Isn't It Weird That
Isn't It Weird That ... Transit Opponents and Planning Proponents
Some weird things we noticed about transit opponents and city planning numbers.
1) Isn't It Weird That ... The anti-Metro-funding group, "Families for Sustainable Transit," is a "coalition" made up of four groups that don't appear to actually exist?
Families for Sustainable Transit, whose web site argues that Metro's spending on bus service is "out of control," says it's a coalition of four groups—Working Families for Affordable Transportation; Eastside Young Professionals Coalition; Students for Transit Solution; and Keep Metro Accountable—opposed to Prop. 1, the April 22 ballot measure to prevent Metro service cuts of up to 17 percent.
None of those four groups appears in a basic Google search, although there are links, now broken, to an "Eastside Young Professionals Store." Otherwise, the only hit is on Families for Sustainable Transit's own website.
In addition to complaining that Seattle, the region's major job center, gets most of Metro's bus service—the group's FAQ page offers this rather optimistic prediction: "In 2015, legislators in Olympia will likely pass a statewide transportation package that includes an 11.5 cent gas tax"—because that worked out so well the last three times.
We have a message out to the group seeking more information about its mystery members.
As for the idea that Metro's costs are out of whack, King County Budget Director Dwight Dively dismantled that fabricated notion in a PubliCola One Question last week.
A 51 percent improvement in job creation in the coming decades vs. the 1994-2014 era, which included the Internet revolution and the emergence of Microsoft and Amazon, seems oddly rosy.
2) Isn't it Weird That ... In prepping for the city's comprehensive plan update, Seattle's Department of Planning and Development is starting from the premise that 115,000 new jobs are coming to Seattle in the next 20 years? That stat is coupled with 70,000 new households.
What's curious is this: In the last 20 years—using numbers that are now known rather than forecasted—there were 59,000 new households and 56,000 new jobs. So, 3,000 fewer jobs than households—as opposed to the new prediction of 45,000 more jobs.
And frankly, 51 percent improvement in job creation in the coming decades vs. the 1994-2014 era, which included the Internet revolution and the emergence of Microsoft and Amazon, seems oddly rosy. Sure, we were hit with the Great Recession in 2008 and Boeing is seeing other people, but will the pending Internet 2.0 era really bring such a dramatic increase in job growth?
We're all for growth—and planning for density and transit accordingly—but let's not oversell.
We're also curious whether that high jobs-to-housing ratio DPD is assuming in its latest predictions (higher than the current jobs-to-housing ratio) indicates that the city expects more people will live in the suburbs and commute to Seattle in the future.
According to the background report on the comp plan update, the city has about 1.5 jobs for every household, and has a goal of reducing that ratio, for the simple reason that more people living near where they work means shorter commutes (and less sprawl). DPD's predictions for the next 20 years would skew that ratio. We have a call out to DPD to ask about those numbers.