75 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Toronto’s New Streetcar”

  1. Sorry if I’m sounding like a broken record, but what’s the deal with the entrance to CPS off 9th & Olive? In the afternoons, every bus entering the tunnel has to fight with cars blocking the intersection. I’ve sat on buses which were stuck through 4-5 light cycles before getting across the intersection. Multiply that by the dozens of routes per hour who cross this intersection, and you’ll see the magnitude of the problem.

    You might say we should just post an officer there to write tickets for a few days, but this will not fix the problem. Take a look at the Google Map: http://goo.gl/YtwQsx. The space just past the crosswalk is still the intersection; the problem is that the road design doesn’t communicate this to drivers!

    A small investment in paint to indicate to drivers that the intersection continues (perhaps with the addition of a second crosswalk to the east of 9th) would make a *huge* difference for a large number of inbound routes which use the tunnel, especially in the afternoons.

    1. Easier and more effective solution would be to give Tunnel-bound buses some fully reserved lanes and traffic signal priority at least for several blocks approaching CPS. Easier for motorists to comprehend and deal with than specific intersections.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Mark, in this case the problem comes from the crossing traffic, not the traffic flowing in the same direction, so giving signal priority, etc won’t help.

        A bus driver friend mentioned this and was keeping records of how long it too him to traverse that spot. It’d be interesting to see if a bit of paint would help, and its cheap. Perhaps some cross hatches with don’t block the box signs?

    1. It’s a variation of the Bombardier Flexity series, only intended for boarding without the benefit of platforms, and I likely modified for Toronto’s very sharp curves.
      http://www.bombardier.com/en/media-centre/newsList/details.912-bombardier-finalizes-contract-to-deliver-204-streetcars-for-city-of-toronto.bombardiercom.html?filter-bu=transport

      At 0:50 or so of this video, you will see how they board with no platforms with the current UTDC fleet:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fztT7b8aSmM
      Toronto has a very old school system.

      1. The kind that made sense when there was very little traffic.

        This is the crux of why nostalgists are wrong to their atoms when they argue for streetcar boondoggles to “bring us back to the way cities used to work”.

        The traffic isn’t going away.

      1. Hmmm, very nice – kind of reminds me of the new TTC’s “Toronto rocket” subway cars that were put into service a year or so ago.

  2. I’ve been a big proponent of a SoDo transit center. I think it is the logical place for south end buses to interact with Link. I’ve made my case on the previous post (https://seattletransitblog.com/2014/09/27/9-ways-to-make-seattle-public-transit-better/#comment-537702 as well as other comments on that post).

    A lot of people think this is a crazy idea, because you are talking about a forced transfer. I see their point, but think it is worth it. Looking at the map again, though, I wonder if the Stadium station would be better. There is a busway there, so couldn’t a bus make it from SoDo to the Stadium station unimpeded? Ideally a bus would go all the way to the International District; but what would it take for a bus to do that in a grade separated manner (another tunnel, or is there an alternative)? In both those cases, I imagine a transit center (which would enable more buses to turn around more quickly) would be harder to build. Anyone have any thoughts about this?

    1. in an ideal world…

      As part of the 2nd city tunnel project connecting new lines north of downtown, through downtown, to West Seattle and the Boeing Field / Duwamish Rainier Valley Bypass line …

      A multi-modal transit center could be built that would serve both the new light rail line (underground) and all south-city bus lines (protected from elements) … both would feed into each other there … avoiding the problems associated with trying to get past the slog on i5 and SR99 and SR509

      Probably a good place would be somewhere in Georgetown or perhaps SODO … but the key would be that the bus passengers would be protected from the elements (think something like Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC)

      Furthermore … Greyhound, Bolt Bus, all the Casino Buses could be sent there instead of having them muscle through traffic in downtown

      1. Greyhound moved already, next to Stadium station, so they’ve already solved that problem. Can’t imagine they want to move again any time soon.

    2. For an example of what a SODO transit center might look like, check out Denver’s new underground multi-modal bus terminal:

      http://www.rtd-denver.com/unionstation-busconcourse.shtml

      It serves transit for the north side of Denver with current connections to light rail and Amtrak and 2016 connections to electric commuter rail to DIA airport and Arvada and BRT to Boulder. Free buses distribute passengers to the rest of the Central Business District.

      It is pretty nice down there with lighting from skylights and glass doors separating the buses from the waiting area.

      1. Denver’s obsession with underground bus hubs mostly speaks to RTD’s insistence on running a commuter system that offers very little in the way of universal mobility, a virus that also infects their rail system. Even for commuters, the “downtown circulator” strategy and the four separate, uncoordinated rail and bus terminals has mostly failed to yield any speed or clarity benefits in trade for its whopping inconveniences.

        Although I agree with Ross more often than not, I’m going to break with him strongly here: forcing a transfer at the very periphery of downtown, with further transfers to anywhere else, is an astoundingly terrible idea. This is especially true in the off-peak, when Link’s SoDo segment will never run better than 10 minutes.

        But even at peak, when better than 6 minutes is possible but unlikely, the inefficiencies inherent in Link’s design (see: platform placement hundreds of feet from the intersection; painfully slow tunnel portal entry) pretty much ensure that this final transfer leg would serve only to enrage passengers on a daily basis. Like the notion of shoving North Seattle riders to an awful transfer at Husky Stadium, this plan seems custom-designed to send people back to their cars.

        West Seattle needs it’s bus-exclusive access corridor completed and made sacrosanct, so as to function as a useful “open BRT” for the myriad routes that serve its unconcentrated built areas. It doesn’t need a forced transfer in SoDo, any more than it needs a forced transfer to the overpriced rail proposal that would serve only 3% of the peninsula well.

        In a city with a stronger one-seat bias than most, thanks to decades of baseline=nightmare transfers, we cannot afford any more substandard transfer-based proposals.

      2. Yeah, Denver’s downtown circulator is infuriating to anyone who’s used good transit before. Even though the buses come frequently during the day, they’re infrequent in the evenings and are still crowded 40-foot buses that stop at every block. Even when one shows up right when I get there, it’s still a giant pain.

        The underground bus terminal is nice, but connections to any of the pre-existing local bus service that wasn’t specifically re-routed into the terminal are basically non-existent.

      3. +1000 on dp’s comments above. People in West Seattle do like our little peninsula, but we need the connection to the rest of the city. For all its failings, the current bus routes (esp C & 120) have the fantastic advantage of a straight shot from WS right to the heart of downtown. There is an emotional component to that arrival, a positive feeling of connection to the rest of the city. Forcing a transfer in Sodo is simply giving WS the metaphorical finger.

      4. Indeed, Eric. Whether on the periphery of downtown or in a poorly-chosen suburban location, there is something especially noxious about being detoured away from anywhere resembling your intended destination, increasing the chance that your trip will involve lots of 90-degree-turning delays and missed connections, just because someone thought elaborate “hubs” should be installed.

        This is, of course, wholly different from live-looping Pine or Madison buses, which logically delineates east-west from north-south service and, in and ideal world, offers a nearly painless perpendicular transfer to anywhere you might be going.

        Unfortunately, what Ross envisions is much more the former than the latter.

      5. Sadly, that straight shot partly goes away once the viaduct comes down.

        Once they eliminate the fast route into downtown, then what?

        Of course at this rate, by the time that happens continental drift might have West Seattle halfway to Osaka.

      6. Where does saving money come in? The primary impetus for a SODO transit center is not that it’s the most desirable hub in the world, but that it’s cheaper than building West Seattle track north of it and a second DSTT.

      7. The straight-shot will still be there, it’ll just use local roads. 3rd Avenue is bus-only in peak times anyways (should be made 24/7) so it won’t be much worse.

      8. So until a second bus tunnel is considered (which it probably should be), you put the proper lanes and ramps in place to get buses as close in as you can, and take lanes via paint the rest of the way.

        The point is that if ill-thought transfer centers wind up wasting that much passenger time, they’re unlikely to save much bus time either.

        The way to save bus time is to make the buses fast (duh), which often involves reducing complexity, not exacerbating it.

      9. The part of 99 between Spokane Street and the tunnel entrance was recently referbished and will remain fast and grade-separated. The Waterfront boulevard will have transit lanes from there to Columbia Street, where the buses will turn and have transit lanes to 3rd Avenue. So the buses will not get caught in traffic; they’ll only be stopped by traffic lights like RapidRide A. The lights will be timed to the speed limit, so if few people get on/off at the Alaskan Way stations (probably fewer than downtown, and few any off-peak), the bus will make the lights. And they could install signal priority like Link on MLK has. So buses will not be sitting in 5 MPH traffic. The viaduct is not 65 MPH, it’s more like 35 or 40, and the boulevard will probably be 30 or 35, so not that much different.

      10. I’m not holding my breath that SDOT will get RR downtown access right without a fight — they’re still holding D Line buses for 4 minutes at Mercer Place, and they currently hold Alaska traffic similarly long for ferry exits — but the point is that it’s possible to do. Just as possible as creating a protected, but zig-zaggy, path to some edge-of-downtown transfer node would be. So there’s really no savings advantage to the latter, in either time or money. I’m glad you seem to see that.

        Unlike Peter Rogoff, you see, what I actually care about here is the mobility implications and the overall enduser experience on the network. In fact, I would argue that Mr. Rogoff and Mr. Cusick have a lot in common: neither cares much for transportation outcomes; they only care that arbitrary criteria are met. Rogoff wants to see branding and fancy shelters and promises (but not actualities) of frequency and reliability. Cusick wants to see rails. Mobility… what’s that?

        Unfortunately, important targeted network investments throughout the city will be inaccessible, in part because we’ll be blowing hundreds of millions on Jim’s pet downtown streetcar.

        I had an interesting reminder today of why I find the Streetcar Connector so incredibly irksome, even with its ballyhooed exclusive lanes. At the Ballard Farmers Market, I overheard some people discussing their desire to try out some of the new hypesteraunts that symbolize the incipient renewal of Pioneer Square (even as they sit cheek-to-jowl with archetypes of the apocalypse).

        I was reminded just how much freedom these (obvious) car-owners had in their explorations: the could discuss the Pioneer Square options and, on a Sunday, be there 15 minutes later.

        By contrast, I could either: wait up to half an hour for the 40, settle into my seat for a 30-45 minute haul to the very last stop, and be let off where I have to walk through the aforementioned apocalypse to reach the establishments mentioned; or, I could walk 10 minutes to RapidRide — the drivers are almost there already — which it turns out isn’t much faster or much more frequent, and then walk the last 7 minutes from Columbia or make a fairly painless transfer to a bus that gets me slightly closer. But either way, it’s taking me 50-75 minutes to do what the automobile people could do in 15.

        And here’s the rub: Despite going right through the heart of Pioneer Square — with exclusive lanes!! — the Connector Streetcar is poised to improve my journey not one sliver of an iota. Nor does it improve journeys from the east, from the south, from the northeast, or from anywhere else. Not one possible journey from anywhere in this transit-starved city to Pioneer Square gets one ounce more competitive against driving there as a result of this project, no matter how frequently it (doesn’t) come. No matter how much laneage it has.

        Because it simply is not a helpful transfer, which renders it not a helpful route.

      11. You could actually transfer to the streetcar, and with exclusive lanes it’ll be a bit faster than the 3rd Avenue buses. Then you won’t have to feel so bad that the streetcar is doing nothing for you.

        But it is true that none of the first three streetcar segments improve overall mobility in the city much. SLU already had two parallel bus routes. Lower Broadway is a benefit locally but infinitesimal citywide. That’s in stark contast to a 12-minute Ballard-downtown subway, which would be as fast as driving, or even faster given congestion and stoplights.

      12. Even with the hypothetical (never going to happen) 2.5-minute average wait time, no, the Connector streetcar really wouldn’t save time. 3rd has “exclusive lanes” too. Neither will ever have perfect signal syncing.

        Again, it might be different if this were a significant perpendicular corridor getting a frequent train with exclusive lanes. That might be worth celebrating. But it’s not. The route may hit a slightly more pleasant corner of Pioneer Square, but to transfer to it is so pointless timewise that it doesn’t matter.

        The Connector will only ever prove appealing — not necessary, mind you, but appealing — for entirely intra-downtown trips. Not residents (they remain proportionately tiny in number), but workers and visitors, many of whom arrived downtown by car in the first place. Rewarding them with a bonus when so many other major intra-city journeys are served terribly isn’t just wasteful, but perverse.

        The uselessness of the streetcar as part of a multi-part journey is also why I think the “real rapid transit”-level ridership estimates for the Connector are likely to be off by a factor of 3 or 4.

      13. So I guess you missed it, but SDOT, Metro, WashDOT, and WSFerries already studied two post-viaduct approaches for the C into downtown. The couplet across Pioneer Square to 3rd (with lanes) was negated by Pioneer Square (I thought it was too circuitous anyway), and any waterfront option without 100% 24-hour lanes was vetoed by, I think, Metro itself.

        I don’t necessarily have faith in SDOT to keep their promises, or to stop blocking through traffic endlessly the moment a ferry pulls in, but as far as an exclusivity plan is capable of existing, it exists.

        I also know this isn’t a perfect long-term solution. The steepness of Columbia is, for example, the reason Metro drivers aren’t allowed to let disabled inbound C passengers use the passive-restraint system. (Which some of them, of course, extrapolate into never allowing passive restraint anywhere, ever, and being dicks about it.)

        In the long-term, there is a faction rumbling quite loudly that a 2nd Ave bus tunnel, attached to both 15th West and to Aurora, as well as to buses from West Seattle and South Central Seattle, might be a far wiser investment than any underperforming radial rail line. Part of my objection to Ballard-downtown-W.S. rail in the past has been the whopping cost of a 2nd Ave subway, and so it might initially seem weird to support that as the only near-term radial digging, but if you consider the number of places in this city that could benefit from eliminating the downtown slog part of their journey in one fell swoop, the initially bus-only tunnel actually starts to seem very effective for the billion or so it would cost.

        It would of course be (properly) rail-convertible. Basically, it’s the same process and the same near- and long-term benefit that the first DSTT underwent, except that one was for the suburbs (and intentionally disregarded local transit), while this one would be about explicitly serving the most needy city trunks.

        This plan also presumes that Ballard-Wallingford-UDistrict gets built, rendering a radial Ballard line with complete grade separation less vital. RR would still get nearly twice as fast with the eradication of the LQA-Belltown slog.

        $2 billion for Ballard-UDistrict and $1 billion for this accomplishes a lot for a relatively reasonable voter ask.

        The truth is that mass transit, in most places with mass transit, crosses downtown and keeps going. Only Metro’s haphazard terribleness makes you despise through-routing or suggest transfers at downtown’s front gate. The key is to figure out how to keep transit, in whatever form, moving along its logical vector. Detouring and loop-de-looping half a mile from where people want to go is never going to be wise.

    3. Transfers are a pain; but what can really kill a system is lack of reliability. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I will welcome the day when I can’t take the 41 directly to downtown, but am forced to transfer (hopefully at 130th). But a better example of an unreliable system is the 73, versus the 373. I work in Fremont, and take a bus from there to the U-District, where I transfer. Everything is fine if I aim for the 373. But if I try and transfer to the 73, it is a crap shoot. Sometimes it is right on time — sometimes it is twenty minutes late. Enough times that I have given up, and just drive.

      Generally speaking, I’m no fan of transit centers. For example, the Northgate transit center only made sense when buses quickly and easily got right on the express lanes. They won’t do that anymore, so it makes a lot more sense for buses to be pushed towards Roosevelt or 130th. But even with that, you will have, if nothing else, consistency. With a layover there, you know when it will leave, which means you can time the rest of your trip (since Link is also consistent). You really can’t say that with most of our buses.

      I personally want to see high quality BRT from West Seattle (along with infrastructure improvements to make it real BRT). Pretty soon, we will have HOV lanes from Tacoma to Seattle (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/hov/). As I understand it, they will build access ramps from the busway to the HOV lanes (http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/HOV/hovprojectslist.htm). All of this suggests that we might have lots and lots of buses coming from the south (and that includes West Seattle). This is a good thing. Buses like this can have decent headways (better than the south end of Link will ever have) and very fast speeds.

      But where, exactly, do the buses go, once they go downtown? As Glenn pointed out, the viaduct is coming down. There will be no downtown exit. Likewise, the tunnel will be closed to buses.
      If they scatter, then transfers become really difficult. If they travel on the same road (4th) then I think they will get clogged. If they are clogged, you can kiss reliability, and ridership, out the window.

      Like I said, I don’t like the location of SoDo as the terminus for the south end buses. International District is much better. But how do you get the buses there? The busway can get the buses most of the way, but then what? Meanwhile, where do the buses go from there? If they can turn around, then it should be quite reliable, and, with a handful of other improvements, really fast. But if they don’t turn around, where do they go? If they continue on a different route, I fear the buses would be in the same boat as the 73. That is, the riders of West Seattle would feel the same way I do about the 73 — it just isn’t worth it.

      1. It’s funny you bring up W Seattle and the 73. Pre-tunnel days, the 73 and the 21 were connected. While I was probably the only person who made the trip from NE 100th St to SW 100th St on a regular basis, it made both routes terribly unreliable.

      2. You can’t possibly be comparing a transfer to Link at Northgate — shaving 8 miles off the bus route that could translate to 2x or 3x the frequency toward Lake City, avoiding horrible highway traffic in one of the two directions at nearly all hours, and allowing infinitely easier access to five other destinations along the way — to a transfer tantalizingly close to downtown that would offer improved access to nowhere, save no one time at any hour whatsoever, and not even shorten the route enough to add a single trip… can you?

        Listen, Ross, what you propose is not going to happen. Studies have shown that people loath a trip where the “feeder” is 85% of the distance and the “trunk” is only the last 15%. At that point, it feels like you’re getting all of the scheduling and long-hauling inconveniences of a one-seat approach, without the benefit of actually arriving downtown in your one seat. And people are right: this really is a nonsensical approach.

        It’s just as nonsensical as building a single subway tunnel to the Junction, and then requiring huge amounts of out-of-direction feeder travel from 95% of the peninsula’s population in order to reach it. We’ve both long agreed that’s nonsense. This proposal is too.

        As long as we have a city that is severely under-dense to justify comprehensive rail service, there will and should be core bus lines entering downtown. The trick is to trim and rationalize those lines just enough that the network in which they participate is legible and the process of entering and crossing downtown via them is reliable and relatively painless. That doesn’t mean kicking the 120 off of 3rd. It does mean kicking the 25 and the 4S and the 37 and who knows how many other vexing space-wasters to the permanent curb, consolidating a bunch of others, and orchestrating trunk-and-feeder transfer arrangements in places where they actually make sense.

        The cusp of downtown is not one of those places.

      3. >> The trick is to trim and rationalize [the bus lines entering downtown] just enough that the network in which they participate is legible and the process of entering and crossing downtown via them is reliable and relatively painless.

        I agree, but I’m not sure how you do that. We are about to close down the viaduct, which means a lot more cars on the surface streets through downtown. We are about to close the tunnel for buses. Mike mentioned the viaduct and the waterfront boulevard, which will have bus lanes. I’m not sure how all of that will work, but it sounds promising. Mike (or anyone else) if you could elaborate, that would be great. The other alternative is the busway, which at least gets you to 4th and Royal Brougham Way without dealing with traffic (once you get there, though, it is a mess). If either route was optimized, it would be easy to combine the buses along that route (since the West Seattle freeway serves as a connector).

        I still think you need to turn most of these buses around, to improve reliability. A bus that goes from Ballard to West Seattle is convenient for some riders, but will be slow in arriving from Ballard. We could invest in improving the Ballard situation, but as everyone agrees, it makes sense to invest in light rail for that section. The 590 turns around, but I’m sure it does so in a very slow, very inconsistent manner. So much so that they admit that their time schedule for downtown stops (after the first one) is just an estimate.

        A small bus tunnel might make sense, from the existing busway to the International District station. The transfer here would be much better than a SoDo one. Every train goes through here. It is also a significant station, second only to Westlake (although less than half — http://www.bettertransport.info/pitf/Linkpassengercount.htm#Data). SoDo and Stadium stations would be included in the run (of course). Like a station at SoDo, this would provide fast, reliable bus service. It’s not perfect — for a lot of riders (those who get off at Westlake) it would mean a transfer to a train heading north — but overall I think it is better than the current system and much better than a SoDo station. I’m not sure how expensive this would be, but we are talking about a fairly short section of tunnel (less than half a mile).

        One way or another, as part of West Seattle BRT, I think we need fast, frequent, service. I can see how to provide that to SoDo but I don’t see how you provide that to the heart of downtown without a tunnel. Like I said, though, I would love to hear about the Viaduct to Waterfront Boulevard to 3rd Avenue route. BRT has to be rapid through the entire segment, even the part you don’t ride. Otherwise, the bus arrives ten minutes late, and you’ve killed the system. At that point, popularity for BRT dies. If you look at the comments of most of the people who want light rail to West Seattle, they all say the same thing: they want light rail because they associate it with reliable, fast service. The other main advantages (capacity) is rarely mentioned (because it really isn’t an issue). Nor do people want to funnel to a station (unlike people on the north end, who will love the opportunity to stop at the UW). Even though light rail can be slow and unreliable too, people associate light rail with speed and consistency. Meanwhile, we have killed the “BRT” brand by forcing it to slog through crowded streets. All of this means that unless we can come up with a BRT solution that delivers fast, consistent service, there will be an overwhelming cry for West Seattle light rail — because they feel “they are due”. I doubt the city wants to give them the bad news, either, and tell them to “just suck it up” (as they do with many other neighborhoods). This could easily lead to us spending billions and billions on a single line through West Seattle, that, as you said, forces most of the residents to transfer.

      4. So I guess you missed it, but SDOT, Metro, WashDOT, and WSFerries already studied two post-viaduct approaches for the C into downtown. The couplet across Pioneer Square to 3rd (with lanes) was negated by Pioneer Square (I thought it was too circuitous anyway), and any waterfront option without 100% 24-hour lanes was vetoed by, I think, Metro itself.

        I don’t necessarily have faith in SDOT to keep their promises, or to stop blocking through traffic endlessly the moment a ferry pulls in, but as far as an exclusivity plan is capable of existing, it exists.

        I also know this isn’t a perfect long-term solution. The steepness of Columbia is, for example, the reason Metro drivers aren’t allowed to let disabled inbound C passengers use the passive-restraint system. (Which some of them, of course, extrapolate into never allowing passive restraint anywhere, ever, and being dicks about it.)

        In the long-term, there is a faction rumbling quite loudly that a 2nd Ave bus tunnel, attached to both 15th West and to Aurora, as well as to buses from West Seattle and South Central Seattle, might be a far wiser investment than any underperforming radial rail line. Part of my objection to Ballard-downtown-W.S. rail in the past has been the whopping cost of a 2nd Ave subway, and so it might initially seem weird to support that as the only near-term radial digging, but if you consider the number of places in this city that could benefit from eliminating the downtown slog part of their journey in one fell swoop, the initially bus-only tunnel actually starts to seem very effective for the billion or so it would cost.

        It would of course be (properly) rail-convertible. Basically, it’s the same process and the same near- and long-term benefit that the first DSTT underwent, except that one was for the suburbs (and intentionally disregarded local transit), while this one would be about explicitly serving the most needy city trunks.

        This plan also presumes that Ballard-Wallingford-UDistrict gets built, rendering a radial Ballard line with complete grade separation less vital. RR would still get nearly twice as fast with the eradication of the LQA-Belltown slog.

        $2 billion for Ballard-UDistrict and $1 billion for this accomplishes a lot for a relatively reasonable voter ask.

        The truth is that mass transit, in most places with mass transit, crosses downtown and keeps going. Only Metro’s haphazard terribleness makes you despise through-routing or suggest transfers at downtown’s front gate. The key is to figure out how to keep transit, in whatever form, moving along its logical vector. Detouring and loop-de-looping half a mile from where people want to go is never going to be wise.

  3. The N-S Mercer Island Route 204 is significantly improved after this weekend’s service change. No more afternoon rush hour gap from 3:30-4:30, a wider span of service and more trips that make it all the way to the south end of Island Crest Way rather than turning around at the QFC shopping center. Although no more weekend service on MI is a drag.

    1. Ah no. the span of service (once you include the runs on the 205 and 202) is worse, with a last bus from downtown at 6pm sharp instead of around 6:30. First buses might be a little better: perhaps that helps a few people. This is a big deal, and makes the bus almost useless to south end Seattle commuters who can’t be certain of getting out of work by 5:10 (or earlier if they are former users of the 205) Off peak service is hourly instead of every hour. It’s true that more buses serve the southern reaches of ICW and the area near the middle school

  4. I want to thank all the Page 2 authors for their contributions, and Frank for coming up with the idea. In a short time it has become a significant asset to STB. It’s bringing new topics and viewpoints that haven’t been covered before, and become a low-barrier way for new authors to try their hand. I check it every couple days to see if something new has come in. Special thanks to Avgeek Joe for his in-depth reporting of Island Transit and Payne Field/Boeing visitors centers’ transit access.

    1. I like apartments, trains….suburbs and cars…and bikes, and steaks.

      Buy yeah, that article pretty much describes the Decades of Oppression as delivered by Olympia and elsewhere.

    2. O poor suburbanites, under the thumb of Hollywood and the greens. It’s good to know those oil barons and bankers don’t really exist. I don’t know how Hollywood created the crash and recession, but hey. But your resentment is over the top. If Hollywood and the greens really had control over everything, your country would look like Germany and the Netherlands, your wages would be higher due to stronger unions, and there would be no Houston or sunbelt exurbs to flee to. Seattle’s residential land would not be 70% single-family, and it wouldn’t take an hour to get from Ballard to downtown on transit (that thing you’re supposed to use, comrade!). Your gas would cost $7 a gallon — no, let’s make that $10, so that America can lead the world in sustainability. Somebody’s gotta pay for those nationwide high-speed trains.

      So you (Kyle Smith) think college education is useless and just a way to indocrtrinate people and ensure the elite can perpetuate itself? A college education is like an abortion: if you don’t like it then don’t have one! But stop to consider whether your disdain for education is the reason you’re stuck in a low-paying job.

      Here’s the David Brooks article ($) article you didn’t bother quoting. You didn’t really believe he was advocating a totalitarian dictatorship by the elite, did you? Here’s Paul Krugman ($) offering a “liberal” perspective, or at least Luke Brinker thinks Krugman is responding to Brooks’s article. Krugman points out where the elite actually is.

    3. Oh, I didn’t realize that the downward mobility of the middle class had nothing to do with decades of downsizing and outsourcing, with the failure of wages to match productivity gains, with the evaporation of state-funded education and research, and with the imposition of indebtedness to various creditors as a non-elective permanent state of being, after having rewritten the rules of finance and any number of legal precedents to suit the demagoguery of the wealth-accumulator class!

      I guess it was about the “war on the suburbs” all along!

      Seriously, fuck you and your right-wing deflection-points Murdoch-media circle jerk.

      1. This has become a common tactic on the right. Take the complaints that are legitimately directed toward you, and hurl them back at the opposition where they don’t make logical sense. This causes confusion in the minds of listeners.

      2. This would be the point at which you acquire the book — as I did — and read it.

        He clearly states that his criticism is both of Liberals and Conservatives…who he sees as both being part of the same antagonism towards the majority of people, who are lead down primrose paths with stellar words, and fiendish deeds.

        To be guided by their compass is to wander aimlessly in a welter of rhetorical posturing in which billionaires who have made their fortunes in coal become the leaders of the left-wing campaign against the Keystone pipeline.

        That link again is:

        http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N72V72I/ref=r_soa_w_d

      3. Um, no. That’s a new tactic on the right as well: claim to be an impartial critic of both parties, when in fact your worldview is clearly aligned wholly with one, and somehow all of your “impartial” recommendations toe the exact same familiar Reagan/Friedman upward-redistribution-of-wealth-enabling policy lines.

        This is 240 more pages of contorted deflection and belabored confusion-sowing.b>Your party co-opted your fears of shrinking White Male Hegemonic influence in order to create a framework that intentionally impoverished the middle class and destroyed the planet for your offspring.

        You need to own that.

      4. Once again (@ d.p….does it seem like with Orr and dp we have to argue everything twice)?

        This is 240 more pages of …

        Do you own or possess the book?

        Have you read it?

        Can you provide a quote from the book in support of your assertion (as I did)?

      5. Well, your first clue is in your last quote: The implication that anything resembling a sane energy policy is a plot to destroy the Middle Class cooked up by hypocritical elitist Lefties. (Always Lefties.)

        Let me guess… does he go on to claim that the Keystone pipeline will provide Americans with zillions of good middle-class salt-of-the-white-people-earth jobs? Because that’s a pretty common Fox News trope. It’s also a total fucking fiction.

        Here’s the most hilarious takedown of “nonpartisan” Joel Kotkin that I could find: http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/joel-kotkin-lives-in-reaganite-fantasy.html

        Here’s a more straightforward takedown of Kotkin’s classically Republican aversion to facts and immunity to cognitive dissonance: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/04/30/kotkin_on_suburbia_he_forgot_about_prices.html

        But just to assuage you, I read the first chapter. And predictably, it’s full of deflection. For example, many mentions of the rising inequality to be found during Obama’s first term. It’s not even clever deflection, or new: Fox News has spent six years blaming Obama for the actions of his predecessor and the galling uncooperativeness of Congressional Republicans. He also repeatedly mentions the tech economy’s lack of interest in a middle-class American support structure. He’s right, but that’s largely because that industry is full of asshole free-market purists who in any other generation would’ve taken their greed to Wall Street rather than Silicon Valley, and who in no way represent progressive thinking on anything.

        Again, ask yourself who created the conditions for unrestrained, unregulated Capitalism and the many ills you are now suddenly identifying. You’ll find it was your party, and your people. You’ll find it is the culture of responsibility-free wealth-amassing that you extolled. And you’ll find it has nothing whatsoever to do with “urbanism”. Deflection. Smoke and mirrors. Argumentum non sequitur.

      6. By the way, there is something particularly vile about the people who willfully torched the economy and an entire generation’s future, whose entire guiding philosophy has proven corrupt, dogmatic crap and is finally losing its bought-and-paid-for hold over American public discourse, claiming to desire “to move the conversation past the traditional, divisive partisan divides”.

        [expletive]

      7. Again…from the book:

        …the new tech hegemons share some similarities to the oligarchs that arose to dominate the post-Soviet Russian economy..

        …during the Occupy protests in 2012, few criticisms were hurled by the “screwed generation” at tech titans.

        http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N72V72I/ref=r_soa_w_d

        I don’t think he spares anyone in his analysis except…well the middle class who’ve been devalued by it all. If you have skimmed it I suggest actually reading it for what it is — not making a kneejerk reaction based on what you assume it to be.

      8. Yes, always a sign of neutrality when a well-compensated “think tanker” says to the majority of citizens: “You feel victimized. Let me define for you who has been victimizing you. But don’t worry, it isn’t the people who sold you on the idea of cheap gas and infinite resources and ever-lower income taxes and infrastructure you never have to pay for and getting rich off of stagnant wages and ‘the right’ kind of borrowing (property ladder!). That guy’s off the hook, and so is your belief in all of those fairies.”

      9. “…the people who sold you on the idea of cheap gas and infinite resources…”

        The Liberal Intelligensia during 1945-1970?

    4. “Anti-suburban snobbery is now dressed up in a green cloak. “What is causing global warming is the lifestyle of the American middle class,” declared developer Andrés Duany. Moving people back to urban cores would be a “climate change antibiotic,” said influential architect Peter Calthorpe.”

      Again, sound familiar?

      1. the mandate to “live small” frequently comes from individuals who are ensconced on huge estates or in incredibly expensive trophy apartments and who travel by private jet.

        It doesn’t get any more true that that.

      2. Based on this “conversation”…certainly not.

        And with that, I must now continue binge watching “Walking Dead” Season 4.

  5. One silver lining to the 208 being cut back to every 2 hours is that the trips that remain finally operate on a schedule that has some semblance of coordinating with the 554. In particular, it is now possible to get from Seattle to North Bend before noon without a 40-minute layover in Issaquah.

    On the other hand, the 2-hour headway is not consistent, with the actual gaps between buses ranging from 2 hours to 2 1/2 hours. No, everyone has to remember the times of each individual trip, no more clock-facing headways. Under the assumption that the minimum headway achievable with just one bus while guaranteeing an adequate break for the driver between trips, it’s worth asking the question if removing a few kinks from the route would shave off enough running time to allow one bus to maintain consistent two-hour headways throughout the day. For instance, there’s a route deviation in Issaquah that adds about 3-5 minutes to each run in order to save about 600 feet of walking (completely flat) for people headed to one particular destination. (I have never seen anyone use that stop).

    1. No, everyone has to remember the times of each individual trip, no more clock-facing headways.

      I get why clock-facing consistency has value, but does it really have value once headways surpass 90 min? At that point the odds of riders not consulting schedules and planning ahead seems pretty low. (I’m a compulsive memorizer of bus schedules, but when I’m in Dayton and I use a bus on Sundays, where most routes run with ~100 minute headways, I always check/plan.)

      1. What’s easier: learning that the bus by your house leaves at 17 past and take 36 minutes to get where you need to get, or checking the schedule every single time you want to use the bus?

  6. Does anyone have a clear version of the old (pre-2005) Community Transit logo? I have a grayscale vector copy, but I need the color palette. Thanks in advance!

  7. I was recently in Toronto and I was horrified by their streetcar system! Left lane boarding with moving traffic in the right lane! There are small signs on the streetcars that say something about watching for people getting on and off the car. I did see a new exclusive lane line in Spadina, but otherwise the streetcars appeared to be crawling in traffic and passengers seem to be putting themselves into harm’s way by running in front of traffic to get on and off of them.

    1. I was in Toronto in the early 00’s. The advantage of streetcars being in the second lane is they don’t get slowed down by right-turning cars or cars getting in and out of parking spaces. The pedestrian situation didn’t seem like that big of an issue. When the streetcar stops, the cars stop, and people get on and off the streetcar. San Francisco’s cable cars do the same thing, although they stop in the middle of intersections. I didn’t see any cars gunning in the first lane mowing down people, and in any case 95% of the drivers are Torontoans who have stopped for streetcars their entire life and their parents’ and grandparents’ lives, so they’re used to it. The main problem with Toronto’s streetcars (or at least the Queen Street line I most used) was that they had no signal priority so they were as slow as a bus, and they were small single (non-articulated) units.

      1. The streetcars seemed to be often delayed by left-turning vehicles. unlike buses, streetcars can not go around left-turning vehicles. Frankly, there should be at least some sort of clear pavement markings letting drivers see where the loading areas are — and there aren’t. When traffic spilt back into the locations where the streetcars let out, the streetcar passengers were weaving between cars.

        I also observed a very large percentage of immigrants from other countries in central Toronto, so I suspect that 95% figure is high these days. I saw several cabs driven by immigrants making traffic maneuvers that were very dangerous and illegal, like a cab that passed a left-turning vehicle on the right and then cut him off — to make the same left turn. Toronto driving seems to be rather crazy these days.

    1. Fortunately, the New York cyclists aren’t speeding so fast they wind up in Seattle! And since we don’t have many bike/ped boulevards like those in Central Park, most speeding, light-running, inattentive cyclists will probably wind up killed by cars. Even on the Burke-Gilman Trail, the anecdotal evidence I’ve heard is that there are often so many pedestrians that cyclists are forced to slow down to walking pace.

      So… Something to keep in mind? Maybe. A present problem here? Not proven.

  8. Did anyone see this article in the Seattle Times ($) saying that the King County Council canceled the February 2015 bus cuts?
    http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024659153_buscuts1xml.html

    Not sure what this is going to mean, but seems like it’ll just fuel the “No on Prop. 1” crowd and people who are against transit in general to say “See? I KNEW they didn’t need more money!” Although if they were lying all along, wouldn’t they have waited until AFTER the election to bring this up??

    I wish Seattle and King County could be a region where more people felt that public transit was a necessity, not a luxury.

  9. I have some unused transportation fringe benefit vouchers from my work in bothell. I moved to Vancouver, BC so I have no use for them. They are worth $125 total…MSG me back if interested

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