97 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Adam Ruins Cars”

  1. Why don’t you guys have a post about the new transit service in Seattle from Ballard to slu and Fremont or capitol hill to downtown?

    Service is much better than metro and fare is only slightly higher.

    1. Fare is about twice as high, but it probably will be a good option for some people. Doesn’t get to use dedicated transit lanes though.

      1. Are we talking about ferry service? If so, there are years of precedence around Seattle, for obvious reasons.

        But one limit I can see, and which probably explains why there’s so little of it now. Traffic control. One boat per hour? No problem.

        Whole all-day transit system? Worth checking out how much modern technology it needs to make a system safe and reliable. On the Sound itself, ships are bigger and faster than in the days ferries were buses.

        But especially if the Waterfront project is only the beginning of a rejuvenated municipal shoreline, there may well be waterways that “Vaporetti”, as they’re called in Venice, can once again have place here.

        Mark

      2. UberHOP looks interesting though I’ll be curious to see if they get more people out of their cars or just scavenge passengers tired of being stuffed on Metro service.

        I’m looking forward to Lyft responding.

      3. I think it will draw people from a variety of sources. Some of them will be people that would have taken transit, others will be people that would have taken Car2Go or paid full price for UberX, or driven their own car and paid for parking.

        In an ideal world, transit buses would be much faster than UberHOP by using dedicated lanes while the Uber cars get to sit in traffic. In the real world, of course, where buses sit in the same traffic as everybody else, and also stop every few hundred feet for passengers, that is not the case.

        Overall, I’m expecting the UberHOP service to prove quite popular, and it’s probably a matter of time before it gets expanded, both in terms of routes and in terms of hours of operation. Ballard to downtown and Roosevelt to downtown could both prove very popular routes too.

      1. Good question, djw. I thought the “Ducks” were shut down. So it looks to me like the little ferry boat out of Fremont every now and them.

        But it could also be a routing for the New Green Line. Which I’m not sure really has to be light rail. At all the old amusement parks, there used to be a tunnel with water and boats running through it.

        In those days, dirty water and pitch dark moldy canvas were supposed to make people fall in love. Transfer stations could be interesting.

        Mark

      2. I thought the “Ducks” were shut down. So it looks to me like the little ferry boat out of Fremont every now and them.

        Well, it’s obviously not the Ducks, because a) the far isn’t slightly more or 2X metro, but 10X+, and b) it’s a tour, not point A–point B. It can’t possibly be some new ferry service I haven’t heard of, because I assume there’d be some trace of it on google, and anyway I’m pretty skeptical a ferry across lake union would be time-competitive with the 40, except on the very worst traffic days. Also mentioned was new transit from “downtown to capitol hill” which can’t be a ferry. So Ruby’s claim remains a mystery.

      3. i assume he or she is talking about the new uberHOP, and subtly accusing the blog of being government shills or something

    2. While we’re getting into some seriously new transit thinking, after all the last couple of days’ discussion about transfer station construction, does anybody have any idea at all about the time-frame?

      The DSTT took three years to dig, the first of them re-arranging utilities. But the real work started when planning began on the first Forward Thrust attempt in the 1970’s.

      In addition to planning and prep for construction, there were hard negotiations for real estate- in the most expensive part of the city.

      A huge part of the project’s success was the work of James Ellis, the attorney who helped found the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle- including Metro Transit. Through his efforts, I don’t think we had to condemn anything.

      Walk, ride, bus, or bike proposed rights of way, and imagine heavy construction work there, tubes and stations alike. Would be very surprised if we could do the whole project at once. Even if we already had the money in hand.

      I’m not ‘dissing’ anybody for thinking out station designs. Don’t throw away the drawings. But I think everybody’s energies will be a lot more focused and productive if we know where we are in the history of the project.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Really, the Bus Tunnel only took three years. How many Months has Bertha been “stuck”? For that matter, how many months has the FHSC been “testing”.

  2. Too bad I can’t get sound on the video. But very curious about the piece on how jaywalking came to be a crime.

    Funny: I always thought it was always just one more tool for nailing poor people of every race, and strangely enough mostly black people. And feeding them into a court-system that pays its bills from endless fines at increasing interest, extorted with fear of jail.

    Little-mentioned investigation into law-enforcement someplace familiar in Missouri showed that much of its local law enforcement was financed like this. There, as in many places, coloring people’s attitudes toward their uniformed protectors.

    Am also hearing about “Civil Forfeiture”. Whereby the police can seize, without warrant or probable cause, any amount of cash they believe is profits from drug-dealing. And the victim plays Hell to get it back. If ever.

    Also can’t help but wonder about at least the appearance of partiality in the matter of fare-evasion tickets. Have heard that of every $124 assessed to monthly pass-holders from losing track of “taps”, $4.00 goes to transit. Other $120?

    Like with our systems of highways and education: ” Well the legislature isn’t giving us any money….”

    So for much local law enforcement, our National Anthem is now: “Yo ho ho, and a Bottle of Rum!”: Our flag? Make the skull and crossbones the white part.

    Re: “jaywalking” enforcement et.al: On the charge of extortion, the prosecution rests. Defense counsel?

    Mark Dublin

    1. It’s along similar same lines as “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” In the beginning pedestrians ruled the streets, and high-speed cars that killed pedestrians were seen as a menace. Evil car-company executives started a marketing campaign to put the blame on the pedestrians by calling them jay-walkers, which meant dirty hillbilly who doesn’t know that streets are for cars, and was as offensive as a racial epithet today. It doesn’t directly get into how jawalking became illegal, it just says “most of our modern traffic-safety culture descends from this blame-shifting propaganda”.

  3. New cartoon but it’s the same old litany.

    Cars provide transportation that is asynchronous, and point to point.

    That means I don’t have to locate my business along a one dimensional corridor but can build out in two dimensions.

    That means a net gain in space where people can live and a reduction in costs and the need for pricey infrastructure with single points of failure.

    1. Funny, John. From the air, it looks like several thousand points of failure, including minor single-car collisions, depriving countless citizens of their right to go anywhere.

      Lately, one spilled fish-truck took down the freedom of an entire region- by one account, aggravated by a legal argument about precedence of moving the truck vs. getting an estimate.

      Most spatial calculations in our universe work in three dimensions- even a parking lot has utilities underneath, no matter how many people think it’s robbery to pay taxes to pay for them.

      It can also be argued that time constitutes a fourth dimension. So add time jammed in traffic, by human perception explosively exponential, and both business and transit seem to win.

      Mark

    2. A gridded bus network gives you two dimensions, including all the space between the routes. Chicago, Vancouver, San Francisco, Portland, …

    3. you know what else provides “asynchronous, and point to point” transportation? Your own two feet. And it has the added benefit of not murdering hundreds of innocent adults and children in its operation!

    4. The cartoon is an oversimplification of the advantages and disadvantages or cars. One of the biggest problems with cars is that they don’t scale. If you have a bunch of them, then you get congestion as well as parking problems. It is all about scale. It is silly to think that a guy in rural Idaho is supposed to get around by public transportation alone. It is also silly to think that most of the people in a very large city believe that they need a car to get around.

      1. RossB says

        …. It is all about scale.

        Bingo! King County is not rural Idaho and it’s not NYC. The challenge is the transition phase which I’ll argue the Seattle Metro area is in. No, it’s not going to become NYC but historically it’s not too many decades behind San Francisco. The meme that parking lots are dead space is ridiculous. Everybody walks to their car. Remove the parking and you kill the businesses that are feeding on all of those customers. But return to the concept of scale and the land footprint of say Water Tower Place in Chicago. I don’t know what the “pedestrian” numbers are inside vs Southcenter, Northgate, Alderwood but I’d guess they’re close. Land footprint… order of magnitude different.

      2. Parking lots are dead space in the sense that they don’t produce anything – no food, no computer code, no gym. It’s just there to maybe one day perhaps get full. Meanwhile, the rest of us are huddled into smaller and smaller land, making housing more expensive.

        Also we know, for sure, that removing downtown parking does not measurable affect businesses. It’s all explained in Donald shulp’s book, which you can get from the library, and you’ll be convinced.

      3. It’s all explained in Donald shulp’s book, which you can get from the library, and you’ll be convinced.

        Sorry, more convincing than a book available for free at the library is Kempers conversion of DT Bellevue with the premise of “lead with the parking”. Joe Diamond would probabably dissagree that parking lots produce nothing. What is the inertia of “code”. How many “gyms” can dance on the head of a pin?

      4. If you don’t want to be informed, there’s no point of you commenting here. I’m telling you what the foremost expert on parking means when he says dead space, and gave you a mechanism to verify it yourself.

      5. Parking is a large expense for the businesses, yet customers expect it to be free so it has to be free, and the cost is built into price of the company’s products. That has several negative impacts: it forces non-drivers to subsidize drivers, it allows people to falsely believe that the cost of providing parking is trivial (distorting market pricing), and it’s a major drag on the economy (the money spent on parking can’t be put to more productive use like more products/services). That’s on top of the physical impact of parking lots: displacing other businesses and pushing everything further apart so it’s harder to walk between them, and the ugliness of large expanses of asphalt or large multistory garages. This is all from Donald Shoup (“The High Cost of Free Parking”), in my inexpert articulation of it.

        Shoup also notes that many cities require enough parking for the busiest shopping day of the year, and copy exurban parking minimums unchanged to the city. Even though city locations need fewer spaces than exurban locations, and better transit and walkability could shrink those even more. And even though many of the spaces will be empty 355 days a year. Instead of scaling parking to the extraordinarily demand days, businesses could make special arrangements for those days such as off-site employee parking, customer shuttles, or mini-transit between stores in a shopping district. I don’t know how much this amount of overparking applies to Pugetopolis, probably less than other areas. Kemper make special arrangements for parking on the biggest shopping days, and Northgate’s rarely-used south parking lot has been deleted, and the Costco lots are full every weekend. Still, it’s a national issue, and Pugetopolis walkability in retail areas is still grade F or at least D.

      6. What does “Lead with the parking” mean?

        The cartoon was obviously not talking about rural Idaho, or Vashon or Whidbey Islands for that matter. Perhaps it should have mentioned that, but maybe they just forgot rural areas exist. In any case, there are a vast number of urban and suburban areas it applies to.

      7. So how big is a car, it’s about 10 x 6 right. 60 sq foot.

        When it sits in your driveway, or outside on the street in front of your house, it doesn’t seem like a big deal.

        But when you see a massive parking lot, it appears “wasteful”.

        Well, that’s because you’re starting with a huge centralized destination like an office building or mall in the first place!

        The car, again, is a 2-dimensional vehicle. It is not constrained to a linear track, or route.

        That means if you want to have the benefits of a car, you build out, not up.

        You decentralize rather than centralize.

        The arguments in this Adult Cartoon are like saying that a turtle isn’t very good at jumping, like a rabbit is, therefore it is less evolutionary successful. You don’t look at the context or the capabilities of the individual organisms.

      8. We’ve seen what happens when you build out instead of up, because the USA spent the second half of the 20th century doing that on the largest scale possible. The result is a nightmarish sea of sterile, low-density sprawl: cheap to build, expensive to maintain, boring to live in, and unworkable without an extraordinarily high level of energy consumption. Our parents/grandparents may have liked sprawl, but Gen X is not convinced, and Gen Y will have nothing to do with it. The experiment failed; let’s not drag it out any longer, eh?

      9. Bailo has long supported decentralization (sprawl), but this seems to suggest something new: breaking up malls and office buildings. If we assume this is desirable, the next question is why do centralized malls exist and what perpetuates them? I think they were created by “market forces” and they remain because the public likes them (although not as much as a few decades ago). Zoning codes encourage malls to be unwalkable, but do they encourage malls in the first place? Maybe cities prefer malls to get a large sales-tax generator in one swoop. Or does it all start with a developer wanting a mall? The net result is, we could break up malls into separate shops, but would the public like that and shop there? And wouldn’t small shops inevitably have to go into block-sized strip malls to be viable? Aren’t strip malls uglier and more offensive than malls?

        And what about big box stores? Southcenter mall is surrounded by hundreds of big-box stores. Are these right-sized or do they need to be decentralized too? Would that contradict the market, which has been preferring big-box stores for their discounts and one-stop shopping? Or are zoning and developers somehow forcing big-box stores on the public unwillingly? There is an argument that people used to buy groceries every day, and the conversion to self-serve shopping carts and large package sizes and shopping once or twice a month at big-box stores was the result of retailers forcing consumers to take on the cost of storing food. Which then necessitates cars to take the six bags of groceries home. How does this fit in?

      10. “The result is a nightmarish sea of sterile, low-density sprawl: cheap to build, expensive to maintain, boring to live in, and unworkable without an extraordinarily high level of energy consumption”

        Go and find anyone living anywhere in the world.

        Take him to Redmond, in a neighborhood of new suburban homes.

        Ask him if he’d like to live there.

        My guess is 98% of people would say yes.

      11. “…breaking up malls and office buildings…”

        I have suggested in several comments that the “problem” with cars is we don’t take advantage of the key attributes of personal transit.

        They go point to point. They are not restricted by a linear track or route.

        What we do with interstates in the city is try to turn a car into a train.

        We funnel all the car-trains into a single “mainline”, cram them into central destinations, and then complain about all the traffic!

        Well, with a technology that act as a swarm, or participate in a Mesh network…of course!

        Do I like centralized destinations? Am I ok with denser, smaller homes in the suburbs? Sure! But as much as possible, I would not be forcing people to centralized destinations.

        And in the case like a stadium, I wouldn’t put all the destinations in the same inaccessible place!

      12. MS: ““The result is a nightmarish sea of sterile, low-density sprawl: cheap to build, expensive to maintain, boring to live in, and unworkable without an extraordinarily high level of energy consumption””

        JB: “Go and find anyone living anywhere in the world. Take him to Redmond, in a neighborhood of new suburban homes. Ask him if he’d like to live there. My guess is 98% of people would say yes.”

        The boomers saw Levittown and flocked to the suburbs. But many of their children, GenXers and Millenials, found their neighborhoods to be a nightmare of sterility, boring, isolating, and requiring too much energy construction. They formed the reawakening of urbanism and the move back to the cities and making neighborhoods more walkable. So it’s not 98% of Americans preferring low-density neighborhoods, but 33%.

        As for the rest of the world, poor people from developing countries understandably want the conspicuous consumption that Redmond represents, far beyond anything they’ve ever been able to have. But if you offer them two good choices, one sprawling and one a well-functioning denser city, many of them will choose the city.

        Then there’s Europe, where countries like the Netherlands started to embrace sprawl and car dependency but then turned decisively against them. That’s more than 2% of the world.

      13. “We funnel all the car-trains into a single “mainline”, cram them into central destinations, and then complain about all the traffic! Well, with a technology that act as a swarm, or participate in a Mesh network…of course!”

        That’s how cities without freeways operate, especially if their local streets are non-hierarchical. (Non-hiearchical = grid; hierarchical = cul-de-sacs dumping onto a single arterial). In a true grid, everybody chooses different paths, and if one has congestion they go to the next one, and more or less spread themselves out evenly.

  4. Court has instructed me to clarify my accusation, to avoid a charge of slander.

    When naming the party with a possible conflict of interest over fare-evasion fines, I did not mean either Sound Transit as an agency, and least of all its fare inspectors who honestly say they’re only abiding by policy.

    And who in my observation, while warnings are annoying, personnel themselves have good manners, and try to explain policy rather than write citations over honest mistakes.

    I’m talking about the entity that forces defendants to go all the way to Shoreline to defend themselves in court. And that stipulates that $124 is the lowest fine they’ll enforce.

    They’ve got legal counsel, and welcome to defend themselves.

    Mark Dublin

  5. A Fred Meyer store in southeast Portland changed its parking to be at least partially 90 minute spots. As a casual glacé it seems like it has helped make congestion around the store much less bad as people don’t back up quite as much waiting for parking spots to open.

    One of the problems with free unlimited parking is that sometimes it becomes de facto car storage.

    As of a few years ago, Silverton, Oregon had parking fees downtown that were something like $0.01 for 6 minutes or something like that. It was the only time I had seen a parking meter in recent years that could take pennies. Obviously they did this not to make a profit, but to keep people from abusing free parking places as storage units.

    1. I really like the street parking setup in Vancouver WA: the first 15 minutes is free (you just press a button on the meter) and you can pay to add time after that. Seems a good balance between the desire for free parking and the need to keep spots open on each block. I wonder if this kind of approach would work well in any of Seattle’s neighborhoods?

      1. I think that would work in a lot of neighborhoods. Depending on the neighborhood, shop keepers would love it. But it is a double edged sword. A lot of places hope that you will go there, buy something, then visit a restaurant. That is the way most malls work these days (they aren’t all clothing stores, like in the old days). In that case, the folks want as much free parking as possible, in hopes that people will visit the area. My guess is that restaurants and bars tend to favor open ended parking, but stores don’t (they want an available spot so that someone can buy the thing they were looking for).

      1. Sorry, some odd mixture of auto correct and small phone keyboard.

        Casual glance. There’s no way I go to the Fred Meyer at SE 39th Ave / Cesar Chaves and Hawthorne Blvd by driving.

        This area is a bit like Capitol Hill in Seattle, only there’s no view of anything as there isn’t a hill, so the housing is a mixed income mixture of apartments, multiple unit conversions of older houses, older apartment buildings, and assorted single family homes. Add to that mix a pile of businesses along the major streets, and finding parking can be an interesting challenge.

        Except, that area has also had a Fred Meyer store since the 1920s or so. Naturally, it is more compact than the newer suburban stores. Conventional wisdom would say there wasn’t enough parking there and that is why they had parking lot congestion so often. It seems to be much better with the 90 minute limit, so the real problem might have just been parking space hogs.

  6. I’d like to take a moment to loudly complain about the terrible state of construction signage around the Northgate Transit Center. Construction is occurring on 1st Ave NE between the I-5 offramp and NE 95th Street, and on NE 100th St from 1st Ave NE to 3rd Ave NE. The intersection at 1st Ave NE and NE 100th St is closed. The transit center park and ride lot is open.

    However, there is minimal signage directing vehicles around the construction zone to the park and ride. No signage exists along southbound 1st Ave NE directing traffic through a detour that goes through the parking lot past the closed Silver Platters, and only a very small detour sign at the parking lot entrance can be seen from northbound 1st Ave NE. If you dare approach the transit center parking lot along NE 100th St from the east, some guy just shines his flashlight at you. What does that mean? Turn around? Procedure with caution? Again, no signage other than Street Closed is apparent, and one can see cars parked in the lot that is accessible from NE 100th St.

    If the lot is open, and it is, there must be better signage so drivers know where to travel so as not to disrupt construction or accidentally injure someone.

    1. Better signage is needed for sure.

      Its best to avoid 1st altogether and use 5th instead if you can.

      Oh, that parking detour is for people walking. Please do not drive through it!!

      1. @Jack that’s also where all people have been directed to walk. This doesn’t sound like a safe state of affairs…

  7. Here in Victoria, our local transit commission (basically, area mayors) have just voted in a new fare structure that totally eliminates transfers and all age discounts – it’s a flat $2.50 per boarding. A day pass will be available for $5, and there are prepaid monthly and mandatory university passes (all students pay regardless of transit use). The reason given is to reduce conflicts between drivers and passengers over transfer validity and age fraud but obviously a side benefit is to increase revenue.

    What do you guys think? To me, the fare policy seems to have been set for the total comfort and convenience of the bus operators, rather than any kind of equity or rationality.

    1. If they’re concerned about fraud, require all people who want to get discounts show the driver an ID card with their age would be a better way of doing it rather than discontinuing all discounts.

      1. Think of doing this on a 60′ Metro bus going past a high school that doesn’t provide their students with an ORCA card. Making drivers act as fare enforcement slows down service and often ends up costing more in increased operating costs (more driver pay, fuel, and required capital equipment to serve a given number of passengers). It’s a bad idea.

        Better: Implement the flat fare for ALL cash fares. If you want a discount, you are required to obtain an ORCA card with your name on it. ID can be checked randomly by fare enforcement to discourage fraud. (You’d be surprised at the number of 13 year old Kids I see that supposedly work for Microsoft – unless they’re hiring interns younger than I recall)

      2. The Microsoft transit passes being given away and/or sold is a fairly significant issue. They seem to be a “forever card”. Every ORCA card has a record of who it’s issues to and when it’s used. Maybe Microsoft sould hire a company that does software to use a computer and compare who is claiming to be at work when they are actually boarding a bus in Ballard.

      3. “Maybe Microsoft sould hire a company that does software to use a computer and compare who is claiming to be at work when they are actually boarding a bus in Ballard.”

        Knock it off Ballard – several of you who post here self-ID as from there. We transit advocates in the muck are ALL sick of your negative ‘tude.

        Some of us, even me from Skagitonia, would like to help Ballard. But your negative ‘tude is hurting ALL of us. Most of all YOU, BALLARD.

      4. What you’re advocating for here goes down a slippery slope – you are essentially saying the employer should be using Orca card record to spy on their employees. Doing that would be an excellent way to get people to not take company Orca cards, or, better yet, just switch jobs and work for Google.

        Even if some employees do give their free Orca cards to family members, so what? It’s not costing Microsoft any money, and it’s not reasonable to expect Microsoft the company to act as fare police for its employees.

      5. you are essentially saying the employer should be using Orca card record to spy on their employees. Doing that would be an excellent way to get people to not take company Orca cards

        This. Furthermore, I guess I don’t see the huge problem here. Microsoft sees fit to provide one bus pass for each employee which they presumably pay for, and while I’m sure there’s some formal rule they must be the person using the pass, it’s pretty clear they don’t actually care. For all practical purposes Microsoft provides one free bus pass per employee, to be used, gifted, rented or sold as he or she sees fit.

        And isn’t this true of all monthly passes? If I use my monthly pass ORCA in the morning, and allow my broke roommate to use in the afternoon, is that the sort of fraud we really ought to be concerned about rooting out?

      6. I guess spying on an ORCA card issued to an employee is out:

        Washington State laws protect a customer’s personal and ‘travel use data’ from public disclosure.

        djw says:

        I don’t see the huge problem here. Microsoft sees fit to provide one bus pass for each employee which they presumably pay for, and while I’m sure there’s some formal rule they must be the person using the pass, it’s pretty clear they don’t actually care. For all practical purposes Microsoft provides one free bus pass per employee, to be used, gifted, rented or sold as he or she sees fit.

        And isn’t this true of all monthly passes? If I use my monthly pass ORCA in the morning, and allow my broke roommate to use in the afternoon, is that the sort of fraud we really ought to be concerned about rooting out?

        So what sort of fraud should we be rooting out? Let the white collar crowd slide but if a homeless person collects a book of transfers in every color bust his butt; we don’t want those kind of people on the bus.

        MicroSoft, or any large company, doesn’t pay full freight for the transit passes. IIRC it’s like 30 cents on the dollar. But they have to buy passes for all employees to get than discount. The pricing structure is based on the idea than a large majority of the passes will go unused. If employees are instead selling that pass it’s not only fraud it’s theft.

        VeloBusDriver says

        If you want a discount, you are required to obtain an ORCA card with your name on it. ID can be checked randomly by fare enforcement to discourage fraud.

        That’s a great idea. It’s the job of fare enforcement, not the bus driver.

    2. It wouldn’t work in the US because there are federally mandated discounts for seniors and disabled people.

    3. If the day pass is just twice the one-way fare, why would anyone not get the day pass? The day pass makes the transfer issue moot.

      1. First of all, fail-safe way to avoid confusion is electronic cards that all look the same. Anybody entitled to special fare, go to special window or office to buy it.

        Electronic fare inspection should take care of cheating. Forget tickets. Just confiscate cheaters’ cards and let them come explain why they should have them back, and how much extra they owe.

        Give anyone disabled for any reason free transit. It’ll save relief agencies the cost of van service or cab fare.

        Old? Arguments both ways. On one hand, many of us are in completely better shape for both travel and work than the exhausted sweet young people who try to give us their seats.

        But on the other hand, a lot of us have to be self-employed because after age 50, nobody will hire you. So a break for us could be legitimate boost for the economy. Well, that’s what corporations always say.

        For students, transit really gains on reduced fares by getting them into the habit of being passengers. Also makes them less likely to get cars before they can drive, saving insurance, police and hospitals. And parents’ nerves and tempers.

        Early on in system planning, ask students themselves what they think is fair. You might gain some unexpected money.

        For the average passenger, why even bother with the $2.50? Two more rides than expected, and the passenger’s already “in the hole”. Anyhow, anybody who can only afford a single $2.50 ride- see first paragraph.

        But along with the $5 day pass, any reduction for a monthly pass will “clinch it” for vast majority. Just please don’t charge us five dollars for the pass and wait a week to turn it on!

        Strange that anybody doesn’t like convenience for bus drivers. From most conservative self-interest, convenience makes someone drive smoother and faster. Giving you more for your five dollars.

        Even Ayn Rand’s girl railroad tycoon would use this fare system!

        Mark

      2. San Jose and I think Portland have 2X day passes instead of transfers. It’s a better deal if you’re riding around all day, and it simplifies the system. There’s no real reason to get a single-trip fare unless you’re absolutely sure you won’t ride again that day (and sometimes you think you won’t but then you do if plans change). As for no fransfers, some cities like Moscow and St Petersburg have no tradition of transfers: you pay for each boarding except train-to-train in metro stations, or you use a half-monthly or monthly pass.

      3. You can still get a standard ticket in Portland too. What happened here is they eliminated the paper transfers and went with ticket printers on the buses. The bus now issues a ticket that has a true date stamp on it just like a MAX ticket machine does.

        It seems like Jefferson Transit in Port Townsend had a no transfer but buy a day ticket if you want to transfer policy. At one time Cherriots in Salem did this too.

      4. San Jose also has smart farebox printers that can make something similar to a magnetic-striped card. I wonder why Metro never got into that.

      5. The Skagit Transit magnetic cards are kind of nice. It’s like an ORCA that has a running total of the balance printed on it. It’s probably what San Jose is using.

      1. Every time I arrive in Portland I immediately buy a day-pass from the machine by the Greyhound Station.

        But soon as I get to the machine I always had those two little cartoon figures appear on each shoulder, a red devil and a white angel.

        The little devil says: “Mark, you’re over 65 and look it. ‘Really, the ‘Honorable’ bit is just so judges can get to court on MAX. And you can play one on TV! Give ’em $2.50 and get on the train.”

        But in a tinkly voice, the little angel says: “Mark, at only $5.00 for a regular pass, how can you be honored if you take advantage? Cheap-skates are worse than deserters and people who won’t fight duels! $5.00 or make my Daddy weld the Yellow Line to the track with a lightning bolt!”

        She pulls her halo down over one eye and glares at me as I pretend I’m still an Adult, get a regular pass, and beg her not to blow my cover.

        MAX, we better take care of this before it’s settled by both of us dying and having to ride the First Hill Streetcar forever.

        Mark

      2. Or consider it a donation to Portland’s transit system. I stopped worrying about whether my monthly pass would break even if I’m out of town for a week or two. I like being able to use the pass to and from the airport, and I especially like no longer forgetting that I didn’t get a pass this month and boarding a bus without enough money. I just consider it a donation to Metro that will make its small impact in increasing service.

    4. I have lived in cities without transfers. I don’t like it, because it shifts preference to one-seat rides.

      1. In cities with extensive subways like Moscow and St Petersburg, many people take only the subway. Train-to-train transfers are free so the issue never comes up. These people take buses occasionally to go out of the subway area, but not often enough to worry about the transfer cost.

    5. What do you guys think? To me, the fare policy seems to have been set for the total comfort and convenience of the bus operators, rather than any kind of equity or rationality.

      I think that the convenience of the bus operator is an important factor in figuring the rationality of the fare policy.

  8. Okay guys, I kinda need your help and as always, value your input.

    This Skagit Transit Citizen’s Advisory Committee member currently attempting to get Skagit Transit to publish some data as part of an accountability report to community. What data as fellow transit advocates would you like to see in an annual accountability report?

    Thanks in advance guys. I want to see what you come up with, as I may have missed something.

    Let’s take STB and transit advocacy to the next level!

    1. The bold-faced part? Easy answers on basic accountability:

      1. Graduation requirement being how to read a balance sheet.

      2. And prepare an honest, readable, and comprehensible one.

      3. Requirement that anybody who screws something up, admit it. And don’t excuse mistakes by saying they made themselves.

      4. If equivalent screw-up would get a transit driver fired- save us the litigation by retiring and promising never to let an exhausted 20-year-old student give you her seat!

      Mark

      1. Mark,

        All good points. He he, ha ha.

        No, what I was asking is if you saw a Skagit Transit Annual Accountability Report, what would you expect in it? I have my own ideas, but I want to see if they sync with the STB community.

        Yours;

        Joe

        P.S. I believe in STB so much I just gave $12 this month to the blog. Just might make that a monthly contribution…

  9. A few comments back, suggestion that Microsoft develop a software that could tell who was at work and who getting on a bus in Ballard.

    Man, talk about stuck in the past! For many years, Connector passengers have left the church parking lot on 85th on their way to Kirkland. Everyone of them immediately went online to on whatever they’d been assigned.

    Also think there could be an age-related misunderstanding. I notice that a lot of Microsoft workers really are fairly short. Or if they are thirteen, they probably run a division.

    For Ballard itself, nobody from the outside can be much help, except those working on Crash of 2008 Part II. When everything with a roof and a basement once again costs same as what it’s worth- resurrection is possible.

    Since I’m comfortably in exile ’til then, assiduously avoiding Ballard on any visit due to lack of reason to go there- one source of negativity is removed.

    Future I’m projecting, though, will see a serious peak in self-pitying negativity when a lot of speculators get locked up instead of bailed out. Remember: with anything magnetic, negative attracts positive.

    Mark

    1. I think the allusion to Microsoft was probably referring to people who give their company-sponsored Orca card to their husband/wife/son/daughter while getting themselves to work either by driving or riding the Connector.

  10. I’ve been thinking about the proposed Renton/SE Seattle restructure, and the opening of the First Hill streetcar. I’m wondering if it would make sense to shift the 9 from its current First Hill routing to the 60 routing between Broadway/Madison and 12th/Jackson. I assume that would slow the 9 a bit but allow for the routes to be coordinated for frequent service (:10 peak, :15 off peak) from Broadway/Mercer to 12th/Jackson.

    Thoughts?

    1. As someone who not infrequently goes to Ninth Avenue, and who might be coming there from the Capitol Hill light rail station, that sounds like a good plan!

      Unfortunately, the off-peak 9 is scheduled to be deleted in favor of resurrecting the 42 with frequent service.

      1. Thanks. I ran it by a Metro planner who liked it and urged me to write Metro requesting it. Seems like a low-hanging fruit effort STB could take on.

        AFAIK that’s no more than a proposal, not something that’s been decided. Georgetown doesn’t want to lose their existing 124 service, and Rainier Valley doesn’t want to lose the 9. We know that people organize much more to save what they have than to work for something new. In this case that works to our advantage–don’t oppose the 42 per se; Save the 124! and Save the 9! would work well.

    1. We’ll never know — there aren’t 120,000 people willing to pay $3000 a month for a studio in Seattle.

      A lot of significantly smaller, somewhat cheaper buildings have been going up for years, especially in SLU, Belltown, and Capitol Hill. “What that’s like” varies from area to area… and of course, on who you are.

  11. So 405 tolls are proving more popular than expected, and the maximum toll of $10 was reached almost immediately and enough drivers are doing that to slow down the HOT lanes. Perhaps the legislature will raise the maximum to $50, but knowing this legislature it’s unlikely. What does this mean for 405 BRT? Does it sabotage support for it completely? Does it boost the Eastside Rail Corridor alternatives?

    1. I hope that it becomes a call for us to stop deluding ourselves for just a moment, and think seriously about the possibilities and limitations for I-405, and the surrounding and connecting roads, as sustainable transportation infrastructure.

      But this is Washington. Self-delusion is sort of our thing.

    2. It never ceases to amaze me how many of the same people who are quick to preach the virtues of markets apparently want nothing but price controls and central planning when it comes to roads, and are up in arms if anyone dares suggest alternatives.

    1. How unfortunate that “Amidst Our Army” is not where “Tango Pen” is. Other than that, I don’t know the WMATA system to make much sense of this.

    2. I really love that they could develop anagrams for not only every station, but also of the geographic features as well. Apricot Mover for the Potomac River is pretty clever!

  12. “Go and find anyone living anywhere in the world. Take him to Redmond, in a neighborhood of new suburban homes. Ask him if he’d like to live there. My guess is 98% of people would say yes.”

    Then have him drive and sit in the Seattle gridlock you have to contend with to live in it. Then show him an urban townhouse where he can ride light rail or a subway to work and not have to contend with those traffic delays. Ask him if he’d like to live there instead…

    1. I think we are of different demographics. Everyone I know would choose the Seattle option and would puke at the thought of living in a subdivision.

      BTW suburban areas absolutely have gridlock. I-405?

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