(H/T: Brian Bunbridge)
This is an open thread.
I wonder how he would do going down Queen Anne ave during a snow storm? ;)
Yeah, that would be neat to see.
I notice at the end of the video that there were two other buses on the other side of the water that were not willing to brave the water.
When I was a kid, I was on a Seattle Transit bus that missed a turn. All the passengers yelled “you missed the turn!!!” at the driver. He stopped the bus, stood up, faced the rear of the bus, shifted the transmission into reverse, grabbed the wheel and drove the bus (in reverse) while standing, facing backwards. In those days, the buses still had rear windows. He drove backwards about one half block, then sat back down, shifted the transmission, turned the corner and off we went. Coolest bus experience ever.
Right after a shakeup one time we saw a 30 stuck on the really curvy part of Ravenna Blvd… missed the turn down 20th!
Yesterday night I was on a northbound 49 (a New Flyer DE60LF, no rear window) toward the U-District. The driver got off track from the prescribed reroute (the University Bridge was closed) and ended up doing a 3-point turn at 24th & E McGraw St. One guy jumped out to act as a spotter. The interior lights went dark when the coach was in reverse. Finally we got back on track and we applauded the driver for his skill. Good times.
I’ve had a few 18s forget they weren’t 15s and miss the turn at Leary.
The rush hour ones have just taken a left at Market, since there was unlikely to be anyone waiting northbound on the three missed stops (there never is) and that it wouldn’t be long until the next 17/18 if there were.
The one time it happened late at night, the driver pulled a full 180 across the six lanes, returned southbound on 15th, and took the right on Leary to return to the regular route. It was pretty impressive maneuvering, actually!
I’ve been on a KC Metro New Flyer low floor bus that went through some really high water that was high enough that the water came in through the front door and went down the floor of the bus.
Notice that the light rail trains were not going through that standing water.
What would a teleworker do when confronted with such high water?
Just keep on working from home.
Ahhh, good, the universe is still intact. The normanbot didn’t get lost in the comments system changes. Notice also that telecommuters didn’t have any delays.
No comment, just a pat on the back.
Also notice that there’s a car on the track (why there’s a car on the track, I have no idea…)
The light rail drivers weren’t that stupid.
Neither were any of the cars. Logical conclusion: every dime spent on automobile transportation is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
What we really need are not just buses, but the ones they’ve got in Iceland with giant wheels to handle roads that aren’t there all the time. Also fitted with both exhaust and intake so they can be in water up to the windows and still keep moving, like the machines I saw in Africa.
Since we can’t afford to repair the Interstates- there’s a new book out called “Too Big to Fall: America’s Failing Infrastructure and the Way Forward” by Barry LePatner. Ought to get together with him. There IS a non-light-rail solution.
Oh yeah, and be sure all the buses are numbered “62”!
Tilting at Windmills Dept:
With RapidRide coming to a bus stop near you on the Eastside, and more to come in the next two years in other areas, I’m left to wonder sometimes at what we’re trying to accomplish around here. The term Rapid implies pretty damn quick, or maybe the fastest way between two points, or something else. If I’m standing on the platform at Bellevue TC and see a fancy bus show up that says RapidRide to Redmond, should I get on, or know it’s the milk run on steroids.
I tried in the previous post to point out the disconnect between current route times and two transit agencies trying to get more people to use transit in general. The information gaps are really glaring when a newbie attempts to figure it all out.
Should a RapidRide line be a pre-cursor to higher capacity transit? And should it be a forerunner to start the development cycle desired for higher transit usage through TOD?
If so, then RR-B misses the point. It’s neither much faster than the regular service it’s replacing, nor does it mimic the East Link route to get a 10 year jump on development.
Perhaps a better choice would be something like extending the 550 from BTC out BelRed Rd to Overlake and Redmond via SR520. It would come a lot closer to matching what E-Link is going to do, while the tracks are laid.
Not enough through riders for a bus, you say? Then why are we spending $4-$6 billion on it to build a rail line? If the demand is there now, why is the fastest route between Bellevue-Overlake-Redmond only run during the peak periods?
Mike, it seems like you have a fundamental lack of knowledge about what Bus Rapid Transit is. Could you please research it before you do your head-scratching here?
And to complain that it doesn’t get to Redmond much fast than the route 253, remember that LINK actually takes LONGER to get to SeaTac from downtown than the old route 194.
Thanks for heads up Sam. I’ll go back to scratching my ass.
“remember that LINK actually takes LONGER to get to SeaTac from downtown than the old route 194”
And yet, is more reliable, and receives rave reviews from all the passengers I talk to. Well, except for those who mistakenly get on my Sound Transit 550 bus thinking I go to the airport.
Although I don’t maintain a car thus rely totally on public transportation and I fly to LAX often I never took the 194 bus ever. I however stopped taking the shuttle when the Link started up. I haven’t taken a shuttle since. It’s not all about speed, the experience on the Link is just better. However with CT’s cuts that won’t be an option for me anymore so either I’ll be taking the shuttle again or be parking a car in offsite parking. I used to go from my door in Mukilteo to my gate at Seatac in 60 minutes exact including offsite parking. I had it down to the minute. Maybe I’ll be doing it again.
Velo and Grant, you are making my point about RapidRIde. Commenters who say RapidRide is flawed because it doesn’t provide a big enough time saving over the route it replaced are being narrow-minded. One has to judge RR by its totality of improvements.
Well, I don’t ride Eastside routes often enough to know about the routes RapidRide is replacing there.
But I can tell you that Ballard RapidRide will be scarcely any faster and precisely no more frequent than what it replaces.
So, yeah, “totality of improvements.”
It’s better than those transit agencies that name their entire agency “The ___ Rapid Transit District” even though it’s all regular bus routes.
Mike, the nodal express from Bellevue to Redmond via Overlake will be East Link and is already served with ST 566 and 545. East Link will not serve Crossroads, and the apartments along NE 8th and 148th. That’s the intended purpose, not an express between two nodal points. You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of the B Line and land use/transit use in Bellevue and Redmond.
The 545 doesn’t go anywhere near Bellevue…
Try Metro’s tripplanner, to go from Redmond TC to Bellevue TC they suggest taking route 545 and transferring to route 566 at the Overlake Transit Center.
The 545 travels through North Bellevue, although it doesn’t have any stops there. Too bad they aren’t adding a freeway station at 108th NE in the SR-520 transit and HOV project.
If you’ve got a bike, taking 545 to Yarrow point and biking from there is, by far, the fastest way to do the Redmond->Bellevue trip (assuming 520 isn’t clogged – if it is clogged, you’re best off biking the entire way).
Even if you don’t have a bike, I believe 545->Yarrow point + 2.6 mile run is still faster than any other transit option on weekends.
Yes, I think our network would be much better is the 92nd Ave stop could be moved to 108th Ave instead. However, since we’re stuck with what we have, some sort of bus connections might help. For instance, if the 240 could continue for just one more mile north of where it currently ends, it could provide that connection.
@Eric the 108th stop is also known as the South Kirkland Park and Ride and it is served by route 255. The density surrounding it and limited upzone potential really don’t make it a good candidate for a freeway station.
Was anyone out and about yesterday around 5 o’clock? I had to drive for my job from fremont to west seattle at 6, a perfect trip considering we have the viaduct. I think it was closed this weekend (which I didn’t know). Mercer was a mess, I5 looked terrible, surface streets were backed up well into downtown. I think a trolley was stalled at QA ave and Denny, Hempfest was happening, then there was a seahawks game as well so south downtown was terrible. I ended up getting on airport way s and taking the lower bridge over and just barely made it to my destination on time after 1.5 hrs travel time.
I’m not trying to incite some tunnel argument (since ref. 1 passed and the tunnel will presumably be built) but up until now I had been pretty anti-tunnel. While this experience was an extraordinary case, it definitely made me question my stance a bit. Anyone else get caught up in that?
It was closed but only Southbound.
It is closed as of 2am this morning when we were driving back from Everett from the amateur MMA fights. I wanted to take transit of course but the last 510 leaves Everett at 10:12pm which meant I’d have to miss the last third of the event. I didn’t think about Swift until I saw a Swift station, but the people I was with would have vetoed spending 1 1/2 hours one way on the bus.
We ate afterwards at Denny’s at 84th in Everett and there was a Swift station across the street. I looked this morning and saw it was the Casino Road Station. We drove down Evergreen-99-Aurora on the way back, and I saw that pretty much all of Evergreen-99 is low-density car dealerships and chain stores with large parking lots. It reminded me of the Las Vegas strip, although I’ve never been to Las Vegas. It’s amazing to see that Swift is well-used even in such a low-density area as this. Then we got to 100th & Aurora and it felt more like a neighborhood scale. So there’s tons and tons and tons of potential TOD land on Evergreen-99.
Thankfully I was going north, coming home from a trip to Portland, followed by an overnighter in Castle Rock and some minor hiking around St. Helens. Saw that the southbound lanes were blocked from downtown to past 145th. Felt sorry for them…I think we’ve all been in that position more times than we care to remember…wondered if the Dept of Highways would reverse the express lanes to compensate.
Not sure I understand your suggestion of how a tunnel along the waterfront for 99 would solve this…
Traffic is a disaster without the viaduct, as has been proven every time the viaduct is closed.
Even now, with just one lane of the viaduct closed in each direction just south of the stadiums, it takes 2 to 4 times as long to get between W. Seattle and downtown in the peak commute hours as it did with all 6 lanes open.
At 3:30 pm Thursday, which is before the traffic starts getting really heavy, going from Queen Anne to the airport using the viaduct, we got stuck in slow traffic from just north of the Battery STreet tunnel to where the bottleneck on the viaduct is, south of the stadiums, where 3 lanes now have to merge into 2. This added about 10 minutes to the trip. Had we attempted that trip around 5 pm, it would have been much worse. Around 4:00 southbound traffic on Aurora Ave N. backs up to north of the Galer St. Pedestrian overpass, and it is stop-and-go.
People who think you can just remove the viaduct and not replace it with any other highway lanes without causing major traffic problems are just idiots. Either that, or they just want to cause major traffic problems to attempt to force people out of their cars, a la Mayor McGinn.
The University Bridge was also closed for 12 hours, and there was a housefire in Fremont that had the ramps on & off Aurora at 46th closed for several hours in the early afternoon. Yesterday was a general traffic clusterfuck. And I love that with 45-minute delays on the 44, there was nary a tweet from Metro (or SDOT regarding 46th being closed). Apparently you only deserve updates on your route if you ride between 6 am and 6 pm Monday through Friday.
But, yeah, I’m not sure how a tunnel would’ve helped. Sure, you could’ve bypassed some of the event traffic, but everyone trying to bypass that traffic would simply create their own traffic. And there will still be stalls, accidents or occasional roadwork in the tunnel itself that will bring it to a complete stand-still.
Obviously a two day closure is entirely different than a permanent one. If we’d torn down the viaduct 5 years ago we would be able to have a calm discussion about what to replace it with. As it is, 30% of registered voters in Seattle apparently are traffic experts so any anti-tunnel people should shut the fuck up.
Lot’s of changes are coming to eastside in October. Some routes are being renumbered… The 222 will become the 241. The 230 will become the 235. The 233 will become the 226. When will STB do a post on all the changes?
Thank you, I remember those. I was under the impression that at the time of those posts, they were still considered proposed changes, open to possible further tinkering, and that nothing was set in stone. Now the changes have been locked-in.
They already did. An update (#4?) next month would be useful.
I do hope there’s a post on such a major reorganization. Otherwise you have to wade through the changes that didn’t make it through vs the ones that did.
Or you could just go here: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/up/projects/Bell-RedConnections.html
Somewhat interesting story I promised to share:
In 2007 I was in Chicago with a group. We were leaving the planetairum as it began to rain. None of us were dressed for rain since this was in June, so we caught the next bus that showed up. Not knowing where this bus went or how we were going to get to our destination, I called up CTA’s rider information line. While speaking things to the phone menu to route my call to the correct destination, the guy standing next to me barked at his buddy sitting six feet away about the rain. The next thing I heard on the phone was the phone system asking me to enter my mailbox password. I had to hang up and call back, and try as I might, I could not get back in to the mailbox area on subsequent calls.
And yet somehow, you apparently made in back to Seattle. ;)
I moved back to the area after a few years on the East Coast. Need to get these off my chest:
Currently using ORCA E-Purse to hold me over until September when I load a monthly pass.
ORCA has a lot of kinks to work out, especially long distance transfers (510 –> 595) where I was charged $1.50 RRFP each leg, because the transfer credit window expired. (was going from S Everett to Kimball Dr)
Swift vs RapidRide: Swift (since it uses nothing but pay ahead of time stations)
Really liking Central Link
My biggest complaint about ORCA is the perceived penalty on transfers compared to the paper variety. On a few occasions I’ve missed the transfer window due to late buses and paying at exit. If I’d had a paper transfer in these situations, I would have not had to pay double due to their greater flexibility.
ORCA has potential, and many times it feels more convenient than always having to carry exact change. If Metro wants a greater percentage of riders to use the card, they’re going to have to improve customer service and eliminate the perceived transfer penalty (among other things).
The death of the RFA and pay-on-exit should help with the expired transfer problem.
Pay on exit is bad for ORCA. If they tossed an extra hour on there I think we could make just about any transfer. At 2 hrs though you can miss it if you have pay on exit.
I’m looking forward to the end of the RFA (and yes, in the past I’ve done in-downtown trips that are free under today’s rules)
With my philosophy of consistency builds ridership the RFA needs to go. Crap, I live here and I never know for sure whether I’m going to pay and when. I just make sure I’m ready when I board. To people who don’t use transit often having to worry about this inconsistency is one more barrier to riding.
Ah well. RFA still lives on in the City of Everett
Thanks Everett Transit ;-)
But theoretically if you were issued a proper paper transfer you’d have the same expired window because Metro transfers are good for 2 hours. But we all know drivers often mark the transfers for more time than that and use their discretion in some cases to accept transfers that may have ‘just’ expired.
And considering you’re travelling all that way for $3.00 is pretty damn good. You couldn’t even very far past your street for the cost of your RRFP fare in car costs.
The easiest way to eliminate the “perception” that ORCA is less valuable than a paper transfer is to ELIMINATE paper transfers.
I’ve gotten screwed over on this as well. The last time it was 5 minutes.
When you board the pay-as-you-leave bus, ask the driver to let you tap now because your transfer is about to expire. When deboarding, remind them that you already paid. Some will just waive you through both times. YMMV.
Apparently you now get a new two hour transfer window when you tap in (or out on Link). Don’t know if you can tap out on a bus that was pay as you enter. Not sure on the details or when this change was implemented.
The transfer window extension has always been the case with ORCA. It matches the previous practice of handing out a new paper transfer when you paid a fare upgrade.
“Metro transfers are good for 2 hours.”
The drivers set the time at the beginning of the run, so it’s affected by how long the run is, whether it’s through-routed, and whether you get on while it’s pay-as-you-enter but it will switch to pay-as-you-leave later. So you usually get a transfer for 2 hours after that run finishes, which can end up being 3 or 4 hours for you. Also, if the expiration time is after 10:30pm, the transfer is good for all night and the first run in the morning. Different drivers start handing out all-night transfers at different times depending on their particular run. ORCA does not reflect any of this. But if you pay via e-purse or a surcharge on top of your pass, you can ask for a paper transfer and thus get the full Metro transfer time.
But if you pay via e-purse or a surcharge on top of your pass, you can ask for a paper transfer and thus get the full Metro transfer time.
Unless you’re riding Sound Transit service, in which case you’re screwed.
@Charles: “But theoretically if you were issued a proper paper transfer you’d have the same expired window because Metro transfers are good for 2 hours.”
In the case of pay-as-you-leave buses, this is not true. On the back of the paper transfers is this: “You must reboard before the expiration time indicated on the front” (emphasis mine). Reboard, not repay. So drivers are not simply letting people slide when they accept a just-expired transfer as fare on a pay-as-you-leave bus; if the transfer expired after you got on the bus, it is still a valid transfer. (One wonders how drivers were ever expected to know if one reboarded before expiration. I assume the wording pre-dates the RFA.) With ORCA, of course, if your transfer expires after you get on a pay-as-you-leave bus, you get dinged for another full fare upon exit.
A free transfer makes since if you’re switching to a 2-mile shuttle trip. But if you’re going all the way from Everett to Gig Harbor, I would argue that being charged twice is fair, even if it just works out that way by accident. $3 for a 72 mile trip is still dirt cheap.
Yes, $3 RRFP fare is dirt cheap for such a long ride. It’s more the principle of ORCA not following ST transfer rules.
If it were up to me: ORCA would recognize that you’re returning trip on the same route, and hit you up again.
Come next month when I start the $2.25 pass for $81, don’t have to worry about it
With the Paris metro you could stay in the system all day if you wanted. You stick your ticket in when you enter. For the RER you stick it in again when you leave so you can’t use Metro tickets for the RER.
Oh and the fact that you can be down there all day long is great for pick pockets. LOL There’s no rush for them.
In Chicago, you get 2 transfers (within about 2 hours) before you’re charged a fare again. If it takes more than 3 buses or bus/train combo to get where you’re going, too bad…
Thanks to the CTA’s gridded system — plus a couple of El lines at 45-degree angles to the grid — you rarely need more than two vehicles to get anywhere and you never need more than three.
Unless you are riding Sounder everyday, it would probably be better to get a $1.50 pass and then keep a cash balance on the card for the days you use Sounder.
Actually I will be riding Sounder enough times to justify the $81 pass. Last I was here, I had the old $1.50 PugetPass and found myself paying the then 50 cents cash upgrade enough times to pay for the full meal deal so to speak
In Chicago the CTA ends at the city limits, except for a few El lines that extend into the suburbs. To travel outside that area you have to transfer to Metra or a Pace bus. Metra doesn’t take CTA transfers; I don’t know if Pace does. So there’s no CTA equivalent to a trip from Everett to Gig Harbor.
The problem for Pugetopolis is that Chicago’s (city) population is spread out over a wider area, and the Sound and lake and waterways and hills prevent everybody from living in a compact square that straight streets can connect.
Southeast to Northwest Chicago is as far as Federal Way to Redmond. So the coverage area (for Metro, at least) should not be incomparable.
You just made my case for running Link from Federal Way to Redmond, although you probably don’t see it that way. :)
Of course, the section of central Chicago that would be roughly analogous to Seattle proper is criss-crossed by nine El lines, with walkshed-maximizing 1/2-mile to 7/8-mile stop spacing — except between Clinton and Ashland, where they stupidly removed stops during the white-flight era which they now have to fix! (still smarter than us, building in error from the get-go) — plus a comprehensive and ultra-frequent gridded bus system.
So, yeah, once all that’s in place, train from Fed Way to Bear Creek all the way! ;-)
“People who think you can just remove the viaduct and not replace it with any other highway lanes without causing major traffic problems are just idiots.”
I have yet to see you make it through an open thread without calling someone an idiot or some other insult.
He’s easy on us here. Check out most of his comments on the Seattle Times or Publicola.
At 230,000 riders this quarter we’d be really close to 1 million for the year if we could keep it up. It says ridership went down 10% for spring quarter and that’s understandable and deserved. I rode it probably 10 or 12 times and you had about a 50/50 chance of being on a bus instead of the train. We got PASSED by the train once. The train doesn’t go through mountains for very long so it seems that a little work on making the tracks more mudslide resistant would be a huge priority.
I was watching the Amtrak updates one night and saw that the train wasn’t going to be running and got my money back and drove. A bus is a bus is a bus.
Did anybody else see this?
In a nut: it talks about Hong Kong’s rail system being in the black, because it owns the development around each station. Office/residential…and something like 15 different malls. This causes it to make $ and lots of ’em, apparently staving off rate hikes and the like.
I’ve long been interested in local government taking a much stronger role in housing and development. Similar activity has been common practice in other countries for generations…because often the market is not interested in developing for would-be home owners who are downscale. Ron Sims made this point a few years ago, using the UK as an example.
I’ve often thought that our ongoing conversation here about TOD kind of misses the point: the real discussion to be had is not whether to zone for TOD, but for whom it should be built for. For some reason here locally, rail is associated with yuppiedom. The recent Crosscut article seem to accept that as a natural fact. But for those of us who have lived and traveled overseas, and for any American with an eye to their own history, we’ve all seen neighborhoods/towns that had rail right alongside working class apartments, industry, and shops tailored for the same. The principles of new urbanism and “livable cities” don’t suddenly break down if you broaden them outside the rich and upper middle class. A walkable neighborhood with mid-rise residential buildings that have shops (and other businesses) on the ground floor is a design that is universal in its practicality.
Perhaps the unfinished business of the Growth Management Act is that, while it forecasts the expected increase in population for each county, it doesn’t explicitly forecast the income bands of those new residents. It could certainly do that…in fact last I heard the answers are buried in data held by the PSRC. Personally, I suspect that much of the construction in King County over the past decade has been skewed towards the upscale, which has huge social consequences.
I propose that we A) start forecasting the income bands of new residents, and B) have county governments pro-actively engage in mixed use development that ensures quotas for the middle and lower classes are met. Once we really know who to build for we’ll know how much to build and where, and then we can leverage that revenue stream for future rail and development. That will provide vibrant communities for the broad sweep of demographics in our communties, and create a funding mechanism that will ensure the same going forward.
I think that was tested by Stalin around Moscow some time ago.
As I recall, it didn’t work.
Well I don’t really see a need for that level of vertical integration, do you?
The land-grant railroads did the same thing in the US. They were given a mile on either side of the track as compensation, and made out very well selling/leasing the land.
Metros everywhere are “yuppie”. Real estate near stations is more expensive than real estate away from stations in London, Moscow, St Petersburg, Vancouver, and everywhere else. The London Underground was built for working-class commuters, but the nature of jobs and the desirability of station-area housing has turned completely around in the last century. The only places where metro stations are still poor and unsafe are where the location’s problems are too severe for gentrification to take hold. (Yet. — People in south Seattle are still astounded at Columbia City’s turnaround after being written off in the 1980s.)
The solution of course is to extend comprehensive transit to all areas. When there’s one rapid transit line, real-estate values along the line shoot up dramatically. When there’s two lines, they increase but not as much because of supply and demand. If we had comprehensive transit like Chicago, the poor would have to work somewhat harder to afford housing, but not dramatically harder as they do now in order to afford a place near Link or a 15-minute full-time bus route.
The third aspect is the expensive way we build housing now. Developers build “luxury” apartments with granite countertops because they can get top dollar for them — and the poor can’t afford them. Zoning requires minimum parking spaces, which require concrete bottom floors for parking garages, which I’m told cost more than an all-wood building would. Other costs are associated with safety regulations, which we probably don’t want to change. But the point is that we could build cheaper housing if we had a mind to, and we could do it via government projects or public-private partnerships if “government” weren’t such a dirty word in the US.
Mike Orr, you bring up an interesting comparison to the land grants of old…I hadn’t even thought of that.
And you make the point well that developers seem to focus on going upscale to get higher margins, leaving broad demographics in society as of secondary importance. And like you say: there’s a wide range of ways that a new system could be put in place: either industry could be regulated to meet certain quotas, or government itself could commission each development. Or some public/private partnership somewhere in between. Regardless, developers will still sell land, contractors will still build, and some authority (probably private) will still manage the property. The tenants will just reflect a broader mix of society. Seems like common sense, really.
At least a lot more than the recent article (in both the Times as well as the PSBJ) featuring a real estate agent lamenting that wealthy Chinese buyers weren’t engaging [speculating] in the local housing market [which would drive up prices, and therefore likely the rents small business owners in those neighborhoods would be subject to].
I thought this might amuse someone as it did me.
On Saturday I took my bike down Kent East Hill over to Southcenter mall for lunch (lots of riders on the Interurban). Coming back I decided to take the 168 up the hill and threw my bike on. Seemed like it was taking a while to leave and then I noticed a white car blocking the bus…the sitting driver was putting on his knapsack, and a new bus driver was coming in. The exiting bus driver got in the little car, which I now noticed had a black King County emblem on it and drove away.
So. Bus drivers take cars to get to their buses.
Oh, yeah. That’s totally normal for the more suburban routes around the end of the peak period. Driver starts at the base, grabs a road relief car, drives to a P&R or other time point, and meets up with the bus he’s to drive.
Seems silly, but if you think about it, what’s more expensive: A Ford Focus to a P&R and back, or what was loaded, in-service Metro bus from a route terminal to the base and back?
Actually that’d be an unloaded bus headed to the base from the terminal.
And, it also happens in non-suburban areas, except when road reliefs happen downtown, the operators walk or hop on a bus/train from Central/Atlantic/Ryerson to the relief point.
OK I miss the editing function. Kill “except” in there.
GreenDriver Uses Traffic Data to Help Cars Steer Clear of Jams</b
At 2:30 a.m. on July 14, when audiences for the midnight screening of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” left movie theaters in Portland, Ore., streets jammed with cars. To unclog the snarls, a smartphone app maker called GreenDriver was crunching real-time data from the city’s 800 traffic lights, giving turn-by-turn spoken directions to drivers to help them avoid red lights and traffic jams. “We saw a spike in green light activity … and it was gone by 3 a.m.,” says GreenDriver’s chief executive officer, Matt Ginsberg, in describing the two-year-old app’s success that night at rerouting drivers to unclogged roads.
John, that sounds like a great app to have if you live down there, wish we had the same in Seattle! Now how many different transit agencies run traffic lights in greater Seattle? Is each city running its own traffic light system? Also, are Oregon’s traffic lights “smart” in some way or do all current traffic lights report to some central computer?
Green Driver would be a good reason for them to unify or at least present a common interface for their data!
Kia Borrego FCEV Hydrogen fuel cell car
This is a particularly good video, because it explains with very easy to understand graphics how a fuel cell works and also how it is configured in the car.
One new bit that I picked up is that KIA is using an ultra-capacitor rather than a regular battery for storing/evening charge!
Had a flight to catch today (I’m in SeaTac now) and decided to go public transit from Kent East Hill. Was ready early so decided to go hang in the airport…I used One Bus Away from my apartment and saw there was a bus at 8:25 am coming in and one with a negative time…which I didn’t expect based on what I thought the schedule was…so I started walking at 8:10am. When I got there a bus was stranded at 109th and SE256th and the driver was putting cones around it. So I guess that was the negative number.
Next stop Kent Station…unfortunately, the 180 to Seatac left 5 minutes ago and I had to wait 25 minutes for the next one…which didn’t show up! After being 10 minutes late I called Metro Customer service and they said it looked like there had a been a break down and new bus would be there in fifteen minutes.
That bus never showed, and the next bus at 9:25am was also late, by about 15 minutes!
The ride to the airport is surprisingly direct and after a few stops I was at the LINK station and walked the rest of my way to the terminal. Walking through the station, I was glad I wasn’t in a car to the airport because the ramp and departures were traffic jammed:
When I got to the terminal the escalator was broken and getting from the baggage line to the gate took another hour.
So, right now, it took 3 hours for me to get a distance of about 15 miles from Kent East Hill to this gate. It will take me 2.5 hours to fly 1800 miles to Denver.
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