63 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: DTLA Street Futures”

  1. Found some interesting numbers in the West Seattle Bridge Corridor Improvements document: http://herbold.seattle.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/West-Seattle-Bridge-Corridor-SLI-Progress-Report-2016.pdf In particular, the bridge saw 29,300 transit trips (compared to 107,300 vehicle trips in 2014).

    By comparison, ST3 projected between 20,000-50,000 riders in 2040 on a West Seattle link line, depending mostly on grade separation. My take is that, given the tens of thousands of current transit users, the degree of dense development happening in the junction/triangle area, and Metro’s plan to basically truncate all Downtown buses for a Link transfer, the ST3 study range is probably a gross underestimate.

    1. How do you figure? The train is going to be a bit faster for those who live within walking distance of the station. For the tens of thousands of people who don’t, who will need to take a bus to the train station, the transfer penalty will erase much of the time advantage compared to the current bus direct to downtown. It may still be a bit faster, but not so much that we should expect West Seattle transit ridership to double.

      1. Given that buses currently sit through traffic across the bridge and up 99, I think folks would be more than happy for a couple-minute transfer to much faster rail. Plus, as I mentioned, metro plans to truncate downtown routes to force a transfer, and use those hours to better serve feeder routes around the peninsula. How do you figure the current 29,000 riders and 100,000 traffic-choked drivers will respond? How do you figure the additional residents over the next 14 years – concentrated in areas that will be directly served by rail – will add to the mix?

      2. Ridership has skyrocketed on the C Line since it opened (Metro says +94%) which is astonishing considering that many trips are crush loaded and the bus still sits in traffic on the WS Bridge/99. Plus, the bus is painfully slow through the CBD. How many more people would ride a light rail line that doesn’t have to fight through those bottlenecks?

      3. The C will slow down when the viaduct closes and the buses shift to Alaskan Way. That could erase the bus’ time advantage itself, thus making Link a net gain.

      4. Anyone have any data as to how many people ride transit at that one time of day (heading towards downtown in the morning) when the train would offer an advantage? How about the cars. How many of those 100,000 managed to get over the freeway during the time when it was most congested? My guess is not very many, (by that very definition — a congested route means that not many cars are going over it).

        I don’t think everyone knows this, so it is worth mentioning. The West Seattle freeway is not congested because there are too many people in West Seattle converging onto the freeway. If it was, then it would be congested in the evening, when it unloads into the heart of West Seattle (at a traffic signal, no less). It is congested only in the morning, heading into town. This is because the West Seattle freeway is like an on-ramp, into the congested SR 99 and I-5. In other words, add ten lanes to the West Seattle freeway, and it wouldn’t make any difference. Add ten lanes to I-5 and the congestion goes away.

        What this means for transit is that Eric is right. Ridership on this train won’t be very high, because the only advantage to riding the train occurs in the morning, heading towards town. Metro could force everyone to take the train, but that seems like a huge imposition. Meanwhile, a very substantial number of those who drive do so when traffic is light. For those drivers, taking the train would be a huge imposition and more to the point, offers no advantage over today’s system. You can park and take the bus in the middle of the day, and it works fine. Why would you park, take the bus, then take the train?

        It is a common fallacy, and probably one repeated over and over by agency after agency. A crowded corridor — especially one that is only crowded one part of the day, in one direction — does not make for a great light rail line. It needs more, and unfortunately, there just isn’t more along this route. There are no new connections that will make for high ridership (e. g. West Seattle Junction to Delridge on ramp will not get many riders).

      5. RossB – it seems the bulk of your nitpicking would apply to bus ridership too. Why would people park their car and take a slow C-line or 120 when the bridge is uncrowded most of the day?

        And yet… 30,000 people do it daily. Numbers are numbers, and ridership is ridership. My opinion is that a corridor with 30,000 transit riders stuck in traffic during rush-hour is a no-brainer for rail, and if you think ridership will go anywhere but up once quality rail service replaces those buses, I have something else to sell you.

      6. One also needs to consider that if buses do get truncated, the result should (in theory) be more frequent buses, which should induce more ridership, in and of itself. This includes people just making local trips on the bus who aren’t going downtown and aren’t even riding the train.

      7. It really shouldn’t be bus truncation, but complete restructure.

        MAX orange line produced not only a replacement of part of the 33, but it allowed the 33 to become a single seat ride to somewhere other than downtown Portland.

        As an example, if the new bridge were built with both light rail and bus service in mind, the C could go to Mt Baker station, and give alternate routes to Capitol Hill.

      8. Metro’s long-term plan has a restructure outline.

        – C becomes RapidRide #1043: Alki, Admiral, AJ, Morgan St, Highland Pk, WC, 1st Ave S, Burien. (AJ Station)
        – 120 becomes RapidRide #1041: Intl Dist, Delridge Way, WV, WC, Burien. (Delridge & Intl Dist Stations)
        – 21 becomes Frequent #1040: Admiral, 35th, WV, WV, Shorewood. Burien. (35th Station)
        – 125 becomes Frequent #1042: Alki Way, Harbor Ave, 16th Ave SW, WV, WC, Military Rd, TIB). (Delridge & TIB Stations)
        – Express #2003: WV, Fauntleroy ferry, WSJ, deep-bore tunnel, SLU. (AJ, 35th, Delridge, SLU Stations)

        RapidRide is defined as 15 min minimum with street/station improvements. Frequent is same without street/station improvements. Express is 30-min minimum (although some may be peak only).

    2. I did a random add up of all the bus route ridership that comes from West Seattle and it is around 30,000 riders per day including peak commuter runs. At the moment, it is true that the bus is faster in the am with the bus only lanes and the pm doesn’t have as much advantage heading back to West Seattle. Although I would like to see more current ridership figures with the C line revamping along with more specific stop data before getting on the bridge. It would be interesting to see more frequencies added to the C line during peak hour to see how much transit ridership will go up but I am guessing there aren’t enough vehicles for that right now.

    1. Need help for ridicule-response on this one. English-Scottish phrase is “Tak’ it ‘n’ stuff it!” If you put “Ey!” in front of it, would that work in West Vancouver?

      Though pretty definite that if every flag carried a Highland clan tartan, ridicule would wait ’til critic got home, raised the drawbridge, and barred his door!


    2. Flags have existed for twenty years in Kirkland and other suburbs without controversy, and they’ve been spreading recently. And they got the idea from other cities. I may have encountered one in Seattle a few months ago, maybe on Madison? The difference is that they don’t have a big instructional sign. The city just quietly puts up a bucket of flags one day, and it’s an additional amenity that people can use or not. Many people don’t at first because it’s not manly or something, but later start using them because they’re there and why not? I’ve never heard anyone say it’s an iniquity of car supremacy. It’s simply a way to have a safe crosswalk that’s not high enough traffic for a light.

      1. Yeah, these are found in various places in Seattle. I know of one in Fremont that has been there a while (but not 20 years).

      2. They’ve been in Madison Valley/Park for some time – the ones at 36th and Madison are there I think because traffic is relatively heavy there (it’s the only realistic way out of Madison Park, which is actually at least as dense as several other “dense” areas in town per RossB’s census maps, and is also a destination in nice weather), and eastbound drivers are cresting the hill only a block or two before the crosswalk.

        Drivers are actually pretty good about stopping, particularly the far lane once the near lane stops for the pedestrian. I don’t see the flags used all that often. They’re used more frequently in Madison Valley.

        Wedgwood has had them for several years as well, on 35th NE–or at least they did.

    3. What annoys me more is the signs on Bellevue pedestrian signals saying walk on green, don’t walk on flashing red or red. Maybe those are because there are so many people from other cultures, but it feels like a nanny saying, “Don’t jaywalk.” If they don’t want people crossing when it’s flashing red or red, they need to adjust the signals so it’s always green when the adjacent car lane is green, and don’t make ti stay red while the car lane cycles on and off so it looks like it’s broken and will never turn green.

      1. And make it so that buttons add time, not require them just to get a signal.

        After your recent Hawthorne Blvd experience, I think you can understand why I would be annoyed at having to have buttons on intersections there. Even a fairly popular pedestrian street like that (and that comes to an abrupt end) has priority given to auto throughput.

      2. I’ve observed at least some of the Bellevue intersections that ordinarily have a flashing yellow arrow for unprotected left turns, but when the walk signal comes on (which only happens after a button press followed by waiting a full cycle), the flashing yellow arrow is actually replaced with a solid red arrow, avoiding the conflict between the pedestrian and drivers making the unprotected left turn.

        At least, this is the intention. The practical result is people cross when the parallel traffic light is green, and drivers making an unprotected left yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, just as they yield to oncoming vehicles in the street. Really, though, busy intersections should not be having unprotected left turns in the first place.

    4. The thing about the debate about these flags is that both sides are right.

      On the one hand, people driving cars have a legal and moral responsibility not to run over people who are crossing the street. That responsibility does not diminish in cases where the people crossing the street are not waving a bright orange flag to draw extra attention to themselves. However if someone does get hit by a car on an intersection where flags are provided, and the person who was hit was not using a flag, people will invariably ask “why weren’t they carrying a flag?” Therefore the very presence of these flags can quite reasonably be seen as enabling victim blaming.

      On the other hand, plenty of drivers aren’t paying good enough attention to people crossing the street, and people waving brightly colored flags as they cross can’t possibly increase the odds of accidental collisions, so the flags are probably a net win for safety.

      I personally tend to fall more in the “anti-flag” camp. I walk around a lot. I prefer walking in places where the use of sidewalks and crosswalks is something that the local infrastructure designers treated as an important thing, not as an afterthought. I hate needing to walk a few steps out of my way at a street corner to hit the button to ask the intersection for permission to cross. By the same token I don’t really appreciate the suggestion that I might be doing something improper when I dare to use a crosswalk without looking like I’m practicing some sort of colorguard drill. To me, the presence of flags sends exactly that message. I understand that they actually can improve safety a little bit, but they still rub me the wrong way.

      1. Eric, got to give you credit. Just when we thought there couldn’t be any more ridiculous stand than protesting The War on Cars. Now tell the truth. Has anybody ever actually politically-correctively ridiculed you, by e-mail, hate-mail, US mail or Twitter for not using a crossing-flag?

        We don’t like to talk about it, but some of us still carry PTSD over thoroughfare incidents from our past. In my case, when I was in first grade, my earliest memory of traumatic hallway pedestrian control authority was an ash-blonde fifth-grade hall monitor named Evelyn.

        Not sure what clan her signature plaid skirt signified, though she also wore those ribbed white stockings that highlanders generally stick daggers into the tops of. From my readings, back home they would’ve called her “a bonny lass”.

        Meaning that if Kirkland Way was in Scotland, you’d carry that flag proudly into cannon-fire or your life’s last memory would be really really pretty.

        But world-wide, transit has a lot more irritating things. For instance years ago in Rio de Janeiro, what breakdowns are to DC and BART subways, fleas were to buses. Just be glad you don’t have to look at Mt. Rainier through a wrapped bus window very often.


  2. I believe that if instead of Boeing, Apple or Google were located near Paine Field and along Marginal Way in Seattle, the STB Board of Regents would be for light rail to those places.

    1. Boeing presents plenty of challenges for transit providers. First, there are the constant threats to move production out of the Puget Sound area due to labor issues. How dumb would ST look if they invested multi-billions in a light rail line to Paine Field and the line opens just as Boeing moves the production line to Malaysia? Then there’s the problem of serving the various shifts. I think most Boeing plants operate around the clock with 1st shift starting about 6am which is a little early to provide adequate transit service. Boeing also frequently has a lot of overtime workers who might need the flexibility of a personal auto if they are going to be working late.

      1. The big problem is that the entire area is essentially a bunch of dead ends. If you want to serve the proposed Paine Field terminal building, it’s a dead end at the end of a road running northwest, and you have to go back southeast to get out to serve anything else.

        Unless you tunnel under the runway, then you’ve got a straight shot at the museum of flight and Mukilteo, but that misses the main Boeing parking lot at the east side of their plant. It also skips downtown Everett.

        The current plan misses the proposed Paine Field terminal by what? 3/4 of a mile? Then misses the main Boeing plant by what? Another 1/2 mile or so? Future of Flight is skipped completely. It does manage to hit the vast nothingness around Everett Station.

      2. Paine Field is too big to have light rail too. You’d have to put in three stations for it to make sense and that isn’t going to happen so skipping it and having a feeder bus that encircles Boeing destined for the nearest light rail station makes the most sense.

    2. I’m suggesting whatever problems the areas have would be overlooked if it were tech. If Google relocated to the very same buildings Boeing currently occupies, certain people would demand light rail serve it.

    3. From what the engineers told me in DSTT construction days, along Marginal Way, corporate logos meant a lot less than those symbols on tanker trucks and railroad cars for flammable corrosive poison.

      There actually were plans to send elevated transit down Marginal Way. They called it “The Superfund Alignment.” Only question was how long the ground would take to eat the earthmovers.

      Also, though, one thing from Norse civil engineering I never could get straight: Do trolls also live under elevated rail pillars, or only mossy old bridges like the Fremont one? Trolls turn into rocks when sunlight hits them- really saving on construction materials.

      So next visit to Norway, Sam, when you’re walking along the top of a cliff chortling over the gold watch you stole from a peasant you just ate, be sure to keep it wound. Otherwise the highway-authorities will once again have to cover up real reason the coast highway is now blocked by a giant rock.


      Copy to ST engineering, though: Go with cut and cover. And be sure you get the boards off before dawn.

  3. It’s been 1 month since Metro implemented it’s secret 24/7 All Door Boarding policy change for Rapid Ride. “Use Front Door Only 7 PM-6 AM” signs are still on middle and back door of RR buses. Really Metro? As a temporary measure, you can’t even put some black tape or paint over them?

    1. Call your councilmember, Sam, and tell them that if those signs don’t come off, you’re going to copy them your every single comment ’til they do.

      And then start linking them to YouTube playing the theme from the Godfather, and a voice-over saying: “That’s a nice little e-mail you got there, Councilman. Too bad if anything happened to it…!”

      Works for Tim Eyman.


    2. Hey, get in line Sam. Ridership for Jan 16 came firs – Still waiting.
      I never realize how much Director did until he left.

    1. It looks schizophrenic and the sign is wrong. It says it’s rerouted on weekdays when it isn’t. Maybe it’s rerouted in the evening but daytime it’s running normally. There are also still a few bus stops with schedules that still have the nonexistent 30, contradicting the numbers on the sign above.

    2. So the 62 is running empty, the route is changing constantly, would it have been better just to keep the 66?

      1. The 62 wasn’t a replacement for the 66.

        West of 15th the 62 gets solid ridership. Perhaps the service levels are a bit much east of 35th. But it wouldn’t be the first frequent route with light ridership on the far end of its tail.

      2. The 62 is pathetic west of i5. Every bus seems to go by PCC empty. Meanwhile the 65 & 71 are crush loaded (I was denied boarding as the bus was too full l@ UW Stadium last Weds…. ) When will Metro admit its mistake in thinking people in Wedgwood/View Ridge/Bryant want to go in big numbers to Green Lake/Fremont?

        More/bigger 65’s, and a more direct route (Montlake via U-Vill, or 15th) on the 71. Thats what people in that area want!

      3. On one hand, you’re right, it does seem to never be used. On the other hand… it’s an east-west route, and isn’t that the big Achilles’ heel of the Seattle transportation network?

        It’ll get a lot more ridership once the Roosevelt Link station opens. Granted, that’s a long time to wait, but at least it gives the 62 something to look forward to.

      4. For starters, Metro could look into changing its coach assignments, without changing the schedules. At the very least, it could swap buses so that the 65 gets the articulated buses and the 62 gets the 40-footers.

  4. Glad I can keep at least a tire on the bicycle topic, Oran. You should mention environmental and road-maintenance benefits, though:

    Exercise from bicycle commuting results in steadily-decreasing fuel consumption. We don’t need the Sixth Fleet to safeguard energy-bar shipments. And flaming derailment in Oregon only causes some goo that, while it does attract ants, also releases a pleasant roasted almond smell. And lighter weight bike riders damage roads less as well as saving fuel.

    But got home from observing LINK’s first Commencement too late to handle yesterday’s discussion of Kirkland light rail. Have twice walked from Kirkland Transit Center to South Kirkland P&R via Google. So am suggesting that ST Board insist every communicant do same. And at least examine route to Bellevue on mapquest satellite setting.

    And also find out whether original railroad had any double track, and top speed for any train. And size of the average rail-car. To-the-chase, SLU(T) cars with more sections will fit. (Great image, Dolly Parton sashaying past the “Save” signs in net stockings and frilly garters!)

    The line would seriously be a beautiful ride and a sure rail-fan and sightseeing attraction. And corridor transit much faster than streets. And right landscape architect can raise Trail-Saved property values.

    But without question, trail runs exactly where faster and bigger future transit will need to go. So first expense will be an ST- squared legal bill for view-property condemnation. Worth every dime, but no choice. But necessary project budget will cover very-necessary route to Kirkland Library.

    Same for structure carrying line across 405 to Bellevue CBD and its Transit Center. But here’s bicycle connection- topic-wise. Have read that in general, “bicycles look at terrain very much like a locomotive does.” Burke-Gilman and Kirkland trails in a nutshell. So should work the other way too- may be best way to reserve trail for future much faster rail.

    Bellevue Way is wide enough for center-lane signal-pre-empted streetcar reservation between the two CBD’s. Useful long after high-speed rail opens. Not going to waste link to coal-country “incline” elevators for streetcars. Though would be great tourist- and Pittsburgh-dweller draw, as well as connecting the Trail track with Bellevue Way.

    But mainly, it’s ‘way past time to reverse STB fighting-stance to put engineering before politics. Trail-Savers are a lot less trouble than Tape Measures and Surveying Instruments. New approach will mean both more political success and shorter less aggravating meetings.

    Mark Dublin

    1. From what I saw, LINK did well. Didn’t stay for the game, so report not complete. However, saw one packed northbound train take over a minute, maybe more, to leave Westlake. All WLS platforms really too narrow for these loads and train-lengths.

      But I think we can manage if everybody knows the drill, transit personnel and passengers both. For instance, it seems to me that boarding passengers should be encouraged to space themselves outward from the theoretical midpoint of the train.

      And also move as close to the platform wall as possible. This way train passengers can exit freely, moving toward both ends of the train. And nobody will be in the way of boarding passengers. For another year, especially for special events, security guards or customer service staff should be on-platform, explaining these things.

      A driver told me that both drivers and passengers need some habits that will probably develop from experience. Big problem is passengers either standing in doors, or repeatedly getting on and off train. LINK had pretty well established some major operating rules: Don’t hold for runners, don’t re-open doors, and never stop twice.

      Bus side has had more than enough time to pick these up. Like 25 years. Only part of general KC Metro operating perception that Third Avenue extends downward to the grooved rail and paving. Sam, you can help here. Just change “If you don’t cooperate” message with “Ya know, boids like youse lots of times get to sleep with the pigeons!”


    2. OBA completely failed on the reroutes Saturday. It showed arrival times for the 372 at stops along Stevens Way that weren’t being served.

      One would think that OneBusAway could at least inform you about the reroute when you request stop information for a stop that is affected by it.

    1. Yes. We have Sunday Parkways in Portland, but the concept of allowing bikes to take over major downtown streets, even on Sunday, would be unthinkable. Sunday Parkways always use minor streets and usually in SFH neighborhoods on the eastside.

      1. heh heh heh – I remember, 30 years or so ago, riding on the I-5 express lanes on Bicycle Sundays! Pretty sure that’s never coming back. Later they closed Lake Washington Boulevard south of I-90 (I think), although as that was nowhere near me I’m not positive on that.

        Rio still closes the very busy road along the beach at Copacabana and Ipanema (and maybe Leblon) on Sundays for pedestrians and cyclists. It gets extremely crowded–very fun–well, it IS Brazil….

    2. And every weekday morning, I-5 from Everett to Centralia looks like China with every bicycle rider riding a contraption consisting of two bikes with really fat tires and a body shell over them.

      Difference is that the Chinese ones are moving. Information never released about how many rush hour riders in either country get their pant-cuff caught in the chain.


  5. I saved these thoughts for the next open thread but it has come to my attention the Paine Field Commercial Terminal folks have applied for their Snohomish County permits. I have not seen – and do question – the figures in their proposed traffic study. Am going to send in my comments this evening – finally. Been working like Russell Wilson and some transit agency planner fan of Russell’s – no time to sleep on them.

    Biggest thought clouds are the SEPA Environmental Checklist for this project states on page 13 of 19 that, “An estimated 30-50 permanent employees would work at the proposed terminal once commercial airline service begins”.

    That’s before mentioning that the SEPA Environmental Checklist on page 17 says:

    As discussed in the attached Gibson 2016 Traffic Impact Analysis, the proposed passenger terminal is anticipated to generate 922 new average daily trips by terminal employees and airline passengers. The maximum anticipated trips during the peak-hour have been estimated at 212 trips. The trip generation calculations are based on the assumption that there would be one flight arrival and one departure at each of the gates during one hour.

    So we’re going to have “922 new average daily trips” peaking at 212 trips and the nearest transit almost if not a half mile away? I have not seen this traffic impact analysis, a document that should be online quite frankly and I will be public records requesting it. When I get it, STB staff will get a copy.

    We’re all friends here, supposed to be campaigning for more transit, more places, more often. We got each other, we got transit agencies’ staffs with us, we got sympathetic transit board members with us. Let’s go win ST3 and keep America safe, free from terror or isolation.

    I’m sure this posting will start quite the discussion. Let’s have it. ;-).

    1. Oh and I went back over the great 2015 shock we all had when ST3 was first drawn up. Now that we’re talking about a Paine Field Commercial Terminal in earnest, this comment of mine bears repeating:

      Good comment D.P. about Paine Field being a viable terminal versus Bellingham International. It seems to me it’s more the Everett Elite (TM) who are pushing the Paine Field terminal and the Mukilteo community that welcomes a Boeing factory & aviation tourism for Paine Field. The real fear for folks is not one or two gates serving (mostly) quiet Bombardier Q400s and Boeing 737s, it’s if/when we have more gates there.

      If Paine Field ever needs more than a couple of gates, the terminal will require:

      *Parking, lots of parking
      *Rental car spaces
      *A transit hub for airporters, taxis and yes public sector mass transit

      All of which will take prime avgeek real estate and use it for less than its intended purpose which is to serve the manufacturing & maintenance facilities + museums. This makes Mukilteo leaders and should make Paine Field boosters nervous.

      I am also of the view Community Transit better not make the same mistake with the Paine Field Terminal that they did with Future of Flight & Whatcom Transit Authority/WTA did with the Bellingham Terminal and forget about transit service all together until it builds to the breaking point. With Bellingham International having lost their aviation museum to Skagit Regional, possibly losing Allegiant and being well served by multiple private sector airporters; the breaking point has and likely will NOT be hit for WTA as explained a few years ago. Better to bake in the transit growth capability from the get-go…

      Still relevant today. Comment period on this Paine Field Commercial Terminal is due 5 July.

  6. There is a vigil starting at 8 tonight for the Orlando Pulse shootings at Cal Anderson Park. It’s the first time since U-Link opened for something like this on Capitol Hill. I expect to see thousands there and expect that many will use Link.

    We will see how it gets used and whether or not there is a crowding issue.

    1. Yup. Hire that choreographer and recycle the big screen video for North Link opening and save a bit of money.

      1. Gotta remember, for Swiss tunnel engineering, goblins and trolls (who never advocate BRT!) are serious mitigation items. So ritual celebrations like these are neccessary budget items. Would be good to talk to the firm here about Bertha.

        Which is probably a Swiss word meaning both troll and goblin. But they’d also say that if you offered them a contract where your machine could hit a 1900’s steam ship while chewing through water with a little dirt and a lot of junk in it, they’d re-group at the top of the nearest pass and roll boulders down on you.

        Traditions die hard.


      2. They’ve been digging base tunnels for so many decades it’s almost centuries. This tunnel took 17 to dig.

        Bertha would be considered a blip on the space-time continuum.

  7. LA, the epicenter of car culture in the USA, the most car centric nation in the world has the Ciclovia days! We can’t even get part of Capitol Hill shutoff from autos but on bar night. Ugh!!!

    1. Perceptions lag behind reality in both Rainier Valley and Los Angeles. LA once had the largest streetcar network in the US. By the 1940s people were LA-paradise-optimistic and added car-dependent neighborhoods and freeways, removed the streetcars, and added skeletal bus service. By the 1980s they realized they couldn’t build enough highways and started planning rail. This led to the Red, Blue, and Green lines. Then politics halted rail expansion. In the 2000s a major gridded bus restructure occurred and the introduction of limited-stop routes. The 30-in-10 program passed with several more rail lines and freeway BRT; some of them are open and some under construction.

      Meanwhile, LA’s density is uniform medium, meaning bungalows and lowrise most places, and highrises downtown, with parking minimums everywhere. Because it’s a huge city it can get away with more highrises downtown than smaller cities. The parking minimums prevent it from achieving top walkability like Manhattan or London, but the uniform density packs in more people than Lake Hills or Maple Leaf. It creates a semi-walkable, high population, frequent-transit scenario citywide.

      Then there’s LA’s bicycle culture which I know little about. But just the fact that it’s a huge city would lead to a large number of bikes. People thought Manhattan was too dense and building-minded for waterfront parks and bike trails but now it has a lot of them and they’re very popular. So a similar thing may be happening in LA.

      Can we upzone Seattle’s ultra-low-density neighborhoods now? And the Eastside?

  8. Was afraid of that, Tuck. Because judging by Norway, Sweden, and Finland, when average person anywhere on Earth can afford a car, best transit can do is stay elevated or in subways. Keeping car in motion less important than you’d think.

    In Stockholm nine years ago, people were losing patience with overdue tunneling effort to get trains back on schedule. And reacting to similar conditions by getting cars, or at least really thinking about it.

    So if the Divine lets Henry Ford’s vehicle design accomplishments override his race prejudice, he’s probably tooling along on a tough and brilliantly simple black bicycle, giving the high sign to some Russian kid in his garage in down below in Odessa, designing a new Continental limousine with fox fur seats.

    But because Henry was such a contrary old man, he might also be smiling on backyard re-invention of the PCC streetcar. Except will only work if it’s black.


  9. Stupid pet peeve of mine: instead of having a scrolling marquee that says “Next Stop: Capitol Hill Station,” why don’t the Link trains just say the name of the stop (for example “Capitol Hill”)? The guide cities on the outside of the trains will be really important once East Link opens, and it would be better to constantly be displaying useful information instead of reminding us that the train stops at stations.

    1. Yep, that’s what other cities do. Link’s signs look like nobody has ever invented destination signs before, and they want the text to match the audio sentences for ADA equivalence. But that makes the signs less usable.

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