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On Other Blogs Today: Traffic, the Arena, Coal, and More

By Erica C. Barnett July 12, 2012

1. Sightline Daily takes down the Texas Transportation Institute's widely reported study, which ranked Seattle fourth among North American cities in commuter time lost to congestion last year.

In short, the problem with the TTI's standard for measuring "congestion" is that it only considers how fast traffic moves, ignoring the actual length in miles of the average commute and penalizing cities where people commute on arterials with slower speed limits.

As I noted last year, under TTI's standard for congestion, it could take me 15 minutes to drive five miles to work, but since I’m driving on 30-mph streets, I'd be considered worse off than someone who commutes 45 miles from a suburb, but goes 60 mph.

As a result, the standard ranks cities where people tend to live in denser communities and have shorter commutes, like Seattle, worse on the "congestion" scale than cities like Nashville, where people are able to drive faster but tend to drive much longer distances.

Q13's C.R. Douglas interviewed Mayor Mike McGinn yesterday about the arena proposal. McGinn, an arena proponent, argued that the city's ownership of the land where the arena would be located would protect the city's investment in the arena. "Owning the land at the end of the day gives us protection. If something goes wrong we own valuable city land,” McGinn said.

As part of an agreement with ArenaCo, the company that would build the arena, the city would buy the land from investor Chris Hansen for as much as $100 million.

On his SportsPressNW blog, Art Thiel argues that arena detractors ought to listen to the details of the proposed deal before denouncing the proposal.

Crosscut takes a look at a new study of a proposed new port in Bellingham that would enable companies to ship an estimated 63 million tons of coal from Montana to China every year.

The conclusion of the study: Building a new coal terminal would result in ""a huge, huge increase in [rail traffic] volume that we've never seen in this part of the world."

Examiner.com reports that two First District Congressional candidates---Republican John Koster and Independent Larry Ishmael---have agreed to participate in a Tea Party forum this Saturday in Everett. Five Democratic Party candidates are also running in the race for the newly redrawn First District.

Finally, on the Seattle TimesPolitics Northwest blog, the AP reports that a pro-charter schools organization, Yes on 1240, ended up spending $6 a signature to gather enough signatures to get the measure on the ballot.
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