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Monday, January 14, 2008

No Major Resistance to ‘08 Light Rail Measure in Olympia

posted by on January 14 at 19:12 PM

The rap from the liberal side of the Pro-Prop 1 debate last year was that Prop 1 was our last chance to vote for light rail.

The legislature, we were told, would simply not allow light rail to go onto the ballot in 2008. (Gregoire and the Democrats, the explanation went, didn’t want any tax measure on the ballot while Democrats were also on the ballot. That seemed pretty stupid to us because 2008 was/is going to be a huge D turnout year—thanks Barack Obama!—which should help light rail pass as opposed to helping defeat Democrats.)

Anyway, the buzz in Olympia today was this: Democratic leadership is not going to stand in the way of Sound Transit going to the ballot in ‘08. I repeat: The Democratic leadership has no intention of blocking Sound Transit from going to the ballot in ‘08.

Sound Transit, the ball’s in your court.

RSS icon Comments


I wonder if it'll pass in a recession year.

Posted by Andrew | January 14, 2008 7:17 PM

So the yes on Prop 1 people were wrong? Totally wrong, wrong, wrong? As in, their scare tactics where they said we had to vote for that piece of poop measure because it was our last chance ever were utterly incorrect? Is that right?

Basically, the No On Prop 1 people were completely right, and the yes side was just "on crack" I think is the phrase. Full of "it." Right?

Well, this is not the time to gloat. It's the time for all of us who want light rail to come together for our common cause. Unless those of us in the "not wrong" side of the old debate have some spare time. If the non-wrong side wants to use some of their free time, their off hours, so to speak, to gloat, well, what's wrong with that?

Nobody is expected to work 24/7, are they? The people who were wrong can go roller blading or play with their Wii or just bury their heads in their hands and sob, if they've got some well-earned down time. And those of us who were not wrong, well, perhaps we deserve to gloat. Just a little.

Posted by elenchos | January 14, 2008 7:31 PM

Question for Josh Feit. What kind of traction are you seeing for the so-called "governance reform"? My fear is that the state legislature won't block Sound Transit outright, but if ST just happens to get stifled by some benign-sounding "reform" bill, that's another story.

Oh, if ever there was an occasion for this Democratic super-majority to live up to its do-nothing reputation, this is it.

Posted by cressona | January 14, 2008 7:43 PM

@2, it depends on what you wanted out of it.

If ST comes back, it'll be a smaller package. So if you wanted less light rail, then you were probably right. IF you wanted all the rail that .5% sales tax could buy, then you won't get that.

Posted by Andrew | January 14, 2008 7:49 PM

This blog post confuses me. No one would be able to "block" ST from going back to the ballot, beyond asking ST not to. Josh, are you saying democrats won't lobby ST not to go to the ballot? Are you saying democrats will support ST going to the ballot?

Also, I really resent the gloating. "No" for cars people are the same group as "yes" for transit. No one had a crystal ball about the future of ST -- to pretend all problems of Roads & Transit goes away when the roads go away is a bit ridiculous.

Why not focus on: sub-area equity, the 2027 (now probably later) opening date, light rail to Tacoma, the enormous cost, the regressive sales tax, the one-big-vote approach, etc? If ST does come back this year, it should be better than ST2.

Instead of making sure that ST delivers a better package, a lot of "No on Prop 1" people are gloating. Let's help make a better ST so next time we don't have to vote no.

Posted by bellevue & belmont | January 14, 2008 7:50 PM


" No one would be able to "block" ST from going back to the ballot, beyond asking ST not to. "

Not at all true. the state legistlature could permanently disband Sound Transit in a single vote.

Posted by daimajin | January 14, 2008 8:00 PM

Sounds more like Josh hoping and wishing that it will somehow make it on the ballot in 2008, a recession year at that. Yeah, the opposition to prop 1 is praying for redemption. But sorry, in a recession year if they do put it on the ballot it will fail.

Posted by Hmmm | January 14, 2008 8:05 PM

Wow if we get ST 2.1 and Huckleberry in the same election we can have two faithed based "candidates" in the same election.

Josh could you quote any leadership specific people on this? Or is this more advocacy journalism?

Posted by whatever | January 14, 2008 8:09 PM

Excuse me, but I was damn well told that somebody on the 'yes' campaign had a crystal ball. Shall we go to video tape? The 'yes' campaign jumped the shark, because they thought they had so be willing to say anything to win. I can see why certain people would like to forget what they said, but I remember.

This gloating is nothing. Wait til it passes. Then you'll see some gloating. Oh, and it's going to be big.

I think it's good to know whose political instincts are consistently wrong, so that you learn to stop trusting them.

Posted by elenchos | January 14, 2008 8:12 PM

This is great news.

The expansion needs to be psychologically satisfying in order to pass. It needs to be a bold statement that says that light rail is going to work for this region. It should go to Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond. It should include money for planning for a replacement for the Green Line Monorail, an east side north-south line, along with other future lines mentioned in Sound Transit 2. It should mention planning for spokes emanating from each major center that include light rail, streetcars and improved bus routes. Most importantly, it should materialize in a reasonable amount of time so that the people who are voting can imagine being here to ride it. Finally, reassure drivers and bike riders that their concerns aren't being ignored, this is just a vote that focuses on building a comprehensive mass transit system.

Posted by Cale | January 14, 2008 8:56 PM

elenchos, you don't get to gloat until you actually do something. Thus far not a fucking thing has been proven, other than some politicians said some nice things to Josh. Gloat (and I will acknowledge your and Will in Seattle's vast political acumen) when the check clears.

Posted by Big Sven | January 14, 2008 9:07 PM

B.S. - read the post -

the buzz in Olympia

no mention that politicians said anything - maybe he heard it from a bartender or cabbie or maybe he was talking to himself.

Ouch, lumping elenchos with Will

Posted by whatever | January 14, 2008 9:40 PM

Well, maybe when it's OFFICIALLY gloating time, maybe I'll be magnanimous. Maybe I'll just forgive everyone who doubted me. There won't be a dry eye in the house, as you all marvel at my grace in victory.

Yeah. I can see it now.

Posted by elenchos | January 14, 2008 9:58 PM


what does "planning for" and "reasonable time" mean with respect to those "other" lines. If I buy into Tacoma, Everett, and Redmond, when can I then expect Alaska Junction, Renton, Ballard? If 2020 were guaranteed for the full system you've defined, what would be the strategy for phase 3? 2030? That's 22 years in the future, to far for me to want to pay taxes for something. I mean, I'd be paying 22 years of taxes for no net benefit to me and a lot of others. Convince us this is something we want to do.

Posted by chas Redmond | January 14, 2008 10:35 PM

Josh, are you still falling for politician-speak like the Gov's "everything is on the table?" There's no plan right now for a 2008 light rail vote and nothing in your piece says otherwise. Have you talked to anyone at Sound Transit?

Posted by J.R. | January 14, 2008 11:02 PM

Josh--do you really want to cover this issue? Name names. Maybe the leg in a short session won't stop ST from going back to the ballot--but that doesn't mean a ballot issue is a slam dunk. Who will fund the campaign? What are the obstacles? A new ballot measure must be smaller and shorter in duration--you have to show the voters you learned something. And it still must deliver subarea equity. And win at the ballot box.

I want ST to return to the ballot in 2008 too, but you must ground your reporting in reality or it is worthless. Please start really paying attention--we had enough of bullshit analysis the last time around. You can gloat about your sup

Posted by tiptoe tommy | January 14, 2008 11:16 PM

shit--hit return by mistake.

But please don't act like your no vote was without pitfalls until we get to the ballot and win.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | January 14, 2008 11:18 PM

Josh you are being naive. Of COURSE they say they're for light rail and won't get in the way. They just told you exactly what you want to hear.

They are far to crafty to kill ST and light rail with a direct prohibition. After all, that's what they did in 2006, and look how well that worked out.

Cressona asks the real question. If they get too nervous about ST making its own decisions with the region, look for folks in Oly to take a sudden interest in governance "reform" legislation. In other words, something that sounds good but has the practical effect of ensuring nothing happens this year.

Posted by clarity | January 15, 2008 12:16 AM

You can tell Bellevue&Belmont is one of those airhead Sierra Club guys. Left wing dittoheads mimicking their clueless leaders. Just what we need more of in this town.

"No one would be able to "block" ST from going back to the ballot, beyond asking ST not to."

Uh, yeah. Right. What do you think happened in 2006 when Sound Transit was set to go to the ballot with a transit-only measure? Ed Murray wanted his stupid governance bill, and teamed up with the Gov and Repub road warriors to guessed it, B&B...."block" ST's access to the ballot.

And for the always-smug Josh Feit, who can't name names, I heard Christine Gregoire (recognize that name?) on KUOW last week specifically saying she is "reluctant" to let ST put a phase 2 plan to voters. Remember, it was the Gov and other key Dems who pulled the same stunt in '06. But, according to Josh Feit, we're all hunky-dory, and the most important thing to do right now is (preliminarily) determine who was right and who was wrong last year. The height of petty told-ya-so "analysis."

"Why not focus on: sub-area equity, the 2027 (now probably later) opening date, light rail to Tacoma, the enormous cost, the regressive sales tax, the one-big-vote approach, etc? If ST does come back this year, it should be better than ST2."

Bellevue&Belmont, catch a frigging clue. You're parroting the views of space cadet Sierra Clubbers who were driven by ideological anti-rail elements within their group. None of their concerns about ST2 v.1 were informed by actual data, or by professional opinion. None of the issues you raise come close to being valid, aside from the "one big vote" critique. Yeah, 'big' is bad. People don't like paying for big things. Stop these sales taxes on cheap goods made in China! Sierra Clubbers need their slave-labor made plastic crap as much as the average WalMart addict does.

How pathetic is it that the conservative leadership of BC can announce a $14 billion transit plan for British Columbia and our local so-called (more like faux) progressives in Seaatle piddle away at these Nader-like complaints, sounding more like anti-tax/anti-transit goons than true enviros.

For every Sierra Club moron like B&B, there are others who will complain Josh Feit's minimal rail version of ST2.1 is too meager.

Keep in mind, the 1995 plan rejected by voters (thanks to Kemper Freeman) was essentially the same plan floated in 2007, and similarly rejected because Kemper Freeman (and some monorail kook named Mark Baerwaldt) spent close to a million bucks to define the issue.

Question for airheads in the B&B camp: do you want to move forward with non-autocentric planning - or do you want to continue the status quo for the next couple decades?

While 'the enemies of the good' continue to nitpick their way through freeway-based transportation theorums, our communities continue to be clogged with the product of endless whining.

But hey, Ron Sims got his light rail line, and the Capitol Hill gang is gonna get theirs. Who cares about the rest of the region? Transit is all about fulfilling one's own self-centric mobility needs, right? Chas Redmond personifies this pathetic mindset - but it looks like he has some serious competition this time.

Posted by Brandon | January 15, 2008 12:26 AM

"The expansion needs to be psychologically satisfying in order to pass. It needs to be a bold statement that says that light rail is going to work for this region. It should go to Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond. It should include money for planning for a replacement for the Green Line Monorail, an east side north-south line, along with other future lines mentioned in Sound Transit 2. "

Cale - that was the plan The Stranger and Sierra Club helped kill off. We won't see anything like that for at least another decade. If you go back and look at the three taxing scenarios ST laid out a year and a half ago, version 2.1 will probably get as far north as Northgate, east to Bellevue (maybe Bel-Red) and south to Des Moines. First Hill streetcar, maybe.

Og course, if/when Sound Transit rolls the inevitable mini-ST2 plan out, idiots like whatever and the rest of the anti-rail caucus will all chime in and say "this plan doesn't do anything."

"Finally, reassure drivers and bike riders that their concerns aren't being ignored, this is just a vote that focuses on building a comprehensive mass transit system."

Drivers and bicycle riders? Last time I checked, everybody in this town was a driver. But what are the concerns? The precious car tabs won't be used to pay for light rail.

And the cyclists? If you're talking about the Cascade Alliance, they were bitching about park & rides (needed for suburban transit of any stripe), I-90 (they want a net reduction of lanes when light rail is implemented, to assre gridlock), and evil lids in places like Medina. One thing they forgot to notice with this particluar "concern": the lids include bike lanes. And transit stops. Just the things bike activists everywhere should be fighting against.

Posted by Brandon | January 15, 2008 1:14 AM

Brandon, I am not a Sierra Club anything, if it's any help. I voted yes to prop 1, but I am also kind enough to recognize that light rail to Tacoma solves little of the area's problems. Sub-area equity is the single reason that major sections of projects would have taken until 2027 to complete. Polling issued by both the Sierra Club and Sound Transit indicate that voters had issues with sales tax increases and the sheer size of the vote. (Yes, perhaps a separate vote on light rail to Northgate vs. light rail to Tacoma would be useful to solve the most packed corridor in the Seattle metro area.)

These are simply things that need to be looked at to ensure that ST2.1 passes. What I want is light rail that goes south to Federal Way, north to Lynnwood, east to downtown Redmond. Then I want light rail that connects Ballard to the Seattle Center to West Seattle. Then from Bellevue to Renton. In fifty years, I want rail everywhere. But first we need to win a ballot.

I would have been very happy if ST2 had passed. I am simply vexed as to why Josh is spending time gloating about a non-event, compared to looking at why ST2 failed. It did not fail because of environmentalists, it failed because it was too big. Getting rid of roads makes it smaller, awesome.

And, yes, governance reform is a concern for ST but I doubt that it will happen during the 60 session that Oly has to do anything.

Frankly, Brandon, you're an asshole to strangers on the Internet for no reason. Instead of minimizing my beliefs by associating me with positions I don't believe, why don't you take a look at what my text means:

Get rid of sub-area equity. Finance light rail in the immediate Seattle metro area and to the east side. Or are we just going to try ST2 and see if it wins? It'll be closer than R&T, for sure, but even if it does win... Let's have fun waiting until 2027.

(You may not know: Getting rid of subarea equity allows ST to raise the funds faster allowing for faster completion of light rail to Northgate and Bellevue.)

Posted by bellevue & belmont | January 15, 2008 2:27 AM

Getting rid of subarea equity erodes support outside the immediate neighborhoods in which the project will be built.

Posted by Greg | January 15, 2008 7:33 AM

@21: You're asking for entire new light rail routes and proposing the politically difficult (if not impossible) tactic of eliminating ST's subarea equity policy. I would assume, then, that you don't expect a 2008 revote.

Posted by J.R. | January 15, 2008 7:47 AM

Today called Brandon -

None of their concerns about ST2 v.1 were informed by actual data, or by professional opinion. None of the issues you raise come close to being valid, aside from the "one big vote" critique. Yeah, 'big' is bad. People don't like paying for big things.

Could you provide some "actual data" that supports voting for ST2 or 2.1? Something that shows reduced GHGs maybe as a graph over time. A graph of how with and without the roads part the congestion growth will be slowed? Future maps of how our density patterns will look in the region? Anything?

Cale, B&B and others on this board genuinely support regional rail. Others of us think that urban rail needs to come firts if we are to build the truly dense urban core needed. We have done better with buses regionally than any of the LR cities and can continue with prudent use of existing freeways and extentions of HOV as well as some HOT tolling.

Giving such a large taxing authority to ST for fifty years doesn't seem wise. Having an uber agency made sense back in the days of the monorail and it makes sense now.

The exact same people that said we will never get another chance at light rail if it's defeated in P1 are now crying wolf about an agency that could coordinate all the efforts in the Central Puget Sound region. Perhaps that agency will be able to get rid of subarea equity and build from the inside out as every major transit system has been.

Posted by whatever | January 15, 2008 8:10 AM

ST2 needs to connect West Seattle and Ballard and the n-s corridor on the East Side. Those corridors, plus the n-s one being built now and a line to the East Side, would have a certain functionality and fairness in covering a higher percentage of the closest, densest neighborhoods and the closest suburban mini-downtown centers.

An ST 2 plan that leaves without rail service almost half the city of Seattle and half the East Side is less functional. And it has a smaller chance of getting yes votes in those left out areas. The people in the left out areas will object that they are being asked to tax themselves many thousands of dollars for decades -- but in return they get no service.

Building the most far flung lines first, out to Tacoma and Mill Creek and such, produces a "long liner" "system" that does not look like most successful rail systems. The vast majority of systems in the world have a similar look: a blob of spaghetti thrown down right on the main downtown with strands radiating outward. They have a dense network of multiple, interconnected lines, covering the densest and closest neighborhoods in the main city, and they reach out to connect most of the closest suburban centers. This allows a multiplicty of trip choices to the places most people need or want to go. You can use the system to get around.

See the urbanrail web site, or

Frankly, there is a social injustice in asking folks in West Seattle and Ballard Renton and other areas left out of ST2 to vote for it.

BTW -- I'm not saying there shouldn't be a line to Redmond, and I'm not saying we have to build everything all at once. Obviously multiple lines are built sequentially. Also, any proposal needs more transparency and scrutiny as to finances, ridership and other issues like the remaining life of the I 90, the rebuilding 520 without potential for rail, etc.

Posted by Cleve | January 15, 2008 8:16 AM

@24: Let's keep it honest, Whatever. Nobody said "we would never get another chance at light rail." Many Prop. 1 backers did say that "we will never get another chance at 50 miles of light rail." They're probably right.

On to the transportation superagency idea. This group would not be charged with building transit, but with building roads and transit. It would give equal representation to residents of all parts of all three counties, so the elimination of subarea equity in favor of Seattle (you guys never add that last part) just ain't gonna happen.

Posted by J.R. | January 15, 2008 8:22 AM

What #26 said.

Posted by Hankyuu | January 15, 2008 8:45 AM


You said "Who cares about the rest of the region? Transit is all about fulfilling one's own self-centric mobility needs, right? "

I may personify what you call a patheric mindset, but actually, transit IS about self-centric mobility needs. How else do you account for everyone using their car when they could walk 10, or 20 minutes to a bus, wait 10, 20 or 30 minutes for said bus, and then ride 10, 20, 30 or more minutes to get to one's destination. If car drivers aren't self-centric, I don't know who is. About 88 percent of the metro area is, by this definition, pathetically self-centric.

With respect to paying for service. No service, no pay. That's what ballots are about. As I mentioned to Cale, if you ST2 folks want a regional system built, then you have to convince the region that they should vote yes on the bond. If enough folks think the dollars they would be investing through their taxes are not worth the return, they will vote no.

So far, the value to me and a huge number of other Seattle and Puget Sound residents is not there for what we've been asked to vote for.

Frankly, I ride the bus most of the time now and suffer through the same congestion-related problems as everyone else. A real transit system proposal would also identify regional thoroughfares and city streets as transit only and would eliminate parking along great swaths of urban roadway. Some of our problems can be solved without huge tax increases.

Right now, to me and a large number of others, our regional transportation planning sounds and acts more like a regional infrastructure building consortium and not a regional transportation system.

I'm still waiting for return-on-investment data and full disclosure of costs and interest. The numbers bandied about by pro and con ST2 representatives regarding the collective and individual cost attest to the charade which is our present transportation planing.

And, the present planning still assumes a Seattle Downtown-centric mobility approach. I think the traffic on the Viaduct, 520 and I-90 support the view that a large percentage of trips to Seattle are not to the downtown area. How are light rail users going to get around once they exit at King Street or University Street? Hop on that slow-moving and full bus to complete their journey - or just start and stay in their car and drive the whole way?

Or, to put it another way: Where is the transit infrastructure to support this 75-mile long commuter light rail? Why are we building from the outside in rather than the inside out?

Posted by chas Redmond | January 15, 2008 10:05 AM

#26 here is but one quote. The message was given over and over that if we didn't pass P1 we would never get LR or as much or roads would win or an agency would be formed that would undo all the great things ST has in store for us. BTW this a little like Saddam blah blah blah 911, Light rail blah blah blah last chance.

So yes let's be honest - the message from the pro P1 campaigners was this is our last chance

Is this your effort to brag about your collective success in killing what will likely be the only reasonable chance we get at having light rail sometime before Halley's Comet reappears?

Well ... yeah. Congratulations on that and all.

Posted by tsm | November 8, 2007 3:35 PM

Posted by whatever | January 15, 2008 10:21 AM

@26, I think that ST2 will come back to the ballot this year, actually. There is a groundswell of support for transit options and the politicians are beginning to realize that they cannot ignore it.

It may not be politically viable to get rid of subarea equity entirely, but I think the ST board should be able to divert money from one subarea and loan it to another. Basically, this would lead to quicker delivery of Northgate and Bellevue/Overlake lines, which I feel are most vital for the region. Then, the subarea that took out the loan would eventually repay the other subareas with their own projects.

@26, "the elimination of subarea equity in favor of Seattle"

Why shouldn't it favor Seattle? The city has the largest urban core and by far the most vexing traffic issues. This is about regional transportation planning, not having every tax dollar benefit you directly. We need to look at the best ideas to solve the region's problems, starting with the largest problems first.

However, I don't believe in disbanding ST. Sound Transit is a great agency as the last years of audits have shown.

@28, "Where is the transit infrastructure to support this 75-mile long commuter light rail? Why are we building from the outside in rather than the inside out?"

Would you really send tax dollars to Seattle to support this idea, after just saying that many trips aren't to downtown Seattle and how you don't want to pay for taxes that don't benefit you directly? How can ST build inside out? It need votes from folks a bit further out like yourself to fund everything. And because it needs your vote, it needs to say "light rail to downtown Redmond" or "light rail to Tacoma."

@29, That's one commenter on the Slog. I'm sure a lot of pro-prop 1 folks didn't agree -- I sure didn't.

However, governance reform is being talked about quite a bit more than before of course. I doubt the legislature will move on it, but I think we should still be vigilant.

I still find it quite petty to brag things like ST2 returning and Sound Transit not being replaced, when both of those things are still not incredibly clear and we have no idea what ST2.1 will look like.

Wait to gloat until ST2.1 passes.

Posted by bellevue & belmont | January 15, 2008 11:00 AM

Even if they get some kind of package to the ballot, who wants to pay for it?

This is the land of 'me first, where's mine, and up yours'.

The better the transit proposal is in terms of destinations and populations served, the larger is the sense of entitlement invoked in the voters.

Here in Cascadia, everything that is good for us should be free.

Posted by sceptic | January 15, 2008 11:41 AM

Here's a news flash.

There is large public support for an ST2.1 revote (yes, drop the moronic Sea-Tac to Tacoma link and do it later when both systems are bigger).

There is no support for RTID. Dead. Done. Impaled on a stake. Head cut off. And if it gets back up, I'm taking a machete to it, and taking names of who tries to help it rise from the dead.

Want roads? TOUGH. We have a THIRTY YEAR BACKLOG on 75 PERCENT of our EXISTING roads and bridges for REPAIR and REPLACEMENT. You ain't getting new roads and anyone stupid enough to suggest that better just let the counties propose it, cause it's not going to happen.

New interchanges to existing roads - no prob.

New HOV/transit lanes added to existing roads - no prob.

New SOV lanes for roads - nope.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 15, 2008 11:43 AM

With democratic supermajorities, the lege could do all that's needed to ensure ST2(v2) passes.

Learn from what the Sierra Club exit poll told us:

>some spending constraints are needed,

>a less regressive tax package is needed, and

>ST needs to get that starter line operational before asking for more money.

Posted by hopeful | January 15, 2008 12:26 PM

I agree with the other commenters that this is a nothing post, probably designed to rile up the base. Until ST comes up with their next plan and Olympia signs off on it, its nothing but vaporware. Josh, you're better than this and should stop bleating until you can give us some real information.

I agree with Will - RTID is dead, buried, and should remain that way. They had their chance to bundle, now let's see what happens to the proposals on their own since they obviously can't pass together.

If Sound Transit puts the exact same proposal on the ballot, I'll support it. If they trim everything down to extending to Northgate and over to Bellevue, I'll support it. If they decide to make a bunch of regional rail hubs of Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, and Everett I'll support it. I want some real region transportation options outside of the "congests with the cars" bus system.

Other comments: BRT is a "faith based" solution (if we're going to use that term), sub-area equity is here to stay (at least for now), Sound Transit has become a great agency (why would we want to start over?), there needs to be a West Seattle to Ballard line ASAP (it can be separate from a regional package but should be part of ST), and Will is right that we need concentrate on fixing the roads infrastructure we've got now first.

Unlike Will, I'm not adverse to adding new SOV capacity to existing roadways, but if that's the only thing the package would do, I'd consider it DOA. Also, NO NEW HIGHWAYS. Period.

Posted by Donolectic | January 15, 2008 12:34 PM

Bellevue & Belmont : thank you for clarifying your position @ 21. Sorry to misinterpreting your views.

But still, on what basis do you form your argument that a light rail extension south to Tacoma "would accomplish little."

Kind of ironic all these monorail foamers (cleve, chas, etc) - who spent years tryng to rid the region of light rail and Sound Transit - are now demanding that ST abandon its state mandated mission, and build the line they botched. Think these cannibalistic transit "supporters" learned their lesson? I doubt it. From the tone of these comments, it's clear to me they would do it all over again if given the chance.

This is the one disturbing common denominator shared by all light rail opponents: they will always propose their OWN pet projects as a substitute for light rail, and only speak "multi-modal" when rail isn't included in the mix. And how's about this whatever guy, who was complaining about the cost and challenges related to light rail... and then went on to propose a heavy rail system. Very rational, indeed.

Speaking of mindless statements, it will be a cold day in he'll (or an enlightened day in Seattle transportation) when the voters of Pierce County, Snoho County, S King County, E King County, and Northshore agree to tax themselves to build Cleve and Chas' ex-Green Line.

If the tax capacity existed within Seattle to build Northgate AND Ballard/West Seattle within the existing political realities and framework (there's that nasty and vexing ' reality' word again) then, fine. Get ST to try and pick up the monorail crash&burn debris. But to have bumbling ex-SMP activists and boardmembers infer "far flung" suburbs (you know, 4/5ths of the region's population) should be paying for their pet projects and past failures...that is just plain stupid.

We did the special purpose Seattle-only transit system experiment. You guys played a major role in it, and you blew it. Big time. Now, stop trying to drag the rest of a transit-starved region down waging your old pointless personal battles, and do something positive for once. And I thought it was only Conservatives who did this "me at the center of the universe" thing.

And no, Chas Redmond, transportation infrastructure and service isn't about serving every single self-centered activist wannabe's views. You want to know something really mind-blowing? It could be that self-centric Chas doesn't spend his entire life in West Seattle.

Posted by Brandon | January 15, 2008 12:35 PM

JR @ 26, 'whatever' hasn't figured out yet that "governance reform" and "prioritizing" is all about taking the light rail dough, and dumping it into John Stanton's freeways and Lexus Lanes.

The idea a suburban-dominated roads-centric entity would build West Seattle and Ballard their light rail lines is pretty darn hilarious when you think about it.

Let's see if Chas and Cleve can get Seattle's bus service back from suburban King County (40 - 40 - 20 rule) ; then I'll take their anti-regional transit bluster seriously.

Posted by Brandon | January 15, 2008 12:53 PM

Perhaps I was wrong about where the system goes exactly, but in order to pass, the system DOES need to be a bold statement of confidence from Sound Transit.

I would be for light-rail to Federal Way, Redmond, and Lynnwood if it meant getting a line from Ballard to West Seattle, although we'd lose support from Everett and Tacoma. There also needs to be some way to replace the 44 that goes U-District, Wallingford, Fremont and Ballard, but subway is probably too expensive and I'm not sure anyone has a feasible plan for anything else.

Personally, I'm for a separated-grade streetcar running from Ballard to West Seattle as in the one proposed in this map released by the Seattle Department of Transportation, the Streetcar Alliance and Heffront Transportation-

It would be much cheaper than light rail or monorail, and would be a part of a beautifully integrated Seattle streetcar system.

Also, I don't think 10 years is an unreasonable amount of time to expect a system voted on this year to be built by. 2018 is when I want to be able to get on and ride this.

Posted by Cale | January 15, 2008 1:38 PM

Actually, I'm for every line in on that map and hope to see it in it's entirety asap.

Posted by Cale | January 15, 2008 1:40 PM

The establishment has presented and financed rail transit in '68, '70, '95, '96, and 2007. The establishment put in $3 million for R&T in 2007. According to rail proponents there is tremendous widespread support for light rail, yet...

If we have a regional agency that oversees all the transportation planning and funding, it will be taken over by anti-transit pro roads people because the voters will forget that they are for transit, right?

And Brandon or whatever name you are currently using, if you are going to personally attack named people why don't you identify yourself instead of doing it anonymously?

BTW although heavy rail is usually more expensive than light rail, that is not the case in Seattle. Seattle's $200 million per mile is 3 to 6 times the cost of light rail in other cities.

Posted by whatever | January 15, 2008 1:41 PM

Cale how would a grade separated from WS to Ballard work? Would it be like ST in RV? If it is truly grade separated why use trolley technology?

Posted by whatever | January 15, 2008 1:56 PM

Brandon said:

"let's see if Chas and Cleve can get Seattle's bus service back from suburban King County (40 - 40 - 20 rule) ; then I'll take their anti-regional transit bluster seriously."

To which I say, "I'm working on it. Seriously. Been doing this for about a year not - gathering route and ridership data, missed runs, percentage of full routes by subarea, that kind of data gathering. Been talking to a lot of folks ranging from community councils, farmers markets patrons, county and city government staff, and KCM staff about expanding the mission of SDOT to include a transit element - which may/may not have to/want to coordinate with KCM. All preliminary work to scratch the existing surface and see if there are better ways to effectively spend what limited transit money we really have. Maybe Seattle could more effectively manage its 20 percent of KCM's transit hours? Anyway, good tactic and you should take at least me seriously.

There is a huge amount of transportation throughput and public transit capacity and reliability which could be improved with nothing more than a code change or two, or a route change. No money. We haven't even fixed the easy stuff yet.

By the way, it isn't "anti regional," it's more like "region specific." King County demographics go from 400 or so people per square mile to over 16000 per square mile. And yet the same set of transit agencies must cover the entire county on an equivalence basis. It doesn't compute. Suburban routes are running more than 40 percent lower than urban routes. Obviously there's more use of and more need in the urban areas. The equity relationship means that it's tit-for-tat, even if our side of the tit is 2 riders for the tat's 1 rider. Or 5 for 3, whatever the numbers really are - I've got the tables if you'd like a copy. They're hardcopy, not electronic, alas.

Posted by chas Redmond | January 15, 2008 4:06 PM

Chas doesn't spend his entire life in West Seattle.

That would suggest you've seen me in some other Seattle area. I'm often in Ballard, Wedgwood, Greenwood, Green Lake, Fremont, Wallingford, Capitol Hill, First Hill, Central (lowlands straight east), ID, SODO, Beacon, Interbay.

I for one would dearly love a Lake Union loop streetcar system. I'd dearly love a waterside route which went at least to Old Ballard (Leary would do). I'd use the SLUT often if it went at least as far as the U Bridge. I can walk from there to anywhere I'd be heading. As it is I drive and park up by the Catholic Church on 8th and 50-something. Always free parking there and a really quick run from West Seattle by car.

To get anywhere this (you know, that self-centric view I have of the world - from West Seattle) side of Lake Union, I usually take a bus. That's going to be a royal-pain-in-the-time-butt when the Viaduct comes down. What makes buses work in West Seattle is the grade-separated nature of the Viaduct - buses have priority and the better drivers jump to the head of any queue. Even buses can work if the infrastructure is correct.

I sometimes hang out at Muni Tower or City Hall, too. I hate the tower, but love City Hall - after all I helped pay for it (or still am, which is is?)

Posted by chas Redmond | January 15, 2008 4:17 PM

You ain't getting new roads and anyone stupid enough to suggest that better just let the counties propose it, cause it's not going to happen.

When you make comments like this you show you really don't have a clue. It's happening right now all over the state. Try getting out of Seattle sometime and you'll see all sorts of new roads projects being built.

For example, right now 405 is getting new GP lanes from 112th Ave SE to SE 8th St. It's also getting new GP lanes from I-5 to SR 167. Do you really think that the state is going to build these new lanes on either end of 405 and not eventually complete the middle section? Here's a hint: they will, and despite all of your bluster to the contrary, there's nothing you can do about it.

The state also just finished a huge project on 405 in Kirkland which added and additional GP lane in each direction. There's more planned for 405 from 520 north to I-5 that's funded and will be built.

The legislature isn't going to let projects get halfway done. That means more GP lanes on 405.

Posted by Bax | January 15, 2008 7:22 PM

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