Photo by Zargoman

92 Replies to “News Roundup: Unpleasant Transit Rides”

  1. “A good reason not to ride the bus.” No, that’s not a good reason not to take public transit. That’s a good reason for those two girls to get up and move.

      1. I would just say a 2600, 2700,or 2800 series coach. How do you know it’s a Hybrid? 2870-2899 are the same everything as a Hybrid except, that it’s just straight diesel and no battery pack on the rear roof section.

  2. You know, I agree about the seats on Link. They are very uncomfortable. It would be my only complaint as well (that and it sometimes hits traffic lights).

    1. The seats I don’t mind. The person or persons smelling like a rest room on the LINK I got on at University Station…well…

    2. I think that before ST goes out for more trains (past the University Link trains that are already ordered), they should ask for public input about the design, as WSDOT is doing with the redesign of their bistro car for Amtrak Cascades.

      1. sure … but the options for design changes are really limited for LRVs …

        there are two things that I think will be neccessary going forward as the system expands.

        1. the route map should work like the new subway cars in NYC … where the entire thing is LED … showing the next stops in the line as well as the line you are riding on, connections, etc … (note: many light rail systems around the world are getting video systems (like CNN Airport Network) showing relevant info/news/weather)

        2. I have no problem with the aesthetics of the LINK LRVs … they look nice … ST should look into what Dallas and Kinki Sharyo did with extending their 2-car LRVs by adding additional 100% low-floor segments into the middle. Doing this here … would allow for LINK’s 2 car trains to become 1 car reducing many of the hardware requirements for each 3-segment train car (i.e. 2 car train has 4 operator cabs … 1 extended 1 car train has only 2 operator cabs). Extending the existing vehicles also means that they need to purchase fewer new vehicles. This would also allow for more bike storage/vehicle … more ADA accessible seats / vehicle, etc …

        (rough example here: )

        3. as far as comfort … what are the complaints about the current seats? is it comfort (for yer butt) … seat pitch? seat width? Seat pitch and width are factors of the vehicle dimensions … I would imagine that seat width could be solved by 2×1 seating with an offset aisle … seat pitch is a factor of how the overall layout of the car is set up … (again stretching the LRVs would allow for more seating area at 100% low floor so maybe a better floorplan in those sections could be drafted (and you have the extra room now taken up by the operator cabs)

        4. whatever happens … ST should make sure that the new LRVs can still MU with the existing fleet. This is a problem in Portland as the newest Siemens cars cannot MU with the older fleet. While not a huge problem, the additional flexibility of mixed combination trains would be a good thing to have.

      2. Not sure that they can really do this, given that they’ll need to run up some pretty steep grades, especially on University Link. Having 4 out of 6 axles powered is already a bit of a problem, having only 4 out 8 on an extended train could make things worse. Dallas did what they did because their original trains were not low floor, and this was a much cheaper way to get low-floor trains than total fleet replacement.

      3. One potential problem with buying longer LRVs would be the length of the bays in the maintenance facility. I think those are only designed for one car at a time and would have trouble handling a much longer car.

    3. The new S70’s down in Portland have amazing seats and feel a lot more open than the Kinkos. Even the old SD660’s have great seats. Hell, the SLUT has great seats.

      Maybe ST should consider a different LRV (and save about a bunch of money as the Kinko’s are really spendy). Or better seats…

      1. Well, Kinkisharyo-Mitsui did win the competitive bidding process.

        From the Times in 2003:

        Kinkisharyo’s package wasn’t the low bid. Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick said Bombardier Transit of Canada offered to build the cars for about $2 million less.

        But “price is only one factor,” Sims said. A committee of Sound Transit and King County Metro officials also factored in nonmonetary considerations. Simmonds said Kinkisharyo scored high for delivering reliable vehicles on time and on budget, and for demonstrating an ability to accommodate change orders without affecting schedule or quality.

        In addition to Kinkisharyo and Bombardier, Patrick said three other companies submitted proposals: Ansaldobreda of Italy, CAF USA of Spain and Siemens Transportation Systems of Germany. All five firms have built light-rail cars for U.S. cities.

        *Gasp* AnsaldoBreda? After the tunnel bus fiasco, not to mention other blunders in SF and Boston, who’s even going to consider them?

      2. Some would argue that the Breda bus problems were specifically due to Breda being a train manufacturer, not a bus manufacturer. To my knowledge, the Bredas were the only bus they ever manufactured, or at least the first. Either way, it’s not their specialty. That said, the government of Denmark is embroiled in a dispute with AnsaldoBreda over their late delivery of the IC4 trains.

      3. Don’t kill them just because they submitted a bid. Anyone could have submitted a bid; even you and Steve could’ve submitted a bid saying you’d build some trains in your back yard.

      4. Don’t forget the troubles LACMTA has had with their new Breda LRVs as well. AnsaldoBreda seems to have a real problem with the whole “delivering reliable vehicles on time and on budget” thing.

        You don’t hear such horror stories about Kinkisharyo, Siemens, Bombardier, or CAF. Though LACMTA had a really bad experience with their last Siemens buy, though it is hard to tell how much of that was the vendor and how much was due to the agency since you don’t hear of many problems from Siemens other customers.

      5. Siemens has been known to have problems with their trains too sometimes, including commuter EMUs in Germany, but the S70 seems like a decent product and they’ve worked the bugs out already. Breda has a much more consistent track record of being late, building vehicles that don’t meet the specs and don’t work, etc. Boston in particular was an epic fail, with the trains being delivered something like 4 or 5 years late.

      6. Just get better seats. Wasn’t it Sound Transit who wrote the specifications for what type of seating they wanted? Easier and quicker to replace than getting an entire set of different rolling stock.

      7. The cars Kinki Sharyo built for Dubai Metro look amazing, maybe we can get something like that :)

        Without the bizarre “gold class” section, of course.

      8. I’m pretty sure the seats are based on what ST specified. They appear to be a standard off-the-shelf rail transit seat and ST could have easily bought a different model. Within limits the seat layout and spacing are up to ST as well. Look at the differences between Seattle and Phoneix for what are essentially the same LRVs.

  3. The ‘whining’ about the Link seats might actually be a good point. Intuitively I would think that upholstered seats just wouldn’t last as long nor be as easy to clean — and I agree with Dave Savage that the hard plastic seats here on the NYC subways are perfectly comfortable.

    I wonder though if upholstered seats are less likely to be defaced? They’re not as obvious of a writing surface. Maybe that’s the thought behind them. Or, more likely, it’s simply to make the seats look more comfortable and nicer.

    1. In the subways, the seats are hard plastic, with garish orange and yellow colors (at least the IND lines like the E and F).

      Be thankful for what you got, Seattle.

      1. Naw, those are some of the older trains. I take the 5 and 6 fairly frequently from the Bronx and the seats line the walls, in a single, solid blue color against white walled interior. The whole thing looks very nice — and with no cracks between the seats or upholstery, the entire car looks very, very cleanable (and they do keep them quite clean).

      2. In a way I would have been cool with late 70s mustard and avocado seats… assuming of course that these kind of seats would have been on trains from that era for the forward thrust system.

  4. The answer to sprawl is not to support it even more than we already do. It’s to change the incentive structures that encourage it.

    Besides, we don’t want to turn into Paris, where only the rich can afford to live in the city (and thus reap the many benefits) and the poor/minorities are exiled to the banlieues (suburbs).

    1. Why is the answer “not to sprawl”. This logic of planners is circular. Transit should not be an end in itself…to me its absurd to say, well, the way people want to live doesn’t work for transit…so let’s make them move! The technology should serve the citizen, not the other way round..

      1. In the end, each of us can live where he chooses and not be impacted by the other.

        I choose to live in sprawl and I like it. Because it suits me just fine.

        You are welcome to live in density…where you are happiest.

        In America, to each his own. Just don’t break my rice bowl, and I won’t break yours.

      2. You understand that most energy and food is produced by sparse populations, and that it costs lots of energy to bring those goods into the dense areas.

      3. It costs less energy per capita to bring those goods into very dense areas than into suburbs (which are not the sparse populations you’re talking about anyway).

        And that’s definitely a straw man regarding my point.

      4. We have put ourselves in this country into three urban categories.
        1: Small towns, nice people but lots of crime and low employment opportunities.
        2: Suburbia, emotionally and socially deadening, extremely expensive to support and totally dependent on the city
        3: The city, interesting but either too expensive or too unsafe.

        We don’t have to confine ourselves to these three choices. There are better ways to live, we just need to try to innovate regarding where we live, not just what we have and how we get from a to b.

      5. See, I have no problem with folks like you living wherever your Freedom takes you…

        What I do have a problem with is when folks move further and further out to have their “God-given right” to a huge house and yard and such, but then expect me to help pay for more roads out to you and electric wires and sewers and the like.

        You want to live 40 miles from where you work to have peace and quiet and lots of land, more power to you. But the opportunity cost of your choice is to sit in traffic and have a longer commute.

        If folks want their right to sprawl, then they have to be equally willing to have tax dollars support density and transit in the cities. I guarantee you that over time more people will choose to live where it’s convenient to work and live and there’s more entertainment options.

    2. Have you actually been to Paris?

      I have. And have taken “the train” to the airport. There are miles and miles of suburbs…not all of them poor.

      While there is plentiful rail transport in Europe, the notion that no one drives a car or lives outside the central city is just a fantasy.

      For example, in expanding suburbs in Ireland, car ownership has gone way up.

      Transit — public and private — is a technology…and technology is a choice that is appropriate for the community. It should not be a dictum from on high.

      1. The problem here is that you view the people you don’t like in absolutes – you say “not all of them poor” and “no one drives a car”. But you don’t see that we’re tipping the scales in favor of sprawl in the US in a way that Paris does not.

      2. That’s the opposite of what I’ve said…see comment on Ireland.

        Those countries are also tipping the scales towards sprawl.

        That’s the irony — the most cherished examples of “density” have also been on a long term sprawl trend, same as the US.

      3. “also tipping the scales” ignores the relative investment. Per capita, the US has invested far, far, far, far, far more in highways than in transit. Europeans have invested fairly balanced amounts in rail versus highways in the same time period.

    3. As I pointed out the other week, Density costs and there are far more people that live and work outside of Seattle than inside of it. So, by definition as the Puget Sound area grows in population, the exact scenario that you decry will occur. The urban cores (Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma etc.) will be for those who can afford it and the far suburbs will be for those less fortunate. That is a fact of life and economics.

      For a long time, the oil economy allowed for the opposite to occur, that the wealthy found higher quality of life in suburban enclaves. This was the pattern of ancient Rome.

      So, if you don’t want sprawl, you’re going to have to find a way to make living in density very affordable to all walks of life. Good luck. But further to that, you have the dynamic that individuals have choices about where they want to live, work and play. These choices are based both on their personal economics and their personal preferences. This is fundamental to the culture and I don’t see any time soon where we start making centralized planning on where people can live and work beyond the limited means that governments have done e.g. zoning, master plans etc.

      1. All that is accepted, but in today’s America, we actually spend money subsidizing suburbia at the cost of other urban and rural places. That’s what has to stop.

      2. Please explain this.

        In strict terms, the value of economic activity is most likely greater outside the city limits of Seattle than it is inside. So, which suburban sprawl are you saying isn’t pulling their own weight?

        And could the reverse also be true? Do citizens from other remote areas of this state subsidize the needs of more denser populated areas?

        I think arguments about the transactional value the choices humans make are very subjective. For example, people often “rail” against Amtrak as a service that doesn’t pay its own way. In my current city it has been said that the actual per trip cost to ride the CTA is about $9 versus the $2.25 that is collected at the fare box. Yet, the CTA serves approximately 3 million people but is supported directly by a tax base of 9.5 million and less directly by the state citizens through appropriations from the nearly 13 million residents of Illinois.

        So those 6+ million people in all that “sprawl” while they get excellent commuter rail service to Chicago, don’t get adequate transit service in their own areas even though there are a number of urban cores outside of Chicago. This is because the revenue sharing formula of the Regional Transit Authority (taxing district) favors the CTA over suburban bus service.

        If we are to promote transit as a long term viable choice then I think we should shy away from the notion that populations that live outside the boundaries of large cities don’t count for anything or aren’t pay their own way.

      3. Short answer for remote areas of the state is that they’re subsidized by our urban centers. No different here than virtually everywhere on the planet where humans exist, and no different now than throughout history.

        Farming, energy production, and extracting raw materials in rural areas don’t occur, and can’t occur, just to support the level of human settlement and economic activity of their immediate surroundings. Fly over the middle of the country – those folks don’t need that amount of wheat and corn to survive. The lumber mills, and harvesting of trees in our forested areas, isn’t scaled to build local houses.

        Efficient economic activity, innovation, and specialization all occur when humans are in close proximity. Domestication of animals wasn’t a rural invention, but an urban one. Agriculture – determining what seeds could be stored and planted was an urban invention.

        It is a fallacy to believe that rural areas somehow evolved into cities. That’s a fundamental backwards reading of human history. Cities came first, which enabled their surroundings to develop into inhabited rural areas – and those rural areas always exist to serve their enabling city.

      4. Well in terms of transit here:

        However the bigger picture isn’t so equitable. Goods and services cost much to distrubute and disseminate in spread out sprawl situations. Percapita environmental impact is higher for sprawl than density (see Recent Posts on right hand menu, click on ‘#1 Menace to Waterways’). Energy consumption percapita is higher in sprawl than in cities. Fossil Fuel consumption is MUCH higher for sprawl than for density.

        Now, of course economies of scale only accrue benefits up until a certain point (this is going to sound cliched but Copenhagen is judged to be about the ultimate density). Seattle isn’t even close yet so no worries.

      5. Bruce and Anc, thanks for the discussion and references. I watched the video sections this morning and there were a number of things that struck me.

        1) The property owners near Issaquah that were portrayed in the video have real legitimate complaints and should be compensated in some fashion. Ron Sims I believe was being disingenuous when he suggested that those property owners hadn’t lost anything. As long as the notion of private property exists then land use becomes a process of compensation for the loss of rights to use and exploit those lands.

        2) I remember a long time ago about the time of Governor Booth Gardiner there was some referendum on cleaning up Puget Sound. What ever happened with that process?

        3) Also, a long time ago about the time of King County Executive John Spellman, there was an effort to buy the development rights to Kent valley farms. Yet, now 25+ years later, as the Sound Transit reference indicates this is the fastest growing portion of that region. Every time I fly into the area the Kent valley is more and more filled in. It was choice farmland close at hand to the urban area. What happened?

        4) While the video touts Arlington VA as a model for development, keep in mind that the economic realities of that area are completely skewed. It is no more affordable for the average (non-professional) wage earner to live inside Arlington than inside DC. Rents and home values are astronomical. It’s the Paris effect before our eyes. Average federal wages for “professional” class (IT, Engineering, etc.) are over 6 figures.

        what ever is done, you can only expect people to respond to their own personal economic situation. If they cannot afford the rents or home values in a dense environment, they will move farther out. if the public transportation system doesn’t provide solutions, they will use cars.

        Unfortunately, this is where the defects in the free market system work against the societal goals of clean air and water and sustainable eco systems.

      6. True, which goes back to what I said originally, the answer is not to further subsidize sprawl (which increased transit would do, as it is much more expensive in Levittown than Brooklyn) but to remove existing subsidies such as ‘free’ roads, hugely subsidized gasoline, mortgage tax deductions etc. That’d just be the first round, the stuff directly controlled by the government. Then you can start dismantling regulations that require utilities and other services to subsidize sprawl by keeping prices equitable (how many customers/revenue is generated by 10km of say fiber optic cable in Brooklyn vs Levittown).

        The last 50 years of devolution are not the result of the magic hand, but by the very visible hand of government interference in the economy.

      7. ah I see now where you’re coming from. Apparently a libertarian view of the world. Sorry, don’t buy it.

        There has never been a purely capitalist economy on the face of the earth and there has never been a purely communist one either. We have always lived in a mixed economy and your notions of subsidization and government intervention are flawed (in my view).

        It is my understanding that a developer pays for the infrastructure to support the development they make so its not like your tax dollars are building the roads and sewers to Samammish plateau or North Bend. Further, if you really want to get into transactional analysis for each mode of living, nothing would make sense. If there were toll gates on each activity, you would be paying $9 a ride to get on a bus.

        You can’t at once be in favor of increased density which requires regulation and land use (Government intervention) and say that Government is the problem.

      8. First off. I never ALL government is bad. I am a ‘liberal libertarian’ in that I see a role for the government in both society and even the economy, but I think government intervention should be a last resort not a preferred option.

        Too many of our current problems started off as well intended ‘fixes’ to a perceived problem. Many other’s by big business and politicians being in bed with each other.

        However, the above and your post that it is answering has nothing to do with the topic at hand. You wanted examples of how dense areas subsidized sprawl, I gave them to you. Do you have anything anything to say about them?

      9. “It is a fallacy to believe that rural areas somehow evolved into cities. That’s a fundamental backwards reading of human history. Cities came first, which enabled their surroundings to develop into inhabited rural areas – and those rural areas always exist to serve their enabling city.”

        “The Economy of Cities” by Jane Jacobs elaborates on this. Innovations and new industries almost always begin in cities, and then the ones that require more space are transfered to the countryside. Agriculture developed in cities: there were urban farms before there were rural farms.

        She says the only thing that makes a city or any region thrive is continually creating new kinds of exports, and replacing imports with locally-made goods. Seattle has been doing pretty well in this regard fortunately, with Boeing/Microsoft/Amazon/Starbucks/Costco etc all being started here. Some cities are innovative only for a decade or two and then stagnate; this is the case of many rust belt cities.

        Rural areas depend on the cities they’re around. Their infrastructure was conceived and built and financed by city dwellers. Their exports go to cities, tailored to what the cities want. Innovations rarely come from rural areas, and when they do, it’s because the areas have become more city-like, particularly in telecommunications.

        Europeans use as third as much energy than Americans do, and Manhattan and Toronto reach European levels, because of their density. The heat from the apartment below me warms my unit, so I rarely have to turn the heater on.

        The reason city housing is unaffordable is there hasn’t been enough of it to meet the demand. Developers and zoning boards refused to believe the demand existed until recently. It will take the US some thirty years to close the gap and equalize the prices between walkable and non-walkable locations. In the meantime, more walkable housing and more transit will bring the day closer. And replacing Chinese imports, local agriculture, inner-city agriculture, and an alternative energy/efficiency industry would also improve the situation.

      10. @ANC – And again, you will never see the pure “magic hand” because it never existed on it’s own. Even in feudal Europe or Asia, there were always political or social forces that shaped things. Further, what is consistently observable about “unregulated” economies is that it concentrates wealth in fewer and fewer hands and that unregulated or unchecked economies cycle through boom and crashes that are devastating to people.

        One “talking point” that conservatives like to say is that “Keynesian economics is disproven”. But the truth is that the opposite is true. During the time that Keynesian economics was a primary policy in the United States (FDR to Kennedy), there were not major crash style recessions, the average person’s quality of life improved, and the wealth of the country increased. It was only after the advent of “deregulation” in the Nixon and Regan eras did we see the return to the boom and crash cycles in the American economy again.

        @Mike Orr – I’m not disputing that the advent of human activity is the village. From the settlements at Jamestown or even in the activities of the “first Americans”, because humans are a social and collective species they banded together for survival.

        But what I have observed in a study of history is that for much of the United States’ history, people would seek out the land after a suitable period of adjustment upon arriving on these shores. Until the Industrial revolution, human activity consisted mostly of farming primarily for themselves or supporting a nearby town.

        Culturally, Americans differ from Europeans in their view and comfort with cities and I theorize that that stems from the agrarian beginnings of the country. Our “love affair” with the car I believe also stems from that beginning and a fair bit of Madison Avenue.

        If you want to move to a system of higher density, then in my view, the challenges to be solved include changing the messages in culture so that city dwelling is perceived as desirable, practical and above all, safe. Because for too long, suburban sprawl was fueled by the deficiencies of density (crowding, noise, fear(or hatred) of people different than ourselves, crime) and the cultural impetus from the start of our country. And it is not enough to change meme’s about our culture, you actually have to create the change you want. But it can’t be by brute force of regulation (such as the Issaquah example in the PBS video) because such action has political consequences.

        I believe however, that increased density will happen primarily as a result of market forces based upon “peak oil”. Such changes however will be perceived at least for a time as a devolution of living standards as people are “forced” to live closer to their work in housing that is smaller, and perhaps not as luxurious as they were used to in their urban sprawl. There is opportunity here to help serve people as this change occurs.

      11. “Culturally, Americans differ from Europeans in their view and comfort with cities and I theorize that that stems from the agrarian beginnings of the country.”

        To Europeans, walled cities were their defense against robbers in the countryside, invading armies, and overenthusiastic kings. So they still think of cities as their safety and the epitome of their civilization. Plus they like the small environmental footprint of city life.

        Americans tend to view cities as places of sin, crime, dirt, oppression/bureaucracy, and lack of privacy. This is because the King sat in London, the Garden of Eden was a garden, dangerous polluting factories were in cities, and people quite liked governing themselves.

      12. Charles, you are doing a good job beating up that strawman. ONCE AGAIN, I do believe in government intervention in the economy. And I am well versed in the history of poli-econ, thank you, as that was what my degree was in. ;) (Well technically Int. Poli-Econ)

        Now for the second time, would you care to get back to the point?

      13. I believe the point started with the observation that some people were advocating deliberately disrupting the system of roads to the point of making travel by car untenable. E.G. removal of existing pathways in already established travel corridors.

        In a round about way, I am making the observation that this type of planning is an anathema to our freedoms and way of life as we have known in America and would have political blow back.

        I advocated for a more carrot approach of enticing people out of their cars rather than punishing them for using them. This lead to our current discussion of how we got to this place in America.

        You responded by reciting the letters on your sheepskin.

  5. There’s one issue in transit that is not covered anywhere, and maybe STB can participate here.

    Who is making money and why — as in, the transparency issue.

    So, when some says a tunnel costs X dollars. How is that estimate made…which contractors get the money, who is benefitting cost wise?

    Also, as far as real estate, who benefits from transit and stations being in a certain place.

    I am certainly pro-transit, but at the same time, I want to know we are getting the most value from the projects.

    1. From what I understand cost in X dollars comes from engineer(s) that work for Sound Transit, Metro etc. They make an estimate about how much a project is going to cost.

    2. I think your first step should be to start soaking up ST planning documents. You need to be a sponge for a while if you’re going to learn. Look at their “transit improvement plan” to start.

    1. I suppose they can be replaced someday.

      I’d guess not at least until the cars are due for a rebuild.

      Sigh, there are certainly more comfortable seats from the same maker they could have ordered. I also wish the seat pitch was a little better. The link seats are hard for me to sit in as I have fairly long legs.

    2. So it looks like they chose “model 850 innovator rail”. Out of curiosity were they kitted by the manufacturer or by Sound Transit after delivery?

  6. I think the Link seats are fine. I rode Link yesterday and recall thinking to myself how comfortable I was. My biggest complaint about Link is that I don’t see much fare inspection so far. I commented on Slog that Dan could stand if the seats bothered him that much. ;)

    1. The fare inspection happens somewhat randomly. I’ve been fare checked dozens of times.

    2. I was fare checked twice in the same day a few weeks ago.

      Actually, I like the seats more than I don’t. Pluses: they have a good fit, the fabric has a good grip and doesn’t slip like Metro’s seat covering. When I sit in them I feel firm and secure. Fabric feels better than cheap slick vinyl, sturdy and durable stainless steel construction. Minuses: Not enough padding, just add another layer or two, no head rest but it makes the train feel more open.

      1. After the downright “luxurious” padded seats on Metro buses, it was surprising to find the “hard” seats on Link. Mind you, compared to many other Metro areas, Seattle area has it very good.

    3. I rode the Link a few weeks ago, and what many of us noticed was that the seats were very warm- are there heaters installed in them?

      My fare was checked on the return trip.

    4. What’s the big deal about Link seats? Geeze. It’s not like your sitting down to watch a movie or anything. Your only going to be there for what 10-20 minutes; and feel lucky you got a place to plant you butt. LRT crush load assumes only 1/3 of you get a seat.
      ps, love the window seats during winter. Warm seats are nice!

      1. My big problem is the forward/rear facing seats don’t have a large enough seat pitch for my legs. It isn’t quite as bad as the old Bredas were but there still isn’t enough room between my knees and my tailbone.

        I think most people are comparing the seats to Metro or ST buses which generally have very comfortable seats for public transit (other than the seat pitch issue on the Bredas before they were rebuilt).

  7. That map of the proposed B7 modified is pretty shocking. Does anybody know where it came from? You can actually walk along trails in the Mercer Slough that roughly approximate that route. It would pretty much destroy the park, especially for folks who walk in there.

    So, Surrey Downs wants to ruin the Mercer Slough Nature Park to push the trains even further away from their neighborhood than the B3 modified alignment? Except for the Winters house in Bellevue and possibly Bill Pace’s fruit stand, both worthy of protection, I don’t see how B3 modified really impacts residential units. Definitely not as many units as would be affected by a B7 line.

    1. B3 modified does not at all require residential property seizure. The Surrey Downs residents are under the impression that either a) the noise is going to kill them, b) their property values are going to be blasted out of the sky, or c) both.

      1. I honestly believe they are pawns. The logic of their arguments really escape me. I understand the fear of noise – I hear the bells of grade crossings every day and hear the noise the trains make coming out of Mount Baker. However, the maps I’ve seen of B3 modified have neither of these in earshot of Surrey Downs, or any other residential units.

        Sigh… Maybe I’m missing something but fear breeds irrationality I suppose.

      2. I complained to Metro about this ad. The very long response from customer service was boilerplate language that basically said Metro, as a public entity, was limited in their ability to turn down advertising. Ads for films rated NC-17 or X or Video games rated A or M were one example. Other examples included strip clubs, adult video stores, etc. For the detailed list you can reference Agreement No: 04-TR01 between Titan Outdoor and Metro. So, in theory, you could put an ad on a bus that listed the virtues of Hitler, or Stalin, and it would be a perfectly legal – Titan, on behalf of Metro, would have to accept the ad.

        Kind of sad, but I get it. Private entities, such as Newspapers and Television stations, can be more discerning. Now, if we privatized Metro… :)

      3. has SPD released any stats on crime rates related to LINK and it’s change to the MLK neighborhoods?

      4. I seem to remember something about crime rate actually decreasing around metro stations… not sure where that was

  8. So after 6 months there have been a total of 4 car-train collisions and no serious injuries? That’s hardly the Houston-esque carnage opponents were prediction.

      1. Yeah, that’s good news. I think the original EIS predicted 12 a year, so 4 in 6 months is encouraging that drivers are heading all the signs and education, and Link Operators are really on the ball trying to spot trouble.

      2. Low blow and unfair — there is no shortage of poor driving ability on display in Seattle!

        The key differences-

        (1) the Houston LRT is entirely at-grade, even in the highly congested downtown and medical center areas;
        (2) all of the Houston system operates in a street median — like the MLK section of the Seattle LRT — which is the type of operation most likely to result in the types of crashes found in Seattle; and
        (3) because Houston’s leadership wanted to rush the system opening to be ready for the Super Bowl in Houston in 2004, there was almost no system testing before the rail opened — it was in revenue service in some cases within 1-2 weeks of a line section opening…which meant traffic had no time to adjust before there were trains running at 6 minute headways where no trains had been before.

        Being in an SUV, while perhaps stupid, doesn’t make one any more likely to run into a train!

      3. Booth-
        Tongue firmly in cheek – but as you know, northwesterners do love to lord it over the rest of the US…

  9. As you might expect, I picked up on the City Council’s opposition to McGinn on the tunnel cost overrun question.

    Thus far, the STB Board hasn’t had a lot to say about what appears to already be a tense relationship between the City Council and the mayor’s office. They are clearly not close on the tunnel and not that much closer on the sea wall. I believe that McGinn needs to make a determined effort to work with the City Council, King County and Olympia on the tunnel and see how far this thing goes. There are probably thousands of jobs waiting on this project, so we need to come together and bring some cloture to the discussion, otherwise, the rest of McGinn’s agenda is going to be at threat. So far, he has only one firm ally on the Council – O’Brien – and the Seattle Times (Joni Balter) is already hinting that he needs to separate himself from the mayor at some point, or risk playing the role of Tony Blair to McGinn’s Bush. Not that I am comparing McGinn to Bush but you get my point.

    I feel generally depressed about the state of Seattle politics right now and hope that this lifts before too long.

    1. I think the mayor will settle down over the first year. He’s already realizing that a few of his ideas are more complicated than originally planned.

    2. On the other hand at least one legislator is trying to pass a law to require Seattle to provide a cost overrun funding mechanism prior to any state contracts on the tunnel being signed.

      I suspect if the law actually passes McGinn will likely find he has a Council majority in favor of telling the state where to go stick it.

      Though I’d guess it is favorable to both the City and the State to keep the whole thing rather vague as it allows both to say “nope we won’t be eating any cost overruns”.

  10. Will there ever be a day when a resident of WSea can ride the bus directly to other parts of the city (such as SLU or U dist) without having to go downtown and transfer up to 3 times? I think we have this type of service to Ballard via Interbay and Capitol Hill(?) However, I would chance a greater number of people work in SLU/Udist, or will when Amazon moves. I certainly would utilize the bus much more often if it could efficiently be used to reach many parts of town.

Comments are closed.