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This is an open thread.

52 Replies to “News Roundup: Globetrotting”

  1. I wouldn’t mind escalators up the Counterbalance. As long as I’m allowed to carry on my bike.

    1. Road diet Queen Anne Ave down to one lane each way with a turn lane, add a two-way escalator and improved sidewalks. Much, much improved ped access to Queen Anne and makes that road less like a freeway. When can we start building?

    2. I think you really need some kind of HCT station or major trip generator (hospital/university)at both ends to make a system like this really pay off. I highly doubt you would be allowed to bring bikes on escalators, they are just too big of a safety hazard if they start bounding down the escalator.

      Local examples are from 4th through Columbia Tower food court, through the tunnel to the Municipal Tower and up to 5th (mostly helpful if it is raining) or from UW’s E1 parking lot up through the Pedelford building.

      1. 1st & Mercer is a major transfer point, retail area and center of a hub urban village; an escalator would dramatically extend the walkshed of the 8 and RR C D up into a dense neighborhood that includes several senior homes. An escalator there would be pretty well used, although I can’t really see the city paying for it when so much of Seattle doesn’t have sidewalks. It would be a great LID project.

        I would agree that bikes and escalators do not mix.

      2. I’ve just been through two or three seperate airports that allowed bringing luggage carts on escalators – including Tokyo’s Narita. If 200 lbs of luggage isn’t too large a hazard I don’t know why a 30 lb bike would be.

        Re: major trip generator. How large of a trip generator you’d need would depend on the cost of the system. QA Ave is a well-visited retail area, and there’s a major transit hub at the bottom of the hill.

      3. The blocks flanking Queen Anne Ave along the Counterbalance are actually by far the densest on the hill. Denser, as well, than any part of Lower Queen Anne you can name.

        And you’d only have to build it to Highland, after which it flattens out quite a bit and is only 3 short blocks to the commercial district.

      4. d.p.,

        The Lower QA blocks west of QA Ave to the bluff, between W Olympic and W Mercer, have the highest density. That according to BuildTheCity’s 2010 Census map.

      5. Ah, yes, that does seem right. Although most would consider Olympic “on the slope” rather than LQA (not that you need an escalator to reach it).

        My point was that the Queen Anne Ave-on-slope spine is actually much denser than the area that most think of as LQA, i.e. between Mercer and Denny, west of the Seattle Center area, which actually has a shockingly low usable-space-to-total-area ratio (as visible on any aerial map).

    3. For bicycles up the counterbalance, I’d prefer those Norway in the sidewalk tracks. I know they don’t work well for wheel chairs though.

    1. That’s why they’re called gondobies := Any problems with behavior are easier to police with a pair of large vehicles vs many “private” ones. Fewer bottles of MD, butts and vomit left on the floor.

  2. Well, kind of good to see that ST is finally starting on the other Mukilteo platform, though I wish they would finish the shelter first. The ones at Edmonds look very nice.

    BTW, what’s up with ST not checking Edmonds passengers ORCA cards to see if they pay? The last three times the security guards do their fare check/sweep immediately after leaving Edmonds….hmmm.

  3. Just to thank the Whistlestop Co-op at Othello Street Station for a wonderful vegetarian curry lunch for my wife and me on New Years Day. The Whistlestop deserves to be a “destination” meal-stop and coffee-stop, especially if the curry is permanently added to the menu. Espresso is excellent. Also, place is intended as a community center for other neighborhood activities. Sunny, cheerful, clean, nice service. Check it out.

    Mark Dublin

  4. I’m glad they’re thinking about doing something to clean up 3rd Avenue, but it doesn’t sound like they have many solid plans at this point. Seems like they could make great strides just by cleaning up the McDonald’s on 3rd and Pike.

    It’s just ridiculous that you can’t wander around the commercial core without dealing with some of the things that go on down there…

    1. What’s also ridiculous is that to get from the major hotels to the Pike Place market you have to walk that gauntlet. I’m a large guy and they don’t bother me, (I’m also fast) but my kid gets hassled on the way to work nearly every day.

      Also did you catch the Seattle times on the recent mugging down at Westlake. Some kids jumped a 60+ old guy. They got caught but he couldn’t identify them, “all I saw was a fist in my face.” Maybe a few security cameras?

      1. I had a netbook snatch and grabbed from me while sitting outside at the Westlake Starbucks back in 2007. 6pm on a sunny weekday afternoon! So I knew that that was the beginning of a big decline.

        Since then there have been open air shootouts with drug dealers in and around 3rd avenue…which is touted as the “financial center”.

      2. “Since then there have been open air shootouts with drug dealers in and around 3rd avenue…which is touted as the “financial center”.”

        I know there’s been a giant wave of financial crime since 2008 — perhaps the culture of crime is spreading outwards from the banks? :-)

    2. Agreed. I get off Link at University rather than Westlake to catch a bus at 3rd and Union instead of 3rd and Pine because of all the issues. I’ve been harassed there (outside Macy’s) multiple times, had a guy spit on me, and many times have simply felt unsafe due to the unsavory patrons around me making drug deals and getting pissed off at each other because one of them looked at the other one “wrong”. Of course when I’m stuck taking the 358, those same lovely individuals seem to need to get on the 358 right then…..

  5. I wonder what Manhattan would be like if it had a largely unbridged, impossible to cross gulf of concrete rammed through the middle of it regardless of decades of evolution of so-called “surface” activity, akin to I-5, aka “The Eisenhower Gulf?”

    1. Have you ever tried to cross one of the five lane avenues in Manhattan? It is no picnic either. My friend who grew up on E92nd likened crossing streets in NYC to stealing bases in baseball!

  6. Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying the LED and verbal stop announcements on a few of the 60 buses I commute on.

    Can anyone tell me if this is still a trial thing, or is Metro planning to expand this system wide?

      1. It’s sort of mandated now by the ADA,, and the units don’t cost that much anymore. Saves the driver from having to do it and getting fined/reprimanded if they don’t.

    1. We’re getting many more coaches on the #11 with the electroannouncements, which are sometimes way to loud – the operators need to pay attention to the sound level – already bad enough with all the mobile phone conversations going on. Oh, for common courtesy…

  7. Good news on Mukilteo station work – should please our friend Tim Eyman!

    Look forward to work at Tukwila Station starting – supposedly this will also be this year per an email I received from the project lead for that one.

    As for the track work on the Cascades corridor, I am coming back from Los Angeles on the Coast Starlight at the weekend. Northbound Coast Starlight No. 14 is leaving all stations between LAX and SEA two hours later for the month of January, leading to a 6.20pm departure from PDX throughout this timeframe, getting into Seattle at 10.45 each night. The track work is actually down in the Los Angeles area between Oxnard and Santa Barbara per a conversation I had with Amtrak ticketing today.

    1. As a member of the Kent Bicycle Advisory Board, our group has been pushing for bike/ped infrastructure along that alignment and we have done a few field trips there.

      Pretty good opportunities to bring Lite Urbism to the hinterland.

    2. So is this only the north-south area around 99, or does it offer any east-west improvements between Link and Kent? Why is Kent involved, because I think Kent ends at I-5 or further east; that part of “Kent-Des Moines Road” isn’t actually in Kent.

    1. Certain Federal Way politicians try to undercut ST, and then wonder why they can’t get a light rail station faster. Maybe the answer is for Federal Way voters to throw out some of these two-faced anti-transit politicians who have been lobbying in Olympia to keep ST from having the funding that would enable light rail to reach Federal Way faster.

      At least some in Federal Way are getting it that they cut off their noses to spite their faces with “sub-area equity”.

    2. Beat me to it.

      The Washington Policy Center is having a field exercise with their big 120mm guns over this:

      I can tell you the best thing the Seattle Transit Blog community could do is:

      a) Keep tabs on the State Auditor’s Office.
      b) Be prepared for what Colonel Ennis’s Road Ranger Regiment will bring.
      c) Take this seriously, but with a touch of sarcasm (see b!).

      Good luck. I love the light rail because I can book a flight from Bellingham, fly down to SeaTac, get on the light rail to Boeing Field, do my avgeek stuff, then get a cab back to the light rail to go to the hotel to sleep until my open gov’t conference the next day.

      1. Except Link doesn’t stop at Boeing Field and it’s over $100 cheaper taking Amtrack Cascades. Question, why does trip planner point you to the 106 with a mile walk to Boeing Field when it seems that the 124 would be much more direct.

      2. Why not a cab from the airport? If you’re just riding Link for the amusement factor (something I’ve done) you really should go at least to Beacon Hill. If flying for fun charter a flight direct from B’ham to Boeing field. I’m sure there are folks looking for hours toward their instrument or multi-engine license that would fly you down for the cost of gas. Lot’s more fun than a Horizon puddle jumper. Or just pocket the savings from taking Amtrak and fly to the Peninsula or the San Juan Islands.

  8. So, I had the interesting pleasure of seeing a tow truck push the disabled bus out of the tunnel tonight. Although I thought it was odd that they were pushing it through the whole tunnel all the way to the end. (especially since it can’t go at the 15 mph or whatever that buses can go under their own power.) This maybe makes sense during lower capacity times. But I’m kinda curious why metro didn’t just push/tow the disabled bus to the median of the closest station and leave it there until after rush hour.

  9. Unfortunately I didn’t get a good look as I was sitting on the right side of a northbound bus and the broken down bus was going southbound.

    I think it was one of the first generation 60ft hybrids, but I’m not 100% sure.

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