Why I never lived on Queen Anne Hill

In 2007, when I returned to Seattle after 6 months of guest doctoral studies, my tastes in apartments had changed, influenced by the higher density and smaller living areas in Stockholm, as well as hardwood floors and other features of “older” construction. This basically narrowed the neighborhoods down to Capitol Hill, Ballard, the U District, and Lower Queen Anne.

In the end, I didn’t live in any of these. The reasons are many, of course, but one of the main ones was that bicycling to the University was complicated by the hills, bridges, and other obstacles, and I was dead set on bicycling.

Now Sightline Institute has just followed up their popular WalkScore online tool with a BikeScore tool, which displays both a sort of “generalized bikeability” map of a city, or a destination-specific range of bikeability, indeed taking into account network connectivity and hills. The figure at right shows the 20-minute bicycling range from the University. Indeed, Ballard is well out to the west and Capitol Hill is mostly out to the south. Most interestingly, Lower Queen Anne, which has some quite interesting old apartment buildings, sits right there in the dark corner to the southwest. This matches my mental map of the area, in that Queen Anne — although not so far as the crow flies — is rather inaccessible by bicycle, due to a combination of lake, hill, and Highway 99. Well done, Sightline, you’ve validated my eventual decision to live in Wallingford.

Onboard Auctioning

Just like this blog has been slow to really get off the ground, so has a RyanAir flight in Gothenburg been grounded today after a flight attendant somehow ended up tumbling out of the cabin doorin Swedish as the mobile stairs pulled away, falling three meters and possibly suffering serious injury (no official word on that).

Putting aside the obvious tragedy of the situation, something near the end of the article caught my attention. The reason for the grounding is that the plane can only a limited number of passengers per flight attendant. Now that they’re short one flight attendant, they have to either wait for a replacement, or fly with fewer passengers. Apparently, these passengers have started their own auction to try to sort out who to go with the plane, and who to wait behind: “we are collecting cash contributions among the passengers so that we can encourage enough people to leave the flight, so that we can get underway.”

Of course, this is similar to what airlines already do when they overbook a flight: start offering vouchers, or even cash, until someone agrees to take a later flight. But this is remarkable in that it emerged from the passengers themselves. It would be interesting to learn not only what the final price was, per deferred passenger, but also how the bidding progressed — how much it took to attract the first person, then the second, etc. Direct evidence of the value of travel time at the lower end of the tail!