Thanks to KCTS, here are Rob Ketcherside and I talking about the history and future of urban rail in Seattle. Not my finest public speaking performance, and editing out the questions makes the structure seem odd, but people seemed to like it.

 

More HistoryLink videos are here.

93 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Seattle’s Streetcar History”

  1. It seems that some of the old rail lines were not removed, but just paved over. The old rails for the Kinnear line are beginning to reappear on Olympic Place as the asphalt wears away.

    1. You can see old wooden ties coming up along the Broadway route as they cut through the street paving–very clearly in the baulks now before they fill them back in with the new tracks.

  2. Thanks for doing the presentation. I’m torn between being nostalgic about how Seattle used to function with the street and cable cars running all over the place, and the reality of how expensive and time consuming it is in today’s world of process and regulation to get almost anything done.
    One thing not touched on in the segway from Rob to Martin is whether it makes ‘sense’ to rebuild a lot of what we had. Cost/Benefit analysis says that rail and streetcar should be cheaper in the long run (operating + capital recovery)over the bus routes they will replace. As the old systems were primarily financed and operated by private investment, those considerations were top priority. Now that all of the capital and most of the operating cost are borne by taxpayers, it’s easy to get excited over a ‘line coming to you soon’, without really caring about where the money is coming from, or whether there are more cost effective ways to skin the same cat.
    We won’t know how Link segments or existing and new streetcar segments will end up penciling out, but so far, the data indicates the cost per rider for all new rail being run and planned is going to be higher than the buses it is trying to replace. ULink will be the first real test of that comparison, as this is the premier section of the core system being built. If not there, then when or where?
    I’m not trying to pick a fight, or trolling as some would call it, but the question of private decisions over public ones seems to dramatically change our priorities about how and where to spend public dollars.
    Given the cost of some of the services being run, I question if private developers of rail past, would even entertain building and operating some of the stuff on our drawing boards of today.

    1. “Given the cost of some of the services being run, I question if private developers of rail past, would even entertain building and operating some of the stuff on our drawing boards of today.”

      Notice Vulcan paid for half of the SLUT. So we know at least that line is at least half cost effective for a single developer.

      It would be ideal if a single large developer came in and wanted to build to the sky somewhere, and offered to pay for transit to that location. But considering our restrictive zoning most everywhere, I’m not sure where that would happen.

      1. Good point Matt. I didn’t see any rush from the Hospitals or Yesler Terrace asking for a piece of the action on FHSC, or extensions to the waterfront or Aloha by other groups wanting to fund more-sooner.

      2. Also notice that Vulcan’s seed money pays none of the O&M cost but assures service in perpetuity. But still, something, or in this case $25M is better than nothing. A lot better than Wright Runstad which won’t pony up a dime for the Link station built exclusively for their Spring District.

      3. “assures service in perpetuity” Ha! Did you just say that about a streetcar system in Seattle?

    2. “the data indicates the cost per rider for all new rail being run and planned is going to be higher than the buses it is trying to replace”

      The two are not equivalent. Link, in its grade-separated segments, offers a true express that could only otherwise be achieved with brand-new transit-only freeway lanes. In its surface segments, the speed difference is debatable, but it gives new one-seat rides to many places that never had it, and will soon have train-to-train transfers which are more convenient than transfers involving buses. Plus there’s Link’s high frequency. So you’re paying for higher quality service.

      The operating cost of Link has gone below buses, and Link’s current fare is cheaper than Metro for distances up to Westlake – Rainier Beach (and thus Westlake – Northgate).

      I don’t think it’s fair to include the capital cost of a project in each ticket, either actually or theoretically. We build the project because because we, the entire society, think it’s a better quality of life to have this amenity. Only rarely is the cost of a capital improvement + operations lower than if it had not been built. That suggests we should never build anything at all. But then we’ll be stuck with whatever infrastructure we had when we started, and right now we’re stuck with an infrastucture that depends on high fuel inputs and is hostile to people without cars. I don’t want to live in that forever.

      “Vulcan paid for half of the SLUT”

      That was a special case because Vulcan was trying to jump-start citywide streetcars. Now that the first modern streetcar is running, that circumstance is gone. Although you do raise an important issue, has the city done enough to encourage companies to sponsor streetcar or HCT projects?

      1. The operating cost of Link has gone below buses

        Link cost per boarding has gone slightly below ST Express. It’s still a lot more expensive than the Metro average. It’s also just a single line so about half of ST Express is more expensive and half less expensive. The routes that raise the average are moving people a much longer distance. Of course you have to include capital cost; especially when it’s financed and you have a regular expense. Sponsorship in the form of ads is way below expectation. Part of that is just because of the economy but if they don’t see value in the sponsorship now it’s questionable if they’ll shift money from venues they’ve deemed more cost effective in the future. Of course more exposure by extending the line makes it more attractive.

      2. That missed my entire point that created the original rail system that Seattle tore up because buses were supposedly cheaper to deploy and operate. We’ll never know how a different decision in the early 40’s would have penciled out.
        But to say Link should get a free ride on all capital cost just flies in the face of all good business decisions and even the FTA cost/benefit calculations for their participation. It’s not free money, and never will be.
        Also, you said “… could only otherwise be achieved with brand-new transit-only freeway lanes.”
        That’s a false assumption. There were plans to bypass the chronic HOV lanes around Spokane St ramps, and adding a lane up the hill to SeaTac. Both those would have cost far less than Link, and the 194 was already quicker and had a better on-time record than Link does. We just choose to ignore those ideas, and pressed forward on a rail line to Tacoma, regardless of the cost or benefit.
        Again, it doesn’t matter now, but please don’t try to rewrite the history books.

      3. Why is the 194 always the comparison for Link? The 194 served far fewer people and destinations than Link does. Just because the endpoints are the same doesn’t mean it’s a good comparison.

      4. ‘“… could only otherwise be achieved with brand-new transit-only freeway lanes.”
        That’s a false assumption. There were plans to bypass the chronic HOV lanes around Spokane St ramps’

        I was mainly talking about the north side, downtown to UW or downtown to Northgate. Anyway, more HOV lanes in the south would not have helped connect Rainier Valley to the airport and south end. Part of rail’s quality is it goes straight to neighborhood centers and immediately speed up to full speed. That doesn’t happen when a bus has to go through intersections to reach the freeway entrance.

        And regardless of whether the feds require including capital costs in the cost calculations, that only answers one question, whether the total cost of one system is more or less than another. There’s also the question of values, whether one system is more worthwhile than another even if it costs more. That’s what I was getting at.

      5. “Why is the 194 always the comparison for Link? The 194 served far fewer people and destinations than Link does. Just because the endpoints are the same doesn’t mean it’s a good comparison.”

        Thank you, Zed.

    3. mic: the word you want is “segue”, for future reference. “Segway” is that patented rolling thing.

  3. 1884. Streetcars show up.

    “Why would you not build your city for street cars?”

    2012. Google cars legalized in two states.

    Why would you not design your infrastructure for autonomous vehicles?

    1. Because they’re just as resource inefficient as regular cars, and waste the same amount of real estate.

      1. I think a bit of a mind shift is in order here. The prospect of autonomous vehicles is interesting because they offer the prospect of radical changes in use cases. For example, in an urban environment, it becomes far less necessary to “own” your car. Which means far fewer total cars are needed because each car is in use more hours of the day. Combined with new power configurations such as electric storage or fuel cell, the operational characteristics could be attractive versus bus routes with low ridership.

        Because much of Seattle is not at the level of density where frequent bus routes are viable, having a fleet of autonomous vehicles offers an attractive alternative to connect people to those arterial routes. The problem with our n/s transit corridors is getting people to connection points. East/West connections are very sparse.

        Intelligent traffic demand analysis can figure out what resources are needed where and when. Cars not needed presently are positioned near where they are likely to be needed and turned off. The capital cost of vehicles are a fraction of buses for same capacity. Yes, they take up more room, but are more efficiently deployed.

      2. I’ll start believing we can do PRT when we figure out how to make a free bike project work. If we’re too cheap to invest in the latter, we certainly don’t have the money to invest in the former.

      3. Again, how exactly will autonomous vehicles pass the many and various legal and technological barriers to entry? Is it okay for a few lines of code to run someone over? What sort of error rate will be acceptable? If the vehicles must stop on a dime for anything that might be a human (or a dog? how small?), will the occupants accept the thus increased travel times? Would the increased trip time exceed the max travel time humans tolerate, rendering their sprawl effectively unreachable? How would the vehicle navigate a pedestrian-heavy area? Will manual controls be offered, in the event a panicked driver wishes to run-after-hitting, or will the vehicle be neutered? Who would be sued in the event of a collision? “Oh, that wasn’t me driving, that was the car, your honor”

        And then there’s the maintenance fees (and corresponding lack of tax density) on all those miles and miles and miles of road, electrical, water, and sewer lines out to there and beyond. Last I checked, Seattle hasn’t been paying for the upkeep of non-arterial roads for almost two decades now, and I-5 isn’t getting any younger, nor any of the other Carbon spree era infrastructure.

        But there’s plenty of inertia behind the “strap a car to your posterior for hours on end to meet your basic needs” school of thought, so we’ll see where things go.

      4. @Jeremy, those are some good questions and I’m sure they’ll get figured out. The transition won’t be too much different than when cars came on the scene and displaced horse & buggy. Lots of potential for conflict back then.

        The use case I’m envisioning does not involve a person spending hours and hours in an autonomous vehicle but rather the time it takes to go within a zone and transfer to a frequent transit corridor. Under that use case, I don’t see it aiding sprawl but rather servicing the existing built infrastructure.

      5. The existing built infrastructure is already sprawl, and only works with a car (as I’m well aware, having never driven, and on the very rare occasions I’m in a car, the Seattle neighborhoods actually start making sense). Trying to prop up the extant sprawl with both a central transit model (barely funded by the scant density) and also building up some new autonomous feeder system (funded how? limited to being “just a feeder system” how? roads and sewer and electrical and so forth actually maintained at what additional monetary and resource cost over a non-sprawled solution how?) strikes me as doubling down on a bad bet: higher costs, both done poorly.

        But not to fear! The magical GDP fairy will wave a wand and make all well! Grow ever onwards, humanity!

    2. “Why would you not design your infrastructure for autonomous vehicles?”

      Good question. How do we go about converting asphalt for fuel-dependent vehicles into better routes for self-powered bikes?

    3. I still think the self-driving cars will be banned after the first fatal accident (and there will be one).

      Look at the regulations on self-driving trains!

    4. I’m not buying into the “hydrogen highway” because science proves it makes no sense, or cents. But unless Google has totally fabricated the results of their autonomous car project it can’t be ignored. Compared to the driver piloted car who’s left seat is text messaging I’m thinking my odds on a bicycle are significantly improved. Compared to the market timing “I know how to beat the crowd” cut through mentality vs. microsecond traffic updates I’d have to bet on the autonomous car. What happens after the first lawsuit that awards damages in the event of human error after rejecting the statistically better record of the computer?

      1. Yes. The big issue is icing up switches. With a bit of thought, switch heaters fix this. I believe the SLUT has sand or salt dispensers that it sprinkles on the tracks as it runs. I don’t recall if you need to run it all night to keep the track clear (I’m sure you’d need to if it snowed enough), but switch heaters were the reason the SLUT didn’t run through part of the Snopocalypse. I believe they either hadn’t installed them yet or they weren’t functioning – I suppose we’ll have to wait for the next heavy snow to find out.

      2. During this year’s snow metro employees were out at Terry and Harrison with flamethrowers heating up the switch.

    1. Scigliano equates connecting the SLUT and First Hill streetcars with rapid streetcars. The rapid streetcar proposal would upgrade the SLUT segment — nobody thinks it’s rapid already. A lot could be done with better signal priority. It also stops every two blocks which is excessive. I don’t hold out hope they’ll eliminate one or two stops, because they can argue it’s part of “downtown”, but extensions would not have that close spacing.

      1. FHS and SLUT will not be compatible systems … unless Metro either A) adds the off-wire capability to the three SLUT streetcars or B) builds a complete OCS for both directions of the FHS

      2. Even if the cars are incompatible it would handy to connect the tracks. There could then be a centralized maintenance area and shared car storage.

  4. In the category of small details, I have to empathize with the old 39 riders who will be shifting to the 50, which is designed for frequent bus and train connections. The only thing missing is the oft-requested timepoint for Othello Station. It was such a small request, by so many riders, and a key to getting them to accept the new 50. It’s a change that costs almost nothing and will pay for itself in gained ridership (vs. how many people will ride if they don’t know when the bus picks up at Othello Station). Still, I love that Metro had the guts to switch to the 50.

    I also really like the thinking behind the new 62. It’s counter-peak direction service on buses that would otherwise be deadheading. It gets riders between downtown and the Westlake/SPU/Fisherman’s Wharf corridor.

    The 29 really is a new route, despite its description as a merely-renumbered route, and it provides fabulous new connectivity between Upper Queen Anne and Ballard. Metro is underselling the route by not advertising the new connectivity.

    Also, thank you, Metro, for doubling the frequency on the 132, South Park’s last lifeline to civilization! … and for extending the 60 to Westwood Village, even if you also threw the Arrowhead Gardens knot into that route on weekends. Well, okay, Arrowheads Gardens needs the service, and I don’t mind the extra five minutes if all I’m doing is hitting the grocery store once a week. Btw, when can Metro declare Myers P&R to be surplus property? Sell it, and use the proceeds to fund the engineering and construction of on-street stops on Olsen Pl SW.

    1. If ST decides to keep the 560, it ought to serve Westwood Village, for the better C-Line connection, and head up I 35th to the Triangle before terminating at Alaska Junction. Serve the density!

      1. … and terminate it there. The 560 then becomes an express Linking Bellevue, Renton, the Airport, and Westwood Village and eventually connects to 4 different Rapid Ride lines. If ridership improves, add service, otherwise cut it off at Burien.

    2. The 62 is timed to meet the departures and arrivals of Sounder trains. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 29 and 62 are using the same buses.

      At least one person from my family has lived somewhere along the 39 route for over 50 years. The 39 routing and schedule has been changed so many times over the years that regular 39 riders have learned that their route is kind of a fringe route that lies near the bottom of Metro’s priorities. The new schedule offers 20 and 30 minute headways during the day and later service at night with 3 possible connections to Link. If the buses run on time I think this change will be a positive.

      1. Any idea why they’ve not fixed the weird/pointless couplet on Wilson/Seward Park? The pavement quality on either road seems fine. Seems like another case where Metro has been serving the same turnaround loop for 120 years and no-one has bothered to consolidate it.

      2. You mean serving Seward Park entrance? In my travels, I observed that as many people get on/off in that couplet as do in the tail of the route where I live.

        Also, the 39 hardly ever ran on-time southbound. Surprisingly, was mostly on time north bound (at my stop) because the buses serving north bound were often coming from base or some other route instead of it being the turn around of the south bound route.

        I think decoupling the route from the 33/Magnolia service may actually improve the reliability of this route. I still say they should extend the south terminus to Georgetown.

      3. I think the couplet exists because there is very steep hill between the streets. By having the SB bus be uphill, people living between the streets always walk down hill when going to/from the bus.

  5. A nighttime drive through Leeds set to Parov Stelar’s “Psychedelic Jazz”. I was struck by how much the roadscape looks different from American streets. There seem to be a lot fewer traffic lights and perpendicular cross streets, and more roundabouts and Y’s instead. I’ve spent a few trips walking Britain’s streets but this video made me realize I’ve seen little of it from inside a car which is a whole different perspective. The streets seem… odd, I can’t put my finger on it (and it’s not just that they’re driving on the left). These streets seem to be equivalent to 23rd/24th, but they feel like something between an American street and an American highway. I guess it’s more efficient to have roundabouts instead of traffic lights. Although I wonder if these streets would be able to cope with the high traffic we have around downtown and the Mercer Mess and I-5, where even six or eight lanes get overcrowded. Maybe part of the strangeness is just an illusion with the time-lapse photography, my limited knowledge of England, and the darkness that makes it difficult to see what’s alongside the roads. Although I do remember from England that people seem to drive faster than here, enough to make me afraid to cross the street without a light. And the two lanes of 35-40 mph seem to be surprisingly close to sidewalks and buildings.

    Anyway, what do other people think about the differences between England’s streets and Seattle’s?

    1. One thing is that there are basically no street grids anywhere in the UK. That sure does make the streets look different.

      Part of it is also that many, many of the streets and roads were laid out *long* before automobiles.

      1. The fact that so many road intersections are messy 3-ways or 5-ways drove the obsession with roundabouts, which are actually seriously overused in England.

    1. The buses signed “International District via Broadway” are 43s or 44s that are going back to the base. They follow the regular 43 route to Broadway, and then head south. I’m not sure about the other bus that was mentioned.

      1. I know that, my point was really how do we explain this clearly to people who aren’t familiar with the bus system? Why can’t the intl dist via bway have it’s own route #?

    2. At least Metro doesn’t put pointless feel good messages on headsigns like many other systems like Muni in SF do. It drives me crazy that they would have the headsign switch between “38 Geary” and “Go Niners!” or “Happy Thanksgving.” That’s not the point of headsigns!

    1. LACSD appears to be a breeding ground for violent crime, just the same as LAPD. They’re both criminal gangs.

      I’m not actually sure what to do about rotten police departments. (Since Ray Kelly got in, NYPD is also rotten.) Basic principles of institutional culture theory suggest that the thing to do is to shut them down *entirely* and start fresh. How to do that?

      If we can’t do that within the next couple of decades, people are going to have to start organizing their own vigilante groups to defend themselves against rogue police departments!

      1. Please note that faced with a similar situation in Northern Ireland, the “Royal Ulster Constabulary” was massively reorganized and renamed — everything short of dissolution.

  6. On the topic of streetcar history, I’ve got some maps of the former streetcar systems in Eastern Washington.

    Spokane: http://goo.gl/maps/WYqyS
    Walla Walla: http://goo.gl/maps/p8lJd
    Yakima: http://goo.gl/maps/ZF8dV

    If you know where to look, you can still find pieces of the tracks in all three cities. Interesting to note is that Yakima’s streetcar was the last one still running in WA, ending operations on February 1st, 1947 (and now running limited operations today as a historical line).

  7. Dear drivers:

    Try announcing the reroute before you get to it, so that those of us with feet can get off before it and walk.

    Don’t inform us that a reroute exists when you’re already turning onto it. That doesn’t help anyone.

    Jesus. How do you even get yourselves dressed in the morning?

    1. This happened to me yesterday on the 99. Oh, I’m not going to that stop over there because I can’t turn left. THANKS!

      1. You know, cheers to the physical-infrastructure crews for getting such a major installation done in a single weekend!

        Jeers to Metro for sending out no e-mail alerts whatsoever.

        WTFs to drivers for announcing it once it’s too late, thereby forcing passengers to fight 3-lanes-down-to-one traffic when they could have just walked from 3rd W.

      2. I’ve seen situations where the drivers had NO idea that they were going to be diverted. I was on the 48 once around Ravenna/Greenwood and the driver had to ask the police officer on-site how to get around the diversion.

        Nobody in Metro’s control center (if they even have one…) told her about it.

        She’s one of the best drivers I know too, always on top of her announcements, points of interest, transfer routes, etc. Boy was she pissed at Metro controllers…

  8. at the CHS construction site … the “No Accidents Since” sign in the red wall currently (as of today, Sunday) reads no Accidents for the past 200 days …

    anyone know what happened 201 days ago?

  9. when the RFA disappears at the end of the month … will Link still be only $2.00 to get from Westlake to IDS? or will it be raised to $2.25/$2.50 like the buses in the tunnel?

    1. There has been no announcement or any discussion at the board level. Ergo, it is definitely not happening.

      This is a good thing, as we want to encourage riders between tunnel stations to choose Link, and keep all modes moving faster.

      1. wasn’t expecting it to … but the city needs to make it known that Link will be cheaper (if only by a quarter) … will make the buses faster if only those actually riding out of downtown will get on them and everyone else takes link

    2. The October Sound Transit guide still shows the fare at $2.00. Makes the train much more attractive for short trips downtown (like it should be).

      1. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Link is currently equal or cheaper than Metro for distances up to Westlake – Rainier Beach (and therefore Westlake – Northgate). Peak hours, Link remains cheaper than Metro for Westlake – TIB, although off-peak it reverses. The same would apply for Westlake – Shoreline. Beyond that circle (Westlake-TIB, Westlake-Shoreline, Westlake-Kirkland [instead of Bellevue]) would require a Metro transfer, which can’t be compared directly to a Link one-seat ride.

    3. When ST originally set Link’s fare, it discussed whether to participate in the RFA in exchange for an across-the-board 25c increase in Link fares, which would cover the cost of the free downtown trips. ST decided not to participate in the RFA, so I would not expect Link’s fares to change because of the ending of the RFA.

      PS. This was the right decision. If somebody is riding Link 10 or more times a week outside the RFA, the price difference for them would be enormous, and the benefit of free rides downtown for other people is just not a sufficient justification. They have dozens of other RFA bus routes to choose from.

  10. I was thinking about the oft-mentioned benefit of tracks telling people the streetcar/train’s route and guaranteeing some permanence. Perhaps we could get that same benefit for lower capital cost by painting a colored stripe or something in the curb lane of the bus route? That way, the bus would still be able to detour into other lanes around illegally parked cars, not need any actual construction, and (I’m guessing) have about the same seating capacity as the SLUT.

    Thoughts?

    1. How about we install two 1/2 inch copper conductors directly above the roadway? That would send a message and last a lot longer that paint.

  11. Has anyone ever seen the proposed routing of the RapidRide F-line (http://www.kingcounty.gov/transportation/kcdot/MetroTransit/RapidRide/FLine.aspx).

    Can someone explain to me how any bus operating a route like that is supposed to be considered anything remotely approaching rapid? End-to-end, you could probably drive the route in the middle of the night with no stops in around half an hour. But when you factor in the delays from bus stops every half mile, stop-and-go traffic in Renton and Southcenter, and the detour into the parking lot of TIBS, you’re realistically looking at over an hour to get from Renton to Burien or vice-versa.

    And the 560 is so infrequent, waiting for that isn’t going to be much better.

    Metro needs to understand that we RapidRide routes need to look like this:

    ———-

    Not like this:
    _ _
    _| |_| |_

    1. Bus routes including BRT style should make direct connections at transit centers. So that “detour” to TIB is critical and not simply a nicety. Intermodal transfers need to be as seamless as possible. The length of the route is the nature of the beast. East/West routes have never been efficient and the only way I can see them becoming efficient is to give them the separated grade rail treatment.

      1. That detour is *not* necessary and, in fact, completely useless. To turn into the parking lot, the bus will have to wait for the same light to change that a pedestrian crossing the street would have to wait. And, within the parking lot, the bus is limited to speeds that are barely faster than a pedestrian.

        There is already a signalized crosswalk on 154th and there is already an overflow parking lot for the Link station on the North side of 154th. If people can cross the street to connect between the train and their car, there is no reason why they can’t do so to connect between the train and a bus.

        Making the bus detour into the parking lot is at best a wash for people making connections. And if the F-bus has to sit and wait for cars going into our out of parking spaces, or for an A-bus or 124-bus blocking the bus stop, this detour to “help” people making connections can actually make such connections slower.

        And for anyone that just wants to travel east-west in a straight line and isn’t making a Link connection, the detour is a complete waste of time and nothing but.

        Furthermore, almost any major destination you could get to with a Link->F connection from downtown you could do at least as fast with a one-seat ride on a different bus, such as the 120, 150, or 101. So, I’m quite skeptical this connection is really going to be that popular anyway.

    2. Yes, exactly. RR F should be straighter. The walk from 154th to the TIB escalator is 30 seconds; both I and DP have timed it at a slow walk. That’s worth it to make RR F faster.

      Southcenter is such a major stop that it’s worth the bus turning for it. I assume the main Southcenter stop is the best location. It has to be walking distance to the mall shops and surrounding strip malls, and Southcenter Blvd is probably worse on both counts.

      As for Sounder, there should be a shuttle route meeting Sounder trains. It doesn’t make sense for RR F to detour to the Sounder station when most of the time Sounder is not running. But I’m sure Sounder will be a priority station for RR F in spite of that. It shows off RapidRide to train riders, and it makes it look like they’re doing something productive with their RapidRide grant (having a transfer from Sounder to Renton and Burien on RapidRide). I haven’t timed it to see how competitive that is vs the 101 and 120.

      1. The connection with the Sounder absolutely makes me cringe. It is exactly as you say. We’re detouring a frequent bus that runs all day to connect with what, most of the time will be absolutely nothing.

        It’s not a complete waste, through. A few people in Renton might use the F to connect to Amtrak for a trip to Portland. And a few others might drive to Sounder in Tukwila, then have something urgent come up that require going home in the middle of the day – such people will be forced to take Link or 101->F to get back to their car because unless a stroke of luck has an Amtrak trip leaving at exactly the right time, there’s no better alternative.

        Still, this absolutely does not meet the bar for a detour. The saved service hours by eliminating it might even pay for a shuttle between the Sounder station and Renton (one that only runs during the limited hours when there’s actually something to connect to).

        Still, I’m extremely glad I don’t live anywhere near the F-line and hardly travel there. So it can do all the loop-de-loops it wants and it won’t affect me.

    3. I’ve asked a couple times what people think about the Renton side routing (east of Sounder), and nobody has had an opinion yet.

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