Photo by Erubisu 27

This is an open thread.

77 Replies to “News Roundup: Sprawl Repair”

  1. King County Metro came out with a TV commercial on Monday. It will run through the end of January on King 5, Kong and NWCN. Some of you have seen it. It’s running to promote online tools and to get passengers to sign up for alerts for winter weather. I was there to film it couple weeks ago at South Base….took about 4 hours to put this 17 second commercial together, but I think it turned out pretty good and now I can see myself on TV now. Check it out!

    1. But isn’t the place to promote online tools … online?

      Aren’t internet ads much cheaper than TV ads, and much better targetted to people who would use the technology?

  2. Screw quiet cars. They’re ALL pretty darn quiet! Never had an issue taking a nap either way on the north trains. Amtrak Cascades used to have a quiet car but people didn’t really like it (especially those who didn’t want to be there).

    What we need on our Sounders is to copy West Coast Express up in BC by converting a bathroom to a coffee shop! I, personally, would die of happiness if we did this.
    http://bit.ly/9qKNbP

    1. I wish they had stations with built in services like coffee shops … right there, like a NYC subway. Grab a Hebrew National frank and a Nedicks orange soda on the way home….yum!

      1. Or roofs. Or real platforms. (Tukwila, I’m talking to you. The money came through from the feds, let’s get building already!)

        The Sounder is already pretty quiet given the hours it runs – most people are in three general states: quasi-comatose, asleep, or buried in a laptop/book.

        6th Avenue is ripe for Tacoma Link – again! Shops all over town have photos of 6th Avenue from 100 years ago, and guess what runs right down the center of the street? You guessed it: streetcar tracks.

        (And come on – its gotta be Dr. Brown’s Root Beer in New York.)

    2. The Sounder south line DID have a quiet car years ago. I don’t know why it was done away with. Yes, the cars are usually quiet, but all it takes is one loud cell phone call, that may last the whole trip, to take the pleasure out ot the ride, at least for me. Reinstating only one quiet car would be welcome.

      1. The quiet cars were done away with because of capacity issues on the trains. The regular cars had reached a point where there was no seating left and rather than have standees on the trains, ST did away with the quiet cars to open up more space.

    3. My favorite train rides ever were the smoking cars between NYC and DC. I didn’t smoke, but it was a rolling party… booze, laughter, incredibly social.

      I’d rather have a bar car than a quiet car, personally. You can always put headphones on and crank your Dvorjak, if that’s what your are into.

      Personally, the best part of train travel is the social aspect.

      Please do shield them from phone service, however.

  3. http://westseattleblog.com/2010/11/rapidride-related-parking-removal-5-businesses-potentially-ruined

    Parking issues in West Seattle due to RR. This is an interesting situation in a small area, 4 blocks, between 35th Ave SW and SW Fauntleroy. Currently, this street does not consistently carry large numbers of vehicles. I travel it routinely by bike, bus, car and as a pedestrian. There’s little issues with large amounts of parked vehicles or traffic backed up during rush hour. The street was recently updated to have maximum parking times which seem to work to keep people from parking there all day. There’s few businesses on the street – mostly a couple doctor offices both with small parking lots, the VFW, a vet clinic with a parking lot, a gas station, fire station, hotel, and very near the YMCA.

    Problems with removing parking, in my opinion, would really effect the doctor’s offices and the VFW hall/building across the street (I think they are both associated with the VFW). One of the Dr. offices is my doctor. While I am able-bodied and can use the lots on steeper grades, the point made that other patients who are not able will have access problems is completely true for both offices. The parking lots are located on steep slopes which my MIL cannot navigate. If parking is removed out front on the level street, it would be almost impossible for her to access the office(s) without assistance. If she needs assistance, how am I to park, even temporarily, to make sure she gets safely in the office? I don’t want to hear that “the doctors can move.” Well, they have been there for years and have a large client base. And have to tried finding a new doctor recently for an elderly person in poor health?

    This four block (only four!!!) are needs to be reconsidered. Will it really, in the end, make a speed difference? Really? What would make the speed difference is removing parking from Fauntleroy (as mentioned by one participant) or from Avalon. Or creating more dedicated bus lanes on the West Seattle Bridge westbound or the upcoming new arterial roadways leading from the Viaduct (both Spokane and Alaskan Way) to Downtown rather than just planning special exit only lanes.

    1. From my understanding these four blocks make up a significant part of the BAT lanes proposed by the city and Metro.

      http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4080660/CLine_RouteStopsSignals%5B1%5D.pdf

      It’s important that Metro and the city move now to reserve ROW before traffic volumes start to go up. Once that happens there is no chance that road space for cars will be re-allocated for buses. That is the paradox of bus lanes. The only places you “need” them are where you don’t have room for them.

      I agree about your suggestions though. More priority where congestion occurs is critical, problem is that is when it is hardest to do.

      1. Yes, that is where I am torn as well. Those four blocks are not going to make a dent in the bus time overall while adding bus lanes to longer stretches would. I agree that it’s a good bus route, and I applaud adding them in theory, however, based upon those two offices and the legitimate need for parking on level ground needs to be reviewed further.

      2. BAT lanes in my opinion are mostly about reliability not speed. Arterial travel will only be so fast. I certainly see your point though.
        If BAT lane aren’t used at the very least buses must stop in-line at all effected stops/stations.

      3. It seems that leaving the parking is best for the neighborhoods. If there are to be stops in the four block section, build bulbs and as Adam says, have the buses stop in lane.

        Doing so is a definite traffic deterrent. Someone who chooses that route cannot be certain that a bus is not occupying the travel lanes ahead until the turn into the street is made.

      4. There ARE no stations anywhere in the triangle “jog” so consider my comment about “bulb” null and void.

        Why are they even routing the bus this way? Because the existing Fauntleroy service follows that route? If there are to be no stops it makes far more sense to use Fauntleroy Way.

        The 55 goes via Alaska and 35th, making stops. It will offer the same level of service once it leaves 35th and Avalon as will the Rapid Ride. This is very strange. And the 54 express uses Fauntleroy in the peak hour.

        I think that the BAT lanes are not really for the C Line, but rather for the local buses that travel between 35th and Avalon and the Alaska Junction. Metro is just using the C Line as an excuse to get the streetscape.

    2. Tell you what, neighbor. If you want to keep the parking, you can give up the RapidRide and let another stretch of neighborhood have it. No BAT lanes, no RapidRide. Those on the RapidRide shouldn’t be the ones inconvenienced to solve the parking problem there.

      As a taxpayer, I voted for RapidRide based on the promise that it would actually be rapid: no traffic circles, no getting stuck in general-purpose lanes, no winding around on-street parking, no pulling out of traffic to stop (as drivers are too uninformed that they are legally required to yield the right-of-way to a bus pulling out).

      Let me emphasize that last point: Metro resists bus pullout spots for a reason: They then have to wait for someone who knows the law to yield the right-of-way and let them back into traffic.

      Of course, I also voted for off-board payment stations, and those got reduced to ORCA card readers. That’s okay, if Metro then follows up and eliminates paper transfers. ;)

      Anyway, sorry to be gruff, but please find a solution to your location’s parking needs that doesn’t involve disrespecting the time of the thousands of people who will be riding on that bus line. Multiply the number of rides each day times the extra amount of time it will take the bus to get through, and think about what you are asking of people’s collective time.

  4. If Eyman succeeds in blocking tolls on 520 without at 2/3 legislative majority, which he says his last initiative applies to, could we also use it to block taxes for the deep-bore tunnel? Are any of the taxes for the project “new” taxes?

    1. They city still needs to raise money for its part. WSDOT is planning to use tolls to fund 400 million of the tunnel. 300 million needs to come from the port still. The other WSDOT money is from previous gas tax increases.

  5. New Husky Stadium should definitely be Qwest!

    We’re spending billions to build a LINK connection to the UW campus.

    LINK seems to make most of its money as a shuttle for sports events — so be it.

    If LINK can ferry Husky fans to Qwest and save the taxpayers $250 million, it will have somewhat justified at least part of its cost.

    “Transit” supporters should be fighting tooth and nail to make the UW use Qwest as its stadium, with LINK (and Sounder) bringing in fans from both north and south.

    1. Taxpayers aren’t paying for the Husky Stadium renovation, private donations and revenue from the football program are. And what’s the benefit of forcing tens of thousands of fans who could previously walk to the games travel to downtown to watch the game? Fans from outside the U-District can just as easily use Link to get to Husky Stadium as they can to get to Qwest Field. Actually easier because the Husky Stadium station is closer.

      It’s a moot point anyways since the UW Regents just approved the renovation plan.

      1. what’s the benefit of forcing tens of thousands of fans who could previously walk to the games travel to downtown

        Wow..that’s not very pro-transit!

        Building things near to where people are instead of forcing them to ride a train.

        Hmm…I’ll have to think about that!

    1. That’s not inevitable, and it will be less so if everybody gets involved and compromises on a sensible “smart growth” plan. The urban planners have learned the lesson of the public-housing highrises that lasted only a couple decades before being demolished. The single-family NIMBYs are still holdouts for the most part. But an aging and poorer America needs more walkable places to live in.

  6. “Please make life easier for your bus driver.” Just read the piece and all I have to say is please make life easier on me and stop your whining about customer complaints. It seems to me, JW, you’re more interested in making excuses and explaining-away complaints, than learning from them.

    1. I agree. It might not be any one persons fault but on some level Metro needs to start taking responsibility.

      1. Whereas customers NEVER have to take responsibilityy for their own behavior – or for sending in complaints that are outright lies.

        Most drivers that I know who receive legitimate complaints can and do learn from and appreciate them. The “Invisible Man” piece even acknowledges the important role that customer complaints play in providing important feedback to drivers (as have other posts that I’ve seen there).

        What are being pointed out in this article are 2 things: sometimes customers need to take some responsibility for making themselves easier to see; and that sometimes when customers complain it’s about venting frustration and trying to “get someone in trouble” in a way that frequently includes outright lying.

        As to Metro “starting to take responsibility” Adam – in what way do you think they do not? As pointed out, every time a customer makes a complaint (and for some reason very few take the same time to send in compliments to tell drivers what they’re doing RIGHT), that driver has to have a sit-down with a supervisor. Enough sit-downs and the driver can be disciplined by suspension and even termination – and it does happen.

        What do YOU think should happen instead? Should the driver be automatically fired base on an anonymous complaint? What isn’t happening that you think should be? Be specific.

      2. In this specific case, Metro as an organization ought to take some responsibility and work with SDOT to improve visibility at this stop. Better lighting, vegetation management, etc. Or move the stop further past the corner so there’s more time to react. The driver seems to be getting the short end of the stick here as a de facto representative from Metro, when in fact he can’t control the conditions at the stop.

      3. This stop is one of thousands of stops that have poor visibility throughout the County. Better sign design (reflective material that doesn’t dull with mildew); posts that have reflective material on them as well brighter curb markers, more solar-powered blinkers etc. are all good.

        However – many problem stops would be more visible if passengers would simply make themselves more easy to see. Do pedestrians/waiting passengers have any responsibility as with cyclists to make sure they’re visible not only to buses, but other traffic for the purpose of general safety?

      4. Do the weird designs that Metro puts in shelter glass hurt visibility? I wonder if I’m impossible to see when I’m cowering in shelter to avoid the rain.

    2. Pretty much. I’ve complained about a driver once, and only once. They were personally and directly extremely rude to me for no apparent reason. Damn right i’m going to complain.

      Everybody has bad days, but I dont go picking fights with my customers at my job. All I hope and expect for is the same courtesy in return.

      1. Depending on what actually occurred, your complaint may very well have been a justified and important part of helping that driver delivered better service. If you’re under the impression that your complaint “went nowhere” – you’re wrong. Your complaint was presented to that driver, and that driver had to have a coversation with a Base Chief about it, and it became part of their record. If they are rude enough often enough, they can be disciplined and even fired.

        On the other hand, “rude” is sometimes subjective. I have been accused of being “rude” a couple of times; once for telling someone that no, we don’t accept credit cards on the bus and another time for not knowing what time a particular route (not the one I was driving) would arrive. In retrospect I was not rude to these people but I may have seemed rushed as these issues were presented to me at busy downtown stops, with buses backing up behind me and while already running behind schedule. To some folks an attempt to answer a question quickly – or to state that I don’t have the answer – so that I can get the bus moving and get folks to their transfer points and destinations may come across as “rude” compared to their interactions with others in other situations.

        What can I say? We’re human. We do our best, and under circumstances that would try the patience of most normal humans in a comparable environment.

        To repeat my question to Adam – what should happen to such a driver when you complain that you think isn’t happening?

    3. If JW feels this way then it’s odd that he said this in the comments thread on the article:

      “Both commendations – and LEGITIMATE complaints – help let drivers know how they can provide good customer service. If a driver is providing poor customer service – then a customer SHOULD let them know either directly or through the customer comment system whether that is this “union sister”, or you, or me or anyone behind the wheel.”

      Also from the article itself:

      “Customer feedback is an important part of monitoring our Operators, our system, and in helping develop and improve customer service.”

      Apparently he’s taken some flack for even suggesting that customer complaints may sometimes be both legitimate, and valuable. If you’re going to malign/slander the guy – you should at least get your facts straight.

      The “See Me” thing is a real issue. Yeah, drivers sometimes – even frequently – earn ’em. But as frequently (or more) they don’t. Bus drivers tend to be a favorite “pet peeve” target for some folks, and a whole lot of those complaints are based on either misunderstandings, invalid expectations, or are just plain made up by people with an ax to grind and an easy target.

      1. @ Martin…..
        Yes, the designs put on the glass of the shelter to help with graffiti is horrible from a driver’s point of view. Many times you can’t see passengers when they are sitting. I often look for feet through the gap between the shelter and the ground and that is easier to see in the right conditions. For me, I feel it is the responsiblilty of the passenger to stand up and come out of the shelter when their bus is approaching, especially at stops served by more than one route. I have many times past a stop which someone on the bench or shelter and as I’m halfway past, they stand up and start yelling. I tell them “if your not standing up and looking like you want to get on this bus, than that tells me you don’t want this bus.” Now, in this situation, I usually slow down to watch the passengers actions, but if they don’ty stand up, or approach the curb, I keep going. And it the dark, we have glare from the interior lights that makes it harder for drivers to see passengers. Try to be seen, wear light colored clothing, if not, use something to get our attention….a light on your key chain or the light from your cell phone. It’s always appreciated.

      2. Casey,

        The etchings compounded the problem when they started re-installing shelters facing AWAY from the street (I remember they used to face the street). This can prevent folks from getting splashed by passing traffic, but does make them difficult to see. I usually look for feet under the shelter.

    4. I’ve seen two people be threateningly rude to drivers in the past couple weeks. The first driver just explained the delay, and the passenger sat down, but yelled once or twice more.

      The second driver announced to the bus that the bus was going to sit there and wait for the arrival of a supervisor, as the driver did not feel safe with that passenger on board. I clapped, but the rest of the riders were calling for the driver to get moving. Soon after the driver said the police were coming, the threatening gentleman exited the bus.

      All-door-entry would have given this threatening gentleman the opportunity to enter at the back, and not lash out at the operator while boarding.

      I don’t think asking operators to take on more responsibility for security is reasonable when (1) fare enforcement officers only feel safe confronting troublemakers in teams; (2) the operators just took a de facto hit to their real wages (and if I were an operator, I would have voted No to that contract); and (3) riders push operators not do what they were trained to do to discourage bad behavior.

      1. This is a big reason you see drivers ignoring things happening on the bus. Why would they want to stop and wait 20 minutes for a supervisor or the police to come and take care of the problem? I have seen people screaming at the driver until the police arrive and when the bus finally got moving again other passengers on the bus complained to the driver about being late now. Why should they do anything when it’s a no win situation?

  7. I’d love to see a quiet car on Sounder trains. I’m only an occasional rider, but every time I ride, the voices of a few people fill the entire upper or lower level of the train car. The fact that many seats face each other seems to promote (loud) conversation among groups of 2-4 people. Moreover, many Sounder passengers are regulars who sit with other people they already know, almost ensuring conversation will take place.

    1. Actually that article about the assault on Metro is all over the local news – Stranger, Seattle Weekly, King 5 for starters. The video is pretty shocking. I’m surprised it doesn’t rank a mention here. WTF didn’t the driver call 911?

      1. “Several people walked past him onto the bus, and others peered out the bus window, the footage shows. Police reported that one witness did get off and stay with the victim, and the driver called 911.

      2. @M: That quote implies the driver called 911 after the assault, since the passenger was off the bus and a “victim”. I believe Logic—and myself, and many others—may be wondering why the driver didn’t call 911 before the assault. From the timestamp on the video, nine minutes passed between the initial, very audible threats and the assault.

        I’ve been on many buses where passengers were being unruly: blatantly drinking, smoking (cigs, crack, weed, etc), yelling, threatening, etc. I can understand why drivers don’t get on the intercom and ask these passengers to stop their behavior or get off the bus (and I certainly understand why other passengers don’t try to stop it). But it’s harder to understand why a driver can’t inconspicuously call for emergency assistance and have police meet the coach en route. “Unreasonably disturbing others by engaging in loud, raucous, unruly, harmful, abusive or harassing behavior” is a criminal violation of Metro’s Code of Conduct. The police should have been called and Raymel Curry should have been removed from that vehicle and arrested by police before he had a chance to assault anyone.

      3. Andreas,

        Several reasons that the driver doesn’t call for “emergency assistance” every time there are unruly people on the bus:

        -not every jerk being loud or obnoxious or even doing prohibited things is considered an emergency

        -it’s far too common an occurrence

        -the driver may have limited awareness of what’s going on especially towards the back of articulated buses

        Frankly on routes like the 7, the back of the bus is almost always a zoo. If drivers called for help every time they’d never get off the radio. Also, sometimes drivers do call to report a disturbance and either help by radio is not available (it takes many minutes for the coordinator to respond) or when they do respond they give the driver an earful about how busy they are and to call back when and if they have a *real* problem.

        Passengers on the other hand have cell phones. They can even carry guns and other weapons. Why is the driver expected to handle all on-board security AND operate the bus?

      4. @Beavis: I don’t expect drivers to handle on-board security, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect operators to call for such security when it’s needed. Of course, I also think it’s reasonable for the person on the other end of that call to give a shit, but as you point out, that’s usually not the case.

        Every jerk being loud or obnoxious may not be an emergency, but he’s almost certainly violating the Metro Code of Conduct and in theory could be subject to a citation, a fine, or jail time if Metro started giving a damn at all levels, from the operators to the coordinators to the transit cops. Instead there’s just apathy, which is why unruly people have become a far too common occurrence.

        Of course, the apathy that you express as an operator is shared by passengers. I used to tell operators when shit was going on in the back of the bus that they couldn’t see or hear from the front. I think I may have even called the cops once or twice. But I soon realized nobody cares. So now I just avoid Metro as much as possible, and if and when I do take a bus, if I feel unsafe, I simply get off and catch another one. I feel sorry for the operators and other passengers who don’t have that option, but as you point out, there’s not much that can be done. It’s a sad state of affairs.

      5. Carry a Glock-problem solved. The perp in this case has a long record, and even a Seattle prosecutor wouldnt have pressed charges if you’d put a couple of rounds in him. WA allows you to shoot to defend others and prevent a felony which clearly happens in this case.

      6. Andreas,

        Don’t mistake my reality check for apathy. As a driver, I always care about what’s going on on my bus, and am more likely than many operators to confront offenders. However, the expectation that the driver should first-hand deal with each and every situation on board is unrealistic, and frankly unsafe.

        I would personally like to see passengers take more responsibility. After all – passengers can carry pepper spray, weapons, and functioning cell phones, plus they’re not busy actually driving a bus.
        I would also like to see more uniformed officers regularly riding buses as a show of force, and visibly citing (and ejecting) unruly customers.

      7. On ocassion I’ve been known to stop a bus I’m driving, set the parking brake, open all the doors and jump on the PA system. I’ll allow the offending person a chance to voluntarily exit the bus while at the same time letting that person know how much time they have before I pick up the radio and request assistance and let the other passengers know that the bus isn’t moving until that person is removed. The last time I had to do this I was driving a route 7. Three very large male passengers let the offending passenger know that they needed to exit the bus, with or without assistance.
        Is the person that is being loud and obnoxious someone with mental health issues? Is the person going to explode the moment I say something from the drivers seat. As someone else has said…I’ve called in on the radio and the supervisor in the control center responds, that they are really busy right now and to call when I have a real problem. I’m willing to bet the supervisor is the same in both instances too.
        By way of example, I was driving a northbound route 131 on Saturday from Highline CC into downtown. I arrived at 4 Ave S and S. Jackson about 90 seconds early. A man approached my front door, explained that none of the 400 numbered routes run on weekends and asked how he can get to Lynnwood P&R. Given how cold it was yesterday, I told him I didn’t know but let me try to get an answer for him. I first placed an RTT (low priority request to talk with a coordinator/supervisor). I waited 4 minutes. I’m now 3 minutes late leaving 4th & Jackson. I placed a PRTT (priority request to talk to a coordinator). It still took 2 minutes to get a response. I’m now 5 minutes late leaving. The passenger sitting next to the front door is in my face telling me that I have a scheduled to keep. Other passengers are telling me its not my job to help him and I need to leave. My response to all of them was the same. Call Metro with your comments. You’ll need the 4 digit bus number. This bus will move when I’ve helped this customer. Upon hearing from the coordinator I got an earful from him because I placed a PRTT for something that is only an RTT, after that I did get the information the customer was looking for. Likely sometime later this week I’ll have mail waiting for me telling me to “SEE ME” meaing to see my base chief, my immediate supervisor. We are in a no win situation no matter what.
        I helped a visually impaired customer across Stone Way a few weeks ago because she wasn’t familiar with the intersection and the location of the bus stops. When I got back on the bus I received a standing ovation. The next week I received the kick in the teeth…the complaint that I held up the bus. Not one person clapping called in to commend me for what I had done but one person complained about it. What this all tells me, stay in my seat, keep my eyes forward and don’t worry about whats going on behind me until and unless a customer comes forward to tell me there is a problem.
        If a passenger on the bus calls 911, 911 then calls Metro to get the exact location of the bus and to alert Metro to a problem. We then get a radio call wondering whats going on on the bus and why didn’t we call it in.

      8. Mark,

        Good stories. Careful – Sam will be here accusing you of covering up for your own deficiencies by telling it, with Adam right behind agreeing with him.

        You note an important flaw that I fail to understand. Why when a passenger calls 911 don’t local police just respond? As it is (and you point out), 911 calls Metro, Metro tries to figure out where you are then calls you on the radio to find out what’s going on. 911 ALREADY KNOWS WHAT’S GOING ON!! Sheesh. This idiotic procedure is going to cost someone a life someday, if it hasn’t already.

  8. Um, “traffic Gods” of STB, where’s this massive regional traffic nightmare you predicted for this evening’s rush hour?

    1. Wasn’t it the UW that warned about potential massive localized traffic problems? And with the warnings and the mitigation, if the nightmare didn’t arrive, where’s the problem?

      1. This is an interesting example showing how congestion/demand management could work. Apparently people’s schedules or routes really can be pretty flexible.

        I was amazed when I checked the WSDOT site at 6:00 and saw 520 was side open while 405 -> 90 was packed. 520 was jammed earlier in the afternoon, though.

      2. It was packed on northbound Aurora too. I was driving a 28 express on 3rd Ave with a 28 local behind me. The local beat me by 25 minutes to 143rd and Linden.

  9. I don’t get the point of the Redmond Central Connector. There are trails and open space all around the project area; what’s wrong with them as they are? In the downtown area, if you want to walk, what’s wrong with the sidewalks? If you want to bike, there are paved trails along Bear Creek and the east bank of the Sammamish River.

    They have a nice, straight railroad ROW through the middle of downtown; it seems like the best use is to reserve it for light rail. Adding road crossings of the rails seems like exactly the wrong thing to do.

      1. But their planning is nonsensical. They have this valuable resource in the ROW and they’re treating it as free land, it seems like. They’re buying into Ron Simm’s vision of what the eastside BNSF corridor should be. I don’t agree with that; it has intrinsic value as a (high capacity) transportation corridor.

        I will admit that the one section of the corridor that makes sense as a trail is the segment from the proposed light rail station over the plate girder bridge over Redmond Way and te trestle crossing the Sammamish. In the unlikely event that light rail reaches downtown Redmond and then is extended north toward Woodinville, those bridges would not be used. But if they can be used for ped/bike traffic, that would be worthwhile.

        Note that your link above says “parksplanning”. It’s not a park! They have plenty of parks in the area.

  10. Ugh….not all open space is bad. Even the people that take everything Jane Jacobs says to be the word of god know that. Open space is only bad if it isn’t utilized, or even under utilized. This open space WILL be utilized. Not only will it be activated by the farmers’ market, but it will be in between two entrances to a quazi-metro, a tram line, a very popular city park (which is always in use), is directly adjacent to a one of the cities most popular business districts (and across the park from another), is located in the most densely populated neighborhood in the region, and has the possibility to be integrated with some sort of plaza-side retail/restaurants/etc if the Capitol Hill Champion can get that sort of stuff on the site.

    I can generally agree with Dan Bertolet, and STB, but in this case I cannot.

    1. Yeah exactly. It seems like all of a sudden urbanism means all open space is bad. That’s not true at all; urban open space is bad if its just an open lawn with nothing on it, but if it’s programmed extensively, as this (very small) plaza and the Waterfront will be, it is a great asset for the urban environment.

    2. I completely agree Devin. It seems like such a “forest through the trees” kind of thing. We’re talking about a 1/4 acre or less in the midst of an already very dense neighborhood, with endless other opportunities for increased density.

      The irony is that any development of that size would likely have some plaza-like space in the midst of it anyway to add light and air to the project. Of course in that case the space would be entirely private rather than open for all to enjoy.

    3. I wholeheartedly disagree, and point to the corner of 2nd and Pike as an example of what will happen to this space.

  11. All I will say about schools is that you’re crazy if you think if you can predict what districts will look like 12+ years from now when today’s kindergarteners are applying for college.

  12. John (et al.),

    I know you’ve done a lot of work on commenting lately, but have you considered switching to DISQUS?

    The main selling point is that it allows users to post comments by using credentials from another site, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc. This makes the sock puppet and impersonation problems go away almost for free. And it also keeps track of activity across sites, so you can click on someone’s userpic and see all of their comments on every DISQUS site they use. (And you can subscribe to individual comment threads…)

    The quality of discussion here is (and probably always will be) super high, and I don’t think that the commenting software has nearly as much to do with that as the quality and vigilance of the moderators. So this isn’t an urgent request. :) But still, it would be cool to have STB join the network.

    1. I find DISQUS to be a bit annoying, actually. It loads slowly on the page, and, frankly, I don’t want my comments on all blogs to be connected. (I do use the same identity in most places, however, and have for many years.) I would be annoyed if this became another DISQUS-using site.

  13. Sounder did have quiet cars and i wish they’d bring them back as well. They undesignated them to add capasity to the trains is my understanding. Also i think its the sounder cab cars also have the pumbing in place in the end opposite from the restroom for installation of a small coffee shop, like on the West Coast Express.

  14. I’ve been wondering about whether Metro could save money by adopting the Kitsap Transit model of only re-releasing the timetable when it changes… well, I found out last week that sometime in the last two service changes the 49 schedule changed and I didn’t find out about it from the regular “Special Rider Alerts”. Metro is usually really anal about the changes they list, so it’s probably an aftereffect from moving the Campus Parkway stops (even though the affected trips were southbound where I don’t think any stops were moved), but still, this is why I used to pick up new timetables for every route I was interested in even though most of them never really changed.

    1. More than that, I’d like to see as much as possible that a print on demand system be utilized for timetables. e.g. a kiosk that can display the timetable or route planner and offer an option to print a route schedule to a printer. This could be set up in each of the DSTT stations and transit centers.

      For the cost of one or two print runs they could probably provision these systems.

  15. Actually minor changes in time points don’t make the rider alerts. Given that metro operates hundreds of routes to Kitsap’s relative handful it’s not surprising that Metro has a different system.

    Some of the changes may be a minute or two here or there and hard to notice unless you go through the timetables line by line.

  16. The site you linked to about the Beacon Hill Blog misrepresented the blog a bit, I think. The Beacon Hill Blog didn’t do anything to improve the pedestrian crossing. A community member who occasionally posts opinion pieces on the blog did it, in conjunction with the Beacon BIKES! organization, which is not affiliated with the blog.

    All the blog did was to post Dylan’s opinion pieces about the crossing.

    Now, something transit-related the blog did do recently — a contest to identify “the sights of Route 36,” and win a gift card and t-shirt with a picture of the bus.

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