15 Replies to “Sunday open thread: London bus ride”

  1. CT drivers have told me they like the “Double-Talls”. One told me ours are made in Scotland. For slippery roads, beats an “artic” all hollow. Passengers with mobility problems…..

    Let’s discuss.


  2. The Inernet’s rich with images of double-deck buses, which seem to go a long way back in time. Including the ones that are trolleybuses.

    I’d imagine that a driver would need some imagination to know where the poles are, but seeing how far back the pictures go, obviously nobody’s ever had any serious problems learning.

    One thing I can’t seem to find any information on is possible on-board elevators. As our increasing ridership gets increasingly long in years, the trade-off on a couple of seats per floor might not be a bad deal.

    Might be a good idea to disable the “lift” while the bus is in motion, but I honestly can’t see any reason not to have the feature.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Do you mean a lift to the upper deck? It’s not necessary, or at least I’ve never seen one. Those unable to climb the stairs sit downstairs, those who are able make room and tend to go upstairs. Every English child knows the cool kids sit upstairs.

  3. OHHHHH-Kay, considering what-all else is going on, and “going around” media-politico-epidemiologically, it’s perfectly normal that on a gray Holiday morning like this, everybody really should be sleeping in

    But there are some things over the last couple months that I’m getting a little uneasy about being the only one talking about.

    One is the possibility that the next several years might deliver a major national repair-and-recovery effort mindful of Franklin Roosevelt’s response to the 1929 Depression. Which could include quite a lot of money for some long-needed things in transit…provided we’re ready with a credible application to participate.

    Neither pandemic nor politics can prevent us from at least starting to do research, online if we can’t in person, into transit measures of interest to us. If ever this blog wanted to be effective, I can’t imagine a greater opportunity.

    And second, using our State’s community college sector to make public transportation the same presence in our school, trade, and work-life as private automobiles have commanded since their invention. Down a lot of freeway lanes, Freedom might mean TRACKS!

    Of course there’s no rush about any of this, and a thousand times more unknowns than “knowns”. But neither is there any reason NOT to start making some preparations. And here’s what I consider the greatest benefit of an early start.

    On matters of this scale, ideas themselves are matters of life and death. Countries die of wrong ones. What it’s life and death that we lose at at this writing?

    The mass conviction that ’til forces of our own creation get themselves straightened out without us, there’s nothing we can do. What National Nordic History owes that famous Swede Joe Hill? (Besides a Link station name?): A little less concern about the loss of our Chairs.

    Mark Dublin

  4. Allow me to translate a quote from Metro on the Metro Matters Blog. Here’s the quote. ” … we do not publicly disclose individual cases or locations to protect the privacy of employees, to maintain a safe environment for other employees to share their status and/or seek medical care, and to avoid other locations wrongly being seen as being without risk.”

    Translation: If it got out that a base had a covid outbreak, we’d be forced to close that base, and that would be a nightmare for us in terms of cancelling entire routes by the dozens. So, under the guise of protecting privacy, we won’t say where outbreaks happen so we can keep routes running.

    It’s a good thing nursing homes don’t have this policy. Can you imagine? “We have an outbreak at one of our facilities somewhere in the county, but we won’t say where.”

  5. Take heart, Sam. You’re in good company. This morning the President of France has good grounds in his country’s own history to worry about his head.

    Because he’s levied a law against taking pictures of police attacking people ’cause it might make the culprit officers feel bad. But here, the right-and-wrong’s a little different.

    If one of those individual cases you mention happened to be named “You”, might you not feel that so long as the public knows the incident and its location, there’s no reason they have to know your name and worldwide contact info?

    But just when I thought the Sackler family and Big Pharma took the prize for oxycontin, another drug’s just pushed them off the scene: Fear. Whatever you do to somebody, if you’re scared enough, the law must let you go.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Mark, it’s not about knowing people’s names. Metro wants the location of an outbreak to be kept secret.

  6. https://kingcountymetro.blog/2020/11/25/metro-urges-protective-measures-shares-reported-numbers/

    Might want to read the whole thing, Sam. Maybe I’m the one who’s missing something, but I don’t see any threat to punish anyone for revealing anything.

    Local 587, have your members been getting any intimidation against divulging this kind information? At all? Also seems to me that anything that could be called an “outbreak” someplace like Metro might be a little hard to cover up for very long.

    Several weeks ago, my passenger-assistance-volunteer program requested that I sign a form promising not to sue the agency if I came down with COVID-19. I gathered all my gear and offered to turn it in immediately,

    Maybe not a lot to ask, but it seemed to me that, since I’d already agreed to volunteer for hazardous duty at an age that put me in a category in front of cross-hairs, my generosity deserved some better thanks.

    My most recent instructions? “Just hang onto it. You can’t get into headquarters to give it back anyhow.” In other words, like the whole system, the whole country, and the whole world, we’re still “workin'” making it all “work” at all.

    The only Court who’d ever get this one is already “Working from Home” anyhow. But Sam, since if you live in King County you’re both a citizen and a voter, if you really believe there’s evil being done-and-buried, your duty’s clear.

    Might even subscribe to The Seattle Times to watch the battle. Since it’s my own dining room table, Jay Inslee says my mask’s ok in my coat. Distrustful times. My doctor….well he DOES work for a System! But my fate’s already sealed:

    My nurse tells me one sniff out of line and she’ll tell the vet to put me straight to sleep. Compliance is not enough. I’ve got to be a GOOO-OOOO-OOOO-OOD Boy!

    Mark Dublin

  7. Pedestrian Observations has a flurry of good articles.

    The German way of building rapid transit. S-bahns an U-bahns.

    Regional rail for non-work trips.

    More on station costs. Tunnel boring has gotten cheap, and New York’s 2nd Avenue subway could look to Italy for less expensive examples.

    Building depth and window space. Apartment buildings with interior courtyards are the norm in Europe apparently, but different cities have different sizes. (Looking at my last two buildings with no courtyard.)

  8. Excellent articles, Mike Orr. But one thing to keep in mind. Our country is still very new compared to much of the rest of the world, and especially Europe.

    And born with a lot more room, by virtue of its people’s very unity. How many separate countries would Europe have made out the land-mass that contains our 330 million people? Every one of them, host to many smaller quarrels of its own. With eons of practice upholding every single one.

    This really could be a matter of the years I’ve been on Earth, how long and when. But remembering the PCC streetcar the 1952 Chevrolet, the DC3 aircraft and the GMC buses of the ’50’s, “Made in USA” connoted something handsome, strong and simple.

    Metro’s MAN “artics” from Germany certainly made a case for their own complexity. In the name of a good design, this was what a permanent crew of German technicians was for.

    But our Breda tunnel fleet? Nobody could’ve been sorrier about it than the young Italian technician describing how unfairly bad the Project’s political governance had made his country’s buses look. Not good either how closely streetcar fleets in Oslo and Gothenburg in those years matched our every mistake.

    We should’ve designed those machines in Seattle and built them in Renton or Everett. And in all our grammar, made that Future Tense Forever. And started making a habit of it. Which it’s nowhere near too late to do.

    Maybe guilty of a “War on Terminology,” but it’s nothing I declared. Streetcar? Light Rail? RapidRide vs. BRT? Build it so it works, and name it something later. Here.

    The punditory wailing about “Divided America” leaves out one thing. Since nobody but us divided it- in a condition that in much of the world would still count as “Super-unified”- its re-assembly’s ours as well. Has anybody even asked Kenworth about a three section electric “Artic?”

    Mark Dublin

    1. A good chunk of the tree loss isn’t even to make space for the actual living units, but for the parking. One obvious place to start in the balance between housing and tree preservation is to simply get rid of the parking requirements.

      1. Alternatively, include them in the total footprint of the main structure, and allow for slightly taller height limits, perhaps? I am not sure what Edmonds code entails, so I don’t really feel I am equipped to advocate for any specific approach, I just thought the topic was worth discussion here.

      2. You definitely save land is what parking does exist is within the same footprint as the building, and no parking requirements definitely does not mean no parking – especially not over in Edmonds.

        Still, parking requirements do matter because they are often set far in excess of what’s actually needed. That’s because they are typically set by planners who have little idea how much parking particular buildings actually need, so they make guesses and always error on the side too much, rather than too little. And, once one city makes their guesses and publishes it, everybody else copies it and nobody questions it. (See Donald Shoup’s “The High Cost of Free Parking” for details).

        As an example, imagine you’re building some residential development and plan for one level of parking at the ground and two levels of apartments, above. So far, pretty normal. But, now suppose that, with the number of units planned, the city parking code requires 35 spaces, but the ground floor only has enough room for 34, if every parking space is to have proper room for ingress and egress. You can build a whole separate ramp and parking deck for just one more space (way too expensive). You can convert one of apartments into a storage room to lower the amount of parking required by the city (works, but then you lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue by not being able to sell that foregone apartment). Or, you squeeze in one surface parking spot to supplement the garage by taking out a large tree beside the building you would have rather kept.

        In the housing market we have, the raw economics probably favor the latter. But, the point is the whole choice is a purely artificial consequence of the city mandating parking, rather than actual parking demand. If a building has one less guest parking space than the city demands, it is very unlikely that any of the residents – or guests – would ever notice. Worst case, once a year, somebody throws a big party and one more person has to park on the street and walk a block. Big deal. It is a far better outcome for the city to have the tree in exchange for a few hours per year where the street parking is slightly fuller than otherwise. But, the parking codes don’t care. They force the developer to either chop down the tree or build one less unit.

        Also worth nothing, if the Edmonds tree code is anything like Kirkland’s the fine for illegally chopping down a tree is very paltry, often less than what it costs to pay the arborist to actually come out there and chop it down. I have heard numerous stories of developers openly flouting the tree preservation rules and simply chalking up the fine as part of the cost of doing business.

    2. I hope Edmonds researched other cities first and chose a reasonable retention formula. Restrictions like this can be used by nimbys to limit the housing supply further. It should make a comprehensive plan of what kinds of tree canopy it wants on both private and public land, and make sure it’s consistent with housing needs. Not just leave it to chance where there happen to be eight trees, and not even looking to see which lots those are, how many lots there are, and how evenly distributed among the neighbrohoods. It’s good that the Sierra Club is involved, but I don’t know if the Sierra Club is sensitive enough to housing needs. Some environmental groups aren’t; they just want no more buildings anywhere. That’s a significant problem in California, and part of why its housing crisis is so acute.

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