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Seattle: Americas Next Top Transit City

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Seattle: Americas Next Top Transit City

Old 01-15-17, 02:46 AM
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Seattle: Americas Next Top Transit City

This is another good story about living carfree in Seattle. I had no idea they were investing so much money in bus service as their solution to transporting tens of thousands each day. Here are some observations.

1. About 72% of people in Seattle now live next to a bus that comes in less than 12 minutes! What this means is that people are relocating their lives and careers to take advantage of public transit in particular the bus! This type of investment is exactly what cities need to spend and get more people carfree.

Did anyone notice all the empty bike racks? When you have that much transit, bicycle transportation becomes unnecessary except for short trips. This is probably one of the reasons they canceled their bike share program. Seattle choose the bus and not the bicycle as their long term solution. I didn't see many bike lanes as excess road was used for bus rapid transit. I guess this also explains why there were few cyclist in the video since it might not be safe for them to commute.

2. Prepaid fares and Bus Rapid Transit have been way too long in the making. It's about time we start seeing this all over the country.

3. Center Q Jumps is the first time I've ever seen this new technology. The bus in a separate lane, actually gets a head start over all the cars at stop lights. The cars have a delayed green but public buses can travel faster because they have a jump once the light turns green!

This is all part of the carfree movement we're seeing around the globe. I wish all cities had someone like Ed Murray who's pushing the agenda forward. Now all we need to see is the bike infrastructure.

https://vimeo.com/196010541
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Old 01-15-17, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
Did anyone notice all the empty bike racks? When you have that much transit, bicycle transportation becomes unnecessary except for short trips. This is probably one of the reasons they canceled their bike share program. Seattle choose the bus and not the bicycle as their long term solution. I didn't see many bike lanes as excess road was used for bus rapid transit. I guess this also explains why there were few cyclist in the video since it might not be safe for them to commute.
Buses don't replace transportation biking. They just provide an alternative to smaller motor vehicles that clog roads.

Biking is still a better form of transportation for various reasons. It is healthier for people and the environment, more affordable, and provides more individual autonomy and flexibility with regard to destinations and scheduling.

It would be bad to use brt as an excuse to widen roads. Bike corridors are gold, bus routes silver, and private vehicle lanes are a necessary evil to be minimized by use of bikes and buses as much as possible.
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Old 01-15-17, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower
Buses don't replace transportation biking. They just provide an alternative to smaller motor vehicles that clog roads.
The point of my thread was that I wanted to point out that Seattle is looking more and more better for those wanting to become carfree. An argument can be made that BRT and bike lanes do no go hand in hand. You have to choose one or the other.
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Old 01-15-17, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
The point of my thread was that I wanted to point out that Seattle is looking more and more better for those wanting to become carfree. An argument can be made that BRT and bike lanes do no go hand in hand. You have to choose one or the other.
The LCF forum really has nothing to do with a love of bikes, the sport of cycling or even being car-free-- it's a movement (i.e., political) which is interesting because the LCF faithful on the forum (they probably don't really like buses either unless they run on Patchouli oil) are pretty purposeful about landing any discussion they don't approve of in P&R... which effectively stops any discussion (unlike if they agitated to land it in--e.g., "Foo").
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Old 01-15-17, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
The point of my thread was that I wanted to point out that Seattle is looking more and more better for those wanting to become carfree. An argument can be made that BRT and bike lanes do no go hand in hand. You have to choose one or the other.
It would be a backhanded blow to LCF if BRT was used as an excuse to eliminate bike lanes or bike paths anywhere. This is a common strategy used in the war against progress, i.e. to supplant one form of progress with a supposedly better one, and destroy was has been achieved in the process.
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Old 01-15-17, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower
It would be a backhanded blow to LCF if BRT was used as an excuse to eliminate bike lanes or bike paths anywhere. This is a common strategy used in the war against progress, i.e. to supplant one form of progress with a supposedly better one, and destroy was has been achieved in the process.
It is unlikely that many people (LCF or not) who use public transit to get round their city give a darn about bike lanes or bicycling proselytizers (so-called LCF or not) who bad mouth public transit as being inferior to bicycle transportation
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Old 01-15-17, 08:40 PM
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The mayor just killed the bikeshare program, according to another thread.
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Old 01-16-17, 01:37 AM
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I think it's wrong to pit bikes versus buses. We can choose "both". Both buses and bikes can be a vital part of urban transportation. Which is "better" is largely a factor of local terrain and weather, as well as cultural attitudes and strictly personal preferences.

That said, I think that good transit is absolutely necessary to achieve significant reductions in car traffic. Bikes are a nice add-on (and certainly more to my personal liking) but buses are an absolute necessity in cities of all sizes.

Unfortunately, the auto proponents are very happy to see this dispute between buses and bikes that is rapidly developing.

In my city, a proposed BRT is being fought by a strange coalition of suburban businessmen, heavy auto users, and bicyclists. The cyclists say they will not support the BRT unless privileged bike infrastructure within the roadway is included in the design. They will not consider a parallel bikeway or other proposals.

Unfortunately, we live in times where compromise and co-operation are almost impossible. Personally, I would be very happy with parallel bikeways or side lanes as long as the bus company agreed to allow bikes on the BRT buses.
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Old 01-16-17, 01:41 AM
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An article about Seattle transit:

https://www.vox.com/science-and-healt...eattle-transit
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Old 01-16-17, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Rollfast
The mayor just killed the bikeshare program, according to another thread.
That thread was flushed down the P&R black hole...
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Old 01-16-17, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody
Unfortunately, we live in times where compromise and co-operation are almost impossible. Personally, I would be very happy with parallel bikeways or side lanes as long as the bus company agreed to allow bikes on the BRT buses.
I think part of the reason for that is because some people hope to eliminate alternatives for the sake of forcing people into cars (i.e. car-payments). The fact is that giving people choices where some choices require less spending than others can result in decreasing business revenues. For this reason, there is economic motivation to pit different alternatives against each other in destructive competition, if only because it looks better than pitting them all against the dominant culture and killing them off that way.

Once again, the Hunger Games model of pitting districts against each other for the benefit of the Capitol is pertinent, only in the case of transportation the driving culture is the Capitol and transportation alternatives like biking and transit/brt are the districts pitted against each other in a fight to the death. May the odds be ever in our favor!
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Old 01-19-17, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower
I think part of the reason for that is because some people hope to eliminate alternatives for the sake of forcing people into cars (i.e. car-payments). The fact is that giving people choices where some choices require less spending than others can result in decreasing business revenues. For this reason, there is economic motivation to pit different alternatives against each other in destructive competition, if only because it looks better than pitting them all against the dominant culture and killing them off that way.

Once again, the Hunger Games model of pitting districts against each other for the benefit of the Capitol is pertinent, only in the case of transportation the driving culture is the Capitol and transportation alternatives like biking and transit/brt are the districts pitted against each other in a fight to the death. May the odds be ever in our favor!
The pendulum in the western world is clearly swinging towards both cycling and public transit. Driving is so dominant and so entrenched that it's not going away anytime soon, but as a few current threads illustrate, cities all over the US and Europe are adding transit and cycling facilities, and promoting urban densification. We have a long way to go, and who knows - maybe there will be another reversal of the trend at some point - but right now the momentum is definitely shifting in "our" favour, despite what some curmudgeons are about to argue.

Last edited by cooker; 01-20-17 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 01-20-17, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
1. About 72% of people in Seattle now live next to a bus that comes in less than 12 minutes! What this means is that people are relocating their lives and careers to take advantage of public transit in particular the bus! This type of investment is exactly what cities need to spend and get more people carfree.
The 48 line is known locally as the "Forty Late." We can't really rely on a bus actually being on schedule. Also, many of the commuter lines (at rush hour) are very overcrowded. Sometimes they're so full you have to wait for the next one.

In the last many years, we've gutted our bus service. Everybody in Seattle has watched it happen. We have drastically fewer lines than we did five years ago. What this means is that we don't trust Metro enough to relocate around it.

Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
Did anyone notice all the empty bike racks? When you have that much transit, bicycle transportation becomes unnecessary except for short trips. This is probably one of the reasons they canceled their bike share program.
We canceled our bike share program because it was a bad deal, to spend way too much money on a bad program. God knows it isn't because people would rather take the bus!

Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
3. Center Q Jumps is the first time I've ever seen this new technology. The bus in a separate lane, actually gets a head start over all the cars at stop lights. The cars have a delayed green but public buses can travel faster because they have a jump once the light turns green!
Yeah the problem with downtown buses at rush hour is that they're stuck in the same traffic as everyone else. We've been experimenting with this for years. It's long been the law that drivers must yield to buses as they pull out of stops. Unofficially they're allowed to run red lights, too; I've never seen or heard of a Metro driver being pulled over for it. I see it happen every day.
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Old 01-20-17, 12:43 PM
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When I lived in Queen Anne, there were 4 or 5 different buses I could take downtown to work. Today there's only 1.
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Old 01-20-17, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
The 48 line is known locally as the "Forty Late." We can't really rely on a bus actually being on schedule. Also, many of the commuter lines (at rush hour) are very overcrowded. Sometimes they're so full you have to wait for the next one.

In the last many years, we've gutted our bus service. Everybody in Seattle has watched it happen. We have drastically fewer lines than we did five years ago. What this means is that we don't trust Metro enough to relocate around it.
I checked online and the 48 bus line is not bad at all!

There's a bus leaving MT Baker every 10 -15 minutes! If one leaves late, you still have another one coming. In my opinion, a 10 minute interval during rush hour is consider A+ service. You will not find better service around the country or world.

There are a lot of cities that have 30 or 60 minute intervals and that's much harder on the transit user! Consider yourself lucky. When they first opened ligthrail service in my town, it had a 10 minute interval. You didn't even need a schedule. I felt rich being able to travel being able to travel quickly.
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Old 01-20-17, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
The 48 line is known locally as the "Forty Late." We can't really rely on a bus actually being on schedule. Also, many of the commuter lines (at rush hour) are very overcrowded. Sometimes they're so full you have to wait for the next one.

In the last many years, we've gutted our bus service. Everybody in Seattle has watched it happen. We have drastically fewer lines than we did five years ago. What this means is that we don't trust Metro enough to relocate around it.

We canceled our bike share program because it was a bad deal, to spend way too much money on a bad program. God knows it isn't because people would rather take the bus!

Yeah the problem with downtown buses at rush hour is that they're stuck in the same traffic as everyone else. We've been experimenting with this for years. It's long been the law that drivers must yield to buses as they pull out of stops. Unofficially they're allowed to run red lights, too; I've never seen or heard of a Metro driver being pulled over for it. I see it happen every day.
Any idea why your experience is so different from the OP article? Could it be in part that ridership is growing faster than the system can accommodate it?
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Old 01-21-17, 03:50 PM
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@cooker

My guess at why my experience and also the experience of every Seattlite I've talked to about this is different from the article, is probably because of a zealous writer. It's easy to get excited about changes that are brewing. Also, it depends on your perspective; I've watched these massive cutbacks to our transit system over the years, so to me it looks like we're starting to undo the damage; if you didn't see it gutted and only look at what's happened more recently, the picture must look different.

We used to have a "ride free zone" in downtown. It was slightly annoying as a bus commuter because the rules about when you pay (as you board or exit) depended on whether your bus crossed it and when you got on. A lot of people complained that the homeless benefited from the system. But it was fantastic working downtown, and for the tourists. And the buses moved more quickly because the driver didn't have to check people for payment at every stop. I feel like it was a mistake to get rid of it. And I guess that's part of my answer about why I see it differently.

We really could do so much better and it would be to everyone's benefit.
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Old 01-21-17, 05:01 PM
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Check the housing prices and other costs of living before moving.
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Old 01-22-17, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by McBTC
That thread was flushed down the P&R black hole...

They were starving for fresh meat.
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Old 01-22-17, 07:42 PM
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I was in Seattle nearly 26 years ago. Even residential Tacoma was a bit cramped.
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Old 01-25-17, 01:27 PM
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Seattle has a great public transit system. It puts Portland's to shame. Although most people down here in Portland think they have the best ever. It shows how little they get out. Of all the major cities I've been to in the USA (40 or so) it's in the 20's.
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