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Monday, October 15, 2007

What He Said

posted by on October 15 at 15:26 PM

I agree with Goldy.

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It may only be four words (seven counting the title). It may only be making an indirect case. It may not even signify support for Proposition 1 itself. But I am so glad to hear Dan Savage finally weigh in -- in some way -- on Prop. 1.

Sad to say, when it comes to The Stranger's endorsement, I'm kinda feeling, to paraphrase what Goldy said re. the Times: Of course, I always expected The Stranger Election Control Board to endorse a “No” vote on Proposition 1…

Posted by cressona | October 15, 2007 3:42 PM

That AZ freeway graphic should really scare the hell out of anyone who sees it. It should be a billboard on the side of the freeway. "Is THIS what you want? Because this is what you'll get." And just like that graphic, no matter how many extra lanes are built in 10 years (or likely less) they will be filled to capacity and the same people will be crying for more freeway.

Posted by monkey | October 15, 2007 3:48 PM

Good points. I wish light rail boosters would stop selling light rail as a way to reduce congestion, because it doesn't: it provides rapid alternatives to many commuters who would otherwise have to drive or take a bus. Like in NYC, Chicago, London and the rest of urbanized planet earth, traffic congestion will only increase. Rail is about providing a better, faster way to get some place.

Posted by Joe M | October 15, 2007 3:51 PM

M: Light rail supporters sell light rail as an alternative to congestion - NOT as congestion reduction.

And in any reasonable measure of congestion, why wouldn't you count the rail commuters who don't lose time to congestion? Per capita delay for commuters in a corridor or region are obviously reduced by rail.

Posted by Ben Schiendelman | October 15, 2007 4:01 PM

Glad to hear there's hope that the Stranger ed board may not follow Fairview Fanny's lead on Prop 1. What a bunch of jokers!

Posted by glad girl | October 15, 2007 4:13 PM

Can someone enlighten me on why mass transit doesn't relieve congestion? Of course I would expect urban areas with transit to still be congested, but wouldn't they be dramatically more congested without the transit? I mean, the bus I ride is packed everyday. If it didn't exist and I had to drive to work--and all the other transit riders did too--it would probably take about five times as long. Thus, the bus does provide congestion relief no? And once light rail comes, even more so...

Posted by ScottH | October 15, 2007 4:30 PM

Now, technically, light rail within urban boundaries is a net good.

But not when it goes to non-urban areas.

Airports and other major transit hubs (like say we had the railhead for a high speed passenger rail line in Kent) are an exception to this rule.

But it is a rule. And for good reason.

Still No on RTID/ST2.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 15, 2007 5:08 PM

Traffic congestion is relative. Transit only makes congestion relatively better than it would be without transit.

It's often said of New York City that no one drives, because the streets are too congested (and no one goes to popular restaurants because they're too crowded, either.) In absolute terms, it's obvious that people are driving in New York City. But in relative terms, far fewer people are driving than could be because there's the alternative of riding the subway or a commuter train.

The same is true everywhere. But the relative amount of congestion is not obvious when the absolute amount of congestion is still getting worse. The pro-transit argument should be built around providing better choices and increasing convenience. Congestion should be taken as a given that transit enables people to avoid.

Posted by Cascadian | October 15, 2007 5:08 PM

Me too! Well said Goldy.

Posted by Carollani | October 15, 2007 5:14 PM

Whatever, people. You *can* be a world-class city without having decent public transportation or light rail. Take Detroit, for example. It's the largest city in Michigan, and a mere 45 minutes away from me via car on horrendous highways with crumbling bridges and insane drivers. Now *there's* your world-class town.

Seattle and Detroit: sister cities.

Posted by Michigan Matt | October 15, 2007 5:48 PM

I don't understand all the fuss. By the time anyone actually gets around to DOING something about transit, roads and congestion in Seattle, an earthquake will have sloughed half our beloved city into Puget Sound, making all this discussion, panty-bunching and hand-wringing moot.

Seriously, though, No on RTID = Monorail Redux. RTID is not ideal, but neither is any plan, especially those on which we all have to agree, and debating this for another five years really gets us nowhere. Sometimes you just have to take the best option you can get. It's not ever going to perfect, or make everyone happy.

Posted by rb | October 15, 2007 6:55 PM

Perhaps I am under a misapprehension but didn't Los Angeles figure out that building more lanes encourages more people to drive? Now if you really wanted to reduce driving, seattle would make public transit free and pay for it by means of a tax on all vehicles that reside in or enter the city (congestion pricing).

Posted by MSW | October 15, 2007 7:46 PM


Perhaps people in Tacoma and Everett would like to go to the airport on rail too.

Or maybe they'd like to be able to go to Capitol Hill directly. Personally, I kind of like the idea of being able to go from Tacoma to Capitol Hill without having to transfer to any other form of transportation once.

Posted by Dono | October 15, 2007 10:53 PM

Where are all of Light Rail users going to park the cars that they use to drive to be able to take Light Rail?

Aren't you suggesting that clogged downtown parking and congested expressway traffic become Seattle's suburbs problem?

Where do you suggest Light Rail stations should be located? Should they be near newly-expanded freeways(to accommodate more carloads of train passengers)or near bus lines which most likely already take people where they want to go .

Posted by lawrence clark | October 16, 2007 3:08 AM

#14, as happens everywhere with rail systems, three things will happen.

1. Parking lots will be built to accommodate people who would rather drive their cars two miles than fifteen miles, and pay for parking in the suburbs instead of downtown. Those parking lots and then structures, like highways, will soon become inadequate in size to keep up with demand. (Becuase rail is a good idea and popular everywhere it exists.)

2. The transit system will have connector buses pick up commuters along suburban routes to bring them to the rail. (This is a big hassle, and just adds too much time to your morning commute--but it will still be preferable for many to driving in, paying for downtown parking, or even owning a second car.)

3. Apartment buildings (rental, co-op and condo) and other denser housing will be built around the transit stations. (Unless you city planning office has no clue.)

Areas around stations will be crowded, even as you suspect in the suburbs. Poor neighborhoods will be happy to get the transit option and traffic. Rich neighborhoods will get all pissy--they wanted the train station, but they never signed up for a cluster of congetstion and apartment buildings, heaven forbid rich people should have to put up with that.

Posted by Dan | October 16, 2007 7:08 AM

Well done, having this argument without mentioning the word "Portland."

You all have a shot at an even better light rail system than ours, since you can (from the little I have heard) build the inner-urban sections not in the middle of existing city streets like we have had to do. That's the *only* thing about Portland's MAX that is less than kickass. Well, other than NIMBYism by yuppies who don't like parking lots in their neighborhoods, or an easy way for poor people to come visit them...that's pretty annoying...but really, fuck those people.

You need to do *something* and stop just talking about it all the time. Seattle congestion is feared and despised by anyone who as ever passed through your otherwise-mostly-fair city.

We're going to keep adding the lines one by one...the 205 line is well underway, the bridge-crossing SE line to Milwaukie is on the drawing board, and then eventually a link between those two will create a loop around inner SE PDX. Add some kind of rail going south on the west side of the river, and a rail link over the new I5 bridge that's coming, and the whole urban area will have LR access.

It rocks. Get with the program, seriously.

Posted by Tiger | October 24, 2007 9:51 AM

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