Nov 22 j-lon commented on What Kshama Sawant Can Learn from the Hamilton Fiasco.
@1: Can you explain further what you're getting at with your comment?
Nov 22 j-lon commented on What Kshama Sawant Can Learn from the Hamilton Fiasco.
This is a great piece that distills so many thoughts that have been swimming around in my head over the last year. Thanks for it.
Nov 21 j-lon commented on Doug Baldwin Is the Second Seahawks Player to Call for Change in Washington's State Law on Police Killings.
Baldwin seems like he'd be good in the political arena post-football.
Nov 14 j-lon commented on Seahawks Beat Trump-Supporting Patriots, So Why Isn’t Everything Better Now?.
@6: I'm with Spike. I'm not proud of it, as the election results are countless orders of magnitude worse than the Hawks' Super Bowl loss, but at an emotional level, it was similar for me as well. That loss stuck with me for a really long time. I had had months to invest emotionally in the team and their success, particularly since we had won the Super Bowl the year before. The idea that we were going to get to experience all that for a second time was intoxicating--kind of like the idea that we were heavily favored to elect our candidate president for the third straight time. I was fully expecting that I'd be celebrating an HRC victory last Tuesday night.

Having that pulled away at the last minute was emotionally crushing, and the closest analog I had from my recent personal experience, was the feeling I had after we lost the Super Bowl.

I have a friend who is a Patriots fan. The years the Patriots took an undefeated record into the Super Bowl and then lost to the Giants, he was similarly crushed. A bunch of my friends were joking around about it afterwards in an e-mail thread, and he wasn't having any of it, because he said it was too painful. That just made no sense to me at the time. But after that Pats/Hawks Super Bowl, I understood exactly how was feeling.

So judge us if you must, but maybe it's better to have a little bit more empathy and accept that we all process our grief using the tools we have on hand to make sense of it. And for some of us, a reference to a sporting event is one of the tools we sometimes use to do that.
Nov 7 j-lon commented on ST3 Is a War On the Expensive Individual.
@28 is right. The Tacoma and Everett extensions are about more than making Tacoma and Everett bedroom communities of Seattle. That being said, a 69 minute commute is perceived as quite reasonable to many people in other cities (e.g., Chicago area, NYC, Boston, etc). Wouldn't be my first choice. But as an area grows and housing gets more expensive, the cost benefit can change for people. If they have to choose a shorter commute or a larger home, better suited to their family, many decide to accept the longer commute.

Also, a 69 minute train commute is different than a 69 minute car commute, because you can potentially do other stuff during the ride and the timing is more consistent.

I already know 3-4 couples who have moved to Tacoma in the last 18 months, because the cost of housing is more reasonable down there. That trend is only going to accelerate, and a regular 69 minute train commute between Seattle and Tacoma will only make that move more appealing.

Beyond that, I'll be dead 50-60 years from now. But for those who are alive, I suspect that paying to maintain a comprehensive light rail system will be a far better problem to have than trying to get around our region without one.
Nov 5 j-lon commented on ST3 Is a War On the Expensive Individual.
Too many people here are looking at where the puck is right this minute rather than trying to skate to where the puck is going to be. This thing got screwed up in the 1970s when folks didn't vote for more transit. Now the traffic problem is coming home to roost.

I'm 53 y/o. My mom is 83 y/o. By the time many of these improvements are finished, I'll be her age and she'll be dead. But we both voted "yes" on ST3, because it's the right thing to do for our region long-term.

Particularly with rail, if you build it, then stuff is going to get built up around it. So you can't judge the usefulness of it based on what Fife or Everett looks like right now (more on that below).

That said, I also think it's a mistake to create false dichotomies between cars and trains, etc. The reality is that we're probably going to have a mix of modalities. For example, I think the electric bike is going to become a lot more popular for shorter trips and last mile connections to transit, especially inside the city of Seattle. Once you can go 15 mph easily with 25 mile range, there are a lot of trips where the electric bike is competitive with a car in terms of travel time, much easier to park, and cheaper to operate.

Nevertheless, imho, rail has an important role to play in that mix. An electric bike with a good rail system is much more useful than an electric bike without a rail system (or for that matter a rail system without an electric bike). The same is true of car sharing, services like Uber, driver-less cars, etc. They aren't necessarily one over the other. They have the possibility of being complimentary.

For example, a town in Florida has been subsidizing Uber rides for its residents to and from the light rail station (and I think within the town as well).…. We can debate whether that's a great idea or not. To my mind, it's definitely a neo-liberal solution to the problem, which I have mixed feelings about. On the other hand, finding creative ways to integrate the last mile with higher density trunk lines, like light rail, seems like an important problem we need to solve. It's telling that Uber has come out in favor of ST3, underscoring that it sees a future where its service and public transit can co-exist and thrive.

Unlike many people, I live in a neighborhood that's now had light rail since it opened. I don't use it all the time, and probably drive more than I should. But every time I do use it, I'm one less person driving my car. It's a great option to have. And every time new stations open, it's that much more useful to me (Link is such a great, stress-free way to get from Beacon Hill to Capitol Hill). Can't wait until I can ride it all the way to Northgate and out to Redmond or down to Federal Way.

Along the same lines, think about things like Seawhawks, Mariners, Sounders, and Husky games. Each time people choose to ride transit to the game, rather than driving into SODO, it leaves more room on the highway for all the people who aren't going to the game. And if it's an option for you, it's such an easier way to get there. You can get your drink on if you want, and not worry about drunk driving your car home to the suburbs.

Trust me, all of this will become a lot clearer once North Link and East Link are finished and more people get to start using it more regularly. But we can't wait until that stuff is finished to start funding the next phase. IMHO, we need to bite the bullet and make that happen now.

I was up on Everett not long ago, and it's just so obvious how much a rail connection up there would positively affect the future economic development of the town. From Seattle, it's easy to view Everett as kind of the outer periphery of things. But if the region continues to grow as it's been growing lately, this won't likely be the case 30 years from now.

If transit connectivity is good, all of a sudden, Everett isn't that far away. If businesses know that lot of workers to the south can easily get up there on the train, perhaps they choose to site their business there. And if people know that there is an efficient, relatively flexible, and predictable commute from Everett to Seattle, more people who work in Seattle will likely decide that Everett is a viable/affordable spot to live.The Sounder is great for what it is. But it doesn't run often enough to be the sort of flexible solution that would be useful to more people. It's really just for 9-5 commuters. Buses, on the other hand, without a dedicated right of way, lack reliability, when they are subject to most of the same traffic problems as cars.
Oct 31 j-lon commented on Destination: Angle Lake.
Looked at that place when we rode out there. Seemed like it could be worth trying. Nice to have that confirmed. I'll have to give it a try next time. With luck perhaps the new station will help its business moving forward....
Oct 30 j-lon commented on Seahawks Lose to New Orleans Saints, But Hate The Game, Not The Players.
In spite of the problems, Wilson looked like he had better mobility this week than the last couple of games. With luck, he's on the mend. If not, @1 is probably right. It could be a difficult ride.
Oct 26 j-lon commented on Rich Guy Insistent on Bringing Back the Sonics Finds a Way to Do It Without Public Money.

From WSJ article I linked to:

"It has until December to submit a rehabilitation plan to the bankruptcy court, which will then decide whether it can continue operating or be liquidated.

However, some analysts said the most likely scenario is that Hanjin will eventually be liquidated, marking one of the shipping industry’s biggest failures.

The company has reached out to European shipping majors and Korean peer Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. to sell assets, including five container ships and its stakes in seaport terminals around the world.

People involved in the process said Hyundai will be first in line to cherry-pick Hanjin’s ships and other assets. Both the Korean government and Hanjin’s main creditor, state-run Korea Development Bank, have said they would back Hyundai in buying Hanjin assets, provided such a move would help it stay competitive.

But analysts said Hanjin may find it hard to sell its assets, particularly its trans-Pacific network, to the largest ocean carriers because most of its network overlaps with the existing networks of those operators.

“The added overhead costs of a duplicated network and redundant vessels are the last things that carriers would buy at the moment, with container ship charter hires at historic lows and idle vessel capacity nearing an all-time high,” shipping industry monitor Alphaliner said in a report."

See the last paragraph above. Ship charter hires are at historic lows and idle vessel capacity is nearing an all-time high. So I wouldn't assume that big ass ships with a different name will necessarily park there, when many of those other big ass ships perhaps have a different place they are already parking.

The port made millions of dollars in improvement to Terminal 46 to entice Hanjin to stay there back in 2012. If the demand for port capacity was outweighing the supply, one doubts the port would have been compelled to do so. Too much shipping capacity is probably also at the root of the Hanjin bankruptcy. So I wouldn't assume that it will be business as usual there. Indeed, even prior to the Hanjin bankruptcy certain port insiders were speculating that improvements at Terminal 5 on Harbor Island would make eventually make container operations at Terminal 46 obsolete. Seems like the Hanjin situation could hasten that process:

"New, highly automated terminals planned for Harbor Island, Fick observes, will likely be able to handle virtually all of Seattle’s container traffic volume. Some insiders speculate that the increased efficiency could lead the alliance to shut down Terminal 46, near the SoDo-Stadium district, when Hanjin Shipping Co.’s lease ends in 2025. But Fick and the Port may have other plans for the area. Asked about Terminal 46, Fick says cautiously that he would more likely be a buyer than a seller.

The shrinking footprint of the seaport — Terminal 46 itself covers 82 acres — could open up more of the Port’s 4,024 acres. It’s the second-largest landholder in Seattle after the University of Washington. “What I’ve learned since I’ve been here is that my job is not just about running a financially successful port, but it’s about the economic development component,” says Fick. “It’s the job creation, workforce development and environmental stewardship.”"…