Seahawks Victory Parade Open Thread

No AnnRecord setting crowds today.  Expect delays and crowding on all buses serving downtown and crowding on Link. Remember tracking tools like OneBusAway do not work when buses are on reroutes. You can follow the mayhem at Metro, Sound Transit, Community Transit, and Pierce Transit. Latest from ST:

Posted: February 5 – 9:07 am

Weds, Feb. 5.  All Sound Transit Express bus service in downtown Seattle is experiencing significant delays.  Sounder is experiencing extremely high ridership and does not have the capacity to board passengers at all stations.  Riders are advised to take a later train when more seats may be available or consider other options such as Link or carpooling.  Link is also experiencing heavy crowding, however trains will be coming every seven and half minutes throughout the day. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding of the huge demand for transit services to today’s Seahawks Parade.

Go Seahawks!

[UPDATE 13:47]  The South Sounder #1509 (4:12 pm departure) will turn around at Tacoma instead of continuing on to Lakewood.  It will deadhead back to Seattle to make an extra Lakewood trip departing King Street Station at 6:30 pm.

[UPDATE 14:46]  Community Transit:

Extra service

  • Community Transit will have 6-8 “Special” buses operating out of Seattle, starting at approximately 2:30 p.m.
  • These Special buses will travel southbound on 2nd Avenue to pick up passengers.
  • Special buses will travel to Lynnwood Transit Center via the Aurora Village Transit Center.
  • Extra Swift buses will be in operation to help with heavier loads from Aurora Village north on Hwy 99 to Everett Station.
  • There will be extra Sound Transit trips out of Seattle, starting at approximately 3 p.m. – 510 to Everett; 511 to MLT, LTC & Ash Way.

It has been a long day for everyone, please be courteous as we do our best to get everyone home quickly and safely. Go Hawks!

[UPDATE 15:06] Sound Transit is now saying that it is operating extra 4-car trains between Stadium Station and SeaTac Airport. Someone go out and get pictures!

[UPDATE 15:20] KC Metro:

The celebration in downtown Seattle continues. All buses are back to regular route, except for Pine St buses that are operating a modified reroute into downtown via 7th Av to Union St. Metro will continue to operate as much service as possible using all available resources until crowds and traffic clear. Wait for your regular bus or consider alternatives, then be prepared for lengthy waits and crowded buses. Sign up for Transit alerts for updates.

[UPDATE 16:03]  Sound Transit is saying on Twitter that they will be running backup buses for those who cannot get on the last Sounder train.

[UPDATE 16:53] Crushloads continue in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. If you are looking to use Link, it’s worth your time to walk to Stadium station to catch a 4-car train if you’re able.

Some live shots via Twitter:




Comments

  1. Moderate Man says

    Co-workers are reporting an hour long wait to board Link at stations just south of SODO.

  2. Charles B says

    Too bad the stub tunnel in Westlake is too short to allow longer trains… we could really use four car link trains today.

    • Pete Lorimer says

      I was thinking the same thing. There were 20 link cars sitting in the SODO yard that could have been added to the trains that were out today.

  3. Justin Elder says

    After getting passed up by five full trains this morning, I said screw it and am working from home. I’m not sure exactly in what direction I should direct my rage: Sound Transit? Metro? The City? The County? The Seahawks?

    Any thoughts?

  4. Pete Lorimer says

    Waited at Beacon Hill Station while two trains went by that were PACKED to the gills. Wedged myself into the third train. At least 100 people were left standing on the platform. Felt like commuting on the tube in London.
    The usual 15 minute ride to Westlake too 40 due to trains bunching up to unload at stadium station, plus the usual bus integration at ID was worse than I’ve ever experienced.

      • Justin Elder says

        Not really. In Tokyo, they plan for things like this, trains come every 2 minutes, and people know how to give up a little personal space so more people can get on a train. This is like Tokyo the same way that Little League is like Major League Baseball: same general idea, but one is a bunch of amateurs.

      • Charles B says

        @Justin Elder
        True, but I was referring to the super crowded crush load trains.

        Link is running at about as much capacity as they can (I think they said on twitter they are running a train ever 7 minutes — I don’t they can’t do more with the buses in the tunnel) so I don’t think with the current infrastructure its about at its limit this morning.

        In Tokyo, even with planning infrastructure reaches its limit like this and you can get severe crush load trains. I have ridden on these trains, and its pretty intense. When your infrastructure can only support a certain amount at a given point in time, no amount of extra planning will get you around not having enough capacity.

    • Reyes O says

      Yeah, the train from the airport took around 50 minutes to reach Westlake.

      Could ST have sent trains turn back along MLK and start some service from there to accomodate the folks left standing in the Rainier Valley?

  5. Seattleite says

    One ingenius idea a coworker used was to take Link south to the Airport and board a northbound train there.

    • Charles B says

      Ah yes, a great trick often used to get seats on overly crowded train systems.

      Its going to be interesting to see the massive spike today when this month’s ridership stats come out.

    • poseur says

      This is what was happening southbound in the afternoon. Trains coming from Westlake (which start empty) would be filled by the time they reached even one or two stations south. So after so many packed trains stopped to open doors to hundreds of disgruntled people, riders would just head over to the Northbound side, head to Westlake and exit, then just fill up the Southbound trains from the start. At that point, all Northbound trains were packed, as everyone started using this amazing strategy.

      I thought about doing it (after waiting over an hour at Pioneer Square station), but as I was by myself and a lot of people had kids, I viewed it as a d*ck maneuver.

      Finally – after nearly 90 minutes – someone must have got the message and they sent us an awesome, completely empty double-length train. There were cheers!

  6. David Lawson says

    Received a report from a West Seattle coworker that she was unable to squeeze into eight (8) straight inbound RR C buses at 35th/Avalon, starting at 8:45. She decided to stay home.

    Overlooking 3rd, it’s eerily deserted with most of the normal buses and car traffic gone. I can’t see 4th from my window, but I can sure hear it.

    • Charles B says

      I wonder how all of these folks are getting home… maybe they will all just stay downtown for a few hours after the parade?

      • Charles B says

        @Moderate Man

        Seattle restaurant, bar and cafe owners must have pretty big smiles on their faces right now.

        When do you ever get this kind of massive customer influx coming in on a Wednesday morning? Hopefully they planned well on being staffed to handle it.

      • Charles B says

        @Al Dimond Yep that is also possible. A smart boss might have offered his employees a place to stay downtown the night before the parade…

  7. Greg says

    Did Metro plan for this day at all? From what I can tell, there were no extra buses and no adjustment or coordinating of schedules that might’ve mitigated the effect of all the additional people riding this morning.

    I was almost an hour and a half late to work today. 2 express commuter buses and 1 local bus passed me by because they were all too full. I finally hopped on a 26 at the origin point, an hour after I left the house, and the thing filled up before we hit Fremont and passed dozens and dozens of people. Then the driver announced that there was a reroute around the Space Needle, so everyone might as well get out at Denny.

    What a mess.

    • David Lawson says

      Metro and ST could have done a bit more than they did, but there’s only so much you can do for an event with extra volume on a weekday, particularly on two days’ notice. Metro doesn’t have a significant number of extra buses or drivers available on weekday mornings; the fleet and workforce are sized for weekday peak needs. About the only possible improvements would have been a few extra late-peak trips (by extending morning trippers) and a couple of better reroute choices.

      Heavy extra volume on weekdays is just something that’s going to cause congestion problems no matter how much you plan for it.

      • Alex Bailey says

        Did they really only have two days notice? They certainly knew the Seahawks were in the superbowl two weeks ago, and I suspect they could have formed a contingency plan in the relatively likely event that the Seahawks won and there was a parade the following week. Of course even having such a plan wouldn’t address the constraints of total vehicles and total drivers this unique situation creates.

      • says

        Metro (presumably with the union’s approval) did take the unusual step of allowing part-time drivers to “scrounge” for extra work, something usually limited to Full Time drivers. Basically, this is the equivalent of all [willing] hands on deck. That said, there are only so many buses to go around. I heard of extra work going out but don’t know if that work actually was filled by a driver.

      • NotMyNormalSignIn says

        “I heard of extra work going out but don’t know if that work actually was filled by a driver.”

        Were planners, fare inspectors, and customer service agents driving these buses?

      • Mike Orr says

        Obviously they would need a commercial drivers’ license and bus training. I think he meant, “I don’t know if enough drivers volunterred for all the slots.”

      • says

        They would all be drivers. It’s not just an issue of having enough volunteers. We also have restrictions on how much we can drive and required time off between shifts. My point is, there are a lot of constraints when scheduling extra service. More money would definitely help by allowing more spare buses and more drivers.

      • David Lawson says

        The weekday peak service pattern is, for all intents and purposes, an “every-bus-available armada.”

      • Justin Elder says

        I didn’t realize that there was so little extra capacity, but I suppose it makes sense. No need to own and maintain buses that don’t get used.

        All in all, you’d think a Saturday would be better for this kind of thing.

      • Mike Orr says

        That’s what Metro’s budget problems are all about. In 2008 there were buses on standby that could swoop in when a bus broke down or was delayed or unexpectedly overcrowded, but they were eliminated early in the recession. That’s why routes have gotten less reliable. Now Metro has only enough funds to keep the current service operating, and that will shrink this year unless this Plan B succeeds.

      • William Aitken says

        @Mike. If you are trying to say that Metro had enough spare capacity in 2008 to handle a once in 25+ years surge like this morning’s my response is either (A) Bulls**t or (B) It’s a really good thing that we’ve had 5 years of “funding crisis” to cut down the excess capacity away.

        I’d be the first to agree that we are a little closer to the bone than ideal, but the sort of extra capcity need to keep modern fleets (and outside the trolleys, we do have a reasonably modern fleet) near 100% avaliability is nowhere close to enough to handle something like today.

      • Mike Orr says

        No, of course it couldn’t have handled this much surge. I’m saying it’s the reason there’s no extra capacity.

    • says

      There’s only so much you can do when your max system capacity (number of vehicles and drivers) is determined by commute peak demand. If you’ve ever been around UW during a football game and seen all the buses lined up down Montlake and Pacific waiting to take people home from the game… that’s possible because the game is on a Saturday, when Metro is otherwise operating way under peak capacity. Also they’re trying to move a fraction of the people and they don’t have such major street closures to deal with.

      • Charles B says

        Yeah I have to agree here… even if they had more buses to send (robbing other routes??) there is only so much capacity on the roads at the moment (cars were bumper to bumper on 15th and Greenwood, and my co-workers were seeing 2 hour delays coming on the interstates!). Also, the bus tunnel is running at full capacity with both buses and link trains.

        The only thing I think that could have helped us right now is longer link trains, but we don’t have the capacity for that until 2016…

    • Adam Bejan Parast says

      I would just add that major street closures at the core of Metro’s system, crowds and unusual bad traffic congestion all make it hard to keep normal buses on schedule as well.

      • says

        The downtown traffic craziness makes me wonder if we shouldn’t have just said, “No normal buses run on the surface in an area bounded by Denny, I-5, the sound, and Jakcson.” Just turn ‘em around at the edge of downtown and maybe run a circulator up and down 3rd for people that can’t walk the rest of the way to a tunnel stop.

      • David Lawson says

        From the reports above combined with my current view of downtown, I think the traffic craziness is outside of downtown, not in it. I think it’s good that they are running all the service they realistically can into downtown.

      • Alex Bailey says

        I don’t know, it seems like it would have made more sense for ST to turn back four car link trains at stadium station with as much frequency as possible over sending them into the tunnel, which limits both their length and their frequency.

      • William C. says

        The even more significant frequency limit is the street-running portion on MLK, which Seattle DOT has limited to (IIRC) one train every 6 minutes. Of course, they might have been willing to lift it for this one day – and if so, I agree your proposal would be great.

      • William Aitken says

        +1 on that, the amount of whining I heard from my kids today about how “everyone else” got to go to the parade [while we were forcing them to go to school] was unreal.

      • Cascadian says

        If they did this on Saturday, there would be even more people. I would have made a point of going, for example. I think you’d have just as many people on transit and probably more. And a lot of people would want to stay to party who will go home tonight because it’s a weekday. I can see why they do this midweek, just to minimize the problems that occur.

  8. LB says

    Going by the ferry alerts, it looks like walk-on passengers are getting left behind on the eastbound sailings on both the Bremerton and Bainbridge routes.

    • says

      That’s insane. I’ve never seen the passenger compartment of a ferry around here more than like 25% full. I’m sure it’s different during a typical commute peak (I’ve never seen one), but still…

      • Charles B says

        Agreed, that’s outright unbelievable. I want photographic evidence of that for posterity’s sake if nothing else.

        The ferry system has never seen this kind of usage as far as I am aware.

        I can only imagine how overcrowded Kitsap transit is if that many people are really piling onto the ferries. There isn’t enough parking in downtown Bremerton alone to generate that kind of ridership.

      • Kevin R says

        I used to be a Bainbridge commuter. At peak times the passenger area on the Bainbridge run was typically about 80-90% full. I only remember a few times when they left walk-ons behind. One was when there was a bomb threat and they delayed service for a while.

      • says

        @Kevin: 80-90% seats occupied, or SRO, packed in to where only 10-20% more people could physically fit on the boat? I assume WSF is legally limited in how many people it can allow on board, but how close is that limit to physically packing the boat?

      • Matt the Engineer says

        A friend posted on facebook that she was waiting for the third ferry (as a pedestrian) – the two previous left without here because of crowding. That was as of 8:20 this morning.

      • andy says

        AL: the legal limits of passenger carrying capacity on vessels is governed by the USCG. it has to do with total size, amount of seating, emergency gear, how much crew is aboard, etc. etc. Vessels are designed and certified for their capacity pretty much at the time of construction.

      • Kevin R says

        @Al – that’s seats occupied. The only times I remember it being SRO was the time I mentioned with the bomb threat and the times when they had to sub in a smaller boat due to mechanical issues.

  9. Beacon Hillian says

    I don’t really blame the agencies. It’s just nuts. It should never have been held on a weekday.

    But I will say that Metro picked a fine day to re-route the 60 on Beacon Hill (apparently with mystery stops now as well) My back-up plan was to take that over to the Cathedral and walk down, but I couldn’t find it (admittedly, I didn’t look that hard. It’s too cold)

    Finally, probably a dumb question: Why couldn’t Link have run longer trains, and just reversed them? Why do they have to go into the stub tunnel? I can see where that is desirable, but is it mandatory on a day like today?

    • Mike Orr says

      The stub tunnel is where they reverse. The only other place is Stadium, meaning they’d have to terminate at Stadium and not go downtown. But they’re needed for downtown circulation due to all the other routes that aren’t going fully into downtown today.

  10. Reyes O says

    This morning I had to return a car rental at SeaTac. The on-ramp to Tukwila Intl Blvd Station was backed up nearly to I-5, and 188th St was back up to 36th Ave S.

    The more astonishing sight were the two enormous lines at SeaTac Station: one that stretched from the platform to the Jet Motel on International Blvd, and another from the platform throughout the Airport parking garage.

  11. Mike Orr says

    Overcrowding on Sounder, what a concept! That bodes well for future expansion of Sounder South.

    Tunnel buses also seem to be affected. I waited 20 minutes at Convention Place for a northbound 71 at 10am (going the opposite direction of the crowds), and not one bus emerged from the tunnel during that time except a 41. Inbound buses were full of course, including an apparent shuttle for the 25/66 (it said “To Terminal” and I heard the driver shout something about transferring; I didn’t know about the 25/66 reroute at the time).

  12. OkHereIsAName? says

    Anyone have a good idea about how long it is going to take to funnel most of the people out of Downtown?

    This morning riding the 41 in at 7:45am was packed full of people with others being denied entrace. What about at 4:30-5:00pm tonight when the work crowds + left over fans all decide it’s time to get home?

    • Mike Orr says

      It’s like any major event. Expect it to take a long time, and if you can switch to a minor route outside the sports-fan corridor it’ll probably be easier. For instance, if you can walk to 23rd and take the 48 and transfer to the 75, they’re probably doing OK because they don’t go near the fan zone.

      • OkHereIsAName? says

        Like any major event? When do we normally have 300k-500k in the city on a weekday? Way more than a Seahawk or Sounders games.

        Thanks for the idea of alt routes but that one made no sense to me. Walk from downtown to top of cap hill to catch a 48 and then wait to catch a 45+ min ride on a 75 from U district to Northgate? What? I don’t see this saving any time.

      • Mike Orr says

        The WTO demonstrations in 1999 were similar. And to a smaller extent, every Seafair parade.

      • Mike Orr says

        It depends on where you’re starting from. If you’re on the east side of downtown it’s a shorter walk, and you may be able to take any Pine Street or Jackson Street bus going east. I said the 75 because it was the first northbound route I could think of that doesn’t go downtown. If you’re going to Northgate (as opposed to North City or Pinehurst or wherever else you might have transferred to), the 67 and 68 are also options.

      • Mike Orr says

        Also, you’re comparing it to a possible 2-hour delay on the 41. Even if it doesn’t save any time it may be more pleasant than standing and waiting and getting packed full into a bus. You could even stop in the U-District a while to break up the journey.

      • Mike Orr says

        Another way to get to Northgate is to stay on the 48 until 85th & Wallingford and walk from there, on Wallingford Ave and 92nd Street.

    • AJL says

      This is the question. Can everyone be civil and patient AFTER the event is over and everyone tries to leave at the same time? I just don’t see all those people gone by 4:00 pm. I am very glad I am a bike commuter on days like this (and going to be very, very vigilant on the way home through the traffic)…

      • David Lawson says

        AJL, that’s a very good question indeed. I plan to hunker down in my office until I see the streets empty of crowds and buses running normally, even if that’s very late.

      • says

        @AJL: Yeah, I won’t be any closer to downtown than lower Fremont today, but I’m glad I’ll be getting around on bike. This is one of those days when it’s not just that you “are” a bike commuter, but that you do ride on this one day. Lots of people that don’t normally bike to get around could benefit from doing so today, as long as they can round up enough clothing.

  13. William Aitken says

    2 hours 15 minutes to get on a bus at the eastgate flyer stop this morning (arriving at 8 am) I suspect it may have been somewhat better downstairs, but I was already in line for a few minutes before I realised just how useless the buses from Issaquah were going to be.

    Finally caught a 554 at roughly 10:15.

    Transit worked about as well as could be expected today — almost completely useless. This isn’t a “general principles” attack on transit, or even a statement of the local transit’s incompetence, but simply an acknowlegement that bad things happen when we try to move >2n people on a system designed to move n.

    A few observations.

    1) The 554 was MIA throughout the morning peak. It could just be that they were full, but usually at least a few of passengers get off, either for BCC or to connect to local buses. They made up for this by running a lot of buses after 9:30.

    2) Life sucks except at the start of the route on a day like this. About the only thing transit can do is run extra trips that start later in the route to help serve the passed up passengers. I suspect that ST may have been doing this in the after 9:30 period when they finally had spare buses, since a couple of the 554s were relatively empty, and at least one passed us by almost empty [I suspect that people at MI P&R had an awful morning, so it may have been really welcome to them].

    3) Good sense prevailed, and the 554 — at least the one I was on — did run into the tunnel.

    4) Normally, ORCA is heavily used on the routes that stop at the Eastgate flyer station. Today, I suspect, this wasn’t the case. Boarding was unbelieveably slow. It really was night and day.

    5) Long wait on the floating bridge since the HP had closed one lane to get a convoy of non-public buses through. [This was probably the right thing to do given who was on the buses, but it was still a delay].

    6) Another long wait in the stretch of single lane express lanes after the Ranier Ave stop — backups on the surface streets tend to cause some delays here on a regular basis, but today was pretty much the worse I’ve seen.

    7) Overall, people were doing a decent job _by_Seattle_standards of filling up the buses. As a one time Londoner, they looked a trifle under full, and the Asians in front of me in line were pretty disgusted to be passed up by such empty looking buses. There were a few Metro buses that seemed pretty empty as they drove by [and they weren't 216's --- so it wasn't an attempt to serve MI]. I’m a little upset transit employees weren’t doing more to get people to pack in: I didn’t hear one announcement asking peoplr to pack tighter all morning.

    8) Kudos to the driver on the 211 that passed Eastgate shortly after 9am: I’m amazed how many of us you manged to pack in. [the 211 is pretty much the only non-articulated fllyer bus]

    • says

      Gilligs are awesome when it comes to Standing Capacity because the whole bus is high-floor, so they don’t have that problem where people don’t stand on the high-floor areas at the back (although that way most likely eliminated today, haha). With a good operator you can get up to a good 70-80 people crammed in there.

    • William Aitken says

      My ride home was a complete anti climax. left work around 4:45, walked out of the building at 2nd & Seneca, and immediately caught a 210 which was pretty much empty. Travel through downtown, even the jog up to 5th on Washington were no worse than usual [although I'm usually travelling in the 5 o'clock hour]. Long (but not ridiculously so) stop at 5th & Jackson where they were boarding through both doors [I think they were taking fares off board, but it's possible that people boarding in back were being allowed to travel for free. Front boarders were getting charged. Bus left with a few standing passengers, but wasn't really full. [My belief is that they ran out of passengers, not that they left too soon] From there traffic was (if anything) better than usual. Total journey time was in the 30-35 minute range (Seneca St to Eastgate flyer) which is about average (or perhaps slightly better) for buses leaving when I normally travel.

  14. Pete Lorimer says

    I’m curious if the added demand for Sounder service will require people to wait for the next train due to overcrowding. If this indeed causes a cascade, as I would expect it to, what happens when there’s not enough space on the final train and passengers are left behind?

    • Mike Orr says

      If they know about those routes, of course. Many of these people presumably never take transit except for event specials.

      • Josh F. says

        To be honest, I don’t see why ST doesn’t already advertise alternative offpeak bus services in Sounder stations and timetables. One of the major turn-offs to riding Sounder is the fear that if you stay a bit too long in downtown or have to leave midday, you’ll be stranded, and it would be good for riders (especially occasional ones) to know that they definitely are not stranded in Seattle after 6:30ish.

  15. jeik says

    One mode that did have extra capacity today was SOVs heading into downtown. Waiting for the 358 (gave up and rode my bike in), maybe 75% of the cars that passed were SOV, and almost none did not have one extra seat. I would have seriously considered hitchhiking if I didn’t have my bike. With a handy bus lane and slow-moving traffic, it would be easy to pick someone up, even on the highway. Wouldn’t it be fun to ride with a couple extra fans? Amazing that even on a day like this we won’t do it.

      • William Aitken says

        There was definitely some hitchhiking going on where I was at Eastgate, but it was limited because I was standing next to an HOV only ramp most of the time.

        Ten years ago, it used to be common to be able to bum a ride over the 520 bridge (to make up a second or third) at teh bus stops on the Microsoft campus in the afternoon. Has that culture died because of the improvement in bus offereings (both public and private)?

      • William Aitken says

        @Mike :-)

        But let me clarify a little. I wasn’t asking whether a general culture of hitchiking has disappeared in the last ten years. In fact I don’t think such a culture existed ten years ago. Rather, I was asking about a specific local culture that flourished around the turn of the millenium at the bus stops on 158th Ave NE and NE 36th St in Redmond, WA.

        While I think you are at least partially correct about paranoia about sociopaths with respect to the hitchhiking culture in general, I doubt that it has any bearing on change in the last ten years or so —- there was plenty of such paranoia at the turn of the millennium too.

    • Charles B says

      I would be amazed if even most of those folks found parking anywhere near the parade route….

  16. NotMyNormalSignIn says

    15 other passengers and I got passed up by the 132, so I took the 60 that came along a few minutes later. The 60 was starting to get cramped just south of Beacon Hill Station.I got off there to check out the train situation. HUGE MISTAKE.

    When I saw 200 people waiting at the north platform, I knew Link’s capacity was blown. So I took the southbound train. I saw the stuffed northbound train just leaving Mt Baker Station, with 300 fans still standing at the east platform.

    The same was the case at every station along the way. There were also long lines at every TVM. The clever fans jumped on (into, not on top of) the southbound train, which was stuffed by time it reached the airport. Nobody got off there. No effort was made to clear the train. It turned around a few minutes later to head back north.

    There was a line, er, phalanx, of people wanting to board the already-stuffed trains at Airport Station, with the phalanx filling up the bridge across Pac Highway, and snaking in a line around the RapidRide stop.

    On the northbound trip, we got an announcement at Rainier Beach Station that the train was blocked by a car accident. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

    Okay, it was only about a 25-minute delay there, a few more minutes at Othello Station, and then some awkard maneuvers to bypass the police action blocking the north track just south of Mt Baker Station. Oddly, our train passed two other trains (with them on the east track and us on the west track) in the process of getting to Mt. Baker. ST must have caught wind that an internationally-acclaimed blog commenter was on this train. The police were in the process of removing a car from the lamppost it was wrapped around right between the tracks. Getting that job done in a half hour is a testament to their track-clearing drill.

    It is days like today that I regret not having a smart phone. No pictures of the several-thousand-strong phalanx at Airport Station. No pictures of the accident. No video of the East African girls arguing loudly about the existence of Somaliland, and how much trouble they would be in at school. No report in a timely manner to make a difference.

    Total trip time: right at 3 hours when I got off at Westlake Station. I got lucky not getting fare-checked, as my original tap-in had long since timed out. (Hence my abnormal posting name today.)
    .

    One last plee: ST train operators, if you are off today, cut a deal to get paid well to drive today. Thousands will thank you, and ST will make far more than any OT it takes to bring you in.

  17. NotMyNormalSignIn says

    Is Paul Allen paying all the OT and other associated public expenses for this party?

    • Mike Orr says

      Is he hosting the parade? Or is it a city initiative or Downtown Seattle Association thing?

    • Patrick says

      The 500,000+ people downtown today pay their taxes. Keeping public order and providing transit during events like this is what they pay them for.

      As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization. Also, kickass Super Bowl parties!”

      But I do think the Seahawks/Vulcan Sports are kicking in something.

  18. Pete Lorimer says

    Sound Transit adding three 4-car Link trains running from Stadium Station to the Airport for the afternoon – evening.

    • Charles B says

      Makes sense. That one they at least can do…. at least relieve as much stress as possible on the south end.

    • says

      If there’s one thing I didn’t understand, it’s why they didn’t run three cars. Those can turn back in the tunnel. It would seem like a no-brainer to get all trains running the whole route to be 3-car, in addition to Stadium station 4-car trains. The three-car trains were already in use on the inaugural weekend so why not today?

      You don’t believe me? Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rASpCzP9zI. Now you believe me.

      • Charles B says

        I see three cars, but did they actually turn them around in the stub tunnel? That’s unclear from this video.

        It appears that they had just one train running on each side for the inaugural run, so if the buses were not in the tunnel that day they could have run both trains back and forth on the same track without switching sides in Westlake….

        If they can truly turn three car trains around in the stub, they should have done so today.

      • says

        Buses were already running in the tunnel prior to Link’s opening day, like in this video I caught of a test train. The stub tunnel had room for 3-car trains but U-Link construction reduced the space available that would’ve accommodated a third car. So no, they couldn’t run 3-car trains in the tunnel.

    • Zach Shaner says

      Hmm, peak capacity is roughly 3,000 per hour per direction, yes? So I’m guessing peak loads northbound from 7am-12pm, and peak loads southbound from 1pm-7pm. That alone is 33,000, in addition to a standard weekday commute of 29,000. (subtotal: 62,000) Then add in higher than average bidirectional loads off-peak AND the extra trains from Stadium? My guess is 80k.

    • Will Green says

      When I boarded at 6 AM, it was crowded – Standing Room Only. When my wife boarded at 7 AM, she had to push her way in.

      Given the crowds I found at 1:30 PM, the parking deal at SeaTac, and the magnitude of the downtown crowds, I’m saying ~150,000

  19. Will Green says

    When I used Link to get home at 1:30 PM, messages were playing telling passengers to purchase a fare if they could, but to not to wait in line so long they missed a train. Probably good given how long lines were for the vending machines, but sad that all that fare revenue went out the window.

    Platforms were packed. Circulation on the Westlake Platform was largely impossible, with the situation improving at each station further south. I waited for three trains before I was able to board, and I barely got on at that. No one else boarded until Columbia City station, when enough people got off that there was room to board again.

    When I arrived at Othello station, I braved the cold for a bit to see how frequent trains were moving. Per Mike Lindbloom at the Seattle Times, Link was scaled up to 6 minute headways to handle the crowds. I don’t doubt this, however, trains southbound were extremely uneven around 2 PM. In what I’m guessing was an attempt to even things up, a northbound train was held at Othello for a few minutes before going on to Columbia City.

    As I walked into my apartment, I saw a three-car train pass by, southbound. Still crowded, but far less so than the two car trains.

    All in all, my work to home commute took about 30 minutes longer than usual, and that was at the tail-end of the parade downtown.

    • Charles B says

      So visual confirmation that they were running three car long trains? Sounds odd (clearly from Stadium south as mentioned earlier in the thread). I wonder why they went with three instead of four…

      • Will Green says

        Yes, but that was before the ~3 PM announcement of 4 car trains. My guess is they started with a three car, and then ramped up to four. I’ll go out in a bit and see if I spot one. :)

      • Charles B says

        @Will Green

        I wonder if they will consider doing this more often for sporting events that overwhelm the system. Granted this event is unprecedented (and we might not see these kinds of crowds again for a long time) but three and four car trains would help a lot when games get out… even if they can only pick up people from the stadium station.

      • Justin Elder says

        I just saw a southbound, 4-car train pulling into Mt. Baker Station. Now if only the system could handle 3- and 4-car trains the whole way… 2016 cannot come soon enough.

      • Will Green says

        Just caught two 4-car trains, one north, one south.

        Sound Transit has used 4 car trains after sports events, just like they have here. Usually, they only run one or two, though, and only to SeaTac, going out of service after that. They way they’re running here is unprecedented, as is the frequency – officially every 6 minutes. In my experience, they’re coming every 4 south of Stadium.

        Video of one of the consists: http://youtu.be/c3NrzXgd0-k

  20. says

    How much of the bus bunching/no shows/pass-ups could have been prevented with a robust transit re-route priority plan? As in identify the key bottle-necks, and provide temporary transit lanes and signal priority to keep buses moving.

  21. Sam says

    Somebody on here said they really don’t blame ST or Metro for today’s massive blunder. I do. I don’t blame them for not being able to carry all the people who wanted to ride. I blame them for promoting a service they couldn’t deliver. They shouldn’t have told people to take transit to the parade when they couldn’t handle the capacity. Thousands, and possibly tens of thousands of people missed the parade because they were told to leave their cars at home and take the bus or train downtown, but they were left stranded at Transit Centers and Park & Rides. Instead, the message should have been, take transit at your own risk. If the parade is really important to you, drive in early, park a mile or two away, then walk the rest of the way in.

    • David Lawson says

      Sam is not satisfied with trolling STB or transit riders. He’s now trying to troll drivers too.

      • Sam says

        Maslow said, if the only tool you have is a hammer, you will tend to treat everything as if it were a nail. And Sam said, if the only blog you have is a public transit one, then you will tend to solve every problem with buses and trains. But guess what? I don’t have a transit blog, so I am not limited to see everything through transit tinted glasses. Some problems aren’t solved with public transit. Some are solved with cars. And today’s debacle (which I am calling Paradegate), is a perfect example where the use of public transit to get to an event was oversold.

      • David Lawson says

        Except (as you know perfectly well) that if all those people trying to squeeze onto the trains and buses had driven instead, the result would have been a parking shortage the likes of which the city has never seen. As it was, essentially all parking anywhere near downtown appeared to be full, regardless of price. Today may be the one day when all that capacity downtown was actually used.

      • Sam says

        All I’m saying is the message should have been different. Metro and ST approached this as just another “event.” But this wasn’t just some sold-out Seahawks or Huskies game, where there’s about 100% chance of you getting on a bus and getting to the game on time. This was a Seahawks game x 11. Many thousands of people got stranded and didn’t make it to the parade precisely because it was the same old “take transit” message, when there should have been a warning that transit alone couldn’t handle this many people in a limited amount of time.

      • says

        Many thousands of people got stranded and didn’t make it to the parade precisely because it was the same old “take transit” message …

        I’d hardly call this the “same old ‘take transit’ message”

      • Will Green says

        Worth noting that was a Joint Press Release, too: Every transit agency in the region used that copy, and it was emailed to riders signed up for alerts.

        Also worth noting: the ‘worst case’ number given was 500,000 people. Seattle Police estimated the crowd at 700,000 – that’s a massive difference. 500k would have been a massive stretch for our agencies; 700k was a gargantuan lift.

        The fact it went off as well as it did is worth of commendation. It’s also a great chance to evaluate the bottlenecks of our system (which were made well apparent), and devise ways to handle the next big crowd.

      • Jim Cusick says

        You guys miss the beauty of Sam’s logic.

        When the WSF doesn’t meet expectations: Kick them in the ass.
        When Sound Transit doesn’t meet expectations: Kick them in the ass.
        When Metro doesn’t meet expectations: Kick them in the ass.

        When driving doesn’t meet expectations: Drivers can kick themselves in the ass!

      • MrZ says

        I have it on good authority, that 500 people were left behind in Puyallup after the last sounder train left, because it filled up in Tacoma (where I think it also left people behind). I also heard there were extra buses on the road, and One Bus Away shows some of PT’s seldom used 300 series coaches which have not gone out in some time, being on the road today.

      • NotMyNormalSignIn says

        “Paradegate”? That makes it sound like some lieutenant of Paul Allen’s sent someone an email: “Time for traffic problems in Seatte.”

        You lack imagination, Sam. At least on this, you do. Why not “Parade-ition”? Make it sound like people were having a miserable time (when they weren’t).

      • d.p. says

        As Will Green says, we don’t have to be troll-class blame peddlers in order to admit that the agencies made some errors worth acknowledging and learning from.

        Sound Transit should have planned to run the 4-car Stadium turn-backs starting in the morning commute, so as to get as many people as possible within walking distance of the parade route. They could have made announcements requesting that able-bodied parade attendees continue on foot, so as to leave space for the disabled and for those headed to their jobs on trains continuing into the tunnel.

        For its part, Metro should have dispensed with the head-spinningly inscrutable reroutes, and just turned every bus around just before it crossed 4th. This would have at least somewhat reduced cascading delays, and would have kept the system remotely legible to normal users trying to catch buses headed outbound.

        As implemented, Metro had many routes whose first “normal” outbound stop was miles past the crowd perimeter, with reroutes in the exact opposite direction of where anyone unable to navigate Metro’s fucked-up alert page on a smartphone would think to look. What’s the point of getting the bus slightly closer to the center city, if no one can find it?

      • NotMyNormalSignIn says

        Also, the only message change the agencies needed to make was “Hi, this is the base. I know it is your day off, but we need you to get your behind in here ASAP!” They did that. What’s not to commend?

        Oh, and none of the Metro employees I talked to at ID Station were aware of the four-car trains starting at Stadium Station. I’m baffled how anyone at ID Station managed to get on the train before 6:30 p.m.

      • d.p. says

        Furthermore, SDOT and Metro have a history of advising the public to “take transit!” to July 4th events, the Fremont Solstice parade, etc., and then adding zero auxiliary service and running the normal service as inefficiently as humanly possible.

        So while the responsible parties handled today’s event with more ambition (and slightly more success) than many, the accusation that today’s notable errors exist on a historical continuum of over-promising and under-delivering is not unfounded.

      • d.p. says

        None of the Metro employees I talked to at ID Station were aware of the four-car trains starting at Stadium Station.

        See… this is a legitimate problem. This is an objective error that was made, that should not have been made, and that should not acceptable to make.

  22. Anon says

    Thanks for the vid and flikr posts…has ST released a statement on the four-car trains? I wasn’t aware that they had ever put that configuration into operation before…how are they doing this…and does it mean folks don’t have to wait to 2016 to see it again?

    • Anon says

      Going to answer my own question:

      Link Light Rail Alerts

      Central Link light rail Announcement – Seahawks victory parade service
      Posted: February 5 – 4:11 pm

      Link is running about every six minutes. Extra 4 car trains will be operating between Stadium and Airport Stations.

  23. Breadbaker says

    I’m still downtown so I don’t have any return story yet, but here’s the story getting downtown.

    Waited for a 26 that was about ten minutes late. It passed our stop without so much as acknowledging the dozen people waiting. Most of them left to get to their cars. The bus was rather full, but not Tokyo subway full by any means.

    Decided to drive over to see if we could take something from the U District. Every bus stop was crowded with people wearing Seahawks gear. Finally decided to try to get one of the 7X series on 15th. Bus at 15th and Ravenna stopped, picked up some passengers, left about 40 people behind. Moved up 15th to 65th. Bus passed without stopping. Moved up to 69th. First bus was one of those that disappear on OneBusAway without coming by. One moment it’s 1 minute away and three minutes delayed, next it’s -3 and next it’s not on the list at all. The next bus stopped a block north of the stop to let off passengers and not let anyone on and then went right by the stop.

    At this point, I told my wife I’d just bike in and I was sorry she (who doesn’t bike) wouldn’t make it. We walked down 15th towards 65th and saw a RapidRide bus with a 71X on it turning the corner, looking completely empty, and stopping and taking on passengers. We had to wait for the light to change across 65th, but it was still there and we got on. It was express from there to Convention Place. There, it turned around and dropped everyone off, letting us make our way to the other bay where we boarded a tunnel bus. The driver of the tunnel bus told us that everyone, including part time drivers, had been told basically to drive as much as they wanted to.

    • says

      “The bus was rather full, but not Tokyo subway full by any means.”

      Getting a 60′ bus full of passengers “Tokyo subway full” is not an easy thing to do. I drive several trips a week where I have to cajole passengers to “move back” multiple times, and practically beg them to actually move back. I also can’t always see all the little pockets of space back there, especially when there are tall people in the middle of the coach, so passengers need to also play along and encourage people to fill in.

      Bus layout is one problem – even with 3 doors and a more open floor plan RapidRide coaches still have bottlenecks that make people want to stay next to the doors so they don’t get trapped. Earbuds and American ideas of personal space also contribute to the problem.

      I generally use the “Move back” PSA and then switch to the PA. Again, I implore you all to submit commendations to Metro for drivers who handle the crowds on their bus well. Polite, persistent, and possibly a bit firm when needed. Commendations are posted at the base for all of us to read so word will get around.

      • Breadbaker says

        I obviously have no idea what effort was done by the drivers who passed me to get people to move back.

        I wish I had the name of the driver of the bus we took through the tunnel, who was talking to all the passengers on a very crowded bus to get people in and out of the tunnel stations when it appeared everyone getting off at Westlake happened to be smack in the middle of the coach. She made it absolutely clear to those of us who moved off the coach to let them off that no matter what, we were getting back on, all we had to do was be patient.

      • Breadbaker says

        And I should add that the 26 express I took back home tonight had some of the hallmarks of what you’re talking about. I was standing between a guy who considered that the space his backpack took up was his personal space (when putting it on the floor would have freed up enough room for another passenger who was otherwise left on the sidewalk in freezing temperatures) and a woman who wasn’t going to move for anything even though there was over five feet between us (I hope it wasn’t a personal issue with me). And then getting off the woman standing in front of the back door moved for one person and then right back into the middle of that space despite there being a number of us who still needed to get out.

        In fairness, it was obvious in both directions there were a lot of riders who were not familiar with the system. Someone thought the bus fare was $1,25, and perhaps hadn’t ridden since that was true.

      • says

        “I was standing between a guy who considered that the space his backpack took up was his personal space”

        I see this almost every day. The person is usually wearing ear buds and standing in my middle doorway, forcing passengers to shove past or move through the crowded bus to the front or back doors. I’ve long felt there are still too many seats around that middle door and this scenario is a perfect example. If the area around the door was more open and people didn’t have to turn at right angles to exit those back doors, it would be easier.

      • Jim Cusick says

        Why not just gently push their backpack out of the way?
        It’s not like you’re physically touching their body, so why would they object?.
        It can be done tactfully, and even if it’s because the person might be oblivious, you can gently remind them with that method.

  24. asdf says

    Left Seattle at 9:30 this morning for work in Redmond. Even though I was going in the reverse direction from the crowd, OneBusAway reported heavy delays on the 545 and also the 542, even though the 542 goes nowhere near the event. When I saw an eastbound 271 approaching, I made a snap decision to hop on. I got off at Bellevue Transit Center, ran a quick errand, then hopped on the B-line to complete the trip. (Even at 10:00 this morning, the B-line appeared to be running pretty much normally). The trip home was uneventful, – the 542 ran right on time.

    I wonder how other Seattle-living-Microsoft commuters fared and how many of them decided to just skip work and go to the parade.

  25. jory says

    I’d guess a lot of Seattelites just didn’t go to work. And those that did, wore Seahawk colors. I’d call the entire thing a ‘Mob’, but, everyone I saw, was markedly well behaved. Way to go Seattle, you know how to through a party!

  26. says

    Note that the West Seattle Water Taxi route was operating two-boat service at full speed throughout the early afternoon. That’s a boat every 15 minutes, instead of every hour as they had planned. Shout out to the crew who worked all day long!

  27. NotMyNormalSignIn says

    Metro & ST improvised in several effective ways throughout the day, not just adding more service, but employing back-up tactics.

    One of those was sending some 550s upstairs, when a lot of the 550 riders couldn’t get into the tunnel, or at least down to the platform. I suspect other routes got split up in a similar manner.

    Another was going PAYE after the rally, at least in the tunnel. With more trains being added, that was the only way to keep vehicles moving in the tunnel.

    Congratulations to all the transit agencies for smashing the one-day ridership records for every mode and nearly every route, and doing it with the severe resource constraints that afflicted each agency!

    Congratulations also to the Men and Women in Blue, who quietly kept this one of the safest sports rallies in recorded history.

    • Lisa says

      The upstairs 550s were the best! I loved confused people suddenly spotting a 550 and they were so excited about it being there, and there was no line because it was unexpected. (They still totally filled up though, even though no one was specifically waiting right there for it). This old couple asked me if they could transfer to eastgate in Bellevue, and I told them I thought so but wasn’t quite sure, but this was their chance to get out of Seattle so they should take it.

  28. Mark Dublin says

    Arrived at Sea-Tac LINK station around 1:30 pm on the 574- after half hour delay at Freighthouse Square because scheduled bus was delayed over half an hour leaving Sea-Tac northbound, due to traffic. After several hours riding and observing LINK and DSTT buses, left Downtown around 6:30. Would have liked to have been in the control room at LCC, or at least possessed of operations radio for perspective on the whole picture.

    It would be good if Seattle Transit Blog could carry a joint posting by operating personnel on-scene, including from LINK, Sound Transit Express, and King County Metro DSTT. With hard copy sent to heads of the system’s every “chain of command.” And the media.

    My sense is that everybody involved- drivers, communications, supervision, passengers-we were all looking at the very near future. And that today carried some serious lessons for the elected and administrative people at the top of every requisite agency. Lessons which are better learned sooner than later.

    It wouldn’t take a very big ‘quake to shake service a lot harder than The Twelfth Man.

    Mark Dublin Olympia, 12:15 AM

  29. Nathan from Tacoma says

    God Forbid we ever host a Super Bowl here. I think this is a dress rehearsal for that.

    My mom took the younger siblings up to see the parade by taking the 8:30 Sounder. As reported, it was Crush Loaded, and left people stranded at all the platforms. I stayed behind in Tacoma today due to needing to do a few things. I had to be at the Freighthouse itself for a few hours, and found that the nearest place to park was at the Tacoma Dome itself, where they opened up one of the parking lots and had an A-board that said it was Seahawks Overflow parking. Kudos to whoever did that. Knowing that it was going to be just as insane on the southbound leg, I decided to drive up to Seattle to pick up the family rather than have them try to get that 2:30 train south, as was the original plan. When I got to Seattle, it was Bedlam. I have never seen so many cars parked in unorthodox places. Just all over the place… Pedestrians everywhere too, I had to force my way through (gently, of course) in order to move at all. I even had people running across my bow at lights that I had the green… It was as if all common sense had gone away.

    • says

      Hosting a Super Bowl wouldn’t be much worse than a normal Seahawks game — maybe less bad in some ways, because of the number of visitors staying in downtown hotels close to the stadium. There might be generally increased crowds for a week downtown and near the stadium, but they’d arrive and depart at more diffuse times. And because most of the scheduled events around a Super Bowl are ticketed and have limited attendance, the acute transportation demand spikes would be limited in size. As long as the Seahawks weren’t playing in the Seattle-hosted Super Bowl, it would basically be like a Seahawks game on top of… say… Hempfest. So no big deal.

      If the Hawks were playing in a Seattle-hosted Super Bowl then maybe some scheduled, non-ticketed event would totally blow the doors off the city… and if half a million people tried to come downtown for a Super Bowl event they’d have Crazy National Event OMG Security to deal with, and that might make it worse than today. I know the Hawks are going to win every Super Bowl between now and the end of civilization, but Seattle isn’t really likely to host a Super Bowl so I’m not that worried.

  30. Sam says

    Some quotes from today’s ST article called Gridiron Gridlock, and quotes from that article’s comment section:

    “Season-ticket holders Paul Navarrette and Deana and Greg Michael, coming from Kitsap County, parked near SeaTac/Airport Station but couldn’t catch a light-rail train after two hours, so they took a cab. After the parade, they again tried, and failed to get on a train. They walked north to Pioneer Square Station and struck out. Finally they boarded at Westlake. Luck smiled on Gary Filcher of Selah, Yakima County. He and a friend drove and arrived around 1 p.m., parked a mile south of the stadium and had time to kill.”

    “there were no northbound Light Rail trains running from Mt Baker at 11:30am. word passed along at the station was that there had been an accident. most people exited and tried to catch a bus. i did not see any ST alerts. not sure how long that lasted but i bailed on the parade as a result.”

    “We followed the advice of the mayor and Sound Transit who said to leave your car home . . . and take transit. What a joke! We live in Beacon Hill and could never get a train. So we walked. We had bought roundtrip tickets – so we could get a train back. No. Then we walked the bus route – never saw a bus.
    I realize that the demand was greater than capacity, but what we noticed is that there were no extra buses during crucial times on our route. At 3:30, I did see a bus on our route – - – it was full. My main point: Sound Transit had an opportunity to get a lot of customers today with good customer service. It failed. I’ll take my car next time.”

    • Tyler Smith says

      I know, right? They should all have their budgets cut or something. That should help. Hell, maybe even cease to exist.

    • Jim Cusick says

      Hey Sam,
      Here’s an assignment for you:

      Collect the total number of person-complaints for which transit did not work, and when you come up with the number, we can compare it to the total numbers for all the people it did work for.

      And for added flavor, we can tally the number of emotionally charged responses, and set that against all the other transit riders who were just as packed in, just as inconvenienced, but remained upbeat and good natured.

      The saving grace of all the car traffic that did exist was that it delayed the Seahawk’s buses, and therefore the start of the parade, giving more people time to arrive and enjoy the festivities.

  31. Moderate Man says

    Transit definitely worked for me. It took about an hour to get home on the 255 around 5PM (including wait time at IDS) instead of the normal 30 minutes, but that was way better than what I expected! I saw many 550s in the tunnel, all packed. It looks like ST and KCM were making a huge effort to get people back to Bellevue. Congrats to all for tough work on an extraordinary day.

    The only nitpick I have is that the 255 driver opened both his doors before he got to the front of the 255 line at IDS, causing a mini-mob situation where people at the end of the line boarded through the back door and the middle of the line through the front, leaving the people who waited the longest at the end. I did see employees managing the Bellevue-bound 550 lines across the platform, but we didn’t have that on the northbound side. In a normal commuter situation, we’re pretty good about letting the head of the line board first even if the bus stops early, but that wasn’t happening yesterday. Of course, the people who got on the back didn’t pay. Not sure the driver could have done more, we just needed a line monitor (since we were acting like school kids ;)).

    • Mike Orr says

      So in 2023 when ST2 Link is finished, there will be 4-car trains every 8 minutes to Belleuve and Des Moines, and every 4 minutes to Lynnwood. That would have helped yesterday.

      (I’m taking the 4-minute DSTT maximum somebody mentioned recently, and assuming two lines alternating to Lynnwood. I don’t know how to reconcile that with the current 6.5 minute peak frequency; is it really going to go down in the south segment, or is there some other factor?)

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