Bike lanes will be replaced 1-for-1 in the new tunnel. (Bruce Englehardt)
  • Gothamist schooled New Jersey car commuter Whoopie Goldberg on bike lanes, safety, and entitlement. She later walked back her series of rants against NYC bike lanes, sort of.
  • Phyllis Porter, advocate for safe streets and building more family-sized affordable housing, and founder of the local chapter of Black Girls Do Bike, is jumping into the race for Bruce Harrell’s open seat.
  • Cutting 3 minutes from First Hill Streetcar trips costs no more than $75,000, but — guess what — “local business owners and property owners pushed back.” It would be great to know which businesses on Capitol Hill don’t like fast transit. But CHS reports the plan is not yet dead.
  • Mountlake Terrace Station open house report.
  • ECB is not impressed that Alex Pedersen, a candidate for Rob Johnson’s open seat, has deleted his social media posts opposing ST3, bike lanes, and HALA.
  • West Seattle Blog covers the daily Highway 99 closure multi-agency media conferences consistently. The tunnel opening is still on track for February 4, but the northbound exit into downtown on Dearborn will open at least a week later. Laura Newborn of WSDOT warns drivers not to return to their pre-shutdown routine:

If 90,000 drivers decide to get back in their cars, there’s no question that things will get worse quickly – don’t do it!

This is an open thread.

26 Replies to “News Roundup: Black Women Do Bike”

  1. I have a friend who is a concierge at a downtown Seattle establishment (no, I won’t tell you which one). He has a fascinating knowledge of what’s happening around Seattle and the best ways to get there. He also doesn’t own a car, prefers to get around by transit and lives on one of the RapidRide lines (no, I won’t tell you which one),

    1. That’s $80/mo BART is leaving on the table. There’s also the other maddening anecdote in the article where the one person hangs on to her permit but doesn’t ride the BART because she’ll never win the permit again.

      Every year BART should auction off a one-year lease for each spot and capture the going market rate.

  2. Now with the DSTT soon becoming rail only, I’ve been thinking about what it would have taken for the DSTT to have been originally constructed with center platforms on all stations. Certainly it would have made sense even at time of construction, since cross-platform bus transfers are very useful, and from the beginning the DSTT was thought to have rail service in its future.

    It could be done the same way many transit centers like Bellevue Transit Center have center platforms: with a crossover signal, where buses switch from driving on the right to driving on the left. It would get trickier when light rail starts, because light rail would either need a crossover track during joint operations (and presumably switching sides in the tunnel after buses leave), or the whole light rail system would operate with trains running on the left.

    I’m curious whether this was a consideration when the DSTT was being planned.

    1. Alex, you have to remember that while DSTT was always intended to transition from bus-only to joint-use to rail-only, nobody knew the actual schedule. Literally to the decade. My own guess is that after we opened in 1990, Link arrived about nine years late. So safest approach was to start with the simplest and most reliable bus tunnel possible.

      Main consideration for lane layout? We needed a capacious passing lane. Since low-floor buses were still some years in the future, every single wheelchair loading could result in a five minute delay, over and above general stairway boarding.

      If anybody remembers, our underground stations had center lane trolley wired. With, along with many other possible efficiencies policy discouraging its use.

      Also, while a disabled railcar can be be pushed or towed by a sister vehicle, standard buses aren’t structured out for either. We actually designed and built two special tow-vehicles- which we soon traded for standard tow trucks. Anybody know if those machines are still on-property for anything? Snow plows?

      For our future busway operations, you know I’m with you a hundred percent on center platforms, bus, rail, and joint-ops. Madison and First Avenue CCC both. Main problem I see is barrier between what’ll be essentially contraflow and general traffic. Paint stripe won’t do it. We’ll need a concrete planter box.

      Julienne barberry best warning to careless pedestrians. But anybody going for PhD in transit engineering or architecture….wonder what the world’s libraries have available with our Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel as its core source. Hope we learned as many lessons as we taught. Credit or not.

      Mark Dublin

      1. “Main problem I see is barrier between what’ll be essentially contraflow and general traffic. Paint stripe won’t do it. We’ll need a concrete planter box.”

        I used to be concerned about contraflow lanes confusing pedestrians but now I think good design can take care of it. You just have to make it look like two smaller streets that are both “drive on the right” (from everybody’s perspective except the bus drivers’), then pedestrians’ and drivers’ instincts will be right.. What’s dangerous is to have “drive on the left” in a country that’s not used to it. In England near Buckingham palace the curbs have spray-painted signs saying “Look right / Gardez à la droit” because most tourists instinctively look left. I found it a bit unnerving to have cars coming from the right even with the signs.Bus drivers are trained to drive contraflow before they start the route, both others expect vehicles to move in the American direction (and it doesn’t matter that it looks different from the bus’s perspective).

      2. So I’m not sure where you intend the planters to go. They can’t be in the bus lanes because that would block the buses. They can’t be between the bus lanes and GP lanes because that would take up space that the narrow rights of way don’t have and would displace bike lanes or wider sidewalks that are more important.

  3. Everybody personally unable to get a driver’s license should be able to ride transit without further charge. One way or another, whether we’re permitted to drive a car or not, ours, and our parents’ taxes still help pay for streets and roads.

    And despite the fact I taught her to drive a stick-shift car on the tricky crowded gravel roads of Africa, my own mother refused to get a driver’s license to avoid becoming an unpaid on-demand chauffeur like her every single woman friend back home in suburban Detroit.

    Again citing my own example, transit will have no more promising investment for its own future- for customers and for energetic, vocal, lifelong advocates. And since whether it existed or not nobody will ever believe in the Electroliner…..sanity is safe on that subject!

    Mark Dublin

  4. Climate action: “another 31 percent said they supported some sort of legislation, but that I-1631 was too flawed and that a better initiative is preferred”

    This is meaningless without knowing what they would support. Otherwise we can’t tell how many would really vote for a different plan, vs how many would move the goalposts to oppose any plan.

    1. For instance, did you oppose it because:
      A) the rate was too high
      B) it was a tax
      C) the money went to objectionable recipents
      D) the money didn’t go to recipients I thought were necessary
      E) it wasn’t revenue-neutral (the money didn’t go to reducing other taxes or a general refund to residents)
      F) its sponsors/endorsers were obectionable
      G) its campaign tactics were objectionable
      H) I watched one of those oil company ads that said it’s bad for the economy and jobs
      I) I’m one of those people who votes against light rail because it’s more expensive than BRT, and then I vote against BRT because it’s more expensive than regular buses, and then I vote against regular buses because it’s more expensive than zero

      1. I think it comes down to to this: Democrats LOVE climate change as an issue, because it’s easy to hammer Republicans for not believing in it.

        However, Democrats have been in power many times over the years, and suddenly the issue drops off the radar. It’s suddenly lower priority than every other issue, which doesn’t really make sense if you believe in the science which says it is an enourmous threat to our society.

        This is similar to how Republicans love to carp on the national debt when they are out of power, but the first thing they do when they are in office is support massive tax cuts. They don’t genuinely care about the deficit. It’s just posturing.

        Obama, to his credit, actually did some modest things to reign in carbon emissions. Mostly through regulations which didn’t require a vote and which Trump immediately overturned.

        This is why there’s a big difference betwern politicians who say they care about XYZ on their website, and those who have a demonstrated serious commitment.

      2. It’s like the saying, “Everybody wants to get to heaven but nobody wants to die.” People want the environment fixed but they don’t want to pay more for gas or have restrictions on driving. When a long-term loss collides with an immediate loss, the immediate loss wins. It’s the same way that that Kirkland activists wanted both better transit and a trail, but they saw the trail issue as more immediate so all their energy went into “Save Our Trail”. People are always more motivated to oppose what they don’t like rather than supporting what they do like, so the block of anti voters has more presence than the pro voters. Likewise, newspapers and TV report on sensations and crimes, which gives people the idea that the crime level is a lot higher than it is and everybody’s at risk, when in fact nothing happened to 99% of the people.

  5. Thanks for helping me not overdo the details, Mike. On every two lane intercity highway, paint stripes save thousands of lives as cars safely miss colliding with each other at 60. Also should’ve clarified what I had in mind was a linear flower-pot. Standing by the thorns, though. It’s for people’s own good.

    But also willing to forego the River of Red ™ pavement treatment in favor of red or other color reflectors through the One Percent for the Arts connection. Make patterns convey messages of caution, and where necessary, absolute forbiddance. Critically placed swarms of red ants, for instance.

    Meantime, for dealing with the trackside business community….wish “Yelp!” was called something else. Though tempting to warn diners if you stay all the way under the table like a goooood Rottweiler the waitress won’t keep stepping on your tail.

    Because maybe we could start a program to commend businesses who favor measures to give their streetcars a clear track. Really think this is a transitional period, as patronage stats begin to clearly indicate that passengers moving aboard streetcars bring in more revenue than those stuck in their cars. Unable even to get in sight of anybody’s sign.

    Appreciate the help, Mike. I’ve always needed an editor from the old days when [OT] was just a manuscript full of sharp waxy red lines.

    Mark

  6. With regards to SDOT’s proposal to speed up the First Hill Streetcar, even if your focus is walking, biking and transit, it’s not the slam dunk that one might think at first.

    “Retime traffic signals for all lanes to keep streetcar and vehicles moving” could be code for long wait times to cross Broadway, either as a pedestrian, or on an east/west bus, like the 2/3/4. (The fact that SDOT is putting out a plan to speed up the streetcar, but not the 2/3/4, which are also very slow, but carry many more riders, smacks of rail bias).

    “Restrict vehicle turning movements on E Pine, E Pike, E Union, and E Madison streets” may lead to a significant increase in the amount of cut-through traffic on neighborhood streets, since, if you can’t turn directly between two arterials, that’s what you have to do.

    The southbound BAT lane does sound like a good idea, though.

    1. Yes. And as someone who lives on Union street and often has to get to it from Broadway, I saw the plan and started to wonder how the heck anyone would actually get to Union without it becoming a convoluted, congestion-increasing mess.

      I am absolutely in favor of transit and bike access but at the same time there’s the reality that the street layouts here aren’t exactly amenable to making Broadway a no-turns-allowed street.

      1. Agreed. Currently there’s no left turns from northbound Broadway at Madison, Pine, and Denny. If you remove the existing turns at Union and Pike, your first opportunity after Marion (an admittedly awkward left turn as it is) is at John street, a full kilometer to the north. The number of cars that will back up at John waiting to make a left there without a turn segment to the traffic light, will back up Broadway for blocks, thus shifting the problem from the streetcar to the buses operating on Broadway.

  7. Wow. 3 minutes for75 grand? That’s a worse deal than the ambulance ride Sarah Smith is currently hitching about on Twitter. The streetcar should have been built with these better times in the first place. Link and the sreetcar may be toy train transit but they are not mass transit. What metro route was the shooting on Saturday morning?

    1. and watch out for the Edmonds Senior Center, now there’s a neighborhood obviously in decline.

      Along with the parking lot of Arnies, down by the marina, and I’d be rethinking suburban living.

      Yikes!

  8. Opposition to anything that is not car focused seems to be a sticking point of those on the political right nowadays. How much of the push back from local business owners and property owners is really politically motivated without any concrete evidence that their business or property access would be significantly impacted? Because Capital Hill hasn’t been an easy place to drive around and park in for many years now–and it’s just never going to be as it is a *city*. If you don’t want to be in a city, then move to the suburbs or somewhere rural.

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