The Cleveland City Club hosted a panel on mass transit the other day.
While the local people kept talking about how to use roads, there was some astonishing information from Kate Joncas, the former deputy mayor of Seattle.
Seattle has a huge commuting problem, because there is only a single north-south interstate and the Cascade Mountains to the east and Puget Sound to the west block any highway expansion. Suburbs stretch north almost to the Canadian border, and south halfway to Oregon.
- 50 percent of all downtown workers in Seattle drove to work in a single-occupant vehicle a decade ago. Today, just 25 percent of downtown workers in Seattle drive to work in a single-occupant vehicle.
- The city rejected making parking "so expensive and horrible that everyone would ride the bus." Instead, the city made mass transit so convenient and reliable that public transit was preferable.
- The city of Seattle partnered with the private downtown business development group to get businesses to push transit passes at work.
- The city partnered with the private downtown business development group to discourage monthly parking passes. (People think they have to drive every day to get their money's worth. The passes encourage driving.)
- The Seattle transit agency made massive improvements to bus infrastructure: Digital signs at every stop, a real-time "when will it get here" mobile app, extensive new shelters.