Sound Transit Board Meeting (See minute ~2:00)

Last Thursday the Sound Transit board approved alignment and station locations to be included in the Draft Environment Impact Study (DEIS). Like East Link, Sound Transit has identified 3 different segments:

  • Segment A – Northgate to NE 185th St
  • Segment B – NE 185th to 212th St SW
  • Segment C – 212th St SW to Lynnwood TC

Each Segment has several variations of station locations and guideway alignment. While ST2 initially identified four stations, five stations appears to be a possibility if the cost and ridership benefits of the stations outweighs the ridership lost due to the additional travel time and additional costs incurred by the station.

Segment A

Alternative A1: At-grade/elevated to NE 145th and NE 185th east side stations
Alternative A3: Mostly elevated to NE 145th and NE 185th east side stations
Alternative A5: At-grade/elevated to NE 130th, NE 155th and NE 185th east side stations
Alternative A7: Mostly elevated to NE 130th, NE 155th and NE 185th east side stations
Alternative A9: At-grade/elevated to NE 145th and NE 175th east side stations
Alternative A10: At-grade/elevated to NE 130th, NE 145th and NE 185th east side stations
Alternative A11: Mostly elevated to NE 130th, NE 145th and NE 185th east side stations

Segment A has the largest number of variations, with two alternatives including the two presumptive stations at NE 145th and NE 185th and four alternatives with three stations. Of these four alternatives NE 130th St figures prominently, with it included all of the three station alternatives. Alternative A9 was removed upon an amendment proposed by Larry Philips, who had initially pushed for consideration of the NE 175th St station.

Inclusion of NE 130th is promising news. The Seattle City Council, led by Richard Conlin, unanimously passed Resolution 31168 supporting inclusion of the  NE 130th St station in the DEIS. The NE 130th St station also sailed through the ST Capital Committee, where it was also unanimously recommended for inclusion in the DEIS. In my opinion NE 130th St has unexpectedly become a very promising aspect of the North Corridor.

While the NE 130th St station has limited TOD potential, not unlike the other I-5 station locations, it has huge potential when it comes to connecting the hub urban villages of Bitter Lake and Lake City by transit. Given a concise restructure of Metro’s transit service that allows for very frequent (4-8 minute headways all day) East-West service on NE125th/NE130 between the two hub urban villages and Link, this station could go a very long way in redeeming the North Corridor with relation to TOD.

Segment B

Alternative B1: East side to Mountlake Terrace Transit Center to median
Alternative B2: East side to Mountlake Terrace Transit Center to west side
Alternative B2a: East side to Mountlake Terrace Transit Center to west side with 220th station
Alternative B4: East side to Mountlake Terrace Freeway Station to median

While segment B has four alternatives, the variations mostly relates to the specifics location of the Mountlake Terrace Station. Alternative B2a include a 220th St SW station, which should be an interesting station to watch due to it’s close proximity to a the fair sized employment center in the area as well as improve connections to the City of Edmonds.

Segment C

Alternative C1: 52nd Avenue W to 200th Street station
Alternative C2: 52nd Avenue W to Lynnwood Transit Center station
Alternative C3: I-5 to Lynnwood Park & Ride station

The northern most segment has three alternatives and includes four station locations, three of which I beleieve are variations on the station location in the vicinity of the Lynnwood P&R station. From my limited knowledge of the area, the 52nd Ave W stations looks like it would be the poorest performing station to be included in the DEIS.

147 Replies to “NE 130th Added to North Corridor DEIS”

  1. are there graphics associated with the route options yet (like East Link)? or is ST working on them?

    1. I saw some in the presentation given to the board but I didn’t come across any while looking for information on this post.

  2. In Lynnwood, 52nd Ave would just be the track routing to get to the two station options north of I-5.

    In my mind, C1 is the best option. It’s still close to the existing P&R/TC, but has the largest walkshed into the city. C2 seems odd to me, because it would require building tracks over the Scriber Creek wetland along a route without an existing street easement.

  3. 130th should absolutely happen, for the cross-connection potential you describe.

    But adding 145th on top of that is ludicrous. 145th has a tangle of highway ramps, a golf course, and an elite prep school whose students are more likely to arrive in a chauffeured BMW than on transit. I’ll be damned if our regressive sales taxes pay to build the only sub-3/4-mile stop spacing in the entire city at the city’s northern extremity where it is useful to no one.

    (I’m not fundamentally opposed to 155th, which would at least split the distance between 130th and 185th and serve a mutually exclusive swath of the sprawl, and which could probably be built on the cheap.)

    1. Many Lakeside students arrive in chauffeured Metro buses, actually. See the 980 series of routes.

      Nevertheless, Link will never be able to replace those routes and a 145th St station should not be built.

    2. 982 Bear Creek P&R to Lakeside > East Link
      983 Issaquah TC to Lakeside > East Link+bus or future Southeast Link
      989 Issaquah TC to Lakeside School > ditto
      984 Lakeside to Downtown Seattle > Link
      987 Lakeside to Rainier Beach (who rides this?) > Link
      988 Madrona to Lakeside > Link+bus
      994 Downtown Seattle to Lakeside > Link
      995 Laurelhurst to Lakeside > Link+bus
      All of the above would be faster with Link. For example, even Madrona-Lakeside on the bus takes 58 minutes; this is made much faster by something like bus to Rainier Station + Link to 145th.

      Really, the only routes that are NOT significantly sped up are
      981 Lakeside, Houghton P&R
      986 Houghton P&R to Lakeside.

      1. 987: The route goes through Seward Park and Mount Baker. However, most students on this route could transfer to Link stopping at NE 145th St.
        994: I doubt the students boarding in Magnolia, Ballard and Greenwood would be taking Link so some portions of this bus route would probably have to remain.

    3. I’m for

      185th (don’t know which side of I5 is better)
      Montlake Terrace Transit Center Station (better than Freeway Station)
      and then one of the Lynwood Transit Center station ideas that actually are at the Transit Center and not somewhere in the vicinity thereof

      based on:

      Personally … I cannot see how the train stopping for 60 seconds at an additional station would affect riders in a negative manner. This is elevated ROW that we are talking about … any extra station could easily be made up for by fast speeds between stops … and the added usage of Link would benefit all parties.

      1. It’s not about travel speed; I’ve always called b.s. on that argument.

        It’s about capital expenses and about the relative usefulness of new rapid transit services to the preponderance of current and potential riders.

        Basically, it’s about fundamental fairness.

        Westlake to Broadway is one mile. Columbia City to Othello is 1.7 miles. East Capitol Hill is told to “stay on the bus” forever.

        In actual cities, each additional stop exponentially increases the likelihood that a trip between your starting point and your destination can reasonably be served by the mass-transit spine… regardless of whether one of those points is a business or school or restaurant or just a friend’s apartment. That’s why densely-built areas the world over average 1/2-2/3 mile spacing.

        The sprawl does not have that multiplier effect. So we’ve squelched the possibility of urban service that acts urban and works for urban needs — often citing the specious “can’t slow down the commute” logic — but now we’re considering front-door service for some prep-school brats!!!?

      2. Cheesewheels … 55 mph is the max speed that the Kinkisharyo LRVs are rated to operate

      3. Brian … they can physically go 58 … but for pax service they are rated at 55 max … just like they can technically operate in 8-unit trains … but for pax service the max is 4

      4. we’re considering front-door service for some prep-school brats!!!?

        You mean Roosevelt HS? :=

      5. No, no, no. Roosevelt High School is an architectural marvel and a heritage treasure on par with the Parthenon or the Taj Mahal. We must dynamite the rest of Roosevelt and surround the RHS acropolis with a moat so to ensure that it can be seen from miles around.

        Tourists may be permitted access from the $500 million subway platform… for a small additional fee.

      6. Well that’s completely ridiculous. They need new rolling stock if they’re going as far as Lynnwood and Redmond.

      7. Cheesewheels …

        modern Low-Floor LRVs for the most part have a max operational speed between 55 and 65 mph … mostly this is due to the fact that the LRVs have only 4 of the 6 axles powered and there is a limit to how much tractive-force the 4 powered axles can generate. While I am sure Kinkisharyo would be able to increase the max operating speed to our style LRV to at least 65 mph … you do not want to run the risk of having too many disparate vehicle types or single types with differing abilities operating on the same rail line. This will cause interoperability problems as well as scheduling problems if a slower trainset is on the line ahead of the faster ones.

        Since both lines will be operating to Lynnwood (well at least to Northgate) the trainsets need to be able to function together. This is not to say that ST needs to keep ordering the existing Kinkisharyo LRV design … they could opt for longer (5+ unit) LRVs that have more powered axles or go with another manufacturer like Siemens … but whatever the solution, all the LRVs need to play well with one-another

        regardless … is 55mph really all that bad when there are no traffic jams/accidents/et al to deal with?

      8. I don’t think longer LRVs would fit at the platforms. My understanding is that they’re all sized for 4-car trains (with the existing car lengths).

        I also thought the plan was to run all the North Link trains to Lynnwood for some reason, rather than starting/ending some (most?) of them at Northgate. Of course, unlike platform or car length that’s easy enough to change.

      9. Northgate needs to be built with a pocket track, do that when Lynnwood ridership proves totally anemic (and nearly nonexistent off-peak), we can turn trains around there and avoid pouring money down the drain in the form of 5-minute service to nowhere.

      10. Does anyone have a clue why iPhone Autocorrect replaces the word “so” with “do” every time?

      11. David …

        if you make the LRVs longer … then you need fewer of them to make up the same length trains … think 1 LRV being the equivalent length of two current Link LRVs … then they would still fit in the station you just have fewer trainsets to maintain

      12. The proposed schedules keep changing, so I highly doubt ST would tie itself down by not having a turnaround at Northgate. The first schedule was Lynnwood-Highline CC, Lynnwood-Stadium, and Northgate-Redmond. Then there was Lynnwood-Highline CC and Northgate-Redmond, with peak-hours extending all trains to Lynnwood. The Alternatives Analysis report (p. 25, North Corridor Library) says “4 min peak, 10 min off peak”, which would only be possible if some trains turn back at Northgate because 10 minutes is not frequent enough for North Link.

      13. Speed and frequency are both important. Currently, if I want to make it downtown by 9 AM, I have these options:

        Sounder at 7:15 (Takes 55 minutes)
        510 at 7:45, 8:00, 8:16

        If I wake up late, I often don’t have any choice but to drive. I can leave Everett at ~8:30 in the car and only be a few minutes late to work. If I took the 8:31 bus, it’d be more than half an hour late. If I miss the 8:31, all transit bets are off. Frequency drops to half an hour. The buses spend 30 minutes on the freeway, then 20+ minutes winding through the city from Stewart st, whereas I can get all the way to work in 35 in my car. (Traffic really clears up at this time).

      14. As of the 30% design open house in November Northgate Station still has a pocket track to the north of the station. You can see the drawings here.

      15. Underutilized transit comes at the expense of transit elsewhere that would be utilized!! Moreover, I know that you know this!!

        I’m just going to cut-and-paste my other reply, which it seems you didn’t see…

        [Mike,] your advocacy for a “regional system” seems to boil down to blind faith that building such a thing will someday turn getting anywhere in Puget Sound car-free into a reasonable option.

        It’s not going to happen. [I’m sorry, but it’s just not.] The physical space outside of the cities just isn’t set up that way, and it never will be.

        A hope in my heart-of-hearts that you never get stuck with the sprawl-employment conundrum you fear. Because it won’t be a pretty situation, not today, not tomorrow, not fifty years from now, not ever.

      16. After looking at the options I’d say:
        130th (I’d place this between 125th and 130th, though closer to the latter, in order to split the difference)
        185th (with a slight preference for the West routing)
        Montlake Terrace TC (as opposed to the freeway station routing)
        200th (which actually serves Lynnwood rather than dropping people in the middle of a huge parking lot)

    4. Well there’s nothing at 155th either. Do we have STs ridership projections for those yet?

      One positive I see for doing 145th and 185th is that you could eventually have a 155th station on an Aurora line.

    5. I agree that 130th is better than 145th, and if there is a stop at 130th, it is dumb to also build one at 145th. So, I’m rooting for A5 or A7 (don’t know enough about elevated vs. at-grade at this point to form an opinion). I think the problem politically will be that Shoreline may want a stop at 145th instead of 155th to decrease the impact on the neighborhood.

      1. I can’t for the life of me imagine what benefit would be attained by “mostly elevated” construction, when “at-grade” in a highway ROW is inherently as exclusive and streamlined a path.

      2. I agree, I don’t see why you build it elevated along the freeway, unless there are issues with fitting it under the overpasses at 130th/145th/etc. Elevated would mean noisier, wouldn’t it? On top of more expensive?

      3. Shoreline does prefer 145th, according to the ST reps I spoke to at the open house. Somebody here said Shoreline wants to develop the P&R property. There’s nothing like that at 155th, just houses. 155th slightly closer to the 155th/Aurora neighborhood but it’s still 3/4 mile away so it’s not “good” access.

      4. That’s what the EIS is for, to demonstrate the cost/benefit of the various approaches. “At-grade” along a freeway looks to all the world like elevated, so it’s just a technical distinction. The real problem with at-grade is traffic crossings, but that’s presumably not a problem along a freeway. Still, it all depends on whether there would be traffic crossings, and the announcement doesn’t give us enough information to tell. But in any case, they might as well do the study and give us some results for comparison. But I do hope the “ST2 has no traffic crossings” opportunity remains within reach. Then Link would go from 50% traffic crossings to 10% traffic crossings with one stroke, which would significantly improve the system.

    6. Actually, there’s another place with 1/2 mile spacing, and it’s in Bellevue of all places. Hospital – 120th – 130th.

      I asked at the open house why 120th and 130th were so close together, and whether one or both could be deferred. The rep said 130th had originally been chosen as a growth area, then a developer bought the Safeway plant and offered to build a large TOD development on the site, so it got a station (120th). It’s submitting a master plan to the city now. Meanwhile at 130th, ST is planning a temporary P&R to “give the station a reason to exist” until development happens. Ahem. I said that temporary P&Rs can be hard to dislodge later when they develop a constituency, and he agreed that’s a danger. He said 120th is likely to be built up before 130th because it’s all under one owner whereas the 130th station area is under fragmented ownership. I guess that means there might be something at 120th by 2023. Still, I almost gagged when I heard they’re planning an empty station at 130th, ten blocks from 120th, with a gratuitous P&R just to give the station a reason to exist. I HOPE both these stations will be deferred until there’s some kind of guarantee that some development will be there when they open.

      1. Totes, Mike. I meant that there is no other example of urban stop spacing in Seattle proper.

        Sound Transit, agency of irony, whose “regional transit mission” means more urban service patterns anywhere but in the actual major city.

      2. Mr. smartypants d.p.
        Look at a map. There are hills and rivers, and lakes and bodies of water everywhere. Seattle is THE most unique city in the world, and that’s why we have what we do. It’s a physics thing I think.
        Now unbunch your nickers and learn how to march.

      3. East Link is different than the other two lines simply because it’s shorter. If you’re building a system that stretches from Tacoma to Everett speed is a much larger concern than if you’re just going from Seattle to Redmond.

      4. But Adam, the trains won’t just run from Seattle to Redmond. They’ll be running the full distance from at least Lynnwood to Redmond, via downtown Seattle.

      5. @David Yes that is true but that isn’t my point. Increased travel time on the extremities of a transit line only affects the riders who are on the system that far out. That is not the case with segments of a transit line that are more central or between major ridership generators.

        So for example an increased travel time in the DSTT will effect a very large percent of riders, while an increased travel time between Microsoft and Redmond will only ever impact riders going to Redmond, because Link will never be extended beyond Redmond.

        So in the context of the North Corridor, you have to keep in mind that this segment is in the middle of the long term vision of connecting Seattle and Everett.

      6. What Kyle said. If your 62-mile line (a wholly inappropriate length for high-frequency rapid transit by any precedent or any imaginable demand model) exists at the expense of highly usable service in it’s central 10 miles (the only consistently built-up area it serves), then you are doing and have done things incredibly wrong!

        And for anyone who couldn’t tell, Mic is being sarcastic. The word “unique” is not comparable; no place can be the “most unique.” Meanwhile, the world is full of hilly cities build on oddly-shaped bodies of water that have not consistently screwed over urban mobility for the opportunity to overserve the periphery.

      7. And Adam, you have to keep in mind that tens of thousands of trips will be permanently relegated to buses for the sake of marginal travel times for a relatively small number of very long-distance commuters. This is not a defensible trade.

      8. And also keep in mind that this sub-thread is discussing the ostensibly-serious proposal to add a bunch of extra suburban stops… after rejecting reasonable urban stop spacing for the reasons you proffer. Same slowdown, far less benefit.

      9. suburban hate won’t change you’re fate. and Seattle’s money is getting spent in Seattle, if you want more stations you can raise more taxes and build more. The system is planned the way it is because the federal new starts process gave more weight to travel time savings and longer distance trips until recently when it was revised to give more credit to redevelopment potential. Since this corridor is moving through new starts and is still in early engineering, there’s now an opportunity to look at additional stations from what was previously possible. The North Corridor is relying on New Starts $ whereas the East is not, though I agree with the other reason stated by Adam on overall length and impact on spacing. Don’t hate on SnoCo. Seattle will get to build additional lines. Right now we are just replacing what was lost (interurban) with a little improvement by way of tunnels.

      10. Correct me if I’m wrong, Man of Gs (Edition Epsilon), but I believe that Seattle, Shoreline, and Lake City constitute a single sub-area under Sound Transit (as they do under Metro).

        Meaning that Seattle will, indeed, pay for much of the North Corridor, including many close-for-no-reason stations should they choose to build many close-for-no-reason stations. To a great extent, our “contribution” has been used to build a line that is much less than ideal for our actual urban needs!

        You are, of course, correct on the impact of the Fed algorithms, which is why it is A) insane to let shit-for-brains politicians dictate priorities that fly in the face of every well-functioning transit system in the universe; and B) masochistic not to go to bat for what is actually needed, especially when the final grant for your kneecapped transit system will be less than 1/4 of the total cost, and when you may have spent such time and resources chasing the grant that the various cost inflations stemming from the drawn-out project may negate the grant itself.

      11. This is a tangent, but – I notice the tunnel route goes right under Volunteer park and the intersection of 15th Ave and Highland. I know this is single-family land, but do you think there’s any chance of there being a station built at the park right on 15th and highland at some point in the future? The park would be a good destination in its own right, and would serve a pretty dense SFH neighborhood and be much closer to folks living in North Capitol Hill.

        Probably just a pipe dream, I know, but do you think it’s even remotely possible in the long-term future that this could happen?

      12. @James,

        Very unlikely. As I understand it rising from 75 feet below sea level under Montlake to plus 250 or so at Capitol Hill means it’s a reasonably steep grade under Capitol Hill. You can’t have a station on a grade, so that means the we’d need to back Balto and Brenda up most of the way to Montlake and have them make a steeper pair of tunnels alongside the existing ones to gain the additional elevation necessary at the north end of the station.

        It is were ever going to happen, it had to be allowed for in the original tunnels. I don’t believe it was.

      13. The tunnel is also at it’s deepest point under Volunteer Park, about 300 feet below the surface. A station there would be one of the deepest in the world.

      14. d.p. – you’re right on the $ for north corridor portion in KC. I’m not going to waste time second guessing where the line could have or should have gone or how many more stations would be the right number in the urban area, those decisions are long past. We are building this now. We have the chance to possibly build more stations. This is an opportunity we didn’t have when we we’re doing the initial segments. I think with such a large linear investment it makes sense to build all the stations we can for access and worry about travel time through operational methods later. I hope that future segments built in Seattle will also have an opportunity to provide a more urban level of service. In the meantime, there actually is potential to place some density into these areas around the new stations of the burbs. FWIW, I think it may be easier to redevelop the suburbs than the city, because 1) more land is unbuilt on (parking), 2) there are less owners to deal with (larger parcel size) and 3) there is greater capacity to handle traffic impacts of density (overbuilt roadways).

      15. @G-Man (Type E): Overbuilt roadways are bad for density, not good, because they’re bad for walkability. Also, the more traffic you can jam into a place the more parking you need there, and the more cross-street capacity you need. Parking is one of the major limiters of density, and suburban developers aren’t just going to not build parking.

        Also large blocks of land ownership tend to preclude a truly public commons, and a truly public commons is, I believe, key to real urbanism at any density. Large land owners develop things that protect their own interests instead of things that work within an urban fabric.

        Tyson’s Corner has some retail density, land ownership in large parcels, and overbuilt roads. This is how it looks to walk there. This is not the future we want — crowded yet not really all that dense. Some of the most appealing urban neighborhoods are dense yet don’t really feel crowded or intense. That’s because they don’t have mega-roads running through, and because they’re walkable.

      16. Ah, the old DP is back. :) It’s better to have DP arguing about inner-city stations than telling people to vote against ST3 or Seattle Subway. I don’t remember anybody arguing for Capitol Hill stations at 15th and 23rd when the line was being designed. I think what happened is that the original line got truncated to Westlake-SeaTac, then a new Ship Canal crossing was found, and they just carried over the original plans rather than reopening the question of intermediate stations. So that’s how the second chance for Capitol Hill stations got bypassed. But it could have been reopened if enough people were pushing for more stations, but as I said I don’t remember anybody saying that.

        I think DP is operating from what other cities historically did a hundred years ago, which is different from what Seattlites think their own transit needs are, based on decades of travelling and wishing transit were better at certain origin-destination pairs. That’s why there’s so much push to get to Lynnwood and there’s so little demand for stations at 15th, 23rd, and NE 85th. If somebody at 23rd wants to go to Lynnwood or SeaTac, they can jolly well take a bus to Broadway, especially if buses are running every 5-15 minutes by then. Likewise, somebody at 23rd & Aloha can take the improved 48 or 43 to UW, which will take like ten minutes; it’s not a high priority for the regional train to stop there if the station would be expensive/deep. The overriding issue is the total cost of the project, which is what sways the marginal voters who are essential for ST2’s and 3’s passage.

      17. The most interesting aspect of Shoreline is that it’s a grid, so a north-south train with east-west buses could really succeed. In contrast, the Bellevue-Redmond Road area is full of superblocks with not even houses to walk to.

        I noticed several years ago that Seattle has stairways on Queen Anne and other places, while the Eastside has no such stairs. (Just one stairway in downtown Kirkland, and the few steps in the BTC-Bellevue Square promenade.) I wondered about that and then realized it’s because of the land use. Seattle has through streets every block that are meant for walking so you need stairs. But with the Eastside superblocks, they just extend the block past the steepest part of the hill, and nobody expects a stair there because it would go through somebody’s yard, and you should be in a car on the main road anyway. Shoreline is between these two extremes. It has larger single-family lots but the grid is mostly intact. So there’s more of an opportunity to make it a successful transit-using city. The Bellevue grid at Bel-Red Road depends on a future transformation and new cross-streets which may or may not happen.

      18. “Overbuilt roadways are bad for density, not good, because they’re bad for walkability.”

        Fortunately we don’t have the problem of Dallas or other more recently-built metro areas, with six-lane boulevards every mile that really make the area unwalkable and discourage transit.

      19. @Mike: We do have, in north Seattle (right in the area we’re discussing in this thread), I-5 and Aurora, running about a mile apart (maybe less). Lake City Way isn’t much more than a mile east of I-5 in most places. A little south of there, 15th Ave NW isn’t much more than a mile from Aurora.

        The east-west roads aren’t as bad… until you get out to Bellevue, or Lynnwood, or Renton. What density exists in these places is dependent on shoving as many cars in and out as possible. There is a local maximum in effect. Eventually walkability, good transit service, and reduced traffic volumes yield more potential, but in the short term anything that cuts car traffic volume hurts. That’s one dimension of the car dependence cycle.

        At any rate, I generally support most developments and transit projects, regardless of location of our current city centers and regardless of municipal boundaries, that support excellent pedestrian access and make a neighborhood more complete. If Lynnwood or Bellevue or Renton wants to take the lead and really do what it takes to put pedestrians and local access at the fore, knowing that it conflicts directly with shoving more cars through, well, more power to them. It’s just harder to do in a place where the economy depends on shoving more cars through. (This also makes it harder in Seattle than in, say, NYC).

      20. I believe 15th NW is the only six-lane street in Seattle. Aren’t Aurora and LCW four traffi(I-5 doesn’t count because it’s an interstate.) The boulevards in Dallas I’m talking about are wide and frequent. Six lanes plus the median and sidewalks, and throw in bicycle lanes if you’re feeling green. One after another after another. Bellevue doesn’t have anything like it, even with NE 8th getting wide at 405, and 148th having a median.

      21. Part of it got cut off. Aren’t Aurora and LCW four traffic lanes, plus part-time parking lanes? That’s not the same as six solid traffic lanes, which look like a lot of cars when they’re full and like an expressway when they’re empty.

      22. G- and Al:

        Tyson’s Corner is, of course, getting rewarded with a stop on WA Metro’s Silver Line as of next year. A stop that no one will use as anything but a P&R thanks to everything Al points out.

        But outside the Beltway is unquestionably sprawlsville. Much more depressing is the lost opportunity that is sterile, ugly, pedestrian-hostile Rosslyn, a place that wouldn’t exist were it not for the Metro, yet is still totally terrible if you’re not in a car. Underpasses and overpasses galore, most buildings are parking at ground level, no active street frontage whatsoever.

        Meet the hypothetical “future downtown Lynnwood”.

      23. Mike:

        The big problem of the sprawl-and-long-commute era is that what people thing they want and say they want is not actually what they will use.

        Denver, Salt Lake, Sacramento, Minneapolis… all systems built on the “connect the wider region” premise that you (correctly) suggest is guiding Seattleites.

        Their ridership is pathetic, their modeshare negligible. After all is said and built, people in the cities have no use for them, people in the sprawl realize how rarely they can take them where they need to go.

        You’re kidding yourself if you think that an East Capital Hill driver is going to start waiting for the crappy 43 to Broadway once Link exists. To any likely Link-served destination they might have (and thanks to minimal stops, those possible destinations are literally few and far between), the savings of Link would be eradicated by the wait and the lumbering bus journey. Most Seattle-proper residents will keep on driving, just as they do today. What a waste.

        Perhaps what was done one hundred years ago — or, y’know, what was done three years ago — continues to work in those places because it’s actually the right thing to do!

      24. The Canada Line hasn’t exactly improved urban transit in Vancouver proper, most of it’s ridership comes from suburban riders transferring at Richmond, and airport riders. The Canada Line is now the only transit route into downtown Vancouver from the Lower Mainland, as all of the suburban bus service was truncated at stations in Richmond.

      25. Taking the 43 to Broadway and transferring to Link is a vast improvement over taking the 43 to downtown and transferring to another bus. Say our person is going to Northgate. Do you really think he’d prefer to take the 43 to the U-district and transfer to the 66, or take the 43 to downtown and transfer to the 41, rather than taking a bus to Capitol Hill or UW station and transferring to Link? He may wish there was a station at his house, but he’d doubtless say that even with the planned stations it’s a vast improvement on what was otherwise available to him.

      26. I think it should be possible to campaign to defer the 130th Bellevue station and build the 120th only as part of the TOD development, leaving only ‘passive provision’.

        It’s not like ST is swimming in money. This sort of ‘deferred station’ design has been done before in other places.

        120th is in a cut so it will probably be necessary to build a large hunk of the station upfront (cut, platforms) but if it’s getting an overbuild it makes sense to not build the rest until that’s ready to go….

        130th is supposed to be at-grade so all that’s needed is preserving enough land to build a station.

      27. d.p., your city examples are not revealing as a group.

        Minneapolis has one line. ONE. And it’s doing better than originally predicted. It runs from downtown (with urban stop spacing, no less) down Hiawatha Boulevard — where the longest gap between stations is 1.6 miles, arguably deserving an infill station — and then through the airport to the Mall of America (which for better or worse attracts an enormous number of people).

        The second line under construction is St. Paul-Minneapolis, via the Minneapolis campus of the U of M, and then down the busy University Avenue corridor; on its way, this jumps over the worst mess of unwalkable highways in the area. These are very logical for the first two trunk lines. Stop spacing is about 1/2 mile on most of this line. They’re not doing so well on future line planning, preferring suburban lines to putting more lines into the vast area of southern Minneapolis west of the Hiawatha line and east of the proposed Southwest line, but there’s campaigning and they may get around to filling in rail service in that area.

        On Denver, you have a point; it needs local, downtown light rail, such as the repeatedly-proposed Colfax streetcar.

        But Denver is also sprawlsville on a scale Seattle cannot even comprehend; after the Colfax streetcar, *that’s it* — the only other *possible* lines are “connecting the wider region”. This is an area where some of the major attractions have been scattered an HOUR outside of town *by expressway*. The “sprawling” light rail lines in Denver actually don’t go anywhere near the edge of the sprawl, which extends to Wyoming.

        I don’t know Salt Lake that well, but it seems to have even more of the same problem; the only urban corridor has been built (University to Salt Lake Central), and the rest of the area is 100% sprawlsville. Historically the area basically had interurbans and no urban streetcars at all.

        Sacramento I haven’t studied. It’s not nearly so sprawled as Salt Lake or Denver, and the center city is compact, dense, and underserved. Perhaps that is the best comparison to Seattle? It could use more lines in the dense downtown rather than extended interurbans, but it’s gotten an interurban.

      28. The main lesson of the light rail ridership chart, with the exception of San Jose VTA (who have clearly done a really bad job) is that more lines == more ridership.

        Network effects for the win. This shouldn’t surprise anyone.

      29. I think it should be possible to campaign to defer the 130th Bellevue station and build the 120th only as part of the TOD development, leaving only ‘passive provision’

        The Spring District might have a financing issue with Wright Runstad having just defaulted on their PacMed property. And with thousands of empty condos in DT Bellevue left over from the last bubble I don’t see Amazon Fresh having to look for a new home any time soon. Maybe late night trains can bring produce from SODO ;-)

        The “cost saving” idea at the last open house for 130th was very troubling. Basicly they just abandon the whole plan for a connected 15/16th Street with bike paths, green space, etc. It ammounts to build a new concrete box for Geoff Creek, asphalt a huge surface lot with a contaminated surface water containment pond next door and throw down a two lane undivided road minimum width to meet fire safety code.

        Drop both of these car dealership and auto body repair stations. Get Redmond on board with some matching funds like Bellevue is kicking in and finish the E Segment to DT Redmond.

      30. The Canada Line hasn’t exactly improved urban transit in Vancouver proper, most of it’s ridership comes from suburban riders transferring at Richmond, and airport riders.

        This is utterly, absolutely, 100% categorically false! Every time I’ve used the thing, every single stop along the Cambie corridor sees more people get on and off than at any Link stop but Westlake. In the middle of the day. The Canada Line is a fundamentally urban line that gets used exactly like a fundamentally urban line should.

        Say our person is going to Northgate [from outer Capitol Hill].

        He’ll drive. Period. Forever. And you’re in denial if you think otherwise.

        Just like someone from Englewood, CO drives to a concert on East Colfax. Just like someone right next to the Minnehaha station drives to… pretty much everywhere.

        The facts our in, Mike. Suburban-focused rapid transit doesn’t work. No matter “what Seattleites think.”

        Minneapolis has one line. ONE.

        We have one line. ONE. With lousy stop placement. And it’s absolutely underperforming… with numbers similar to the Hiawatha Line.

        “Urban stop spacing” doesn’t matter if only the CBD has it. What all of those examples have in common is that they escape density for fast highway-corridor (or highway-esque corridor) running pretty much the moment they leave their respective downtowns.

        The other thing they have in common is that all of their ridership numbers suck. This suggests a demonstrated lack of utility for the multitude of types of trip that actually make rapid transit worthwhile.

        It remains to be seen whether the Twin Cities will bother to serve anything useful between the two downtowns, or if they will effectively build a shuttle of limited usefulness. Their southwest line, meanwhile, will be skipping the high-demand Uptown completely. Rubes never learn. I guess we’re rubes.

      31. @Mike Orr: Aurora has 6 full-time general-purpose lanes in some places, and 4 with part-time parking or bus lanes in others. Lake City Way is similar (how long can you go on LCW without a pedestrian crossing? Quite far). And I don’t see why you wouldn’t count I-5 — it’s a wide, loud road carrying fast-moving traffic that is a huge pedestrian barrier along its entire length. None of these roads (nor 15th Ave NW) look exactly like the boulevards you’re talking about (I haven’t really been to Dallas but I’ve lived in Silicon Valley), largely because ours are older and curvier have weirder intersections (which typically doesn’t help walkability, quite the contrary). But the effect isn’t much different. Auto mobility at the expense of pedestrian mobility.

      32. The Cambie stations average 1200 to 2000 boardings per day. Yawn.

        Let me guess, Zed. You found the reported 2009 total boardings on Wikipedia and divided by 365.

        Math/logic fail.

        The Canada Line was only open for four months of 2009.

        By 2011, those Cambie stations were averaging about four times your faulty numbers.

        That’s more than every single station on Link aside from Westlake:

  4. Hmm, I’m gonna go with:

    I’m all for the Lynnwood Downtown Master Plan coming to fruition, but I don’t want to see Scriber Lake’s wetlands torn up for a 52nd alignment.

    1. A11 is OK but I still think 155th is better than 145th in terms of cross-town connections, because the development at 155th & Aurora is much more than at 145th. That said, there’s better development at 145th on the west side so I could see why they’d go with that…but I still think 155th is the better choice for Shoreline.

      1. If it were an Aurora line, I would agree. If that happens, it would be better to have them staggered, I think.

  5. I am hoping for a stop at 130th and NOT 145th. I live about 11 blocks from 145th and I-5. I would prefer to walk the three blocks to a feeder bus route on 5th than the 8 blocks to 145th. Coming home each night around 11pm, a three block walk would be much better. But, hopefully Metro will actually do feeder routes from each LINK stop!

    1. Given the configuration of the off-ramp at NE 145th (exiting traffic from I-5 has right of way) and the fact that there is very little along 5th Ave NE between 130th and 145th, it is unlikely you will see a feeder bus on 5th Ave NE.

      1. Yeah, trying to get through that intersection, especially during rush hour, can be a bit crazy. But, hopefully some sort of feeder either on 15th to get to 130th, or a feeder route up to the stop at 185th(or 175th?). I wouldn’t mind if the feeder went from 130th to 15th, then north up to 155th and headed west to 5th, then turned right and went up north from there…

  6. I think it is great that just about everyone is on board with the 130th idea, for the reasons mentioned. A lot of people suggested that (on this forum no less) and it just makes sense. Democracy in action (or maybe we realized it after the planners did — either way).

    I don’t know about 145th versus 155th versus neither. I don’t know the area that well. I don’t if one area has more potential for growth than the other (or if both will likely be small for a long time). If I had to pick one, I would say 145th. 145th would make sense as another feeder spot. Buses from Bothell could end there. It is the logical spot to cut over to the train. The other spots are state route 104, 130th or the Roosevelt station (at the end of Lake City Way). State route 104 is less than ideal, as it would mean the bus would start by heading southwest, then turn northwest. It could work, but it would add some time to a trip from Bothell. Plus, I would guess that it would pick up fewer people along 104 than that segment of Lake City Way (again, I’m not sure). 130th would be simple (which is why I wouldn’t oppose the “no station between 130th and 185th option”) but it would slow things down one way or another. It would overlap the busy bus mentioned in the post. That isn’t necessarily bad, but if the other bus runs quite often, it means that it will be busy. The Bothell bus(es) might be slowed by the other bus. It would also not pick up anyone that wouldn’t otherwise be served. If it was an express, it would have trouble passing the other bus (it is one lane throughout that area). In general, I think a station at 145th would be the fastest way for someone to get from Bothell to downtown (unless it turns out to be faster to go via 405).

    1. 130th is a much better place for a station than 125th, because there is already an overpass, along with considerable ridership potential from Bitter Lake, Lake City and Ingraham High School. A station at 130th, combined with frequent bus service east and west along 130th-Roosevelt-125th would be great.

      155th has existing development much closer to the freeway. The overpass at 145th would be very convenient for golf enthusiasts, but not anyone else. At 155th, there are houses built most of the way up to the freeway already (at least on the east side), which could be further developed. At 145th, most of the nearby property is controlled by established organizations (Lakeside and the Jackson Park Golf Club) who are unlikely to support an upzone.

      A station at 175th or 185th generally makes sense, but there would, again, need to be frequent connections on both sides. I don’t know a whole lot about the area north of the county line.

      1. The Jackson Park golf course is owned by the City of Seattle. It is part of the park system. The entrance is on the South side of the park so 130th makes more sense even for the golf enthusiasts.

  7. Just looking at areal maps, the way to get stations closest to dense areas would be 130th, 175th and 220th and 200th. I say dump the Mountlake Terrace station, there’s no walkshed there. People from Mountlake Terrace can go to 220th, where it looks like there is a little density. Don’t add more than 4 stations. This has to be the way that people are going to get from Everett to Seattle, we shouldn’t slow it down with an absurd number of stations.

    1. An absurd number of stations can be dealt with operationally with express, skip stop service. Ignoring the potential for developing transit oriented communities along a multi-billion dollar public investment is crazy. I actually agree with your choice of stations, and critique of MLT, but since the parking is there, a station will be too. Hopefully it gets built south of the parking where there is more potential TOD and more distance between it and 220th.

      1. If you think that, you obviously have not gone there, or anywhere else that transit oriented communities are built over and around highways. The “I-5 corridor” includes downtown Seattle. Don’t let your perfect vision of fantasy-land obstruct what we can actually build right here and now.

      2. “An absurd number of stations can be dealt with operationally with express, skip stop service”.

        Not really. If trains are running every 4 minutes, the maximum amount of time you can possibly save by skipping stops is just 4 minutes. After that, you crash into the train in front of you.

        If you want skip-stop service, there are really only three solutions.

        1) Have horrendously long headways, so express trains can save a lot of time without catching up to the local trains in front of them. Caltrain does this during rush hour and 30 minute headways means the wait time almost cancels out whatever you gain in travel time

        2) Build a separate track for express trains. New York does this, but a separate track of underground subway is extremely expensive.

        3) Have trains operate rush-hour only in the peak-direction only, using one track for local, one for express. In the afternoons, the trains traverse the same two tracks, but in the reverse direction. Needless to say, if we care at all about anything other than peak-hour commutes into downtown, this option is awful.

        Bottom line: All three skip-stop options are pretty bad and I don’t see any of them ever happening.

      3. asdf, we’re not actually talking about an absurd number of stations, just two or three extra stops. Once you get past Northgate, there is no reason to have 4 minute service at any of these stations until Lynnwood. There will actually be two lines operating here so it would be very easy to have one serve 130th / MLT and the other serve 185th / 220th but both serve LTC. The headways would support that without causing trains to run into each other. Some trips would suffer additional delay but overall impact could be positive. Longer express options might require some passing sidings, but I don’t think we would get to that need until we build out more.

    2. You guys do realize that even New York doesn’t run rail services to minor edge cities like Everett more than every 20, 30, or 60 minutes, right?

      Boston runs trains to places like Lowell — which has many similarities to Everett, demographically and economically — less than hourly. And it does so at very high subsidy and with pretty scant ridership outside of rush hour. (Even at rush hour, the ridership isn’t all that impressive.)

      Yet somehow here we need streamlined, unimpeded, less-than-10-minute service to connect Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma, and we expect it to magically fill with people heading to within walking distance of the precisely 5 places in the whole of Seattle that the line actually serves.

      Anyone on STB who argues for this has a little bit of John Bailo disease.

      1. or is it just that people with seats on the ST board have made promises to their constituents…

        Seriously, I have a hard time finding a transportation justification for Link to Everett and Tacoma. But I have an easy time finding political rationalizations for it.

      2. The justification is that people are driving because they don’t want to wait half an hour for a bus; they don’t want to sit while the bus leaves the freeway and stops at stoplights to get to the transit center; or they’ll be coming home after the last bus leaves. It’s a major piece of infrastructure. You just build the infrastructure now and then you don’t have to worry about it later, and you can leverage it with more crosstown feeder buses.

      3. Everett to Seattle seems implausible.

        Tacoma to Seattle… well, I think that’s a combination of two different ideas, really: Seattle to SeaTac and Tacoma to SeaTac. After all, for Tacoma to Seattle, there are already express buses AND Sounder (which it is planned to make faster).

        The problem is that there are few if any reasonable intermediate stops on Tacoma to SeaTac because it’s a sprawling wasteland. Perhaps it’s not really a wise idea; the formal analyses keep saying it’s not a good idea. I bet it’s still gonna be popular in Tacoma, though.

        As I said above, it would obviously benefit from fast interconnecting lines within the denser parts of Seattle. Network effects, always.

    3. But this is assuming there is great demand for people to get from Everett to Seattle (and points between) all day every day. Demand that justifies this multi-billion dollar investment and the operational funds required to operate it for generations to come.


      1. The reason we got into this transit shortage is that people were counting pennies saying, “Is it justified at 7:30pm? 10:15pm? 12:15am?” Real people need a transit system where they can make a round trip at whatever time they’re going, waiting less than 20 minutes for it, and not spending an hour stopping at every residential street along the way. If they have that, they’ll take transit. If they don’t have that, they’ll drive. The same thing happens on Greyhound where you get to a transfer station and your continuing bus is full so five people are bumped to the next run (4 hours later) because Greyhound won’t put a second bus on a route unless there’s at least 12 people waiting for it (the number varies depending on how the station manager feels that day). It’s ridiculous to calculate the exact number of people who must be delayed for X minutes in order to justify another run or a piece of infrastructure. It may not matter to the transit accountant but it matters to the passengers. If we have trains crisscrossing the region every 15 minutes (10 minutes even better), it fundamentally changes how people perceive the region (“it has better transit”) and how much they’re willing to take transit. The lines are justified even if the cars are relatively empty some hours, because of how it changes the region from being one with inadequate transit to being one with semi-adequate transit. That’s worth a few billion dollars of infrastructure.

      2. Yes, real people need frequent all-day transit. I’m one of those people. I understand that argument.

        But even given regional growth projections, I have a hard time seeing all-day two-direction demand between Everett and Seattle (and all points between) justifying 10-minute headways. I hope I’m wrong – because it appears that’s what we are going to build for.

      3. Everett, WA:
        25 miles north of Seattle
        Population: 103,000
        Historically industrial
        Economically down but not out

        Lowell, MA:
        25 miles northwest of Boston
        Population: 106,000
        Historically industrial
        Economically down but not out

        MBTA commuter rail Lowell Line ridership: 12,893

        Denial isn’t pretty, Mike.

      4. …That’s with half-hourly service in the peaks and hourly service most of the rest of the day, BTW. On lines with zero capital cost because they’ve been running for a century and a half.

        Subsidies are nevertheless huge.

        You are out of your gourd if you think Everett — or Tacoma, larger but also 15 miles further; decent comparison is Worcester, MA — will ever justify rapid-transit investment or service levels.

      5. An Everett extension would be entirely in Snohomish County. It doesn’t matter what we think about it, it matters what people in Snohomish think about it. I’m not going to run around saying we must have a line to Everett. I’m just pointing out that if the Snohoites want to pay to build it, it would be worthwhile, and a better investment than Sounder. Everett is actually closer to Seattle than Tacoma is, it’s just a bit further than Federal Way. And given that the denser area extends to Lynnwood (akin to SeaTac/Kent in the south end), it’s just a small distance further to Everett, so why not do it? It’s not like Pierce County where you’d be going through the miles of emptiness that is Fife.

      6. Everett is actually closer to Seattle than Tacoma is…

        Read everything that I wrote again, good sir.

        The Boston area doesn’t need full rapid transit service to Lowell. Chicago doesn’t need full rapid transit service to Schaumburg. Vancouver doesn’t need full rapid transit service to Blaine.

        And Seattle doesn’t need full rapid transit service to freakin’ Everett.

        You can’t argue that Everett is “up to the voters of Snohomish county” while simultaneously arguing that we must design urban Seattle subways with an expectation of the most expeditious service to Everett. At least not without endorsing the detriment of the many for the convenience of the few.

      7. The central line is almost finished in design and you’re boo-hooing about three stations (15th, 23rd, and 85th). I’m supporting a 130th station and an infill Graham station. The limit on stations applies only to the main line because it doubles as intra-city transit and for going from one city to the next. Other lines won’t have that limitation, so your Ballard line, 45th line, West Seattle/Burien line, Lake City line, and Aurora line can have more stations.

        What’s important to me is that I can’t take a train the U-district or Northgate because it doesn’t exist yet. When it opens, I’ll move to wherever the stations are. Or if I can’t afford to, I’ll take a bus to the train. End of story.

      8. …because it doubles as intra-city transit and for going from one city to the next.

        Un·nec·es·sar·i·ly adv \ˌən-ˌne-sə-ˈser-ə-lē\

        The problem here is theoretical: You keep trying to justify poor decisions on the basis of stated rationales that are even poorer.

        Can you offer one iota of evidence that a long-distance rapid transit line to a fringe city of 103,000 will perform in a way that there is no precedent for long-distance rapid transit lines performing?

      9. I don’t care whether it gets 100 riders or 1000 or 50,000. I care whether people who can’t drive or choose not to drive can get around the region conveniently. If the infrastructure is there, people will use it. We have to build to peak-hour demand because there’s no realistic scenario for getting people to spread their workdays evenly around the clock, or to expect telecommuting to save us. Only certain kinds of jobs are possible with telecommuting, and some jobs require people to travel during their work shift. The capital cost is separate from the operation cost in my mind. You invest the capital because it’s a significant improvement to the quality of life, like a library or school. Then it’s built and you no longer need to worry about it. I don’t care if they run 1-car trains every 15 minutes (the absolute minimum) in the evening, it’s still worth it to have the infrastructure there so that anybody can do a trip at any time. The capital cost is like a freeway because Link functions like a freeway: a trunk line to get people quickly from one place to another.

        When you say “Hourly is sufficient” or “Peak-only is sufficient”, you’re artificially limiting the area’s potential. If the infrastructure is there, people might move closer to stations and build more compact, self-sufficient neighborhoods. Maybe not as much as Capitol Hill, but something. If the infrastructure is not there, it’s guaranteed they’ll remain dependent on their cars. Worse, they’ll become more tightly attached to their cars over time because they’ve seen repeatedly how transit wasn’t there when they needed it. This is the reason there’s so much opposition to replacing parking lanes with transit lanes, etc. The uprooting of the Interurban and streetcars did more damage than people realize: not only is the transit not there, but it eroded people’s trust that transit ever could be there or could be sufficient. The only way to reverse this is to install real transit. Then the neighborhoods will become more accepting of TOD. It doesn’t matter that TOD at BART stations hasn’t reached some theoretical milestone. What matters is that the physical ability for TOD to be there exists, and that people have P&Rs in the meantime.

      10. Okay… and now I’ll post this for the third time, in the correct location! ;-)

        Underutilized transit comes at the expense of transit elsewhere that would be utilized!! Moreover, I know that you know this!!

        I’m just going to cut-and-paste my other reply, which it seems you didn’t see…

        [Mike,] your advocacy for a “regional system” seems to boil down to blind faith that building such a thing will someday turn getting anywhere in Puget Sound car-free into a reasonable option.

        It’s not going to happen. [I’m sorry, but it’s just not.] The physical space outside of the cities just isn’t set up that way, and it never will be.

        A hope in my heart-of-hearts that you never get stuck with the sprawl-employment conundrum you fear. Because it won’t be a pretty situation, not today, not tomorrow, not fifty years from now, not ever.

        Mike, when you say things like “I don’t care whether it gets 100 riders or 1000 or 50,000…” you’re arguing for waste. And when you say things like “if the infrastructure is there, people might move closer…” you’re arguing for things that won’t happen.

        Remember the 42? Remember the activists who wanted to keep that empty bus around in case someone happened to use it? A rapid transit line to Everett is just a 25-mile version of that.

        People don’t travel that far in “rapid transit” ways. Ever. Anywhere in the world. Even in metro New York, Tokyo, Chicago, London, Paris… those are long-distance trips taken in long-distance ways.

        Meanwhile, getting around Seattle remains shit. Until we discover a fountain of money, thinly spread coverage is anathema of focused high-quality service where it’s needed. Your Everett-rapid-transit-that-no-one-will-ever-use defense shoots us all in the foot.

      11. You can pretty much take the inverse of most of that HTML mark-up.

        Point remains: Empty transit is useless transit. You can’t counter mountains of precedent with grasping hypotheticals.

      12. One last thing, Mike…

        I’m not saying this is ideal. I’d certainly like to be able to go anywhere at any time. Who wouldn’t?

        I’d really like to spend my birthday reliving the antics of an absurdly over-the-top German metal band from my youth, but I probably won’t because Sound Transit’s last bus is at 10:28 and the show isn’t worth the cost of Zipcar and pay-parking to me.

        But without extensive pre-exisiting infrastructure (like that around, say, London) connecting pedestrian scaled boroughs (like those around London) with a 170-year history of getting around by rail (like the people of London), pervasive car-free mobility is never going to be available region-wide.

        Your arguments and advocacy will get a lot more coherent when you begin to accept this as fact. You’ll be way ahead of the politicians and commute-centric thinkers too.

      13. (p.s. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper for ST to run four more half-hourly runs than to build 25 more miles of subway. Either would solve my Tacoma Dome problem, and most any night there would probably be some demand for the former; there will never be demand for the latter. Sometimes, buses are the answer!)

      14. “pervasive car-free mobility is never going to be available region-wide.”

        Especially if we never build the infrastructure because city-dwellers are peeved that they don’t have a personal subway station under the Volunteer Park Cafe.

      15. Zed, [ad hom]

        Cities are where you should be able to walk to transit. Suburbs are where you will need to drive to transit in spite of anyone’s best efforts.

        If County-Wide Metro had proven anything, it’s that coverage is the enemy of both frequency and ridership,

        Denial doesn’t change any of this, b

      16. Denial doesn’t change any of this, and frankly plays a big part in Seattle’s status as a cultural and intellectual wasteland.

        Have fun contributing to your hometown’s cerebral stasis.

      17. Also, you never admitted that your blatant misreading of Wikipedia figures led you to underestimate Canada Line boardinghouse on the Cambie corridor by 60-80%.

        Why are Seattleites so stubbornly wrong all the time?

      18. “boardings on…”

        You’re as incorrect about Cambie as my iPhone was about that.

      19. Again, I did not say we must build the Everett extension. Just that it would be good to support it if the Snohomish taxpayers want to build it. It would also be acceptable to convert the 510/511/512 into a Lynnwood-Everett shuttle, provided it sticks to 15-minute minumum frequency and runs until 1am instead of 10:20pm (which is in the middle of events people need to return from). In fact, ST may be able to time the buses with Link arrivals to ensure a direct transfer.

  8. I agree that 130th is the best choice. The bus connections need to be restructured and improved, but that can be done. Right now both 145th and 135th seem to have better bus connections both to east and west, but the combination of 130th/155th has more ideal spacing.

    I do think 205th/244th/Ballinger might be a good spot for a station in terms of both spacing (about a mile from 185th) and east-west connections. I’m not a big fan of 236th for a commuter-centered line. Its only virtue is that it’s closer to Mountlake Terrace. Oh well.

    We shouldn’t give up on TOD either. I think there are opportunities to develop the station areas into something more than freeway parking lots/rest stops. You could probably change the feel a lot by rezoning within five blocks on the same side of the freeway.

    1. er, I meant that *155th* has better current bus connections than 130th right now, not 135th.

  9. “Given a concise restructure of Metro’s transit service that allows for very frequent (4-8 minute headways all day)”

    In dreamland, Metro will restructure service to provide a 4-8 minute headway route taking a straight line between Lake City, the 130th St. station, and bitter lake.

    Here’s what is more likely to happen in reality-land: There will be such a bus going from Lake City to Bitter Lake, but it’s going to be every 15 minutes peak, every 30 minutes off-peak, and every 60 minutes on evenings and Sundays. Then, it’s going to waste 10 minutes each way going to the Northwest Hospital parking lot to maintain front-door service currently provided by the 345. Plus another 5-10 minutes pulling in and out of bus bays for whatever transit center gets built at 130, instead of staying on the street like any sane bus would.

    And nobody will care because anybody that doesn’t like it can just drive to the park-and-ride they build there, or drive to Northgate instead.

    Maybe I’m being a pessimist here. But based on what I’ve seen from Metro in the past, this seems a lot more likely than a fast bus at 4-8 minute headways, helping the station stimulate real TOD.

    1. Based on what I’ve seen happen to Metro since the one-person one-vote decision, you’re probably right. Someone will complain to their COunty Councilmember about wanting front-door service to the hospital. Someone else will demand that the bus service stop right at the front door to the light rail station, preferably out of traffic. Sound Transit won’t want to spend any more money on the station interface with bus service than is absolutely minimally necessary. And no one will want to put any more money into increased headways.

    2. Metro will gain a lot of service hours when the 71,72,73,41,301 etc are truncated. This is the most-requested east-west route in the north corridor or even in north Seattle. So Metro can create a new route without diverting the existing routes to Northwest Hospital. Judging from the precedent of the 8, the 30-south, etc, it would start half-hourly and then gradually be increased. These routes were originally weekday-daytime only and then got expanded and expanded. But the 130th corridor is strategically important enough that I think Metro would start it at at least half-hourly daytime and hourly evenings/Sunday. If the 75 were simply rerouted to 130th it would be revenue-neutral, and the part-time 330 could be deleted and its hours given to the 41’s Lake City-Northgate segment.

      1. Yes, but the truncation money will be spent in 2021, while 130th opens in 2023. It wouldn’t be like Metro to hold back like that. :-)

  10. The Mountlake Terrace garage isn’t the best place for a transit center, but it’s already there. The city is doing what it can to encourage supportive development and there will be decent bus connections to Edmonds, Shoreline, etc. The station currently has 15 minute peak service to employment areas around 220th / SR99 (That’s good for those of you unfamiliar with the suburbs where we don’t get CRC $). If possible the station should be built straddling over or under 236th with ped access to the south where there’s a little potential for density/TOD. I’ll be interested to see what the vision is for the freeway station – if some buses still use it or it goes away???
    A station at 220th would have made more sense but once the garage was built at 236th… They should at least leave an envelope for 220th. It has potential for real density and already has the densest jobs/housing concentration in SnoCo except for downtown Everett. PSRC can project on downtown Lynnwood all they want, but that’s current reality. It would be 1 mile from MLT to 220th. The distance from MLT to LTC is ~2.5mi so having another station in between (with good development potential) probably makes sense in the long term.
    As for downtown Lynnwood, going 52nd will only put 2 concrete pillars in the wetland, if any, which can be mitigated by reducing the parking footprint at LTC. Along 200th is where the 1st station should go in Lynnwood. That’s a little farther from current parking, but a garage will get built anyway. It’s a much better walkshed especially if you map access, not just straight line. 200th is currently a 15 minute bus corridor all day (except evening – again – suburbs). Whether an E-W BRT will eventually be on 200th or 196th, probably depends on if Lynnwood can squeeze money for BAT lanes on 196th out of somebody else’s pocket. Right now they won’t even give CT a bus stop on 196th within easy walking distance of LTC. There’s a gap of 1 mile and over 3/4 mile walk to get to other buses. Lynnwood is actually hostile to transit at this point and that is disappointing given this upcoming major investment in serving them. Really I’d like to see another station location option modeled over the 44th/200th intersection with ped access down on all 4 corners so peds can avoid crossing that horrific intersection, and tie in to the interurban trail for bike access.
    I’m happy to see these options moving. This section should be less contentious than previous ones.

  11. It’s abundantly clear that the Puget Sound is hell bent on building a mostly heavy rail system far into the suburbs to please their political masters, who dictate where the lines on the map shall be. All of this scoping, alternative analysis and public outreach is mostly an elaborate stage-show to check off the FTA/Sepa/Nepa boxes and it’s being done a decade or more in advance of service when the public ‘give a shit’ factor is pretty low. So with all that, by all means, let’s play rail planning.
    In recent weeks, I’ve shown how wasteful the N.Sounder is at spending precious transit revenue, costing taxpayers nearly $10 mil per year to attract fewer than 500 commuters per day – many of whom don’t even live in the ST taxing district.
    I’ve shown how service on the entire group of 510-512 routes from Everett, Lynnwood and Seattle could be doubled in frequency for about the same annual cost. All those routes have about 8000 boardings per weekday combined. Several pointed out that except for peak hour, peak direction the buses along I-5 run sparse loads, and doubling service would be a waste.
    So, why are we building a heavy rail spine, miles from the urban center, that barely attracts 10,000 per day, and the same planners are projecting 50,000 per day just from adding 4 stops between Northgate and Lynnwood TC? How many more if the line goes all the way to Everett? Except for maybe Lynnwood Stn, the TOD potential along the freeway is about nil. (If you could squeeze all the DSTT, MLK and Seatac stops and riders onto one platform at Lynnwood, you would still be only halfway to 50,000 riders)
    The logical disconnect between Sounder North ridership, current STEX ridership, and Link projected ridership is so ‘all over the map’ between the same two points that Mr. Spock would have smoke pouring from his brain in this obvious fallacy.

    1. If only there were some group or plan to leverage ST’s ability to build rapid transit, with the desire of the city for more urban transit on our timeline, not the suburbs.

      1. *In addition to the suburbs. Seattle Subway is important, but so are North and East link. Every rider that converts from car to rail is one more that we don’t have to deal with and accommodate in the city center.

    2. Right now gas and parking are cheap enough for most commuters to afford. If you think gas prices will go up over time faster than wages, then you should understand thousands of people who commute in cars from the suburbs will need a different way to get to downtown Seattle where their jobs are. They will not all want to or be able to live in the city. Some will move there to live on land that used to be parking – meaning even more will be unable to drive because the cost and availabilty to park will be prohibitive. When all those people can no longer drive they will take the train. If enough people live near the train there will be a “linear city” that develops around this transportation investment just like land use always follows transportation corridors. If that’s not what really happens, then this will look like a lot of wasted money. But those are PSRC’s and ST’s assumptions. If you don’t like them, propose an alternative and back it up with data.

      1. Link from Tacoma to Everett and Redmond is more like BART than any other west coast light rail system. I grew up with BART construction planning and construction going back to 1959 – now over 50 years ago.
        Service to Fremont began in 1972 – 40 years ago.
        Some TOD and dense housing has occurred as a result, like Union City, or out in Pleasanton, but for the most part, the stations areas are pretty much like they would have developed over the same period without BART.
        I don’t expect much difference in the Puget Sound either, unless the [ad hom]
        That’s probably why the FTA doesn’t let transit planners make grandiose plans about urban development when estimating ridership.
        I suspect I-5 will pretty much look like I-5 fifty years from now.

      2. That’s exactly what I’m afraid of too. Notice housing costs in the Bay aren’t exactly low, either. They built BART out a long, long, long way…and there’s precious little TOD to show for it.

      3. Honestly? Looking at the aerial photos, I see the case for Link to Lynwood.

        But it should probably stop there. Development starts to really thin out. Everett is probably better served by an intercity service (and gee whiz, it has one — Cascades).

        I think most people on this blog think 99 was a better route than I-5. But who knows, maybe some day I-5 will be redirected down the route of I-405 and demolished….

      4. BART may not have a lot of TOD but it allows people to get around the Bay Area without driving most of the way, and without a ridiculous 1 1/2 hour bus ride that runs hourly and stops at 7pm like it would otherwise probably be. The capital cost becomes ever less significant as the years go by. And if people later decide to build TOD, the rapid transit is already there, and they will naturally build the TOD near the established stations rather than elsewhere.

        I hate this “We can’t have rapid transit unless there’s TOD at every station” because I really dread the thought that one day I might have to take a job in Lynnwood or Kirkland or Bellevue and my choice will be (A) an hour-long commute on an infrequent slow bus that gets stuck in traffic, or (B) moving to suburban hell. My roommate is already working at a Kent warehouse because he can’t find as good a job in Seattle, and he takes the 150 when it’s running and drives when it isn’t. When he’s out of money until his next paycheck he takes the last 150 and waits two hours for his shift to start. Luckily the 150 stops near his warehouse; not all Kent warehouses are so lucky.

      5. The $12-$20 per trip operating subsidy on the outer branches of BART are not getting “ever less significant.”

        Face it: long-distance service at rapid-transit levels doesn’t work. And we’re following BART down that rabbit hole… in a much smaller metro area with even less reason to travel long distances on a regular basis!

      6. BART was built in the era of low energy costs. It was also fighting the tide of marketing telling Americans that bigger houses and bigger yards with better schools farther out we’re the “dream” they should aspire too.
        I think most people here would agree those days are gone. Most systems being built today that offer a decent service level are having mild success with TOD. That will improve when the RE market improves. I-5 will still look like I-5 and that’s the point, because millions more people will live here, but thanks to the foresight of building out our LRT, traffic will still flow and people will have a viable transit option to use instead of driving for every trip.

      7. Also, Mike, you know that there’s about a 0.00001% chance of BART being useful to someone in your roommate’s situation, right? It’s pointless for most counter-commutes.

      8. Seriously, not to dump on you, but your advocacy for a “regional system” seems to come down to blind faith that building such a thing will someday make getting anywhere in Puget Sound without a car a reasonable option.

        It’s not going to happen. The physical space outside of the cities just isn’t set up that way, and it never will be.

        A hope in my heart-of-hearts that you never get stuck with the sprawl-employment conundrum you fear. Because it won’t be pretty, today, tomorrow, of fifty years from now.

      9. G-to-the-E,

        While I won’t deny the existence of transit-oriented developments in suburban areas — the so-called “new urban” movement — these places often still have more use segregation and are much more resource-intensive than their “actual urban” counterparts. In a region so car-obsessed that we can’t even get rid of Seattle-proper parking requirements without a fight, do you really expect zero-parking developments in Lynnwood any time this century?

        Nothing you build around remote transit outposts will ever achieve the scale you can achieve where those who reject “bigger houses and bigger yards” actually want to live. Those places are called “cities.”

        If you want real “transit-oriented development,” you have to stitch your central urban area together with urban-scaled transit that actually works. Congratulations: now your entire city is one big TOD!

      10. If you want real “transit-oriented development,” you have to stitch your central urban area together with urban-scaled transit that actually works. Congratulations: now your entire city is one big TOD!

        Indeed. I remember reading once that the Walk Score people determined that 96% of Chicago proper was served by frequent transit.

        If we want to build transit that encourages walkable, human-scale development, here’s an idea: how about connecting with good transit the Center City neighborhoods that were built before the automobile and as such are already as walkable and human-scale as we’ll ever see in this city? The Transit Master Plan briefing book pointed out that trips within the Center City regularly take in excess of 30 minutes on the bus, yet here we are debating the placement of stations on a rapid-transit line to nowhere, with no inner-city rapid-transit plans in sight.

      11. The ship has sailed on NCT. Link is going to Lynnwood unless ST is dissolved and its taxing authority pulled. Now you could join with the Freemans and McKennas of the world and attempt to get rid of Sound Transit and halt construction, but I think you’ll find that rather counter-productive to any pro-transit goals.

        The trick now is to get the best line between Northgate and Lynnwood TC that we can. This includes getting the best station locations possible and getting CT, MT, and ST to restructure service intelligently once the line opens.

    3. More and more of us are supporting a 511-512 arrangement, which would serve current needs better (Lynnwood-Everett trips, Seattle-Lynnwood trips) and also prebuild ridership for future Link extensions. So far ST hasn’t agreed but maybe in time they’ll change their minds.

    4. Any talk of building North of Lynnwood TC at this point is purely speculative. Yes it is on ST’s long range plan and I would expect to see Northward expansion of Link in ST3. However alignment hasn’t been decide so it would be premature to assume there will be no TOD opportunities between Lynnwood TC and Everett.

      Furthermore from a cost effectiveness standpoint extending Link to Everett probably will make much more sense than extending it to Tacoma or Issaquah and possibly even Downtown Redmond. For that matter it might even beat further expansion in Seattle given the expense of building grade separated transit lines in built-up urban areas.

      Given the traffic congestion on I-5 between Downtown and Everett and current express bus ridership (MT, CT, and ST) I suspect a lot of the projected ridership between Lynnwood TC and Northgate comes from truncating current MT, CT, and ST peak/express service at Link.

  12. I agree, 130th should be in the mix. Ironically, it was Councilmember Conlin at ST’s Capital Committee who moved to, in essence, cede ST’s decision-making on the locations to the City of Shoreline by limiting it to 130th, 145th, and 185th as the only King County locations north of Northgate to be examined. At the subsequent Board meeting, he was joined by Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling in this almost-rallying cry. Close the discussion! Forget about public input! Why even bother having open houses? As King County Councilmember Larry Phillips and Everett City Councilmember Paul Roberts later suggested, this part of the process was to be examining (reasonable) options, not making the decision.

    I wonder about the number of comments about travel from Lake City to Link and Aurora to Link. The advocacy implies that ST and Metro are going to, for instance, cancel their express buses down Bothell and Lake City Way when Link opens to Lynnwood? Otherwise, who would take a bus to go south from Bothell, then west across 145th to get to Link when they’ve already got a one-seat ride, and an early choice of seats at that, if going to downtown Seattle?

    As for 145th, it has two large chunks of land just west of 5th NE, one on the Seattle (south) side, the other on the Shoreline side (the upzone side). @ 358: Yes, there’s something very political going on, as unlike when ST Express service was being determined – and Shoreline got virtually nothing (two off-peak stops just to the south of 145th) – the City of Shoreline is using a “full-court press” to get a station there, with both state representatives, mayor, deputy mayor, and a councilmember lobbying the ST board, sometimes with faulty claims, however their criticism was against 175th as an option for 185th due to traffic and environmental concerns. Nonetheless, despite having years to get ready for Link, there’s no evidence that Shoreline is ready. The ownership of 145th was just recently on the Shoreline City Council’s agenda: it’s owned by Shoreline, Seattle, WSDOT, and King County. To take ownership requires an agreement amongst the parties, reportedly viable because it comes with over $150,000 per year in maintenance costs. The city staff’s presentation indicated a 4 or 5 lane cross-section in the heaviest-traveled segment, 31,793 ADT today from I-5 to 15th NE, a 4-lane cross-section today that has been a bottleneck for at least 4 decades of no change in the cross-section. Unless a 5th lane was added as a westbound lane, wouldn’t the added traffic seeking Link just use 15th or the neighborhood streets? Secondly, no TOD plans have been revealed by the city. Ironically, too much traffic and environmental issues are never mentioned for 145th. The speaker from the Thornton Creek Legal Defense Fund said at the ST Board meeting, “…I look at 145th and think…that’s probably the worst possible place it in terms of the (Thornton) creek to put a transit station…” If 145th is the pick, I wouldn’t be surprised if all Metro service to it approached from the north, i.e. avoided 145th, much as what’s there today.

    For 155th, it presently is the only street with east/west and north/south Metro service. While what remaining service hours will be redeployed – Metro is in a cutback mode, and there is no state funding package yet – today’s choice of service is instructive for where tomorrow’s might go. Metro’s #330 goes from Shoreline CC and Westminster Square shopping center (Central Market), both regional all-day destinations, to Lake City; the #242 goes N/S between 165th, Northgate (via 5th), and the eastside, #373 from Shoreline P&R to the U District, #347 N to North City and Mountlake Terrace/S to 15th NE and Northgate. By comparison, 145th has a single peak service route on either side of I-5 (#304, 308) and the aforementioned #347. Finding a parcel for a station will be challenging at 155th, however, but even if the station is at 145th, the line itself will result in properties being taken in the 155th area.

    For 185th, its three-lane cross-section is nearly identical to 155th, though city officials limit the “quiet neighborhood” moniker to 155th, yet east of 2nd NE, 185th is unstriped and people use it as four lanes until 10th NE, where they have to travel south, then east, to reach the North City Business District. Comparatively 155th goes east as a 3-lane cross-section all the way to 15th NE. The city is hoping to convince the school district, which owns a large property on the NW corner, to sell to them for future TOD there. But, as Councilmember Phillips said starting at 2h15’ of the 4/26 board meeting, “Specifically with regards to TOD…any time you’re on an interstate, on a linear basis, you, by definition, have limited your TOD opportunities…it just doesn’t happen when you’re on the median or even on the side of the right of way…in this particular area, within Shoreline, the crossings there also are very problematic…each one of the potential crossings has a very limited opportunity for a station, if you will, TOD opportunities…if you look at this, you begin to think, hmmm, what’s going on here?” He noted that the opportunities for TOD “are pretty constrained.” Later, he added: “We’re betting on a promise here. The upzone (at 185th) has not occurred for the large school board property just across the freeway from the proposed station, certainly the school board has not made a decision to sell that, nor has there been a developer willing to buy it and do the kind of density and quality development which would lend itself to transit-oriented development.” He noted that there have been great choices for the proposed City Center along Aurora (175th-192nd), there has been no build out there nor at North City to the east. Due to constraints at each potential location, he advocated for “robust transit connectivity.”

    @ Gordon Werner: at this juncture, ST is only studying areas east of I-5 until Mountlake Terrace.

    All: FWIW, be sure to send the ST Board your comments,

    1. “I wonder about the number of comments about travel from Lake City to Link and Aurora to Link. The advocacy implies that ST and Metro are going to, for instance, cancel their express buses down Bothell and Lake City Way when Link opens to Lynnwood? Otherwise, who would take a bus to go south from Bothell, then west across 145th to get to Link when they’ve already got a one-seat ride, and an early choice of seats at that, if going to downtown Seattle?”

      No, Metro can reroute the 75 and would be almost revenue-neutral. The 522 can turn on 125th and go nonstop to the station. That would delete only one station pair at 120th. Alternatively, the 522 could turn on 145th, which would bypass Lake City. It’s probably better to preserve the Lake City-Bothell connection. As to whether people would “want” to transfer, (A) they wouldn’t have a choice, (B) the travel time would be comparable, (C) it adds new express destinations like UW, Capitol Hill, SeaTac, and Northgate. If travel time turns out to be significantly worse, the Bothell-downtown route will remain at least peak hours.

      “Nonetheless, despite having years to get ready for Link, there’s no evidence that Shoreline is ready.”

      These things take time, and agreements have to be reached between the stakeholders. We can’t expect everything to be done right now.

      1. Why is Shoreline taking so much longer to get on the ball than Bellevue, Redmond, Lynnwood, Montlake Terrace, or even Seattle? Sure there is much more each City could be doing, but they are lightyears ahead of Shoreline.

      2. I’m fairly sure service to Bothell will continue to serve the core of Lake City, a fair number of people get on/off the 306, 309, 312, 372, and 522 between 125th and 145th.

        That said, I’d like to see what the peak and off-peak travel times are for truncating service at Link. I think a case could be made for eliminating the downtown leg of the 522 and splitting the 372 in Lake City, at least off-peak. (the reason to split the 372 is to continue to provide service along 25th NE and to replace the 72 between 80th and 125th).

        Lake City should also have frequent service to both Northgate TC (along the current route of the 75) and whatever the next station north of Northgate TC ends up being (130th or 145th).

  13. d.p. is declared the winner on comments over Mike Orr (25 to 17), or combined speakways of 35% of available bandwidth.
    Of interesting note, the comments of both gentlemen were not evenly spaced out for maximum talkshed to be obtained, causing some system inefficiencies during the discussions, resulting in higher efforts to communicate than projected in earlier TEIS studies. Only the time actually spent typing at the keyboards were considered in the analysis, as allocation of hardware expenses is considered to be a sunk cost, as well the interest on their respective charge cards for mega computing powers. Disclaimer – they both would have been downing stout ales at the local pub, had they not been doing this, thereby running the tab even higher.

  14. More news from Shoreline vis-a-vis future potential Link stations there:

    First under the “a station at 155th makes more sense than at 145th” category:
    * Shoreline Community College (160th & Greenwood, several blocks west of Aurora/99) is amending its master plan to allow student housing to be built on campus.
    * Six-Year Economic Development Strategic Plan: “Reinventing Aurora Square (155th & Aurora/99) to help catalyze a master-planned, sustainable lifestyle destination.” Aurora Square is the only traditional-look shopping center (vs. Costco at 205th, a mix of big-box and strip-mall look) in Shoreline. It also presently has free shuttle buses to Shoreline Community College, which is a few blocks to the west (
    * Six-Year Economic Development Strategic Plan: “Unlocking the Fircrest surplus property to establish a new campus for hundreds of family-wage jobs.” Fircrest is centered at NE 155th & 15th NE, its south border at NE 150th.
    * No mention of anything any nearer to 145th than these.

    The case for a 155th station keeps building: the only existing location with north/south and east/west transit service today, which indicates where Metro feels the best cross-city street is; the street connects on the west near Shoreline Community College, which has plans to add housing, Westminster Square, which the city plans to improve into a regional destination and – to the east – Fircrest, a future jobs center, and the Paramount Park skateboard facility on 8th NE.

    Second item of note: on NE 175th & 12th NE, a 165-unit complex where the YMCA used to be, construction late (this) spring.

  15. @ Mike Orr: I think you would agree that both Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace are light years ahead of Shoreline in so far as planning for the future goes, at least around the proposed light rail stations. Lynnwood has a large transit center, as does Mountlake Terrace, while Shoreline has zip. They just recently decided where their town center area would be, they have just recently decided that they might be interested in obtaining ownership of 145th (from King County, WSDOT, and Seattle), despite being a city for over 15 years. They have no agreement for TOD at 185th. That was my point. They’re behind the curve IMO.

    1. Shoreline has the Aurora Village TC as well as Shoreline P&R. The plan is to consolidate service at the Shoreline P&R. This makes a bit of a case for a link station at 185th as a number of routes could provide connecting service (including perhaps Swift and Rapid Ride E).

      I’m inclined to agree. Both Lynnwood and Montlake Terrace have said they want density and via zoning have provided places for it to go. Shoreline has been at best ambivalent and hasn’t really provided many options for increasing density.

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