Sunday Open Thread: Music Video Star

Thanks to Hey Marseilles, Seattle’s transit system is a star:

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. It looks like you can now actually do something with the email you use to comment.

  2. Metro is considering breaking the route 8 into two parts. They’ve even go so far as to survey people, asking them where they would like it split. The majority of respondents said they would like the route divided on Capitol Hill. This idea sounded familiar. Then I remembered, oh yeah, I talked about it a few years ago, right after Metro restructured the 8. From an April 2010 post called Route 8 Stop Consolidation, my comment: “As a respected transportation analyst, I’ve determined that the 8 is a poorly designed route. After running the numbers, I’ve concluded that the Queen Anne to Cap Hill portion of it needs to be separated from the rest of it.”

    • The 8 is on the cut list for modification but it’s more than just a split. Traditionally there have been many calls for a split at 15th (from which it was originally extended). Both routes would presumably overlap between Broadway and 15, which is probably why it was never done. The cut scenario deletes the middle part entirely, with no bus service between 15th and Jackson. The original part would remain the 8, while the southern part would join the 106 (which would be rerouted from Georgetown to MLK).

      I assume the survey is about where to terminate the northern route. There’s a good argument for extending it to MLK & Madison, because that’s the part of MLK that’s the most inaccessible from the 48 because of the very steep hill there.

      • I didn’t read the survey itself, but read an article about it. It went on to say …

        “Metro is considering dividing Route 8 into two shorter routes to improve reliability. Forty-one percent of respondents said they would prefer to have the route divided at the Group Health Capitol Hill campus. Thirty- five percent thought the split should be at the Mount Baker Transit Center, and 23 percent wanted to divide it at Jackson Square (23rd Avenue S and S Jackson Street).”

        If you want to read more about the route 8 survey, click this link, then on the right side of the page click “read the current issue”, then go to page three.

        http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/MetroTransit/InTransit.aspx

      • That is totally odd, it’s as if the survey people don’t know that a larger restructure is in the works. Does Metro intend to split the 8 next year and then delete the middle segment the following year? Or is it just putting this through in case the cuts are averted?

    • Didn’t the 8 originally start out as a route from Seattle Center to Capitol Hill via Denny, so the folks up there didn’t have to travel via downtown to get home?

      • A Queen Anne – Capitol Hill route was the largest and most persistent service request for decades. The 8 finally fulfilled it. At first it went to 15th, weekdays only. It was heavily popular, so much that evening, Saturday, and Sunday service were gradually added in several phases. Some SLU employers are paying for extra peak runs. It was extended to Rainier Valley to give some north-south service east of 23rd.

  3. John Bailo says:

    Sort of a sick movie, but I was watching “Maniac (2012)” starring Elijah Wood on my new Chromecast. It’s shot in LA, but they focus on the urbanish side of the city (it took me a long time to figure out it wasn’t Vancouver). They have a long scene in their Metro, both on the train and in one of the stations. Just something that you ordinarily don’t see in an LA movie (the expection being cars..and sushine!).

  4. I was thinking about posting the video of the Metro bus driver beating up a passenger in Renton last month for spitting on him, but when I went to Youtube to find the video, I started seeing all these other videos of bus drivers beating up passengers, for: Playing music too loud, not paying the full fare, and, literally, one bus driver who beat up a passenger for asking one too many questions. My question is, why are there all these videos of bus drivers attacking passengers? “Well, Sam, you have to understand that bus drivers have to deal with people from all walks of life, blah, blah, blah ….” But a lot of other professions are stressful and have to deal with difficult customers and situations, but there aren’t as many videos of them beating up their customers. BTW, there are even more videos of passenger on passenger assaults, or passenger on bus driver assaults. One video, tragically, shows a bus driver in Turkey not letting a passenger off the front door (it was against their rules), so the passenger stabs him to death. Which leads to the question, should any bus rules be strictly enforced or adhered to by the driver?

    • Lack Thereof says:

      Bus rules should be strictly enforced by the King County Sheriffs department, not the drivers. Unfortunately, their policy is to not police the buses at all, so they can stay in their cruisers and be mobile to respond to the tiny fraction of incidents that are actually reported. Or, you know, just leave the incident to SPD and not respond at all.

    • Why are there so many videos of bus drivers attacking people? Because there are so many videos.

      Back in the old days, there just wasn’t much video out there. For example, people in L. A. complained that the cops were beating up people (mostly black and Hispanic people) for no good reason. But they had no proof. Then, someone got lucky, and managed to film an incident involving a guy named Rodney King. Well, you know the rest of the story.

      It is very, very rare for bus drivers to lose their cool and beat up a passenger. But when it happens (now days) it is highly likely that it will be on video. My guess is that there are tons of video out there showing security guards beating up people, but a lot of it never leaves the company. In other words, absent any proof (and you have none) I don’t think bus drivers are any more likely to crack than any other official.

    • David Lawson says:

      Because, now that CCTV cameras on buses are more or less universal, every single confrontation between a bus driver and a passenger is 1) recorded and 2) subject to disclosure under various open-government laws.

      That’s not really true of any other occupation except police and possibly security guards at governmental facilities.

      • William Aitken says:

        In the aftermath of the shooting earlier this year, there were reports that most CCTV cameras on buses do not actually work. Is this not, in fact, the case? I think that it’s far more likely that the videos are coming from passenger smart phones.

  5. I’m concerned about the ridership estimates provided by Sound Transit for each theoretical Ballard to downtown corridor. My first instinct was that they were too low, but then I pulled up some population data from the 2010 census. Assuming I didn’t mess up somewhere in my analysis, if only the walkshed immediately around each station is considered, the ridership estimates seem potentially accurate. Today there just aren’t as many people in these neighborhoods as I first assumed.

    My concern of course is how low ridership estimates hurts the ability to build a broadly persuasive argument for an ambitious, forward-looking transit corridor. Even with the ridership estimates as-is, I’m still personally convinced to move ahead, but I recognize many will be less enthusiastic about the proposal given this issue and hope that we can work to address it.

    A few questions:

    1) Does Sound Transit provide a public definition of their methodology for generating ridership estimates? If not, who would you contact to request such information?

    2) How could the line be optimized to meaningfully increase ridership?

    Regarding question #2, the first idea that has crossed my mind is to expand the direct use of the new transit corridor well beyond the walkshed of each station. This may be possible if it were made sufficiently more convenient for a rider to make a transfer between a bus to / from the new transit corridor on the way to reaching their final destination. Given at-grade traffic congestion, can the inconvenience of a transfer be minimized enough to realize an opportunity here?

    For clarity, here’s a more specific description of this proposal:

    A) (re)route relevant buses throughout NW Seattle to enable highly efficient transfer to / from the boarding area at one of the new stations.
    B) the trains, or vehicles of whatever mode are selected, travel the corridor at a high frequency such that the total transfer time of a passenger to / from a bus is very short
    C) the new corridor is designed such that the average travel speed is high and the average travel time is much lower than alternate transit options along the same corridor
    D) [NOTE: not sure about this one] existing routes are truncated such that passengers may be required to transfer between their bus and the train to reach their final destination. Advantages of this include substantially boosting ridership of the new corridor and reducing the operating expense of metro, savings that could either be returned to the taxpayer or diverted to improve transit service in other areas.

    • If the Ballard-DT rail line is designed correctly, it should attract riders from the entire northwest quadrant of the city, as it should be fast and frequent enough to warrant a quick bus connection to the nearest station. This is how Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto achieve such high ridership despite not having very extensive rapid transit systems: even though the vast majority of the population in those cities do not live within walking distance of a rapid transit station, the feeder bus connections are so effective that the rail line is still an attractive alternative. Unfortunately Sound Transit has a poor record of delivering effective bus-rail connections, but if it does the following it should be successful:
      *Bus network restructure so that everyone in NW Seattle has a quick one-bus ride to the nearest station. Note that trains would be so fast that even though trips to downtown would require a connection, total time should still decrease significantly.
      *All feeder bus service should run every 5-15 minutes at all times. Buses from rail stations should be timed to depart 2 minutes after a specific train arrival.
      *Very frequent train service (this should be possible due to automation) of every 2-3 minutes at all times, reducing the need for a schedule and the transfer penalty.
      *Bus stops must be directly adjacent to or inside the station while still allowing for a straight and efficient pathway for buses(no more UW or Mount Baker fiascoes). More attention to bus stop placement needs to be placed during the design period.

      Seriously, some people at Sound Transit need to take a trip to Vancouver, Calgary, and/or Toronto so that they can actually understand how to design effective bus-rail connections.

      • J. Reddoch says:

        Since Sound Transit doesn’t control the local service, shouldn’t it be the people at King County Metro who should make the trip?

      • J. Reddoch: That might be part of the problem; Sound Transit and King County Metro aren’t collaborating to make the changes required for the scenarios described by Josh F.

      • William Aitken says:

        The monumental stations ST seems to prefer are intrinsically bad for transfers: you have to walk five minutes just to get out of the station.

      • Good points being raised here. Especially the importance of convenient integration between a feeder bus network and high capacity grade separated rail.

        As 47hasbegun points out, insufficient collaboration between Sound Transit and King County Metro is a major obstacle.

        Having identified this, what steps can we take to change that? Is this an issue that receives much attention currently?

      • Lack Thereof says:

        UW station is one that is a somewhat defensible product of the site limitations. Tunnels couldn’t be near the UW physics labs, so the station couldn’t be in the ideal location, right in front of the UW hospital. The bus stops could continue to be in the ideal location, though. Since this will be a minor transfer point and most of the traffic will be going to/from UW Medical, there’s no reason to force the bus riders to use the sub-optimal train station site; they can keep the ideal curbside stop at UW Medical.

        But, you know, Mount Baker station is pretty much indefensible.

      • The thing about UW Station that I’m most concerned about is how it would take at least 5 minutes to walk from the Link station to bus stops on Stevens Way (for connections to Northeast Seattle). I’m assuming that NE Seattle bus service (25, 65, 68, 75, 372) will stay on Stevens Way as traffic congestion on Montlake is bad and it would be a long walk to the central part of the UW campus (where a large number of riders on those routes are going) if those lines are rerouted to Montlake. It would potentially have been better to place the station between Pacific Place and Stevens Way on Rainier Vista (so walks to bus connections on Stevens Way and Pacific St are minimized), but there isn’t a way to change this at this point.

        Also, I disagree that UW Station will be a “minor transfer point.” Wouldn’t all offpeak riders from the truncated SR-520 lines, the Stevens Way lines (65, 75, 68, 372, 25), and the restructured 71/72/73 lines (at least before North Link) connect here to go downtown?

      • It can either be a minor transfer point or a major transfer point – it all depends on what KC Metro decides to do with the buses.

      • Lack Thereof says:

        Ideally, Metro will focus on Brooklyn station as the major transfer point for the U-district. Get some mid-block stops on Brooklyn in front of the station entrance, a la Beacon Hill. It’ll require some cooperation from SDOT getting a transit designation on those side streets, but SDOT loves the 44 and should be willing to accommodate. And it doesn’t slow buses down significantly.

    • The ridership estimates that ST pulled out were only for the segment they studied, which didn’t include downtown. If you were to include the downtown portion your ridership gets much higher all at once, so here’s the answer to your question.

      • I’m not sure I follow.

        Are you saying that ST’s ridership estimates:
        A) don’t consider any riders who transfer from existing downtown stations to the new line; or
        B) don’t consider ridership increases that can be achieved through additional, and distinct expansions of our local transit infrastructure.

        I’ve been assuming B. But even so, that still leads to the concerns and questions that I raised in my original post.

        Please let me know if this assumption is wrong.

      • I got that bit of info from Ben from Firday’s post. If I get everything right the estimates were for the Ballard-Westlake (Pine/Pike Streets) segment and considered that people south of Westlake would need to walk or take transit to reach the station. More people are likely to use the line if it goes through all of downtown.

        See for yourself here: http://seattletransitblog.com/2013/12/13/build-a-ballard-subway/#comment-397033 (btw does anybody know if the coding for this blog is HTML or something else?)

      • Ben likes to make up numbers.

        But then again, so does Sound Transit.

      • @SolDuc right, that makes complete sense.

        I’m not sure when an extension further south would be considered though. I’ve heard mention that it could be part of a Sound Transit 3 ballot measure, but by my understanding that’s uncertain. At the very least it would cost quite a bit more money.

        The ridership per dollar invested is a crucial metric. Therefore, we should work hard to increase the ridership projections of the Ballard to Downtown corridor independent of any further extensions.

        In theory there’s an opportunity to significantly raise the ridership projections if Sound Transit and King County Metro coordinate well.

        Thanks for the link! I’ll have to follow up with Ben.

      • Chris Stefan says:

        I think the model that says you lose that much ridership to the transfer at 2nd & Pine is a bit off. Especially if the 2nd & Pine station is connected directly to Westlake station via a walkway under Pine. Also ridership goes up if routes currently serving Lower Queen Anne, Upper Queen Anne, Fremont, or Ballard to downtown are either truncated or re-routed elsewhere.

  6. I think the real star of the video is Seattle.

  7. Does anyone remember when I suggested someone from STB walk the entire East Link line, taking pictures and interviewing people along the way? Well, there’s a piece featured on the front page of the New York Times today where a photographer walked the entire perimeter of Manhattan island, taking pictures and talking to people. In other words, the ideas I come up with for this blog are of a NYT level of quality and creativity.

    • Not surprised; ideas are cheap. Time, on the other hand, is money.

    • That’s a fine idea. Why not go and do it yourself then? You don’t have to wait for someone from STB to do it or grant you permission.

      • Because this blog in the past has asked for ideas on how to improve the site. So I gave them an idea.

  8. East Coast Cynic says:

    Looks like Hey Marseilles doesn’t live in West Seattle. The reality check wouldn’t have been worthy of a video.

    • You clearly haven’t lived in Seattle long enough to realize this, but West Seattle boasts some of the speediest and most frequent direct-access transit anywhere in this city.

      That is, of course, a sad statement about transit in other parts of the city. But when the Junction (6 miles from downtown) is as fast and easy to get to as is Pine and Broadway (1 mile from downtown), there’s not a lot of competition.

      Today’s RapidRide is a fraud of a “BRT” line, but it nevertheless runs on 3 solid miles of 24-hour bi-directional exclusive lanes, from the start of the West Seattle Bridge to the very edge of Pioneer Square. These 3 miles are never, ever, ever blocked or clogged. The Avalon Way access point to the Bridge needs to be fixed, as does travel speed through the Triangle, and the last mile into downtown needs a permanent solution. But you’re already ahead of nearly every other quadrant of Seattle. And that’s in spite of being a relatively suburban, low-density, isolated peninsula, a fact you should be able to recognize if you arrived from any legitimately urbanized part of the East Coast.

      So seriously, knock off your tiresome whining and your endless barrage of false equivalencies.

      • East Coast Cynic says:

        Aww, that probably felt good. Beats a warm glass of milk before bedtime doesn’t it?

      • I’m just tired of West Seattle demanding first consideration for every urban perk, while barely participating in the city in the first place.

        You’re merely the most recent and most grating meme-participant.

      • Bi-directional? There are no transit lanes running west on the WSB nor south on the Viaduct.

      • I was oversimplifying, but the point remains:

        There are no traffic backups on southbound 99 (once you leave the construction zone) or on the westbound bridge, because the downtown bottleneck “meters” the traffic, and those sections have significant excess lane capacity.

        Meanwhile, the post-viaduct waterfront plan includes all-hour bi-directional bus lanes from Columbia Street to the 99 ramps — this was a non-negotiable feature of the RapidRide pathway. Full signal priority should (nay, must) be negotiated as well. And in the long-term, a better solution than entering downtown on the surface needs to be developed.

        Nevertheless, the fact remains that between downtown and West Seattle, 3 miles of 100% uninhibited high-speed infrastructure are already in place. That renders the argument for replacing these miles with expensive new subway (with zero major intermediate destinations) basically ludicrous.

        The paths to Ballard have no more capacity to leverage; there is literally no more room. West Seattle has an entire freeway to work with… in addition to far lower demand, peak and otherwise.

  9. John Bailo says:

    Forget Golf Courses: Subdivisions Draw Residents With Farms

    When you picture a housing development in the suburbs, you might imagine golf courses, swimming pools, rows of identical houses.

    But now, there’s a new model springing up across the country that taps into the local food movement: Farms — complete with livestock, vegetables and fruit trees — are serving as the latest suburban amenity.

    It’s called development-supported agriculture, a more intimate version of community-supported agriculture — a farm-share program commonly known as CSA. In planning a new neighborhood, a developer includes some form of food production — a farm, community garden, orchard, livestock operation, edible park — that is meant to draw in new buyers, increase values and stitch neighbors together.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/12/17/251713829/forget-golf-courses-subdivisions-draw-residents-with-farms?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook

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