Politics Stranger Staff Misconceptions
posted by June 8 at 14:52 PMon
You know you were waiting for something like this.
The RTID/ST roads/transit package will lead to more roads!
The roads aspect of the package will be spent on the widening of existing roads, and the extension, plus connection, of dead-end roads, streamlining the street grid. This money isn’t going to be used to build entirely new highways, as Stranger writers like to infer.
My favorite Dan Savageism: Seattle won’t do [X urban change] because Seattle believes it is special and different from other cities.
As entertaining as it is to extend Seattle’s sociocultural autism as a indication of decisions being pure nonsense… guess what?
Seattle is a city fenced in by two large bodies of water, Elliott Bay and Lake Washington, plus bisected by a partially artificial body of water in the Canal. The land itself is a constant series of rolling hills on which overlaying a street grid, let alone building on top of, is very difficult to do, if not impractical in places. As a result of this and the crackheaded conflict of interest by those who designed our city, Seattle’s layout does not lend itself to the modular quick and easy logistical and structural changes of other cities.
Most cities are built on flat land, have a nice straight four way street grid with few exceptions, and getting around is easy and adaptable. Even an exception like San Francisco has a complex, existing network of over a dozen transit system, including the famous BART train.
Not so in Seattle, where the topography and layout leads to only a handful of feasible thoroughfares, including your loathed viaduct. And yes, no mass transit has been built, but blaming the viaduct is like blaming ESPN for making your sportsmongering husband a bad father, or blaming the alcohol for making your dad an alcoholic. The city’s officials, not the highways that people use, are the problem.
Seattle isn’t special, but it sure is different in a very practical and tangible sense.
The monorail would’ve cost us $2.1 billion/$4-6 billion
No, only the initial Green Line that didn’t go anywhere particularly useful would’ve cost us $4-6 billion (NOT $2 billion), and that’s the revamped line that only went to Interbay, not Ballard.
Any expansion of the system would undoubtedly cost several more billion.
People drive because they are car-loving and car-obsessed.
People drive because:
1. It’s completely impractical for them to get around on foot or via transit. Families with kids who need to get to school or daycare come to mind, as do many of the disabled and, to a lesser extent, those who don’t live near reliable transit routes.
2. They chose to live in suburbs whether for comfort or because it was the best they could afford, if not the location of homes that met their needs or wants.
My mother in Las Vegas pays $500 a month on the loan for a gas guzzler, a 2006 Dodge Magnum. When we talk about it on the phone, she sure doesn’t sound like somebody who loves cars.
Disincentives for driving are the only way to spark change.
Disincentives are a great way to turn the general public against your cause. Tear down the viaduct without preparing suitable alternatives, and I’m guessing you won’t have very many surface/transit fans in West Seattle or Ballard.
INCENTIVES are the best way to spark change. They empower and reward citizens and get them on your side. Tax breaks for not driving and using transit or carpooling, quick and convenient transit options, supporting viable transit projects, I dunno, etc.
Link Light Rail sucks and is over budget.
1. It’s rail transit, most of whose route is a dedicated right of way.
2. Unlike the other transit pipe dreams, it’s actually being built.
3. EVERY initial transit project goes over budget, especially when being built in settled areas. Things happen, and unforeseen issues are discovered. If anything, the tired ‘over budget’ line could have been made about the Green Line. The $4-6 billion price tag would’ve undoubtedly gone up as complications arose.
Greg Nickels and the City of Seattle killed the Green Line.
Here’s what killed the Green Line:
1. The inherent uselessness of the route, which would have served the sleeper glorified suburb of West Seattle, Downtown, a smidgen of Lower Queen Anne, and Interbay, whose amenities include a bunch of warehouses, train tracks and a golf course. Why there and not the U District, or Northgate, or strung through First and Capitol Hills?
2. Funding the project with the MVET car tab fee. My best friend Turner was ambivalent about the monorail. Then he went to renew his car tabs, and discovered he was paying, on top of the steep registration renewal fees, a $110 Monorail MVET tax. He came home hollering, “Fuck the monorail!” When it came up for the final vote, he voted against it. I had a coworker who, shortly after moving here, discovered she had to pay $600 in MVET fees on top of the price to register her car. She too turned against the monorail immediately.
And you wonder why everyone turned against the monorail. It had nothing to do with Joel Horn’s loafing or Greg Nickels absolving the City of support… and absolutely everything to do with this stupid idea to fund the line by charging people an absurd amount of overhead to register their vehicles. This passive aggressive PWC-inspired cheap shot at drivers veiled as a funding mechanism was what killed support for the Green Line dead. Once it took effect, BOOM. Add in the fact that it was going to fund a giant tram that would have only transported a few thousand people a day, and support went bye-bye.
Gomez hates us.
If I hated you, I wouldn’t read you. I’m critical when I need to be.