News Roundup: 71% More

Pronto Installation at Cal Anderson (Photo by Ansel Herz)

Pronto Installation at Cal Anderson (Photo by Ansel Herz via Twitter)

This is an open thread. 

Are Metro’s planned cuts necessary? A quick look at the numbers

This is a guest post.

David Lawson’s recent post very nicely laid out the contrasting views of Metro general manager Kevin Desmond and Council member Rod Dembowski regarding the need for Metro’s proposed 2015 and 2016 service cuts. Higher forecast sales-tax revenue and Metro efficiency improvements have raised the issue, and the disagreement now has centered on two reserve funds.

Generally speaking, there are two important questions to answer: (1) is the current service level (annual service hours) sustainable in the long term?, and (2) is there sufficient reserve to respond to un-anticipated, shorter-term dips in revenue? If current service IS long-term sustainable, it seems unfortunate to cut service levels in order to sort out reserves.

In any event, I think it might be useful to take a look at the numbers.  I reviewed the most recent Metro proposed financial plan (see p. 776 of this download, reproduced below) and estimated what the plan would be without the proposed 2015-16 service cuts.

The results suggest that the cuts are NOT necessary.  Even without the cuts and with an unusually large capital spending program in 2015-16, Metro’s overall reserves would increase from now to the end of 2020.  So Metro looks to be long-term sustainable with current service levels.

On the other hand, the Council and Executive DO face the task of developing a policy for the RSR – what fraction of a year’s operating expense should it have? – and sorting out how to achieve and maintain that level.

CALCULATIONS:

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Prop 1 is Dead. Long Live Prop 1.

King County Metro 2001 Gillig Phantom Trolley 4135 "SEA..."

In May Mayor Murray unveiled Proposition 1 to avert the 2015 and 2016 Metro cuts for routes largely in the City of Seattle. With the planned cuts withering away quickly, and possibly disappearing altogether, that purpose suddenly became untenable. Without skipping a beat, the campaign switched to the narrative that this service would buy more bus service.

The measure text, thankfully, considers this possibility. After first maintaining the October 2014 service level, and allotting small sums for “regional partnerships” and access for low-income riders, the measure states that

…remaining revenues may then be used to address overcrowding, reliability, and service frequency within the City of Seattle through the purchase of additional Metro Transit bus service hours on routes with more than 80 percent of their stops within City of Seattle limits and consistent with the Seattle Transit Master Plan and Metro’s Service Guidelines.

There’s a lot to like here, a few things that could go either way, and one item that is not good.

Most importantly, the overall service level Metro provides Seattle is not adequate to provide frequent, all day service for high-demand corridors. It’s certainly true that less conservatism in preserving existing routes could achieve this at a lower cost than simply adding more service. However, even handing the whole system to David Lawson would require a 33% increase in service hours to reach the point of diminishing returns, after North Link opens and takes over significant load. We won’t get there with this measure, but Prop 1 is an important step to that service level.

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Capitalism, Democracy, and Rent

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Charles Mudede’s anecdote about renting makes a basically correct argument that our cities will eventually invert their late-20th century income pattern. But on the way there he repeats a common critique of the rising rent:

The rent for her flat… recently increased to $1,000. Yes, her flat is tiny. Yes, everyone has heard the same story over and over. Yes, no one is doing anything about it, and nor can anyone do anything about it because the economic forces at work in this growing city are much deeper and more powerful than its form of democracy.

The section I’ve bolded strikes me as exactly backwards: high housing prices are the triumph of “democracy:” in this case, hyperlocal groups of active citizens championing severe regulatory constraints on housing supply, and (sometimes incidentally) boosting their house values in the process.

There’s an interesting debate on just how democratic the process really is. How representative are these active voices, and is the neighborhood the appropriate scope of interests to consider? Moreover, any democratic process will almost certainly underweight the interests of future residents, which is really what new housing projects are about.

Nevertheless, once you’ve put hard limits on housing supply, politics and economics merely decide who gets in to the inadequate number of homes. Under capitalism, given decent living conditions in the city, it’s the rich; in a rent control regime, it’s longtime residents and the well-connected. In a system where the government owned all the housing, it’d be politically favored groups. But any and all of these systems are inherently less fair than building homes in Seattle for all who want them.

Affordable Housing: More Cranes in the Air?

Wedgewood 2nd Story

As Mayor Murray pivots toward Seattle’s affordable housing problem with one of his famous mega-committees, a pair of op-eds in favor of more housing appear in the Seattle Times and the DJC.

First, the Times argues for more construction:

Job growth and Seattle’s desirability as a place to live keep pushing up demand, which leads to higher housing costs. Close to 44,000 people moved to Seattle in the past four years and another 120,000 are projected to arrive during the next 20.

Housing development also ballooned in recent years: Builders added 35,600 homes, including houses and apartments, from 2005 to 2013. Without those homes, housing costs would be even higher.

The city’s rapid growth demonstrates its capacity to accommodate new residents. Increasingly, they are single people living alone, and poor people and families are on their way out.

City officials say they want affordable housing for all and that housing should be fair and equitable — important ideals. But what’s clear is that Seattle needs more housing that is subsidized and market-rate.

Next, the head of the Master Builders in the DJC wants more construction, and don’t seem particularly concerned whether it’s infill or sprawl.

Running counter to Vision 2040 and the Growth Management Act, many jurisdictions in the Central Puget Sound area are resisting new growth and urban density, making it difficult to provide new housing. In some cases, local governments are acting in response to local activists opposed to growth.

In Seattle, infill development remains the primary option for accommodating growth. However, an ordinance adopted in 2012 made it much harder to build on smaller lots — one of several actions reducing the buildable land supply in the city without adding an adequate supply of new housing to the equation.

In King and Snohomish counties the current buildable land is expensive or significantly impacted by environmental constraints. Regulations such as critical areas ordinances, and stormwater and floodplain rules, create added layers of no-build areas inside UGAs.

This is worryingly plausible: if the Puget Sound’s cities can’t meet the housing demand, then the Cascade foothills are likely to take the brunt of it instead.

As far as the commission goes, it’s a mixed bag. As I’ve noted in the past, the Murray Doctrine is predictable (but effective!): gather as many people as possible onto a committee and find a way to give everyone something. Mark Schmitt, in a seminal 2007 article on Barack Obama’s “theory of change,” articulated the committee strategy thusly:

One way to deal with [conservatives'] bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that’s not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists — it’s a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict. It’s how you deal with people with intractable demands — put ‘em on a committee. Then define the committee’s mission your way.

That’s all well and good, but I do worry that the committee strategy might hit the skids this time around. With taxis and the minimum wage, there were real, specific stakes (legalizing Uber, $15/hour) that could demonstrably be achieved or not. Those stakes acted as a forcing function, leading the committees to a resolution. The affordable housing committee, by contrast, could easily produce a report full of blue-ribbon bromides (“create partnerships with local institutions to blah blah blah”) that have little practical effect.  The Mayor seems fully aware of the challenge.

If I were on the committee (and I’m willing to serve if asked!), I’d want a real working definition of “affordable housing” and a specific legislation to achieve it. I’ve suggested such metrics in the past, but I’m more than happy to accept alternative definitions as well.

Skyscraper Infographic Highlights Growth and Zoning

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Seattle Transit Blog commenter Nathaniel Williams put together a very detailed infographic of all downtown skyscrapers currently in the pipeline. While it shows just how strong our growth is, what jumps out is just how restrictive our zoning is. I don’t think it coincidence that almost half of all buildings will be 440 feet. What do we gain by limiting who can live or work downtown? Is it worth the damage caused by forcing people into the sprawling, polluting, inefficient and unproductive suburbs and exurbs? [Read more...]

Call for Endorsements

Once again, the STB editorial board is considering its endorsements for the November election. If you have any recommendations in non-obvious races or ballot measures anywhere in the Puget Sound region, please share them in the comments.

As always, the board only evaluates the candidates’ positions on transit and land use, so limit your comments to those issues. Furthermore, links go much farther than unsubstantiated assertions.

132 Lacking Ridership Source in Northeast Burien

Walker Creek, Along Bus Route 132

Walker Creek, Along Bus Route 132

Route 132 has long been one of King County Metro’s most circuitous neighborhood milk-run routes. Since Link opened, route 132 has undergone several changes, including moving up to half-hourly all-day frequency, and changing its southern terminus to Burien Transit Center.

Whenever it was suggested that route 132 be re-routed to serve Tukwila International Boulevard Station, a couple of major hurdles stood in the way. One was the continuing portion of the route south of Burien TC, which has since become part of route 166. The other hurdle was a major trip generator, the Navos Clinic at 1010 S 146th St., or, to be more accurate, the clinic formerly at that address. Now, the site is just a pasture with a stormwater detention pond.

Perhaps the stretch of Waller Creek along Des Moines Memorial Way from S 128th to S 144th, the series of stormwater ponds along S 144th St / S 144th Way / S 146th St, the pocket park at the top of the hill on S 146th, and that one block of single-family homes which are well within the walkshed of route 131 on 1st Ave S are not the best place to use scarce service hours.

Very few people would lose service if route 132 is re-routed to serve Des Moines Memorial Way from South Park down to S 128th St, then S 128th over to Military Rd S, and then Military Rd S, S 144th, and Tukwila International Boulevard down to the train station. Many would gain significant connectivity to South King County and beyond.

August 2014 Sound Transit Ridership Report – My Oh My

August14MvgAvgGrowthLast month I asked when Link’s ridership was going to slow down. Hope you didn’t pick August, because Link grew a whopping 21% in that month!

August’s Central Link Weekday/Saturday/Sunday average boardings were 39,210 / 30,159 / 27,458, growth of 21.0%, 0.5%, and 13.3% respectively over August 2013. Similar to June and July Saturday was low, however the weekend average still increased as a whole. Sounder’s weekday boardings were up 14.4% with ridership increasing on both lines. Tacoma Link’s weekday ridership decreased 1.9%. Weekday ST Express ridership was up 6.4%. System wide weekday boardings were up 11.5%, and all boardings were up 7.7%. The complete August Ridership Summary is here.

My charts below the fold. [Read more...]

The Statewide Case for Sound Transit 3

This is a guest post.

Given the broad regional enthusiasm for transit expansion, the real question is why wouldn’t the legislature support the region’s request to tax itself to provide adequate transit? The answer is a statistically relevant national trend going back over 130 years of data: rural district measures are nearly twice as likely to pass state legislatures than urban ones. In Washington, conventional wisdom is that rural and suburban legislators (who today are mostly Republicans) will hold the Puget Sound region’s needs hostage to a transportation package that they may or may not be interested in passing, as happened during the prior term.

The legislators who take this position ignore the fact that the state rises or sinks as a whole (as does our budget). For example, what will it take to get all of the Pierce County delegation (relatively split between Democrats and Republicans) to vote as a block in favor of the transit expansion so vital to Tacoma and Pierce County? They will likely expect funding for the $2 billion completion of SR167 to the Port of Tacoma in exchange for the right of Sound Transit district residents to choose to tax themselves. But, shockingly, not even that may be enough for legislators to allow the fastest growing big city in the country to keep its economy–and the state’s tax rolls–humming.

A business with a cash cow would ensure enough investment so that it could power the business for years into the future. As far as state budgets go, that cash cow is the Seattle metropolitan region area comprised of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. This metro region—home to half the state’s population—is the source of 75% of the state’s $381 billion in economic output in 2013 with all the tax revenues that go with such an intensity of people, goods, and services.

SOURCE: 2008; OFFICE OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT / SECRETARY OF STATE, 2008 GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION VIA THE STRANGER

For this reason, the metro area is a net contributor to the state’s tax rolls.  King County specifically only got back 62¢ for every $1 in taxes it generated the state in 2011. Lack of alternatives to congestion is killing productivity (due to car drivers’ 37 hours per year spent stuck in traffic) and limiting job growth. Sound Transit’s service area includes 80% of the population of the three-county area, as well as an overwhelming proportion of the economic output of the area and the state. Preventing investment to keep the region moving undermines the metro economy and therefore the tax collections that help power the rest of the state.  

In addition to the indirect importance of the Puget Sound’s transportation on the state budget, there is a more direct argument. Sound Transit impacts two areas directly. First, it has employed 100,000 people—mostly in the construction industry—to build a system that will likely last us 100 years. Secondly, Sound Transit pays sales tax on its capital projects directly into the state general fund.  That money comes from taxes Sound Transit collects only from the urban parts of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.  This is not an insignificant sum. The state gets an average of $63 million per year from 2014 to 2023 inclusive, for a total of over half a billion dollars over ten years. By authorizing Sound Transit to build more, the state would actually be directly collecting a percentage as general fund tax revenue. ST3 could easily increase state revenues by $30 million or more per year once ST3 capital projects were in the execution phase.

Regional leaders recognize the great importance of transportation investments to the regional economy. Legislators must understand that what is good for the regional economy is also critical for the State’s economy.

Register to Vote This Weekend

Monday is the deadline to register to vote, something you can do online. Beyond the vote on Seattle funding more Metro service hours, November’s ballot will decide many seats in the legislature, which will shape the prospects for Sound Transit 3 and many other priorities for transit and urbanism. Make sure you’re registered!

News Roundup: Not Ready for Launch

Close-Up Aerial of Othello Station & Vicinity

This is an open thread.

PSRC: Unified in Pursuit of 2016 ST3 Vote

This is a guest post.

Regional voters overwhelming favor system expansion.  So why might legislators not allow it? (Scientific Phone Survey, Spring 2014, from Sound Transit LRP Update Brief to PSRC Executive Board)

Regional voters overwhelming favor system expansion.  So why might legislators not allow it? (Scientific Phone Survey, Spring 2014, from Sound Transit LRP Update Brief to PSRC Executive Board)

Last week, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) Executive Board turned their attention to Sound Transit’s decennial update to the Long Range Plan (LRP). The board expressed surprising unanimity for getting a Sound Transit 3 funding package on the ballot in 2016, but was aware of the significant obstacles to such a commonsense effort.

presentation by ST staff opened the conversation with scientific surveys outlining overwhelming public eagerness for additional bus and rail system expansion within the ST district. Staff then informed the PSRC (and the Sound Transit Board later in the day) of additional study corridors following the LRP comment period. These options included new HCT study corridors in Pierce County, a commitment to examine a Sand Point Crossing in North King subarea, a rail extension from Issaquah to Issaquah Highlands, and some additional bus corridors throughout the region.

Because increased authority for new Sound Transit projects requires legislative approval, our rapidly growing region may find itself politically blocked in Olympia.  For various reasons, unity of city and county leaders in the region is essential to getting ST3 on the ballot in 2016, but might not be sufficient. To vote on and grow our system beyond the 50 miles of Link already funded, it may take private citizens from both dense and less dense parts of the region to make this a reality.

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Nine Awesome Service Improvements Prop 1 Could Pay For

King County Metro 44

King County Metro 4258. Flikr user Kris Leisten.

There’s much we still don’t know about Metro’s finances and future service levels: Will county sales tax revenues continue to increase? Will the reduction in Metro’s reserves cover next year’s gap in funds? Will Metro go ahead with some of the much-needed network restructures, particularly in northeast Seattle, Kirkland, and south King County? But, whatever the answers to those questions, it does seem certain now that the effect of Prop 1 will overwhelmingly be to expand service in Seattle.

Because that’s a good thing, and I want, at last, to talk about some unambiguously good news, and because I can’t let Frank have all the fun with the Buzzfeed-inspired listicles, here are nine major service improvements (as distinct from capital investments) which, if Prop 1 passes, Seattle could make immediately after money started coming in. All of these ideas require no capital improvements, no new buses, no network changes, no public process, and no coordination with any cities or agencies other than King County Metro, but every single one of them would make Seattle a measurably easier place to live car-free, because all-day and evening frequency is your freedom to move around the city without a car.

  • Improve Routes 5, 40, and 41 to 15-minute service on evenings and Sundays. North Seattle is a place where, outside the U-District and RapidRide corridors, usable transit service packs up and leaves at 7 PM every day, not to be seen again until 6 AM the next morning — except on Sunday, where it never puts in an appearance at all. Extending 15-minute headways to 10 PM on these core, high-performing routes in and between Lake City, Greenwood, Northgate and Ballard would revolutionize car-free mobility in the north end, and drive transit use up and car ownership down on future rail corridors.
  • Improve Route 120 to 15-minute service on evenings and Sundays, as far as Westwood Village. After RapidRide C, hands-down the next-most-important service in West Seattle is Route 120. Upgrading this route is a little trickier, because Prop 1 money can only be spent on routes with 80% of their stops in Seattle, and about half of the 120 is in Burien. So, we can’t fix the whole thing, but we can fix the connection between the Delridge neighborhood and downtown, and its shopping district at Westwood Village, by adding short-turn trips in the evenings and Sundays that terminate at Westwood Village.
  • Improve Routes 10, 12 and 49 to 15-minute service on evenings and Sundays. Pine St, served by Route 10, and future BRT corridor Madison St, served by Route 12, are some of Seattle’s most destination-rich streets outside the Central Business District — and Pine St in particular does not go to bed at 7 PM, so its transit service shouldn’t either. Route 49, which serves Pine St and Broadway, uniquely among all of Metro’s network, runs every 15 minutes at all times except Sunday evening. That’s a detrimental oddity in the network which we could fix in short order.
  • Break the through-route of Routes 43 & 44, 7 & 49. In the evenings and on Sundays, buses on Route 43 continue as Route 44 after the U-District, and vice versa; similarly with Routes 7 and 49, which each terminate in downtown during the weekday. These through-routes save Metro money, at the expense of on-time performance. In particular, on Sundays in the summer, between events downtown, boat traffic at the Montlake Bridge, and events in the U-District, Route 44 can be almost unusable. It would tremendously benefit riders if these routes were operated on Sundays, and maybe in the evenings, the way they are during the weekday.

There are, of course, many other improvements that could be made, and I’m aware that this list neglects several important segments of the city. The list above is just a taste of the things that can be done immediately: improvements in other parts of the city will require more homework, and possibly capital work, network changes, or public outreach. But, I want to inject some simplicity into a convoluted debate: Seattle needs more service on core, frequent routes, and Prop 1 could buy us lots of that. Here’s what we can start with.

To Cut, Or Not To Cut, That Is The Question

Metro buses

Metro buses at 3rd and Cedar. Photo by LB Bryce.

Monday afternoon, the County Council voted to table an ordinance incorporating the February 2015 Metro cuts recently proposed by an ad hoc committee of County Executive Dow Constantine and a few Councilmembers.  The Council’s decision has the effect of postponing the 2015 cuts indefinitely.  Without further action, Metro will continue to operate the same network it operates today, with this week’s cuts remaining in place.

The Council’s action was surprising because it approved the February cuts in principle just two months ago.  That resulted from a compromise between a Council faction led by Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who sought in June to postpone all of the cuts except for this week’s, and Constantine, who doggedly insisted that all but a few of the cuts remained necessary despite higher forecast revenues.

A couple of things have changed since July, though.  First, King County’s Office of Economic and Financial Analysis (OEFA), which is independent of either the Executive or the Council, released a new forecast with a significant increase in projected sales-tax revenue.  Second, Constantine released his 2015-16 proposed budget, which substantially reduced the number of hours that needed to be cut — although it continued to treat the February cuts, along with another small future round of cuts, as necessary.

Yesterday afternoon, I caught up with both Dembowski and Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond by phone.  Each was gracious, knowledgeable, and willing to talk about the situation in substantive detail.  Their answers revealed a real philosophical divide about how to manage potential risks to the Metro system, and helped clarify a situation which those who follow Metro (including all STB staffers) have found very confusing.  I’ll present a summary of each view below the jump.

First, though, I should provide a bit of background that’s necessary to understand either one.  Twice before, Metro has been affected by funding crises at times when it had promised to expand.  In 2000, the combined effect of Tim Eyman’s Initiative 695, which eliminated Metro’s permanent motor-vehicle excise tax (MVET) funding, and that year’s “dot-com” recession resulted in a failure to implement 400,000 hours of new service which had been promised to riders in the late 1990s.  Again in 2006, Metro promised nearly 600,000 hours of new service through the voter-approved “Transit Now” sales-tax increase, and again Metro found itself using the revenue to backfill existing service instead when the Great Recession hit.

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Post-2016 Tunnel Buses

train and bus in tunnelKing County Metro and Sound Transit are still in discussions about which, and how many, buses to run in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel after U-Link opens in 2016. Sound Transit and Metro are looking at running 40-50 buses in each direction during the peak hour, assuming 6-minute headway on Link trains, according to Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray.

Gray noted that Metro and Sound Transit meet frequently to discuss ways to improve joint tunnel operations, and can decide to move a bus route out, among other measures, if on-time performance doesn’t meet expectations, although the expectations are currently being met. King County Department of Transportation spokesman Jeff Switzer noted that, in addition to other ways of decreasing dwell and waiting time, Metro is looking at having only one bus bay per platform, perhaps even before U-Link opens.

Also still under discussion is the date buses will leave the tunnel forever. Although Sound Transit has been planning for a 2019 date, the King County and Sound Transit spokesmen did not deny that joint operations might continue until Northgate Link opens in 2021, and perhaps as late as East Link opening in 2023.

What does not appear to be on the table is Link frequency 2016-2021, and the possibility of running longer trains outside of peak. While Sound Transit has enough Light-Rail Vehicles to run 3-car trains at 7.5-minute peak headway, and can fit up to 104 LRVs at the current base, Gray pointed out that running 3-car trains all day would increase LRV mileage and maintenance costs significantly, and that off-peak ridership is nowhere near enough to justify longer trains. Sound Transit will be able to deploy 3- or 4-car trains on short notice to clear crowds. Two Link operators are kept on standby in case extra trains are needed.

However, 3- and 4-car trains will not be able to operate in the tunnel until after U-Link opens, due to safety restrictions. Sound Transit (via Gray) dismissed Glenn’s suggestion of de-coupling and recoupling trains due to safety considerations and the operation taking longer than two train cycles to perform.

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Tomorrow: Madison BRT Open House

Madison Corridor Map

TMP Madison Corridor

Tomorrow, from 5 to 7 PM, at the Silver Cloud Hotel on Broadway, the Seattle Department of Transportation will host an open house for the Madison BRT project. Madison Street, from Colman Dock to 23rd Ave, was identified in Seattle’s 2012 Transit Master Plan as a high-priority corridor which deserves investment for faster, more frequent, and more reliable transit service. Preliminary feasibility analysis indicated that 40′ buses or trolleybuses were the only viable vehicles on Madison, due to its severe slopes and hill breaks.

Last week, I sat down with Maria Koengeter, the SDOT planner in charge of this project. This meeting, and the work done so far, is essentially about the “homework” of the design: defining the purpose and need, surveying current conditions, identifying specific locations likely to be problematic, and getting agreement from key stakeholders on those things. The serious analysis and problem-solving work will take place in the coming months, notably including:

  • The evaluations of different terminals, 23rd or MLK at the east end (and where to find layover space), and how best to connect with the waterfront at the west (here’s my take on the latter);
  • Possible service patterns, either an open busway which could be used by services that then turn down 23rd or Broadway, or a closed service; and
  • The choice or center or curb running, and if center running, whether to use island platforms with left-side doors.

I’ll be there, and I hope to see lots of STB readers there. While SDOT seems to have pervasively good ideas about transit right-of-way, signal priority and high-quality stops, it’s always good for them to hear from the public about the importance of those things.

Sound Transit Listens to Public, Seattle Subway, Will Study Sand Point Crossing

This is a guest post.

When Sound Transit presented planned updates to their Long Range Plan  to the PSRC last Thursday, there was some blockbuster news for local transit advocates: Sound Transit is adding a Corridor 14, The Sand Point Crossing, to its long range plan for additional study. The Sand Point Crossing was first covered by Seattle Transit Blog here, and then Seattle Subway advocated for it during the Long Range Plan comment period. A lot of you echoed our thoughts to the board and Sound Transit Staff — and they listened.

SandpointSlide2

This post is to say thank you to all of you who sent your comments to Sound Transit. Thank you to Sound Transit staff who reversed direction and decided to add this corridor to the Long Range Plan. And thank you to the Sound Transit Board for your leadership on this issue.

To those who question whether advocacy works and whether Sound Transit listens to the public, I present this as exhibit A. The Long Range Plan explicitly said that they were not going to study this corridor due to the findings of the Trans-Lake Washington Study. Seattle Subway countered that argument and, with your help, the Sand Point Crossing will now be studied.

We will now get objective answers about whether or not the Sand Point crossing is the best option for a Lake Washington Rail crossing. We think it is – but now we can be absolutely sure. When a large agency like Sound Transit is responsive to the public, we all win.

If you have a chance, please take the time to email the  Sound Transit Board and ST Long Range Plan Staff and say thanks. As advocates, we often focus on what is wrong more than what is right – lets acknowledge a job well done.

Thank you all.

This is a guest post.