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Criticisms for Two Seattle Transportation Studies

Two studies begin the process of spending billions of dollars for infrastructure in Ballard and Interbay in Seattle. According to this critique, the effort is off on the wrong foot.
November 25, 2020, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Transportation Planning
Seattle Department of Transportation

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) recently released two studies, one to replace the Ballard Bridge, a key link in the city's transportation system, and another to address a number of transportation investments along the Ballard-Interbay Corridor.

"They are both categorical failures," writes Ray Dubicki.

The Ballard Bridge study "makes a series of half-baked assessments that total up to several very wrong alternatives," according to Dubicki.

The Ballard Interbay Regional Transportation Study (BIRT), initiated by the state, is a "rewarmed plate of soggy old plans."

According to Dubicki, the failures of these plans reveal some of the weaknesses of modern urban planning.

"They are traffic study pseudoscience wrapped in a thin gauze of social justice, like stuffing styrofoam into a reusable bag. In the few times one of the studies picks up a complex issue, they find the way to develop the most regressive answer possible, usually adding more asphalt. The rest of the time, they kick hard questions down the line or just deny they are part of the study to begin with."

These harsh words don't go without backing evidence, as Dubicki provides a level of analysis rare in planning media.

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Published on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 in The Urbanist
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