35 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Potterstraat, Utrecht”

    1. In the film from the 1920s, at the 0:54 mark, they show an extraordinary number of bicyclists. It almost looked like they had a segregated cycle track as they are three abreast!

      However, I don’t see this in the subsequent lithographs or photos…they have only pedestrians and streetcars but are devoid of bicycles.

      Why do you think this is?

      1. If I had to guess, I’d suppose that in the 20’s, alternative parallel routes might have been cobblestone or unpaved, whereas now there are countless smooth paved bicycle routes.

        Perhaps the typical trip length changed to make commuter bicycling less practical. I suppose a lot of the bicylists bought cars when they became widely available post-war, and the automobile drove suburbanization.

        Or perhaps the 20’s images were simply the only ones taken at rush hour.

      2. @LackThereof: I strongly suspect it’s just that most people became rich enough to buy a car. Something similar seems to be happening in China today.

      3. See the 1962 still at 3:46. The moment they started to reclaim the city’s scale for non-motorized traffic, the bicycles began to return.

  1. Fascinating video.

    It’s a shame that so much destruction was wrought by 20th-century ideologues that the human scale had to be reinstalled from scratch. Those ideologues were sure they were chasing “progress”.

    Perhaps there’s a lesson in there for STB’s 21st-century ideologues, the “preserve nothing, enlarge everywhere” faction who would remake the world as an endless series of undifferentiated megablocks, fudging nominal density and pretending units of urban space are fungible. Because “progress”.

    Ideology does not great cities make.

  2. The Sound Transit Board and Operations Committee on Thursday:

    Approved a three-year contract with two one-year options to extend with Cambridge Systematics for software development and system integration services for the Regional Data Services project within the Research and Technology Program in the amount of $820,680 with a 15% contingency of $123,102, for a total authorized contract amount not to exceed $943,782.

    Does this mean it’s consultants that are developing/improving OneBusAway?

    1. If I recall correctly, actually I heard from Brian Ferris himself, that Cambridge Systematics had a part in implementing OneBusAway in New York City. So yeah, they’ve been developing OBA already.

  3. Royal Family takes public transit (why not Obama from SeaTac?)

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge surprised hundreds of commuters on Thursday as they joined poppy sellers at a High Street Kensington station.

    The royal couple travelled on a 1960s Routemaster bus to the tube station where they met military personnel and volunteers supporting London Poppy Day.


      1. No, not where he’s going, unless it’s very close to Montlake freeway station or Evergreen Point freeway station.

    1. At this point the Secret Service is too terrified to allow the President in any kind of situation it doesn’t control completely. The President can never be a public citizen anymore, and this is a great loss for the institution of the presidency and all of us.

      1. That’s been coming, of course, for fifty years and three days. My dad’s office was on the motorcade route in Detroit that FDR, Truman, Stevenson and Kennedy had taken to Cadillac Square to start their presidential campaigns. No one gave a hoot about dad. When LBJ was heading there in 1964 (renamed Kennedy Square), dad got a nice little visit from the Secret Service.

        On the other hand, I remember seeing Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the Monorail Station in the 80s.

      2. More Americans than Britons have guns, and some states refuse to close loopholes that allow would-be assassins to buy guns.

      3. You all know that there’s no regularly-scheduled bus route to the door of Buckingham Palace, and that the royal family rode no actual public bus, right?

  4. Anybody know if there are any plans for Publix Hotel or the stretch of rundown storefronts a block north on 5th Ave. South? Density advocates have to fight and claw for every bit of TOD here, and that’s two blocks already zoned for density, steps from downtown, and literally across the street from the largest transit hub in the region: Link, Amtrak, Sounder, BoltBus, and both local and regional bus service. Not to mention it’s an appallingly ugly gateway to both the ID and the city as a whole.

  5. I’ve noticed construction going on at some D Line stops. It looks like Orca readers are going in at:
    -15th & 80th SB
    -15th & 75th SB
    -15th & Market SB
    -15th & Emerson SB
    -15th & Armory SB
    -Mercer & 3rd W WB
    -3rd & Vine NB
    -3rd & Virginia NB

    Plus, all the downtown stops have their Orca reader foundations done (or nearly done).

    1. Does this mean they are no longer stupidly moving the SB 15/Market stop to the north side of the intersection?

      1. No, it’s moving to the north side of the intersection. The foundation for the Orca reader/tech pylon is in next to the new apartment building.

      2. Still boggles my mind how they would go through all the trouble to move RapidRide stops far sides of intersections and then spend much time and money moving arguably the most used stop to the near side!

  6. I just updated the PITF Central Link ridership page with plots of daily numbers through the end of this past September. See the lead story at http://www.bettertransport.info/. While the Sound Transit public relations machine is emphasizing year-over-year growth as ridership “matures,” my focus at PITF continues to be the lagging ridership compared to the forecasts that were used to justify Federal investment. This contrast between pre-construction forecasts and post-opening ridership is important in the hunt for Federal New Starts grant money to build the line to Lynnwood.

    The strong seasonal pattern of higher ridership in summer and lower in winter is being repeated from previous years this fall. The influence of events near the Stadium Station also continues to show. Seattle light rail achieved its highest one day ridership ever on the occasion of Paul McCartney’s concert at Safeco field on July 19, 2013, attracting 41,938 boardings.

    What Sound Transit could really use would be a winning Mariners team. I’d like that too.

    For purposes of understanding Sound Transit’s forecasting capabilities, it’s important to remember that the original forecast of 45,000 daily weekday average ridership for Airport to Westlake in 2020 assumed that there would no station at the Stadium. As events have turned out, Stadium has been a major source of ridership, even on the all-important weekdays. Also of interest is that Sound Transit’s biggest underestimation was for Airport ridership, where the 2020 forecasts have already been met and exceeded.

    Sound Transit is betting that the light rail ridership jump when the next extensions open will be huge, like a doubling. The agency plans for that extra ridership to boost the farebox recovery on Central Link from 27% — lousy for a light rail line — up to the 40% level set by Board policy in anticipation of ridership getting better and expenses not growing too much.

    1. John,

      As far as I know, the Link EIS also assumed that Metro would be truncating and rerouting buses to connect to Link, rather than running nearly parallel to it, as the 101 and 150 have been doing.

      Together, these two buses alone have over 12,000 riders. While I’m sure that some of these riders don’t ride the bus along the I-5 segment, I think it’s safe to assume that the majority of them do, and that the majority of those riders would have become Link riders if Metro had made those changes.

      I applaud you for trying to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the estimates and the reality. But if you’re dinging Sound Transit for the riders that they weren’t expecting to see at Stadium and Airport, don’t you think it’s fair to credit them for the riders they expected to see at Rainier Beach?

      1. As an addendum to this: to my knowledge, the ridership estimates for South Link and Lynnwood Link explicitly do *not* assume that Metro will be truncating or rerouting any buses, which makes them qualitatively different than the estimates that were used for Central Link. (The estimates for U-Link and North Link do assume that buses will be changed, but I’m sure you agree that it would be the height of insanity to continue running buses like the 73 and the 41 when Link can cover the same route in less time.)

  7. If all other funding options for Metro fail, has anyone considered the possibility of a bridge loan to allow Metro to squeak by at something close to its current level of service for two more years?

    Normally, I would argue that borrowing money to pay for routine bus operations is simply kicking the can down the road and creating a situation where even larger service cuts will be required later. Here, however, there are three unique situations that might possibly justify such a loan.

    First, interest rates are as low now as they are ever going to get. Second, the recession is over and sales taxes are rising again. Hopefully, higher tax revenues in 2016 will be able to pay back the loan and allow fewer service cuts. Third, a two-year bridge loan would buy time to allow the UW and Capitol Hill Link stations to open before the big cuts happen. This would allow a good chunk of service hours spend on the 43 or 71/72/73 to be redirected into other corridors. The net result would that the overall impacts of any service cuts would be a lot less.

    Obviously, a bridge loan is not a substitute for Metro to get a more stable funding source, but if the legislature gives us nothing and the TBD get voted down, a bridge loan could potentially be a viable emergency option that still beats 17% service cuts now.

    Anyone know if the bridge loan idea is feasible or even legal and, if so, what interest rate we would be expected to pay on it?

    1. Sam, you still haven’t followed my instructions to file a report on the conditions facing transit riders in Ulanbator. I’m not sure why you think we, and not you, are bound to follow instructions.

  8. Oran, I apologize if this has already been brought up or is off-topic, but I’m wondering if it would make sense for the frequent transit map to include the ST 590/592/594?

    1. I’m not Oran, but he’s set his definition of “frequent” at 15-minute service both ways. Looking at the combined 590/594 northbound schedule (the 592 doesn’t stop in Tacoma), there’re several half-hour gaps in the early afternoon, and frequent service from Tacoma stops at 6:00. It’s stupendously close to frequent – much more so than I thought! – but still not quite there.

      1. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks, William C.

        Which reminds me that I should add some mention of 510/511/512 peak-only operation to the map.

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