1173 (118X) and 3713 (119X) onboard the MV Cathlamet

This is an open thread.

115 Replies to “News roundup: coming back”

  1. “pro-parking group” is a funny way to refer to a government body (not inaccurate though!)

  2. KUOW article. How car-centric Bellevue is embracing a more pedestrian-friendly future. In this article, the Grand Connection is explained, that Bellevue is studying whether they can lid 405 with a new park, and Kemper Freeman is quoted. I learned he has a sense of humor with his hot air ballon crack, and he explains of how he has to deal in reality, which reminded me of Sgt. Barnes in Platoon, who famously said “There’s the way it ought to be. There’s the way it is.”


    1. Wow. Four million for a house without a view. To be fair, it is huge, and the neighborhood is popular. Still, that’s kinda crazy. It will be close to Link, but the same is true for houses close to Judkins Park, and they aren’t going for 4 million. Even some of the mansions in Mount Baker (with views of Rainier) didn’t go for over 2 million. Go figure.

      1. I think the value has more to do with a convenient walk to work in Bellevue than convenient access to Link. The same house, same view, same access to S Bellevue station is likely a bit cheaper (but still $MMs)

      1. Massive TOD is planned for the areas immediately to the north, northeast, east, and southeast of East Main Station. And East Main won’t open for a couple of years. Rainier Beach Station has been open for over a decade. What TOD has been built around its station area? What’s being planned?

      2. What TOD has been built around [Rainier Beach’s] station area?

        Not that much. But then they aren’t selling 4 million dollar houses in the neighborhood, either. They changed the zoning, but you don’t get development unless lots of people want to live there, and people are willing to sell their land. (These go together, as someone will be more willing to sell their house if offered a bunch of money). Another issue is that Sound Transit bought up a lot of the land close to the station, and sold it off in odd pieces, making them tough to develop. Then you have the green belt nearby. The area that has grown the most is the area by the Rainier Beach neighborhood (to the east). Closer to the station, there is a lot of land that is zoned multi-family, but remains single family houses. That being said, they did add a townhouse development off of Trenton, east of MLK (the “Greenbelt Station Townhomes”).

        What’s being planned?

        A few projects. More townhouses to the east, and a few small apartment buildings closer to the station (about 150 units overall). You can see the plans here: https://www.seattleinprogress.com/. In general there is a fair amount of development in Rainier Valley, both on MLK and Rainier Avenue. It is probably a stretch to say this is “TOD”, although I would imagine the value of both the 7 and Link were not lost on developers.

      3. Ross, all I’m saying is NIMBYS are everywhere. Some are anti-gentrification, and some are anti-multi-family or anti-transit. Seems to me, whatever’s going on near Rainier Beach Station is more detrimental to TOD than anything Surrey Downs is doing. The Rainier Beach Station area looks almost the same as it did in 2009. The East Main Station area will be almost unrecognizable 12 years after it opens. If we want to bash NIMBY Link neighborhoods, fine. Let’s make a list. But, let’s start chronologically.

        Sam. Advocate for the wealthy. Surrey Downs apologist.

    2. I think TOD is a term sometimes misapplied.

      The emphasis isn’t on “transit”, or simply any development adjacent to transit. The emphasis is on “oriented”, or people who will, or need to, take transit. TOD development needs to depend on transit. Areas that serve the folks who really need to be in the transit walkshed.

      The development in Bellevue along East Link when you study it really isn’t “oriented” towards transit. The projects have huge parking requirements, and are mostly commercial. Bellevue planned — or hoped for — this development at these locations for a very long time. The areas were always zoned commercial or fairly dense; the difference is now they are zoned to the moon because Bellevue now has the demand. I wonder how many residents or workers Bellevue really thinks will take transit (East Link) in these new districts? And to where? Seattle is the only place I can think of that would make sense to take East Link to from one of these districts. I doubt very many eastsiders will take East Link to any stop north of the UW.

      Sam is correct, real TOD in Rainier Beach isn’t quite so popular, because it is real TOD, and as Ross points out the price of the nearby SFH’s will explain the scope and scale of the “TOD”, and whether it is really “oriented” towards transit.

      Really, it is the scale and design of the proposed development that determines whether it is TOD, not the fact it is near transit, because how many of the workers or residents in The Spring District or Wilburton really need to be in the transit walkshed?

      1. “I wonder how many residents or workers Bellevue really thinks will take transit (East Link) in these new districts?” Based on the parking requirements for Amazon’s new tower, the city assumes 75% of the workers will not drive. As the city assumes the walk-to-work will be 15% (up from 10% now) and throw in some growth in biking, that suggests around ~2/3 will take transit.

      2. If Amazon wanted to, they could find a way to get 1 parking space per 4 employees to accommodate far more than 1 in 4 employees driving to work. They could start by having people work from home 1-2 days per week and stagger the days when each person is in or out of the office. They could offer cash incentives to carpool so that at least a few of the parking spaces carry multiple employees. And, they can implement valet parking, allowing additional cars to be parked in the aisles behind other cars, once the regular parking spaces are full (which sounds expensive, but I have observed both Microsoft and Google offering this in the pre-COVID past).

        This is yet another reason why parking requirements, especially in office buildings do not make sense – even if walking, biking, and transit are completely ignored (and the walk/bike/transit modeshare in downtown Bellevue will definitely not be anything close to zero), parking requirements are set based on an old-school notion that every employee will all be in the office at the same time, and that it is impossible for a parking garage to store more cars than the number of parking spaces. In the modern world, for a tech company with deep pockets, neither of these assumptions are true.

      3. “Transit-oriented development” means the front door is pointed toward the transit stop, there’s the shortest feasible walking path between them, it’s not hindered by pedestrian-hostile obstructions, the building is denser than a strip mall or garden apartment, and it probably has ground-floor retail and little or no setback.

        “Transit-adjacent” development means the opposite: a dense building near a transit stop that makes no attempt to have a short walking path to the transit stop, and may have a surface parking lot in front, and an alienating and inhospitable facade from the perspective of a sidewalk pedestrian.

        Two examples of transit-adjacent development are the VA hospital and the Lowe’s on Rainier. The VA hospital could have a major entrance on Beacon Avenue near the 36 stop, but instead it forces buses to detour to an internal turnaround like the King of Prussia’s palace, and 36 riders have to walk around the building to get to the turnaround. This could be blamed on old 1960s thinking when the building was built, except it had a major renovation in the 2000s and could have addressed it then but didn’t. Does it even have a shuttle to the 36 bus stops? Probably not. Instead buses have to go around the turnaround like cars, as if a 50-person bus is as important as a 1-person car. The Lowe’s, from the 7 bus stop, you have to walk around three sides of the building to get to the entrance, and it’s a large building. I went there once and thought never again. I’ve heard about a similar shopping center in The Bronx, that’s next to a P&R or transit station but you have to walk a long indirect way through the middle of a parking lot to get to it. That’s when I first heard the term transit-adjacent development.

        The transit-oriented label is based on how the building is physically designed: how well it provides opportunities for people to conveniently access transit, walk to their everyday needs, and have a relatively pleasant sidewalk experience. It’s not whether people actually do this. That depends on hundreds of people’s individual choices. A lot of people who don’t take transit may decide to move into that building. But over the long term, on average, people who want convenient transit and walkability will tend to gravitate toward those buildings, and people who don’t want transit won’t. People who want TOD will look at how many of their destinations they can get to in a 15, 30, or 45-minute transit trip or 5-20 minute walk. People who don’t intend to take transit will look more at the parking space, the view, the size, the price, and the fewest number of homeless outside. They’ll take a place anywhere that has the most of these, while people who don’t want to drive will prefer TOD or another walkable unit near the most frequent transit to the most places, even if they have to pay slightly more for it.

        Christopher Leinberger studied American’s desires vs the built environment, and while this is from 2000 and it’s slightly better now, he found that a third of Americans want walkable urbanism (Kitsilano or West End), a third want driveable suburbanism (Factoria, Federal Way, Southcenter, Kent East Hill), and a third are equally satisified with either. But the built envionment is 20% walkable urbanism and 80% driveable suburbanism. So 13% of people are living in lower density and walkability than they want to. And 60% would be satisfied with walkable urbanism. But we restrict 70-90% of the residential-allowed land to single-family houses. Not everyone wants to live in a Mercer Island or Lake Hills house and be dependent on a car for everything. More people don’t want to than you think. Or they don’t think anything else is possible because they and their parents have been told for sixty years that walkability and ubuquidious transit is a century out of date and the ideal is a cul-de-sac, big box stores, and strip malls.

      4. Seattle is the only place I can think of that would make sense to take East Link to from one of these districts.
        That’s because you know Seattle but not what the Eastside is rapidly becoming. 1st it will be multi-modal. The people riding ST Express will transfer to East Link to get to jobs in the Spring District, Microsoft and DT Redmond. I think it will also handle the vast majority of people commuting to Bellevue on I-90 from the east. Traffic on 405 from I-90 to BTC is hideous.

        Then there’s the mostly young tech oriented population that’s filling all the new housing in DT Redmond and the Spring District. There’s also a large transit dependent population around crossroads and the area between Crossroads and Microsoft is quickly turning into large multifamily housing.

        As discussed, a bus is the fastest way from BTC to UW. But if you’re not walking distance or transferring at BTC most people will opt for the easy and certain one seat ride. Certainly anyone south of Bellevue will just take the scenic loop. But even someone from east of Bellevue is likely to just stay on the train. Especially since the train bus transfer at BTC is so horrible.

        Trains have panache. Eastsiders that would never consider riding Metro will be quick to adopt East Link as the cool way to travel.

      5. It’s a judgment call whether routes like the 271 and 542 are justified after East Link opens. If they were closer to the Link corridor like the 550 they’d be obviously redundant. But the 271 goes straight across where Link makes a U, and it comes down to how much travel-time savings is enough to justify it. Metro and ST are taking a cautious approach and keeping the 271 and 542, and we’ll see how people vote with their feet.

        The same thing happened on Capitol Hill when Metro consolidated practically all service on Pine when it withdrew the all-day 43. There were concerns that Olive should maybe still have all-day frequent service because it’s such a dense area and ridership is so robust now and we may not fully understand the travel patterns. So activists got Metro to move the 10 to Olive to replace the 43. Then people voted with their feet, and it turned out many 10 riders switched to the 11. So that answered that question.

        A similar thing happens with Link and the 150 and 101. There are often calls to truncate them at Rainier Beach and not be redundant with Link to downtown. Metro has always resisted this, although it plans to truncate the 150 when BAR station opens. But it’s keeping the 101 forever because Renton is so far east of Link it’s not really parallel and transferring to Link would take exessively long. That’s a judgment call, and it’s Metro the public has vested to decide those things.

      6. The justification of running the 542 is even stronger than the 271. Riding the bus between Redmond and the UW takes about 15-20 minutes. Riding Link all the way around would be 45-50 minutes. The time savings is huge.

        In Washington D.C. for example, the Red Line makes a U pattern. I’d be very surprised if there were no bus service connecting the two ends of the U and you were expected to ride the train all the way around.

    3. But it was going to be *so terrible* if the people of Surrey Downs had to put up with light rail running by their neighborhood! /s

  3. The article about Graham Street shows how successful the Sound Transit misinformation campaign has been. To quote the article:

    Of the many factors the Sound Transit Board will likely consider, should they decide to proceed in phases, a station at Graham Street rates high on the equity scale but ranks low in ridership numbers, according to Sound Transit documents.

    This is a lie, repeated as truth. In terms of ridership per dollar, Graham Street ranks as one of, if not the best project in all of ST3! Yet the document that Ms. Giordano refers to never mentioned cost, thus giving a very misleading view of this (and other) projects. Now this misinformation is being spread through other (well respected) media.

    Could you really blame someone in Rainier Valley for getting the wrong impression? They want the station, but they may be thinking “OK, I guess it just won’t get that many riders, so we have to wait. It’s only fair” (when, in fact, it is the opposite).

    1. the history goes back further. the station was included in Sound Move, 1996. it was dropped by the board during that reset. the board did not add it to ST2, though it was suggested. the board did add it to ST3. RossB is correct, the ST board should consider cost-effectiveness and not just absolute ridership.

    2. My initial comment was, “relax Ross, informed citizens can understand the difference between total ridership and ridership per dollar” before I realized that you yourself completely conflated the two terms in your post. The italicized quote is 100% true. Your response is to shout “lie!” and counter with a slightly related and also true fact. I don’t really understand how to use the word “gaslighting” but I think it applies here.

      Graham Street generates minimal incremental ridership, and it also has great ridership per dollar relative to most ST3 projects. Both can be true.

      Graham Street’s capital cost is minimally disruptive to ST’s financial plan. Graham Street’s construction phasing will be immensely disruptive to Link operations. Both can be true.

      Graham Street station will be transformative for the immediate station area. Graham Street does little for the broader SE Seattle network and nobody benefits from the station unless their trip is in the 10 minute station walkshed Both can be true.

      ST should consider cost effectiveness in its project realignment exercise. Graham Street is an inconsequential project in the context the broader region with no political champion and so should be punted to the end of the plan to help North King in the realignment exercise; Seattle can look for ways to (re)accelerate Graham Street in subsequent years. All can be true.

      1. Misleading statements are still misleading, even if they are technically true.

        “a station at Graham Street rates high on the equity scale but ranks low in ridership numbers” is true, in so far as that is how Sound Transit decided to rank them. But the ranking is total bullshit!

        I don’t know why that is so hard to understand. Every project can be cut down into small pieces. Instead of Everett Link, there is Everett to Alderwood Mall, Alderwood Mall to Ash Way, Ash Way to Mariner, etc. That is seven separate projects, none of which performs well in terms of total ridership. Or how about the 405 BRT projects. Instead of lumping altogether, split them apart, and suddenly they are all Tier 4. You can do the opposite. Lump the infill stations together, and they start moving up the ranking system.

        The decision to group these as they did was arbitrary, which makes the ranking total bullshit. It leads to completely misleading statements, like the one in that article. There is no way a typical reader of that article will do the research necessary to figure out why such a high ridership project suddenly ranks so low. Instead they will shrug their shoulders, and fight for what they believe to be a niche project — something that is only of value for their neighborhood — without realizing it is one of the best (if not the best) project from a ridership standpoint.

      2. Graham Street generates minimal incremental ridership

        That is true for just about very station, as well as every BRT bus stop. If you break a project down into tiny pieces, none of them are used for that many people. What difference does that make? Seriously, who gives a shit. What matters is how much better the network is with that piece, and how much it costs. Everything else is trivia.

        Graham Street’s construction phasing will be immensely disruptive to Link operations.

        Citation please.

        Graham Street does little for the broader SE Seattle network.

        Assuming that Metro does add a bus line on Graham (which they’ve proposed doing in their long range plan — http://www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/service-map/) then this will benefit both southeast and southwest Seattle, with a frequent east-west route connecting those areas.

        and nobody benefits from the station unless their trip is in the 10 minute station walkshed

        Even if that is true, so what? You are saying that Capitol Hill station sucks, because the only people who use it are headed to or from Capitol Hill. The New York City subway system is a total waste — it only serves people who walk a short distance from the stations.

        Graham Street is an inconsequential project in the context of the broader region

        You could say the same thing about almost every station of every project. Not only Everett Link and Tacoma Dome Link, but also worthwhile projects, like Ballard Link. How is a station by Expedia any more important to the broader region than a station at Graham Street? Is a station on Dravus (or close to it) going to make a difference to the broader region?

        Graham Street has no political champion and so should be punted to the end of the plan to help North King in the realignment exercise.

        It does have a political champion! Read the article. Oh, you mean a political champion with money. OK, so you are saying that ST should provide misinformation to the public by implying that a station is not a good value, because those that are going to speak truth to power just don’t have the money to do much about it.

        Sorry, but that is nonsense. ST should build the most cost effective projects first. That means Graham Street.

        But first it needs to stop spreading bullshit, and actually acknowledge that Graham Street is a very cost effective project, instead of implying the opposite.

      3. So you admit it’s a niche project? Perhaps simillar to how focusing on riders per $ as the most important metric is a niche policy position?

        We are building a network, so it doesn’t make sense to evaluate each station independently; otherwise, ST is doing exactly what you ask by breaking the major projects into phases. I don’t think any of the decisions matrices used in the current realignment iteration included total ridership, so I’m not following your line of criticism here.

      4. https://st32.blob.core.windows.net/media/Default/InteractiveMap/Templates/July1/InfillLRT_GrahamSt.pdf
        It’s right there in the Issues & Risk section. The project will require significant single tracking. The best argument in favor of accelerating 130th station is specifically to avoid the same disruption that Graham and BAR will require.

        Are you really going to stand on the table an insist that Ballard and Tacoma are of no greater regional importance than Graham, which doesn’t even make the cut as a residential urban village?

        Good counter on the Frequent route 1039 in 2040, I did not see that one.

      5. So you admit it’s a niche project?

        No. Come on, man. I’m talking about how someone, being fed bullshit, gets the wrong idea. They *think* it is a niche project, when it fact, it is a very good project. Holy shit, how could you misinterpret that?

        We are building a network, so it doesn’t make sense to evaluate each station independently;

        Yet that is exactly what ST is doing with this station! Holy shit, a network is made up of many stations, of which Graham Street would be one. That’s my point. By separating this project into its one tiny category, and not doing the same with other projects, they get results that are total bullshit. You could do that with every project, but they didn’t.

        I don’t think any of the decisions matrices used in the current realignment iteration included total ridership, so I’m not following your line of criticism here.

        Are you trolling? Come on, read my original comment. Seriously, read it again. Slowly this time. My criticism is laid out, quite clearly. Here, I’ll do it again:

        1) ST came up with bullshit numbers.
        2) These numbers were repeated.
        3) People will get the wrong idea.

        You may think it doesn’t matter that misinformation is spread, but I do. Your own comments suggest as much, as you belittle the importance of what is one of the most cost effective projects in ST3.

      6. Are you really going to stand on the table an insist that Ballard and Tacoma are of no greater regional importance than Graham?

        Ballard Station, no. Tacoma Dome Station, definitely. Tacoma Dome station won’t matter for the vast majority of riders, who get there by bus. They either transfer in Federal Way, or they transfer by the Tacoma Dome. For some, it will mean an extra transfer. For example, a ride to downtown Tacoma will be a three-seat ride if it starts from a neighborhood in Federal Way, and a two-seat ride if you can walk to the transit center (as opposed to a two-seat and direct ride).

        Besides, that has nothing to do with what I wrote. You are bringing up bullshit arguments to defend ST’s bullshit. Using your logic, we should leave out half of Ballard Link, because those stations — like Graham — lack the necessary “regional significance”. Smith Cove, for example, is an area that is largely uninhabited. There are some offices, but that’s about it. Dravus has people, but no “regional significance”. The Ballard station does, but not if they put it at 14th.

        You are lumping all of Ballard Link together, something I can do as well. This station is merely part of the Link main line. Are you saying that the main line of Link is not important?

      7. “Instead of Everett Link, there is Everett to Alderwood Mall, Alderwood Mall to Ash Way, Ash Way to Mariner, etc.”

        I think you meant to say “Lynnwood TC to Alderwood Mall…..” here, correct?

        “The decision to group these as they did was arbitrary, which makes the ranking total bullshit.”

        I totally agree. And we have seen this movie before as well. It’s all about framing a narrative based on selected criteria that ST favors and then going out and selling that narrative, with the uninformed/misinformed none the wiser about the bias built into decision-making process by design. The 130th St infill station may become a 4th Tier victim as a result as well.

        ST has become very good at selling bullshit, as well as blaming others. Latest case in point: the agency’s letter to Senator Patty Murray in which they are seeking some federal legislative help in light of the affordability gap the agency is now facing. Nowhere in said letter does ST take ownership of their own role in the current long-range financial plan problem, i.e., poor cost estimating for ST3.

      8. Sound Transit is probably not assuming any changes to the bus network because Metro is a separate agency and ST cannot control what they do. They also be looking at incremental riders in terms of absolute numbers, rather than number of riders per dollar spent.

        Over the years, I have had to make similar arguments in software development, trying to get approval to spend one week fixing an annoying bug, when the impact is less than a giant planned feature that will take a year to complete. When you look at impact in absolute terms and never divide by cost, the annoying bugs just never get fixed.

      9. I think you meant to say “Lynnwood TC to Alderwood Mall…..” here, correct?

        Correct. I meant breaking it up into the tiniest possible pieces.

      10. Sound Transit is probably not assuming any changes to the bus network because Metro is a separate agency and ST cannot control what they do.

        Yeah, and that’s always a problem when it comes to estimating. That being said, in this case that isn’t a huge issue. Their numbers for Graham Street are reasonable, and while they underestimate 130th, it isn’t a huge problem.

        They also be looking at incremental riders in terms of absolute numbers, rather than number of riders per dollar spent.

        Yes, and that’s what is crazy. They basically just grouped various projects together (often in arbitrary ways) and then ranked them by size. No one does this. Not the federal government, not writers who analyze projects, no one.

        Could you imagine if a business did this? Pretend you run a successful small business — say, a food truck. Your food is popular. You’ve saved up some money, and convinced investors to put money into an expansion. You hire a consultant to expand your operations. They come up with two plans:

        1) Open up a small restaurant. The lease will cost about 20 grand a year. You should get about 200 people a day with a small staff.

        2) Open up a really big restaurant. The lease will cost about 100 grand a year. You should get about 300 people a day with a very large staff.

        If this was ST, they would go the second plan, because it is bigger. You would be bankrupt by the end of the year.

      11. RossB, I agree that Graham Street gets little love. I would also mention that the station is further from another Link station than the three planned West Seattle stations will be from each other.

        I view the Graham Street sandbagging in these scenarios to have political motivations. The intent seems to be to find cost savings in North King to show savings anywhere that ST can. Because Graham serves a neighborhood and commercial area where communities are not usually engaged in the light rail planning process — such as Vietnamese and West African — it doesn’t excite the mostly white non-Hispanic Board and other transit advocates and can be more easily sacrificed. Had the stop had a Trader Joe’s and a small row of trendy brew pubs and restaurants, the advocates would be much more wild for it!

        It’s rather revealing that none of alternatives show cost savings if any other intermediate station could be dropped. There are some really underperforming stations in ST3. There are some very expensive stations in the WSBLE project that could be deferred (like Midtown) to save more money. There are several which serve areas less viable for TOD.

        In other words, if Graham has to show its merits, so should every North King station on the plan individually including Avalon, Midtown, Interbay and one of the SLU stations.

      12. Graham Street has great TOD potential — yet three other planned ST3 Link stations in Seattle have 25-40 percent of their walksheds taken up in public golf courses. This fact gets summarily dismissed by the ST Board reps from Seattle as well as many affordability advocates. Why is walkable + developable land acreage per station not a screening alternative?

        Station sites like Graham are clearly superior for denser development potential than these other stations unless a leader dares to take on the sacred cow and proposes golf course closures or relocations.

      13. “Didn’t Shoreline expand Aurora in order to offer BAT lanes?”

        That may be. There was a trailer park just east of the highway that would have made it easier to widen it, and the remaining space is now a linear park which you can see from the E, with the Interurban trail on it. There may have been unused Interurban ROW still there that I wasn’t aware of, that added to the park.

        Still, my concern is the presence of 24/7 transit-priority lanes, not whether they came from parking or GP lanes or widening. Shoreline may be the only local city that has so extensive transit-priority lanes, but it’s common in other cities around the world, for both BRT and streetcars.

        The issues comes down to priorities. Other cities prioritize transit first for road space, and that allows them to always run at the speed limit like grade-separated transit. If they have to run below the speed limit due to SOVs, it increases travel time and eats up service hours that could have gone into more frequency. We should just maximize transit mobility because it’s a win-win.

        I recognize that we can’t have transit-only lanes everywhere because the legacy streets can’t support it and the adjacent parcels are too densely built and/or historic to widen the streets. 45th has only three lanes down the west side of Phinney Ridge, so if you take two for transit there would be only one for cars one direction, and there’s no adjacent street that could supply the other direction. And the rest of 45th is too densely built up to consider widening the street. So transit-priority lanes would have to be partial. But the city doesn’t maximize the opportunities. During early design SDOT considered center transit lanes between I-5 and 15th, which would have been the best in Seattle after Madison, but that got watered down, and there was nothing comparable proposed anywhere west of I-5.

        The bogdowns are most noticeable peak hours because they happen every day, but there are probably random periods off-peak where they also bog own. I-5 has unidirectional express lanes for the traditional commute, and it’s well known that the regular freeway is always clogged somewhere between downtown and Northgate peak hours, but it’s also regularly bogged down the entire afternoon, from 12pm to 7pm. I experience that repeatedly when I take the 41 or 522 southbound from Northgate or Lake City. And I live near the freeway on Capitol Hill so I can just look down and see it.

        I seem to remember a huge project to redo the street.

        Oh, and most of Aurora in Seattle, as well as 15th/Elliot have BAT lanes. In some cases they allow parking in the middle of the day, but it is BAT lanes during rush hour. This is less than ideal, but the bigger issue is traffic. They don’t allow parking on most of Aurora, but they don’t have BAT lanes either. In some cases, BAT lanes wouldn’t help. Southbound on the bridge, for example. When there is traffic, there is a huge backup of cars exiting towards Queen Anne. No point in BAT lanes there. Northbound it is similar. That being said, they could probably add BAT lanes from South Lake Union to the bridge (just as there are BAT lanes southbound up to the bridge). I think they don’t want to delay people who are headed out of downtown, or push them to other streets (streets that don’t have much in the way of BAT lanes yet). They might take a look at that part of Aurora after the project for the 40 is complete.

      14. Are people who want to turn golf courses into housing environmental “racists?”

        Most golf courses are not in 40% black neighborhoods. Pugetopolis doesn’t even have 40% black neighborhoods. The closest comparison in Seattle is the West Seattle golf course since it’s near lower-income 35th and Delridge. But golfing at Seattle’s public courses has been declining for years, so even if there are a lot of residents who really value their golf and can’t afford private courses, they aren’t golfing at the public courses. So it’s worth considering whether it’s time to downsize them or turn them into higher-intensity open spaces. We don’t have to eliminate all courses; we can leave one or two, such as Jefferson Park, which is not at a Link station and is conveniently on the frequent 36. We could convert a row around the edges of Jefferson Park to multifamily housing and add another kind of park, while still leaving a smaller golf course there.

        Housing is another critical issue that affects lower-income people, and in many people’s minds it’s the #1 or #2 issue (with transportation being the other). And being able to live within walking distance of high-capacity transit is another major need. More housing adjacent to 130th and 145th stations would allow more people to do that, and Jackson Park is right in the way of that. And one or two of the buildings could be 100% affordable housing, like at Capitol Hill station.

        I don’t golf so I’d like to hear from golfers which courses would be the best ones to keep if we downsize to one or two courses, and why.

    3. https://downtownbellevue.com/2021/01/08/amazons-office-tower-bellevue-600-design-approval/

      “Phase 1 includes a 43-story office tower over six below-grade parking levels with 992 parking stalls, totaling 1,140,035 gross square feet. Other improvements include outdoor plaza space, a major public open space, two through block pedestrian connections, landscaping, lighting, and construction of a 30-foot wide section of the Major Pedestrian Corridor.”

      “The site is located on the east half of the Bellevue Corporate Plaza property. There will be room for an estimated 4,200 employees within the 600-foot tower. The building is slated to be the tallest in Bellevue.”

      If I remember correctly there is storage for 1000 bikes as well. Plus four nearby parking garages. https://www.bing.com/maps?q=parking+in+amazons+bellevue+office&cvid=56bd72dcaea24f62b7629c37ea03ff2f&aqs=edge..69i57.7668j0j1&pglt=43&FORM=ANNTA1&PC=DCTS

      Assuming 1.25 workers per car that equals 1240 workers. 15% who walk equals 630 workers. 5% bikers equals 210 workers. That leaves 2120 workers, depending on remote working. So that leaves around 50% who need to find another way to get to work, if in fact 4200 workers go to the office each work day. There is also the 1500 stall S. Bellevue park and ride that is within walking distance.

      Amazon used to run its own shuttles pre-pandemic, and these might be popular post-pandemic, especially for areas on the eastside not served by East Link (the shuttles on Mercer Island were popular because there is so little park and ride space for residents).

      I would be interested to know the percentages of Amazon workers who go to SLU, and how they get there. No doubt many Amazon workers will take transit to the Bellevue office although not 75% is my guess, although I am not sure where they will be coming from, and whether East Link will serve them.

      I imagine phase 2 will address any needs for access from phase 1. For example, I was surprised Microsoft, which was a prime supporter of East Link, is building a 3 million sf underground parking garage, primarily geared towards EV’s.

      1. I think the public parking lots nearby are all slated for redevelopment, but otherwise I agree with your math. 1.2 riders per car suggests solid carpooling, which is plausible because the 405 HOT network should encourage carpooling for workers accessing Bellevue from the north & south.

        It will be interesting to see how much Amazon invests in employee shuttles vs leverages public transit. Does Amazon have a shuttle system for its Denny Triangle offices? Shuttles make more sense with there is a big employment center that is otherwise not well served, like Expedia or the Children’s hospital. I think Msft might par back its shuttle system when East Link arrives, and shift some employee commute corridors from shuttles to Link.

        “although I am not sure where they will be coming from, and whether East Link will serve them” – I’d imagine many of the young folks who work for Amazon will choose to live in Seattle and do a ‘reverse’ commute. Any of the neighborhoods directly served by Link will have great access to Bellevue, plus most of SE and central Seattle will be an easy 2-seat ride to work via the Judkins Park station.

      2. “Does Amazon have a shuttle system for its Denny Triangle offices?”

        There was a shuttle that stopped at Convention Place station when it was open, so I assume there are shuttles from other downtown transit stops. I see the white Amazon shuttles around central Seattle, although it’s not clear where they stop or where they’re going from or to. My building has a lot of Amazonians and Microsoftees, and my assumption is they walk down the hill or take the 8 to work. There’s no Amazon stop I know of in the Bellevue-Summit area. There is a busy 545 stop to Microsoft, and the Microsoft shuttles also stop there.

  4. Have to admit my wrong predictions on mask mandates .

    Pleasantly surprised to see the outdoor mask mandate come down sooner than I expected. This hopefully encourages more walking and biking on the margin this summer.

    Disappointing that transit will likely be one of the last mask required spaces though. It reinforces the stereotype that transit is particularly unsafe. I thought buildings and transit would move together but now it seems once we hit July only transit will require masks.

    1. The transit mask mandate comes from the federal level, so our local agencies couldn’t remove the mandate if they wanted. You have to remember that other parts of the country are nowhere near Seattle in terms of vaccinations.

      The feds don’t have the same authority over private buildings, which would be mandated at the state or local level. I’m not 100% sure what authority they have over local transit, but I’m guessing it all falls under the FTA; it could also be threat of removal of funding for non-compliance.

    2. I think the concern is getting commuters back onto packed buses and trains when offices begin to reopen.

      There will likely be around a 15% to 20% decline in commuters from working from home, at least at first, but the fact is without transit you can’t transfer large groups of workers into a dense city, especially if they can’t afford to drive and park. People are not going to risk their lives to go to work, and no vaccine is 100% effective. My guess is at first many employers will offer shared parking rather than transit subsidies, not unlike during the pandemic, and cities will continue to dedicate street parking for essential workers.

      The fact is Metro and ST were very lax at enforcing mask mandates, certainly compared to airports and airlines, and airports and airlines are maintaining (real) mask requirements. The argument was “equity”, but equity takes a backseat to staying alive. Real means 100%% — no mask, no fly. No one rode transit during the pandemic who didn’t need to, and many workers don’t need to, at least right away.

      I think at this point we are well past “the science”. The CDC reversed course in one day, and suddenly announced those who are fully vaccinated don’t have to wear masks indoors or outdoors, one day after the CDC director told Congress she would not send her kids to summer camp, which seemed to me to be rash (certainly if I am going to ride a bus). Then the King Co. health dir. ordered masks be worn inside, despite the CDC’s position.

      We are now at a point with nearly 70% of Washington residents having received one shot (higher if you include kids age 12 to 16 because even anti-vaxxers apparently leave politics behind when it comes to their kids’ health). On Mercer Island it is now over 90%, and plenty still wear masks, inside and outside, because it is now an issue about trust.

      What we are trying to do now is build trust, because we still are averaging close to 1000 new infections each day. Metro and ST start with probably the largest trust deficit on mask adherence, but require riders to share the most confined spaces with strangers, without any ability to control the situation, and no real mask enforcement.

      Mask or no mask, it will take some time for enough trust to build for those who can avoid it to not use transit, which is pretty much most commuters who by definition are now working at home, and their employer is set up to work from home. People are flying in record numbers — most for for discretionary pleasure — because they trust the airports and airlines to take precautionary measures like masks seriously; they are not returning in the same percentages to transit because they don’t trust transit to take it seriously.

      1. According to the WA State DOH dashboard (data as of 5/24), 49.19% of the state has at least 1 shot. 61.29% of everyone aged 16+. King County however is trending about 10% higher than state figures.
        Not quite 70% but we’re getting there!

      2. Clark County, just over the river from me, is down in the 39% range. This is the lowest in our metro area.

        Thanks, GQP Clarkistan.

        One reason to continue wearing masks for now is that there are still an awful lot of children that can’t be vaccinated yet. While being vaccinated means safety for the vaccinated person, it still takes time for the immune system to respond. How contagious is a vaccinated person who has become infected, but hasn’t had their vaccine response kick in yet? And then might ultimately follow a chain of contact to someone’s unvaccinated kid?

        The safe thing to do is to keep wearing a mask in places where there are large groups of people.

        Soon I expect we will find proper vaccine doses for younger kids, and we’ll all be that much safer.

        Though considering I’ve gone the last year and a half without any sickness, maybe I’ll just keep wearing the mask when I’m on flights.

      3. Daniel, I have heard that Metro is taking applications for a new “Masks or Else” program. Perhaps you coild apply.

        Metro will supply the AK’s

    3. I’m keeping my mask on indoors for a month after the guidelines were relaxed, to make sure there’s no spike in cases like every previous relaxation has had. So far it’s looking good: King County’s trend has been decreasing since May 3 and has reached its previous trough March 1. Seattle’s trend has surpassed its March 1 trough and has almost reached its Sept 9th trough; the next goal is the May 23, 2020 trough. Seattle had a steep decline May 3-17 but it’s now not as steep.

      Outdoors I’m only wearing it around people like I was before, which I’ll continue until my month target, and longer if half of others are still wearing masks. I usually but not always put it on for a minute when passing people, but I’m not doing it as much, although i do it if they have masks or are children or look like they don’t have access to regular hygiene facilities (i.e., homeless).

      Seattle in my experience is still almost fully masked indoors and 80% outdoors. Bellevue and Kent have been persistently lower outdoors, and I haven’t been indoors there to tell. I went to Federal Way and Tacoma Dome last week to check development on the PT 500 corridor (the Link extension shadow corridor), and I was surprised to see a Federal Way mask rate higher than Bellevue or Kent, both outdoors and in the FW Commons.

      Most workers are not teleworking, as 75% of jobs are telework-incompatible. So most commuters are not teleworking, even if most peak-hour commuters may be,. Most companies that offer transit subsidies are required to do so because of their size, so they’ll keep doing it. They’re required to have a driving/parking reduction plan. Parts of that may be suspended now and during the recovery (e.g., companies that normally charge for parking are not doing so now), but long term the driving-reduction plans will continue.

      Whether workers return to the office most days and whether they’ll return to transit, is millions of individual decisions. Some employers will keep broad telework, others are already pressuring workers to return to the office soon. Some employers will discourage or prohibit transit commuting, others will be indifferent, others will be indifferent but keep track of who’s on transit (for contact tracing and risk awareness), and others will encourage transit. Some bosses are saying come to the office or be fired, and workers who need the money and can’t easily get another job will do it.

      Airports are completely different from buses and light rail trains. The check is offboard at an airport, where several airline staff and managers and security guards are concentrated. Buses have only the driver, who’s attention is on driving the bus (airplane pilots don’t have contact with passengers), and the risk a passenger will assault or shoot the driver over the mask issue or denial of boarding with no security around to call on. Link stations, especially outdoor surface ones, are not designed for a visible guard at every entrance the entire day enforcing mask wearing.

    4. I’m writing this comment from a bus with 3 people on it. A lot of buses in the United States, outside NYC are similar.

      Even though I am wearing a mask, in spite of being fully vaccinated, a statement that this bus needs extra COVID precautions that a run of the mill grocery store doesn’t, just doesn’t make sense. All public transit is not the same.

  5. re LFP parking. both agencies would be better off without parking. if there are ST3 funds, all are better off if they are used for improved service frequency and shorter waits. the character of the mall and transit ridership would be enhanced more by service and more housing.

  6. Three of the linked articles have to do with parking:

    1. The first is to the article in The Urbanist about East Bellevue’s community council litigating against reduced parking mandates near transit. I already posted about this article, and also reposted two of the best reply posts IMO.

    The reality is ST, and most urbanists and even transit advocates, just don’t understand the eastside, especially this part of east King Co. where the wealth gap is, or the impossibility of providing any kind of meaningful transit coverage or frequency in East King Co. If the goal is to make it impossible for poor folks on the eastside to own a car then ok, I guess I understand that, but the wealthy eastsiders will ALWAYS drive. And the poor will buy cars too, just less expensive cars, because transit in this area just does not serve them.

    So plan for it. People have spouses and kids, have to carry things like bags of groceries and Christmas Trees and kids and dogs, and jobs that are not served by transit, and transit is not cheap for a family of four. Even if you ride transit you have to park the car somewhere.

    2. The second article is about several ordinances Lake Forest Park passed to restrict ST’s planned park and ride. The key to these ordinances is to understand commuter parking and commuters don’t benefit the adjacent commercial zone (and why the 1500 stall park and ride is at S. Bellevue).

    With East Link at least, we are talking about commuter transit, and commuters on the way to work or home don’t stop in for a pint or two in the middle of the trip. M-Th they want to get home to walk the dog, watch a kid’s sporting event, garden, or just relax and have dinner. Friday they want to change and get ready to go out. Pre-pandemic no one got off a bus going from Seattle to the eastside on Mercer Island to shop or eat.

    If you are talking about non-peak hour transit riders, retailers are not that thrilled with that demographic to begin with.

    That is why you build park and rides AWAY from the town center, considering someone has to drive to it anyway and they mostly serve commuters. It is why Mercer Island does not want to serve as a bus intercept. All you get is traffic and no commercial activity. It is why Kirkland does not want rail in its downtown, or Bellevue along Bellevue Way, or Forest Park next to its quaint town center. The reality is transit, and park and rides, do not create much commercial activity, certainly from commuters.

    Commuters and riders want park and rides, which is why the eastside made sure those promises were part of ST 3 (and will be enforced on the eastside), but not near a town center (unless maybe there is a tunnel and the transit includes large amounts of commuters at the end of the commute, like Seattle).

    3. The third article might be the most difficult for some to understand: This what the article states:

    “Paid parking rate adjustments coming June 1 to improve access to Seattle restaurants, cafes, stores, and other businesses”.

    “Paid parking rates will remain relatively low in many locations at $1.00/hour or less. Some locations and times will have rates up to $2.50/hour. See chart below for details.”

    “Before the COVID pandemic, Seattle’s paid parking rates varied between $0.50 and $5.00 per hour depending on the time of day and location. With the June changes, rates will range between $0.50 and $2.50 per hour.”

    What kind of heresy is this? I thought the goal was to eliminate parking to eliminate cars so everyone has to take transit?

    What Urbanists — and some transit advocates — don’t understand is residential onsite parking requirements are to remove parked cars from the street, because no one is giving up their cars. In a dense environment retail needs AVAILABLE public street parking to survive. Telling retail businesses — even those in neighborhoods — they must survive even when the most lucrative customer base — those with cars who drive — is eliminated is naïve.

    Most parking on the eastside is free, probably all parking after 5 pm. So that is Seattle’s competition. $5 for two hours is close enough to free, but it has to be available because customers hate driving around dense Seattle streets looking for a parking spot.

    The eastside has a ton of money (and my guess is over 1/2 of most season ticket holders live on the eastside), and Seattle restaurants and retail businesses need a cut of that money to survive. These eastsiders would like to go to Seattle more (if the street situation and retail situation ever improves) but not if they can’t park. SDOT is lowering parking rates because Seattle is losing this business to areas with good parking.

    For example, before the pandemic a string of restaurants on Beacon Hill became a chic hotspot for eastsiders, who would dress down in their Patagonia fleece vests, and you would run into Brad Smith there. As you drove down the street and got close to the restaurants you suddenly felt you entered a German or Tesla dealership. Street parking was available. On the other hand no one goes to Capitol Hill, because there is NO parking, even if you are willing to pay for it. If you owned a neighborhood restaurant would you want Brad Smith as a customer?

    There is no point to Urbanism if there is no street retail, and that is true for transit riders too because both live on the street. But retail won’t survive without customers who drive.

    There are two ways to do this:

    1. The mall approach. Basically ring the stores with parking and condense the businesses, ideally inside in this climate. Very popular on the eastside — especially with the most coveted customer, women — and in this region as a whole (including Pacific Place and Westlake Mall).

    2. Create town centers built around street parking, a la “Strong Towns”
    “https://youtu.be/OZ1HhLq-Huo But still you need retail street parking for a strong town.

    Neither approach is based on eliminating the customer who drives, because they make up the vast majority, and have most of the money compared to transit riders. Both approaches depend on parking, ideally free parking. If you begin to remove onsite parking requirements for residential buildings (or just require too little) you end up using up all the retail street parking for overflow residential parking, BECAUSE RICH OR POOR NO ONE GIVES UP THEIR CAR.

    SDOT apparently understands the disadvantage expensive street parking has on retail, but I am not sure many understand that if the street parking is filled with overflow residential parking it doesn’t matter what you charge, because there is no street parking available, and your best customers won’t drive to a place like Capitol Hill for dinner because they know they can’t park, and so many other great areas have free — and more importantly available — parking. Including Beacon Hill, if the food is good.

    Urbanists need to understand eliminating cars will not create urbanism (look at downtown Seattle), and transit advocates need to understand eliminating cars (even if just for the poor) won’t create the transit ridership that didn’t exist in the first place. All it will do is eliminate street retail, so streets are less safe, and upzoning just creates housing density and retail deserts.

    1. It is true some do not understand the east side, but respectfully, you don’t understand urban neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill is doing fine with it’s limited street parking situation. And people who drive there can easily park in a surface lot or a garage. I occasionally drive for Lyft — many people also use rideshare on weekends and evenings, even from as far as Redmond. It’s just as much about not having to drive home drunk as it is about parking! Finally, the businesses around Capitol Hill, Lower Queen Anne, and the like benefit from having a high surrounding density, meaning people can walk or take a bus or light rail or ride a bicycle to their businesses. If you focus on making space for parking, you would have essentially turned it in to a moderate density suburb like most of the east side–cars do not scale, and hence you would have to remove the density advantage. “Businesses” are not all the same. “Customers” are not all the same. In a low-moderate density suburban situation, they do need convenient parking. In a dense urban environment, they really do not. And businesses are certainly free to choose in which environment they situate themselves–we live in a free country, and variety is the spice of life.

    2. “What kind of heresy is this? I thought the goal was to eliminate parking to eliminate cars so everyone has to take transit?”

      No, the goal is to always have one or two spaces open per block. The price goes up if the block is persistently full, or down if there are several empty spaces. That way, if it succeeds, a trickle of drivers will always find a space, and they’ll be incentivized to use it for only an hour or two rather than planting themselves there the whole day.

      Paris is gradually reducing parking, not Seattle. Paris removes a hundred or so parking spaces per year out of principle. It also prioritizes transit first and cars last in road-planning decisions. So it will take away a pair of parking or GP lanes on wide boulevards to make way for BRT lanes. That’s what Seattle should be doing but isn’t. Shoreline and South King County have full BAT or transit-priority lanes for their portions of the E and A on 99, while Seattle couldn’t bring itself to do it on Aurora. The Aurora businesses that advertise “low real-estate prices with plenty of parking” didn’t want it, and they got what they wanted. So the bus bogs down on Aurora peak hours when all the lanes are congested. The same thing happens on 15th/Elliott Ave W to the D, 15, 19. 24, 32,. and 33. There were once plans for RapidRide+ lines for the 44, 48, and 7 with some amount of partial robust transit priority, but they’ve all been watered down.

      1. Didn’t Shoreline expand Aurora in order to offer BAT lanes? I seem to remember a huge project to redo the street.

        Oh, and most of Aurora in Seattle, as well as 15th/Elliot have BAT lanes. In some cases they allow parking in the middle of the day, but it is BAT lanes during rush hour. This is less than ideal, but the bigger issue is traffic. They don’t allow parking on most of Aurora, but they don’t have BAT lanes either. In some cases, BAT lanes wouldn’t help. Southbound on the bridge, for example. When there is traffic, there is a huge backup of cars exiting towards Queen Anne. No point in BAT lanes there. Northbound it is similar. That being said, they could probably add BAT lanes from South Lake Union to the bridge (just as there are BAT lanes southbound up to the bridge). I think they don’t want to delay people who are headed out of downtown, or push them to other streets (streets that don’t have much in the way of BAT lanes yet). They might take a look at that part of Aurora after the project for the 40 is complete.

        As I’ve written before, traffic is the biggest issue with BAT lanes in Seattle, not parking. If all that is required is taking parking, then it is likely the street will be a BAT lane, or a bike lane. At worse there will be parking in the middle of the day (which delays a bus, but not horribly). But if the lane already bans parking (e. g. Denny, or 45th in the U-District) then it is much harder to get a BAT/bus lane (or a bike lane). Same with the U-District. Taking the parking was the easy part. Taking a general purpose lane (e. g. on 45th) is tougher (which is is why it isn’t being done yet).

        That being said, Seattle has way more BAT lanes and bus lanes than any other city. Even adjusted for physical size, Seattle has the most. Most of downtown for example, has BAT lanes or bus lanes. Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth — all BAT lanes or bus lanes. It keeps adding them, bit by bit, every year. It tends to be targeted, to get the most bang for the buck. From what I can tell, they are going to do an excellent job with the 40 — it will encounter very little in the way of congestion. The 44 is more of a mixed bag — they will make progress, but there is lots more to do.

        Shoreline is adding BAT lanes as well. But for 145th, for example, they aren’t just striping the street. That would be cheap and easy, but it would mean losing a general purpose lane. They are widening the street (in cooperation with Seattle). The same is true along that whole corridor (the 522 Stride project involves a lot of street widening). This is because there isn’t parking to take (if only it was that easy).

      2. “Seattle has way more BAT lanes and bus lanes than any other city. Even adjusted for physical size, Seattle has the most. Most of downtown for example, has BAT lanes or bus lanes. Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth — all BAT lanes or bus lanes.”

        That may be true; are you speaking regionally or nationally? Other older cities have several subway lines whereas we have only one, so the subway lines replace the need for BAT lanes.

        And I’m conflating BAT/transit/HOV/HOT lanes because they all serve the same purpose of allowing transit to bypass car congestion. Some are better for transit than others, but they’re all a step in the right direction at least, and that’s what we most need. And realistically, cars need to turn into parking lots and driveways and right turns through transit lane if we put the transit lanes on the side with level crossings and driveways, and BAT lanes are the most realistic compromise for this situation.

    1. Yep. And what any numbers guy will tell you is that what is really important is the growth in percentage terms.

      Over the last decade Seattle proper has grown by about 25%, whereas the state has only grown by about 15%.. Since state representatives are capped at 98 and state senators are capped at 49, this represents a substantial shift of political power and influence towards Seattle.

      We will see what actually happens with redistricting, because the old adage of “East vs West, and everyone against Seattle” still applies, but with percentage growth like this Seattle will still see a substantial increase in political power.

      And don’t forget, that 15% state growth figure INCLUDES the 25% growth in Seattle. If one was to compare Seattle growth percentage vs the percentage growth in non-Seattle parts of the state the difference would be even more striking.

      Even more so for the Seattle Metro area vs the rest of the state. Or the PS tri-county area vs the rest of the state.

      Percentages have consequences. I can almost hear the wailing from the other side of the mountains already.

      1. My family who bemoaned Inslee’s re-election loved repeating the Dori Monson line about how if you “ignore King County” thing would’ve been different. Aside from being false that’s just ridiculous. Yeah if you just “ignore” almost two million people maybe things would’ve been different… real sharp political insight you got there.

      2. @barman,

        King county has roughly 30% of the state’s population, Garfield county has about 0.03%. If you want to be competitive at the state level you really need to be competitive in King county. Winning Garfield county doesn’t buy you squat.

        And King co is growing faster too (both in percentage and in numbers). Things aren’t going to change politically for E Wa anytime soon. In fact, they will lose power and influence after the next redistricting.

        Greater Idaho rising?

      3. And what any numbers guy will tell you is that what is really important is the growth in percentage terms.

        It depends. Growth in percentage terms can be very misleading. A city like Seattle (which grew 3% a year at one point) can not continue to grow at that percentage forever. Otherwise everyone in the world would be living in Seattle. Yet Seattle could add that many people each year (e. g. 25,000). Thus you get into a situation where growth is steady, but in percentage terms is going down, which is misleading.

        Another problem is that percentages make small places look like they are booming. A large family moved into a small town. Suddenly the town has grown by 25%. It is growing faster than Seattle! No, not really. It added six people to a town of 18.

        Absolute number can be misleading too, when comparing cities. Some cities have a huge amount of land. This is true for Alaskan cities, but they usually don’t come up in these type of comparisons. But a city like Jacksonville will. It has as much land as Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Shoreline and other Seattle suburbs combined. It could add 20,000 people, while Seattle adds 20,000 people, but in Jacksonville, that growth is spread out over a much larger area. A better comparison would be Jacksonville versus Seattle and its suburbs (since Jacksonville itself is very suburban).

        For a city to city comparison, I think it is best to compare number of people added per area. So people per acre, for example.

        What is interesting about the growth over the last decade is that it has been largest in Seattle, by a wide margin. When the official census figures come out, I may do a comparison, with real numbers. But it is clear that Seattle is the real leader in a sensible comparison — number of people added per acre.

        Your other points are well taken. Washington added 980,000 people in the last decade. King County added 320,000. So King County accounted for about 1/3 of the growth. Pierce and Snohomish County added around 110,000 a piece, which means the three counties together accounted for over half the growth. This is where percentages would be interesting. What counties accounted for what percentage of the state’s growth. For that matter, what cities accounted for what percentage of the state’s growth (e. g. Seattle accounted for over 15% of the state’s growth). This would be interesting, and give a much better look at what is happening instead of looking at the percentage growth of each county. For example, from what I can tell, growth in Bellevue and Seattle accounted for more than half the growth in King County (with Seattle accounting for most of that).

      4. Just an add-on “rust belt” comment. Many small cities in towns in much of middle America — not just the Midwest but parts of the inland South and Great Plains — have seen their small plants closed as the low-skill jobs have moved outside of the country since 2000 or 2010, Their losses in percentage terms have been much worse than large Midwest cities that we think of as the “rust belt”. Plus, their depressed real estate markets have made the property values stagnate there for quite some time — making their real estate investments made 20 or 40 years ago a terrible nest egg compared to our region. Redistricting after the 2020 census will shift many state legislature seats from small town/ rural to larger metro areas regardless of the party in control.

        Even though we think places like Detroit and Chicago and Birmingham “need help”, the economies beyond 60-90 minutes of those cities yet in the same states are often doing structurally much worse in this past decade. There have been huge county population losses in many rural US counties of over 3-4 percent just since 2010 — even in states gaining congressional seats like Texas and North Carolina.

        Trump’s advisors tried to play to this — and even though they didn’t intend to change a thing about their fate, those places went ga-ga over some of campaign merely mentioning their structural plight.

    2. https://www.theurbanist.org/2020/07/09/seattle-tops-761100-residents-four-county-region-grows-to-4264200/

      Both numbers really reflect 2019 to early 2020 pandemic population growth. According to The Urbanist the suburbs in King Co. saw very strong growth, but the picture when it comes to the PSRC or ST ridership estimates is they are based on very high Seattle and regional growth estimates that maintain — or even exceed — 2010 to 2020 growth rates, and that looks unlikely. So do maintaining past commuting numbers. The Urbanist has the 2019 to mid 2020 regional population growth at 1.8% for Seattle, which is strong except compared to Lynnwood’s 3.2% growth and Seattle’s past growth average of 2.5%. The second half of 2020 to mid 2021 will be the more interesting numbers.

      If we spent $100 billion to build a light rail system that will serves 4 to 5 million citizens (including Kitsap County) through 2030 — 2040 fine. It ST spent $100 billion to build a light rail system to serve 10 million through 2040 that was a mistake.

      I personally believe the urban cores like Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Bellevue should have the highest population growth, rather than moving that growth to residential neighborhoods like Seattle is doing, or rural areas, but that is just my preference. I think the big picture right now is Bellevue’s commercial growth compared to Seattle’s commercial growth, and to me that picture looks backwards, and could be self-inflicted, but no one will really know for several years.

      1. What matters is the absolute number of housing units and offices, not percentages. People can live in concrete housing units; they can’t live in percentage abstractions. Seattle starts from a larger base so a small percentage equals a larger number of new units. Beaux Arts could double in population and still be smaller than central Beacon Hill or Roosevelt. And if every Beaux Arts house added an ADU, it would still be unwalkable and you’d have to go out of the neighborhood for all work and shopping and most socializing and recreation. People wouldn’t go to Beaux Arts for those things because they’re not there; so it would be one-way trip patterns rather than the two-way you see in Ballard and Columbia City (where residents leave in the morning for work, and others come in the morning for work and shopping and tourism).

        Lynnwood may have exceeded Seattle for one year, but that’s after Seattle exceeded all other cities for ten years, and has a good chance of returning to that in a year or two. Everything is weird in 2020 and 2021 for a lot of reasons, and it’s unclear how much of those changes will be sustained beyond another year. And Lynnwood is expected to get a lot of growth when Link reaches it; we already knew that. Lynnwood. (But don’t expect it to grow as much as downtown Bellevue and the Spring District, even if it wants to. The money has chosen the Eastside and won’t be easily changed; and they more than anybody can afford to live anywhere they want. People and companies of lesser means will have to take Lynnwood, and will be more reluctant to do so, if they can find anything in the more-forgotten parts of the Eastside or Seattle.)

        In the last sixteen years downtown Bellevue added a few blocks of highrises while downtown Seattle added an entire South Lake Union and Denny Triangle. The coming Bellevue Amazon boom you’re so excited about will add a few buildings, big deal.

        Our positions are not as far apart as they may appear. We both believe
        “the urban cores of Seattle and Bellevue should have the highest population growth”. I’ll skip Everett and Tacoma for now and add Redmond and Kirkland, and why not Renton since it has surprisingly become the second-largest city in the Eastside. The difference is how we undertand “urban core”. You’re defining it as the existing highrise-zoned areas. I’m defining it as somewhat larger areas around and between them. And I’m not expecting highrises throughout. You say urbanism means highrises, but any urbanist will tell you that’s flat-out false. Summit Ave, 15th Ave, and 23rd Ave are urban too. Vancouver’s Kitsilano (duplexes and small 5-10 unit apartments mixed with houses) is as urbanist as Vancouver’s West End (highrise condos everywhere). Astoria, Flatbush, and Jersey City are as urbanist as Manhattan. A good city has both, and gradually tapers down from highrise to single-family over a larger area. Chicago’s North Side is a good example of how I envision the larger cores. This, for example, could be Ballard to the U-District and the Ship Canal to Greenlake, or inside the Bellevue-Redmond-Kirkland downtown triangle. I don’t care whether peripherals areas like the Lake Washington shore or Magnola or West Lake Sammamish Parkway get upzoned last or maybe neverL what’s important is larger inner cities and urban villages, and connecting nearby ones together. Surrey Downs may be acceptable in Enatai or along west Lake Sammamish, but not right next to downtown Bellevue. Cities before 1945 densified as they became more populated, but you want to put a hard stop at Main Street or in southwest Kirkland between Google and the P&R. No. These aren’t small towns anymore.

        I see two models for zoning, which may be confusing for you. One is as I outlined above: larger urban centers/villages tapering down over a larger area. The other is to raise single-family to lowrise/rowhouse across the board everywhere. The larger an area you upzone, the less it affects any single parcel, because there are only a finite number of would-be residents and developer dollars. The problem is we’re creating a severe artificial shortage of housing, of available parcels, and of the number of units per average parcel. That’s what’s driving prices up so fast. If more parcels were available, one would be chosen and the others left alone, and each one wouldn’t be able to get away with jacking up prices so quickly, because would-be buyers/renters would have more choices.

        “It ST spent $100 billion to build a light rail system to serve 10 million through 2040 that was a mistake.”

        Nobody is expecting that; you pulled it out of your imagination. It took twenty years for King County to add 500,000 people. It will probably take longer than that to add the next 500,000. Light rail (Lynnwood-Redmond-FW) is worth it now, for the current population, and Forward Thrust was worth it in 1970 when there were a million fewer people. We should think in terms of what Europe and Asia and Canada would do, not imagine that cities have to be as large as New York before they can have a subway.

        The Everett and Tacoma extensions are questionable by both me and you, but we’re not talking about those areas, we’re talking about the Eastside and Seattle and King County and up to Lynnwood.

      2. Just out of curiosity, I looked up apartments for rent in Seattle.

        Except for a tiny studio apartment practicality in Shoreline for $800/mo, everything I found was at least $1,800 a month.

        Bellevue had a few in the $1,500/mo range.

        So maybe the lesser growth in Seattle has less with people wanting to live in Seattle and more about what people are willing/able to pay?

      3. The POINT of residential neighborhoods is for people to live in them. In a denser city, it makes sense for the residential neighborhoods to be denser. This is pretty simple! And there are PLENTY of low density residential neighborhoods to choose from outside of Seattle and surrounding the cores of Tacoma, Everett, and Bellevue. Ironically, by restricting residential density within the core cities, you are creating a situation where there are large apartment complexes going up way out in Marysville and Arlington to accommodate those who cannot afford the luxury apartments in Seattle’s urban villages or downtown Bellevue, e.g., you are moving growth to outer suburbs and rural areas, where the impact on the infrastructure and quality of life is much greater.

      4. In 2003 I got a North Ballard 1 BR apartment for $700, in 2005 a Summit studio for $550, and in 2011 a fairly recent and well-located 1 BR for $1175. Also in 2010-11 1 BRs next to the Broadway Market were going for $900 and condos for $120K, and I saw a 1 BR in the lovely Carolina Court on Eastlake with new water/gas piping for $650 (it suffered from loud freeway noise in the courtyard, so that depressed the rate), and a 900 sq ft apartment at the north end of Summit (the 14 terminus) for $1200. Renton MLK and Kent were probably in the $800s around then.

        Nine years later my $1175 apartment is $1895, and it would be higher to a new tenant. Rents and house prices in south King County and Tacoma have been rising faster than Seattle because they’re starting from a lower base, so many people are being displaced to there, and south King County has added hardly any housing unlike Seattle or the Eastside. Rents are tending toward equalization between Seattle, south King County, and Snohomish and Pierce Counties. It may take twenty years, it may never get there, but it’s tending in that direction. Because when you have a housing shortage so fast, it spreads out from the central city and favored-quarter suburbs (Eastside) to the rest of the region. It’s not that Seattle is getting more expensive or gentrified neighborhoods are getting more expensive, it’s that the entire region is getting more expensive. You have to get out to unheard-of distances like JBLM or Olympia or Arlington to start to escape it. And I’ve read that nowhere in the state can you get an apartment for less than $1200 or whatever it was, not even in Spokane or small towns.

        This isn’t just Seattle or regionwide or statewide, it’s national. What happened is, Seattle lost population in the late 1960s as people fled to the suburbs, so it had excess housing stock and prices were low. It started filling up in 2003 and prices started rising, but in 2011 there was still some slack left. Then the Amazon boom happened and squeezed out all the slack, and prices accelerated faster than they’d ever had since the 1950s at least. That’s what we’re living through now. The displacement from the CD and Rainier Valley to south King County started in the 1990s. In the 2010s it became a flood, affecting not just low-income people but also working-class people and lower middle-class people, and they had to start looking further and further, not just to Renton and Kent, but now to Auburn and Pierce County, Snohomish County, and Thurston County.

        It happened here first and in other large coastal cities, but it’s now happening throughout the country, in metros both desirable and undesirable, in the interior of the US, in cities both large and small and rural areas. The only exceptions are depressed areas with few jobs, and cities that allow the housing stock to rise to match the population like Dallas, Houston, and Chicago. The prices may be low to us but they’re high to the local residents. I’ve even heard that central Detroit is getting pricer and harder to afford, even though outer Detroit still has empty neighborhoods where you can buy a house for a song (but not rent anything for that little).

        Four things are responsible for this.

        1. Changes in tax laws starting in the 1970s, and weak unions, redirected the wealth of productivity gains, that had been going to the broad middle class, to the top 1% and CEOs. Tax incentives made it cheaper to send jobs overseas than to keep them here. This led to wages stagnating and prices rising faster than them, which has been happening ever since.

        2. Restrictive zoning, especially locking up 70-80% of the land in single-family only zones, created a housing shortage, as the number of housing units couldn’t keep up with the rising population. This led to all the slack being squeezed out of local housing markets, and then the demand kept rising. Eventually it reaches a tipping point like a supermarket checkout line, where it can handle 2-3 people just fine but when it rises to 5 or 6 it bogs down exponentially. Seattle reached that point in 2012, and non-tech-capital cities reached it more recently.

        3. After the 2008 foreclosure wave, companies like Berkeshire Hathaway bought up a lot of single-family houses and turned them into more-expensive rentals. AirBnB took more units off the long-term rental market, as owners could get more per month from daily visitors than from month-lease or year-lease residents. And international tycoons have been parking money in American real estate to an unknown extent, especially in trophy cities like Vancouver, New York, and San Francisco. They do that because because their money is more stable here, they want the prestige of a Park Avenue address, or they want to get their kids into the best American public schools. All these take an excessive number of units off the market.

        4. After the 2008 recession, at least in Seattle, the time-on-market for selling houses decreased by a lot. Buyers contracted, but sellers contracted even further. Before 2008 the average time to sell a house was six months. Since then it has gone down to 3-6 weeks. And in many cases, just 1 week or less. People stopped selling initially because they’d lost their job or their mortgage was larger than their house was worth. Nowadays it persists because the rising prices mean they can’t buy another house the same quality for what they can get for their current house; they’d end up with a worse or smaller house or condo or be priced out of the city, so they stay put in their current house. They don’t put it on the market, so the inventory is low, and more buyers are competing for a very few houses.

        This all shows up in vacancy rates for rentals and time-on-market rates for ownerships. Seattle’s vacancy rate was in the 2-3% range The time-on-market rate as I said is very low. So prices rise because sellers and landlords can get away with jacking up the prices; there are still enough affluent people able to and willing to pay those prices.

      5. The region is planning on the urban cores of Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Bellevue (‘metropolitan cities’) to absorb the majority of the region’s growth.

        Right now, Bellevue and Seattle are adding office space at equal rates, ~3MM sq ft/year. Bellevue only looks ‘faster’ than Seattle in percentage terms because Bellevue is starting from a much lower base.

        “[If] ST spent $100 billion to build a light rail system to serve 10 million through 2040 that was a mistake.” What’s the mistake? Not spending more money? If the Link system makes sense at 5 million people, if will be even more productive at 10 million people.

      6. Sorry – Metro cities are assigned 36% of future population growth; >50% would also include the 16 core cities, which includes most of suburban southwest King (i.e. south King within the ST district); hopefully that growth is urban, anchored around the Link & Sounder stations.

        See Figure 6 here for population growth shares, Figure 9 for list/map of ‘Core Cities”

      7. @Mike — Another problem is the loss of jobs in the industrial Midwest (the so called “Rust Belt”). A lot of people used to live there, and they have moved, putting economic pressure on lots of other cities. I call this “geographic stratification”, to go with economic stratification (your first item). The main reason the Seattle region has grown so fast is because it is a software hub (specifically with Microsoft and Amazon here). If those jobs were more spread out, or better yet, located mostly in the old industrial cities, then the country would be much better off. But instead they are concentrated in a handful of areas (Seattle being one of the hot spots).

      8. Yes, I could have explained that more completely. When I said “depressed” areas I meant all areas where the population is shrinking or flatlined. These are usually the same places where jobs are scarce and the highest-paying job is Walmart or McDonald’s, which pay minimum wage there, and those are some of the states with the lowest minimum wage.

        Chicago is an unusual case because the south side’s population is shrinking while the north side’s population is growing slowly. But it’s still a major city four times larger than Seattle, the center of agricultural finance and stock trading, and several corprorate headquarters (including ex-Seattle Boeing). It also has loose infill zoning, so the housing supply can keep up with any population increases. Rents in the North Side in 2000 were about the same as Seattle or slightly lower. Since then they have become even more relatively lower. That’s amazing when you consider that for it you get a city of three million with tons more activities and nightlife, many walkable and mixed-use neighborhoods to choose from, several El lines, ubiquidous frequent buses (10 minutes daytime, 20 minutes evening, 30 minutes night owl, although they’re very slow), and a center of national and regional transit networks. I thought strongly about moving to Chicago since it’s almost New York at a lower cost, but the cold winters and hot humid summers finally dissuaded me, plus being so far away from my family and all the social/business/logistical contacts I’ve built up here. Some people start over in a new city easily; I’m not one of them.

        Still, the North Side is the best model I’ve seen in the US for non-downtown development. The average building height is 3-10 stories, and there are still single-family houses and row houses scattered throughout it. This over a 2×2 mile area, so there are tons of opportunities to live and work and do errands anywhere within it.

      9. @Mike Orr
        Fwiw. I happen to share your love of Chicago, particularly its north side. A couple of our best friends live there (Andersonville now and before that Wrigleyville) and so we visit there frequently. They live in an upper flat in one of the many 4-story multiple-unit buildings found throughout that area, along with SFHs and larger apartment buildings as you’ve mentioned. Their building is detached, like many in this particular neughborhood, with walkways around both sides to a decently-sized courtyard in the rear with even a two-car garage (and storage room) accessed via the mid-block alley. It’s a wonderful place to live with tons of neighborhood amenities and provides for great mobility with its easy access to transit. The rents there are generally more affordable as well. I believe one can still find many 3BR units (non-lake view) renting for around $1500-1600 per month in that neighborhood as well as in other surrounding neighborhoods.

        I had considered moving there as well at one point in my life, but, like you, the winter weather was the deal breaker. Brrrr. Pulling up stakes and relocating in a new city wasn’t an issue for me though, finally deciding on leaving NYC and resettling in Seattle in the late 80s. It was a huge change (Seattle felt like such a small place to me for the longest time and the lack of good transit frustrated the hell out of me.) but I have never regretted my decision to move here. Seattle is an awesome place to live. We just need to build a hell of a lot more housing and speed up our transit improvement plans!

  7. “Streetside cafes may become permanent”

    Of course they will. That was the plan all along. The pandemic was just a convenient excuse. Dan Strauss basically says as much. What started out as “We’re able to meet the changing health guidelines without impacting our businesses as severely,” is becoming “Businesses are more important than the public.” By making these spaces permanent. Using public spaces for private enterprise always has a negative impact on the public. Always.

    1. If a business wants to apply for a permit to replace its streetside parking with patio seating, where’s the problem? It’s taking away the ability of one or two privately-owned cars to monopolize 30′ of curb, and instead more people can enjoy local restaurants on their nights out.

      Sure, allowing private enterprise to occupy public space has the inherently negative impact of reducing open public space, but the “public” space we’re talking about is space that would otherwise be occupied by private automobiles peddled by private industry to reinforce expensive private transportation. They’re not allowed to set up in bike or bus lanes or totally block sidewalks.

      1. Street SIDE parking, not street parking, i.e. sidewalk seating. https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/coronavirus/city-of-seattle-issues-free-permits-so-restaurants-can-adapt-during-cold-months/281-be1274ad-f890-497d-b49a-910093267e1b

        My guess is if sidewalk seating and dining were placed on a ballot it would pass overwhelmingly.

        It took the pandemic to finally get the Mercer Is. City Council to allow outside dining in rights of way, unfortunately not until August, well after Bellevue and Issaquah had allowed it, with Bellevue growling off the Liquor Control Board.

        It was so popular the MI council just expanded it. I love it. One of my favorite moments during the pandemic was an outdoor dinner by Matt’s in the Market in the street at Pike Place Market. It had rained, and the lights in the cobblestones looked just like Paris, and the food was fabulous.

        Sidewalk seating and dining creates vibrancy, and a sense of safety, two critical factors for Urbanism and transit.

        For years the Seattle City Council has looked at ways to create more sidewalk seating along Pike from Westlake Center to Pike Place Market to hopefully remove the crime and negative street scene to finally create a safe and vibrant path from the convention center to Pike Place Market, but for some reason the Sam Israel property running from 1st to 2nd, and Pike to Pine, never got developed, in part over vacating the alley (another public to private use, except IMO to the detriment of the public unless you like hanging out in that alley). Instead Bartells and Macy’s closed, and Pike from 3rd Ave. to the Market is still a no man’s land.

      2. “If a business wants to apply for a permit to replace its streetside parking with patio seating, where’s the problem?”

        It’s not their streetside parking. It is ours, the public’s. That streetside parking can even be thought of as belonging to a business is part of the problem at hand here. It’s like the sandwich board signs on the streets. Legally, they are litter under the SMC. But they are so ubiquitous and our culture so capitalist that are allowed without question. Even when they make sidewalks unusable for those in wheelchairs.

        “It’s taking away the ability of one or two privately-owned cars to monopolize 30′ of curb, and instead more people can enjoy local restaurants on their nights out.”

        Members of the public own those privately owned cars, and therefore should have the ability (and I’d argue right) to use that space over a business, small or large.

        “Sure, allowing private enterprise to occupy public space has the inherently negative impact of reducing open public space, but the “public” space we’re talking about is space that would otherwise be occupied by private automobiles peddled by private industry to reinforce expensive private transportation.”

        The suction there is to improve mass transit infrastructure, not give restaurants handouts. I agree with the problem. This is no solution.

        “My guess is if sidewalk seating and dining were placed on a ballot it would pass overwhelmingly.”

        That doesn’t make it a good idea. People with disabilities still need to be able to get from Point A to Point B, even if voters would vote that ability away from them.

        “Sidewalk seating and dining creates vibrancy, and a sense of safety, two critical factors for Urbanism and transit.”

        Ludicrous and unsubstantiated. How does sidewalk dining increase a sense of safety? Without housing reform, sidewalk seating is going to be used by the homeless, who you seem to despise. And what is with this vibrancy fetish? What does that even really mean, and how sidewalk dining contribute to it? People should be put before buzzwords.

        “For years the Seattle City Council has looked at ways to create more sidewalk seating along Pike from Westlake Center to Pike Place Market to hopefully remove the crime and negative street scene to finally create a safe and vibrant path from the convention center to Pike Place Market”

        And by and large they succeeded without that seating. That walkway (and even the area in front of the McDonald’s) is much safer than the old Crack Alley days, when not even locals would dare tread that path.

        “What’s your alternative? We seize all businesses as publicly owned and operated enterprises? Or we go back to letting empty (private) vehicles monopolize the space instead?”

        Neither. We force businesses to do all their business on the land they own and lease. We use the parking spots for bike lanes, bus lanes, and extra wide sidewalks.

        “Yeah, Pike Place Market sucks. Same with those farmer’s markets and street fairs in the various neighborhoods.”

        Pike Place Market leases spots to the businesses inside of it. But the sidewalk across the street? Next to impossible to use in a wheelchair due to all the sandwich board signs.

        Farmer’s Markets provide a social benefit by providing the public with a higher quality of food than the grocery store and directly paying many farmers for those goods, cutting out the middle man. If they didn’t, I’d be all for getting rid of them, too.

        “Outside dining benefits the public, as I said the last time.”

        How? By putting the wants of some people ahead of the needs of the few? That’s no benefit. People may want outdoor dining. Everyone needs to be able to use the sidewalk.

      3. LOL, imagine writing this much to justify getting outraged over the loss of a couple spots of free car storage.

      4. The suction there is to improve mass transit infrastructure, not give restaurants handouts. I agree with the problem. This is no solution.

        It’s not a handout, it’s a permit to operate their business in public space – which benefits their potential customers: the public. Plus, members of the public own those restaurants, so the private occupation of public space is still comparable.

        I’m trying to figure out what your real issue with it is, because it seems like you’re really just trying to shoehorn any possible argument to support your belief that restaurants should only operate behind their own closed doors. You defend the use as parking, and then you say instead of parking it should be wider sidewalks or bus/bike lanes. I mean, pick one, maybe?

        And what is with this vibrancy fetish? What does that even really mean, and how sidewalk dining contribute to it?


      5. Ron Swanson, we’re talking about quite a bit more than losing a couple of spots of free car storage. Try a couple of spots per permit. The numbers add up fast.

        I also stated that I’d prefer parking spots be turned into bike lanes, bus lanes, and wider sidewalks than stay parking spots. I’ve never owned a car or had a license, so it isn’t like I’m trying to defend the SOV. I’m trying to defend the pedestrian going from place to place, the person who ends up suffering the most. Even converted parking spots result in more people loitering on the sidewalk at that spot and blocking passers by.

        As far as my wall of text? While I prefer to reply to each of my naysayers separately, when I have done that in the past I get reported for spamming a discussion thread. So my options are relatively limited.

      6. “You defend the use as parking, and then you say instead of parking it should be wider sidewalks or bus/bike lanes. I mean, pick one, maybe?”

        I don’t do that at all. I choose parking over dining, and choose bus lanes, bike lanes, and wider sidewalks over parking. Outdoor dining is the worst option. Parking is the second worst.

    2. Another weird hot take from A Joy.

      What’s your alternative? We seize all businesses as publicly owned and operated enterprises? Or we go back to letting empty (private) vehicles monopolize the space instead?

    3. Using public spaces for private enterprise always has a negative impact on the public. Always.

      Yeah, Pike Place Market sucks. Same with those farmer’s markets and street fairs in the various neighborhoods.

    4. “Businesses are more important than the public.” By making these spaces permanent. Using public spaces for private enterprise always has a negative impact on the public.”

      Outside dining benefits the public, as I said the last time. Some non-diners like having them there, some diners like eating there, and both are members of the public. Some deployments excessively restrict walking space, others don’t. These need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The worst one I’ve seen (the Six Arms) predates the pandemic.

      Some deployments are on sidewalks, others are in parking spaces or existing parklets. or on side street blocks that are temporarily pedestrianized. (Closed streets include 10th or 11th at Pike, 42nd at U Way, maybe Summit or Belmont at Pine.)

    5. As long as the businesses pay an appropriate fee for the use of city property and aren’t causing a disruption, I have no problem with it.

      I’m also good with not charging fees for a while as a partial make-up to restaurants for losses during the pandemic. But once that period is over, they should pay a fair rate.

      1. [Another] Alex, I highly doubt businesses will be paying an appropriate fee, and they absolutely will be causing a disruption to the orderly flow of pedestrian traffic. There’s no way they’ll be paying the five figures annually that the ROW is worth in terms of traffic flow. They’d scream to the high heavens that such costs would put them out of business, and at that point restaurants would see the use of public property as their right. The point of this is to give businesses a handout (not a hand up), and by definition that includes not paying their fair share.

    6. For what it’s worth, what Portland did on SE Clinton at 26th was close Clinton completely, except for a center section reserved for pedestrians and bikes. Both parking and part of the traffic lanes are now restaurant areas.

      There’s plenty of other places to drive so it’s not a huge loss, and the 8 or so parking places lost were not really that big a loss.

    7. Using public spaces for subsidized car storage is even worse than using it for private enterprise. So let’s agree to make that space truly be public space–we could all use more linear parks in urban neighborhoods.

      1. I’d be for more linear parks, but I think there’s less than a zero percent chance of parking spots being turned into them. For starters, I’d want those linear parks to have grass and occasional small trees. Nobody’s going to tear up that pavement.

      2. AJ, I know it happens elsewhere. But has it happened here before? In my experience, Seattle is allergic to tearing up pavement once it is laid down.

      3. The NACTO case study was in Seattle.

        @Sam – can you find a screenshot of a Seattle bioswale for A Joy?

        AJ, case manager for Sam posts.

      4. Snohomish County’s Surface Water Management, which is part of its Public Works department, in coordination with SnoCo PDS, has begun to track these types of “green” installations in both private and public projects under its purview:

        “2019 Snohomish County LID Implementation Report
        SWM continues to partner with Snohomish County’s Planning and Development Services and Engineering Services to track the implementation of stormwater low impact development (LID) best management practices (BMPs) in this updated report. This report includes constructed stormwater LID systems, both private systems permitted by the County and public systems constructed by the County in 2019. Some examples of LID BMPs include rain gardens, bioretention, permeable pavements, roof downspout controls, dispersion, vegetated roofs and water re-use.”

        Link to the latest report can be found on this page:

        When the county redid the street I live on a while back, which was a road widening project funded mostly by STP/CMAQ competitive grant money dispersed thru the PSRC and local REET funds, the natural shoulder culverts were paved over and surface/stormwater catch basins and conduit were installed. In return, the county incorporated intermittent bioswales in the new planting strip areas between the expanded roadway footprint and the new sidewalks (which didn’t exist previously). The sidewalks themselves were constructed using porous concrete.

        Admittedly, it (this green approach) is a small piece of the overall pie in the context of the amount of land under development across the county, but at least it’s on their radar.

      5. Another case study could be Gemenskap Park on 14th Ave NW in Ballard, opened 2018.

      6. I’m talking about parks, not drainage fields for stormwater management. Green spaces for people, not primarily for water filtration. You can’t really call the Eastgate Park and Ride stormwater detention pond a park or greenspace in good conscience.

  8. Ridership is increasing. I’ve even seen ridership higher than pre-covid levels a few times on the 10, once on the C and 50, and I think another route. I went to Alki a week ago Saturday at 6:30pm. The C was pretty full and the 50 was standing room only (!). And almost all the 50 riders got off at the Alki terminus. Part of that may be the West Seattle bridge closure causing abnormal ridership patterns, but it wasn’t like that in West Seattle earlier this year. The 10 may have gotten busier because the 11 is less frequent now. Pre-covid both the 10 and 11 were 15 minutes weekdays and Saturdays. Then the 11 dropped to 30 minutes and is now at 20 minutes. Still, it’s a remarkable increase. And I’m seeing other busier routes than a few months ago, even if not as dramatic as that. The 522 last week was almost full in the early afternoon. On both the 522, C, and 50 I had to sit right next to somebody because there was no other seat. Link at peak and near peak is standing room only, although that’s because people are choosing to stand rather than share a seat. I’m still somewhat reluctant to sit next to somebody or inflict myself on them if I can avoid it.

    On the other hand, the 131 and 132 afternoons haven’t been as crowded as they were last summer and fall. So it’s like ridership is becoming more equalized on both higher-volume and lower-volume routes. That may just be an idiosyncracity of the routes I use, but that has been my experience.

    I’m still preferring lower-volume routes and coverage routes more than I usually do, like the 8, 14, 26, 27, 28, 50, 73, and 106, when they’re not too inconvenient. (The 8 low volume? Yes, when you’re traveling midday or weekends, especially from Rainier Valley to Capitol Hill.)

    1. I’m noticing big ridership increases too. Our Wallingford routes (26, 31/32, 44, 62) are no longer empty mid-day but have 10+ people on them (never thought *that* would be an accomplishment but that’s 2021 for us). We just got back from Tacoma for a Point Defiance visit, and the PT 11/41 had more people on it than the last time we went in 2019 (probably 8 people as we approached the park). While waiting for the 594 to return to return to Seattle, the southbound 594 had a BUS FULL sign up. The northbound 594 we took hit capacity at Tacoma Dome (don’t know that we turned anyone away since the bus was already picking up people but every legal seat was filled).

      While there might be some room to run larger buses or boost frequency (most of the 594s we saw were 40′, and it still runs at 30-minute headways mid-day), I hope a return to full capacity is coming soon.

    1. City Beautiful was also a movement 120 or so years ago that created our current concept of public parks and attractive public structures. Sure, it did plenty of damage (damming Budd Inlet in Olympia to create Capitol Lake, which interfered with natural processes there) but it also did a lot of good, and gives us a bunch of stuff we enjoy now.

    2. Yes, that’s what created the design of King Street Station, Union Station and other grand train stations across the country, and other art deco and beaux arts masterpieces in public buildings that are still revered. A beautiful cityscape for a beautiful people, one that would inspire them and make them happy, that was the motivation. If only we had that mentality now.

      What does damming an inlet have to do with City Beautiful?

      1. [].

        Remember, the issues are whether to require onsite residential parking in multi- family buildings in east Bellevue, and why SDOT limits the time for street parking but is lowering the cost of that parking below the costs to enforce the time limits, not you.

  9. Freddie Mac: the US had a supply shortage of 3.8 million homes ($) by the end of 2020.

    Oh, and the exurbs are booming. It’s funny, normally I would be angered by that. But now I wish all those teleworking city-haters would just move to the exurbs and small towns to give some relief to the Seattle housing market, which is clearly incapable of absorbing the last influx or the next one.

    1. Here’s an idea. How about if all those who live in southwest Capitol Hill and drive everywhere, move to the exurbs. The whole point of living in an inner-city walkable apartment is you don’t have to drive everywhere. Especially those who park nightly on the street and fill up the spaces so that disabled people can’t find parking when they visit someone or want to go to a restaurant. And especially especially those with large SUVs that take up more than one parking space. Couldn’t you think maybe, that if you live in a dense neighborhood in a small apartment and park on the street, a small car might be in order?

      1. Mike, your complaints about residential street parking in dense urban areas are legitimate, but you don’t ask why the person owns a car (the usual: safety, ability to transport things, convenience, poor transit for their trips), or why they take the risk to park a vehicle on the street overnight and hassle to find a parking spot (lack of onsite residential parking, or high parking fees onsite).

        The city doesn’t ban residential street parking because it doesn’t have the solutions to why people own a car and park on the street.

      2. They park on the street because older apartments were built before garages were common and don’t have parking, or because they don’t want to pay the cost of a monthly garage permit. The same reason several people I know circle around for a free street space rather than parking in a paid garage.

    2. Anecdode: I had a friend who lived near me in Summit who drove everywhere and had a big truck, fortunately parked in a garage. I went to the Ballard farmers’ market on Sundays a few times a month. I started taking him there, and he insisted on driving. He’d circle for a free spot because he didn’t want to pay for one. After a few times of that I told him, “Just go to a paid lot and I’ll pay the fee”, because I don’t like scrounging around for a space. I kept trying to convince him to take a bus, and one day he agreed, so we took the 8 to Seattle Center and transferred to the 15 or 18 to Ballard. He found it so convenient we took the bus to the farmers’ market ever since until he moved to California.

      Another time, a friend was visiting and staying in a downtown hotel and going to a jiu-jitsu school in Ballard. He wanted to Uber there and back, and I told him there’s a bus that goes practically door to door. So I met him at the club and we came back on the D, He found it convenient and took the bus to the school for the rest of his stay.

  10. Regarding OMF-E:
    Sound Transit selected BRIDGE Housing and its partners to develop almost seven acres of TOD on the surplus property adjacent to the facility.

    Where is this 7 acres? ST has a chunk of land at 130th that they’ve used for construction staging that is largely slated to become a P&R. There’s some other parcels through the Spring District but I’m not aware of any large parcels adjacent to the OMF. South of the facility is the new Audi dealership and two story offices. West is the old BNSF ROW that is now a trail. West of that is a steep bank that is begin developed as senior living. To the north is the new BMW dealership and a lot of wetlands. East is already developed space except for the large piece that I believe Safeway/Albertsons still owns and Metro East Base.

      1. Yeah, I’d figured it out using Google maps and KC parcel viewer. It’s really 3 acres or less that’s usable even with Bellevue swapping the old RR ROW to the Safeway Plant. The original parcel was 7 acres but the OMF uses at least half of it. This sliver was where they had the pumps and some construction storage containers. It’s a triangle piece of property that will be hard to develop. I’m pretty sure ST would have recovered way more tax payer dollars if they’d sold the property to the Audi dealership. I see there’s a must develop by date in the contract and it’s hard to see that being met on a public housing project. Bridge will sell the property and put the profit toward something more suitable.

  11. “Parlor game” question for this serious thread: If you had to name one bus or train route for someone to ride and get a sense of Seattle, what route would it be?

    1. For an out-of-towner, probably Route 1 – it covers the Space Needle, downtown, and Lake Washington; the ride up/down QA hill is an experience itself.

      1. Your also really close to Kinear Park viewpoint, which is a Seattle icon in itself.

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