23 Replies to “Podcast #77: No businesses in London”

  1. I left Denver in 2013 when their transfer station was under construction. I think it would be amazing if Seattle could replicate a smaller footprinted version of it.

    Denver’s Union Station

    I notice 3rd Ave and 2nd Ave Ext both terminate a couple blocks after Washington. The two blocks encompassing them would be a nice place for a transfer station. Flipping ST3 ID station and adding a few other components north of Jackson would allow for a nice integration of the 5 stations.

    I have STs attention but I’m not holding my breath.

    1. I too have wondered why — given elaborate options like Fourth Avenue and deep tunnels, that ST never looked at a platform north of Jackson Street. For that matter, platforms could be added below those cavernous spaces south of the ID platforms intended to layover buses.

      Perhaps not choosing a final platform configuration will end up offering more layout options once soils and underground utilities are considered.

    2. That little park (“Union Station Square”) just north of Jackson is indeed a good place for a transfer station. This would get buses closer to Amtrak and Sounder trains, and much closer to Link at ID Station, than the stop at Main does. The routes that stop at Main or at Jackson and continue south could be moved to a new stop just south of Jackson on 2nd Ave Ext; there is room there for a bus lane and stop. Routes currently stopping at Main and not continuing south of Jackson could use a stop at 3rd and Jackson instead of stopping at Main. The stop at Main would be eliminated.

      I’ve never fully understood why the D line doesn’t do something like just follow 3rd as far as Jackson and loop there; it surprised me when I got off of Amtrak and had to walk all the way to Prefontaine and Yesler to get to this major bus route – and the same applies even more importantly to Sounder riders. Make 3rd between Main and Jackson bus-only, provide a turn signal onto Jackson for looping buses, then a turn back to 4th and you’ve solved the very strange routing for this bus that should absolutely be directly connected to this major transit hub but isn’t. (All buses looping back to the north could use this.)

  2. It seems hard to build a coalition of interest groups for congesting pricing when bus and bike riders can’t get promised dedicated bus and bike lanes, and business interests are more interested in preserving a handful of parking spots on arterials than in pricing traffic on those arterials.

    Deliveries are being pushed onto sidewalks, with drones now being legal, even while we can’t get traffic safety bills passed. Amazon money talks. I wish it would talk louder for safety.

    1. I don’t think congestion is bad enough and transit options aren’t fast enough today to warrant congestion pricing if the objective is to get cars away from Downtown. Central London congestion combined with many frequent subway lines makes Seattle look like a frontier village. It may be different by 2035 with 3.5 new subway lines radiating from Downtown along with lots of new buildings but it seems silly until then. It seems to be driven by a twisted need to say “we are a big and crowded city” rather than by logic.

      I would much rather see a GPS-based VMT tax instead. Fuel taxes are increasingly unsustainable for road maintenance anyway, and global warming is more critical than waiting through an extra light on Second Avenue.

      1. If global warming is the concern, wouldn’t a fuel tax – which actually charges an increasing amount with emissions – be superior to a VMT, which doesn’t inherently distinguish between a 10 mpg truck and an emissions-free EV?

  3. Thanks for discussing the OMF South siting illogic. It amazes me how ST can make a decision to put it further north because of West Seattle, yet at the same time promote options that will either take longer to build or be delayed in lawsuits and negotiations. It would seem more practical to “fast-track” a Tacoma Dome extension than to saddle the operations with 100 years of out-of-service trains for 20-30 minutes per train.

    1. What’s 20-30 minutes? And they don’t have to be out-of-service. The last trains at Angle Lake remain in-service through all the stations to the base.

      1. I’m kind of doubtful that many will ride between Federal Way and Tacoma. In contrast, lots of people ride between the Rainier Valley and Angle Lake.

      2. @ Mike Orr – no, they don’t. An out-of-service train NB passed through Sea-Tac station at +/- 10:35 last night; the next in-service train wasn’t for another 10 minutes by which time the 2-car train got pretty well filled with people and their luggage. This also happened (maybe at the same time) last time I was coming back from the airport. Although it wouldn’t have done me any good, certainly the people waiting who were going somewhere from Beacon Hill south would have appreciated the train that came through 10 minutes earlier.

        I also had always thought that the trains returning to base were in service (I think the morning ones outbound are from Beacon Hill SB), but clearly at least some are not. (Source: me standing on the platform as the train came through.) What was even more annoying is the “next train northbound in … 2 … minutes” announcement was still made – obviously with our antediluvian system it’s just based on the existence of a train, but it sure convinced a lot of people that there was a train arriving that they could take!

  4. “Everyone downtown can imagine themselves being someone that needs to go downtown” (probably slightly mis-quoted). (Frank?) said this after saying that the revenue from a congestion charge could be a dividend to all Seattleites, and then expressing concern that even though most of the money would be paid by non-Seattleites, everyone in Seattle still thinks of themselves as someone who needs to go downtown sometimes (so a lot of people think they are going to be paying a lot more money in congestion charges than they actually are).

    Solution: every car registered in Seattle gets a free “no congestion charge” free-pass into downtown once per month. The passes can carry over, just like a good PTO plan. And to keep out-of-city tourists from being too scared, give all vehicles a free pass twice per year. And to keep it from seeming too much like we’re just taking money from out-of-towners and not focusing any of the revenue on their experience, 10% of the revenue (after costs) can be directly invested into downtown improvements of some kind. (The other 90% can go to dividends.)

  5. I am not particularly in favor of any style of “congestion tax” that would allow wealthier drivers to simply pay money to continue driving their personal vehicles and price out those who cannot afford it. I actually kind of like the idea of putting the burden on Uber and Lyft users as a sort of luxury tax.

    1. What’s the difference between wealthy people paying to ride Uber and wealthy people paying to drive their own car? Either way, it’s a luxury tax for the privilege of adding a vehicle to congested streets.

    2. I truly do not understand this conceptualization of “luxury” for which buying a ride in a car (cost: often under 10 dollars) is a “luxury” but but buying a whole car just for yourself (cost: 10K a year), and driving it in the place and time where ROW is most scarce and where clogging up 100 square feet of it just for yourself has the highest negative impact on the community isn’t.

      I’m a non-rich person; for me, owning my own car would be a costly luxury it would be difficult to afford, while buying an occasional ride from someone else for those trips transit doesn’t work for is not a luxury at all, but an occasional necessity. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t tax Uber and Lyft more; we probably should, but the notion that occasionally using it is a luxury in some pegorative sense that doesn’t apply to private car ownership+maximally harmful usage patterns isn’t is really difficult for me to wrap my mind around.

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