Photo by planet_lb

The Puget Sound Regional Council has opened a public comment period for its Transportation Improvement Program, which will dole out than more than $440 million in federal funds to regional projects, many of which are transit or at least transit-related.  The overview of the Draft 2013-2016 TIP (PDF) has a good breakdown of all the projects by type (i.e., transit, roadway, non-motorized, etc.).  You can also view all the projects on an online map.

While transit accounts for nearly 70% of all projects selected for the 2012 selection process, many are the projects have a strong emphasis on general maintenance and transit operations (e.g., trolley replacement, ferry preservation, etc.)  “New transit alignment” projects, on the other hand, only get 24% of the transit funds– these primarily consist of things like light rail and fixed guideway expansion.

The table below the jump lists the top projects by award amount:

The public comment period is open until October 25th.  You can comment online or by mail.

46 Replies to “Regional PSRC Funds Up for Grabs”

  1. Unfortunate to see that filling the “missing link” for trolleybus wire on 23rd Ave seems to be absent from this list. Electrifying the south part of the 48 seems like a cheap and easy way turn lots of diesel bus trips into trolleybus trips.

      1. No. But that loop is less crazy than it seems. 23rd and Jackson has the largest ridership of any Route 8 stop in the CD.

      2. Does anyone happen to know the history of that deviation? I’d expect a stop in a funky deviation like that to get lots of ridership (pulling in people from the west across a wider north-south range than most other stops do… but that doesn’t necessarily make it good for ridership overall.

      3. “But that loop is less crazy than it seems. 23rd and Jackson has the largest ridership of any Route 8 stop in the CD.”

        Is that really because there is some magical destination at 23rd and Jackson that everyone in the CD really wants to go to, or is the real reason that stop is the highest ridership in the CD some combination of the following:

        1) Thru-riders are instead choosing to either drive or ride the 48 instead because the deviation makes the 8 so excruciatingly slow. Whereas for people actually headed to 23rd and Jackson, this deviation is not a deterrent for them to ride the bus.

        2) Some of the people who get off at 23rd and Jackson are actually walking east on 23rd – in other words, they are made to walk further because of the deviation, but they do it anyway because, for their trip, no other bus route is any better.

        And even if there really are gobs of people getting on or off the 8 who are headed to somewhere along Jackson at or west of 23rd, how many of them are really incapable of walking an additional 4 minutes (,-122.299054&sspn=0.014093,0.033023&geocode=FbBO1gId9NC1-A%3BFX9O1gIda-O1-A&t=h&dirflg=w&mra=ltm&z=18) from MLK. The deviation probably costs everybody remaining on the bus at least that much time, more if the deviation prevents the 8 from running as frequently as it otherwise could.

      4. Related note – why the 8 and the 48 doing parallel routes so close together. Having two parallel bus routes only 1/4 mile apart is pretty unusual unless there’s some sort of barrier in between them (e.g. a freeway or a cliff). Could these routes potentially be combined into one (following the 48 route north of Mt. Baker and the 8 route south of Mt. Baker)?

      5. The 8 itself is pretty new so there’s not much history in the deviation. As far as I know it’s been part of the route ever since it was extended to MLK. The reason presumably is the library at 23rd & Yesler, the commercial center and transfer point at 23rd & Jackson, and the lack of any such amenities on MLK which is pretty much single-family.

        Much of the 8’s ridership gets on at Mt Baker or before, and gets off on Capitol Hill or after. A smaller blip gets on/off at “the deviation” or MLK/Madison. Few people get on/off along north MLK. This suggests that removing the deviation would not increase ridership but decrease it. And it not would help the 8’s travel time much which would remain horrible. My conclusion is that people are using the 8 because the routes they really want don’t exist: the 9-local that was retired, and a “reverse 43” going north on 23rd and west on John has never existed. And that Link’s Capitol Hill station will address much of that market. (Unless these are the portion of Rainier Valleyites who won’t take Link under any circumstances.)

        When Metro reorganized the 8, 48, and 42 with Link, it essentially precluded any route that would compete with Link. (The 7 was spared because it’s such a major route.) So the only routes from Mt Baker to Capitol Hill or downtown are the most circuituous: the 8 and 14. This has some logic, but because Mt Baker-Capitol Hill transit is so convoluted, it forces people onto MLK who wouldn’t otherwise be there. Again, Capitol Hill station will probably have a major impact on this corridor.

        The MLK/Madison area has no other north-south transit option, so that gives some justification for the 8’s route. Most of the six blocks between 23rd and MLK are flat, but near Madison it’s a slope.

      6. “Could these routes potentially be combined into one (following the 48 route north of Mt. Baker and the 8 route south of Mt. Baker)?”

        The 48 did go to Rainier Beach for a while before the Link reorganization. With Link, Metro swapped the tails of the 48 and 8. I think that was another aspect of preventing the 48 from competing with Link, but it was a bad idea because the 48 is a stronger route. Enough people from Rainier Beach want the 48, and are willing to walk from 23rd for Capitol Hill, and others are heading to the U-district or north Seattle (for which the 48 is the shortest route).

  2. Project Number: SEA-130
    Title: South Lake Union Street Car

    …current phase of the project includes analyzing possible extensions to the street car line, and connections and extensions to the Waterfront Street Car…
    …The project will also purchase and install an ORCA card reader system…

    Looks like south lake union street car is goint to get orca card readers.

    1. Until Seattle gets serious about reserved right of way for its “rapid streetcars” can we just agree that they’re impossible? They were impossible in the late 1940’s when there was 1/10 as much traffic in America.

  3. Project Number: SEA-168

    “This project extends the First Hill Streetcar from Denny Way at the Capitol Hill Link Station to Roy Street. The project will continue the at-grade double-track streetcar installation with 2 to 3 additional stops. This project is intended to also extend the cycle track included in the initial portion of the First Hill Streetcar project. It also includes enhanced sidewalks, landscaping, wayfinding and signal / operation improvements.”

    Am i the only one that thinks 2-3 stops between broadway and roy is way to many?

    1. 1 Stop at the new terminus + 1 intermediate stop + 1 stop at the current terminus (since it will be single tracked) = 3. Sounds about right to me.

      1. I guess that sounds about right. I was thinking it was 2-3 pairs of stops. Your explanation sounds about right though.

  4. I’m not upset by the maintenance funding. This is an extremely poor environment for funding routine maintenance to the system, and a leg up is good. New buses are especially opportune — Metro in particular has major fleet renovation needs in the next three to four years (replacing the remaining 40′ Gilligs, the 30′ Gilligs and ill-fated vans, both trolley fleets, and the D60HFs).

    1. Reading back over that comment gives me a bit of a pang… the D60HF is the bus I cut my teeth on for my first two shakeups, and they will always be a bit special to me. I’ll feel sad when they leave.

      1. They’re loud as hell, and the passenger circulation blows. I don’t think anybody who lives next to a route that runs those buses all day will miss them. I wish Metro would put them all on the commuter routes and put the Orions on the in-city routes.

      2. My window directly overlooks an 8 stop, and the 8 is more than half D60HFs on weekdays. They really don’t bother me too much, even though they are a bit loud. But then again most engines don’t bother me too much…

        They are very good buses from a driver’s perspective. That loud M11 delivers fantastic power, especially at higher speeds. The seating position and ride are quite good. The only weaknesses are somewhat poor trailer traction in the rain and vague steering.

        They are thirsty in the city, though, which is why I agree they should be banished to commuter routes and replaced in the city by DE60LFs.

      3. The north half of the 8, once it’s split (which also needs to happen yesterday). It would be very good with trolleys.

        The south half of the 8 (where I live) would be a terrible trolley route.

      4. On their current alignments, both would be terrible trolleybus routes. There’s no reason to spend millions immortalizing a terrible alignment when alternatives will exist after 2016.

      5. Bruce, out of curiosity, why do you think the 8N would be a terrible trolleybus route? Or are you saying it’s a terrible bus route in general, because of the Denny mess?

        It seems to me like exactly the sort of route that benefits most from electrification: slow speeds, lots of stop-and-go, plenty of steep hills.

        I say the 8S would be a terrible trolley route because it’s (mostly) flat, reaches high speeds, and would require expensively engineered Link crossings for no particular benefit.

      6. Bruce: looks like someone forgot to tell the City that and they made Denny Corridor 7 in the TMP!

        I don’t know how using Thomas or Harrison would really work considering you still need to get to Denny to cross I-5 and jog around the Seattle Center.

      7. David L: I’m with you on electrification. The other day I was walking down Denny approaching Westlake and saw the operator of an 8 gesturing with his hand as if to whip his D60HF into climbing the hill faster than 5 MPH.

      8. The city’s TMP is a mix of awesome and hilariously stupid ideas; throwing gobs of money at Denny is one of the latter. The subject of how to fix the 8 is worth a separate post altogether.

      9. Yes, I’ll enjoy seeing that post. The 8N may be the most broken bus route in the city (it, the 16, and the 44 are the candidates)… and there is no obvious way to fix it.

      10. “I wish Metro would put them all on the commuter routes”

        Send them over to East base for the 212, 217, 214, 215, 242, 252, 257, 311, and the occasional 60′ school tripper. We currently have none of them but I’d be happy to drive them into retirement on. (That said, Metro may be keeping them off freeway routes due to occasional swaying issues)

      11. velo…do you have any more hf’s at east base? I know south base doesn’t have any. i know central and or ryerson has them.

  5. I think its time to see PSRC turn into a higher level umbrella oversight agency for the transit agencies in the puget sound region. i’m not suggesting merge them, however theres a lot of things that could be done better.

    For example, ORCA and fare policy. This is something that needs to be set on a region wide basis. Too many differing fare policies making the system confusing for the passengers. it should be one fare policy across the board, flat fares for local andexpress buses, link light rail, and mabye distance based on Sounder. Other lines could have Proof-of-Payment systems to help speed up the service. PSRC could also take over ORCA and hopefully give it the attention that it needs to become a really useful tool, not the half baked one it is now (no day and weekend passes, limited availability, and for gods sake eliminate paper transers, and go to a single trip, or day pass type system!)

    Service Coordination/Scheduling and planning, This is another area that needs some attention. There are a lot of missed connections by only a few minutes. If everyone say, for example used the same computer scheduling software package, the connections could be programmed into it, and it would try its best to make the connections work when the sechedules are drawn up. Also i’d like to see more coordination of buses that go towards county lines, instead of ending at the county line they could be extended across (Rapid Ride “A” to Tacoma anyone?) with proper funding.

    Service Coordination/Routes. One thing i’ve noticed in europe is that if agencies redside under an umbrella group, the route numbers done seem to be duplicated. Since we have so many trip planning systems and One bus away type systems, mabye its time to look at renumbering routes so that we dont have multiples of route numbers across many diffrent systems. This would not be cheap, but at the same time you could also standardize the appearance of bus stop information, bus stop numbers, and make the timetables resemble one another to be more seamless across the mulitple systems.

    Finally, the PSRC would need money to do this, but most of these suggestions are not terrably expensive things (well changing bus stop signs is). Something that could be phased in over a number of years, and to give the PSRC some bite the sales tax money could be funnled through them and than dispursed to the agencies. And i’m sure they would need a little extra of their own to do this but i dont think it would be a large amount of money.

    Of course no sytstem in perfect, but i think we can do a better job of coordnating services without creating mega transit agencies that dont work (Look at LACMTA for information on that)

    1. I agree we can do much better in the ‘seamless’ department. I’m not sure if any other MTPO’s that dole out Federal $$ does any operational stuff. It would be interesting to see the reach they can make, and if honest brokers, may cut through a lot of the turf war crap.

      1. Down in San Diego, SANDAG, runs the “Compass Card”, which covers two agencies. They also do a lot of the transit planning, but not the actual operations.

    2. On the issue of fare policy, the conglomeration of agencies partaking of the Reduced Regional Fare Permit covers a much larger area than the PRSC. It’s nice for seniors and differentially-abled riders that one card gets them cheap fares throughout such a large swath of the state.

      That said, the local agencies are not taking advantage of the opportunity to set different cash and ORCA fares, as allowed by the agreement. All agencies have to honor the RRFP, but not with identical cash and electronic fares. Metro and ST could, for example, charge 74 cents on ORCA and $1.00 with cash.

      Fare policy is one realm in which I’m glad we don’t have to achieve some sort of consensus among all the members of PSRC.

      1. How is a non ORCA RRFP handled in ORCA-land, i’d presume you are eligible for the cash fare, what about a transfer? is there a fee to upgrade a non ORCA RRFP to an ORCA RRFP? Can a ORCA RRFP be used outside ORCA territory as a flash pass to get the reduced rate?

      1. Although I posted the Rice-Stanton report on the World Wide Web because it otherwise disappeared, I’m not so sure that local transit agencies should be consolidated. If you watch the PSRC Transportation Policy Board videos for July and September, you will hear Sound Transit officials defending the current structure of transit in the region as a good way to meet local needs. Of course the county transit leaders feel the same way.

  6. The TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) is not a grant program administered by the PSRC. It’s a mechanism used by the federal government to make sure that there is an intergovernmental process in each urban area to review whether projects planned by transportation agencies and funded from a variety of sources are consistent with the regional transportation plan.

  7. Title: 23rd Ave S – S Jackson Street to East John St
    Sponsor: Seattle
    Project ID: SEA-169
    Location: 23rd Avenue
    Description: The project will reconstruct pavement from East John Street to South Jackson Street, upgrade 9 signalized intersections by installing pedestrian countdown signal heads and upgrading controller cabinets to meet transit signal priority (TSP) needs and accommodate intelligent transportation system (ITS) upgrades. The project also includes installation of closed circuit television, detection systems, and license plate readers for travel time information. Fiber communication will be included as needed along the corridor to relay information back to the City`s Traffic Management Center. Upgrades to curb ramps, bus stops, repairs to sidewalks and lighting improvements are also included
    Total Project Cost: $13,400,000
    Improvement Type: Resurfacing

    Seems like this would be a great time to implement a road diet on 23rd. It’s amazing how narrow the lanes are in the stretch near Madison. I also encouraged them to think about the role of the 23rd and Madison intersection in the city’s TMP and factor that into their plans, if possible.

    1. Tom at the Bike Blog has asked for a 23rd road diet as well. I have serious concerns about impact on the #48, especially given the lack of available north-south alternatives (MLK is the only other practical route east of 12th). It would be nice to have reasonable sidewalk widths, for sure.

  8. Not transit related, but the mention of a cycle track along Westlake between Fremont and just before Mercer put a little kick in my step this morning.

    1. I’ve been thinking about this as well- I believe that it should continue onto 9th Ave N to Denny rather than going onto Westlake (obviously) or terminating.

      1. Apparently Seattle Bike Blog had a piece on the improvment. They advocated extending the cycle track down the middle of Westlake, south of Mercer, which kind of made me scratch my head, when 9th is a perfect place to rearrange for a cyclist track (I ride 9th on a daily basis).

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