Tukwila Station – Wikimedia

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98 Replies to “News Roundup: Chatter”

  1. Ah, you missed the biggest news of all:

    Local GOP proposes raising gas tax and using it to fund transit, and Sen King is on board with it:

    Ya, he only wants to raise it in his district, but this is a crack in the door — this will surely propagate to the rest of the state.

    Thank you GOP, and thank you WA Supreme Court.

      1. That is exactly what the GOP is proposing.

        It’s a small step, but it is a start. Hopefully this passes as it is sure to become a statewide option shortly after that.

      2. Within 10 miles of the Canadian border. It remains to be seen whether Republicans are willing to extend it statewide. If so, it would be the greatest thing they’ve done in two decades, besides allowing ST2.

      3. @Mike O,

        I assume that to become law this would need to pass the House too, and I can’t imagine that the House would miss the opportunity to play with that clause a bit.

        This is very un-GOP like. It seems like they blundered into this in a moment of honesty without fully understanding what would occur. But I guess they aren’t used to being in control so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

        In any case, it’s good news no matter what. Now let’s just get that transit gas tax extended to King Co/ST/Seattle

      4. @Lazarus

        Why stop there? Every county and large city should be able to vote on a local gas tax to fund expanding transit service. I’m sure Spokane could use a BRT route or two.

      5. @CB,

        Oh, I’m sure the Dems will certainly try to expand this to the entire state. I just called out King/ST/Seattle because, you know, this is the “Seattle” Transit Blog and that iw what we are all supposedly most interested in.

        But thanks to the GOP for starting this discussion. I suspect they will get cold feet and scurry for the dark corners now that the spotlight is on them, but at least this is on the table now.

  2. Re the redlight camera story, having lived in a few countries over the years – NZ, UK, and now the US/Seattle one thing that I have noticed is how “lazy” and impatient (rude) drivers in the US are:

    Running red lights, honking the moment a light goes green because drivers arnt instantly moving, simply just not looking, texting, talking on the phone, backing out of parking spaces with no regard to approaching traffic, dangerous lane changing on freeways, not letting people in, speeding, speeding and more speeding down residential streets with no hope in stopping if a kid runs out infront of them, running red lights that are so long gone red the light the other one has gone green, list goes on.

    For a long time I pondered why is this, what is different about America? Why is everyone in such a hurry and so rude about they have to endanger everyone else so much? I have come to the conclusion it’s simply a difference in the level of police enforcing traffic laws and rules, here in the US they really just don’t seem to care unless you’re doing something way out of line, in NZ and Australia the police are always on the lookout for and very hard on drivers who bend and break rules and have no problems writing tickets to help them learn to be better.

    1. If we had that type of enforcement here, there would be a huge public outcry about our rights and liberties, and lamenting about the “nanny state”. I think we have the level of enforcement we want.

      1. I understand your point of view, and generally agree with it, it’s great to live somewhere where the government isnt constantly nannying everyone and figuring out a new way to tax something. However peoples driving habits could improve for everyones benefit with little effort, and at the very least it would make driving far more enjoyable =)

      2. Seattle proper, particularly downtown, is very nanny state about enforcing the jaywalking laws. Some cities could care less about jaywalking, e.g., NYC, but here I guess the city needs the money in the absence of a city income tax.

      3. @East Coast Cynic

        IMO “jaywalking” is a sign of bad street design. If people walking feel like the light is taking too long when no traffic is around, it probably is. If they are crossing where there is no crosswalk, its probably because they have to walk too far to the nearest one.

    2. Visits to Nordic countries convince me that required knowledge and training for driving an automobile need to be raised about a hundred times in the United States, considering how important private cars are.

      In Sweden, your text material for your test is the size of telephone directories used to be here.

      But my years driving both 60′ buses and city cabs tell me that, like with most machinery, most important thing is how the driver handles the machine. Very large amount is timing.

      Also how to work with natural forces like gravity and momentum more than engine power to move the vehicle. Transit or personal, ideally an open cup or coffee should still leave the rug dry.

      Both trolleybus training for transit drivers and Prius for civilians should be required for papers.

      Probably worst US driving habit is abetted by replacing side and rear windows with ray-gun ports- mainly to attract teenage boy customers who want to have a mean looking machine they actually want to crash into force fields.

      Gym coaches who always taught driver ed in high school would always blow their whistle in the kids’ ear if they missed a “shoulder check.” Cameras that replaced mirrors might work better if anybody looked at them- but mirrors didn’t have habit of suddenly going dead at first chance.

      If reliability could be improved, best thing could be eliminating windows with large video screens, and 360 degree cameras do outer space, old west, combat, zombie wars, fighter plane and hard-riding Afghan goat theft (national game there). With system using software to work real life objects and trafficinto the movie.

      Also, inside mirror making the kid look to himself like whatever hero fits. Except would really suck if a glitch made him look like Steven Seagall. Warranty! Warranty!

      Cameras? Widely used in Europe. No ticket for me yet, though my wife got two in Lynnwood for perfectly safe turn under camera whose decision could as soon given opposite decision.

      Also: somebody prove to me that especially in cash-strapped jurisdictions, red light cameras aren’t mainly for fund raising. Good “test” would be to give all proceeds to hospitals treating crash victims- eliminating conflict of interest though revenues would likely make cities give the cameras back to the parasitic profit making industries that collect most of fee.

      Personally- also think that if our license standards provided that authorities have the choice, for the same fee, to issue either a driver’s license or a regional transit card.

      My guess is putting camera expense into above training and performance requirements will show that well-trained personal ability and character yield better results than booby traps and punishment.

      Which is already reason why kids from even advanced pro-transit European countries really want to come to the United States: even a cuckoo clock designed by master craftsmen gets cramped.

      Mark Dublin

    3. In the USA, you’re not really a full citizen unless you use a car. The environment is built for cars — the slopes and widths of the road are all for the comfort of drivers. Swaths of parking lots create space between the useful buildings, which is really no big deal, unless you’re not in a car.

      If something bad happens to you because you weren’t in a car and someone else was, well, you should have gotten a ride from someone with a car. As for the driver in that collision, it’s just drivers being drivers; you know, accidents happen, and you should let it go. Don’t try taking it to trial, as the DA won’t prosecute and the jury, drivers themselves, can’t ever quite see themselves in your walking flats.

      If you’re trying to be in the public right of way without a car, well, how quaint; good luck, maybe you’ll be one of the special 10% minority that doesn’t eventually get worn down by the constant inconveniences, buy a car, and move to the burbs. Some are lucky enough to move to places that ARE friendly to non-drivers, but these places are rare, and you’re far more likely to get to them if you were rich to start with.

      (sorry, am I taking this too far?)

      I just came back from a week with a car. It was one week after many weeks of being away (hk, Taiwan, SF / east bay), but by far the most foreign experience despite not having to switch languages or change money or buy yet another contactless payment card.

      I reflexively accepted a rental car for the week. I was a pretty uneasy driver the whole time, but the alternative was to be a second class citizen and effectively hotel-bound. I understand it’s like this for most of America.

      I think this is why we tolerate terrible driving: in the USA, it is so awful to not be allowed to drive that we can’t fathom telling someone they can’t. This contrasts with other countries, where people who drive are kind of considered quirky hobbyists with too much money to spend, or professionals. The standard can be high because the consequence of not meeting the standard is low — there are plenty of other modes that are equally or more viable.

      So yeah! Improve transit / bike-ped facilities and we can demand better driving. Everyone wins!

      1. (sorry, am I taking this too far?)

        Way, way too far. I’m a moderately affluent white male in my late 30’s who has never owned–or driven–a car. This can be inconvenient. But–like any full citizen–I’m capable of weighing costs and benefits for myself, and I’ve concluded that those inconveniences are less detrimental to me than a) the costs and stress associated with driving, b)the health benefits of walking and biking, and c) the value I place on being a good and responsible planetary citizen. The notion that for all my privilege in our society, I am “not really a full citizen” because of the transportation choices I make, eyes wide open, is insulting and risible. It’s useful and important to highlight the extent to which our society creates an environment over-privileges car users, often at the expense of non-car users (massive free land giveaways for car storage, roads built without sidewalks, no dedicated lanes for transit, etc etc) but this is not the way to do it.

      2. To be clear, though, I agree with your concluding point. In my ideal world, the punishment for reckless driving or DUIs or whatnot would be less about jail and fines, and more about extremely lengthy–if not permanent–suspension of driving privileges. But, insanely and absurdly, we’ve built a world where the case that such common-sense measures are too punitive can’t be dismissed out of hand.

      3. djw, that attitude is possible only in a certain subset of cities, and within that a limited variety of home-work combinations, and a limited variety of career choices. It’s not a sudden cutoff, but a gradually diminishing quality of life that eventually becomes intolerable to almost all reasonable people. Oran used to live around Kingsgate, if you’re familiar with that suburban level of transit, and he didn’t complain much, even though many of us would. Three quarters of people in Atlanta have it worse, and many of them can’t afford to move to a neighborhood with better transit. That’s what I think Oran is getting at, not the relative transit-rider’s paradise of Seattle and the inner ring (even though we would not describe it that way), but how it is in most of the US.

        Even in our own Pugetopolis, there are people commuting from Snohomish County to North Seattle, or somehow getting around Island County, not because they’re supporting a fancy house with a big yard, but because they have little other choice, either because they can’t afford to move or it would cause an unacceptable split in their extended family or they may be working in some unknown place a year from now. So they either drive or they take 1-2 hour bus trips all the time.

        In Europe, transit goes everywhere, it’s designed as the primary way to get around, factories don’t open without a transit plan, it’s prestigious for companies to be near a subway stop, there are more alternatives to isolated big-box stores, and driving is a kind of hobby rather than a necessity. I took German in high school, and one thing the teachers mentioned prominently was the difference in the driving culture there. Teenagers didn’t get a car for basic mobility (as if it were a bicycle). They can’t start driving school until they’re 18, then it’s rigorous and expensive training (which also means they’re able to drive faster without accidents), and if they get caught drunk driving or with drugs it’s bye-bye driving and maybe jail time depending on the country. So driving is more of a hobby that people have to put effort into doing, rather than an expectation that everybody should do it and there’s something wrong with you if you don’t. (Or that, collectively, you [non-drivers] don’t exist and aren’t a significant factor in the economy and can’t become one, as Jarrett Walker has put it.)

      4. I would amend your “In the USA, you’re not really a full citizen unless you use a car” to “In *most* of the USA, you’re not really a full citizen unless you use a car.” Otherwise you’re saying that New Yorkers and Bostonians and Philadelphians and Chicagoans aren’t “Real Americans” and you start to sound awfully similar to someone like Sarah Palin.

        I’m not just saying this because it raises my hackles as a former Bostonian. It also hides the fact that the *cultural* barriers to non-car-ownership among the middle class in the US are surmountable, when the relevant infrastructure is present.

      5. Mike, I don’t really disagree with any of that. I reacted a bit strongly to the suggestion, deeply embedded in American culture, that tied car ownership with full citizenship (I recognize it was being suggested as a lament rather than celebration, but it’s worth pushing back against in any respect.) I *also* think that in our efforts to push for better transit and urban design, we sometimes get carried away with how bad life is without a car–while it’s impossible for most car-owning people to give them up, there are quite a few people who could–who are probably unaware of the extent of the benefits (don’t realize how much the car is costing them, have normalized the stress of driving in traffic, don’t really think about the health benefits of walking/biking, etc) and exaggerating the horrors of car-free life isn’t helping. The more car-free households we can get, the more vigorous advocates for better transit we’ll produce.

      6. Yes but we’re talking about two different locations. In one (the outer Seattle neighborhoods and inner suburban ones), there are substantial benefits to non-car ownership, while in the other it’s much more difficult. There are surprising places where it’s substantially better than most people realize: 108th & Kent-Kangley Road, 200th SW between Lynnwood TC and Edmonds CC, etc, but beyond those areas it’s a different story (e.g., the 164 between KK Road and Auburn, or SE 192nd between the Soos Creek Trail and 108th). And even in Greenwood, there are people who tried it without a car and then gave up.

      7. She has a great point. What if you are an honest person and you know that you are a below average driver – by definition 49% of the public. Too bad, even crappy drivers have to drive.

        Plus US is the only place where taking away your drivers’ license is punitive on several levels, not even just a cultural level. Witness the fact that DUI felons and aliens without papers will drive anyway. Witness how hard it is to take away the car keys from someone who shouldn’t be driving.

        RE: Greenwood. It takes 45 minutes to get to work on the 5 from 85th. Not a surprise that you give up at that point.

      8. >> This contrasts with other countries, where people who drive are kind of considered quirky hobbyists with too much money to spend, or professionals. The standard can be high because the consequence of not meeting the standard is low — there are plenty of other modes that are equally or more viable.

        Yep, I was going to say this exact thing. In areas where cars aren’t needed, folks who drive are either professionals or hobbyists. They simply drive better. They may actually drive more aggressively, but they probably don’t “space out” as much. In America we have a much bigger mix of drivers. We have drivers who worked hard all day, want to get home, and really can’t stand it if you turn on your blinker at the last minute, or fail to move when the light turns green. We also have drivers who worked hard all day and they aren’t thinking about the road at all. They are just on auto pilot, and they turn on their light at the last second.

      9. “folks who drive are either professionals or hobbyists. They simply drive better.”


      10. Right right right, Steve, I completely agree — places like Boston / NYC / Philadelphia / etc. are _precisely_ the places where non-drivers and drivers have mobility parity (or it’s better to not have a car). They are glimmering, hopeful exceptions.

        I don’t mean at all that choosing not to drive makes you less of a citizen in the sense of “one who is reasonable enough to partake in government” (in fact, I’m unable to find where in my parable I could have implied this, so you are more than welcome to point it out). I meant that many changes to the built environment, made by private and public entities alike, don’t benefit you.

        In most places, you can give your activism, votes, and taxes, but will not receive — except in those rare places where you do (e.g. NYC, 25 mph speed limit, that lovely pedestrianized swath — but even there, it’s ok to kill toddler girls if it’s with your car).

        re: “don’t exaggerate the horrors of living without a car” — sure, it would be unhelpful to do that in Seattle, where it is doable in some parts, as long as you have some time and no dependents. In Sunnyvale? fuggedaboutit.

        (the irony is that everything took just as long, and I couldn’t even play with my phone, augh)

        Where it is marginally feasible, it helps to talk up the feasibility in order to get more people into their walking shoes and off their driving default. In much of America, it’s just plain denial to suggest that a rational person would choose to live without a car.

      11. I meant that many changes to the built environment, made by private and public entities alike, don’t benefit you.

        If that’s all you meant, I don’t understand why you would use the term ‘citizenship.’ It’s exaggerating to the point of meaninglessness.

  3. “•Sound Transit is looking to extend the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge funding deadline, to February 2016.” I guess responsible spending and living within their means is simply not an option for Sound Transit? You would think the fact that they have to wait another year just to get funding for a freaking pedestrian bridge would maybe be a hint that they should look at spending less on the bridge.

    And of course the taxpayers footing the bill for this bridge have to wait longer for it as a result.

    1. Do you have a specific cheaper bridge in mind, and do you have a credible cost estimate for it? Or are you just waving your hands and saying “Of course it can be cheaper” when maybe it can, maybe it can’t.

      1. ST could replicate the Capilano Suspension Bridge; that would be cheaper. And a lot more fun on a windy day.

    2. Lots of folks would like to find a cheaper alternative, but:

      1) It has to go through a wetland and that needs to be mitigated
      2) The approach has to be quite long to be tall enough to get over the freeway
      3a) By law It needs long accessibility ramps to accommodate folks of all abilities.
      3b) Elevators could be possible instead, but the maintenance of those could be quite expensive over the long term, it would bottle neck the usage, and broken down elevators could render it unusable quite frequently.

      If there is a credible design that solves the engineering challenges and is cheaper, I am in favor of it, but we should’t stop this project just because its “it could be cheaper”. A safe route across I-5 is worth at least that much to the north end.

  4. Gotta protect those precious single-family homes. Newcomers can just get bent. Right, Peter?

    1. David, might want to check out the “Cottage” development east side of Greenwood across from Shoreline Community College- and another one in Langley, on Whidbey island.

      Small single family homes with garden plots of their own share a large communal yard and a community center for recreation. But most important, a single garage building on the edge of the complex.

      I think that as with too many “dense” structures (see upcoming horror movie “The Destruction of Ballard”), the ugly, boring, land eating single family homes might stop being built if banks and Federal loans and tax breaks would cease to prefer them.

      Before condemning a concept by one fault, think if there’s another way to create it without the fault.


      1. Canada doesn’t have 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. Just 5-7 years, and then you have to take your chances on what the interest rate will be and whether you can refinance it. The US used to be like that too, until the FHA stepped in with long mortgages and low down payments. Before then, only the 1% got mortgages. It makes you wonder what Americans would do if only short-term mortgages were available. Home ownership would probably be much less attractive, and people would prefer smaller houses that they could pay off quicker.

    2. It is more about protecting parking, and reducing density than it is about protecting single family houses. We could easily increase density by simply allowing a lot more development of, and next to, the existing houses. Convert that house to an apartment. Add a nice little bungalow out back or build an addition to house more people. Do that enough times, and you increase density way cheaper (and quite often much faster and more effectively) than if you tear it down and try to build an apartment building. This is the best series of articles I’ve read on the subject, and I found the conclusions quite surprising — — basically we are behind our neighbors to the north, and we can do a whole lot more without tearing down a single house.

      1. Even 1000s of cottages would still be a drop in the bucket for the region’s growth forecast. The PSRC is projecting greater Seattle to add 1.7MM new residents over the next 25 years. As I’ve argued before, the scale of development to densify Seattle to absorb some of that growth is staggering.

        Adding “just” 400,000 new residents would literally require 1000s of apartment buildings. For perspective, there are 138k detached SFH units in the entire city. Even if every single SFH owner added 1 more resident, that would only boost density ~50% in those areas (assuming 2 people/SFH today), take decades to accomplish, and absorb barely 1/3 of those 400k new residents. In comparison, there are blocks in Pike-Pine that recently had 0-20 residents but will soon have 300-400 people living there. That’s a ~15x density increase in ~5 years. That’s where the growth can be absorbed.

        The whole issue of family housing is another conundrum – most of the new density concepts in Seattle involves smaller spaces like cottages, basements, or subdividing SFH. New apartment construction is concentrated on smaller units, not the 2- or 3-bedroom places that families typically want. Families are left with the unaffordable SFH in Seattle or choose to move to the more affordable suburbs.

      2. Wait, what? Folks expect Seattle to triple in size in 25 years? I really doubt that.

        As far as your math is concerned, I think it is way too small. three people per lot (let alone house) *after* you add a cottage or basement apartment. Sorry, that is way too few. Most of Seattle’s lots and most of Seattle’s houses are capable of handling way more people than that. Conversions are cheap. But in most of the city, they are illegal (or the rules are so onerous that they might as well be).

        Keep in mind that much of Vancouver grew by this very means. Did you get a chance to read the set of articles I cited. This one is very interesting:

        We don’t allow that sort of thing in Seattle, but it is exactly how Vancouver grew very fast. Of course they added towers too, but we are adding just as many, if not more of those. Really, the problem isn’t that we aren’t building enough apartment buildings, it is that we aren’t taking advantage of our existing housing stock, and complimenting it with cheap, affordable housing, or restructuring those existing houses so that they can handle more people.

      3. People keep complaining about the cost of housing in Seattle, but their proposed solutions seem to be to emulate San Francisco and Vancouver, the two most expensive housing markets on the west coast. This makes about as much sense as caring about mobility and then building BART del Norte.

    3. I think the point of urban villages and urban centers is to cluster density into walkable areas that can be served efficiently by transit. You don’t really get that if we allow homeowners anywhere to tear down their houses and build apartment blocks.

      1. There’s no reason “walkable areas that can be served efficiently by transit” have to be isolated, monolithic areas of 6-story towers. The reason that pattern is springing up is because of the wish of people like Peter Steinbrueck to preserve SFH at all costs, which implies pushing all the growth into a few tiny areas. The better pattern is to densify in a more moderate pattern in more areas, consistent with all the major lines on the transit network. Rowhouses, small apartment buildings, MILs, etc. can make for a much more humane and appealing neighborhood.

        Anyone who wants to see this in action just needs to go visit the denser residential neighborhoods in old East Coast cities. Transit works great (at least where it’s run by a decent agency), people have housing options beyond just SFH and tiny cookie-cutter apartments, and the better streets are really beautiful.

      2. There is just no need to target SF neighborhoods for MF expansion. The City’s latest Development Capacity Report documents that Seattle is projecting to grow by 70,000 new households over the next 20 years. And the city has, under today’s zoning, capacity to grow by 224,000 housing units.

        Urban villages didn’t just “spring up” due to Peter Steinbrueck. They are an integral part of Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan developed 20 years. A plan designed to accommodate growth, BTW.

        Seattle is what it is, and it will never be like those old east coast cities that didn’t develop with SF houses as the dominant housing type. Get off the bus and go explore some of Seattle’s SF neighborhoods and you will see many homes being fixed up and rehabilitated. Not everyone is putting their housing money into $2100 rent payments. Those SF neighborhoods are not going away, and the data indicate there’s no demand that they do.

      3. the city has, under today’s zoning, capacity to grow by 224,000 housing units.

        Only of you believe we can and should tear down every single last existing structure of any sort within the “village” boundary, and replace them all with the very code-maximized crap that people complain is eating Seattle alive.

        Please re-read David’s explanation of the urban dichotomy this creates. It is really important. And on top of being ugly and inorganic and providing only 2 very disparate categories of housing types/brackets with nothing in between, our approach happens to result in transit outcomes that are incredibly unbalanced and unsustainable.

        That’s why most successful cities involve a contiguousness of urbanity, to which this lame 1994 political compromise is fundamentally anathema. Seattle’s future — and the future of every place in Seattle with any shred of character — depends on learning from the policy’s errors, and revisiting it.

      4. dp, you are misreading the data. Our projected growth of 70,000 housing units would only consume about 30% of the available growth capacity. But you do make a good point about the monotonous urban form we’re getting today. I’m certainly open to new code language to address that, as well as incremental shifts in urban village boundaries.

        What I can’t accept are blind calls for wholesale upzones in SF neighborhoods. They are not needed to accommodate projected growth, and they are a call for unnecessary and divisive warfare with SF homeowners.

        If we were starting again with a blank slate, I’d be right with you arguing for row housing and much higher densities. But we’re not starting over. We are dealing with what Seattle is today. And it doesn’t get us anywhere to keep on lamenting our SF neighborhoods and wishing they would go away.

      5. He’s not misreading the data, he’s pointing out *why* the 224K number is nonsense. If we reach a point where it’s financially viable to tear down a relatively new five story building and replace it with a six story one, we’ve obviously failed to provide sufficent room for housing growth.

        That you use the language of “targeting” is telling. I lived, for a time, in an older part of Wallingford, largely built prior to the stranglehold of mid-20th century SF zoning. It’s a mix of low-rise apartment buildings of various sizes, single family homes, and even a few rowhouses. It’s a lovely, desirable neighborhood–and that’s not just my view, but the market’s view as well. The Steinbrueck “no change to SF zoning rules in Seattle ever” mentality suggests that neighborhood must have been a mistake, because it seeks to protect the denizens of this fair city from anything like that ever being created again. But why? No one can clarify what’s wrong with it. The single family houses in that neighborhood are, the market suggests, just as desirable as nearby more standard SF neighborhoods. But the Steinbrueck mentality makes any attempt to recreate that neighborhood illegal. Why?

      6. OK, djw, let me try again. Yes, i used to live in Wallingford too (47th & Densmore), and I’m probably familiar with your idyllic mixed-density neighborhood that grew up before zoning meant anything. But that development began with bare ground. What we are doing today is re-development. Where does it make sense to tear old stuff down, and then what should we rebuild it with?

        Those old craftsman bungalows in Wallingford are very popular, and tearing down blocks of them for new row houses or apartment blocks ain’t gonna happen. Even if your zoning wishes (to what, mid-rise?) came true.

        Try to recognize that Seattle is what it is, and if there is a need to increase redevelopment capacity (in spite of what City data show), then do it within the urban villages and urban centers — upzone those — and do some thoughtful expansion of urban growth boundaries (urban village boundaries) by a block or two here and there.

        Get over this tired notion that wholesale SF upzones can be forced to happen, because they just won’t. Let’s shift the conversation to what we CAN do to enhance the growth potential of Seattle.

      7. @RDPence — Did you get a change to read the series of articles I cited above ( There are a bunch of them, and they talk about a lot of different things, so I would suggest starting with this one:
        Interesting thing about this proposal. It does not suggest that we tear down a lot of single family houses and replace them with big buildings. Quite the contrary. It describes how to “double neighborhood housing without anyone noticing”. DADUs, ADUs, apartment conversions, that sort of thing. This makes a lot of sense to me.

        I think that it the crazy thing about the “urban village” concept. It would probably be OK if the housing neighborhoods didn’t have such a ridiculous lockdown on density. It isn’t even about the structures. I can buy my neighbors house and tear it down, as long as I build a new house. But convert to an apartment? No. Build a little addition and house someone there? Maybe, but only if I jump through a bunch of hoops. The hoops are so ridiculous that very few do anything. I literally live right next door to a guy who is trying to sell his house and cottage. Both are nice. Both would fetch a decent amount of money if they weren’t on the same lot. But they have to be sold together, and if someone wants to rent out one, they have to live in the other. Of course this deflates the price, and discourages anyone from building something similar. So it sits. And sits. I’m sure if he keeps lowering the price, then someone will come along and buy it. Of course someone might just buy up the land, tear down both structures and put up a big huge house. That does no one any good now, does it? But it is perfectly legal. Such are the ridiculous set of zoning laws that exist in this city.

      8. RossB, I subscribe to Sightline and read those posts in real time. When it comes to ADUs and DADUs, I support them. If there are tweaks to the code that could be done to encourage more of them, let’s consider them. But we can’t force people, homeowners, to build them.

        Now if you want to remove the homeowner requirement and allow investors to buy up houses and add ADUs (convert them to duplexes), that’s another conversation. Americans have this quaint idea that home ownership is a good thing, and they generally want to buy homes and put down roots in neighborhoods where others are doing the same.

        Of course you may believe that homeownership is not a big deal in cities and be willing to sacrifice that value. But I’m not at all sure that most Seattleites would agree.

        And back to my original, basic point — chunking major new density into SF neighborhoods is Just Not Needed. There’s plenty of room for growth in urban centers and urban villages. And if conditions change and existing zoning in those centers is no longer adequate, then upzone those centers. And maybe push out the boundaries a bit, if that should ultimately prove necessary.

      9. RD,

        In terms of practical policy ameliorations, I don’t think any of us are that far off here. Expanding urban village boundaries and transitional zones, fixing the warped coding that encourages clearcutting and inorganic replacement of entire blocks, and liberalizing ADU and small-lot infill even in s.f. areas would indeed do wonders toward alleviating the hyperconcentration of growth and the market pressures that have yielded very bad urbanism in today’s tiny growth quarantines.

        But I still think we’re all talking past each other on the underlying mechanics. You still express a fear — nay, a presumption that any neighborhood allowing apartments of any sort will invite “tearing down blocks and blocks of [houses] for new apartments”. And why do you presume that? Because that has been the Capitol Hill/Ballard/etc. experience for the last 20 years. And why has that been the case? Because only 12% of the city allows anything but 100% single-family. The experience of organic, piecemeal, non-linear urban evolution has simply not been witnessed in Seattle in three generations, because it has not been allowed. It is Steinbrueck’s Quarantine that has created the association between “growth” and “slash and burn everything”. That isn’t the way normal urban growth works!

        Now there is one thing you have said repeatedly that is not merely an innocuous misunderstanding: You repeatedly claim that the great rowhouse neighborhoods and quality apartment buildings of cities past were built that way on greenfields, never once infringing upon the sacred ground that “existing single family” neighborhoods seem to represent to you.

        This couldn’t possibly be more false! Do you think Paul Revere’s house was surrounded by farmland before it was surrounded by a maze of brick apartments? What do you think was in Greenwich Village when it was a separate community beyond the city wall? Heck, haven’t you ever seen the old photos of freestanding houses throughout downtown Seattle!?

        The difference — and it’s a crucial one — is that these houses were replaced or supplemented by later forms in an organic and non-hierarchical way. So today’s visible result comprises a variety of forms, sizes, eras, and uses — and in some cases, with those very old houses still existing in playful conversation with their later neighbors.

        This is how cities happened from the dawn of time until about 1955. And then we got strict-delineation zoning, planners who sewed fear of anything disorderly, and Steinbreuck. The results, as we all agree, have been terrifically destructive. So why double down on them?

      10. We’re talking about the same neighborhood in Wallingford–I lived a block away from you.

        The status-quo of SF zoning doesn’t just prohibit tearing down those craftsmen (which, I agree, doesn’t make economic sense regardless of zoning, so they don’t need restrictive zoning to protect them). It *also* prohibits turning them into much more affordable duplexes or triplexes. That kind of conversion doesn’t appreciably change the built environment but is opposed just as vigorously by the Steinbrueck crowd. That’s an anti-environment, anti-affordable housing rule.

      11. I’m feeling “done” with this running blog commentaries. I don’t know if anyone’s still reading this string, but to those who are (Ross, djw, dp?) — I’m having coffee Monday afternoon at 4:30 at the Victrola, at 3215 Beacon Ave. S., a 5 – 7 minute walk from Beacon Hill Station.

        Anyone wanting to jaw about any of this planning/land use stuff, please join me. Or suggest an alternate time/place.

      12. I’m going to point out now that actual homeownership — free & clear — is *a shrinking minority situation* in the US — 29.3% and dropping. (It was at 42% in 1960.)

        Mortgages aren’t ownership. And they’re often worse than renting, economically speaking.

      13. Actually better to have a mortgage; use other people’s money to initiate an investment that almost always grows over time. Ask the folks who bought their Seattle homes 40 years ago (in the $20K vicinity), ask them what their homes are worth today.

      14. Hey, RD,

        I never responded further to the thread, because (as you rightly pointed out) we had mostly said what was to be said, and because I knew I wasn’t going to be in town for the suggested coffee meet-up the following week.

        But I do hope you were able to internalize what I said. Honestly and without hyperbole, I have experienced no place as attached as Seattle is to the misapprehension that urban places appear out of whole cloth — that organic urban evolution is an imagined process — and that whatever dominant form an urban area takes (rowhouses, detached bungalows) should be treated as if nothing predated it and no further evolution should ever be allowed to occur.

        In the spirit of understanding just how false this impression is, I give you Belltown. Yes, Belltown. Yes, those are houses. Houses that existed before the mid-rise brick apartments, which existed before the towers.

        No place ever appears from whole cloth.

    4. There are three scales of density that could all play a productive role. One is citywide ADUs as Vancouver as done. That changes single-family neighborhoods but in the smallest, least disruptive way. If that had happened thirty years ago, maybe the modest density increase would have been enough to support frequent service on some “coverage” routes now (14, 28, 65, 50) — again like Vancouver.

      The second level is row houses, or really lowrise (2-4 stories) — but we’ll exclude nasty traditional apartments for the moment. Again, that could be allowed in all single-family areas, but encouraged mainly near the core transit network. As David L and DP have said, that would increase population capacity immensely. Some cities even reached 6 stories in the pre-elevator era, without that off-putting “low-class apartment” look. A 2-dimemsional area of row-house average is enough to support frequent transit and subways, and provide walkable housing for a lot of people.

      The third level is more typical midrise/highrise development (5-12 stories, 13-20 stories, and on up — each level is structurally more expensive). Those should be in the urban villages, with expanded boundaries, and stretching nearby villages to meet and become continuous. (My favorite example is U-District/Wallingford/Fremont/Ballard, say between 40th and 65th.) That would enable the economies of scale that larger villages have. And it needn’t be minimum 5 stories: there can be many lowrise and some single-family houses mixed in, like Chicago’s north side.

      We can even leave some areas in single-family, low-density, low-transit splendor. I’m not concerned much about Magnolia, Seward Park, Broadmoor, or outer northeast Seattle. But crucially, they’re on the outer fringes of the city, outside the core transit network. Not holes in the middle and directly around urban villages. And we can compromize-zone them, with ADUs and row houses but hold off on midrises and apodments. It’ll still be up to the owners whether to actually build those, but there’s no reason to prohibit it and keep Seattle in deep freeze with our heads in the sand. The population increase needs sufficient housing and walkability, and it needs options in Seattle, not just Federal Way. Cutting off the population increase is (A) not feasable, and/or (B) implies depression and high unemployment, because why else would people stop moving here unless there are no jobs.

      1. Also things like converting the larger houses of the 1910s into multiple dwelling units. Some of the big ones near where I live have been converted to triplex or quadplex. At least two of the smaller houses were converted by raising them up and building a second floor underneath.

      2. I think the fastest, cheapest way to add affordable housing is exactly what you suggested in your first paragraph. Yes, we should have done that thirty years ago, but better late then never. What Glenn just mentioned is just one variation on that. This is how you build cheap, affordable housing without needing to raise rents so damn much. Convert a house to an apartment building. Add small structures out back. Build an addition and convert that to an apartment. Of course this leads to cheaper housing.

        Just think of what it costs to build a typical apartment building. First you buy up a very good house (costing anywhere from a half million to a million dollars — this typically doesn’t happen in cheap neighborhoods). Then you pay to just throw that away. So before you even put down any concrete you are out a lot of money. Then you pay for the construction. Depending on how or what you built, you probably had to spend some money for the review work as well (the smaller the building the higher the relative cost). Meanwhile the construction process wasn’t quick, so the money you spent (maybe a million) just sits there before you can finish the job and actually pay for the whole thing. All that, and it is no wonder that very few little buildings are being built, and the rent is so damn high. To make up for all that you better expect to able to charge your tenants a lot or cram a bunch of people in there.

        Now compare that with a adding a little cottage out back. The family in the main house still pays rent (or a mortgage) the entire time the construction takes place. The land is just a small part of the overall land, and wasn’t earning any money anyway. When you are done, you have a couple pieces of property. It really isn’t that expensive, so it makes sense to do it as long as it is allowed.

        Likewise with a conversion. It is very quick, and not very expensive. Again, you leverage the existing investment (the existing house) instead of throwing it away.

      3. I’ve lived in some older houses that were converted to multiple dwelling units. Most of these happened prior to the city code banning them, but at least one was an illegally converted duplex.

        We used to allow (and not that long ago) large houses to be converted to apartments. We used to allow (and not that long ago) small scale apartment buildings (2-3 stories, 3-12 units) to be interspersed with single family housing. We used to allow SF lots to be sub-divided into multiple lots.

        The sort of development we see in recent years is an intentional creation of land use and building codes. SF housing being torn down wholesale in L2 and L3 zones for ugly n-pack townhomes. Commercially zoned areas being clear cut a block or half block at a time for 4-6 story bread loaves. Incredible development pressure on the few areas of non-single family zoning allowed in the city.

        It is telling that many of the surrounding suburbs are doing a much better job of allowing everything from ADU and DADU, to cottages, to duplexes/triplexes, to townhomes, to row houses, to small apartment buildings, to even large apartment buildings. While cheaper land helps in many cases, in others the land is just as expensive as Seattle.

      4. The suburbs are doing a lot of development, but really it’s in their old commercial areas, industrial areas, apartment areas — and greenfields. They aren’t going into single-family neighborhoods: viz the Surrey Downs Link controversy. There are some isolated 1950s houses that are being replaced, but they predated the neighborhood developments.

        Which gets into another thing. What’s being preserved are planned residential neighborhoods, which were built by a single developer. That’s what Surrey Downs is, and those just northwest of Bellevue Square, and those east of 156th where I grew up. Those are seen as sacrosanct, while the individual houses from Bellevue’s rural days are not. In other words, corporate tract housing is priviliged over pre-corporate housing. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. :)

  5. This hasn’t shown up in the Flickr but it appears that Pierce Transit is testing out their 60-ft hybrids on behalf of Sound Transit in downtown Seattle. I just saw two this week.

    1. Could they run them through the Tunnel- which should long ago have been started with both CT and ST 512 routes, to save quarter hour traffic jams between Medical Dental building across from the Monorail, and I-5?

      Really good Tunnel training would improve performance for both CT and KC Metro too.


      1. Mark, you keep advocating for routes from Snohomish and Pierce counties to be in the tunnel yet constantly lament the state of tunnel operations today. Adding more routes, especially from far-off places with minimal reliability, would make things worse. How do you reconcile this? What route or routes do you propose to remove from the tunnel to make room for Snohomish/Pierce routes?

  6. Mercer Island last night enacted an immediate development moratorium for the town center, effective for the next four months.

    It’s actually somewhat of a defeat for the “Save Our Suburbs” crowd, because it specifically exempts the one development already in the pipeline that freaked them out. The Hines development is a five-story building with residential over retail. Also exempted are two-story or lower buildings.

    1. The MI City Council annoyed quite a few people, but in context their actions are pretty reasonable.

      Relevant to STBers, excepting the Hines project from the moratorium keeps alive the possibility of additional commuter parking (the current concept is an added level in the parking garage of the Hines project) which in turn keeps the bus intercept option alive, or at least more likely to happen amicably.

  7. Bad link in the Bertha story. It also goes to the story about the Mayor’s Housing Affordability study.

  8. Well, since my other note was deleted…
    How do I see the Milestones on the ST website, other then the current year?
    I did a search and found 2014, 2013, and earlier, but when I click on them, they just take me to the 2015 Milestone page. And I do not see any links to older previous milestone pages.

  9. So how about them stadiums?

    I’m finding it difficult to care much whether we “lose” the basketball/hockey stadium to Tukwila or Bellevue. Normally I think stadiums should be centrally located, but game day traffic is so horrible I hesitate to add more game days in SODO.

    It’s good that the Powers That Be understand now that stadiums should be located near major transit routes and not in car-accessible-only places. But these proposals seem to stretch the distance pretty far. The Bellevue location is apparently on 116th. The Tukwila location is “south of Boeing Field”. Does that mean near the potential Boeing Access Road station or 133rd station? Or do they expect people to take the 124 from TIB, and have they noticed how infrequent the 124 is? Is it, gasp, within a 20-minute walk from TIB?

    1. One thing I found odd about how they described the Bellevue location. It would depend upon a pedestrian crossing of I-405 at NE 6th to get to downtown. And conveniently, at the other end of that bridge, they would almost be at a light rail station. However there’s a closer rail station just on the other side of NE 8th St. Hospital Station should really span NE 8th St., but that’s another issue.

    2. SoDo is still the better location. These other locations might have *some* of the transport connections, but they don’t have the full breadth of what is available in SoDo. And of course they don’t have the adjacent hotel and entertainment resources.

      But if located in SoDo, they really do need to do a better job of pushing non-car based transport options.

      1. I agree completely. SoDo is adjacent to, or could even be considered part of downtown Seattle. Downtown Seattle sits in the middle of the public transportation network (a network that will grow very soon). It also has a rich collection of restaurants that compliment the sporting events. That might exist in Bellevue, but I don’t thing there is much in that part of Tukwila.

      2. The SODO basketball arena would be a 3/4ths mile walk to either the Stadium or SODO stations. For winter games. Going and coming in the dark. And often rain. And no good bet that the developer would build all the missing sidewalks to make those long walks safe.

      3. In the view of the league, proximity to bars and restaurants not owned by the league are a bug, not a feature. One of the criticisms of Key Arena is that there isn’t a lot of space for team-owned premium restaurants.

        I would personally love a hockey arena near a putative BAR station and would probably get season tickets, but the real problem with this location is it’s too far from where the money is. In particular, getting there from Bellevue some evening is a long trip via Link and absolute torture via car.

      4. If Eastsiders can drive to Mariner games in SODO, then the potential Tukwila location wouldn’t be a much more painful commute—Supposedly about 6 miles from SODO arena location. There’s a bigger footprint to build an arena along with necessary parking garages/locations in the Tukwila location than the Bellevue one. Maybe, just maybe a widened I-405 might help those commuters in the long run. And while it’s pretty barren in that surrounding area, NHL investors might have ambitions of developing it with Hotels, Restaurants, and Office Space to supplement their income down the line.

      5. In the view of the league, proximity to bars and restaurants not owned by the league are a bug, not a feature. One of the criticisms of Key Arena is that there isn’t a lot of space for team-owned premium restaurants.

        This has been a huge problem in Portland. They keep trying to create a restaurant district around the Rose Quarter / Moda Center (this year’s name for the building formerly called the Rose Garden). They are busy enough during events, but the dream of creating someplace where people would go just for eating hasn’t panned out very well. There are too many busy roads that cut off access to it from too many other directions. It’s a pain to get to the area by driving due to the way the roads are arranged, and its difficult to get to it by transit because the busy roads separate the transit stops from the actual complex. You could get to it by walking from the hotels around the convention center, but the freeway interchanges make it a pain.

        I have a feeling that the fate of any stadium restaurant created at Tukwila would be about the same.

    3. As resident of downtown Bellevue I think this is a great idea. Right now 116th is a blight on Bellevue, it would be great to get some development in that area — though I agree that it seems more natural to create connections to the Hospital station than the DT bellevue one — but a pedestrian bridge over the highway would be good either way.

      My ultimate pipe dream is that they actually build the stadium on a lid over the freeway. That would bring it slightly closer to DT bellevue, and cover up 405 (which is whatever is worse than a blight).

      1. The connection to downtown Bellevue is not just about Link. It’s also about people who live in downtown Bellevue being able to walk directly to games from home. It’s also about general pedestrian mobility in the area, game or no game.

    4. I’d like to have the NHL/NBA stadium in Seattle because, frankly, of civic pride and to continue to make the city an attractive place to come and spend money. I’m a big believer (almost obsessively) in supporting the city where I live and patronizing the businesses in it. Second on my list, but just as important, is to continue to keep transit front-and-center as a way to get to those things. 8 years ago, people were championing the Tukwila site as “close to light rail,” even though it’s close to a light rail stop that Sound Transit hasn’t yet built and may not actually build for some time.

      Besides, it’s kind of galling to see city names hung on a sports team just because that city’s name is more recognizable but without the city being named getting much of the benefit. (Witness: the Dallas Cowboys, the Los Angeles Angels [of Anaheim], and several other examples.) You can bet that if a new couple of teams wind up outside of Seattle, they won’t be the “Tukwila Sonics” or the “Bellevue Metropolitans.”

      1. Yes, and with or without Link, it is much easier to get to downtown, or even the edge of downtown (like SoDo) than it is to get to just about anywhere in the region.

    5. So where exactly is this Tukwila location? The Times article was very vague. How close is it to existing transit routes and potential stations/reroutes?

      1. The website was not specific in location, in the other hand the print version had a map of both locations. The Tukwila location would be where Unified Grocers sit today at the corner of E. Marginal Way and Boeing Access Road. The site would be close to the deferred Boeing Access Road station for both LINK and SOUNDER , though a long pedestrian bridge (think Northgate Station to connect with North Seattle College) would be needed. Boeing Access Road is VERY UNPEDESTRIAN/BIKE friendly.

  10. From Seattle Met: Quoting County Council Member Rod Dembowski, “A particular interest to us {the King County Council} is to make sure—I’ll call them our ‘best customers’—that use our service {during peak commute periods} and are on those jammed buses and delayed buses, that they see the value of this investment and benefit from it. … I’m okay with them not following our guidelines because they’re writing the check, they have a plan that fits their needs for a city that’s different than the rest of the county. … I just want to make sure that when we talk about priorities one and two [overcrowding and delays at peak hours] that we fully address those needs. I want [the contract] to be flexible enough to continue to address those. If we get through this, and we’re still leaving people on the curb. That’s not what this was about.”

    Items in curly braces are added by me, square brackets are from the Seattle Met article.

    This quote irritates me, probably out of all proportion to what he actually meant but still… Finally, Seattle starts to address the stunning disparity of service outside of both peak (6-9/3-7) and daytime (7-7) and Dembowski complains. Besides, what makes a “best customer?” Are peak commuters really Metro’s “best customers?” I have a choice in how I get around. I own two cars and Mrs. lakecityrider would probably really prefer that I get off my high horse in relation to transit and just drive (mostly because she’s tired of hearing me rant, I imagine). All the same, I take transit everywhere I can, including work. I also work odd hours. Further, I get that moving people to and from jobs is a great way to reduce congestion, when most of those people are outside of one spot but they’re all going to one spot.

    It’s still irksome to finally get a gain or two in service that will benefit the rest of us and have somebody on the County Council gripe that Seattle isn’t standing in line with must-bus-all-the-daytimers. Thank goodness Prop 1 actually passed and SDOT seems to be doing something a little rational (or at least balanced) with it.

    1. What in the heck does he actually want?

      SDOT is following the guidelines with respect to priorities 1 and 2. They are including every investment which the Service Guidelines identified as necessary in those two priorities on routes that qualify for Prop 1 investment. This includes some quirks of the formula (like extra service on the 25) that everyone at SDOT and Metro knows are stupid, but the whole point is that SDOT thought it was more worthwhile to follow the guidelines for those priorities than to fight them. SDOT deviated from the guidelines only for off-peak service.

      I’m disappointed because I think he’s falling into the trap that King County powers-that-be have been falling into for as long as I can remember. They take the bus downtown to go to their very 9-5 jobs, drive everywhere else, and don’t ever experience any other part of the network. So they don’t remotely understand what it takes to create a network that actually enables non-work or shift-work travel.

      Unfortunately he’s not my councilmember anymore or I’d be writing him about this. I may anyway if I can find a few minutes.

      1. Having read his comments over again, maybe much of the above was a bit too intemperate. He does at least say he recognizes the value of what SDOT is trying to do with the all-day network. But the reference to peak-hour commuters as “our best customers” really, really sticks in my craw. I spent several years at a low-wage shift job taking first the 24 and then the 66 home late at night. I can’t stand the idea that then-me wasn’t as “good” a customer as today-me, who has a much more lucrative job that allows for a peak-hour commute most of the time.

      2. Yeah, that is a pretty stupid thing to say. What exactly does “best customers” mean. You mean the folks that ride the bus every day. If that is the case, then you certainly don’t mean the average commuter who rides the bus. Do you mean those that are willing to put up with a crowded bus and still ride? OK, maybe. But how is that worse than putting up with ridiculous wait times caused by ridiculously infrequent buses and very poor transfers. I think he had a reasonable argument when he focused on overcrowded buses, but even then he needs to look at the big picture.

    2. Time for an interview with Dembowski? There may be less than meets the eye. More a question of emphasis than different goals. On the face of it, overcrowding and reliability have to be first priority, and I think you yourself said that a few months ago. If people are being turned away from full buses, or not showing up because they’ll likely be turned away, that’s actual ridership right now, as opposed to the potential ridership that a half-full off-peak bus will eventually attract. When he says, “If we get through this and we’re still leaving people on the curb, that’s not what this was about” — isn’t that right? I don’t think he’s saying we have to cater to every peak-rider’s whim — a 25 express on that also goes to Magnolia and Arbor Heights — but we should at least carry everybody who’s trying to use the existing network. Peak hours aren’t just downtown commuters. People are going everywhere, night workers travel one direction peak, I sometimes take afternoon expresses to Kent or the Issaquah Highlands or Wedgwood because that’s when it’s fastest to get there, etc.Also, in the suburbs, peak hours looks more important than it does in Seattle, because people wouldn’t take an evening bus to Target under any circumstances anyway. This may be the start of a fundamental divergence between Seattle and the suburbs — as Prop 1 itself is — so maybe Metro will have to become flexible enough to have different policies in different areas; e.g., a full-time frequent goal in Seattle and a peak-and-daytime goal in the burbs.

    3. Come to think of it, the massive peak ridership is really four phenomena at once. It’s 9-5 commuters on top of the regular all-day churn. Plus our cultural propensity to travel during those hours, for half-day trips and shopping and events that start at 6pm. Plus people taking advantage of when the buses are the most frequent and expressful. The last one can change by improving off-peak service, but the other three are set in their times for non-transit reasons so they won’t change.

    4. A lot of you are stomping your foot and shaking your fist at the sky, claiming to be outraged and offended by his statement that peak commuters are the best customers, yet, I notice none of you are saying that his statement is not true. The fact is, peak commuters are the best customers. They pay the highest fare, they have the lowest rate of fare evasion, the dress and smell better, and they are the best behaved riders. So let’s give credit where credit is due. Peak-hour transit commuters, on average, are superior to other transit commuters.

      1. Look at David’s comment above, where he flatly denies it.

        Remember that peak commuters demand numerous one-way expresses, which more than offset their higher fares: the peak expresses, on average, have lower fare recovery than other routes. So, by the standard of fare recovery, peak commuters are not necessarily superior to other transit commuters.

      2. William, just because something is on the internet (written by some commenter in a local blog’s comment section), doesn’t make it true. I ran the numbers myself. And when you consider all the factors, peak-hour commuters are the best transit customers. That is simply a fact that cannot be disputed.

      3. Peak-hour riders are diverse. Some demand numerous one-way premium expresses, some have 9-5 jobs, but a lot of others don’t. The expense to the agencies is that they’re all travelling at the same time (requiring more buses and drivers), and those premium expresses. So let’s address each problem separately rather than blaming all peak-hour travellers the same.

        Also, peak expresses are diverse too. Some like the 15X, 76, and 301 are really just compensating for the travel-time difference between congested peak and free-flowing evening. And since they’re full, Metro would have to run a local run anyway if it wanted to abolish the express run. When you have two busfuls of people going to different destinations, it sometimes makes sense to make one bus express or give both an A/B stop pattern. That’s different from some longer routes or single-family-neighborhood routes that are truly an extraordinary high-cost service. But those have been whittled down and are slowly being reorganized — the example I was going to use (209 North Bend) is already gone.

      4. They pay the highest fare, if they pay cash. Pass holders pay no premium.

        The one way bus nonsense really needs to stop. I was coming from Carkeek Park to Magnolia on the 15 several years ago, and by the time the bus got to about 65th it was so full that there was no way to get more people on. I couldn’t get off at Dravus as there was no way to get to the doors. I was finally able to get off at Seattle Center and took the 33 back north from there. In the meantime there were about a dozen deadhead 15s going back south from the termination point by Carkeek Park.

        The one-way commuter schedule is just as outdated as 9 inch orange shag carpet and wallpaper with 4 foot diameter sunflowers.

      5. No. The 15. At that time it had huge number of deadheads going in the off peak direction.

  11. How much does the size of a house or apartment really affect the price? I keep hearing there’s a price per square foot in each neighborhood but I’m really not seeing it that reliably. I see 550, 650, and 900 sq ft places for the same price; places with decent kitchen counters and places with hardly any kitchen counters for the same price. Of course most people go for the better units, but that means there’s few good units available and a lot of skimpy units. Then there’s $1300 apodments, which I hope have breathtaking views and are two blocks from Amazon like the one I heard about on Eastlake, but I’m not sure if Roger Valdez’s new spendy digs is.

    This matters in the context of average house size and apartment size. Houses in the 1950s were typically 500 – 900 sqare feet, like apartments are now. But then the average bloomed up to 1500, 2000, and 2500 square feet. This matters in the context of walkability. But it’s hard to give people an incentive to prefer smaller houses when small ones often cost as much as large ones. So how much is the price-per-square-foot model being followed?

    1. Location my friend.

      Extremely busy streets are not pleasant to live next to. Grocery stores are nice to live close enough to walk, but far enough from to not hear the trucks unload at 3 in the morning. Farther up on a hill you might have a view, or you might have a view of a brick wall next door.

      There’s lots of specifics to any location, not just area of town.

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