Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sound Transit

I'm all about having a dedicated-right-of-way transit system in Seattle, so you'll find no blogger rooting harder for Sound Transit. They've gotten a whole lot less incompetent than they used to be.

But they're not really on the ball. Check out the 2006 milestone checklist now that it's, uh, 2007.

Quick, before they take it down.


The 520 Bridge

Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin wrote an op-ed in yesterday's times arguing for the Pacific Interchange Option in a 6-lane rebuild of the 520 Bridge. I wholeheartedly concur with his position.

He does a deft job of summarizing the many reasons this is a good idea, but I want to talk about it from a transit perspective. The worst part of riding a bus over the 520 bridge is not the backup on the Eastside (which buses bypass), nor the bridge itself, but the merge onto a hideously congested I-5. This probably adds 15 minutes to the trip, a time that will no doubt get worse in the future.

Projected time to take light rail from Husky Stadium to Westlake?

8 minutes.

Terminating all those Seattle-bound buses at Husky Stadium and dumping the riders on to light rail results in both a faster ride for them, and less congestion at one of the worst chokepoints in the region.

This only really works, though, with the Pacific Interchange Option. That's why it's the only forward-thinking choice.

Light Rail through South Bellevue

The Times ran a piece reporting that residents of Southwest Bellevue are opposed to light rail plans that would run the line near their neighborhood, instead opting for a longer route that goes out by the freeway.

How shortsighted this is.

They're afraid of traffic and noise. I suppose they think it'll reduce their property values.

What they fail to realize is that having a station within walking distance will dramatically increase their property values. Shortly before I was born, the residents of Georgetown (the one in D.C.) successfully resisted the placement of a stop in their neighborhood. The metro simply runs under Georgetown today without stopping.

Boy, do they regret that.

I suppose building a station might condemn 1 or 2 homes. Is that any way to make regional policy? What about the extra few minutes the detour adds to the commute, for everyone, for ever and ever?


Strategies in the War on Terror

1) Play Defense. Do some police work to catch some bad guys, but essentially accept that you'll get hit every now and then, until the Islamic world sorts itself out. I would characterize this as the center point of Democratic Party opinion.

2) Surrender. Stop supporting Israel, pull all troops out of the Middle East, and look the other way when quasi-fascist regimes take over places that are far away. This is the "far left" solution.

3) Reform the Middle East. Find the most vulnerable nasty regimes, and replace it with something better. Decent regimes should drain the swamp of rage that creates terrorism. This is the Bush administration policy. How's that working out?

4) Kill'em All. The drunken-frat-boy approach to foreign policy.

5) Divide and Conquer. If the Shiites and Sunnis are at each other's throats, will they have time to worry about the Palestinians, much less us?

We tried (3) but it's dead. We may have an opportunity to do (5), a less ethical, but possibly quite effective, option. We can set the region ablaze (and maybe make our problems go away) by pulling out of Iraq now.

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