West Seattle Transportation Coalition gets ‘prioritization’ promise from new SDOT director Scott Kubly; also hears about citizen’s T-5 idea, November ballot measures

(ADDED WEDNESDAY AM: Our video of SDOT director Scott Kubly’s hour-long Q/A)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

For the second time in a week, SDOT’s new director (confirmation pending) Scott Kubly was in West Seattle to answer questions – this time, from the West Seattle Transportation Coalition.

Among other things, Kubly said that one of the best ways his department can serve this area and others is to be clear about prioritization – what it can do, what it can’t do.

The 2 1/2-hour meeting ranged across a wide variety of other topics as well, including the two transportation-related measures on the November ballot, and a citizen proposal for the currently idle Terminal 5 site.

First, Kubly: After a brief introduction, he said that at any Department of Transportation, “safety’s going to be the first priority,” yet there have been five fatalities in the first three weeks he’s been on the job. “Where I come from is … wanting to protect the most vulnerable users of the transportation system. … I also think the city is growing tremendously quickly … it reminds me a lot of DC in that regard, similar sizes, similar growth rates.” Growth means the opportunity for more-walkable communities, he said, “but not without challenges … it stresses the transportation system, so what we need to do is .. how to make our transportation system work more efficiently.”

That means “giving people choices in how they get around the city.” People who walk to work, for example, have been shown in research to be the happiest people, Kubly said, but when in a car, he said, people somehow feel safe behaving aggressively, and he feels that’s because they don’t have a choice, so if they have a choice, they’ll feel happier. But he also recognizes that “most people are at one time or another going to have to drive someplace … it’s very rare that you can do everything (without driving).”

DC, he said, has more people but fewer cars than it used to have, he points out. And he talks again about options, enabling people to, for example, perhaps have one car instead of two. Regarding why people get frustrated with government services: “A lot of it comes down to choice.”

You can change your cell-phone carrier if you’re unhappy, but you can’t change your government without (physically) moving, he elaborated.

He described his new boss Mayor Ed Murray as “forward-thinking on transportation” and says that “mode wars” regarding transportation are not helpful – he hopes people can get beyond “us versus them.”

First question was from Diane Vincent, who said that signal prioritization for buses doesn’t seem to be happening, even two years after RapidRide was implemented. The answer wound up coming from Chris Arkills, a frequent WSTC attendee, and transportation adviser to King County Executive Dow Constantine. He said, “Most of them work well,” but invited Vincent to report whichever ones didn’t seem to be working so they can look into it.

Next, Delridge Neighborhoods District Council chair Mat McBride brought up communication challenges and wondered if SDOT would look into something more organized. Kubly said he would.

Another question led him to talk about “distracted movement” – people seeming to be distracted all the time, looking at their phones, etc. He mentioned a recent visit to North Delridge and suddenly taking note of a semi full of steel in the Nucor area – a semi “that wasn’t looking for me … If I hadn’t looked up from my phone, I probably would have been run over. Whose fault would it have been? Me for not looking up? Him for not looking for me? … In the end, we all need to … move defensively, be responsible for ourselves, and assume we have to be responsible for other people.” That led him to mention that features that try to make the road safer might not look at first glance like they make sense, but ultimately work as part of the big safety picture.

WSTC member Deb Barker from the Morgan Community Association first good-naturedly reminded Kubly that his previous city Chicago doesn’t have the same hills Seattle does. She then brought up the 35th SW safety project (scheduled to get officially kicked off at a meeting in October) and asked about getting it extended further south, into Arbor Heights, as far south as 106th. That might be a funding challenge, he suggested. Barker also wondered about making a better channel for transit where the West Seattle Bridge moves to northbound 99.

Next question was about the report that the City Council hadn’t committed to fully funding the Bicycle Master Plan in the years ahead: So how is SDOT going to go about making the plan’s safety features happen?

Kubly replied by saying Mayor Murray pointed out that there are “all sorts of different needs out there,” including sidewalks, which don’t exist in about a third of the city. It’s vital to figure out how the city is going to pay to get those needs met, and that conversation will be held over the next year, he said, while also mentioning that the city can consider “some quick things to do right now” – perhaps things that can be done while paving is happening on a street, for example.

Co-chair Helmick then mentioned SW Roxbury, which also has a safety project in the works, and hopes that it will get a closer look in terms of what it’s slated for in the Bicycle Master Plan.

Next, Taylor-Judd mentioned the West Seattle Bridge. “We’ve been repeatedly bringing up concerns that we feel like there’s not a clear plan for how the city handles crisis situations that affect access to that vital corridor … we’re looking at maybe four, five incidents this year that have shut down access to the bridge one way or another, affecting tens of thousands of people … That’s something that we see as a priority, being really clear, what is the clear chain of command (for decisionmaking in an emergency) …” Kubly said he had just met with Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole today to talk about transportation matters and plans to meet again soon, with monthly meetings in the works. He said O’Toole is “amazing,” and he mentioned that he is acutely aware of the June 10th incident that shut down the entire Highway 99 corridor.

He says things are changing – this morning he got a 4 am text about the southbound Battery Street Tunnel crash that affected a lane on SB 99, and that led to a news release being issued, etc. (Here’s the tweet that was part of it – we were still on duty and retweeted it:)

Helmick mentioned shortly afterward that West Seattle is “100,000 strong and we get angry fast.”

Road hazards and deficiencies were mentioned; Kubly asked what’s used to report problems, and the Find It Fix It app was mentioned. He went on to observe that often streets are cut up for utility work, among other things, and if there is a problem, make sure SDOT knows about it.

Brought up next: Making sure that Avalon is made more safe for bicyclists, especially in connection with the Fauntleroy Boulevard project.

After that: WSTC board member Marty Westerman from the Fauntleroy Community Association said they’re hoping to invite Kubly to an upcoming meeting. Then he voiced concerns, including support for the full West Seattle Bridge bus lane that Barker had suggested, beyond the partial lane that exists now and leaves buses eventually in a bottleneck during times of heavy traffic.

Coordination between departments came up; in addition to SPD, Kubly said he’s setting up monthly meetings with other departments’ leadership.

Board member Marci Carpenter mentioned the deficiencies in traffic studies done for some major projects – 3210 California, for example, was done when school was out, and so, she felt, the report did not fully address the conditions that would be created.

Helmick then launches the topic of the Westwood/Roxhill Park transit hub. “When they dumped the buses there, they did nothing to upgrade facilities,” she began. “Many more things need to be done … so I’m wondering about the conversation between Metro and SDOT regarding (that hub).” She listed challenges including the roads that are rattled by buses they aren’t designed to handle.

Kubly said Rasmussen pointed it out during their recent West Seattle tour and that it’s something he will “take a look at. … A lot of stuff has come up tonight and I would be (remiss) to say everything can be fixed, but it’s a matter of prioritization … being transparent and honest,” saying what SDOT can do and what it can’t do. “There are things we can do. Striping crosswalks, for example, is cheap.”

Rodman told Kubly to ask his staff to be “more proactive … (so you don’t need) Amanda to come to you to point out a problem.”

His appearance could probably have gone on for another hour but the meeting was already running long and one other item was on the agenda:

TERMINAL 5 PROPOSAL: In a discussion that has some of its roots in a WSB comments discussion, community member Tom Linde explained “A (Modest) Mobility Proposal.” The setup: “The peninsula has an ingress/egress issue … Metro is underfunded and likely to continue to underserve our community …Sound Transit Light Rail is at best 15 years out … ” His proposal: Could T-5 in its transition period be “used as a multimodal transit hub for West Seattle”? And that really does mean multimodal – all the way to the Water Taxi perhaps arriving and leaving from the north end (with other water shuttles too). It could make sense regarding expediency and cost savings, Linde said, and wouldn’t get in the way of future Link light rail, or the port’s eventual modernization plans. “In the end of the day, it’s a chunk of property, but might be more effectively used” than the way it’s being used now (including outright idleness while the port revs up its modernization plan). Linde suggested it could involve a “true Bus Rapid Transit system” with elevated ramps tying into the downtown network; it could be “the hub Metro station,” fed by shuttle buses as well as direct bus runs.

He acknowledged “the big ‘ifs’,” including the various agencies that would be involved, and other logistic points.

Chas Redmond asked the big question – so how can this be advanced? He saw “a positive reason” to work with the Port on the idea.

Taylor-Judd said his interest was piqued by portions of the area that could be used at least for park-and-ride now, for example – even if the grand vision would be difficult to implement, parts of it could become reality.

Arkills mentioned past challenges with development of that area and the Port’s past attempts, including the fact that it had been a landfill, which might even get in the way of building a park-and-ride there. He agreed that this is an underused parcel of land but cautioned that doing something with it might not be so easy.

“Nothing ever is,” countered Helmick.

Arkills also noted that the county, for example, doesn’t have any money to put into something like this, so a creative funding solution would have to be found.

Ultimately, the question was, what becomes of this idea now that it’s been aired? Linde said he didn’t care about keeping ownership of it, but just wanted to get it out there. This, all agreed, was a start. Helmick said she’d like to see an organized subgroup take it on. Taylor-Judd agreed that finding a way to hash it out would be good.

Finally, a port rep who came to the meeting after hearing about this informal discussion talked about the stage the process is in toward modernizing T-5. $5 million has been allotted; the full project would be “probably a couple hundred million,” he said, but they hope to have it reopen in 2018, “so that’s not so far away.” He said toward Linde, “I don’t want to say your idea is not compatible with that.” He expressed some openness toward talking with the community about ways to help get people around.

So how will that be funded? asked Barker. “Couple possible ways,” said the port rep. For one, they might reach an agreement with an entity – shipping line or stevedore – signing a long-term lease, and then the Port goes out with bonds or other borrowing to finance the improvements, which are repaid from revenue from the terminal.

‘YES ON SEATTLE TRANSIT’: WSTC members heard from Abigail Doerr from the Transportation Benefit District Proposition (see the text here) “to preserve the transit system we need in our city,” specifically Seattle Metro routes “that are slated to be reduced in February 2015.” It’s the same funding package that was rejected countywide (though a majority of Seattle voters approved it) last year – a sales-tax increase plus car-tab fee; if approved, it would last for six years, she said. “It’s a measure that’s intended to be a fix for now … not the ideal situation for how we want to be funding our transit .. but it allows us a great opportunity to have a conversation with statewide legislators, other communities,” and others, regarding a “stable funding source” for transportation.

Up to $2 million of the money raised would be spent on a “low-income accessibility program,” she pointed out; up to $3 million would go toward a “regional partnership fund,” which could involve other government entities buying back part of their cut routes. And there would be a rebate toward the car-tab fee for low-income vehicle owners. “We want to be moving forward on transit, not backward – we want to keep our buses running,” she added. Many details remain to be worked out, including which other governments, if any, would join in the regional partnership, she said, in response to questions.

King County – which runs the bus system – is officially neutral on the measure, noted Arkills.

WSTC member Marci Carpenter proposed that the coalition endorse the ballot measure. A few voices rose in dissent/concern, including McBride, who pointed out that WSTC represents various community groups, and shouldn’t endorse something without consulting those constituent groups. WSTC co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick said she felt they had time to do that, since the vote isn’t until November. Member Michael Taylor-Judd from North Delridge Neighborhood Council noted that other alternative funding sources had been suggested before the ballot measure was finalized. (The WSTC, you might recall, took a poll on which sources people might prefer to see used.)

A vote was taken; board members deadlocked 3-3 on whether to endorse, and decide to take it up again later in the meeting. When that happened, Taylor-Judd moved to have WSTC members contact their respective organizations to see if they do or don’t support endorsing the measure. It was decided that he and Carpenter would draft a letter that would be taken to those reps for their consideration.

MONORAIL PROPOSAL: Former West Seattleite Libby Carr was an addition to the agenda. She is campaign chair for the monorail measure that will also be on this November’s Seattle ballot. (See the text of the measure here.) She mentioned the city’s multiple previous votes on a monorail, and noted, “Some people feel ‘It’s ten years later, we’re still sitting in traffic, how’s that working for us, maybe it’s time to revisit this.”

COMMUNITY NEWS/UPDATES: Co-chair Amanda Kay Helmick brought up tomorrow’s special City Council Transportation Committee meeting about impact fees (reported here earlier today), noon at City Hall. WSTC member Deb Barker mentions the July briefing about the Fauntleroy Boulevard project (updated here) and the first meeting, two weeks ago, of the West Seattle Land Use Committee (WSB coverage here). Delridge District Council chair McBride, who was part of that meeting, pointed out that such groups “gain validity with participation,” urging everyone to be at the next one. He added that his group will be hosting Kubly, City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, and Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire as a “transportation trifecta” on Wednesday, September 17th, 7 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.

Continuing the updates, Taylor-Judd from North Delridge mentioned new “speed humps” on a route between ND and High Point, and the neighborhood-policing plan that NDNC is working on with Seattle Police. He also mentioned bumping into Rasmussen in North Delridge recently as the councilmember was preparing to meet with Kubly for a briefing about the neighborhood.

The West Seattle Transportation Coalition meets on second Tuesdays, 6:30 pm, at Neighborhood House’s High Point Center.

P.S. SDOT director Kubly is also scheduled at next Wednesday’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, 7 pm September 17th at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW).

20 Replies to "West Seattle Transportation Coalition gets 'prioritization' promise from new SDOT director Scott Kubly; also hears about citizen's T-5 idea, November ballot measures"

  • To Be or Not to Be that is the Question September 10, 2014 (8:20 am)

    Keep a close eye Mr. Kubly is correct Seattle seems a bit like DC. That said, Mr. Kubly’s rhetoric seems the same as what it was in DC….well lots of talk about strategic initiatives, rates, “smart growth” etc…no accomplishments in DC or Chicago apparently with the exception of Bike Share in which he was intimately materially and professionally invested so is interest in making it happen was to benefit his interest and Mr. Klein’s. Maybe he has turned a new leaf or maybe a little Shakespeare is in order “Oh what tangle webs we weave when we practice to deceive.” Wishing Seattle all the best with this guy! Here’s hoping he has turned a new leaf!

  • sophista-tiki September 10, 2014 (8:34 am)

    If it was possible to walk out of West Seattle to get to work I’m sure people would do it. But you’d have to leave at 5AM to get to work on time. The city is getting super crowded. There is no such thing as driving from A to B without encountering an ahole driver. Driving around town used to be relatively stress free now its a nightmare. Every direction you choose is blocked off with some kind of construction issue.If a game is getting out the cops direct you into a 3 hour herd going the wrong direction.People block intersections all the time so the timing of the lights don’t work the way its intended.Bikes don’t follow traffic rules, they pick and chose which stop signs to run as it suits their personal agenda,and at any given moment you could get trapped behind an access bus(haha). My analogy for traffic in Seattle is – Its like an old western where they herd the cattle into a box canyon and theres no way out.

  • JN September 10, 2014 (9:03 am)

    @Sophista-Tiki et al, bicyclists are not unique in any disregard of rules. You’ve got your pedestrians jaywalking, motorists speeding, texting, making deadly illegal turns, etc. Everyone has screwed up at some point, the only difference is the (in some cases literal) impact we make on others.

    • WSB September 10, 2014 (9:20 am)

      Thanks, M. I am still going through this to add more links and that was on the list, will hit it inline too. – TR

  • Les September 10, 2014 (10:03 am)

    WSB How does the fact that that part of T5 used to be a landfill get in the way of building a park and ride there? I am no expert but don’t you just paint parking lines on the existing pavement.If you can build a golf course on a dump why can’t you park cars on a paved landfill?

  • Norma September 10, 2014 (10:49 am)

    I would like to know how people feel about setting some standards for bicycle riders. Perhaps they need to be licensed for commuting by bike. It seems to me that if they want to be riding in traffic there needs to be some regulation for them as well. It’s a complicated issue because how do you deal with younger riders and those who make the occasional recreational and neighborhood trips. But I think standards for performance and safety awareness must be the responsibility of all commuters especially those who are most vulnerable. If you want to ride on the streets you should prove that you understand the rules. Seattle drivers are facing a lot of frustration and distraction with construction and an increase in traffic due to repairs, growth and lack of public transportation. If there’s a way to make these smaller vehicles and bicycles more visible to everyone this would be helpful as well.

  • Diane September 10, 2014 (3:06 pm)

    Re “Find It, Fix It app from City of Seattle”; if I’d had a chance for another question/comment; please, what is the phone #, email, person to contact re “find it, fix it” for those of us who do not have a smart phone or any other electronic device with apps

  • Diane September 10, 2014 (3:18 pm)

    grateful for the opportunity last night to finally address and get answers (from Chris Arkills, who called it “traffic signal priority”) and positive response from new SDOT director (to “look into it”) re the long-overdue promise of Rapid Ride signal prioritization; my question was general re speeding up “rapid” ride for the entire route; but specific to my observance for 2 yrs at the stop where I get on eastbound RR at Alaska/Fauntleroy; for 2 yrs, I’ve watched the RR bus stuck waiting with all the cars at the signal, both eastbound and westbound; this is the intersection at the “Hole” and Trader Joe’s; I rarely get on/off at Alaska Junction, but pretty sure there is still no “traffic signal priority” there either; adding up wait times at those 2 intersections, can easily add 4-5 mins to a trip

  • miws September 10, 2014 (7:14 pm)

    Thanks, Diane.


    I haven’t ridden RR enough to where I could determine if TSP had indeed been implemented, but TSP, or, more accurately, the lack thereof, has been a peeve of mine for many years.


    I could swear that as long as 15-20 years ago, TSP in our area has been talked about, and not just “…in the future….” as when we used to see films in the ’70’s and such, that “….in the future, by the year 2000, all household chores will be totally automated.”


    TSP has long been mentioned, with the strong hint that it was to be implemented very soon.


    Back in the Summer of 2000, or perhaps it was 1999, there was a major repave along I-35, and other work such as signal modernizations and revisions, and a total rebuild of the intersection of 35th & Morgan. One of the upgrades was to be TSP, to be used by Metro Route 21.


    Now, granted, I have not ridden the 21 very often since the early part of 1978, but when I have have not seen any indication of TSP actually being used.


    I swear, it seems like those damn traffic light knows when a bus is approaching, and immediately turns red! ;-)



  • Rational Thought September 11, 2014 (1:15 am)

    You know what would be FANTASTIC? It would be, first, that all of the people complaining about traffic not moving would STOP complaining about people actually driving! I see complaints all of the time about how fast people drive on 35th and now we have a plan to put a stop to people actually moving through WS, but these same people whine about the traffic. You CANNOT have it both ways. 35th is a major thoroughfare. If you are crossing that street, then you had better be paying attention! And yes – I lived on 35th for years so I know exactly what I am talking about. You know what I did to deal with the fact that cars drove 35-40 on that street? I was cognizant at all times that that’s how fast the traffic was! I realize this is a new and novel concept for many living in WS, but I’m just crazy by dealing with reality.

    So, because there have been terrible accidents on that street and too many people apparently want to deny the reality of the fact that it is a major thoroughfare, the SDOT (the same organization that couldn’t properly time a traffic light if lives depended on it – the same organization that hasn’t had a legitimate success in traffic planning for years and years) is going to come in and take action to put a stop to the one road in and out of WS that actually moves at a relatively decent pace. Fantastic! THAT will help things, right?!?

    You cannot even drive on Delridge at anything other than a crawl until about 10:30 am on a weekday and after 8 pm on a weeknight. So, that makes things even worse, especially when you add in the neverending school and bus traffic, and the now constant stream of people in walkers and wheelchairs crossing the street whenever they please who are residing in the new housing built along Delridge across from the library. Excellent traffic planning against SDOT!

    As for Seattle drivers, I hear lots of complaining about aggressive drivers, and yet study after study documents just how bad Seattle drivers are, and they aren’t talking about aggression. They are talking about the fact that Seattle drivers think that they need to drive 5-10 mph LESS than the speed limit at all times, that they should block anyone else who wants to go faster, because apparently they have been appointed as the police, that they can just stop in the street for no apparent reason, just like a driver on Delridge did today, and they have absolutely no idea whatsoever about how to MERGE! The fact that the State Patrol has to issue public messages to tell people to get out of the left lane if they are not going to be actually passing people. That is astonishing! The police are telling YOU to drive faster or get out of the way of others! Maybe you should LISTEN! Then maybe the rest of us could get somewhere.

    As for the other poster who pointed out the absurdity of talking to WS residents about WALKING to work – right on. Too bad no one bothered to point out to the new director that DC has METRO! And there are no hills or water at all. There is absolutely nothing even remotely analogous about DC and Seattle because DC has mass transit and no natural barriers. It’s a dried out swamp. Yet another clueless SDOT official. Combine that with a City Council and Planning Dept. that do nothing more than the bidding of developers and that is why nothing will EVER get any better. No parking for cars – no roads to drive on – and the only option being considered is making everyone ride bikes or walk even though we live in a city with very big hills, mini-forests around every corner and water water water. Yes – that should work out wonderfully!

  • Diane September 11, 2014 (1:38 am)

    thank you Mike; please email the new SDOT director; good information about history of TSP being promised, but not being implemented
    I always enjoy hearing your long-time perspective on things in West Seattle

  • Joe Szilagyi September 11, 2014 (6:21 am)

    @Rational, there is nothing rational about not enforcing speed limits. You and I have no right to ever exceed speed limits day to day, and allowing a failed, unsafe scenario to continue is not part of any stable and long term solution. More resources, more Metro, more trains, better traffic flows are the solution. Flows do not mean speed. If under the legal limit it’s not mathematically possible for me to drive from my end of 35th to the bridge faster than 15 minutes, then that is how it’s meant to be.

  • zark00 September 11, 2014 (1:12 pm)

    Very disappointing white wash of the distracted driving problem. WSTC needs a Anti-Distracted Driving evangelist, I volunteer.

    This morning, downtown, two girls almost run over by a guy staring at his phone while taking a left across a crosswalk (Lt from 1st to Main, black Acura) followed immediately by the same two girls almost getting run over by a delivery driver (W on Main) chatting away on his phone (Port something, a wine distributor I think, can’t remember the name or I’d contact them). Girls had the walk signal for both, drivers didn’t notice or care, girls saved their own lives by scooting out of the way. It’s a daily occurrence down here. My boss was hit by a texting mom taking a left from Jackson to 1st – always a walk signal in that situation. Broke her windshield with his back – she screamed vulgarities at him for not looking for 10 minutes. That’s the typical reaction by the way. I make a shame finger at people who text and drive when I’m walking – you know, like this http://www.itsallaboutkeepingitreal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/stock-footage-woman-saying-shame-on-you-with-fingers.jpg

    Never fails to illicit the middle finger back, usually also a lot of screaming of swear words. People in Seattle, however, are entitled to live their live AT the expense of everyone else – it’s like a Seattle thing. Leash laws? Nah, those are for everyone else. Stop signs? Nope, I have a Range Rover, we aren’t required to stop at those. Texting and driving? DUH, Seattle is a TECH city, we’re SUPPOSED to text and drive, it’s a Microsoft thing, or something.
    Sorry to pick on Range Rovers, insert whatever car you see texters in the most there.

    Kulby cited safety as the number one priority, and this is how serious the SDOT takes it:
    Their own blog, with a link to the texttalkticket.com site – http://sdotblog.seattle.gov/2010/06/11/text-talk-ticket/#sthash.cHLSwKdr.pkqFAKqv.dpbs
    Except the link actually goes to a Japanese language web site about CAD or something. Nice job.

    kingcounty.gov has an actual banner up, Text Talk Ticket – Hang up and Drive – here:
    but that links to a different, also completely incorrect, site – this one is a placeholder domain parking page.
    Epic fail. That’s how important safety is to SDOT, King County and Kulby. re: Not important enough to warrant actually doing anything about it.

    Rational Thought – spot on that the comparison to DC is laughable.
    DC is 10k per sq mile, Seattle is 7k per sq mile – we’re quite a bit less dense (no pun intended :))
    However, Seattle is about 83 sq miles of land and 58 sq miles of water, DC is 61 sq miles of land, and only 18 water, which is a river running through it sorts like Portland. It’s far smaller, quite a bit denser, and as Rational also pointed out – not flat.

    This is very interesting – break down of Seattle VS Portland for bikeability. Nobody’s saying we shouldn’t bike, it’s interesting, read it.

    This was particularly on point:
    “Seattle, by contrast, is a city of obstacles, a labyrinth of hills and water barriers. …nowhere in Seattle can you go more than a few miles in a straight line without plunging into the water or over a cliff.”

    Before you freak out about me being anti-bike, I’m not, I’m a pragmatist. The UW/STB take away here is that Seattle is an archipelago, and transpo needs to be planned as if it is such. You need things like buses to take you AND your bike to that next island; and the word Bus doesn’t appear in the Bike Master Plan that I could find. It’s about road safety, off road trails, etc. – all good stuff sure, but nothing that creates a bike-able urban area.
    We need some of these:

    And more buses, ones that actually run on time.

    RE: bikes on roads and youngsters – Parents/Guardians are 100% responsible by law for their wards adherence to WA and King County biking regulations.

    • WSB September 11, 2014 (1:34 pm)

      Zark, this comment is not related to anything else you mentioned but my eye was caught by your mention of the the broken link – as a website owner, I do have to say, external links break, out of a site owner’s control. The post to which you link, containing the broken texttickettalk (or something) link, is four years old. I’m sure you’ll find some broken links if you go back a year or more on our site too. I wish I could find a replacement for it, but I can’t. The statewide campaign seems to currently focus on a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/texttalkticket

  • s.a.b.o.d's..... September 11, 2014 (1:14 pm)

    Texting while driving is more dangerous that DUI.
    The city needs to make driving while texting carry the same penalty as a DUI. When that happens, people will stop drifting in and out of their land, stopping in the middle of the road, forgetting to yield and perhaps, running into bikes and peds. We can’t road diet our way out of people not paying attention.

    Did we change entire civic engineering configurations to accommodate drunk drivers? No, we fine them a boat load of money and put them in jail (or at least we used to), and make them watch videos about little children dying from DUI drivers.

    If the new SDOT director thinks he can ignore this epidemic (just look next to you on ANY car trip in this city) then he is smoking the same stuff that the rest of that city department is smoking.

    This is the low hanging fruit. It’s not a $5bn transit project on port property. It’s getting people to put their g.d. iPhones away and be present when they are operating a motor vehicle.

  • zark00 September 11, 2014 (1:48 pm)

    Thanks WSB, fair point, its an old post. But I got there literally googling texttalkticket seattle – so, they need pist more frequently if they want serch terms to yield timepy results, and they need to focus more effort on this campaign and issue in general if they truly care to adress it. Facebook is a non-solution, its akin to phoning it in. Relying on any social media site to get your message out for you is just lazy. FB is even blocked internally by companies, its not the place to run a county safety campaign. Its also tacitly endorsing the activity they want to erradicate; FBs current mission statement is ‘mobile, mobile, mobile’. The most recent post to that SDOT FB page is a woman arrested for an accident while she was.. wait for it… looking at Facebook photos! They werent tryong to make a joke of it, but they did. Reeks of not taking the problem seriously enough.
    S.a.b.o.d’s – you rock, spot on.

    • WSB September 11, 2014 (1:58 pm)

      Side point but totally agree on social media – while we use it for WSB because we have to and thousands of readers expect us to, it is NOT our primary channel of communication, and the website is the only place you’ll ever find everything we cover. It’s a permanent archive, it’s under our control, it’s searchable, we’re accountable for it. Too many organizations and businesses get excited about FB while not realizing that what they post is only shown to a fraction of their “likes”/”followers,” and can disappear at any time (note what happened when NBC pulled the plug on EveryBlock). I’m going to stop right now because this is a soapbox I can stand on all day and I have more stories waiting to be written. Back to the issue at hand, thanks to everyone for discussing here – TR

  • AmandaKH September 11, 2014 (3:56 pm)

    For distracted driving. Do we put it on the manufacturer of smart phones to come up with a “kill” switch when you are in a car? How about on the car manufacturer. If both hands don’t touch the wheel, your car “yells” at you? There is NO WAY that the government should be in control of this issue zark unless it’s high level mandated stuff

  • zark00 September 11, 2014 (5:37 pm)

    No Amanda, there is no technological solution to this problem, this is a social problem, almost identical to drinking and driving.

    Public safety is absolutely what our elected officials should be mandating.

    Unbelievably, it used to be somewhat socially acceptable to have a few and get behind the wheel – MADD changed all of that. They did through public education, public shaming to some extent, and through ferocious efforts to change the laws and increase the fines for it – part of their approach was forcing governments to stop being part of the problem, and we need to do the same.

    Prior to MADD, drinking and driving was about the same offense texting is now – $124 ticket for texting, about $40 “back in the day” for driving while intoxicated. Now, you lose your license for a year if you’re caught drinking and driving. Permanently if your a repeat offender. Same thing should happen for distracted drivers. They are proven to be more dangerous than drunk drivers, so why wouldn’t we punish them similarly.

    It’s a matter of getting people to understand how insanely selfish their actions are. Right now, most of us would think “I’m just going to cab it, I don’t want to risk killing someone” – MADD got us there. Nobody think like that in terms of texting and driving, and they are MORE likely to kill someone than a drunk driver.

    The only thing that will work is for people to understand that the risk is not worth the reward. Either risk to their own position (legal driver, not incarcerated, not paying massive fines) or the risk to another individual (I’d prefer to NOT kill someone this evening).

    For my generation it tends to be more the “I don’t want to kill anyone” for the previous generation more “I don’t want to get in trouble for THAT” (social shame), and for the older folks it tends to be more the fine and threat of losing the ability to drive that motivated change.

    It’s hard to pin down exactly as it is now simply part of our understood social compact. We don’t drink and drive because it’s simply the WRONG thing to do. Same thing with texting, it is so very wrong there is zero argument in favor for it. Just like drunk driving, there are a grand total of zero circumstances that warrant it.
    Our police force is part of the problem, they successfully argued that they should be allowed to text and drive as part of their job requirements. That is so irresponsible it’s criminal. They have zero need for a cell phone while driving to do their job; nobody tried to take their radios or screens away, just the personal phones, and they cried foul.

    Until it is systemically and socially an unacceptable behavior, we will continue to have people who feel their right to look at Facebook and text people outweighs your right to live.

    I can’t think of any circumstance where I would defend a drunk driver, nor can I think of one where I’d defend a texter. I also can’t think of a circumstance where I would expect the manufacturer of a product to protect against that product being used in an irresponsible way – or I’d be looking squarely at Smith and Wesson e.g.

    Smartphones aren’t the problem, people feeling entitled, and that their irresponsible use of that phone is more important than your families safety – that’s the problem here. You can’t fix broken people with technology.

    The people who really made the drunk driving change included, unfortunately, a lot of folks who lost children to drunk drivers. I really think we can do better than to accept texting drivers until enough kids die to make it matter to everyone.

    This is starting in Seattle by the way (rumored anyway) – http://www.twitspotting.com/ – it’s essentially a non-intrusive public shaming campaign. There will be a link to Seattle’s version once it’s launched I would guess (hope). Bookmark it, check it to see if you’re on it, don’t be on it.

Sorry, comment time is over.