Hey rookie! You are the new mayor. We don't know your name yet, but we have a message for you: Seattle's transit stinks! If you turn out to be Mark Sidran, you, at least, know that Sound Transit's light rail is in serious trouble. If instead, you are Greg Nickels, you, at least, have seen the pitiful state of Metro's bus budget. When one of you gets to be mayor, you will be riding around in a limo all day, yakking on a car phone. You'll go to business groups' lunches, eat salmon with arugula, and make speeches about why more people should use transit: better for the environment (less pollution, less sprawl), less stress, more convenient, blah, blah, blah. Spare us the crap. Do something to improve transit in this town so it is better for those of us who ride it.
We know what we are talking about. Of the editors and writers contributing to this package, four are bus commuters (one doesn't own a car, another refused to drive until age 27 in protest of car culture until his girlfriend got sick of him always bumming rides), one walks to work, and one poor free-lancer drives a Gallant to Bellevue where he runs a pickup on a construction site all day.
To focus your attention: Erica C. Barnett contributes a journal of the daily freak show that is Metro and analyzes the successes and failures of Sound Transit's commuter rail; Nina Shapiro points out that light rail may lengthen riders' commutes; James Bush tells you the honest, ugly truth about attracting transit riders; and Kevin Fullerton reminds you that we spend a helluva lot more money on cars than we throw at transit.
Hope you enjoy it!
I remain your loyal subject, George Howland Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org