The Times is wrong. A megaproject won’t fix our traffic, we need Move Seattle

Better walking, biking and transit. Why you should vote YES on Prop 1 to Move Seattle. Image: Madison Bus Rapid Transit concept.

Better walking, biking and transit. Why you should vote YES on Prop 1 to Move Seattle. Image: Madison Bus Rapid Transit concept.

The Seattle Times Editorial Board put all their backing behind Bertha and the SR 99 deep bore tunnel highway, a multibillion-dollar, cars-only underground toll road that bypasses downtown Seattle — our state’s biggest employment center. They are not worthy of your trust when it comes to transportation projects.

So when the Times says to vote against Prop 1 (“Move Seattle”) because it isn’t “chock full of big fixes, specific big projects,” you should respond, “Yes, and that’s exactly why this plan is so smart.”

The real solution to Seattle’s transportation crunch is a lot more walking and biking, and much more efficient transit. There is no debate about it. We can’t keep squeezing more cars into our city, and burying them won’t solve the problem. Our city cannot handle the cars it has, and it cannot grow if our new residents have to bring cars, too. It’s that simple.

Even if Bertha had worked perfectly rather than turning into a disaster, it would still be a huge waste of money, proposed and promoted by people willing to ignore common sense and real life experiences in truly multimodal cites because they were blinded by a hopeless belief that one big silver bullet could fix Seattle’s chronic transportation problems.

Protect your neighbors

The good news is that it does not take a megaproject to make walking and biking safer and more inviting to more people for more of their trips. What we need are thousands of relatively small improvements in every neighborhood in our city:

All this will be funded by Move Seattle and more. See a Council District breakdown in this PDF.

All this and more will be funded by Move Seattle. Yellow lines are street safety projects, orange are rapid bus projects, and the little green icons are Safe Routes to School improvements. See a Council District breakdown in this PDF.

  • More and better crosswalks near businesses, parks and schools
  • More curb cuts to help our mobility impaired friends and neighbors get around safely and independently
  • Bike lanes, trails and neighborhood greenways that connect our homes to the places we work, learn and play

And you don’t need to take my word for it. Seattle residents have already volunteered countless hours outlining and detailing these needs in our city’s carefully crafted Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plans.

If funded, these plans will save lives. SDOT staff have an incredible track record on safety projects in recent years, and they’re only getting better. But Seattle has never funded our biking and walking plans significantly. At current rates, not even a child born today will be alive to see the Pedestrian Master Plan completed.

Move Seattle will fund a Safe Route to School project at every public school in the city. That’s an incredible investment in our children’s safety and their ability to get to and from school using their own power.

We lose the right to call a tragic traffic death an “accident” when we know how to prevent it, but choose not to take action.

Move Seattle is our chance to finally get serious about ending traffic deaths and serious injuries in our city. Because traffic violence is preventable, but it takes more than hopes and prayers. It takes action.

#FreeTheBus!

freethebusWhile new subway lines are beyond the capacity of Move Seattle, it doesn’t take a megaproject to lift our existing buses out of traffic. And unlike a subway, which focuses on improving one or two major corridors each decade, improving bus speed and frequency can help every neighborhood in just a few years. We need Sound Transit light rail, absolutely. But we also don’t need to wait for it.

Move Seattle can free our buses from traffic now.

There are a ton of small changes the city can make to free buses from traffic crawl one street and one intersection at a time. The city can track where buses slow down, look at the problem, and fix it. Rinse and repeat.

We can paint new bus lanes so a bus with 60 people on it can move around a traffic jam of 20 people in cars. It’s in everyone’s best interest that more people find the bus appealing and reliable, including people driving.

We can install smart traffic signals that hold green lights for an approaching bus or give buses a head start when the light changes. We can install ORCA readers at bus stops so people don’t have to line up to pay at the front of the bus. And we can build raised bus stop platforms so people with mobility issues or strollers can easily roll or step right on, offering the dignity everyone deserves while also saving time.

Add enough of these (and more) small changes together, and the bus system we already have becomes much more usable and more financially sustainable. And that’s exactly what Move Seattle pledges to do.

We can also add new express bus lines that respond to the ever-changing travel patterns in our city. The Madison Bus Rapid Transit project is one great example of a whole new bus route that responds to new housing and job density with a bus that is far faster than any existing bus route. And that is just one of seven such “Rapid Ride +” routes Move Seattle promises to build.

“But for all that money, it’s not really clear what Move Seattle aims to do,” writes the Times in their editorial against the levy. Well, if they can’t see the project lists in these Master Plans or in the Move Seattle Plan, then they need to get their eyes checked (you can also see a district-by-district map and list of projects here). Because they are plenty specific. Do they want the city to outline the location of every new crosswalk or transit-priority traffic signal for the next nine years? Because that would be ridiculous.

The Times-endorsed deep bore tunnel highway alone was budgeted more than double Seattle’s proposed Move Seattle levy (and that’s before cost overruns). Move Seattle is packed only with smart, achievable projects we know will help people get around safely and conveniently. Every single goal is worth every penny we can invest.

I know it’s harder to sell a diverse plan for smart, responsible transportation investments than the empty dreams of a snake oil highway tunnel. But Seattle voters need to be smart enough to know the difference.

Because we need Move Seattle. A vote against Prop 1 will make things worse by slashing the city’s current transportation budget as the existing Bridging the Gap levy expires in December. It is a vote to keep our buses stuck in traffic, to let our potholes get bigger, to keep the streets near our schools fast and dangerous, and to stop working on better, more sustainable and more efficient options for getting around town.

Vote YES on Prop 1 to Move Seattle, and tell your friends and family to do the same. And get involved in the campaign to get out the vote. The next couple weeks will have a huge impact on the shape of Seattle’s next decade.

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34 Responses to The Times is wrong. A megaproject won’t fix our traffic, we need Move Seattle

  1. merlin says:

    Thanks, Tom! But don’t count on the The Times getting their eyes checked.
    By the way, did you read the Con arguments in the voter’s pamphlet? In the “Statement in Opposition” the levy is “a 58% increase over our last transportation levy” but the time they wrote the “Rebuttal of statement in favor” that had almost tripled to “a 155% increase over the last transportation levy.”

    • Richard says:

      I wonder if they meant to say “155% *OF* the prior levy” –

      Also, people tend to forget how fast Seattle is growing – Population is currently 12% greater than it was in 2006 when BtG passed, so it’s actually not anything like 58% more. more like (crappy back-of-napkin-math) um.. 38% more? Something like that.

      And really, looking at the condition of Seattle streets, it’s pretty difficult to argue that BtG was enough.

      One thing I keep seeing over and over in opposition is that the funding is regressive. Well, sure it is – but until we stage a coup and take over Olympia, we’re pretty well stuck with regressive funding. Our choice is to do what we can with what we’ve got and fight to eventually shift the political climate in the state, or take their advice and throw a tantrum & hold our breath until they listen to us (while our roads crumble around us).

      The thing about breath-holding tantrums is, they really don’t have much effect on extremely neglectful parents.

  2. Augsburg says:

    I agree with the Seattle Times questioning Move Seattle. Our last transportation levy in Seattle never resulted in tangible improvements to my neighborhood in West Seattle. The new “Move Seattle” plan does nothing I care about for West Seattle or bicycling in general. I’m a cyclist on the road at least five days a week and I see nothing to improve my cycling experience when I looked at the list of empty promises in Move Seattle. I think the people behind it are living la la land, and should wake up a smell the coffee. The lack of equity for West Seattle and the lack of hard and fast commitments are two reasons I will vote against Move Seattle. Come up with something equitable, had firm commitments and takes into account neighborhood cycling needs, and I will vote for it.

    • Rob says:

      Augsburg,

      It sounds like you voted against Move Seattle because it does not go far enough. Is that a realistic position? Why not vote for something that gets us part of the way there, and then work to find a way to get us the rest of the way? Why keep us at step 1?

    • Richard says:

      Before you decide move seattle does nothing for biking, you might want to take a glance at the city’s published 2016+ budgets. They’re already out there, pre-published with the assumption of no move seattle funding.

      And bike infrastructure gets cut to effectively NOTHING. nada, zip, zero.

      Is that fair? Of course not. But as cyclists, it’s a familiar position – we have to fight for every inch of space.

      Move Seattle gets us on equal footing with prior years, at least – without it, we’re at square one, fighting for every line item that gets added – and with the massive transportation cuts the end of BtG brings to other transportation modes, that fight gets MUCH harder.

      It sucks, but when the budget gets bushwhacked, bikes are the first thing to go – and they go HARD.

      • Matthew Snyder says:

        Could you provide a link to those budgets for 2016-2017 and beyond? I can’t find them online, but I’m probably just using the wrong search term.

      • Richard says:

        I’ll check, but I found them and freaked out about the severity of the cuts a few months ago, before the move Seattle stuff was published (or at least before I had heard about it). I *think* it was forecast in the 2015 budget. Will update tomorrow.

      • Richard says:

        http://www.seattle.gov/city-budget/2015-16-proposed-budget/transportation

        Yep, that was it. There’s a detailed PDF you can download as well, but the web site gets you the highlights.

        Examples:

        Major maintenance/replacement line item has had around 4-6 million per year on bike paths & trails. Cut to 1.5. Streetcar extension gets cut to zero (which includes the bikeway I believe). New trails & bike paths gets cut from around 1.3M to 0.3M…. Even more like that if you dig through the PDF. If we don’t get move Seattle, 2016’s budget is very disappointing, to say the least.

    • RossB says:

      Let’s see, where to start. OK, the plan calls for completing over half of the bicycle network in the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan. The plan, of course, includes plenty of improvements to West Seattle (just scroll to the bottom of the main page — http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/bikemaster.htm — and view the map). Do you really think they will just skip West Seattle? Do you really think that folks on this blog (and other Bicycle advocacy groups) would support this project if it did nothing for bicycling in general? What exactly are you proposing they spend money on, if not the projects already discussed in the Seattle Bicycle Master Plan?

      What is true of bike plans is true of all the projects. The “Safe Routes to School” projects include West Seattle. The bus corridors include improvements to Delridge. Repaving roads will of course include West Seattle. Neighborhood projects include West Seattle (of course).

      Voting no will simply mean getting less. Less for your neighborhood and less for everyone’s neighborhood. You are delusional if you think that the city would come back with a plan spending more on some vague set of projects (that aren’t on the Bicycle Master Plan) if this fails. It would be the opposite. Read the plan again and it becomes obvious what gets cut and what gets saved:

      Eliminated: Vision Zero (safety improvements), Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety, neighborhood projects nike and pedestrian improvements, neighborhood projects, safety projects, corridor mobility improvements, urban forest and drainage, light rail partnership improvements, pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

      Saved: Freight Mobility Improvements, Bridges and Structures, Maintain streets.

      In short, if this fails, the city will probably come back with a budget focused on maintenance. Maintain the streets, bridges and freight corridors. I don’t blame them. If I was running the city, I would do the same thing. You can’t let those things fail. If that is the only thing that will pass, then so be it. It is one thing to tell pedestrians, bikers and bus riders that they will have to suffer with crappy roads, but it is another thing to sacrifice freight delivery or let bridges collapse.

      Oh, and my guess is that the Seattle Times editorial staff would actually support a proposal geared towards automobile and freight traffic. If given the choice, my guess is that most of them wouldn’t want to spend a dime on bike or pedestrian safety (or transit for that matter).

    • Al Dimond says:

      It’s not unreasonable to be unimpressed with what the city has done in the last few years for cycling in West Seattle. There have been some arterial transit and safety projects where cycling improvements have been squeezed in, and a couple minor patches around junctions (the widened sidewalk near Delridge/Andover and the planned turn boxes at the Alki 5-way) but you don’t ride any of the routes from the bridge to Alaska Junction or Admiral thinking that bikes were more than an afterthought.

      If they manage to actually build the protected bike lanes promised on Fauntleroy, Admiral, Delridge, and Roxbury, and greenways on Juneau/Brandon, 34th/36th, and 42nd (the page says 24th but I think it’s a typo)… that includes improvements for lots of people’s trips to lots of places! It’s disappointing to miss filling the missing link in the Duwamish Trail, and there’s nothing all that promising for trips between Alaska Junction and the bridge. Maybe the Fauntleroy “boulevard” project will include bike lanes for a more direct route from Avalon to Alaska, but they’d be compromised by all the odd-angle intersections and driveways, and Alaska will remain a mess.

      That all said, similar challenges abound all over the city. The Interurban Route in Fremont does just what the bike lanes on Alaska do approaching the Junction. Market Street in Ballard has the same lack of bike facilities California Ave does. The only flat and direct route through the Rainier Valley is Rainier, which isn’t too different from 35th; it’s also the only flat and direct route out of the Rainier Valley to the north, and it’s about as hospitable to bikes around I-90 as Fauntleroy is north of Alaska. Cyclists scoot through the bowtie at Union and Madison much like they scoot through the Alki 5-way. The Duwamish Trail’s missing link is echoed on various trails. Riders in South Beacon Hill and Georgetown face long stretches on their primary routes with lousy or non-existent bike lanes, just like riders in Fauntleroy and Delridge. South Lake Union is about as much fun to ride through as the Triangle. The claim of inequity, particularly when opposition to bike projects is so loud and vocal in West Seattle, rings hollow.

  3. RossB says:

    Excellent editorial. This is well worth reading, even if you don’t care about biking.

    Thank you very much for the link to the old Seattle Times editorial. I am struck by several statements that were made:

    But what about the rest of us average Joes who just want to get from, say, West Seattle to Magnolia…

    Here is the thing: The new tunnel won’t help for that trip because there will be no on-ramp or exit at Western. This means that someone from Magnolia will either slog through downtown or Mercer. They would be better off with either project alternative. A new viaduct would have had an on-ramp and exit on Western. The surface option would have had improvements on I-5, the surface streets through downtown as well as transit. While not as quick as going via a Western ramp to 99, the surface option would still be better than Mercer, since traffic there will be just as bad as downtown (and require additional distance).

    I don’t think people realize this. I think people assume that the tunnel will operate just as the old viaduct did, but underground. That is simply not the case. There will be no on-ramps or exits on Western, nor any downtown. That is a very important issue, and one that the Seattle Times did not address in this editorial. Quite the opposite — they implied if not clearly stated that the tunnel would have it by choosing Magnolia instead of, say, Fremont, as the example.

    There are two possibilities: The Seattle Times editorial staff were simply ignorant of the Western ramp issue or they purposely ignored it, and wrote a misleading article. Either way, they have lost all credibility on the matter. As you state so well:

    Even if Bertha had worked perfectly rather than turning into a disaster, it would still be a huge waste of money, proposed and promoted by people willing to ignore common sense and real life experiences in truly multimodal cites because they were blinded by a hopeless belief that one big silver bullet could fix Seattle’s chronic transportation problems.

  4. Cary says:

    This is so well argued, and a stunning manifesto for modern transportation. Hell yes.

  5. Ben P says:

    The Times argument against Prop 1 only makes sense if you think driving indispensable. We here all agree that not only can we ween ourselves from cars, but that there is great benefit from doings so. Again and again I find myself coming back to the same question – how do I share with die-hard drivers just how important alternative transport is.

    To understand the import of alternate transit, you need to experience first hand the problems of cars; you need to live the joys of the alternatives; most importantly you need to understand how to get around without the car. With the exception of traffic, you simply have no way of experiencing this till you get out of the car.

    Unless you’ve you’ve needed to, it’s impossible to understand the feeling of walking miles on a busy 5 lane road through suburbs – the epitome of car oriented development – breathing exhaust with the overwhelming roar of engine, tire, and slipstream to keep you company. Why walk on the such a busy road? Not one of the smaller streets connect. From inside the cocoon of the car, you don’t hear the roar or smell the fumes. Without ever leaving the car, theres no way to experience this problem the car has caused.

    Until recently, I only knew the danger of motor vehicles in the abstract. I knew statistics about auto injuries and deaths, but getting run over completely changed my outlook. That same accident with two bikes would have likely involved some road rash and maybe a derailleur adjust. Instead I was left with a crumpled bike and a fractured foot, yet I rejoiced for days that I didn’t end up dead. The car protects the occupants, so while not safe, many drivers don’t have the firsthand experience of how terrifying cars can be.

    Everyone has heard of roadkill, but the magnitude of destruction isn’t clear till you’ve done long distance cycling. From the smallest, birds, squirrels, armadillos, raccoons, all the up to deer, seeing the animals up close in various states of decay, often still in the road getting repeatedly run over by cars going too fast to even register they ran something over – it changes your perspective. You can’t feel how bad it is till you’ve seen it up close, something the enclosure of the car precludes.

    On the flip side, without ever using alternative transport, it’s impossible to understand how great it can be.

    Riding the bus is like sociology heaven. Every line at every time of day has a different feel. There are the riders who always ride same bus same time. There are the riders who you see once. You come into contact with so many interesting people whom you otherwise might never have talked to. At night you might gain insight into the motivation of some kids with etching tools. At rush hour you might get to learn about the work environment of a law firm. Every person you talk to has an interesting story. But if you never ride transit, you’ll never know what you’re missing.

    Riding bikes is one of the greatest pleasures in my life. But it didn’t start like that. The more powerful my legs and experienced my handling, the more enjoyable my commute. Without riding everyday, there is no way to know how good it feels to be in awesome shape, just because you do something good for the environment. There is no way to understand how refreshing it is to every day before work get your heart rate up as the crisp morning air cools your face. You have to experience the how nice it is to mosey home after work, letting in all the sights and sounds. But starting to cycle is hard and relying on the car is easy, so many drivers don’t know what they are missing.

    Walking too is great. Sometimes we all need to think deeply. Walking to the grocery store does wonders for deep thought. One of the best parts of modern society is the sheer magnitude or data at our fingertips. But that data needs processing. When the ease of the car is out of the equation, you can experience these great walks along the side streets, just you lost in thought.

    More important than how much damage cars cause and how interesting and nice alternate transport can be, the most important thing I want to share with drivers is that they can do something other than driving. For most of us, the easiest thing to do is what we already know. I’ve met many people who think that there is no way they could live their life without their car, but they only think that because they never learned how be mobile without it.

    This reactive Times article, eschewing the cheapest and healthiest option for improving mobility, is a sign of cultural misunderstanding. The editors have their way of life and are uncomfortable having their own money go to changing it. As far as I can see, the only way to make things better is to bridge this cultural gap, to do our best to share our experiences with those who’ve never had them.

  6. Pablo96 says:

    Seattle Times is still crying over having to sell their surface parking to Vulcan back in 2003-04. Before the sale all employees had subsidized, nearly free parking, and after had to pay market rate.

    Move Seattle isn’t a bad idea, I like may aspects of it, but the funding mechanism and what is getting accomplished vs. what a property owner in a far corner of the city limits is paying as an increase in combination with what they would receive as a return….well, I doubt Move Seattle will pass. Independent of Move Seattle, the one thing I find absolutely shameful is the cost to build sidewalks in this city. It’s cheaper to build sidewalks in NYC and they pay union wages too. What gives?

  7. Matthew Snyder says:

    Honest question:

    If Move Seattle passes, is there any guarantee that any of the $930 million gets spent on bicycle infrastructure? As far as I can tell, the only guaranteed funding is the $20 million for the Lander overpass. But there’s so much misinformation flying around about the levy, I can’t tell for sure.

    • Richard says:

      No guarantee… But the only guarantee we’ll get either way is that if it *doesn’t* pass, bike funding will get cut all to hell. The budget for that is already published… And it’s very, very bad for bikes.

  8. Guy Maluda says:

    The Bertha tunnel is a replacement for the viaduct and was never sold as a comprehensive transit solution. When complete it will remake the urban design of our city and the waterfront. Just because you disagree with one of the positions the Seattle Times took does not mean that all their subsequent positions should be ignored. Such a argument is worthy only of the radical right and the gun lobby. Use your words to convince me to vote for the levy, not to whine about the tunnel.

    • RossB says:

      Except that it won’t replace the viaduct. I’m sorry you are so ignorant. Join the club. Let me explain a few facts for you: there won’t be any downtown exits or on-ramps, nor will there be an on-ramp or exit at Western. This is crucial. Transportation (of goods as well as people) will forever be hamstrung as a result.

      There will be only two lanes as well. Not that this matters, since the lack of on-ramps and exits (along with the tolls) will pretty much guarantee that very few people will use this.

      Consider, for example, someone stuck in traffic trying to get from West Seattle to I-90 in the morning. Or maybe downtown. Or, for that matter, 99. Traffic is bad. Will it get better when they build the tunnel? Not really. Traffic is horrible because I-5 is backed up. Got that? I-5 is backed up! Not 99, but I-5!

      One of the options was to add a lane to I-5. I don’t know if that would have solved the problem, but it sure would have made it better. The same option would have improved the surface streets and added transit. This would mean thousands of cars off the road. Of course this would have been better.

      You are basically falling into the same trap that so many have fallen into. You read an editorial (on a biker blog) and you assume that it is bikes versus cars. Fair enough. But what you fail to realize is that the SR 99 tunnel is terrible for cars! It is terrible for those trying to drive around, whether they are just trying to get somewhere, or trying to get goods somewhere. We are in the process of spending a huge amount of money on a project of very little benefit (for drivers). That is the problem. If we were much bigger (or had a huge amount more money) it wouldn’t matter. But we are relatively tiny, and can’t afford to spend huge amounts of money on infrastructure projects that deliver so little.

      It isn’t about bikes versus cars. It isn’t about whether Bertha will dig or not. It is about whether it makes sense for a city this size to spend huge amounts of money on a road that will deliver so little for drivers (of both cars and trucks). The obvious answer is no, and The Seattle Times editorial staff either ignored that answer or were oblivious to it. In that regard, they can’t be trusted on transportation projects. Either the subject is too complicated for their little heads to grasp, or they are comfortable lying to their readers.

      This proposition is complicated. It is reasonable to skim through the details and then trust the experts when it comes to whether it is a good project or not. In that regard, it makes sense to support this. After all, the Seattle Times have simply lost all credibility, while there are plenty of credible people supporting this.

      • Umlaut says:

        Here are some more facts: The new 99 tunnel is intended for through traffic to bypass downtown. The new yet-to-be-built Alaskan Way (running parallel to the tunnel along the waterfront) is intended to replace the functionality of the downtown on/off ramps. There will be new access to 99 Southbound next to the Gates Foundation buildings at the North end, and from Alaskan Way (Southbound AND Northbound) at the South end. Neither of these exist today.

      • Ints says:

        @umlaut,
        Please explain how the surface street Alaskan Way will provide an equivalent level of connectivity to downtown that the current viaduct provides.
        It does not and will not.
        From the south portal of the tunnel at Safeco Field, you will still have to drive up through Pioneer Square and then peel off before Madison if you want to be able to access the downtown core. That is what, 1.5-2 miles of driving with signalized intersections that will be carrying everyone who is trying to reach downtown from the south, and all of the people who are not willing to pay the toll for tunnel use.
        From the north, the Alaskan Way surface street would need to magically (because there is no way it does this with the current tunnel plan) connect to the north portal to provide an equivalent level of connectivity that the current viaduct provides. The North Portal is at Mercer and Dexter Avenue, so you will have to drive from there through SLU or Belltown before even reaching the downtown core. This will be along with everyone else who need to access downtown from the north which will combine with the already fantastic Mercer redesign, and all of those who are coming from the north and do not want to pay the toll for tunnel use.
        May you enjoy this more then I ever will.

      • Ummm says:

        Umlaut – have you by chance driven down Mercer or 5th in the last 2 years? It’s cute you think an on and off ramp at these streets will be functional at all with the back ups created from poor planning. Any time after 3pm it’s a 1 hour commute from the space needles to I5 from the space needle to Gates foundation? A solid 20 minutes for sure. Not exaggerating.

  9. Morgan Wick says:

    Shouldn’t the press be pushing *against* the tendency for voters to be wowed by megaprojects over smaller, sensible, important but unsexy projects, instead of insisting they be wowed themselves? But then, do you really trust the Time$ to uphold their civic duties for everyone rather than pander to their Mercer Island neighbors?

    • RossB says:

      >> Shouldn’t the press be pushing *against* the tendency for voters to be wowed by megaprojects over smaller, sensible, important but unsexy projects, instead of insisting they be wowed themselves?

      It is really depressing. The Seattle Times used to have a reasonable, slightly right of center board. Such a board would of course go along with that way of thinking. They would, in the best tradition of the GOP, push for reasonable, smart spending (i. e. “Biggest bang for the buck”). But no more. They are in the wacko realm of the Republican Party.

      The one good thing about the paper is that they do have very strong wall between the editorial staff and the writers. It is pretty common to read a very good article that clearly contradicts the nonsense spewed by the editorial staff.

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  11. Bob Hall says:

    “The real solution to Seattle’s transportation crunch is a lot more walking and biking, and much more efficient transit. …. Our city cannot handle the cars it has, and it cannot grow if our new residents have to bring cars, too. It’s that simple.”

    By “transportation crunch” do you mean congestion, or the budget issues?

    If you mean congestion, then I believe your argument is on very curious footing. Walking, cycling, and transit options are often sold as cures for congestion. But when others propose adding more lanes to freeways/arterials to solve congestion, you argue that induced demand will quickly fill those lanes. (And I agree with this part — induced demand is real and you cannot solve congestion by adding lanes). Well, if adding more lanes is doomed because of induced demand, then why isn’t our plan to get people to walk, ride a bike, or take transit equally doomed?

    My take on it: We shouldn’t promote walking, biking, and transit as *cures* for congestion. Instead, they’re alternatives to allow more people to get around to their needs even if there is congestion. Just look at NYC: they have the largest population of walkers & transit users in the nation yet there is still plenty of automobile congestion.

    Secondly, I cringed when you said: “it cannot grow if our new residents have to bring cars”. People owning cars is not the problem. The problem is when you have too many homes where the resident’s only option is to drive everywhere for every single one of their needs. I feel the bike community really turns people off by uring people to “go car free”. It just sounds too extreme to the average person. It’s like walking into a steak restaurant and asking people to become raw food vegans. Right now, the average family has 2 cars and drives then 15,000 miles per year. How about we sell the idea of a family owning 1 car and driving only 8,000 miles per year (ie, start walking, biking, or using transity for commuting but keep the car for occaisional use)? This will sound a lot better to folks than going car-free entirely.

  12. John Legend says:

    I’m not biking from Tacoma. Most of the traffic in Seattle is from out of town commuters. Adding bike lanes won’t fix squat.

    • Richard says:

      So its good to hear perspectives that counter those common to this blog (those from Seattle, or who bike – like in the name) – but if you want to convince anyone at all of your point, you might try supporting it?

      Move Seattle is a city ordinance;/helping regional commuters is really more of a job for WSDOT. Inside the city, we need alternatives that let us avoid the congestion the out of towners create, such as biking or transit. Bike lanes certainly would help there.

  13. M. Wilson says:

    The first thing the city needs to do is open the marketplace to alternative service providers such as http://www.bridj.com/

    Private companies and individuals should be allowed to provide transportation services in the city without going through a spider web of red tape.

  14. stardent says:

    I am leaning towards a No. Throwing money at as yet unspecified projects is not going to fix anything. I feel that SDOT is corrupt – how else do you explain the shoddy state of our streets even after they are repaired? They seem to jobs programs for contractors. We need infrastructure improvement, not sexy megabillion projects, but giving money away to SDOT is not going to make it happen.

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