Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Really Want Metro to Get This Idea Right

Posted by on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Next time you think about about rapid bus transportation, please picture something along these lines...



Comments (35) RSS

Newest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
I think that sidewalk would look a lot better with a kitchen on it.
Posted by CATSPAW666 on January 26, 2013 at 2:41 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 35
I've been on Jakarta's BRT, and I blogged about it. It's real BRT, and yet it really sucks. Grade separation is the gold standard, and be afraid of anything that runs on the surface. BRT is a bad compromise done cheaply, and you get what you pay for.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on January 24, 2013 at 11:03 PM · Report this
flotard 33
Why can't Charles actually tell us what the idea is? There are 32 comments of speculation about a picture of a sidewalk and the mention of Metro screwing something up. WTF
Posted by flotard on January 24, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
@18 Because its always totally packed and slow as molasses in January.
Posted by Totalpukoid on January 24, 2013 at 4:41 PM · Report this
Fnarf 31
@30, you "literally walked that area", Will? Which area? The Georgetown-Pioneer Square route mentioned by the person you are addressing? To get to the "Uptown"? You mean the theater in Lower Queen Anne? Via the 70? Fascinating stuff.

In addition to your hapless, hopeless lies and confusions, which don't even approximate sense, it's amusing that you think walking through "all the churned up mess everywhere" somehow refutes my (or his) notion that these unpleasant walking environments are somehow a deterrent.

You continue to be the most worthless piece of garbage commenter in the history of Slog, or anywhere else for that matter. Not just lies, not just nonsensical, not just bullshit, but wave after wave of nonsensical lying bullshit. At least the people here I disagree with can put up some kind of an argument; all you can do is soil yourself, and us, over and over and over.
Posted by Fnarf on January 24, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 30
@28 see here is where Fnarf goes off the deep end with his ct @29.

I literally walked that area last night (hopped the 70 and walked through the nightmare to the Uptown).

It feels differently when you bike it, drive it, or bus it, than it does when you're walking and you can see all the churned up mess everywhere.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 24, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this
Fnarf 29
@28, compare that walk or any long walk in Seattle to virtually any long walk in New York, the canonical example being Broadway from Battery Park to the Bronx, which is absolutely fascinating every step of the way. Even the strictly car infrastructure in New York is largely tucked out of the way; I've previously compared the approaches to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which just sort of slip under the city, to the multi-acre concrete wastelands we're building for the viaduct replacement.

New York too ridiculous an example? Go to LA and walk the length of Wilshire Boulevard, or Crenshaw, or Santa Monica, or Western, or dozens of others, all of which have some problem areas but are full of interest the whole way -- and not just for cars, even in that archetypal car-oriented city (which is not half as car-dependent as Seattle is). And those streets are LONG.

The ultimate expression of Seattle's attitude toward pedestrians, and connections between neighborhoods, is the sign that reads "NO PEDESTRIAN CROSSING - USE OTHER SIDE".
Posted by Fnarf on January 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 28
@25 Those dead zones are also what makes a geographically small city so difficult for long range walkers. That 3 mile walk feels a lot longer when half of it is along desolate streets. Georgetown to Pioneer Square should be an easy walk, but in reality it's daunting.

And enough about the monorail scam, folks. That was a five billion dollar boondoggle we were lucky to escape from relatively unharmed. #WPPSS
Posted by Sir Vic on January 24, 2013 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 27
Fnarf does have a point about how the Gates building creates a dead zone for transit.

The delays due to that and other "blocking" buildings and the already broken tunnel boring Tunnel Of GHG & Drowned Doom construction are making a nightmare for cyclists, pedestrians, car drivers, and transit.

Even if we could afford it, which all projections (even optimistic ones) show we can't.

(details in today's Seattle Times online on some of this)
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 24, 2013 at 12:24 PM · Report this
rob! @10, that monorail-ride video is a delight. Fnarf @25, thanks as ever for writing in a way that suggests you believe we're paying attention even though of course most of us ain't and won't never.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 24, 2013 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Fnarf 25
@9, you have a point about the route from downtown to Ballard. The problem there is a LACK of congestion, a problem that plagues most of Seattle. Oh, we have plenty of traffic jams in the streets, but in terms of urban uses that route is almost empty the whole way. It's better now that there's a Whole Foods and a few other shops down there, but Interbay is about as far from a "walkable neighborhood" as the High Line in eastern Montana.

This is far from unusual in Seattle. Many of our routes, whether bus, car or bike (or ped) are ways of getting from one interesting place to another that's far, far away, with almost nothing in between. The next time you cruise up the stretch of Aurora between Denny and the Aurora Bridge, notice how even though the way is now lined with large buildings, there is absolutely zero civic interest the entire way. Until you get to Canlis, I guess. It's a total dead zone, a passage to be endured on the way to someplace alive.

If you're on the 358, notice how the dead zone extends through the Seattle Center area, after a short detour through a living neighborhood. Notice how the new Gates Foundation building -- the worst urban building built anywhere in the world in the last fifty years -- destroys opportunity on its side even more than the Center buildings do on the other. It's not until you hit Belltown that you're in a PLACE again.

These dead zones fill our city. The U District is an island; the Rainier Valley is a chain of islands along a string of nothingness. There are oceans of nothing even in heavily built areas like Pioneer Square (the disastrous Avenue Extensions). Look at the connection between Rainier and Boren -- there aren't even any cross streets, so there's no way to try to incubate city life even retroactively. Look at the new building in the Goodwill parking lot that faces Rainier: it's like a tombstone for a hundred acres of anti-city.

That's one of the reasons traffic is so bad: all these cars are trying to get far, far away, where the affordable housing is, through miles of shitty vacant lots and parking lots and turned-away faces of ugly buildings. The seventy-year-old ones at least have an excuse; but look at the shit they're building now! People complain about the four-packs out in the neighborhoods, but those are nothing compared to the commercial stuff.

And you'll never be able to run really successful BRT or any other kind of transit through these wastelands. Look out the window the next time you ride the elevated parts of light rail. What do you see? Nothingness.

A slow BRT line would be a success if there were reasons to get on or off along the way. As it is, Seattle transit is too often a series of moon shots.
Posted by Fnarf on January 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM · Report this
dirac 24
@23 About as plausible as that dedicated lane.

I know people here will hate this because it retains autonomy for some drivers but I still like the road train model--this is what I was talking about. Barring some wild change in public policy, this is much safer / more efficient than doing nothing.

Posted by dirac on January 24, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this

Rather than have dedicated lanes, buses should have sirens and flashing lights, and turn them on in traffic so the cars have to pull aside to let them pass like fire engines.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 24, 2013 at 11:46 AM · Report this
I've never been to Jakarta, so I don't know how it is, but in Mexico City, BRT has to wait for the stoplight like everyone else. It still works because the traffic is so congested that it's still twice as fast as driving during rush hour. If traffic isn't as bad as in Mexico City (that is, every other city in the world), maybe that wouldn't be as much of a selling point.
Posted by redemma on January 24, 2013 at 11:44 AM · Report this
porter_esq 21
You must realize Metro/King County has no authority over city street right-of-way. Talk to Mayor McGinn about that.
Posted by porter_esq on January 24, 2013 at 11:42 AM · Report this
dirac 20
Well, we surely don't have a shortage of amateur traffic engineers here! I seriously think we have a better chance of implementing an autonomous car train system before we see dedicated bus lanes from Ballard to downtown.
Posted by dirac on January 24, 2013 at 11:38 AM · Report this

Is that one of the few segregated cycletracks around town?

I've been trying to find them.

I know we have some here in fact, we have double wide sidewalks that are raised, segregated and split 50/50 bikes-peds.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 24, 2013 at 11:19 AM · Report this
@15: I've not, no. Why?
Posted by doceb on January 24, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
tainte 17
a subaru outback impreza? no thanks. we had one and it wasn't big enough. traded up for a proper outback (with a 6 cylinder, of course).

we've put about 160,000 miles on it in the last 8 years. still running strong!
Posted by tainte on January 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM · Report this
If we build separate BRT lanes now, we won't have to wonder where the light rail track would go in the future.
Posted by unpaid reader on January 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
@9 Ever ridden the D line?
Posted by Totalpukoid on January 24, 2013 at 11:01 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 14
Why not run buses on an elevated roadway, like we used to do with streetcars along the waterfront.

We could call it .. monorail.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 24, 2013 at 10:40 AM · Report this
Buses have their own lanes in Jakarta. They are still profoundly slow for reasons raised by @2. Also Jakarta is a shitshow.
Posted by DVNODVNO on January 24, 2013 at 10:35 AM · Report this
treacle 12
...just, you know, don't crush the pedestrians.

Not that I'm worth a drop in the ocean of Getting Things Done In Seattle, but I'll add my voice, with @6, to the "yeah, I don't think actual BRT is gonna work in Seattle, let's keep building the light-rail, and also optimize the buses we have... like, yeah, more circular routes, like in Vancouver B.C."
Posted by treacle on January 24, 2013 at 10:33 AM · Report this
At grade rail (I.e., streetcars) is the kiss of death for using a street as a bicycle route. For example, Westlake. The cycle track planned for Broadway will mitigate the street car tracks there, but it doesn't continue on Jackson. Jackson is becoming significantly more dangerous for bicyclists, and this is unfortunate since Jackson provides a reasonable grade connection from south Capitol Hill and the CD to Pioneer Square and the water front.
Posted by Don't you think he looks tired? on January 24, 2013 at 10:33 AM · Report this
rob! 10
Here, just to grind your teeth some more over what might have been, take a 1-minute ride on the Enoshima (Shonan) monorail:

It's a SAFEGE type (suspended), rather than an ALWEG type like Seattle's.
Posted by rob! on January 24, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
@:4 and 5:
I don't doubt that it would have some impact. I just think that the tens of millions of dollars that would be used to widen the roads for bus-only lanes could be better spent in terms of moving people quickly. I absolutely see the value of dedicated transit lanes on frequently congested limited-access roads, but I'm not sure that the path up to Ballard from downtown would qualify as such.
Posted by doceb on January 24, 2013 at 10:28 AM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 8
Like I said before, America can find billions of dollars a week to spend in the effort to secure cheap petroleum. The last thing the Feds want is mass transit that saves lives, I mean oil.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 24, 2013 at 10:26 AM · Report this
Fnarf 7
@6, if you think Insurgentes in Mexico City, where the first of a very successful series of BRT lines runs, isn't a "congested street network", you are super high. It's ten times more congested and traffic-confusing than any Seattle street. But it works.

The dedicated lanes need to be in the center of the street, not the outside, though.
Posted by Fnarf on January 24, 2013 at 10:23 AM · Report this
Looking For a Better Read 6
BRT does not work on a congested surface network; there are too many conflict points with intersections, ped crossings, delivery vehicles, etc. Timing the signal network to allow for prioritization for busses is good in theory, but while it may make for marginally better bus operation, the rest of the network's participants (personal vehicles, freight, business/delivery) would suffer greatly. And before anyone goes off on a "well fuck personal cars, they're the whole G-D problem" understand the political pressure that would be applied when gridlock results.

The solution that Seattle needs is where we are - slowly - heading; circulating busses, fixed alignment streetcars, and higher capacity (preferably grade-separated) LRT. On their own, each of these is insufficient - but as part of an overall plan, combined, there is hope.
Posted by Looking For a Better Read on January 24, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 5
@2 - So why bother trying, right? God knows two or more ideas can't be combined.
Posted by MacCrocodile on January 24, 2013 at 9:58 AM · Report this
@2 As has been demonstrated in Bogota, providing buses their own lane has a huge impact on efficiency of a BRT system.
Posted by mhulot on January 24, 2013 at 9:57 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 3
Had we not chickened out of the monorail you could get from downtown to Ballard in how many minutes? Was it 15 or 20 anytime of the day?

Just saying...we fucked ourselves on transit. Enjoy being stuck in traffic gang.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on January 24, 2013 at 9:54 AM · Report this
I think he's suggesting that buses get their own lanes. They will still get stuck at lights, and in congested areas where cars need to be able to turn across the lane. It's another half-measure that solves none of our transit issues.
Posted by doceb on January 24, 2013 at 9:48 AM · Report this
You want them to run buses on the sidewalk?
Posted by J.R. on January 24, 2013 at 9:40 AM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy