West Seattle, Washington
Interesting story this morning with some West Seattle stats — a city scheme to allow more development with less parking. Very nice of them to do that after our big chance at rapid non-bus transit died a miserable death.
What no one seems to ever realize about all this is that it’s not a matter of people being lazy — it’s a matter of time. Workdays now run way past 8 hours. Kids’ activities are now intensely scheduled. We all spend time hurtling frantically between all the places we “have to be,” trying to make the times we “have to” be there.
The world HQ of WSB, for example, is in a pure residential neighborhood without a single business within a mile in ANY direction. I enjoy walking to some of those businesses — WHEN THERE’S TIME. When there’s not, the closest bus runs on a very inconvenient schedule, never more than once every half-hour. All this means — gotta use the car whether I really WANT to walk, or not. Do these new policies mean I’m supposed to sell the house and move into a business-close condo? Or that I have to tell my bosses I CAN’T work a 10-hour day, I need those two extra hours to walk back and forth to the store? Or will Ron Sims’ “buses every 10 minutes everywhere” plan really come to MY neighborhood?
What’s your take on all this?
Don’t have a link yet but I hear the Seattle City Council is going to take a grudging look at whether the third option — tear down the viaduct and do NOT build a new one OR a tunnel — might fly.
… free ride … as that ’70s band once sang … You all know what water taxi nuts we are. Postcard just came today from Councilguy Dow — the big season-starting celebration is Sunday 5/7, with FREE RIDES ALL DAY!
The Elliott Bay Water Taxi home page now links to the full array of info for this year’s sailing season, which starts a week from Monday. Can’t wait. But we notice at least one change … note the line “The Water Taxi does not issue [Metro] transfers.” In previous years, a crew member has gone around during the trip and offered transfers, which sometimes meant a cheaper ride back, if you were only going downtown for an hour or so — maybe that was the problem.
Oh goody, a new transportation tax idea.
The reason many of us don’t take buses to work is NOT the fact they don’t run every 10 minutes. My challenges alone include safety, odd scheduling, and route quirks (unless you work downtown, you have to deal with some kind of transfer). And then, as the afore-linked article mentions, there’s the little problem of, where will the buses go once the Viaduct goes …
I just know this will all eventually turn into a water-taxi ride followed by a very long walk. Which STILL will likely get me to work before a Byzantine series of bus-route transfers, twists and turns.
Sorry for the downtime. We’ll be back in daily (at least) posting mode as of tomorrow (Saturday) … meantime, as we catch up, we see the county’s finally officially announced the start date for the Elliott Bay Water Taxi. Woo-hoo-hoo! Just in time for the Maritime Festival, as usual.
Tunnel? Viaduct? Neither? What about the rest of our … hmm … not-so-great transportation network — if you had the money and power, what would YOU do to fix it? Tonight’s your chance to say it straight to West Seattle’s Most Famous Politician (and others) — right in our own backyard. 6:30 pm, WSHS, be there.
Perhaps the news coverage of this week’s two cruise-ship-related tragedies made you wonder how soon those big white boats are going to start showing up again every weekend off Duwamish Head, aiming for Alaska. Looks like we’re a month away from the first one, according to the Port of Seattle cruise schedule (PDF). Provided Councilguy Dow’s word is good and the Water Taxi will be back this summer, should be more good times with the “Sightseer” crossing paths with the mega-ships on sunny summer afternoons …
So how are you coping on this mostly-Viaduct-less weekend? We had to work around it a couple times on Saturday and managed just fine. And now I’m intensifying in my support of this opinion — Hizzoner should be brave and bold and shut the thing down for a real test of just how we all will cope, so we can get some stats and whatnot before The Big Vote (eyeroll) this fall. Trying to remember back to our post-earthquake Viaduct-less-ness five years ago doesn’t count; we were all too traumatized. I suggest that our City Leaders get their traffic engineers and researchers together, make a plan, and pick, oh, say, two weeks in the first half of May (gotta do this before the summer tourists show up in mega-force) to Just Do It: Close the viaduct, look at how flows change on the bridge, I-5, Alaskan Way, First Avenue South, etc. Oh, and it would be handy if they could rev up the Water Taxi in time.
Cami from the fabulous Alki News Beacon suggests we should all mark our calendars for these. Note the one at West Seattle HS on March 29. I guess this means Hizzoner Himself will actually be there; not that the WSHS event will be much of a drive for Our Homegrown Leader.
Well, at least someone is doing something sensible with Our Transportation Dollars.
The City of Seattle keeps expanding its network of traffic cams, and two of the latest are right in the middle of the WS Bridge — one east, one west. There’s also one sort-of-under the bridge, at the Chelan intersection.
I’m adding them to my WS cams page (see tab above), too. Hmm, maybe we can get the city to put up an Alki cam …
Oh joy, hot on the heels of several thrilling years of monorail votes, we get another vote about our transportation future … tunnel vs. no tunnel. Once again, those pesky politicos just couldn’t decide to decide. So we get to waste more time and money (and kill more trees to stuff mailboxes with pro-tunnel/anti-tunnel hysteria). While we’re at it, let’s vote on the third option too!
BRIDGE: Got lane-jumped this morning near the top of the WS Bridge. A white Hyundai Sonata with custom “Go Cougs” license plates and two AM 1090 (Air America) bumper stickers sneaked right in front of me, way past where its driver should have waited patiently and properly to get in the right-lane line. Only reason I didn’t consider a beep or bump, the car held two people. Which means one less car. Small consolation. Next time, I’m not going to leave enough space for someone to shoehorn in. SO THERE!
SEA: E-mailed our friendly neighborhood King County Councilperson to see if there’s an update yet on the Elliott Bay Water Taxi for this year. Here now, the entirety of how Councilperson Constantine answered my question “Will the water taxi be back?”:
It will. For the first time the Executive actually put it in his proposed budget. I am working (against much resistance) to fund a permanent dock and establish permanent funding for the service outside of existing Metro bus service. More later.
Call me asleep at the wheel. I didn’t really realize there was serious talk of making the Viaduct replacement a toll road. It’s mentioned in passing in this Times article today. In a quest for more information, I found the state’s study of Viaduct toll viability. Doesn’t sound like it would be worth the trouble (a few million bucks a year). I think I’d rather try cross-bay swim commuting than try to wade through that sort of mess.
I can completely empathize with this dangerous-driver tale of woe from FairmountSprings.org. Our neighborhood includes a busy intersection where ridiculously rushing drivers routinely ignore signs and put lives at risk. We too have asked about extra city controls, only to receive some sort of foggy multilayered answer about petitions and waiting lists. Note to drivers: Stop signs are there for good reasons. Really. And they’re orders, not suggestions.
Seems like this hits the newspaper traffic columns every week. And here it is again this morning — somebody beefing to the PI (last item) about the morning commuters with self-delusions that they are driving buses. Hey, I’d settle for a couple minutes of slowdown if that’s the only side effect of stationing undercover cops (cleverly disguised as roadside breakdowns, perhaps?) to bust ’em.
Realized this morning that I haven’t taken a ferry ride in months, even though the dock is minutes away from our neighborhood (and most parts of WS). The state ferries are a big reason why we wound up here — on my first trip to Seattle as a tourist, a guidebook entry enticed me to Anacortes, where I walked onto a San Juans-bound boat and fell in love with its utilitarian splendor during a basic 3-hour round-trip run. Other ferry rides followed before my vacation ended. And this sail down Memory (Shipping) Lane reminds me, the ferries are even the reason I discovered WS on my second Seattle trip; I saw all those oddly placed “Vashon Ferry (arrow)” signs along Alaskan Way and was determined to figure out where that mysterious run really docked … managed to make my way onto the bridge, veered over to Alki while trying to find Fauntleroy, game over, I was crazy in love, and ready to move.
So excuse me while I go look up the schedule and see about a recreational ride on the F-V-S ferry sometime before the weekend is out … just to rekindle the romance.
Third-to-last paragraph in this P-I story about the status of the monorail tax and the “monorail board” (shouldn’t we call them the non-monorail board?) dithering on when to kill it. “Take it up in his neighborhood”? And this guy expects that pulse-taking to last more than approximately .03 seconds? Let’s just save him the trouble and all yell “KILL IT NOW” simultaneously. Really, I’ve confessed this before, and I’m not the least bit ashamed of it — I was a monorail supporter. I would vote for it again tomorrow. I was excited about it, and I’m still upset about the chain of events that means we’re not likely to see non-bus mass transit in WS in my lifetime. But enough with the tax already. I’ve already paid hundreds since the death-knell vote, and perhaps you have too. I’d rather see a bailout for the remaining bills on this, than for, oh, say, another stadium renovation. (Go, Sonics! And I do mean “go” …)