Hating your transit agency won’t make it better

P1010476The Vancouver metro area has now reached the climax of a frenzy of orchestrated rage directed at its transit agency, TransLink.  Over 60% of voters have rejected a sales tax increase for urgently needed transit growth, largely due to an effective campaign that made the transit agency's alleged incompetence the issue.  

There's just one problem.  TransLink is (or was) one of North America's most effective transit agencies.   Parts of the agency had made mistakes, and of course TransLink was struggling to meet exploding demand in one of the world's most desirable metro areas.  Almost nobody defends TransLink's governance model either.  But TransLink is, or was, an effective network, run by a reasonably efficient agency.  For years I cited it all over the world as a model for good planning.  Whether it remains that depends on how much of it is now destroyed in the thrill of recrimination.

Admittedly, I have a personal angle on this, because I worked inside TransLink's planning department for two long stints, for a year in 2005-6 and for six months in 2011.  (I have assisted them as a consultant since, but I have no contracts with TransLink now and no expectation of one.)  It was, I thought, an unusually forward-thinking and principle-driven transit planning department.  I assumed this was an expression of Metro Vancouver's unusual culture of intentional, strategic, controlled urban development. It also reflected an era of leadership that created the space for these thoughts to occur, as opposed to the crisis-by-crisis lifestyle that too often prevails in transit management.

The conversations that were happening at TransLink — especially about the difficult question of how a regional transit agency can form a reality-based relationship with its constituent cities — were extremely sophisticated and respectful.  How should a large regional agency interact with city governments when it holds the technical expertise about transit that city governments mostly lack? For example, when a city government demands something that is geometrically impossible, how can the transit agency's response avoid appearing overbearing?  Much of what I now know about this relationship, and the unavoidable forces operating on it, I figured out while helping with policy development there.  

Today, those issues are at the core of my practice, as the relationship between city governments and transit authorities becomes an urgent issue almost everywhere. 

Special-purpose regional governments are vulnerable creatures.  The marquee leaders of an urban region — usually major mayors and state/province leaders — influence them but don't control them directly enough to feel responsible for them.  Blame is easily shifted to them by the more powerful governments all around them.  

All this is even more true when the product is transit, for four reasons.

First, transit somehow looks easy, in a way that water and power and regional land use planning do not.  Many reporters have no factual frame for thinking about transit, and treat anyone with a simplistic answer as an expert.  (Tip: my book can help provide that frame.)

Second, transit's success is utterly dependent on municipal actions around land use and street design, so regional transit agencies that are thinking strategically must form an interest in those municipal decisions.  This is easily characterized as interference with municipal sovereignty.  (I always advise transit agencies to respect local right to make decisions but to clearly describe the transit consequences of those decisions, in advance.)

Third, everyone is now screaming at transit agencies to innovate, and yet voters have zero tolerance for risk.  Some of TransLink's failures are arguably innovations that didn't work out.  If you expect everything your agency does to be successful, then quit telling them to innovate, because failure is intrinsic to innovation.  

Fourth, transit, when considered in isolation as in Metro Vancouver's referendum, cannot avoid generating a ferocious difference in opinion across different parts of an urban region.  In any region, maps of votes on transit referenda are mostly maps of residential density (Vancouver, Seattle), and for good reason.  Transit demand rises exponentially with density: doubling density makes it more than twice as urgent.  So of course the average core city dweller views transit as existential while the average outer-suburbanite on a cul-de-sac views it as unimportant.  Giant regional transit agencies will continue to be pulled apart by these forces until we stop having regional transit debates and start having regional transportation debates.  (The other important trend, in response to this basic math, is that core cities must exert more leadership, and funding, on their own transit issues.  More on that below.)

What is amazing, then, is not that regional transit agencies are having political problems, but that so many of them are doing so well, considering.  Many regions are moving forward with strong regional transit strategies, supported by working majorities of voters.  Many are also making tough choices, like the painful shift in priorities that underlies Houston's new network.

Hating your transit agency is easy and fun.  You don't have to understand your regional politics, in which the real power to fix transit is usually not held by the transit agency.  You can also have the thrill of blowing up a big institutional edifice, as Metro Vancouver voters may now have done.

But a lot that's good will also be destroyed.   In Metro Vancouver, amid all the recriminations, TransLink has lost the credibility it needs to lead reality-based conversations about transit.  Maybe some other agency will step into that role.  (Indeed, core cities for whom transit is an existential issue must develop that capability.)  Or maybe there will just be many more years of blame shifting among the elected officials who really control transit in the region.

If you look at transit from the point of view of a state or province leader, you can understand why so many politicians are terrified of the issue.  Everyone is screaming at them about it, pushing simplistic solutions, and the issue is polarizing on urban-suburban lines.  Some huge problems, like equipment failures due to deferred maintenance, are curses laid upon us all by our parents' generation.  What's more, most elite leaders are motorists, and need help finding their feet in the geometric facts of transit where a motorists' assumptions lead them astray.  So they panic, shift blame, and leave transit agencies appearing to have more power to solve problems than they actually have.  If you've never been a political leader, don't be sure you wouldn't do the same in their place.

Be patient.  Breathe.  Resist the desire to see your transit agency in smoldering ruins.  Then, demand leadership.  Demand state/provincial leadership that looks for solutions instead of pointlessly stoking urban-suburban conflict.  (One possible solution is to spend more time on regional transportation debates instead of just transit debates, because regional transportation plans can look more balanced than transit plans can.)  And yes, if your transit agency is being given dysfunctional direction by the region's leaders, demand a better system with more accountability to an elected official who will have to answer for outcomes.

Finally, if you live in a major city that cares about transit, demand that your city leaders look beyond blaming the transit agency, and that they do everything they can themselves to make their transit better.  Remember, your city government, through its powers of land use planning and street design, controls transit at least as much as the transit agency does.  Ask them: What is their transit plan?  Tell them to follow the work of cities that are investing in transit themselves, beyond what their transit agency can afford, like Seattle and Washington DC., or for that matter transit-ambitious secondary cities like Bellevue, Washington, who have their own transit plans to guide the city's work.  No regional or state transit authority — beholden to state or regionwide government that is dominated by less urban interests — is going to meet all of the transit needs of a dense, core city that has chosen to make transit a foundation of its livability.  Their staff may well be doing what they can with the direction that they have, but they need your city government's active support, involvement, leadership, and investment.  

Sorry, transit is complicated.  It's fun to blow things up, as Metro Vancouver's voters probably have.  But the solutions are out there, if we all demand leadership, and offer it.

30 Responses to Hating your transit agency won’t make it better

  1. Isaac32767 July 3, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    You’re right, rage against an entity doesn’t make that entity better. But reactionary rage isn’t about making things better. It’s about sabotaging initiatives that conflict with ones own parochial interests and personal prejudices.

  2. Marc July 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    “I always advise transit agencies to respect local right to make decisions but to clearly describe the transit consequences of those decisions, in advance.”
    A thousand times this! If only transit agencies took a little initiative in highlighting forthcoming developments in their service areas by discussing how and why they will or will not be able to serve them effectively, then over time a feedback loop of transit-friendl(ier) development might emerge!
    Personally I would be pretty blunt – “Build that dispersed office park if you want, but don’t expect us to subsidize this stupidity with a meandering feeder bus.”
    Even if the agencies are more diplomatic than I’d care to be, there is always the risk of veering into political/personality conflicts (because transit agencies might appear to “attack” developers, especially in cities/metros with weak economies that might feel beggars can’t be choosers), but the only way transit can get more “efficient” is if it begins to have a say in making development more transit-efficient.

  3. Voony July 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    many things are echoing what I suggest in this link on this very Vancouver referendum.
    more noticeably:
    […] When a city government demands something that is geometrically impossible, how can the transit agency’s response avoid appearing overbearing?
    Translink has been too nice… for too long with the local governments
    Finally, if you live in a major city that cares about transit, demand that your city leaders look beyond blaming the transit agency, and that they do everything they can themselves to make their transit better. Remember, your city government, through its powers of land use planning and street design, controls transit at least as much as the transit agency does. Ask them: What is their transit plan?
    Absolutely!
    When Delanoe came to be elected mayor of Paris, he came with a credible transit plan (43 km of “protected” bus lanes, to build what was termed a “surface subway” a LRT ROW paid by property taxes. her successor Anne Hidalgo has also some plan to improve transit (electric BRT on the seine waterfront…)
    What is the city of Vancouver transit plan?
    “advocate senior governments for more tax $…” is the Vancouver transit plan.
    in the meantime, reduction of transit lanes and gratuitous disruptive bus diversion is its pathetic legacy.
    so, yes, if you mayors think Transit is important to your city, he needs to start to show respect and for it, and make sure the street design/allocation allow efficient and meaningful surface transit.
    We are not there yet in Vancouver… but let’s hope the “No” to the referendum act as a wake-up call.

  4. P July 3, 2015 at 2:20 pm #

    Sadly, that’s the thing about government service provision. The politics is just so so ugly.
    I always find the public servants to be quite level headed and on to the issues. It’s the people who set the directions – the politicos – who always seem to be completely lunatic.
    It truly is a miracle that government works at all.

  5. P July 3, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    Similar craziness in Toronto:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvt0w5Axgw0

  6. Morganwick July 3, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    I’d like to see what you think of this Slate piece, which argues that the most hated companies tend to be those that don’t actually sell what we actually want, but rather are intermediaries we need to get through to get what we actually want, which is pretty much the definition of anything having to do with transportation. That makes them vulnerable to getting blamed, harshly, when things go wrong, but never getting credit when things go right.
    A lot of entities need to have a better understanding of human nature. This goes beyond marketing and public relations. The blunt reality is, the facts on the ground just do not matter that much; what matters is understanding the factors that influence the perception of the facts, and how to influence those facts. And what the actual facts actually are is a much smaller factor than we’d often like to admit.

  7. Jarrett Walker July 3, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

    Morganwick. I wasn’t impressed with the Slate article, because I can’t think of any company that isn’t an intermediary in the sense of standing between us and what we really want. And I’m as unhappy with Apple as I am with Comcast or United.

  8. EngineerScotty July 3, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

    One interesting asymmetry is that transit agencies are usually standalone agencies–special district–whereas as public works departments and state or provincial departments tend to be bureaus within government, reporting to the executive authority through the bureaucracy.
    Also, what is the practical effect on Translink as the result? Cancelled projects and service cuts? Or are officials resigning or a re-org afoot?

  9. P July 4, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    Why a SALES tax? Why not Land Value Taxation?
    That way when property values go up, revenue keeps in step also.

  10. P July 4, 2015 at 5:07 am #

    I think it is worth visiting the NO Campaign site and looking at some of the arguments made. Apparently TL Vancouver has six boards of directors? Is this true?
    http://www.notranslinktax.ca/

  11. P July 4, 2015 at 5:14 am #

    I must say there seems to be very serious claims on the No website, such as the CEO of TL Vancouver being paid more than the Prime Minister of Canada and a whole litany of other grievances http://www.notranslinktax.ca/waste_of_the_day_awards
    Now, I have no interest in the issue myself as I’ve never been to Canada, ever. But for someone who is removed from the issue, it does raise the eyebrow.

  12. Dave July 4, 2015 at 7:42 am #

    @P – the CEO of TransLink has to run one of North America’s largest transit systems plus a road network plus a bridge network plus a ferry network. Therefore this CEO deserves more than a typical CEO of just a transit system.
    Also I don’t know the specifics of Canadian government, but lots of local/state and even federal government workers make more than the U.S. president here in America. It’s not like the Prime Minister has an automatic right to make the most of any government worker, considering differences in cost of living between Ottawa and Vancouver and the technical expertise required to effectively and efficiently run a transportation network versus schmoozing politicians all day long.
    Think of it this way: if TransLink was privately owned and paid its CEO $10M in order to deliver the best transportation system in the entire Western Hemisphere… Would that be awful for Vancouver taxpayers/residents because the CEO was making more than the PM?

  13. Dave July 4, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    Vancouver should pay the TransLink CEO whatever they think he’s worth… Bearing in mind that there’s trade offs between keeping CEO pay “reasonable for laypeople to understand” and “competitive for the responsibilities required.” The pay of the CEO will have some influence on the quality of candidates you get in the job, in turn affecting the quality of staff the successful CEO hires for the agency (and thus the quality of service TransLink ultimately provides).
    Same thing holds true for the PM to some effect but (1) the PM enjoys a lot of peripheral benefits that the TransLink CEO doesn’t get, like free housing in Ottawa and free transportation all over the country and (2) the PM isn’t “hired” but rather voted into office and thus keeping his/her pay “competitive” within the job market of other “prospective prime ministers” isn’t a concern (like it is for “prospective CEOs of transportation agencies”).

  14. Bob Trotter July 4, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    I live in Victoria. As an advocate of rail transit I too would vote “No”.
    The whole referrendum is a copout by the provincial government. Their doctrinal change of governance was definitely a negative and thy refuse to truly finance transit while spending multiple billions on roads and bridges in the vain attempt to solve traffic congesions
    The car orientation shows in Vancouver City. The price the buried SkyTrain could build a whole network, ten times the distance, of surface tram/streetcar/light rail lines.
    Surrey Councils surface light rail lines make sense, but why is the old BCER line not considered? It connects Scott Road through Newton to Langley.
    Missing from Translinks system are cross connections. It can take 2 or 3 hours to reach Tsawwassen from Langley.

  15. d.p. July 4, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

    The last commenter may be demonstrating Jarrett’s point about those who posit easy answers.
    In this case, the Broadway subway, expensive as it may be, is what is desperately needed. “Ten times the distance” of hypothetical surface rails quite simply are not. And while the commenter may have a point about the difficulty of cross-connections, the geometry of the vast outer metropolitan area ensures there is no simple solution to that problem.
    I’ve engaged in my fair share of open hostility toward my local transit agencies, including (frequently) questioning whether their controlling boards, constituent communities, or planning leaders have even a desire to see transit work well for people on the ground. But I do attempt to temper my rage by carefully weighing the needs of my city and region against the constraints of existing land use and (hopefully evolving) politics.
    It is frustrating and ultimately distracting when people choose to push their pet transit modes or spatial arrangements at every opportunity, and in the absence of real-world context.

  16. EngineerScotty July 6, 2015 at 12:16 am #

    If there is a silver lining, “we hate our transit agency because we think it doesn’t provide efficient service, and/or spends most of its money downtown instead of providing better service to Langley or Surrey or Coquitlam, and we want to send them a message to get their act together” is a better problem to have than “we hate our transit agency because its buses get in the way of cars and are full of bums, welfare cases and liberals and are also always empty; and we want to get rid of public transit altogether and spend the money on wider freeways instead”.

  17. M1EK July 6, 2015 at 7:15 am #

    “Demand state/provincial leadership that looks for solutions instead of pointlessly stoking urban-suburban conflict”
    I think this is the wrong framing. The metropolitan areas I am familiar with could do with a good deal MORE urban-suburban conflict, in the sense that the urban part of the conflict needs to stand up for itself instead of rolling over for every demand the suburbs make.

  18. Andymessenger July 6, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    So long as Vancouver maintains their absolutely zero metres of freeway anywhere everything will work out in the end, whatever the idiot public do.
    Obviously this vote will make Vancouverites substantially poorer, as everyone knew when they made it. Oh well.

  19. Rico July 6, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    Bob Trotter, there is a reason the old BCER right of way is missing from most conversations. It really does not hit many worthy nodes. And many of the nodes it actually hits would be better served by the current Surrey LRT proposals (at similar stop spacing and speeds it will be much faster to go pretty much anywhere from Langley via the Fraser Highway proposal than the BCER). So while it may be ‘cheap’ to build it won’t generate many trips on transit….so its cost per boarding will be high…and so will its operating costs….The reverse is true with rapid transit on Broadway, it will cost a bunch to build….but generate lots of trips…so actually a low cost per trip and a better return on investment. Note I also support the Surrey LRT proposal out of a general desire to support transit, but the business case sucks (especially compared to the business case for Broadway…but still better than the case for a 10 lane Massey tunnel replacement I am sure). In particular the case for LRT on King George is supper weak (even though it would be the cheapest route).

  20. Ralfff July 7, 2015 at 12:00 am #

    I agree with M1EK. Cities in the US are usually run by people with suburban mindsets who do not seem to understand that their nearest suburbs are their biggest threats politically and economically.

  21. Michael July 7, 2015 at 3:53 am #

    The vote I think failed for a number of reasons:
    1. We should not be voting on whether transit requires additional funding. We do not vote for other infrastructure investments, and this could possibly have been a sign to the government that voters just want these transit improvements funded the by the BC Government.
    2. Many swaths of the region have been told that they do not deserve or will not see attractive transit service, because they live in suburbs in a single family house (despite the fact that suburban areas in other cities support high quality service). If you are told you don’t deserve good transit, and that you are going to have to rely on a bus that comes every 30 or 60 minutes, and ends at 9pm. Would you support transit?
    3. In relation to number 2, the optimization program has seen people punished for where they choose to live. People have seen their already low frequency bus service cut even more, and the results have been ridership decline. Again, if people feel the system is not working for them, they are less likely to vote to tax themselves more.
    Vancouver has had great transit success lately. The vote does not mean people are against transit. There are other underlying issues as to why people voted NO. And it is not a hatred for transit. Maybe voting on essential public services is not the Canadian way, because we know these services must be funded.

  22. EngineerScotty July 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    @Michael,
    That’s why it’s important to have a TRANSPORTATION conversation, not a transit conversation.
    If transit is provided over a large metro area, chances are the ‘burbs will subsidize service in the core somewhat.
    HOWEVER, the reverse true when it comes to roads: City residents pay quite a bit of money to build roads and highways in lower-density areas, many of which are not necessary for movement of freight or regional travel.
    A legit source of complaints is that the province is building all sorts of highway expansion projects over the greater Vancouver metro area (the Sea-to-Sky widening, the Golden Ears bridge, the recent widening of the Port Mann bridge, the BC17 extension between Delta and Surrey, the proposed replacement for the Massey tunnel), and Vancouver residents’ taxes go to pay for all of this, but there’s suddenly no money for the Broadway subway.
    And a good question can be raised: If the Massey tunnel is widened, then what–does BC99 get widened up through Richmond? Is the Oak Street bridge next? Will there be pressure to further widen (or highway-ize) Oak, Granville, Cambie, or Knight? I don’t know much about the law in BC or in Canada–but could a sufficiently-motivated provincial government (backed by conservatives in Ottawa) cram a freeway north through downtown over the objections of Vancouver?

  23. Matt J. July 9, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    I think that a big underlying issue that is not being addressed in this discussion is compensation of government workers. I am not certain of the situation in Canada, but in the US, the average government transit worker has the benefits of union and gets paid well, has job protection, and gets a pension after 20 years (which almost no workers in the US have any more). So the average citizen looks at their situation and says, “Why should I reach into my pocket to pay for these benefits when I don’t have anything like this?”. People are much more willing to pay for things when they don’t feel like that extra revenue is just going to lead to the unions asking for more money the next time their contract is up and they threaten to strike (and hold a region’s economy hostage).

  24. alurin July 9, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    Perhaps those average citizens should instead be demanding that their employers up their benefits rather than trying to drag down other people’s.

  25. MB July 10, 2015 at 11:59 am #

    The No vote seemed to be about everything but the plan proposed. Sure, the plebiscite should never had happened, and it was not managed well (three months to compose, advertise and defend a $7.5 billion plan … c’mon), and cherry picked local transit and its unfairly-abused and manipulated agency from general transportation. These were some of the myriad of reasons why people voted No while not actually addressing the plan and the mosquito bite of a tax to fund it. In some respects it was just a big excuse to throw a hissy fit.
    The No side kept referring to a magical Plan B, but no one who supported No (not even the editorial board at the Vancouver Sun) can now define what B actually is. There was one Plan, and now there is no plan. We could be facing a sad decade of service cuts, deferred maintenance and staff attrition while the province continues to sit on its hands, an act now seemingly justified because “the people have spoken.” As Stephen Rees iterated, it was planned that way by the freeway meisters.
    https://stephenrees.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/i-wasnt-supposed-to-pass/
    In my opinion we have to encourage the federal government to step in with a National Transit Plan. There is a federal election underway right now, and all three major parties need to be asked what they will do for transit here now with the negative vote results, and nationally in the face of the increasingly effects of climate change. I would also promote an elected regional government for Metro Vancouver. We have 21 municipalities and a Metro corporate management organization with indirect democratic representation via appointed city councilors and mayors. I feel with the recent provincial intransigence and historic bald manipulation of TransLink, we need to find some stones and start taking greater responsibility for transit locally. One mayor has already called for a study to run a transit service like a Metro utility. That has merit, but I would also like to see some serious public consultation launched to explore the possibilities of obtaining an elected government for Greater Vancouver.
    Scotty, the province is building and planning over-engineered freeways and bridges up to the edges of the city of Vancouver. The Trans Canada Highway only nips through the upper NE corner of the city, but it is being transformed into an LA-scale freeway. There have been no other freeways planned since the late 60s when public protest and the courageous political leadership of then mayor Art Phillips killed several routes planned for the downtown waterfront from the North Shore, cutting swaths through Strathcona and East Vancouver to the Trans Canada, and south through several neighbourhoods to Richmond and beyond. It was the best thing that ever happened to Vancouver since the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived and justified its inception.
    It is a matter of pride when some planners say that the signal at 70th Ave x Oak St is the first red light north of the Mexican border via the I-5 and #99. Though they are supremely arrogant and can’t fathom the definition of planning for the future, I don’t believe the BC Liberals (they are actually very conservative, but that’s another story) would be stupid enough to attempt to bulldoze hundreds of houses for freeways into downtown. Thousands will lie down in front of the bulldozers, including me. Our arterials and gridded streets work quite well as they are.

  26. EngineerScotty July 11, 2015 at 12:48 am #

    I would also promote an elected regional government for Metro Vancouver. We have 21 municipalities and a Metro corporate management organization with indirect democratic representation via appointed city councilors and mayors. I feel with the recent provincial intransigence and historic bald manipulation of TransLink, we need to find some stones and start taking greater responsibility for transit locally. One mayor has already called for a study to run a transit service like a Metro utility. That has merit, but I would also like to see some serious public consultation launched to explore the possibilities of obtaining an elected government for Greater Vancouver.
    An interesting question: Metro Vancouver has a population of about 2.5M, the province of BC is about 4.4M. How did the referendum fare within Metro Vancouver? Were most of the No votes coming from Kelowna or Abbotsford or Kamloops or Nanaimo–or was much of the opposition within the Vancouver metro area?
    And regarding LA-style freeways–I was on the Trans-Canada Highway a few months back, between Abbotsford and downtown (the Blaine/Surrey crossing was packed, so we went through Sumas); and BC 1 is nothing like an LA freeway. You’ve got a long ways to go before you reach that level of dysfunction. An eight-lane freeway in Los Angeles is considered skinny.
    (The 401 in Toronto, OTOH, is every bit as obnoxious as the New Jersey Turnpike. without the benefit of tolls).

  27. MTSranger July 11, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    @Scotty
    The vote was only held in Metro Vancouver, and the tax was only supposed to be applied over Metro Vancouver. While Vancouver City proper almost passed it (49.19%), regions like Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey overwhelmingly voted NO. In essence, Metro Vancouver rejected it.

  28. Nathanael July 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    “2. Many swaths of the region have been told that they do not deserve or will not see attractive transit service, because they live in suburbs in a single family house”
    That’s what P&Rs are for.
    People in low-density areas with no bus service, or terrible bus service, can and will drive to the “edge of congestion” and then catch a train. New Jersey is an interesting example of this.
    Maybe Vancouver hasn’t made this clear to its dispersed low-density suburban population? Or perhaps there’s no road congestion in downtown Vancouver?

  29. RossB July 12, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    A little further south, we seem to have the opposite problem. Opposition to this proposal was aimed at the people in charge, and the problems they have had with running things. The projects themselves are very popular and effective; so effective that I’m sure some of the voters didn’t want to increase the unpopular tax just for more.
    In Seattle, Sound Transit has built what they said they were going to build (after a redo) and the result is that they are fairly popular. There have been no big problems with operations, either. The difference is that they have built light rail that doesn’t work very well at all with bus service (in a city that requires it), and are poised to continue building poorly performing lines. If we continue on the current path, there is no way we will have what Vancouver has (a really good transit system). But unlike Vancouver, people are desperate for transit, and have not had time to analyze the decisions that have been made (because so little of it has been built). It is quite possible that the next proposal will be really bad, and yet still pass, because we are desperate, and so far the agency in charge (Sound Transit) has delivered what they promised (even if it isn’t what is needed).
    I don’t believe that you should vote against a proposal because you hate the board (that is what board elections are for). But if the board produces yet another proposal that ignores what works and what doesn’t, then I think it makes sense to reject the proposal (and the board with it).

  30. Jason July 13, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

    I have a great guest post from a TransLink planner on my blog. She has some interesting things to say about how being hated makes planning hard:
    http://thomasthethinkengine.com/2014/03/05/guest-post-sabrina-lau-texier-on-making-transit-policy/

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