OOBT

1. The city council voted today to dedicate all the money raised from tickets for speeding past school-zone cameras to pedestrian-and traffic-safety improvements, including new crosswalks and signs, near schools. And council member Tim Burgess has the details on his blog.

As we reported earlier this month, council member Bruce Harrell, who's running for mayor, expressed concern that the school cameras might unfairly trap "hardship cases" and people who were merely "careless" with $189 fines.

2. The Seattle Times' Danny Westneat isn't impressed by Mayor Mike McGinn's opposition to a proposed Whole Foods-anchored development in West Seattle, which, the mayor has argued, shouldn't get a street vacation from the city until it pays its employees a "living wage." Westneat, calls McGinn's position "radical" and argues the decision is up to the council not the mayor.

Image by l0st1, via Seattle Transit Blog.

3. "Fantastic news," says Seattle Transit Blog, and I agree: Sound Transit, capitalizing on the popularity of its suburban park-and-ride lots, is going to start selling paid parking permits that guarantee a spot to 20 percent of commuters to its four park-and-rides—10 percent to single-occupant car commuters, and 10 percent to HOV commuters.

It's unclear how much revenue the permits will generate, but the basic idea—that parking isn't free—is definitely one I can get behind.

4. Living on Earth, the public-radio show, did a feature recently on the issues oil trains could pose in the Pacific Northwest, where 11 communities (in Washington state and Oregon) are currently considering plans to build terminals to take oil from South Dakota off trains and send it onward to refineries.

Although coal trains have been more prominent in the news lately with the proposal to build a huge new coal terminal at Cherry Point near Bellingham, oil trains have reemerged as an issue in the wake of the Quebec oil-train derailment that killed 50 people. 

5. The Seattle Times has a largely positive profile of Peter Steinbrueck, the former city council member who's now running for mayor. Dismissing opponents' critique of Steinbrueck as an anti-growth NIMBY, the Seattle Times' Bob Young writes, "His positions in both Sodo and South Lake Union are part of his view of smart growth — density that is walkable, livable, compact and economically diverse."

It's an informative, if slightly fawning, read.  But as we noted in Fizz, the current rap that Steinbrueck is a NIMBY is a gross oversimplification—and doesn't jibe with much of his actual history.