King Street Station and Union Station at night

This is an open thread.

74 Replies to “News Roundup: Busking”

      1. Highway projects definitely have Buy America provisions if there is federal funding. FHWA and FTA have slightly different criteria but both have Buy America policies.

    1. Glenn, if we could get some PCC streetcars and a couple of Electroliners from St. Louis Car Company…wouldn’t it be worth it?


      1. The Portland Vintage Trolley cars (two of which remain in service at Willamette Shore Trolley) are Chicago El car underframes and electrical equipment, and illustrate the point I think. Those cars, while “subway” cars and not streetcars, were essentially PCC streetcars with a subway car body.

        Everything inside the electrical enclosures is 32 volts DC. You can occasionally get stuff like that these days, but it is exceptionally difficult. It isn’t a common voltage any more.

        In the area I work in (electrical equipment, usually not the traction power equipment) we could use National Electric Code (USA) equipment. However, this stuff is huge, and is really designed for stationary industrial equipment.

        We can get really good electrical equipment that will withstand the rigors of the railroad environment, but the closest distributor is in eastern Canada.

        Most of the stuff that we use in terms of contactors and switches are made in compliance with the International Electric Code rather than NEMA / NEC, which produces a much smaller device and thus is better able to fit in the limited confines of a railroad car. Furthermore, equipment from ABB or similar is specifically designed to resist vibration in railroad equipment, while it is extremely difficult to find shelf material from the USA that will withstand the railroad environment.

        The problem is that most manufacturers in the USA have done the “race to the bottom” thing, where equipment is made very cheaply. This makes it quite hard to find material that will withstand the railroad environment because overly designed equipment from decades past won’t work in a market that rewards cheaply made products.

        IBEG is a manufacturer of sand boxes for traction control, and is probably what you will find in most light rail cars here. They are certainly what you will find in Siemens light rail cars. They make a nice product, but they had to build a manufacturing plant in Ohio that is used from time to time to manufacture their equipment for light rail cars. Our relatively small market for light rail cars means that production operations are expensive relative to what could be done at the main assembly plant in Europe.

        Air conditioning compressors: the Carlyle O6D has been the standard on North American passenger cars since the 1950s. Scroll compressors are more common today, but the cheaper ones for stationary use generally don’t work too well in railroad cars. Horizontal scrolls from Copeland are available, but generally are difficult to obtain if you aren’t part of their network. Bitzer is a German company and recently established manufacturing ability here, but the limited production capacity means prices are pretty high. An awful lot of operations seem to prefer just sticking with the Carlyle O6D from the 1950s.

        Air conditioning blowers: There’s some good stuff out there, but unfortunately the two best manufacturers are in Europe with no manufacturing facilities here. As with the electrical equipment, much of what is available off the shelf here is designed for stationary use in buildings and would not survive the railroad industry too well.

        As someone who works in the industry building this stuff here, on the surface I certainly don’t mind seeing the requirement increased. However, it will also increase overall prices and prices for rail transit equipment is already awfully high here. Overall gains may be had by instead of increasing the requirements to instead allowing equipment that is already available elsewhere to be used here. The limited funds could be used to build better systems if the equipment were available at a lower price.

      2. Is there any way to ease this contradiction? On the one hand, Buy American, American jobs and profits. On the other hand, American companies don’t see a large enough domestic market for trains to create or license world-standard technology and build it. Isn’t there even one Congressman who cares about this?

    1. Nice to see European style LRVs in those renderings. For $2.5b it better be in a pristine dedicated surface ROW.

    2. That BQX streetcar idea in NYC is beyond stupid. I say that as someone who currently lives in Brooklyn and works in Queens.

      1. Not as stupid as our streetcars. As I see it, streetcars have one main advantages, and lots of disadvantages:

        1) They can be very big, which enables them to carry more riders per trip.
        2) They can’t go up hills.
        3) They can’t avoid obstacles, whether temporary (a car in the wrong place) or long term (construction).
        4) Building stops is expensive (the bigger the streetcar, the more expensive).
        5) They are a hazard to bicyclists. This is especially true when the route makes a curve (which is common in this city, as we have a lot of diagonal streets).

        Of course, existing infrastructure makes a huge difference. I seriously doubt that Toronto would add streetcars right now if they didn’t have them. But they have them, and converting to buses would be expensive. For some cities (like Seattle and New York) it is the opposite.

        Anyway, the funny thing is, there are probably only a handful of places where the added size of the streetcar pays off. New York is one of those places. Seattle is not. Making matters worse, Seattle’s streetcars are not significantly larger than our articulated buses. Thus we get every disadvantage (big time, since we have so many hills) but without the advantages.

  1. I would like to give an example of how I am a hero and role model. The other day, while waiting for my bus at the transit center, I saw a piece of trash on the ground. And even though there were many other people around me, only I bent down and picked it up and put it in the recycling can.

    People, be the change you want to see in the world.

    1. It really does help if we all make a little effort.

      I know a woman who cleans up the streets between her home and work every day. She brings along a grocery bag and varies her route so that she can make a bigger impact. And what does she get for her efforts? Sometimes people chuck stuff at her.

    2. I do a bit of that — I did more when I lived on a particularly litter-filled block, and then later when I lived just off Dexter and people kept breaking beer bottles into the bike lanes.

      I owe all my civic-mindedness to Sam, of course — if he hadn’t continued to break those beer bottles I’d have had nothing to do! Of course I never saw Sam do it, but the act was marked by Sam’s trademark cosmopolitan streak: the beers had names in seven different languages!

    3. I not only picked up a torn shirt I found on the sidewalk while walking home from work one afternoon, but I later used the shirt In a quilt I made for my sister-in-law’s dog. Top that, Sam!

    4. I’m a little more mercenary. I pick up coins. So far, I pick up, on average, about $6/month. $9 more/month and I can pay my expected share of ST3.

      1. I pick up coins, too. Before ORCA cards, the sidewalks around bus stops were a good place to look, but now, not so much.

  2. The monorail could be extended down 5th avenue, and then up madison to give service to first hill. That would be a way better solution than the streetcar, and far cheaper than building another subway up madison.

    Monorail could run up queen anne hill, and maybe over to seattle pacific university. Streetcar and light rail on the other hand can’t really run up a hill that steep.

    It feels like it’s a better alternative to the streetcars for. Light rail still is ideal because we can build a big regional network out of it, and have junctions and subways. Monorail could fill in the gaps with some high traffic local routes at a lower cost. Not because monorail is intrinsically cheaper, but because doing elevated is cheaper than digging a tunnel.

    1. Brendan, walk down Fifth from Seattle Center to Westlake Center. And then keep walking south toward Madison, where the airspace above the street starts to narrow south of Pine. And then turn up Madison. By the time you get to Boren, let alone Broadway, I think you’ll see problem with elevated transit in Seattle CBD, and adjoining neighborhoods.

      Also, the cost of structural engineering can vary widely between one block and another. And the higher the track is elevated, and the heavier the load. the deeper the column footings need to be. Encountering not only dirt, but utilities like electricity, water, and sewers.

      The Seattle Center Monorail serves its decades-old purpose very well. It’s the building elevator between Downtown Seattle and Seattle Center. But to serve its purpose, it also needs to be incorporated into the the rest of the transit system, schedules, connections, communications, and all.

      Meantime, check out the Tenth Floor Reading Room at the Downtown library. I know they’ve got some worthwhile reports on the Downtown Seattle Transit Project. Maybe there’s some monorail material too. Pretty sure the last effort left behind some engineering stuff after they shut down.


    2. ST3’s subway through SLU & Uptown should eliminate the need for a monorail – at that point the monorail will be so old it should probably be torn down. (will people advocate for it to be turn into the “next high line”???)

      We should certainly integrate it better into the existing network, but the monorail should be viewed as a stopgap piece of infrastructure until Link makes it to the Seattle Center in ~15 years, not a cornerstone that should leveraged for expansion. The monorail is a Gadgetbahn:

      FWIW, I don’t understand why ST didn’t look at an elevated line from SoDO to SLU as an alternative to the 2nd tunnel, and I’m hoping that analysis comes up as a part of the EIS for the tunnel. However, that elevated line should most certainly be a light rail line fully compatible with the rest of the network, not a niche technology.

    3. Oh the monorail. That beloved, yet outdated piece of transportation. We seem to be on a 5-10 year cycle of “extend the monorail”, no wait “don’t extend the monorail”. It makes for good popcorn munching.

    4. From a 10,000-foot view it seems like it would be way cheaper to extend it than to build something new… but then it doesn’t take much extension before you need more than two trains, and if you have more than two trains you can’t get by with literally no switching like we’ve been doing…

      Well, you could get by without switching if the route was a loop, but you’d still have to shut down the whole line whenever any train needed maintenance. So now you add a maintenance facility. That’s a bit harder than a streetcar maintenance facility because it has to be elevated and monorails aren’t great at switching.

      I do think if we were building transit with any urgency we’d do more elevated rail…

      1. Monorail switching is not a show-stopper; it’s typically a bit more expensive and the engineering a bit more tricky than with rails. It’s a drawback, but in my view relatively minor unless one is designing extensive rail yards. Crossovers are trickier, too, in that they would probably not be passive tracks as they are with conventional railroads; but monorails are not yet ubiquitous enough to have too worry much about those.

        Any extension of Seattle’s monorail system would require new train sets, though, and maybe even a rebuild of the existing mile-long set of tracks to incorporate modern monorail technology and safety design. But we’re undoubtedly a long way off from anything like that happening around here.

      2. My guess is extending it would be extremely expensive. If you extend it south, you get into redundant service (with the transit tunnel). This means a better one stop experience, but that is about it. You also have to dodge buildings pretty quickly. I think extending it north would be very difficult. You might be able to work your way through the Seattle Center, then down Thomas. But Thomas is not a very wide street. Plus you would have to start out very low, then go very high as you hit Mercer (although I don’t know, maybe monorails can climb hills better than trains). That intersection there (Mercer and Thomas) would be a huge challenge. There is a big pedestrian bridge there (which would have to be cleared) followed by a sharp turn between two buildings. It might work, but I have a feeling that it wouldn’t (which is why ST in general went with underground).

        If we are going to make a substantial capital investment, I would put the money into improving the connection between the monorail and Link. It isn’t that great right now. It doesn’t help that Link is underground and the monorail is above ground, but that seems to be normal for our system (e. g. Husky Stadium). I really haven’t made that trip, but I can’t help but think that a substantial investment (better elevators, maybe a moving walkway) could make that connection a lot faster.

      3. Along with accepting the ORCA, I’d like to see a Belltown station placed more or less midway along the line. This would provide access to a very dense area that will otherwise be skipped by HCT even in ST3, for the cost of a station. Ross is right about directly connecting to Link–someway that elevator in Westlake Center could be beefed up/made more inviting would help. I’d think that somewhat moribund mall would really appreciate the additional large numbers of people that would be encouraged to ride the Monorail.

        (it would also be nice to extend the Monorail, if only a bit, to the edge of the Center grounds at the Lower QA business district, but that is much more expensive and complicated than adding a station to the existing line and improving the transfer abilities to Link at Westlake)

  3. The Monorail is years overdue to become part of the same City agency that runs the streetcars. Metro used to drive it. What would it involve, and cost, to turn the beaten up carnival ride it’s become into a badly-needed part of Seattle’s transit system? With ORCA even less of a -brainer.

    But Mr. Mass, I’d advise you not to blame those of us who voted for Ralph Nader for the second Bush Administration. Who were massively outnumbered by the Democrats who didn’t vote at all. Rag on the 537 voters of the the Vice President’s own party unable to let loose enough from their noses to drop a ballot.

    And prove there’d be no chance of getting our country into a repeat of the Viet Nam one, much worse than Iraq. 57,000 dead US soldiers and all. If the Democrats are as desperate to hold onto office in 2020 as Lyndon Johnson was in 1964. Or show me one Green Party member of Congress who voted to authorize the Iraq war. No matter how sorry they were when they ran for President this year.

    Prove Mr. Gore wouldn’t have re-written the 1994 Crime Bill to incarcerate the rest of our country’s African American population for littering or eating on the subway. Or removing whatever pathetic regulatory scraps on the banks after the Glass-Steagall Act got proudly signed away by a President neither Green nor Republican.

    Or if you’d been sitting in the car beside me this morning, listening to the present Democratic Presidential candidate loudly out-both-bellligerize-and-out-stupidize her opponent in an ISIS-related promise it’ll take another carpet of dead draftees to not deliver.

    The last 52 years since I watched on TV Lyndon Johnson sign us into the war that’s left us damaged to this day have left my vote subject to one experience-proven conclusion: The only thing worse than a right-wing nut-job in the White House is a liberal Democrat afraid of one.

    So one more disrespectful word about Ralph, Cliff, I’ll write you in. To get blamed yourself for any result, including if the winner is a breed of cat that’ll shed all over the White House sofa before she tears it up like she just did all the toilet paper. And every seat on the first DC streetcar the Secret Service lets her dash yowling onto.

    You’re right about the Olympics wind-shadowing Olympia, though. Summers of stagnant air, hotter than Hell.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Yeah I’m tired of people blaming the Greens for the incompetence of the DNC. They aren’t entitled to my vote just because they claim to be leftists (their actions speak otherwise). Imagine if to win the election Democrats pandered to the Greens instead of moderate Republicans? We’d have a much better Democratic party.

      1. McGovern. Incremental improvements are the way to gradually bring the majority of Americans along. Republicans are now fearing Trump will cause a Goldwater moment. If Bernie had gotten the nomination there’s a serious chance we might have had a McGovern moment. In 1992 I voted for the Libertarian and my dad, whom I partly got my libertarianism from, voted for Clinton. I said, “You voted for the statist??!” He said, “He was the least bad of the bunch.” In 2000 while Washingtonians were voting Green, I voted Libertarian. Then I saw G W Bush pursue half the libertarian agenda while ignoring the other half and I thought, “That’s not good.” Then he tried to torpedo the remaining social safety net after the dotcom crash and replace it with religion and corporatism and I thought, “We’ve got to slow down and preserve what we have and take things more carefully.” That was my break with the libertarians. At first I just allied with the Democrats because they were the biggest force that could turn things around, but then more of my ideas aligned and went beyond to a Scandinavian-style system (aka a Bernie system). Finally I understood what my dad meant in 1992, that it’s good to pick the least bad from the two parties, because voting for a third party will not help and the result could be something much worse, a major step backward like we had in 2000-2008, and it would have been worse in 2008-2016 as the R’s got more extreme. and now it could be even more worse in 2016-2024.

      2. The Greens think that anti-vaccine stuff is fine (it isn’t because lower vaccination rates kill people) and believe in all sorts of other woo. We should pander to Bernie Democrats, not Greens.

    2. “But Mr. Mass, I’d advise you not to blame those of us who voted for Ralph Nader for the second Bush Administration. Who were massively outnumbered by the Democrats who didn’t vote at all.”

      Mr. Dublin, I could not have said it better myself. At our Democratic precinct caucus site, the highest turnout from any precinct was 27, and this was for a precinct with 800 registered voters. I would estimate that our precinct is maybe 35% to 40% left-leaning, so we should have had around 300 people show up. Another precinct (one that is smaller but leans more liberal/progressive) had a turnout of 3, and several only had 4. Voter turnout in the 2000 General Election was 50%. We haven’t had voter turnout in a presidential General Election over 60% since 1968. The 2.74% of voters who showed up to vote for Nader (approximately 1.87% of registered voters) cannot be blamed for Gore’s loss. Only Gore, the DNC, and the 49.7% of voters who never even bothered to show up can be blamed for that. We need to stop blaming election results on people who actual bother voting their conscience.

      Maybe our system of voting needs a reform that would allow people to actually vote their conscience with the reassurance that their second and third choice candidates would still be viable if their first choice loses. Nevada and Maine are on the forefront of this movement, and Washington should consider something similar:

      1. SeaStrap, neglecting the 10% caucus turnout, do you have a clever/snarky rebuttal for the sub-60% turnout for the General?

      2. Interesting – I live in the only Seattle precinct to go R in 2012 (none did in 2008) and we had 16 people attend the D caucus this year; I didn’t live there in 2012. The other precincts meeting at Montlake CC literally packed the gym; at least one precinct ended up meeting outside.

  4. So I notice that on the 545, there are some odd deviations from the main route at certain times and directions only. It stops on Bellevue and Olive eastbound mornings only, while it stops at Overlake TC westbound afternoons only. There are no equivalent eastbound trips that also stop at Overlake TC, or westbound trips that stop on Bellevue and Olive. What is with that sporadic and inconsistent change from the route? Is there a real reason to have such weird deviations without equivalent return service?

    1. The eastbound freeway stop at SR 520 and 40th is right at the back side of Overlake TC, with an easy sidewalk down from the freeway ramp, so there’s no need to divert there eastbound.

      Bellevue and Olive is a problem with no easy solution, given that ST has inexcusably refused to build a Link stop there. Serving it in either direction at rush hour (and still serving Westlake) requires a circuitous slow route; I think ST serves it eastbound only given that it’s a couple blocks faster in that direction.

      Both one-direction stops, of course, are only served at certain times of the day due to the Microsoft commute.

      1. Interesting. But it’s hard to take seriously the claim that ST not putting a Link stop there is inexcusable. I saw a presentation about U-Link a few months back, and by far the hardest part of construction was tunneling under I-5 (and not the ship canal). The tunnel pretty much had to be perpendicular to the freeway, which alone makes a Bellevue and Olive Link station impossible. At Bellevue Ave, the Link tracks sit right between Union and Pike street (as per google maps).

      2. Certainly; I’m not advocating a Link stop on that one exact corner. I’m saying there should have been one somewhere in that neighborhood between Westlake and Capitol Hill Station.

    2. The Bellevue Ave. deviation was specifically requested over a period of several years by multiple people, and was eventually instituted by ST. The stop is well-used while the deviation is in effect. There isn’t really a viable route to have an equivalent inbound deviation; you’d have to do a huge loop via Boren, Olive, Bellevue, and Denny, which is a ton of left turns and would add multiple minutes.

      The PM inbound Overlake TC deviation has to do with both stop accessibility (not making everyone walk to the west side of the NE 40th ramps) and bus and passenger congestion at the NE 40th flyer stop; the flyer stop simply isn’t that large and doesn’t really accommodate two articulated coaches, much less the high rider density (together Overlake TC/NE 40th are the highest use stops on the 545), so the deviation is arguably necessary for bus operational requirements (coach congestion at stops), passenger safety and comfort (rider congestion at stops), and access (better walkshed coverage and transit integration with Overlake TC deviation).

      There’s no reason to have a morning deviation into Overlake TC as the outbound flyer stop is directly adjacent to the TC.

      1. The OTC is necessary in the afternoon for the simple reason that the freeway station doesn’t have enough waiting area space to properly handle the crowds. The number of people that get on at OTC in the afternoons is huge – enough for the line to actually overflow bay 4 into bay 3.

        Riders who wish to bypass the OTC deviation can do so by riding the 542 into Seattle and transferring to Link to go downtown.

  5. This article is many months old, but I thought it interesting. I don’t think it was reported here. I don’t remember seeing it anyway:

    What cities in the USA have The Best Public Transit System based on numbers.

    Seattle ranked #6.
    Portland was at #11
    Houston was at #23.

    My your deity of choice help whoever is last.

    1. Frantically pawing (you’ll see why in a second) through religious history, I think Tri-Met’s Tilikum project is still supervised by an Indian deity named Hanuman.

      Whose resume includes a civil engineering project where monkeys probably let out an earsplitting screech, and then assembled themselves into a bridge and won a world-saving battle. But their contract specifically states that if funding for bananas gets cut back, they all get to bite you.

      Word to State Legislatures everywhere. But Ballard is gearing up with two Norse deities, Thor and Loki, known to bill work time for locking each other up and getting even by letting a giant wolf eat the sun. MUNI Boeing Vertol streetcars their first joint effort.

      See, Thor, whose geothermal forge is on an Icelandic volcano, is the god of the PCC, and Loki is the god of whatever car builder has the flakiest electronics. After he shook the wolf-slobber off the sun, Thor probably sent him to Sicily to work for Breda.

      Also pertinent that Loki is also the Lord of the iPad. Somebody just pissed him off so he threw the headphones down the volcano too. His domain is also ORCA cards. Reason Ballard didn’t make ST-3.


      1. AJ, yes, Buffalo and Cleveland are old, pre-war. Cleveland has a rail system–has had it for many years and has built one new line in the past few decades. Buffalo has a single rail line, but it’s well-located. But the point isn’t when the cities grew. It’s about how good the transit systems are. My point is that some relatively small cities–like Buffalo and Cleveland–beat out some cities that should be able to afford mass transit.

        So when Glenn in Portland says “god help those who are last”, I object. My point is that even being on this list is a very good thing. Even if the list is inaccurate. These are cities with some sort of mass transit. Sure, Cleveland and Buffalo don’t have shiny new light rail trains like Portland Max and Sound Transit. But they’ve got transit. God bless them.

    2. I disagree. I’ve never ridden on Buffalo’s transit system but according to Wikipedia, they are the 78th largest city in the US. That implies to me that their transit system (listed at #25 here) is about 53 spots better than it should be if you assume that a city’s size corresponds in some way to its transit facilities.

      I have taken trains and busses in Cleveland, (#24 on the transit list, #51 on the US largest cities list) and I can tell you that the transit in Cleveland is a heck of a lot better than the (almost non-existent) transit in Columbus, which doesn’t even appear on this list.

      1. Yes, I’m not convinced that trying to convert “best” transit system into something measured by numbers really works too well. Obviously, the recent issues at Washington Metro didn’t knock them down below systems that, say, don’t have occasional smoke filled tunnels.

        Columbus doesn’t appear on the list because they are apparently not in the top 25.

      2. Sorry–due in part to this incredibly flexible and intuitive blogging software, my comment above is the one I meant to have below :)

      3. “But the point isn’t when the cities grew. It’s about how good the transit systems are.”

        The point is that when the cities grew is why they have a good transit system vs a barely-existing one.The pre-WWII systems were comprehensive because not a lot of people had cars. Cities that kept their pre-WWII system and modernized it. Cities that dismantled it or let it attrition have bad service. And cities that grew after WWII have even less because not only is their transit infrequent and skeletal, but they have historic memory of comprehensive transit to revive, and they invariably built their cities with car-dependent superblocks and cul-de-sacs.

      4. There are other points–your point about pre-WWII systems is correct, although economic inequality played heavily into Cleveland’s transit system being comprehensive only on the east side.

        But my point was that we shouldn’t feel sorry for the last city on this list, as Glenn in Portland implied we should. The last city on this list has a train. That’s not bad. Lots of cities don’t.

    3. Average commute time for public transit users in Newark is 54 minutes. That is absolutely insane!

    4. Glenn, about “Buy (Anything!) American.” Three thoughts. One, good I’m not the only one who thinks that. Two, most horrible news in the world that I’m not the only one who thinks that. Especially since you generally know what you’re talking about.

      Three, at heart, the United States of America has never been a military power, nor wanted to be. Our real strength has always been our extraordinary multi-ethnic national unity, coupled with our manufacturing ability- the muscle, heart, and brains behind our military.

      Somebody who’s been a soldier, tell me. What Glenn says about streetcar parts- does this also hold for our weapons? If so, ISIS can relax. We’re licked. Doubt that’s classified.

      Mark Dublin

    5. Interesting article — thanks for the reference. I would quibble about some of the conclusions, but overall it looks pretty accurate. It is hard to put New York anywhere but first place, but top five is fine.

      I would give more weight to the percentage of trips (not just commuting trips) taken by transit. My guess is New York dominates in this area.

      I think part of what makes it difficult is the comparison between transit and driving. I do give them credit, though, for even having it (some only rank cities by ridership). The problem is that people may be taking drives when they make sense, and taking the train when it makes sense. So someone who spends a half hour commuting by car may be going from Queens to their job in Hempstead, while someone who spends forty minutes on the train may be going into Manhattan. I suppose you could argue that this means that New York needs to improve its transit system* by building more lines (lines that would make that car trip better by train) but that would simply reduce the number of commuter car trips. Eventually you probably end up with a small percentage of commuter trips by car, even though those might be relatively short (a teacher who drives to a nearby neighborhood school). You could argue that you are already approaching that number right now, as only 43% commute by car. At what point can you say that you’ve built an ideal pubic transit system? When 70% of the people use it? 80%, 90%?

      In an ideal world you would calculate all trips taken within the city, then figure out how long it would take to drive it versus transit. That trip to Long Island would still be in there (and still be much shorter by car) but since not many people are taking that trip, it wouldn’t matter much. That sort of data is probably way too hard to gather.

      * As good as New York’s transit system is, improving it would be extremely cost effective. It is just the nature of the area (huge numbers of people as well as an existing system that can be leveraged). New Yorker’s have hesitated to make important transit investments even though they know very well how effective they would be (far more effective than just about anything any city could build). Such improvements will be very popular, but they also have other big problems to deal with (health and human services, police, employment, etc.).

      1. I’m not fond of their emphasis on employment trips either.

        I’ve been told that for each unit of housing built, it generates 7 additional car trips a day on the street. That’s more than commuter trips.

        Another bit of measurement: how long does it take for the agency to respond to questions or complaints?

  6. Warning: Joe venting

    Here goes…

    I need to warn you guys I just heard last night sitting alert – and using Todd E. Herman to keep awake – that Representative Jesse Young is planning to take away ST3 authority. Even though his constituents use Sound Transit services and his district isn’t in the Sound Transit district.

    So for those of you on the fence about ST3, consider this is a rude awakening: If you want more transit, vote FOR ST3. If you want to help Jesse Young’s political career along while his constituents benefit from Sound Transit but don’t live in the district… oh please vote NO on ST3.

    In other news, the Washington Policy Center parroted today Kemper Freeman’s unsigned Congestion21 report – or something like that. You want Kemper Freeman who won’t sign his own website and Jesse Young to win? Please vote NO on ST3.

    As far as me: GO SOUND TRANSIT!

  7. I’ve seen some tortured analogies on this blog, but the comparison of opponents of I-732 to those of us who voted for Ralph Nader is definitely a head-scratcher.

    Nader was the underdog speaking truth to power, in a rigged system. The I-732 campaign team is the underdog, trying to up-end a rigid system, and includes known Nader supporters in its leadership. (Perhaps the opposition is using the opportunity to get payback against said leadership, but climate change is just too important for petty power politics.)

    The system is still rigged, so shame on the Democratic Party for doing nothing since 2000 to install ranked choice voting. Some individual legislators, bucking the party machine, voted for various ranked choice voting bills during the debate that followed the overturning of the blanket primary. Among them were then state-representative Joe McDermott, then state-senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles and then-state-senator Dow Constantine. They put the service in public service. Others who stood in the way have no leg to stand on when blaming those of us voting for Jill Stein if Hillary Clinton loses. You could support more open election systems as an alternative to “the spoiler problem”. You won’t.

    That said, if Hillary loses in Washington State, she’ll lose handily nationwide. Bashing of voting Green in the presidential race in Washington State suggests having missed the civics lesson on how the Electoral College works. (I’m talking about you, DS.) Indeed, it was a sad farce when some formerly Green-supported elected officials took to the streets to denounce Nader and beg Seattleites not to vote for him, when it didn’t freakin’ matter. But one of those elected officials narrowly lost her council re-election race, with most Nader supporters I knew sitting that race out. She was an awesome pro-housing councilmember ahead of her time, and she threw away her career over her lack of understanding of the Electoral College, and her decision to skip an important budget session to demonstrate her lack of understanding of how we don’t elect the PotUS.

    Some I-732 opponents have promised an alternative climate change policy if I-732 goes down. That tactic is most analogous to those opposing ST3 who pretend to support bus rapid transit, but will not lift a finger to help bus rapid transit once trains are no longer on the ballot. The consequences of waiting to build more high-capacity transit, based on fictitious alternative plans, are serious. The consequences of delaying action on climate change (with not much evidence we’ll get another shot at it as good as I-732) are even more serious.

    Vote your heart and your head. Vote Yes on I-732. Global warming has to be stopped … in our lifetime.

  8. Nice to see the Unions out this year. Would Sound Transit funding dry up if there was another recession?

  9. Am I the only person concerned about the use of the term “accident” instead of “collision” in the sponsored post?

    1. Except for those fringe cases where a driver intends to cause a collision (we could call those ‘intentionals’), ‘accident’ is an adequate synonym.

      1. Considering they’re built into the way we design roadways and cities, are they accidents? If this were a war these casualties would be called “acceptable losses”, the number of people killed or injured is baked into designs that intend to keep vehicle speeds high. Add to that speeding, inattention, cell phones, drunk driving, etc., and it seems generous to call them accidents.

        Even the AP is recommending not to use the term accident.

      2. Good point! Let’s go one step further and spend time and energy adding the changing of ‘accident’ to ‘collision’ in Seattle’s Zero Vision…I mean Vision Zero. I already feel safer! Of course, like all the other ‘safety improvements’ in Vision Zero, it will go unenforced and be pretty much worthless. Seems like our efforts should instead be used to make our infrastructure safer.

        @DrewJ: In all seriousness, I would term a car crash, where one person is DUI, as a ‘crime’.

    2. This is such a silly position. It’s an accident in that it is an unexpected and unintended occurrence resulting in damage. The very definition of accident includes the possibility of negligence.

      1. No. It’s not silly. The technical definition of the word does include the possibility of negligence… But the word also plays into perceptions: leaving more to chance and less responsibility on the driver or the roadway design.
        There’s a reason why WSDOT, SDOT, SPD, and even the AP all use the words “crash,” “collision,” and “incident” instead.
        The term “accident” is becoming more of a term used only in marketing. Car insurance companies call events accidents because they don’t want to shame their (potential) customers. It sounds worse to “cause a collision” than to “have an accident.” Lawyers love accidents because it puts the blame on someone else–not their clients.

      2. Yes, advocates have successfully pressured some folks to change usage, but that doesn’t make the position any less silly. And you’re wrong about the AP. While the Associated Press did indeed recently bow to such pressure, it still only precludes the use of accident when there is actual negligence. The New York Times still uses both crash and accident, as does the Washington Post. So, not exactly resigned to the world of marketers and insurance companies at all.

        It only plays into perceptions of those who lack a solid grasp of the language. This is a solution in search of problem.

      3. So, a personal injury lawyer who uses the term “accident” is weakening the emotional appeal of their case. Our sponsor just got his money’s worth with this pro bono advice.

      4. I can see it now. At the end of the year, we’ll have “Deadly Crashes up 25%” instead of “Deadly Accidents up 25%” and we’ll feel all warm and cozy inside, knowing we’ve made a difference in the world.

  10. I’d hate to be the KC Metro safety officer who has to read the accident report I think we’re looking at.
    Though from the looks of the screen this morning, first responders will have the scene taped off for awhile.

    Somebody that knows- what’s happened and what can we do about it? Starting with, whom do we contact for instructions?

    Mark Dublin

  11. A sponsored ad for a personal injury lawyer? :-(

    Maybe you need to make a more impassioned plea for donations.

  12. The monorail takes cash only-like a pot dealer. Why would they take pennies from ORCA? People happily pay $2.25 for the fastest ride anyone will ever get from the Science Center to Westlake…with the best view and get off with a smile.

    Does that ever happen in the tomb known as Link? Or the coffins known as Metro/ST buses? No.

    Seattle has, in it’s backyard, the best system every devised to move people through densly populated areas..that actually make people happy. And by the way, it’s cheaper than the tomb.

    But…the monorail agency, made crooked by unions and politicians early on…hosed it up. Yet, ST trudges on making holes in the ground….essentially making bunkers…and easily flooded tubes. Yay.

    The monorail could easily run from Westlake to Pike’s Place Market with a station right there. Tourists want to go from the Science Center, to the Waterfront and back. And..would happily pay cash for it. Tourists don’t go to the tomb or go to the coffins. They want to ride about it all!

    Is it the rain that makes people avoid the best decision?

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