27 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Gift Idea”

  1. 1st comment…

    Really want to compliment this blog the holiday season (Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s) for your transit advocacy. Even though I as a libertarian conservative look crosswise at some of your staff’s progressive agitation on zoning, negating the request of voter consent on taxation, and “a war on the car”, I feel it is important there is a voice and a force for transit. People like I are unsafe at any speed behind the wheel of an automobile. Furthermore, transit does serve an environmental good.

    So thanks for what you guys do.

    1. progressive agitation on zoning

      I find it interesting you feel this way. It seems the positions most of the writers take here are generally libertarian leaning w.r.t. zoning. They would like to see LESS government restriction on people building what they like.

      1. I haven’t seen that and a sense that we need to be more urbanist from the writers. I personally am anti-sprawl but not everybody thinks Seattle or Tacoma is a place to call a life respectfully.

        But I could be wrong.

      2. I wish someone would put numbers out there to define “density” and “sprawl” because right now they are only defined relative to each other, if at all.

      3. more urbanist … thinks Seattle or Tacoma is a place to call a life

        Bellevue has the same density as Tacoma. And I’m pretty sure DT Bellevue has better transit connections and far higher density than any equivalent sized area in Tacoma.

      4. Joe,

        I think the theory that most of the writers operate under (someone correct me if I’m wrong please, I don’t want to put words in people’s mouths), is that yes, we need to be more urbanist. BUT, the best way to do that is to remove restrictions on building in the city. Right now it is very expensive for people who would live to live in Seattle because the supply curve is screwed up because of the restriction of supply.

      5. As another libertarian-ish reader, that’s been my observation as well – insofar as it’s in the growth boundaries, I’ve seen a strong argument from the writers for freedom to build.

        The cars vs. transit argument puzzles me a bit even as a libertarian. If you want to go pure “no public infrastructure”, then OK, at least it’s consistent. But once you allow for public transport infrastructure, it’s then just a matter of how do you most efficiently move the most people. Or maybe that’s just me as an engineer. :)

      6. Joe,

        It’s true that many of the staff are in favor of the Growth Management Act. But that’s old news. Aside from that policy, can you point to an article or comment on STB where a member of the blog staff advocated for greater restrictions on what can be built?

      7. Seems like trading height restrictions being traded for GMA being lifted would be a good compromise.

        Let the free market reign over all the state…

    2. I’ve never seen so much anger directed comment that was merely thanking and complimenting the blog. Very bizarre. Very low class.

      1. For the record, my comment wasn’t angry. It was just a comment that it’s interesting he feels a certain way.

    3. Joe, ditto on the argument that being pro-density is in effect libertarian.

      But thanks for the kind words.

    4. Even though I as a libertarian conservative look crosswise at some of your staff’s progressive agitation on zoning,

      As others have said, this makes no sense. The arguments I see here are for less restrictive zoning–on things like height restrictions, parking requirements, minimum lot sizes, and so on. Libertarianism, as I understand it, is a philosophy that demands that the government restrict private property use as little as possible, in the name of freedom for the owner of the property. Other people telling you what to do with your property because they don’t like tall buildings or small houses or whatever should be anathema to libertarians.

      I could see a libertarian argument that the approach taken on this blog to zoning issues doesn’t go far enough–there’s a tendency to abvocate reformist rather than radical changes–but I just don’t see how an intellectually consistent libertarianism can be pro-lot size restrictions, parking mandates, and so on. Let people do what they want with their property and the market will sort it out. I’m genuinely curious how you think these reforms aren’t pushing in a more libertarian direction.

  2. the supply curve is screwed up because of the restriction of supply

    How many units need to be built and at what price (rental or condo) for this demand to be satisfied?

    1. I don’t know, and neither does anyone else (at least directly). That’s why you let the market decide.

      1. What’s an example? I’m curious to see a building that’s been built in the past 5 years in Belltown that hasn’t maxed out the allowed height (or been within 10 ft or so).

      2. “The market decided not to build any more in Belltown which is already zoned for height.”

        One building (Alto Apartments) opened earlier this year and several others (225 Cedar, The Martin, Art House, Joseph Arnold Lofts, Volta) are currently under construction. Via6 and Insignia (both currently under construction) could be included as well (depending on what version of the neighborhood boundaries you look at).

      3. John, you keep saying that, and each time people point out counterexamples. Don’t forget the Escala, in addition to everything else LB pointed out.

  3. The transit riders’ union has gone quiet since the car tab debate. It would be great to see something like an ORCA boycott regarding the price and lack of a day pass.

    1. Amen. Metro & ST have done nothing about incenting ORCA adoption nor making up for taking away the Downtown RFA

    1.ST, MT, PT, CT, and ET will agree they’re all in the same life boat, and it has some serious leaks occurring.
    2. Olympia will take on the big picture of how Washitonians (now and future) move around, what funding will be required and how to collect it. I’m tired of the constant turf wars that result in a bandaid for a year or two, for some lucky mode of the day.
    3. Voters actually do some homework before they step into the voting booth and drink the transportation Cool-Aid.

    1. Gaaah. When has the state ever done anything positive for transit? Allowing Olympia to determine “what funding is required” will ensure that transit funding is diverted instead to two more general-purpose lanes on I-405.

      1. Bah humbug. It’s a wish list. It assumes something magical will happen and the state will get some sense.

  5. Silicon Valley survival request. I’m attending a conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center, which is in an office-park wasteland. Last year I stayed near the convention center, and learned that supermarkets don’t exist there and the only restaurant is an IHOP a 25 minute walk away. I’ve ridden the light rail west and seen there are more normal-looking neighborhoods between Ramwood and Lockheed Martin stations. Downtown Mountain View has diversity but is a bit far. Going east it remains an office-park pit until downtown San Jose, which doesn’t have much either.

    So where’s the best place on the light rail to find a supermarket or small shopping center and maybe a motel? The VTA map says Crossman station has the most bus transfers, but walkscore.com says “Car-dependent (48)”, while Vienna station seems to be the best (“Somewhat walkable (68)”). But even that consists of a “Gratz Liquor and Groceries” (probably a convenience store), a Subway, and a Taco Bell, not very promising. Where’s a Westwood Village or 155th & Aurora when you need it?

    Maybe I’d just better stay near the convention center again and commute to breakfast and dinner.

    I did find a Safeway in downtown San Jose, a small “urban format” one. So I guess that’s some sign of progress.

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