Photo by Erubisu 27

This is an open thread.

82 Replies to “News Roundup: Woefully Inadequate”

    1. I’m fearful that the ST Board would use the $37 million to check off a couple other projects on the ST2 capital improvements list (e.g. free parking garages). Just opening two more Seattle stations in 2016 would increase the public perception that ST is really only about Seattle.

      That said, we have to keep in mind that opening up 200th St Station would likely mean having to have four more train cars in stock, which at $4 million a car comes out to $16 million to have enough trains to add 200th St Station service.

      1. They already have several new cars as part of the U-Link build up. Last I heard they’re supposed to receive a new car every month.

      2. Most ULink cars have already been delivered, and will make a total fleet of 62 cars. That fleet will support UW-to-S.200th service with peak-hour headways of 4 minutes from UW to Stadium Station, and 8-minute headways from Stadium Station to S.200th, operating 3-car trains.

      3. There’s no preset number or date at which joint operations cease. They will cease when busses and trains can no longer reliably share the tunnel*. The tunnel’s signalling is engineered for two-minute train headways, so it’s possible there will still be room for busses.

        As far as I know, no decision has been made on what the headways will be in the interval between U-Link and North-Link opening. They may be able to meet the demand with 8 minutes headways and four car trains, and that might be cheaper. If I’m wrong about that, perhaps the mysterious transit person will set me straight.

        * You could argue that they already don’t, but that’s not how Metro and ST currently see it.

      4. FWIW, My preference would be to continue joint operations until East Link opens. Students can handle a little crushload. However, eight-minute headway, a slight rollback from current peak headway, is about the limit of what real-time-arrival-sign-deprived transit nerds will tolerate.

      5. Will ST start receiving the third batch of LRVs (for North Link) before 2016? More importantly, where will they be stored?

      6. There is no third batch. LRVs for U-Link/S 200th are being delivered about one a month. They are being put into regular service rotation with the existing fleet. No more LRVs will be required until East Link or North Link enters service once assembly is complete on this lot.

        U-Link’s schedule is largely dependent on how fast the TBM’s dig. There’s really nothing that can be done to speed that up now.

        The extra cash will help solidify North Link’s financial position, but probably isn’t enough to move the needle that much on such a huge project. There is currently no exact date targeted for opening North Link — it’s too far out yet.

      7. “FWIW, My preference would be to continue joint operations until East Link opens.”

        Once East Link opens won’t every other train from the UW just head over to service East Link instead of terminating at Stadium Station? Unless I’m missing something, headways should stay the same once East Link initially starts operations.

        If you remove the 41, 71-73, 550, and consolidate a few more routes like the 74, 76, and 77, it seems like there already won’t be too many buses in the tunnel. Leaving the 101, 106, and 150 in there long term might actually work, no?

        It seems like the real issue comes when we get to 4 car trains and more frequent headways are *required*. That day is a ways off, however.

        From my seat, there are *plenty* of ways to improve joint operations although I don’t know what the rail regulators would say about my ideas.

      8. Velo,

        My understanding is that, when East Link starts, it will be considered a separate route with service levels the same as Central Link currently has. Thus, the shared segment will see 2x the frequency. If/when North Link opens, that will be a third route (Lynnwood to Mt Baker or so), which means that frequency on the shared Northgate-ID segment will be triple that of the outer stations.

        At that frequency, while you don’t *have* to kick out the buses, it’s probably the best option from a practical perspective. The buses can be divided into four groups: north, south, 520, and I-90. The 520 buses should be kicked out today. :) The north buses will all be truncated or replaced by U-Link/North Link; the only exceptions are a couple of one-way peak commuter routes, and it’s definitely not worth keeping joint operations for 3 buses a day. The I-90 buses will similarly be truncated or replaced by East Link.

        That leaves only the south buses. So that’s the question: is it worth keeping the tunnel open for three routes, all of which could hypothetically terminate at a Link station anyway? (A forced transfer at ID isn’t so bad when you have 3-minute headways.)

        Of course, an even crazier idea would be to build a 5th Ave tunnel, that turned to the west, to allow in the LQA/Ballard and West Seattle buses. And then you build direct connections to the SODO busway and the West Seattle Bridge. Then there’s no need for keeping buses in the existing tunnel, because they can all go in the new tunnel. :)

      9. Perhaps some of that $80 million could be used to early-order some of the North Link LRVs.

        Running every other train only to Stadium Station would cut the bus capacity of the tunnel by more than half. Running only three-car trains forces less headway to meet U-Link capacity needs, and is better than the alternation, but still doesn’t preserve as much bus capacity as four-car trains do. There is no penalty to buses for increasing the train length.

        FWIW, the longer the trains, the fewer passengers get passed by.)

        How many more traincars would enable sufficient inventory to run four-car trains the full length of the line during peak, and meet the capacity needs for the U-Link segment?

      10. Oh, and fewer, longer trains mean fewer train conductors to get paid, which will make the Seattle Times editorial board happier. (I wonder how much the editorialists get paid?)

    2. Also, does the $80 million mean an earlier opening of U-Link and/or North Link is within reach?

      1. If anything, I’d think the money would mean a slightly lower risk of delays to ST2 projects rather than an acceleration of the schedules. It would offset the unplanned losses, not provide extra money.

  1. ST should document and publicize just how much money it has spent on fleshing out multiple alternative proposals for East Link alignments, holding public forums and printing proposal books, legal costs associated with fighting Kemper Freeman-backed obstruction actions such as the I-90 lawsuit, and the potential lost money from having to hold off on construction until potentially the economy improves, combined with the immediate loss to the local economy in a critical economic recovery period by having to postpone construction for at least a year so far.

    And then we can look at the numbers and call them on their inefficiency, waste, and poor prioritizing.

    Eastside doesn’t want Link. Southside does. They are going to blow extra money on forcing East Link in face of continual blockades, and then deny much-wanted South Link? Makes. No. Sense. Certainly not a responsible use of public funds.

    1. Do you know anything whatsoever about Sound Transit? I suspect you don’t, as if you did, you’d know that the subarea equity constraints baked into the enabling legislation for ST2 require that Eastside money be spent on the Eastside.

      Moreover, if we were going to move money from the Eastside elsewhere, it would be construction to the north. Demand from UW to Lynnwood vastly exceeds the relatively limp demand from the east and south.

      1. I welcome Keith’s suggestions, feasible or not. Plus, it is good to see how people outside the rarified air of this blog feel about the transit agencies.

        My experience with ST has been nothing but positive, FWIW.

    2. Keith, your assertion that the Eastside doesn’t want Link is bullshit.

      The Eastside does want Link. They voted on it. They have the money to pay for it.

    3. Don’t confuse the majority on the Bellevue council with “the Eastside”. Almost a super-majority voted for Eastlink over here and want it. The fight over the South Bellevue alignment is really the only main contention (well that, and Kevin’s failed “Vision Line” which was resoundingly trounced). Instead of listening to the shrill rantings of BBB (and here) you should pay attention to the hard work being done by those in the group Move Bellevue Forward.

      As irritated as I get with the Eastside from time to time, there are a lot of us over here that see the need for more sustainable future and are fighting for it. Better to work with us that join the chorus of Eastside haters.

    4. If money can’t be transferred, why doesn’t ST get a jump start on East Link construction and build out to Mercer Island while Bellevue makes up its mind? Then all Mercer Island/Bellevue/Issaquah buses could terminate at Mercer Island and the train could take more people into the tunnel.

      1. I have my suspicions that the resources from the 554, 555, and 556 will all eventually be combined into frequent all day service that services Issaquah, South Bellevue Station, UW, and/or Northgate. Passengers wanting to go to Seattle in the middle of the day will need to transfer at South Bellevue station BUT, they will gain the option of relatively rapid travel from Issaquah to DT Bellevue or the UW all day long. This, along with other connecting bus routes in the area, is my central argument for connecting at SBPR.

        Your idea is a fine one except that the best place to connect is SBPR. Unfortunately, that’s the whole problem…

      2. They need to finish the EIS process and get a record of decision before they can start construction. They need to get the route through Bellevue sorted out before they do that. Bellevue City is an advisor on the project, not the decision maker.

      3. If they did build it out to Mercer Island and Bellevue continues to be disruptive, then ST3 could cancel Bellevue/Redmond and send Link to Issaquah instead. :)

        The Issaquah – South Bellevue – UW route idea is an interesting one. It would have to go to BTC too in that case, both because it’s inconceivable for a route to go up Bellevue Way bypassing BTC, and because there’s no freeway entrance north of South Bellevue except at BTC, 520 (inconceivable), and SE 8th (too low density).

      4. I know you jest, but DT Bellevue is by far the densest corridor on the Eastside. If any part of the Eastside needs high-capacity transit, it’s that.

        I could understand building Link out to I-90/Rainier for the transfer benefits; in fact, I could even imagine a bypass routing that went from ID to I-90/Rainier and then to Mt Baker, skipping the poorly-used SODO and Stadium stations (though also the heavily-used Beacon Hill station), but providing extra service to the very underserved CD. But if you’re not going to build to DT Bellevue, then the expense of putting rail on I-90 just isn’t worth it. (Honestly, I’m not sure it’s worth it anyway, but it’s defintely not worth it to go to Issaquah.)

  2. Re: noisy restaurants/bars… I don’t mind the sounds of people having fun, so much, but 1am nightly sound of the bins of bottles being emptied into the recycling bin at Murphy’s in Wallingford, followed by the 3-4am nightly sound of a garbage truck pulling up & emptying the bins is pretty annoying, particularly in the summer when my non-air-conditioned house has the bedroom window opened.

    This year, I’ll be writing letters to the trash company, businesses, and city officials, along with filing noise complaints. Why can’t they get this done at, say, 7am?

    1. Have you tried just talking to the bar owner or manager? Or calling the SPD nonemergency line and making a standard noise complaint? IIRC, friends in the industry have said that they’re not allowed to take recycling out until the morning because it’s either illegal under the noise ordinance or against the good-neighbor agreements most bars have to sign. And I don’t know if this applies to Murphy’s, but garbage trucks aren’t allowed to pick stuff up before 7 a.m. from properties adjacent to residential zones. Odds are the situation can be resolved simply by talking to your neighbors, and maybe using the standard avenues (SPD, DPD, etc) to force their hand if they don’t want to be neighborly. Writing a lot of letters to people who probably have far bigger fish to fry is most likely just a waste of everyone’s time, including yours.

      1. There was a regular 5 a.m. garbage pickup once a week at a commercial property on Beacon Hill, directly adjacent to a ton of residences. It went on for years. I think it finally stopped a couple of years ago. Very annoying in the summer, but it was loud even in the winter.

      2. @litlnemo: Too often civic responsibility suffers a diffusion of responsibility. We have street lights that don’t work, parks with broken benches and water fountains, bus shelters covered in graffiti, sidewalks overgrown and impassible, businesses that flaunt regulations. Everyone thinks something ought to be done, but no one steps up and takes action—even when all the action that’s required is usually nothing more than a phone call or email to a city staffer. Odds are those 5 am garbage pickups didn’t need to go on for as long as they did. But everyone just assumed if it were illegal, someone would’ve complained by now; since they were still going on, there must not be anything that can be done.

        The powers that be will never know something’s amiss if no one ever tells them. And even in those cases where nothing can be done at the moment, if enough people complain (rather than everyone assuming everyone else will), the powers that be might see fit to make it so that something can be done. In other words: when in doubt, complain :)

  3. Cruising down 3rd Ave on a trolleybus yesterday, I noticed a new DPD white sign on the west somewhere near Bell St. I can’t find any more information online, but I think it was for mixed-use residential mid or highrise. Anyone have more details?

    1. I walked by there this evening, but didn’t see any sign in that general location. The only recent sign I’m aware of on that side of 3rd is at 3rd & Cedar.

      1. Yes, there is a new DPD sign at 3rd and Cedar – that is the only one I’m aware of on 3rd that has gone up recently. The site is adjacent to the Rite Aid and across the street from the current Alto apartment project. This new proposal is the typical mid-high rise apartments + ground floor retail. There is a bit of a glut of retail space in Belltown right now, but apartments are very hot.

  4. OK, I’m convinced you guys posted the study on urban living just to get me going! Didn’t we just hash out the pros/cons of long commutes just two weeks or so?!

    Which is it, urban living or long commutes, OR? I’m being somewhat of a smartass, but my emphasis is essentially the same as in that thread, it’s a variety of factors that participate in ones’ lifestyle that end up determining the overall psychiatric and physical health.

    Onto the freight vs. rail conflict, there isn’t one and I will give you an example.

    Someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but it is BNSF that runs the Sounders. I mean as in crews on-board. They’ve been running the commutes back in Ilinois for quite some time w/o hassles.

    Plus, if they really decided it was a money loser, there’s no way they would operate the service at a loss to themselves, clearly BNSF is making money on running the Sounders.

    Reality is that if all of a sudden railroads decided they could good money on long distance passenger rail, they would be at the doorstep of Congress in short order. But that model is broken now so instead BNSF knows they can operate a short train that has minimal interruptions to their service.

    1. There is a difference between running a train as a sub contractor, and owning/operating the system. With the Sounder, ST has done the hard work, setting up stations, paying for some rail improvements, marketing the system and so on. All BNSF has to do is have their crews show up and run the train in accordance with ST’s schedule.

      You are right, if the RR’s thought they could make money on medium to long distance passenger rail they would get into it. However, they don’t because there are a lot more costs associated with passenger rail. It takes two employees to operate a freight train, whereas a passenger train takes a half dozen or more. Then there is the cost of maintaining stations, personnel to man the stations, and so on. Running a freight system is so much easier and cheaper.

  5. The uncertainty of OneBusAway plus the uncertainty of my beloved Metro Transit routes is starting to wear on me. Ugh.

    1. But GPS is coming! So in theory OBA could be better in a few years than it is now.

      But there’s probably nothing we can do to really fix Metro short of succeding from the state.

      1. “Seceding”.

        Judging from the construction in my ‘hood, I’d say Seattle already is succeeding just fine.

  6. http://www.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/2011/06/24/20110624mesa-temple-light-rail.html

    Mormon leaders aid light rail’s path to temple

    Mormon Church leaders are taking an active role in planning for the day when the Metro light-rail extension reaches the historic Arizona Temple in 2016.

    2016 will be an awesome year for the transit I use. In addition to U-Link, I will now have decent transit to walking distance of my mother’s house in Arizona. Here’s the latest on this extension, for the miniscule number of people here who probably care:

    http://www.valleymetro.org/images/uploads/lightrail_future_ext_uploads/Central-Mesa-Project-Update_06-11.pdf

  7. What do we all think about Metro and Sound Transit using one another’s buses on their seaparate routes. I have seen a Metro 269 bus between Issaquah and Microsoft running with as a Sounder marked bus and Sound Transit’s 554 showing up in downtown Seattle as a Metro marked bus. Is this confusing for us as diehard mass transit riders and if so, how much more confusing is it likely to be to the general public who barely know the difference between the two agencies? Having said that, maybe they just look at the route number and ignore the rest, but for those familiar with the differences between Metro and Sound Transit buses, would you look twice or ignore a bus arriving or approaching in the other agency’s bus decor and colors?

    Yes, drivers are probably allocated a bus based on what is available and working, but shouldn’t be from the right agency at least!?

    1. I’ve seen this occasionally with Eastside routes, but I assume Metro tries to assign the right color bus to the route. When I’m waiting for a bus, I’ll always look at the headsign of an approaching bus. With wrapped buses, you won’t always know what color your bus will be anyway.

    2. Metro does seem to make every effort to operate the properly branded coach on their respective routes but a few months ago Metro temporarily removed Workhorse vans from service which caused a shortage of coaches on the Eastside. A number of Sound Transit Gillig coaches had recently been retired from service and they were quickly returned to service and assigned to Bellevue Base to operate on Metro routes. This is why there has recently been a large number of ST coaches operating on Metro routes. Prior to this happening, Metro coaches did occasionally (and probably will continue to) operate on ST runs when there is not an available ST coach.

    3. I would rather have a bus that’s the right size and working than one that’s the right color but too small or broken. I agree that it can be confusing to have the wrong branding on it, but that’s what the headsigns are for.

  8. Anyone notice how the 5th Ave N and Mercer intersection (by KCTS & QFC) seems to be worse than ever at rush hour?

    EB Mercer traffic routinely blocks the intersection and prevents any NB 5th traffic from crossing during the green light. Crossing the intersection as a pedestrian is sometimes impossible. I can walk from Denny to Mercer and pass several Route 3/4 buses on the way.

    I’m not sure if the traffic is caused by the Gates Foundation, Amazon, or something else, but it seems massively worse than in previous months.

    1. I noticed this too, waiting for a friend driving the 3, buses are routinely 15-20 minutes late to the top of Queen Anne due to that intersection. Does SPD need to step up their enforcement of the 101$ fines for blocking the intersection? Maybe install some cameras?

    1. Sometimes big business runs short of buildings, and has to use whatever is available for that day. It’s pretty common. Just look at ST and Metro.
      Bet you thought all those brown vans were UPS?
      Nah, a bunch are full of Fed Ex crap.

      1. Uh, trust me, having Nordy’s in that space is MUCH better. F&N was pretty sad (and empty) in its final years.

  9. Looking forward to the end of August when Tide Light Rail opens in my home area. Like Kemper Freeman & Kevin Wallace, they have their own resident “we don’t want it / no one will ride” crazies. And yes, their first accident already happened: a bicyclist already slammed into a train (guess who was blamed vs who was really at fault… Go figure). Here’s a hint: the bicyclist was wearing headphones over both ears and the train was stationary. Didn’t something like that happen on Central Link where someone with headphones walked right into a train?

    1. It’s really a streetcar but it will be interesting to see if it can do 55mph along the freeway section (avg speed <18mph end to end). At $338.3 million for 7.4 miles, 9-10 light rail vehicles and eleven stations it's not a huge capital investment. However, ridership projections are anemic. 3,000 daily at opening and only 7,000 in 2030. There's no way this will justify the operational cost of light rail. Why so weak? Norfolk is larger than the combined population of Kirkland, Redmond and Bellevue. It's larger than Tacoma and initial ridership projections are less than Tacoma Link that only covers 2.5 miles.

      1. Have you ever been over there? We had to pick up some guys coming into Norfolk from Germany a couple months ago, and as their flight kept getting delayed had to spend 4 or 5 days in the area (had a room on the beach in Virginia Beach paid for by the Government, really rough time).

        Sprawl, sprawl, sprawl.

      2. The vehicles are Siemens S70 LRV, and were purchased under a combined order with Charlotte, NC (LYNX Blue Line) Yes the area is a mess (it is where I’m originally from) and bus service stinks outside of Norfolk proper (think: the old 174 then all other buses only once an hour, cutting off at dinner, and never on Sundays).

        The resident boo-birds (just read any article in The Vitginian-Pilot and look to the crazies in the Comnents section) all give the usual complaints (train to nowhere, cost too high, no one will ride (except the crooks and bums), we didn’t want it)

        The next planned extensions are up to the main Naval Station via Old Dominion University and to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront (tourist mecca). Its only the middle starting piece, similar to our Central Link when it was just Tukwila to Westlake then extended to UW on north and Airport to south.

      3. @Matthew: the area is a mess (hey they can’t even run a lowly bus to the airport), yes I agree. Each of the cities take a “Me First” attitude trying to outdo each other, instead of cooperating.

        One of the reasons why, when I was done my time at UW, I stayed here.

    2. “Here’s a hint: the bicyclist was wearing headphones over both ears and the train was stationary.”

      I suspect headphones really don’t play a role in whether a cyclist notices a stationary train. The system being new and/or the cyclist being an idiot are probably more important factors. (And no, we’re not all idiots. I encountered about a dozen well behaved cyclists on the same day I saw Mr. “I can barely track stand”.)

      1. I know most bicyclists are well behaved – my brother is one of them.

        I need a jet-engine for my scooter so I can keep up ;)

      2. “I know most bicyclists are well behaved”

        I’m glad you do because I have to remind myself of it sometimes. It’s easy to pick out the nimwits. It wasn’t until I was finished ranting on Twitter that I realized I had passed a dozen or so other cyclists who were just fine – hopefully like me.

      3. “It wasn’t until I was finished ranting on Twitter” – And just to be absolutely clear, I was finished ranting on Twitter either at Home or on a layover. I NEVER tweet & drive.

  10. Two transit challenges. The first came to me in a dream, the second a few minutes later. What’s the most convenient way to make these trips by transit and/or walking?

    #1. You encounter a visitor at 5th & Virginia who asks how to get to an address near 12th Ave S & S 272nd St? (The dream actually had 5th Ave S, but that’s in Puget Sound.) The location is 5 blocks west of Hwy 99 and 16 blocks west of I-5, and 272nd does connect these. The visitor has little knowledge of Seattle’s geography or transit systems.

    #2. At Convention Place station you encounter somebody who asks how to get to Virginia Mason hospital. The person is strong enough to walk the hilly way but not athletic enough to enjoy it.

    1. My responses.

      #1. In the dream I told the visitor to go to Westlake Station and take the 194. (I described the building and entrance.) Oops, the 194 doesn’t exist anymore. So my revised solutions were Link+A or the Federal Way expresses. Link+A seems excessively long, but I don’t know exactly which routes the express buses are (594-ish?) or where they stop.

      That raised the most important problem: how does a visitor downtown find out which buses go somewhere and where they stop? I myself would have to walk all around 2nd & Pine looking for the stop (assuming that the ST south buses take 3nd). When the 550 was on the surface it stopped at 4th/Stewart and 2nd/University (or was it 3rd/University?) — which would take fifteen minutes to find if you only know “it goes down Stewart and either 2nd or 3rd”.

      #2. Take the 10 which becomes a 12. So THAT’s the usefulness of the 10/12 through-routing. Otherwise the short distance is amazingly difficult. Walking requires traversing steep First Hill. Transit would require transferring at 3rd or Broadway (to the 2), with possibly a 20 minute wait, meaning it could take 45 minutes to go a quarter mile net distance.

      1. “That raised the most important problem: how does a visitor downtown find out which buses go somewhere and where they stop?”

        a) go to the library and use the trip planner

        b) call Metro and talk to a customer service rep.

        c) ask your hotel concierge ???

      2. Downtown Transit Info:

        Westlake Customer Stop (in-person help if there are no lines M-F only, all the paper schedules for Metro, ST, CT)

        Major stops have the downtown transit map which is decent compared to the mess that is the county system map. Those stops also usually have an index of where all of Metro’s routes go (nobody reads them).

    2. Well, luckily after ST2 you can just tell them, “Take Link to Redondo Station”. If it ever gets built, of course.

  11. Sorry to pimp my blog here (Somebody from STB tell me if I’m out of bounds) but I just dug up something from the ARUP B7 study that seems relevant here. According to ARUP, B7R increases costs to Sound Transit bus service because of additional travel time to the A-2 station. They also alluded to additional costs to Metro but didn’t list those costs. Ever since I saw the design for the A-2 busway this issue has been bugging me. Glad to see ARUP agrees.

    Go ahead and have a crack at it. (Bernie, I’m talking to you. I’m sure you’ll have something intelligent to say, unlike other rail critics here. I’m sure I’m missing something.)

    1. I’m no supporter of the A-2 station. It has the same (or worse) bus access problem South Bellevue does. Spending millions (hundreds of millions) and not building a P&R next to a freeway with direct access flyer stops like Totem Lake is crazy. But then I think expanding South Bellevue is crazy too. The cost of that free parking garage and elevated station is in the same stratosphere as the A-2. I’d rather see the money, which would be in the same ball park, used to extend the line to Marymoor where ample surface parking can be accommodated now (future MF) and a gianormous P&R sometime in the future actually makes sense. It could replace Bear Creek which could then be sold and redeveloped. From Marymoor it’s what, maybe a mile at most on table flat BNSF ROW straight into DT Redmond. Sadly, it will be twenty years before funding for the E segment is a reality with the current phasing and financing plan.

      1. I like the idea of direct access flyer ramps although it seems that South Bellevue is being set up as a connection point for routes coming from all directions. Given that, you don’t really need flyer ramps. The 555 and 556, (and maybe the 554?) service Issaquah, South Bellevue, Bellevue, Montlake/UW, and Northgate. The 560 will service the Airport, Renton, South Bellevue, and Bellevue. All are reasonably healthy routes with passengers that already transfer at SBPR.

        Any routing that requires those of us in South Bellevue/Enatai/Beaux Arts (and dare I say it, Surrey Downs) to go back into Bellevue to catch at train into Seattle is going to be problematic. I could see a mini version of the old 226/235 that could fix that – maybe.

        Anyway, not looking for an argument, just hashing out both sides of it. Whatever happens, it will be interesting to watch. I guarantee you this, though: If B2M is chosen and built, I WILL sell our 2nd car because I won’t need it. How many other people would follow suit remains to be seen.

  12. This is a request for information, not a criticism.

    I’m curious whether, when Central Link was being planned, there was any consideration for an alternate routing that would travel down the I-90 express lanes, head to Rainier Ave, and then head south to Mt. Baker.

    Cost-wise, it seems like this would have been cheaper; we would have saved the expense of going under Beacon Hill. For usability, it seems like this would have offered much better connectivity for points NE of the city, as well as for I-90 buses. And while there would have been some expenses related to the I-90 2-way HOV project, that’s going to have to get done eventually.

    Was this considered and rejected? If so, why? Or was serving Stadium/SODO/Beacon Hill considered a necessity?

    1. I heard once they also considered Dearborn. I think it really came down to siting the maintenance facility. They ultimately decided that putting the OMF in SODO was worth the cost of tunnelling under Beacon Hill.

    2. While it would take a bit of digging the various documents related to scoping Central Link should show why the built alignment was chosen over all of the others considered.

      I’m guessing some mix of siting the maintenance facility, ridership, and not wanting to take over the I-90 HOV lanes had something to do with it.

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