The last thread is getting out of control, so here’s another. Will Green probably wins the prize for most comprehensive report, so it’s reproduced below the jump.

With luck, day 2 should be better than day 1.

So, my observations from today:

Not horrible, but a few issues. Some minor delays getting into the tunnel on Link, but that’s not entirely unusual, and it wasn’t longer than one minute. My own inability to leave the house on time meant that I missed my bus, so I got to watch things at 4th Ave S/S Jackson for a bit.
Loading was slow, but no one tried boarding through the back doors, and only one or two people exited through the front. The biggest crowd occurred when a Sounder arrived, and many of the riders swarmed busses at the stop for a ride closer to the CBD or First Hill. SoundTransit had two staffers at the stop, armed with schedules, logo jackets, and loud voices; every arriving bus accompanied by a cry of, “Pay as you enter! Exit at the back! Have your fare ready!” The ‘attendants’ also worked to spread loads out across multiple busses when possible, which helped keep things moving. Grabbing a moment during a short lull, one noted that, “People are far more prepared than I expected…but loading is still a bit slow.”
Overall, things were delayed a bit (~5 minutes at my stop), but moved well.

Minus the delay from missing my bus (again, my fault), I was only held back by 10 minutes or so. Not bad.

…Evening didn’t go as well. My southbound 301 was about 15 minutes late, mostly due to northbound traffic on I-5, which was pretty heavy. Such delays at the start of the route aren’t unusual.
The tunnel was messy. Not a disaster, but there is clearly a lot of confusion, and short tempers. People seem to have grown accustomed to ‘bad behavior’ by drivers, such as opening doors multiple times in a tunnel station or waiting for runners, and having all that (mostly) stripped away didn’t sit well with some.
On Loaders: Bus drivers seem to have a hard time seeing them, and often a loader would be in place, but the back door would remain shut. The LCC had a message playing almost constantly telling riders to pay as they enter at the front, or to tap their ORCA card at the back if an attendant was present, but few headed it. People tended to stick in a line, even if there’s a loader with no line 10 feet away, and the announcement was too quiet to hear well most of the time. There are also far too few loaders to be effective, especially as platoons get backed up and more and more busses fill the platform space. Additionally, the loaders seemed to vanish rather quickly once the peak ended, despite the tunnel still being really busy and crowded.
On Drivers: Aside from the aforementioned issues seeing loaders, many drivers are still failing to follow some tunnel operation protocols, such as not opening a coach’s doors more than once, waiting for runners, or stopping multiple times. At the same time, many drivers (certainly more than ‘usual’) did their best to keep things moving, even if it meant making a few late or entitled (for lack of a less loaded phrase) riders unhappy.
On Passengers: Many got the memo, and had their fare ready to pay at the front door. That said, it only takes a few to muck things up, and plenty did. One passenger on the 550 managed to board via the back door – said door slammed shut on his backpack, and the cluster of riders behind him planning to do the same looked rather scandalized at being redirected to the front. Even better, the rider who made it in then proceeded to push through to the front of the bus to pay his fare. Another rider on my Link train somehow missed his stop at IDS. As the train pulled away, he shouted, “Wait, hold up!” at the air, and slammed the door button as if either of those would do anything. He proceeded to mutter profanities, and topped it off by kicking the door rather hard as it opened at Stadium station.

Total delay in the evening: about 30 minutes. I left work half an hour earlier than I normally do, and got home as if I hadn’t.

295 Replies to “Service Change Open Thread (II)”

  1. Point of clarification – there is no operative prohibition against opening doors more than once, and buses are actually required to make second stops if they are the third bus or more in line or if there is a person with a disability at the head of the zone.

    1. I was in the tunnel between 4:30p and 5, (just to check things out before I caught my bus home) and the tunnel seemed okay. I was at Westlake, and there were no back ups. The loaders were doing their job well and people seemed prepared.

  2. Point of clarification: The first and second coaches may NOT stop twice at a platform in the tunnel and the third coach MUST if there are customers on the platform.

    Once the door is closed, its closed. Rules are different in the tunnel due to trains and I’ve been cursed at many times for following the rules and continuing to travel away from the platform as a runner is unhappy they missed their bus because they couldn’t be at their stop 5 minutes before scheduled bus arrival.

      1. Section 14.22 in the newest book says the same thing, with the addendum that a second stop must be made if a bus assigned to bay A or C discharged passengers while waiting behind a bus assigned to bay B or D. As I said.

      2. Remember, the more times the bus stops and opens the doors, especially when reaching the end of DSTT, the more the likelihood that that bus will die on the tracks. Then the whole DSTT comes to a grinding halt.

      3. What? The bus runs on battery power inside the tunnel but has a giant diesel engine and fuel tank in it. If it dies in hush mode, turn it off, then back on but in D instead of H.

      4. “…the more the likelihood that that bus will die on the tracks”

        Most of this could be addressed with simple refresher training for those who haven’t driven in the tunnel for a while. Those of us who drive in the tunnel regularly know how to restart the bus after it dies (usually because you reopen the doors too quickly after closing them) and how to get the coach back in gear when we get a flashing ‘H’ (caused by not having your foot firmly enough on the brakes).

        Metro offers such training each shakeup but it is not required. (I’m not necessarily advocating that as it would be a waste of resources for many. As with anything, there is a balance to be struck)

      5. @jasonpeterson206,

        There are several ways to foul up the bus’s electrical system. Thankfully, this only happens at the beginning of the pick as new hybrid drivers are just learning the ropes of making their machine run.

        If the platooning were happening properly, the multiple stops wouldn’t be a problem.

    1. The reality is that if you’re stuck at the rear of the platform when assigned to the front bay, there’s no point in holding passengers hostage until traffic at the head of the bay clears. This means opening doors at the rear bay to let people off, then doing so again when you reach your assigned bay. The problem that I saw yesterday involved a lot of bus driver inattention and bizarre refusal to open rear doors at all, even with poor passengers wanting out the back; and if they did open the door, closing it and pulling away even as I was still loading passengers. It was downright embarrassing to wear the uniform yesterday.

      1. Wearing the uniform, Beavis, makes you party to some important information on the matter of driver performance.

        What can you tell us about the training the average Tunnel driver receives? And what percentage of rush-hour service is driven by part-timers?

        Also, what’s your take on matter of coordination and supervision in the DSTT?

        Underneath it all, I think that rather than force yourself to find another tailor, you and your colleagues use the combined votes and financial contributions of Local 587 to persuade the requisite elected officials that embarrassed transit workers can deliver ballot-marks for their opponents.

        Mark Dublin

      2. Tunnel training involves a full day of training, with both classroom and practice driving through the tunnel. Not sure about percentages, but if I had to guess about how many peak tunnel drivers are part timers it would probably be about half. I believe that the supervisors in the tunnel are responsive, competent, and professional. Can’t speak to the matter of coordination at policy and administrative levels, but on the whole I think that the tunnel works pretty darn well for what it does.

        Meanwhile, I believe that we as operators have a fundamental responsibility above all else to give enough of a damn about our profession and the people we serve on a daily basis to look, think, and act like the professionals we expect to be treated as. When I see that not happening, I see our reflexive detractors being fed ammunition in the shape of broad brushes too easily used to paint the rest of us in negative colors.

        This is a crucial turning point in local transit service. I for one am committed to not being perceived as the weakest link in the customer service chain.

      3. @Beavis,

        Have you noticed whether the platooning (i.e. the order of buses) is happening properly? in each direction?

      4. No. I’m not sure it’s happening at all, frankly. Haven’t travelled the length of the tunnel in the last few days.

      5. @Beavis,

        You can’t see if platooning is happening while travelling through the tunnel. You have to see the order in which the vehicles are sent forth, which is done best from ID Station, but could be done in any station.

        The way the bays are set up now, with the back bay two artic bus lengths behind the front bay, there are hopefully two front-bay buses, followed by two back-bay buses, followed by a couple deboarding buses, ideally. If there are no front-bay buses (which is rare at any point during peak), then a couple deboarding buses could lead the platoon. At least in the northbound direction, there are fewer backbay buses, which leaves room for more deboarding buses at the tail of the platoon.

        Given that my time trial shows southbound is passing with flying colors, and northbound is suboptimal, maybe the bay assignments are a problem. The northbound front bays are crushloaded while the backbay, which just has the 255, is not even filling up its buses. (I keep saying the 255 would be better with all the other SR 520 routes, but that’s not a battle I will win.) Splitting the 41/77/316 from the 71-76 might be a mid-term solution. Three bus bays wouldn’t be the end of the world, since the 255 is not in most platoons.

  3. Comment on the West Seattle re-structure: Great job, Metro.

    Despite a lot of complaining over at the West Seattle Blog, the restructure is working exactly as planned and as this blog would recommend. All routes work together to feed the spine, Rapid Ride C. The overcrowding experienced on C is a sign that this is working, and sets up West Seattle for future rail service. Instead of a wide range of quarter-to-half-full buses heading to downtown, there is one very full, frequent route to downtown. West Seattle has proved it can fill 2 articulated bus routes running at 10 minute frequencies (C and 120) in the morning. The solution to the crowding, which will hopefully be implemented over the next few service changes, is to keep increasing the route frequencies to keep up this demand.

    Side note: My 120 was exceptionally crowded this morning, despite being on-time. It appears that the Westwood Village diversion has increased ridership (and possibly the diversion of the 23 and 125 from White Center, leaving the 120 as the only WC->Downtown route). Frequencies will need to be increased to respond to the crowding, but that is a good problem for transit to have.

    1. If I had any faith that Metro would be getting funds anytime soon to actually increase frequencies on C and 120, I’d take more heart in that.

      As it is, I’m really afraid the overcrowding will just drive people away from transit.

      The C (and D) should be every 10 minutes all day and every 5-7 peak. The 120 needs to go from 10 to 7.5 during the peak.

      Alternately, maybe Metro needs to relax the policy channeling everyone onto the C just a little bit. Forcing Admiral passengers to go through the Junction, in particular, isn’t very friendly. Keep the C (and continue to use it to replace the 22 and 55) but resume midday service on the 56.

      1. If Metro has the service hours to resume mid-day service on 56, they should instead use those hours to first beef up service on the spines: C & 120.

      2. What Chad said. Metro has a service hours contingency in every restructure to add service where there are problems; maybe the C will get a piece of that. If they don’t have enough RR coaches, they could add back more peak service to the 55 (which I hate, but might be the only options) or 56X or 116X. I would, however, like to see all the RR lines at 10 daytime headways, and the 120 be a RapidRide line.

        There is nothing unfriendly about frequent service transfers for secondary destinations like the Admiral district. Bringing back the 56 is about the worst idea I’ve heard yet.

      3. The trouble with the Admiral-Junction transfer is that it is so far out of the way on a very slow street (and, to boot, that the transferring buses are both infrequent and unreliable). There is no way that trip can be even sort of competitive with driving, when Admiral empties directly onto the West Seattle Bridge.

        No other high-ridership destination in the west part of West Seattle has quite the same problem.

      4. Admiral is not a high-ridership destination like Alaska Junction; the vast majority of West Seattle boarding on the 55 was before the turn onto California:

        It has ridership, yes, but it doesn’t need a one-seat ride. I am sympathetic to unreliability complaints, of course, and Metro should fix those wherever possible (which, admittedly, means that the westbound 50 is probably always going to suck a little, due to the Lander grade crossing).

      5. Anecdotally, there was way more ridership from Admiral to downtown on the 56 than on the 55. And that makes sense, because the 56 was so much more direct, even despite its use of 1st Avenue. I haven’t seen stop-by-stop numbers for the 56, but I think they’d paint a different picture of Admiral-downtown ridership, at least during the day.

        Not only does the westbound 50 have likely built-in reliability issues, but the northbound 128 has proven reliability problems, just because it’s a long, convoluted, and busy route. Once you reach the Junction, reaching Admiral is just a crapshoot, and I wouldn’t blame a former 56 rider for driving instead.

      6. The 56 underperformed off-peak on the route level; the 55 didn’t, but that was only because of the common Segment with the 54. When I rode the 56 on the weekends to Alki, it wasn’t empty, but it wasn’t well used. It was lonely in there by the time I got to the beach.

        I’m sure Metro will lose some all-day riders in Admiral and Alki to driving. I can handle that. The new 50 crosstown, and the improved service on the C, and the vastly improved service on 35th Ave SW will get us back far more. I’d like to have seen the 50 debut with 15 minute headways, but making change contingent on guaranteeing everything is perfect and nobody will get screwed is a recipe for paralysis.

      7. Or if they are short RapidRide coaches, they could just use regular coaches to add service. The brand doesn’t appear to matter anyways, with the line not having off-board payment for a year after the service launches…

      8. The 56 underperformed as a route because it only had two high-volume stops: California and Admiral, and 61st and Alki. Both of those stops have plenty of volume and are not underperforming relative to other similar stops in the system. It’s an unfortunate quirk of geography that it’s hard to serve them efficiently without running a half-empty bus. The replacement service might cut it if the transfer were super-reliable, but it’s not remotely so.

        Honestly, even though I acknowledge and understand the reasons you give, I think Admiral got screwed worse than any other neighborhood, overall, in the restructure.

      9. Is there any proposal to set up a bus bulb at California Ave. just south of Alaska so that the C-line doesn’t have to do a loop-de-loop around the block to get to the Alaska junction stop?

      10. Does the federal funding mandate that non-RR buses not be used to supplement frequency on the route?

      11. I can’t imagine the feds would disapprove of relief buses. What happens if several RapidRide buses break down at once? You have to cancel the runs?

        Someone said earlier that the reason the 15X remains is that there are not enough RapidRide buses to handle the peaks, and Metro couldn’t afford any RapidRide buses.

      12. Brent is not talking about the mythical mid-route “relief coaches”, which would be RapidRide coaches if they actually existed.

        He’s talking about the route being so crappy and inadequate that Metro still has to run a whole fleet of wasteful one-way express services directly on top of it.

      13. So running coaches in the direction where demand exists, and not running them where demand doesn’t exist, is wasteful?

      14. I’m talking about putting more buses of whatever color out to provide sufficient capacity for the rider demand for the C/D Line, at the times and places, and in the directions, that Metro now knows capacity isn’t meeting demand. Anything more is putting words in my mouth.

      15. Yeah Brent, I wasn’t responding to you.

        I find it hard to imagine that KCM, knowing the number of passengers that go from points A, B, and C in West Seattle to Downtown, wouldn’t order at least as many coaches to maintain that level of service, if not expand it. They claim ridership doubled on the A Line’s corridor, so you’d want to plan for at least a 50% increase.

        Actually, I’d like to run some numbers. What old WS routes should I be comparing? 56, 56X, 116X, ???

      16. So running coaches in the direction where demand exists, and not running them where demand doesn’t exist, is wasteful?

        Actually, yes.

        All that deadheading makes the expresses woeful underperformers, no matter how full they may look.

        So yes, running express one-way overlays on what was supposed to be a service with rapid-transit frequency and quality is incredibly wasteful.

      17. I find it hard to imagine that KCM… wouldn’t order at least as many coaches…

        You find it hard to believe that KCM would make a huge blunder?

        You’re the only one in Seattle who finds that hard to believe.

        Metro ordered exactly the minimum number of coaches that would be needed to offer 10-minute service a few hours a day, and not a single one more. They never cared if that would be inadequate, just as they never cared that RapidRide would represent a service reduction in many places and at many times.

      18. All that deadheading makes the expresses woeful underperformers, no matter how full they may look.

        So you’re suggesting running them in service in the direction that has little demand, generating little farebox revenue and costing a significant amount in operating costs, just so you can show on a piece of paper that you have two way service?

      19. You find it hard to believe that KCM would make a huge blunder?

        Yes, because they’re using RapidRide funds as their vehicle replacement funds. Why wouldn’t you do at least a 1:1 replacement when you’re spending someone else’s money? The RR coaches are replacing the 2300s from 1998-99.

      20. They never “cared”, or they didn’t have enough money to?

        I find it hard to believe that Metro doesn’t want to run RapidRide with good frequency (even 5 minutes mid-day), doesn’t want signal priority and complete transit lanes, doesn’t want its ORCA readers operational already, and doesn’t want to keep the 45th station farside. All these shortcomings hurt Metro’s image, and why would Metro want to hurt its image?

        The only intentional error I can fault Metro for is believing that a single route can handle both local and BRT/rapid service. They should have implemented Swift (i.e., a limited-stop route and a local route). It’s unclear to me whether that was Metro’s original intention and it got watered down due to limited funds, or whether Metro thought all along that a single route could be a good compromise between the two. The original marketing said that RapidRide would be “like Swift”.

      21. It’s partly because they’re trying to do too many lines for geographic equity. Rather the lines would have been more successful had they spent more money on fewer lines, doing a couple properly instead of having a bunch of half-assed ones.

      22. Oh, dear god.

        Mike, I love your optimism.
        Tim, I hate your credulousness.

        But you both really need to travel to more and better transit cities.

      23. [And Swift runs only every 20 minutes. That’s totally pointless for a high-need service at in-city distances, just as their hourly underlay is pointless.]

        [And Metro squeezed every penny they could out of the Feds. They weren’t going to spend an extra dollar of their own money, no matter how far short they fell of their goals. And their decision-making staff clearly doesn’t ride the bus, and doesn’t give a damn how the plebeians perceive them.]

      24. So you’re suggesting running them in service in the direction that has little demand…

        That’s always been the purported reason. Except that a deadheading bus costs almost as much, picks up no one, makes precisely $0, and pisses the people it passes off.

        And counter-commute buses in Seattle are routinely packed to the gills, and achingly slow. So much for “little demand”!

      25. And counter-commute buses in Seattle are routinely packed to the gills, and achingly slow.

        Clearly you’ve never been on the 41.

      26. Swift was originally more frequent. My memory says 10 minutes daytime and 20 minutes evening until 12:20am (southbound arrival), and the 101 was half-hourly. My memory may be wrong but it was something like that. There was a time when the last Swift arrived after the last 358 had already left. But now it’s less frequent and cut off at 10pm due to CT’s financial situation that’s even worse than Metro’s.

      27. In fact, I have been on a packed southbound 41 in the counter-commute direction! So shut the front door!

        That one was, of course, achingly slow only because of traffic (and not because of frequent stops)… as are any of the uni-directional extra 41s that put in place, which have to deadhead in the very same traffic!

      28. But to the extent that counter-commute 41 demand is somewhat lower than peak-direction demand, thanks for unintentionally making my case against commute-oriented Link lines!!

  4. The operator on my morning RapidRide D permitted his passengers to leave through the front door at 15th and Market, which led to the exact bottleneck scenario that three-door buses and pay-as-you-enter are supposed to avoid.

    In my frustration, I told the departing passengers “Exit at the rear!”, and the operator said condescendingly, “Actually, they don’t have to.”

    Either the operator was wrong and needs a re-education, or the policymakers at Metro need a whack upside their heads.

    1. Also, the southbound RapidRide D station at 15th and Market is lacking a tech pylon, so it has no realtime arrival information. It’s also lacking a map(!), because they’re mounted to the tech pylon.

    2. YOu are not prohibited from exiting out the front door … especially if that is the closest door to where you are sitting … however … if possible one should exit out the rear door(s) whenever possible

      1. Even if you’re sitting in the very front of a DE60LFA, the middle doors are not that much further than the front doors due to the wheel well.

      2. If you have a bike on the rack, exiting at the rear door is just asking for the bus driver to drive off with your bike still on the rack. Bad idea!

      3. +1 to Tim’s comment. It drove me nuts when people exited up front. I even joked about Metro paid for three doors, so USE them. This was on the B line before we had the current exit by the rear doors PSA.

        Note two exceptions: Cyclists who need to let us know they are grabbing their bike and anyone who has mobility issues. I suppose you could add other reasonable exceptions but the list is short – Please use the back doors!

      4. We now know that many people are not merely so lazy they refuse to walk a couple of blocks to a bus stop – they’re too lazy to walk 20 feet to the rear door.

    3. Name one thing about riding the bus that is mandatory. Using the rear door is encouraged, especially in the CBD, but IS optional.

      1. 2. Don’t assault the operator. Distracting her/him by chewing her/him out is also ill-advised.

    4. Metro has been telling us through multiple channels, that passengers are strongly encouraged to exit through rear doors but may exit the front. I’m sure the “no disputes” policy applies here so we’re not supposed to be acting as enforcers.

      I had one group of panicked passengers look at my open front door, with nobody waiting to board, wondering if they could exit the front door. I said yes and explained that it’s best to look outside for boarding passengers and to exit the rear door if people are waiting.

      If you encounter problems with specific drivers, by all means send in a complaint but make sure to try an understand the situation and word your complaint in a way that provides constructive criticism. We get a lot of bogus complaints that get tossed. We read every complaint that comes in. If the driver isn’t following policy or making reasonable exceptions, we will have a conversation with our chief about it.

  5. Purely selfish complaint: due to the RapidRide service change in West Seattle, it is no longer possible to stay on the 5 from near my house on Phinney all the way to the Junction without transferring, because the same bus turned into the 55. Now the 5 turns in to the 21, which is Delridge. I hate transfers.

    1. If you hate transfers that much, are you willing to walk the less then 1/2 mile from 35th and Alaska to the Junction instead? The 21 uses 35th SW, not Delridge.

      1. A half mile isn’t a disaster, even an ugly half mile, but it’s not what I want. I said this was a purely selfish complaint!

    2. You only hate transfers because terrible frequenies, atrocious reliability, and even worse last-mile-into-downtown slogs make Seattle transfers hell.

      How many times per day did you transfer without difficulty when you lived in Boston and New York?

      1. Well, riding the bus in the central parts of New York or Boston is a special kind of hell. When I was in Washington Heights I took the bus once instead of the subway, and had my mind blown — at one point we went down Fifth Avenue at 0.5 MPH for almost an hour, three or four cycles of the red light at every block.

        But transfering on the subway in either city was always a breeze — even the complicated transfers were fun because it was like walking through a giant machine. London and Mexico City are a blast in this same regard. In Mexico City, you’re not just walking past shops, but GENUINE AZTEC TEMPLES.

        Transferring from anything to anything in Seattle is a gigantic pain in the ass in contrast. And multi-modal transfers are commute-killers (even in New York or Boston).

      2. QED.

        (And yet in Seattle, people can’t/won’t even transfer to the subway to get across downtown, because it’s too deep and too exasperating, and full of buses holding up the trains. So people get pissed if every single bus doesn’t offer direct service to every single inch of the CBD.)

      3. The subways in manhattan are ALWAYS better than busses. I would even go downtown to cross over to the ues rather than use a crosstown bus. Subway transfers worked for the most part, but frequency issues (on the F train specifically) still did exist even in nyc…

      4. Modal choice by speed in Manhattan, most of the time:
        #1: Subway
        #2: Walking
        #3: Pedicab
        #4: Bicycle
        #5: Taxi
        #6: Bus
        #7: Private car

        (I may have this slightly off, but basically in Manhattan if you can’t take the subway and you’re in a hurry, your best bet is to walk. Everything else is for people not in a hurry.)

    3. Yes, and by no longer interlinking the 124 and 26 I no longer have the option when arriving at Sea-Tac late at night, of taking Link to the TIBS and catching the 124 for basically door-to-door service. For three times a year, it was heavenly. If the new interlinking is more reliable, I’ll take it, but it’s yet to be determined. I’m still pissed that there was no notice the new interlink changed the southbound stops, however.

      1. taking Link to the TIBS and catching the 124 for basically door-to-door service

        You’re willing to stretch the label of “door to door service” to one transfer but not two?

      2. Why would it be so good to transfer at TIBS but so bad to transfer downtown, which gets you a faster ride?

        And I’m still perplexed why you are so bothered by your drop off stop downtown moving one block…

    4. I have a similar selfish complaint, but mine is with the no-longer-interlining 124-26. From Tukwila to the front door of work in South Lake Union sure was nice.

  6. New thread — now featuring 100% fewer f-bombs from me! I’ll do my best to keep it that way.

    For those that missed it: Yesterday at 12:10 pm, Metro’s David Hull admitted on a live blog that the RapidRide stop at Market Street — one of the key stations on the entire line — will not be getting any off-board payment or real-time information features for AN ENTIRE YEAR due to “site problems”. Only when a new development is completed and they move the stop from its current, correct location to a flawed location on the north side of the intersection will they be able to hook anything up properly.

    According to Metro logic, this is not a big enough deal to bother mentioning until the service has been live for three days, and even then it is worth little more than a shrug.


      1. It’s only a “temporary” stop because they seem to “need” to move it to hook up the features that should be able to function and a given in ANY location.

        The current far-side location is infinitely better than the proposed location!

        This one is incompetence of the highest order; don’t waste everyone’s patience defending it.

      2. they seem to “need” to move it to hook up the features that should be able to function and a given in ANY location.

        You are correct, they do need to hook it up in order for real time arrival information and ORCA readers to function. Without power and a network connection, the signs and readers are little more than nonporous wind socks.

        The current far-side location is infinitely better than the proposed location

        So it sounds like the issue here is that you disagree with Metro’s stop placement guidelines, not any issue with money or incompetence.

      3. Actually, can you clarify the complaint here? The wording is confusing me

        It’s only a “temporary” stop because they seem to “need” to move it to hook up the features that should be able to function and a given in ANY location.

      4. Every streetlight and every lamppost in this city is a potential power source.

        And a competent implementation of RapidRide IT would have allowed for wireless signboard and readers communication.

        Meanwhile, far-side stops are preferable the preponderance of the time, and Metro’s own placement policies reflect this.

        At this intersection, a south-side location provided both better pedestrian access to central Ballard and a transfer to and from the eastbound 44 that better reflects actual usage patterns.

        The current stop location is better. Period. That’s why the station is there. If Metro gave half a spit about RapidRide, they’d have found a way to activate the features there years ago.

        (You’re back on STB with the contortionist-quality defenses of Metro blunders, I see!)

      5. Every streetlight and every lamppost in this city is a potential power source.

        Evidently not

        And a competent implementation of RapidRide IT would have allowed for wireless signboard and readers communication.

        How do you think the bus communicates with TSP?

        At this intersection, a south-side location provided both better pedestrian access to central Ballard and a transfer to and from the eastbound 44 that better reflects actual usage patterns.

        Why don’t you do something with your self-purported vast knowledge of pedestrian circulation other than moaning about it on a blog’s comments section?

        You’re back on STB with the contortionist-quality defenses of Metro blunders, I see

        No, I just happened to look this thread and found it hilarious how upset you get about little things. You’ve obvioiusly got your mind made up about the issues without considering other factors, I’m just here to remind you that there are (at least) two sides to every story. Did you once see me say “This is absolutely the best place for the stop”? Because I could care less if there are any stops in Ballard.

      6. In the the last thread, David L explained that as a former 15 driver, he and others actually lobbied to get the stop moved to its current location FROM the ineffective former location that will become the ineffective future location. Plus, I freaking LIVE HERE. So yes, I know what I’m talking about.

        Metro just began a flagship service that had been in planning (and sales-tax funded) for six years, and EVERY FEATURE IS BROKEN OR MISSING. I feel bad for you if you’re so complacent and accustomed to mediocrity as to take that lying down.

      7. Plus, I freaking LIVE HERE. So yes, I think I know what I’m talking about.

        Fixed that for ya. In a previous thread you claimed that “nobody” walks from stop A to stop B, which is a ridiculously outlandish claim that would be impossible for you to verify without watching both stops during the entire span of service seven days a week. Nor do you know the origin and destination of every rider that uses this RapidRide stop. So forgive me if I don’t put much stock in your “I know this area” claims. I can’t imagine you take the time to observe behavior much more than the time it takes you to pass through the area. That is, unless you get paid to people watch, a scenario about as likely as a comment originating from you that doesn’t have capital letters.

        Let us examine this a bit more, as clearly you have not considered all viewpoints, which your arrogant tone seems to indicate:

        Every streetlight and every lamppost in this city is a potential power source.

        So far I’ve ruled out people watcher, and I feel confident adding “Civil Engineer” to the list.
        In my informal observations, street lamps in Seattle are typically mounted to wooden telephone poles or are installed on metal posts designed specifically for the purpose of carrying a street lamp. These metal posts are typically mounted within a few inches of the curb. The telephone pole mounted lamps always receive electricity via overhead wires; the dedicated posts always receive power from underground lines. I don’t know or care what kind of lamps are used at this intersection, so I’ll examine both:

        In the case of the wooden pole, it would be impractical to tap in to this source. The only possible solution would be to tap in to the existing lines and add a new meter next to the shelter. This would involve running high voltage wire from a high pole to a shelter not much higher than your head. Sounds rather expensive for something that’s being used for under a year. In addition, you would likely run in to issues with the electrical code.

        In the case of the metal pole, these poles typically have an access cover located about 12 inches from the base of the pole. Inside is a pair of nutted wires that run the length of the pole. One end terminates at the light fixture and the other underground. From there, the wiring likely travels in some sort of conduit to a point where it intersects the main distribution line.

        Looking at this photo you’ll notice there are no cables attached to it. That means there can only be one source for the power: underground. The black knobby thing at the top is <a href="|3001622|3001654|3001655|3001284&forward=1"an antenna. Now, in order to feed this, you need to have access under the sidewalk. Even if the tech pylon were mounted directly next to the lamp post, you’d still have to run wire underground, which would involve cutting up part of the sidewalk–hardly practical for a stop that will only exist for a year. And no, you can’t just run a wire out the access cover.

        I hope this has been a valuable exercise in not taking things at face value and thinking through situations. While you may come up with practical solutions to various problems, just remember that your solution is not the only solution and that it is unlikely that you’ve thought of every contingency.

      8. “So you’re proposing that they spend thousands of dollars to hook up equipment at a temporary stop?


        How many tens of millions was spent on RapidRide? This is a drop in the bucket for costs, and adds significantly to the user experience.

      9. Sounds rather expensive for something that’s being used for under a year.

        Aarrghh! They wouldn’t need or want to move the stop of they’d developed the infrastructure properly.

        The stop being “temporary” is a bug, NOT a feature!!

      10. They’re not moving that stop for a reason. What do you think that reason is?

        I’ll give you two hints:
        It is not because of incompetence.
        It is not to spite you. Although I would very much enjoy this.

      11. 1000s of dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to the capital costs of purchasing the fleet of red and yellow “rail on wheels” buses.

      12. All is not lost, those pricey wienermobiles have three doors.

        And yes, while it is a drop in the bucket, those drops were likely allocated to other things, and given how mediocre the (RR) system is as a whole, there is no money to spare on temporary stops.

      13. Yes, they have a reason. A crappy reason. An invalid reason. A reason that would never be given credence if proffered by a transit agency that hadn’t already completely inured its customers to gross and perpetual incompetence.

        They also tried to hide this reason, failing to even acknowledge an absence of advertised features until directly confronted about it. Does that seem like the strategy of an agency with a “good” reason?

      14. What part of “the stop is in the right freaking place now, it’s already built, they owe it to the people who paid for it to get it freaking hooked up correctly” are you having trouble understanding?

        Keep calling this a “temporary” stop and I can only assume you’re drinking a massive goblet of the Kool-Aid.

      15. “the stop is in the right freaking place now” is just an opinion. Other than repeating it over and over you haven’t done anything to explain why the move was unsuccessful.

      16. No, not an opinion. Demonstrable fact. Because it was in the other location a decade ago, and unanimous consensus is that the other location was the wrong one.

        Tim, until yesterday’s revelation absolutely no one thought the current stop was “temporary”. Not the public, not Metro system planners, not those who installed the current RapidRide shelters. No one.

        But as soon as Metro announces that it’s “temporary” — for the stupidest possible reason — you suddenly act like it was always temporary.

        “We have always been at war with Eastasia.”

      17. Have you told Metro you think the stop should stay where it is? If it’s not moving for a year, there’s plenty of time to lobby Metro to change its mind.

      18. So it sounds like the issue here is that you disagree with Metro’s stop placement guidelines, not any issue with money or incompetence.

        Hardly. The current stop location meets Metro’s stop placement guidelines, which call for farside stops whenever possible, and for very good reason. Replacing it with a nearside stop at an intersection that has 1) an extremely long signal cycle and 2) a high volume of right-turning traffic is sheer folly.

        I can only imagine that this is some shady under-the-table deal with the developer.

        I have no sympathy for the argument that it’s hard to get power and a network connection to the farside stop. Other systems manage that task all the time.

      19. you suddenly act like it was always temporary

        Because this is the first I’ve ever heard of it. The amount I know about the D Line’s stops could fill a 3×5 card with enough space left over to list Led Zeppelin’s discography.

        I’m still waiting for you to divulge the reason as to why the stop is moving around.

        And yes, it is an opinion, because clearly someone disagrees with you as to the best place to put it. You keep saying north and south, and I don’t even know (or care) which direction(s) we’re talking about. You just keep yelling about how it’s wrong and you’re right without really giving any tidbits of information to sway anyone either direction. And it’s painfully obvious that your armchair quarterbacking doesn’t think out the contingencies of your desired solutions.

      20. Why is the onus on d.p. to explain why Metro is moving the stop from the current location? Because he mentioned that he heard about it? That doesn’t make sense.

        Here’s the background we have so far from his posts (and David L’s):
        1) The stop used to be on the near-side of the intersection many years ago.
        2) In the last few years it was moved to the far-side after driver (and presumably rider) complaints. This move put it in line with Metro stop placement guidelines, which it previously did not comply with. The move was not due to any development activities at the site.
        3) The stop was designated a RapidRide D stop and started service as such this weekend, but does not have functional ORCA readers or real-time displays. It’s not clear to me if it has RapidRide branded shelters, but I don’t think that’s particularly relevant here.
        4) For reasons unknown outside of Metro, the existing stop (which has been there for several years now) is going to be moved back to the old location.
        5) As a result the current RapidRide D stop is being considered “temporary” by Metro and therefore will not have the usual RapidRide station amenities installed.

        I think d.p. (and David L) has been pretty clear about why the stop shouldn’t be moved:
        – Metro’s own stop placement guidelines call for the stop to remain where it is.
        – The design of, and traffic through, the intersection mean that the stop is already in the best location.
        – Waiting a year to move the stop to a bad location just for easier power and data hookups is probably penny-wise and pound-foolish due to increased operating costs of a poorly-located stop.

        On their flagship service, Metro should not be cutting corners by waiting a year to install a station in the wrong place. If it means that a few stops somewhere else have to go without new shelters due to the “extra” capital spending at this stop, so be it. Metro has known for years that this stop upgrade was coming and should have budgeted for it appropriately. A one year delay to save a few thousand dollars on construction costs is ridiculous.

        As for this thread: Geeze Tim, lay off. If your knowledge of this stop is as limited as you say then I don’t see why you feel the need to keep badgering people about it. Talk about armchair quarterbacking. Yes, d.p. is sharing his opinion. Yes, he uses more exclamation points and caps than we PNW natives are used to. No, we bloggers don’t know what the utilities are like under that section of sidewalk. Maybe Metro does, and has a good reason for wanting to move the station, who knows. Certainly not any of us. Blasting each other on the internet is not going to unravel this.

      21. Because this is the first I’ve ever heard of it.

        This is the first anyone’s heard of it.

        Because Metro willfully hid the fact that the Market Street wasn’t ready to go until yesterday!!!!

      22. David Seater: “Why is the onus on d.p. to explain why Metro is moving the stop from the current location?”

        Because he’s the one throwing out this conspiracy theory: “Yes, they have a reason. A crappy reason. An invalid reason. A reason that would never be given credence if proffered by a transit agency that hadn’t already completely inured its customers to gross and perpetual incompetence. They also tried to hide this reason”

        It’s highly accusatory and has absolutely zero evidence to back it up, nor does it actually divulge the reason but alludes to the fact that he knows what the reason is. Or this is just him playing the blame game again.
        There is also zero mention of the reason why it is being moved to the farside, when three opinions here feel that nearside is better. Obviously, one or more persons inside the agency had strong enough evidence that it should be located farside. d.p. alludes to knowing why they made this decision, but I have a feeling that it’s just him jumping to point out how incompetent everyone is compared to him.
        Technical issues, such as power availability, would be nearly identical at either location. My point was that it’s not trivial to install it. Network issues are different; they may be tapping off a traffic signal cabinet (that’s what they did on the A Line), and if that box is located farside, they’d have to run a line under the street. That can definitely be done–there is usually just one signal cabinet at an intersection and I know for a fact that there are two stops here. Best case scenario is that you only have to fish one line; worst case is two.

        Because Metro willfully hid the fact that the Market Street wasn’t ready to go until yesterday

        Now you’re just throwing labels around for the hell of it. They willfully withheld information? You’re overreacting to the extreme. While I have not seen the project’s schedule, I imagine it was on the to do list. But it got bumped off the critical path close to the deadline, and with it being such a minor component of such a major service change, someone did not deem it necessary to call a press conference to alert the public that some amenities at one of the 6,500 stops in the system would not have its full passenger amenities.

        Here’s another one for you:
        Sometimes I listen to Metro’s radio traffic. I’ll hear about blockages as the drivers are alerted to them. Between five and 15 minutes later, the same information shows up in my inbox. Under d.p.’s laws of the universe, does this mean that they purposely withheld information for 15 minutes? Are the people in the control center sitting there with a big smile on their face going “boy it sure is fun to have information and not give it to people!” Or is it that they just suck at getting information out in a timely manner?

      23. It’s hardly a “conspiracy theory” to suggest that Metro has been trying to mask all of the failures with RapidRide.

        10 minutes was reduced to 15, and they didn’t tell the public until they absolutely had to.

        Off-board readers failed to materialize downtown, and they didn’t tell anyone until Adam Parast pointedly asked.

        The Market Street fiasco wasn’t revealed until three days after service began!

        They’ve had 6 years to work on this. They had plenty of time to fix any problem. But not only did they fail to fix it — they failed to tell anyone about it.

        In what universe does that not qualify as “intentionally withholding” information?

        And the stop is farside currently. As everyone agrees is ideal. You clearly haven’t a clue what you’re talking about!

      24. Still waiting for you to explain why Metro is moving the stop around. You allude to knowing why and claim it’s a crappy reason, but haven’t yet admitted to the reason. Therefore, it’s not a reason but a theory.

      25. [ad-hominem]

        Metro claims technical “site problems” a the farside.

        Which, if RapidRide pylon technology were up to snuff, would and should be a fatuous rationale.

      26. That’s still really vague. They have problems with it being sited there? There are problems at the site?

      27. The vagueness is, in and of itself, evidence that Metro is making *excuses* rather than providing *reasons*.

        Now, the following (which is not true) would be a reason:
        “Directly under the current stop location is a gigantic, shallow gas line and we cannot run electricity lines within 20 feet of it”.

        Now, that is not happening or they would have said so.

      1. …And for once, I manage not to be the first person to curse on an STB post!

        No. I am not [spitting] you.

      2. Metro didn’t care enough to get downtown stops orca readers. Why would they get motivated to install them at Market?

      3. Ryan did you read the reasoning for that? They would have, but decided to wait and piggyback off a Seattle PD project to save money.

        For d.p.: I am not, as you consistently label my behavior, defending Metro. Instead, I am merely pointing out the reason. Had I been in charge I would’ve put the RR project on hold until the SPD project was complete or just went ahead and built my own network. Off-board payment is a critical component of BRT, and given the characteristics of the C/D Lines, I find the term “enhanced bus” more fitting of the current implementation.

      4. I’m wondering if they shouldn’t have delayed this rollout until they could have had more the BRT-like features working. I doubt many people are feeling the love so much they couldn’t have waited another six months or a year

      5. Neither the A nor B line are anything like BRT so I don’t think time would have helped. A is more BRT-like than B is, however.

      6. True Tim, but I meant that at least a few of the sort of BRT features could be implemented, like next bus coming signage and off bus payment. Right now my experience was it’s just a repainted bus that’s more full than usual.

      7. “I’m wondering if they shouldn’t have delayed this rollout until they could have had more the BRT-like features working. I doubt many people are feeling the love so much they couldn’t have waited another six months or a year”

        If I were still living in Ballard, I would not want them to delay a year. I spent too much time in Ballard walking between 15th and 24th, wishing the buses were consolidated on one street or the other, or walking down to 15th & Leary to catch the next bus not. Now in the daytime six days a week, both 15th and 24th have frequent service, which is a luxury I wouldn’t have imagined possible. The only time 24th has less than previous service is the three hours after 10pm DP has been howling about. And even then, Ballard is not abandoned, as the D is 15-minutes 10-11 and 30-minutes 11-1.

      8. Mike, in exchange for equivalent service on 15th and slightly more frequent daytime service on 24th (albeit service I make much use of since I head to and from Northgate two mornings a week before work), I have lost anything resembling frequent service after the evening rush, and my morning commute to Interbay has lengthened from a scheduled 10-minute trip to an unscheduled 30-minute trip with no realtime arrival info.

        I would frequently take the bus back to Ballard from hanging out with my friends on Capitol Hill. That is no longer an effective option, since the 17 has disappeared, the 40 maintains the same hourly evening schedule the 18 used to, and RR D comes every half-hour to forty-five minutes. Not to mention I’ve lost my 3:15 night owl entirely, so if I close down the bar I must take a cab back.

        Essentially, Metro has added $40 a week to my socialization bill.

      9. Ballard to capitol hill is about 6 miles. If you are paying $40 for a cab ride for that distance, you are way overpaying. It shouldn’t cost more than $15-20 max.

      10. I spent too much time in Ballard walking between 15th and 24th

        Weren’t these the streets that d.p. said “nobody” walked between?

      11. No, I said that nobody walks between them when better options are available, and certainly not when they might be waiting 30 minutes for a bus with no goddamned clue when it’s coming.

      12. I hated going to a 15 stop, finding out the next bus was an 18, and figuring out whether I had enough time to walk to the 18 stop, and what the likelyhood was that either bus might be late and whether that affected whether I should stay at the same stop or walk to the other stop. The worst is when you start walking from a stop, a late bus sails past behind you, you get to the other stop, and you’ve missed that bus too.

        I assume you live somewhere between 20th and 30th, since you value the 40 so highly and don’t consider the D an equivalent substitute.

        RapidRide does have a schedule when it’s less than 15 minutes; i.e., after 11pm.

        This “30 to 45 minute” wait for the D is an exaggeration unless the traffic is extraordinary or it’s between 1am and 5am.

        The D does have a 3:30am run. It’s easy to miss on the schedule because it’s the top line, whereas we’re used to seeing it on the bottom line.

        Capitol Hill to Ballard has always taken an hour, so what else is new? The fastest way is to take the 8 and transfer to the D at KeyArena. The slowest way is to take the 43/44.

      13. The 30-minute waits with no information can (and already have) happened at any time of day, because the official 15-minute frequency is inadequate, reliability features are non-existent, the bus doesn’t show up on OneBusAway, and there’s no info sign at the stop because Metro fucked up!

        Also, I have already come home from Capitol Hill after 10 on multiple occasions since the change. Now that the 15-minute waits from downtown for something — anything — headed in Ballard’s direction have dropped to as long as 35 minutes, circuitous-ass 43/44 is now the least worst way to go.

        Which is pathetic!

      14. So now you’re blaming Metro for the bus being late due to all the SOV Madonna traffic?

        I’m thinking that the easiest solution for Kyle S., and perhaps d.p. is to move if you feel that Ballard buses are so terrible. Mike Orr got it.

      15. Go to hell, “Tim who thinks a subway to freaking Federal Way running at 15 minutes until 1 AM is a necessity.”

        I live in the city. I live in a density-focused, supposedly car-free-friendly place that already exists (unlike the Fantasyland future Downtown Federal Way or New Lynnwood).

        Expecting not to be fucked over by a “BRT” service should be about my minimum demand!

      16. Oh, and I went to the Madonna show. Didn’t get over until 12:30 AM. Had absolutely nothing to do with RapidRide’s shittiness during its “unscheduled” periods.

      17. “a subway to freaking Federal Way running at 15 minutes until 1 AM is a necessity”
        I don’t recall saying that but OK.

        “I live in the city. I live in a density-focused, supposedly car-free-friendly place that already exists”
        So do I, Mr. Holier-Than-Thou. And I’ll be getting rail before you do. Unless I move.

      18. Oh, you moved back to the U-District from Des Moines or wherever?

        Good for you.

        The U-District is a shithole.

        Only in Seattle would your choice be: a shithole; the outer suburbs; or lousy transit.

      19. I wonder when DP is going to move to Capitol Hill or the U-District or Rainier Valley rather than stewing angrily in Ballard. It’s not like Ballard had excellent service before the change. Seattle’s transit is spotty, and improvements are far too slow and incremental. That’s just a given. I’m sorry if the disappointment was sudden and you’re stuck in a lease or condo, but the thing to do is enjoy Ballard’s charms now and plan to move at the first opportunity.

        I actually didn’t leave Ballard because of transit. I like Ballard’s atmosphere, I enjoy the view on the 44 and its quiet trolley and late hours, and I liked the 15’s speed on 15th. I left because I’d been laid off from my Ballard job and all my activities were outside the neighborhood.

      20. Because Ballard is lovely, walkable, and is “urban” in more positive than negative ways (unlike sprawly SE Seattle, poorly laid out and ugly Capitol Hill, or shitpile U-District).

        It was also promised significant transit improvement in exchange for absorbing a disproportionate share and rapid rate of development over the last 20 years.

        Forcing people to choose between an undesirable living environment and lousy transit — when those people have already chosen density and city living — is a great way to turn people off support for transit. Bravo!

      21. Because Ballard is lovely, walkable, and is “urban” in more positive than negative ways

        I am so glad I was not drinking anything while reading this. Who made these promises to you? Because you need to get a refund.

        Perhaps if you had chosen Belltown instead of Ballard you wouldn’t be quite the negative Nancy you are today. And by the way, the U-District has been, and will be for quite possibly forever, a college town. People who live in the U-District and are not associated with the UW are in the extreme minority.


        Can you please try to work slightly harder not to reveal your incredible ignorance every time you touch your keyboard.

        As the “Hub Urban Village” specifically targeted for the most radical change in density and urban scape, major improvements in mass transportation were always implictly (and often explicitly) part of the bargain.

        Both the city and the transit agencies have failed to maintain their end of that bargain.

      23. Perhaps if you had chosen Belltown…

        If I wanted to live in an overpriced drug market, I probably would have chosen Pioneer Square.

      24. “It was also promised significant transit improvement in exchange for absorbing a disproportionate share and rapid rate of development over the last 20 years.”

        Since I’ve lived here most of my life and have seen plenty of suboptimal upgrades, I took an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude. I’ll believe in Ballard’s transit upgrade when I see it on the ground. I also felt the same way about Link. So I make my housing decisions based on what Ballard currently has, not on what it might or might not have someday.

        Ultimately the issue goes back to the Monorail. The Monorail was supposed to be the solution for Ballard, and there was no plan B. Then it unravelled and they had to start thinking of something else, and they still haven’t come up with anything adequate. The Ballard streetcar isn’t it. Seattle Subway has a ready suggestion, but it’s still unofficial.

        “the U-District has been, and will be for quite possibly forever, a college town. People who live in the U-District and are not associated with the UW are in the extreme minority.”

        I lived on 56th for 14 years, and it’s mostly post-student up there. The student influence diminshes noticeably north of 50th, at least culturally if not numerically. I’d recommend University Heights (as this part of the U-District is called) to anyone who wants a neighborhood something more normal than “Husky hype”, but still with close access to frequent transit, all-day expresses, scores of restaurants and shops, pedestrians 24 hours, and lots of apartments to choose from. (Although the best time to find openings is January-July.)

      25. Far, far away from Seattle I’m living at a location which has been “high priority” for receiving a sidewalk for about 40 years. No sidewalk yet. Not expecting to see a sidewalk any time soon.

        I’ve grown to not believe promises from governments or businesses.

      26. Mike, I do agree with your points about areas north of 56th. Defining neighborhood boundaries is something that will never be agreed upon. But the areas closer to Ravenna are definitely home to fewer students. In fact, I’ve seen many families–young and middle-aged couples with childen, and older couples whose children have moved out–living between Roosevelt and 20-whateverth north of 52nd.

    1. Seems kind of silly given the bus stop was on the corner at the Denny’s for decades and was only moved to the Walgreens side circa 2004 (the Denny’s was still open so the move was for operational reasons, not due the demolishion and redevelopment of the site).

      I guess everything old is new again.

  7. The comments on the West Seattle Blog are pretty damning- a lot of people are going back to driving their SOV, at least for now. Was there a reduction in the total number of seats crossing the bridge each day, or are West Seattlites just being histrionic? Regardless, West Seattle is pissed right now, this is the perfect opportunity for Seattle Subway to swing in and make a strong proposal on how we actually fix things. I’ve commented Seattle Subway to death on Tracy’s blog in the last few months; it’s time for the experts to show up and say something.

      1. There are complaints about one particular bus bulb allowing the bus to block the only traffic lane in that direction. The complaints are not about bus bulbs in general.

      1. Adding 56’s would have the benefit of making the most entitled riders ride together. I’m so glad I don’t have to be on that bus.

    1. People will get used to the bus bulbs. But the histrionics have a point – morning peak RR buses are filling up at the Alaska Junction and driving right by people on Alaska/Avalon who are standing there at their $pecially-Branded RAPID RIDE “stations” waiting for the shiny new bus they voted for and were supposed to love. They voted to pay more for better service and their experience of it is far worse than the 54/55 it replaced. Just this morning I witnessed a full bus driving by the station at Findlay at 9am and not stopping for a crowd of about 20 people with incredulous looks on their faces.

      I’m all for getting a critical mass of transit riders on this corridor primed for rail service, but right now, people over here are wondering if anyone at Metro can actually use a spreadsheet. Might be time for some public outreach.

      1. It is not necessary to start every RapidRide run from Westwood. Some could deadhead up I-35th and start mid-route. There is very little ridership boarding until the Morgan Junction. Every minute saved, and every bus that can be added, will help at this point. I bet they are scavenging some B-Line buses.

      2. Brent, I think I saw that this morning. I was taking a 21 heading north on 35th SW and a ‘hot dog’ RR bus passed us and turned left at Morgan.

    2. It may be a good time to push Seattle Subway, but West Seattle may not want to hear how low in the priority they are. Ballard-downtown and Ballard-UW have more dense neighborhoods along their corridors, and their rapid-transit needs are more acute because they don’t have a highway to bring the bus up to subway speed. Even Aurora has greater ridership and need, because while the corridor is not that dense, it’s very long and straight, has more business that attract people from outside the area, and connects directly to the next county.

      West Seattle has made itself unattractive to rapid transit by its strident opposition to density, except for small pockets around Alaska Junction and Alki, but even those are small. The same reason parts of West Seattle lost all-day bus service this week is the same reason it’s a weak candidate for a subway. If West Seattle wants to improve its chances, it should arrange for some larger urban villages in a clear subway corridor (not scattered at random), or raise some neighborhood funds to accellerate a line study, or support a levy large enough to build all four lines simultaneously.

      1. By voting for Seattle Subway, West Seattleites can save Metro money currently being spent in Ballard that can then be reinvested in service in their own neighborhood.

      2. West Seattle will rise up the priority list because you cannot pass a ballot measure in the city without them. The city’s decision to leave them out of this round of plans was shocking, and I expect it will be reversed before very long.

        Density is only one element of determining where a new rail line would go. There’s also the issue of coverage. Under current plans, West Seattle is the largest part of the city that would not have rail around 2020. It’s a huge oversight and if our goal is to provide a robust rail network that allows people to get out of their cars and make a more sensible set of choices, West Seattle needs to be included.

        If anyone cares, I live north of the Ship Canal.

      3. Yes Mike, but it’s the political priority that matters, not the technical priority, when decisions get made about what to build.

        I can’t see two North Seattle getting two Link extensions before a line at least to the Alaska Junction gets built, especially if it is Seattle-only financing.

      4. So… West Seattle would shoot up the rail priority list because lots of people that live nowhere near the walkshed of any plausible train stops will support it even though it increases the likelihood of their one-seat bus rides downtown being turned into rail feeders, which they’ll ultimately complain about? I’m not saying that’s not true, but it is sort of weird. Would Ballard give a rip about a 358 train?

      5. “If West Seattle wants to improve its chances, it should arrange for some larger urban villages”

        The height restrictions are the main problem. The Admiral District, Westwood Village, and White Center could easily become urban villages. Not sure about Morgan Junction because I haven’t seen it enough. The commercial areas don’t necessary have to get wider but they should get taller.

      6. Alaska Junction is the best urban village in West Seattle, but it’s still not very big or tall.

      7. Comment from the WSB:

        “Drove today. Got a seat.”
        Comment by Rich — 8:32 am October 3, 2012 #

        I live in West Seattle (in an old house with tall, skinny townhomes behind it instead of a backyard, no less!) and when I talk to people here, the general consensus is that we just can’t take very many more people unless somebody improves the commute. That’s what people here care about- their commute time, their commuting comfort.

        The West Seattle Bridge is a parking lot during rush hour now. You cannot densify without adding to commute times since even one more bus slows down the bridge just that little bit more. There are not multiple routes off the peninsula- it’s mainly just the Bridge and it’s at capacity and getting worse by the day.

        I do agree that we need to pay money and get it done NOW.

        The idea that we should densify more for five or ten years to “earn” an subway is honestly just laughable- The Eyemanites and NIMBYs will have long sued density developers into oblivion and put a couple more car bridges across the Duwamish to I-5 by then! LOL.

      8. cascadianone, I understand their sentiment but the issue is more complicated than that. If we spend millions of dollars for a subway, it would not be just to improve commuting but to make it easier to live without a car (or to drive it only occasionally). This means looking wholistically at both work and non-work trips, and also taking into account the range of businesses and amount of housing within walking distance of the stations. If we just want to improve the commute, we should look at a lower-cost approach, such as more buses on the D, 120, 128, and 50, and a peak-hour transit lane on the bridge.

        My point is that it’s a two-sided effort. The transit agencies must provide better transit, and the neighborhoods must become more walkable and have more walkable housing to meet the latent demand. Of course, it’s a give-and-take, and one might come first and the other follow it. But the point is, while West Seattlites may feel they can’t grow without better transit, and their three-bridge situation requires better transit up front rather than later, the counterargument is that subways cost a lot of money and they need to go where the transit need is greatest and the neighborhood is most pro-density. The 45th corridor is strong on both counts. West Seattle, you know it better than I do, but the general outsiders’ impression is it’s not so sure about growth and wants to keep its high parking minimums (which detract from walkability).

        If we had plenty of money, I’d say build subways to every neighborhood now and let them grow in their own time. In fact, I do say that, because we need to get over the hurdle of the trunk infrastructure and then it’ll be there. But when there’s limited funds, you have consider which lines would provide the most benefit quickly. The other commentors may be right, that West Seattle may get priority for political reasons, and because it’s a quarter of the city. I said that too. That would be a good thing. As long as it doesn’t mean that Ballard and 45th have to wait five or ten more years because of it.

      9. That’s what people here care about- their commute time, their commuting comfort.

        That’s because West Seattle is a suburb.

        That’s why those people chose it — to “get away” from the city, while having easy commuting access to it. They’re trying to have it both ways.

        Suburbs are bad investments for all-day rail, because almost nobody — nobody, Mike, no matter how “pretty-please-pinky-swear” much they promise — gives up their cars, ceases to drive for most of their errands, or ends up using the subway during the hours when driving still seems “easier”.

        West Seattle is a suburb. Fuck the suburbs’ demands.

  8. To drill down to some of the mess that the first few days of the New Era bring, go to the Metro site and try and figure out the new 31/32. The map contradicts the schedule and the schedule has a stop that doesn’t even exist SW bound(40th Ave NE and NE 50th). I called Metro and the customer service person said it might be a 75 that continues as a 32 or 31 but that really is neither helpful or explains the mistakes. She finally said that the 32 starts at 40th and Sand Point Way but I saw one at 50th and Sand Point. Of course the sign on the stop only lists the 75 and there is no sign (yet) at 40th and Sand Point. Nor is it clear where the route terminates going in the opposite (NE) direction. How many other problems like this are out there?

    1. The stop at 40th/50th is a 65 stop. Buses stopping there are coming from or continuing to the 65.

      No, the schedule doesn’t make this easy to figure out at all…

      1. To clarify my own post, since I posted it from a phone…

        The 31, 32, 65, and 75 are now all interlined.

        Because Metro is trying to promote their new 15-minute corridor from Emerson/Dravus all the way to Children’s Hospital, they included the Children’s Hospital timepoint in the 31/32 schedule.

        The trouble is that the 65 and 75 don’t change signs on inbound trips until well after they pass Children’s Hospital. And the 31/32 schedule doesn’t give the rider any indication of that.

        Inbound 65 buses will stop at 40th NE/NE 50th. They should be signed “65” at that point, but they will (almost) all turn into 31 or 32 trips. Inbound 75 buses will stop at Sand Point Way/NE 50th. They should be signed “75” at that point, but will (almost) all turn into 31 or 32 trips. If you are trying to catch a 31 or 32 near Children’s, you have two problems: 1) you have to figure out which stop to wait at, and 2) you have to know it will be signed “65” or “75.” The schedule doesn’t help with this at all.

  9. OBA is possible even worse than the Metro site in that it doesn’t give you some of the stops. Like the NE bound endpoint. I don’t know what’s going on with OBA but when you see that the 65 left 27 minutes early from it’s starting location on a Sunday something is wrong… And actually it didn’t, it was on time. OBA was off.

    1. OBA lists all the stops that Metro says the bus stops at. As to why the departure time was wildly off, this should explain why.

      Also, try the handy “Reply” link at the bottom corner of a post.

      1. Sorry I didn’t hit “reply.” Also sorry that I didn’t see that the link provided any user-friendly information on why OBA got the departure time so wrong. Yes, there are technical and coordination challenges but to the end-user it either works or it doesn’t. Among my little circle the comments go something like, “I wish it worked more often” or “It used to work pretty well.” Or the ringing endorsement, “It’s better than nothing.” Once you stop believing that OBA can give you accurate information it’s pretty much down hill from there.

      2. Hi Tim,

        I still don’t see how OBA gets a bus to leave it’s starting location 27 minutes early, with or without GPS. Unless there’s a warp in the space-time-continuum. Hey, a sequel for Loopers where someone goes back in time to catch a bus that’s left early.

      3. Putting on my One Bus Away hat for a moment…

        First, as mentioned, OBA doesn’t do any prediction stuff. We display the number provided to us by Metro, or any of the other transit agencies in the application.

        So, how does a bus leave 27 minutes early and yet show up on time? Simple answer: a bug in the data. What bug is that? No idea, there are a few that we often see. How do we fix it? Well, we need data to look at so we can get an idea of what the patterns are, which lets us narrow down the cause and patch it.

        Best way to get us that data? Use the ‘Report a Problem With This Trip’ option in the iOS and Android apps. Give us details – even if they appear trivial – that can help us. “NOT HERE” isn’t helpful. “I’ve been at the stop since 12:30, it’s now 1:00, and OBA says the bus left 10 minutes ago – but it hasn’t come.” is very helpful.

        We get a few hundred reports a week, and many aren’t useful. So, the more we get, the faster we can identify issues and work with Metro (who really do care and are great to work with – and fixing issues is a priority) to get them patched.

        All that aside, it is also possible the coach had a mechanical issue, and had to head back to base early – which would also cause the coach to have “left” ~27 minutes early. There are also instances where a coach is swapped out, resulting in coaches data being assigned to the wrong trip, but those are both pretty rare.

  10. Transit in Seattle is wonderful. I’ve been in a 12 step Transit Geek program, and between the counselling sessions, group friends, and some medications, my whole outlook has changed.
    Any bus at the stop is a blessing – regardless of when it comes or where it’s going.
    … and Link… don’t even get me started.

  11. 19 did better this time. Surprisingly packed, though, and a lot of people using it as a local in downtown which is new. I blame the “Seattle Center” appended to it on the new signs. 14 standees at peak, 7 at the bridge, 20 people remaining on the bus when it hit Viewmont. New route still seems slower. Home later, for sure, and it feels like it leaves the stop around the same time or even a bit earlier.

    Apparently there was some (wire?) stop-all-buses problem on 3rd and Marion or Madison behind us around 4:45 that we just escaped?

    1. Welcome to 3rd Avenue. Magnolia commuters were getting a unique break before, because their buses were the only Seattle buses left on 4th. This is how it is for everyone else.

      1. Yah, no kidding. I’m not sure if the overall bus driving level is better on 4th or it’s simply less crowded, but everything seems to be in the way on 3rd. 4th is a smooth oiled machine by comparison.

        I suppose it also helped that all the other buses turned off halfway through. Alas. Don’t see why the change was all that necessary…

        (Come to think of it, even if there was late night service, I’d be twitchy about taking the bus late from 3rd. And I was pretty comfortable hanging around for 40 minutes at night on 4th in Belltown back in the day.)

      2. Actually parts of 3rd are dead late night – I was downtown last night and the stretch from Marion north almost all the way to Union was very quiet. Pike/Pine, of course, was another story.

      3. It may just specifically be a Pike/Pine and points north thing. When I was changing buses late night to the 24, I was generally coming from the north and changing from the 5 (or the 358 – yeah, I found 3rd sketchier than Aurora). When I missed my stop I ended up some blocks down on 3rd. I soon learned not to miss my stop.

  12. When Rapid Ride “F” Starts, the “C” line needs to be extended to connect to it to allow West Seattle-Tukwilla/Renton Connectivity. I was looking at making a similar loop and found it to be difficult for those who dont know the area. Also one observation from the tunnel on saturday, The operator was slow at opening the rear doors. Metro should reconfigure the coaches to have passenger operated rear doors (like Pierce Transit), and reconfigure the controls so they are easier for the operator to open the rear doors (get rid of the damn buttons! It takes one move of the arm and hand to open the front+rear doors on a conventional coach, 2 with the buttons. And we wonder why drivers are not opening rear doors…)

    1. The C/D is already an exceedingly long route and extending it further would be a recipe for delays. To get to the F (once it starts), connect from the C to the very frequent 120 at Westwood, and take it to the end of the line in Burien.

    2. La la, Metro has no money. It wants to extend the F to The Landing but that’s deferred. It’s also not clear that a one-seat ride from Renton to downtown via West Seattle is a good idea. But the general point remains that transit should be more seamless through this gap. I lean toward the idea of extending the 120 to the airport, replacing the 180.

  13. Part 1 of my report deals with RapidRide. I rode the CD line end-to-end, starting about 2:20 at Westwood and alighting ca. 3:40 at Holman.

    Serendipity met me there. I saw two red buses pull away, signed “Special”. Those were the two nearly-full buses mine leapfrogged at Market and then Leary. Yes, Larry Phillips, there is a lot of ridership in the counter-peak direction. My bus was fuller going that way at the front of peak than going in the peak direction a half hour earlier. Fortunately, car traffic was pretty light.

    I chose to get off instead of completing the round trip, lest I cause a West Seattleite to have an uncomfortable ride and post an idle threat to go back to driving at the WestSeattleBlog.

    Metro did indeed have a plan in case RapidRide got overwhelmed. Way to go!!!

    Parenthetical to this report, when I got on the 120 at Westwood yesterday, it was already nearly at full seat occupancy. It was just a couple of us getting on at Westwood.

  14. Leg 2 of my report is the Tunnel Time Trial.

    17:01:30 boarded Link at Westlake Station, standing next to Kevin Desmond, who didn’t recognize me. 17:11:45 alighted at Stadium Station. The longest delay was a 19-second wait in the tube approaching ID Station.

    17:17:50 boarded Link at Stadium Station. 17:33:10 alighted at Westlake Station. 80-second delays occured entering ID Station, University Street Station, and Westlake Station. Given that Link was at half-of-seats occupancy, it seems fair to wait at the entrance and give full buses priority. Anecdotally, there still seemed to not be enough ORCA boarding assistants, and most passengers (and some driver) remained oblivious to their presence.

    Also, I noticed clear examples of platooning not happening in the northbound direction after 18:00. I didn’t pay attention to whether platooning was happening during peak or southbound.

    1. In fairness to Kevin Desmond, Mark Dublin was standing next to me for about five minutes yesterday, and didn’t recognize me either.

    2. I still don’t understand why it should take 10 minutes to go four stops (1.5 miles) “without delay” on a completely exclusive ROW.

      As much as the MBTA’s Green Line door policy change in August has done damage to reliability, I still managed one or two miraculous 14-minute trips all the way from Park Street to Coolidge Corner last week.

      ST’s infrastructure is 100 years newer. Why the default slowness?

      1. It’s not exclusive ROW. It’s shared bus and train. FRA rules prohibit operation of a LRV and a bus within certain distances of each other.

      2. If it is operating “without delay”, that means it is not waiting behind buses.

        Still, operations are mysteriously slow.

      3. What’s the mystery? People are suddenly subject to new boarding procedures, which the other thread has indicated are operating very slowly. Where are you pulling this “without delay” from?

      4. Brent said his train passed through in one direction with only a single 19-second delay. Trip time: roughly 10.5 minutes.

        Link frequently takes 10 minutes to make that trip, even when you know for a fact (from standing on the platform) that there’s nothing in front of it.

        Fact: Link is needlessly slow downtown, even when running solo.

  15. Down the 5, Pierce Transit also had their shake-up last weekend. With the re-drawing of PTBA boundary coming into effect, I’m honestly going to miss that long slog of the 1 continuing on to the 402. TCC to Federal Way via Commerce, Parkland, Spanaway, Graham, South Hill, Puyallup and Edgewood was a nice, leisurely trip.

  16. The word “clusterf—” comes to mind when looking at this service change. The concerns that elimination of the Ride Free Area would bring bus gridlock to downtown appear to be have been completely validated, at least in my experience. Going north through the CBD on 3rd Ave these last two evenings has been an appalling experience, with significant delays at every stop. I actually didn’t think that it would be so bad, but people take their sweet ass time getting onto a bus. I’m not sure what can be done about that, at least under present circumstances. Buses were backed up all along the street. Took 20 minutes to get from Yesler to Stewart both evenings.

    The restructure has revealed major structural weaknesses in the Seattle bus system. 3rd Ave is already at the point where it needs to be transit-only. Off-board payment and POP on the buses, with fare inspection, is also something whose time has come. Too many buses serve the tunnel. Metro does not have the resources necessary to effectively handle frequent, high capacity service. That’s a major problem because when it comes time to seek more funding in 2014 to deal with the fiscal cliff, the public may not be in a giving mood thanks to Metro’s inability to deliver quality service.

    We’re also learning that West Seattle is badly underserved by transit and the decision to delay building rail to that neighborhood was not a wise one. Residents there are in open revolt and are highly likely to vote down any transit funding package that does not bring them significantly better service, including an actual plan to deliver rail. While some of the wonks here may object, the fact is that we live in a democracy, where decisions are made based on what the public wants and not on what transit planners want.

    1. 3rd Ave is already at the point where it needs to be transit-only.

      It is, with two exceptions:
      – GP traffic can travel up to one block on 3rd
      – Bikes can travel as far as they want.

    2. I see West Seattleites voting with their feet to stick with RapidRide instead of abandoning transit. The loudmouths at the West Seattle Flog represent nobody but themselves. If they can’t even post without a pseudonym, they have no credibility.

    3. I’m not sure why Metro still takes cash. Cash should be banned 7am-7pm throughout the CBD, as well as along all RapidRide lines and all busy frequent service routes.

      1. Metro is for whatever reason, unwilling to try and push people towards ORCA. I would personally raise all cash fares to $3, and then keep the same fare levels for ORCA. This would encourage a change right away.

      2. While Don may be sarcastic, we have some on the county council who really do see the issue as one of social justice. Of course, if the ORCA didn’t cost $5 to obtain (making it the most expensive contactless bus smart card in the country by far), and cash were still accepted outside the CBD, it wouldn’t be a social justice issue.

        That said, there are carrots still left to try. One is a low-income ORCA, that could be limited to the very-low income, by some simple means test such as EBT qualification.

        To those car-driving politicians who think you are respecting the time of the destitute, you are actually disrespecting the time of every single Metro bus rider, including the destitute.

      3. Interesting point. How many poor riders don’t have some kind of low-income ID by which they could be offered a discount ORCA card?

      4. No, because there will always be people that find excuses not to put money on an ORCA card. They can’t afford to have money sitting around… they wear tin foil hats… The TVM isn’t near enough… They don’t have a checking account/credit card…

      5. “if the ORCA didn’t cost $5 to obtain (making it the most expensive contactless bus smart card in the country by far)”

        <—- this, this, this.

        Make it free or at the very least make it a refundable deposit. Uptake will be much larger.

      6. Nope, just get rid of the paper transfers and you get a bunch of riders going for ORCA. Also, need to get rid of those Square Human Services daily pass. Replace those with a disposable ORCA card instead. (the disposable ORCA card can be also used as an all day pass for visitors and very occasional riders. Would be good on all services except SOUNDER.

  17. As a major transit fan from many travels around the world it really saddens me that it has come to this in Seattle. Our fragmented government structure has streetcars being built where no demand previously existed, and reliable bus routes being killed off by completely different agencies. We are talking about killing service in communities in the City of Seattle, not the least dense part of the region.
    I am someone who can afford to drive a reliable car, but I prefer the efficiency of transit (or biking or walking). Unless Metro and King County “get it” by the end of this week, this should be the equivalent of Nickels giving himself a “B” for snow response 4 years ago. Fresh paint, new buses, wifi, and slick looking bus stops aren’t fooling anyone. Only Steve Jobs can pull this kind of smoke and mirrors and still have enthusiastic customers.

    1. You know what I just realized?

      The 40 is embarrassing Metro regarding RapidRide because it’s so fast on Westlake.

      People in Greenwood don’t want the 5 to move off Aurora because it would be so slow on Dexter.

      If it weren’t for SDOT’s idiotic “rapid streetcar” plans, we could kill two birds with one stone by running the 40 on Dexter and the 5 on Westlake.

      (On the other hand, I’m not sure the 40 should be going downtown at all…)

      1. Morgan, the 26/28 are actually scheduled faster between Fremont and downtown than the 40 is. I’ve used both and I haven’t verified it with a stopwatch but Westlake is really slow through SLU.

      2. (Dexter is mostly not slow at all. The slow parts of a Dexter-ized 5 would be, south to north: the Mercer intersection; the Nickerson intersection; the reliability penalty of the Fremont Bridge; on/offs at 34th/Fremont; three traffic lights in as many blocks in lower Fremont. All these apply equally to Westlake.)

      3. Dexter has more traffic lights and a lower speed limit than Westlake. Dexter could overcome that with good signal priority and a higher speed limit for center-lane trains than the surrounding car lanes, but the city’s track record on that is not good. The SLUT fails on both counts. Link’s MLK segment has good signal priority but a mediocre speed limit.

    2. The problem isn’t the slowness of the D – it’s the quickness of the 40. Had they they done it right, they could have assigned the 40 a bunch of random loop-de-loops around Queen Anne and Fremont, and paid for it by cutting the frequency from every 15 minutes to every 30. This would make the D-line look frequent and rapid, comparatively speaking, without needing to spend any money on it.

  18. Does anyone know why the northbound 306/312/522 are going all the way to Olive/Howell instead of using the on-ramp on Pike? It seems to be adding an unnecessary 15 minutes to the trip.

    1. Probably to be consistent with all the other service on 4th. Maybe there’s something about the turn from 4th to Pike that makes it bad for buses, or they didn’t want those buses blocking the zone at 4th & Pike while they wait to turn. It does seem odd that the outbound stop at 6th is so far from the the inbound stop.

      1. I’ve used the 306 and 312 a few times during PM peak, and the only thing I can think of about the 4th & Pike turn is that it can take a while due to pedestrian traffic. Not any more difficult than any other turn in the commercial core, but foot traffic is definitely lighter further north.

  19. It is arrogant and insulting to Metro’s riders not to publish schedules for the Rapid Ride routes, especially when they run every 15 minutes.

    They are operated according to a schedule. Riders can make use of that information. Metro is either saying that riders are too stupid to use a schedule or that their time isn’t valuable. It’s total BS.

    1. I agree that riders would be happier, and ridership would go up, if the off-peak schedule were published. I also fully understand that a peak schedule would be based on fantasy. Can we please have the off-peak schedule?

      Notice how the 120, which has a schedule, still fills up off-peak, while the C-Line ridership seems to materialize only once peak hits.

      1. Schedules for buses in LA (and probably other places) frequently list a schedule up to a certain time, and then have a bunch of dots and the words “… and then every 10 minutes until….” and then more schedule times, and then again “…and then every 10 minutes until….” and then more schedule times.

  20. Bravo to Community Transit … either that, or to the traffic. The perpetually late afternoon 416 has come within 5 minutes of its posted arrival time the last two days. I don’t know if they fixed their schedule or the previous bus is now running 35 minutes late, but it’s an encouraging change either way.

  21. Whew! My trip from the upper Rainier Valley to Queen Anne was a giant CF yesterday. Was planning to take the 7 and then connect with the new D Line but the 7 essentially ceased to move as we were turning onto 4th. I overheard someone talking on their phone about an alert they received that there were delays on 3rd, so I hit the tunnel from Pioneer Square to Westlake, where I got to personally witness a broken down 358 with a tow truck nuzzled up to it and literally a SEA of buses behind it.

    I was lucky to see a 1 about to pull out around the stuck 358 and jumped on it, but it took another 25-30 min to make it to Mercer where I was meeting some friends. Overall I think I did better than my original 7 -> RR D plan, but maybe not by much.

    1. Don’t forget traffic was especially hosed yesterday due to a Mariner’s game, Madonna, and Michelle Obama all in town. All except the latter are in town again tonight, so don’t expect it to be much better.

    2. There was also a trolley wire down at 3rd and Madison for a bit yesterday that borked the trolleys.

  22. RapidRide hasn’t been so Rapid so far. I don’t use transit to get to/from work but do use it to get around town at times. Getting from Ballard to Safeco/CLink isn’t as easy now. Now I’m told I need to transfer b/c the D doesn’t go to SODO even though the D continues south as the C. Will this possibly change when the viaduct replacement is done? Doesn’t seem smart to cut off Ballard from the stadiums.

    1. After the Viaduct goes down the D/C lines will continue to turn at Columbia to go to the waterfront where it will go along until it goes on the freeway connection to SR 99 and the West Seattle Bridge.

      1. Does it currently get on 99 at Columbia? Once the viaduct is down and it follows the water I’m guessing they will put at least one stop near the stadiums? In the meantime Ballard has to wait how many years?

  23. Well mid week and so far this reorganization is an epic fail. I don’t know anyone from neighborhoods throughout West Seattle who hasn’t experienced a similar collapse in service. Seems like a bunch of readers on this board are doing a lot of smug cheerleading here, but the system just isn’t working. I know a number of people at the office who gave up and just drove today. Hopefully Metro reconsiders the elimination of all the bus service from West Seattle. I have voted for every transit tax measure in this city for about 15 years, but that may stop with this debacle.

    1. Wow, who would’ve thunk that calling cheap, unreliable, infrequent shit an improvement in marketing materials wouldn’t magically improve the user experience on the ground?

      1. Honestly, the marketing is a problem. When you’re going to make service worse, saying “Times are tough, we can’t afford to do what we want to, we’re going to make difficult choices, we know this is going to hurt some people, etc.” makes people feel more comfortable. Saying “This is an improvement!” just makes people think you’re a jerk.

  24. You know, I’m kind of glad Tim’s back.

    A year ago, when he appeared incessantly on this blog to flog his insane position that anything a Seattle transit agency does must be wise, that any spin they offer must be reasonable, and that transit here is as good as transit anywhere else in the universe, I was always alone in countering his hyper-credulousness.

    But thanks to Metro’s epic botching of this restructure, being incredibly pissed off at what Seattle gets for its very high transit costs appears to no longer put me in the minority, and everyone realizes that Tim’s logical contortions are ridiculous. And that feels oddly vindicating.

      1. Already have.

        Metro cut service.
        Metro hid the fact that the Market stop wouldn’t get off-board readers until pressed.
        People are pissed to have to walk further for something demonstrably worse.
        You are wasting everyone’s time and patience.

        Any more questions?

      2. Yes, why did they choose to move it to FS after construction is over?
        That was the question I kept asking and you haven’t yet responded to.

      3. It has been farside for a decade.

        It was moved farside a decade ago for the sake of operational improvement.

        Farside was supposed to be permanent.

        Farside should be permanent.

        They built RapidRide shelters farside.

        Everone though farside was permanent.

        Then, someone mentions the lack of a reader/info pylon, and suddenly it has “site problems” and is temporary!?

        Do you comprehent the severity of WTF here yet?

      4. This confuses me because David Seater wrote above: “The stop used to be on the near-side of the intersection many years ago.”

      5. Only in Seattle would “many years” be considered “temporary”.

        I guess we just a have “temporary” terrible transit problem.

      6. The move from nearside to farside was years before construction, years before TransitNow, years before Denny closed.

        This has absolutely nothing to do with the present situation, except as an example of how Metro will roll back a former improvement for absolutely specious reasons.

      7. In all seriousness, can you please correct me where I am wrong?

        1. The northbound stop at 15th & Market used to be nearside.
        2. A few years ago, it was moved farside.
        3. Due to construction, it was moved back nearside.
        4. For reasons you won’t divulge, it will be moved back farside after construction.

        If that is not correct, please enlighten me, because you and David are providing conflicting information. Then please explain the reasoning behind #4.

      8. Cut and paste for the functionally illiterte:

        “It has been farside for a decade.

        It was moved farside a decade ago for the sake of operational improvement.

        Farside was supposed to be permanent.

        Farside should be permanent.

        They built RapidRide shelters farside.

        Everone thought farside was permanent.”

      9. [“Illiterate” — though that’s a funny word to typo.]

        The stop has not been moved in 2012.

        It just hasn’t been hooked the fuck up properly.

        And now they claim they will move it nearside in 2013.

        And hook it up then — maybe!

        Even though nearside is wrong and 2013 is bullshit.

      10. Moving away.

        Metro is beyond redemption.

        I no longer give a shit what happens after I’m gone. I’d just rather they not make my life completely miserable until then.

      11. d.p., let us know what city you move to, and tell us what public transport blog you’ll hang out on. (I follow the most popular ones for most major US cities.)

        (I’m assuming you’ll move to one of the cities which is better than Seattle, rather than to San Antonio or Detroit.)

      12. Thanks, Nathanael, but I shan’t be hanging out on any transit blogs if I can help it.

        I’ve always used transit, always loved transit, always thought to some degree about transit, always known that even the best transit cities have their quirks and drawbacks.

        But I never had to think about it so constantly before I moved to a city where it functions terribly, impedes your freedom, makes getting from point A to point B a full-time planning job, and steals your life away 30 minutes at a time.

        I see transit as a means for living, not an end unto itself, and I’d rather have my brain available for other things. I will only move to a place that lets that be the case — where 90% of the time, transit is just there when you need it.

      13. Metro’s/ST’s problems are not just a Seattle issue. 90% of the country has substandard transit because the car-and-parking-and-low-taxes interests are so strong. The only places where transit is as convenient as breathing are NYC, Chicago, and DC. Maybe Boston and Philadelphia too, but I’ve never been to Boston and I’ve only been to Philly once so I can’t say. San Francisco is a notable fourth, but I’d call it a distant fourth, both due to the lack of citywide subways and the precipitous drop-off in transit outside the city limits. People are struggling for comprehensive transit in the vast majority of the US, not just in Seattle. Seattle may have its heights of stagnation and broken promises, but at the same time, Metro/ST have better coverage, frequency, night owls, and ridership than a lot of cities outside the Big Four (or Six), at least in some aspects.

        So, the only thing to do is either move to the Big Six, or keep trying to improve transit here incrementally and never lose hope. One thing I’ve learned in my life is that if you keep trying, you may get what you want, but if you don’t, you definitely won’t. I have thought many times about moving to NYC or Chicago, and visited them with that in mind. But I’m just not ready to do that, for reasons including climate, family, familiarity, and cost of living. If DP wants to do that, I wish him the best, but please do tell us where you’ve gone.

      14. Seattle’s repeated squandering of the trust of a favorable electorate — by returning grossly substandard service on sizeable investments — makes it somewhat of an anomaly among non-big-6 cities.

        This city repeatedly votes in favor of transit improvements, but when all is said and done, 80-90% are forced back into their cars by the abject shittiness of the transit options.

        This isn’t an entirely political problem. It’s a problem of incompetence and reinforced low expectations.

  25. This might be off topic a little but I think they Metro just needs to dedicate 2nd Ave for southbound transit and turn 3rd into a one way north for transit during peak commutes. Then strictly enforce these transit only corridors during those times with lots of tickets. This would help everything all around….but I’m sure would never happen.

      1. Yes then split the stops to opposite sides of the street. I feel like in theory this would make trips through DT twice as fast. But I know this would never work b/c then we would need buses w/ doors on both sides.

        SO instead of opposite side stops but sticking with 4 lanes buses could much more easily leap frog one another. I think the third lane would help immensely but most would say the 4th is unnecessary. So the city could then turn 4th into a bike corridor. And obviously these streets would be open to car traffic outside of peak hours. I think this would be a great solution to the 3rd Ave mess. And totally splitting north and south transit through DT should easily speed things up.

      2. I don’t see how left hand side doors will make passing any easier. If your stops are in lanes A and D, coaches in lane A won’t be using lane C for passing, because they’ll have to overtake ones in lane B, which are busy overtaking ones in lane A. Same goes for a three lane config; you’d spend more time getting from A to C than you would gain by being able to pass lane B.

      3. No I think 4 lanes w/ left side doors would help b/c lets just say right now as it is there’s 50 buses going down 2 lanes on 3rd and of course all the stops are in lane A w/ lane B for passing. With 4 lanes 25 buses would have stops in lane A w/ the other 25 in lane D w/ lane A using B to pass and D using C to pass.

        As for 3 lanes I still think that would help. Transit agencies would just need to work together to space stops appropriately so that using the third lane would be beneficial. And using the 4th as a bike corridor still ties in greatly to transit and having the safe corridor benefiting the bike share program.

      4. Then you lose all your capacity in the southbound direction and shove it on to 2nd to make up for it.

        Merging three lanes is a recipe for disaster. Try watching traffic during rush hour on a freeway. The traffic between an off ramp and the corresponding on ramp moves smoothly because few people are merging. Leading up to the off ramp and leading away from the off ramp traffic sucks because people are moving across many lanes.

      5. “West Seattle is no different than Lynnwood, Redmond, or Des Moines”

        It is understandable how someone living on Capitol Hill may have this attitude but the fact of the matter is that West Seattle has about 80,000 to 90,000 residents and is a neighborhood in the City of Seattle’s limits. It has a number of neighborhoods with transit supportive density as well. The entire population of King County can’t live on Capitol Hill, even if they want to, so the transportation system needs to work for everyone. The Growth Management Act calls for all unincorporated areas to be annexed in part, because cities offer the most efficient and cost effective access to services. West Seattle ceased to be a “suburb” at the time of annexation to the largest city in the state. Certainly there are neighborhoods where there is constant demand for transit, such as the 70(x) runs from the UW to DT, but a transit system must all serve the rest of the city. If Metro only concentrates resources on routes with the same ridership as the 70(x) or other such routes, you have a system with big gaps in it. the correct performance measure should be complete system ridership, not route-level ridership. Greater system-wide ridership can only be achieved by covering as much of the service area as possible, not by concentrating on the core areas in downtown, the UW, and Capitol Hill where most transit advocates like to live.

      6. “Build us a fancy train that all precedent suggests we won’t even use” is not a transit system that works for everyone.

      7. Oh, and where, praytell, is this transit-supportive density? Is it at The Junction, which is about four square blocks beyond which everything falls into not just single-family, but fairly large-lot single family?

        There are about 15 parts of this city with more transit-supportive density than any part of the Isle of West Seattle has, and with better records of voting in support of transit!

      8. Lastly, the population of West Seattle is 58,000 — and only by the most widest and loosest definition that includes everybody west of 1st Ave S.

        That includes an awful lot of people for whom your pet train would be useless, and an awful lot of poor people who would laugh in your face if you claimed to represent their interests!

    1. It’s just a matter of time before all duplication of routes is eliminated, all north/south buses in Seattle become feeders to Link (or feeders to feeders to Link) at transfer points somewhere outside the downtown corridor, and there won’t be any buses left on 2nd/3rd/4th Ave to worry about.

      1. Matter of time = never.

        Link is so utterly useless for so much of the city, and is “on the way” from so little of the region, and both Metro and Sound Transit seem to have a fetish for making transfers as bad as possible, that there will be squawking for buses traveling end-to-end through downtown forever.

        Transit in Seattle is two steps forward, eight leaps back, pandering, lies, and a Cheshire grin. Get used to it.

      2. It never ceases to amaze me how different DP’s experience is from mine. ST2 Link can fulfill half or even three-quarters of my trips. Even with bus extensions to places where Link doesn’t go, and even if the feeder routes are not improved at all. Yes, it would not be so useful if I lived in Ballard or West Seattle, but even then it would be a significant improvement over the status quo. The infill stations are just not that big a deal. If I’m going to Roosevelt, I’m probably going to Whole Foods or Greenlake and they’re within walking distance of the station. If I can’t go directly to 80th or 85th or 15th E or Montlake, oh well, but even transferring to the 43 or 66 is still better than taking slow/infrequent/unreliable buses the entire trip. And sorry that houses on 85th and 15th don’t have a station, and they’re less attractive places to live because of that, but there’s always tradeoffs. The central line is the one that needs to have limited stops because it’s the north/south trunk. I told DP I wouldn’t object to whatever stops he wants on the other lines.

      3. Go ahead and ask someone on a part of Cap Hill that’s more than 15 minutes walk from the station just how much their life will change.

        10/11 riders are already peeved about the new transfer downtown. And while I’ve repeatedly made the case that reliability will improve on those lines (the only tangible improvement of the entire restructure), I don’t really blame them. The tunnel is a terribly inconvenient transfer. 3rd Ave is an atrociously unreliable transfer.

        Capitol Hill station, too far to be worth the walk and hearing up for equally terrible “feeder” transfers, will be no better.

        But hey, at least the fictional people from New Lynnwood can commute thirty seconds faster!

        In case you haven’t noticed yet, Seattle doesn’t do things correctly. Never has, never will.

      4. What Mike said, particularly about Link.

        ST2 Link connects *all* the major ridership centers on the east side of the city except for First Hill, the CD, and Lake City. Your understandable anger over its failure to get to the west side of the city is blinding you to how good it is on the east side.

        Parts of Capitol Hill that are more than 15 minutes’ walk from the station aren’t urban, they’re SFH just like other Seattle neighborhoods you deride as “suburban.” Every part of Capitol Hill with significant density is within 15 minutes’ walk of the station.

        Now just imagine if you had the same type of line with stops under QA/Mercer, at Dravus, under Ballard/Market, under Greenwood/85th, and at Northgate. Stop spacing would be similar to ST2 Link but your tune would still change very quickly. That is how useful Link will be for someone who visits UW and Northgate on a regular basis, as I do.

      5. “10/11 riders are already peeved about the new transfer downtown.”

        1) The DSTT should have had a Madison station, either instead of or in addition to University Street. Then an all-Madison bus could directly transfer to Link. (And the library could have a short tunnel to the station.)
        2) If buses went two-way on Pine it would be easier to transfer from Westlake station.

        “Go ahead and ask someone on a part of Cap Hill that’s more than 15 minutes walk from the station just how much their life will change.”

        Why is that the only important thing? What about the more numerous people around Broadway and southwest Capitol Hill? Link doesn’t have a station at 34th & Union. Is that a scandal too?

        “Parts of Capitol Hill that are more than 15 minutes’ walk from the station aren’t urban, they’re SFH just like other Seattle neighborhoods you deride as “suburban.”

        Good point. Which leads to the question, why is it an egregious offense that 15th and 24th don’t have stations, while West Seattle doesn’t deserve a subway and should be left to die?

      6. ST2 Link connects *all* the major ridership centers on the east side of the city…

        Meh. It hardly connects anyone to those major destinations.

        Now just imagine if you had the same type of line with stops under QA/Mercer, at Dravus, under Ballard/Market, under Greenwood/85th, and at Northgate…

        Imagining. You’d have any number of 1.5- to 2-mile unwalkable gaps, creating precisely the same problem on the west side. It would underperform in exactly the same way.

        You’ve lived in D.C., David. Imagine taking this, then removing 2/3 of the stops within the District.* How useful is what’s left, really?

        *(others: the District is represented on the map by the 45-degree-tilted rectangle)

      7. The rest of the city — including the single family and, in the case of outer Capitol Hill and outer Ballard, lots and lots of multi-family and mid-rise) — is where lots and lots of people live, visit, and need to move between.

        I’m not talking about isolated tracts in South Beacon Hill, very low density flanking Admiral, or cul-de-sacs in Bitter Lake. I’m talking about the areas of unbroken city, which add up to a whole lot of people, particularly in the central areas of the city and within the 2.5 miles north of the Ship Canal.

        Those areas are how a city that lacks many high-density concentrations of people still manages to total 620,000 residents.

        Make the subway inaccessible to all of them — and all of their myriad destinations — at your own peril.

        Wide stop spacing on a subway is deeply stupid. Every single example on earth backs me up on this.

        I dare you to name me one successful counterexample. I dare you!

      8. Which leads to the question, why is it an egregious offense that 15th and 24th don’t have stations, while West Seattle doesn’t deserve a subway and should be left to die?

        Because people in cities use mass transit differently than they do in suburbs. And West Seattle is a suburb.

        Connect the contiguous parts of the city with mass transit, and people will use it all day, every day, to get as many places as they need to go.

        Build a subway to West Seattle and people might use it once a day to commute, or occasionally for a sporting event. They’ll drive within their sprawling suburb, and they’ll default-drive much of the time in and out of their sprawling suburb. Just as they always have.

        West Seattle is no different than Lynnwood, Redmond, or Des Moines in this regard.

      9. If east Capitol Hill did have higher density, it would have these extra stations and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. And if that led to a lot more stations (like every ten blocks), then Lynnwood would need an express track to make up for it.

      10. [rolls eyes]

        Mike, Lynnwood doesn’t need a damned express track for its non-existent ridership.

        I’m tired of this discussion. There’s no small city anywhere that needs “express tracks”.

        There’s no successful mass transit system on earth that emphasizes wide stop spacing and suburban primacy.

        But there are plenty of failures. We’re one of them.

      11. And the Sounder North thread talks about overcrowded buses. If you say off-peak ridership is too low, that’s just a temporary issue until Lynnwood builds up its center *as Bellevue has already done* and builds the TOD at Swift stations *as it has already zoned for*. It may take twenty or thirty years, but we’re building Link for the long-term, not just for the status quo. If there’s a (A) severe oil shock, (B) shutdown of overseas freight shipments, (C) a political meltdown or dollar meltdown, (D) a greater concern about climate change and the environment — people will be driving less, and they’ll need transit more. We can’t wait until then to build our transit infrastructure. It’s also not fair to people in the region who can’t drive or don’t want to drive to make them wait (1) several years until we decide to build the Lynnwood Extension if we cancel it now, (2) several more years until it’s constructed.

      12. I’m a company.

        I wish to locate in a downtown, but my anti-urban bias pushes me away from the Seattle CBD.

        Do I chose Bellevue, which has been building up for 40 years, which is barely 8 miles from downtown Seattle, which has access to established services and a high-quality talent pool, and which has plenty of room to continue growing?

        Or do I choose Lynnwood, which has… nothing but some vague long-shot pipe dreams?


  26. Your comments blaming drivers for slowing things down in the tunnel isn’t completely fair to us. While our book may say don’t make a 2nd stop at the same zone if we receive a complaint, that can count against us and ultimately lead to termination. The Book says once your wheels are moving don’t stop, and that’s what I do. However, we have chief’s, our supervisors, that view a running passenger differently. If we get a certain number of complaints in the same category in a rolling year, that can lead to termination. How many of us are going to risk our livlihood? These comments are mine as I do not speak on behalf of KC Metro.

    Please remember as some have already said, don’t take your frustration out on us, the driver. We had nothing to do with the changes. Taking your frustration out on us can be viewed as harassment. The moment many of us feel unsafe, we park the bus.

    As far as exiting through the front door, Metro tells us to use whichever door is closest and/or whichever door people want to use.

    1. I agree that broad words like “many” and “most” not backed up by statistics are only partially fair. But Martin is doing nothing wrong and threatening/harassing nobody. It’s not as if he has called in a complaint for any operator opening their doors twice. He is simply reporting what he saw, without naming names, so we can get a realistic assessment of the situation.

      If drivers’ jobs are threatened for following policy, you do have a union and a Department of Labor and Industries to protect you. If you are being disciplined for following policy then grieve it. Oh, and any time your supervisor calls you in ask for your Miranda rights. Ask if the meeting is of an investigatory nature or if it may lead to discipline. If the answer is yes, insist on your right to have a shop steward — your choice of shop steward — present. If ATU isn’t teaching you this stuff, it’s no wonder operators may be becoming paranoid.

      In the meantime, I’d like to thank all the operators who open their doors only once per platform in the tunnel. When you open your doors twice, one person is thankful, and a lot of other passengers are irritated at you. Policy is on the side of those many irritated passengers. Following policy should never, ever lead to disciplinary action.

      Maybe those of us observing the tunnel can take down bus numbers and times, and call in commendations for those drivers ruthlessly following policy, to the betterment of the many.

      1. Oops, that would be Will Green who is being at least partially fair, doing nothing wrong, and neither threatening nor harassing drivers.

        Kudos to Will for his comprehensive report!

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