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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Plan C and the Manhattanization of Seattle

Posted by on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Proposition 1 tanked mostly likely in the suburbs of King County. Seattle will turn out to be much like Tacoma—an urban core that voted yes to save its bus system and surrounding suburbs that strongly and successfully voted no. But unlike Tacoma, Seattle has one more plan—plan C. But even if the plan were to work, even if we save metro for the inner city, it would still be a catastrophe for the poor because they are not a part of Seattle's future. From the ST article "Poverty hits home in local suburbs like S. King County":

Nowhere is suburbanization of poverty more evident than in South King County, where affordable housing has drawn immigrants and refugees coming here from across the globe as well as low-income families forced from Seattle by skyrocketing housing costs.

The findings are contained in a new book: “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America,” which examines this trend in the 100 largest metropolitan areas across the country, including the Seattle metro area, where 3.5 million people are spread across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

Seattle is becoming like Manhattan in yet another way: It'll provide a functioning public transportation system for those who can afford to live in the core (professional/upper classes). As for the poor, they will be stuck in cars, lose time in long commutes, face huge transportation costs, and suffer the health problems related to suburban modes of living. Indeed, Seattle property owners who voted yes for Proposition 1 did so against their financial interests. Metro cuts will only increase the values of homes in the core—near Link, near remaining bus stops, walking distance to shops and bars and jobs. And if plan C passes, property values in the core will rise even more—functioning bus system near home and place of employment. There is no good news in any of this. The class and physical structure of the city is becoming medieval.


Comments (37) RSS

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Rotten666 1
"Seattle is becoming like Manhattan in yet another way: It'll have a functioning public transportation system for the professional class. As for the poor, they will be stuck in cars, long commutes, huge transportation costs, and suffering the health problems related to suburban modes of living."

Spoken like a guy who has never rode on the LIRR or Metro North. The bus system in the suburbs is not so great, but the spectacular rail system more than makes up for it. Perhaps you should actually use suburban NY transit before you pontificate on the subject, because you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

Also, the so called plan c....exactly how many property tax levees are now going to be on the Nov. ballot? Do you really think homeowners are going to vote for all of them?
Posted by Rotten666 on April 24, 2014 at 9:13 AM · Report this
Kinison 3
Manhattanization of Seattle? Great! So when do we ban cyclists from the sidewalks?
Posted by Kinison on April 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM · Report this
theophrastus 4
so i guess it's "game over, man, game over!" ..? time for folks that are so convinced to depart this city o' tears and move on to less ruined shores.

aw com'on... have some faith in TheProcess! this one was a loss. but you wait, we'll grind 'em down with our endless progressive nattering. they don't stand a chance in the long run. (and there can only ever be one Manhattan)
Posted by theophrastus on April 24, 2014 at 9:23 AM · Report this
Kinison 5
Just wanted to point out in the photo, is a clear example of how Metro lacks the ability to operate efficiently. Theres 3 empty ad slots above those windows, where KC Metro can fill those buses with ads to generate money, instead they choose to be picky on just what kind of ads can be bought, so thats basically lost revenue. This is just one bus, ive been on a few and often see many empty ad slots.

Also a waste of money is not renting out space at the Convention Center bus tunnel. Plenty of room for an espresso vendor or food truck, we used to have one there years ago, but I guess Metro decided they didnt want to charge rent. They really need to pull their head out of their ass and realize how much money they've lost over the years.
Posted by Kinison on April 24, 2014 at 9:29 AM · Report this
brandon 6
Oh please, stop being so fatalist. It sucks but there are ways to fix the mess, it just may take longer than any of us would like.

It could be a lot worse as far as affordability in this city. I lived in the Bay Area and it's a billion times worse. And they have robust public transit.
Posted by brandon on April 24, 2014 at 9:34 AM · Report this
Martin H. Duke 7

As someone who sells advertising to be targeted at transit riders, I think you're overestimating how lucrative that market is for marketing.
Posted by Martin H. Duke on April 24, 2014 at 9:38 AM · Report this
wisepunk 8
I'm a little torn over this vote for some of the reasons that Charles states. I own property near light rail, so I know that the worse transportation gets the more valuble my assets are going to get.

But the other reason I'm torn about is still the near 40% of our tax dollars that rocket out of our town to everywhere else across the state. Maybe it will get so bad around here that we might finally elect some pols that will fight to keep more of our tax dollars local, instead of sending nearly half the money elsewhere and raising taxes to run our local systems. It's time to start taking care of us, and maybe, just maybe it might to start to hurt to all those people living out on the fringe. Maybe they will start voting for their self interest rather than theie ideology if it starts getting truly painful.
Posted by wisepunk on April 24, 2014 at 9:39 AM · Report this
suffer the health problems related to suburban modes of living

What are those ? Increased number of accidents related to amateur use of lawn mowers or bicycling without dedicated bike lanes ?
Posted by ChefJoe on April 24, 2014 at 9:41 AM · Report this
Seattle's becoming a rich person's playground just like the Bay Area and the only thing that's going to stop that trend is a housing or tech crash, or both. One the same day half my bus service got cut I received a letter in the mail telling me that my building's property managers are raising my rent a couple hundred bucks. I feel like this city's giving me the middle finger. But hey, the free market will take care of everything, I'm sure.
Posted by Jizzlobber on April 24, 2014 at 9:49 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 11
@7 What, you say the bus system can't operate on the revenue from a few shitty little display ads? STOP UNDERMINING THE LIBERTARDIAN UTOPIA!!!
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on April 24, 2014 at 9:49 AM · Report this

Manhattan is a daily farm for rich cows.

The milk gets distributed to points in LI, NJ, CT and upstate.

Seattle can be the same...if we uproot freeloading natives and install a high wage, high asset, taxable herd.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 24, 2014 at 10:01 AM · Report this
Better Manhattan than Detroit. I wonder, is there an American city of which Mr. Mudede approves?
Posted by Ken Mehlman on April 24, 2014 at 10:04 AM · Report this
DOUG. 14
Yet South King County voted 70% "No" on Prop 1.
Posted by DOUG. on April 24, 2014 at 10:07 AM · Report this
70% against, huh? Well, if they don't want transit, who are we to shove it down their throats. Plan C it is! Carefully written so that Metro can't divert those funds to fill holes elsewhere. We need to continue to get what we would have gotten from Metro if we bought nothing.
Posted by MovingOn on April 24, 2014 at 10:28 AM · Report this
McJulie 16
The suburban areas served by Metro are caught in a Catch-22 -- their bus service isn't very good, so they don't want to pay for it, which results in their bus service becoming even worse.
Posted by McJulie on April 24, 2014 at 10:30 AM · Report this
Fnarf 18
@7, I think you're underestimating the belief amongst transit-hating libertarians like Kinison (and even a surprising number of self-proclaimed "progressives" that "efficiency" means "huge expansion of service with slashed funding", and any government agency that can't do it deserves to be flat-out eliminated.

But sure, yeah, a couple of unfilled bus ads means Metro should be shut down. OK, then. We are aspiring to the condition of Lagos or Kinshasa or Mogadishu.
Posted by Fnarf on April 24, 2014 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 19
@1 as someone who grew up 70~ miles Northeast of NYC up the Connecticut coast (Bridgeport/Stratford) your statement really needs to be qualified. The rail system from the 'burbs to get into New York City is fantastic, but it's a massive tri-state hub and spoke network. I can't speak to most of Long Island, New York's adjacent cities, or northern New Jersey, but the local transit systems otherwise, at least in Connecticut, are barely a shadow of what King County Metro will be even after the 17% cuts.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 24, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 20
Manhattan is a daily farm for rich cows.

As usual, you don't have a single clue of what is happening in the current universe that you inhabit. Did you somehow escape from a parallel Earth spawned from a different Big Bang than ours, into ours? Is there a space-time rip in Kent and you accidentally crossed over from Nega-Kent to ours?

Here, let me Google that for you.

If New York's bars and restaurants seem crowded at night, consider this: during the day, commuters from the other boroughs and outside the city nearly double Manhattan's population, from 1.6 million to 3.1 million.

Thanks, Google. Are you seriously suggesting that the majority of the population that enters Manhattan to work is well off? Because that's as authoritative as my saying that DARPA conducts flying saucer experiments out of Mount Rainier and that Paradise, Washington, is a cover operation for the Men In Black. I know lots of purely middle class people that took the train daily into NYC for work because that's where their work was, as the biggest employment center in three major states.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on April 24, 2014 at 10:58 AM · Report this
Posted by Charles Mudede on April 24, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Report this
Kinison 22
@7 Am i'm not saying it is, i'm saying every little bit counts. However what might be more lucrative is renting out space at out bus tunnels to espresso vendors and food truck/carts.
Posted by Kinison on April 24, 2014 at 11:28 AM · Report this
I still find it hard to believe that Seattlites can be pissed at the outliers of King Co for voting no on this. What Metro buses go out to Skykomish, Enumclaw, Monroe, ETC and why the F should they vote for a 10 year increase on car tabs and sales tax for a service they never use. And the road repair portion of Prop 1 was BS 40% "after" admin costs sounds like not that much to spend on roads that are not nearly in the same shape as Seattle's. Metro is a Seattle issue first and foremost
Posted by g2000 on April 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM · Report this
Hey, they were the ones that voted against it. Let
'em fund their own transit into Seattle.
Posted by maddogm13 on April 24, 2014 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 25
Can't fix stuff if the suburbs don't want em fixed.


Scr3w the suburbs
Posted by Will in Seattle on April 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Kinison 26
BTW, Not a libertarian, but a moderate democrat, which means I don't believe in throwing money at a problem until theres no other alternatives to raise money. If you guys want to ignore the fact that buses are not maximizing their ad space, or flat out ignoring renting out space to food vendors at the bus tunnels, then you have only yourself to blame for the failure of these elections.

I dont own a car, dont have a license and yeah the loss of these routes will affect me, but I could not bring myself to vote for this knowing that Metro wasn't doing all that it could to stop the bleeding. They saved up for a nice rainy day fund, but blew right through it and were forced to make serious concessions just to get that 20$ car tab a year ago, otherwise they wouldn't have made those concessions at all. Someone actually had to hold their feet to the fire.
Posted by Kinison on April 24, 2014 at 12:19 PM · Report this
People in the burbs will be fine, they still got soundtransit and the buses that go out there are not being cut.
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on April 24, 2014 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Bus cuts will motivate underpaid commuters to become underpaid residents. The resulting infill means, among other things, higher rents.

Low-wage commuters stuck in cars? Not likely. Parking will get even pricier.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on April 24, 2014 at 2:07 PM · Report this
seandr 29
For those in the southern burbs, the light rail station in Angle Lake, Sea Tac is scheduled to be complete in 2016.
Posted by seandr on April 24, 2014 at 2:08 PM · Report this
#23: Well Seattle kind of is the economic engine of the region, and their well being is tied to ours whether they like it or not. But I fully understand that they voted for their own perceived self-interest, shortsighted though it is.
Posted by Jizzlobber on April 24, 2014 at 4:12 PM · Report this
Im glad to see that even if other parts of the county don't value transit, Seattle is still going to have to opportunity to vote for our values and preserve transit in our community. Preserving connections between our neighborhoods, getting people to work, and doing it all while helping the environment.
And from an economic standpoint, losing all that transit would hurt Seattle's job market. A great many people take transit to jobs downtown, the traffic is obviously terrible, and yet there are always plentiful parking spots in lots downtown. Add it up, and it looks like a city whose streets cannot physically get more cars on them in rush hour. So if buses are cut, how will people get to their jobs? This could have a horrible effect on productivity and commute times for every person in Seattle.
And hey, this might help break the hostage situation Oly has had the city in for a while! I can dream right?
Posted by JonCracolici on April 24, 2014 at 4:54 PM · Report this
Hey, we tried. As can be seen in the Prop 1 vote results, voters in Seattle, where the majority of the new costs would have fallen based solely on population density, wanted to save the county metro system for the entire county.

The outlying suburbs rejected the proposition. So now we may have to go our own way. Yes, it sucks for those who find themselves priced out of living downtown and face more drastic transit cuts, presumably through no fault of their own (I assume those dependent on public transit in those areas voted for Prop 1). As those working poor suffer, so shall those areas suffer. And the more affluent there will watch their own property values decline and face their own problems commuting. And, in a democratic sense, it will be their own fault.

They should just hope they realize their mistake before we stop giving a fuck about their transit problems altogether (just as they have already done for ours). Or, you know, be stuck with a low-income demographic that can't easily find work in Seattle because they can't get here. I don't hang out Skykomish or Enumclaw, so that's how those voters and their political leadership wants things, so be it. Maybe they can open up some new super-Walmarts or something.
Posted by madcap on April 24, 2014 at 6:38 PM · Report this


That you copied my sentence without correcting "dairy" for "daily" speaks volumes.

And yes, there has always been what is known as the Tunnel And Bridge Crowd.

But we're talking about the real captives. The guys paying 28.8% taxes on properties in the millions.

The Tunnel and Bridge Crowd contribute a few farthings, but also they lend credence to the idea of the "specialness" of the city. So...keep paying tolls, Queensians, Nassauians, Jerseyites.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on April 25, 2014 at 9:12 AM · Report this
UGH, I'm so tired of shit like this being framed as rich vs poor. The poor suburbs had a huge no vote, where as the richer ones skewed more to the yes vote. Time and time again we see poor people voting down tax increases (and voting more conservative on other issues)…

Yes there's a lot of rich d-bags like tim eyman, but by reducing the narrative to poor vs rich ignores the fact that a lot of poor vote against their own interest and doesn't help solve the problem.
Posted by j2patter on April 26, 2014 at 1:12 PM · Report this
Not sure what you really know about nyc.....

Posted by opus307 on April 27, 2014 at 1:49 AM · Report this
Clearly, there are many dumbasses posting comments to this. GREAT job nailing this Charles.

#1 you are a foolish joker. Metro North, LIRR in NYC cost a bundle to ride and are mostly populated with professionals. I know, I rode it daily for years and still do when I'm back there 2-3 times per year. Fares are at least double Sound Transit's commuter rail prices, often 3-4 times more. And those trains run a handful of lines. great service, but hardly comparable. And, if you didn't know, metro NY is mostly well-of and poor people. Middle income folks tend to live 1-2 hours away, know-it-all ;-)

#34, the point is, this shouldn't even be voted on. We need to move people and goods in efficient, ecological, convenient, affordable ways. If you spent ANY time on the Eastside of this divided county, you'd have seen the barrage of NO propaganda spread through wealthy communities on signs, placards and stickers.Wake up. The USA is dividing along income bracket lines. Almost all of this tracks back to money.

#32, good points, but, trust me, the wealthy will find ways to block settlement of the poor squeezed out from Seattle into their Eastside communities andneighborhoods when it threatens them (as they see it). These same folks tried to keep rail from heading straight into downtown Bellevue (and, largely succeeded).

#27 Metro and Sound Transit share much of their service area. So the cuts will hurt the growing number of immigrants and working poor, artists who can't afford to live in or near Seattle. Busses are often full now. Soon, they'll be turning away riders.

if people in the 'burbs weren't such dumb asses, they'd realize it's not just direct benefit, Metro provides; it's also clean are, less traffic and congestion, as well as economic contribution in aiding all of the workers it serves who contribute to our region's economy. Head-out-of-ass pulls are desperately needed in large swaths of suburbia.

And, #3, when do we ban YOU?! You should thank cyclists for helping to clean your air and de-congest your roads and parking.

Posted by X.G. on April 27, 2014 at 2:11 AM · Report this
A huge part of this discussion is Seattle City Council and the Mayor's historic failure to even utter the concept, (yet alone address through drastic policy of building massive amounts of housing that is affordable, not handouts) of equitable housing development in 'progressive' Seattle. We could show the a-holes of NY, SF, DC, etc how to stop the tide of exclusionary development that's hijacked our desirable cities. There ARE developers who can build 1 bedroom apartments (etc.) and charge rents under $900 month. the city needs to put them on a pedestal and give them breaks so THEY are the ones to acquire lots and build much of our city's housing. Instead, these City Hall schmucks take the infracting developers money as campaign contributions. Demand answers, demand solutions, demand more from our elected 'leaders'.
Posted by X.G. on April 27, 2014 at 2:15 AM · Report this
@36, I agree we shouldn't have voted. We have a fucked up tax system and need an income tax. But ignoring that poor people vote against their own interest to further a Rich vs Poor narrative helps no one. Yes there may have been vote no signs in rich eastside suburbs, but look at the results, the rich eastside suburbs are blue (50% or more voted yes) and the poor south suburbs are red (less then 50% voted yes), so to say the vote was divided along an income lines with the rich vote no is a lie. The vote was divided among an income lines with the poor areas in king county voting no.
Posted by j2patter on April 27, 2014 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Ah fuck, I was wrong, the Bellevue/Redmond area voted 40-50% no. Still higher then kent/renton though.
Posted by j2patter on April 27, 2014 at 5:39 PM · Report this

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