News Roundup: Waffles

Photo by Oran

This is an open thread.

About Martin H. Duke

Martin joined the blog in Fall 2007 and became Editor-in-Chief in 2009. He is originally from suburban DC, but has lived in the Greater Seattle area since 1997. He resides with his family in Columbia City and works as a software engineer in Lower Queen Anne.




Comments

  1. Matt the Engineer says:

    I posted this late in the last open post, so I’ll go again:

    NYT article, claiming suburbs have turned our build environment into “a leading cause of disability and death in the 21st century”. Article here. PBS series here. PBS hasn’t gotten back to me about when they’ll actually run the series.

  2. Long Island Town Pioneers Closed-Loop, Pollution-Free Wind Power-Hydrogen Fuel System

    Outside of New York City on Long Island, the town of Hempstead is the site for a small, though novel, experiment in closed-loop clean energy production, storage, and use. There, a 100-kilowatt (kW) state-of-the-art wind turbine is being used to generate electricity sufficient to produce hydrogen gas that’s being used to fuel the town’s fuel cell vehicles, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) reports.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2012/01/29/long-island-town-pioneers-closed-loop-pollution-free-wind-power-hydrogen-fuel-system/

    Aberdeen City Council Backs Major Hydrogen Transport Project

    Aberdeen city councillors have unanimously agreed to support a multi-million pound European project to introduce hydrogen buses in the North-east.

    The expectation is that the Strategic European Hydrogen Transport Projects will stimulate further innovative hydrogen technology projects and high-level investment in the area, realising Aberdeen’s aspiration of becoming a world-leading hydrogen city.

    http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-archive/2012/january/aberdeen-city-council-backs-major-hydrogen-transport-project

    Tata Motors in pact with Canada’s Ballard Power for fuel cell buses

    Tata Motors, India’s largest commercial vehicles manufacturer, today signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ballard Power Systems to demonstrate the zero-emission fuel cell technology on its Starbus in various cities in India.

    Tata Motors Starbus will be powered by 12 FCvelocityTM-1100 fuel cell stacks for a planned demonstration in various Indian cities.

    http://www.domain-b.com/companies/companies_t/Tata_Motors/20120202_ballard_power.html

  3. Matt the Engineer says:

    The Portland Johns sound like a success. Seattle should buy some.

    • Andrew Smith says:

      Why? It seems like no one around here has any problem just going on the street, even downtown, even in broad daylight.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Yeah, I see the 80 yr-old tourists do that all the time [/sarcasm]. We don’t build services like these for the lowest common denomenator – we build them for families and tourists to give them a less unpleasant experience.

      • Andrew Smith says:

        Yes, because most tourists are cool with seeing a grown man relieve himself in public as long as there’s a place they can do it semi-privately.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Build a toilet and I’d guess you’ll see less peeing in the street. How is this anything but a positive ammenity?

        I’d personally love to re-open the public restroom burried under Pioneer Square, but I understand why we don’t want to spend money on restroom attendants.

      • Andrew Smith says:

        Yeah, if that’s the case, then we should build them. I’m getting tired of the mid-day peep shows around here.

      • In Paris they’re a godsend. Really I miss having a toilet every 500 ft. In Seattle you have to plan and if you’re not familiar with the area it would be bad.

      • I’m surprised none of the panhandlers has come up with the idea of selling maps of all the publicly-available restrooms to tourists.

        I’m even more surprised that those publicly-available restrooms remain public, since a lot of them are at private establishments, and they cost a few FTEs of custodial staff to keep sanitary.

    • Lack Thereof says:

      Joking aside, we really do need more public restrooms in Seattle, downtown especially. A major reason so many of the alleys smell like piss is that for people who might not be comfortable (or welcome) sticking their heads into storefronts and office buildings asking to use the restroom, there’s really no convenient alternative. You’re not going to spend 15 minutes walking to that one shop halfway across the neighborhood lets non-customer undesirables use the restroom. You just piss behind the dumpster instead.

      I’ve long supported the idea of getting more public restrooms through zoning: Offer property owners some sort of ongoing tax credit for providing 24-hour open-to-the-public restrooms, complete with wayfinding from the street entrance and unambiguous signage at the street entrance.

      People, and businesses especially, will jump through all sorts of hoops to avoid paying taxes.

      I really hope these make it up here, though. The city knows we have a public-restroom problem, as shown by their previous investments. Hopefully the city council isn’t so afraid of another public-restroom PR fiasco that they’ll buy a few of these.

      Why the hell did they have to be self-cleaning in the first place, I wonder?

      • Andrew Smith says:

        I usually duck into hotels, but that may not be everyone’s thing

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        “Why the hell did they have to be self-cleaning in the first place” I’m sure the justification was to save money (ha!). Sending someone down to clean each restroom each day basically costs an employee or two. At a loaded rate of close to $100k (after benefits, management costs, etc.), continued on year after year, the million dollar toilets probably sounded like a great investment.

        $100k per toilet, plus giving someone a job, sounds like a better idea to me.

      • In Paris the self cleaning toilets were 20 Euro cents for years but now they must be paid off as they’re mostly free. I’ve never seen any problems with them like we had here with ours.

      • For the time being (until they build a Crenshaw rail line that may or may not meet up with an airport travelator), what you want is the LAX Flyaway bus: http://www.lawa.org/welcome_LAX.aspx?id=292

        For $7, it brings you straight to Union Station, where you can transfer to pretty much anywhere, including the commuter rail to Orange County for $8-$11.

        (Apparently, there’s also an LAX Flyaway to Irvine station for $25 flat, but… traffic?)

      • And… that obviously belongs beneath Grant’s other comment.

  4. Heh, the laweekly article calls Chicago and DC “light rail”.

  5. Jason Rogers says:

    A couple ferries projects going on: 1) WSF and Mukilteo released the DEIS for the Mukilteo terminal project, of which the most relevant interest here is probably related to the connection to Sounder and the various bus improvements; and 2) WSF is starting public outreach for the Colman Dock Project.

    • good. move the west seattle water taxi landing north of the car ferries.
      what a crappy experience to walk to and from.

  6. Almaty, like other Soviet-instigated metro systems before it, are intended to be grand, while still being as convenient as possible (despite their depth).

    You get a small, well-located surface entrance (no plazas) with a long double-speed escalator (and a lift, on newer lines) directly to the platform’s center aisle. From there, you duck between the arches or columns and it’s about 10 feet to the train.

    There are virtually never mezzanine levels to cross or turnbacks to negotiate. Those are the things that make the DSTT so egregious.

    In Almaty, train-to-surface is assuredly mere seconds at shallow stations, and less than a minute even when hundreds of feet underground.

    • One feature of the Kazakh subway that seemed to be lacking in the slide show was wayfinding. Maybe they carefully framed the photos to avodd them, but I saw only one directional sign.

      • All of the Almaty photos seem to be of deep-level stations, most of which probably have only one public egress.

      • You still need to know which direction the trains are going.

      • Ah, yes. Prague does a pretty good job of telling you that as you get off the escalator, on a sign with left and right arrows.

        If you scroll down to the 6th photo in the Almaty article, my guess is that those signs on the wall represent all the remaining operational stations in the direction that the trains stopping on that track are headed.

    • Andrew Smith says:

      DSTT’s two problems are the 1) mezzanines and 2) side-platforms.

      The side platforms are just part of using buses, but they are going to make transfers really complicated. For this you need mezzanines, otherwise you’d have to leave the whole bloody station to transfer. Unfortunately, it looks like Sound transit is putting these in for some of the center-platform Link stations as well, which is bananas.

      The mezzanines could be useful if they put something there, like news stands or coffee stalls or whatever, but of courses they won’t.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Or table tennis tournaments. Or small roller skating rinks. Or laser tag.

        Man there’s a lot of high-value wasted space in those mezzanines.

      • The “necessary for transfers” argument fails when you realize that no one will ever be reversing direction at Union Street or Pioneer Square, and that reverse-direction transfers at Westlake will only ever happen from 2016-2020 (and still be a small minority during that time).

        Meanwhile, to transfer at I.D., you have to “leave the whole bloody station.” And that isn’t even a big deal, because it’s shallow.

      • Andrew Smith says:

        Table tennis tournaments? Why not normal tennis tournaments? Would be awesome.

      • Andrew Smith says:

        You’re right, I hadn’t thought through this completely: there’s no reason to stay on past ID (or transfer) if you are coming from the Eastside and going south. I guess you could want to stay on the train from the south to go to the eastside if you though you might get a better seat at Pioneer Square or something but that’s dubious.

        The Westlake mezzanine at least connects to businesses, so it’s not a complete waste. The others are probably there for some aesthetic reason, couldn’t have been for cost, those places are like the taj mahal in how needlessly ornate they are.

        Imagine being in a wheel chair and trying to get to the surface from the platform. Probably takes two or three minutes.

      • “The side platforms are just part of using buses”

        No, it’s bad design. Bellevue Transit Center has a center platform that works well, by simply making the buses go on the left side of it rather than the right, like British streets. A station should faciliate transfers in all directions, and not assume that reversing directions is too unimportant or rare to accommodate. Sometimes people have to go back for something, sometimes they change their mind en route on where they’re going, and sometimes they’re transferring to a different bus that happens to be the opposite direction in the tunnel.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Can KC please (please please please) just allow cafes to locate in the mezzanines? I’m sure whatever rent they could get for them would be appreciated. And I could sit with a cup of coffee and watch the trains come and go (or more likely just walk with my cup of coffee onto a train).

      • Yes, people forget things or change their plans. It’s not worth spending zillions of dollars and wasting everyone else’s egress time to facilitate that. In a system with no fare gates (or even one with fare gates but without one-time-use tokens), occasionally having to switch sides via the main entrance is not really that big of a deal.

        And besides, the world is full of subways with small head-houses at the surface level that send you to any platform from behind the same fare gates.

        Andrew is correct: mezzanines are a gigantic pain for the disabled. You have to wait for two elevators, and either one breaking is as good as both of them breaking.

        Face it, the DSTT was about form-over-function, and that’s never a good thing.

      • Andrew Smith says:

        Mike, yes. Northgate is like this too. The trains have doors on both sides, so that’s no problem.

        IDIOTS! Why did no one think through this when they built that?!?!?

      • Side platforms have a few advantages:
        1) A stuck bus can be put in the middle and towed out later, or passed if it’s stuck at the platform
        2) The buses don’t have to have an xover* at each end of the tunnel to get back on the proper side of the road.
        3) Less ped congestion
        4) Half as many buses per platform
        5) Tunnels don’t have to twist and bend as much since the ROW is straight
        6) The DSTT can run normal, right-hand ops. If there were originally island platforms, Link and buses would have to left-hand run.

        *LA has island bus platforms in the freeways that require buses to utilize a crossover. http://g.co/maps/suutj

      • “Yes, people forget things or change their plans. It’s not worth spending zillions of dollars and wasting everyone else’s egress time to facilitate that.”

        We have not determined that it costs more or that it costs significantly more. Metro and ST just gave us side platforms without giving a good reason. Although ST did use center platforms at SeaTac and Stadium, so that’s inconsistent. And they said that future stations would be like SeaTac rather than TIB, so maybe that’ll include center platforms, although that doesn’t do any good for people at TIB or the other stations.

        How can it waste people’s egress time? The platform can be twice as wide since there’s only one of it, and you can move the two escalators next to each other so there’s no loss of capacity.

      • I was talking about the giant mezzanines, not specifically about side versus center platforms.

        Though a lot of latter-day center-platform metro-building has included gigantic mezzanines as well (see: DC, LA).

      • It doesn’t help when you let retailers close off existing mezzanine entrances. The All Saints buildout is nice above ground, but left a dead facade in Westlake Station.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        I’d be happy with a coffee cart and some chairs.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        I thought ST had an RFP out for coffee vendors in DSTT mezzanines a while ago. I’ll check with their PR people.

      • The other difference is in other cities when you want to cross from one side platform to another you only have to go up stairs just until you clear the train tunnels. With Westlake you climb half of Mt Rainier before you get to the Mezzanine. They could fit three stations in that one.

      • With center platforms, you don’t need a mezzanine. The reason the mezzanines exist at University Street and Pioneer Square is so that you can change direction without going all the way up to the surface. (That and to provide a place for the TVMs.) With a center platform, the mezzanines could shrink to just stairway landings.

    • Really, once the buses are kicked out, would center platforms make that much of a difference at any DSTT station other than IDS (where there really does need to be a center platform for East/South Link transfers)?

      I just don’t see the IDS Center Platform project as being that expensive, or what the big deal is in center vs. side platfrom at any other DSTT station (once the buses are gone). The new center platform cost should pay for itself in decreased wear and tear on the escalators and elevators.

  7. Got an email today from ST with a link to a survey on improving their website.

    https://anthro-tech.optimalworkshop.com/treejack/st-projects-and-plans

  8. Hello. I have a general question for you all. The female stop-announcement voice in Metro’s OBS has been a part of King County commuters’ lives since 2010. But Metro never officially gave her a name.

    I have (unofficially) called her “Barbara.” I also named the male canned announcement voice (think RapidRide’s “Last Stop” announcement) “Casey” since the voice reminds me of Casey Kasem.

    I talked with my 133 driver in the morning and she thinks that the idea of Metro holding a contest among riders to name these OBS voices sounds like a good idea. What do you think?

    • Tim Whittome says:

      On one occasion on the 550 at Mercer Island P&R she sounded like she was being goosed!

    • Notice the subtle stereotypes at work in Metro making the informative voice female, and the directive voice male? Location announcements are female, but directions and commands, such as no eating on the bus, are male.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        That is absolutely fascinating and I had not noticed it. Someone somewhere had to actually make that choice.

        I do know that female voice is supposed to be more understandable in low-fidelity or high-noise situations than male voice, which would make it better for public address at crowded train stations.

        Allegedly, that difference in low-fi clarity is why the allied armed forces recruited female radio operators during WWII.

    • Linda @ Metro says:

      They do have names: Jim & Kate

      • Ah, I do see that someone at Metro really does read this blog to read the international award-winning pontifications of Sam the American Eagle. He is the only pure one here.

        The rest of us have a conflict of interest: We all ride the bus.

      • Somebody recorded those messages. I heard a radio piece a few months ago about the woman who recorded the messages for the London Underground.

  9. Andrew Smith says:

    The LA green line is surprisingly decent. In fact, all the rail there is surprisingly decent.

    The Crime isn’t even as bad as I had thought:
    http://la.curbed.com/archives/2011/09/crime_on_las_metro_worse_than_boston_much_better_than_dc_1.php

    • Tim Whittome says:

      I agree, Andrew. It shames me to admit it but Los Angeles does have a huge leap over us in its light rail network, even if most Angelenos are probably not aware of its existence. Of course they have a much flatter topography than we do in SEA but it is still embarrassing to me that they seem to shove their lines in with barely a whimper of discussion from the public and I dare say, little in the way of an environmental assessment and nothing in the way of a vote or an endless series of commenting.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        That history is a bit revisionist.
        Facts:
        1. At one time, LA had more miles of track than any other city in the world.
        2. Their metro system has been in the works since the 70′s.
        3. In the 80′s, due to cost over-runs, LA not only stopped building a subway line, they “mandated that no more transit funds could be used for the construction of subways”.
        4. Miles of their old subway tunnels were filled in or built through.

        So don’t be too embarrassed. They had a bumpy ride too, and have a dozen million more people to draw taxes from than we do. That said, they’re really moving now. We’ll figure it out too.

      • The Red Car subway was only one mile long, with a single terminal station in downtown. You are correct that the city permitted a hotel project to sink its foundation through the tunnel in the ’70s.

        The remains of the portal: http://harrymarnell.net/toluca.htm

      • The LA Metro had a lot of problems early on. The Blue Line had more accidents in a congested part of south downtown than all other American light rail systems combined. That was part of the reason for the “no more rail” initiative. Fortunately, they’ve reversed it since then.

    • alexjonlin says:

      Except the Green Line is almost entirely in the median of a freeway, so you see virtually no TOD along most of it.

    • Except for them not going anywhere where I want to go. I keep trying to use it but they seem to like avoiding all other forms of transportation. Try going from LAX (which it doesn’t go to) to any Orange County bound train.

      • For the time being (until they build a Crenshaw rail line that may or may not meet up with an airport travelator), what you want is the LAX Flyaway bus: http://www.lawa.org/welcome_LAX.aspx?id=292

        For $7, it brings you straight to Union Station, where you can transfer to pretty much anywhere, including the commuter rail to Orange County for $8-$11.

        (Apparently, there’s also an LAX Flyaway to Irvine station for $25 flat, but… traffic?)

  10. Tim Whittome says:

    I am still curious as to what is happening with the First Hill Streetcar. Is work on it just going to slink unheralded into view or will there be an official groundbreaking?

    This project is seemingly taking forever to get going. Have they decided to keep I running into Pioneer Square yet?

    Tim

    • And where’s the Aloha extention?

    • Lack Thereof says:

      There is going to be a pioneer square station. It’s going to continue westward from IDS, narrowing to a single track in the median of Jackson, make a left turn at 2nd Ave S, and terminate/layover at a curb platform at the end of the block (King). A pretty good location, I think, especially if the Kingdome South Lot project ever happens.

      It’d be nice to see it somewhere a little more central, near occidental park, but I see exactly why they want to do it this way. It’s super cheap and allows (far)future expansion, potentially southward if the 1st Ave S corridor continues to redevelop. And the surrounding developed blocks are mostly 6+ story office buildings, with basically nothing under 3, all of them active. Yet, we relegate everything west of the 2nd Ave Extension to being “served” by the 99.

      There’s easy tranfsers to 1st ave buses 2 blocks away, and a better transfer to Amtrak than is available at IDS.

      This stop is directly in front of King County Metro headquarters. It would be lazy to not ask if someone at Metro have a hand in picking this alignment.

      • Bruce Nourish says:

        Lack, you’re about eight revisions behind :-)

        The latest plan is basically the same but go straight on Jackson, and terminate there. The funding had been up in the air but the city now swears up and down they have the cash to do it, and have promised the neighborhood it will happen.

      • If not even more behind than that. “Kingdome South Lot Project”? I don’t know what you’re referring to, but I think that’s been finished for years; it’s called CenturyLink Field Events Center.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        lol, north lot, north lot

  11. Tim Whittome says:

    Does anyone think we’ll ever be able to save the Kalakala? It is either listing, about to sink, on the verge of sinking or being threatened with being sunk. If I could, I would pay to restore it as a vital part of the maritime heritage of the Puget Sound but I can’t so we need someone historically minded and financially flush to step forth and save it since the State doesn’t seem that interested in saving it.

    Any thoughts here? It needs a dry dock and someone to paint and restore it’s hull. This is the very least to keep the thing afloat. It would look magnificent if it could be eventually parked outside the new home of MOHAI.

    • Jason Rogers says:

      It sounds like the Kalakala is finished. It is likely the hull needs significant of work. Frankly, when it comes to historic ferries there are lots of interested people, but no one willing or able to put any money into restoring/maintaining one. WSF has $45 million this biennium budgeted for vessel preservation and improvement (spread over a 22-vessel fleet). Salt water + steel = corrosion. Maintaining vessels is expensive, and without maintenance a ship deteriorates.

      There are multiple historic vessels laying around in varying states of repair, ranging from the Rhododendron (retired just last week and therefore still in decent condition), to the Enetai/Santa Rosa (successfully restored and used as a reception space in San Francisco), to the Olympic (in bad condition down at Ketron Island – it still floats but appears to be rapidly deteriorating), the San Mateo (half-sunk in the Fraser River) and the Queen of Burnaby (moored next to the San Mateo and in lousy condition, but at least afloat). Vessels which have been purchased by people looking to restore them are in the worst condition, with the exception of the Enetai/Santa Rosa.

      Frankly, we need to let them go. I’m happier the Steel Electrics are mere memories now (the last of them finally scrapped in Mexico last spring) rather than wasting away tied up somewhere (or heck, wasting away while in active service).

      • Tim Whittome says:

        The Olympic – do you mean the sister ship of the Titanic? I thought it got scrapped after service through to the 1930s

      • Jason Rogers says:

        I mean the Rhody’s sistership. WSF did a major rebuild of Rhody in the early 90s that, due to the lousy condition of the ship, took up the entire budget for rebuilding both the Rhody and Olympic, so the Olympic was mothballed and finally sold in the late 90s.

      • Jason Rogers says:

        Oh, and my mistake; it is the Queen of Sidney that is moored on the Fraser River next to the San Mateo. The Queen of Burnaby is still is active service for BC Ferries.

      • Some people think the Kalakala is just ugly, and doesn’t deserve preservation money that could go to other historic things.

      • Chris Stefan says:

        Don’t forget the Skansonia which has also been resorted and is used for receptions/banquets on Lake Union.

  12. The LA Weekly article suggests that Metro is not doing anything to address access to LAX from the Green Line and Crenshaw/LAX lines. This is sheer ignorance, as Metro is currently studying this corridor and plans to release a Draft EIS/EIR this year.

  13. LA Metro unveiled a new survey recently that allows people to visualize and comment on the tradeoffs between frequency, reliability, and crowding when choosing service options. It’s worth checking out, but doing so is difficult unless you recently rode on LA Metro: http://www.metro-survey.net/

  14. Many people in upper management of Sound Transit and Metro visit STB to read my comments. My opinions and thoughts carry a lot of weight with them. In other words, I’m a pretty big deal. So I’d like to use my gravitas to let all my followers at Metro know of something that needs to be addressed at the Eastgate Park & Ride.

    Ever since Bellevue College started charging students to park on campus last September (it was free before then), students have been parking at the Eastgate P&R so they don’t have to pay for on-campus parking, then they just walk to the nearby campus. Mid to late morning Metro and ST commuters are now finding the P&R full because of a glut of student’s cars.

    I would like this problem addressed ASAP.

    • The only enforceable way to really achieve what you are asking for is to start charging for parking. As long as its free, people will park there and walk to campus.

      If a price is put on parking though, it should only be in effect on weekdays when parking demand is at its peak. On weekends, lots of groups meet at Eastgate for carpooling to hiking or skiing destinations in the cascades. A meeting place at Eastgate means it’s not too difficult to meet the group by bus, which makes owning a car a lot less important for people who like outdoor recreation. Fewer car owners ultimately means more transit riders. Start charging and these groups will simply meet somewhere else, probably somewhere nearby in a car, but far less convenient to reach by bus. And on weekends, the demand is small enough, so even with free parking, there are no capacity issues.

      • And the only way to truly address the problem is to make sure Bellevue College has adequate bus service (even Eastgate P&R or the Freeway Station would suffice, if people are willing to walk from there anyway). If it doesn’t (or if Bellevue College isn’t providing transit passes, because from my perspective it has excellent transit for Bellevue outside downtown), Bellevue College is idiotic to charge for parking.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        if Bellevue College isn’t providing transit passes

        It does not. None of the Seattle-area community colleges do.

        What BC does now is offer pre-loaded ORCA cards at 50% of the e-purse value, either $120(all students) or $240 (full-time only).

        I remember about 5 years ago or so, pre-ORCA, Seattle Community College District schools used to offer unlimited-value pugetpasses, good for the entire scholastic quarter, for $66. At retail, equivalent passes would have been near $200 monthly.

        Once magstripe PugetPasses went away, the SCCD schools still publically offered the same pass on a read-only ORCA card until recently. However, there were rumors of shortages – people who tried to get them after a few weeks into the quarter were sometimes told they were sold out. NSCC in particular was very inconsistent, with different departments and even different cashiers telling students differing information about when/if you’ll be able to buy “the bus pass”. This is just because NSCC is an administrative train wreck, though (in particular the vocational programs).

        Then summer quarter of this year, SCCD schools stopped the pass program altogether. Now, they offer a preloaded ORCA similar to BCC, but less subsidized – it is $200 of e-purse for $125.

        The old passes were much a much better deal for the students, but did need to be reigned in somewhat. You could ride Sounder every day for 3 months for only $66 on that thing. I bet once the agencies got their hands on the ORCA data for those accounts they flipped their shit.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        This year

        Last year now, I suppose. And I was doing so well up till today, never wrote 2011 on anything.

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      I’ll be happy if any of our park and rides start charging. If it takes Sam, reaching KC admin via the STB, that works for me. Stranger things have happened in this world.

      • I think what Sam is saying is that he doesn’t expect anyone to read his emails, so he posts here, knowing his cogitations are more likely to get read by someone at Metro or ST this way.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        And he’s probably right. Remember the stroller post at Sightline close to a month ago? It prompted me to e-mail Metro. Their immediate response was that someone will get back to me in a minimum of 15 days, with no maximum specified.

        They’ve kept to their deadline, and haven’t responded yet.

      • Matthew 'Anc' Johnson says:

        Matt, same here.

      • Sam is patting himself on the back because he’s such a fine gentleman, and very humble.

    • Ok, I’ll admit my first paragraph was pure trolling. It’s a hobby. But my second paragraph is for real.

      And for anyone who ever travels around the I-90 corridor near eastgate and Bellevue College, maybe you’ve noticed the change. Remember how the top deck of the eastgate P&R always used to be empty? And notice how now it’s always full? That’s not because of 520 being tolled. Those, and many other P&R spaces are now being taken up by next door BC students trying to avoid the new campus parking fee.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Wait. How do you know it’s not because 520 is tolled? Not that I have any knowlege of the situation, but it seems strange to claim you know hundreds of people’s destinations and motivations. I could imagine being able to guess it was something other than the toll if it started before tolling started, but why did you wait until now to mention it?

        You say the policy changed last September, but why is it just starting to really fill up now?

      • I started noticing this last year when I used Eastgate a few times in the late morning. Lots of kids parking on the upper levels and then making a bee-line for campus via the footbridge to 142nd.

      • Hey! We’ve been debating the problem of how to serve Eastgate and Bellevue College without a horrible South-Park-style square knot.

        Bellevue College has pointed the way: The students can walk from Eastgate!

  15. I have a question for the bloggers here. Do you think it’s a good idea to add a full disclosure with every blog post? For example, if the post mentions Sound Transit, should the poster disclose whether or not he has ever, currently does, or wants to work for that agency, or have any relatives or friends working at that agency.

    • Bellevue Resident says:

      They already do that if the poster works there. Wants to work and having relatives/friends living there is insane.

      • Some STB bloggers are more lapdog than watchdog when it comes to certain local transit agencies They circle the wagons and defend the agency like they gave birth to it. This makes me suspicious. So I would like to see that kind of blogger to add a full disclosure along with his post. It will better help explain why he wrote his post the way he did.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        [Sam] How about we just specify now: Everyone that doesn’t agree with you has an agenda. And is paid by King County / Sound Transit directly. Using your tax dollars.

  16. mephistopheles says:

    I’ve seen an incredibly high number of buses with wrong-way headsigns lately. Does anyone else notice this or know why this may be happening?

    • If you see on the roof of the bus, near the front, something that’s shaped like an angel food tin, then the signs are set and changed automatically.

      • I assume the international award-winning retired transit planner knows how to fix the GPS/sign control mismatch.

    • VeloBusDriver says:

      There are still some bugs with the auto sign changing. I’ve occasionally looked up and seen “To Terminal” instead of whatever route I’m driving at the time. I’ve reported it when I’ve seen it on my bus or others but it happens so infrequently that I doubt Metro has enough data to track the problem yet.

      • I’ve seen the problem a lot less (which is to say, not at all, but then, I’m a volunteer apologist for Metro, ST, CT, PT, KT, IT, etc) than I’ve seen the “Pay as you Leave” sign as I get on a bus headed toward downtown.

  17. At the Shell on Rainier between I-90 and Dearborn, it struck me just how Aurora-like Rainier is in that stretch.

    • Bruce Nourish says:

      Yes, which is why it has comparatively crap ridership compared to the rest of the 7, and would make a lame place for a streetcar.

      • Chris Stefan says:

        On the other hand a streetcar on Rainier between Mt. Baker and Jackson could help transform Rainier into a much more pedestrian oriented street.

        There is really no reason it has to be a car sewer. For that matter even Aurora could be tamed a bit if some effort was put into it.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        That little section is trapped on the west by I-5, and is zoned industrial. There’s a recyling plant, which would make it unattractive to residential thanks to noise and smell (though both could be reduced with a bit of effort and coordination). There’s also a furniture manufacturing plant, but other than a bit of noise (again, can be reduced) that might actually fit in well with a neighborhood.

        However, it is all platted with small properties, all bundled together to make the huge empty parking lots. Zone the east side of the street for multifamily with retail on the street, the west side small offices with retail below, road diet the thing, and add a streetcar, and there might just be hope for it. Jackson at that area is very lively.

      • Zone the east side of the street for multifamily with retail on the street, the west side small offices with retail below,

        What, you mean tell people they can’t do whatever they damn well please with their property? That sounds pretty anti TOD to me :=

      • Lack Thereof says:

        Take a look east of the street now. It’s actually quite wide-awake. It’s just the actual Rainier frontage that’s dead.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        [Bernie] Residential isn’t allowed in IC zoning. I would be perfectly happyzone rebate a new kind of zone that mixes industrial with commercial with residential, if that’s what you’re asking for.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Heh. Sloppy cellphone typing. All zones should be happyzones.

      • I just believe the zoning that has evolved for the most part works. That is different areas are protected for various uses. We should be careful when we muck with that. Of course over time needs change and neighborhoods evolve. If an industrial area is never again going to support the type of industry that was there then it’s time to see what better use can be made of the land and much of south Seattle is in that category. When a neighborhood becomes de facto multifamily, like around the UW and many parts of Capitol Hill then a zoning change is in order.

      • I take it back. Forget zoning, this is how it should be done:

        A vow against gentrification: Seattle woman ‘marries’ a warehouse

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Hey, looks like this stretch just became a bit more walkable: Walk-up pizza joint will open, complete with an urban farm and pedestrian-based events.

    • The 7 is one of the most interesting bus rides in the city because of how Rainier’s sections are so different from each other. That has become a local tourist attraction in itself, riding the 7 and seeing all the sections. I wish it were all like Columbia City, but the different sections had different histories.

      When I moved here in the early 70s, I-90 ended at Dearborn, and off the Rainier exit was a warehouse called Black Manufacturing selling down clothing and the like. We used to pick up a bag of down scraps for 50c to stuff bean bags and such. The building is still there: it’s a dark building on the right as you exit northbound. The other buildings in that section are all the same as they were too, although their uses may be different.

      I’m not sure why there’s a gap in small-lot houses between the CD, Mt Baker, and Columbia City, rather than being all filled in. I know that MLK was under water when Capitol Hill and Fremont were first built, until the Duwamish project changed the drainage. That’s why the south end has more highways and large-lot buildings than the north end, because it was built later when automobile-scale was more in style. But that doesn’t explain why Columbia City and Hillman City are like an island of small-lot houses separated from the CD. North Rainier must just have been an industrial area all the way from the beginning.

  18. Bruce Nourish says:

    The fact that women on transit do more trip chaining than men is very interesting. It’s worth noting that a network comprised primarily of infrequent or peak-only one-seat rides to downtown that wind out into single-family neighborhoods is typically quite hostile to trip chaining, compared to a high frequency transfer-oriented network focused on ridership centers.

    • That, and a tradition of foul-mouthed prepubescent behavior at the back of the bus, that waft that lets you know that you are indeed on the 7, and an ongoing caseload of hundreds of disturbances and assaults.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        The thing about those numbers – on average, the 358 has an assault or similar disturbance reported roughly every day of the year. If this was a section of neighborhood instead of a bus route, you bet your ass it would be crawling with cops in response to the crime statistics.

        But I’ve never seen a LEO do even a simple foot patrol of ANY metro bus in service. The King County Sheriffs Department just doesn’t give a fuck about bus riders. It would be simple to assign a unit to a troubled stretch of frequent route – just keep riding a few blocks back and forth – but they simply don’t get out of their cars for anything short of a 911 call.

      • In the case of the 358, the fare enforcement brigade is coming in a couple years, if you can wait that long.

        This is an additional reason I wish POP would go universal: the driver would no longer be the confronter, and fare enforcement patrols could pop up anywhere, including the 7 and 358 more than their share.

      • +1. Nobody wants their toddler learning swear words from the drug addict at the back of the 358. Or to have to explain to a preschooler why the guy sitting a couple seats back just had a drug-induced seizure.

    • +1. Transfer waits with little kids are just not fun. A good transfer makes the whole thing much less horrible. Also low-floor buses, little legs have a hard time climbing up those giant stairs to get on a bus.

  19. Excited to see how the new codes for townhouses play out! Never been a fan of those dark and barren “auto courts”. But man, the comment section on the Seattle Times is so, so painful. Just like the comment section on YouTube, I should know better than to read…

Sign in or create an account to save your credentials and make commenting faster.



You may want to read our comment policy.