41 Replies to “News Roundup: Fish Out of Water”

  1. Eugene, Oregon was recently named 2021 host of the World Athletics Championships.

    This might lead to some good BRT publicity, as Lane Transit’s EmX has proven fairly popular with a number of people and seems to work well.

  2. “The reservation system for San Juan ferries is off to a bad start.”

    Did you read the article at all? This affected all routes in the reservation system and it was a short AP article about a glitch. Hardly “off to a bad start”. Please check other articles. From what I see, old timers don’t like it because then they have to plan ahead while others who want a guaranteed spot can now spend more time on the island rather than waiting at the dock but talk about a serious overlook.

    1. On the other hand, this is sprawl that sentences the residents there to driving everywhere. Density should be near existing transportation corridors, which in this case would be 101, not in the middle of nowhere.

  3. Actually, Silicon Valley/The Penninsula have many great traditionally urban, walkable downtowns – including Downtown San Jose, Downtown Mountain View, Downtown Palo Alto, Downtown Burlingame, Downtown Redwood City, Downtown San Mateo, Broadway in Burlingame and California Ave. in Palo Alto, etc. Most of these downtowns are actually bigger, more vibrant, and more walkable than suburbs in the Seattle metro area.

    The problem -as one commenter notes – is that these traditionally urban areas in Silicon Valley/Penninsula are not where the job growth is happening. Sure, there has been residential growth, but most of the jobs are still in sprawly suburban office parks. And between these downtowns (especially in the South Bay) the sprawl is pretty bad. What needs to happen is a concerted effort by the jurisdictions and counties there to bring more jobs to the traditional urban downtown of the area.

    1. Finally coming up to bat in the bottom of the ninth, Mother Nature is probably gonna whack this problem outa the ballpark. A huge amount of the what is now the State of California has been a desert since the beginning of the world.

      One proof is that the Bristlecone Pine won’t even germinate until the cones are burned. Wonder if insurance companies check to see how many of these trees there are on the property before they give an estimate?

      Like in the Faye Dunaway movie, Los Angeles used brute force to get water for its swimming pools, making a desert out of a productive valley.

      So between lack of water and skyrocketing insurance, California will have ghost towns to the horizon, except without all those cool cattle skulls lying around, and horse-shoes nailed to weathered old saloons.


      1. Mark,

        Nice attempt at poetry, but Bristlecone Pines don’t live below about 9000 feet of elevation, so they’re not exactly relevant to Silicon Valley sprawl.

    2. additionally those caltrain-centered valley towns are as opposed to density as anyone else. The SF housing crisis has a lot to do with anti-density attitudes in the valley.

    3. Every time I am in San Jose, I am baffled about why it hasn’t taken off as a destination for the urban gentrifyers. I realize it lacks the cache of San Francisco, but it really is a great downtown with so much potential.

  4. It’s amusing that “Reuven Carlyle, the Democrat whose district covers downtown Seattle, Queen Anne, Magnolia, and Ballard.” is one of the people fighting property taxes since as a former Facebook Friend of his, he is rabid (and sometimes vile) true blue lib.

    But seriously, isn’t this the ultimate hypocrisy, the one we’ve seen over and over again?

    Seattle doesn’t want to pay for transit, no how, no way.

    It wants to demand transit, sure.

    But when it comes time to pony up, the Emerald City Freeloaders have left the bar a half hour before closing time, leaving the hard workers to pick up the tab.

    1. Given the Seattle results on both iterations of Proposition 1, I dispute the generalization from Mr. Carlyle to all Seattlites.

    2. Any way to find out what big money campaign donors are involved? That’s likely whose desires are being represented, not Seattle.

      1. @Glenn, I think that may be a little unfair. There’s a 1% constitutional cap on total ordinary property tax. (This isn’t Tim Eyman’s 1%, it’s a different 1% that predates it). The current legislature is under court orders to fully fund basic education (a constitutional duty). The Senate majority believes that this can be done without new taxes, while the House majority does not, and has been considering increasing its share of the basic property tax (property tax is one of the two traditional sources of state education funding, and it’s pretty much the only broad based tax we have that isn’t at least somewhat regressive). Representative Carlyle has expressed concerns that giving ST property taxing authority may eat into the state’s flexibility to increase its own revenues for education. As far as I know that’s the only wobbliness wrt to ST3, and it seems at least a somewhat reasonable concern, that may well be in tune with the wishes of ordinary voters.

      2. Carlyle used to be my rep. He has some sharp elbows, but he’s a smart guy and doesn’t seem to be beholden to special interests.

        I agree with William: this seems to be more of an issue of the need to better fund K-12 education and the limited funding levers the state has available. As much as I support transit, we need to ensure that the K-12 education system is strong and sustainably funded for the future. That’s a high priority for voters in his district. It is not all about ST3.

        My solution: increase the gas tax to fund local roads. Each local government would get a pro-rata share of increased gas tax revenue. Places that don’t want more funding can simply lower property taxes by the same amount. Counties and cities that need the funding can redirect local property taxes to transit without any constitutional issues.

      3. The state’s attention is on court-ordered increases in education funding and mental-health evaluation funding. My worry has been that these two things would crowd out transit funding. I wish transit were in the Constitution so that it could get a similar court order and priority rather than always being sidelined.

    3. “Emerald City Freeloaders?” What are you blathering about? Do you bother to read about the issues before you come here and spout this nonsense?

      His stated concern isn’t the property tax in general, it’s that instead of reserving a new chunk of revenue they’re basically dipping into general revenue that would otherwise go to education.

      1. He must not have noticed Prop 1, or Seattle’s vote on ST2. It’s not as much as I think we need, but it’s a lot more than “Seattle doesn’t want to pay for transit”. The 45th corridor is falling over themselves trying to pay for an east-west subway.

  5. The top people in every transit agency in the tri-county area come here daily to read my views on transit. So rather than calling in this suggestion, I’ll just say it here. The on-board ORCA readers need some additional information on them. So many riders tap their card in the wrong place (the rectangular readout screen), that in my expert opinion, the place where they do need to tap or touch their card (on the word ORCA), needs to be replaced with the words TOUCH ORCA CARD HERE, instead of just having the word ORCA there.

    1. I’ll endorse this idea. I also like the word “touch” (rather than “tap,”) as it might help people hold the card in place long enough for it to be registered.

    1. And note, that when choosing stops in the survey, there is at least one (or two) stops (the stops not at 15th and 17th and Market) which appear as stops in the street car option stops.

  6. Given the number of times similar city-wide mobility-crippling incidents have occurred followed by city and agency pledges to respond more quickly—pledges soon tarnished when another incident brings the city to its knees—I don’t believe for a second that SDOT is going to be fixed through more investigative boards and committees. SDOT incident response sucks. WSDOT (at least locally) sets an excellent model for rapid incident response that SDOT seems to ignore or be unaware of.

    1. Ya, sure, and why is it that SDOT somehow gets stuck handling a problem on a State highway? Because WSDOT shirks its responsibility and pushes the really tough problems off onto the municipalities — along with the costs of course. Sure, WSDOT does an reasonable job in rural areas when Farmer Bob leaves the gate to his pasture open and his cows end up walking the highway, but in the city? Na, WSDOT won’t go there.

      And don’t even get me started on Bertha and/or the 520 bridge. Want to know how WSDOT is really doing? Compare the DBT to the Seawall project. Hint: One of those projects is doing very well, and it isn’t the DBT.

      The other area where WSDOT really sucks is in construction zone traffic management. If you want to see how that is done correctly, go to California. They do an excellent job. But here? Best drive really slow and make sure your seat belt is snugged up tight.

  7. I’ve thought of something that could be implemented for the Link restructure–the introduction of articulated buses on route 10.

    I ride the 10 to Capitol Hill from 4th & Pike every Wednesday afternoon. The 10 uses 40-foot buses, which are usually packed like a sardine can until just after SCCC. The 49 also goes from 4th & Pike to SCCC, but since it will be rerouted to use Madison rather than Pike/Pine following the Link restructure, only the 10 will be able to provide service to SCCC from Pike/Pine. Since Metro is going to have a surplus of artic trolleys with the deletion of route 43 anyway, I see no reason why they can’t use artics on the 10–and trust me, if the 71 can navigate the narrow streets of View Ridge with an articulated bus, the 10 can get around the terminal loop in an artic as well!

    1. Once Link opens, it will be interesting to see how the entire traffic flow changes. Unfortunately as deep as that station is, it might not attract huge numbers.

      I suppose a few might ride the streetcar, depending on where they are going.

    2. From what I can tell, the average age of bicyclists making the trek from Ballard/Fremont to downtown is about 55 years old. So if aging hippies with one foot in the grave can bike 10+ miles to work, why can’t all the young health nuts on Cap Hill ride a bike 2 miles? Seattle is spending tens of millions of dollars on bike lanes. Stop smugly admiring how progressive your city is for building them. USE THEM! That’s what they’re for!

      1. Thanks for the reminder aw. I can walk miles on flat surface, but going uphill feels like 4 to 5 times the distance when completed…..and I’m around that demographic that Sam speaks of. And when I lived on Capitol Hill, I occasionally walked to and from work, particularly during snowstorms, and it wasn’t much of a burden.

      2. aw, no, it didn’t escape me. I factored that in. If a 55 year old man can bike from Ballard to downtown on a flat surface, then a gluten-free, vegan, 20-something who’s healthy enough to protest march from SCCC to the Federal Building every other week, or healthy enough to run around downtown every May 1st, smashing Nike store and Chase bank windows, then he’s healthy enough to bike to 2 miles up and down hills. You don’t need 60 foot buses on the route 10. You need people to stop admiring bike lanes from a distance, and to start using them.

      3. The average age of a Ballard->Downtown biker is more closer to 35 and getting younger.

        Source: I bike that route daily.

    3. The issue seems to be related to the terminus – other commenters have previously mentioned that the street configuration at the terminus is not ideal for 60′ buses to use. Not sure if it is turning radius or bus storage capacity that is the issue, but it is apparently an issue.

      In the future, however, I think it is possible that the 10 could be cut entirely. Most of the 10 ridership comes from the southern part of the tail or from E Pine – areas that are walkable to Link at CHS or to the 49 on Broadway. The 10 is not very full north of Safeway. The rationale for cutting the 12 is that there is too much duplicative service and nobody rides the length of the tail. Well, once CHS opens, the 10 is vulnerable to the same argument. The only groups of riders who would definitely prefer the 10 are the tail riders, former 12 tail riders (nobody cares about them) and some people in the eastern part of Pike-Pine and along Madison up to 19th. Some of them may instead switch to the 2 (a sure sign of the severity of the cutbacks when the much-maligned 2 is a desirable alternative).

      1. It has always been clear that three east-west streets (John, Pine, Madison) is a lot and they might be consolidated into two. There’s some logical sense in pushing routes away from Pine to John and Madison because it’s more even route spacing. Against that has been Metro’s doubling down on the 49: the most frequent route on the hill and the night owl route. I could see the 43 potentially being better because it reaches all the population/activity centers between 9th and 23rd. But Metro favored the 49. Then suddenly it didn’t anymore, when it decided Capitol Hill Station was more important than anything, and proposed to merge the 43 into the 8 (a non-downtown route) and move the 49 to Broadway-Madison and delete the 11. So now it is pushing buses away from Pine, with the 10 as a coverage route. And that’s how the 10 will probably last: supported by Prop 1, and probably hanging around after Prop 1 because it serves more population centers than the 12 does. The 10 also helps make up for deleting Madison service between Broadway and 23rd, don’t forget that.

        As for the 2, it’s interesting, but the main issue there is not Seneca vs Madison but its Union Street service. That becomes more valuable without an 11 or 12. Some of us see it evolving into a Madison – Union route, and in that sense it may become the primary route in its area. (I wouldn’t call it a primary route now in spite of its defenders. I rarely take it because there are four times as many buses on Pine Street so the average wait is less. But if the 2 became full-time frequent I might use it for more than just going to Madrona. And if the 2 and 49 shared the same stops on Madison, then I’d be much more likely to use it.)

  8. Regarding the Ballard reliability study proposed by Rep. Tarleton on the 40, 44, 48, and 67, I can’t see where the 67 fits in this scenario. It goes nowhere near Ballard.

    1. It says Seattle reliability study, not Ballard. I don’t know what basis there is for picking those routes out of many equally worthy ones. Maybe it implies that Roosevelt and 85th will be the east and north sides of the loop. But what would be the south side?

  9. I am on an 8. It is blissfully on time. The card reader is broken so everyone gets to just walk on.

    Does metro track these natural experiments in what performance with proof of payment could be like?

    1. I was on the 8 a few days ago. I was was at Denny & Dexter going eastbound in the PM peak. The first bus was 21 minutes late, the second one 31 so it had caught up to it, and the third one was 9 minutes behind. I waited some 10 or 15 minutes watching the buses not moving on OBA and catching up to each other. But the most interesting thing was the cars. The lanes on Denny were backed up and several cars in the right lane switched to the left lane without slowing down just before turning left onto Dexter. Even more amazing, when the left lane was packed and the oncoming traffic was waiting at the light, three cars switched from the left lane to the oncoming lane for a half block and turned left.. And then five minutes later two more cars did it.

  10. China orders fuel cells to use in buses, cut pollution

    Fuel cell maker, Ballard Power Systems Inc. announced that it has received an order from a Chinese customer for supplying its next-generation FCvelocityTM-HD7 power modules for eight buses. Ballard Power expects to complete shipping by this year. These buses will be deployed in various cities in China.

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