Although the stated transit and land use policy differences in the Seattle mayor’s race are small, we believe that urban planner Cary Moon has the stronger commitment to transit priority, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and adding all types of housing stock to serve all who would like to live in Seattle.
Much more than allied organizations, Seattle Transit Blog’s endorsement emphasizes a strong track record of improvements, rather than policy statements, for transit and denser land use. Admittedly, for both candidates the record is rather thin. To make things even more difficult, they have broadly similar policy proposals. But when Cary Moon has participated in public life, it has been to struggle against the primacy of the automobile and create more inclusive communities.
Both candidates broadly support the HALA plan currently in motion. Both also want to pursue duplexes, townhouses, and accessory dwelling units in our single family zones, which would correct the most glaring deficiency in the plan. There isn’t much to go on, but their biographies suggest that Moon is more committed to this outcome, which will require a willingness to offend significant constituencies. The Seattle Times endorsement of Durkan says it quite well:
“It’s unclear how much Durkan would disrupt the status quo on housing and traffic.”
On transit, the outlines of future investment are established: Sound Transit 3 and the Move Seattle plan. Luckily for us, both candidates broadly support these plans. The real question is implementation: in the thousand conflicts that will arise between high-quality transit, safe bike infrastructure, and maximizing car throughput and storage, what will win? Again, Cary Moon’s history of fighting for the first two, her training as an urban planning professional, and the signals sent by the respective endorsers of each candidate suggest an answer. Again, the Times:
As mayor, Moon would accelerate the city’s transit planning. She says Seattle’s streets are too “convenient” for drivers and more must be done to persuade people to ride buses or bicycles.
As people concerned that driver “convenience” is killing pedestrians and bicyclists, and blocking the rapid flow of buses, we couldn’t agree more.
STB is also endorsing Teresa Mosqueda for Position 8 and Lorena González for position 9 on the Seattle City Council, as we did in the primary.
Mosqueda earned the support of urbanists by pushing back against calls to require 25% mandatory “affordable housing” set-asides in new developments — a number that has stalled housing construction in San Francisco. She understands that the right number is different for each development. She will neither give away too much to neighborhood associations that have been at odds with renters (of which she happens to be one), nor to developers. Her opponent, Jon Grant, was on the HALA committee and was the one dissenter from the final list of 65 tactics to grow the housing supply.
González waltzed into office with her support of HALA, and once again is running against a neighborhood activist, this time Pat Murakami. Murakami was part of a group of individuals who filed petitions to hold up upzones around various Link stations. If you haven’t used your democracy vouchers yet, González has not maxed out on her spending limit (while Mosqueda and Grant have).
The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Dan Ryan, and Brent White.
59 Replies to “Cary Moon for Seattle Mayor”
Ah, no. I’m voting Durkan all the way.
Picked the good ones, but Jesus–all male panel! (One of whom lives in an Eastside outpost.) Out. Of. Touch.
If Ms. Durkan said she supported duplexes, townhouses, and accessory dwelling units in SF zones, I’d love to see it because that would be news. Their transportation policies are also markedly different. Pedestrians got last place in Ms. Durkan’s hierarchy of priority. Wasn’t Mr. Duke there when she dropped that nugget? Or were you all sleeping? That’s just tip of the iceberg though.
Anyway, nice work at bungling yet another poor endorsement.
Rumor has it, our eastside board member spends a lot of time in Seattle. His presence certainly doesn’t reduce the diversity of the editorial board.
A poorly-thought-out answer in a lightning round is not policy.
At any rate, we’re voting for the same candidate. I suggest not antagonizing any Moon supporters out of it, if your goal is for her to win.
“A poorly-thought-out answer in a lightning round is not policy.
Not to mention it was somewhat of a poorly constructed question that assumed transit and pedestrians are separable. I’ll probably vote for Moon, but we could do a lot worse than Durkan and the status quo.
Moon supporters are going to be antagonized out of voting for her because someone in a comments section rightly highlights that a group of privileged dudes who represent an all male hierarchy can’t even get basic facts right and downplay serious policy differences between two candidates when one of those (Moon) candidates has a superior platform and principles than their opponent? I’m not sure we live on the same planet.
John, you haven’t presented any of these policy differences of which you speak.
Moon has the privilege of writing her own personal code of virtues, and being able to afford to follow it. Some of her followers even make the mistake of loudly proclaiming this superior virtuosity. If she sees herself as superior as some of her naïve followers proclaim her to be, that is going to turn out rather off-putting to the masses of mere mortals who can’t afford to follow her code of virtues. I can see why Durkan called her on her moral grandstanding.
This superior virtuosity has led her to render herself impotent in her plans to build more affordably housing. She is under some delusion that the neighborhood aristocracy will act in the greater good when given the power of filibuster. Boy is she in for a big surprise! Based of those naïve promises, I don’t see her as any more able to get the housing we desperately need built than Durkan is.
There is also nothing particularly virtuous about lacing a fee on landowners who let their property sit idle with the Trumpicity of xenophobia. With her call to tax landowners who live elsewhere (and there are quite a few of them in Seattle), she may have followed in the footsteps of Omar Gonzalez.
I’m still voting for Moon because I don’t think Durkan will paint 3rd Ave red in time for the period of maximum constraint. if she changed her mind, I’d have to seriously reconsider my vote.
Good choices for City Council – one of whom has the coveted Jessyn endorsement (Mosqueda) and the other one got Alex Tsimerman banned from Seattle City Hall (González). With Sound Transit under so much attack, the last thing Sound Transit needs are weaklings anywhere near it.
As to Cary Moon, well if she’s got the Seattle Subway endorsement she must be doing something right.
Soft disagreement here. Whatever slight preference Moon can be awarded on transit and land use is, in my opinion, outweighed by my concerns that she will not be able to deliver on those policies as effectively. There is a meaningful difference between activism and actually leading a complex government organization. I see Durkan with an advantage on that front.
Moon is having to deal with the ghost of Mike McGinn’s political career.
When McGinn was elected, he had to deal with a council supermajority that had supported the tunnel, a clique which he spent his entire campaign antagonizing. It was no wonder he was so ineffective. They wouldn’t let him get anything done, even when he was doing the right thing.
Thankfully, only one member of that council remains on the dais.
Moon hasn’t antagonized anyone on the council. Durkan has multiple councilmembers who seem poised to oppose her agenda, whatever it turns out to be.
I’m confident Moon will have a more productive relationship with the next council than Durkan would, because simple math.
This is a terrible decision by the ed board. Durkan’s proposals are way more substantive and realistic. Moon has no idea what it will take to effectively deliver LRT expansion. Vote Durkan are a responsible professional in the mayor’s office who will get the job done.
What proposals do you consider more substantive or realistic?
Listening to the radio yesterday, I was disappointed in both candidates. Neither seemed to have a serious plan to address the housing problem. The solution is obvious. It was even proposed by the mayor’s HALA committee, but then rejected by the mayor: change the zoning to allow more density in single family zoned areas.
If that is Durkan’s plan, then great. But what I heard was the opposite, along with a dismissal of the facts when it comes to the amount of private land that is zoned for single family.
Ross, good question. This is a transit blog first and foremost. Housing policy matters for sure, but the big issues facing the city in transit are front and center for this readership and should have been the focus of the endorsement. And with due respect to the writers, the differences are not at all “small”. They are vast.
Durkan has thought through what it takes to partner with ST to put projects in the ground. She has correctly identified the main barriers to schedule performance and made commitments to address them.
She has gone to school on the ST3 plan and Move Seattle and gone all-in on a broad view and planning the investments optimize non-motorized system access and modal integration.
She’s gotten out front on reconfiguring the north end network to take advantage of Northgate.
She’s called for accelerating the two infill stations in a sensible way.
Moon has proposed… what? Issue more bonds and levy more taxes to improve ST’s cash flow position? That’s not realistic, and it’s double jeopardy for seattle taxpayers; we’ve already made the commitments to pay for light rail and more frequent bus service. We don’t need to layer on yet more cost, and better cash flow isn’t going to get decisions made any faster or permits issued expeditiously. Beyond that she wants us to put all our faith in her awesome transition team? Wow, that is some real leadership. Her ideas aren’t serious and reflect a lack of depth on substance.
Look, voters just approved spending six billion dollars in seattle the next 17years on expanding the Link network. SIX BILLION! It’s like everyone is taking that for granted, when that is exactly where our biggest risks areas taxpayers and commuters.
From looking at their ideas, Durkan is clearly the one who has given more thought to how best to tackle in-city transit challenges. This election is about who can better execute. It’s not a close call. Electing Moon would put that massive investment immediately at risk.
I wish the ed board here had spent more time on actual transit issues than land use issues. Not trying to diss critical questions about affordability, zoning, and inventory. But this isn’t the Seattle TOD Blog. That honor belongs to the Urbanist. This ed board owes a service to readers to climb inside transit issues and policy and help folks get smart about how to weigh this choice in that context.
If you care about getting light rail done well and on schedule, with a complimentary bus network, Durkan is the better choice by a mile.
Thanks, Railcan, for chiming in with actual candidate positions. Would you mind providing links?
I do have to point out that the County gets to set bus routes. The City can influence those decisions with some Prop1-style buy-up, but the basic network is ultimately under the control of the county council, for better or worse. I take it Durkan is now committed to extending Seattle’s money-for-extra-bus-service program. Right? With a more progressive funding source?
Has Durkan made a firm decision on what will happen with 3rd Ave? Or at least what guidance she will give to SDoT?
I’m also curious why you think Moon won’t adopt the best parts of Durkan’s new transit platform. They both seem like amazingly intelligent women who, as the saying goes, think alike. (Well, they are both wrong about kowtowing to the neighborhood leaders, and Durkan shouldn’t have me-too-ed Moon on that point.)
“From looking at their ideas, Durkan is clearly the one who has given more thought to how best to tackle in-city transit challenges.”
Haha, wow. That one is really a doozey. Durkan clearly and obviously didn’t know anything about this subject coming into the race.
All the candidates, including Moon, talked about speeding up process for ST3, etc. Moon is the only remaining candidate who seems to recognize that a 19 year timeline for Balalrd is a huge risk to ST3. Speeding things up by 1 year isn’t good enough.
Making great transit in Seattle happen requires leadership and a backbone. Does anyone here seriously think Durkan will stand up for Exclusive lanes? How many businesses would need to object before she backed off?
Durkan on transit:
Moon on transit:
Two in-depth interviews by ECB, on a broad range of issues:
@Brent, looks like Dave beat me to the links. Yes the county decides KCM routes. But the mayor comes to the table with immense leverage: 1) money for service, 2) permitting authority for KCM facilities and stops, 3) a seat on the ST board, and 4) permitting authority for ST infrastructure that will be used by KCM service to provide intermodal transfers.
Durkans’s proposal reflect a thorough understanding of how to use these levers to get the best results for the city. Moon’s ideas look very reactive and superficial to me.
Would Moon steal Durkan’s plans? Who knows? I’d rather go with someone who comes to the table on day one ready to work than one facing a steep and uncertain learning curve.
And due respect to Keith, love your passion and advocacy. But you’re an IT guy, and for all the years you’ve spent working at ST you seem remarkably unaware of how the elected officials in this region actually do business.
“Money for service” does not leverage Metro; it just gives service above Metro’s base level. In many cases it provides service that Metro wants to provide but can’t afford, that its service guidelines say should exist. Metro’s guidelines have said for years that many Seattle neighborhood routes should have 15-minute evenings, but with the failure of the county measures to increase service it was only Seattle’s Prop 1 that finally did it.
Not sure what your point is. Mine is: money+regulatory authority=leverage to influence outcomes. Smart, savvy politicians get that. My view is Durkan comes to this work better prepared and better equipped to execute. Nothing in this town is ever static, and guidelines are, well, just that.
The main positive I take away from Durkan’s transit plan is that she is humble enough to let the transit experts/supporters in her camp (which basically consists of T4W) write her transit plan for her. I’m glad they made sure one transit group was in her camp.
The most obvious negative is that nothing in her plan runs up against the Chamber’s opposition to painting 3rd Ave red – the largest controversial decision she will have to make as mayor.
“Steal” is a poor choice of words, considering how much Durkan has let Moon set the agenda by saying “I agree”, including for some of Moon’s worst positions, like letting neighborhoods veto the equitable distribution of density and affordable housing neighborhood by neighborhood. Durkan’s stump responses show an unusual inability to think on her feet for a career lawyer.
Don’t get me wrong. I like seeing Moon set the agenda, for the most part. I just want Durkan to push back on the occasions when Moon is clearly wrong.
(And I want Durkan to improve her transit agenda by making sure transit has dedicated ROW on 3rd by the time the buses get kicked out of the DSTT, and I promise not to accuse Durkan of “stealing” the idea from Moon, though it wasn’t really Moon’s idea to take credit for in the first place.)
RailCan: Who are you and who do you represent? Seems pretty germane to this conversation. I am using my real name and I represent Seattle Subway.
Also germane: You clearly don’t know anything about me. It’s as if you think the things we win on just drop out of the sky.
I’ve been following this race closely since the beginning. We co-hosted a candidate forum. We sought candidate positions for our endorsements (Moon, sole, primary.) We held a straw poll (Moon: 146, Durkan: 1)
Why? Durkan clearly wants to be mayor, beyond that I don’t think she has any interest in this subject. She lets quite a few windshield view lines slip. Her answers were all fuzzy and impossible to hold her accountable to.
She is solely accountable to the COC and the DSA. She didn’t even have an issues page until the general.
Moon, on the other hand, has made transit and housing a priority in her platfirm and knows what she is talking about. She has fought for transit and multi-modal access in the past. She has specifically said that we need to upzone SFH zones. She specifically talks about surface transit priority.
If you care about transit being prioritized in the next administration, this choice is not close.
Concur 100%. Moon just doesn’t have the organizational experience nor the leadership track record to take a chance on. And the experience she does claim appears to be highly inflated.
Na, we don’t need more neophytes in key leadership roles. We have enough of that already.
Neither candidate has experience as mayor or anything like it.
I’ll take a candidate that cares about transit over one that is bought and paid for by Comcast, thanks.
The city doesn’t need a prosecutor in the mayors office.
When I look at Mayoral candidates, I look to see who has the best leadership qualities when the issue platforms are hard to differentiate. Who is going to inspire? Who is going to build consensus? Who can envision multiple solutions to a challenge? Who is a good listener? Who can get others to do better? Who can build and inspire an exciting cadre of department heads?
I’m not finding this leadership differentiation in this written endorsement.
If I could I’d vote for Moon just on the basis of her observation that the City’s streets are “too convenient” for drivers. Seattle isn’t that big. Even if one uses surface streets it’s possible for a knowledgeable driver to go from NW 145th to 120th and Beacon South in less than an hour very nearly any time one might want to do so.
While that would certainly be a burden on an ambulance, it’s not for ordinary people.
The folks who are horrified by this are almost uniformly residents of somewhere else who are either passing through Seattle entirely or headed to a specific destination for some self-interested purpose. They don’t and shouldn’t get a vote, but that doesn’t stop them from joining the caucus of howling autoistas opposed to any pedestrian and/or bicycle safety improvements.
People who live here complain about that too, sadly.
Good pick. Listening to Moon you clearly get a sense that she deeply cares about building a better city. Durkan says many of the right things about transit, but you just get the sense that she is only willing to go so far before caving to other powerful interests. Now’s not the time for a retreating moderate. Now is the time for someone who truly believes in Seattle’s urbanist potential.
What I hear is “I’m punching this ticket on my way up!”
Sorry, I should have said “What I hear from Durkan…”
I will grudgingly vote the same way. Neither of these candidates are as good as the candidate you originally endorsed (Farrell) but neither are terrible, either. I give the edge to Moon just because I feel like extraordinary times call for unusual candidates. I think Durkan is far more likely to be satisfied with the status quo, and to many in this city — those without wealth — the status quo is terrible. If you can’t afford to live here, then life is tough. Durkan would have been a very good mayor ten, twenty or even thirty years ago, but now, we need someone who is willing to take chances. I am not saying that Moon is the ideal mayor, but at least there is a chance that she will be.
Has anybody got any figures on how much of this year’s electorate will be voting for their first Seattle mayor? Unless I can work some serious gerrymandering in a week, I’m just an election observer. Unless I can hire a consulting firm in Texas
I keep saying that leaders have to be created by those who want to be led by them. Or close as they can get. But voting majority can also settle for most harmless, or if not a leader, then a competent administrator. Or one just to spite the othes.
I think Jenny is most likely to win for reason I like the least. She’s got a large group of people behind her who understand politics just fine, and have a lot of money to back it up. Who happen to be major motivators of the economic effort that forced me out of my former district. But also, by their presence, power, and general style, made me glad I left.
Cary Moon would be an honest, intelligent head of an agency directly created to develop the programs she advocates. But I don’t think she deserves the kind of contact she’ll be forced to face, as every mayor does, with the abuse and machinations of people who personify the opposite of the “i” word
Jessyn’s top value is where she is now. If Seattle gets bad enough she has to go into exile, I’m sure she’s already got a home ready here when she needs it. We’ll also need her abilities and qualities when it’s time to get Thurston, or at least Olympia into Sound Transit.
I give it about two mayors ’til Nikki Oliver will be the second or third one. And I’ll take LINK straight through the tunnel into Ballard with my new address, and ballot, in my coat pocket.
Terrible endorsement of one of two less-than inspiring candidates to be honest. Neither has any government experience and if we dislike that fact at the federal level, we should also be skeptical of it at the city level.
The obsession with bicycles is wearing me out. A solid transit and transportation policy should involve caring about the real people moving engines in the area from dependable buses to reliable trains to meaningful arterial roads for cars. Putting bicycle paths in everywhere is not part of any mass transit policy outside of Amsterdam or Copenhagen and other flat cities. Try to work with the geography of our area not come up with options despite it.
Neither candidate in Seattle seems inspiring to me.
Um, what about sidewalks? Without them, transit has no walkshed.
Sidewalks, absolutely – before anything else. Then transit because, as you say, without the sidewalks there is no walkshed for transit. Almost everyone is a pedestrian at some point, and nearly everyone can use transit. Anything else can follow.
I don’t have numbers, but I’d be willing to bet that more people travel between Fremont and the U-district via the Burke-Gilman trail than the 31/32 buses. I could be wrong, but anecdotally, it sure feels like it.
Exactly. And bikes solve the last-mile problem much better than cars do.
We have a street grid that connects everywhere in town. With the whining about too much emphasis on bikes and pedestrian safety (what portion of the budget?) you’d think we already have a network of safe bike routes all over town, sidewalks along all the streets, space for more cars downtown due to dearth of cheap parking, and a multi-billion dollar tunnel under downtown for bikers and pedestrians.
Bicycles aren’t mass transit, they’re personal transportation. (Both in being small, not “mass”, and in being human-powered, not “transit”. ) Both Amsterdam and Copenhagen have transit as comprehensive as New York City, and their entire countries as much as the New York metropolitan area and Long Island. They aren’t doing an either/or of transit or bikes, but both/and.
It’s definitely a both/and proposition. Walking gets you the last 1/3 mile. Biking can get you the last 1 mile since it’s three times faster.
Bike lanes are also often just the most visible element of major roadway redesigns, when the real goal is safety for everyone – so then people just get bent out of shape about the bike part.
Bikes are part of the solution. Not the solution, but a part.
The last thing this town needs is another activist taking office. A burn-all-bridges first approach to governing is just completely ineffective. We also need a check and balance to the activist council that we have somehow elected.
Both are smart candidates and I am glad we will have our first woman as mayor in modern memory, but I feel like we already tried the activist approach with McGinn and that was a complete disaster.
That’s the question, whether she is burn-all-bridges. Moon does not seem radical like Sawant, Oliver, or Jayapal. She just brings some new ideas and inspirations she wants to try. That’s what you’d want a mayor to do.
(And Sawant I must say, she’s more reasonable and well-rounded when I’ve heard her speak directly, than her campaign rhetoric suggests. But I can’t stand the campaign rhetoric she allows to grow around her.)
SGG, can you quote me one uncivil thing Cary Moon has ever said in public to anyone? And curious about your definition of the term “activist.” Streetcar “Connector” discussion shows that activity is not a major threat from this council.
Thanks everybody for the arguments on both sides; that’s the kind of debate we need. In the end what matters most is not whether the editorial was right or wrong, but the fact that the board articulated what it thought was right, and others gave the best arguments for or against, so that those who read all of it get a complete picture. And for non-readers — those who hear only the endorsement headline — the fact remains that it’s not a bad choice: Both candidates are grade B at least, we’re just arguing over whether one is B+ or A. We’re very fortunate that Seattle has progressed beyond having one or even both candidates as NIMBYs or pro maximum car/parking volume. If you remember McGinn vs Mallahan, it was one candidate who was for surface+transit and bikes, and another for the highway tunnel and (probably) preserving single-family areas. I’m not sure whether Moon or Durkin is better, or whether the distinctions each one has will really pan out; that’s why I’m not saying much. But I’m glad that even the worst choice will keep Seattle on a reasonably good path.
That s fine but arguably there is no choice in Seattle any more and I do think you need to have a strong anti-bike policy as well as one that is for it. Between the two, hopefully something reasonable will happen that doesn’t hammer down bicycle paths on major arterial routes. At present, the anti-car and pro-bike policy throughout Seattle is becoming increasingly sterile and unproductive of reasonable change and movement across the region as a whole.
Fortunately the SR99 project is far enough along that Cary Moon if she gets in won’t have too much say on it. An activist mayor and an activist council could be among the worst of future options for Seattle. Jenny Durkan while totally uninspiring offers the best chance of countering the activist wing of the council which thus far only succeeds in pissing folks off.
Now I’m confused. Do you not want us to not talk about bikes, or do you want us to consider “anti-bike policy”? Should bike access to transit infrastructure be outside our wheelhouse?
The council has always been activist. That is why they exist. It isn’t as if they run anything besides their own staff. Sometimes, they just happen to be doing the wrong sort of activism, like passing laws entombing SFH supremacy, making homelessness illegal (including living in one’s own RV), or ripping out transit infrastructure.
Brent, the STB doesn’t need to be confused by anything I said but more balance helps folks to make better choices as there is too much extremism in America today. I get that you don’t like cars and are pro-transit but Seattle’s obsession with bicycles paths and with shaming drivers constantly is not winning you the argument. I am pro transit too but I have look at all this holistically and I don’t see anything to be gained by pitting the Eastside communities against Seattle activism. The activism by the way is not as great as you believe it to be and the Council has not always been activist. I also dont think it helps when it is.
I’m not anti-bike, I think Seattle should have cycletracks and greenways to all parts of the city. What I object to is putting bike infrastructure in the way of transit lanes/BAT lanes. The biggest reason people are screaming for Ballard Link is that it takes 45 minutes to get from Ballard to downtown or the U-District on the D or 44 on a bad day. Those are major urban corridors between urban villages that need transit lanes, or at least their little brother BAT lanes. I recognize that some rights-of-way are too narrow for all modes: 45th and Eastlake are especially constrained. But the fact remains that people need to get across the city in fast/frequent buses, and that’s the biggest reason people drive instead, and bicycles can’t work as the primary transportation mode for the bulk of the population — people need the speed and convenience of motorized transportation, especially given Seattle’s hills and rainy seasons and dark winters. I want a first-rate bicycle network but I don’t want it to displace a first-rate transit network, because if we have to choose in narrow corridors then it needs to be transit. Bicycle thoroughfares can often be sited a few blocks away where there’s not as much overdemand for the right-of-way, such as on 12th Avenue instead of Broadway. I wouldn’t be so steamed about Eastlake if the city would decisively commit to making the other corridors Madison-level quality: 45th, 23d/Rainier, Roosevelt, the 40, etc. But so far the city has just thrown out vague possibilities for those corridors without committing to any particular level of transit service, which runs the risk that they’ll be watered down like the D or Eastlake.
I think what we have right now are two candidates who are essentially pandering to the bicycle community with varying levels of real enthusiasm. It has become de-rigeur to believe in Seattle that one has to “put a bike on it” to borrow from Portlandia. This is raising false expectations of what can be done and what needs to be done. To be honest, I don’t see that either candidate truly has a vision. The last two mayors who did were Greg Nickels and Mike McGinn. They didn’t agree and I didn’t agree with McGinn, but at least both of them cared!
There are other advocacy groups for bicyclists and as was noted in a recent Seattle Times op-ed piece by Briar Dudley I think, voters and others need to be aware of the unaccountable power that some activist organizations have over policy development.
I’m all for transit buses that are not unreliable, late, or overfull, for streetcars that add a nice definition to certain corridors, for light rail that is comprehensive and for heavy rail that is reliable, but this pandering to a small minority of bicyclists will only get us chaos as the next mayor adds bits and pieces to a network that can only become extensive by robbing other modes of their attention and funds. Let’s not go there. Seattle is often wet in the winter, certainly dark in the winter at key times of the morning and evening, and unquestionably hilly year round. These are not attributes that make for safe or pleasant riding. We seem to have these fights for so long as a community that I am not sure what is actually being accomplished.
I don’t think Seattle has sold out to bicycles, or even has a robust enough bicycle plan. I just think the cities priorities have tipped a bit toward bikes recently, and in some aspects have tipped a bit too far.
I disagree with Moon’s sentiment that driving is “too convenient”. It’s public transportation in Seattle that’s not convenient enough! The distinction is important. Threatening and antagonizing voters who drive is divisive and doesn’t attempt to provide those voters with any alternative. Moon could find common ground between voters who drive and those who rely on public transportation by committing to support the growth of a faster, more reliable public transportation system for Seattle. The case against driving will be made for her as Seattle continues to grow beyond the capacity of its aging roadways.
Driving is too convenient. First, the vast sea of on-street and off-street parking and roads that cover half the city’s buildable land. That pushes everything further apart, makes transportation more necessary, and hinders the social/cultural contacts between people. Each of those parking spaces and driving spaces serves a shockingly low number of people. We should take some parking and driving lanes for transit in all quarters of the city, while keeping some car-and-parking access. We should at least look at traffic signals and prioritize them for pedestrians and transit. Walk/bike/transit should be the first choice and priority for trips, and driving the second choice. If we prioritized our public investments and policies like that, we’d have a city more like Paris.
Mike I’m sorry but not convinced here. Paris is comparatively flat and has multiple roads into an out of the city. Seattle does not, therefore some roads that we do have need to become safe arterials for cars that will increasingly become hybrid vehicles as we move forward. There are plenty of lesser streets that can be used for bicycles and transit. The priority should be getting folks to and from where they need to go and as expeditiously as possible. Sometimes this will involve cars, sometimes transit, sometimes walking and yes, sometimes a bicycle but you can’t force people to choose. You can however offer them choices that make sense in particular corridors but without suggesting that all corridors make sense to all modes.
Mike, my argument is that improving transit is a better platform than making driving less convenient. Removing parking spaces might be a good idea, for example, in cases where doing so can improve transit in the area, but removing parking simply to discourage people from driving does nothing to address the legitimate reasons that people in that area may be more dependent on their cars, such as lack of access to an advanced metro system.
Seattle’s transportation infrastructure is way behind cities’ like Paris, and we need the widespread, long-term support of voters to achieve changes on that scale. My concern is that a message antagonizing drivers, who probably haven’t been provided with good alternatives by our transit system, will actually impede our efforts to improve transit as voters become more likely to reject measures that support transit. Better transportation services benefit us all, including drivers – that should be the message.
Agreed that it’s better to frame changes around what people are getting, and how we’re making lives better.
EX: We’re getting a new bus lane that’s going to move thousands of more people and loosing a parking lane is just a side effect (good or bad depending on your disposition).
EX: We’re making housing more affordable (by getting rid of parking minimums which has been shown to jack of the cost of housing).
Right, we should accommodate cars as much as we can as long as it doesn’t harm other transportation modes or a minimum walkability standard. I don’t expect Seattle to turn medieval with one-lane roads everywhere: we need a certain number of automobile roads like 23rd, 12th, 2nd and 4th, etc. I’m not bothered by the 4-lane one-way streets downtown like some people are: it just reflects that Seattle’s nature is more like New York than Venice or Edinburgh. We must accommodate emergency vehicles, deliveries, working cars (e.g., a gardener with tools), the disabled who can’t want to a bus stop but can drive, and we can accommodate a certain amount of choice/recreational driving on top of that. But not to the extend of scaling our city to a grotesque proportion and hindering non-drivers from getting around.
Central Districtite is right about the ideal messaging, of course. But we do that too and the politicians and public ignore it. We also need to confront the excesses of car-accommodation head-on, otherwise their harms and externalities remain unrecognized and unaddressed. Even now most people still don’t understand how much it costs to provide and maintain a parking space at home, work, the supermarket, and mall — and how much everyone except the driver is subsidizing it.
the disabled who can’t
wantwalk to a bus stop but can drive
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