Pierce Transit's Recipe for Failure

Serving the Tacoma Mall and Outlying Exurbs at Great Expense to YOU!
posted Jun 29, 2010
Pierce Transit's Recipe for Failure: Options 1, Options 2 both suck
Sizes:   web  |  email  |  print

<< >>
When I need to make heads or tails of anything transit related I head over to my good friends at the Tacoma Tomorrow blog. I asked my close personal friend Chris Karnes point blank just what the hell is going on with these goddamn Pierce Transit buses with all this nonsense about OPTION THIS, OPTION THAT...
The outlying exurbs have been really whiny - wanting service that isn't cost effective, while at the same time spewing anti-tax rhetoric. PT staff is pandering to them while cutting off Proctor from SAMI/Point Defiance and reducing service to UPS (which is getting Zipcar service soon). They're also proposing fifteen minute service on S 112th St. adjacent to horse pasture. The transit centers are supposed to stay, the Tacoma Maul's is an urban eyesore and makes it impossible to complete a transit grid system for the city. 
There's plenty more material.

Shuttle service costs $40/ride, but service on Route 1 (Pac and 6th ave) only costs $2.25/ride.

Why in (if god was real) god's green Earth are we even talking about reduced service to all the good, worth-getting-to parts of Tacoma? Point Defiance is being shafted for some horse-pasture in East Bumblefuk, WA!? And what is it with the hardon for shuttle service out in hillbilly farm country?  If the throughly silly quality of life afraid of drugdealers argument is the reason "REAL AMERICA"  chooses to live out in the sticks, by golly they should suffer the consequences of their lifestyle choices--NO BUS SERVICE FOR YOU!

Previously on the Tacomic

by jenyum on 6/29/2010 @ 8:31am
Very grim and wrathful. I like it.

by fredo on 6/29/2010 @ 8:46am
The current problems at Pierce Transit are partially attributable to the desire to serve the outlying suburbs as your drawing so wonderfully illustrates. However, PT does collect sales taxes within these service areas so they have a reasonable expectation of some service.

A bigger factor IMO is the runaway salaries and benefits for PT workers. PT refuses to control costs and this problem if unaddressed will eventually unravel any 'option' the public selects.

If your drawing had 2 twin babies in the cart,one labeled Exurbs, and one labeled Transit Workers Union it would have been better. But it was fun to look at.

by Erik on 6/29/2010 @ 8:48am
Great Urbanist Tacomic analysis.

Why Pierce Transit thinks that they need to subsidize suburban sprawl to transport people in remote areas of the county through taxing people is a mystery.

The exurbs transportation model employed by Pierce Transit is harmful to the environment, causes sprawl, is a waste of precious tax dollars and contrary to efforts to try to have some sort of regional growth planning.

Tacomic reference.

by NineInchNachos on 6/29/2010 @ 9:02am
I could have probably worked in a little yapping purse dog gnawing on a femur bone to satisfy Fredo's Transit Union quip but was too spiritually exhausted to go there.

Also forgot to link to exit133's contribution to the Pierce Transit 'good urbanist' debate:

by Jesse on 6/29/2010 @ 9:06am
So... when you move to, say, Graham you don't know that is car dependant and need bus service? That's laughable. Move in closer to town!!

by Nick on 6/29/2010 @ 9:14am
Why doesn't PT implement a policy similar to Sound Transit's subarea equity but with just two subdivisions? Make two districts, one for Tacoma (the county seat), and one for the rest of Pierce county.

Then allocate a proportionate amount of resources relative to the amount of tax and fare revenue raised in each. This would avoid too much fragmentation (if we divide up too much, what's the point of a county-wide transit system?).

That gives the most dense part of the county the best transit, encouraging inward growth rather than outward sprawl.

by NineInchNachos on 6/29/2010 @ 9:20am
sounds good to me Nick.

by tacoma1 on 6/29/2010 @ 9:29am
Your on the right track here actually. I don't know if PT does that exactly, but obviously not all suburbs are created equal. For example, Puyallup (thanks to the South Hill Mall, their auto row on river road, and a billion strip malls) provides a huge chunk of tax revenue for PT. Milton, Roy, Yelm, NE Tacoma, not so much in the way of tax revenues. Then, if you look at the PT Tomorrow website, the growth alternative favors Puyallup, and Tacoma, the suburbs get very little service.

And as to Eric's assertion that transit creates sprawl, thats just blatantly not true. Transit may service sprawl, but the sprawl got there first. Highways, freeways, and automobiles cause sprawl. For heavens sake, what came first, Gig Harbor, the highway and bridge to Gig Harbor, or the bus to Gig Harbor?

If anyone needs help with that answer, it's the highway and bridge, ok maybe technically, a boat 100 years ago, but then the highway and bridge, then another bridge cuz that one fell down, then a whole lot of people in traffic jams, then anudder bridge, and a bus got squeezed in somewhere in the middle.

by morgan on 6/29/2010 @ 9:41am
It would almost appear that there is a conspiracy to bring Tacoma down to it's knees. The case can certainly be made - as I witnessed last week while lost in Puyallup's South Hill - that Pierce County's suburban growth has come at the expense of Tacoma's growth. Will Pierce County leaders ever say "no" to more suburban development? Doubtful. Not as long as suburban developers and contractors are buddies with our elected officials - ie

by NineInchNachos on 6/29/2010 @ 10:00am
what a horrifying link morgan, Thanks!

by NineInchNachos on 6/29/2010 @ 10:13am
would that be an example of green-washing?

by TacomanTime on 6/29/2010 @ 11:12am
The last seen news on Cascadia:

by Chris.Tacoma on 6/29/2010 @ 11:15am
Let's get one thing straight: There is NO "growth" alternative. Pierce Transit is proposing a no net change alternative that is roughly the same number of service hours we had before the 5% service cuts last year. That alternative requires a 0.3% sales tax increase, which is the maximum of Pierce Transit's general taxing authority. [So after they have this money, they don't ever have to go to the voters again!] For the duration of the recession we have been living off of reserve funds.

The Portland Frequent Service Map - Every 15 Minutes or Less

The real problem in Tacoma is HOW ROUTING, TIMING, and CONNECTIONS are CONFIGURED. In Portland, they have used a FREQUENT GRID SYSTEM since 1983. In a nutshell, this configuration enables connections to be made on the street! Passengers making trips on this system have access to goods and services in compact, mixed use areas, in addition to access to their commute destinations. Since 1986, this system has grown and helped to funnel passengers to the regional light rail system that has been growing ever since.

Conversely, Pierce Transit has been using an outmoded hub-and-spoke timed transfer system and the Commerce St. transfer area. The transit centers - especially the Tacoma Mall, are in crummy locations. They are surrounded by parking lots, chain link fences, five lane roads, and they are devoid of any human-supportive goods or services. A transfer area in the Lincoln District would make loads more sense.

But we never got to have that discussion about what an ideal transit system in Tacoma would be, and what it would take to get there. There isn't a dime in this plan for light rail. Not a dime for planning for light rail. There isn't any money for bus rapid transit. There isn't any money for bike stations in the mixed use centers. There wasn't even a focus on bus service in the mixed use centers. I can't believe that this will be the second time in ten years that Pierce Transit will be going to the voters, while offering us very little in return for higher sales taxes.

by jenyum on 6/29/2010 @ 11:44am
So well put, Chris.

A week ago I said I'd probably hold my nose and vote for it anyway, but you know what? I don't think so. Come back to the voters with a real plan that actually provides improved service and I'll vote for it.

by NineInchNachos on 6/29/2010 @ 12:09pm
Hi Gang, looks like I got some of this cartoon wrong...

An anonymous transit expert (May or May-not be C.K.) offers me his honest criticism:

"The depiction of the outer suburbs is spot-on. Is PT dead? I don't know. Would that situation be desirable? I think it should be seriously considered. There hasn't been any polling done, but my guess is that if the Board tries for a November ballot, they're not going to get an OK from the voters.

The Tacoma Mall in the comic should actually be the Pierce Transit Board, since it's they who are allowing this all to happen. The Tacoma Mall abhors 'bus people,' one reason why the transfer area can't get any closer to the mall.

Great work, as usual." ~ ANONYMOUS EXPERT

I shall double my efforts in the future! Thank you my friends.

by NineInchNachos on 6/29/2010 @ 12:21pm
I would also like to comment about the spiritually toxic environment of the Commerce Pierce Transit station downtown. Boe tried to imagine an improvement, but is still crappy.

Remember when commerce was shut down for work on the light rail track and all the buses started using pacific as temporary picup/dropoffs ? What an amazing difference that was. It was like a dream world wholly different city. So nice.

by Nick on 6/29/2010 @ 1:12pm
.... also just a random thought about cutting routes in Tacoma versus cutting suburban routes, check this out:

Route 1:
1.75 Fare (per person)
2.54 Cost (per person)
-0.79 loss (per person)

Route 409:
1.75 Fare (per person)
7.49 Cost (per person)
-5.74 loss (per person)

Now, every time we shift the funding balance in favor of a suburban route like the 409 we get a fraction (in this case, 1/8th) the benefit we were getting with an urban counterpart like the 1.

Granted, it's just another way to look at what we already know. But interesting nonetheless.

by fredo on 6/29/2010 @ 2:53pm
Nick, good analysis from a cost accounting POV.

You know, the subsidization that taxpayers have to pay on an ongoing basis is really troubling. It's bad enough that the taxpayers bought all these vehicles, trained all the drivers, established and paid for a huge transit complex and service facility and got the system off and running. Why do we continue to have to subsidize the riders? When I see a transit rider taking a $13 bus ride by paying a $2 fare I'm reminded of the occasion when I see a 5 year old child still attached to his mother's teat.

by Maria on 6/29/2010 @ 3:24pm
I'm all for higher density in urban areas...but those of us who don't live in the downtown core are paying taxes to Pierce Transit. I certainly don't expect the same level of service, but if we're being taxed, we should get some benefit. Else why include us in their taxation district?

Not everyone wants to live in the city or can live in the city. Why the anger/angst against those who live outside the urban core? Not a fan myself of cookie cutter developments, but to each his/her own. How does their choice to live outside city limits equate with no bus service/transit options? Next we get no electricity because we're so far from the substation? And then...send us back to dial up?

So we're saying all the seniors, immigrants, young people, disabled folks, veterans, limited income folks that live away from hipster central get no buses?

I don't see what's the problem in having a regional transit system, even serving us hillbillies (hillbillys? hillsbillies? hillbilli?) out in the sticks.

They do it in Europe...even 20-50 miles from the city, there's fantastic bus and train systems. They don't run every 15 minutes, though, it may be once an hour.

Also our expectations that public transit should be profitable or self-funded might be unrealistic. As far as I know, in Europe, Asia and Australia, the trains and buses are heavily subsidized. It's considered part of the cost of society, like fire departments or health care or good chocolate. More good chocolate, more buses/trains! Down with Hershey's and transit budget cuts!!!

by fredo on 6/29/2010 @ 4:57pm
"As far as I know, in Europe, Asia and Australia, the trains and buses are heavily subsidized. It's considered part of the cost of society", Maria

We might want to proceed cautiously if we are looking to adopt the European transit models. Some of those countries are facing bankruptcy in large part due to heavy socialization costs. If transit is so great, and everyone seems to agree that it is, then why don't we charge the riders the cost of the trip? What is so unfair about this? It is more fair, by definition, than transferring the expense for someone else to pay.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/29/2010 @ 5:34pm
I proposed a solution in Fredo's earlier "What to do about Pierce Transit" topic.
I will reprint it here, as others (like Nick) seem to be barking up the same tree I did 2 weeks ago.


Part of the problem is that pretty much no public transit system can function on its own. I know I'm generalizing, and I know that somewhere there is a transit system that is self-sustaining.
Regardless, I'm speaking in regard to 99% of public transit systems. Pretty much all of them require some sort of state/federal assistance to keep functioning. As such, they are ran like a government organization, not like a business. As such, things like "budgets", "good fiscal policy" and "basic business sense" don't apply.

Fact is, the 2010 census will show somewhere around 825,000 people in Pierce County, with somewhere around 440,000 of them in incorporated areas. We can't exactly cut off 600,000 people from service, so we need to be smarter about how public transit operates.

So, here are some ideas I have. None would work solo, but could work in tandem.

Cutting salary is one thing to do. It sucks to lose pay, but I think 99% of people would rather lose $1.50 an hour rather than their job. Employee contributions to retirement and healthcare need to go up OR the benefits have to be decreased. Again, it's a question of less in your pocket or nothing in your pocket.

Since heavily traveled routes are cheaper to run than fringe routes, I propose scaled pricing and service. Without cutting the number of routes, you could instead change frequencies and costs. Read on:
Firstly, raise the fare to a "base" of $2.
The "trunk" routes can be priced at $1.75 still, and feature the same level of service, possibly expanding to 24 hrs on some. Since they are the heaviest-used routes, encourage more ridership on them.
The "Urban Routes" can be scaled from $2 to $2.50 depending on the amount of ridership. The #16 and #48 might be $2 and the #10 might be $2.25. The more popular routes can retain the same level of service, less popular ones can go down in frequency.
The "Suburban" routes can be scaled from $2.50 to $5. The most used routes can maintain a fairly frequent level of service, but the farther you go out, the frequency and cost rapidly change.

It's important in this equation to do a few things.
1) Get whatever "free" federal and state monies you can, and make ST keep their end of the bargain (for once) and begin the work to start replacing the "trunk" routes with streetcars. Electric streetcars cost less to operate, and would free up buses. drivers and some $ for other routes.
2) CLEARLY explain why this is going on and how it was calculated.
3) Make it WELL KNOWN to everyone that the way to get more service and lower fares is to use the bus more.
4) on some sort of regular basis, PT needs to analyze and adjust rates/frequency as needed. If people see a positive feedback, they're more likely to act. "More people have been riding the #409, so we're lowering the fare to $3 and adding two extra runs per day".
5) Create "commuter routes" from outlying areas that run at specific times. Example: commuter routes that run from Gig Harbor to downtown from 6 am to 8 am and then 4 pm to 6 pm. Set the cost at the base for the commuter routes.
6) Create an "Urban extension" program. The 5 largest cities in the county (in order: Tacoma [205K], Lakewood [60k], Puyallup [40k], UP [33k], Bonney Lake[18k]) will all get "urban routes" at the $2 to $2.50 range. Bonney Lake may only get one or two that service it's densest areas. Puyallup and Lakewood might get three or four. Obviously T-Town would have the lion's share. The actual number will have to be determined based on density, ridership, population, etc.
*This "Urban extension" program would serve to provide decent service to the largest cities in the county and to encourage more ridership. When you have cheaper service in the denser parts of your town, you're more likely to use it than a higher cost route that covers a lot of area.

by Erik on 6/29/2010 @ 10:06pm
Why the anger/angst against those who live outside the urban core?

Because suburban sprawl is destructive.

Watch the promo to End of Suburbia

The last thing government should be doing is taxing people to perpetuate an already bad situation.

and Kunstler on the Tragedy of Suburbia:

by Maria on 6/29/2010 @ 11:00pm
Thanks Erik, I've read a lot about it (I'm an Evergreen graduate) and also urban planning issues come up in my work. I agree, at least, in part that some (maybe even most) suburban sprawl involves poor design planning. But, not everyone wants to live in a city though, or out in the country. That pretty much leaves suburbs (or small towns) as the in-between choice.

What are the options for people who want to have land, grow food, have fruit trees? I lived in Seattle for almost four years in the U District. It was okay, we had a decent size yard. But the noise...pollution...crime...lack of stars...traffic...parking issues...etc.

I love Tacoma, don't get me wrong. Living within walking distance to the Grand Cinema would be perfect for me. But I like to be near the woods and ocean. I do drive a car though when I need to get places, and often that place is Tacoma.

The bus issue doesn't affect me so much because I have a car and also I telecommute. I'm thinking more along the lines of vulnerable populations such as seniors, low income folks, minimum wage earners, youths, etc.

Perhaps a combination of raising fares, adding a surcharge zone for outlying areas, reducing service, trimming the budget and-- gasp--slightly raising taxes might allow at least skeletal service to the sticks, plus maintaining city-wide bus service.

by Jesse on 6/30/2010 @ 7:56am
I agree with Maria that urban living isn't for everyone but you can't expect a bus to go right by your front door when you live on the south side of Fox Island... or wherever else that's "out there".

Cities should be ammenity rich so people will want to live there. In my book, that includes great transit as well as a myriad of other things.

by NineInchNachos on 6/30/2010 @ 8:03am
Yes. If you live off-grid don't expect on-grid services. stop the madness.

by fredo on 6/30/2010 @ 8:11am
We should be able to use computing power to determine the exact cost of any trip.

Example: A one mile trip along a common route in Tacoma shouldn't cost more than 25 cents or so. Perhaps a trip to the end of any urban line would be $2.00. A trip from Lakewood to Gig Harbor might be $19.

Now start charging the exact price of the trip when the passenger boards the bus. If we determine as a society that we want to apply a subsidization of 50%, then charge half of exactly what the trip costs.

Pretty soon we will have enough data to determine where the busses should be running and how often.

Maybe we shouldn't be running regular routes to the south side of Fox Island, OTOH if there are a few passengers out there who willingly and frequently pay $30 or $40 per trip maybe that's a route that people value.

by Nick on 6/30/2010 @ 8:41am

I don't think it's so much angst as it is just a recognition that it's expensive to support the suburban way of living. There's absolutely nothing wrong with *not* wanting to live in a downtown core.

Living in the countryside or in a suburb where life can be a bit less hectic is a great way to live. The problem is it's expensive, and the way things are currently set up, those that choose to live that way aren't paying the true cost.

by Nick on 6/30/2010 @ 8:50am
It feels like we're reaching a point where suburban and urban service costs are so disparate, it's no longer making sense to group them into the same boat.

by tacoma1 on 6/30/2010 @ 9:19am
@ Chris.Tacoma
Maybe I was a little confused here. I thought that PT had plans for BRT on Pacific Ave, but now that I've gone back and read the plans again, in addition to the normal route 1 service, they are proposing adding an express service (1X with limited stops).

So the .3% only gets us back to where we were, no forward progress? That's dissapointing.

by fredo on 6/30/2010 @ 9:55am
That's dissapointing. tacoma1

Worse than disappointing. Its an attempt to sustain that which can not be sustained. It is not possible to increase the cost of a service in a deflationary environment. Even if the tax increase passes, the union and management will be back in another year or two for another increase. Bureaucracies have an insatiable appetite.

by ixia on 6/30/2010 @ 10:04am
fedo: "If transit is so great, and everyone seems to agree that it is, then why don't we charge the riders the cost of the trip?"
Considering the cost of free parking, or parking in general, health issues, combined with effects of producing gasoline, I would guess that cars - especially in America - are subsidized much heavier than transit. Never mind the social costs from having to appease nations like Saudi Arabia for their oil. We might not remember, but 15 of the 9-11 attackers were Saudi nationals (none of them from Iraq). Okay, I paint a big picture. We must consider all costs that go into limitless personal mobility.

by NineInchNachos on 6/30/2010 @ 10:14am
yes the true cost of riding the bus is baby food peanuts compared to the cosmic horrors that are hidden in automobile subsidy.

I am excited to help LeMay Museum be the educational tool we so desperately need.

by NineInchNachos on 6/30/2010 @ 10:16am
the LeMay Gloworm will come to symbolize enlightenment (whether intended or not).

by Maria on 6/30/2010 @ 11:16am
If they cut service to outlying areas, I suggest Pierce Transit change their name to Tacoma Transit. :)

When I'm thinking of outlying areas, I'm not picturing Longbranch or Eatonville...I'm talking about Parkland, Lakewood & South Hill. There comes a point where it is too far to send buses...even the county recognizes this and doesn't provide sewer service (or even paved roads) to many outlying areas.

Do we currently have zones in Tacoma? It should cost more to get to Steilacoom than 6th Ave.

by The Jinxmedic on 6/30/2010 @ 12:00pm
Grub worm.

by ixia on 6/30/2010 @ 12:41pm
car larva

by fredo on 6/30/2010 @ 12:53pm
"I would guess that cars - especially in America - are subsidized much heavier than transit" ixia

That's funny I would guess that transit, especially in America is subsidized much heavier than cars.

There's been a lot of evidence on this thread about the size of the subsidy provided to transit riders. It seems to range from about 60% to 90% depending on the fare paid and the route traveled. I challenge anyone to show that car owners recieve a subsidy greater than this. And don't try including the defense budget or the petroleum industry because transit is just as dependent on these infrastructures as the auto is. The parking subsidy and the health subsidy? That's stretching it a bit don't you think? You mean we don't provide health services to the fat people who ride the bus instead of walking? We don't provide a place for transit workers to park and for transit operators to park the busses? Someone please provide an account of the subsidies that auto owners enjoy that are not also enjoyed by transit riders.

I'm waiting.

by NineInchNachos on 6/30/2010 @ 1:08pm
the biodiversity of the gulf is paying a heavy price right now on behalf of (as lemay would have it) america's love affair with the automobile.

How much is a million year old turtle species worth? Can we put a price tag on that?


by fredo on 6/30/2010 @ 2:11pm
biodiversity of the gulf is paying a heavy price right now on behalf of (as lemay would have it) america's love affair with the automobile. nachos

I wasn't aware that transit systems didn't use oil

A thousand apologies.

Say, lets FT bloggers put our collective heads together and see if we can discover which President appointed the current Secretary of the Interior whose job it is to oversee the development and production of offshore oil. If we could discover the name of the President we might be getting somewhere with assigning responsibility.

Regarding the environmental impacts of oil production I would suggest that world overpopulation is at least as big of a problem as the auto. If there were only a million people on the earth we could all drive around in semi truck sized automobiles running on high sulphur deisel and there wouldn't be a speck of environmental degradation.

by NineInchNachos on 6/30/2010 @ 2:34pm
The link light rail doesn't use oil. clean WA hydropower!

are you saying there should be less people so we can have more cars while pinning the gulf spill on obama? You should check yourself in to western' for a mental evaluation.

by ixia on 6/30/2010 @ 2:49pm
Americans are acting like there is only a million. We burn a quarter of resources worldwide. A thousand apologies.....
Health issues as in mangled and maimed bodies after car crashes, fredo. And breathing polluted air.

by fredo on 6/30/2010 @ 2:59pm
You should check yourself in to western' for a mental evaluation.

LOL, I thought you knew I was corresponding from Western now. I share a cell here with some crackpot inventor dude from Alaska. Guys' completely whack.

Say what does link light rail have to do with transit? Are you talking about that line which takes people from the Winthrop Apartments to the City Mission for lunch and then back again? That's a good use for our limited hydo electricity capacity.

by fredo on 6/30/2010 @ 3:04pm
Health issues as in mangled and maimed bodies after car crashes, fredo. And breathing polluted air.

Ixia would you like some links that describe the bodies of people killed in transit accidents? And transit uses oil, how do you think rubber tires are manufactured, by boiling down the carcasses of unicorns?

by JesseHillFan on 6/30/2010 @ 3:04pm
I'd have a difficult time transporting 9 desktop PC's,a months worth of groceries,or some 2 by 4's on a bus.
Here is one argument against Urbanicity

by NineInchNachos on 6/30/2010 @ 3:25pm
if you're hauling computers and 2x4's and a month's worth of provisions all the time then you're probably a terrorist. You should report yourself to the proper FEMA re-education camp ASAP.

by JesseHillFan on 6/30/2010 @ 4:14pm
No RR that would be the monthly provisions of Nitric Acid,Sulfuric Acid,Glycerine,some dry ice and a secondary supply of dichlorethylsulfide /Sarcasm

by The Jinxmedic on 6/30/2010 @ 4:59pm
those poor unicorns.... :-(

by ixia on 6/30/2010 @ 5:14pm
Effeciency and safety are wastly different between mass transit and single driver hummer dudes. Very basic common sense is out of reach for fredo.

by fredo on 6/30/2010 @ 5:43pm
I'm not sure what you mean by "wastly" different, Ixia but you don't need a lot of common sense to discover that when transit drivers don't pay attention the results are much worse that the worst single driver hummer accident.

Take a look here:

by ixia on 6/30/2010 @ 6:05pm
By vastly I mean tens of thousand compared to tens of deaths per year. But you are impenetrable to reason or fact.
traffic fatalities 2008
cars: 14,587
bicyclists struck by cars: 716
light trucks: 10,764
large trucks: 677
motorcyclists: 5,290
recreational boating: 709
bus (including school bus): 67
rail: 68
(bureau of transportation statistics)

by fredo on 6/30/2010 @ 6:55pm
There were no deaths by pogo stick in 2008 so I guess pogo stick is even safer than transit.

Also you didn't say vastly you said WASTLY

by ixia on 6/30/2010 @ 8:29pm
I also said effeciency
bite me

by fredo on 6/30/2010 @ 9:01pm
Is it really that surprising that highway fatalities are more closely linked to automobiles than any other vehicle type?

The distribution of cars on the highway versus transit vehicles is probably 1000 to 1 or greater.

by Mofo from the Hood on 6/30/2010 @ 9:41pm
Cars don't kill people. People kill people.

Boiling down the carcasses of unicorns was outlawed in 1982.

by L.S.Erhardt on 6/30/2010 @ 11:06pm

by NineInchNachos on 7/1/2010 @ 8:24am
how dare you post that kangaroo on my thread. NEVER AGAIN!

by The Jinxmedic on 7/1/2010 @ 8:37am
Those poor kangaroos... :-(

by tacoma1 on 7/1/2010 @ 8:43am
Any fat kangaroos out there should check this npr piece out.

by NineInchNachos on 7/1/2010 @ 9:00am
oh hell ya

by jenyum on 7/1/2010 @ 9:51am
MacDonald, a criminologist, says it's important to create safe and attractive environments linking home, work and transit stops.

"The built environment can constrain or facilitate physical activity," he says.

Just think about 10th and Commerce or the Tacoma Mall transit center...

by morgan on 7/1/2010 @ 10:21am
Maybe it's time we did what they did in the 1930s - only in reverse: replace buses with streetcars.

by tacoma1 on 7/1/2010 @ 11:27am
It certainly is time to add them. If PT implodes upon itself, I believe that Tacoma has the politcal will to get street cars done. Even if PT gets a sales tax passed, I believe that Tacoma has the politcal will to get streetcars funded too.

Ideally, our city needs to get to the point where we fund enough transit so that it is feasible for the average two car family to easily become a one car family. So that our teenagers can move around the city without needing to borrow mom and dad's car. And so young adults just starting their career can move the hell out of the house and live on their own in our fair city without having to buy a car to get around.

Yes 10th and Commerce and the T Mall transit centers suck. I avoid both of them like the plague.

by NineInchNachos on 7/1/2010 @ 1:18pm

let your mind go, and your body will follow.

by fredo on 7/1/2010 @ 1:34pm
"our city needs to get to the point where we fund enough transit so that it is feasible for the average two car family to easily become a one car family". tacoma1

Well, we could be at that point tomorrow if Transit Drivers would agree to reasonable modifications in their employment contracts and if transit riders would agree to pay a substantial portion of the cost of their trip. Apparently our society has determined that high employment costs and low tranist fares are the over riding priorities. Therefore, route expansion must be sacrificed.

by Non Sequitur on 7/1/2010 @ 1:50pm
Funny thing is, the first 3 panels are also required to acquire the raw materials, manufacture, transport and install solar panels, wind turbines and to build hydro dams and nuclear reactors.

by NineInchNachos on 7/1/2010 @ 2:13pm
not if we all lived in tipis

by The Jinxmedic on 7/1/2010 @ 2:40pm
I'm rather partial to Yurts, actually.

by Maria on 7/1/2010 @ 4:27pm
Not related to the bus issue, but this (see link below) is good news in reducing dependence on oil.

In any case, transportation issues in the Northwest & US are going to be best solved in a Korean small dish approach, with small plates of electric vehicles, efficient bus service, light rail, enhanced walkability, bike paths, urban infill, carpool lanes, etc. etc. For years to come, private vehicles will still be the rice, but even small percentage gains in greener options will benefit the environment, foreign policy and more livable communities.

Washington state officials plan to make the Interstate 5 corridor a focal point in emerging green technology, as the governor's office this week unveiled a plan to install electric vehicle charging stations along the freeway.

The "Electric Highway" project, funded by $1.3 million in federal stimulus money, calls for the construction of charging stations at set intervals over the length of I-5 in Washington...

by fredo on 7/1/2010 @ 5:40pm
good post maria. wonder if there will be some way we can drive Marty Campbells golf carts on the freeway someday. Now with the recharging stations it's becoming a distinct possibility

by jenyum on 7/1/2010 @ 6:01pm
There's some hope for electric cars. Tesla's IPO did OK this week, although it did slip today:

Still, their "affordable" car will (someday) be the Model S, which at 50K is going to be a bit of a specialty item. At least it can seat a family. Other electric cars like Smart electricdrive, etc aren't much of an option for anyone who might need to transport kids.

I hope but feel a little skeptical that private enterprise is really up to the task of gearing up to produce affordable electric vehicles without some very substantial public investment.

by NineInchNachos on 7/6/2010 @ 12:15pm
see all the cool details in this Tacomic? now compare that with the stark nature of Milt's cartoon on the same subject:

the people of Feed Tacoma really are getting more bang for their buck. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CARTOONISTS!

by jenyum on 7/16/2010 @ 4:32pm

In response to a general thumbs down to their first "growth" proposal, Pierce Transit today released the details of their new proposed "preservation alternative," which would, in exchange for a slight tax increase, preserve and improve service in key areas of the city including the North end and downtown.

Read more:

by jenyum on 7/16/2010 @ 4:40pm
Also on Tacoma Tomorrow: