24 Replies to “Podcast #11: Early Wins”

    1. I think that’s a data point, but then we’ve also had development that cited RapidRide as a factor.

      1. IMO I think the 4 criteria for a streetcar line should be

        1) Is there room for dedicated lanes?
        2) Is the corridor generally in a straight line?
        3) Does the line connect to other HCT modes & institutions/attracxtions?
        4) Is the land around the corridor zoned for high rises and doesn’t have them yet?

        On these 4 criteria, the CCC is a no-brainier and will be great! Maybe finally we can gentrify that porn shop & surface parking lot across from the Market out of existence.

      2. Psst, les, businesspeople are riding RapidRide C, D, and E in droves right now. A business at any level may not locate to the D and E right now because they get bogged down in traffic making it difficult to get to the company, but with full transit lanes they would certainly be a positive factor for a business. (I left the C out because it’s already running closer to its ideal travel time and light rail’s travel time, so more of its potential riders are already on it.) And an out-of-town company may misread the market: e.g., Whole Foods may weigh the streetcar’s customer-drawing potential based on national assumptions without understanding what locals would do. But Madison BRT will eclipse the streetcar when it starts running, bringing those anticipated customers from all over town and easts Madison, so lucky for Whole Foods.

        The porn shop is the last holdover from 1980s 1st Avenue. I assume that means it’s the most profitable and has the most effective manager. The idea that the streetcar alone will make the difference in its demise is unlikely: it will depend on the larger real-estate market. And if the propietor owns the building (since they were cheap in the 80s), he can hold out as long as he wants.

        The parking lots downtown stagnated because of low taxes on unimproved land: they could wait till a market bonanza and make a killing. Several other parking lots have finally been displaced the the past two years, including one or two on 2nd, so it there is another holdout on 1st its time may be short.

      3. It’s been my observation that for streetcars, signal priority (better yet, signal pre-emption) matters more than exclusive lanes. When I ride the FH car, the traffic queues are behind the car, not in front of it. It’s the red lights that hold things up, much more than traffic in the lane ahead.

    2. I think that streetcars can lead to development, but they have to be substantially better than the alternatives. So, give them dedicated lanes and traffic light priority as much as possible.

      That’s what has happened with the recently built lines in Europe. Only the USA thinks it is a good idea to build new streetcar lines in the street.

      In other words, they need to be light rail lines.

  1. We are allowed to make a tax to fund ferries. If the service is worth the cost, we should implement the tax. If not, not. I’m dismayed at this attitude of, well we can’t use this tax authority on something else, we’re wasting it if we don’t use it. Not using a tax authority is not a waste. Wasting taxes on suboptimal transport is a waste. I think having state legislature micromanage local jurisdictions’ ability to tax themselves philosophically self contradictory and economically harmful. They’ve made getting tax authority for sensible things is a PITA. But how does that imply we should waste taxpayer money?

    1. Wasting taxes on suboptimal transport is a waste.

      No real project of any kind is “optimal”, so that standard leads to not doing anything. The real questions are whether a project brings us closer to achieving good goals, and whether it incurs opportunity costs that prevent doing something even better.

      I suspect the foot ferries don’t meet those tests, but due to the limited opportunity costs it’s at least debatable.

    2. “I think having state legislature micromanage local jurisdictions’ ability to tax themselves philosophically self contradictory and economically harmful.”

      I don’t know about it being contradictory or always harmful, but the legislators would say. “We’re putting our foot down to prevent local districts from getting runaway tax-happy.” And a foot ferry tax actually reinforces their point: because taxpayers can only afford so much, and have a level they’re unwilling to go beyond, a large tax for an ineffective or unnecessary service may crowd out a tax for a more critical service.

      1. Mike, give me one instance where the Washington State Legislature justly prevented any local transit project from wasting any amount of taxpayers’ money?

        If reaction to the idea of foot ferries is any indicator, does any legislator, or anybody else, think that Seattle voters will go tax-rabid tor the idea?

        But question to the legislators: are you going to put your foot down and help us to quit paying so much more than our share to keep the rest of the State of Washington alive?

        Fact that we keep on doing this undoubtedly shows that we’re willing to keep taxing ourselves for dubious purposes. So put your steel-toed “cork” (spiked logging) boots on and jump off the balcony on top of this waste. Your words, reps, not mine.


      2. Justly is in the eye of the beholder, but they keep a lid on local transit taxes, and only allow it to go up in small imcrements it the county convinces the legislature it’s necessary.

    1. Also, last time I was down on the water front (around valentine’s day) they still had signs up next to the ferris wheel about the privately funded gondola that he wants to build from the ferrisk wheel up to the Washington state convention center. On the signs it said they were working with the city and the waterfront project currently underway and that they would expect to begin applying for permits after the viaduct comes down. So… not dead, just on hold until the viaduct comes down apparently.

      1. They originally presented the gondola as a way to keep waterfront retailers in business during construction. So the signs may be from a time when the viaduct was going to come down earlier. Then Bertha stalled and the viaduct has just been in a holding pattern.

    2. No question these lines have their uses, Glenn, and for the number of downtown transit arteries slashed by I-5, these systems make a tempting set of stitches. Wonder what max load weight is?

      Just thinking…but if a cable-way can’t carry regular Route 8 buses over the freeway, some very old mechanisms from the coal-mining country proved that inclines work just fine.


      But because of real possibility for cable-way transit in Seattle, I think that, exactly as for Ballard subway, the more technical facts we can see, the better the public understanding, and therefore the project itself.

      Because with our soils and narrow highly vertical corridors – for which cableways are excellent- usable right of way could be site-specific to the city block envelope. Or smaller.

      Chance that memories of the last monorail project will start to cling to this one. But remember how much of the energy for that one arose from sheer and much -justified frustration over the transit system’s willful neglect of west-side transit.

      This is also how tall obnoxious people with dead badgers on their heads gain huge political following. Whose success is very largely the stubborn refusal of better people to deliver the legitimate results people are demanding.

      What I’m saying is, the chances of approval and success of cable-ways will very much depend on the transit stem incorporating it into the whole system. And running all of it so as not to generate the irrational rage that created and destroyed the Monorail project.

      Mark Dublin

  2. Normally you ask to know if people listened to the whole thing. As of yet I’ve not listened to the last five minutes. The rest I listened to while running through a set of tests on an air conditioning condenser for a dome car owned by a railroad museum back east.

    Seattle Transit Blog is definitely more enlightening and thought provoking than the crud the shop crew has on the shop radio.

    1. Glenn;

      I’m of the view Seattle Transit Blog has it right when it comes to political talk. I can’t stand KVI or your area’s Lars Larson. Blather, blather and maybe, just maybe a F-A-C-T in there.

      1. Off the subject of transit, except that while Blather isn’t really for shaving yet, adding some melatonin will produce the state of mind National Public Radio attempts to encourage in listeners who think they’re smart enough to know better.

        Really too bad Dave Ross went away, because as with any other subject, anything Dave dealt with in things like public transit was very much worth listening to. He’d chew on an official interviewee like a terrier with a bone ’til he got a straight answer.

        So Glenn, your shop-buddies do have a point. The fight for this country is definitely still for the intelligent, the technically well-trained, and the well intentioned to lose. But they will definitely need to find another brand to shave with.

        However, to save transit, we do have to know what kind of hair tonic is most commonly rubbed on the breed of badgers that sit on people’s heads. If wearers start using pubic transit, could be hard to get the grease off the car ceilings.


      2. OK, Mike. But here’s an actual case of legislative control over local transit expenditures. The Washington Supreme Court ruled Tim Eyman’s first initiative unconstitutional.

        The State Legislature voted, and Governor Gary Locke signed, legislation enacting the initiative’s language verbatim.

        Looking at a couple of decades’ results to public transit, is this your idea of a good use of the legislature’s ability to rein in local taxpayers’ wishes to finance their own transit systems? Or of it’s opinion of the constitution to which they promised allegiance?

        Just askin’


    1. Guys good choice from my question menu… good choice.

      Frank, I gotta say Jay Inslee’s incompetence is too much for me. I know Bill Bryant is working on a pro-transit plan realizing transit’s role in congestion relief – I trade notes w/ his people.



      P.s. Once you got past the land use part, good podcast.

    2. Strongly disagree. Good transit requires good land use. It’s frankly more important than talking about route-planning. I appreciated the extended land use policy discussion.

Comments are closed.