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Monday, July 7, 2008

What He Said

posted by on July 7 at 13:34 PM

“Build rail now,” says Goldy.

I know conventional wisdom still suggests that now is the wrong time for Sound Transit to come back with a ballot measure, just one year after the defeat of Prop 1, but the conventional wise men are missing the point: 2008 isn’t 2007. The era of cheap gas is over, and Americans—even Seattle-Americans (and yes, I know, Seattle is different from every other city in the world)—are beginning to change their behavior in response. Voters get that, even if our politicians and editorialists don’t.

Goldy points to an economist quoted in today’s Seattle Times who says that the “new calculus of higher gas prices may have permanently reshaped urban housing markets,” and that people will be looking to buy homes in places that allow them to drive as little as possible. That is, dense, walking communities, and in areas served by rapid transit.

So… again… suburban voters? Want to protect your property values? Get behind efforts to build regional mass transit.

More at HA.

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This new plan is a winner. Lots of goodies for all the subareas. Unlike the Roads and Transit measure last year, this new one has an iron-clad guarantee: no taxes after 2020. Talk about green (and saving some green)!

Posted by It's a steal! | July 7, 2008 1:46 PM

One silver lining in all of this petrol-related anxiety and economic doom-and-gloomism surely must be significant inroads into the obesity epidemic.

Hopefully all this belt-tightening will lead to some belt-tightening (I'm looking at you, guy who demands the wheelchair forklift on the bus, sans wheelchair).

Posted by jackie treehorn | July 7, 2008 1:57 PM

Downtown economic prospects aren't much more rosy than in the burbs:

"Goldy"'s comment about "extending east to Bellevue and eventually(!) Redmond" is a nonstarter. Fuck that, and fuck Sound Transit. Why would anyone think it was important to connect the U. District to Northgate?

Posted by worth mentioning | July 7, 2008 2:04 PM

You extend to Northgate because it becomes a transit hub in which buses from the north, and throughout the northend of Seattle feed high capacity rail into the downtown and beyond. That's why.

(It would be nice if folks would actually read the plans before criticizing them.)

Posted by Goldy | July 7, 2008 2:12 PM

Hey there, I thought I recognized that retort. It's strange to see you here too Goldy. Keep up the good fight.

Posted by Sir Learnsalot | July 7, 2008 2:14 PM

@3: Because people live in Northgate and go to school / work in the U District. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

Posted by Greg | July 7, 2008 2:14 PM

Let's Monorail.

Posted by JC | July 7, 2008 2:26 PM

@6 Well God forbid, those three Northgate to U District commuters wouldn't have access to obscenely expensive light rail.

"Goldy", I didn't see a link in Dan's post or yours to the actual plans, so I apologize for and retract my kneejerk anger at the utter uselessness of the endless, doomed attempts to set up a transit system here until I read the actual, doomed to fail proposals that will be voted down, again.

I'd suggest that a transit solution for this area should probably include the biggest revenue generators in the state/country, on the Eastside, as more than an eventual afterthought, but whatever, good luck with the new pitch.

Posted by worth mentioning | July 7, 2008 2:37 PM

ALL OF THE ABOVE! Light rail, commuter rail, BRT on SR-520 later converted to light rail or monorail, light rail on I-90 - build it all!

We ain't making any new oil, folks.

No matter what lies McCain/Bush 08 told ya.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 7, 2008 2:44 PM

Let's see. People are moving to the city and want to live in real urban density so let's build rail to Fife and Redondo Beach.

Buses are already full in the city so let's spend our sales tax dollars on a faux commuter train instead of increasing in-city transit.

But put it on the ballot cause this will be their swan song - RTA law has them folding the tent with this loss.

How will the campaign go? You're being hammered by high fuel, food and everything that doesn't come from China so let's increase your taxes for a system up and running in 15 to 20 years that will carry like 3% of you.

Please go for it.

Posted by brilliant | July 7, 2008 2:46 PM

Worth mentioning @3 and @8, you're an idiot. There's a hell of a lot more than three, for starters, and more importantly, you're not connecting them to the U District, you're connecting them to the ENTIRE SYSTEM. The more nodes you add to the system, the more valuable the whole system becomes. Northgate, besides being a major regional destination in itself, is already a transit hub, and adding them doesn't just increase the utility of the system for people who live near there; it increases the value of the airport stop, the First Hill stop, the downtown stops, the MLK stops -- ALL of it. You're opening up the whole system to the north end of Seattle, which is a huge benefit.

What's sad is seeing the city council still farting around with an apparently infinite variety of trolley options, which connect to nothing of value or importance, when they KILLED the system that actually made some sense, back in its day (the monorail). Now they are pretending that Sound Transit doesn't exist, since they get no political brownie points for ST.

Sound Transit is not a great transit system, and probably never will be. BUT: it's the only one we have, and the whole point of regional planning is that you make a decision on behalf of everybody and then you GO WITH IT. Pretending that ST isn't the way forward is, at this point, almost criminally negligent. Pretending that the streetcar is anything but a ludicrous vanity project is too.

This region suffers from poor leadership, but Sound Transit it at least moving in a forward direction. Seattle is suffering from NO LEADERSHIP AT ALL, just a few pointless irrelevancies who are continuing to come up with "new ideas" long after the time for new ideas is past. Now is the time for MAKING IT HAPPEN. The mayor and the city council can't make anything happen except trivia.

Put it this way: every new area opened up to Sound Transit SQUARES the value of the system as a whole. Bellevue? Of course, build it, build it now. Seattle neighborhoods should be clamoring to get in on it too, because it's going to be a major factor in not only your survival but the survival of the whole. Synergy, people.

Posted by Fnarf | July 7, 2008 3:00 PM

@8 - "three" commuters from Northgate to the U-District? Wow, what ignorance. I'm saying this as a former commuter from Northgate to the U-District - let me tell you, there were more than three of us. There's a shit ton of people who commute from the North Seattle suburbs.

I agree that it'd be better if expansion to the Eastside was a higher priority, but that doesn't negate the need to push light rail north. Besides, building to Northgate doesn't require dealing with the state's inability to settle on a way to replace the 520 bridge.

Posted by Hernandez | July 7, 2008 3:11 PM

Oh for crying out loud -- it was a snarky, bored troll based on never having been to Northgate in the 17 years I've lived in Puget Sound and not being able to imagine wanting to go there. Sorry. SORRY NORTHGATE, MAY YOU GET A TUNNEL LINED IN PLATINUM.

Fnarf, I agree with everything else you said and I also agree with Hernandez. I also agree with Dan and whoever this Goldy person is.

Posted by worth mentioning | July 7, 2008 3:22 PM

"Sound Transit is not a great transit system, and probably never will be"

"Sound Transit is not a great transit system, and probably never will be"

"Sound Transit is not a great transit system, and probably never will be"

And now let's hear from the opponents....

--what do you mean 3%? You assume Microsoft will be in Redmond in 15 years. It will be in Mumbai in 15 years. OR Lynux will rule.

"Buses are already full in the city" don't you get it? We CAN'T HAVE MORE BUSES because of the 40-20-20 thing and because every time the County Council votes to add a bus route in the city they need votes of the councilmember from the sticks thus we get one more bus to Horsefucker Elum for every new bus we get in the city, too.

Posted by "Sound Transit is not a great transit system, and probably never will be" | July 7, 2008 3:53 PM

""Goldy", I didn't see a link in Dan's post or yours to the actual plans, "

That's because they haven't been disclosed.

ST doesn't want anyone to see them.

The support drops like a rock once people read what ST wants them to approve.

Posted by errata fixer | July 7, 2008 3:57 PM

what guarantee are you talking about?

You mean if they have a cost overrun they will stop building it at 85% completion?

You mean they will not have an ongoing operating subsidy that relies on the permanent sales tax like the bus system does?

Do you have a link to this "guarantee"?

Posted by fireypants | July 7, 2008 4:00 PM

See That will show you the planned expansion alternatives. Sound Transit has revised the options before and whatever gets on the ballot (and when) will probably differ a bit from both options, but that's because Sound Transit hasn't decided what to put on the ballot yet. They're not hiding anything from the public.

Posted by Cascadian | July 7, 2008 4:38 PM

Cost overruns don't matter. People who refuse to vote for making their region better because they're afraid of spending a few dollars deserve to live in Wyoming. JUST BUILD THE FUCKING THING.

I'm not sure what your point is, @14. BART isn't a great transportation system -- but it's an ACCEPTABLE one. Skytrain in Vancouver isn't a great transportation system, and probably never will be one -- but it's good enough. Hell, the MTA, the MBTA, and the London Fuckin' Underground have their problems, but that doesn't make them useless. Far from it. But you have to take that first step, which we have, and you have to take the step after that, too.

Posted by Fnarf | July 7, 2008 4:49 PM

Heck, it's better than acceptable, Fnarf, it's fast and reliable, and that's more than we have here today.

Stop whining - start building.

Don't like it?

Move to Iraq and get your subsidized oil cheap - or enlist.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 7, 2008 5:10 PM

Fnarf for MAYOR!

is that even possible?

Posted by misspennycandy | July 8, 2008 12:58 AM

The last metro vote allows for local govs to fund extra service outside the 40-40-20 rule.

ST could fund more buses, read resolution 75.

Times have changed since the basic ST route and tecnnology was laid out in the 1950s. The need for in-city transit has skyrocketed. The dream of suburban sprawl has turned into a nightmare. Revise your thinking.

Fnarf for mayor? Why not another fat pompous ass couldn't hurt that much.

Posted by brilliant | July 8, 2008 7:04 AM

@20 - yes, any citizen of Seattle can run for Mayor.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 8, 2008 10:21 AM

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