142 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Transit Time Map”

  1. OneBusAway has a similar feature:


    This is in fact the original inspiration for the OneBusAway name: “what can I get to that’s one bus-ride away?”

    Our’s is a mashup with Yelp so that you can search for something like “parks” or “dentists” that are easily accessible from where you live or work using public transit. However, if you just search for “NOTHING”, you get the can the equivalent transit travel time map:

    Where can I get in 30 minutes from downtown?

    Plus, we have Link, Pierce Transit, and WSF!

      1. For some reason the legend is getting cut off. Depending on how you set the time limit, yellow is about half of the limit, tan is about 3/4, and red is the full time limit.

  2. I tested it for Kent Station. I think it doesn’t have awareness of the Sounder.

    I set the slider for 8am on a weekday, which should have registered the 23 minute ride to Seattle King Street, but the purple didn’t extend that far.

    However, it does seem to be location aware for buses, as it made a difference whether I put the anchor down directly at Kent Station or a few blocks away where there is no direct express or downtown bus service.

    It does put Tukwila in the 45 minutes zone, which is about right where the 150 going to Seattle would be traveling from the Station.

    1. By “it”, do you mean Walk Score or One Bus Away? OBA is aware of Sounder (and the Rail Plus trips operated by Amtrak).

      1. I just tried OBA, and it seems to have a slightly differing focus…finding “things” near a location that can be reached by bus.

        So, I am not going to compare the two, however, I did try putting my work location in the first text box, and Kent Station in the second and it simply highlighted Kent Station.

        Then, I put in “supermarkets” and 98030 (my zipcode). The only thing it selected was “Cowgirls Espresso” which, while satisfying one type of hunger, is not a good place to buy a steak.

  3. Interesting theory as to why Link really bypassed Southcenter by someone named Bike2work in the Seattle Times Bellevue Blog comment section:

    “Central LINK doesn’t go to Southcenter because it’s in Tukwilla! Had it gone there, it would have made it easy for most of the people along the line living in SEATTLE to shop in TUKWILLA.. Thus sending their sales tax out of the city where they live. Now Northgate, well that’s in Seattle so no problem.”

    1. Interesting thought, but isn’t it also possible that Westfield didn’t want Link? People would be flooding the parking lot to go to Seattle all day by the thousands. The shopping mall would have had to move toward a model like Metrotown in Burnaby, BC. Car parking charges would be required (along with the necessary facilities to do that) as well as knocking off a large number of potential suburban shoppers. People who live in the south part of Seattle go to Southecenter already unless they want high street shopping in Downtown. They wouldn’t bother to go to Northgate. It’s an interesting theory, but I largely think it’s bunk.

      1. It is Southcenter’s loss, and they are likely the ones who didn’t want it. Once the Segale’s start building their mega business park on the last piece of Tukwila valley farmland, Tukwila will likely regret the decision not to bring light rail down there even more than they do now.

      2. If Southcenter wants the transit crowd, it could simply build a skyway with a moving sidewalk like in an airport from LINK to the Food Court.

      3. I remember at the scoping meetings way, way back, that the cost to bring Link to Southcenter was too high in relationship to the number of riders it would pick up.

        I had remembered it was 4 times the cost of the Int’l Blvd alignment, but only 2 times the ridership, but in a conversation a year or so later, the ST person said it was more like 2 times the cost, with no net increase in ridership.

        I’d have to dig through boxes and boxes and folders of material, which I know I have (who, me? a HOARDER?) and that would at least clear up the exact figures discussed back then.

        The general conclusion was that the ratio of cost/ridership showed that a Southcenter alignment wasn’t worth the expense.

        Then the fun began.

      4. I agree, it is their loss. They’re probably kicking themselves now because they’ve totally changed how their mall is operating these days. I won’t be surprised if we start to see them sell off property for apartments and whatnot in future phases.

    2. Link will be stopping at the Commons in Federal Way, close to Bellevue Square, Northgate, Alderwood…

      How many shopping malls does Link need to stop at? Southcenter refused to cooperate with ST. It’ll come back to bite them in the ass later on.

    3. Okay that’s just ridiculous, it didn’t go to Southcenter because it would have added several minutes to the travel time, and it has nothing do with Seattle because based on subarea equity requirements South King County has just as much, or perhaps more (depending on population) influence on the route than Seattle.

      1. I think it was a mistake for Southcenter/Tukwila to refuse Sound Transit at Southcenter. All those people who have long-ish layovers at Sea-Tac would’ve loved to have an excuse to get out of the airport for a few hours. Going to downtown Seattle would take too long, but a quick trip to Southcenter on Link would be do-able if it was basically door-to-door. I know I’ve had layovers at airports of many hours and its nice to have choices on what to do to pass the time.

      2. Another thought is they could always add a simple shuttle bus from the station to the mall.

        In fact, it’s not only the mall that is bereft of connectivity.

        The workhouse bus route for Southeast King is the 150. It goes Kent Station to Southcenter to Tukwila to Seattle. I had always assumed it would interconnnect with LINK, but it doesn’t!

        So perhaps a little “tukwila loop” that takes people from the station around the town is in order.

        BTW — while enjoying the sunshine around Kent, I took a few transit related photos. Here’s one: its a couple getting taxi from Top Food on Kent East Hill. Yes, a suburban taxi — although we thinking of transit as buses and trains, public cars, jitneys, taxis and whatnot are very appropriate, even in, and maybe especially in, the suburbs:


      3. Tukwilla and Southcenter didn’t refuse Link. Quite the opposite. Tukwilla fought long and hard to get Central Link routed through Southcenter. However the added cost and travel time meant it just wasn’t feasible. The New Starts grant formula had a pretty big influence on bypassing Southcenter and on dropping the First Hill station.

        One of the outcomes of the pissing match between Sound Transit and Tukwilla is Link doesn’t go between the Duwamish and 518 along 99 like Sound Transit originally wanted. Travel time wise it is probably a wash since Link goes at full speed along the highway, but the extra stop next to the former Larry’s Market would have added some more ridership.

  4. Today, I have a transit parable to illustrate the transit extremism of some of our opponents and commenters here and with the hope of finding something more nuanced in the process that recognizes the complexities of the world around us. Please bear with me and I ask you to picture this scenario:

    For the purposes of this exercise, just picture three of us living in the same house in Ocean Shores, Washington, who decide on the same day that they need to get to Bellevue. One of us only wants to only use his car, the other to use only public transit and the third a combination of both.

    The car enthusiast leaves his house in Ocean Shores and makes probably fairly quick progress via Aberdeen on Highways 12, then 8 to Olympia. At which point, he joins the melee that is the I-5 from Olympia northbound towards the Seattle area. Our car enthusiast is listening to the radio, listening to CDs and maybe is feeling pretty good about himself until he gets to Tacoma where he finds it is rush hour on a Monday morning. He crawls up towards Fife, Milton and Federal Way, mentally asking himself how many more lanes he might need to make his commute go better. Eventually he decides that the I-5 definitely needs widening and glosses quickly over the trees that would be needed to be removed and the scarring of the landscape during a slow construction period. Whatever, he decides that in the future it will be great so he decides when he gets to his office to write to some movers and shakers to have them look into the idea. One of his friends, after all is a huge landowner and speculator in Bellevue, so there must be someone who could help, right?

    Eventually he gets to the I-405 turn off but beforehand, he checks some overhead gantries to see some projected travel times to Bellevue via the I-405 as opposed to pressing on through the congestion south of Seattle. He decides to probably continue on the I-5 because he would be running against traffic on the I-90, although he admits to himself that the reverse car pool lane is not in his favor in the morning commute.

    At this point, he has not gone very far or fast for quite sometime – probably not since south of Tacoma but at some point, he limps up towards Bellevue, having cursed the morning congestion on the I-405 around Bellevue and the slow weave into the city on NE 8th. Finally arriving downtown, he finds his ‘usual’ parking spot from his previous trips taken and so in frustration he drives several blocks looking for free on street parking or a reasonably cheap daily parking garage. Finding neither easy, he settles after driving around fruitlessly for a parking garage about half a mile away from where he wants to go, and after looking askance at the daily rate, he struggles into where he needs to be, needing a coffee break before he does so. He arrives stressed and tells himself he will need to avoid rush hour in getting home again. He bemoans the amount of time wasted in his traveling and of not having been able to do any work before he gets to where he needs to go.

    That’s our car driver.

    Our second transit only guy has also set forth but his problems seem to be early on in his trip. He needs to find a bus to get him from Ocean Shores to Aberdeen and is not totally sure that there is even one to begin one. For the sake of argument, he does find a bus but he has just missed one and has to wait an hour for the next one. It is not an express but ambles around until it eventually gets him to Aberdeen. From Aberdeen, he has to wait for a second bus to get him to Olympia. There is a wait but perhaps not that great a one.

    He eventually gets to Olympia, at which point he has to decide whether to take a bus to Tacoma or a bus to the Amtrak Station in Olympia. Either is possible but there are only five possible trains northbound from Olympia to Seattle – it could be a long wait for one of them. He is not linked to a particular time he needs to be in Bellevue, but he would like to get there in the early afternoon. A bus to Tacoma pulls up and he decides to takes this instead of worrying about getting a train.

    At the Tacoma Dome, our transit guy switches to a 594 bus to Seattle and this goes well. He can read and even get some work done. The bus travels the HOV lane and gets to Seattle quite quickly.

    At the International District Station in Seattle, he switches to the 550 bus to Bellevue and again makes a fairly uneventful journey and meanwhile has been able to read yet more of his book which he enjoys. Once at the Bellevue Transit Center, it is a short walk to where he needs to be. He arrives late and in uncertain mood and he thinks constantly how he is going to get back again and if there will even be a bus from Olympia to Aberdeen to Ocean Shores. He is mentally agitated throughout his meeting in Bellevue and unable to totally focus on what he needs to focus on.

    Meanwhile, our third traveler has also left Ocean Shores and this one decides to use both his car and suitable public transport which he has checked beforehand. He decides his best way is to first drive to Bremerton and so he takes Highways 12, 108, 101 and 3 to get there. It is fairly seamless and having checked his ferry schedules he realizes that he has time to tank up with cheap gas in Belfair and grab a coffee and scone. He arrives and parks in Bremerton and has a small wait for the ferry to Seattle which he gets on. It is fairly empty and he goes on deck with his camera and marvels at the passing scenery on the hour long boat ride to Seattle. He snaps pictures of the glowing morning sun behind the Seattle skyline and the Olympic Mtns in their snowy glory behind him. The breezes feel good to him and the city beckons him forth. He smiles with pleasure before disembarking the vessel and walking up to the downtown Seattle transit bus tunnel where he grabs a frequent 550 bus to Bellevue. He arrives refreshed and fairly excited at where he needs to be. At the conclusion of his meeting, he takes the 550 back again to Seattle, an early evening ferry back to Bremerton and then drives back to Ocean Shores.

    OK, so what has worked here and what has not?

    For all three folks, it was going to be a long day whatever way they decided to go from Ocean Shores to Bellevue and back again. I made this scenario fairly extreme and unlikely in order to better show up the extremes of those who advocate only for cars and only for public transit. It would be my guess that our car traveler, who would have the expense of gas and parking and the frustration of clogged freeways, is not going to feel really relaxed by the time he gets home, even if his way is probably the fastest between the two cities. I would surmise that even with all of the congestion that he would still get to Bellevue in reasonably ok time, but his conclusions and attitude would be all wrong as he would be looking at his world and demanding more polluting freeway lanes and more parking spaces to make his experience easier in the future.

    For our transit only rider, I am guessing that he would be constantly checking his watch, wondering if he should turn back, and repeatedly checking his timetables to ensure he makes his connections. Parts of his journey will be very slow, some other sections smooth but what a lot of changes and what ultimately would be a lot of different buses. He definitely needs his cell phone in case he needs to be picked up from either Olympia or Aberdeen on his return trip. His bus costs could be huge and even more expensive because he wouldn’t have an Orca Card for such an infrequent trip and would be paying for each leg of his ST trip.

    The third traveler who used both is – you guessed it – supposed to be me. No way, would I drive all the way and no way would I take a bus all of the way, but I would use a combination of methods that I would deem the most relaxing and yet with a measure of efficiency and good probability of being able to get to my destination without feeling too stressed in the process. My way, would still be cheaper than our car enthusiast because the ferry and bus costs would offset his greater gas and Bellevue parking costs. The ferry ride would de-stress me both before and after my working day at the office or place of work.

    The future of our region lies in increasing the number of options we need to make informed and efficient uses of everything available. Our road and transit extremists take no prisoners and make no compromises to the other side, both disdaining one another and throwing unrestrained barbs at each other’s ways of moving around. Neither side will convince the undecided or persuade them to their cause. By contrast the third way proves to be in my view surely the best. It uses the car on the road sections of the journey where it is most unlikely to be congested, the ferry section to de-stress from his early morning start and to soak up the glories of the region and the bus sections to ease him into thinking about what he needs to do in Bellevue. It is efficient, and, if not as quick as the journey of the road traveler, still nevertheless likely will make him feel better about his day that he uses his hours productively, efficiently and environmentally. Our road warrior will never be able to claim the environmental mantel, he spent a lot of his day being unproductive as he was driving and as a result cannot claim to have been efficient with his time. Our transit friend meanwhile, can only claim to have been environmental, but too stressed to have productively used his day and certainly not efficient.

    We need to decide who we are and where we fall in this debate, but I would hope that more of us will eschew the extremes in favor of the efficient and the practical, rather than the purely environmental and polluting approaches of the extremes.

    1. The point is moot because Oceans Shores is quite spread out and the kind of people who live in Ocean Shores are very unlikely to want to take transit to Bellevue, so the lack of options reflects that. And it’s crazy to suggest that someone in Ocean Shores who was going to Bellevue wouldn’t have looked up the schedules in the first place.

      1. AlexJonlin

        The point is not moot because you missed the point. Ocean Shores is not relevant here – I just stuck a pin in the map and went from there. Yes, it is highly unlikely that one person in Ocean Shores would be goingto Bellevue, let alone three, but that wasn’t the point. You need to work it out again from what I wrote.

      2. My point is that people who live in Ocean Shores, or any rural small towns are very unlikely to take transit, and so it can’t be expected that they will have stellar transit options. I know, you weren’t just talking about Ocean Shores in particular.

    2. I think the larger point I get out of this is that cars work well in rural areas, whereas transit works better in urban areas. The battle of what mode to use is also ultimately connected to housing and employment centers. And at least today I would make a completely uneducated hypothesis that it is easy to raze a forest in suburban Pierce County near Spanaway to make way for single family subdivisions than it would be to construct a 7 story multi-family building with a possible grocery store on the bottom. Because of this housing, more people are forced to drive and which in turn makes it easier to form the desire for highway expansion.

      1. Well yes, cars do work best in rural areas where transit options are few but that isn’t the whole argument of my piece.

    3. In the first case the frustration will be short lived, as the driver will move his family to a nearby suburb of Belleview at his soonest opportunity. Only the most hard-headed commuter would continue this route if he has another choice.

      In the second case the frustration will be even shorter lived, as our transit-only friend will realize commuting from Ocean Shores without a car is a waste of life. He will move to Capital Hill, perhaps switch his job to Seattle, and not look back.

      The third case is the one that worries me, and is the reason I’m against park-and-rides. He’s using just as much fuel and resources as the other two, lives in the sprawled-out suburbs, and has less incentive to change his behavior. Yes, life seems better for him than the other two. But the other two situations are temporary, whereas his will continue to draw a huge amount of resources and in the end he will be wasting more of his life than the others.

      1. The alternative to P&Rs is comprehensive transit in the suburbs and rural areas, and we can only wish that would happen in our lifetimes.

        In Europe, the transit would be there. Trains to both large and small cities, and buses to the smallest ones. Several times a day. Ireland is more or less the size and population of Washington state, and most of it is small cities and rural areas, yet it still manages to have trains and buses to every county capital. The equivalent would be hourly trains or buses to Olympia and maybe Aberdeen, and a smaller bus from there to Ocean Shores.

        Unfortunately we’ve lost 50 years neglecting the infrastructure and entrenching the automobile culture (and now the no-tax culture too).

        Ocean Shores will never be in Bellevue’s commuter belt. People will never travel it every day. But they may travel it a few times a year, or even up to once a week. Harborview has nurses living in Port Townsend, Victoria, and Ellensburg. But they don’t travel every day. They go into town once a week, work 40 hours in 3 days, share a local apartment or friend’s spare room, and then go home for a long weekend. Rural people come to town to sell crafts at the farmers’ markets and festivals or to meet with clients. Not five days a week, but a couple times a month. Urban people go to the small towns to get away from things. They don’t take transit because it’s so godawful scarce (and hard to find/gather the schedules if it does exist), but if the transit were there like it is in Europe, they might use it.

      2. “The alternative to P&Rs is comprehensive transit” I agree. But until we get there, let’s stop building P&R’s. A bad commute is the best motivator to move to a more dense area. Most people forget they only have around 8 hours of waking non-working life each week day* – until they spend 2 of those hours in a car.

        * 7 if you don’t count your lunch break. Much less when you take out showers, cooking, cleaning, eating, shopping, etc.

      3. “A bad commute is the best motivator to move to a more dense area.”

        That’s fine for people who can move and have a job waiting in a denser city, but it forces everybody else to suffer. We could just pull up the bridge and not add any transit in Bellevue or south King County. Would that make everybody move to Seattle? Would that make jobs move to Seattle? No, it just makes people have to turn down jobs or spend two hours commuting on transit or get a car.

        People who can’t move from rural areas: those with rural skills, those who can’t sell their house, those who are taking care of elderly relatives, those under 18, those who don’t have money to move, those whose spouses work in the rural towns.

        Why do anti-P&R people focus on the driving segment that remains rather than the driving segment that’s eliminated? P&Rs is to extend transit to where the buses don’t reach. Isn’t it better to drive two miles to a P&R than ten or twenty miles to an urban destination? P&Rs are needed until comprehensive transit can be extended to those areas. Giving them neither buses nor P&Rs will not cause them to move to the cities, it will just cause them to drive more, as has been proven for the past fifty years.

        And the thought that people will move to small towns because there’s a P&R is silly. Maybe a few will, but it’s dwarfed by the number of people who will never take transit no matter whether there’s a P&R or not.

      4. P&Rs is to extend transit to where the buses don’t reach.

        I’d agree. Their not to provide free parking for DT workers or to just bump up light rail ridership. To be most efficient they should be in nodes that minimize the amount of driving and not add traffic to already conjested areas or create “cut through” routes in neighborhoods. Right now South Bellevue is full. Councilman Chelminiak showed a graph at one study session of the 80% boundary for various P&R lots. That is the area which contains 80% of the lots vehicles. Metro evidently goes out and cross references license plates with registration addresses. I’d love to find those reports on line. For South Bellevue the boundary was almost all within the city limits but it included a large area to the south and east that would be just as close to Eastgate. Eastgate does well with 81% of capacity during peak hours. But adding some 1500 stalls at South Bellevue will virtually empty Eastgate. It’s time for in city P&R lots to be allocated by permit just as City of Seattle does for street parking in some neighboorhoods and charging for lots that are more than 90% full.

      5. [Mike] To nitpick, I disagree with these three reasons:
        -those with rural skills (don’t commute to the city)
        -those who can’t sell their house (this is a temporary problem)
        -those who are taking care of elderly relatives (can certainly live in the city)

        -those under 18 you have me there
        -those who don’t have money to move
        -those whose spouses work in the rural towns
        which are all fine points.

        But let’s take a step back and look at how we build a society that will help all of these people. Building more capacity to the exurbs hurts people in the end, as they become dependant on cars. Their money goes toward adding large, wasteful amounts of infrastructure. And the end result is a damaged environment. This is true when thinking about cars, but it’s also true for any capacity you build to bring people long distances in a short enough time to make it a daily commute.

        What would the world look like where we only bring people short distances quickly*? Most of the jobs in rural areas would go away, since they would have a comparative disadvantage to those in the easy movement area. Housing would be built in this area to accomodate the increased demand.

        “it will just cause them to drive more, as has been proven for the past fifty years” Easy access to distant places (i.e. freeways and roads) has caused them to drive more for the past 50 years.

        *I’d still link Bellevue to Seattle, as the density required to shove everyone into Seattle isn’t likely in our lifetime.

      6. Bernie: (paraphrased) “Many people parking at South Bellevue live just as close to Eastgate P&R.”

        That’s interesting. We could eliminate South Bellevue and encourage ppl to use Eastgate. As long as it doesn’t harm those who live near South Bellevue unduly.

        “[Mike] P&Rs is to extend transit to where the buses don’t reach. [Bernie] I’d agree. Their not to provide free parking for DT workers or to just bump up light rail ridership”

        Some ppl do use P&Rs when they have a bus near their house. But I’m not inclined to worry about that much. I assume that’ll solve itself in the future as transit becomes more comprehensive and driving becomes less popular.

        Charging at P&Rs is a good idea. The price just has to be low enough that it doesn’t make people drive. If there are statuatory or policy hurdles to charging, maybe we should focus our efforts on overturning those.

        As for bumping up light rail ridership, there’s nothing wrong with that. The whole point of LR is to capture the most trips where it runs. That takes both cars and buses off the road, and will (eventually) allow us to narrow the road or repurpose some lanes.

        Matt the Engineer: “Building more capacity to the exurbs hurts people in the end, as they become dependant on cars.”

        Building more roads creates car dependency. Building more P&Rs does not. The car dependency already exists in those places. P&Rs in areas with little transit make people more supportive of transit in general, which is good for future transit extensions.

        Also, people are mixing suburbs/exurbs/towns/rural areas as if they’re all the same. Paid P&Rs make sense in Bellevue and maybe Issquah/Woodinville/Puyallup/Marysville. But the farther out you go, the lower the price has to be, because the transit is so skeletal, people have a greater expectation of free parking, and the exurban malls with free parking are so close to them. (Exurban malls are one of the main things we should discourage; they generate a lot of driving and sprawl.)

        As I said earlier, what would be ideal is hourly Cascades/Sounder to Olympia, a regular connector bus from there to Aberdeen, and a lesser bus to Ocean Shores and the smaller penninsula towns. That would get more people onto transit, and would encourage the right kind of growth: islands of density, and lines of density along transit routes. And it would encourage ppl to take transit to town centers rather than driving to the exurban mall.

        “What would the world look like where we only bring people short distances quickly*? Most of the jobs in rural areas would go away, since they would have a comparative disadvantage to those in the easy movement area.”

        You’re really talking suburban and near-exurban jobs. The jobs are already gone in rural areas (i.e., most of the Olympic Penninsula). You pretty much have to be self-employed, work on a farm or the few industries left, work for the government, or flip burgers at the exurban mall.

        What you’re missing is that transit in rural Washington is bad. If we can improve it from screamingly bad to somewhat bad, that would be a good thing. It shouldn’t take all day to go from Seattle to Ocean Shores or Port Townsend or Blaine — and you must leave early on a weekday morning.

        What would be ideal is hourly Cascades/Sounder to Olympia, a bus several times a day from there to Aberdeen, and lesser buses serving the smaller towns like Ocean Shores. But anything better than “Once a day, or three times a day, but you must leave on a weekday morning, and if you miss your connection it’s 6 or 12 or 48 hours until the next one, and you have to find all the agencies’ websites and piece together an itinerary” would be welcome.

      7. I would be VERY careful about this statement as it could be misleading. I *live* in Ireland and while there are bus services to even some of the smallest and backward communities in the country, service is also VERY limited. Bus Éireann may provide once or twice daily with other local buses providing once or bi-weekly services. Also, most of the railways routes are Dublin-centric. Only recently is it possible to get to Galway to Waterford or Galway to Cork almost seemlessly. What is interesting is that country is willing to make some targeted investments in these Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) services for commuter. Even the Limerick-Galway service started at 5 trips per day in March. And Cork-Midleton started with dozens as a commuter. Meanwhile, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann have taken the axe to bus services, even commuter services. But small communities are feeling the pinch and the state goverment is considering to allow private companies to compete on some of the most lucrative routes which will KILL many suburban, intercity and rural services. Thank you INSANE EU competition laws!

      8. I’ve always thought a Olympia/Lacey – Aberdeen – Ocean Shores DMU run would be a good one, at least in the summer (connecting with Amtrak at Olympia/Lacey…of course the only rails west of Aberdeen are logging (or former logging) routes so there would need to be some investment. That being said, I’d be likely to visit the ocean more often if a rail option were there.

      9. This analysis makes sense mostly for single people. What about a family, where one member goes into the city to earn money while other members operate a farm, build rockets, or do something else that can’t be done in an urban area? (Stipulate that this family doesn’t make enough money to live in the only city that allows domestic goats.)

        Of course, they don’t have to live in Ocean Shores, but they very likely have to live somewhere far enough from a bus route that the breadwinner has to drive to a P&R.

      10. There are many situations that would lead people to live outside cities. But we really shouldn’t design our society around the exceptions. Most families – including those with two wage earners – would be better off in or near cities.

        If the only people that lived in the exurbs were goat herders and rocket scientists (wait, wouldn’t they work for Boeing?), the exurbs would be all but empty. Sadly, most of those living in the exurbs live there because they feel they can afford a larger home (which probably isn’t true) and are willing to live with a terrible commute in exchange for more room to keep their stuff.

      11. Maybe they would be better off, but they simply can’t afford to be any closer to the city than they are right now (i.e. where commuting is reasonable only if there are P&Rs). Not because they need room for “stuff”, but because they have kids and need a yard for the younger ones to play in (not a big one), and a bit of room in the house for the older ones to study away from the noise of younger ones (when indoors).

        Perhaps we shouldn’t design around exceptions, but we shouldn’t take so much from wage earners that having one wage earner per family becomes an exception. I would rather spend 2+ hours commuting than deprive my children of both parents during the stage of life they need them the most. Thank goodness it hasn’t come to that, because there’s a more or less effective transit system that includes P&R in my city.

      12. Please click on the link in my previous post (here it is again). Most of your argument is based on the assumption that it’s cheaper to live in the exurbs than it is in the city. This is a common enough assumption, but it’s likely wrong. In my analysis I show that you can buy the same size house and yard in the city as you can in the exurbs when you factor in the cost of your commute. You can save even more than that if you get a smaller home and have your little ones play in your neighborhood park and your older ones study at the library – but again, this isn’t a requirement.

  5. Since the Feds are paying for the rest of the Point Defiance Bypass south of Lakewood now (and part of the Tacoma-Lakewood segment too, I think), would it be possible for ST to extend Sounder to Dupont at little or no cost? All it would take would be a little platform in Dupont, although I suppose the extra operations costs might be prohibitive. That could be taken care of by elimination of the 592 and some 594 trips, though.

    1. I’m working on a story about this for Tacoma Tomorrow, might have something ready in 2 weeks tho. FYI, the 594 doesn’t go to Dupont, only the 592.

      1. Cool. Great blog, by the way. I was just thinking they could delete some 594 trips once the Lakewood extension opens.

      2. ST should be able to cut a number of 592 trips and/or reallocate some resources to Dupont. Remember also that the 593 and 599 will go away once the Lakewood extension is done.

      3. If I remember correctly: the 592 stop in DuPont was designed to accomdate a future rail station and I think Sounder from DuPont would be great, but when my stepmother (who lives there) does most of her shopping, it’s down in Lacey, not up in Lakewood.

    2. As I understand it Pierce County doesn’t want greatly increased service in Dupont. Dupont is in PC but many of the users come from Thurston County, whom don’t pay taxes of any sort to ST.

      My situation might be similar since I live outside the ST boundary in Snomish County but I spend most of my sales tax in Everett/Lynnwood which are located in ST territory. Would Thurston County be similar?

      1. I’m guessing people in Thurston County tend to do most of their shopping there, but more transit to Dupont to serve them would take a lot of cars off the road and benefit everyone, so we should think about doing it.

      2. There is actually 260 acres set aside for a huge business park in Dupont down by the water. Some of the buildings should have spectacular views of the bay. I think this project might be stalled a little at the moment with the economy, but eventually there should be substantial commuter demand in Dupont. Ideally, I’d love to see Thurston Co. join the RTA for an Olympia to Tacoma Sounder train for ST3.

      3. Yeah I think it would be great for at least the urbanized part of Thurston County to create their own taxing district to extend Sounder to Nisqually, Lacey, and Downtown Olympia and pay for that part of the operating costs. Since that would be mostly (all?) passenger rail-only ROW, they could have all day Tacoma-Olympia service.

      4. Agreed,
        It would be important to draw the taxing authority bounderies to include the urban communities, but exclude the rural farming areas, as they would likely have little to gain. I don’t know if there is much support down there or not though.

      5. Just a logistical question: how feasible is train service to downtown Olympia? I was under the impression that most of the track into downtown is either in pretty rough shape or completely cut off in some cases.

      6. Like this: http://tinyurl.com/ycsbgbx. A lot of the track on that ROW is completely gone now, in some places replaced by a trail and in some with nothing at all. But for the section between Lacey and Downtown Olympia where the tracks aren’t there anymore, you could just lay down a single track adjacent to the trail (the ROW appears to be wide enough and you wouldn’t need more than one track) and put in gates at the crossings, so it wouldn’t be too terribly expensive. It would be similar, I think, to the work that ST is doing to get Sounder to Lakewood.
        Even if it does cost a few hundred million dollars to build, it’s definitely worth it, both for its occasional intercity travel value and its daily commuting value. Lacey and Olympia are increasingly becoming exurbs of Seattle, with thousands of people commuting from there into Seattle and Tacoma every day. Conversely, there are many people (a surprisingly large number) that live in Tacoma or even Seattle and work for the State in Olympia. This would serve all those commuters in both directions. There are also many people, such as myself, who frequently go between Olympia and the Central Puget Sound area for reasons other than commuting, such as shopping and meetings. It would serve as an intercity line for these people. I hope Thurston County can figure out a way to make this work sometime in the future.

      7. This may be a dumb idea, but what about putting the Sounder Station where the Lacey/Olympia Amtrak station is, so no need to extend heavy rail track. Then run light rail from there, through Lacey, to Downtown Olympia and terminate at their mall?

      8. That would cost a lot more than just extending the regular track out, while giving up a one-seat, quicker ride. With light rail, you have to tear up the street and put in not just the tracks but also overhead wires and everything. Heavy rail is a lot simpler and cheaper to install. The expensive part about my idea, though, is the Downtown Olympia station. I was thinking it could be underground along the current rail tunnel, perhaps where the Greyhound Station is right now. It might not be too expensive because I believe the tunnel is just below the surface, so you would only need to dig down 20 feet or so.

      9. You really think it will be cheap to reinstall that track? It looks like a new I-5 crossing is required. And I’m not sure how well it would work with those traffic circles in Lacey.

        An alternative would be to go to the Amtrak station, then continue and turn into Olympia on the existing track from East Olympia — you miss Lacey that way, though.

        Extending to Olympia makes sense at the right price (that being whatever price Thurston County voters would agree to.) Lacey and Olympia each have more population than Puyallup or Sumner. But the real reason to do this is to run a reverse-commute train that lawmakers throughout the region could use so ST gains some friends in Olympia. ;-)

      10. There is also the small matter of where to get enough room for a station in downtown Olympia. An 8 car commuter train is quite long (1000 ft. or so), most cities don’t like the idea of having their streets blocked while the train stops. Also any Olympia stop would need a large parking garage (at least as big as Lakewood). Another option would be to put the station next to the “lake” where the old train yard used to be. The same area might be used for storage. The other option would be to store trains at the brewery site. The brewery property might also be a good location for a station as there is plenty of land for a garage. It should be possible to provide pedestrian access to the neighborhood on top of the bluff or even garage access. One problem is the Deschutes Valley has a bad habit of flooding every couple of years.

      11. It looks like alexjohn’s route is several miles away from the Amtrak station. A transfer between the Cascades/Coast Starlight and Sounder would be most desirable. I think the Cascades is underused in Olympia because of the remoteness of the station. Is there a bus from the station to downtown?

      12. Wouldn’t the Thurston County riders still pay a fare to ride Sound Transit? Seems to me that it would be beneficial to Sound Transit because they could include the ridership numbers but not have to say they are from outside the Sound Transit taxing area, so the numbers would be skewed upward in Sound Transit’s favor.

      13. It costs more per rider to operate Sounder, as with almost all other transit services, than is gained back in fares.

    3. I think that makes a lot of sense. I grew up in Lakewood and for most of the area it’s easier to get to Dupont than Bridgeport (and there’s all the development along the “backroad” to Steilacoom (i.e Northwest Landing). Certainly there is a huge and growing employment center called Joint Base Lewis-McChord. This employs a very large civilian population and attracts a growing number of retired personnel to Lakewood. It might be possible to establish a storage facility at Camp Murray.

      1. Huh I wonder if the military might pitch in a little to have a stop in Tillicum. Congestion is awful along that corridor, I’m guessing it would get pretty high ridership.

      2. Lewis has 100% ID check for everyone coming in the Gate. That’s why there is no Public Transit to Post. Even if you could figure out a way to get past security, there is no Post transit system so with everything so spread out it would be near impossible to get around.

      3. hmmm when I was a wee lad living on base at McChord AFB, I recall there were buses that went around the base and to base housing. Can anybody confirm if they are still there?

      4. Military buses run all over base and fort. Fort Lewis recently was in the news for a fuel cell grant funded project. It’s not public transit, it’s military transit. When I was growing up I rode the McChord bus to Crystal Mtn and the Ft. Lewis bus to White Pass (dependent benefits).

      5. Huh. When I was there and before I brought my car up from Alabama, the nearest stop was at the gas station across from Madigan Gate.

        Good on them getting some transit!

  6. ‘New’ feature? I’ve known if this for months now if not a whole year now. bmander is mostly behind this one making it work. The reason Sound Transit isn’t on there is because the data isn’t loaded for it which is mainly because Sound Transit doesn’t provide a publicly available GTF to use data from. Also, I believe that this transit time map doesn’t automatically pull data from GTFS-Exchange anyways.

    1. Well, it’s quiet and there are lots of tomes to read. Oh wait, that would be tombs to read… never mind :=

  7. A couple questions about Ballard-West Seattle light rail

    Are the West Seattle and Ballard segments likely to limit us to two car trains? What kind of headways would we potentially be looking at?

    If we end up running two car trains every five minutes, it doesn’t seem like enough demand to really justify the expense of a new downtown tunnel.

    1. There has been just about zero research into the routing of a ballard/west seattle light rail line. No one knows anything about capacity, headways, or even routing.

      1. And the mayor better work on changing that sometime around last year if he wants to get a decent light rail proposal on the ballot for 2011.

    2. If it runs on the surface Downtown, it will have to be two-car trains. This is one of the main arguments for the tunnel. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that, especially when extended from Ballard to Crown Hill and Northgate and from West Seattle to White Center and Burien, Westside light rail could fill up a four car train every 5 minutes at peak.

      1. I figured if it ran surface through downtown that it would limit the trains to two cars, but can three or four car trains even be run through West Seattle and Ballard? I was initially leaning in favor of a tunnel through downtown, but if other parts of the line limit train length and headway, then it doesn’t seem to make as much sense.

      2. Well I’m a proponent of it never being on the surface, neither in Downtown nor in Seattle’s outlying neighborhoods and suburbs.

      3. Alex,

        You are really a “proponent” of spending, spending, spending on “cool” trains. Seattle is a relatively small and low-density city. The reason transit works as well as it does is the dearth of access corridors to the CBD, thanks to our topography.

        Seattle CBD peak-hour transit share is abnormally high because of it.

        Since downtown is pretty much built out where are you going to put new office buildings to absorb the pie-in-the-sky projections for transit ridership in 2030? People moving around to destinations other than the Seattle CBD will be pretty much unimpressed by these high-capacity guideway systems.

        But buses are even worse, unless they get dedicated lanes leading up to intersections, signal priority and serious camera enforcement mounted on the vehicle with a stiff fine for drivers who do not honor the yield sign when a bus in changing lanes.

        None of those ameliorations for buses is politically practical, so basically we can hope that tiny electric cars actually do become popular.

      4. “the topography”. I lived there for ten years and it’s still emotionally “my” city, but I don’t live there now. So “the topography”.

      5. Seattle is the 8th densest large city in the United States, and that, combined with the topography, the traffic, and the promise of further growth and densification, meaning we will need completely grade separated rail in our city in the years to come if the rail system is to be successful. Please do not be so condescending, it doesn’t help your argument.

    3. I think Ballard-Downtown is more than adequately served by the 15, 17 and 18. It takes much longer to get to the U district; why build a line downtown when we could instead connect to the North Link line in the U district, and worry about West Seattle separately for its own sake? I doubt there are many trips between Ballard and West Seattle.

      1. Kyle, I don’t believe the line would be developed specifically for people travelling between West Seattle and Ballard, but rather is probably a way to connect two neighborhoods with similar ridership characteristics with downtown Seattle with one line. The ability to travel through is a secondary benefit.

      2. But why not instead focus on getting people from Ballard and people from West Seattle where they want to go? Try to deliver a decent one seat experience for as many people as we can.

        To serve West Seattle I would branch the Central Link line south of the Duwamish crossing.

      3. Ballard-Downtown would be much faster on a light rail line than the 15 and 18. It would attract far more ridership than any bus, and would have many times the capacity of a bus. U District-Ballard is a high-ridership corridor, but not nearly as high ridership as Ballard-Downtown, so the latter should be the priority.

      4. My ultimate goal isn’t to connect Ballard with the University District (although I believe that improvement is sorely needed). My goal is to connect Ballard to the Eastside. Ballard has been preparing for higher density for a while now, and it makes sense to focus impact from Eastside job growth there.

        As far as existing routes go, the chief issue on the 15/18 (from the perspective of a daily rider) is regularity of service going northbound. It’s the same problem every line has downtown. Once you hit 15th Ave W, congestion disappears. The 44 faces congestion from Leary to Roosevelt, and there’s nothing they can do to Market St/45th to alleviate that.

        The marginal benefit of converting the 15/18 to a new trunk line is far less than that of providing decent rapid transit service on the north side of the ship canal. Ballard-Downtown service is already good; Ballard U-District service is unsatisfactory, and Ballard-Eastside service is nonexistent. Improvement of light rail over the 15/18 would be minimal, but improvement from replacing the 44 would free up resources to address other unsatisfactory services.

        After all, it’s not the praise for the few speedy lines that affects public perception of service quality so much as the complaints about the subpar lines.

      5. Light rail is equivalent to express buses, not local buses. So it’s like running the 15X and 18X all day. But still it has more stops than an express bus, so some local trips are still possible (e.g., 65th to Leary Way/Fred Meyer).

        It’s silly to pit Ballard-downtown against Ballard-UW. Both are needed. Either would be welcome. As for Ballard-downtown-West Seattle, that would mainly be for the two separate markets, but there’s still some traffic between the two (say I’m in Ballard and want to go to Alki, or I live in West Seattle but like the Ballard farmers’ market better), so if it’s just as convenient to join the lines, why not? And it will position us better for a future Ballard-Burien line in the future, connecting to the Burien-Renton line.

  8. On a different note about walkscore.com. Ever since they included walking distance of bus stops into the score, to me it seems like the walk score of any address (though I have only put in addresses near bus lines) that I have plugged in seems way to high. Take for instance where I use to live near in lake city, near Lake city way and 125th, I had a walk score of 89 but when I recently put that address in again I get 97. Does that seem right? and is there any, as strange as it may sound on STB, to shut that off?

    1. I think it is good to include especially if different scores are given to bus stop with high service frequencies rather than equally for all stops. Remember walkscore is just a proxy measure. My urban planning professor at UW rather dislikes walkscore because it doesn’t really directly measure how walk about anything is, it just measures how close something it, ignoring the pedestrian network, the quality of it, etc.

    2. They describe their methodology a bit on the site, and any amenity within 0.25 miles gets the maximum score. A location where everything is 3-4 blocks away gets the same score as one where everything is downstairs (0.0-0.1 miles). The key is to have every catagory of amenity within 0.25 miles, which Lake city could have.

  9. And totally non-related, but on a personal note, tonight I finished up 13 months of training and am now a Psychological Operations Specialist. Goodbye Infantry, it was fun (well sometimes… okay, well down range it wasn’t THAT bad! ;)), hello Special Ops!

    Now to deploy again ASAP so I can make enough money to be able to afford to move to Seattle when my time’s up and not just back to Newport Hills!

    1. Sound Transit’s security chief carried an ST flag with him everywhere he went when he was deployed in Iraq: http://soundtransit.org/x78.xml?curID=x12083

      Maybe you could have a Seattle Transit Blog flag made and carry that with you.

      Anyway, these are all good signs in case we ever go to war against TriMet.

  10. This graphical approach should be a required part of the transit planning process. You should be able to show how a transit proposal will change the plot – using a difference plot or something similar.

    It would be interesting to figure out how to factor frequency into this. Waiting time needs to be a factor somehow.

      1. Very cool! Look at all those station areas for SF. You only see those kind of dots in Seattle where buses that run on freeways get off and start to serve local areas.

  11. I wish this existed when I moved here in 2006. It would have made it much easier to find a good place to live. I could have placed a marker at my downtown workplace, and set the time to 5pm or so, thus showing places I might live within a reasonable bus commute.

    Instead I made a spreadsheet listing all the large P&Rs in the three counties and used the Trip Planner to find the time to/from each one of them, then combined that with average neighborhood housing prices I got from somewhere else to rule out pretty much anywhere convenient. :-)

    One Bus Away shows more reachable areas than Walk Score for the same inputs (e.g. leave 701 5th Ave at 5pm, allow 45 min). Kingsgate P&R, Issaquah Highlands P&R, Kent Station, Star Lake P&R and Federal Way TC (among others) are all reachable in 45m according to One Bus Away, but not according to Walk Score. And in my personal experience most of those are indeed reachable in 45 min or less.

    1. This reminds of the original reason I joined here, to learn which neighborhoods had decent transit for when I move back. My wife is pretty set on either Belltown or Cap Hill if we live in Seattle or back over to the Eastside where our friends live (bleh!), but I am trying to find something maybe a little more reasonable price wise (I have tried to explain to her, that I am NOT one of the original Magic the Gathering artists who got paid in stock and made a couple mil when they sold out, so those neighborhoods are out of our price range… on the plus side I’m also not a coke addict, so hey…). I want to narrow it down to just a couple of neighborhoods so that we can hit them hard on the rare occasions we make it back…

      So what are STB’s recommendations for couple that enjoys an active nightlife, wants good transit connections (especially to UW and Pioneer Square) and will only have about 200K to put down and only a GIBill to help make payments (on my end, hopefully she can get her old job back or something equivalent).

      1. They’re practically giving away condos on Capitol Hill right now, might be a good time to buy up there. Quite a few buildings came on the market right after the big bust. You might want to check out Eastlake too, not much nightlife, but it’s close to everything and has great bus service.

      2. Lake City. Condos or homes “reasonably” priced. Great access via the Burke Gilman for extended cycling routes. Good transit connections to UW and DT. All your everyday shopping needs are close by (although it’s a shame JP’s Market went out of business).

      3. JP’s went out of business? That was my “walkable” neighborhood market when I was a kid. A bit of a long walk, though (I lived on 110th). But I did walk it frequently.

      4. Yeah, as far as I know they are long gone. Been a while like I said since I’ve lived there but we were so close. I remember getting 99 cent salmon fillets and BBQing… those were the days. Maybe the properties been bought and reopened?

      5. Me too, litlnemo–I also lived on 110th! Probably a few years before you though. Still live close to there. Lake City is ripe for further density (it already has a surprising amount of low-rise apartments)–a decent amount of flat land, good transit to UW, Northgate and downtown as well as being on a major transportation corridor to NE King County. With the economy’s crash, several of the car dealerships that blight the area are now vacant and are perfect candidates for further development.

        JP’s wasn’t far, though!

      6. It was 3/4 of a mile each way, so it seemed like a long walk for a 10 year old! At that age I also often walked to and from Decatur Elementary in Wedgwood, which was about 2 miles each way… which felt like forever. Then I discovered Metro and started taking the bus instead, the “25 Lakeview” bus on 35th Ave NE. (I was still living next to Rogers even after I transferred to Decatur.) The bus schedules were red/white/blue that year because the Bicentennial was about to happen. :)

        I wonder if any parents let their kids walk that far to school these days.

      7. You and I were neighbors (and about the same age)–I lived 1/2 block from Rogers (and my grandmother lived 2 blocks from Decatur–I usually walked there but sometimes got to take the 25). My grandfather was a super for Metro so we got to ride the first artic in Seattle–a demo from somewhere in Germany that still had all the German ads on it. They ran it on what now is the 71 but was probably then the “7 Wedgwood” because he lived on the route. I loved sitting in the middle rotating part and still do occasionally!

        You were doing that walk about the time Meadowbrook Pool opened–we were SO excited to have a pool to walk to. I don’t seem to see as many kids walking anymore, although the neighborhood seems fairly unchanged…when I was 11/12 we used to ride the 25 downtown to the M’s games (although Mom picked us up down there after dark). I loved that old meandering route as a kid–it took you anywhere you wanted to go, it seemed–U Village, the UW, Husky Stadium and all the wonders of downtown.

      8. Ha! We must have been neighbors. I was also about 1/2 block from Rogers, at 4034 NE 110th. My mom just sold the house a few years ago. I also remember when the pool opened, and took the 25 to M’s games.

        I actually kind of remember the name Stidell but can’t quite place it. Did you have sisters?

        I also remember that there used to be an ocean of kids walking up 110th past our house every day to and from school. Then when I was older and visited the house, I noticed that there weren’t very many anymore. Kind of sad. Remember that they had crossing guards on 110th too?

      9. We lived there from about 1980 to ’84 on Exeter just off Sandpoint Way. Don’t remember the address but it was the Y between Exeter and Durland. You’re probably right in that it’s not what Anc is looking for but what I loved was that we had easy access to “the city” but it was living a world apart. We still had a garden and a view of the lake. Access to everywhere was great. Came very close to buying our first home there but it was just slightly out of reach and our agent found the place out in Woodinville that was too good to pass up (we drove past cows to look at it, no kidding).

      10. heh heh…I was a crossing guard for two years! I do have a younger sister, Kim–I was Hale ’85 and she was ’86. She lives in London now where my three-year old niece loves the Tube and knows all the stops on the Central line. Her Mom says “great–she’s just like her uncle!”

        I walk by your old house many times as I still live off 110th–bought it 18 years ago–I used to live at 3925 NE 110th. My best friend and his family, the Bubelises, lived almost directly across the street from you. Now he’s in West Seattle and wants him some light rail NOW.

        Bernie–I remember Dad (who grew up in Kenmore/Bothell) taking us out to the “country” between Bothell/Woodinville for drives; there were definitely cows out there! In the summer I used to take the weekly 357 on Wednesdays through there and up to Skykomish for the day–the only way I could get up in the mountains back then. We used to ride our bikes down past your house to get to the then-new Burke Gilman, before it was paved.

        I still like living here although would prefer a more walkable neighborhood, but it’s only a mile or so to Lake City (or a couple of minutes on the 75, which now runs every 15 min. most of the day) and as that area grows it will be even better.

      11. That is good that the 75 runs every 15 minutes now. I hated the old 30 minute schedules out there.

        I knew Wally Bubelis! I used to go over there to play sometimes when I was about 10 or so. I am trying to remember which house 3925 is, now. I know it’s on the south side of the street. Next to the Hadleys’ house?

        I remember when there were still tracks on the Burke-Gilman. I went walking along the tracks with a friend when I was about 8 or 9 or something. I was scared a train would come along, and he kept telling me not to worry, because there were no trains anymore!

        Then later I hiked the trail with our Campfire group when the trail wasn’t paved yet, but the tracks were gone. I found a spike by the side of the road and brought it home as a souvenir.

        OK, I feel old now!

      12. I feel old too–but good memories! Wally Bubelis is still one of my best friends–I must have known you if you played over there as Wally and I have been friends since kindergarten (I remember when they moved into that house; his parents still live there). My parents’ house is indeed the one next to the Hadley’s, kind of hidden down the hill. 40th was the best sledding hill; my Dad used to build jumps on half of it at night when it snowed.

        My sister Kim was in Campfire too but I usually had to sell most of the mints!

        I missed the direct 41 to downtown after they changed it–we being lazy used to walk downhill to the 25 to go downtown and then back home downhill from the 41. Now there is no direct downtown service from the neighborhood except the rush hour 65; running the 75 every 15 minutes helps a lot although it takes too long to get to Northgate and there is no guarantee of a direct connection to the 522 in Lake City (if you make it it’s quite fast). You made a great call to move to Beacon Hill–that area will boom when things get going again. I park up there after the parking restrictions if I’m going to a game or dinner downtown–cheaper and that’s my favorite Link station.

      13. If you played with Wally, that probably is why your name sounded familiar.

        I do remember sledding on that hill and also that someone used to build jumps. And sometimes I would just slide down the hill on a big plastic garbage bag — no control at all, so you would spin around, hit the jumps and banks at weird angles, and continue spinning all the way down. Great fun!

        During the summer I used to skate down that hill, too. Very fast. No helmet. Somehow, I managed not to hurt myself beyond occasionally scraping my knees.

        Beacon Hill is definitely going to boom at some point, but we are still waiting for it to start.

      14. Nightlife? Outside of Capitol Hill your closest nightlife is in neighborhoods called San Francisco and Chicago.

        Seriously, though: If I were buying in the next couple of years I would take a close look at Columbia City. You can still get deals now, but it’s going to blow up when the economy turns, and in a few years you’ll have one-seat train rides to everything from the airport to Cap Hill and the UW.

      15. Good stuff, thanks people.

        One thing to keep in mind, at the earliest we’ll be moving back in 2 years, most likely 3, and worse case 4.

      16. P.S. Keep it coming, and others feel free to expand on yays/nays.

        Getting more in depth, I, being a redneck from a town of 6K in South Alabama where the biggest cities (Mobile and Pensacola) were an hour drive away, really want to live In The City. I really REALLY love cities. Until I fell in love with my wife and then Seattle, my goals when I got out was to go either State in DC or UN in NYC… Boston and NO would also work. Not to mention growing up where I did, I have done my fair share of farmwork (14-18), so a yard is just a retarded imitation. I really want to live somewhere I can walk to anything I need (got spoiled studying in Germany) and take trans to the stuff I want. Black Betty is a fine automobile, and she’s served me well these last 10 years, but while I may miss her, I will NOT miss driving.

        So basically I want a decent condo, in the city, somewhere where all necessities I can walk to, decent trans connections to the rest of the city, and will probably be ‘reasonably’ priced in 3 years time. A neighborhood pub within stumbling distance would not be amiss either.

      17. Lake City Condo. Plus on everything except perhaps the pub. Not really sure on what else is there since it’s been almost 30 years since I lived there but I’m guessing Deja Vu and the Elks don’t count ;-)

      18. Having grown up in Lake City, I wouldn’t really recommend it to most people, unless perhaps you live in one of those condos right near 125th, because that is the most walkable part of the neighborhood. In general, Lake City is a suburb and still very car-oriented, despite being within the city limits. The urban village there has great potential, though. But no light rail coming in the forseeable future. And though it has reasonable transit, I think that it is not necessarily what Anc has in mind. It’s kind of a long way north, really.

      19. Yeah, for someone that doesn’t want a yard (believe me, I can sympathize) the condos that have sprouted close to 125th and Lake City Way are what I had in mind. If you’re looking for “cheap” and “potential” I think Lake City has it. Plus.. I don’t think it’s so bad as it is. Before the cops cracked down it was prime cruising on a Friday/Saturday night. I had a chance to trade bikes and ride a classic Norton; good times in the city.

      20. litlnemo,
        Did you go to Nathan Hale? Don’t know if Anc’s plans involve Jr. Anc’s but HS (and schools in general) would then be a big issue.

      21. Yes, Rogers/Addams/Hale with a couple of years at Decatur in the middle. I don’t know what kind of school Hale is these days. I remember spending a lot of time on Metro getting the heck out of Lake City whenever possible!

      22. Hale’s not a bad school at all. They’re currently in the midst of a major renovation–I wish all those new windows were there when I went! Rogers Elementary has always scored high statewide. Lake City has a lot of potential for the price point; I used to hit Cooper’s Brewhouse a lot at 15th and LCW–haven’t been back for awhile but it was one of the first taverns in the city that went whole-hog into the microbrew world in the early 80’s. It’s an easy ride and short walk from LC to there on the 72.

        I’m moving to Sydney for a couple of years but am keeping my house in the area because of the potential–now to find a good renter who doesn’t mind being 1/2 block from the 75… :)

      23. Clubs within walking distance: Capitol Hill, Belltown

        24-hour pedestrian streets: Capitol Hill (Broadway), U-district (University Way)

        Fewer clubs but lots of bars and a pleasant community: Ballard

        Good transit (but not from a Capitol Hill club at 2am): Rainier, Lake City, Ballard, West Seattle, Greenwood/Aurora. Of these, Rainier and Lake City are the cheapest. The farther you live from downtown, the more you’ll have to leave the neighborhood for some shopping/errands, and that may require waiting half an hour for a bus. Buses generally go downtown, or in north Seattle to the UW or Northgate. If you need to go somewhere else crosstown, you may have to wait an hour and/or transfer at one of these three locations.

        But in 2020, Link will link all three of them, as well as serving Rainier and the airport. So that will make things significantly easier.

      24. Why not mention North Beacon Hill?

        Clubs aren’t within walking distance (unless you REALLY like walking), but they are only a few minutes away. You can get to Belltown by going to Westlake on Link and then walking a few blocks. And transit on this part of the Hill is about as good as it gets. Most necessities are nearby and those that aren’t are mostly a train ride away. It’s cheaper than much of the rest of the city, too. There are a couple of bars up here, and a taco truck is moving in on April 23. ;)

      25. I thought I already gave you a sales pitch. :)

        North Beacon has the best Link station (the one with the freaky sea/space creatures hanging from the ceiling). We also have excellent bus service — the 36 runs almost as often as Link does, during the day. Because of the location, it doesn’t take very long to get anywhere. We are a stone’s throw from downtown but also have easy access to I-5 and I-90 to get to other places if needed.

        There are a few good restaurants up here, but if you want more, Columbia City (which is hopping lately), Pioneer Square, Downtown, etc. are a few minutes away on Link. Same with bars.

        Getting to Capitol Hill is easy by bus and will also be easy when the streetcar goes in in a couple of years, because then you will be able to transfer from Link to the streetcar. So this will make it easy to get to Cap Hill clubs and shops.

        Here on Beacon we have a big grocery store and some smaller ethnic ones. We also have a couple of coffee shops and a few other places. We have a great new library branch. There are a bunch of medical and dental offices, too. (I love that I can walk to the dentist now!) We don’t have a ton of non-food retail yet, but lots of it is 5-15 minutes away by Link, which means that it has become possible to do most of our shopping on foot now.

        Currently the property next to Beacon Hill Station is vacant. We are hoping and expecting that will change as soon as it is rezoned, which now will not happen until at least next year because of an appeal filed by a community member which blocked this year’s proposed changes. Once that property gets developed it is highly likely there will be more density and retail right there in “downtown North Beacon”. But even with the empty lots, the neighborhood is pretty darned walkable.

      26. Oh, and, it’s cheap! Well, compared to the rest of Seattle. Not compared to the rest of the US, I suppose.

        There are condos on the Hill though it’s not primarily a condo neighborhood at the moment. But there are always some condos available.

      27. Yep. Columbia City has promise, so does North Beacon Hill. I would add the western edge of the Central District…basically east of Seattle U. Less expensive housing, walking distance (or cheap cab ride) to Cap Hill, and in a couple years walking distance to the Broadway streetcar.

      28. Tip for returning from Capitol Hill clubs: all the night owl buses leave downtown at 2:15am and 3:30pm, at 4th & Union. The clubs are about a mile from there, so give yourself at least 30 minutes if you’re walking. That means you’ll have to leave the club by 1:30 or 1:45. The Belltown and Pioneer Square clubs are slightly closer. I don’t think there are any buses from those neighborhoods at that time, but there may be one or two somewhere.

        The night owl buses go to all parts of Seattle except north of 85th street. So not to Lake City. And the nearest stop may be a mile or two from your house. There are three suburban night owls: 120 to Burien (2:15 only), 124/174 down Pacific Highway, and 280 to downtown Bellevue and Renton.

        Re the latest regular bus routes, going from Capitol Hill to the U district, the last 71 leaves Fairview & Denny Way at 1:26am (then the night owl at 2:15). Going from Ballard and Fremont to the U district, the last 44 leaves at 1:54. Going the other way, the last 44 leaves 45th & U-Way at 1:30. Those are the latest regular buses I know about.

        The only places with essentially 24 hour bus service are: Rainier (7), Pacific Hwy (124/174), and Eastlake/Fairview (70/71/72/73). But they have 1-2 hour gaps weekdays and a 3-hour gap Sundays.

  12. Question for anybody who mhhgt know. I’m going to Vancouver BC Tuesday morning, coming back Wed evening on Cascades. I want to park at Everett Station, but want to be sure it’s okay to leave a car there for two days(one night). I know Metro P&R’s, it would be okay overnight, but not sure about ST’s rules at Everett Station. I mean, it should be fine, because I’m sure some people might work nights and use the 510 to Seattle.

    Let me know soon if anybody thinks I can’t park there overnight.

  13. Why do bloggers and commenters here believe it’s impossible for powerful business and political forces in Seattle to be working behind the scenes to create Link alignments that are most beneficial to them (bypassing Southcenter), and that they only have the purest of motives in support of one alignment over another, but when it comes to Bellevue and Kemper Freeman, you … wait …. international business call from Geneva, Switzerland.

    1. It’s not that they’re serving their own interests, it’s that their interests happen to coincide with what we think is best.

    2. Huh? Tukwila’s interest and Kemper’s interest were the same: they did not want light rail in their areas. I don’t know what Southcenter Mall wanted, but if they really wanted rail strongly they could have pressured Tukwila and ST more. Tukwila opposed both a Southcenter route and a 99 route (which ST prefered), so we ended up with a route that just infringes on a tiny corner of Tukwila.

      In any case, there was always a likelihood of an east-west route in the next phase, which would naturally serve Southcenter. That’s not the case in Bellevue.

      1. As I recall the City of Tukwilla fought very hard for Link to serve Southcenter. The city blocking the 99 alignment was an attempt to force ST to choose an alignment that served southcenter. The problem was a Southcenter route would have cost more and increased travel times. This would have lowered the project rating from the FTA which would have potentially meant either smaller grants or none at all. The First Hill station was a similar scenario.

        The only real similarity between Tukwilla and Bellevue is both are fighting ST over choosing a prefered alignment.

      2. The city blocking the 99 alignment was because they had put a bunch of improvements into 99 and didn’t want them torn up right away. Unfortunately that meant a car road took precedence over the straightest and cheapest rail route.

  14. Not many will see this, as it’s comment #131, but…


    Metro had it spelled wrong in the Trip Planner, which then transferred to One Bus Away, etc, but IT’S ONLY ONE “L”!!!

    1. But there’s two L’s in pie-al-ey-uoop and sam-I-am-e-ish is spelled Sam-ss-am-ss-I-ssh-ipp-i. Just remember that there’s no E at the end of Mary-Moore ;-)

Comments are closed.