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On Other Blogs Today: Transit Celebration, Surveillance Legislation, and Parks Frustration

Our Daily Roundup.

By Josh Feit July 18, 2013


1. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Sound Transit announced on  the fourth birthday (today) of its Westlake Center to Sea-Tac light rail line—that it has far exceeded the ridership projections it set four years ago:

Boosted by record ridership this summer, the Link light rail line between Seattle and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is expected to beat the agency's forecast for ridership numbers this year, Sound Transit reported on Thursday.

When it opened four years ago on July 18, Link was forecast to transport 9.2 million riders in 2013. The 15-mile line has carried a total of more than 30 million riders.

Sound Transit, which operates Link, said the line has seen double-digit annual ridership growth since opening and averaged almost 32,000 weekday boardings in June, a 14 percent increase over June 2012

With links to more data, the inimitably wonky Seattle Transit Blog, gleefully gets into the finer details

May’s Central Link Weekday/Saturday/Sunday boardings were 27,428/23,844/17,412, changes of +3.1%, +4.1%, and +9.3% respectively over April 2012. Sounder’s weekday boardings were up 7.7%.  Tacoma Link ridership declined 3.2%. Weekday ST Express ridership was up 6.2%.

2. U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA, 2) is proposing legislation in response to last month's revelations that the NSA has gone on a creepy data mining expedition by getting access to personal data through inernet companies such as Google and Facebook. 

The bill would lift the gag order on the companies, whose cooperation with government surveillance has been mandated by secret court orders, that has prevented them from telling the public what the government has asked them to do.

The spying, in short, would continue, but companies could let customers know.

The Seattle Times has the details.

3. Are parks your issue?

Well, they're definitely the Seattle Parks Foundation's issue. And they recently grilled the mayoral candidates about their commitment to the city's parks, surveying them about their takes on everything from the $267 million parks maintenance backlog, parks accessibility and relevance to different communities, and the idea of a Metropolitan Parks District.

In turn, the Parks Foundation offered their takes on the mayoral candidates.

As we reported earlier this week, Rebecca Aue, capital projects director at Seattle Parks Foundation, contributed $100 to mayoral candidate state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Captiol Hill). We should add: The Seattle Parks Foundation Executive Director, Thatcher Bailey, has donated $250 to Mayor Mike McGinn, but has maxed out at $700 to Murray. 

The donations are something of a dis on McGinn who takes credit, as a citizen activist, for pushing the 2007 parks levy.

The survey praises McGinn, though, as one of the few candidates who identified the backlog as a key issue, while other candidates—like Murray—blamed the mayor for the funding problem problem.

Murray expanded on the idea for more funding in his comments, "Creating a sustainable City budget that adequately funds Parks services will require the city to secure new revenue authority in Olympia. But the current mayor has very strained relationships with key elected officials there and that has made it very difficult for Seattle to get its need addressed.
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