Ballard Corridor Study Area
Ballard Corridor Study Area

As you probably know, Sound Transit and SDOT are coming together to study the possibility of high-capacity transit between Downtown Seattle and Ballard. The two agencies will be holding an open house this Tuesday to discuss the project:

March 12, 2013
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Ballard High School Commons
1418 NW 65th St., Seattle

Head on over and see what they’re up to.  As Martin reported earlier this week, the Sound Transit board has directed staff to fund a number of corridor studies for a possible ST3 ballot measure in 2016. While this particular corridor study is technically funded separately from the rest of the potential ST3 corridors, the actual route, if constructed, would likely be part of an ST3 package.

104 Replies to “Ballard Transit Expansion Study Open House”

  1. I really don’t like the fact that they put the streetcar on that map. It implies that the streetcar is somehow a significant part of our public transportation network. If you are going to do that, you might as well list all of the bus routes in the area.

    1. Because the most likely outcome of all this will be an extension of the SLUT to 15th, via Fremont on at least 50% exclusive guideway to qualify for HCT status.
      Ballard Line – QED

      1. So you’ll be able to get from Ballard to downtown in 40 minutes. Yippee!

        It will probably be faster to take the 44 to Aurora and then catch an express bus to downtown than take a surface bus (oops, excuse me, streetcar) along that route.

      2. Last time I checked the SLU streetcar still terminated on Fairview, which is… know….on the EAST side of Lake Union and not exactly convenient for an extension to Ballard…..

      3. The last time I checked, the streetcar-boosting TMP played all sorts of fun games with numbers, presuming a total re-do of the SLUT for the sake of travel time and ridership estimates while simultaneously presuming to branch off the existing unaltered SLUT line for the purpose of estimated cost.

        Either way, though, it’s just an extension of the SLUT.

      4. d.p., there are two major components to the study. One includes a tunnel, or new bridge, and grade separation. The other is rapid streetcar.

      5. Lazarus cited the present routing of the SLUT in order to suggest that there is no risk of the “ultimate” Ballard line being built as an extension off of it.

        The streetcar-fetishizing TMP document, which remains the blueprint for the city’s portion of the study, not only did precisely that, but also fudged the data to presume the streamlining of the existing SLUT for travel time and ridership while ignoring any changes in its cost estimations. Just one of many reasons the TMP document was not credible.

        I would appreciate it if you would suppress your urge to seethe at me long enough to respond to the actual content.

    2. Do streetcars (of the size and speed of the SLUT) legally meet the definition of high-capacity transit?

      1. No. The study is split into two separate parts, HCT and streetcar. Each will develop four alternatives, and ST will move forward on the HCT while the city moves forward on rapid streetcar.

      2. Do you have a source for that (that ST will move forward on one while the city on the other), Ben? I’d be really reassured if you did.

      3. I was at the same public event as you were, Ben.

        Mr. McGinn and Ms. Earl were asked repeatedly — including by authors of this very blog — to offer assurances that the studied streetcar alignments would not be used to supplant the grade-separated ones. They were asked to identify any tentative cost ceiling that might better guide our understanding of what would eventually end up on the table.

        No such guarantee and no such specifics were forthcoming.

        And at no point did anyone suggest that two separate lines could — nevermind would — move forward at the completion of the study.

        Literally no one but you (and those you’ve misled) thinks that this joint study is about two separate action plans “moving forward” simultaneously.


      4. Okay, I read the only document I could find. You’re right that they’re going to be studying both… I hope you’re also right that they’ll actually build both, though I understand they can’t really say it before ST3 authority is voted.

      5. 6. Present findings to the Seattle City Council and Sound Transit Board for possible future action

        Certainly seems like a “compare and contrast” to me. Nowhere is there even an inkling of a shred of a reason to believe the intent is to “build all the things”.

      6. “Mr. McGinn and Ms. Earl were asked repeatedly — including by authors of this very blog — to offer assurances that the studied streetcar alignments would not be used to supplant the grade-separated ones”

        They obviously can’t, because they can’t unilaterally commit all ST board members, for city council members, or for successors in any of those positions. Nor can they predict how our rabble-rousing or other factors or the study results themselves might change those people’s minds in the future.

      7. As always, I do appreciate your optimism as a counterpoint to my experientially-derived cynicism.

        I will, indeed, personally vote and campaign hard against any proposal that attempts to posit a crappy streetcar as the ultimate solution for in-city rapid transit.

        But it remains unwise to presume that anyone has the intention of building dual corridors, when they have expressed no such intent, or to presume that the political momentum will not swing towards streetcars simply because we all know that’s insufficient.

        Ben’s “shut up because I told you we’ll build all the things!” represents the exact opposite of putting politicians’ feet the the fire.

      8. Ryan: is there a legal definition of high-capacity transit? There often isn’t a legal definition of such things. This is how “bus rapid transit” projects can end up being slower than snails.

      9. They are studying two sets of corridors. Those are the two tasks.

        Task A is a study of rapid transit possibilities. Task B is a study of streetcar possibilities.

        Nowhere in that documents, nor anywhere else, has anyone but you claimed/proposed/pledged to proceed on both corridors once the studies have been completed, contrasted, and compared.

        In short, you’re delusional, you’re making shit up, and you’re misleading the public.

      10. …And I’m publicly calling you out on that not because of any personal animus, but because your claims are incredibly dangerous.

      11. Seriously, Ben, take off your furious-at-d.p. hat for a second and ask yourself: “Have I talked to anyone at ST or at City Hall who truly believes we’re going to ‘proceed on both corridors’?”

      12. This is so asinine.

        Two completely different governments want to build in those two corridors. There’s not even any one person who’d be able to make a “one or the other” decision. The way we get both corridors is when we fight for both, just like any other transit lines.

      13. “There’s not even any one person who’d be able to make a “one or the other” decision.”

        How about the mayor of Seattle and any Seattle councilmembers on the ST board?

      14. How about anyone who understands that any in-city line will ultimately be paid for by the in-city voting populace, and will have no interest in putting their neck on the line to sell two lines that could be seen as duplicative (even if one is clearly fast and helpful while the other is clearly not).

        Ben: If this joint study were not about compare and contrast (and possibly cheap out), then what possible reason would there be for it to be “joint” in the first place!?

    3. It’s showing all existing rail lines. Lots of maps do that.

      They’re studying two levels of service. The SLUT qualifies for the lower level but not the higher. If they recommend a streetcar, they’ll also tell us how much it would cost to speed up the SLUT to a “rapid streetcar”. E.g, reconfiguring the street for more signal priority and exclusive lanes and bicycle safety. I wish they’d drop half the stations too but that’s unlikely.

      A real route to Ballard would have to split from the current track at Valley Street. That’s pretty much a given.

      1. Most of the people here are ignoring the fact that this also covers an Interbay corridor, too.

      2. Because we have a good reason to fear that the parties involved have already chosen the useless Westlake-Fremont alignment and patted themselves on the back for connecting more neighborhood checkboxes with a 40-on-rails.

      3. No one has any reason to fear that. You’re just listening to a couple of transit naysayers’ baseless assertions.

      4. No, he’s listening to the evasive answers from the politicians, observing the plethora of bad precedents both here and in our neighbor to the south (which was cited flatteringly by those same politicians), and going with his gut, which has given him good reason for such fear.

        [ad hom]

      5. No you don’t, Ben.

        You just tried to claim that a scoping document that provides an outline for two separate study actions will inevitably lead to dual implementation actions.

        That’s not data. It’s delusion.

      6. I’m sorry to say I’ll have to agree with d.p. that this document doesn’t promise that two rail lines will be built. At any rate, I read through it without seeing any such promise. What are you inferring this from?

      7. William, no study document ever promises any line will be built. I haven’t asserted any kind of promise here – d.p. is just creating a false expectation. We have to fight for this to move past study just like we have to fight to fund any line anywhere.

        What’s amazing is that I’m part of the ONLY group that’s fighting at ALL for the grade separated part that you guys want, but instead of getting involved, which can actually make that happen, all I get here is “well, you can’t make me promises.” Yeah, that’s not how the world works. Raising doubt of false expectations actually hurts the chances of getting any rail built. Stop already.

      8. Thanks, Ben. I think that’s the problem.

        As you say, we have to fight to make this move past study. Apparently you recognize this. I recognize this. d.p. recognizes this and is repeating it at every turn. So, when you flatly promise us “ST will move forward on the HCT while the city moves forward on rapid streetcar,” and then when asked for sources link us to documents which talk about separate studies and say “no one has any reason to fear” ST checking off Ballard with a rapid streetcar… it seems like you’re denying the need to fight. People who call the bad thing a done deal are going to stay home in a huff and get nothing done, and you’re rightly calling them on this. However, people who call the good thing a done deal might also stay home in confidence that it’ll get done anyway and get a nasty shock when nothing happens.

        So, in conclusion: Please don’t repeat as fact “ST will do X” when they haven’t promised it, never promise it in this sort of document, and need us to fight to give them cover to do it. Certainly, please tell us “they’re planning X,” or “they say/imply they want to do X,” or “if we fight for it, there’s a good chance of X.” But when you make false promises, that discredits your whole movement and leaves us open to d.p.-style cynicism.

  2. Mic, if that ends up being the case it would very unfortunate. A streetcar line, even with 50% exclusive guideway, is not sufficient to meet demand to and from Ballard. Speed, headway, and capacity would not be good enough. Ballard NEEDS a Link line – whether to Downtown directly or via the U District. There should be no compromise. A supplementary streetcar line would be great, but on its own it’s just not good enough.

    1. I totally agree. A streetcar is a distraction. I’ve asked repeatedly what the advantage of streetcars are (over buses) and the best thing I’ve heard about them is that they increase density. In other words, they aren’t really better than buses for moving people around (they aren’t faster or cheaper) but people like the looks of them, which gets people interested in the areas in which they travel. From that perspective, building a streetcar along that line is pointless. That area is booming and will continue to boom. Fremont just added, is adding and will continue to add six story buildings. The area between Fremont and Ballard also has a new six story building in the works. You can expect that entire line to fill in soon. Likewise with Westlake and Dexter.

      The biggest thing slowing down that area is zoning. If they allowed 12 story buildings then Fremont would have them right now. If they didn’t require parking in the new buildings, they would build them faster. The demand is there, but the city is stifling the supply. Why should the city spend money on a big marketing project (which is what a streetcar is) when you already have more than enough demand?

      To be fair, the area, while attractive, is still not perfect from an employment or housing standpoint. The biggest weakness is that it takes too long to get there. Building a streetcar won’t help.

      1. I agree that a streetcar is a distraction. Engaging people on it without calling out the Interbay corridor (that goes through Belltown and Uptown, each growing much faster than Fremont), is ignoring the likely Sound Transit corridor.

      2. If streetcars have exclusive right-of-way, remember, then they actually have benefits, just like exclusive bus lanes. (More so if you do it right, because if you do it right, it’s harder for cars to trespass into the streetcar lanes than into the bus lanes).

        Without exclusive right-of-way, what’s the point?

    2. It won’t be the outcome.

      SC does have a role in Seattle, but it is a limited role that falls between buses and LR.

      1. I dunno… ST seemed pretty psyched about having this “option” to add to their bag of proposals.

    3. Don’t get me wrong, I agree James, I’ve just seen this movie before. It’s a re-run after all the polite Seattle Process.

      1. Err… yeah. Just like what happened with those core segments that strategically shafted the city on its own dime, at the behest of a suburban-controlled political body.

      2. Not shafting. At worst some minor mistakes were made. “Shafting” would be if University Link ran on Eastlake or I-5 with a station at 45th and I-5. That was the big chahula we were trying to avoid. It’s still fulfilling the majority of its job, however you define it.

        North of Northgate, yes, the chahula happened. But it’s not as critical there.

    4. “A streetcar is a distraction.”

      It’s two corridors. The study is clearly geared toward HCT for the downtown – Ballard demand James and RossB are worred about, and a slower line for downtown – Fremont – Ballard that will mostly be used by Fremonters rather than Ballardites (and for Ballard – Fremont trips). It’s exactly the same situation as the 71/72/73X vs the 70/43/49. People take the express if they’re going from the U-District to downtown, or the local if they’re going to Eastlake or Capitol Hill.

      After the study is finished, there’s a danger people will say, “We can’t afford the HCT line or it won’t pass the ballot, so let’s build the streetcar now and the HCT never.” That’s not a problem with the study; it’s a problem of how we use the results. The study will still prepare way to build the subway if we decide to.

      1. Mike, the joint study is clearly not designed to yield two results, and only the most delusional keep perpetuating the dangerous expectation that it is.

        The fact that the post-Hale’s thread was visited by multiple event attendees who were not STB regulars or transit wonks, and that all seemed to take away the impression that ST wants to check neighborhoods off their list in the cheapest and least effective way, should be pretty telling.

      2. I have no problem studying multiple corridors. Here are a few:

        1) Ballard to downtown via Interbay. All underground or some of it underground and some of it elevated (over existing) railway.
        2) Ballard to the UW underground.
        3) Ballard to the UW mostly over the Burke Gilman. It might have to go underground in parts.
        4) Ballard to downtown via Fremont (all underground).

        You get the idea. All of those ideas involve grade separation. I would be OK with any of those for that reason. They would be fast.

        Streetcars are not fast. They are no faster than Rapid Ride. This makes them a little faster than normal buses, but not much. The only advantage I can see that streetcars have over buses is marketing. If you asked me a month ago, I would have said something different, but everyone who likes streetcars keeps repeating the same thing. The only advantage they have over buses is that they boost the value of the neighborhood. That is marketing. That is why it is a distraction (for folks in Ballard or Fremont). Build a streetcar to Ballard and folks in Fremont will be just as disappointed as they would if you simply ignore the area completely. They don’t need marketing. They need a faster way to get downtown, to Ballard or to the UW.

      3. d.p., the study explicitly asks for two sets of results, yes. Task A is HCT, Task B is rapid streetcar. Task A even includes development of a tunnel crossing of the ship canal.

        Have you even asked Sound Transit for the scope of work document? You should do that before you assert anything else.

      4. “all seemed to take away the impression that ST wants to check neighborhoods off their list”

        That wasn’t my impression, and I haven’t seen any evidence to support it.

        Kyle S: “we have a good reason to fear that the parties involved have already chosen the useless Westlake-Fremont alignment and patted themselves on the back for connecting more neighborhood checkboxes with a 40-on-rails.”

        So we tell them that’s not acceptable, vote against people who support this, and tell our friends to do the same. It’s not like they’re dictators for life.

        I think people are getting oversensitive about what city and suburban officials want, and they’re not seeing that things are changing for the better. Yes, there was a lot of backwards thinking in the past, and there are still a few egregious examples of it, but that’s not all that’s happening. That doesn’t mean they’re total-on urbanists now but they’re making progress.

      5. Again, Ben, multiple people asked Ms. Earl and Mr. McGinn point-blank, and nobody who heard their non-answers thinks there’s the slightest chance in hell that moving forward on “two tasks” simultaneously is even remotely on the table:

        Nowhere in the plain English of any scoping document does it say that they intend to do what you delusionally claim they intend to do.

        Mike, I appreciate your endless optimism, but both in the room and in the post-event roundup thread were many Ballard residents who came away with the impression that “crossing Ballard off the list” was more important than getting this thing right.

      6. I agree that McGinn said something disturbing at the Center City Connector open house, that “ST3 could help fund it”. I thought, “No it can’t, and do you really not understand what ST3 is for?” But it’s a stretch to go from one fuzzy statement to “ST will totally abandon HCT to Ballard”.

      7. It’s far, far, far less of a “stretch” than believing this process is about building two corridors at once.

      8. They are studying two sets of corridors. Those are the two tasks.

        Task A is a study of rapid transit possibilities. Task B is a study of streetcar possibilities.

        Nowhere in that documents, nor anywhere else, has anyone but you claimed/proposed/pledged to proceed on both corridors once the studies have been completed, contrasted, and compared.

        In short, you’re delusional, you’re making shit up, and you’re misleading the public.

      9. …And I’m publicly calling you out on that not because of any personal animus, but because your claims are incredibly dangerous.

      10. What on earth did I say that’s “dangerous”? Sound Transit and the City WANT to build both corridors. If they didn’t want to, they wouldn’t have separated the study into studying high capacity transit in Interbay and streetcar in Ballard. The funding for this study came from two separate sources with two separate aims.

        You’re now saying “this study doesn’t promise to build anything” and using that to attack me? Studies don’t build things. They’re the underlying work that’s done so that advocates like us can go demand things are built.

        For you to attack the one person who’s out there building an organization SPECIFICALLY to fight for the highest capacity option that you’re afraid won’t happen is really weird.

  3. Erm…

    Considering that it has been less than three weeks since the Hale’s announcement event, and considering that said announcement event was a wee bit thin* and noncommittal** on matters of content, is there any reason to expect more substance out of this open house?

    *(“What is your anticipated and politically viable budget range?” “$0 – $∞.”)
    **(“What guarantees can you offer that this process won’t result in the cheapest and least effective proposal made permanent?” “None.”)

    1. Why not remain optimistic until an uption is decisively foreclosed? Sports fans cheer for their team, they don’t shout, “You can’t make it! Expect failure!” It is necessary to consider failure so that you’re not devastated if it happens. But if the coin hasn’t landed yet, why not assume it will land face up? How does it benefit us to mope and get mad that it will land face down?

      1. I don’t actually relish the “Doubting Thomas” role as much as people seem to think I do.

        My mission here is incredibly straightforward: stop giving people free reign to perpetuate bad ideas as if they were good ideas, because that only ever allows bad ideas to come to fruition.

        Issaquah BART: bad idea. Everett BART: bad idea. Eastside Commuter Rail To Nowhere: bad idea. Rapid transit that bypasses the urban walkshed: bad idea. Long-distance and/or infrequent streetcars: bad idea.

        When Seattle learns that its every brainfart is not platinum-plated, perhaps there won’t be such need for doubting.

      2. The other side benefit is that staff and decision makers are not quite so likely to gloss over problems when they know public scrutiny goes further than surface deep. It’s not OK for everyone to be in the choir on Sunday without having a couple of ushers watching the plate go round.

      3. mic, 90% of Seattle is being an usher, and we have 3 people trying to do a 40 member choir’s job. You don’t need to add to it.

      4. I can’t extend the analogy properly: 90% of Seattle is doing something quite different from being an usher. Not donating to the collection plate? Snoring during the sermon? I’m not sure.

      5. Nathanael – hah!

        90% of the people who get involved in Seattle are naysayers. We don’t need more. :)

  4. I have a naive question: Was the DSTT or U-Link project designed to allow an LRT line to tie into this corridor somewhere near Covention Place? Is this viable to build?

    1. Designed, no. Viable, maybe.

      The assessment was that Convention Place station had failed. It hadn’t attract as many conventioneers as expected, and it was in the wrong place for University Link. So they decided to abandon it, and as far as I know, nobody official has considered running Link lines through it. There’s also the issue of the DSTT’s capacity after ST2 Link is running.

      1. I wasn’t thinking that the LRT would have to stop at Convention Place. It would only need to have switching tracks so some trains could pull off to head towards Queen Anne. The first station would probably be somewhere between Olive and Denny. Otherwise, this study may need to consider how to put a second LRT corridor part way through Downtown in any LRT (non-streetcar) alternative. Finally, I have ridden lots of light rail systems with at least three lines in the Downtown segments — Portland has 3-4, San Francisco has 5, Denver has 3-5, Dallas has 4, for example. Europe has lots of examples too. The thing is that if you don’t design the connectivity, it’s an expensive problem to fix!

      2. Actually, the “we sold out our ability to run 2-minute trains to Kemper Freeman Jr” fire-code crapfest applies only to U-Link.

        So the DSTT now technically retains 33%-50% more capacity than points north of it.

      3. There’s no way to pin ST’s decision to not add ventilation on Kemper. Kemper Development sold the Hop In Market in 2008 long before construction started on U Link. STELTER MONTLAKE LLC has owned both the market and the 76 Station since then. ST didn’t even reach an agreement with UW on the Montlake alignment until July 2007 so by 2008 no more than 5% design could have been accomplished. It makes a good story though for transit cheerleaders that always seem to need someone to hate and heap blame upon.

      4. There are plenty of reasons to heap blame upon Kemper Freeman without considering the Hop-In.

      5. Bernie, U-Link was designed by 2008.
        Sure it was. East Link is designed today… to what percentage? Nice job of trying to dodge the real question though and promoting the hate.

      6. I keep looking at maps of downtown imagining where a second tunnel could go. Would it be at all feasible to run a second tunnel under 5th Ave downtown? My thinking being that it could hook up at the Westlake station and continue up to U-Link. Then the current tunnel could bore out to the northwest under 3rd Ave from Westlake.

        I present to you my amazing MS Paint skills to visualize my grand idea, you’re welcome.

      7. Ryan, that looks great, but I don’t understand why you’d modify the existing tunnel like that?

      8. Wow, this just keeps getting better!

        So now the stated political reason for permanently cutting tunnel capacity by 33%-50% turns out to have ceased to be an impediment before the first square inch of dirt was even dug!?

        And this is the agency that we’re supposed to “trust” to make the wisest 100-year decisions on every other aspect of routing and level of service going forward?

      9. I don’t mean to interrupt this clearly personal fight, but am I wrong to understand that ventilation at hop-in market could be added later? (e.g. when tunnel capacity is needed)

      10. Possible? Sure. Likely? Seemingly not with this agency.

        See: Doubling down on South/North Link errors; First Hill Streetcar; no preparation for a possible Brooklyn station junction or transfer; possible Bellevue tunnel with the station not even in it; offering no explanation for giving away 33% of the U-Link farm, and then fraudulently trying to claim 4-minute minimums are a universal technology standard…

        They’re not in the habit of fixing past errors. Or learning from them.

      11. Excuse me, how the hell does the ventilation rate reduce train frequency on an ELECTRICALLY POWERED LINE?!?

      12. Nathanael, fire code

        Let’s say a train catches on fire. Sound Transit would then use positive pressure in one place and vent in another to pull the smoke out of the tunnel. In order to isolate a vehicle no matter where it is, vent systems have to be present between trains. At two minute headways, between Capitol Hill and UW, you end up with an extra train you can’t isolate, unless you build that vent facility.

  5. Maybe a Sounder Station could be included in Ballard somehow. Does anyone agree?

    1. It’s kind of pointless – it gets people from a non-central part of Ballard to the south edge of Downtown… four times a day.

      1. Ahem. If you do it RIGHT, you put in a couple more stations between Ballard and downtown. Broad St., Interbay, Ballard. Then the hard part: a layover yard north of Ballard. You run Sounder SOUTH all the way up to Ballard.

        There are cities where they would do this. Given the difficulty of locating a layover yard north of any Ballard station, it probably won’t happen. I still think it’s extraordinary that nobody has seriously considered a shorter extension to provide service to the northern part of downtown, however. It gets mentioned here occasionally. It must be possible to fit a layover siding in somewhere between downtown and the ship canal.

      2. I think that would pick up very few riders, being at the water’s edge, and because it would slow down the trip further for existing riders, you’d lose people. They probably wouldn’t be worth the investment (and that’s what I’ve heard from some ST staff).

    2. Would rather see a Broad street destination station for commuters from the North. A lot of people don’t ride because they’d have to transfer to get to their workplaces in SLU, LQA, etc. Would add more ridership than a Ballard station along the shoreline.

  6. This better be a subway line like U-Link and North Link -no other will suffice for this route.

    1. To get that, you’ll have to go to your legislators and ask for enough revenue capacity to do that.

  7. “I wasn’t thinking that the LRT would have to stop at Convention Place. It would only need to have switching tracks so some trains could pull off to head towards Queen Anne.”

    Actually, that does raise a possibility, given DP’s comment that the capacity bottleneck is in University Link. The problem has always been that there’s no turnback between Intl District and Northgate, so the bottleneck was projected to that entire segment. But if a branch track goes out to Convention Place, that problem would disapper. So a Ballard-downtown-West Seattle Issaquah line would be able to share the tunnel, for instance. And a less-frequent Issaquah line might be able to too. ST might revise its objection — “It’s not only about the vent shaft” — but it would be a more flexible issue to address. ST’s main concern would be that Central Link would still have expansion capacity when/if it needs it and the shaft is retrofitted. So we’d have to show that it does, while still giving Ballard 10-minute frequency off-peak, 7-minute peak.

    The study is assuming a terminus at Westlake, presumably west or east of the DSTT. Going through Convention Place would require two things: the line would have to go from Seattle Center east to SLU and turn south, and it would have to continue through to Intl Dist or Stadium. (Ballard sports fans woudn’t object to that, I’m sure.) We’d have to convince ST that this scenario should be within the study’s scope, even though it extends beyond the study area. But given that this is the established DSTT, and that it would save ST a huge amount of money by postponing the need for a second tunnel, it’s worth pushing for now.

  8. I was at Hales as well. my takeaway was the Mayor definitely liked streetcars because they are quick to build and cheaper in one of his last comments. He also seemed to reference Portland throughout.

    1. It’s really a shame, because I actually really like McGinn as a person. But his just not getting it on what makes urban environments and mass transit actually work is going on four years now.

      1. I am new to this blog and relatively new to Seattle– are there any other mayoral candidates worth supporting on transit issues? Do we (STB, Ballard transit nerds, whoever) have any leverage to say to the Mayor, no commitment to grade separated light rail from Ballard– no endorsement for you/we work one of your opponent?

      2. I don’t really know much about the fringe candidates, but of the handful people seem to be taking seriously, there doesn’t seem to be anyone much better. Steinbrueck is the candidate of “why can’t it be 1962 again?” Lesser Seattle. Murray and Burgess don’t seem to get even the basics of transit, or seem to particularly care about it that much.

        The best option will probably be to vote for McGinn, and then to do everything in our power to keep his bad ideas from taking the lead politically.

        I’m not sure exactly how to accomplish that.

      3. mdnative – please don’t listen to d.p…

        McGinn also supports grade separated rail. But most of the questions the audience fielded were on cost – basically, “won’t this cost a ton?” and “How much would all of these streetcars cost?”

        Building political support for grade separated transit, of the kind both d.p. and I want, requires talking about the benefits and letting the professionals and the advocates (like me – build that vision, and then having cost become visible once everyone agrees it’s a good idea.

        The mayor does us a service by not talking about several billion dollar projects when they haven’t yet been demanded by the public at large, and they won’t be demanded by the public at large until a lot of this planning is done in a year.

        If you’re interested in what’s going on, shoot me an email! I’m always up for talking to a transit advocate over coffee.

  9. Ben

    Appreciate the offer, but I really am a back bencher (especially as a newcomer). I urge you and DP (and his supporters) to learn to work together– you guys could be like Thunder/Lightning, Good Cop/Bad Cop, Turner/Hooch of the transit movement.

    As a DC area native– my thought is to use whatever power we have,especially in a crowded mayoral primary where the mayor’s biggest threat (Murray IMO) has no transit cred. We can tell the mayor we will sit the primary out if the mayor can’t guarantee/pledge grade-separated light rail. We need to make clear a possibe street car= Mayor Murray.

    I would love some kind of Ballard to DT light rail over the ship crossing. I strongly urge the bad cop to fight for this. However, I would gladly take a Ballard Spur-like compromise that the good cop can get (given the expense of the canal crossing– and the longer trip DT– to have some kind of East-West transit).

    1. He isn’t interested in working together. Seattle Subway, my organization, has already been highly effective, and I’ve offered an olive branch many times. If he wants to join the fight, he can, but he says he just wants to attack things.

      There is no Ballard Spur compromise – the guy who started Ballard Spur joined Seattle Subway. :)

      1. Highly effective at what? Convincing impressionable teenagers that BART to Issaquah is inevitable, while ignoring all obvious evidence in front of you that ST plans to cheap out and give us useless in-city streetcars?

      2. Seattle Subway, my organization, has already been highly effective,

        At what? Is anyone’s commute better today because of Seattle Subway?

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