Welcome to 21st Century Seattle

Retail Price Regular Gasoline (May), Washington State

The chart above tracks the average retail price for regular gasoline in Washington state during the first week of May, from 2003 through 2008. (Source: US Dept. of Energy.)

Notice how straight that line is, how consistent the yearly increments. I don’t want to get into too much technical jargon or anything, but I think that’s what statisticians refer to as something called a “trend.”

We can continue to debate the relative merits of roads versus rail all we want, but if this trend continues unabated, I think it reasonable to argue that the market will settle the debate for us. At $3.75 a gallon traffic has already started easing as drivers switch to transit and think twice about making unnecessary trips.

University of Washington researcher Mark Hallenbeck compared 2008 versus ‘06 on Seattle freeways… “Traffic volumes in general are down 1 to 2 percent.”

Which Hallenbeck calls “amazing” because population and jobs grew over the same period. He says people are cutting back the most during off-peak hours suggesting high gas prices are to blame… “Where you really see changes are in the middle of the day and particularly on the weekends when people are making shopping trips or recreational trips, trips that they can change.”

Huh. Now imagine the impact on consumer behavior if gasoline merely doubles in price over the next six years.

Of course, the price of gasoline may not continue to rise at a steady rate of 45 to 50 cents a gallon year over year, but with demand growing in China and India, and peak oil fast approaching, the days of cheap energy are clearly over. So why would we continue to invest in expanding freeway capacity at the same time the market is pricing increasing numbers of drivers off the roads?

Former Discovery Institute fellow Ross Anderson ridicules rail advocates for pursuing a “19th Century transportation method,” an incongruous defense of modernity coming from Ye Olde Turks at Crosscut (motto: “We’re afraid of change”), especially considering that the transportation model they apparently champion is one mired in the economics and thinking of the middle part of the 20th Century. It is a silly “newer = better” argument that both ignores the dotage of their own solutions and the very human habit of layering recent technological advances upon older ones. The automobile no more obsoletes the train or the trolley than the Internet does the printing press, and just as Gutenberg’s invention has advanced somewhat during the half millennium since he first cast type, so too has rail technology matured during the near century since Seattleites first started tearing up tracks.

Opponents of rail like to accuse its advocates of “social engineering,” but it would be pointless for us to attempt to force people out of their cars when the market is forcing this decision on its own. They can make fun of our 19th Century choo-choos all they want, but unless they can offer voters transportation alternatives that acknowledge the economic realities of the 21st Century, they better prepare themselves to get their asses kicked at the polls.

Comments

  1. 2

    spews:

    There are a lot of rail freaks in this region who believe rail is the answer to everything. I’m not one of them. Rail only makes sense if there is the density to support it, and, when and if a rail line is created, it’s logically routed. Look at the Sound Transit downtown to Seatac disaster that will be opening in just over a year. It’s a slow, zig-zagging political line and regional showpiece designed more to spur development than to reduce congestion and get people out of their cars.

    Running a train down MLK? Seriously? Anyone remember the last time they heard MLK was backed up?

  2. 3

    michael spews:

    Opponents of rail like to accuse its advocates of “social engineering,”

    Like building freeways wasn’t!

  3. 4

    Guy spews:

    Troll: You can’t seriously be suggesting we build rail only where streets are “backed up,” are you? The issue is just a little more complex than that.

    Sound Transit is putting light rail Where The Riders Are (duh…!!). The more riders on the train, the fewer who will be driving their cars, congestion or not.

    ST could’ve built its south route in a straight line to the airport, via the Duwamish valley. This would’ve saved maybe 4 minutes travel time for suburban commuters, but at the expense of well over half, maybe two-thirds its ridership. And with “subarea equity”, this would’ve had the additional insult of requiring Seattle taxpayers to pay for a line that few of them would ride.

    On the bigger picture, ST is laying out its rail corridors to connect the largest regional centers, and also many urban villages, areas where homes and jobs and schools are concentrated or will be concentrated. Rail transit is a necessary element to curtail sprawl, because it provides the high-capacity, high-frequency, high-comfort transportation connectors in the heaviest trunk corridors.

  4. 5

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    R-squared looks to be about 0.99999. Pretty damn linear realtionship!

    Yes, the oil companies are gouging and manipulating the market. And, yes, we’re running out of oil. A double-whammy for us, but eventually the oil will be gone and the oil companies, too.

  5. 6

    blink spews:

    Why are you ruling out the market’s influence on alternative fuels? Alternative fuels like hydrogen or efficiency technology could restore the ‘cheap energy’ model and increase capacity to drive again.

  6. 7

    notaboomer spews:

    can we haz horseass incognito blawg from rnc in larry craig airport town?

    you know, reports on who is trying to blow whom in which stall, who’s wearing which kind of diapers, which groups to hate on most during october, and which witnesses to republican crimes need to commit suicide?

  7. 8

    ArtFart spews:

    Dunno if any of you have noticed, but since ST announced the line was going to be built down MLK and through Columbia City, there’s been a lot of private money going into redevelopment there.

    In point of fact, in older metropoli where rail transit was there before everyone had cars, and where it wasn’t ripped out at the behest of General Motors, Standard Oil and the politicians in their pockets, the ‘burbs all devloped along the transportation routes, not the other way around. The freeways came later, often paralleling the rail lines. (The area west of Chicago is the most obvious example of this.)

    Now, we’re entering into an age where high-speed rail is going into places where the density is so high that there’s just no way to build more highway space. There are too many people to move to make room for their cars! The New York subway system anticipated this. If Seattle can get a little ahead of the game, why should people of reason make objection?

  8. 9

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @3: A good and obvious point. With our pavement and asphalt mentality built on the delusion of cheap, inexhaustible oil we have socially engineered ourselves into a dead end.

    If you read Jarrod Diamond’s book “Collapse” and put it down thinking ‘it couldn’t happen here’, well, you just weren’t paying attention.

  9. 10

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    SOUNDER is a zig-zagging route, but not picked by politicians. One reason railroads, the mainline ones, have so many curves was to maximize the land grants that they received. Now SOUNDER gets riders, and the back-haul service only gets a handful of riders, but that is now an essential train. It is so the train can get back to the terminal, and pick up more passengers to head back in the PEAK-Flow direction. The waste is marshaling the train into the King Street Yard upon reaching Seattle. Right now SOUNDER is 5 Round Trips from Tacoma plus the backhaul, and 3 Round Trips out of Everett Station.

    Oh, by the way, not much of the railroads in the U.S. are too straight, the largest stretch of straight, standard-gauge track? Australia, on the Nullarbor Plain, over 100 miles of it.

    http://www.soundtransit.org/x71.xml

    Something that the press missed about ST and the Environment, was their cleaning up of SOUNDER Locomotives. The Head-End Power Generators are being replaced with a 6-cylinder engine instead of the current 12-Cylinder, and they are using Auto-Start to reduce idling of the GM-EMD(EMD was owned by GM at the time) 16-645 Prime Mover(3000-3600HP, 16 Cylinder). The work on the Prime Mover has to be done at the nearest Amtrak Diesel Shop, which is in Oakland, California. The HEP work is being done by people from NC Machinery in Tukwilla. How do they get the locomotive there? By Rail, their is a spur off of the UP’s ex-Milwaukee Road line in that area that goes to the facility.

    Now the route I would have gone for with Light Rail would be running from Pioneer Square, down 1st Ave, then past King County Airport, into Tukwilla, through Kent, Auburn, then into Tacoma. Why? Anybody ever notice the references to the Interurban Trail, Interurban Ave in Tukwilla, and the Interurban BUilding in Pioneer Square? That was once a Light Rail Right of Way, it quit running in 1928. The better route I would prefer, would be down Pacific Highway, or I-5, In fact, if LINK was expanded SOUTH, the plan is to use Pacific Highway South to get it to Tacoma. Because of bridging the Canal might not work, can’t Have North LINK follow Highway 99. Although another Interurban once did, but it’s route out of Seattle was windy. It left from 9th and Stewart St, then traveled down Westlake, continuing on Westlake at Lake Union, crossing the Fremont Bridge, climbed through Greenwood, then headed North, to Everett. It quit running in 1939.

  10. 11

    Erik spews:

    In Seattle, our problem isn’t unelectable road warrior Republikans like Dino Rossi standing in our way of building a real mass transit system (which runs on hydropower, not fossil fuel).

    The problem is dinosaur car-loving faux- progressives like Anderson, Mark Fefer (who whines constantly about transit project construction impeding his right to drive) and crusty old Naderite monorail dinosaur Geov Parrish. Witness his latest anti-transit screed:

    http://eatthestate.org/12-18/CuttingOutPublic.htm

    Kinda funny Sound Transit just kicked off a big public outreach effort. And Geov’s thesis is that ST is not listening.

    Will backwards-obsessed old Seattle just die off soon…please? And take their old polluting beater cars with ‘em?

  11. 12

    spews:

    Guy, you aren’t making any sense. What you basically just argued is that light rail lines should be meandering, zig-zagging, slow, milk run-type routes. Do you even know the purpose and function of bus routes vs train routes? I also don’t see any critical or original thinking in your comment. You basically just mindlessly echoed the Sound Transit party line.

  12. 13

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @6: No. There is nothing on the horizon that is both cheap and plentiful that will replace petroleum in the near future. The ‘cheap energy’ paradigm is a delusion shared by many, liberals and conservatives alike.

    Gaze on the mass automobile society while you can. It will vanish soon.

  13. 14

    Erik spews:

    http://www.seattleweekly.com/2.....eglect.php

    Mark Fefer’s defense of a car-dominated MLK. Don’t interfere with dangerous boulevards, or shitty strip mall development! The car is king, goddammit!

    Troll, you’re an idiot. None of the light rail extensions ST is proposing are “meandering and zigzagging.”

    Do yourself a favor: pick a real argument.

  14. 16

    Guy spews:

    Troll (apt name), You need to familiarize yourself with ST’s Link light rail routes, those under construction and those being planned. Like Erik says, none is Meandering or Zig-Zagging.

    And straight-line routes are ridiculous if they don’t carry ridership to justify their construction! If we don’t build rail transit to carry riders, what, pray tell, do we build it for?

  15. 17

    rhp6033 spews:

    Ever notice that just when everyone is screaming with pain at recent gas price increases, there is an article in the news which promises new oil reserves which can be tapped in a few decades to sustain our current commuting habits. Was it about this time last year that there were breathless pronouncements of shale oil in Montana & the Dakotas which rivaled existing U.S. reserves? And just a week or so ago, there was an announcement of huge new reserves “discovered” off the coast of Brazil.

    Of course, those were really not new discoveries. The shale oil discoveries in the U.S. have been known for years, but extraction of oil from them has been problematic and cost-prohibitive, unless the price of gas rises dramtically. So the incredible “expansion” of the oil estimates assumes the current trend of price increases will continue, making exponentially more shale oil economically feasible to produce – assuming that you are willing to pay $70 or so a gallon for it.

    And as for the Brazillian fields, everyone has known they have been there for some time, but they are deep and it will cost a lot of money – back to the old argument of “at what price?”.

    Of course, the news releases glossed over those details. After all, they were intended to reassure American gasoline consumers that they didn’t need to change their driving habits, and no substantial investment was necessary in alternative transportation methods or fuel sources. Everytime somebody brings up the need to invest in public transit, alternative fuels, energy-efficient automobiles, etc., the wingnuts will just say “Hey, we don’t need that! There’s plenty of oil out there, if you just allow us to get to it! Don’t you remember all the oil in ANWAR, shale oil in Montana/Dakotas, or off the Brazillian coast???? Just be happy and complacent, everything will turn out right, if you do nothing!!!!”

  16. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’m not opposed to light rail in principle, but spending $2.5 billion on a tunnel from the U. District to a 100-car parking lot at Northgate makes no fucking sense. Where will the riders come from if they can’t park their cars? If there’s no parking, how will they get to the station? The problem isn’t light rail per se, it’s ST’s idiotic design, outrageous costs, and financing it with a general sales tax. Until those things change, I’m still a “no” vote.

  17. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Here’s something to think about. If gas prices keep going up, and consumption drops, gas tax revenue also will decline. Then where will the money come from to build all the roads our Repugnacious friends want to drive on but don’t want to pay for?

  18. 20

    rhp6033 spews:

    Hey, I just paid $3.809 per gallon for regular unleaded at the Safeway in Everett on Evergreen Way. And that’s with a 3 cent discount for using a Safeway card. It’s been one of the cheapest places around for quite some time (other than Costco), so I hate to see what others are paying. And have you seen the deisel prices? What’s up with that????

    Looks like at current rates of increase, everyone will be paying above $4.00 a gallon by memorial day.

    My guess is that it will hover just short of the $4.00 barrier for a few days, then jump over it to about $4.25, and then stay that way until mid-August, then start dropping just before the Republican convention and keep dropping to about $3.50 until election day. After election day, it will jump back up to $4.25 within two weeks, and then start climbing toward the $5.00 per gallon threshhold the oil companies want to meet by Memorial Day of 2009.

  19. 21

    Daddy Love spews:

    So there’s plenty of density down MLK, and plenty of people who will ride transit instead of paying $4/gallon to dricve a car, but even though it “only makes sense if there is the density to support it,” it just “doesn’t make sense” to build it there.

    Any rail line will spur development, just as building a road will. I lived on the Eastside before and after I-90 was connected to Seattle, and it created a BOOM of development. It’s ridiculous to think it works some other way.

  20. 22

    used to blog spews:

    Light rail is built in lots of places with less than Manhattan-like density. Denver and SLC, two good examples. Light rail isn’t only about serving density where it currently exists. In SLC, they’re building it so people can get around easier, not for density’s sake.

  21. 23

    ArtFart spews:

    18 “Where will the riders come from if they can’t park their cars?”

    Roger, I’m assuming you didn’t read #17 before you posted #18, probably because you and rhp were typing at the same time.

    The real issue here is that not long from now–five, ten, maybe 20 years, the answer to your question is going to be another question: WHAT cars?….or maybe even What’s a car???

    Be it noted, if it turns out to be closer to 20 years than 5, you and I won’t give a shit because we’ll most likely be dead. But even without Seattle’s celebrated civic inefficiency, it takes a while to plan and build these things.

  22. 24

    ArtFart spews:

    22 and Los Angeles….Los Angeles, where impassioned worship of the automobile is supposed to be one of the great foundations of life.

  23. 25

    nostradumbass spews:

    There is going to be a lot more transit coming on line in the county over the next 8 years. Transit Now passed in 2006, and it will result in 20 percent more transit service by 2016. Faster, more frequent service, throughout the county. Give it a couple of years until that kicks in: cars will be off the road, congestion relief will we visible to all.

    Light rail ain’t where its at, kiddos. That project needs to wrap it up, and quick.

  24. 26

    Sam Adams spews:

    Sadly, too many feel that if we repeal the 20th Century we’ll ease the woes of the 21st.

  25. 27

    ArtFart spews:

    We might have been better off going into the 21st Century if we’d skipped a fair amount of the 20th. We’re certainly no better off by the efforts in the last eight years to return to the 14th.

  26. 28

    ArtFart spews:

    The point is that there’ll be more transit, period, not more concrete and cars. With that in mind, the argument of buses versus rail is somewhat moot. For longer distances, rail has the potential to move more people faster in less space, using less energy, but the latter is perhaps insignificant compared to what either saves over having everyone in single-occupancy vehicles.

  27. 29

    Guy spews:

    RR @18 — most of the Link light rail stations in the North End will be transfer points between local Metro bus routes and the trains.

    Please repeat after me: Transit is a System. Transit is not a collection of stand-along routes, be they bus or rail. North Seattle is not out in the country somewhere, where yes, the only good way to get to a train station is in your car.

    Link light rail to Northgate will intercept hundreds of buses every day, giving riders a faster, more frequent, more comfortable ride between downtown and Northgate and points in between.

    Transferring between buses and rails is not an issue with most folks. Come down to 5th Ave. S. & Weller St. sometime, and watch the hundreds and hundreds of transit riders transfer between the Sounder trains and Metro buses in the transit tunnel.

  28. 30

    james spews:

    RogerRabbit may not be able to get off his fat, old ass to access a rail station without his trusty car, but millions more do all around the country. Every day. At some point, the broken record routine has to get a little old for you, doesn’t it, Rabbit?

    Typical backwards Nader School “progressive”.

    “I’m totally for rail…but they gotta design it the way I say.”

    Of course, RogerRabbit is a specialist in this matter. He spends plenty of time in his car, thinking about how the world revolves around him.

    Could we find some rail critics who actually know what they are talking about? As in, they base their opinions on real life examples, rather than this off-top-of-my-head approach?

    Nostradumbass, in that vein, find us a major metropolitan area where your slow, expensive, stuck-in-traffic buses exclude the need and demand for high capacity transit, ie light rail?

    Can you do it?

    While you’re at it, how’s about giving us some details behind the “faster more frequent” TransitNow buses.

    Do they have dedicated rights of way, or will they be stuck in ever-growing street and arterial traffic? Are the magiC “Rapid”ride bus made faster by eliminating stops, or is there some new kind of levitating technology which will allow the buses to fly over all the cars on the road? Does that 20% figure account for the increasing amount of service hours wasted on Metro-mandated half-empty suburban runs, on increasing congestion, and on rapidly rising operating costs?

    Or, did Metro just make that number up (along with ridership figures) to sell a ballot measure the public wasn’t very excited about?

    The day you can answer all those questions will be the day light rail needs to be “wrapped up” in Seattle – the same way they stopped expanding in super fast-growing Buffalo, NY.

  29. 31

    Paul0 spews:

    Anyone who thinks rail is stupid or will not work is a sad case of stupid. Seattle would not be debating transportation choices if we had been building rail or mono-rail a few miles at a time since 1962. The investment would not be questioned. The routes would be in and we would all be enjoying the benefits. The problem we face now is that it’s so DAMNED expensive to build out a system. No one wants to pay. We waited too long to do something.

    I just returned from Barcelona where the Metro (both underground rail and above ground busses) run everywhere and are fast, clean, safe and you can catch one every couple of minutes. You can go anywhere in the city and have only a few blocks to walk and it costs about a buck a trip. Don’t tell me trains won’t work to get people out of their cars. They are working – – – all over the world.

    The streets are not crowded and are mostly available for sitting and enjoying food outside. It’s not perfect, there’s traffic but it’s not one person in each car but small taxi cabs (you can go anywhere in the city for around 10 bucks) and small trucks. There is still smog sometimes, too.

    We should be so lucky. Social Engineering? How about common sense? But let me see, we have been lead down the path by our conservative friends that there should be no commons, that everything worth building should be built by profit motive reacting to consumer choice and that will bring us the best. Well, demands for alternatives to cars has not seemed to work in Seattle – – – gosh, why is that? Conservative naysayers and tax avoidance specialists, that’s why. So, we wait and wait and it gets more and more expensive.

    People vote against their own self-interest. We see it over and over again. That’s why we don’t have a mono-rail (pro business me first-ers destroyed that project). That’s why we have the Kempers of the region pontificating about more ribbons of concrete (on which we must pay tolls to travel), etc. Transportation solutions from the right are about as effective as the response to Hurricane Katrina – – – a disaster disaster!

    Government should be building the infrastructure and it should be a low key process that does not require the elderly to be taxed out of their homes or the young to feel they have to vote against transportation projects because they can’t afford it. We should all be funding the commons – especially a transportation commons.

    While we are eliminating the commons and by doing so, degrading the quality of life in our country (and our region), the Europeans are benefiting by a public infrastructure that allows all income classes to benefit and prosper. Therefore, in Spain one sees a vibrant place with people working hard but also enjoying life because they aren’t stuck in traffic for 3 hours a day and can use some of that time for family, friends and enjoying life.

    Yeah, it’s social engineering alright and it works. There’s less tension at home if mom or dad hasn’t had to drive through crushing traffic for 45 minutes and is exhausted. Maybe instead of crashing on the couch and watching O’Reily they might have enough energy to help the kids with homework? What a concept. Yeah, social engineering.

    Seattle will never be a World class city until it has high speed, air conditioned, underground trains that can take a person across town in twenty minutes for a buck, after waiting for only a couple minutes. Buses the same. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. It’s being done – – – all over the World – – – but not here.

    We better get started soon. Even then, it will be a long way off. We have fiddled away the opportunity year after year with the stupid rhetoric of the right-wingers who never want to pay taxes for anything but big expensive wars.

  30. 32

    wishkah spews:

    @30: james, in that vein, identify for us a major metropolitan area where your delayed-by-years 15-mile light rail system somehow cost close to $2.5 billion, mostly in sales taxes. Of course the $500 million-per-mile University Link plans are a complete disgrace. And tell us how the Phase I spending plans possibly could have increased by $5.5 billion between early 2005 and November 2007.

    Can you do it?

    While you’re at it, how’s about giving us some details behind how ST plans on paying for all those North and South King subarea “U-Link” costs while respecting what Sound Move says about staying within subarea budgets.

    Just why does ST think it will need to spend $2.7 billion on “transit operations” between 1997 and 2016, as it told the SEC it needed to – just for Phase I? Isn’t that, you know, way out of line compared to any other transit system operator’s operations costs given the puny amount of service ST says it will have up and running by that time?

    Maybe you’ll want to tell us why ST is not respecting the tax revenue spending figure the voters approved that’s in the 1996 ordinance – you know the one: $1.98 billion during the entire Phase I build out period. Or, did ST just decide to ignore that part of the 1996 law?

    The day you can answer all those questions will be the day Sound Transit deserves to be supported in this region.

  31. 33

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    Anybody catch the news out of Salt Lake City, they just put in a massive order for LRVs, 77 firm orders, but to get a good price, they bought in bulk, with options for up to 180 more, but those options might end up in other cities though, as the first cities to build Light Rail in the current era have their vehicles coming due for replacement, San Diego, 1981, the FTA rule is 25 years. Sure will keep people some in Sacramento employed.

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_9264241

  32. 34

    GS spews:

    And what the F has an 18% approval rate congress done to lower fuel prices in the last two years of having both the senate and the Congress?

    When by your own chart gas has gone from $3.00 to $3.75?

    Well

    Apposed drilling anywhere, even though we have 60 years of known US oil supplies we could be using while we work on a real F’n solution.

    Apposed building new refineries anywhere

    Pushed ethenol which is causing a F’n world food shortage

    Push Wind power which is killing F’n massive birds

    Big F’n DUH that’s all liberals have to offer!

  33. 35

    Hey Now spews:

    30: “Or, did Metro just make that number up (along with ridership figures) to sell a ballot measure the public wasn’t very excited about?”

    You tellin’ me Uncle Ron LIED to get “yes” votes on that?

    Damn – I trusted the brutha’!

  34. 38

    The Authorities spews:

    1. rail is good, generally.
    2. rail works almost everywhere.
    3. therefore our rail plan is good and please do not ask questions like what does it cost, why does it have so few stations, what is the ridership per capital cost dollar, what are the operating costs, is it even really faster than the bus we have from UW to downtown today anyway?

    why did they route it where the people aren’t (folks the Rainier Valley is where the people aren’t, north seattle is where the people already are — go look at the ST tracks thru tukwila it is a wasteland, not density),

    please do not ask if it could be better, please do not ask to know the cost overruns, please do not ask about the delays,

    please do not point out we could get more rides on transit quicker by adding busses everywhere,

    please do not notice that our light rail lines do not serve most of the region or even most of the city so they are unlike all those great rail systems everywhere else that have multiple lines going everywhere,

    please do not notice that there is no plan to cover the city with a rail system,

    please do not notice that while talking light rail the city council is talking $600 million sure to turn into 1.2 billion on slow street cars in a totally redunndant and uncoordinated way (we will have street cars and light rail to UW, while nothing to Ballard)

    please do not notice that the sounder trakcs and lines are incredibly ineffecient because……we don’t own the tracks so we can’t run 25 trains a day each way on those lines like on a real public transit system….so our high operating cost subsidy will always be there and our super high amortized cost of the capital improvements will always be very high per rider….

    and please do not notice that at grade train tracks thru the rainier valley really can’t ever be fully loaded train lines carrying the regional flow from tacoma to seattle to everett and

    please do not notice that the bus tunnel already was transit so when we added rail we really didn’t add any capacity to speak of

    and please do not notice that the capacity of that tunnel will be full with the trains from the s and the e side so we can’t even ever add a rail line on the 520 corridor to hook into the n-s light rail line not to mention additional regional lines’ cpacity making a full regional system, what are we going to do, rebuild the downtown tunnel to hook in more lines fanning out all over?

    and please do not notice that the agreement with uw gives uw the power to stop all trains in their tracks anytime and demand outrageous new costs on st anytime in the future and please do not notice that there is no focus on the denser areas first.

    Please do not notice that good transit systemsin other large metro areas almost NEVER go at grade for 4 miles in the middle of the biggest city in the middle of the metro area because holy shit you can’t have big huge trains whistling thru at high speeds every 4 minutes blocking cross traffic and running over little kids on bikes and drunks and pedestrians all the time.

    Just say rail good, rail good, so our rail must be good, and sit down and shut up and do not ask questions.