Photo by Atomic Taco

This is an open thread.

46 Replies to “Christmas News Roundup: Pedestrian Death Map”

  1. RE: Pedestrian deaths. I’m trying to understand why SE Seattle got an especially bad wrap from Erica when Aurora and 23rd had the same number. To me, that speaks more to high traffic volumes than it does to anything else. Am I missing something? And where on Rainier are there traffic lights more than a mile apart?

    1. Rainier is again the case where a real highway corridor is needed instead of a neighborhood street that has been turned into a highway.

      The ridiculousness of I-167 just going from a highway in Renton to suddenly emptying out onto a street with traffic lights!

      These pedestrian deaths and car-bike-ped interface problems are caused by the lack of highway infrastructure, which also accounts for most of the transit woes and those will never be solve solely by mass transit in an area which is obviously 99 percent dependent on personal transit.

      Opinion: Defective by design.

  2. McGinn’s criticisms of the 520 Workgroup Report are valid:

    The SR-520 corridor was designated as a BRT high-capacity corridor and marketed that way.

    There is no operating funding committed or identified for the BRT.

    The report includes the ominous statement: “Transit service across SR 520 should be monitored, evaluated and adjusted as transit ridership changes” which sounds like it could be used to reduce or eliminate service, just as has continuously happened to ST route 540.

    Removal of the Montlake Freeway station creates increased annual operating costs of $6 million/year per the Metro planner who worked on this group – yet no funding has been provided to cover this increased operating cost.

    Removal of the Montlake Freeway station with no replacement makes it more difficult and more costly to provide efficient routes which service both the Montlake/U-District and connecting routes, and downtown Seattle. For example, the continuing cutbacks on ST 540 demonstrate that there isn’t enough demand to maintain a dedicated Kirkland – U District route outside of the peak period, and that is service is better met by MT 255 via the Montlake station. The new ST 542 Redmond – U District is peak hours Mon-Fri only. It precludes a future ST express route like Woodinville – Brickyard – Totem Lake – Montlake – Downtown Seattle (via I-405/520/I-5) which provides U District connectivity.

    It is disappointing that neither Sound Transit nor Metro have used their political influence to demand retaining the Montlake Freeway station – or to get permanent operating funding to offset the increased operating costs.

    The imposition of tolls increases transit demand, and social equity requires that those impacted by tolls should have a low cost transit alternative to the tolls, yet no operating funding is provided.

    1. They will have a LINK Station and LINK can cross at I-90 back up to Bellevue. Because these routes do not intersect with traffic, the travel time difference between going over 520 and taking the “long way” across 90 will be minimal.

      There’s no reason for 520 at all either as a transit bridge or a car bridge. It’s unsafe, and makes traffic flow worse for 405 and 5.

      1. So auto drivers drive 6 miles from Kirkland to UW or 10 miles from Redmond to UW but transit users have to travel 20 miles? That makes as much sense as spending $3 billion on a 4 mile tunnel for 40,000 cars/day with lots of alternate surface routes.

      2. With their own dedicated right-of-way, transit users can arrive at their destination faster than their auto driving counterparts.

      3. If the routing is 3x longer, and transit makes stops, that becomes impossible. Kirkland-U District in a car via 520 bridge vs. Bus Kirkland to Bellevue and then Link Bellevue – Mercer Island – downtown Seattle – U District?

    1. The escalator at 1201 3rd avenue building at the University Street Station was down and “repaired” about 3 times over the last six months. It’s finally working…for now…

  3. The main issue with the Puyallup sat. lot is the lack of information. No information if you have to pay for the bus to the lot, there isn’t a shelter when waiting for the bus (sucks in the rain, even if I am born and raised in WA)

    If they (ST) wants it to be more of a success and getting riders like myself to use it (when I start commuting back North that is) they need to get one of those shuttle vans instead of waiting on that bus. That in itself would make a night and day difference with a continuous service back and forth to the lot.

    It seriously shouldn’t cost THAT much to have a driver and one of those 25′ foot paratransit buses used from 5am to 9am and 3pm to 7pm.

    1. Those vans top out in the low 20s in passenger capacity. A 30′ coach could carry at least 35 people.

      Once you consider the hourly wage for the driver (~$18), benefits, deadheading mileage, the bus PT is already running seems like a much better deal.

      If I were catching the train at Puyallup Station, I’d be much more likely to drive to a parking lot that didn’t require me to take a bus to get to the train.

    2. Brian,
      My experience at Puyallup is that the bus to the parking lot (Route 495) is sitting at the station when the train arrives in the afternoon and departs as soon everyone has boarded. My anecdotal observations has been there have been 20 to 25 people getting on the bus. That was before the Red Lot opened.

  4. Well, now I think better of Cliff Lee, and his wife too. It is interesting to read the comments by his wife, someone who is wealthy, and she still prefers to use various forms of public transportation.

    One thing I have noticed, that having been to ball games in a few different cities, is that stadiums in the urban core are easier to get to and from, because there are plenty of transportation options. Those in suburban places like Arlington are not as easy to get to, or out of after a game.

    1. Indeed. I’m unfortunately writing this from Arlington (relatives) where the only public transit is a rubber-tire trolley that runs from hotels to attractions duing tourist season:

      Well, there’s also a TRE stop (commuter rail).

  5. I’d like to say thank you for linking to the Day in a Wheelchair article. It really gives you a better understanding of what I go through every day – and been going through since my accident late 1999. I’ve never been to Spokane, so I’m not sure hillyness relative to Downtown Seattle (believe me, the bus tunnel is a lifesaver), but it sounds like he got it easy when random people offered assistance.

    And yes, it happens a lot more often than you’d think: I’m extremely quick at securing/unsecuring myself on the bus, but quite often I get dirty looks from passengers “who are in a hurry”.

    To the operators who don’t grumble when I board your bus, thank-you!

    And Merry Christmas everyone!

    1. It took some effort to find the link to the map itself (in a comment below the Publicola post). So it was a little like unwrapping a present!

      Christmas is one of 365 days of identical duration that happens each year.

      Need a pagan-solestice-celebration-turned-arbitrary-birthday-of-a-2000-year-old-carpenter to start thinking warm, fuzzy altruisms for humankind? You must be a stone the rest of the year.

  6. Does anyone know how high the elevation will be on the B2M preferred alternative on East Link (the part between I-90 & the P&R?) I went out there today to look around, and stroll around the Slough. Given the ongoing background noise from the interstates and cars on Bellevue Ave, complains about noise in that section seem baseless. If the route is elevated enough to allow cars underneath to the P&R, it would impinge upon the views from the nearby houses, which doesn’t invalidate that choice of alignment, but we should acknowledge that a handful of people have a legitimate aesthetic complaint.

    Where is most of the guff about B7 coming from? Further north from Surrey Downs or from the section I mention above? I didn’t get all the way up there so I have no particular thoughts about it.

    How much money/clout do the B7 people have? Provided ST does their due diligence, how much of a legal fuss can they make?

    1. Bruce,
      I think bottom of the guideway will be at least 15 feet tall as buses have to get underneath also. If there is a mezzanine for fare vending machines, then you might be looking for something on the order of a Tukwila International Blvd Station. If not, perhaps something as high as Mount Baker Station. If that helps.

  7. I think I finally figured out what was funded by the high-speed rail stimulus money. The amount is just short of what’s needed for “Block 2” of the track 2 application, short by about 200 million. Not coincidentally, I hear no plans for 18 new locomotives, or for four new trainsets. Therefore I surmise that all of the heavy construction for Block 2 got approved, but less in the way of new trains. It appears that they still plan to run the two additional services in block 2, but I guess perhaps they will limp along with older equipment until they get more funding.

      1. Uh, yes, that page is actually incredibly vague on exactly what got funded, but it is where I got my information. There is *no* detailed list of what projects got funded, only a detailed list of what projects *applied* for funding.

        I’ve been poking about at the links within it to come to my conclusion.

      2. FYI, I’m drawing my conclusion from the fact that practically all the infrastructure projects seem to have been mentioned as actually having been started, and a rough ballpark estimate of the cost of locomotives.

  8. Has anyone seen this? It’s a mildly interesting series of short posts about freeways that were never built and freeways that torn out. It mentions Seattle’s Thompson Expressway.
    It’s very skin-deep, and is mostly useful as an index for further reading.

    I certainly apologise if this has been linked here prior.

  9. The Red Lot is about a half-mile from the station at Fifth Street Southwest and Ninth Avenue Southwest. A Pierce Transit bus runs between the lot and station in coordination with the train schedule.

    Read more:

    Insanity. I take a car to a parking lot which is half a mile away, then have to wait for a bus, to take me to a station to wait for a train. Of course no one wants to park there. It eliminates all the convenience of just parking your car and getting on the train.

    1. Start charging $2-$5 per day for the parking 364 spots next to the station. Add way finding signs and any pedestrian amenities needed between the leased lots and the station along with possible improvements to PT routes in the area. Do NOT add any special shuttles.

      Ideally, the pedestrian corridors would route people past downtown retail businesses although that route appears a little longer.

      Anybody who has ever watched people park for a special event knows people *WILL* walk a longer distance for cheaper, or free, parking. It’s just a matter of fine tuning the variables.

      Seriously, Sound Transit, when are you going to start charging for parking facilities that are oversubscribed? You already do this for bike lockers, why not cars?

      1. Charging for parking would be ineffective if the city doesn’t also restrict on street parking. It sounds like commuters are already parking on the street.

      2. You mean Sound Transit is providing the evil “taxpayer-subsidized parking” in order to get people to ride its trains?

      3. “Charging for parking would be ineffective if the city doesn’t also restrict on street parking”

        Absolutely. From the article it sounds like Puyallup already has parking restrictions in place. If not, 2 or 3 hour parking restrictions should do the trick and increase parking turnover which would benefit area businesses.

      4. “You mean Sound Transit is providing the evil “taxpayer-subsidized parking” in order to get people to ride its trains?”

        … and buses.

      5. “How much does it cost to ST for each automobile parking spot vs. each bike locker?”

        It depends on the parking spot. An at-grade asphalt parking lot is going to be far less expensive than a concrete parking garage like Eastgate or the proposed South Bellevue station lot. That said, even the most expensive bike locker will be far less expensive than the cheapest parking spot. Since Sound Transit charges a yearly rental fee for the bike locker (Metro doesn’t currently charge, BTW), the bike locker users are the only people who actually pay for parking at a Sound Transit facility.

        For more info, dig through this STB thread.

  10. “You mean Sound Transit is providing the evil ‘taxpayer-subsidized parking'”

    Yup. I’ve pointed out to you many times that property, sales, and real-estate excise taxes are used to subsidize plenty of automobile related amenities such as local roads and street parking.

    For better or worse, the folks in the South RTA district love their Sounder train and love their Park & Rides. I’m not going to tell them they have to bike, walk, or take a bus to the station. (That said, providing those options is less expensive than building or leasing even more parking)

    Adding a modest parking fee to the most convenient parking lot will encourage those willing to walk an extra 10-15 minutes to utilize free satellite parking to do so. More parking spots utilized, fewer taxpayer funds used for shuttle buses, and possibly even a modest boost for downtown businesses along the pedestrian corridor.

    Seems like a win-win-win proposition to me.

    1. Win-win-win-complain, since there will be a sizable populous that will complain about the previously free parking that is now being charged for, which will result in them being “forced” to drive instead of taking transit.

    2. @velobusdriver i’d encourage you to come to puyallup and walk the distance inbetween the Sounder station and the satatlie parking. Its more like 7/10th of a mile through a residental neighborhood (the most direct route anyway).

      As for encouraging it’s use, i do agree with your comment about charging for parking. Problem is, could after enforcement and equipment (which might get even more spendy if you want ORCA compatability) would you break even, or make some money? if not, than its not worth the investment as in the case of the tacoma LINK fares.

      Secondly, if the exisiting leased satalite lots were closed that’d help some as well. And i still think given the distance given that its not a line-of-sight thing some form of shuttle would do (oh EZRA where are you?)

    3. The purpose of park n rides is to get people on the buses/trains so they aren’t burning 30 miles worth of gas and taking up space on the highways. So the public is getting a benefit for the low/nonexistent parking fee. If the P&Rs are full, it means they’re successful: people want an alternative to driving. If people are passing up P&Rs because they’re full, then either the P&Rs need to get bigger or there need to be more bus routes in the area, so that people not lucky enough to get a P&R spot have an alternative to driving. Charging at P&Rs may be a good thing, but the charge plus the bus fare has to be lower than the cost of gas and downtown parking, or people will just drive instead.

      1. the charge plus the bus fare has to be lower than the cost of gas and downtown parking

        Not everyone takes the bus to downtown.

  11. Mike, many eastside routes go to UW or Northgate and there are a few that stay east of the lake.

    ST Express routes that don’t serve downtown include 532 535 540 542 556 560 566 574 599. I think all of them have a terminal at a P&R or transit center.

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