What to Watch For in 2013

Tukwila Station (Sound Transit)

2013 is going to be a relatively light year in terms of actual service delivery, although of course planning and construction will be continuing full steam.

Comments

  1. kpt says

    The project page for 520 mentions a regional bike/pedestrian path as part of the project. But, the links in the page don’t seem to lead anywhere (at least, not in a few minutes of clicking around). Does anyone know more details on this path?

    Does it actually connect up with the existing 520 trail that (currently) runs up from Redmond through MS campus, then dumps onto NE 24th near Northrup? Connecting this up all the way to the lake really would be wonderful, especially when the new bridge with its bike lane is finished.

      • asdf says

        The interim connection on Northup Way is conditional on available funding. The page provides no indication that such funding will actually be found.

      • Bernie says

        Even if the funding comes through the design for bikes is worse than what currently exists. I’ve ridden that section often on my bike and vastly prefer the existing shoulder of the two lane road which is a vestige of old industrial truck traffic to the planned arterial extension.

        Having vented my frustration over Bellevue government’s faux dedication to bike infrastructure I have to note that Lakewood takes it to a whole new level. I was down there over the holidays and it was just obscene where they’d wasted money painting sharrows (Gravelly Lake Dr, Bridgeport) “Look see how devoted we are to bikes!” Bastardos! I’d like to count Mayor Richardson as a friend but it’s hard to see what his mission is.

      • asdf says

        What shoulder? On the existing Northup between 108th and 405, there is no shoulder whatsoever. Between 405 and 24th St., there is a shoulder and I do fine that section ok to ride on. The problem is that there’s no good way to avoid the shoulderless section further west without a long detour.

  2. AlexKven says

    Do you think there is any way to solve the Pierce Transit situation, or do you think that the situation is hopeless?

      • Nathanael says

        I don’t see why Tacoma Transit would be impossible even if there was some legislative blockage of a Tacoma TBD.

        I don’t see any hope for restoring cuts outside Tacoma proper (well, maybe in the other municipality which voted “yes”, whichever one that was).

      • AlexKven says

        It sucks. It starts with Pierce Transit screwing up a bit, which is really bad because people in Pierce County don’t want to pay for anything, ever, so if you make not the best choices in a very emotional county like Pierce, you won’t ever get a second chance. People in the county are now clenching their fists, and denying PT everything it needs (going back to the fact that PT is underfunded). The thing is, it’s a necessary service, one that should be mandated by law to back the common sense (or lack thereof), but basically all of the Washington state laws go against public transit. For one, no transit agency can receive more than .9% tax revenue, which PT is in no danger of breaking, but PT also seems to be restricted ONLY to sales tax as far as funding. They are also not allowed to promote their proposition in any biased way, because lawmaker like to make it difficult like that. What outrages me is that the Federal Way school district is allowed to promote their prop like CRAZY. The FWPS (FW public schools) prop 1 requires an additional 110,000,000 dollars for projects, like shiny new schools, shiny new playgrounds, right after they built a shiny new admin building (remember, admins first.) They say that instead of actually providing better quality education, they can build bigger buildings, and students will learn more (no joke). Since FW has roughly 100,000 people, the individual impact on this thus is roughly 110,000,000/100,000 = 1,100 per person (the prop 1 tax of $366,666.67). Because they promoted it, it passed by wide margins, and now me (as a FW resident) has to pay toward this, whereas PT only needs something like 8 million per year, and this is a county effort rather than a city effort, so the impact will be soft on individuals, and it still failed because people have no idea! I just came back from Portland where a transit agency exists and actually works with zero sales tax, but gets funded by business taxes. I wish Washington was more like Oregon in this respect.

      • asdf says

        Don’t forget ADA. If you have transit serving an area, you have a mandate to have paratransit there too. But, at the same time, you have no mandate to have any kind of transit serving that area in the first place and if you opt out of regular transit, your obligation to provide paratransit disappears with it.

      • Bernie says

        It starts with Pierce Transit screwing up a bit

        Perhaps, but it’s the screwing up a lot, repeatedly, that’s got them to where we are today. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that the only way out is anything short of a complete “do over”. That means dissolving PT and let the liabilities fall where they may.

    • David L says

      Woo hoo! One midday weekday bus. That gets us about 15% of the way to 10-minute frequency on RR C/D.

      • asdf says

        I wouldn’t hold your breath. They might inside decide to take the operating cost of the 5-6 midday 42 trips going away and spend it on the capitol cost to buy an additional bus for another peak trip, probably on some route having nothing to do with RapidRide.

  3. Brent says

    Oh, and South Sounder headway drops to 20 minutes at peak of peak with the additional peak trip in October.

    I foresee the 592 getting several runs cut (though not in 2013), and the 158 and 159 getting truncated at Kent Station.
    .

    Meanwhile, the don’t-build-anything-new-within-the-Seattle-City-Limits movement makes a big political push, with a slew of candidates proclaiming our mayor, and perhaps the city council, to be allowing too much height, allowing new apartments to be too affordable, and favoring people over cars a little too much in street design. The no-growthers are also pushing a districting initiative that would pack Seattle’s most left-wing voters into one or two districts, concreting NIMBY control of the city council in perpetuity. The initiative is getting most of its funding from an Aurora Ave merchant who has long fought HOV and BAT lanes on Aurora.

    My New Year’s resolution is that the poor transit riders of King County will get a low-income ORCA card, similar to the one already being used in Kitsap County. Public transit is not a for-profit business. It is also a public service. Happy New Year!

    • John Bailo says

      The 158 and 159 continue beyond Kent Station to pick up passengers near East Valley and the big apartment complexes. How will they hand that if they terminate at Sounder?

      • Mike Orr says

        I think he means truncating the other way, from the neighborhoods to Kent Station. If they can schedule the 62 to coordinate with Sounder (and how well is that going, by the way?), they can do the same with the 158 and 159.

      • Stephen F says

        The 158 and 159 have horrible productivity, effectively duplicate (although convoluted) existing routes, and waste service hours in the subarea. I see them run empty or near-empty the supermajority of the time on East Hill, Meridian, and Covington while the local routes are packed and have low headways. I have no idea what the Kent Station-Seattle bit looks like though. Please, Metro, kill those routes. As well as the 157!!! Agh. They make me want to cry when the subarea is awfully underserved by substandard local routes and routing. And then, it’s layered on with shitty “express” service. It’s an absolute travesty.

      • Stephen F says

        Those neighbourhoods are better served with all-day DART service to Kent Station and central Kent or by utilising the 180, 166, and 150.

      • David L says

        The existing local service can do that job in conjunction with Sounder, just as it already handles the bulk of downtown commuters from East Hill.

      • John Bailo says

        Sounds good to me. I would prefer if the 169 become more of a pure “Kent Loop” between the Station and around Kent East Hill instead of going all the way to Renton, kind of a combined 168/169 plus the local branches of 158/159…but run nearly all day and night and with frequencies of 15 to 20 minutes.

        For Kent East Hill to Renton we’d need a Rapid line running down 104th/108th/Benson.

      • Stephen F says

        I concur with RapidRide along that corridor. My condition of that though would be comprehensive planning to ensure additional density is provided. 104th/108th is an absolute wasteland and hampers additional ridership due to long walks to storefronts and residential riders originating many blocks in most cases off the road. I have no idea what you do with the SF residential aside from allowing up to SR-12 to encourage townhouses. But at the very least, a comprehensive rezone process could enforce new development that is urban-friendly with a mix of uses rather than the standalone, dying shopping centres and strip malls that line 104th between 256th and 240th as well as the nodes of commercial at 104th/256th, 104th/240th, and 108th/208th. Renton would have to work on their Petrovitsky/108th hell as well.

      • John Bailo says

        I could go for some more density there, but of a reasonable sort, 3 stories, mixed use commercial.

        I was at the new Applebees at the relatively unused shopping center and was thinking, man, this is some really untapped real estate.

        One thought — a mini-Kent East Hill Trasit Station (bus bays) to kick it off…making it a RapidRide terminal and interconnect for various loops around Kent East Hill and through routes from Renton to Covington and Black Diamond.

        I’d also really like to put Kangley on a road diet and cede some laneage to bicycles and buses.

        There is a new organization, the Kent East Hill Revitalization Project that is opening the dialog on transit and other issues.

        https://www.facebook.com/EastHillKentWa

      • Stephen F says

        John, I couldn’t agree with you more. All of that sounds pretty good. Although, certain nodes should allow 5 to 8 storeys. 8 is probably fantasy, but let the market decide what height is apt for locations like 256th/104th. Areas in between nodes should be minimum of 3 to 5 storeys and 2 to 3 storeys in a wedding cake fashion. 3 storeys of mixed use is likely to garner a nice mix of townhouse-like and low-density apartment/condo uses and that’s totally fine for the area.

      • asdf says

        In general, I’m not a fan of bus bays, as they suck scare transit dollars into buying the land that could otherwise be used to run buses, in addition to imposing large delays on every passenger passing through them.

        As a kid, I grew up with this, which is an example of bus bays at their very worst. For starters, the design of these bus bays, combined with the mandate that every bus that travels through the area has to go into them, guarantees that no bus will ever go north/south down South Rice Ave. in a straight line, and the result is inch worm-style north/south routings, jogging east, then back west again, then back east again, etc. East/west buses are a bit better, but eastbound buses still need to exit the bus bays right before a stoplight. With cars waiting for the light blocking the bus’s path and no signal priority for the bus whatsoever, it often takes at least two full signal cycles of over 2 minutes a piece to get the bus out of the transit center and back into traffic again.

        To some extent, this could have been solved with a better design and some help for buses to merge back into traffic. For example, they could have made the cars waiting for the red light stop 20 feet further back to allow room for the bus to slip in front of them. But they could have also improved the bus’s travel times at least as much by simply installing regular street stops and not building the transit center in the first place. Ostensibly, the transit center is about passengers riding the bus. In reality, it’s all about car drivers who don’t want to bother merging into the other lane to go around a bus while it’s loading an unloading passengers.

        There are a very few places where I think bus bays are a good idea but, by and large, I find bus bays tend to be drastically overused.

      • asdf says

        One rare place where I think bus bays would work great but will never get them is Husky Stadium. If done right, we could turn it into a huge hub, with buses from all over northeast Seattle terminating there, along with buses from Kirkland and Redmond, replacing the existing 255, 540, 542, and 545 routes. All of this would feed into Link, whose extremely quick entry into downtown would more than make up for the time lost waiting for the train.

        The irony is that the land to build this is already torn up by Sound Transit to build the Link station. But there is no transit center in the plans. Instead, when the construction is finished, the land will revert back to parking lot, in spite of the fact that the outside of football games 6 days a year, the “need” for the parking capacity simply isn’t there – witness the E-1 lot on the other side of the stadium which is at least half empty on a typical weekday. And even on game days, surely some of the people that currently drive would take Link once it’s fully built out. Even if the region’s population grows with time, the capacity of the stadium can’t get that much bigger. So the need for parking spaces around the stadium on gamedays really should decrease. Which makes a transit center with bus layover space a much more productive long-term use of the land than a parking lot.

    • Kevin R says

      I’m not sure if the district initiative is going to go anywhere. Past efforts have failed because there wasn’t a convincing sense that there was a problem and that, if there was a problem, this would be a solution.

      • Bernie says

        That may be true. I wouldn’t be surprised. What’s shocking to me, and probably shouldn’t be, is how some foreign cities the same size as Seattle have less than one car per four people. And they likely have more people per household than Seattle.

    • alexjonlin says

      I think the map they made for redistricting is just a possibility of what it could look like, right? Districts are important for making sure everyone gets represented. Right now all the city councilmembers are elected by the majority of Seattleites, leaving no room for minority opinions. People say that this makes the council function really well and cohesively, but a legislative body of a major city shouldn’t be having so many 9-0 or 8-1 votes; it should be contentious, with all bills going through strict scrutiny.

      • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says

        I don’t know about that. The County Council is elected by district, and as Reagan Dunn pointed out this past election cycle, most votes are 9-0. Hell, go read a journal from the Chicago City Council and count the 49-0 votes. Most business that comes before a city council is formalities. Any significant shift in city policy will almost certainly be contested.

        The most significant difference if we had district elections for Council is that it would shift the power dynamic at City Hall. Right now, each of the 9 councilmembers has just as much mandate as the mayor. And so you see individual councilmembers taking on major initiatives like Mike O’Brien’s phone book ordinance and Nick Licata championing the paid sick leave ordinance.

        At least in Chicago, the aldermen are much more concerned about constituent service than changing city policy, and you don’t have this dubious “Department of Neighborhoods” fulfilling that function. Significant changes to City policy come almost exclusively out of the mayor’s office.

        I think that whether district elections would be good or bad for progressive urbanism highly depends on who the mayor is.

      • Kevin R says

        Most of the contentious stuff happens in committees – much like it does with the County Council and other similar bodies. I really see the district elections thing as a solution in search of a problem that is brought up from time to time from folks who haven’t been successful in seeking city-wide elections and/or the campaign consultants who could make a buck off it. What “minority opinions” aren’t being expressed now?

      • Nathanael says

        District elections are a terrible idea, but so are at-large elections.

        There’s something very sick in our political discourse; a lack of vital information which people knew in the 19th century. It’s been known for over a century that the best system for picking a Council is a *party-proportional* system.

        That way, if 40% of voters vote Democratic, 20% vote Republican, 20% vote Green, and 20% vote “No Tall Buildings Party”, you get 40% of council members being Democrats, 20% Republican, 20% Green, and 20% “No Tall Buildings Party”.

        Then you have a council which represents the views of the voters.

        One method, which allows you to vote for individual council members rather than for parties, is called “single transferrable vote”.

        (It should not be confused with single-winner “instant runoff voting”, which is NOT a party-proportional method and has no real benefits.)

        They use single transferrable vote in Cambridge, MA. http://www.openstv.org/votingmethods/cambridge

        However, the problem is that nobody has even HEARD of things like party-proportional representation, and most people don’t care. It really, genuinely matters. But instead people dick around changing the election system from one bad election system to another bad election system without stopping to see what systems are actually better, according to people who’ve actually studied them.

      • Nathanael says

        Misattached comment from below moved:

        FYI, Cambridge MA got STV during the 19th century Progressive/Populist reform movements. The same period and movement that got Nebraska a unicameral legislature, got North Dakota its state-owned Bank, got us the progressive income tax at the federal level, got us the direct election of Senators, anti-monopoly (trustbusting) laws, Pure Food and Drug Act,…

        I think if we’d ever finished implementing the Progressive/Populist/Greenbacker/Non-Partisan League electoral and monetary reforms, this country would be a lot better off, but the movement got co-opted and killed by Woodrow Wilson. To be fair there were some serious mistakes coming out of the third party / reform movement of the period, like support of Prohibition — that’s the outlier, though.

      • Stephen F says

        I agree with Nathanael entirely. Frankly, I’d like to see that for our state and federal elections as well. Of course, that would take a lot more work than modifying municipal government.

      • says

        @Nathanael: Of course, in the city council party alignment doesn’t mean much (at least alignment with national parties, and local candidates have plenty of incentives to align with national parties, such as name recognition and concern with future political career).

        IRV (and similar systems) has plenty of real benefits, just not the same benefits as proportional voting. For one thing, they’re definitely better when voting for a single office. But even when voting for legislatures, some individual legislators distinguish themselves in ways that don’t correspond to their party alignment. If all legislatures are elected proportionally, legislators must please their parties in order to advance their political careers. So even in European parliaments with some seats assigned by party others are assigned by individual elections.

      • Stephen says

        Party proportional voting is, imho, a bad idea because it entrenches the very thing that makes our political system most dysfunctional: political parties. Voter education is an issue, true, but a larger issue is the partisanship bred by a strong two-party system. It’s a very good think we don’t have substantive political party influence at the local level, not a bad thing. It is useful to know where people are on the generic spectrum, but at the end of the day, issues at the local level are too unique and specific to be appropriately served by two-sizes-fits all political parties. For a case study in why political parties are awful, see our government’s handling of our fiscal situation over the past couple of years.

        If the issue is voter education, then let’s fix that root issue. Do a better job of presenting the data in the voter guides, have more live debates/townhall sessions/ q&a’s, etc…

        As for IRV, it only mater where do you have strong entrenched parties that are difficult to dislodge (at the federal, and to a lesser extent, the state levels). IRV allows me to vote for the best candidate irrespective of their political party. Right now, even though I consider myself moderate, I have to always vote for the democratic candidate because the republicans are too extreme (basically, it’s not that I vote for democrats so much as against republicans). However, if there was a moderate candidate from a 3rd party, I could conceivably vote for him or her with IRV and not worry about throwing my vote away.

      • Stephen F says

        Proportional representation just makes sense, Stephen. It reduces partisanship, not increases it despite often being party-based. There’s nothing that precludes independent politicians and blocs to form. The European model shows that very well. What it does force in most instances, depending on how seats are partitioned, is a coalition of parties and blocs to form. While they individually may be partisan in nature, the goal of a Government is to lead a programme of policies that are generally populist and not partisan. It’s the only way to break the brinksmanship and partisan divide of a two-party system. I’ll say, I am an extremist lefty, I’m a Green/Liberal Socialist in effect. But damn it, I would die for a proportional representation because at least I could be truly represented and my party/candidates could at least operate in government, perhaps in coalition. I wouldn’t get all of my pet issues addressed for sure, but compromise at some level would likely happen and that would be a huge win.

        The Irish model allows proportional representation by giving Dáil Éireann constituencies 3 to 5 seats each and allowing Single-Transferable Votes to people. It’s kind of IVR, but hybrid to allow proportional representation in effect. It works. It’s not perfect, but it works.

      • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says

        You can’t compare American parties to European parties without recognizing the fundamental difference in our executive/legislative system and a parliamentary system.

        In the UK, Ireland, France et al the elected representatives have to form a Government. In the case where one party has a majority, that’s easy. Otherwise, they have to form a coalition. But either way, you have to have a majority, and if any major policy proposed by the Government fails to pass, it generally means the Government will be dismissed and new elections held. In this system, strong party voting discipline leads to progress, not gridlock.

        Contrast that with America, where every representative is supposed to be an independent vote, but in reality they are in one of two camps of increasing ideological purity. We have a lower house controlled by one party, an upper house nominally controlled by the other, but in reality hamstrung by the asinine filibuster, and a President with veto power. There are no snap elections – if we end up with a government that can’t agree on anything, tough. We just have to wait 2 years for the opportunity to try again.

        My point is, for all the merits of different voting systems, we won’t have a more responsive government without fundamental reform of how our legislatures work.

      • Nathanael says

        Stephen: you don’t know what you’re talking about. Political parties are *unavoidable* and form *naturally*. There’s a reason I used “No Tall Buildings Party” as an example.

        What you have to do is prevent those parties from becoming entrenched, and to do that, you have to make it easy for NEW parties to arise. And that means a party-proportional system.

        There’s nothing wrong with having a political party organized to take one side of the Major Issue Of The Day — what’s wrong is these parties which last hundreds of years and lose their purpose.

        In actual practice, party-proportional systems allow for a system with much greater flux and much less entrenchment than the crap systems we use here, such as first-past-the-post single-member districts, or bloc voting.

      • Nathanael says

        Stephen, a further point:

        Duverger’s Law is why we have two entrenched parties in the US.

        IRV is also subject to something like Duverger’s Law: they have IRV in Australia for their House of Commons, and it has an entrenched two-party system. IRV is a fake, a phony — you can vote for a third party *as long as it has no chance of winning*. Once it has a chance of winning, the spoiler effect comes back in.
        (Condorcet doesn’t have that problem, but it’s a pain in the neck to count.)

        By contrast, STV is used in Australia’s Senate, and there, there actually ARE independents (Nick Xenophon) and third parties (Greens).

        There are other forms of party-proportional representation other than STV (party list methods, and my favorite, reweighted range voting). They all share the feature that the parties are a lot less entrenched and it’s a lot easier for a new movement to get traction.

    • says

      Brent;

      As to, “My New Year’s resolution is that the poor transit riders of King County will get a low-income ORCA card, similar to the one already being used in Kitsap County. Public transit is not a for-profit business. It is also a public service. Happy New Year!”

      Good luck. :-)

  4. John Bailo says

    Tukwila station looks nice, but since it is in the middle of no where it is really more important what lines will feed it.

      • AlexKven says

        I think that the F line should follow the path of the non-sounder path of the 140, and for EVERY sounder trip in every direction, there should be a simple shuttle route (route 141?) that would connect the nearest rapidride stop to the sounder station, and only leave after the transfer from route (F line or sounder, depending on the direction) has stopped and unloaded passengers, and would only stop at the terminals. This would be like a more complex version of ST 596 (formerly PT 496).

      • John Slyfield says

        As someone who is familiar with the deviation because no stops are missed because of the f line devoting during sounder service hours and time lost is insignificant a shuttle route in this case is not a good use of money.

    • Stephen F says

      I agree that the station looks nice. But, it’s entirely a waste of $$. That stop should be deleted frankly as well as the Amtrak portion.

      • AlexKven says

        Why do you think it’s a waste of money? Just because it’s in the middle of nowhere? You know that there are buses that connect to this “nowhere” and go “somewhere.” There are people that commute to Tukwila via the sounder. Being rerouted through Kent would put such a ripple in their schedule that they might want to drive to Tukwila instead.

      • asdf says

        For Amtrak, Tukwila station is still the most convenient place for private car pick-up-and-drop-off for a fairly large area including Renton, Burien, SeaTac, Tukilwa, maybe even parts of south Seattle or Kent. It’s also a good point to make a connection to the airport without needing to go downtown and back again.

      • Stephen F says

        More people could access the station at Kent Station or Auburn for Amtrak WITHOUT parking, it’s more central to a larger customer base, and those who need to park long-term have options in close proximity. Amtrak could establish parking contracts if need be and charge for it.

        On top of that, the Tukwila stop has very low ridership. It’s a huge waste to the network and requires unnecessary deviations of other services (slowing them down) for no clear reason. On top of that is layered on peak-services to cater to that base. Want to get to Boeing or Paccar? Use the 566 or 153 from Kent Station or use the 101/106 + local route/566. Why are we giving a huge handout for essentially 0 ridership?

      • Stephen says

        Yes. But barring that, could it be moved to a location that could be served with less cirucitous bus service? For example, couldn’t you put the station underneath grady way? That way RR F could come down grady way directly w/o the absurd deviation it currently faces. There is clearly space for parking there. The only potential drawback is the track looks slighly curved there, which causes gaps between the train and the paltforms, but i’ve been in tube stops with far higher curvatures and it didn’t seem to be a big deal.

        If you moved it there, then RRF would go directly down grady from RTC, then just deviate 1 block south on Tukwila Parkway to serve southcenter mall, and then return back towards TIBS. I’m certain this would cut like 25% off the total trip time, which probably would pay for the cost of moving the station (besides the better ridership from a much faster/better route).

      • Nathanael says

        High-curvature stops were popular back in the 18th and 19th century, but have been discouraged since wheelchair access became important. So we don’t build new stops like that.

      • asdf says

        I once asked someone who worked for Amtrak while they stop at Tukwila instead of Kent and the reason I got back was really lame – that the driving distance to the airport was a bit less at Tukwila, which would make the cab ride a few dollars cheaper.

        But, seriously – how many people really make Amtrak->airplane connections anyway? Nobody coming from Seattle or Portland would have any reason to do this, which leaves people served by the intermediate stops like Centralia and Kelso that have weak ridership. And, considering that the train isn’t quite reliable enough to take to catch a plane and planes are certainly not reliable enough to take to catch a train, about 99.9% of people going from Centrallia to SeaTac drive there and whether Amtrak stops in Tukwila or Kent won’t change that.

      • Stephen F says

        asdf, that’s a total “facepalm” answer on their part. Seriously???? That stop needs to be killed, 100%. At least with Kent, they can take the 180 directly to the airport and station if they’re *that* committed to the deathly Cascades + aeroplane trip. It sounds like they know it’s total crap. Anyone know when that stop was added?

      • asdf says

        I don’t know, but I’m guessing they weren’t thinking at all of bus connections when they picked that stop – they thought about cabs and private car pick up and drop off, but that was it.

        I agree with you 100% that Amtrak should have been stopping at Kent instead of Tukwila.

  5. says

    Based on the Federal funding cut, the lack of Canadian funding, the mudslide “slope instability” situation, interference from freight trains, and the significant competition from four scheduled bus lines plus charters, I’m thinking a good option for revising the Vancouver, BC Cascades train is to cut it back to a summer (cruise ship) season, daylight only, tourist-focused operation with the ticket price raised to cover operating costs and marketed to tourists who want to take pictures out the window.

    • Chris I says

      Probably a good idea, although the mudslide risks still exist if you want to serve Bellingham. I’ve heard that they would like to have a spare trainset for maintenance once Oregon gets the two Talgos. Seems like this train could be used in the summer for Vancouver service, and during special sports events and holidays during the rest of the year.

    • Nathanael says

      First of all, that appears to be prohibited by the state requirement that Stanwood station be served in perpetuity. Second, cruise operations are still cut by mudslides. Third, it’s too short a route to be successful at cruise-ship prices. I don’t really know what to do with it.

      If anyone still cares about getting from Seattle to Vancouver, BC efficiently, the legislature needs to fund a new study of the best routes (meaning, not this one from Seattle to Everett) and the appropriate level of commitment from BC; and then commit to providing WA’s share if and only if BC comes up with its share.

      • Nathanael says

        FYI, Cambridge MA got STV during the 19th century Progressive/Populist reform movements. The same period and movement that got Nebraska a unicameral legislature, got North Dakota its state-owned Bank, got us the progressive income tax at the federal level, got us the direct election of Senators, anti-monopoly (trustbusting) laws, Pure Food and Drug Act,…

        I think if we’d ever finished implementing the Progressive/Populist/Greenbacker/Non-Partisan League electoral and monetary reforms, this country would be a lot better off, but the movement got co-opted and killed by Woodrow Wilson. To be fair there were some serious mistakes coming out of the third party / reform movement of the period, like support of Prohibition — that’s the outlier, though.

      • says

        I would hope that perhaps State Senator Barbara Bailey could help, er, relieve Amtrak Cascades of its Porkwood, er, Stanwood obligation. But yeah, Amtrak Cascades & Sounder North have serious problems that need a solution THIS legislative session.

        I also believe as much as I love Amtrak Cascades, I would give that up in a heartbeat to keep federal impact aid for our schools since the federal government owns land that’s technically Sedro-Woolley’s and Oak Harbor’s (for starters). IF it came to that point.

    • asdf says

      We need to come with a faster way for buses to get across the border. First, you have to wait in the car line, however long it happens to be that day. Then, you have to wait while every single passenger gets out of the bus and clears customs one-by-one, and if a single passenger looks suspicious and needs additional screening, it holds up the entire bus.

      It’s impossible for a bus to Vancouver to be time-competitive with driving until this gets addressed.

      • Brent says

        Getting buses across the border faster is easy: Empty it of people, and fill it up with commodities! Free trade, not people. ;)

      • Stephen F says

        Here’s a pretty easy solution and the only one that makes sense: open borders with Canada; afterall, we live in the 21st freaking Century. #smh

  6. David L says

    Some recent posts have alluded to possible startup delays for RR E, to ensure that equipment and IT services are ready (as they were not for the RR C/D startup). I hope maybe a delay would allow the RR F plan to be revisited. The route just doesn’t have either the ridership or the (straight, fast) routing to make a sensible RR route.

    RR F should serve either the West Valley or the 108th/Benson Road corridor.

    • Lack Thereof says

      The scattered constellation of small transit hubs between Burien and Renton requires a high quality, high frequency, all-day E/W trunk line running between them to make the local transit system functional in the north valley. It’s never going to be a stellar corridor, but it’s necessary to invest in that route for benefit of the system as a whole.

      If East/West trips in this part of the county are going to be 3-seat rides in perpetuity, the least we can do is make that middle seat a high-quality one.

      • asdf says

        I don’t believe the benefit of the F-line over the 140 is enough to justify its existance. The money should have been spent on making the other corridors better. If were going to do the F-line, we should have at least tried to make the route a bit straighter, at the very least, not deviating to provide connections to the Sounder station during periods when their is no Sounder train or Amtrak coming in the next several hours.

    • John Slyfield says

      Rapid ride e and f have been finalized by the council regarding its routing and stops at service launch. while we could see some minor changes it is unlikely that it would take a significantly different path.

  7. Nathanael says

    WSDOT does not have to cut Cascades service to reflect reduced federal funding.

    The total gap among all the trains — WA, OR, and BC — is $4.9 million per year, and the requirement for state funding kicks in in October 2013. There is plenty of time for the WA state legislature to increase funding by that much for the 2013-2015 biennium.

    There is indeed time for the OR state legislature or the BC provinicial legislature to add funding as well, and there’s a new BC provinicial legislature coming in May.

    It is wise of WSDOT to make a plan in case there is no increased funding, but it should be treated as “plan B”, not “plan A”.

    • Lack Thereof says

      There is plenty of time for the WA state legislature to increase funding by that much for the 2013-2015 biennium

      Plenty of time but no political will. There are too many sacred cows on the chopping block right now for any money to be diverted this direction. The only things we will possibly see increased funding for are K-12 education (because of McCleary), and freeway construction (because there’s always a way to find money for that). The only way we get increased funding for anything else is by raising new revenue for it at the state level, and that appears to be a political impossibility with this legislature.

      • Stephen F says

        Are there any emergency grants that WSDOT can apply for from the Feds? What was it about not tapping into existing transportation dollars in recent post?

      • Lack Thereof says

        Most of the methods proposed for tapping into existing transportation dollars, while legal, seem to me to be political non-starters.

        Grant funding seems unlikely to me, seeing as it was a contraction of Federal rail spending that triggered this particular shortfall.

        I’d love to be proven wrong. Someone please find a way.

      • Nathanael says

        Can’t WSDOT just transfer part of the giant pot of (general-fund, non-gas-tax) road funding to the rail service?

        Doesn’t the governor have that power? Does the new governor want to?

      • Nathanael says

        Please note that under federal law all freight railroads are “roads”, if it matters.

      • Bernie says

        just transfer part of the giant pot of (general-fund, non-gas-tax) road funding to the rail service

        What “giant pot”? Toll backed revenue bonds? Federal Highway funds? Last I checked WSDOT was several billions of dollars short to complete the Deep Debt Tunnel and the 520 Sinking Bridge corridor.

      • Bernie says

        That’s a fair point but the 99 tunnel was a backroom deal between the Gov, Mayor Nickles and others which bypassed the Legislature quite effectively.

    • says

      Nathanael,

      I would love to talk to you about helping to bring Reweighted Range Voting (perhaps starting with a simple 0-1 scale using Plurality Voting ballots) to US cities. It was just used to select the five nominees for Best Visual Effects for the Oscars actually. And Seattle’s Madison Market uses Range Voting (aka Score Voting) for their internal elections.

      You should have no problem finding me via Google.

      Thanks,
      Clay

  8. Bernie says

    Tukwila Station (Sound Transit)

    I’m not one to grouse too much about ST’s terrible station naming and this potential confusion has been around for some time. However, if Tukwila Station becomes a major bus transfer the similarity in name to Tukwila International Blvd Station could become an issue. How is it Tukwila gets two “Stations” and neither of them actually serve Tukwila?

    • shotsix says

      Does Tukwila really have a center of gravity, or is it basically Southcenter Mall? The two stations you mentioned seem to be as much “Tukwila” as anywhere else in the city limits…heck, they might even end up making up a true center at some point.

      • Stephen F says

        If there’s a centre of gravity in Tukwila, I have yet to meet it. Hey Zach, any insight on that!?

      • David L says

        It’s Southcenter Mall… so basically right in between the two stations.

        TIBS is a bad name, but any other name would be too. The location is a no-man’s-land in between identifiable places. McMicken Heights is southeast, across the freeway and up the hill. Foster is northeast; Riverton is northwest. Honestly, maybe it should have just been called “154th Street.”

      • Stephen F says

        Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s the I-5 North/Southcenter Boulevard exit/ramp from I-405 W because that’s where the worst traffic seems to originate and everyone is going….

    • Stephen F says

      It’s nuts. The TIBS should be McMicken Heights Station. I’m okay with the Tukwila Sounder station being name Tukwila Station out of consistency with all other Sounder station names. Link on the other hand should not be remotely close to the regional “Tukwila” identifier as a station despite its primacy as a hub/transit centre. It’s not as regional in scope as the Sounder station.

  9. Tyler says

    Hey jerks that don’t like the 158,159 and 157 they start out pretty empty sure. I am one of the first on board but the 157 gets to be standing room only before it gets to the FACTORIES in the Kent Valley where I have a job that starts at 6AM. The 157 doesn’t even go to Kent Station, its not for people who are going to the mall. Yeah theres a 150 thats slow as molasses and takes the stupidest dumbest route imaginable. I am guessing profanity is frowned upon here. Right after a 3/4 of a mile walk a 30 minute 168 route and a layover you can get to Seattle in a good two plus hours. As opposed to the 158, 159, 157 that get there in like an hour and 15 minutes. Way too fast some say, really what the hell, how is that too fast to go 20 miles. I assumed y’all liked mass transit/needed it and generally advocated for more and better. Maybe one of them could go. They seem a bit redundant to me because all three go very nearby where I live but they take significantly different routes to Seattle. I am glad the 168 164 and 169 run every half hour now, thank God. Really don’t wanna go back to once an hour. Basically where I live I have a curfew, gotta get home by 11 at weekdays and home by ughh 8 pm on weekends, terrible. I just need to move. Anyway, no to cuts seriously. I feel sorry for college kids that live at or nearby GRCC and don’t have a car. They are basically not allowed to go anywhere on Sundays, sucks to be them.

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