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  #1  
Old Posted Aug 12, 2017, 7:40 PM
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Booming Seattle Is Adding Cars Just As Fast As People

Booming Seattle Is Adding Cars Just As Fast As People


August 8, 2017

By Gene Balk

Read More: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-...ast-as-people/

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You already know that Seattle is growing like crazy. In fact, with a surge of newcomers, Seattle debuted last year on the list of the 10 most densely populated big cities in the U.S. What you may not know is that the city has added cars at the same rate as people.

- Our car “population” hit 435,000, all crammed into the city’s 84 square miles of land area. That pencils out, in case you’re wondering, to 5,185 cars per square mile. If you ranked major U.S. cities by density of cars instead of people, Seattle would place fifth. Another way to look at it: For every 1,000 city residents, there are 637 cars here. Among the 10 most densely populated big cities, Seattle easily has the most cars per capita — even more than Los Angeles. --- Compared with other big-city dwellers, Seattleites are a car-dependent bunch. We fret a lot here about turning into the next San Francisco, but when it comes to car ownership, we’ve got nothing to worry about. The City by the Bay has 160,000 more people than Seattle, but about 50,000 fewer vehicles.

- It’s not that surprising when you consider Seattle’s history, says Mark Hallenbeck, director of the Washington State Transportation Center at the University of Washington. “Seattle is a relatively new city, so it tends to be built around the car. It was after World War II that most of the major growth took place here,” he said. “A lot of the city is suburban.” Indeed, about half of Seattle is zoned exclusively for single-family homes, according to the city. --- To be fair, there are some signs of change when it comes to car ownership. Back in May, I spoke with Hallenbeck about data showing carless households are now increasing at a faster rate than those with cars, reversing a trend going back many decades. In that sense, at least, Seattle may have passed “peak car.” But even if car-owning households aren’t growing as fast, they’re still growing. And so the raw number of cars in the city continues to climb.

- Requiring developers to include off-street parking in new apartment buildings isn’t a good solution. It adds tremendously to the cost of construction, which in turn raises rents — and higher rents are the last thing Seattle needs. So does continued population growth mean ever more cars in Seattle’s driveways, garages and streets? Hallenbeck thinks at some point that the total number of cars will level off, but we’re not there yet. --- “It’s a function of density and the nature of development that takes place,” he said. “Right now, growth in Seattle is going to bring more cars except in those few areas where owning a car makes no sense.” --- In Seattle — unlike, say, New York — the benefits still outweigh the costs and the hassle for many people. And Seattle is an increasingly affluent city. A lot of folks can afford to own a car for convenience and weekend getaways more than out of true necessity.

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Old Posted Aug 12, 2017, 9:34 PM
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a free-range chicken in every pot, a 4wd subaru in every driveway.

but, we're real sustainable.

that's the Pacific northwest for you..
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Old Posted Aug 12, 2017, 10:47 PM
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Adding them, but not necessarily driving them. Commute mode splits have been improving substantially.

Also that "no vehicles" rate is up quite a bit for a city that's also tilting toward higher incomes.
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Old Posted Aug 13, 2017, 5:35 PM
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Would be interesting to see how all the other major cities rate... I imagine it would offer some perspective.
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Old Posted Aug 14, 2017, 5:08 PM
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the northwest would be a good place for enclosed motorcycles. only cars get shipped to tacoma so we dont have a choice.
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Old Posted Aug 15, 2017, 5:16 PM
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The not-so-secret trick to cutting solo car commutes: Charge for parking by the day

Read More: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-...ng-by-the-day/

Quote:
Charging for parking by the day, not by the month, is one of the most powerful tools that employers have to spur their employees not to drive alone to work. Spurred by state law, Seattle-area employers have seen big results in keeping cars off the road.

- Funded by the world’s richest man, the Gates Foundation has plenty of resources to devote to altering its employees’ commuting habits. All employees get free ORCA transit cards, there are immaculate locker rooms and bike-storage areas, and employees get a financial incentive — $3 a day — for choosing any alternative transportation. But the single biggest factor in reducing solo car commuting, the Gates Foundation found, doesn’t cost the foundation or its employees any additional money and is easily replicable at workplaces that have fewer resources to devote to the issue. No more monthly parking fees. Charge daily instead.

- Every employee, from the CEO down, pays $12 a day to park in the Gates Foundation garage. Fees are capped at the neighborhood’s market rate — $120 a month. So, the first 10 days a month that an employee drives alone cost $12 each; every day the rest of the month is free. But thinking about that daily rate, 12 bucks a day, rather than a monthly cost built into your budget, has a big impact on commuters. The Gates Foundation has more than 700 parking spots, between its own garage and spaces it leases. On a typical day, fewer than half of them get used. “Daily parking, it really is very impactful,” said Bree Moore, transportation administrator for the Gates Foundation.

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Old Posted Aug 15, 2017, 10:58 PM
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Not surprising. There isn't much in the way of public transportation and no American city is going to build that from scratch in this day and age.
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Old Posted Aug 15, 2017, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
Not surprising. There isn't much in the way of public transportation and no American city is going to build that from scratch in this day and age.
I believe that's partly wrong distrust. Whenever they're really convinced that anything, whatever is truly in their own interest, they're surprisingly fast to make it bigger...

The challenge is only to convince them, and I'm sure both of our countries (France and the UK) hold seriously responsibility in there.
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  #9  
Old Posted Aug 16, 2017, 4:26 AM
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We have voted about $70 billion in local transit expansion funding in recent years....
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Old Posted Aug 16, 2017, 4:40 AM
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Seattle got into the rapid transit game very late and so sprawl patterns had already been set. Seattle is also a very wealthy city so car purchases for many is relatively easy.

The problem is still unique to the US.........public transit is seen as a poor and black option and, unlike other countries, transit is seen as a social service and not a critical public service.
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Old Posted Aug 25, 2017, 3:08 AM
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Ridership per capita, urban areas, 2011

New York 224.2
San Francisco 130.2
Washington 105.7
Boston 95.4
Chicago 75.1
Philadelphia 65.9
Seattle 62.9
Los Angeles 54.8
Miami 29.7

https://www.bts.gov/archive/publicat...12/table_04_03

Metropolitan areas, transit mode share change, 2000-2010

New York +3.3%
Washington +2.8
Seattle +1.2
San Francisco +0.8
Philadelphia +0.7
Los Angeles +0.6
Boston +0.6
Miami +0.3
Chicago -0.1

http://www.newgeography.com/content/...ends-2000-2010

I don't think it's fair to single out Seattle for car dependence or lack of transit, even just looking at these places only and nowhere else in the US.
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Old Posted Aug 25, 2017, 3:36 AM
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Seattle has always had less transit mode share than the obvious -- Boston, Philly, SF, Chicago, and a few others. But we've always had more than basically everyone else, including cities with sizable train systems. The difference is even more stark when you count commute stats. Also we've done better in this decade than most, vs. those 2010 and 2011 numbers.

Same with walking commute share.
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2017, 5:50 PM
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It's somewhat shocking Seattle hadn't invested in proper rapid transit decades ago, considering how horrendous traffic is there. The I-5 is an utter nightmare and I don't think Downtown Seattle is cheap to park in (could be wrong).
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Old Posted Aug 26, 2017, 7:12 PM
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Not surprising really. Seattle is more affluent than LA/Long Beach and more suburban in urban form than the rest of the cities it's being compared to.
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  #15  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2017, 8:40 PM
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True, we're only barely on that top-10 density list, and most of those cities are a who's who of traditional big dense cities.

Two other factors: First, Seattle's density tends to be concentrated in the most transit-served areas, not spread out evenly, which should help our numbers. Second, we have very few kids per capita, which should hurt our per-capita car ownership numbers. Combined these might be a wash.
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Old Posted Aug 29, 2017, 8:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Adding them, but not necessarily driving them. Commute mode splits have been improving substantially.

Also that "no vehicles" rate is up quite a bit for a city that's also tilting toward higher incomes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
Not surprising. There isn't much in the way of public transportation and no American city is going to build that from scratch in this day and age.
Seattle has some pretty impressive ambitions for building out more mass transit, and has done a fair bit by way of inexpensive improvements, such as doing BRT and giving buses "queue-jump lanes" to help rush hour competitiveness.

I liked the results that Gates saw in charging by the day. I wonder if it would be possible to make an ordinance requiring parking facilities in, say, Chicago, to only rent spaces by the day for spaces used for commuting. In other words, if someone rented a space near their home, they could rent it monthly, but if they wanted to rent spaces away from home, they'd be required to pay by the day.
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Old Posted Aug 31, 2017, 9:11 PM
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California Ave in West Seattle seems like a good place to add light rail. or would be, if the street was a bit wider.
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Old Posted Aug 31, 2017, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
Adding them, but not necessarily driving them.
Which doesn't really help in terms of land use as those unused cars still need somewhere to be parked unused. In environmental terms it's probably worse in many ways than having cars that are used intensively as most energy is used in the production of a vehicle rather than the subsequent driving of it.
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Old Posted Aug 31, 2017, 11:05 PM
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A car that's unused only needs one parking space. A car that's used needs about three. Also the use itself is a huge issue on several fronts.

I wasn't suggesting a panacea, just that there's a difference.

Also we're building a lot less parking than most midsized cities in our multifamily housing and in our office projects. Progress is being made.
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Old Posted Sep 2, 2017, 7:57 PM
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This shouldn't be surprising. Outside the relatively small, dense core, Seattle is a vast suburbia. Like most postwar cities, a car is the only way to travel.
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