25 Replies to “Podcast #29: A Sour Pill”

  1. 1. Taking the wrong pill is probably a major cause of death for older people. Meaning different shape pill bottles are good idea. And relatives need to know when to induce vomiting. Unless pill does it for them.

    2. Tempting to make intelligence and character judgements about two different electorates. Truth is that if successful Presidential candidate’s voters (who lost the election by about two million votes) had come through the Crash of 2008 in same condition as ST-3’s winning voters, positive result would have been unanimous. For both elections.

    3. Solid State-wide passenger rail program is excellent step to produce above result. Starting with opening up Eastern Washington to the force it needs to propel it into the modern world: younger people and the industries we bring with us.

    4. Everyplace else in the world with our map and waters would have had as much more high speed passenger boat service as most of them do rail, meaning a lot more than we do. Would also like somebody to tell me a faster and easier way to get passengers moving parallel to I-5.

    Mark Dublin

  2. Thanks for the shoutout re my amateur mapping, Zach.

    If anybody wants to second-guess my map analysis for themselves, this is my comparison of the ST2 and ST3 map..

    A better analysis of whether ST3 voted differently would map precinct-by-precinct swings, but my GIS skills aren’t up to that. Anybody? But at this low resolution, these are rather similar maps.

    This is my map of the South Kirkland precincts. The 31%/32% precincts are on the east/uphill side from the trail. But they had just 500 total votes on election night, prompting my back of the envelope math that the 20% swing in that area was ~100 votes. ST3 passed easily in downtown Kirkland and passed in a majority of North Kirkland precincts.

    1. Great maps. I think you can see a little bit of “I already got mine” with the drop off in central Bellevue and downtown Edmonds, places with good existing transit that aren’t getting anything new.

  3. I really love the discussion about passenger rail to Yakima and Tri-Cities. There are so many colleges and universities, businesses and tourist destinations that would use this rail.

    1. Anyone know what’s up with Greyhound in Yakima? They closed their historic downtown station several years ago and moved the station to a gas station on the outskirts of town but it appears it may have been relocated again to the downtown transit station, anyone know?

      Would love to see better bus/rail service to Walla Walla via Yakima, trying to make a trip there, don’t want to drive the pass in winter, and bus service is poor and requires a transfer to the grape line which makes it almost an all day trip.

    2. On the talking headways podcast, Christof Spieler makes a great point about how good transit policy means one should pick and analyze a corridor first, and select the mode only after the corridor has been identified. Basically, it’s a critique of a Denver’s FastTrack type system design where corridors follow existing ROWs.
      (FWIW, I think South Sounder is a great counter-example … one probably would never design a route like Sounder, but b/c the rail lines already exist it can be great transit).

      Along this line, I can’t possibly imagine how transit to Eastern WA can be most effectively served by rail when most of the relevant destinations are already along I90. If there is a public need for transit here, it should be served by buses. Am I wrong here?

      If the intent of rail to Eastern WA is to boost tourism / economic development, that’s fine – that’s what Amtrack is west of Chicago, and that’s what many streetcar lines are. But it’s an entirely different argument. I felt like in the article and the comment thread, people were freely intermingling the two arguments.

      1. The major destinations in Central WA aren’t along I-90, they’re along I-82. I-90 from Ellensburg to Cheney is mostly vacant.

      2. Right, good correction, but i think my point still stands given the relevant destinations are along a freeway. I think I just see rail as duplicative to a freeway here. There isn’t freeway congestion like there is in the Seattle metro area, so I don’t see the value add of creating new ROW.

        May still be an interesting idea from an economic development / regional boosterism point of view. But if the goal is just to connect the cities, why not just run buses between the cities? Seems it would be faster & cheaper, though not nearly as much fun as a train.

      3. “one probably would never design a route like Sounder, but b/c the rail lines already exist it can be great transit”

        There’s another factor, population centers and channeling growth. The railroad created towns like Auburn. I don’t know why the railroad was laid in a V shape, but before I-5 Puyallup, Auburn, Sumner, and Kent were the main towns between Seattle and Tacoma. I-5 allowed Federal Way to grow, but we should have strengthened the towns we had rather than growing new sprawl on I-5. In California I’ve heard that because the railroads were given free land on both sides of the track, they made it zigzag to grab the most land possible and increase profits. That may be the reason for the Puyallup V.

        “Would love to see better bus/rail service to Walla Walla via Yakima,”

        I’ve only been to Walla Walla once in 2000, on my first cross-country bus trip. Greyhound had a Seattle – Walla Walla run; it only had five or six people on it. After Walla Walla I went to Spokane, Chicago, and New York. Later Greyhound deleted service south of Pasco and between Missoula and Minneapolis.That’s when the Grape Line started, and another Trailways company took over the I-94 route, and there was talk of starting Montana and North Dakota state service. At first Greyhound still sold through tickets on the other Trailways carriers, but for the past few years it hasn’t, and sometimes it will sell a Seattle-Denver ticket or Seattle-Denver-Chicago ticket but other times it says “Sorry, trip is impossible.” I don’t know how you arrange a trip transferring to those other carriers somewhere when you don’t even know who they are and the Greyhound site won’t tell you.

        “If there is a public need for transit here, it should be served by buses.”

        A train can serve a larger chain of towns, serving more overlapping trip combinations. Railroads go where highways don’t, and they go directly between city centers rather than requiring time-consuming exits on local roads to centers or stopping at a peripheral truck stop fast-food hell. (Ellensburg and Moses Lake, this means you. I went to Spokane on Greyhound last month and it stopped there. I recently heard there’s a historic town center in Ellensburg, but I’ve never seen it since Greyhound doesn’t stop there. We’re thinking about taking a drive-vacation around Central Washington next year since transit is so minimal. To visit historic Ellensburg and Yakima, and maybe the Tri Cities and Walla Walla and Wenatchee if we get really ambitious,) Also a train has more capacity.

        So you may go from Seattle to Ellensburg, somebody else may go from Ellenxburg to Pasco, and somebody else may go from Yakima to Spokane. A train can do all of these in one run like Link does, but buses require multiple point-to-point routes, with fewer one-seat ride combinations and less capacity.

      4. The reason for the “Puyallup V” is that route is flat. The flatter the route the cheaper it is to build and operate. The route taken by I-5 has an unnecessary hill.

        BoltBus doesn’t even stop in Salem due to the difficulty of getting anyplace close to useful without creating a major time sink.

    3. By the way, my friend wanted to drive to Spokane. I said no, let’s take Greyhound, because renting a car and gas will be expensive, we’ll have the hassle of parking it, and we’ll never use it there because everything is within walking distance of the station: the hotel, Browne’s Addition, Riverfront Park, and the universities. So we took Greyhound and as I predicted he was glad afterward because he could relax and snooze and look around rather than drive. The cost was around $180 round trip for two, with a nice schedule of around 11am to 5pm. The quality of the service and other passengers’ behavior, as always with Greyhound, goes up and down; it was neither by best trip nor my worst trip. I said let’s drive to central Washington for our next trip after that; it’s a shorter distance and a car makes more sense there. In a Mini. I want to ride in a Mini Cooper sometime; it’s my favorite-looking car.

      1. We also accidentally found an artsy pedestrian district on Main Avenue, just north of the city center. That turned out to be the highlight of the trip.

  4. Frank, and Zach, after a setback in a serious (which it better be!) fight, grief, shock, and commiseration should be quiet private matters. Otherwise, they’re the enemy’s most appreciated victory present: title to a brand new door mat.

    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s new temporary renter lost the election by over a million votes. Which can be blamed on a system instituted by slave-owning States to protect themselves from majority rule. Which has never minded it that much.

    But current defeated majority party’s time is better spent considering why they just lost the third election since year 2000 to an opponent who shouldn’t have taken his own dog house, let alone precinct.

    Demographics have their place, which does not include being willfully misused. Main thing last week’s successful minority have in common is the circa 1970 date on their families’ last securely-decent paycheck. Also pretty much the date when the Democratic Party walked away from its strongest longtime supporters and never looked back.

    Except to repeat, over their shoulders, forty years of same excuses for excuses. “A Post-Industrial Economy” – where the US is probably still world’s top manufacturer. “Globalism”- whose trade agreements can easily stipulate that every company’s whole payroll share in the benefits. “Flexibility”- as if small contractors can’t have trade associations.

    The Homeland that built the PCC streetcar should be Secure enough to be able to afford its own top quality machinery. Which along with health care and education should be real National Security. Making us able to defend ourselves from foreign wheeled zombie apocalypses even if they do have the low bid.

    So let’s table the lamentation item ’til we get Congress back. By very recent precedent, should take two years to limit a recently elected President to half a term, and blamed for every failure for the rest of it.

    2018 also ought to be first election for a lot of this morning’s high school age demonstrators. And one term too many for thousands more, desperate for college, or to get out of debt paying for it.

    But best of all, ridership who’ll be so glad to be packed into four car standing loads that they’ll keep paying $5.00 for an ORCA card. All the way to the polls. OK, the post office and the drop-boxes. Twittering like birdies the whole ride.


  5. Not sure what it says about Zach’s voice (or phone connection?), but much easier to keep track of who is who on this podcast!

  6. I don’t get all the angst about Federal Grants after the election – would any of the ST3 major projects be receiving major Federal grants within the next 2 years regardless of the Congress/Administration? That’s seems too quick given most of these projects are starting from nothing (ignoring quick deliveries like Redmond extension).

    1. It’s more a worry that the new administration will cut entire programs like Tiger, New Starts, and Small Starts, or make rules prohibiting transit projects from getting TIFIA loans etc. Anything negative that happens in the next 4 years will be hard to reinstate.

      1. It’s unlikely they would yank grants already awarded. It’s more that there may not be any new grants next year, or when ST3 is ready. That won’t be until the EISes are finished, some four years from now, or longer if they go leisurely. The planning money is in ST3; it’s just construction that the grants would support.

      2. I think we’ll see what happens. IF there is a Trump Term II, then I’d start worrying about grant aid for ST3.

        First Environmental Impact Statements need to be done. Environmental Assessments could be done, but various concern trolls (e.g. Save Our Trail, Kemper) would simply sue to make them full Environmental Impact Statements.

  7. Did the podcast not post to one of your feeds, I use Podcast addict and it did not show up. Love the podcast guys.

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