34 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Seattle Growth Timelapse”

  1. Would subarea equity for WSDOT be a good thing? In addition there could be locally appointed/elected boards which could veto or propose projects, voter approval for multi-billion dollar projects crossing subarea boundaries. Maybe most maintenance for I-90 or I-5 could be excluded, also bridges. Could an initiative accomplish this, given that any heavily subsidized county would probably vote against it?

    1. I would certainly support some form of sub-area equity for WSDOT on a state level. Say on a County by county level.

      You’d want to handle overhead and cross-County issues, but that could be done. Maybe say 90% of transportation revenue raised in a county must be spent in that county, 5% can be transferred to adjacent counties for cross-county issues, and 5%can go to the state for overhead.

      The reality is that you would never get such a thing past the rural republicans though. As much as the complain about Seattle and king county, and as often as they propose succession, they still know where their money comes from.

    2. It’s an interesting idea. The folks on the east side on the state would probably vote for it, because they seem to think that they subsidize Seattle, when the reality is the exact opposite.

    3. The east side knows they can’t afford new freeways without Puget Sound’s money, no matter how much they think they subsidize Seattle. Highways are seen as being of statewide importance, that’s why they’re state highways. In contrast, Cascades is not seen as that important because there’s I-5, and Puget Sound regional transit is seen as being a local issue for local funding. So it probably wouldn’t get through the legislature unless there’s an unusually effective campaign for it. An intiative would depend on whether that’s within initiatives’ power: some things are and some things aren’t. You’d have to ask a lawyer. I’d also hesitate to pass an initiative written by amateurs that may have unintended consequences or not really address the problem. There have been too many of those. I used to support initiatives by default, but now I only sign those that are slam-dunk obvious like the carbon tax. I voted for the marijuana initiatives but I was troubled by their amateurish implementation plan , that assumed their ideas on taxation and reconciling the medical/recreational markets and home-grow were perfect. Those kinds of details are what lawmakers and experts are supposed to haver a better understanding of (ideally) — the initiative should be to tell them to go in a certain direction, not to write into law somebody’s half-baked implementation ideas that may be hard to modify later. There’s also the monorail initiatives….

    4. While I see why this might seem appealing, I feel like it is a step in the wrong direction. We should strive to work together for the greater good rather than narrowly focusing on how big our piece of pie is. It always makes me uncomfortable to hear politicians proclaim I will fight for our state/district. If you are making rules for the whole, shouldn’t fight for rules effective for the whole?

      1. Right now the minority is blocking the majority and imagining they’re subsidizing them, when in fact Puget Sound is why the statewide economy is doing so good and can afford exurban freeways, Puget Sound is not getting what it needs to optimize the economy and make everyone better off. So I can see the motivation.

        But subarea equity is a two-way sword of course. ST 1 and 2 benefitted the airport and Lynnwood and Federal Way rather than Ballard, but now ST3 is forcing the region to come back to Ballard rather than just going to Everett and Tacoma and calling it quits. There can be problems with the boundary and demographic changes. The ST district has a lot of exurban land in Pierce County that has no counterpart in King or Snohomish Counties. That contradicts Marysville’s growth and emerging regional transit needs, and puts in a huge chunk of southeast Pierce that always votes no. Statewide subarea equity could have similar problems.

      2. According to Wikipedia, population balance in the State of Washington gives Seattle an edge that could easily lose it ST-4 if any significant number of Sound Transit’s voters don’t like their car-tab fees.

        Or can’t pay Seattle rents or property taxes anymore, and become somebody else’s constituents. And in future elections could ally our present voting district with our former one. Or, recalling how we had to leave…not.

        Four years out- less than no regrets about relocating. Couldn’t stand Ballard anymore than I can the rest of Seattle, excepting Nordic Heritage Museum, three restaurants, and about five espresso places run by friends.

        Interesting video, Oran, but should be re-shot with a different focus. We can’t see the record number of Seattle residents with every overhang, or overpass for a voting address. I’m reading that agencies are trying to help.
        But is that the same is participation that formerly needed neither help nor trying.

        Luckily, my own change of address puts me in an Area who’s inevitable change has only to be steered.I give Sounder three to five years to get to Lacey- because by then, rush-hour I-5 will often have to be routinely evacuated with giant Sikorski helicopters.

        Politically, in addition to the refreshed rolls (voting, not croissants), seniority finally becomes its own cure. But personal hallmark of success? When the kids of Jeff Bezos’ aging employees start running away to an Area, like whole remainder of the State of Washington that’ll never be Sub to anything.


        To ones with no say whatever about the effects of Seattle’s real estate market that include city history’s most dynamic change of address from houses to curbs and freeway-ramp-basements.

        Let alone rendering I-5 transit-free every weekday rush hour.

      3. Agreed, Ben, but in the case of today’s dysfunctional democracy fed by BS Facebook news feeds and the like, I think there might need to be a wake-up call to those who take but think they give – and in so doing vote against those who give from spending money on those things they want. In other words, I’d love to see this get a hearing but fail because voters in counties (or states) become educated as to where exactly their money is coming from.

        It’s a huge problem, IMHO, on a national scale, where I’d like to see the same thing get discussed. Having lived in a deep red state as well as in WA, I can tell you that none of them have any clue that (save Texas), their economies are being heavily subsidized by evil blue states’ tax dollars. A state like South Carolina, where I lived and still have deep ties, cuts taxes with one hand to lure jobs from blue states at cut-rate wages, then with the other hand reaches out to the Feds (read: those of us who pay more than we get back) to get more tax money to replace those subsidies that take jobs from us. These areas then vote in people that want nothing more than to damage the places who pay for the country to keep running, and to keep us from spending our money on things that are important to us.

        The way the system is supposed to work is that we all pitch in for one another. Unfortunately large swaths of the population either don’t know that or have forgotten it, and they need to be reminded. The best way to do this is to show in a most visible fashion exactly where their bread is buttered.

    5. I’m not sure if the folks in Eastern Washington would really be the big losers. I think it is the folks in the Puget Sound suburbs. That is where many of the projects are being built, and that is where the political power lies. Both parties want to cater to those voters, and the politicians that represent them, because they are swing districts. If you changed the dynamic, then Eastern Washington becomes more like Montana. Roads still get fixed, you just don’t build any new ones. But projects like the 167/509 extensions (both dubious) wouldn’t happen.

      1. Anyone using the ferries too, though it would provide incentive for smaller boats and more passenger use.

  2. Licas, why don’t we just call it a fair share of service for everybody in, say, the State of Washington, which defines the boundaries of WSDOT’s service area? Though transit boundaries, already Portland and Vancouver BC. Also-what space of time are we discussing?

    Because even among two individual people at close quarters, more common than not to agree that it’s fair for one to get more at any given time. And the other one be paid back with same, or other consideration.

    The United States of America is 4000 miles ocean to ocean, and 2500 border to border. And 325 million of us our holding our country together day-to-day voluntarily. Which I don’t think anybody on Earth over 40 considers “sub” anything. All their history includes worst Administrations than ours.

    World-wide and history-long, all species’ overwhelming experience is that safety, freedom, and fairness depend on ever larger numbers cooperating by habit. Not seeing how many steadily diminishing groups they can divide themselves into. Over Sound Transit’s lifetime, prefix “sub-” always followed by “standard.”

    I sense that difference between our points of view is that I think we achieve “equity” -doesn’t that term come out of banking, which has a miserable record of it?-is to work together so nobody feels cheated. Rewrite your initiative accordingly and it’ll be great to have everybody else’s name be “sub” mine.

    Mark Dublin

  3. And Lucas, substandard typing means get my 1922 Remington back, and a gallon of white out. And equity now means you don’t owe Thurston County a dime of subsidy. Friends?


  4. Whose tree do I have to bark up to get an E line stop considered at Mercer/Roy Sts? The interstation distance between Galer and Denny is quite long.

    1. Good suggestion. It dovetails with this very video, and goes along with the comment Mike made, just below you. A few years ago, a stop around Roy would be considered silly. There just aren’t enough destinations there. There is no crossing bus service, either. While there still is no crossing bus service, the area has grown immensely, and a bus stop seems warranted.

      That being said, I’m not sure what the plan is for the E, after the SR 99 project (AKA the Big Bertha, AKA the Little Dig) is finished. Looking at the maps, it isn’t obvious to me where the E will exit. The last place to leave SR 99 (before the tunnel) appears to be Harrison, which is several blocks north of the current “last stop” (Denny). That would make sense, and appears to be the fastest exit, except for the fact that the bus lane is on the right, and the exit appears to me to be on the right. This means that a bus stop on SR 99, close to Mercer, just wouldn’t work. The southbound bus would be too busy working its way over to the left lane.

      Of course the weird little maps leave out Mercer itself, which means it isn’t clear what the other options are. A bus could exit (somewhere around Mercer) and use 6th, then jog over to Aurora. Or maybe sixth itself becomes a transit street (it certainly is wide enough — https://goo.gl/maps/nnvWJENhWXC2). That means that a southbound bus exits onto sixth (around Mercer) travels southbound on sixth (in its own lane) and go past Denny, onto a contraflow lane (still on sixth) and then takes a right on Wall (following the current path). The other direction it is much the same thing, except the final piece is harder. Up Battery, left on sixth, then somehow a path to SR 99. That only makes sense if there is an easy way to go from northbound sixth to northbound Aurora, north of Harrison and my guess is there won’t be.

      All of that means that my guess is that the stop next of Galer will be Harrison, and we have to hope that the folks involved (WSDOT and Metro) have this all worked out.

      1. Argg — I messed that up. I meant to say: That would make sense, and appears to be the fastest exit, except for the fact that the bus lane is on the right, and the exit appears to me to be on the left.

        I also forgot to link to the maps. Project website: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct/Schedule/North. Map: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct/Media/Default/-NewDocuments/Schedule/2016_north_portal.jpg. Map: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/Viaduct/Media/Default/-NewDocuments/FutureAccess/North/SimWithLabels.JPG.

        Hopefully what I said now makes a lot more sense.

      2. I’m just stating this from a pedestrian point of view; right now one of the major problems with the SLU bus network IMO is that the stops are placed on a map for coverage but ignore facts on the ground, namely the traffic moats that are SR-99 and Mercer St.

        Ideally, the E makes a stop at Roy to serve north-of-Mercer, and the stop at Denny serves south-of-Mercer. I say Roy because ideally, I’d like to see Roy host a tunneled pedestrian underpass, or a pedestrian/transit underpass. The 62, 40/C, and 70 have stops at Aloha, the southern side of Mercer, Thomas, and Denny, or Aloha, Republican, and Denny. Right now, the 40 stop being on Valley means that backtracking to south of Mercer takes about ten minutes if you miss the light.

        If you want to get really crayon-crazy, make pedestrian/transit connections connecting Roy across SR-99 instead of connecting to it as an onramp, and make Yale Av host the same, so that you can run a northern 8 going from somewhere past Queen Anne down Roy and Valley, turning south on Yale, turning east on what is a one-way block of Mercer, and runs up Lakeview into northern Capitol Hill.

      3. I might be missing something here: why would the E not continue down the surface version of Aurora and connect into downtown roughly as it does today? AFAICT, that remains possible, and would allow the E to keep almost all of the same stops and add one at Harrison (which isn’t quite Roy/Mercer, but would be helpful for SLU workers nonetheless.)

    1. Good point, and good comment. I also sympathize with the formatting errors (I think we’ve all done that many times). Anyway, your overall point is an excellent one. As the city grows, a lot of bus routes that would have been extravagant just a few years ago simply make sense. You easily get into that virtuous cycle, where you improve headways, ridership goes up, and you can improve headways again. That approach not only applies to individual lines, but to the system as a whole. A networked grid making travel between, say, Lake City and Bitter Lake would seem silly twenty years ago, while now it is appropriate for a city this size.

  5. Henry best shot is probably your Seattle City Council and King County Council members. But for tree-upbarking, best to contract out to a professional, and avoid breeds like savage little terriers whose verbal communication would drive off a lion.

    Big sweet yellow lab probably best, wagging his tail and looking up hopefully at Council staff, and, like staff, wagging their tail and panting ’till their master or mistress comes home, and gives all of you a treat- whatever route you each live along.

    But have a comment on this morning’s title video, in the context of yesterday’s subject of an advisory board for the Ballard-West Seattle Line. Real picture of last several years’ growth of Seattle needs an olfactory element too- movies have stopped talking about that, probably because their products won’t pass the laugh test either.

    I mentioned yesterday that I wished the panel had had at least one representative of the labor movement. Yeah, I know, my 12 year old niece clued me in there’s no such thing as hubcaps anymore either. But the board should include some people who at least dress like the ones who used to live in Ballard and West Seattle.

    Including residents whose home addresses are the closest curb to their former actual houses and apartments, wherever they continue to work before they return to kick back in their front seat at the end of the day. Or night. Or swing shift. Or third job. While on the waiting list for an actual viaduct.

    OK, won’t mention the office clothes of nostalgic days, because then I’d have to explain why Grease, Sparks, and Sharp Scrap Metal aren’t on the music scene anymore. However, since name of the entity responsible for the video and it olifactorism is the name of a river in South America, no surprise its music style is El Evator!


  6. What’s your favorite park for walking in?

    Mine is Lincoln Park because it’s large and woodsy and almost flat (if you don’t go down to the beach), and you see fellow walkers and dogs going every direction, and it’s on the C so there’s always frequent bus.

    Runners up are Carkeek Park, the west end of Discovery Park (and the view on Viewmont Way going up to it), Alki, and Bellefield Park. I’m less enamored with Seward Park because the interior is hilly.

    1. The interior part of Seward Park was officially closed to the public for about 30 years and only old-timers knew about those trails which made it a great place to walk without crowds. It’s not really all that hilly, either.

      My favorite Seattle trekking route is along Lake Washington through the old Olmstead legacy park areas. Start at Mt. Baker Beach and wander and wind through the trails and paths of Frink Park until you get to Leschi. I also like Discovery Park and Carkeek in north Seattle. Kubota Gardens, Cheasty Blvd, Hitt’s Hill Park in the Rainier Valley/Beacon Hill area

    2. Seward Park is sublime. I always finish the lakeside loop route elated and enamored with our beautiful scenery.

    3. What? I went in the interior of Seward Park five or six years ago and there were no fences or signs saying “Keep Out”.

      1. There never were any “keep out” signs but the trailheads were obscured with logs and overgrowth.

    4. I one time did a crit in the middle of Seward Park. It was pouring rain. The hill and this one very tight turn made it pretty fun. If course I placed miserable as usual, but was still a good time.

      I like to walk from Wedgewood to Matthews beach when it’s raining. It’s so solitary and relaxing.

    5. Discovery Park plus Magnolia Blvd (it has viewpoints with a Seattle Parks sign). The road isn’t especially busy.

      Pier 91 Park is nice with the views it allows but the tangle of staircases at the north end to get to it drops it down in the ranking.

      Washington Park could be great if it didn’t have a busy road through the middle of it.

      The walk from Constellation Park to Lincoln Park isn’t too bad either, but doesn’t have the great views offered by Discovery Park.

    6. Discovery from the north lot to the northernmost bluff/beach, then south along the water (sometimes a little stinky for a bit here) past the lighthouse, then looping back along the interior to return to 36th/Government Way. Great views of the Olympics and Rainier, lots of seabirds, good odds of spotting a seal or two, some beach combing, and little elevation gain but not too much. When you’re done it’s a reasonable hike to a couple of breweries or the locks.

    7. Discovery Park. It has it all. Great woods, beaches, cliffs and wild life. When the tide is out, it is fantastic. But even when it isn’t, the view from West Point (the western most point in Seattle) is something special. Views of Mount Baker, Rainier and the Olympics all from the same spot. Of course the sewage plant kinds of makes things stinky, but it is too late to do anything about that now (and as long as the wind is blowing the other way, things are fine).

      Lincoln Park is very nice, and a close second to Discovery. Carkeek is nice, but a lot smaller. The beach is a lot smaller, although at low tide you can walk to Golden Gardens. Ravenna is good, as is Seward Park. Both have excellent forest. Seward is bigger, but Ravenna fits into a more urban landscape, which means you can easily walk from there to a restaurant. Schmitz is a wonderful little park, with a bit of old growth (which is unusual inside the city limits). Myrtle Edwards, as part of an urban excursion, is very nice. Drop down from lower Queen Anne on 3rd Avenue West, cross the pedestrian bridge, and you are on the waterfront. Head south a little ways, and you are next to the sculpture park and Belltown. There aren’t many places in the world where you can see wild seals just a few blocks away from skyscrapers, but that has happened to me there. To be hones, Green Lake bores me, but it is great for people watching, and it connects well with the neighborhoods, as well as Woodland Park (which is, of course, woody). Volunteer Park is nice, and convenient (not to far from Link), while the arboretum is great in the Spring and Fall.

  7. California state senator Scott Wiener (44:14 in podcast) tells Left, Right and Center he’s sponsoring a bill to ban single-family zones within a half-mile of train stations, and require a minimum of 4-story apartments.

    Wiener: “The result of being so insistent on maintaining the look and physical feel of your neighborhood saying “We don’t want change”, you’re actually creating a lot of change. So you’re maintaining the architectural look but then you’re kicking out all the people because no-one can afford to live there. And by restricting housing so intensively, what we’re doing is causing evictions and displacement. It means that families who are having their first or second child have to leave sometimes the entire region because they can’t afford housing. So we’re preserving the architecture but we’re absolutely ripping apart the diversity of our community.. In the seven years I have been in office I have seen a sea change in terms of the politics around housing.”

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