…the urban transit lifestyle through Google Maps. Google and TriMet, the first to pair up and develop some standards and get transit systems on maps, finally have an urban competitor in the online mapping space. Bing finally offers transit directions in… well I’m not sure all of the areas they offer directions, but I know they cover Seattle now. I’m happy, but at this point Microsoft lost me years ago with their suburban centered, not so feature packed maps. Google on the other hand has pushed the envelope for years.
Which leaves me the question, how could Microsoft even gain my interest at this point in the mapping field? In the clean urban lifestyle field?
- Microsoft now has transit on the maps, using of course the transit information that originated from Google and TriMet’s work years ago.
- Microsoft provided transit to their campus from downtown Seattle, even though they’re mostly suburban focused still. Google did this in San Francisco years before Microsoft did. I do however, applaud both in these efforts!
- Microsoft does have alternative campus locations in Westlake in Seattle, and Lincoln Center in Bellevue which are great urban campuses. However, many of the people who would like to work in these offices are still stuck traveling out to the suburbs.
This also leads me to one of the other questions I have pondered a lot lately. I wonder how many candidates Microsoft loses because they are young and want to live where the startups, the fun, the action, the music, and the art are? Because those things sure aren’t out on the Redmond, that’s pretty much downtown Seattle, Fremont, or Ballard area. The mixed zoned, city center oriented, transit friendly areas. Does anyone know these statistics? Does anyone have a wild guess?
Overall, I’m not really complaining. It is awesome that Microsoft finally got on the bandwagon. I also realize that the corporate powers slowly but surely realize that they need a LOT MORE presence in urban centers in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and other tech heavy cities. These are the cities that are starting to show the future trend path of the youth. These cities are the ones that are showing the rest of the country how to get its act together. I just hope that these corporate leaders didn’t realize to late to stave off ill will and bad effects.
While riding the bus recently, I was contemplating the absolutely gregarious myth that public transportation is for the poor and downtrodden. Of course, this myth isn’t particularly held by those that actually know about cities, urban lifestyles, and other such things. However there are a large number of people (namely on random AM radio talk shows) that hold this myth to be true. They hold it as if it is some real redistribution of wealth, some hand out to the poor, or just some hand out in general.
As I sit here riding the #545 toward Microsoft, I realize just how objectively wrong they are. There are approximately 60+ people on this bus as it travels across the bridge toward Microsoft. These 60+ people have a median taxable income near the upper 93-95% bracket. That means the following facts are true:
- These people are absolutely not poor, in any sense of the word.
- These people are in the bracket that pays the largest percentage of tax share to the Government. In other words these people pay approximately 1.8-2.4x their costs incurred by the Government.
Think about that for a second. These people are the bread and butter of America’s Economy right now. The part of the economy that is actually creating jobs, not shedding them. The part of the economy that is growing still.
In another part of town, Amazon has thousands of people coming in on busses and even walking to work (which I’d say is a better corporate citizen than Microsoft when it comes to environmental and economic activity).
Again, the facts for these individuals hold true also. Amazon is growing massively. They pay very well and need intelligent and highly skilled people. Everyday they’re hiring more people.
Both of these companies have a large percentage of employees that use public transit to get to and from work, and in both situations both companies provide private transit agencies to get employees back and forth to the various areas of their campuses. Both of these companies are prime examples of what should be encouraged and perpetuated in cities throughout America. These companies are also prime examples of employers, that don’t require you to have a car. Going car free with Amazon or Microsoft is super easy, and with either you could be an urban, suburban, or even rural person and get away with being car free.
So get rid of the myths if you hold them, you’re holding things that are not true in the least if you have that thought. Public transit is vital to our most productive and growing industries.