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Old March 3rd, 2012, 08:48 AM   #1741
xyagentguy
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I wish Bill Gates would build a massive skyscraper in Seattle. Just because he can... with his interest rates alone!
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 07:23 PM   #1742
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It will not happen. IMO, Bill Gates doesn't have a great taste in real estate. Look at his latest development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Headquarters, it isn't that impressive. I prefer Bill Gates to donate his money to fund Seattle subway/streetcars instead building ugly skyscraper. That will do good for Seattle.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 09:57 PM   #1743
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Gates funds a lot of research and education locally, valued in the hundreds of millions. We're making out really well.

I'm holding out hope that they'll go an order of magnitude bigger on those. A billion more in the UW endowment, plus an annual hundred million during the current crisis, would go a long way to its health as a top public university. Or how about founding a new university, to eventually be Seattle's Stanford? It could focus on the areas of innovation he'd like to see more of, among other things.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 10:53 PM   #1744
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^I've always thought he might make his own high-level Tech Institute. But right now most of their focus is on disease eradication, once the Foundation makes headway in that education is the next focus.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 01:00 AM   #1745
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Whats the date on the expiration of the Ride Free Zone again? I really can't wait. Took the 124 down to work today and could count on one hand the amount of passengers that actually paid their fare. People demand the back doors be opened so they can skip fare and the driver just has to let them get away with it. When theyre on the bus they just talk openly about what drugs theyre selling and whatnot. 3rd Ave trash all of em... Get rid of the Zone, they'll have to stay in the south end where they originate.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 01:31 AM   #1746
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jessejb View Post
Get rid of the Zone, they'll have to stay in the south end where they originate.
I agree. The bus is for the rich and privellaged. Let "them" walk. (rolls eyes)

The bus is a slice of society - there will be people you don't want to look at / smell / talk to whether they charge or not. All removing the RFA will do is slow your bus down.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 01:34 AM   #1747
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I see where you're coming from Matt, but doubt it needs an eye roll. The RFZ has encouraged very unsavory people that are not just commuting to use the bus. It's not an issue of poor vs rich, it's an issue of decent citizen vs people up to no good. I don't feel one bit sad that this may inconvenience them.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 01:38 AM   #1748
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I think you're dreaming if you think drug dealers can't afford bus fare. The RFZ has introduced countless people to our bus system, made it easy to get around downtown, and reduced curb time for buses. Ditching those incentives to make a few delinquints pay their share* is a shame.

*if they don't just walk on the bus anyway - bus drivers remind you to pay your fare, they aren't there to enforce payment
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Old March 4th, 2012, 02:50 AM   #1749
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Well, don't remember specifically mentioning drug dealers, but point taken. There are others (drug USERS, drunks, and homeless) that may be deterred. If there is no enforcement, maybe it's a non issue. Fact remains that when an agency is in fiscal trouble, providing free services does not make wise business sense and is a failing model no matter how many users may be introduced to the system. They most likely took it because it was free. What gain is that when they could have just walked a few blocks and saved us subsidizing them?
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Old March 4th, 2012, 05:38 AM   #1750
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Gates funds a lot of research and education locally, valued in the hundreds of millions. We're making out really well.

I'm holding out hope that they'll go an order of magnitude bigger on those. A billion more in the UW endowment, plus an annual hundred million during the current crisis, would go a long way to its health as a top public university. Or how about founding a new university, to eventually be Seattle's Stanford? It could focus on the areas of innovation he'd like to see more of, among other things.
That too!
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Old March 4th, 2012, 08:08 AM   #1751
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InlandEmpire View Post
Well, don't remember specifically mentioning drug dealers, but point taken. There are others (drug USERS, drunks, and homeless) that may be deterred. If there is no enforcement, maybe it's a non issue. Fact remains that when an agency is in fiscal trouble, providing free services does not make wise business sense and is a failing model no matter how many users may be introduced to the system. They most likely took it because it was free. What gain is that when they could have just walked a few blocks and saved us subsidizing them?
The downtown association pays Metro $400k a year for the RFA, and no additional buses are used to provide RFA service - these are buses that are heading through downtown anyway. Metro estimates they're failing to collect $2.2M from people riding in the RFA and freeloaders, but I think they're dreaming if they think they can convert much of these free rides into actual revenue.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 10:30 PM   #1752
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Speaking of Portland, it's not too often we hear of it in our local media, but coincidentally, this article just came up on the Vancouver Sun site:

Quote:
Pete McMartin: Portland, Vancouver's bolder sister

A little wild, a little weird - there's a lot to love about this spirited city

By Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun March 4, 2012


I cannot help but have a soft spot in my heart for Portland, if only for the fact that on the week my wife and I visited, the Give A Shit Club was holding its "mostly monthly" forum. In it, participants were encouraged to do "a little bit of drinking and a whole lot of talking about local and national issues."

Of Portland's nature, it's all there in the club's title:

The wry but earnest call to activism; the fine line trod between seriousness and self-satire; the slacker dynamic fuelled by local microbreweries and artisanal distilleries. It's at once twee yet not, fun but adult. Of the three Cascadia sisters - the other siblings being us and Seattle - Portland is the most amiable and adventurous. She'd be the older sister willing to try anything, the first one in the water skinny-dipping.

Consider for example, our hotel: We stayed downtown at the Ace, a restored - but not overly restored - hotel originally built in 1912. There is nothing like it in Vancouver, which is a pity. There easily could be.

It's Flophouse Chic, with claw-foot tubs in the bathrooms, double-height ceilings, original tiled lobby (complete with coin-operated photo booth), and turn-of-the-century oak flooring in the hallways and rooms. The old is set off by the hipsterish new: large-screen TVs, high-end toiletries and bedding, sleek minimalist furnishings, original wall murals in each room (above our bed was an American eagle with the inscription Love Thy Neighbor), and - in a nod to the vibrant local music scene - turntables that came with an eclectic supply of LPs. (Ours ranged from the newest Fleet Foxes LP to The Best of Caruso.) Even the room's mini-bars spoke Portlandese: It came stocked with Glee gum, Boy-lan lemon seltzer and banana bread powerbars. Sometimes I suspect Portland is in on its own joke.

Why would a Vancouverite go to Portland?

It does serendipity so much better than us. Some of this is due to a more relaxed licensing environment - getting a liquor or business licence is vastly easier than in B.C. But more than that, Portland is a showcase of the American genius for experimentation. The city's unofficial motto, and favoured bumper sticker, is Keep Portland Weird. It's that self-satire again, but a call to arms, too.

Case in point:

While we were there, the big indie rock band The Shins, who call Portland home, gave a 1 p.m. children's concert at the Kennedy School. The show was part of the charming You Who! concert series, co-founded by Chris Funk of the Decemberists, Portland's other big indie band.

The shows are split up into a half-hour of variety entertainment - sin-galongs, cartoons, puppetry, "inter-active dance get-downs," to quote the program - followed by a half-hour rock show.

The Halloween show featured - good lord - the heavy metal band Red Fang. The kids love the shows, as do their lucky parents who get to come along. The Shins sold out.

But just as remarkable as the shows is the venue, the Kennedy School.

Built in 1915, it was an elementary school in the middle of Portland's northeast Concordia neighbourhood. Decommissioned in the 1990s and falling into disrepair, it was slated for demolition until neighbourhood activists rallied to save it. Their efforts led to the school being sold to the McMenamin brothers, the Portland duo whose chain of microbrew pubs and hotels now stretch across Oregon and Washington.

The McMenamins restored the school, decorated the hallways with original art and murals and turned the school in a hotel. The 35 rooms, all former classrooms, come with original chalkboards. The school auditorium screens movies: concerts are held in the gym. There are several bars and restaurants, including the Detention room, where you can enjoy a bourbon and a cigar. The Concordia Brewery, which makes nine different beers for in-house consumption, is in what used to be the girls' lavatory. The Kennedy School is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Remarkably, the school is right in the middle of a charming residential area, a bit of creative and contrary zoning that would be unthinkable in Vancouver. But it works. The school's resuscitation helped breath new life into a neighbourhood that was in danger of decline.

Nor is the Kennedy School's situation unique. Pubs and entertainment venues are found all through the city's residential areas, and they seem to coexist with their neighbours well enough.

Vancouver? We girdle our entertainment venues in red tape. While we still grapple with the issue of allowing liquor in movie theatres, Portland has a dozen brew 'n' views, independent theatres that show films and serve liquor and food. Some are swank, some funky, but the prices are uniformly cheap. The Living Room Theaters, across the street from our hotel, had six screens showing foreign, indie and first-run films, and patrons could either eat in the stylish café and bar, or be served in the theatre by theatre staff.

Portland is not perfect. Its infra-structure is bad and getting worse. Street people are everywhere. The city is bisected by a freeway, and its down-town has a shabby, worn feel to it.

And tell a Portlander you're from Vancouver and you will hear how much they love our city and how clean and safe and beautiful it is and how good the food is. The grass is always greener.

But we could learn some things from Portland, maybe unloose our corset a bit. The weird sister is already in the water, naked. It looks like fun.

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© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun
http://www.vancouversun.com/entertai...360/story.html

Would that be an accurate impression?
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Old March 5th, 2012, 12:14 AM   #1753
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I think ending the RFZ will have a positive effect on that entire corridor and will indeed deter a lot of unsavory people from the 3rd corridor. It's not that I have no heart, but the homeless and peddlers DO have many places they can go in the city to sleep, get clean, and get a meal. To chose to ride the free zone all day back and forth shouldn't be an option.

A RFZ isn't a constitutional right, for god's sake, don't act like it is. It was convenient for some and a lovely gesture from Sound Transit, but I hardly think it's unfair that it is ending. You are using a city service to get from point A to point B, so pay for it.

It's that simple.

And ending the RFZ is one of several initiates to try and clean up the very important 3rd Ave corridor. In fact, I work on that very street (why I'm chiming in about this) and while I walk to work, I hear a great majority of my co-workers say that are glad to see the RFZ end and that they would rather pay a few bucks to ride if they feel like their ways to and from work and the environment outside of their work will improve and be safer.

Will it deter EVERYONE? Surely not. I'm sure there are plenty of unsavory people who can and do afford the fare, and in the end, that certainly is their right. But is it a fitting and even appropriate course of action and a step in the right direction to clean up 3rd ave? Absolutely. And good riddance.

Last edited by xyagentguy; March 5th, 2012 at 12:19 AM.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 12:48 AM   #1754
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Off topic, does anyone know anything about the King Tut exhibit coming to Seattle? I keep hearing things like "see it before it leaves the USA!!!" and read how this could be a blockbuster showing for Seattle blah blah blah.

Does anyone know if it's been touring the USA for some time now and Seattle just happens to be last location on the list before it heads back to Egypt, or has it been traveling the world and Seattle was picked as the US city to hold it?

I guess I'm just wondering what makes it so special in the media if it's already been to the other US cities on tour?
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Old March 5th, 2012, 01:07 AM   #1755
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The only other US city for King Tut is Houston (until April 15).
http://www.kingtut.org/education/buy-tickets
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Old March 5th, 2012, 01:39 AM   #1756
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt the Engineer View Post
I agree. The bus is for the rich and privellaged. Let "them" walk. (rolls eyes)

The bus is a slice of society - there will be people you don't want to look at / smell / talk to whether they charge or not. All removing the RFA will do is slow your bus down.
Will it? Could it not speed things up by deterring passengers who only ride a couple of blocks, when they can easily walk?

Fare payment delays should be reduced with the use of the ORCA card too, no?
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Old March 5th, 2012, 03:46 AM   #1757
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They're also changing routes so the bus traffic isn't so heavily congested on 3rd ave. They want to water down the rif raf throughout the city instead of concentrating it all along 3rd.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:33 AM   #1758
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Gates funds a lot of research and education locally, valued in the hundreds of millions. We're making out really well.

I'm holding out hope that they'll go an order of magnitude bigger on those. A billion more in the UW endowment, plus an annual hundred million during the current crisis, would go a long way to its health as a top public university. Or how about founding a new university, to eventually be Seattle's Stanford? It could focus on the areas of innovation he'd like to see more of, among other things.
I'd like to see the president of the UW take a 75% pay cut. He makes almost a million a year, while I can't affording his ****ing school on 55K.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 07:42 AM   #1759
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xyagentguy View Post
It's not that I have no heart, but the homeless and peddlers DO have many places they can go in the city to sleep, get clean, and get a meal. To chose to ride the free zone all day back and forth shouldn't be an option.

A RFZ isn't a constitutional right, for god's sake, don't act like it is.
I don't think I've made my argument clear. I'm not concerned at all about the poor getting free rides through downtown. It's not a tough walk.

I am concerned about the losing original intent of the system, as true today as it was in the '70's when the Magic Carpet Zone was dreamed up.

1. Free buses change decisions about where to eat, where to shop, and how to get around. They make travel more fluid and faster. This is a great boon to business downtown.

2. $5 is crazy for a 1/2 mile round trip. We have a more-or-less flat fare system that makes jumping across town to run an errand the same price as someone commuting from fairly far away.

3. Pay-as-you-leave speeds up buses. The big bottleneck in our system is curb space on 3rd. Even with PAYL, buses bunch up on 3rd waiting for other buses to free up curb space. Once people have to start hunting for change (or even their ORCA cards) in their pockets, or stuck somewhere in their backpacks, we'll have even more delays.

4. RFZ is a great introduction to buses. I've been to countless meetings downtown where our group hopped on a bus on 3rd or in the tunnel to get across town. How many people felt comfortable enough about taking the bus to switch their commute without this introduction? Seattle has very high bus ridership, and this has to play some roll.

Yes, without buses we'll still get around downtown. Many will have passes already, and little will change. Many others will walk or take a taxi. A few might pay the high rate for a short trip, but I think Metro has far overestimated this number.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xyagentguy View Post
It was convenient for some and a lovely gesture from Sound Transit, but I hardly think it's unfair that it is ending.
The Magic Carpet Zone was created way before Sound Transit existed, and the Downtown Seattle Association pays $400k a year to Metro - money that will just disappear from Metro's budget when the RFZ goes away.

I'm not claiming it's unfair that it's ending. I'm claiming it's a bad idea to kill it.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 08:28 AM   #1760
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doomgoggles View Post
I'd like to see the president of the UW take a 75% pay cut. He makes almost a million a year, while I can't affording his ****ing school on 55K.
Yes please!
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