King County data workshop

King CountyKing County data workshop
Tuesday, June 8, 5:00-6:30 p.m.

Please join us for our first county-wide open data workshop. Though we’ve released data in machine readable formats for years, we are now working on a project to centralize and expand that work. Before we get too far into the project though, we want to talk with interested developers. What data do you want to work with? How do you want to partner with King County?

Questions? Email or call Sabra Schneider at (206) 263-7972. Or if it’s a short one, ask us on twitter.

Note: while this meeting will not focus on Transit Data, King County will be including Transit Data in the workshop and they are interested in hearing from people interested in Transit Data.

Tunnel Oath

Gov. Christine Gregoire (wikimedia)

A brief timeline on Governor Gregoire’s promises on viaduct related issues:

1/3/2008: Gregoire promises a 2012 teardown, for safety reasons:

“It’s coming down in 2012. I’m taking it down — the middle,”…

“That’s the timeline. I’m not going to fudge on it. And if we don’t have some alternative by then, boy are we going to have a mess on our hands because it’s coming down.”

Asked if she, as governor, could trump the state’s largest city and county and unilaterally tear down a highway that carries more than 100,000 vehicles a day through the heart of Seattle, Gregoire said:

“Yeah, watch me.”

The viaduct is now to be torn down by 2016, because safety risks pale compared to the horror of having only one freeway through downtown for four years.

1/13/2009: In a press conference with Mayor Nickels and Executive Sims, Gregoire announces her support for the deep-bore tunnel plan, which includes new state-granted authority for a 1% MVET, bringing in $190m in capital funds and $15m per year for Metro.

2/2/2009: Gregoire backs away from the MVET part of the deal at the first sign of trouble in the legislature:

Legislative leaders in the state House and Senate say the proposed 1 percent motor-vehicle excise tax, or $100 yearly on a $10,000 car, would have a hard time making it through the Legislature this year.

“To the Legislature I say, separate it out from the tunnel because it doesn’t have anything to do with the tunnel,” Gregoire said at a news conference.

5/19/2009: Gregoire goes out of her way to specifically veto a legislative provision allowing Metro to levy a $20 vehicle license fee, aimed at preventing cuts to service rather than expanding it.

6/3/2010: The Governor signs a “letter of commitment” saying “We fully endorse this partnership and are each personally committed to invest the time and resources needed to ensure this program reaches a successful conclusion.”  Still no detail on who would pay for the overruns.

Mike McGinn, apparently disinclined to make empty promises, refuses to sign.

Score One for Inertia

A couple of months ago, Metro considered simplifying the path of Route 22, shifting part of it one block west, to provide for a more direct routing and avoid some difficult intersections.

After a round of public comment, where riders complained they’d have to walk farther and residents worried about the impacts of new service on California Ave, Metro has decided not to do it.

I have absolutely no idea whether or not the revision would have been merited (the most relevant and cogent comment in our thread from a resident was against), but it’s evident that change is hard.

The NE 45th St Viaduct Project inspires bike, bus & walk map

Project Schedule
From June 14th through September 10th, SDOT will be replacing the old wooden viaduct structure on NE 45th st. This is the segment of NE 45th that connects UW with University Village / Montlake Avenue.

In preparation for the closure, SDOT has released a handy bike, bus & walk map illustrating the temporary re-routes for buses, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Download: SDOT bike, bus & walk map

For more information about this project: NE 45th st Viaduct Project Information page

KUOW Conducting Informal Light Rail Poll

photo by Surrealize

KUOW, our local NPR radio station, is conducting an informal poll in order to gather information on people’s perception of Sound Transit’s new light rail system.

Light rail has been a reality in Seattle for a half-year now. Does the light-rail line live up to its promise? What effect is it having on the communities it passes through?

Go here and make your voice heard.

(note: KUOW may contact you if they have questions.)

Analysis of PT Alternatives

Evan Siroky at Tacoma Tomorrow had a great catch: the new Pierce Transit service reduction plan has 88,000 more service hours than the old one.  Here’s part of what he got from a PT spokesman:

By far, the majority of the increase comes from identifying the impact of SHUTTLE paratransit reductions- in terms of geographic coverage and scheduling. We’re estimating that 15% of current SHUTTLE trips will no longer be in the ADA defined ¾ mile from a local fixed route and some SHUTTLE trips will be lost due to the reduced span of service. As you may be aware, the average one-way cost of a SHUTTLE trip is over $38.00 …

In other words, the ADA requires that you provide ACCESS-type service within 3/4 mile of anywhere you run a regular bus.  When you shrink the system, you reduce the number of disabled people you’re required to serve, which saves a ton of money.

Here in King County, Metro actually goes beyond the strict requirements of the law, a policy identified as a potential source of savings in the audit.  If they were to relax that policy, the system provides perverse incentives by making reducing geographic and temporal spread of service extremely cost-effective.

There’s much more at TT.

Metro Service Changes Start June 12th

Photo by Zargoman

Green timetables are coming!  Starting a week from Saturday, Metro is rerouting the 21, 22, 25, 35, 56, 57, 85, 116, 118, and 119; and renumbering routes 291, 915, 921, 929 and 941.  On June 30th, the South Park bridge closure will force changes to the 60, 131, and 134.

There are many other minor changes to schedules and routes, including addition of the 217’s three afternoon trips to the tunnel.  A lot of them are UW routes cancelled for the summer.

Metro’s full press release after the jump.

Continue reading “Metro Service Changes Start June 12th”

News Roundup: Lawsuits

Photo by Oran

This is an open thread.

Stop Consolidation

This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Screen shot 2010-06-01 at 3.53.13 PM.png

I’m all for it and I’m glad to see Metro doing it, even though I lost the stop closest to my house on the last 3/4 consolidation and will be losing another one nearby on this go-round. It’s important to let Metro know how you feel on these changes, as no doubt a majority of the feedback they get is in opposition, so fill out the form if you’re so inclined.

While I hope this will save money and increase reliability, it’s pretty clear to anyone who rides the 3/4 that all the delays happen between 3rd & James and Jefferson & Broadway. No stops in that area are proposed for elimination, so I’m a bit skeptical. Update: I see one stop at Jefferson & Terry Ave is on the chopping block.

Of course, that’s also a highly-trafficked corridor with a substantial elevation gain, so stop removal may not be the best approach. Like all east-west routes in Seattle, the answer may be more along the lines of dedicated right-of-way and better signal priority.

Can the City Subsidize the Trolleys?

This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Some interesting ideas over at the Central District News for helping to make the electric trolleybuses more economically viable in the short term. Maybe there’s some sort of grand bargain to be had here with the Ride-Free Area, which Seattle also pays the county for. Personally, I’d much rather have the electric trolleys than the RFA, but as a monthly pass holder, I’m not really the RFA’s target audience.

RapidRide A, other Fall Service Changes Now Official

RapidRide A (Metro)

RapidRide has of course been in the works for a long time, but the King County Council last week formally approved the October 2nd Metro service change, which eliminates the venerable route 174 and replaces it with RapidRide A from TIB station to the Federal Way Transit Center.

The BRT-lite features of RapidRide are dependent on both the largesse of host cities (for transit lanes) and the availability of funds in Metro’s budget for stuff like ticket vending machines.  What we do know is that the A line will have at least 15 minute headways between 4:15am and 10pm, 7 days a week.  There will be longer headways through 1:30am and a couple of night owls.

Other changes:

  • extend all-day service on Route 200 to Issaquah Highlands and the Talus Urban Village.  This Transit Now “urban partnership” leverages funds from the City of Issaquah and various community organizations.  This will begin no earlier than February 2011, pending final agreement.  As recently as December this wasn’t going to happen.
  • implement revised routing for Route 903, for which there was a public comment earlier, in October 2010.
  • new route 910 and revised route 919, serving the Auburn Sounder station, in October 2010.

Streetcar Talk Tomorrow

From the Central District News:

The LCC meeting on June 2 at CASC (500 30th Ave So) from 7:30-9:00 p.m. will feature presentations on the Seattle streetcar lifestyle, past, present and future.

Presenters include noted Puget Sound historian Junius Rochester and Jim Falconer, a prominent Seattle property owner and developer and an instrumental member of the planning committee for the successful creation of the first line of the new Seattle Streetcar network in South Lake Union (

Learn how the area was built up into a city neighborhood based on three different historical routes and hear about the possibility of future routes in a citywide planning effort underway today.

Route 3 and 4 Stop Consolidation

Photo by Zargoman

Routes 3 and 4 are the latest to get stop consolidation from Metro:

Currently, the corridor has 116 stops north of Denny Way and east of Fifth Avenue, with an average stop spacing of about 700 feet. Metro will be removing 27 of these stops, increasing the average spacing between stops to about 950 feet.

As a result of this change, approximately eight percent of riders will have to catch their bus at a different stop. When the project is completed, all riders should have a faster, more reliable trip.

You can submit a comment online by June 11th.  The change is scheduled for June 26th.  Metro doesn’t waste time executing these.