed Rail money for rail. Our rail is not high-speed, all these projects will probably get its average speed up to around cars’ average speeds between Seattle and Portland. Right now we’re distributing some of the money to real HSR, but most to normal-speed rail projects like these. The United States would be better served in investing high-speed rail money in just a couple corridors (Florida and California at this point, Illinois and NE corridor when those plans are more developed) to get some real HSR in our country up and running in the next few years. Once that happens the whole nation will be clamoring for more. Instead, we’re getting a ton of small improvements around the US, plus two real HSR lines that will open in several years, one of which (Florida) kinda sucks.

    1. There are two ways to get high speed rail, either incrementally, or all at once. Washington state is pursuing the incremental approach. Heck, we bought Talgo’s because they can go faster that 79 MPH, but the condition of the rails just won’t allow that for now. I don’t agree with your comment that if we can get a few true HSR lines up and going, everyone will want one. I think HSR will have to prove region by region before people will decide they want more. So local improvements that allow more train service at faster speeds will get more people behind HSR than a few big projects that only serve a small part of the country as a whole.

    2. I personally think the FRA has done a fine job of allocating the HSR money. The Wisconsin and Ohio projects were useful, but if they want to give up the money, I’m happy that Washington is getting a substantial portion of the redistributed money.

      The fact is, we need a couple or three HSR projects to demonstrate the usefulness of true HSR. The Florida project is good mostly because of tourism. A large sector of the national population could go to visit Disney World and experience HSR either from the Orlando airport, or on a side trip to Tampa. The California project is important, because it’s a place where 220 mph trains can travel on corridors next to already well utilized conventional rail. The NEC is nice, but it will take a lot of investment to get faster trains.

      Elsewhere, lower speed incremental improvments make a lot of sense. Building ridership and fare recovery will make it easier to justify the expense of high speed trains. True HSR should make sense all along the eastern seabord, in the midwest, in the south central region and maybe even in the Northwest. When our hourly trains are full to the gills, that’s the time to look toward a high speed, grade separated, passenger corridor.

      1. The Florida line will not be supported by large ridership volumes. Studies already suggest that it will not be in the top 30 or possibly top 50 in terms of potential riders. Tampa to Orlando is not a heavily traveled route and too short for true high speed rail. A northern Florida/southern Florida line would have been much more valuable and would incorporate a much more densely populated Miami metro area that can offer higher ridership due to developed transit options.

        Tampa’s HSR station will be at an “intermodal” terminal in which there is no other mass transit option except a very lowly bus system. The airport is miles away and the mail transport to and from the “intermodal” terminal will be cars which will require more parking lots in downtown Tampa. A downtown that is much less densely populated (with residents and employers) than even downtown Lubbock. There is also little tourism shared between Orlando and Tampa…

      2. Edit: “The airport is miles away and the mail transport to and from the “intermodal” terminal will be cars…”

        Replace “mail” transport with “main” transportation. My apologies.

  10. I paid my dues to the UW and am not one of the madras-clad idiots trying to recapture their youth by throwing money at the ridiculous athletic program. I hope that crowd is dying off in favor of serious minded people who actually got something useful from their tuition.

    Husky Stadium and Qwest Field are both huge wastes of money. Combining them would make one less huge waste, and relieve the UW of supporting an unneeded facility.

    1. The sports programs at Universities serve as catalyst for even greater investment in academics. Sports (even professional) also serve as a building block of community, pride, continued association, and on and on…these facilities are incredibly successful for attracting brilliant minds and bodies to the schools, regions, and conferences they represent.

      1. Uh huh. That’s why The Ivy League has such a vibrant academic program, I suppose,

        Save it for the Alumni Foundation fundraising letters. (the wife- another alum – and I send those straight to recycling)

        We got out in ’90 with advanced degrees. We both make very good money, no loan repayments, and we wouldn’t dream of donating to that corpratedemia. Neither would any of our former classmates – many of whom we’ve kept in contact with.

        If you want to throw money at that rathole, fine, but I hope you’re leaving a trust for the U to maintain that relic, because no younger people are interested in it.

      2. Most of the “brilliant minds” I knew in college couldn’t have cared less about football: they cared about teaching loads, quality of research facilities and (most of all) being around others of their caliber. My fellow students and I in the Physics department only found out about football games when we saw loud, boozy lines of frat boys in facepaint heading towards the football stadium.

        That’s not to say I think universities should abolish pro football games. They’re a cash cow, and anything that brings in money for useful purposes should be encouraged. It’s just a shame they have to put on such a performance to get the money.

      3. No tradition and no history spouting like rancid Beijing rain from Alum. It is your personal decision to not take part in athletics but you are very much wrong in that few young people support the events. On the contrary; and as Bruce recognized they are cash cows for the important academics and research that top universities are afforded.

        Even the “Ivy League” which they are so called due to their storied sports history in the, you guessed it, “Ivy League Conference.” Those schools athletic prowess happens to be well known and a huge economic engine for their enormous endowments: find out more here for yourself http://www.ivyleaguesports.com/landing/index

        They have the broadest intercollegiate programs in the NCAA; “which means more teams and athletes then any other conference in the country.”

        Hmmm, someone speaks before they realize they could have found this out easily. Someone seems to have some misplaced resentments that aren’t germane to this discussion, but since it’s been brought up might as well be addressed.

      4. I wish I had graduated in ’90 when the price of education was proportionately much smaller than it is today. But, by accident of birth, I was born much later and therefore can’t afford to be smug about my current station in life. Nor can I tell others what activities they should and shouldn’t do.

        This anti-Husky Stadium argument doesn’t make much sense to me. For all of the glass-half-full transit enthusiasts are forced to take on (Metro’s service, Link ridership, Seattle Streetcar use), it seems incredibly disingenuous to pretend that the Husky Stadium station is a waste because there aren’t that many football games

        What about other sports, like baseball, softball, and tennis? What about the water activities center? Those are right around the corner from the stadium. And what about the UW Medical Center? Or several academic buildings nearby? Or the Hec Ed and all of the basketball games?

        What I appreciate about this blog is its rigor and intellectual honesty. It’s a welcome change from some of the fire-breathing at the Slog and other places.

        However, this anti-Husky Stadium (and pro-Viaduct rebuild?!) activism (used loosely, of course) isn’t very becoming of this blog or its mission.

      5. First, from a UW Daily article earlier this year, it’s interesting to note that football, and men and women’s basketball, are the only three profitable sports. All other sports, including many men’s sports (i.e. not Title IX requirements), lose money. In fact, last year, the department operated at a deficit (which they mitigated by transferring money from the previous year’s surplus). But the department is completely self-funded.

        I don’t know the extent to which the athletic department indirectly subsidizes the rest of the university. As Matt pointed out, donors who were primarily interested in football would probably earmark their donations to the athletic department. Thus, any money so raised does not really help the non-athletic part of the university in any way.

        Is it possible that some donors contribute money to the general fund, or even specifically earmarked for academic programs, but that those donors wouldn’t have contributed if not for football? Possibly, but it’s hard to imagine that this is a significant source of revenue for the university. It simply stands to reason that donors who were primarily interested in sports would tend to direct their contribution to sports.

        This is in no way an indictment of the UW athletics program. If they raise enough money to be self-sustaining, then what do I care if they happen to share the UW name? I’m just pointing out that the “cross-pollination” argument goes both ways. I believe it’s most useful to think of UW Athletics as a completely separate organization that simply shares the UW name.

        In general, I think that John Lombardi’s Inside Higher Ed article from 2005 sums up the issues pretty well. To quote:

        “Q: When should we worry about [the money spent on sports]?

        “A: We should worry when a university or college loses so much money on its sports program that it cannot support its academic program, when a university competes in Division I-A and does so poorly it must subsidize
        football at great expense from its general funds, and when universities and colleges cannot manage their sports programs without cheating and scandal. Otherwise, enjoy the game.”

      6. Wrestling in the midwest is a moneymaker and alumni-drawer. It was cut from UW and WSU due to Title IX. I don’t know if the UW’s team made much money but it was one of the best in the country, and maybe if its momentum hadn’t been lost it would be a moneymaker here now.

  11. Any chance of some of that Bonus money going to fund a day train to Spokane? Is Stampede Pass still open? If so, what could that route look like?

    1. I doubt it. There are more than enough “shovel ready” projects in the Cascades corridor to absorb all this money and much more beyond it.

  12. When my family and friends from back home (South Alabama) came up to Seattle for my wedding, Husky Stadium was one of the places they wanted to go see.

    Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, and Husky Stadium are probably the three most well known landmarks in Seattle.

    1. My friend from Ohio wanted to see it too. I often take visitors on a walking tour of campus, and the thing he most wanted to see was the stadium.

  13. Tea Party Blunder! Washington State to get more High Speed Rail Money!!!!


    “The other states that will get Ohio and Wisconsin’s money will be Washington, which will get up to $161 million; Illinois, which will get $42.3 million; and Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon and Vermont, which will all get less than $10 million.”


    Video: driverless TTS completes the world’s most famous hill climb course


    An autonomous Audi TTS developed by VW’a Electronics Research Lab, Stanford University and Audi has completed a run of the Pikes Peak hill climb course (cue bad pun about hairdresser TT drivers now being able to spend all their time looking in the mirror).

    The self-driving TT took to the Pikes Peak course back in September and clocked up a time of 27 minutes fro the 12.42-mile course, and nudging a max speed of 47mph along the way.

    1. Wake me when the autonomous Audi navigates the Turnpike from Newark to Manhattan over the GWB w/o a collision.

  15. Busted: Google Auto-Pilot Car Breaks Traffic Law

    What actually happened, apparently, is the “driver” got a ticket for talking on a cell phone, which is against the law in California while driving without a hands-free unit (per CA vehicle code section 23123).

    There was no actual violation by the car itself. The guy behind the wheel thought he got a pass and so was chatting away when “Johnny Law” pulled the car over.


  16. Real life transit.

    Leaving Benaroya Hall after stella performance last night, to catch 9:53pm 150 to Kent, saw the new “Pint-sized” LINK trains running by at University Station. Funny, but most of them seemed to only have little clusters of people at either end. Can they use them as truly single cars…without the connector? The “cup sized” if you will…

  17. London sees launch of hydrogen bus fleet

    London is to have the UK’s first zero-emission bus route, with eight hydrogen buses joining the capital’s transport network this month.

    From December 18th, the RV1 bus route – which passes through some of London’s most polluted areas – will be operated by the new models, with eight buses gradually phased in over 2011.

    It comes after Transport for London (TfL) conducted a three-year trial into the use of hydrogen buses.


  18. Hawaii expands push to fuel hydrogen cars

    GM_Hawaii_Fuel_Cell_Vehicle_05Hawaii may be the first state in the nation to successfully build a fueling infrastructure that will support thousands of hydrogen fuel cell cars.

    Today, the Detroit auto manufacturer General Motors, in partnership with the Honolulu-based utility the Gas Co., announced they are partnering with 10 additional companies, government agencies and universities to help implement a plan that would tap into Oahu’s 1,000-mile utility pipeline and supply hydrogen to the many fuel-cell vehicles expected to come on the market in 2015.


      1. Electric vehicles would make a lot of sense too. Photovoltaic power should be plentiful in the Hawaiian chain, at least on the windward sides.

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