OOBT

1. Oh, heaven forfend! In a piece titled "Finding parking on busy Capitol Hill now even tougher," KOMO News reports that a streetcar and cycle track that will carry far more riders than could possibly park their cars on Broadway will result in the loss of 40 percent of the "prized parking spaces" along the alignment, KOMO News reports.

In fairness to KOMO, though, they did quote a couple of people who are excited about the new streetcar—in sharp contrast to the usual tone of TV reporting about transit and bike lanes, which tends to pit bikes vs. cars in a manufactured "war" for street space. Progress happens slowly, but it's still progress. 

2. And speaking of the "war on cars": Seattle Transit Blog has a brief explainer on what it means, practically speaking, to have transit that "pays for itself." (Transit proponents often argue that, unlike roads and virtually every other form of transportation, which are largely funded through general taxes that apply to everyone, transit should pay for itself through fares). Their example of a system that does "pay for itself": Hong Kong, where the government develops land it owns around stations and pays for transit with the profits.

That system doesn't translate to the U.S. at all, of course, because the government isn't "sitting on a ton of prime real estate that they can just open to development," and because land is more expensive here. Nonetheless, STB writes, "the most interesting aspect of the Hong Kong model is the way it ties transit-oriented development explicitly to station development. A park-and-ride station next to a freeway would simply never get built because there would be no way to pay for it.

3. Good news for downtown transit commuters: According to the Seattle Department of Transportation's blog, nine more RapidRide ORCA card kiosks, which will reduce boarding times by allowing riders to pay before they board. (They'll also include real-time arrival signs.)

As I noted last year, one of the reasons RapidRide isn't true bus rapid transit (among many) is that you have to pay as you board, which wastes time and hurts bus reliability. A good first step (now, how about longer spacing between stops and sidewalk-level boarding?) 

4. At the Spokesman-Review, editorial writer Shawn Vestal rips into U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5, Spokane) for supporting the shutdown of the federal government. Calling McMorris Rodgers "Shutdown Cathy," Vestal writes, "All the calm, reasonable souls of the U.S. House of Representatives are seeking is a little more conversation. The Senate has chosen, she wrote, to 'ignore the majority of Americans who want Obamacare tied to the debate over government funding.'

"Maybe she doesn’t know what a majority is. Or maybe she’s just sticking to the plan: Say anything."

5. Over in Bellevue, the city council voted recently to award its garbage pickup contract to Republic Services, the city's long-term contractor, despite the fact that another firm, Seattle-based CleanScapes, submitted the lowest bid.

(Republic hosted a fundraiser for three Bellevue city council members, Kevin Wallace, Conrad Lee, and Don Davidson, who lost in the primary, in July despite the fact that there was supposed to be a communications blackout between the city and bidders after the city issued a request for proposals (RFP) on April 15).

Now, the Seattle Times reports, CleanScapes is seeking an injunction that would block Bellevue from signing a contract with Republic, which has proposed charging the typical household $2.70 more per month, or nearly 13 percent more, than CleanScapes.

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