write on red

This is an open thread.

48 Replies to “News Roundup: You Can Comment”

  1. Tacoma Dome Parking: No reserved spaces, please! I’m an occasional transit user and always find the system difficult. Finding a parking space for every single daily transit user isn’t a sustainable solution. Also, I understand that a lot of the parking spaces in TDS are used by people who ride the free Tacoma Link a mile or two into downtown, in order to avoid parking fees. The appropriate solution here is to charge every single parking space a daily parking fee, priced similar or slightly lower than downtown. This would free up spaces taken by people avoiding downtown parking fees, and would still allow occasional users to have maximum access to parking for those occasional trips. It would probably also help generate stronger support for improving Pierce Transit’s local system

    1. As we all probably know, parking should never really be free. If you give away a valuable resource for free, people will abuse it.

      1. Chris, my first order of problem with parking is that the lanes that usually use it are spec’ed out, and paid for, to carry moving vehicles.Which should be end of story.

        About store patronage, I’d like to see stats twenty years old or less to compare whether more passengers arrive in cars parked nearby, or on either foot or transit.

        My guess is that nothing interferes with access more than a commercial curb lane full of street-parked cars. With serious “if”…transit will frequently and easily leave shoppers at a nearby stop.

        Would also like to know, and cost out, results of delivery service, as stores used to have. With new digital economy, customer doesn’t usually have to see the individual shoe or TV-’til it gets delivered at home.

        Would hold off on drones ’til I knew how many of my neighbors have a shot-gun, without an Irish setter, a checkered wool jacket, a fireplace and a shot of whiskey.

        Empty wall-plaque with a computer savvy taxidermist….careful.

        Mark

        .

        but

  2. What happened to Seattle being committed to Vision Zero? Back in 2002, 2 women, a mother and her adult daughter, were walking in the crosswalk at 35th and Fremont, were run over by a Metro bus turning left onto southbound Fremont ave, killing the mother. So if Seattle has gotten serious about pedestrian safety, why is that crosswalk paint badly faded and worn away?

    1. I reported a worn out crosswalk in Ballard (24th / Market) back in 2016 and got a rather astounding response from SDOT: essentially “too bad – there’s no money and lots of crosswalks.”

      The response mentioned that painting priorities are determined by a lot of criteria. I guess “worn out” is not a good enough reason for repainting but “economy / social equity” is ok.

      I’ve given up reporting those now.

    2. And, why is the right turn from Leary Way onto Fremont Ave. so wide, as to encourage speeding? Why do you have to wait so long to cross Leary around Evanston or Dayton? Why does 39th have such a long stretch west of Fremont Ave. with no marked crosswalks? Why is painting a crosswalk on 39th at every block such a big deal? Why did the city go through the trouble of installing a fire signal at 39th and Linden, but not allow pedestrian crossing there? Why are the pedestrian wait times at 39th/Fremont so excessive?

      For an urban center, SDOT is still giving way too much deference to King Car.

      1. asdf2, with a tighter turn, in order to prevent the inner wheels to cut across the curb which likely has a utility pole in it, he’ll have to “buttonhook” the bus by putting is inner tire very close to the curb, and swing front of the bus two lanes outward before turning.

        Any narrower passage, clumsy and dangerous. No way on earth a bus driver could speed into that turn. But drivers are trained to watch for misbehaving motorists, and steer and brake accordingly.

        Doubt “encouraged to speed” would be worth much in court.

        Mark

    3. FWIW, when the 35th Ave SW & SW Morgan intersection was redone, SDOT used stamped concrete for the crosswalk.
      The different color and texture are together, very effective.
      Driver discipline was much improved, with cars stopping well behind the well marked pedestrian territory.

      Expensive initially, but with paint barely lasting one winter, I wonder if this might not be cheaper over the long run.

    4. That’s not the only place. I’m often appalled at how bad our street markings have been maintained. Admittedly, my interactions with SDOT about fixing things triggers a “we fixed the problem” response — while not doing anything.

      I think it’s going to take copying your local district council member — then holding that council member accountable for SDOT maintenance. As our district political process matures, SDOT negligence will be a campaign differentiator.

    5. It’s not like SDOT does any better at maintenance of bicycle facilities. Paint is rarely refreshed, flexible bollards are rarely replaced after being mowed down (evidence of how much protection they offer), vegetation is rarely trimmed, etc.

      Unfortunately SDOT really isn’t interested in inspection and periodic maintenance of many street facilities.

      1. Yep. The majority of the bollards on the West Seattle Trail route are destroyed. Many with their wreckage still littering the bike lane.

    6. Sam, that accident had absolutely nothing to do with pavement conditions. I’ve never seen the accident report on that one, but know about one similar. Victim likely walking close to the inside of the bus when the vehicle as still moving into the turn.

      With a 40′ bus, the rear wheels always “track” across the inside of the turn. It’s possible the woman literally walked under the turning wheel- with the bus in a position where the driver couldn’t see her. If she was already in the crosswalk and the driver tried to get around her- would’ve been his fault.

      But if he was not charged, more likely she walked under the wheel while the bus was moving. Every time I’d come off shift, I wondered how we could avoid killing half a dozen people each per workday.Traffic signals should be positioned and set so nobody is in the same crosswalk with a moving bus.

      Mark

      1. My comment had nothing to do with the cause of the accident. I am questioning if Seattle’s commitment to Vision Zero, because it seems like it’s business as usual. I know Seattle has thousands of crosswalks to maintain, but crosswalks where pedestrians have been killed should be at the top of the priority list.

      2. Vision Zero was the last mayor. The current mayor has a more diffuse set of goals and commitments. The speed limits have gone down on some streets, so that’s an effect of Vision Zero. But the rest of it lost to the strong automobile interests, the way the 35th Ave NE bike lanes are in danger of being canceled now.

      3. Vision Zero didn’t go away with the last mayor. Seattle’s still participating in it. It’s still on the City of Seattle’s website. And Vision Zero’s website still lists Seattle as a participating city.

        Sam. Vision Zero Expert.

      4. The program didn’t go away but it doesn’t seem to be a priority of the current administration. So in answer to your original question, Seattle’s commitment to it seems to have declined.

  3. “This transit “ideathon” ($) seems to be a bunch of ideas that are unworkable or expensive. But I guess that’s the outcome of a process that explicitly excludes experts.”

    Martin, if we’re talking about the “Ideathon”….Shame on you and I mean it. I don’t see a thing wrong with putting schools in transit centers! These kids’ elders already give them parking lots don’t they? Of whole agenda both will have to be altered, or built from scratch. Attendants at this event are going to outlive me for the better part of a century!

    But you tell me if this is even a trillionth place behind the dumbest, most arrogant, and worst-conceived things from the usual budget blasting”Brain Storming” sessions now suffering worst from Climate Change. These are college l kids beginning their working lives with an exercise in transit planning.

    Serves you right if they spend their next session on turning bike racks into re-bar!

    Since they obviously respect people like you, would you please return the favor? In my college days, in the mid to late 1960’s when public transit headquartered in Farrell’s wrecking yard, if anybody knew what a street-car was, they thought it had flames on the sides.

    I keep demanding experts at events too. Just so they dress respectfully in correctly battered hard-hats and as hygiene demands have dirt and grease all over their clothes and hands. Because what we seem to be getting are people who don’t know their exhaust pipe from a Mighty Mole in the ground.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ + ($) (Squared).

    Why doesn’t STB start sponsoring events of our own, and indeed begin explaining to them the realities of this business of transit planning. And let KC Metro and Sound Transit attend, but if they won’t help finance the event, charge them admission on an scale accelerating at escape speed.

    Damn, whoever wrote this one pretending to be you ought to use it for bird-cage liner needs to use it for bird-cage carpet. Back when I was thirty, we had some RESPECT! Of course if I’ve got this wrong….what was it I was just talking about?

    Thank you, miss, but you need your seat more than I do. You’re already working hard to pay off your loan the size of the military budget. And my Social Security.

    Mark

    1. It’s a student project. University students always have projects to gain experience. Experts were intentionally excluded to allow young people’s voices and out-of-the-box ideas to emerge. The concept of a P&R at a grammar school makes some sense, especially in the suburbs where it will be decades before walkable density emerges in the residential neighborhoods. It would work better if there’s a supermarket and other retail in the vicinity to give full-time ridership. But it’s a start. My biggest question is where will the parents park when all the existing parking is full of teachers (and students who drive to school), there’s no room for more surface lots (parking and football fields are what make the school unwalkable in the first place), and garages are too expensive (would we have a school levy to pay for them?). But it’s premature to call it unworkable at this stage. Creativity requires generating lots of ideas knowing that only 50% of them will be feasible. Because if you don’t generate the 100%, you don’t get the 50%.

      1. Thinking longer-term, Mike, designed into the transit system itself as it gets built-out. We’re barely getting started. You and I ought to go for PhD. in Education to prove that students and parents both get more positive about school itself in a Transit Oriented complex.

        Kids and trains really a given. More than once on LINK, have had parents tell me that their childen like riding the train than whatever’s happening where they’re going. Best guarantee of attendance.

        Have also noticed that women in second grade are grateful for experience telling little boys the rules. Have also watched a woman supervisor deliver instant law and order to scenes where the riot squad would’ve needed close-air support.

        Seven year old girls hanging upside down from the hand-hold bars and calling the male driver a butt-head (truth often a strong defense) can give a seasoned male sergeant PTSD

        So little girls and transit go as well together as boys. Except that boys like driver’s uniforms better than jail-guards’ or ST CEO’s.

        Either way, school-related transit not only motivates attendance, but makes it unnecessary for boy students to be looking out the window all the time. And mommies visiting the Principal’s office on short notice can always catch an Express.

        Mark

      2. Thanks, Mike. Martin’s comment shows a lack of understanding – or worse, callousness – about how and why these university projects are done. More years ago than I care to admit we architecture school students held “charrettes” every quarter where we “problem solved” an issue or area somewhere in the city. The whole point was specifically to think through the problem, not have an “expert” tell us what to think – doing so was the first step on the long process towards becoming an expert. At the completion of these projects, experts come in and go over why things that we came up with might work – or why they might not. THAT was the point of the expert, not being given some pre-conceived notion and told to “think inside the box.” You only learn what can’t be done that way, not the possibilities of what can. It’s why we were never given a budget, schedule, NIMBYs, or other real-world obstacles – we had other places to learn about dealing with those things. My assumption is that these charrettes are still going on – they are a time-honored tradition at architecture schools the world over.

        Oddly enough, one problem back then addressed park and rides and how to get more people to use them. I don’t recall if a “grammar school” was one of the solutions, but day care certainly was, as were – as you suggest – sufficient retail at least to enable you to pop in and grab something you may need at home or may have forgotten so you avoid another trip in your car – or at least save time on the way home. I also know that at least a few pie-in-the-sky things we discussed at various charrettes are now not so outlandish. I’m happy to see other schools at the UW get involved together to think about some of these issues. Who knows what might come of brainstorming by “non-experts” with no limits on what they come up with?

  4. I don’t think most people believe the Neighborhood Plans are “sacred.” In fact, I know many neighborhood groups would like to update them. We just spent a long time doing so in Delridge — after fighting for a few years to get the resources to do so. To be clear, our updates include comments about not just housing and development, but also transportation improvements, transit use, and environment. It was also a very outreach-intensive process, including many people living in the neighborhood and representing all sort of diversity. Neighborhood planning isn’t just about rich, White homeowners preventing any change from happening — and it never has been.

    1. Well said, Michael. I was heavily involved in our neighborhood planning on Beacon Hill back in the day, and I was a renter then. Our goals included more apartment development close by our local business district, to provide a bigger customer base for our retailers, and of course to help absorb our share of the city’s population growth. We embraced and supported the urban village concept as embodied in the then-new comprehensive plan. Whenever I see NIMBY, I prepare for a piece of propaganda, and that’s usually what I see.

  5. The idea from the student hackathon of co-locating child care facilities with park-and-rides seemed pretty reasonable. Probably not the most scalable solution, but it didn’t strike me as particularly unworkable.

    1. The Angle Lake Park and Ride has an empty retail space built into it that would be perfect for a small daycare. It doesn’t work for a lot of other retail options because there isn’t any parking available after 7am.

  6. As a cyclist I fully agree with banning sidewalk cycling. Every study shows it’s less safe than biking on the road as drivers aren’t generally looking out for faster moving bikes at crosswalks and most collisions occur at intersections.

    No problem with exemptions for children and the disabled but there is no reason for an adult cyclist to be on a sidewalk.

    1. Uh, yeah, sure. Go ahead and take a bike ride down Meridian or River Road and let me know how that goes. I’ll let the Pierce County Coroner know to expect a phone call from your next of kin. People in Seattle may very well yield to pedestrians on major arterials, but not in Puyallup, especially the folks who drive diesel pickup trucks. Sorry to stereotype, but unfortunately it is true.

      Here’s a nice spot for a bike ride: https://goo.gl/maps/TaT5g1YZwZ52
      or here: https://goo.gl/maps/JL9LGMTe1FG2
      or here: https://goo.gl/maps/C4Kdqn1JVGm
      All are in the City limits on generally flattish streets where one might ride a bicycle.

      A highly-skilled road cyclist might be comfortable riding a bike on those roads, but your average Joe is not. I’ll add that many of Puyallup’s poor rely on bicycles to get around, since the sprawl puts amenities and services at distances too great to walk, transit is non-existent, and cars are too expensive. Most of them that I see are not semi-pro road cyclists, but, rather, poor people riding at a pretty slow pace, on sidewalks. This is an assult on the poor, make no question about it, right up there with their recent law banning any homeless services within 1000 feet of a school or residence.

      1. So your solution to unsafe roadways is less safe sidewalks? your pictures are of arterials littered with driveways where most cars will pull out into the sidewalk when making a turn…the typical instance of a cyclist on a sidewalk getting nailed.

        If Yakima can build out a network of bike infrastructure I think Puyallup can. If the city is banning sidewalk biking and there are safety issues for some users to bike on the street you now have a great opportunity to push safe infrastructure.

    2. Similarly to Al S.’s gripe about crosswalk marking, above, I would note that the pavement condition in many residential areas throughout the city is getting bad to the point it is dangerous for biking. In my neighborhood, the ravelling, potholed asphalt and heaved concrete panels are not safe for road bikes.
      Not being able to depend on the surface quality of (often sharrow-marked) side streets does push intermediate cyclists to the relatively well maintained arterials.
      This may feed into the competition on many of these corridor projects between dedicated bus lanes and protected bike lanes

    3. The problem is that the danger of riding on the sidewalk is highly specific to the sidewalk and your speed. If you ban sidewalk riding because of the places where it is less safe, you preclude it in the places it is more safe.

      Interestingly enough, what can make cycling on sidewalk more dangerous than the road isn’t limited to cycling. The other night I saw from the car build up that I would get a green soon. I start jogging, then it turns green w/o the walk. Knowing this means I only have seconds to make it to and across, I start sprinting. Why not? I like good sprint now and then. As I’m closing on the intersection, a minivan pulls up, not blinkering, but tilted such that I knew they were going to take a right on red. They start inching, but right when I’m at the point where I can either hard stop or commit, they hesitate, so I go. As I’m centered in front of their hood, they gas. I do a ridiculous sideways leap, managing to clear the side with inches to spare. They slam the breaks as I keep running on a very sudden burst of adrenaline. Then they peel out. Guess the lessons are look where you’re driving, and don’t run on the sidewalks unless your ready to roll off some hoods.

      The other problem with banning sidewalk riding is enforcement. Are they actually going to devote enough resources to enforce this, or will it just get used as a pretext to pull over people because of their class or color?

    4. I agree, a blanket ban on sidewalk riding is pointless. If such a ban were strictly enforced, it would effectively ban biking across the Montlake and Fremont bridges, leaving no safe way to bike across the ship canal, except for Eastlake.

      There are also numerous cases where riding on a sidewalk at slow speeds for a short distance around the start/end of a trip avoids the need to detour around the block (due to one way streets) or navigate a busy intersection.

      The right thing to do is to require cyclists on the sidewalk to ride slowly and yield to pedestrians. Not a blanket ban.

      1. Right, and there’s specific, concrete infrastructure, both around these bridges and in many other key locations in the bike network, that indicates sidewalks as, at the very least, short connectors. Many of these were built just in the last few years — and, really, in cities where sidewalk riding is less accepted, they’d probably have been designed differently, but here, where it’s accepted, we build around it.

      1. Well on into high school in the early 1960’s, remember many places, like sidewalks, where both the law and common decency said to get off the bike and walk it.

        One of the best things about bikes for transportation. You can’t do that with a car. What’s the problem about doing that now?

        Marl

    5. Eh, from your very short characterization of it it sounds like the studies say biking along a sidewalk at speed as a way of going fairly long distances is less safe, which it may be. But a lot of the biking on sidewalk that I see people doing is only to get the last block somewhere, to avoid a small dangerous area, etc.

      The real question is whether it is less safe to allow cyclists to use sidewalks at their discretion, whether speed limits or other regulations should be applied, or whether a total ban is most safe.

      I’d not be surprised if a 10mph speed limit were found appropriate.

      I’d be quite surprised to find that forcing every little kid to ride only on the road is more safe.

  7. About the rail cracks on the segment between South Seattle and Tukwila – isn’t this where the “hunting oscillations” are especially bad? It feels like the curves are a succession of straight segments with angled connections. Any chance that’s related to the cracks?

    1. Might want to check the curves on LINK both directions to and from Pine Street. Same sensation exactly.

      From beginning of service. Would like some honest answers, meaning mechanical matters no matter how complex, translated into plain English. Translated into Russian and Chinese too. Also the other way around.

      For street rail, German probably the best. And with Finland’s reputation, some discussion in translated Finnish about a specific streetcar. About which, aside from the negative suggestions, we’re heard nothing

      . Did those accusations about that car originate in the Seattle Times? Because having walked through that streetcar in Helsinki, would like to ask for some specifics. Which from the time weeks- or is it months- ago when somebody first said it,

      Good rule of explanation somebody told me: If somebody can’t explain something technical in language that anyone else in any other walk of life can understand…either they don’t know what they’re talking about, or, they agree with Rudy Giuliani about selectively perceived non-existence.

      Mark

    2. SkyTrain and MAX used to have this hunting problem on a couple of corners too. In Vancouver they solved it by changing the wheel profile a bit. I think TriMet hit the rails with a rail grinder to change the profile on the specific problem curves.

      There are places on the BNSF where the rails are replaced every 6-9 months. Other places the rails might last decades. In the tunnel you have some odd dynamics with the rails encased in concrete, enough temperature change for some expansion and contraction stress, and both buses and trains hitting things in different ways. It’s also probably a bit more humid in there as tunnels usuallly are. It might just be a place that needs more frequent rail replacement.

      It would be interesting if they could get their hands on NYCTA’s track geometry car for a few days and see if it turns up something that could be solved. Other than a boxcar filled with computers and accelerometers I’m not sure what else you could do to try to eliminate any isssues.

    1. And it only took two years from the first breakdown. (Sarcasm.)

      “the agency said the two down escalators to the lowest level will be replaced by permanent stairs between 2019 and 2022.”

      In other words we’re losing the down escalators at the platform level. It’ll be like Lynnwood and Shoreline and the DSTT.. Um, better than breakdowns but still substandard.

      “the lowest flights of the emergency stairs, between a mezzanine and the track level, will be converted to full-time use by March 2019”

      That sounds like a good idea.

      I saw a weird emergency stair situation at Capitol Hill Station. I usually use the southwest entrance, but sometimes I use the southeast to walk past Cal Anderson Park on the way. I take the elevator up because there’s no escalator above the mezzanine, and from the surface I see stairs going down so I assumed they went to the platform although i’d never seen the bottom of them. Last week I looked more closely and saw that they’re open stairs from the surface to the mezzanine but then have emergency-only gates from there to the platform. That doesn’t make much sense at all.If it’s OK to keep the upper stairs open, why isn’t it OK to keep the lower stairs open? Are they that different?

  8. On Pierce Transit Route 1 this morning on 6th Avenue, overheard the driver and an older passenger complaining about how PT’s attempts at improving the reliability of the 1, like stop diets and other stuff, have failed. I pointed out that that kind of stuff worked up in Seattle, and they said they guessed we’re just cursed. Also pointed out that bus lanes and queue jumps are coming, so those should really help.

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