For those that were off enjoying their long Thanksgiving weekend here is a roundup of our posts since Wednesday.

16 Replies to “STB Thanksgiving Post Recap”

  1. First U-Link tunnel is bored between Capitol Hill and Downtown

    I’d be bored too, if I were stuck underground for a few months. ;)

    1. Can we add to the comment policy to include “horrible pun” to “ad hom” etc…? ;)

  2. I rode the 42 today from Columbia City Station – there were about 5 passengers including myself – and the driver and I were joking about the only two Downtown stops are 4th & Jackson (Island) and 3rd & Main

    Sure enough, as soon as we made the left, a passenger who got on at the Island stop wondered why we weren’t continuing into Downtown

    This was the 11:21 am trip.

    1. Not a very attentive driver. An empty bus, and someone gets on, when you’re only going to make a left turn and shut the motor off.
      C’mon, how about,
      “I’m only going around the corner to the end of the route. Is that where you want to go?”
      What happened to communication?

  3. Ok, this is something that has bothered me for a long time and I haven’t known where to go with it. Maybe the Transit Blog is the place.
    So you know that cars are supposed to yield to buses – there’s a sign on the back of every bus that says so. The bus has flashing yellow lights on the back and along the side of the bus. When the bus is stopped to pick up passengers, all of these lights are flashing, the ones on the right side of the bus and the ones on the left. When the bus starts to pull out into traffic, it signals the turn by flashing the lights on the left side of the bus. Fine. Except that in practice, what really happens is just that the lights on the right side of the bus STOP flashing when the bus pulls out. When I’m driving, trying to determine whether it is safe to pass the bus, I have to pay attention to the oncoming traffic on the left, AND at the same time to the flashing lights on the RIGHT side of the bus. Observing other drivers, I just don’t see people yielding to buses that are trying to pull out in traffic. At least in part, I think this is because of the confusing flashing lights. Has anybody else noticed this problem??

    1. Yes, actually, I have noticed that. The bus is, as far as I know, signalling its movements correctly according to the normal rules of the road, but the rules don’t really make much sense for a vehicle stopping that much.

      However, I bike a lot more than I drive, and I follow my cyclist’s instincts: a glance at the front wheels (or at the general movement of the vehicle) is often a better clue to a vehicle’s next move than the turn signals. Between that and the very regular pattern buses follow when pulling into and out of stops, I usually do OK in this situation, whether biking or driving.

      1. If you really want to freak a bus driver out, watch the front door close and the passenger leave the farebox area. The next move is the turn signal comes on. Time it just right and you can pull up slowly and allow the bus to merge with traffic.

    2. Speaking as a driver, and from what I can see going on:

      A car is supposed to yield to a bus that is trying to pull out no matter what. If you have two lanes, jump over there to the other lane and let me in if you can, I will appreciate it. If you cant safely do that, come to a safe stop behind me… Give me a flash of high beams letting me know you aren’t stopped there for some other reason that I cant tell.

      We live in a society where everybody is out for themselves. And it is getting worse. As soon as someone sees my turn signal (and this is universally true) the first thought in their head is “OH I CAN GET AROUND THAT BIG DUMB BUS” and they decide that they are singly more important than the 45 people on the bus whose commute or trip or whatever that they are delaying. Navigating a large vehicle in traffic isn’t easy, and we as professional drivers are expected to show courtesy and politeness that starts getting hard to come by when Nobody will show us courtesy. We are responsible for the safety of everybody on our vehicle and everybody around us but NOBODY appreciates that anymore. And it gets worse every day. It will get even worse as we head full bore into the holiday season.

      I also think that this same thing ties into why traffic is so bad and getting worse… Everybody has the *Me Me Me* mentality and refuses to let that car coming up the onramp to merge. I see it every day.

      If you are reading this and thinking to yourself BUT *I* LET BUSES IN!!!, Thank you. From the bottom of my soul, you are appreciated. Please continue to do so, and every time you do, know that that that driver is grateful for it.

    3. As a bus driver the problem that I observe isn’t that drivers don’t know that I’m about to pull out – it’s that they DO know. Many see the use of my left-signal prior to leaving a zone as a sign that they need to speed up and zoom in to block my egress so that they don’t get caught behind my bus.

  4. Great NYT article on the death of the exurbs, mentioning real estate in Cap Hill.

    “only 12 percent of future homebuyers want the drivable suburban-fringe houses that are in such oversupply”

    “Many drivable-fringe house prices are now below replacement value, meaning the land under the house has no value and the sticks and bricks are worth less than they would cost to replace.”

    1. It’s an op-ed piece and he’s entitled to his opinion but there’s very little that’s true or even coherent. Capitol Hill was considered a “slum” 30 years ago? There’s still areas (like around 23rd & Union) that haven’t exactly gentrified but don’t think the Capital Hill neighborhood was ever considered a slum.

      Bellevue, Wash., and Pasadena, Calif., where strip malls have been bulldozed and replaced by higher-density mixed-use developments with good transit connections.

      K-Mart, Overlake Fashion Plaza, Newport Hills Shopping Center all still strip malls. Good transit connections? Outside of the downtown core which has been built out largely as an auto dominated way there aren’t any strip malls bulldozed and replace with mixed use.

      house prices are now below replacement value, meaning the land under the house has no value

      That’s not at all what it means. Anyone who’s paid property tax knows that the value of the improvements (the house) goes down every year but the value of the land usually appreciates. Should you have a fire and want to rebuild a brand new home on the same lot you insure for replacement value. If you’d be perfectly happy to move down the street into an old home the same vintage as the one you’re in then just insure for market value. Virtually every McMansion built in Bridle Trails was the result of a developer buying a house worth less than replacement value and replacing it with something worth a lot more.

    2. Christopher Leinberger is my favorite author on urban design issues. His book “The Option of Urbanism” I’ve recommended here before. Thanks for the link.

      It’s not surprising that a national article glosses over nuances in the example cities as if they’re all the same. It’s also not surprising if he misunderstands the Seattle situation.

      Seattle never had true slums, but Rainier Valley got partway there in the 60s-70s-80s, and Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square reached lesser nadirs in that time, when Seattle’s population bottomed out at 410,000 something. That’s why the gays organized first in Pioneer Square, then moved to Capitol Hill, taking advantage of the low rents and high vacancies close to downtown. The fact that those neighborhoods also had good transit, walkability, and vintage housing stock, were a bonus.

      Bellevue vaguely did what he said, but only downtown. Several one- or two-story “strip malls” Main Street, NE 4th, and NE 8th have been replaced with multistory buildings. Some of those were not considered strip malls at the time (but rather “downtown density”), but they had the same size and shape as strip malls.

  5. Took Metro buses 168 and 180 to SeaTac again.

    Worked great, caught 180 transfer immediately.

    I spent lots of mental cycles running through the options and while low cost of transit is a factor, it seemed the optimum service overall.

    1. Don’t have to pre-schedule like a shuttle or cab.
    2. Can take it at any of several times.
    3. Don’t have to leave car in parking lot with “meter running” (say if I get snowed in).

    I trimmed down my baggage this time to just a stuffed knapsack which also made it even easier, though it wasn’t that hard with a small rolling suitcase either.

    I guess the detriments are:

    1. Safety. Never sure about my fellow travelers on these buses. Also the southbound stop on International Blvd seems a bit…dicey.

    2. Uncontrollable breakdowns (OWS would be a help here, but until it’s realtime…no…I also leave early enough so I can catch a second or third bus).

    3. Post-peak schedule…late at night some of these lines disappear.

    The dream would be a LINK line that ran down Kent East Hill, to Renton, then interfaced with south LINK to SeaTac.

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