2017 was not a great year, both worldwide and in our little corner of the universe. Here is our customary summary of the 10 most-read and most-commented posts of the past year:
1. Mercer Island to Sue Sound Transit, WSDOT (2/13 by Zach Shaner) Mercer Island’s tantrum over HOV lane access was a fine opportunity to pillory a privileged group defending their privilege. Although many of their points had no merit, it wasn’t hard to empathize with a few others.
2. House Democrats All Vote Against Sound Transit (4/13, by Brent White) Sound Transit opponents couldn’t win at the ballot box, so they fired up some angry constituents to scare legislators. This sorry episode is one of the best examples of why we shouldn’t hold public votes on highly technical issues.
3. Seattle Times Editorial Board Flunks Geometry (3/7 by David Lawson) David dismantles the Times Editorial Board’s latest primal scream against change, growth, and the facts of living and working in a prosperous major city.
4. Ban Cars from Third, Now (2/21 by David Lawson) I am a firm believer in rail’s sometimes magical powers, but no one has explained to me why 12 streetcars per hour deserve absolute dedicated right-of-way, while 240 buses per hour on Third are going to have to go through a “data-driven” process to earn the same treatment.
5. 5 Democratic Senators Side with Republicans Against Sound Transit (3/2 by Martin H. Duke) There is a certain willful ignorance among progressive advocates for scrapping the Sound Transit Board. The Republicans they’re voting with are dedicated to gutting urban transit in all its forms, and have no interest whatsoever in efficient delivery of high-quality services. Someone here is a sucker, and I’m guessing it isn’t the Republicans.
6. The Technical Challenges of Seattle-Vancouver High Speed Rail: Part 1 (2/17 by Zach Shaner) We knew Zach and Alon Levy’s series on this project was going to be a crowd-pleaser. It was even reviewed in the legislative report on the project, on which more next year.
7. SE Seattle Representative Sponsors Anti-Sound Transit Bill (1/31 by Martin H. Duke) Another one about “governance reform.” Nothing goes viral like legislative session reports, I guess.
8. Sound Transit to Sue Mercer Island (2/18 by Brent White) As is usually the case, the dueling lawsuits were eventually settled with money. The power of local governments over Sound Transit is one of the principal reasons costs escalate.
9. Amtrak Cascades to Add SEA-PDX Service by the End of the Year (8/16 by Frank Chiachiere) The gradual evolution of Cascades into a fast, reliable service is a good news story, notwithstanding the tragedy this month.
10. “I think that vote was rigged” (5/12 by Martin H. Duke) Mayoral candidate (and State Senator) Bob Hasegawa criticizes ST3 as dishonest, claiming he didn’t understand what he was voting for, months after it wins big in Seattle. (Though it narrowly lost in his district.)
1. (tie) One Center City Proposes Aggressive Bus Restructures, More Transit Priority (1/26, by Zach Shaner) and The Technical Challenges of Seattle-Vancouver High Speed Rail: Part 1 (2/17, also by Zach) (168 comments). Again, HSR is a crowd-pleasing subject. The first draft of One Center City suggested a transformation of the bus system, with lots of impacts to opine about.
3. Jessyn Farrell for Mayor (7/7, by the Editorial Board; 149 comments) A wide-open mayoral primary provided a candidate for everyone. This board member is cautiously optimistic about Mayor Durkan, but still thinks Ms. Farrell would have been amazing.
4. For Link a Drawbridge is a Bridge to Nowhere (9/12 by Seattle Subway, 146 comments) Seattle Subway lays out all their priorities in the Ballard/West Seattle design, but minimizing bridge openings over the ship canal is the headline.
5. When Common Sense is Wrong, and Intuitions Fail (4/6 by Zach Shaner, 144 comments) Zach’s rebuttal of celebrity meteorologist Cliff Mass’s screed for more general-purpose lanes was well received, but I was surprised people had this much to say about it.
6. Mercer Island to Sue Sound Transit, WSDOT (2/13, by Zach Shaner; 143 comments) See #1 most read.
7. Issues to Watch in the Seattle ST3 Alignment (10/21 by Martin H. Duke, 133 comments) I predict the likely flashpoints in Seattle’s upcoming alternatives analysis, leaving lots of grist for readers.
8. Sounder Negotiations Update (6/20 by Martin H. Duke, 125 comments) What did Sounder riders vote for in ST3? Nobody knows! Ambiguity is hard for many to swallow, as Sound Transit asks us to trust them.
9. News Roundup: Abomination (9/6 by Martin H. Duke, 122 comments) Elected boards, 11-lane roadways in Bothell, and other items.
10. We Have Traffic Because We Drive so Far (1/18 by Dan Ryan, 118 comments) Dan ties together transportation and land use in a big-picture post.