Commenter Sherwin was actually able to corner Mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan for a few minutes today:

Okay, I dragged him aside for 2 minutes as he was heading out for a forum, and asked him to clarify his positions on transit vs. McGinn’s and the First Hill Streetcar. He was in a big hurry so I had no chance to pick a fight, but here’s what he essentially said.

He claims that McGinn focusing on the AWV-surface deal would consume McGinn’s efforts to effectively pursue transit expansion. He talked a lot of expanding bus service hours (though I don’t know how that’s going to be possible) and effective management so that ST2 can be completed on time so future line extensions are possible. He did not clarify whether or not he supports such extensions.

As far as the FH Streetcar goes, he says what we’ve known all along. That he’s expressed concerns about the efficiency and cost, but will let it go forward if it comes in on time and on budget.

I thanked him, and he scattered. No surprises from him and nothing to change anyone’s mind.


Oh, and he said he opposes First Ave. Streetcar with the reasoning that it’s so close to 3rd, a “dedicated transit way”, which is not entirely true. Again, nothing new.

As Sherwin says, nothing new here, but it’s more answers than I’ve gotten out of his campaign to date.

9 Replies to “Comments of the Day”

  1. Regarding future extensions after ST2, Eastgate in Bellevue is the best candidate in the region as it would add a huge 11,000 riders (2030 estimate) for a short 2 1/2 mile extension from S. Bellevue or only 1 1/2 miles from the BNSF (B7) line. Using B7 in ST2 is no more expensive than B3 and saves $125 million in ST3 by crossing the Mercer Slough along I-90 sooner. Ridership differences between B3 and B7 are negligible. The Eastgate park and ride is already running at 90% of capacity (80% is considered fully utilized). The extension to Eastgate is much more cost-effective than the planned segment from Overlake to downtown Redmond which is expected to add only 3,000 riders at a cost of $550 million.

    1. You need to go farther than Eastgate, otherwise you would just excaberate the crowding at the P&R. You need to go to at least Issaquah TC or preferably (and more conveniently for me) to Issaquah Highlands P&R.

      Or go south toward Newcastle and Renton.

    2. “Ridership differences between B3 and B7 are negligible.”

      Can you explain that? I think the clear difference between the two alignments has been exactly ridership.

      1. There’s a huge number of people traveling between Bellevue and Redmond, or from either to downtown Seattle or to the UW. (Not to mention the Microsofties who live on Capitol Hill.) The 8th Street/Bel-Red/Overlake corridor is already primed for transit: Eastside bus riders have been moving there for decades because it’s the best transit service on the Eastside. Having lived both near 8th and on Somerset Hill (Eastgate), I find it hard to believe the latter would generate more than a fraction of the riders.

        I’m also not sure whether you mean a detour to Eastgate on the way to Bellevue, or a separate spur line. There’s no room for an Issaquah-Seattle line in the DSTT, or at least that’s the reason given for a Ballard – West Seattle line to need another tunnel. You could have a shuttle train from Issaquah to South Bellevue, though I don’t know if that would sufficiently excite residents enough to pay for it.

        Far in the future, another option would be a train following the 271 (Issaquah-Bellevue-UW). That would serve more of the destinations Eastgaters/Issaquahites want to go to (including other Eastside destinations not directly on the line), but it still wouldn’t provide direct Issaquah-Seattle service.

      2. You could actually fit Issaquah trains in the DSTT. The constraint is the Northgate-downtown segment, which really needs the 2-3 minute headways.

        If the Rainier Valley is any guide, you won’t be able to run at-grade any more often then about 6-8 minutes. That would apply to the Bel-Red segment too, so coming out of the DSTT you could have trains alternate between Federal Way, Overlake, and Issaquah in thirds.

        Without an Issaquah segment some trains may have to utilize the pocket track below Stadium to turn around and head North again.

      3. Depending on how things go, only the West Seattle – Ballard line would need a separate line because of the difficulty of modifying the existing Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel. You can run every 2-3 minutes in the DSTT with no real issues, you may even be able to squeeze a train every 90 seconds if the operators do the speed limit for the complete segment. This is where automation becomes the advantage like SkyTrain.

        Most, if not all trains to the Eastside will originate from Husky Stadium or Northgate/Lynnwood. Trains from Northgate will be a mixture of Eastside, Airport or Stadium specials, etc. This is of course all speculation but the operating scenario presented is difficult since Eastside trains will have no choice but to go Northbound unless a connection is built between I-90 and Stadium…

        Nothing will readily change time wise except the length of trains when the U-Link extension opens up as trains will be Sea-Tac Airport (Or South 200th) to Husky Stadium. Things will be reduced to every 4 to 6 minutes when Link makes it out to Overlake. This still allows for quite a bit of space for scheduling improvements, modifications, etc.

        Ultimately by the time the full build out is completed, trains should be running in the DSTT every 1.5 minutes during peak commute. Could a Ballard – West Seattle line use the tunnel? Not effectively or efficiently enough plus the modifications to the tunnel that would allow the tunnel to continue under 3rd Avenue would not work out without disrupting rail traffic in the tunnel altogether.

        This is again all speculation but with the way the operating scenarios doesn’t leave much room for anything else.

    3. Eastgate is best served by a shuttle bus to the B3 alignment at South Bellevue Park and Ride. It’s barely five minutes between the two, since they’re linked by I-90.

      1. Eventually light rail to Factoria, Eastgate, and Issaquah makes sense, but certainly not so much as to significantly alter East Link plans. Saving 1 mile of track construction also isn’t a good reason to go with what is a worse alignment for the initial line.

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