Seattle Transit 643 at Seattle Center

This is an open thread.

105 Replies to “News Roundup: Today”

  1. Has anyone had any success in finding the fleet roster for Community Transit? It’s the last missing piece I need for the Wikipedia article.

      1. Most transit agencies have a public inventory in their annual report or transit development plan, which are usually published online. CT doesn’t have a detailed fleet section in either of theirs.

        I contacted them twice via email and have yet to get a response.

    1. I hate to say it, but most of Westneat’s assessments in his follow-up/non-apology are accurate, with the glaring exception of his weird suggestion that a 20% reduction in Metro’s funding hole should make voters think they were lying about the other 80%.

      But the crux of his writing is that riders — current or potential — are close to hitting that wall where they will be unable to find the will to give ever more money to Metro for the preservation of a fundamentally dysfunctional network. And he’s right. Ever since the Rassmussen Keep Metro Suck Forever Amendment, it causes me heart palpitations and stomach upset to think about voting “yes”.

      The Desmonds and the Rassmussens need to start taking seriously the voices of riders with unmet needs, and the stopgap-measures and future fare increases need to come with explicit promises of a streamlined network whose mobility gains will be palpable. Westneat is correct: the status quo is a losing strategy.

      1. It’ll only make a difference when people like you outnumber the status-quo advocates who are canceling out your vote and getting the councilmembers worried about their reelection. And it’s not “forever”. It’s only for this supplemental funding which expires in 2020 or so.

      2. Metro cannot survive continuing to suck this much, as traffic ratchets ever higher, for another six years.

        Sorry. NO.

      3. d.p., I’d be right with you if I believed this was the message Metro and the Council would take from the proposition failing. But given that it’s hardly ever been publicized by anyone anywhere except for your commenting on this blog – at least, not in any form distinguishable from a general “I don’t like Metro” – they’ll see the failure as a general not liking Metro. And that would mean they’ll double down even harder on keeping current riders. So, the proposition failing will make things even worse.

      4. If the proposition fails, Metro restructures significantly, and in ways that genuinely look like the bones of a good core-service network that can be bolstered into a robust high-frequency system whenever Metro finally gets its funding (and efficiency, and heavily cash-penalized, and low-floor-primacy-on-cores, and no more excuses for retaining shitty drivers) house in order.

        I’m not saying you need to agree with me, but the case for giving the network some shock therapy is a real one. And this referendum is being specifically geared towards the opposite.

    1. While King5 is terrible at reporting accurately and fairly on cycling, I’m going to side with them on this one. King5 was correct in stating that you can’t stop in a crosswalk and you must use turn signals. SBB just uses a straw man argument to use slightly different versions of the infractions to discredit King5. However, King5 did at first incorrectly state that cyclist cannot use sidewalks (something I’ve been yelled at many times before).

      1. You know I love you, RapidRider, but Seattle Bike Blog is correct on the turn signals. As they point out, SMC 11.44.140 states “Such hand signals shall be given continuously during the last one hundred feet traveled by the bicycle before initiation of a turn, unless during the last one hundred feet both hands are needed to control or operate the bicycle.” That’s incredibly pertinent information that King5 left out. Also, it appears that Seattle Bike Blog were the ones who corrected King5’s blatant misinformation regarding sidewalk law. I’m going to go with Al on this one, and get my information from the media source who’s shown they know what they’re talking about: the Seattle Bike Blog.

      2. @LWC The feeling’s mutual, but I think the problem is that very few cyclists signal, whether within the last 100′ or not. King5’s statement was definitely overreaching and pointed and SBB was playing the apologist. The truth was somewhere in between.

        As a cyclist, it’s been an issue where other cyclists turn in front of me with no warning. For drivers, it’s at least something to give them a heads up to be aware of the cyclist making a turn.

        And I’d also like to add that I think enforcement definitely needs to step up for car drivers too. The amount of moving violations for cars appears to have increased significantly over the past few years and cyclist shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of the enforcement.

      3. I too am a daily cyclist who gets incredibly frustrated by those who run lights and weave dangerously. It’s a classic speck-plank problem, and we would do well to put our own house in order first before demanding better of others. The ill will generated by blowing through a light easily exceeds the 30 seconds you save. Conversely, the good will generated by being safe and predictable helps everyone. Twice in the past month a driver has rolled down his/her window at a red light to thank me for following the law.

      4. That being said, I’d love for us to repeal our helmet law and implement Idaho Stop laws. There’s a good argument to be made that people biking need different rules, but that doesn’t equate to saying that the current ones shouldn’t be followed.

      5. What is this scourge of people on bikes stopping in crosswalks? If it’s people making two-stage turns that’s legal. If it’s stopping ahead of the stop line, blocking the crosswalk that’s usually not, though it probably helps to understand why people do it.

        There are a few problems with “cyclist crackdowns” (aside from the statistical problem that driver errors cause most actual injuries and deaths). First, that many officers don’t know the laws about cycling, and ticket cyclists for things that are actually legal (ex: the NYC officer that ticketed a cyclist for riding outside of an obstructed bike lane, leading to a famous video); imagine an SPD officer with King 5’s idea of the law sitting out near the Montlake Bridge ticketing cyclists all day! Second, that a lot of laws regarding cycling are hard to interpret or even flat-out bad (notoriously, state and city laws about lane positioning and signaling fall into this category).

        The third problem (and this part is maybe a little controversial) is that often it’s reasonable for cyclists to break a law that’s generally a good one, usually because of deficient or confusing infrastructure. For example, it’s generally a good idea not to enter the intersection on yellow or equivalent, but along the BGT it’s ridiculous to actually require cyclists not to enter the intersection against the “flashing hand” (that it’s ridiculous didn’t stop LFP police from ticketing cyclists for just this). It’s generally a good idea to stop behind the stop line at intersections, but at some intersections the “T” marking where you should put your tire to trigger the signal detector is right in the middle of the crosswalk. Those BGT intersections should get appropriately timed bike signals, signal sensors shouldn’t be placed in the middle of crosswalks, and in the meantime cyclists shouldn’t be punished unless they’re behaving unreasonably.

      6. Lots of biking behaviors look bad to drivers but actually help them out. If I’m in the rightmost lane and going straight and become first in line at a stop light, I almost always pull into the crosswalk and move slightly left, in order to give the car behind me room to turn right. While I never run reds, I frequently push it on yellow lights in order to bring up the rear of the pack and not delay vehicles by being first out of the gate when the light turns green. And if I am stopped at a light, I’ll start moving half a second before the light turns green in order to be up to 10mph by the same time cars do.

      7. Al, typically the issue is with cyclists who stop square in the crosswalk to get ahead of car traffic, with the effect of nearly blocking the crosswalk for pedestrians. There are worse problems, but when I am a pedestrian it is pretty annoying.

      8. The biggest problem is stop signs at the bottom of dips or going up hills. Cyclists need their accumulated momentum or it’s harder to start going uphill, while drivers just push the accelerator.

      9. @Mike I feel your pain. The newer pedestrian signal on Eastlake near Zymo at the bottom of a hill, around a corner is pretty annoying as a cyclist.

        However, having to exert more effort is not an excuse to break the law. And I’m not convinced about Idaho stops. They may work in Idaho, where the largest city has a density similar to Auburn, but I just think it’s a bad idea in a more metropolitan area. The one traffic law I can justify violating as a cyclist, is treating a stop light that can’t sense bikes, as a stop sign. A couple examples: southbound Fremont Ave crossing 105th, the camera doesn’t seem to sense bikes after dark; westbound 65th St crossing 15th Ave in Ballard, the actuators won’t sense bikes.

      10. @Rapid Rider: If the sensor doesn’t detecct you you’re typically allowed to go through after yielding to any cross-traffic. I was actually ticketed for this before I knew it was legal.

        Maybe you can’t justify it, but I sure can justify entering intersections after the “don’t walk” hand has started flashing on the BGT. I do it without the tiniest bit of shame whether I’m biking, running, or even walking fast. I’ve never been ticketed for that, but other people have, and I truly believe they’re more justified in breaking the law than the police are in enforcing it.

        And I can justify rolling stop signs, too: if you get up to that stop sign and you can yield properly and take your turn without coming to a full foot-down stop you’re (a) saving everyone a bit of time and (b) doing exactly what every sensible driver is doing. If Seattle has got to the point where we’re cracking down on the “California roll” then it’s truly time to move some place more exciting.

        Our most important responsibilities on the road are to people, not to the law. We’d all do a lot better if we understood this.

      11. @Al The problem with the Idaho (bikes) and California (cars) stops are that bikers and drivers will become complacent and unfortunately, the people that will lose are pedestrians, all to save bikers and drivers a second or two.

      12. I think the KING 5 story was focusing not on cyclists who are using the crosswalk to make a two-stage turn… but the ones who don’t stop at the stop line and block the crosswalk for pedestrians.

        A good example of this, earlier this week I was standing at the southeast corner of second and university with a group of people waiting to cross when a northbound bicyclist pulled up and stopped right in the middle of the crosswalk, right as the walk sign came on. He then proceeded to get mad at the several pedestrians who stared daggers at him for blocking the crosswalk.

        I know that most cyclists wouldn’t do something like that, but even if a few do it, it gives everyone a bad reputation. I think part of this is that cyclists need to hold each other accountable and not apologize for the ones who are being jerks and actively breaking the law.

        To put it bluntly to the avid cyclists here… as far as every other taxpayer is concerned… Seattle just spent a lot of money and gave up an entire lane of traffic to install protected bike lanes. I think it’s fair to require that bicyclists obey the bicycle light and stop line and ticket the ones that don’t. Just like I think it’s fair to require that drivers obey the left turn light and stop lines and ticket the ones who don’t.

  2. As someone who cycles everyday, I am happy to hear of SPD starting to crackdown. It’s embarrassing the amount of blatant moving violations (red lights, stop signs, yielding, lane changes, wrong way, etc) I see committed by fellow cyclists, and that’s not even getting into the passive violations (helmets, headphones, brakes, lights, etc).

    The biggest problem is, the blatant moving violations are very visible and leave a bad taste in the public’s mouth. While I hope the SPD starts off with education first (bike to work month is a good start), I wouldn’t be opposed to citations after.

    1. I keep asking and asking.

      During the Gregoire administration, a statewide law, the Vulnerable User Bill, was passed, allowing fines for as much as $5000 to be written for motorizes jeopardizing cyclists and pedestrians.

      Have but one ticket been written under this law?

    2. How many people are killed in Seattle by cyclists that break the law? How many are killed by motorists.

      The statistics should drive enforcement. This action by SPD will do nothing to reduce the carnage out there.

  3. Regarding the 130th St Station, and bike plans:

    The station will be built in the median of the new NE 16th St, between 130th and 132nd with entrances on both ends. It’ll look just like the stations along MLK in Seattle, except that 16th will be two lanes instead of MLK’s four. There will be a park and ride lot taking up the whole block along the north side of 16th – perhaps unfortunate, but it’s been in plans for years, and the 120th station won’t have any parking.

    There will be bike lockers and racks on the 132nd side. I asked why there weren’t any on the 130th side, given that it has the connection to the 520 trail, and was told that 130th is designed more for cars and pedestrians, and bikes will be directed to 132nd. The maps at different booths seemed unfortunately contradictory on this, though – one map showed an off-road trail paralleling 132nd and no bike lanes on 130th, whereas another disagreed on both points. In either case, though, I’d recommend at least putting one rack by 130th. (And I left a comment card saying so.) It might not be too significant for long-distance cyclists given the Overlake Village station closer to 520, but it seems like a nice improvement.

    There were also maps showing the overall Bel-Red cycle plan. There’ll be full bidirectional bike lanes on 16th, with two-foot buffers between them and the car lanes, connecting to 120th on one end and an eventual (unfunded) extension along 20th to 140th. Also, there will be an off-road trail roughly paralleling it. Intersecting this luxurious east-west treatment will be bidirectional bike lanes on 140th (eventually extending the full length of the street) and 130th (between 20th and Bel Red, with a projected extension to 520; they’re studying how best to do that given insufficient right-of-way to add them to the existing four lanes.) I think something is planned along 120th as well, though I can’t remember what for sure.

    Overall, this looks rather positive. My biggest quibbles are with the uncertain connection between 130th and the 520 Trail, and the lack of bike parking along 130th. But I’m willing to pardon the second, and the representatives there seemed to have the first on their radar for the future.

    1. I asked about that P&R at the joint ST/Bellevue open house, and the ST rep said it’s an interim use because there’s not much else there currently, and it can be converted to something else later as the area grows. I said I’m concerned that the P&R will create a constituency for keeping it, and that’ll block something better. I also said why are they building a station at all when it’s only ten blocks to 120th station, and the next two stations the other way have P&Rs. Why can’t they at least defer the station until the station area is ready to grow, and save some money. Because it’s circular logic to say we need the station for the P&R, and we need the P&R to justify the station.

  4. With Angle Lake, Sounder, the Station — Kent is quickly becoming the superior place to be.

    New downtown Kent apartments to open in October | The Platform

    People will soon be moving in to The Platform Apartments in downtown Kent.

    Rents range from $1,039 to $1,845 per month at the five-story complex, said property manager Heather Lagat during a tour last week. The complex offers move-in specials of a month’s free rent and $99 down. Leases are from six to 18 months.

    Construction started last year on the 174-unit complex that’s expected to open in October. About 33 units were already leased through the first week of September.

    1. Those apartments look pretty nice, and I’m really glad to see them being built! But those prices aren’t that much cheaper than what you can still find in Seattle in older buildings. I pay less than that for a 1926 brownstone 1BR just 6 blocks from the future Capitol Hill Station.

    2. Where are the alternative music clubs? Art Galleries? Where can one find theater? Quality restaurants outside of chains (not that all chains are bad)

      1. The retail space on the ground floor of The Platform Apartments has yet to be leased but several companies are looking into renting the facility at the corner of West Smith Street and Fourth Avenue.

        Well come on entrepreneurs!

        A captive audience of well-heeled professionals looking for fun?

        Situate your club, boutique or charcuterie right here and let the dollars roll in!

    3. East Coast Cynic: You can’t do everything at once. This is just an early step in building up Kent’s downtown. Kent should have done this twenty years ago and then it would have a sizeable downtown by now, and lots of residents and more-frequent transit, and their tax revenue. But maybe not alternative clubs and art galleries and live theater. Those are more specialized and go to arbitrary places. But that doesn’t matter because a lot of people just want a walkable, transit-rich, inexpensive neighborhood and don’t care about clubs/galleries/theaters; they either don’t go to them at all or don’t mind travelling to them. If the 150 becomes frequent evenings/Sundays or the Aleks plan is in place (with frequent transit to Rainier Beach station and Kent-Des Moines station), then they can go to Seattle for those things and come back.

      1. Angle Lake is only a few minutes away and then we’ll have nearly all day and night transit from Kent Valley.

        I am hoping they reroute the half-hourly 180 from Kent Station there (they can skip going to SeaTac entirely and let people use LINK for that).

        But really as Kent re-vitalizes, the stores will come here. Up on East Hill Plaza where my 24 Hour Fitness is, they are no opening a Trader Joe’s! And lots of new shops!

        Get out of the “city” mindset.

        Get into the Transit-Rich-Suburb!

      2. A few minutes by car. An hour on foot. You keep talking about Metro rerouting the 180 to Angle Lake but Metro has not said it will do so, and I don’t see it saving much time compared to the current destination of SeaTac. Plus it would cause a two-seat ride for the large number of people going to the airport, or actually a three-seat ride because many of them are already transferring. The biggest thing Metro could do to help is raise the frequency to 15 minutes. Then it would be able to compete with the 150, especially eastbound which is at a severe disadvantage now.

      3. Not to mention that a Kent – Angle Lake – Link trip is just as slow as the current 150.

        Link is not the solution for Kent-Seattle trips. I don’t even think the Aleks plan is the solution for Kent-Seattle trips. The solution is the 578/594 restructure that sends the 578 to Kent and has the 594 stop in Federal Way. Ideally it would also come with another restructure that would split the 180; through-route the E/W part of the 180 with an East Hill route; and combine the south part of the 150 and the N/S part of the 180 into a RapidRide corridor.

      4. “they can skip going to SeaTac entirely and let people use LINK for that”

        You’re talking about people going from Seattle to the airport. I’m talking about people going from Kent to the airport.

      5. One of the best things about suburbs is that they have the freedom to rezone much more aggressively than central cities. Look at Surrey or New Westminster in BC compared to the single-family gated community that is much of Vancouver (outside of Downtown). I think Kent has more potential than any other Sounder-served stop in the valley, albeit with a LONG way to go. But to be a viable option for urban-minded individuals, it needs to take no more than 30 minutes to Seattle or Tacoma, all day every day, not just the peak-hour wormhole that Sounder currently represents, offering 25 minute trips that take an hour any other time.

      6. Frequency less than 30 minutes is less important for regional express corridors than it is for local corridors. I’m OK with a 30-minute 578 (and 150N) if it gives us a 15-minute 164/180N and a RapidRide 150S/180S.

  5. In general, transit use decreased as income increased, but respondents in the highest bracket—$150,000 and up—reported riding transit more than any other group except those in the lowest bracket, who make less than $25,000.

    Transit…where the beat, meet the elite.

    1. Not much of a mystery. The folks in the highest income bracket disproportionately work downtown or in other areas well-served by transit.

      1. And if we could have a progressive tax structure in this state, they would. Instead, we cling stubbornly to the sales tax because it’s easy.

      2. The courts are telling Olympia to fund education. Will this force their hand into some sort of progressive state income tax which may help transit? More likely the Goober legislators will take a “rob Peter to pay Paul” sort of solution and loot social programs to slightly increase education spending.

    2. Group 1: BART SF International Airport to Embarcadero, 1 California or 30 Stockton or Hyde and Beach cable car to around Vallejo and Grant, walk to City Lights Books or Caffe Trieste- Right? These time warps do bad things to memory.

      Group 2: Look on huge white buses for passengers who look like those guys who killed themselves to get on the spaceship hiding behind the comet. They really got transported to San Jose but able to avoid VAT.


  6. Seattle just completely shut down aPodments, including those in the permit process. If you have a sink and a bathroom in your room, and the sink isn’t in the bathroom, you’re now in an apartment and need a different permit. This single action may wipe out thousands of units in our city (Publicola says almost 1,700).

    1. That is really bad news. It would be interesting if one of the developers just went ahead and built one of these as a luxury apartment. Same size building, but with only a handful of luxury apartments. That is essentially what the rules allow, and it would be interesting if someone built that, and saw the response. That is what this ruling encourages.

      The rules need to change. Developers shouldn’t have to try and use the Apodment rules to increase residency in the first place. They should be based on external dimensions. Hell, require a bathroom and kitchen for each unit, but focus only on the size and dimensions of the building and it would be a step up. It is crazy to me that we have regulations that discourage housing for the middle class, but encourage it for the rich.

    2. A blow against slums and SRO hotels.

      With speedy transit, there is no reason we can’t offer large, full sized a-PART-ments at the same rates with people gaining access via rapid rail.

      We’re paying all this money for regional transit, we shouldn’t have to cram everyone into two square blocks of downtown.

      1. What if someone would prefer to live in an apodment? If you don’t have much stuff, they are far less energy to heat as you don’t have a bunch of extra room space.

      2. There are no apodments downtown, much less whichever two square feet of downtown you think has been getting all the development. As for the Seattle neighborhoods that are getting lots of apartments and apodments, where in the suburbs is there a commercial district that’s as pedestrian-friendly and large and transit-rich as Fremont, Greenwood, Ballard, Capitol Hill, the U-District, Uptown, etc? It’s not Seattle’s fault that the suburbs haven’t built neighborhoods like that or invested in transit. It’s up to the suburbs to do it.

      3. Well, let’s start building some rapid rail then, and see what happens in 20 years when it is operational. In the meantime, we have people moving in to Seattle all the time who need places to live.

      4. John, most of the world has slums in the suburbs, not the city. You are far more likely to create slums if you prevent the market from building homes where people want them to build it (in the city). People will cram themselves into tiny apartments because it makes the rest of their life so much easier and so much fun. No need to get into the car to go shopping, eat at a restaurant, see a play, hear a band, visit a friend, etc. But if they can’t afford to live in the city, then they will live in the suburbs, and these will become, you guessed it, slums. The best way to prevent it is to allow people to choose where they want to live. Rich people will have nice big places in the city, next to poor people with small places. This is a good thing, and resembles the small town that many suburban dwellers believe they inhabit. Meanwhile, folks (like you) who prefer suburban living will settle there. Again, these folks will be a mix of well to do, as well as those in need because people without means have an alternative.

    3. As I’ve said in other discussions on Facebook, I’m for aPodments as a concept. (And the other ones… Footprints? I forget.) What I don’t like is how expensive they are. When aPodments and Footprints cost $800+ for a what is essentially a dorm room, that sets the price floor for the Seattle rental market, putting individual apartments out of reach for the minimum-wager who wants or needs a place of their own. I’m still getting up to speed on Seattle Real Estate so it’s likely that the prices they charge are the only prices they CAN charge but…. still, it keeps worrying at me. I’d much prefer buildings like this to be municipally run than market-run but.. yeah, I know. Good luck with that.

      1. Sorry, but that is ridiculous. Rent is expensive because there aren’t that many places. There is no “floor” set by anyone. Reducing the number of units, whether they are apodments or apartments, simply increases the price.

        It still baffles my mind the way otherwise intelligent folks don’t understand the basics when it comes to economics. I have never taken a class but it seems pretty simple. Let me give you a quick example. Marijuana is legal right now. I went to a store and they had grams for thirty bucks. Thirty bucks! That is way more than I, and everyone else, expected. Why is it so expensive? Because there is so little of it. It really isn’t that hard to grow. Nor it is that hard to distribute. But with all the regulation, it will take a while before growers can meet the huge demand. Assuming, of course, they are allowed to. The world of housing is very similar. Not that we would have really cheap rent if the city allowed more development, but it would be a lot cheaper — or, to put it more accurately, rent is a lot more expensive because of the restrictions (demand fluctuates, so no can say whether the price would go down, or go up not as much if they allowed more development).

      2. “It still baffles my mind the way otherwise intelligent folks don’t understand the basics when it comes to economics.”

        And it always baffles me why people can’t just disagree politely. I appreciate that you disagree with my concerns and I’m glad you commented and tried to correct me on the facts, but I don’t see why the name-calling was necessary. I hope it made you feel better, I guess?

        I may well be wrong about the aPodments. And that’s ok. I’m cool with being wrong. I admit I’m not a whiz at economics, but I I do understand the basics, I think. I understand that demand is not a fixed, objective construct that exists in the ether, that demand is created in a person (and aggregated to a population level) by that person interacting with the world, assessing or realizing a need or desire, and then trying to fulfill that need. I am aware that one of the ways that demand can be manipulated – induced, reduced, whatever – is via information. And rental agents are aware that, in most people’s minds, a “real” apartment is more preferable to a microapartment and so can use that information to anchor someone’s comparison of one apartment vs the other, and therefore make the case about why they should pay more. This my thinking behind my hand-wringing, and is pretty much textbook art of selling a product.

        Also, I did say in my original post that it may be that the aPodments are that expensive just because the rental market is really that much of a seller’s market right now. I admit to assuming that the price of these units is artificially inflated because of my past experience trying to rent them some years ago.

        And yeah, I might be wrong. But worse things have happened.

      3. I’ve been meaning to reply to this one the whole time I’ve had this cold.

        Ross, not to tear into your assertions too many times in one day, but Dustin here just did a hell of a job dismantling your reliance on economics=hard science, all while being delightfully self-deprecating about his impressive and incisive read on the flaws in the “I took Econ 101 so I’m going to treat everything as perfectly elastic and fungible and rational and non-manipulable” delusions of expertise that govern everyone from Matt Yglesias to Matt the Engineer.

        The only thing I can add to Dustin’s smackdown is that the greatest coup the economic far right has pulled off in the past half century has been convincing the public that economics is a hard science like chemistry.

        Read about the “Nobel Prize in Economics” sometime. It’s not a Nobel Prize. It’s not even related. It’s nothing but a coattail-jumping exercise schemed up in 1969 to grant legitimacy and “prestige” to the then-widely-distrusted Chicago School hardline dogmas and mantras.

        It worked. The entire world is now so in thrall to deregulation and minimized government and the “perfection” of unfettered markets that it couldn’t even see the 2008 destruction of the global economy coming with its blaring horns and high beams on.

        Economics is theory, and psychology, and sociology, and migration theory, and imperfect conditions, and fudged data points, and all manner of interesting but imprecise and hardly sacrosanct predictions of human transactions large and small. Elasticity and fungibility of housing stock is bullshit — it doesn’t exist. Neither does a finite or matched supply- or demand-pool over any defined geographic area. Dustin illustrates exactly why. So does fucking Urbana Ballard and its $2000 studios overlooking the gas station and the Burger King and the other gas station.

        That you and Matt Gangemi and other professed left-leaning people are such purists about market forces on this topic illustrates just how insidious the right-wing indoctrination of discourse has been. Even more so the belittlement of anyone who points out the theory’s holes.

        Neo-Classical Economics has many blatant flaws. It is not a hard science. It is not even the only theory, and the last few years should have blown the presumption that its the best theory to smithereens.

        Supply and demand, generally, exist and are relatively highly influential in rate-setting. That’s about as far as you can successfully apply them to the housing discussion.

  7. I love seeing photos of those old buses. My grandfather almost assuredly drove that one (a slightly pre-WWII model IIRC); he probably put seat time on a good number of MEHVA’s buses.

    1. It’s more like “send the 47 off on an involuntary 3-month vacation”. It’ll be back in February if Prop 1 passes, IMO.

      1. It’s basically pointless with the current schedule. Either schedule it so it can take over some of the 43’s work, or restructure the hours into more frequent service on Olive/John (whether the 43, the 8, or a new route).

    2. Not a bad time to go on vacation, now that the rains have started.

      If it’s back in February, they ought scheduling it so it comes before / evenly with the 43, not a few minutes after.

      1. “If it’s back in February, they ought scheduling it so it comes before / evenly with the 43, not a few minutes after.”

        That’s what Metro should have done ten years ago so that ridership wouldn’t have gotten so low.

    3. No, it’s not back in February. There’s no compensation for the September cuts, just the February cuts and following. If there’s extra funds left over, or if Metro expands in the future, it may reinstate some kind of service on Summit, but it won’t necessarily be like the 47.

  8. That Atlantic article describing the future streetcar line as fully ‘connected’ sounds like you could get on board at one end of the line, and get off at the other without transferring from car to car and without the waiting in-between.
    That is not how it will be, is it?

    1. No. The plan is a SLU-International District line, and a Westlake-Capitol Hill line, interlining for 5-minute service between Westlake and IDS via 1st Avenue. There’s no way, however, that those interlined headways will be reliable, even with exclusive ROW on 1st, unless we retrofit the SLU and First Hill segments for more signal priority or exclusive lanes where possible.

      1. Though the headline suggesting Seattle is about to become a national leader in executing transportation projects effectively is a bit… fanciful… the content of the article is reasonably even-handed.

        It is a bit pro-toy — a thing with 3,000 boardings is responsible for 19,000 jobs how, exactly? — but also acknowledges that we are nowhere near the European benchmark of designing cohesive transport with the genuine mobility-quality of the populace in mind.

        The piece also admirably gives Whisner the space to say what so many have glossed over: that exclusive lines may be an important precedent, but they are not sufficient in and of themselves: transit still needs to go somewhere useful, with intermodal connectivity and without needless duplication. This plan continues to fail to self-justify in that regard.

      2. Jack Whisner is a good man with a lot of years in grade. But piece of perspective: all over Europe, street rail runs between buildings raised in the Middle Ages.

        Fact we had streetcars and junked them? Look at it like we’re Sarajevo rehanging catenary after the Bosnian Serbs did to their transit what cars did to ours. Detroit Street Railway used to be one of the best- though now Detroit looks like Berlin in ’45, except we rebuilt that city forty years ago.

        Like every other critical piece of public infrastructure that’s been sequestered since present Congress decided they liked our country kept in the Depression from which numerous major public projects could have saved it- this one’s political and therefore subject to remedy when Nature’s term-limits kick in.

        Plate tectonics are a motive power too.


      3. That’s the initial lines but it can be changed later if the city wants to. The city has also outlined extensions to Ballard and the U-District (or Northgate), and 1st Avenue to Seattle Center. These would doubtless change the scheduling if they happen.

      4. Zach, if you look at the First Ave. Streetcar Study it does in fact call for significant improvements to the FH and, especially, SLUS lines.

    2. From my understanding, no trains will transit the entire length of the completed route. Trains will run from the SLU terminal to a turnback in the International District and other trains will run from the Broadway terminal to Westlake and Stewart.

      The overlap between Westlake and Stewart and Seventh and Jackson will have the five minute headways.

  9. Not sure if my no-show 255 on Tuesday night (7:15 outbound trip) was because it was cancelled or just early. The driver is one who occasionally shows up a couple minutes early and doesn’t care (and I’ve already complained) but I was there three minutes before departure time and the bus never showed. Fun standing in the tunnel — the next one was 20 minutes late.

    1. 7:15 pm is pretty far past rush hour, so must be some other excuse. Maybe above point about shortage of drivers could explain that problem. Other problem? Forget about Customer Services and call your County Council rep. They’ll likely tell you what Metro told them, to which you should answer that Customer Services is what you’ll write in next election.


  10. Transit design in Seattle is so utterly incompetent, corruption of the process should not be ruled out. Seattle, like all US cities, is run by conservative business interests whose main income is automobile-related. A functioning transit system translates into a loss of that income. The streetcar connector on 1st Ave (as depicted in cross-section views in the City Lab article) suggest even more operational difficulties. The Lake Union and First Hill Streetcar lines are the worst new systems, but Seattle transit planners are not allowed to admit it.

    1. Question, Wells: By its own prime directive to drive wages as low as possible, why would the right wing idiot-as opposed to conservative Metro-founding-business community waste its own money creating lame transit when certain public agencies like the one that started using bus fare boxes in the Tunnel, or the one that believes in leaving transit blocked by parked cars, are willing to do it for so much less?

      Just curious.


    2. “Transit design in Seattle is so utterly incompetent, corruption of the process should not be ruled out.”

      Thus sayeth the sage from his pied a terre on the edge of the Pearl District.

  11. First hill streetcar delayed again? “As early as Q1 2015”? Meaning, probably 2nd quarter but we’ll say “as early as first quarter” so as not to disappoint people?

    I wonder which year this thing will finally start in.

    1. Yeah, I was looking forward to a transfer-free ride to Pioneer Square and/or the Stadiums while waiting for Link to do the same thing much better. Now it looks like we’ll have that for less than a year.

      1. If we delay FHSC long enough perhaps it and U-Link can share the same opening day.

        Indeed streetcar projects where the tracks have been laid but as yet no actual cars run seem to rather be the norm. See Atlanta, Washington DC etc.

  12. The PSRC Draft 2015-2018 Regional TIP Map is woefully incomplete and out of date. For example:
    University Link shows a route under the cut near the University Bridge. That approach was abandoned in 2009, in favor of the route near the Montlake bridge that has been built.
    The Broadway extension of the First Hill streetcar is there, but the First Hill Streetcar itself is not. Neither is the Center City (1st Ave) Connector.

    1. Are the FHSC and Center City Connector projects that are in the scope of the “PSRC Draft 2015-2018 Regional TIP Map”?

  13. Regarding the report about the 130th St. station open house, 130th St. Station would be in Seattle on Lynwood Link. 130th Ave. Station would be on East Link. Or to be more precise, NE 130th St. Station and 130th NE Ave. Station.

    1. Oops. I even made that exact point on my comment card, pointing out how the two stations would have separate names even if they’re both named after streets… (Though, I said, 130th Ave should get priority because it doesn’t have a unique neighborhood name.)

      1. Pinehurst Station would be better than Lake City Station, which is the only other name I could think of. Although I’d kind of like 130th and 145th stations to be called Jackson Park South and Jackson Park North.

  14. Some of comments on the article about transit demographics were so frustrating. Some people can’t believe that young people would choose to not have cars. “It must be the economy! It must be the price of gas! It must be because they watched a lot of sitcoms where the protagonists lived in apartments in the city! Of course everyone wants a suburban house with a big yard and a car or cars! Something negative must be causing these millennials to want to live in the city and take public transit! Why, it’s in-American! Oh, maybe its mostly people who have immigrated from elsewhere, because any good American would want that freedom of owning a car!”

    Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating, but not that much.

    1. they say that because they’ve probably been brainwashed by the tens of thousands of car ads shoved down their throats during their lifespan. its amazing to watch the networks particularly late night news and see how 4 out 5 ads during a commercial break are peddling cars (and always in a way that treats the driver as some superior).

      1. The one that was talking about freedom and America actually sounded like one of those ads, come to think of it.

      2. “It’s not just your car, it’s your freedom”

        An actual tag line from Chevy ads in recent years.

    2. What young people want is the economic freedom of not having to own a car.

      Newer cars, while much superior to the polluting, gas guzzling versions of yesteryear, are just too expensive to own, and too technically precise… for young people to invest in the DIY side.

    3. Maybe some commentors could understand the choice to not have cars by considering an analogy to cigarette smoking. Smoking used to be considered glamorous, even good for the health, but the rate of cigarette use has halved from 1965 to 2007, nationally. The same with cars: what used to be a status symbol is now seen as a symbol of personal and environmental folly, and young people are choosing not to partake.

  15. If Metro is going to cancel a trip on route 56, I suppose the smart thing to do would be to have the next 57 hop on over and cover the 56 exclusive portion before heading downtown, since the routes are mostly the same anyway. Maybe they could plan for this by publishing a schedule for a consolidated 56/57 (call it 54?) that they can activate if driver attrition requires it (they would know this at least a few days in advance anyway).

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