Photo by Oran

This is an open thread.

64 Replies to “News Roundup: Phone Banking”

  1. Thanks for the link to the Beacon Hill Blog. There will be a post about the new 17th/18th Ave. S. Greenway on the blog tomorrow morning, so you may want to check back. :)

    I was listening to some idle chit-chat about that station block development at the neighborhood council meeting, and a certain person — who I believe comments here frequently :) — was discussing the effect the development on that property would have on the other empty lots on the site. Maybe he’ll elaborate further here on STB.

    About Paul Constant’s Rapid Ride post — you’re being awfully mild in your description of what he said! “At least the ‘Ride’ part is true.” Yikes. The comments to the post are pretty scathing too.

    But this is my big fear and problem with Metro’s implementation of BRT. It’s too wishy-washy to be rapid.

    1. I like it. The only better idea is to use a cannon for eastbound trips. You’d have a hard time beating the speed of that trip.

      1. The only one who’s declared war on Seattle is Michael McGinn. He’ll be dealt with soon enough.

      2. Jake,

        You’ll be glad to hear that the VLF funds are controlled by the city council. So, it is safe for those who don’t like the mayor to vote for it.

  2. Rode the 120 today and discovered something–

    The adoption of the automatic stopp announcements is growing faster than I had thought at first. First South got them, then East, and now Ryerson!

    Who’s next in line to get these? Central? Atlantic? North?

  3. Thanks, Velo. Discussion of signal priority and headway control bring back a shake-up 18 years ago this fall, when I picked the same afternoon run on the Route 7, which in those days ran local between 47th and 12th in the U-District and 62nd and Prentice in Rainier Valley.

    Worst thing about it wasn’t the tight schedule and heavy loads. I chiefly picked the “7” because, in addition to getting to drive the 400-series 60′ trolleys, the work made max use of a trolley driver’s skill, and there was no danger of falling asleep.

    But it was really infuriating to half to drive for an hour and a half without a break between two other artics, first of which was always overloaded, leaving me and my follower driving empty buses we could neither fill nor park.

    It would have been great to have the system keep us spaced out so we all worked efficiently. Also to be able to run that far stopping only at zones. If new artic trolleys ever arrive, would be good to have similar features on 7, 44, and 48.

    Meantime, keep us all up to date.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Typo: Meant “4000” series buses. MAN 3-door articulated trolleybuses. Serious flaws in the weight-balance of the coach, which resulted in “wheel-hop”, a bone-shaking shudder in the center axle which drove the coach, upon hard braking.

      Metro finally addressed the problem by mounting the center axle with tires of smaller diameter than the others. Never worked really well, and if suspension wasn’t constantly re-leveled by maintenance (I’d often “write” every coach I drove in a week) the otherwise fine bus would look like a cartoon banana.

      But steerable rear axle made the 4000 a pleasure to drive in traffic, much lighter-handling than the Bredas. And the dash-board was the best I’ve ever seen on a Metro bus- you didn’t have to look under the steering wheel to see your speed.

      Would’ve been great transit history with above priority and communications.

      Mark

      1. Wheel-hop is typically uncorrectable without fundamental changes to the suspension geometry or brake bias. Weight distribution can’t help it that much – fully loaded dump trucks can get wheel hop under heavy braking or agressive reversals.

        The cause is both rear axle suspensions designed to “plant” the axle under acceleration to avoid fishtailing. They craft the suspension geometry of the driven axle to convert the driving torque into a downward force on the tires, to get more grip. Unfortunately, under heavy braking the effect reverses, lifting the axle at the same time that the rear of the vehicle is naturally rising from the inherent weight transfer of deceleration. The correct solution to the problem in the field is to reduce the braking power on the driven axle until the wheel hop no longer presents.

        I can understand how Metro maintenance would have been leery to make adjustements to the factory brake bias on a 20+ ton, 3 axle vehicle, though. I don’t even know how you’d adjust that on an air-brake system – every saturday-night racer at Evergreen Speedway has an adjustable brake bias valve on their hydraulic brake systems, but I’d wager similar parts for air brake systems are almost unheard of.

  4. I rode RRB to work yesterday and it was rather disappointing. It was great to have the off board payments at some stops because that saves a few seconds, but there didn’t appear to be TSP anywhere. The biggest issue I had was not even RR related: there was some sort of accident on 148th Ave which meant we were completely stationary for ~15 minutes. I guess that’s why it’s important to have dedicated ROW….

  5. Happy birthday Communit Transit. I’m glad you gave up your original name SCTBA, or scoota-ba.

    1. You can see clearly at the beginning of the video that the train had a proceed signal (vertical white bar).

      1. Yes, right at the very beginning you can see the vertical white bar. The reports all indicate the truck ran the light and you can also see at the beginning that other cars are stopped at the intersection as the reports indicated. But what are we seeing 20 seconds in? It looks like two red traffic signals pointing in the direction the train is coming from. It appears this is shared ROW. Would traffic be stopped in both directions as the trains come through to prevent traffic parallel to the trains direction of travel from turning in front of it?

    2. Metro Police plan to mail him a red light violation citation for causing the crash.

      Risk the lives of dozens, cause thousands of dollars in damages, get a $250 ticket. Brilliant.

  6. Just thought you’d want to know that I’ll be voting for my first-ever Eyeman proposition this fall. Seattle Transit Blog, you won me over for him!

      1. Yeah, Michael, but you’d have voted “no” anyway. You are part of the choir. You made up your mind a very long time ago. Me, not the case. I started out “anti-Eyeman,” but after seeing this blog and some others, I changed my mind. You’re not going to want to believe it, but it’s true.

        I went from “no” on anything Eyeman to “yes” on this one, and I did it in large measure because of the Seattle Transit Blog. It changed a vote, but not in the direction you expected.

      2. Wrong, Jake. We knew how you were going to vote long before you had a press conference to unveil it.

    1. Jake has never once said what he believes in or what he wants, or what STB did to make him pro-Eyman.

      1. Oran, you’re right. I’m doing it purely out of spite. When I lived in Massachusetts, I voted for a statewide initiative to repeal rent control. It passed narrowly, and the whining from Cambridge was delicious, just like the whining from the Smugsters of Seattle will be next montn.

    2. Good for you Jake. I’m sure all the rural folks will be glad to find new tolls on their roads, put there by urban legislators (who outnumber them) to help pay for our urban infrastructure.

      Do rural folks really want politicians bargaining over their heavily subsidized roads?

      1. Fine by me. King County pays for the gigantic welfare case known as Eastern Washington. I’d be happy to toll their roads, and that’s just for starters.

      2. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that there is a hell of a lot more traffic on I-90 that’s origin/destination is in the Puget Sound basin than in all of eastern Washington. I for one am glad they let us drive on “their” roads.

  7. I’ve ridden RapidRide B a couple of times now. A few observations …

    Metro is doing a very poor job of educating people on how to ride RR. Putting out some info in brochures and on the web and relying on people to eventually figure it out isn’t good enough. There needs to be a massive advertising everywhere … on bus shelters, in buses … telling people how to pay. There should be automated periodic public service announcements on all RapidRide buses, explaining how the fare system works. 99% of people are still getting on through the front door. One bus I was on had numerous people filing on and showing the driver their transfer, and the driver said nothing. And I don’t blame her. Doing so would have been time-consuming. And a good percentage looked like they wouldn’t have understood her, anyway. So, it will just take them months and months, and maybe years, for them to one learn the system. 99% of ORCA users are getting on and tapping-in at the front door when there was an offboard ORCA station at the bus stop! I give Metro really poor marks on educating the public before and after the B line’s opening.

    Headway … no excuse in me seeing two bumper to bumper RR buses … 5 times in 2 days! And today I saw 3 RR going down 148th 1 minute apart. Management needs to step in and ensure listed headway.

    Great buses, though!

    Random thought … after studying the alignments of some of the new eastside routes, and the stop placement on RR B, I’m beginning to think transit planners might be good at analyzing walksheds, but don’t have a lot of common sense. Transit nerds may care about frequency and offboard payment, but a lot of the transit-going public just want an easy walk from the bus stop to home, or the bus stop to the store. RR B took that away from many of them.

    1. Transit nerds may care about frequency and offboard payment, but a lot of the transit-going public just want an easy walk from the bus stop to home, or the bus stop to the store. RR B took that away from many of them.

      I think you’re making the mistake of weighting current riders far above future riders. The vast majority of Bellevue residents are not regular bus riders. If the recent changes lose some of the existing riders, but gain many more new ones, then I’d argue that they were successful.

      I’m curious, have you spent any time in cities with truly frequent services? Something like the Lexington Ave line in NYC or the Green Line in Boston, where a train comes every 2-3 minutes? When you know that a train will come almost as quickly as you can make it to the station, it completely changes the way you navigate the city.

      Today, in Seattle, bus trips are often only worthwhile if you’re going to be at your destination for at least an hour — and with the old Eastside network, many trips were only worthwhile if you were going to be at your destination for half a day. But when buses come every 5 minutes, suddenly, you can make a super-short trip to a different neighborhood, without spending more time waiting for the bus than at your destination!

      Having lived in Boston for many years, it’s common sense to say that frequency is freedom. That doesn’t seem obvious in Seattle only because we’re not used to it.

      1. I think you’re making the mistake of weighting current riders far above future riders. The vast majority of Bellevue residents are not regular bus riders. If the recent changes lose some of the existing riders, but gain many more new ones, then I’d argue that they were successful.

        Whoa! And I think you should consider the race and class issues that need to be unpacked in that statement before you’re certain that would be a success… ’cause I would guess that leaves more transit-dependent riders SOL while allowing more upper-class folks to leave their car at home.

        I’m not sure how to evaluate that. We have similar tensions to consider when we become too rail-focused as well.

      2. Mickymse, have you ridden RR B yet? It seems to cater to Microsoft employees at the expense of transit-dependent non-MS employees. In my opinion, it’s transit planners giving a big screw you to people who live along the line who don’t work at MS. I’ve noticed that walk from the nearest old 253 stop to Fred Meyer (a very popular destination) compared to the walk from the nearest RR to FM stop has increase from about 100 yards to about a half a mile.

      3. Aleks did not say anything about race and class. The riders lost are those who live near bus stops that were closed. The riders gained are those who find RapidRide more convenient for a spontaneous trip, especially with the new evening/weekend frequency. The highest concentration of stations (three) is in the poorest, most multi-ethnic part of Bellevue (Crossroads).

        (This terminology is a bit tortured when applied to Bellevue. Working-class people, both white and non-white, are most likely to live in Crossroads. But Bellevue has a large number of affluent non-white people who are scattered across the city.)

    2. Sam, Did you see those q-straints atttached low above the rear-facing wheelchair slots? I just wanted to warn you not to stand up if you are sitting under one. Someone is going to bean themselves on the head sooner or later.

    3. Metro and ST try to simplify things with ORCA, etc., it’s almost like they can’t help but create new things to confuse people even more. For many bus riders, especially occasional bus riders, immigrants, and developmentally disabled people, it must be very confusing to them. While it’s easy for everyone here, the computer literate, to understand how the RR fare works, imagine if you’re a recent immigrant trying to figure out why you don’t have to show the Metro driver driving a RR bus a transfer ticket, but you have to show the Metro driver driving a Metro bus one, and the Metro driver driving an ST won’t accept your paper transfer ticket. Put yourself in their shoes.

    4. That’s actually very different from my experience. When I rode it (although I’ve only ridden it 2x so far), the majority of people tap at the readers and then get on at a different door. There are 2 reasons this doesn’t always work:
      1. There’s a sign saying you have to board at the front door after 7pm. (Why??)
      2. A lot of the stops don’t have ORCA readers.

      1. You bring up an interesting point. Outside of the RFA, drivers are to open back doors to deboard. But Metro wants RR riders to enter through the back doors if they can. So when a RR driver opens the rear doors at the BTC, for example after 7 PM, to let people off, and there’s a group of people waiting to board, why do the boarders need to use the front door to enter? What they logic behind it?

  8. Hoping someone here knows the answer to this, but does anyone know why the 255 seems to split its route once it reaches NE 128th St in Kirkland, and sometimes stops at the Totem Lake TC, and other times bypasses it by going by the P&R and then up NE 132nd St?

    At first I thought it was a peak/off-peak thing, but that doesn’t seem to be the case judging by the schedule I’m seeing on Metro’s website.

    1. I’m a frequent 255 rider.

      The full route goes to Brickyard and that runs all day every 30 minutes from 5 am to 10 pm and hourly until midnight. During mid day and peak, extra service is added between Totem Lake TC and downtown Seattle resulting in service every 15 minutes during the day and every 10 minutes during peak between those two points. They don’t run all the extra buses to Brickyard to save money.

  9. Thanks for tech info, “Lack”. However, I think we both agree that all of these things about large vehicle design should have been factored into the design of an electric transit coach in the early 1980’s, particularly by the Germans, whose experience in exactly this kind of engineering is unparalleled.

    Boeing Vertol might have been excused for problems with light-rail vehicle design- a combat helicopter has its own set of stress conditions, but different from ground transit. But the wheel-hop on the 4000’s was something that should have been corrected before first delivery.

    And to blog-reading Tim Eyman voters: What does any local annoyance like VLF have to do with anything he’s putting on the ballot? If you don’t like a local tax, vote against that. As Tim well knows, 1125 is unconstitutional on the face of it- law says only one issue. Voting with your temper never good idea, especially against opponents rich enough to always keep their cool. First thing they teach in any style of martial art: lose your temper, and you lose the fight.

    Mark Dublin

  10. WSDOT is sponsoring a contest where one lucky person will win exclusive access to the viaduct’s downtown section for 30 minutes on Oct. 22. To enter, answer the question “What I would do with 30 minutes on the Alaskan Way Viaduct?” in 100 words or less and send it to viaduct@wsdot.wa.gov by Sunday, Oct. 16. If your idea is selected, you will be escorted to a private section of the viaduct to follow through with your proposal.

    Mmmm, I suppose it has to be legal but it does specify “private”. Is this WSDOT’s progression beyond HOT lanes? :=

  11. I believe I have said in the past that I’m not sure Metro is even aware of the frequent service network and may be mystified why transit bloggers keep stressing it. That does not mean, however, that they shouldn’t be, or that maps like Oran’s aren’t important for them to look at.

    Case in point: I would like to be able to transfer from the southbound 67 to the southbound 49. However, with the westbound Campus Parkway stop closed and the only replacement being existing stops – ie, far enough away to ”be” separate stops – I find myself seeing the 49 passing me in the other direction all too often, usually but not always because of the lengthy walk (early in the school year it would pass me by as soon as the 67 got there). I don’t even know where’s the best place to get off the 67; should I get slightly into the campus?

    (When is that stop going to re-open? The Rider Alerts say it was scheduled for October 1st, but that’s clearly not happening.)

    1. Metro’s well aware of a frequent service network and they’ve expressed interest in using my maps. Though I don’t think the County Council who holds the pursestrings are aware of any of the two.

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