As promised, here are the details.  The meet-up will be in the back area of the Columbia City Ale House this Thursday, August 6.

Importantly, you can take Link there if you’re willing to walk about 4 blocks.  You can also get a discount on their “Light Rail Ale” if you present an Orca Card or Link ticket.  As an added bonus, the restrooms are transit-themeed.

I’ll be there to receive people no later than 6 pm.  We’ll have a guest speaker that should get started by about 7.

If you’re planning to attend, please say so in the comments.  21 and over only, unfortunately.

68 Replies to “Meet-up Details”

  1. I want to be there (the Alehouse is in my ‘hood only a few blocks walk away), but I wanted to take my daughter to the Hiroshima to Hope lantern floating ceremony at Green Lake. If that falls through, I’ll come.

  2. Might be there. I live within walking distance, but it depends how evening homework goes with the teenager.

  3. I’ll be there.

    Nothing against the Ale House but it might be worth scouting for meetup locations near Link that allow people under 21.

    1. There’s the Collins Pub, but I’m not sure that Downtown is what people mean by “near Link”.

      Are you volunteering to scout?

      1. I was thinking South of ID station, for some reason I don’t really think of the DSTT stations as being the same thing as the rest of the Link stations when I say I want to find things near Link.

        As for scouting, I was hoping someone else already knew of a place or was willing to scout. Frankly I’m kind of lazy. That said I’ll keep my eyes open for some place appropriate.

  4. Off-topic, but I thought I would share with you that this morning ST was installing illuminated “next train” signs at Tukwila Station that point to the appropriate platform.

    1. Yeah, those were running on Sunday morning when I went down to Pancake Chef. They’re pretty awesome!

      1. Mmmmm, Pancake Chef. Totally forgot that’s another useful Light Rail destination.

  5. They were up and working Saturday afternoon – great (and quick) move on ST’s part!

    1. Well, the Next Train signs only work when there’s somebody there to switch them back and forth. Strictly a manual operation, unfortunately. Not sure if that task is in the purview of the Metro platform supervisor or whether ST operations personnel are required. During hours when only ST security guard is on duty, the signs will undoubtedly stay dark.

      1. Well I really hope you choose an all-ages place next time! I haven’t been able to come to any meetups yet, each time that my schedule is open it’s 21+…

      2. We haven’t done a 21+ one for at least 6 months. They’ve all been at the Collins, the Pyramid, or Ocean City. All all-ages.

        You must have a busy schedule.

  6. I’m going to try to make it, mainly because I want to drink something called Light Rail Ale.

  7. Off topic, but today I got on Link at Tukwila at 5:45pm and arrived at Westlake an incredible 57 minutes later. We stopped inexplicably for about 5 minutes at Rainier Beach, then, because the signal priority is based on schedule and not on real-time location of the vehicle, we stopped at every single light the whole way down Rainier Valley. Then we went quite slowly through Beacon Hill and stopped on the other side for a couple minutes to switch drivers at the hut outside of O&M. We then stopped for 7 or 8 minutes behind International District Station because of “Traffic ahead” according to an automated announcement. First of all, this 23 minute delay must have backed up a lot of trains and left a long time with no trains coming southbound from Westlake at the end of rush-hour. Second of all, it gave a very bad impression to people who were riding it for their first time or one of their first times; I heard someone as I was getting off saying “I thought it would be fast and efficient…” Hopefully this is a rare occurrence in the future…

    1. The signal priority is not based on the train schedule, it’s only activated when the operator pushes a button in the cab to request it, then the system has a set of rules to determine when to grant it because it has to trade it off with vehicle traffic.

      I got on Link from Tukwila at 5 pm and didn’t experience any delays on MLK. Having to stop at every light means something went wrong with the priority request, who knows, maybe the operator didn’t follow the correct procedure. I really can’t say. The operators reading here might have some insight.

      I explained the general concept of transit signal priority in an earlier comment.

      1. We had one complaint on the Beacon Hill mailing list from someone who had the same experience and felt that, therefore, Link was a failure… sigh.

        I would like to hear what the operators have to say about why this happens, because I too have had the experience of stopping at most of the lights on MLK, though I haven’t been on a ride that was as long as Alex’s. (Most of the time it’s been as fast as advertised, and even with the extra stops it hasn’t been too much slower.) I understand that stuff happens, but I am curious as to what makes it happen, and whether it’s the kind of thing that will become less and less common over the coming weeks and months.

      2. Talked to a person who lives in Columbia city and had a similar experience. Slow ride on LINK, long walk (20 minutes to the station). And has an express bus with 4 stops after they get on with a 10 minute walk from home.

        Being at grade, signal priority is key for a reasonable length ride.

      3. Ah, the Cascading lights! Since they are are operated through SDOT and the traffic signals they own, we are at their mercy. Basicly, if we get out of sync either due to the lights not working right, or we leave the station late, (so don’t expect us to wait for you), or a city emergency vehicle preempts us, we could miss every light until the next station. One trick that sometimes works is to wait until two or more train signals ahead complete their cycle and return to “amber” and then call for the signal again, or at a major light like Graham wait until the left turn lights for the NB/SB direction to re-request the cascade. Operators can receive up to a 3 day suspension for going through a amber stop signal, unless we get permission to by-pass the light from LCC ( Link Control).

      4. I hope they get it straightened out, it works beautifully when everything goes right. It seems like the signals should remain in the proceed aspect until the train actually goes through them, that way the train couldn’t get behind and out of sync with the following signals.

      5. Hmm, interesting.

        There was one train northbound in Columbia City where three of us were running to catch the train. There seemed to be NO way we would get there in time, but it seemed as if the driver perhaps waited for us, because it sat there an extra long time with doors open until we got there and got on. And then the train promptly missed the light at Alaska. :)

        For what it’s worth, if the driver actually was waiting for us, it was nice of him, but I didn’t actually expect the train to wait, and if doing that messes it up for other riders, I don’t want to be responsible for that. ;)

      6. What I’m asking is from what I’ve overheard from someone else as I don’t have the slightest idea of how this stuff actually works nor do I claim to represent them.

        doug, do you know about the secondary loop at stations? You know, the one right before the signal beyond the 1/2 car loop and 3/4 car loop (stopping point). If you placed a call at the usual location and it doesn’t seem to work I’ve heard that you’re supposed to pull up to that loop and hit the button again. That will cancel the prior call and resend it. Otherwise, the system can get confused that there are two trains coming instead of one and that could mess up that segment.

      7. My experience shows that it is better to wait to call for the priority request at MLK stations if the signal ahead is showing a east west phase or worst – a pedestrian cycle. If we call for the signal during these it sends the request up the ROW to the next couple of intersections but does not give us a proceed at the intersection just ahead of the station. This causes us to miss the priority ahead and doubles the priority cycles per train movement.

        I hold with my doors open until I know there will be a parallel cycle within the 28 seconds of calling for the priority signal ensuring a smooth cascade.

        But as Doug mentioned above – do not feel bad if the doors close and the train leaves while you where running up as the proceed indication is short and missing it would cause a delay similar to above.

      8. Does that mean the signals ahead change to proceed while the first signal to leave the station remains amber? That doesn’t make any sense. I mean why do the cascade at all if the signal prevents the train from leaving the station?

      9. Northbound at Rainier Beach it happens at least to me once a day. We as operators have complained to everyone including the engineers at SDOT.

      10. Hey Doug,

        It was good meeting you – thanks for explaining the announcement and signage system.

        Also, speaking of the ongoing signaling issues, there appears to have been some sort of an signaling outage in the tunnel tonight. As I left Pioneer Square there was a Metro supervisor standing between the tracks, using hand signals to marshal buses and trains through the tunnel. He appeared to release a train into the southbound tunnel on an amber signal and held an incoming southbound bus for a few moments before I left the platform.

        – Rob

      11. This happened when I was riding the first week. There were a bunch of link engineers riding on the train with me, talking about the problem. Apparently it is a fairly common occurrence for an operator to send out an “I’m coming” signal and then not go for some reason, thus losing their chance for all greens. The engineers were discussing a way to figure out exactly how often this happens and why, in order to make it happen less often.

      12. Hm I didn’t know that. I’m pretty sure I remember hearing a quote from an ST person saying that the signal priority will work when it is up to 5/10 seconds behind schedule.

    2. Ah THAT explains it! I waited for 15 minutes for a SB train at Westlake at the end of rush hour today, then when I finally got on one we passed a train headed north at University Street, Pioneer Square, and Stadium, plus there was another one south of Stadium waiting for that one to leave the station so it could come in.

  8. Sorry, love to be there, but I’m doing campaign volunteering that night.

    But, two questions:

    1, Do you guys have a presence? If yes, link? If not, I have a paid account and – assuming I can host several Meetups for the same cost – I’d be happy to be the Puppet Dictator for your regular Meetup events.

    2. Are your Meetups always so . . . formal (for lack of a better word)? Not that I have a problem with a planned guest speaker and all that hubbub, but I’m just wondering if you have less structured meetups. I think I’d be more inclined to go to those, personally.

    1. 1. No, we don’t. Our meetups are free, but if you’re interested in helping coordinate them that would be awesome. Is the email you used for this comment valid?

      2. The last one had no guest speaker. We’re having more speakers than usual thanks to the election year. There’s still a couple of hours of socializing on Thursday.

      1. Yes, the provided email address works. I get up to 3 Meetup Groups per account, so shoot me an email and we’ll work something out.

  9. I’ll do my best. I’ll have to drive to Tukwila (sigh!) and I’ll catch Link from there. Anyone have a good walking route from the Link station?

  10. Count me in Martin – I will be voting for the first time this election and am excited at the prospect!


  11. I’ll be there for the first time. I’m not sure if whether or not I can make it by 6, but 7 should be doable at least.

Comments are closed.