63 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: The Angle Lake Construction Crane”

  1. So, question about future votes for future link extensions – one hidden problem with mustering up votes for transit extensions in areas without anywhere-to-anywhere demand (e.g. demand is very downtown-centric) is that residents areas which already have service have no reason to vote for or want to pay for extensions to areas that don’t.

    For instance, convincing someone in Tukwila to vote to a Link extension to Federal Way or Tacoma, or convincing someone in Lynnwood to vote for a Link extension to Everett is likely to be an extremely tough sell. Effectively, this means that each additional extension is going to be more difficult to muster up the votes than the one before it (unless of course, the area keeps sprawling outward so that people who don’t yet have service, but want it can always balance the “no” votes from people who have service already).

    Normally, I wouldn’t care, but if a line like the Ballard Spur is held hostage to stuff like this, you kind of have to start caring.

    1. Yes, that’s a big problem. It is possible that as the line gets close to the cities on the southern and northern end (Tacoma and Everett) that will correct itself (e. g. someone from Tukwila may want to get to Tacoma). But it is also quite likely that light rail will end before then. In my opinion it should, for the very reason you mentioned. If there aren’t that many people who want to get from Everett to Lynnwood, then there is no reason to have light rail all along there. Compounding the problem is that the population spreads out as well. There aren’t a series of smaller suburban towns, lined up in a neat row. This means that if you built light rail, and it was successful, most of the people would arrive to the station from a bus. For many of those riders, getting to a station is actually harder than simply heading downtown, via the freeway. When you consider that the final destination is downtown (as you mentioned) then continuing light rail just doesn’t make sense. It makes a lot more sense to figure out a good, convenient terminus. In the case of the southern end, I think somewhere close to the college makes sense (in Kent). Buses can then go the station, or just go to downtown directly (maybe have a mix of both). This means that the suburban areas should invest in bus improvements (HOV ramps, etc.) and better stations.

      1. If the line is a good line it will get support. For example the study numbers for Lynnwood/Everett and Burien/Renton are reasonably strong. Because of that a lot of people are going to see themselves using those lines. Also remember people might vote for ST3 not for the projects in their own sub-area but for projects elsewhere. For example someone in Lynnwood might not care about service to Everett but they might like that Ballard/Downtown serves the Seattle Center.

        Don’t forget that political support is important too, though sometimes that is directed toward weak projects like building link from Angle Lake to Tacoma.

      2. The “reasonably strong” northward study numbers are based on the cockeyed whole-cloth prediction that Everett is about to experience a 74% population jump.

        Anyone else’s head explode when they got that flyer in the mail?

        There’s some fringe wing within Sound Transit’s Department of Big Attention Grabbing Notions that has totally fucking lost touch with reality.

    2. I actually think the funding source affects votes more than the actual work program does. Car tabs have been toxic on both a Seattle-only transit proposal and a King County proposal. Car tabs will be even more toxic (as well as more regressive, based on higher suburban car ownership among the poor) in a 3-county vote.

      At the same time, the work program will have to include both rail construction and amped-up bus service. ST has long had plans for express service to Everett Boeing (which shouldn’t be that expensive if most of it is counter-peak service from the north end of Link). The idea of Tacoma-Bellevue express buses is being floated.

      TacomaTransit.com is doing some excellent goiing through the Pierce County portion of the long-range planning. It is definitely worth a browse.

    3. Few people have any problem paying for a whole network of Interstate highways extensive that, country western songs aside, few truckers have ever driven all of them. Of course, billing the whole thing as a defense expenditure doubtless helped build them. Maybe we can get “The National Defense Electric Rail Act”- with green and white shield signs with tracks under the numbers and catenary wire over them.

      A lot of the ridership will be between stations along the line- which along with separate urban areas that will likely grow around stations like raspberries along an underground “runner.”

      But- good point being raised along this particular runner: A train between Everett and Tacoma- let alone Olympia- will need two things: express track at key points, and also more comfortable seating.

      MD

  2. It’s interesting to me how they are doing this in such short sections, and from concrete. The current MAX line construction has one bridge with the same shape cross section, but it was made from approx. 100 foot sections of steel. I suppose with salt water nearby concrete is better?

      1. While this construction method is beautiful, I was trying to figure out the function of those spacers.

        They can’t be bearing vertical load because they’re hung from the trestles.

        So are the supposed to prevent sideways sway so the trestles don’t twist horizontally?

        Or will steel rods be inserted to turn it into pre-stressed concrete forming a sort of arch between them and the trestles?

    1. Na. I think it has more to do with whether or not you are building one short spam or miles of spans. Short? Steel makes sense. Miles pd identical spans? This system.

      I’m sure there are other factores too, but I doubt it has anything to do with saltwater

      This is the same method they used for the existing line between I-5 and the airport. What I found interesting about that project was that the overhead gantry is mobile and “walks” between the piers. And that the concret segments were built in eastern wa. They might hate mass transit over there, but they sure love the jobs.

    2. Concrete bridges are strengthened with steel rebar or cables, so the presence of salt water nearby does not prefer concrete construction. Actually, steel trusses can be easier to inspect for rust damage than pre or post-tensioned concrete structures. On the MAX line, I would suspect steel girders are used where concrete is impractical. First the span is too long for concrete, or the beam is curved which steel box beams can handle much better, or a gantry could not be used to hold the concrete segments. To respond to John Bailo’s comment, the trestle (the yellow steel truss) is the gantry that holds the concrete segments in place while they are aligned and then tensioned. Steel cables are inserted in holes through all the segments, you can see them being fed into the segments in this video, and then when they are all in place and aligned the cables are tightened. The cables turn the the individual concrete segments into a box beam that can handle vertical loads. (Think of a shelf of boxes. If you press hard enough on either side, you can remove the shelf, and the boxes will stay up. But you could replace your hands with a band of tape that ran along the bottom of the boxes, and the boxes would continue to stay up, the tape handling the tensile stress of the beam.)

      1. That it then. The bridge does have a curved segment. Another bridge further north is also curved , but they built it as a cast concrete structure, sort of like a standard highway overpass. The two other bridges were built with what appear to be standard highway structure components.

  3. I was in the area yesterday (live in Portland). And i have a question… 520 was closed, 2 lanes of I-5 were closed near I-90, and 2 lanes on the West Seattle Bridge were closed. AND on top of that, the Gay Pride parade / festival was yesterday as well. So here is my question… WHO IN THE WORLD planned this to be happening all at the same time? The mess was horrendous!

    1. The error was building the most dense place in the state on an isthmus bordered by a lake and a bay.

      After that … error piled upon error.

      1. I suspect our forefathers weren’t thinking about filling the entire isthmus. They were thinking where they wanted to live and work.

      2. Not true…the original main city was supposed to be Tacoma.

        It was the most sensible place for the port and the railway terminus.

        But Seattle hijacked those plans and routed the tracks to themselves.

      3. Tacoma did get the Northern Pacific, while Seattle got the Great Northern. And the Great Northern turned out to be the only transcontinental that never went bankrupt.

      4. Topologically, Tacoma would be a far better nub from which to build a world class, interconnected city.

        Seattle would be better off fading into a bucolic nature preserve..a giant park.

      5. When both were equally-small villages back in the 1800’s, you were probably right. However, Seattle has grown large enough now that it would be better to build on what’s there rather than tear it down (how? At what cost?) and try to move all the jobs down to Tacoma. I don’t think moving an urban center to a nearby locale has ever been done without either the entire region decaying or a game-changing technology such as railroads giving a huge boost to the new-coming city. If someone has such a technology in mind where Tacoma would have a lead, good luck. But otherwise, we need to play with the Seattlite hand we’re given.

    2. Pride Parade (a larger event, closing some downtown streets) is actually today. The Mariners played last night and this afternoon. But wait, it gets better: Seafair is upon us, and the Sounders will be back at the CLink starting October 13, to play the TImbers, Tottenham, and the Galaxy successive weeks.

      Some of the water-based construction work has to be scheduled around salmon runs, FWIW. (This contributed to the new South Park Bridge taking 4 years to build.)

      Your error was in driving up here instead of taking Amtrak, Greyhound, Boltbus, or flying. The mobility here is great, if you don’t insist on driving everywhere. The view along the way is better if you aren’t focused on steering your vehicle.

      If you insist on driving up, the hotels in Seatac tend to be a little cheaper, and most bundle a free parking spot. There are plenty of them within a short walk of Seatac/Airport Station.

      Another path, albeit slower, is to go around to the east side of the Sound, and take a ferry across. I’m pretty sure some of the downtown hotels offer parking, for a small charge. Or just cross from Kingston to Edmonds if you are trying to bypass Seattle.

      Sorry, but most gas stations don’t pump the gas for you.

      1. That’s the method I prefer, but the bus network is far from immune from traffic problems.

      2. True, but if you’re already in your car and coming from Portland, the option exists to park at TIBS and hop on Link, which should effectively bypass all traffic problems.

      3. Why does Metro use the very small buses on a Sunday when there is a very large number of riders going downtown to a very popular parade?

    3. I think they have some sort of Portlander detector that causes huge traffic jams every time someone from here visits there.

      The big problem is there are no good alternatives to the roads. Manhattan is probably worse in its location, but they have several good grade separated rail networks.

    4. Not to mention that the weather is “non-rain” consistently for only three months of the year, so all construction / revelry has to be pigeonholed into those twelve-ish weekends.

      But I dunno; I went to Redmond to see friends yesterday and the 545 was a champ. Very state function-y: I start in Seattle, I end in DT Redmond, and whatever happens in between — bridge closures, zombie parades — is not my business.

    5. Last weekend there was a parade and street festival, a marathon and more construction. We can’t stop the city just to improve bridge traffic. Plus summer is the whole point of living here!

      Personally I didn’t experience traffic either weekend because I figured out other ways to get around.

      1. Try coming to Portland during BridgePedal some year. I can’t imagine that being less frustrating than any event Seattle has held, with the possible exception of the Seahawks Parade.

        So it’s not like Portland doesn’t do this stuff too.

  4. http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2023936495_apartmentrentsurveyxml.html

    Ballard rents up over 12%, while vacancies increasing from 8.6% to 18%. In an imaginary, Capitalist world, the market would correct itself. But in the real world, I’m sure these newer, vacant buildings will just foreclose and somehow the taxpayers will be on the hook. So much for increased development leading to affordable housing. But at least we have aPodments!

    And of course, there’s still no mass transit in Ballard to show for all of this.

    1. I share your frustration….Real Estate doesn’t seem to operate by the traditional models of supply and demand as you would expect with iPods and tomatoes.

      Part of it is that the big money is so much bigger that you or I can imagine, that we aren’t competing with each other for these resources, but against a huge player who can sit on the property until its to his benefit to raise the price or sell the whole thing off.

      1. Real estate is subject to supply and demand but for a number of reasons it usually takes a while for prices to drop if vacancies remain high. If vacancies keep rising in Ballard first we’ll see new construction slow down, the rate of rent increases will slow, then flatten, then maybe drop.

    2. A new building puts 60 or 300 units on the market simultaneously. Of course it will take several months to fill up, and that skews the vacancy rate for a short time. But the normal Seattle vacancy rate is 5%: that’s the equilibrium where rents neither rise nor fall. Recently it has been around 4 or 3%. In the 2008 crash it went up to around 7% and took twy years to recover. So the fluctuation even with large changes in rent is only a few percent. If the vacancy rate were really 18% for months on end, there would be citywide panic and rents would be dropping like flies. So it’s just a very short-term fluctuation. Also, half the buildings in the Summit area would have “For Rent” signs one after the other every block, as they did in 2008.

      There is one other factor. Owners are chasing the very top of the market, especially with new buildings at $1500 minimum. There are only so many high-income people to go around, so they have to keep the units empty for a few months until they find someone. They seem to prefer that to lowering the rent, but eventually they’ll run out of rich people.

      1. Yup. You will probably see offers like one month free or reduced security deposit (for a year lease) if the excessive inventory in Ballard remains.

    3. It is easy to skew statistics by averaging the cost of rent in new housing with that of existing housing. If you can show the rent is rising in the already-existing housing (and rising faster than it would have if the new housing had not been built), then you may have a point.

      1. There’s a related issue though. There aren’t enough old units near frequent transit stops for everyone who wants to minimize car usage. That’s why there’s such a building frenzy, and expensive new buildings often replace inexpensive old buildings, much to John Fox’s ire. But usually those old buildings have few or very few units, because the population was much lower when they were built. So they just aren’t sufficient for the current population, thus we need new buildings, thus the average rent is rising.

        What I’d ideally wish is for: (A) comprehensive frequent transit in all neighborhoods including evenings/weekends like Seattle’s Transit Master Plan, David L’s network, or San Francisco; (B) upzone single-family blocks within the walk circles of frequent transit stops so that new expensive apartments can be built there rather than displacing old inexpensive apartments.

    4. The rents in Ballard aren’t actually going up that quickly. The statistics are only for buildings 50 units and larger, of which there are few in the base apartment supply for Ballard Every new building opening is disporportionately represented in the data cited.

      1. Moreover, the stats probably don’t include most renters living in what are presumed to be single-family houses. If you want a cheap room with a shared kitchen, old houses are still cheaper than apodments. If you insist on the privacy of a space with your own key, that will cost you a bit more, as it should. I’d put apodments between rooms in houses and 1-bedroom apartments in the swank-factor scale.

      2. Oh? Please tell that to the people getting displaced due to landlords raising rents to match the sky high rates of the new, luxury condos. I’m sure they’ll be relieved that it’s all in their heads.

      1. Kind of both. It’s a snapshot of one day in the future, showing what could be for the region. However, given the programs current limitations, I’m unable to show LINK and Sounder on the map, but the routes are designed as if they are there.

  5. It’s looking like the EXCLUSIVE Streetcar on 1st will be passed by the Council tomorrow as the “locally preferred alternative”:
    http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/centercityconnector.htm
    I was at the last public meeting and the “Exclusive” option had overwhelming support, so it’s great to see it becoming official.

    However, does anyone know if SDOT considered different channelization options for the Exclusive option? Specifically, putting both streetcar lanes on the same side of the street. Since they’ll be exclusive, it seems like this would work better instead of having the streetcar lanes sandwiched by general lane traffic:
    http://streetmix.net/-/143685
    http://streetmix.net/-/143686

    This would also seem to give way more flexibility to modify the configuration of the general lanes section in the future.
    Anybody know of a city that’s tried this?

    1. So does the Council have a “preferred alternative” for not taking five minutes to crawl from 1st to 5th at each end of the segment, thus rendering the “exclusiveness” of the easier middle segment pointless?

      Additional fun fact: without signal priority, trains in center reservations may be forced to wait through extra turn signals that render them just as slow as other on-street transit.

      You know how buses on 3rd often wind up hitting reds at every block of Belltown thanks to lousy signal timing, even when the street is virtually empty? Add in longer waits for turn signals. That’s your brilliant new streetcar.

      This remains a project that solves nothing on its way from nowhere to nowhere.

  6. I’ve seen a very similar construction method used in several states for building the ramps of highway interchanges.

    1. For all of the hype about Denver’s rate of transit expansion representing a cultural shift, the resulting hodgepodge is staggeringly useless, and ridership reflects this.

      Can’t go anywhere in-city; can’t connect well between any two lines; and even if you could, all you would be able to reach is yet another paved expanse in a different part of the sprawl.

      As many have notes in the comments to your linked article, Denver’s supposed remaking is overblown and the headline is clickbait of the highest order.

      We can’t learn by example if we insist that terrible examples are inherently laudable, just because they are extensive.

      1. Huh? What is shortsighted about calling out bullshit that is explicitly attempting to influence the conversation?

        Have you ever tried to use RTD rail to get anywhere? “Staggeringly useless” is about the gentlest description I could come up with.

        Non-commute/non-sporting-event ridership is justifiably nonexistent on the system. Going from the west side to Englewood? You’ll be waiting 30 minutes at your transfer point, even at rush hour. Heading to one of Denver proper’s busiest commercial areas (Colfax, Broadway)? Well fuck you, take a bus, which won’t even connect to the train.

        Denver has built itself a political system, a commuter-only system that’s weak sauce even for commuters, a system that underserves minority communities to a shocking degree… and that system is a boondoggle and failure.

        But Denver suburbanites, despite never riding the thing, are oddly proud of it. Good for them, I guess. But we are under no obligation to pretend what they built is effective, or to internet-froth over it as if they have achieved anything.

      2. I live in Denver right now, and d.p. is absolutely correct. If you happen to live on a light rail line that’s great, but somehow it managed to avoid all of the densest parts of the city aside from downtown—a consequence of running all of the trains along highways or freight lines.

        Despite being planned as a giant grid, there are only a couple bus lines that might be called “frequent” on evenings and weekends. The more common fate for a bus running along an arterial is half-hourly service during the day on weekdays, dropping to hourly or worse on nights and weekends. That’s in addition to numerous other boneheaded decisions such as ending bus routes a quarter mile from the next cross-route, crappy stop light timing, and no real-time arrival service.

    2. Denver’s rail expansion is indeed very impressive and illustrates that even in low-density regions like Denver, people will support transit expansion if it provides a worthwhile alternative to the car. Unfortunately, they seem to be too focused on suburban rail extensions at the expense of the bus network, which is necessary to connect riders to light rail. For example, Denver’s frequent bus network is actually quite small (map: http://beyonddc.com/log/?p=4612) and needs to be expanded significantly in order for transit ridership to improve further, both in the city and suburbs. The addition of frequent crosstown routes connecting to the new West LRT is a good step, but frequent transit coverage there remains low. Nevertheless, it’s great that there is still strong political support for transit in Denver, and I’m excited to see what happens next.

  7. There has been a lot of discussion recently over what Eastside projects should be included in ST3–there have even been concerns over not having enough projects to spend money on (!). Therefore, here is my proposal, which is heavily oriented around maximizing mobility for money spent. I assumed the mode to be high-quality BRT to take advantage of existing infrastructure and to save the cost of having to build rails, but if LRT or metro is found to generate more ridership for the same cost or to allow for higher speeds I would support that as well.

    https://a.tiles.mapbox.com/v3/joshua-f.iiiold3j/page.html#13/47.6795/-122.2286

    Thoughts?

  8. On a visit to Moscow, Russia in May, the experience of using the Metro subway over the course of a week in that very large urban region caused me to think about Seattle Transit Blog and Seattle Subway, and what the members want.

    In Moscow I experienced very crowded, very long trains, with headways of two minutes or less. Long escalators, three stories or more. People stand politely to the right on the escalators to let people pass, but most just stand and ride, with many focused on their smart phones. WiFi is being installed in the present day on all trains. Two rows of seats are on a train car, facing the center aisle, thus configured for maximum standing. No pushers needed to load the trains; people just wait for the next train. Fare was 30 rubles, a bit less than a U.S. dollar, always paid via RFID smart card.

    Eight million riders per day.

    The Moscow Metro provides a great way to get around, because, up on the street is very bad traffic congestion; by some accounts worst in the urban world. Travel times are often double free flow. The main streets in center city are very wide, built to provide passage to military formations back when there were fewer cars. Now filled with private cars of citizens, the expanding Russian middle class being the largest car market in Europe.

    Massive new and old high rise residential construction is within walking distance of many Metro stations. Sprawling suburbs of single family homes are further out. Four concentric beltways of highways characterize the regional road system, with many radials. I was staying with a family who lives way out in the suburbs who drove 45 minutes to a Metro park and ride lot that was not particularly large and not particularly busy given how much traffic I saw getting there and how crowded the trains were.

    And you’ll like this: a ring subway line provides access to the radial lines that converge on center city.

    Very interesting place to visit aside from seeing how a big city operates, which is reason enough, and also looking at what has happened since the national economic system changed.

    Google satellite maps and Google street view are instructive for a remote viewing experience for Moscow. The Wikipedia article on the Moscow subway is detailed and matches what I saw.

    I kept thinking that week, if you want to see a real subway, visit Moscow. It did not make me think, this is what we need in Seattle, any more than visiting NYC or San Francisco makes me think that!

    At this point I’m actually impatient to see the opening of our University subway extension in 2016 that is supposedly going to double ridership after a very brief passage of time, to see if I’m right or wrong about Seattle’s pending rail network being transformational (not likely).

    Anyway, travel and writing has kept me away from updating my long standing Seattle light rail ridership report, but I hear the patronage is doing just fine month over month, year over year, without me studying it! I’ll get back to that at some point.

    I like the idea of the Mariners playing well enough to make the fall playoffs, also helping to keep the Link ridership growing.

    1. One of the things I did notice on Google street view in Moscow (and also in St. Petersburg and Kiev) is that intersections in the city center are often lacking in crosswalks. Sometimes, the only way to cross a street is descend a staircase into a tunnel (presumably a subway station) and ascend another staircase on the other side. This seems like a huge nuisance just for crossing a street, especially for anyone carrying strollers or luggage.

      On a recent visit to London, things weren’t as bad – you could still cross the street at a crosswalk. But the signals were programmed to make you push a button and wait…and wait…and wait, sometimes over a minute. And to getting through London’s traffic circles required repeating the process multiple times. Oh, and in London, turning drivers absolutely do NOT yield to pedestrians. Yes, the underground is much better than Seattle on powered public transportation, but in terms of how easy it is to walk a mile in the middle of the city, Seattle is the clear winner.

    2. While a system that has 8 million riders a day may not necessarily be directly applicable to Seattle in all ways, each system all over the world has certain things it does that might be applicable to other systems.

      For example, with Moscow’s long escalators and the depth of some of the Link tunnel stations, imaging being able to have Moscow style stations that have access points cover a fairly significant area rather than just a vertical drop. Each crosswalk eliminated represents another minute or so of time savings plus the distance not having to be covered on sidewalks (and in Seattle that means climbing and descending steep hills).

      Imagine, for example, having a horizontal walkway that would feed from the ferry terminal to the Pioneer Square Link station, rather than go all the way up the hill and then drop down all those stairs.

    3. I was in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Podol’sk (a suburb an hour from Moscow on the “elektrichka” commuter rail) in 1995 and 96. It was extensive and well-used then, with trains every few minutes daytime, 10-minutes late evening. My biggest memory was often coming up to the top of the escalators and thirty people would be waiting for people to arrive, like at an airport. I also used to meet people at metro stations, because everyone knew where they were and they were convenient to get to.

      The fare was 1000 rubles (20 cents) although I had half- month passes. The side benches are like Orthodox churches, which have been like that for hundreds of years.

      “Eight million riders per day…. Sprawling suburbs of single family homes are further out. Four concentric beltways of highways characterize the regional road system, with many radials.”

      In the late 90s Moscow’s population was 7 million. There was one beltway called the Moscow Ring Road or MKAD. Outside it was a little development but not much. Later I heard of an MKAD 2, but not 3 or 4. And I didn’t see any single-family houses at all, not in the outskirts of Moscow or Peter or even in Podol’sk. Podol’sk was all 10-story buildings in the two neighborhoods I was. Some people went to dachas on the weekends, but nobody lived in houses except in small towns. The elektrichkas go out a hundred miles from the cities, and ran hourly.

      “Iintersections in the city center are often lacking in crosswalks. Sometimes, the only way to cross a street is descend a staircase into a tunnel (presumably a subway station) and ascend another staircase on the other side.”

      That is common, and they don’t have crosswalks. The biggest ones have metro entrances and small shops at the bottom, but most are just underpasses. I liked them better than crosswalks. Most of them were ramps not stairs I think.

      “Oh, and in London, turning drivers absolutely do NOT yield to pedestrians.”

      Moscow and England are the two places where cars scare me most. The drivers seem faster than elsewhere, and they’re directly next to the sidewalk. They will stop to avoid an accident, but only at the last second if they absolutely have to. Still, it was too scary for me to cross most streets except with a light or underpass.

      “the expanding Russian middle class being the largest car market in Europe.”

      The strangest thing I was was 10-story apartments with just a few cars in front, some of them with a vinyl cover in lieu of a garage. It was clear that the yards couldn’t possibly fit a car for even half the households, so I wondered what would happen between the car-haves and the car-want-to-haves when the yards filled up.

      Another thing in Podol’sk was large, water-filled potholes. We usually took the streetcar across town, but one day we drove to a wedding (the people I was with were getting married) and the car went in and out of potholes and I couldn’t believe it. (“Will the car make it? Do they do this every day?”)

      1. Driving in Paris — une seule fois, merci ! — was a challenge even to my Boston-honed aggression/creative spatial negotiation/crash-avoidance skills. But from a pedestrian vantage point, I haven’t found it too hard to absorb the parochial driving physics employed in most parts of the UK or Continental Europe, and to recalibrate my curbside intuition to match.

        I haven’t been to Russia, but I have it on good authority that there’s a whole different caliber of crazy going on behind the wheel there.

      2. Based on my travels (which aren’t all that extensive; I could be wrong in a bunch of ways!) I think the main difference in the walking experience between the “old world” and “new world” isn’t so much that the big nasty intersections are any nicer in the old, but that you don’t have to cross as many of them regularly.

      3. More on Moscow. At least when I was there, new “business centers” (highrise office clusters outside the center) and major sport facilities always came with a metro extension and station. The business owners (A) were proud to be on the metro — a selling point for their facility, and (B) considered it indispensible to bring workers and businessmen. No Boeings or Microsofts that required a car or vanpool to get to: companies wanted to be in the business centers and high-end malls at major metro stations.

        Underpasses: the larger ones make an H-shape underground, connecting all corners of the intersection to each other, so you don’t have to go down multiple underpasses.

        Old world driving: it was intimidatingly fast only in Russia and Britian. Not in Ireland, Germany, or Belgium.

  9. The Green Urbanization Myth
    Suburban Sprawl and Self-Driving Cars May Reverse Land Sparing Efforts

    Thanks to decoupling, the low-density metro areas will probably become even bigger and even less dense. As farmland on the periphery of metro areas is retired from agriculture, much of it will be converted into cheap housing, low-rent office parks and inexpensive production facilities.

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/voices/michael-lind/the-green-urbanization-myth

    I defined this new style beyond the suburbs as “Agraria”, in a thread here:

    http://you-read-it-here-first.com/viewtopic.php?t=3227&highlight=agraria&sid=6b64fac7301879206884e179bc68284e

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