It’s interesting to reflect on Copenhagen as a vision of what’s possible.

84 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Copenhagen”

    1. Yes, I notice the complete absence of Lycra-clad road “bicyclists” running down the populace (unlike my experience yesterday walking down the Soos Creek Trail where apparently “bell or voice” are two words the locals don’t understand).

      1. The lycra-spandex-logo pedal-clip crowd has actually been a serious obstacle to the implementation of bike infrastructure in the USA like we see in this film.

        Heaven forbid we create a separate area where even small kids feel safe as it might make the Breaking Away crowd feel less comfortable.

      2. Historically I agree but I certainly think that trend is changing. Vehicular cycling is losing its appeal, and as more and more nice physically separated facilities are created that trend will accelerate.

      3. When I went to the open house about the proposed cycle tracks on Dexter, I felt a little bad that I (and pretty much every other cyclist) spoke out so vehemently against the separated facilities that SDOT wanted to put in. Many of us pointed out that while Dexter is popular amongst the spandex-and-pannier commuter set, Westlake is quickly becoming the route of choice for the cruiser-and-fixie set, and Westlake is where SDOT should focus if they want to safely encourage bicycling among those who have been wary. But SDOT doesn’t have the time, money, or will to do anything about Westlake. So the choice was between making Dexter more attractive (but actually less safe) for inexperienced riders and much worse for vehicular cyclists, or doing nothing at all. I voted for doing nothing.

        So I can understand why you say the spandex set is standing in the way of progress, but vehicular cyclists aren’t the root of the problem. A lack of infrastructure forced vehicular cycling on American riders, not the other way around. If your city doesn’t put in safe segregated facilities but bans bikes on sidewalks (or doesn’t have sidewalks, or doesn’t put ramps on its sidewalks), you learn to ride aggressively for safety’s sake or to not ride at all. And if the facilities your city does propose are half-assed and unsafe, they should be opposed, especially since good facilities really aren’t that hard to create.

      4. I think that the term “vehicular cyclist” is being misused here. A vehicular cyclist typically has no desire to see bike lanes installed on roadways since the thought is that it restricts bikes to the right side of traffic and, therefore, out of the view of a motorist. John Forrester is the main proponent of this type of cycling. While this philosophy still exists, its influence in urban design has waned in light of bike lanes as they both provide facilities and encourage new riders. This was expanded upon in a FHWA study which looked at safety between bikes in wide curb lanes and those in bike lanes.

        To further add to Andreas’ point, vehicular cycling also was the result of jurisdictions building sidepaths along roadways and restricting bicyclists to those instead of the road. These paths were often constructed poorly and made intersections even more dangerous than they typically are.

        It is in this train of thought that I am surprised that the cycle track concept has come back. My thoughts are that we are simply re-creating the sidepath but calling it by a different name. I’ve said it here before but the main threat to bicyclists in urban areas is not the rear-end type of collision but collisions at intersections. By pulling cyclists out of the view of mainline motorists, the cycle track concept simply makes this worse.

        Now, will the cycle tracks bring more riders? Maybe. Looking at the Bicycle Master Plan, Seattle is looking at developing Bicycle Boulevards. This makes sense that as we create a “shadow” network, it allows people of all abilities to ride and become more comfortable with traffic. As a parallel, think of when you were learning to drive and how you started. First, it was the local streets and then it moved up on to the freeway. Build the appropriate skills on the less stressful road and then use those skills consistently when going to higher speed and higher volume roadways. Same can be said for bicyclists.

      5. A vehicular cyclist doesn’t necessarily eschew bike lanes, s/he is just aware that they’re one of several options, and usually not the safest. That said, ofttimes the danger posed by angry and hurried drivers if one takes the regular lane far outweighs the dangers of riding in the door zone. Or so it seems to me.

        Indeed, most Dexter commuters strike me as vehicular cyclists, even with (or perhaps because of) the bike lanes, and I think they’ll probably realize and react well to the dangers that a segregated track will create since they’re used to being hyperaware. It’s the new riders who will be attracted by such facilities under the mistaken impression that they are safer than bike lanes that worry me. Increasing the risk of collisions whilst also increasing the number of inexperienced cyclists is a recipe for increasing casualties.

      6. I’m guessing that when the Ballard-Fremont streetcar gets built, they’ll look at incprporating biles into the redesigned street. Could be a bike path or buffered bike lanes or something like that. It’s good to provide options for everyone.

      7. Yeah, the thrust of my comments at the open house was: put in safe and well-designed non-vehicular facilities on Westlake when it gets redone (a wide multi-use trail would be good), and leave Dexter much as it is, as a sort of bypass route for fast cyclists.

      8. I appreciate the conversation here. Your responses are interesting

        Do want to point out that bicycling in Denmark has a much higher level of participation at all levels than the USA. And that includes the Tour de France and Velodrome racing.

        How many Velodromes in Seattle? There are at least 3 in Copenhagen that I can find.

        And even if they eventually emigrate to New Zealand, there are far more Danes on a per-capita ratio who are successful in professional cycling than America because the activity is introduced to so many, so early in life, and is encouraged long enough for it to be an attractive means of excercise and sport.

  1. Human Transit has an interesting article on Strasbourg and how they have developed their trunk system around streetcars – really LRV but all surface running:

    http://www.humantransit.org/2010/07/strasbourg-perfection-is-hard-to-copy.html

    He cautions that it cannot be easily replicated. However, it shows that when Seattle needs more north-south train capacity through the CBD, if we were to dedicate Third Avenue to transit, which is largely is already, we could have center running LRVs and the curb lane for buses, and get more north-south capacity without building another tunnel. By coordinating traffic lights, you could stops which span 2 blocks if needed to run long trains – or limit the trains to the length of a block. You would need to coordinate lights to keep them moving.

    1. Doesn’t MAX have the problem of too-short trains because of their surface arrangement? I would say Third Ave would make an excellent pedestrian and transit mall.

      1. I don’t know about too-short on MAX, but one thing to keep in mind is this would be an auxiliary line. We only need one trunk line to Lynnwood and Federal Way. The other lines can be spurs from downtown. Or even better, they can loop back to another station (Northgate and eventually Burien), so that people can travel any direction without backtracking to downtown.

      2. A Ballard to West Seattle line would really be a second trunk line, as Ballard and West Seattle to Downtown are already high ridership corridors and a grade-separated line would attract very high numbers of riders. Also, in the future it will probably be extended to White Center and Burien to the south, and Crown Hill and Northgate to the north. We seem to be thinking he that only regional lines that will eventually go all the way to the suburbs warrant a Downtown tunnel, but if you think about it, most subway lines in the world are mostly or entirely within the major city. An urban light rail line through dense areas of the city deserves the speed, reliability, and capacity of grade separation.

      3. I think we need some studies to be certain but I don’t foresee a Ballard to West Seattle line (even if extended to Northgate, Lake City, and Woodinvile on the North end or White Center and Burien on the South) needing 4 car trains or short headways anytime soon. I suspect something along the lines of Interstate MAX would do just fine.

        Really Northgate to Downtown along U-Link/North Link is the only rail corridor likely to need high capacities in the near future.

      4. I did say the auxiliary line should extend to Burien and Northgate. But not to Everett and Tacoma. A downtown tunnel for it would be worthwhile, but if we can’t afford it, a surface line would be OK. Unlike Central Link, where a surface route through downtown would significantly hinder regional mobility.

        Money we put into a downtown tunnel is money we can’t put into additional stations or lines. So we have to compare it to what we would otherwise do with the money. (More stations? A shorter tax period?)

      5. MAX is limited to two-car trains because any longer is longer than a Portland city block. Also, their pattern of interlining severely limits the frequencis possible on each line.

      6. Portland has 200′ blocks. I think that Seattle has 300′ (North-South) blocks from Jackson to University St. (except for 2nd Ave S Ext), and 400′ blocks (NW-SE) from University all the way through Belltown. So we could do better than Portland with a surface option, conceivably running three-car trains on the surface throughout downtown, but not four-car trains. Still, it’s worth waiting for a tunnel. Better to build it well later than to build it badly now.

    1. I love this article. It is part of what I hope is a growing trend to remove, rather than replace infrastructure in this country. Other examples are the replacement of houses and buildings in Detroit with urban farm spaces.

      So many of Seattle’s “problems” would go away if we followed a policy of Subtractive Architecture…removing the unnecessary, and staying put when you don’t have to move.

      1. I agree that it is a good sign that some areas are being forced to stop their subsidization of sprawl by providing free unneeded infrastructure (if you build it they will come), but that’s where our agreement ends.

        Your mad rantings aside, the facts show that Seattle is continuing to grow and projections show this continuing into the future. Seattle, being already plowed up and paved over needs to grow in density so that we don’t have to shove people into what is now farm/wild lands.

      2. I think some here have been touting projections for 2009. Unfortunately, as a ten year endeavor, the census will not show the reality of 2007,08,09,10…a time of a beginning migration out of Western Washington.

        By 2020, we should see a much dilapidated Seattle and more balanced exurbs as well as a growing Eastern Washington (Tri Cities, Spokane, Yakima).

      3. what evidence do you have to suggest this crazy idea? that was the only thing i could think to say that wouldn’t be a blatant ad hominem attack on you

    1. Hills are a challenge, not an insurmountable obstacle. That doesn’t mean we should discount cycling in the city just because there are hills here that most cyclists would rather not deal with.

      Don’t believe me? Check out Dexter Ave or Pike St on a busy commute. Even with today’s relative lack of cycling infrastructure, you’ll find hundreds of cyclists out on an average late summer day. These counts are before Seattle has really even started to get serious about cycling infrastructure.

      Should we expect everybody on the top of Queen Anne Hill to bike to and from downtown or the UW every day in a skirt without a helmet? Of course not. But if room can be found for bike lanes or traffic calmed to the point where most cyclists feel comfortable riding in traffic, the top of Queen Anne is remarkably bikeable. Even my Brompton folder was able navigate the top of Queen Anne and that thing was worthless at climbing even the tiniest hills.

      1. The hill issue can be dealt with in two ways. One, come up with arcane modes of hill climbing such as pedestrian cable cars to ferry bikes, or two — develop complete transit, residential and commercial strips at the same elevation, either in valleys, or along a topographic line or on the ridges of hills.

        This is basically the situation in Kent.

      2. I believe the Urban Village concept addresses this issue somewhat. But it will never eliminate the need for people to move between urban villages and the city center.

      3. I disagree entirely, and I think I discovered the reason while bicycling today (on the fantastic Interurban Trail from Kent to the Tukwila soccer fields).

        A long time ago, it was an economic necessity for people to get from homes to work. People who worked in factories had to build stuff. People who worked in offices had to add numbers on paper.

        Right now, people who work in factories mostly manage machines. People who work in offices work on interconnected computers.

        More and more, the necessity of being someplace to do something is has gone away. Being some place at a specific time becomes an anachronism.

        So, when we talk about “transit” we are almost talking more about a recreational activity than a real necessity (certain managers and bosses may make it a necessity; but I’m talking about the real need of work).

        At that point, centers are not needed — or rather, they can either exist, or not exist, but it’s really a matter of art more than engineering.

        Thus the city is obsolete as a functional entity, and in the last 50 years has mostly been sold as a kind of art work to elites.

        The problem is that now the lid has been ripped off the box, and you have hapless “city” officials running around trying to tax exurbians to fund their “artwork”. Why? I drive to an office that does stuff on the Internet, says the exurbian.

        And the exurbian is right.

        It’s okay to have a sculpture (city). It’s wrong to make people who have not interest in it pay for same.

      4. telecommuting is great, and it’ll help people not have to drive into work all the time, but even if half of the workforce were able to do so, a very generous percentage, they would need fiberoptics connections to their houses, or at least a very fast cable modem. many houses do not have this available to them at this point. even if the whole puget sound were to start laying FTTH, it would take quite a long time to reach everyone’s house, especially all the wonderful people like who choose to live in suburbia, and have nicely spread out tract homes.

        also, there’s this thing called the service industry. it is based on helping customers, which often come to your store. restaurants would be a little hard to operate without anyone working physically at them. here, the Bureau of Labor Statistics gives the top 15 jobs in the US in 2009. the three that i could see possibly being done from home are customer service representative (or outsourced, but that’s pretty much the same to you i guess), bookkeeping, and possibly whatever “office clerk means”. out of 15. so good luck with your inane theories!

        http://www.bls.gov/oes/highlight_2009.pdf

      5. “Thus the city is obsolete as a functional entity, and in the last 50 years has mostly been sold as a kind of art work to elites.”

        The Economy of Cities, by Jane Jacobs. Essentially all innovations come from cities, because the comingling of people with different talents provides the opportunity for creativity. Urban agriculture preceded rural agriculture. The single biggest change in the past 50 years — the rise of computers — was conceived and executed by city/suburban dwellers. Innovations in the countryside, if they occur, are based mainly on the fact that those areas have acquired some city-like characteristics (e.g., telecommunication).

        You might like The Long Emergency by J H Kunstler. He postulates that when oil gets too expensive to use everyday, and alternative energy still won’t be able to fully replace it, only small towns will be reliable. People will find both large cities and sparse exurbs too difficult to live in. He says people will have to choose between a rural life that truly means rural: running your own farm with only incidental supplies from outside; or an urban life in a walkable small town.

        He thinks cities the size of Columbus (and thus Spokane) are viable because most of their buildings are under eight stories, and Detroit and Cleveland may be OK because they’ve already lost most of what they would lose. But skyscraper districts will be out if there’s no constant electricity for elevators and air conditioners. And in cold climates if the natural gas is interrupted for 36 hours, water pipes would burst and render large buildings uninhabitable at one stroke.

      6. Continuing. There are two viable places to live under this prediction. (1) In a rural house, but you’d have to have a rural livelyhood; i.e., running a farm. (2) In a walkable town, with a profession appropriate for town life. No more having a city lifestyle in the country, or driving 20+ miles to Wal-Mart for groceries.

      7. Kunstler’s kind of amusing to read, but the idea that somehow there’s a point to his “prediction” of how to live is absurd. The point of Kunstler’s prognostication is as a warning. Because, of course, the state you describe will be one after we somehow got rid off (e.g. murdered) several billion people (there’s no way to support the world’s current population without energy intensive industry.)

        Of course, there’s no guarantee that we won’t screw everything up that badly. But if it comes to that all bets are literally off. “Preparing” for such an eventuality by getting a farm somewhere or whatever, would be being a common person in Poland in 1936 and “preparing” for the coming troubles by buying a few biplanes….

        For the most part we either succeed on this one together or fail together….

      8. I don’t think oil getting more expensive means we will suddenly stop mining coal, if anything it means we will mine more. What will happen is we will likely start turning coal into liquid fuels. At the very least there will be enough to run the railroads, mine trucks, and line maintenance trucks.

        The cities won’t die for lack of electricity, if anything they are the places where the infrastructure is most likely to be maintained since large cities tend to be where wealth is concentrated.

        Besides some fairly large cities existed in pre-industrial times. Ones that would qualify as large by today’s standards even.

        While a return to pre-industrial lifestyles may be the eventual fate of humanity as a whole, I doubt we will see such a thing in the lifetime of anyone here. Just because oil is getting more expensive doesn’t mean we will suddenly forget everything we know about math, physics, chemistry, or engineering.

      9. Kunstler’s point is to invest as much as possible in alternative energy and efficiency (negawatts) now so that we’ll be more ready. That’s also why I support building as much rail and other transit as possible now. And also, don’t expect that alternative energy and electric cars will be able to fill the gap immediately when oil prices rise. And that increasing urban agriculture is a good thing.

    2. While Seattle has hills, it would actually be pretty easy to “cogenhagenize” the entire Center City and fairly flat paths out in all directions: Fremont and Ballard, University District, West Seattle, etc. This also deals with population density, the other major difference between Seattle and Copenhagen right now. While Seattle is less dense overall, I’m pretty sure all the urban centers and villages have the density. Speaking of:
      http://portlandtransport.com/archives/2010/07/bikeability_abo.html

      1. Agreed! There are a lot of places in Seattle that are not all that far up or down from a certain point, let’s use 4th and Pine.

  2. Another look at transit in Copenhagen. Note the phrase “all of which are operated by subcontractors”. Maybe that is an example we can use in this part of the world.

    “Responsible for co-ordinating a fleet of 2,000 buses, 30 inter-urban commuter trains and Copenhagen’s marina ferry service (all of which are operated by subcontractors), Movia manages some 600 bus routes, nine local railway lines and two ferries.”

    http://dbkas.dk/cases/tetra-takes-control-of-transport-by-sea-by-land

    1. Copenhagen also has a most equitable fare policy which taxes distance and not mode:

      Here is a PDF map showing how many zones one would pay for on a trip from the center of Copenhagen:

      http://www.moviatrafik.dk/dinrejse/Priser/hovedstadsomraadet/zoneoversigt/Documents/01.pdf

      Alternatively, if one chooses no longer “to be” at Elsinore Castle then here is the PDF zone map:

      http://www.moviatrafik.dk/dinrejse/Priser/hovedstadsomraadet/zoneoversigt/Documents/05.pdf

      1. Movia has to have a zone based system because it covers the entire capitol region of Denmark. It’s like having one transit agency for all of western washington. There is no way you can have a flat fare system for that. I think this is also a good example of where our fare system needs to go. If we eventually want to have an integrated fare system *all* transit agencies have to start moving towards a zone based system. This could be based on county boundaries or something else.

      2. The links I gave are to the zone system of the old HUR, which basically covered greater Copenhagen and would equal the KCMetro and Pierce Transit area. With a rearrangement of the county governments in eastern Denmark, the old VT and STS operating areas have been merged with HUR to form Movia, but the three old fare systems are operating presently until a RFID-farecard system can be proven in trials and then implemented.

        As Denmark is the size of Massachusetts, I should think that even when the Moiva fare system is unified, the area covered will not be anywhere near the size of Western Washington (Washinton State minus the 509 area code).

      3. I wasn’t literally comparing the size of area, I’m simply point out that the fare system isn’t just for the copenhagen region, it is for an area much larger than we would consider a “region”. You see similar multi-region fare zones in Germany and The Netherlands is moving towards a national unified fare system.

      4. Well, indeed, the Dutch are the leaders in having a national unified fare system, in that they have one, though it does not cover the intercity NS train network (but does now cover trains that have been contracted out to Arriva)

        But today’s open topic was centered on Copenhagen…

    2. The thing is that unlike here government has strong control over private companies. They have to perform to certain levels or else they are fined. If the transit system is fully deregulated it doesn’t turn out too well, see the UK. Private operations of transit service essentially is a work around to deunionize workers. That is where the savings come because salaries and benefits account from ~60% of costs.

  3. Last weekend I flew to LA. From the U-District, I could have driven and parked on the street and walked across via the Link station (I’ve done that a few times) but during the opening ceremony I vowed to ride Link. Taking the first 71/72/73 of the day and then transferring to Link would’ve been cutting it really close, so instead I woke up at 3am and took the last inbound 83 and the first Link train southbound from Stadium. Thanks to the operator of the 83, I almost missed that train. Apparently Metro’s coordinators can’t hold trains–not even early in the morning when there’s only one train in service. On that two car train that I barely made there was one other person in my car and I believe another person in the other car. Nobody got on at SODO, at least 3 got on at Bacon Hill, I think 2 at Mount Baker, and I lost track after that. At least 5 at Tukwila, and of those, at least 2 were airport employees. I gotta wonder if it’s any cheaper or faster parking there instead of in the general employee lot. I made it with plenty of time to catch my flight.

    Once in LA, I made it to the ground transportation area without too much difficulty. I found the shuttle stop for the green line but was a bit apprehensive after waiting 5-10 minutes without seeing one. The stop had a real-time information board that was hard to read, and it seemed to only have information for the A-Line shuttle (which I think only does loops around the airport). Finally the Green Line shuttle showed up, and a short while later I made it to Aviation Station.

    LA Metro uses a TAP pass, similar to our ORCA card. My research online indicated that I could buy a TAP pass at any ticket vending machine and subsequently load a day pass on it. Aviation Station had one TVM, and it did not sell TAP passes. It was also not authorizing credit or debit cards, so I got a bunch of dollar coins when I bought a paper day pass.

    After a few minutes on the platform, the Green Line train showed up. From there I transferred to the Blue Line. It’s not a same-platform transfer, but one must walk down one level. I got lucky in that a train had just pulled in while I was descending the stairs. After riding the Blue Line into downtown, I transferred to the Red Line. I also got lucky and didn’t have to wait. Had lunch in Hollywood and hopped on the Red Line again and rode it to its terminal. From there I caught the Orange Line, which is LA’s grade-separated BRT. Think SODO busway but much longer. It has few grade crossings, and the busway is restricted to just buses. And because it’s BRT, the stops are spaced far apart and the bus moves in between. However they chose to use asphalt except at stations and near intersections so it’s getting kind of beat up. Regardless, I was extremely impressed with the Orange Line. 3 door boarding with proof of payment.

    After that I hopped on a local bus–LA Metro distinguishes their buses and routes by the service they provide (local/express/rapid). It was disappointing to find nothing at the stop but a stop flag and bench. The bench was nice, but no schedule information was available. The bus I caught ran hourly, so it would’ve been a crapshoot guess if I wasn’t using Google Maps to plan my journey along the way.

    Return trip was the same thing in reverse except I rode the Blue Line south to Long Beach. Next day I caught one of their free shuttles, branded “Passport” in to downtown. Apparently one of the passengers didn’t like me or I looked at him wrong or something, because he sidled up next to me and started making non-violent threats. The operator saw this and started yelling at him and threatened to call the police. She kicked him off at the next stop, which happened to be mine, and called her dispatch from the stop. I got off but never saw the guy again. Some local resident that had also been on the bus got off with me, which was great because she helped me find the stop for Long Beach Transit route 111–an hourly route that serves the airport. It’s also the only route that serves the airport. I found the stop as the bus was finishing loading. I don’t remember what the destination sign read, but it did not include airport on it. The airport is an intermediate stop, and the route is a long local route that winds through a whole ton of neighborhoods. Most people hop on and off for less than a half mile. Long Beach airport was pretty lame too. Pics on Flickr coming…eventually.

    1. I’d love to see anything you found on-line that showed that TAP cards were available at the TVMs. The TAP implementation has been so border-line criminally incompetent that anytime I read about ORCA glitches, I grin.

      Not only are the TAP cards not possible to buy from the TVM, you can no longer buy a Day Pass from a bus driver without one, and the drivers do not sell TAP cards.

      LGB seems to discourage any Mass Transit as it would cut into its parking revenue. The terminal is presently an Art Deco treasure attached to dumpy trailers, but that should be improving soon:

      http://www.agsolution.com/LGB-Animation.htm

      1. Thanks for catching that. I’m going to try to get it removed until the TVMs actuially are selling the TAP cards. This project has taken NINE years to set up and frankly it is the contractor CUBIC’s fault that it is still not entirely in place. I was very sorry to see CUBIC buy out ORCA-maker ERG’s US operations last year. CUBIC fights tooth and nail to keep out any non-US competition, and I am afraid that this monopoly will lead to stagnation in fare collection advancements in the coming years.

    2. I flew out of LGB once and thought it was kinda cool, as even though it was definitely not deluxe, it was unique. At any other airport, you could be anywhere in the world, it’s all very clean and anonymous.
      I’m in San Francisco right now and just ordered a Clipper card (the new name of the Translink smart card here). To get a youth one, I had to go to a mobbed and chaotic Muni office and fill out a whole big application then submit it with my ID. They’ll process the application and I’ll receive my card in about a month. I’m betting that not too many youth bothered to get Clipper cards.

  4. So, on Saturday July 17th, I’m waiting at Auroro Village Transit Center to catch the 11:31am bus #358 to downtown. At 11:28, a 358 comes around the corner from its resting area. I’m thinking this is our bus but no, it sits at the bus bay just before the bay for 358. And it sits there. The driver is sitting in his chair, eating a yogurt or something. The 15 of us at the bay are wondering what’s going on. Now its 11:35am and he’s still sitting there. Now it’s 11:40 and a 358 coming from downtown arrives, goes inside the transit center, turns out onto 200th Street, pulls into the bay and picks all of us up. So, now we’re already 10 minutes late at the beginning of the route to downtown? Who’s the idiot that says this is the way its supposed to be? Us ‘regular people’ who don’t understand drivers’ schedules don’t give a crap about any scheduling problems. What I saw was a driver who didn’t care that 15 fare-paying customers were going to be late for appointments. Who do I call to complain? Obviously the main number at Metro isn’t operational on the weekends and Dow Constantine doesn’t care. Where is the person that is supposed to be FOR the public?

    1. Us ‘regular people’ who don’t understand drivers’ schedules don’t give a crap about any scheduling problems. What I saw was a driver who didn’t care that 15 fare-paying customers were going to be late for appointments.

      And there is your answer. In any business the serves the public, there are going to be instances where you feel like something should be done but, for reasons unknown to you, will not be. Just because you are waiting in a grocery line and you see someone in uniform doesn’t mean they should open up just for you. They could be at lunch, they may not be trained as a cashier, etc. I think it’s safe to say that there is a good reason for what occurred and I wouldn’t try to take things so personally.

      1. Then someone needs to explain this to us ‘regular people.’ Plus, why did the 358 leave its resting place and pull into a bus bay that was for a different bus route?

      2. Unless the driver of that particular bus reads this blog I doubt if anyone here would know.

      3. Chad-
        If you said the bus came around the corner from it’s layover, then it must have just came from downtown, because the actually layover is on 200th st. I would assume that, that coach had passed the other one and got to AVTC before it. And no the other bus can’t just leave because than it too would be off schedule. The bus that finally came by to pick you up was probably running late out of downtown and was beyond it’s recovery time at AVTC. (Not saying that is what happened, but i’m almost certain that was the problem)

        I understand that this is frustrating, but that is why it is always a good idea to leave early. If you have work or somewhere important to be…than I always take the bus before, the bus thats scheduled to get me there.

        Also, don’t just start calling in complaints if you don’t know for sure whats going on. No reason the driver that is on his break should be called in on a complaint just because you think he doesn’t care and is making you all late, while in reality, he was on time and his leader was late.

      4. Oh, and remember….Bite of Seattle. Any time there is an event at Seattle Center, the 358 schedule can be messed up. 358 riders should always plan extra time when something is going on a Seattle Center.

      5. What I’m trying to say is that there was a 358 sitting there when 11:31am came and went. Us 15 people don’t know/don’t care if that specific coach is supposed to wait until 11:46am to leave. All we know is that there was a 358 sitting there and another one came around and picked us up at 11:41am. To us, it looked like a waste of resources. And by ‘us’ I mean the others of the 15 that were grumbling and questioning why that bus was just sitting there when the next bus was so late.

      6. Your bus was late, and this was the next bus, and its operator was on break. I’m surprised none of you went and knocked on the driver’s door and asked him. Surely you would’ve gotten a response along the lines of “I’m not scheduled to leave until 11:46”.

        What did you want to happen? Did you want this driver to give up his break and drive you all Downtown? What happens to the 15 people who showed up for his bus? What happens when he gets off schedule? If a driver of an empty 49 sees a bunch of folks waiting for a 10 that’s late, should the driver to just switch his readerboard and become a 10? That’s not how buses work. Deal with it.

      7. You guys just don’t get it, do you? 15 of us were now late for whatever appointments we were riding the bus to get to. And the bus got later and later as it went through the route. We, the paying public, don’t care about drivers’ schedules. All we know is that one 358 was sitting there as 11:31am came and went. I had been there since 11:20am and saw that 358 sitting in a different spot at the Transit Center. At 11:28am, it pulled out of it’s original spot and then parked at the bus bay next to the one we were at.

        Andreas, your suggestion about a route 49 suddenly becoming a route 10 is stupidity and irrelevance beyond imagination. Deal with it. Can’t you come up with a better suggestion than that? Now, someone did have a good suggestion that if a bus driver is on a break, that he/she change the display to something generic so there would be no confusion.

      8. I was on that bus. :) Earlier that day, I had my first experience with Swift. The ride was nice and speedy but the bus left a couple minutes early both ways. That was OK northbound because I had taken an earlier 358 than I intended, but southbound it whizzed past as I was walking from Edmonds CC to the 196th stop. Then at Aurora Village, a woman missed the 101 because it left one minute early. It was like CT was on a different time zone. We saw the 11:20 358 at its layover and knew it would be late because it was 11:20 and the engine wasn’t on yet. But after seeing three buses run early, it was kind of a relief to see one late.

      9. Chad: You’re being unreasonable. That bus sitting there with its operator on break had nothing to do with your being late. Where it moved to or from, what its driver was doing, and what its readerboard displayed made absolutely no difference. Your beef was with the 11:31 bus for being late, but you’re mad at the operator of the 11:46 bus. I can understand being irked or disappointed when you saw it move and thought it was your bus, but when the scheduled time came and went, you should have realized it wasn’t the bus you were waiting for. (If you were confused about this fact, again, you should have just knocked on the door and asked the driver when he was scheduled to depart.) I’ve been in such situations many times before, and the only thing you can do is say, “Well, if my scheduled bus never comes, at least I know the next scheduled bus is right here ready to go.” It’s frustrating, but it’s inevitable with public transit, or pretty much anything else that runs on a schedule.

        A driver/bus gets assigned to drive specific runs on specific routes. Expecting Bus X to change its run on the fly is just as unreasonable as expecting it to change its route. Just because Run 17 gets off schedule, you can’t simply move Run 18 up, because then someone has to take Run 18’s place, etc, and at some point you’ll have a hole in the schedule. It’d be nice if Metro had extra buses and drivers just hanging out ready to fill in like that, but they don’t.

        I agree that drivers should turn off their readerboards when they’re not actually allowing passengers to board, and indeed most drivers turn their buses off when they are on layover and of course this turns off their readerboards. This may indeed be Metro policy (I know there are signs at some layovers telling drivers to turn off their engines), and maybe that driver wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do in that regard.

        Have you actually complained to Metro about this yet, or have you just complained here? Because if that driver did do anything wrong, complaining here won’t do anything to let him know it or prevent him from doing it again in the future.

        Oh, and if you’re going to complain to Metro, it’s best to note the time, date, route, direction of travel, and coach number (the four digits printed in various places on the bus). Even if it’s the weekend, come Monday they can figure out who was driving that run and talk to him/her if needed.

    2. How do you know that bus that was just sitting there wasn’t scheduled to leave at a later time, and the bus that came and picked you a little later was your bus, but running behind schedule?

      1. Sam,

        That’s just what I was saying about us ‘regular people.’ We don’t care or need to know that that bus was scheduled to leave at a later time. All I saw was a 358 sitting there 20 feet away and the driver eating a yogurt while 15 of us were waiting. Then, another 358 comes by and picks us up. Why couldn’t that first bus pick us up?

      2. I saw this kinda of thing with the 41 and alot of other weird things from the 33rd and 130th stop. It would be nice to if they would change there sign to “Not in Service.” Curious though does Metro or other agency’s have a policy on what the displays on the bus read when they go into layover.

  5. I have to say this and I’ve been waiting for a time like this to say…this town is looking much more like a biking town.

    In the 13 years since I moved here, I can clearly see more bikers on the streets. I’m sure it’s because of the recent push to add bike lanes, our recent mayor’s and their quest for more biking, the greening of Seattle and the health benefits. When I am driving, I have never encountered this many bikers and when I am biking I have never encountered so many fellow bikers. I am sure this year’s stats will bear this out.

    Yes, we are not Copenhagen, but we are also not Phoenix. Seattle has come a long way and it has a long way to go, but I can now “feel” that we are one of the best biking towns in the US and possibly in the top 3 with Portland and Minneapolis.

  6. Lurker, first-time post: A 73 northbound on Eastlake at about 3:00 this afternoon was packed to the gills. No exaggeration. There was actually no room for anybody else. Had to stand in the stairwell with others. I understand that these are hard times for government, but I’d like to see the 71, 72, 73 come a little more frequently. With a totally full bus, it must be paying for itself.

    1. There was a Sounders game today. I don’t think the 73 is always that packed on a Sunday afternoon.

      1. Yes!!!!…..even on Sundays! I drove them 2 summers, hated it….don’t ask why I picked the same run the next summer…..

        Anyway, 71/72/73 run combined 15 minutes on Sundays……and with nice weather and a game it happens. Sounders played today plus the Bite of Seattle.
        When I drove 72/73 last two summers I was the 72 leaving around 4:15p on Sundays and I always got the Mariners rush….(2 Summers ago on the Surface I would be overloaded at Union or Pine and last summer in the tunnel I would leave half of the people at Westlake)

      2. Any of the u-district express buses are often pretty full on any sunny afternoon.

      3. Except that they’re not even express on a Sunday (or after 6:35 any day), so they’re extra excruciating!

    2. Unfortunately I don’t think even that is quite paying for itself, although it is certainly getting a lot better farebox recovery than an empty bus (someone back me up on that). I agree, though, the 71, 72, and 73 are not good on evenings and Sundays. They need to increase frequency to every 10 minutes during the times that the buses get good use, and they should run express with the 70 still running until at least 9pm Monday-Saturday and from, say 10-6 on Sundays. There’s nothing worse than a weekday 71/72/73 at about 7:30 leaving Downtown, when it’s extremely packed and yet it’s going slowly along Eastlake, dropping people off at every other stop and picking people up when a little room is made by the people getting off. However, I know that money is not plentiful so I just keep telling myself to sit tight until 2016, and 2020.

  7. Regarding Swift in other aspects (I had my first ride on it Saturday, as mentioned above), I’d say the 200th/196th stop pair doesn’t work very well. It works northbound going to/from the college, and southbound to/from 196th. Given the strategic importance of both locations, I would have made an exception to the wide stop spacing here, and put stops both ways at 200th and 196th. It’s a dilemma because Edmonds CC is probably the largest transit draw in Edmonds, and yet the Swift station should be at the main intersection for transfers. It would be even better to move the college to 196th so that the college, intersection, and Swift could all be in the same place, but too late for that.

    My other impression was that 99 consists mostly of auto dealerships, and there aren’t a lot of good places for Swift stops. One of them is next to Safeway, which makes sense. But another one doesn’t seem to have much of anything except auto dealers. So people are going to ride an express bus to buy a car, or to buy a part for their car? But my friend said most of the dealerships seemed to be closed down. I didn’t notice that, but maybe they closed down in the recession. Which started me thinking of replacing dead car dealerships with TOD around Swift stops.

  8. It would be very inexpensive with little construction needed if America’s DOTs nationwide simply repainted the streets with narrower lanes (encouraging smaller cars) with painted bicycle lanes on the outer-sides. That would make such a profound difference requiring Danish expertise and minimal cost and construction-time.

    1. Kramer repainted the lines on an episode of Seinfeld. Didn’t work out too well.

  9. And one thing no one mentioned. Copenhagen actually isn’t “as good as it gets” for cyclists. That distinction arguably belongs to the Groningen region of Holland. I biked both last fall and I agree with the Groningeners (?) who said that Copenhagen was okay, but Groningen was the real cycle city. The bike infrastructure is even better there and even more folks cycle to get around.

    We got out into the countryside around both Copenhagen and Groningen and while I’d give my eye teeth to have either of their infrastructure and driving culture here – the Netherlands were clearly a step beyond. The facilities were more spacious, even better maintained and even more extensive than the (already pretty amazing) Danish version.

    David Hembrow, who lives near Groningen has a great blog posting on the subject of the relative quality standards:

    http://hembrow.blogspot.com/2010/07/not-really-so-great-cycle-path-design.html

    A bit of quibbling you might say, but if we’re going to learn from Europe we might as well learn from the best.

    (And if you don’t believe me by all means get yourselves to those two cities and ride them. They both are wonderful places to bike around in and it’s a great way to spend a few weeks.)

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