STB will have a series of posts this week on Spokane Transit Authority’s April ballot measure, and the STA Moving Forward plan, which that measure seeks to implement.

This is an open thread.

35 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Spokane Moving Forward”

  1. Because anymore footage like this and we’ll spend our every single Sunday watching commercials for car-dealers and politicians.

    Even an interview with the Koch brothers would at least show us some coal and oil trains, and the tracks behiside their poisonous pile of tar-sands waste along the Detroit River.

    With the kind of seriously evil classical music in the background like that pipe organ one they always used in silent vampire movies back when they were still scary.

    Instead of what our troops probably used to flush Saddam Hussein our of his hideout! After all, have heard that brother David is now on the board at public radio.

    Guys that cultured wouldn’t even do that to a public radio audience, who, from a lot of recent programming, probably by now deserve it.


  2. The closing of the Aurora Ave. bus lanes to build the foundation for the new Hwy 99 Tunnel signs seems premature. Why cripple traffic for something that may never happen? We should wait until benchmarks are met, like can we get Bertha into the pit, can we get the cutter face out, onto the road. Can we repair it, can we resume tunneling.

    This project has a long way to go before completion. Let’s pass some benchmarks before going forward with traffic crippling shut downs.

    1. These signs will be used to inform drivers of the toll for the DBT when its completed. And it will be completed. The real question is why these signs weren’t put up years ago along with tolls for the viaduct. SR520 has had tolls for years. The viaduct should have had as well.

      1. No. Tolls should be paid by the motorists who use and benefit from the new facility. It’s bad public policy to assess today’s motorists just to keep tolls cheap for future motorists — the ones who actually benefit.

      2. Yes. Concur. 100%. If early tolls make sense for SR520 (and they do) then they certainly make sense for Hwy 99. After all, these are the same users who will eventually be using the DBT.

      3. Well, tolls on 99 would be much easier to evade. Get off at SODO, drive through downtown, and back on at Denny Way. Or go to I-5. With 520 you have to go several miles out of your way to get to I-90 or 522, and through any congestion on 405 to get there. That’s enough of a deterrent that many people just pay the toll. But with 99 the alternate routes are right next to it. And people hate paying a toll more than they hate driving in congestion, or at least more people do. WSDOT’s study shows the 99 toll can’t be more than $1.50 or it’ll divert so many people it won’t make money. The HOT lanes may be different because it’s a voluntary fee for luxury service and people may be more open to that, but that remains to be seen. But mandatory tolls evoke people’s loss adversion (it seems like money down the train) so they spend time and gas to avoid it, sometimes more than the toll is worth. And some people are philosophically opposed to tolls and avoid them out of principle, again even if it means driving miles out of their way. The same thing happens with ferry fares where there’s an alternative (i.e., when the Narrows Bridge or that north Whidbey bridge or 101 are possible). Of course the Narrows Bridge has a toll now, but it’s less than the ferry fare.

      4. @Mike O,

        Yes, easier to evade, which is partly why the tolls are expected to be set lower – easier to evade means less incentive to evade. But the other reason for early tolling is to dial in the cost structure for just this reason.

    1. Inland Northwest. They changed their moniker years ago in an attempt to get some of the success of the westside to rub off on the Eastside.

      1. They should offer to help pay for the Empire Builder then.

        Next thing you know Seattle will have to become The City with the Big Pointy Thing because certain businesses in the Bay Area are calling themselves Emerald City (whatever).

  3. It’s fairly common to bore a tunnel from both ends, and have the machines break through and meet each other halfway through, with considerable accuracy.

    This is the way the Channel Tunnel was dug. A stunning accomplishment considering the difference between British and French technical philosophy and methods, and the centuries old English fear of French troops and the culinary threat to endangered snail species.

    Also the frequent screaming bilingual (would’ve been great watching the translators!) arguments (for real!) in project offices as top management conferred over finances same order of magnitude worse than DSTT , DBT and ST5 combined and cubed.

    So that’s probably what’s happening here. Having nothing to do with bus delays, because in Seattle, like exploding housing costs, that’s just what buses do. So be glad we’re not negotiating with Breda, because municipalities of Norse decent have trouble yelling and waving their arms in the air at Second and Jackson.



    1. Actually, the Channel Tunnel was done on, I think, 12 tunneling faces. They dug the north and south ventilation / station shafts. Then, they dropped the machinery in, and started towards each other with the under-water tunnels. Then, they dropped in more machinery, and started tunneling the approach tunnels going the opposite direction from the under water section.

      From what I have been told, the tunneling effort on the Great Northern’s was something like that as well. They built both a “pioneer tunnel” and the Mill Creek Shaft so that they could tunnel against multiple tunnel faces at the same time.

  4. Funny. I’m sitting at the Post Street Ale House in DT Spokane having a cold frosty after a nice urban walk along the river and what is the Sunday open thread about? Spokane!

  5. I’m sorry if my first comment made this posting’s main subject sound so awful that nobody wants to touch it. Half asleep, I panicked that one of STB’s sponsors has turned out to be somebody’s kick-off for their 2016 political campaign. Elevator-music-on-meth bespoke doom.

    But this morning’s drive around the outskirts of my formerly rural home town, while checking out possible Sounder ROW, showed transit’s mission for the foreseeable future:

    Stopping the tide of sprawl is the easy part- small enough comfort. But true horror is what to do with what’s already there. Park-and-rides don’t get much sympathy in these pages. But they were someone’s honest first attempt to get a handle on the situation.

    It’s a generational tragedy that in 2008, pro-transit forces were so defunded and demoralized we couldn’t take advantage (desperation has no conscience!) of plummeting housing prices to buy whole counties’ worth of unsaleable sprawl to bulldoze and renovate.

    Few solid permanent answers this afternoon and laptop. But direction I’d pick for rest of my working life is to give machinists and carpenters, via transit, the same quality of life as the average residential SLU passenger.

    Might be sufficient to get the right wing stickers off the bumpers, and the vehicles they’re attached to limited to the roads that are still fun to drive.

    Mark Dublin

  6. Sometimes I air trial balloons. I prefer to use the main page open thread for them as making them an official Page Two post can be… problematic.

    So being an avid fan of podcasting:

    a) Any thoughts of doing a STB podcast with a monthly hosting by me and the hosting rotate?
    b) How many would like to listen to a monthly podcast on transit by me? I have a few guests in mind – some left, some Right, some transit agency staff.

    But I want to know if the time commitment I’d have to make and the small expense would be rewarded by more than a single digit of subscribers….

    1. Interviews sound great!

      Myself, I’d prefer their being written rather than audio – I can read faster than I can listen, and I can look back over confusing points. What’s everyone else’s opinion, though?

      1. I tend to agree with you. Text is better.

        Maybe interviews with both audio and a transcript; I could read, and if I wanted to hear intonation and nuances, there would be that option.

      2. Maybe doing ONE monthly BIG interview might be the way to go – mostly by e-mail?

      3. I agree. Written rather than audio. I see no reason why we can’t present an official with a bunch of questions and let them write a response. If they are busy, and just want to have themselves taped (and transcribed) I’m cool with that. I also think we should open it up to folks here to suggest questions or topics. I would love to hear from the head of transportation for Seattle.

      4. Okay written it seems to be….

        I like the idea of the Big Interview. IT’s important to me we go IN DEPTH.

    2. For discussion purposes written is nice to be able to actually quote what was said.

      The audio is kind of nice as I know it isn’t as time consuming to try to type the thing up.

    3. You should do that. I’d be happy to go on and talk about whatever the topic of the day is.

      I could probably be most insightful specializing on Eastside transit, in partisan politics and in political structures and the public policy process. STB is about the only crowd in the world that I count as not especially knowledgeable on transit in general.

      You have to assume for every person who comments on this site there at least 10 people who just read it and getting on the front page occasionally with an interview would boost your audience into at least the 100s.

    4. +1 for written, and +1!! for more interviews in any format. The recent interview with Paul Roberts made me realize that there’s a wide variety of transit boardmembers and local politicians and others that we could benefit from hearing from. Our echo chamer is often filled with assuming what boardmembers and mayors think and how pro-transit they are and how difficult it would be to convince them of something or other. So why not ask them directly and we’d get higher-quality information, and we’d also get a better sense of what we need to do to get improvements done.

    1. Probably similar to what was done after Officers Row was declared surplus by the Army in the 1980s. Those houses and offices have been pretty popular since they were done. I wonder what is going to be done with the old hospital.

  7. “Portland is creating ’20-minute neighborhoods’ to address climate change on a city-wide scale. By increasing urban density and improving pedestrian infrastructure, the city is building resilient low-carbon communitiies where basic needs are within a 20-minue walk or bike ride. The city aims to have 90 percent of its residents living in 20-minute neighborhoods by 2030.” (Yes! magazine, Winter 2015, p. 26)

    That’s impressive. Does anyone know more about this? And what does it mean for the swathes of single-family areas?

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