63 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Sound Transit’s 2015”

    1. In all seriousness, a nice video. And good to see new options coming online. Looking ahead, Who will be the main political driver over to promote ST3? Will an opposition campaign be funded by property barons of North Seattle?

      1. Its baroness, singular.

        Its basically jusr one person funding all of the anti transit campaigns anymore, why should we pretend otherwise?

    2. The political drivers are the usual: ST itself, the county and city governments, Seattle Subway, and probably Transportation Choices Colaition (I don’t remember their exact position).

      The opposition is more interesting. Not north Seattle property owners. The biggest activists there are in Aurora and Fremont, and ST3 doesn’t affect the areas there much. Their most likely battle will be with SDOT, removing parking on 45th. Ballard-south Link is mostly in a commercial/industrial area, and Ballard-UW Link if it gets any traction will hopefully be underground. The Westlake-Fremont-Ballard streetcar (although I don’t think it should divert ST3 funds) would be in commercial areas. 145th BRT would be welcomed by the neighbors. Lake City Link is too unclear at this time to predict the opposition.

      So who would oppose ST3? First, the people on STB who don’t think Link should go further than Lynnwood and Des Moines. But unless they form an organized movement, they won’t have much impact in the cacophony. Kemper might organize against it both because it’s taxes and trains. However, it would be interesting to see him come out against 405 BRT, since that’s what he recommends whenever Link is mentioned. Suburbanites in Snohomish and Pierce who are against ST3 will be mostly thinking about taxes. And not that the Everett and Tacoma extensions should be replaced by lines in Seattle where they could do more good; but just opposition to any taxes for transit in general.

      1. Yeah, I’d imagine formal opposition will be a coalition drawn from the likes of the Washington Policy Center, Eastside Transportation Association, Eyman, Kemper, Niles, etc. Even groups that have stifled transit measures in the past, such as the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber or the News Tribune etc, have always wanted to “get theirs” with Link and this will be their chance.
        Any pro-transit opposition to ST3 – on point tho much of its criticisms may be – simply won’t organize anything, IMO.

      2. Zach, I would bet good money the Washington Policy Center is going to go after whatever ST3 becomes.

        As far as me, well I’m still in wait-and-see mode. Main issue to me is IF diverting to Paine Field, THEN demand and buses must justify the diversion. At least luckily I don’t get a vote. I do though see the value in light rail from Everett to Tacoma (aka Spine Destiny). It’s the… what if there is no ST4 and Seattle (and I would say Tacoma too) doesn’t get necessary east-west trusses? Or what if there’s no in-fill station for the Museum of Flight?

  1. Clark County Council Passes New Year’s Resolutions: No Bridge Tolls, No Light Rail, More Room for Cars
    Board enshrines disdain for light rail, tolls as solutions to I-5 congestion.
    http://www.wweek.com/2015/12/31/clark-county-council-passes-new-years-resolutions-no-bridge-tolls-no-light-rail-more-room-for-cars/

    On Dec. 22, Madore introduced eight resolutions relating to transportation.

    The resolutions are more akin to statements of principle than legally binding restrictions, but the flavor of them is evident from this one, a transportation policy.

    “[C]onsider adoption of Clark County transportation policies that support tollfree roadways, congestion relief, and free flowing private motor vehicles,” the resolution says. “In contrast to a ‘war on cars’ such as ‘Complete Streets’ agenda that seeks to force people out of their cars and worsening traffic congestion by shrinking roadway capacity, this policy supports our roadways for motor vehicles in appropriate proportion to other modes of transportation.”

    1. For your entertainment, take a look at Clark County traffic right now on Google maps.

      Portland is bad too, but I can walk to the nearest MAX station….

      1. It’s better now, but when poncho made this post this morning, we had just gotten an ice blast out of the Columbia Gorge, and it was solid traffic accidents from Wilsonville north to about Kalama. Clark County roads were a solid dark red almost everywhere.

        So, enjoy your driving as your only option today, my Clark County friends.

    2. @poncho,

      Isn’t the board about to flip to a more progressive confit with Madore in the minoriy? So is this sort of his way of getting his last lick in while he still can? Sort of like a president signing a bunch of executive orders and pardoning a bunch of people on his last day in office?

      Or is the new board already in place? Because this sure sounds like the old one……

      1. But when referring to congestion on the roads it’s as much nonsense as it is when the road-lobby says it. The only congestion relievers are economic shrinkage or increasing the cost of private vehicle use.

      2. Transit right bypasses congestion. There needs to be a better marketing campaign around that. Calling it congestion relief just confuses people.

      3. Exactly Mike, and so too does Bus Rapid Transit & commuter bus routes. Goes back to all the sheer number of single occupancy cars taken OFF the road.

        That individual earlier who said only shrinking the economy or going after drivers would solve this is somebody cruising for a fight… which I’m not.

      4. Los Angeles has been one of the few cities that recorded a drop in congestion in recent decades. To get there they had to invest in transit (not to mention regional passenger train services on MetroLink and Pacific Surfliner) on a much more massive scale than most other places in the USA have dared to do.

        To get there, you just have to exhaust everyone’s patience with never ending road expansion that doesn’t accomplish anything. In LA I think this took about a generation.

      5. Effective transit gives people the option to not be stuck in road congestion. That is not the same as reducing congestion on the roads. Unfortunately, anti-transit people see “congestion relief” as the latter and not the former, so they often judge transit based on whether it makes their car commutes easier, not on the economic benefits it provides by allowing people to bypass congestion and people who can’t drive to access jobs and services. To them, “congestion relief” = “free flowing” SOVs, as paired in the Clark County statement. It is the wrong thing to focus on.

        Transit advocates who oppose road expansion often cite the law of induced demand, that expanding roads will not reduce traffic congestion because new capacity attracts new traffic. It follows that transit will not reduce congestion for the same reason. Yes, transit takes cars off the road, but as long as driving is relatively cheap and the economy is doing well, there will be a new car to take that space.

      6. And the other big thing is they have made their mind up long ago that they will not and never will ever take transit or for that matter even remotely consider it as an option to travel.

      7. …they have made their mind up long ago that they will not and never will ever take transit or for that matter even remotely consider it…

        The point I always bring up when discussing transit versus highways: Where will the person I am debating put the new road(s)? “Go ahead, we both have smartphones with mapping programs. Show me the route.” The most common responses I’ve gotten in the Seattle area:

        * Expand IH-5 through downtown Seattle. My rebuttal: OK, what happens to the convention center, both during and after construction?

        * Expand IH-405 even more through the Eastside. My rebuttal: Where do you find the money to buy off most of downtown Bellevue? Bellevue Main St through NE 12th are pretty built up.

        * Turn highway 169 into a “full fledged” freeway. My rebuttal: OK, that gets you to Renton, tell me more about IH-405 and IH-5.

        * (Yes, seriously, I’ve heard this one) Make highway 99 a “full fledged” freeway into downtown Seattle. My rebuttal: Fits of laughter.

        And those are just the ones that are close in. So it always winds up as, where do you put the roads? The answer, increasingly, is: you don’t.

    3. Idiotic comments like this piss me off. They are the flip side of the “rail everywhere — two lines to Tukwila” madness that Seattle Subway has proposed. Absolutely no subtlety or understanding of the situation. Just another extreme position, drawing the lines as hard and as thick as you can.

      It is part of the reason this country is so fucked up right now. This has been going on for a very long time. There was a time not too long ago when Republicans and Democrats weren’t that far apart. When men like Dan Evans, Joel Pritchard and John Miller were around and did a very good job. They kept the Democrats on their toes. Of course the Democrats leaned more to the left, while the Republicans leaned more to the right. But they both were willing to work together and do what makes sense.

      I really don’t know what makes sense for Vancouver Washington. It is quite possible that an extensive bus network is the right idea (the area is largely suburban, with essentially no dense areas that would warrant a major expenditure to light rail). But you sure as hell don’t turn around and spend money on more roads for cars or dismiss the value of tolling. That is asinine demagoguery. It is, once again, trolling for the simpletons who think that every problem has a simple answer (and that our side has it). It means the folks there will be solely dependent on the Democrats for a reasonable, sensible proposal, which means that the folks there are probably screwed. Not that the Democrats aren’t capable, but that isn’t the type of checks and balances system that our forefathers had in mind. The idea was for a reasoned argument, not one side proposing something reasonable and the other side beating their chest and trying to appeal to their own tribe.

      1. Democrats did not lean left; Republicans turned sharply to the right, and left Democrats as the only ones holding to a centrist position. They’re still to the right of Canada and most of Europe and Australia and New Zealand. Even Bernie Sanders, while his rhetoric is like the social democrats, his policies aren’t that far off from what our closest allies do.

        Even the “liberal” talk shows have been begging Repiblicans to become a credible opposition party again and promote a responsible conservative position, because they (the liberals) also see the dangers of one-party rule if they were alone. But what do you do when your opposition is being mostly obstructionist and promoting extreme fantasies?

        Clark County will run into the inability to raise its own taxes for the highways they want, and the unwillingness of the rest of the state to give them a disproportionate number of them. Since they refuse transit, they’ll sit in their congestion and car dependency I guess. I hope everybody there who wants to live in a more convenient environment can live in Portland.

      2. Just as a point of clarification:

        Vancouver, Washington voted in support of light rail expansion. The rest of Clark County voted against it.

        A rail solution could work very well for Vancouver.

        Nothing would work in the rest of Clark County. The whole place outside Vancouver has been slapped together with such little disregard for the future as well as an urban growth boundary that the best hope would be to demolish about 60% of what has been built and start over.

      3. There’s a lot of self sorting in the US with the whole Red State/Blue State thing. But if you want to see extreme self-sorting, Vancouver vs Portland is one of the extremes in such close proximity. Taxes are a huge part of it but its also really where all those in the Portland region that strongly want the classic late 20th century suburban lifestyle.

        The CRC was absolutely the literal bridge between the two opinions. Hence why it failed.

        There was even a popular internet meme/parody of Vancouver’s extreme suburban-ness:
        The Dream of the Suburbs is Alive in Vancouver

      4. The logic behind light rail in Vancouver was to extend the Yellow Line which terminates pretty much at the Columbia River on the Portland side across the river to Downtown Vancouver which is a traditional (though very dead) downtown. Perhaps more importantly, Downtown Vancouver is the hub for C-Tran local bus system. This is smart by transit design practice to have light rail meet the C-Tran hub, otherwise you have what you have now which is a need to link the light rail terminus with the C-Tran hub with some sort of frequent link requiring another transfer and using buses on the highly congested I-5 bridge crossing. Since Vancouver/Clark County is very auto centric, park & rides are essential for light rail in Vancouver. So the line would have been stretched a short distance just outside of downtown Vancouver where its a much better place to locate park & rides (vs. bringing and storing thousands of cars in the heart of downtown Vancouver).

      5. It is the answer for people, like many on this board, who let ideology trump efficiency and care not a whit how much taxpayer money is wasted by government-operated transit that ends up serving the needs of niches rather than the masses. If STB spent half the time focusing on the most efficient way to have transit built and operated as it does on lambasting opponents, it could garner huge majorities across the land to support its ambitions.

      6. If STB spent half the time focusing on the most efficient way to have transit built and operated as it does on lambasting opponents

        So, what is your solution?

        So far, the best the private sector seems to have come up with is Uber, which is far more of a niche player than KCM buses are.

        The elimination of tolls as an option pretty much eliminates a privately run and financed highway bridge.

        Carpool + Transit lanes could work well for reducing the problem at the Interstate Bridge, but Clark County has resisted this severely.

        The roads that have been built in Clark County are so severely tangled and haphazard (because that’s what happens when you turn planning over to dozens of different private developers without any sort of “big government” plan to try to organize anything for the benefit of the future) that driving between places really doesn’t work that well, let alone any sort of privately operated shuttle like the new Ballard – Downtown service, and for that to work it would really need to have transit lanes anyway.

        There’s a page 2 area on the blog for writing your own articles. I’d love to see something really original and revolutionary there. If you have something that would work I’m sure most of us would love to hear about it.

      7. @Mike — I agree and I realize my sentence was ambiguous. What I meant was that back in the day, most Democrats were center left and most Republicans were center right. Not only locally but nationally. If you look at the candidates from FDR to Carter or Hoover to Ford, that was pretty much it (Goldwater was the exception). The policies of Eisenhower or Nixon would fit just fine within the Democratic Party right now. It was Nixon, after all, that first proposed a market based national health care plan (now called Obama-Care). The moderate approach taken by both parties meant that each side could critique and improve upon what the other did without great demagoguery. But Reagan changed all that. He went far to the right, and now every candidate has gone farther to the right than him.

        Back in the day, each side had to focus on the implementation and the details, or they would lose the election. Under such a system, for example, you would have a Republican saying the market based health care plan is the right way to go, but that Obama has failed in its implementation. But you are seeing none of that, and instead they propose radical ideas that would kick millions of people off health insurance. Likewise here, where there is obviously no attempt to determine whether a train might make sense or not for the area, and what the reasonable alternatives are. This is a radical approach (no tolls, no trains, no buses, only improvements for personal automobiles) but it is too often par for the course these days.

      8. @poncho — That makes sense. Vancouver is way more of a suburb than a big city (census maps confirm that). So on the surface, serving a very low density suburb like that doesn’t sound like a great value. But just about every light rail line needs a good terminus. Terminating on the other side of the bridge doesn’t make much sense. As you said, it would be much better to terminate in Vancouver, and have buses (and a big park and ride) serve the transit center.

        That being said, I have no idea of what the costs were or are for this thing or how well the train fits into the rest of the network. It is possible that buses could serve the area, assuming that bus lanes could be added. But if that is roughly the same cost, and the trains would connect into an existing train network, then that would make more sense. I honestly don’t know enough about Vancouver and Portland to say what makes the most sense, but I do know that what the article said was absolute nonsense, and not at all what the folks in the area need (in terms of public discourse). It will inevitably lead to more stupid polarization, which will increase the chance that something really stupid is built (or something sensible is not built).

      9. Something Stupid already has been built in Clark County. Development Patterns and land use planning are terrible, unless the only place you ever want to drive is to the house down the street.

        The question is: how much more stupid stuff should get built in rural Clark County before it collapses of its own unsustainable tangle?

        By comparison, development patterns in downtown Vancouver really aren’t that anti-transportation. There’s places with big parking lots, but it isn’t so severely taken over by parking as, say, Federal Way.

      10. It gets worse.

        Those images are about three years old. Half the farmland between Camas and Battle Ground is now curvy roads that go in no particular direction for no apparent reason and no good way to get to any destination quickly by any means.

    4. This is worrisome for the US in general, because that reads like talking points from some Koch fact sheet

    5. The Reddit comments say the county repealed these resolutions almost immediately. It wasn’t clear whether that was the new council superceding the old council, or the old council deciding it had acted hastily (or perhaps chastened by the negative publicity). So Vancouver is safe from one extremity for the time being.

  2. The Seattle Times is against both expanding the urban growth boundary and densifying Seattle; prefers development in south King County instead. Editorial.

    It mentions light rail as helping regional commutes, but it says nothing about how people in south King County will get to the train when the buses that might take them there are skeletal and nonexistent in places. Would the Times support a major increase in bus service in south King County to go with it?

    1. That buildable land report is the most anti growth report ever, because it allows anti growth activists like the times to lie about actual developmental capacity. And anyway, basically all the capacity is in the downtown core where office space often is preferred instead of housing units.

    2. “That buildable land report is the most anti growth report ever, because it allows anti growth activists like the times to lie about actual developmental capacity.”

      I’ve heard that in Seattle but not in south King County. What is the zoned capacity there compared to actual use?

      An underlying theme in the article is that the current zoning is good. But where did the current zoning come from? Was there a long-term vision like Seattle 2035 and a comprehensive public debate throughout the county and all the cities? I must have missed it. Zoning has been treated like was before the service guidelines: piecemeal, a patchwork of things inherited from different times in the past, and based mostly on outdated 1970s ideas. That is what we should preserve?

    3. Well, to be fair (oh, FSM, give me strength that I just wrote those words in regards to the Seattle Times), I read the article as pushing for growth in the southern part of Seattle, not southern King County. To wit:

      Seattle’s outgoing development director, Diane Sugimura, acknowledged this creates new options outside the South End, where developers are reluctant to invest. “Private developers, they’re not going to go there right now,” she told The Seattle Times editorial board last summer.

      She, and the Times, both have a point. A lot of the caterwauling about exploding rents in the city has focused on the hip-and-trendy places where people are flocking. Ballard, Capitol Hill, Eastlake, parts of West Seattle…yep, they’re all really, really expensive. Lake City? Not as much. Othello? Nope. Rainier Valley? Oh, my sides. There are even less-expensive parts of the Central District, where I now live.

      All of those places in the second list have pretty good bus service; Othello and Rainier Valley even have the much-vaunted light-rail-to-the-spine, as Lake City someday will (something long-time readers of my comments will note that I perpetually complain that the Central District lacks).

      So, I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I have an inkling of agreement with this editorial. Somebody stop me, or at least tell me what I missed. (I can think of one thing: zoning and city rules shouldn’t be in the business of picking “winners and losers,” as the saying goes, so if “the market” won’t sustain building in Rainier Valley or Othello, why should the city or neighborhoods be able to stop them from building in Ballard. That’s a good point.)

      1. I would usually have a knee-jerk reaction against any Times editorial about transit and development issues, but I’m not having my usual tantrum against this editorial (other than the straw man argument about density advocates and cars). I haven’t combed through the details of the buildable land report, but there’s still plenty of available property near Link and the major south King County transit corridors that could absorb plenty of additional density. So my knee-jerk reaction is to agree that we should be building near existing transit lines and not sprawling into rural areas.

        There’s also plenty of development going on in Rainier Valley. Sure, the developers went after Ballard and Capitol Hill first, but the fact that rents are insane in the hipster neighborhoods doesn’t mean that there’s a housing crisis in Seattle. It’s pretty clear that some of the south Seattle’s formerly less desirable neighborhoods are developing into quite stylish neighborhoods. Some of the farther out locations are also seeing positive development trends–Renton seems to be King County’s new Gay Mecca and Tacoma has also quite popular and hip. So if the choice is between incentivizing more Sammamish Plateaux (sprawling suburbs with lots of new roads) or incentivizing more Rainier Valleys (in-fill construction and better transit service), I’ll support the Rainier Valley model.

      2. All of those places in the second list have pretty good bus service; Othello and Rainier Valley even have the much-vaunted light-rail-to-the-spine

        It strikes me that the best thing the City of Seattle could do to promote growth and new housing in the city is to invest in the schools in south Seattle. One of the big reasons people move to Northshore, Lake Washington, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Bainbridge Island is because of good schools. If it doesn’t spur development then it’s still a great investment. Light Rail that nobody uses… not so much.

    4. One good thing is that if a city decides to upzone beyond its “quota”, there’s not much the Seattle Times or the other cities can do about it. I can’t see the state passing a law “No cities may zone higher than 40′ outside their central business districts, or convert current single-family land to multifamily.”

      It’s also worth lookiing at, if the city upzones as HALA recommends, how does that harm the surrounding cities? Especially south King County. By denying them economic development? But they’re limiting their own economic development with their restrictive zoning. Renton, Kent, and Federal Way have downtown growth plans but they’re awfully slow at fulfilling them. And you can’t just look at the economic impact on cities, but the personal impact on people. If people are forced into south King County because Seattle closes its doors, then they’ll be living in an unwalkable environment and car-oriented strip malls — the same environment Des Moines says it must preserve along 99. If we seriously upzone south King County, then we have to seriously upzone its transit and walkability too. The new central developments in Kent and Tukwila will be walkable, but they can only fit a fraction of the population increase.

      1. I don’t think Seattle is closing its doors on anyone. The number of units coming on line is phenomenal, if not historic. And rent growth has slowed because of it.

        But rents going down and becoming more affordable? Unlikely. New construction always comes with the pricing required to support new construction, and the money and profits just aren’t with affordable housing.

        Which brings us to government policy, which can have an impact on the supply of affordable housing. But if you left it purely up to free market forces you’d get nothing – no matter what ha opens with zoning.

      2. Rent bubbles can happen all the time, and the city can do its part to make them happen. It just takes political will. New construction will come when it is allowed, and when it makes economic sense. If the rules change, then it could easily lead to cheaper prices, as it makes economic sense to add new units. There are houses on my block that could easily support duplexes and row houses if they were allowed. They aren’t, so they remain houses on huge lots. These aren’t hugely expensive houses, either. I’m talking three or four hundred thousand. A lot of these get torn down. But instead of a small apartment replacing them, a big house does. Small units and house to apartment conversions make sense even in a very cheap market. But replacing a functioning car lot — let alone a small warehouse — with a big apartment only makes sense when rent is sky high.

        https://seattletransitblog.com/2016/01/03/sunday-open-thread-sound-transits-2015/#comment-673714

    5. If Sugiama by “South End” meant south Seattle rather than south King County, then I misunderstood it. But the context of the article is about Seattle as a whole, not central Seattle and the 45th corridor in particular.

      “Lake City? Not as much. Othello? Nope. Rainier Valley? Oh, my sides. There are even less-expensive parts of the Central District, where I now live.”

      Not as much but they’re still increasing. Under-$1000 apartments are much harder to find than they were five or ten years ago, and if we don’t build massively more new housing then under-$1400 apartments will be next.

      1. …and if we don’t build massively more new housing then under-$1400 apartments will be next.

        You won’t get any disagreement from me; you’re preaching to the converted. i think that was also point of the Times editorial: we do need to build more and we don’t need to push out the edges of the GMA and we also need to take advantage of what we do have in addition to upzoning in more places. (Well, the Times might not have meant that last part, but I do.)

        Builders want to build where it’s profitable. People want to live where it’s nice/hip/cool. How do we encourage more spaces like the latter so that the former happens at the needed rate? And can we do it without slinging “gentrification”-as-an-epithet everywhere?

      2. I think everyone is ignoring how fast rent increases arr happening, even in the rainier valley. Nuanced economic evictions are de rigeur there right now

    6. I am absolutely against any expansion of the urban growth boundary in King County or any other place in Washington State. I think anyone who claims to be pro-density should agree with that. To think there isn’t enough space to accommodate the next few decades of growth within the current boundaries is ignorance, to say the least.

      I’ve been watching sprawl grow slowly north to Skagit Valley my entire life. My parents saw the same thing happen in South King during their lifetimes. The GMA is supposed to prevent exactly this and in my opinion it is not strong enough.

      I’m seriously confused how anyone on this blog could think expanding the urban growth boundary right now is a good thing.

    7. “But rents going down and becoming more affordable? Unlikely. New construction always comes with the pricing required to support new construction.”

      30% of Seattle’s prices are the increases since 2010, a time when inflation was less than 2%. That’s not a natural increase; it’s a housing shortage.

      “I don’t think Seattle is closing its doors on anyone. The number of units coming on line is phenomenal, if not historic.”

      The number of new units needs to match the population increase. Even with the new units the vacancy rate has gone down to 3% and below, and that’s what pushes rents up.

      “And rent growth has slowed because of it.”

      That’s what they said in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 “All these new units will saturate the market”, but they never did, the vacancy rate continued to go down. Complacency on that pushed working-class/lower middle class people out of Seattle. There’s a short-term relaxation which may or may not be sustained; we’ll know at the end of 2016. But we don’t know how much companies will hire or expand in 2016, or what people will decide to do. We have to assume the population increase will continue as it has been doing until it definitively turns around and stays that way, otherwise we’re suckering ourselves into another round of ongoing increases.

      “People want to live where it’s nice/hip/cool. How do we encourage more spaces like the latter so that the former happens at the needed rate?”

      You look at the places that are successful, What works is large urban villages, where “large” is more about the 2-dimensional area than height. What makes Capitol Hill or the U-District work so well? In a 20-minute walk you have most of the needs and recreations of live that you rarely have to leave the neighborhood. Some people can both live and work in the neighborhood. Everything is mixed together a short walk apart, so going to places is interesting, and there are always other pedestrians around.

      The problem with the proposals in Renton, Kent, Burien, and Tukwila is they’re too small to reach this critical mass.

      “And can we do it without slinging “gentrification”-as-an-epithet everywhere?”

      You do it at a large enough scale that price increases at any one location are minimal. The reason prices shot up in a few neighborhoods is they were the only areas that were walkable so that it wasn’t a great inconvenience and time-waster to live there. So people squeeze into those areas. But if there were a large number of such areas to choose from, people would choose any of them, and the price impact on any one area would be minimal.

      1. Yes, the other reason they shot up is that the city only allows growth in a handful of areas. Imagine if the whole city was suddenly low rise three. You would see a lot of tear downs, but instead of new houses being put up — which account for 75% of the new houses being built after the old ones get demolished (http://crosscut.com/2015/12/despite-perceptions-housing-production-down-in-2015-single-family-home-construction-up/) — you would have a lot more small apartments. You would also have a lot more houses converted to apartments. Of course you would. This is by far the cheapest way to add density. Put in a few doors and a few walls and just like that you’ve doubled or tripled the number of units.

        The problem with our current system is that building an apartment is fairly expensive. The land is currently being used as well. That is why there are still car lots on Aurora and Lake City. If we were starting from scratch, then of course there would be apartments there. But when someone walks up and asks the buy the lot, the first the other guy says is how much. Then he says “Wow, that is a lot more than what I paid for it. But still, it is a big hassle and very costly to move — I think I’ll stay put. Call me back when the land is really, really expensive.” And so it goes.

        But it is obvious that there is a huge amount of turnover in the general housing market. Those new houses that are being built are being built by new owners. The bungalows are being lost, but they aren’t being replaced by duplexes or town houses, they are being replaced by monster houses.

    8. Thanks for the link, Mike. What a bizarre editorial. The Seattle Times is really nuts. That is such a mishmash of muddled thinking, it is embarrassing.

      I actually agree with their stated position: I don’t think the growth management act should be changed to allow more sprawl. But we shouldn’t ignore the fact that much of the city (if not most of the city) is still too expensive. That is what happens when you only have a small section of the city that allows growth. Yes, theoretically there is enough land for us to grow in the city. But guess what? The owners aren’t selling! You can offer me a million dollars for my house and I’m not moving. Nor are most of my neighbors. Even companies that have warehouses or car lots aren’t interested in moving. They may get around to it someday, but there is no hurry. As long as housing prices keep going up, they aren’t selling.

      The answer is to increase the amount of available land. Not in the countryside (they got that right) but in the city. That is the way to make the city more affordable. I’m not sure if the Seattle Times editorial board cares anymore, though. They are mostly a shill for the ownership class, which is very conservative (in all senses of the word) and doesn’t really want to mix things up (because it might lead to a rental property bubble).

    9. Too bad then Link is being routed in South King County to avoid any possible development along the route, thanks to officials in South King County (99 vs I-5). I think most on here wanted the route (99) that would allow for this development to take place around it.

      1. That’s a point. There’s massive development potential along Pacific Highway and Aurora, which would meet the Times’ goal. But only Kent is interested in building it. Des Moines and Federal Way said no both to development and to having Link there. Which means Link will stop at isolated freeway P&Rs instead. And the suburbs themselves are hindering the development the Times wants.

      2. And the suburbs themselves are hindering the development the Times wants.

        Or you could look at it as a glass half full type of guy and say the suburbs are steering growth into the central city where it belongs.

  3. Hey guys… listen I know a lot of you are Seattle-centric folks, but as an individual Skagit Transit Citizen’s Advisory Committee member…

    How many of you would make the trip to a Skagit Transit open house or even a Transit Day Camp in the summer?

  4. Nitrogen-doping can triple the capacity of supercapacitors

    “A bus can run on an 8W·h/kg supercapacitor for 5km, then recharge for 30s at the depot to run the trip again,” explained I-Wei Chen, a materials physicist at the University of Pennsylvania. “This works in a small city or an airport, but there is obviously a lot to be desired. Our battery has five times the energy, so it can run 25km and still charge at the same speed.”

    This is pretty dope; it’s a game changer.

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