68 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: From Bizarro World”

  1. Last week Bruce responded to a question about federal grant applications for East Link and some of the other ST2 projects. He said no New Starts grants likely would be sought, because not enough poor people would be able to take advantage of those projects.

    So what grants ARE available from the feds? Full Funding Grant agreements I suppose . . .. What is the status of ST2 grant applications, and how much grant money can we expect? Every dollar of Fed grant money means one dollar less long-term-bonds need to be sold. I know that will not come as good news to Maude Daudon (NW Securities) or the bond lawyers, but it’d be better for the taxpayers and the public as a whole to minimize bonding.

    1. I have a request in with Sound Transit’s outreach people regarding this very thing. I will post their response on an open thread.

      A Full Funding Grant Agreement is the agreement a locality executes with the feds to finalize New Starts funding. I don’t think they apply elsewhere. Other programs that sometimes dole out money include Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) and the state’s Regional Mobility grant program.

      The Northgate to Lynnwood segment of Link will be submitted to New Starts (the UW to Northgate section will not.)

      Keep in mind that doing all the research and paperwork necessary for these federal grants is a major investment of staff time. There’s no point applying if you’re not pretty certain you’ll be competitive.

      1. That’s a bunch of bunk. “Poor people” have very little to do with a successful FTA grant application. These are competitive grants, based on cost-effectiveness / ridership potential per mile. Problem with East Link –> the large expanse of cement bridge and freshwater between Rainier Ave Station and South Bellevue park&ride. Contrast that segment with Westlake-Husky Stadium. The East Link segment is three times the distance and less than half the ridership compared to University Link. Federal funding for East Link would be great – if the FTA didn’t use cost-effectiveness as a measuring stick.

    2. Thank you for your email inquiring about federal funding for the East Link light rail project. Sound Transit is not seeking an FFGA (for FTA New Starts funding) for East Link; however, the project will have other sources of federal funding.

      Currently, the East Link project has about $25m of FTA section 5307 and FTA section 5309 Fixed Guideway funding programmed to it.

      $25 mil is peanuts versus the cost of East Link.

      1. From the 2011 budget:

        “From 1997 to 2023, Sound Transit is projecting $3.2 billion in grant awards for Sound Move and ST2 projects, including three Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs); $500 million for the Initial Segment/Airport Adopted 2011 Budget 25 of 195 Link, $813 million for the University Link and $600 million for a project to be decided in the ST2 plan.”

        My guess is they will apply for Federal funding for the North Corridor HCT project.

  2. Pierce Transit has announced the details of their service cuts. The booklet of proposed changes is available here: http://www.piercetransit.org/pdfs/Reduction_Booklet.pdf

    In summary:
    – Fairly similar to what is described in PT Tomorrow.
    – 20% cuts to take place on June 12th, with another 15% cut on October 2nd.
    – Reduced emergency service will continue until June 11th.
    – Most routes will operate every 30 minutes during rush hours and every 60 minutes at other times.
    – Hours of operation significantly reduced. (~5 am-8 pm on the weekdays and 10am-6pm on the weekends).
    – The main lines (1,2,3) will operate with more hours and frequency than the other lines.

    1. Does anyone know if Tacoma is going to pass a Transportation Benefit District like Bellingham did when their county failed to vote for transit? I believe they were able to buy back a lot of their lost service.

      1. I dident know one was activly being considered. I do know that you can only have one PTBA in each county, unless the laws are changed, so you cant create a new PTBA just for the city of Tacoma.

    2. Route 444 will be eliminated

      This saddens me greatly. Especially since it stopped right in front of my house.

  3. And then there’s this article. I know P.J. O’Rourke’s a satirist and a polemicist, but this kind of writing gets under my skin. Now cycling has joined HSR as a liberal conspiracy to promote dependence upon government? *Sigh

    1. I liked O’Rourke when I was 17… then I grew up. This is just the usual libertarian-conservative blather from right-wingers applied to bicycles. The only good thing I can say about him and his fellow WSJ op-ed writers is that statistically, most of them will die before they can do too much more damage.

    2. I agree.

      Some of the old line “conservative” pundits have been on the wrong side of many issues…such as telling us how “safe” nuclear power is post-Fukushima, or being curmudgeonly when it comes to bicycling or alternative energy sources like hydrogen.

  4. The one thing that video makes clear is that media in the Netherlands is just as apt as American media at exploiting the public’s biases. The chart showing a marked decrease in road incidents reminds me of the countless times Fox News’s claims have been directly contradicted by raw facts.

  5. Okay, I’ll bite …

    Those big, evil, American vehicles make me mad! Not only are they destroying the earth, now they are running over bicyclists; the very people who are trying to save the earth! People who drive big trucks are bad people. People who ride bicycles are good, peace-loving people. They are better people than people who drive automobiles. Especially big, American automobiles.

    1. I admit, that caught my ear too. And the bus in the final part of the video was way bigger than that pickup truck…

    2. When I first moved to the US from France one of the first things I noticed was how huge the cars are. Everyone who has come to visit me has made the same observation. It’s a simple fact that cars in the US are (needlessly and excessively) large. Besides select businesses and farm workers, there’s little reason for average people to be driving such monstrous vehicles. I always wonder when I see 6-tyre pickup trucks and 8 seat SUVs parked in Seattle driveways.

      Obviously some people DO need these kinds of cars, but I quickly learned from American car advertising and generally favourable pricing encourages Americans to buy big cars. This is all anecdotal, but I hope you can accept the opinion of a Frenchman.

      1. What’s more I don’t believe the size of the average car in France has changed much in the last 40-50 years. It may even have gotten larger as people have gotten older and richer. But in the US cars (the SUV craze aside) have gotten on average a heck of a lot smaller. Full size used to mean something like a Crown Vic which now are primarily cop cars and taxis and smaller than generations prior to 1992. The family used to pile into the Country Squire or Vista Cruiser which has now been replace by soccer mom in her mini van. A Ford Focus is smaller than a 1st generation Mustang which was consider a compact and a sports car. The pièce de résistance for the American automobile was probably the 1959 Cadillac. Buses however have gotten gotten a heck of a lot bigger.

      2. My wife is from Korea she frequently comments on the excessive automobile size and the fact that there’s usually only one person in these huge vehicles, the huge house sizes. Actually she sounds like Jane Jacobs with a Korean accent. I actually have a question about housing she said in Korea you can give the land lord $50,000 and you live in the place for two years. When you leave you get the $50,000 back. The landlord profits by putting the money in the bank and collecting interest. I know korea has higher interest rates you can still find around 6 or 7%. They have a flat 10% income tax rate. Also the housing is significantly more dense. Her neighborhood was 80,000+ people per square mile. Are there any other reasons why this wouldn’t work in America?

    3. People here drive big cars to protect themselves from all the other big cars on the road. The trend toward bigger cars isn’t surprising in that light. I remember joking about car companies eventually introducing tanks to the roadway. That was before people started buying Hummers.

      Of course adding more mass just makes all of the cars more dangerous – even to each other.

    4. Yeah, if the guy was driving a SMART or a Honda or a Mini Cooper, the story wouldn’t have sold as much copy.

  6. I finally got down to Covington to see what’s there. Route: 150 from Convention Place to Kent Station (9:15-10:07am Saturday, 15 min frequency), 168 to Maple Valley (11:15-12:01, hourly) and back (12:13-1:00), 180 to SeaTac (188th/99, 1:12-1:34), RapidRide A south to 240th, walk back to Kent-Des Moines Rd, RR A north to TIB, Link to Othello, tried the public market but it was closed, walked to Graham and lunched at the Asian BBQ, then took 8 north to Summit.

    A note at the 168 bus stop said, “Enhanced weekend service to Maple Valley funded by a WSDOT Mobility grant.”

    East James Street in Kent is all 1970s houses. 104th is a row of strip malls; a good place for future density and RapidRide a la 99. 256th and 132nd have a few new houses mixed with the old ones. 272nd (Kent-Kangley Road) starts with a nice lake park (Lake Meridian) and more houses.

    I never knew where Covington was because Metro’s route map says Timberline instead, but Bailo said it’s here so I figured it must be near 272nd. A sign said “City of Covington” to reassure me. Covington has a surprisingly large commercial district around Hwy 18. There’s Fred Meyer (and another on Kent East Hill) and a library. The bus turns onto Wax Rd, which is mostly new 2000s development. Then the bus goes through Timberlane, a 70s suburban neighborhood. It rejoins KK Rd which gets semi-rural for a while. Maple Valley is partly semi-rural and partly new housing developments. The bus terminates at Four Corners strip mall, a series of 2-3 strip malls with a large Safeway.

    Four Corners has Shakey’s Pizza, the only one left in Pugetopolis except Renton/Fairwood. I was considering eating there but it was closed. So I walked around for ten minutes and took the bus back, rather than waiting another hour for the next bus.

    There was one graphic sign of the real-estate crash: a half-built housing development at 132nd/262nd. A street with driveways and lampposts but no houses, like those Florida pictures. 132nd/272nd has two closed commercial corners like Othello used to look, and a dirt lot in Maple Valley has five tractors sitting in it. The latter site must be active; I assume nobody would leave tractors behind?

    Kent had some comical real estate signs. “Avalon Court, 3 car garages, from the $300s!” “$1103 monthly!” Both of these signs were repeated into Maple Valley, and turned out to be new Maple Valley developments. On Orilla Rd toward SeaTac were similar signs, “$1272 monthly”, “1 & 2 BR condos in the mid $100s”. So $270 is the difference between Maple Valley and living near SeaTac. (The same prices will get you a luxury apartment on Capitol Hill.)

    I counted ridership on the 168, 180, and 8. They all had 15-20 ppl at their peak. Going east on the 168, everyone except 2 people got off on James Street or 104th. Those two got off a the Covington shopping center, leaving only me and the driver. One girl got on in Covington and rode to Timberlane, but I was the only one in Maple Valley.

    Going back west, a father and 10yo son got on in Maple Valley. Two young women got on in Timberlane. They all started talking. The father said the boy wanted to ride a bus to downtown Seattle, so he was taking him. The girls said they were going downtown too. 7 people got on on 272nd (Covington). 12 got on on 132nd or 256th. 3 got off on 104th or James. All 10+ others got off at Kent Station and dispersed to the 150, 180 south?, walked away, or walked across the Sounder bridge to the shopping center.

    I walked across the bridge and discovered the shopping center with a movie theater, Coldwater Creek, and several restaurants. An upscale facade but ordinary stores. So I withdraw my complain that there’s nothing to do at Kent Station. But there should be a sign pointing to the shopping center (as Columbia City has), and it needs a supermarket if there’s not one somewhere.

    The 180 from Kent Station to SeaTac stn is almost an express. 64th, 212th, and Orilla Road are high-speed roads and nobody got on/off. 64th is office parks like West Valley Hwy. 212th is sparse, and Orilla Rd is undeveloped land and with a few new housing developments and old houses. At Kent Station, 10 people got off and 4 got on. On West James, 5 got on. 64th is office parks. 212th is sparse. Orilla Rd is undeveloped land with a few new housing developments and old houses. Civilization returned at 188th/99 in SeaTac, where one woman got off and I did too.

    On the 8, there were around 15 ppl on the bus. Graham St-Mt Baker stn: 10 got off, 12 got on. At MB stn, 5 got off, 6 on. From MB stn to Jackson, nobody got off/on. Mt Baker stn – Madison: 5 off and 1 on in the Jackson-Yesler village, 2 on and 3 off north of there. The only steep hill between 23rd and MLK (28th) is right near Madison. On Capitol Hill, 9 got off and 17 got on. Some 8-11 people rode the whole distance from Graham to Summit and beyond.

    #8 Graham-Summit takes 38 minutes. Link Othello-Westlake takes 22 minutes. Theoretically with Link stations at Graham and Capitol Hill, it would take 23.

    Conclusions. Even though the 180 runs as a semi-express, it still 59 minutes plus transfer time to take Link+180 from Seattle to Kent. The 150 takes 52 minutes with no traffic or 60 minutes with traffic. So Link just isn’t practical for those east of I-5.

    For Kent, a RapidRide on 104th seems obvious, and perhaps a RapidRide from Covington to Kent Station to Highline CC, although the latter may struggle for ridership. The trouble is that for either route, serving both East Hill and Kent Station is not in a straight line so you’d have to detour or backtrack.

    I did have a wild idea about making the 150 stay on Interurban/West Valley Highway byapssing Southcenter. That would take ten minutes off the Seattle-Kent trip, and there are existing east-west buses for transferring to Southcenter.

    1. I took the 510 to Everett and Swift and the 358 back yesterday. Didn’t really see anything interesting in Everett itself, but it’s good to know that CT is providing frequent service to heaps of RV dealers.

      I was mostly impressed by SWIFT. Their off-board payment is exactly what I hope we can get for RapidRide eventually. Three doors in 60′ bus is a boon and would ideally by the standard — vastly improves boarding. Not so sure about their bike racks — they cost a lot of room in the interior for a fairly minimal time advantage in loading. I was also unimpressed by the seating — virtually all of it sideways and much of it on uncomfortable fold-down chairs, so you’re lolling about the whole time. I’m certainly a fan of prioritizing standees on the trolley routes in the city where you’re riding for 10 minutes or less most of the time, but I don’t think I’m keen about it on suburban service.

      There were about eight people on my Swift bus, same as on the RR A I rode a few weeks ago. By contrast, the 358 had about 30 people on it. One of them tried to sell me his unopened bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade (I declined) and another boarded with chunks of sausage falling off the slice of pizza in her hand. Regular security presence would be boon on this route.

      It says something about our crazy transit politics that CT can provide thinly patronized but pretty nice BRT service for $1.75 whereas Metro is emptying the piggy bank to provide cheapo BRT service for $2.25-$3, and, moreover, is building thinly patronized lines in the suburbs first.

      1. Swift looks ridiculous between Aurora Village and 196th with all those car dealerships, but it and the 101 are the highest-ridership routes in the county. Lynnwood has promised TOD islands around the Swift stations and they have zoning plans for it. So it’s a case of transit preceding development rather than the other way round.

        The 358 is a pretty full articulated bus most of the day, and it often makes almost every single stop. It’s crush-load at rush hour. I’ve often wondered where everybody disappears to because the bus is full from downtown but there’s only six people left at Aurora Village, yet there’s no one stop where a lot of people get off. It’s just onesies and twosies all along the line, and that ends up being a lot of people.

      2. I heard the 358 got its number because that is the number of stops it makes along its route between Aurora Village and downtown.

      3. Say what you will, but I think it’s absurd that we’re about to implement two distinct BRT services along different parts of Aurora. Aside from coordination issues, can anyone give a good reason for why RapidRide E and Swift shouldn’t be the same line (with an “ST Rapid” branding, for example)?

        Bruce: This is the same CT that almost cut Sunday service entirely. They aren’t exactly flush with cash either.

      4. Given the mad rush to replace the car trips on the viaduct (er, a third of them, anyway) in the name of “public safety”, but to reassure all the car trippers to stay on the viaduct until the last minute, I would have thought getting the C/D and E lines up and running was a public safety emergency. Apparently not.

        Fleet replacement is a long cycle, and will affect how much BRT-ish service we can get in the near-to-mid future. The sooner Metro can switch from ordering all two-door articulateds to all three-door articulateds, the better. It would help to nail down all the specs we think would be “best practice” for the interior of 3-door buses, so that Metro feels comfortable making the switch to ordering them. I suppose the interior “best practice” specs would vary according to route, demographics, and model, but I haven’t seen much guidance here on the interior design for any of the models.

        Exterior vs. interior bike racks?
        How should wheelchairs be handled in the 21st century?
        Extra standing space or Greyhound seating?
        Luggage racks?
        Space for driver shields?
        Should the back area be a group loudmouth section or should the loudmouth section be broken up by multiple rows of forward seating?
        Steps on the back door or all low floor?
        Color scheme?
        Darken or lighten the window tinting?
        Plan for bus wraps or keep the wienermobile exterior branding on all RR-style routes?

        Until we can offer some definitive guidance on these topics, Metro and ST will keep ordering 2-door articulateds as the preferred default, and we will be stuck with 2-door service until the buses currently in the ordering cycle reach the end of their useful life.

        Of course, with change fumbling as the encouraged default payment method, the annoying and confusing enigma that is the RFA, and current security practices (namely, the operator *is* the security, with no backup, and keeps the backdoor closed for the most part), all our buses operate essentially as 1-door buses, so 2- vs. 3- doesn’t make much difference. But the day will come when the change fumblers no longer have the numbers on their side on the county council. When that happens, we’ll be kicking ourselves for all the 3-door buses we could have been ordering all this time.

      5. No luggage racks. Tall people bump their heads on them, as a 550 rider did on Friday. The trips are too short to make luggage racks really useful, and other passengers have to wait while somebody loads/unloads their bags.

    2. Seattle-Kent: The best way of course is to use Sounder, but that’s weekdays and rush hour only (more Sounders, please!)

      The buses here in Kent are very full during the workweek espcially with a combination of city commuters and college (Green River and Highline). I would invite you to visit Kent Station anytime between 3:30pm and 6pm during rush hour.

      RapidRide does seem obvious to me and even more obvious would be a LINK train going from Renton to Covinging along 515-to-516 (104th/KentKangley) if they could figure out how to get it up Benson Hill.

      If you stay just on the main streets, this area can be deceptive. Just go a block or two “inland” and its quite attractive…homes giving way to horse farms, parks…

      You compared a house in Maple Valley with a apartment on Capital Hill. I dunno, there might be some difference in square footage (including land, backyard), dontcha think?

      1. “You compared a house in Maple Valley with a apartment on Capital Hill”

        Yes, I’m just comparing what you can get for the same amount of money, and what similar places cost in different areas.

      2. John, do you think more people in Covington want to go to Renton rather than Kent Station? That’s what a Renton-Benson-Covington RapidRide would be optimized for. If so, why would that be?

      3. John, do you think more people in Covington want to go to Renton rather than Kent Station? That’s what a Renton-Benson-Covington RapidRide would be optimized for. If so, why would that be?

        What I see is a lot of people lining the street along 104th who use the 169 as a “milk run” from Renton up to Kent East Hill. These seem to be combination of workers and students.

        Then there is the work in Seattle downtown crowd plus the Green River/Highlight Students. The students use the 168/164 as their school bus. The commuters take either the express buses 158/159/163 direct from the hill to downtown or else they funnel into Kent Station and take the Sounder.

        I think I remember reading in one of the Kent planning documents that something like 50 percent of all trips in Kent, end in Kent. And the next highest route is Kent to Seattle.

        That said, I am not sure that it’s a “to Renton” route so much as a milk run like the LINK through Rainier or the 7 line where people are going from their apartments to work at any of the shopping areas along the road.

        This is a lower income district so the ecoculture is more akin to low density shopping that provides a lot of little jobs that people can use to afford housing.

        I would hate to see it go to the high density, winner take all, high salary Seattle model as that would harm a lot of the neighbors and cultures that work in Southeast King.

      4. That fact that you think Link in a milk run disqualifies from serious consideration anything that comes out of your mouth regarding transit. Also the fact that you recently tweeted “Mass Transit = Mass Slavery.” That was pretty retarded, too.

      5. Bruce,

        Guess I don’t understand the bi-polarity of your comments, but you wrote:

        you think Link in a milk run disqualifies from serious consideration anything that comes out of your mouth regarding transit

        If you read back through the pages of STB, you will find that the justification of running LINK through Rainier is to be precisely that…the emphasis is on people getting on and off of stations and not merely going from endpoint (Airport) to endpoint (Seattle).

        So, here I am simply copying the logic of transititas. However, if you think that logic is flawed…then you have company! I am simply holding up a mirror.

      6. The dictionary definition of a “milk run” is a routine route that makes lots of frequent stops along the way. In other words, traditional local service. I believe this is the definition that John is using.

        Here on STB, we frequently use “milk run” to refer to convoluted routes that hit a lot of minor destinations, rather than connecting two major endpoints in a direct way. For example, route 25. I believe this is the definition that Bruce is using.

        So, indignation and talking points aside, I’m not sure you two actually disagree about this particular issue. :)

      7. I just took “milk run” as a purposely inflammatory hyperbole.

        A milk run is a route that makes every single local stop. It can also refer to an excessively slow bus, as when Metro combines the low-productivity tails of several routes into one crawling route like the 222 in Bellevue or the 25.

        The 7 and 169 are milk runs in the first sense. They serve an area that’s is long but not wide, where people are making overlapping trips along a corridor that’s too far to walk. Capitol Hill and the U-district are shorter and more rectangular, so people are more likely to walk to their destinations. But RV and Benson are too long for that. The 7 is not excessively slow, it does just what’s needed: getting from one part of the valley to another. But still, a limited-stop alternative is desirable, and that’s what Link is. Limited-stop services are not milk runs by definition.

        The 358 at first glance looks like the 7; it serves overlapping trips along an entire corridor. But the distance makes it really l-o-n-g to go from say 85th to Aurora Village (and maybe further to Lynnwood). And even l-o-n-g-e-r when it makes every stop along the way. That makes it feel like a milk run. Metro forces everybody to take these long milk runs because they won’t put a faster service like Swift on.

      8. Didn’t mean it that way at all…just thought it was a neutral term and I had remembered reading that such a task…serving local stops..being touted for LINK in Rainier.

        That said, I think that a successful transit system would focus on rich “intra-Kent” transportation as well as the express routes (can I use the word “express”…don’t want to offend anyone…).

        This goes back to my attempt at sloganeering about Mass Transit.

        I like Transit.

        I just don’t like the Mass part of it so much.

        I would like ideally Personal Transit, but realize that’s not a total answer.

        What I want is maybe “Tailored Transit” that takes account of the lay of the land, the people, the economy, the eco-culture.

        Or Graduated Transit where there is scaling from Airplanes down to Bicyles and feet.

  7. Why did my route – 566 – suddenly get brand new coach type buses? Not complaining, they’re wonderfully quiet. The drivers seem to like them too. Apparently they’re easier to handle.

    Ah, the Netherlands. I can’t see that happening here, neither the outrage or the respect for others. Our culture is just too different. The only way to protect cyclists here is by hard separation.

    1. Yes, ST did in fact give route 566 (along with 577) to Pierce Transit during the last service change. Pierce Transit is the only contracting agency that has those MCI buses.

  8. Long Island gets some hydrogen:

    Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray joined with energy partners to fuel the first zero-emission, hydrogen-powered cars at Long Island’s first hydrogen fueling station in Point Lookout.

    A vital component of Hempstead’s Clean Energy Project, the town’s pure hydrogen, blended hydrogen/compressed natural gas (HCNG) and compressed natural gas fueling station is the first of its kind on Long Island. With the addition of two “whisper quiet” Toyota FCHV-adv vehicles and a HCNG bus, the town will now to able to assess the viability of hydrogen and HCNG as alternative fuels to move our vehicles.


  9. I have a paragraph or two for you guys to read


    which is a link from my kindle

    feel free to add me to your twitter feed guys, i wont have to repost anything i come across i think you will like :-)

  10. Since this is an open thread, i was considering using the 140 to attend a function, fine, i will take the 574 up from tacoma to wait… damn.. gotta transfer to LINK or Rapid Ride for one or two stops north to make the silly transfer. It would make sense to run the 574 north to TIB. After arriving at the airport, the coach would follow the old LINK connector route to TIB continuing in a northerly direction. Probally would take the same amount of time as it does for the coach to exit the airport, and head to the Layover yard at 188th st. A couple of other thoughts, when Sea-Tac Airport opens their rental car facility it might behoove them to extend some of their shuttles to TIB to allow employees to get to the Rental Car facility. And of course, there needs to be a dedicated Amtrak connector to the Airport (and a stop at TIB wouldent hurt either), especally once a final Tukwilla station opens.

    1. I have a feeling that due to the large amount of government-sanctioned deviants & thieves who take the route from Tacoma to get to work, the 574 is always gonna be front-door service to the terminal. Which would make an extension to TIB seem like too much effort.

      The 574 is a great way for South Sounders to get to the airport if not for one thing: the MCI coaches are horrible for bringing luggage onto. A shuttle between the airport and the Tukwila Amtrak/Sounder station would be justified if there were more trains between the Amtrak Cascades and the Sounder.

  11. well the bit thats most relevant is missing!!! Argggghhh! so here it is pasted below in full………

    One of the outlets for Wellington’s energy was explicating his experience with railroad construction in books. His first dealt with the very important task of computing how much earth needed to be moved to construct a railroad, a key factor in its cost. The same year this book was published, 1875, Wellington began his “great work, and that by which his fame as an engineer would be established, The Economic Theory of the Location of Railroads.” It was in this work, first published in 1876 as a series of articles in the Railroad Gazette and in 1877 as a book, that Wellington’s famous definition appeared:

    It would be well if engineering were less generally thought of, and even defined, as the art of constructing.In a certain important sense it is rather the art of not constructing: or, to define it rudely, but not inaptly, it is the art of doing well with one dollar, which any bungler can do with two after a fashion.

    From engineers of dreams: great bridge builders and the spanning of america. henry petroski

  12. “By contrast, the 358 had about 30 people on it. One of them tried to sell me his unopened bottle of Mike’s Hard Lemonade (I declined) and another boarded with chunks of sausage falling off the slice of pizza in her hand. Regular security presence would be boon on this route.”

    I’ve yet to see a good word written anywhere about the 358. The one time I rode that route it was jam packed including half a dozen hobos, a couple people loudly cussing into their cellphones, along with one completely hammered frat boy.

    Security would be great but it’s an Aurora bus so it shares Aurora’s problems, it would need to be a real presence, not something intermittent.

    1. I ride the 358 a few times a week, and have never noticed any egregious issues. I only go between downtown and 45th or 85th st, though, so it may be that the problems happen more often to the north.

      1. I think that, like far too many of Metro’s customers, you’ve simply grown accustomed to the horrors of your regular route. The 358 is the sort of route that, were it a person’s first public transit experience, not only would they likely swear off ever riding Metro again, but they would probably tell their family, friends, neighbors and coworkers to never ride Metro either. If we’re serious about getting people out of their SOVs, we can’t have routes like the 358. If people have to put up with all the crap that goes down on buses like that, they’re not going to get out of their cars, and I can’t blame them.

      2. Andreas: Believe it or not, sometimes the 358 is just fine. For example, I was on a 358 (inbound from 46th in the morning) once where pretty much every passenger was heading to the Sounders game (or maybe it was Seahawks, I forget). They were pretty much just normal stadium passengers.

        In contrast, I was on a different 358 (outbound in the evening), and there were at least three passengers in the back of the bus having separate solo conversations. I think they each thought they were talking to the other passengers, but no one was listening. It was very odd.

        Really, it’s not always as bad as you might think. I’ve seen it when it’s bad, so I know the difference.

    2. I really don’t know why the 358 is listed as ‘express’–there is nothing express about it. Wish the 301 would operate more frequently.

      1. Metro marks routes as “express” if, and only if, they skip any stops that they pass by along their route. The 358 skips a few stops along Aurora south of the ship canal, and so it qualifies.

  13. The CEO at CT has announced that it is planning for about a 80,000 hour service cut for 2012, planners are working out various scenarios now to present to the board in May or June. Last time we lost Sunday service, I hope it is not Saturdays this time.

    1. Mabye they need to take a 2nd look at all their contracted seattle service with ST and see where optimizations can be made. Offhand, they seem to have a lot of duplicative commuter service which is inhearantly expensive to operate. Also, i’m still not fully convinced that I-5 service in general is as efficent as it should be. Poltical reasons aside, i think if the taxpayers want to save money its time to look at it as a whole. For South I-5, mabye part of ST III should be to build freeway stations (even if it means reconfiguring the freeway) and impment BRT service on the I-5 Corridor from Tacoma to Seattle. Atleast until LINK gets built. This could be an incremental approach. Start the service, and add the direct access ramps/freeway stations as they come online (such as one at fife/eqc, star lake, K-D Road, and Southcenter Blvd (along with a rapid ride along the 140 with direct airport service as well). For Lakewood service, every other bus could continue onto lakewood, with freeway stops could be added at 48th (Tacoma Mall/Tacoma Mall TC), and 72nd. Just a pipe dream.

    1. That study still seems like a gross oversimplification of costs and benefits. The costs are all being borne by the City of Portland, but most of the the health-care savings benefits go to the federal government and private insurance companies. PBOT seems pretty good at getting grants, so the Feds might actually have paid their share, but I highly doubt the private health-care industry paid anywhere near its fair share. The current funding scheme seems woefully unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible for most local governments to undertake.

      1. Wait, if I go to the doctor, it’s not free for me, even though I have private insurance. I lose time at work, my productivity suffers hence my employer loses. If need a care giver, I may end up taking over the life of my significant other or a child, thus destroying their earning potential as well.

        Yes private insurers and the Federal Government benefit if the population is healthy but Federal Taxes is all of us. And Private Insurance is on it’s death bed. Another 10 years and we’ll all be on single payer plans. That’s not that long.

        If I have more money in my pocket from spending less on health care I’m more likely to spend it on something else, arts, more bicycle stuff.

        In fact if you look at the number of bicycle frame builders in Portland vs Seattle it’s astounding the difference.

        – Davidson
        – Hampsten (expensive but beautifully made and detailed) http://www.hampsten.com
        – Boxer Bicycles (rando and city bikes) boxerbicycles.com
        – Baron Bicycles http://www.baronbicycles.com
        – 333Fab http http://www.333fab.com
        – Rodriguez, at R&E Cycles. http://www.rodcycle.com


        Someone must be buying all those custom bicycles.

        Vs: How much money stays in a local economy when you buy and maintain car?

    1. Drill baby drill! It’s the only way America will match the rate of decline Hubbert predicted! But fear not, for some economists feel that the exponential function is wrong, and that resources are infinite.

  14. I took the BailoBait and went back to Kent to observe peak hour. Routes: Sounder Seattle-Kent (5:40-5:59pm); 168 Kent – East Hill (6:15-6:28); 169 East Hill – Renton (6:43-7:12); 101 Renton – Seattle (7:28-8:01). All these routes are half-hourly at this time. I didn’t go into Covington this time but just to the end of 104th.

    Sounder took a speedy 19 minutes. Tukwila surprised me because more people got on than off, suggesting they work in Tukwila but live further south. So it’s not just a downtown train. Around 30 people got off in Kent; I couldn’t count exactly or tell of anybody got on.

    The 168 left Kent Station with 17 people on board. On East James, 1 got off. On 104th, 9 got off and 5 got on. I got off at 256th where it turns east. Eleven people headed toward east Kent, Covington, or Maple Valley.

    The 169 northbound had 20 people aboard. On 104th/Benson, 23 got off and 13 got on. On Carr/Talbot Rd, 1 got on. On Benson north of Talbot, 1 got on. At the South Renton P&R, 4 got off. Approx 5 people continued to Renton TC.

    The 101 had 14 people on it. At SR P&R, 1 got off and 7 got on. At Fred Meyer, 4 got on. On MLK, 3 got off and 1 got on. To Seattle, 13 people remained.

    104th seemed less like a strip mall this time; i.e., more like a residential/woodsy area with a few strip malls here and there. It may have been the steamed-up windows that obscured my vision. But I felt less sure about BRT. But 104th between 240th and 256th has three overlapping routes which are uncoordinated and go opposite directions toward Kent Station.

    My other impression was, 101 is an important route for getting out of East Hill. People talk about truncating the 101 and the 150, but they are not the problem. They are the major trunk routes for southeast King County, and Link is too far away to take their place. The problem is the peak-expresses that duplicate other routes. I’d rather focus on truncating the peak-expresses at Sounder or the 101 rather than truncating the 101 and 150. It would make more sense to truncate the 106 than the 101, because it’s already a local route between Renton and Rainier Beach.

    Although if Metro does make cuts to the 101 for budget reasons, I’d rather have it truncated than lose frequency. Waiting an hour for an express bus is like… paying 50p for a flight and then getting all these add-on fees, it kind of defeats the purpose.

    1. Another wild idea: raise the fare of the peak-only expresses to the equivalent Sounder fare. So $3.50 to Kent or Renton. Then later if the bus is truncated at Sounder, well, the net fare won’t be any higher. (I hope you have an ORCA card for the transfer. :)

Comments are closed.