- Bellevue to put a transportation property tax measure ($) on November’s ballot.
- Why you don’t see more 3-car trains.
- Issaquah’s $50m transportation bond in November includes a handful of bike lanes.
- Pierce Transit buses to get security cameras and free Wi-Fi by the end of the year.
- The premise of this Danny Westneat column ($) is wrong: that because there are cranes outside his window, that there’s enough construction. In fact, if rents on similar units keep rising beyond inflation, we’re not building nearly enough.
- ST sells land across from CHS for affordable housing.
- Seatac’s behavior comes across as shoddy and probably illegal ($), but then they were trying to build condos across from the Link station instead of a Park-and-Fly lot.
- ST looking for applicants for its Agency Oversight Panel.
- Lisa Herbold proposes – and land use commitee passes ($) – a HALA amendment to add fees for demolishing affordable housing. No mention of offsetting increases in zoning. Other amendments passed, too.
- Admiral residents fighting a traffic calming plan because it removes parking.
- Shoreline Planning Commission to meet about 145th Station Area on August 4th.
- Sound Transit has a new Chief of Staff, from Federal Way via USDOT.
- SDOT hiring a senior transportation planner.
- Puget Sound Sage looking for Climate Campaign Lead.
- ST names authors for ST3 pro and con voters’ guide statements; opponents unhappy Tim Eyman is on the no committee.
- Labor, environmental, and business groups endorse ST3.
- HDR Engineering will do Tacoma Link final design.
- How to make the most of transit park-and-rides.
- Remaining questions about RapidRide+.
- Portland gets its own bikeshare.
- Lessons from cycle campaigning in London.
This is an open thread.
67 Replies to “News Roundup: November’s Ballot”
Great open thread – especially as you used one of my aerial photos from the Blue Angels’ C-130 Fat Albert last year!
Remember that straddling bus thing from a Sunday open thread some time back?
Well, the built one in Hebei, China as a demonstration project.
That’s a nifty idea – well worth tucking away for some future date when the combination of congestion, limited space, and funding/priority failures force a relatively quick solution to a profound problem.
On the straddling bus, I wonder what the winter weather’s like in Hebei?
What grades these machines can handle? What if there’s a car crash underneath one of them? Or if a car makes in illegal lane change, or blows a tire, just ahead of a front wheel? There seems to be no way whatever for a car to change lanes to avoid or clear a collision underneath the bus.
What if the bus itself is damaged and can’t be towed by another one? Is there a tow-vehicle in China that can move one? At the end of the day (or morning rush hour either) this system still does not offer fully reserved right of way.
I was going to say, give the Chinese a few more years to test it before we commit. But would rather it be a country that is not a totalitarian police state that not only doesn’t have to release accurate performance and safety information, but can put people in jail for letting the rest of the transit world know.
Yes. With the track installed in the road and the clearance issues around structures and all that, I bet a gondola network could be built for the same money.
Taking advantage of this open thread, I tried Car2Go for the first time the other day. I needed to go to Capitol Hill and all the buses were running wonky – completely off schedule. So I get to my destination, and I just can’t find a place to park! I spent more than the cost of the ride from point A to point B just to ride around the entire hill searching for a space!
I’m not so much concerned about my own situation (I considered it a learning experience), but I wonder how folks in that neighborhood get access to Car2Go vehicles when no one will drive them there? Is it perhaps a prudent idea to establish exclusive Car2Go lots in a few such places around Seattle?
I think maybe it is a prudent idea to built the Metro 8 Subway.
Of course it is. But Sound Transit will have none of it; it wouldn’t be a “regional asset” (e.g. something to get suburban commuters to work).
Seattle should talk to Vancouver BC about SkyTrain and build its own version from Belltown through SLU south Capitol Hill, the corridor down 14th and a stub along Rainier (elevated south of Jackson). Use “urban spacing for the stations so everyone accessing it can walk and run the trains automatically.
Include pantographs and a small operator compartment for running on Link to get to a maintenance facility and “store” the trains by running them all the time like the Times Square Shuttle. Sure, you’d need a stub or center track tunnel somewhere to park an extra three or four trainsets in the middle of the night, but that wouldn’t be ruinously expensive.
If you can’t find a space for a car2go, the price of parking is wrong.
I strategically use reachnow going from busy parts of town to less busy, and car2go the other way, because it is so easy to park a car2go
I’ve started taking Uber/Lyft more often for this exact reason. The cost per mile often washes out when you factor in circling for parking. Time to increase parking rates!
Parking fees, not parking spaces, right?
Car2go needs their own parking spaces in busy areas, Ive seen small lots in Vancouver where they have like 2 normal parking spaces made to handle 3 or 4 dedicated car2go spots.
Yes, I’ve heard that one of the big advantages of the little Smart Cars is that two of them can park head-in in the same space as one SUV-size parallel parking spot. Of course, Seattle doesn’t allow this, but many European cities either allow it or at least don’t seem to care.
The small size of those Car2Go cars should be better leveraged!
If the spots are on private property, I’m all for it. I can’t support the City giving up public space for a specific for-profit corporation. If the spots allowed for any rideshare company, permitted to operate in the City, then I could see some wiggle room.
What would be better if there was an opt-in option for rideshare companies, that if there’s no parking, you could somehow connect with people looking for a rideshare car and do some sort of hand off, where parking isn’t necessary.
Yeah that would favor Car2Go over Reachnow, which I don’t think the city can or should do. But if Car2Go wants to lease space like Zipcar, that could be a great idea
Do we have a “breakdown” (the statistical kind, not the deferred maintenance one) on the causes of traffic accidents on Rainier? Because it would save a lot of time and effort if a few dangerous stretches could be adjusted.
Since the Columbia City business district pretty well prevents Rainier Avenue from being any kind of a heavy-duty traffic corridor, especially for freight, one measure might be same treatment I want for Broadway:
Street parking removed, lane and signal pre-empt, and general understanding that everything else on wheels stays out of the way of buses. Pretty much exact reverse of present conditions. Having driven the Route 7 at night for several years, with traffic out of the way at key points, it’s a very fast corridor.
Worth whatever it takes to make it work for transit.
Glenn, remembering the gondola video from Medellin, Colombia, and having ridden the one in Portland, I wonder how comfortable US passengers would be riding confined that close to other passengers. With no way to get off quickly in any emergency, or protect themselves from violence?
Would be interesting to find out how the Colombians handle these things. The country has a reputation in the world for violence. But so does Detroit, which for most of the city deserves a lot better media coverage than it gets.
Including the fact that the City of Detroit is surrounded by the richest suburbs in the United States, and gated inside this large and expanding comfortable area with a barbed-wire cyclone fence made of money.
Possibly same situation in Medellin. Which Wikipedia says is the kind of energetic industrial area Detroit used to be.
Seems to me that for us, the cars you’re using in Portland might be about minimum size. Pretty much like cable-mounted buses for size and passenger experience. Transit personnel on board the cars, right?
Glenn, is there anybody we could go down to Portland and discuss our comparative situations, and how, or whether, we can use this mode? I’ve noted two places where a system like yours would definitely be worth doing: Swedish Hospital to Pioneer Square LINK station, and current Route 8 from Broadway to Seattle Center, or at least part of the route.
Because they’re so cramped and vertical that no other kind of transit can work, if geology will hold them, they’ll be worth pretty much what they’ll cost.
You are right, Mark, that gondolas are most effective on short routes with geographical barriers such as the steep western slopes and freeway impasses of first hill and capitol hill. But I think the ship has sailed on the Denny way route, merely by the crazy number of 400’+ tall buildings under construction or permitting along Denny, which all stand higher than the elevation of Capitol Hill station itself. The loss of this opportunity to fix this corridor comes at the benefit of some seriously dense residential development very close to job centers though. I wonder if it would be an improvement to split route 8 at broadway, keeping the eastern half running smoothly and well connected at capitol hill station even while the western half suffers delays that rival Bertha’s.
The pioneer square-hospital gondola route might still be feasible, but I fear most of its potential ridership may be better served by Madison BRT.
Run it along John Street. Just because the bus uses Denny doesn’t mean a gondola has to. It has its own “right-of-way” across the freeway.
Anandakos, even John street has four towers 300′-450′ planned. I think there is not a single path in SLU with future clearances under 120 feet, which I would estimate is necessary to include a practical stop within SLU.
Couldn’t a gondola run in the center of the street, and have the station(s) be elevated, straddling the road?
OHSU is the hospital / medical school at the top of the Portland Arial Tram, and was the driving force behind getting it built.
You just need to find someone with a pile of political clout to make enough noise. The rest is just details.
Ya. And the mess that getting it built and operating to OHSU was such a CF that OHSU gave up on building phase 2 of the project. It has become an example of why these things are hard to build in the US, not an example of how they are “easy” with the right big private sponsor.
“Gondola” ≠ “Tram”. “Gondola” > “Tram**2”
“You just need to find someone with a pile of political clout to make enough noise.”
He wanted a streetcar in SLU, and got it.
What’s phase 2 of the OHSU tram? I took it when I was in Portland in May. It was fun once but I’m not sure I’d do it all the time when there’s a frequent bus on the other side of the hill and it’s actually very close to downtown that way. Also I got stuck on the gondola for twenty minutes just before the upper terminus, and then it took a long time for another one to come and I didn’t really want to be stuck again. But when I got home they refunded my fare to my ATM card, which I never thought about asking for.
Agreed. However, the same basic rules apply: if someone with enough political clout wants it done, it will get done.
Unfortunately we don’t have any public transit type gondolas operating in the USA. We only have a few private amusement park and ski resort ones, such as the Mt Rainier Gondola over at Crystal Mountain. It’s rather hard to compare that with the political push needed to get one built in an urban area.
As far as the mess during construction, an awful lot of that was OHSU deciding that they wanted a separate summit tower because they were worried about vibration issues.
At one time there was a drawing on a map that ran another gondola over the other side of the hill. I don’t think that was ever seriously considered since that would not have been over the public street right of way.
“Unfortunately we don’t have any public transit type gondolas operating in the USA.”
What’s the difference between an aitram and a gondola?
Or a private backer, like the family who wanted to bankroll one to the wheel on the waterfront.
On the three-car trains article,
is a Link train not counted as crush-loaded until the trains equipment measures 252 passengers (74 sitting + 178 standing)? That sounds borderline impossible. Assuming that each set is filled (which sounds trivial but there could be jerks that just won’t let go of a second seat for luggage, or the person closest to an empty seat may just not take it), then each section of the train (a train is split into two sections separated by the flexible middle) contains 89 passengers. This is about 45 passengers for each pair of doors. I would think that before this point, new passengers would have a difficult time fitting in without blocking the doors open.
How I read the article is that ST’s goal is to not have more than 120 people standing per car, the “target max load”. Also, ST isn’t looking at how often trains are crush-loaded, but how often trains are above planning load (74 people standing per car). When more than 60% of trips at a given time of day are above planning load, ST will add a 3rd car to those trains.
What I’m curious about is why there’s no morning southbound peak, but there’s an evening peak in both directions, and there’s a bonus peak in both directions between 9-11 pm. Sports related for the nightime peak? Lack of people travelling from NE Seattle –> downtown in the morning or that those people have a strong preference for bus over train?
My guess is that mornings are just commute traffic, and evenings are commute + entertainment.
Link might not be a sensible way to get from your home to your work, but from a job near link, it makes a lot more sense to get dinner somewhere along Link and then do your third leg after traffic has calmed down.
I didn’t have a question about what targets they use to determine whether they need to add cars. It was just a typical ADHD tangential wandering of my mind to…
Was a Link train really, literally filled with 252 people? Because if so, well done. To Sound Transit, and to the passengers who were able to organize themselves so efficiently.
As for peak Link, At first, I didn’t see it, but now I see. Southbound, frequency north of Beacon Hill is half of the rest of the line! (12 mins versus 6 mins). Here’s a few theories:
It’s not *that* peak, but rather, it’s early “peak.” There might not (relatively speaking) be that many office workers that need to be downtown before 6am, so (unlike some deep south services that need to start running at 4:41 am to get passengers to Seattle by 6: http://www.soundtransit.org/schedules/sounder-lakewood-seattle) since U-Link is a 6 minute ride to downtown, they can increase frequency within 15 minutes of when they determine a lot of people start working (which looks to be 6:45). On the other hand, the airport in particular may get started much earlier than that, and might have a very heavy load at that time compared to downtown.
It may be a purely operational necessity. If you notice, they start at Beacon hill station (adjacent to the maintenance facility) at 4:22 am, easing up to every 12 minutes over the first few trips (probably recognizing that they don’t need 6 minute trains this early in the morning), and those trains turn back north to UW and then south again, so we see a point where the whole line is running at 12 minutes.
Then they stick trains halfway in between those 12-minute trips to make the frequency 6 minutes, which again start at Beacon Hill and head south first. When those trains start making it to UW, then the whole line is running at 6 mins and the schedule changes to “every 6 minutes until whenever.” The only problem with this is that I would expect a whole lot of trips later terminating at SODO (from the north) or Beacon Hill (from the south), and I only see one. Maybe they silently deadhead them to the maintenance facility not in service.
As for nighttime “peak” trips, I think technically peak is supposed to be 6 minutes, off-peak is supposed to be 10 minutes, and night service (as late as Link even provides night service, that is) is 15 minutes. There is nothing unusual about this. It’s common for night service on transit routes to be less frequent than general off-peak service (all-night RapidRides do this for example, and even some suburban routes like 181, which runs at half of off-peak frequency from 9 to 11:30 PM). The difference is that for Link, off-peak is in place until 10:07 or 10:25 PM depending on direction.
I think it’s also timing of people’s commuters. Interstates are the same – traffic is much worse during the evening commute than the morning.
Any guesses as to when ST posts its re-route information for the 550 during the Seafair shows? They’ve managed to post the 554 re-route, with hardly any details, but not any of the 550 information:
“All regularly posted stops in Seattle”. Is that just stops that the 550 passes, or ones that actually say 550 on the stop placard? Does it include Montlake Freeway Station? How about Evergreen or Clyde Hill?
The closures are 90 minutes long, but what time will they start the re-routes? How will we know when the re-routes are in effect?
ST seems to follow the opposite approach of Metro for reroutes: rather than including cryptic but potentially useful information, they just give us nothing.
As far as I know from experience, the reroutes are spontaneous, and the 550 stays on I-90 until the moment they close It. I was on a 550 a few years ago where the driver was so frantic to make it on 90 that he told us to skip paying the fare and just get on. We nearly got stuck on Mercer Island.
ST 550 and 554 reroute info from KC Metro. Short version: 550 and 554 are only serving their regular stops; they are not serving stops on SR 520. They take a bizarre pathway to try and avoid some traffic and to allow a connection to the Mercer Island shuttle at South Bellevue P&R.
Cool, thanks for the links. As much as I dislike the Metro reroute format, it at least presents everything once you get the hang of reading them.
And as for ST, why is it that they can’t provide the same information? If you read their rider alert, it makes it sound like the re-routes last only the duration of the air shows, while Metro gives the far more realistic answer of starting a couple hours prior to the shows.
Our transit agencies have a lot to learn when it comes to public communication.
Note that though they’re as bad for railcars as their rubber tired brothers are for buses, these MUNI Metro Breda cars are pretty much same size as our LINK cars. Which are much better.
A few days back, posting was unhappy about passengers hesitant to ride the high sections at the ends of each car, and also reminding people that luggage should go under seats. In the raised section, there is only one row of seats- second one past the stairs, where you can put luggage, or feet, under the seat at all.
For the rest, trouble isn’t the Seat-Hog (I’ll still hold his luggage in my lap any time) but the Sand-Hog (which you better watch out about criticizin’ because he’s just got off work diggin’ another ST3 tunnel!).
Not sure if that’s what they call tunnel laborers anymore, but just sayin’…Bad enough they’ve got no place to put the friggin’ jackhammer!
Because the sand to gain traction on icy rail is in metal boxes under all those seats. Not sure if overhead luggage racks would fit. But if they can, would Metro please pad the aisle-side edges? Or fine people for not wearing bike helmets? And while they’re at it, the ones on Sounder too.
Also think LINK should experiment with three or four car trains with one coach having only a few folding seats, and more bike racks and room for luggage. And more poles to hold onto. Incidentally, pretty sure there are better bike racks than ours.
On either Swift or its Eugene equivalent, was told they’d had prison workers design and build a much better set of bike equipment.
Also, for a mass casualty incident that still leaves LINK running, might be good to be able to quickly remove seats for stretcher and gurney space. When we finally get from Everett to Olympia, or even just Tacoma, maybe racks of bunks. If these didn’t work, not big deal to put the regular seats back. Also to experiment with other configurations.
Anyhow, I doubt any transit in Seattle has ever carried passenger loads like this. My guess is that after a year or so, like in other cities, passengers will have pretty much figured for themselves how to handle conditions necessary to justify subways. Though transit history indicates that a novel Second Amendment interpretation will rejuvenate.
Because before streetcars had pantographs, any close-by male passenger would only once try to put an unwanted hand on a very nearby lady. So watch for those beautiful piled up hairstyles to come back, and hats that would hold more than one nine inch long pin.
Also from that same period, see link for the real reason low-floor streetcars were invented.
The Siemens cars, and the 30 year old Bombardier cars, and the Skoda streetcars too, all have their sand boxes mounted under the seats over the trucks.
I’m not sure what they do on the 100% low floor stuff.
To say this is my busy time of year is an understatement. I am both advising Hilary Clinton and her campaign, and I am also advising US Olympic hopefuls in Brazil. But I am taking some time out bless this comment section with my thoughts on something.
If the headquarters of Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook relocated to Tukwila, and rents increased 200%, the problem wouldn’t be that there isn’t enough housing. The problem would be that those tech companies moved to town, so now Tukwilaonians … wait, Tukwilaites? … no … Tukwilans? Anyway, People who lived in Tukwila now have to move out of their own town.
I have a solution to this catastrophe that wouldn’t require building more housing. What’s the difference between an office and a home? Nothing. Maybe no showers. That’s it. Big deal. People can take a sink bath. So why can’t displaced people and the homeless move into tech offices? There’s plenty of space. Especially at night. The very people who displaced them will now house them. Ironic justice, no?
– Sam. The world’s most influential housing and transit expert.
I’ve seen the opposite.
The old Гостиница «Россия» in Moscow, before it was demolished, was really only able to make use of a fraction of its hundreds of rooms. (When it was built it was one of the largest hotels in the world, but only because Stalin wanted such a thing. There was no actual demand for that many hotel rooms.) So, when I stayed there, about 2/3 of the building was actually being used as small offices for various businesses that were just getting started with the concept of a free market. The rest of the building was used as hotel space, as originally intended.
Glenn, who would object to housing homeless people in Amazon’s or Microsoft’s offices? Homeless people sleep in churches, so why not offices? It’s unused space 16 hours a day.
16 hours a day? Sam, you’ve not worked in tech.
Um, er, ah, Scam. You’ve clearly never worked in an I/T company. Any given office/cubicle can be occupied at 2:30 AM on any given night, except perhaps Christmas Eve. So it’s probably not a good idea to depend on them for homeless shelters.
AP and Anandakos, you are both talking about the exceptions, not the rule. In most cases, they are in around 9 or 10 and out by 7. “Yeah, but Sam, I know people who are in at 9 AM and out at 9 PM! That’s a 12 hour day!” Again … try to follow along here … that is the exception. MOST tech workers have 8 to 9 hour days. The olden days of pulling all-nighters are over. The majority of the time, a tech office’s space goes unused. Homeless families could live there. You wouldn’t be against that, would you? Saving a homeless family’s life?
Tap 6 PM – 7 PM, board through front door after 7 PM – signs still up at off-board ORCA readers at Rapid Ride stops. Nobody knows about their stealth 24/7 All-Door-Boarding policy change. Great job, Metro!
It’s probably not that big of a deal, since uninformed passengers will end up just using the ORCA reader on the bus, which is always fine.
It would be a bigger issue if the policy was changing in the other direction, and they didn’t change the signs.
Wrong. Making a policy change and then not advertising it is a big deal. In my expert opinion, 95% of RR users doesn’t know about the 24/7 all-door policy, which causes unnecessary lines at the front door, delays, etc.
I’m with Sam here. It’s a significant change that will benefit all riders – including those already on the bus – if people know about it. Therefore, people should be informed.
The first bike-share death occurred in Chicago a few weeks ago. I will be monitoring this case for further developments. Divvy is run by CDOT.
Your text regarding the property in Seatac seems to diminish the seriousness of what happened. Let’s be frank, I think we all prefer TOD over a Park-and-Fly lot, but the ends do not justify the means. Laws. Just be followed.
The reason for all this shady (and probably illegal) activity was not good urban planning, it was pure and simple racism. The intent was to drive out Somali people. That is a racist goal, and not a goal that has anything to do with transit. The fact that the mayor had adjoining property that he hoped to profit from only makes the matter worse.
What happened in Seatac is something we all should be embarrassed by.
Yeah, I agree. It was absolutely horrific. That kind of corruption by government officials is terrible. It would be nice if the public officials did some jail time over this.
I thought the disputed parcel was in the north side of SeaTac, not the one at the station.
I had the same confusion reading the article – the property was in north SeaTac so the station being reference was TIBS, which is on the city line
Today is also the day that Willamette Week’s Dr. Know Tackled On-Street Parking with typical lack of tacts and not directly answering the question that was asked by the reader.
Quick Summary (one paragraph extract from the article):
So I wonder how many people blocking Car2Go access (see above) on Capitol Hill were actually visiting the neighborhood, and how many were actually residents storing their cars on the street because their garage was full of kayaks or something.
Did Bellevue just put the transportation levy on the ballot to let it be publicly killed? Or does it stand a chance? Do Seattlites even care what happens on the east side of the lake?
Do you know much about Bellevue? It has a decent chance of passing. People aren’t rabidly anti-tax or anti bike/ped. From the description it doesn’t do anything for transit though, which is a shame because Bellevue has an excellent transit master plan if it ever gets around to implementing it. But so far the only implementation seems to be as part of the road-widening projects around the Spring District.
However, the levy does raise a point. I didn’t think much about it; it’s like any old levy and Seattle also does that. But why is Bellevue putting bike/ped projects up a levy and a vote when it didn’t for the road proijects? Is it because they want to raise bonds for the bike/ped projects but they funded the road projects another way? Which other way was that? And isn’t this a microcosm of the state situation, where road projects go through by just a legislature vote, while transit projects have to go through a second vote by the people?
Mike, I know Bellevue fairly well, thank you : ) I’m actually afraid that it won’t pass. I don’t have anything more than a sneaky suspicion to back it up, though, so it’s reassuring to hear your (also unsupported) opinion.
Your second paragraph reinforces my fear. Bellevue funds the road projects as a matter of business, but puts ped/bike projects up to a public vote. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but it makes me wonder whether Bellevue put this one up to a vote so that people could reject it.
Yes, Seattites should care about what happens in their greater community, for the same reason I care about what happens in Seattle despite neither working nor living there. Development patterns & transportation projects in East King will dictate how many people will take transit into Seattle vs. driving themselves into the city. Each new unit of housing added in East King helps the housing shortage in King County as much as adding one in Seattle.
There are Eastsiders who follow this blog … as an Issaquah resident I’m delighted by the roundabouts and bike lanes in the transportation bond.
AJ, Seattlites should care, but the operative word is “should”. Reading over Mike Rosenberg’s AMA in Reddit today (https://www.reddit.com/r/Seattle/comments/4w01n4/i_spend_all_day_writing_about_soaring_housing) the thought struck me that Seattle is very, very insular. We don’t have newspapers (or blogs) that focus much on the Eastside. There’s this idea that Eastsiders will go to the West side–of course!–but Westsiders will never, ever need to go east for anything. The pervasiveness of that attitude reinforces the idea that any business or culture should locate itself on the west side, so that it can serve two markets.
I don’t actually think that this area cares about the greater regional community.
The point of Seattle is to be a dense, vibrant, resource-rich, happening modern city surrounded by wilderness which remains as wild and undeveloped as we can manage to keep it. So it’s not just indifference, it’s antipathy. The existence of the eastside is not simply irrelevant, it’s embarrassing; it’s a symbol of Seattle’s failure to keep itself contained. Seattle doesn’t want to know about “the region” because the growth of “the region” equals sprawl which equals Seattle’s failure to live up to its purpose.
I grew up in Bellevue and have relatives there. I first came to Seattle on my own in junior high on a #7 bus to The Record Library in the Broadway Arcade at Broadway & Denny in 1980. Neither the store nor its industry nor building exist today. (A record library was where you could rent a record and go home and tape it.) Soon I discovered the U-District with its record shops and bookstores and the Varsity repetory films and the Ave hangout, and the 43 and 71/72/73 buses along with my own one the 226. A couple summers later I ran into a friend whose family had moved to upper Queen Anne, so I followed him on the 2 there and found a different world: buses every 20 minutes! A grocery store within walking distance! Small-lot houses so you can easily visit several friends within walking distance! And a short walk to Seattle Center for Saturday evenings! When I turned 18 I moved to Seattle and never looked back. But I still went back to Bellevue to visit relatives and friends and I knew what their lives were like, what they expected, and what the existing transit could do for them. In the early 90s I spent weekends with a family in Mountlake Terrace and attended a church in north Lynnwood. And in the 90s I used to be afraid I’d have to get a job on the Eastside and it would have bad bus connections, so I was grateful in the 00s when jobs started increasing in Seattle. Still my suburban friends say Metro shouldn’t remove bus stops and all Link stations should have free parking so that people can use the train. I see how people are dependent on cars in the burbs because of the land use.
People ignore the suburbs because they don’t want to think about it; they don’t want to be in that kind of land use, and have inconvenient walks and long bus waits, or (horrors) have to get a car. And more people travel to Seattle for recreation than go the other way. There are no Capitol Hills or Ballards or Pike Place Markets or baseball stadiums in the suburbs.
And just as suburbanites believe obsolete stereotypes about Rainier Valley, Seattlites believe obsolete stereotypes about Bellevue and Redmond. They aren’t bedroom communities anymore; they’re like Oakland or St Paul, a pair-city area. The reverse commute to the Eastside is equal or larger than the traditonal commute. Because they developed later they’re more car-oriented and large-scaled. But they’re not nearly as depressing as parts of Dallas or southern California that have six-lane arterials every mile. And their future direction looks like a corridor of density along East Link and then back south to Crossroads. South King County and Snohomish County are still mostly bedroom communities, except for the industrial jobs.
Those who know only Seattle should at least get to know the suburbs and talk to people and understand life from their perspective. They are 3/4 of the population and votes and representatives, so what they want is what’s going to happen.
As to “Seattle’s failure to keep itself contained”; that’s a regional fault. Seattle was giddy about I-5 and 520; they were going to be the bright transportation future promised in the Century 21 exhibit. The 1980s documentary posted here one Sunday described several models for urban growth: concentration in Seattle, “metro towns” (satellite cities), or “corridors” (parallel linear developments), all surrounded by countryside. It said that the metro town model won: that was the seed for the growth of Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Issaquah, etc. But what they failed to do was preserve the green space around the cities. Single-family house just sprawled into the entire area. It’s hard to see how they couldn’t understand that subdivisions everywhere is not countryside. But in the 1950s people used the word “country” and “country house” for what we’d call suburban and a quarter-acre lot. Faux rural.
About when would you expect ST to announce the opening date for Angle Lake Station? I’ve wanted to visit Seattle for a while, and a light rail opening party would be an excellent occasion for doing so. But if they’re not going to announce the opening date until a week before, buying airfare and asking off work would be tricky.
Last I heard they’re going to announce it soon. So maybe a the next board meeting, Aug 25. But I wouldn’t try to schedule a visit for it; it’s likely to be a disappointment. It’s only a mile extension to a suburban P&R. That;s liiterally the least interesting part of Link. If you haven’t seen the U-Link extension, that and its vicinity is several times more interesting and you can see it anytime.
Yeah, and they have promised no more big celebrations thanks to the yelling over at Seattle Times, so chances are opening ceremonies will be like the First Hill Streetcar: suddenly trains are opening their doors for people.
If you’re going to title the post “November’s Ballot” you need to link to Sightline’s excellent three-part dive into the effects and critiques of I-732!
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