Mayor Jenny Durkan and new SDOT Director Sam Zimbabwe. Credit: Peter Johnson

In a press conference yesterday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan named Washington, D.C. District Department of Transportation (DDOT) official Sam Zimbabwe the new Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

When Zimbabwe is confirmed by the Council—Durkan said she expects him to start work in “early January”—he will be SDOT’s first permanent director in a year. The mayor described Zimbabwe as a proven manager of capital projects, who will manage SDOT effectively after years of dysfunction. 

Durkan also laid out an ambitious “unified vision” for multimodal transportation and a dense, transit-oriented built environment, and called transportation the “backbone of equity,” striking back against urbanist critiques of her administration.

“The vision that we have to have is that, in the [Seattle] of the future,” Durkan said, “we have the best, most robust transit system anywhere in the country.”

“Around every one of those transit centers is a new hub of community. If you do transit oriented development right, you’ll have all kinds of housing, you’ll have small commercial spaces, you’ll have plazas with restaurants and bars. People will be able to walk to where they want to get, and bike.”

Zimbabwe described his goals in similar terms. If Durkan and Zimbawe follow through on that vision, it will be a stark contrast to the first year of her administration. Durkan has been criticized by transit advocates (including us) for holding up or obstructing planned projects.

However, the mayor has maintained that reassessing projects like Move Seattle and the Center City Connector is a necessity brought on by the poor planning and project management, rather than opposition to their goals or methods. The appointment of Zimbabwe is, on its face, an indication that Durkan has been sincere.

Sources say that Durkan had hoped to name an SDOT director much sooner, but decided the Goran Sparrman- and Anne Fennesy-led agency audit and reorganization needed to be finished before a hiring. The recruiting process then took longer than the mayor had hoped, extending the agency’s gap in permanent leadership.

“My vision is for a safe, equitable, multimodal transportation system,” Zimbabwe said. “We have to build out the infrastructure that supports choices for people of all ages and all abilities, build out a network that supports walking, biking, and taking transit as choices for everybody.”

When asked about his commute, Zimbabwe said that he is a “multimodal kind of guy,” and either rides the D.C. Metro or bikes to work. Zimbabwe also hedged, saying that he sometimes drives to work and “curses DDOT” for its traffic management strategies.

Alex Hudson, the Director of Transportation Choices Coalition and a member of the mayor’s search committee, said that Zimbabwe’s blend of multimodal vision, and strong track record of project management, made him stand out.

She also cited Zimbabwe’s experience shepherding D.C. through frequent transit meltdowns as another needed quality, given the coming Carpocalypse.

“I’m excited. I think he’s a great hire, and I think he’s going to be a great asset for Seattle,” Hudson said. “I appreciate that Mr. Zimbabwe has experience in what I think are our important needs right now—capital project delivery and prioritization—and also dealing with a transportation system that is under a lot of pressure.”

Cleaning up after Kubly

The mayor said that one of Zimbabwe’s crucial tasks was “restoring credibility” to SDOT.

“We do some things really, really well at [SDOT],” Durkan said, “but we had taken on some big capital projects, like the streetcar and Move Seattle, where planning and budgeting for those projects is not what should have occurred. …The previous administration, when we promised [Move Seattle] projects—we couldn’t deliver them.”

When asked about his accomplishments in D.C., Zimbabwe said that he was most proud of his ability to deliver projects on time and on budget.

“We’ve managed to cut the time it takes us to move a project from planning into design and construction,” Zimbabwe said. “We’ve managed to get some projects that were long stuck unstuck, and are now at the point of being built. …We got our streetcar, which had its own challenges, operational and operating safely for the last three years.”

Zimbabwe’s predecessor as SDOT’s permanent diretor, Scott Kubly, was also a DDOT veteran. In D.C., as in Seattle, Kubly launched an ambitious streetcar project that became controversial and got delivered late. Zimbabwe was, as DDOT’s Chief Project Delivery Officer, one of the officials tasked with fixing the troubled streetcar network, and seems to have succeeded.

Durkan could be betting Zimbabwe will be able to repeat the same thing here—though the mayor declined to announce the final fate of the Center City Connector. Zimbabwe declined to endorse the project before examining it more closely.

“[A streetcar is] a transit mode that has context to it,” Zimbabwe said. “That’s one place where I feel like I need to understand what’s been going on.”

Durkan did say that, contrary to speculation, FTA grants for the Connector are not in peril, saying grants had been “maintained,” but the City needs to “do more to get those grants.”

Durkan also said that the City Council will need to vote on the Connector again “if we decide to go forward” following “significant community engagement.” Durkan did not say when the decision to go forward or a Council bill would come.

When asked, the mayor also continued to voice skepticism of motorized scooters, citing concerns that the City could be held liable for rider accidents and injuries. Durkan said she had tasked present, Interim SDOT Director Linnea Laird with studying those concerns.

59 Replies to “Durkan names “multimodal kind of guy” Sam Zimbabwe SDOT director”

  1. Hi Sam! Sorry you got the job, boy it’s going to be rough.

    Besides the backlog of pedestrian improvements (sidewalks even!), you’ll find a quagmire in the streetcar extension and 35th Ave bike lanes. Both projects are typical of the famed “Seattle Process”, which includes talking an issue to death, having some votes, deciding to argue some more, caving in to a vocal minority, and then find reasons not to do it. Your new boss is guilty of this, btw.

    Hope you stick around, the summers are nice here.

    1. You left out the inevitable appeals, requests for impact studies and threatened lawsuits by various “Save the…” or “Friends of the…” NIMBY groups.

  2. Seems like hardly anyone applied for the job? Durkan is toxic on transportation. There must be something else she should focus on. Hmm….I wonder what that might be….

    1. Steven, you’ve correctly identified the quality all of history’s great leaders share in common: He only took the job out of duty to his country. I know the CIA has a formal chamber for personnel who die in the line of duty.

      So common decency demands we be prepared for the inevitable. Considering the financial and political power of the funeral industry, should be no problem to get FHS track extended a block north of the Broadway District, and a few blocks uphill.

      https://www.citylab.com/environment/2017/01/san-francisco-streetcar-burial-ban-colma-california/514028/

      Aren’t Bruce Lee and his brother buried up there? But more fittingly to the point here. There’s a very small cemetery dedicated to Union soldiers from our Civil War. If an official serves well in Seattle…..there’s still room for one more Unknown one.

      MD

  3. He’s got a cool name and impressive resume, but he’s a bit too Kubly adjacent for my taste. Hopefully he doesn’t usher in the corruption that Kubly did, though Durkan’s transportation record isn’t the greatest.

  4. If Durkan’s endless, repetitive “audits” and “studies” aren’t telling her that the “Seattle Process” is the root cause of all delays and issues, then her auditors aren’t looking hard enough.

    One thing that big boy and big girl cities end up learning is that you don’t waste time dicking around with every single whiny neighborhood council group and their irrelevant “concerns.” If every single study in the world says, “traffic calming actually calms traffic, and calm traffic saves lives,” then you just do the fucking traffic calming and you don’t listen to incessantly whiny crybaby neighborhood morons for even one second about their unfounded bitchy concerns.

    What big boy and big girl cities do is they just build the fucking traffic calming stuff and completely bypass all opportunities for neighborhood groups to bitch about it. Just fucking do it. Just build this shit.

    I have high hopes that we are hiring a transportaiton director who is willing to say, “Fuck your feelings; we are making this city safer.” But, given Durkan’s almost complete and immediate acquiescence and cowardly submission to even the slightest protestation by car drivers from Marysville who comment in the Seattle Times comment section — I’m not holding my breath. Keep in mind that she is not even allowing the consideration of scooters in Seattle because she’s heard how much they hurt people’s feelings in other cities.

    1. The studies may be the problem. They say it’s traffic calming but they never look at the traffic enraged streets surrounding the calmed street – where all the traffic that can’t move goes to get away from the calming.

      It’s just like saying nobody needs cars in Seattle, but not looking at the non-existent or barely existent transportation to get you to workplaces outside of Seattle.

    2. Just build this shit.

      You don’t seem to get it. There is no money to build shit. The previous administration lied about how much money it takes to build shit. They even knew, before the Move Seattle proposal was voted on, that they didn’t have enough money to build half the shit in that proposal, but still went ahead and pretended they could. That’s why shit isn’t being built.

      Oh, and it should be obvious to anyone that half the shit we try and build around here is stupid. We don’t know how to build shit. The so called “Seattle Process” is just bullshit. There is nothing unique about our process — people just think we are special because they often think we are special. There are plenty of cities that build stupid shit, or take forever to decide what to do (and try and please too many people). If Seattle really is a “please everyone” town, then it is awfully hard to explain the SR 99 project.

      1. If they could somehow turn 99 into a freeway that connects to I-5 both north and south of downtown, then it makes a little bit of sense as a bypass – especially so for freight.

      2. The problem is that the new project doesn’t even make sense as a freeway. The lack of downtown exits is bad enough, but the lack of Western exits make it much worse. So not only did we spend way too much on a freeway, but we built a really bad one.

        The best option was the surface option. That means basically the road we are getting (a very wide road, similar to the current Embarcadero in San Fransisco) plus improvements to I-5 as well as improvements to transit. That would have moved way more people while eliminating the ugly viaduct (which is the one good thing about this).

        Another option would have been to just build a new viaduct, but with parallel tracks, as proposed on this site (sorry, I can’t find the link). This would have had the same entrances and exits, but the viaduct would be quieter. Not ideal for the waterfront, certainly, but if we are interested in a beautification project, then we should focus on capping I-5, instead of tearing down the viaduct.

        So, basically, the viaduct idea is bad for cars, bad for freight, bad for transit, and a bad value from an aesthetic/pedestrian standpoint.

    3. > What big boy and big girl cities do is they just build the fucking traffic calming stuff
      > and completely bypass all opportunities for neighborhood groups to bitch about it.
      > Just fucking do it. Just build this shit.

      Yeah, nothing like having the city decide to add speedbumps and diverters in front of your house for your own good, without any input. Because it’s good for you, you ignorant peasant.

      1. Are you speeding? If people weren’t speeding, there’d be no need for speed bumps. If you don’t speed maybe several other people do. You don’t own the road in front of your house; it’s owned by everybody in the city. Or if it’s a state highway, it’s owned by everybody in the state. It may also be related to Vision Zero, where the city is lowering the speed limit on arterials to 25 and residential streets to 20. That’s to decrease the number of collision fatalities. You may not want it for your children, but other parents do. *Although I don’t think they should lower the arterials; it slows down the buses too.)

      2. Speed bumps are proven to not actually *work*. Perhaps because it’s most comfortable for a driver to go over them by speeding up.

        But science-based solutions, like chicanes, which actually *do* help slow traffic down, are a really good idea and should be implemented regardless of complaints.

        A lot of “democratic input” can be good, when it means government listens to people who know what they’re talking about, and it can be bad, when it means government listens to people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

        Nothing is a substitute for *actually knowing what you’re doing*.

  5. Interesting STB topic header “Cleaning up after Kubly”– considering that STB editors generally had a positive view of Kubly in podcasts and that farewell article.

    My sense is Zimbabwe will get a brief honeymoon period, and as long as he keeps his nose clean (cough, bikeshare, cough) and make some progress in “trains run on time” (so to speak) with cleanup duties.

    1. I don’t think people realized how bad Kubly was until after he left. He lied, plain and simple. He lied about what we could build with Move Seattle money. He even new it *before the vote*. That is the mess he created, and the mess the new administration has to clean up.

  6. It doesn’t matter much who SDOT director his. We won’t make any steps forward on non-car transportation while Durkan is in office.

    1. So, Third Avenue won’t get better for buses? Thousands of students will have their free ORCA cards taken away? Bus service will be cut back to where it was before she was elected?

      Wow, that does sound terrible.

      1. All things we were heading towards before Durkan. Credit where it isn’t due. Frosting without the cake either way.

      2. Nonsense. We were heading towards a complete mess before Durkan took over. At some point, Kubly and Murray would have to explain why they couldn’t build half the things they promises *after* the voters approved it. Murray maybe could have gotten the other stuff, but we certainly weren’t “headed towards it” any more than Murray did any of that before he left. Murray didn’t do much about Third Avenue, despite being in charge, and knowing full well that we needed to improve the situation. I never heard him mention giving students free access to the buses, either. At best he would have gotten the extra money to improve bus service, but with his reputation shot, it would have been more difficult.

    2. How much different would Mayor Moon have been as to transit? I know she thought we were Vancouver-esque in terms of foreign capital owning real estate, but would the CCC be up and running? West Seattle and Ballard get tunnels?.

      (Again, Oliver finished 3rd and Farrell finished 4th in the primary)

      1. Mike, CCC isn’t a transit option. Just the center segment of a comfortable local ride connecting three commercially important parts of the city. Any city shaped and arranged like Seattle would do it. Been warned by business-related people I respect to shut up about the Waterfront Streetcar precisely to be sure CCC gets built. (C’mon, cue the ($) It fits!

        mdnative, thank you for mentioning a city election and some names in same comment. Given general opinion of Seattle’s new Mayor, can anybody give me a reason why Nikki Oliver can’t take her job in six years? All due respect but I don’t see this mayor ending her career folk-song- rail-mode style with her hand on the throttle of the CCC. With that grade from Union, lady needs brakes at Jackson.

        Hey! Have Transit Operators Lisa Herbold, Bruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant, Rob Johnson, Debora Juarez, Mike O’Brien, Sally Bagshaw, Teresa Mosqueda, and Lorena González reported for duty this shift? Maybe they’re down volunteering to help build some decent temporary homes across from Atlantic Base.

        206-684-8803, 206-684-8804, 206-684-8016, 206-684-8808, 206-684-8805, 206-684-8801, 206-684-8806, 206-684-8802 council@seattle.gov

        Once these nine open jobs are filled, likely their CEO will order ICE to meet her at Angle Lake and return her to Point of Origin which I think is Ireland. But are you really ready to give The Third Finisher same amount of grief as her predecessor?

        Ross, a little perspective. Each lining the shore of a wide waterway, both Oslo, Norway and Gothenburg, Sweden have channeled motor traffic either underground or in a first-storey corridor the length of their city centers. Both have excellent streetcar systems. Oslo also has a subway. Gothenburg has a magnificent bridge and transitway where trams share road with triple section artics. So cars? Along the water, mindfully kept out of sight.

        San Francisco’s Embarcadero has a lot more room than ours. I doubt SR99 for a beach would’ve passed a recall muster. Watching streetcars at close range with walkers and bikers, I think we’ll have them back because people in plaza settings find them comfortable. Same tracks and wires can carry freight too, at least after hours.

        And there’s less than no way present transit plans will stand. Including because there aren’t any. Look, our new Waterfront really has not yet begun to be designed. The Viaduct is still there. Maybe I-90 will leave us with enough giant concrete floats to carry parks, buildings, and transit through Summers Yet To Come.

        But somebody tell me: Is there absolutely no way the Deep Bore Tunnel as designed and built can ever carry any public transit? What if the first ten minutes’ traffic takes ten hours to get all the way through? And the next day- after footage goes public, only entrant is lost? We’ve got a tunnel, we’ve got lanes inside and out…..see what I’m saying?

        I put nine phone numbers and an e-mail address in there someplace. Maybe send in a sample recall petition. Nature gave us a conscience to save our lives when it becomes guilty. Bid them use it in good health.

        Mark

      2. Mike, if you’re coming from the ferry docks and going to the tourist/service areas along 1st job center of SLU, YOU BET the streetcar would improve your transit commute. If you’re going to a game and are meeting up with people at the market, YOU BET the streetcar would be more convenient than getting to Link (even if the time difference is technically a wash). In fact it will help lesson the load on Link. Just because it won’t take you all the way across town doesn’t mean it won’t benefit anybody’s commute or other transportation wants/needs. Could a bus in dedicated lanes do just as well? Perhaps, but I’ll wait until I actually see a bus in dedicated lanes be put on the table.

      3. We’re spending money on a comfprtable local ride when many buses are too infrequent or unreliable or slow? The 40, 62, and 70 already run from SLU to 3rd Avenue; the 7, 14, and 36 run from Jackson to 3rd Avenue; and Madison RapidRide will soon run from the Central District to 1st.

      4. Hard to say what Moon what have done, but let’s not forget how all this mess started. This wasn’t the mayor suddenly deciding the streetcar was a bad idea (she, and the council basically approved it going forward). The whole thing blew up when it was revealed that SDOT hid critical information about the project. Then it came out that SDOT did even worse, and completely lied about Move Seattle, and did so *before the vote*. SDOT lost all credibility, and the mayor (rightfully, in my opinion) questioned everything they were working on, including the streetcar. Can they actually build and run it with the money allocated? Will it carry as many riders as they promise? Are there other alternatives that would do a better job for far less money?

        The last question would not have been asked if not for the fact that SDOT was obviously so mismanaged. The mayor would have just assumed that the streetcar was a reasonable, sensible project, and that folks knew what they were doing. It is possible that Moon would have made excuses for the previous administration, but I doubt it. She probably would have gone through the same process (although maybe quicker). There really isn’t widespread support for the streetcar — I can’t remember any transit proposal having so much opposition in this city. Several city council members (past and present) oppose it. In contrast, no one opposed Madison BRT, and even with the problems, no one has opposed it. Likewise, no one opposed the Move Seattle ballot initiative — the vote for passage was unanimous. That means Moon would have to spend some political capital supporting it, and she might not have. It is quite likely she would have taken the exact same approach (investigate it, then call for another vote).

  7. Just so Sam has fair warning what he’s getting into: What’s a good definition of “The Seattle Process” that he’s going to get blamed for both becoming part of and violating?

    And also a list of comparable cities whose process is better than Seattle’s. Jeff Bezos knows what he’s doing creating all those headquarterses. Having lived in Chicago, Detroit, and a mile from the DC city line in Maryland, I do think Seattle owes it to Sam to tell him one thing:

    Is there any evidence that any official mentioned here has either stolen money or taken bribes? Because I suspect that a few complainants about “The Seattle Process” are sort of hinting that there’s a more efficient history-based alternative they’d rather he pursue.

    Some reassurance, Sam. Since the Washington State Corrections Department is now in charge of more mental health than crime, and Western State mental hospital has a waiting list……Here’s somebody’s chance to take Seattle back to a more decisive process. Without the ongoing expense of a room in the Ecuadoran consulate.

    Mark Dublin

    1. The LA Process is better than Seattle’s. Though I think it’s only really existed since the mid-1990s.

  8. “We do some things really, really well at [SDOT],”

    I’d like to know what those things are, because IMHO, SDOT is a bunch of incompetent boobs.

    I understand that changing the culture at SDOT starts from the top, but overcoming the institutional inertia is a huge task and requires replacing many people at all levels of the organization.

    Good luck with that, Sam.

    1. But besides the traffic calming pedestrian and bike safety projects, the bridge replacements, the pothole filling, the bus lanes, the protected bike lanes, the bus queue jumps, the extra bus service on the busiest routes, and the free transit passes for every public high school students, what else Brothers (and Sisters) and Sisters, has SDoT done for Seattle?!

      1. Providing poor forecasts of how much work they can(‘t) complete. Who scheduled the Lander overpass project to overlap the SR99 closure? Who takes 24 months to build an overpass–I can tell by watching the “workers” here–very little work has been performed since the closure of Lander. Not to mention the inadequate amount of bike lane and sidewalk progress they achieve compared to what they promise. Compared to WSDOT and SoundTransit’s ability to estimate, schedule and deliver projects, SDOT behaves like the Three Stooges.

    2. I think the key is that he goes in without any assumptions. I really like what the mayor said. Kubly really screwed up. He lied to the public about these projects (how much they would cost). This, in turn, has lead her to question other assumptions (is the streetcar really a good idea?). Hopefully that continues. The last thing we want is someone who will simply focus on getting along, building what others want, and passing the buck until they leave. I would start by asking people in charge if they knew about the Move Seattle fiasco, and if not, why not. I would also get more involved in Sound Transit planning, and not just assuming that those folks know what they are doing. Listen to the critics — on this and other blogs. These aren’t right wing, Seattle Times type critics (who whine about any spending, especially if it is for things like transit). Nor are these who set a ridiculously high standard. These are reasonable folks who make very good criticisms of various projects that SDOT has either operated, or had some part in.

      1. “I would also get more involved in Sound Transit planning, and not just assuming that those folks know what they are doing.”

        Can you repeat that about ten more times? (RQ)

        Those folks at ST don’t “know what they are doing”, so I too would strongly recommend that the mayor, the SDOT director and the mayor’s newly contracted point person all get more involved.

  9. The good thing about an out-of-towner is that he’s more independent. He also appears seasoned enough to manage. Of course, it also means that he may be more impressionable by those who apply pressure to achieve their agendas.

    For me, the big policy questions are resolved for the next year and many things as big as ballot measures are not needed. Instead, managing the day-to-day tasks of managing our systems through the next year probably should take most of his time. That includes monitoring problems as congestion patterns change as well as keeping the street environment in good working order.

    I’m also hoping that people paid by us to be on our streets (police, drivers, workers in the field) can be better inspired to submit feedback when new problems arise. I notice that little gets corrected without general citizen complaints and shouldn’t be the case.

  10. A comment from an online acquaintance in DC who’s interested in transit:

    “Maybe he’ll be good under a different mayor, but so far as his work in D.C. he and DDOT have been under a lot of scrutiny in terms of bike safety, pedestrian safety, and outrageous speed camera fines.”

    1. Over the last few years I can say I’ve heard a lot of positives coming out of DC regarding transportation issues. Is he running from a singing ship?

      1. Another comment from the same person:

        “He’ll probably have way more freedom to do good transportation work in Seattle.”

      2. Aw, c’mon, Les. With Wayne Newton onstage, don’t know who’d be swimming faster to escape the ship….the audience or the sharks?

        Mark

    2. Cool. It’ll be great to have someone who stands up for traffic safety cameras. I have no sympathy for people who get caught and then lash out, “They’re just doing this to make money.” What, do you want traffic enforcement to cost money? So there are fewer police resources to deal with violent crime?

      1. “Traffic safety cameras” – Gotta love the humor.

        I got a red light camera ticket. My light was green, a fire truck with lights and siren came from the left. Of course I waited as a respectful and law abiding citizen. After the fire truck exited the intersection, my light was still green. I then proceeded to enter the intersection, right as the light turned yellow, then red. I was 3/4 the way through the intersection when the light was red and I saw a flash. Yellow light lengths are not based on a car going from a stopping position to being through the intersection, but based on a car already at speed. I received a ticket, then I had to take time off work to dispute the ticket which is a terrible waste of admin time, and most of all, the time of the one who pays the taxes to be wasted. Had this been a real human, there would have been zero chance of me getting a ticket as logic and common sense would have been used. Cameras cannot comprehend or understand situation. It’s black and white and life isn’t in black and white.

        And thinking that something is free is a huge problem we face in our society. Nothing is free, everything comes at a cost. I would much rather have our law enforcement properly funded than having “free” traffic enforcement. I know I don’t care for being tracked, monitored and recognized everywhere I go by cameras (all in the name of “Safety”), but that’s just me. Maybe you wouldn’t mind. Another problem is that our law enforcement has been disparaged so much recently and criminals given hero status that I’m surprised Seattle even funds a police force at all.

      2. That’s just an incompetently implemented camera. It should have to catch someone *entering* the intersection *after* the light turned red. You were already in the intersection when the light turned red.

      3. It is also just bad luck. It happens. I once got a huge parking ticket for parking in a handicapped zone. The sign was obscured by a bush, and ironically, I was taking my elderly mom to the hospital (she had a hang tag, but I drove my car and figured we didn’t need it). I could have fought it, and probably had it reduced (especially if I showed them my mom’s hang tag) but I just paid it. Yes, that sucked, but it wasn’t typical, nor was your situation typical. The vast majority of folks who get ticketed deserve it, even if you didn’t.

    3. The only people in DC who care about the “outrageous” speed camera fines are the drivers from Virginia and Maryland who were forced to pay $50 after they were caught going 20 mph over the limit.

      Seriously, the local chapter of AAA considers itself a civil rights organization because it learned that it could say “speeding tickets are regressive” and be woke (even as it fights to ensure that jaywalking remains an arrest-able offense).

  11. If there’s a major US city where traffic calming proposals are implemented quickly and easily I’d love to know where it is. That city is not Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, or Washington. This is not a unique Seattle issue.

  12. Who trolled the Seattle Times comments section? Lotsa’ bile up above.

    I wish this guy well; he seems like he has his head well screwed on.

  13. A lot of talk on here about Move Seattle being blatantly over promised. I’m skeptical. Surely the same labor and material and ROW acquisition cost increases during the past few years that have plagued Link recently also affect Move Seattle projects? The “Seattle process” tends to kick back these kinds of projects until their costs significantly increase? I would point out that you don’t have to look very far for road projects that come in over the initial predicted budget, for various reasons. A certain tunnel beneath downtown or a certain bridge in SODO and a Magnolia bridge come to mind. Pretty much any major piece of infrastructure, for that matter! So were those projects also over promised? Or is there some uncertainty in forecasting the financial picture of any major infrastructure (of for that matter, any seemingly simple home renovation), and sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t? Why is the bar on “over promising” of transit and sidewalks and bike lanes set so much lower than it is for any other kind of infrastructure? Now I’m not claiming that the Move Seattle promises could be fulfilled with the reality of where they stand today and with current funding, but what I’m saying is hindsight is 20/20 and not every bad prediction is a lie and/or an overpromise.

    1. But the point is that both Kubly and Murray knew that they couldn’t deliver on Move Seattle projects *before the vote was taken*. I know what you are saying — sometimes when you actually start the project, and look into the details of it, things get more expensive. In this case, they haven’t even started. Even just the ballpark estimates show they can’t build half of what they promised (and I mean literally half). That is not just inflation, that is corruption.

  14. GK, I’m pretty sure KVI 570 would’ve given you enough free air-time to convince people that you really are a hero. Who can now make the Seattle City Council decide it’s cheaper to stay in office if they put more human police on duty.

    Did you check with the Court about submitting your explanation in writing? If your driving record is good, you might have gotten the break you deserved.

    Last year a State Trooper gave me a $185 ticket for bumping another car when I lost traction on a suddenly snowed-over off-ramp. Not worth my time to fight even if I’d had any chance. Acquittal rare in these cases. Only successful defense is if the officer doesn’t show up in court.

    But 25 years after my last Metro sign-out, I still wanted Base Safety to show me the exact point where I could’ve prevented the accident. So I set my court date and had the trooper subpoenaed. I showed up with a two carefully marked aerial pics of the ramp pulled offline.

    “Deferred finding.” $150 records cost, no violations for six months, clean record. Never saw such a happy judge.But still regret I didn’t pay the whole fine and get the trooper’s assessment. The Patrol’s motto is “Service With Humility.” What I call REALLY tough.

    Three months later, school zone camera, could’ve contested over signal blocked by branches. But in addition my time being scarce- over 30 years’ driving-through, City of Des Moines and its schools had earned $200 of mine just by being there.

    But also: there was a crossing guard on duty, who frantically called my attention to the signal. If he’d just smart-phoned my plates, I’d have apologized in person and paid by mail. Or gone to court to describe the tree-branch problem, whatever financial outcome.

    Across politics, we want justice to be impartial. No favors or protection over who you know, or whom you own. But being people, human beings, we deep-down can’t stand impersonal. Which always carries the smell of authority’s own cheapout . Raise my tabs and pay a police officer. Whose testimony can call authoritative attention, recorded by law, to a misdesigned off-ramp.

    Surveillance? Kind of glad the whole world knows I don’t have any money. But scariest thing to me are these websites showing how many criminals are also gorgeous fashion models. And all the people I MAY know! And aerial pics of my house! At least thirty years of this garbage and not a word of protest from ANY political quarter!

    At the end of the book “1984”, the villainous chief interrogator reveals that when Big Brother took over, he hardly had to brainwash anybody at all. George Orwell knew that in the late ’30’s, the Soviet secret police had to order people not to turn anybody in if they didn’t personally see them shoot Stalin. Because so many terrified oppressed freedom-yearning people were using THEIR secret police to get them jobs, apartments, and bed-mates by having the NKVD off whoever was in their way.

    Just from observation, I suspect that in traffic division, male officers often feel terribly disparaged by the fact that their lady counterparts are the only uniformed personnel in the city who can direct traffic into anything but a giant steel hairball. I also remember watching a fellow driver perish from disparagement while watching a lady supervisor get ten mutinous eight year old girls down off the overhead bars where they were hanging from their knees like monkeys and calling the driver a butthead.

    But you’re a hundred percent right about criminals being given hero status. That’s why I’m turning off the DC news, getting a coffee and going to bed.

    Mark Dublin

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