Isn't It Weird: March Madness Edition
A lot of weird stuff going on lately. Uber, Lyft, SideCar. The tunnel. $15 minimum wage. And the Washington State Democrats.
1. Isn't It Weird That ... The state of Washington continues to throw money at the stalled downtown deep-bore tunnel, despite the fact that car trips on the Alaskan Way Viaduct have dropped precipitously for the past five years, plummeting from 110,000 trips per day to 67,000 since 2009?
Why spend billions of dollars building a new freeway through downtown that isn't necessary in the first place?
The reduction in driving can't be attributed to people taking other routes, either, because traffic has plummeted throughout downtown Seattle. People are actually driving less. Which raises the question: Why spend billions of dollars building a new freeway through downtown that isn't necessary in the first place?
2. Isn't it Weird That ... The poster children of the new share economy, rideshare companies like UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar, blew it at the city (the council voted 9-0 to cap the number of cars each company could have on the road at any given tim) because they wouldn't share data?
One of the main tenets in Lisa Gansky's Share Economy manifesto The Mesh— a book that Sidecar founder Sunil Paul, incidentally, once recommended to us—is: Don't be proprietary.
Seriously Uber, Lyft, and SideCar: If you think 150 (the cap per company) is unreasonable, prove it, and ask the city for a higher cap based on some data.
Seriously guys, if you think 150 (the cap per company) is unreasonable, prove it, and ask the city for a higher cap based on some data.
3. Isn't it Weird That ... a green tech city like Seattle became the first city in the country to place a cap on the number of people who can use a green app idea like ridesharing?
(Possible explanation: Our liberal penchant for regulations is colliding with our techie libertarianism.)
4. Isn't it Weird That ... The Democrats—itching to win back control of the state senate—didn't have anyone lined up to run when longtime state Sen. Tracey Eide (D-30, Federal Way) announced she was retiring at the end of this year's session? And evidentlty they still don't—we have a call in to Washington State Democratic Party Chair Jaxon Ravens.
The Republicans have a candidate who announced a week before Sen. Eide's news broke: former Democratic state Rep. Mark Miloscia, also from Federal Way.
5. Isn't it Weird That ... At a time when ridership on transit systems like Link Light rail is booming (ridership on Central Link between Sea-Tac Airport and downtown Seattle increased 14 percent last quarter), the region could end up reducing Metro transit service as much as 17 percent?
6. And speaking of Metro: Isn't It Weird That ... tax skeptics like the Seattle Times' Danny Westneat decry our region's supposed addiction to new taxes, when actually the current ballot measure to raise taxes to save Metro is simply a reality check on a political experiment—started by Tim Eyman anti-tax initiatives—that has prevented the region from paying for stuff the way it used to?
Since Eyman's I-695 overturned the county's motor-vehicle excise tax in 1999, Metro has lost about $100 million, or one-third of its funding, forcing the agency to rely on ever-increasing fares (an 80 percent spike in the last four years, with another increase coming next year whether the April Metro funding proposal passes or not) to pay for service.