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Murray goes for experience, vision in new SDOT director

"We'll give people choices," says Scott Kubly, a bike-share exec and former Chicago and D.C. transportation official. He also promises to deal with potholes -- and snow.
Scott Kubly

Scott Kubly Wharton School of Business

Mayor Ed Murray named a new Seattle Department of Transportation director Wednesday, tapping a veteran of high-ranking transportation posts in both Chicago and Washington D.C.

Scott Kubly, Murray's pick, is currently the acting president of Alta Bike Share, Inc., which will run the day-to-day operations for the Seattle bike-share program set to launch this fall. At his former jobs, Kubly worked on projects involving bike lanes, a new stretch of walkway along the Chicago River and streetcars in Washington D.C.

During a press conference at City Hall announcing his appointment, Kubly said that Seattle's transportation system needs to be adapted to meet the demands of a growing city.

"We'll give people choices, very attractive choices, so that when it comes time to make a trip, people choose to walk or bike, or take transit because it's the most attractive option," he said.

Kubly also stressed the importance of taking care of basic Department of Transportation functions, like fixing potholes and clearing snow.

"It's early July and I can tell you that when I was talking to the folks here," he said, "I think the first thing out of my mouth, or the second, was 'tell me what we do with snow.' "

As he has done in the past, Mayor Murray emphasized during the press conference the importance of integrated transportation planning for cars, transit, freight, bikes and pedestrians.

"We spend too much time pitting one mode against the other," Murray said. "Scott is a visionary that I think will give transportation in this city the leadership that it needs."

Chicago's Divvy bike-share program was an accomplishment that Kubly said he is particularly proud of. He highlighted the way the program engaged the local community. The majority of the project's workforce was minority employees; 90 percent lived within the city limits, and 20 percent were hired through a program that trains unemployed Chicagoans, he said. Divvy also took on 600 interns who did apprenticeships in landscaping and bike mechanics.

"That's something where, you know, there's an opportunity with transportation to do more than just move people," he said, referring to the job and intern initiatives with Divvy.

Kubly served as the deputy commissioner of Chicago's department of transportation and as the associate director of Washington D.C.'s department of transportation. Gabe Klein, who was his boss in both cities, said, "He's able to really get down in the weeds — whether it's a technical design or a 50-page spreadsheet on a project."

Klein noted Kubly's work on Chicago's "Riverwalk," which runs along the Chicago River and connects downtown with the Lake Michigan waterfront. It involves a $100 million U.S. Department of Transportation loan. Klein credited Kubly for his work on the project's finances and said that the river walkway has moved from conceptual design to construction all within Mayor Rahm Emanuel's first four-year term.

"Nobody does that," he said. "That's a 15-year initiative. Without Scott working on the finance side of it, it would've been hard."

"He brings sort of a private sector approach and mentality to running an organization," Klein added.

Kubly's career has not been completely free of controversy. Alta was awarded a contract to run Chicago's bike-share program in 2012, during Kubly's time as the city's deputy transportation commissioner. A competitor for the bike-sharing deal, Bike Chicago, filed a bid protest with the city over the awarding of the contract to Alta. The protest said that Klein and Kubly had conversations with Alta officials after the city issued a request for proposals from companies that could run the program. The bid protest filed by Bike Chicago was later rejected. Alta was earlier awarded a bike-sharing contract in Washington, D.C. where Klein and Kubly also worked.

Shortly after leaving his deputy commissioner post in Chicago, Kubly began working with Alta.

The Mayor's Office did not respond to a question about whether Murray was concerned about any of the circumstances surrounding the bid protest. But communications director Jeff Reading said in an email: "I can confirm that we were made aware of this during the vetting process."


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Comments:

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 1:22 a.m. Inappropriate

My cynicism about Murray is vindicated. We had to dispose of the last fat squirrel, but we always knew we'd get another one in Murray. A corrupt Chicago bicycle weenie as SDOT director? Well, the good news is that it would be hard to make it any worse.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 1:46 a.m. Inappropriate

I'll take him at his word for now. We should be providing people options for moving around, not putting the squeeze on one mode (automobiles) with the intent to force people onto transit and bicycles. Use carrots, not sticks.

And we all need to realize that resurfacing city streets is not just for cars -- bicycles and transit need good pavement too. Streets with adequate pavement don't get very many potholes.

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 1:51 a.m. Inappropriate

Only a fool takes Murray or this new flunky at their word. This is Chapter 423 of the Seattle "progressive" war on cars.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 8:13 a.m. Inappropriate

Unfortunately, people don't want to get out of their cars unless you use sticks.

http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/03/americas-cities-are-still-too-afraid-make-driving-unappealing/8564/

Captcha: autderp chain

talisker

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 2:27 p.m. Inappropriate

It is not appropriate to use sticks against the will of the people.

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 3:27 p.m. Inappropriate

This says it all:

" the disincentives are really about removing subsidies and distortions from the market. Parking isn't really free. Gas taxes don't actually cover the costs of maintaining our roads."

Remove some of the subsidies for driving and it stops looking like such a good alternative.

GaryP

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 3:30 p.m. Inappropriate

You can see that over in Bellevue where they maintain their roads better.

Transit and Garbage trucks are actually the worst offenders for road abuse. The extra weight per axel bends the road surface and breaks down the pavement. That's at least one good reason for street cars. (although in general they are way more expensive per passenger mile than buses or bike lanes.)

GaryP

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 8:18 a.m. Inappropriate

So the new SDOT director is the president of the company that will be running the city's bike share program?

Are we putting a Comcast executive in charge of the Office of Cable Communications next?

talisker

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 8:21 a.m. Inappropriate

Chicago and D.C.?

Fully vetted by The Party.

BlueLight

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 8:43 a.m. Inappropriate

Murray holds Greg Nickels in the highest esteem -- that's why he selected this guy. Murray wants Chicago public sector types at hand.

crossrip

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 9:07 a.m. Inappropriate

Listened to clips from his introductory news conference and he kept repeating the "it's all about choices" mantra. No, it is not, at least for anyone with half a clue.

It is about paving the streets, filling the potholes, making the infrastructure into a transportation system that actually works well, and eliminating the wasteful spending on boondoggles from tunnels that reduce throughput and increase danger to art that virtually no one will see.

Murray and the city council -- what a collection of clowns, racing to see who can come up with the most anti-small-business, anti-car, anti-public interest programs to enhance their own standing with the "special" interests. This guy will fit right in.

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 9:46 a.m. Inappropriate

I was going to make my own comment, but you said it all. It's all about choices is it? Then I choose to DRIVE because that's what I have time for and that's what I want to do. Guess I will have to get cracking with investigating where to move to avoid all this blather.

mspat

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 3:23 p.m. Inappropriate

"DRIVE"... traffic, it isn't what you drive in, it's you!

GaryP

Posted Sun, Jul 13, 10:18 a.m. Inappropriate

Regrettably, I don't have a choice. I live in N. Seattle and work in SW Tacoma. A combo of buses and trains would get me to and from work if I wanted to spend 5.5 hours a day traveling that way and would cost as much as my car, its gas, maintenance, and insurance combined, plus I would be unable to make deliveries, which is part of my job. So even if I was a transit fan, it just does not work for my life. Nor do I have the extra hours to travel to & from the grocery and drug stores and to see friends that transit would take if I chose to travel that way. Nor would I choose to be waiting in the dark with the local thugs that congregate at bus stops at night. If transit worked for me I'd consider it. And yes, I am part of the traffic that I struggle in every day. Used to be less struggle before the powers that be made Aurora nearly impassable and added 1/2 hour to my daily commute. And yes, I am doing my best to find a comparable job in Seattle, but no luck so far. I wouldn't choose my current travel if I had better choices, but I don't. I pay taxes for so much that I haven't and can't ever use (schools), things that don't serve me (transit), things that serve me occasionally (fire, police), and gas, which I am paying a lot more of lately since traffic has become nearly impassable. And now the city wants me to pay more for parks, and more for trains and streetcars that I will never use because they won't serve me, and they hire someone who promises to give much more of the same. There's a limit to what people can or will pay, and I'm near mine.

And thank you, Anadakos, but I don't need your snarky advice about leaving. I suspect you may be new here and younger, so your nasty comment is unsurprising. Have you considered learning about manners and civil discourse? I respectfully suggest that you do.

mspat

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 2:03 p.m. Inappropriate


Don't let the door hit you on the bum on the way out....

Anandakos

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 9:17 p.m. Inappropriate

Don't let the pickup truck hit yer real wheel on the way down Northgate Way!

NotFan

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 2:26 p.m. Inappropriate

Seattle is doomed. This bike/Wharton guy is not qualified to be head of SDOT. What we need is a skilled civil engineer who has a full scope of city traffic and roads experience, not another fluffy biker who thinks everyone is pedal up and down hills on a bike.

The Seattle war on cars will cripple the economic viability of this city, especially when the viaduct actually comes down.

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 8:23 a.m. Inappropriate

As a fellow fluffy biker, I take umbrage with your comment.

We've almost won the war against cars. It's just a matter of time, 2-3 years I'd suspect, before the last fool decides it's not worth sitting in traffic and falls into a bog. He or she will be crying the whole time how "it was my choice! I decided this!"

jeffro

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 7:14 p.m. Inappropriate

I don't care if you take umbrage with my comment. You have not won the war on cars, because in 2 - 3 years, you'll see many businesses move away from Seattle because they cannot do business in Seattle.

When replacement service oriented, minimum wage paying jobs replace living wage jobs that involved cars, trucks, shipping, receieving, delivery etc. you have a tourism based economy.

A tourism based economy is not sustainable except in Disneyland, and climates with more than 2 or 3 months of sunshine.

Sitting in traffic is optional - moving out of Seattle solves the sitting problem quite nicely.

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 7:15 p.m. Inappropriate

I don't care if you take umbrage with my comment. You have not won the war on cars, because in 2 - 3 years, you'll see many businesses move away from Seattle because they cannot do business in Seattle.

When replacement service oriented, minimum wage paying jobs replace living wage jobs that involved cars, trucks, shipping, receieving, delivery etc. you have a tourism based economy.

A tourism based economy is not sustainable except in Disneyland, and climates with more than 2 or 3 months of sunshine.

Sitting in traffic is optional - moving out of Seattle solves the sitting problem quite nicely.

Posted Sun, Jul 6, 8:11 a.m. Inappropriate

I am not sure which of your duplicate posts to respond to. You do realize you can edit a reply so as not to appear so technologically feeble?

"When replacement service oriented, minimum wage paying jobs replace living wage jobs that involved cars, trucks, shipping, receieving, delivery etc. you have a tourism based economy."

No, we replace service-oriented jobs paying minimum wage with service-oriented jobs paying a living wage. We start at $15/ hr. and move up from there.

Transportation of goods is already being reinvented with bike delivery services, drones, etc. Sure some companies move out of Seattle, but others quickly come in to replace them.

There are many ways to solve this problem without moving away from Seattle, but to each his own I suppose.

jeffro

Posted Sun, Jul 6, 9:48 a.m. Inappropriate

Jeffro,

When you display any understanding of economics, I will be amazed.

Seattle cannot reset decent career jobs with tourism jobs and/or $15 an hour jobs without disastrous economic consequences.

However, I do agree that as jobs leave the Seattle area, that other cities and counties will benefit, as will their employees - because the housing cost is greatly reduced outside of Seattle.

Posted Sun, Jul 13, 5:53 p.m. Inappropriate

And watch Seattle businesses suffer (and leave).

I hate Seattle's war on cars. I hate how they have failed to take care of the majority, and focus totally on the minute minority.

Living out of Seattle has become a blessing that grows every day.

I still trudge thru traffic in Seattle, I must for my work. But I have no reason to spend money in Seattle, and make a resolved effort to buy gas, food, beverage outside of Seattle. Consumer revenge may not mean much to the local politicians, but it should. It adds up to a lot of money spent elsewhere.

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 10:29 a.m. Inappropriate

" 'He brings sort of a private sector approach and mentality to running an organization,' Klein added."

Sawant votes: 'No'

afreeman

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 10:55 a.m. Inappropriate

Wsdot's controversial bore tunnel project will inexorably destabilize waterfront soils beneath vulnerable historic and modern downtown Seattle buildings, causing damage beyond repair, forcing demolition, and in earthquake sudden collapse with a death toll in the hundreds even thousands! A horrific prediction ignored because Seattle transportation planners (SDOT) have a bullish confidence that won't be detered while there's money to burn. The question is: Does Scott Kubly have the balls to be a whistleblower or the brains to prevent catastrophe?

Wells

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 2:31 p.m. Inappropriate

Weeds?? One of his friends who writes a recommendation of this guy calls a full understanding of all the details getting "down into the weeds"? OMG.

The problem with this country is far too many appointed bureaucrats hold jobs that none of them actually are qualified to do, and the people who vote don't seem to understand that they need to voice displeasure at inappropriate political appointments into these jobs.

At the will of the Mayor really is the will of the people. And I do not agree with the Mayors choices he's making so far.

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 2:35 p.m. Inappropriate

Hey let's give the guy a break.
My concerns:
1. He doesn't know Seattle nor SDOT bureaucracy. He may get easily "captured" by existing staff because he will be relying on them for basic info such as...do we require public sidewalk at construction sites?
2. As to Tunnel, his boss (the Mayor) was huge advocate of Tunnel. So it will not be easy if he wants to suggest alternative reality.

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 2:44 p.m. Inappropriate

True David, he does deserve a break. However based on what this article states about his background, his experience and why he was hired for this job, there is great concern about whether he's actually qualified to head SDOT. I personally don't think he's the right choice for this job, and that statement is pure & simple criticism of Mr. Mayor for hiring this candidate.

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 3:22 p.m. Inappropriate

As to the tunnel, I don't see how anyone at the level of SDOT can derail that project. It will get dug. It will collapse when the next major earthquake hits. (down by Jackson street where it is in sand and 80ft below sea level) and then fill with water.

Whether we dig it out again will depend on how fast the West Sheet glacier melts in Antartica.

GaryP

Posted Fri, Jul 4, 10:13 a.m. Inappropriate

As to the bore tunnel (not the 'stacked' Cut/Cover tunnel in the FEIS which is still possible), the bore is below sea level to about Virginia. It's shell will form a water conduit that converts compact clay into a mud bed say 8' thick. In an even moderate earthquake, there's nothing to stop it from swaying, osscillating, slamming and transferring forces to the surface and building foundations. Underground water table flows alter and increase and form cavernous voids which can collapse at any time. It's likely the bore tunnel will split its seams and be closed down, but
once it's in, there's no correcting the catastrophic damage it will cause.
If Bertha is built, downtown Seattle will be destroyed.

Wells

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 6:13 p.m. Inappropriate

I assume that Ed Murray used match.com to fill this post.

“Let’s see Scotty, I see here that you held high-ranking transportation posts involving bike lanes, and a walkway along the Chicago River. And it says here you’re aware of our heuristic pothole volunteer program…excellent.”

“But I don’t see anything here about troubleshooting experimental multibillion dollar suboptimal transportation projects with incomplete funding packages and, as of yet, enormous undetermined engineering problems. Yes, we have two…a floating bridge that won’t float…and a tunnel boring machine that won’t bore. No, I’m not kidding…but don’t worry, the only people who really care about that stuff drive cars. Get it?”

Bbwwaaaahhhh

jmrolls

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 8:19 p.m. Inappropriate

If you kept up with the news you would know that neither the tunnel or 520 are SDOT projects. But carry on.

Treker

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 11:58 p.m. Inappropriate

http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/tunneltollingimpactreport.htm is one of about 20,000 articles about this very topic. You might want to check out a few.

jmrolls

Posted Thu, Jul 3, 10:28 p.m. Inappropriate

A lot of cynicism here - there seems to be some built up anger that needs to be released. (Or maybe, we are now addicted to cynicism and anger, and there's no release to be had, I don't know).

My two cents: I'd be surprised if many of the commenters here really oppose a multi-modal approach to transportation, and serious steps to make non-driving modes more attractive. Those are the reasons I got involved in transportation planning, and I still support them. I don't want to be captive to cars, and that's one of the reasons I live here.

The big issue, I think, is whether promoting other modes also means making it miserable to drive. Most of us need to drive sometimes, and driving in Seattle has clearly gotten worse in a hurry over the last five years or so. It's one thing to say cars are the last priority; it's another to actively and intentionally make traffic worse so that other modes will be more attractive. Is congestion our friend, or do we want to make traffic as efficient as possible without widening roads? What is the right policy balance between promoting alternatives and trashing cars (and the people stuck driving them?)

I consider myself a transit advocate, and have devoted my education and half my career to it. But regionally we are spending tens of billions on rail in the hope to move the transit mode share from 4% to 5% over thirty years. The climate is changing a lot faster than that, and if we want to move the needle on global warming we'll need a massive effort to adopt electric vehicles which will still require a functioning traffic system (also needed for efficient transit). We are fighting the climate change problem with the same strategies as in the 1960's, when high rises were proposed for the market and Pioneer Square.

In my opinion, most people have become accustomed to a high level of personal mobility. Cars have raised people's expectations to be able to reach distant places and leave when they want to. Even with new ways to get around that most people welcome, Seattle will need to find the right balance given extreme constraints in how we can use our rights of way. I'm hoping the new SDOT director will focus on win-win solutions for a change, rather than adding kindling for the mode warriors. We need an efficient and professionally managed transportation system, not a faith-based campaign for one mode over another.

Posted Fri, Jul 4, 6:10 a.m. Inappropriate

"But regionally we are spending tens of billions on rail in the hope to move the transit mode share from 4% to 5% over thirty years."

Is that true? That is ST's stated goal?

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 9:39 a.m. Inappropriate

No, not the goal; I should have put that in context. It's the projected 2040 transit mode share from the PSRC Transportation 2040 environmental statement (5.2% for the most aggressive investment alternative). That's for *all* trips in the four-county region - transit's share of work trips is more like 10-12%, and work trips into regional employment centers are much higher. It's not insignificant! My only point was that more needs to be done, and that cars will still be a part of the transportation system. We still need to focus on making them efficient, rather than just frustrating.

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 11:24 a.m. Inappropriate

Downtown Seattle needs to design and build and an actually effective transit system. Most motorists should be able to conveniently park as soon as they reach central city and finish trips on transit. The new Streetcar line won't help much nor will its extension on 1st Ave connection to the Lake Union line. The more ideal connection is via 4th/5th Aves to Jackson/Main and from there to Alaskan Way and along the Waterfront. Seattle hillclimbs point to trolleybus as most effective vehicle to serve e/w transit and least expensive. Appointing a bicycle expert was not a smart move. Murray is either in this over his head (as was McGinn) or stuck in knee deep City Council BS.

Wells

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 2:04 a.m. Inappropriate

Rob Fellows, you are so full of bullsh!t that I don't even know where to start. You're a patronizing, incompetent, ignorant, responsibility-evading "progressive" bureaucrat who has spent an entire career doing your level best to make things in this city worse, not better. You don't have a single clue about anything. Good God, what drugs are you people on? Do us all a favor: Quit your job and get the hell out of here, and take your 100 best friends in government with you.

NotFan

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 11:09 a.m. Inappropriate

So you are saying you don't agree with Fellowes?

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 12:11 p.m. Inappropriate

Perhaps I should've been more polite. So much easier for the whackjobs who run this joint if no one will tell 'em what they really think.

NotFan

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 2:23 p.m. Inappropriate


No, you reactionary jerk, YOU get out of Seattle. You and the bloodthirsty people like you run 95% of the land area of the country. Go where you are wanted and take your selfish point of view with you.

There are more PEOPLE in the United States who want progressive policies than those live in the past like you. We don't control Congress because we live highly concentrated in a few large cities which gives more spread out right-wingers greater voting power (you win more seats by 52 or 55 percent while Democrats tend to win by 70 or 80 percent because of the density in cities.

Then of course the small states are ridiculously over-represented in the Senate.

The upshot is that the majority of the population is under-represented at the national level and in many state legislatures. You are certain that our policies will bankrupt the places we control; why not get the hell out before it happens? And in the meantime SHUT THE *%^# UP! You're boring and sententious.

Anandakos

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 3:23 p.m. Inappropriate

Ooooh, this is good. I do congratulate you for showing your true "progressive" colors. We're all in it together, right? Got any other lies you'd like to pass along? And I loooooove the "sententious" part. Who ever said that "reactionary jerks" can't appreciate irony?

NotFan

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 7:17 p.m. Inappropriate

Ana, You're quite rude.

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 6:30 a.m. Inappropriate


"Progressive" doesn't mean "we're all in it together", especially when some of the "we" are selfish, short-sighted, and narcissistic. You can't have it both ways: yelling for a mildly progressive technologist who explicitly backed traffic improvements to leave his profession and get out of town and then whine about someone else saying YOU are not welcome. Typical "conservative" whining.

Anandakos

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 11:39 a.m. Inappropriate

I'm not whining. I'm laughing at you.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Jul 9, 12:11 p.m. Inappropriate

"Rob Fellows, you're a patronizing, incompetent, ignorant, responsibility-evading 'progressive' bureaucrat who's spent an entire career doing your best to make things worse. You don't have a clue. What drugs are you people on? Do us a favor and quit your job.
Get the hell outta here and take 100 friends in government with you."

Notfan, your rant invited, nevermind deserved, a harsh response.
Anadankos and I disagree in various perspectives, but whatever point our loudmouth discussion makes is still heard, if not answered.
You're not all that funny, Notfan. You're writing is often enough
entertaining, but rambles and rants. You lose debates like that.

Wells

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 1:20 a.m. Inappropriate

Wells, I'm not interested in winning debates with Seattle's worthless "progressives." They'll never admit it, but they pay attention to what I say because they know that I represent what a lot of people think about them.

My views are what caused the fat weasel McSchwinn to be ousted. They defeated the $60 car tabs in 2011. They defeated the bus referendum. They will defeat the parks levy. They will kill the expanded gun bsckground check referendum, and they forced that halfwit, Inslee, to issue a no-tax increase pledge in his campaign for governor.

See, no one will say it to their faces, and if they had their way, they'd censor it here too. Seattle's "progressives" are a pack of malevolent, lying, corrupt, hateful, self-inflated, and none too intelligent hypocrites and parasites who deserve every last bit of the complete disrespect I throw at them, and more.

Someone's got to tell this city's "progressives" what people say in private conversations around town. I could be polite as all get-out, and all it would do is let them think that people don't despise them. What's the use of that?

NotFan

Posted Thu, Jul 10, 3:48 p.m. Inappropriate

"Someone's got to tell this city's "progressives" what people say in private conversations around town."

Oh look, there is a new jello sheriff in town... Your claim that without your commentary people would never realize that there are reactionaries living here? Seriously?

I happen to agree with the Seattle Times that this park levy which is a disguised take over of the parks board and another unelected committe with the power to raise taxes should fail at the ballot box. See when the Left and the Right agree there is nothing that will stop us.

GaryP

Posted Fri, Jul 11, 3:32 p.m. Inappropriate

"Someone has to tell this city's progressives (malevolent, lying, corrupt, hateful, self-inflated, none too intelligent hypocrites and parasites) what people say in private conversations (about them) around town. I could be polite as all get-out and let them think people don't despise them, but what's the use of that?"

Rants that regularly go over the top lose credibility. Making some point fairly adds to the discussion. My own over the top missives point blame at conservative business interests (whose only objective is profiteering) and at progressive-types who'll likewise do anything for a paycheck, trickle-down style. Plus my overriding concern is the catastrophic cataclysmic disaster that will befall Seattle if Bertha is allowed to continue. Bertha is mass murder.

Wells

Posted Sat, Jul 12, 2:25 a.m. Inappropriate

To quote the man on the $100 bill, "I fart proudly." Someone has to.

NotFan

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 8:58 a.m. Inappropriate

Mr. Fellows,

While its true that there are some areas of King County which experience all-day congestion -- the U-District, downtown Ballard, Lower Queen Anne, Northgate, Southcenter and of course downtown Seattle -- most of the city is driveable comfortably at any time other than the commuter peaks.

No world-city can achieve the density necessary to support the center(s) of excellence which are critical to urban success AND all the people supporting it without high density. There simply isn't room enough for all those folks to live at suburban densities while attracting the young urbane people who create the Center(s).

That density will ALWAYS stress the street network during the peak hours; the old saw "you can't build yourself out of congestion" is absolutely true, if the building is limited to highways.

You advocate finding "the right balance given extreme constraints in how we can use our rights of way". I think most thoughtful people would agree wholeheartedly. However, you did not suggest any means by which to do so.

Personally, I think curtain tolling is a fine means to discourage "convenience" peak hour car use. By "convenience" I mean driving undertaken by people who have a good home-to-work transit option because they have employer-subsidize parking or simply want "the freedom" of driving when they want to. In all honesty, I have zero sympathy for the "sacrifice" they see that taking transit would require.

When I worked at Nike (free parking for all) for four years just before retiring, I voluntarily road the Clark County express buses to downtown Portland and then changed to the MAX Blue Line to reach the Nike campus.

It took an hour in the morning when the expresses run versus about 40 minutes typically to drive. That's not much of a sacrifice, especially considering the extra hour a day I got to read The Economist or a novel. However, since I'm in I/T and sometimes had to work late, it would frequently take two or two-and-a-half hours to get home in the evening, requiring four vehicles (Blue Line MAX, Yellow Line MAX, C-Tran 4 and C-Tran 71 or 32) to get back home.

Now NotFan or Common1"Sense" will say I was a fool, and that's their privilege. But they can't say I'm a hypocrite when advocating that drivers pay for the privilege of driving at the peak times when the system is stressed.

Existing Interstate highways can't be tolled for congestion control or transit revenues at this time; tolls can only be levied on them for increases in capacity or replacement of an economically exhausted facility like a bridge or tunnel.

But variable curtain tolling on the off-ramps within the city and the few arterial crossings of the city-limits could bring in a lot of revenue for the city and provide an incentive for non-city residents to use transit. The revenue could be used to provide that transit as well as providing road maintenance.

Also, raising parking taxes and extending them to employer-provided lots could also be used to generate revenues for those same city services.

Anandakos

Posted Tue, Jul 8, 7:04 a.m. Inappropriate

How we can use our right of way?

Well, for one, we can stop allowing parking along the missing link of the Burke-Gilman trail so that it can be finished. This is the main sticking point as we all know-- where to park those precious cars.

We can also stop the businesses in that immediate vicinity from trying to claim public parking spots for customers only:
http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/businesses-ballard-saving-public-parking-private-u/ngYtx/

jeffro

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 8:58 a.m. Inappropriate

Mr. Fellows,

While its true that there are some areas of King County which experience all-day congestion -- the U-District, downtown Ballard, Lower Queen Anne, Northgate, Southcenter and of course downtown Seattle -- most of the city is driveable comfortably at any time other than the commuter peaks.

No world-city can achieve the density necessary to support the center(s) of excellence which are critical to urban success AND all the people supporting it without high density. There simply isn't room enough for all those folks to live at suburban densities while attracting the young urbane people who create the Center(s).

That density will ALWAYS stress the street network during the peak hours; the old saw "you can't build yourself out of congestion" is absolutely true, if the building is limited to highways.

You advocate finding "the right balance given extreme constraints in how we can use our rights of way". I think most thoughtful people would agree wholeheartedly. However, you did not suggest any means by which to do so.

Personally, I think curtain tolling is a fine means to discourage "convenience" peak hour car use. By "convenience" I mean driving undertaken by people who have a good home-to-work transit option because they have employer-subsidize parking or simply want "the freedom" of driving when they want to. In all honesty, I have zero sympathy for the "sacrifice" they see that taking transit would require.

When I worked at Nike (free parking for all) for four years just before retiring, I voluntarily road the Clark County express buses to downtown Portland and then changed to the MAX Blue Line to reach the Nike campus.

It took an hour in the morning when the expresses run versus about 40 minutes typically to drive. That's not much of a sacrifice, especially considering the extra hour a day I got to read The Economist or a novel. However, since I'm in I/T and sometimes had to work late, it would frequently take two or two-and-a-half hours to get home in the evening, requiring four vehicles (Blue Line MAX, Yellow Line MAX, C-Tran 4 and C-Tran 71 or 32) to get back home.

Now NotFan or Common1"Sense" will say I was a fool, and that's their privilege. But they can't say I'm a hypocrite when advocating that drivers pay for the privilege of driving at the peak times when the system is stressed.

Existing Interstate highways can't be tolled for congestion control or transit revenues at this time; tolls can only be levied on them for increases in capacity or replacement of an economically exhausted facility like a bridge or tunnel.

But variable curtain tolling on the off-ramps within the city and the few arterial crossings of the city-limits could bring in a lot of revenue for the city and provide an incentive for non-city residents to use transit. The revenue could be used to provide that transit as well as providing road maintenance.

Also, raising parking taxes and extending them to employer-provided lots could also be used to generate revenues for those same city services.

Anandakos

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 8:59 a.m. Inappropriate

"rode" not "road".

Anandakos

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 11:40 a.m. Inappropriate

Yep, another obnoxious "progressive" hates cars and wants to raise taxes. Wow, who knew?!

NotFan

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 6:35 p.m. Inappropriate

"No world-city can achieve the density necessary to support the center(s) of excellence which are critical to urban success AND all the people supporting it without high density. There simply isn't room enough for all those folks to live at suburban densities while attracting the young urbane people who create the Center(s)."

When I read babble like this I stop feeling sorry for the young urbane and their bad timing. When any city could be had for a song, now those were the days!

afreeman

Posted Fri, Jul 4, 2:23 p.m. Inappropriate

Okay, so the new SDOT director is also spouting the "alternatives to driving" party line--a good thing. However, and it's a big one: not one word about the maintenance of existing assets. The City continues to obtain grant money to build new facilities, including bikeways, with no plan or new sources of revenue to maintain them. Well, the most effective way to reduce drive-alone trips is to make it costly. One way to do that is not yo maintain roadways, so if the City continues its failure yo maintain roadways, that is one way to make it costly to drive.

Posted Sat, Jul 5, 12:15 p.m. Inappropriate

I wonder when it's going to occur to this city's brain-damaged bicyclists that unmaintained streets might be inconvenient and irritating to drivers, but are dangerous for bicyclists.

On the other hand, it does make me see one advantage of not fixing the streets. Hmm, maybe I need to re-think my wish the the streets be fixed.

NotFan

Posted Fri, Jul 4, 5:20 p.m. Inappropriate

I'm glad Aakervik from Freight Advisory was on the search committee. Gotta get a better solution than McLiar/McSchwinn had for conflicts between industry and bikes in Ballard and along the waterfront.

Posted Sun, Jul 6, 1:59 p.m. Inappropriate

It would be nice if he had a goal to reduce traffic congestion. It's been getting worse during the Crunican and Hahn years -- will this one try to improve the situation?

Somehow I doubt he'll be asked.

simorgh

Posted Sun, Jul 6, 4:31 p.m. Inappropriate

simorgh,

I think everyone loves the Goal.

The problem is How to actually do it.

There are many ways to reduce traffic congestion, none of them politically or legally acceptable. Here are some, none we'd accept:

1. Destroy Seattle economy so business leaves & tourists stay away. (Even NYC wasn't able to do that.)
2. Level hills so easy to bike.
3. Change social taste so everyone wants to live in chicken-coop like an "Arcology" or live in carless city
4. Make it illegal to drive (or own car) unless (name your own criterial such as "minimum income level".)
5. Make all major arterials into limited access highways (per RH Thompson).
6. Eliminate ALL on street parking thus permitting higher speed limits.
7. Prohibit pedestrians walking more than 2 blocks (pedestrians slow down traffic.)
8. Require driverless cars (but they don't exist yet so patience required.)
9. Get a "Trip Permit" (available on line) i.e. not allowed to drive unless specific permission by police.

Lots of ways to reduce congestion but none we are ready for.

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 10:48 p.m. Inappropriate

Simon, Emmett Watson had bowel movements that were superior to you.

Posted Mon, Jul 7, 7:36 a.m. Inappropriate

When we call you folks "lesser Seattle" types we're not complimenting you, right? Best thing Emmett Watson did was die.

Simon

Posted Tue, Jul 8, 8:48 a.m. Inappropriate

Murray should be told that solving transportation problems will only occur if you have less and less drivers rather than more and more. Quite simple, and the only road to sustainability.

So he might hire some one who can tell Obama, the city, county and state that luring more and more people here from other countries--whether legally or illegally--in order to maximize growth, gain cheap labor and malleable voters creates unsolvable problems. Like congestion that can only be temporarily ameliorated--not "solved"--massive costs that require ever-more money-printing, and other unsustainable developments. So just enforce laws already on the books and amazingly we will actually do something that is sustainable.

Posted Tue, Jul 8, 12:21 p.m. Inappropriate

"......we will actually do something that is sustainable"

That's nonsense. Please point to one "sustainable" practice of the human experience, other than not breeding.

Treker

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