Editorial: Go Big on One Center City

Sunset skyline

Crises inspire clarity and focus, and One Center City is no different. Our whirlwind of overlapping projects usually overwhelms us with extended process and mind-numbing rounds of design revisions and open houses. But Seattle in 2017 faces an historic convergence of projects that prevents us from such discursive luxuries. If we do nothing, we face 3 years of misery from 2018-2021 until Northgate Link saves the day. We have to act quickly and boldly.

In a Center City where 70% of commuters (and 95% of new commuters) do not drive alone, it should be crystal clear where our priorities lie. From Vision Zero, our Bike and Transit master plans, to our climate commitments, or to a cold utilitarian optimization of space, One Center City should head in only one direction. We must enhance transit, walking, and bicycling, and deemphasize peak auto access. Since the geographic constraints of our city are immutable, our dilemma is not ideological but geometric. As such, there are only two ways to make traffic better: transcend it through a more efficient use of space, or hope for recession, depopulation, and urban flight. Which would you prefer?

If our civic leaders really believe this, One Center City’s options come into clear relief. Here is what should be done: Continue reading “Editorial: Go Big on One Center City”

STB November 2016 Election Endorsements

These are STB’s endorsements for this November’s General Election. As always, candidate endorsements are meant to only reflect their positions on transit and land use.

Ballot Measures

st3mapYES on Sound Transit Proposition 1Our full endorsement is here, and much more material is here. This measure, informally known as Sound Transit 3, would build 62 miles of fully traffic-separated transit right-of-way, in addition to Bus Rapid Transit and enhanced Sounder Commuter Rail. Plausible alternatives are dramatically inferior.

YES on Spokane Transit Proposition 1After failing by a whisker in April 2015, Spokane Transit (STA) is back with a smaller transit expansion package. Instead of .3% increase in sales tax, STA will try for .2%, phase it in over 3 years, and sunset the tax in 2028. The plan would begin implementation of Spokane Transit’s impressive Moving Forward plan. The measure would boost service hours by 25%, build 6 new transit centers, build Bus Rapid Transit from Browne’s Addition to Gonzaga, add peak commuter routes, and expand service past 11pm for the first time. Even the Spokesman Review is on board this time around.

YES on Initiative 732. A carbon tax will encourage less energy-intensive forms of living, which generally involve density and transit, and discourage the opposite. Its cut in regressive sales taxes will reduce the tax burden of ST3 on low-income households. Opposition on the right is fundamentally opposed to taking action on the climate, and opposition on the left claims the legislation is not sufficiently inclusive of other progressive interests. But climate change is an emergency, and requires emergency action instead of hairsplitting over implementation details. For progressives hesitant about the breadth of the measure, we’d argue that building on this framework is a better goal for 2017 and beyond than trying again from scratch with no guarantee of success. Vote yes.

YES on Bellevue Proposition 2Prop 2 is a remarkably progressive measure. The emphases are new bike infrastructure (including 24 miles of protected bike lanes), 84 traffic calming projects, and maintenance. “Congestion reduction” is limited to things like adding traffic signals, not an excuse for large car capacity adds.

YES on Issaquah Proposition 1This $50m bond vote (which requires 60% to pass) adds some lanes and intersection improvements for drivers, but has surprisingly urbanist priorities for a suburban city. Newport Way between the Issaquah Transit Center and Sunset Way would get 3 roundabouts, and the street would get better sidewalks, new bike lanes, and traffic calming measures. Sunset Way in Olde Town Issaquah would get a center turn lane, better sidewalks, and a new off-arterial neighborhood greenway connecting the Rainier Trail to the Issaquah-Preston Trail.

YES on Kenmore Proposition 1. The “Walkways and Waterways” measure improves north/south non-motorized access in Kenmore, making it easier for people to access existing bus service on SR522 and the BRT line likely to succeed it. The plan would also separate walkers, cyclists, and drivers on Juanita Drive, a key part of the Lake Washington Loop.

YES on Bothell Proposition 1. The “Levy for Safe Streets and Sidewalks” funds pedestrian and traffic safety improvements with a particular focus on sidewalks near schools, connecting existing sidewalks and crosswalk safety. It also supports prudent road preservation work.

YES on Kitsap Transit Proposition 1The series of fast ferries to Downtown Seattle from Bremerton, Kingston, and Southworth must look to the residents of those cities very much like North Sounder does to Edmonds and Mukilteo: middling ridership, but faster than any alternative. Except that this alternative is way faster. A 60-minute ride to Bremerton can be done in 28, and there is no road grid or bus alternative that can hope to compete with that. We are far more excited about Bremerton, which has a real downtown around its ferry terminal, than quiet Kingston and Southworth, which would appear to basically be limited by the onsite parking. But there are also about 23,000 additional bus hours that can help out with that.

Statewide Offices

Continue reading “STB November 2016 Election Endorsements”

Yes on Sound Transit 3

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This November we have a generational opportunity to build on Sound Transit’s recent successes, and extend a regional rapid transit network that is able to scale with a growing region. To understand why a yes vote is important, we’ll start from the beginning.

Why Transit?

Ped, Bus, Bike, Car
Ped, Bus, Bike, Car

The reasons to favor transit investment over cars are numerous. The immediate environmental benefits are well understood: well-used rail uses less energy per passenger than driving, and that energy comes from sources cleaner than gasoline. The public health benefit of reduced car volumes and the exercise inherent in walking to transit is less familiar. People unable to drive deserve a good way to get around, not just a lifeline. A city with good transit service can devote less land to parking and more land to worthwhile things.

But most importantly, transit scales with growth far better than autos, for the simple fact that each person takes up less space on a transit vehicle than in a personal vehicle. No breakthrough in electric or self-driving cars is going to change this fact of geometry. There is no plausible car-first future. The world’s great cities are dense, and they all realize that high-capacity, traffic-separated transit is the only thing that can work at those scales. Seattle has a chance to be one of those cities, if it doesn’t tie itself to the auto. The alternatives are stagnation, or strangulation by traffic. Even the most car-friendly Western cities — L.A. and Phoenix — have realized that cars don’t scale and are furiously racing to add rail capacity.

Why Rail?

There are significant bus investments in the Sound Transit 3 package, and these are important. Rail will never go everywhere, especially in the short term, and many needs are urgent. At the same time, ST3 is fundamentally a rail package, and it’s important to understand the rationale for that.

There are a few attributes of light rail that really are superior to buses, all else being equal, in particular the number of passengers per multi-car train. But the core of high-quality transit, frequency and reliability, can come on steel wheels or rubber tires. That said, in practice our region implements light rail with the understanding that it will never operate in mixed traffic, there will never be on-board payment, and with few exceptions the trains operate on elevated or underground guideways with no traffic interactions whatsoever. Even our finest new bus-rapid-transit lines are entirely at-grade, and there are zero plans to change this. More importantly, buses’ flexibility is often a bug not a feature, as citizens and governments can much more easily dilute their quality, saying, “do we really need to have a dedicated lane here?” The path to true reliability is always to take the right-of-way, or even better to create it. In our current political climate, that means light rail.

Rail detractors will say that buses are much cheaper than rail, and can be just as good. Both are true, but they are mutually exclusive. Rail is expensive because it has its own guideways, and buses with their own guideways would be similarly expensive.

There is one exception where bus guideways already exist: our freeway system. Unfortunately, these are mostly controlled by our state legislature, which has shown no interest in holding even one freeway lane open for transit. And thus our freeway “express” buses are mired in mixed traffic just as bad as some arterials, and getting worse. Furthermore, transit tied to freeways, while valuable for some applications, can neither serve nor induce the truly dense and walkable neighborhoods the region needs, without significant investment in station areas that is inconsistent with low-cost BRT.

Why this package?

st3mapEven if we need transit, and need rail transit, is this the right set of projects? The “right” project is, of course, subjective. But with a few exceptions, we believe the Sounder and light rail lines planned serve their respective cities, corridors, and neighborhoods as well as a rapid transit line can. Most of all, a new downtown tunnel serving Lower Queen Anne, South Lake Union, the downtown core, and possibly First Hill, is needed today, and any unnecessary delay is unacceptable.

Other segments — notably the stretch from Lynnwood to Everett — are not as well-executed, but they are also not doomed to be failures. The pull of rapid transit is strong, and if cities get out of the way and allow development, in most cases it will come. STB will keep busy for years fighting for good station implementations that allow this to happen as much as possible, even when freeways and parking garages constrict what can be done.

Moreover, although we most value projects that maximize ridership and support growth, there are many other valid interests. Projects that don’t maximize ridership aren’t there because of agency ignorance, but because they serve other goals, whether they avoid construction impacts, spread benefits around the region, or avoid hostile neighborhoods. We don’t have to fully support each of those goals to understand why they are there, and we acknowledge that their inclusion helps consolidate support for the must-haves.

Vote Yes

The package reflects the desires of the 3-county electorate and its representatives. Sound Transit critics are fond of fixating on 1996-2001, which were indeed so  troubled that the agency barely survived. But after a period of intense reform, ST consistently meets its schedule commitments. This includes election-year promises made in 2008’s ST2.

Clearly burned by its initial experience, if anything ST is being too conservative, and leaving votes on the table by under-promising. The timelines are long, but worthwhile infrastructure projects take a long time. Voting no will simply make delivery slower. Voting no will likely kill the second Downtown tunnel, as a second try at ST3 would undoubtedly be less ambitious and offer lower-quality projects.

If you’re young, vote yes for a carbon-neutral future in which you can live oblivious to traffic. If you’re old, vote yes to leave behind a better region for the next generation. But vote yes.

The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Zach Shaner, Dan Ryan, and Erica C. Barnett.

August 2016 Primary Endorsements

These are Seattle Transit Blog’s endorsements for the August 2, 2016 primary elections. As always, we choose candidates entirely based on their positions and record on transit and land use. The primary only decides initiatives and races with at least two candidates, so that’s what we cover here.

Yes for HomesSeattle Proposition 1, The Housing Levy Renewal: YES. The only way out of the housing shortage is to build more units, both subsidized and market rate. If we hadn’t spent the last several decades suppressing housing construction, we would only need taxpayer dollars to house the very poorest sliver on residents. But we did suppress it, so Seattle needs it all. The housing levy renewal will build more units. Vote yes.

No123Seattle Initiative 123, The Waterfront Viaduct Park: NO. After the monorail debacle, we should forever put to rest the idea of creating and managing new public assets by initiative. The proposal to build a mock version of New York’s High Line on the future Alaskan Way lacks institutional support at all levels of government, contradicts city and state plans for the waterfront, and threatens to reinstate the one silver lining of the deep bore tunnel: the removal of the viaduct. It is a poorly thought out project whose primary funders have since abandoned and even donated to the opposition. Put the idea to rest and vote no.

Jay InsleeGovernor of Washington: Although Jay Inslee‘s full devotion to highway expansion disappoints us, he has also been on the right side of statewide transit issues. When discussing Sound Transit 3, his opponent simply regurgitates anti-transit talking points and has no interest in building high-quality transit. Bill Bryant is happy to endorse BRT when there’s rail on the ballot, but in the same campaign says he wants to let more general traffic into bus lanes. The other candidates have no chance.

Patty MurrayU.S. Senate. It’s not often that a federal officeholder makes a really big difference for regional transit and land use. But Patty Murray has certainly done that over her four Senate terms. She consistently delivers dollars for critical Puget Sound infrastructure projects, and has the seniority on the Senate Budget Committee to keep it coming. With her help, the highest-performing ST3 projects could enjoy billions in grants.

Brady WalkinshawU.S. House – 7th District. It’s refreshing to see a candidate eschew the “all of the above” boilerplate common to Transportation Issues sections of campaign websites. Yet new highways are nowhere to be found on Brady Walkinshaw’s page. Instead, he explicitly calls for reducing car volumes, a fix-it-first approach to maintenance, and more federal funding of Seattle transit projects.

43rd Legislative District, Position 1: The 43rd race is crowded with many good options, Thomas Pitchford envisions a Dan ShihSeattle without I-5 and stands alone in opposing rent control.  Nicole Macri and Sameer Ranade mostly say the right things about transportation. But forced to make a decision, we noted that Dan Shih seems more ready to acknowledge the importance of more housing units, and in particular the continued importance of market-rate housing alongside subsidized units. That’s a shockingly rare insight in the 43rd, and enough to earn Shih our endorsement.

Rick TalbertThe Pierce County Executive controls 4 of 18 Sound Transit Board seats. Rick Talbert is the chair of the Pierce Transit Board, and we believe he would be a vote for continuity from Pierce County.

Pat JenkinsPierce County Council Pos. 2: Pat Jenkins gives every indication of thinking transit first as a solution to congestion, and is positive about ST3. His opponents don’t mention transit at all.
Linda Farmer
Pierce County Council Pos. 6: Linda Farmer also suggests improved mass transit as an answer to congestion, which is more than her opponents have to say.

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In the suburban Eastside, the key transportation issue before the Legislature in 2017 is HOT lanes on I-405. Under pressure from a noisy SOV commuter lobby, few candidates remain willing to forthrightly defend the HOT lanes. Our endorsements are for those more likely to advocate balanced policies. The express lanes are critical to future transit investments in the corridor, and offer an affordable alternative to the hamster wheel of ever-widening freeways.

Guy Palumbo1st, Senate: Guy Palumbo supports added general purpose lanes on I-405, but also supports BRT and has not taken a position against the HOT lanes. Luis Moscoso, currently vice-chair of the House Transportation Committee has declared that “he stood up to his own party to demand changes when the 405 HOV lane experiment failed. He will always stand against tolling 405.” Mindie Wirth wants a “time out on tolling”. She voices support for BRT, but in unmanaged 2-plus HOV lanes.

Derek Stanford1st, Position 1: Derek Stanford supports greater spending on highways, and was a sponsor of a compromise bill that removed tolling on nights and weekends. But he’s preferable to his likely opponent, Neil Thannisch, who views tolling as “social engineering and adding unearned taxes on commuters”.

Shelley Kloba1st, Position 2: Shelley Kloba is a sitting Council Member in Kirkland whom we’ve previously endorsed for supporting transit and resisting Kirkland’s onerous regulations on multifamily parking. Her most competitive opponent, Jim Langston, supports more spending on highways and believes “it is time the state realize cars are what we drive”.

Matt Larson5th, Position 2Matt Larson has three terms as Mayor of Snoqualmie, shepherding the city through a period of remarkable growth, and has served as President of the Sound Cities Association (the 36 smaller cities of King County). He favors “transit in high growth communities in east King County”.

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The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Zach Shaner, Dan Ryan, and Erica C. Barnett.

Editorial: Fix the SE Seattle Restructure

KCM Route 38 at Mount Baker TC

County Councilmembers Joe McDermott and Larry Gossett kindly offered some reasons for supporting more bus service in southeast Seattle last Thursday. STB supports adding more service in southeast Seattle that delivers real improvements to riders, which means avoiding wasteful duplication. The councilmembers’ arguments failed to explain why these specific route restructures (in particular, the extension of route 38 / proposed route 106 to the International District) are on the table.

For all the talk of unmet demand on MLK, the proposal has no additional service there. Indeed, by introducing reliability problems with no additional frequency, intra-MLK trips will likely get worse. Starting trips in the International District will scramble arrival times and degrade the transfer from Link to buses on MLK.

The councilmembers understand the advantages of replacing two routes (106 and 124) between eastern Georgetown and downtown with one (124) running twice as often, which is more likely to maintain proper spacing between buses. One alternative for the ID/Mt. Baker service hours would apply the same lesson to high-ridership route 7, potentially matching the peak frequency of Link.

Another alternative would actually improve service for the aforementioned communities on MLK Way by boosting its frequency beyond 15 minutes. This would also improve an already high-quality transfer at Mt. Baker Station. Either alternative is superior to running duplicate service which does nothing but avoid high-quality transfers between 7, 38, and Link. The Metro proposal effectively resurrects the 42, historically a poor performer. Continue reading “Editorial: Fix the SE Seattle Restructure”

STB 2015 General Election Endorsements: Suburban Races

Here are Seattle Transit Blog’s endorsements for selected suburban races in the general election. As always, our endorsements are meant to focus entirely on their transit and land use positions.

Longtime readers know our core positions well: in favor of transit investment, concentration of resources into high-quality corridors, upzones, and pedestrian and bicycle access improvements. We are also skeptical of taxes on development, parking minimums, and the assumption that all parts of the region must be cheap and easy to access with a car.

Measures

Yes on Tacoma Proposition 3 and Proposition A – Much like Move Seattle, Tacoma is going big for infrastructure this November.  Propositions 3 and A would fund $500m in improvements over 10 years, funded by a mix of utility taxes, a property levy, and a 0.1% Transportation Benefit District (TBD) sales tax, while also leveraging state and federal grants. Though using sales tax for roads is regrettable, this measure does not exhaust Tacoma’s TBD authority, leaving room for an additional .1% for transit in a future measure. Moreover, Tacoma needs basic road repair and street upgrades, and the city’s complete streets requirements ensure that rebuilt streets will be better for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders alike. Indeed, 15% of the package is dedicated to bike infrastructure.

Executive Races

MarchioneCity of Redmond Mayor: John Marchione has smartly managed Redmond’s rapid development since his first election as Mayor in 2007, and sits on the Sound Transit Board. His opponent, Steve Fields, is running as a government effectiveness advocate in a campaign that has focused on traffic concerns and the alleged neglect of neighborhoods outside of the growing centers in Downtown and Overlake. While Marchione’s talents and credentials as an advocate for transit and urban development are clear, Fields’ campaign has been oriented toward those who are most uncomfortable with growth.

County Council Races

BalducciKing County Council District No. 6: Claudia Balducci has been an impressive advocate for transit as both a Bellevue Council member and Mayor. She’s a member of the Sound Transit Board and chair of the PSRC Transportation Policy Board. Balducci supported East Link to Bellevue and Redmond, has a deep knowledge of Eastside and regional transit issues, and recently has been an effective voice for the Eastside in shaping ST3. Jane Hague remains skeptical of ST3, emphasizing concerns about taxes and neighborhood impacts. Both have positive records on transit-oriented development.

City Council Races

Continue reading “STB 2015 General Election Endorsements: Suburban Races”

2015 General Election Endorsements: Seattle

In today’s installment, we present our endorsements in Seattle City Council and County Council races. In most cases, this is a rehash of our Primary Endorsements, albeit with a substantially different editorial committee. As always, our endorsements solely reflect the candidate’s positions and record on transit and land use.

Longtime readers know our core positions well: in favor of transit investment, concentration of resources into high-quality corridors, upzones, and pedestrian and bicycle access improvements. We are also skeptical of taxes on development, parking minimums, and the assumption that all parts of the region must be cheap and easy to access with a car.

Kohl Welles PhotoCounty Council, District 4: A 25-year veteran of the State Legislature, first in the House and since 1994 in the Senate, Jeanne Kohl-Welles has basically sound views on transportation. She explicitly identifies with outgoing Councilmember Larry Phillips, who is on the right side of issues more often than not. If opponent Rufe Orr has any views on transportation at all, they aren’t obviously accessible on the internet.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 8.36.07 AMDistrict 1: Shannon Braddock was noncommittal in our July endorsement interview, contributing to our “no endorsement” in the crowded District 1 primary. But with only two candidates, the differences have come into focus. Ms. Braddock shows all signs of being in the center-left Constantine/Murray block that is making great progress across the spectrum of transportation and housing for all walks of life. Opponent Lisa Herbold wants to delay some proposed upzones and is apparently unconcerned about potential policy impacts on further market-rate construction.*

Bruce HarrellDistrict 2: Bruce Harrell has a difficult record on urbanist issues. His past has “people are going to drive” dog-whistle quotes, and in his current term he was the only vote against the desperately needed North Rainier Rezone. But recently he’s been a great Vision Zero advocate, helping lead the charge to rechannelize Rainier Ave S even if it slows people’s drives. He’s fallen in with the Mayor’s consensus on transit and land use, and defers to SDOT on service allocation policy (a good thing).

We’re concerned, based on past form, that Harrell may be telling us what we want to hear, so it’s a shame his main opponent, Tammy Morales, has some unsound transit ideas. Her answer to the station access problem is public park & rides and circulator routes — an expensive waste of land and a discredited planning idea, respectively.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 8.38.35 AMDistrict 3: In a disappointing race, we are switching our endorsement to Kshama Sawant. Though Ms. Sawant’s overall approach to land use and housing policy is deeply distressing – indifferent to deterring market-rate housing and demonizing developers instead of recognizing them as crucial to alleviating the housing shortage – she is also the loudest and most consistent voice for much needed public housing development. Fortunately, the centerpiece of her housing agenda, rent control, has almost no chance of becoming law. And that’s a good thing, as rent control has had perverse consequences for housing supply almost everywhere it has been tried.

On the other hand, Ms. Sawant has been a reliable pro-transit vote and a strong supporter of people walking and biking. While she is fond of criticizing the funding source of many measures, in the end she realizes that an imperfectly funded transit measure is better that no measure at all.

Meanwhile, despite earning our primary endorsement, opponent Pamela Banks has strongly disappointed us recently, saying neighborhoods should determine transportation priorities in Move Seattle, claiming bike lanes and road diets are “causing gridlock and havoc in our neighborhoods”, and incorrectly criticizing SDOT for a lack of public outreach, saying projects are happening “to us, not for us.” District 3 needs forward-thinking transportation more than most, so this balkanized and reactionary attitude is unacceptable.

Rob JohnsonDistrict 4: Rob Johnsonlongtime friend of the blog, is absolutely committed to transportation projects that provide alternatives to driving alone and has earned our endorsement. He understands the macro-implications of micro-decisions about pedestrian access and parking concessions. He understands that a denser city is both necessary and desirable, and is willing to subordinate other goals to that imperative. He understands the details and can therefore check on implementation. Importantly, we are confident he can turn principles into policy given his excellent working relationships with most regional transportation leaders.

Opponent Michael Maddux is a great candidate who is unfortunately running against the very best. We’re skeptical of his call for agency consolidation, and he doesn’t quite have Johnson’s command of transportation detail, but these are nitpicks. He would earn our endorsement in another district.

Continue reading “2015 General Election Endorsements: Seattle”

STB 2015 General Election Endorsements: Measures

This November, there are two ballot measures targeted directly at improvements in the region’s bus systems. One of them will also make a significant contribution to safe nonmotorized transportation. Both of them are decidedly worth your vote if you live in either jurisdiction.

7 New RapidRide+ Corridors
7 New RapidRide+ Corridors

YES on Move Seattle. It would be tedious to recite every benefit that the Move Seattle plan will bring the City. But the heart of the measure is seven new Bus Rapid Transit corridors, dubbed “RapidRide+”:

  • Mount Baker to UW via 23rd Ave
  • Ballard to UW via Market and 45th
  • Downtown-Madison Valley via Madison Street
  • Downtown-Rainier Beach via Rainier
  • Downtown-White Center via Delridge
  • Downtown-Northgate via Eastlake and Roosevelt
  • Downtown-Northgate via Fremont, Ballard, and Crown Hill

Metro has tried to deliver rapid buses in the past, with mixed success, but the true ability of buses to bypass traffic is up to the cities that own the right of way. We’re glad to see that Seattle is stepping up. Current struggles with the First Hill Streetcar and the Seawall notwithstanding, SDOT has a good record with project delivery: Bridging the Gap did most of what it promised during a massive economic downturn.

Rail skeptics are fond of pointing out that bus investments can deliver much of the quality of rail much more cheaply. We’re interested to see which of those skeptics, now presented with a measure largely focused on high-quality bus service, manage to show up for this measure, and which will find yet another excuse to oppose spending money on transit.

Even if you’re as excited about rail as we are, buses will always be an important part of our transit system, no matter how many trains we build. Move Seattle will bring decent transit service to areas where rail is not on the horizon, and build momentum towards a city where a car is not a necessity for most people.

We also strongly support the levy’s funding of Graham Street Link station, the Northgate Pedestrian Bridge,  Vision Zero, Bicycle Master Plan implementation, the long overdue retrofit of Mount Baker Station, and rechannelizations of hostile arterials such as Aurora, Rainier, and Lake City Way.

Opponents of Move Seattle such as the Seattle Times argue both that the package is too big and yet not nearly enough, and that it caters to “City Hall’s urbanist-at-all-costs agenda” instead of benefiting drivers. They argue that the new districted city council members should decide which projects in their district deserve city funding–unhelpfully dividing what should be an integrated network into parochial fiefdoms. The reality is that large, necessary projects shouldn’t be subject to such whims, as the best projects connect districts and share benefits between them. Others complain that the project list has flexibility build into it. But of course the project list is flexible—a nine-year levy must be able to adjust for future needs, seek opportunities for grants and matching funds, and negotiate with communities and public process along the way. Move Seattle deserves your vote.

CT MeasureYES on Community Transit Prop 1. Because Seattle isn’t doing nearly enough to accept newcomers, it is inevitable that much of the region’s growth will occur in South Snohomish County. The only plausible way to preserve mobility alongside that growth is a convenient, frequent bus system, available when you need it.

Community Transit’s Prop 1 will add frequency, increase span of service, build two Bus Rapid Transit Lines (SWIFT II and III), fully integrate their system into Link at Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, and add new suburban connections between Marysville, Snohomish, and Mill Creek. And this will all cost the average resident about $2.75 a month. With Link likely to either terminate in Lynnwood or hug I-5 for most of its path to Everett, bus service will be indispensable in delivering people to Link at a scale that Park & Rides cannot match.

The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Zach Shaner, Erica C. Barnett, and Dan Ryan. It serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors.

Editorial: Our Recommended Changes to the ST3 PPL

The Sound Transit Board is poised to finalize the ST3 Priority Project List (PPL) on Thursday. When creating a ballot measure in 2016, the Board will draw from the PPL, and only from the PPL. While alignment and station details are not final at this stage, the importance of this list is obvious.

The Seattle Transit Blog Board recommends that Sound Transit make the following changes to the draft PPL. We understand that many tough choices are ahead, but Sound Transit should work from the best project list it can. We believe the changes below will help get there.

  • Add BRT along the ERC from Totem Lake to Bellevue/Seattle: The PPL includes a range of investment for most corridors, including at-grade, elevated, or tunneled alignments. Oddly, BRT along the Eastside Rail Corridor (ERC) is not in the PPL despite clear requests for its addition by the City of Kirkland. ST’s study shows that BRT has the same ridership as Link in the same corridor for less cost. Moreover, buses will have an easier time leaving the ERC where it misses key population centers. This project should include both the purple and blue lines from BRISK.
  • Add Bellevue College Connector and NE 6th Street Projects: These projects provide critical building blocks for a more efficient and integrated transit system. Sound Transit shouldn’t be the sole financier of these projects — the City of Bellevue and Metro need to share responsibility — but Sound Transit has a role in access to HCT, and ought to contribute.
  • Add a Center Platform at International District-Chinatown Station: Adding a center platform will allow for easy “cross-platform” transfers between Central Link and East Link. It may even increase the LRT system’s eventual maximum peak throughput capacity. Now is the time to fix this issue. ST engineers insist they need a turnback track there. We believe that is the poorest use of that valuable space, and that wyes would be both faster and avoid single points of failure for the system.
  • Expand the Scope of the Northern Lake HCT Study: While this study will provide valuable information for a possible ST4/5, we believe it should expand to look at near- and mid-term improvements to cross-lake travel. This would include UW Station bus-rail integration, SR 520 HOV improvements, and an SR 520-to-SLU transit pathway. These additions will go a long way to ensure this study provides near-term benefits.
  • Add BRT from UW to Redmond: Route 545 is Sound Transit’s second-highest-ridership express route, yet there are no improvements to it in the PPL. The PPL includes improvements to other high ridership routes like routes 512, 522 and 554. Sound Transit needs to do right by the riders that pack route 545 (542 in the future) and identify BRT-level improvements, especially since route 542 will continue to be time competitive with East Link during non-peak periods.
  • Remove LRT from Lynnwood TC to Everett Station via Southwest Everett Industrial Center: While the Board has different priorities than us when it comes to Link’s routing, and the City of Everett’s input is not helpful, the Paine Field alignment has self-evident critical flaws. Paine Field produces no net gain in riders over an I-5/SR99 alignment, for $200m-300m in added cost, while even the SR99 alignment will challenge Snohomish County’s fiscal capacity. Although there are many jobs at Paine Field both today and in the future, for many different employers, they will be scattered over a wide area and will require connecting buses to serve them anyway. Those connecting buses may as well come from an SR99 station as one on- site. We believe that Swift II would be an appropriate alternate investment, with CT participation, for a quality connection between Paine Field employers and the Link system.

The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Frank Chiachiere, and Brent White.

Call for Suggestions in Other Races

Last week, STB unveiled its 2015 city council primary endorsements. This was the first time we had gone through such an extensive interview process before making endorsements. We don’t have plans to do any more interviews, or make further endorsements, in the primary election. That doesn’t mean the rest of the ballot isn’t important.

So, we are calling for suggestions from our readers as to who we should vote for in other races. Please stick to candidates’ positions on transportation and land use.

Discuss.

Fundraising Drive: Last Call

It’s getting to the end of the month, and this is the last time you’ll hear from us asking to support our first annual fundraising drive. In our last ask, we challenged the community to get us to 100 donors, and you delivered!  We now have over 100 donors to STB, which is both inspiring and humbling. So thank you.

This week we dropped our city council endorsements.  It was a crowded field this year, surely due in part to district elections.  For the first time, we sat and met with most of the major candidates in person, to hear first hand their priorities for the myriad transit and land use issues facing the city.  It was a revealing week for us, with some truly impressive candidates in districts where we did not expect them.

We want to do more of this kind of in-person, first-hand reporting and analysis in the year to come, and we’ll get there with your help.  We’re almost 2/3 of the way to our goal, and we can make it there by July 31 with your help.  Will 50 more readers step up and get us over the hump?  We’re counting on you.  Thanks in advance.




2015 Seattle City Council Primary Endorsements

Here are Seattle Transit Blog’s endorsements for Seattle City Council in the August primary. As always, our endorsements solely reflect the candidate’s positions and record on transit and land use.

Longtime readers know our core positions well: in favor of transit investment, concentration of resources into high-quality corridors, upzones, and pedestrian and bicycle access improvements. We are also skeptical of taxes on development, parking minimums, and the assumption that all parts of the region must be cheap and easy to access with a car.

District 1 No endorsement. None of the candidates we interviewed particularly stood out. Brianna Thomas had some good values but doesn’t seem to have a good concept for how to manage the bus network. Shannon Braddock has thought through the set of policy proposals currently before the City, but doesn’t seem to have made up her mind about what other policies Seattle needs. Lisa Herbold has neither problem, but we’re concerned that her concerns about displacement will do too much to discourage development. We’re hopeful that at least one of these candidates will make it to the general election and refine their positions.

Bruce HarrellDistrict 2 Bruce Harrell has a difficult record on urbanist issues. His past has “people are going to drive” dog-whistle quotes, and in his current term he was the only vote against the desperately needed North Rainier Rezone. But recently he’s been in front of the push to rechannelize Rainier even if it slows people’s drives. He’s fallen in with the Mayor’s consensus on transit and land use, and defers to SDOT on service allocation policy (a good thing).

We’re concerned, based on past form, that Harrell may be telling us what we want to hear, so it’s a shame his main opponent, Tammy Morales, has some unsound transit ideas. Her answer to the station access problem is public park & rides and circulator routes — an expensive waste of land and a discredited planning idea, respectively.

District 3 Pamela BanksPamela Banks is the best of a weak field in District 3. She seems the most welcoming of density’s benefits and supports focusing resources in certain bus corridors.  On the subject of parking, she had the interesting idea of a city inventory of loading zones and looked favorably upon Portland’s approach to expanding paid parking hours in entertainment districts, while at the same time expressing unfortunate skepticism about the merits of lowering parking minimums.  Finally, her experience as a liaison to the Mayor’s office during Central Link construction gave her a unique insight into how to make capital investments that are sensitive to surrounding communities, a skill that will be in demand if ST3 passes next fall.

Rob JohnsonDistrict 4: Rob Johnsonlongtime friend of the blog, is absolutely committed to transportation projects that provide alternatives to driving alone and has earned our endorsement. He understands the macro-implications of micro-decisions about pedestrian access and parking concessions. He understands that a denser city is both necessary and desirable, and is willing to subordinate other goals to that imperative. He understands the details and can therefore check on implementation. Importantly, we are confident he can turn principles into policy given his excellent working relationships with most regional transportation leaders.

Among his opponents, Michael Maddux is a great candidate who is unfortunately running against the very best. We’re skeptical of his call for agency consolidation, and he doesn’t quite have Johnson’s command of transportation detail, but these are nitpicks. We wish he were running in a different race. Jean Godden has a poor record on the council and is out of touch with the dense-living, transit-riding generation.

District 5:  Mercedes ElizaldeMercedes Elizalde was the best of a surprisingly strong District 5 field. She embraces density, including market-rate, and understands that commercial activity makes places vibrant. Her position as a nonprofit developer helps her understand its implementation details, crucial for a regulator. We asked almost every candidate about their bus service allocation principles, and Elizalde was the only one who emphasized transit should serve density, existing and planned. It was the best answer in any race.

Mike O'BrienDistrict 6: Mike O’Brien has been an urbanist favorite on transportation and land use for his entire political career. He is a deep thinker on transit issues, a good presence on the Sound Transit board, and willing to stand up to the SOV lobby to allow others to safely share the road. On land use, we are increasingly concerned about his statements about preserving the ‘character’ of single-family neighborhoods and opposing additional density there. Also troublesome are recent gestures toward needlessly restricting the number of units, or paying for affordable housing by adding costs to new housing supply.

Sally BagshawDistrict 7: Sally Bagshaw has been a reliable vote for transit projects and has a welcoming attitude to growth.

“District” 8 (at-large) Tim BurgessTim Burgess may be the purest urbanist of the 47 candidates this cycle: he seems to take it personally when Seattle misses an opportunity for more dense housing and workplaces. He unequivocally supports the great transportation and housing initiatives moving forward today. He even talked in depth about Donald Shoup in our endorsement interview, a detail that set our hearts aflutter.

Among his opponents, John Roderick, a very promising newcomer, has the right values for the city council. He would be an easy pick if he’d been in a number of other races. We’d like to see him further develop his policy preferences in the space between measures currently close to the ballot and aggressive rail plans that are unworkable in the near to medium term. Jon Grant is deeply skeptical of the market-rate development that is the broadest component of any plausible solution to the housing shortage.

Lorena Gonzalez“District” 9 (at-large) Lorena Gonzalez is a middle-of-the-pack candidate on our issues. She supports the excellent Move Seattle and HALA proposals. She also happens to be running against the worst of the serious council contenders. Bill Bradburd is a leader of the reactionary anti-development activists, eager to pull up the drawbridge to newcomers, and opposed to Mayor Murray’s sensible proposals on both transportation and housing.

The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Frank Chiachiere, and Brent White, with valued input from the rest of the staff. Special thanks to Zach Shaner and Erica C. Barnett, especially, for their help with this process.

Fundraising Update: Week 2

south bellevue station renderings

A million thanks to everyone who already gave to our fundraising drive.  Thanks to your generosity, we’re over 1/3 of the way towards our $10,000 goal.  Over 70 of you have donated already, in numbers small and large.  So thank you.

Several of you have generously done recurring monthly donations as well, which is fantastic.  A few dollars a month goes a long way.  For those who haven’t given yet, we hope you’ll consider doing so by the end of the month.  We want to move on hiring our reporter and getting the ball rolling in August. Every little bit helps.

We’re not generally ones for horn-tooting, but here’s a really nice quote from Bellevue Councilmember John Chelminak, on the occasion of David Lawson’s investigation into Bellevue’s Transit Master Plan:

After reassurances from staff that the city wouldn’t move forward with a running project without the most up-to-date ridership projections, the council approved the transit master plan unanimously.

If you can convince the Seattle Transit Blog you’ve done really good work on transit, you have,” said Councilmember John Chelminiak.

Can we get to 100 donors this week? It’s up to you!  Thanks in advance for your support.





Announcing Our First Fundraising Drive

Link 155 at SODO Station
Photo by SounderBruce on Flickr

For over 8 years, Seattle Transit Blog has been an independent, award-winning resource for helping tens of thousands of people in our region understand and take action on local transportation issues.

In addition to providing a top-notch community for enthusiasts, we’ve helped push real policy changes around the region, including ST2, expanding ORCA access, transit-oriented re-zoning, and operational improvements to bus service. Now it’s time to take our work to the next level. Today we’re announcing a fundraising drive to hire a paid part-time reporter to augment our all-volunteer staff, and we need your help.

Between now and the end of 2016, our region will face a series of critical choices – how to expand bus service, where to build light rail, and what role the city should play in funding capital and operations. There will be public votes on Move Seattle Forward, a housing levy and, as of this week, Sound Transit expansion.

We want to give our readers a view into the coming months and years like only STB can. We want to help you make informed decisions about where to live, what to ride, and how to participate in the public debate. You’ll be on the front lines with us as we look at infrastructure projects, talk to elected officials, weigh the pros and cons of new transit service, and think about how our growing region should move over the next 20 years.

Our reporter will:

  • Cover public hearings and events that we all can’t get to, keeping you up to date with what’s happening and how to take action.
  • Provide in-depth coverage of the maze of new transit spending coming up, from Move Seattle to Sound Transit 3 to expanded Seattle bus service.
  • Interview top officials to get more of your questions and ideas in front of key decision makers
  • Cover the transformational changes coming to the suburbs along with light rail, from Federal Way to Lynnwood to Bellevue

Our current volunteer staff isn’t going away. This new reporter will amp up our current efforts. It’s STB, but more.

Please consider giving to our campaign using the donate button below. All donors will receive a monthly insider newsletter, letting you know what we’re working on and what’s coming in the future.

It’s an exciting time to be thinking and talking about Seattle’s transit future, and we hope you’ll support us for the ride.





Continue reading “Announcing Our First Fundraising Drive”

Senate Ransoms Transit; House Voting Today

Less than 10 hours after the public received details about the state legislature’s transportation package, the Senate approved it. By the time you read this, the House’s vote will be imminent. Governor Inslee is a party to the deal and unlikely to veto any section of it. We’re not ones to lament lack of process — a good bill is a good bill even without public comment, and a bad one is bad even with it — but the lack of time to even digest the legislation, much less mobilize around it, is breathtaking.

We’re left with only the opportunity to reflect on what is about to become law. The basic highway/transit tradeoff was probably inevitable, because our allegedly climate-focused Governor either doesn’t grasp or doesn’t care about the link between highways and carbon emissions, and therefore fought hard for the highways. We were ready to grudgingly accept that deal, partly because some of the highway projects were at least defensible from a transit advocate’s perspective. But the additional stipulations are too onerous to accept.

First, there’s a further $500m subsidy of drivers by taking tax revenue from the general fund — from schools, state parks, health care, social services, public safety and all the other things the State does — and give it to WSDOT through a new sales tax exemption.

To raise the Sound Transit 3 revenue authority from $11 billion to $15 billion, the State will claim over $500m of that ST revenue, intended for transit, in addition to having Sound Transit forfeit virtually all state grants (already pathetically behind other urbanized states). So this last $4 billion of taxes will purchase perhaps $3 billion of transit. The $500m replaces the $500m WSDOT exemption, a barely obscured transfer of regional transit funds to statewide highways.

And then there’s the provision banning low-carbon fuel standards, which shows that Senate Republicans care so little about non-car modes of transportation that they will gleefully use its funding as a hostage.

In the short term, there’s little we can do about these bills. Perhaps there will be an initiative or referendum to target one or more package elements. A good target would be SSB 5990, the sales tax exemption, a straight giveaway to construction contractors and to WSDOT, the single state agency doing the most to aggravate the climate problems that are already damaging our state’s economy, at the expense of everything else the State does to serve its citizens.

The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Frank Chiachiere, and Brent White.

November 2014 Election Endorsements

Here are STB’s endorsements for the November election. We’ve already written about our support for Seattle Transportation Proposition 1 (more bus service) and rejection of Seattle Citizen Petition 1 (monorail planning).

As always, our endorsements are entirely the product of a candidate’s positions and record on transit and land use. We endorse only in races where one candidate has exceptional strengths or exceptional weaknesses relative to their opponent.

The editorial board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Frank Chiachiere, Matthew Johnson, and Brent White.

State Senate

Marko Liias
Marko Liias

21st District: Sen. Marko Liias has long been an ardent transit advocate, as Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee, and now on the Senate Transportation Committee. He was the lone voice of firm opposition on the committee when Sen. Bob Hasegawa sponsored his ridiculous bill to force Sound Transit to subsidize car ownership around train stations. If retained, Liias would be in an excellent position to replace retiring Sen. Tracey Eide as the top Democrat on the Senate Transportation Committee.

Pramila Jayapal

37th District: In Seattle races, almost everyone is for transit funding and the real discriminator is land use. Pramila Jayapal, running for the seat of the retiring Adam Kline, had the right answer on the crucially important North Rainier rezone. Her opponent didn’t.

Matt Isenhower
Matt Isenhower

45th District: Matt Isenhower told us he supports expanded ST3 authority for Sound Transit.  He also wants to increase the share of the state transportation budget spent on public transit, since our state is  near worst in the nation on state transit funding. His opponent has ignored multiple opportunities to tell us his position on transportation issues. As one of the few possible Democratic pickups this year, this race could determine if ST3 is on the ballot in 2016.

Cyrus Habib

48th District: Rep. Cyrus Habib was one of the rare state legislators who endorsed King County Proposition 1 last spring. In fact, he campaigned pretty hard for it. Now, he is running for the state senate seat being vacated by Sen. Rodney Tom. For Habib, transit isn’t just an issue. It’s an essential part of daily living. There is nothing like having a bus rider in the senate to put transit front and center, and Mr. Habib can make the case in business terms that many senators understand.

State House

Jake Fey
Jake Fey

27th, Pos. 2: Rep. Jake Fey was a positive voice on both the Pierce Transit and Sound Transit Boards while in other elected positions. He is too enthusiastic about extending Highway 167, but that is understandable for a Tacoma Representative. Most importantly, we expect him to be the most effective advocate for ST3 from Pierce County.

Joe Fitzgibbon
Joe Fitzgibbon

34th, Pos. 2: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon wrote a piece on transit following the defeat of King County Proposition 1 this past spring. He led the fight on Governor Inslee’s climate change task force to include transportation in any carbon pricing scheme. He has worked hard to make sure Washington’s regional mobility grants go to the projects that rank highest according to objective criteria, rather than spread around to well-connected rural districts where neither need for transit nor acceptance of taxes is as great.

Jessyn Farrell

46th, Pos. 2: Rep. Jessyn Farrell is a Transportation Choices Coalition veteran who remains engaged on local transportation issues, such as the selection of new SDOT director Scott Kubly. She is a reliable vote to support alternatives to the car. More importantly, she is one of three vice chairs of the House Transportation Committee.

Ross Hunter

48th, Pos. 1: Rep. Ross Hunter has a reputation as a numbers guy, and that aptitude leads him to understand the geometry that demands both more density and more transit investment. His opponent is running to “expose” the “debacle” of light rail.

Joan McBride
Joan McBride

48th, Pos. 2: Joan McBride mentions funding transit and fighting climate change as priorities in her voters’ guide statement. Her opponent mentions neither, but running as a libertarian is a poor indicator on both issues. She is well-connected to the Eastside leaders that will be telling her that ST3 is a high priority for Eastside communities.

Vote No on Seattle Citizen Petition 1 (New Monorail Agency)

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It’s not very often that Seattle Transit Blog recommends rejection of a proposal to devote more resources to transit. Indeed, some board members voted for one or more of the monorail’s previous measures. However, the latest incarnation, “Seattle Citizen Petition 1,” attempts to address a real transportation need with a measure that is redundant, technically flawed, and that takes unnecessary organizational risks.

The petition, which would levy a $5 license fee to fund planning of a line between Ballard and West Seattle, is duplicative of recent Sound Transit efforts in the exact same corridor. Worse yet, the monorail plan would exclude promising underground options and alternative alignments like Ballard-UW.

These shortcomings lead to real technical problems. One reason that Sound Transit continually converges on underground alignments through dense cities is the intense opposition that elevated segments generate. Previous monorail plans never really solved this problem, and the current one envisions bypassing major activity centers and transit hubs downtown by traveling along the waterfront, a steep climb they hope to bridge with an added transfer to some other, unspecified, elevated technology, with the attendant transfer penalties and further political fights over elevated guideway.

The historical record suggests that new agencies running complicated capital projects will experience serious problems. Sound Transit had buy-in from local leaders and survived, but the Seattle Monorail Project did not, and didn’t.  Petition 1 will needlessly set up a new organization to learn the same hard lessons, and has not cultivated a broad base of support to get it through the tough times. The campaign is promising unrealistically short timetables, as if they are somehow immune to the Seattle process that afflicts every other public works project. Finally, the campaign rhetoric is very much in opposition to Sound Transit and the rest of the political establishment, which bodes ill for the joint planning and scheduling that creates a well-integrated transit system.

This measure’s probability of developing a high-quality transit line is virtually nil. Citizen Petition 1 is a waste of resources that distracts from much more promising and better-developed approaches to solve a real transportation problem. Vote No.

The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Frank Chiachiere, Matthew Johnson, and Brent White.

Vote Yes on Transportation Proposition 1

Seattle needs more bus service. Prop 1 will deliver it.

Yes for BusesSeattle is booming. According to the latest census forecasts, Seattle is now the fastest-growing large city in America.  Between 2000 and 2014, we added almost 80,000 residents inside the city limits. Judging by all the construction cranes dotting the skyline, we’re nowhere near finished.

Yet despite the population growth, bus service in Seattle hasn’t expanded significantly in years. King County Metro tried twice to expand service over the last 15 years. Each time, unfortunately, an economic recession forced the agency to pull back, leaving service levels basically where they were in the ’90s. This September, Metro was in fact forced to cut service when various post-recession stopgaps finally ran out.

It should come as no surprise, then, that many buses are packed. On the most popular routes, buses are frequently so crowded that they have to leave passengers at the stop. After 7pm, many Seattle buses are infrequent. This makes things difficult for folks who work nights and weekends, or who just want to ride the bus for something other than commuting to work. Meanwhile, volatile tax revenue and years of crisis have diverted staff focus from improving the system.

This November, Seattle residents will have an opportunity to finally address some of the system’s problems instead of play defense. Seattle Transportation Proposition 1 would raise approximately $45m per year inside the city through a sales tax increase and a vehicle license fee, both expiring by 2021. Low-income residents would get a partial rebate on the license fee. This new revenue would translate to about 260,000 hours of new bus service per year if there are no further King County cuts.

Initially, this fall’s Transportation Prop 1 was conceived as yet another last-minute effort to save existing service.  Fortunately, thanks to yet more belt-tightening at the agency and an improving economic climate, Transportation Prop 1 would instead expand service and improve reliability on dozens of Seattle’s core bus routes. More peak trips would be added to several routes, while others would see more service in the evenings and weekends. The legislation contains clear language that prevents Metro from using Seattle money elsewhere in the County.

Prop 1 isn’t perfect. We would prefer a countywide solution, but voters rejected that in April. Unfortunately, the money can only be spent on bus service, not on capital improvements like improving bus stations or adding new bus lanes. You will find no greater advocates for these projects than us, but we recognize that other measures can address these needs, and meanwhile demand for service is large.

A growing city needs a growing transit network. Proposition 1 provides the additional service the bus system needs.

The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Frank Chiachiere, Matthew Johnson, and Brent White.

Call for Endorsements

Once again, the STB editorial board is considering its endorsements for the November election. If you have any recommendations in non-obvious races or ballot measures anywhere in the Puget Sound region, please share them in the comments.

As always, the board only evaluates the candidates’ positions on transit and land use, so limit your comments to those issues. Furthermore, links go much farther than unsubstantiated assertions.

Moving Forward on I-118

Seattle Transit Blog is eager to see Mayor Murray’s Metro plan, and open to the idea that it may be superior to the text of Initiative 118. However, we see no reason not to gather signatures for I-118 in the meantime. We simply cannot afford to wait for an alternative to develop, as Keep Seattle Moving must turn in 21,000 valid signatures from registered Seattle voters by early June.

Collecting signatures doesn’t necessarily mean the Initiative will be on the ballot. Ben Schiendelman, former STB staff writer and the spokesperson for Keep Seattle Moving, has told us that if the Mayor or City Council come up with a better solution they will drop I-118 and instead support that effort. We hope that the city does come up with a great solution. But until they do we need to keep working for I-118. As the $15 Now campaign has shown, the threat of a strong initiative can be a powerful tool for getting a superior final product.

In the next few days we will have an in-depth look at the benefits and weaknesses of I-118, and as soon as we have been able to digest the Mayor’s proposal we will do the same for it. But if Seattle wants to have the chance to chose the better of two options, we have to have two options. So go download the petition and start collecting signatures

The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Matthew Johnson, and Frank Chiachiere.