TIBS escalators, plaza to mezzanine.

This is an open thread.

38 Replies to “News Roundup: Gathering Comment”

    1. hahaha we had the same question. I’ve been digging around online trying to find something and there’s nothing available. Also the available dockets on the Superior Court site hasn’t been updated, nor does it give documents for reading…

    2. No word on the injuction but the City of MI got some news at the close of business Weds. Even under the Trump administration, the FHWA will not allow SOVs to use the Island Crest Way onramp into the R8A HOV lane. http://www.mercergov.org/News.asp?NewsID=2181

      Regardless of how you feel about East Link and SOVs in the center roadway historically, this issue is serious and should have been better anticipated. 40 percent of MI traffic uses a ramp that will become HOV only on June 3rd, diverting thousands of cars per day onto side streets and slowing 550 buses.

      The solution is an Island Crest Way ramp/tunnel to the right side of I-90 Westbound. It’s a shame this issue was not clarified and addressed sooner by all parties. In the meantime, East Link should not be delayed and I expect SOV enforcement of the existing tunnel will be light.

  1. Hey Martin!

    According to the Superior Court website, the Hearing on the Injunction filed by Mercer Island was held yesterday. Any word on what happened there?

  2. Mini-rant:

    Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to put plants along the 3 minute drop-off point at Capitol Hill Lightrail (SW corner of 11th at Denny).

    You pull up into the 3 minute zone to drop someone off with their bags to get to the airport, they open the door and step into shrubbery. What the 7734? Seriously!

    1. How does one set up an Avatar for comments? Now that there are a few AJs floating around, I’d like to get one so I can keep track of myself.

  3. “Urbanites complaining about gentrification have a lot in common with suburbanites complaining about commutes.” Preach. Reminds me of Rob Johnson pointing out that the rhetoric of people opposing new residents moving into their city really isn’t that different than people opposing new residents moving into their country.

    That whole Slog post reminds me of Martin on the podcastpredicting hipsters and preservationist bemoaning the Interbay light rail station bring gentrification and ruining the cool bars and hip clubs along 15th Ave.

    1. He does make some good points but I wonder when we’ll treat housing as a human right along with healthcare and education. Most of the developed world doesn’t leave all this to the free market. In fact, we’re doing it even worse by subsidizing the ‘free’ market.

      We need affordable family sized housing. All over the region and especially in the city. The profit motive will never provide this need.

      1. The profit motive does fairly well when it comes to providing food. By all means you need subsidies — there are people who simply can’t afford to eat otherwise — but the free market does provide fairly low cost food. Food and housing are very similar, much more alike than housing and health care (or housing and education). That’s because it is a product, not a service. Land is a limited resource, but housing itself is a product, and you can build more of it on the same piece of land. Here are some similarities:

        1) Food stamps are like section eight housing.

        2) Pesticide and herbicide regulations are like building codes.

        3) Large food companies and zoning laws often operate like cartels.

        The last one is why we need to change the regulations. The food supply is reasonably low, but large corporations are not regulated as they should be, and they manage to push food prices up (and quality down) with their monopolistic policies. Their is no such collusion in the housing market, but the zoning regulations achieve the same result. I can grow food in my back yard and thus lower the overall cost to everyone in the neighborhood, but I can’t build an apartment. The result is as you would expect with any cartel — prices are high. Change the rules and housing (of all types) gets cheaper.

      2. There are lots of hidden subsidies in American food, which make it cheaper than in other countries and give agribusinesses more profit. Corn and soy subsidies. Biogas quotas. Excessive patent protection on genetically-modified seeds (including if the wind or birds carry it to another field and that farmer has to pay for receiving it, and patenting natural organisms). Artificial processed food no longer require an “imitation” label, which has hoodwinked people into believing that processed food is the same thing their parents and grandparents ate even though much of it is garbage. My favorite quote: beware of food that lies about what it is or what it looks like or tastes like. New housing may be ugly and have too much parking and formaldyhide, but it doesn’t harm your health the way American indusrial food does.

      3. I agree that everyone should have the right to housing. But not necessarily where they would in their heart of hearts prefer to live. It’s not economically sustainable; people are selfish, greedy azzoles, especially about their real estate.

      4. @Richard – exactly. There is a big difference between, “I can’t live in Cap Hill anymore and that’s terrible” and “I can’t live anywhere in this region that’s within a reasonable commute to my job.”

        @Barman – I disagree. Historically, the region has built nothing but SF homes for decades. In the suburbs, sometimes all that is built is a 3Br home after 3BR home. I just sat in on an affordable housing join commission meeting in Issaquah last night, and one of the topics of discussion was the lack of 1BR and Studio apartments/condos in the city, and how can the city nudge developers to build less family sized housing and more small units.

        So a healthy city really needs a mix of small units for entry level housing & people downsizing, and larger units for families. But similar to Richard’s point – if you want to live in a larger home & can’t afford one in Seattle, well, then maybe you should look in a different neighborhood?

      5. “I can’t live in Cap Hill anymore and that’s terrible”

        There’s another factor! Some people want to live in Capitol Hill because it’s cool and has the best nightlife and is next to the downtown retail and theaters. We obviously can’t accommodate everybody that wants that and it’s fare to let it go to the highest bidder.

        But other people live on Capitol Hill because they want to live somewhere where they can walk to everything, see their neighbors walking and meet them, and have 5-15 minute frequent buses and light rail to everywhere including night owl. Before the 1950s all neighborhoods and towns were walkable and transit-rich because people didn’t have cars. But Capitol Hill and the U-District are the only areas that retained that quality throughout the late 20th and early 21st centuries, so you either have to live there or live in a more difficult car-dependent area. Some other areas have rebounded significantly in the past two decades — Ballard, Rainier Valley, etc. But they’re still far behind Capitol Hill and the U-District. Those two villages are large enough and diverse enough that many people leave them only once or twice a month, or just that and work. When I lived in the U-District as a student and later worked downtown-ish and Northgate-ish and Ballard-ish, that was me. Now on Capitol Hill within a 20-25 minute walk I have: three supermarkets (QFC and Safeway), three higher-quality food stores (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods), the library, two gyms, a great park (Cal Anderson), a hardware store, housewares (in QFC), a coworking space, churches, etc. I live here because it’s near Link’s initial segment, bus connections to everywhere, and all these walking destinations and neighbors.

        The point is that these things aren’t like the Space Needle or El Corazon or the Rocket — there’s only one of those and only a few people can live near them. They’re generic things that could be replicated anywhere. It’s what all neighborhoods used to be like: you could walk to everything or take a frequent streetcar to them, and no huge soul-crushing parking lots or windswept open spaces. When ST2 Link opens I’ll feel more comfortable living in a wider area: possibly Roosevelt, Rainier Valley, Shoreline, Lynnwood, or the Eastside. Metro’s LRP will help that too, possibly making Lake City, Ballard, Kenmore, and Kent less isolated. But besides transit we also need neighborhoods with walkable destinations and a comfortable pedestrian atmosphere. They can be anywhere! Anywhere that has high-capacity transit and frequent local buses in all directions. So let’s build some more Capitol Hills throughout the city and suburbs, and in Snohomish and Pierce Counties. Then people won’t be so insistent on living in Seattle, or enduring real and perceived hardships if they don’t.

  4. I am in the minority but I look forward to the hearings that will prove DJW right in most respects. I mean what do Senate Republicans have to hang their hat on other than ORCAleak or that disgusting leak of ORCA data to a campaign organization too chummy with Sound Transit which does NOT justify a revote on ST3? Probably nothing except looking like they’re cleaning up the mess they helped create?

    I have faith in transparency and democracy.

  5. Good article about “NIMBYs” I think the author simplifies their argument a little too much. Just because there’s proof (which wasn’t revealed in the article, and don’t believe it’s 100% accurate) that property values don’t decrease, say, when a homeless shelter is placed nearby, doesn’t mean the perception isn’t that property values go down. I think that’s the key to the whole argument. Everything is based on someone’s perception, both NIMBYs and YIMBYs.

    There are those who are YIMBYs for some things and those same people are NIMBYs for others, and vice versa. It’s all about the perception of the individual.

    1. “In every American community there are varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects, ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.”

      Typical Seattle…

      1. Barman, one reason for attributing quotes is to let readers evaluate not only authors’ names, but also context. And ask them follow-up questions.

        On this quote, two questions really necessary. One, what’s a liberal? And two, what’s the difference between a liberal’s thoughts and actions, and those of people of at least one
        another political stripe?

        I’ve always thought that the words “liberal” and “conservative” were best used as adjectives. Terms further describing nouns, which are literally “names”, of objects and people. And habits of mind. Where these two descriptions are much more alike than opposed.

        To me, most valuable approach to governing is to be both generous and careful at the same time. Favoring regional land use favoring interurban electric rail is my own definition of “conservative.” Good have you on my side today, Dan.

        “Liberal” means understanding that people in general can tolerate a tyrant easier than a pest, and governing accordingly. Description I’ll go back to when I no longer have to be an Abolitionist.


      2. Oh, for crying out loud. That’s not what a liberal is, there’s no “ten degrees of conservatism” corresponding to somebody not wanting apartments in their neighborhood (is that more or less conservative than opposing Obamacare or food stamps?), I don’t know whether barman is entitled, and what does entitled mean anyway in this context.

      3. In Canada, the Liberal party is the most conservative of the big political parties.

        So, Liberal is a matter of perspective.

  6. “Whether the project proves fruitful will depend on flawless execution—and on real ridership numbers matching the expected tens of thousands of passengers each day. It will also depend on whether it really cuts down on the volume of motor traffic, as it’s intended to.”

    Good to read that this is from The Seattle Times. No farmer, arborist, or home flowerbed gardener would buy a bag of forty year old fertilizer. And there’s reason people put signs on their lawns with universal red symbol for “No!” over the black one for “get a bag and a glove!”

    So far, LINK’s ridership stats shown LINK’s pathological lying distortions at their worst. For decades, people were allowed to nurse the pathetic delusion that anybody would ever again be able to get a seat. What inane source did they ever get that from?

    Over centuries, classic tile-workers in the Muslim lands always left one highly-visible tile out of every mosiac. As History’s most concise and comprehensive disclaimer affidavit re: human created perfection.
    Execution? The Crusaders were given early demonstrations of sabers that could cut a dropped silk scarf to ribbons before shred one hit the ground.

    Therefore also really, really good for executing people. For whoever left the earthquake proofing out of those pillars carrying I-5 past Seattle, tempting to consider. But just to shame transit, we really deserve the long list of flawless freeway bridges.

    Still vividly remember a historic contest where the last I-90 floating bridge defeated the roaring engines of at least ten tugboats and rolled over and sank with all the perfection designed into it. Nearer My God To Thee!


  7. NY Times article yesterday headlined “Transit Hubs: A Growing Lure for Developers”


    “Rail stations, it turns out, are delivering much more than passengers to surrounding neighborhoods.

    “Young workers who prefer to walk or take the train — rather than drive — to eat, work and shop are pushing up property values and reshaping the way developers approach their plans.”

    References to Assembly Row (MBTA), Tysons Corner, Fulton Market (CTA), Weyerhauser and REI.

      1. I don’t blame them. My wife used to work in the more northerly of their two buildings on Elliot, and getting there otherwise than by car was a nightmare.

  8. Instead of worrying about whether people are using park n rides for non-transit purposes, just start charging for parking. There could be a system put in place with heavy discounts for those with Orca cards with monthly passes loaded.

    1. I agree. Then put the money into building a handful of small park and ride lots in other areas, connected via bus service. The main thing is really the bus service, a good example of this sort of bus route is the 41. It wanders through the neighborhood, picking up people before it gets to the transit center. The number of people that board via the big parking lot is relatively small. While the 41 does not depend too much on smaller park and rides (there is only one that I can think of — at this church here: https://goo.gl/maps/CvHaNcAhieB2) those could be added, if needed. In many suburban areas (where cul-de-sac streets are common) they aren’t as likely to have as many walk-up riders as the 41, and would be more dependent on small park and rides. The end result is a much better transit experience. Instead of driving a long ways to the crowded park and ride and hunting for a spot, you just drive to a small one that serves your area.

  9. So getting to Key Arena is quicker than getting to Sodo… If you are coming from Westlake Station (because that’s where everyone starts you know, in fact Seattleites can snap their fingers and be at Westlake Station), and if you happen to have the same luck as the people who did this one test.

    Doesn’t seem right to say this means that Key Arena has a transit advantage over Sodo.

    1. It’s a 4-5 minute walk not only from the Monorail to Key Arena, but from southbound RR D-Line to Key Arena (and an even shorter walk from Key Arena to RR D-Line northbound). Of course there are numerous other bus routes that use 1st/Queen Anne west of Key Arena as well. That’s a hell of a lot more convenient than a 12-13 minute walk from the closest LINK stations to the site of the proposed SODO arena. For many people that long a walk just isn’t realistic.

      If they could add a LINK station at Holgate St. that would make the walk reasonable. But from Stadium or SODO stations it’s not reasonable.

    2. @AlexKven — You need to read the article again. You have your facts wrong. Here, let me help you:

      “After that, we did a second test beginning at the Stadium Station …”

      Got it? The author tried as hard as possible to make an apples to apples comparison and I think he did a pretty good job. If anything, he undersold the Seattle Center location. Given the timing, this is how I see it:

      1) Approaching from the north — Big advantage to Seattle Center. Even if you transfer downtown, it is significantly faster.

      2) Approaching from Bellevue via Link — Close to a tie, from what I can tell. To get to the SoDo arena, you have to head south from the I. D.. This means an additional 8 minutes or so walking, or a transfer (that is not on the same platform). The walk from Stadium Station is 13 minutes. It took them less than 20 minutes to get from Stadium Station to the Seattle Center and since I. D. is one stop north, that works out to about 18 minutes. The additional transfer for I.D. would probably eat up that 5 minute difference. If they ended up walking (and my guess is most would) then the Seattle Center comes out a few minutes ahead.

      3) Eastside via 520 — Big advantage Seattle Center. Express buses could easily run right to the Center (once the 520 project is complete). They would get bogged down a bit on I-5 (between 520 and Mercer) but a bus would get bogged down worse trying to get to SoDo. So much so that it would probably be better to just go to Husky Stadium and ask everyone to transfer. At that point, the Seattle Center is ahead by quite a bit.

      4) South end — Big advantage SoDo Stadium.

      4) Downtown or lower Queen Anne — Big advantage Seattle Center.

      The only real advantage that the southern stadium has is for people who live to the south. I think it is easy to see that more people live in other places (east, north or simply close to the Seattle Center). It is reasonable to imagine, for example, that a season ticket holder would get an apartment or condo in lower Queen Anne or Belltown, whereas there are very little (if any) places within walking distance of the proposed arena.

  10. Dan, from your side, might best drop all references to “gentry”. Because evidence for its existence is strong and damning. In the late 1700’s, this country’s founders fought a bloody civil war to put paid to a culture of unearned privilege.

    So this isn’t about money. It’s about who’s got a choice between whether they stay in Seattle or have to leave whether they want to or not.

    And also whether massively increasing concentration of wealth will lead to the kind of air-breathing society that creates a good life for everybody in it. Whatever their income bracket. Or whether Seattle will get permanently weighed down and crushed by all that money cemented solidly motionless.

    Personally, right now I wouldn’t live in Seattle if I got free rent for life. General atmosphere of the place is more depressing than the musical video, in the ways rich places are, different from poor places but no more appetizing. And often less. Now that my health care provider has folded, no compelling reason to be there at all.

    Still enjoy coming up to visit friends. And stop into about a half dozen cafe’s whose owners I know, and one or two restaurants. Wish it meant more to say that this isn’t the city I had in mind when starting in 1983, I put in a fair amount of extra effort helping start the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel.

    But in decades-long public works, final outcome is a sad “given.” During DSTT construction, I talked briefly with a tunnel-engineer from Maryland, and told him I wished he’d stay for the years ’til the project was finished. He told me that he and his colleagues could not get away from any finished assignment fast enough.

    Chief “draw” for me was in the years when in response to some extremely unique conditions, we were starting a regional railroad with highway-operable dual-power trolleybuses. To me, Metro’s general handling of the Tunnel wasted a huge amount of possibility. Contradicted by every single much impressed airline passenger I ever met. But I suspect trains took a lot longer to arrive than anybody expected.

    It doesn’t matter much one way or the other now. Not a slight to some very hard work ahead. But literally the whole world has known how to run electric rail for decades. DSTT’s major “draw” for me was to see what else we could do for a one-of-a-kind interim phase leading to a high quality conventional result.

    As is happening to Seattle itself. Well, at least the conventional part. Luckily, place I live now is going to need some pioneering unconventionality to keep whole population from dying trapped in its own cars when some future rush hour locks us up hard as a glued Rubic’s Cube.

    Dan, your fare description should be done verbatim. But more glad I’m not the only one advocating aggressive transit development long before the trains start running. Fact that no suburb has withdrawn from Sound Transit in 34 years prove that passengers will more than tolerate a well designed bus network designed to lead into full regional rail.

    Certainly not copy of any past experimental time. But same spirit for same approach. Creating fitting transit for a region big and energetic enough to Febreeze and resuscitate one self-stagnated city. Looking forward to all if it.


  11. Does anyone know anything about the DSTT blockage at the start of PM rush hour yesterday? I was at UW Station at the time, and there were absolutely no announcements.

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