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64 Replies to “News Roundup: 400 PPM”

  1. Hydrogen To The Rescue!

    Toyota Aids California’s Hydrogen Push With Station Funding

    Toyota Motor Corp. is funding a startup led by General Motors Co.’s former marketing chief to speed up the opening of hydrogen-fuel stations in California needed for zero-emission cars.

    Toyota is backing FirstElement Fuel, led by Joel Ewanick, with at least $7.2 million, according to letters filed with the California Energy Commission and obtained by Bloomberg News. FirstElement, based in Newport Beach, California, plans to operate pumps and sell hydrogen for passenger cars from at least 19 new stations in California.

    The Japanese automaker’s support for the closely held company comes as California provides grants worth $46.6 million for hydrogen-fuel stations that will help companies including Toyota, Hyundai Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. build a market for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles arriving this year and next.


    We’re getting eggs,,,now the chickens can hatch.

    Ewanick’s Calif. startup wins $27.6M grant for hydrogen filling stations

    A California startup headed by former Hyundai and General Motors marketing executive Joel Ewanick plans to install 19 hydrogen fuel filling stations for fuel cell vehicles starting next year in California.

    The company, FirstElement Fuel Inc., of which Ewanick is CEO, scored a $27.6 million grant Thursday from the California Energy Commission to kick-start the project.

    The stations will enable California residents to eventually drive their hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles anywhere in the state without having to worry about running out fuel, Ewanick told Automotive News.

    He said the company has selected the 19 locations and is ordering the fueling equipment, which takes months to build and install. The equipment will be located at existing filling stations.


    Joel Ewanick is my new hero.

    1. Fossil fuel scheme to attempt to suppress electric cars.

      There’s currently no renewably-generated hydrogen in the US; it’s nearly all fossil-fuel.

    1. “Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a news conference Wednesday that Talgo and the City of Milwaukee became good partners years ago, and that the end of that partnership means lost jobs and opportunities in a central city neighborhood that needs them.”

      A clear victory for Gov. Walker. Nowhere in the U.S. is the “war against cities” as pronounced as it is in WI. Milwaukee is a city under siege.

    2. I would have loved to get those things for expanded Cascades service, but at least they get to stretch their legs a bit and finally break 100mph!

  2. Correction: ST’s Northgate Link TBM, Brenda, was Dedicated this week, not Launched. Launch is planned for mid June.

  3. The buyer of one apartment building in the U District said the coming light rail line played a huge role in his company’s decision to buy the property, explaining, light rail “will allow University Manor to charge rents closer to those of downtown properties.”

    1. Guess the students will need light rail as well since they won’t be able to afford those newly revalued properties.

      Welcome to Angle Lake, Huskies!

    2. Lovely building. Not in great shape.

      Never underestimate the willingness of the greed-motivated to overestimate what they can charge for a sub-par property, to go into debt acquiring that property, and to lose their shirts.

      1. Not according to the tenants of many mid-century Ballard buildings, who have seen new owners literally double rents on objectively cruddy apartments, with no plans whatsoever for near-future rehabilitation.

      2. On a related note, there is a sudden increase in comically overpriced rental vacancies in Ballard.

  4. Did anyone notice the change in SoundTransit’s boring plan for the Northgate Link extension? Previously, the plan was for 2 boring machines to launch from Roosevelt to Huskie Stadium and a third machine was to bore both tunnels from Maple Leaf portal to Roosevelt. Now it appears that two machines will bore the whole tunnel from Maple Leaf. Any intelligence on the reason for the change?

      1. Could it have something to do with having moved the portal site? Originally it was going to be a bit further south I think.

        Hopefully launching two machines at once will speed up the process… assuming that they have not removed one of the drilling machines that was previously going to be used elsewhere…

      2. Is it possible that it will be much easier to pull the borer out at the edge of U Wash station, rather than out at either the Roosevelt station or the U District box?

  5. Mid 2000s, I graduated college and stuck around in my apartment on 7th, south of 45th in the U-District (opposite side of I-5), since rent was $800 total for a two bedroom, one bath (maybe 700 sq ft), top floor with a balcony facing south and views of downtown and the space needle (plus Ship Canal Bridge). Plus it had easy access to multiple transit options and a short walk from tons of cheap, good food and decent night life for someone my age. It allowed me to save up a bunch of money and move to a great neighborhood.

    The U-District will definitely not be affordable anymore. Kinda sad.

    1. But you can get a job at the cafeteria for $15/hr, and commute in on LINK from a low cost suburb.

    2. And my rent was $450 to $550 between 2003 and 2007 in First Hill and Summit. The steep climb only started a few years ago in 2011. It’s clearly due to either the tech industry expansion gobbling up vacancies, or the population:housing ratio just reaching a tipping point.

      Angle Lake Station and Lynnwood Station are going to become more of a necessity for UW students. Hopefully there will be some housing or frequent bus routes near them.

      1. Possibly also international students, some of whom come from wealth and tall cities, who find Seattle rents a bargain.

      2. I agree z7. That is one of the subtle changes that have slowly occurred over the last few years. The UW is no longer a typical state university. It is a mixed university, with a handful of state students paying low tuition, and a lot of out of state students paying high tuition. The end result is that the average family income of a student has gone way up.

  6. I’ll agree with Danny Westneat this far: you can’t generate a lot of political steam for a campaign to keep a bad situation as is, with no promise to improve after victory. Fair or not, main impression your audience takes is not that leadership has done its best and is now just being truthful.

    They’ll feel that you’ve decided to do not as much as you can, but as little as you feel like. Boxing fans will cheer louder for a fighter who gets flattened after a couple fierce rounds of fighting than for one who goes the whole fight covering up on the ropes.

    I agree completely with Goldy about next course of action for Seattle: take advantage of its own population’s solid support for public transit and see what it can build by itself. However, I’d take it a step farther. Some well-directed energy here will most likely end up bringing us success elsewhere. Vortex principle or induction principle- both work.

    I remember when the DSTT boring machine hit an underground river at Century Square, engineers redirected the water by running faster water through the site. They got the soil so dry it had to be re-moistened before digging commenced. Not a day’s work lost.

    Remember how many people on both sides of the city line have to cross it to make their living. While any more compromise is both self-defeating and impossible, might be good tactics to keep communications open with voters in the areas that voted wrong. Trying hard to keep history non OT, even in an open thread, a very large number of Southerners greeted the Union troops with gratitude.

    A little surprised that Goldy, with his excellent grasp of politics, missed one point: two thirds of the electorate didn’t even vote. Fifty-five percent of thirty eight percent shouldn’t be hard to beat next time. Especially if time in between is spent on a program worth the spit to seal the voting envelope.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Westneat just proves how incredibly blind the Urban Elite are to the changes of this region over the last 20 years.

      Saying that Prop One failed because of roads? Come on…the people who voted it down were everyone except Seattle…people who need their cars I bet you dollars to donuts that if you created a Prop 3 which was roads only, and funded by a tab fee, it would pass with flying colors!

      1. Better quit telling the Suburban Elite that either they don’t exist, or that they don’t really qualify as an Elite, or worst of all, that they’re a bunch of weenies compared to the Urban Elite.

        You’ll never eat lunch in a gated community again.


      2. No, Westneat is right. The proposition failed for a number of reasons. People hate car tabs, and they really don’t like a “per car” car tab. I don’t blame them, really. A car tab should be progressive (the more expensive the car, the more you pay). But no one talked about the roads part of this proposal. No one said “well, I don’t like paying for buses, but if it will help with the roads, then it is OK”. That was his point.

        A property tax is a much better tax (a capitol gains or income tax would be even better, but we don’t live in that kind of state). It won’t surprise me if the new proposal gets better numbers in Seattle, as a result.

      3. No one said “well, I don’t like paying for buses, but if it will help with the roads, then it is OK”.

        I’m sorry…was that one of the options on the ballot?

      4. Even worse, dissing the Suburban Elite will get you banned from the mall food courts; You may not even get seated at the Claim Jumper.

      5. They’ll refuse to give me one of those pagers that look like a beverage coaster.

      6. >>>> No one said “well, I don’t like paying for buses, but if it will help with the roads, then it is OK”.

        >> I’m sorry…was that one of the options on the ballot?

        Yes. It was the same vote as “I don’t like this tax, but I want the buses to keep running”.

        Almost all the editorials and discussions said precisely this: It is a bad tax, but necessary to keep the buses running. Everyone I talked to said the same thing. I have yet to hear anyone say they voted for it because it would mean more money for roads. Somehow the people who wanted the buses running were willing to stomach a bad tax, but the people who want more money for roads weren’t.

  7. Jane’s Walk is this weekend. Feet First has a variety of neighborhood walks scheduled on Saturday and Sunday in Seattle, Bellevue, Edmonds, Kenmore, and the Issaquah Highlands. It’s part of the annual commemoration of Jane Jacobs, which has similar walks on other cities around the world. Follow the link to RSVP for your favorite walk. Feet First walks are led by a trained guide who talks about the neighborhood’s features or its remaining pedestrian issues along the way. They are usually flat and easy, unlike some of the Seattle Transit Hikers’ walks.

  8. There’s been TONS of real estate investment in the U-District over the past decades or two.
    1) Have you seen what’s going on to the dorms south of campus park way?
    2) The new buildings on the Ave, Brooklyn and 12th between 45th and 50th? Also Seventh and 8th in that same cross streets.
    3) The new stuff near Cowen park?
    4) The stuff on roosevelt north of 50th?

    There’s probably lots of little stuff in the Square bounded by Roosevelt, 45th, 37th and I-5.

    It’s not like Ballard where a whole neighbourhood popped up out of no where, but part of that was the existing housing stock was a lot larger. But U-Districts being bubbling along steadily for some time.

      1. So crazy. I stayed in a two bedroom apartment on 19th and 53rd 15 years ago and the rent was $450 or something.

      2. Those rents are obscene! Greed is realy placating the rent market. I’m envisioning my rent going up when I renew, especially with North Link, Shoreline CC and lots of folks being pushed out of the City.

        ….but many like myself will pay for the increase to enjoy the 2.5 mile commute to work. I’m a firm believer of living where you work. Unfortunately, some cannot and are forced further into suburbia.

      3. The Kennedy Building is new, poorly designed, and located on a car sewer. I looked into it a while back and there’s no way I would ever rent from there. I *never* see anyone go in/come out of there, so while they act like there aren’t available units, I can’t believe it being more than half full. The same could be said about the AVA apartments that just got finaled.

      4. I had no idea how crazy rents on new construction had gotten. Makes me feel a bit better about the $2400/mo I’m paying for a 3 br house in Maple Leaf.

    1. I agree. In most cases, I don’t think Link has much to do with it. It is like a lot of the north end, booming because the UW and software companies nearby are doing really well. I think the proposed zoning changes are probably adding more fuel to the fire than Link. The Safeco building (now owned by the UW) stands out because they changed the zoning laws soon after it was built. Pretty soon, you may see similar (although slightly smaller) office towers. Where there are office towers, you see a big demand for housing. I’m sure some of the developers building apartments are cashing in on the high cost of rent right now and hoping that it will stay high once they add more office buildings.

      1. I would like to see a bunch more UW towers in the U-District, but apartments instead of office (or possibly office as well). Hopefully the increased supply will keep rents low for the people who can’t afford the neighborhood otherwise.

  9. I think it is time that we directly elect the board for Metro. There are so many issues that involve transit, and I don’t think the county council is up to it. They have plenty of other issues to deal with. We elect school boards, sheriffs and port commissioners. I think it makes just as much sense (if not more) to directly elect people who will manage Metro.

    One of the big benefits of having a directly elected board is that it kills one of the arguments against proposition one. Hopefully this isn’t the wave of the future (and we can get funding from the state). But if not, I don’t want to hear anyone say “I voted against the funding proposal because I hate the way Metro is run”. No, it makes sense to vote against it if you think Metro has enough money or you don’t like the tax proposal. But if you don’t like the way Metro is run, vote for a new board. This is the way that schools work, and it is a very simply argument. Right now, the rebuttal is essentially “if you don’t like the way that Metro is operated, vote for a new county council”. The problem with that argument is that this is only one of many issues facing the county, and a relatively small one.

    The board members would also serve on the Sound Transit board, which would serve as a good model for the other counties.

      1. You didn’t “address” why it is inaqeduate, you just stated it like it was a proven fact.

        Here’s another one. How would you accomplish this? You’d need a change in the County Charter, which the County Council would never propose. And, as we already have a representational elected board, you’d have a hard time getting a countywide citizens initiative together to push for essentially the same system.

    1. One of the big benefits of having a directly elected board is that it kills one of the arguments against proposition one.

      I don’t have any strong views on an elected Metro board, as I have not given the issue any thought. But I there’s a false premise here that needs to be exposed, and killed with fire: that we lost Prop. 1 due to “bad arguments”. This is an understandable way to think about politics, and a common one, but it traffics in a theory of voting behavior that pretty much never stands up to empirical scrutiny.

      In short: elections are about structural factors. Most demographics have predictable turnouts and behavior. We lost because of the special one-issue election, primarily, and because car tabs are an irrationally but uniquely hated tax. Arguments, for either side, almost certainly had nothing to do with it. Ditto the 2007/2008 ST2 results–it was about the electorate much more than the

      In my day job (Political Scientist) this is well understood: the main factor in determining the re-election of a president is not “arguments” or “ideas” but the state of the economy. Ideas and argument may, occasionally, matter at the margins, but the role they play in explaining electoral outcomes is really quite trivial.

      1. Really boneheadedly psychotic behavior can certainly lose an election for a candidate, regardless of how much the “state of the economy” seems to benefit them.

        I can think of a dozen examples of “it’s his/her race to lose… and he/she loses!”

        But that’s not at all the same as “ideas and arguments”. And ballot propositions don’t have the same “This guy’s a nutter” factor.

  10. This is something to think about, Ross, but it’s not a new discussion. The Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle was run by a board of people elected by officials of local governments, though, if my memory serves, not directly to run Metro only.

    I think that its concentration on transit and water quality only gave it some advantages over County government, for the reason that you mentioned, namely more intense focus. However, the reason the voters awarded King County these responsibilities was essentially that the working agreement between the member governments broke down- reflecting same condition in the attitudes of their own electorates.

    A judge’s decision that the popular vote was not properly represented could have been reversed by simply adding one or two members to the Metro Council. But the Council could not agree to do it, even with the agency’s life at stake.

    I think the strongest and most immediate counter-argument you’ll get is that an elected transit board will create one more group of officials who will now have to negotiate with another group of officials, who in turn will have to negotiate with all the interests whose discord put an end to Metro the First.

    If relations between Sound Transit and King County with joint responsibility over a single system, aren’t problematic enough add another staff to compete with existing ones and you’ll have an exponential increase in the bane (old English for poison) of present transit. “Sorry, different agency.” Only Dilbert’s colleague Wally thrives in this setup.

    However chosen, I really do think that integrating transit in general into a single regional agency would work best- Tri-Met? But again, that would presume geographically widespread political agreement first. These are really the very early days. So meantime, I think it’s perfectly right to deal with transit through city and county politics.

    One more thing: I watched first-hand as decision after critical decision on the Downtown Seattle Transit Project while the machines were still in the ground- and the Bredas being purchased- either get made or not by officials whose chief concern was “The ‘Governance’ Issue.” So I hate the word the way Juliet’s cousin Tybalt hated saying “Peace.”

    Mark Dublin

  11. In West Seattle, we’re seeing a lot of serious development going on along the California Ave strip, Avalon Way, and the Alaska Junction, not to mention the Whole Foods mixed development project at a busy Fauntleroy Way intersection—without definitive plans to run Link into West Seattle. Faith Based Developers?

    1. Ballard has seen the same for some time. At least there are plans for light rail to Ballard, but they could easily evaporate if ST3 never materializes.

      They are kind of in the same boat really… though Ballard has been seeing this massive build up for some time already.

      1. And “density” in West Seattle is still fundamentally scant, and two-dimensional. Travel half a block from any of the oft-cited ground zeros of W.S. “growth”, and you’re still in sprawl-even-by-Seattle-standards, most of which is being defended with pitchforks.

        I’m continually amazed that anyone with “East Coast” in his or her internet handle would be unable to recognize West Seattle’s supposed new “urban” form for what it is: sub-Redmond car-oriented suburban-value edge-city unsustainability.

    2. I think the only ‘faith’ those developers have is that they will make money. They are just using the zoning laws to their benefit. I do not think they have any thoughts about community impact nor transportation for the tenants of their constructs. They will have their money and be long gone while these buildings and their tenants with their unmet needs for parking and transportation go unfulfilled for…who knows how long. Boomtown Seattle. It’s how we do it here.

  12. Does anyone have a scan or picture of the old route 38 map just before it was dropped?

    Related: does anyone know if there is a place to look at previous route maps, timetables, and assorted historical things? Not necessarily from 30 years ago, but what the routes looked like in recent memory?

      1. That will do for my purposes, thanks a lot. I’m with you, having some sort of historical access would be awesome. I think I’ll send Metro an e-mail and see if they have anything. If they have recent-but-not-current timetables in paper form, I’d be happy to scan them in and make them available.

      2. As far as I know, you can’t. If you find a way, please do let me know.

    1. About 30 years ago when I was in college and metro headquarters was in the Exchange Building I would visit the Metro Library in said building. I would look through all kinds of files/boxes of old routes and timetables from yesteryears. When Metro moved their headquarters I inquired about the new/relocated library but got the impression that now it was staff only. Maybe it still exists, maybe their is still public access.

      1. I remember asking for this also a few years ago, and told that this sort of archive no longer existed. Too bad.

      2. I seem to recall there is a Seattle archive at the library. Check there…

      3. We have a pretty good archive of old timetables at our house. We also found a box of old timetables at a garage sale a few years back that had plenty of timetables from as far back as the mid-1960s If anyone is truly interested in old timetables, contact me.

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