24 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: The Greatest Failure of Human History”

  1. I’ve heard people say on this blog they moved so they could live near a Link light rail station. Is anyone planning on moving to live near any of the future light rail stations?

    1. The curious truth inside Seattle is that we have 13 light rail stations today, with 17 by 2025. However, ST3 only gives us:

      – Two new infill stations
      – Three West Seattle stations
      – Seven new Downtown/SLU/Ballard stations

      Three other stations in ST3 are putting in new platforms at existing station locations.

      So looking just inside Seattle, we are already almost halfway to getting all the stations we are supposed to get and we will be past halfway in 2021.

      To look at it another way, Bellevue will have way more Link stations per capita than Seattle will have upon ST3 completion.

      So answering your question could carry a decision to move outside of the City with it.

      Personally, I live 2/3 of a mile from Link in SE Seattle. I chose my house so that it would always be nearby easy transit. I used to live on a high frequency Metro route by 2 miles from the DSTT and was at first was hesitant to move further from Downtown. However, I quickly grew to much prefer Link because it’s reliable, offers a smooth ride, provides what seems to be much more comfortable waiting/boarding areas and provides the added bonus of getting me to SeaTac quickly!

      1. Here on the Eastside, I live 2 miles from the nearest East Link Station. If I worked in Seattle, I would consider moving closer to one.

    2. (1) Unless you’ve shown up to one of our meet-ups, or Martin or Frank said they were planning to move closer to a station in the podcast, you read it. You didn’t hear it.

      (2) Yes, there are many planning to move closer to future light rail stations, especially if they win a spot in the affordable housing lottery.

      1. Brent, if I were writing a dissertation, I would say I read it in order to be accurate. But this is just a comment section. Also, I didn’t say it was a blogger.

        Also, affordable housing is a euphemism for subsidized housing. I would hardly call having poverty made more comfortable a win.

      2. I would like to see more effort in reducing poverty than making poverty comfortable. I think the balance is too much in the comfortable direction. That’s all I’m saying.

      3. Sam I’m assigning you to write a detailed op-ed about how poor people in America are getting too comfortable. I’ll be interested to hear where you think wealth has been shifting for the past few decades.

      4. It’s a feature of English that people say “see” for more than just visual perception and “hear” for more than just spoken words.

        Affordable means it fits within people’s income. That could either be subsidized or market-rate. However, we have ignored the housing shortage for decades and allowed prices to rise faster than people’s purchasing power, so now we’ve dug a hole so deep the only solution may be subsidized housing. That’s not the fault of people who can’t afford market-rate units; it’s the fault of city zoning restrictions that have created an artificial scarcity and thus a price rise.

      5. “I would like to see more effort in reducing poverty than making poverty comfortable.”

        Are you supporting a universal basic income, higher minimum wage, and unions now? Or how else do you intend to reduce poverty?

    3. Many of us would love to live steps from a Link station. However, the supply of housing within a 5-minute walk of stations is limited by overly restrictive height caps, single-family zoning, and bad station designs that don’t maximize the walksheds. Thus that there are several times more people who want to live near Link stations than can fit into those units, so the units go to the highest bidder. People who bought their unit before the mid 2000s have the easiest time, but many lots still had one-story buildings with surface parking lots then so the units didn’t exist.

      I live halfway between two Link stations so it’s not ideal but it’s OK. I’m waiting for Link to get to north Seattle so I have more choices to live near Link in the U-District, Roosevelt, or Northgate. I currently work in north Seattle, so that would allow me to both live and work there and be near Link.

      If I’m priced out of these areas someday I’ve thought about living in Rainier Valley or near Beacon Hill, Lynnwood, TIB, or KDM stations. But then I’d lose some of the other things I want: the ability to walk to supermarkets, the library, the gym, events, a park like Cal Anderson, and to see people walking 24 hours in my neighborhood, and to not walk through large surface parking lots and dead open space to access businesses. Rainier and Beacon have a few of those things but they’re not a complete urban neighborhood like the U-District or Capitol Hill where many people rarely have to leave the neighborhood at all, or do so only for work. Downtown Bellevue is also kind of like that, and I lived there thirty years ago, but I assume it would be too expensive and it’s also focused on upper middle class chic and has so much car priority that it’s not my ideal.

    4. When I moved to Seattle 2 years ago I chose to live in Roosevelt partially because it was getting Link.

  2. We have built a wide variety of models and tools to forecast the future. However, many of these models contain either fixed behavioral assumptions (transit mode share based mostly on congestion/travel time, average trip lengths disincentive calculations) or policy decisions (continued bans on ADU’s, golf courses where TODs should be, etc.) that demonstrate only token changes in carbon emissions reductions.

    If we cared about climate change impacts , shouldn’t we be examining scenarios with different housing outcomes (ADU’s, TODs)? Shouldn’t we be examining scenarios for different urban rail outcomes (spending the dollars in denser areas)? Even with a mostly fixed program like ST3, shouldn’t we examine its value in a variety of scenarios where jobs and housing and travel costs vary in our region — with an eye to expecting any neighborhood getting a new station being denser with activity, and expecting scenarios to see trade offs between spending money for more coverage or more tunnels in the City?

    Greta is right that politicians don’t want to ask the hard questions. That’s true however for those elected even among us that claim to be climate activists in appearance but not when it inflicts conflict on real world results in our neighborhoods — and not just climate change deniers.

    I even think assuming the basic ST subarea funding allocation method itself supercedes caring about climate change.

    1. Most of the state’s electeds aren’t even thinking about ST subareas. They are thinking about how to build more capacity for cars, and encouraging a niche market to nudge some of the new cars to be electric. Transit is not part of their campaign vocabulary, not even when it is electric, with power sourced renewably (mostly solar and wind). Last I looked, even Gov. Inslee still has this blind spot.

      And there is the proposal to institute a carbon tax to pay for adding highway lanes. That has to be the mother of all cognitively dissonant ideas.

      At any rate, if Inslee is to be the climate action candidate for real, he had better be prepared to line-item veto every project that funds adding lanes to highways, regardless of the funding source. It would be nice if he championed getting the state into the business of funding protected bike lanes, basic pedestrian networks (sidewalks), and investing in transit instead of roads. But first and foremost, doing no more harm means approving no more highway building. Our carbon budget is already overdrawn.

      Locally, we still have politicians trying to protect car movement and parking capacity. All our climate-change-guilty city councilmembers are up for re-election (Mosqueda and Gonzalez are innocent). Lisa Herbold, the lone vote against parking reform, should be the top election target of those who want to save our species. It is also incredibly irritating to hear her talk about “displacement” while defending antiquated policies, born out of segregationist politics, that will maximize it.

      1. I absolutely agree. Jay Inslee’s Presidential bid makes me red in the face. No public vote on more highways but [no, Joe].

        Oh and forcing a public referendum – even more close run than ST3 and better run campaign – in CT Prop 1. Some climate change governor. HA!

        Listen, I don’t mind public referenda in November elections. I mind when the single occupancy vehicle lobby is exempt.

  3. Fact: A public transit-hating Republican living in a Bellevue on a culdesac, with a Hummer, Toyota Tundra and Mercedes AMG G65 in the garage, does more to financial support Sound Transit than a carless public transit user living in a microapartment next to Capitol Hill Station.

    1. Does such a person actually exist? There are people with two or three of those characteristics, but all five?

      1. Getting my car tab bills, and seeing what percentage the RTA is, makes me realize that us suburbanite luxury car owners are some of the biggest transit supporters there are. We are the true heroes of the expansion of light rail in our region. A dozen transit advocates barking night and day doesn’t do what just one big car tab check does.

    2. I’m glad they pay more.

      I have to pay extra gas tax to support their need for pavement over on that corridor, because he/she sure isn’t paying enough. Plus I have to supplement my own town’s highway maintenance needs with my property taxes to make up that difference.

    3. and the “carless public transit user living in a microapartment next to Capitol Hill Station.” is paying ST Property tax via their rent.

    4. and I’m proud to pay the ST fees on my Imperium Condescendor to support more transit.

      Next time your Bellevueite needs to get more of their kind voting NO.

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