Beacon Hill Station by galenorama
"Beacon Hill Station" by galenorama

If you missed our post and poll about Infill Stations last week thanks to our service outage, it’s never too late to go there and vote.  I’m somewhat surprised that Graham St. is running away with it so decisively.

53 Replies to “News Roundup: Votes, Polls, and Surveys”

  1. I briefly turned on NWCN last night and they had a mini-feature on Portland as the number 9th pedestrian-friendly city…but not a single mention of Seattle as #5.

    1. Sweet! Been here only 2 weeks and got my mention on the blog!

      Although this probably has more to do with me being sentenced to 3-5 years in bum**** nowhere North Carolina and hearing the NPR story about pedestrian safety three hours before y’all than else, I’ll still take it. :D

  2. Walk Score still doesn’t have transit info for our area because neither Metro and ST have their feeds public. It’s disappointing.

    What I do find odd is the fact that Metro operations show up on Google Maps, but Link doesn’t.

    1. Also odd is that the Tukwila International Boulevard transit center isn’t on the map. Somehow the 124 turns into a 174 and the 129 appears out of nowhere. Ditto for the Mount Baker Transit Center.

      1. I know you know this, but to avoid confusion. 124 & 174 are seperate routes, even operated out of seperate bases. Except the two trip each direction of night owl service. Then in thaqt case only is it a linked route.

    2. What did Metro say about public data at that developer conference they had a few weeks ago? How can they promote third-party developers if they don’t make their data public?

  3. I think one car per family is a great, and realistic, goal, and one that can productively shape land use and transportation planning.

    My favorite is putting rent subsidized child care at the park and ride.

    Some people will choose not to do this, but they will also be $10,000 or so poorer, every year….

    1. I’m in a family of six and used to have a single car now we have two cars and a moped. We were thinking of getting rid of the second car because of the insurance which can get expensive when my young brother drives it. My father is the only one who drives everyday. The rest of us get around on the bus just fine or carpool with him into Seattle (able to use the HOV 3+ on 520) then take the bus home.

      All the homes around me in this Eastside neighborhood have at least 2 cars.

      1. And that’s one of the best arguments against spending transit money on park and rides.

      2. Well, there’s your trade-off. Ridership is usually sacrificed when we withhold park and rides.

        Many suburban dwellers are unwilling to take transit unless they can drive to the park and ride. One thing we do need is more bike parking.

      3. To the contrary, the park-and-ride is efficient in gathering a bus load or train load of people…

      4. There’s a huge difference in the investment associated with a P&R. A one extreme you’ve got things like churches where the transit investment is a small rental. The next step up are out lying surface lots where the land isn’t overly expensive and is actually a pretty good investment. At the other extreme you’ve got mega dollar parking garages often on very valuable real estate. Redmond TC is an example of that. You end up increasing the transit subsidy per ride by at least 4X (at least until we charge for parking). And since these structures are usually in the center of an already congested area they tend to make peak traffic even worse. The South Bellevue East Link proposal is a prime example of just such a poor investment. As Matt points out, each of those expensive spots is only one round trip.

      5. I disagree. In Seattle you don’t need P&R’s because almost no matter where you live you are in walking distance of at least one, maybe more routes. But in the outlying areas, you need park and rides. Yes commuter routes serve some neighborhoods, but not all. I live on the 252 & 255 now, but I used to live where there was no bus service. I had to drive to a P&R. Bothell, Canyon Park, Lynnwood, Ash Way, Brickyard, Kingsgate all fill up. Some even with cars illegally parked just to catch the bus there.

        I understand your argument for people leaving their cars at home, but there are just too many areas that have limited or no bus service at all. So we need these park and rides.

        We need to spend money on P&R’s to increase the size of existing lots and build new ones for those who can’t just walk from their house to the bus stop. More parking spaces allows more riders and fewer cars on the freeways.

      6. I agree, land use can be very different in the suburbs than it is near the city center. Some neighborhoods have no transit service at all, and others might only have one infrequent bus route.

        It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg problem: transit isn’t worthwhile without at least some density, but it’s also difficult to create that density if each household has two or more cars. Park-and-rides are a good way to bridge that gap.

      7. Park & Rides serve primarily commuters and people going to special events. Most people will still drive a car to get groceries or a burger because it’s far more convenient than a bus than runs every 30-60 minutes and the destinations are too spread out. Bus service on most of the Eastside is poor and not as cost-effective compared to Seattle.

        I’d love to see the suburbs retrofitted to be more transit friendly but until then park & rides will have to do.

        I walk to the 255 and 257 and every time I go by an overfilled Brickyard and Kingsgate I’m glad I didn’t have to park & ride. Brickyard is undergoing an expansion by the way.

      8. I don’t know what I think about transit money on P&Rs, but at least charge a couple dollars to use them. Plenty of other agencies do it, and it’s still a hell of a lot cheaper than parking downtown.

  4. Apropos of the pedestrian safety ranking, I’d like to take the opportunity to remind folks to report any burnt-out or flickering streetlights they see around town.

    Last night in just two miles of walking around Ballard I counted some 15 burnt-out streetlights. Since I’m a geek, I actually noted the pole numbers and addresses as draft text messages on my phone and reported them when I got home. But since City Light’s repairs are currently averaging 60 days(!) and most lights probably don’t get reported at all, I can only imagine how many streetlights are out around the city and will remain so all winter long. Especially at corners, the lack of proper street lighting makes the streets even more dangerous than usual for cyclists and pedestrians.

    1. We’ve got one that has been cycling rapidly for months on my block. I should probably take a walk around my neighborhood and report all of the lights I find with problems.

    2. I think the delays right now are due to the lack of money. After the rate increase, hopefully they’ll do better.

      Are they replacing new lights with LEDs yet, other than in the test section(s)?

      1. I also assume it’s a lack of money, but it’s interesting to read that back in July the mayor accelerated spending of 20% of the $9M streetlight budget to speed up lamp replacement, with the goal of getting the repair time down to 10 days by the end of 2009. So… what happened to that money? Did they spend too much of it too soon, and now don’t have enough to keep pace?

    3. Except any in front of my house! It was burned out for two years, and the dark nights and stargazing were perfect… then a new bulb. Bummer.

    4. Don’t do this. My girlfriend takes calls in the city of Vancouver BC for street lights that are burnt out and she hates it when people do this. You would be suprised how many people call in a single burnt out light…she’ll calls from a dozen people about one light.

      1. Seattle, apparently unlike Vancouver, has an online form for reporting problem streetlights, and IIRC the phone number doesn’t lead to a voice mailbox. I assume someone has to sort through duplicate form submissions, but that wouldn’t be nearly as bad as dealing with actual people.

        Plus, yeah, that’s her job, so…

      2. The online form works just fine. Did that for a burnt out bulb and they showed up within the week to replace it.

  5. I’m not that surprised that the Graham St. station is getting such high votes in the poll, since I remember that Sound Transit originally wanted to put a station there, maybe around pre-2001 I think.

  6. A few questions about the “missing link” photos: are those rail tracks still in use? If so, what are they used for? If not, what were they used for?

      1. Originally those tracks continued on to Woodinville along what is now the Burke-Gilman Trail.

      2. Yep. They were NP’s Canadian passenger line. The freight went down to Renton and Auburn yard on the east side ROW through Bellevue, but the passenger trains turned at Woodinville and came down the Burke-Gilman to about 11th NW. There was at one time a lift bridge that crossed the Ship Canal at an angle to feed into the line on the south side of the Canal that the city now owns.

  7. Regarding Park and Rides – I may be missing something, but those cars that are in P&R’s all day long are not on the roads. Their drivers are on buses or rail with other car drivers. Seems like less pollution to me. If there were no P&R’s, those cars would likely be on the road. Not perfect, but an improvement.

    1. Pollution is not the only factor.

      If you don’t build roads for those cars, they won’t be on the road either, and you’ll have saved money on the park and ride, money on the road, and money on all the assorted costs of sprawl that also won’t come with them.

      1. And not building the cars themselves saves a ton or more of resources per car.
        The tyranny of the automobile is that there are so many costs to the economy and the culture.

      2. Ben, Lloyd – true enough, and if we could start over, maybe we would not have suburbs, cars and roads. But we do have them and they will be here for a long time, even if we stopped building them today. I think P&R’s are a great interim plan. They get cars off the road.

      3. Ben

        Don’t be irrational in your dislike of cars – they are not going to disappear over night so P&R are good places to store them while their owners have taken buses to their places of work. Those of us who live in the suburbs are not always close to suitable bus lines and if we are out of work, many of those lines only operate at peak hours. The 210 for example is right outside of my complex, but as I am not working right now, it is only available for those of us who are working as it is a peak only service. I always use P&Rs when I can, but cars will be with us for a while and therefore P&Rs will continue to be useful.

      4. I think we should insist on P&Rs charging market rate if they get full. It would also make more sense if P&Rs were funded out of the road budget.

      5. Makes sense to charge market rate. In some cases, of course, that would be close to zero. There are large empty area both north and west of the Federal Way Transit Center, so it’s clear there’s no demand for that land to be sed for something else. One might want to recoup the cost of building the FWTC, if not the land, but then you have the problem of commuters parking at nearby businesses.

        Not only are there outlying areas not served by buses, there are also areas not quite so outlying that are not served by buses during the hours people commute. My vanpool leaves the Federal Way P&R at 6:30am, but the first southbound 174 of the day is usually too late for me to take from home to meet the vanpool.

  8. Wow — Florida cities are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th most dangerous cities in America.

    Also the first city on the list that’s not in the South or Southeast is Louisville, at number seven.

    The most dangerous regions on the list heavily skews towards the South – Southeast. I guess that means I will never go on a bike tour through there ….

  9. I answered the WSDOT survey and gave them great marks for the work they do and for communication of problems and issues but I didn’t rate them too highly on the frequency and accuracy of their project updates. All too frequently the only thing that seems to change from month to month in their project updates is the name of the month itself! The text often remains the same and they don’t apologize enough or explain why their projects seem to remain static from month to month. You can ask them and they are usually pretty good at coming up with some explanation, but on balance, I would say that the agency needs to be more forthcoming on their projects and let us know why it sometimes appears that no one has been working on a particular project for a while. The SR900 project at Newport Way in Issaquah and the NE 10th Bridge over the 405 in Bellevue are just two examples of what I have been talking about. Both projects have been inordinantly slow to complete and explanations have been sought beyond what WSDOT has been telling us from month to month.

    1. Just to update my comment above, the ‘problems and issues’ tehy do communicate well at chiefly concern disaster-related information. They do communicate this well.

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