Trains du Pilate
Pilatus Railway, photo by flicker user trams aux fils

As always, this is an open thread.

101 Replies to “News Round-Up: Turned Away”

  1. I was on Link the other day and I saw a stack of luggage… in the luggage/bike area. I was impressed.

    Speaking of other things behaving as intended, on my five-minute walk to work down Western, I used to see a number of cars there all day everyday, and now almost all of them are gone and I see at least a couple of them have switched to nearby private lots.

    In addition to there being roughly one space on most blocks most of the time, there’s another salutary effect: cars aren’t so tightly packed, and they no longer encroach illegally on the edge of commercial and passenger loading zones the way they used to. Taxis and trucks would then park on the curb or in the street which was a huge PITA. Up on 1st where the private lot rates are $10/hr and up, street parking is still a scrum but elsewhere downtown and in Pioneer Square it seems to be working well.

    Finally, does anyone know what’s up with Metro removing a ton of its vans from service? Safety issues? I’ve been seeing ST busses constantly on Eastside routes downtown since then.

  2. Two observations from riding the 566 almost daily:
    1) On time performance since Pierce Transit took over at the beginning of February has been abysmal. The afternoons have always been dicey because of traffic and weather (and seem worse now), but the morning schedule was extremely reliable when Metro was operating the route. Now, buses will routinely be 10 minutes late or more and it isn’t unusual to have two arrive back-to-back.
    2) Ridership seems to be heavier than it was a few months ago. I’m not sure if that’s due to capacity differences on the bus or increased ridership, but I’m standing more often than I have in the past.

    1. I would swear ridership has increased significantly in the last month. I know it’s hopelessly dicey to generalize from individual experience, but every bus I’ve seen or been on in the last few weeks seemed more crowded.

      Also, I have to eat some of my words about route 99. After bitching about it being empty all winter (which it was, my office overlooks Alaskan way) the one I saw this morning northbound on 1st was sanding room only.

      1. And I should add that if anything this militates in favor of a 1st Ave streetcar, NOT a rebuilt waterfront alignment.

      2. “I would swear ridership has increased significantly in the last month. I know it’s hopelessly dicey to generalize from individual experience, but every bus I’ve seen or been on in the last few weeks seemed more crowded.”

        Ridership on Central Link fell again last month, for about the 7th month in a row.

        http://www.bettertransport.info/pitf/Linkpassengercount.htm

        But, Sounders games started this month, and Mariners games start in April, so ridership will probably start increasing again in March.

      3. Don’t you find it interesting that, according to you, bus ridership is increasing, while Link ridership, according to ST, is decreasing? You have any theories on why Link ridership would have decreased while bus ridership was increasing (assuming you are correct about the latter?)

      4. Link mostly serves tourists from Seatac and residents of the RV, whereas Metro (and ST Express, which my anecdote was also based on) serves lots of people (especially commuters) in outlying areas who are far more susceptible to high gas prices. If anything, high oil prices probably hurt Central Link somewhat by depressing airline traffic.

      5. I like how Norman is comparing Central Link (currently one LR line) to the entire ST bus service. LOL

      6. My buses have been more crowded lately – it’s particularly noticeable compared to a few months ago.

      7. Portland does a great job of getting the word out each month on all their modes. ST is quarterly for all the info Trimet gives out, and Metro is just now starting to report monthly, except Dec was the last time they updated their website.
        “knowing where you’ve been is a good indication of where you’re headed”
        Here’s a link to Trimet, showing bus ridership is down, while Max and CR are up.
        http://trimet.org/pdfs/publications/performance-statistics/2011-02.pdf

    2. I’ve noticed with route 577 that PT isn’t as good as Metro. I rarely use 566 so I can’t comment on that.

      Regarding capacity, it should be the same or more, depending. Metro either had 40′ Gilligs or the occasional articulated coach. PT has the exact same 40′ Gilligs and MCIs. The MCIs are higher capacity than the Gilligs but less than an artic. MCIs don’t have much standing room though.

      1. I was a on a 566 this morning that seemed smaller than the typical bus (Gillig?). I know that the seating configuration was different.

        As for the MCIs, my initial impression is that they are not good for commuter buses. Narrow aisles and no rear door. Someone from the back getting off would seem to be very difficult if people were standing in the aisles.

      2. Probably a New Flyer C40LF. I always forget about them. Roughly the same exterior dimensions, but unlike the Gillig, it’s low floor (no stairs) so the wheel wells extend in further eating up the space for a couple of seats.

        MCIs are actually perfect for long distance commuter routes. There should never be a standing load. If there is, there’s a problem with scheduling and/or the operator is waiting for “runners” (they shouldn’t). You don’t need a rear door since the route has less than a dozen stops along the entire route. For the overall trip duration, loading and unloading takes up a very small percentage of the time.
        Community Transit did a dwell time study for their double talls “to see if it took longer to load and unload the Double Tall on busy downtown streets. The result: no. In fact, the shorter length of the bus compared to articulated buses helped to keep vehicles from ‘blocking the box’ at rush hour.”

      3. I was watching the ST meeting on TV replay this evening. Joni Earl noted that the change represented something like a $1.2 million savings. Not sure about that number (wasn’t taking notes) but maybe it’s a case of you get what you pay for; then again maybe not. Whatever the number it was a significant savings. I’d like to know where those cost efficiencies came from.

      4. Yeah, I think their billing rate is $10-20/hr less than King County Metro. But counting up all the service hours provided by the 566 and 577 I only account for maybe half of the claimed $1.4 million in savings. Are the platform hours really double the revenue service hours for these routes? Even at that I’m hard pressed to see $1.4 million in savings and if that’s the “savings” the cost per boarding of these routes is approaching double the system wide average.

    3. After any pick, there are slowdowns as the new operators on the route get up to speed. With a completely new set of operators, that effect is likely amplified. Time will mostly solve the problem with the 566. (Though there remain other obvious bottlenecks, like the need for HOV lanes on Rainier Ave through Renton.)

      Crowded buses are not necessarily a sign of high ridership on a route. Rather, when bunching starts, the leading bus in a bunch-up is very crowded, while the others are mostly empty. Most of the riders in that bunch-up are on the leading bus, and therefore observe what falsely appears to be higher ridership.

  3. BNSF really botched the job runnin’ the northbound Sounders on time Monday. The dispatcher tried to get a loaded coal train through to Everett, but instead of changing crews at Interbay, the Roberts Bank bound behemoth died on the hours of service just south of Mukilteo.

    That in turn caused 1700 to be over a half-hour late, and us on-board 1702 caught all the way up to them. Was a four way meet basically at Mukilteo. We had a eastbound next to us main 2, 1700 in front by 800 feet or so, then the rear power for the coal train just ahead of them, all in a very short space.

    AS for the budget, its these screwy defense contracts thats pure BS in my opinion. Where the hell are we getting the money to apy for that garbage? I’m a firm believer in defense, and love watching the EA-6s and F18 fly over my house, but I need to get to work first in order to pay my taxes.

    Priorities, people! Priorities……

    1. I don’t get it. The viaduct is coming down with surface/transit or the tunnel. That building is currently half-empty and the owner was apparently considering adding more floors. I don’t see the evil conspiracy here.

      1. I rather have folks actually developing spaces vs. “local” folks who don’t bother to do much with their properties… such as now-deceased Sam Israel

    2. Belleviewer, the reason nobody wants to rebuild the viaduct is precisely because we’d like to see more development going on along the waterfront. That brings in property tax revenue.

      1. Strange. I thought the reason was to “open up the waterfront” — not to line the waterfront with new condos and other development. Have you consulted with Cary Moon about this?

        And, I would wager that more people want to rebuild the viaduct, or build a new viaduct, than want to tear it down and not replace it with anything but surface streets and “transit.”

      2. Did you actually read the article? That’s a preexisting building, and as the article suggests (and I can confirm because I walk past it daily), that building is not a teardown. It’s currently offices and retail. Currently no food, but when the ugly racket of the viaduct is taken down, I’m sure that will follow in short order. Thus the final outcome seems likely to be mixed retail/office/residential use, which I’d be fairly happy with.

      3. I was responding to this:

        “we’d like to see more development going on along the waterfront.”

      4. I can’t wait to see what twisted, contorted definition of “development” Norman comes up with that excludes the City’s waterfront plans.

    3. For all those who don’t like the fact that there won’t be development right along the Waterfront, this supports my argument: that although there won’t be development right there, the whole area between the Waterfront and First will increase dramatically in density and vibrancy. Can’t wait!

    4. If you like the World Trade Center East and think it “vibrant” – you’ll be getting more of the same under Zell. Only taller.

      1. And that’s why developers make campaign contributions, hire former city development staffers (and ex-mayors and vice-mayors). It’s not future property taxes that these guys dream about.

        Then they trade $1000s of dollars of decorations, rooflines and art (and ‘mixed use’) for $1Millions of additional height, floors and lot coverage.

        When all is said an done you will have tall uninviting buildings running from 4th aveneue all the way to the (old) shoreline.

  4. “”Public transit is the quickest way for people to beat high gas prices if it is available.””

    Wrong. Telecommuting is the quickest — and least expensive — way for people to beat high gas prices. And more and more people are starting to telecommute even without high gas prices.

      1. Many of the jobs that telecommuting won’t work for are exactly the sort that transit works for. Service industries in particular. You can’t telecommute to your job at target or a restaurant.

      2. http://www.cio.com/article/670770/5_Reasons_Why_CIOs_Can_t_Ignore_Consumerization_of_IT

        “According to a telecommuting forecast by Forrester, 41% of employers plan to implement telecommuting options this year and 43% of the American workforce — more than 63 million workers — will telecommute occasionally by 2016.”

        What percent of the American workforce uses transit to commute?

        Telecommuting is the future. High gas prices will only accelerate this trend.

      3. http://static.ow.ly/docs/Census-CommuteTripModes_c5p.pdf

        “Among the nation’s workers, 6.9 million
        commuted to work using public transportation
        in 2009. This is a reduction
        from 2008, when 7.2 million workers
        used public transportation to get to
        work.”

        “The national
        percentage of workers 16 years
        and over who used public transportation
        to commute to work in 2009
        (5.0 percent) was not statistically
        different from the percentage in
        2008.”

        Telecommuting is growing at a much faster pace than transit use. And telecommuting costs taxpayers nothing. Telecommuting also saves companies lots of money by reducing office space and energy use. Telecommuting also saves a lot of oil used for transportation.

      4. If that puff piece is the strongest evidence you have, I’m unmoved.

        That said, my company (a software engineering company) has a telecommute policy, namely that we no longer hire telecommuters for permanent positions. We’re gradually replacing remote workers with local hires. We do permit (encourage!) occasional telecommuting when family or personal circumstances require.

        A previous manager drank the telecommute Kool Aid and hired people from Boston to Sydney, but it turned out that even with all the IM, email and video chat in the world, people who work in same building and go to happy hour together are more productive, communicate better, and are much easier to manage than remote workers. Given the communication skills you exhibit on STB, this is not a subtlety I expect you to grasp.

      5. No one would argue with this statement “telecommuting will continue to increase in the future”, especially since telecommuting is something that nearly didn’t exist 50 years ago, and was only possible for a few jobs as recently as 15 years ago.

        This may also turn out to be true: “telecommuting will continue to increase at a faster rate than other commuting modes”.

        But saying “telecommuting is the feature” is just a ridiculous statement.

      6. Bruce: maybe you will like this “puff piece” better:

        http://www.greenlivingtips.com/blogs/593/Telecommuting-takes-off-in-Atlanta

        “A recent survey of metro Atlanta commuters by the Clean Air Campaign shows increasing numbers of people getting to work not via car, rail, bike or even using those bits hanging off the ends of our legs; but by computer – working from home, also known as telecommuting.

        “Over a quarter (27%) of commuters now work from home at least occasionally – a 35% jump in only three years. Those who frequently telecommute has grown even more – 75%. Telecommuting has now become so popular, it’s outpacing the rate of carpooling.

        “The Clean Air Campaign can share some of the kudos for this amazing transformation as the organisation and the region’s transportation management associations have been providing free professional telework consulting services since 2004. This is really important work as many employers have troubles understanding just how beneficial to their business allowing staff to telework can be.

        “The Clean Air Campaign is a non-profit that works with employers, commuters and schools in Georgia to encourage actions that result in less traffic congestion and improved air quality.

        “I think a couple of the most common fears about telecommuting among employers are productivity and security. I’ve been teleworking for close to a decade now and if anything, I think it’s made me more productive – it’s just a matter of having a dedicated space to work and a bit of self-discipline. Security is certainly a valid concern and employers need to ensure that the equipment used by teleworkers has been checked by the company and a few simple ground rules laid down – just the same as when computers are used on-site.

        “The Clean Air Campaign also mentioned another factor in the increasing popularity of teleworking in Atlanta – in 2008, the state of Georgia became the first in the country to offer a telework tax credit for employers. What a great idea!

        “Have a think about the amount of your life wasted by commuting to and from work. If it bugs you as much as it bugged me; perhaps have a chat to your company about the financial and environmental benefits of telecommuting. Even without the progressive policies of Georgia, a solid teleworking scheme can save money, make money – and there’s always the environmental warm and fuzzies of fewer transport related emissions. It’s something the company can crow about as part of their in-house green initiatives.”

      7. Yep, that’s another feel-good puff piece. The fact that it’s written by some granola munching green guru doesn’t matter to me.

      8. Or maybe this one:

        http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/26/pf/grads_work_from_home/index.htm

        “She’s one of a growing number of young professionals choosing to work from home as telecommuting opportunities have jumped nearly 400% in the past three years, according to job-search site FlexJobs.com.

        “”[We are] receiving many more calls and inquiries from younger job seekers interested in telecommuting and flexible jobs,” said FlexJobs CEO Sara Sutton Fell.

        “In fact, she added, the number of young job seekers using FlexJobs to find these kinds of positions increased 181% during the past three years.

        “”They really like it because it sits with the work/life balance that the younger generations really care about,” said Melanie Holmes, a vice president at employment services firm Manpower. “My generation started out as workaholics, this generation is not like that.”

        “It also works for many entrepreneurs, who are staffing their firms virtually. Jack Goldberg, president of online marketing firm BirdDog Media, says most of his employees are between the ages of 24 and 28, and all of them work from home. In fact, there is no main office at all.”

        Apparently the younger generation really likes telecommuting.

      9. And the part you omitted:

        “But he also struggles with being alienated from his peers. “I am an extrovert by nature and I miss the social aspect,” he admitted.

        And that, in general, can be a downside to these types of positions. “They don’t have the depth of relationships,” said Doug Arms, senior vice president of recruiting firm Adecco. “There’s a certain value to face to face interaction.”

        Arms believes that sharing an office can offer a career boost, as well as psychological one. He even contends that’s what has helped him in his own professional experience. “There have been times when I’ve been outperformed by others, but the relationships I was able to develop propelled my career. Arms recommends making room for some face time with managers and other coworkers at least once a week to develop a personal connection.

      10. Yeah, once a week he meets officers and co-workers. lol That is really critical information. Thanks for adding that.

      11. What have I lost Bruce? I have established that telecommuting is growing much faster than transit commuting. You don’t understand that yet?

      12. That telecommuting is growing has not been questioned by anyone. That huge numbers of workers physically cannot telecommute is obvious to everyone, surely including yourself, although you gloss over that minor detail. That full-time teleworking is subobtimal for most jobs where it is even possible is evident to everyone but you, and your attempts to prove otherwise have merely unearthed more evidence against your case.

      13. Well, Bruce, people far more intelligent than you are going to be making their own judgement on that. I’m quite satisfied they will understand that telecommuting is going to be far more common than commuting by transit in the very near future and that telecommuting is far less expensive than transit, particularly the stupidly expensive transit that Sound Transit is providing our area.

        And many companies are already understanding that telecommuting saves them lots of money in office space, energy costs, and subsidizing commutes for their employees.

        If you can’t understand this, that is not particularly important to anyone.

      14. As our Country switches more and more to a service industry nation, yeah I can see many of us Telecommuting. Of the 60k workers on property at the Walt Disney World resort, according to Norman 40% of them will telecommute by 2016. Good luck with that Norm.

      15. Now we know why Norman is able to comment here and on Publicola 18 hours a day, because he’s telecommuting!

      16. Norman – if everyone starts telecommuting than we can start reducing road budgets and traffic should no longer be an issue. Let’s close some lanes on I-5 and I-90 and not rebuild 520 – just suggest telecommuting as the solution.

        Oh, and let’s stop work on hydrogen fuel and electric cars (Norman’s preferred solutions to high fuel prices) too – waste of taxpayer dollars.

      17. If traffic is no longer an issue, then light rail will be seen by everyone as an utter waste of money, since buses will never get “stuck in traffic”, and cost a fraction of light rail.

        Of course, we will still need roads and highways for freight, mail, ambulances, et. al.

        And, it was not me who claimed that “everyone can telecommute.” That was some simple-minded concept from someone else, who said that not everyone can telecommute. So, what? Not everyone can take transit, either, can they?

        Obviously, not everyone can telecommute, and none of the articles I linked to even suggested that “everyone” can telecommute. But 40% of workers is pretty good, don’t you think, considering that only 5% of workers in the U.S. use transit to commute. And telecommuting does not require huge tax subsidies, like transit.

  5. Among the nation’s workers, 6.9 million commuted to work using public transportation in 2009. This is a reduction from 2008, when 7.2 million workers used public transportation to get to work.”

    You picked the worst year for employment statistics to make your point. Seriously, Norman?

    If 2.6 million people lost their jobs in 2008, how many of those people stopped driving, bicycling, etc?
    http://money.cnn.com/2009/01/09/news/economy/jobs_december/

    1. I picked the latest study.

      Nonetheless, 5% of workers commuting by transit in both 2008 and 2009 is pretty tiny. And the percentage did not change from 2008 to 2009.

      Actually, I’m pretty sure that commuting by transit as a percentage of workers is lower now than it was 20 or 30 years ago. Would you claim that that is not true? I could probably find that somewhere, if you like.

      1. You should go ahead and find that, Norman. While you’re at it, let us know how much money Washington counties spent on road maintenance, and how much of that money came from gas tax an MVET. You suddenly disappeared on me the last couple of times I asked you; I was heartbroken.

      2. MVET revenue in the ST area is about $130 million in 2010-2011 2-year period.

        Parking revenues in the city of Seattle alone were about $70 million in 2010 and expected to increase to abour $85 million in 2011 due to the incease in parking rates and the commercial parking tax. So about $155 million in Seattle alone over two years just from parking revenues.

      3. You didn’t answer my question. How much do all the cities and counties in Washington spend on roads, and how much of that came from gas tax, car tabs and MVET? You can include parking, too, if you want, although that will me a minuscule outside of Seattle. SoundTransit’s MVET is unrelated to this question.

      4. “The city budget this year includes $42.2 million for street repair and “major maintenance” such as repaving.”

        And Seattle got about $70 million just from parking revenue. Again, motorists paying more in taxes and fees than is spent on streets in Seattle.

      5. ST’s MVET is paid only by motorists! It is absolutely part of the taxes/fees that motorists pay. Who would not understand that? You think there is an MVET on bicycles or buses? lol

  6. The Stephanie Pure link (on Seattle’s tacit acceptance of its punching-bag status in Olympia) is absolutely our most pressing problem, and at the root of so many of our woes.

    To an outsider, the city-vs-suburb and Seattle Met-vs-Eastern Washington political rhetoric that spews from Olympia (including and perhaps especially from so-called “moderate” Democrats) resembles the politics of another era: deliberately stoke urban fears, “welfare queens,” and this: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/12/17881729_f86aded77b.jpg

    Most regions with thriving urban centers have managed to move past this trope. Sure, there’s plenty of residual provincialism, but the populations have come to understand that starving a region’s economic heart of its basic services, its mobility, or its safety and quality of life is inherently stupid and counterproductive.

    Thus, many state governments play a role in directly funding urban transit, something that would be unthinkable in Olympia’s 56-cents-return-on-the-dollar abuse of the Seattle area’s tax-base habits.

    Remember that recent video in which four legislature proudly and tauntingly held up “yes” paddles (at a Seattle media event) to demonstrate their commitment to sticking Seattle with the tunnel overruns? No serious politician in Massachusetts, New York, or Illinois would pull that kind of stunt without incurring backlash.

    Seattle’s delegation needs to grow a spine. Continue to score political points with us as your scarecrow, continue to defund only our needs and interest, they must say to rural Democrats, and we’ll withhold support on anything you propose. “Drop dead” is an era past in other urban centers; it needs to end here.

    1. Seattle’s delegation needs to grow a spine.

      A lot of the time these things work against you: you have to pick your fights, and focus on the ones you can win. If Seattle “grows a spine” and becomes impossible to deal with in Olympia’s eyes, it’s a step backwards for “the most pressing problem”.

      1. If the current state of affairs were more neutral, I would wholeheartedly agree with you.

        But net-donor Seattle is the rest of the state’s punching bag, constantly, on every issue, from every angle, all the time. It’s acknowledged and tolerated, and barely seems to surprise anyone around here.

        At that point, ultimatum’s are valuable. “Knock it off completely, or don’t expect us to play ball on anything anymore.”

      2. One could also add that the “Seattle delegation” is small, if one counts only folks who either exclusively or primarily represent Seattle in their districts, and is also very split on a great many issues related to transportation.

      3. Lack of unity on issues that affect the city, and lack of solidarity between the city and suburban delegations on issues that affect the metropolitan area, is a symptom of this very problem.

        The rest of the state’s use of anti-Seattle-area rhetoric as a political crutch is so pervasive that it no longer surprises the target. Our delegations are so used to it that they fail even to perceive the need for a unified defensive block.

        Like Ms. Pure in her post, I think that’s at the root of our problems. Underfunding urban programs, sticking Seattle with cost overruns, refusal even to consider direct funding of urban transit needs — these things wouldn’t be so easy with unified opposition.

        Albany can only do so much beating up on NYC before it provokes a huge political blowback. Olympia’s capacity to beat us up seems limitless. With half the state’s population in our region, this should not be the case.

      4. Thank you for your thoughts on my Citytank post. In terms of spine, what I am most calling for is *leadership*. And by leadership, I don’t mean bull-in-a-china-shop, dictator, smug know-it-all, or anything of that sort. I mean we as a city need to lead the way, getting actively engaged in regional/statewide politics in a productive, meaningful, and long-term way. We are currently incentivized to hide behind the excuse that everyone in Olympia hates us so we better lay low when it comes to effectively advocating for our funding needs so we don’t appear too pushy, as though the benefits of any funds to Seattle stop at Seattle’s borders, when we know they don’t. If people of all incomes can’t get in and around our city, that’s a giant social, economic, and environmental problem that will hurt our region and state.

  7. SPD is running a neighborhood and transit public safety survey:

    http://www.seattle.gov/publicsafetysurvey/

    They specifically ask about safety issues on Light Rail and busses. There’s also a comment box at the end that I used to ask for more police presence around 3rd & Pike in the evening. If you’ve encountered a bus with safety issues, call out the bus by number in those comments and maybe if enough other people do the same, we’ll get some official attention on those busses.

    1. They heard you. But they decided to start nine blocks further south. I suppose you won’t have any crime in a block if you close off the entire block.

    1. http://www.soundtransit.org/Documents/pdf/newsroom/SIP/2011SIP_Draft.pdf

      From page 16:

      The installation of an additional station would require increasing the turnaround cycle time from
      20 minutes to 24 minutes. Service intervals would lengthen from 10 minutes to 12 minutes when
      two trains are scheduled and from 20 to 24 minutes when one train is scheduled.

      Seems like a drag. When I rode Tacoma Link, it didn’t strike me that the stations were too far apart. Is there something hugely exciting happening at 11th & Commerce?

  8. City Council approves parking near light rail stops

    All-day paid parking will be allowed near Sound Transit light rail stations under legislation approved this week by the Seattle City Council.

    The ordinance allows businesses and property owners to temporarily provide up to 40 paid spaces for park-and-ride customers near light rail stations, as long as slots remain available for business customers. A permit would be valid for three years.

    […]

    But many projects stalled during the recession, leaving empty lots. Responding to complaints, Mayor Mike McGinn suspended enforcement of the city’s policy after taking office, trying to encourage ridership on the fledgling Link light rail and help property owners during the downturn.

    Suburbizing the urb…

      1. Interesting:

        The change was one of two approved Monday by the City Council to breathe life into empty lots where new construction stalled during the recession. The second piece creates the Vacant and Unused Lot Pilot Program, under which three-year permits will be issued to owners to allow parking. But permits come with a condition: Owners must incorporate an “active use” that will draw pedestrian activity, such as a retail kiosk; a mobile food vendor or cart; art displays or installations; outdoor entertainment; or nurseries.

        I’m just worried about these “temporary” permits becoming permanent. But requiring pedestrian activity is a good idea. Hopefully they do inspections to ensure that pedestrians are utilizing the spaces, and revoke the permits of those lots that are underperforming.

      2. And that’s a completely different, but valid, other model for these stations.

        If there is that much available space, it could be train stations situated in shopping+parking+local transit versus just having a few very high priced buildings up against each station (more like Kent Station).

  9. ORCA readers at every platform in the DSTT (except CPS of course) are working as of this week.

  10. Anyone know about whether the Sounder platform signs will ever display timely and/or useful information? (I’d much rather know when the train is coming or if its late than the fact that I can’t skateboard on the platform.)

  11. The topic of food carts pops up here on a regular basis. Here’s a take on it I hadn’t seen before:

    The Grocers’ New Rival: Green Carts

    Looks like a damn good idea to me. More competition which may not push down prices but will likely increase quality. Easy access means more and fresher fruits and vegtables which has long term payoff in decrease health care cost. Immediate source of revenue for the sale of permits. More employment and in particular individual entrepreneurship. A more lively streetscape and interaction with neighbors. Even in suburbia it could have some of the same benefits and also promote trip reduction (sort of like a convenience store except healthy food, less overhead, no parking lot, etc.). Someone could make a nice business doing door to door delivery during the day and selling from a stand during the evening commute.

  12. The Seattle Times is reporting:

    Traffic alert

    The West Seattle Water Taxi is canceled for repairs. Service is expected to resume Monday.

    Same problem with the seal or something else? False alarm?

      1. Cost per mile might work out pretty good. Number of boardings and alightings though is going to suffer some because of stop spacing. Unless of course a new solar system is built… TOD on a galactic scale ;-)

    1. Overall the US population increased by 9.7%. Of the 10 largest cities only San Antonio grew at a faster rate (16%) and Phoenix was close at 9.4%. The only top ten cities shrank were Chicago (-6.9%) and Detroit which was replaced at number 10 by San Jose (+5.7%). Of course there are a number of old rust belt and mid west industrial cities that are in steep decline along with New Orleans. The fastest growing cities were in the 10,000 to 30,000 range in 2000 and grew to 30,000 to 120,000 today. The census defines Metropolitan as 50,000 or more and a Micropolitan area as between 10,000 to 50,000. Metropolitan population exceeded the overall rate of growth at 10.8%; micropolitan was only 5.9%. So, overall people are “moving to the city”; just not large cities. Seattle’s population growth was below the US average, 8.0 percent in ten years.

      1. And if you look a little closer, you’ll notice that suburbs are becoming poorer, while the cities (outside the rust belt) become more educated and wealthier, and rural areas continue to depopulate. Given that, I know where I want to be; it happens to be where I’ve put myself.

      2. What are you looking at? Not per capita income in the State. Seattle #35, Tacoma #241, Spokane #272, Everett #191. Bellevue is the only city in the top 10 (#6) with a population greater than 25,000. Take out Poverty Rock and they’re all less than 5,000. Compared to large metro areas Seattle does pretty well on number of people with a college degree; 37.4% (9th) just edging out NY. Not so stellar compared to Bellevue, 63%. The other cities in the top 10 list in the State are difficult to find info on but I found one source that put M.I. at 51%. The top 10 school systems in the State are in M.I., Bainbridge, Medina, Sammamish, Redmond, Issaquah, Kirkland, Inglewood-Finn Hill, Bellevue and Maple Valley. All suburbs.

      3. That was a very broad comment mostly aimed at the exceedingly sprawl-y sunbelt states like Arizona and Texas, which have acquired large populations of low income, unskilled workers, whose kids frequently don’t speak great English because their parents don’t, and have chosen this moment to impose massive cuts in spending on education and social services. Quite what they think this is a recipe for is unclear to me.

        I note that the statistics you refer to are mostly outdated and are static numbers, not rates of change, which is what I am talking about. If you use the “Mapping America” NYT maps from Zach’s subsequent post, you’ll see that most of Seattle has gained in income metrics while most of the suburbs have lost. I’m much more interested in where things are headed than where they are now.

      4. As for TX Austin rated ahead of Seattle in college education. Number 2 and 3 on the “smarty pants” list were were in CA but Riverside CA topped the list of lowest number of college degrees so painting States like TX and AZ as being undesirable doesn’t make much sense. If rate of improvement is your mission then the demographic that has always shown the greatest jump in education and wealth are the children of 1st generation immigrants. Of course it’s easier to improve things like wealth and education in Seattle than Bellevue that’s already twice the national average but it’s never going to catch up.

      5. “Of course it’s easier to improve things like wealth and education in Seattle than Bellevue that’s already twice the national average but it’s never going to catch up.”

        And likewise, it’s easier for those measures to decline in Bellevue. Maybe not so much for Medina and Hunts Point, but Bellevue is getting to be a big city with lots of room for lower income, less educated people.

  13. The biggest story this week was the census reports showing that major cities are declining or stagnant in population.

    It was announced that the model put forth for Seattle, the one that has been the driver for spending billions, is New York City…yet over the past decade the city “barely grew”.

    I know you’d like to all bury your heads in the sand and ignore the most significant data, but really, isn’t it time to come clean and admit that urbism is completely misguided especially for a multipoint, dispersed and sprawling area like Western Washington?

    See my editorial at Sound Politics:

    Escape from New York…Seattle Urbists Are Wrong!

    http://soundpolitics.com/public/2011/03/escape_from_new_yorkseattle_ur.html

      1. One who urbs?

        I had ocassion to visit downtown Kent just yesterday. Talk about vibrant! Seattle should just drop the chalupa – the future of America is telecommuting and Kent!!! Norman and Bailo win!

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