Riders called for concrete proposals from candidates (Time by Mary Turner)

This is an open thread.

37 Replies to “News Roundup: The Typical Issues”

  1. Somehow -looking at that picture- I think that the qualitative and quantitative state of bicycling in a culture is inversely proportional to the rate of helmet use. 10,000 is a good start but in Berlin such bicycle rallies are a yearly event that draws up to 250,000 people.

  2. Austin, Texas, becomes home for new hydrogen-powered bus

    The city of Austin, Texas, has received a new hydrogen-powered bus this week, courtesy of the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), an alternative energy transportation organization based in North Carolina. The bus had previously operated in Columbia, South Carolina, in 2010. Proterra, a manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cells and large public transportation vehicles, provided the bus to CTE. The company believes that hydrogen fuel will play a significant role in the future of public transit in the U.S.


  3. Re: Bellevue visitor: There’s a parking garage one short elevator ride from the Convention Center, and another one a block north under Pacific Place. Maybe the architects should have put a lot on every floor of the Center, but you know what they say about hindsight.

    Seems to me a citizen of Bellevue needs to get onto Bellevue for lack of parking. The Bellevue Transit Center is surrounded by parking structures, but evidently none directly on top of where the 550 loads- for a ride on a brand-new bus to within a block of the Convention Center downtown.

    I wonder if this person isn’t really a “plant” from Almost Live trying to make people laugh at Bellevue. Now that “Cops in Bellevue” is off the air, there’s no one left to prevent outsiders from coming to Bellevue to laugh at it.

    Mark Dublin

      1. There were several… “Cops in Tukwila,” “Cops in Ballard,” etc.

        The Ballard Driving School was a classic–if you are old enough to remember pre-hip Ballard. :)

      2. There was a classic one about Lynnwood, where the cops give a girl a warning for not having her hair ratted out wide enough when they measured it- next contact she is in compliance.

        Ballard School of Driving has been rendered obsolete by automotive technology. Seat belts all have automatic retractors, so you can’t shut the door and drag them on the pavement no matter how much you adjust them.

        And parking technique went out with the bumpers of the late ‘forties. Parking by sound now will cost you a couple thousand before you’re even centered in the space.

        Still think, however, we need the show back. Seattle and environs have gotten a lot more ridiculous since losing the deterrent of ending up in a John Keister sketch or a Billy Kwan skit.

        Mark Dublin

      3. There was a “Cops in Wallingford”, too. I remember when Almost Live! was on the very new Comedy Central that it came on when we were visiting my parents in Detroit and I made them all watch because “that’s our neighborhood!”

        The article really reminded me of the letters to the editor that appeared annually about Christmas in the Seattle Times in December. The letters all sounded like this, “We live in Bellevue and wanted to take our children, aged 14 and 10, to see Santa downtown in Seattle at Frederick & Nelson. We were shocked that there was dirt in the city, and there were people begging on the street. One of them even talked to my 10-year old son, who has never been so shocked. And another leered at our daughter dressed in her Halston tube top. We will never come to Seattle again.”

        More seriously, the Convention Center was built specifically to host events that would fill the nearby hotels, whose rates were taxed to build it. It was not intended to be a venue for more than a handful of local events. The post-Great Recession collapse of the convention industry as well as competition from basically every city in the world has led to events like ComiCon and PAX becoming the bread and butter of the Convention Center, but the idea that “Seattle” (it is the Washington State Convention Center) somehow was supposed to provide the infrastructure for the change in use is ridiculous. One of the comments blamed Mayor McGinn by name, as though in his time in office he could have just waved a wand and built some extra parking.

    1. There are several thousand parking spots at or near the convention center. The convention center itself has over 1000 spaces. If you’re having trouble finding parking you’re either being cheap or not trying very hard.

    1. Wow. They have already taken the belt off the conveyer system that they were using to remove the spoils. They aren’t wasting any time taking her apart.

  4. The on-line Seattle Times has posted new elaborate drawings of Amazon.com’s proposed buildings in downtown Seattle.

    1. Seriously, “for people under the age of 22” ?!?!

      I suspect this is gonna turn out to be a hoax story, or at least embellished. Even in China, I can’t imagine making such a distinction.

      1. It’s tough to tell, being so far removed from the Chinese culture and language. The source video clip translates the sign as “children of the ’90’s”.

  5. The SPACE idea is interesting because the Mt Baker station area was always intended to get a town center and urban village. If done right, this could be the nucleus of the urban village. But I’m afraid of the basketball arena and its parking overwhelming it. We don’t need a standalone stadium and huge parking garage in this area. But a stadium on one floor of a building might work, if the parking were buried underground or diverted to other Link stations.

    1. Won’t happen. There just isn’t the transportation infrastructure to handle the volume at the site. It would be a nightmare.

    2. Yeah, I would have no problem with the stadium being there if it didn’t make more sense to put it next to the other stadiums. People need to just get used to taking the train or bus to the game, and having the other stadiums there helps. In general, I never understand why people drive to the games. Traffic is always terrible and it is always ridiculously expensive and hard to park.

      OK, that isn’t fair. I can understand for nighttime games. Folks don’t like to ride buses and trains in the evening. Transit is scary to many folks, and they would rather get in their “safe” car. The thing is, the Mount Baker station won’t help the situation at all. The only good thing to come out of a stadium there is that some suburbanite might figure out that the neighborhood is not scary at all, but just fine, thank you very much. Of course, that assumes that they actually walk around a bit, which, like I said, is unlikely to happen. No, overall it makes sense to put that stadium next to the other stadium. We need to make the stadium thing work, and this one is neither as big, nor the events as frequent as the other ones.

      1. neither as big, nor the events as frequent as the other ones.

        Don’t count on that. Both NBA and NHL play 82 regular season games. Add in 10 or so preseason games plus upwards of 20 play off games and your past the century mark in home games for both teams. The Mariners only play 81 home games and their attendance is close to what we can expect if bazzetball or hockey field decent teams. Add to that the arena will be a multipurpose facility competing with the Seattle Center and Tacoma dome for concerts and conventions. The American rugby plays almost exclusively on Sunday but bazzetball and hockey will have multiple games on weeknights that coincide with baseball and Sounders football.

      2. The last time that we rode the bus to a Sounders night game, we waited over an hour for a 550 because they were running every 30 minutes and every bus was full. Even the bus that we got on was packed and people were still being turned away.

        After that experience, I’ll be driving to night games going forward.

  6. New York is now one point ahead of San Francisco so I’m not sure if something has changed. I was stunned when I read that SF was top for transit because I’ve always considered it a distant fourth behind NY, Chicago, and DC. Yes, the buses are frequent and have several night owls, but they’re excruciatingly slow, the trains aren’t 24 hours, there are no express trains, and BART only goes to some places (not San Jose, not Marin, not Palo Alto). In contrast, New York has 24-hour trains (20-minute night owl) and express trains, and you can get to almost any city in four states on PATH, LIRR, Metro-North, or NJT. Chicago has 24-hour L trains, and Metra goes to almost everywhere.

    1. This what I wrote (as part of a much longer comment) on Jarrett’s reactionary post:

      “Using only proper municipal boundaries (rather than a more esoteric measure of urban extent) — based on the population figures in their master spreadsheet, this seems to be what [TransitScore has] done for the rankings — leads to some arbitrariness.

      “Perfectly square, perfectly dense San Francisco likely gets a rankings boost when compared to sprawling Chicago proper or gerrymandered Boston proper (with inherently transit-disadvantaged outposts down in Hyde Park and West Roxbury), especially since urbanized Evanston, Oak Park, Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, and the like get left out of each city’s averaged and ranked ‘score.’ Minneapolis and St. Louis, both halfway acceptable transit cities (by American standards), get left off the list entirely because the proper cities’ population boundaries are just too small.”

      1. You’re right that political boundaries skew the numbers. The way I evaluate transit is, there are certain trips I must make regularly (work, groceries, library, gym), and others I want to make frequently or occasionally (events, parks, etc). Since I prefer an urban environment with frequent transit, I keep those trips close to the inner city if possible. Then there’s the times I’m visiting relatives or friends or events in the suburbs or a neighboring city. I can’t control where other people live or where events are located. When I’m in a distant city, I meet people I’ve known from clubs or online. Again, I can’t control where they live. A good transit system lets me make all those trips without any hassle.

        In the northeast (especially the New York area), there’s sure to be a train going to at least the right neighborhood or city, and if not there’s a bus running full time. In Europe it’s the same way. But in the Bay Area, I can travel throughout San Francisco and everywhere BART goes, but then there’s a barrier after that. If people live in Caltrain-land you have to adjust to Caltrain’s schedule, and if they live in the North Bay or they’re having an event there, it’s even more difficult (except right on highway 101 that has the most buses).

        Here at home, I like to attend the MMA and wrestling tournaments but most of them are in the suburbs, rural areas, or casinos. In Europe or the northeast, there would still be transit to them. In Washington, I can’t get to them unless I go with somebody who’s driving. Even events at Edmonds CC or in Everett are hard to get to (or back home from) due to ST’s last run and CT’s lack of Sunday service and infrequency. Some events are in Arlington. Guess what, there’s a CT bus from Arlington to Everett but it knocks off early on Saturday and doesn’t run Sunday. So I would have to go up Saturday afternoon and come back Monday morning if I wanted to do it on transit. That’s what makes me think about moving to New York or Chicago or DC where there’s pretty much always transit to wherever you want to go.

  7. So… with the Orion bus plant closing down, what vehicles are going to replace the other 221 40′ diesel Gilligs?

    DE40LF’s I guess… What do you guys think?

    1. From what I gather, there are 4 remaining transit bus manufacturer’s in North America: Gillig, New Flyer, NABI, and one other that I can’t remember. Obviously Gillig and New Flyer have an advantage since they have experience in the region but depending on how the RFP is written, who knows. But if I were a betting man, I’d wager on either Gillig or New Flyer.

      1. This is kind of interesting; the number of competitors in railcar manufacturing was always small, but it looks like the number of competitors in bus manufacturing is shrinking to match. That’s going to have interesting results in terms of pricing.

      2. Novabus is supposedly #3 in the US and Canadian market after New Flyer and Gillig.

        That also means NABI, Orion, ElDorado, and everyone else was fighting over the remaining 14% or so of the US and Canadian market.

    2. I put my chips on Gillig.

      Here’s why:

      1. Gillig was 2nd place in the Evaluation that awarded the contract to Orion
      2. ST has decided to buy Gillig Low Floors
      3. New Flyer had previously announced an embargo on new orders.

      Although, I get the sinking feeling that there won’t be any more 40ft diesel coach orders until the 7000’s are due for replacement around 2025 or so. This is because Metro is likely going to be making significant cuts after the congestion charge goes away.

      We may very well end up with a governor who makes Mittens Romney seem liberal by comparison, and who is profoundly anti-transit.

      Brian Bradford
      Kennewick, WA

      1. I agree any further orders are Gillig’s to lose.

        While we may see Metro slow down new bus orders some due to budget constraints I can’t imagine they would stop ordering new buses entirely. Those 221 Phantoms are getting long in the tooth, the ETBs and D40LF aren’t far behind.

        I agree Gillig is most likely to see any new 40′ orders.

        I wonder if BAE will find a new partner for their serial-hybrid technology in North America?

        I also wonder if AlexanderDennis/ElDorado might introduce some of their single-deck models to North America.


    May 8th in Sedro-Woolley @ Community Center from 5:30PM until 6:30PM
    May 10th in Mt. Vernon @ Skagit Station from 5:00PM until 6:30PM, Presentation at 5:30 PM

    Some new service improvements are in the works…

  9. Bailouts went all “Gadda-da-Vida” in his post on linked site! Woo-hoo. Who would ‘a thunk it?

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