Sound Transit expanding expansion plans

It looks like sound transit will expand its plans for light rail further than expected. The expanded light rail plan will start south of the Tacoma Dome, near where the existing Tacoma link line is now, and stretch all the way out to Mill Creek in Snohomish County. The previous plan was only to Fife and Lynnwood, and they were thinking more about Everett than Ash Way. They’d also include a line out to Bellevue and Overlake, which would likely improve my commute a bit.

They are also looking into a rail corridor on the current Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway on the Eastside. BNSF wants to sell the strip, and King County wants obtain it by having the Port of Seattle buy it, and then trading them Boeing Field. The county would wants to turn the land into a bike trail now, and later possibly investigate rail there. Boeing field would probably turn into more of a passenger airport (which Southwest has wanted for sometime, Beacon Hill residents be damned) since now it is used mostly for cargo, charter flights and private jets. Apparently if that deal falls through, Sound Transit wants to look into buying that land and making it a rail corridor from Renton to Woodinville. Hopefully they’d be smart enough to have connect with the current “Central Line” either somewhere in the city, maybe Columbia City, or at least in Tukwila.

Critics, having lived through the monorail disaster, are concerned that Sound Transit is not being realistic about the cost. I agree that Sound Transit hasn’t actually finished much of anything yet, but they have had success keeping their schedules so far, and those lines look ready to go at or around the dates they have mentioned. My big issue is the timeframe they are talking about. Why would the expansion to Ash Way in Snohomish take to 2027? That is twenty years from now! BART in the Bay Area was built in way less time than that, included a trans-bay tube, those distances are way farther, and technolody is much better now than then.

Well whatever, better late than never. More later. Vote yes on that initiative!

Police and Ambulances paying Toll on new Narrows Bridge?

According to this article police and Ambulances may have to also pay the $1.50 toll across the bridge.

But dear god! at least the bridge hasn’t melted! That makes me glad I managed to move out of San Francisco a month before the bridge exploded!

Gas at $4 soon, take the bus to work

With gas looking like it’ll reach $4 a gallon, maybe you should plan on taking the bus to work or school this summer?
Reasons to take the bus
1) Reading, sleeping, playing ds, and talking are more fun that driving, so get a commute partner!
2) Girls (and boys for ladies) that you can try to pick up. It’s worked for me more than you’d imagine.
3) Save on gas (see above).
4) During Summer with the weather nice, no need to worry about getting rained on.
5) No need to fight for parking.
That photo on the left is of San Francisco, where I just left a month ago. Gas there is already $4 a gallon at some stations, though I think that is the station on Harrison and 6th, which is always about 50¢ more than the Chevron across the street.

Good News, Bad News for Ferry Riders

Well, the bad news first. Washington State Ferries is increasing fares by 2.5% starting May 1st. This isn’t all that much, if you consider that inflation averaged about 3% last year, and the good news is that fares won’t go up again automatically next year, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they do with the poor state of the Ferries’ finances.

The really good news? The Elliot Bay Water Taxi (pictured above) kicks off on Sunday! If you don’t know about the water taxi, it’s a $3 boat ride from Pier 55 downtown to Seacrest Park in West Seattle. It’s really a treat on a warm summer day, and I recommended taking any out-of-town guests on it, as a way to get to Alki Beach. It only runs from May 1st to September 30th, which is really unfortunate as it is one of the fastest ways from West Seattle to downtown.

Why No North Capitol Hill Station?

Ken in the comments over at Slog asked this question, “Why no light rail station planned for the north end of Broadway?” Well, I don’t really think that is completely necessary, because it’s not that far from Denny & Broadway up to, say, Roy & Broadway (near the kinko’s). But misses the point in my opinion: that there should be a north Capitol Hill Station.

In my preference, the station would be on 15th near Volunteer Park (where I put the red dot on my map). Aparrently there were major budget issues for getting a second station on the Hill, but I think it’s something that should be considered in the future, since it looks like the underground will go by that area anyway, and I am sure that will add a lot of ridership for the park, for the Group Health complex on top of the hill, and the schools (Meany Middle School, Holy Names) near that area.

Well I guess it’s just a dream at this point.

545 T-Shirt

I take the 545 from the City to Redmond everyday, so this shirt is topical for me. I won’t be buying one though, it gives too much of me away.

New Blog about Seattle Transit

Methods of commuting in the Seattle area currently leave much to be desired.

It is not a great area to drive. Traffic on the 520 corridor (which I commute on) the 405 corridor through the Eastside or the 5 corridor through the city. From what I understand, driving on 5 near Tacoma is also a pain, as is commuting through the 167 corridor.

It is not a great area to bike. The City as bike lines through some parts of town, particularly great ones Ravenna and Green Lake, but those are not exactly heavy job centers, and the weather precludes bike commuting much of the year.

And it is not a great area to take transit. For one, there is no real mass transit option at the moment – though some will be coming on line in the future – only heavy commuter rails and buses. At this blog, I will attempt to document, discuss, and gripe about the progress and regress that is made in Seattle’s attempt to develop proper transit systems around the area.