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Friday, April 20, 2007

Re: Fuck Earth Day

posted by on April 20 at 11:17 AM

Puget Sound-area travelers can do something different to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday: travel free by bus…. “Rather than drive alone in your vehicle, just hop on a bus that Sunday to shop, worship or run errands,” said King County Executive Ron Sims.

Earth to Ron Sims: Riding the bus sucks. Earth day, non-earth days (?), free, $1.25—the fucking bus sucks. There’s nothing celebratory about being stuck on a fucking bus.

People don’t ride public transit to be altruistic, do-gooders. They ride public transit to get from Point A to Point B. To compete with cars, Ron, public transit has to be faster, easier, and more reliable than driving. There’s a tiny number of smug, stupid assholes out there that will get on a bus because they get to say, “Hey, look at me! I’m saving the planet!” to themselves. And most of those assholes are already on the bus, content to sit in a pool of urine left on their seat by some bum that got on and off the bus in the downtown “ride free/rolling homeless shelter zone.”

If we want to get people out of their cars—and we do—then we need to build a mass transit system that’s faster and more convenient than driving. Guilt trips—excuse me, free trips—on Earth day ain’t gonna do it.

RSS icon Comments


My sentiments exactly - Amen! (not sure it's appropriate to say Amen when the title of the post is what is...oh well).

Posted by Sarah | April 20, 2007 11:22 AM

I've never been called a smug, stupid asshole before.

Posted by Otter | April 20, 2007 11:23 AM

Driving also sucks, but I guess if you point that out you're a smug, stupid asshole.

Posted by gfish | April 20, 2007 11:25 AM

True, but Sims has done a hell of a lot more to improve public transit than our lousy mayor.

Posted by DOUG. | April 20, 2007 11:27 AM

Well... getting to/from Downtown is certainly easier by bus than by car: I don't have to concern myself with parking.

As for the rest of town, sure, there could be something better. Any ideas on how to pay for something like that, Dan, given a competent system would probably cost $8-10 billion, and get it built in less than 15 years?

Posted by Gomez | April 20, 2007 11:32 AM

So, seriously, if I take the bus to a show or the grocery store or your mom's house or whatever rather than driving - despite the fact that it takes a bit longer - for no other reason than it's the environmentally responsible thing to do, that makes me a smug, stupid asshole? Awesome!

Posted by Levislade | April 20, 2007 11:34 AM

This is the typical bullshit response one comes to expect from the Stranger. No, it couldn't possibly be the Stranger writers that are the smug assholes here, it's got to be transit riders.

Posted by JMS | April 20, 2007 11:34 AM

when i want to be smug i ride a recumbent bicycle. with helmet mounted rear view mirror.

from my house to downtown, the 71 takes a fricking hour each way, if not longer depending on what subnormal is plodding on or off. it CRAWLS through the u-district & down 65th. its oftern as bad as the 7 up pine.

why the fuck am i going to take 2 hours out of my sunday & sit on the bus when i could drive my sweet ride & park for free?

Posted by maxsolomon | April 20, 2007 11:36 AM

when i want to be smug i ride a recumbent bicycle. with helmet mounted rear view mirror.

from my house to downtown, the 71 takes a fricking hour each way, if not longer depending on what subnormal is plodding on or off. it CRAWLS through the u-district & down 65th. its oftern as bad as the 7 up pine.

why the fuck am i going to take 2 hours out of my sunday & sit on the bus when i could drive my sweet ride & park for free?

Posted by maxsolomon | April 20, 2007 11:36 AM

I think we should send every Seattleite to live in SF, New York, Vancouver, Chicago, London, Berlin, Boston, D.C., Amsterdam, Paris, Moscow, Rome, Sydney, Hong Kong, Prague, Toronto, Montreal, Tokyo, Madrid, or Frankfurt to live for a year. When they got back there would be some political will to build a mass transit system.

Posted by Tiffany | April 20, 2007 11:38 AM

i agree with post #4. your anger at sims is thoroughly misplaced. maybe target our mayor and our governor?

Posted by Cook | April 20, 2007 11:40 AM

For this rant alone, I declare a 5-year moratorium on anyone at the Stranger saying even one syllable in favor of density. Even if the money magically appeared today, there would be no mass transit system for 20 years.

In Seattle in 2007, you either you walk, bike, ride the bus, or you’re a poseur.

Posted by Sid Vicious | April 20, 2007 11:40 AM

Sorry: You're only a smug, stupid asshole if you smile to yourself about the good you're doing. Should have made that clearer.

Posted by Dan Savage | April 20, 2007 11:41 AM

Check. I will make sure to frown on the bus from now on.

Posted by Levislade | April 20, 2007 11:42 AM

Oh shit, here I was going out of my way to ride the bus in order to show my support for the bus system and for the planet, but I guess I was just being dumb. Thanks for setting me straight, Dan! You're right, the buses do suck! They're full of, those nasty, awkward, ugly..what do you call them? Ah yes - other people. And until the city produces a sustainable, cheap, effective, and fast transit system, I'm back to driving by myself.

Posted by Viktor | April 20, 2007 11:44 AM

Uh.... yeah the bus sucks. But why is Sims so revered? I live and work in Seattle and honestly after living here for 12 years I have NEVER seen improvement in the service IN SEATTLE. The only service that is semi-workable is getting to downtown. Good luck getting to Magnolia from View Ridge/Sand Point on a Sunday afternoon.

Sims is seriously overrated for what he has done for Metro.

Posted by Just Me | April 20, 2007 11:46 AM

No, God forbid that Dan get off of his lazy, increasingly large ass and take the bus. No, we will not have mass transit in this town until Dan and Erica C. Barnett have private, gold-plated monorail cars that run directly from their houses to the Stranger office (with no stops so that all of those fucking cripples can't slow Erica down) and that have a spur line off to whatever sleazy bar Stranger staffers drink at.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | April 20, 2007 11:46 AM

Light rail construction is well under way. Regular service from Downtown to SeaTac Airport will begin in just two years. After some early missteps, the projects have begun coming in on time and under budget (as the always-clean audits PROVE). The taxes are reasonable and fair, in light of the benefits to the region. Thousands of GHG-emitting vehicles won’t be on the roads because of the transportation alternatives the agency is (and will be) providing. Executive Sims has been wonderful. We can build on the successes with ST2!

Posted by we_need_real_transit | April 20, 2007 11:59 AM

#5, #12. Yeah, it'll be expensive and take (gasp!) time to build! those are the same two reasons we didn't start in the 70s when signs of growth started suggesting it'd be a good idea. Now look where we are.
Just because it won't be free and instant to build mass transit doesn't mean we should give up on it.

Posted by steve | April 20, 2007 12:10 PM

i seem to recall the bus used to cost me $1.85. now it costs $1.25. that's progress.

Posted by infrequent | April 20, 2007 12:12 PM

Building transit is feasable. It can be done. It could have been done years ago. It was talked about decades ago.

Unfortunately it seems like Seattle's chances at building reasonable, universal mass transit on a reasonable timetable depend on shooting a few Northwest NIMBYs in the back of the head and bulldozing their houses.

Looks like China figured out how to do a few things. They also figured out how to deal with the Falun Gong.

Posted by Greyface | April 20, 2007 12:27 PM

What did China figure out, exactly? China is going to build 500 million cars in the next decade.

Posted by Fnarf | April 20, 2007 12:36 PM

In addition to arguements about building mass transit(light rail, monorail, etc) it's obvious that a blind, syphillitic meth addict has had a hand in laying out a lot of these bus routes. My sympathies go out to the previous poster who mentioned the 71, I used to have to take that bus all the time and it's a joke. It winds through view ridge late at night through an area that almost NEVER has any passengers go on or off.

Buses that go almost the same route, instead of being staggered every 15 minutes come at almost the exact same time so there's no chance of catching an alternate. This isn't due to delays, this is by design. If streamlining metro's bus system was a PRIORITY(and it could be streamlined in a grid city like this) it could be a much more painless experience. Maybe not quite as fast and "convenient" as driving but one wouldn't have to worry about parking and gas.

Also if you're worried about drunk, crazy homeless people, let's thank our great boomer forerunners that thought Ronald Reagan was such a great fucking idea.

Posted by Toilet Duck | April 20, 2007 12:38 PM

i think dan could perhaps use some ritalin when he takes the bus.

Posted by Harry Callahan | April 20, 2007 12:48 PM

The bus doesn't suck because of Ron Sims. It sucks because it's the bus. It's in traffic, only worse, because it has to stop all the time, and pull in and out of congested single lanes. Ironically, in a big flat car-built city with six-lane rectilinear streets everywhere, the bus isn't as bad. Here, it blows. It would still blow if they came every two minutes.

Posted by Fnarf | April 20, 2007 12:48 PM

"Unfortunately it seems like Seattle's chances at building reasonable, universal mass transit on a reasonable timetable depend on shooting a few Northwest NIMBYs in the back of the head and bulldozing their houses."

You go girl. But make sure you've got a whole lotta clips, and several thousand CAT D9's. Sixty-five per cent of Seattle's voters in 2005 said no to monorail.

Posted by oscar de la renter | April 20, 2007 12:59 PM

Dan, when was the last time you rode the bus? I've been a daily metro rider for the past 2 years and have never encountered piss puddles, shit-streaked seats or any other type of similar crudeness. What I have encountered, occasionally, is people who don't have great hygiene, people who become belligerent, people who do odd things or are generally unpleasant to be around. You know, things you encounter when you live in a city. These things will be present no matter how new/fast/pristine/elevated/submerged the mode of transit is. You live in a fucking city. Deal with it. Or walk. Or drive your fucking car 5 blocks to the store and stop bitching about the environment.

Posted by busrider | April 20, 2007 1:01 PM

Wouldn't a better way to show support for Earth Day be to stay home and read a book?

Posted by Mike of Renton | April 20, 2007 1:01 PM

I love taking my kids to Seattle Center via the bus, in part because of all the kooks from the Harborview stop.

I'm hoping that by seeing other sides of life in the city, my kids won't grow up to be selfish and thoughtless princesses. Judging from this post, Dan, sounds like you might similarly benefit from a few bus rides.

Posted by Sean | April 20, 2007 1:11 PM

There's much agreement that our current transit blows hard (count me as well). But, just how many of you who concur are among the 'No-No' surface-transit set w/ the Viaduct vote?
It is hard to buy into the black-white argument that all freeways = bad and transit/alterntives = good when the latter of these includes what we know about our present bad ol' Metro.
Perhaps more would take the leap of faith of the Sims/No-No crowd if we actually could experience a reliable, efficient transit system. Until then, already time-strapped people will rely on their cars to get from point A to B.

Posted by Madashell | April 20, 2007 1:12 PM


Most of us rely on cars to get to point A, B, C, D . . . X and Y. I haven't had a job in years near a train station, I don't live within walking distance of a train station . . . well, you get the point.

Posted by hybrid alternatives | April 20, 2007 1:19 PM

The bus takes 11 minutes to get from Montlake to downtown. Light rail will take 9 minutes.

The bus takes 33 minutes to get from downtown to the airport. Light rail will take 34 minutes.

We need to increase bus funding to modernize buses, increase the frequency of buses, add routes, and increase maintenance/cleaning. This will cost a fraction of light rail, would take more cars off the road, and provide service to areas that "rapid transit" will NEVER cover.

Modern buses (similar to the eastside commuter buses) are very similar in comfort and amenities as light rail will be. There just aren't enough of them (they are all standing room only during regular commute hours). These buses also avoid much of the traffic due to carpool lanes.

The only justification that I see for "rapid transit" over bus service is to avoid poor black people. Don't worry -- once we increase the number of buses, you won't have to sit by them.

Posted by jamier | April 20, 2007 1:25 PM
content to sit in a pool of urine left on their seat by some bum that got on and off the bus in the downtown “ride free/rolling homeless shelter zone.”

Yeah, because the mythical public transit system that Dan wants to build (ignoring such variables as topography and population density, factors that most rail advocates seem to be woefully ignorant of) will of course not have any homeless people on it (or cripples, or any other member of the public). And of course rail systems in other cities are miracles of modern cleanliness. Why I've seen people eating off the floor of the New York subway system, and the London tube is so clean that the train cars are often used for delicate surgical procedures requiring sterile conditions.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | April 20, 2007 1:32 PM

#32, try taking the 545 to Microsoft on a regular basis. It crawls along at a very very slow speed, and gets stuck for extremely long waits at the 405\520 interchange as well. If these are the "modern buses" that you speak of, then it's no different with the crap we put up with in the city. Contrast this to BART. I lived in SF and took BART to my job clear out in Pleasanton. It's about 3 times the distance from Capitol Hill to Microsoft but it got me there in about half the time. Oh and you actually had enough space to use a laptop or read the newspaper.

Posted by Tiffany | April 20, 2007 1:35 PM

32: I don't see too many carpool lanes on city arterials. I also seem to remember the intense "NO I-5 WEST" campaign the Aurora merchants ran to protest transit lanes on 99, which succeeded to the point even ST2 isn't going to complete them entirely. Removing traffic capacity and parking is as unpopular as kicking puppies.

Besides, buses become uneconomical to operate compared to rail when passenger loads increase. The Green Line route will be the big gap left in the rapid transit network when Link hits Northgate. Light rail in this corridor would pull 70k+ daily trips, which just isn't going to be feasible without dedicated bus lanes all the way. Sims wants em, but I'll believe Mayor McGreen will get that done when I sees it.

In short, a desire for rapid transit isn't racist, as long as accompanied with strict affordable housing mandates to go with the inevitable upzoning.

Posted by Some Jerk | April 20, 2007 2:03 PM

jamier: The bus takes 11 minutes to get from Montlake to downtown. Light rail will take 9 minutes.

U District-to-downtown bus ride: 20-22 minutes.

U District-to-downtown light rail ride: six minutes.

Jamier, I know you think Seattle is still some godforsaken backwater where you can get taken seriously with a "'modern' buses are better than light rail" argument, but at least present information that comes close to resembling the truth.

Posted by cressona | April 20, 2007 2:22 PM

Perspective from the "heartland" (I hate that term):

Back in the early 90s, the MetroLink was built in St. Louis. One line, from downtown to the airport. It cost god-knows-how-much, took forever, and fifteen years later, they added a second line. It is better than nothing, but ultimately not much has changed. Traffic still sucks, and god forbid a third line be added.

The parallel here is in an area with so many opposing viewpoints, nothing effectively can be accomplished. If y'all want a respectable mass transit system, you will have to get everyone on board and be realistic about the cost, etc. Otherwise, you'll end up like The Lou.

Posted by Mike in MO | April 20, 2007 2:27 PM

Gee, I rode the bus to Pioneer Square last night, and I encountered none of the things Dan described. No wonder I wasn't smiling - I wuzrobbed of the Full Mass Transit Experience!

I agree that the transit system here, especially connecting areas not right next to downtown, needs drastic improvement, and that Sunday's promotional event isn't going to change anyone's mind or get them out of their cars. But is it really better to be a smug stupid asshole who gets offended that the city is offering a day of free transit they're not required to participate in than a smug stupid asshole who feels they are saving the world by braving the bus with not-always-desirable riders?

Posted by genevieve | April 20, 2007 2:34 PM


Part of the problem with the 545 is that the traffic leaving 520 for 405 at the interchange blocks the HOV lane as it crosses over, creating a bottleneck. It would help to have the HOV lane in the middle of the highway, perhaps with some of those left-side transit exits that are going up on 405. I don't think there's much room, though. If ST is serious about 520 as a BRT corridor, they'll fix this, even if it means displacing a general traffic lane.

Buses will never be as useful as rail, but with transit-centered highway upgrades, they could be a hell of a lot better.

Posted by Cascadian | April 20, 2007 2:38 PM

EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson is talking about earth day over at at Ask the White House.

Posted by raindrop | April 20, 2007 2:40 PM

Sims has obviously never ridden the bus on a Sunday.

Posted by Brian | April 20, 2007 3:15 PM

Shut up, Dan. The bus is just fine. And I posted about this yesterday.

Posted by annie | April 20, 2007 3:32 PM

What an elitist, snotty, smug post. Hope you regret writing it as much as I regret reading it.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | April 20, 2007 4:02 PM

Get rid of the ride free area. It's a bus, not a homeless shelter.

Posted by elswinger | April 20, 2007 4:44 PM

A SLOG poll: Who's a bigger asshole and hypocrite at the Stranger on the issue of mass transit?

A) Erica "I was 20 minutes late for work this morning because they let a handicapped passenger in a wheelchair on my bus. They shouldn't do that because I'm an important little diva and really need to get to work at the Stranger on time so I can do whatever it is that I do there" Barnett.


B. Dan "I'll use mass transit when it's as easy and convenient as my car, goes from wherever I am to wherever I want to go as quickly as my car will take me. Will not require me to actually sit next to anyone, just like when I'm driving my car. Until then I'm going to whine like a bitch every chance I get" Savage.

You decide readers, which one of these hacks is a bigger hypocrite and more of an asshole on the issue of mass transit.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | April 20, 2007 7:17 PM

Ron Sims has done far more to work for transit in this region than Dan Savage.

Ron=led the Sound Transit board as they stabilized the agency in recent years and worked towards an new ST2 plan. Responsible for Metro for the last 10 years and has consistently stumped for Transit Now and better service.

Dan=runs a paper that tried to kill Sound Transit and light rail in its infancy. Then gave a free pass to Joel Horn and the incompetent morons who fucked up a chance for some mass transit in Seattle. Now edits a paper that constantly attacks the only transit we have in this town.

Of course a free bus on Earth Day is feel good bullshit. But so are cynical fake scenarios involving urine on buses. Fuck that.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | April 20, 2007 8:26 PM

To celebrate Earth day I left a fire burning in my back yard all day and drove around in circles with my emissions system disabled. I rented 200lb cylinders of CO2 and emptied as many as I could into the air. I did my best to contribute.

Those of you who think man kind is causing global warming or that it has anything to do with CO2 emissions are completely wrong. You should try listening to scientists instead of Al Gore. Better still, try developing some critical thinking skills and do some real research on the subject using verifiable data and empirical evidence. You are the lazy assholes, and thanks to you and your ignorant kind, real issues are being ignored.

Water vapor constitutes the vast majority of greenhouse gases, not CO2, and the Ocean is the attenuator of CO2 levels, not the air. Release of CO2 is a symptom of warmer temperatures, not the cause. Mankind’s contribution to CO2 levels is miniscule.

So if we cap CO2 emissions, we must cap water vapor emissions as well. I guess we will have to outlaw water use. Better cover up those lakes and rivers then. Oh wait, the ocean is still the number one attenuator with water vapor as well as CO2. Well that settles it, we will just have to get rid of the oceans of the world.

Today I will go down to the ocean and put five gallons of it in a bottle so it can't do any more harm to the earth. Then I will be morally superior to all of you. This use to be harmless feel good nonsense. You clueless, science challenged idiots would do something nice like plant a tree, but now you want to control everything because the people who do your thinking for you tell you that it will save the earth, but what they really want is to make more money from environmental groups and the multi-million dollar industry that is formed by the fear they generate.

Big business isn't afraid to change CO2 emissions, they have cash and they can diversify into anything they want. In fact BP is currently the number one producer of solar products. However, the Greens can not diversify, because they depend on fear and ignorance to make their living.

It is true what many are saying, environmentalism is the new religion. You have the ignorant masses who can not decipher the evidence, so they turn to those who profess to have a much better understanding of the subject to tell them how to think and act. Those leaders call their flock to regular meetings and even appear on television. They preach against the sins of mankind, and warn of the wrath of their god Mother Earth, so that countless clueless people will give money to support their cause.

They pocket the money, and laugh all the way to the bank in their stretch limo that gets 5 miles per gallon, and hope on private jets to go to meetings all over the world. I have even been to some of these meetings. Guess what I have noticed, no one their ever rides the buss. The parking lot is full of cars. Want to reduce damage to the environment and give back to the earth? Shoot yourself in the head and request an all natural burial. Make yourself an environmental Martyr

Posted by suck_mine | April 22, 2007 5:29 PM

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