103 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Bicycles and Tracks”

    1. Lets be clear… they aren’t suing the city for installing this, they are suing the city because previous/current issues stemming from the mission link.

  1. In Portland, there a tons of bicyclists that ride on the same road as the streetcar, and they don’t have any problems. What we need is good education on how to cross the tracks.

      1. I agree but this doesn’t mean that safety concerns and good design techniques should not be used when designing future streetcar lines. Only in a few situations are these goal of good streetcar design and bicycles safety mutually exclusive, and in those situations careful analysis should determine a suitable balance of the objectives.

  2. It’s funny how human nature works. Clarence talks about crossing the tracks at a 90 degree angle, and the last clip shows the rider at a 45 degree angle, and going pretty fast at that. Add in a little water and narrow tires, and down he goes.
    It seems like speed bumps would do better to slow the rider, then force a safe crossing more pertendicular to the tracks using bollards.

    1. Bikes are somewhat different from cars. Horizontal offset calming techniques are the pretty universally accepted method to slow bicyclist down. I have never seen a speed bump used.

    2. Why stop there? How about we put up a blockade so they have to dismount and walk across.

      Or we could just give people the information they need (all the paint in the street serves well enough to inform cyclists the safest crossing angle), then let them judge for themselves how they are going to cross. I’m sure that person has crossed those tracks a zillion times and knows how they can cross it. Let’s not force them to do anything.

      1. Woops, sorry Mike; sounded way more bitchy than I intended. Just wanted to point out that an element of personal responsibility needs to be retained.

  3. If you put bollards in there to redirect bikes, where would the cars go? Approaching the tracks, bikes are in the general purpose lane of the street, there is no separate bike facility there.

    Besides, using bollards to redirect bicycle traffic is quite dangerous, and contrary to AASHTO standards for design of bicycle facilities. Bollards are for excluding motor vehicles from trails, and should not be used to force cyclists to change course.

  4. Why not just fill in the track with cement and smooth it out? Seems like it would be a fairly cheap mid term fix.

    1. Gevur, that section of track is active and owned by the Ballard Terminal Railroad (BTRR), which is viewed by many in the cycling community as an organization whose sole purpose is to prevent the completion of the Missing Link. BTRR has been fighting the city’s plans to tear up or fill in that track for several years now.

      1. To be fair, Salmon Bay sand and gravel uses that rail line to receive shipments of bulk materials that would require substantially more truck traffic and be more expensive to ship if they didn’t have that rail spur. I doubt the owners of that spur went through all the hoops to buy the line and keep it open just to keep the missing link from being completed.

        While I want to see the missing link completed and figure there *has* to be some sort of middle ground, I do have sympathy with the arguments about safety made by industrial businesses in that area. I’m an avid cyclist and definitely support the right of cyclists to use the road, but there are plenty of “us” out there who seem determined to get themselves killed under the wheels of my bus. I have a *lot* of gray hair (ok, maybe a little – I’m mostly bald) that is at least partially related to stupid and dangerous stuff done by cyclists around my bus.

      2. Once I ended up riding through the gravel next to the tracks to get to the Locks… It was really weird, and I didn’t know where I was. They gotta fill that missing link!

      3. This is an industrial area, I get that. But I ride a bike along E. Marginal along with tracks (which are actually nicely kept up, even a flange was put in several years ago at the oblique tracks that cross Alaskan/Marginal near Atlantic), with 18-wheelers, with delivery trucks, with dump trucks, construction equipment, you name it, I ride with it – along busy Port entrances. This area has even seen *improvement* of the bike lanes in the past two years with no outcry. Finishing the “missing link” in the Ballard area will drastically better the pavement for ALL road users, trucks, bikes, peds, cars…it will create a logical, consistent route so cyclists won’t be riding erratically (which I have had to do down there to avoid potholes, gravel, parking vehicles etc.) and will create a route where cyclists will be seen easier! This isn’t only about cyclists, but about the whole bad roadway in that area. That’s what most people seem to miss.

    2. I believe that it is still used on occasion. I have seen a functioning locomotive just a block or so to the east of this crossing.

  5. Open thread! I’ve been waiting to ask this question, which you all have probably discussed previously, but does anyone know why Central Link didn’t use Convention Place Station?

    1. There’s a decent upward climb between Westlake and Convention Place. CPS is both very close to I-5 and almost at the same level (for example, the express lane connection ramps). In order to tunnel across I-5 and its very large supports/foundation, the line needs to be further underground, and there isn’t enough room to both accomplish that and serve CPS.

      1. I vividly remember a meeting in the early 90’s of the JRPC when a Seattle City Councilman (Paul Barden, I think), upon hearing that the Capitol Hill alignment required the abandonment of CPS, reacted in disbelief, saying, ‘My god, you mean we built it in the wrong place?'(or close to those words)
        This is just a few years after the bus tunnel opened.

      2. I’ve heard this, or something really similar. It’s because they didn’t have the money to do the real planning for future rail – they didn’t really know where it would go, they just had to go for a best guess.

      3. The thinking at the time CPS was being designed was it needed to connect to the reversible lanes, which it does quite well, and be able to extend rail in the future.
        Kaiser Engineering did the report showing how rail would leave CPS, run across the ship canal bridge using the reversible lanes, or a part of them, and drop down to the U-dist.
        Then when it was decided to run to Capitol Hill, that became a moot point, plus, autos had pretty much claimed ownership of that ROW by then, and it was a fight that nobody wanted.
        Fast forward 20 years and now they’re sueing to keep I-90 for autos too!

      4. … which is why I don’t think we’ll ever be able to use SR 520 for transit that needs to meet a dependable schedule if we allow 16000 projected HOVs a day (according to WSDOT) to claim the extra lane.

      5. Your right. Kicking that many motorist to the curb for a couple of years to build rail across SR520 is a future fight no politician will want to engage in, UNLESS,
        some dynamic is really changed. Like 10-20 dollar gas, or rationing. Then they would be out in front of the angry mobs, crying for more mass transit like stuck pigs.

  6. Regarding the Missing Link, I don’t agree with the lawsuits but it does seem that the city made a mistake in designating 45th the preferred bike route (or marking it as such) and then doing little or nothing to mitigate the problems it poses. Aside from the tracks, the current configuration requires westbound cyclists to make a very awkward transition at 11th as they move from the trail on the left side of the road to the right side of the street. Considering that most cyclists don’t heed the stop sign at the end of the trail, it’s an incredibly dangerous spot and I see near-hits there almost every time I go through there (usually as a pedestrian on my way to Fred Meyer; as a cyclist I avoid that spot, like much of the B-G, like the plague.)

    Personally I think the city should have put the official bike route on 46th. This would introduce several street crossings for bikes, including left turns in traffic, which wouldn’t be fun, but they’d be safer than tracks, and actually force cyclists to take the lane and ride with the traffic, which is what they need to do to be safe in that area.

  7. One real problem with this location is that the Burke-Gillman trail dumps right into it. Before these signs were up my wife didn’t remember the tracks were there, and pulling over to the right to let a car go by slipped on the tracks and fell right in front of me – causing me to brake so hard I flipped over my handlebars and landed on her. We weren’t injured beyond scrapes and bruises, but it could have been much worse – and I’m sure that happens every day there.

    Adding this paint is a good idea in the short term, and I hope they make the tracks to the east of this more visible as well. But expecting what I imagine are hundreds or thousands of bicyclists a day perform this maneuver perfectly is asking for more accidents.

  8. At hte recent Eastside meeting, I got an interesting tip from someone I am giving anonymity to that Sound Transit is looking at expanding service on the 556/555 from Issaquah to Northgate via Bellevue and the University district. Currently only operating during the peak hours, ST is looking at expanding this to add midday weekday service. This would become part of the fall timetable if deemed a likely successful addition to the portfolio.

    I would welcome this since Metro’s 271 provides a woefully ponderous and inadequate service between Issaquah and the University District via Bellevue and I have complained for years that we need a faster option between Issaquah and the University District than is currently provided. The 271 was always slow but became even slower when it assumed much of the route of the old Metro 215 (Issaquah to Seattle) between Issaquah and Eastgate.

    1. That’d be great! Although I rode the 556 from Northgate to Bellevue a while ago and just one or two other people got on…

      1. I never quite figured why Sound Transit thought an Issaquah to Northgate route would work, but possibly they figured at one point in the early years of the ride, that riders could then connect to Everett from an ST bus based at Northgate that serviced that run. That route went years ago now, but the 556 has retained its origin and destination. The 556 would be at its most useful between the U-District and Issaquah via Bellevue. I would probably scrap the 555/556 route discrepancy and make the whole route follow the alignment of the 556 and have it start in Issaquah and end in the University District. The extra time and cost savings on not proceeding on to Northgate could be applied to adding midday and evening service along the route.

      2. The 532 stays on 405 and bypasses Bothell P&R and UWB-Cascadia CC. And it skips Brickyard P&R in the reverse commute direction (AM SB, PM NB). I made the mistake of taking it from Totem Lake and ending up in Canyon Park instead of Brickyard a few times. Really made me angry because of a 30-60 minute wait for the next bus back the other way.

    2. Between the U-District and Bellevue Transit Center, the 271 is only 5 minutes slower (scheduled time). This might be because it avoids the mess that is 405.

      1. Yes, the 271 is fine between the U-District and the Bellevue Transit Center, but not between the BTC and Issaquah where it meanders like a lost soul in Hades!

    3. Two days late to the party, I’d like to suggest that ST try to find a way to assign 60-foot buses to the three peak afternoon 556 runs — the 4:24, 4:54 and 5:42 departures from Bellvue TC. I commute on this route daily from Issaquah TC to/from Bellevue TC and over the last year it’s gotten very crowded. When UW is in session this runs are nearly always standing-room-only east of Bellevue, and the latter two are often jammed with standing riders from the back bench to the driver’s seat. A fellow Issaquah rider who works at UW has told me that a number of times in the last few months the bus has been standing-room-only beginning at UW.

      The first afternoon 556 typically has a 60-foot bus assigned, and it operates nearly empty; the only reason I can figure for it being present on that run is to position it at Issy Highlands P&R for the 554, because I never see that bus head back west on the 555 route.

  9. I like this use of a sharerow, being able to bring the bike to the left edge of the lane (which is perfectly legal, at the bike has the right to the entire width of a car lane).

    1. This has been done for the tracks that cross the 1500 block of Alaskan Way just north of South Atlantic Street/Edgar Martinez Drive. Works well there, but I can’t speak to the need for maintenance or the regularity with which they wear out.

  10. I just noticed Oran’s flickr pictures (see sidebar on this page) of the signage at SeaTac that mentions Link! Thanks for the pictures Oran, and a pleasing and aesthetic improvement that shows that the Port and Sound Transit took some of our complaints seriously that the ‘add-on’ stickers slapped awkwardly on existing signs used back in December didn’t really make the grade for this writer at least.

    They will get there – I think we have to remember that opening day is not necessarily finishing day and that projects can exist at the ‘tinkering’ stage for months afterwards. At some point, they have to be declared finished and anything else becomes an upgrade, but I am assuming at this point that SeaTac is still a ‘work-in-progress’.

    Thanks again, Oran!

  11. ORCA question from the lazy.

    How does it work when using the buses (118, 119) which travel from Vashon to Seattle and v.v.? Don’t you also have to pay the ferry fare to the driver (well, to the farebox) or has that changed?

    Can a UPass get me to Vashon if I use those buses?

    1. There is no fare to get off the island, only to it. There are only 3 busses a day that actually board the ferry going to Vashon, and I seem to remember that you have to get off the bus and purchase a ticket, though I could be wrong. In any case, UPass is not accepted as fare for the ferry.

    2. You tap the card when you get on the 118 or 119 and again when you get off the bus on the other side.

      You have to get off the bus at the Fauntleroy ferry terminal and go through the turnstile unless you are either elderly or disabled (the ORCA readers on the bus don’t deduct the ferry portion). Any ferry fare payment has to be done at the dock. At one time it was possible to pay the ferry fare on the bus, but that was discontinued when the Wave 2 Go ticket system started up.

      As far as I know, the UPass will get you to Vashon (I don’t think it can be used to pay the ferry fare).

    3. WSF does not take U-PASS. This is from last shakeup:

      FARE COLLECTION INBOUND (to Downtown)
      For rides between Vashon Island and the zone line (Puget Sound)
      • A one-zone fare is charged to passengers who get off the coach before arriving at the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal.
      • Fares are collected when loading; use front door only.
      For rides between Vashon Island and downtown Seattle
      • A two-zone fare is charged to passengers who board on Vashon and get off the coach on the mainland.
      • Fares are collected when loading; issue a transfer as proof of fare paid by passengers when they get off the coach; use front door only.
      • Passengers boarding at the Vashon Ferry Terminal pay as they leave; use both doors to load at the terminal.
      • Use four-way flasher when unloading customers in the CBD.
      For rides between the zone line (Puget Sound) and downtown Seattle.
      • A one-zone fare is charged to passengers who board the coach anywhere on the mainland.
      • Fares and transfers are collected when passengers leave; use front door only.
      • Passengers boarding on the ferry or on the mainland pay a one-zone fare as they leave.
      • Do not carry Ride-Free Area passengers.
      • Use four-way flasher when unloading customers in the CBD.

      FARE COLLECTION OUTBOUND (to Vashon)
      For rides between downtown Seattle and the zone line (Puget Sound)
      • A one-zone fare is charged to passengers who get off the coach before arriving at the Vashon ferry terminal.
      • Fares are collected when loading; use front door only.
      • Do not carry Ride-Free Area passengers.
      • Use four-way flasher when loading customers in the CBD.
      For rides between downtown Seattle and Vashon Island
      • A two-zone fare is charged to passengers who get off the coach on Vashon Island.
      • Fares are collected when loading; issue a transfer as proof of fare paid by passengers when they get off the coach; use front door only: do not carry Ride-Free Area passengers.
      • All passengers except those holding a WSF/King County pass combo and the disabled are required to exit the coach on the dock and pay at the terminal.
      • A WSF employee will board the coach and check all remaining passengers for verifi cation of WSF fares.
      • Passengers are not allowed to re-board until the coach is driven onto the boat and the autos are finished loading.
      • Passengers are not allowed to board the coach at the Fauntleroy Terminal, but they may board once the boat is loaded. Fare is due when exiting the coach.
      • Use four-way fl ashers when loading in the CBD.
      For rides between the zone line (Puget Sound) and Vashon Island
      • A one-zone fare is charged to passengers who get off the coach anywhere on Vashon Island.
      • Passengers boarding the coach while on the ferry pay a one-zone fare when they unload.
      • Fares and transfers are collected when unloading.

      1. Interesting that the 118 and 119 do not follow the rules for the rest of the buses serving the CBD in that it charges a fare upon boarding in the CBD.

        So I guess the real test of the above would be for disabled person to ride this route(s) using an ORCA, because I am sure that WSF does not have a handheld ORCA reader to take on the bus when they come on board to verify.

        I’ll bet that as WSF/King County pass combos are switched to ORCA, this have to be modified.

  12. Yesterday I biked home from Edmonds to Ravenna. Most of the way I took the Interurban Trail. That’s a great trail where it exists, but the unsigned long missing link through Mountlake Terrace was quite confusing and annoying, and I’m hoping that they can get bike lanes on Linden soon. It looked like the missing link had been longer but they just filled in part of it with a brand new paved trail for few blocks and I was delighted to see a sign that said that the Federal Highway Administration had funded the trail! I’m glad that the FHWA is recognizing that regional trails are worthy of its funds.
    One thing that I was pleasantly surprised about on the bus up to Edmonds (via Aurora Village) and on the bike ride back down was that Shoreline has done really a very good job with urban design on Aurora and on the Interurban Trail. Aurora has a median, street trees, and sidewalks, and the trail is very well done with benches, trees, and little pocket parks along it. Too bad Link will go to the I-5 part of Shoreline and not that part.

    1. I, too, enjoy the ride through that part of Aurora. I remember when they did the remodeling a few years ago that there was a lot of grumbling from people because the cost was more than the remodel of Highway 99 thru Lynnwood. Personally, I think the cost was worth it because it makes Aurora much more pleasant.

    2. It would be nice if Seattle did something similar to Aurora South of 145th.

      As for Link the alignment North of Northgate hasn’t actually been chosen yet. The I-5 alignment is still the most likely at this point but there is still time to ensure a 99 option between Northgate and Lynwood TC at least is studied as part of the EIS.

      1. I would support a 99 alignment from Northgate to Lynnwood if the travel time was competitive with the I-5 alignment. Would likely need to be elevated like South Link will be along 99.

        Looking at Google maps, I see 2 reasonable ways to get from Northgate over to Aurora: – curve across the Washelli Cemetery with an elevated line, or follow I-5 to N. 130th, and then follow the diagonal Roosevelt Way to Aurora&145th.

        The Interurban Trail makes a bee-line from right near 99 & 216th SW to the Lynnwood Tranit Center property – too bad it’s unlikely to be returned to rail use.

      2. And unlike Surrey Downs residents, the denizens of Washelli Cemetery are probably not likely to complain about trains going through their neighborhood!

      3. Its to bad there never/will not go with the plan they created in 1985. See link

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/viriyincy/3685408132/

        I am afraid that by going to northgate along the freeway and continue along I-5 to Lynnwood we are going to end with a “VISION Line” Having a line go down SR-99 it would probably make it a lot more pedestrian/Bike friendly and both a along SR-99 and a route to Lake city have lots of infill potential.

      4. Going from Northgate to Aurora up to Lynnwood P&R, I really can’t see how light rail would get to Aurora. Maybe go along 105th? Go parallel to Interstate 5 then turn onto 130th to go past Ingraham High School? Basically anywhere between Interstate 5 and Aurora Avenue you have residential that is not going to want light rail going past them. Why not just have it go non-stop along Interstate 5 from Northgate to Mountlake Terrace P&R then up to Lynnwood P&R? If the idea is to move people as fast as possible from Lynnwood/Edmonds to downtown Seattle, then I think going along Aurora Avenue would add too much time to the journey. If you want more stops, then that is what the local bus routes are for.

      5. I think for the most part having it go along I-5 is the right thing for our first line. It would be nice to get jogs over to North City and Mountlake Terrace’s planned dense downtown, both a few blocks over from the freeway, but in Lynnwood, the area around Lynnwood TC, right next to the freeway, is slated for dense (20+ story) development, and Alderwood is a huge destination that would get a lot of riders. I don’t know enough about the area between there and Everett to know where it should go though.
        I’m hoping that in the future (20-30 years) we can supplement this with a branch off from Central Link at Roosevelt to Lake City, Bothell, and Woodinville, and probably in a phase after that, a line all the way up Aurora.

      6. My real concern is the portion from Roosevelt to Northgate. If it the line were to go up 15th to Lake city way and continue to at least 125th initially the walk shed would be way higher then link going along I-5.

      7. Patrick, that’s not the “1985” plan but I believe the plan for the second rail system vote in 1972 I think. 1985 was the estimated completion date.

        As you can probably tell some things have changed since 1972. For one this system is focused on Boeing’s plants along the Duwamish and in Renton which just aren’t the big trip generators they were when this was planned. Another huge flaw is the failure to serve Northgate which is now an urban center and a major transfer point. Capitol Hill also only has a station at Broadway and Pine rather than the more centrally located one for Link.

        Still there are some areas served that still have no solid plans for rail transit or will only be served if ST3 gets built.

        As for the current plan I wouldn’t worry about it too much there are no stations between Roosevelt and Northgate. The Roosevelt station is in about the best location it can be walk shed wise. The Northgate station isn’t perhaps the most ideal location for the entire neighborhood but it is where the current transit center is. Winding around to run the line out to Lake City before going to Northgate would just slow travel times and add cost without really adding any additional riders. The 13 minutes between Northgate TC and Westlake is going to be a big game-changer for transit.

      8. A lot of riders that come from Northgate are P&R riders. If that weren’t the case route 41, one of the routes to be replaced by Link, would be pretty much be nothing. A 15th ave/Lake city way with a 125th termination point would probably generate a slightly fewer number of trips but all of those trips would be taken with out a good portion of riders using there car compared to the Northgate route. I am entirely against the use of park and rides.

        The way Link would get to Lynnwood and beyond would be served be from SR-99 route and Northgate would be skipped entirely.

        I want to point out though that I am not against changing any plans. I just think that this “1972” is way better.

      9. Actually I think the ST issue paper that looked at this proposed using a tunnel to get between Northgate and 99. Surprisingly it didn’t explode the cost as much as one might think. Probably because the tunnel segment wouldn’t have to be all that long and didn’t have a station.

      10. Agreed Chad. I was looking at this a few weeks ago and those seam like the most logical ways to get to Aurora. I know that a study a while ago showed the ridership would be about the same but cost would be twice as high for an Aurora alignment. Never the less I think this issue should be re-addressed because the TOD opportunities of Aurora are huge compared to and I-5 alignment.

        At the very least the function of each station should be determine (P&R or TOD) and then the station cited in a corresponding manner. For example 236th st SW station will probably be P&R oriented while I think the NE 130th station should certainly be TOD oriented.

      11. The ROW and the electricity are already there – the old Interurban line ROW is used by City Light for their transmission lines from Skagit. The NIMBYs would scream however…

      12. How far along are ST’s plans for North Link?

        Have any of the munipalities chimed in yet?

        When are the open houses!?!?!

      13. The Interurban ROW really isn’t ideal except for getting between 99 and Lynnwood TC. While the ROW is near Aurora in a number of places it isn’t actually on Aurora. To maximize TOD you’d want the stations on Aurora.

        If a line was run up Aurora I’d think either center or side running elevated would be the way to go if the line was part of the regional spine. Otherwise a surface alignment like MLK or the Interstate line in Portland would be fine.

        The last is especially attractive if Aurora ends up being an additional line rather than an extension of North Link. It could even be an extension of the Fremont/Ballard streetcar line. Though you’d have to get streetcars capable of running at the same speed as traffic on Aurora. You’d also probably want cars that accelerated better than the ones on SLUT. Finally you’d need to make sure the travel times were no worse than RapidRide.

        As for how far along the plans are, North Link as far as Northgate is pretty baked in. The line between there and Lynnwood TC hasn’t really been planned yet. Though the ST documents I’ve seen all assume it will be in the I-5 ROW the whole way. ST did an issue paper on running up 99 instead of Aurora, but it was just a quick look not a comprehensive alignment comparison.

        Shoreline has said it would prefer Link to serve Aurora rather than I-5. Lynnwood probably wants to make sure the TC is served and I doubt Montlake Terrace will be happy if the P&R gets bypassed.

        I have no idea when ST even plans on doing the project scoping for the Northgate to Lynnwood segment so it is probably a bit premature for any open houses.

  13. Can somebody explain to me the rationale behind the transfer policy between Link / Sound Transit / KC Metro? If I buy a ticket for Link it is valid as a transfer only to sound transit buses. But if I buy a ticket on a sound transit bus it is valid on KC metro buses as well… So what is the deal here?

    1. Basically, Sound Transit has gone paperless with the transfers. The only way to transfer to or from a Sound Transit vehicle is with ORCA. This includes within Sound Transit also (Link to Sounder or bus or back again). Other agencies that have gone paperless for their transfers include Community Transit, Everett Transit and Kitsap Transit.

      The only way to make an interagency transfer is now with ORCA.

    2. I think that the “Ticket” you got from the Sound Transit Bus was accepted on King County Metro either by accident or as a courtesy to you.

  14. As of 1 Jan 2010, the only way to transfer from one agency (e.g., ST, MT) or service (Link, ST bus, MT bus) to another is to use ORCA. Metro bus transfers are valid only on other Metro buses; Sound Transit buses do not offer paper transfers.

  15. I’m glad to see they have at least marked that track crossing, as an interim solution. I learned the hard way, at that very spot, that thin bike wheels and tracks don’t mix. It was a painful spill (and rather embarrassing since it was during the summer and I was headed to Golden Gardens with some, ahem, adult beverages which exploded in the crash.) A gentleman in a truck who was driving next to me when it happened stopped to help and said that he sees somebody crash there at least once a week. I don’t know if he was exaggerating, but this is obviously a problem area. Of course I should have known that this would happen, but I had just switched from a mountain bike to a road bike and hadn’t quite learned all the ropes. Now I do 90 degree angles or bunny hop over tracks.

    1. I think the problem at this intersection is that the easiest way to cross is at a very oblique angle. In most situations as long as you are holding onto your handle bars tightly and your front wheel crosses at more than an abut a 30 degree angle you’ll be just fine. So you don’t really need to cross at 90 degrees but from a public education prospective it is always best to describe the best way to do something.

  16. On a different topic, the PI is reporting that there is a bill going around in Olympia that would keep video recorded in public such as the DSTT excluded from public disclosure. It’s Senate Bill 6431 and sponsored by 1 Republican and 4 Democrats.

    I would suggest the STB board take a look at this and the rest of us should chime in with an opinion. Mine is that this is a bad bill and should be withdrawn. It reduces public accountability and shield government from scrutiny and liability.

    1. Aren’t public cameras supposed to be public and therefore available for the public to see? Who are these Senators that are trying to prevent this video from being seen?

    2. Releasing videos like this inflames people who don’t really know what they are talking about. I agree with this bill.

      1. So it is OK if you are beaten over the head with a baton by a cop and it is only caught by a “public camera”?

        Just asking.

      2. I am sure that the girl in the jail cell who was savaged by the King County Sheriff Deputy would agree with you.

      3. Sorry dude, you don’t get to play god. This is a democracy (in Republican form). Most often, what can be seen with one’s eyes is the truth. Yes, there are extenuating circumstances in every story but the process is better than trusting easily corrupted officials to do what is right.

        If the public becomes inflamed, then let that energy be a catalyst for accountability. if there are legitimate reasons for rent-a-cops to stare blandly and not lift a finger while some girl with a testosterone fit is stomping on some other girl’s head then bring them on. Bet you can’t really come up with something sane.

    3. I heard that all security camera systems in the UK – public or privately owned – are subject to public disclosure laws. Some people went to a whole bunch of filmed locales and then filed requests for the tapes and edited it into a feature film.

  17. The D40LF buses aren’t doing so well on the 118 and 119. They bottomed out on the dock ramps 2 or 3 times last week. I’ve heard they may be replaced (I don’t know if that means the 35′ Gilligs would be brought back or 40′ Gilligs (rarely used outside of the 2 evening express trips) would be used on all trips).

    1. I rode the 118 from the Vashon Ferry Terminal to Burton once, and it was really cool. That’s probably my favorite Metro route. Everyone on the bus knows each other and they all know the bus driver, and there’s a really laidback atmosphere, with the driver dropping off and picking up people wherever they want.

      1. I once rode it to Talequah, took the Rhody over to Pt. Defiance and used my King County Metro transfer to board the Pierce Transit route 11 to get to downtown Tacoma. Nice, albeit slower, alternative to the 590’s and Sounder.

      2. When I did it it was a couple years ago and it was a kinda ridiculous adventure. I had a few extra hours so I decided to do that same thing and quickly checked the 118 schedule, not thinking to check if that run went all the way to Tahlequah… It ended up ending at Burton, so then I walked for about an hour until the next one came and brought me to the ferry terminal. The ferry was running very late for some reason and so I ended up getting to Point Defiance at 7 or so. The next bus wasn’t going to come for about 40 minutes, so I figured I’d head up the hill and see if another bus was coming soon. Big mistake. I ended up wondering around a hella crappy area of Tacoma while it was getting dark until I finally got to a bus stop and got the last bus of the night back to the Tacoma Dome, and didn’t end up getting home until ten. The thing about it though was that it was in a way better than a meticulously planned adventure that goes off without a hitch, as it ended up being really fun.

  18. Today riding Link at Beacon Hill and Mount Baker stations, we heard this (roughly — I didn’t write it down):

    “The next train southbound will arrive in 2 minutes.” The message scrolled across the screen, then went away, like the one in Oran’s video from a couple of weeks ago.

    It was only played once, and so anyone entering the station after the announcement would not know how long to wait. I seriously, seriously hope the signs will be more like this German sign than the way they are testing it now. I want to know at all times how long my wait is, not just at 2 minutes. I don’t need to see “Welcome to Beacon Hill” on the electronic board all the time. The Beacon Hill sign is on the wall. Put next train info on the sign all the time, and only welcome people when the train is unloading.

    I notice the German sign has room for more than just the next train time — also the current time, where the trains are going to terminate, etc. (As others have said, ST should stop it with the Northbound/Southbound thing. Tourists particularly may have trouble knowing which direction they want. Tell them where the train terminates — which is very important if for some reason it’s not going all the way! Only include the direction in addition, if necessary.)

    A sign could easily look like this:

    12:43am Northbound
    -------------------------------
    Downtown/Westlake 2m
    Mount Baker 9m

    This way you have the direction and the terminus. They are easily understandable. And they can cut away to other announcements periodically if desired. But they should always default back to this display.

    When the train was almost there, an announcement played that was something like “The train is now arriving — please stand behind the yellow line.” I like those OK, though you can always tell the train is coming anyway. :)

    Big crowds got off the train from Downtown this afternoon. Jason thought they might have been in the ID celebrating Lunar New Year.

    1. Downtown was a mob scene yesterday – Lunar New Year, St Valentine’s Day, 3 day weekend, Canadian visitors,and more and more – nice to see folk out and about of a Sunday in the winter.

    2. I hope the “Downtown Transit Tunnel” signs inside the tunnel start saying something more relevant soon. I know I’m in the transit tunnel, thank you. They might have well just left the signs off the past eight months and saved electricity.

  19. Seeing that German sign and map on the wall reminds me of another problem. The Link stations in Rainier Valley have Sound Transit maps but no Metro map. Yet most of the people who live there are lower income and travel only within the Valley or within Seattle, and visitors to that area don’t know the local bus routes. So what people really want is a map of south Seattle routes, not a map of regional routes to Lynnwood and Sumner. You look at that and think, “Are these the only buses around?” There are local maps covering a few-block area outside the stations, but you have to go outside the stations to see them, and even then that doesn’t tell you where the buses go beyond that three-block area.

  20. In Whistler now for the Olympics. Never seen so many buses in my life before; they have plates from all over North America. Driving and parking are hugely restricted.

  21. Open Thread:

    Ugh, the Bellevue City Council Session this Tuesday was ugly. Glad that I went but not happy with the council members behavior (not a one of them, except perhaps Grant Degginger).

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