Signs Seattle should go carless
A few weeks ago, Allstate Insurance company released its “America’s Best Drivers Report,” which put Seattle drivers embarrassingly far down the list (worse even than Tacoma). Seattle ranks 160 out of 190 for frequency and likelihood of accidents. (And no, that doesn't make us the 160th best.) Seattlepi.com backed them up today with a “32 reasons to go carless” slideshow, citing high gas prices (the highest in the state) and parking problems (well, there’s an app for that). Perhaps this week’s slew of terrifying and fatal car accidents on nearby I-405 will push urbanites to finally forego the four wheels. – C.M.
The seas they are a changin'
The Seattle Times unveiled its special report, ‘Sea Change’ this morning, a sprawling multimedia news-series that features photos, video and animated graphics, along with print stories about the effects of ocean acidification in the Pacific. The project is packed with content, such as eye-popping images of clownfish, animated graphics explaining how CO2 transforms the ocean, elegant macro-shots of sea butterflies and short documentary videos of Alaskan crab fisherman. Not to mention Craig Welch’s excellent reporting, which turns topics like the behavioral problems of fish like pollock into easy reading.
Welch said the series took between seven and eight months to produce and that there are at least three more installments planned, but that it wasn't originally slated as a multimedia series. The Times only made that decision after the quality of underwater video shot by videographer Steve Ringman on his first trip to Papua New Guinea. “Steve had never shot underwater before," Welch said. "When we saw how good the stuff was, people started thinking we could do a lot of things with this.”
Asked if he thought the multimedia approach used for the story was a good format for science stories he said he can’t be sure yet, but added that it had gotten a good response throughout the day. “I’m hearing from people I don’t normally hear from,” he said. – B.L.
I-90 light rail a-go-go
Yesterday, the state Supreme Court thwarted a Bellevue developer's second costly attempt to block East Link light rail from being built on the I-90 bridge. Kemper Freeman, Jr. and his cohorts from the Eastside Transportation Association had sued the state, calling the $2.8 billion East Link project an unlawful use of taxpayer money. Sound Transit would gain operating use of I-90’s center express lanes, displacing carpools and buses to the outer roadways. After the initial installation of the rail system though, Sound Transit will not pay additional rental fees on its 40-year lease of the route.
The Seattle Times says that the 7-2 decision from the Supreme Court marks a green light (finally) to the project, which can be expected to be completed in 2023. Freeman, Jr. has just one more chance to file suit when Sound Transit actually gains the lease. The Seattle Transit Blog received a flurry of comments on its coverage of the Freeman v. Washington state “anti-rail” ruling, and it appears many are waiting to see if Freeman will have the wherewithal for round three. – C.M.
SPD to 'Niners fans: It's nothing personal
The Seattle Police Department has nothing against 49ers fans. The department's plan to dress plainclothes cops in 49ers jerseys at the Seahawks home opener Sunday is part of a season-long strategy to crackdown on assault and other crime around Century Link Field, according to Detective Mark Jamieson. “It has nothing to do with the 49ers per se,” Jamieson said. “It just happens to be the first home game of the season we’re playing a division rival.” When asked if anyone would don face paint, Jamieson laughed. The jersey-clad cops will patrol parking areas and the streets around the stadium and will not be inside when the game kicks off.
Part of SPD’s strategy, according to Jamieson, is to keep potential rabble-rousers guessing about when the cops were watching. “It’s not a sting or anything like that,” he said. “We want people to think twice about their actions. That guy wearing the 49ers jersey just might be an officer.” Jamieson couldn't say if there was a precinct closet someplace filled with football jerseys. – B.L.
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