Cliff Mass, expert on weather, weighs in on transit issues.
Clearly the local regional and state governments are struggling with the concept of “congestion” and haven’t gotten any deeper than Cliff, so why not?
I can here Ed Murray and Dow Constatine conspiring now, “Congestion relief doesn’t provide votes, but unaccountable homeless non-profits do! Let’s put the money on the homeless.”
“The Homeless?” Pablo, whole term as presently used is ignorant at best, and lying political garbage rest of the time. We’re not talking about dirty people too lazy to get a job. Let alone us Suddenly Evicted Who Are Now Paralyzing Our Highways.
These are sick people whom a rich city in the world’s richest country would give homes in hospitals. Or intensive out-patient treatment. As well-meaning people meant to do when we threw about four generations of desperately sick people outside to starve and rot in the streets.
Many mental hospitals were terrible. Though Ken Kesey wrote “Cuckoo’s Nest” as a metaphor for American conformism. But De-Institutionalisation ended up handled as a grand-scale permanent budget cut.
So here’s a non-profit for you that’ll start taking care of “The Homeless” from the minute Governor Inslee signs the legislation. It’s called “A Mental Health System Run By Somebody Besides The Police.”
The key phrase is “unaccountable Homeless non-profits” , a.k.a. “Low-Hanging Votes”. Our local politicians are addicted to a system that requires no to little effort. This is obvious in past and current implementation.
No, I’m not convinced the things this city and region need to accomplish that requires heavy lifting is getting done, and it is the foundation of a broken system. This is no different than the broken social and political system in a place such as, say, North Carolina.
While I enjoy Cliff Mass on weather and climate issues, whenever he strays into traffic issues, and his pet peeve road diets, I cringe. Proof that expertise in one area doesn’t translate into expertise on all areas. Whenever I am on one of the streets in the north end that have been on a road diet, my wife and I always notice how much calmer the traffic is these days, and appreciate it. Specifically, 75th NE, 125th NE, Stone Way. And Nickerson, too. Yes, during rush hour traffic can back up a little, but to say that they are part of the massive traffic problems is just crazy. Anxiously awaiting fixes to 65th.
Cliff isn’t an expert (just because you have a blog, doesn’t make you an expert, just visible) he is simply showing the depth of seriousness the local, regional and state governments have taken on in addressing the #1 thing that will be the death of Puget Sound. Homelessness will not be the death of the area, bike lanes won’t (I commute 5 days a week on bike; but the lack of seriousness on providing serious bike infrastructure is deplorable; it almost feels like Kubly has to ask the SDOT permission to do something, the very dept. he leads) be either. But the inability to attract people to major work centers without an efficient way to get there and back home will be. And we are far from a fair and robust process to deliver the right level of efficiencies.
I agree. I wouldn’t have dreamed of biking on 75th or 125th before the diets. They’re hardly pleasant places to bike now, but I no longer fear for my life either, with the exception of the mutant offspring of a stroad and freeway interchange at 75th/Roosevelt/Lake City.
“There IS one station with lots of parking: the UW Stadium station. I was shocked that light rail parking wasn’t planned for that location–in fact, there isn’t even a place to drop folks off or wait to pick them up. A major deficiency.”
Hahahahaha! I’m sure the university would be willing to give over a chunk of its land for non-university parking. Not. And how would the cars get to the P&R when the surrounding roads are already full peak hours?
“But it is not too late–the UW has a huge lot, much of it empty, and an entrance could be created from the NE (by the driving range). One can park at the huge UW lot for $6.00, but a lot of folks don’t know that.”
The Montlake lot is already a popular P&R for events at the SODO stadiums and downtown.
Speaking of parking at UW Stadium Station, what’s the bike parking situation? Is it adequate?
It really is remarkable that the whole raison d’etre of the post was the problem of congestion, and one of his main solutions is to advocate inducing a huge influx of cars into an already extremely congested area, and he doesn’t seem to have reflected on the obvious contradiction at all. The degree of thoughtlessness, from an intelligent person, in that post is staggering.
I thought his points were actually pretty good. His post didn’t seem anti-transit in general.
Especially the complaint about the Rainier Valley detour. There SHOULD be an express route that follows I-5 and skips rainier valley. Especially once people are coming all the way from Federal Way and Tacoma.
Some of our road reconfigurations have been bad. I would say broadway is an example. I think road diets/PBL’s can be bad if they negatively impact transit.
I do think we need PBL’s through downtown, but that can be done without negatively impacting transit. We should be more careful about road diets in parts of Seattle which are more auto dependent. NE Seattle is a lot different than downtown. NE Seattle is also not going to become urbanized anytime soon.
Outside of downtown I think multi use trails, cycle tracks and greenways make more sense than PBLs on main roads anyway. I would much prefer to be on some kind of trail than a PBL anyway.
“There SHOULD be an express route that follows I-5 and skips rainier valley.”
There is. It’s called Sounder.
Why would ST spend 2-3 Billions for a line parallel to two already existing lines when northeast and northwest Seattle desperately need their first lines?
What MikeK said. Overall it sounds exactly like the ramblings of someone who knows nothing about the subject at hand. He offers no evidence to support his theories. None. Imagine I say that global warming caused last year’s warm weather. This seems very plausible. However — and he would be very quick to point this out — there is simply no evidence to support that theory.
That is true with his whole spiel. Road diets cause congestion. Really? Evidence please! Show me the study. Don’t you think the SDOT *engineers* considered that? Don’t you think they actually studied it (which is why they didn’t implement this everywhere)? Meanwhile, the subject was congestion, and he offers up better transit as a solution, and he completely ignores induced demand. Really Cliff, really? Tell me about the cities that have significantly reduced congestion because they have built really good transit. Better yet, show me one expert in the field that says that it is possible. Absolutely ridiculous. Meanwhile, he wants a SeaTac bypass, without ever considering whether it would be a cost effective means to provide transit. Sure, it would be great. So would underground rail to Renton. So would a direct subway to my house. But none of that is a cost effective way to move people, and if you haven’t noticed, we are spending more than just about everyone on transit (and have other, very important needs).
As Mikek said, this is an expert in one field who has spent very, very little time studying a different subject and yet feels that because he is smart he has the answers. He comes up ideas that have been bounced around a lot by people, yet at the end of the day, come up wanting. I hope he doesn’t take that approach to his own health, as it could result in him ending up in the emergency room saying something like “I was pretty sure it was something else .. after all, I am a scientist”.
The debate over a Georgetown bypass has come up many times before. It was in ST’s long-term plan until 2014, when it was deleted for lack of interest. Only a trickle of amateurs has advocated for it. The two subareas who would presumably gain the most from it, South King and Pierce, did not object to deleting it at all, nor have they ever offered any of their subarea money for it. Link will speed up by around 5-9 minutes daytime when buses leave the tunnel. (In the evening it’s a speedy 2 minutes from Intl Dist to Westlake by my stopwatch, vs 12 minutes daytime.)
Obviously a bypass line alongside the local line would be better than just the local line. But that has to be weighed against parts of Seattle that have no Link at all. Is it fare to force Ballard, West Seattle, Lake City, and Aurora to wait because this bypass is more critical? No, no, no!!! Get Link into all quarters of Seattle, then we can talk about building a bypass.
And he praises Sand Point Way NE. I find it sometimes hair raising when somebody passes me at 55 mph. And pedestrian infrastructure is woefully inadequate along much of Sand Point Way.
Or 50 mph barreling into Magnuson Park from Sand Point Way or 65th down to the lake; what about the blind pedestrian crossings in Magnuson Park attempting to walk from the Seattle Children’s parking lot to the lake? Who built it? The amazing folks in the Seattle city government, they truly are looking out for walkers and kids riding their bikes. But hey, they added a 20mph sign near the 65th entrance! Wow, that is “Progress from Progressives”!
Keep electing morons, you keep getting moron results, but god forbid if someone didn’t use the label “progressive” or “Democrat”, because you know, they only really know what is best for good ol’ liberal Seattle!
If you hate the perennially re-elected (e.g. “popular”) governments in Puget Sound and the “progressives” who elect them so much, why are you still here? If anything, it’s only going to get worse from your point of view. There is no tsunami or Mississippi Republicans agitating to move to Seattle.
It’s young “Urbanists” (another swear word in your vocabulary) who are queued up.
Where are the better candidates? Is there a Republican in the house who won’t try to slash transit and social programs?
Cliff? What are real stats on “Diets?” I seem to remember that currently dieting roads always got kind of fat with or without any unusual stress. Maybe because of the overeating streets they all run into.
Might be better to build enough transit unblock the arteries of the whole region. Which any doctor would tell any patient that only questions about diagnosis will be date on the death certificate- and whether cause is coronary or stroke.
Meaning that, like with all intensive intervention in a hundred percent fatal disease, a massive increase in our transit spending is as legitimate a national defense measure as a whole new Air Force. And a lot more effective, while costing a fraction as much.
It’s strange to concentrate on elevated grade to the airport- unless I misread, and you’re including whole at-grade length of MLK. I wouldn’t fight undercuts. As part of an ongoing project for the express line I’ve always thought we’d eventually need.
And will certainly build, and think has always been intended. Like with the bus phase of the DSTT, we built the Rainier Valley Line knowing that when population demanded and money warranted, the line would become limited-stop local transit.
But considering speed, power, and icing conditions, Cliff, your line will be at least two stories elevated when it crosses Boeing Access. Or get a lot slower than a dieted road.
Has anyone heard word on when the ST3 “Early Wins” for our BRT lines start happening?
I’ve heard very little on this since the initative passed…
Nope. Nothing on when or even what the C and D improvements might be.
I am concerned that with all the cuts being discussed to funding, “early wins” may be the first to go.
They are still in the process of hiring/building the teams that will deliver ST3. The early deliverables are supposed to happen three to eight years into ST3 and we’re less than five months since the vote. No need to freak out yet.
The C and D improvements (and Madison BRT) are capped contributions to the projects. Those efforts will be lead by SDOT and/or Metro. ST is only a funding partner.
Mike, Charles, and Cuyahoga, thanks for the opportunity to clear up a podcast comment of mine that really was incomprehensible.
My point is that tactically, where we’ve got a choice, it might be a good idea to stage our ST-3 delivery so as to give the public as much service as possible, as soon as possible.
Our starting LINK with dual-power trolleybuses, we probably can’t replicate. Mainly because I can’t think of anywhere we’ll face the critical condition that gave rise to it:
The need to get non-Seattle passengers a single seat ride through the downtown subway they were going to pay for. Years before they could ride any trains at all. Key suburbs like Bellevue and Lynnwood are still waiting.
But also still on board. But any chance we can get bus service with fully reserved lanes (leaving the BAT ones hanging on the BARN WALL) and full signal pre-empt,
might not be bad to paint them white, blue, and green.
And any opportunity to at least start running segments of any planned rail line with above treatment- take.
“Our starting LINK with dual-power trolleybuses, we probably can’t replicate. Mainly because I can’t think of anywhere we’ll face the critical condition that gave rise to it:”
It was only feasible because trains and the rest of the rail network was in the far indefinite future. In other words, the bottleneck was the will to invest in rail. Now the bottleneck is building tunnels. As soon as a tunnel is built, Link starts two years later.
In the outer areas, even that bottleneck doesn’t exist, because we can build elevated or surface along highways pretty much as soon as we decide to, and it’ll be open in five years.
Brent, thanks for one of STB’s best videos. Footage aboard the train could be LINK through Rainier Valley. From my own time in East Africa, a very good sign. Same with some of the pics following the video.
Wonder how fast that elevated-tracklayer could get us to Tacoma. Also how fast we could design and build a faster one. In Seattle. With enough other components built east of the Mountains to change some political demographics to transit’s advantage.
So all in all, be glad I’m not in same world as average STB readership. Because it proves one thing: Your world isn’t your Grandfathers’ anymore!
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