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Old October 20th, 2007, 09:53 AM   #1361
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWC1506 View Post
I think what we may be facing in the future is more similar to what London's doing with the Tube. Complete renovation, remodeling, and modernization one step at a time. Seattle's going to have to take little steps, we can't get everything at once. We're not China. Can't do a "cultural transportation revolution" from Chairwoman Gregoire and send teenagers into melting their cooking pans to build rail segments.

I am still fond of Japanese public transportation But they have so much more people and such a high density that I think it makes it easier for them to implement and fund public transportation. And the people there KNOW they NEED it. They also RELY on it.
Which is why our transportation system cannot be achieved by just building and building. We need ways to cut down congestion (besides Prop 1) like tolling, and basically ways to discourage people from using cars. And another important component of congestion reduction that I have been stressing is ZONING! We zone denser, people rely more on mass transit, and trust me, Seattle needs it.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 11:08 AM   #1362
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I am still fond of Japanese public transportation But they have so much more people and such a high density that I think it makes it easier for them to implement and fund public transportation. And the people there KNOW they NEED it. They also RELY on it.
It's actually a chicken or the egg kind of situation.
Tokyo private commuter rails(ex.Tokyu, Odakyu, Keio,Keikyu) started development before the war and population became dense in those areas first, which brought in new people and new lines started to pop out to meet the flow of people.
Believe me Tokyo's transportation system did not occur over night not even a couple of decades.
Most commuter rails in Tokyo and/or Osaka are private funded not public funded from the start. The subway system are exceptions because of the extremely high building cost and red tapes they have to cut through in order to get them started.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #1363
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Newspaper Editorial Board Endorsements

SEATTLE TIMES

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...roadsed14.html

Sunday, October 14, 2007 - Page updated at 02:43 PM

The Times recommends ...

Reject Proposition 1

Proposition 1, the increase in sales tax and car tabs to pay for light rail and roads, should be defeated. It costs too much, it lasts too long and it does too little.

Consider first the largest cost. In Seattle, Proposition 1 would increase the rate of general sales tax to 9.5 cents on a dollar, and on restaurant food to 10 cents. In other parts of the Sound Transit district, the total tax varies a bit, but all the rates would be among the highest sales taxes in the United States.

Most of the increase, five-tenths of a cent, is for Sound Transit's 50 additional miles of light rail, which the people are asked to fund before the first miles even open. An additional four-tenths of a cent, which the people agreed to pay for the segment now being built, is extended by Proposition 1 to the new lines. Sound Transit's total, if voters approve it, would be nearly a full penny on every dollar of taxable sales in the urban area from Everett to Tacoma.

There is an argument about how much this really is, and we won't go there. Suffice to say it is billions and billions. The people will not be able to repeal this tax with a local vote, as they did the monorail tax in Seattle, because Sound Transit gives them no mechanism for a local vote. Furthermore, when the agency pledges the tax to a bond, which the monorail was never able to do, the tax will be repeal-proof. Officials know this, and they will do it. The bottom line is that Proposition 1 is virtually irreversible. It obligates you, your children and your grandchildren.

But we need to do something! Yes — but for this price, the people should demand good reasons.

The supporters of Proposition 1 tell us that the politicians chose this package because pollsters told them the people would vote for it. They ask The Times to support it because they agreed on it. The Times' endorsement would, in turn, be used to convince you to vote for it.

This is a circular argument — and entirely political. We think what the people want is a plan to reduce congestion. Proposition 1 spends huge amounts of money to make congestion worsen at a slightly lesser rate.

Seattle may deny this, but the surest way to reduce congestion on roads is to build more lanes. So says a report issued by State Auditor Brian Sonntag last week, and so says human experience. New roads help. The part of Proposition 1 that goes for roads — a 0.8 percentage point jump in car tabs and a tenth of a cent on sales tax — would actually reduce congestion. But it is the minor part.

Buses also reduce congestion if people will ride them. Much more could be done with bus service, particularly if high-occupancy lanes are kept flowing by the smart use of tolls. Light rail replaces buses, and at a much higher cost per rider. Rail soaks up money buses might have used. Rail funnels transit. Buses extend it. And most rail riders will be people who were already riding the bus. If you want to know why King County Executive Ron Sims came out against Proposition 1, remember that he's the county's No. 1 bus guy.

Throw these arguments at the Proposition 1 defenders and the ones thinking about the short term say, yes, we could reduce congestion with roads, tolls and buses, but voters aren't ready to buy that: They believe in light rail, so give the public that. The farsighted ones say light rail is about changing the way we live. It is about increasing density, levering us into apartments around rail stations. If we live next to rail, we will drive less and help save the Earth. It is a fetching, utopian vision, but it is not so easy to change the way Americans live.

Consider Portland. That city opened its first light-rail line two decades ago, and has built several of them, all of which replaced bus lines. Overall, Greater Portland is no less car-dependent than Seattle. Its congestion has gotten worse, just as it has here. Many Portlanders are proud of light rail, but the last three times new light-rail plans have been on the ballot in the Portland area, the people rejected them.

Maybe they learned something.

Proposition 1 is the wrong proposal. Vote "no," and preserve a chance to get it right.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

==========================================================

SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/335810_sted.html

Last updated October 17, 2007 4:40 p.m. PT

Roads And Transit: Pay now, not later
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

It's not surprising that Seattle is wigging out over the prospect of paying $47 billion for Proposition 1, a roads and transit project promising us more light rail and roads as well as a few other perks.

As we've said before, Prop 1 isn't perfect. It marries two things some see as essentially contradictory -- roads and mass transit -- in one package. The language on the ballot measure upsets some, while the hotly disputed cost (well, in some circles) gets folks in a lather. Some can't fathom dealing with a project that could take 20 years -- or, let's face it, longer -- to complete. We bear the burden of hitting those people with a few awful truths:

1) Roads can be used for mass-transit vehicles. They're called buses. And while this package isn't aimed at improving bus service in a big way, it will have an impact. Roads -- along with sidewalks and bike paths -- are needed, and until those personal jet packs promised to us by sci-fi writers are delivered, we are bound to them.

2) For those who think this package is too expensive now, we promise, if you find yourself reading a similar endorsement 20 years from now (and this being Seattle, that is a distinct possibility), the cost of construction, materials, labor and reconfiguring the city's infrastructure will be considerably higher. Speaking of the future ...

3) It is coming, regardless of how you vote for this proposition.

You could vote no and leave us in the transportation "Groundhog's Day" situation we're in. Or you could vote yes -- and we implore you to -- and free this region from its gridlocked thinking.

=========================================================

THE STRANGER

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Content?oid=418929

Sound Transit/RTID Proposition No. 1

VOTE NO

The joint roads and transit ballot measure shackles expansion of Sound Transit's popular light-rail system to a massive roads- expansion package that could never have passed on its own.

After road proponents realized they didn't have voter support for a stand-alone roads package (a major roads-expansion proposal died at the polls in 2002), legislators in Olympia linked roads expansion to light rail. This proposal is an attempt to use urban voters to pass a suburban agenda. Rather than letting compromised politicians tell us what's possible, the people should tell the leaders what's needed: more light rail without massive roads expansion. It's time to flex some urban muscle. Seattle voters shouldn't have to fund roads on the Eastside in order to get light rail.

But by voting No on 50 miles of new transit, wouldn't Seattle's pro-transit voting bloc be cutting its nose to spite its face? No. By unwisely voting Yes on 182 miles of new roads, including four new lanes on I-405 to accommodate an extra 40,000 cars a day, they would be.

Supporters of the roads and transit package love to talk about all the light rail we'll be giving away if we don't vote for the $17.8 billion package. The SECB sees it differently. If we turn roads and transit down, the invaluable transit side of the package can come back next year (which would be great given that Democratic Party turnout will be huge), or else in 2009, when the light rail track from Sea-Tac Airport to downtown will be rolling out and making the on-the-ground case for expansion. True: Voters turned down a rail package in 1968. But this isn't 1968. This is 2007. Global warming is an international crisis, Al Gore just won the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sound Transit is already building a $5.7 billion line that will demand expansion in its own right.

For roads, this package is the last gasp. No one in his right mind looks at the environmental realities we're currently facing and says, "Let's build hundreds of miles of new roads!" But that's exactly what this package would do—152 new miles of new general-purpose lanes, 30 miles of HOV. If we pass this package, we'll have wasted our last chance in a generation to do light rail right. Yes, we'll get light rail to Microsoft and Tacoma (by 2027) but we'll also get a 43 percent increase in miles driven in this region. The new roads will just fill up, as roads do; they'll contribute more to global warming than light rail takes away; and they won't do anything to reduce congestion without further investments in transit in the future. But we won't be able to make those investments, because we'll be committed to paying for a compromised light rail system for the next 50 years.

There are other problems with the package. The light rail in this proposal would be paid for with a regressive sales tax instead of user fees (like tolls). The line itself (through a low-density area) may feed sprawl in south King County, instead of promoting the dense urban development that will grow alongside light rail stations in North Seattle. Meanwhile, the roads in the package are not, as supporters of the package claim, necessary investments in safety and maintenance: The biggest investments in the package include a massive expansion of a suburban freeway (I-405), new connections between sprawling exurbs and an already overtaxed I-5 (SRs 509 and 167), and a highway that will serve sprawl and pave over some of the last remaining oak prairie in Western Washington (the still-on-the-table cross-base highway.)

The SECB wants light rail, but we can do better than a package that shackles a transit solution to a transportation disaster. Vote No on Proposition 1.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 08:07 PM   #1364
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The Tacoma News Tribune and Everett Herald both say vote yes. I think the Seattle Weekly does too.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 08:09 PM   #1365
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Originally Posted by taiwanesedrummer36 View Post
Which is why our transportation system cannot be achieved by just building and building. We need ways to cut down congestion (besides Prop 1) like tolling, and basically ways to discourage people from using cars. And another important component of congestion reduction that I have been stressing is ZONING! We zone denser, people rely more on mass transit, and trust me, Seattle needs it.
We can't zone more densely because most municipalities have laws preventing upzoning when there's already bad traffic. People have been trying to change those laws to no avail for 40 years. Go read the Bel-Red corridor plan, it talks about some of this.

WE. CANNOT. TOLL. I don't know if you noticed, but this entire *state* has laws against tolling existing roadways. Who are you going to convince to change those? Legislators from Spokane? And how does passing Prop 1 make that *harder*?
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Old October 20th, 2007, 08:11 PM   #1366
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It's actually a chicken or the egg kind of situation.
Tokyo private commuter rails(ex.Tokyu, Odakyu, Keio,Keikyu) started development before the war and population became dense in those areas first, which brought in new people and new lines started to pop out to meet the flow of people.
Believe me Tokyo's transportation system did not occur over night not even a couple of decades.
Most commuter rails in Tokyo and/or Osaka are private funded not public funded from the start. The subway system are exceptions because of the extremely high building cost and red tapes they have to cut through in order to get them started.
It isn't chicken and egg at all once you realize we were on the same track Tokyo was until we shot down our private railways. We built highways with public funds, and now we're finally figuring out that can't move enough people, so we have to build rails with public funds. Until the *infrastructure in place* is much more balanced, we'll never see viable private transportation.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 04:59 AM   #1367
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It isn't chicken and egg at all once you realize we were on the same track Tokyo was until we shot down our private railways. We built highways with public funds, and now we're finally figuring out that can't move enough people, so we have to build rails with public funds. Until the *infrastructure in place* is much more balanced, we'll never see viable private transportation.
I was talking about the relationship between commuter rail and population density, since I believe that Tokyo would not have grown to it's present size today without commuter rail laid down more than half a century ago but nobody really believed back then that those rails would be needed.
A visonary like Shibusawa(founder of Tokyo-Yokohama Electric Railway which later aquire Odakyu, Keio and, Keikyu) developing a non-profit corporation "Denen Toshi Kaihatu KK" to develop new housing around the Denenchofu area in 1918.
Shibusawa created demand by supplying large housing areas with easy access to Tokyo via commuters trains and made a fortune by reaping what he sowed because once the demand was there he just expanded beyond the non-profit showcase area.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 05:20 AM   #1368
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I was talking about the relationship between commuter rail and population density, since I believe that Tokyo would not have grown to it's present size today without commuter rail laid down more than half a century ago but nobody really believed back then that those rails would be needed.
A visonary like Shibusawa(founder of Tokyo-Yokohama Electric Railway which later aquire Odakyu, Keio and, Keikyu) developing a non-profit corporation "Denen Toshi Kaihatu KK" to develop new housing around the Denenchofu area in 1918.
Shibusawa created demand by supplying large housing areas with easy access to Tokyo via commuters trains and made a fortune by reaping what he sowed because once the demand was there he just expanded beyond the non-profit showcase area.
I do see what you're getting at - I'm just saying that there are plenty of US situations in which it's been all for-profit in the same time period. Granted, at this point, I think it's silly to think urban transportation can ever be for-profit again (and it likely shouldn't, as the same arguments apply to it as do to most other things we consider necessary as public services).

I never knew about Shibusawa, although if Denenchofu is near Chofu today, I've been close by. I think this example does show that at that time, we were still learning about how transportation and urban planning worked. And it does demonstrate the chicken and egg concept. I just think that at this point, the issue is framing - the prior examples are all there, but there's little effort made to dispel the "but we're different!" attitude of detractors from density and transit investment.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 06:17 AM   #1369
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Article "the surest way to reduce congestion on roads is to build more lanes"

That sickens me. This is completely one-sided and not backed up. Building lanes will only encourage more use of vehicles and a year later, we're going to have a congestion again. Plus, try building more lanes in I-5 in Seattle. Heck it's already hard enough for WSDOT to widen the Renton area of 405.

Buses are cheaper......When they're new. And when you have to spend more money on new buses every 10 years, add it with rising fuel costs, it's not going to save more than Light Rail in the long term. What use are buses if the roads are going to be crowded and falling apart anyway? I can't wait to see what people's reactions are when the 520 collapses.

What happened to the air pollution argument?
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Old October 21st, 2007, 06:34 AM   #1370
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Article "the surest way to reduce congestion on roads is to build more lanes"

That sickens me. This is completely one-sided and not backed up. Building lanes will only encourage more use of vehicles and a year later, we're going to have a congestion again. Plus, try building more lanes in I-5 in Seattle. Heck it's already hard enough for WSDOT to widen the Renton area of 405.

Buses are cheaper......When they're new. And when you have to spend more money on new buses every 10 years, add it with rising fuel costs, it's not going to save more than Light Rail in the long term. What use are buses if the roads are going to be crowded and falling apart anyway? I can't wait to see what people's reactions are when the 520 collapses.

What happened to the air pollution argument?
Is there a bus driver union? because I think that is another pressure group that needs to be addressed when comparing rail versus buses since you need alot more bus drivers to transport the same amount of people when comparing capacity with trains.

Alot of private train operators here in Tokyo are now promoting that trains leaves the smallest carbon foot print per person, a hundred to one when compared to private transportation and twenty to one even when compared to buses.
This is important since Japan is desprate in meeting goals set by the Kyoto protocol.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 06:44 AM   #1371
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Is there a bus driver union? because I think that is another pressure group that needs to be addressed when comparing rail versus buses since you need alot more bus drivers to transport the same amount of people when comparing capacity with trains.

Alot of private train operators here in Tokyo are now promoting that trains leaves the smallest carbon foot print per person, a hundred to one when compared to private transportation and twenty to one even when compared to buses.
This is important since Japan is desprate in meeting goals set by the Kyoto protocol.
There is a bus operators' union - the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) local 587. I don't think they're opposed to rail transit: there will likely be an increase in the number of operator positions available because the rails will add significant numbers of services to their corridors *and* drive up ridership on connector routes (necessitating improved service).

Can you link me to anything online about those numbers? I saw a release from JR East about their services being vastly more efficient than any other method of transport - especially the shinkansen - but never managed to find it again.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 07:26 AM   #1372
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There is a bus operators' union - the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) local 587. I don't think they're opposed to rail transit: there will likely be an increase in the number of operator positions available because the rails will add significant numbers of services to their corridors *and* drive up ridership on connector routes (necessitating improved service).

Can you link me to anything online about those numbers? I saw a release from JR East about their services being vastly more efficient than any other method of transport - especially the shinkansen - but never managed to find it again.
Oh how I long for high-speed rail between Seattle, Spokane, and Portland
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Old October 21st, 2007, 07:32 AM   #1373
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Oh how I long for high-speed rail between Seattle, Spokane, and Portland
Read this:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres...akCascades.pdf

It doesn't cover Spokane, but that's the plan for 12-13 daily round trips between Seattle and Portland with maximum speeds of 110 (or 124?) mph. That would build enough ridership as a local service to build separate HSR - much like what's being done with the TGV Est.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 07:33 AM   #1374
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Can you link me to anything online about those numbers? I saw a release from JR East about their services being vastly more efficient than any other method of transport - especially the shinkansen - but never managed to find it again.
Here is a link to an old white paper created by the ministry of Transportation.

http://www.mlit.go.jp/english/white-...998/frame.html

The most recent one is only in Japanese.

http://www.mlit.go.jp/toukeijouhou/e...h19_energy.pdf

The figures you are looking for is on page 36.
unit Kilojoules per person Kilometer
From top;2003~2007
Japan rail
Private rail
Rail total
Commuter bus
Lease bus
Bus total
Commercial car
Private car
car total
Private truck
domestic ship
Domestic air travel
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Old October 21st, 2007, 07:55 AM   #1375
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Read this:
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/NR/rdonlyres...akCascades.pdf

It doesn't cover Spokane, but that's the plan for 12-13 daily round trips between Seattle and Portland with maximum speeds of 110 (or 124?) mph. That would build enough ridership as a local service to build separate HSR - much like what's being done with the TGV Est.
Have they implemented the 110 mph plan yet? I certainly hope they construct real HSR, not a semi-HSR Acela service they have on the East Coast. I also heard that California was thinking about buying French TGVs...why can't we make our own???...
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Old October 21st, 2007, 08:12 AM   #1376
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Have they implemented the 110 mph plan yet? I certainly hope they construct real HSR, not a semi-HSR Acela service they have on the East Coast. I also heard that California was thinking about buying French TGVs...why can't we make our own???...
Read it!

No, the fastest we can currently go is 79mph, due to federal regulations.

All of this is linked to the state legislature doling out funds for particular projects, though. And none of this is as fast as Acela. We don't have the ridership built up to do service like Acela - it would be a field day for opponents if we built a service like that now, because none of the places it would serve have transit systems yet and ridership would be abysmal. It would quickly become the system to kill all future systems.

First, we need to pass Prop. 1 to help create ridership to fill up the existing four daily round trips between Seattle and Portland. It'll also help to get the second round trip running between Seattle and Vancouver BC (this will happen before the Olympics).

The next step is to do the Point Defiance Bypass project (in conjunction with Sound Transit's service to Lakewood), as that will provide our first segment of passenger only track. With track and signal improvements, the track between Nisqually and Lakewood could be operated at 90mph (or possibly 110mph) in the next decade. This is really key - that track is right next to I-5. Trains passing at even 90mph will make drivers much more aware of alternatives, and help build ridership naturally.

There is no way to do real HSR in our region without first having strong local service. Sounder is the base service, and Cascades creates a limited express service on top of that. Both of those are fledgling and need more round trips, and until we have more of our own (state-owned) right of way, that's dependent upon onerous agreements we have to scratch and claw out of BNSF.

If you want to help with this, make sure everyone you know votes for Prop. 1 - give them stamps, mail ballots for them, drag them to their polling places on the 6th. Sound Transit 2 will dramatically build ridership on Cascades by making the Tacoma and Seattle Amtrak stations accessible to a lot more people. Then start writing letters to your state legislators about funding the long range plan, and if there are projects listed that cities or counties might be able to help with, lobby for local partnerships to help WSDOT out.

If you really just want bullet trains right now, move to California and lobby for the real thing: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/
They can't build anything right now either, because the legislature and Governor are blocking them. Here, at least, we have a largely friendly state government.

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Old October 21st, 2007, 04:58 PM   #1377
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Is there a possibility of extending the Cascades to San Francisco? How do people get between Portland and Seattle? Do most drive? Are there flights? Take the Train? Greyhound Bus?

P.S. Sorry for all the questions .
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Old October 21st, 2007, 10:56 PM   #1378
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Is there a possibility of extending the Cascades to San Francisco? How do people get between Portland and Seattle? Do most drive? Are there flights? Take the Train? Greyhound Bus?

P.S. Sorry for all the questions .
I love these questions, because I know some of the answers!

There's currently an Amtrak service called the Coast Starlight to San Francisco. It's one of the Amtrak long-distance trains, so it's entirely funded by the federal government. That system, overall, can't improve on its own - Amtrak doesn't have lobbyists, they don't have any power to get track maintenance done, etc. - and the track in southern Oregon and northern California sucks. So no, Cascades would never be extended to SF unless we ended up with the right environment for private rail (or national rail funding).

Cascades is interesting. The Seattle to Portland trips are funded by the WA state government, and the Portland to Eugene trips (that's as far south as it goes) are funded by the OR government. Here's the timetable as it stands.

You can see that there are trains and there are bus connections. The goal right now is to get all those buses on the second page converted to trains, but that will require more capital investment (which is happening, slowly).

Regardless - most people drive. Some fly - most business travelers I'm aware of fly, simply because it's faster than driving. If you're going on a weekday, driving can take quite a long time - well over 3 hours is common.

The train takes 3:30 at the moment assuming no delays, and as trackwork continues, the number of delays is decreasing. For instance, the Steilacoom freight derailment a few days ago that blocked passenger service will be bypassed entirely by the Point Defiance Bypass project. Right now, what's blocking that project is the fact that construction costs have skyrocketed and nobody wants to let Sound Transit do the D to M street work in Tacoma with at-grade crossings. I think that's reasonable, but I think Tacoma needs to pony up the money for grade separation at this point.

There is Greyhound service, but it's subject to traffic just like driving, so basically only people with no other options use that. Flying is most common, but the WSDOT's corridor projects (and Link light rail) will very slowly shift that toward rail. Rail will eventually be faster - no security crap, no taxi time, and no taking an extra half hour on each end to get to the airport. That's why the TGV does so well in France.

Last edited by UrbanBen; October 21st, 2007 at 11:08 PM.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 02:19 AM   #1379
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There should be hourly trains to Portland, then Seattle and Portland could become like Sacremento and the Bay Area. One of the things that should have been included in ST2, is a light rail branch to Renton. I used to always take the bus (340) to Renton when I lived in Seattle.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 02:47 AM   #1380
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Our main setback: Low population? Or low support? Or low common sense among the people?
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