17 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Displacement of Cars”

  1. Matt G. and Frank have previously pointed out that most SFH garages are full of junk. Under NIMBY logic, if you allow garage apartments to be built, the public asphalt will be littered with large piles of junk.

    I wonder what would be displaced onto the public asphalt if we allowed backyard cottages to be built in SHF neighborhoods. Chunks of grass, roses, and little statuettes of trolls?

    You know a neighborhood has gone full NIMBY when they oppose increases in bus service to their neighborhood. Right after that, they will be arguing against allowing more density because the lack of adequate bus service will force renters to own cars. Madison Valley pulled off that game when they opposed having Madison RapidRide make it out to Lake Washington.

    1. RapidRide G isn’t going to Madison Park because SDOT didn’t have the money to consider it, so it never asked Madison Park how it would feel about it. Extending it from 23rd to 28th was enough of a stretch. If it did have the money for Madison Park, it could apply it to some of the higher-priority areas and stop cutting corners on quality. Many people say Madison Park opposes more transit because it got the trolley wires removed in the 1960s, but that was fifty years ago and a different generation. Maybe they aren’t enthusiastic but until there’s a concrete proposal you don’t know because some people may change their minds at the last minute.

      1. Just an aside here – per the last census, nearly 50% of Madison Park residents were renters…and there are always people on the 11 coming from/going to Mad Park (at least at rush hours, and despite the 11 competing hard with the 8 to be the least reliable bus around in the afternoon). The 6:47am inbound bus has 15 or so people on it before it most mornings before it even gets to Broadmoor (and yes, even some Broadmoor people ride the bus).

      2. I take the 10/11/47/49 westbound in the morning at different times, and the 11 is always the most crowded of all of them. I can usually get a seat on the other routes but not on the 11.

        I’m pretty skeptical of replacing the east half of the 11 with the 8, because I know I ride the 11 from Bellevue Ave to Trader Joe’s and Madison Valley, and the fullness of the 11 suggests a lot of people are using it on Pine between Broadway and 23rd. Maybe they’ll all go up to John Street and be happy, but I suspect it will create a transit hole, no matter how much Metro disbelieves it.

      3. Although the 2 proposal may pick up enough of the demand. The 2 is proposed to run on Pike-Pine to 12th, then south to Union. That will serve the mid-Madison area, although from Trader Joe’s it will be a bit inefficient to walk south so the bus can go north. But if it runs every seven minutes that would sweeten the dea.

      4. The 11 rarely gets empty-ish until 23rd or even Mad Valley itself in the afternoon — there are a good number of people who do get off at Broadway, but as you know that’s more a function of it happening to show up prior to the 49 when those folks get to their bus stop downtown. Another group gets off at 17th/Trader Joe’s. The unreliability of this route is rather amazing when one figures that the only real traffic is aaround the loop at 2nd – yet this bus is always 10-15 minutes late and often 25+. Doesn’t matter much if you’re just going to Capitol Hill as Link or the 49 gets you there also, but for those of us who ride it to MP it’s horribly frustrating. I’ve more than once just missed an 11 and walked the 3+ miles home, along the route, before the next one caught up to me.

        Not sure how the Madison BRT will affect my commute at all, as I come from the Westlake area. The BRT doesn’t really intersect Link, but the frequent service may obviate that issue as well as the one of it terminating a mile short of my home – if there’s a bus every 5-7 minutes, the walk’s not so bad. Perhaps the 11 moving over to John and serving the Link station will be the hoped-for improvement in service to Mad Park – or perhaps it sharing some of the BRT improvements once it gets to Madison will help with maintaining schedule (again, I doubt that, as there really is very little traffic most days between 9th downtown and Madison Valley to slow it down – the problems are elsewhere on that route). Connecting it to Link at Capitol Hill would allow the worst part of the route to be skipped heading east.

    2. I was at the planning commission meeting of an Eastside city a few months back, and there was an aside where they talked about mandating that SFH have garages. They openly acknowledged that everyone uses garages for storage “anyway,” but it was important to give people options to have their own cars in a garage so visiting guests can use the driveway, or otherwise visitors would be forced to park in the streets (or something like that logic).

      Why were talking about this? Apparently this city lost a federal housing discrimination lawsuit for discriminating against group homes (for children or those with disabilities) in SF zones, but that the upside was that they could treat “all homes equally,” and thus segued into mandating garages for all homes (perhaps because group homes inherently don’t necessarily need/want garages, and mandating garages would make them less financially feasible).

      Also at this meeting it was reminded that during the outset of Vision Zero planning there was established a principle of “all modes matter,” coupled with concerns about discriminating against people who choose to drive.

      When no one reacted to “all modes matter” is when I decided there wasn’t any use in testifying against the parking requirements on the agenda.

    3. Lots of garages are actually too small for modern cars. Cars before the 1950’s were smaller. T-Models were pretty tiny, for example! I’m sure there are lots of garages that can’t even fit a smaller modern car!

      That said, I never got the preoccupation with one unit per lot as the primary definition of zoning categories. I always felt that zoning should be more about height, lot coverage and setbacks. Should it matter if there is one giant 3000 square foot house on a lot or two 1500 square foot three-bedroom units on a lot (resulting in the exact same amount of building space)? Shouldn’t cities quit obsessing how many units (ultimately defined by how many kitchens and keyed areas — both of which can even be changed without licensed professionals) are on a lot, and instead focus on the design instead?

      1. Units are a proxy for independent households who presumably won’t share cars so they’ll each have at least one car. Thus the fear of two houses on one lot: it may lead to two cars parked on the street, and thus fewer spaces for the existing neighbors to park. Of course that doesn’t address carless households who wouldn’t use a parking space even if they had one.

  2. How much would it cost our transit community to relocate the dark-haired young woman to Seattle? Her level of discourtesy, what Scotland callsl “Bonnie Fightin’ Spirit”, is what Seattle most desperately needs to withstand the present siege of NOMBWCAI (Nobody on My Block Who Can’t Afford It!)

    Nikkita Oliver should definitely be Mayor, since her decision to run for office before Ed Murray got humiliated out of the race shows same strength of character. It’s a shame her best assignment will keep the young savage on the video in Olympia so much-what’s her name?- she’ll definitely have Ruth Fisher’s blessing.

    As for her SF neighbors and their Seattle counterparts, a really good subway system will solve all their parking problems. Because they’ll have a fast traffic-free ride to and from the massive linear parking lots called “Freeways!” Which when all present spaces are filled by cars, they can be double and triple- decked with no damage.

    Because with extensive rapid transit under and over then, who cares what happens in their parking spaces with the Federal shields on them?

    Mark Dublin

    1. I was just wondering if it was Seattle and hoping it was, until she said “I live in Noe Valley” and I knew it wasn’t. But what she said is spot on. And it’s interesting that San Franciscans are making videos about repurposing garages.

    2. SF needs her more than we do. But we can all take inspiration from her and maybe even emulate her.

      1. Lucky it’s a shorter plane flight than average Everett to Seattle bus ride between Oakland and Sea-Tac, so she can fight for both us and San Francisco, rather than us fighting for her.

        Because while both cities are being buried in money like Pompeii in volcanic ash, we’ve still got the lead in the passive aggression that would bring Rob Roy MacGregor roaring out his grave swinging a claymore (the sword, not the land-mine).

        One of his descendants actually worked as an engineer on DSTT, but fortunately Kevin finished his contract finished before Metro treacherously murdered his signalling system.

        I’m trying to channel the real estate shills like the one who named Alki Point, and start encouraging large numbers of people to come out from places like Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Baltimore where aggression starts to smell bad if not kept active. Hundred percent requirement: you’ve got to say “Stupid” like it has two “o’s” instead of a “u”.

        But little-known historic fact prejudices me in favor of the hellion in the video (if Cary Moon ever gets that mad, she’ll look like a good understudy) is that after the Battle of Killiecrankie in Scotland, at least one Highland lassie wandered the battlefield collecting English fingers so rings could be removed at more convenient time and place.

        Could keep the ostentation doon, Aye?


      2. Linguistic break: the ‘yu’ to ‘oo’ switch is called yod-dropping. I don’t know whether Looney Toons in England is called Looney Tyunes or Lyooney Tyunes though. And going further back, Old English had a front-rounded vowel like German u-umlaut, a cross between ‘oo’ and ‘ee’. And some Scottish dialects pronounce ‘oo’ like that. My current keyboard doesn’t have umlauts, but imagine a stupid tubular foot.

        And look up voice-activated elevators in Scotland on YouTube. It’s not a pretty sight. Siri and Alexa will have trouble in Scotland too.

  3. I was walking up Sixth yesterday and imagining it as a two-way street, where you had mid-block left turns into the parking garages at the Sheraton, WAC and Hilton as well as left turns onto the freeway ramps at University and Seneca (and onto the stub piece of University leading to the Two Union Square garage) and considering that anyone who thought this would be an improvement to traffic must have never driven a vehicle in their lives.

  4. Brent, I was praying you’d kill my whole last comment, especially that horrible reference at the end. Amount of history I read partly explains, but doesn’t excuse where I get this stuff. British Isles are tempting because for our society this part of the world carries some genteel reputations, and also combativeness that seems refreshing. If title or jacket says “The Border” and is about England and Scotland, slap it shut and watch a Freddie Kruger movie instead.

    The woman primly complaining about all these people moving in where they’re not wanted and creating lack of parking really sent me around the bend. I had three weeks to leave the place in Ballard where I’d planned to end my days. Along with dozens of retired civil servants and teachers. The people who built this city into a fine place to live have getting thrown out of it by the people who bought it without any occupants’ consent.

    Reason I’d vote for Nikki Oliver if I could is that she’s the only one in the politics of this whole State who says we not only need to, but can, do something about it. Really pertinent historic truth about war: The side whose ideas get adopted by the other side is the victor. Soon as Union troops finally got out of rifle range of out-of-uniform Confederate veterans in 1875, not only did slavery come back as private prisons in the South, but the North started getting segregation laws.

    Before this country’s thinking jammed hard right in November 1980, a lot of people did not think “Market” results were about like weather- good or bad, but beyond human control. That dark-haired girl in the video is saying what I’ve been waiting to hear half my life. In exact right tone and spirit. Along with ever more people her age lately.

    For the sake of everything municipal and especially transit, Seattle’s own recent history teaches that every voter needs to look at the candidates not for their position on any one aspect, but for the ability to manage a city and also lead its people. Second one has been terribly hard for Seattle these last 30 years or so because truth to tell most people have really resented being led. Meaning compelled to make decisions and act.

    Finally, like the wonderful song says: “A change is gonna come.” Because people like the girl in the video have decided it has to.


  5. Watching this reminds me of attending community meetings in Wedgwood some years ago — how residents were so much against apartment buildings being built that I got the impression that they considered us who lived in such as Lesser People. Glad I don’t live there any more..

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