65 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: One Bus Away”

  1. Just to add, this is data for the iPhone client. It’s kind of interesting to see which parts of town have heavy iPhone usage and which parts of town do not.

    1. Brian, did you compile similar data for other mobile tools, like Android or SMS?

  2. Are there any tricks for telling different kinds of buses from each other? What’s the easiest way to tell I’m on a Gillig instead of a New Flyer? I could always check the fleet number against the roster on Wikipedia, but I’d like to be able to tell without looking.

    1. they have their name on the side of the bus … and the jack location plate located right inside the front passenger door also lists the mfr name

    2. Someone correct me if I am wrong but aren’t all the New Flyer 40′ low-floor? That’s the easiest way to tell them apart. On the outside, the drivers side of the windshield of the Gillig is tilted in toward the driver.

      1. Correct. All low-floors are New Flyers (atleast until the Orions arrive later this year) If it’s not a 60ft bus, and not low floor than its Gillig, except the vans.

    3. All 40 foot low floor buses are New Flyer, all high-floor 40 footers are Gilligs. All 60 foot artics – except the Breda trolleybuses – are New Flyer.

    4. Sound Transit 40′ high floors are Gillig Phantoms, 60′ low-floor articulated are New Flyer. ST also has a few 40′ low-floor New Flyers powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), as indicated by a large tank on the roof, and one diesel electric hybrid with a smaller ‘tank’ on the roof for batteries. The ST buses that look like intercity coaches with only one door are MCIs.

      The hybrids are easy to tell apart from the non-hybrids because they have the large battery pack on the rear (or front section) of the roof and might even have a sticker indicating so. They also sound slightly different but don’t confuse them with CNG buses which can be seen in Pierce County or on Tacoma-Seattle ST routes and also have a different engine noise.

      1. Also, the 60 foot high floors used on the trolley routes on weekends are New Flyer. You can tell them apart because the smooth roof and the sloping rear end.

      2. Those buses normally frequent the non-electrified routes during a weekday. They’re commonly seen on the 48, 358, 372, and some routes that go through Queen Anne.

    5. 40ft ETB are all gillig phantoms
      60ft ETB are all bredas

      all 60ft artics are New Flyers
      the high floor ones are D60s
      the low floor ones with something on the top of the trailers are DE60LFs
      the low floor ones without something on the the top of the trailers are D60LFs

      the 40ft high floor buses are gillig phantoms
      the 40th low floor buses are D40LFs

    6. Sound Transit:
      Look at the 3rd digit from the right.

      7 = MCI D4500
      6 = New Flyer DE60LF
      5 = New Flyer D60LF
      4 = New Flyer C40LF
      2 = New Flyer DE40LF (there’s only one–9200–and ST will not be buying any more)
      0 or 1 = Gillig PHANTOM

      If the first digit is a 9, the bus was purchased between 1999 and 2009. Otherwise, it’ll be the last two digits in the year it was purchased, i.e. 10605 = 2010 New Flyer DE60LF. Note: ST has yet to take delivery of any of the 10xxx vehicles.

  3. Service on Central Link has been suspended until further notice due to mechanical issues.

      1. Link seems to have a schedule. But ST won’t tell riders what the schedule is. How customer-friendly :-(

      2. Maybe they don’t have a schedule and are coordinating with the worksite for gaps to let the trains through about every 30 minutes. They did however posted the first and last train times for this weekend on their website:

        From Westlake Station – SeaTac Airport Station:

        SATURDAY
        First train: 5:14 a.m.
        Last train: 12:41 a.m.

        SUNDAY
        First train: 6:14 a.m.
        Last train: 11:46 p.m.

        From SeaTac Airport Station – Westlake Station:

        SATURDAY
        First train: 5:20 a.m.
        Last train: 11:50 p.m.

        SUNDAY
        First train: 6:20 a.m.
        Last train: 10:50 p.m.

      3. Here’s what the Sound Transit alert said:
        “Expect slight delays to modified schedule…”

        It implies they have a schedule.

      4. Is this on top of the already planned limited schedule this weekend due to switch heater installation, or is this a separate issue?

      5. From Sound Transit:

        “SoundTransit: Track maintenance complete. Please expect trains to operate as scheduled.”

    1. Or every time anyone remotely familiar with technology wants to do something more valuable with their time that stand around a bus stop in the rain.

  4. Dick Falkenbury has written a nice little anti-waterfront tunnel essay for the Seattle P-I‘s City Brights blog.

    I suspect that this whole project is about creating jobs. If you really want to create more jobs, fix what you’ve got. There are a lot more jobs in ‘repair’ than in ‘build’. Believe me, there is enough to do without digging “The Tunnel From and To Hell”.

    1. Ah, classic fearmongering, evoking deliberate attacks on the WTC and OKC. (By the way, the WTC wasn’t a federal building, so the connection isn’t really valid; I suspect he wanted to say 9/11 but that made his intent too apparent, and thus settled for implication instead.) The misdirection he opens with—I’m not the fearmonger, they are!—is quite classic.

      Look, SOVs are important. They are important here, in Europe, in Africa, and in Asia. We will not be rid of them. What transit can do is destroy our reliance on SOVs for trips that many people are performing—commuting, sporting events, airport runs, and the like. We can then shift our road priorities to supporting trips that carry big things long distances. Replacing the viaduct with something that lacks entrances/exits downtown goes a long way towards promoting transit to the city’s core.

      1. Nope. I happen to know for a fact the preferred method of locomotion in Australia is the wallaby.

      2. I want a Wallaby, partly so I can hide stuff in it’s pouch. My wife says that would be a form of rape, but I’m not seeing it. What say you all?

        (Hey, this is an open thread! :P)

      3. You say we will always need SOVs, but then that we should “shift our road priorities to supporting trips that carry big things long distances.” Aren’t you talking about freight, not SOVs? If so, long-distance freight is much better served by rail, although short-distance will probably always require some use of trucks. Although I did see some awesome idea a while ago to have micro-TBMs go around everywhere in every city to make little tunnels for automated deliveries to every address. Not exactly viable right now, but in the long term that would be filthy.

      4. To me, “big things long distances” means things like “buy a table and chairs at the Northgate Target and bring it back to my apartment in Ballard.” I have carried much on the bus (including, funny enough, furniture between Northgate and Ballard). I have also moved band equipment on the subway in New York.

        And then, of course, are all the local deliveries and regional hauling for which the rail infrastructure no longer exists or is impractical. For example, it would be ludicrous to expect Safeway to replace its trucking fleet with rail, because that would involve running rail spurs to all the various Safeways in the area. That doesn’t work with current grocery store placement in the commercial centers on the fringes of residential developments, and it runs directly counter to the goal of increasing neighborhood walkability by moving things like supermarkets within walking distance of residences.

        The problem with shopping by delivery (along the lines of Argos in the UK) is that people still want to go into the store and see what they’re buying, especially if that item is a pain in the neck to return. I don’t mind buying electronics from Amazon, but I just bought two ottomans which I had to return, and thanks to that experience I don’t think I’ll be buying furniture through delivery again.

      5. Although better than driving a table and chairs back would be to have a better delivery service where Northgate Target sends one truck out to deliver lots of stuff. Lol a while ago I saw someone bring a brand new huge HDTV in a box on the bus from Southcenter then on Link up to the Rainier Valley. It’s cool cause I guess they cared less about cars than about TV.
        Regarding grocery stores and such, what I’m saying is that long-distance hauling should be done in the future by (high-speed) rail, then carried from rail distribution facilities to the stores by rail. And there will be more local and less international shipping of goods in the future.

      6. Rail is very efficient for long distances, like between major metropolitan areas. Building new rails with new right of ways would be very difficult. Look at the east side- there is a rail spur if I remember right into a Safeway facility in Bellevue, but that is part of the recently bought east side rail corridor. That corridor is in danger of being turned into a trail, which demonstrates how hard it is to protect existing rail infrastructure, let alone creating new ones.

        I’d add that high speed rail is an inefficient mover of most goods, unless you are discussing priority mail or the like. Old, slow freight trains are the best for most goods. I cannot see less international shipping either, until we run out of developing countries to put factories where you can pay the locals a dollar a day to make cheap stuff for Walmart to sell.

    2. The unsafety assertions are ridiculous, tunnels are in general quite safe and there is no way that tunneling is going to bring down the Jackson Building Downtown. He does make good arguments about it not being needed, but those are illegitamized by his, as Kyle calls it, fear-mongering.

  5. In Friday’s Seattle Channel piece about SLU, Sally Clark mentioned she liked the idea of extending the SLU Streetcar down 5th Ave through downtown, presumably to connect to the new line in the international district. Anyone know if that route has been studied?

    Seems like a decent option due to lots of shopping on 5th, SPL Central and condos at Madison, office towers, and it’s actually close to First Hill too.

    1. That hasn’t been studied, but it would be cool. There probably won’t be enough capacity on 1st Ave to have the Ballard-Fremont and U-Line streetcars on there along with the Central Streetcar, so to have those lines continue all the way through Downtown we would need a second streetcar corridor. Now that I think about it, 5th Ave seems like the perfect place for it because it isn’t super high traffic, and they want to make it be Downtown’s “Main Street.”
      Also, it’ll probably have less political opposition than the Central Streetcar, so it could be built sooner. Although it might make people question the need for a streetcar on 1st Ave later…

      1. the problem with 5th ave is that it is a pretty narrow street. While it wouldn’t be a real problem to have the southbound track travel in a lane on 5th … would the northbound track return on 4th ave? or 6th ave?

      2. No it wouldn’t be too much of a problem to have it go both ways on 5th. 5th is always at least 3 lanes, they could do a big redo of the street and give it a streetcar/travel lane and a bike lane in each direction.

      3. Actually I emailed Ethan Malone about the possibility of a “couplet” Central Streetcar with the southbound track going down 5th and the northbound on 4th and he thought it was a good idea. The SLU line would simply need to be extended to 4th and 5th Aves, run the Central line along 4th and 5th Aves and then connect with both the FH and WF lines at 5th and Jackson.

        Look at all the shopping, theaters, businesses and companies along those two streets. I believe they were going to consider this in the grand scheme of a streetcar network and a way of connecting the SLU with the FH lines (and possibly WF line as well).

      4. I would hope they’d also add a line branching off of the SLUT down 7th ave continuing down Dexter to Fremont.

      5. I think it would be better to do two-way 5th than a 4th-5th couplet because couplets confuse people and it’s a great opportunity to return one of our less heavily-trafficked Downtown streets to being two-way.
        Then the Central Streetcar could still be there to serve the Central District-Seattle Center corridor, with possible extensions up Queen Anne on a new Counterbalance.
        Maybe they could have a Dexter streetcar continue up through Fremont to the Zoo (and maybe up Phinney) on that proposed branch, and have the Westlake one continue to Ballard. Westlake will be very limited stop and flat, so it’ll probably be faster than a Dexter alignment. Therefore, it would be the better one to continue all the way to Ballard.

      6. people who use the bus are already used to couplets … the buses head south on 2nd/5th and north on 4th.

        buses head east on pike and west on pine.

      7. I think a 5th/4th-couplet streetcar would serve Downtown better than a 1st Ave line. 1st Ave is pretty easy to reach from the DSTT and 3rd Ave busway, but 4th and 5th are a steep climb at some points. Of course, this leaves Belltown out in the cold, but a new light-rail tunnel would be a lot better for that corridor. Easier said than paid for, though.

      8. They did have some light rail service, however they all can fly to DC and thank Ron Sims for prematurely termining the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar. Or mabye they’ll just be happy that he’s gone. Of course they need to convince Dow that the line is importaint to the waterfront, especally when they tear it up for construction of whatever replaces the viaduct.

        Everyone goes on and on that construction of the tunnel will hinder streetcar service. However, i would like to point out that this was successfully done in NYC, over 100 years ago with the construction of the IRT, and in San Francisco in the 1960s for construction of the BART rapid transit line. Streetcar service was successfully retained in both cases, and with a bit of work could be done here too. it would also help tourists and their dollars stay on the waterfront during the construction period.

  6. I tried using OBA to get from 1201 3rd Avenue to REI during lunchtime and I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Maybe someone could help me.

    (I tried using Google Maps Transit — but it completely failed — told me to use a bus that would have taken me to Kirkland and put me at bus stop that is non-existent!)

    1. I don’t know what you tried, but for that trip Google Maps tells me to use bus 25, 66, or 70, which are the ideal routes for that.

    2. I don’t think you can use OBA for routing like that. The website gives you a “heat map” showing where you can go from a particular place but doesn’t give routing (though I didn’t dig into it much). The real-time arrival info for stops is indispensable though, once you know where you need to be and which route you want.

      If OBA did routing too, even just as a front end for Metro’s trip planner or Google Transit, that would be fantastic.

      1. Eep, you need to learn how to format some html. <a href=”link URL“>link text</a>. Then your URL can be as long as you want but the link can still be tiny. And you won’t break nice people’s webpage layouts when you comment.

      2. Fixed but yes please use html if you are adding a long link. WordPress doesn’t deal with them well.

    3. What were your actual search terms? If you put in “REI flagship” OBA lists REI as the first result and gives you directions. And in Google Maps, if I search for “REI Seattle”, that store is the first to show up, and if I get directions for transit, the directions given are fine.

  7. Love this app. Use it on the Droid on a regular basis and find it invaluable.

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