96 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Urban Rapid Transit Systems of North America”

    1. I was excited to learn a little more about this event, but I was not excited to learn that it is 21+.

      I think that, by an event organizer designating an event 21+, the event organizer is missing out on quite a bit of revenue, from those who would attend, if the event were not 21+. Take from that what you will, Andrew. ;)

      1. Can’t really blame ’em. The organizers (the bar) make much more off audience members buying alcohol than they do from ticket sales.

    2. On thing I noted when I went to Jazzbones in tacoma last night…I got free parking one block from the club!

      One thing you guys don’t remember is that this is what Fremont used to be like before it over densified.

      1. I frequently meet my son for dinner in Manhattan, near Houston Street, with a car (headed to the airport from elsewhere) and I ALWAY’s can fine a spot on the street, within two or three blocks of the restaurant, and the parking is free…

        Seems density isn’t’ the issue, good walking streets and tremendous transit allowing for those that sometimes have a car…

      2. No doubt you can get free parking at second-rate clubs in third-rate cities.

        In any case, if I’m going to be paying for cover and drinks, and was too stupid not to drive when I wanted to drink, a few bucks more for parking is the least of my worries.

      3. No doubt you can get free parking at second-rate clubs in third-rate cities.

        So now Manhattan is a third-rate city, and a club in Soho is second-rate. All because the parking’s free, no doubt. You’d hate to ever be able to use a car.

    1. I would lobby Olympia to take over Metro, ST, and most of the larger transit agencies in the state. Make them be a huge stakeholder in how our transportation dollars are spent on either roads or transit.
      Hear me out. For cars, we have state and federal highways that carry the bulk of vehicles, especially in peak commute periods. For local services we have city and county roads for arterials and neighborhoods.
      Why should transit be different?
      If the state was responsible for mass transit along state and federal roads, they would think twice before adding a GP lane, when enticing more commuters to ride their trains and buses would be cheaper and better for the environment.
      Local cities and counties could decide how best to fit with state run transit.
      I know this seems radical, but to me transportation is just moving people from A to B. We seem to focus on the vehicle end of things, then figure out how to fill them up. That’s backwards.

      1. Sound Transit is already a state-chartered agency, just like TriMet, LA Metro, MBTA, WMATA, Chicago’s RTA, MTA in New York, NJ Transit…you get the idea. It would appear that many have realized that transit is too important to leave up to the vagaries and squabbles of local politics.

      2. If Olympia were to take over our transit agencies, the first thing the state would do is gut them, then look for accounting gimmicks to allow the money to be redirected either to roads and freeways, or something completely unrelated to transportation (e.g. public schools, lower taxes, etc.).

        Local control means at least the people running the agencies are all accountable to people who directly benefit from it. Move control to the state level and the result is rural interests will inevitably take over.

        The only exception to this is transit corridors that operate on large distances spanning a large portion of the geographical area of the state, with stops that benefit both urban and rural areas. The only real example of this I can think of is Amtrak Cascades.

    2. I don’t think you’ll find many takers to be Kevin for two years. He is being asked to do difficult things by the county council, and then overruled when he does them. The county council needs to give Kevin the administrative leeway to do the tasks they have asked him to do, instead of voting on every single bus stop. He does an outstanding job, when allowed to do his job.

      1. I’d put it a little more emphatically. On policy matters, every criticism any voter has of either King County Metro or Sound Transit should be addressed directly to our County Councilmembers, individually and as a group.

        Top of my list is an effort to institute off-board fare collection for all Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel vehicles, buses and trains alike, when the Ride Free Area ends this fall.

        First talking point in communication should be stopwatch reading of observed dwell-times already occurring down there every rush hour, and also around ten thirty on game nights when stadium crowds have to pass the farebox.

        Metro staff says, quite justifiably, that this matter is “a political decision.” As someone who believes that public utilities should be democratically governed by a knowledgable electorate, I’m trying very hard to establish the precedent that the above term should not be shorthand for “short-sighted, misguided, and destructive.”

        Mark Dublin

    3. Two things, both designed to improve perceptions of the agency and therefore its political situation:

      1) Take a hard look at operations, try to revise policies to be realistic, fair, and easily comprehensible, and then strive for consistency throughout the agency in implementing those revised policies.

      2) Have the best management talent in the agency look at the public communications functions, and find ways to make communications to the public as accurate, understandable, and timely as possible. This includes both temporary notices/rider alerts and permanent signage.

      With only two years, I wouldn’t worry about organizational structure or funding levels; I’d just try to make the existing agency work better to the extent possible.

    4. Reading the next post after this, I’d do ONE thing:

      systematic program of accurate and reliable signs and announcements

  1. It bothers me when people put commuter rail on the same level as light/heavy rail. People wouldn’t think of including peak-only bus routes on the same level as frequent all-day routes, yet somehow because commuter trains run on rails they get a pass.

    For example, the inclusion of the caltrain in the bay area implies that the transit situation is far better than it is. Try getting around an area with a commuter rail system that has hourly headways and not particularly great span of service.

    1. It says “including regional or commuter systems that connect two downtown areas of comparable size”, which explains why they include Caltrain but not, say, Chicago’s Metra. Even though parts of Metra are actually frequent urban mass transit delivered with commuter trains (and largely incompatible with the rest of the urban mass transit system), and no part of Caltrain is.

      It’s pretty ridiculous to include Caltrain and not at least the Metra Electric line. And it’s equally ridiculous to count hourly Caltrain service but not the frequent bus service between Seattle and Tacoma. And between Seattle and Bellevue. And between Seattle and Everett.

      1. “Regional or commuter systems that connect two downtown areas of comparable size” is a pretty poor qualification, yes. I have to wonder what their definition of “regional” is. By that logic, shouldn’t the Amtrak Cascades also show up on this map, seeing as how it connects comparably-sized Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver?

  2. MAKING SENSE OF RapidRide:
    Buce Nourish had an excellent piece several days ago on RR-E, as to why adding two more ‘marginal stops’ to the line is a bad idea – one I agree with. Here’s the link. https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2012/07/10/metro-proposes-making-the-e-line-slower/
    Comparing existing service on the 358, advertised service in the runup to RR-E, and a document filed with the FTA for funding beg the question as to what is Metro really going to do. Here’s the FTA link filed in Nov ’10. http://fta.dot.gov/documents/WA_King_County_RapidRide_E_Line_BRT_complete.pdf
    RR-E will look the same as the 358 south of Denny, so let’s look at just north of there to Aurora TC.
    STOPS: RR-E will have 29 stops (N and S bound), with half of those being stations and the balance being regular flag stops. This is only 5 less than the existing 358, so not much change there.
    RIDERS: The FTA doc shows 6,200 weekday boardings, which works out to about 2 mil annual riders, given Sat/Sun service is only about 60% of weekday service. Compare that to past annual riderships of 3.3 mil in 2008 and 3.0 mil 2010 (Route Performance docs), or about 10,000 weekday riders. So, will RR-E will be far less than the 358?
    OP COST: The FTA doc shows operating cost for the line at 5.4 mil. Compared that to the current annual cost of the 358 of 8.4 mil/yr. Either it’s going to have to be lightning fast cruising down the BAT lane under all greens (Yeah, right), or service will have to be reduced from current levels, which is technically feasible to maintain the promised 10/15 min headways. Currently, the 358 peak periods have about 7-8 min. headways.
    I get the feeling the voters are getting jerked around again on promises made of service and speed improvements in the election runup in 2006 (Transit Now sales tax increase to 9/10th cent) and what is actually happening on the street with all the RR service starts. C and D may even be worse, and I can’t for the life of me understand how RR-F is going to be much of an improvement over the current MT140.
    (Note: RR-E is proposed to start in Sept of 2013, and the FTA docs show 2013 data which I can only assume was for an entire 1st year of operation, absent any footnotes saying it was for a partial year)

    1. Since Bruce Nourish has written about RapidRide in the past, and will surely will post more in the future, I think it’s a fair question to ask, Bruce, how many times have you ridden on a RapidRide route?

  3. What is that line we had on the map in 2005? The Waterfront Streetcar? The Monorail? Nether one of these really seemed to qualify as urban mass transit.

    1. If you follow the links far enough, you get a version with a legible legend, which says that it includes “dedicated busways:” I suspect that’s the bus tunnel, pre-Link.

  4. This map tells it all.

    While most cities have Metro scale transit, Seattle has a downtown scale system.

    This is the reason creeps like Roger Valdez can go around forcing people into 150 ft sq hovels, when beautiful low cost Craftsman homes exist all over the region along with walkable diverse communities like 6th Avenue Tacoma.

      1. Must…not…let…the…guy…who…merely…says…troll…dominate…the…conversation.

        Here it is, the 6th Avenue Business District:

        If in fact we had a regional transit system, then affordable SFH of the type people really want would be available.

      2. We have regional transit that serves places like 6th Ave. The 1 and 11 travel along there. What Tacoma needs is a streetcar so that service hours along key corridors like 6th Ave don’t get cut. 6th Ave also needs to densify, the residents there support that because they want affordability and greater concentration of services, jobs, and entertainment. Single-Family is not the solution. It’s not even the demand.

      3. Tacoma is awash in SFHs.

        No need for density.

        Better crime prevention, more police and real transit to connect people with jobs.

        That is the mission in which the current officeholders have failed.

      4. Have you ever spent a measurable amount of time in the neighbourhood? That’s like my second home. You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about, John.

      5. “If in fact we had a regional transit system, then affordable SFH of the type people really want would be available.”

        Have you never stepped outside? This area is awash in single-family homes for as far as the eye can see.

      1. I wish he were more successful. The people who want to force us all into spread mansions are way too successful.

      2. … and I’d love to hear JB’s plan for where to shelter the homeless. I assume their shelters must be at least 200 sq.ft.

      3. Goldman Sachs in 2011 estimated the number of “excess” and vacant housing units at 3.5 Million. The number of homeless people on any given night in America averages about 643,000. We have other factors going on besides a “shortage” of housing.

      4. The people who want to force us all into spread mansions are way too successful.

        Note to self: Trip to Bellevue to knock on doors of mini-mansions. Find out who was marched in at gunpoint.

      5. I think you’re missing the point Not Fan. They’re being forced into their mini mansions as much as I’m being forced into my apartment in Capitol Hill (i.e., in a literal sense, not at all). But good luck finding a single family home built in the last few decades that doesn’t sprawl over several thousand square feet of oft-wasted space.

      6. But good luck finding a single family home built in the last few decades that doesn’t sprawl over several thousand square feet of oft-wasted space.

        You really need to get out into Seattle and look around. If you did that, you’d realize just how laughably absurd your statement was.

    1. Just you wait citizen unit 5011122015! The secret police will be coming soon to march you off to your new 150 sq ft apartment in a giant concrete soviet style building!

      1. Nah, it we were Soviets, I wouldn’t be paying a mortgage and a bunch of my friends wouldn’t be totally unemployed!!! Plus, you know, single-payer health care. :D

    2. Right, people are really being “forced” into those “150 sq ft hovels” that are in such high demand that normal people can’t even afford them.

      If you would rather have a SFH and live in a wasteland like Tacoma, then that’s great. That’s one less person competing for the zoning-limited supply of housing in Seattle.

      1. There is no “zoned limited supply of housing in Seattle.” There is plenty of vacant land here for apartment buildings, including those glorified dorm rooms that are all the rage among the urbanist set right now.

    3. Where are these 150 sq ft hovels of which you speak? I only know of two Apodment buildings (23rd & John; 7th & 42nd), which probably have less than sixty units between them. There are a few century-old SRO hotels and “housekeeping rooms” on Summit Avenue on Capitol Hill, but no new ones that I’m aware of. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to all the apartments and houses in Seattle. The overwhelming majority of Seattle’s renters will not tolerate living in an Apodment, especially when they can get a larger studio for just a few hundred dollars more. Only if overall rents double or triple would there be a stampede to mini-sized units. But rents would double only if the vacancy rate goes extremely low and developers don’t build new units to compensate. That’s unlikely. Apodments in Seattle fill a niche market of minimum-wage workers and students who can’t afford a studio or don’t want a studio, and don’t want a room in a house. (Note that Apodments are closer to transit and to neighborhood centers than most rooms in houses, so that’s an amenity in itself.)

      Of course, Roger did not advocate a massive increase in 150 sq ft apartments. He merely observed that it’s happening in some cities (although not massively).

      Apartments can be as large as a house, yes! Older apartments were 600 sq fit in an era when houses were also 600 sq ft. 1000 and 2000 sq ft apartments also exist, and even 5000 sq ft. So people don’t have to give up interior size when they move to an apartment or condo.

      STB is dedicated to the premise that increasing transit and reducing car usage are worthwhile. Increasing density is proven to increase transit usage and reduce car usage, if transit is available. So encouraging at least medium density (row houses or 3-10 story apartments) in neighborhood centers like 6th Avenue is a good thing. If you want to mobilize against that you can start SSB (Seattle Sprawl Blog). But you don’t have to worry about limiting SFH availability near 6th Avenue. You can’t throw a stone from 6th Avenue without breaking a SFH window.

      1. So people don’t have to give up interior size when they move to an apartment or condo.

        No, they just have to give up their gardens, which the urbanists seem to despise as much as they despise cars and single-family houses. And they’ll pay a whole lot more for that condo per square foot than they paid for that horrible single-family house. I’ve always wondered why that is, by the way. Even condos located on cheap land out in the exurbs are more expensive per square foot than houses.

      2. True enough. Urbanists aren’t too big on landscape. It’s sad to see a “park” designed by an urbanist. Mainly concrete.

      3. Most people don’t use actually garden. Sure, keep enough gardens for the 10% who do, but don’t fool yourself: most people don’t garden at all.

      4. Most people don’t use actually garden. Sure, keep enough gardens for the 10% who do, but don’t fool yourself: most people don’t garden at all.

        You’re right, kind of. There are only 40 million gardeners in America, which is 44% of those who live in a house with garden space. I bet there aren’t 40 million urbanists, but maybe I’m wrong.

      5. False. My mom has a relativley inexpensive condo with a large deck that has more than enough room to grow anything she wants.

        And perhaps the reason those condos are more expensive per square foot is because buyers see value in them. It’s really amazing how sprawl advocates, who often profess faith in the market, suddenly lose all trust in the market when it tells them people like in-city living.

      6. I’m curious what you would make of my arrangement, Not Fan. I submit for your consideration:

        We have a narrow townhouse in a classic Seattle four-pack, with a pretty small footprint but 3 usable floors and a healthy roof deck. Also enough yard for a wading-pool-size koi pond and a number of vegetable gardens. Between those, the roof deck, and a balcony, we are growing a ridiculous number of tomatoes, several varieties of peas, mints, basils, rosemary, potatoes, carrots, garlics, corns, beets, squashes, dill, bay leaves, lettuces, blackberries, blueberries, plums, apples, cherries, olives, and figs. I won’t list the ornamentals or any indoor plants.

        Ours is a small (albeit tall) lot but 1800 sqft is a lot of room by most human standards and we get to live in a vibrant urban neighborhood where we can augment that garden with Amazon Fresh, a 24 hour QFC two blocks away, and a walkable farmers market.

        It’s a bit more expensive than we had budgeted, but we were able to make it work by not having to invest in car ownership and having sidewalks full of neighbors and plenty to do in short distance is more important than other spending.

        I think I’m about as urbanist as it gets, and you clearly think there is something horribly wrong with my lifestyle. Can you be clear about what it is that offends you about all this?

      7. Hans, what’s “curious” is that you’d think I disapprove of your living arrangement. It’s even more “curious” that you’d brag about it under the guise of seeking my approval. But hey, this is Seattle, the land of the curiously smug and self-aborbed, so I’ll play along.

        Your living arrangement sounds fine, and I think you are special and good. As you know, this is high praise for our town. I can tell that you’re as house-proud as it gets, and I do hope that some future apparatchik, or just Roger Valdez on a mood swing, doesn’t declare that you and your neigbors counterrevolutionary, and when you object, call you NIMBYs, too old, too white, or too rich.

        See, I think you ought to have the freedom to be special, and I think the city government’s job is to secure your freedom to live the life you want to live.

        I’d point out something, though. Farmer’s markets are self-indulgent energy hogs. Not that I disapprove, mind you. Every Saturday morning, I go to the farmer’s market in my ‘hood for tomatoes that taste and feel superior to the red baseballs they sell in the grocery store, along with some fruit. But everything’s expensive, and the delivery mechanism (individual vehicle for each vendor, typically) is a major carbon emitter compared to the semitruck that unloads all the corporate food at the grocery store.

        I hope that doesn’t shock or demoralize you too much. We make our choices, and they sometimes include energy-intensive boutique food sold at rich yuppie prices. I’ve been in countries where a person can live a whole month on what I spend once a week at the farmer’s market.

        I’d also say that I see no difference at all between me driving to the grocery store and you having Amazon Fresh deliver stuff that, for whatever reason, you didn’t want to pick out yourself. But hey, each to their own. Thatr’s what makes a market.

      8. Right, shipping produce to Safeway from all over the Western hemisphere is much less energy-intensive than the local farmer driving his F-250 in from Carnation.

      9. Safeway Expands Its Local Food Focus

        Safeway says that “nearly a third” of its produce across its stores comes from local growers, and in heavily agricultural regions like California, where the company is based, that number can be as high as 45 percent.

        Kroger has jumped on the local bandwagon too highlighting individual farmers in their weekly circulars and naming the farms things like the lettuce comes from. Obviously your not going to get local grown bananas or pineapples but chains have every reason to buy local when it’s in season. An article about the drought pointed out that according to the USDA only 15 cents of each dollar spent on groceries goes to farmers. Labor and processing make up the bulk of food costs. Of course the more processed an item the smaller the percentage that makes it’s way back to the farm.

      10. If my intention was to brag about my Seattle-green cred, this would be about diet choices, not where I obtain my food. Move along from the red herring.

        My point is to establish my urbanist cred. You seem to be quite disdainful of those who that label might be applied to, and it’s one I wear proudly. Maybe I don’t deserve it because I don’t despire gardens, prefer dorm room apartments, or whatever. Being an introvert I like the idea of SFH, but consider the social and environmental benefits of density to be greater then the personal benefits of some more garden space or room for kids-or-pets to run around privately without having to interact with neighbors or walk to a park.

        I just want to know what, specifically, you consider so vile about we the density-loving urbanists, so I present myself as the poster child.

      11. Oops. I’ve just caught up on my STB reading and gotten through the excellent comment threads of the “skinny store front” post.

        Freshly educated by that experience, I would like to apologize to other readers here for playing any part in the charade of pointless provocation by a predictable minority of participants. Carry on!

      12. My point is to establish my urbanist cred. You seem to be quite disdainful of those who that label might be applied to, and it’s one I wear proudly. Maybe I don’t deserve it because I don’t despire gardens, prefer dorm room apartments, or whatever.

        I hope you’ll climb down from that self-righteous mount of yours and think about the following.

        I think you’re house-proud. This puts you solidly in the American mainstream. You’re house-proud about your apartment with the roof-top garden, just as others are house-proud about their McMansion in Bellevue or their glorified dorm room on Capitol Hill.

        I am 100% in favor of house-proud. I think house-pride gives people a stake in their neighborhood and their community. The urbanists, as exemplified by the prolific (and sadly influential in Seattle) Roger Valdez, seek to actively undermine people’s house pride, and with it their attachment to their community.

        Roger and his followers are unremittingly hostile to people who want a say in how their neighborhoods look and feel. The minute they contradict some urbanist scheme of fad, these people are labeled as NIMBYs, or too old, or too white, or too rich, or all of that.

        These sorts of attitudes aren’t unique to Seattle, and they come in plenty of forms. In parts of Boston, for example, your rooftop garden, especially if it includes a deck where you sit and have a drink, would make you a target of certain elements of that city’s government who regard you as too rich.

        “Urbanist” doesn’t mean “someone who likes the city,” or even “someone who doesn’t own a car.” See, Hans, I’m all in favor of you doing your thing, and enjoying it. I think house-pride is a great thing. It’s the cornerstone of what has been called “the American dream,” although among hipsters who see themselves as special and good really don’t like it when someone else looks in and says, “Hey, you’re living the American dream just like that guy with the lawn out in Bothell.”

        To me, the urbanists are the people who want to force, either directly through regulation, or indirectly in myriad ways, their own version of the American dream on others who have an American dream that’s different.

        So, Hans, do your thing. Your way of life sounds just great. All I really ask of the urbanists is to stop interfering with others. See, we’re just as house-proud as you are, and I think it’s fair to say that no one really enjoys being dumped on, much less the prospect of a city government adopting an urbanist agenda that would nibble them to death.

      13. Hard to argue with anything you say here (other than the condescending tone), but on comment threads here and elsewhere, I see knee-jerk reactions with “urbanist” name-calling that are not so well-considered. Please try to remember that not everyone who shares our urban dreams wants to force it on others, and expressing a preference for an urban lifestyle does not make one a fascist. You’re unnecessarily alienating me with your anti-Valdez crusade.

        Furthermore, I think it’s important to recognize that by choosing to live within a city, one has chosen to be a part of an urban community and should expect to live with that community’s values.

  5. Hi All- Sorry, off topic, but I wasn’t sure else to post this — I am a former transportation planner who is no longer in the business and moving away from Seattle soon — I used to work from home and have accumulated a large library of Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) reports, dating from roughly the 1990 to 2003. These are a *great* resource for any acting transit planner or anyone interested in planning.

    Examples include Report 100 – Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual and Synthesis 48 – Real Time Bus Arrival Information Systems: A Synthesis of Transit Practice

    I have 50-odd reports (basically one very full file box) — I am happy to give them away to anyone who has a good use for them — otherwise they are headed to recycling.

    Please contact me at: booth[dot]mako[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested — I am happy to give them to the first person who can come pick the box up (Cap Hill).

  6. Yesterday I waited 30 minutes for an eastbound 44 to come, but it never did, so I gave up and called Uber (car service) instead. Metro’s real-time arrival data were down, and the buses were probably on reroute anyway owing to Seafood Fest, so I had no idea when the next bus might come. Seattle Subway cannot get here soon enough.

    Later in the evening, I was heading north toward the U-District on a 72 crush-loaded with Mariners fans. Slow, loud, hot, miserable. 2016 (Link to Husky Stadium) cannot get here soon enough.

    1. Had a city bike-share system been up-and-running, that would have saved the day yesterday for people like you – and at a negligible cost compared to that of building the Seattle Subway.

      1. Before I had health insurance cycling wasn’t an option for me. Too much risk. I still don’t cycle though; got an employer subsidized bus pass.

    2. I have a hard time believing 2016 won’t come before 2016. With the TBMs done, the crosshatch tunnels over half done (extrapolating from the monthly updates), and UW Station progressing quite rapidly, I just don’t see four years of construction work left to do.

      I’m sure Metro is in on the real timeline, but will they have the guts to axe the 14N, 43, 70-74, 167, and 197? My money says ST won’t bat an eye when their Operations Committee votes to axe the 586. It might be easier if the ribbon is cut on FHSC and U-Link simultaneously.

      That said, the stand-offish/don’t-talk-to-them attitude on this blog toward 42 defenders didn’t help expedite the 42’s demise and platform-hour reinvestment.

      1. People have already kinda discussed what might happen with the 71/72/73 when UW Station opens, but it would be interesting to have a post dedicated to the topic.

        Does anyone know if Metro/ST plans on encouraging transfers to/from buses at UW Station between the opening of U-Link and North Link, or do they just see it as a final destination for people heading to/from the UW campus and Med Center?

        If you’re already on campus, walking to UW Station will be reasonable, but if you’re north or west of campus, that’s a longer walk than most people would like. It would be useful to know how many people are using the 71/72//73 to go directly to/from the UW campus vs heading to/from the commercial and residential parts of the U-District and points north.

        If a large portion of the 71/72/73 service hours were shifted to the 372 and 373, transferring to Link at UW Station could work for a lot more people. Some people could transfer to/from the 44 or 48, but adding thousands more people to those routes seems problematic. Otherwise, you could reroute the 71/72/73 to run on Pacific and/or Montlake/25th.

      2. In the meantime, there are already several routes serving Pacific: the 25, 44, 48, 271, 277, 540, and 556.

        In addition, I hope the 65, 75, and 372 get re-routed to go by the station, so northeast Seattle gets the quickest access to the station and quickest total trip time downtown.

        Re-routing the 67 and 373 to serve the station may be a tougher sell, both with Metro and UW, and perhaps some of the ridership.

        At any rate, the topic could stand some vetting sooner rather than later, since we know the pattern of how restructures goes (from excellent to very watered down).

      3. Oh, and if there weren’t electrification issues in the way, I’d re-route the 44 to Stevens Way.

      4. Besides the U-district, the extension of Link to Husky Stadium will even have ripple effects on the Eastside. For example, going from Redmond to downtown today in afternoon rush hour requires 545 riders to a 20-30 minute slog to get one mile from the Stewart St. exit ramp to pioneer square – about the same amount of time needed to get to the Stewart St. exit ramp all the way from Redmond!

        When the UW Link station opens, I plan on revising my travel plans for going downtown after work to go via 542->Link instead. Even with the transfer, I think the ride would be much faster in practice than trying to travel through the streets downtown during rush hour on a bus.

        So, the question becomes if staying on the bus is slower than transferring to the train, why are paying for the service hours of providing the alternate option to remain on the bus, when those service hours, if redirected, could literally double the freq

        Now, if Metro and ST really wanted to be bold, we could frequency of many routes traveling between Seattle and the Eastside via 520.

        If Metro and ST really wanted to be bold, every bus headed across 520 to Seattle, instead of going all the way downtown, should be getting off at Montlake, dropping passengers off at the UW station, then immediately turn around to achieve the greatest possible frequency for whatever the fixed budget may be. To really make this work, this approach would have involved a transit center with bus bays and layover space next to the station (space which is planned to be used as a parking lot instead so people can ignore our multi-billion dollar investment and drive to the stadium for football games), plus coordinate with WSDOT so the re-designing of the Montlake interchange provides a priority route for buses to get to the station without getting mired in congestion (sort of happening with the HOV exit ramp, but once the buses get on Montlake, they are at the mercy of the traffic).

        I’ve heard the excuse that trains will already be full with people on them from further north and there won’t be capacity to handle travel to downtown from the Eastside, and frankly, I don’t buy it. For the first 5 years after the station opens, the number of people already on the trains from further north will be exactly zero. And come 2023, EastLink will be online, which means a lot of people that today approach downtown via 520 will approach downtown via I-90 instead. And even if capacity is a problem, it can always be mitigated by running longer trains and/or more frequent trains (maybe some of them can even turn back at Northgate, rather than running all the way to Lynnwood?), which seems cheaper paying for each bus to spend 45 minutes getting from Montlake to the International District and another 45 minutes getting from the international district back to Montlake.

        Nor do I buy the excuse about how people hate transfers once they are past the 2/3 mark to their destination. If done properly, the transfer won’t take more than about 5 minutes, given the high frequency of the trains, and if the savings is re-invested to make the buses run more frequently, the wait time in the eastbound direction won’t be too bad either. And, at any rate, how can passengers complain about a change that gets them where they need to go faster than before, while at the same time, enabling their bus to run more frequent and/or for more hours of the day?

      5. @asdf: Try it and time it out, I’d be curious to hear whether it works. It could plausibly be faster some days if you’re going all the way to Pioneer Square. But the Montlake Blvd. offramp can be a real nightmare and Montlake Blvd. itself is no picnic. Not to mention that unless there are significant bus route changes I don’t think the 520->U District routes will serve the station very directly.

        I guess it’s yet to be seen how the 520 rebuild project will affect traffic and transit times there. It’s possible that all the transit lanes will allow 520->U District routes to fly through… but since all the Montlake portions of the project are unfunded and controversial, the result could be higher capacity ramps leading onto the same old Montlake Blvd., which might mean even worse traffic.

      6. More importantly, even if Metro has the guts to axe the routes mentioned, will the County Council let them. I can imagine an uproar in Eastlake, for example, over loosing their service from the 71-73 in the evenings, even if the 66 and 70 are extended to cover the gap.

      7. I don’t recall hearing about the possibility of a streetcar on Pacific, but maybe it was talked about as a possibility when UW Station was sited?

        There’s a number of buses that run on Pacific, but except for the 44 and 48, most of them run much less frequently compared to the 71/72/73, or don’t run late and/or weekends. This might not be as bad as it initially appears, since I’m sure that their service is somewhat interleaved, so you shouldn’t need to replaced all the 71/72/73 service hours, but Metro would still need to beef up service on Pacific if UW station is going to be a useful transfer point for north Seattle.

        I imagine (or at least hope…) Metro and ST discussed transfer options when ST was deciding/negotiating where to put the UW Link station, and I imagine they’ve done more planning since. I know it’s too early for exact details, nothing is set in stone, Metro’s budget, etc, but given that it’s part of one of the largest projects in Seattle history, and they’ve been working on it for several years now, it seems like they should be able a share a general vision of how they see UW station fitting in with the rest of the transit system.

      8. @asdf,

        Metro/ST have identified UW Medical Center as a more major destination than UW Station. And that’s why most of the buses will not go anywhere near UW Medical Center, and instead go downtown.

        Clear as mud?

      9. Maybe I missed something but why would U-Link facilitate the removal of the 14N (will it be 46 this September)? I get that the 43 may be redundant with Link, 8, and the 48, but the 14 serves the distinct area on the west side of Capitol Hill.

      10. “since all the Montlake portions of the project are unfunded and controversial, the result could be higher capacity ramps leading onto the same old Montlake Blvd.”

        Even the ramps are unfunded at this point. The current funding only gets the new bridge to connect to the existing west highrise. New ramps in Montlake are part of the (unfunded and controversial) lid design. There’s actually a public meeting about it tonight (4:30 – 7:30 @ 2100 Boyer Avenue East).

      11. Metro will have to announce its initial proposal before 2016, probably in 2014. That’s just two years away. We know that Metro has considered route 80 (combining the 71/72/73X and 66/67), and replacing the 72 and 73 with the 372 and 373. So these may be part of it. Or Metro may do literally nothing except reduce some 71/72/73X (which it will probably have to do to gain enough DSTT capacity).

        I’m pessimistic that Eastside service will change significantly. One-seat riders still have significant clout. At most there might be a truncation of off-peak runs.

      12. “why would U-Link facilitate the removal of the 14N (will it be 46 this September). I get that the 43 may be redundant with Link, 8, and the 48, but the 14 serves the distinct area on the west side of Capitol Hill.”

        We’re expecting a Capitol Hill restructure in 2016. The 14N (to be the 47 in September) is the lowest-ridership route on the hill, and Metro has been tinkering with the evening frequency the past two years. some people think it’s too close to the 49 to be justified. It could become a peak-only or daytime-only route. (It’s full peak hours.)

        There have been many suggestions by STBers for Capitol Hill, such as:
        (1) delete the 43 and 49 in favor of the 8, 10, 11, 48, and a Broadway north-south route
        (2) make the 11 all-Madison and delete the 12
        (3) put the 43 on Madison instead of Olive Way
        (4) switch the tails of the 12 and 43 (Olive-19th, Madison-23rd)
        (5) Move the 60 to 12th from Jackson to Denny, then taking over the 49 to the U-District
        (6) split the 8, overlapping between Capitol Hill station and Group Health
        (7) move the 10 to Olive, thus providing a direct transfer from 15th to CH station

        Arguments against these are:
        (A) the 43 is a strong route and serves as a local Link shuttle between CH station and UW station
        (B) Madison-Pine may have more rider demand than Madison-Madison
        (C) they would require new trolley wire (capital expense) or dieselizing trolley routes (loss of quiet, smooth, non-polluting rides)
        (D) Madison Street has no good Link transfers, so an all-Madison 11 or a Madison 43 would be isolated from Link
        (E) the stretch of Pine between Broadway and 15th could become a transit hole if all routes are moved away from it; is walking to Olive or Madison acceptable?

    1. If you want to see what happens if these people get their way, I encourage you to visit places like Houston or Los Angelas. Or the endless sprawl surrounding New York and Washington D.C. (excluding the boundaries of those two cities themselves). This is not the environment we want to live in.

      1. Ah, that’s why this should be fleshed out, so people can make that choice.

      2. @asdf
        ” This is not the environment we want to live in. “

        Actually you are … you’re living it now, and are being moved along towards the final conclusion.

        It’s best to understand it.

      3. Well somebody needs to champion a votable roads package, otherwise it’s all just political maneuvering by the electeds, and no one gets a clear understanding of what’s needed.

      4. I encourage you to visit places like Houston or Los Angelas. Or the endless sprawl surrounding New York and Washington D.C. (excluding the boundaries of those two cities themselves). This is not the environment we want to live in.

        Well then don’t live there. Novel idea, huh?

  7. As one of the leading transportation thinkers on earth, I know I have a large following within Sound Transit and Metro. Not only upper management comes here to find out what my opinions are on things, but so do lower level staff, like transit planners. So I would like to say a few words to my KC Metro transit planner followers.

    You are making a mistake by routing the RapidRide D line through lower Queen Anne. In my expert opinion, it should stay on Elliott/Western/Denny. Interlining the C and D is bad enough, but by having it detour through lower Queen Anne, it’s going to get stuck behind the 1,2,8, and 13, especially when they are using the lift. Bunching is going to be much more common than on the A and B lines. Headways will be wildly inconsistent and unreliable.

    1. I heartily agree. I told Metro at the public meetings held for D that the Rapid Rides should skip the Queen Anne jog. Those passengers could have beeen handled by a local bus. Totally defeats the purpose of “rapid”.

    2. Thank you Jarad (he goes by Sam here)for sharing your wisdom in such a humble tone. Yes, we hang on your every word. Please never stop, else we sink into the abyss of our past car oriented culture – the black buick days.

  8. Not that I’m surprised, but it’s still interesting to see that, in the eyes of the Seattle Transit Blog, the only urban “transit” is a choo-choo train. Quite the attachment to 1800s-technology around here. Steampunks, maybe?

    This is especially interesting in light of the centerpiece of Matt Gangemi’s post, You Can’t Get There From Here, a couple of days ago: “In Seattle, we do quite well in terms of serving jobs with transit. In fact, we’re #3 in the nation, with 99.3% of all jobs accessable by transit in our region – and a full 100% accessable by transit in our cities.”

    Get with the program, Matt. If it doesn’t run on rails, it ain’t transit.

    1. This is silly. Even the map posted here includes dedicated bus-ways. Most of the posts on this blog are about buses, but more to your point there’s no use debating the fact that dedicated rail or dedicated bus lanes are far superior to shared use lanes.

    2. I hate to feed the troll, but it’s worth noting that this map wasn’t created by the authors of this site, nor apparently anyone with deep knowledge of the transit systems of the cities involved.

    3. Buses are just as much 1800s-era technology as trains are.

      “Steam”? “Choo-choo”? I am not aware of any steam trains in the Seattle area. Are you perhaps insane or drunk?

      1. Buses are just as much 1800s-era technology as trains are.

        Buses and cars are 20th century technology, at least in their development.

      2. Are you perhaps insane or drunk?

        Oh, and thanks for not launching an ad hominem attack of the sort allegedly prohibited here. Kumbaya to you, too!

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