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This is an open thread.

32 Replies to “News Roundup: Cracking Down”

  1. Here we go again… a vocal (cranky?) group of retirees is upset about potentially losing their one-seat rides to various businesses along Northgate Way if the 16 is rerouted on a more direct path to NTC —

    Seems like another situation where either Access or a facility shuttle is a more appropriate solution given the dismal usage of those stops and the time cost for taking that extra loop through a jammed corridor.

      1. How can you be so numb to the needs of our most vulnerable citizens? I wouldn’t call 200 petitioners a few cranks, as Sevenless seems to think. Maybe Clueless would be a better handle as I’ve ridden the 16 many, many times and though it seems logical to haul ass to NTC, it’s not where the current riders get off.

      2. I’m generally a fan of simplifying routing, but in this case, TRU believer has a point. Take a look at Bruce’s article on Route 16. There are more on-offs at College/97th than total riders of the 42.

        In fact, by the ridership, it would almost make more sense to skip the Northgate TC than to skip the segment on Meridian.

        I wish we had a firm commitment for building the I-5 pedestrian bridge connecting Northgate TC with NSCC. In that case, the solution would (IMHO) be obvious: merge the 16 and the 346, and have the merged bus simply skip the TC detour and go straight on Meridian. (And, for the sake of people who can’t handle the walk, have a circulator van which runs in a loop from the transit center via 5th to 92nd, College/Meridian, Northgate Way, and back down.)

        In the absence of the bridge and/or shuttle, the 75, 345, and 346 all do the giant loop to serve all those destinations. I don’t see why the 16 shouldn’t continue to do the same.

      3. Kyle: Take a look at the various articles that Bruce has written. He’s looked at the 55, 28, 26, 27, 14, 42, 37, 2/13, 3/4, and many others. And in all of these cases, he’s conclusively shown that the service which Metro is proposing to cut is, in fact, pretty much unused.

        In contrast, here’s what he has to say about the 16:

        Stops on Northgate are well-used. This illustrates the difficult choices faced when streamlining routes. The proposed re-route on 92nd St will make the bus much more reliable and faster in to Northgate TC, but may force some riders to walk from one side of the Northgate Mall to another, if their destination is NorthgateNorth (the Target/Best Buy etc. on Northgate Way). On the other hand, if their destination is the mall proper, arriving in to Northgate TC in only a slightly longer walk.

        The stops at College/97th, Meridian/Northgate, and NorthGateNorth (Northgate/3rd) are among the heaviest-used on the entire route. Often, more people get on/off at College/97th than at the transit center.

        All of this isn’t to say that rerouting the 16 is a terrible idea. (Again, I think the best option would be merging with the 346 and going straight on Meridian.) But unlike deleting the 42, it’s far from an unambiguous win.

    1. Is the opposition really “again”, or is it the same people who were complaining earlier about changes to Meridian-Latona, and whom we knew would complain. The fact that the ACLS has revived its “Save Route 42” campaign does not mean opposition is growing; it just means that the people where were discontent, are still discontent. But you can’t please everybody, especially when the destinations aren’t all in a straight line. It’s of primary importance that the 16 connect to the regional transit hub in the fastest manner possible. That’s the only way to build a robust network and maximize ridership in the long run. A short detour would be OK, but the 16 currently gets stuck in the traffic bottleneck on Northgate Way. That’s the main reason for moving to 92nd, not the insignificant time spent on College Way. The layout of the streets and the locations of Northgate and the Meridian businesses make a perfect solution impossible. There’s some argument for going straight north on Meridian to Aurora Village, but that would put a significant gap between the route and the regional transit station, which in the long run would be counterproductive.

  2. While I love the Seattle Subway map in theory, in practice it lacks any sense of transportation planning. It’s easy to slap lines on a map, but is the ridership there? A line to Georgetown is just silly–it’s a cool neighborhood, but barely anyone lives there! A subway to Georgetown would never make sense. West Seattle could possibly make sense in a few decades, but only if zoned and built density increases substantially. Maybe RapidRide will have that effect, maybe not. In any case, I’m a lot more intrigued by the Ballard Spur idea as something that could get built in a reasonable amount of time and a reasonable amount of money. For these other corridors, we should see how RapidRide goes and do more study.

    1. I imagine the Georgetown line would be more of a light metro or light rail kind of operation.

      1. Even that is hard to imagine. The problem is that Georgetown is a small cluster of housing and business surrounded by industrial lands, so any transit line is not going to have the corridor ridership to make it worth the cost.

    2. Seriously.

      As far as the Red and Purple lines are concerned, the map provides nothing new that hasn’t been already discussed in greater detail by agencies that actually have the power and authority to build the system. The Blue line provides no context: it’s a line to nowhere, literally, with ends just fade off into nothingness.

      1. That plan is just lines on a map — not to be taken too seriously.

        But I have always thought that East Link should turn NE after arriving at Northgate and terminate (for now) at Lake City. I seriously doubt there is enough demand from Lynnwood to Seattle to support two lines going the full distance, and a one seat ride from Lake City to Bellevue would be worth it — if for no other reason than for the fits it would give Kemper Freeman.

      2. ST considered a Lake City routing and dropped it early. There is huge, huge demand from Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood. Both ST and CT have full buses every few minutes in the daytime, and CT had to buy “double tall” buses to accommodate the load. There’s nothing even remotely like that coming out of Lake City and Bothell (partly because there’s no Everett+Mukilteo+Edmonds Mukilteo beyond it).

        Having a separate Ballard line going to Lake City and another line to Children’s makes as much sense as an L-shaped line from Children’s to Ballard to downtown. The two-line scheme would be best in the long term and creates a better network, while the one-line scheme hits the highest-ridership areas and would be cheaper up front.

      3. I should say, ST dropped it from consideration for the first Link line. But it’s still on both ST’s and Seattle’s long-range plans as a HCT corridor.

    3. I think that a Georgetown line would make sense as an express line serving SeaTac and points south. As a standalone line, I agree that it doesn’t make sense unless it were routed to Southcenter, Renton, and Kent.

      1. Exactly. I would assume the whole point is that with an actual rapid line to TIBS and points south you can 1. Actually get to the Airport in a time-competivie manner to driving 2. (more importantly) Truncate all busses that take I-5 into Seattle.

        You can’t do that right now because the Link is absurdly slow through rainier valley. However, an Express via Georgetown could easily be faster than taking I-5 (grade separated metro lines can go 85mph or faster).

        Most importantly, the ROW for this alignment already exists because it would just parallel the existing rail corridor. I have no problem with the Link as a local rail service for Rainier valley, just don’t expect people from points south to appreciate going 35mph and stopping for traffic.

      2. The problem I have with an express line is that the extra mobility we’d get is tiny compared to virtually any other way we could spend the money.

        Let’s build 45th St Link and West Link first. After that — i.e. after we’ve spend the multiple billions of dollars necessary to bring rail within 1/2 mile of 90% of Seattle households and businesses — then we can talk about an express line to get people to the airport and southern suburbs faster.

        Oh, and another thing: the red and blue lines are just plain wrong, for the same reason that U-Link/North Link is using a tunnel rather than taking over the express lanes. If we build West Link, it needs to connect downtown and Ballard via Fremont, Upper QA, Lower QA/Seattle Center, and Belltown. It does not need to stop in Interbay. I understand the cost argument for reusing Aurora and 15th NW (though, for what it’s worth, the Aurora Bridge would probably need to be replaced to be usable for light rail), but we’re building 100-year infrastructure here; you build it where it’s useful, not where it’s convenient.

      3. The place where Link is slowest is not the Ranier Valley – it’s SODO and downtown. And for anyone taking transit to the airport from north of downtown, the slowest point isn’t even the train – it’s the bus ride getting into downtown to catch the train.

        If we built an express line for downtown->airport, the travel time would be about the same as the 194 on the freeway, which, on paper, was just 7 minutes faster than Link – a short enough time difference to be outweighed by Link’s increased frequency, capacity, and reliability.

        Much more effective for improving travel times to the airport is doing what ST has been planning to do for years – extend Link northward and kick buses out of the downtown tunnel. Removal of buses from the tunnel will save at least a couple of minutes. Eliminating the transfer will save another 5 or so. And providing a much faster ride into downtown straight into the tunnel more. All in all, back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that from where I live, travel time to the airport will decrease by about 20-30 minutes or so in 2016 when U-Link opens, much more effective than a Ranier Valley bypass.

        As for driving, unless you’re taking a taxi, parking in the $25-per-day terminal garage, or are able to convince someone to make a special trip to drive you there, driving means spending a fair amount of time parking. Even with the state of transit today, driving to the airport, parking in a satellite lot, waiting for the shuttle to take you to the terminal, and riding in the shuttle saves very little time over just taking public transit the whole way. And considering the expense (for a 3-4 day trip, parking + gas is just barely cheaper than a taxi one way and public transit the other way), driving to the airport and parking is a very inefficient use of money.

        If transit demand between Seattle and the south suburbs such as Kent, Auburn, and Federal Way, increased orders of magnitude, to the point where buses+Sounder could not feasibly satisfy it and there was no other choice but to build another parallel train line, then, I would say go do it. But today, such demand just isn’t there.

      4. If the Georgetown – airport bypass is ever built, logically it would have to connect to the UW-Northgate line because that’s where the ridership levels match and where the most airport trips originate (because north Seattle is more affluent and the university gets a lot of out-of-town students and visitors). The MLK loop should then be connected to a secondary line, and Phinney would match the ridership closest (although Ballard would also be OK).

      5. Neither ST nor the voters will allow a parallel line when other areas have no HCT at all. The next lines in Seattle will be 45th and Ballard/downtown. If they don’t get built, no other lines will get built before them. West Seattle will probably have to wait till the third round, especially now that the viaduct construction (which was an impetus for the monorail and earlier Link proposals) is now happening and will be finished before a rail line could be built.

  3. A real pity about the Intercity Transit decision not to honor ORCA, especially in light of the Pierce Transit cuts.

    What is the fleet size of IT these days?

    This will add a great cost to many commuters to Olympia such that they may return to their private SOVs.

    1. Why would IT honor ORCA, and share the ORCA revenue, rather than charge full fare, now that IT is shouldering the entire cost of providing transit between DuPont and Olympia?

      1. IT doesnt serve DuPont at all :(

        I’d ride it if the Oly Express buses came in (ST staff says IT is allowed in at any time, and the buses pass by anyways)

        One wonders how many people would use DuPont park & ride to commute to work in Lacey & Olympia

    2. A very large share of commuters on the Olympia-Tacoma express are state employees who can ride all IT buses (including the Olympia-Tacoma express) for free with a STAR pass. I doubt many of them will switch to SOVs because they have their current options are a free STAR pass, van/carpooling or paying for parking at work (most state agencies charge for parking).

    3. My mother who’s on a fixed income rides from Lacey to Mukilteo on the 605 twice a week. Currently she flashes her ORCA so she doesn’t actually have to pay until she hits the 512 P&R. Now her trip will double in cost. IT has a day pass so maybe that would be the way to go. Overall I think IT needs to get with the program. Yes, if they take ORCA they do need to share revenue but that’s the case with EVERY transit agency and if that were bad why did we want ORCA? For the rider’s convenience. So IT basically doesn’t care.

  4. Making people pay twice for the privilege of transferring is really just a back-door fare increase. I’d rather they just be honest about it, continue to accept the Orca card, and if they need more fare revenue, simply raise fares directly.

    1. “They” are a different agency. And they never “accepted” ORCA in the sense of being part of the network. It’s not at all like Metro raising fares. It’s like transferring from Greyhound to Trailways.

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