I went to a bar in Downtown last night and on the way there I needlessly took the Westlake train to University St. What a transit nerd, right?

Obviously our comments sections are filling up with all of our recent Link discussion, so here’s a new thread for you guys.

145 Replies to “Open Thread”

  1. Guess I’ll start things off.

    Nothing wrong John. We’re just nerds who want to play with our new toys (remember when ORCA first came out?)

  2. Hey Jessica

    I think I saw you on Sunday at Westlake station…probably your brother was pushing you on ur old thrusty red wheelchair?

    I was on the southbound platform.

    1. I call it Old Trusty (it’s the same chair I had since I was in my Senior Year in high school, when I first needed it, and it’s served me well all these years later (I’m 29 in September))

      1. I now have a custom built power chair (that I “broke in” on Saturday) that has a nice table for eating or (and this is my primary usage) using my laptop on the 230 to Microsoft.

        I made sure to have it within the limits of a standard lift on the Gilligs

        Saturday, I’m going check out the 575 and those ancient relics

      2. That sounds pretty nice tool for you to get around town. Doesn’t the 230 usually are 40 ft Gilligs but the 233 is a short 35 ft Gillig with one door in the front, I don’t think it has wheelchair lift.

      3. Of course the 35 footers have lifts. But I don’t use the 233. I work for Microsoft and live off of NE 8th.

      4. Ahhh I didn’t know 233 have lifts. I ride the 233 or the 230 between my work to downtown Bellevue to transfer to 550 or 555 to Northgate sometimes when I feel like riding bus to work in Bellevue.

      5. I don’t think since the 1400’s (the original order of 60′ MAN articulateds) were retired there have been any buses in Metro’s fleet without lifts.

        I’m not sure when the laws started requiring transit agencies to make all new vehicles accessible, but I believe Metro was equipping all new coaches with lifts well before then. I think a Metro employee invented the type of lift that stows under the front stairs.

  3. I took Link to Tacos El Asadero @ Othello after work yesterday. I got them to go and ate them on the platform.

    What are some other good places around the station to eat?

      1. We went last night — taking Link, of course — and it was tasty, as usual. I recommend. It’s the only Thai restaurant near North Beacon Hill at all.

    1. Tammy’s Bakery! As I keep saying. :)

      There’s also a Chinese place right next door that was good, if I recall correctly.

    2. A decent list of places nearby stations is needed. I know someone posted a link to such a site the other day, but it seemed to be an ad-driven poorly designed site. Isn’t there a simple clean database of nearby businesses?

      1. I’m not aware of one, but Yelp could be helpful. We were actually trying to put one together for our blog, but ran out of time.

      2. Not sure what would be best here a dedicated web site? a dedicated blog? Posts on an existing blog like this one? Just a list of links to the yelp pages of restaurants within 1/2 mile of stations?

        Still it would be a worthy project.

      3. I think it’d be nice to have blog posts here for each station. We can always update them and link them in the future. Interested in helping out?

      4. There is a new blog called Seattle by Rail that is doing that. It’s tagline is “Where to get off and what to do.” I think it should be in our blog roll.

        Seattle By Rail is a blog about neighborhoods along Seattle’s Link light rail line. Each stop has a page (below) with news and information contributed by residents of Seattle.

      5. Ooo! Very cool! Yes STB should link to them. We should help them out too as we discover things along the line.

      6. But I don’t just want blog entries. I want a searchable database (i.e. Mexican restaurants / open after 8pm / within .75 mile walk or 1.5 mile bike rider / from Beacon Hill station).

    3. Tried Baja Bistro too, they have some good breakfast food!

      I’m starting to put together a list on Yelp of places I’ve tried around Link stations.

    4. Please please check out Phillies under Mount Baker station. It is the worst possible food for your health but they have the best authentic philly cheese-steak sandwiches today. Plus they were really excited to hear that I came in on the Link. I know of no other cheese-steak place in the city.

      1. There’s actually other cheese-steak sandwich place on 23rd and Union. Not many like in PA, I’m sure of that.

      2. That was the same business, but they closed and moved to mt baker station after the owner was shot and killed at the 23rd and Union location. I used to live near there and missed it dearly.

      3. The Gyros place next to the Central Tavern in Pioneer Square has cheese-steak sandwiches. A friend from Philly insists they are the best he’s found in Seattle. Then again I’m not sure he’s ever eaten at Philly’s.

        I used to live near them when they were on 23rd & Union. I liked the food though it isn’t something I’d want to eat every day.

  4. I hear a good Mexican restaurant in Beacon Hill a block from the station. I looked at different blogs and researched some of them. I might try that place out.

    1. There are at least three good Mexican restaurants near the station. The closest is La Cabaña, a Tex-Mex place just a half a block north. (A review in the Beacon Hill Blog: http://beaconhill.seattle.wa.us/2009/07/18/light-rail-restaurant-reviews-la-cabana/ ) Another block north or so is Baja Bistro (there will be a review of that restaurant posted on the BHB very soon now). Head south on Beacon about 4 blocks and there is El Quetzal, with tortas, huaraches, etc. All very good.

      There are a couple of Filipino restaurants in the area, too.

  5. I’m guilty of the same thing: as part of one of my commute options, I need to get from the Seattle Center vicinity to the King Street Station vicinity. Yesterday after getting to Westlake, I waited as two buses passed for Link. Interestingly, I got to my destination before those same buses once did.

  6. Ok, I’ll ‘fess up and say that I haven’t read ALL of the comments in the other threads. Has there been discussion about how riders along Rainier Avenue are experiencing longer commute times by transferring to Link at McClellan? All of the major bus changes in the Valley are made with the assumption that Link will make things faster. But that hasn’t worked thus far, according to my informal Facebook survey of friends who don’t live within walking distance of a station.

    I remember having this conversation with the transportation people at the Rainier Beach Empowerment Coalition meeting. They thought I was crazy for implying that somehow Route 7 would get people downtown faster than the train.

    As much as I tried to argue that the transfer time would eat up any time savings, they thought me silly and naive.

    They were wrong.

    And now we have a ton of bus changes predicated on their incorrect assumptions.

    1. I don’t think Metro is saying things will go any faster for people who have to transfer. I think Metro is saying “We’re cutting a ton of bus service, and because of the light rail, at least you still have a way to get downtown – you’re going to be pretty happy about this when you see the cuts coming down the pipe next year.”

      1. The guys I talked to in January were clearly telling me “we’re changing routes in the Valley because transit will be faster”. They’re cutting the 48 with the expectation that people will ride rail from McClellan the rest of the way. And what will teens do with train fare double that of buses?

      2. It sounds like the schedules actually are faster. That discussion below also points out the pedestrian bridge, which is definitely faster than waiting for the light. Of course, teens will just run across. :)

        And aren’t most of those teens getting passes from the school?

      3. The passes from school won’t cover link, as link is twice as expensive as bus fare. So unless teens are willing to fork over seventy-five cents each way, they won’t be catching link.

        As for the pedestrian bridge, it doesn’t look like that’s how they want people to utilize the station. It looks like most buses will be routed through the new bus bay on Rainier, north of MLK.

        I’d be happy to hear from other commuters who aren’t within walking distance of rail to find out if traffic times are similar, better or worse.

        My point is merely that transit officials knew that link would beat Metro and that people would be happy to make the transfer to link at the McClellan station.

        Most I know have been waiting with great anticipation, and they WANT link to be faster. It just isn’t.

        Well, except for me, as I live one block away from the Columbia City station. I’m lovin’ it.

      4. I’m not that familiar with the 42 but I know from personal experience over the years that the 7 between the Mt. Baker station and 3rd/4th & Pike can take forever, especially if the traffic is bad or there are people getting on and off at every stop. If I ever need to get somewhere on Rainier that isn’t a convenient walk from a Link station I’m certainly going to take link then transfer to a bus. Same thing if I have to get somewhere on Beacon Hill.

        One of my primary reasons for avoiding anything South of Jackson has much to do with the craptacular slow and unreliable bus service. Similarly I don’t get over to 23rd or MLK in the CD much anymore now that I don’t live nearby.

      5. “The passes from school won’t cover link, as link is twice as expensive as bus fare.”

        Is youth fare really that different?

    2. At 8:00 am route 7 is scheduled to take 25 minutes from McClellan to 3rd and Pike. Link is scheduled to take 13 minutes to travel the same distance, so even if you have to wait the maximum time for a train, 7.5 minutes, Link is still faster. And Link will never get stuck in traffic. If you happen to catch a 7E the time is about the same. During the afternoon rush in the southbound direction Link can beat the #7 by up to 20 minutes and the time savings are greater the further south you go. I didn’t know Metro was planning on changing the #7, are they going to force transfers at McClellan?

      1. Zed – Nobody is arguing that from the station it’s faster. It’s that if someone has to transfer, they have to: get off the bus, wait to cross the street, cross, go up the escalator, and *then* wait the possible 7.5 minutes. After all of that, real life commuters are saying there travel times are higher and that they will not be riding link and sticking with the 7.

        And given that most people hate the 7, that’s saying a lot.

      2. On the second day of revenue service, it’s saying a lot?

        That’s almost as bad as someone from Cap Hill saying they’re unimpressed with the way U-Link will turn out after seeing Central Link.

      3. I’m not arguing anything, I simply added up the scheduled times and included waiting time for Link, that’s all. At most the total travel time would be equal to staying on the bus and at best you can save 15 minutes by transferring. Everybody’s commute is different, it’s impossible to make blanket statements about what is faster, there are too many variables. Why don’t you let people figure it out for themselves and see what people are doing in a few months instead of on the first day of service? The Metro cuts and service changes would be happening regardless of Link, so be glad you have the option. I don’t.

      4. Huh? why wouldn’t you get off the 7 where you could use the ped bridge rather than wait to cross Rainier?

      5. Taking the foot bridge to the station will still take near five minutes, and “door-to-door” (7 to platform) would be 7 or so. And then you still don’t know when the train is coming.

        I have a friend who takes the 7 Express and has tried link twice now. Ten minutes later via Rail each time.

      6. Walking from the Northbound 7 stop near the ped bridge to the station platform is hardly a 7 minute walk and is certainly faster than waiting for a light across Rainier. Given how unreliable and slow the 7 can be at times I have a hard time believing it is faster much of the time.

    3. I worked the Mt. Baker Station during the morning rush hour, today, Tuesday. If riders are transferring from buses to the rail, they aren’t doing it at this station.

      VERY quiet this morning; maybe 100 boardings or so in a two-hour period, with many of those approaching the station not from Rainier Ave. out front.

      1. I boarded at Mt Baker at 8:30 and counted 21 people on the platform with me(not counting the security guards) that all got on the train. So either there were only 5 trains this morning, or 8:30 is an abnormally popular time to catch the train.

      2. I’d say the latter, a lot of people don’t have to be into the office until 9ish and so will catch a bus/train that gets them downtown in the 8:45-9:30 range.

  7. I would love to see some type of public comments/feedback area for Link (and Sound Transit and Metro, etc.). Right now if you fill out the online form it feels like it just goes into a trashcan somewhere.

    I’m thinking of a place a little like http://ideas.obamacto.org/pages/6111-obama-cto — a place where people could post things they’d like to see, from little things (i.e. “more trashcans at ____”) to larger issue (“new station at ______!”). Others could then discuss and vote on the idea/feedback. ST would look at the site and, while not bound by anything posted, they would use it to gauge what people want and/or are discussing.

    I will admit that I’m clueless as to how some of these agencies make decisions. If 1000 people emailed ST to say “yo, no loud bells at Beacon Hill station!” would they even care?

  8. BBQ! “Hole in the Wall” BBQ!, Pioneer Sq station, exit at the SW corner exit from the tunnel and cross the street. Lunch only but it’s well worth it.

  9. Yes Thai recipe is one of my favs, there’s also a Thai/lao restaurant at mlk and mclellan it’s very good also. Any other good restaurants around the stations?

    1. If you’re looking for Vietnamese food, try out Ben Thanh near Mt Baker station at the corner of Rainier & Hanford (one block south of the Rainier & MLK intersection). Very good vietnamese food including Phở (noodle soup), and a whole plethora of other SE Asian dishes. Or one block further south is Thien Phat that sells very fresh Bánh mì – sandwiches on French baguettes. Both are great choices.

    2. Well Mae Phim at 1st & Columbia is very good and very cheap, but I assume people are already familiar with the restaurants downtown.

  10. I would just like to complain that I added $$ to my orcacard online a few months ago, and when I tried to use it today it said insufficient funds. After emailing ST apparently if you don’t use your funds within 30 days it somehow de-activates. The whole waiting until you tap to show you have added money is crazy (for the online site) and it’s crazier that it goes away if not used in 30 days (I’m hoping this is just for the first time money not all top ups).

    I have a few extra cards for guests and this is just silly…

    1. I experienced this too, yesterday.

      So is the money gone, of is there some process where you can “reactivate?”

      Martin

      1. Same issue happened to my wife. Card was unused for 30 days, so the load expired. Took Orca people 48-72hrs to restore the money to the card. Discovering the problem involved a terrible experience with an unsympathetic and confrontational bus driver.

    2. Huh. That is not cool. I guess I’m lucky I used my ORCA once in May to get to a Mariners game.

      Now, I didn’t use it again until yesterday, just over 2 months after the last use, so it looks as if they don’t disable it if it’s idle for 30 days after it’s been used once, maybe. But still…

    3. I was indeed hoping that there was a way to activate the funds without subsequently withdrawing any. The need to do so in the first place, especially within a 30 day time period is also a bit stupid.

    4. This is annoying. The only reason I have an ORCA card is for guests, and since I haven’t had any yet, I haven’t put any money on it. I guess I’ll wait to do that until I have them, and then keep the amounts small. (Or just set it up so that it deducts it from my debit card; that can’t expire, right?)

      1. You could just load the ORCA cards at a station that sells them, then set them up online. I think once you use it once it does not expire if you set it up online.

    5. It is technically impossible for fare products purchased online to immediately be loaded on your card, unless you have a ORCA reader at home. When you add value online, it sends that info to the bus base computer, which sends it to the buses onboard reader when the bus pulls in for the day. The reader keeps a record that your card has value waiting to be added. The on-board systems have a limited amount of memory so it cannot possibly hold all pending transactions hence the 30-day purge.

      After adding money online, you can try going to a TVM, choose ORCA options, and insert your card in the holder to view what’s on it. I think it’ll update your card but I haven’t tried it myself.

      The money in your e-purse never expires. It says so on the ORCA website. I recommend going to a customer service center (King St, Westlake, etc.) to resolve your issue.

      1. I first and last used mine on 04/21/2009 and it still has $3.00 left of the $5.00 I put on it. I used $2.00 that day.

      2. While the money never expires (that would probably be illegal, considering that in Washington things like gift cards, etc. can’t have an expiration date), it certainly does de-activate. After putting $20 on my ORCA card – and being billed for it – the money was not there yesterday. While I understand that the bus card readers can’t store everything, the ticket vending machines also showed a balance of zero. Why does it require a person – and someone other than the customer service rep on the phone – to re-instate the value even at a TVM sitting in a station? I don’t know enough about RFID, but could computers with WiFi theoretically communicate with ORCA cards, i.e., could an applet on the ORCA Web site activate your card in theory?

    1. “Light rail at last: What took us forever?”

      Crosscut writers: look in the mirror. Your generation is why.

      1. “Your generation is why”
        Careful, my friend – there are many of us in the greying generation who have fought and fought hard for real rail transit here for many many years – don’t paint all of us born before 1960 with too broad a brush. And remember, we did not have all these cool electronic gadgets to keep news circulating and support building. For those of us in the rotary dial phone and typewriter and carbon paper generation, the internet and all of its spinoffs have truly been a revolutionary way to accomplish social and political change.

  11. Besides Beacon Hill, I noticed quite a dense Vietnamese enclave around Othello, and I rarely journey down the Rainier Valley. Anyone know of any good Viet or ethnic food around there?

    1. Pho my Cho at King Plaza – Othello: great Pho
      Tammy’s at King Plaza – Othello: great Vitmenese Sandwiches
      Karamas on MLK – Othello: East African food, its real different but very tasty and a bargain
      Joy Palace – Graham and MLK – best Dim Sum
      Vinces Italian on Henderson – Rainier Beach Station – excellant gnocchi and pizza
      Huarchitos on MLK – Columbia City Station – Rainier Valley business of the year
      Thai Palms on MLK – Othello – my favorite Thai/Laos Restaraunt
      Maki Yaki – at MLK and Genesse – Columbia City Station: tasty Bento Boxes and Chinesse

      Hands down favorite at Othello is the Taco Bus at Othello – it’s all good there.

  12. Excited to come up from Oregon to ride the new light rail on Friday. As a somewhat frequent MAX rider, I have found some of the observations amusing.

    I asked earlier about obtaining an ORCA card at a TVM, and it looks like that will be possible. I’m actually going to Amtrak into Tacoma, and screw around there for a few hours before catching Sounder up to Seattle, so I figure if I can’t get a card at a Freighthouse Square TVM I can get it from the Pierce Transit shop at the Tacoma Dome station.

    When riding Link, it seems clear that you should always tap on and off with the ORCA card. Having done a lot of touring the last few days, I’m sure some of you can tell me, is there a daily cap in the fare? The websites are perfectly unclear on how this works. They are focused on transfers to/from buses. As near as I can figure, there is a 2-hour transfer window, and there seems to be a round trip ticket that works all day that is twice the single fare.

    If I am riding back and forth from random stations all day, over several 2 hour transfer windows, I don’t know if ORCA will figure this out or just charge me for a lot of rides. I know oyster in London will always figure out the cheapest fare for the trips that you took that day. I’m hoping that there is a daily pass option, and that ORCA will figure out that it should use it. Heaven forbid I actually have to buy a paper ticket! :)

    1. I don’t think they have this yet (but if I am wrong, someone will tell me), but I think it’s something they really, really need to do.

    2. I had additional ORCA weirdness when my wife used hers to pay for both of us on the 550 to Seattle. The driver charged us a “group fare” of $3.00 for two (instead of 2 x $2.50), and then Link charge an additional $0.50 upgrade. $3.50 for two from Bellevue-Columbia City, what a bargain! I hadn’t expected that.

  13. So, I tested a strange commute… normally I take the #2 from Belltown to 23rd and Union, and decided I’d go to Westlake and ride Link and transfer to a 48 or 8, whichever I saw first.

    Let me tell you, you never know how inefficient buses are until they hold up your train. I watched the train sit in the tunnel for about 2 minutes and it finally shook free as the bus holding it up moved. Ride was smooth, although that same bus held us up at ID station, too.

    Got to Mt. Baker fine enough after that, transferred to my 48, then a few stops later had to wait as the wheelchair lift did its little “I don’t wanna” dance.

    Through all that, I still made it to 23rd and Union at my usual time, even beating my #2. I almost waved at my driver from the 48.

    1. It’s hard to draw conclusions two days in. However, trains and busses do not appear to be interacting well. I have been stuck in the DSTT twice in two days. Monday was a mini-disaster: there were wall-to-wall busses stuck in Pioneer Square for several minutes. The trains schedules got completely thrown off track (pun intended).

      By contrast, MLK has been unexpectedly smooth. I did get stuck at a light on the inbound morning commute — something that I don’t think should happen.

      1. I think I was stuck in that mess you mentioned yesterday. I was on Link and we stopped just before entering ID. The announcement came on that we were delayed due to traffic ahead. I checked my phone for the time just as we came to the stop, and then again when we finally started moving. It was a total of 8:10 that we were just sitting there. When we got into the ID station The person sitting across from me asked a woman getting on the train if she knew what the hold up was, and she said that a bus was sitting at the platform the whole time. She thought that they had deployed the wheelchair ramp, but couldn’t get it stowed again.

        I can only imaging how far back that was clogging up tunnel traffic.

      2. That would help a lot to get rid of the buses out of the tunnel and the light rail trains can run smoothly without interruptions of the buses.

    2. There was a slow down at the entrance of the bus tunnel today on the 7:20 from Columbia City… but I’m pretty sure that gray SUV with the couple sheepishly looking at LINK while being stared down by waist-tapping transit police had something to do with it.

      How easy is it to make a mistake turning into the entrance of the tunnel like that? Is their sufficient warning to drivers?

      1. It depends on how close you’re looking. I accidently turned down a one way on Bacon Hill right by the station last week. But I don’t drive much any more–maybe I’m rusty?

      2. I’m not sure about the South Tunnel entrance but I have little sympathy for drivers who turn into Convention Place Station from the Pine street express lane off ramp. There is plenty of warning that the turn into the station is for transit only.

        That said, while often cars going where they shouldn’t (wrong way, restricted area, transit only, carpool only, pedestrian/bike only, etc.) is a case of some drivers being idiots and not paying attention. In some cases it can be a result of poor signage or bad intersection/road design. Still even then, unless the signs are missing or not visible at all the burden of compliance is on the driver.

  14. Thanks for the recommendations. I usually get my banh mi at Saigon deli but I’ll try that place.

    1. Also I really like the frozen section at Mekong market I think it’s about halfway between mt baker and Columbia city station

    2. I tried out Tammy’s Bakery today, and I still like the banh mi at Saigon Deli better. Tammy’s Bakery uses longer bread, with more peppers and a different grilled pork recipe. The meat is less grilled but sweeter (I think). In their favor, they do have more baked goods than Saigon Deli.

  15. I was volunteering at Int’l District on opening Saturday, but sadly didn’t have enough time after my shift to ride it end to end.

    Finally took a few test rides yesterday and today. Yesterday morning, from Cap Hill to Mt. Baker on the 8, and then Link to ID. This only took an extra 5 minutes compared to my usual 43 to Westlake / tunnel to ID commute. There were about 50 people in my car, and aside from a brief stall entering the DSTT it was a quick, smooth ride.

    After work today, I took it southbound from ID to Tukwilla and then back to Mt. Baker, where I caught the 48. The southbound ride was standing room only until about Columbia City, and the signals were in our favor all the way along MLK. On the way back, the ride along MLK was painfully slow as we hit stop signals five times.

    Even from just riding twice, I’ve come to realize that Link opens up some interesting new travel options. From my place near 23rd / John, if I’m going to the airport or other points south, it’s suddenly quicker to catch an 8 or 48 to Mt. Baker rather than heading downtown.

    And I’m sure most of this has been repeated elsewhere, but here’s my Link wish list:

    – Do something about the “what platform should I use?” confusion at Tukwilla. At worst, have staff communicate clearly which train is leaving next. Better yet, get some sort of automated sign that points to the appropriate platform. I know this is only a temporary situation until the airport station opens, but waiting an extra 10 minutes because you picked the wrong platform is a lousy first impression.

    – Better bus connections at Mt. Baker. As best I can tell, the nearest 48 stop is several blocks north of the station entrance at McClellan. And there’s absolutely no signage to point me in the right direction. Put a bus stop right in front of the station.

    – The signaling on MLK still needs some tweaking. Twice, on the northbound trip, we got a stop signal at a pedestrian only crossing, while cars had a green. The car/pedestrian signals didn’t change at all before we got the “go”.

    1. “As best I can tell, the nearest 48 stop is several blocks north of the station entrance at McClellan.”

      Sounds like you got off one stop too early. The next (southbound) stop is around the corner a little about a block after the stop you mentioned.

      Should be visible here:

      http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Martin+Luther+King+Jr+Way+S+%26+S+Winthrop+St,+Seattle,+WA+98144&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=36.452734,69.082031&ie=UTF8&ll=47.575929,-122.296873&spn=0.000948,0.002108&t=h&z=19

      (you’ll see the S Winthrop St stop a little below the red pinpoint.)

      I used the 48 to get to the opening ceremonies. It was extremely quick to get there via the 48 (yes, I know it’s often the 40-late). Like you, I would perhaps bypass downtown and use the 48 to hook up with Link if I was heading to the airport.

    2. A new bus stop is going to be put in northbound on Rainier at S Forest St, for the bus changes happening in Sept. At that point Route 48 will end at the bus facility that is under construction east of Rainier across from Forest. All the buses in the area will either serve the new bus facility or stop at Forest St. So the connections will get better, but it will be a few months before they do.

  16. Still can’t believe people are fighting so hard against Link.

    It came up in conversation with someone today and he used all the typical excuses. “It doesn’t go anywhere.” “Tukwilla Station is in the middle of nowhere.” “There’s no parking” “Why am I paying for something that doesn’t go to my neighborhood?” And on and on it went from there. Luckily, I’ve become a regular reader of this blog and I had intelligent responses to every single one of his gripes. He shut up after a couple minutes.

    Although he mentioned the bumpy ride on the elevated track which I can’t really argue with. That’s gotta get fixed PLEASE

    1. What really gets me are the people on the Eastside or in Snohomish or Pierce counties who think they are paying for Central Link. Nope, it was built entirely with North and South sub-area funds.

      Even better are the people outside the ST district who are bitching about their taxes paying for a “toy train” for Seattle. Nope, wrong again unless you want to argue that by virtue of receiving Federal funds to build link everyone in the US paid for Central Link. But by that measure my taxes go to pay for many things I don’t support.

  17. I agree! There are several hidden areas in Tukwila where people actually use the light rail, it’s not in middle of nowhere like some have said. He’s just an idiot and I wouldn’t worry about him.

    1. Not worried. Just glad I can correct misconceptions and I owe STB for a lot of that.

      I really think a Southcenter station would’ve been a good move, though. Oh well maybe in the future we can get a spur over to Southcenter.

    1. The guy that was stuck there works for the Rainier Valley post, so of course the media was there.

      But he’s an idiot. The elevator did exactly what it was supposed to do–he just ignored the doors that opened behind him leading to a safe exit. He clearly pans over to that side showing the exit. The dumbass even walks out there but fails to look all around him. If he did, he would’ve seen a door that leads right to the platform. Luckily one of the volunteers had a brain and coached him out of it.

  18. Does anybody know how the Airport Link station will be connected to the main airport terminal? Will there be moving walkways or will travelers have to walk through the parking garage? I was looking at this Port transit map “http://www.portseattle.org/about/maps/transit.shtml” and wondered if the Port would ever extend the North-South terminal train so that it would end at the Link station.

    1. I think it’s a loonnnng bridge from the station to the south part of the terminal. I sure hope they will use the moving walkways to speed things up instead of running 1000 feet to the terminal.

      1. There can’t be moving walkways, I’m afraid, because of the ceiling clearance for the floor below. Honestly, it’s a lot worse in Tokyo or Paris, I’ve had much longer walks.

    2. It is a bridge that connects to the existing parking garage. I’m sure they’ll make the walkway between the station and the terminal look nice. It’ll be designed by Hewitt Architects (the architecture firm for Link)

      There are no plans for a moving walkway. I’ve heard rumors that the ceiling is too low to put one in but please take that with a grain of salt.

      I don’t think they can extend the STS because it is located in the secure area of the airport..

  19. took it the past few days from Columbia City to downtown and back and its been fine. No complaints here. It would be nice if the buses weren’t running in the tunnel as it would probably speed things up.

      1. As bad as the buses might be, those of us who ride from South Seattle and transfer to a bus heading to North Seattle think the single-platform rail-to-bus transfer is the best thing in the history of transit!

        One time – this was like 1996 – I saw a limo speed through the bus tunnel. About 30 seconds later a Sheriff’s cruiser followed. I wondered how much extra the limo driver charged for that route.

  20. Hello from Southern California. I’ve been watching the opening of the Seattle light rail starter line and I’ve noticed something.

    One of the most common criticisms since Monday’s start of revenue operations has been that the trains are “empty.” What these critics fail to realize is that these kinds of mass transit systems are designed for rush hour crowds, so during the rest of the day you will see a few empty seats. It’s true that a southbound AM train is going to be significantly less crowded than a northbound AM train. Check the southbound train again at 5-6PM.

    This is unlike a freeway, which is NOT designed for rush hour traffic (or it was designed for rush hour traffic in, uhm, 1950s or something), which is the reason why speeds slow down as the freeway becomes overloaded. Yet few in the mainstream think about this and declare the light rail to be a failure.

    1. …and you know if the trains were smaller or crowds were larger you’d hear “Link trains are uncomfortably overcrowded’.

    2. And, our system is deigned for traffic levels which will not arrive for some years; the infrastructure itself should last a century.

  21. I have a question about that little “booth” near the O&M building and Beacon Hill Tunnel, what is it used for?

    1. Apparently it’s so operators can get on and off during the early morning hours or something like that. It was explained to me but I forgot.

      I joked that they were axle counters.

      1. “Sound Transit detector; Mile post two point seven. No defects, repeat, no defects. Total axle one two. Out.” Except it would be live every time and not a bunch of recordings.

      1. Yeah, it’s called the OMF Relief Point. When I was on a test train, we stopped there and a bunch of operators and trainers boarded so they could get “certified” for the SODO and DSTT sections.

      2. I wouldn’t be surprised when we would see out of service light rail trains passing by station to station on way to O&M base.

      3. My southbound train home stopped there yesterday and a ST worker got on. He was wearing an orange safety vest and a hard hat with a headlamp on it. Don’t think he was a driver. I got off at Beacon Hill, and he stayed on, so don’t know where he was headed.

  22. I have a blog complaint. Over the past few weeks every time “what’s good to do/eat near X station?” was asked by a commenter, the response was “don’t worry, we’ll have a post about that later.” Is it later yet? I’m about to be the last one on this blog to try Link (I was out of town), and expected a detailed post about what to do/see/eat at stations. Yes, I see the discussion above, and yes I know this is a free blog and I get what I pay for (much more than I pay for, really), but I’m a bit disappointed.

    Oh, and just to add to the discussion above about restaurants near stations, try MSG150. It’s a detailed review about almost every restaurant (85 so far) in the International District (King St. Station).

  23. Today’s New York Times has a wonderful article trumpeting the success of the first section of the High Line, which opened in June. STB recently published hugeasscity’s terrific proposal for taking a section of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and modeling it on the High Line.

    ‘For High Line Visitors, Park Is a Railway Out of Manhattan’

    From the opening:
    ‘Renovated High Line Now Open for Strolling’

    The articles have some dramatic photos of the landscaping, hardscaping, and features. There doesn’t appear to be any public art (at least so far), but the focus seems to be on the views and community park aspects. And after all the angst (sound familiar?) it looks like the project is already causing manifest changes in the neighborhoods surrounding it.

  24. I guess with all the hoopla over free train rides for the weekend nobody had time to fire a shot across the bow of Seattle Times piece “The folly of foot ferries”.

    Jarrett says if he’s elected he’d move to take the $20 million in annual property taxes for foot ferries and give it to the unromantic bus system… Ross Hunter, says he opposes the ferries, too… That’s not stopping two of the leading candidates — Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips — from supporting the ferry-expansion idea (Constantine is the prime backer, and he chairs the ferry committee.)

  25. Hello everybody, I’m reading over the posts, and I’m making a Google Map of all the destinations that people have suggested. If you have any other suggestions please email me at: linkdestinations at gmail dawt com

    Since I just started this(and I’m new to making maps on Google) this is a work in progress, and will be updated as time allows.

    You can see the map here:

    http://local.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&gl=us&ie=UTF8&view=map&msa=0&msid=100122154457501204971.00046f53adafe0d6d2f9f&z=12

    Thanks!

    Ben

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