Something You Will Not See in Seattle


About 7:00 PM on a weekday at the Lloyd Center MAX Station.

And no, it’s not just because there are no suburbs here with the names “Clackamas” or “Gresham”.

One of the standard amenities of a major city is a rapid transit system which runs on a right-of-way independent from the streets and highways and which has more than token coverage of the metro area. That latter aspect means multiple lines, so when the lines converge in the inner city, headways end up being very frequent.

I chose the wording above deliberately. It’s a standard amenity of a major city. As such, cities that lack the amenity can be characterized as being deficient in what services a city should offer to its residents.

If all goes as planned and there are no bumps in the road, Seattle may be at such a point in thirty years or so. By which time I will be age 80, and probably have only a limited ability to enjoy such an amenity (and I will have no ability to enjoy it before then, because it won’t exist).

And the other two options for getting around in Seattle basically suck, too. Driving sucks, because the roads are congested and parking is difficult in many areas. Bicycling sucks, because street maintenance has been badly neglected, the city is spread out, and there’s steep hills almost always involved.

Every option for getting around Seattle sucks; there simply is no escape. It’s one aspect of why I’m not planning to stay in this city for the long term.

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