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80 Replies to “News Roundup: Federal Funding”

  1. That article on Rapid Ride is one of the reasons I don’t watch local news. I can’t even figure out what they’re talking about. This person will have to climb a hill if they cut his stop, but he’s already climbing a hill to get to his stop? Huh?

    1. +1

      I occasionally read local news, but haven’t watched it on purpose in 15 years. I’m not the audience they’re catering to.

      1. +2

        I really have zero faith in Metro to make the right decision these days. Something obviously needs to be done to get them on track but what?

    2. and quelle horreur, light rail has made it harder to find cheap apartments in Rainier Valley…

      1. You mean, neighborhood association opposition to upzones has made it harder to find cheap apartments in Rainier Valley, I presume, and, once again, has promoted more sprawl and deforestation.

    3. I think he lives at the Aloha Inn, and he’s talking about his climb to get to the other stop.

      FWIW the 5 and 16 combine for quite a lot of frequency going downtown. It’s harder if you have to go north along Aurora. The condition of the sidewalks there is really appalling — the extreme unevenness, lack of ramps, and constant incursion of overgrowth make a big difference for people that have difficulty walking.

      Of course, if someone went and fixed up the sidewalks some member of the news media would find some way to spin that negatively, too.

  2. Shame on King5 for only telling half the story.
    RapidRide is supposed to be faster for many more people. How much faster and for how many more new riders? Well you sure couldn’t tell by listening to their version of the story.
    Does one guy on crutches make for a good story about how the government is about to make his life harder. Of course it does, and I really do care about serving our handicapped brothers and sisters.
    Should one guys story determine the best use of million dollar investments to get more people to use transit? NO, but that seems to be the way Metro deals with controversy these days. I’m sure the RR line will stop at the motel. Just wait and see.

  3. The new bike lockers shouldn’t be on their own payment system – they need to be on ORCA. This is a major-league derp if Metro hasn’t discussed this integration point.

    1. What would you propose to do to keep unregistered ORCA holders from using a minimal balance to open a locker, and then stuff it with garbage, and walk away?

      1. I do agree that getting the Seattle Subway project running is the best shot of getting Link up here (I haven’t been to any of their events, but if they’re ever in Lake City in the near future I’ll try to drop by).

        My worry is that while Bothell and Kenmore (where I live) probably have high enough ridership potential, Lake Forest Park doesn’t seem to have much – and it’s going to have to go through there. That’s a lot of track for not a whole lot of riders.

      2. Sometimes the end (of the line) justifies the means. Is that the case for this line? I haven’t thought about it hard enough to have an opinion. But infill development is always possible, especially if we’re talking about a short stretch in between existing demand centers.

        It’s a different story when you talk about extending service to what is essentially SFH walkshed-wasteland like Federal Way.

      3. I live in Bothell, and I think a 522 line is justified, if a lower priority than some others.

        As for infill development, last I checked there were plans to add density at Lake Forest Park Town Center. Kenmore and Bothell both are redeveloping their downtowns with more density. All of these plans are in slow motion because of the current state of the economy, but long-term there’s a good case for a line that continues from the Seattle city limits (after stops at 125th and 145th and Lake City Way) and has stops at Lake Forest Park Town Center, downtown Kenmore, downtown Bothell, and UWB/Cascadia College (which could also be a stop in a future 405-aligned line, and in the meantime is a key stop for several buses).

        The first step is the Ballard subway from downtown, then extended diagonally across town to Northgate and the city limits. Ballard-UW takes higher priority, too, and West Seattle will want its half of any new subway line through downtown in a new tunnel.

        Of course, any extension outside of Seattle can’t happen with the Seattle Subway project, but would have to be part of a Sound Transit package. But Seattle Subway to Lake City from Dowwntown-Ballard-Northgate is a key pre-requisite.

      4. +1 Cascadian and Mark.

        This was a line in the 1968 plan that, for many reasons, was a better one that what we will end up getting. I’d prefer a line on the 45th Street crosstown then turn N from the U District and thence up to LC and beyond. This would also serve the region’s primary goal of connecting every Dick’s Drive-In within the city limits by rapid rail. :) However, coming over from Northgate and then turning north would do. Anything to get rail to LC and north. (Go Seattle Subway!) LC is an area with great potential for higher density development–no views to block, close to downtown and the UW, unremarkable architecture (all those car lots will become very valuable for development if rapid transit is there) and a reasonably transient group of residents, less likely to go full-on NIMBY. Lake Forest Park would be a decent stop as it grows–it will by necessity have a tight, walkable developed core, and is the outlet for bus service up Ballinger to the west. Kenmore and Bothell have room to grow upwards, and as noted already have plans for population increase.

        It’s a shame there would be no direct connection between UW Bothell and UW Seattle, but we can all handle a transfer–you don’t tend to think much about transferring when you’re changing between two train lines, especially when you know the second train will be along presently.

      5. Scott,
        You don’t need a direct connection as long as the connecting lines at Northgate are frequent.

      6. I actually think the 372 would be likely to stick around in slightly modified form even if there were a train line. So you might not lose the campus-to-campus connection.

    1. 522 has lots of mid-rise apartments up until Lake Forest Park. North of there, it is all SFH, lots of spread ranchettes, and half a walkshed for much of its length.

      1. But Lake Forest Park Town Center, which is about a mile from 145th, is planning for more density and is an OK place for a stop (though you’re right about missing half the walkshed.) Kenmore and Bothell are both adding density in places that are well-spaced for stations and that don’t have the same loss of walkshed. And putting in a rail line would really enable expansion of the UW Bothell campus. It would also relieve traffic along a corridor that is choked with SOV traffic during commute hours, some of it cut-through from people avoiding tolls on 520.

      2. While such a line isn’t going to have the same ridership as Ballard North of Lake City, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell, and Woodinville make more sense than many suburban destinations.

        But WAY down the list.

        In the mean time can we make the 522 and 372 as close to real BRT as possible?

      1. 130th is the best option for serving the heart of Lake City, but for commuters further north, a station at 145th would be noticeably faster, and still serve pockets of apartments.

        Yeah, 145th serves the north fence of a golf course, but 130th has limited residential buffer between it and the south end of same golf course.

        I think looking at the other side of I-5 would be a more interesting analysis in choosing where to site a station.

      2. Advantages/disadvantages of 130th transfer:
        – (Advantage) Least disruptive to current route. You’d have to delete only one stop pair south of 125th, and re-add it around the corner.
        – (Disadvantage) Slightly longer travel time for Bothell-downtown trips.
        – (Advantage) The part from Lake City to the station can be nonstop because because there are no existing stops people would protest losing. That would mitigate the added travel time for Bothell-downtown riders, and also give Lake City a fast connection to Link (in compensation for not having a Lake City station).
        – It rewards Lake City’s density with one-seat rides to Bothell and to the station.

        Advantages/disadvantages of a 145th transfer:
        – (Advantage) Slightly faster for Bothell-downtown trips.
        – (Disadvantage) Doesn’t serve central Lake City.
        – (Disadvantage) Doesn’t help connect Lake City to Link.

    2. I couldn’t agree more.

      Buses leave, on average, every four minutes from the Kenmore Park and Ride to downtown during commute hours. That’s already pretty serious demand.

    3. It was considered in the North Corridor alternatives analysis. Their conclusion was not that it should never be built, but that it was lower priority than going straight north to Lynnwood. It can still come back in a later iteration, and is one everyone’s radar as an eventual HCT corridor.

      In the meantime, I do hope the 522 gets truncated at 130th, at least off-peak.

      1. “at least off-peak”

        The irony here is that the very period where downtown traffic is worst, and the time benefit of switching to link is greatest is the peak.

      2. Well, I hope the truncated route runs full-time for the sake of people going to UW, Northgate, Ballard, etc. But my point is that it’s politically easier to restructure off-peak service than to take away people’s peak expresses. That leaves room for a grand bargain: split the route into an all-day trunk to 130th, and a peak-express for time-conscious commuters (with a premium fare). People will grumble about the longer travel time, but you can point out they still have the peak-express, and the longer time off-peak is compensated for by greater frequency and many more rail destinations.

      3. The slog from 125th and Lake City Way to 130th & I-5 plus the transfer will kill any speed advantage Link offers.

    4. My dream would be a route along 522 all the way to Cascadia CC, where it could intersect with the eastside corridor that was built on the old BNSF corridor instead of letting that precious route go to waste.

      1. Making sure the “BNSF corridor” route has stops directly in downtown Kirkland and Bellevue. If it stops in a single-family neighborhood in Kirkland, and at 118th in Bellevue, it won’t be as useful.

    5. It should be eventually, but that’s a corridor where the bus works better than it does in a lot of other places, and has fewer riders. The most broken bus corridors with extremely heavy ridership are the 44 and 8N corridors. Seattle Subway’s on the right track putting the 44 corridor first.

      1. I agree that it’s not a higher priority than what Seattle Subway is promoting. Buses work better on 522 than they do on the 44 corridor. Even so, rail would be a huge upgrade for this corridor – faster and more frequent service and less prone to disruptions (well, except when a tree falls on the overhead wires).

        Perhaps we could see it on ST3 whenever that comes around.

      2. Rail does not necessarily imply more frequent service (think Sounder). You can have both frequent service and infrequent service with either rail or bus.

    1. Or you can have the adventure of listening to two felonious aficionados compare and contrast the probation systems of Portland vs Seattle and the risks of being picked up on a warrant in either city. And to think BBB worried about light rail bringing the underclasses to the hallowed shores of Bellevue.

      That said, “adventures” like this are fairly rare on my bus.

  4. KING5 wouldn’t have done the story if someone didn’t call them. But even then, after reviewing the facts, they should have declined to do the piece. If you set aside his sob story and start sifting through the facts, there is no story there. Two buses to downtown stop right in front of his residence. KING5 also misspelled his first name.

  5. The 309 needed this bad. Getting stuck in the Mercer mess more than cancels out any benefit from the one-seat ride to First Hill. Depending on where you’re going, it’s almost always faster to take the 306/312/522 and transfer to the 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, or 49.

  6. Related to RapidRide implementation, anyone notice the new queue jump signals at 1st and Denny (NB) and Elliott and Prospect (SB)?

    I imagine one on Elliott will help the D Line navigate across the lanes to the Mercer Pl left turn. I’ve been trying to figure out how the one on 1st would work since buses already have a dedicated receiving lane at the north side of the intersection. Anyone else have thoughts on why a bus signal is needed there?

    1. the new queue jump signal at…Elliott and Prospect (SB)

      That’s nice.

      But Elliott and Mercer is still up to 4.5 minutes of red.

    2. My guess is that it may be for routes 19, 24 and 33 which will move to 3rd Ave with the September schedule change. I’m assuming those routes will be turning left onto Denny at that intersection.

      1. @LB, that was my initial thought, too. The 19, 24, 33, 15X, 17X, and 18X all will make that left turn. However, once the general purpose light turns green, those buses wouldn’t be able to turn left, and through-traveling buses (1, 2, 13, 29 [2X], RR D) would be stuck behind them in the bus lane.

    3. You can’t really use that dedicated lane (in either a 40′ or a 60′ coach)without infringing on the next lane because of the sharpness of the turn.

      I always took both of the right two lanes when going northbound across the 1/Denny intersection.

    4. In another interesting development, a friend who lives in the Avenue One condos told me his HOA had been told SDOT would be installing a traffic signal at 1st & Clay. There have been some cryptic SDOT spray markings on the corners of that intersection for a few months now.

      We were puzzled by that, but I wonder if it is part of some scheme to help buses through the 1st & Broad intersection which is often reduced to gridlock during the PM peak.

  7. Good read on BosNewWash corridor. I used to ride the Amtrak from center city Philly to work in Wilmington,DE and it was a good ride (plus the consulting agency I worked for then paid all my transportation expenses!).

    Seems like the SeaTacOly corridor is ripe for this kind of ridership. Instead of focusing on just downtown Seattle…with fast rail we could have a kind of “binary city” (like a binary star) with two centers and a lot of cooridor density in between. The lynchpin is creating fast, always available, transit between the centers…and then adding in Oly.

    Sounder is doing this now, but it needs to be more frequent…and faster.

    1. Seems like the SeaTacOly corridor is ripe for this kind of ridership.

      Yes. A Combined Statistical Area (CSA) of 4.2 million, containing one sorta-city and three statistically insignificant outposts, is “ripe for the kind of ridership” seen in a megalopolis of 49.5 million that comprises 4 of the 8 largest CSAs in the nation plus a half-dozen others.


      1. d.p — personally I’m a fan of the intercity route connecting the 3rd, 52nd, 11th, 16th, 19th, and 8th largest CSAs, but it seems nobody’s thinking that big. I think it would actually be successful.

  8. Siemens Receives Contract to Refurbish 21 Light Rail Vehicles for Sacramento Regional Transit:

    RT acquired the vehicles — originally built by Urban Transportation Development Corp. (UTDC) — from Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. The vehicles originally went into operation in 1987 and have been in storage since RT acquired them in 2003. They are now needed for RT’s expanding system but need to be updated to meet operating requirements.

    Siemens Secures order to electrify Hawaii’s first rail Transit System:

    The Honolulu rail transit system will be an elevated rail system, separated from ground transportation, allowing for faster, safer and more reliable performance than alternatives built at ground level, but less expensive than an underground system. According the U.S. Department of Energy, rail is more energy-efficient than single-occupant cars and trucks, consuming 37 percent less energy per passenger-mile.

    37% better than an SOV doesn’t sound like anything to get excited about. A carpool of two would then be 20% more efficient than rail…. how about a bus? And then there’s the fact Hawaii generates 15% of it’s electricity from coal and 75% from petroleum. Add that all of the material to build the elevated line will have to be barged across the ocean. Maybe the money would be better spent on conservation, renewable (wind, tide, geothermal) or at least cleaner fossil fuel like natural gas. And to conclude our Siemens news roundup I wonder if Hawaii’s ultra pro union politicians were aware of the companies labor practices?

    USW Says that Siemens’ “Sweet Talk” Doesn’t Conceal Its Union-Busting Efforts

    “Siemens does not believe a union is in the best interest of our employees here in North East. The reason is two-fold: Unions haven’t delivered on their promises and unionized employers can have difficulty being competitive in today’s global economy.” The General Manager, Izadore Hossler, told workers “if organized we will lose customers in the south as they don’t want to do business with a union facility.”

    1. “Maybe the money would be better spent on conservation, renewable (wind, tide, geothermal)”

      No solar in your list? It should work very well in Hawaii.

      1. Solar, indeed.

        Hawaii is also a prime candidate for electric cars (powered by solar, naturally), because nobody ever has very far to drive.

        But that won’t do anything for congestion. And that’s what the Honolulu Rail system is designed to address.

    2. “37% better than an SOV doesn’t sound like anything to get excited about.”

      Without a clear explanation of the assumptions, conditions and caveats of the study, numbers like this are completely meaningless. Ridership is among the most important details. Let’s make sure we’re comparing apples to apples here.

  9. Love the pic. Pretty sure this was taken just the other day, saw the guy standing there with the camera as we flew past him.

    As for Ryan, what a piece of work. I hate being conservative now with such paltry and pathetic offerings from my side of the political spectrum; fortunately the other side doesn’t look that great either.

    1. I like pragmatic politicians of either party (although I lean strongly left). But Paul Ryan is not a pragmatist in the least. He’s a hardcore ideologue. He gets a pass on it because he’s a good guy and has charisma, but his views should be recognized for what they are.

      1. Ryan’s not a good guy; he’s a fraud who peddles false numbers. Apparently he has charisma, though.

    2. Check out the American Conservative and it’s Center for Public Transportation. Right wing and train lovers.

    3. I’ve realized I’m about the most conservative person I know from a dictionary definition of conservative.

      I’m politically “liberal” only because since 1980 or so — so, for my entire life — “conservative” politically has meant “ignoring reality”.

      I would have been a fan of Eisenhower. But instead I grew up with Reagan spouting obvious bullshit. (I kind of liked Bush I. But Bush II… my God.)

      In fact, the problems I have with Obama are that he’s not paying attention to reality. But every single Republican candidate all the way down to the local level is far worse.

      I don’t know how to get someone in office who recognizes that, you know, global warming is very very bad for humanity and we’d better halt it if we want our grandchildren to have decent lives… little facts like that.

      1. As for Romney, his “etch-a-sketch” policy of saying contradictory things to different groups means there is absolutely no way to tell what he would do. Ugh.

  10. Idea regarding the potential split on route 48:

    Re-number the north half route 40 (47 is going to be taken soon…). Route 40 would operate between Loyal Heights and the University District with an interesting one-way loop through the UW Campus:

    Southbound (to University District): The layover point for route 40 is Memorial Way & Stevens Way. However, inbound route 40 buses will make one clockwise loop through the campus via Stevens Way and 15th Ave NE (with “To Terminal” on the headsign) before continuing back to Memorial Way & Stevens Way for a layover.

    Northbound (to Loyal Heights): From Memorial Way & Stevens Way, outbound Route 40 buses will make one more clockwise loop through the campus (via Stevens & 15th) before continuing to Loyal Heights.

    Other options include sharing a terminal (Montlake Blvd NE & NE Pacific Pl) with route 44, or terminating/originating at NE Campus Parkway. I was aware of an earlier plan to thru-route with route 271, but that seems impractical since the 271 runs out of East base, not to mention those weekend-long 520 bridge closures every other week.

    1. 40 is also going to be taken soon. It’s the new number for the heavily revised 18.

      The trouble with the 48 split is that the ridership isn’t neatly divided like it is with a lot of downtown through-routes, or even like it was for the 43/44. There is heavy ridership from the south half of the route as far north as Greenlake, and heavy ridership from the north half as far south as the Central District. There’s no clear place where a split makes sense.

      I also don’t think the UW would welcome putting another 10- to 15-minute route through Stevens Way.

      The trouble with the 271 idea is that it would be much more unreliable than the existing through-route!

      The route we could easily split if only there were money is the 8. The route is way too long; the riders mostly divide neatly at Capitol Hill; the north and south halves don’t even match in terms of appropriate frequency, span, or equipment; and the north half condemns the south half to horrendous reliability problems.

    2. The 48 has a natural splitting point in the U-district. The two routes should overlap at least between 40th and 45th. I wouldn’t encourage campus loops, but if there is a loop it should be at the very end of the route. (I hate how the 75 crawls through campus between Campus Parkway and 45th.) If people have to transfer between the CD and Greenlake, boo hoo, what about people who are going from the CD to Maple Leaf or the CD to Northgate, they’ve always had to transfer.

  11. If there’s anything to “rip” the RapidRide on, it’s that their drivers like to curbstomp the brake pedal, and every other on it’s buses smells like marijuana. But that’s probably just the entire KCM system anyway.

  12. I read the article about on demand bike lockers and I absolutely agree that the existing bike locker system is extremely inefficient. The current system incentives people who used to use their lockers, but don’t anymore, for whatever reason, to hold on to their lockers indefinitely because once you give it up, you will likely never get it back again. It also gives an unfair advantage to people who know the right person. For instance, I was able to grab a locker at 520 and Montlake not through any official means, but by having regular conversations on the bus with someone that had one and then learning that he was changing jobs to no longer commute across the lake and, hence, didn’t need his locker anymore.

    One location where I would really like to see on-demand lockers that wasn’t listed is 65th St. park and ride. I meet there a lot on weekends for carpooling to hiking or snowshoeing trips in the cascades. I usually bike there, but because the lockers are reserved for people who commute during the week, they are off limits to me, even though they are probably all completely empty because it’s a weekend. So I end up carrying three locks and taking my chances with racks on the street instead.

    1. These lockers are particularly bad because they’re space-inefficient and next to a whole bunch of space-efficient but high-theft bike racks. A proper large-scale “lock and ride” at Montlake would seriously improve commutes for people that work on the eastside, but we’re not doing it.

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