Note Ze Crowd Getting Off of the Sounder North

This is an open thread.

34 Replies to “News Roundup: Endorsed”

  1. I’ve noticed a couple of updates to OneBusAway got sent to my phone over the last couple of weeks. Anything worth mentioning here in the updates?

  2. From the Paris Gondola article:

    In 2021, Greater Paris may be leading Europe’s most unlikely transit revolution: It will put its first-ever urban gondola in service.

    This won’t be entirely accurate. Berlin will have one in 2017, but it will only be across the newly reconfigured grounds that will be known as Kienbergpark.

    The primary purpose of the cableway will be to carry visitors around the International Garden Exhibition that will be taking place there from April to October. It sounds like they have an ambitious exhibition that goes far further than “gardening” in the traditional sense, but instead will be about the whole concept of sustainable and green urban development.

    http://www.visitberlin.de/en/event/10-15-2017/iga-berlin-2017-international-garden-festival

    1. ” By avoiding road spaces, the Paris line may also do nothing to reduce motor vehicle traffic in the area. As a cheaper alternative to short-stretch streetcars in truncated (but not necessarily steep) terrain, however, cars elevated on a wire may be about to truly come into their own.”

      BART passengers’ most beautiful scenic view is the thousands of stationary automobiles on the freeway below them as they roll by at 70 mph. Can’t be repeated too often. Transit doesn’t decongest car traffic. Just human travel.

      Curious, though, how cableways deal with stalls and breakdowns. Given how much room a restroom takes up.

      Mark

      1. I think they may actually be complaining that this project is not taking ROW away from single occupancy vehicles. Can we get some of that attitude over here?

  3. The comments from the Sammamish city council shows you that there’s definitely misinformation damage due to the $54 billion figure that the Seattle Times kept repeating. It’s causing a lot of people to vote no not because they don’t like transit but because they believe it sucks up all tax authority and costs a lot more than it really does. This is a very unfortunate situation.

    1. Yep, this is going to be the Puget Sound regions, Brexit vote. It’ll come close but fail because of massive mis-understanding. And, unfortunately, it’s going to lead to a Republican take-over of the State House of Representatives so the unused tax authority will probably be rescinded.

      1. My main issue with it is that there hasn’t been much marketing like they say were planning for. It seems like a no brainer to produce a couple Pro ST3 tv commercials and radio ads where you might get some people to vote for it that never considered it. But it seems like Mass Transit Now is just sitting on a pile of cash and not doing much to make their side , and with ballots coming within a week or so, that concerns me.

      2. ZacharyB;

        I can’t say on the STB comment threads more than I can say here and now, but the ads are starting to drop. The mailers are starting to drop. The attack campaign is beginning against NoST3 – and I’m leading that part.

        If we genuinely need $$$, we’ll ask. In the meantime every fellow small donor, please back Seattle Transit Blog up. We transit advocates need STB as much as the Soviet needed the Alaska-Siberia Air Route or ALSIB, the US Army Air Corps needed P-51D Mustangs and the British needed the Spitfire in World War II.

        Thanks;

        Joe

    2. “This is all you can hope to get for the next 25 years” is a powerful message regardless of the actual dollar amounts.

      1. Given the current political structure, yes. The problem which concerns me is that “all you can hope to get for the next 25 years” is not coming out anywhere close to “all we’re going to need for the next 25 years”. That’s a strong argument for fixing the political structure that is crippling our ability to invest, but obviously that’s not something we can do overnight. The question, then, is this: are we better off voting yes, thereby committing all available resources to this inadequate plan regardless of its deficiencies; voting no, taking a serious run at fixing the political structure, and trying again when we can afford to do the job properly; or voting no, accepting our transit limitations, and choosing instead to invest all that money on one of our society’s many other problems, hopefully one where that level of investment would actually bring us close to success?

        In isolation, voting yes makes sense, as a “guess we’d better settle for whatever we can get” choice; but ST3 is not happening in isolation.

      2. With or without ST3, we’ll have a public transit network that makes a nice supplement to car-ownership for the minority of Seattle’s population who happen to live within walking distance of a Link station. More people would be able to commute longer distances to work with ST3 than without it, but those people would still have to rely on a car for most if not all of their other trips. With or without ST3, car-dependence will remain the norm.

      3. Mars;

        This is the Planet Earth calling. Sound Transit’s Gene Kranz here in Mission Control since Karen is currently playing football with Doug & Russell & Richard.

        OK, listen carefully Martian: There is this thing called a BUS. Yes, a BUS. Buses are great for where there isn’t light rail stations. Buses are cool.

        To get to The Museum of Flight from the sexy light rail, you need a bus.

        Buses even run on electricity.

        Mars, if you want to influence elections on Earth you have to become an… Earthling. OK?

      4. ST3 funds an awful lot of bus improvements that make transit in a number of other areas more usable as well. It’s hardly a light rail only proposition.

        Light rail just happens to be what everyone has an ulcer about.

      5. I suspect that Museum bus will be a driverless shuttle vehicle on its own path by the time the BAR station opens in 2031.

      6. Joe: I’ve tried the bus. It’s not cool. I reacted the same way most of the population reacts: it’ll do if you have no other choice, but if you can drive, you’ll drive instead.

        Light rail will change the game. People will take light rail by choice, in preference over driving. If this were true of buses, buses would have changed the game a long time ago.

    3. I agree Jon. We have a dangerous situation right now where moneyed interests are lining up to sink this, realizing that if ST3 passes the domination of the car will end.

      I mean who’s against ST3 on the right? Kemper Freeman, Donald J. Trump’s Seattle Campaign Spokesman Alex Tsimerman, NoST3, the Seattle Times, and the moneybags for the King County Republicans. I mean I think that should be an issue for folks… let me explain via analogy.

      You know how Hillary Clinton is going to win this election? Because the Bernie folks, the #ImWithHer folks, the center and formerly moderate Republicans are jumping the Drumpf Train. Because Hillary and Crew are pointing at every screwball Drumpf antic and making so many so committed to stopping that bully. Mass Transit Now should be doing the same with Tsimerman and Freeman.

      ST3 is a fundamental shift. I agree with Mars Saxman that ST3 is not happening in isolation. I also agree that Sound Transit needs reform and although I trust CEO Peter Rogoff and staff to deliver on reform, it still requires that thing called trust from a new Sound Transit CEO who I think proved himself by cleaning up ORCA after Abigaileak. Then there’s the fact Sound Transit has their Russell Wilson in the planning office… right?!?

      But at the end of the day, attempts at political reform are not going to happen overnight. We need ST3, the transit enthusiasm is out there for ST3 and quite frankly we as transit advocates better realize we have this thing called “Lightning in a Bottle” of widespread Democratic & Independent (& some Republican) voters enthusiasm for transit. Don’t ruin this you Bernie progressives like Mars in search of perfection… or out of angst at the DNC primary because what you may get for no more transit expansion is a lot worse than ST3.

      1. Joe, why do you think it’s a bad thing that Comrade Tsimerman is spearheading the Donald Trump campaign? Though that beat-up cardboard sign is absolute proof that his candidate is not lying about how much money he has!

        Doesn’t anybody have any 15 year old daughters whose iPads can generate enough virosity to fill the YouTubian Universe with thundering Trump advocacy laced with accusations that some nice old mayor on the ST Board is a billionaire Russian gangster? Interspersed with whatever current top of the charts singer is the most pusillanimous?

        Sorry. It’s the Grateful Dead of fifty years ago talking. Still and all, if the former Deputy Mayor of Bellevue doesn’t ventilate him with her gold-plated AK-47, I’ll turn Loretta Lynn’s cousin Tara Thompson loose to set his letter jacket on fire and drag it into a biker bar to find a new boyfriend. And he’ll also discover that even if he doesn’t watch “Justified”, he’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive!

        Or Black Diamond either, if ST-3 fails and there’s only one van a day to get him out of there!

        Mark

      2. Mark;

        I think it’s a blessing that “Comrade Tsimerman is spearheading the Donald Trump campaign” and apparently speaking for NoST3. A blessing. Makes it easy for my progressive friends like Mars to be good 30-second YES HILLARY, YES ST3, NO TRUMP voters for country and the environment and most of all for G*d.

        Oh yeah, I hear ya as to, “Doesn’t anybody have any 15 year old daughters whose iPads can generate enough virosity to fill the YouTubian Universe with thundering Trump advocacy laced with accusations that some nice old mayor on the ST Board is a billionaire Russian gangster?” Transferring to YugeTube Comrade Tsimerman is a waste of my talents. I’d rather make pro-Transit speeches full of Seattle Seahawks references written with the band Toronto’s “Head On” playing in the headphones.

  4. Probably best to meet with three Sammamish concil members and see what’s minimum they’d take to change sides. In keeping with the “Start The Railroad With Buses” approach that’s been working since1983, might work to put both the 554 and the 550 in the DSTT, and through route them to South Lake Union.

    Since we’re going to cut back number of Tunnel routes these next few years, the few simple operations that even fewer of us simple transit workers have been advocating for thirty years can probably make it work. That great curved ramp in CPS yard- first foot-on-the pedal climb was definitely a finger-crosser- gets nowhere near the respect it deserves.

    We’ll have to keep this quiet, but in return for important well-funded cooperation, we’ll have to give gun and slingshot owners lifetime free ORCA cars so they don’t shoot down Amazon drones.

    Mark

  5. Damn, I wish they’d rescue my editor from that aerial tramway in Tibet! The Abominal Snowman probably got word from about copper prices from the Sasquatch that got into our elevated between Tukwila and Rainier Beach. Though to get Sammamish to go with ST-3, it’s worth at least a couple thousand Hyundai Elantras to win the election.

    Mark

  6. Hooray Rainier Beach! I thought there would be more resistance to upzones there. But the community seems focused on solving their practical problems rather than trying to hold onto a last-century low-density car-dependent American dream. May Rainer Beach lead the way in the outer neighborhoods.

  7. STB friends;

    a) Thanks for using my photo. Much appreciate. It’s going to be a heavy lift to get Amtrak Cascades to Mukilteo Station. I’ve asked my good friend Jennifer Gregerson to consider it for her re-election campaign as part of her platform. It’ll be interesting how the Mukilteo election plays out next year.

    b) Since Mass Transit Now wants even MORE money (as if they lacked cash ha ha ha) I decided to give Seattle Transit Blog the same $14 I was asked for. I prefer to donate where the money is needed rather than fund a campaign flush with cash lacking an angry side. I mean Donald J. Trump has deployed a campaign surrogate in Alex Tsimerman on this yet only one guy is making an issue of this, Kemper Freeman is now exposed as the chief financier of the NO side, Todd E Herman makes his weekly eruptions against ANY transit, and the Seattle Times is actively working to undermine Sound Transit. Yet how many know about ALL or even SOME of this?!?

    “Thanks for your donation to STB. You are our hero.” Thanks. Keep muckraking!

  8. Something I thought about recently after I missed a half-hourly bus because I was a few seconds late hitting the crosswalk button. Why don’t walk signals come on automatically at more intersections? That feature does exist at some intersections, or sometimes in 1 direction at an intersection. Lacking an automatic walk signal hurts pedestrians, and by extension public transportation when people are forced to wait for an entire light cycle. But I don’t see how an automatic walk signal will hinder cars when pedestrians aren’t around.

    This is especially bad at intersections like 145th and Lake City Way or 45th and U Village where hitting the button barely too late could cost pedestrians 3+ minutes of extra waiting.

    1. They don’t want to introduce the chance of autos being delayed by several seconds, and thus only allow pedestrians to cross when they absolutely have to do so.

      I found it extremely annoying that even at a very lightly trafficed intersection at Gates and 1st in downtown Mount Vernon they insist upon having these.

      At a tiny intersection like this, is it really such a big deal to allow the walk signs to turn on automatically?

      Apparently the city traffic planners (who apparently never walk anywhere) feel it is.

      1. Better concentrate the Oregon National Guard on the home front Glenn. All the World War II movies show the young guys in t-shirts with their “dog tags” on a chain around their neck getting ordered by the Sarge in the Smoky the Bear to paint everything flat in the camp.

        So should be no problem trucking in a bunch of maggots from a variety of departments to get those streetcar lanes on 10th striped and diamond-ed before the traffic light at Couch turns the next parking lot loose.

        And then board transports to send Vladimir Putin a message that maybe he can have Latvia, but he’ll never be able to afford to hold South Lake Union for a week. So he’ll have to borrow it from Donald.

        Mark

    2. Jeff Speck mentions this in “Walkable City”. Having to press a button to cross the street is a deterrent to walking, an inconvenience that we don’t subject drivers to. They may be necessary when one street is so little used that most of the time it has no crossers, but they shouldn’t proliferate everywhere, especially in downtowns and urban neighborhoods. The button says, “You don’t matter enough to have an automatic cycle, get a car.”

      As to why they proliferate, I think the answer is not that planners don’t walk, because everybody walks, and they even have to push a button when their car is parked across the street from their destination. It’s more that the planners believe the city’s priority is car thoroughput and driver convenience. It’s up to mayors and councilmembers to set an example by walking and talking about pedestrian issues. Because again, everybody walks, and pedestrians are their constituents.

      1. By far the most actively hostile walk button system I have yet encountered is in Milwaukie, Oregon. It’s at Washington and 21st, right between a MAX station and several bus routes. It’s worthy of pretty much every major and minor curse word in several languages. Among other problems, if a MAX train goes by it cancels all walk signs in all directions for the next 3 to 5 minutes.

        The roads through that area are so lightly traveled that all other intersections nearby are four way stops. Other than making transit artificially difficult and time consuming to use, they have no reason to delay pedestrian traffic that way.

      2. I think it’s a combination of things. Many intersections require cars to trigger a sensor to get a green light too. However, cars happen to have enough metal in them for it to be sufficient to drive over a sensor, without the driver needing to get out of the car and push a button. Pedestrians are more difficult to detect, especially with 20-year-old technology, and even if a camera detects a pedestrian, the camera can’t figure out which street, if any, the pedestrian intends to cross. With cars, things are more tightly controlled, so the desired path of the approaching car is implied by the lane triggering the sensor.

        That said, there are also plenty of intersections where even traveling along the dominant street, the walk sign still doesn’t come on without first waiting a full cycle. Those have no excuse. In most cases, I think it’s a matter of city officials placing the traffic signal software in its default configuration, and the default configuration assumes no pedestrians because it’s design by people in places like Oklahoma City, rather than Seattle.

        I will personally usually go through the light if the traffic light is green, regardless of the pedestrian signal. So would people in many other parts of the country, from Manhattan (because pedestrians are king) to suburban Texas (because half the pedestrians signals are broken, and will never show the walk sign, no matter how long you wait). Seattle actually has an unusually high obedience rate of pedestrian signals compared to the rest of the country.

      3. The push buttons to activate walk signals have another term that traffic engineers don’t appreciate, “beggar buttons”. There’s a lot of places where beggar buttons are pretty stupid but then these are the same folks that put stop signs where multi-use/bike paths intersect rarely used driveways or lightly traveled streets either inconveniencing hundreds-thousands cyclists a day or turning them into scofflaws.

  9. F*ck the UW Station escalators! The past two days when I’ve gone in the north entrance from the surface the long escalator was closed so I had to walk to the other side. There’s no elevator at the mezzanine level that I could find so that’s not an option. Today I went in the south entrance in case the north escalator was still broken. I went down from the bridge and the surface escalator on that side was broken! So I walked to the other side and went down, and then the long escalator on that side was still closed. So I had to walk to the other side a second time and I passed a third escalator that was closed. Three escalators closed simultaneously! And the station has only been open six months. ST should not only receive warranty repair but a refund on what it paid for the escalators.

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