Tri-Met’s new Commuter Rail “WES” was unveiled by the media yesterday. This is one of the first new generation DMU’s (Diesel Multiple Unit) from Colorado Railcar.

So why a post regarding Oregon in a Seattle Blog? A lot of us here have been curious to see what the new DMU would look like and most importantly, it’s features. These vehicles would be one of 3 vehicles selected for service on the Eastside Rail Corridor. It’s time on WES will prove that they are truly worthy of their cost with other start-up agencies looking at ways to save fuel but also haul a number of passengers. Colorado Railcar offers the Aero model that Tri-Rail has received and a Double Decker version that seats 40 more people than our own Sounder equipment. That alone is savings by using less coaches, less coaches = less fuel to get up to track speed, etc.

The bigger question is since they are still rather unproven in the United States, would other agencies besides Tri-Rail in Florida and Tri-Met in Oregon see a use for them? Portland as usual, will look hard at these and there is discussion to go as far as Salem in the future.

Some features that WES will have –
High Speed Wireless Internet
Comfortable seating
Free Parking
Space for 4 bikes per train (2 per car)
27 minute, 60mph run from Wilsonville to Beaverton – A Direct Connection to MAX
Real-Time Arrival via MyBus.

The entire line was revamped starting last year with new concrete ties, welded rail, new gated crossings and is slated to open this Fall.

  • Seats: 74 (engine car); 80 (trailer)
  • Mobility device spaces: 2
  • Bike spaces: 2
  • Average speed: 37 mph
  • Top speed: 60 mph
  • Travel time (Wilsonville-Beaverton): 27 minutes
  • Service frequency: Every 30 minutes during rush hour
  • Personnel: 1 engineer and 1 conductor

53 Replies to “Tri-Met WES unveiling”

  1. It doesn’t have nearly enough parking at the stations.

    The Calgary LRT system has free, ample (lots of space available even at midday) parking at all of the non-downtown stations. And they even have outlets for plugging in your car’s engine block heater.

    Somehow, considering what many of you would call a waste of resources on parking and almost zero TOD, the system has the highest ridership of any LRT system in North America. On only TWO lines.

    But, eventually, you know, they will all be stupid, car-driving slum dwellers, as has been predicted here.

    A shorter comment: Building a system based on one rider demographic is dumb.

    Also on Calgary… The are starting a few new BRT lines, and they readily admit that these will be eventually converted to LRT. Except in Seattle, everyone wants perfection and wants a system done ONLY the way they want it and can’t get their head around the possibility of doing it another way. And will while about it endlessly. (“BRT is dumb! We could be spending that money on a new tunnel! Wah!)

  2. Lets hope they have better luck than Tri-Rail. One of Tri-Rails vehicles has already burned.

    This type of equipment has so much potential not only for commuter rail but to expand our rail passenger system also.

  3. brad: The problem with what would happen in Seattle if they went ahead and used BRT as a pre-cursor is that it has the very real danger of becoming a justification for the pro-roads and/or the anti-transit side.

    BRT is slow, it’s a win for anti-transit spending. BRT works, it’s a win for the pro-roads side.

    And Calgary is spending a lot of money reducing parking and increasing density on the line, alki. I believe the test case will be Brentwood and they’ll work from there.

  4. aj- That’s your opinion. Maybe you are wrong and the builders of the most successful LRT operation in North America actually are smarter than you.

    It’s at least possible, doncha think?

    Ditto for all of you closed-minded ‘experts’.

  5. brad, you can’t convert a BRT route to Seattle or Calgary-style LRT unless there is an exclusive right of way. None of the announced RapidRide routes have their on right of way for all of the ride. Some have no right of way at all.

    What BRT routes are you interested in?

  6. brad-

    “The are starting a few new BRT lines, and they readily admit that these will be eventually converted to LRT.”

    I think the bolded part of your statement affects both aj’s statement and your unnecessarily vicious reply to him.

  7. Funny, Calgary and Portland both share ROW on portions of their lines.

    The right-of-way issue is false. It may not be the way YOU would do it, but to just wave your hand regally and say it won’t work is wrong-headed.

    A closed mind will NOT solve our transit issues. We need to loosen our grip on ‘my plan’ and instead try to find some common ground.

    The tone on this blog from some of the city-dwellers is defeating that. And, as such, your ST referendum will fail.

  8. brad: Compare the ratio of downtown to suburban office space in Calgary to the downtown/suburban ratio in any US city, including Portland.

    Calgary has an extremely successful LRT, no question (and in the heart of “the Canadian Texas”, no less), but a big, big part of its success is the urban development pattern of Calgary, which heavily, heavily favors downtown. If we forced every business in Redmond, Bellevue and Renton to move to Seattle, we’d see much better transit numbers, too.

    (All that said, I agree with you that there is certainly a place for park and rides in transit planning, and that we should be providing them in the more car-oriented areas.)

  9. Wow, did this thread get hijacked!

    The WES project isn’t about BRT, or whatever diluted version of it is being set upon us by KC Metro. WES is relevant because it will demonstrate a technology that has been proposed for use on the BNSF Eastside corridor.

    The DMU trainsets are neither traditional commuter rail nor LRT, and it is a relatively new product in its current form (all due respect to the Budd motorized railcars of yesteryear…)

    It’s the newness that’s the trick – in addition to the fire mentioned in the thread, transmission issues have dogged implementation of this particular product. That, and FRA has been having kittens trying to certify the safety of these units, although that particular problem seems to have been addressed.

    I see these units as interim solutions on new lines (and the Eastside corridor resembles that) until ridership supports higher capacity units.

    BTW, carrying capacity of two bikes per car positively sucks compared to the demand being demonstrated on other commuter rail corridors. Since the BNSF line goes only marginally near downtown Bellevue, Kirkland, etc, SOMETHING has to get you to your destination, no?

    On to Brad’s rant –

    Rapid Ride on the Eastside just makes me shake my head – the routes shown on the flyers sent to my home in Redmond are NOT BRT by anyone’s definition – they look a lot like the old 253 locals, in fact! Reminds me of the old saying that you can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig…

    As currently configured, even unlimited parking still stikes me as lipstick on KCMetro’s proposal.

    Low platform boarding, new fare collection and ride arrival boards are swell, but sending a coach down 156th and NE 8th at 20 MPH has been done.


    We may not get real BRT with dedicated (or even shared with other transit) ROW soon, but speed and reliability is the name of the game for the rubber tire modes, and I don’t think KC’s proposed system passes the giggle test yet.

    Still, some creativity and open-mindedness will help conquer the Eastside market – I agree with Brad on that.


  10. I’m always a bit surprised that people get so enamored with the idea of DMU’s. In form and function they really aren’t much different than the standard old Budd RDC – although dressed up a bit with more modern styling and amenities.

    The old Budd RDC was designed for semi-rural, low density, low ridership and hence low frequency corridors. They served more as feeders for railroads that were trying to maintain passenger volumes elsewhere within their systems. Also, sometimes the use of RDC’s was pushed by various governments as a transportation social service for rural and often poorer outlying areas.

    Also, low volume RDC operations just don’t justify high dollar investments in new trackage/ROW. And if you have high passenger volumes you skip the RDC and go right to Sounder style CR.

    In reality I don’t view the dressing up of the RDC into the modern DMU to be much different then the dressing up of the Express Bus into BRT (or at least the BRT-Lite form that is usually pushed around here as “BRT”).

    Per parking at Link stations, who really cares? The primary function of Link is to connect regional city centers and not to support commuters coming in from the rural hinterlands. As such, the land around the stations will be too expensive to build large scale parking facilities anyhow, and a better use for such property would always be private sector TOD.

    However, if some of the stations get small parking facilities I’d be OK with that, particularly if it was a pay-to-park facility. Use the parking fees for increased opps or system expansion within the city.

  11. brad: Houston, TX decided it was going to do BRT but found the solution to be completely impractical and has changed all plans for its expansion to LRT. Their first expansion, opening in 2012, will add 40km to a 12km line.

    Calgary’s success is due to compact cores that are unsuited to driving due to road configuration and poor interface with the freeway system. Pre-existing conditions that drove the creation of a necessary system. Also, don’t forget that all students have completely subsidized transit passes. The success of CTrain is a no-brainer.

    Also, look at Metro’s plans for BRT. Yeah, that’s going to work.

  12. The Eastside Corridor no longer exists. The Wilburton Tunnel was whacked in the 405 widening, and it’ll take a huge chunk of money to re-connect it. Money which no one has.

    The transit elitists would rather dream about new tunnels and opine endlessly about how Seattle is different from everyone else than actually do something to move an actual project along.

    Cascade Bike Club is actively promoting tearing up the ROW on the Eastside Corridor immediately.

    What is anyone doing to promote another view?

    Nah, pie-in-the-sky dreams about everyone tearing down their homes and moving into a TOD condo is more important.

  13. It would be nice if we could Borrow one of the DMU’s from portland for a week to run on the ESR, and let people “hear how loud these trains are that will be whipping past their backyards”

    Given that the rail is broken at Wilberton, we could run it back and forth through Renton for a couple of days on a simulated commuter schedule to show the Mayor of Renton how much of an impact this will not have on his city, and then move it up to the Snohomish to Bellevue segment for the population there to get a taste

    Lor Scara

  14. Another short thread: My biggest fear with all these ex-pat suburbanites moving in from the burbs isn’t with densification or transportation – it’s with lifestyle.

    You can already see a bit of the future with the trend toward knocking down little bungalows and replacing them with 3 story, McMansion-esque narrow rises. What next? Are all these ex-suburbanites going to start bringing their Wal Marts and Olive Gardens with them? I mean, when I want seafood I go to Ray’s, not Red Lobster.

    Note: just kidding (sort of). Chill a bit and have a sense of humor…

  15. Sorry to STB and its readers if I am out of line here but I am getting bored of this guy’s daily rants.

    Brad you sound a bit closed minded in the rants about closed mindedness I am consistently reading from you. The thing about the argument you are not really successfully making (attacking people doesn’t make for good conversation) is you are walking a slippery slope. You are consistently whining that people here are closed minded about whatever, all the while consistently being negative about topics discussed here, rather than constructively adding your criticisms, because it doesn’t suit you (The I90 routing is essentially being built for carless Microsofties who live in North Seattle. It’s useless for most Eastsiders.; ST2 or whatever it is gonna be called has absolutely nothing to offer me. Now considering your arrogant city views, why should we dumb people in the ‘burbs vote for it?) and insulting/generalizing people at the blog (“BRT is dumb! We could be spending that money on a new tunnel! Wah!; This looking-down-your-nose attitude coming from some of you is insulting.; Now considering your arrogant city views, why should we dumb people in the ‘burbs vote for it?; The underlying theme on this blog of “you are dumb if you don’t live in the city and own a car” is fucking insulting.; Don’t lecture me on respect. Posts like “Suburb Slum Watch” and elitist phrases like “they get it” are entirely disrespectful.).

    Whose closed minded and who is looking down their nose?

    “they get it” isn’t a disrespectful or elitist statement. I’m not sure what closed-minded thought is running around in your head nor why you would take that as an attack on you or whatever your beliefs are.

    The post title “Suburb Slum Watch” is most likely referring to the two articles it was discussing: The Next Slum? and Is America’s subruban dream collapsing?. The posting itself (you should read it before commenting) is about rail being most fit to support the “newly demanded” walkable urbanism…whether it be in the urbs or the suburbs (psst, such can be in both). I don’t think anyone here is hating on the suburbs. In fact, don’t some of the operators of this blog live in the ‘burbs?

    If you still feel that posts here are an attack on you, your neighborhood, your way of life, or whatever, I don’t remember there being an obligation to read…If you feel the urge to stick around and comment everyday, then playing Captain Suburb, the protector of all that is non-urban, doesn’t do much for your “closed-minded” argument calling out everything “urban” in nature as looking down noses (btw: in case you didn’t see it in the last paragraph, walkable and transit are not just urban). Stop looking down your nose at us transit-freaks so we can discuss transit.

  16. “The Eastside Corridor no longer exists.”

    “Cascade Bike Club is actively promoting tearing up the [right-of-way] on the Eastside Corridor immediately. What is anyone doing to promote another view?”

    “The right-of-way issue is false.”

    What is your point, brad? Do you have some better transportation options that you want to talk about? What’s a better plan for our region, for the next ST ballot?

    I look forward to you bullying me some more. Do PCOs usually pick on city-dwellers and demand their lunch money? Do you want to call me fat, make fun of my Alf shirt, and punch me in the stomach, too?

    People have a rainbow of political views, you need to be more tolerant of them — particularly here.

  17. I don’t want to comment on the BRT, but I do agree with brad that parking near stations is important.

    The wilburton tunnel is a goner, and the wildburton tressle is old, but most of the Eastside rail corridor is still intact.

  18. Back on topic, I also agree that parking near stations is useful as you get further away from the city. I understand that downtown Redmond to do develop as more sense, but a stop between Overlake and Redmond should be designed with the fact that much of Redmond is car-dependent (and thus have ample parking).

    I also think that there should be a nominal fee for parking (something low, like $1 for transit pass holders, $2 for non-pass holders) to keep demand reasonable, and encourage people to take local bus options if feasible.

  19. oops:

    I understand that downtown Redmond to do develop as more sense

    I meant

    I understand that downtown Redmond to do develop as a more walkable area :)

    (The Redmond TC won’t have space for a big parking in 12 years since they’re developing that land.)

  20. Ok, Rizz, I’ll play along…

    Where exactly would that ample parking lot be located somewhere between Overlake and Redmond, following the routing laid out by ST?

    Tri-met WES has only 100 spaces at some of the stations. That’s ridiculous.

    Sooner or later, some of you will start to listen…. if you charge for parking at a park and ride, you are creating a disincentive to use transit. Do you want riders or do you only want “your type” of riders? Big difference.

    Also, charging at park-and-rides would be wholly rejected by the existing park-and-ride users. And, again, this would ensure any ST proposal will fail at the ballot.

  21. “The Eastside Corridor no longer exists. The Wilburton Tunnel was whacked in the 405 widening, and it’ll take a huge chunk of money to re-connect it. Money which no one has.”

    Uh, no.

    While the Wilburton Tunnel is becoming a memory as we speak, WSDOT is most certainly on the hooks for the replacement bridge necessary for reconnecting the railroad / trail / rail-trail. That was a condition of the I-405 project. The corridor is by no means gone south of Bellevue! The cost of that bridge replacement is decimal dust compared to the rest of the project.


  22. Brad:

    “Where exactly would that ample parking lot be located somewhere between Overlake and Redmond, following the routing laid out by ST?”

    The final stations and routing for Redmond were never determined, as far as I know. If you check out the proposed ST2 plan you’ll see that there are two stops near downtown Redmond but where exactly they would be wasn’t known. There were a couple of alternatives, if I recall.

    Anyway, assuming two stations: the Redmond transit center will be too developed for a big parking lot. Redmond City Council doesn’t want a big parking lot there. Talk to your local officials :) But it’d be nice to have ample parking at the other Redmond station. If there is ever an Avondale stop, I think that area would be ideal for a big parking lot as well.

    By the way, this is an ST3 issue. There is no way light rail can reach downtown Redmond in 12 years. It seems a little too far off to be discussing it with such certainty.

    “Sooner or later, some of you will start to listen…. if you charge for parking at a park and ride, you are creating a disincentive to use transit. Do you want riders or do you only want ‘your type’ of riders? Big difference.”

    Charging money for bubble gum doesn’t create a disincentive to enjoy treats, it assigns a market value to it. Similarly, parking spaces (like transit itself) is not free to operate. By heavily subsidizing parking (again, like transit), you do not completely eliminate the benefits while still assigning some market value. Parking is a massive capital cost, and when lots are full you have to get a way to limit demand, increase supply, or both. I propose both :)

    If those parking lots still fill up after fees are assigned, you have just as many transit riders and there is a small capital incentive to build more transit.

    In combination with that, we should have good feeder bus service to all stations urban, suburban, and exurban — some folks who drive to the park and ride will have a small incentive to bus there instead if parking isn’t free.

    (You could apply your argument to making transit itself free, and it’s a completely valid argument. I don’t think transit should be free, either.)

    “Also, charging at park-and-rides would be wholly rejected by the existing park-and-ride users. And, again, this would ensure any ST proposal will fail at the ballot.”

    It would make sense to only implement parking fees at P&R’s that are already at or over capacity, as to not scare off people where the demand is low.

    I think demand is high enough for Sounder that charging a minimal fee for parking will still mean that those lots are full by 8am. The fees can go into funds that build additional parking or increase feeder bus service. Maybe this would increase so-called “kiss & riders” which is another boon for the environment and congestion.

    But it’s not as cut and dried as “eliminate parking, make them walk, pretend it’s Capitol Hill” and I don’t think it’s that crazy. If $1 fee would cause mass
    a significant drop in ridership for Sounder/Link, then obviously I’d reconsider — but basic market research should be able to determine this.

    Building more parking takes another ST measure, so having a price on parking can regulate demand in the mean-time while ST doesn’t have the resources or authority to increase supply.

  23. I also need to mention that the recent boom in transit is related to gas prices. Even with a marginal fee in parking, nearly all of the long-distance trips that P&R folks are generally going on will be cheaper because of the cost of gas. Transit is still helping them, and hopefully helping even more people by getting those who can walk, bike, or take the bus to the P&R to do so.

  24. “Sooner or later, some of you will start to listen….”

    Someone is looking down their nose again.

    Rizzuhjj, totally agree. I remember taking Caltrain in the SF Bay Area in from the burbs (mom worked in the City and I went to a school in another ‘burb). We’d certainly drive to the station, cause…what else were we gonna do? They charged a nominal fee to use the facilities (parking) just as using the other facilities (the train). Didn’t stop us or anyone else that went aboard every day (that parking lot was always full). Nothing should be free.

  25. Brad,

    Get over it. Life isn’t all about driving and free parking.

    The world is changing, but if you don’t want to change, then just don’t. Nobody is forcing you to take Link or ride a DMU. You can continue to live your current lifestyle as long as you can afford to pay for it, and as long as you care to deal with congestion.

    Basically, as long as you pay your taxes in full each year and don’t hurt anyone, then you are essentially free to do whatever you care to do (within limits of course). Which brings up the question:

    Why exactly do you care to participate in this forum? This forum ultimately is about “Seattle Transit” – hence the name. If you don’t care about “Transit”, and you don’t live in or near “Seattle” or it’s extended urban area, then why participate????

    Get over it, move on.

  26. On parking: until the train is running, it won’t be clear of 100 spaces is too few. Maybe that station won’t be much used. It doesn’t make sense to build a huge parking garage, only to find that nobody uses it.

    Also, if all the parking *is* being used, it’ll be a much easier sell to start charging for it if it’s clear that the proceeds will go into paying for a garage. If built intelligently, a garage can still add to local urbanism.

    We don’t have to fight about this.

  27. Would be nice if Colorado Railcar actually updated their website every once in awhile, especially announce that they have delivered these vehicles.

    Now there is one railroad that can actually exploit the full range of possibilities this vehicle can offer. The Alaska Railroad. They have recently cycled the Budd RDCs used on the Hurricane Turn flag-stop service through upgrades, the Colorado Railcar DMUs could be used on that service, as well as commuter rail service in Anchorage. There is actually talk of the latter, with Mayor Begich of Anchorage(not sure if it is anything more than just political grandstanding, he’s challenging Senator Stevens), and the Mayor of the Mat-Su Borough are working on details. The main obstacle, besides need to upgrade existing stations(Ship Creek improvements are in the works), build new stations, and track conditions? The would-be operator has reservations. it is mainly worries over funding it.

    Anyway, good to see Portland’s vehicles have been delivered.

  28. Although the BNSF corridor doesn’t go through downtown Bellevue itself, it does run right across the street from Overlake Hospital, where East Link will have a station (and might terminate?). It would be possible to just run DMUs on the BNSF line from Overlake northward and avoid the Wilburton area entirely. That sounds like it would save a fair amount of trouble.

    As far as the parking garage debate goes, I’d really appreciate webcams of each major one so I can tell if they’re full or not.

  29. Nice response rizz. You didn’t answer the question tho.

    The answer is: There is NO place for a park-and-ride between Overlake and Redmond. None.

    So your theory is incorrect.

    I love it when you guys bloviate on and on about areas and situations you have zero clue about. It’s really easy to tear apart your lame arguments. (Aside from your tightly-held stereotypes, which you can keep for yourselves, thank you.)

    Get over it? It all doesn’t mean jack to me. ST2 has nothing for me or most of the people who live in a 15 miles radius from me. ST3 is a pipe-dream.

    No one will vote for any of this as long as the Seattlites keep a stranglehold on the discussion.

    But of course, I don’t really get it, do I, Martin?

  30. Hey Brad…

    I can think offhand of a dozen sites where a park and ride could be situated along the alternatives outlined in the ST2 plan. The SR-520 right of way is quite large, and there’s quite a bit of space near Redmond Town Center that’s neither developed nor designated parkland.

    Regardless, I don’t see any reason to put a park and ride between those points. Let downtown Redmond grow up around the rail (as it’s already doing) and you’ll quickly have no need for them. We can use feeder buses to get to rail rather than wasting the space around it.

    Brad, your lifestyle is fine, but your commute is always going to be congested until you help us give the people who can use rail the opportunity to do it. Something I think you may be missing here is that gas is not $2/gallon anymore – the assertions that ST2 would not reduce congestion are no longer true at all (and they were half-truths to begin with, but that’s another story). Let’s say we were to build the full ST2 package from last year – you would see marked improvement in traffic congestion on the trips you have said you take.

  31. Brad, I lived in Redmond/Overlake for four years so I understand that the much of the area is developed already and as such its hard to build massive parking structures. However, I’m not sure I totally get your point — if there’s no room for parking, how do you expect it to be built?

    If your suggestion is to extend the line until there is land to develop on, I think I did answer your question with a “where”: The area past the Redmond TC near Avondale (the Whole Foods/Fatburger area) is could easily support a parking structure.

    Also, basically refuting that “there’s nowhere between Overlake an Redmond”: Much of the area near downtown Redmond (west of downtown, north of Redmond way) is industrial and I can imagine a piece of property being bought for a P&R as well. Where ever they build the second station I was talking about would require a large staging area so clearly ST would have to buy some big piece of property.

    In terms of ST2 benefiting you, well it’ll control congestion throughout the region and help cross-lake traffic, that’s for sure. (What happens on the 90 and 405 affect the 520 too!) The money and process isn’t being hijacked. Subarea equity and proportional representation on the ST board help to ensure that.

    In terms of some of your other comments… I don’t know if you’re referring to me, but it sort of seems so. I have avoided bringing this up, because it won’t sway your opinion, but I lived in downtown Redmond for a year and in Overlake for three years. Maybe I was in the same KC district that you’re a PCO for — if not, just one or two over. And you’re right, now I live in Seattle — I’ve lived in the city for thirteen months. Sure, you’re might still tell me I don’t know your situation because you’re in rural Redmond. But I do know the area, and I know it damn well.

    So, seriously, this culture clash stuff is a but over-wrought.

  32. Ben S: “Regardless, I don’t see any reason to put a park and ride between those points.”

    I did contradict you earlier in this thread, but if you look at a map between roughly the Overlake TC and the Redmond TC you can see that a lot of this area can be served well with feeder buses.

    However, if you look between downtown Bellevue and Overlake, you’ll see there there is a lot of cul-de-sac’y development that’s hard to serve with feeder buses. I think it might be worthwhile & novel having P&R’s that have feeder buses running to light rail stops, though.

    Also, an Avondale area P&R would seriously help probably the worst land-use patterns in all of Redmond have better access to transit.

  33. rizzuhjj, I think that by providing park and rides in bel-red, we’d set ourselves up for a much larger problem. We’d congest all of the surface streets in the area during commute times. Considering that Bellevue is interested in upzoning the areas around stations in the bel-red corridor to up to 10 stories, I think there’s a one-two punch knocking out any possibility of p&rs.

    I see the point – it’s easy to point out all the people we won’t serve – but the space around the station will serve a lot more people in the long term if we *don’t* build park and rides. The traffic we’d create would work to stifle new development.

  34. Well, I was out east of Overlake a few years ago and I didn’t see anything I would hesitate to level with a D8 Cat to make parking. Not that you would need to, considering all the vacant parking spaces you see there at the very peak of the business day. All of those businesses can move, and most will in five or ten years anyway- if experience is any guide.

    The DMU has always been touted as a solution and remained an anamoly. All things considered, it’s tempting to view them as transportation oddities, and pretty much leave it as that.

  35. “We’d congest all of the surface streets in the area during commute times.”

    Just shows you don’t know the area. It sometimes takes a bus 2-3 traffic signal cycles to leave Overlake TC since the streets are so clogged.

    It could be worse how?

    I’m glad the conversation has changed and the majority of you are at least attempting to understand the regional perspective.

    If you want a ST proposal to pass, it needs to include something for everyone.

    An I90 LRT routing to Overlake provides a sweet commute for Microsofties. Nothing more, nothing less. Without addressing 520 OR 405 in this round of ST expansion does nothing for Kirkland, Woodinville, Redmond, Sammamish, Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Preston, North Bend, etc.

    If you live in any of these areas, ST2 does not help you. The park-and-rides are already full. There’s no access to the transit system for us. But of course, we are paying for it right now.

    Same is true for the 167 corridor. The lots are already full. There is no access to the existing system. Why would we pay more for a bigger system when it has zero benefit?

    When the I90 LRT is built, in order for me to take transit to the airport, I’d need to drive 15 mins to Bear Creek PnR, drive around 5 mins looking for a parking place (and then park illegally since its full) then take 545 to Overlake (19 mins) transfer to LRT (avg dwell 10 mins?)

    So far, I’ve invested 49 mins just to get to LRT under ST2.1. And I STILL have to ride East Link, and transfer to Central Link, etc.

    And I’m much closer (and MUCH MUCH) more willing to at least try to ride transit than the vast majority of the populace on this side of the lake, regardless of whether I live in Kirkland or Duvall.

    Don’t tell me about how LRT will shorten my commute. It won’t. And if you don’t give us access to the system, we have literally no reason to vote for it.

    In that same amount of time, I can drive to Sea-tac.

  36. Well, if that don’t beat all. Brad, it is truly pathetic that your suburban lifestyle has made it impossible for anything at all to get done. Even stranger, life was a lot sweeter out there when the only freeway to be found was the old four-lane 10 headed east. How did we do it?

    Here’s a news flash- if the P&R lots are full, that doesn’t mean there is no service- it means the existing service is heavily utilized. So get there earlier! This is not one of the higher dimensions of mathematics.

    And the amount of whining about how far Overlake is from Bellevue- honestly, people, it’s like ten blocks, max. The only reason not to walk it is the bad architecture and the noise and stink of the roads.

    Face it, they tried that “something for everyone” on the last ballot and it lost. I have no objection to them trying a well thought-out plan that does certain specific things on the next ballot. If the voters don’t want to build for their future, it’s most likely because many of them expect to move, and in that case it would be dumb for the rest of us to build for their future.

    However, I’m guessing there’s some smart money in Bellevue that will get behind LRT on the I-90. It’s the right thing to do.

  37. Brad,

    “Just shows you don’t know the area. It sometimes takes a bus 2-3 traffic signal cycles to leave Overlake TC since the streets are so clogged. … It could be worse how?”

    5-6 traffic signals before your bus gets to leave the Overlake TC would be worse.

    And as a response to the argument that light rail is a gimme to Microsofties: you know where a lot of that traffic on 156th is coming from. Might as well serve an area that could use it.

    “So far, I’ve invested 49 mins just to get to LRT under ST2.1. And I STILL have to ride East Link, and transfer to Central Link, etc.”

    Even if ST had all the money it wanted at hand, the best you’d see is a station at the Redmond TC and more parking at Bear Creek. You’ll still have to drive 15 minutes to Bear Creek. You’d still have to transfer to light rail. You’d still have to switch downtown. You’re still looking at 30 minutes before getting on a train.

    There is almost nothing that can be done to satisfy your particular needs, and certainly not within the next 15 years. If you’re going to base your vote on how the plan affects you directly, then your vote is probably lost.

    However, I urge you to consider that the impacts of your vote affect more than yourself and your pocketbook. Your children and their children will see the benefits. Your neighbors will not see traffic disappear, true — but if they think it’s bad now (and it is), then give this region 12 more years of growth. Gas is likely only to continue its increase in price, and indeed this entire region is more and more prone to inflation as the price of gas rises. And finally, say one day 10 years down the line you decide to move closer to downtown Redmond — not because of the environment or politics, but because there’s a really nice house around there. And boom, you’re right next to a light rail stop. ST2.1 is all about the future of our region, not necessarily the future of your commute.

    But with all seriousness, brad, you can’t expect an express bus or a light rail stop to come close to you if you’re 15 minutes away from bear creek.

    I don’t think your choice of where you live is evil or wrong, but I think there is a point to be made that where you live makes it tremendously difficult to get to transit. Keep in mind, though, that it probably takes you as long to get the Bear Creek P&R as it does for me to find free parking in my neighborhood. :)

    Brad, I really would like to hear a plan from you that’d make you happier, though. As far as I can tell, investing in the 520 and 405 corridors still wouldn’t benefit you all that much. Investing in 167 certainly wouldn’t. It seems like you’re just arguing for a bunch of suburban investments and while I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, except you have to keep in mind that each sub-area has to pay for its own share. So if East King County had enough money to build along 405 to Bothell and all the way to Avondale (with serve to your kitchen :D) and down to Issaquah, I wouldn’t mind at all because it’s all within your subarea. But you’d also have to have a much larger tax base and a lot of patience.

  38. rizz-

    Just pointing out why ST ballot proposals are doomed to failure, that’s all.

    If we can dump the tacit (and sometimes overt) ‘you are stupid for living in the suburbs, but will you pay for “our” transit system’ tone of this blog, everyone would be better served.

    I never even thought twice about voting NO on transit until I tired of the incessant drumbeat of some of the bloggers here who feel compelled to comment on a daily basis about how stupid everyone else is for living their lives differently than their own.

    Actually, getting closer to diverse people/ideas/thoughts is one of the main attractions to ride transit for me. I like feeling connected.

    But when I continually read about how Martin is hoping all suburbs become slums, and BRT is stupid and parking garages are stupid all the rest, I have to stop and think about what I’ve always blindly considered as a social truth- a need to build more transit.

    Also, most of you would hardly consider the area where I live ‘the suburbs’ although that neatly fits your stereotype.

    And the whole “I’m not calling your lifestyle choice for living in the suburbs” theme is also pretty damned offensive. Remember that next time you want a christmas tree, need a plumber, want a cabinet made, want to take your kid for a horse ride, want a new career working with animals, want to buy some irises, etc. Those are all businesses me and my neighbors have and none of them would fit in your precious TOD.

    So just lay off the ‘lifestyle’ crap. My ‘lifestyle’ makes your life livable.

    I’ve never once complained about gas prices or transit taxes (although I’m beginning to question the future direction thanks to Martin’s condescension.) I ride transit more often than most people I know who live in Seattle, and I’ve even trained some of them on how to ride. My car is 11 years old and not an SUV. I planted 700 trees this spring (and I’m not even the xmas tree farmer). I think, in all, I live a pretty sustainable lifestyle.

    And more importantly, I’ve never once questioned why anyone would want to live in Seattle city limits.

    Again, the beauty of a society is in the diversity. It’s a lesson some of you should consider, before casting judgment on those who don’t live like you.

  39. Uh, Brad, if Seattle alone had voted for Prop 1 the same way it voted for some of the early monorail proposals, or for Sound Move, ST2 would have passed last year, in an off year with no top ticket contenders.

    This year, with Obama and Gregoire, turnout in the ST district will be very high.

    Here’s something that should be a reality check for this discussion, though: Sound Transit’s district doesn’t go much past Bear Creek – where do you live that you’d have to drive for 15 minutes to get there, but still be voting for it? A lot of the people whose lifestyles can’t be served by transit don’t live in the district and don’t pay the taxes.

  40. Again, Ben, respectfully, I am fully aware of the RTID/RTA boundary. It impacts my personal and business activity. Thousands of dollars per year. Ditto my neighbors.

    It DOES go ‘much past Bear Creek’.
    Pretty much anyone east of Lk Wash is in the same situation as me. ST2.1 does NOTHING for us. We are currently paying the taxes, and nearly everyone here admits, we don’t have access to the current system, let alone access to a larger, more costly system. And there is likely a decent argument that ST 2.1 would HARM many Eastside residents due to the construction issues on I90 while Eastlink is being built.

    (Can you provide a single scenario where a resident of Issaquah is benefitted by ST2.1? Even someone who lives next to a park-and-ride?)

    And while turnout is a big issue, a very significant battle out here is the Reichert/Burner contest for WA-08. I wish it weren’t true, but people turn out to vote for Reichert, and especially in East Pierce and SE King. These same people would be largely anti-ST.

    (sigh) I can’t believe you guys actually brought me to this place. What do I do now? Cancel my TRAINS subscription? Cancel my WASHARP membership? Transportation Coalition? Dang. I liked that stuff.

  41. Old saws don’t cut, brad.

    Think of it all this way: providing transit for the economic center of the region is good business sense.

  42. Brad, you’ve acted pretty condescending, have repeatedly mocked the goals of urban living, and have been pretty vicious to me personally. No one owes you an apology.

    I agree that it’s not very relevant where you live in most of our conversation. I don’t want any of your neighbors to feel like they’re not incredibly valuable members of the Puget Sound, because they certainly are.

    However, when you point to your anecdotal commute of having to drive fifteen minutes to a P&R and when you ask why ST2.1 isn’t directly benefiting you: your location now becomes relevant when discussing the merits of your argument.

    You’ve asked what this plan do directly for you? Nothing, we know. But really, what you need to ask is, should ST2.1 do directly something for you? Is where you live the number one transportation issue in the region? BRT is going to run across the 520. Rail will run across the 90. Rail will hit Northgate. Probably our three biggest regional transportation problems are addressed in nearly any plan ST will develop.

    I’m tired of telling you why it’s smart to vote for transit — I’m sure you know all the reasons. If you’re really going to vote against whatever ST2.1 looks like just to spite some bloggers, then that’s your right.

    I do have two questions:

    1) I’ve been asking this a bunch, but I’d really like to hear something — not to prove anything, but because I want to know what your priorities are. What would be your transit solutions? What would be your ideal ST2.1? Keep in mind, we can’t change Sound Move at all. :)

    2) Assuming you were around here in 1996, did you vote yes on Sound Move because it directly benefited you, did you vote yes and it did not directly benefit you at the time, or did you vote no? (where Sound Move = Bear Creek P&R, Redmond TV, route 545). I’m also curious if Sound Move only ended up benefiting you because you changed jobs, moved, etc. (I realize the benefits aren’t that great, but still!)

  43. Apologies to all- I see Overlake Transit Center is considerably east of Overlake Hospital- a stiff walk indeed.

    However, it would seem to me that a stop at Overlake Hospital would be a good place to get off for a walk into Bellevue.

  44. Brad, to tell the truth I seem to live further out in the woods than you do, and I’ve never noticed the slights you complain of from the bloggers and commenters here. However, that may be because I grew up in Bellevue before it started taking steroids, and I don’t have much love for what has happened since.

    Strange to say, most of the Seattle transit watchers are not railfans. Don’t make my mistake and suggest that building a model railroad might be educational! That suggestion was not received in the spirit with which it was offered.

    I think it’s entirely wrong to ask what transit will do for me personally. The question is, what does it do for society? The alternative to having routes laid out on the basis of demographics and geography is to have routes laid out on a ‘squeaky wheel’ basis.

    Bottom line- if you moved ‘out there’ to get away from what happens in the city or suburb, you don’t really want transit bringing the city or suburb to you. What you think you want today might be what you regret having gotten tomorrow. I know I sure as hell don’t want the county to improve the roads or make any more short platting possible around here, and if better buses in Bremerton will make life there more attractive to somebody, I’m all for it, even if I never ride them.

  45. Brad,

    Without addressing 520 OR 405 in this round of ST expansion does nothing for Kirkland, Woodinville, Redmond, Sammamish, Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Preston, North Bend, etc.

    Everything after Sammamish in that paragraph is outside the Sound Transit boundary. They only pay ST taxes to the extent that they come into the ST area to buy things. And of course, Redmond WILL have light rail given a sufficiently large package, which strains the definition of “does nothing”.

    But onwards….
    1) Brad, I challenge you to point out where, on this blog, you’ve read a thorough denunciation of park-and-rides. In fact, this blog has taken issue repeatedly with the Sierra Club and others who want to trash the whole plan because it builds parking. The $1-2 collection fee will make it more likely that you’ll find a space at the P&R, not less, and I’m not sure why a buck on a trip to the airport is such a deal breaker for you. Driving to Seatac might cost $20 in gas plus parking!

    In fact, here’s a link to Ben’s extended defense of P&Rs link

    2) As other commenters have pointed out, the point of my “suburban slum watch” posts was that large exurban housing tracts poorly served by transit are not likely to be very economically vibrant. No one’s attacking the truly rural lifestyle, which we do of course depend on, and that it’s hard to construe that sort of attack from my post.

    So yes, let’s build to Redmond, Lynnwood, and Federal Way. In fact, I’ve come out in favor of building to this places when arguing with the Ballard-before-anything-else types.

  46. I voted for every single transit proposal in this region. It is only now, after some prodding by all of you, that I have reconsidered why.

    More transit on more major thoroughfares NOW!

    Expand the old park-and-rides, to make the system accessible from the Eastside.

    Make express routes direct to/from downtown. (The 545 and 554 are ridiculous.)

    I’ve never once questioned why anyone would live downtown. Never. That’s not true, rizz.

    Also, you’ll note, I’ve never once recommended building a road. Not a single lane.

  47. AJ- Don’t lecture me on business. ST2.1 is essentially transit for Microsofties. (It is entirely Seattle-to-Overlake focused, and not really useful to anyone else on the Eastside. And there’s no access.)

    And the ironic thing is that ST2.1 is completely undermined by the MS Connector.


  48. It is such a pity that some people cannot get passed their own very narrow, very focused, very selfish desires to see a greater good. The shame is that the greater good always does benefit the individual. In the case of transit (whether one will use it or not) come indirect benefits of greater regional economic vibrancy, less traffic on highways and arterials, and all the various benefits of transportation provision. Such a pity. As a closed minded Seattleite, I see this greater good and would love to contribute to paying for transit expansion to the Eastside even though I do not foresee a need to go there myself. Unfortunately, due to the narrow and selfish desires of the few that dominate politics here, ST has a one of a kind taxation system where my taxes won’t go to said expansion. Such a pity.

    Come to think of it: since our taxes are split East and West, shouldn’t our votes be split East and West? If the majority of West siders vote for expansion of light rail, shouldn’t our ST pot be spent upon expansion of the light rail system on the West side? And if the majority of East siders vote to not expand light rail, shouldn’t their ST pot go to what ST is already spending their East side pot on?

  49. Brad:

    “More transit on more major thoroughfares NOW!”

    I think everyone here agrees on principle that buses should be as frequent as possible. However, I believe that is a Metro King County issue considering 0.9% of our sales taxes go to their bus system. I agree that more buses, the better — but ST should not be developing local routes on local streets, no matter how big they are.

    “Expand the old park-and-rides, to make the system accessible from the Eastside.”

    ST2 advertised “11,200+ Up to 12,500 new park-and-ride stalls.” I’m not sure where those would have went, though.

    “Make express routes direct to/from downtown. (The 545 and 554 are ridiculous.)”

    What do you mean by “ridiculous”? Where would these routes ago?

    “ST2.1 is essentially transit for Microsofties. (It is entirely Seattle-to-Overlake focused, …”

    Really? The 0.4% option doesn’t even go to Microsoft — it terminates right near downtown Bellevue.

    However, to address your point: Microsoft is a massive employer. You yourself talk about the traffic on 156th and I’m sure you note the congestion on 520 going both ways past NE 41st St. Is there a reason we shouldn’t address this major transportation issue? Transit needs to go where the people are.

    “…and not really useful to anyone else on the Eastside. And there’s no access.)”

    Doesn’t everyone in the region benefit from reduced congestion?

  50. Brad,
    A while back you questioned how ST2.1 would benefit someone who lives in Issaquah. A big benefit would be much more frequent service across the lake to the Eastside in general. I was just stuck at UW for an hour because I missed the 271, which runs hourly after mid-evening (ditto for the 554). If East Link is like Central Link, we’ll have trains every 15 minutes until past midnight!

    Even if your person from Issaquah didn’t park right along the East Link route the train would get them a lot closer to home, making a taxi trip or ride from a friend much easier to manage.

  51. > A big benefit would be much more frequent service across the lake to the Eastside in general.
    > I was just stuck at UW for an hour because I missed the 271, which runs hourly after
    > mid-evening

    Unless you happen to live north or east of 520 in which case going downtown to catch a train to where you don’t want to be makes no sense. Even when built out in 2020 it’s unlikely East Link will do as much for relieving pressure on the 520 corridor as it burns up two HOV/Transit lanes across the lake.

Comments are closed.