12 Replies to “Podcast #38: A Decade”

  1. I forgot about the RPZ and governance stuff. No one who cares about or supports transit should seriously consider voting for Hasegawa.

  2. The number of people trying to bus to Judkins was also insane. We had 4 full buses pass us (and 20 other people waiting at the station) before we gave up and found a car2go.

  3. A good use of a capital gains tax could be carbon reduction. Got money, electrify a bus route or invest in a wind farm. No money, no direct harm to the city.

  4. I can’t remember exactly when or how I I came to STB but it must have been around the same time, because the site had been established a bit earlier and Martin was just taking over running it. When I try to remember how I found it, I get a complete blank. It must have been a link in a newspaper comment or something because I didn’t read any other blogs regularly and I didn’t know anybody in STB.

    But transit has been a lifelong interest of mine ever since I started riding Metro in junior high. I collected all the bus schedules and eventually rode most of the all-day routes. I grew up in 1970s suburbia with one hourly bus, reading books set in the 1920s and 1950s streetcar suburbs. In 10th grade (1982) I visited a friend whose family had moved to upper Queen Anne and found another world, a streetcar suburb come to life. You could walk to the grocery store and other friend’s houses and Seattle Center! Buses every 20-30 minutes! The buses had trolley wires and were silent! Small-lot houses! In the late 80s I encountered BART and some college friends visited a mission commune in Chicago; that started me thinking about rapid transit and wanting to live in a city that had it. But everybody said it wasn’t feasible in Seattle: the city was too small and not enough people would vote for it. In 2000 I went to the east coast for the first time and had a real look at Chicago, New York, and DC. (My first of several cross-country Greyhound trips between 2000 and 2008.) So I had a major interest in transit and amateur city planning, but I’d never known anybody or any group that had that level of interest. When STB came along I found people who did, and were organized rather than just one voice. Sound Transit, Link, and the monorail project had been moseying along for a decade and I’d been following those but knew only what was in the newspaper: I didn’t know about the open houses and board meetings where planning was being done and a community of activists existed; STB showed me that. I was also worried that Link would be watered down to slow surface rail like all the light rails before it (Portland, San Jose, San Diego). But then it turned out much better, and then Ben S and Seattle Subway convinced me that my longtime dream of a Ballard-UW subway and similar lines had enough public support to succeed in a vote.

    So yes, it’s amazing that ten years have passed. What about other people? How did you, fellow readers, come to STB and what were you doing before it?

    1. Mike,

      Westside MAX smokes. Everywhere west of Goose Hollow except the stretches through Central Beaverton and Downtown Hillsboro have a 55 mph speed limit. MAX slams through grade crossings without slowing down, guarded by “real” railroad gates and jillions of lights. It hits 55 through the Robertson Tunnel every trip; you can hear the whine of traction motors top out and predict just when they’ll start to slow if you’re watching out the window.

      It’s pretty darn fast along the Burnside too; the stations east of Hollywood are close enough together than it only hits full track speed between Lloyd Center and Hollywood, but it still zips along. It’s quite speedy along I-205 as well.

      Sure, when it leaves its dedicated right of way on East Burnside and along Interstate Avenue it goes considerably slower. But the stations are pretty closely spaced, so even a fully grade separated line wouldn’t go THAT much faster.

      The place where it’s sloooooooowwwwww is through downtown Portland, and that WILL be remedied within two decades. Of that I am confident.

      There is nothing at all wrong with at-grad reserved right of way with gates. In fact, since the stations are at ground level, accessibility is much better and passengers aren’t standing in the wind twenty feet above the ground. (Of course subways are fully weather protected, but much of Link is going to be up in the wind.)

      Street median running is always going to have problems with dumb drivers cutting across the right-of-way at the wrong time, so you’re right to fight for “trunk lines” like The Spine to be fully separated. But I think it would be just peachy if the north end of the Green Line was taken out of the middle of 15th West and laid at-grade alongside Interbay Yard. Trains could run just as quickly and it would set the line up for either a tunnel or separate bridge leading to 17th NW in Ballard. A station between 54th and 56th under 17th NW would be square in the middle of the development ring in “downtown” Ballard.

    2. Yes, I’m impressed with westside MAX and the part in Gresham. But the slow part is what the most passengers experience. And southeast Portland suffers where it runs along the Banford freeway a mile away from Burnside and Hawthorne Streets.

  5. Martin, Frank,

    Very nice podcast, with a caveat. There is only one Link Station in the 11th Legislative District, Lander Street where “residential” parking is a complete non-issue. Assuming the legislature doesn’t burn down the house, there will be one at BAR.

    Now grant, the 11th comes quite close to Beacon Hill, and IIRC Senator Hasegawa got involved in “Link Parking” back around the time the Beacon Hill Station opened. Districts were adjusted in 2012; perhaps he used to represent more of the folks on the top of the Hill and “went to bat” for them even though he technically no longer represents them.

    I kind of don’t get his whole shtick. He seems like a genuine economic progressive, but pretty reactionary about “urbanism”. Is he so anti-transit because the ATU refuses to join the Teamsters? It’s been a “Republican” union ever since Bobby Kennedy went after James Hoffa.

    1. “Beacon Hill Station” The district does cover Beacon Hill west of Beacon Avenue South from Stevens on South and west of 13th up to Beacon on its way down to Holgate. Basically there’s a triangular niche taken out of it from 13th and Beacon down to 13th and Stevens and over to Beacon and Stevens.

  6. Bikeshare:

    Biketown allows you to lock a bike anywhere, but with a small fee inside the home area and a much larger fee outside. I believe if a station is full then it discounts the fee for locking to an object that isn’t a station so long as it is very close to a station.

    There is talk of a large expansion of Biketown. One of the proposals would be to have a large lock anywhere area around Portland State University:

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