With all this talk about Seattle building out a high-capacity transit network on its own, it’s worth telling new (or forgetful) readers that STB had a six-part series about this over a year ago:

TMP HCT Analysis (I) (Introduction)

TMP HCT Analysis (II): The Efficiency Winner (4th/5th connector)

TMP HCT Analysis (III): Maximum Ridership (Ballard/Fremont)

TMP HCT Analysis (IV): Lowest Operating Cost (Eastlake)

TMP HCT Analysis (V): Madison

TMP HCT Analysis (VI): First Avenue (includes a summary of the numbers for all five lines)

16 Replies to “Reruns: Seattle’s HCT Plan”

  1. I am still a fan of rebuilding the waterfront line and connecting it to the First Hill Streetcar line … the waterfront is otherwise cut off vertically from downtown … and there are lots of destinations that could be served.

    Barring that … I like the first Ave line because again it connects with the FHS.

    As for Madison … would the ETB BRT go all the way to Madison Park? can the city overrule the resident there who were whining about the OCS for ETBs?

    1. The City ought to be able to overrule the my neighbours in Mad Park who prefer diesel smoke and noise to electric wires, but the new ETBs should have the battery capacity to run from Arboretum BRT station to the end of the line and back off wire.

      1. As of now, they’re planning for the off-wire capability to be very limited. It would be enough to make a construction reroute of a few blocks on weekends. It won’t be enough to drive 3+ miles off-wire every trip, every day.

      2. We shouldn’t set a precedent that powerful and connected neighborhoods can get off-wire privileges by complaining loudly…

        Or maybe we should, so they distract themselves on nonsense like this instead of important things.

    2. If the city is studying ETB from the ferry terminal to Madison Park, it means they think it’ll work and any objections by Madison Park residents can be overcome. This “Madison Park won’t tolerate trolley wires” sounds like a myth. Lots of affluent neighborhoods may not want trolley wires but have them anyway — and some residents prefer the wires because of their quasi-streetcar look and the promise of frequency/quietness/smoothness. Mount Baker wanted to keep the ETB 14’s tail rather than replace it with a noisy diesel extension (the McClellen bus, I forget its number), and ended up getting neither. Maybe in the past Madison Park refused trolley wires, but this is 2012 and affluent liberals are more hip to transit and carbon neutrality than they used to be, so the opposition may be less. And maybe the city can give Madison Park something in return for the trolley wires, like a beautiful station with amenities.

      Another idea would be a Madison Park – Kirkland water taxi, at least peak hours and weekend daytimes. Madison Park would probably throw a fit at the increased traffic and parking, but it was a ferry terminal at one point. I bet such a ferry would be popular.

      1. Mike, I hope you’re right, but I’d be surprised. I’m just basing my conclusion on the Madison Park residents I know, who are extremely picky, to the extent of getting upset when a neighbor changes the color of his/her house. I think it’s safe to say that there would be a huge political outcry, even if the city feels it can be overcome.

        I think a big carrot would be to promise 15-minute service in exchange for the electrification, something which would get a lot of apartment and condo folks near the end of the line on board.

      2. (Sung to the tune of “White Christmas”)
        I’m dreaming of a wa-a-ater taxi
        With no pa-a-a-arking at the ends
        The only access is fo-o-oot or bus-y
        Oh, how pop-u-lar it will be!

      3. Maybe the city should throw everything possible at Mad Park to see what sticks. “Hi, Mad Park, this is the city. We’re putting in trolley wire, running 15-minute bus service, running a water taxi to Kirkland, and taking the northern edge of that stupid golf course by eminent domain to build a bike path (filling in the ONLY MISSING LINK in a flat bike route from, like, Kenmore or Redmond or wherever you like all the way down the western shore of Lake Washington to Seward Park). Also, preliminary designs to connect the bus route to 520 via a new bridge (remember that Twitter diagram showing the huge demand corridor from downtown up Madison and over 520? That’s how we should be going to Redmond, not over I-90 and through Bellevue.).”

      4. I live (at the moment, when I’m not on the East Coast) in Madison Park, and I would LOVE to have the 11 beefed up to some semblance of HCT, all the way to the lake–and this includes trolley wire all the way to the lake. I typically do my grocery shopping on top of the Hill and made the mistake once of trying to take the 11 to do so. The service was so late (and bunched) on the way back that a bunch of stuff melted…never again! I still take the bus that way occasionally but it is never, ever reliable on the outbound journey. It also takes far too long to get downtown compared to the distance. Madison would be a great corridor if done correctly.

        I would also be hugely in favor of a water taxi to the Eastside, both to Kirkland and to Meydenbauer. I think this might actually be popular in MP especially once the easy 520 access at the Arboretum disappears. With no additional parking added, and frequent bus service, nearly everyone taking the water taxi would arrive by transit and would add even more vitality to the area while transfering…much as it was 75 years ago. It’s a pleasant enough little neighborhood with shops, restaurants etc. (If the boat went to Meydenbauer, I might actually not need the car!) :)

      5. I actually don’t see the point of a water taxi from the far eastern reach of Seattle to the far western reach of Bellevue or Kirkland. None of the proposed terminals have much walkshed, bikeshed, or transitshed. 520 has lots of frequent bus service going everywhere that on the Seattle side is more convenient for everyone except Mad Parkers. The only reason to even talk about it is to troll NIMBYs.

        The West Seattle ferry, as I understand it, barely pencils out, and it serves the downtown waterfront and stadiums, and the only decent beach for miles. It’s the exception that proves the rule. There used to be a ferry to UW, and it died with 520. A ferry between Mad Park and some posh eastside boat dock would have no chance, though it would be super-pleasant (srsly, Kirkland and Bellevue have really nice downtown parks near the water… but they wouldn’t warrant direct water taxi service from a huge activity center like UW, let alone Mad Park).

      6. A water taxi from Kirkand’s downtown park would be popular with tourists, residents at the park, and for at least some subset of commuters. Commuters would have to be willing to ride the 11 and some bus from Kirkland (unless they live or work in downtown Kirkland), so it wouldn’t be as fast as the 255 but it would attract those who care more about the lake trip than speed, and maybe people would take it some day rather than every day. Tourists from Kirkland might have lunch in Madison Park and go back. Perhaps it should have been considered earlier as an alternative to widening 520 or building a third bridge. A Kirkland – Madison Park water taxi would certainly be more useful than a Kirkland – Magnuson Park one, because Magnuson Park is so isolated.

        As for Meydenbauer terminal, I don’t know enough about that area to say. The times I’ve been to Meydenbauer Park it seemed like a significant walk from downtown Bellevue, and I’m not sure if the proposed terminal is even in the park or where it would be.

  2. Has anyone from the city council made any comments on the record about how much right-of-way they’re willing to give streetcars and/or buses in any of these corridors? I understand there’s not much for them to gain by seeming to pick a fight about eliminating street parking or general purpose lanes this early in the process, but it would be nice to know that some of them would be willing to fight for it when the process is further along.

  3. I do wholeheartedly appreciate Martin’s enthusiasm and optimistic spirit about reading these projects and their numbers.

    But let’s be honest here. Build them all, and you’re still looking at a “network” too slow and laborious to have any network effects, and a city where 85% still use cars for everything.

    Don’t believe me? It’s right there in the numbers. 25,000 (one-way) boardings for Ballard-Fremont, which would easily attract four times that with real transit. A similar number for Eastlake, only achieved by counting the current trajectory of the SLUT and a bunch of unnecessary trips within the U-District. These lines can’t cumulatively add enough “new” trips to match just the UW-downtown segment of Link. The sub-headings on Martin’s analyses are a very, very strained spin.

    Here’s how I would have titled the series:
    (I) Introduction (Does This Meet Our Actual Needs, Or Just Look Pretty On Marketing Materials?)
    (II) The Redundancy Winner
    (III) Maximum Missed Chance
    (IV) Lowest Speed, Lowest Need
    (V) Yes! Do This! It’s Straight, It’s Frequent, There’s Actual Demand For It! Can We Actually Get This One Right, Please?
    (VI) Terrible Transit For The Ages

    1. I wouldn’t call Martin’s headings “spin”, but I concur generally with your pithy assessment of each corridor.

      To (V) I would add that the required capital improvements are eminently affordable, and the additional operating subsidy to reach a truly useful frequency, 18 hours a day, seven days a week, on the most useful part of the corridor would be minimal if Metro ever finds the ovaries to split the 2.

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