Photo by Oran

This is an open thread.

67 Replies to “News Roundup: Don’ts”

  1. Can someone explain greenways to me? Some of those greenway streets are already good streets to bike on. Are they changing them somehow?

    1. Steve-

      I’m most familiar with the Wallingford one. With that one they’re adding a lot of stop signs on the north/south streets (probably the biggest change in terms of safety) and doing some traffic calming on the actual greenway street.

      1. Got it. The kind of relatively minor yet useful incremental improvements that can make the maybe-I’ll-bike folks more likely to ride. Cool.

  2. Can STB get the video of the bus driver being attacked from Metro by making a public disclosure records request and post it? I want to know more about what happened. I know Metro sometimes releases their bus camera videos to the public or news organizations when asked. Like in this case, on the route 18 back in 2008, when a passenger assaults a blind woman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFGIl6820qc

    1. If this was a Breda, it’s unlikely that there were cameras onboard. Relatively few of the buses in Metro’s fleet have onboard video.

  3. I’m excited about the greenways short-list, especially with two potential projects in my neighborhood! For any greenway fans from West Seattle: we’re hoping to have a meeting soon to start discussing how to prioritize greenway connections in this part of the city. Nothing set in stone yet, but if you’re interested, please comment on our North Delridge blog and we’ll be sure to keep in touch as we begin organizing:
    http://www.ndnc.org/2012/01/23/greenways-news/

    1. You know, instead of spending billions just to make the transit systems snow capable for the 3 days a year that might have snow, why don’t they just buy a few of these Terra Buses to keep people moving:

      http://www.foremost.ca/index_tbus.php

      The Terra Bus provides all-terrain mobility to transport up to 56 passengers. Equipped with all-wheel drive and large, low-pressure terra tires, the Terra Bus is ideal for transport in both on-road or off-road applications.

      1. Hard to find pricing info, but since Ivan the Terra Bus (McMurdo Station) cost $300,000+ in 1994 (per the song), they aren’t cheap. Could probably buy a few plows and some salt for that amount. That way all those suburban drivers might be able to get to work, instead of writing nonsense on STB.

      2. Well, they could buy a few and then charge $100 per ride, or send it along 90 and 5 to pick up stranded motorists and bill them along a towing charge.

    2. They could install “insta-chains” and skip that running cables on bare pavement leaving heaps of broken cables all along the street.

      1. I’ve wondered why they don’t look into this. It must simply cost too much with the large fleet of buses they have. I was a volunteer ambulance driver in Western New York and our ambulances had these. Quite handy to be able to deploy when needed!

  4. The Publicola story on the punched-out driver was the least complete of those I read. Other stories told how the guy was in a hurry to get to work, which in turn was contradicted by another exposing the assailants theft record (bringing into question whether he actually had a job). He had $2 on him when he was booked into jail, bringing the late-to-work story further into question.

    It sounds like it was a planned theft of the fare box. A lot more ORCA adoption would reduce the cash available to be stolen, and reduce the incentive for this sort of assault and theft.

    He continued punching the driver after the van crashed. Attemped murder is hopefully one of the charges, in addition to reckless endangerment for each rider and any witnesses in cars who were at the scene.

    1. Increased Orca use will have zero effect on fare evasion. This route wasn’t a “van”, but the 49 – usually operated as a Breda, but may have been a 60ft diesel as the Bredas were pulled from the road during the snow.

  5. Speaking of Newt…

    Gingrich: Urban Sophisticates Don’t Understand Why Home Ownership is Important

    Apparently speaking to his suburban, middle-class base, he struck a populist tone: “Those who, you know, live in high-rise apartment buildings writing for fancy newspapers in the middle of town after they ride the metro, who don’t understand that for most Americans the ability to buy a home, to have their own property, to have a sense of belonging is one of the greatest achievements of their life, and it makes them feel like they are good solid citizens,” he told the crowd.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2012/01/13/gingrich-urban-sophisticates-dont-understand-why-home-ownership-is-important/

    1. Gingrich: American Moon Base by 2016

      “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American […] By the end of 2020, we will have the first continuous propulsion system in space capable of getting to Mars in a remarkably short time because I am sick of being told we have to be timid and I am sick of being told we have to be limited in technologies that are 50 years old,” he said.

      http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/71991.html

    2. Gingrich Praises Ron Paul’s Monetary Policy

      “Ron Paul, on the issue of money and the federal reserve, has been right for 25 years. And while I disagree with him on many other things, there’s no doubt that a lot of his critique of inflation, of fiat money into the Federal Reserve is absolutely the right direction and it’s something I can support strongly.”

      Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while :=

      1. I wouldn’t call Gingrich, nor Paul for that matter, a blind squirrel. With Bachmann and Perry out of the running the current crop of Rs is a pretty formidable intellectual crowd. This is not the Republican field of the last few Presidential cycles.

        For what it’s worth, Ron Paul’s comments on transportation (in the first article linked up in the main post) are saner than just about anything I’ve heard an elected politician say on the matter. And I’m not even really a huge fan of Paul.

      2. “formidable intellectual crowd…”

        If you actually think that, then it’s not just your opinions on bike lanes that are exceedingly strange. There are legitimate conservative intellectuals out there, but they are not on stage in Florida right now.

      3. To be fair, Newt is a smart guy. Smart like a fox, or perhaps more appropriate a weasel. You don’t get to the point in politics that he’s been without being squirrelly := And yes, Ron Paul is a nut case. Ann Richards may be that last great political figure from Texas. She once said, “George H.W. Bush ‘was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

      4. For politicians running serious campaigns for national office, the current crop of Rs are pretty smart — Obama is, too. The current crop of Republican litmus-test beliefs is scary as hell, and all its True Believers are scary as hell, too. It’s easy for me to believe that Perry and Bachmann really believed climate change was a hoax. It’s hard for me to believe that Romney and especially Gingrich believe that’s anything but good politics in this wacky primary season.

        Ron Paul, like most Libertarians, ignores environmental issues because they’d require him to deviate from his ideology… but that doesn’t change the fact that his comments on transportation policy are pretty perceptive — remove the attribution and change some wording, and you could mistake it for something Jane Jacobs might write.

    3. Ron Paul is a huckster. He’s not even serious about it. The people who support him are all either confused or mad. It used to be funny but it’s stopped being so a long time ago.

      Newt on the either hand is like a great big music festival: there’s always something else funny going happening, and you want to make sure you see it all before it ends.

  6. If you subsidize their dream with toxic pavement and toxic cars and toxic mortgages, all while burning extravagant amounts of energy, sure. Doesn’t scale to 310 million humans, let alone 7 billion, and like a policy of only eating deep fat fried ice cream steaks, has consequences.

  7. I’m somewhat annoyed waiting in a traffic jam on the I-90 bus lane to the transit tunnel. It’s been three days in a row with noticeable non-bus traffic. Today, the ST 550 I’m on had to stop before the 12th Ave bridge. Now slowly moving forward–last time it was this backed up (PAX weekend), it added 20 minutes to the trip from Rainier to downtown. I can’t imagine how annoyed the commuters from Bellevue must be. Is the I-90 bus ramp/lane not actually buses only? All the entrances west of Mercer clearly say buses only though… I don’t really understand what causes these backups (thankfully pretty rare until recently).

    So far 9 minutes added to a normally 3 minute segment…

    1. What is the number of people on a private vehicle required to legally access the HOV lane? What is the process for increasing that number? Is the HOV lane being enforced?

      1. When the express lanes are open westbound, the ramp from mainline I-90 to the Rainier Ave flyer stop is closed and access is only from the express lanes. All non-HOV traffic on the express lanes has to exit to mainline I-90 though, and the HOV lane is 2+.

        Anecdotally, I’ve seen WSP enforce the HOV 2+ where the ramp dumps out onto 5th Ave (the only other place to go once you’re on the ramp is the DSTT, which has a barrier for access).

  8. Does anyone else enjoy the cryptic ST Alerts for Link?

    Today:

    The elevators at Sea-Tac Station is out of service at this time, we are working to resolve this issue.
    Take RapidRide A Line northbound on 176 and International Blvd to Tukwila Station and transfer to southbound Link.

    Last Thursday:

    Sea Tac Station is closed.
    Heading north toward downtown Seattle, board A Line on surface streets adjacent to the stations and transfer to the Link train at Tukwila Station.
    Heading south toward Sea Tac Airport, board A-Line on surface streets adjacent to the station.

    1. They were doing the same thing at Mt Baker for a while. I completely misunderstood it the first time I heard it and though they were talking about something else. Fortunately I wasn’t using the elevator at the time, just waiting on the platform.

  9. Ah, you’ve got to love it. CityU is closing its Bellevue campus and headquarters and is moving to Seattle near Belltown. The stated reason? “We really are looking to move into an area more accessible by bus, Sound Transit, train or walking,”

    Nice. So Bellevue is losing because of poor transit and Seattle is gaining. Are you listening Kemper Freeman?

    http://today.seattletimes.com/2012/01/cityu-moves-to-seattle/

    1. City U chose to locate in an area of Bellevue that is a 5 minute walk away from the nearest road that only has one bus route on it. You can’t blame Bellevue for City U choosing to be in an isolated office park.

    2. I bet Bellevue (and Kemper) is cool with losing that “bus riding trash”. The isolated office park may have been inconvenient for CityU but I’ll bet the lease in that part of town was the most affordable for them.

    3. Nice, the eastside subsidy to Metro is contributing to companies moving to Seattle.

      Parking is secured, covered and ample at 6th & Wall
      with many surface parking lots located conveniently
      nearby.

      The move probably has as much to do with low move in lease rates to fill a building that’s been vacant since the PI went toes up. Of course with the demographic moving into SLU I’m sure the thought of being close to a potentially large customer base was also a factor. That and they were in a really crappy location. I mean out in Eastgate near Bellevue College and the Eastern Washington extension campus makes sense, on the other side of 405 from the current location withing walkin distance of Bellevue TC, or Overlake near Microsoft with ST Express and RR B-Line. Maybe they’ll reopen a B’view campus when the Group Health property is developed.

      1. Actually, the PI moved out of the 6th and Wall building in 1986. The last major tenant of the building was Group Death.

      2. Ooh, I try hard to avoid that moniker. Admittedly it’s hard sometimes given personal experience. It really would be ironic then if City U re-opened a campus on the old Group Health site at Overlake.

    4. I thought City was all/mostly online, making the location a little less relevant.

      Although I suppose students and certainly employees do need to come in on a regular basis….

      Interesting that a college is moving to take advantage of better transit. Usually it seems that transit is restructured to better serve colleges and the increased ridership they provide.

      1. From my parents’ experience as alumni, City U is targeted towards working people who don’t have time for a traditional college program. They didn’t have online back in the 80’s and I think Bellevue was their only location then. They now have a number of locations across the state and in other countries.

  10. While I would love to get rid of the current surface lots along Pine Street, I wonder if it would make more sense to wait out the 4 years until U-Link is opened and busses are no longer running in the tunnel. Once that happens and Convention Place no longer has a connection to the tunnel, I would think they could decommission that part of the tunnel past the PSST. Then there would no longer be the difficult/costly structural issues that are preventing a high rise bulding there now.
    I’d rather wait 4 years and have proper density built there, than rush into building now and be locked into a low-rise building for decades.

    1. Wouldn’t it make sense to think about preserving some of that space for layover for Metro? I realize there won’t be tunnel buses anymore by then, but downtown space for layover is at a premium already…

      1. I wasn’t talking about changes to the current CPS, but the at the empty lot across the street, next to the Camlin Hotel. The article said that the tunnel connection from CPS to the tunnel (not the part that is used by Link) is preventing the developers from going above a 6-story building. I simply think its shortsighted to lock the site into a medium-density building when the constraints may be able to be removed in 4 years.

      2. I think it would be foolish to remove the tunnel access from CPS. It’s a great place to get emergency and work vehicles into and out of the tunnel. And the cost of re-boring the tunnel, should we decide in the future that it would be useful, would be astronomical.

      3. It’s not that big a loss. Reactivating the tunnel for buses would mean the trains weren’t there. Which means what, Link has closed for good? The only advantage of that location is access to the express lanes, and they are only useful one way for a few hours a day. The rest of the time the buses have to take a circuitous root to the regular freeway entrance or Eastlake or Fairview, which negates a lot of the advantage of having a tunnel. (Especially when it takes half an hour to get from Eastlake & John to the station.)

    2. Perhaps we could keep one lane of the tunnel for access and sink the supports for the buildings through the other half (structures are not my area of expertise). Either way, I’d rather not give up tunnel space given how expensive and controversial they are to build.

  11. I think I’m about ready to get a car. Another night where my bus home is 30 minutes late. I only get to spend 2.5 hours a night with my kids already. I’m sick of wasting that time on a curb downtown. I love the bus ride but the reliability has gotten so bad I just can’t do it anymore. The trip to/from work for me is all express lanes and only takes 15 or 20 minutes each way. Maybe in 10 years when we are done with the train and if I still work downtown I’ll ride mass transit again. Te to go back to being a 2 car family.

  12. It wasn’t Bus lateness that was the last straw for me in getting a car, It was riding the #358 to North Seattle–the smelliest sleaziest bunch of Bus passengers I’ve ever encountered, including NYC.

  13. How will Bellevue relate to Seattle in the future?

    The space is a little small for a concert hall, acoustically, but it does have lots of underground parking,

    Well, “lead with the parking” has proven to be the success formula for anything in DT Bellevue := Seriously, once East Link is built it will be much easier for me to get to Benaroya Hall than the Tateuchi Center. Conversely, I don’t see a bunch of Beacon Hill residents riding the train over to Bellevue for a concert. Now, if only the Opera House at the “Seattle Center” had decent access to public transit… Heck, I’d settle for decent road access! Parking is decent but getting out of that place after an opera, crimeiny!

      1. No, it isn’t. Take a look at LV, take a look at various places around the world as they are being disassembled and replaced with Subway or some other type of alternative.

      2. It gets rather spendy with a party of four since they don’t accept transfers. Give that we’d be driving to the P&R anyway it’s faster, cheaper and not that much more wear and tear on the car to just drive. The symphony on the other hand your delivered directly without even having go outside so it’s worth the bus fare. The monorail even if it were free would probably only cut it with a younger crowd.

      3. More of an artifact that lesser Seattlites like to talk about when feeling nostalgic about their city. Also functions as a slower than molasses shuttle.

  14. There is some bus driver driving trolley routes who has a bunch of “smile” signs he places in the bus windows. Yet, I never notice him smiling. What kind of idiot wants everyone to smile, but doesn’t do it himself?

    1. Idiot was the wrong word. I should have said, what kind of person wants everyone to always be smiling, but isn’t always smiling himself?

  15. From the WSDOT update email on 520:

    Winds gusted up to 47 mph early Wednesday, Jan. 25, and our bridge crews were on storm watch on the SR 520 floating bridge. With a sharp eye for potential damage from high winds and strong waves, crews were quick to notice two loose steel plates at a midspan joint in the westbound lanes. They immediately called the State Patrol and took steps to temporarily close the bridge to traffic to make emergency repairs.

    Winds in the 40mph range are what brought down Galloping Gertie. Why are we still building temporary bridges? Oh yeah, WA would rather do it over than do it right. And hey, one out of three spans hasn’t sunk… yet.

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