35 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Sampled Vancouver”

  1. I’m surprised STB didn’t post about these recent stories of Detroit condos being made out of shipping containers and San Francisco approving 220 square foot apartments.



    Also, I have a profound question that I hope doesn’t break your brain trying to contemplate. If infrequent transit should have published schedules in order to know when the next bus is coming, why not blog posts, so we know when the next post is coming?

      1. Only if you can kick out the homeless people living in there first, then manage to get in and out of the house everyday without being shot. Not thanks.

      2. That’s not really the issue, asdf — it’s not as unsafe as all that. The real issue in Michigan is that there’s no jobs to go to, and you can’t start your own business because none of your potential customers have any money.

        I suppose it could be a retirement community, but a pretty unpleasant one unless you have very odd tastes.

      3. So the clientele who live in shipping containers are going to be issued invisible force fields? Not following the logic…

    1. The difference being that the transit service is scheduled, whereas the blog post may not be scheduled until shortly before it happens.

  2. Completed return trip back from Fort Collins, Co (or “Foco”).

    Arrived late and was worried about making the bus. No problem…they finally implementing one of my (and I’m sure many others) suggestions and made the 180 bus run all day and night!! (Before I had to race to catch the last 4:30pm one on a Saturday).

    Thanks Metro for pushing out the schedule on this bus ( http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bus/schedules/s180_1_.html ) which, really, should be a workhorse! And I like the little yellow airplane logo on the front display of the bus, makes it very clear.

    The other thing that was nice is having the arrival data at the S. 176 station. I didn’t have to fiddle with OBA (which I also like but running GPS drains my battery so much. Maybe there is an easier way to set my location like having QR codes at the stop or just an input field where I can type or speak my location).

    One thing I have to complain about is the great amount of trash at debris at the S. 176 southbound station. All of the landscape areas behind the shelter were strewn with paper and bottles. It’s odd, because there are two large waste bins there (both empty). I’m wondering if:
    (a) They are not emptied frequently enough
    (b) The trash haulers are sloppy
    (c) Someone is using the station to dump
    (d) People are messy

    I don’t think it is (d) because across the street, the Northbound S. 176 station is pristine! At any rate, a cheap remote webcam would probably reveal the cause.

    1. If you can find the stop number (printed on signs and on the upper-right corner of shelters) you can tap the “search” button in the upper-right corner of OBA and enter the stop number.

      1. And use the star or recent stops feature once you’ve been to a stop. Alternatively, you can also view the list of all stops by route number. Lastly, GPS isn’t a requirement to view the map, but without GPS you’ll need to know your exact location and then you’re in for a lot of panning and zooming.

    2. From the map view, go to “my routes”, then type in the route number, then select your stop from the menu of all the stops served by that route.

    3. I remember reading years ago that a remarkable percentage of the garbage blowing around any given urban area was due to crows digging stuff out of dumpsters. I don’t recall exactly, but it was a big number. If I can find more specifics I’ll pass them on

  3. Why do transit agencies engage in the practice of only publishing a few timepoints for a route and insisting that you call them to find out all the stops? I realize all the stops won’t fit in the timetable, but at least Community Transit has correctly realized that there is no limit to what can go on the web.

    1. I recall some transit agency I’m familiar with (maybe Champaign-Urbana’s CUMTD?) marks stop locations with dots on route maps. That might fit the style of KCM’s maps reasonably well.

    2. I believe the distinction is that a time point is a point at which the agency is officially promising that if you arrive at the point at or before the scheduled time, the bus will not leave without you – meaning that if it arrives at a time point early, it has to wait.

      Obviously, it is impractical to do this at every stop, so that’s why there isn’t a timepoint at every stop. Google Transit lists the estimated times that the bus will arrive at each stop, including the non-timepoints.

  4. Idea for an Improvment:

    ALL Inbound Tunnel Buses Change Their Headsigns When Entering Tunnel

    I am not sure if anyone has noticed, but when all inbound South King County and I-90 tunnel buses enter the tunnel, they change their headsigns to read “[Route number] to Convention Place via All Stations.” To further improve this, all inbound North-end and SR-520 tunnel buses (yes, I know there’s only one 520 tunnel route now but you never know…) would follow suit, with all buses (except route 41 trips laying over in the SODO, explained below) changing to “[Route Number] to International District via All Stations.”

    In most cases, the headsign change would take place upon entry of Convention Place Station. The only two exceptions are Route 255 and Route 41 trips that do not use the I-5 Express lanes, in which case the headsign change occurs immediately after the bus exits I-5 and heads westbound on Stewart Street. This is because the non-express-lane Route 41 trips and all Route 255 trips serve the stop westbound on Stewart just west of Yale Avenue.

    Route 41 trips that terminate in the SODO near Metro’s Atlantic and Central Bases, however, will not say “International District–All Stations” but instead say “41 to SODO via Tunnel” (or “…via 3rd Ave” when tunnel is closed).

    1. +1. Additionally, all inbound buses should make an effort to look for people transiting the tunnel. A large number of passengers exit my packed 550 at CPS, presumably to catch Sounder. Ideally, Metro and Sound Transit would work out a system to better utilize inbound coaches, which are emptying out, rather than having people cram onto buses that are already packed with people trying to go east and south.

      I’ve made announcements to my passengers about routes to look for but it’s difficult to wait specifically for inbound coaches since we aren’t required to make second stops for passengers transiting the tunnel.

      1. “A large number of passengers exit my packed 550 at CPS, presumably to catch Sounder.”

        That’s an odd place to connect to Sounder. I presume you meant IDS.

      2. On of the advanced-level Metro tips and tricks I’ve learned is that inbound buses almost always traverse downtown faster than outbound buses, be it tunnel or surface. This is because exiting the bus is much faster than entering the bus due to the combination of multiple doors and the lack of change fumbling/people who don’t know where they’re going asking for directions.

        As a practical manner, this means two things:
        1) When traversing downtown, inbound buses will tend to get you where you’re going faster (unless they get stuck behind an outbound bus in the tunnel).

        2) Whenever you are traveling through downtown in a manner that involves a transfer downtown, it’s nearly always best to stay on your inbound bus until the last possible stop before making the connection, rather than attempt to make the connection as soon as you enter downtown. This gives you a few extra minutes and can sometimes make the difference between making a bus and missing it.

        When you’re transferring within the tunnel, Metro’s rules complicate this somewhat. When you’re going bus->bus, Westlake is usually the best transfer point northbound, International District southbound because it maximizes the chance that your inbound bus will catch up the outbound bus you’re trying to catch. (In the northbound direction, transferring at Convention Place station is bad because, there, the inbound and outbound buses stop at different platforms, requiring you to actually go up to the street level and back down again to make the connection – not the case with any other station).

        And, of course, when you’re going bus->train or train->bus, it makes absolutely no difference where you transfer because the tunnel operations rules guarantee that regardless of how fast the train loads and unloads, relative to the other buses, any bus behind the train, you’ll be able to make, while any bus ahead of the train, you won’t be able to make. I find it absolutely crazy that we have an operational rule in force that says the train has to wait in the tunnel until the bus ahead of it, which people on the train are trying to catch has left, leaving lots of people with the maximum wait time for the next bus. If buses can stop behind buses, trains should be able to stop behind buses too.

      3. On the surface, the buses I take “inbound” are also outbound buses, i.e., they are through-routed through downtown and indeed despite the “Downtown” destination sign at the stop where I get on they are a different route number before they actually reach anything I’d call downtown.

        So whatever asdf thinks he’s learned is simply not correct in my experience. With the end of the RFA, there is plenty of change fumbling and transfer reviewing and there has always been a lot of asking for directions.

      4. asdf, it would likely work for buses to be able to approach trains more closely from behind, but not the opposite way around. A bus can stop *much* shorter than a train. We want a margin of safety so that there is no danger of a train rear-ending a bus.

        Of course, for there to be room for a bus to pull in behind a train, we’d have to have the trains stop at the front of the platform, which would result in major overcrowding of Bays A and C at each stop.

        Breadbaker, some routes are through-routed while others are not. No tunnel route is through-routed. On the surface, almost no ST, express, or commuter routes are through-routed. Of all-day Metro routes that run north-south through downtown, the 7, 16, 25, 36, 40, 66, 70, 120, and 358 are all not through-routed.

      5. To clarify my previous post, the practice of inbound buses being consistently faster than outbound buses does not work when the bus is thru-routed.

        In fact, thru-routed buses can sometimes be the slowest all. On top of all the change fumblers and people who don’t know where they’re going, they can’t start boarding until everyone who exits the front door has finished. Plus thru-routed buses are often already heavily delayed by the time they get into downtown, which means lots of bunching, which means super-crowded buses, which means long dwell times at each bus stop. When the 5 was thru-routed with the 54, getting through downtown on that bus just seemed to take forever. The 3rd and Pike stop alone was at least 5-10 minutes.

      6. “A bus can stop *much* shorter than a train. We want a margin of safety so that there is no danger of a train rear-ending a bus.”

        That may be true once the train has gotten up to speed, but when the train isn’t going more than 15mph anyway, I have a hard time believing that rear-ending a bus is a real possibility. When waiting at a tunnel station, I observe trains decelerating just as fast as buses all the time. And if the station has only one bus in it which is pulled all the way forward, there is plenty of room for the train to pull up behind it. As I mentioned earlier, this would be tremendous courtesy to people on the train who might be trying to catch that bus. If it’s after 10 PM, the next one might be as much as a full hour away.

      7. If you live where I live, you don’t have a choice of routes that are not through-routed. Most of you probably are too young to remember that the 16 used to be the most reliable of routes when it laid over at 3rd and Union.

      8. Did the 16 not do the Seattle Center detour back then? Or was the city small enough so that event traffic didn’t matter? Or was the Seattle Center not even built yet? Or was everything so downtown-centric that anybody not getting on downtown was such an edge case that they just didn’t matter.

    1. I bet there are people in Seattle that define everything bordered by I-5, I-90, Lake Washington, and the Ship Canal to be “Capitol Hill”, with maybe a piece of the street grid carved out for First Hill.

    2. “when did 12th Ave S and Jackson become part of ‘capitol hill’?”

      When newspapers stopped wanting to pay enough copy editors.

      When they decided that locations within Rainier View, or east of Othello Station, or in Mount Baker are all “Beacon Hill.” (I’ve seen all of those. Remember the story recently about the “goat” someone found wandering the streets? Every news story called it Beacon Hill. It wasn’t there at all. It was east of MLK and south of Beacon Hill by a substantial amount. It also wasn’t a goat. But that’s another story.)

      This is one of my pet peeves. Looks like the Times fixed the error, at least.

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