STB Flickr pool superstar Oranviri has a Tube-style map of the system we’ll have in 2023, if all goes well.  He has to speculate a bit about Eastside Commuter Rail and some of the “Future Corridors” ST3 stuff, but it’s absolutely gorgeous.

If this were a poster, and my wife could stand it, it would end up framed on our wall.

33 Replies to “Sound Transit Circa 2023”

  1. That’s great.

    How can I get my hands on one of Campell Scott’s SUPERTRAIN posters from the movie Singles? I can’t even get a good picture of one on the web.

  2. I think that Sound Transit really needs to consider designing the East Link/Central Link junction so that they can offer Overlake to Federal Way service as well.

    There is no reason why that run wouldn’t be as popular as the others and is something that really needs to be constructed before the line opens.

    1. Additional junction costs for this connection would be enormous (where would you put the additional tracks and switches?).

      The trip you’re seeking will require transferring at International District/Chinatown station; simple (could even be cross-platform xfer) and not a burden on riders.

      1. I’d be careful about that–the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority did a study not long ago to see what most delayed passengers in its system, and it found transferring to be a significant time delay. Part of the solution they’re working on for that is pedestrian tunnels between nearby stations and extending lines during rush hour to whole sections of track they don’t normally serve. And that’s a system that was designed so that you never have to transfer more than once regardless where you’re going to and from on the 5 lines.

        I’m kind of not crazy about the idea of sending Eastside trains all the way to UW and Northgate. That’s going to limit capacity in the Northgate-Int’l District stretch, and those riders could pretty easily transfer downtown. It’s especially unnecessary once we get rail across 520 in ST3.

      2. Since it’s an in-station transfer, what you’re talking about isn’t really an issue.

        Here’s why it’s actually not a great idea: For the expense of running separate Federal Way and Lynnwood trains from East Link, you have to run each half as often, say, every 12 minutes for each instead of every 6 for a single route.

        Your total delay for everyone goes up.

        So, on interlining, sending eastside trains all the way to Northgate… how does this limit capacity? They’re trains. Their existence *is* capacity. I think you may be misunderstanding what’s planned?

      3. If I’m at Capitol Hill waiting for a southbound train, every other one is going to be heading to the eastside instead of Federal Way. Think of the Orange and Blue Lines in DC west of Rosslyn or east of Stadium-Armory. If I’m going south of the Int’l District, I’m going to have to wait longer for a train, or transfer somewhere else and wait there. Headways south of the International District, and for trains going to and from Federal Way, would be twice as long as they would if the main line (Lynwood-Seattle-Federal Way) were reserved for trains just traveling that route. If I’m misunderstanding what’s planned, I’m happy to be corrected. But from what I understand so far, it seems me that trains to and from the Eastside should only come into the city as far as Westlake and turn back.

      4. Here’s an email Ben sent me a while ago about the lines — there’s actually three lines, not two: “three overlapping, 9 minute headways each – lynnwood-seatac, northgate-overlake, northgate-federalway.”

        So the headway between Northgate-International District will be 3 minutes during peak. Between International District and Seatac will be either 3 or 6 minutes depending on which train you miss. In your scenario (Cap Hill to, say, Beacon Hill or Seatac) you’d also wait either 3 or 6 minutes depending on the train you missed. In other words, two of the three lines that serve your stop will go to your destination.

        A destination south of seatac, north of federal way, or on the eastside would be served every nine minutes at peak (or, by 1/3 the lines that serve a given station). Of course this could all be subject to change and I have no idea how final any of this is.

        I believe the smallest headway is 6 minutes for each line, so from Northgate-International district you’ll see a train come by every 2 minutes per direction. One will be going to Seatac, another to the Eastside, and a third to Federal Way (and to Lynnwood, Northgate, and Northgate the other direction). Northgate <-> International District has the highest frequency, of course, because it is predicted to be — by far — the highest ridership corridor.

      5. Will busses still be in the tunnel when eastlink opens? If so it won’t be possible to put an island platform in for cross terminal transfer. It will be interesting to see what happens; the 564 and 565 would be complimented by a Overlake-Federal Way line, even without stops in the downtown core.

        I usually take 560 to/from Seatac to Bellevue but last time I tried 194-550 and basically missed a quick connection at intl district due to the fact I had to go to street level to switch from inbound to outbound platforms.

      6. WSDOT says it will be built with the capacity to carry Light Rail sometime in the future but the bridge is only going to be six lanes. Two general purpose lanes duplicates the existing capacity and two HOV lanes will relieve some of the back up. No way will capacity ever be limited to one GP lane in each direction and I find it highly unlikely the HOV lanes would be sacrificed. The push for a “narrow footprint” I think precludes the typical restripe “add a lane” paradigm so I don’t see how there would ever be rail from the eastside connecting to the UW station unless somehow there’s an epiphany at WSDOT and they decide to build a real bridge instead of tying together a series of concrete rafts.

  3. They need to expand the ST district to Marysville and / or Monroe to provide Sounder / ST Express Service there. Perhaps a rail transfer at Snohomish for eastside rail to sounder towards everett/monroe.

  4. Great graphics! Very well done.

    Better than a Ballard platform, how about an Interbay platform? If Link runs parallel to the BNSF tracks, a shared station at Dravus would offer better access to Ballard and the UW than a platform at the Locks which would require a bus connection. Even if the Link stop is on 15th, it is only a three block walk to transfer.

      1. I love the idea of an Interbay platform. Interbay is a blank slate with new upzoning and has huge transit-oriented development potential (especially if you show developers this map). Combine the Sounder and Link platforms, and you have a much more convenient hub than King Station – especially for people commuting from the north.

  5. A Broad Street and Interbay station would be EXCELLENT… I never even pondered that with all of the track work going on there.

    It would be in a much better location than Ballard as well.

    1. As it stands in the ST2 plan, it’s a Ballard station but they never gave specifics on where exactly it would be. I hope that Sound Transit reconsiders the location of the Ballard station and puts it south of Ballard in Interbay.

    2. Broad Street is much needed with all of the office space along Elliot and Western in that area.

      I know a number of people currently working at Real who take Sounder every day. Currently they are forced to rely on the slow and unreliable 99 to go from King Street to work.

      One problem I see is they would really need to run the trains from Lakewood/Tacoma up as far as Broad Street.

  6. Does anyone else notice the glaring blank area in the south east, about where the key is? There are a ton of suburbs there where people are driving to both Bellevue and Seattle, even Tacoma, daily, and to benefit from the trains, they have to either rely on an unpredictable bus to get to a station or drive 20+ minutes to the station. Maybe the Eastside rail could connect at least… but it seems like there is an eastward branch everywhere but that corner! Maybe I expect too much, though…

  7. There are multiple additional routes not shown on the map, using either existing or Former RR ROW, they include

    *Everett North to Marysville, Stanwood, MtVernon

    *Everett East to Snohomish (connection to ESR), Monroe

    *Woodinville SE to Redmond via ESR

    *Redmond to Issaquah via ESR by reclaiming Railbanked ROW

    *Issiquah to Snoqualimee and Northbend (reclaiming abandoned ROW, and using the Snoqualimee RR museum ROW)

    *Renton to Maple Valley on Reclaimed RR ROW (currently trail)

    *Renton to Sounder Tukwilla via BNSF ROW

    *Auburn to Covington (could connect East of maple Valley, and service Northbend (via Stampede pass BNSF line)

    *Puyallup to Enumclaw via Orting (Via priomarily reclaimed RR ROW currently trail)

    * Tacoma to Grahm via Tacoma Rail ROW

    I am sure that there are other posabilities as well

    Lor Scara

    1. Lor Scara,

      Undoubtedly there are tons of permutations that Oran left out. It’s not a fantasy map, it’s a projection of actual service and preliminary engineering in 2023. I actually think he’s made a pretty good guess as to what will exist in 2023, although I think that Eastside Rail won’t go any further south than Bellevue.

      I think it’s extremely unlikely that most of the “potential” routes you cite will appear in the next few decades, particularly as many of them lie outside the ST district. If Enumclaw, for instance, decides to tax itself and give a ton of money to ST, it would happen, but I would place the chances of that as basically nil.

    2. Martin got my intentions of making this map right. The map would be a very poor fantasy map as much of it is actually going to get built.

      The region is planning to concentrate growth in urban centers not sprawl (see PSRC Vision 2040). That is where we should focus our transit system, especially rail transit. I really want to see better transit-oriented development and policy changes that will maximize the benefit of the system we have. For outlying areas, I would focus on getting better bus service out there as the current options are inadequate.

    1. The final alignments and stations on East Link have not yet been determined. There are many possible alignments and stations. Since I had a hard time deciding what to put in, I left some station ticks blank and used an area name instead of specific station names, or included the stations.

      It’s easier to erase a station than to put one in, right? ;-)

    1. Personally, I use Adobe Illustrator but any vector drawing program will work. Inkscape is free. A lot of people creating maps like this on Wikipedia use it.

  8. Ben,
    yes, if the combined Link LRT reach three-minutes, joint bus-rail operation in the downtown Seattle transit tunnel would probably end. but at longer Link LRT headways, continued joint operation would have significant benefits, especially in the interim decades before Link LRT is built out. trips through the tunnel are about ten minutes faster than surface trips, and, that will probably get longer after the viaduct if taken down. The most difficult period is before build out, though it is fun to consider 2025.

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