24 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Pandemic school bus safety”

  1. Is my memory right that Metro used to operate school routes with its own buses? Seem to recall one afternoon southbound on Rainier when I rolled my Route 7 into a zone behind a bus whose driver seemed to be having a problem.

    Consisting of about six ten year old girls hanging by their knees from the overhead handhold bars, while the driver was having trouble getting in on the radio.To see if I could help- I didn’t have any passengers aboard my bus-I asked the girls, “Why can’t you be nice to your driver?”

    Reason? “Because he’s a (unprintable starting with “B”) -head!” Radio-ed for help on my own set. Woman supervisor arrived in thirty seconds and whatever her head-style, got the school-bus moving in fifteen more.

    Reading this morning’s video topic, what I miss most about those days is a Federal Government with a Center for Disease Control whose every competent official has not yet quit or been forced out. Driver, parent, or especially teachers and nurses…would anybody reading this send their kids to school at all this year?

    Mark Dublin

    1. Metro runs all of the high school to/from school routes for Bellevue School District. Has for many years. The stops have Metro signs and are 800 series routes. BSD pays Metro so the students don’t get ORCA cards or pay a fare.

      1. I rode a Metro bus converted to a school bus for Seattle Public Schools in the late 1980’s. They took out the brown seats and installed green bus seats. Thought it was kind of cool.

    2. Seattle has Metro school routes too. You sometimes encounter bus stops with strange high-numbered routes like Hillman City to Jackson Park.

      1. Those are for a private school. Seattle Public Schools has leaned on the regular routes to provide the high school service and limited yellow bus service to the lower grades.

        It is unfortunate that the pandemic has made the free passes for SPS high school students a worthless tool. Even if the money is redirected toward more yellow bus service, there is a driver shortage for yellow buses (or at least was before the pandemic), and it will take a lot more runs, if not buses, to do the same job, much less cover the additional high school runs. Whenever the schools open for in-person classes.

      2. The school routes are listed at the bottom of Metro’s “Schedules and Maps” page. Many of the 800 and 900 series routes are scheduled to serve Lakeside School, Bellevue Schools or Mercer Island schools in a non-Covid alternative universe.

    3. Yes, Metro used to have special bus runs that operated for Seattle Public Schools. During my high school days, I regularly rode on a modified 39 Seward Park that terminated at Franklin High School. There still are some special runs on the 7 Rainier that only run on school days and are timed to serve the high schools along Rainier Avenue. I think there are some special runs on the 60 that served Cleveland High School students, too.

    1. Another great example of the relationship between lot size and housing costs. Just imagine how much more affordable housing would be if that was a typical lot size for a house. That is a nice house in a nice neighborhood for not much more than a lot of condos.

      1. And buying a single cigarette costs much less than buying a pack, but on a price per cigarette basis, buying a single more expensive. Check the price per square foot of this house. It’s much higher than average. It’s almost double the price/sqft of a new house a few blocks away.

      2. What a terrible analogy that misses my entire point. Twenty cigarettes is twenty cigarettes no matter how you buy them. You can’t just take two small houses and combine them into one big one.

        “It’s almost double the price/sqft of a new house a few blocks away.”

        Exactly. That is my point. There is an intrinsic value in a house, and thus a bottom limit to the price of it. For a lot of people, this house is fine. They don’t want — or can’t afford — a big house. They just want a house. A freakin’ house. They are tired of living in a condo, and just want a place of their own, where they don’t have to deal with a condo association or living off of an arterial (where most apartments and condos are). They just want a simple, small house on a tiny lot. This house will sell. If there were a lot more of them, they would sell for a lot less.

        The reason it is so hard to come up with a good existing analogy is because there are very few things that work this way. Property owners essentially form a cartel (willingly or unwillingly). As someone who grew up the 1970s, I know cartel economics well. It was called “an energy crisis”, but it was caused mainly by OPEC limiting the supply of oil. This in turn lead to higher prices for other forms of energy.

        Like every cartel, there are artificial limits on the supply. There are very restrictive limits placed on what housing can be built. There are no limits to reducing density. I could buy up the entire block, tear it all down, and put up a mansion, or just a house with a giant yard. On the other hand, there are huge restrictions on increasing density. That tiny house is an outlier. None of the neighbors can subdivide their lot and build something similar. That is true throughout the city.

        Like all cartels, this drives up the cost of housing. Land cost is largely driven by overall demand. In Seattle (where demand is high) land prices are high. This would be the case regardless of whether there was a cartel or not. Housing prices are dependent in part on how much land there is. People are forced to buy more land than they want, simply because the law prevents people from building small lot houses like this. This in turn makes all housing more expensive, include the handful of small lot houses as well as all condos. This in turn pushes up the cost of apartments.

      3. I know it was a bad analogy. My bad. Let me ask you this, Ross. If you were going to buy a house as an investment, and you want it to be near a future Link station, what neighborhoods would you look at? What do you think of Surrey Downs near the East Main station? With Facebook and Amazon coming to downtown Bellevue, I can’t help but think one can’t go wrong investing in that neighborhood. Any thoughts?

    2. Heart of Ballard Bal Harbour Condo

      $20k less (asking) but 700 sqft vs 400 and it has a garage. The house will probably sell for above asking as it’s assessed at $407k. What I find amazing, other than people are willing to spend so much for so little, when looking at the map of all condo listings in Ballard how small of an area all the listings are. I had no idea so much of Ballard is either single family or commercial. Seems ripe for large scale mixed use development.

      1. What I find amazing, other than people are willing to spend so much for so little

        You find the housing prices in Seattle amazing? I guess you haven’t been house hunting in the last decade (or know anyone who has). This is a nice house going for way less than most houses. Its small, but its obviously a nice house. It’s not a condo — it is not even a townhouse (with a shared wall) — its a standalone house.

        I had no idea so much of Ballard is either single family or commercial.

        Most of Seattle is zoned single family. Ballard has way more land zoned for something other than single family than most of Seattle. If Seattle wants affordable market rate housing, they need to abandon the current “urban village” policy and make changes for the entire city. One step would be to encourage more houses like this one, which would happen if they dropped the lot limits. I could see a someone buying up a big lot in my neighborhood and adding a dozen little houses. They would sell for around 300 grand (my neighborhood is not as nice as Bruce’s).

      2. I’m not amazed at Seattle housing prices. I mean but so much for so little is if you look at a similar three bedroom 2 bath house in Ballard you’re paying $700k but the price per square foot is $479. You’re literally paying twice as much for the tiny house.

      3. “They would sell for around 300 grand (my neighborhood is not as nice as Bruce’s).”

        Oh, I think they would sell for way more than that. Townhomes in my area here in SW Snohomish County are selling in the $400-450k range easily. Here’s one such example not too far from my own neighborhood:



        Recently I received a postcard in the mail concerning a residential housing project* that’s not too far from me. (I guess my property is close enough to be considered a party of interest.) The project involves combining two residential properties into a new condominium association and constructing 23 townhome-style units on the resulting parcel, which will be just over an acre in size. At one time, these parcels were typical of this neighborhood when the initial 10-acre plats were subdivided back in the 1950s into ~.5 acre parcels. (My own property sits on such a parcel.) Of these two adjoining properties involved in this particular project, the parcel on the western side had been short platted at some point, so that one ended up being two parcels. The house in the front parcel will remain; the structures on the rear parcel have already been demolished, as was the home on the parcel on the eastern side (a couple of years ago in its case). I’m probably not describing this project terribly well, but if you look at the link I’ve provided below and check out the master site plan application, which includes a detailed drawing, then I think that should help give you a clearer picture of what sort of housing is going to be built here. This is just one of many infill housing projects that have occurred and are occurring all over this area of the county.

        I would expect these units to also sell in the mid $400k range, depending on the level of finish details and square footage.

        *Here’s the link to the SnoCo PDS site. Hopefully the link will work for you. If not, probably due to skipping the disclaimer page where you click “agree”, then you would need to re-enter the project number. On the main postcard page, simply search for project 20106745PSD and the correct record should come up. You can find the master site plan on the “applicant submittal” once you select the search results’ record. (It’s a 72-page .pdf file.)


  2. Simon Cowell falls off bike in the courtyard of his home. “He had to have a big surgery, he’s got a number of breaks and has had to have a metal rod put into his back.” “When he fell off the bike he landed right on his back which broke in a number of places,” noting it “was six-hour surgery overnight on Saturday.”

    All from falling off a bike in his driveway?


    1. Sam, forget where I read it, but stats say that for somebody my age, leading cause of death is repercussions of a limb-fracture from a fall.

      Meaning that my Russian-aikido training at Seattle Central has saved my life a half dozen times by implanting “roll-by-reflex.” Counted at least two dozen really-sharp granite steps between mezzanine and platform at IDS.

      Three elderly ladies almost fainted when I landed on my feet and took a bow. Little annoying that my training deprived me of a settlement that’d let me visit Portland Max, but nobody said life’s fair.

      But given preent age-demographics, whoever owns the station now, ST or KCM, their legal team need to get together with their architects and get International District’s every single stair-step re-measured, retooled, and re-installed before somebody elderly’s fatal fall costs them
      ST-‘s 5 through 10.

      Mark Dublin

  3. Bruce, what Zillow tells me is that your view of desirability is classically continental. The richer you are, in addition to the blonder and bluer-eyed, the more densely you pack the neighborhoods that haven’t changed location or income bracket, or social attitude, since before the castle walls came down.

    I’m told that in France, everybody in Paree knows that whatever your citizenship papers and birth certificate say, if you live in a “Banlieu”, pretty much a suburb, a hearty “Oh ha ha ha!” to any idea you’re French.

    Seven years ago in Gothenburg, credit to Sweden that a main streetcar terminal includes impressive high-rise pubic housing. But also remember that the main streetcar stop features a small polished-stone obelisk carries a memorial photograph of a Muslim boy murdered by racists.

    For a single $1800+ monthly payment, one trip to the credit union for cash will let me walk down to Deschutes Parkway across from the Capitol dome and move into a home I can trailer-hitch my Prius onto the back of whenever the police say I have to leave, which they’re in no hurry about.

    If I were still a King County taxpayer, I’d tell those business-owners to give my court system a break and just buy the damn house and give it to one of their little girls for a doll-house. Or if they’ve got a really GOOOOOD dog….

    But at this point in time and income, bottom line is that density-of-wealth is no friend of mine.

    Mark Dublin

  4. And pretty sure everybody knows housing never carries reference to anatomy. How much would I have to donate to STB for an “edit” feature?


  5. And could we please get some more discussion on an educational system that does not demand Personal Protective Equipment for everybody involved, student and teacher alike?

    From what I’m seeing of the abilities of the forever SAT-free Class of 2020, in ability, motivation, spirit, and computer-savvy, approach, philosophy and fighting stance, they’re more than up to the job.

    If we ever want either a decent economy or life again in this country, we need above all to be sure nobody in either a single Governorship or anyplace else has the power to designate a single one of their lives as expendable “for the greater good.” They are the Greatest good.

    Mark Dublin

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