The ULink Restructure Doesn’t Work If You Can Cancel It for Football

Sounder Bruce (Flickr)
Sounder Bruce (Flickr)

September 30 was a glorious day for transit ridership in many respects. Link broke 100,000 for the first time, and our system bent but didn’t break under the simultaneous pressure of a regular afternoon commute, a Mariners game, and a relatively rare weeknight Husky football game. But the darker side of this is that regular commuters in NE Seattle were thrown under the bus.

We’ve long supported 2-seat rides in cases in which they strengthen the network, permit greater overall frequency, or offer unquestionable speed advantages, as is the case with Link. But forcing such transfers should come with an explicit guarantee that the network will function no matter the event-related disruption. Reroutes that extend transfer walks beyond a reasonable limit, or that force a 3-seat ride with an intermediate shuttle, are nearly the equivalent of not offering service at all. Choice riders will flee, and the transit-dependent suffer.

Our instincts are all wrong for gameday diversions. We shun the highest capacity and move it far away to let low-capacity vehicles maintain their free and general access. Though the event shuttles are a good and necessary service, and though they queue on Montlake Blvd itself in many cases, general transit availability is more necessary when events cause massive disruptions, not less. If we can’t bring ourselves to engineer permanent bus lanes on Montlake yet, we can at least provide them when a capacity crunch demands it.

So a modest proposal: until Northgate Link opens and/or as long as UW Station remains the primary transfer hub in NE Seattle, we should guarantee that we will maintain the integrity of the service network we just overhauled, no matter the event. If we’re going to force 2-seat rides, riders deserve to be able to count on them.

Things Are Looking Up for Pierce County Transit Riders

SounderBruce (Flickr)
SounderBruce (Flickr)

After a few years of steady but slow progress for Pierce Transit (PT), things are beginning to accelerate in a positive direction. After hemorrhaging service hours in the recession – with most routes cut to hourly service and span of service barely extending past dinnertime – PT is back with a bold new service proposal that restores a basic functioning grid of half-hourly service for most of Tacoma. It does so on the back of some route consolidation, reducing overall coverage, but while making remaining services far more useful. For a comprehensive review of the restructure proposal, check out Chris Karnes’ blog Tacoma Transit. 

The two alternatives would use newly available service hours in one of two ways. Alternative 1 would bring the current network up to peak 30-minute headways while retaining hourly off-peak frequency and dismal span of service. Alternative 2 would bring most routes back up to 30-minute all day service, and extend span of service to 10pm. Route consolidation would be most strongly felt in Tacoma’s posh north end, including the Proctor District, where a spaghetti of hourly routes (10, 11, 13, 14, 16) would be consolidated into a half-hourly grid of Routes 10, 11, and 16. Service would also be rationalized in East Tacoma and along South Tacoma Way, straightening routes and better coordinating their schedules. If you are PT rider, you have 3 upcoming open houses to attend and make your voice heard.

In addition, PT recently announced a small $200k grant to partner with Uber, Lyft, and/or taxi companies to extend the reach of transit. The “Mobility on Demand Sandbox” grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will allow Pierce Transit to:

Coordinate with Transportation Networking Companies and/or taxi companies to coordinate on-demand rides within certain areas though the use of app-based technology. The rides, funded by this grant, will get people to bus stops, select transit centers or Park & Rides, or – from select locations – to a rider’s final destination after Pierce Transit’s service hours.

In low-demand areas, fixed route transit sometimes just isn’t viable. This was shown with painful clarity by PT’s short-lived “Community Connector” program in Fife, Milton, and Edgewood, where Routes 503 and 504 averaged less than 1 rider per hour and costs per rider ranged from $100-$140 (page 24-25)If this new partnership succeeds, it would represent one of the better ways for transit and Uber-like services to partner for the common good. A partial or full subsidy of these rides would be an order of magnitude cheaper than the low frequency shuttles, and offer more convenient point-to-point service as well.

So things are looking up in Pierce County. By this time next year, let’s hope that they have a solid local bus network, an innovative on-demand partnership, and a successful Sound Transit 3 coming their way.

SDOT: Station Density and Pedal-Assist Bikes are the Keys to Bike Share

Wolfsburg bike share
Bewegen Pedelec bikes in Wolfsburg, Germany
After my piece yesterday regarding Seattle’s choice for a new bike share vendor, I spoke with Andrew Glass Hastings, who runs SDOT’s transit division. Glass Hastings has been deeply involved with the procurement process to date and provided some great insights about the state of negotiations with Bewegen, the preferred vendor, as well as SDOT’s overall vision for the new bike share service.  A few themes emerged from our conversation.

  • SDOT views bike share as a compliment to transit, not a tourist service. 
    Glass Hastings was emphatic that SDOT is seeking to build a service that can be an integrated part of the transit network.  He cited Pronto’s recent decision to move a station next to the UW light rail station, which resulted in a 10x increase in usage, as evidence of the transit-focused approach.
  • Station density is key
    A dense mesh of stations is required to make bike share work as transit.  SDOT gets this and while they may not hit 1,000-foot station spacing like New York, they are committed to a much higher station density than Pronto.  Station locations in the proposals I linked to represent a first guess, but one that will likely change over time.   If you’re like me, you’re wondering how we can increase station density with a fixed number of bikes.  Well, that’s because…
  • The service area is also provisional
    SDOT is committed to serving the core downtown-adjacent networks and fanning out as funds become available, but not at the expense of diluting the overall station density.  The precise boundary will be driven by the amount of sponsorship money received, which will in turn drive the number of bikes and stations the city can afford.  Glass-Hastings was also clear that sponsors would provide capital and branding, but would not drive service area decisions, as was the case with Pronto.
  • Electric is a must-have
    I said electric bikes were a gamble on the future, and they are, but Glass Hastings noted that many systems are moving to electric – pedal assist – bikes right now.  Seattle won’t be an outlier in a few years. He also noted that, right or wrong, there’s a strong feeling throughout the city that a lack of pedal-assist is what’s preventing success.  In other words: most people feel that it’s not the weather holding bike share back; it’s the hills.  Additionally, the power requirements to charge the bikes aren’t prohibitive. The stations can draw power from modest power sources like a street light.
  • The financial relationship will be very different this time
    For various reasons, bike share is the only form of public transit that’s expected to be fiscally break-even.  That means getting the incentives right for a public-private partnership so no one is left holding the bag.  The city & sponsors are providing the up front capital, but the vendor is on the hook to make the ridership and operations profitable.

Overall I’m reminded of an important bit of advice I learned in my years as a consultant: the client never accepts the proposal as-is. The proposal is the start, not the end, of a negotiation. When the new system is up and running next year, it will look quite different from what’s on paper today.

Seattle Gambles on Electric Bikes to Replace Pronto

Seattle recently entered negotiations with a vendor to replace Pronto, the bike share network that became insolvent last year and required a $1.4M taxpayer bailout.   Tom at Seattle Bike Blog did a fantastic run-down that I highly recommend.

The high scorer of the six bids is an all-electric proposal from a young Quebec company, Bewegen.  Motivate, the company that powers the bikeshares in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco (and Seattle’s Pronto), came in a close second.  Motivate proposed standard bikes, with an e-bike option to be rolled out over time.

As we contemplate a new bike share service for Seattle, let’s consider why Pronto failed in the first place.   Possible culprits include:

  1. The King County helmet law
  2. A lack of capital
  3. Seattle’s hilly topography
  4. Too few stations, spread too far apart, and in the wrong places

If you think the answer is 3, a hilly terrain that discouraged casual riders, then Bewegen’s all-electric fleet makes the most sense.   If, however, you think the answer is 4, as we have argued in the past, then a system with greater density is superior.

From the city’s point of view, thinking about tourists or super-casual riders, it’s easy to see why they might over-index on electric.  More regular riders, on the other hand, may know how to plot their route to minimize hills and use the system only where and when it makes sense as a compliment to transit or walking.

Station density, though, is a big difference between the two high-scoring bids.  As Tom writes:

Not only would Motivate’s map include some of Ballard, Mount Baker and more of the Central District, but each area where there are stations would have a higher density of them (12 stations per square mile). This means far shorter walks from many more homes and destinations compared to Bewegen’s seven stations per square mile.

Much like transit, bike share works well when the stations are closely grouped.  Having to walk a long distance to a station is an access penalty. The difference between a 4 or 5 minute walk and an 8 or 10 minute walk is often the difference between using the system and not using it.

Continue reading “Seattle Gambles on Electric Bikes to Replace Pronto”

ST3 Isn’t Perfect, But It’s Good

SounderBruce (Flickr)
ytemounderBruce (Flickr)

Sound Transit 3 is far from a perfect package. For the technically-minded advocate, election seasons must be maddening in their necessary binary framing, with nowhere for the pro-transit ST3 skeptic to turn.  Such purists repeatedly cite particulars as a reason to reject the whole, seeing ‘undeserved’ rail lines outweighing the value of the indispensable ones, or waging modal wars in corridors for which Bus Rapid Transit could be superior if everything broke just our way.

Those of us who share these technical instincts but nonetheless support ST3 are not blind to its shortcomings. Instead, we value its strengths and have made our positive assessment in the context of what we judge as plausible political outcomes.

What would a technically perfect package look like? I could offer a dozen or so principles to which most Seattle urbanists would agree:

  • Maximize ridership with urban stop spacing
  • Maximize reliability with 100% grade separation
  • Maximize capacity with low headways
  • Maximize passenger turnover and balance loads by building many “short & fat” lines  rather than a few “long & thin” ones
  • Respond to present demand rather attempt to induce it
  • Allow differential subarea taxation to match demand with revenue
  • Adopt minimum station-area density requirements
  • Charge market rates for (a very limited amount of) parking
  • Expand the use of Categorical Exclusions to reduce delay related to environmental review
  • Allow transit agencies to develop for-profit housing as a revenue stream (like Hong Kong)

Getting a package with all of those principles intact would mean building new transit and land use governance from scratch, a luxury available in a political version of SIM City but in reality an impossibly high bar. Public agencies do not appear from thin air, but are the product of the minimum mutual viability of competing concerns. Our agencies and their tax authority are set by a state that will not have urban instincts within our lifetimes, and whose legislation is itself the product of endless compromise and favor-trading. Once formed, the agencies must then equitably represent the interests of their taxpayers, all of whom reasonably expect direct value for their money.

To vote “no” on ST3 expecting to remove these constraints is misguided. Human nature will dictate continued compromise, and legislation will continue to come burdened with compensatory goodies that dilute the purity of a package. Any alternative plan would rely on aggressively wresting highway capacity away from cars, a monumental (and likely futile) political task. Though we may wish to speed projects with reduced environmental review or neighborhood input, we have a way of valuing these things when push comes to shove. Some may fantasize about convincing a Tacoman to yield their Spine Destiny to pay for Seattle subways, but I can guarantee you would be shown the door with nothing for your efforts.

So within this pessimistic framing, let’s consider what a Yes vote buys us. Unlike almost any other American city, we will be getting new high quality transit, 100% grade separated, fast, and reliable. It will be built by an agency that, after much tribulation, has learned how to budget and build and keep its word. For roughly $4-5B (in current dollars) of new taxes, spread out over 25 years, Seattle will get a second subway, and will finally unite Queen Anne and South Lake Union as part of one Greater Downtown. After 3 tries, Northwest Seattle will finally have a reliable way of getting around. The masses of money being spent on downtown-oriented bus service will be systematically redeployed to feed Link and provide the crosstown bus service we’ve always wanted but rarely had. With the majority of transit riders arriving underground, our surface streets can have the breathing room for the urban placemaking we need: traffic calming, street narrowing, protected bike lanes, street cafes, and a plausible shot at achieving Vision Zero.

And when it comes to the suburban Link projects, we may wish they were more like commuter rail, or Paris RER, but its their money and I think it’d be wise to be bullish about their development prospects. From climate refugees in our temperate city to the continued boom of the knowledge economy, Seattle’s long-term future is very bright. Critically, however, there is zero indication that housing production in Seattle will keep pace with this growth.

For all their many merits, HALA and Seattle 2035 still treat housing as an impact to be mitigated rather than a social good to be welcomed at every turn. Outside of the UDistrict, our proposed upzones are anemic, bureaucratic red tape is only rising, and half the city is set to be ossified indefinitely as a Craftsman set piece. We’re doing far better than San Francisco when it comes to housing, but it’s still not nearly enough. In this context, radial commuting is here to stay, suburban housing production will necessarily boom and densify, and inter-suburb connectivity will matter ever more. If Seattle won’t welcome all who wish to work here, we need to support reliable, all-day, high capacity, bi-directional transit as a matter of justice.

In this context, ST3’s excesses are forgivable and its virtues are many. We can afford it, there are no other options on the table, and we likely wouldn’t like the options that would emerge if we roll the dice with a “No”. It isn’t perfect, but it’s good, and it deserves your vote.

Storm Warning for Friday and Saturday


Cliff Mass is sounding the alarm on his blog, about some pretty serious weather incoming from the Pacific:

Starting Thursday, we will enter a period of extraordinarily active weather with the potential for heavy rain, flooding, and a highly dangerous windstorm with the potential to be an historic event. The coastal waters and shoreline areas could well experience hurricane-force gusts, with a lesser but serious threat for strong winds over the interior. Keep in mind that there is still uncertainty in the forecasts, more so for the wind than the rain.

I have no more insight into the likely impact of these storms than the average STB reader, but disruption and delay to all modes of travel in Western Washington seems certain, and the Puget Sound Friday freeway commute, in particular, is probably something you’ll want to avoid if you can. On the coasts of Washington and Vancouver Island, rain will be torrential, and wind gusts may approach hurricane force, so nonessential travel anywhere near there should be avoided.

Keep an eye out for updates from the National Weather Service and local agencies (WSDOT, King County Metro, Sound Transit, Pierce Transit, Intercity Transit, Community Transit). My favorite reading in these situations is the detailed local synopsis put out four times daily by the NWS.

Amtrak Cascades Performance Improves

In 2016 Cascades performance numbers are getting better.  Ridership, on time performance, recovery rate, and other metrics, as of August, are better than last year and likely the past two years.

Cascades 2016 ridership data looks very promising.  2016 is currently a better year than both 2015 and 2014 when comparing ridership totals up to August.  Total ridership this year is up 7% compared to the same point in 2015.  It is possible 2016 could be an even better year for ridership than 2013.  This reverses four years of declines.

On time performance also improved.  Trains are arriving on time more often and there have been no dismal months.  In 2015 there were two months where trains arrived less than 70% of the time.  This year each month has been above 70%.

Average income per rider is nearly the same compared to 2015.  In 2015, up to August, the average was $37.89.  This year the average is $37.19.  The increased numbers of riders should greatly improve the recovery rate as well.  Briefly looking at Amtrak’s report for per mile seat loss and overall loss, year over year, makes me believe the recovery rate at the end of this year will easily exceed 60%.  The highest recovery rate on record for Washington trains is from 2011 at 66.2%, however a different cost structure was in place where Amtrak picked up some costs.  Last year, the second year with the new cost structure, ended with a recovery rate of 58.6% and 2014 was 58.1%.

Expect at the end of the year total ridership to be at 800,000 or greater, 80% or higher on time performance, and possibly even a 62% recovery rate.


News Roundup: Endorsed

Note Ze Crowd Getting Off of the Sounder North

This is an open thread.

Why Seattle Should Vote Yes on ST3



A lot of the discussion of Sound Transit 3 (ST3) – the transportation expansion package you’ll see on your November Ballot – has centered around regional mobility. ST3 will deliver a lot of value for the region, but what Seattle is getting can sometimes get lost in discussions about Everett and Tacoma.  Seattle is only paying for Seattle projects, so let’s look at what Seattle gets.

What is in a number? In the case of the $54 billion price tag for ST3, quite a lot: Inflation, federal funding, fares, and extending existing taxes that already don’t sunset for 1-2 decades. Breaking it down to new taxes in 2016 dollars for Seattle – ST3 is approximately $4 billion in Seattle, spread out over 25 years. That is still a lot of money, but ST3 brings massive value.

What do we get for that $4B?

Ballard to Downtown
The proposed Green Line isn’t just about Ballard. It will give Queen Anne and South Lake Union the downtown connection they need. It will connect Northwest Seattle to the Rainier Valley for the first time. Compared to RapidRide, it will be three times faster, far more reliable, and more frequent. In the 35 minutes it takes RapidRide D to get from Market Street to Pioneer Square, a Green Line train will already be in Rainier Beach. Repeat this to yourself a few times: vote yes, and once it opens you’ll never get stuck in traffic again.

The Green Line will be a blockbuster for ridership, with a high-end estimate of 144,000 rides every day. That is more rides than the population of Bellevue and higher ridership than the entire 60 mile Portland MAX system. It connects growing neighborhoods where people live and work with truly world-class transit. A new downtown tunnel will connect South Lake Union, Denny Triangle, Lower Queen Anne, Madison Street, and the International District. The elevated extension to Ballard will serve up to 10,000 Expedia employees in Interbay, East Magnolia/West Queen Anne, and of course, fast-growing Ballard itself. This line will mean a 14 minute trip from Ballard to Westlake or 11 minutes from Ballard to  South Lake Union—every time. Continue reading “Why Seattle Should Vote Yes on ST3”

In Defense of (Some) Left-Lane Camping

Sounder Bruce (Flickr)
Sounder Bruce (Flickr)

[Update: Facebook commenters pointed out that the behavior I’m advocating for is already legal per Washington Administrative Code 468-510-020, which lifts the “keep right” requirement for the 40-mile stretch of I-5 from Tukwila to Everett, and on I-90 between I-5 and I-405.]

Every June, the National Motorist Association uses its own Lane Courtesy Month to produce a rush of news stories about the scourge of “left lane camping,” or drivers who remain in the left lane despite another motorist wishing to pass. A representative paragraph from Vox: 

That’s because even if you’re driving fast, there’s always someone going faster. If you promptly get back over after passing, that car will be able to pass you, allowing everyone on the road to get to their destinations as quickly as possible. If you don’t, it’ll inevitably lead to buildups of traffic and likely raise the chance of accidents.

That same reporter, in a conversation this year with NPR’s Robert Siegel:

When you’re traveling on the highway, the moment at which you’re most at risk of getting into a crash is when you’re changing lanes. And when you have people going slow in the left lane, as well as the right lane, then people who want to move faster kind of have to zigzag back and forth. They have to change lanes looking over both different shoulders, and it just increases the amount of possible accident scenarios that can happen.

Look at the two statements I bolded above, which to me seem inherently contradictory in urban settings. “There’s always someone going faster” assumes both the right of drivers to create differential speed conditions and your responsibility to yield to their desires. But the Solomon Curve shows one of the most dangerous driving behaviors is deviating from the median speed of traffic, whether slower or faster. So if you’re traveling near the speed limit in the left lane, you should have zero responsibility to move over and are in fact doing a favor for overall safety and flow. The notion of constant lane-switching to appease lead footed drivers is contradicted by the same writer’s second statement, that changing lanes is inherently one of the riskiest behavior. These two are irreconcilable.

Continue reading “In Defense of (Some) Left-Lane Camping”

Drive for Metro: Doesn’t Require Driving to Metro

Bike racks at Metro base, photo by VeloBusDriver

Recently, a couple applicants for King County Metro driving positions who were turned down complained they were turned down for not owning cars.

I checked with Jeff Switzer, at King County Department of Transportation, who told me car ownership is not a requirement. However, you will need a plan for how to get to any of the seven bases around the county, for any shift at any time of day, dependably. Be prepared to explain your plan for “reliable transportation to work” during the inverview.

Former Metro driver David Lawson recounted his answer that got him hired:

I can’t afford one reliable car, so I have two cheap cars. I take care of both. When one is in the shop, the other one is working.

If you show up to the interview in a Car2Go, be prepared to explain your credible Plan B for getting to work.

As Zach detailed, 20-30% of drivers at the Seattle bus bases don’t alone drive to work.

Sadly, simply living near the bases won’t work. You don’t get a choice of base when hired. Eventually, you may be able to pick a shift for your preferred base, and at your preferred time of day, but that comes with seniority.

That said, now is one of the best times to become a Metro driver. With the severe driver shortage, drivers are on the waiting list to move to full-time shifts only 6 months as of late, if they have a good record, per Gutierrez. The job listing says under a year, but the shortage is apparently actually worse than that. Every Metro driver still starts on part-time, but the interminable multiple-year waits to get more hours are a thing of the past.

We Don’t Talk Enough About the Future of the I-5 Express Lanes

The I-5 express lanes are an underutilized asset. A relic of the days when peak flow into Downtown by car was the primary engineering concern, the express lanes generally flow freely with the exception of single-occupancy vehicles clogging the ramps at Mercer and Stewart. Meanwhile, reverse-peak freeway transit is probably one of the most miserable experiences in the region, as anyone caught on an southbound afternoon Route 41 or 512 can attest. The marginal benefit of ST2 is perhaps greatest for those riders caught outside the traditional commute. Last year, Community Transit used “the last $2m we could find” not for any added service, but just for I-5 congestion padding in their schedules.

It’s remarkable how I-5 is generally ignored in regional planning discussions. It was omitted from the massive transportation package passed last year in favor of new lanes elsewhere. While SR 520 gets HOV3 and I-405 gets dynamic tolling, there has never been any momentum for any type of HOV or transit priority from Northgate to Downtown other than the express lanes. I-5’s needed redecking and seismic rebuild loom silently as the state’s largest unfunded liability. Former WSDOT head Doug MacDonald may be curmudgeonly about light rail or Amtrak Cascades, but he’s absolutely right that I-5 is “a planning orphan.”

Though most (if not all) peak buses are set to be truncated with the completion of ST2 in 2023, that’s still 7 more years of people’s lives to plan for and accommodate.  And of course the physical asset will remain indefinitely. So what should we do with the express lanes? Continue reading “We Don’t Talk Enough About the Future of the I-5 Express Lanes”

Link Cracks 100,000

SounderBruce (Flickr)
SounderBruce (Flickr)

This morning Sound Transit released ridership numbers for September 30, the day a perfect storm of Mariners, Huskies, and an afternoon commute converged. And ridership lived up to the hype, with an estimated 101,000 riders, 18% higher than the previous record of 85,000 on August 25th. Sound Transit stretched its undersized fleet to the limit – running 3-car trains as often as every 5 minutes to clear the Husky crush – while simultaneously dealing with service disruptions due to a pedestrian/train collision in Columbia City at the peak of demand. (The person survived and is recovering.)

Though there were anecdotes of failed escalators and long queues to enter UW Station, overall Sound Transit emerged from the day showing that there’s nothing like high-capacity transit to soak up enormous demand in a minimal footprint. The primary pain for the day was borne by regular commuters, however, whose restructured routes rely on transfers that were either unavailable or up to 1/2 a mile away due to bus rerouting.

Sound Transit also released systemwide numbers for August, with Link averaging 69,000 weekday boardings, easily breaking the July record of 65,000. Weekend Link ridership continued to be strong as well, with 48,000 on Saturdays and 43,000 on Sundays. Sound Transit also had its first-ever 4 million boarding month, and Link alone accounted for 45% of Sound Transit’s total boardings.

SPONSOR: Support Rick Talbert for Pierce County Executive

The election for Pierce County Executive may not seem relevant to our efforts for mass transit in our city and region.  However, this year’s Pierce County Executive election will be pivotal for us.
Rick Talbert, a strong mass transit advocate, is facing Bruce Dammeier, a vocal opponent to Sound Transit 3.
The next Pierce County Executive will serve on the Sound Transit Board and other transit organizations.  By November 8, Pierce County will either have Rick Talbert, an intelligent advocate and strong partner for our future, or we will have to deal with his opponent, an obstructionist who will wage war from within.  Rumors also have Rick’s opponent looking to run for Governor in 2020.
We can’t sit idle.
We need Rick Talbert as the next Pierce County Executive to get our mass transit projects completed there, but also here in Seattle, King County, and Snohomish County.   Please come join Rick on Wednesday, October 12 at 5 PM to hear him speak.  Please make a donation as well — every dollar will count.  More below.

Please Join 

King County Executive Dow Constantine, State Senator Cyrus Habib, and Paul Berendt

for an event in support of

Pierce County Council Member Rick Talbert 
and his campaign for Pierce County Executive

The next Pierce County Executive will act as the key political leader on transportation issues for both the county and region.

As an advocate for mass transit and effective transportation systems, Rick Talbert will be a strong partner for those in the business, labor, and environmental communities seeking to build and grow a healthy, sustainable economy.

Please join us to meet and support the next Pierce County Executive, Rick Talbert.

Wednesday, October 12

5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Strategies 360

1505 Westlake Avenue N. Ste. 1000
Seattle, WA. 98101

Suggested Contribution Levels
Host ~ $1000
Supporter ~ $500
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Please RSVP to or (360) 870-7437

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Sponsored by Citizens to Elect Rick Talbert – Pierce County Executive (D)

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News Roundup: Not Really News

Trolleybus against the skyline

This is an open thread.

Life After ST3: If It Loses

Looking south

The worst case scenario has occurred. Regional voters have turned away from the generational opportunity to expand traffic-separated transit, listening instead to a series of micro-objections about marketing budgets and email address management. Or perhaps they blanched at a $54 billion price tag that didn’t really mean anything. And at least a few voters thought that if they voted this down, they’d get something better, something more focused on their interests in particular. What now?

When confronted with this hypothetical, ST CEO Peter Rogoff said that “there is no plan B.” ST would, of course, “complete our commitments already made to voters” in ST2. “The Board would reflect on why it failed,” but cautioned that “it would be exceedingly hard to serve as wide a series of interests… while being different” from what voters just rejected. Mr. Rogoff hadn’t heard other Board Members talking about what would come next, and once again he thought it inappropriate to speculate.

But we can speculate!

Continue reading “Life After ST3: If It Loses”

Call for Endorsements

The STB Editorial Board is starting work on its General Election Endorsements. If there are any non-obvious races where a particular candidate stands out on transit or land use, please let us know in the comments. Links to your claims about the candidate are very much appreciated.