Open Thread: Priorities

Matt Driscoll writes about the political dangers of struggling transit projects.

The mission of Trailhead Direct has changed slightly ($).

I-5 traffic will be re-routed onto and off of Montlake Boulevard this weekend, likely slowing down the 48, 255, 271 and 542.

Sound Transit report mentions cost overruns for West Seattle, along with other issues.

Alon Levy writes that local representation on public transit planning boards is bad.

Sound Transit staff has recommended prioritizing Lynnwood light rail service over an East Link “starter line” in recent board committee meetings.

Stride bus projects slip further behind, while locals don’t like street widening. Converting a general purpose lane to a bus-lane would save money, speed up the project, and eliminate the need to widen the street. I guess that is too obvious a solution.

This is an open thread.

News Roundup: The Standard Hand-Wringing

Central Link O&M Facility (posted by Gordon Werner)

This is an open thread.

News Roundup: Rail Funds

Restored King Street Station Ceiling (Oran)

This is an open thread.

News Roundup: A Slow Week

Photo by caseyrs77

This is an open thread.

News Roundup: Mainly PubliCola

photo by papahazama

This is an open thread.

Sunday Open Thread: Viaduct Inspection

Publicola’s Dan Bertolet, with the quote of the year so far:

Why has been such a struggle to make these things happen? For example, how can it be that in a state that has committed to a goal of reducing vehicle miles traveled by 50 percent by 2050, leaders are strong-arming no fewer than three multi-billion dollar car infrastructure mega-projects, when at the same time transit funding [is] perenially on the chopping block, and ped/bike plans can’t be implemented due to lack of funds?

News Roundup: 82% of U.S. Wants More Transit

This is an open thread.

News Roundup: $19.5 Billion from the General Fund

"Coming up to the Station," by flickr user natfoot.

This is an open thread.

News Roundup: Bike Edition

This was a very big news week for bikes. This is an open thread.

Sunday Open Thread: Moving through Metro

My hometown system…

[UPDATE: A few points I should have made yesterday:

  • It’s interesting to consider that DC decided to move forward on this system at about the same time Seattle rejected starting theirs.  The difference, I think, is an institutional setup where elected leaders make decisions, rather than one where they have to go to the ballot for (super-)majorities for nearly every budgetary decision.
  • DC has a similarly balkanized system: spanning two states and one-quasi state, WMATA runs the subway and some regional buses; then you have at least five county agencies running buses, and two different states running their own commuter trains.
  • Seattle Times editors: please count the newspapers in the video.]

News Roundup: City Government Ethics

Photo by Oran

This is an open thread.

Sunday Open Thread: Boondoggles

Sportswriter Joe Posnanski, a national treasure, does some deep thinking:

How long do you think the Yellow Brick Road was on the ballot before the people Of Oz and Munchkin Land actually voted for it? And, even more to the point, WHY did they vote for it? How in the world did THAT bond get passed? One, that road had to be ridiculously expensive to build. Yellow brick all the way from Oz to Munchkin Land? That’s really wasteful.

Second, was there even a need for this road? I would have to assume to that the Oz Anti-Tax groups opposed it. And those groups were right. Think about it: does Dorothy pass a single person the entire way to Oz? Even one? No. Not one person on a bicycle. From what I can tell, not one person commutes from Munchkin Land to Oz. Dorothy is passing scarecrows and rusted tin men and talking lions. But not another soul. There is absolutely no need for that road. And it certainly did not have to be made of yellow brick.

Third, what about loss of life in the road’s construction? The human cost. The feeling seems to be that about that about 20,000 people died building the Transcontinental Railroad. And that wasn’t opposed by two fairly violent witches, crazed monkeys and guards under a wicked spell. Plus the railroad had to wind through woods with lions, tigers, bears (oh my) and very angry trees who throw apples about as hard as Brian Bannister.

All in all, I think the Yellow Brick Road is the most wasteful and pointless public works projects ever.

Quote of the day, believe it or not…

Sen. Haugen (D-Camano Island)

This is somewhat paraphrased, but overheard on the Senate floor from Senate Transportation Chair Mary Margaret Haugen: “There is no one on the floor of this senate that has done more for transit than I have.”

Noting, of course, that the Regional Mobility Grant program Senate Transportation just stripped funding from was created by Senator Ed Murray…

I’m going to let this be an open thread tonight.