On Other Blogs Today: Bridges, Streetcars, and the Monorail

Our daily roundup.

By Erica C. Barnett May 28, 2013



1. In the wake of last week's catastrophic I-5 bridge collapse in Mt. Vernon, the state legislature remains deadlocked on a proposed transportation funding package that would include a ten-cent increase in the gas tax, the Everett Herald reports.

"We need to make sure every damn bridge in the state stays safe," Sen. Tracey Eide, co-chair of the senate transportation committee, told the Herald.

2. Thousands of bridges across the U.S. are at risk for the kind of "freak" collapse that took down the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River last week, the AP reports; those bridges are considered "fracture critical," meaning that if a single component of the bridge is compromised, the whole bridge may collapse—precisely what happened last week when a truck ran into the I-5 bridge support. 

3. Everyone loves streetcars, but how useful are they, really?

No book about Seattle politics "slices and dices politicians and activists to such a degree" as Falkenbury's monorail account.

The Atlantic poses the question of whether streetcar lines are really worth the extra expense compared to buses—particularly in cities, like Atlanta, where lines are only a little over a mile long and streetcars arrive only every 15 minutes at best. As Seattle prepares to dramatically expand its own streetcar system (a system Mayor Mike McGinn has touted as the solution to link all of the city's westside neighborhoods), it's worth givinng a closer look to the Atlantic's skeptical read. 

4. At Crosscut, Seattle City Council member Nick Licata reviews Seattle Monorail Project cofounder Dick Falkenbury's new book, Rise Above It All, about the failed monorail proposal, writing (admiringly) that no book about Seattle politics "slices and dices politicians and activists to such a degree" as Falkenbury's. "A popular senator is called stupid, yours truly is compared to Nixon, a prominent monorail supporter is described as 'a dissipated leprechaun without charm.'"

Licata, obviously being generous, notes that Falkenbury "self-published his book and seems to have eschewed both editing and fact-finding assistance," misdating the first monorail initiative by more than 30 years and "misspelling ... my first name, Nick."



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