Page Two articles are from our reader community.

I’ll be acute.  I’ve read the bloody hand-wringing in the post-election comment thread that oh we didn’t get Democrat majority in the State Senate, oh the Republicans are just going to automatically oppose transit, oh the sky is falling.  Frankly somebody needs to give a locker room speech.  Perhaps this Pete Carroll one is a good start:

You see we’re in the winning business, we need to have a vision to win getting ST3, and as per the proverb “Those that say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it”.

Because frankly: We are doing transit and doing a lot of transit mostly right.

On light rail, ridership continues a beautiful climb.  We’re about to hit 40,000 monthly average weekday boardings of light rail and 5 years ago it was less than 15,000.  No kidding that’s the free market.

On buses, we’re having local communities vote for the bus service they want – just like Proposition 1.  That’s local control.

On congestion relief, we could have our transit agencies do a better job.  That should be goal #1 – putting our transit investments towards congestion relief.  Congestion relief is what the middle class voter wants – and what transit opponents claim to want.  Goals for creating congestion relief are what will get Republicans and Chambers of Commerce on board – and we’ve already got a lot of allies in local government.  Congestion relief means less agitation for more roads and more sprawl which is as we know 180 degrees from… congestion relief because all those Single Occupancy Vehicles are going to be stuck in a currently inadequate Interstate Highway network.

This sort of reminds me of a locker room speech the actor who played Herb Brooks gave in “Miracle” in which he said the team who would throw the Soviet game back at them of attacking would win.  Instead of hand-wringing and hearing how great it is give up… we throw the bipartisan Road Bullies’ anti-transit game right back at ’em.  Right back at ’em.  Just like Herb Brooks would:

So it’s up to YOU the transit advocate.  You want to win with ST3 or not because I got no time for quitters?

So while I’m throwing the Road Bullies game right back at ’em, if I can quote Jonathan Hopkins:

A business with a cash cow would ensure enough investment so that it could power the business for years into the future. As far as state budgets go, that cash cow is the Seattle metropolitan region area comprised of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. This metro region—home to half the state’s population—is the source of 75% of the state’s $381 billion in economic output in 2013 with all the tax revenues that go with such an intensity of people, goods, and services.

For this reason, the metro area is a net contributor to the state’s tax rolls.  King County specifically only got back 62¢ for every $1 in taxes it generated the state in 2011. Lack of alternatives to congestion is killing productivity (due to car drivers’ 37 hours per year spent stuck in traffic) and limiting job growth. Sound Transit’s service area includes 80% of the population of the three-county area, as well as an overwhelming proportion of the economic output of the area and the state. Preventing investment to keep the region moving undermines the metro economy and therefore the tax collections that help power the rest of the state.  

Furthermore, I traded some e-mails with House Republican ace staffer Mary “Marummy” Lane Strow who told me, “As for an official House Republican position on transit, we will be developing our ideas for how best to allocate transportation funding as session approaches.”  Well then folks we better help them along and make our case, shall we?  Get ’em on board.  Quit whining about hard work to grow because if you don’t put the hard work in, you’ve already lost and I got no time for quitters.

So here’s my vision:

  • We get ST3 by hard work and compromise and collaboration so it’s on the ballot in November 2016 with the best chance to pass, period.
  • We get long term a transit net that is targeted towards serving neighborhoods and connecting neighborhoods to jobs, life (e.g. civic participation, sporting events, museums), and family.
  • We modernize a State Republican Party and make this state a two-party state.  That’s better for democracy and that’s better for transit when we put transit on an upward spiral of bipartisan support and continual improvement.
  • We let people decide at the ballot box because: “Let’s let the people who want transit pay for it and, and not make people pay for it that don’t want it.”  That’s the conservative way.  That’s how we’ll win.

So here you go to help you jump-start the effort to get ST3 on that ballot, the Super Bowl we want and deserve:

I hope by now you’re fired up for the ST3 fight ahead.  I sure hope so… because if you’re not, if you want to quit… I got no time for quitters.

For the uninitiated: Road Bullies are those whom think transit sucks, those whom want to shut transit down and those whom want just more sprawl.  They’re bipartisan and not interested in solving problems but just interested in getting highway pork at everybody else’s expense.

48 Replies to “North by Northwest View 03 – A Pep Talk”

    1. I just saw this article Saturday morning. After a couple times checking Page 2 and no new article, I waited a day before checking it again.

  1. You have to be careful with the “congestion relief” argument because it’s easily misunderstood. There are three different kinds of congestion relief. Drivers understand it as, “Put other people on transit and that’ll free up road space so I can drive easier.” That doesn’t work because drivers start making more trips and filling it up again.

    The second kind of congestion relief is transit improvements that let transit sail past the traffic. That’s the most effective and realistic kind, and it’s why we’re pursuing grade separation, transit lanes, signal priority, bus bulbs, etc. Let the SOVs who create the traffic be stuck in it. A bus typically carries fifty people, so it should iave fifty times more priority than an SOV. The problem is drivers don’t consider this “congestion relief”, so they get mad when their kind doesn’t happen. We need to reevaluate the terminology and come up with a better term.

    The third kind of congestion relief is maintaining the status quo. If you suddenly eliminate buses as with the Metro cuts, many riders will start driving and making congestion worse. Opponents say Metro did cut in September and it didn’t add one iota to congestion, but that’s because the first round of cuts was small and only a few highway runs were actually lost. Most highway runs were shifted to all-day routes or trunk shuttles or transfers to Sounder, so the net transit capacity in congestion-prone areas was retained — what was cut was deadheading and route specialization. But this only works dramatically one way. Cutting transit forces an immediate spike in congestion, but adding transit has only a gradual effect because people start using it one by one over months. It’s so gradual that drivers may not notice it or consider it “congestion relief” — they can’t visualize what it would be like if that added transit wasn’t there.

    1. Thanks Mike. I prefer the second, then the first, then the third definitions of congestion relief you gave. To me, the goal should be to convince drivers to use the buses so as to conserve – yes, that word – limited road resources.

      After all – what takes longer – more buses or more road lanes? Let’s see – one form requires environmental assessments or even an environmental impact study, which will then get bad press, which will take a long time to address before the congestion relief begins.

      Or just buy the bus/buses and skip years of expensive process. Also buses can use diamond lanes on the freeways which is a rather stern, rapid form of creating congestion relief. SOVs are fine for errands around town and going to the park – not so much going to work.


  2. You’re right about compromise. That’s the only way we can accomplish anything in a democracy and one with fragmented jurisdictions. We must distinguish between what we absolutely must have and what we can compromise on, and not insist we must have “everything”. For instance, we must have significant improvements in transit priority (grade separation, BAT lanes, signal priority, bus bulbs, etc) and walkability (walking from stations, a wide variety of destinations near stations). These are common-sense principles that were universal before 1940 and still followed in many countries: making things convenient for non-drivers has only upsides and no downsides. But how much of this to implement is open to discussion: we’re not going to turn 100% into Copenhagen.

    Seattle Subway, or even half of Seattle Subway, is a good example to aim for. We also need to work with suburbanites who are ready to move on transit and ST3. That means accepting some long extensions and P&Rs, especially if said suburbanites are paying 100% of the capital costs. But it also means pushing them to moderate their most extreme or unrealistic demands. “The Spine” is a reasonable compromise. We should also encourage them to think about intra-county transit — Tacoma Link, Swift, Everett/Lynnwood streetcars, etc — not just expresses to Seattle. As with immigration, we can’t just facilitate everyone moving to the US, we also need to help countries improve their own economies so there’s less demand to emigrate. With transit that means improving intra-county transit and walkability in the suburbs, and increasing jobs near suburban transit stations.

    1. Very, very well put. Intra-County Transit is very important to me as well. I also think accepting P&Rs are a-okay if eventually we have a lot more P&Rs but they’re smaller because the P&Rs serve small bus routes that feed the big ones – I have that in my community.

    2. I also agree that for transit to be cost-effective and attractive, “we must have significant improvements in transit priority (grade separation, BAT lanes, signal priority, bus bulbs, etc) and walkability (walking from stations, a wide variety of destinations near stations)”. We do need transit to be timely and having near stations & bus stops places like supermarkets, cafes, shopping centers, museums, the like can only be helpful.

      Yes, this is up-front money. Yes, this may require lengthy, expensive Environmental Impact Statements at times but the cost can be spread out.

    3. I was speaking of Snohomish and Pierce Counties. I don’t know what Skagit and Island Counties need. I know what I want and what the woman I know who lived in Mt Vernon wanted: more service on the Everett – Mt Vernon route, including evenings and weekend.s But what Skagit residents overall want and where they mostly go, that I don’t know.

      1. Fair enough.

        Which reminds me… I had the morning from hell – partially thanks to Greyhound. I think I will be e-mailing the Skagit Transit planner about seeing when 90X will be serving weekends.

  3. Sorry, Joe, but I think that the “compromise” which will be demanded of Seattle by the “Majority Coalition” (coming soon to the Washington State House of Representatives also) will be just like what was killed last year: a bloated highway package designed to facilitate sprawl in the South Puget Sound region and North Clark County and to smash through north Spokane a la Robert Moses. A couple of hundred million to support the Cascades, assuming of course that BNSF still allows the trains on its tracks after Amtrak is killed by Congress. And the “opportunity” to vote for an ST3 designed to extend Link farther into the suburbs.

    All this backed by bonded indebtedness far into the future paid for by general revenues, not user fees.

    Link in 2021 will have reached far enough on the current tax system to shape the region for the next twenty years. It’s enough. Seattle should vote a resounding “No” and stick to its own knitting.

    1. Oh, and bus lanes don’t require environmental assessments. They just require Council Fortitude.

    2. So I guess you want to throw away ” A couple of hundred million to support the Cascades… And the “opportunity” to vote for an ST3 designed to extend Link farther into the suburbs.” I would also add some direct state assistance for county-level transit agencies…

      So I guess Paine Field shouldn’t have quality transit and Pierce County can’t have decent transit because you don’t like being fair to Spokane & Southwest Washington. Am I right because if so, please let those of us who want ST3 do our work.

      Also building new lanes – general purpose or bus – require study before pavement. Converting current lanes is something I’m sure is worth discussion by local governments. I’d like to see HOV lanes buses can use all the way north to Bellingham.

      1. Paine Field can not use “quality transit”, at least not as you appear to define it: i.e. “Link”. Yes, there are a lot of workers at Boeing Everett. And just like those at Boeing Field and Renton Boeing, they’re spread all over heck and gone, they’re well paid workers with pickup trucks, they have large free parking lots in which to store them while they work, and most of them go to work and leave work at the same time.

        There are some of those workers who are interested in riding transit, so absolutely, provide good peak period transit for them to get to and from work. That should not depend on “ST3” to accomplish.

        In between those sharp peaks? Fuhgeddaboutit. Nobody is going to ride so there’s no reason to deviate Link to the tune of a half billion dollars. And besides, Boeing could take those jobs away in a Chicago Minute.

        And I’m sorry to say this because you are a good guy, but you are drinking some strong Kool-Aid if you think that an emboldened Majority Coalition, especially should one arise in the House as well, is going to give a rodent’s hindquarters about “county-level transit agencies.” Oh, they may continue some rudimentary funding, but why do you think that intercity transit south of Olympia has completely disappeared in the last four years? Yes, some was the recession of course, but the MC drove the stake into the heart of Vampire Bus. And twisted it.

        So far as “fair to Southwest Washington”, I live here and believe me, here is nothing that the MC can do for us, because their only answer is “More Highways! More Highways! More Highways!” And the only “highway” we need is a replacement for the I-5 bridge, but the version they want is unacceptable to Oregon. The Oregon Legislature is more firmly in the hands of the Democratic Party, and Governor John’s girlfriend and major CRC backer is sitting in the corner with a dunce cap on her head. And anyway, Oregon has re-purposed its contribution.

        There will be no “fairness” for Southwest Washington.

      2. Anandakos;

        1) I’m not saying Link is necessarily the answer but ST3 can only help Paine Field. There’s more to Paine Field than Boeing. A lot more… and Link would allow Community Transit & Everett Transit to realign transit service around that lot more (i.e. Flying Heritage Collection, multiple flying schools, Future of Flight, Historic Flight Foundation). Why you oppose this is really tacky… especially as I don’t oppose transit for you.

        2) I’m sure with local government & transit lobby groups pressing hard to help state legislators understand the importance of helping county-level transit agencies there’s hope there. Let’s not sit back and play defense – let’s go out there and actively market the gains transit has created.

        3) Thanks for the kind words. I’m applying pressure behind the scenes to get House Republicans to consider transit. Can’t disclose on an open net.

        There’s also efforts to work on select State Senators to get on board – including a recent show-and-tell by Everett Mayor Ray Stephenson on one State Senator Curtis King. So let’s hang tough, go 1-0 this session and realize what’s past is the past. We’re in the here and now.

        Many thanks for understanding in advance.

      3. Note that we are doing the bipartisanship that the Legislature and Congress should be doing.

      4. Joe,

        I don’t oppose providing transit to Paine Field. It has great road connections so it should be pretty cheap to provide. If it needs some queue-jump lanes added to the on-ramps, sure, SoundTransit should allocate some money to that. There may even be the opportunity for some bus-lanes on the perimeter roads.

        ST should provide great peak hour service and of course do have reasonably frequent mid-day “coverage” service to Lynnwood and Everett so that transit users who have to go to pick up a child from school can get home to the car if necessary. Just don’t expect too many riders on it. Publicly defend it as necessary to make the commuter system viable for people.

        Just not Link, at least not until some migration away from car-oriented businesses such as those you specified is clear. If there is an ST3 package and if it contains Link to Everett, it should not deviate to Paine Field. Just like Sea-Tac and Boeing Field there will never be any development around it except spread out employment. Nobody wants to live around a low-level airport flight path.

        So far as the “Lifeline” transit in rural counties, of course I’m for it, and maybe the MC folks can get over their allergy to transit if it’s for their own constituents instead of those lazy slackers in Seattle. Heretofore they haven’t been too terribly enthusiastic, but people can change.

      5. Anandakos;

        Truly sorry I’m late getting back to you. As I wanted to write several paragraphs, wanted to wait until I could sit behind a keyboard and write you back in detail.

        Originally when I read your comment I was angry. When I read it again, I understood why I was pissed – because deep down a lot of me agrees with you.

        Ideally we’d see a Paine Field circular go around and around Paine Field’s many smaller and medium-sized tenants swinging out to SWIFT from 6 AM until 10 PM – or at least provide 16 hours of service. Start with a small bus and work up to a Double Tall or two.

        Sadly the politicians want Link so to get anything near what I think is ideal I have to support ST3 with Link to Paine Field. It may take 10-20 years to get that circular, but I’m willing to build it piece-by-piece.

        You also may know I’ve had to deal with OLF Coupeville issues the past few years so I get it that, “Nobody wants to live around a low-level airport flight path.” Few do, actually. Most of whom have an economic stake in the airport or are aviation geeks. Those who don’t have a stake and buy the property for the views or inherit the property then file noise complaints….

        Great comment Anandakos – very thought-provoking.

      6. Joe,

        Clearly you know much more than I about the individual nature and disposition of businesses around Paine Field. I’m totally happy with your suggestion that a circulator feeding Link first at Lynnwood and then later farther north is a great idea. However, I’ve been looking in the Bus Plus book and Everett Transit’s schedule book and see that what you want is largely already in place, albeit in a fragmented way.

        CT currently offers a total of six trips a day to the east side of the Paine Field area around the Boeing plant. All are peak only; there is no mid-day CT service to the east side of Paine Field.

        There is all-day service along the Mukilteo Speedway provided by hourly route 113 which does a fair job of serving the cluster of warehouse and office park businesses on the southwest corner of Paine Field southwest of the Speedway. There’s also the peak-hour, peak-direction 417 to Downtown Seattle and “U-Trans” 880 which stay of the Speedway all the way to Lynnwood. These buses can deliver riders from downtown Mukilteo to the unserved side of the same business area in South Mukilteo in the morning and take them back in the evening, but not the reverse.

        There are also the high-quality Swift BRT and the half-hourly “local shadow” 101 at the corner of Airport Way and Evergreen Way (SR99), but it’s a pretty long hike to anywhere around Paine Field.

        Everett Transit does the heavy lifting for the east side of Paine Field, because it’s within the city limits. Route 2 gets to 112th and Airport Way every 45 minutes each way, and connects to the Mariner Park’N’Ride for ST connections. Route 3 offers service to Boeing north of Casino Road and a little bit to the south. Route 7 serves Evergreen Way (SR99) as the local shadow north of Everett Mall Way. Again, it’s a bit of a hike over to the businesses on the east side of Paine Field, but service is admirably frequent, matching Swift’s. Route 8 offers hourly service to the “Seaway Loop” at the northeast corner of the Boeing Plant weekdays and terminates in a triangular loop at 112th/Airport Way and Evergreen Way. It would be a very good idea to extend it to the South Everett Freeway Station where there’s frequent ST Express service. ST could compensate ET for the increase in operating costs. Ditto the Mall Circulator, Route 12, which serves the southeast corner of the Paine Field area. It also should serve the South Everett Freeway Station for connection with ST, at ST’s expense. Route 70 provides commuter service from the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal to the east side of Paine Field around the Boeing Plant. It seems to me that would more properly be a CT line, but it may be a “legacy” ET service.

        That’s today’s Paine Field service. Most areas within the Everett City Limits have infrequent and rather fragmented service, some of which could be better integrated to the SoundTransit regional services. It seems to me that since ET participates in Orca the most cost-effective way to accomplish your goal is to build on the structures in place. ST can buy service from both providers to up the frequency on the routes which currently serve the Field area to half hourly, and that should meet the needs for regional service.

        In all honesty the more I think of the “circumferential circulator” idea, the less I’m impressed with it. After all, who’s going to want to travel by bus from the Air Musem to the Boeing Plant, as an example. How about from the Traxx Indoor Raceway to Esterling? Multiple lines which are as direct as possible between the regional system at the South Everett Freeway Station are far better than making people ride around an enormous loop.

        But I definitely favor more frequent and reliable service to all parts of the Paine Field industrial and office areas.

      7. Anandakos;

        The idea isn’t to ” travel by bus from the Air Musem to the Boeing Plant” but to link Swift with Paine Field destinations. Right now, there’s no real service to the Future of Flight and Flying Heritage Collection within half a mile (and more) – two destinations that deserve transit service. Ditto several major airplane modification plants including the one Southwest Airlines uses in Aviation Technical Services.

        Nobody wants to walk over a mile to a bus stop. But I appreciate your research.


      8. Joe,

        I was just questioning the giant loop idea you sketched out. Service to all quadrants sorrounding the airfield? Yes! But each should connect with the regional services along I-5 and SR99 at the relatively closest point. I do agree that the existing east side system can be revamped to be one route rather than three, though.

      9. Anandakos;

        Sorry for the late response – was on the road Friday and part of Saturday but as to, “Service to all quadrants sorrounding the airfield? Yes! But each should connect with the regional services along I-5 and SR99 at the relatively closest point.”

        Absolutely, that’s what I want. I want to use SWIFT and some of the other Community Transit runs as feeders to service to all quadrants of Paine Field.

        Sorry again for being late getting back to you. Staying around home this week.

    3. I don’t speak for Seattle Subway or Seattle Transit Blog, but as a member of both I will say that if the bill is similar what was being floated last session – every last freeway WSDOT could find in the books being autofunded and the Puget Sound only being given the option of taxing ourselves, I will be against it as will many other transit advocates (and the entire Green bloc).

      1. Matthew, my message is get the best deal we can get but get ST3 on the ballot.

        I don’t like the fact transit has a public vote and user fees (aka fares) while freeways lack either. But I’d rather have ST3 and quality transit than no congestion relief.

        That said: Tolls on Hwy 520 Bridge haven’t caused major harm. Why not toll every single freeway expansion until the project is paid off? Or at least some.

      2. Joe, the answer to why not toll every single freeway expansion is that it has already been answered: that’s exactly what we’re doing but we’re either not setting the tolls high enough (Hwy 520 is not paid for, Hwy 99 will probably be the only loan that outlasts my student loans) or people are willing to sit in traffic (or, hey, take transit) to avoid the tolls. Either way, the bill is not being paid.

        At this point, I’m with Matthew. Seattle has demonstrated that we will vote to tax ourselves to get the transit service we want. I will not, under any set of circumstances I can currently see, accept a bill like came up in 2013. Here’s what I will accept: roads and transit are given the exact same unlinked shot at the ballot box. Every Transportation Benefit District and RTA has taxing authority that it can put in front of voters in their own votes. If the state wants us to pay for roads, the state can put the roads to a separate vote. The cherries on top would be to allow TBDs and RTAs at least a small level of council or board approved taxing authority that doesn’t need to go to the voters, perhaps after the first overall vote (like Metropolitan Parks Districts). I don’t know how to balance it out for roads since those are built by the state from statewide funding.

        In short, I will always vote to tax myself for transit. If the state votes to go along with roads, then fine but I get a separate shot to vote no. I utterly detest this system of “everybody has to vote on everything” but those are the rules we have so those are the ones I’ll play under.

      3. I can see where Matthew’s coming from but I fear that if transit fans split on whatever ST3 package the legislature gives us, it will be another multiyear or decade delay. It worked before but the legislature wasn’t so evenly divided and polarized then.

        Meanwhile the Times today muses on what the legislature will do next session. Judy Clibborn (D-Mercer Island) “has been int alks with her counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Curtis King, R-Yakima. They agreed that if a transportationpackage happens next year it would originate in the Senate. Both parties would have to agree on the large projects, and the focus would be on …” — What, maintenace, given the limited funds? No. “… projects essential to maintaining the ports and economic development, Clibborn said.” Oh.

        I’m scratching my head wondering what projects are relevant to the ports because I don’t know of any proposal between Dravus Street and Spokane Street except the 99 tunnel which is already underway. Could the 509 extension and Cross-Base Highway and 18 extension be considered “essentilal for the port and economic development”? If so, which highways wouldn’t be considered essential? And why does the port get to the front of the line?

      4. Hopefully ST will specifically ask for an independent authority separate from the highway bill. and point to opposition like Matthew’s and Seattle’s Prop 1 to say the game is already up. There are also several Pugetopolis mayors saying HCT has become a “critical” issue in the region, whatever that means.

      5. The 167 completion is pretty big for the Port of Tacoma. The only reason I can see 509 as being important is as an I-5 bypass.

      6. I’m with Matt and lakecityrider – while I certainly see the benefits of ST3 I don’t see it at the expense of sacrificing tens of billions of dollars of more freeway projects and the tens of billions of dollars on top of that in indirect costs of the sprawl and maintenance that it will entail. I’d rather delay transit projects by a few years and wrest more local/regional control from the state legislature than sleep with that devil.

      7. Skylar,

        I disagree. I’m not campaigning for new freeway projects per se – but some I understand are truly necessary, such as around Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma.

        Plus waiting four years to run ST3 isn’t healthy and could undo decades of transit advocacy. Costs of process, congestion and construction all go up. For what? Because you don’t like freeways?

        I’m for the best deal possible to get ST3, but in the end we need ST3 on the 2016 ballot. We also need some more funding for local transit agencies attached to accountability – I do not want another county-level transit agency thinking they can get away with another Island Transit HQ megaproject and siphon funds away from truly transit-needy areas.

      8. My only real ‘line in the sand’ is the cross-base highway. Even then if the legislature is generous with tax authority I might be willing to overlook that as well.

        Clearly there are some needs like the Western approach for 520 that should be funded.

        It does grind my gears that highways can expect billions from the legislature whereas transit has to fight just for the right to hold a public vote on transit taxes.

      9. Chris,

        To quote you, “It does grind my gears that highways can expect billions from the legislature whereas transit has to fight just for the right to hold a public vote on transit taxes.” However it’s the political reality.

        It’s the reality when we sit back and play defense. It’s the reality when we don’t get more transit users to defend transit. It’s the reality when Road Bullies have talk radio microphones on KVI & KTTH plus moneyed interests on their side plus all kinds of myths to peddle – and transit users struggle to counterbalance.

        Also why are you guys so against the cross-base highway? The need is clearly there for this particular highway and the environmental impacts from the military mega-base are so frickin’ huge there isn’t much left to protect.

        For a few acres of prairie next to a military base, you’d sacrifice ST3 which would help millions of humans?

        Please read as able.

        As such, my message is basically:

        #2 GET ON OFFENSE.

      10. Joe,
        The cross-base highway serves no real purpose other than to feed sprawl in East Pierce County. If congestion from JLBM is the real worry then I’d rather see the money spent on fixing known issues along I-5 near the base.

        No ‘cut off my nose to spite my face’ here though if transit can get what it needs then I can ignore what the Road Bullies get for now.

        The good news is fixing the culvert issue is going to take a lot of money so WSDOT may find it really can’t do any highway expansion after all.

        I have seen what transit getting into bed with the road expansion crowd has done in Denver. While their rail system may not be optimal partnering with roads has given them a lot of money to build their system and expand it.

      11. Thanks Chris. I do think a collaborative approach is best instead of roads vs transit, which means nobody gets anything

      12. For a few acres of prairie next to a military base, you’d sacrifice ST3 which would help millions of humans?”


        It’s not just “a few acres of prairie” — that’s just the roadway itself. It’s thousands of acres of south Pierce County prairie which will be filled with more sprawl housing, generating billions of tons of GHG’s over their lifetime and wiping out the small amount of the Puget Lowland ecosystem which remains.

        You may not believe in the “liberal conspiracy” of Anthropogenic Global Warming, but something is causing the atmosphere and oceans to fill up with Carbon Dioxide, and human technology is the only thing that has changed since the 1700’s. So “we have met the enemy and he is us!”

        To a significant though by no means exclusive degree we are imposing these loads of CO2 on the environment via suburban sprawl and the transportation impacts it imposes. Dense development means fewer GHG’s per person over a lifetime; there is absolutely no arguing with that.

        So the argument that conservatives often make, “Well, if we don’t burn it China will” is cant. Look at photos of Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong or any other Chinese city of more than a million population (there are scores) and you’ll see forests of residential towers. And subways everywhere.

        Now, I will certainly grant that those towers and subways took lots of energy to build, but they will “pay it back” — with “interest” — by permanently lowering the energy needs of those cities.

        We need to do the same here in America,

        So “Yes”, I would sacrifice Link to Outer Slobbovia in order to stop the sprawl in the Puget Sound Region. In my own backyard I’m ecstatic that Don Benton and Anne Rivers stopped the CRC in the Washington Senate, because that means the sprawl in North Clark County is going to come to screeching halt unless major new employment opportunities on this side of the river open up. There’s no room on the bridges for more people to commute to Portland for work.

        Of course that makes my trips to Portland less pleasant and less safe (the existing bridges have narrow lanes and a nasty “zig” at the north end), but it’s a small price to pay for lessened sprawl.

      13. Anandakos, people like you are getting in the way of progress on transit and I don’t appreciate it one bit. Happy today I have a full keyboard to respond instead of a touchscreen so I can cut loose.

        People like you who make condescending comments like, “Outer Slobbovia” are just as bad as jerks who pick on Seattle and Everett. No seriously. You want your meet-the-enemy-and-its-us moment, you just gave it pal. The enemy is people who demand “urbanism” and bash anybody who doesn’t.

        That said, two warnings given, I endorsed Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler in no small part for stopping the CRC. The CRC is a boondoggle that would have more sprawl but also would tie up transit funding.

        One last thing – after Climategate, I’m not sure what to believe on global warming. But I do know the more people we get on mass transit the less human impact on the Earth, period. That’s my starting point. Please keep this in mind when we trade comments in the future ;-).

      14. Joe,

        I apologize for the insult inherent in “Outer Slobbovia”. I certainly wouldn’t include Everett or Tacoma in it. I’m just not confident that it makes financial or environmental sense to extend the spine to either place. Yet. I’m good with buying critical sections of potential right-of-way to ensure that when such an extension is made it can be done as inexpensively as possible, commensurate with generating excellent ridership and good TOD, of course.

        As of now the ridership simply isn’t there for either extension. Seattle-Tacoma has one 40 foot non-articulated “single tall” bus that runs pure express every fifteen minutes and it’s rarely full. There’s also one 40 foot non-articulated single-tall that goes to the airport from Tacoma via several freeway stops, and it’s not yet full either.

        That’s basically one Light Rail car every fifteen minutes worth of ridership, and the ugly truth is that Link will take considerably longer than the 590 does to make the trip. Spiff the A line up to Swift standards and call it good.

        Now the time penalty for riding North Link from Everett will be much less severe than that of Central Link. Link will actually very often be faster. But Everett is half the population of Tacoma and more spread out. ST runs one express bus (the 512) between Everett and Seattle every fifteen minutes, stopping at all important freeway stations and park and ride lots along the way. That’s not even one full Link car.

        Is there going to be sufficient ridership to justify spending a couple of billion dollars on each end of the spine at this time of limited resources and the demand that K-12 education be fully funded, however the State Supreme Court seems to define that?

      15. Anandakos,

        My feelings on any highway spending the Legislature tries to do are mixed. I really don’t want to see pointless projects like the cross-base highway or the N/S sprawl way in Spokane, I also don’t want to see the ST3 vote tied to voting for local highway money.

        That said I’m not about to let the perfect be the enemy of the good enough. If we can get ST3 authority in time to be on the 2016 ballot I’m willing to accept a fair bit of logrolling to make it happen.

        While ‘Outer Slobbovia’ would have money for link extensions in such a package, the reality is if we want rail in Seattle then we need to push for as large of a package as possible.

        Regardless of what happens I would like to be ready with the following:
        1. A ‘plan B’ for the 2016 ballot if ST3 doesn’t happen.
        2. A supplemental package if ST3 gets the green light from the legislature and voters. This would run after passage of ST3 but soon enough that any extra money could be factored into ST’s planning and engineering,

        The idea in both cases is to use the monorail tax authority. Seattle Subway is already planning something for scenario #1.

        Two projects that come up are Ballard-UW and a second DSTT.

      16. Folks,

        I just do not see what the rush to “get ST3 on the 2016 ballot” is, especially since SoundTransit will probably not be ready to prioritize projects until mid-next year at the earliest. Right now there are seven broad “projects” identified: Ballard-Downtown LRT or BRT; Ballard-UW LRT or BRT; Kirkland-Eastgate LRT or BRT; Downtown-West Seattle-Burien-Renton BRT or LRT, in part or entire, and extensions of each branch of the spine. Two of those are within the city, four are entirely outside the city, but far apart, and one is in the city for about 35% of its study area and outside for the balance.

        Does anyone seriously believe that the high-decibel squabbling over them will be completed by 2016? Of course it won’t, even if the legislature looks up from the recently exacerbated McCleary problem long enough to vote on the sort of substantive highways bill to which King County could get an “ST3” tax authorization attached. About the most the legislature will be able to accomplish is to throw some asphalt down where the potholes and ruts have become truly hazardous. Attorneys are watching, leg.

        Instead Seattle should be laying down red paint and upgrading traffic signals like there is no tomorrow. Because mobility wise, there may not be one,

        If the legislature suprises everyone by providing extended tax authority to SoundTransit, that would just be the cherry on top of what Seattle could and by all rights should be doing for its buses, the majority of which will not be affected by Link anyway.

      17. Every year we delay means another year to wait for new lines, it means increased construction costs.

        Some parts of ST3 are pretty set in stone. Completing the spine is #1, the rest of the projects are less clear but is likely to be some mix of staff recommendations and political consideration. The members of the ST Board aren’t political neophytes.

        At the end of the day the budget for each sub-area will determine what is in the realm of the possible.

        In any case I’m pretty sure the city is capable of having a conversation with with ST about priorities at the same time it is putting down red paint and upgrading traffic signals. Really the only thing slowing the city down is money. I seem to recall Bridging the Gap is up for renewal fairly soon. Perhaps more capital investment to help transit can be part of the renewal package,

      18. Gents, I have been on the road a lot lately as per my Flickr and have only had a small iPod touch touchscreen to monitor developments so I apologize for the late replies.

        Anandakos – thanks for the apology, much appreciate. I’m not the biggest cheerleader for Link to solve my problems with transit at Paine Field – I think more buses serving a stronger, more frequent SWIFT will do that. I get your concerns about ridership, however.

        Chris Stefan is bang-on. That’s the creative thinking we need to get high-capacity transit around here instead of all-or-nothing. Most of the Republicans who took more seats for Team Red aren’t firebrands but rather nice folks who are pro-business. I also agree, “Every year we delay means another year to wait for new lines, it means increased construction costs.”

        Sorry for the response like this guys but time constraints are what they are. Plus I really don’t like making detailed internet comments on an iPod touch screen.

  4. lakecityrider – I am mainly of your thoughts. But I think we need to realize at some point in the acute future if we don’t market transit as a valuable service that can provide congestion relief, we’re going to get another sucky sandwich.

    See I agree w/ Mike Orr, “I can see where Matthew’s coming from but I fear that if transit fans split on whatever ST3 package the legislature gives us, it will be another multiyear or decade delay. It worked before but the legislature wasn’t so evenly divided and polarized then.” We take what we can get, but we get ST3 or bust.

    I would like to see the least amount of ST3 linkage as possible. Perhaps in return for legislation Gov’r Inslee won’t try for a carbon tax or a a low carbon fuels standard or the like. Really would allow us to get some things done in Olympia… that would actually, undeniably help people’s lives. But we take what we can get and we get ST3 on the ballot knowing it will pass.

  5. Excessive freeways only bother me when I have to walk past them. They don’t bother me enough to vote against a combined package. The cost of this package is a drop in the bucket compared to the special tax breaks and policies that well-connected companies have carved out for themselves. Perhaps there’s a way to combine Matthew’s skepticism and Joe’s transit priority by pressuring the legislature at the front end to leave the two decoupled — but without shooting ourselves in the foot as promises to vote no might do.

    Also, 2015 is too early for ST3, so whatever transit might be in a “Roads and Transit” package this yearwouldn’t be for ST. So the legislature would “reserve” the ST tax capacity for 2016? But that’s decoupling — exactly what we want them to do. Or would the legislature really delay the roads package another year to ensure they’re combined? That wouldn’t please the “Highways now!” faction, especially since it has already been delayed a year.

    1. Mike;

      Well I’d like it decoupled totally. But if not, we just vote YES and get ST3.

      ST3 will help Paine Field and Tacoma, and get Everett into the light rail game. ST3 can also include more express buses too – preferably double talls. But without ST3, we get nothing. We need to throw back at the Road Bullies the fact transit does provide congestion relief.

      Finally, I share your frustration at the tax code. However, that has NOTHING to do w/ ST3 and little to do with transit.

  6. I think you’re overestimating the number of avgeeks and the benefit of a Payne Field station. The Museum of Flight has only the 124, and none of the other Boeing plants have Link stations. However, I defer to the Snohomish subarea since they’re paying for it.

    1. Mike I’m not overestimating anything

      The 270,000 figure is from the Future of Flighf Marketing Director

      I support Link at Paine Field due to the number of jobs there. Manufacturing jobs there from multiple tenants

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