News Roundup: Hero

Oran/Flickr

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:
    • BRT to the rescue.
      On another note, all that salt water that has permeated the concrete of the tubes is now a ticking time bomb. All that reinforcing steel is uncoated and un-bonded, so corrosion will really accelerate from here on out. NY has some major challenges with global warming and sea level rise, along with this problem and corroding electrical everywhere.

      • Meh, old rebar will have already corroded by now anyway and is entombed in it’s own jacket of rust. Seawater won’t be in there long enough to do much damage. And unlike Seattle NY tunnels are by and large blasted through solid rock. The electrical system of course is a different matter but as long as power wasn’t live damage won’t be that big a deal. What’s impressive is the National Weather Service gaving such advance warning and people actually heeded those warnings creating an unprecedented proactive response.

      • Rebar? What the hell is that? Those tubes were sunk a hundred years ago.

      • Just saw a tour of one of the stations with two levels down yet to go to the platform with salt water in it. It was on CNN and the head of Maintenance was really discouraged by what he saw. Rust and spalling of facades (tile/concrete) was everywhere.
        Really a sad sight. They are now talking 1 month to get back running if they’re lucky. Lot’s of that electrical equipment is ‘one of’, so getting spares off the shelf isn’t so easy. Much is obsolete, so finding a new replacement will take some time.

      • Nathanael says:

        The oldest underwater rail tubes in NYC are straight iron (no concrete). Not sure what they’re going to do about those, but I’d suggest a powerwash with fresh water very soon, and then some sort of surface treatment.

        The concrete-lined tunnels are in a worse position, actually.

  2. Took a trip to Chicago and Winnipeg last month, in the process I rode METRA and Amtrak.

    METRA has a very reasonable parking policy at all of its stations. On the MILW-West line I rode on from the Village of Itasca to downtown Chicago, it’s only $1.50 for all day parking in one of their lots.

    Maybe it’s time ST does the same to raise a bit more revenue, or is this illegal for them? I don’t know the particulars on what ST can and cannot do, so hence the question.

    Plus, like Matt the Engineer saying how he won’t complain about Third and Pine, our Sounder’s sure are limousine’s compared to Metra! Plus, we have the option of bringing our bikes on-board anytime, whereas with Metra the train schedule for bikes is very limited due to the high number of walking passengers.

    • Alex Francis Burchard says:

      Metra Drives me crazy, I dont comprehend how they disallow bikes… I’ve had to bike 20 miles before because I needed to be somewhere and showed up not knowing I couldn’t take my bike on the train. Drives me nuts. But its nice that it does go almost everywhere!

      • Once you’ve reached a sufficient level of density, bringing bikes on board transit vehicles just doesn’t make sense. You need that space for people!

        Instead, let’s spend the money on bike parking and bike-sharing programs. That’s a much more space-efficient way to support biking at all hours and all densities.

        Of course, for intrinsically under-utilized services (like deadheads or reverse-peak runs of commuter services), go ahead and allow bikes. But that’s the exception, by definition. :)

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      “our Sounder’s sure are limousine’s compared to Metra!”

      One way Sounder North could have stayed on budget.

      • @Matt; It has already been tried, this looks suspiciously similar to the old Galloping Goose conversions that ran on the Rio Grande, and of course there were the Budd-built RDCs as well that traversed many RR lines for years.

        I didn’t get into further detail earlier about my solution to the Northline since I type so freakishly slow, and bad, but will try to expound now…

        On my two trips into Chicago the overall time from Itasca to Union Station was around 45 minutes, almost the same time it takes from Mukilteo to King Street.

        The obvious difference was the number of stops, counting off the top of my head I would say around 17 or so. Compare that to only three on the Sounder Northline. Metra’s stops are barely a mile or two apart in some instances.

        Most stops only had a few people getting on the train, some had way more. The point I am trying to make is the Northline needs more stops, and in reiterating my point from many moons ago here on the STB, a station situated at Dravus would be my first location. This would make the ridership go way up since people would have an easy time getting downtown like they used to on the No.2 back in ’96 in QA in front of my house. If ST wants to increase ridership, Dravus or Golden Gardens is the easiest and most logical choice for filling the train.

        Then add stations at Golden Gardens, Blue Ridge, and that newish neighborhood right below Edmonds/Pt Wells. And make the stations/platforms cheap, like they did with Tukwila wooden platform on the Cascades back how long ago?

      • Uh… I’m not sure that railyard is the best place for a passenger train stop. Doesn’t the the closest track to 15th (of ~17 parallel tracks…) send trains through the roundhouse?

    • I think Metra’s bike restrictions are pretty reasonable given their passenger loads. They’re actually less restrictive than they used to be, and I’m not sure they could get a lot less restrictive without something like Caltrain’s bike cars.

      Metra could be more useful for reverse commuters and suburb-to-suburb commuters if it accommodated bikes more. Many of Chicago’s suburban job centers don’t have very good bike access today, but bike infrastructure is cheap. That leaves problems of distance and traffic, which Metra solves easily.

      • Al, in one sense I agree, the passenger loads are heavy. But Metra has a weird policy about bikes, something like only the 4:30am train allows bikes on the way in, and at night it’s the 7:50 train I beleive that allows outbound bikes back on the train. Seems like they could relax that by an hour or more so people could have more opportunities to ride, but I’m biased as you know.

      • Matt the Engineer says:
      • Are bikes allowed in the reverse direction? If it’s like D.C., those trains are probably nearly empty.

    • ST and King County can start charging at the P&Rs they own. They’ve been considering this for several months but no conclusions yet. For WSDOT P&Rs they’d have to get permission from the state.

      • Thank you, Mike Orr for the answer. Glad to know that ST can go ahead and charge for parking w/o a need for further consideration from the state or voters.

        @DJR; Actually, the ideal location would be right at the ballpark. That is the first track there, put in a platform and a crossover from the No.2 mainline and we’re good to go.

    • Metra runs the trains, but leaves the parking to the local governments or private parking operators. Some, like the one you mention, are fairly flexible, but others have underpriced parking with multi-year waiting lists.

      Metra’s bike policy is far less enlightened. They’re tolerated on non-peak trains, but the policy allows for a lot conductor discretion, so don’t make the conductor mad. There are also a lot of blackout days during the summer when no bikes are allowed in either direction.

  3. Tim Willis says:

    The whole car-sharing city council thing is bogus. It makes me want to call in my neighbor who has left supplies for their roofing remodel in the street for the past 3 weeks so that we can have more ‘homeowners’ parked on the streets.

    • Andrew Smith says:

      That Bruce Harrell quote at the end is bananas. I will tell you, for a fact, I don’t know what that guy is smoking.

    • Sounds like a good idea. But since other cities have tried this approach, why not visit them and see what works well and what doesn’t. We are not ahead of the world in any transit solution. So, why not leverage on what works well elsewhere.

  4. Let’s see now: ban affordable, dense housing, procrastinate more on mass transit. In other words, more of the same.

    How about a new slogan for Seattle, in light of the Council’s overall urban (I use the term very loosely) vision: “Just like Orange County, but with more rain.”

  5. “stymied by the standard horror that someone, somewhere might not be able to park for free in city right-of-way”

    You mean like the way that Metro and ST buses use the “city right of way” for free, including reserving large sections of curb space for bus stops which motorists are not allowed to use at all?

    The people who park on the streets are the ones who paid for those streets. Since they paid to build and maintain those streets, why should they pay extra to use them? Or, perhaps you think someone else paid for those streets? Like who?

    • Andrew Smith says:

      Yes, I should be able to park in front of your drive-way too. I payed for the sodding road after all.

      • There are parking restrictions that apply to everyone. Nobody can park in front of anyone’s driveway, by common consent.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        And nobody can drive in a bus lane, by common consent. And lanes or parking are removed from streets, by common consent (working via our democractically elected officials). And people have to pay parking meters, by common consent. Etc.

    • All city taxpayers, not just the resident of any given house, paid for the right-of-way. The use of the right-of-way should therefore benefit all taxpayers to the extent possible. Which benefits city taxpayers more: a few parking spots in front of houses, or a transit lane that can speed trips through congested areas for hundreds of people an hour?

      • And all citizens can park their cars on the streets.

        People riding buses do not pay any parking fees, parking taxes, parking fines, state gas taxes, federal gas taxes, $20 license fees to the city, $20 license fees to the County, MVET’s, sales tax on the cost of their trips (which for bus siders is their fares, which are not taxed), sales taxes on vehicles, sales taxes on maintenance, etc. etc., all of which motorists do pay, and which can be used to pay for the streets.

        Motorists pay a myriad of taxes and fees on their transportation which can be used to pay for the streets. There are no taxes or fees on transit fares which can be used for streets. And Metro and ST pay no taxes on the diesel they use.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        (a tear, running down my cheek for the poor motorists)

        They’re all of our streets, and we decide how they can be used. And what taxes we need to collect to maintain them. Don’t like it? Vote for someone that agrees with you.

      • All people riding buses pay property taxes (whether directly or indirectly) and sales taxes. Most people riding buses also own cars and pay the car-related taxes you speak of. And, again, it’s a question of which use of space carries the greatest benefit for the city. I’ll take the benefit to hundreds over the benefit to the few.

      • People using public libraries don’t pay for a card or each book either.

      • Nathanael says:

        It used to be completely illegal to leave your car in the street overnight.

        “Cap’n Transit Strikes Again” did a series on how scofflaw New Yorkers managed to get the rules changed in New York, so that they could leave their property dumped in the public right-of-way without permits or payment.

    • “The people who park on the streets are the ones who paid for those streets.”

      Arthur Denny, Carson Boren, Charles Terry and Henry Yesler are still alive? I did not know that.

      • Oh, really? You mean no money has been spent on Seattle streets since those guys died? Then what is anyone complaining about? According to that theory, all Seattle streets are already paid for, so why should we pay to use them? Why am I paying license fees, MVET, sales taxes on my car, parts, maintenance, federal gas tax, state gas tax, etc?

        You are saying we don’t need to spend any money on streets now? They are all in great repair and need no further money?

      • 1912 Norman, “My taxes paid for them hitchin’ posts, how dare you replace em with parking fer horseless carriages.”

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        There are plenty of taxes that everyone pays that goes to roads as well. It doesn’t matter. Paying MVET doesn’t entitle you to any more road rights than other citizens, just like paying cigarette taxes wouldn’t buy you more room in county hospitals.

      • Nathanael says:

        Actually, in the 1890s the correct argument would have been “My taxes paid for those streets, my children get to play in them just like kids have always played in the streets, keep those damn high-speed horseless carriages out of the streets, they’re dangerous to the kids”.

    • Transportation at both the state and city level is largely financed by sales and property taxes. Are you implying that car-owners are the only people who buy things?

    • And, legal or not, private cars do do pick up and drop off at bus stops all the time. This actually benefits the transit system by giving it more riders. The ability for a friend or taxi to drop you off at a bus stop that would otherwise require a cumbersome transfer to get to is very nice.

  6. Andrew Smith says:

    I agree we shouldn’t build “apodments”. If you can only afford a very small apartment you should have to live in a tent on the street.

    • Except it’s not legal to live in a tent in the street. So, you either have to afford a regular apartment or live in a homeless shelter. We need more in-between options.

      • Andrew Smith says:

        Yes, especially when the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle is now more than $1200 a month.

        Really, that’s crazy.

      • Funny, such all in supporters on this blog of city living are also the big promoters of how it costs too much. Obviously not stake holders. What’s that saying? If you want to play you gotta pay.

      • Andrew Smith says:

        Funny, such all in supporters on this blog of city living are also the big promoters of how it costs too much

        I have no idea what you’re talking about. I am a land owner near one current and a couple of future link stations. To me that’s investment. I haven’t fought density in either place, and I wouldn’t even if it were to make me less money.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        I too own a home in the city, and have directly pushed for two projects a half block from my home and worked to convince neighbors to allow them.

        Yes, rising home prices benefit current residents on paper. But not only is it bad for the long-term health of the city, income stratification makes for boring neighborhoods.

      • More affordable housing is great, really, I want more of that.

        But when I hear people frame Seattle as ‘expensive’ it makes me laugh a bit.

      • @Andy: If the average 1-BR apartment is $1200 (I’m not sure if that’s median or mean, but I wouldn’t guess there are enough extreme outliers to push the mean way above the median), can the average person afford that?

      • “when I hear people frame Seattle as ‘expensive’ it makes me laugh a bit.”

        How many cities are more expensive than Seattle? San Francisco, New York, San Jose, the part of LA around Hollywood. That’s about it as far as I know. Chicago and south LA are about the same. Maybe DC with its hordes of lobbyists with expense accounts. But pretty much everywhere else is cheaper than Seattle, isn’t it?

      • Andy, Seattle is not expensive relative to NY, Boston, DC, the Bay Area, or the very toniest parts of L.A.

        It is expensive relative to pretty much every other city in the country, including biggies like Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami.

      • Depends on how you define expensive. A common metric is median home price. That makes Bellevue more expensive than Seattle by about $100,000. Miami is almost $200k less than Seattle. Palm beach however is twice that of Seattle. Washington D.C. is on par with Seattle as is the median home price for the entire State of California! Obviously there are dirt cheap places to live in CA (Bakersfield) but a whole lot that aren’t! Anaheim is the same as Seattle/Bellevue. Burbank is way higher. Berkeley higher still. Irvin is way up there as is San Jose.

      • Having just moved here from DC (and being in the process of selling my DC house), I can assure you that value for money is far, far higher here than it is there.

        DC prices, even following the rapid gentrification of the past decade, are still distorted by prices of houses in substantial areas of the city that have worse crime and decay issues than any part of Seattle. The areas where you’d actually want to live are much more expensive.

      • John Bailo says:

        Yes when with today’s interest rates you can buy a $200,000 brand new home in a modern exurb for less than the rent on a one bedroom!

      • And have to drive to a parking lot just to catch a 150 for a one-hour ride in order to get to a concert.

    • Or a van down by the river (or lake?).

  7. “Opposition to Apodments builds on Capitol Hill.”

    Smart commenters, like myself, will notice the subtle double standard and bias of this sentence. When Seattlites are against something going in in their neighborhood, they simply are opposed to it. But in the evil suburbs, like Surrey Downs, they are deplorable NIMBYs!

    • Andrew Smith says:

      For the record, I think the capitol hill people oppposing apodments are also nimbys

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      I think you’ll find we often call city dwellers opposed to density NIMBYs. Remember Roosevelt?

      Though we really need a term for people that block development because it’s near them but also wouldn’t support it elsewhere. I still consider that a NIMBY, but that case doesn’t meet the strict definition. They might fit under BANANAs (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone), but I don’t love the term. “Lesser Seattlites” might work.

      • How about you just call them “intelligent”?

      • How about “zero-population-growth activists”?

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        [Norman] Because for many, it would be a lie.

        [William] I think you misunderstand the concept behind zero population growth.

      • What I meant was that if we have nonzero population growth, the new people are going to have to live somewhere, which means some new development… so, supporting new housing somewhere logically follows from supporting population growth. (Of course, it doesn’t work both ways; someone can support zero population growth while still recommending that the constant population move from Area A to Area B.)

      • I think “misplaced hayseeds” might work, but “lesser Seattleites” has a nice ring to it.

      • Andrew Smith says:

        “Lesser Seattlites” might wear that as a badge of honour.

    • John Bailo says:

      If there are more people you can always build more “capitol hills”.

      Look at what is happening in 6th Street Tacoma. It is basically what Fremont used to be like before they ruined it.

      Look at Burien. It is clear that what people really want are those kind of Portlandy neighborhoods right on the line between a too sparse suburb and a traditional dense city.

      It is not like there is any shortage of land in WA for creating any number of right sized Fremonts, Ballards, Cap Hills because it continues to happen all around the state!

  8. A KCM fleet question – I noticed that the latest New Flyer DE60LFR has the number 6999 (literally just saw it go by on 4th Ave S). Are there more artics coming in?

    2nd fleet question – I thought there were only 180 Orion 7′s in the fleet but recently, I’ve begun seeing bus numbers like 7193 and such. With that number I am assuming there are at least 194 buses. Did Metro expand the order since Orion will be leaving the US market soon?

    • There are currently 200 Orions, 7000-7199. (I have actually seen 7199 in service on the 50…) Orion is going out of business so future orders will have to be filled by someone else. I don’t know whether the options on the contract can be transferred or whether Metro will have to go through bid again.

      The DE60LFR order was just a bit too big to fit in the 6900s — literally 2 buses too many. The last two buses were numbered 6800 and 6801. (The original Cummins-powered DE60LF order first started at 2813, to follow up on the Caterpillar-powered DE60LFs that ended at 2812. Metro then renumbered the Cummins buses to start at 6813, leaving 6800-6812 free.)

    • NF/DE60LFR = 6866-6999, and 6800 (plus 6020-6035, 6040-6073). Orions = 7000-7199. All on hand (in service/preparing for service etc). Next to arrive should be 6074-6102.

    • The press announcement about Orion closing up shop indicated that they would wind down existing orders. The parts/service side of Orion will still be in business so Metro will be able to get support. No word on whether Metro will exercise the options and buy more Orions.

  9. Yeah and that $ I am not paying into my car? I get to buy other things that does contribute to the sales tax (prime funding for roads). Roads are not only for cars, they are for general transportation.

  10. Anyone notice this service change?

    http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/NewsCenter/NewsReleases/2012/October/nr103012_BusRouteRevisions.aspx

    As a rider who depends on 301 but works in SLU, this will add an extra 2-3 blocks of walking each way on my commute. Pity I can still walk faster than the SLUT…

    This might be an improvement for riders working further south however. Thoughts?

  11. General bus question. What is the snow globe looking thing hanging from the ceiling of some Metro buses? Also, have others noticed the “Exit at the Rear” signs with the yellow arrow? Maybe if they were somewhere besides the ceiling just behind the drivers yellow line more people would see them… just a thought.

    • They are cameras.

      • Very big brother. I guess the criminals have already figured that out and seek out the buses without them or make sure they are always facing away from the lens. OH, and pay cash of course so the ORCA card can’t track you.

      • Jason Mitchell says:

        The smart thing to do—and I don’t know, maybe Metro is planning on doing this—is to put the globes in every bus, working camera inside or no. Foucault’s panopticon and all that. That’s what the CTA started doing a few years ago.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Bus cameras helped catch the murderer of one of the commenters on this very blog.

      • Cameras could have helped to catch this still at large murderer who stabbed a man to death on a Metro bus in 2003, but there was a “protective cover” on the camera blocking its view. Huh?

        http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20031002&slug=busstab02m

      • Wow, didn’t realize I’d opened such a can of worms. I’m with Jason on this; put them (a snow globe) in all buses even if they’re not hooked up. It’s impossible to know if they are active or not. Yes it’s big brother but if you’re riding public transit then… well?

      • All RapidRide coaches have video. A higher percentage (possibly all, but I don’t know that) of new buses have video, including forward facing video, which I like.

  12. Here are some heros on a Metro bus from a couple of years ago when a man on the route 18 assaulted a blind woman. The passengers rushed in and saved the woman by restraining the man. I wish they would have done to him what he did to her, but oh well.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=3ff_1243016292

  13. Stephen F says:

    I was beginning to get worried that CT was not going to do the GPS. Nice to hear. :)

    • Now if they’d just get their buses to run on time. With CT having GPS you will get announcements telling where you are 10 minutes later than when you should have been.

  14. Since this is an open thread, I wanted to ask the STB community about their opinions regarding transit and transportation in general, with respect to dating and relationships. Would you date someone who was a die-hard car-addict who insists on driving half-mile trips down the block? Have any of you ever experienced tension in a relationship as a result of you wanting to walk, bike, or bus places together, while she wants to drive everywhere? Or do you take it as given that you and your significant other will always drive when traveling together, and that transit is simply for work commutes you make alone? Do you think it’s reasonable to consider a person’s willingness to travel by modes other driving when choosing who to go out with, or do you think such issues are simply irrelevant?

    I’d like to hear about your experiences and opinions on this matter. Please discuss.

    • Matthew Johnson says:

      Look at it as a challenge. My wife still won’t ride the bus without me, but I’ve gotten her to the point where she’ll us Link to get around even if I’m not there.

      • I’d like to hear more about that. Why won’t your wife ride the bus without you, but she will ride Link without you?

    • Hate the disease, not the person, and all that.

      Personally, I would follow Matthew’s advice regarding use of transit, but someone who prefers to drive a walkable half-mile is too desperate a case.

    • Remember, if you’re thinking she’s weird for wanting to drive a half mile, she’s probably thinking the same thing about you for wanting to walk or take a bus when a car would be quicker. In many smaller towns and cities, things are so spread out you don’t walk to the store, and the bus, which isn’t very frequent, is for people without cars.

      • I’m sure a lot of people would call me crazy for wanting to walk a half mile when a car is available, when the weather is anything short of 70 degrees and sunny. That was one of the reasons why I switched from keeping a car that I drove once a month to not keeping a car at all – if I don’t have a car, I don’t have to explain or justify to other people why I don’t use it.

        As to dating, I am currently single, so I’m not tied down to any particular person at the moment. Ideally, I would like to date someone I can walk, bike, and bus places with, just like I do alone, today, with cars relegated to long-distance travel, heavy loads, or when the schedule is time-critical.

        While I have certainly seen women who are like that, I am also aware that they are few and far between. About 75% of people who bike regularly in Seattle are men and nearly everyone I’ve seen at STB meetups has been men. So, while I still want someone with whom I can live a car-light or car-free lifestyle together, I sometimes wonder if I am being unrealistic – that I need to simply accept that even if I don’t have a car, she will, and that will be our transportation whenever we go anywhere together – and that if I don’t accept it, I will simply end up with nobody, unless I get extremely lucky.

        So, I ask you – am I being reasonable or unreasonable by holding out – and do any of you have success stories where you indeed found someone who enjoys active transportation?

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        Men are certainly more drawn to blogs like these, but I think ridership itself is fairly even. Along those lines I’d expect there are just as many car-free women out there as car-free men. Actually, I have a tip for you: ride the 29. It has to have a good 2:1 F:M ratio, maybe 3:1.

        Also, listen to Matthew. We’re talking about an opinion or a routine, not a personality trait. She won’t be the same person in 5 years that she is today, and neither will you.

      • Marc,

        Chances are, most of the people you’ll find who are deeply passionate about transit will be men. Most of the people you’ll find who are deeply passionate about cars or bikes will be men, as well. I don’t know why this is. Part of it may be the male brain’s bias towards “systems” (as Simon Baron-Cohen has found in his research on the autism spectrum); part of it may be that little boys are encouraged to play with toy cars and trains and planes, and little girls aren’t. There may be many other causes or influences as well.

        When you skip that segment of the population, the remaining people will choose to ride transit based on whether it meets their needs for any particular trip. This means, among other things (credit to Jarrett Walker):

        - Does it go where I want?
        - Does it go when I want?
        - Is it a good use of my time?
        - Is it a good use of my money?
        - Does it respect me?
        - Can I trust it?
        - Does it give me freedom to change my plans?

        Given the conditions in the Seattle area, many people make the rational decision to own a car, but to use transit for their commute. During the peak commute period, transit can save many people time and money, even if they own a car. On the other hand, off-peak trips are generally much more convenient by car (when congestion isn’t much of an issue), and the marginal cost of driving not very much.

        The “respect” issue is a huge one as well. The level of civility tends to be much higher on peak commute buses than local service, especially at night. I also know many women who avoid downtown like the plague because they don’t feel safe there. Given Metro’s downtown-oriented network, that means that there’s a strong disincentive to use transit for any trip that requires a connection.

        My point in all of this is that, if you want to meet more women who take transit, the best thing you can do is to help work towards making transit work better for non-fans. That means more frequent and more reliable service, safer and more civil connection opportunities (especially outside of downtown), and safer and more civil conditions on the bus itself.

        Change that, and you’ll find that using transit becomes a rational choice for a much wider segment of the population.

  15. What exactly would the Madison BRT look like? I’m struggling to see how BRT can appropriately be applied to this corridor unless all parking is removed the entire length of Madison. Is there any political will for this?

    Or… are we just talking about another “Rapid Ride”?

    • Removing parking for at least the length of Madison through 15th, and making the right lane into (I think) a BAT lane, is exactly what they have in mind. That plus quality TSP could make the trip up Madison pretty quick.

      My hope is that once dedicated bus lanes on a city street are shown to work in the Madison corridor, people in other neighborhoods will be more accepting of the idea.

  16. My trip to the concert last night.

    Took the 5:32 pm Sounder in to Seattle. I counted people on both sides, there were about 40 people on the southbound platform, headed towards Auburn, and 10 with me heading into Seattle. On the train, in my area, 2nd car, lower middle deck, one other person.

    Getting off, I exited near 3rd and decided to walk, although I saw a #1 bus that I almost could have run to. Destination was Bambino’s, home of fantastic calzones.

    Strode up 2nd avenue…past the famed Union Gospel mission. Smelt like an ashtray. In fact, it seems like Seattle is the home of the last few chain smokers on earth. On several blocks I was suffocating from all the smoke…maybe it had something to do with air pressure.

    While walking, I noticed that each and every light was against me. I was waiting 30 to 90s at each crossing which got really annoying. I decided to be a New Yorker and scoot across the streets. You know what…when there is little cross traffic, it actually feels safer than when the Walk signal is on and the cars are turning into the crosswalk.

    I saw a mime on Marion and 2nd. He dressed up in full mime gear, with a backwards pointing face mask. He wasn’t doing any mime stuff…just walking across the street.

    The downtown streets of Seattle are really dark…I’m surprised at how dim the street lights are.

    Got to my destination at 6:30pm…rushed through the meal so as not to be late for the 7:30 performance. However, I need not have rushed as a #1 bus was only a block away and it got me back to Benaroya in five minutes. I’ve never noticed this bus before, but I like the route, assuming it’s got a workhorse schedule for moving people from South to North downtown.

    Was thinking…wouldn’t best use for street cars be to get people up and down the avenues? We could have one for each — SC#1 for first avenue, etc, etc.

    • Oh yeah, I took the #150 back. I missed one by 4 minutes, so I had to wait 30 more to get the 10:14pm. There were about 20 people on that. The ride seemed a lot more rattly than the last time…but I forgot to check the make and model when I left. Took about 50 minutes to get back to Kent Station where I parked my car…I can’t count on the 168 service still operating when I get back.

    • A couple of thoughts…

      1) The 1 is only one of a lot of buses that use 3rd Avenue between Belltown and downtown. The ones that travel from Belltown all the way to IDS are (numbers vary between northbound and southbound because of through-routing):

      Northbound: 1, 5, 24, 26, 28, 33, 40, 358
      Southbound: 14, 21, 27, 40, 124, 131, 132, 358

      There are many more buses that cover most but not all of this ground. It really is very easy to go North/South through downtown.

      2) Streetcars are on the City of Seattle’s radar for both 1st Avenue and a 4th/5th couplet (which would continue to SLU).

      3) I’m a Seattle native and I never dealt well with people’s refusal to jaywalk when there is no oncoming traffic. After living on the east coast for 8 years it seems even more insane.

    • John,

      For someone who spends as much time as you do posting on a transit blog, I’m surprised that you haven’t spent some time browsing the Metro maps and schedules.

      Here’s a whole bunch of maps.

      Take a look around — it’s pretty fun. :)

  17. Question for the commentariat –

    I was riding the 255 yesterday, and this question occurred to me. Why is the 255 a Metro bus, but the 545 (and other similar suburban routes) are Sound Transit? How did that come about?

    • Sound Transit was created in the 1990s with a mandate for regional transit, but it has never been precisely defined what “regional” means. It probably came down to ST’s budget: it had money for so many routes, so it chose the top N corridors and took over Metro routes and reorganized them (550), or created new routes where none existed (510). But the Eastside situation has never been fully consistent. Some Metro buses seem to go the same distance as ST buses, and it seems arbitrary which is which. But almost of Metro’s cross-bridge or long-distance routes are legacy, going back to before Sound Transit started.

    • The 255 is really two routes in one: a regional express route from South Kirkland P&R to downtown, and a long local route connecting S Kirkland P&R, Kirkland, Juanita, Totem Lake, Kingsgate, and the Kirkland/Bothell border. If ST created a Kirkland-Seattle route, it would stop only at S Kirkland P&R, downtown Kirkland, and (maybe) Totem Lake. Metro would have to backfill the local portions of the current 255.

      Metro’s entire network used to be like this, which resulted in terrible frequency and loads everywhere. When I was growing up, you had the following infrequent all-day local routes:

      251 – Downtown – Kirkland – NE 70th – Redmond (120 minutes)
      252 – Univ Dist – Medina – Bellevue – Crossroads – Overlake (60 minutes)
      253 – Downtown – Medina – Bellevue – Crossroads – Overlake – Redmond (60 minutes)
      254 – Downtown – Kirkland – NE 85th – Redmond (120 minutes)
      255 – Downtown – Kirkland – Juanita – Totem Lake – Kingsgate (60 minutes)

      Today, those have been consolidated into the 255 and 271, each of which runs every 15 minutes and is vastly more effective. But the legacy service pattern is still visible in both of them.

      • The 252 I knew did not go to Overlake, it continued from Crossroads (164th) to Lake Hills, Bellevue CC, and halfway up Somerset Hill. Its terminus crossed the 210. I used to take those routes in high school.

        210 – Downtown – Mercer Island – Factoria – Newport Hills – Somerset – Issaquah (90 minutes?), continuing to North Bend (240 minutes?)

        226 – Downtown – Mercer Island – Bellevue – Crossroads – Northup Way – Overlake – Redmond (60 minutes)

        235 – Downtown – Mercer Island – Bellevue – Kirkland – Rose Hill – Totem Lake

        307 – Downtown – Northgate – Lake City – Bothell

        360 – Shoreline P&R – Aurora Village – Lake Forest Park – Bothell – Kirkland (405 & 160th, 132nd, 70th) – Bellevue – Renton – Southcenter – SeaTac airport – Burien

        150 – Downtown – Southcenter – Kent – Auburn

        174 – Downtown – 4th Ave S – Boeing – SeaTac airport – Pac Hwy – Federal Way

        The 226 and 235 were allergic to the freeway: they used the last possible entrance and first possible exit. They had three stops across Mercer Island (the other two were rarely used), and they went on (25mph) 104th or Beaux Arts instead of (35-40mph) Bellevue Way.

      • You’re right, I was confusing the 252 with its replacement, the 273.

      • I tried out the old 273 routing home from work today – Overlake->Crossroads->Bellevue->Medina->Univ Dist. via B->271. Normally, I just take the 542, but the traffic report said 520 was a standstill, so I figured I’d give this route a chance, since it avoiding the freeway as much as absolutely possible. Both buses came very quickly and the total travel time from Overlake to Montlake was about an hour. Considering that this included a 15 minute traffic jam getting onto 520 in Medina, this wasn’t at all bad.

  18. Today was a three 24 rides on a single transfer day for me. The 24 before the 24 before my usual afternoon 19 was running 20 minutes late, which allowed me to catch it, do a small errand in Belltown, then catch the following 24, which had only about 20 people because it was the last of a 24/33/24 chain within 10 minutes or less. Something like 18 people going up the bridge, picked up one of the 33 passengers as a transfer at 28th and dropped him at Raye, dropped 6 at Manor, caught up with the other 24 at Government and passed it, stopped for a passenger right afterwards and got re-passed (aggressively!). Between the two buses, about 9? people were dropped at the Met Market, all making a beeline for the event. And they say nobody uses the bus to get around Magnolia… Picked up yet another 24 on my walk back, at maybe Dravus… which is tricky on 34th, since the stop spacing may be close, but sidewalks are set so far back from the street you could probably fit eight lanes between them.

    • I saw two straight 28s in downtown at about 7:40 tonight, which should have been half an hour apart. I have no idea what’s happening to the buses that are coming north from Georgetown/South Park/Sodo these days, but it’s ugly as hell. 24/26/28 reliability is getting destroyed.

      • I’m pretty insulated from this as a 19 commuter (I think we normally get an empty bus from the base, though not always). But there’s a giant OBA display at my stop, and 5 minutes late is pretty typical for the 24 at beginning of peak (~4:30) Rarely it’s very late, rarely it’s on time. There’s non-trivial counter-peak load from the 124 at that hour too. Peak I assume is worse.

        Magnolia buses have always had a tendency to bunch going up the bridge, though.

        One thing I have noticed is that I rarely see a non-artic in Magnolia these days.

      • It seems to be worst toward and immediately after the end of peak. The 124 does have quite heavy counter-peak loads, but those are built into the schedule. Something seems to be happening down there which is screwing up the 124, 131, and 132. The only thing I can speculate about is that there is sometimes chronic box-blocking at both 4th/Michigan and 4th/Spokane, but that seems like a 5-minute thing, not a 20-minute thing.

        You’ll almost never see a non-artic on the 124, so you’d expect most 24s to be artics. The 19s are also by and large driven by buses in the same run group. You’d also expect more artics on the 27 than on the old 39, so that would explain additional artics on the 33 (although it’s always needed them on its own in the AM peak).

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