The Voice for Industry
April 15, 2009
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Tale of Two Parking Garages

The first garage is owned by the US Postal Service and it is located in SODO next door to the Sound Transit station on Lander between 4th and 6th Avenues. The garage has been closed to public parking for years because the postal service is subject to Homeland Security restrictions that forbid public parking adjacent to federal facilities.

But, the garage is now up for sale, and, assuming the new owner can dodge SODO sleeper cells and Somali gunboats, the garage could be reopened for public parking just in time to meet the parking needs of the people who will flock to the Sound Transit station to hop aboard the Link Light Rail service scheduled to begin this summer.

But, since the garage went on the market in January, private sector interest has failed to materialize due to uncertainty about real estate values and the broader economy. Which leads to the question. Why doesn't the City of Seattle or Sound Transit buy the garage, glom onto the revenue stream from the Sound Transit park and riders, and in the process meet the community need for more parking?

Seems logical to us, but it appears this is one of those good ideas that is going nowhere very quickly.

The poor economy is one factor, but trust us, the real reason is something called "car enabling".

You have probably lived your entire life to this point with out encountering the term. But in the upper echelons of super duper professional transportation thinking that guides enlightened transportation agencies, car enabling refers to the fact that certain things contribute to our continued reliance on automobiles just as some people engage in behavior that unwittingly encourages others, often loved ones, to persist in alcoholism and/or drug addiction.

Parking garages per se are considered highly car enabling, on a par with guys who buy beer for kids hanging out in convience store parking lots. But, parking garages for transit facilities are far worse, about the same as hooking up Aunt Mae intravenously to a 100 gallon barrell of Old Irish Rose. If government is going to invest in transit service, the least the rest of us can do is leave our cars at home and walk, bike, carpool, ride the bus, swim or levitate to the nearest transit stop.

But, this leads to the other part of our story. What if the transit station is located in an area where no one lives and where the bus service is notoriously inadequate? You know, like SODO, where we find the second parking garage that is part of this tale.

The second parking garage stands just south of Royal Brougham on 6th Avenue. It was built as part of the enormous Metro bus base and maintenance facility located just east of the sports stadiums and every workday this garage is stuffed to the rafters with, oh my gosh, cars, belonging to, you've got to be kidding, Metro bus drivers.

Yep, the people who professionally drive the buses that the rest of us are supposed to be riding know they can't count on Metro bus service to get to SODO, and if you peer inside the Metro employee parking garage, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly that good fuel mileage is not always the top concern when Metro bus drivers buy cars, vans and pick up trucks.

And, just like the bus drivers, the future Sound Transit riders will start driving to the SODO station this summer where they'll beg, borrow or steal curb side parking spots, then walk past an empty parking garage to get on the light rail train.

Somebody should report this to Al Gore. We're going to call Aunt Mae and see if she'll enable us to rig up a second feeding tube.

How YOU (Local Manufacturer) Can Get Stimulated
President Addresses Energy Changes for Manufacturing, Reprinted from the Washington Manufacturing Services "Made in Washington" 4/2/2009 Newsletter

In his plan, New Energy for America, President Barack Obama recently cited new goals for manufacturers regarding energy. In the section of the plan entitled Convert our Manufacturing Centers into Clean Technology Leaders, the President looks to establish a federal grant program that will "allocate money to the states to identify and support local manufacturers with the most compelling plans for modernizing existing or closed manufacturing facilities to produce new advanced clean technologies." The goal of the grant program is to "provide the critical up-front capital needed by small and mid-sized manufacturers to produce these new innovative technologies."

The President's plan goes on to say that by the year 2012, 10% of electricity consumed by the United States will have to be renewable. This includes sustainable sources of energy from solar, wind and geothermal power. Each state will be responsible for achieving their goals, and with manufacturing playing such a significant role in Washington State, there is little doubt that immediate changes will have to be made.

Washington Manufacturing Services (WMS) can provide your manufacturing facility with a free energy assessment. A free assessment now can highlight quick, low investment opportunities to save on energy and money, and can help prepare you to take quick advantage of the federal and state grant monies as they become available. In addition, reducing your energy consumption now will put your company at a competitive advantage. By making these changes while the economy is at a slow-down, you will be better prepared as demand increases.

In a study conducted by the EPA, they conclude that "reducing energy consumption in energy-intensive manufacturing industries offers opportunities for improving environmental performance as well as reducing operational costs in an increasingly competitive global marketplace."

For more information or to schedule your energy assessment with WMS, contact Soraya Dossa WMS Energy and Environmental Specialist at

WSDOT Wants to Hear From You About Tolling SR 520
Electronic tolling could be on the SR 520 Bridge by next year, and we want to know what you think about it. Check out the recently released environmental assessment, and send us your thoughts. You can also chime in during two public hearing at the Bellevue Regional Library, 5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, April 28, and at Seattle Public Library's University Branch 5-7 p.m., Thursday, April 30. The comment period ends May 11. For more information go to:

SR 519 Update
  • ***TRAFFIC ALERT*** Royal Brougham Way will be narrowed to one lane in each direction from Occidental Avenue to Fourth Avenue April 14-19, and April 21-23 to accomodate event day traffic.
    Fans heading to Mariners games at Safeco Field should allow extra time so they can get to the game before the first pitch.
  • Drivers should expect partial and full closures on Royal Brougham until early spring 2010. We will keep one lane in each direction open for major events such as Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders games, and concerts at Qwest Field.
  • Third Avenue S. will be fully closed until early spring 2010.

    I-5 at Stewart Street
    Friday, April 17 - Monday, April 20 - City of Seattle crews will close the Stewart Street off-ramp from southbound I-5 from 9 p.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Monday for construction work. A detour will be posted.

    Halfway Point in I-5 Construction Hits Express Lanes This Weekend
    We're halfway through 14 weekends of closures to replace old pavement on I-5. That means no express lanes this weekend (April 18 and 19).

    Calling All Sports Fans: Check the Construction Update on Your Way to Seattle's Sports Stadiums
    If you're heading to a big game or event at Safeco Field or Qwest Field anytime soon, you'll need to plan for the construction that's occurring in the neighborhood. WSDOT contractors are building a new bridge over the railroad tracks on Royal Brougham Way and work begins in May on a new I-90 off-ramp to Edgar Martinez Drive. Add to your favorites:

    Caution: Wet Paint
    From now until October, crews will lay down more than 4,500 miles striping on highway roadways and ramps between the King/Pierce county line and the Canadian border. If you see a striping crew, be sure to give them plenty of room and watch for wet paint signs and warning trucks.

    I-90: 1-5 to 12th Avenue S. Seismic Retrofit #7629
    Mileposts: 2.49 - 2.74
    Crews will strengthen the columns, girders and crossbeams of the double-decked overpass that carries I-90 traffic over I-5 in Seattle and the nearby 12th Avenue S. bridge.

    • Monday, April 13 - morning of Friday, April 17 - Crews will close the off-ramp from westbound I-90 to Fourth Avenue S. in Seattle nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for seismic retrofit work. Only access to Fourth Avenue S. will be affected, all other nearby ramps will be open.
    • Sunday, April 19 - the morning of Tuesday, April 21 - Crews will close the left lane in both directions of I-5 at I-90 in Seattle nightly from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for construction work.
    • Sunday, April 26 - the morning of Thursday, April 20 - Crews will close the off-ramp from westbound I-90 to Fourth Avenue S. in Seattle nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for seismic retrofit work. Only access to Fourth Avenue S. will be affected, all other nearby ramps will be open.

    FREIGHT TRAVEL ALERT - Hood Canal Bridge Closure

    START DATE/TIME: May 1, 2009 12:01 a.m.
    END DATE/TIME: Construction is projected to be completed in six weeks.
    LOCATION: SR 104 Hood Canal Bridge
    DETAILS: The eastern half of the Hood Canal Bridge is nearing the end of its structural service life. Because repairs would not significantly extend the life of the bridge, rebuilding is the more cost-effective solution. When finished, the Hood Canal Bridge will have a new, wider east-half floating section, and new approach sections and transition trusses on the east and west ends.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION: For helpful travel tips, detours, and more information, visit the project page at:

    There is TOO MUCH!
    As WSDOT has been saying "Check the Construction Page" before you go. Maybe add this to your favorites as well:

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