102 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Enoshima Electric Railway”

  1. SUBAREA INEQUITY:
    Martin has been doing some good analysis of what ST3 could look like going forward within the bounds of Subarea equity. Spending in each subarea is, by Board Resolution, to be proportional to funds generated within that area. ST’s 2015 Financial Plan details income and spending between 2009 and 2023, or essentially ST2.
    The ST Board will be wrestling with this issue of what projects to fund for ST3, so this moorning seems like a good time to chew on this subject of Subarea Equity. Appendix A of the plan [pg 23] shows $22 B in spending between 2009 and 2023. Of that, N.sub gets 36%, East 27%, South 14%, Pierce 13% and Snohomish 10%. North gets almost 4 times as much spending as Snohomish ($8B v. $2.1B).
    So far, so good, but here’s the rub. According to the PSRC, the population in King, Pierce and Snohomish for 2015 was 3.6m people. The N-Subarea was 3/4m or only 20% of the total and is certainly not 4x bigger than Snohomish (*) with about the same population as they have. I’m trying to reconcile this huge difference because the way spending is allocated that makes sense to me. Are the huge retail giants sales skewing the local revenues that justify those results? Surely local sales taxes paid from average citizens can’t account for this. Federal funding, bonding, TIFIA and fare revenue all contribute to this inequity.
    This really makes a difference when you compare population with spending by area. East sub has 20% and gets 27% of the revenue. South has 17% getting 14%, and the big losers in this are Snoho with the same population as N-sub, but only get 10%. Pierce, with 22% population gets 13% of spending.
    Much of the revenue ST gets is from sales tax, and other economic activity such as construction, (Seattle is booming), but the growth is pretty even throughout the entire region. Seattle has more density, so should get more, right? I’m no fan of completing the spine, and applaud the fact that transit has done a good job of getting people out of their cars going into Seattle in the morning. However, the rest of the region is forecast to remain below 5% transit mode share through 2040 (PSRC) and that’s just not good enough.
    When Seattle pounds their shoes on the Boardroom table in the coming year, I hope they realize they are vastly outnumbered in the taxing and voting district they share with 3m other folks.
    http://psrc.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c30caa9729e321c331db4a046&id=a861c8240d&e=580add7140
    * Including smaller cities outside the RTA boundary, for discussion purposes

    1. “I’m trying to reconcile this huge difference because the way spending is allocated that makes sense to me. Are the huge retail giants sales skewing the local revenues that justify those results? Surely local sales taxes paid from average citizens can’t account for this.”

      We need to reconcile this with a map of all the car dealerships, they are major contributors to the sales tax base.

      1. I would guess, though, that most car dealerships would be located outside of Seattle, since car dealerships require a lot land, and land in the city is quite expensive.

        (Quite ironically, car dealerships actually do benefit quite a bit from having good transit access, since that makes it much easier to drop off one’s car for servicing in the morning and ride the bus over to work, but that benefit is probably not nearly enough to justify the higher cost of land in a heavily built-up area).

      2. When a giant like Amazon collects sales tax, it is sent to where the sale was shipped to, right?
        How granular does that get? Would Lakewood get a piece of the pie, or does it stop short at some larger political division?

      3. Although, most of Aurora Ave is cheesy used car lots.

        The big money is in Bellevue, Kirkland (Totem Lake), and Renton.

      4. I forget how local online sales taxes are collected. They are either based on the location of the buyer or the seller. It if is based on the seller, then Amazon alone would be enough to make up for the difference. But if it is based on the buyer, then it is a case where people are buying a lot more online stuff (and stuff in general) in the Seattle area.

        Of course it may be brick and mortar sales that are the difference. I’m guessing that except for the occasional car, very few people live in Seattle and buy something in Snohomish County. I’ve done it maybe once (and I live in the north end of the city). There just aren’t any many store unique to the county, so I see no reason to schlep up there. On the other hand, you can just look at traffic flows to see why the opposite is probably happening all the time. Folks are headed to Seattle in the evening, and that often involves a purchase (restaurant, bar, concert ticket, game, etc.). Then there are all the commuters who buy lunch in Seattle. Or stay late and grab a drink. I’m guessing it is all these factors.

      5. Oh, and far as whether it is fair or not, that is a whole other issue. I think you can easily make the case that the suburbs benefit much more from an expansion of transit in the city than the other way around. UW to Ballard light rail would be great for the folks who live in Lynnwood and work in Fremont or Ballard. But light rail to Everett does nothing for me, nor just about anyone living in Seattle. They would just take a bus from Lynnwood. I’ve sung the praises of Swift, for example, but I don’t think I’ll ever ride it. I think folks from Snohomish County would ride Link even if it ended at the county border (or the city border, for that matter).

      6. “Jeeze Louise, 99 is a car lot from Green Lk to Everett.”

        That’s what happens on former US highways. Car sales and service, gas stations, and auto parts were the largest component of the postwar economy (vying with house construction and military spending), so they have the most locations. And they naturally wanted spaces close to their customers and highly visible, so they went to the federal highways and state highways, which were also the “Main Streets” in many areas. Then the Interstate system happened and customers moved to them, and gas stations moved to the freeway exits, but car dealerships couldn’t move as easily because of space and zoning.

      7. “Car sales and service, gas stations, and auto parts were the largest component of the postwar economy”

        This shows society’s acquiescence to building the car-based economy, and failure to build another economy.

      8. easier to drop off one’s car for servicing in the morning and ride the bus over to work

        If you’re dropping off a car at the dealership for service they most likely are either providing you a ride to/from work or giving you a loaner car. People who drive don’t generally even think of the bus as an option. Buses are for poor people. The exception being perhaps the dealerships in the U district.

      9. That’s true out in the burbs, but not in the city. Back when I had a car, I took it in for oil changes at the Honda dealer (since closed) in downtown Seattle. Why? Because it was right next to a route 545 stop that took me to work. Not having to sit and wait half an hour for a dealer-operated shuttle to show up was a huge convenience – enough to be well worth the hassle of driving to and from downtown to get to the dealership to begin with.

      10. Lake City is just one giant mega-dealership from 85th to 145th. And you are exactly right – they are a huge contributor of sales tax revenue in the city.

        Kind of ironic that if sub-area equity were hyper-local, Lake City would have a trains running through it in all directions, instead of the degradation of bus in service we see, and will continue to see, every time there is a transit service “modification”.

        Take. Take. Take.

      11. Sales tax collection is based on where the goods or services are delivered to the customer. If you are in a retail store then the sales tax is collected at the location of the retail store. If you have goods delivered then the sales tax, if it is collected at all, is collected at the delivery address. Software downloads count as delivered goods for this purpose.

        Cars and malls are going to be big sales tax generators. Warehouses and factories are generally not.

        http://dor.wa.gov/content/FindTaxesAndRates/SalesAndUseTaxRates/

      12. “Jeeze Louise, 99 is a car lot from Green Lk to Everett.”

        -1

        Everett to Eugene, at least.

    2. Mic, Oran’s railroad in Oran’s video is 115 years old. What do you think our whole State, let alone region, will be a subarea of in that time? Maybe we’ll be fighting with Asia for subarea equity! Good example, though it happened long ago, is that Vader is now a tiny little town on the way to Portland.

      Wonder what it was like when Darth’s family was a revered family of donors and philanthropists like the Rockefellers are now? And the town had become a subarea of the home universe of the Evil Galactic Empire? Maybe the Star Wars were really a fight over transit funding equity! Horrible to think that our worst sprawl will be quaint.

      But one piece of our history will never die: The struggle to determine the fare structure of the Monorail!

      Mark Dublin

    3. Got a call from a market research firm last night — all about ST3 vote in 2016.

      The numbers they were quoting for total cost — which would be funded by sales tax, registration and a levy — seemed quite high. $800 to $1600 per household.

      Do you think voters would swallow that? Even after the lessons of Prop 1 (both of them).

      I, for one, favor rail to the suburbs, but think it should be funded by property tax (levies) alone.

      1. yes, ST3 will pass, probably by a 12 point margin at least, with NKC voters passing it in upwards of 20 points.

      2. I would favor property taxes as well. As for its passing, a lot depends on what is proposed. I expect it to pass in East King. It will probably pass in Seattle, but not by that much if they propose crap (which is quite possible). I think it will lose in the north and the south because I think they will focus on extending the spine over more useful changes (e. g. more bus or Sounder service). The big question is how all those numbers work out.

        I agree that the cost will be an issue, but a lot depends on how people view the proposals. If it is like the city proposition one, the folks that argue about the cost alone will simply be outvoted in the city. If, on the other hand, it is about the value (i. e. bang for the buck) then it may fail overall.

      3. $800-$1600 seems a lot, but assuming it’s spread out over 30 years, it’s not really nearly as much as it seems. Move Seattle was over $100 per household per year, and $1,600 total over the entire lifetime of ST 3 bonds seems like it would be substantially less than that.

    4. Seattle is richer than Snohomish county, and has a great deal more economic activity. This isn’t complicated, mysterious, or difficult to understand.

      Also, if you care about converting car rides to transit use, you should support as much spending in N King as possible, because that’s where the built environment provides the greatest opportunity for getting people out of their cars. There’s no magical form of transit that’s going to turn sprawl like Snohomish into anything other than a car-centric environment.

    5. Sales tax is counted at the point of sale, not where the customer lives. Those hordes of downtown commuters have lunch at Seattle restaurant, and the same for UW students. Incidentally they also create transit needs in Seattle. South King, Snohomish, and Pierce just have trouble attracting employers, especially high-end ones and large ones. The Boeing plants were established decades ago in a different era, and there’s not much else that’s big except the airport and the cluster of businesses around Southcenter. I think downtown Seattle alone generates 10% of the total economy.

      1. Not exactly. It depends on whether or not the company I’m buying from has a (loosely defined) “physical presence” in WA. If I make a purchase from a company that is based in Texas, but has an office in WA, the TX company is required to charge WA sales tax and remit the money to the Dept of Revenue. If I buy from a company in TX that doesn’t have a “physical presence” in WA, I am supposed to pay the tax directly to the DOR (in that case it’s called a use tax instead of a sales tax). Virtually no private citizens ever pay use tax, but it might be possible for the DOR to audit out of state companies and send bills to WA citizens for delinquent tax debts.

      2. Yes, but that’s on a statewide basis for out-of-state mail-order purchases. I’m talking about in-state purchases by Pugetopolan residents. In-person purchases don’t know the customer’s address, and I think Amazon pays sales tax based on its location rather than on which city or county the customer lives.

      3. I would be pretty shocked if Amazon weren’t collecting the proper amount of sales tax, down to the tiniest library district, in jurisdictions where they’re required to. There are all kinds of services out there you can purchase as a merchant to tell you what to collect. Pretty sure Amazon is all over it.

      4. The states can’t demand sales tax from companies that don’t have a presence in the state, although there have been various lawsuits to try to change that. The states set up some kind of general arrangement so that companies could collect a statewide average rather than dealing with the thousands of arbitrary library districts in states they don’t have any familiarity with.

      5. Huh, okay.

        This really isn’t hard at all. A simple google found services purporting to figure out local sales tax based on an address – I tried it with several addresses. If amazon (which of course does have facilities here) was claiming that’s hard to figure out, they seem to have really put one over on the other side of that negotiating table.

      6. The issue here is not how Amazon charges out-of-state sales tax, but whether if you buy something in-state from Amazon, the tax rate and beneficiary is based on your city or Amazon’s city. As far as I know it’s based on Amazon’s city. Thus why cities eagerly want retail companies in their boundaries.

    6. Sub-area equity is based on receipts from the various taxes which are allowed for Sound Transit. It has nothing to do with population, although they are of course correlated.

      1. Yes, that’s the current system which provided one subarea with 4x the spending as another with nearly exactly the same number of voters.
        Now, will ST3 be a replay of that scenario, because that’s just the way things are, and if so, will 80% of the voters think it’s a good enough deal to get their yes vote.
        The Board defined subarea equity and could just as easily amend it to something else. I’m not ruling anything in or out at this point.

      2. It’s probably easier to weaken subarea equity or allow “borrowings” than to change the formula. Changing the formula would produce different winners and losers, and the losers would complain. Right now the money stays in the subarea, which is exactly what subarea-equity proponents wanted. That means wealthier subareas have a higher budget. Switching to population-based budgets implies redistribution of wealth to poorer subareas. That may be more acceptable than redistributing it to the most urban area (i.e., Seattle), but it’s still likely to be unpopular.

  2. Thanks a million, Oran! A few thoughts:

    1. This line has the “feel” of the interurban railroading around Chicago- sixty years ago. Trains and buildings both.

    2. I wonder how much the motors and controls have had to change over the railroad’s 115 years of operations?

    3. Also the general materials and structure of the cars. They look very simple and very tough. I wonder what modern cars can do better?

    Though the fact that only 6.2 miles of railway- though maybe there are more of these lines in Japan- still exist means that some change was definitely necessary.

    4. 600 volts: 100 volts higher, and they could share positive wire with our trolleybuses.

    5. A couple of our shoreline tracks come to mind: Tacoma to Olympia and Everett to Seattle. Problem is that in addition to many other incompatibilities- featherweight versus heavyweight in boxing- freight beats up tracks. And very large number of freights.

    But: I think that within the next several decades, intercity freight and passengers will share same absolutely straight bullet-train right of way from Canada to Mexico. Though of course on separate tracks. Like in Europe and Japan.

    So a lot of scenic shoreline right of will once again need only new rails and some embankment rebuilt. “All things come to those who wait. If they worketh like Hell while they waiteth.” Well, if somebody didn’t say that, they should now.

    Mark

    1. China’s strategy sounds intriguing too…and without costly and dangerous catanery:

      , China’s Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co (TRC) and Canada’s Ballard Power Systems signed a $2.2 million definitive agreement on November 1 to create fuel cell-powered Trams. The two companies are planning to introduce a prototype by next year that would be powered by a 200kw fuel cell manufactured by Ballard Power Systems, which would have an estimated operating lifetime of 20,000 hours.

      http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Fuel-Cells/Can-Fuel-Cells-Help-Clean-Up-Chinas-Air.html

      1. John Bailo: Categnary is costly and dangerous!
        Catenary: Stick up your hands and give me all your money!

    2. I found it interesting that they still have street running. Plus, it’s busy but has single track in many places.

      I wonder how many issues they have with errant auto traffic.

  3. Editorial.

    Some of you act like you’re all Mr. Public Transit and stuff, taking the bus and train all the time. I personally think most of you phonier than the entire student body of Pency Prep. At the most, you might take the bus or train into work and back, and once in a while might even take it into downtown or to a sporting event. But for everything else … groceries, errands, shopping, school, etc., you use your car, just like everyone else. Then you hide behind the excuse that that’s why you’re trying to build a better transit system, so you can take transit everywhere, [ad hom]

    1. An entire post that consists of nothing but baseless (and frankly childish) name-calling. The mods will ban d.p. for challenging ST’s shoddy research and spineless spine myopia, but where’s the perma-ban for Sam?

      1. +1 for Sam’s insults. I do not even own a car – not that Sam will necessarily believe any possible proof I can present online.

      2. Kyle, I’m with you. I’m also not sure why they haven’t banned me. I try to make it hard for them. I try to balance things out. About 40% trolling. 10% insults. And 50% sincere comments. But don’t worry, I am certain I will be banned someday.

      3. +1. d.p. could be obnoxious, but there was real added value there. Sam is just a troll, and a talented one at that, as he often succeeds in derailing discussion.

      4. Wait, that’s what happened to d.p.? I loved his insightful yet hysterically derisive nonsense. Ross B says similar things, but in a nice way. Still, i grew to enjoy d.p.. An aquired tast, no doubt. Sam’s comments might not give me as much glee as d.p.’s, but i still hope he doesn’t get banned.

      5. Sam does not use F-bombs and ad hominem attacks. That’s why DP was banned, because the moderators got tired of censoring his sentences, which takes time-consuming work. And Sam is not really insulting individuals here, but making an obviously false stereotypical troll for comic effect. I know more people on STB without cars than anywhere else. And if others do use cars for non-work trips, it’s usually because of hostile land-use policies they’re trying to change: there aren’t enough areas where you can walk from home to everyday needs, and only the wealthier can afford to live in fully walkable places. That right there says that the supply of walkable neighborhoods is not keeping up with demand, while there’s an oversupply of unwalkable neighborhoods.

      6. Or, we use transit except when it isn’t available.

        Witness Salem flat out not having transit service on weekends anymore.

        Witness the significant lack of transit to various places on the Olympic Peninsula (some places have it, others don’t).

        Depending on the wording of the question and whom is asked. Multnomah Falls in Oregon has more tourists visit it than any other attraction in the state, yet neither it nor nearby Hood River has regular transit service.

      7. Time to just reveal Sam to the world. His real name is DiCarlo. As long as we’re coming out, I was D.P. but I’ve since sought treatment for my Tourettes.

        Bailo,unfortunately they haven’t found a cure for his Hydrogenphillic condition ;-)

    2. I realized yesterday (while taking a telephone market research survey) that at this time I have not been on transit in months. I guess part of this is having “grown in” to my town of Kent. Whereas before I used to think that there were things that are “only in Seattle” every year I live here I find I can get what I want and it’s just as good (if not better).

      1. That happened the opposite for me when I moved from Bellevue to Seattle when I was 18. For the first year I was constantly going to the Eastside where my friends and activities were, but gradually Seattle things replaced them. The things that are only in the city are unique historical places, certain arts groups like the Symphony, and the large sports teams. The things that are only in the suburbs are certain kinds of consumer goods and restaurants that locate near suburban malls. I also found the kinds of things I wanted changed: the things at suburban malls and big-box stores are mostly for filling houses, which you don’t need if you live in an apartment or dorm. And if you look around, you can find small hardware shops and the like that have most of what you need, so you only have to go to Southcenter once every couple years (I mean the entire Big-Box City, not just the mall). But I imagine that if you live near Southcenter, it has everything so you don’t have to go anywhere else, except the city things mentioned above.

      2. Well, not quite everything. Some businesses won’t locate any closer to Seattle than Lynnwood or Federal Way, so they’re completely chasing the exurban market.

    3. I haven’t used me car since a trip to Eastern Washington in July. I went 6 months before that trip without using it. After living in Melbourne for almost a year I find going car-less is very doable. But unfortunately for America we have trolls like yourself that make it harder to achieve it.

    4. And some of us actually go weeks without stepping into a car, like me. Daytrips across the region and plenty of local appointments, all made by transit.

      It’s not exactly hypocriticial to drive as a transit supporter, since the whole point is to have a more attractive choice (emphasis on the word choice) for your commute. As long as drivers are not actively obstructing transit expansion and improvement, I consider that person a welcome ally.

    5. nope, i don’t own a car. i walk or bus to the grocery store, to work, to everywhere: save for the very occasional Uber/Lyft.

    6. It’s nice to finally know what you’ve been on about this whole time. You don’t like feeling judged for driving. I don’t know why, but this post amuses me. It made my morning. I think it might be because i do judge people for driving. I even feel slightly guilty about judging drivers. But currently, my life is dominated by emotions much heavier than who does what to get around. In fact, TB is my mindless escape from my larger issues. I guess it’s funny in how trivial it is. Oops, judged again.

    7. Most of the time I resent the time I spend driving. It’s time I could’ve spent doing something productive if a train or bus option were available.

      All you get to do when driving is look at other traffic.

    8. I take transit only to work and to other places it’s more convenient than a car, of which I have two. I fully support building an extensive transit system so that even lazy sacks like me will use it. The more sacks the better.

      1. Oh boy………….. Sam:

        I personally think most of you phonier than the entire student body of Pency Prep.

        Gawd, are you a provocateur or what?

        At the most, you might take the bus or train into work and back, and once in a while might even take it into downtown or to a sporting event. But for everything else … groceries, errands, shopping, school, etc., you use your car, just like everyone else.

        The bus is my car, thanks. I can’t drive.

        you’re just lazy sacks of s, and are no better than anyone else.

        Oh and how did opposing Community Transit Prop 1 work out for you?

    9. [ad hom]

      Never forget, never forgive the “$8.8 billion for road and safety projects including megaprojects such as SR 520 bridge, the North Spokane Corridor, SR 167/SR 509 Gateway Project, and widening of I-5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord” that did not go to referendum, all thanks to Jessyn Farrell.

      $8.8 billion in highway expansion. Don’t you forget it.

      At least I’m a Republican, I don’t have time to be a phoney baloney sandwich.

    10. Oh and Sam, just to [ad hom]… before you go back to going gaga over the Farrell-Inslee $8.8 Billion highway expansion deal…. with NO REFERENDUM.

      As to

      for everything else … groceries, errands

      Last week I had to get off of Community Transit Route 113 a bit south of the Mukilteo QFC, I walked in to pick up a book for my mom’s birthday and flowers for a best friend’s birthday and then hiked over a mile up a hill to said friend’s office.

      Stick a fork in your trolling pal. Nobody likes fake people with ridiculous allegations like yours.

    11. Guilty – but you can’t accuse me of hypocrisy, because I’ve never claimed otherwise.

      Life is short, and I’m not interested in spending my limited time suffering any more than I have to. I ride the bus to work because it sucks less than walking, biking, or paying for parking; I drive to the store because it sucks less than walking, biking, or riding the bus. I would like Seattle to build a better transit system not because I am some self-flagellating eco-puritan, but because I believe that having a good rapid transit option would reduce the overall level of suckage in all of our lives.

    12. Charles “Chip” Pency III: “I say, Muffy , This tiresome Seattle Transit Blog is comparing us to Skull and Bones again!.’Pretentious ?’They certainly have a nerve, seeing that a certain ‘alum’ from Connecticut is still taking language lessons in evasive Texan even though that impertinent Constitution says he doesn’t need them anymore!”

      Muffy (a Great Gatsby era shorthand for “Muffin”, which unless you put “Bran” in front of it will now get your jaw broken) Radcliffe-Crinoline:

      “Giggle” Well, I’ll have them know that there is absolutely nothing pretentious about borrowing the Maserati in the trunk of his 1938 Rolls that Daddy uses for for a back-up spare tire.

      And tooling around the parking lot sticking or tongues out at the pretentious Seattle Transit Bloggers ! It really is the cat’s pajamas to watch them sneaking over to the bus stop before they go into Walmart, to pretend they’re transit oriented. Poop poop de doop!”

      Chip: “Ya ha ha, Princess! As though they won’t ever get on one of those smelly abominations that their ilk will just have to put up with since Pater stopped paying taxes. And that droll see-proof net their vehicles need to be “wrapped” with!”

      Muffy: “And best of all, best of all, wouldn’t it be an absolute scream if they ever found out about the splendid inter- Estate interurban line with those wonderful mahogany paneled smoking cars with the solid brass lamps!

      “And it’s so mahhrvelous that we’ve now got express service from Yale to Yoooo Dublya , with its own thick linear woods so nobody knows it’s there! Now I can go dance the Charleston at the Rainier Club with Samuel anytime I feel like it!”

      Chip: “He’s a good fellow, what. But that pretense he’s putting on of being an idiot is getting a bit, well…pretentious. After all, it will only take one Constitutional amendment to give him Presidencies stretching out to the horizon. Unless he gives us some relief now and again by giving us George back. At least he’s not pretending!”

      Muffy: “Yeehaw! Giggle Giggle Giggle Giggle!”

      MD

      1. Actually, the phonies and Pency Prep remark was a Catcher in the Rye reference. Holden went to Pency Prep and thought some of his schoolmates were big phonies.

  4. Cascades Excursion…take the loved ones to see the new Vancouver Fuel Cell Exhibit !

    Science World Hydrogen Fuel Cell exhibit launch

    Science World’s new fun and interactive exhibit, presented by Hyundai, is launching, providing visitors of all ages a chance to experience first-hand the environmental benefits of the first zero-emissions hydrogen fuel cell vehicle available to Canadian customers.

    Based on a classic driving game, the Hyundai sponsored exhibit challenges drivers to take the hydrogen-powered Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) for a virtual spin. Throughout the game play, visitors face a series of true or false questions to test their knowledge of hydrogen fuel cell technology as well as electric and traditional gas technologies. Drivers score additional points based on their ability to correctly answer these skill-testing questions as well as by avoiding obstacles on the game course.

    http://www.straight.com/listings/events/564076

  5. Filthy Cars in WA

    I live in a strange area, Kent, for vehicles.

    While I live in a dense apartment complex, well served by transit, just nearby is land that is large ranches, farms and wilderness.

    Subsequently the style of vehicle is quite large. Everything from sub-compacts to super large duellie trucks.

    One thing that is disturbing however, is there seems to be quite a number of “super polluting” vehicles. Just yesterday, for example, I was going east on the Kent-Des Moines Road and an awful greasy chemicalish smell entered my vehicle. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from until I saw a really old classic army-looking jeep (painted orange and white). This thing smelled like the cars I remember as a kid back in the 1960s, spewing unburnt leaded gas everywhere.

    Then there are the pickup trucks that belch black soot. In some cases it’s like the owners have customized to do this. They think nothing of blowing smoke right into the faces of motorists who ride closer to the ground (shades of Charles Atlas).

    Worse of all the yellow schoolbuses. When 2:30pm comes around, I don’t want to be on the road on my bike as these buses emit a horrible metallic tasting fume that is worse than any car, truck or train I’ve experienced.

    So what is it with WA State? Are there too many exemptions to air pollution rules? Can anyone do anything they want because “it’s my right” ? A single one of these horrible vehicles can poison the lungs of many people and children.

    1. John, I’m interested in building a prototype PEV (3 wheel bike) using a fuel cell to power it. Could you send me a link on where to purchase something, if practical, and how it would be re-fueled at home.
      Thanks, in advance.

    2. I have long wondered the same – how could this vehicle possibly have passed any sort of emission test. Do the fumes overwhelm the tester, leaving the poor attendant unable to hit fail?

      1. Vehicles older than a certain age are exempt. I don’t know if it’s a hard date in history or a certain age for the vehicle.

    1. The SPD spokesman ‘got it right’. Ticketing a Metro bus does nothing to keep traffic moving, which is the primary goal. Write enough tickets to buses, and just watch the backlash. Metro drivers refusing to enter an intersection until they were sure they could clear it as cars going around would quickly fill that void. What would that do for schedules and congestion?

      1. I’ve been on a number of buses recently where the driver was clearly watching the numbers on the walk lights and slowing down while the light was still green.

      1. Absolutely. BAT lanes on semi-suburban highways like SR99 are generally fine. There are few enough pedestrians that turners rarely have to stop for one to clear the cross-walk. In the inner city, however, they are simply worse than useless.

    2. Leave it to KIRO to make a story out of it. Everything on KIRO is a conspiracy against the sacred suburban motorists.

  6. Okay listen up, I’m going to drop some hot intel…

    I have it on 100% reliable authority the Washington State Transit Authority (WSTA) has kindly approved the “Regional Transit Funding Proposal” that will request, “Dedicated state support of these regional services would provide reliable access to !obs, education and medical services for citizens across the State.”

    I know some of you have issues with this. I know it’s kinda unfair that one transit agency – namely Island Transit – has gotten addicted to a special state subsidy say neither Skagit Transit (Full disclosure: I’m on the Citizen’s Advisory Committee as of Tuesday night), King County Metro nor Community Transit get. I too think it’s unfair and apparently so do too WSTA members.

    So the plan is to, “Create a new dedicated state source of operating funding for Rural and Small Urban transit districts to provide for regional connections beyond the borders of their individual service areas.” I hope you will please support this, it’ll help make transit even more bipartisan, it’ll spread what I’ve gotten to enjoy in the North by Northwest corner of our great state to other parts of our great state, it’ll help keep cars off the road and most of all bring us together as a state.

    All the details are here.

    Thanks. I await your thoughts.

    1. I sincerely hope it makes it “more bipartisan”. But I remain skeptical. It’s still a socialist bus and it’s still poor people riding it; two strikes. And then it costs money to provide that COULD stay in the pocket of well-heeled donors so that’s the third strike!

      Y’er OUT!

      1. Oh I can deconstruct that:

        “It’s still a socialist bus”

        Yeah right. Roads subsidized more than buses. By more.

        “still poor people riding it”

        A lot of middle class folks use the bus to commute to/from work. County connector services are intended for commuters first.

        “costs money to provide that COULD stay in the pocket of well-heeled donors”

        Well that’s always a hard argument to go up against. But sure, let’s make our roads pay-to-drive via tolls and see what happens.

        :-)

      2. Joe, ask 100 people randomly on the street whether roads or transit is subsidized more. At least 92 will say “transit”.

        “Socialist buses”: still a strike.

        Joe, because you hate teachers’ unions so much you are in a party that disagrees with most everything else in which you believe. It’s borderline masochistic. Srsly.

      3. I also hate ANY, ANY tax not going to voter approval. I feel the same way, almost as passionately, about tax exemptions.

        We need to handicap the special interests here. Oh and replace the WEA-owned politician in the Governor’s Mansion who talks a good game but then could have stopped the highway expansion by putting the gas tax up to referendum like the House Republicans wanted.

        I like Bill Bryant, he’s moderate enough for me.

    2. There’s a Washington State Transit Authority? What is it doing? I thought WSDOT handed out grants and ran Cascades.

      An inter-county subsidy, sure. But it should really also support intra-county service and Puget Sound transit Inter-county should just be an add-on, not the primary service..

      1. It’s been here for decades and primarily serves to lobby Olympia on behalf of it’s members Larger agencies also have their own lobbyist too. The Director sits on all sorts of Cmmtes on behalf of transit issues.

    3. It would sure be nice if there were something like this. Island Transit is hardly the only one with outside county connection issues.

      Witness western Jefferson County, which to make any sense at all must connect to Gray’s Harbor or Clallam. Eastern Jefferson County isn’t much better.

      1. Western Jefferson does have connections at both ends of a run down 101 from Forks to Amanda Park. Clallam Transit connects at Forks and fills the gap to Sequim, and Grays Harbor runs between Amanda Park and Aberdeen. You can go all the way around the Olympic Mountains on public transit, but it takes two days.

      2. Yes, I am well aware the links exist. I am also well aware they don’t work as well as would be ideal. Compare the Forks to Port Angeles schedule and transfers to the Forks to Aberdeen segment.

  7. Was Sounder South Line cancelled last night due to the storm? I got an email saying that the 577 was extended to a 578 “to assist Sounder riders” (and experiencing 20+ minute delays as a result.)

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