- Anti-density movement in West Seattle.
- An uncharacteristic piece of upzoning legislation from Peter Steinbrueck – in 2006.
- Anti-development, anti-rail activist John Fox labels Mike McGinn “the most zealously pro-developer, pro-density mayor our city has seen.” I couldn’t agree more.
- Metro bike lockers installed.
- Mayor McGinn recommends Council not approve large West Seattle development. More here, more from STB later.
- Capitol Hill stakeholders show up to comment on station area plans.
- This story about Sound Transit’s costs makes a few good points and a few tenuous ones.
- Robert Duncan is Metro’s 2012 Transit Operator of the Year.
- Seattle way behind on bike infrastructure.
- There areas where we deeply disagree, but mayoral candidate Kate Martin has some intriguing ideas.
- Empirical correlation between sprawl and suicide rate.
- SDOT makes guerrilla bike lane permanent.
- TriMet looks at introducing an e-purse.
- Ridesharing complements public transit; not a replacement.
- Highway expansion just makes street congestion worse.
This is an open thread.
110 Replies to “News Roundup: Developers”
What kind of compliments does ride sharing give to public transportation?
For starters, it allows you to take transit to social and entertainment trips in the evening, even if it doesn’t run late enough to get you back home. While generally expensive compared to transit for the round trip, it’s still way cheaper than renting a car for the evening, but buying a car just to use for trips like this once or twice a month.
Public bus driver masturbates while driving route. Passenger shoots video of it.
Porn video shot on BART train.
What’s wrong with the good, old fashioned sidewalk bike racks for bike riding bus users? These kind of bike lockers can be expensive (about $3000 per locker and $100 a year maintenance fee for each locker). I keep hearing from local government that times are tough and budgets are tight and they’ve cut to the bone and more cuts are coming unless they get more money. If that’s true, why are they buying bike lockers instead of cheaper bike racks? It’s fine for private companies to buy these luxury bike lockers, but I think it’s extravagant and wasteful for a public agency to be buying this kind of upscale product. I’d like to know more about Metro’s contract with this company. Someone look into that for me.
What’s wrong with a good, old-fashioned dirt parking lot for park and ride users? Asphalt-paved parking lots can be expensive (about $10,000 per stall and $100 annual maintenance cost per square foot). I keep hearing from local government that times are tough, but if that’s true, why are they building structured parking at Northgate instead of using cheaper techniques?
Kyle, bad analogy. The equivalent would be if Metro built a private one car garage, with a locking garage door over every single parking space at their P&R lots.
No. Cars come with their own weatherproof lockable interiors. The analogy should include a method for having your driver’s seat drenched after a rain and having your steering wheel stolen.
These new lockers appear to be available to all, “on-demand”, as all public transit facilities should be.
Metro’s prior 240 “individually leasable” lockers, which rendered those 240 chosen riders the most subsidized in all of King County, need to be democratized and switched to on-demand availability immediately.
Still, Sam is not entirely wrong. Bike cages — covered, camera-surveilled, accessible only with a registered ORCA — can provide security and weather protection to hundreds of bicycles for a fraction of the cost of these few dozen lockers.
Rain run-off from dirt parking lots/plots which is untreated has a propensity to increase turbidity in local waterways which is a violation of the State Environmental Protection Act (SEPA) regulations. Have fun with that. That’s why rain swales are a popular feature in newly built parking lots.
Matt, you don’t realize it, but you are arguing for Metro to build individual lockable garages over all their P&R spaces because someone might steal the tires off of cars.
It’s a lot easier to steal a bike, or parts of a bike than it is steal tires off a car.
Install some of these, put a little metal roof over them and you’re done:
Heck, even the standard bike loops we have around town with some sort of roof should be enough. If you’re really worried about someone stealing your bicycle, buy a cheaper one for commuting. I use a cheap mountain bike myself. (I commute by bicycle 3-5 days a week this way).
I agree that these giant bike lockers are a waste. You could make much better use of that space and funds. At the very least they should be investing in things that can hold many more bikes securely per square foot.
Where’s the outrage that bike lockers cost money to rent at P&Rs while car parking is free?
I made a comment about that on another site, only to receive consternation from someone who refused to understand that such a disparity encourages people to use their cars.
Presumably if bike riders paid taxes they’d get free parking too ;-
Bike riders pay sales tax. :) They pay tax on their bicycle and all supplies. They don’t buy gasoline so they don’t pay the gas tax. The gas tax is essentially a dedicated substitute for sales tax, which goes into the road fund rather than the general fund. Bicycles cause 1% of the wear and tear on roads that cars do, and 90% of the road space would never have been built if everybody travelled by bicycle. Obviously, somebody would have to pay for those 10% of roads if cars didn’t exist, but that’s in another universe.
How can bikes possibly do that much damage to asphalt? Are their riders really that heavy? Can anyone explain the physics behind this bizarre claim that bikes can do that much damage?
Bikers should be entitled to have the buses pull off the street to do loop-de-loop stops and pick them up at the bike lockers. Start the negotiations at that point.
I like it. The best would that anyone who just misses a bus would be easily able to bike ahead to the next stop (after the loop-de-loop) and catch up to it.
Coincidentally, I’d just be doing some reading on the subject of the effects on highway capacity on congestion. The conclusion is the same – adding highway capacity doesn’t reduce congestion.
Was trying to get to Horizon View from Downtown via bus (turns out it’s a really quick 308 bus), but my Google Maps defaults to Ballard. The results were pretty funny. Wonder if they are pre-anticipating the Northgate Station pedestrian bridge?
This is actually fixed if you have access to the Google Maps preview.
I saw a link train heading east on Snoqualmie yesterday on the back of an oversized load. Any ideas as to what was going on?
Looks like Kinki Sharyo’s USA offices are in MA. Maybe headed all the way there for some sort of repair?
A full scale mockup of the floating bridge rail expansion joint for East Link is being built in Colorado (PDF, see page 7), so it is possible the train is heading there for use in testing.
Thanks! It was a pretty confusing thing to see.
Yes because we’re the first place in the world crazy enough to run trains over such a long stretch of pontoon bridge.. the 2nd longest in the world actually (the longest one in the world is actually the 520 bridge, just up the lake a bit).
Testing is needed to make sure we aren’t about to repeat one of our state’s many bridge disasters…
(Tacoma Narrows, the first I90 bridge, hood canal, etc…).
Our state has learned the hard way more than once that scaling up bridge solutions other people were using before us does not come without considerable risks.
Does anyone know if anyone has ever used pontoon bridges for rail?
Wikipedia describes a railroad pontoon bridge crossing the Mississippi back in 1874: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pile%E2%80%93Pontoon_Railroad_Bridge
Yes. The Milwaukee Road crossed the Mississippi River on a pair of pontoon rail bridges built in 1874 and removed in 1961. Google is your friend.
Well at least its not without precedent.
I am sure though that the length of the bridge, the fact that it also contains all kinds of vehicle traffic right now and that the light rail trains are going to be running very frequently are the top three reasons for requiring additional testing.
There is no reason to rush this… as much as I would love a reliable rapid transit option from North Seattle to Bellevue.
those old bridges were on moving water, no less
I-90? not so much
The LRV you saw on Snoqualmie heading east was being shipped to Pueblo. It’s to be used for testing of the I-90 track joint prototype.
Two LRV’s are being shipped for use in testing of the prototype.
Funny story from yesterday morning. I was sitting in the Starbucks on 34th/Fremont with a friend, and he was lamenting about the jam-ups and general mayhem on Fremont St southbound due to the 2 or 3 parking spaces behind the bus stop. While we sat there chatting, an SDOT truck came up, switched the “loading zone” signs to “no parking” signs, and repainted the curb from yellow to red. If only progress were always that quick!
LWC, can you go over to Aurora Avenue and 77th with your friend and do the same thing with the on-street parking there?
How about all of Aurora? Parking on Aurora is a bad idea.
We should turn that pseudo parking lane on Aurora into an unbroken BRT corridor for the whole length of 99.
Yup. There’s plenty of parking on the side streets in that area. BAT lanes all the way from Winona to 145th, please.
I have yet another NYT story to bring you from today’s paper. It’s a story on the $4 Billion dollar World Trade Center Transit Hub. One thing caught my eye. The transit hub will be 365 feet long, which is longer than the distance from the future Bellevue Station to the Bellevue Transit Center. Proving my point, Bellevue Station IS at the BTC and is perfectly placed.
I dont get your point. The link platform will be 380 feet long. If you exit from the train car farthest from the entrance you will have a walk that is much longer than 365 feet. I just dont understand your point.
The so-called “WTC Transit Hub” is providing a connection between three stations which were built by different companies during the late 19th and early 20th century. They are over a block apart. They were built that way because the tracks were built by DIFFERENT COMPANIES. A fancy hallway is the best we can do now. But you wouldn’t build it that way if you were starting fresh.
365 feet (is that supposed to be numerologicallly significant?). Is that all? London is building Crossrail with platforms 240 meters long (40 meters of that is future proofing — presumably allowing two extra cars to be added to trains — since adding length to operating deep tunnelled subway stations is eye-wateringly expensive.)
There’s a significant difference between wandering around in a covered station and trying to negotiate windswept, rainy, hilly sidewalks with multiple road crossings. I happen to think that the station location is probably acceptable, albeit just about the worst possible such placement. What scandalous is that they are spending truck loads of money building a tunnel to do so poorly. I have no problem with the idea of Bellevue getting a tunnel, but then, by g_d, let’s actually serve downtown Bellevue. As it is, the tunnel serves no purpose (except perhaps to boldter Bellevue’s civic pride).
The tunnel serves the apparent purpose of keeping trains from running in front of city hall.
So I take it Sam will be frequently transferring between RR B and Link, perhaps from a house in Crossroads to a job downtown, and won’t mind it at all because the station is “perfectly placed”? Or will he start making this transfer a few times and then say, “You know, it’s kind of a long way to transfer, and not what a transfer station should be.”
Between RR-B and East Link, there are other alternatives. Instead of transferring at BTC, one could transfer at OTC, Hospital or assumming RR-B continues the 152nd NE diversion once East Link opens, Overlake Village.
Yes, I’ve been wondering if those will become the more popular transfer points if they’re built closer than BTC is. But that means BTC would be failing in its primary purpose.
If a passenger puts their bike on a bus and it falls off and causes damage to the bus, does the agency’s insurance cover it or does the agency go after the rider for damages?
Also, has anyone ever stolen a bicycle from a bus bike rack?
I keep thinking that when I get trapped on the back of the bus and can’t see what’s going on at the bicycle end.
Yea i am always nervous about that too, but i have never heard of it happening.
Though possible, it seems a much less likely target. Buses aren’t immobile for that long.
There are a lot more tempting (easy) bicycle targets for thieves all across the city. Heck there have even been thefts them from people actually riding their bicycles.
It would take quite a bold person indeed to walk out in front of a bus at a stoplight or at a bus stop and just take a bicycle.
Now if that driver did not recall the person who put the bicycle on there in the first place, one of the other passengers might be able to pull off this dastardly deed…
Yes, it’s happened. I heard about it right after it happened. I have a scanner. I no longer use it, but I used to sometimes listen to police, fire, and transit. The way it happened was a bus was at a red light in Highpoint in West Seattle. A young man who was crossing in the crosswalk grabbed the bike off the rack and quickly rode off. According to the driver, it took him 5 seconds to be on it and riding away.
Metro just sucks it up being self insured, and the rider is given the debris left over by a Metro Supe (maybe in a bag at that point). If the rider wants compensation, they should check the bike rack and hold down, take some pictures, and put in a claim for damages. There’s a good chance they’ll get a new bike out of the deal.
I once pulled up behind a truck carrying rebar. He rolled back about 10 feet and stuck the rebar through the windshield. Metro got a new windshield out of the deal.
Hyundai’s John Krafcik: hydrogen simply more efficient than batteries
There has been a successful test of Hydrogen fuel-cell transport in Whistler B.C. Canada.
I think hydrogen could be ready (safety, workflow etc) for prime time in transit. I’m not convinced yet about in cars.
I was disappointed that KCMetro had no courage to pursue this path that provides a fleet that can be assigned anywhere in the county rather than ETB’s which can only be used on specific routes and at horrendous capital costs per mile of catenary.
Also you wouldn’t need dual mode for tunnels, as hydrogen fuel cells produce no toxic or harmful emissions other than water vapor!
Nice little video news report on Britain’s adoption of FCVs:
Is he including the energy needed to compress the hydrogen to 10,000+ PSI? It seems like that would be significant, and most of it goes to heat losses.
Compared to the energy that it takes to extract oil, transport it, boil it until its sludge and then refine it into useable fuel components, store it, transport it by pipeline, ship, tankers, trucks until it gets in your tank? And then the damage it does to our environment at every step of that process? Some sources say it takes 7.5 KWh to refine a gallon of gasoline. This does not include the extraction and transport costs. An average american car will go 25 miles on that gallon of gas whereas an EV could go up to 60 miles on that energy. When we fully account for the environmental damage that oil production causes, then the prospect of hydrogen production is quite reasonable.
In this area we produce electricity primarily by hydro power which once built is GHG free. We have currently an over supply of it, so much so, we sell it to other states and to aluminium smelters. We are bringing online large amounts of wind power that often has to waste potential energy production. There is also significant potential for solar even with our climate and geography. All of that can be used to create and transport hydrogen, even if it isn’t as “efficient” to do so. Any conversion of energy costs efficiency. When fuel sources are essentially free (Water, Wind, Sun) we shouldn’t focus so much on absolute mathematical efficiency formulas.
This region by virtue of its electrical energy production could be the first region to go critical mass with electric and fuel cell vehicles. But we should however continue our aggressive efforts towards density, walkability and accessible services as the ultimate solution to managing our long term energy and environmental challenges.
Charles — I was referring more to the comparison between battery EVs and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Those are the most expensive KW hours to buy!
If you don’t account for the environmental damage that coal does to our environment, then you haven’t accounted for the full cost of using it. Oil is only going to get more and more expensive so that’s out. Nuclear, too dangerous and too politically hot.
Plus I was referring to the inputs Wind, Solar and Hydro don’t have rentiers seeking royalties for every unit of input into the process.
If you don’t account for the environmental damage that coal does to our environment, then you haven’t accounted for the full cost of using it.
Coal is going to be either used or not. You can ship coal, by diesel engine all the way to a power plant. OR. You can convert it on the spot into hydrogen and ship the hydrogen via pipeline.
Is the latter dirty? There is residual CO2, but because this process occurs at the source it can be sequestered. An from that point on, it’s absolutely clean where really needs to be, in places where it’s consumed for transport or energy generation!
*Sigh*. Leakage in hydrogen transportation is high. Hydrogen is a tiny molecule, it leaks really really easily. That’s why we prefer to ship things which don’t leak in transport.
Hydrogen-powered ferry service launches in Bristol
It’s small…but imagine a large hydrogen powered ferry, sailing Elliot Bay without sound…or smoke.
Sprawl & suicide
…this relationship breaks down around 300 inhabitants per square kilometre
Kent, WA pop density
Yet continues until around the 1,000/km2 level. You should be fine, just don’t move to any of the less dense areas of Kent.
The point being that 300/km^2 is not “sprawl”.
300/km^2 is rural.
Kent is sprawl..at least according to he 9 billion comment replies I’ve received over the last decade on Publicola, STB and SLOG!
So sprawl doesn’t increase suicides, and it makes life better.
Hmm… There was just another downtown suicide from overpass last week. Yesler onto I-5. It didn’t make the news because SPD/WSP/SFD have a new pact to sweep it up and open the road when it’s determined to be a jumper. The idea is to sweep it under the rug…outta sight…outta mind. Having dealt with depression and had friends commit suicide, the idea of feigning ignorance to this problem bugs the Hell out of me.
Trying to connect sprawl and suicides won’t get you anywhere. The issue is far deeper than strip malls and cul-de-sacs.
Again, glad to see some luv for Kate Martin. She’s got lots of good ideas (other than that Viaduct plan). Too bad you boys keep ignoring her.
I like some of Kate’s ideas, but I’d wish she’d run for the City Council next election around, hopefully against that [ad hom] Godden.
If you are annoyed at John Fox for not acknowledging Kate’s candidacy, just write him directly. But be ready for him to go off on her hatred for panhandlers.
I’m sure Kate Martin is super smart, but my limited exposure to her positions have convinced me she’s someone I’d rather have run for school board than the mayor or counsel. I think the viaduct into park idea is bonkers and I think the penalizing bars/clubs with citations by closing them an hour early each time for a year is even worse.
I’m all for density, but that density-suicide paper is pretty badly done, and the effects are so small they are basically unnoticeable. We’re talking less than 1 person per 100,000, meaning if King County were as dense as Garfield county (in which case it’d be twice the size of Texas), there still wouldn’t be even one more suicide per year (because we’re talking about only 15-19 year olds).
That’s not even worth posting about.
What am I missing? It seems like the study’s saying that if you move from a reasonably dense area to a 8 people per sq. km. area, the odds that your 15-19 yr old will commit suicide will double. That’s significant, right? Or are you saying suicide such a rare event that we should stop worrying about it?
That graph is misleading, because the study didn’t control for other factors, in particular access to firearms, etc. The results were not reproducible in places with much extremely strict firearm control. The study was practically one showing that greater access to firearms means more suicides which should surprise no one, and has nothing to do with density if you think about it.
Plus, the number of data points for extreme density and low density were tiny: not a lot of people live in either, most people fall somewhere in the middle. So the confidence interval wasn’t great.
Re: Anti-Density movement in West Seattle
As a resident the the peninsula, I’m for density with a caveat—-more transit infrastructure, buses, Light Rail whatever. It seems like the city is fine with signing off on permits to build more apartments/mixed use buildings, but they refuse (or lack the political courage and vision) to deal with the potential impact of having more people getting in and out of West Seattle without further improvements in traffic conditions that are worsening.
That’s a chicken-and-egg problem. If W. Seattle doesn’t push for density then you don’t look like a good investment when it comes to transit. The fact that you’re worried about too many cars on the road shows that W. Seattle’s still in a suburban mindset.
Push for as much density as possible, and scream if/when you don’t get the transit you deserve. That’s what Ballard’s done, and they’ll deserve the first line of the Seattle Subway.
For me, I simply notice that we have suburban transportation options (with the arguable exception of peak hour metro service) , but if allowing the density to happen then screaming for the improved transportation works, I’ll go for it.
However, the tin ear of much of our city/county leadership doesn’t give me much cause for optimism.
In all fairness to the county council, the new service guidelines, post 40/40/20, have only been in place a couple years. When new platform hours are available (e.g. late 2016), they are supposed to go to routes that are bursting at the seems. Yes, a few routes serving low-density areas avoided the guillotine (for now) last year, but many did not.
That said, I don’t think Metro has enough headway control tools in its toolbox to make the C Line an acceptable alternative to a high-capacity line.
West Seattle doesn’t need massive breadbox developments like this. I simply don’t understand why dense development needs an entire block to be profitable. These types of buildings are so ugly.
It’s not about “profitability”, at least not directly. It’s about “funding.”
You can’t get a loan for a mixed-use building that isn’t a megablock in size, six stories tall, and home to as many national chain restaurants as you can find.
We’re not talking about the bumblingly anti-urban Whole Foods proposal, which the mayor rightly opposed. We’re talking about the West Seattle NIMBYs freaking out because an admirably skinny live/work loft development in the dead center of the Junction won’t provide a bunch of new off-street parking.
As long as “the ease of my on-street parking is sacrosanct” remains the mantra in places like West Seattle, those places will never thrive in a way that could make expensive rapid transit a worthwhile investment.
“There was no way in my judgment we could ask the customer to pay more for an underperforming experience.”
“Not only did Aesch keep his pledge not to raise fares, but in 2008 he actually lowered them… Buses drove fewer miles, carried more passengers, and boasted a 91 percent on-time record. The agency accumulated a $35.5 million surplus while decreasing its reliance on taxpayer funding by more than a third.”
I don’t agree with every implication of this piece, but the crux expressed above is amazingly germane to Metro’s “throw good money after bad” campaign.
I’m not sure if John Fox is a useful idiot for a cadre of old money Seattle, or a con-man in the style of Tim Eyman.
[adhom] like NERD make me embarrassed to be a West Sesttlite.
NIMBYs make us all feel special about our neighborhoods when they live in them.
I do hope the ones in West Seattle doesn’t push so hard that they manage to actually scare away the light rail line that wants to go there (I want a reasonable travel time to Alki Beach from my apartment!).
If they do though, I suppose we could just spend the money hooking up the north end while we wait for the NIMBYs to get bought out of their homes by the seemingly endless flow of IT cash that is driving up prices (but that much not density, yet) throughout the city.
Yep. I’m not too worried. They will realize in time that the second subway line will go to Greenwood instead of West Seattle if they don’t want to densify.
That is what happens. First the neighborhoods say they don’t want an expensive train and losing their parking and single-family houses, so the train and walkability go somewhere else. Then they see the economic development in that elsewhere, and high-end shops going there, and employees of the biggest companies moving there, and they realize that their area is going to fall behind and decline if they don’t get into the transit-and-walkability action, and then they start demanding trains and adjacent towers. That’s what happened big-time in DC. They stumbled into a few dense station areas almost by accident, and they were so successful that other neighorhoods and burbs wanted them too. Georgetown is famous for declining a Metro station because, you know, only the riff-raff would use it and it would bring hated growth, and now they’re really wishing they hadn’t said no. The problem is that the benefits of transit/density have to reach a critical mass before it goes over a tipping point and everyone wants density, and Seattle isn’t quite there yet. Not enough for Roosevelt or West Seattle to be convinced, at least. But they can’t help noticing that the most economic development and high-end shops and lowest vacancy rates are going to the densest areas: Capitol Hill and the U-District and Ballard in Seattle, and Bellevue and Kirkland on the Eastside. They just aren’t ready to realize that the density is what causes the vitality and livability and attracts people.
Excellent Fnarf essay on the waterfront.
Not so excellent, and way too alarmist, for the reasons plenty of posters describe in Martin’s STB thread on the subject. We should be focused on transit-only lanes rather than on handwringing about how a road is too wide in a part of the waterfront where tourists never go anyway unless they’re in cars waiting for the ferry.
It would be nice if Portland adopted the same ORCA card system we have in Seattle. My bus pass would then work automatically in Portland. It might also nudge Intercity and C-Tran to use it.
It would be nice, but odd. It only covers four counties here as it is. I think we would need to make it a statewide card before we could make it a multi-state card.
Granted… we Seattlites have more in common with Portlandia than we do with the folks on the other side of the mountains…
It’s an interesting idea… imagine if ORCA could pay for Cascades, too.
I wish it too, but it is a proprietary technology by a company that’s not giving us a good deal and I think has financial problems, so Portland may find a better offer.
“Making ORCA statewide” is not going to happen before Portland gets a maybe-ORCA transit card. Transit cards are intrinsically more suitable for larger cities and transit agencies, where hundreds of thousands of people take transit on a daily or most-days basis, and not all on a few commuter routes. Those hundreds of thousands of riders are what make a card system worth the cost of implementing it. Rural agencies and small cities won’t benefit as much from it, and in our state they’re cutting bus service anyway so they definitely can’t afford it. The only other part of the state that might go for a card system is Spokane.
And Spokane already has its own smart card system.
A general question about the Service Guidelines:
Does Geographical Coverage get counted twice?
Right now the formula is: 50% Productivity, 25% Social Equity, 25% Geographic Coverage.
HOWEVER, considering that productivity gets split in two, one for Core Routes (Seattle) and one for Non-Core (not-Seattle) isn’t Geographic Coverage already being taken into account?
Am I missing something?
There are lots of routes within Seattle that provide geographical coverage (like the 37), and lots of routes outside of Seattle that don’t (like the B line).
I’m really warming to the way this Mark Aesch guy sees things: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/07/how-fund-transit-without-raising-fares-or-cutting-service/6241/
If a “social equity” route is freaking empty, then it’s not actually doing much good for social equity, is it?
Rare moving-in-the-right-direction news from Metro!
Could it be that Metro is actually learning from the disasters it made of the Fremont Solstice, the 4th of July, the Georgetown Sub Pop thing, and so on, and so on?
Wow, I hope they do this next January 1st. New years was a disaster.
Also… they should make sure to ADVERTISE that these special shuttles exist at the event, otherwise they will be useless.
(The biggest problem is getting away from the events, not getting to them).
4th of July is an example of Metro at its worst. Anyone coming into town for holiday festivities has virtually no transit to speak of for the ride back, which has the 11:00-on-Sunday-night level of service (plus a lot more traffic, crowding and bunching, meaning even if you have a route that is scheduled to come, who knows when it is actually going to show up).
Just imagine how much ridership the Ballard Spur would have from people coming home from gasworks park.
Metro has had shuttles to Bumbershoot and Folklife and other events at Seattle Center for years. A few years ago Metro boasted it had shuttles to “all major events in the county”. (But neighborhood festivals like Solstice are not big enough to be “major events”.)
The SLU streetcar did have special service on the 4th of July. It ran free from the end of fireworks until midnight, running nonstop from Lake Union station to Westlake station. As expected it was packed solid with a 2-carful line behind it. I waited in line for 20 minutes just for transit-nerd fun, talking with a family next to me that was visiting from out-of-state, then I got bored and and walked home.
And by the way, Lake Union park looks nice and inviting with a full crowd of people in it. It loses that tower-in-the-park empty sterility it has most of the time. But at least the land is reserved and the landscape can be made more inviting later.
There’s a difference between this and Metro’s previous “special P&R shuttles to Northgate and Eastgate and Southgate and bytheway you can’t use your ORCA and fuck you if you need any regular routes.”
By operating extra trips to and from downtown, and allowing passes and ORCA payments, Metro will help to diffuse the Seattle Center crowd to all of their various downtown connections, without screwing over every passenger of every normal route that passes nearby. It’s roughly the equivalent of adding a slew of 2 expresses to absorb the surge in demand.
The prior approach was bullshit. Beefed-up service on normal corridors that the vast majority can actually use — like this — is what every reasonable transit city does. For Metro, doing this the right way is a first.
Hopefully this approach is a resounding success so that letters can be written to Metro and City Council asking for implementation for all events of substantial scale. I’m really excited that someone made this happen on Metro’s end. Hopefully, Metro will put up Rider Alerts at the two stops explaining the express shuttles.
As the elder statesman of this blog, I know people here want earn my respect. So let me give you a little heads up on something. When some of you commenters say things like, “Duh, I don’t see bikes gotta pay nuffin cuz they don’t cause no wear and tear on the roads,” I have lost all respect for your intellect. Imagine someone saying they shouldn’t have to pay their bus fare, because they aren’t fat, and don’t cause any wear and tear on the bus seat. You’d think there were a dumbass, right? Well, now you know how I look at you. Bikes use the roads. They need to stop mooching off the genersity of car drivers and paying their fair share.
I pay my fair share when I pay my car taxes. Many or most cyclists also own cars. I also pay all the other taxes that go to road maintenance, most of which does not come from car taxes.
As far as respect goes, you can keep it.
As I said, 90% of the road width and resurfacing is due to cars. The need for half the roads at all is due to cars. The need for the most expensive roads — freeways — is entirely due to cars. Bicycles cause a negligible amount of impact, a mere rounding error. It’s not at all like taking a seat on a bus and not paying the fare. It’s like an ant crawling around the edge of a bus seat.
I think there should be a bike registration and fee program in the city. While Bikes presently don’t account for a large mode share, the mode share is rising and the city is investing millions of dollars here and there to improve bike path infrastructure. The city also expends resources to deal with lost or stolen bikes and their recovery. I also think bike riders should be much more attentive to the “rules of the road” they want to share with other vehicles.
There is NO excuse for a bike not stopping at a stop sign or yielding when they should.
Most of the costs are actually due to trucks.
How about thinking about it in an economics mindset? Assuming bicycling is a positive for the city, in terms of health, reduced congestion, greenhouse gases, etc., we want more of it, correct? Assuming that there’s a degree of price elasticity for bicycling, increasing the cost of cycling will reduce the amount of people who cycle. No matter what method is used to increase the cost of cycling (taxes, fees, etc.), the effect will be similar, fewer people will bike, and less positive externalities will be realized. On its face, charging fees to cyclists is a bad idea.
Full credit to SDOT for making the “guerrilla bike line” into an official protected bike lane.
Remember, in the LA area they’d probably go remove the bike lane with backhoes. There’s lots of evidence of this kind of “if we didn’t do it nobody gets to do it” behavior in the LA area; you can read some of the stories on Streetsblog LA.
You are blessed to have a sensible city government. Never forget how valuable it is to have a city government which is willing to adopt other people’s ideas.
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