Thursday, October 25, 2007

Transit NOW... Tomorrow

Metro has finally released the first details about the RapidRide program, or at least the section that's on SR99. Be sure to click through to the fancy map. In isolation, it looks great.

While I'm always for more and better transit, I'm uneasy and/or miffed at a few aspects of this, particularly in light of Ron Sims' defection to the anti-ST2 camp.

(1) When we voted for Transit NOW!(!!!!), that certainly led to the expectation that the transit would arrive, uh, now. 2010 is hardly forever, and I know projects take time, but I think Ron Sims oversold a bit. It certainly makes his complaining about ST taking too long a little rich.

(2) I wonder if Sims' opposition to South King County light rail is that it replaces this bit of his legacy?

(3) It seems awful repetitive to run BRT down the exact route that light rail is planning to use. It leaves us with several awful or doubtful alternatives:
- light rail is permanently trashed in favor of inferior BRT technology that also forces a transfer at SeaTac to connect with the rest of the system.
- the BRT is constructed to be rail convertible. I'm doubtful this is happening, and at any rate would create a big fight if it involved suspending existing BRT to lay track.
- The Rapid Ride investments will be abandoned when light rail arrives, or they will run simultaneously. That would get us one transit corridor for the price of two! Nice job Metro!

(4) I'm struck by the relative opacity of Metro compared to Sound Transit. The ST website pretty much lays out everything they're going to do. Almost a full year after the voters approved Transit Now, we're only now seeing a small part of the project. Given how often ST is bashed for being unaccountable and mismanaged, I'm struck by the fact that my experience receiving responses to comments from both agencies is similarly skewed.

(5) Is it an accident that the portion of Transit Now that most duplicates ST2 is the first to be released, just before the ballot!

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