39 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread”

  1. Does anyone know the minimum radius that the LINK LRVs can negotiate in revenue service?

  2. When “East Link” is built … the line is supposed to end in the DSTT. Is ST planning on rebuilding the track to Convention Place Station so that the East Link trains have a place to terminate service and for layovers?

    This would make sense as it would keep that station in use when busses leave the tunnel, and would create a transit center where a lot of the out-of-town busses could stop, removing them from 4th avenue and other downtown streets.

    Also, I assume that they will build center-island platforms when the busses are gone. That shouldn’t be a real issue at the I-District, Pioneer Sq. and University St. … but is there room at Westlake since the mezzanine level is right above the center of the station and doesn’t look wide enough for people to use and have stairs/escalators/elevators.

      1. that’s not going to work when the stations north of UW open though … terminating trains at a two track station in the middle of a line is always problematic

      2. storage track doesn’t help when turning trains … the train will either have to switch tracks into the station or when they leave … this opens the possibility of accidents and other operational issues especially when the engineer has to get out and walk to the other end of the train. This blocks the station.

        if they do terminate at Northgate than this isn’t a problem since that is the last stop (like Tukwila today).

        Personally I think they should just go to Convention Pl. and terminate there … but I guess ST thinks that they need twice the service from downtown North.

        Thanks for the plans though. cool to see.

      3. I always thought East Link would terminate at Northgate? Seems to make more sense than UW … mainly because I think Brooklyn station is closer to the Ave and would have higher ridership than UW station.

      4. I could be wrong about turning trains at UW station. I think I got that impression from some other post I read here a few months ago.

        Will Northgate station be open when East Link starts service? Would it be possible that a short segment of East Link incluing say, Rainier Ave., Mercer Island and South Bellevue P&R would open before the full line?

      5. Yeah, everything I’ve seen has Northgate being the terminus of East Link. Makes sense to have a third/storage/turn-around track at a big elevated station rather than underground…

    1. what about moving greyhound and other inter city bus lines to a reconfigured convention center station? you know greyhound would like to sell off their downtown station.

      1. I keep hearing discussion of putting an inter-city bus terminal at King Street Station. I don’t know of any concrete plans though.

        BTW the Seattle Greyhound station used to be the Seattle terminal for the Seattle to Everett interurban as well as for the bus lines operated by Puget Sound Power, Light, & Traction (later spun off then bought by Greyhound).

      2. I’ve been wondering about the plans to move the intercity buses to King Street also. With plans to develop the adjacent part of the ‘North Lot’ next to Qwest Field moving forward, a really good opportunity may be slipping away.

      3. I believe the plan for intercity buses at King Street Station was to use the upper level plaza accessible via S. Jackson. Redevelopment of the Qwest north lot shouldn’t impact that.

  3. Anyone have a solid idea of when Link is going to get the ‘Next Train’ information set up? I know it’s in the works, but I can’t seem to find when they were going to install the system.

  4. According to a July 19 article in the Kitsap Sun, “More than 80 percent of the agency’s revenues come from local sales taxes [Kitsap County Public Transportation Benefit Area 0.8%], which have dipped 10.5 percent below last year’s collections.” And so, Kitsap Transit’s interlocal board is holding an August meeting (for the first time in many years) to pave the way for massive service cuts this December to routed and ACCESS service in the wake of the financial crisis that has brought the agency to its knees.

    After Kitsap Transit service was gutted in the aftermath of the MVET debacle, some service hours were slowly restored. But Sunday service was eliminated, again, this past February. (“[Kitsap Transit Executive Director Richard] Hayes said…KT is confident that the loss of Sunday service will not strand transit riders.” – December 2008 board minutes.) And the plan is to cut the severely limited Saturday service even further.

    The board seems particularly eager to cut the #14, an efficient, well-utilized express route between Bremerton and Silverdale. According to the July 19 Kitsap Sun article, Hayes agrees, saying “In this kind of crisis, we don’t need three ways to get from Bremerton to Silverdale.” Unmentioned was that the other two routes are interlined milk runs, one taking SR 303 and one meandering along Chico Way, and that both are long, uncomfortable, relatively unpleasant rides. (Contrary to common sense and current transit practices, “the riders can transfer” is Kitsap Transit’s mantra when “adjusting” service and routes. It’d be helpful if the board members actually rode the routes in the system and got a feel for them. The newest board member rides Kitsap Transit buses, but I believe few other board members do.)

    Service throughout the system is so minimal now, it’s difficult to imagine what else can be cut, and it appears that the board is also struggling with that concept (except where the #14 is concerned). Just about everything is available for the ax, and in the context of current service, this is as traumatic for Kitsap County, if not more so, than the drastic cuts proposed for Metro. So, stay tuned – things are going to start getting interesting in a couple of days.

    I should note that the board fully supported the local car tab fees measure that Gregoire vetoed earlier this year, had counted on it, felt blindsided by and was quite upset at Gregoire’s veto, and has instructed its Olympia lobbyist to continue pursuing the issue with the alliances in Olympia that supported the measure. So, despite MMH’s best efforts, I don’t think the issue is quite as dead as she intended.

  5. I emailed a few links to the blog a while back, but I might as well post them in an open thread — they are about 10 days old now, but I think the ones from the Guardian are pretty interesting:

    “The (UK) government has made the demise of domestic air travel an explicit policy target for the first time by aiming to replace short-haul flights with a new 250mph high-speed rail network…”

    Make do and mend: how Britain neglected its railways

    Carrying an ORCA card in an Oyster card sleeve — this one is on my blog. Not wonkish enough for STB, but maybe someone is interested. And http://www.flickr.com/photos/litlnemo/3809709312/ is my new Tube map ORCA case.

  6. Is ST still tweaking the signalling system along MLK? I was on a train that had to stop a few times, and frankly, it’s extremely disappointing given the amount of money we’ve spent on the overall system as well as the signalling system specific to the Valley. Seems like something that should rarely if ever happen.

    1. The system opened 4 weeks ago and is meant to b e with us for a century. There will be tweaks, adjustments, changes, disappointments and problems. Just as your car or computer might have a “break-in” period, so will Link. Instant gratification is not preprogrammed into these very complex systems.

      1. Thank you for the VERY informative response. Since the system was tested for several weeks prior to opening, I would expect that the signal system would have been thoroughly vetted. Further, I’ve not heard any indication from ST or in the local media about their plans with regard to signal priority, so I would be interested in knowing if this is on their radar or whether they’re happy with the status quo.

      2. I too share your dissapointment, but I think they’ll iron it out. I agree… for all the money we spent on that thing, it better damn well never stop on MLK.

        It does amuse me though–if you are a car driving next to the train, you pretty much have a straight shot all the way down MLK with zero red lights.

  7. I really wish there was some way for Metro to enforce parking violations in their bus zones. I’m sure we’ve all seen people park in the zones. I happens all the time. Today a car was loading up in the zone, and when the driver informed her she couldn’t park there she actually had the nerve to get pissed at him as if he was telling her she couldn’t park in her own driveway. “I’ll only be 10 minutes” Meanwhile you’re holding up a VERY VERY FULL bus that I’m sure was already very late at this point (didn’t look at the schedule).

    At this point, there’s absolutely nothing the driver or anyone else can do. As it is, if someone parks long-term in a zone you’re lucky if they get caught. The driver can call the coordinator with all the info and the coordinator can pass the info along to SPD who MIGHT send a parking enforcement person out in three or four hours. By then, the car is probably gone and nothing is done. In short situations like this as far as I know there’s absolutely nothing anyone can do to prevent these morons from slowing up the system.

    It would be great if drivers were able to indirectly issue tickets by reporting the incident at the base and giving plate numbers/description and so on. Just have a requirement that two or three passengers have to verify that they saw this car do such and such and blank location. Hell, get a couple of passengers to take pics with their camera phones verifying the violation. You’re sitting there waiting for these jackasses anyway. I know a lot of drivers wouldn’t go through the trouble and some incidents wouldn’t warrant the effort but the times like today just frustrate me.

    I know this would never happen because drivers would be up in arms over the fact that bus drivers could have them fined. I’m sure some advocacy group would be all over it and the media would create some epic backlash for whatever reason, but something needs to be done.

    I think this was more me venting than anything. People were driving like a-holes today and I just kept thinking “God it’d be nice if there were no cars downtown”.

    1. Actually – the solution is for more curb bulbs. Bring the sidewalk out to the street where the bus stops in lane. There are many examples of this along the Ave in the U District. Can’t park there.

      1. Or a large twig could find its way into the inside of one of the Schrader valves…now that would be a pity.

      2. That’s just counter productive.

        Drivers issue parking tickets for cars in bus only locations is a far better solution. Put a digicam in the bus and set the fine higher than a paint job.

      3. Frankly you’d think the various municipalities in the area would see the revenue enhancement opportunities in vigorously enforcing parking regulations, particularly idiots who do things like park in transit zones.

    2. If you see a car parked in the bus zone, call Seattle PD Parking Enforcement (206) 625-5011. Once they arrive on scene, they can issue a citation in under a minute! They’ll call for a tow, and one of their contracted companies will be all too happy to oblige! Watch those guys weekdays during peak. They get all too excited a few minutes before the restrictions start. Sometimes they’ll even lift them up a few minutes before.

    3. When I drove trolleys it was a total waste of everyone’s time to call a blocked zone in for enforcement.
      Instead, I just positioned the bus to block traffic AND the parked car, and let folks on and off with me standing at the front door on the street.
      IF the driver showed up, they were already in the penalty box, so they got to sit there for an extra 2 minutes to think about it.
      I have no idea if that made an impact, but my passengers almost always thanked me for not letting the offender off Scott free.
      BTW, that’s not in the book.

    4. I’m usually driving an artic downtown so I always wrap the bus around any illegally parked cars to block them. Metro dictates Safety first and I’m happy to oblige.

      I had one route that went through downtown right as the restrictions were about to start. Back then, I remember at least once a week seeing 2 or 3 tow trucks waiting behind one or two parking enforcement officers ready to head up the line. I remember being late one time and having the pleasure of seeing 2 cars hooked up to tow trucks. If Seattle ever offers a part-time PEO position, I’m there.

  8. I want to know when are they going to tear that horrible drop ceiling down in King Street Station? I mean, I will go in there and rip the thing down and they can pay me a million dollars for heaven’s sake!!

    1. I understand they’re waiting for the King County odor control project to finish up so they have a place for a temporary station while the interior work is being done. Maybe this fall?

  9. Solution for bus zone parking?

    Equip buses with forward facing cameras like a red light camera, take a picture of the car date and time stamped and then send them a $124 ticket. Actually the ticket should be for $124 x the number of passengers on the bus that the dumb sh*t held up but that might be a tad extreme.

    I like the trolley bus driver who blocked the drive in with the front and back doors, reminded me of an incident in SF years ago where I witnessed a fire truck break the two back windows of a car, lay a 6″ hydrant hose through the car to the fire hydrant he had blocked and a few minutes later the cops laid a ticket on his windshield. Justice served.

    1. For anyone visiting New York a visit to the High Line is a must. I’ve walked the park twice in different weather conditions, and it is amazing how it seems as though you are in a very different park depending on the weather. Be sure to donate, and be sure to visit on a week day – at the weekends it gets mobbed.

  10. I ran into a bizarre situation on the #15 in Ballard today, and I’m wondering if anybody can tell me if what allegedly occurred is even possible.

    I tapped my ORCA card, got a transfer message, a green light, and the “you’ve passed” beep. But the driver demanded I tap my card two more times – creating a passback both times – even though I told him the transfer was approved. The driver repeatedly (and very loudly) insisted the original tap showed a passback on his console, and seemed determined to make an example of me (or something – who knows with these guys). I checked the transaction when I returned home, and it showed a properly processed transfer, just as I knew it would.

    So, while it seems as unlikely as snow in Seattle in August, is it technically possible for a tap to clear on the card processor, but show up as something else entirely on the driver console?

Comments are closed.