Skip to main content

View Diary: Trains and the Environment: One Cycle Commuter's Perspective (46 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Bah.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, object16

    As a former seattle bike commuter, and a longtime seattle car commuter, I think you're wrong on some points; though honestly it's the style that sets me off, so my response may not be entirely fair.  In fact, my response is a bit of a rant.  Apologies in advance.

    One, with regard to light rail and mass transit alternatives in general -- unless service improves to the eastside, it's not happening for most people.   From wherever you start, to the downtown terminal, to the Bellevue terminal, to destination, is nuts.  It's two freakin' hours each way.  It's great that it's there but almost nobody is going to do that if they have a choice.  All the discussion about seattle transportation planning, which gives no clear shot to the eastide/seattle commute (both ways) seems bogus to me.  This is easily shot down; have at it!  But I think you'd find many commuters share this view.

    Two, I've bike commuted cap hill/downtown many times.  I've bike commuted cap hill/ballard, as well.  While you're right that most people won't bother with the hills, it's also true that few people are going to find out as long as one is making peace with their demise every time one goes out the door.  A NY cabbie is reputed to have said "bike messengers are in love with their own death" -- and I think about this every time I go out the door.

    Three, hills and approachability are very dependent on trail design.  I can get from Myrtle Edwards to the towers on 18th and Madison without breaking a serious sweat except briefly on broad street, for one nasty block.  There's a huge difference between a broadly dismissive "oh, hills, ew" and smoother grades which are approachable by many people.  I do think those trails would be a great place to put transportation dollars.

    Fourth, I will never put my bike in a "bikestation" -- it's worth more than my car, which I would hesitate to leave at a park and ride, and more to the point, when I commute or travel on metro, I want the bike at the other end -- because without it, I'm getting on another bus for another meandering 45 minute ride.  

    Fifth, I support the light rail project in general :}  It's providing access to lower income and lower middle class sections of the city, potentially, and creates a "floor" under those communities for desirability and property values.  A great thing, albeit I'd rather see the homeless housed, one doesn't get those choices with federal transportation dollars.  But I think there are more views of cycle commuting than you put forward.

    Heh, thanks for reading...

    •  Responses from someone other than BruceMcF (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, xaxnar, jessical

      (so you don't start reading this and think I'm him)

      All the discussion about seattle transportation planning, which gives no clear shot to the eastide/seattle commute (both ways) seems bogus to me.

      Not exactly sure what you're talking about, since the Sound Transit 2 plan, going before voters in November, has as a central component the construction of a light rail line from downtown Seattle to Bellevue, and possibly Redmond (definitely to Overlake) along the I-90 floating bridge. Puget Sound transportation planning sees the cross-lake corridor as a critical location for mass transit capacity.

      Three, hills and approachability are very dependent on trail design.  I can get from Myrtle Edwards to the towers on 18th and Madison without breaking a serious sweat except briefly on broad street, for one nasty block.  There's a huge difference between a broadly dismissive "oh, hills, ew" and smoother grades which are approachable by many people.  I do think those trails would be a great place to put transportation dollars.

      This is where Greg Nickels' gutting of the Bike Master Plan is so important. Cyclist groups have been trying for years to improve trails, but Nickels and his developer friends continue to fight this. Nickels is the enemy here, not transit advocates.

      Further, the light rail extension to UW will help a bike commute such as yours - bike from Myrtle Edwards to Westlake Center, take the light rail up to Broadway, and head to 18th and Madison from there. That would definitely appeal to those folks who look at the rise of Capitol Hill and shudder, rightly or not.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:00:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  cool... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eugene

        ...I hadn't seen the sound transit 2 plan.  Which is probably why I should have kept my mouth shut :)  If they manage the I90 run, that will be a great thing.  If they manage it in my lifetime, even better :}  Sadly, though, my criticism was a general one for the whole problem of mass transit in king county.  Businesses and people are all sprawled out, and no matter how one cuts it, the trip is going to be very, very long.  As a matter of individual dignity and quality of life (even if the whole planet is going down) people won't do it until they have to.

        The disconnect here on the bike stuff is cultural, I think.  When you say "take the light rail up to broadway" you're talking about waiting for and boarding a train for something that takes me -- on a bad day -- maybe 10, 15 minutes, max and is relatively painless up Pine.  

    •  Where is the Eastside rail corridor with ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical

      ... respect to the Eastside that you speak of? That is, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe corridor that has the planning study funding going to the voters, which discussed in the last part of the piece.

      I don't actually get the comparison between a cycle locker and parking a car at a park and ride lot, since a cycle locker is far more secure.

      SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

      by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:03:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well, ok... (0+ / 0-)

        I know what you mean about those bike lockers.  But I still wouldn't leave my bike in one for the day, it still feels vulnerable to theft (to me -- I do get what you're saying!), and my point was still that I want the bike on the other end :}

        I put the thing about eastside commuting badly, as it seems far more likely I mushed it up than both you and eugene missed it.  Basically I see seattle spending all this money for what feels like an insoluble problem with anything other than point-to-point carpools or something of that nature.  Nothing that ends with a two hour commute -- train or metro -- seems ok to me.  It was intended as an "underview" kind of point, but i stated it poorly and didn't establish context --

        •  No system that we can build with current ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wu ming, jessical

          ... finance constraints are going to directly replace the car for the majority of commuters. That is partly a matter of scope ... a light rail line is for 10,000 to 100,000 daily trips, not for millions ... and partly a matter of decades of subsidizing suburban sprawl development.

          But the greater the share of the population has a real alternative available to it, the more quickly businesses will focus on convenience to public transport as they look to cope with the effects of $10/gallon gas.

          So I would not look at the system proposed below as the complete system, but rather as an important head start for the system that will be elaborated when the focus shifts from traffic congestion to energy use.

           title=

          SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

          by BruceMcF on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:41:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yah... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming

            ...went and dug it up after eugene's comment.  Thanks for posting it.

            It's certainly a great idea.  Whether it's a successful system or civic curlique will depend on a lot of things, which I have  a poor understanding of at best.  You're certainly right to imply (if I read you correctly) that businesses will need to value central location over cheap real estate for long term success.

            Sadly, I think it will take more than gas prices to get people out of their cars; but over time, yes, it makes a difference to have an alternative.

            If I had anything to add to the discussion at all, it would be that from a bike commuter's perspective, it makes a world of difference to be able to take a regular sized bike on the train without getting hassled, and use it at the other end.  When I lived in NYC I took my bike on the train a lot, and while you'd get nasty looks sometimes, nobody really cared.  It made a great many areas accessible that would have otherwise required a car.  I very much hope the Seattle system is the same.

            •  Metro and Sounder are bike friendly (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wu ming, jessical

              Both Metro and Sounder busses are equipped with bike racks so you can ride to a bus stop and load your bike to ride at the far end. I worked with a person who lived in Federal Way (Pierce County) who bike commuted to downtown Seattle for 19 years using the bike/bus method. More about Sounder here.

              You can commute to the East Side now with your bike on any of the Sounder busses. I hope you've registered to vote in the Nov General Election and you plan to vote yes on Sound Transit 2.

              -7.88, -7.13 Republicans hate us for our freedoms

              by ocooper on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:46:45 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  yes, and metro works too... (0+ / 0-)

                ...and I've found their schedules more amenable than sounder, thus far.  But usually, it's a car.

                ...I don't know yet.  I'm reading stuff like this, and need to do some more research.  It's still a pretty disinterested vote for me.  The most persuasive implication of this discussion, for me, is that the system will take a long time to become effective; maybe longer than I'll be around.  That's something worth supporting, a bet on a better future.  My reservations are immense but hardly unique.  So we'll go with that, for this thread :}

            •  As I said somewhere above, being able to take ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jessical

              ... a bike on the train is important in longer hauls, so it is important that the high capacity stopping services and rapid transit, it is important to have a flexible ability to handle cyclists.

              Their job, after all, is to get large numbers of people to the general area that they need to go, as quickly as practical. And since it is normal for these types of trains to "hand off" a large share of their passengers to other links in the transport chain, they should all support a cyclist relying on their bike as the other link in the chain.

              However, the dominant transport task of light rail is taking people to the place they want to go. No single line will do that for everyone, but a city has to start somewhere, or it will never reach the point where people can get "practically anywhere" they need to go on transit, and without a massive time penalty compared to a car.

              SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com and Energize America

              by BruceMcF on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 04:57:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site