112 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Map of String”

  1. I know it’s a moot point now but does anyone know if Bellevue Way to NE 6th Street was ever considered for East Link and if so, why was it eliminated?

    1. One option was going all the way up Bellevue Way and going into a tunnel around SE 2nd. It would have two underground stations at Old Main and the Transit Center. The tunnel would turn right under the Arts Museum.

      It was very expensive and was dropped from consideration, but if we were to build the best system possible, B1-C1T would have been excellent.

      1. Yeah, that was my favorite, it had the best ridership and fastest travel times. Oh well.

  2. At a recent transportation summit in Everett, well attended by our ‘deciders’ on public transportation, the question was asked how many arrived here on public transit.
    I guess you could hear a pin drop in the deafening silence. Not even ST’s Chair or Exec used it.
    I’m not picking on Joni, but sometimes you have to walk the walk instead of just jabbering on and on about it.

    1. At a campaign volunteer orientation many years ago, we were told to skip apartments, because people in apartments tend not to vote. I asked how many people in the room lived in an apartment. Every hand went up.

      The organizer of the session was not amused.

      1. “At a campaign volunteer orientation many years ago, we were told to skip apartments”

        That has to be the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. Any kid who lives near an apartment complex knows the efficiency of hitting apartments for Halloween and/or paper routes. Even if the voting percentages are far lower, you can probably ring 5-10 as many doorbells in the same time. What an idiot…

      2. One of the reasons politicians don’t often doorbell apartments is the perception that residents are transient. If I doorbell in June and your lease ends in October, I just wasted my time.

      3. For the most part I’m really turned off by “door belling”. I work all day when we’re having dinner for the few hours of private time available to have a candidate impose just as we’re serving dinner really sucks. Ross Hunter wandered down our drive last year (not at dinner time) and we had a good chat. He’s a damn good guy even if he is a demonic rat. I’m glad I voted for him since he did a yeoman’s job at getting the last State budget through.

      4. Not to stray too far off topic, Bernie, but doorbelling is the most effective way of converting voters to vote. The personal connection with the candidate or a campaign volunteer helps to solidify votes. They’re annoying, but far more effective than direct mail or phone calls.

        No comment on Ross Hunter being a demonic rat…He’s a great legislator and a great guy; although a tad narcassistic.

    2. Show up at candidate forums happening for local races all over the city in the next few weeks and ask that question.

    3. FYI, Joni uses Sounder for her commute. Going after people for using personal transportation on non-commute trips is a bit counterproductive.

      1. Can you imagine a Harley-Davidson convention where most attendees came in limos? Or a bicycle summit where most people rode SUVs?

        I don’t expect Joni and friends to ride public transit everywhere, but it does seem a bit odd that not one person would take rail to a rail summit. Surely *someone* could have anticipated the question being asked. It’s like when the auto CEOs got chewed out for taking private planes to Congressional hearings, rather than driving American-made cars.

  3. I wanted to repost this from a response in the last open thread because so many have been chastising me for saying how Kent East Hill ranks in density with the densest parts of the Central Puget Sound region and Seattle:

    Population density by Zip Code, showing 98031, Kent East Hill (unfortunately they don’t seem to have uploaded the 2010 data, so this is before the new 98030 zip code was split off):


    The part of Kent East Hill in which I live, 104th east to Lake Meridian, ranks in the highest (dark green).

    Now the Seattle/Central Puget Sound region:



    1. JB,

      Did you catch the discussion on coupling the 169 with the 101, creating an all-day direct connection from Kent East Hill to Rainier Beach Station?

      If it is to happen, someone on the 169 has to make the ask of Metro.

      1. No, I didn’t see that! That would be a fantastic way to get regular Seattle-East Hill service without being stuck at South Kent P&R.

        I’d be more than willing to chime in and support that and getting others here (like my Bike Advisory Board members) to be aware of it as well if I could know the proper channel.

      2. The proper channel is the political channel. Write or email the Executive and your council member.

      3. The thing is I like the idea of all day service, but we kind of have that already. What we need is all day Express service!

        Ideally it would be light rail or trolley and they would do a road diet all along 108th/104th/Kent-Kangley and add a cycletrack.

        In the near term, a Rapid Ride with stops at Covington, Kent East Hill, Southcenter/Renton, Seattle would do.

      4. I’m divided on a 101/169 pairing. On one hand it might save the 101 from cuts, and it would make transit in Kent slightly less bad. I don’t know whether it would save money operationally. But it has some disadvantages. It gives Kent a “second 150” which still takes an hour to get to downtown. What Kent needs is an all-day express, as John said. Or at minimum, frequent service on the 180 to get to SeaTac station. (Perhaps extend the 168/169 to SeaTac.) Second, combining the 101 and 169 may make it more difficult to make the 101 more frequent, if the 101 has more ridership than the 169.

        I doubt there’ll a 101/169/168 combination to Covington. Metro seems to thing Covington has less ridership than Benson, given its less frequent service on weekends. If that’s a misperception or budget issue rather than a ridership issue, people need to tell Metro they need more service in the 168. Second, would a route to Covington bypass Kent Station or make a big detour to it? It’s hard to see Metro bypassing it, yet making a C-shaped detour to it would both add to travel time and bypass part of 104th. That’s where I think the Kent city leaders needs to make a decision on where its center will be and how to accommodate both Kent Station and 104th as transit areas.

      5. (Apologies if this gets posted twice; the interface seems to have swallowed my reply.)

        I’m divided on a 101/169 pairing. On one hand it might save the 101 from cuts, and it would make transit in Kent slightly less bad. I don’t know whether it would save money operationally. But it has some disadvantages. It gives Kent a “second 150” which still takes an hour to get to downtown. What Kent needs is an all-day express, as John said. Or at minimum, frequent service on the 180 to get to SeaTac station. (Perhaps extend the 168/169 to SeaTac.) Second, combining the 101 and 169 may make it more difficult to make the 101 more frequent, if the 101 has more ridership than the 169.

        I doubt there’ll a 101/169/168 combination to Covington. Metro seems to thing Covington has less ridership than Benson, given its less frequent service on weekends. If that’s a misperception or budget issue rather than a ridership issue, people need to tell Metro they need more service in the 168. Second, would a route to Covington bypass Kent Station or make a big detour to it? It’s hard to see Metro bypassing it, yet making a C-shaped detour to it would both add to travel time and bypass part of 104th. That’s where I think the Kent city leaders needs to make a decision on where its center will be and how to accommodate both Kent Station and 104th as transit areas.

    2. The maps you have linked to suggest it is among the densest areas in suburban Seattle, as the city of Seattle itself (the densest part of our region) does not seem to be included. As the following map shows, the density of “Kent East Hill” is not even close to the densest parts of Seattle.

      [shorten links please]

    3. Bailo, the part of Wallingford I live in has over 12,000 persons per sq. mile. And it’s not even close to the densest part of Seattle: parts of Capitol Hill and Belltown sport 20,000 to 30,000 residents per sq. mile. The densest part of East Kent Hill is less than 8,000 people per sq. mile.

      This data is from the 2010 census via NY Times.

      1. Ok, you’re right, I live in census tract 29504.

        Population density 7,277/sq mile.

        About the same density as tract 66, South Lake Union with 8,230/sq mille.

        While the most central census tracts for the areas you site are higher in density, just a rough scan across nearby tracts shows densities at the 8000-10000 level. And of course, the very highest tracts are restricted in overall area.

        Look my point has always been — Kent East Hill is “right up there” if not with the densest of the dense, then with the generally dense areas.

        One can easily see this by zooming out on the map and noting the code coding.

      2. Over half of Tract 66 is the lake itself and is north of what is considered the SLU development area. The bulk of SLU development is in Tract 73 with density 15,055/sq mi. Twice the density of Kent East Hill.

      3. Ok, I guess we’re going to have to be babies in pre-school about this then.

        There are many, many tracts in Seattle that have densities in the 8000-12000 range…similar to Kent East Hill.

        Are there huge tracts of greater density?


        Are they representative of the whole city?


        Simply put, my area in Kent is “in there” with many of the tracts in and around Seattle proper.

        And in fact, I would so far as to say, that Seattle overemphasizes the few very dense core tracts as a means of extracting money from Government far out proportion to the more average representative tracts.

    1. Ok, my grammar cop wife says it should be “Drill, baby, drill!”. Hey, I’m a techie/bus driver kind of guy, not an English lit major. Sue me.

    2. Thanks a fantastic idea. Has ST announced when the TBM should start? I see meetup potential for this. I have never been to a STB meet-up, yet I have been reading the blog since Andrew was running it back in 2007. The Capitol Hill Station is 3 blocks from my house so I would definitely be there.

    3. I heard from a source in the know that the date had not been set in stone as of yesterday. They will take the time it takes to do final testing on Brenda before christening her and starting her up in operation. But it could be as early as this coming Friday.

      1. Hopefully she’s not a real dog := And Velo, your wife is correct. In general, your wife is always correct; words to live by.

  4. Not sure if anyone it interested, but the Anc Family will be moving back to Seattle shortly.

    It looks like Anne’s old company is going to hire her back (which is awesome as she has been out of the tech game ever since I drug her to Fayettnam, NC). If it all works out, I’ll be leaving for Afghanistan between the 1st and 5th, then she will move back to Seattle and start July 11th! Woot, woot!

    We would like to settle in the Rainier Valley so while I’m gone we’re gonna rent to make sure she does/we will like living there then hopefully find a place to buy after I get out of the Army (April 18, 2012) and move back. It looks like we’re gonna go with a 1Bdr+Den at The Station at Othello (Hi Norman!). Hopefully her using power of attorney to put me on the lease will count towards residency at the UW (the G.I.Bill only covers in-state tuition) if not then hopefully my time living here before I PCSed to Bragg will count. We’ll see.

    One step closer to being home!!

    1. Congrats and welcome to the neighborhood. Make sure on your visit here you get a drivers license AND register to vote (you can do that at the DOL office). That will get your residency clock running.

      1. I do not think I will be able to return before I deploy. I am hoping being on the lease and bills (Power of Attorney) will suffice.

    2. WA drivers license (if you don’t already have one) once you have an address. Voter registration (if you kept your registration in WA then you should already be a resident). Make sure both names are on utility bills (cell phone with 206 area code). One other thing to consider. Because of the funding situation, UW is pushing hard to accept more out of State enrollment. I’m not sure if this means it’s actually easier to get accepted into a major if you’re out of State though since spots are still limited. Either way, the school is very difficult to get into now days. I’ve heard (don’t know if it’s true) of 4.0 HS students being turned down (could be the college major like music which requires audition on top of the other entrance requirements).

      1. I do not have a WA Driver’s License, but I lived in the state from Jan07 to Mar09 and have the orders to prove it. According to the Army WA is my State of Residence. I also have a WA Concealed Pistol and Marriage License though.

        As to the UW, I finished up my undergrad (International Studies) with a 3.69. I am hoping my scores and experience first as an Infantrymen during the Surge in Iraq (living out in the city and working with the Sons of Iraq [former insurgents bought out/brought to our side]) and then going PsyOp and doing VSO (Village Stability Operations [Me and 13 other Americans {in my case another Psychological Operations Soldier and 12 Special Operation Marines} will live in an Afghan Village, locking it down 24/7 and training up an Local Afghan Police {LNP} force) will help push me over the finish line. Need be I can throw the Disabled Veteran Card ™, I am totally not above that! :D

      2. Given that the Army considers WA to be your state of residence of record you shouldn’t have too much trouble establishing residency for tuition purposes. While it will be a pain in the rear see if there is any way to get your voter registration and drivers license updated while you are overseas. It shouldn’t be too hard for the voter registration and it will mean you can vote overseas while out of country. The driver’s license might be harder but there might be some exceptions for overseas military personnel.

      3. This is getting slightly off topic so I’ll be brief. UW doesn’t reject qualified applicants with 4.0 HS GPAs. There was a story in the Times about one kid who had a 4.0 GPA and was rejected, but we don’t know what his test scores, schedule, or essay were like. Just remember that UW looks at things other than GPA.

      4. Yeah, high GPA’s get thrown out all the time at the UW admissions office. Cliff Mass was fond of pointing the practice out and defending it.

        They dig deep into the transcripts of high GPA students to look for what they consider “powder-puff” classes. If you haven’t been backing up your 4.0 GPA with challenging classes, they’ll replace you with the guy getting a 3.2 in hard classes.

        This is where the “rejecting 4.0 students to take lower-performing out-of-staters” anecdotes come from.

        Keep in mind as tight as freshman admissions are, that the state’s community colleges have a Direct Transfer Agreement with the UW – any student graduating with an AA/AS and 2.75 GPA has a guaranteed slot at the Tacoma campus, and guaranteed transfer credits. So it’s not really like any qualified HS graduate is being denied a college degree – there’s always the 2-year+transfer option.

    3. Anc,

      I’ll be interested to know if you get your King County ballot on time. The elections department has had a scandle or two over absentee ballots mailed out late.

      1. I’m actually kinda worried about that. I don’t want to start the process until Anne moves back (which will occur only AFTER I deploy) but on the otherhand where I am going is bumfuck nowhere. Two hours from the nearest FOB with Greenside Internet. I’ve been told that every couple weeks/a month I’ll be able to go back for a shower/hot chow/internet, but that is not a given. I wish I could just fill out my ballot now!

    4. Call up the adminsions office on Monday and check but I’m pretty sure that if the Army says you live here and you’re registered to vote then you should be eligible for in State tuition. Doesn’t sound like you’ll have any problem getting in for post grad work. Might even be offered a pretty decent job as a teaching assistant.

      1. Not registered to vote in WA, kept my AL while there. :( But I do have the email of the head of admissions and will contact her. I don’t know if it’s due to budget cuts or what but it was hell getting ahold of anyone at admissions. Not only is the line always busy, but they can’t call back out of state numbers, so I just had to sit there calling, hanging up, calling, hanging up, for a couple of hours last week to get a person. I’m trying to work in an extension on my application as a) applications for Fall 12 won’t open up until after I am gone and b) my deployment just got extended a couple months so now I will get back after the application deadline. So I’ve got a couple of weeks to get my entire application together WHILE getting ready to deploy. Hopefully someone there will cut me a break.

      2. it was hell getting ahold of anyone at admissions. Not only is the line always busy, but they can’t call back out of state numbers,

        Get a WA 206 area code cell phone. Should be able to do that over the phone or at a provider store. Especially since the Army lists WA as your state of residence. You should also be able to change your voter registration by mail. Sometimes you can get by with a private provider PO Box (not USPS) as a valid in State address for some things. I think your car will have to be inspected by WSP before the registration can be changed. But if a car is bought in State you should be able to complete the change of registration by mail.

    5. BTW, thanks to ALL Y’ALL for the congrats and the advice. Just b/c I haven’t said it every post doesn’t mean I don’t feel it!

    6. I bedroom for two people? You guys must like each other.

      I live alone in a 2 bedroom and I wish I had more space.

      1. I don’t require a large amount of ‘private space’ preferring instead community space. The majority of my life I have shared a room (little brother, boarding school, college, live in gfs, then wife). These last couple of years my wife and I have had our own house in the suburbs and have been pretty much miserable. Boring as hell not to mention expensive. We’re actually looking at getting roommates (another couple we are friends with who are at the same place in their life) for the first couple of years after we get a house in Seattle.

      2. Thanks for the offer, but I have no desire whatsoever to live in Kent.

  5. I would like to offer a retraction/correction from one of the threads last week:

    Metro will not be adding more service to the 255 in October. They added all they are going to add last October and this February.

    1. I was under the impression 256 trips turn into 255 trips in October, adding service in the reverse peak.

      1. Bellevue Resident is mostly correct. This has been approved by the county council and will go into effect with the October service change. From King County’s website: “Delete Route 256… add Route 255 service to include 10-minute frequency during morning and afternoon peaks, 30-minute frequency on weekday evenings (up from 60 minutes)”

  6. This seems as good as place as any to report on the State of the War on Cash.

    There are a number of cash-equivalent media still being accepted, but no longer offered. Since they are not all listed on public websites, I’ll just focus on the remaining non-ORCA fare media still being offered.

    Sound Transit’s only non-ORCA product is train tickets. I would like to declare ST’s part in the War on Cash done, except that the TVM’s really don’t do much to push riders to consider getting an ORCA instead of a train ticket. If the TVM’s could be programmed to ask a question or two, such as “Do you plan to transfer to a bus?”, and “Do you plan to ride again on another day”?, and then give a brief cost/benefit analysis of getting a ticket vs. getting a pass, that would help push ORCA into more hands. I think a lot of riders are still oblivious to the fact that TVM’s vend ORCAs. Sound Transit gets a Gold Star for its leadership (since they brought ORCA to us) and service in the War on Cash.

    Community Transit and Everett Transit have no non-ORCA fare media they still sell to the general public. The ticketbooks sold now are for paratransit only. No paper transfers are offered. They each get a Platinum Star for their service. (Only ST gets a leadership star.)

    Kitsap Transit’s only remaining non-ORCA media still offered for regular routes is paper transfers good only at designated tranfer points (centers and ferry docks). They have done pioneering work getting ORCAs distributed through human service agencies. I so want to give them a Platinum Star for their effort above and beyond the call of duty in the War on Cash, but the technicalities limit me to giving them a Gold Star. But I’ll add a special commendation for them being the only bus agency so far outside of the Sound Transit family to have taken the bold step of joining the ORCA network. Okay, I’ll give them a Gold.5 Star.

    Pierce Transit still offers weekend day passes, paper transfers good for only one hour (or so), and tickets only distributed through human service agencies. They have been pushing Intercity Transit to join the ORCA network, because of the Olympia Express routes. IT, for its part, has been taking a long time installing ORCA readers on the 603 and 620, which has caused riders to hold onto their ORCA receipts, for POP purposes. PT gets a Silver Star.

    Metro has put much effort over the past year into converting Regional Reduced Fare Permits into ORCA (which will get more ORCAs into several bus agencies outside the ORCA network), converting the U Pass into the Husky Card, and is on the verge of taking ticketbooks off the shelf at the end of the year. I don’t have an answer yet as to whether the free tickets distributed through human service agencies will be ORCAized. For those easily spooked at the idea of not giving out paper tickets through groups such as Share/Wheel, I will ask this of you: Research what Kitsap has done with free ORCA distribution, then get back to me.

    Of course, Metro still has paper transfers that are good *longer* than ORCA transfers, and I’ve been told by official sources that they have no plan for eliminating paper transfers any time soon. The official reason (paraphrased here) is that there are many in the bus-dependent population who cannot afford an ORCA card. Really. That’s the reason.

    On paper, Metro is actually blind to the real reason paper transfers create such a nuisance for every rider every day who is trying to get somewhere faster. A report I saw recently (which I wish I could find again) recognized the time delay from operators inspecting paper transfers, but not the time delay caused by change fumbling. I just have to ask, does anyone reading this remember ever seeing an operator carefully inspect a paper transfer? I suspect there were some underinformed non-bus-riders involved in Metro’s tragic decision to keep paper transfers, and to keep them overvalued.

    Nevertheless, since Metro has made such a huge good faith effort over the past year to push conversion of all flash passes except county employee passes and paper transfers into ORCA, they get a Silver Star, at least for this year.

    But we do need to educate the MLK County Council on the real nuisance factor of the overvalued paper transfers, since, on paper, Metro only recognizes the (fictional) time delay for operators to inspect them. There is still work to be done in the War on Cash.

    1. I’ve never understood why Link tickets exist. Just make Link 100% ORCA.

      “that there are many in the bus-dependent population who cannot afford an ORCA card. Really. That’s the reason.”

      It’s true though. I know people who only have two dollars or ten dollars at a time. Either they literally can’t afford an ORCA card when they want to ride the bus, or it’s a significant percentage of their money available. Paying for a trip makes sense to them, but not paying for an intangible future benefit. Inter-agency transfers don’t persuade them because they rarely ride anything except Metro, and as you said they actually get less value with an ORCA transfer than a Metro transfer. I think ORCA should put an initial $3 credit on the card. That way it would look like you’re getting something for your $5 rather than just putting it down the drain. And a $2 net card fee would be more in line with other cities, and would partly make up for the lack of a (cheap cardboard-magnetic) visitors’ card.

      1. And what happens when it craps out? I’ve got a dead one that’s barely a year old :=( I’ve also got frozen funds because I didn’t use it in a certain number of days after an autoload. There are still a lot of details that need to be fixed so that it’s not such a pain in the arse.

      2. Link tickets don’t really hurt anything. For some visitor to the city that only wants to ride once, or one round trip, they’re fine. I don’t agree with Brent’s idea of additional dialog with the TVM when buying a ticket, but it could presnt an option of loading preloading an ORCA card with ten or twenty fares. If a premium of say 5% were given for cash deposits to the ORCA epurse, the ORCA card could be “free”.

        Another reason that ORCA makes little sense for extremely cash short people is that anything in the epurse is money that’s not in their pocket. They would tend to keep low balances, and the way things are set up now, it may be very inconvenient to reload it when they run out of epurse money. That shouldn’t be an excuse to make paper transfers and cash transactions more valuable than ORCA.

      3. “I’ve never understood why Link tickets exist. Just make Link 100% ORCA.”

        For tourists, paying for a $5 card (beautiful though it may be), on top of a couple one-way tickets doesn’t save them any money. But if most tourists then use it to transfer to a bus (which may eventually no longer be free downtown), and use a non-free bus again on the return trip, the marginal expense of the card for the tourist is 50 cents in the worst-case scenario.

        The train is much cheaper than any cab, so I don’t think any tourists will be put off by the extra cost getting a card, especially if they are at the station and a long walk from a cab.

        I’ve seen one con artist try to use an old ticket on a different day, and get caught. Boy did she go into drama queen mode, having a loud cell phone conversation with her “lawyer” while refusing to get off the train.

        I would love to see the TVMs set to no longer offer tickets.

        But consider whether the ticket function might come in handy if/when downtown becomes a POP zone…

      4. If Metro wants to keep paper transfers good for two hours (or so), then we should insist that Metro ORCA transfers be good for *four* hours…

        … and that ORCA be sold for only $2.

        If the point of the $5 price is to create an incentive not to lose the ORCA, then I think the hassles involved in replacement, and paying a little more to ride the bus in the meantime, are a much more effective deterrent.

        Demand an ORCA price decrease and a tranfer-value increase, and maybe Metro will take a second look at their poor logic.

      5. I agree that they should find some way of reducing the ORCAcard fee. Also, is there any policy about replacing them after a number of years? Chicago CTA “requires” their ChicagoCard product be replaced after 4 years. I guess the power source in the card exhausts after that time.

        I think if someone is on public assistance they should get some form of transportation assistance. Perhaps not a full ride but a reasonable number of trips a week. Those could be provided on an ORCA card.

      6. How about *free* ORCA cards, limited to one per person? To get a free card, you’d have to obtain it in person at a transit agency office, show ID, and register the card in your name. Un-registered cards and replacements for lost/stolen/damaged cards would still be $5. (Cards where the “damage” appears to be due to a defect rather than abuse would be replaced free.) This is what Minneapolis did with its GoTo system and it has really encouraged people to use GoTo.

      7. We do have a program geared toward those with limited income: the Reduced Regional Fare Permit.

        The categories right now are based on age or physical ability. However, if people qualify for certain other programs that are recognized as being for people with limited income (such as unemployment benefits), then the collective agencies within the RRFP network could agree to add that category, at least for temporary RRFPs.

        This doesn’t deal with those who have no income. I’m not sure how Metro handles this category, but SHARE/WHEEL claims that the free bus tickets they give out to shelter residents are funded by donations.

      8. I don’t know about Chicago’s cards, but ORCA cards have no power source in them. The power is provided wirelessly by the ORCA reader.

      9. “…there are many in the bus-dependent population who cannot afford an ORCA card. Really. That’s the reason.”

        My brain just exploded.

        Yet it’s okay to double the fares in four years. They do know that $36/month extra is slightly more than $5 once, right?

        And it’s okay to penalize the poor with extra sales taxes that somehow never improve service in the slightest, partly because all the funds disappear into the black hole of service inefficiencies.

        Inefficiencies like… waiting for cash payment and handing out transfers!

        Viciousbraindead cycle.

      10. @John Charles Williams,

        Did Minneapolis add a few trips or a free monthly pass, or some other benefit, pre-loaded onto the card? I can’t see people rushing to get free empty ORCAs, given the current transfer price structure.

        I see such a proposal as a short-term band-aid, not a permanent solution, such as fixing the price structure to incentivize *using* ORCA.

        Yes, there are people who can’t afford to get an ORCA. We have human services programs trying to get cards into their hands, probably at far greater administrative cost than the value of the cards.

        Reducing the paper transfer value from two hours to one should have minimal impact on the poorest riders, get the vast majority of ORCA holders to stop gaming the price structure, and provide a sufficient incentive to get the vast majority of frequent bus riders who don’t have an ORCA to get one. We can have a compromise that gets those who can afford to use ORCA to do so, and doesn’t price the poor any further out of riding.

    2. RFID cards cost a little more than 50 cents each. They shouldn’t be sold at a 1000% mark-up; that’s immoral.

      1. London’s Oyster card costs 5 pounds at many, many vending machines. 2 pounds of that becomes the initial balance. The other 3 pounds is refundable. Plus, their system has a max daily fare.

        Is any part of the orca card 5$ fee a deposit or go to fares? That would go a long way towards making them fair to low income people and encourage tourist use.

      2. The $5 is pure revenue; you don’t get any ride credit or refunds. If you lose the card or it stops working, it’s $5 to get a replacement card (they will transfer your e-purse balance if you registered the first card).

        As all retailers and airlines know, it doesn’t cost the agency $3 to give a $3 free ride credit. It only costs them the farebox recovery rate, or about $1. So there should be no complaints about them “Losing $3”.

  7. Hey STB’ers – I’m trying to plan a backpacking trip from my home and back… but without the use of a car,
    and preferably without the use of a bus as well. Thought you guys might have some ideas for me.
    I live in Capitol Hill, so I’m guessing that my trip will start with a walk to, and then ferry ride from downtown…
    just because I figure that it the fastest, easiest way to get to out of the city. I’m also not opposed to taking Amtrak Cascade South or North a ways but I’m not really
    familiar with where any of the stops are other than the major cities, and what the hiking/ camping possibilities are out there.

    The best hypothetical route I’ve come up with so far is;

    – Day 1: Walk; Capitol Hill -> Downtown
    Water Taxi; Downtown -> West Seattle
    Walk; West Seattle -> Faunterloy
    Ferry; Fauntleroy -> Vashon
    Walk; Ferry Terminal -> a Campground about a mile South of the Ferry Terminal on Vashon

    (I know I could ferry from downtown to Vashon, but this itinerary already feels a little short)

    – Day 2: Walk; Campground -> the Vashon South Ferry Terminal
    Ferry ; Vashon -> Tacoma
    Walk; Tacoma Ferry Terminal -> Downtown Tacoma Hotel (Unless there’s a campground within walking distance of the Ferry Terminal in Tacoma)

    – Day 3: Hang out in Tacoma (or maybe a walk to a different train station?), then Sounder or Amtrak back to Seattle.

    I don’t really know anything about Vashon… Anyone know what the walk from North to South on Vashon would be like?
    Could we walk the whole way along the beach? Any good trails that go a fair distance N to S? Or any ideas on how to extended this itinerary a bit? I was
    hoping for around a 3 day trip so this one is a bit short because I think we could do it all in two days if we hurried. Vashon is 13 miles top to bottom.

    Or any completely different route ideas? I’d be open to taking a train North or South a ways and starting the trip from somewhere a little further away.
    Or maybe catching the train to Edmonds and catching the ferry from there… thoughts? thanks in advance! I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time
    but I can’t find any resources online about this kind of thing specifically, or anyone else who seems to have done it… although I’m sure many people have!

    1. You should consider taking the Cascades to Mount Vernon, bus to Anacortes and then ferry to one of the San Juan islands. The San Juans are a much nicer destination then Vashon, IMHO, and offer more camping and hiking opportunities.

      1. There’s a campground just up from the ferry dock on Lopez island. It’s easily walkable.

    2. I spent some time on Vashon as a young’un. It’s a walk uphill from the ferry terminal, and the main town is some five miles away. It’s a 30-minute drive from one end of the island to the other. Most of the shore is private, and while you can walk along the whole shore if you have a house on it, it’s another thing if you don’t. I guess if you look like a homeowner you wouldn’t attract much attention. There are a few public beaches — KVI Point and Burton — but they’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s a beautiful sandbar in the narrow isthmus between Vashon and Maury islands but it’s pretty much accessible only by car unless you want to spend all day walking all over the island. Most of the island is rural houses. There’s Camp Sealth where a lot of groups go to, and there may be an individual campground somewhere. There are small farm lots, but none probably big enough that the owner would let you sleep in a corner of it.

    3. Larrabee State Park is about 6 miles south of the train station in Bellingham. You could catch the morning train and arrive at the park about noon. There’s a nice hike up the hill to Fragrance Lake that you could take in the afternoon. Spend the night in the park, go to the beach and hike back to B’ham the next day. There’s an evening train that heads back to Seattle about 730pm.

    4. One option is to take the ferry to Bremerton and then hoof it over to Green Mountain State Forest. There is at least one campground in the vicinity of Green Mountain that you can stay at. It would be a 10-13 mile walk, but you would end up someplace with the real flavor of wilderness. Watch out for moto-razzers on weekends, though. There is a decent map of the trails on the DNR website.

  8. What’s going on with Tolling the 520 bridge? Once upon a time it was supposed to start this Spring. Now the ads say this Summer. Does anyone know when it is supposed to start?

  9. What’s the point of the 358’s little jog into Phinney Ridge? Wouldn’t service be more efficient without it? I hardly ever see anyone using these stops.

    1. Well, Linden used to be the route of the Interurban, which is why there are so many apartments there. The 6 went from Aurora to Stone Way, southwest Greenlake, Linden, Winona, and back to Aurora. When the 358 was created it skipped Stone Way but stayed on Linden. Presumably because there are more riders there than on Aurora next to the lake. But I hear RapidRide E will probably bypass Linden.

    2. In addition to what Mike said, Aurora’s pedestrian facilities in that area are really bad (even for Aurora), especially on the northbound side.

  10. What’s up with the formatting? First this thread displayed super wide. Then it went back to normal and now it’s fonts and formating are whacked out. Is it just my Firefox browser?

    1. Me too. Looks like all the CSS be missing in action

      Firefox 4.0.1 / Win 7 Pro x64)
      Also having same issue with IE 9 x64

      STB Naked? (ugh!) Methinks is’s MIA CSS :(

    2. (darn need an edit button!)

      Extra Wide Post: someone pasted a huge URL (the A tag and/or TinyURL are valuable resources)

      Then I lost all formatting and see straight HTML here :(

  11. I never realized the full extent of the lack of late-night transit service in this city until the other day, when I was trying to get back home from Mount Baker. The latest run of the 48, the highest-ridership route in the Metro system (at least before it got truncated, but still up there in the highest-ridership routes regardless) on a weekday leaves Mount Baker Transit Center at 11:30! I guess it’s not just about overall late-night service, but about how we distribute it; the 48 needs it a lot more than, say, the tail of the 71 (which goes right by my house).

    1. All the non-downtown routes stop earlier than the downtown routes. I think it’s a case of inertia, a belief that non-downtown routes are just extra and have fewer riders, even after that’s no longer the case.

  12. Why does Metro publish SNOW ROUTES in SUMMER shake up timetables? It makes no sense at all!

    1. It makes a little sense in that people have gotten very frustrated in the past about not knowing the snow routes. I don’t like the colored ink they use for the snow routes now though. It makes it look like an important everyday route alternative, when it’s really just occasionally used.

  13. Most viewed

    The newly opened second section of Manhattan’s High Line park adds 10 blocks, doubling the length of park. It’s built on what was an elevated railroad track. The first section opened in 2009.

    1. It’s a stupid premise, but I’ll bite. Agricultural workers would have a very long commute.

  14. Question about the ST 545 reroute this weekend (and all other times when 520 is closed).

    At what point does the bus get on I-90? The “default” reroute is probably to take I-5 South at Howell, but wouldn’t it actually make more sense to switch the direction? That is, start at Convention Place (ish), run to the ID via 5th, then get on I-90 via the transit ramps?

    This seems like it would save time, especially when you consider that the 545 and 522 are interlined — this would turn 3 laps through DT into 1.

    On the other hand, it would require people to switch to different stops than they’re used to taking — in fact, different streets — so maybe that’s less than ideal. :P

    A related idea would be to temporarily extend the 550 to Redmond via 405, and tell 545 passengers to use 550 during the closure.

    Maybe I’m just solving a problem that doesn’t exist, but if I got on the 545 in the ID and had to take the 545 for a round-trip tour of downtown (north via 4th and south via I-5), I’d be a bit miffed. :)

      1. I’m talking about a different kind of interlining: it’s like through-routing, but more ad-hoc. See page 45 of the ST 2011 SIP, for example.

        The way it currently works, the 545 goes from Redmond to 6th/Atlantic, then it becomes a 522 and heads back up through downtown and up I-5 to Woodinville. So during the SR-520 closure, the naive 545 reroute would mean that a 545 would go down to I-90, then up to Stewart+Denny via I-5, then back down to SODO, then back up to Convention Place. Seems a bit silly, no? :)

      2. It’s not really interlining since you won’t see the different routes on the same streets providing a common “trunk” of service. Closer to through-routing, but with a layover in the middle. :)

        The 545 re-route is here [PDF]*, and it does use the I-5 SB ramp at Howell/Yale for the Eastbound service. Coming back it gets off at Madison, then goes up 6th, Olive, and Boren before returning to the regular route.

        I agree that it’s probably bound to get snarled in traffic a lot, but making people switch streets completely would probably be a disaster. I think your 550 extension idea is interesting.

        Incidentally, I took a look at a bunch of the 545 runs for Saturday on OneBusAway and none of the turn into 522s. They were all 545, all day. The route-switching may only be on weekdays.

        * If you want to find the reroute details yourself, go here and punch in the route number you want.

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