Sound Transit

This is an open thread.

99 Replies to “News Roundup: The Problem with Banks”

  1. Fifty years ago, Jane Jacobs was critical of banks as neighborhood constituents mainly due to their limited hours of operation and prime locations (Banker’s Hours in 1961 were 10-3 M-F). These days they still seem to occupy prime locations and they have expanded their hours but they usually demand a large parking lot for their customers. With banking becoming more of an electronic transaction and less of a retail transaction, we can hope to see less prime real estate devoted to banks and their parking lots.

    1. Perhaps we should locate banks to places where old people live. Young people have figured out how to accomplish most banking activities from their phone.

      Although I must say, the 24 hour BECU ATM at 2nd & Pike is pretty damn convenient. And if I go in during daylight hours, there’s always a few people being assisted by employees–new accounts, loans, and other things you actually need a human for.

      1. Don’t give the banks any ideas. Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union has a branch office right in the senior housing mid-ride apartments on Rainier a few blocks south of Mt Baker Station.

        Off-thread, but there is also a real-time arrival bus sign at the nearest northbound stop, which oddly is one-sided. I hope that isn’t setting a precedent for cheap-outs on otherwise fancy expensive infrastructure.

      2. I don’t trust “deposit checks by taking a picture” apps – I can’t help but think not actually physically surrendering the check at any point poses a security risk.

      3. All you’re doing is what your bank or credit union will do the moment the doors close for the day, which is scan in the check and shred the original. Many “checks” are processed as automated debits from accounts based on passing around the digital image of the original piece of paper.

      4. I remember when banks returned your “cancelled” checks to you. I remember when banks announced they would stop doing that and only send pictures. I remember the uproar that caused.

        Now, snapshot ATM’s and smartphone apps rule the day.

      5. That is precisely my criticism on banks. There is very little reason for the average person to physically go there more than once every few years. And if the ATM is the excuse, you don’t need all the space taken up by the bank just for an ATM.

    2. I like how when you cross the Fremont Bridge, your first impression now is “Welcome to Fremont, ignore our brand new Chase bank that takes up a prominent corner store front, we really are an artsy, Bohemian neighborhood, no we really are!”

    3. Here’s a copy of the post I put on the original article’s page.

      “An interesting concept is Umpqua Bank. Here in Ballard they have tried to make themselves part of the community rather than just a bland storefront. No full window graphics of smiling people to hide what’s going on inside, when you walk by, you don’t immediately recognize that it’s a bank. On first glance it has that open style of a cell phone store.

      They participate in ArtWalk by hanging art from local artists, offer movie nights, business seminars, provide public computers/printers even for non-customers, even have a small retail outlet that features products from a local merchant (which you can buy right there).”

    4. In general, given an unrestricted market, we should expect that the intensity of real estate will be maximized (within reason). That is, a grocery store with constant 24-hour demand will be able to pay higher rent than a knick-knack store with 5 paying customers per day.

      The problem with banks is that, because of the huge amounts of money they work with, they are able to pay higher rents than virtually any other industry, even if they keep “banker’s hours”. It’s useful for the bank to keep these branches open, for the same reason that it’s useful for Metro to run buses at 2am; a lot of customers choose Chase because they’re a national bank, and having branches everywhere (even rarely-used ones) is part of that. But the streets that are full of these branches are worse off for it.

      Lately, I’ve been warming up to the idea of “postal banking”. The idea is that the federal government would give every person a zero-fee, zero-interest checking account and debit card (ideally using a government-sponsored, fee-free interchange network, like how EBT currently works). All employers would be required to offer the option of paying wages via direct deposit to this account. All government agencies would accept these accounts for both sending and receiving money, fee-free; for example, you can use it to pay taxes or legal fees, or to get your tax refund, or to pay your government student loans. And the government would also open the interchange network to others, so that private parties could exchange money with each other without paying any fees.

      Aside from all the other benefits of doing this, it seems like it would dramatically reduce the number of bank branches floating around. Banks would need to offer added value to attract customers, and that probably doesn’t mean a high-fee, low-interest bank account. So we would probably see way fewer bank branches, as customers migrate away from traditional banks to “postal banking” and high-interest “online banks”.

  2. Regarding Vancouver: Why can’t Seattle listen to our neighbors to the north when it comes to density and transit. Vancouver is rethinking it’s waterfront road to be more pedestrian friendly, and what does Seattle do? Widest road tunnel in the world with, how many lanes of traffic directly above it? Eight?

      1. He mentions a $2 billion freeway capacity tunnel rammed through the center of your city, and you bring up a few million spent on streetcars? I think you missed the point.

      2. No, I’m quite aware of the point. And the proposed lines add up to well north of $100 million, which is rather more than “a few”.

      3. D.p.,

        The link you included specifically invents a metric and suggests BRT is most cost effective in the corridor. Pro-rail demagoguery!

      4. In addition to missing the point of my post, you’ve misread your own.

        You claimed to find that a “rapid streetcar” (without lane space to actually be rapid) would miraculously pull 24,000 riders from local trips through a neighborhood with only 4,000 people in it, that it would best BRT on all fronts (work not shown), and that it could be justified as a prioritized investment thanks to (as you fittingly describe it) an “invented metric”.

        As Bruce said, plunking down rails just because something sort of looks like a corridor if you squint at it, and because it happens to be near the terminus of a prior boondoggle, is not how successful cities go about building well-integrated transit networks.

        I also love how no one will acknowledge that the FHSC website has officially reneged on the promise of frequent all-day service. Slow+meandering+infrequent: it’s the trifecta of pointlessness!

      5. Ah, I see that BRT did best streetcar on your preferred metric, as the ranking of BRT as “second” was within all studied corridors (rather than “second” within just this corridor).

        I nevertheless find it difficult to trust “annualized cost per new rider” when absolutely nothing about the ridership presumptions (new or total, rail or otherwise) is rooted in reality.

        Rather funny that even the biased presumptions failed to prove we “need” streetcars through Eastlake, yet we continue to discuss this proposal using “streetcar or nothing” rhetoric, isn’t it?

      6. Again, mea culpa on misreading the rankings in your link, and then wrongly accusing you of having misremembered them.

        That doesn’t change the fact that the arbitrary isolation of Eastlake as a “potential streetcar corridor”, on incredibly specious grounds, has led it to be kicked up the corridor-priorities list by about fifteen spots. Meanwhile, investments in corridors that offer real network-effects potential lag. You would never see this in a city (Vancouver) that cares about holistic mobility.

  3. Google Maps in general has gotten worse. It has lately been in the habit of plotting addresses three or four blocks off, and the basic user interface has gotten buggy.

    The transit icons appear and disappear at will at various zoom levels. Some subway stations (but not others) will appear six levels out, then disappear two levels in, only to be replaced by the previously-omitted stations at the next level.

    With the new version (deservingly) wallowing in an extended stay in beta, it seems unwise to let the old one completely fall to pieces.

    1. And in another post, people are suggesting to put our trust in Google for trip planning.

    2. Time for Bing to seize the opportunity and show the world that they can indeed produce a better non-car navigation experience. Currently, they have a long way to go. Last time I checked, according to Bing maps, the Burke Gilman trail did not exist as a viable walking route. Similar for any staircase or pedestrian path that is not accessible to cars.

      1. I just checked: the 520 Trail and I-90 Trail exist. They’re the only ones I’ve found, though.

      2. The only reason they exist is because they follow a car route. Bing essentially treats them like a sidewalk attached to a freeway.

    3. Yeah, I’ve found the Google transit directions are worse in the new version.

      I live near the 28. The last time I searched for transit directions from my house to downtown (I knew I wanted to take the 28 and just wanted to know what time I should go outside in order to be at my destination on time), Google’s first suggestion was to walk over to Greenwood and take the 5. The second choice was to ride the 28 until it gets south of the canal on Dexter, then get off, hike up the stairs to Aurora, cross the pedestrian bridge over Aurora, and wait for the 5 or the 358 to take me the rest of the way downtown. Seriously, Google?

      1. Google’s new directions explicitly reward frequency, which is why you got directions to the 5 (with 15-minute frequency) instead of the 28 (with 30-minute frequency). If you want to use the 28 anyway, you can say that you want directions which minimize walking.

        The second case sounds like a bug. If you reply to this comment with a link to the broken result, I can try to look into it.

  4. Oh, and no one who is paying for a relatively expensive hotel is ever going to walk >.5 miles along a hellhole highway to get to a Link station.

    1. I don’t know about your assertion d.p., but after I read that article, I got the impression that the hotel is being planned just for the EB-5 designation. It seems like a neat way to pull in some naive investors for a questionable project.

    2. “Never” is a very strong statement. Don’t assume that just because a large majority of people won’t do something that no one will ever do it.

      1. Have you seen this part of Pacific Highway, ASDF?

        No one is going to be making that walk.

        This is a hotel for car-renters.

  5. Regarding bullet six, Publicola summarized some delays and other proposals not yet finally acted upon. I didn’t see any final actions in the list. There is still time to stop these proposed actions. They are also subject to veto from the mayor’s office.

  6. Has there been any news on decoupling the RapidRide C/D or has that gone into limbo with the transportation pack being held hostage?

    1. Since decoupling the C/D Line would require a significant infusion of daily platform hours, and the bill only provided money to buy buses, I suspect Metro said “Thanks, but no thanks” when somebody bothered to ask them what they thought.

      Besides, do we really want to set the precedent of the legislature picking and choosing routes on which to override Metro’s home-grown Service Guidelines? Next thing you know, they’ll be legislating stops on routes, and entombing loop-de-loop stops in RCW.

      West Seattle has cut in line for transit fanciness so many times already … pushing the 120 off the Rapid Ride list in favor of the C Line, the Water Taxi, the extra service paid for by the mononorail revenue that was paid for by the whole city but the benefits only went to West Seattle and Ballard… It’s time for West Seattle to wait its turn in line and let the Service Guidelines work.

      1. Next thing you know, they’ll be legislating stops on routes

        That’s how RapidRide stops are already defined.

      2. At least the County Council is on the hook to fund the operational costs of route nuisances they legislate. The bill to split the C/D line would have created an unfunded mandate.

  7. Is Conlin’s list the final list of corridors that will be considered for ST3? I’ve seen all these discussed, but never listed in one place before. Conlin listed:

    – I-405 BRT
    – Redmond to Kirkland and on to the U-District;
    – Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah;
    – The Eastside Rail Corridor;
    – Lynnwood to Everett;
    – Renton to Tukwila, SeaTac and Burien;
    – Downtown Seattle to West Seattle and Burien
    – Downtown Seattle to Ballard
    – SeaTac to Tacoma

    This looks to be a pretty good menu from which to choose for 2016.

    1. This is the sort of list that makes people nervous when Ed Murray talks blithely about light rail being best for regional corridors. From best to worst…

      Downtown Seattle to Ballard
      Would be packed the day it opened and would have a huge positive impact on mobility in Seattle.

      I-405 BRT
      Yes please! This shouldn’t even be too expensive; many of the physical elements are already in place.

      Lynnwood to Everett
      Peak-hour demand only, but it would be solid peak-hour demand, and definitely the best SnoCo project I can imagine.

      Downtown Seattle to West Seattle and Burien
      Great long-term potential, particularly if it’s all underground in West Seattle and so can hit both the Junction and central/south Delridge in time-efficient fashion. As long as it’s not routed to the ferry terminal, an underground West Seattle line would enable a huge amount of growth. But it would be a bit ahead of its time.

      SeaTac to Tacoma
      It would be great to have a single frequent line in this corridor, but I don’t know if demand warrants Link yet. Turning RR A into an ST line and extending it to Tacoma would seem to fit demand better.

      Renton to Tukwila, SeaTac and Burien
      Assuming this means turning RR F into better BRT, then a great idea. If this means a Link line, how the heck will we fill LRVs on a line that currently struggles to fill a 40′ bus every 15 minutes?

      Redmond to Kirkland and on to the U-District
      This seems to me like about an ST6 corridor. So many more pressing needs, even on the Eastside. It would have mediocre peak ridership and no off-peak ridership.

      Kirkland, Bellevue, Issaquah
      A few transit riders are traveling between Bellevue and Issaquah — enough to halfway fill a half-hourly peak express bus and to have a few people per trip rattling around in a full-time, half-hourly local bus. The situation is similar between Kirkland and Bellevue. By contrast, we have jam-packed buses every few minutes along I-90 during peak hour. Wrong Issaquah corridor.

      The Eastside Rail Corridor
      NO NO NO NO I guess I should be more articulate: it goes nowhere useful, because it’s so far from the center of every city it goes through, and wouldn’t carry heavy-rail volumes even if if magically reached the city centers.

      And we don’t have a Ballard/UW crosstown Link line or a north-south line in the Aurora/Greenwood neighborhood on the list at all. Either of those would be way more cost-effective than almost everything on the list.

      1. If Eastside Rail Corridor is so bad, why is 405 BRT so good? 405 BRT has the same problem: it doesn’t go anywhere! People drive on 405 to make trips that would inherently be three-seat rides on any kind of transit because of the way the places are designed. 405 BRT gets you closer to Bothell and about a block closer to downtown Bellevue. ERC gets you a little closer to downtown Kirkland. They’re basically adjacent south of Bellevue.

        None of the existing bus routes on 405 (532, 535, 560, 566) are calling out for frequent, all-day, rapid transit-style service, and the land use near 405 points to the reason why. 405 BRT is an idea borne of looking at SOVs stuck in traffic and thinking, “We could stick them all on buses and relieve this jam for good!” I just don’t think it’s true. Maybe East Link-related development near DT Bellevue, the hospital area, and Bel-Red will improve prospects, but that’s some time out.

      2. 405 BRT, unlike the rail corridor, doesn’t imply that the buses have to stay only on I-405. Buses could actually exit the freeway when necessary to serve real transit destinations like BTC, downtown KIrkland, and downtown Bothell. There could easily be multiple corridors, just as there are today. The combination of the 535 and the portion of the 566 between Bellevue and Renton is already showing the way, and both of those lines have pretty decent ridership — much better than the 555 that the Kirkland-Issaquah line would shadow.

        If the idea of 405 BRT is that buses can never ever ever leave the freeway, then it’s pointless.

      3. I was also surprised that Ballard-UW wasn’t on this list, although it was on previous lists such as so my guess is that Conlin forgot. This corridor is probably where grade-separated rail would make the most difference over simply improved buses, as there is no room for a dedicated bus lane on 45th.

        Regarding the Issaquah corridor, I thought that the DSTT would be full already with East and Central Link, so an Issaquah line couldn’t go downtown. But even if the Issaquah line went to Bellevue, there is no reason why a cross-platform connection at South Bellevue Station for Issaquah-Seattle riders couldn’t be built, so Issaquah-Bellevue could be adequate for the busier Issaquah-Seattle corridor. However, I really doubt that Bellevue-Kirkland would work, since I-405 BRT is being planned on the same corridor and the line wouldn’t attract any Seattle-Kirkland riders due to circuitous routing.

        Another potentially-strong corridor that was missed is SR-522. Although demand might not be enough for rail, a very high-quality median busway could work very well, given that this is currently a heavy-traffic chokepoint for all modes.

      4. Regarding SR522 – It’s a very high ridership corridor at this point and with additional density going up in Bothell, Kenmore and Lake City demand is only going to go up.

        I think rail could definitely be justified here – peak hour buses are getting very crowded, so we are going to need some sort of increased capacity. Who knows how crowded the buses will be in ten years?

      5. I mean, of course you exit 405 to go to Bellevue TC like the existing 405 routes do, it’s only a couple blocks away. There’s a reason these routes don’t go all the way to Kirkland TC on the surface and that’s because it’s really indirect and often very congested.

      6. Al, presumably fixing the Kirkland issue could at least be studied as part of the project. If you could somehow get in and out of downtown Kirkland without stopping, it would only add maybe 5-6 minutes to trip time, and would be a gigantic benefit.

      7. 405BRT would be awesome, and I would begin riding it the very first day it opened (from Bothell to Tukwila, then I could ride my bike to work. With current busses, I have to transfer 2-3 times (depending on the day – OneBusAway is awesome for getting me on the most efficient route, given the day’s circumstances), and it would get me to work in less than an hour, compared to 1.5-2 hours that it takes currently.

        I know this is just my anecdote, but I can’t help but be enthusiastic about this possibility!

      8. 405 BRT has never been defined, and there is no precedent in Pugetopolis to go by. So the job of the first study would be to define it. I assume it would look something like reconnecting the 560+535 (SeaTac – Bellevue – Lynnwood) like the former 360, making it 15-minutes frequent, and making some unspecified improvements to transit lanes. Theoretically it could include freeway “stations”, but those would be inconvenient for passengers so it really has to come to the city centers.

        It would not be merged with RapidRide F, I’m pretty sure, because that would make an unbalanced route with a long freeway segment and a significant local segment. These segments have different pressures, so they need the freedom to have different frequencies, schedules, and delay mitigation. We’ve seen how combining the 8N and 8S propagates delays on Denny Way across the entire line. Do you want a traffic jam on 405 to gum up RR F?

    2. It’s still unclear whether Conlin intentionally omitted the U-District – Ballard segment from the Redmond – Ballard corridor study, or if it was just an oversight in writing. Does he really believe it doesn’t have a chance in ST3?

      1. I would presume not mentioning the in-city east-west corridor was an oversight.

        And I would presume that not including Ballard-Redmond as a single corridor was because Richard Conlin is not a idiot, and he knows that treating it as a single corridor is flipping stupid!

        I don’t even particularly like Conlin, but he’s neither dumb nor delusional, and he’s pretty realistic with numbers.

        A “unified corridor” from Ballard to Redmond would be a bus. On 45th. Across the Montlake Bridge. Caught in endless traffic forever and ever. Do you/Ben/Joni want that? No? Well then stop pretending it’s a single corridor!

      2. There’s no need to get overexcited about studying it all together. Corridors are not lines. Determining the feasability of rail in each segment, as well as joining them all together, is precisely what this study will study. “Redmond to U-District” is just a conceptual idea until we find out how feasable each segment is and what it would cost. It would be ironic if ST chose literally Redmond to U-District, because that would leave out precisely the highest-ridership and most needed segment, while leaving in an expensive lake crossing that’s the most risky and speculative part of the project. Logic would say to do the highest-ridership and most-needed segment first. But here logic collides with subarea equity, because Seattle will be building a downtown-Ballard line and perhaps a downtown-West Seattle line and may not be able to fit 45th into its budget, while the Eastside has nothing else to build except an inexpensive line to Issaquah along I-90. So it may end up being true that the Eastside can afford Redmond – U-District in ST3 but Seattle can’t afford U-District to Ballard.

        The other thing about the study is that after it’s complete, then the focus will be on the Eastsiders. Do they want this line? How much do they want it? Enough to spend $X billion on it (of which half would be the lake crossing I assume). I could easily see the Eastside saying, “that’s nice but we’re not ready to play for another lake crossing yet,, and the Redmond-Kirkland part doesn’t look that useful on its own, so let’s do the Kirkland – Issaquah part now instead.” We don’t need to presume the answers to these questions until the study is finished, because any informed answer depends on the study’s results: the ridership/cost estimates, as well as knowing where stations might go and what their walk circles might be.

      3. “A “unified corridor” from Ballard to Redmond would be a bus. On 45th. Across the Montlake Bridge. Caught in endless traffic forever and ever.”

        That doesn’t even make sense. Of course that wouldn’t work and would take two hours, and nobody is proposing it.

      4. As long as East Link is running mostly empty trains at sub-design headways, and hemorrhaging debt service funds, another rail crossing of the lake isn’t going to make a lick of sense. It’s not going to happen. Let it go.

        Chaining a necessary segment to one that fails any basic smell test — even for the sake of “study” — is just asking to get your necessary segment scuttled by bad math. Or reduced to an “enhanced bus”.

        That unified study corridor is stupid and dangerous.

      5. d.p., you’re overlooking the possibility that if you include the lake crossing then East subarea funds might plausibly be used to pay for all or part of the intra-Seattle segment. That would be a very big deal.

      6. Really, David? The same East Subarea that convinced ST to make Seattle pay for I-90 ROW we don’t need in a vain attempt to make their own East Link numbers crunch — East Link being a project so on the margins of fiduciary worth that it is eligible for $0 in federal funds?

        That East Subarea is going to spend billions on a 520 rail crossing or a Sand Point tunnel with an exponentially worse cost-benefit ratio? And then they’re “plausibly” going to offer pay for an intra-Seattle portion as well?

        Just what the heck is “plausible” about any of that?


        If I were a betting person, I’d wager there’s a 10%-20% chance that you’ll see some sort of partial 522-corridor rail line in your lifetime. The likelihood of a “Redmond-Kirkland-UW-Ballard” unified corridor is 0%. It is not “plausible”.

      7. I don’t know today that the line is quite as hopeless as you think. It may well be, but the question deserves study. East Link will have to be fully built and operational first, so that the East subarea has some meaningful (i.e., beyond a few BRT improvement projects) revenue available. But it would be worth the money for a study to get a real assessment of how much the Sand Point crossing would cost. If the line could be framed as Kirkland-U District, I still think it’s possible you might pay for the Sand Point-U-District piece with East subarea money.

        That said, it’s not a high priority, and ST should also be studying Ballard-U District separately as a Seattle subarea project. It only makes sense to do a study because the East subarea has fewer critical projects than the Seattle subarea.

      8. @d.p. As you know the reason that North King got stuck with some of the East Link bill is that they insisted on the stupid stop at Ranier Ave, which is worse than useless to the East subarea’s voters.

      9. Seattle didn’t “insist” on that stop. ST did.

        Anyway, charge us for the Rainier platforms. That seems fair.

        But don’t you dare claim that the ROW from the Mt. Baker tunnel to the new junction and the turnaround tracks is “ours”. Not when we’re already paying for I-5 tracks we’ll never use. Not when you’re proposing fucking Belltown surface running for our desperately-needed in-city lines.

      10. “if you include the lake crossing then East subarea funds might plausibly be used to pay for all or part of the intra-Seattle segment.”

        That could only possibly apply to Sand Point station, which would be in a similar position as Rainier station. I.e., the Eastside wanting the line more than Seattle wanting the station. But Rainier was a special case, a concession made after the line was decided.

        “ST should also be studying Ballard-U District separately”

        This is a corridor study, not a line study. It can enable any number of lines through some of its segments, and is a prerequisite for all of them. ST can also decide to build all of it in phases.

      11. It’s a corridor study that can only do harm to its most needed segment, through problematic zoomed-out math.

        There is literally no upside.

      12. That’s exactly like your saying that it’s disasterous to have a combined light rail/streetcar study in the downtown-Ballard corridor, that it obviously means we won’t be getting anything more than a streetcar. That contradicts ST’s definition of light rail and is way premature to conclude. The opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

      13. I don’t have nearly the faith in the joint-study outcome that Matt Johnson has*, but combining those studies at least passes some minimal rational basis** test.

        Combining UW-Ballard and Redmond-Kirkland passes no such test. It makes zero sense whatsoever.

        *(And don’t forget that ST, our favorite “regional” agency, is seriously considering surface-running death through Belltown in its “high-end” options.)

        **(A legal standard meaning there are logically-connectible dots underlying the action, even if the logic is back-assward. It’s a very low standard to meet.)

    3. I wrote to Conlin and confirmed that the omission of Ballard – U-District was just an oversight in the article.

    1. The Mythbusters have determined the new Issaquah-Eastgate-Medina-Sand Pt-UW-Ballard historic trolley line to be (drum role please) PLAUSIBLE.

  8. When I renewed my license I sent in the coupon for free Metro coupons and they arrived yesterday four weeks later….with an expiration of October 2013! Gee, thanks guys.

    1. Lucky you. They must have pushed the expiration out a month. Mine have expired less that two months from the date of receipt. OTOH, I’ve never seen a driver complain about the tickets being expired. And they don’t seem to enforce the one ticket package per household rule either.

      1. Well if it gets close to October and I haven’t used them up, I’m just going to be Robin Hood and pin them on the bulletin board of my apartment complex for anyone to take!

  9. About LINK station area density…what updates are there for area around Beacon Hill station? I hadn’t been around there for two years or so. But driving around there yesterday it looks the same as it did. What is holding up the development of that area?

    1. There is a smallish development going up on the corner of 17th and McClellan, but the larger property owner is still angry at sound transit and doesn’t want to build anything.

      …and El Centro is still lining up funding for the site that is currently a gravel parking lot.

      The rest of the area is all built, albeit undersized for current zoning, and will take years for updates.

      1. I don’t know if the family is mad at ST or just can’t agree among themselves on what to do with the land. But thy did have to close their restaurant because of the project, and I wouldn’t blame them for being angry when all the land was used for was staging.

        The other property is being developed,at least.

    1. A question about two of the signers of that letter…

      Aren’t Thompson Metal Fab and Oregon Iron Works the two companies upstream of the bridge that had problems with the clearance height of the spans at high water?

      1. It’s clear from the list of sponsors that this is a Vancouver issue. They want to tax Oregon’s money and build a wider bridge to Vancouver. The Oregon representatives are fools if they fund the project now.

  10. Question. (Some bloggers on) STB frequently tells us that the best cities and towns to live in are the one’s that are the densest. Better transit, better walkability, better job creation, etc. But if that’s true, then how come every time I see one of those “most livable cities” list, the densest cities are never on that list?

    Here’s the most recent best places to live list I saw.

    Little Rock, Burlington, College Station, Santa Fe, Columbia, Billings, Ithaca, etc

    1. If you live in Greenwich Village and have a ten minute subway ride daily for a couple of bucks, you have a great quality of life, but are clumped in with the people who commute to the same location from Connecticut, New Jersey and Long Island. Everyone in the towns they are picking has no commute at all, no parking issues, etc. Of course, I suspect the cuisine choices aren’t as good in Billings and College Station as they are in, say, Chicago.

    2. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that the list in your link is a pile of bullshit pulled from thin air and strewn across ten pages as hit-generating link bait.

      Come back when you would like to argue an apples-to-apples comparison (i.e. major cities) based on a worthwhile (or any) set of quantifiable metrics.

      1. I thought realestate.msn was the leading source of urban livability metrics? My world has been turned upside down…

    3. AHAHAHAHAHAAAHHHA! Columbia, SC? I know South Carolina. I live in South Carolina part-time. Columbia is a hole. If you throw out the university (which has a pleasant enough campus), nobody would notice if Sherman came back and burned the place down again. If they had said Greenville, which is actually a very pleasant small city, big on bikes (albeit horrible in public transportation as most Southern cities are) and tucked into the foothills of the Appalachians, they might have made some sense. But Columbia??? When you are boosting a town, talking about how close it is to actual cities probably isn’t your best selling point.

      Don’t even get me going on College Station, TX. Even Aggies don’t stick around there when they are done…and A&M is, let’s just say, a weird place in the middle of BFE. There’s more than a little neo-Confederacy going on there.

    4. Ithaca is extremely dense. It’s small, but boy is it dense for its size. It has substandard public transportation, which people ARE complaining about.

  11. I have a question. Transit operators aren’t allowed to smoke pot, right? Even on your day off. Even on your vacation. The reason? Because it can stay in your system for a few weeks. But using that logic, why are operators allowed to drink alcohol? Alcohol is detectable in one’s system, depending on the test, for up to a few days. So legally, an operator is allowed to have, let’s say, 6 drinks on his day off, and then be perfectly fine to drive the next day, even though there is still a detectable amount of alcohol in his system. Why doesn’t Metro forbid drivers from consuming alcohol on their days off?

    1. Because Metro wants to be able to find people willing to drive buses. A total prohibition on alcohol would put a crimp in recruiting, to put it mildly. And it wouldn’t get you safer bus drivers.

      For any reasonable concentration of alcohol (i.e. not drinking to black out), the urine tests Metro uses won’t detect the alcohol anymore after about a day. When I drove, I was perfectly comfortable drinking alcohol (in moderation) from the end of the work immediately before my RDOs until 24 hours before my first work after the RDOs began. I typically had Tuesday/Wednesday off, drank as much as I wanted on Monday or Tuesday night, and had no worries about any random test that might be administered when I showed up on Thursday. I did once actually get tested immediately on reporting after my RDOs, and of course it was fine.

      1. “Update to the above story. The blind woman is now saying the attack could have been prevented if the driver asked the attacker to get off the bus when the blind woman asked him to, before the physical attack happened, but the driver would not or did not do so.”

        Our Metro drivers are neutered. Unless you have Metro cops on each bus, the driver is not a position to enforce anything, maybe they should make an announcement about their on-board bus cameras or something

  12. Agreed, at CT drivers are not even supposed to get out of the seat to wake up a sleeping passenger at the end of the run, we are to use the mic, and if that doesn’t work call for a supervisor. We can ASK a disruptive passenger to leave, but not insist.

  13. War on bikes.

    I noted that in several instances, twice in Washington, there have been accidents where cars overtook and ran into bikes, killing the rider. In California there was one recently, and one a few months ago where a car ran over the bicyclists resulting in his leg being amputated.

    My own accident here in Kent happened when car pulled a right turn into my bike lane. And this same situation was repeated just within a year ago. (This time I followed the driver home, confronted him and then took photos and wrote up a police report. Nothing happened.)

    I don’t want to say there is a war on bikes…but it sure looks like there’s a certain class of driver who just happens to get into accidents with bikes by being overly aggressive. Not sure where it’s all coming from…

    1. 670 residential units. 2200 office and retail workers. An “easy walk” from the future 120th Station. Yet they are going to build 2200 underground parking stalls? I guess future business near Bel-Red road aren’t planning on many employees taking East Link to work.

      1. They are. Assuming one car per residential unit, that would mean 670/(670+2200) of people walking or riding EastLink to work.

    2. I was told light rail on the eastside is a game changer. I was told East Link will revolutionize the way people commute. I was told people who lived in TOD along East Link would no longer need cars. I was told after East Link is built, it will be the dawn of a new era. 2200 parking spaces for residents and workers near an East Link station?

      I was lied to.

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