KFnet in T-Town

Feb. 23, 2012 at 8:50am

Would You Pay a Dollar to Ride Tacoma's Link?


That was one of the questions asked of me in a survey Sound Transit folks are handing out to riders today. Along with route and demographic info the dollar question was asked. Would you keep riding the Link light rail if it cost a buck? If not, what changes (if anything) would make that dollar worth it to you? More trains running/faster service? More routes throughout town?

comments [111]  |  posted under light rail, link, sound transit, tacoma, transit

Comments

by Jesse on 2/23/2012 @ 8:57am
If there was about 20 times the track miles in Tacoma, than $1 is ok.

Why don't they charge $1 to park in the parking garage by the t-dome instead. That way people who are already downtown can use it to be mobile around the core for free - encouraging people to stay in the core. That is, going out to lunch and using it to get there, shopping at Freighthouse Square and then Broadway, pedestrians hitting multiple museums, etc.

by inbloodyrise on 2/23/2012 @ 9:00am
agreed. when it travels further, i will.

by CaptainBritton on 2/23/2012 @ 9:06am
They expand it, I'd pay $2. But, yes, I'd pay 1$, but only if it included the return trip as well...No way I'd go from the theatre district to Union station without the return trip included.

by glynnjamin on 2/23/2012 @ 9:14am
Maybe if they improved connections with downtown via other means I wouldn't mind paying but, as of right now, few buses connect between Commerce St transit station and the Tdome. As someone who commutes from Tacoma to Seattle and back every day, it gets annoying taking the 590 where half of them end their trip at the Dome and the other half go to Commerce. With the Sounder train also stopping at the dome, there needs to be a solid connection with downtown proper. The Dome is more of a connector with Puyallup, Seattle, and the airport than it is with Tacoma's downtown. Get Rt 1 running back to the dome and maybe $1 for the trolley would be fair but right now, with no other options, they need to keep the cost down. Also, that $1 better be tied in to Orca, otherwise, I'll never pay it.

by cisserosmiley on 2/23/2012 @ 9:41am
Yes. It is strange that there is not a charge already.

by NineInchNachos on 2/23/2012 @ 10:11am
make it a loop!

by NineInchNachos on 2/23/2012 @ 10:14am
you can walk to the next stop faster than waiting for the next link and by the time the link is going your direction you've already walked to your stop.

by L.S.Erhardt on 2/23/2012 @ 10:19am
There is no charge because the original bond included $X to go to operating. I seem to remember the idea being to get ridership then slowly put a fare on it.

I'd pay $1 for a round trip if it meant that those funds will SPEED UP the already 10+ year crawl to expansion.

I think for the most part, the Link is a novelty that can be useful if you don't want to pay to park.
Make the thing go somewhere and then we're talking.

Whatever happened to the plan to send it up Stadium Wy, down N 1st, up Division, down MKL, down 15th to J, up J yo 25th and back down to Freighthouse? That loop would be worth a $2 fare.

by Jesse on 2/23/2012 @ 11:04am
What Thorax said.

It cound be done at $20m a mile with the $80m from Tacoma plus $80m from Sound Transit.

by fredo on 2/23/2012 @ 11:15am
This is a funny discussion Kev.

Not one person is willing to pay a dollar but almost everybody is willing to accept huge buildouts to expand the system. Sort of a disconnect from reality but this is to be expected at feedtacoma.

by KevinFreitas on 2/23/2012 @ 11:20am
"Not one person..." @fredo: I see at least two people above who say yes straight up and more that said they'd pay if the system was expanded. Strike that, three that say yes straight up because I'd pay a buck right now but also hope to see the light rail/streetcar system in Tacoma expanded. I also love Jesse's idea to charge for parking in the Tacoma Dome garages. That's hundreds of cars getting a free parking ride each day.

by fredo on 2/23/2012 @ 11:32am
The question was:

"Would you continue riding the link light rail if it cost a buck?"

The question wasn't:

"Would you pay a buck to ride the link light rail if the system was expanded?"

If I were a transit planner and discovered that people would even pony up a dollar for the existing system I'l pretty much forget any enhanced transit service.

by NineInchNachos on 2/23/2012 @ 11:35am
ok ok if the restore was still at the end of the line YES.

but now, probably not.

Unless it is too far to walk then yes.... i'd pay $1 on my orca card.

by fredo on 2/23/2012 @ 11:39am
A few years ago one of the transit systems (think it was Pierce) claimed that people who rode transit were saving a huge amount, I think it was $7000 per year. It was enough they claimed to take a vacation in Hawaii. Fair enough

So why are all these would-be transit riders averse to paying a dollar for a ride? If I had an extra $7000 in my pocket I'm pretty sure I wouldn't quibble over a dollar.

by The Jinxmedic on 2/23/2012 @ 11:40am
Salishan. Salishan. Salishan. That was part of the original proposal to improve transit access to people who needed it. Why do all you elitists hate poor people?

by tacoma1 on 2/23/2012 @ 2:53pm
Actually shalishan wasnt part if the proposal other than it was mentioned as a "possible" route. I think that where ever it goes next, it has to go where the most ridership will be. I don't think that there is enough density in shalishan for T Link.

And yes I would pay a buck to ride it. In full disclosure I buy a monthly pass so it wouldn't cost me anymore. If there was a charge to ride it, as long as its cheaper than paying to park downtown, people will still pay to use it.

I'd rather see it expanded and then charge the same rate as the buses, if I had my druthers.

Also, I think it would be a good idea to charge 2 or 3 bucks to park at the transit center parking lot, and then that gets u a voucher towards link or the bus or Sounder.

by NineInchNachos on 2/23/2012 @ 2:58pm
Expand the god damn thing already! Anders!!!!

by Jesse on 2/23/2012 @ 4:34pm
"Not one person is willing to pay a dollar but almost everybody is willing to accept huge buildouts to expand the system." -- fredo

That's because it goes from one dead business area (the t-dome) to another business area. You virtually cannot live and work along the tracks - so you can't use it to ditch your car and live downtown. It's currently not set up to go through zones where people would want to live (like north downtown, MLK strip, Stadium, 6th ave) nor does it tie together any great shopping districts. This is why it's full at 8am and 5pm but not much any other time.

Tie downtown, Stadium, and MLK together with it, and I think you'd see housing development along the route, a rebirth of MLK, more density in Stadium, and a new demographic wanting to buy houses/condos in inner Hilltop.

by Jesse on 2/23/2012 @ 4:44pm
@Jinx: Didn't the Puyallup tribe want to build streetcar up Portland Avenue? I wouldn't allow them to build it directly to the front door of their casino but I sure would let them expand it up Portland Ave!

What's the hold up on this?

by fredo on 2/23/2012 @ 4:55pm
We are always told the reason that streetcars are better than bus service is that retail will tend to spring up where there is track in the street. So the link has been running for about 10 years or so. Any evidence of a renaissance of retail activity down there?

by tacoma1 on 2/23/2012 @ 4:58pm
the downtown grocery store wouldn't go in until they got their own stop, that'd be evidence, IMHO

Also, just look up north at what is happening in the neighborhood served by the SLUT in Seattle. Amazon is building three new towers. That has to be proof that business likes to move into neighborhoods with rail transit connections.

www.geekwire.com/2012/3-amazon-office-to...

by fredo on 2/23/2012 @ 5:52pm
tacoma1, I don't want to seem quarrelsome, and I know you have a lot more personal experience in this area, but I would have thought that in all the years of t-link operation we would have seen more development along the route. One small grocery store is good, to be sure, but I'm not convinced it's evidence that the existance of light rail brings an influx of development.

by Jesse on 2/23/2012 @ 6:46pm
Again, you have to tie it into at least one area where people would want to live. It doesn't do that now.

by fredo on 2/23/2012 @ 7:23pm
"Again, you have to tie it into at least one area where people would want to live. It doesn't do that now." jesse

I believe the route was chosen by the Tacoma City Council. But you are right Jesse. The line goes from one location where nothing is happening and links to another place where nothing is happening. We ride on the link once a year just for fun, a round trip just to have a look around. It seems like the link design was intended to move people to living downtown, sort of a social engineering experiment gone wrong. The lesson is this: before you put track in the ground be 100% certain that the route is correct. There is no room for error.

by fredo on 2/23/2012 @ 7:37pm
A better route, IMO:

t-link should have gone north on Pacific Avenue and straight out to Pt. Defiance park. This would have been handy for visitors to Tacoma and would have given a renewed interest to Old Town, Pt. Defiance Park, Pt. Defiance Aquarium, Ruston landing, Yacht Club, Marina, Tahlequah ferry, lots of upscale restaurants.

The current route with the jog over to Commerce Street seems so stupid to me. Why provide service to the Winthrop Hotel?

by Non Sequitur on 2/23/2012 @ 7:47pm
Fredotransit's Fredorail...

Heh. That alone is enough for me to chuckle about all evening.

by Jesse on 2/23/2012 @ 7:51pm
I would have done the route a bit different too. However, the saving grace is that it still can go up Stadium Way to at least Stadium District.

I would have liked to see the Prairie Line Trail have a streetcar on it. The rails, right of way, and a line that goes through a whole lot of important areas already exists there -- so it'd be relatively cheap in comparison to alternatives. Starting at 56th Street Sound Transit station going to downtown at Pacific Brewery, Tollefson Plaza, Dock Street, Old Town, Ruston Way, Ruston/Point Ruston, Point Defiance.

Also, with this, the old Pacific Brewery (where the Sounder and the Prairie Line meet/part ways) would be a perfect new Amtrak / Streetcar Station. It would give the city a reason to sandwich the Brewery district between all kinds of new development -- UWT, Pacific Brewery Station / parking, condos on the hillside, and the new parklike setting at Pacific Ave and South Tacoma Way.

Portland actually did something similar from Portland to Oregon City on some old rails abandoned. They used a small biodiesel streetcar/train so they didn't need to buy much of anything (in comparison to starting from scratch with a streetcar) but build stops and buy the train itself.

But that would be too damned obvious and inexpensive for the city to actually do it. Sound Transit wants to spend some money!!!! --- at a much higher per mile cost than anywhere else in the world. Bastards.

by tacoma1 on 2/23/2012 @ 8:11pm
fredo, No one lives at Pt Defiance, at least no tax payers live there. Taking mass transit to a place that no one lives at and few people work at would be foolish.

It makes perfect sense for T-Link to go to FHS to connect with the future Amtrak station, and Sounder, and of course all of the events at the T-Dome since that place seats roughly 20K people but only has 1,800 parking spaces. The problem with T-Link is that it doesn't go far enough into the neighborhoods, or connect the other business districts to DT, like connecting TG to DT. Heading south along Pac Ave wouldn't be a bad idea either if someone can figure out how to get up the hill.

by fredo on 2/23/2012 @ 8:38pm
The original Tacoma Street car system terminated at Point Defiance Park and no one was living there back then either. The burned down Pagoda was the terminal! It's a natural termination point though because it's a focal point of community activity and has been for years. More people would like to ride along ruston Way and on to pt. defiance then go to the Winthrop hotel. IMO. Probably the line would only go as far restaurant row after a certain hour.

by tacoma1 on 2/23/2012 @ 8:59pm
No one lives on Ruston way either. No one would ride there either.

by Jesse on 2/23/2012 @ 9:11pm
But people live in Ruston, Point Ruston, and there'll be shops and restaurants there too.

by tacoma1 on 2/23/2012 @ 9:15pm
Not enough people live there to support mass transit.

by dolly varden on 2/23/2012 @ 10:01pm
It's hard to pay for something that is often no faster than walking when wait time is taken into consideration. Then again, people somehow are convinced to pay for the even shorter South Lake Union Streetcar and the monorail. But I'm with those who would pitch in more than a buck if it was going into a pot to fund an expansion. I'd support almost any expansion, but up Stadium to Sixth/Division/Sprague is my vote -- it would connect some pretty densely populated neighborhoods, and would let bikes catch a quick ride uphill when they're feeling lazy.

by JesseHillFan on 2/24/2012 @ 4:25am
How about have it extend into East Tacoma.The you could call it the Metropolitan East Tacoma Hub or maybe the Metropolitan East Tacoma HIGHWAY or M.E.T.H. for short.

by KevinFreitas on 2/24/2012 @ 7:18am
Haha, nice @JesseHillFan! It'd be amazing to have the Link dive into a more populated area like Stadium or MLK. I agree with @fredo though as a tourism draw getting it out to Old Town and back to Point D. would be amazing.

The impacts of the current rail have probably been minimal with the exception of keeping Freighthouse limping along via lunch visitor traffic. The other bright spots are the IGA and new location for the Children's Museum right off the 15th Street stop. I've seen way more mid-day ridership of parents taking kids there and evidence just yesterday of one family doing that then hopping back on to head down to 9th where they hit up Learning Sprout.



by Jesse on 2/24/2012 @ 7:50am
Hmm... a tourist/commuting centric 1920-1930's streetcar on the Prairie Line Trail from 56th street all the way to Point Defiance would be cool!

by cisserosmiley on 2/24/2012 @ 8:52am
There isn't enough population or tax base anywhere in Tacoma to support "mass transit" Tacoma is a bedroom community. If you live in the city limits and work in the city limits you are an exception - a very lucky one.

by tacoma1 on 2/24/2012 @ 9:01am
We easily have the tax base to get Link up the hill like dolly varden suggested.

by Jesse on 2/24/2012 @ 9:40am
Maybe we could get a levy together to get the streetcar up the hill to Stadium and a cablecar redo on the historical loop. We could call it the "get it up" campaign!

by fredo on 2/24/2012 @ 9:45am
Jesse, We need to keep housing costs in Tacoma affordable. These levies result in higher housing costs and less affordability. Your "get it up" campaign sounds like bad case of ED to me.

by cisserosmiley on 2/24/2012 @ 9:58am
S L U T is a good example of how this could work. I worked at 8th and Olive ten years ago so I had a great vantage point. First, jobs that pay well. Second, human rational movements caused folks to live near work. Jobs and residents = need for and ability to pay for S L U T. I love Tacoma and grew up here and own a home here so I want the best for T town...but we don't have enough high paying jobs for it to matter. First, Tacoma gets higher paying jobs...then things like niche rail can be built. It's just the way it is...Till then we are a bedroom community.

by Droid16 on 2/24/2012 @ 10:42am
I would pay a dollar for a round trip. I would love to see it expanded to the Stadium district so that I could hop a ride to Wright Park or the Hob Nob or the HUB or Kings Books or even an event at Stadium High School or the Landmark Convention Center.

by JesseHillFan on 2/24/2012 @ 11:33am
I think $1 is too little (not worth the bother collecting) for subsidization especially if there are going to be planned expanded routes into other areas of Tacoma.However how about a $5.00 per day pass instead which one could use for multiple trips anytime during that specific day.Maybe monthly passes could be purchased,disabled,senior,student passes at a discount etc like Pierce Transit does.

by Non Sequitur on 2/24/2012 @ 11:57am
The "all roads lead to Seattle" transit approach is flawed and expensive.

It needs to be organized into hubs. All transit in Pierce County needs to lead to Tacoma.
All transit in Snohomish County needs to lead to Everett.
All transit in East King needs to lead to Bellevue.
From there the roads lead from Tacoma, Everett, Olympia, etc to Seattle.
Having each and every place get rail lines and a fleet of express buses to go just to Seattle is a horrible misappropriation of funds.

Connect to hubs. Huns connect to other hubs. It only makes perfect sense.

by tacoma1 on 2/24/2012 @ 9:41pm
So,uh.....just one question........how would someone get Tacoma without a car if all transit stayed within Tacoma based "hubs" to take the "tourist" street car to Point Defiance?

OK, I lied..,,, just 2 questions.....,Since our streets are built out in a grid pattern, why wouldn't we want our transit system to be laid out in a grid pattern?

by tacoma1 on 2/25/2012 @ 10:03am
More proof that rail infrastructure is a game changer.

www.kentreporter.com/news/135751678.html...

by Nick K. on 2/26/2012 @ 2:00am
Going back to the conversation about the Pt. Defiance streetcar. The corner of N. 49'th and Orchard (that little jog in the road) used to be called "Poor Man's Corner." It seems many folk did not find it feasible to pay the second nickel to continue to line's end at Pt. Defiance. Coincidentally, the current Pt. Defiance bus route follows the exact former streetcar line, and has since Tacoma streetcars turned into buses in 1938.

by fredo on 2/26/2012 @ 7:43am
good post nick. You'll know you are at "poor man's corner" when you see a white house with writing all over it. That's Xeno's house. More Tacoma Trivia.

by tacoma1 on 2/26/2012 @ 7:52am
Yes I'm aware of that. I just think that T- Link should be expanded, and expanded towards the areas of the city with the greatest potential for riders. Bus route 11 isnt even close to route 1 in ridership. Plus it would cost a fortune to run rail all the way out to Pt Defiance.

I'm not saying that Pt Defiance isn't a good long term goal, it's just not the first, second, or even the sixth destination I would think of.

Btw, fredo you seem to be advocating for TLink to go to Pt Defiance. Would you be willing to pay higher taxes to support a street car line out to Pt Defiance?

by fredo on 2/26/2012 @ 8:45am
I would build most of the tlink to Pt. Defiance using volunteer labor. The straight portions from Old Town all the way to the park could be built with a construction supervisor and volunteer labors. The volunteers would have some training just like habitat for humanity people get. The goal should be to build the line at the absolute lowest cost. This would accomplish the following goal: getting the track in the ground NOW. Waiting for some pie-in-the-sky stash from Obama or ST is going to mean waiting until after most of us are dead. That's not OK with me. I would be willing to work a couple of 4 hour shifts each week placing ties, preparing rail bed, or whatever. No charge.

by glynnjamin on 2/26/2012 @ 9:04am
I love the idea of a volunteer-built rail line. That would be very "Tacoma" and I would totally be part of it. I am sure the liability would prevent that from ever happening...but that's a damn shame.

by fredo on 2/26/2012 @ 9:11am
I don't know if liability would be a factor, habitat for humanity seems to function OK. But I'm pretty sure the unions would try to prevent it.

I'm always amazed to see the way the Chinese get a job accomplished. They get a thousand people together give each one a shovel and in a few days they've got a few miles of highway or a hydroelectric dam. They don't let social or economic sensitivities obstruct a civic project.

by tacoma1 on 2/26/2012 @ 9:26am
the Chinese Gubmnt doesn't seem to let human rights get in the way of their civic projects either.....but that's definitely off topic.

As to T LInk going out to Pt Defiance, it is the first transit project idea that fredo hasn't been 100% opposed to. I guess that's how the politcal sausage making ultimately chooses routes anyway. If that is the only route that has enough city wide political support to get the job done, I'd be ok with it. I don't think its the best overall route, but it would go close enough to my house that I personally could use it.

I would definitely want the City of Ruston to participate in the funding of a route to Pt Defiance. Rail to Pt Defiance is also rail to Ruston, which free loads enough off of Tacoma.

by fredo on 2/26/2012 @ 9:35am
Well, I don't like the human rights abuses, that's wrong. My admiration for the Chinese meathod is the ability to identify a large scale civic project and accomplish it with minimum of investment.

It's not unlike the way ants work if you ever watch them on your sidewalk or on a youtube video. If the ants want something moved or something returned to the colony they just work en masse to accomplish it. The ants probably don't ask for volunteers and maybe the Chinese don't either.

I just suggested that PERHAPS there would be sufficient volunteer labor to build the easy sections of the roadbed.

For the record I would volunteer to help install the roadbed in other parts of town. I'm available for a couple of four hour shifts each week.

by fredo on 2/26/2012 @ 10:42am
Here are some possible sponsors for the Pt. Defiance line:

Anthony's
Lobster Shop
Dukes
Harbor Lights
Katie Downs
Silver Cloud
The Ram
Pt. Ruston condos

Each place could contribute to the operation and get a free ad on the side of the streetcar.

by Jesse on 2/26/2012 @ 1:17pm
I agree with Tacoma1 in the sense that a Point Defiance line probably isn't the first line I would pick to build but if the tracks are already 90% there (can't they use the rail lines that are on the waterfront / Prairie Line / Sounder Route to 56th already?), and the city uses a diesel streetcar, that the cost per mile may be so low that it's irresistible.

In the summer months I am 100% sure it'd be packed.

I am thinking something just like this on the Prairie Line Trail:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Shore_T...

by fredo on 2/26/2012 @ 1:41pm
The reason I think Pt. Defiance/ waterfront should be first is simple. People associate common transport with poor people. But riding along the waterfront would be more like a ride at the fair. Once people see the activity and make a POSITIVE association they will be more willing to accept it as an everyday proposition. Again, this will depend (IMO) on extreme low installation cost as outlined previously.

by tacoma1 on 2/26/2012 @ 2:59pm
fredo
You need to get out more. The public as a whole, has a favorable opinion of rail. It isn't seen as only for the poor. There are alot of people that wouldn't be caught dead riding a bus, but will gladly hop on a street car or light rail vehicle. As soon as T-Link gets expanded and there is a charge for it, the ridership demographics will change drastically.

I don't see poor people riding the SLUT in Seattle, I do see a lot of Am-Holes riding it in what looks like pajamas, but they aren't even close to being poor.

by L.S.Erhardt on 2/26/2012 @ 2:59pm
If he wasn't so anti-tax and government, I'd swear Fredo was proposing a modern-day WPA.

by fredo on 2/26/2012 @ 3:29pm
good thorax, but WPA was a jobs program for unemployed people. My project is almost all volunteer. People like me who already have jobs would be encouraged to provide some of the labor along with unemployed volunteers as well. It would be a lot of fun and Tacomans would take great pride in the project.

by cisserosmiley on 2/27/2012 @ 8:24am
I would volunteer

by fredo on 2/27/2012 @ 8:29am
cissero, you could head up a crew that builds south starting at the Vashon ferry landing. I'll head up a crew starting at Doyles DT. We'll see whose volunteer crew can reach the midpoint first. Then we'll drive a gold colored spike and shake hands.

by Non Sequitur on 2/27/2012 @ 4:11pm
@ Tacoma 1:
I did not mean that local transit within the city itself should necessarily be hub-based. I meant that regional transit should be hub-based.

by Non Sequitur on 2/27/2012 @ 4:13pm
@ Fredo:
Seeing as how you and your volunteers are not engineers or construction workers, I suspect your volunteer-only rail line is going to be very unsafe.

Go back to trolling and leave engineering and construction to the professionals.

by tacoma1 on 2/27/2012 @ 8:20pm
got it,

fredo's "volunteer streetcar" would never get built. It makes it pretty safe for him to support it in theory, and he can still vote no when a real plan goes to the polls. He still hasn't changed his basic theme of all his threads, that any tax payer funded project is too expensive if the workers are paid a living wage.

by fredo on 2/27/2012 @ 8:57pm
The transcontinental railroad was built in 1863 from Omaha to Sacramento primarily by chinese immigrant "coolie" workers. They were not professional construction workers. The transcontinental railroad they built carried trains for over 90 years. The line was built without union labor. I never said I could do the engineering work. My plan as outlined above would have a construction supervisor (working in conjunction with an engineer) direct a team of volunteer laborers. I can't think of any reason why a paid worker would be capable of delivering a superior job to a volunteer. Why do you hate volunteers?

by fredo on 2/27/2012 @ 9:31pm
"Seeing as how you and your volunteers are not engineers or construction workers, I suspect your volunteer-only rail line is going to be very unsafe." NS

People volunteer to work at the zoo. Does that make the zoo unsafe? People volunteer to work at the hospital. Does that make the hospital unsafe? People volunteer at food banks. Does that make the food unsafe? I think you're just trying to give volunteers a bad name. At any rate, how do you know that some of the volunteers wouldn't be real construction workers and engineers working off the clock? Not everybody is a greedy person. I never said that cissero and I were going to build the line ourselves.

by L.S.Erhardt on 2/28/2012 @ 1:35am
I don't know about any off you guys, but I've never seen a volunteer handling the tigers or a volunteer doing a liver transplant.

I think Fredo's volunteer army works only if properly qualified people volunteer.

I also think Fredo's implication that exploiting minority immigrants is "ok" is in very poor taste.
Oh, and offensive too.

by fredo on 2/28/2012 @ 7:39am
"I also think Fredo's implication that exploiting minority immigrants is "ok" is in very poor taste."

Never made any such implication. I noted that unskilled workers built a magnificent 2000 mile rail line in 1863. Pretty sure unskilled workers could build a 5 mile line in 2012. This isn't rocket science Thorax. If people like Cissero and myself actually volunteered to build that which the utopians can't seem to figure out how to create what difference would it make to you?

Also, I didn't write that volunteers did all the jobs at the zoo or all the jobs at the hospital. Nor did I write that the transit line could be built with all volunteer labor. The project engineer and construction supervisor would probably be paid positions. My transit line plan would result in a low cost line built per spec and per drawing.

by glynnjamin on 2/28/2012 @ 7:52am
When it comes down to it, any individual (or monkey for that matter) can be trained to perform a single task repeatedly. Using volunteer labor allows for the narrowing of job roles in a project like this. Instead of paying one person to measure, level, and lay a railroad tie, you can now break that task up into three different positions. Each person is only responsible for single solitary task which reduces error and increases efficiency. I think you would need about 30 volunteers a day (so about 60-100 total) plus at least 6 paid managers and a bevvy of heavy equipment. It is a task that would be better tested on something a bit more simplistic like installing a fountain in a park or installing light poles down a dark street. Once successful, I think a larger project like laying track could be easily accomplished with the right leadership.

by Jesse on 2/28/2012 @ 7:55am
@fredo: If time is money, why are you willing to trade your time but not money?

People specialize in different career fields so they can get the most money for their time in our Capitalist society --- in fact, it's the very essence of Capitalism.

Assuming all of the above is true, why are you constantly railing (pun intended) against the unions when you are perfectly welcome to join their ranks so you can sell your skills and time like a good little Capitalist?

Are you a Socialist? Socialists do believe people are about equal.

BTW, in the non-profit world, Tacoma is known for it's inability to get volunteer help for practically any cause.

by fredo on 2/28/2012 @ 8:04am
Good post glynnjamin.

We have lots of examples of small projects being built by volunteers already. Habitat for humanity is building all over the world. Some people at HFH are paid professionals but the boots on the ground are filled by volunteers.

At any rate.,I'm pretty sure a lot of the volunteers would be people with construction or assembly backgrounds.

Why should we look at a model for the construction project like this? Two reasons. The current model is far too expensive for a community like Tacoma and the city could use an initiative like this to build community spirit. In the modern parlance it's referred to as community "building."

by fredo on 2/28/2012 @ 8:10am
Jesse, you need to buy yourself a happy meal.

Why would somebody be willing to trade time but not money?

That question is so simple it answers itself. Lots of people can't afford any more taxes and don't have any extra money but would still like to make a contribution to make their community a better place to live. I believe you comment that people living in Tacoma are not generous with their time is false, but of course if enough volunteers could not be assembled the project would not be undertaken.

by glynnjamin on 2/28/2012 @ 8:10am
I am familiar with Habitat and have worked with them before. The difference with them compared to a project like this is the level of liability. As crass as it may sound, if a roof collapses, it's not nearly as bad as if a train going 30mph derails into the Sound. I was simply saying that I'd like to see the same team of volunteers who wanted to build the rail work on a smaller project first. There is something to be said for the assessment of skill level and the process of team building.

I just saw a post about the city offering grants for citizen pet projects. You should submit.

by tacoma1 on 2/28/2012 @ 8:22am
If someone truly wants to volunteer to help promote transit, there are plenty of opportunities available right now that wouldn't put anyone's lives at risk.

Adopt a stop, advocate for transit, write to your legislators, donate time or money to transportation choices coalition are just a few ideas off the top of my small little head.

by Jesse on 2/28/2012 @ 8:35am
@fredo: But doesn't the Conservative philosophy imply that people are poor because they don't work hard enough or long enough hours? That also implies that there's no excuse for being poor. Doesn't it?

Ergo, time is money and inability to pay more taxes is the fault of your own. No?

"Lots of people can't afford any more taxes and don't have any extra money" - fredo

I just don't understand how the cons can say that if you don't have money and can't afford basic life needs than it's your own doing but if taxes increase and a billionaire doesn't want to pay it, than the evil government is after you and that's a crying shame. Wouldn't a true con say "work harder then" to BOTH instances?

Sorry fredo, maybe I do need a Happy Meal. I've been in my car a lot listening to political speak and I can't wrap my head around that Rick Santorum and the con philosophies.

by fredo on 2/28/2012 @ 8:37am
I'm not advocating putting "people's lives at risk" There would have to be someone on staff to inspect the finished work to insure for the public that the job was per spec and per drawing.

Would a smaller project test my theory that a short transit line could be built primarily by civic minded volunteers? I'm not sure.

People who want extremely low cost rail alternatives are not going to "adopt a stop, or advocate for (prevailing wage) transit."
I'm proposing a game changing dynamic which will give you transit lovers the rail you want in a time frame that we can afford.

by fredo on 2/28/2012 @ 8:50am
"doesn't the Conservative philosophy imply that people are poor because they don't work hard enough or long enough hours?"

No. Conservatives are only concerned that people be given OPPORTUNITIES to succeed. What people do with their opportunity is their own business.

I really don't want to get "sidetracked" on a discussion of conservatism. My transit plan embodies a conservative sort of sensibility to the financing and provides a liberal sort of community building in it's application. My plan is a win win for everyone and it's AFFORDABLE. Previous prevailing wage transit plans are unaffordable and no amount of blogging will change that.

by troysworktable on 2/28/2012 @ 12:41pm
My grandfather was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and did exactly what @fredo is proposing. He helped build parks and bridges. His "training" during CCC helped him to become part of an engineering battalion during WWII.

by Non Sequitur on 2/28/2012 @ 2:12pm
The conservative Fredopia transit system is remarkably simple, efficient and elegant:
"Buy a car. If you can't afford one, get a better job or walk."

Which ties in nicely with Fedopia's healthcare system:
"Don't get sick."

Which, of course also falls in step with Fredopia's pollution policy:
"If land is too polluted, move somewhere else."

And naturally, the standard building codes of Fredopia state:
"If the building crumbles on you, you shouldn't have been there at the time."

As would be expected, this spirit of the law is held up by the 100% volunteer Fredopia Police Department:
"If you didn't want to get mugged, you shouldn't have left the house."

As emergency service agencies tend to work hand-in-hand, the FFD has a policy on house fires:
"You should have made sure the wiring was good enough and not used that toaster. Oh, and you can't give yourself CPR? Goddamn lazy people."

As long as Fredopia is being so conservative, Feedopia Power & Water needs the linemen, electricians and plumbers to be volunteer too. Did your power go out?
"Why aren't you running on treadmill to make your own juice?"

by fredo on 2/28/2012 @ 2:41pm
None of that has anything to do with the provision of affordable transit alternatives.

by Non Sequitur on 2/28/2012 @ 3:49pm
The conservative Fredopia transit system is remarkably simple, efficient and elegant:
"Buy a car. If you can't afford one, get a better job or walk."

by low bar on 2/28/2012 @ 3:52pm
In Scotland, everything is free. Maybe Tacoma can hope to find out it was secretly a part of Scotland all along? I need coffee to deal with reading this Fredopian mess. Brb

uk.news.yahoo.com/doncaster--is-part-of-...

by Chris.Tacoma on 2/28/2012 @ 3:57pm
The message to Sound Transit should be no expansion, no fare.

I'll gladly throw money into the project to expand light rail, but operations are already paid for by taxes.

by fredo on 2/28/2012 @ 4:03pm
The conservative Fredopia transit system is remarkably simple, efficient and elegant:
"Buy a car. If you can't afford one, get a better job or walk."

Misrepresentation of comment=troll

by NineInchNachos on 2/28/2012 @ 4:18pm
I hate Fredopia. The peoples republic of micronation Washambia have suffered for too long under the boot of psychic oppression. Thus and so, we have no other choice than to declare WAR! Washambia declares WAR on Fredopia! Hail Washambia! Down to Fredopia!

by fredo on 2/28/2012 @ 4:23pm
A declaration of war?

Bring it on, you #2 pencil necked soft gum eraserhead boy! Down to Washambia! All hail Fredopia!

by Non Sequitur on 2/28/2012 @ 4:38pm
Fredopia is a strange land. Do not declare war on it lease ye feel the wrath of the 100,000 troll army.

by NineInchNachos on 2/28/2012 @ 4:39pm
I would pay a dollar to unsubscribe from email updates for specific threads!

by L.S.Erhardt on 2/28/2012 @ 4:59pm
You can turn subscribing off. I do that.

by Maria on 2/28/2012 @ 5:34pm
I would pay $1 or $2 to ride the Link.

I think that Pierce Transit and Sound Transit are both bloated, though. An extra cookie is probably not going to help them lose the chub that is sickening our public transit system.

I have no clue what's not working, e.g., why they keep taxing and running ballot measures, but are struggling to fulfill their mission.

Example: if you have an early-morning job in Tacoma, you'll be walking, not catching the bus, in most service areas. Budget cuts have limited transit to the point where the working poor, students & elderly are suffering greatly.

The Link is a great service, though, so maybe I'm mixing up all the public transit entities. The Link is especially helpful for large-scale public events (like the Tall Ships)...works beautifully to park by the Dome and ride into town.

by Jesse on 2/28/2012 @ 6:51pm
Good points Maria. I get miffed when I hear Sound Transit is planning on running light rail to Federal Way on an elevated track, (adding tens of millions of dollars to the project cost) the whole way, instead of running it down the middle turn lane and giving it signal priority as most municipalities would do. Perhaps they could afford to make it all the way to Tacoma if they didn't waste money like that.

by L.S.Erhardt on 2/28/2012 @ 7:20pm
ST is and always has been about bureaucracy, not transit.

If they were about transit, for the money they've already spent all 4 major cities in the Puget Sound would have rail systems to rival or even exceed Portland's.

by low bar on 2/28/2012 @ 10:04pm
And this is why Tacoma will always be overlooked as a place transplants want to come make a cool place to live, because of the close proximity to complete home grown fredopian idiots the poor city of destiny must endure. Well that and the fart smell. but it could be so much different! Who the f is to blame? Urban developers?? All you have to do is get rid of the dumbass mossyoak fucks, the JBLM, the port and the 253 wannabe forest gangster morons and you'd have a nice town. And they only hang around because Tacoma has things they like. So get rid of the shit that attracts the flys and problem solved.

by glynnjamin on 2/29/2012 @ 6:50am
we'd have a nice town of about 100 people...

by fredo on 2/29/2012 @ 7:57am
Kevin's post has generated a lot of discussion about street cars/light rail. Here are my conclusions:

1. Most people will not pay $1 for a t link ride unless the route is greatly enhanced.

2. Most people are unwilling to consider any modification from the way street cars/light rail are being built in order to make a system affordable for Tacoma and to create the desired enhancements.

3. General unwillingness to even entertain alternative points of view.

Therefore it is my opinion that streetcars/light rail enhancements will not be coming to Tacoma. Hope everyone continues to enjoy their ride from the Winthrop Hotel to Freighthouse Square.

by cisserosmiley on 2/29/2012 @ 8:03am
I wont ride pt here because the smell of pee irritates me

by low bar on 2/29/2012 @ 11:44am
more like a nice city of 100k if you took every non progressive dirt bag and sent them to killonize a planet far away from this one.

by NineInchNachos on 2/29/2012 @ 11:47am
what an evil thing to do to a planet. what has a planet ever done to you?

by fredo on 2/29/2012 @ 12:16pm
For the record,

One commenter (Maria) did say she was willing to pay $1 to ride the t-link. That's something.

Would she be willing to pay $1 to ride the proposed Fredo VB (volunteer-built) streetcar from DT Tacoma to Pt. Defiance? That remains to be seen.

by Maria on 2/29/2012 @ 12:26pm
Certainly. In fact, if you're at the gala opening of R.R. Anderson's Tacomic art show tomorrow, I'll give you $1 as your first venture capital investment.

by Non Sequitur on 2/29/2012 @ 1:44pm
I should have figured Fredo was an elitist.

Well-to-do Seattle and wealthy Bellevue get trains built automatically.

Not-so-well-to-do-Tacoma has to use volunteer labor and creative alternatives to get anything built.
Yup, he sounds like an ST board member all right.

by fredo on 2/29/2012 @ 4:35pm
Plans underway to build a 9 screen cineplex at point ruston and 4 upscale restaurants. Anybody still think a streetcar line between DT and Pt. Defiance is a bad idea?

by Jesse on 2/29/2012 @ 4:46pm
South 56th to downtown to Ruston! Prairie Line!!! Prairie Line!!

Do me like this:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willamette_Shore_T...

or...

www.streetcar.org/

by KevinFreitas on 2/29/2012 @ 4:46pm
Here's a link to the movie theater news @fredo just mentioned: blog.thenewstribune.com/business/2012/02...

by tacoma1 on 2/29/2012 @ 4:55pm
I think it's a horrible idea. Fast and frequent rail service past Harbor Lights would mean an early grave for me.

by Jesse on 2/29/2012 @ 4:59pm
What about from S 56th to 15th and dock street? Fix a turntable in the 15th and dock street loopy thingy and presto! Uber inexpensive transit that even draws tourists!

by cisserosmiley on 2/29/2012 @ 5:13pm
Rail could go down the middle of 6th avenue to Pearl st. Take a right. Go right down the middle of Pearl to the point.

by tacoma1 on 2/29/2012 @ 5:24pm
That might work. Should have enough density. Especially if we rezoned pearl st for some higher buildings. Plus pearl was overbuilt so Link could go go down the middle lane.

by Non Sequitur on 2/29/2012 @ 8:35pm
Ask the developers of Point Ruston to fund that extension of the link. Filling in the tunnel and rebuilding Ruston Way to Point Defiance (to the Ferry dock) isn't enough.
Make those rich SOB's pay so Fredo doesn't have to!

by low bar on 2/29/2012 @ 10:02pm
@NIN i didn't say the planet wasn't LV-426

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