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87 Replies to “A Few More News Links”

    1. Does anyone know the recent ridership on RR-A?
      How does that compare to that segment of the 174 it replaced?

      1. Thanks Tim, I hadn’t seen that study.
        It’s clear riders really like the service over the 174. That should equate into more riders over time. I was hoping Metro had quantified that increase in ridership somehow, to justify the 50% increase in service hours allocated to the corridor.

      2. Don’t read too much into that “final report”. It was presented barely three months after the A Line opened.

      3. We have to justify 15 minute frequency? Isn’t it self-evident that that frequent service in one of south King’s main traffic corridors is a good thing? It benefits not only riders who are countable at the farebox, but also potential riders who may not need the bus today but will tomorrow or next month. The increase in ridership won’t necessarily be seen in a quarterly report; it’ll be seen over the years as it’s now more possible to drive less or not have a car, and as people who want frequent transit move closer to the A line.

    2. Still no sign of it at East Base, other than OBS Radio training, which I attend tomorrow. I haven’t seen any marketing other than a few web sites and emails from the county.

      On a separate note, I’ve heard that the New Vans (Work Horse?) are coming back soon. I was told in the training office that everybody on the board and ATL will be getting trained. No word yet on whether I can decline. :)

      1. Are they still using the thick cushy seats or have they transitioned to the metal Link-style seats?

    1. More about it in the Times, “a href=””>Michael Mina sees Green with RN74 Seattle.”

      Also, Seattle architects have the blueprint for hot new restaurants:

      It’s not luck. It’s something we think about,” insists Jim Graham, whose company, Graham Baba Architects, designed the Walrus and the Carpenter… “It’s all about place-making. And we are basing all our decisions on how you get there,” says Graham.

  1. State buys land from Seattle for $20M. City trying to find ways of spending money (insert gondola comment here). I assume this will be used as part of their massive portal?

      1. Commenters on Slog say this is a typical mismatch between county tax property values and actual property values. I personally have no idea how you’d come up with a reasonable number. I guess Seattle could have held out for a good billion or two, to pay for the cost over-runs.

      2. Hmmm, while it used to be true that County assessments were always way below market value that changed around the time of the tech bubble bursting and the County being strapped for cash. At least on the residential end assessments have been pretty close and are perhaps high now as they haven’t fully accounted for falling home prices the last 2-3 years. Evidently commercial developers get a break and let the county tax burden fall on private individuals. Looking around for a comparable I found parcel 0697000105 which sold in 2007 for $50M when the County appraisal price was only $15M. The first property I looked at was the 10 acres campus of the Gates Foundation. Why did the City sell that for $0.00?

  2. In the article about the new Metro policy Larry Phillips is quoted as saying,

    “The era of empty buses is over as the public simply will not tolerate inefficient use of resources during these tight budget times.”

    Does this apply to empty rail cars, also, like Link much of the day, Sounder north most of the time, and the S.L.U.T. most of the day?

    1. I think most of the day to Norman is, he happens to see one train go by that isn’t at capacity and says well what a waste! Every Link train is empty all day! lol Hate to tell you buddy, but no one takes you serious!

    2. Honestly, norman has a point. It took this recession to get pierce transit to overhaul their routes. It might just be this recession that convinces King County to get rid of the 40/20/20 rule or whatever it’s called. Empty buses that run into the far stretches of suburbia are not good for bus riders in Seattle who need those revenue hours right now.

  3. If King County vehicle miles traveled has been flat over the last decade, and they continue to be flat into the future, that means that we can, indeed, build our way out of traffic congestion.

    If vehicle miles stay flat, and we build more highway lanes, then, with the same number of vehicles spread out over more lanes, traffic congestion will lessen, and eventually disappear, which would be a good thing for everyone.

    So, keep building and improving roads, and traffic congestion will decrease, if vmt stays the same.

    1. They’ve been flat partially because we haven’t expanded roads (much). Adding capacity induces demand.

      1. Absurd. We have added lots of lanes in King County over the last decade. Why do you think the state had those gas tax increases from 2003 to 2008?

        Where is your evidence that adding capacity induces demand? That is just a trite phrase that car haters repeat over and over. If that were true, then vehicle miles should have increased over the past decade, not remained flat.

      2. Norman, I’ve taken the time to verify that the domain “” is available. I think you should promptly register the domain and establish a forum where transit haters such as yourself can spew vitriol about what a waste transit is, complain about how much money is spent on “little trains”, and wax poetic about how much better this region would be if we paved most of it over to provide additional SOV capacity.

        And if you claim that you’re not anti-transit, there are PLENTY of comments you’ve made in other forums where you proclaim that public transit is a waste of public funds.

      3. Brett, you mean comments like this:

        “So, the state can cut education by billions, and kick thousands of people off the basic health plan, but cutting bus service in King County is unacceptable? What a load of garbage. Cut the bus service. Nobody will die.”

        Grover/Norman cares nothing about transit. Like Kemper Freeman and other ‘BRT/Bus Only’ supporters he only supports buses when trains are on the table.

      4. [ad hom]

        So, anyone: Where is the evidence that adding capacity “induces” demand? lol

        I just drove round trip between Queen Anne Hill and the eastside today using the viaduct and the I-90 bridge, and it was clear sailing both ways, to the eastside about 12:30 and back to Seattle about 3:45 on the bridge. According to your brilliant theory, the I-90 bridge and viaduct should have been congested both ways, since clear roads always “induce” congestion. No congestion whatsoever in the middel of the day, and I make that trip a couple of times each week, and it’s always the same — no congestion.

        What happened to yout theory? lol

      5. Gas prices had nothing to do with what?

        Inflation-adjusted gas prices have been very low, very high for a few months, and mostly fairly average over the last 10 years. You see any major changes in vmt that align closely with the inflation-adjusted cost of gasoline during the past 10 years?

      6. “We have added lots of lanes in King County over the last decade.”

        Like all those lanes on 405 that were clogged almost from the day they opened? So much for all that money the state just pissed down a rathole…

      7. Norman, induced demand was seen when the I-90 bridge first opened. Large volumes of traffic emerged from nowhere (+50,000 daily trips, if memory serves), resulting in total daily traffic volumes not predicted for another 15 years.

        Eric Pryne had a good article on the phenomenon in the Seattle Times some years ago; last time I searched on the SeaTimes’ website, I couldn’t find it, however.

      8. There’s no technology to build part-time lanes. You can either build lots of lanes for the rush hour and then have empty lanes middays/nights, or you can build a few lanes for the midday and have slow traffic rush hour. Or convince people to travel evenly throughout the day, but that has never worked.

        But just because traffic is light midday and evenings doesn’t mean nobody is travelling. Closing the highway outside rush hours would be the equivalent of not having off-peak transit service.

      9. There’s no technology to build part-time lanes.

        No, but there is something to be said for focusing capacity improvements on corridors with all-day capacity demands, rather than only peak.

        Part-time HOV lanes can do a lot to increase effective peak capacity, at a minimal capital cost. This is especially true for connecting nodes which are already directly accessible from the freeway, like Microsoft/OTC.

    2. Given that VMT per capita is falling, why should we build more lanes that people are increasingly choosing not to drive on?

      1. Because we need more HOV lanes to get people [in buses and 3+ HOV/Vanpools] past existing congestion hot spots. I’d be all for a conservative solution, like congestion pricing or making due with what we have (translation: convert General Purpose lanes to HOV 3+) but I’ve not seen many “conservatives” around here advocate for that. Most just want bigger government, in the form of more roads.

      2. “To eliminate traffic congestion. You really needed me to explain that to you?”

        No need to build more lanes. Telecommuting will eradicate the need for anything more than 2-lane expressways serving commercial and emergency vehicles.

      3. Telecommuting is, indeed, going to help. It will certainly eliminate the need for many trips into and out of downtown business districts, which is the only thing that transit is good for. So, telecommuting will eliminate any perceived “need” for stupidly expensive transit systems into and out of downtown Seattle.

        But, for non-commuting trips we still need plenty of lanes of roads.

      4. I thought you just posted above that there was no congestion today, and usually isn’t on your trips. Congestion has been eliminated, we need no new lanes.

      5. David, didn’t you know that congestion is pretty much eliminated, except when it’s not, and even when it’s not telecommuting will eradicate it in 3 or 4 years? HOV lanes are going to make magical and fantabulous greenbelts. Duh.

      1. Could be solved with a simple light that tells you if it’s charging. What I’m having a hard time buying is the claim that it’s efficient. You’ve got to be leaking energy through the magnetic field created. And if you think little cell phone emissions cause cancer…

      2. You don’t need to sustain a magnetic field if there’s nothing to induce a current into, right? I imagine you could run a tiny current through the plate until you detect the induction, and then ramp up the current.

        I’d be more concerned about the inefficiency introduced by the inches of air between the plates.

    1. From the story about DMUs to Bellingham:

      Sound Transit could gain more riders if it had more parking available where people get on the bus or train, Earl said.

      “Parking is the pressure point to using transit,” she said. “If you make it easy to access transit, you’ll see an uptick in ridership.”


      1. I think increased DMU service could be successful, but it’d be a hard sell north of Everett where traffic simply isn’t an issue. Ridership on the county connector buses between Everett, Mount Vernon and Bellingham has been very strong so obviously there’s a demand. A DMU could even easily go to Sedro Wooley and Anacortes too, since the track is already there.

        After leasing the tracks from BNSF and bending over backwards for the FRA just to open the service, I dont think it would be worth it. I’d rather focus on more Cascades runs and improving the quality of the county connectors.

      2. Yep, transit to green field developments works great if you provide enough free parking. Why up-zone when you can get the same ridership with an out-zone. The tallest building should always be the parking garage and then terraced down; two story, split level, rambler.

      3. I would rather see a 3rd Cascades trip northbound than the DMU proposal. The only existing and available, FRA compliant DMU is the equipment used by TriMet for the WES service. It’s loud, slow and uncomfortable–even extending an ST trip with the bi-levels would be better than DMU service.

      4. Agreed on the 3rd Cascades trip. Mid-day service between Seattle and Bellingham/Vancouver would be great!

      5. Would a third train to Vancouver run into the same customs agency problems the other two trains did?

      6. What [Bernie] said. Why exactly would we spend resources on making it easy to commute from the far exurbs?

  4. Tuesday I was looking on Metro’s Tracker Map view and I found a rare find– a Breda artic trolley (4215) running the 36! I confirmed this when I went to SDOT’s camera page and got this to prove it.

    Does this mean Metro is thinking about buying MORE artic trolleys just for the 36?

    1. There are four runs that use the Breada this shakeup. One leaving 5th/Jackson at 7:49am, with last trip at 2:05pm out of Othello Station. Then a few more leaving 6th/Virginia at 4:01pm, 4:24pm, 4:53pm, with last trips 6:42pm, 7:11pm, and 7:42pm out of Othello Station, respectively.

      Yes, please send more 60′ trolleys!

  5. And, as a much, much earlier post suggested, Kemper Freeman is riding into the sunset; that is, more progressive Bellevueites are taking over.

    Yes, indeed.

    This blog is foolish to under-estimate the opposition spewing from the clown that is Kemper Freeman, and his fellow developer “lap dogs”. Ignore this jerk at your own peril. I have lived here since 1964, and I can assure you, “beautiful Bellevue” has not changed a heckuva lot since then. I am, and always have been, disappointed that Sound Transit would even consider building through the pathetic city of Bellevue.

    Even Dick’s Drive-In vacated that city years ago to build their place on Queen Anne.

      1. Screw Hellevue Square: Try Bellevue Botanical Gardens, the old PSE building (where Bario and Purple are). Heck, even “Old” Bellevue has a new twist on it – All without supporting the Evil Empire of the Eastside Grinch.

      2. Talking politics and being run by the traditional establishment of car based transportation. Not the fact, Valu-Mart no longer exists….or you can no longer buy a 15 cent burger at Gil’s Kentucky Fried Chicken….Never was a Ford guy, thus wouldn’t be caught dead in a Falcon…

    1. The issue isn’t whether Bellevue has the right attitude. The issue is that a large percentage of the region’s population lives there, and a large percentage of the region’s jobs are located there. If you don’t improve Bellevue’s transit, it’s the transit-riding people who live in Bellevue who suffer, and also those who would like to take those Eastside jobs. It’s the network effect. Transit systems like phone systems work best if they go everywhere.

  6. I have a kudo to give Metro today. I got off a bus before it reached downtown (I’m not saying where to protect the identity of this driver) and was waiting for a bus to get me closer to my destination. A bus marked “terminal” pulled up and the driver said he could get me to “X” intersection and I felt that was close enough to where I was going so I said ok. Turns out, he was dead heading to start a route and could actually get me to within 1 block of where I was going. I don’t know if this was kosher but it was very appreciated and saved me about 20+ minutes of travel time.

    So thank you anonymous Metro driver and if you bent the rules to pick me up, I’ll never tell who, what or where…

    1. All buses are considered “in service” when deadheading. The driver did nothing that they’re not allowed to do. Typically they don’t stop to pick people up while deadheading as their deadhead schedule is very tight, and by doing so they risk starting their route late.

      I encourage you to return the favor and commendate the driver.

      1. Thanks for the link. I’ve piled my thanks on thick but it may still be “anonymous” since I didn’t register the bus# or driver name.

        I had heard that picking up passengers while dead-heading across the bridges was permitted, I just hadn’t heard of it for in-town routes.

      2. In gave my first kudos to metro the other day because I had the best Link driver ever. I wonder if the guy has experience driving LRVs in other cities, because the trip from SeaTac to Westlake was about 30 mins. The guy knew what he was doing for sure…

      3. I don’t know why you’re keeping the driver anonymous. They didn’t do anything wrong. If you give identifiable information, they’ll get a note with your comments. Drivers get so few of these it really makes their day.

      4. Well, I can’t identify the driver because I didn’t see his number and I don’t think KCM drivers wear unique numbers on their uniforms? Also, I didn’t think to note the bus # but I did note in the message the time, direction and the info about what bus route it was becoming from the deadhead. Also I described the driver in general terms.

    2. “Accomodating the customer” is hardly something we would ever get in trouble for. I once picked up a slew of folks at Eastgate while deadheading back from a 212 trip. They were waiting for a VERY late 554. I knew traffic was hell so who knows when they actually would have been picked up. Nice to do when we have time, which sadly is rare these days. (Not faulting KC Metro – Mgmt is just playing the cards they’re dealt)

  7. “I thought you just posted above that there was no congestion today, and usually isn’t on your trips. Congestion has been eliminated, we need no new lanes.”

    Well done.

  8. On Kent East Hill in the Somerset Apartments, the area is awash with kids.

    From 1pm to 9pm, from my apartment, I hear screaming, laughing, shouting and crying nearly non-stop coming from 360 degrees. The dense yet sparse townhouse style apartments have multiple green areas nestled between the buildings, some enclosed.

    I have never seen (heard) so many kids as here…

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