TMP Poster

Location details below jump.

Seattle Vocational Institute, Room 401
2120 S Jackson St
(206) 934-4950
Google map

SVI is located on S Jackson St and 22nd Ave S. It is accessible via Metro routes 4, 8, 14, and 48. If you will be driving, please park on-street (and not in the school’s lot).

You can enter the building off of S Jackson St (ADA accessible) or 22nd Ave S (stairs). The open house will be in room 401 on the 4th floor, accessible by elevator.

51 Replies to “First of Five TMP Open Houses Tonight”

  1. Please note that the map above shows a Ballard-streetcar corridor going directly through central Fremont, while the one just two posts below clearly shows a new canal crossing around 3rd W.*

    So encouraging to know that the TMP people and SDOT are already veering off the same page!

    *(FWIW, the latter would be better, would be enough faster to alleviate some of my reservations about the plan, would serve both sides of the channel pretty well, and could have the added benefit of providing a new pedestrian crossing if the bridge included a sidewalk. But good luck getting Fremont to sign off on something that “misses” them.)

    1. That map is a schematic “subway” style map and is not meant to be that detailed. You’re reading into it way too much.

      1. Again, good luck getting Fremont to sign off on the bypass. Especially if it looks like a bait-and-switch (which this does).

      2. “Fremont” is not terribly monolithic, and probably doesn’t have to sign off on anything (or maybe it does… I’m from Chicago, where they break dirt first and ask questions later).

        As a Fremonster, I don’t think a line to Ballard necessarily has to serve lower Fremont. Lower Fremont would be a decent rapid transit destination — it has walkability, diversity of use, and a little density, much like downtown Ballard — but it’s not necessarily “on the way”. If serving lower Fremont had no impact on reliability and little impact on speed to Ballard, it would be a no-brainer to “divert” there… but it’s probably more complicated than that.

        I understand why there’s sensitivity to the notion of being “skipped”, though: a whole lot of buses, especially fast ones, just skip lower Fremont entirely… including all the buses that serve upper Fremont. Go to Mapnificent some time and drop the marker at 35th and Fremont Ave. You’d be forgiven for thinking the 5, 358, and 16 don’t exist at all! Mapnificent really highlights the fragmented nature of Fremont service; move the marker just up to 38th and the options look totally different… then try it again up at 46th. At the same time… Ballard has it much worse than Fremont does, overall, and really needs a reliable transit link. We could solve a lot of these problems in Fremont by getting the 5 off of Aurora (or by my favorite impossible-for-a-million-reasons project: building an elevated Lower Fremont bus stop along Aurora, with wide elevators to the ground).

      3. I didn’t mean “sign off” in the sense of having explicit veto power. I more meant “not throwing a Roosevelt-style hissy fit” causes makes weak-of-conviction and weaker-of-spine City Council members to sacrifice all greater good for the sake of the loudest and most stubborn.

        The truth is that central/lower Fremont is a really tough case. It’s indisputably busy, it’s (mostly) mixed-use and (somewhat) dense, and it offers enough uniqueness and personality that the entire metropolitan area is on a first-name basis with it. It represents exactly the kind of destination-worthy urban placemaking we want to encourage in Seattle.

        On the other hand, realities of geography have kept lower Fremont — and therefore the walkshed of a Fremont Bridge-using streetcar that would directly serves it — much smaller than you might think. Direct service would affect barely a dozen square blocks, a tiny fraction of the walkshed of high-quality Ballard service. The steepness of the grade, the absence of activity or landmarks, the low-light leafiness of the trek to Upper Fremont — where most of the population and a small but non-negligible portion of the commerce is — cap 36th’s walkshed at just a few hundred feet. (Everything above is, barring, a total overhaul of the borough, a different transit market.)

        This is why I would argue that Phinney/upper Fremont (with a solid north-south connection to Greenwood and lower Fremont) are far more important to a futre east-west rapid transit, and why I think any streetcar plan should choose speed and a dedicated crossing over direct service to the neighborhood center.

        …or by my favorite impossible-for-a-million-reasons project: building an elevated Lower Fremont bus stop along Aurora, with wide elevators to the ground.

        I’ve thought this more times than I can count. It’s only impossible for one reason: because we live in Seattle, and we have a “can’t-do” attitude for such things. There are a thousand cities around the world that would have just done this ages ago.

        But in Seattle, we’ll even proceed with a purported “BRT” line that just flies right over a major destination without stopping. (Just one of the many reasons RapidRide E has to be dismissed as incidental to the below-75th transit grid.)

      4. One thing that make hitting lower Fremont nice is that its role as a (minor) employment center means it’d get some reverse commuters. Since reverse commuters are basically free to a transit system (the bus/streetcar has to get back to the start somehow), having reverse commute destinations improves farebox recovery.

        Agreed that the walkshed of lower Fremont will never be big, though.

      5. “I don’t think a line to Ballard necessarily has to serve lower Fremont.”

        Yes it does, because Fremont has missed out on all the improvements around it. No trolleybuses, no Aurora buses, and then being downgraded from Westlake to slower Dexter. It’s high time for Fremont to get something.

      6. Precisely, Steve. As I said, it’s a really tough case.

        It’s exactly the kind of defined urban place that creates two-way demand for work, play, and misc. — something that can’t be said for 90% of our existing or our planned unidirectional-commute-oriented transit network.

        But it’s just plain small, and geography severely hampers present and future walkshed potential. It therefore can never really justify the cost of a subway detour to serve it, nor can its ridership potential justify the excruciating slowdown that it would inflict upon surface transit routed through its middle.

        Total catch-22.

        And Mike, I both understand your frustration and actually agree with you in principle. But the tone of your post comes dangerously close to the “Us! Now! But not anyone else! Ever!” kind of Roosevelt-esque hissy fit I predicted.

        FWIW, this isn’t like the Aurora buses stupidly flying over Fremont without a stop of any sort. There’s a valid argument to be made that a rapid transit stop on the west end of the 36th strip serves Lower Fremont just as well as a stop by PCC, because the walkshed of the area is so east-west (i.e. walkability dissipates so rapidly heading north up the hill no matter what).

        There would, of course, also be a stop right across the bridge from PCC, which hopefully (and with community effort) be much more inviting for cross-canal pedestrians than the current 17 setup.

        And anyway, what “improvements around it” has Fremont missed out on? “Trolleybuses?” Where? Huh? And Westlake vs. Dexter? Mercer construction and the Aloha detour have made the 17 so unreliable that I’ll jump off and run up the hill to any 26/28 I see coming. So I’m confused about what losses you’re describing.

        Transit to all of NW Seattle is bad; that’s why we’re trying to brainstorm the best and least compromised set of solutions for it!

        (This is all hypothetical argument, since I oppose the oxymoronic “rapid streetcar” proposal anyway. But if it has to go forward, I strongly believe it can’t invite bottlenecks no matter how loud the people living around the neck yell.)

      7. p.s. Don’t forget that the RapidRide plan forces all of downtown Ballard to walk 2,600 feet to access its barely-improved service.

        Even my own subway-spur proposal presumes a 15th/17th terminus (2,000-2,600 feet from downtown Ballard) for the sake of cost and political expediency.

        The streetcar proposal would serve downtown Ballard directly, but who cares if it takes the slowest possible route to anywhere else?

        By contrast, the entire 36th Street corridor is only 2,000 feet end-to-end!

        Speaking as a downtown Ballard resident, I have very little sympathy for the “we can’t walk a 0.4 miles” crowd in Fremont, Columbia City, or anywhere else.

      8. “Don’t forget that the RapidRide plan forces all of downtown Ballard to walk 2,600 feet to access its barely-improved service.”

        Ballard itself has some responsibility for that, in locating its downtown away from the obvious north-south road. The Ballard “Y” has existed for decades and nobody has done anything about it. They could have built up 15th & Market or 15th & Leary to be more of a center. But instead they’ve oriented everything at 22nd & Market, which is out of the way for a north-south bus, and requires a UW-Ballard-downtown train to bend backwards.

        Likewise, Fremont also has some responsibility for its situation. It has the lowest bridge. It’s in a difficult location for surrounding routes to serve it. And it forces us to choose between UW-Fremont-Ballard vs UW-Wallingford-Ballard. If that diamond situation weren’t there, the 44 could have served it long ago, with frequent, electric, and late-night service to UW and Ballard. I guess that argues for building up the 46th/Phinney/Fremont area, which is in a perfect location for a new neighborhood center but all it has is single-family houses.

      9. I guess that argues for building up the 46th/Phinney/Fremont area, which is in a perfect location for a new neighborhood center but all it has is single-family houses.

        If you look at the SDOT map of urban centers, Phinney and 46th isn’t there.

        The urban center/village designation isn’t just for show. The urban centers and hub urban villages are where most of Seattle’s current residential and (especially) commercial density is, and where most of the new density will end up.

        I live in Capitol Hill, and even if you ignore the detour stop in the morning and the Connector, it’s faster for me to get to Redmond (OTC) than it would be to get to Fremont.

        It’s true that Fremont isn’t “on the way”. But it’s an area that has a lot of jobs, a lot of residents, and will only have more in the future. We can’t just ignore it. We can’t just tell Adobe and Google and the other companies there that they should move to 46th and Phinney, or SLU, or anywhere else. We need to get transit to where the development *actually is*.

        Now, having said that, I totally agree that it would be a mistake for Ballard-downtown trips to be subject to the whims of the Fremont Bridge. But there’s lots of things we can do about that, like the Aurora elevator, or a new (higher) 3rd NW bridge.

        I just don’t think it’s acceptable to skip Fremont entirely — and for better or worse, any transit service that stays on 45th/46th *does* skip Fremont.

      10. BTW, it’s worth noting that 15th and Ballard *is* in the Ballard urban center. And it shows; 15th might not have the same walkability as 22nd/Old Ballard, but there’s definitely no shortage of apartment/condo buildings and new development.

        Fremont and Lake City are the only two urban centers or hub urban villages that are not at least getting RapidRide. It’s especially painful in Fremont’s case, since RapidRide passes *right by*. Having a new rail line bypass it completely, without any substitute service, would just be cruel.

        I want to reiterate that I’m not arguing out of any sense of “fairness”. I’m just saying that we’ve designated Fremont as a place where we want to see growth, and as a result, we *have* seen growth. Thus, we need to provide transit to accommodate the new demand. That’s all.

      11. Mike, please tell me you’re being facetious. Pretty please. Because no long-term resident of North Seattle wouldn’t know that Ballard predates the street grid, predates the bridge, and predates the “obvious north-south road,” right?

        Part of the issue is that, when the city was just starting to get stitched together with arterials, and its residents, though fewer, were captive demand for public transit, each of these arterials had streetcars coming every five minutes all day and night. Splitting frequency barely mattered because they were so omnipresent. And what they lacked in speed they made up for in reliability, since there was hardly any other traffic sharing the road.

        Fast forward to the height of the automobile era, and you’ve got all of those services still running, but reduced to skeletal frequencies due to plummeting demand. Suddenly frequency, transfers, and the reliability of sharing the road are all major impediments and transit turn-offs. Demand plummets further until you get to the nadir from which we’re all still feeling the runoff. (In fact, there’s a good case to be made that recent development, with still-inadequate transit provoking further auto clogging, has brought us to our lowest point ever.)

        Regardless, it baffles me that you would actually blame Ballard for continuing to evolve and grow around its greatest asset (and Seattle’s rarest), a legitimate sense of history and place.

        Aleks, I think you may be overestimating both the present-day size of the Fremont “urban village” and how much is has grown or intends to grow as a result of that designation. Sure, the handful of canal-side office buildings with their globally-recognized logos are impressive, and the modest commercial strip has few vacancies and is busier than ever, but neither the increased nor total numbers of residents, employees, or visitors located within the Lower Fremont walkshed can hold a candle to the growth and size that Ballard has achieved. In fact, I’m pretty sure Wallingford (45th Street)’s numbers would drown an isolated Lower Fremont.

        I’d also point out that a shockingly high percentage of new Fremont residents are located within half a block of 39th, in autocentric town-boxes so located for their easy access to Aurora by car. Just last year, Fremont raised hell when the city tried to install parking meters for the first time ever. And I’m pretty sure the neighborhood — which, unlike Ballard, grew up in the automobile era — has nearly no residences of any sort without parking. This is not a neighborhood screaming for transit prime-time.

        Still, as Mike has himself said, the status quo in Fremont is not quite as dire as that we’re trying to fix elsewhere. The 26 and 28 both suck for reliability, but once you’re actually on them (OneBusAway is kind of indispensable for them), the trip is quick, since it’s physically closer to downtown than any point north of the canal and since it doesn’t take any major detours [cough, cough, RapidRide D].

        Anyway, I’m not anti-Fremont, and in a perfect world there’s nothing I’d like more than to see rapid transit appear right outside Simply Desserts with no adverse affects on its speed/cost to elsewhere.

        But for the sake of this debate, I must now point out that neither of you have actually provided one good reason why a smaller number Fremonters can’t walk 1,900 feet along an unbroken activity strip — or 800 feet across a bridge — but the much, much larger population of central Ballard Ballardites should be expected to walk to a pedestrian-unfriendly location through a walkshed that is not nearly as well-stitched (especially between 15th and 17th) as you might believe. Seriously, how is that one not a hypocritical position?

        (p.s. FWIW, I should actually be thanking Mike for this argument, since he emphatically proved my original point: that the “rapid streetcar” should be opposed because in Seattle the “rapid” part will inevitably fall victim to parochial squabbles just like this one!)

      12. “If you look at the SDOT map of urban centers, Phinney and 46th isn’t there.”

        But if you look at where the 44 and 358 intersect, it’s there. I’m not saying it’s realistic to expect a new commercial center to develop there from scratch. I’m just saying it’s a lost opportunity, and that Fremont, because of its location, is less plugged in to the network than it could otherwise be. In one sense that means it’s inevitable that Fremont will be partly left behind, and people will make their choices where to live/work/shop based on that. (For some people, the Fremont atmosphere and the cuteness of the bridge outweigh the fact that it’s off the main transit routes and the bridge goes up all the time.) On the other hand, it means the city/Metro should make some effort to include Fremont in the frequent/rapid transit networks even if it has to go a little bit out of the way, because it does have a notable concentration of pedestrians and jobs.

      13. “the Aurora elevator”

        I really like that idea. Making a direct connection between Fremont and the 358 would go a long way toward making Fremont more accessible. I’m pessimistic because of the sticker-shock cost of elevators and the potential for vandalism, but it would be a significant asset in the area.

      14. I think you may have misinterpreted my position. I *do* agree with you that Ballard is a more important transit destination than Fremont, *and* that the same walkshed argument applies in both cases. If 15th and Market is close enough to Ballard, then an equivalent walk is close enough to Fremont.

        The part that worried me was the idea that we’d build a new rail line, and it wouldn’t stop anywhere within a mile of Fremont, just like the 358 doesn’t stop anywhere within a mile of Fremont today.

        An east-west spur that stopped at the zoo, but not anywhere closer, would be a perfect example of what I don’t want to see. That’s a mile walk on a steep hill. Such a line basically does not serve Fremont at all. And I just can’t believe that there’s more transit demand at 46th and Fremont/Phinney than there is in Lower Fremont, especially if you add in the Nickerson area.

        Now, if we’re talking about at-grade rail from downtown to Ballard via Queen Anne, then I agree that a stop below the bridge serves Fremont just fine.

      15. “it’s worth noting that 15th and Ballard *is* in the Ballard urban center.”

        I heard that Metro and the Monorail chose 15th over 24th because they believed it would be a significant growth area (all the way from Leary to 85th) that would eventually justify the highest frequency. On one hand, I’m reluctant to pin all hope on something that might or might not happen. On the other hand, there are plenty of underused lots in that area that have significant potential to accommodate more people if the will to build it is there.

      16. “Mike, please tell me you’re being facetious. Pretty please. Because no long-term resident of North Seattle wouldn’t know that Ballard predates the street grid, predates the bridge, and predates the “obvious north-south road,” right?”

        Of course I know that. And I did work in Ballard for four years, and lived there for nine months (on 65th just west of 15th). Unfortunately I was laid off a month after I moved there. I still love Ballard’s quiet atmosphere and unassuming architecture. It was just too quiet for me at that stage of my life, and I realized I was going outside the neighborhood for nearly everything. Still, I used to ride the 15 the short distance to the Ballard Market, Blockbuster, and Fred Meyer when I didn’t feel like walking. And I experienced the “Y” hell of the 15 and 18 splitting at the very south end of Ballard, so you always had to check which bus was leaving next and hope it wouldn’t be late — or inevitably walk to Leary Way so you can catch any of the 15, 17, or 18. (That would be another good station to spruce up so it doesn’t feel like concrete-and-automobile hell.)

        Yes, of course Ballard’s downtown predates the major streets and highways. But the main streets have been there for decades, and they’re the easiest places to put frequent/rapid transit. I’m not saying Ballard should move its downtown. I’m saying it should have made the area around 15th more walkable, and connected the 15th and Ballard Ave areas together better. I’m not blaming Ballard, but rather pointing out the lost opportunity, and pointing out that Ballard created the current situation. The “Y” may be a geographic accident that unfortunately afflicts some places, but it was (and is) Ballard’s choice to mitigate it by creating a walkable environment around 15th, and making better pedestrian connections between 15th and 24th, to mitigate the negative effects of the “Y”.

      17. 1. Mike: in even the four years I’ve lived in Ballard, I’m amazed how much more lively it is, how much more it offers (at at all hours). Also, moving from north of 60th into central Ballard made all the difference for me. When there’s so much you can get/do without getting on a bus, it makes the hassle of Metro seem that much less worth it. I do walk as far as Ballard Market and Trader Joe’s on a regular basis (because $%#& QFC), and NE Ballard (1.5 miles) in the good-weather months, but I’m even shocked how many days don’t require leaving the 6-block radius at all.

        (This is a tremendously potent thing for me to say, since my personality prefers the myriad offerings that only an entire big city can provide. I’d never in a million years be okay living in an isolated Ballard-sized city in Montana.)

        2. It seems we all like the Aurora elevator idea. Of course, with RapidRide service as luckluster as it’s currently set to be, it seems less of a game-changer. If RapidRide ever actually becomes the impediment-free transit spine it claims to be, I would call this project indispensible.

        3. Aleks and Mike: That walkshed divide I described between 15th/17th and true central Ballard is actually as much the fault of lousy-density development as neighborhood history. “Leva” and “Hjärta” are bulk-of-a-block-long dead frontage. All the businesses (franchised cellphone store: check; bank branch: check) close up at 6. Those shallow business, of course, are shaped by auto-centric design and marketing, which also means that no one ever seems to come in or out the front doors. (Seriously, I barely understand how Leva, with literally hundreds of units, never has anyone walking in or out. My car-free central Ballard building has 24 units and never goes five minutes without someone walking through the lobby.)

        4. Aleks: I see, we’re talking about your reservations about an east-west Link spur missing Lower Fremont, rather than the need for at-grade streetcar to chug right through its center.

        FWIW, when I created that route proposal (demonstrating the shortness of its required bore and also placing stations with attention to cost, invasiveness, and political feasibility), I did include the “south” option for a reason. It’s just that the more I thought about it, the more the drawbacks seemed to outweigh the benefits.

        I’m going to attempt to create a chart to give you a peak at my thought process; if I tried to do so in paragraph form it would very quickly reach TL;DR status…

      18. Official status:
        – Lower Fremont (LowFre): “Urban Village”
        – Phinney/Greenwood (PinneyWood): “Urban Village”

        – LowFre: Lower, growing but hemmed-in
        – PhinneyWood: Higher, also growing

        Population density:
        – LowFre: Medium, over a small area
        – PhinneyWood: Medium-low, over an extended area

        – LowFre: limited by grade
        – PhinneyWood: limited by grade, but huge with a good 5 transfer

        Commerce (shops, restaurants, nightlife):
        – LowFre: medium in number, a few regional in pull
        – PhinneyWood: quite a bit higher in number, fewer regional in pull

        Employment magnet:
        – LowFre: medium, with a few A-list names
        – PhinneyWood: low

        Current transit situation:
        – LowFre: both 26 and 28 unreliable, but fast once they cross canal, high combined frequency
        – PhinneyWood: 5 ultra-unreliable, still slow and long journey once you catch it, medium frequency

        RapidRide E prospects:
        – LowFre: useless
        – PhinneyWood: useless

        Subway construction costs and difficulty:
        – LowFre: much higher (1 mile further boring, probably more cut-and-cover required, transition point from one to the other less obvious)
        – PhinneyWood: shorter, direct, fewer obstacles

        Benefit received from Phinney or Upper Fremont stop:
        – LowFre: medium-high (chance to axe 26/28 in favor of a rerouted “feeder 5” with much higher frequency and improved reliability, trip via Dexter improves dramatically, trip to Upper Fremont/PhinneyWood becomes possible for the first time, 1-transfer access to the Link network)
        – PhinneyWood: very high (much more frequent and reliable “feeder 5” replaces the 5 as a long-slog nightmare, vastly improved trip to Ballard, U-District and downtown, 1-transfer access to the Link network)

        Benefit received from Lower Fremont stop:
        – LowFre: very high (no-transfer access to everywhere)
        – PhinneyWood: pretty much none whatsoever (trip to Link or anywhere else still requires a long slog and/or a really bad transfer)

        The way I see it, an east-west line literally cannot serve Lower Fremont without pretty thoroughly screwing over all of the areas to its north, which actually represents a surprising amount of current population and activity (in addition to potential growth).

        I feel the same way about your musings about skipping Wallingford central in favor of Fremont: Wallingford has a truly large and gently-sloping walkshed which, unlike Fremont, is geographically prohibited from ever receiving direct north-south service. Skipping it on an east-west line strikes me as insane.

        Curiosity: have you gotten to PhinneyWood much in the time you’ve been here? I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t — it’s a total pain to do so (see above) — but I think your sense of that Fremont’s priority is unequivocally higher might fade.

        It’s interesting that Mike (who lives in Fremont) seems to agree with me about the subway choice (if not the streetcar quibbles). Also, the idea of locating a stop at the mid-point between two neighborhoods so as to serve both of them better (even at the expense of serving either one at its heart) is not unprecedented, especially among recently-developed transit.

        (You might also consider the Orange Line’s Back Bay station as an example. Sure, it’s surrounded by dense commercial activity… now… but it’s still pretty far from the traditional hearts of either the Back Bay or the South End. Being where it is, it manages to serve both!)

      19. Re RapidRide: The more that people depend on the service, the more likely it is to get better eventually. We’re building U-Link and North Link in large part because it’s clear that the existing service clearly isn’t good enough.

        Re Leva: It’s probably because most residents come in through the parking garage. :(

        Re an east-west spur: It seems like we both agree that a “feeder 5”, which doesn’t cross any bridges and doesn’t go downtown, would be fantastic. But to me, it seems like the feeder 5 would work even better with a LowFre station. It starts right at the station (and so you can have timed transfers from Link), and it proceeds up Fremont Ave and then onto the 5’s current route. If you have a station further north, then either you lose out on timed transfers, or you don’t provide feeder service to Link from points south, either of which seems like a major disadvantage.

        Seriously: imagine if you could take Link from Capitol Hill to Fremont, and then a bus would be waiting *immediately* to take you north to Phinney Ridge/Greenwood. I would hardly call that “pretty much no benefit whatsoever”.

        Some more responses:

        – LowFre is a “Hub Urban Village”. To quote:

        3. Hub urban villages are communities that provide a balance of housing and employment, generally at densities lower than those found in urban centers. These areas provide a focus of goods, services, and employment to communities that are not close to urban centers.

        4. Residential urban villages provide a focus of goods and services for residents and surrounding communities but may not provide a concentration of employment.

        – The PhinneyWood urban village population, in 2000, was 1,940. LowFre was 3,455. Yes, the boundaries are weird, but those boundaries are where future density will go.

        – Re walkshed, the good 5 transfer works wherever you place the station. As far as direct walkshed goes, I think you’re underestimating the number of people who will walk across the Fremont Bridge and from points east of Aurora, and overestimating the number of people who will walk directly from a 46th/Phinney station to their final destination.

        – Re commerce, I have been to Phinney Ridge, and I disagree that there’s more commerce there than Fremont. I’d say it’s about the same for restaurants and shops, but Fremont has much more nightlife and much more street life in general. If you add in Greenwood, then sure, but Greenwood is hardly in the direct walkshed of a 46th/Phinney station, or even a 60th/Phinney station. Realistically, they’ll be taking the bus, whether it starts at 34th or 46th or 60th.

        – If subway construction costs were the issue, then we would have bypassed Capitol Hill in favor of running on the I-5 express lanes. Not saying they’re a non-issue, but we are talking about what is hopefully a 100-year line; let’s not pick the wrong solution just to save a buck or two.

        – Re current transit: The 26/28 have the same combined frequency as the two branches of the 5. In fact, the 5 has 15-minute all-day frequency all the way up to 85th, which is better than either leg of the 26/28. So in any meaningful sense, Fremont and Phinney Ridge have the same frequency.

        And to be honest, I’m really surprised to hear you say that the 26/28 are more reliable than the 5. I used to live at 46th and Greenwood, and so the 5 was my main bus. The only slow parts of the journey were the turn from 43rd to Fremont, the intersection at 38th and Fremont Way, and (of course) everything south of Aurora/John. In contrast, even if it didn’t get held up by the bridge, the 26/28 were much slower than the Aurora routing. (And the bridge easily qualifies the 26/28 for an “ultra-unreliable” designation.)

        Re Wallingford: I don’t really think we should skip Wallingford. I just don’t think we should skip Fremont either. :)

        I’m not familiar with the SkyTrain station you linked to, but I can say that Back Bay Station is a mere 0.2 flat miles from Copley Station, which itself is pretty much the epicenter of the Back Bay. And it’s 0.3 flat miles from Tremont St, right in the heart of the South End. In contrast, from 34th and Fremont to 46th and Fremont is 0.9 miles up a rather steep hill. Back Bay Station serves both neighborhoods; a 46th/Phinney station would serve neither.

      20. This is getting too big for a subthread. DP, can you put your subway ideas and Fremont & Phinney ideas into an article? I think you said you were going to write a follow-up on the three-alternative subway.

        I don’t live in Fremont. I’ve lived on Capitol Hill (currently), U-district, Ballard, Bellevue, and briefly Haller Lake. I left Ballard in 2003, before Trader Joe’s and the Hjärta and Leva existed. You may be right that south-of-Market is more of a don’t-have-to-leave urban village now, and I’m glad to hear that.

        Rerouting the 5 to Dexter makes sense on paper, but I think somebody said it won’t go over well with the authorities because it would significantly degrade travel times from Greenwood. Most people consider the 5 a better ride than the 26/28, and would rather strengthen it than those routes. Therefore we must do something else about the hill from 34th to the 5, and/or the lack of a Fremont stop on Aurora.

        RapidRide corridors are where future transit growth will be channeled. So the current level of RapidRide service is just a minimum starting point. Thus, it’s important to connect Aurora to Fremont and to the east-west subway somehow. Otherwise there will be glaring gaps in the emerging frequent-transit network.

      21. Pie-in-the-sky: what about a Dexter/Fremont route going north to the zoo and south to either downtown, SLU, or Seattle Center? That would connect upper and lower Fremont, transfer to the 5 and 44, and allow the 30/46 and 26/28 to be reorganized (and stop crossing the bridge). The north end could be extended to a RapidRide E transfer point (though I’m not sure where) or elsewhere in north Seattle. It would also be faster than extending the 13, although it wouldn’t give a direct connection to upper Queen Anne.

      22. This is indeed getting pretty long. I do intend to write some master-argument about the subway proposal, but it’s been on the back burner. And frankly, Martin et al see me as a thorn in the side, so I doubt I’ll ever be getting a by-lined post for it. (That I tend to find the streetcar proposal stupid and wasteful doesn’t ingratiate me either.)

        Aleks, re: population/walkshed comparisons, the stated boundaries are so “weird” as to be meaningless. The PhinneyWood boundary seems only to include buildings facing the arterial proper. Which is presently mostly commercial (with mixed-use slowly filtering in), thus registering the tiniest sliver of the actual population.

        The boundaries seem to recognize the political reality that most of the Ridge is going to remain s.f. forever. Like Roosevelt outside of the narrow rezoning. And like Fremont outside the tiny LowFre corridor.

        The difference is that the Fremont Urban Village is the entire walkshed for anything you’re proposing. Upper Fremont and the areas east and west are left out of reach not just by slopes, but by many dead zones and residential frontage that seems to have been designed for maximum hostility. PhinneyWood’s walkshed, full of s.f. as it is, is surprisingly consistent: small lots, short blocks, no dead zones. The sense of inviting pedestrian access from side-street to activity center is among Seattle’s best.

        I grew up in Brookline, Mass. Don’t underestimate the ability of uninterrupted s.f. areas behind mixed-use arterials to provide a ton of transit demand (when the transit is good enough).

        Re: “current transit reliability” — I was dividing this into two categories: how variable the wait tends to be for the vehicle to come in the first place, and how long or fluctuating the ride tends to be once you’re finally on it. On the first count, both the 5 and the 26/28 are pretty bad. The 26/28 is bad because it’s interlined, so although each branch is rarely more than 5 minutes off, that still can easily mean 20 minutes between buses. But I find the 5 worse: interlined, sent through bottlenecks on both branches, sent through more on the combined route. Heck, I didn’t even know that it was technically 15 minutes during the day (thought it was 20), because it never really is. 20-minute-late vehicles and 3-bus bunching happens all the time. Both directions. Definitely worse.

        Also, the 5 drops to 30 minutes hours before the 26/28 do.

      23. I do hope you’ve read this far, because to truly illustrate why I disagree with your Fremont priority, we should really go to the map!

        As you know (comparing speeds to Redmond with speeds to Fremont), the “once you’re on the vehicle” transit slog isn’t about distance. It’s about how long you spend in “slow mode” — stopping frequently, passengers paying one-by-one, competing with bicycles and traffic that won’t yield. Coming from the center of Greenwood (85th), you’ll currently do this for 2.5 miles before getting on Aurora.

        Under your plan, you’ll do this for 3 solid miles! And then maybe you’ll have to suffer some Metro-designed loop routing before actually getting dropped off at the subway. (Remember that I’ve argued direct, perpendicular, high-frequency transfers, like the ones in Chicago or Vancouver or the one you’d get at a 46th&Phinney station, invariably work better than “terminus transfers.”)

        It seems absurd to me to route a subway to relieve Fremont of its 3-mile slow-bus slog, but to consequently to force the next urban village up onto a 3-mile slow-bus slog just to access the network at all. The map makes this irony pretty evident.

        I think you and Mike both overestimate the value of RapidRide to any of these areas. For the sake of Shoreline and the weirdly isolated town-boxes in the furthest extremities of north Seattle, I hope RapidRide gets better over time. But make no mistake: it’s a Shoreline shuttle, not not an urban transit line. Phinney can’t access it (grade) and Greenwood is a 2,500-foot walk from its very unpleasant nearby access point. Which RapidRide is not going to clean up.

        The importance of the 5 isn’t going away any time soon. Turning it into a good cross-transit two-way feeder, rather than the extremely long one-way feeder you’re suggesting, seems a much better way to make it a part of the network you and I both hope to see in our lifetimes.

      24. p.s. You’re right that the Back Bay comparison wasn’t as appropriate as the Vancouver one, because both neighboring areas (while spreading much further than Copley or Tremont) are highly accessible by foot.

        But what you might not know is just how dead the space around Back Bay station was when the Orange Line was moved there in the ’70s and ’80s:

        The Prudential Center was a rail yard. The Copley Place mall was a giant, open highway-exit cloverleaf. The existing southwest rail corridor was in an open cut. The whole thing was an scar between the Back Bay and South End, forbidding and in places near-impossible to cross, before the orange line and rebuilt commuter rail station were put there to serve both neighborhoods. What a successful suture!

      25. I should say that I’m *much* more sympathetic to a north routing than a 46th routing. That at least stops somewhere. What I object to most strongly is having a stop in a sea of SFH, where almost all riders will be transferring.

        Re Back Bay: There’s still a huge difference, which is that the scar you’re talking about is clearly something that no one wanted to see. So turning it into a commercial area was something of a no-brainer, especially because it was so close to the othe areas. In contrast, I don’t think that 46th and Phinney will *ever* be anything other than residential, and primarily SFH at that, and that’s in no small part due to the exceptionally steep hills.

        I also grew up in Brookline. The D line goes through some pretty quiet areas, but none of its Brookline stops are truly in SFH land. You’ve got commercial areas, hospitals, schools, and dense multifamily housing. Beaconsfield is the only possible exception, and even that is close enough to Beacon St that its walkshed includes some dense areas.

        And the D line is one branch of four on the Green Line, which sees two-car trains for most of the day. By Boston standards, it’s very underbuilt. In contrast, every Red Line station is an activity center, aside from a few terminal park-and-rides. The same goes for almost every Orange Line and Blue Line station. (Hell, even the Wonderland P&R isn’t really in the middle of nowhere.)

        If we’re talking about the massive investment involved in building an east-west metro line in north Seattle, it would be a huge mistake to build one of the stations in an area that will never see any development or density.

      26. Two other points.

        First, what is the exact “feeder 5” that you’re proposing? I want to make sure I understand it before I decide whether or not I agree with it. :)

        And second, lots of people whom the STB staff don’t like have written guest posts. :) If nothing else, it would be good to share with the Twitter/Google-verse.

      27. Have you asked Martin? Several STBers are interested in a 45th subway article, and how to deal with the Wallingford & Fremont diamond. You’ve had the best ideas on this so far. I think the opposition is mostly that some of your ideas are unrealistic because they ignore political and financial reality, and we don’t need a bunch of unrealistic articles. But ST has already committed to studying UW-Ballard HCT, so there’s a way to get from here to there. (Unlike a Queen Anne subway, which nobody has put up money to study.)

        I never said RapidRide E was good for Fremont and Greenwood. But the fact remains that people all over north Seattle go to 100th & Aurora, 130th & Aurora, 160th & Aurora, and Snohomish County on a regular basis, so they’ll be using it whether or not it’s convenient. Therefore, we should improve access from Fremont and Phinney as much as feasable. I like the idea of extending the 5 to wherever Swift and RR meet (Aurora Village now; Shoreline TC later maybe). I also want to change the 5-Northgate to regular 5, which could be done if RR D is extended to Northgate as in Seattle’s TMP, or by another reorganization.

      28. Several STBers are interested in a 45th subway article, and how to deal with the Wallingford & Fremont diamond. You’ve had the best ideas on this so far.

        Firstly, thanks! I really try to infuse debates with constructive (if strong) ideas, but I know that they often come packaged with a lot of frustration. It seems that I usually end up pissing off the majority. One of these days, I’d really like to make it to a meet-up, if only to demonstrate that I’m not such a crank in person.

        I should probably admit that I’ve stumbled into the detail-parsing of the east-west corridor backwards. I mostly wanted to draw up a to-scale map to demonstrate how much of North Seattle density/destination corridor could be served for relatively little tunneling. I wanted to have a visual aid handy to refute the absurd yet frequently-proffered argument that such a line is only “justified” as part of a some much longer, much less efficient, much less important line to Sand Point, Kirkland, Issaquah, or Wenatchee. So I found a geographically accurate diagram of U-Link and North Link, overlaid it on a Google Map, and started drawing west. Only then did I start to brainstorm the construction/cost/political impacts of specific routing, digging methods, station locations, and the three mid-point options I wound up including.

        I think the opposition is mostly that some of your ideas are unrealistic because they ignore political and financial reality.

        Honestly, if I didn’t think it were so important to spend our money on game-changer projects rather than window dressing, and if I didn’t think a line like this could be built soon and with urban funds, I wouldn’t be pushing so hard for it. But, while we currently lack such a pile of cash or the taxing authority to gather one, we absolutely could. My estimate for the east-west spur, based on the cost of U-Link: $2 billion. Much less than U-Link + North Link, both of which are being paid for with city revenues, though funneled through Sound Transit. But that kind of money is clearly something that can be raised in Seattle proper.

        And let’s compare it to the streetcar proposal. Multiple projects, each coming in at hundreds of millions, make that network easily add up to $1 billion plus. So we’re getting into the same ballpark for a network that continues to strike me as inadequate (Ballard-Fremont), redundant (downtown connector), and of very limited use to the wider population (Eastlake).

        I should say that I’m *much* more sympathetic to a north routing than a 46th routing. That at least stops somewhere.

        This was the last of the options to occur to me, but it did for exactly that reason. Putting it at 59th serves the zoo (a regional destination), opens up directly to the walkable commercial spine, and has a decent residential walkshed even without a transfer. But I see its distance from Fremont (upper or lower) as a liability. It ceases to be walking distance on even the nicest day or for the most ardent.

        The truth is that I walk from 46th to both Fremont and PhinneyWood (as far as the 70s or even 80s) on a regular basis. The 44->5 connection is so horrendously unreliable that it invariably makes sense to walk one of the two legs. That — and sense that this would most easily absorb existing 44 ridership — is why I continue to think the middle stop presents the best compromise: a feasibly walk under some circumstances, or a non-arduous bus connection that forces neither population to suffer as many long lights or route twists as the Fremont stop would for Phinney or the Phinney stop would for Fremont.

        Plus, there’s Upper Fremont…

        What I object to most strongly is having a stop in a sea of SFH, where almost all riders will be transferring.

        While you clearly hated living at 46th & Greenwood, I don’t exactly agree with this assessment. While not part of the designated “Urban Village” and not likely to explode with growth, the area isn’t actually low-density or even weighted to s.f. Take a look. Multi-family actually fills most of this snapshot. You said the “Fremont Urban Village” (Lower Fremont) has a population of about 3,500. Well, Fremont as a whole houses tens of thousands. The intermediate area (39th to 42nd) is where the least dense and most expensive housing is, thus the unfortunate walking dead zone (it even looks totally different on the satellite image). But I wouldn’t be surprised if the 5-block radius from 46th & Phinney houses as many or more than Lower Fremont does.

        Also — and I don’t know how this would work with deep-station construction, but my ideal would involve elevators at each end of the platform. A station slightly shorter than Westlake (without all of the mezzanine frills; just the lifts at either end) could pop you to the surface at Phinney Ave or just shy of Fremont Ave. So then you get easy access to the notable and growing Upper Fremont commercial district as well. (Plus a 2-block transfer to RapidRide, though this is honestly not a priority from observations of current usage patterns.)

        What is the exact “feeder 5″ that you’re proposing?

        So this is where the 5 comes in. One of great values of an east-west subway line, in addition to serving so many current destinations in only 3 miles, is that it would be a boon to our long-advocated ideal of a gridded system with connections so good you stop worrying about them. Connections so good that it almost doesn’t matter if they sit at “nodes” or just at cross-streets.

        I see the Link-crossing 5 as an essential north-south spine in a future gridded system. (Yes, much more important than the neighboring long-distance RapidRide line.) It should be as straight as possible (no more Northgate branch) and as frequent as a Seattle bus can be. I know you’d rather see it not fight the Fremont Bridge, but I actually think there’s value in it replacing the 26/28 on Dexter. Then there’s no question of what bus to take if you’re heading due north or due south.

        Very long, non-highway lines fail when they’re too infrequent or too winding, or if riders are forced to rely on them for 6-mile journeys. But spend some time in Chicago and you’ll realize the value of routes that simply keep going straight as far as the road does. Some arterial buses in Chicago travel 20 miles before turning around. But they come so often that even bunching (inevitable) never results in a long wait. And almost everyone transfers to a train mid-route, with an easy walk-off-the-bus-and-through-the-turnstiles connection, just like the new 5 would offer at Link.

        I understand why you’re loathe to plan a line with only 4 new stops and not have all 4 be in “perfect” locations. But I also know you’re passionate about bucking Sound Transit’s “nodes-not-corridors” error and routing with an eye to grid-building. I personally think the middle route does this better than the north or south, and helps to emphasize the need for urban connectivity rather than a patchwork of isolated and competing nodes.

        (Note: I never even considered routing the line to put an East Ballard station at 65th, despite the commercial center there. There’s nothing right at 8th & Market, but the reach of that stop is actually much wider, while still including the 65th strip within an 9-minute walk.) (See also: that recent post on the D.C. Metro’s rules of thumb, many of which Seattle’s node-reaching obsession violate.)

        Phew! That was long! Just one more aside:

        I also grew up in Brookline.

        Really? Funny!

        For what it’s worth, I was actually talking about the C Line. For the most part, you go a block off of Beacon, Harvard, or Washington and you’re surrounded by single-family living. 90% of Brookline’s 59,000 population lives in the northern half of the town, so it’s amazing just how much of it is still s.f.-oriented. But the s.f. is relatively close together and close to the street, providing unbroken frontage. Because Brookline is “known” as pedestrian-friendly and transit-oriented, the s.f. becomes a huge portion of the transit demand rather than the impediment it is seen as here.

        Phinney/Upper Fremont is actually set up much the same way; the demand is already there, it just needs transit worth taking!

      29. By political reality I mean the fact that even the $60 fee looks iffy because people think even a streetcar is too expensive and they’d rather have the money spent on car lanes, sidewalks, and bus hours. If we can just barely pass that, how are we going to pass a $2 billion subway measure? Especially when people just spend 3 billion on a deep bore tunnel.

        It’s important to have ideal plans so that we can figure out what would work best, and show it to people, and sometimes opportunities come up to actually do it, or at least do something approaching it. But it’s futile to get mad at the public for not voting for it, or blaming the transit agencies because the public doesn’t support it. That’s when you have to look at incremental improvements that can be accepted by the public, and that together add up to a significant change. That’s how we got Amtrak Cascades service built up, and got Metro to double or triple the number of 15-minute frequent routes (including the 26/28 and 15/18: the 15 and 26 used to be shuttles in the evening). Some progress is better than no progress. Of course, I can’t help but think of the number of no-car households we’re missing out on because we don’t have Chicago level of service. But again, some progress is better than none.

        We also need to think multi-track. A subway would not be able to open until 2025 or 2030. We can’t just do nothing for fourteen or eighteen years. So we need short-term solutions now until the long-term solutions happen. So if we decide to build a subway, we also have to do something else in the meantime. A 20% improvement on 45th will be a start. A MAX-like streetcar may be OK even if it has to stop at the bridge, because it won’t be slowing down other places.

      30. But I see its distance from Fremont (upper or lower) as a liability.

        Lower Fremont is a hilly mile-long walk to 46th and Fremont. The number of people who will walk between the two is already miniscule.

        59th and Phinney is also a mile-long walk to Lower Fremont. My vague recollection is that it’s not nearly as hilly as the alternative. But it’s still well outside the walkshed of a 46th/Phinney stop.

        Also — and I don’t know how this would work with deep-station construction, but my ideal would involve elevators at each end of the platform.

        Hmm. Now that you mention it, I actually think it would make more sense to have one end at Fremont Ave and the other end at Aurora. Now you’ve got a good transfer to the (rerouted) 5 *and* to RapidRide, and thus to a wide swath of NW Seattle.

        I know you’d rather see it not fight the Fremont Bridge, but I actually think there’s value in it replacing the 26/28 on Dexter. Then there’s no question of what bus to take if you’re heading due north or due south.

        In general, I completely agree with you about keeping routes as straight as possible. But Fremont Ave ends at the bridge. And the bridge openings just can’t be ignored. The message I’ve gotten from Bruce — and my own personal experience bears this out — is that reliability/frequency and the Fremont Bridge simply don’t mix. If the 5 crosses the bridge, then the most frequent it can ever be is (effectively) 10 minutes, because of the length of a bridge cycle.

        This is bad enough if you’re coming from downtown. But it’s even worse if you’re coming from a train station that’s north of the canal. At that point, you’re waiting for a bus which is delayed because of a bridge that you don’t need it to cross, which is just obnoxious.

        To the contrary, I actually think that a spur station (and an Aurora elevator) would be a fantastic opportunity to restructure North Seattle service so that it *doesn’t* have to cross the bridge. Besides the 5, you could also send the 26 over the University Bridge (deleting the east-west segment); send the 28 along NW 45th and over the Ballard Bridge; and reroute the 30 through Fremont and along Leary to Ballard. This would improve reliability for just about everyone.

        But I also know you’re passionate about bucking Sound Transit’s “nodes-not-corridors” error and routing with an eye to grid-building.

        Oh, definitely. But if you look at many of Boston’s most successful transit lines, they *created* corridors, rather than following existing ones. Take a look at this map:

        geographical Boston subway map

        Even knowing how complex Boston’s streets are, it’s clear that these routes do not form anything even closely resembling a grid.

        The B and C lines are unique in following a single street. (And the C line is unique in following a *straight* street. :D) The D line is a mess. The Green Line doubles back on itself north of North Station. The Red Line follows Mass Ave when it’s convenient, but diverts all over the place.

        It’s easier to make an argument for staying on a single street when that street has continuous density (i.e. Beacon St in Boston, or many subway lines in NYC). But staying on a street just because it seems logical — even if the area in between will never get upzoned in a hundred years — isn’t an effective way to plan a subway line.

        Again, I come back to the same point. What’s important is building a transit *network*, not transit graph paper. If we had designed Link to follow the “stay on one street” rule, then we would have taken Marginal Way all the way to the airport, Eastlake/I-5 all the way to the U-District, and Roosevelt Ave/I-5 all the way to Northgate. Instead, we built significant diversions, at great additional expense, because that’s where the riders are.

        The real problem I have with “nodes not corridors” thinking is when it leads you to create a plethora of point-to-point express buses, ignoring the fact that someone from Tukwila might want to go to Beacon Hill. (Or, in our case, that someone from Ballard might want to go to Capitol Hill.) Any routing for an east-west spur would fix this problem.

        But the s.f. is relatively close together and close to the street, providing unbroken frontage.

        Brookline is actually denser than Seattle as a whole (!), and that’s including the much less dense South Brookline.

        In the 2000 census, Brookline’s housing stock was 17.3% detached SFH, 3.9% attached SFH, and the rest were multi-unit buildings

        In contrast, the 98103 zip code was 48.9% detached SFH.

        At the end of the day, what really matters is walkshed. For a given station location, the question is, how many *people* can (and will) walk to it? In this respect, it doesn’t really matter whether you have isolated towers or an unbroken fabric of SFH (or, for that matter, an unbroken fabric of towers); it matters if there are enough people who will walk to the station.

        I’m just not convinced that a 46th/Fremont or 46th/Phinney station will actually pass that test. (And, as the Roosevelt debacle shows, there are a quite a few people who think that we should only build stations in areas that are willing to upzone — and I think it’s safe to say that Upper Fremont is not one of them.)

      31. “Lower Fremont is a hilly mile-long walk to 46th and Fremont. The number of people who will walk between the two is already miniscule.”

        Because of the hill and the lack of transit. For decades people have wished there were a route on Fremont Ave to the 44, and have either grudgingly walked the way or, as they come to remember it more, they just avoid the area. Like they avoid going from Fremont to Ballard or from Fremont to Queen Anne. The demand is there and would increase if there were a direct bus route.

      32. I said walk. I did say walk, right? :)

        I have no doubt that the number of trips from lower Fremont to upper Fremont/Phinney Ridge/Greenwood would increase exponentially with a direct bus. But the walk from 34th to 46th just sucks. Put a bus in, and you’ll see *less* people walking that route, not more.

      33. Hey, anyone still reading this? Mike? Aleks? The Uninitiated?

        Spent most of today driven to distraction by excitement for a concert (I hadn’t seen the band in 14 years), so I never even attempted to reply.

        Plenty in the last few posts with which I’d still like to engage, but I don’t want to spend the time if I’m talking to dead air space.

        Should I reply here, or find a future opportunity to address the unresolved?

      34. I’m reading.

        Re the low number of walkers on Fremont Ave, I think Aleks and I are talking past each other. I’m pointing out that the lack of a bus has long been a sore point for Fremonters and Fremont visitors. Aleks seems to be saying that a 46th station is not very useful to Fremont because it’s so hard to walk to, and even a bus wouldn’t help much because people wouldn’t want to wait 15-30 minutes for a transfer to ride 12 blocks.

        That suggests another idea of mine. If the Fremont-Ballard and Eastlake-UW streetcars are built, it would be easy to connect them with a Ballard-Fremont-UW line. Penny-pinchers would love the reuse of track. Then the subway could feel good about bypassing Fremont. And a bus could run that way in the meantime.

    2. Somewhere it gives alternatives for a Ship Canal crossing, including the Fremont Bridge, a new bridge next to it, or a bridge at SPU-3rd NW. The map may reflect the western alternative. BTW, I’m undecided whether this would be close enough to downtown Fremont.

      1. I think 3rd W is close enough – it’s an easy, interesting, almost flat walk. Plus there’s potential for development there.

      2. 3rd NW is too far, because by that point the arterial has devolved into auto hell.

        But 1st NW is not too far, because it’s on the other end the same unbroken strip.

        Small shifts like that actually make a huge difference. Also, you can’t underestimate the value of sightlines (just making that 20° turn is distancing). But there’s no question that 1st is a reasonable location for a new crossing, especially one that benefits pedestrians too.

  2. Downtown Fremont is pretty crowded. However, in Europe streetcars make themselves welcome in parks, often with grass between the tracks. Line could run Leary to Third, angle past the cement plant, and run along Canal Street, either in present park or beside it.

    Drawbridge once carried heavier street rail than modern LRV’s. Tracks could run past the south side of PCC, then turn onto the bridge. If any former Chicagoans are in on the design, especially Blues Brothers movie fans, elevated structure could go run second-story level through the office park south of PCC, providing a permanent outdoor roof for the Fremont Market.

    Concrete bridge railing already has an opening- I think old pictures show a truck ramp there. Would save building another drawbridge. Tunnel would be hard- dock-owner told me the canal is forty feet deep at Fremont.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Running a streetcar along Canal St. seems like a bad idea to me — you want to put that sort of thing where it has some walkshed.

      But I love the idea of a 34th St. L. Hell, I’d run the train elevated over the Fremont Bridge! As it comes north, start ramping up once you’re past Aurora, and you’re fully elevated in time to vertically bypass the Fremont/Dexter/Westlake/Nickerson intersection and cross the bridge. Mash in a stop somehow at Fremont/34th (elevated platform above Fremont Ave, with stairs from each side of the street and an elevator near the Interurban statue?), turn left onto 34th. Descend to street level in the long block between Evanston and Phinney, turn right onto Phinney, have a stop at Phinney/Leary, turn left on Leary, go to Ballard. I’m picturing the train running down the middle of all of the roads where it’s at street level, because that’s what a “rapid streetcar” does, right?

      It seems like a lot of people don’t like the idea of an L running through their neighborhood, but I think if any neighborhood in Seattle would go for it, it would be lower Fremont.

      1. Any new crossing is going to have to deal with the Burke, which could presumably be just as easy with an elevated crossing as with a tunnel.

        Walking along the stretch on the north side of the canal from the bridge west toward Ballard, it seems like getting past the office buildings would make for an easier transition than trying to stay right next to the bridge. 1st or 3rd would be a walk from downtown Fremont, but a level one with several relatively interesting pedestrian options (compared, say, to the Columbia City/LINK walk).

  3. The first open house was sparsely attended, less than 20 people. So go to one of the others and bring a friend :). There were some four Seattle staff and three Nelson\Nygaard consultants (the company that wrote the plan), and they’re eager to talk one-on-one with members of the public about any details in it, and to consider prioritizing/deprioritizing parts that gets especially good/bad feedback.

    One thing I learned in the meeting that I missed in the report, and that was discussed in STB without resolution, is the extent of the trolley network. The proposed trolley improvements (Figure 4-13; page 11 in the chapter 4 PDF) include the 48-north as well as 48-south, Madison to Madison Park, 45th to Laurelhurst, both 23rd and MLK in the CD, and a #13 extension to the Zoo. (Of course the routes may be reorganized along these wires.) In the STB discussion, several people questioned the priority of electrifying the the 48-north, and MLK, and worried about the reliability of the Fremont Bridge. I think one of the reps said they’ve already got a grant to wire 23rd north of Cherry.

    What I’m emphasizing in my feedback is: (1) fix the bottlenecks at Northgate Way, Montlake, Denny Way, and 45th that severely slow down the buses; (2) build a good transfer station at 23rd/John/Madison where three priority corridors intersect; and (3) frequency, frequency, frequency.

    Some other things I learned:
    – Seattle has definite plans to improve 45th/Market next year. They’re targeting a 20% speed improvement, and said it’ll be similar to changes they made to Rainier last year.
    – Metro will replace its trolley fleet soon (next year?), with low-floor buses, off-wire capability, and more similar to the RapidRide buses.
    – Metro is expected to unveil RapidRide C and D details in a week or two for comment, perhaps including a schedule.
    – They didn’t say “The 44 will go from Ballard to Laurelhurst someday”, but they’re clearly assuming it will.
    – The waterfront plan (separate from the TMP) is envisioning covered escalators and more elevators from the waterfront to 1st Ave.

    Pie-in-the-sky: as we discussed the CC1 and CC2 routes for a downtown streetcar, I got an idea for a “Y within a U” shape. That is, extend the First Hill streetcar on 1st to Seattle Center (the “U”), and intersect it with a SLU/Ballard/UDist streetcar at Intl Dist (the “Y”). Then, theoretically, the Y could extend further south to SODO and West Seattle someday. Or, more likely, the U could be extended from Seattle Center to SLU, connecting the two routes at the north end. We discussed a dotted line going from SLU along Thomas – 5th N – Mercer to Queen Anne Ave. That would go around the Center. Somebody said it would be nice to go straight on Thomas through the Center, but that Seattle Center didn’t like the idea. Somebody from the east coast or Europe said streetcars often go through parks there, and that it works out well. That got me thinking, we’ve been focusing on stations next to Seattle Center, but wouldn’t a station inside Seattle Center be even better? Of course, I don’t know how that would be compatible with charging admission at Bumbershoot. Would you have a fenced ring around the station? Or worse, a chain-link fence on both sides of the corridor? Still, that’s just once a year and something could be arranged.

    1. Re RapidRide C, it’s interesting to see that both corridors 1 and 2 use 1st/4th, rather than the Viaduct. Other than this, Corridor 1 *is* RapidRide C.

      So what’s the deal here? Is SDOT subtly trying to tell Metro that RapidRide C should use city streets rather than the Viaduct? Or is this one of the few examples where a corridor is not an SDOT request for a route?

      As far as Bumbershoot goes, isn’t this basically the same as the monorail? Presumably, they’d use the same mitigation techniques, whatever they are. The only additional issue would be having a guard at the two streetcar portals into the park to make sure that no one is sneaking in.

      1. The monorail station is at the corner of the Center, and the fence is further inside. (The Space Needle is also outside I think.) I’m not sure how Thomas goes in relation to the fence.

      2. Related question: What happens if we actually do build the DBT? Given that there are no downtown exits, do all of the West Seattle routes (including RapidRide C) get permanently rerouted off of the viaduct? Or is there an exit/entrance on the southern portion somewhere that they will use instead?

      3. I assume there’ll be a two-way entrance/exit near the stadiums but I don’t know for sure. The AWV has mostly one-way entrances and exits, but I think everyone agrees that reflects traffic patterns of 80 years ago and is obsolete now. Like the I-5 express lanes, which have one-way entrances assuming everybody’s going from Northgate to downtown or vice-versa, with no connection to 520 at all, and no accommodation for opposite patterns (such as from NE 42nd northbound).

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