Isn't this a strawman? Who the fuck is a member of the "pro-bus, anti-rail Left?" I thought the tribes were:
* All-transit, no-car enviros
* Kemper Freeman all-car, no-tax assholes
* The rest of us
Did I miss a meeting or something?
every self respecting metropolitan city has a variety of effective and rapid mass transit options. public transit is a necessity. seattle is basically the laughing stock of the country, trying to be all big city with only a half-assed bus system. at least that's how most of the people i've ever talked to feel. until seattle gets a real transit system it will never be anything other than a suburb.
"Pro-bus anti-rail left"??? Who the what now?
We believe bus advocates want to shaft us with a 2nd-class transit system while they keep driving. Seriously. We bus riders honestly feel that the pro-bus, anti-rail crowd—both Left and Right—are wealthy whites who will never use mass transit, and who want to give us more of the same crappy service we have now.
What a whiny, spoiled, entitled attitude. If you're relying on someone else to finance your transportation - in this case, I guess, "wealthy whites" - you should feel glad for anything you get.
"1. We know buses are inefficient and slower than single-passenger vehicles."
At 4 mpg it takes about 6 people on the bus to beat gas mileage of an SOV. Electric buses us no oil. With HOV lanes, signal priority, fewer stops, occasional bus lanes in the city and pre-boarding ticketing service could be vastly improved.
"2. We know that rail works. Anyone who has traveled to a major urban area other than Seattle has seen and experienced effective mass transit, whether it’s the Chicago L or the Paris Metro or even Portland’s partly grade-separated MAX. We want it."
Rail built 100 years ago is not the same as building it today. Portland after 20 years of running light rail has a lower percentage using transit than Seattle. Portland and Minneapolis built their lines for no more than $60 million per mile including tunnels. So even if "rail works" in those cities it would have to work three times better here to make it as good.
"3. We know you can’t create dedicated bus lanes without stealing them from drivers. Kemper Freeman & Co. hated a package that built 186 new lane miles."
Maybe if the Holy Rail left would join with the pro bus people Kemper and other anti-transit people could be defeated and we coulkd have vastly improved transit soon.
"4. We believe bus advocates want to shaft us with a 2nd-class transit system while they keep driving. Seriously. We bus riders honestly feel that the pro-bus, anti-rail crowd—both Left and Right—are wealthy whites who will never use mass transit, and who want to give us more of the same crappy service we have now."
If P1 had passed, in twenty or thirty years there would have been how many stops? How would you get to the Seattle Center, Woodinville, Bothell, Renton, Ballard, Wedgewood, etc. etc. This wouldn't be NY, Paris, Chicago or London. With the lines going out into the burbs ST2 would expand the urban area making it more difficult to serve with fixed rail.
Imagine the bus service we could have today if all the ST.5 money was going to buses not rail.
@4 If you drive you are relying mostly on property taxes (60% 60 70% of costs) to pay for your roads, and since the lions share of those are payed by the wealthy, you are relying on a bunch of rich white people to pay for your transportation.
Until 60% to 70% of mass transit is payed for of general revenues, no one on the pro-drive side of the fence has even a gammy leg to stand on when it comes to subsidies.
Well, I guess that'd be me. I lived in Boston for years, but I'm happier with Seattle's buses. Carless both places, of course, so not exactly fitting whoever he's talking about. I find that the transit here is cleaner, less crowded, and runs much later in some crucial cases. At least when I left Boston everything stopped running around 1am....here at least I've got the 49 and the 44 to get home with. For the same amount of money, time and environmental impact it would take to dig up a 10 mile subway tunnel, I imagine we could make all the buses electric and many of them coming every 15 minutes. And rail that's at street level, following traffic laws, is not much faster than buses, in my experience.
Or even a fraction of that money. But rail isn't about the best use of transportation money, it's about being in a pissing contest with Paris, Chicago and Portland.
Electric buses use no oil.
Right, because electricity is made out of fairy dust, by elves.
Plan B should have rail AND more buses.
I've advocated that drivers pay as much of their own way as possible, via gas tax, tolls, even the dreaded tabs, providing the money is in fact used to sustain and improve the road system, not flushed into the rail system.
The Slog itself has noted public interest in tolls.
Kinaidos - please provide a link that substantiates the 60-70% property tax for roads claim.
All capital costs for transit are paid out of general revenue and only about 20-35% of operting revenue comes from fare box.
Doctor Memory - the no oil for electrity was and is a standard pro rail argument - "running on no carbon footprint electricity" - if can be argued for LR so to for electric buses
This thread clearly demonstrates the existence of an anti-rail/anti-transit Left.
Take the tour up on the Skagit River sometime, you'll get some learning and good fried chicken. Only 2% of City Light electrons come from burning anything.
But Seattle's climate is mild enough to run 100% biodiesel, so the carbon footprint could be negligable for BRT also.
But look to LA: the Orange Line is the world-class BRT facility in the US, and its reaching capacity already at 22k boardings.
They are going to try 80 foot buses, which they can do since they have a flat straight busway, but how many routes in Seattle will that work on? Plus, adding a union driver for every 60 passengers eats you alive on labor costs in the long run.
Lynnwood, Federal Way and Bellevue all make sense for light rail. Let Pierce go vote on the Cross-Base and 167 alone, and pencil in a Ballard-Redmond line via 520 to get Fremont Will's key support.
And ST needs to shake things up. The ST Express routes are almost BRT service level already. As soon as Link opens, rebrand the routes as BRT. A simple colored line map and a promise they all run at least every 15 minutes all day would do a lot to sell suburban voters, even without a full complement of dedicated ramps and lanes.
They practically have dedicated lanes already. When I used to commute to Redmond, I'd be looking outside at the traffic jams smugly, as we whizzed by in the carpool lane.
When I was in Seattle in the summer I really liked the buses: $2 to go to the airport was a pretty good deal!
Big Sven @1--the following are members of the anti-rail, pro-bus left:
--Jack Whisner, Metro bus planner and TCC board member--aka eddiew, marmot's whistle
--Emory Bundy--once left, now just sad
There are many others who are all excited about BRT in Curitiba, Brazil and for some reason hate Sound Transit.
Only in Seattle do we fight over what mode of transit we build. Other areas just build rail. Many BRT fans just want more pavement for buses to share with Lexus owners like Don Padelford who can afford to pay to drive in the pricey HOT lanes.
Buses are fine for serving neighborhoods, but will never transform how we build density. There are many people who will never get on a bus that would love to ride a train.
Big Sven @1: Run a search on Emory Bundy. You'll figure it out. Or read Chris Vance's piece on the politics of transportation in the Puget Sound region.
JMR @ 4: just to be perfectly clear, I AM one of those "wealthy whites." Not sure if I'm top 1% or top 2.5%, but regardless, I'm one of those people that's out-pricing the Stranger staff as they try to find housing in Capitol Hill. I'm perfectly willing to pay the full price of light rail as a user fee, but that assumes that car drivers have to pay the full price of their roads. That's ~$4-$5 per gallon--in addition to the $3 per gallon drivers pay for gas now--right down to paying the lion's share of the war in Iraq.
"Che for buses" @ 5:
Regarding point three, let's be clear: I understand how BRT can work, and if you read the entire post, you'll see that. My point is that rail is "emotionally" important to the deeply pro-transit crowd. Buses may be the "right" answer, but "right" is irrelevant. That's the entire point I'm trying to make. "Right" rarely sells in a democracy.
Wow. We're doomed.
It's "The Judean People's Front" vs. "The People's Front of Judea" vs. "The Popular Front of Judea". While the Romans blithely drive along in their Suburbans and F150s.
I've never been to Boston, but I've explored the transportation systems of Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and Paris in recent years. I also relied exclusively on busses in Seattle for about 10 years before I got a car a few months ago. Based on this experience, I'm for rails not busses. Of course, we will always need busses to supplement rail service along key corridors, but rail provides an essential backbone to any real transit system. So in the coming months and years as we try to figure out what to do in the wake of Prop 1's failure, whenever you hear someone saying, "why can't we have busses instead...they're so much cheaper...blah blah" then ask whoever is saying that how much they rely on the bus. There may be a few, but I'd venture that it won't be many. It's mostly armchair critics who have no personal experience with how awful relying on busses frequently is.
Big Sven @ 20: omg that's HILARIOUS!
Look at the public transport in Frankfurt, a German city with a comparable size to Seattle
The blue and green lines are all subways, the orange are trams (mostly on reserved lane, so they're not slowed down by traffic), red are busses (many on reserved lane as well)
Buses aren't slow because of traffic. I took the bus downtown, to the UW, whatever, and it was never traffic that made it take so long, it's because you have to stop every quarter mile or so to let someone on or let someone off. Take all the cars off the road and taking the bus is still slower than taking a car.
I grew up in New York City, which has the world's longest subway system, huge fleets of busses, many taxicabs, and high insurance rates for private cars. We should never debate rail vs. bus; we should discuss how to move what we want to move where we want to move it. Having a Silly Council which cancels our four-times-approved monorail plans -- without so much as deigning to give us a reason why -- doesn't help.
Follow the link and read the entire piece and you'll see why Dan liked it so much. It makes two major important points:
1) Devotees of BRT are invariably people who don't ride the bus. That's because the claims of BRT fans (speed, convenience, an enjoyable riding experience) are pipedreams to consumers of a standard stop-every-block local bus system.
2) BRT could work in theory, but few bus riders have ever experienced such a system in reality (dedicated rights of way, signal preference, high speeds between stops, etc). So, if the BRT fans want to be taken seriously, they need to build a couple such lines and prove their claims--or step aside for the rail backers.
Dan you rock
Why does you say rich "white" elites? Isn't Mike a rich white guy. Dan, aren't you a rich white guy?
Isn't Mr. BRT himself, Ron Sims, in fact actually black?
Let's not bring race into it, it's distasteful and obscures the real issue.
kinaidos @ 6
@4 If you drive you are relying mostly on property taxes (60% 60 70% of costs) to pay for your roads, and since the lions share of those are payed (sic) by the wealthy, you are relying on a bunch of rich white people to pay for your transportation.
That's bullshit and you have no citiations for that figure. You're lying.
Until 60% to 70% of mass transit is payed for of general revenues, no one on the pro-drive side of the fence has even a gammy (sic> leg to stand on when it comes to subsidies.
You're lying and ignorant. Here's some actual real numbers about the costs of public transit. These are easy to find, if you can post on Slog you can use Google too, you should try it some time.
Most of Metro’s operating revenue comes from two sources, countywide sales tax and the fares paid by riders. For 2008, Metro’s projected revenues include: $348 million from sales tax; $87.5 million from the farebox, if the new fares are approved; and approximately $6 million from advertising on buses.
The county council has set a policy target of recovering 25 percent of the transit agency’s costs from riders, so both users and non-users share system costs. This target is close to the average farebox recovery rate achieved by transit agencies similar to Metro. With the current fares, riders cover about 21percent of Metro’s costs. With the proposed increase, fares would cover approximately 23 percent of costs.
23 percent kinaidos. 23 percent, that's the share of public transit that you pay for when you get on the bus and put your change in the farebox. 23 percent, the other 77 percent comes from the taxpayer. Or you could look at this
which shows that Sounder Heavy Rail projected operating expenses for 2006 were $22,700,320 while farebox revenues were $,5,108,179, a 77 percent taxpayer subsidy. And that 77 percent actually increases to 88.5 percent in 2007. Those are projected figures, who knows what the costs really are given Sound Transit's record of incompetence and dishonesty?
1) Gawd, I don't care at all about any argument demonstrated above. In fact, I didn't even bother to read them. Just build some more effing rail already.
2) I question why we are repeatedly asked to vote on how to deal with transit issues. It ought to be the product of our local and state government.
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