News Roundup: Expansion Options

This is an open thread.

Comments

  1. mic says

    With all the pushback from Bellevue and Lynnwood on having to accept another LRV storage site, it seems that an option I’ve thought about would have come up by now.
    Why not double deck the current SODO storage tracks?
    Trains come and go on an elevated structure, and it appears there is room for columns between the current storage lanes to accommodate bents and precast guideway, so the question would be where the switch would go to stay up high, the cost to build there as opposed to a greenfield site, and would that screw up filling the system each day from the ends of line over deadheading vehicles back to a central base. At least the cars would be at the heavy maintenance facility when not in use, if the shops are sized for doubling throughput.
    Anyway, just thought I would throw that in the mix as the topic is expansion.

    • Brent says

      [responding to the real mic]: Isn’t there utility to being able to store trains at the far ends of light rail lines … such as the ability to begin inbound service earlier in the morning without impacting the overnight maintenance schedule? If so, is there not also some utility to being able to store trains halfway along the longest lines (in travel time)?

      • mic says

        Yes, that was my question about ‘screwing up filling the system each day’. It’s better to have more revenue hours, than deadhead hours, and starting from the ends or middle is better. Metro has N, E and S base to accomplish this. All the vehicles complete the same mileage each day, unless your doing storage trippers like CT and N base do.
        I’m wondering about the economics of having a bigger Central Base, until the line matures some more into Redmond, Everett, and Federal Way, as the better place to do it eventually. The excess capacity of a double deck storage yard negates the need for a Ballard/W.Seattle base eventually.

      • Brent says

        For trolleys, there is no good alternative I know of to the central base.

        For non-trolleys, there is both the question of efficiency for Metro and best use of land where a base exists or is being built. The cost to the public of not having a trolley base makes the existence of that base close to downtown a very important use of that land.

        However, with the rest of the fleet oriented largely toward getting people into downtown in the morning and out in the evening, it is a worthy question why the non-trolleys aren’t mostly strored out on the fringes — both in terms of service-hour-to-platform-hour ratio and in terms of tying up a chunk of land so close to downtown for buses that spend a big chunk of their time deadheading. There is still need for downtown bus storage for commuter buses, like CT’s fleet, but that need should dissipate as Link grows.

        Getting back to the rail base topic: If ST plans to either have two bases on the north fork of the Link system, or to truncate some runs off-peak at Northgate, then North Link seems the clear winner for the best place to build the next train storage base. The question in my mind for whether it makes sense to build a train storage base in the Spring District is whether ST plans to eventually have two storage bases on East Link.

      • David Lawson says

        Brent and mic, one thing you should consider is that deadheading is faster and more efficient at the outer extremities of peak hour than the inner extremities. This supports adding more downtown-serving capacity to downtown bases rather than suburban bases.

        For example, if you’re running a peak-direction pair of trippers between North Seattle and downtown, you’d much rather deadhead out from downtown to North Seattle at 5 a.m. and back into downtown at 8 p.m. than do those same deadheads at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. respectively. The deadheads could be 50% or more shorter.

        Another point is that the downtown base is likely to require less total deadheading distance, particularly for north-end routes, because the terminal and the base are so close together. (In this respect the impending move of the 70s to North Base, and of RR E to Atlantic Base, is a minor disaster.)

        Since Metro already has the land for the downtown bases, the question is really whether the additional cost of developing more base space on that land, compared with adding base space in the suburbs, exceeds the savings from these efficiencies.

      • mic says

        I would be surprised if ST would forego storing very expensive LRV’s out in the open and away from where drivers are dispatched from. Just the security concerns alone (vandalism and graffiti) would far outweigh any cost savings perceived.
        No, I prefer behind the chain link fence at night at a base.

    • asdf says

      For that matter, is there any reason why trains can’t simply be stored overnight on their tracks, without building a new storage yard at all? For instance, after the close of service, you could stack some trains in a line, up to several miles long, leading up to OTC. In the morning, these trains would each begin service at OTC. Of course, you would have to start service a little bit later in the eastbound direction than the westbound direction, but doing so would be consistent with the demand pattern anyway.

      I realize that it would probably be infeasible to store every single out-of-service EastLink train this way, but if you can store enough of them on the tracks to allow the SODO facility to handle the rest of them, you avoid needing to build a new storage facility.

      • David Lawson says

        This saves capital money on a facility but creates an ongoing logistics nightmare getting all the operators in the right places at the right times, as well as overnight cleaning staff. Boston and DC both do this with a very, very small number of trains, and even then getting drivers and cleaning staff to and from the trains is a significant consideration.

      • Brent says

        Speaking of cleaning staff, how much graffiti do Boston and DC have to deal with on their unfenced-off trains?

      • asdf says

        Is there a reason why transit drivers have to report to a bus base and be driven to their bus or train if it’s located somewhere else? As opposed to simply commuting from home directly to their bus?

      • David Lawson says

        Brent: in both the Boston and DC cases, trains are stored in tunnels. There are worse graffiti problems at the bases.

        asdf: Drivers absolutely can report somewhere other than their base, at least in other systems (Metro doesn’t allow it except for the second half of certain combos). The problem is that it’s exceedingly unlikely that you’ll have drivers reporting and quitting in the same place. If you have a driver reporting to base but then leaving the last train at OTC at 1:30 a.m., how is he/she supposed to get home or to his/her car? If you have a driver reporting to a random tunnel station at 3:45 a.m. before the trains start running, where is he/she supposed to park? These are the problems you end up having to solve. They are solvable, but far from trivial, especially on a permanently ongoing basis.

  2. DrewJ says

    The Alaskan Way/Promenade DEIS Scoping Report was released this week. It has the expected comments regarding the street being too wide and not having enough parking. But my favorite two comments were from the WSDOT comment letter:

    “WSDOT has primary concerns about this [streetcar] proposal: 1) a streetcar would reduce the capacity of the street due to in lane stops and signal timing changes…”

    “WSDOT does not believe a sidewalk is needed on the west side of the [new] street [that connects Alaskan Way to Elliott and Western].”

    The full report is here:
    http://waterfrontseattle.org/pdfs/scoping/awv_scoping_final_131204.pdf

    • mic says

      My favorite in the the WSDOT response was the comment about dropping the streetcar option at ‘this late stage’ of the game as screwing up their design and cost estimates.
      WHAT!
      Scoping and especially draft scoping is to decide viable options to go forward. Apparently WSDOT has made up their minds, and have gone as forward as they plan to.
      So much for process.

      • Nathanael says

        This is typical WSDOT — it’s worse than Decide, Announce, Defend. It’s “Decide, pretend you haven’t decided, then fight anyone who tries to make a rational decision.”

    • Mike Orr says

      I don’t think that’s quite what WSDOT means.

      “WSDOT understands that a streetcar running along the waterfront is still being studied by the city. WSDOR has primary concerns about this proposal: 1) A streetcar would reduce the capacity fo the street, due to in lane stops and signal timing changes and 2) a late decision to include a streetcar would cause a major change to the design and would incur delays and increases in design costs. WSDOT believes this design is incompatible and needs to be further discussed.”

      It’s not a “late” decision now because WSDOT knows it’s already being considered. But it hasn’t been decided on. The “late” refers to some time in the future, if the city waits until right before construction before deciding to add a streetcar, rather than deciding earlier (as in soon). The last sentence doesn’t seem to be dependent on the others; it seems to be a blanket statement that the streetcar route is incompatible with the rest of the waterfront’s needs.

      • DrewJ says

        “Late”? The Waterfront project has publicly stated that the transit mode would be decided in the first half of this year. Plenty of time since the project’s only in the EIS stage. It all just sounds like WSDOT not trying to help transit on a road they don’t even control.

      • Nathanael says

        As far as I am concerned, the city should simply cut WSDOT out of the process entirely. This isn’t going to be a state highway once the tunnel is built, so tell WSDOT they have no authority and their comments will be treated as the comments from Joe Blow in Nebraska.

  3. mic says

    As far as the Mercer Island (MI) parking article goes, I don’t think expanding the current 447 space lot with another 180 offsite space spaces is going to do much to solve the overcrowding problem – especially given the fact that the MI Stn will be attractive to park at for free, then jump on E-Link to go downtown.
    Another idea this morning. When tolling starts on I-90, and it will, charge the toll at the beginning of the lake, giving MI residents a free ride to get off the island in either direction, but charge to get back – in other words half fare, rather that free to them all the time as many propose.
    Paying a toll to get to MI from the Eastside would be a financial barrier for many would be park and riders, and give them reason enough to use the S.Bellevue P&R option.
    Parking for MI residents at the MI lot would be free all the way around, until ST gets serious about charging for parking at ALL their lots.

    • Brent says

      That may help until the S. Bellevue P&R shuts down for several years for East Link construction.

    • asdf says

      Makes sense to me to. Another good way to discourage people from further east from parking at Mercer Island would be to have more peak-hour buses skip Mercer Island. For example, turn every other peak-period 550 trip into a new route 551 that goes nonstop from Ranier Freeway Station to South Bellevue P&R.

      • David Lawson says

        If Link weren’t coming, I’d go further, given the capacity problems of the 550: have the 550 not stop at MI; turn one bus every half hour at all times into a 551 that does stop at MI to preserve MI-Bellevue service appropriate to demand; and have peak-hour MI-downtown service be provided only by those 551s and whatever 202 trips Metro can afford to scrounge up.

        But since Link is coming, a different solution is needed. I’d be fine with either mic’s toll approach or with MI city taxpayers building a resident-only garage facility. (Let’s be realistic here — even if we grow MI village beautifully, there’s still going to be lots of P&R demand on the island.)

      • aw says

        If there were to be a new route to relieve crowding on the 550, it seems to me that it would be better to have it differ at the Bellevue end. I’d have it stop at MI P&R but skip SB P&R which is also over capacity. Instead it would take I-90 and I405 to SE 8th St., then serve Wilburton P&R, 112th SE to Main St, then one of 108th, 110th or 112th to the TC.

  4. William C. says

    Does anyone know what was going on in the DSTT during yesterday’s morning commute? King County sent out an alert at 6:30 AM saying,

    All routes entering the downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (DSTT) are currently operating via their surface street routing and not serving the tunnel.
    Central Link light rail is serving the DSTT. Trains are operating normally between Westlake and Sea-Tac Stations.
    The tunnel is open. Buses leaving to their outlying destinations are operating their regular routes and stops through the tunnel, but may be delayed.
    Updates will be provided as they become available

    They finally called it off at 9:57 AM, but without giving any explanation. Was anyone there to see what was happening?

    • John Slyfield says

      I wasn’t there but metro was having a system wide problem with their radios and gps. If you rode buses yesterday you probably noticed that any stop announcements were made by the driver and one bus away wasn’t working.

    • Brent says

      aPodments have renters. Most of Mr. Sisley’s properties do not. I hate to say it, but having the City confiscate a big chunk of those properties, then rezone them upward, then sell them might be a profitable opportunity for the taxpayers. Or, the City could hold onto those properties and build a whole bunch of workforce housing via one of the several nonprofits in that line of business. The latter option could very well bring Licata and Sawant along.

    • says

      Sisley has failed for decades to maintain his properties to standards acceptable to the community, the city, and his tenants. And he’s tied up public resources in court to avoid paying fines he clearly owes. If the Apodments guys do half that stuff, then we can mention them in the same breath and hope to foreclose their property. For now, they’ve just built some buildings on the edge of the zoning and building codes with lots of residents and not a lot of parking in order to maximize rent for a given lot, which is, at worst, morally ambiguous.

      • RapidRider says

        I think it comes down to the fact that aPodments are solely built to maximize profits and tenants in a minimal amount of space. Once they are built and running, what incentive do the owners have to maintain them at acceptable levels, considering the tenants don’t really have a choice of other places to live? The owners aren’t in it for the good of the city and tenants like some people make them out to be; they are in it for the quick and easy profits versus building legitimate density. How is this any different than Sisley?

        It’s really sad that tightly packed aPodments (boarding homes really) are becoming the face of low income housing again.

      • Brent says

        “Once they are built and running, what incentive do the owners have to maintain them at acceptable levels, considering the tenants don’t really have a choice of other places to live?”

        Build more housing, including more aPodments, and they will have a choice of other places to live. It is the limited supply of housing, not the developers, that is jacking up rent and making living in Seattle less affordable.

        I also have little sympathy for the argument that developers are maximizing the density allowed under the zoning. Don’t we want that?

      • Brent says

        Also, allow more apartments of the size you’d like to force people to live in (even if they would rather have a smaller, cheaper space) to be built, and then we can get back to that argument about forcing people to live in aPodments.

        BTW, which developers are in it for the good of the City rather than trying to maximize profit?

      • says

        Brent’s point is really important. Developers that build towers full of 1- and 2-BR luxury apartments are doing the same thing: maximizing rent they can extract on a given lot.

        Property owners like Sisley have amply proven that developers can act grossly against the public interest. But most don’t. Is there any evidence the aPodment people are more likely to than others?

      • Brent says

        Indeed, condo developers and SFH developers get to walk away from their investments, leaving the buyer caveat emptor. Apartment owners bear perpetual responsibility for keeping up their investment. Anyone wanting a *fast* buck won’t be building apartments or aPodments.

      • says

        Well, condo developers not so much, as the one-time rash of condo lawsuits proved — that was part of the impetus for the “ugly Seattle townhouse” boom, as the townhouse developers were liable for fewer sorts of defects.

      • RapidRider says

        “BTW, which developers are in it for the good of the City rather than trying to maximize profit?”

        None, but I’ve heard some quotes from aPodment developers at hearings about how they are doing it so low income people can afford to live in the city, and other “side of the mouth” talk. I’ve never heard a condo or apartment developer claim that.

      • RapidRider says

        “So, allowing low income people to live in the city is a bad thing?”

        No, but boarding houses becoming the new low income housing norm is unacceptable.

      • Nathanael says

        What’s your problem with boarding houses, RapidRider?

        Run properly, they’re a perfectly decent way of living, and arguably more appropriate for single people than anything else.

    • Mike Orr says

      Apodments have amenities to make up for their size. First, they’re designed to be little apartments, with private bathrooms, mini refrigerator, microwave, lock on the door, and a separate lease. They’re clean and in good condition as far as I know, with a weekly maid in the common areas. Utilities and broadband are included. They also offer short-term leases. Some of these features are shared by traditional rooming houses in the U-District, but not by Sisley units. Calling those apodments is a false slander against apodments.

      “For now, they’ve just built some buildings on the edge of the zoning and building codes with lots of residents and not a lot of parking in order to maximize rent for a given lot, which is, at worst, morally ambiguous.”

      And what do regular apartment owners do? Oh, maximize rent for a given lot, same thing. And they’re denser than single-family houses too, omg. Do you think regular apartments are morally ambiguous too? Or what do you have against apodments? Just that they’re small and don’t have parking? What is “legitimate” density?

      Apodments address a market niche that has been ignored in Seattle for far too long. They may not be perfect, but let’s not shut off this promising experiment until we have a better alternative. And let’s be glad that at least one developer recognizes that some people don’t want to have cars and do want to live in small dense places near transit and pedestrian areas. What if he had never thought of this? Then he’d be like all the other developers, building auto-oriented expensive luxury units. Would that really be better for the city?

      • says

        I don’t mean “morally ambiguous” as a bad thing; our city needs apartment developers but I wouldn’t call most of them heroes exactly. They’re all doing whatever they can within our (sometimes crazy) zoning and codes. Apodments seem about the same as the rest of them at this point and certainly not worthy of a comparison to Sisley, who is a stain on this city.

  5. says

    SDOT tells people the parking space in front of their house doesn’t belong to them exclusively. I don’t see why Mercer Islanders think parking spaces in a garage in their town belong to them exclusively if the train and station are built with ST money! Park-and-rides all over the region are full, and I don’t know of any other where there’s so much angst about people from a different town parking there.

    • Tsuyoshi says

      The thing about Mercer Island is that all the I-90 routes stop there, so it probably has most frequent service, with almost nothing between it and downtown Seattle, of any Park-and-Ride. In this respect, it basically serves as a convenient way to avoid paying for parking downtown.

      The only solution that would really make everyone happy is for the city of Mercer Island to raise their own taxes a bit to pay for their own parking garage within walking distance of the bus stop (let’s not pretend that they can’t afford to do this). Then they can give their own residents free permits to park in the new garage, and charge everyone else to park there.

      • Brent says

        Double-tall Like! But if taxes have to be raised, make it a VLF, so as not to make those who ride the bus, bike, or walk to the P&R have to foot the cost of other people parking there.

      • says

        I mean, knocking down (or interrupting plans for) useful businesses to build a city parking lot is probably a retrograde step, but a few well-placed garages on the edge of a commercial district can help keep its core mostly pedestrian. Plenty of older suburbs have lots or garages near the edge of commercial districts with little or no parking. Obviously midday on weekdays they can’t both serve commuters and local shoppers, though.

        Also, commuter lots should be pay lots, with few exceptions (maybe existing lots where demand is weak enough that the fees wouldn’t cover the cost of collection and enforcement). For users the main point is avoiding paying for parking downtown, and there’s plenty of room between transit fare and downtown parking prices to charge for commuter parking in the ‘burbs.

      • Bellinghammer says

        Actually, most I-90 routes do NOT stop on Mercer Island. From east of Mercer Island, only the 550, 554, 211, and 216 stop there. The 111, 114, 210, 212, 214, 215, 217, 218, and 219 all skip the island.

        But this just shows how much land P&Rs take up for so little benefit. A full Mercer Island lot, with 447 vehicles parked for 8+ hours, would fill up maybe only 6-7 buses, or one 3-car Link train.

    • mic says

      You have to live on an island to understand their mindset. It’s their island, and outsiders are akin to being foreigners, so of course the rules MUST be different. Plus, they have more money and therefore influence and special needs to be met.
      Life on an island can get boring at times too. Most islands are just ‘Arguments Surrounded by Water’.

    • Sam says

      Al, your comment makes less sense than Martin’s “fatal error” comment. How can Mercer Islanders think all the parking spaces at the park and ride belong to them when they aren’t even able to park in any of the spaces because it’s full of cars from people who don’t live on the island?

      PS, I consider myself to be a Mercer Island historian/expert.

  6. z7 says

    Any idea if there are ways to exert pressure on developers whose construction is causing a bus stop to be closed beyond original projections? I rue the loss of the inbound stop at Bellevue and Pine, which was supposed to be reopened 12/27 but is still closed.

    • Lloyd says

      I daresay this is a First World Problem; one can either walk uphill a block or downhill 2 blocks…

      • Kyle S. says

        I didn’t know that stop was going to be closed, and so almost missed a bus home. Talking with the driver led me to believe that the stop had been closed permanently as part of the stop consolidation along the 43’s route.

        Honestly, one of those stops should be deleted. Bellevue/Pine is often a convenient interchange for me, but having two stops within such proximity is wasteful.

      • Mike Orr says

        I have to cross the street and back every day to go around the %^&* closed sidewalk. The sign on the bus stop says it’s closed until January 15th. Yes, it makes a difference in whether you can catch your bus, especially if you don’t know it’s going to be there. There have also been blockages further east on Pine, and earlier this week I was at Fairview & Mercer and ran into three, count them, three closed sidewalks within three blocks of each other.

        DP said earlier that New York doesn’t allow developers to block sidewalks like this. Why can’t they take a car lane to make a temporary sidewalk? That’s what they do at Pine & Bellevue evenings/weekends, but in the daytime they move the cones and have a cop standing there all day to make sure you don’t cross on that side. It’s very annoying.

      • Mike Orr says

        Oh, and the stop diet already happened. Both on Pine and Olve there was a stop deleted west of Broadway. They can’t really delete the Bellevue stop because five routes converge there. It’s similar to the two stops on two sides of of Seattle Central: one for the 49, 9, and 60, and one for the 49, 10, and 11.

      • David Lawson says

        Perhaps OT, but if I were dictator of stop diets:
        1) the 49 would not make the EB Pine/Harvard stop, and
        2) the SB Broadway/SSCC stop would be moved FS Pine (so the 49 would no longer pass it).

      • z7 says

        Oh, thanks, Mike — I haven’t seen the update to 1/15 because, well, the sidewalk’s been /closed/. I’ve also been getting downtown via Olive more, in futile protest of the great blue box, the erection of which is allowed to inconvenience many walks.

        I agree that the acute annoyance is the first time when you have the “…what happened to my bus stop?” moment and (almost) miss the bus.

        I did notice that the outbound Pine + Bellevue stop had been deleted for the 43 / 47 — that one always seemed excessive. [all that's there is a convenience store and an ESL school, and the shelter seemed used mostly for loitering, not for awaiting buses]

      • Mike Orr says

        More to the point, ultra-frequent transit in this city ends at Bellevue Avenue (Capitol Hill) and Mercer Street (Uptown). I moved to that area precisely because of the converging buses at Bellevue & Pine (and the proximity to Convention Place and Westlake stations). We need to extend ultra-frequent transit over a wider area, but in the meantime we need to preserve the common corridors where they exist.

    • z7 says

      Haha, yes, I would classify this as a ‘tiniest violin’ complaint as well.

      But the problem isn’t simply getting to /a/ stop (going downtown): the problem is now having to decide which stop.

      ALL the cap hill -> DT bus routes stopped at Bellevue / Pine. Now I (and everyone else in Bellevue / Melrose, for a few blocks) have to do the silly dance of deciding whether to take a 43 / 47 vs a 10 / 11 / 49 downtown, whereas before, we didn’t have to.

  7. psf says

    Hey, if Mercer Island buys the P&R from Sound Transit, then they can reserve it for residents only.
    Then, shortly after, the city could choose to start charging for spaces.

    • David Lawson says

      Please no. WordPress comments are so much lighter-weight and less clumsy. We just need an edit feature keyed to IP address.

      • Stephen F says

        The edit feature would at least be a step in the right direction. But, Disqus is just more dynamic. I realise there is the occasional failure of the script to load, but this thread technology is obnoxious.

      • David Lawson says

        I find Disqus unbearable, personally. Slow, failure-prone, and clunky. These comments are primitive, but at least they work fast and reliably (or have in most versions of WordPress).

        I’d like to see regular users get some of the features that admins have, which make the system easier to use — particularly the feed of newest comments and the additional sorting options. To my knowledge that would take a major update to WordPress to accomplish.

      • William C. says

        Actually, regular users do have the Recent Comments feed; I use it all the time.

        In the larger spectrum, I also like this lightweight comments system; I think going to Disqus would be great overkill.

      • aw says

        Me too. There used to be a link to that feed on the page, but for some unfathomable reason, it got deleted.

        If the blog moves to Disqus, I will stop commenting.

  8. Stephen F says

    Separately, the Tacoma Link expansion is a total…trainwreck. It’s sad that Pierce County will be blowing their money an inevitable failed alignment. And, detractors in the county will get to point this out in future ballots or expansion proposals. This is so terribly short-sighted.

      • Charles B says

        As far as I can tell it will stay. People will just have to transfer off of central link onto Tacoma link if they want to ride it.

        The technology of Tacoma Link is essentially the same as the First Hill/SLU streetcars, and there are no plans to merge those with Link either.

      • Stephen F says

        Yeah, it would seem difficult to modify what’s streetcar technology to heavier light rail technology. Tacoma is destined mostly for streetcar, which is fine. But, there has to be a regional component, I’d imagine.

        Mike, I’d be interested in potential alignments graphically. Anyway you can put something together on Google Maps?

      • Brent says

        “People will just have to transfer off of central link onto Tacoma link if they want to ride it.”

        We’ll just send the SDOT person who authored the note about people not owning the asphalt in front of their house to explain this bit to Tacoma transit users.

      • Charles B says

        @Brent I would view Tacoma Link as their First Hill car. If Central link does make it down to Tacoma, I suspect it will serve other parts of the city in addition to the transfer point at the Tacoma Dome.

        Its not impossible to link the systems… they would have to swap out the cars and I think the cabling as well for Tacoma link to do so. I am not sure that it would really benefit Tacoma to do so though. Running link through the streets of Tacoma would slow it down even more then the section in Rainier Valley does… especially with all of that single track business at the front end of it.

        Keeping central link grade separated and giving it different cross town stops seems like it would be a better idea to me, but given that I have never actually lived in Tacoma, I don’t exactly understand the transit needs are there.

        If they were eventually extend it through town though, I wonder if taking the line across the narrows to Gig Harbor would be worth while?

    • Mike Orr says

      What would be a better alignment?

      It’s way to early to say whether Central Link will reach Tacoma, much less where it will terminate or what route it would use. At minimum it would go to Tacoma Dome station and hopefully have a direct transfer to Tacoma Link. If it continues to downtown Tacoma, I envision it would use 705, with only one station around 9th or 11th. Putting it on Pacific Street would require a major expansion of the track and stations, beyond what I think Tacoma would want. As for going further than downtown Tacoma, I do have some ideas for that, continuing to west Tacoma and Lakewood, but I doubt they’ll be considered since Tacoma will probably want to expand Tacoma Link instead.

      • Stephen F says

        6th Ave. There’s no potential under the plan proposed along MLK that will be able to remove redundant bus service. And, the ridership potential of the line is just so low. It’s no better than walking or taking the bus.

      • Mike Orr says

        Here’s what I sketched out in 2010 for Tacoma. Obviously some of it is superceded now, and it’s not necessarily what I’d do now, but it shows where some of the underserved corrirors are.

        Central Link: Everett – Tacoma

        Stations: EVERETT, BROADWAY/HWY 99/AURORA (stations tbd), 135th/AURORA, NORTHGATE, ROOSEVELT (65th), BROOKLYN (43rd), UW, CAPITOL HILL, WESTLAKE, UNIV ST, PIONEER SQ, INTL DIST, STADIUM, SODO, BEACON HILL, MT BAKER, COLUMBIA CITY, GRAHAM, OTHELLO, RAINIER BEACH, S 133rd, TIB, SEATAC, 200TH, HIGHLINE CC (240th), REDONDO (272nd), FEDERAL WAY (320th), FIFE (stations tbd), TACOMA DOME, TACOMA (11/Commerce via 705), 6TH AVE (stations tbd), TACOMA CC, JACKSON AVE

        Streetcars

        Tacoma 6th Avenue: Tacoma CC, 6th Avenue, downtown.

        Tacoma Pacific Street: downtown, Tacoma Dome, Pacific Avenue to Parkland (100th) or Spanaway (176th). This will require backing out of the Tacoma Dome station. It can be combined with the 6th Avenue route but there are three problems: the single track downtown which limits capacity, backing out of Tacoma Dome which limits capacity, and the line may be too long to be reiiable.

        BRT bus routes

        Phase in as Swift upgradeable to light rail.
        Stations from Pt Defiance to Lakewood Towne Center, transferring to Central Link near Tacoma CC.
        Central alternative: Pearl St to Tacoma CC, then Orchard St, Lakewood Dr, and Custer to Lakewood Towne Center. Then south along Bridgeport to 112th, east past the north end of McChord AFB to Pacific St.
        West alternative: Jackson/Bridgeport all the way down, with northernmost section on Pearl or Vassault streets. Bridgeport has wide ROW but is west of many central destinations.

      • Mike Orr says

        I guess I never did have Central Link going to Lakewood. But to add it I’d go west on 6th to Tacoma CC and then south. That would serve most of Tacoma, although it wouldn’t cover Pacific Ave, north Tacoma, or Portland Ave. Pacific Ave/Parkland is the biggest loss, but it’s the opposite direction from downtown so one line can’t do both.

    • Charles B says

      @Mike If Central link were ever to extend beyond Tacoma, would Lakewood make the most sense? I know that a while back there was some talk (more like a pipe dream?) about having streetcars go as far as Gig Harbor, but I don’t really know which area has the greater transit need. It might be nice for folks on the Peninsula to have other options for getting off, but then its not particularly dense in Kitsap in general… especially not outside of Bremerton/Silverdale.

      This is all really hypothetical talk of course… Central link doesn’t even go past Tacoma Dome in the current LRP (maybe the update will add more? Who knows at this point..). Right now the only rail ST wants to expand past Tacoma is the Sounder.

      • William C. says

        Let’s not forget that Gig Harbor is outside the ST district; they’d need to annex it before running Link there.

      • Charles B says

        @William Gig Harbor is outside the district? I thought it included all of Pierce county? Oh well, it was a thought anyway.

      • Charles B says

        Oh ok, here is the boundary of the taxing region.

        http://rtamaps.soundtransit.org/Default.aspx

        I would bet a lot of folks don’t actually know the actual boundaries of ST. That not only puts Gig Harbor out but significant (though mostly rural) parts of all three counties. Also everything in Snohomish Co. East and North of Everett.

      • Mike Orr says

        Sound Transit covers the urban parts of the three counties. Being outside the ST district means those areas were not selected for major growth or regional transit under the GMA, although existing sprawl was grandfathered in.

        Pierce Transit pays for the 595 under a special arrangement with ST. The route may predate ST, and it was retained when ST took over all of PT’s Seattle Expresses. (And in fact, that’s where the 5xx block of route numbers came from. PT still has two of them, 500 and 501, which are local routes to Federal Way.)

      • John Slyfield says

        When sound transit started they immediately subsidized 590, 591 (now deleted) 592 and 594. Pierce transit continued to operate PT 595. Eventually sound transit subsidized the portion between tcc and seattle while pierce transit paid for the service to purdy.

        It should also be noted that intercity transit pays for the extension of st 592 to thirsting county.

      • William C. says

        @asdf, as Sound Transit comments on its system map, the portion of 595 beyond the Narrows P&R is paid for by Pierce Transit.

      • Mike Orr says

        Other areas outside the ST district are Covington and Maple Valley, Snoqualmie, and Marysville.

      • Mike Orr says

        I’m not expecting Central Link to go past Tacoma Dome or downtown at this point. Now that Tacoma has gotten enthusiastic about streetcars, its citywide transit will probably go in that direction instead. They’re starting with one line because that’s all ST has budgeted, but they’d probably build three or four lines now if they could. Tacoma and Puyallup only recently came into the Seattle commuting orbit in any significant way, and I think they are still pretty separate for the most part. There would certainly be a benefit in a one-seat north-south ride across the entire region, but it’s not that strong a benefit that alternatives can’t be considered, alternatives that would allow Tacoma/Lakewood to consolidate and urbanize witthin itself.

      • Frank says

        Annexations to the ST District should be considered and I hope there is mention of this in the new long range plan.

        In particular the urban part of west sound, particularly Gig Harbor, Bremerton/Silverdale, and Bainbridge Island should be considered.

        Regionally important connections in those places include: Gig Harbor to Tacoma (Gig Harbor is Tacoma’s ”east side”); SR305 to BI ferry terminal desperately needs buses separated from traffic; and Bremerton-downtown Seattle needs to work out an operating plan for the pedestrian only fast ferry, which is a two-directional commuter route with 10k employees at the shipyard in Brem.

        Obviously any of this would be super long range, but it would be nice to see ST grow to fulfill its full mission of making regional transit connection in Puget Sound.

      • Mike Orr says

        The most likely annexation is Thurston County, for Sounder to Olympia. (That could also be funded by an inter-agency agreement similar to the 595.) The other areas you cite are all exurban: we should think twice before extending urban-level transit to them. The specific problems Frank raises can be addressed without involving Sound Transit. Perhaps a rural transit authority needs to be set up for Kitsap, Skagit, Island, and Whatcom Counties. Then it could do a Sound Transit-like thing at the appropriate level for them. But if you bring them into Sound Transit, immediately there will be calls for one-seat expresses to downtown Seattle peak hours, and that will drown everything else out. And the tax skeptics will pounce on urban-level taxes, and they’ll be hostile to fees at P&Rs, to pedestrian/bicycle investments, etc.

      • Black Beetle says

        Honestly in my opinion building Link south of Federal Way Transit Center is redundant and silly. That money should be spent on improving Sounder & Express Buses.

  9. Sam says

    January 2, I wrote this. “Transit crime doesn’t just happen on buses and trains. A significant percentage happens at stops and stations. Some studies show more crime incidents occur at train stations and bus stops than on trains and buses. So why isn’t there a greater emphasis to put cameras at troubled stops?” Then yesterday I read this in the Seattle Times, “The victim was waiting for a bus at the Mount Baker Transit Center just before 11 p.m. when he was “sucker-punched” by someone and knocked to the ground, according to police. The victim was then attacked by two people, who punched and kicked him while he was on the ground, police said.” That incident happened on Jan. 7th. Does anyone know if the MBTC bus stop has cameras? Equipping buses with cameras is great, but in some areas more of the crime happens at the bus stop than on the bus itself. Lets start putting cameras at troubled bus stops. It’s just as important as putting cameras on buses.



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