18 Replies to “Podcast #20: Hot Real Estate Tips”

  1. I’m skeptical that there’s a population/density tipping point for getting better urban public policy like dedicated lanes for buses. Looking at NYC, it seems like every bus lane proposal there faces years of being fought against by their neighborhood community boards, even in Manhattan which has far higher rates of transit use, far lower rates of car ownership than Seattle, and is far denser than Seattle will be, even if our present rate of growth continued for a century.

    Sufficient urbanity might be a prerequisite for better policy, but structural, political, and cultural factors seem to play a large part too.

  2. Why would UW’s permission be required to create a bus layover facility outside U-District station? UW doesn’t own the streets surrounding the station (43rd, Brooklyn, 45th). Can someone explain those comments in the podcast.

    1. I don’t get it, either. Seattle already closed portions of Brooklyn and 43rd to traffic. My guess is that UW Tower being right there means that UW has some kind of “our vehicle access must be maintained at all costs barring time-limited disruptions” thing going.

      1. The station is across the street from the tower anyways. I don’t see how there could be any conflicts.

      2. What vehicle access? I just circumvented the entire block (45th, Brooklyn, 43rd, 12th), and the tower doesn’t even appear to have a parking garage. There’s a small surface lot on 43rd, and that’s it.

  3. Damn, got my question in too late! Hopefully next time. I really enjoy this podcast and am glad you two are creating it.

  4. Really surprised that the U-district station question (full disclosure: My question) got no discussion except “why make people suffer,” as if making nearly everyone transfer to unreliable buses, and other oddities like making people walk to Stevens way sometimes (going east), or always (going West), and having to live like that until 2021 somehow isn’t “suffering.” I realize that it’s a full mailbag and that the question is somewhat unrealistic, but heck, even the north Capitol Hill infill station got more discussion than this.

    1. If the bus restructure is bad, then don’t do the bus restructure. But by all means open the station when it’s ready.

  5. Wanted to follow up a bit on my question about the realtime bus data. First, you both seemed to agree that buses are all GPS’d. My recollection was that the buses checked in their location from time-to-time at various time points (maybe just at the beginning of their route), and then radioed in mileage data, from which the system could infer their current location. I take it this has changed recently? I can’t recall ever perceiving an improvement in data quality, so that’s somewhat surprising.

    If the buses all have GPS systems, I’d love to see an app that just showed me where the buses are (similar to uber). I understand you can’t always infer arrival estimates accurately because of the reasons you listed in the podcast, but I’d feel a little happier just knowing that the bus is five blocks away. I can guess arrival time from that..

    Given how often I see ‘scheduled arrival’ times rather than real-time arrival times or witness anomalies such as super-late buses suddenly showing up (perhaps related to the beginning-of-route problem you mentioned), this is definitely a problem needing some work. Even if Metro wasn’t aware of it before, they are now. Are they doing anything about it? Do they need encouragement? Do they need help?

    1. The buses all have GPS, which is how automated stop announcements work. But that’s different from having reliable digital commmunications with the database.

      1. Thanks, Martin. I actually had always assume the driver was triggering the stop announcements. I didn’t realize this is automated through GPS!

        Any idea what the issue with the connection from the buses to the centralized db (and out from there to OBA and the rest of the world) is?

      2. By the way, I wanted through out my kudos for these podcasts as well. I look forward to them fortnightly and love listening to them during runs!

  6. Pronto won’t solve the bikes on Link problem especially with EastLink opening. Buses between Eastside and Seattle regularly have full racks with people left waiting. This is because once you get to the Eastside, transit connections suck and even if you do get “close” to your work/destination, it is often a mile or more to go. I take 545 to Microsoft and the bus goes “right there” but it is still a mile to my office so I take my bike with me.

    Pronto will never be dense enough on Eastside to solve this, at least not in the foreseeable future.

    For folks coming FROM Eastside TO Seattle, Pronto and secure bike storage at stations/stops solves more of the problem because it is much more likely that we can have a dense enough Pronto network on the Seattle side for them to get from the station/bus stop to their destination. So people can ride their bike to the station, lock it up and then walk onto the bus/train.

    1. Couldn’t you have Pronto specifically around major Link stops that are designed to extend the station walkshed? Downtown Bellevue and Spring District may be able to support a Pronto network, but I’d actually argue Microsoft’s campus would actually be the best use case, if Microsoft wanted to built it’s own network to get people around campus and to/from it’s Transit Center. It may not be Pronto per se, might just be an employee-only network, but it would accomplish the same goals & support people who prefer biking to their destinations?

      As for Eastside to Seattle, bike storage on the Eastside paired with Pronto in Seattle seems like a great solution, as the last mile on the Eastside will be rather disperse as people bike in from residential neighborhoods, but destinations in Seattle will generally be very concentrated by link stations. Here’s is basically the same argument in defense of park & riders in suburban areas, with the benefit that bike storage is way cheaper than car storage.

      1. Microsoft does have plans for its own bike share system. I had heard that it was going to be Pronto! but that may have changed as the path forward for Pronto! went into doubt.

        Microsoft is certainly the primary employer around the 2 Overlake stations but there are a lot of other employers there too. Redmond is planning Pronto! roll-out but their planned network will be sparse and small and as a result will pretty much be guaranteed to have low utility and usage. A dense network is required to actually solve the last mile but I don’t see that happening any time soon, especially since the initial Redmond roll-out will be viewed as a failure so getting more money and support to expand will be tough.

        For folks heading from Redmond to Seattle, yes, good secure bike storage at the stations paired with Pronto! on the Seattle side will be a great solution.

  7. Thanks for another solid podcast… and naming it after my question! Though admittedly, I was hoping for a bit more speculation on the merits of north vs south vs eastward expansion, whether zoning will allow growth to expand beyond the first/cap hill/SLU/LQA areas where it is now expanding, or if SFH is forever.

    And thanks for the David Brooks link. I never thought I’d say that. But I really like the idea of two different kinds of successful American cities – service economy/uncontrolled growth, and knowledge economy/skyrocketing rents. Simple, powerful notion.

    1. They said high rents, not skyrocketing. Skyrocketing rents and major displacement and homelessness isn’t success. Denser areas will probably always have slightly higher prices because people want to live in the same place and it’s hard to balance demand exactly. But a 5% or 10% increase year after year is a sign that something’s very wrong: when that happened to inflation in the 1970s the country panicked. So why aren’t cities treating the housing shortage the same way, as a top-priority emergency? Build baby build, and knock down those zoning privileges that are preventing it.

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