1. The Seattle P-I looks at the state's "best" and "worst" cities for renters, and finds that we should all be living in ... Bellevue?
The lineup (Seattle ranks fourth, after Renton) is based on the median income-to-rent ratio among local residents, and does not take into account quality-of-life, transportation, distance to work, or what kind of community and amenities (like parks, transit, schools, and recreation opportunities) a city offers. You know: the sort of things that make an area feel worth living in.
2. KING 5 has some sharp reporting on what looks like a significant design flaw in Seattle's downtown Second Avenue bike lane—the city placed it to the left of a parking lane for cars, making it difficult for drivers attempting to pull into garages on the left side of Second Ave. to see cyclists heading straight along the same path.
A significant design flaw in Seattle's downtown Second Avenue bike lane.
The city, KING 5 reports, is getting rid of the special parking lane for cars after an accident in which a left-turning driver hit a cyclist heading straight along Second.
3. Oil trains, which regularly travel through Seattle and King County, are causing "major delays" for Amtrak passenger rail and companies shipping other goods across the nation, the New York Times reports. The trains—which have been controversial in recent months due to several high-profile derailments and explosions—are contributing to regular delays on long-haul passenger lines like the Portland-to-Chicago Empire Builder, which is late nearly 70 percent of the time.
And as U.S. exports of coal to China and other Asian nations increase, the NYT reports, the problem of congestion on crowded freight and passenger routes is "only expected to get worse."
4. Echoing King County Metro general manager Kevin Desmond, who told PubliCola that Metro needs to expand its service hours by at least 15 percent just to keep up with existing demand, Seattle Transit Blog argues that Seattle needs to adopt a city-only transit funding package because "the overall service level Metro provides Seattle is not adequate to provide frequent, all day service for high-demand corridors."
Moreover, STB's Martin Duke argues, if Seattle follows Metro's guidelines for providing new service (which include criteria such as location, ridership, and social equity), the money provided by November's Proposition 1 "will make transit in Seattle noticeably better." Even if Prop. 1 doesn't create the transit system of riders' dreams (I'm still holding out for a stop-free subway from the Rainier Valley to downtown), that's reason enough to vote for the measure.
(County Executive Dow Constantine echoes Desmond's concerns about the need to build up Metro's rainy-day fund in an op/ed for the Seattle Times.)
5. STB also took a look at the "detours" the Seattle Department of Transportation has suggested for commuters who need to get from, say, Upper Queen Anne to Magnolia while the Emerson Street overpass is closed for construction for the next three months.
Bad news, cyclists and pedestrians: SDOT expects you to cross the Ballard Bridge twice to get west or east—all the way across the ship canal, north to Leary Way, and back south to Emerson.