Seattle as seen from the air
Photo by Jeff Wilcox

Five years ago I moved back to Seattle from the Bay Area and realized that public transportation in Seattle was in a very bad way. There was discord over light rail and Sound Transit’s future. There was confusion about buses – unfortunately this continues, as Bruce Nourish has so well documented. Life-stealing and welfare reducing congestion was rampant, with no clear plan to deal with it in sight. The viaduct replacement project was a mess. Worse yet, there was the failed monorail project, which cast a dark shadow over public transportation and our city’s make-it-happen-attitude. I started the Seattle Transit Blog in part because there was no obvious place to discuss these issues online – and I wanted there to be.

I like to think that the blog has had a part in the greater discourse in our community on this topics- and I don’t think that it is untrue or unlikely. Certainly, not all of these have gone the way the members of the blog would have like them to have gone – and many of them have split the blog staff itself. We have often disagreed with each other and argued with our readers. But I’m comfortable speaking for everyone who has written here to say what we are most proud of is the level of discourse and the knowledge of our commentariat.

For the blog’s longevity, we can only thank Martin Duke. Mr Duke has worked to put an organization in place to ensure the blog’s – and hence the discussion’s – long-term survival. He’s worked diligently to ensure there’s always a place for the voices of both the fresh and the weary.

Looking back, what I see the top stories of the last five years:

  1. Link Opening
    The first phase of Link was actually completed. The trains work. People ride them. After decades of waiting and disappointment, when it seemed like real rail transit would never arrive, it did.
  2. ST ballot passing
    The Sound Transit expansion passed on its second go at the ballot box (the failure was in a ballot measure with an unholy marriage of roads and transit). It passed with a surprisingly large margin in a surprisingly large number of communities. The appetite for transit is there, we just need to make sure there’s something on the menu.
  3. Service cuts
    Community Transit and Pierce Transit have all gone through very painful service cuts in the past few years, with Metro soon to follow. These have been very hard for the communities they serve.
  4. Deep Bore Tunnel
    The DBT is clearly a huge loss for “let’s please not waste huge amounts of money on unnecessary highways” group. I still believe the DBT is a mistake we’ll regret for years for oh so many reasons. Foremost is the mostly useless and extremely expensive tunnel highway that will be built, whose construction will drag on for years. The second is the massive hobo-trench that will replace the existing viaduct, rather than a more useful, more vibrant, more energetic atmosphere. Finally, the political process was itself very destructive.
Seattle future waterfront visualization
Site of the future waterfront hobo-trench. Rendering courtesy WSDOT

Highlights for the next five years:

  1. More in-city transit expansion
    The city of Seattle has larger transit needs than does the larger region, just as Bainbridge has larger ferry needs than does Auburn. Voters in Seattle have shown themselves willing to approve and pay for transit projects repeatedly. I believe over the next five years, we will find a way to harness that willingness to build something.
  2. Metro service restructuring
    Mr. Nourish has outlined the case for intelligent restructuring metro in great detail here. The process will take time, but I believe over the next several years a more efficient metro will emerge, thanks in no small part to the hard work of people like Bruce.
  3. ST3
    This may be very optimistic, but I expect within the next five years we’ll at least hear the beginnings of a conversation about an ST3 package.
  4. U link
    Within five years U-Link will open, more than doubling ridership on Link and completely transforming the way people think about mobility in Seattle.

Any new venture opens many new doors, and those doors can have surprising treasures waiting behind them. I started blogging in order to have a place to share my thoughts on transit and advocate for ST2. What I have gained is so much more than what I have given. I like to say the best part of having started the Seattle Transit Blog is that there’s a high-quality blog devoted to transportation and land-use written from the angle that I want it to be, written by devoted staff members and commented on by intelligent, knowledgeable readers. And most of the time I haven’t got to do anything, for that I’d like to thank all of you.

79 Replies to “Five Years of Seattle Transit Blog”

  1. Five years! Wow. That’s a long time on the Internet. Well, I’m impressed. Here’s to many more.

    1. Congratulations on five years of providing a forum to discuss transit in our communities. I have learned a lot over the past few years about how interrelated our transit system is in our region.

      I am looking forward to the construction of Lynnwood Link and Light Rail coming to Shoreline.

      Chris Roberts
      Councilmember, City of Shoreline

  2. What’s Top Story number five?
    This blog has been a great place to air opinions about transit in general and passionately argue our respected take on the present and outcome for the future.
    Most times this is done with respect for others, knowing they probably feel as strongly for their vision as we do ours.
    I think I’ve been fairly consistent in advocating for transit efficiency as the road to doing more with limited resources in shorter time frames.
    Thanks for the five year ride Andrew. I’ve spend untold hours reading, thinking, and writing position pieces here – many, probably best kept to myself – but thrown out there anyway to satisfy my appetite for transit improvements. Those hours have been well spent for me also.
    So, I raise my glass to you and your friends: Here, here.

      1. I can think of several 800 pound gorillas banging at transits door, but this is not the time or place for that.
        Let’s enjoy your retrospective look back, and collectively pat one another on the back for the efforts of many to building a better transit system.

    1. Mike, good to read your thoughts again after many years out of the Seattle loop. I am now based on the East Coast but am beginning to focus my attention on Seattle city & region transit planning. I look forward to joining you and your colleagues in the trenches. Wishing you well,

      Peter Voorhees
      peterjv@mindspring.com

  3. While I’ve commented much less of late, I still read darn near every article you guys post.

    It was the enthusiasm of you guys (especially Ben Schiendelman) that got me really into transit advocacy in the past few years. This is a great place to share that enthusiasm with others.

    I’ve meet a great group of people that I dare to call my friends through STB and Twitter, and I hope the feeling its mutual.

    Here’s to the next five years!

    1. I should add that if my chosen career of TV broadcasting doesn’t work out more than it has the last 10 years, my next choice would be a bus or light real operator!

  4. Thanks for what you do! As a civil engineer and P.E. in transportation, I enjoy reading your posts, especially Brian’s post about heavy rail. Since I moved away from work, I’ve depended on STB to keep up on what is happening back home. A couple of suggestions of topics to explore: 1) short blocks are overrated, 2) Lakewood and WSDOT are pushing a nearly $1B I-5 widening project (like WSDOT pushed the $.5B SR 16 interchange, or the $14B I-405 project that simply double-down on bad policy), but does little to address the issue of access/egress from Fort Lewis, and 3) an exploration on policy and business-model barriers to Class I railroad expansion and electrification. Thanks!

  5. Thanks to all the blog staff, and those who have brought their expertise just as commenters.

    One request, though: Please don’t use the h-word. It really doesn’t belong in a civilized conversation any more than some other words that are too hateful to be allowed here.

    The h-word has been used by opponents of transit to stigmatize transit and its riders. Let’s not play into their stigmatization trap.

    It implies that all homeless are transient. We know we have a significant homeless population. We attempt to count them once a year. Whether they are home-grown or attracted here by our relative tolerance is a matter of debate. But they are part of our community, and they are people, too.

    We have professional panhandlers who work high-pedestrian-traffic locations. We have down-and-out drunks, mixed in with people who are not down-and-out, but having a bad time. We have people with mental disabilities who have been freed from the prison of mental institutions, but not been provided a safe haven other than shelters and the streets. We have families who have been caught in the snare of capitalism’s slow drive to end direct career employment as the standard way of making a living. We have people whose ancestors were here first, and have a right to see us as the transients, even if we have the superior firepower and wealth, and they don’t.

    .

    Large crowds of people will attract panhandling. The presence or absence of panhandling will be more a function of the how our laws treat their First Amendment rights to free speech than whether we manage to overwhelm a space with commerce.

    Is the guy with the Andean flute space activation, or part of the group that could be labeled with the h-word? Perhaps it is in the eye of the beholder, but I’m glad he is allowed to be there. It is our tolerance of differences and celebration of freedom that makes Seattle the special place it is.

    1. You may want to lighten up; there’s no hidden meaning behind ‘hobo’ the way it was used here and that is completely obvious from the context.

      I do not know why you write ‘h-word’ instead of ‘hobo’ or what capitalism has to do with the waterfront, but I do know that when you seek ways to be offended, you never fail to find them.

      1. If you say “Andrew, ‘hobo’ is derogatory please use ‘XXX'”, I will; I wasn’t trying to offend anyone.

        If you write 300 words of self-righteous indignation that includes an argument that I shouldn’t use ‘the h-word’ because of the first amendment (seriously?), I am sure you have an ax to grind.

      2. Chill, Andrew. You made a failed attempt at a joke, that probably flew over the heads of half the people reading this.

        If you meant “panhanders”, that works better. It targets a behavior rather than a population.

        “Drunks” works too.

        “Hobo” is a favorite term of anti-transit right-wing bloggers who are in the business of getting transit defunded. Please don’t aide and abet them.

      3. Are you seriously saying that if say ‘hobo’, I am helping get transit de-funded but if I say ‘drunks and panhandlers’ then transit funding is safer?

        Come on, you get annoyed when people say ‘hobo’ so you wrote that. I got annoyed by the self-righteous indignation and continue to be by the bad logic. I’m not trying to offend anyone, and you knew that when you read it. That didn’t stop you for calling me out as someone who aids “anti-transit right wingers” and imply that 1) I am insensitive to mental illness and first nations issues and 2) dehumanize the indigent. You want people to chill out? Maybe don’t imply all kinds of nasty things about them.

        What word is a catch-all for street people, drunks, pan handlers, etc. ? That’s the word I meant.

      4. I was wondering why it’s called a hobo “trench?” Hobo’s almost the least pejorative term I can think of, FWIW.

      5. All this made me want to look it up and sure enough a hobo is exactly what I thought (wikipedia):

        A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, especially one who is penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States during the last decade of the 19th century.[1] Unlike ‘tramps’, who work only when they are forced to, and ‘bums‘, who do not work at all, ‘hobosare workers who wander.

        Hobos are the stuff Woody Guthrie sang about. It’s still not obvious to me what a Hobo-trench has to do with the viaduct project.

      6. @Brent

        Er, what?

        You post a giant rant about something trivial, and you’re telling Andrew to “chill”…?

      7. I meant a trench in the sense of a carved-out entrenchment, in the ‘firm or solid establishment’ way.

        Bernie, your hobo trench is a branch called ‘hobo’ with a product called ‘trench’.

      8. Still not getting it. It’s a bored tunnel not cut and cover. It will be devoid of any humans except those encased in motor vehicles and tolls will assure those are the high priced clientele. I’d call it a gilded rabbit hole.

      9. I think he’s talking about the windswept plazas and 6-lane highway that will replace the viaduct at the surface level.

      10. Still not seeing the imagery. A windswept plazas and 6-lane river of steel have nothing to do with workers who wander or trenches?

      11. Yes, Bernie, be as literal as humanly possible. If someone says to you, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!” run out and buy them a horse, please. When Wordsworth wrote:
        “Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart; Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea.” He literally meant the sound was like waves and whales and fish.

        And when Horatio at the beginning of Hamlet says
        “But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
        Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill”

        He means the morning, wearing a red cloak, is literally walking over the dew on the hill to the east. Right? If not, dumbass Shakespeare should have written: “The earth is spinning on its axis creating the appearance of a sun rising in the east, I can tell this phenomenon is occurring presently where we are because I can see red light above the hill to the east of us.”

        Not saying I’m Shakespeare, but it can’t be that hard to figure out what I meant by hobo-trench: a firmly established place unwelcoming to most.

      12. For starters I don’t equate hobo with negative imagery. Quite the contrary, more of a vagabond free to ride the rails where his fancy takes him. The reference to trench and the fact that the vast majority of people associate the DBT with the viaduct replacement further confused me. As for the windswept plaza, yes the preliminary “blank slate” with the red brick rendering would be unwelcoming to all but nobody has suggested that’s what the final configuration will be only that planning is proceeding along the lines of opening the waterfront visually and physically to the public. The six lane arterial is something I’ve been dead set against from the start and the reason I favored a new single level elevated structure complete with bike/ped path on the seaward side far enough below the grade of the roadway so as to be blocked from the sight, noise and smell of traffic. Of the alternatives, DBT+surface, Transit+surface or elevated only a viaduct avoids screwing the pooch by turning over the waterfront to cars.

      13. I have nothing against hobos, the vagabond life might be wonderful, I just don’t want to hang out with them in their trenches.

      14. Every common term of today is tomorrow’s derogatory slang. Don’t force it. Just say hobo. It’s fine.

        FWIW: I’m a RIGHT-wing PRO-transit advocate, and I have to say that opposing waterfront park space is not what we want to do. However, we DO need to have residences as close as possible, and to, as you say, activate these spaces by various means.

    2. Thank you Brent for letting us know how offensive a word is based on all of the baggage that YOU have attached to it. Only in Seattle, with its populace of guilt-ridden sensitive types, would one instance of the word hobo (yes, I f’ing said it) instigate a mind-numblingly verbose and sanctimonious response.

      Yes, as Andrew, said: please lighten up.

      1. It isn’t just one instance. The word “hobo” is being used to describe penniless bus riders (not the proper use Bernie looked up, thanks Bernie!!) on several blogs, to make fun of poor people, and by extension, the whole notion of public transit. The people using the word “hobo” on other blogs are using it in a very obviously derogatory fashion, aimed at a whole population — not just poor people, but all of us who ride the bus. (I’m not talking about Andrew’s really in joke here, or whatever it was he was trying to say.) When they start using a term so pervasively, you can bet the term has been through a focus group process to see what terms incite their supporters and sway fence-sitters best. As you know, there is big money behind anti-transit lobbying.

        The word isn’t the problem. The use of derogatory descriptions of a class of people (poor people) intended to evoke a negative imagery of such people is a problem. It’s the anti-transit lobby’s right to engage in such anti-social behavior. It’s our right to not ignore their tactics. If they can’t get anyone to see their dry, professional bad analyses of public transit as credible, they’ll just while away their day flogging at the Times, PI, or wherever there is a critical mass of dittoheads with too much free time.

      2. When they start using a term so pervasively, you can bet the term has been through a focus group process to see what terms incite their supporters and sway fence-sitters best.

        I suggest you lay-off the paranoia pills.

  6. “Life-stealing and welfare reducing congestion was rampant, with no clear plan to deal with it in sight.”

    There is still no plan to deal with congestion.

      1. People in the UK pay the equivalent of 8-10 dollars per gallon, and they STILL love their cars, sit in traffic, and can’t find anywhere to park.

    1. Link will deal with congestion. If you don’t want to sit in congestion, you won’t have to. :)

      1. That’s why we need more Link lines, to serve people who don’t live near the initial lines. And to ensure that a larger supply of housing at diverse income levels is near stations.

    2. There is still no plan to deal with congestion.

      I think we know how to deal with it, and it’s a question only whether we will
      1) I still hear people mention VMT.
      2) As Ben says, link is an alternative
      3) 520 is virtually congestion-free at this point.

      We know what to do.

  7. I want to thank STB for letting me occasionally contribute my authorial voice here. It’s such a privilege to write for an intelligent audience, and the blog is read by a good proportion of the agency professionals we seek to influence. (At a conference of transit professionals I attended over the past two days, STB was mentioned glowingly no less than 10 times by 3 different conference speakers). As of this morning STB has written 4,021 posts and received 142,500 comments, most of them substantive and enlightening. I hope we stay strong and prolific through the next round of big decisions, including Metro’s post-2014 future, ST3, hopefully Seattle Subway, etc..

    1. Thanks to all the bloggers and contributors. You’ve been a source of light on so many transport topics. For those of us who thought we were alone and flailing in the dark over the last half century, it is great to have company. Onward to a rational KCMetro and a Seattle Subway.

  8. Congrats and thanks, boys. As a recent transplant this site has been an invaluable tool for becoming an informed and hopefully intelligent resident.

  9. Congrats STB! Authors: Thank you for all your hard work in maintaining a discourse about extremely important topics for our region. I’m looking forward to another 5 years of this.

  10. Let’s not forget East Link opening in a decade…if the two or three people opposed to it stop fighting it.

  11. As someone who was part of the failed monorail project, and has been advocating for transit in the city ever since, I can definitely say that STB has increased and enhanced the discussion. Thank you!

  12. I haven’t commented much, but I really enjoy this blog not only for the posts, but perhaps even more as one of the few places on the internet where the comments are consistently informative, interesting, and generally civilized. To another 5 years!

  13. Thanks for STB, Frank (et. al.). I want to second your commont about commenters. We have a few that I consistantly disagree with (and sometimes about the same issues, over and over), but the level of debate here is consistantly high above the other blogs I visit.

  14. I am a Seattleite reading today’s blog from London. Just spent the last few days riding trains, buses. One can get anywhere basically from anywhere. But a dense population base is needed to make this possible. Buses arrive every few minutes all day just miraculous, but they are slowed down by the dense traffic. The buses are well configured, everyone gets on at the front and puts the equivalent of an orca card across a reader. Simultaneously people are exiting from double wide doors in the middle. Baby carriages are no problem and very common. These are double decker red buses with a recorded voice telling where the bus is and the next stop. No one seems to pay cash, loading and off loading is very fast. Everyone uses the prepaid cards, Oyster Cards.

    1. The large, dense population is a bit of a myth. Germany has cities smaller than Seattle with streetcars that go underground in the city centers, and they are successful. So the same thing is possible in Bellevue, Kirkland, Kent, etc. What’s missing is the political will to do it, and the willingness to expand their densifying downtowns into larger-scale urban villages along the surrounding corridors. But actually that is happening, just slowly. The landscape will look different in thirty years when all the emerging rezones have been built up. For instance, the TOD at all Swift and RapidRide stations in Lynnwood and Shoreline, which will be an example to other communities.

  15. Congrats and thank you. As a refugee of the Monorail wars it was great to find a place with smart conversation about the future of the region.

  16. I too would like to thank Andrew and all those that that work to keep this blog going. The time you guys take to research and write these posts is a great public service you provide.

    And I’d also like to say that the tremendous dialog that goes on here in the comments section is not only a testament to the proficiency of the articles, but also your fair and equitable moderation policy. A lot of times comment boards can get really out of hand, and you guys have threaded the needle of being tolerant of other viewpoints, without putting up with ad-hominem attacks. The tone here is civil and constructive, which is a rarity these days.

    Kudos to all who make this blog possible.

    1. I too would like to thank Joey DiCarlo and all his work to keep this blog going.The time he takes to research and write these posts is a great public service :=

    2. Yes, the tone of the articles and comments is 90% positive and informative, and that’s quite an achievement in the blogosphere. It comes down to the example of the leaders, the kinds of articles they write and the way they engage those with differing viewpoints.

  17. I read a lot of blogs and news sites every day, but Seattle Transit Blog is always the one I look forward to the most. Thanks for all you’ve done over the past few years; I’m sure you’ll continue to make an impact, and, perhaps more importantly, help people like myself make an impact too.

  18. Thanks Andrew, Martin, and everyone else. STB has become the go to place for Transit and Land Use Discussion and after a few years of reading and commenting I am orders of magnitude more informed on these issues b/c of it.

  19. Well done to all! This is my “go-to” blog for local issues I am most interested in (even when my residence is not so “local” at times), and even when I disagree with some of the posts or comments, they are generally well-thought out and often very informative. I enjoy the insider information from several of our fine bus drivers, railroad folks, transit professionals and even the local elected officials–but I really enjoy hearing from the citizens who care enough to join the discussion here!

    Having been a staunch proponent of rail transit for Seattle since the early 80’s, I am more hopeful than ever that we are helping to form the critical mass needed to prepare our region for the next 50 years and beyond. (And, yes, I actually do love my car–I just want a better way to get around the city!)

  20. This post prompted me to google when I first started to read and contribute. Turns out it was 2009. Thanks to everyone for making a community that I enjoy hanging out in and that tackles stuff that makes our city and region a better place. I’ll also say, it was one of the things that motivated me to move back here after a long spell in the mid-west.

    Here’s to the next 5 years of community building through transit.

    p.s., I’m even thankful for our more controversial posters (Like Norman) because contrarian views make for lively discussions and sometimes you learn something. Most times, you learn you’re right. ;-)

  21. I read STB daily for analysis and debate on the issues. Congrats on building such a successful site and for helping foster a community that cares about transit. May the next five years lay down even more track!

  22. Congrats everyone on five excellent years! You are doing priceless work in support of better transit service here in Seattle and I for one appreciate it a lot. Your blog was also an inspiration as I set up my own blog, so for that I am in your debt. I look forward to the next five years of advocacy!

  23. Thanks to Andrew, Martin, and all the contributors! I come here for the informative posts and pretty pictures, I stay for the comment sections. :) Seriously, great work you guys.

  24. So, now that I’m done with my sanctimonious verbosity, I will thank Andrew for his pioneering work that has taken flight here, and ask,

    What is a hobo-trench?

  25. Best transit reads in Puget Sound. In addition to the next 5 years highlights, how about some of the pressing opportunities right now? Some I see, in no particular prioritization:

    ~ Bus service upgrades, as identified in the Transit Master Plan;

    ~ Preservation of the Benson Waterfront Streetcar line in multiple forms: new, double-tracked vintage line as part of the Waterfront rebuild, as well as a modern streetcar extension over the future Broad Street Bridge to Uptown, Seattle Center North, and South Lake Union. Also extend a transitway for modern streetcar and buses from the Pioneer Square track segment through downtown (1st Avenue) and to SODO (1st Avenue South, Lander Street).

    ~Streetcar Network connection between downtown and Capitol Hill via Pine Street. Prioritize transit along Pine; bikes can have Pike Street. Enable an extension to the CD and Madison Valley via Union Street.

    ~Light rail to Belltown/Uptown/Interbay/Ballard/Crown Hill/Greenwood. Emerge from an expanded Westlake Station to run surface-emphasis along 3rd Ave through Belltown. Branch off at about Cedar Street, with lines extending to Uptown and South Lake Union. Get that South Lake Union branch to the U-District one way or another.

    ~Negotiate with UW to add a Link station near Red Square. The line will pass right underneath, with planned stations well removed from the heart of the campus. Accommodations for a future station, if nothing else. See USC, University of Utah (where the new UW president came from), San Diego State, and multiple Boston, New York, and Philadelphia schools. Even UW Tacoma has good rail access.

    ~Secure underutilized rail ROW between Lander Street and Boeing Field for a future Georgetown LRT alignment. Cost-effective stuff and a great regional connection.

    ~West Seattle–California Avenue streetcar, Fauntleroy to a high-frequency water shuttle between Duwamish Head and Pioneer Square. See Vancouver SeaBus, but with fixed-guideway transit at the far end.

    ~Consider the best possible transit streetscape along Rainier Avenue south of Mt. Baker Station. Center transit lanes, I am thinking. Prepare for a high capacity streetcar extension, possibly with dual-voltage trams extending from the Link tracks.

    Etc.

    Peter J. Voorhees
    peterjv@mindspring.com

    1. “Negotiate with UW to add a Link station near Red Square.”

      This is a joke, right? ST tried to build a station near the HUB and the UW said no stations in central campus. What could ST offer that would make the UW change its mind?

      1. They were thinking that Link Light rail is for the general public, not exclusive for students. In fact most students and a large percentage of staff live within walking distance of campus. The UW doesn’t want their central campus to be a train station. Sundodger Station Serves the UW Medical Center which accounts for about half of all people at the UW and doesn’t take summer off. It’s also a vital bus link to 520 and Sandpoint Way. Brooklyn is at the heart of the University district which has far more housing than the entire campus, is next door to University Tower and is also a major bus transfer point. No buses stop at Red Square. It’s deserted at night except for a few library users and the occasional concert.

      2. The UW is a state agency; ST is regional. Therefore, if they disagree, UW wins, full stop. UW said no station on campus.

        I agree with Bernie that Brooklyn is the #1 stop no matter what. Husky is super important as a 520 connection, at least; it’s a shame that we might not get that, but that’s not ST’s fault.

        A UW Hub station would be nice, but as someone who will never use it, I don’t feel that bad about skipping the extra minute of deceleration. ;) I doubt that many people will decide against using the train because of that.

      3. I agree with Bernie that Brooklyn is the #1 stop no matter what.

        I don’t believe I ever said that. In fact I believe Sundodger Station will contribute more trips than Brooklyn once you factor in pointy ball games.

  26. Congratulations on your five year run! Really! A lot of intelligent conversations take place on this Blog. It keeps me up-to-date on how the “just-spend-more” transit geeks are thinking and in some cases disagreeing with each other. Gives me food for thought … changes my thinking on some topics. STB is a great venue for civic dialog, and I appreciate the moderation that removes scurrilous personal attacks.

    Here’s a question — does anybody besides me and my ilk think there is a relationship between these two of the top five stories on STB:

    The successful Sound Transit “Mass Transit Now” transit tax doubling ballot passing in 2008, and the subsequent service cuts at three county transit agencies unless we all provide them more money from the same wallets paying for ST?

    And here’s my question about the U Link highlight noted at the top: Does the average Seattle Transit Blog reader think that simply doubling light rail ridership from today’s level would constitute “success” for the line extensions into three more stations planned now for 2016?

    I mean, like, going from today’s average daily weekday Link ridership of 24,000 to 48,000? When the 2020 ridership commitment to the Feds on Airport Link all by itself justifying $500 million is 45,000? When the ridership commitment for the University Link extension is to add 114,000 daily boardings by 2030, a number that APTA and CUTR research-based experience tells us would comes within a few years of opening if it is to come at all?

    Note, 24,000 average boardings per weekday on the Central Link Light Rail of today is Sound Transit’s report to the U.S. Government in its March 2012 Federal Partnership Report, posted at http://www.bettertransport.info/pitf/resourcelinks.htm as the second item.

    My understanding is that the government-defined standard for “success” of U-Link is a quadrupling of ridership from today’s level, not a doubling. And that’s a tall hill to climb.

    On the other hand, perhaps we all need to realize that Link Light Rail for the next decade at least is most likely to have its highest utility as a fun train for game day rides to stadiums. That’s a measure of success that was not prominently on the table in the planning.

    So, as I wrote at the top, try to change my thinking …

    1. Yes John, Sound Transit caused the recession right after they got what they wanted, that’s just how evil and powerful they are!

  27. I love this blog. The people on here are far more knowledgeable about transit issues than I am, but I’ve gradually been absorbing the information over the past year or so and it has greatly expanded my understanding of transit and density issues.

    I’ve only lived in Seattle a short amount of time as I’ve been away in eastern Washington for college (now I’m temporarily living in a depressingly bad example of poor urban planning that makes Seattle look like a transit paradise – Coeur d’Alene, ID, suburb of Spokane,) but I still care deeply about these issues because Seattle very dear to me and it is where I want to (and will soon) live.

    I thank all the writers and commenters here, and I hope this blog lasts for many years more. My dream job would be to use what I’ve learned in electrical engineering towards a job in transit in some way, but even if that never pans out I’m still forever a passionate transit advocate and I’ll continue to spread the word and get involved.

    It’s undeniable that urban design and transit are inherently connected to a city’s wellbeing and awareness is important. It may seem discouraging to see stuff like the DBT being built, but in time I think people will come to understand greater truths and made great strides (would it be a stretch to compare it to civil rights movements?). Anyway, yeah. Great job, keep it up. This site is something to be proud of.

    pin some ways I think people should advocate these issues like civil rights movements have with social injustice.

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