So over the last few weeks of thinking about transit in Seattle, I’ve been challenging myself to think: “Is there really a problem with transportation in Seattle and if so, what is it?”
This isn’t a rant – I’ll just share my mental experiences so far:
1. Like many problems, when I focused on it for a bit, I found I didn’t really think it was that bad of a problem. For all the expense of the solutions, I’m starting to think the problem is being overblown. In a lot of cases, doing nothing may be a better solution than doing something expensive and ineffective.
2. Walking and cycling are really nice ways to get around. It would be even nicer if you could walk and ride on paths without cars going past. Why not take every 4th street in Seattle neighborhoods and close it to traffic, reclaim the street as a pedestrian/cyclist boulevard. And how about getting more sidewalks in the city, once you look, it is amazing how many parts of town lack sidewalks.
3. Isn’t the problem too many cars? Shouldn’t any solution basically look to eliminate the use of cars by single drivers as a means of getting around the city. I think a lot of good ideas could come from gypsy cab services that pick up multiple passengers, bus stops that tell you when the next bus is coming, and entertainment and perks on transit (free newspapers in the morning, a cocktail and stand up comedy on the way home). What if all the flexcars were jaguars?
4. People have unreasonable expectations. How long should it take to get from Seward Park to Ballard? It’s over 10 miles. Is it reasonable to want to get there faster than 20 miles per hour? No. So plan on a half hour trip.
5. Going to a farmer’s market rules.
Try the experiment of cataloging your traffic woes. My bet is that the problem isn’t as bad as a lot of the rhetoric around the problem.