Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A quick note about monorail:

I'm working on my next installment of the history of the Seattle Monorail Project, but I just wanted to point out a particularly egregious comment in a recent Seattle Times article on the part of Cindi Laws, boardmember:
"It's now or never," warned SMP board member Cindi Laws. "Vote yes, or don't have transit at all in your lifetime."
The fear tactics really get to me. From articles as early as mid-2002, I've seen comments from boardmembers and supporters simply pretending that monorail was the only transit system in existence. My problems with the system have less to do with the technology or the application and more to do simply with the dogmatic adherence to a number of talking points (many of them demonstrably incorrect) by boardmembers and supporters.

10 Comments:

At 9:42 AM, Blogger formandfile said...

Perhaps it has to do with the fact that you guys already have a two station monorail line in place from the world's fair? Im not the biggest fan of monorail for numerous reasons...the suspect reliability of the las vegas system comes to mind. But i can see how it would be frustrating to have a starter branch in place for a few decades with no further construction.

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Ben Schiendelman said...

The technology is feasible, although not preferred (yes, Las Vegas is one such reason). I'm not sure what you mean - perhaps what has to do with that fact?

 
At 12:49 PM, Anonymous EvergreenRailfan said...

I noticed the article in the paper worried about crowded trains on the monorail line. Saying the 2 car trains will have less room for standees than the New York Subway, and BART.

 
At 12:51 PM, Blogger Ben Schiendelman said...

Yeah, I'm not that concerned about it. I think it'll be pretty solidly dead.

Granted: NY Subway and BART are both high capacity systems, not intermediate capacity like the light rail and monorail are intended to be.

 
At 7:27 PM, Anonymous EvergreenRailfan said...

Still, some are worried that crowded trains will discourage riders, but then again, crowded buses do not discourage those who ride the bus on City Routes, like the 7.

Also, I just saw a pro-monorail flyer on a utility pole, interesting photo on it. It was of the MkV trains used at DisneyLand in Anaheim! Not a connvincing flyer for voters.

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Larry the Urbanite said...

While Ms. Laws comment may be a bit overblown, a little hyperbole is not unheard of in contemporary politics. She's an advocate for her point of view, so anyone listening should be taking her comments with a grain of salt. That being said, the article points out that apathy is setting in, which seems to me to be exactly the strategy of monorail opponents. "Fling enough mud and some of it will stick" or "drag your feet long enough and people will get tired of it."

Of course none of the above has anything to do with the merits of the arguments, so it's just my bit of sniping. I guess I just expected more from the politicos in Seattle to honestly try to implement the will of the people. I know I must sound like a monomaniac (pun intended), but I'd really like to see this point to adressed in your next monorail column. If they (the politicians) did a bad job, hold them accountable!

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger Ben Schiendelman said...

I don't see crowding stopping people from riding - in fact, saying a bus route "isn't crowded" is often used as an attack on it - perhaps some of those people would be interested in better public transit support if they actually saw high-profile crowded transit.

 
At 1:47 PM, Anonymous EvergreenRailfan said...

In my neighborhood, I would volunteer the #7, as well as the #3 between First Hill and Downtown.

 
At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MR technology is feasible and preferred. People of WA DC said so, people of L.A. said so, people in Austin said so and people of Seattle said so. If it's been viable in Japan since the 60's, then it should be here also. People try to blow out of proportion any shortcomings monorails might incur as something serious against monorail. I don't know anything about Bombardier's MR (Las Vegas), but one thing's for sure, I think Hitachi monorails are the best.

Hitachi Company has been around since early 1900's. The Tokyo-Haneda [Hitachi] monorail system has operated flawlessly, safely every day since it was built in 1964 with a great profit. Their 6-car, flat floor, trains are serviced every 18 months.

While people can complain about packed trains, it means the system is a success and that you can only build/do so much.

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger Ben Schiendelman said...

Anonymous aka CooLDster: While I tolerate your fanaticism on the Seattle P-I board, please don't bring it here. Hitachi's system to Haneda was the best fit for the corridor because of the extremely high density already there: Tokyo has over twelve million people in a very small space. The Haneda system is extremely expensive to operate and maintain, and was only chosen because no other option was feasible. That is not the case here.

 

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