To put Hong Kong in perspective, imagine the entire population of the state of Washington in a territory slightly larger than King County’s urban area of which less than 25% is developed.

41 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Hong Kong’s Expensive Housing”

  1. MaIne considers ranked-choice voting ($). The referendum is on Tuesday. The article says San Francisco, Minneapolis, St Paul, and Santa Fe have ranked-choice voting, but Maine would be the first state to do so. If more states do it, it would be easier to get it approved nationally.

    1. If by getting RCV nationally, you mean, in the presidential election, that is a longer way off than you might think.

      Maine does not use RCV in the presidential election, and will continue not to do so, regardless of Tuesday’s referendum. In part, that is because the Constitution of the United States specifically delegates the power to control how presidential electors in each state are chosen to the legislature of each state (Art. II, Sec. 2). So, any citizens’ initiative enacted by popular vote that changes the method of selecting electors will be struck down by the US Supreme Court, in part or whole, prima facie And so, the citizens’ initiative that ushered in RCV in Maine did not go there.

      Ironically, Maine has still not signed onto the compact among the states to elect the president by popular vote. But Connecticut just did, last week. 172 electoral votes in hand. 98 to go. I don’t know where they will come up with 98, but Oregon seems the remaining lowest-hanging fruit. Washington State signed on back in 2009.

      Some in the Oregon legislature who oppose the compact tried to put a referendum on the ballot to join the compact this year. Yes, politicians do try to play the masses for illiterate fools sometimes.

  2. Am I starting to get the sense that “ranked-choice voting” is becoming the new “driverless car” – something on its way and it’s just going to happen so get used to it? Not opposed. Just curious about results to date.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Think of RCV kind of like re-training the fare enforcement officers to be more civil to the passholders who forget to tap or mis-tap. With more than two candidates running, they have to be nicer to each other, or the other candidates will gang up on them (which sums up what happened in the San Francisco mayoral election last week). This may still not work with the guy who screams insults at elected officials wherever there is open mike.

      RCV isn’t really designed to change who wins, so much as it is designed to change who is willing to run. And then people who weren’t willing to go through a mudbath of personal destruction run, and more of them win.

      Think of the system we have now as being forced to choose between the horse-and-buggy and the Model T.

      RCV can’t promise that one side or the other in an ideological debate will win more, or that technology moguls designing their cars of the future will suddenly realize that people will continue to ride bikes, cross streets on foot, or buy competitors’ cars of the future that don’t play be the same rules of chicken.

      1. Hmmm. Last year, fare inspectors who threatened me I’d get a $124 fine if I once more tapped “on” after failing to “tap off” were perfect friendly gentlemen. Is RCV voting going to do anything nice about that fine except, which is my first million choices, send it the way of the old horse and its signature exhaust pollution?


    2. I’m also curious about the results. The article mentions a few: in San Fracisco the success rate of minority candidtes went from 38% to 62%, and the top two mayoral candidates coopearted and asked voters to rank them first and second. In our last mayoral race some of us were torn between Jenny Durkin and Cary Moon, and some with with their second choice Durkin so as not to split the vote, but in a ranked-choice we could put Moon first and Durkin second if we wanted to, and then we’d likely get either our favorite or second-favorite, rather than having to choose the one with the most momentum to avoid getting somebody bad.

      Several voting innovations have come from Australia for some reason: the secret ballot, mandatory voting, and ranked-choice voting. So far the US has adopted only the first. But all of these and other things would help the US get out of its rut of two-party narrow interests that leave half the country feeling like neither of the two parties’ candidates represent their views, so it’s a choice between mediocre and bad, or bad and worse. Researchers say our winner-take-all 50%+1 system leads naturally to two parties, while other systems like proportional representation and ranked-choice lead to more than two parties and more moderate leaders whom more people support at least somewhat. Or in other words, our system makes you choose between second-worst and worst, while ranked-choce lets you choose best or if they don’t win, second-best. It’s likely the Founding Fathers didn’t foresee the rise of better voting systems, just like they didn’t foresee the rise of political parties, but if they did know about ranked-choice and if they’d seen what has happened over several elections the past twenty years, they would have looked more at ranked-choice. There’s also this: the skeptics haven’t been able to find any example of an election that turned out worse because of ranked-choice. Maybe there are some, but so far the skeptics haven’t been able to find or publicize them.

      However, it’s not inevitable, and will be a long, hard sell. Many people are fearful of changing the system, in case it has unexpected consequences, or in case it has hidden exploits that aren’t clear to them. The winners of the current system don’t want anything that would make it harder for them to win. And most of the public doesn’t know about it, ore think that our system is the best because American exceptionalism. So the only way it can succeed is city by city, state by state.

      1. The results with the current system speak for themselves. In 2016, we were essentially forced to choose between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Yuck-orama!

        If that isn’t proof that first-past-the-post is a dead parrot, I don’t know what is. The political allegory might have flown over the head of UKers, who have the relative luxury of three strong parties.

      2. I think that ranked choice voting dampens negative campaign advertising. Running smear campaigns does not define leadership, and any candidate who wants to run mostly against an opponent by trashing them unfairly will get ranked lower. It would be especially useful n party primaries, where warring main factions can end up losing to a terrible candidate.

      3. What makes you think ranked choice voting would have been any different? Republicans had relatively weak candidates. I suppose one of them could have had more votes than Trump, but I doubt it. Meanwhile, most Democrats supported Hillary Clinton, and she was certainly the second choice of most Bernie Sanders supporters as well as many moderates. So that means that eventually, after all the votes were tallied, Hillary Clinton would have had the most votes.

        But then the electoral college would have voted, and we would have Trump.

      4. The presidential election where it would have mattered was 2000, not 2016. They are both similar elections, in that the person who won the most votes managed to lose the election. But in 2000, we had a third party challenger in Nader. As a result, Gore lost both Florida and New Hampshire. In New Hampshire, Bush won 48%, while Gore won 47%, and Nader 4%. In Florida, as everyone remembers, it was basically a statistical tie (no will ever know the true intent of the voters) while Nader took 1.6% (and Buchanan took 0.29% — the great Buchanan butterfly ballot fiasco). In both cases, if 75% of the Nader voters preferred Gore over Bush as their second choice (a reasonable assumption), Gore would have won.

        Since that isn’t how we roll, we unleashed even greater turmoil in the Middle East, spent roughly a trillion dollars fighting pointless wars, and set back economic progress in this country a generation. So, yeah, it would have been nice to have a more sensible voting system.

      5. I remembered two more examples. In Nickel’s last term I wasn’t sure between him and McGinn so I voted for McGinn assuming Nickles would get the other slot and I could reevaluate them in the final. But too many people did that and Nickels lost the primary.

        The other is at the presidential level, although Brent stated that ranked-choice iw unlikely there, and I didn’t mean presidential races but gobernatorial and legislative races. The presidential system also overrides our top-two primary. But anyway, my dad was a libertarian and I became libertarian in the late 80s. So I asked my dad who he’d voted for in 1994 and he said Clinton. I said, “You voted for the statist?!” He said, “He was the least bad of the bunch.” In the 90s I voted Libertarian and I did again in 2000, but when I saw Bush implementing half the libertarian agenda (cutting federal programs) and ignoring the other half (non-Christians’ rights, freedom to use drugs, not starting wars of choice, etc), I souered on that, and when I saw the impact of his cuts to social programs and attempt to privatize Social Security, I felt like, “We have to preserve what we have and improve it, not make it worse”. That made me lose my anti-statism and ally with Democrats, and I realized my dad had been right about Clinton, and by extension had he lived he’d be right about Gore.

        So after voting for second-level candidates and seeing Bush become president and Nickels losing the primary, I’m wary of voting for any second-level candidates. This is exactly the problem that ranked-choice voting is meant to counteract.

      6. “Meanwhile, most Democrats supported Hillary Clinton, and she was certainly the second choice of most Bernie Sanders supporters as well as many moderates.”

        How do you know most Sanders supporters would have ranked Clinton second? If there had been only two candidates for the nomination, maybe, but a bunch of the delegates said they would support Jill Stein during and after the convention.

      7. Mike,

        I understand why libertarians who see libertarianism as being in the middle of a spectrum would want a system like Condorcet, in the hopes that it would lead to the most centrist candidates being elected.

        I’m open to that debate once we have some form of RCV in place. I’ve seen instant runoff voting enacted to replace first-past-the-post several times (but it loses sometimes as well). I’ve never seen Condorcet enacted to replace first-past-the-post. I have seen some Condorcet supporters play crabs-in-a-bucket to oppose IRV initiatives. I wish they would focus on pushing Condorcet where bringing it in would do the most good, and have a mutual understanding that Condorcet and IRV supporters will not go after each others’ initiatives, recognizing first-past-the-post, including its Louisiana primary variant, as our common bane, and as a primary tool of keeping dualing statist factions (the two-party Sithdom) in power.

      8. >> How do you know most Sanders supporters would have ranked Clinton second? If there had been only two candidates for the nomination, maybe, but a bunch of the delegates said they would support Jill Stein during and after the convention.

        So what? Eventually those Jill Stein supporters bubble up to Clinton as well. I assume third choice voting means fourth choice, fifth choice, etc. If most of the Democratic Party supported Clinton (which it did), then I fail to see why it would make much difference if some part of the minority that supported Sanders would have supported Stein, Nader, or anyone else before eventually settling on Clinton.

        The last election was not 2000. Clinton didn’t lose because the Greens took away too many votes. She lost because the electoral system sometimes rewards minority candidates.

      9. There is only so much point in prognosticating how a different election system would have turned out with the same candidates. I think the more interesting debate is whether a different election system would bring forth better candidates.

      10. The biggest effect in 2016 would have been the primary election. In several of the primaries that Trump won, he had less than 40 percent of the vote.

        Of course, Donald Trump did not get 50 percent of the vote in many states including Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and even North Carolina.

        RCV would probably have made a difference in 2016 too.

      11. Again, how is that different? Hillary Clinton *was* the second choice candidate. She had the support of lots and lots of people who thought “I wish we cold do better”. At the same time, she had the support of plenty of people who thought “she is about as good as we can get”. If there were dozens and dozens of additional candidates, they wouldn’t have gotten much support, and eventually the people who voted for them would have voted for Clinton as their “second choice” (or third, or fourth, etc.).

        If you just look at the way the Democratic primaries went down, several female candidates decided not to run, and instead endorsed Clinton. Other candidates dropped out, and presumably, most of those candidates voted for Clinton. Would we have gotten more Lincoln Chafee’s and Lawrence Lessig’s? Yeah, maybe, so what? It is highly likely we would have exactly the same result. What difference does it make if you choose Sanders in the primaries, he loses, and your second choice is Clinton, or if you choose Sanders in the Presidential election, he loses, and your second choice is Clinton?

        The only time it really matters is if you have a third party that splits the vote. That has happened plenty of times in history, including recently. There might be more candidates (and more parties) but it really wouldn’t matter. What matters is who actually wins — and in many cases it is quite likely that we would have a different president (in 1912 and 2000). Of course 1860 could have turned out differently as well (which really doesn’t sound so good). But 2016 probably would have gone down exactly the same — more “interesting” candidates, but eventually America would be the victim of an antiquated electoral system that values a vote from Montana more than a vote from California.

        The point is, second choice voting in not a panacea, and can’t be blamed for our dysfunctional electoral system. The problem is, there are too many intellectually lazy people in this country, who vote based on empty platitudes (like “Hope and Change” or “Make America Great Again”) instead of bothering to read the voters pamphlet (or the modern equivalent). Seriously, with a month to go in any election, how many undecided voters do you think have even bothered to read the policy papers of each candidate, or their biographies, despite the fact that it is easier than accessing Facebook?

        Just to be clear, I think second choice voting makes sense, because of elections where there is a strong third party candidate (nationally or locally). But it really shouldn’t be up to candidates to “rally an electorate” any more than it should be up to your teacher to tell you where Canada is on the map. If you haven’t figured it out by the time your twenty, maybe you should figure it out yourself.

      12. “I have seen some Condorcet supporters play crabs-in-a-bucket to oppose RV initiatives. I wish they would focus on pushing Condorcet where bringing it in would do the most good, and have a mutual understanding that Condorcet and IRV supporters will not go after each others’ initiatives,”

        I don’t know what Concordocet or or IRV are. I’m talking about a general principle, not a specific system. Any system that allows me to specify my first, second, and maybe additional choices would be acceptable, and I’m open to convincing on which one is best. The point is that there should be more public debate on RCV-like systems, both generally and between the specific systems, rather than settling for the current system.

        “How do you know most Sanders supporters would have ranked Clinton second?” .. etc .. etc

        I meant Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton. I did not make any prediction about 2016. I haven’t given much thought into how RCV might have affected it or whom I would have voted for. 2016 had so many unusual factors in both the Democratic and Republican primaries and the final that I don’t really know what to think. In any case, we’re focusing too much on the presidential election. There are many other offices that are lower-hanging fruit.

        “How do you know most Sanders supporters would have ranked Clinton second? … a bunch of the delegates said they would support Jill Stein during and after the convention.”

        That tends to be the view among young left coast liberals, but many others think differently. My mom was angry with Sanders supporters saying, “They’re going to make him lose in a landslide like McGovern.” Those who experienced McGovern and Goldwater are more wary. But this again gets into the problem of splitting the vote, and how RCV would allow people express both their favorite and the most acceptable major one, without throwing the race to the other party (which is dangerous when the other party wants to tear things up, impose a theocracy, and/or harm people not like them).

        Lastly, all the talk I hear about Hillary Clinton being horrible and bad for the country sounds like right-wing propaganda. In my estimation she would have been average compared to recent presidents, and slightly more progressive because of how the public mood shifted in 2015 and 2016.

      13. >>>So what? Eventually those Jill Stein supporters bubble up to Clinton as well. I assume third choice voting means fourth choice, fifth choice, etc. If most of the Democratic Party supported Clinton (which it did), then I fail to see why it would make much difference if some part of the minority that supported Sanders would have supported Stein, Nader, or anyone else before eventually settling on Clinton.

        The 2016 election was one by a matter of about 80,000 or so votes in several key states, thanks to the way the electoral college works. In a number of cases the difference between Trump and Clinton was smaller than the number of Stein or Gary Johnson votes.

        That being the case, the votes for Stein or Johnson that ranked Clinton as a second choice in those very thin margin states could have converted those to a Clinton victory rather than a Trump victory.

  3. How much does it cost Sound Transit to add a third (or fourth) car to one of their trains? I’m asking in terms of marginal cost to run it (wear and tear, electricity consumption, etc) – not the capital costs to acquire new trains (which I realize they are currently short of.)

    1. Starting in June 2010, ST switched to one-car consists on most weekend days, except days with a special event or a pro sportsball game, and splitting trains to run only one-car consists most evenings (an option no longer available since the trains have no stub tunnel in which to perform splitting and splicing).

      The savings was estimated at $1 million per year, including mileage-based depreciation. I don’t recall if it lasted more than one year.

      The basic operational cost of adding a third car to the six peak-and-evening-only trains would be much less than that. But the added late-eveing and early-morning maintenance due to most of the vehicles having to be ready for service early the next morning might be a challenge, especially if the same maintenance crew are responsible for overnight track maintenance. Once a few more LRVs are prepped by mid-2019, the improved spare ratio should make all-the-time 3-car trains more doable without having to hire a bunch of part-time graveyard maintenance workers.

      From a safety standpoint, I would rather have the maintenance crew all be full-time, earing a wage that keeps them from having to get a second job.

    2. Not that TriMet is the best example, but they used to make and break trains all the time to save a bit of wear and tear. They’d even couple trains partially through their route and run single car through mid day.

      For the past 15 years or so they’ve decided it’s cheaper to run two car trains all day every day and not bother coupling and uncoupling, as the cost to do that regularly exceeds the cost to just run the cars even when they aren’t needed.

  4. Question, Brent. If those were still the only two candidates….would RCV results be any better? Wouldn’t eliminating the Electoral College work better? But main horror is how each one was the best each party could do.

    Could we have some rank-able choices about what to do about that?


    1. Ha, you asked the same question as me (I didn’t notice your comment because it got placed at the bottom).

    2. RCV and first-past-the-post are the same system when reduced to two candidates. That said, depending on local and state laws, that election could be decided in a lower-turnout primary election just because that is the way the law is written, it could require an expensive beauty pageant primary (as happens in Washington State), or it could forward both candidates to the general election. Classical RCV (ignoring party nomination processes), gets rid of those expensive primary elections.

      Save the money for free postage in the general election, public campaign funding, or free bus fare for kids. Pick something. It will be a better use of the money.

      As to the presidential election, given the same candidates, the only possible improvement would be with a national popular vote. As we know, Clinton won the national popular vote by 1.5 million votes. Who knows how the campaign would have been different if the compact had been in place? I don’t think it would have made Clinton a better senator, but I do think it would have moved her toward a more urbanist platform, and done the same to Mr. Trump. I also think if Mr. Trump had won under the compact, it would have made him a better president, from an urbanist point of view.

      That said, having state ballot-access laws so strict that no newer-party or independent candidates could get on the ballot would leave us one landslide away from restoring the Soviet election system.

      Don’t forget that it was a new party — the Republican Party — that brought forth the end of mass legal slavery. Another new party — the Socialist Party — pushed the concept of government as a service provider for the general populace into existence, resulting in FDR’s “New Deal”.

      I think history has shown that open elections are a good thing for humanity

    3. “having state ballot-access laws so strict that no newer-party or independent candidates could get on the ballot would leave us one landslide away from restoring the Soviet election system.”

      I don’t see how RCV is more vunerable to this than the current system.

      We’re partway toward a Soviet election system if Trump gets many more yes-men into the judiciary, Congress, and federal agencies.They might get a critical mass where they can ignore major constitutional requirements and nobody can stop them or has the practical power to. Fortunately he’s been nominating conservative judges rather than Trumpist judges, and I doubt enough Trumpist judges even exist. But still, we’re in a dangerous place.

      1. Brent, I think best way to look at government is not as either an enforcer or a benefactor. But as the people’s own set of machine tools for accomplishing together the things we can’t do separately.

        Public utilities. Hospitals. Electric power. And everything else life and death critical that nobody can make a private profit out of. Not only as customers. But as owners, who completely understand the working and maintenance of the equipment- whether for a few weeks or a lifelong career.

        The Age of Reason held that an education should include many professional fields. About which every citizen came out of school- and the work experience that was part of an education- at least knowing how to give intelligent instruction to their political system and its administrators. I think Benjamin Franklin thought of every school as a trade school.

        And with politics itself, not political science, being a skill learned every day, from kindergarten day ’til somebody is dead. Long overdue for a movement like this to start this program school by school and district by district. With or without State or Federal help. Started by parents and students.

        And best kick-off for a revolution ever: Put it everywhere from Twitter to gaffiti that in Washington State, and probably others, you can serve in the State legislature when you’re 18. Leaving 15, 16, and 17 for your campaign.

        But most never-seen-coming shot of all: start talking with Jay Inslee about contact and coordination between this movement with the Washington National Guard. Living in Olympia, the troops out of Joint Base Louis McChord are our best material for change.

        Plan is definitely a matter of National Defense.When was the last time anybody ever killed anything billed that way? Look up “Presser vs. Illinois.” Great for the right wing to know it wasn’t them who got fined ten dollars for being a German civil war officer on his war-horse, leading 400 militia men across a park in Chicago. Too bad about the permit. Armed and trained to stop management thugs from beating up workers.

        Some actual military training definitely also be best remedy for a lot of needless and too-well-advertised death: a citizenry knowing enough about guns to see them in same familiar miltary category as mops. As Second Amendment REALLY meant.

        If you’ve got kids in school or are one, next school board meeting. And if you’re and older kid, start your campaign for the legislature next school day. Trust me. They won’t see this one coming.


      2. “I don’t see how RCV is more vunerable to this than the current system.”

        I tend to think that the current system incentivizes the ruling parties to have the onerous ballot-access laws that are on the books for newer parties — usually huge petitioning requirements from a few thousand signatures to over a hundred thousand signatures just in one state — while major parties get state-funded primary elections and automatic ballot access in November, with a much-less-onerous ballot access requirement in the primary elections — usually just cutting the state a small check.

        Getting on the ballot for local partisan elections usually requires going through an incumbent major party, joining a party that manages to jump over the onerous petitioning bar, or jumping over a somewhat smaller onerous petitioning requirement based on the number of voters in the jurisdiction of the office being sought.

        For local nonpartisan elections, cutting the state a check tends to be the standard method, with reasonable petitioning requirements to waive the fee. This has become the case in pretty much all Washington elections, now that there are no state-funded party primaries other than for president. But getting to the general-election ballot is pretty much impossible for independents and newer-party candidates in races that include “Prefers [fill-in-the-blank] party”.

        Having RCV in partisan races would hopefully reduce the incentive to make ballot access difficult.

        Having RCV in nonpartisan races (and partisan races in Washington, except president/vice president), will probably have little effect on ballot access laws. Local governments will lose an incentive to dissuade more than two candidates entering a race, but they already tend to budget for two expensive elections anyway.

        The ballot-access laws seem to have little impact on the number of candidates who file to run in nonpartisan races, except to keep out candidates with limited financial means (who, at least in this state, have an alternative, if slightly-onerous, petitioning option).

        Still, races with more than three candidates are rare. Races like last year’s open-seat mayoral race, with over 20 candidates, are a once-in-a-generation exception. All but six candidates were immediately written off (by the media, including us) as having no chance. And then, there was debate about which of the six had a chance of surviving to the general election, so, for example, some who wanted to vote for Nikkita Oliver instead voted for Bob Hasegawa because he convinced them he was more likely to have a chance to get to the general election and win. (Oliver proceeded to trounce Hasegawa, and just barely miss the general election because she saved her warchest for the second round — a huge freshman mistake).

        A quick look at the results from San Francisco (the largest US city with RCV) shows a more modest 8 candidates for the open mayoral race, and three candidates for the one city council seat up for election. Sure, the number of candidates did not increase exponentially, but the system itself did a better job of giving the candidates a fair chance than what happened last August, when 54% of Seattle voters saw their top choice for mayor not advance to the general election, and the top two candidates of color not being able to coalesce their votes (via second and later choices) *might* have changed the outcome of the election.

        Recent happenings at SDOT are making me wish I could know what an Oliver administration would have done for transit.

      3. “I think best way to look at government is not as either an enforcer or a benefactor. But as the people’s own set of machine tools for accomplishing together the things we can’t do separately.”

        Unfortunately that has become the so-called liberal or European/Canadian position. It was the consensus US position in the City Beautiful era which built the art deco train stations and civic buildings, and in the post-WWII recovery from 1945 to the 1970s (probably because of the common experience of fighting overseas). But now one party, conventionally labeled conservative, has thrown that off and vacilaltes between a “freedoim from government” position of cutting programs and deregulation, enforcing a rigid social hierarchy, transferring wealth to the rich, and gleefully rubbing the poor’s face in the ground out of spite. Of course I guess you could say they also believe “the people is the government”, but they want the government to work for some people rather than all people. So until we can fix that, we can’t fully implement using the government’s tools to build infrastructure or social capital to improve everybody’s lives. We can’t even maintain our bridges, highways, water supplies, or electrical grid at this point, or restore areas impacted by hurricanes.

  5. Any traffic planning wonks out there have some practical ideas for how to improve pedestrian safety at the Rainier Beach station? Henderson/MLK is such a high traffic intersection, and as a result the wait time for a walk signal is often so long even the more sensible transit riders among us choose to chance a run across two lanes of traffic and the train tracks to get to the center platform. Any inexpensive and near term improvements ST or SDOT could make?

    1. I’ll take a stab at that.

      Rainier Beach is the only MLK station without an exit in each direction. I’m not sure if it could be done, but redesigning the station to only exit to the south —with a pedestrian signal for riders to cross traffic in only one direction — would reduce the volume of crossing pedestrians and seemingly improve pedestrian safety at Henderson.

      Otherwise, the next level of fixes would seem to require closing Henderson Street completely — forcing drivers to go to the next signal on MLK and make a U-turn.

      Of course, the optimum solution is to elevate or lower the platform and approach tracks, or elevate all the streets around the station about 25 feet — but that’s very expensive and would take years or maybe a few decades to fund and build.

      1. “redesigning the station to only exit to the south —with a pedestrian signal for riders to cross traffic in only one direction”

        This smells like shoving pedestrians out the way so that turning cars don’t have to deal with them. All of the bus connections, and nearly all of the nearby homes and businesses are off Henderson St. to the north. Forcing people to walk the length of the station twice to get in and out, and still have to wait for a light, does not make sense.

        One easy solution that could be done (but probably isn’t) would be to design the lights to allow pedestrian crossing of half the street during protected left turn phases. For example, when southbound MLK is green for both thru traffic and left turns, pedestrians can still cross the eastern half of the (south side of the) street without a conflict. Similarly, when northbound MLK has both a straight green and a left-turn green at the same time, the west half of the (south side of the) street is clear for pedestrian crossing. Implementation-wise, this would simply be a matter of tweaking the order of the signal phases and installing separate pedestrian signals for each half of MLK at Henderson.

        Assuming this could be done without messing up the signal timing for Link trains, this would give pedestrians more walk time each signal phase, essentially for free.

      2. There’s nothing south of Henderson Street except heavy industry and a small handful of houses. There’s little reason for any southern entrance, much less the only entrance.Most people are going to the multifamily houses and civic facilities and businesses and bus transfers on Henderson Street or north of it, and if you want to get to the houses southeast of it you have to walk around via Henderson Street, so again the northern entrance is better.

      3. I’m not saying that a southern only crossing is convenient; only that it could make crossing safer. That was the question, after all. Crossing wide intersections with lots of turning vehicles is obviously more dangerous — so removing pedestrian conflicts with turning vehicles by making one of them go away is a reasonable solution.

      4. Asdf2, actually, the west half is NOT Jsafe when the northbound left turn light is on. People make U-turns on MLK because the tracks are a median barrier.

        Also, the east side is safe ONLY if “No Turn On Red” signs are posted –and camera enforced — northbound on MLK at Henderson. Right turners kill plenty of people crossing with a light when the opposite lanes are crossing.

  6. Rainier Beach Station needs a pedestrian bridge, whatever it costs. It’ll be cheaper than a settlement if somebody gets killed. Since elevators take a lot of maintenance, we’ll need a ramp at each end. Pedestrians shouldn’t be crossing that street at track level, period and paragraph.


  7. The Pacific NW magazine in today’s Seattle Times has a feature on the many transit and land-use proposals that failed, and speculation on what things might be like if any of them had succeeded. There are diagrams of the Bogue Plan park and the Commons park, and a photo rendering of the Thompson Expressway interchange with I-90 at MLK. It says there would be fourteen lanes across I-90 on two bridges, and the interchange would be huge with cloverleaves. Very scary.

  8. If Link had true subway cars, would you still have to go up and down the stairs to get between sections? All of the metros I have ridden around the world were high floors. I have not seen and open low floor design. Just curious.

    1. Heavy rail cars are almost universally high floor, and have vestibules to cross between cars or are permanently married with open gangways.

  9. Experience last week seems to bear on how many problems aren’t due to the voting system. Every ST Board meeting I’ve been to last couple of years, the more tired and demoralized the whole board seems- especially men over 60 whose meetings I’ve addressed at Public Comment for years.

    Added burden this last while is one individual with a Russian accent who starts his every comment with a Hollywood nazi salute, and a formal address to the Board calling them fascists and billionaires who steal the people’s tax money. I finished my own comment about First Hill Station at Boren with fact that the Board as a whole would be Moderate Center Right in Europe.

    Too bad none of them seemed to know the reference, or thought that’s a terrible thing to call a progressive trying to hide the fact that he is a liberal because he’s afraid of being called a leftist. But saw major mandate for future transit politics. Public comment confined by disgust to one off-planetary-topic individual is not freedom of speech.It’s Lord knows how many people deprived of it.

    I’m sure the Board’s attorney has told them that they cannot deprive anybody of the First Amendment- even if our Founding Fathers would have put him in the same barrel as the tea. Shoreline Management Act, you know. But also advised them to have an armed police officer across the aisle from him just in case.

    From a little more direct experience, I think answer is exactly the kind of response our Founders intended. I finished some transit statements to the City Council, and then turned around and told Mr. Tsimerman that the poor officials were my employees and I wasn’t going to hear them defiled. Hundred percent agreement in the whole room, including him.

    So I think that if standard public comment attendance could be closer to ten or twenty than to perpetrator only, problem would soon take care of itself. No threats or discourtesy. Just every two minute comment ending with the speaker’s own defense of his employees. Should be some online encouragement.

    Citizens don’t let their elected officials be bullied. Especially in groups of at least ten of them. If Democrats had stressed that point more often this last thirty years of elections….maybe at least this one could’ve ended up in the House of Representatives.


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