Sunday, February 7, 2016

Oh, while I'm posting crap on my blog

After hearing that Seattle was delaying its downtown bike network plans in order to first create a “center-city mobility plan” of some kind, I decided to write my own plan. If we adopt this plan we can get the bike network started tomorrow.

ahem

  1. Cap the number of office parking spaces in greater downtown Seattle (i.e. including Pioneer Square, the International District, First Hill, Capitol Hill, SLU, and lower Queen Anne).
  2. Set the cap below the current number of parking spaces, because there are already more cars during rush hour than the streets can remotely handle.
  3. This means that some parking spaces have to close. Hold an auction over rights to keep parking spaces open. Where will prices end up? Who knows! Similar to cap-and-trade markets for carbon emissions, the cap is based roughly on science (here, how many cars can enter and leave downtown during rush hour without insane congestion), and prices are lovingly guided by the wise hand of Adam Smith.
  4. Enact a permanent ban on the phrase “center-city”. Seriously, who says that? Nobody in Seattle, that's who.
  5. Get lunch.

Why we can't just get along

So there's this thing with “Bernie Bros” doing and saying blatantly sexist things, largely online, and Sanders telling them to cut it out. Maybe you've heard of it. But that stuff — rude, derogatory stuff that any decent person can just stop doing — isn't half the story with the sexism someone like Hillary Clinton faces. I just read a politically neutral article on the New Hampshire primary scene where Clinton was introduced (i.e. per the journalistic convention of introducing people by full names with some context at first mention) as the former First Lady. A lot of the sexism someone like Clinton faces is like that.

It's certainly true that she was First Lady, and it's not a fact irrelevant to her political career (she certainly was an active political figure in the '90s). But more recently she served in the U.S. Senate and as Secretary of State, and narrowly lost the Democratic nomination for President. That's the record she's running on, and it's the record that (most of) her opponents are running against. Any one of those facts would make a more appropriate introduction.

Now this random story about New Hampshire is hardly worthy of comment. But some of these things accumulate. They're not things you can simply “cut out” like online trolling, they're widespread habits that no single person can stop. They're as much the result of sexism as the cause. All of the people running for President and covering the race have been shaped by decades of sexist double-standards. While the sexism of any particular act during campaign season can be hard to separate from the constant stream of often-unfair attacks by and towards everyone, looking at the big picture, you can see its mark.

ADDENDUM: As this post was inspired by the journalistic convention of introductions... I feel like pointing out that I added in Clinton's first name at her first mention while editing the post, just because I was thinking about the convention, even though I thought it didn't match the style of the first paragraph, which I might describe as, “awkward informal references to assumed shared context, because I'm too lazy to write a good introduction or even link to a relevant article, because this whole post started out as a Facebook status update before it got too long, and I was WAY to lazy to edit it down.” I just noticed that I didn't add Sanders' first name at his first mention. I'm going to leave it like this, because, damn, this post is a trainwreck of writing whose victims are every form and style of the English language. Like my dad said when my brother was making fun of his receding hairline, "Would you make fun of me more if I went on Rogaine or got a toupĂ©e?" And the answer was, of course he would have made fun of him more.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bike Master Plan Implementation Plan Changes: 2016

Tom of Seattle Bike Blog posts another Seattle Bike Master Plan Implementation Plan update. This is how it is different from what they said they'd do in the Fall 2015 BMP Implementation Plan:

First, a lot of stuff listed in 2015 in the previous plan that didn't get finished is listed in 2016 here:

  • Roosevelt Way south of 65th
  • University Bridge
  • N 34th (Fremont Ave to Phinney Ave)
  • Admiral Way
  • Dearboorn
  • Westlake Cycletrack

A few things are moved up to 2016 from later years:

  • The “Dexter Ave N” entry, which appears to stand for an inherently mediocre connection from the Westlake Cycletrack to Dexter an the Mercer underpass, moved up from 2017.
  • The “9th Ave N” entry (more on that later), moved up from 2018.

A few things are pushed from 2016 to later years:

  • 2nd Ave north of Pike Street is pushed back to 2017 (more later).
  • A PBL on Swift Ave S is pushed back to 2017 (more later).
  • The Broadway Cycletrack extension north to Aloha is pushed back to 2017.
  • The long Rainier Valley N-S Greenway is pushed back to 2017.

Some 2016 entries are a bit different than before:

  • The “6th Ave S” entry (from Forest Street to Spokane Street) is now listed as “SODO Trail”, and as a trail project instead of a bike lane. Perhaps this means they've found space to extend the trail next to the busway? In the original BMP project list this was a SODO Trail extension, and it showed up on 6th Ave S in the 2015 Implementation Plan.
  • The 2nd Ave Extension entry now shows up as “2nd Ave”. That's probably just a typo. More troubling: the southern extent has been cut back from Jackson to Main. That's a really important block!
  • The 9th Ave N route from the Westlake Cycletrack into downtown, moved up from 2018 to 2016, is extended westward from 7th to 2nd! That's awesome!
  • I'm not sure which previous entry corresponds to the “Central E-W Greenway” at all. Maybe it's one shown primarily along East Columbia in previous documents, which was on the 2017 list in the 2015 Implementation Plan.
  • The northward extension of the 2nd Ave PBL, pushed back to 2017, is now extended farther north, to Denny rather than just Broad.
  • The Swift Ave S PBL now extends from Albro to MLK, which I believe is the whole BMP corridor instead of the mere 20% of it originally in the Implementation Plan.

Finally, a few 2016 entries have disappeared.

  • Pike Street PBL. This was a stand-in for part of a downtown network that was supposed to be planned in 2015 but wasn't, and is now being held until after some new kind of “center city mobility” plan is completed.
  • 7th Ave. It's possible this isn't listed because it's already partially open, but it's only open to Virginia and the plan lists the route continuing all the way to Union.
  • Royal Brougham, west of Occidental Ave. It may have dropped off because of Deep Bore Tunnel delays. This area is super confusing at the moment.
  • NE 130th from the Interurban to 5th Ave NE. Maybe this is replaced by an entry for a greenway on 128th, from NW 8th to NE 1st... all the way out in 2019.
  • Some sort of work on the Holgate overpass of I-5 was previously listed as a “Catalyst Project” with a 2016 date, and does not appear on this list. I have no idea what this has ever meant.

I didn't look at 2017-2019 projects aside from these. There are 2020 projects listed for the first time, so I scanned those. Aside from stuff that's just pushed back from earlier years, they include:

  • An extension of the Pinehurst/15th Ave NE bike lanes from 125th to the city limits
  • A northbound complement to the one-way part of the Roosevelt PBL

Somehow they do not include extending the planned Airport Way route to the city limits, where a route into Tukwila is ready and waiting. Aside from the further delay to downtown network planning that's the thing I'm most disappointed in. The best news is that the 9th Ave N project, one of the connections between the Westlake Cycletrack and downtown, is both expedited and extended farther into downtown. In light of previous comments from SDOT where they seemed afraid to touch the streets at the south end of the cycletrack it's a pleasant surprise.