It takes a historian to see the future

From beyond the grave, Walt Crowley gets to the heart of why normally cynical folks like me can muster enthusiastic support for a Roads & Transit package that quite frankly, has some details that warrant little enthusiasm. In a posthumous guest column in today’s Seattle Times, Crowley looks back at our region’s transportation history and argues that we are at a tipping point that could herald the end of the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) Age.

The RTID package does not satisfy the true believers on either side of the great lanes-versus-trains debate that has divided the region since the 1960s, but its approval would irrevocably tip the balance in favor of transit and other non-ICE Age modes of transportation, such as bicycles, ferries and electric vehicles. Personal transport per se will not cease to exist — it is too ingrained in our culture and economy — but petroleum-powered cars and their insatiable appetite for oil, concrete and real estate will no longer set the pace for future mobility and development.

[...] Passage of the roads-and-transit plan will not instantly unclog highways nor usher in some modern version of a 19th-century City Beautiful utopia overnight. It will, however, mark a tipping point not unlike the predicted thawing of the polar ice caps, a one-way threshold of no return. We will always need roads and highways, but once the momentum of transportation investment steers away from the gas-powered automobile in favor of transit and other alternatives, there will be no going back.

These two paragraphs represent Crowley’s thesis, but he supports it with a ton of historical perspective, so please read the whole damn thing before popping off in the comment thread. In Crowley’s memory, please lets try to have a reasoned debate for a change.

Speaking of which, a memorial service for Walt Crowley will be held Tuesday, 4 to 6 p.m. at the Museum of History & Industry, 2700 4th Ave. E., Seattle. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Walt’s honor to HistoryLink.org.

Comments

  1. 2

    Facts Support My Positions spews:

    I like the conservatives’ approach to transportation problems, and congestion. Build more roads, drive more cars, burn more gas, and kill more arabs…… Not necessarily in that order.

  2. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Eventually the world will progress to the ultimate form of transportation: Hopping!

    When all the oil is gone and humans are extinct, a rabbit’s powerful hind feet will be the preferred mode of transportation.

    This planet has no environmental problems that Ma Nature can’t fix with the extinction of one species — yours. When you humans are gone, we rabbits are gonna run this place, and I’ll be their king!

  3. 6

    Puddy Rabbits Facts and Ass spews:

    Goldy wrote: In Crowley’s memory, please lets try to have a reasoned debate for a change.”

    And beginning with @2 his request was ignored.

  4. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 Can you be more specific about your complaint? I don’t see anything in #2 that isn’t factual or well reasoned.

  5. 9

    rtidstinks spews:

    I read Walt Crowley’s article with great interest. He is right that the age of internal combusion engines is ending, he is wrong that RTID is a sign of that. The Sound Transit part is good, but it is overwhelmed by the negative effects of building over 150 new miles of highway lanes, in a foolish attempt to accommodate automobiles.

    Again, Mr. Crowley’s central thesis nails it — reliance on automobiles is dangerous, and the tide of history is turning its back on highways as a transportation solution. That Sims opposed this ballot measure because of global warming is a sign of how the politics of transportation are rapidly changing.

    To honor Mr. Crowley’s prediction, we need to vote down RTID’s massive highway expansion that accommodates a massive increase in automobile use (45% by 2030 according to the Puget Sound Regional Council) and come back with even better investments in transit. That would truly be a sign that the ICE age is over. Voting for RTID is an admission that we just can’t do better, and that we really can’t end our reckless infatuation with highways.

  6. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The problem is, most people will view changing from personal to public transportation as going backwards, not forwards. Realistically, public transportation is a supplement to personal transportation, and works well only in certain narrowly defined circumstances, such as transporting commuters from outlying suburbs to an urban core where jobs are sufficiently concentrated to allow the idea of a central transportation hub to work.

  7. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @9 I can offer 5 more reasons why we should vote down RTID/ST2:

    1) It funds gold plating and pork barrel projects
    2) It doesn’t fully fund 520 bridge replacement
    3) It’s the wrong mix of taxes and user fees, and taxes the wrong income brackets
    4) Passing it will encourage the transportation lobby and politicians to come back with their hands out again, and with an equally shitty collection of projects and tax increases, in the future, when what is needed is to say “no” to their first offer in order to instill some fiscal discipline
    5) We can’t afford it

  8. 12

    busdrivermike spews:

    I do not see any “tipping point” as applied to environmental awareness. We have reached an “inflection point” in the appliance of hybrid vehicles.

    I differ with Walt Crowley to think RTID2 will do much to help the environment. If you want to help the environment, you should be screaming for partitioned Transit only lanes for hybrid buses. Look at how well the third avenue bus only experiment worked.

    Tipping points are not created by government fiat. Well, maybe in Walt’s Utopian Marxist society they do. Tipping points in OUR system, which is still free market capitalism, is caused by the consumers demand for a better product, said product being a better substitute for the previous product. Like when people demanded DVD players instead of VHS players.

    I have never doubted RTID2 will pass. I just do not see it as a wise use of our tax dollars. What happens when Sound Transit pisses away their $10 billion, and have not completed 30% of what was promised? How many promises will they break before the people say no, and all we have are the taxes, with not much of the benefit promised? If history is any indication of the future, this is what will happen unless there is political and financial accountability at Sound Transit.

    My condolences to Walt Crowley’s family and friends.

  9. 13

    spews:

    Stinks @9,

    No, you miss Walt’s central thesis, that the Roads & Transit package, should it pass, represents a tipping point, because it is so heavily weighted in favor of building transit infrastructure over roads. He’s looking at this through a historical lens, and describing a shift in priorities from roads to transit.

  10. 14

    Just the facts ma'am spews:

    Guess where this quote came from?

    “….New lanes only invite more vehicles, and highway capacity (and attendant local streets and parking lots) can never catch up with demand without turning the region into an asphalt desert.”

    It’s a summary from a paragraph on traffic congestion from the very same article, which you present as a total endorsement of Prop One, which it clearly is not. If voters were given a choice, as they should be, to vote on transit and roads separately, then transit would be a shoo-in, and roads would fail miserably.

    James Vesely mentions the crossbase highway in his editorial today, the road that John Ladenberg threatened to resign as chair of Sound Transit if it did not get added back onto the RTID list. Powers to be know they won’t get their pet highway projects built if they don’t ride the coattails of Sound Transit, and a new 6-mile highway is the highest priority of the Sound Transit Chair. Vote NO on Prop One and allow transit to go to the voters alone, and let the counties build the real roads they need.

    Sims is to be commended for standing up to this group, and hopefully voters will get more of a choice than yes or no on this package. We need to stand up to John Ladenberg and Shawn Bunney now and find leaders who represent the voters, not developers. Seems odd that both RTID and Sound Transit chairs are from Pierce County. One of the locals there tell me Ladenberg never met a developer he didn’t like and Bunney never met a road he didn’t like, and these guys have King and Snohomish in their control.

    I say vote No on Prop One in November and believe me, transit will be allowed to go on its own. As for Sound Transit chair John Ladenberg, if he runs and wins for Attorney General and things don’t go his way, will he threaten to quit until he does get his way, as he did with forcing Crossbase Highway back on the list?

  11. 15

    Sandeep Kaushik spews:

    Just the Facts @ 14 is again repeating the fallacy that transit is “a shoo-in” if it is on the ballot alone.

    There have been two polls I know of that have tested this claim, which the faith-based puritans in some precincts of the green and pro-transit communities voice over and over, apparently in the hope that if you repreat something enough it must become true. Unfortunately, they’re wrong. Both polls showed transit would fail on its own, and generates less support by itself than the joint measure does (though it does do better than roads on its own). The latest was the Elway poll a couple of weeks ago.

    Walt was absolutely right that major paradigm shifts, like the one we are experiencing now with transportation, do not happen all at once with absolute victories marked by banners and trumpets and parades. They happen in increments, with victory piling upon victory in rapid (by historical standards) succession. That is what is happening now in this region with transportation. Passing the ballot measure, which offers 50 miles of light rail that will truly be transformative over time, is the next big step forward in that process.

    Reading Walt’s piece today reminded me all over again of just how much we have lost as a result of his passing.

  12. 16

    spews:

    Goldy and Walt (RIP) and Will all make good arguments, but these hinge on my accepting that the same consensual process that led to this stew of a proposal can make the needed decisions about implementation, use of tolls, balance of costs between different municipalities, North South commercial transport, and desirable regional plans for high density growth.

    I have found it impossible with reasonable effort to get answers to these questions and the leadership I do trust is either opposed (Sims) or vague (Gregoire, Murry, Cantwell, Nickles).

    In effect, Walt’s arguement is that we should give in to a kind of bureaucratic blackmail. I am craven enough to do that, except, that I worry abut what happens when the consequences of our eating this nutritionally inadequate stew become apparent? Who pays for the vitamins or three treatment for poisoning by Chinese additives?

    The added taxes ARE high and may preclude additional taxes. The result could be a huge waste of money a la the failed monorail.

    I would vote for much better defined legislation that taxed us for a real plan. But everything I read here is that this is a stew cooked up by folks who knew that could not sell the components on their own.

  13. 17

    YLB spews:

    I’m voting NO. I don’t like the financing.

    If we want to correct the “kick the can down the road” sins of the past, we have to atone for the biggest sin of the all:

    the utterly regressive and unfair tax system in this state.

    Let’s fix that first and we’ll need to see some courage from Governor and the legislature.

    If I don’t see it, I’ll back a Republican for Governor but it will have to be one the BIAW hates.

  14. 18

    Sandeep Kaushik spews:

    Not sure about Sen. Cantwell off-hand, but Sen. Murray, Gov. Gregoire and Mayor Nickels are all strong supporters of the measure.

  15. 19

    Chadt spews:

    I’d be torn about it, but would probably vote “yes” BUT FOR THE CROSS BASE, which is the killer for me, and for, I suspect, a lot of us in the neighborhood that is affected by that monstrosity. This is LADENBERG’S pet,and doesn’t even have the support of most of the folks in Fredrickson, which it’s supposed to serve.

  16. 20

    Mr. RcGuy spews:

    The talking head for RTID2 has been making the rounds and a couple take-a-ways from his interviews are:

    1. When complete the plan will carry 74,000 commuter trips out of I believe it is 1.6 million a day. (it may have been 16 mil/day but my brain fails me there) Either way that is a pittance for the money.

    2. (and the kicker) If there are cost over runs (and considering the last/current rail project there will be, and massive) they have the authority to collect taxes for as long as it takes. Now there is some cost/risk mgmt I’d like to have for my projects. Um, here’s the software package you asked for. Yeah I’ll need a check for 2 million and not 100,000. What? No I realize it doesn’t increase your productivity, or is even necessarily what you asked for, but hey it’s better than nothing. Now, about those new servers you’ll need to keep it all running…..

    Sounds like WA doesn’t it? Our whole system is backwards. We are attempting to implement a rail system that isn’t suited for area/geography. It’s old technology and uses a lot of footprint. It’s such a stupid boondoggle I want to yell.

    I watch many people yell, yell, yell for Sound Transit. Why? What is it going to do for the region. It is not robust enough to make a dent in congestion. It runs on the surface, not above. Runs at slow speeds. Doesn’t contain an “express”, outside of buses. Etc.

    I’ve seen a lot of people say, “I don’t like but we have to do/start somewhere.” Well shouldn’t we do it right? What happens when this is done and traffic is worse than it was before? All of you supporters will be complaining about the costs of the subsidy to keep it running and it will be your own damn faults.

    Walt said look at history… Well why don’t you all look, and recent?

  17. 21

    Bax spews:

    To honor Mr. Crowley’s prediction, we need to vote down RTID’s massive highway expansion that accommodates a massive increase in automobile use (45% by 2030 according to the Puget Sound Regional Council) and come back with even better investments in transit.

    So essentially screw everybody in the suburbs, and spend all of the transportation money in the city of Seattle.

    You know, there’s a helluva lot more people in the suburbs than in Seattle. People who keep talking about not building roads are really talking about not building roads in the suburbs. People in the ‘burbs are the ones that will vote for urban transit, as long as they get roads in return.

    If this vote fails, you’re not going to get more transit. You’re going to get more roads, and no new transit for decades.

  18. 22

    spews:

    @18 Sandeep

    You say Gregoire and Murry are supporters? If so then they should show that support, as Sims has shown his opposition, by issuing a position paper that would help folks like me decide how to vote. Otherwise i have no idea what to make of their “support.”

    In the same spirit, I do not understand, the LACK of support from regional corporations. How3does RTID affect Boeing, the Port, Amazon, PACCAR? Does this plan include a plan for industrial development and zoning?

    The issues have now been raised by many, including Ron Sims:

    A lot can be summed up in one question: Is this part of a regional transportation plan that we can all see?

    Some questions raised by this question include:

    1. What is the plan for N-S regional traffic?

    2. Given the cost of RTID, it is going to be very hard to fund anything else from this source. I am nervous that I will become committed to a program that will not be completed because the funding is not there. Is Prop 1. his adequate to fully fund the proposed efforts?

    3. The proposal seems to address transport EW across the North end of the region but not EW across the South end. Similarly it seems to only minimally address the projected needs for NS traffic. Is there a larger plan and how does this proposal fit into the priorities of that plan?

    4. A lot of what will be built is going to have maintenance costs. What will these coats be and can we afford the costs?

    5. Portions of the plan amount to subsidies to private developers (esp Vulcan). Are these developers going to pay into a LID to bear their shares?

    6. The tie between transport and real estate development is now well known. How does the plan effect regional housing development and coats?

    Without answers to these questions, I have NO reason to place any faith in “support” by Gregoire, Boeing, Murry, Amazin, Vulcan, Cantwell, ….

  19. 23

    spews:

    @21 Bax Figures I have seen suggest Settle is subsidizing the suburbs in this.

    You seem to me to assume that the future of the suburbs is LA come north. Why? It seems to me that true regional light rail is a lot better idea.

  20. 24

    Bax spews:

    Figures I have seen suggest Settle is subsidizing the suburbs in this.

    I’m not talking about finances. The RTID funding has the same sub-area equity that ST currently does. $ raised in a particular area has to be spent in that area.

    I’m talking about votes. There’s roughly 600,000 people in Seattle. There’s roughly 1.3 million people in the rest of King County. Not all of those people are in the RTID district, but there’s definitely more people in the district outside of Seattle than inside. If people in Seattle want transit, they are going to have to get people outside the city to vote for it. People in the suburbs want their roads expanded. If people in Seattle think that they’re going to kill suburban roads and in return the suburbs are going to vote for inner-city transit, they’re nuts. What’ll actually happen is transit will be dead and the roads will be built anyway.

    You seem to me to assume that the future of the suburbs is LA come north. Why? It seems to me that true regional light rail is a lot better idea.

    True regional light rail is what ST2 builds, but you’re opposed to it.

    I’m not talking about LA north. I’m talking about RTID road expansion projects that finish projects that are already started. Everybody talks about the RTID expansion of 405 as though it’s the end of the world. Well, bullshit. RTID expands 405 in the only areas where it’s not already being expanded. You’ve already lost the battle and the war, but you’re pretending like you’re still in the fight. There’s 1 stretch of 405 that RTID expands. That’s going to get expanded eventually whether this vote passes or not. The only question is whether transit gets expanded, too. If RTID goes down, the answer will be no.

  21. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 You ask what Boeing et al.’s position is on roads. I can tell you what it is. They want US to pay for the roads THEY need to get workers to their plants and move cargo. And if we don’t pony up, they’ll pack up their plants and jobs and move to another community that’s more willing to give in to their blackmail!

  22. 26

    randall spews:

    I just read Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg’s response to Ron Sims. Sunday’s TNT reprints the Sims piece and a reply from Ladenburg. What I find amusing about John’s attack on Ron is that John himself threatened to resign from Sound Transit and campaign against the roads/transit package just a few months ago when local environmental groups successfully pulled money from John’s precious boondoogle the Cross Base Highway. A face saving solution was found to quiet John, but his threat to resign demonstrates to me that his belief in this package isn’t very solid and his critcism of Ron is hypocritical.

  23. 27

    rtidstinks spews:

    @13

    Goldy, I did get Walt’s central thesis about a shift in priorities from roads to transit. I also agree we are at a tipping point. I agree so much, I think we should turn down the joint ballot measure and insist on a plan that actually fights global warming. The politics of transportation are shifting rapidly, in large part because of the urgency of global warming. One can argue that the joint ballot measure shows progress on the shift from roads to transit, but let’s not forget that we passed Sound Transit without any roads attached. We passed Transit Now without any roads attached. A true tipping point will be when the region votes down RTID because it is just too many new roads.

    @21, Since I believe we need to reduce global warming pollution, you can be sure I support investments to help suburbanites to drive less and use transit more. So that is just a ridiculous argument to say that I support spending all the money in Seattle. To get 80% reductions by 2050, we are going to have some serious transit investments everywhere. And yes, stop building highways that enable more driving.

  24. 28

    Puddybud spews:

    idiot@6: I take the bus whenever I travel and work downtown. It’s simple, cost effective, and provides a respite in traffic.

  25. 29

    rtidstinks spews:

    And by the way, there are smart road investments, like maintenance, like taking care of bridges, like sidewalks and bike projects, like investing in bus connections (e.g., Spokane Street project). These things could well accompany a transit measure, and be part of a comprehensive solution to our transportation needs that would be very attractive to the public. The problem is highway expansion that is just reckless in the face of global warming.

  26. 30

    Mr. RcGuy spews:

    @29
    HWY expansion is definetely not reckless. The chance of moving enough people out of their cars to dent traffic is slim. The problem with your (pardon me) short sighted comment is the fact that we are very rapidly moving in the direction of hybrid or all alternative energy cars. Ignoring that fact and condeming road expansion is not thinking ahead.

    Do I think we will all be driving hybrids or electric in the next 10yrs? No. But look at the length of this package.

    I am not advocating only roads. But realistically they have to be a continuing component or our transportation budget and plans.

  27. 31

    please pay attention spews:

    Likely results if Prop 1 fails:

    1) Sound Transit dissolved by legislature. Replaced with new regional transportation commission to build roads and transit. Last year’s bill to do this failed by a few votes. Hard to see how it wouldn’t pass after the failure of a five year effort to develop a ballot measure.

    2) Roads projects come back piecemeal over the next ten years either through the new commission or the legislature.

    3) Worthy Seattle projects that could help make surface/transit possible and help bus rapid transit like Lander, Spokane Street, Mercer Street, and the new I-5 HOV bus ramp are delayed several years due to funding uncertainty. This means they won’t be ready when the viaduct comes down around 2012-14.

    4) Transit projects come back promising far less rail due to increased costs of construction and financing. The mix of transit in Seattle and outside Seattle will stay the same or be worse due to the declining percentage of the population that Seattle represents.

    5) Rail extensions will take 3-10 years longer because of the need to return to the ballot, hire new staff to replace those who left, and create new momentum for a new agency. Even if ST survives, they likely will lose staff and momentum in the years between ballot initiatives. 2008 election will not happen because of Speaker Frank Chopp and Governor Gregoire (132 vote winner, third recount) not wanting to have a tax measure on the ballot in suburban Puget Sound.

    Somehow I don’t think all of this will help the polar bears…

  28. 32

    spews:

    @24 Bax

    Seattle vs Suburbs . where money is spent. I have also heard the claim that the $$ will be spent where they are used but that is specious because we are talking about regional transport. Since Seattle is the hub, I would bet a good deal of cost that is mainly of benefit to the burbs is billed to Seattle.

    Roads vs transit … I agree that one of the better features of RTID is that it does support regional rather than Seattle centric rail. As for the burb’s preference for raods, I do not agree that is a good idea.

    Blackmail … Yes there are things that are needed in this stew and the plan appears to blackmail the voters.

  29. 33

    spews:

    @25 Boeing is greedy

    Rabbit .. fine and we all benefit from having industry here. My question is still the same. How dos RTID affect the lazy B?

  30. 34

    Piper Scott spews:

    @10…RR…

    In a small handful of words, RR, you nailed an almost unquantifiable philosophical truth of this whole debate: Prop 1 will result in a decrease in freedom, an increase in conformity, and an option only for a few.

    Had I grown carrots this year, I would let you wander in them unfettered for your prescient comment.

    The Piper

  31. 36

    palamedes spews:

    My two bits….

    I can’t say I like everything on this plan, but I would put forward two things to consider.

    First, we had a chance to build a rail-oriented mass transit system, with the help of Federal monies working with a bond issue by ourselves, for King County in 1976. We turned it down, Atlanta received the money, and they built their system, MARTA.

    Note how long it’s taken to get to the point where we have a second chance at real mass transit that goes beyond buses and Share-A-Rides (which have their place, and which have done their part around here).

    Second, I-405 is is pretty much at or beyond capacity as is. If we don’t expand I-405’s capacity, then you can expect pressure to increase over time for an “I-705″ solution for the outermost ring of suburbs in King County – Auburn to Issaquah to Bothell – and believe me, this is an issue in Issaquah, with strong pro and con factions in play, today.

  32. 37

    SeattleJew spews:

    @36 I-705

    is obviously going to be a necessity and it would make lots more sense to get started NOW.

    I 405 expansion does make sense too but what does not make sense is the presentation of a package like this as a stew.

  33. 38

    Piper Scott spews:

    @37…SJ…

    “…Presentation of a package like this as a stew.”

    When you pull the stew apart, according a leading proponent of the stew, the public has no interest in supporting the beef, carrots (sorry, RR), potatoes, onions or any of it on their own.

    Sandeep Kaushik @15 said, in retort to a pro-transit-only-initiative comment:

    “There have been two polls I know of that have tested this claim, which the faith-based puritans in some precincts of the green and pro-transit communities voice over and over, apparently in the hope that if you repreat something enough it must become true. Unfortunately, they’re wrong. Both polls showed transit would fail on its own, and generates less support by itself than the joint measure does (though it does do better than roads on its own). The latest was the Elway poll a couple of weeks ago.”

    According to this, the sum of two negative numbers is a positive?

    Instead of eating the stew – checked the beef recalls lately? – we need to chuck it down the electoral garbage disposal, fire the chefs (too many cooks spoil the ride to work), get one ELECTED cooking authority who will make transporationally nutritious decisons for the entire Pugetopolis (See Knute Berger’s article at Crosscut.com) region.

    All we’ve got now is Prop 1, a decidedly unhealthy, fat-filled, arterial-clogging, fiscally ptomaine bit of transportation botulism.

    Stomach pump, anyone?

    The Piper

  34. 39

    palamedes spews:

    @37:

    “@36 I-705 is obviously going to be a necessity and it would make lots more sense to get started NOW.”

    I would fight that to the last breath – I-705 would end up being a local ecological disaster for us – check out the environmental, especially the soil/structural analysis of the proposed Issaquah bypass sometime. Multiply it by many miles and many entry/exit points between Auburn and Bothell.

    Further, I-705 would be used either to eliminate or make moot the urban-rural boundry for King county, which is a necessity for the county’s long-term livability.

  35. 40

    Mr. RcGuy spews:

    When you are talking urban density, as Nichols and Sims, then you logically have to start looking farther and farther outside Seattle and Bellevue.

    The “model” these two foolios are using is basically that of any high density city. Look at New York, LA, DC, etc. Their drive toward this urbanization will most definetely lead to huge growth in the “burbs” and you can guarantee they’ll change the CAO when it suits thier taxing needs. And of course there is the rub. They don’t give a rats ass about the urban sprawl. They do give two hoots about packing as much tax base into a smallish area; i.e. King County. WAKE UP

    All this talk about environmentalism and the supporters of this plan are ignoring what will end up being two of the biggest environment killers in their own midst; Nichols and Sims.

  36. 41

    eddiew spews:

    Sims, the Sierra Club, and Cascade have come down on the correct side of this choice. We need to develop a better package.

    The RTID is McFinkHorn’s monster. Their main purpose was to expand I-405. It lives on after they have left office.

    The RTID would raise the wrong tax (one tenth on the sales tax), bond against it for 30 years, to build the wrong projects.

    The RTID is an expansion program, despite the last minute inclusion of the South Park bridge. The $800 million in Seattle area projects represent the bicylce on the back of the global warming SUV, respresenting the mega freeways projects (e.g., I-405, SR-509, SR-167 extension).

    Instead, we need to assess our transport taxing capability and open up the criteria. RTID had to put 90 percent of its program into so-called highways of statewide significance.

    We should use systemwide dynamic tolling and its demand management impacts should be reflected in the design of the mega projects.

  37. 42

    Bax spews:

    Again with the 405 bashing. Question for those of you that are complaining about expanding 405: have any of you actually driven the stretch of 405 between 167 and 90 during rush hour?

    Do any of you live outside of Seattle?

    I have a sneaking suspicion that those people complaining the most about 405 have never actually driven on it. Because if they had, they’d know that 405 is already being expanded in Kirkland. 405 is already being expanded in Bellevue north of 90. 405 is already being expanded from SE 112th to 90. 405 is already being expanded from 5 to 167.

    You can’t logically argue that the expansion from 167 to 90 is the end of the world if the freeway is already being expanded in almost every other place. Since 405 is getting new lanes everywhere but the area funded by RTID already, what’s going to happen between 167 and 90 is obvious: it’s going to get built, whether the RTID passes or not. If you think you’re killing 405’s expansion by voting down RTID, you’re wrong. Instead of getting transit along with roads, you’re just gonna get roads.

  38. 43

    spews:

    @12
    In addition to consumer preference, tipping points (or social change) can be initiated by government legislation/regulation and by managers in corporations, to name a couple sources. Crowley opined very clearly that “gestures by individuals, corporations and governments” transformed our transportation systems. He cited the impacts from the National Highway Act of 1956.

    I would also point out that our economic system is not free market capitalism. It is far more complex than that. For instance, various governments and legal systems influence our economic system.

  39. 44

    spews:

    If we must blunder, must we blunder so slowly, blindly and cravenly?

    Walt Crowley reasons that “its (RTID/ST2) approval would irrevocably tip the balance in favor of transit and other non-ICE Age modes of transportation”.

    RTID/ST2 is certainly a change, but regardless of whether or not it represents a tipping point or a mere inflection of our trajectory, it is unquestionably too small a course change when viewed in the context of widely accepted scientific and ecological realities. We have spent centuries refining processes of scientific inquiry that have brought us great rewards in quality of life, yet we now fail to heed these very voices telling us that we must change some of the ways we lead our lives.

    Better isn’t always good enough. If we believe Prop 1 is the best we can do in the face of political realities. We best change those ‘realities’ quickly to conform to scientific realities.