31 Replies to “Podcast #25: Christmas Tree”

    1. That “troll” is absurd for at least 2 reasons.

      1) If there are 3 people in your household, for example, you only need one subscription to the Times, which all three people could share, so it would only cost that household one yearly subscription. That same household would have to pay three times as much for ST3, because each individual would have to pay the yearly amount.

      3) Only people who actually get the Seattle Times delivered to them have to pay for it. EVERYONE has to pay for ST3, even the vast majority of taxpayers who will never use the infrastructure in ST3.

      How would you feel about having to pay $165 (or whatever it is) per year to the Seattle Times if you did not ever receive the paper, just so those who do receive the paper would have a lower subscription price?

      Should everyone in the Seattle area have to pay a yearly subscription to the Seattle Times, even if they don’t want it and don’t get it?

      1. “Most drivers won’t use most state highways in Washington, but we rightfully have to pay for them all…”

        I would be happy to rightfully pay for highways i don’t use if everyone could vote on a tax increase.

      2. I’ve used every last mile of them and would like to thank all of you. (I’d also like to give you some more trains and buses in return, even in places I don’t go.) ;-)

      3. “EVERYONE has to pay for ST3”

        The issue it was addressing is affordability, not mandatoryness. The opponents have been saying it will wreck the region’s economy and become an albatross, the biggest tax we’ve ever had and larger than the state’s budget. Meanwhile the Seattle Times has been charging this for years and it hasn’t wrrecked the economy. As for mandatoryness, there are other basic city things that are mandatory: police, fire, 911, libraries, courts, parks, SDOT, etc. A well-functioning city needs all of them, not all except one. If we had started building it in 1970 it would be cheaper and and done now and we could be voting on the sixth line rather than the third. But we didn’t build high-capacity transit when we built up our metropolitan area and the population increased so now we have to retrofit it.

  1. You do not address another reason for the Ballard to UW line– it can be built (and operational) much faster than 17 years required by Ballard to downtown (plus whatever Bertha-lite struggles might occur going over/under the Ship Canal). I think if Ballard to DT could be built sooner, you would get less pushback. I say this even though I live near the proposed Ballard station and work right near University Street station.

    1. Do you have any schematics of what Ballard-UW would look like as a free-standing line, including the operations and maintenance base box?

      1. Do I have the schematics? no, but this is discussed on the Peanut Butter post that it can be done reasonably easily (see Ross B.’s and othes’ post). I can play the logistics game too– are we certain that going over or under the ship canal can be done on time? (Mark Dublin has raised some issues about soils IIRC)

        The point of my post is a political point— is that ST3 is “a hold our nose and vote for it” for Ballard residents with some grumbling that “West Seattle fought hard against density and they get light rail sooner. Maybe we should keep [unsuccessfully] fighting every effort in redevelopment.”

        If you could build Ballard to downtown in 10 years– you would lose some of the Ballard to UW deadenders/diehards.

    2. Construction timeline detail. The Ballard project doesn’t start for several years so it’s not 17 solid years of construction. The reason it starts later is geographical: it depends on the downtown tunnel. The West Seattle line can and will terminate at the existing SODO surface line until the tunnel is finished. There’s no equivalent in the north end: Ballard would have to terminate at Interbay with a transfer to the D. That would be useless because the gap is where the D most bogs down in traffic.

      1. Considering changes in Ballard these last few years, pretty likely that Economethnic Cleansing, rent-barrel bombs and all, will soon overwhelm the savage Hungarian anti-refugee border guards working overtime at the Thurston County Line.

        Adding huge numbers of fleeing West Seattlites to the bravely-existing Republic of Upper Southern Ballard. Which uses the Dome above a snail-infested lagoon on all our propaganda material, with the Norwegian flag PhotoShopped over the one we all either salute or don’t.

        Considering behavior of the forces that drove us from our Homeland, we’ve all had to face the tragic fact that the old fire engine -those things are indestructible- will one day raise our battle-torn flag over the pitiable ruins of the Ballard we wish we’d been the ones to blow up.

        Which will be the north end of the linear pile of smoking ruins stretching south and west to the Vashon Ferry. BUT: anybody can see that fifteen unbroken miles of demolished architecture and infrastructure constitute a subarea.

        So as we dig our beloved ladder truck from underneath the park at Market and Leary-which a 500 pound bomb has finally made bearable-either the Clinton or the Trump/Putin fund will break ground for the terminal of this region’s first JointSubArea miracle.

        With Securitas, which remains the only unified peace keeping force in Europe, inspecting our Senior Regional Reduced ORCA cards in their “If You Have A Question, Please Ask Me.” windbreakers.


      2. Ballard-UW, even if it were in the plan, wouldn’t happen in 7-9 years.

        There hasn’t been any design or engineering or EIS work. One doesn’t put a shovel in the ground the day after the election.

        Don’t expect it to be any faster, even if you weren’t waiting for a hypothetical 2020 ST3.1 package to get started on it.

    3. I’m fairly certain you would still be looking at 10+ years before a Ballard-UW line would be open even it it had voter approval today, so 17 years to Ballard with ST3 isn’t exactly a massive delay.

      1. Tell that to a Ballard voter on the fence (remember, I’m a yes vote, the NIMBY Next Door poster are probably no votes)– Chances are they walk away.

      2. Md, it’s not as easy or as quick as you may believe. Realistically that project would take up to 15 years to complete end to end. There are some mitigating factors that would make it more difficult than previous tunnel efforts. You probably have two deep stations ala Beacon Hill and two heavily built environments in Ballard and the UW, the latter with which will be a tough negotiation. There’s also EIS process, WSDOT, and all sorts of other assorted odds and ends to boot. Mind you there may be some efficiencies to be gained but the jury’s out on that so until it’s certain Seattle is willing to play along under today’s circumstances this is what it is.

      3. For comparison, here are the time to completion for some other Link projects:

        Northgate extension: 13 years (projected). Approved by voters in 2008, scheduled for completion in 2021.

        University extension: ~12 years (depending on the reference point). Current alignment chosen in 2004, line opened in 2016.

        East Link: 15 years (projected). Approved by voters in 2008, scheduled for completion in 2023.

    1. Maybe a frequent-transit map for Metro’s long-range plan drafts too.

      Also, the difference between the 2025 and 2040 drafts is worthwhile, if 2025 represents what we’d still have in 2040 without ST3. That’s not quite accurate because Metro’s budget would keep incrementally increasing if the population continues to grow and the economy is successful, but adding those hours to the plan would require quantifying them. (Enough for one or two more RapidRide lines? Yes? No?)

  2. I don’t think Pronto’s current fleet needs to be scrapped all together. It’s a perfectly functional system despite having some quirks. But I’m sure that there’s some small town or university that would love to buy the system and refurbish it. Or even integrating with another system with the same type of fleet. Even though these bikes have 7 gears and those elsewhere have 3 it shouldn’t be a non-starter; or if it is, swapping out the gearing and the shifters would probably be around a hundred bucks per bike.

    1. I still feel that if we just mothball Pronto completely, bike-share will go down as a failure, and any attempt to start it up again will be politically too difficult. The new system we say will be coming in 4-5 years, in practice, might not ever come. At least by keeping the current system going, we can keep momentum. If nothing else, it will be a lot easier to sell memberships if people know that the system will actually be around for the full year they’re paying for. I also think with U-link just opened, it’s too early to draw too many conclusions with the low numbers. Anecdotally, the opening of U-link has increased Pronto ridership around the U-district considerably. Let’s wait a bit and see what the full impact is before we rush to judgements.

  3. At the risk of wading into the peanut butter debate, but why is the Ballard-UW line always discussed as a light rail line, while the downtown tunnel is debated bus vs. rail? Seems the same debate would apply to both tunnels?

    If we assume Ballard-UW is a great project, and ST3 won’t include a Ballard-UW rail spur or line, shouldn’t people shift advocacy to get Seattle to build a bus tunnel via some big local levy? This seems more productive than complaining about the actual ST3 package.

    Of course, this tunnel would be rail convertible for whenever ST builds a north Lake Washington crossing.
    (for fun, a brief, amateur sketch, going off just where there are steep inclines… have portals at 3rd Ave NW + Market & NE 45th & 25th, add some bus lanes on Market & Montlake & new Montlake bridge, and you have bus ROW from Ballard to Redmond)

    1. Because a train in a second lake crossing is more worthy than a train on 45th? I’d put them in the opposite order.

      1. Really? Because THE most difficult thing about travel in this city is getting crosstown–and that’s no matter what method you try and use. It’s been that way for the 30+ years I’ve been driving and the years before that when I could take a bus or traveled with my parents. Providing an actual method of linking E and W sides of the city that takes a few minutes as opposed to 20-40 minutes would be a game-changer the likes of which will not occur with any other line being built (and I say that despite the fact that for me personally a Ballard–Downtown line would be a faster method of travel to Ballard).

        It’s not going to happen anytime soon, more’s the pity, but that isn’t a function of its great value to city transportation. Another line across the lake? That would be nice, and should someday happen (and continue crosstown), but once the bridge is fully open setting aside bus-only lanes mitigates the issue dramatically for the near term. You aren’t going to see that within the city itself no matter how much red paint they try to use.

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