Seattle: my city is nucking futs

I work (for living) in downtown Seattle (near the waterfront).  I have not BEEN to Seattle since December 18th because it a compact-snow-and-ice-bound nightmare.  In fact, my local roads have been a nightmare.  Why?  Because the Seattle Department of Transportation leadership are a bunch of  prime-rib nutbergers:

To hear the city’s spin, Seattle’s road crews are making “great progress” in clearing the ice-caked streets.

But it turns out “plowed streets” in Seattle actually means “snow-packed,” as in there’s snow and ice left on major arterials by design.

“We’re trying to create a hard-packed surface,” said Alex Wiggins, chief of staff for the Seattle Department of Transportation. “It doesn’t look like anything you’d find in Chicago or New York.”

The city’s approach means crews clear the roads enough for all-wheel and four-wheel-drive vehicles, or those with front-wheel drive cars as long as they are using chains, Wiggins said.

The icy streets are the result of Seattle’s refusal to use salt, an effective ice-buster used by the state Department of Transportation and cities accustomed to dealing with heavy winter snows.

“If we were using salt, you’d see patches of bare road because salt is very effective,” Wiggins said. “We decided not to utilize salt because it’s not a healthy addition to Puget Sound.”

Never mind all of the actual harmful stuff going into the Sound, we’ve got to stop adding all that salt!  God forbid during a once-every-ten-years storm we ACTUALLY PUT SOME DAMNED SALT ON THE FRICKING ROAD!  Never mind the sand that will just, naturally, muck up the sound far more than SALT!

The liquid de-icer they use here and there works to some degree, but it is still far less effective than rock salt, which the Washington State DOT does use.  Worried about your precious car?  Given the infrequency that we typically need to resort to salt, I think your precious will be all right… the rust issue is a bit overblown.  Besides, you sprung for that undercoating when you purchased it, right? Heh.

Fortunately, I can connect via VPN to work.  Not many people can do that, though.  And believe-you-me, there are lots of people either burning up vacation, sick or taking time unpaid over the last 5 work days.

The city, Sea-Tac, and many outlying areas have been at a standstill, and yet the brain-trust in Seattle refuses to change its hive-mind.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the City of Seattle leadership has done what few others are capable of: pissing off every last person of every stripe.  I am dearly hoping that voters send them all packing next election.  Not just because of this issue, but because this is a big one among SO MANY.


Seattle PI: It’s OK to be patriotic now


Barack Obama’s presidential win held a poignant significance for liberal Seattleites: This is their America, too.

Isn’t “liberal Seattleites” a bit redundant?  Anyway…

The feeling was evident in jubilant partying in the streets, in quiet moments of reflection and in blossoms of red, white and blue.

With newfound patriotism, Seattleites want to wave the flag, hang it from their homes and stick it on their cars.

“The thing that’s kind of astounding to me is I never ever would have cared to own a flag,” said Rosemary Garner, 42. “This is the first day in my life I actually feel this funny sense of pride about my country. It’s a very foreign feeling, but it’s a good one.”

Garner, a self-described “flag virgin” who lives on Capitol Hill, bought eight flags Wednesday — some to wave and others to stick on her car to “mix and match with some nice Obama and peace signs. Then I bought a couple of flags for some friends who wanted to hang them from their truck along with their biodiesel stickers.”

Only in Seattle…

Sound familiar?

Whither Seattle? [UPDATED]

Just another fun Summer in Seattle:

…Thank goodness for our barn-burning tech sector.

The irony is best laid out by a commenter on this blog post by Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson:

I don’t think the “tax” makes any sense, especially since the money will apparently be going towards increased advertising about the city’s recycling/composting program, which,in essence, means they’ll be spending the money on a bunch of printed materials that will invariably end up in the trash. Oh, the irony!

Ironic indeed.  Intelligence like would take a village; a village made up of those inhabiting Seattle City Hall.

At least the Green Fairy is making a comeback.  Pacific Distillery will be introducing Pacifique by Christmas.  Thank God… after November elections I’m sure we’ll need it around here.

Critical Stupidity

Let me make this very clear: I like bicycles and I like the idea of biking to work/elsewhere without having to use gas and getting/staying fit in the process.  In fact, I would REALLY love to start riding to my local Park&Ride instead of driving (it’s only 4-5 miles away).  However, I DO NOT like Critical Mass.

Critical Mass originally existed to draw attention to how unfriendly cities were to bicyclists.  It has now become a way to simply intimidate and piss off drivers.  This is most recently evidenced by a report in today’s Seattle Times.

Just after 7 p.m. Friday, the group of at least 100 bicyclists was moving en masse down East Aloha Street when a man and his girlfriend in a Subaru station wagon tried to pull out of a parking spot, said Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson.

For years, Critical Mass has held monthly public bike rides through Seattle to demonstrate for bicyclists’ road rights. The riders commonly engage in what they call “corking,” in which several bikers block cars while the mass of riders passes.

According to Jamieson, witnesses told officers that as the Critical Mass group moved down the street blocking traffic, some riders got in the way of the Subaru and prevented it from leaving. Some bikers sat on the car and were banging on it, he said.

“The driver was pretty fearful that he was about to be assaulted by the bicyclists,” Jamieson said.

There is an alleged eyewitness account of the rider of that smashed bike.  It’s in the Seattle Stranger (aka Seattle’s Sex Rag), so you have to take it with a grain of salt.  If it were in the Seattle Weekly, I’d give them the benefit of the doubt.

Other eyewitness accounts point out pretty clearly, to me, that the guy was being illegally detained and intimidated.  He just wanted to move on and likely didn’t understand what was going on… not that he was required to know what was going on.  Sure he may have been yelling, but he just wanted out of there.  He probably grazed a cyclist.  I’ve heard of these CM participants going ape and kicking idling/waiting cars, so you can imagine the tizzy some might be sent into if they *gasp* were bumped by an evil vehicle they were detaining.

The whole thing clearly flew apart at some point.  Whatever the driver did, it did not justify ANY other cyclists smashing in his windows and assulting him through a window.  That is vigilantism and certainly not civil disobedience; much more like anarchy.

Anyway, my message to cyclists: we are aware of you. I spend most of my time downtown as a pedestrian and I get to observe many cyclists, drivers, and their interactions.  Their interactions are mostly good.  I see both run red lights, both occasionally going the wrong way down streets, and both, at one point or another, have nearly run me down/over when I have a clear right of way.  What else I see cyclists doing: flying from street to sidewalk to street (something cars can’t casually do), yelling at cars as they’re cutting them off (drivers typically do this other drivers), flying through red lights long after it has turned (traffic cams now issue citations – can’t do so for cyclists).

Congratulations: you have nearly reached parity.  Enough demonstrations.