18 Replies to “Podcast #19: Take Transit if You Can”

  1. Guys, some of us do use the 1st hill Broadway cycle track, OK? I use it daily as I live on 1st Hill, yes the street car sucks but it wouldn’t have too if they would do some sort of congestion pricing for that corridor. Half the car traffic is coming from SU garages and the rest from Swedish.

    1. I think the point is we keep trying to squeeze too many things into streets to narrow to do what we want them too. If the streetcar had been on Boren or the cycle track had been on 12th we might have had room to do both well.

      As things stand now we have a mixed traffic streetcar and a poorly connected cycle track.

      As advocates we need to work together for balanced approaches that help both of us, not fight eachother for the same road space in every corridor.

      1. Absolutely! I’d really prefer the greenway approach on adjacent parallel streets to cycletracks on busy, noisy arterials unless, like on Madison or Eastlake, geography precludes this option.

  2. Regarding your writing approach for your ST3 endorsement, I don’t think you need to choose between crafting it in a way to convince your readership of the value in ST3, and writing it to convince the broader electorate. You can accomplish both by writing a big, flashy endorsement aimed at the broader electorate…one you aim to have shared and hope to see re-posted far and wide…with graphics, scary stats in size 44 font — all that. But leading up to that keynote (or after?), you can provide a series of individual posts, each digging into the wonky bits of just one of the individual arguments (either fleshing out a pro argument or tearing apart an anti-argument). So the actively-interested pro-transit community can be armed over time with depth, and the broader electorate — who wouldn’t have the patience for all that — can read a thoughtful pro-ST3 essay crafted for them.

    1. Often I hear a defense of Snohomish or Pierce subarea projects as “Whatever – it’s their money, let them spend it how they want it.” This implies that I should vote for the package insofar as I like what my subarea gets (never mind the fact that many people live & work in multiple subareas). If you do a wonky argument, it would be cool to structure it by subarea, and explain why each subarea should like the projects they are getting and should therefore support ST3.

      1. Interestingly, I think that that sort of argument would actually be best directed towards the broader electorate, specifically those hesitant to support the package. In my mind, the argument that rings truer to the pro-transit crowd is that each subarea should support transit investment where it would get the highest ridership per dollar spent — that means we would get the most cars off the road. The reason someone commuting from Bellevue or Renton to Seattle should subsidize such a line (even if it means building one entirely within Seattle) is that that line will take the most people off I-5 and surface streets, making it possible for them to more quickly commute into the city (even if by car) and find parking. But unfortunately, arguments like that are easily drowned out (for the hesitant backer) by misleading Seattle Times’ talking points. So for them, an argument about how ST3 directly effects their backyard could prove more fruitful.

  3. Living in Maple Leaf, I’m firmly in the camp of those disappointed with the watering down of the Roosevelt/Eastlake corridor. Where is the pressure to water down transit for these identified HCT corridors coming from? Is it just SDOT? Or elected officials? Or elsewhere?

      1. I keep hearing:

        A) In the crowded corridors, traffic is too bad for us to consider taking lanes.

        B) In the less crowded corridors, traffic flows well enough that we don’t think we need to take lanes.

        The end result is no BRT at all. I don’t understand what qualifies for exclusive lanes anymore, but it looks like SDOT wants to make excuses for all future projects to have no exclusive lanes at all.

        I won’t vote for any more rapid ride lines if this is the bait and switch we get for trusting out elected officials.


    1. The first issue is that SDOT has a low bar for transit quality. The Madison corridor has center transit lanes from 9th to 15th but not east of there. At the December open house a few of us said the transit lanes should continue east to 23rd. The SDOT reps replied that their data shows congestion is not bad enough in that area to justify transit lanes, that SDOT would lose credibility if it recommends transit lanes where they’re not strictly necessary. The concern seems to be the cost of the lanes and the narrowness of the ROW around 17th. I wrote in my feedback that they’re looking at it on the wrong way: the presumption should be transit lanes, and the burden of proof should be on omitting them. It’s better to have too much transit lanes than too little, because the exact problem we’ve had since the 1940s is too little transit and that has shaped the environment in bad ways. To reverse that we need excellent transit, even erring on the side of too much. Installing RapidRide that runs the risk of being too little is just repeating the problem we’ve had for decades.

      The second issue is competing advocacy interests. As Zach’s article says, “Roosevelt Keeps Its Parking, Eastlake Loses It” and “Bike Lanes Win in Eastlake, the UDistrict, and Roosevelt”. So the most successful are the biking advocates, and the secondmost is the parking advocates. Transit gets the scraps that remain. That has again been transit’s problem since the 1940s: nobody will make it an absolute top priority. Unlike in Europe, which does to a significant extent. For instance, Paris has a policy of removing a hundred or so parking spaces per year to improve transit right of way. You can imagine the howls if Seattle tried to do that. First, it wouldn’t; second, the drivers would probably complain to Olympia and the state would ban it.

      Third, the city sort of promised in Move Seattle a complete bike network downtown. Then it walked back and said it needed to do a transportation integration study first, so it put the downtown bike network on hold. Building cycletracks in other parts of the city (e.g., RapidRide corridors), can be seen as compensation for this. But again that assumes transit is so unimportant that it can be displaced to compensate for a failed bike promise. But where’s the compensation for failed transit promises? I could look the other way on Roosevelt BRT if the city gives definite proof that 45th will be top-notch. But it has not, so that raises the fear that 45th will be watered down too. As Madison BRT was, and the First Hill Streetcar, and RapidRide A-C.

      1. If the 45th/Market street line gets watered down, then they shouldn’t even build it.

        That corridor will not see any measurable improvement without exclusive lanes through Wallingford.

  4. I like the fact that at the end of the podcast, as Frank is talking about how enjoyable the local neighborhood greenway is, you can hear Martin sharpening a knife in the background.

    1. Right now when we think of trail, we see the red shirt CO-WARDS who couldn’t stay for the end of the big game one week ago. I mean I broke open the red shirt defense and they started running away when they found themselves sandwiched between a white shirt, Sound Transit players and Transportation Choices players.

      Oh and then to have to sit through some great transit geeks picking apart their defense like it was toothpicks…

  5. My impression was the budget got set at $30 million-ish and then they took a look at the situation on the ground. The quote I heard at the last meeting with respect to alternate bike routes is “the conditions were worse than expected. And they expected pretty bad” The difference in cost on putting in protected bike lanes or not is a rounding error even on this small budget. Fighting over scraps isn’t going to make up the difference.

    1. It would be nice to have improved/additional or new service in these corridors:
      -Seattle-Yakima-TriCities-Walla Walla

      1. And improved/additional or new service in the “Seattle area-Seattle area” corridor. It’s time the state starts recognizing its responsibility to pay for transit where transit is needed, since the rest of the state uses Seattle tax dollars to subsidize their transportation needs (i.e. roads). But alas…

Comments are closed.