The new 15-year plan looks great, and I agree with the Tacoma News Tribune editorial that says if the plan is right, the year it goes to the ballot won’twon’t matter. But I’ll take the News Tribune one step further: if this plan won’t pass, none will. Getting Light Rail to Federal Way, Overlake and Lynnwood were musts, and the plan has those, plus my pet project, the First Hill streetcar. It has a few more Sounder runs, and promises a 100% increase in ridership over doing nothing. This in only 15 years, what else could pass?

I do disagree with the New Tribune on this bit:

For cities on the periphery of the transit system – especially Lakewood, Tacoma and Everett – the flaw in any of these plans is the iffyness of that third round.

Some Seattleites have been losing interest in building the light rail system beyond Sea-Tac and Northgate. Erstwhile light rail supporters with 206 area codes have been concluding that express buses – which get stuck in the traffic that trains bypass – are good enough for people with 253 and 360 area codes.

Who on earth has been saying that? I guess the Stranger was going on about “sprawl-inducing” light rail, which I still say is total madness, but I don’t think anyone outside of those Capitol Hillbillies believe that the 253 or 360 don’t deserve light rail. Most Seattlites responses would be either “who cares” or “that’d be great”. I can’t imagine anyone saying “Tacoma doesn’t deserve light rail”.

Anyway, with sub-area equity, it’s all part of the bargain. If Seattlites are ever going to get Ballard or West Seattle light-rail, projects most everyone most everyone in the City wants, they are going to have to get light rail to Tacoma and beyond, to Mill Creek and beyond, and to Redmond and Beyond. So there’s no worry of Seattlites plotting against the suburbanites.

54 Replies to “If this plan won’t pass, none will”

  1. ST subarea equity does not require the ST2 projects in each subarea be “regional LRT”, only that the expenditures benefit each subarea in proportion to the revenue generated.

    There is no rule stating that the Pierce County LRT be connected to Central Link LRT. In fact, they already have an LRT line between the downtown hub and the Tacoma Dome station. A reasonable ST2 project would be extend that line within Tacoma: north to TCC via 6th Avenue and south to PLU via Pacific Avenue. The inter county trips can and should be on Sounder and express bus.

    Systemwide dynamic tolling of the limited access highways and the center access ramps built by ST will preven the long-distance buses from being “stuck in traffic”. ST has already constructed several center access ramps. The Federal Way South 317th Street ramps would be ideal for two-way all-day frequent service between the Tacoma Dome and downtown Seattle. Another good south King and Pierce County project would be center access ramps at Industrial Way. It was in the defeated PropOne proposal.

    The key choice in ST2 is not bus v. LRT, but what bus and what LRT. Building Link LRT in new rights-of-way is very costly. For the $2 billion cost of east Link LRT, ST2 could elevate several routes to BRT and fund two-way all-day service on the Woodinville subdivision. That could be a LRT or DMU intra Eastside transit spine. Buses can be made to go fast on the freeways. It is the closely spaced urban centers that should have rail, not the distant ones.

    1. Ben S recently linked to a post that he had made last year that I think addresses some of your points. The point is that the amount of people who live in downtown Tacoma and travel to downtown Seattle is pretty minimal, so when talking about two different end-to-end trips and equating them you have to take into account the amount of people served. For example, route 590 makes no stops between Tacoma and Seattle. In fact, if you live in SODO and want to get downtown, the 590 won’t even let you on the bus to get to your destination.

      Note that the fifteen year plan plan serves the north border of Federal Way at a park & ride, which at least slightly more integrated than boarding on an overpass. I don’t think serving a series of overpasses will begin to get people to the destinations they need to be.

      I’m bored about the arguments of regional BRT vs. LRT, it’s frustrating that we’re on constant loop about this subject and as such I’ll only do one sentence about it. The price of diesel continues to rise at a higher pace than the price of gasoline, the operating costs are higher as an individual bus driver is capable of carrying less people, and for BRT to be reliable it will need its own lanes at the cost of general purpose lanes.

    2. I also need to let you know that Pierce County isn’t spending money on LRT in this proposed plan. It is spending money on expanding Sounder frequency and capacity. If you feel that extending the Tacoma Link project is a smarter move, at least realize that the reason it isn’t happening has nothing to do with the light rail plan involving South, North, and East King Counties as well as Snohomish County. The only money from the Pierce County subarea going to light rail will be right-of-way preservation for a future ST plan.

      Pierce County includes much more than just Tacoma, which is likely why the Sounder increase is taking priority. This example is quite illustrative: even though Sounder goes from Tacoma to Seattle, it serves areas away from those end-points.

    3. eddie, you’re having a 1968 argument. That’s the year that bus proponents suggested that for the same money as Forward Thrust, they could get bus transit operating in its own right of way.

      As you can see, that hasn’t happened – and they’ve had forty years to do it. Sound Transit won’t choose BRT because the same level of separation costs just as much as light rail, and it’s that level of separation that’s necessary to provide good service. Once you’ve paid for that, your rail operating costs are cheaper in the long run.

      We aren’t building transit “on the freeways”. We’re building transit in our urban cores.

      And no, ST2 can’t do anything but what’s been presented. It’s far too late to come up with some fantasy package. Buses on freeways are only part of the trip, when you take into account the whole thing, rail is the only technology that makes sense. I don’t understand why you keep pushing buses when it’s painfully obvious that they can’t do what you want them to do.

  2. The big disappointment would be no light rail to Sea-Tac (which is a lot closer than downtown Seattle) from Tacoma including the Tacoma Dome Park and Ride. Of course the Tacoma Link “light rail” is actually streetcar equipment, so I’m not sure the tracks would be compatible anyway.

    I’ve been on 590 or 594 buses that pick people up in SoDo, though I bet they’re supposed to pay full fare since it’s a ST bus. Maybe the driver is breaking the rules.

    I have a 503 area code cell phone… what does it mean for what I should advocate?!? If it is true that we should be voting by our area code, please help me!

    1. Joshuadf, the streetcar tracks in TAcoma were built to light rail standards. The station platforms would have to be modified and lengthened to serve regular light rail trains, and the power supply voltage would hvae to be changed (the substation was designed to facilitate this, btw). In short modifying the Tacoma line to accommodate “real” light rail is pretty straightforward — due to Sound Transit’s having planned ahead for just such a possibility.

    2. joshua – light rail to Tacoma in this package would sink the whole thing due to cost.

      You’re looking at 15 years to Federal Way. It hasn’t even been 15 years since Sound Move! We have a lot of time to get to Tacoma, but if we vote this down, we just have to fight THIS battle again, instead of getting farther.

  3. As long as light rail gets to UW and Sea-Tac, I don’t care where else it goes. … is what I’d say if I really didn’t understand what they were doing with sub-area equity.

    The argument, however, is somewhat valid. With Streetcars being plowed through the legislative process in the central city, if we don’t pass this now, a lot of Seattleites are going to get really apathetic toward the whole rail thing. “More rail? Oh forget that!”

    1. AJ- 30 years from now, when someone wants to build LRT to Monroe, likely you will say NO, regardless of where you live. At some point, the faux-libertarians in Seattle will lose their interest in transit (once they get theirs of course) and will close their checkbook.

      And when we say “Hey It’s a regional SYSTEM!” They’ll shrug and wish us good luck.

      1. Yeah, you make a logical point, John.

        But Prop 1 included a road project OUTSIDE the district, didn’t it? Yes, the 202 connector was not in the district.

      2. If it was a road project, what does that have to do with Sound Transit? Besides, all projects in Prop. 1 were contained in the RTID even if they weren’t in the Sound Transit district.

      3. The 202 connector linked at the border of the ST area. Other roads outside of the ST area were in the RTID. Not a hard concept.

      4. Yeah, Prop 1 wasn’t just ST, it was ST + RTID, and the RTID doesn’t share all of the ST boundary.

      5. If Monroe was somehow included in a light rail package, North King would have to benefit to some great extent as well, whether it is by service upgrades, system upgrades, extensions or what have you.

        And if they had somehow grown in such a way that it required X amount of service hours to provide bus service there, then we’d get back the difference between X and the enhanced rail service in useable system hours. It could mean 1 or it could mean a dozen more trips in each direction.

        It’s not that complex, really.

      6. I don’t agree. When someone mentions Monroe, because of Subarea equity they’ll have to mention somewhere else in Seattle. be it Madison Beach, Greenlake, Wallingford or whatever.

        People in Seattle will pretty much always want more of this.

      7. Brad, get a grip. You know damn well that Monroe isn’t in the ST district, and you know damn well that Seattle wouldn’t be paying for Monroe service. Shape up or ship out, I’m tired of your bullshit.

      8. Nice mouth, Ben.

        Prop 1 included a road project OUTSIDE the (ST) district (but inside the RTID district, and paid for by RTID taxes, not ST taxes).

        Stick to the facts (I am, thank you).

        (Edits in parentheses by Ben, who is sick and tired of this)

      9. If prop. 1 passes, those people would have paid RTID taxes and not Sound Transit taxes. Facts indeed.

  4. Did the Stranger commentator really write “sprawl-inducing” in reference to LRT and Tacoma/Lakewood? Really? Dude probably hasn’t been outside of Cap Hill lately enough to realize the sprawl IS ALREADY THERE! The idea with that in mind is to give commuters transportation CHOICES, which would include LRT, among other things. But then, I am preaching to the converted here already.

    David, Burien

    1. I believe the Stranger’s (and at one point Sierra Club’s) argument is that building LRT out into the burbs with big park-and-ride garages/lots rather than TOD will just encourage people to continue living in auto-centric enclaves. The only thing that will change is that some of them will drive by themselves to the park-and-ride and get on the train rather than drive by themselves all the way to work. It’s the SF/BART model from the 60’s and 70’s. Only now, after 30 years, is BART redeveloping some of those huge suburban park-and-ride lots into TOD. Despite all this, I’ll still vote for the proposed plan. It’s not perfect, but waiting for perfection will only result in nothing but business as usual.

      1. I love hearing that BART lots are being converted! That’s great.

        I want to point out that the sliver of people who would actually CHOOSE to move to a place where they’d have to drive to a park and ride and then take a train are tiny – and we’re providing a very small number of parking places relative to the capacity of these stations.

        It does take decades for new development. Trying to push it makes things worse, in general. That’s why we need to get started.

    2. No David, you are not preaching to the converted. Nearly everyone here a) denies that sprawl already exists, b) refuses to acknowledge that the current system outside Seattle has no access (park-and-rides are already at capacity) and c) refuse to consider any non-LRT infrastructure improvements outside the Seattle core, with their argument being that it will induce sprawl.

      And I think they are wrong.

      I don’t think another dollar should be spent on new roads. I DO think that there are many things that can be done that don’t take 20 years to impact the outlying areas.

      Oh, and these guys want you to start paying for parking at the park-and-ride, too.

      1. First of all, I feel that the arguments regarding LRT to park-and-rides encouraging sprawl fairly ridiculous. I think it’s a flawed argument and I don’t agree with it.

        > Nearly everyone here a) denies that sprawl already exists, <

        Sprawl exists, of course. However, sprawl isn’t “on” or “off” — you can sprawl less or sprawl more. Building or massive expanding a freeway allows more sprawl even where it already exists, for example.

        I’ve never met anyone on this blog who thinks that sprawl doesn’t exist.

        > b) refuses to acknowledge that the current system outside Seattle has no access (park-and-rides are already at capacity) c) refuse to consider any non-LRT infrastructure improvements outside the Seattle core, with their argument being that it will induce sprawl. I DO think that there are many things that can be done that don’t take 20 years to impact the outlying areas. Oh, and these guys want you to start paying for parking at the park-and-ride, too. <

        And I’ve defended that point of view and we’ve learned that BART/CalTrain does the same thing. Why should parking be provided for free?

      2. Because it subsidizes further sprawl. Granted, I actually have nothing against our park and rides being free, but I’d prefer not to have free parking in the city. There’s a great lecture on this called “The High Cost of Free Parking”.

      3. You’re manufacturing argument for your own benefit here, brad. For example, you say it will take 20 years to impact the outlying areas, but remember that we’ll get back those service hour savings from Central Link starting next year. If those outlying areas need more service, guess what will be the reason for it becoming available?

        You also say that nobody in the city acknowledges that sprawl exists– I don’t think that’s the case, either. The average density of King County is 800 with similar counts for Pierce and Snohomish counties. To say people from neighborhoods where density ranges between 8-15,000 people per square mile don’t recognize the existence of sprawl in King County is, again, a manufactured argument.

        Finally, charging a fee for Park-and-Ride lots works, regardless of what you feel about them. It promotes carpooling even further and is generally far cheaper than parking in the CBD.

      4. However, Ben has sworn up and down that light-rail won’t lead to reductions in bus service in adjacent lines, so you guys will have to figure out what the truth is.
        (I was crystal clear on this. The 550 is almost exactly duplicated, so it goes with East Link. The Everett routes will terminate at Northgate when the express lanes are closed, and continue downtown when the express lanes are open in their favor – your entire argument is based on ignoring the information I’ve given you.)

        Yeah, you guys love the idea of building LRT to Overlake, but then when I tell you that it’s a blackhole for Eastsiders, due to the full park-and-rides here, everyone just shakes their heads as if I’m speaking another language. Call it a manufactured argument all you want. I’m glad most of you are finally saying all of this: It’s LRT or nothing. Screw anyone who drives. We’ll get to you in 25 years. And you’ll be paying to park at the park and ride.
        (If you want us to get there sooner, start voting yes. We’d have been there in 1985.)

        I love that you guys are actually promoting IN WRITING your infatuation for charging parking fees at park and rides.
        (I haven’t, and neither has Sound Transit, so I don’t know what your issue is)

        You’ve immediately lost 4 of 5 equity districts.
        (Because of something nobody’s doing, but you keep repeating?)

        Good luck in November.
        (Good luck? I already take transit, and next year rail. Every year you say no is another year you can’t.)

        (Edits by Ben)

      5. Duplicate service, brad– are you really this dense? Why would they duplicate point-to-point service? A bus that travels down I-5 from Northgate to Seattle is duplicate service. An express bus from Bellevue to Seattle is duplicate service.

        It’s not a blackhole, brad, since service is not limited by the amount of parking spaces at a station. Think about stations like Beaverton Transit Center in Portland– NO PARKING. It’s always in competition with Hatfield for the most-used station on the westside. Feeder buses work, of course.

        And people here are saying that charging fees for park and rides is not a bad thing and that actual world-class cities get by with it no problem. You don’t and won’t use the system so you hurl a good-for-the-gander logic at something you refuse to understand.

        You’re doing this on purpose, clearly, but it’s good for discourse to show what sort of way-off arguments people are making.

        I think making the argument for how many service hours can be transferred to the eastside would be a great boost to the process.

    3. Tacoma is as old as Seattle, so calling that sprawl is crazy (though the Stranger did). But they were actually refering to federal way (!!!), a town of about 90,000 people. The stranger folks pretty much never leave the hill, unless it’s to go to Ballard :P

  5. The LRT-induced sprawl argument smacks of BS. Correlation does not equal causation. Places grow and people want to live in houses, that is the major cause of sprawl. Would you rather the people from these new developments drove all the way into the cities?

    1. People who have lived out here for decades AND people who moved here last month ALL have to drive into the city. The park-and-rides are full.

      We have no option.

      Of course, a lot of these guys will tell you that you should move. Some will even say it to your face. Others just dance around it in typical Seattle-nice fashion.

      1. I grew up in a suburb if Chicago, during a period when the park-and-rides (commuter train service) became full. You know what they did…started a bus service. This in a suburb of 1/4 acre lots and bigger. People actually walked the few blocks in rain, sleet, and under blazing sun to catch the buses, and they still do. Or they car pooled to the station.

      2. Or some people will dance around their anti-transit stance in a typical Seattle-nice fashion until called on it.

        Ben’s right.

      3. Too damn funny…

        From my home town’s website –
        Due to a demand greater than the number of permit spaces available, there are waiting lists for all three stations. Commuters may place their names on one or more of the waiting lists…

        The cost for parking is $80 per month; $110 for non-residents. A monthly pass on the shuttle to the station runs $45.

    2. It is BS. You can’t induce sprawl by putting trains through places that hundreds of thousands of people already live. If they put a train through Franklin county, maybe I could believe that. But Federal Way and Lynnwood? The stranger folks are confused.

  6. Brad,

    Your last two comments are filled with distortions, self-contradictions, and outright fabrications, but I’ll attempt to sift through it:

    1) Where did you get the idea that anyone here thinks sprawl doesn’t exist?

    2) You complain the park-and-rides are full, and then complain that we “want you to start paying for parking”. Do you not see the cognitive dissonance here? Here’s a tip: when the cost of any commodity is zero, demand increases so that it has be rationed. A nominal parking fee ($1 or $2), which we’ve advocated, seeks to manage that demand, because there ARE people who can easily walk, bike, or take the bus to the P&R, but are driving now.

    (3)”[STB] refuse[s] to consider any non-LRT infrastructure improvements outside the Seattle core, with their argument being that it will induce sprawl.”
    That’s an odd statement, because this blog strongly advocated for Proposition 1, which would have had $8 billion worth of road improvements, almost none of which were in the Seattle core. Many of them would have improved bus service.

    (4)”People who have lived out here for decades AND people who moved here last month ALL have to drive into the city. The park-and-rides are full.”

    In other words, “nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”

    1. In my experience the crowdedness of local park and rides is already leading to a sort of voluntary rationing, even without any user fees. My brother and I carpool each morning to Eastgate P&R to get to our summer internships, and I’ve seen a few other carpooler cars there. What would really help is a better local bus system—even if a person can’t make the carpool one day they still need a way to get to work, and the Eastside bus system is too infrequent and circuitous to be very effective.

      1. Meanwhile, people around this blog say we should abolish subarea equity for Metro to get more improvements for bus service in Seattle.

      2. Are you talking about the 20-40-40 rule for Metro? If so, I still think that’s a bad idea. New service should go where it’s needed first, before anything else. Besides, the problem with Eastside bus service isn’t frequency; it’s where and how the buses run. Taking the bus on the Eastside is like having to take the 75 through Sand Point to get from UW to Northgate, instead of taking the 67.

        The worst example of this is the 219. It stops just down the street from my house, but I don’t use it to commute because it doesn’t connect to any buses to downtown. Instead it terminates at Factoria, which is less than five minutes away from either Eastgate or South Bellevue P&R! I could take the reverse direction to Newport Hills P&R, but that would take me through three different neighborhoods and take half an hour. The problem with this route isn’t that it doesn’t have enough service hours; the problem is that the service hours it already has don’t serve anyone.

      3. I don’t think splitting something by 20%, 40%, and 40% can truthfully be called “equity.” No blogger here has an issue with suburban buses, though.

  7. SpaceCase Doug MacDonald has been making the rail=sprawl argument all over the place.

    Rob McKenna and other conservative anti-transit (pro-sprawl!) activists used to make similar claims in the late ’90s.

    Right wingers can’t get anything right. Why Doug MacDonald decided to join their ranks…bizarro

  8. In a nutshell, here’s the problem with the park-and-ride issue.

    People paid to buy the lots. People paid to build the lots. People paid to expand the lots. People will pay to build rail service to the lots. And then AFTER THE FACT you’ll tell them that they have to pay for access to the lot.

    If paid parking is on the agenda, then they need to be up-front about it. Otherwise, it’s a bait-and-switch.

    That’s my honest, no bs reply.

    I’m attending an Obama movie night tomorrow night. There are going to be about 20 people there, all pro-Obama, which should mean relatively progressive, pro-transit, etc.

    I’ll do an informal poll. Would you vote for the ST proposal this fall if you will have to pay for parking at the pnr? And do you support the current ST proposal?

    I don’t have any idea what these people will think, and I’ve never discussed it with any of them. But my general sense is that with high gas prices and low prop values, people are having a tough time of it.

    1. Brad,

      The nominal fee is really just a revenue-neutral way to help people near the lots by opening up spaces. The idea is that people start to carpool, walk, bike, or take the bus, if it’s reasonably convenient for them, ad freeing up space for people that really have to drive alone.

      But if you and your neighbors would prefer that parking be free and scarce, that’s certainly fine with me; it makes no difference to those of us who don’t use a car at all in our commute.

      If you do poll your neighbors, I ask that you please make it clear that this parking idea is NOT Sound Transit policy, just something a blogger cooked up. It’d be a shame if a rumor started that hurt the chances of the ballot measure.

    2. Paid parking has yet to even be a matter of discussion for Sound Transit. In fact, I am pretty much the entire reason you are bringing it up. My name is John, I’m a software developer in Lower Queen Anne. I do not set the region’s transit agenda or even this blog’s talking points — please stop acting like I do.

      To respond to your point, we all paid for light rail too but that doesn’t mean that it’s free to use. Just because you help pay for a parking lot doesn’t mean that it’s free to use for eternity, as well.

      However, it’s up to your subarea. If they think that free parking is a priority, that’ll be at the sacrifice of something else in your subarea. A Seattle politician won’t have much say in that decision.

  9. Also, re: “my BS”

    Uh, don’t you think that the proposal will get much more scrutiny and attacks in the general election?

    Can’t a debate include opposing views? Or is this only a limited-access club of pro-LRT fans?

    I just really don’t think you guys try to see things from any view but your own. Sound Transit is a regional org. Yet the bloggers here apparently only live in one equity district. And the whole ST region should drink the kool-aid of a bunch of guys who aren’t even representative of that same region?

    Sorry. That doesn’t work.

    So essentially, you guys engage in groupthink and then get pissy when someone disagrees.

    Remember, I came here one of the most strident pro-transit people in my area. But getting beat over the head by this Seattle-centric “I get it, you don’t attitude” is really aggravating.

    And it’s exactly what the anti-ST nut jobs will use against you.

    So, you can call me whatever you want. I’ll still ride the bus. I’ll ride the LINK. I’ll try to get friends to ride the bus to games. I’ll keep trying to get my Northgate-living girlfriend to take the bus. All that.

    But if this ST proposal does NOTHING for me, don’t get all pissy without actually considering what I’m saying might be true.

    1. Brad,

      Actually, Brian lives in Kent, and fully 4 of the 6 of us work on the East Side.

      Glad you’re still taking transit, in spite of your obvious disillusionment with us.

      If you’re going to vote solely on the impact of this package, and you don’t think this helps you, there’s not a lot I can say without understanding your travel patterns. But if there is some configuration of rail that you would like to see, I’d argue that voting for this measure is the fastest way to get there. Aside from the requirements of sub-area equity, ST is tackling the highest-ridership routes first, and there’s really no other logical way to approach it.

      If you just want buses, buses, buses, I think we’ve been clear on why we think that’s a bad idea, but you’re entitled to your opinion. In fact, someone who doesn’t care that much about encouraging density or creating fast, comfortable rides, and is happy to have marginal increases in ridership would quite reasonably favor a bus-only proposal.

      As for getting pissy, your comments have often teetered on the edge of personal attacks. Your most recent comment has been a pleasant exception.

    2. brad, do you really not know why people here have an issue with you? It actually has very little to do with your transit beliefs because you practically refuse to discuss them and instead result to insulting people. You wrote this to me less than a month ago:

      And I don’t need your respect. I have plenty of respect in my neighborhood, slummy as it may become.

      My point to you is this: As a PCO, I’m not just one vote. So we don’t really cancel each other out, do we? (link for full context)

      How incredibly distasteful.

      I’ve asked you to explain what your transit plan would be. This is the exact plan you wrote:

      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.) (link for full context)

      Do you want to know why some here are tired of you? It’s because people like me tried to have an intelligent discussion with you and were insulted. It’s because your took nearly 20 posts to extract your alternative to Sound Transit and it consists of:

      * More transit
      * More parking
      * More express bus

      Perhaps the most generic transportation plan I have ever read. Do you expect us to have a discussion about the alternatives to LRT when you aren’t even discussing them?

      Actually, that link reveals a lot. So I’ll link to it again: link link link. If anyone has an hour, check out the linked thread. In it, I attempt nearly a dozen times to respond to brad in a thoughtful manner while he ignores the vast majority of my post and resorts to the same-old personal attacks.

      And, seriously, how many times have you insinuated that people here have no idea what Redmond is like only to find out that we used to live in Redmond or we current work there? How many times do you have to try to divide us, only to find out that Wow, we are one region — we are interconnected.

      Our political differences would be more interesting if they weren’t fueled out of pure spite for Martin Duke.

    3. Direct planned benefits have no bearing on trickle-down benefits. Remember that this is ST, and not Metro. Stamping your feet because it doesn’t come to your door is inane. Back in Portland, I took a bus 5 miles to get to the MAX and it still got me downtown faster than a straight-shot bus would, so I don’t see why the Seattle-area should be any different.

      Oh, and don’t forget the city that’s the reason for your standard of living.

  10. Ben,

    your 7-14 response to my post, termed it a 1968 argument. this seems false, as I suggested systemwide dynamic tolling of the limted access highways, a very 21st century concept.

    The Forward Thrust proposals were for an urban system, not an intercounty system. I am a strong advocate for north Link LRT.

    ST2 in Shoreline and Snohomish County is very BART-like, with stations in the freeway envelope that will never develop into pedestrian centers as they will always be dominated by the car. So, ST2 is proposing to build stations in the freeways.

    the key issues with ST2 are opportunity cost and rights-of-way. In a one-to-one comparison, I would agree the LRT is preferable to BRT, if the corridor needs the capacity that LRT can provide. This is clearly the case in the north.

    Both LRT and BRT are continuum that can provide a range of transit attributes (e.g., speed, reliability, capacity) depending upon the frequency and exclusivity they are provided. Several Latin American cities have Metro-type BRT systems. Several US cities have low capacity LRT systems. A streetcar is a form of LRT.

    The ST notion, seconded by you, is that only complete exclusivity is worthwhile. But many BRT systems get by with less than complete exclusivity. They are not perfect; but they are much less costly as well. Where is the break even point? How may BRT lines is one $2 billion east Link LRT worth? Link LRT can provide great capacity. But how much of that capacity is needed? A good carpenter needs to know which hammer to use for which job. The eight pound sleg (Link LRT) is needed for Northgate, but several finishing hammers would be better on the spreadout Eastside.

    In East King County, the ST2 choice is between one LRT line or several BRT lines and transit use of the Woodinville subdivision. Route 550 attracts slightly fewer daily riders than Route 545 or routes 522, 306, and 312 combined.

    A key asset that should be promoted by the transit investments of ST2 are the urban street and sidewalk grids you wrote about in your Crosscut piece. Everett and Tacoma should have transit investments that improve transit mobility within those centers. Bus and commuter rail are the best modes for inter county and long distance trips, not BART like Link LRT.

  11. “Comments won’t nest below this level” leads me here.

    Brad writes (and Ben edits): “Prop 1 included a road project OUTSIDE the (ST) district (but inside the RTID district, and paid for by RTID taxes, not ST taxes).”

    So it was included on the ballot to win some votes? I’m shocked that ST would stoop to such deceit!

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