Not what I usually do...

As always, this is an open thread.

36 Replies to “News Round-Up: Driverless cars”

  1. You linked to Erica’s two-car rant in two separate bullets. Got me all confused.

    1. Also, the two links in:

      Joel Connelly doesn’t want you to recall McGinn.

      How long can trains block intersections?

      point to the same article.

      1. Likewise, the WSJ article “Visualizing New York’s Density, Demographics” is linked twice.

  2. Long commutes kill….how profoundly stupid is this piece? I’m amazed at the immediate shortsighted aspects of Annie Lowerey’s writing.

    Just this morning I commuted across town from Rainier Beach to Ballard, and it takes well over an hour. Yesterdays afternoon commute in reverse was over an hour and a half.

    My normal commute is from Coupeville to Ballard, and that takes me 2 hours and 45 minutes each way, if not more.

    Guess what? The commute to the island is less stressful, by a HUGE MARGIN. The people are easier to deal with, route simpler, and wholly more enjoyable since I get to take the Sounder and not the crappy Link. Whereas dealing with any of the wholesale BS of the Rainier Valley is something I never look forward to.

    I’m truly disappointed in that piece of hers, I guess all she does is read Swedish studies and then reports it as gospel?!

    More like garbage!!!!!!

    1. Yes Anthony, your unique personal experience completely discredits every point in her article.

      1. Zed, that is exactly my point. Clearly not every long commute is indicative of what this study says. I guess an even better way to express my displeasure with her piece is where does one draw the line at “long commutes”? Ten minutes, twenty, an hour, what the heck is the demarcation to show what is healthy and what isn’t? So a half-hour commute with lots and lots of traffic is easier than one where someone may not have any at at all but takes an hour or more?

        To illustrate my point even further, I went from literally(yes, literally) having a commute of fifteen seconds, maybe half a minute, to over two-plus hours.

        No I didn’t work at home, but stayed in my Wanderlodge here in Ballard across from my employer. I miss that commute, but given the choice I’ll take my jaunt to the island any day.

        Sure, I should’ve given credit to some aspects of the article, but once again what about all the other factors? Kids, family, etc. How much does someones rugrats contribute to their stress? The list is long….stress comes from many different angles.

    2. I used to commute from the mission in SF to San Jose by train, it took ages, but it wasn’t 2.45 hours!

      I actually would read several books a week and lost like 20 pounds with that commute (had to walk a couple of big hills in there).

  3. I was in the tunnel today waiting for a 7X and I saw a southbound bus that had a metal cylinder on the top of it near the front that I haven’t seen anywhere else, anyone know what this is? The bus was a 68XX I think, possibly on the 101 or the 106? GPS of some sort?

    1. You must have waited a long time.

      But yes, I think AtomicTaco has a picture of one on flikr, although I can’t find it offhand. I think it’s a GPS.

  4. “My normal commute is from Coupeville to Ballard, and that takes me 2 hours and 45 minutes each way, if not more.”

    I’d be in the nuthouse long before that commute killed me.

    1. Yeah, the 15 minutes on I-5 was quite enough car riding for me this year. I suspect other humans must somehow have learned to ignore the nauseating carfug?

  5. So, finally got the Good-2-Go bill from crossing the Narrows.

    Crossing: 04/24/2011 18:13:45

    Billing: 05/25/2011 05:36:24 ###ZID SR16-TNB-09 VTOLL2 -$2.75

    Does it take this long to process? Is it standard to give a month of float? Is there an established billing date that these transactions post on every month? Or, is it just totally FUBAR?

      1. toll infractions to users of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge will be issued until glitches in the tolling system operated by a Texas-based company are resolved,

        I should have known, it’s Bush’s fault := Seriously, I was worried we were going to get a ticket in the mail and either pay it or spend as much or more going to court. What isn’t mentioned in the article you linked to (nice catch BTY, WSDOT never sent that out in the frequent news updates I’m signed up for) is that it appears the older system on the Narrows can’t read the new transponders being issued in advance of SR-520 tolling.

        State Patrol reviews license plate – The State Patrol reviews the photos a final time, assuring the registration information matches the plate and vehicle seen in the photograph. They then electronically certify the infraction and ETCC mail and transmit to Pierce County Court.

        So, by this time the government is losing a sh1t pile of money on every $52 ticket it collects. Brilliant.

  6. When somebody yells at you from their car…

    I really need to learn how to say “Would you like fries with that?”… in Flemish :=

  7. While hunting for a copy of Seattle Cityscapes I recently picked up the book “Seattle Then and Now” at the Bellevue Goodwill. Nice collection of photos. Copyright 2000 by PRC Publishing of San Diego, printed in China :-/ While killing time Tuesday up in Bellingham I wandered into the Wilson Library on the WWU campus and did a catalog search for Cityscape. It turned up one book, Seattle Cityscape #2 which was Steinbrueck’s “sequel” I’d never heard of (they don’t have a copy of the original, lame). #2 was interesting reading and of course full of great sketches. The funny thing was that right next to it on the shelf was an old book titled Seattle Now and Then. Either unfortunate wording or the author had a very British sense of humor :+)

      1. Interesting. I will pull the Now And Then Book from the shelf next time I’m in B’ham and find out more. From the cover I would have guessed it predated the Paul Dorpat column but hard to say. The “Seattle Then and Now” book raised suspicion when I saw the copyright and “printed in”. Still, a great collection of photos. Steinbrueck’s sketches in Cityscapes #1 and #2 are way more compelling than any contemporary photography. They have vision that pictures and one dimensional renderings lack.

    1. I bought that book at Costco last Christmas for my mom. It may come back again this year or sometime.

    1. all house prices grew at the
      ex-post, nationally representative rate

      Sure, buying a home in Detroit where the value went to zero wasn’t such a slick investment. In strong markets like Seattle who’s benefiting from this resurgence in rental prices? The rental owners of course. The old cliches apply; location, location, location and timing is everything. Housing prices in 2006 were just stupidly expensive. Today, after a 6-7 year reset in prices and with interest rates at historic lows I believe those who buy will be richly rewarded. Sort of a contrarian position perhaps but you’re usually just flocked by being one of the sheep following the herd.

  8. The Zoo MAX station in Portland is pretty nice. I guess I’d say Westlake is probably my favorite for Link so far.

  9. Maybe I missed this on the streetcar map- but where is the maintenance facility? Also not worried because the First Hill line won’t connect with the South Lake Union line immediately- just so there are definite plans to integrate the two lines into a single unified system in the future.

    Along with the proposed First Avenue line and especially the re-opened Waterfront line- which ought to be the first condition of accepting any Waterfront plan.

    The main thing taxpayers should not tolerate is a proliferation of separate streetcar entities whose conflicting methods and policies infuriate riders. Exhibit A, South Lake Union fare system.

    Mark Dublin

  10. I had an idea for the 75-east when the north corridor opens. Instead of serving Northgate, why not serve the next station north (135th/Aurora or 145th/I-5), using Aurora or Greenwood on the west side and 15th or 5th on the east side. The travel time wouldn’t be much worse because you’d avoid the congestion around Northgate and on Lake City Way.

    It’s kind of like putting the 75 fully on Northgate Way, except that will never happen because you can’t stop five bloks from a major transfer point. The transfer point is one of the main purposes of route, and it would look like it’s serving it badly. But by pushing it further out to 130th or so, it shows that it’s not intended to transfer at Northgate, and it also opens up a new connection from Ballard to the north end and Sand Point to the north end.

    It may not be feasable because Metro will want more routes to go to Northgate, not fewer, but it has some possibilities.

  11. Sounds like someone should be doing real mid-range planning.


    Maglev transport networking America’s 30 current metro centers, while doubling it with New Metros (in WA for example, Yakima, Tri-Cities).

    Airports turn into aeropolises…international and long range hops and fast cargo.

    Automated taxis. Ferry people directly to destinations using future smartphone technologies.

    Smart Sprawl: Being able to have your cake and eat it to — live anywhere, work anywhere. The country becomes the city and vice versa.

    Reform regional-local government relationships into what I term the “State-City”

    Today there are debates about urbism, versus ruralism. Density versus sparsity. Mass transit and fixed guide systems versus personal transit and autopilot cars. Electric cars plugged into a “smart grid” versus self generated hydrogen “off-grid”.

    These arguments cut to the very core of our divided society.

    I wonder if a new model that mashes up all these things could bring a new and better whole. I call this model the State-City (the opposite of the City-State). So what we have here is a urbism — but one which does not have a single dense core. It is a place where the density might be 3 story apartments surrounded by a national forest.

    It is a rail system that is high speed. Where I commute at 300 mph from a 2 acre producer-consumer agrarian no-mortage homestead to a communiplex on Mount Rainer, where business people meet to do deals and learn.

  12. While researching current fare media, I saw something that warmed the cockles of my change-fumblin’-hatin’ heart: King County Ferries charges a premium for cash payment.

    The premium ranged from zero for RRFPs to $1.75 for youth Vashon passengers (charging $4.50 for cash instead of $2.75 by ORCA).

    As part of the service-rollback budget, I think we should ask for elimination of paper transfers *and* adding a fare increase for cash. (Cash payers on coupled routes going through the RFA would be given at least a couple months’ warning to get an ORCA before they start potentially having to pay twice on the same ride.)

    Let’s be bold, and then hopefully we’ll at least get some movement in the payment system.

  13. I see no reason at all for Councilmember Conlin to be recalled and if this silly measure ever reaches a ballot, I will work tirelessly against it.

    As for McGinn, if one actually reads Joel Connelly’s piece advising us not to recall the mayor it is also be pointed out that saying this should not imply that he thinks the guy is – or has been – any good. It is quite clear from his piece and from a Seattle Times editorial this past week also, that a lot of folks feel that incompetence and being a perpetual irritant and demonstrating a lack of leadership are all better grounds for making sure that McGinn has just one term in Seattle, than that we waste time trying to recall him now. I am on the fence on this one as it drops before some of us frustrated by his poor leadership of the Emerald City as a tantalizing prospect, but I don’t normally favor constantly trying to elect, recall, re-elect elected officials however bad. It sets a bad precedent, is Eyman-like in intent and focus, and where does it end.

    I can’t support recalling Richard Conlin, so I guess I cannot really support recalling Mike McGinn. However, on the latter, I am more obviously open to persuasion to think differently as Seattle is struggling at present and from what I hear, the mood at City Hall is not exactly jubilant at present.

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