82 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Abundant Access”

  1. Excellent analysis. Three points stand out:

    1. How badly the habit of talking about matters in the abstract, and also as if the language of ordinary people just isn’t good enough to discuss anything really important.

    2. How many of our political conflicts are ideological mainly in the sense that they are generational.

    3. The implication of point 2. that good transit, and everything connected with it, depends on young people getting hold of the political power needed to bring these things about.

    The amount of political power in the hands of the AARP shows that the people who think traffic jams are freedom have long since known that.

    But the fact that some of the strongest advocates for good transit are well past retirement age indicates something else: that lowering AARP membership age to minimum voting age would produce an unbeatable coalition.

    Mark Dublin

    1. From what you’re saying, you could make the opposite point which is that transit is for people who do not have the ability or opportunity to drive!

      But what Jarrett seems to be saying is the old Bauhaus adage “Form Follows Function”.

      What works in a dense urban area is not the same as what works in a suburban rural area.

      For someone who has a car in a car-oriented low density suburb, they have “abundant access”. They may need more than one car to achieve it.

      He then says that for someone in a dense urban area, where car storage is pricey, transit becomes their form of abundant access.

      The issue here is for a variegated area like ours, how do you handle Regional Transit? The dense harshly condemn anyone who isn’t inside the density. The sparse people look at the high costs and wonder why they should pay more for less.

      Jarrett’s intellectual framework makes sense at the local circulator level, but I do not know if he provides an answer to developing a scheme that can serve across wide regions.

    2. Actually, the minimum age to be an associate member of AARP is 18. To be a full member, you have to be 50.

  2. The recent ST3 proposals for North & East King represent a lot of hard work as Sound Transit dutifully scorecards every conceivable alternative that is thrown their way. However, there are so many alternatives that the over-complexity makes interpretation difficult and may actually skew the results for ridership, etc. I think the task now for the KCC is to squeeze out the complexity-even to the point of over simplification-in order to achieve a coherent starting point, and then add complexity back in, piece by piece, as necessary.

    Here’s my stab at it:
    -Assume the C1 or C3 line for K-B-I.
    -Assume a truncated B2b line from UW station to South Kirkland (which becomes a transfer station to K-B-I) via exclusive 520 HOV lanes, and mixed over Montlake BLVD to UW station.
    -Assume Ballard to U-Dist via A3 (trains continuing to UW station via the currently planned tunnel).

    Score me, which should be easy to do with existing data from the Level 2 studies already completed.

    Now we have a simplified, coherent plan that is easy to conceptualize: a set of lines that are mutually reinforcing, reasonable cost, and hit most urban villages across a very wide area. And winnowing it down like this immediately highlights:
    -The Big Opportunity: A) Is it worthwhile in terms of ridership and convenience to redirect the K-B-I line south of Hospital to intersect with one of the downtown Bellevue stations, before continuing north to the already planned South Kirkland station (and the rest of the line)? B) Recalling that the SK station will be a transfer station to UW, is there capacity-driven need to extend the UW line south of SK station to the downtown Bellevue station by interlining with the K-B-I line?
    -The Big Headache: Of all the complexity that we started with, we really only have one big challenge in the entire system: how to gap the couple of hundred yards from UW station to 520. It’s probably not over (the bridge span would be some 150 feet when raised), it may be alongside in a new bridge…can it be under, surfacing in the HOV lanes from below? Or does it make sense turn UW station into a stub, and meet the Ballard line at U-Dist station by going around the south side of campus?

    Now score that. K-B-I through downtown Bellevue becomes a workhorse line that directly serves existing commute patterns through every East King urban village north of Renton (save Redmond), and engages directly with the UW segment. Moreover, they bring all of north Seattle/King and south Snohomish onto the ST grid, and beautifully tee up ST4 expansion up N-405 as the Totem Lake endpoint is already half the distance. If you told anyone on the eastside that they could have quick, reliable access between TL, DT Kirkland, DT Bellevue, Factoria/BCC, and Issaquah (and perhaps Samm), with a 10 minute transfer to UW and Seattle, and a 20 minute transfer to DT Redmond, I think you would have a mob scene on hand at the post office on election night.

    1. I think you are pretty dang close.
      I’d push C3 further west, and interline at South Bellevue, giving the shortest transfer to DT Seattle.

      A T needs to be added to the line pointing towards Renton, Exact location of this T will depend on how Factoria is served, I’d Guess that putting it on the ESR alignment would be a fair compromise, as the line could jump from ESR to I-405 running at Coal Creak if needed. (alternatively, the T could be at the west end of the Factoria station, and head south through Factoria, for an eventual second Factoria station, cutting over to a I-405, or ESR alignment at Coal Creak). East side would be promised the a Renton extension as part of ST4 if the funds are not sufficient in ST3.
      The Renton extension logically has to extend to TIBS.
      Once all 3 endpoints are in play (Kirkland, Issaquah, TIBS) Alternate trains would run to alternate endpoints (this could be adjusted for ridership patterns as needed). It may also make sense to run a couple of directs between Redmond and Issaquah an hour (during business hours), given that MSFT has a large workforce centered in Issaquah as well as main campus in Redmond.

    2. I was stunned ST had no rail alternative to Bellevue TC and I intend to put that in my comments. I think you’re suggesting what I assumed would be the most natural line: Issaquah, Eastgate, Factoria, then join East Link track at South Bellevue and leave it at Hospital, and on to Kirkland and Totem Lake.

      I’m nonplussed about the lines crossing only at Hospital. It could marginally work and I see the logic in the X pattern, but it forces people to transfer just to go one more station to Bellevue TC. That would cause some people to drive, probably more than those who demand shaving a couple minutes off Issaquah-Kirkland.

      1. Lor, Mike, I was simply thinking of a K-B-I line crossing 405 into downtown Bellevue (from east to west) between Main & NE 4th, connecting with an already planned downtown station, and then proceeding up Bellevue Way to a South Kirkland station at 520 (over, under, or surface). I took that simply approach to A) keep the focus on my point about the need to incorporate downtown Bellevue, and B) stay away from re-opening the neighborhood politics of running additional trains along East Link if K-B-I connected instead near I-90.

        But that was just to serve my point. If your preferred connection point is further south, then by all means…

      2. Considering that the downtown Bellevue Link station isn’t all that much closer to real downtown than the hospital station, one could almost argue that simply walking from the hospital station might be just as fast as transferring. Especially if one’s actual destination is anywhere north of NE 8th St. (tip: take 10th St., as the crossing of 8th St. over 405 is horrible for pedestrians. 10th is much better).

  3. I’m pretty picky about food especially meat and seafood. I’ve developed a network of places that I will buy from and they span out in different directions from my apartment here in 98030. I cannot think of how any type of transit could be used in my food buying that would give me the choice and reach that a car does, or provide the speed with which to return home with these fresh meats not spoiling. (Put another way: How do you bring back fresh seafood or frozen vegetables with a 1 hour transit trip on a bus?)

    So part of the transit vs. car issue is that a car gives a person far more economic choice than being in a captive dense urban area.

    1. Someone in a dense urban area, though, would have more food stores nearby. With a good transit network, he could buy from almost anywhere in the city without hour-long trips.

      (And even so, have you really found that meat spoils in an hour if you don’t get it back home? When I was growing up, my mother used to run a number of errands in sequence, and groceries often sat in the car for over an hour.)

      1. That’s somewhat true…when I stayed at an AirBnb in Yaletown, Vancouver, BC, there was a quite good market just around the corner.

        However, the cost of the place I was staying in was something like $750,000.

        I often wonder — can we build somewhat dense living but on low cost land, and keep the costs low? Say, for instance, I am willing to eschew the natural features that make many cities pricey — like beaches, waterfronts, mountain views — and even the big ticket items like Pro sports arenas, but simply want the organic city life that comes from a certain amount of density. Can costs be low? If judged by square footage, it would seem that such Generic Cities should be very inexpensive places in which to live.

      2. It’s strange how JB seems to increasingly be asking for what the urbanists want to do, but screams NO!!! whenever they try to do it.

      3. Mike,

        I perhaps said to do what urbanists do, but at not such a high cost, or on as large a scale, (and maybe not as stridently, both in design and tone).

      4. We need something concrete so we’re all taking about the same thing. Shall we say midrise (10 stories) in suburban centers (downtown Renton and Burien, Kent Station) and lowrise (4 stories) in the neighborhoods (104th, Midway). That would provide a lot more housing on easy-to-serve transit corridors. Tukwila’s future neighborhood can have a 10-story core and 4-story periphery near its Sounder station.

        This would be less expensive than Seattle because it’s not Seattle, and doesn’t have views of the Sound. However, it would be more expensive than 1970s apartments because it’s not 1970s apartments. What we should have done was build those urban villages and “Main Street Southcenter” in the 70s when land was cheap. Then you could have it all. Failing that, the suburbs should have done this in the 1990s, and they could have leveraged the 00’s real-estate boom. Rather than squandering it on sprawl in Covington and Maple Valley. Europe built on this compact design, which used to be American traditional design too, and as a result its cities are more liveable.

      5. I guess I’m thinking of a completely new place…could be in the middle of Oklahoma.

        Design it from the ground up.

        Have the street topology in place before the people or transit is installed.

        Include the possibility of 21st century technology like self-driving cars and quadcopter delivery vehicles.

        Make it for 50,000 people or so.

      1. It’s called air conditioning….don’t know if it was installed on the 1973 LTD rust bucket your mother gave you.

      2. It’s called sunlight. Straight from the sky to your sealed metal cauldron, as you slog along your treeless asphalt expanse.

        Or do you air condition down to 32 Fahrenheit? How does that work, exactly?

      3. That’s nice. I walk 3-12 minutes from any of four grocery stores (or take a now-frequent bus 10 minutes from the all-natural-foods fifth option).

        Then I put my stuff directly in the fridge.

        [ad hom]

    2. Or, how can I buy a gallon of ice cream and take it home for my family via transit?

      Simplest solution: move to Paris.

      More difficult solution: move Paris to Kent.

      1. Is the name Jarrett “Walker” an aptronym? The topic of his speeches is transit, but in reality, his vision is more about using shoe leather than vehicles.

    3. You’re not picky about meat and seafood. I’m picky about meat and seafood.

      When I moved within a few blocks of where my job moved to, I had to start doing all my grocery runs on transit. It has been doable by Link, with an infrequent bus connection.

      My only disaster was having some ice cream melt when I didn’t beat Torchlight Parade, and my bus didn’t show up for three hours. So, I jumped on Link, and watched the parade — not a bad consolation for the ice cream that I was able to refreeze later, and ended up tasting just as good.

      1. Heh heh heh. My one attempt to use transit for grocery shopping (since it’s mandatory for me to drive to work most days, scattered site visits and such–I can always stop at a store on the way home) was a trip up Madison one summer day on the 11 to Trader Joe’s. Despite the scheduled frequency of the route at that time, the buses were so bunched up heading east that I did lose a decent amount of frozen food by the time something actually appeared. Should’ve walked home or at least walked to John where I could’ve caught the 8 at least partway home, but as a new resident in that area I had faith in the 11…and the 11 definitely is not a faith-based route!

    4. John: The efforts at improving transit in some cities in Europe have been aimed at making transit competitive or faster than driving over the same distance. If this philosophy ever comes to North America then it would increase the ability of those living within reach of those lines to get what they need where and when they need it.

      In the meantime, should you find yourself having to make an hour long trip by any means to get a box of raw fish or something, remember that Baskin Robbins stores typically also sell dry ice.

      1. Maybe some Kickstarter group needs to invent a portable USB powered cooler, and have all trains and buses equipped with outlets.

    5. I’m picky about food as well. However, I after living car-free for nearly 4 years, the number of hour-long bus rides I taken to get food is zero and the number of bus trips with groceries in tow almost zero.

      The reason why is that when I made the decision to live where I do, I considered the location of stores I visit frequently, and made sure to choose a home so that I could walk to them. And, because I chose a home in Seattle, not Kent, I don’t need to choose between being able to walk to the grocery store and being able to walk anywhere else. Yes, Seattle costs more per square foot, but being able to walk to places is a convenience worth paying for. Even if the money I spent on a 1,000 square foot condo in Seattle could have bought a 2,000 square foot house in Kent, it would not have been worth it, as it would have entailed giving up things I value (living in a walkable neighborhood) for extra space I don’t need nor want to maintain.

      Even shopping for unusual items that can’t be bought at a store close to home has, thus far, never resulted in a hour-each-way transit saga. It’s much easier to just shop by computer on Amazon or some other website and have them deliver it. Even if the shipping costs more than the gas to drive the round trip, it’s still negligible compared to what a car costs.

  4. I noticed that there are external ORCA readers set up on a platform on the South Lake Union Streetcar. They are covered with plastic. I wonder how that is going to work with Amazon employees. Do they all have Metro passes? I imagine they are used to hopping on and off without having to click/flash anything for years now.

  5. Question about why transit agencies ask the public what type and level of transit they want.

    Historically, the public was not asked where new freeways should be laid or how wide they should be. People were also not asked where electric or water lines should be go, and a poll was not taken as to what type of pipe or power line should be used. So why do transit agencies ask the public which alignment they prefer and what mode they like best? Like water and electricity, isn’t transit more science than art, and shouldn’t densities and commuting patterns dictate which mode is used and where it goes?

    1. …actually, cities do ask people whether they prefer overhead power lines or buried conduits.

  6. Depends on how far back into history you want to go. I think here in the Pacific Northwest there was somewhat of a change in philosophy when the Mt. Hood Freeway in Portland was cancelled due to vast public protests. Major new freeway projects (rather than expand existing highways or improve existing highways to freeway type quality) haven’t happened a lot since then in either state.

    1. Glenn, so you’re saying my premise is incorrect? That, in fact, freeway, water, and power line alignments are brought before the court of public opinion just as much, if not more so, than a public transit alignments, like ST’s options and long range plans they want feedback on? And that we are asked what type of water main should be laid, and what voltage power line should be used, and to what towns and cities they should go?

    2. If you want to build a new freeway or power line or water line, you’ll run into the same issues as a rail line. The reason new power and water lines don’t become big controversies is they’re being built not in established neighborhoods which already have them, but in greenfield areas where there’s nobody to complain. The voltage was set decades ago by the national standard. We don’t vote on power or water lines because the cities and existing ratepayers subsidize them.

      1. “The reason new power and water lines don’t become big controversies is they’re being built not in established neighborhoods which already have them”

        This is worth emphasizing. When the suburbs were built, power lines, water lines, roads, schools, everything was built along with them EXCEPT transit rights of way. Now they’ve grown enough and gotten congested enough that we have to retrofit that right of way.

        They could have put their downtowns and neighborhoods next to existing railroad tracks, and then it would have been easy to serve them. But instead they ignored the railroad lines and built their neighborhoods in random places, and that’s why it’s so hard to install good transit to them.

      2. Mike, but they don’t ask lay people what size pipe they should use, or what kind of electric transmission line is needed. What I’m asking is why do transit agencies ask us what mode we prefer and where it should go? Shouldn’t that be objectively determined by densities and commenting patterns?

      3. Sam: Because this state has decided that public transit funding must always go before the voters. Everything else you mentioned does not, though some public input is sought and there’s always the question of lawsuits. Since voters must always approve any public transit funding, the voters must be catered to.

        (Like hatred of vehicle registration fees, I cannot understand Washington State’s obsession with having a public vote on every law or rule of consequence. I seem to recall that’s why we elect representatives.)

      4. Federally funded projects have to go through a process these days. It is incorrectly named Environmental Impact Statement when much of it has to do with NIMBYism. If you don’t seek federal funds, you don’t necessarily have to do this process.

        As we write this, one of my relatives is being subjected to constant pile driving noise from a Lake Oswego water project. Somehow, they were able to come up with a project that had no impact in Lake Oswego but instead was routed through other communities. Thus, it circumvented the normal public review process even required for local money with no federal involvement.

      5. Sam, you are being lazy again and expecting others to do your work. Try googling “opposition to new power lines” and then tell us that power companies don’t have to consult with communities about where new power lines are located. The power transmission grid is another national infrastructure item that is in desperate need of modernization and expansion. Like oil pipelines and railroads, there is plenty of discussion and opposition about where to build the new lines and how they will impact the environment. The power companies also have to deal with the public when they build power generating plants–and that process is much more difficult than building a new rail line.

    3. lakecity, finding an exception to the rule is what everyone on this blog does. I lose respect for people who do it. No, power companies do not ask people where power lines should go and what level of voltage they should be. In the future, if you want to earn my respect, don’t scramble to find an exception to the rule.

      1. The PSE Eastside power line project is the first major expansion of the power grid in the ‘burbs in the last 40 years. I refuse to conduct research from prior to my being born unless I’m either being paid for it or earning a degree from it. That project has significant public involvement, a large quantity of alternative route choices, and several major groups agitating for and against some of the choices. The map of routes even looks an awful lot like the Sound Transit rail proposals. We don’t ask the public what voltage to use on the suburban electric wires any more than we ask them what width of rail to use for light rail.

  7. I noticed that Metro was using 40′ coaches on the 16 yesterday and they were packed to the gills as folks made their way to the Solstice Parade. I know they’re aware of these festivals because I get alerts about route disruptions but there seems to be an ongoing inability to do anything to increase capacity around these summer events – even something as simple as swapping out larger buses for the ones they usually run.

    1. Do they ever run 60 foot buses? It may have something to do with the routing it’s on. If the streets are too narrow they can’t use the bigger buses. Metro has a listing of which routes can handle each of the different types so if the need arises they know which buses can be used on a route. For instance the 166 and 169 never has a 60 footer assigned to it but one time there was a service disruption and they replaced them with 60 footers that were otherwise deadheading back to base.

    2. The 8 ran with 40′ coaches yesterday, and they were packed / passing-up customers. It is usually 60′ on weekdays, but I’m not sure whether they run 40′ or 60′ on Saturdays. It’s frustrating especially when there’s a lot of transit demand.

      I read here that Metro intentionally runs 40′ coaches on routes affected by events since a 40′ coach is more likely to fit through an intersection. The idea was that if a driver has to worry about making sure his/her 60′ coach doesn’t block the box, they will never get through the intersection.

      1. I think the 8 is always 40′ buses on Saturdays and Sundays. Ridiculous when there are major events at Seattle Center, they’re usually full even before getting to Denny & Broad. Sunday events are particularly bad since they only run every 30 minutes.

    3. Metro also uses the very short buses on the 48 on Sundays, when it only runs every 30 minutes. This makes no sense, there is often standing room only, especially near the Greenlake area.

  8. I’ve been seeing No Rail Yard signs going up in Bellevue. I looked up the web address on one of the yard signs and it took me to this website. For those not familiar with the area outlined in red on the map, it’s about a mile or two west of the Fred Meyer and Sears. Some of the businesses in the red outline are Acura of Bellevue and Park Place Motors.

    http://www.norailyard520.org

    1. I sent Sound Transit an e-mail saying that they should approve the rail yard at that site in Bellevue. If Bellevue wants Light Rail, it doesn’t get to fob off the ancillary support structure and/or the costs of having the maintenance base elsewhere.

      1. In my expert opinion, this is not a smart place for a rail yard. There are many reasons, but the first one is it’s taking property that is currently producing property tax revenue and turning into property that is exempt from property taxes. As an award-winning economist, I can tell you that is fiduciarily irresponsible. My idea is to turn one of the bus bases on 124th ave. into a rail yard.

      2. >My idea is to turn one of the bus bases on 124th ave. into a rail yard.

        Sounds good at first glance. Where would you put the replacement bus base, though?

      3. There’s also some huge self storage warehouses nearby as well. Those could be put above a light rail storage yard and nobody would really notice that much.

        There are also some huge parking lots out towards 148th that no one would notice really if they had a storage yard put under them.

    2. I would put the replacement bus base either on top or below the remaining base. They have 10 years to design and build it. That should be enough time. And after East Link opens, they will probably reduce the number of buses they’ll need to park at the bases. For example, the 550 will be deleted, correct?

      1. Hm. I guess it’s worth considering whether it’d be less expensive to make a double-decked base than buy more land elsewhere, but I doubt it’d be worth it. Keep in mind that buses are heavy, so a parking garage stretching across that much land would be really expensive.

        As for the number of buses, that’s a good question. Bellevue’s TMP recommends redeploying the service hours elsewhere on the Eastside, where they’ll arguably do good even today and will definitely be needed if the 15% cuts go through. I’m sure many commenters here support that plan.

  9. Apartment rents, occupancy rates keep rising in Seattle

    Ben Miller
    Contributing Editor- Puget Sound Business Journal
    Email

    If you’re a renter or looking for an apartment in Seattle, you probably know this: rents are rising and so are occupancy rates.

    Effective rent growth has increased 7.1 percent so far in 2014, and apartment occupancy levels in Seattle are at 96.4 percent, even though new apartments keep coming onto the market.

    According to apartment market research firm Axiometrics, Seattle’s expanding job market is the reason.

    “New supply continues being added to the market, yet it’s leased up as quickly as it opens. This can be attributed to the Seattle area’s continued positive job growth,” said Stephanie McCleskey, Axiometrics’ director of research, in a statement.

    But with 9,000 new apartment units opening this year, effective rent growth will moderate soon.

    “Given the supply to be delivered, this type of rent growth is not sustainable in the long term,” McCleskey said.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/m…rising-in.html

  10. Perhaps this is a silly question but is it hypocritical to still support replacing Sounder North with express buses after riding it twice Friday?

    Just wonder what your thoughts are. I rode Sounder North round-trip Everett-Mukilteo. Nice, clean ride with okay views and even seats with tables. Toilet was nice touch (and I wish express buses had them), but wish we had WiFi on the Sounder car I was on.

    1. Even though the per-passenger subsidy of Sounder north is a ridiculous $32 per trip, it’s not as though each additional passenger trip is costing Sound Transit an additional $32. Since the train is going to run anyway, with or without you, there is no reason to feel guilty or hypocritical in using it for the few cases it makes sense.

      1. $32 is a lot of money wasted. If that money was spent instead on link we could be building out towards everett on st2. Way to go north line.

    2. If Sounder North does go away someday, that’s all the more reason to enjoy it now. I’ve taken Amtrak to Vancouver BC so many times I don’t need to see the bay again on Sounder. My first trip on the Empire Builder was motivated by the fear it would be canceled soon.

      The one time I felt guilt like yours was when I took the 218 to the Issaquah Highlands, after spending so many years arguing about the evils of cheap peak expresses. But it’s good to have firsthand experience with what you’re against. For instance, I learned that it’s full, not just a few riders, and I’ve since seen that other peak expresses are the same. Second, I learned some things about its 30 minute travel time vs the 554’s 50 minutes (and 20 of those minutes is slogging through Issaquah. I don’t know how the Issaquahites put up with that. The Issaquah TC is in a really bad location.)

      1. I think they’re confusing Sounder with Link. In 2020, the at-grade portion of Link will be isolated – there won’t be any track north of Lynnwood, and Sounder trains won’t fit through the tunnel south of Maple Leaf – so Sounder can’t run on that track. Of course, Link to Lynnwood could motivate ST to just cancel Sounder North; I wouldn’t object to that. But it won’t move inland.

      2. It is confused, and the date is 2023 not 2020. But we take it to mean replacing Sounder trips with Link trips, with express buses from Edmonds and Mukilteo and Everett to Lynnwood and MT stations, then — why don’t we just anticipate it by a few years and replace Sounder North with ST Express now? If the Mayor of Edmonds and other influential people are really OK with phasing out Sounder North, then why don’t we start talking about when and how?

        However, the ST board doesn’t believe there’s sufficient will to cancel Sounder North, and Snohomish-subarea politicians are on the ST board, so I don’t see ST changing its mind. ST’s position seems to be that it would contradict previous voter-approved plans, so “against the will of the people”. It would take overwhelming public feedback to make it change its mind.

      3. Jim, thanks for the links and thoughts. Much appreciate, will sign the petition at the link. Edmonds and other communities deserve better than at-grade railroads ripping communities apart.

        Mike, I’m with you on cancelling Sounder North if we can substitute it for something better. Transit opponents are going to point to Sounder North as an excuse to spin transit as pork spending, something we just don’t need. We also need to have as much trade to make to get a ST3 that’s going to be great…

      4. You guys are kidding, right?

        You read the link,
        did you think to investigate even the minor technicalities of the proposal?

        Are you so focussed on dropping Sounder North that you overlook everything else?

  11. WTF is up with Seattle’s inability to move people around? Our city comes to a literal standstill when one state highway closes in one direction, and we can’t effectively get people to/from a 30,000 person festival. As if the traffic disaster on the 10th wasn’t enough, this weekend was so messed up, but it wouldn’t have been so if we were more like Vancouver, BC. They were able to provide a peak of 800,000 Skytrain rides and a million bus rides a day during the 2010 Olympics. I was there during the Olympics, and the city was totally functional. I can’t imagine Seattle hosting an event a fraction of that size.

    This weekend really drove home to me how desperately we need grade-separated transit, and we need it now. Not in 20 years, but NOW. We should have built a subway / elevated train system 50 years ago. We still haven’t opened a line through the most densely populated neighborhood in Seattle (holy Jesus, 2016 can’t come soon enough) and we are only now just talking about possibly, maybe building a hopefully grade-separated line to some of the other top 10 most dense, transit-friendly neighborhoods in Seattle by 2030 at the earliest, but only if all of the stars align, the state legislature cooperates, and voters in Orting and Mill Creek sign off on it.

    I was stewing about this, how G.D. stupid we are, when I saw this link reposted by Seattle Subway. It’s good to know I wasn’t the only one upset with everything this weekend:

    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/06/22/this-weekends-nightmare-traffic-why-wont-our-leaders-build-light-rail-faster

    1. Many of the comments on that article are depressing. If that’s how a cross-section of people feel, I see why we don’t have a better transportation system here.

      1. I totally agree that the comments in the SLOG are truly awful, but it’s definitely not a cross-section of actual public opinion. The trolls over there have essentially won, and so all you get is troll-on-troll shouting, and no one else can stand to be in a forum with them.

      2. The author Dominic Holden was in a panel discussion at Rail~volution about local transit issues, and he said, “Our comments area is a cesspool! We don’t delete anything.” So there you go.

    1. Muckraking journalism. The 520 site isn’t the best site for the OMSF, the BNSF site is. And ST will pay relocation expenses for displaced businesses.

      1. The article points out that ST can (or will) only pay up to $50,000 for the interior buildout in a new space, and that this business says that will not be enough to replicate a space for their unique needs. If this is true, this is a serious deficiency in their compensation policy. If ST’s policy won’t allow them to adequately compensate an affected business when they use eminent domain to acquire land, that’s a problem. Further, given the nature of this business, this is pretty awful PR for ST. I imagine that, because of this article, if ST chooses this site they will have to make an exception.

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