119 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Yuppies Taking Ballard”

  1. Too bad he couldn’t have foreseen the takeover of California style definite article talk (eg The 520 as if the highway were a bus route) as well.

    1. Thanks for finally clearing up where this infuriating damage to the English language came from. It took me awhile to start noticing, and hating, the “The” in front of Puget Sound.

      Wish Sounder conductors would get a bulletin reminding them that THE Coast Starlight is right, even if it’s name is accurately derived from the time it takes for light from Betelgeuse to reach Earth.

      But THE 4:32 southbound train to Tacoma is just plain “TRAIN 507.” A number which only members of the Rail Passengers Association really care about.

      However, it’s worse to think about mighty rough roadbeds and three-mile grades as your northbound LINK train comes into the curve downgrade from THE Tukwila.

      Track condition not only spoils the view of Mt. Rainier, but also makes arriving airline passengers call THE Uber for their ride back to the airport. When in THE tarnation are they going to fix that track?



      1. Southern California was once Spanish mission territory. In Latin derived languages the definite article is used everywhere. “I’m going to the my office.”

        Maybe the Spanish influence is the origin? I don’t know as I haven’t heard people in the northwest talk that way until maybe two years ago. Not even the older transplant from California talk that way.

        By contrast, the first European claim to the northwest was Russian. Russian even leaves out vowels everywhere, so something as extra as the definite article would be unthinkable.

      2. It’s horredously bad English grammer. Expand it out. Nobody would say, “I’m taking The Interstate 5.” So when you contract it you shouldn’t say, “I’m taking The I-5.” And nor should you say,”I’m taking The 5.” You don’t start adding articles just because you simplify a sentence.

        I blame the public school system in SoCal under Arnold. Although it actually might predate him.

      3. I’m not from the west coast so I could be missing the point completely, but I always thought we (i.e. everyone on the west coast north of maybe San Luis Obispo) were just supposed to hate “The Five” without any pretense of reason. Arguing about grammar weakens the point — if there was a way to justify it grammatically it would still be wrong. Wrong because it’s what they do, and we do it differently here. So it’s like which sports teams you’re for, essentially. I’m from Chicago, where we call the freeways by their names (e.g. “The Kennedy”, “The Ryan”, “The Ike”) — I tried that when I lived in the Bay Area and nobody knew what the hell I was talking about.

        FWIW, the traditional anglo-Californian way of pronouncing the Spanish place names common in “Spanish mission territory” indicates a near-Texan level of contempt for the Spanish language. I doubt they adopted the articles as a tribute.

      4. Psst, Lazarus, “grammer” is horrendously bad English spelling.

        Maybe let up on the contemptuous prescriptivism a bit.

      5. I think it depends on who you are and where you are from as far as “damaging” the language. Our native tongue as spoken in Britain has some things that are strange to our ears. When we talk about admittance to the building with doctors and operating rooms we say the patient is in *the* hospital where a Brit would say the patient is in hospital with no article before the word hospital. All this piddly stuff is silly. If you understand what is being said there really is no reason to make a big deal about it. Homophones on the other hand i.e. people using there when they meant their or they’re is another matter entirely. It bugs the sh*t out of me when people who really should know the difference don’t know or don’t seem to care to use the correct word.

      6. Any time a definite article is used as a colloquial truncation device, it merely replaces a more formal descriptor, in this case the word “interstate”. It is in that regard a perfectly acceptable option, if one that varies by regional custom.

      7. In California the freeways are named. The Hollywood freeway, the San Diego freeway. Maybe when they started using numbers more the “the” came along with it. In any case, automobile terminology arose before the era of national TV, so they arose differently in different places. The east coast has turnpikes. Britain has motorways, petrol, boots, bonnets, service centers, zebra crossings, red men and green men (not martians!), single carriageways, and used to have motor cars. We have parking lots and parking garages, Britain has car parks, and Canada has parkades (lovely word).

      8. Meh… LA haters gonna hate.

        Now if we could import the SoCal (or Portland) convention of calling bus routes “Lines”. That actually makes a lot of sense.

      9. Hey, everyone else gets parodied in that song. Can’t expect any sacred cows after that.

    2. That’s a Southern California thing. In the Bay Area they just say the number, with no article or qualifier (e.g. they don’t say I-280, they just say 280.)

  2. Thanks Zack for stealing 43 minutes of my Sunday morning.
    I forgot how funny they were. Laughed my ass off… again.

    1. Loved that show. But the times have been a-changing much since it was taped almost 20 years ago. ‘Ballard Driver’ reference has not.

  3. The plan for Sisleyville to be turned into a park, either by choice or eminent domain is terrible.

    A large parcel a block from a subway station should be a high rise….

      1. Try getting Hiz Honor to walk that one back from the neighbors. But, yeah, what a waste of good space.
        Maybe he could offer the Roosevelt hood free green fees for a year further north, next to another transit hub.

      2. “Sisley deserves to lose.”

        Those trying to stop a lot of people from living next to the station deserve to lose. They wanted a station. They get the density that comes with it. If not the closest residential station to UW, then where?

      3. NIMBYs shouldn’t dictate policy; useful buildings ought to be built on this land! It would surprise me if in the end that didn’t happen on at least some of it. That doesn’t mean they have to be built by this scumbag.

      4. Is Sisely guilty if anything greater than not filling his properties with residents (as is his right), while he awaits permission to build more housing than the neighbors will allow?

      5. Sisley is such a scumbag slumlord that he gives other Seattle slumlords a bad name.

        The reason the city is talking about seizing his property is due to millions in fines he has accumulated for building and housing code violations.

      6. As much as I’m for allowing as dense development I. The blocks near the Roosevelt Light Rail station as the market will support, I’ll be very glad when Sisley no longer owns any property in the Roosevelt area.

        While much of the opposition to up-zones in Roosevelt was the usual NIMBY whine a good portion was a visceral reaction to a particularly scummy and abrasive landlord. Many weren’t necessarily opposed to up zones but were opposed to any Sisley would benefit from.

      7. I remember a conversation in which I wondered aloud, “Why doesn’t the city just condemn and seize these properties? It is well within its established rights to do so, and the arrears Sisley has racked up are likely equivalent to the eminent-domain price by now!”

        That was all the way back in the Nickels era. Think of the amount of consternation that could have been defused in the rezone debates if Sisley had no longer been in the picture.

      8. Unfortunately the city has chosen allow this to drag out for over 20 years.

        Most of the time giving the property owner every opportunity to rectify the situation is the best way to get it resolved. However there is the occasional owner like Mr. Sisley who uses the city’s leniency to drag things out as long as possible.

      9. When I first moved to Seattle in the late 90’s, the apartment I was going to move in to wasn’t ready immediately. A friend said there was an open room in the rental house she was living in, and it could be mine for the month in question for a few hundred bucks, so I became an unwitting and unofficial short-term tenant in the Sisley empire. During that month the Sisleys attempted a guerrilla illegal eviction, changing the locks mid-day and trying to extort hundreds of dollars and forcing each tenant to sign a new rental agreement before they’d be granted access to the house. There were a couple activist social worker types in the house who knew how to handle this (I sure as hell didn’t), and soon there were lawyers and restraining orders and another locksmith to get us back in. From whom we learned from the tenants union folk and lawyers these tactics were not a new innovation. Thankfully, I was able to move to my proper apartment a few days after that, but the people who stayed had to get a variety of protection orders against the crew; at one point he employed a notorious white supremacist and convicted felon as muscle to try and remove the remaining tenants by force. So, yeah, opposition to Sisley is more than just classist, anti-development sentiment.

      10. shoreline’s ambitious station area re zones are being damaged by the Sisley slums, as the shoreline preservation society nimby group fixates on and distributes photos of the Sisley properties as a scare tactic of what light rail brings.

      11. Ray,

        As I’m sure you know that is an incredibly dishonest tactic as the Sisley slums were there long before Sound Transit and long before light rail was even planned in the neighborhood.

        Of course it doesn’t really matter as the Shoreline NIMBY group would have just found something else to scare people with like some of the uglier new apartment buildings in Seattle that happen to be near current or planned light rail stations or maybe some of the run down housing near Othello station.

      1. People don’t live in the park. They don’t work in the park. A park like that (a tiny pocket park) won’t draw anyone from outside the neighborhood. All of this means that it will reduce the number of people who will be able to comfortably take advantage of this really expensive piece of transit.

        This wouldn’t be a big deal if the subway line had many stops. New York subways go right by lots of parks. But in this case, it is the only stop between the U-District and Northgate, a distance of about 3 miles. But it gets worse. The only reason the station was moved from under the freeway to Roosevelt is because Roosevelt begged for it to be closer. So we spent millions of dollars moving a station. That only makes sense if the area has lots of people or jobs. Building a local park only hurts that effort.

        There are other reasons to dislike this, but I’ll bump that up to the main thread.

      2. If a park is designed to make it easier for pedestrians to access the Link station, then the park might be a positive. If the existing architecture/street plan has created an area of right angles and hard surfaces that hinder and slow down pedestrian movement, a park might be a good idea–if the park creates more efficient pathways for pedestrians. Please note: I’m not making any judgement on the what should be done with the Sisley property, just making a comment on parks in general.

      3. Sam, much as I hesitate to contribute to the developing damage to your reputation by any response of mine to any comment of yours:

        You’re right about this one. But exactly with dense building patterns, this is completely a matter of skill and attention. Which in fact cost the same, or less, than crap.

        But unfortunately require patience and extra effort, which bean-counters, who are seldom accountants, haven’t the attention span to evaluate.

        These pages often contain valid complaints about transit designed by people who never ride it.

        I wonder how many park-averse transit people acquire their sense of city planning with an app and a calculator.

        Look at small parks this way: a fresh-air generator and vent system equivalent to the average pocket park would pay for a lot of transit.

        Input that into your Smartphones, you park killers! Meantime, I’ll leave transit commentary to Sam while I go get an adult beverage at Olympia Roaster.


      4. Small parks can indeed inject vital balance into a bustling urban ecosystem.

        But you need to have a bustling urban ecosystem in the first place.

        This place has a high school identical to half the high schools in America, an inward-facing stucco shopping center, a future subway stop usurping two full blocks of arterial frontage for no apparent reason, and all the newfangled “density” shoved into a freeway’s shadow half a mile away.

      5. “People don’t live in the park.”

        Yes, they will. They just won’t have a roof over their heads, or a place to take a shower.

        Roosevelt, welcome your new neighbors: Tent City XXI.

      6. >> If a park is designed to make it easier for pedestrians to access the Link station, then the park might be a positive

        No, this wouldn’t do that. But the park I mentioned, Froula Park, would. I wish the city would move on that one. Fill it and cap it or drain it and keep it drained. Either way it should be turned into a park, the way that Maple Leaf Reservoir park was turned into a park. That is a great park, by the way — it is a destination park, like Green Lake, in that folks from other neighborhoods (mostly to the north) head there. But it also adds a huge amount of pedestrian mobility to the area.

        Like the old Maple Leaf reservoir (before it was a park) the Roosevelt reservoir really chops up the pedestrian grid. Creating a park there would make walking to the station from the north a lot nicer.

      7. d. p. is right on this one, Mark. I’m a huge fan of parks and feel they compliment an urban environment really well. They can also accelerate one. If your choice is between a house in Lynnwood or an apartment close to Green Lake, the conversation might go like this:

        “Honey, we should get a house with a backyard for junior”

        “But dear, Green Lake will be our backyard. He will love it there, there is a fantastic playground, and when he gets older, he can ride his bike or roller skate or play basketball or soccer with the big kids”.

        “Good point, sweety, especially about hoops. Those guys got game.”

        But as has been mentioned, this really doesn’t do that. There are plenty of bigger, better parks in the neighborhood. This is only a park for those that don’t want to walk, literally 3 blocks to Cowen Park or a bit further to Green Lake. As mentioned, Roosevelt High School is right across the street. That is essentially a park every weekend, and all the time in the summer (you know, when people actually use the parks). This is no “oasis in a harsh urban environment”, but a silly little exercise in trying to placate the handful of folks that think the area “is growing too fast”. The area is not very urban, and even if it was, there are much bigger, much nicer parks nearby.

        I really don’t know what the mayor is doing with this one. Maybe this is part of putting pressure on Sibley, or maybe it is designed to get the city moving on converting the reservoir area to the park. If that is the case, then kudos for some sneaky maneuvering — I don’t really care how the sausage is made. But at this point it just looks like a stupid thing to promise an area that has plenty of parkland already. Why not promise Fremont more Thai restaurants, or the Ave more Pho, while you are at it.

      8. Why is it terrible to have parks near subway stations?

        The terrible part of it is using eminent domain to force it to happen. Many such parks have been created by land donations or other citizen action.

      9. Brent, I’m calling out your class privilege.

        I’ve lived in TC3, TC4, Camp Quixote, and Nickelsville, all while going to college at the same time, because I had no other alternatives. Traditional shelters wouldn’t accommodate, SHARE’s indoor shelters couldn’t because of their constrained hours. So I was stuck with Tent City 4. Later I went to Tent City 3, then stayed at a couple of shelters which roamed amongst the churches in Renton and Kent (ARISE and HOME), because they would accommodate my schedule at GRCC.

        Later as a student at Evergreen, I spent a summer at Camp Quixote because Evergreen Housing is unavailable during Summer Quarter (they rent out a couple of the dorms to various groups which do teen education, and close up the rest).

        Just so you know, this is a topic which I feel stronger about than Transportation, and almost as strongly about as Access to the Disabled. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE should have a safe sleeping space, or we have failed as a species.

        Brian Bradford

      10. “Why is it terrible to have parks near subway stations?”

        We could have a park if it’s on the roof of housing. I’d almost say we could have a park if it’s on the ground floor of housing, except I can’t think of how to get sunlight to it.

    1. If land next to subway stations is too valuable to be used for parks, then the land upon which Cal Anderson park sits should be turned into a large multi-family housing development, correct?

      1. Cal Anderson lids a reservoir, dumbo. It serves an actual purpose.

        Cal Anderson is also, by virtue of its busy urban surroundings, quality design, permeability in many directions, and appropriate scale, the sole Seattle example of what an urban park is supposed to be: a crossroads, a connective sinew, a place to gather or pause or simply amble across on your way to your next destination.

        Roosevelt lacks the urban critical mass to make use of its half-dozen existing parks — the NIMBYs have seen to that. Sisslum Memorial Park, on the way to nowhere walkable and likely with access from only one side, would fail both as a gathering place and as a crossroads.

        Not all “open space” is created equal. The mayor needs to get through his pumpkin head that Roosevelt — and most of this city — is flush with mediocre examples of it, and doesn’t need one square inch more.

      2. d.p., we here at the STB like to discuss transit and land use issues in a professional, engaging, yet respectful way. Flaming, name-calling and cyber-bullying won’t be tolerated. If you can’t abide by these rules, perhaps this isn’t the blog for you.

      3. Look at it this way Sam. The single LINK spine going North is expected to render future freeway expansion unnecessary (hopefully). Station placement, and zoning around each, coupled with excellent feeder bus service and parking for vehicles in some cases make the whole thing workable.
        What we are doing is chipping away at the foundations of that vision, with constant knee capping of the very things that could make it work well to offset things like a increased delays on I-5 between Everett and Fife. Last year alone, it rose by 28%, and by 92% since 2010. Motorist won’t sit still forever (pun intended).
        What we are seeing are stations with poor bus connections (UW), poor station area development potential (Roosevelt, 145th, et al), and a 50% reduction in original headway minimums which halves the potential ridership.
        A pocket park is a small item, but they all add up after a while.

    2. This is a travesty, but sadly our choice is between a park and a six-story shitbox.

      I wonder what the EIS process is for a park, and whether it considers the loss of potential housing.

      1. I’ll take a 6 story shitbox when it is on top of a light rail station. Doubly so when there other parks nearby. You really think some crappy pocket park is going to compete with Cowen/Ravenna park?

      2. “our choice is between a park and a six-story shitbox”

        False choice. Not all six-story buildings are shitboxes. And you too could help shape the design policy to allow the maximum number of units with the least drawbacks. We need housing units, so just saying no housing or two new single-family houses is not the answer.

    3. This is bad for so many reasons. First of all, Roosevelt has tons of parkland. Cowen/Ravenna is a fantastic park. So is Green Lake. Roosevelt High School is effectively a park much of the year. This is a crappy little pocket park in an area that doesn’t need it. By the way, I like pocket parks — some of them are great (Fremont Peak Park is outstanding). But there is nothing special about this area — a chunk of land next to a busy street, close to a high school.

      There is also a little park a bit to the north, called Froula Park. It isn’t much of a park, but it is right next to an empty reservoir. Eventually, all the reservoirs will be capped or emptied, the city just needs to decide whether it needs the water here or not. So this means that the entire area will eventually become like Maple Leaf park (or Cal Anderson Park). It will connect the neighborhood — providing a much needed pedestrian path as well as extra parkland.

      Plus this is valuable land. I have no idea what it is worth, but why is the city spending money on a park for a neighborhood that is overflowing in parkland, while other areas of the city (Northgate/Lake City) have so little? Besides, shouldn’t this be the call of the new parks commission? So, to put it another way, why is the city willing to spend a bunch of money on a very expensive mini-park, when it could put that money into additional sidewalks, let alone transit infrastructure?

      It is because the people in the area, the people who begged for a light rail station which costs the rest of us a quite a bit of money (money that could be used far more effectively building a station at NE 130th or a bridge over I-5 by Northgate) now feel that their world is now “too urban”. My god, you will have neighbors who rent — neighbors who can’t afford that 3 bedroom half million dollar house you bought years ago. You will have more restaurants, and more cultural options (perish the thought). You will also have easy access to the best transportation network in the entire state. Yes, you poor dears — you definitely deserve more parks (and perhaps a lollypop).

      If folks in the area want a new mini-park, I have no trouble with that. Let them buy one. But don’t blame me if I don’t chip in.

      1. “why is the city spending money on a park for a neighborhood that is overflowing in parkland”

        When will the open space advocates ever be satisfied? Only when every house is completely surrounded by empty parcels?

      2. There are places in the Seattle area that really do need more park space, especially with a growing population around them.

        The question you need to ask the open space advocates is “For the same money you could build another park (over there where they need it). Would you prefer that or a park here?”

      3. Interesting, Glenn. Where? My first guess would be First Hill, but it’s not that far to the waterfront or to Freeway Park.

      4. Good idea, Glenn. But where are those areas that need more parks? My first guess would be First Hill, but that’s not too far from the waterfront or Freeway Park. And the U-District is really close to Ravenna, and the Central District is close to whatever that park by I-90 is called, and so on.

      5. Seattle doesn’t need any more parks.

        This city will spend literally millions designing and constructing a fairly nice one, and then immediately install a Honey Bucket in the middle of a pathway and hand over control of the place to the most aggressive and irredeemable winos for the rest of time.

        Then the same hypocrites who clamored for the park in the first place will retreat to their sealed metal boxes and privatized refuges, all the while howling about the perils of urban growth.

        This city’s relationship to its “open space” is fucking insane.

      6. “Seattle area” does not mean city of Seattle itself. I specifically used the “area” term because of the mess that I have seen being created in Lacy and a few other outlying areas where the density of residential development has outpaced any effort at developing recreational space to compliment those developments.

        Keep in mind that I also said I am not a fan of this particular park because, among other things, it is created by eminent domain. If the people want a park there let them raise the funds as they did for Weatherwatch park and a few other locations.

        As for where else to put the city money, the 12 Avenue Viewpoint has open grass and two benches. With the money used to purchase this park, that park could be converted into something with playground equipment and other facilities that would be useful for the neighborhood. Otherwise, you have Beacon Hill Playground (separated from the west side of that area of Beacon Hill by a busy road) and Jefferson Park (surrounded by busy roads and mostly made up of sports facilities). East of Beacon Hill Playground and south there is a fairly good sized area with not even a neighborhood parklet within walking distance.

        I’ve also heard that there is something like a 2 year waiting list for the Seattle community garden program. From the sounds of it, this isn’t going to be the type of park that will relieve that particular problem.

        So, it is rather difficult for me to believe that this one spot rates a high enough priority that it needs condemnation proceedings.

      7. I can’t think of anywhere in Seattle that needs more parks. In some places what’s needed is transit to the existing parks.

    4. At the very least if the city seizes the property the land should either be developed by SHA or turned over to a housing nonprofit for development.

      There is zero need for a park in this location. Indeed it is a shitty location for a park considering all of the much better parks nearby, plus the grounds and sport fields of the high school.

      1. Ballard, with no light rail approved, has surrounded the possible Market st. station (15th or 17th) with condos and apartments, while this station will. have a park around it?

    5. For those who have not visited (and experienced the incredibly slow traffic) along the 65th street corridor between 15thAvenue and Ravenna Blvd recently, the whole neighborhood is literally flooded with new high-rise construction, no doubt spurred on by the advent of North Link. It would be nice if the Roosevelt Link station itself had incorporated commercial and residental use in its structure. But if the neighborhood wants a small park to preserve the view corridor of Roosevelt High School I wouldn’t call that NIMBYism. That phrase is usually reserved for what neighborhoods DON’T want, such as a porn theater or halfway-house or such.

      1. Essentially 100% of the residential construction you mention is in first two blocks after the I-5 underpass. The reason for this is that the NIMBYs — who were, in fact, being NIMBYs, inasmuch as they treated any semblance of urbanization as a burden to be borne and to be held at arms’ length — pushed something like 70% of the upzoned capacity into the highway’s “perpetual whoosh noise and fume” zone.

        It’s not an especially appealing place to live, and it is unlikely to draw long-term tenants who might actually wish to put down roots in the neighborhood (without buying houses). Furthermore, and quite offensively, it is farther from the exorbitant new subway station on 12th than from Link’s original proposed location, which also happened to offer walking access to fast-growing Green Lake in a way that the final location does not.

        We are all paying for this infrastructure. Anyone who is not offended that one of its two pointlessly back-to-back entrances opens directly to a permanent Amber Bungalowville has not been paying attention.

        And anyone who thinks Roosevelt High School is so architecturally unique that it requires “view corridors” is an idiot. It is identical to half the large public schools in America.

      2. You’re right that I go overboard on occasion.

        But aside from my calling into question the worldliness of those who claim Roosevelt High School is architecturally “unique”, there is nothing whatsoever in my above comment that is inaccurate or amounts to unjustified acrimony.

        The real offense rests squarely upon the NIMBY homeowners who courted a private subway station to their front yards and their track-and-field plateau — paid for by all 650,000 of us — and then bent over backward to worsen outcomes for all other civic stakeholders.

        A zero-density “view corridor” at Sisleyville, meanwhile, is simply insane. These people have already made sure the “view” of their school will remain uninterrupted from every other possible angle!

        (And how ironic is it that the school’s massive brick edifice is more “out of scale with the neighborhood” than any of the urban infill that has been so violently opposed?)

  4. On Friday I was waiting at a bus stop, and two MAX trains went by on the Green Line went by in quick succession. The first was the regular train. The one right behind was new 500 series cars, apparently undergoing their operating trials.

    Things are getting closer to Orange line opening.

  5. Almost as bad as what’s happened to Ballard is loss of Saturday Night Live as it was in the days when Ballard was still livable. Really think it was taken off the air at the behest of the same forces, and people, responsible for the damage.

    Every ridiculous thing about the Seattle area that the program called attention to-like the pomposity and passive aggression that lames transit discussions- has gotten completely out of hand in SNL’s absence.

    Can’t really fault the show for pointing out the age of many Ballard residents, considering what the show did to younger people from Factoria and the Green River. And WSU students demanding that a school official tell them where they can buy a beer-can holder hat with the brim facing backwards.

    Though also fair to note that many recreational drinks and pills leave college-age imbibers drooling and worse. Over beer bellies sticking out of dirty T-shirts with sagging knee-length shorts like MAD’s great Don Martin characters.

    From the clip, the woman driving the car spent her last day of health recognizable from the pretty girl in her obituary picture in the well-fitting clothes of the 1940’s. And she certainly died with a driving record far cleaner than the citizen described last paragraph.

    Very much like my former neighbors at Lock Haven who lost their home of 30 years at 20 days notice. People who, like the lady in the car, by the way they lived their lives made Ballard the very kind of neighborhood they now can’t afford to live in.

    One of the things they often had in common was that they understood, and created, products that were made out of metal and had precision moving parts. As opposed to being transit fare arrangements, and banking processes with the product quality of rotten pork sausage.

    It’s extremely fair to say that the Ballard I moved to the week I went full-time with Metro in 1985 lived on small industry. The one I left at the end of 2013 belongs to big real-estate speculation.

    The people who own it, and the residents they rent and sell to…in 30 years, will they leave Ballard a place anybody will consider – as my, thankfully, former landlord says on his present advertisements for Lock Haven, “charming?”

    Also: What will become a “product” next? Water already is, air close behind. How about fine vintage absence of pervading existential disgust?

    Mark Dublin

      1. Drat! Keep onto me, TomK. Next thing I’ll be buying polyester pants and sitting in a cafe with a poodle in my lap arguing about whether 32nd Avenue was ever wired.

        And what a piece of slander against a respected program! Don’t even remember whether Almost Live was even on the air the last time Saturday Night Live didn’t suck, when John Belushi was still alive.

        I also have to confess. Change of landlords is not the real reason that forced me out of Ballard. I had to leave because my present car has plastic bumpers that will not survive the prescribed parallel parking procedure taught by the Ballard Driving Academy.

        “In Ballard, we park by SOUND!” Which only does not require a six figure insurance settlement if both cars have the bumpers of the days when all Ballard’s drivers were young fishermen.

        Am especially scared that pretty soon, I’ll lose control and have a comment include the phrase: “You young people don’t realize how good you’ve got things! Why back in my day…”

        Because the No Extraordinary Measures specification in my wallet also demands: If I’m ever known to say that, I will be determined to have no quality of life whatever.

        Like my poor readers. But the vet not have to put them to sleep, because now they can finally stay awake to read the rest of the postings and comments.

        ‘Til then…


  6. Speaking of Ballard, has anyone heard of more support inside ST or SDOT supporting the Ballard spur, or is it still full speed ahead for Option D?

    1. Given how long it takes Seattle to design, engineer, and construct rail transit, I would’t hold my breath for rail to Ballard. Even if they started digging today, it would take nearly seven years given Sound Transit’s record. They started construction on university link in 2009, and they are still at it, though close to being finished.

      1. Alex, given the length of the subway necessary to get to Northgate, the first place LINK can break out of the ground from a route serving the University District- with planning and digging, seven years is not a long time.

        Sound Transit’s predecessors on essentially the same project got the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel done in three years, five stations and all- with first years entirely devoted to moving utilities.

        Every single city in the world, with the exception of some hill towns in Portugal which have streetcars, has miles of inherited rail right of way, invaluable for both surface tracks and elevated pillars. What we didn’t inherit, we have to dig.

        Work would speed up if either a bio-lab or a mad scientist who hates lawns could create a live mole the size of Big Bertha.

        These creatures actually have echo location to steer themselves through the ground. Though since moles eat underground wildlife, we’ll have remove all the machinery with any similarity off-site ’til it goes by.

        However, one possibility would be to lay streetcar tracks along routes soon to be tunneled, and feed light rail vehicles into the tunnel at different points as it lengthens. Something that street rail itself is very good at.

        Something else encouraging: outrage over crushing student loan debts after graduation into unemployment will finally motivate intelligent and capable young people to finally seize control of the political system.

        Possibly by all joining AARP, which will guarantee victory. Because present state of politics is a boulder the size of Mars in the way of every tie and concrete block of US public transit.


    2. I’ve heard that the technical experts are against the Ballard Spur. I don’t think it has a snowball’s chance in whatever.

      1. Too bad the technical ‘experts’ didn’t design with potential future demand for a crosstown route between Ballard and UW. Seems like a no brainier…

      2. The only thing I heard, when I mentioned to SDOT reps about the Ballard Spur was the popularity of Option D. If they said it would be technically infeasible, they could/should have said so.

      3. Okay, let’s review.

        Our “technical experts”…

        – have already demonstrated a disinterest in urban corridor access, a tendency to build for elaborate visual presence rather than customer convenience, and a total disinterest in network coherence and future-proofing;

        – are radial purists, who fail to understand the three-dimensional nature of urban movements, and who would rather dig below downtown foundations, through Interbay fill, and under the Salmon Bay than across the very stable and barrier-free soils of Wallingford and Phinney;

        – would prefer to spend twice as much money for an equal number of riders, significantly slimmer improvements in travel time, a weaker access-shed, and less total mobility impact;

        – hide in the shadows and only report their preferences via some pathological precedent- and research-denying jerk who pulls numbers from his ass each time this topic arises on some blog.

        Sounds like we might need some new “technical experts”!

      4. On the flip side ST did include a Ballard/UW corridor study in the recent round.

        Depending on the final sausage we get from the state legislature it is likely there won’t be enough money for Ballard/Downtown, especially option D.

        Ballard-UW is cheap, and likely to be able to get Federal grants. Indeed if it or the WSTT is left out of ST3 expect to see an initiative using the monorail tax authority to build one or the other. Both are also possibilities for ‘plan B’ should the legislature fail to grant ST3 authorization or the voters fail to pass it.

      5. “Too bad the technical ‘experts’ didn’t design with potential future demand for a crosstown route between Ballard and UW. Seems like a no brainier…”

        At a North Link open house I asked an ST rep why they weren’t making U-District Station transfer-ready for a future Ballard-UW line, and I’m afraid ST is painting itself into a corner on what will become the most important transfer point in the entire north end. He said it’s because the Ballard-UW line is not voter approved yet and they didn’t know whether it would be routed (he mentioned Pacific Street/UW Station as an alternative).

        That makes me throw my hands up in the air and say, “Why isn’t Ballard-UW voter-approved yet? Why didn’t we approve it twenty years ago? Or at least have a master plan saying it would definitely be coming in the next phase?”

  7. I’d like to take a moment to lament about the current state of walkability and transit in South Lake Union. I’ve in the SLU neighborhood now for nearly five years and the amount of construction in the area has made it incredibly difficult to get around recently.

    Sidewalks and Roads are in a state of significant disrepair, mostly because there is no point in fixing them at this time with the amount of construction. It’s gotten so bad that last summer I twisted my ankle while carrying groceries because I inadvertently stepped into a pothole, lost my balance, and fell.

    Along with the poor state of sidewalks and roads, comes little to no transit. In the cascade neighborhood that I live, the principal Metro Route, the 8, comes in frequently in the evenings and Sundays. Furthermore, I have to cross Denny Way, which is by no means a small feat.

    With all the recent build up in apartments, I wonder if there is now enough demand to justify one or two neighborhood routes that travel between the new apartment buildings of the cascade neighborhood and connect to nearby major corridors. I’m thinking a neighborhood route that would travel between SLU and capitol hill, to compliment the 8. This route could run every 7 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays, and every 10 minutes on Sundays/Holidays. The service span would be 6AM to 2AM, seven days a week, creating broad coverage.

    Something like this would help with mobility in an area that has experienced substantial growth, but that is still challenged by ongoing construction.


    1. Gondola?

      There’s also a proposed route 88 in the Rainier Valley Restructure thread on page 2.

    2. I don’t think you’ll get much sympathy here because there is a lot of disruptive construction in SLU. There’s disruptive construction in every neighborhood in the city. But look on the bright side, it will all be over eventually.

      On capacity transit in SLU a Gondola makes sense for the price tag. If it truly was $500MM to connect Cap Hill, SLU, Seattle Center, and the waterfront with regular and frequent on time service I can’t really find a reason not to do it except for the fact that its a gondola. If it was BRT or Link it would have been planned by now.

      I was not paid by Matt to say this. ;)

    3. +1 for gondola, if only because it is slightly fanciful but also pretty fitting for the requirements.

      And yeah, walkability in SLU is a mess. I routinely feel like this guy — what happened to my sidewalk / how do I get over there? (“over there” usually defined as “across Aurora”).

    4. My thoughts? Sure. Why is it that everyone in walkable neighborhoods complains about having to walk places? Just once in a while, I’d like to see someone say, “Uh, no, this walkable neighborhood doesn’t need a gondola or street car or bus route, because everything is fairly close by. That’s why we moved to a walkable neighborhood.” Otherwise, stop talking about how much you like and support walkable neighborhoods if you don’t want to walk anywhere.

    5. Walkabolity in South Lake Union?

      Hell, have you attempted to get from the waterfront to the ferry terminal recently?

      Your best bet involves hiring a semi-suicidal bicycle taxi, or walk nearly a mile out of the way.

  8. Information on Madison BRT from Lindy Winshard at MadisonValley.org. I’m quoting it because the site doesn’t seem to have direct links to articles:

    “SDOT has received a lot of feedback suggesting they extend the BRT to Madison Valley, so they are adding the extension to the Valley to the study. The feedback and research does not support taking BRT to Madison Park, so that is no longer on the table. The BRT busses will be mixed in with cars from Madison Valley up to [i.e., east of] 23rd, where the BRT will have a dedicated bus lane. This is because Madison St. is not wide enough for a dedicated lane beyond 23rd coming down the hill. SDOT does not know yet if the dedicated bus lane will be only for BRT or for all buses. Locations for BRT stops in Madison Valley are still under consideration, but they are looking at an eastbound stop on Madison in front of Essential Baking, and a westbound stop in front of Bailey-Boushay House. The location for the bus turnaround and layover station is also being studied, although it’s looking as if the station will be on E. Arthur Place behind the dry cleaner & Jae’s Bistro. This does mean the one way on E. Arthur will change to the opposite direction.”

    1. Interesting tidbits. I’m not sure what the hangup is over the “mesh” of wires, but to each their own, I suppose.

      Reading another article on that site (that does have a link, for some reason), I’m kind of mystified at the proposal they submitted to SDOT and Metro. Sending the 48 to Capitol Hill Station instead of onward to passing by UW Station while keeping the 43 just seems counterproductive. Of course, I see why they proposed it; in their map, Madison Valley gets the modified 38, the 11, the 43, and the 48 as one-seat rides to more or less everywhere south of the ship canal. I wouldn’t even mind their proposed route 38, since it makes a longer trip on 23rd and passes a lot more useful destinations than hanging around the relatively-empty part of MLK, but the 43/48 idea is just odd…

      1. Hey; we’re discussing that right now over here, if you want to join in. Reg, who wrote that plan, asked us to do it on Page Two.

  9. Some friends moved to Ballard a month ago and now only complain about their driving commutes to the east side.

      1. Yeah, the Ballard spur would help immensely. Either they go downtown (via the spur, which would be much faster than RapidRide) or they transfer to a bus which goes on 520 (which is much faster if you are going along the 520 corridor, like to Redmond). Either way, with the Ballard spur you could make a transit trip faster than driving.

    1. Why in the world would you move to Ballard if you work on the east side? You almost couldn’t pick a worse place in the city for that commute.

      1. Because it’s (imho) the best neighborhood in the city. Yeah the commute is abysmal, but I haven’t found a better place in Seattle to live. It fits my needs, and I’m slowly getting adjusted to waking early and getting home later than I’d like.

        Sure as heck beats living on the east side. I ask my coworkers who commute in from places like Covington or Maple Valley how they do it. There’s nothing to do AND there’s an abysmal commute.

  10. With all the talk of what’s going to happen when Link reaches the UW, there has been virtually no mention of what will happen when Link comes to S 200th St. Here’s my suggestion:

    Revise RapidRide A Line to Serve Angle Lake Station–When A Line buses approach S 200th St from either direction, the buses would operate West on 200th, serve Angle Lake Station, the double back to International Blvd and continue to either Federal Way or TIBS. (NOTE: This would NOT eliminate the existing stops on International Blvd at 200th).

    1. But what’s the point of adding a 1-2 minute deviation (per direction) to the A Line so it can meet up with a service it already stops adjacent to at S. 200th and terminates next to a mile or so up the road at TIBS?

      1. TIBS is 1.7 miles from Airport and Airport is 1.6 miles from Angle Lake, so it’s a little more than a mile or so. Riders from the south who wish to transfer to Link should have the most convenient transfer possible. When South Link is extended further, the diversion could be eliminated.

      2. What would be the advantage of meeting Link at Angle Lake rather than staying on the A until the airport or TIBS? Speed? I don’t think there’s much of a real difference there; the A is scheduled at four minutes from TIBS to the airport, and from what I remember, Link is barely if at all faster between the two.

      3. Link is scheduled at 3 minutes between Airport and TIBS. You might also gain some time from shorter dwells. Then there’s also the added comfort of being in a train vs. a bus and a near guarantee of being able to get a seat on the train.

        Will the acesss time to the station at TIBS be higher than at Angle Lake? The TIBS track level is pretty high up because it needs to clear the SR-518/SR-99 interchange.

      4. The airport is a major enough destination to justify overlapping service for a mile. What Metro should do is extend the 124 to the airport, at minimum when Link is not running.

    2. the problem with that is that you would transform a two seat A to F line ride into a three seat ride with needless transfer penalties… and since the buses don’t really have a proper terminal at Angle Lake, they will probably have to drive up to TIBS anyway to layover until their next run, wasting any saved bus hours.

      Anyone looking to take link to downtown Seattle will probably switch at Angle Lake without being forced to.

      Also, doesn’t A line have better stop spacing than link anyway along that stretch anyway?

      1. I don’t think anyone was suggesting truncating RR-A to Angle Lake station. Someone wanting to transfer to RR-F would just stay on the bus.

      2. You’re right I misread that. I forgot that Angle Lake Stn is essentially a whole block away from 99.

      3. Why would it not be worth it? What would be the relative proportions of RR-A riders transferring to Link compared to those connecting to other buses? And without something more than a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the time costs to riders and operational costs to Metro, it’s hard to evaluate the proposal.

        In any case, the impact of the opening of a South Link extewnsion will be relatively small compared to the massive changes that could happen with the opening of U-Link. It’s not at all surprising that Metro and ST haven’t said much about how this extension will impact the bus network.

      4. The distance between Angle Lake and SeaTac airport is not that great. Even if the bus did deviate, by the time you get off the bus and wait for the train, you’re not getting to SeaTac airport (or the SeaTac Link Station) any faster than if the bus just kept right on going to the airport. If the deviation doesn’t really accomplish anything for people making the connection, there’s no reason to artificially delay riders who aren’t making the connection.

        Besides, it’s not like if the bus doesn’t deviate, the option to connect to Link at Angle Lake Station disappears. The transfer would still exit and be similar quality to the existing transfer at SeaTac airport station.

  11. Is there precedent for the consolidation of school special education/”short bus” and paratransit operations?

    – Reduced ride times. Currently, it is not uncommon for special education students to have ride times in excess of an hour to go a short distance due to the desire to have each bus carry as many students as feasible. As there are very few special education students relative to the general population, these routing patterns are necessary to keep service productive. Instead of a ride two miles north to the school, the bus may go a mile south, then four east, then three north, and west to the school in order to pick up a handful of passengers. By expanding the pool of potential passengers to include paratransit users, the density of potential pickups increases, which should result in more direct trips.
    – More efficient use of capital. Generally speaking, school trips are concentrated into the peak hour, and paratransit trips, often disproportionately taken by the disabled, and seniors who have disproportionately higher unemployment rates than the general public tend to be in the mid-day period. Of course, many paratransit customers use the service for commuting, and there are many mid-day special education school runs between different sites or programs. The contrasting usage patterns between special education and paratransit users complements each other, allowing for fuller buses for a longer span.
    – Improved driver conditions. Due to the complementary usage patterns, more drivers could be scheduled to have all-day full-time shifts, 8-10 hours in length. As a result, drivers have the ability to work more hours, moving from part-time to full-time employment, and have a schedule which is more desirable due to the elimination of the long unpaid mid-day shift break. With more full-time drivers and fewer split shifts, operator retention and morale would likely improve, resulting in lower turnover rates and costs.
    – Allows schools to focus on education, not transportation. School district superintendents basically need to be able to manage a school and a transit agency at the same time. Time they spend on addressing CDL training or hours-of-service or complaints about inappropriate school bus stop locations is time not spent on educational concerns. Splitting off transportation from education means that a superintendent with a PHD in education isn’t wasting her time responding to issues best left to people with a transportation background: let the school people run the school system and the transportation people run the transportation system.

    – Risk of combined student/general public operations. Bluntly put, it isn’t desirable to have a seven-year-old special education student on the same vehicle as a seventy-year-old disabled veteran who goes off on rants about “killing [expletive] [racial slur] back in the war” to everyone with a passive ear. Care would be needed to ensure that both student and paratransit passengers are compatible with each other, with the passengers compatible passengers flagged and booked on separate trips.
    – Driver training. Special education school bus drivers are trained in responding to the physical, emotional, or mental issues of the student they are transporting. A high standard of training would need to be maintained for all drivers, paratransit or school bus.
    – Student legal issues on paratransit vehicles. A student’s IEP or 504 plan may specify transportation on “school” vehicles. Additionally, federal law requires schools to provide transportation to students if included in their IEP or 504 plan (as well as some homeless students); I am unsure if the law is written to specify that the service must be provided by the school.
    – Paratransit legal issues on short school buses. Many states have laws written to discourage or exclude the general public from school buses, or for districts to use their school buses for general public charters. State-level legislative action may be needed to allow paratransit users on short school buses.

  12. I just wrote a couple of “Page 2” articles that I think folks might be interested in. The first is one that I said I was going to write (https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/03/15/pinehurst-bus-suggestions-for-alternative-one/). Basically it is a suggestion for a modification to proposal one (for the recently proposed bus route changes).

    The second is something I have been working on for a while, which shows how bus routes could be reconfigured if Link goes to NE 130th: https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/03/15/north-seattle-bus-routes-after-lynnwood-link/ This is more of a long term proposal (obviously) but since Sound Transit (still) isn’t sure if a light rail link makes sense in the area, this is perhaps more relevant than it should be.

  13. Just wondering, have there been any proposals on what to do with routes 167 and 197 after U-Link opens? Frankly, it might make most sense to delete them, but Metro hasn’t indicated that it plans on doing so (has it?).

    There would also be a number of challenges, including the fact that in some cases one-seat-rides would turn into three-seat-rides (such as Federal Way to U-District), and some travel times might be lengthened *if there is little traffic* (which is admittedly a rare occurrence). However, it seems like deleting those routes would not cause too much harm, since there are decent alternatives available, such as transferring from downtown expresses to Link.

    1. The 197 should probably be deleted, although it’s not on Metro’s list for consideration. There are already tons of buses between Federal Way and downtown, and if the 197 went away, more could be added. During the hours that the 197 actually runs, Link is running every 6 minutes, so wait time for the train should be minimal.

      The 167, on the other hand, approaches the U-district via 520, so Link or no Link, the need for the route is the same.

      1. I would argue that U-Link actually reduces the need for the 167. After U-Link is built, all stops on the 167 will have an easy two-seat ride to UW at peak hours:
        -I-405 freeway stations: 111 to Downtown, then Link
        -Renton TC: 106 to Rainier Beach, then Link (or 101+Link)
        -S Renton P&R: 101/102 to Downtown, then Link

        In addition to this, connections can also be made via Bellevue (560/566 to 271/556). However, the 167 does save around 10 minutes in some cases over those alternatives, so it might be worthwhile to keep it. Metro initially proposed cutting the 167, before the later rounds of cuts were cancelled.

        Also, a random note: would it be possible to move the 167 schedule around so that it aligns better with UW class times, or are UW students not part of the target market for the 167? It’s kind of silly that the current 167 schedule forces students to get to UW 40-50 minutes early for 8:30 or 9:30 classes.

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