Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Big ole rant about the tunnel!!! (and more!)

so i've been using Daddy's laptop as my computer at home until i get my tax refund so i can buy my own. But i guess the computer doesn't like hipsters, because it totally went crazy in the middle of an episode of Portlandia and won't work. Because of that, my posting of my trips and comments will probably be the day after they actually happen. I am having to resort to sneaking in on the Daddies computers when they're not working or doing it at the library like I am now. 

So I have a few things to talk about today pertaining to the 99 tunnel in downtown Seattle and this packet I read that was put together by the LA Bus Rider's Union. 

First... the Highway 99 tunnel/viaduct thingy going on. For those of you that don't live in Seattle, there is a viaduct running along the waterfront that is a raised double decker highway. It goes from SoDo (south of downtown) to Queen Anne. It is falling apart and any large earthquake would probably destroy it. It was designed like the one that collapsed in Oakland back in the 90s. So needless to say it needs to come down. There's a big uproar going on right now about it's proposed replacement: a tunnel that would go underneath downtown and reemerge in the Queen Anne area. 

My biggest concern about the tunnel option is that it has no exits out of the tunnel into downtown, and exits just wouldn't make sense and it would end up costing way more than it already is costing (hella billions $$). It would provide another route besides I-5 to bypass downtown Seattle, but would eliminate the current way that buses get from West Seattle, White Center, & Burien to Downtown, forcing them to either deal with street level traffic, or go way out of their way to take the interstate. 

My solution: Don't build it. Tear down the viaduct, replace it with a bunch of really amazing shit that reinvigorates the Seattle waterfront, make the road that runs along the waterfront downtown transit only, and make the car drivers deal with it. Studies have shown that this tunnel won't even get used that often: read this article from the Stranger. We have to stop catering to an industry that takes away billions of dollars from a state that's cutting funds for ALL education, HIV/AIDS funding, mental health facilities, health care for poor kids, and so much more. It's so totally fucked.

Sure it'll probably take people a while to get used to not having that as an option, but they'll fucking deal with it, and in five years, people won't even remember about the fucking viaduct as an option.

Second... the LA Bus Rider's Union put out this packet called The Bus Riders Union Transit Model. It's a 60 page study on why LA is better suited for a bus system rather than a rail system and talks a bit about European cities that are kicking cars off some of their roads completely. I am not going to post my review about it just yet because I still have a lot of thoughts about how something like this could work in Seattle. So far now, I think all of you should read it. And yes, it is 60 pages, but there's lots of charts and pictures and shit so it actually doesn't take that long to read.

Third... here's my trips from yesterday:

54 leaves California & Barton at 3:33pm (four minutes late)
54 arrives at 3rd & Seneca at 4:05pm (one minute late)

73 leaves University St. Station at 4:09pm (four minutes late)
73 arrives at 41st & University at 4:24pm (four minutes late)

I had problems again with the same bus and same driver on Monday night though. Once again they were so late, that the next bus was only two blocks behind them (it was 13 minutes late, even though it runs every 14). I stayed at the bus stop, because I figured that the first bus was almost full. The next bus was absolutely empty and we passed the super late bus soon after departing. I figure if it happens again next week, I'm going to call Metro and report it.

73 leaves 41st & University at 10:24pm (13 minutes late)
instead i took the next bus a minute later which was a minute early and then four minutes early to the tunnel station.

54 departs 3rd & Seneca at 11:02 (seven minutes late)
54 arrives at California & Barton at 11:26 (eight minutes late)

The wind and rain last night downtown was absolutely insane!! just completely crazy, like lose your hat in a windstorm almost can't cross the road crazy.


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