Tacoma Link
Tacoma Link, photo by Oran

Tacoma Link and SLU cars are 66 feet long (Link LRT cars will be 90 feet). 1966 was also the year of an infamous New York City Transit strike.

  • Bellevue’s Mayor, Grant Degginger, really wants a tunnel. Everyone but Microsoft seems to agree, but there’s not enough money, the cheapest tunnel is about $500 million more than the available funding. If Bellevue plans on relying entirely on federal funding and value engineering the rest of the line, they are probably going to wind up short. It’s going to need some local funding in Bellevue.
  • West Coast High Speed Rail? Maybe, but at 1,500 miles and $45 million a mile, it’s little more than a pipe dream.
  • Variable speed limits are coming to I-5 in South Seattle, as they are on I-90.
  • The federal transportation bill might be pushed back to 2010, rather than come in this year. If it includes more transit or better smart-road funding, I’d happily wait.

35 Replies to “News Round-Up: 66 days”

  1. I have an idea … how about Micro$oft help pay for the extension since it will be benefiting their employees

  2. 70% of the congestion on that stretch of I-5 is due to collisions? Really?

  3. The Eugene-Redding part may be kind of a pipe dream, but Vancouver-Eugene should not be. If California can do it, we can too.

      1. Washington and Oregon put together are about 10 million, which is about a third the population of California. California’s initial line is 502 miles long. Ours, from Seattle-Portland, would be about 160 miles long, about a third the length of California’s.

      2. That’s more like a quarter of the population of california, and much smaller percentage of the state population would be on that line.

        Still, you don’t need nearly the speed, right? It’s a shorter distance compared to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

        I think it’s doable, but not in the short term, you need somewhere to go once you get off the train.

      3. Yes but we wouldn’t do the entire system in the first phase, just like CAHSR will have extension via the Inland Empire to San Diego, and up to Sacramento. But I think we should get the speed. Sure, right now it’s a fantasy, but in 15 or 20 years it could be a reality. It’s as if everyone here opposes real HSR…

      4. I don’t oppose it at all. I just don’t see anything like the political will without first building mass transit to more potential passengers.

      5. I don’t oppose it, in fact I love the idea, I’ll be going to Portland this weekend and boy would I rather that train were faster.

        You also get WAY more ridership with a faster train than with the slower train. However, I still think you need strong local transit connections on both ends. We’ll be there in 15 years as you say.

      6. Yeah, local transit connections for sure, especially down south. Portland may be way ahead of Seattle in terms of light rail, but the rest of the state is a different world. And I don’t even mean eastern Oregon. For example, I regularly travel down to Oregon to see my parents and prefer to take the train. But in two weeks I’m driving down for my little sister’s graduation because my folks are too busy with that to drive over from the coast and get me at the train station in Eugene. I’d take a bus, but there’s only one daily bus over to the coast and the timing is all wrong for southbound trips. I’ve never looked at the numbers, but just driving through both I can’t imagine that the Oregon coast is that much more rural than the Olympic Peninsula, but there’s way more transit here than down there.

    1. Eugene – Redding will not happen in the lifetime of any of the readers of this blog, or their children.
      Seattle to Eugene is eminently doable if the political will and leadership are there. Vancouver to Seattle presents some logistical challenges both in BC and in WA where the current roadbed runs along salt water. Moving HSR ROW inland will bring out the NIMBYs like a swarm of gnats in May, but to get running time to 2.5 hours will require a new allignment.

  4. And Californian’s are more willing to tax themselves for rail transportation. We (Washington and Oregon) aren’t. In order to get anything passed for Vancouver BC – Eugene, Or, Eastern Washington would have to be included. A new daily round trip between Seattle and Spokane, Seattle and Pasco via Stampede Pass (which would then require lowering Stampede Tunnel and rebuilding 90% of the route to welded rail and 2 to 4 prior stations)

    1. But you don’t know that. Just look at the huge margin by which ST2 passed and the large amount of support for transit in Portland, as opposed to the incredibly car-loving Southern California. Even in Northern California, outside of the most urban areas, there is very low density and low support for transit. If they can do it there, we can do it here.

  5. I can understand MS wanting Link asap but if DT Bellevue is at grade then it will seriously impact the reliability and speed of the whole system.

    1. However, depending on the conditions under DT bellevue a tunnel could have negative impacts on the federal grant process if the construction is risky.

      I don’t know how much worse going at-grade through bellevue is going to be, especially if you are trading elevated through bel-red for at grade.

      1. Elevated through Bel-Red has never been an option at least to Bellevue’s city council. The major crossings may get an underpass/overpass of some sort.

      2. He said to Bellevue’s city council…

        Just like the elevated viaduct isn’t an option for Nickels.

      3. I mean elevated options for the bel-red section. I have heard they want to at-grade that whole thing to save money.

  6. Many of us here are probably aware that Sound Transit is going to begin testing light rail trains in the DSTT during regular hours beginning next Monday, May 18. Today, ST made an official announcement today. Link testing in the DSTT is during midday between 9 am to 3 pm. ST is also testing trains on the entire segment from Tukwila Intl’ to Stadium station from 6 am to 6 pm.

    1. And then the tunnel is opening on nights and weekends starting on May 30… I’m so excited! We’re almost there!

    2. Remember to take lots of pics and videos for those of us who can’t be there. ;)

  7. Speaking of car lengths, in the picture from the earlier post captioned “Slack Action,” is that one Link “car” or two?

  8. It was a nice feeling yesterday, flying into town, looking down as the pilot circled into our landing pattern, and seeing two ST trainsets being tested on Central Link. We land and, as we taxi up to the gate, the people behind me are discussing options for getting out of the airport, and one guy says “Hey, in two months, I can just take Sound Transit!”

    Of course it won’t run all the way to the airport until January (and judging from where the airport station is located, in a bout of sarcasm one could say that it never will reach the airport), but I’m sure they will have a bus take people that last mile.

    It was cool to see trainsets from 1,000 ft up, or whatever it was…

  9. Suuure, a few billion dollars for high speed rail sounds like a lot of money. That is, until you remember how the state’s throwing a couple billion at a 2 mile freeway through downtown Seattle. HSR will start sounding more and more like a good deal as mega road projects are repeatedly approved.

    Tacoma Narrows, 520, Alaska Way… And this is just two counties. Priorities, priorities.

  10. Well if you ever plan to motor west,
    Just take my way , that’s the highway that’s the best.
    Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.

    Well it winds from Chicago to LA
    More than two-thousand miles all the way.
    Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.

    Well it goes through St. Louie down to Missouri
    Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty.
    You’ll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico
    Flagstaff, Arizona, don’t forget Winona,
    Kingsman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

    Won’t you get hip to this timely tip
    And think you’ll take that California trip.
    Get your kicks on route sixty-six.
    Get your kicks on route sixty-six.


    Well it goes through St. Louie, down to Missouri
    Oklahoma city looks oh so pretty.
    You’ll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico
    Flagstaff, Arizona, don’t forget Winona,
    Kingsman, Barstow, San Bernardino.

    Well you get hip to this timely tip
    When you make that California trip.
    Get your kicks on route sixty-six.
    Get your kicks on route sixty-six.
    Get your kicks on route sixty-six.
    Get your kicks on route sixty-six.

  11. There’s a web page on improving passenger rail service between Oregon and California suggesting a more direct route through the mountains that modern trainsets can handle well and possible overnight sleeper trains.

    It gets technical with calculations on how much time can be saved with the route and what’s possible with the latest rail technology.


    1. Yes, the Western route through the Siskiyous serves more of the population of Southern Oregon and isn’t clogged with freight traffic. Unfortunately maintenance on the line has been poor and the track is in horrible shape.

      Any true high-speed rail (150 mph+) between Eugene and Red Bluff would be very expensive for little benefit.

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