17 Replies to “S. 200th St. Open House Tomorrow”

  1. I find it astonishing that it could take up to nine years to find the time and funding to build what is essentially a straight piece of track for 1.6 miles.

    This comes back to a comment Thomas Friedman famously said in the New York Times – namely that if we could be China for one day, just imagine what we could process through the system! We’d all have our lists, sure, but it would be fun if for one day, we could short circuit all of the process. After all the extension has been agreed upon by voters.

    Back when the the railroad barons were ruling the quest to move the balance of the United States westwards, I am sure they could complete 1.6 miles in a day or so. Otherwise, they could never have gotten beyond the suburbs of Chicago in the time they did!

    Seriously, though, nine years is silly for this – it is just an add on after all to what is already there and there can’t be too many environmental issues to be aware of in the SeaTac area along International Boulevard.

    This project should probably move up the priority list – it would after all get rid of the bunching of trains that occurs at SeaTac Airport as trains wait to leave the station. I know it shunts the issue down the line, but at least, it could prevent slowing down in the SeaTac Airport area.

    1. It’s a money issue. South King subarea is broke. Even the 2016 date is predicated on getting a TIGER grant, I think.

  2. The subarea equity is goofy. Pierce County will benefit from extending Link south just as much as South King County will. Downtown Seattle will benefit from being able to have fewer buses. Those of us living south of downtown will benefit from having a smoother connection to buses going to Pierce County, so we don’t have to backtrack to downtown. South King County is just the area the extension is passing through.

    Could the ST Board just use general-fund money to get this going?

    Moreover, extending the track a little further south ought to enable overnight storage of a couple trains at Airport Station and earlier morning runs into downtown. (But then, a couple trains ought to be able to be stored there anyway, though with a need for security, and have those do the first two runs of the morning.)

    1. I used to think that, too, but then I saw some of the inter-area pissing matches on STB and in local politics, and then I changed my mind. Now I think subarea equity is genius, and I would never get rid of it. Look at King County Metro. Do you want to expand that governance approach to two more counties? Whatever it costs us in slowing down the build out of Link is worth it.

      Also, Pierce is doing something with its money, namely the D-to-M street project and other Sounder improvements. That was what people in Pierce wanted. I don’t know how much (if any) they may have available to loan to South King. Besides, people are still bitching about the fact that Seattle borrowed (and repaid with interest) money from the Eastside to build Central Link, and they weren’t even using the money for anything at the time.

      Another issue is that (IIRC) the ST2 proposal authorized preliminary engineering for, but not full funding for, Link to Tacoma. Funding is only authorized to Redondo Beach, so you couldn’t really tell Pierce taxpayers that it was to bridge the gap to get Link to Tacoma. Presumably in the next ten years or so, ST will find the cash to do at least the engineering to Tacoma, then we’ll go to back to the ballot in 202x for an ST3 proposal that will somehow fund the final part from Redondo Beach to Tacoma Dome.

      Finally, if you want to see the bondage and discipline ST puts itself through in the name of subarea equity, check out this report:


    2. And to address two other parts of your question, which I had totally missed: it’s true, of course, that everyone benefits from better regional transit, but in a shouting match (and that’s now the only king of political “debate” possible in the US) between someone saying “Hey, guys, we’re all in this together” and some dipsh*t right-wing anti-railer yelling “HE’S STEALING OUR MONEY!!!11” the latter will always win.

      In addition, Link is not really intended to be an express from Seattle to Tacoma. That’s what Sounder is best at. Even the 577 will beat Link to Federal Way TC (if traffic is moving on I-5). If, at some point in the future, we want a south county express, we’d want to build an elevated bypass to Seatac on Marginal Way.

      1. 577 will always be faster. From FWTC to Downtown (4th & University) it’s 27 minutes on route 577. Hopping on Link at University St and getting off 27 minutes later doesn’t even get you to TIBS. The trip from USS to 200th would likely be 36-38 minutes, so unless you can find a way to get from FWTC to 200th -9 minutes, the 577 will likely stay.

      2. It would be interesting to calculate how long an express through the Duwamish valley from Downtown to SeaTac would take, if it stopped only a couple of times (Georgetown and Boeing, say.) If it were only a little slower, I’d take Link over the 577 for its (presumed) reliability and better ride.

      3. Oran, I had heard of the 12 minute figure and that formed the basis for my interest in a Boeing Access Road interchange but I had not heard that the reverse travel times wee substantially slower. Any reason why those times are so much slower?

    3. The danger with at-large funding is what if a bunch of Eastsiders get control of the ST or Metro boards and direct all capital funds there? The idea of each subarea paying for its own improvements or operations is a good one. And we needn’t question each other’s judgement too much. Pierce and Snohomish really do value commuter service more than Seattle/King does. At the Lynnwood Link North Corridor meeting, most people were excited about faster service to Seattle, not about going from their Edmonds TOD to downtown Lynnwood. They think Swift is wonderful and who needs more than that for intra-county service; what they want is a fast full-time train to Seattle. And likewise Pierce, they decided what they most wanted was a Sounder extension. I think the most that we can do is to give them what they want and ask them to not to stand in the way of our building TOD and frequent routes in Seattle.

  3. Why would it slide to 2020????

    I was under the impression that federal funding would make this project happen smoothly and it would open in 2016 – please advise Mr. Martin.

      1. I was under the impression that federal funding was awarded, but only under the stipulation that the project be fast tracked to 2016. Are there any reliable sources for the funding on this?

    1. It was scheduled for 2016 until the South King revenues tanked and then Congress started talking about withdrawing the grant offer. Now it’s up in the air.

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