87 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Voice of Reason”

  1. Walking and bussing around town, I sometimes see bus bulbs that have been concreted in, so the bus stops in-lane, but I also hear about bus BTG transit improvement projects that involve building bus bulbs. I assume this apparent schizophrenia is actually due to sound traffic management rules about when each type of stop is appropriate? If so, what are the criteria?

      1. Aha, yes, I was confused. I take it that current policy at SDOT is now to prefer in-lane stops versus the turnouts that were presumably preferred in the past?

  2. Publicola is reporting that Dow Constantine is supporting a bill that would extend the taxes paying off the sports stadiums in order to pay for a bigger convention center and “arts and culture programs”. Why hasn’t it been suggested that we use this money to SAVE METRO? If the car tab fee is a no go, we need another funding source.

    1. Hmmmm…I hadn’t thought of that. I would prefer that the stadium taxes expire like we were promised they would. But, if they were to be extended to PUBLIC TRANSIT in KING COUNTY, I would agree to that.

    2. The problem is most of these taxes are hotel and restaurant taxes, so any extension of them needs the support of those industries. It makes sense for them to support using the taxes to generate additional tourism. Tourists tend to stay in hotels and eat at restaurants. I doubt these industries would support using the taxes to help those of us who live here. Of course, in an indirect way we would all benefit from more visitors to the city. I think we need to look at other funding sources than these particular taxes.

      1. Tourists don’t take transit? Offering more transit would mean tourists would take it more, and they could visit more sites in a day.

        Still, I’d rather see the stadium taxes just expire. But if the taxes are extended, transit is higher priority than arts programs.

      2. A car tab fee is a great way to fund transit because it is taxing car owners for the negative externalities they create while also funding alternatives to car ownership. Same with toll revenue supporting transit. A restaurant and hotel tax is simply a weird way to fund transit. Sure, tourists do use transit but not nearly as much as residents, and the connection is just very tenuous. Sales tax is also a bad way to fund transit, as we all know, so why would you support using hotel and restaurant taxes? We should either fund transit through transportation-related taxes and fees like MVET, car-tab, tolls, and gas tax, or just use the general fund.

    3. I’d rather continue the stadium taxes than have to raise sales tax again. Please, can we stop funding everything with sales tax?

      1. If you want to move away from the downsides of a sales tax, the stadium tax is probably not the direction you want to head for.

      2. I’d also much prefer a congestion fee on car tabs over sales tax (general or within tax-increment finance districts, which I detest). Sorry I didn’t make that clear.

        The one demotivational point on this congestion fee is that it might be used to avoid implementing the sort of efficiencies that were talked about on that record-breaking thread about the leaked list of routes that might be rerouted or cut. I say bring those efficiencies on!

  3. In other news, I got an explanation as to why the bus stop on 5th Ave S north of Jackson is not south of Jackson. I had emailed SDOT suggesting that bus stop be moved, and also that the current traffic light at Weller be removed and turned into an all-way stop (traffic volumes seem very light there and people cross against the light all the time, going to Uwajimaya. Here is the response:

    Thank you for writing to the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) with your suggestion to remove the signal at 5th Avenue South and South Weller Street, and replace it with an all-way stop.

    A traffic signal is built only after a signal warrant study is completed. We follow national standards to determine placement of traffic signals. Because the signal at 5th and Weller met this signal warrant prior to being built, we must follow the same warrant guideline procedures before we would consider removing the signal.

    I have requested current volume data and collision history to aid in my warrant evaluation. Due to the backlog of such requests, it may take two or even three months before I am able to complete my study. When I have an answer, I will share it with you.

    You also had a question about moving the northbound bus stop at 5th Avenue South and South Jackson Street to be located south of Jackson Street. The bus zone is located in its current location due to the amount of space needed for the loading and unloading of passengers. South of South Jackson Street, the lane configuration is a right-turn only except buses; if a bus were to be stopped in this lane, it would cause significant traffic congestion.


    Valerie Lee, P. E.
    Senior Traffic Signal Engineer
    Seattle Department of Transportation

    The passenger loading space makes sense, as the sidewalk south of Jackson is narrow and not in great shape. But I’m not sure how much congestion putting the stop north of Jackson saves, as that piece of road is only one lane. It depends how much traffic turns on Jackson vs continues north, I suppose.

    1. It is nice when government workers respond in a timely and useful manner. It was like pulling teeth to get an explanation of a seemingly unannounced move of a bus stop near me.

  4. With all this talk of restructuring the bus networks of Capitol Hill, and previously Rainier Valley, what ideas are out there for post-LINK bus service north of the Ship Canal?

    1. From a selfish point-of-view, I would hope many bus routes end at the LINK route, whether it is UW or Northgate. And a few of the remaining routes should, instead of going downtown, go to the Seattle Center, Lower Queen Anne area instead.

    2. The most obvious thing is to make east-west grid routes.

      40th: Fremont – BROOKLYN. Metro seems to like the Magnola extension over Seattle Center, so this favors the 31.

      45th: Ballard – BROOKLYN – Children’s Hosp. Partial service to Laurelhurst and Golden Gardens.

      65th: NW 65th – North Greenlake – ROOSEVELT – NE 65th – Magnuson Park. Or 24th NW – NW 85th – North Greenlake and same.

      85th: 24th NW – NW 85th – North Greenlake – ROOSEVELT – NE 65th – Magnuson Park. (If both this and the 65th route are implemented, you’d proably have to truncate one of them at Roosevelt.)

      1. Maybe one of the 65th/85th ones should go down 15th/Ave to end in the U District, since there’s still a ton of demand along there and there’s not enough demand along 65th east of 15th to warrant two high frequency routes (and that’s coming from someone who lives along the 71 tail.

    3. Hey, it submitted it before I was done.

      105th: Ballard – NORTHGATE. (I would make this an extension of RapidRide E, but that’s probably not feasable until later.) NORTHGATE – Lake City – Sand Point – UW would be another route.

      130th: Aurora to Lake City. Some ppl have suggested putting the station at 135th rather than 130th to be closer to the apartments and potential development there. That would complicate the route slightly as 135th is smaller and the bus couldn’t cross Aurora.

      145th/155th: Shoreline CC – station – Lake City. Some ppl have suggested putting the station at 155th to be closer to the Safeway block. The 330 already covers this route so it’d just have to be made more frequent. But I rode it last week and it’s pretty single-family. I haven’t surveyed 145th to see if it’s really worse destination-wise.

      175th: Richmond Beach – AURORA VILLAGE – 175th to 15th NE.

      Going north-south, besides the usual suspects, there have been suggestions to terminate all routes northeast of the UW at UW station instead of going through campus. That would depend on a bus lane on Montlake Blvd and layover space at the station.

      I like the idea of a 15th NE bus from BROOKLYN to Mountlake Terrace. However, it’s not one of Metro’s high-demand corridors and it skips Northgate and Lake City which are higher demand. Metro’s budget-reduction spreadsheet suggested axing the 72 and 73 and strengthening the 372 and 373 instead.

      There was some confusion on the budget-reduction speadsheet re the 71. It seemed to say a shuttle on Latona, without saying what would happen on NE 65th. It also deleted the 26. That all suggests a potental route from NE 65th – ROOSEVELT – Latona – N 40th – Fremont – Dexter – downtown.

      There was also some confusion about Magnolia. It said something about Ballard, “ARTS”, and a peak-only route on 28th W. Having ridden in Magnola recently and piecing together several sources, I think Metro’s preference is to have more non-downtown routes out of Magnolia. So the 31 would be kept (it’s already all-day), and the 24 and 33 would be replaced by a Ballard – Magnolia – downtown route. This would be possible coming from Emerson – Gilman – Govt Way – 34th – Magnolia Village – Condon Way – Magnola Br. That would eliminate W Viewmont Way, 28th W, and the tail to the Discovery Park east gate. The Discovery Park Indian cultural center is called Arts-something, so that must be “ARTS”. It’s at least a 10-minute walk from Govt Way to the cultural center, and probably a 10 minute walk to the army reserve base, so they would be minimally served but not directly. Maybe the bus could make a loop into the park to serve them directly?

      1. Wait, who suggested 135th as a bus route? It’s a residential street basically all the way across the city, isn’t it?

        145th is better on the east side of I-5 in terms of access to stuff that isn’t single-family homes (i.e., Jackson Park)–in fact I’d go so far as to say WAY better. 155th is better on the west side of I-5 (the big complex at 155th & Aurora).

        A simple change I’d like to see made is to the 346. From the north, I’d like to see it turn left onto 130th, then turn right onto 1st Ave NE, follow that down to 117th where it would turn left and take that lovely little bridge over the freeway that dumps you back onto 1st Ave NE right at Northgate Way. Then shoot down 1st to the Northgate Transit Center. This would give folks around Ingraham a MUCH faster way to get to the Northgate Transit Center instead of having to take a bus that goes into the Northwest Hospital campus, then goes all the way down past NSCC to 90th to cross the freeway before heading back north again to Northgate. Seriously, that’s like a half-hour ride, it’s ridiculous. And if folks near Ingraham need access to NSCC or Northwest Hospital, of course there’s still the 345. Added bonus: bus service becomes available on the east side of Haller Lake. If I were purely selfish, I’d vote for the 345 (which stops by my house) to get this change instead, but the 345 serves the Four Freedoms nursing home and those folks need a one-seat ride to Northwest Hospital.

      2. The main problem with 135th and 155th stations is that if the buses from the east go on Aurora or turn on Aurora, they’ll get caught in traffic and be unreliable. So the most efficient buses would stay on 130th or 145th and stop at a station right on the corner. If the stations are on 135th and 155th, the buses would have to turn up to a low-density street (135th or 155th) to reach the station. Also, 135th and 155th aren’t very useful for continuing west of Aurora, while 130th and 145th would be a straight shot.

    4. A few obvious points that come to my mind:

      1) An east/west route between 45th and 85th St. Currently, these trips require require some very awkward transfers and detouring to get around green lake. For example, consider the following (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=N+63rd+St&daddr=NW+65th+St&hl=en&geocode=FTh01wIdUmW1-A%3BFWB61wIdcLq0-A&mra=ltm&dirflg=r&ttype=dep&date=05%2F15%2F11&time=5:47pm&noexp=0&noal=0&sort=def&sll=47.673665,-122.351645&sspn=0.025372,0.052314&ie=UTF8&ll=47.674808,-122.330103&spn=0.050742,0.104628&z=14&start=0) – a 2.4 mile trip for which walking and transit have the same travel time.

      2) Something that goes straight down Northgate Way (Ballard->Lake City) without detouring into the transit center. Traveling from Greenwood to Lake City should not require a 15-20 time period to get through Northgate.

      3) A pedestrian bridge across I-5 connecting Northgate station to North Seattle Community College and the surrounding residential neighborhood. This will mean more users will be able to walk to or from the station, without needing to drive there and consume a parking space or depend on a connecting bus.

      4) A freeway station on each side of the bridge for 3), allowing the 510 and 511 to stop there. At present, the only way to get from Northgate to Lynnwood or Everett in a reasonable amount of time is to bike, run, or take a taxi to the 145th St. station and ride the 510 or 511 from there (orders of magnitude faster than the 75->358->Swift approach, plus it works on Sunday). (This would likely become no longer necessary when and if Link extends out to Lynnwood).

      Of these points, I believe that 3) is most important, as it would be tremendously useful today by increasing the walkshed of the 41. A greater walkshed of Northgate transit center means more people walking there as opposed to driving there, which means less congestion in the parking lot, less demand for parking spaces, and less money that needs to be spend in the future building more parking spaces when demand increases as a result of Link.

      1. Regarding #2, some will probably make the objection that it won’t work because serving a transit center means you must stop right there, regardless of the delay it imposes on people passing through.

        The reality is that even going straight through on Northgate, it’s only an 8 minute walk to the transit center according to Google, and if the weather is bad, you don’t even have to walk outside – you can cut through the climate-controlled mall instead.

        If this is still too much, the proper solution is to design the station with a second entrance further north so that a reasonable East->West bus route can stop closer it it while still staying in a straight line. Detouring the bus route means passengers traveling to/from Link will still use the service, but no one going straight through will do anything other than just drive, if they can possible help it. Anyone has ever walked down Northgate Way and looked at all the cars going by would realize that there are lots of people going straight through.

        Jarett Walker has an excellent post of this (http://www.humantransit.org/2009/04/be-on-the-way.html).

      2. 1) Interesting. I had thought about merging the tails of the 26 and 28, but I wondered whether anybody really wanted to go that way.

        2) Metro is never going to skip a transit center. But your suggestion about making Northgate Way the effective edge of the TC is a good one, via a pedestrian path or such.

        3) Is already in consideration for North Link. Hopefully it’ll be a definite yes at the meeting Tuesday. That would allow the 75 not to detour to College Way (another time sink), and the 16 could come straight into Northgate from 92nd.

        4) The 510/511 should be truncated at Northgate. Then it’d be a direct transfer. Truncating them should free up enough hours for 10-15 minute headways, which would make them effectively a Link extension.

      3. I agree that truncating the 510/511 at Northgate would do wonders, as suddenly, Lynnwood and Everett would become connected reasonably well to all of north seattle, not just the U-district and downtown. The big question is weather the current 510/511 riders (plus all the CT 4xx/8xx route that are essentially duplicates of the 510/511) will be willing to accept the T-word in exchange for a higher frequency of service and buses not getting stuck in the chronically congested segments of I-5. The speed an reliability of north link, in practice, will have a lot to do with the answer to that question.

        The 522 should also be truncated at either Northgate or Roosevelt as well for the same reasons. Connections from North Seattle to Kennmore/Bothell when the 372 isn’t running currently require an unreliable transfer at Lake City, with wait times ranging anywhere from 0-30 minutes depending on which bus is on-time vs. late. I have sometimes paid for taxis when it was important to get somewhere at a certain time to avoid dealing with this.

        I really hope the pedestrian bridge goes through and, if it does, I really hope it happens soon, not 10-15 years down the line when North Link finally gets built. I used to live on Meridian near Northgate way. The intersection of Northgate Way and 1st Ave is extremely hostile to pedestrians due to the wide right turn for cars getting ready to get on the freeway. They come around the corner very fast and almost never stop for pedestrians. Pretty much the only way to cross that intersection safely is when there’s a long enough line of cars waiting at the red light going straight so that the right turn lane is blocked.

      4. I don’t think having a bus going straight down Northgate Way without going to the TC would fly, but at least it could just go down 1st, stop along 103rd, then go back up along 5th to Northgate so it doesn’t have to go into the TC access road (as nice as that cross-platform transfer is).
        I totally agree, the pedestrian bridge (or how bout APM!) over I-5 is really necessary, it sucks to get to NSCC right now. The freeway station idea is awesome, but the problem is I don’t think they’d be built that much longer before the extension up to Lynnwood is built, when they can easily truncate everything there, so we wouldn’t have that much use for them.

      5. You would have to better than 15 minute service on Route 511 if you want to improve the frequency. Also, how could the buses get from southbound I-5 to Northgate Transit Center quicker?

      6. I have my doubts CT would want to truncate their commuter lines at Northgate Station, given their empty “Buy Local” sloganeering that is not matched by buses to get tourists up to Snohomish County during the day.

        But since Lynnwood Station is scheduled to open two years later (at least on paper ;) , there is not much reason for capital investment for freeway access to Northgate Station. Some cheap paint to restripe some transit lanes during those two or so years might be the only justifiable road infrastructure cost (outside of permanent transit lanes on Northgate Way etc.)

        That said, I am not a fan of running light rail to Lynnwood TC. For the sake of not having the sort of back-and-forth weaving that has doomed South Link to being of marginal use for Pierce County commuters, I want to see North Link stay on Highway 99 once it gets there.

      7. I realize commuters are a large market, but should we really be building a 100 year system based on current commute patterns?

      8. If you want federal funding, you have to play by the FTA’s rules. The ridership estimates need to be based on the current state of things, not hypothetical future changes to development.

      9. I thought the FTA had revised their measurements to include Land Use and other positive externalities?

      10. I can’t say authoritatively, but I think the FTA have adjusted New Starts formulas. They still have the so-called “cost effectiveness” metric, but it doesn’t have the same weight it did under the Bush era FTA.

  5. Regarding the money coming to the Cascades for capital improvements, when will we see additional trains?

    I’m still hoping for an earlier departure in the morning (like 6:00 am departures out of both Seattle and Portland, allowing a 9:30 am arrival) and a later departure at night (like a 9:00 pm departure). Hoping these times will be the next times to be added to the timetable when more trains are added. Hard to do one day daytrips with the current schedule.

  6. I think ST would get better response from adjacent YouTube footage of a cat fighting with a copy machine- followed by a brief statement about frustration and some video of LINK speeding past traffic and taking the elevated curve by Southcenter on a day when Mt. Rainier is out.

    More seriously, some testimonials by actual passengers like the ones I’ve been meeting lately, who formerly never thought LINK would have any use to Auburn residents but now take the train to every ballgame.

    However, animals usually generate positive feeling. Wish I’d had a videocam the day the service-dog training organization brought at least two dozen golden retriever puppies on board at IDS to ride to Westlake for their graduation. Would’ve made a great spot. If this is a regular event, ST should definitely use them for PR.

    Also, national security would get a better name for itself if it ran ads featuring current explosives-detecting dogs, generally “labs” who wag their tails when ordered to check out potential targets. They’re just like the hero of “Up.”
    Somebody should make collar-badges for all of them reading: “Oh please, please, please be my prisoner!”

    Mark Dublin

    1. I like the “mashable” part- perfect image of likely outcome of a computer malfunction. Incidentally, does anybody know if Star Trek ever had an episode featuring results of a low-bid contract on early matter-transmitters?

      Mark Dublin

      1. Were you not able to stay awake through the beaming failure scene in Star Trek The Slow Motion Picture?

  7. I’ve been in the Seattle/Tacoma region the past two weekends in a row, one of which was via a rideshare van. There was an ad at the gas station for ST #586. I find the level of advertising for Sound Transit rather surprising, hopefully the ads reach those who wouldn’t normally think of riding transit.

  8. Anyone know if/when/what’s going to happen with the giant hole in the ground at 3rd & James, east of the station entrances? What was there before?

  9. So we have an organization that can’t meet it’s obligations, creates shadow chains of command within the organization to it’s contractors and has money to spend on art and advertising. Something is rotten in Seattle and it smells like ST. Why is the ST board the same kind of unconstitutional structure as the old Metro Board but is allowed to function? Why can’t it meet it’s phase one obligations while moving forward on phase 2 on the Eastside. Something is very rotten here.

    1. “Why is the ST board the same kind of unconstitutional structure as the old Metro Board”

      It isn’t.

      1. It is. Unelected by the people. Exactly the same. Remember one man one vote?

      2. Bubba,
        From a legal perspective the ST board isn’t the same structure as the old Metro board sorry.

        Beyond that there is no evidence a directly elected board would be any better. Take a look at Metro under the County Council or the Port of Seattle.

        As for the spending on art that is mandated by law. Don’t like it? Change the law. Besides it is only 1% of capital expeditures.

      1. No just stating the truth. You may suck on their teat but looking at the fat, bloated organization with your eyes open and you’ll see the truth.

    2. If we waited for each segment to be finished before starting on another segment, it would take two more decades to finish. We need the transit now, and ten years is already a long time to wait.

    3. 1. For one percent less, the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel and Central LINK could have looked like a linear parking garage and a Diamond lot on a bad day. Most taxpayers are glad that didn’t happen. If rich conservatives didn’t think art was valuable, art collections would be worthless.

      2. Advertising doesn’t cost money- it brings in money. Only justifiable complaint is advertising on bus windows, which if it isn’t unconstitutional, should be.

      3. If ST’s governing arrangement is unconstitutional, why has it gone fifteen years without a court challenge from same quarters as the one that ended the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle?

      4. The thousands of Americans named “Bubba” who are unjustly ridiculed for Nascar hats fitted with beer cans and drinking tubes just because of their name deserve more respectable comments with their name attached.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Nice Mark, attack the name not the ideas.
        How about I do it to you. But no that would be wrong.
        The DSTT was there long before ST, they had nothing to do with it. We could talk about their lack of foresight in their DSTT rehab that they did and how they forgot to rehab the escalators and somehow forgot that buses were going to operate in the Tunnel and how that created a dangerous condition down there.

        You’re not working for ST now are you?

  10. If I opened the copy machine and some old lady was in there and started talking to me, that would freak me right the f— out.

  11. Has STB thought of making an iPhone/Android app that simply brings up a frequent transit map and allows you to zoom and scroll around as usual? Sometimes I want that map because although I know the routes, I don’t know when frequent service happens. I could upload an image into one of my photo galleries, I suppose, but that would be a bit of a pain. I’d be happy to pay a couple of bucks to get a shortcut to it, and to help support STB.

    Also, I hate to nag about this, but that map has the 49 being non-frequent-service on Sunday daytimes. That’s incorrect.

    1. I’d love to make an app but I’m no developer. And error noted but I’m waiting for the next service change to issue any update to the map at this time.

      1. I do know HTML. Maybe I can create an HTML5 app that you install from your web browser on to your home screen and data is stored offline. No App Store hassles. Can’t sell the thing but there’s always the PayPal ‘Donate’ button.

        Don’t expect that soon.

  12. There is an app like this for the NYC subway system. It is nice because it caches map data so when you have no data connection (perhaps you’re under the East River?) it still works. I think it is called NYCMate or something similar, and it had schedules (static) as well. I used it during my visit last October.

      1. Second the KickMap suggestion, used that all the time last time I was in NYC

  13. Replace the old Northern Pacific draw bridge over the Duwamish River to West Seattle with a double track draw bridge. Electrify the line and rebuild the trackage to 115 MPH standards. Voila! You have high speed heavy rail from West Seattle to the BNSF mainline in SODO. Connections to EVERYWHERE!

    I mean, really, how often does marine traffic go up the Duwamish to necessitate opening that span?

    Heck, they could even get that ex-CMStP&P Little Joe out of Deer Lodge, Montana, refurbish it, and use it for freight traffic on the BNSF line to West Seattle. 5000 HP could pull one heckuva lot of fully loaded double stack intermodal cars.
    Good gosh, they could hook up a rope to that Little Joe, and bypass tugboats to get those container ships to Harbor Island.

    It is time to think outside of the Kemper Freeman/Mayor McGinn/Don Rickles box.

    1. Since the 1st Ave Bridge, upstream from Harbor Island, opens quite frequently, I have to doubt that a train with frequency could cross the Duwamish dependably on a bascule (draw) bridge there.

      BTW, a lot of the infrastructure for which the bike antagonists make fun of Mayor McGinn was actually instigated during the Nickles adminstration, or go back even further. Bike lanes and “road live-its” go back decades in this town. It has become a modus operandi by some groups to go after good transportation infrastructure ideas by pointing out McGinn’s role in pushing them.

      It is also becoming modus operandi by some groups that have no interest in a West Seattle light rail to go after McGinn, for the sake of going after McGinn, by painting him as having promised light rail to West Seattle. (All he promised was a vote, and if those who coveted light rail to West Seattle accept the results of the studies, then the point is moot.)

      It’s kinda like when Dennis Kucinich was mayor of Cleveland. Private power companies wanted to take over Cleveland’s public utilities. Kucinich said no. The private power companies did everything they could to lampoon him as “Dennis the Menace”, but he held firm. Later mayors gave in to the privatization, Cleveland ratepayers and taxpayers paid dearly, and history proved Kucinich right.

      If ever Seattle had an elected official who deserved for the populace to stick by him in the face of attacks by greedy special interest groups, Mayor McGinn is the one.

      1. Yeah, ever heard of raising the draw bridge by a few feet? How darn often do ocean going freighters go up or down the Duwamish? The mainline of the old Great Northern has a draw bridge over the canal in Ballard. How often does that hinder rail traffic? Get a clue!

        You are free to LOVE Mayor McGinn all you like. But if ever there was a one track mind, he OWNS the right of way! Plus, HE IS A DISHONEST CAMPAIGNER. PERIOD!

        BTW, I absolutely adore/d Mayor Nickels. It is spelled Nickels, by the way! Not, Nickles.

        Modus operandi, not. I have offered up an existing right of way from the West Seattle peninsula for RAIL. You have offered sorry excuses for a lame mayor!

      2. Freighters go up the Duwamish all the time to serve Boeing and other industrial facilities. The industrial traffic on the Duwamish is much heavier than that into the canal. The 1st Ave Bridge is already pretty high, but not high enough to be above the superstructure on larger boats.

        As for McGinn, I’ll issue my standard challenge: Produce whatever lie you think he made.

    1. That graphic is a simplified version of the original CAD drawing. I’ve seen the original printed on large-format paper before, with a lot more detail (all the soil types). It’s a sight to see on the wall.

    2. Does anyone know how they’ll be constructing the north end of the station so that it can remain open when North Link punches through the wall? I’ve assumed it would be a pair of stub tunnels as was done for the DSTT.

      1. Wow, great document! Thanks! Unfortunately I didn’t see the information I was looking for, but there was a lot of other good stuff in there.

      2. Here’s the proposed timeline for North Link construction:


        By the time U-Link opens for service, tunneling between UW and Roosevelt would be nearly complete.

        Imagine if we were able to simultaneously construct the two tunneling segments. North Link would’ve opened two years sooner. It’s no wonder why the original plan’s costs blew up with the ambitious schedule.

      3. They are leaving space north of the Husky Stadium station to dig a TBM retrieval shaft. Crossover tracks are being constructed south of the station for reversal of trains, and I believe a storage track is also being constructed adjacent to one of the platforms. It’s all in the North Link SEIS.

      4. Zed, I found the information you’re referring to in the North Link SEIS (chapter 2, page 2-17), but the cross section shown on the U-Link images & documents page does not show a storage track. Given the similar widths between the Capitol Hill (62′ – 65′) and UW stations (70′) from the document Bruce linked to it seems unlikely.

        I guess what I’d like to see are the technical drawings for the station, and I’m curious if they include tail tracks or stub tunnels to the north (where the TBM retrieval shaft will be).

        I’m just picturing an amusing scene in late 2016 where people are waiting for their train on the platform at UW and a couple of TBMs punch through the back wall. :)

      5. I’d imagine the retrieval shaft would be built north of the station box.

        I don’t see any need for tail tracks north of the station, with the crossover to the south of the station it will operate just like SeaTac/Airport Station operates today.

        The engineering drawings can be seen here,


        I don’t see a storage track, so I guess sometime between writing the SEIS and final design of the station they decided it wasn’t necessary.

  14. I wish the Voice of Reason would tell Metro to make the 101, not the 106, the shuttle between Renton TC and Link.

    A 106 shuttle to Othello Station would end up taking around 40 minutes. That wouldn’t even be competitive with taking the F Line and then Link, even for going downtown.

    Yes, there is a transfer penalty of a few minutes (less than 10, tops) for truncating the 101 at RBS. But the *capacity* of the line would be dramatically increased, while still saving a significant amount of service hours.

    The trip between Renton TC and RBS would be just over ten minutes. Yeah, you’d also have to tag on another ten minutes for the crawl from South Renton P&R, until Metro figures out to install a transit-only lane on Rainier or run the 101 on uncongested neighborhood streets up to Renton TC. But the operational savings would allow restoration of all-day service on weekends, allow it to be more frequent, and save a few south King County commuter routes from being entirely axed. And if the parking at Renton TC is sufficient, then shut down the South Renton P&R on weekends, and only have the 101 shuttle back and forth between Renton TC and RBS.

    Metro, this is your Voice of Reason talking to you through a computer screen: Pick the low-hanging fruit before you start swinging the machete!

    1. I half agree. There are two colliding values here: one, preserving a good hub-and-spoke system, and two, truncating at Link to save money. The 101, as well as the 150, 120 and 550, act as trunk lines which allow leaf lines to not all go downtown (e.g., the 169). Other cities would have subways approximating the 150 and 101, and the most advanced cities would have a ring line approximating 405. Metro’s last reorganization established the 101, and truncated the 150 at Kent to make it more reliable and frequent. Given that Link will not go to Renton for the foreseeable future, the 101 is a good stopgap. The overlap between Link and the 101 (and 150) is unfortunate but it’s not the biggest problem, and we waste our energy trying to force Rentonites to transfer to Link. The main problem is routes like the 102, which should be truncated in Renton (and perhaps cover more Renton neighborhoods).

      The 106 has always been slower than the 101. Anybody who had a choice took the 101. But at the same time the 106 provides local service in Skyway. Truncating it at Rainier Beach would position it as a good local route rather than as a mediocre express route.

      The only reason to cut back on the 101 is if budget cuts necessitate it. Metro has said it’ll have to cut back on the off-peak frequency of the 101. That’s where we have to tell them that frequency is more important than a downtown express. If truncating the 101 at Rainier Beach off-peak is the only way to save its frequency, then it should be done. But we shouldn’t get in a crusade to truncate the 101 out of blind ideology. Truncating the 101 would have the real effect of lengthening travel times to southeast King County, and making transit less attractive compared to cars. That would be counterproductive. The only way to justify it is if “Budget cuts forced us to”. But here, Metro has an opportunity to be visionary and to say, “We’re increasing your travel time slightly but we’re preserving (or improving) the frequency, so that every time you get off Link in Rainier Beach there’ll be a 101 within fifteen minutes. Trust us, you’ll get used to it and then you’ll like it.” But an essential part to this is that the 101 remain the most frequent route, not the 106. The 106 only helps one street and the neighboring blocks in Skyway. The 101 helps a significant part of southeast King County.

      1. The 106 also provides valuable service to the South Beacon Hill and Georgetown neighborhoods, though. It should continue to go along its whole route. I think it’s still good to have the whole 101 as well with nonstop service from Renton to Downtown, then truncate a whole bunch of other routes to Downtown (especially peak-only ones) at Renton TC, forcing a transfer to an always-frequent 101.

      2. Truncating southeast King County routes at Renton TC forces Metro to deploy more 101 buses to meet the capacity needs of the transferring riders.

        Truncating those same routes at RBS allows Link to absorb that capacity, with a shorter and less-confusing transfer layover, and using much fewer service hours.

        Also, the 101 goes directly between downtown Seattle and South Renton P&R, passing within a few blocks of Renton TC but not stopping there. Then the 101 heads up to Renton TC, then back down to S.Renton P&R. This backward routing rewards car parkers at the expense of all-the-way bus commuters, and does so by increasing the length of the route.

      3. It also rewards bus riders coming in on the 169 and transferring to Seattle, or those walking to City Hall or Uwajimaya or the businesses around there.

      4. The 169 could run as an express to RBS, via S. Renton P&R, skipping stops on Sunset/MLK. I bet the total trip time to downtown would actually be less that way.

        The 101 could start at Renton TC, do the (properly-spaced) local stops, still ending at RBS. The 102 could be interlined in order to act like the 101 from RTC west.

        Rail stops make much better transit centers than transit centers do.

      5. That’s a good idea. Extend the 169 as an express to Rainier Beach, and that’ll make for some of the time lost if you just truncate the 101 and do nothing else. But I fear it’s too big a step for Metro.

  15. FTW!

    Sen. Kline’s Vulnerable Users bill signed into law

    On average, 165 bicyclists and pedestrians a year are either killed or suffer disabling injuries due to negligent drivers in Washington. Last year alone, 62 people were killed in the state due to distracted drivers.

    Senate Bill 5326, which will strengthen penalties for negligent driving, was signed into law Monday afternoon.


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