On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Smart Parking?, Council Speculation, and Sharing Transit
Our daily roundup.
1. Reinventing Parking asks whether Seattle's on-street parking policy, which allows the city transportation department to adjust parking prices and the time of day they're charged based on occupancy, is "smart" enough.
Although they support so-called "performance pricing," they argue that Seattle's program is "imprecise" across both space (there are no ground sensors, so the Seattle Department of Transportation sends workers out to count empty spaces on each block) and time (pay stations have to be reprogrammed by hand because many of them are so old).
They also point out that Seattle's top parking rate, $4 an hour, is too low to actually encourage the behavior (people doing their errands and getting out, freeing up spots for others) the city says it wants; in contrast, San Francisco's top parking price is $6 an hour.
2. Although there's been lots of speculation in recent days that (officially still undeclared) city council candidate Alison Holcomb may run for one of the two at-large seats in Seattle's new election system (seven seats are districts, two will be at-large), Capitol Hill Seattle has an interview with Holcomb in which she says it was her deep connection to the Capitol Hill neighborhood that led her to consider challenging freshman incumbent Kshama Sawant, who also lives on Capitol Hill, for the new District 3 council seat.
Holcomb tells CHS that she isn't interested in challenging either of the two city council members who have declared they're running for the at-large seats, Tim Burgess and Sally Clark, and declares herself "fairly frustrated [by] the way that she approaches the work" of being a council member.
Similarly, Holcomb told Fizz two weeks ago that "Sawant's approach to the minimum wage debate has heavily influenced my thinking about whether to run, as has her vote against confirmation of Chief O'Toole, and her support of a regressive employee 'head tax' to fund public transportation."
3. Speaking of public transportation: The Stranger's Charles Mudede has a post on Slog bemoaning the constant bane of Link Light Rail riders: People who think their luggage is a person who deserves taking up massive amounts of space that could be occupied by actual humans. (This is why, to my chagrin, the already inadequate bike racks have been repurposed as "first come, first served" spaces for bikes or luggage).
Charles took a photo of a small suitcase that's taking up three seats; that, plus the seat taken up by suitcase's owner, equals four seats taken up by one person.
"As the poor child is clueless about the toys, the poor luggage bag owner is clueless about transit trains—it's in fact not her car. This is a shared space. And in such a space, others must be factored into your decisions and movements. Years in automobiles have retarded our public intelligence. We now enter trains like a baby crawling on all fours."
4. Here's one for all the people who say "ridesharing" (e.g., companies like Uber and Lyft that compete with taxis) isn't really ridesharing: According to Geekwire, Uber has launched a new program called UberPool, which enables Uber users to find another user heading in the same direction and share a ride, splitting the cost. If UberPool users don't find a match, they still get a discount from the company. The selling points: Less money, new people, and less traffic congestion.
5. The Washington Post has an infographic showing where Americans smoke pot the most, and congratulations, Washingtonians! You're right up there with some of the tokin'-est states with 10.21 percent of residents over 12 reporting that they've lit up in the last month. However, our state—which legalized recreational pot use in 2012, under Initiative 502—is still behind (in order, starting with the most 420-friendly): Rhode Island, Vermont, amd Alaska.