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This is an open thread.

117 Replies to “News Roundup: Preferred Alternative”

    1. It seems like we need a primer on sub-area equity in every thread.

      It’s a regional issue because it’s GOOD FOR TACOMA! YAY!

    2. Part of transit’s purpose is to serve people who are visiting the area for business, cultural events, and friends. That’s why Tacoma transit is relevant to the rest of the region. Subarea equity says that the residents’ wishes trump other people’s, but it still needs to be a two-way system rather than one-way; otherwise it leaves half the people without an adequate alternative to cars.

  1. From the linked West Seattle Herald article about thugs on the C line, “Sharonn Meeks, a Fairmount resident, said nearly every time she gets on the C Line at those stops a slew of people jump on at the middle or rear doors without paying due to the size of the transit crowd.” It sounds like Sharonn doesn’t understand how RapidRide fare payment work. People are allowed to get on the middle and back doors, provided that already have a valid transfer ticket. It sounds like she mistakenly believes people must file on through the front door.

      1. _______________________
        / .—–..–..–..–..–..–..–\
        | _ | -|- _ `\
        _( /.\ RapidL00t | | /.\ [)

      2. Some day, when I can remove the racist bits, I’ll post some of the better commentaries by our beloved Large Donald of Algona.

      3. _ L-O-O-O-O-T…loot-loot…LOOOOOOOOO-O-O-O-O-T
        / ” ‘Sup? Wat’ it be…”
        __/==—-__ _________ _________ _________ __________—-==\_____
        / o oo | ***| PS8Scum | LOOTerz | Drugz | OOWB Car | Punkz | oo \

        **** The New Seattle-Tacoma Crack-Cocaine Express ****
        (more LOOTerz and Drugz per hour)

    1. Gotta love neighborhoods with people who concern themselves so much with problems around their neighborhoods, they don’t realize that the problem is actually themselves.

      1. I’m seeing a few street alcoholics at the WS stations (this rarely or never happened before) and was on a C bus when they stopped near 3/Pike to remove a passed out drunk who arrived from the Ballard segment. It’s not “rampant”…… but the mindset of small-business and community advocates in the WS Junction (where I live) has always been to prevent this sort of thing from getting a foothold. It doesn’t take much to set off alarm.
        Very rarely see fare evaders, but lots of people who probably paid but are mistaken for evaders. In the comment queue after the WS Herald story is a moving response from a commuter who was wrongly hassled by a fellow rider.

      2. You don’t think there were street alcoholics at the Junction before? You must not have paid too much attention. There was a time more than a decade ago when I regularly drove the first 57 of the morning leaving from the Junction. It was more common than not to find the ground around the shelters strewn with bottles.

        I’m sure there are a few more who are sneaking onto RR C downtown, but this is not exactly a new phenomenon.

      3. The good thing about a subway, or a least a multi car light rail train is that if there is an undesirable person in the car–drunk or crazy–you could move to the next car. With our buses, we have to chow down. But, yes, at least it’s not a huge problem.

    2. This is exactly the kind of situation where I’d like to see an STB blogger get out and do some field research and investigative reporting to see what’s going on and if there’s anything to these allegations. They should go out and ride the C Line, interview riders, drivers, fare enforcement officers, and west Seattle businesses then post their findings.

    3. Don’t they have cameras on all the buses…if so it would be fairly easy to validate these claims of roughhousing.

  2. I was in Portland this weekend and took the streetcar (Circle Line) extensively. I really hope the First Hill streetcar is faster – it was seriously almost slower than walking. Anyone know the projected speeds of our streetcar?

    1. Streetcars aren’t serious transportation. They are set pieces designed to add to a neighborhood’s or city’s ambiance.

      1. Right, they’re comedic transportation (clown cars?), that are just there to improve on the ambience (and carry 3k people a day).

      2. The titans of tech prefer that their employees get a clean, classy and dignified ride to their Lake Union gigs unlike that proletariat metro riding rabble.

    1. Alaska/Horizon was one of the early adopters of the idea, but pulled out. Then again, they could dive back in if Allegiant’s service is successful enough. In any case, more carriers wanting to operate at PAE will mean more pushback from Mukilteo NIMBYs.

    2. Hopefully they can make smart transit connections to the future Everett Link. Living in Ballard, it’d be fantastic to have a choice of two airports within easy and equal transit distance (albeit in 20X6, when personal transporters are available).

    3. I would love having an option of going to Paine Field instead of SeaTac, which can be annoying to get to if you live north of Seattle. I wonder how the transit connections would work?

      1. Given how broke Community Transit is, I’m guessing that the airport would be served by a very token service that would run once an hour during the day (not at all during the evenings, maybe Saturday, and not at all Sunday). Practically speaking, you would be expected to drive yourself, find someone to drive you, or take a cab.

        Still, though, if you already live up north, the cost of a cab might not be as bad as you might think. For instance, here’s a sample trip from Lynnwood to Paine Field that’s 5.6 miles in length and will cost about $20. By contrast, let’s look at the transit fare to go to SeaTac, assuming you have two people traveling together, and no Orca cards, which means you have to pay for each leg separately. The local CT bus, the 511, and then Link will each cost about $2.50 per person, amounting to about $15 for the two of you, one way. The cab to Paine field would be just $5 more, but would get your there in just 15 minutes, compared to the 2-hour bus->bus->train ride to SeaTac.

      2. That being said, though, from the perspective of someone one lives in Seattle, Link to SeaTac will nearly always be more convenient. Especially when the Link station near me opens for service in a few years.

      3. CT has no money for new routes unless it cuts commuter routes, which it’s not yet inclined to do. The easiest way would probably be to extend the 101 from Mariner P&R to the terminal; that would mean backtracking past 99. Or Mariner P&R could be dropped if it’s not an important all-day destination. Another way would be to reroute the 110 (Ash Way – Mukilteo). It goes vaguely past Paine, but it would be a significant reroute to go around the east side, which might prevent it from serving existing neighborhoods. It’s also an already-long milk run.

      4. Maybe there’s an Everett Transit bus that could be potentially rerouted to serve the airport, for instance, the route from Everett Station to Multilteo.

        Still, though, the point remains that regardless of which agency does it, serving the airport is going to require a big deviation to some route that will piss off a lot of riders and it’s unclear how many people will actually ride a bus to the airport with such a limited span.

        Maybe transit revenue will go up dramatically between now and when the airport opens for service, but until then, my gut feeling is that making due with cabs is good enough, as this airport is really for people living up north where public transportation is crap. Once Link gets built out, anyone in Seattle is probably going to prefer Link to SeaTac for flights anyway.

        And SeaTac is likely to be a lot cheaper once airfare is taken into account – small airports tend to be very expensive to fly in and out of, as there are fewer flights to divide the cost of the terminal, TSA staff, etc.

    4. *fingers anxiously crossed that this is approved*

      I would love to be able to fly out of Everett to visit in laws in So Cal rather than deal with SeaTac.

    5. As I understand it, Allegiant’s model (no baggage transfers, for one thing) allows them to fly from airports that don’t have full passenger facilities.

      1. Does Pane Field have any passenger facilities? (and I can bet once they do uncle sam will foot the bill to install security – hopefully they will design the terminal with enough space for this)

      1. Because the third runway at Seatac is to allow normal takeoffs and landings during fog. Prior to the third runway traffic volume was cut in half when VFR rules were not in effect. It made zero difference in the volume of flights SEA can handle during good weather.

    1. At least they have common-sense solutions: “A Metro official said they have the option to remove glass or benches from shelters to make them a less attractive hang-out spot for inebriates.”
      But wait – won’t that make them a less attractive “hang-out spot” for people who need to wait for the bus?

      1. Yes, exactly. The shelters on University Way are a case in point. They either have no bench, or a tiny bench that quickly overflows when it rains.

      2. I was being facetious, of course. But I have seen measures taken at Pierce County bus shelters and train platforms intended to curb vagrancy. There’s even the stop nearest to my house that has no shelter windows (though I suspect that was because some raging nutbar broke them out and PT was too cheap to put them back in).

      3. Before PT’s financial woes started about five years ago, they were meticulous about quickly replacing broken shelter glass. Some of them got smashed so often it really got to be a waste of money.

      4. Personally, i think that if the shelters are abused by the public, they should be removed. Not only will it save the expense of repairing them, it will also save manpower of people who need to come clean them on a regular basis.

  3. “Transit signal priority technology that gives Swift buses a longer green light was activated along the entire 17-mile corridor this past year”

    Looks like SWIFT either didn’t have TSP or had less of it when it initially started. It doesn’t sound like Community Transit took as much (any?) heat for not having TSP done on the first day of service. Perhaps they were more modest in their messaging? (To be fair, Metro had the rug pulled out from under them with the recession. I’m not sure how you manage retrenching like that)

    1. Signals up there along the SWIFT route are not as frequent as they are along something like RR D. The denser the environment gets the more important TSP gets… yet we’ve concentrated first on the places where it’s the cheapest to implement.

    2. Highway 99 in Snohomish is wider than Aurora and has a higher speed limit, so even imperfect TSP gives a high-quality ride. I’ve never noticed any flaws in Swift’s thoroughput even if I may have experienced them. What people notice is the sticker number: 40 minutes from Aurora Village to Everett (minimum), vs 60 minutes before Swift. (I was going to compare it to the current 101, except the 101 terminates partway so you’d have to transfer to some unknown route.) Cut that in half if you’re going halfway (to/from north Lynnwood), and you’ve got a nice 20 minutes.

      1. I would also expect the current 101 to be faster than the old 101, even if it nominally takes the same route and serves the same stops. This would be a direct result of some of the 101 passengers shifting to Swift, causing the 101 to stop at fewer bus stops and spend less dwell time when it does stop as a simple consequence of fewer people getting on and off.

  4. Regarding the sensible support for light-rail on the CRC from our governor-elect and US Senator, and the opposition by Clark County and their Republican representative in the House, I’m increasingly of the opinion that it would be better for everyone if Clark County were part of Oregon. They’d lose their low tax scam, they’d be forced to work more closely with Portland, and Washington would be absolved of any responsibility for their whining. For that matter, geographically and politically, most of the 3rd District makes more sense as part of Oregon, excepting rural Thurston County and possibly the more populated northeastern part of Lewis County around the Chehalis River basin (including both Centralia and Chehalis).

  5. We can now make a preliminary comparison of RapidRide C and D to Central Link in their first months of operation, since Metro has put out estimates of ridership for RR C and D.

    According to the Times recent article, in the first month of service, RapidRide D was averaging about 8,300 boardings per weekday and RapidRide C was averaging about 6,200 boardings per weekday. So, RapidRides C and D combined averaged about 14,500 boardings per weekday in their first month.

    Go back and look at Central Link’s ridership in the first months and it was about 13,769 in its first month — July 2009. In November, 2009, Central Link (without the airport station) averaged 14,399 per weekday, just about the same as RapidRide C and D combined averaged this past November.

    I think RapidRide C and D combined are close to the same length as Central Link before the SeaTac Station opened. So, just about the same ridership in the first November of Central Link compared to the first November of RR C and D.

    Compare that to the capital cost of the two systems. Central Link cost about $2.3 BILLION (without SeaTac station), and RR C and D combined cost about $69 million. And in their first Novembers, they each had about the same number of boardings.

    So, the capital cost per weekday boarding of Central Link in its first November was:

    $2.3 billion/14,399 = $160,000 per weekday boarding.

    The capital cost per weekday boarding of RR C and D combined in their first November was:

    $69 million/14,500 = $4,760 per weekday boarding.

    So that is $160,000 per weekday boarding for Central Link compared to $4,760 for RR C and D.

    The capital cost per weekday boarding for Central Link in its first November of operation, before SeaTac station opened was about 34 times higher than for RR C and D combined.

    RapidRide C and D are averaging just slightly more boardings per weekday than Central Link averaged in its first November at about 1/34 the capital cost per boarding.

    And this is without offboard payment on RR even fully operational, and with some buses reportedly so full they have to skip stops (that certainly never happened on Central Link). So, there is every reason to believe that the RR routes will be improving significantly in the coming months, with likely increases in ridership, just as Central Link ridership and SWIFT ridership has increased since they opened.

    Central Link light rail had capital costs per weekday boarding 34 times as high as RapidRide C and D combined. Would any of you be willing to pay 34 times as much to ride light rail as to ride a RapidRide bus?

    1. A few things:

      1) Central Link as it is operating today is only half a line, and not even the half that will have the highest ridership. Make the comparison between the current Central Link and RR C alone and you will be closer to the truth.
      2) The assumption that RR C ridership will grow like Central Link ridership indefinitely is dubious. Central Link has far more potential capacity, and there is far more land suited for high-density redevelopment along the line. RR C will grow to some extent as the Junction gets built out, but then will become stable.
      3) Not all of the capital expenditures for RR C/D are completed yet. A comparison between RR C and Central Link will make more sense once they are, which won’t be until 2014.

      That said, would I be willing to pay extra taxes sufficient to build Link rather than fake BRT where ridership would justify it? Hell yes! It’s a long-term investment in both capacity and quality of life for the city.

      1. 1) Central Link ridership won’t increase “indefinitely” any more than RR C will, unless you are talking about adding additions to Link, which will each cost billions of dollars more in capital costs. U-Link alone is costing about $600 million PER MILE.

        2) Go ahead and compare Central Link to just RR C, if you like. I didn’t see any cost figure for just RR C alone — the story just gave the total costs of the 2 routes combined, but if you use half the total cost for just C, then you come up with close to the same ratio of capital cost per boarding. So, that would not change the basic conclusion that light rail costs many times more per boarding than RR.

        3) The $69 million is for all the expenditures for C and D. You are correct that not all that money has been spent yet. But, when the rest of the $69 million is spent, RR C and D will be improved over what they are now, and ridership will likely grow, also.

        Yeah, you would be willing to pay extra taxes, as long as everyone else in the ST taxing district was also forced to pay those extra taxes, so that you could get an insanely highly-subsidized (almost) free ride.

        My question is would you be willing to pay the cost differential between light rail and RR if only the people who used those services paid for them, instead of leeching off the taxpayers?

      2. Light rail benefits all the taxpayers, not just the riders, because it provides capacity for growth in a way that bus lines can’t.

        And Central Link can grow hugely with just the existing line. The Rainier Valley is the most underdeveloped part of Seattle. Have a look at the land around the Rainier Beach, Othello, Columbia City, and Mt. Baker stations. The area within half a mile of each of those four stations could accept thousands of new residents without much disruption to the existing ones. And then you could cheaply build another infill station at Graham Street that would have the same potential. That’s not true for any place along RR C except for the area around Alaska and Fauntleroy. You could serve all of those new riders just by slightly increasing headways and using three- or four-car trains, whereas with buses you’d increase operational cost and then quickly hit the effective capacity limit for buses.

      3. Link light rail benefits only those who use it. This is patently obvious to anyone who does not use it.

      4. It’s surprising how often things people find “patently obvious” are just wrong.

        Norman, the growth is coming, no matter how much you try to plant your head in the sand. We have to find ways to house and transport all those people. The ways we have now are just not scalable.

      5. So, Norman, do you think people in rural communities of eastern Washington generate enough tax revenue to pay for their roads without being subsidized by the taxpayers of western Washington? Most of the roads of Eastern Washington, I will never use, but my tax dollars are still paying for it. How is one ok, but the other not?

        Are you saying that the typical resident of Seattle is more likely to drive to some random country road out in the desert than to ride the light rail in their own city?

  6. I looked up schedule information on Metro route 70 yesterday, and noticed that it no longer lists a reroute. Then I noticed that the route map shows the bus stopping on Eastlake. Then I noticed that signs at stops along Eastlake are now listing routes 70, 71, 72, and 73, as well as 25 and 66.

    My question is: Has the 70 been permanantly moved off of Fairview and onto Eastlake?

    1. Only for the duration of the project. This is Metro’s typical way of handling a reroute that will last substantially longer than a shakeup. The 60, 106, and 124 also all have such reroutes that are in the schedule and map.

      The 70 will move back to Fairview once the work is complete next year.

      1. Rather than cutting off half the walkshed by moving to Eastlake, how about increasing speed on Fairview by coordinating the lights and adding TSP? There’s no reason Fairview has to be as slow as it is.

      2. Coordinating the lights may help cars, but it doesn’t help buses that stop every few blocks – it’s just unpredictable how long it’s going to take a bus to get from one light to the next.

        TSP at Fairview and Mercer could help, but not without adversely impacting cars going down Mercer. (Guess which is more important).

        Maybe Fairview might make sense when the express buses are running, but on evenings and Sundays, when practically everyone on the bus is going all the way between downtown and the U-district, Eastlake is much better for the average passenger.

  7. I just got back from a bike ride and while I was going up hill a yellow school bus passed me. My mouth and lungs still taste the sooty fumes although it’s 30 minutes later! How can these vehicles, which transport small children, be allowed to put out so much more filthy exhaust than even a regular bus?

    1. How old was the school bus? All school buses built since mid-2003 (model year 2004 and up) should have the same DPF technology that’s on most of Metro’s fleet, and shouldn’t be smoky at all. Older buses might very well be smoky.

      1. Perhaps not smokey in the sense of blackish soot, but invisible with a definite almost metallic very dry taste, caulky maybe.. At 2:30 pm when the schoolbuses flood the roads, it is really noticeable.

        I don’t know the ages of school buses but if I end up driving behind one I’ll see if I can find the make and model.

    1. It looks like a lot of the recent TSP activations are in the area of the LQA detour. And am I mistaken, or is one of the soon to come improvements at d.p.’s favorite intersection (to whine about)?

      1. Well, the intersection that d.p. whines the most about hasn’t been activated yet:

        “Improved signal phasing is planned at Elliott Avenue and Mercer Place”

        We’ll see what that means. Hopefully, it means the driver won’t have enough time to stand up, do 100 jumping jacks, and sit back down again, before the light turns green.

      2. I also wonder what d.p. thinks about Car2Go as an option for late-night trips from Capitol Hill back to Ballard.

      3. That means no TSP is planned at Mercer Place. Argh! Southbound, that one intersection is the worst bottleneck on RR D.

        From previous feedback from SDOT about the intersection, it seems clear that SDOT is absolutely terrified of the reaction if northbound cars ever have to stop there during p.m. peak. Thus I would guess it has refused TSP at that intersection.

        The queue jump at 1st and Denny is a pleasant surprise, though. That’s not just a speed improvement but also a safety improvement.

      4. The other day as I was grinding my teeth while waiting for a RR D to downtown, I had an idea:

        What if they built an overpass for left turners from Elliott Avenue to Mercer Place? It would be a doosey, but you could ramp up from quite a ways to the north, fly over Elliott and hit Mercer on the uphill climb. It would only need to be one lane, instead of the two, which are used primarily for queuing.

        The one disadvantage would be that you’d take away any right turns from Elliott to Mercer, but does anyone actually turn right there? I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of this, but if they could ever find the funding for it, it would do wonders for the RR D, as long as they insist on the LQA detour.

      5. David:

        That does appear to be SDOT’s line of thinking: they want an unimpeded highway there in the outbound peak.

        This is ironic for two reasons:

        Firstly, the pre-2010 cycle featured a quick 15-second inbound-left-turn pulse about every 45-60 seconds. Now, after waiting 4.5 minutes, the green needs to hold for about 45 seconds. Thus, when the outbound traffic finally does stop, it backs up much further and takes exponentially longer to get moving again.

        Secondly, as the Ballard Bridge remains 15th’s foremost bottleneck now and forever, speeding throughput on Elliott fails to really help anyone. If anything, the merges at the foot of the bridge are much worse now than they were before 2010!

        I trust SDOT on nothing as long as they continue to perpetuate this folly.


        Does Car2Go allow for one-way rentals? If so, that puts it light years ahead of Zipcar as a reasonable night-outing option.

      6. Car2Go randomly started following me on Twitter yesterday.

        Their bio is written so that when you get the follow notice, that particular selling point appears in the first line of text. I would guess they’re directly targeting anyone who has publicly complained about KC Metro.

        Very clever.

    1. I was wondering about that a couple years ago and did a little investigating, it appears to have been a direct route into what’s now the County Courthouse, when it also housed the jail, so that they could get prisoners in without bringing them outside.

      1. My understanding (from waaaaay back in the day when my mother worked in the building) is that the county coroner–or, more accurately, his “clients”–also made use of this entrance…but that’s just anecdotal.

  8. I’m a little confused by the huge variability in length of the Tacoma Link extension alternatives. It’s strange that the North End Central corridor line along relatively dense 6th Ave only goes to Pine St, which would be about a two-mile extension, while the South Downtown Central route along sparsely-populated 19th St goes all the way to TCC, and is more than four miles long.
    Does anyone know if the idea is that they could choose multiple shorter, closer-in, higher-ridership extensions (e.g. 6th Ave and MLK)? Of course several of these could be options in the long-term.

  9. From the Vancouver Sun article about the Broadway corridor:

    The second phase would see the line continued to UBC, with new stations built as needed at a cost of about $50 million each.

    How is it that Translink can build subway stations for $50M(cdn) while Sound Transit builds them for hundreds of millions of $US?

    1. I’m sure that figure will probably double by the time they get to construction. The Canada Line went from $1.3 billion to $1.7 billion and then finally $2.0 billion by the time it was under construction.

  10. I just got an email about the proposed ST changes (probably because I commented in support of them). It sounds like the changes were broadly supported, with a few changes:

    – Keeping downtown Everett service on the 510/512 during hours connecting service doesn’t run, and adding an extra stop at 33rd/Broadway.
    – They’re working with KCM to add another early-morning C-Line trip timed to meet the 560 at Westwood, to avoid cutting off early-morning airport service.

    That’s pretty good and minor news, I guess.

    1. (cue the complaint that they can add early-morning C-line trips but can’t fix the terrible evening frequency on the D-line, which is a pretty valid complaint.)

    2. It will be intresting to see who operates the 567 route. I still think its too bad theres not really a proper transit center at Sea-Tac Airport. TIB had potential, but that seems wasted. LINK is on an elevated structure on the opposite side of a parking garage, Buses are on the street past that, over an elevated roadway to serve a couple rather unfriendly stops streetside. The 560 and 577 still serve the airport drive, but no other routes do. for a major destination theres only a couple of intercity buses a day through there (Nothwestern Trailways; dba Amtrak Thruway; Greyhound; etc.)

      1. I’d assume that since the 567 is running on the same route as the current 566, and taking its service hours from there, Pierce Transit will continue operating it.

        Hey, they can use the money.

      2. There’s always a balance between serving connection points and not wasting passenger and driver time doing crazy loop-de-loops just to save people making connections a small amount of walking.

        One of the things you have to remember about the airport drive stop is that it’s only actually closer to the airport compared to the nearest regular street stop on International Blvd. by a couple hundred feet and there’s a good sidewalk connecting international blvd. to the airport terminal. The 174 used to literally waste 10 minutes of everybody else’s time just to save people going to the airport a couple minutes of walking. Getting rid of this was a no-brainer.

        Unlike the 174, however, it actually makes operational sense for the 560 and 574 to serve the airport drive. The 574 is at the end of the route and, one way or another, the bus has to turn around to go back the other way. The airport drive is a natural turn-around mechanism and is better than everything else in the area capable of handling large buses.

        For the 560, skipping the stop would fail to serve the airport completely and if you’re going to make a single stop between Renton and Burien for airport passengers, the airport drive is the least time-consuming way to do it because, unlike other options, it at least avoids stoplights. (Yes, the least-time-consuming option is still fairly time-consuming, but it’s still faster than any other routing option which doesn’t bypass the airport entirely).

    3. This was heartening:

      “The large majority of comments supported the consolidation of off‐peak Route 510 and Route 511 service into Route 512,”

      So maybe the same would be true for the 594/574…

      1. Consolidating the 594 and 574 is a little bit tricker than the 510 and 511. Adding a 594 stop at Federal Way TC would only add 8 minutes or so, which could be made back by skipping SODO and going straight into the center of downtown Seattle. The freeway stations served by the 574 could simply get no off-peak service at all and I doubt anyone would miss it.

        What to do with the airport stop gets trickier. For Federal Way->SeaTac trips, IMHO, simply relying on the A-line is good enough. Even if it takes 10 minutes longer than the 574 does, the difference between 15 minute service and 30 minute service means you make up this time by not having to wait as long at the bus stop. For Tacoma->SeaTac trips on the other hand, needing to take the 594 to Federal Way and then transfer to the A-line feels a bit much. It might become doable if the service hours saved could be re-invested to make not only the 594 more frequent, but the A-line too. But because the two routes are run by different agencies, this isn’t possible.

        So, assuming we have to maintain the one-seat Tacoma->SeaTac ride, I would probably do it like this. Run the 594 at 15 minute headways, but have every other trip terminate at Tacoma Dome station, so service from Lakewood to downtown is still every 30 minutes. Then, carefully coordinate the 574 to provide a combined 15 minute headway between Lakewood and downtown Tacoma, then run the 574 non-stop to SeaTac, saving some time (and operating costs) over the current routing.

        Finally, that leaves the question about what to do with the 577 and 578. Off-peak 577 probably isn’t needed anymore. And 578 continuing to go to Federal Way would greatly overserve it. So, the modified 578 could replace the Federal Way stop with Kent, acting as a true shadow bus to cover the Sounder corridor when the Sounder isn’t running. Ideally, I would also like this modified 578 to serve a single stop somewhere in Renton, replacing the 101. However, the current roadway configuration makes a single stop in Renton impossible without wasting huge amounts of time. So, without a massive capitol investment, I don’t think this will be possible.

  11. I’ll take partial responsiblity for the other article’s comment thread being shut down. Apologies. :-/

  12. Since someone posted about the streetcar rail that’s coming through the pavement along Olympic Dr on the 1, I’ve been pretty curious about all the other trolley bus routes. I live near the 4 and the pavement seems to be cracking in two, 4’8.5″ longitudinal lines. Any chance there are rails there, too?

  13. Well, had to stay overnight here in Seattle since the Northline wasn’t going all the way to Mukilteo.

    So, on Tuesday at 3:59 I caught the 417 at 4th and Jackson. Total running time from there all the way to the dock in Mukilteo was 1:20, and we were five minutes early as the driver made the point to us over the intercom. By the time the bus got onto the express lanes behind Denny, the train had already departed Edmonds!!!!! The bus wasn’t even out of town yet(literally), and yet the train leaves five minutes later and is already in another county.

    Similar running time for a Northline train is approximately 45 minutes. Though the mudslides suck, there is no doubt that the train is the single easiest and quickest way to get north.

    Then last night I stayed over in Rainier Beach. For some reason the RR “D” line was bogged down, we had to wait almost 25 minutes for a bus at the Ballard Bridge. Now that the knuckleheads at Metro in their “infinite wisdom” have decided to eliminate the regular 18 we’re all screwed waiting for another crappy D line bus to show up.

    This “rapid ride” stuff is such pure bullshit. I wonder what Metros next move will be, this service obviously sucks even more than the previous version. The 15 band 18 weren’t that great, but sure beats the stuffing out of the D line. Who benefited from the RR upgrade, as in what contractors? Sure was some serious greasing of the palms to get this crap passed onto the public.

    1. “Who benefited from the RR upgrade”

      Simple – everyone who makes money by competing with the bus benefits from this by gaining customers. This includes a broad coalition of bike shops, gas stations, taxi drivers, Zipcar, other rental car companies such as Avis and Hertz, and of course, car dealers.

      And if people think about this when the next transit measure comes to ballet, Norman might benefit too by saving himself a few pennies of sales taxes.

    2. FWIW, if you’re on the part of the line where the 15 and 18 were interlined, the D isn’t that much worse than the 15/18 were (if that sounds like damning with faint praise, that’s because it is; it’s stupid that they cut evening frequency on the rout… but I don’t think RR D overall is overall as awful as your one experience). If you’re along 15th it’s better than it used to be.

      As for Sounder north… it’s only the “quickest way to get north” if by “north” you specifically mean Edmonds or Mukilteo and you’re starting in Pioneer Square and you’re leaving at exactly the right time of day. Some of that could be fixed, as has been discussed at length here… but the span of service issues are sort of hard.

      1. On Sundays, the only way to get from downtown to Edmonds is Amtrak, and the only way to get to Mukilteo is to walk about 6 miles from the closest served bus stop, Everett Station.

  14. The Chicago Transit Authority has announced a new program to replace their stored value cards (chicagocard) with a new system called “Ventra”(tm) which appears to consist of contactless cards both plastic and paper based tied to one’s bank account or cash purse. It appears to be a Mastercard system project and will eventually support NFC equipped phones.

    The website indicates that they will start roll out in 2013-2014.

    I got this information because I hold a ChicagoCardPlus which will be replaced by this system.

    1. That’s interesting. I wonder if the MasterCard affiliation saves them money. I don’t recall any problems with ChicagoCard from the users’ side of things.

      1. Whatever the case, Ventra is an utterly pathetic name. I recently read a series about the successes and failures of Chicago in the last 20 years (mostly focusing on macroeconomic stuff). The author was puzzled about Chicago’s recent tendency to market itself as Yet Another Global City (a race it’s not big enough to win) instead of playing up its particular cultural and economic strengths. Ventra is this kind of anonymous corporate speak: Welcome to Chicago, you could be anywhere! ChicagoCard at least has the name of the city in it (though I don’t think it’s as cool as CharlieCard or even ORCA).

      2. Oh I’d beg to differ regarding Chicago not being a global city. Its metro is plenty big at 9.7 million. True, a number of cities in the world are bigger, but Chicago has a combination of industrial and financial power that few can match. Add in the cultural features and I’d say its a global city. Indeed, Wikipedia lists it as an Alpha+ city in its list of Global Cities.

    1. When I heard that story on NPR this morning, I didn’t realize it was over two months old.

      That $106 gets you the priviledge of sleeping in your seat for overnight and part of the next night. The big bucks are in roomettes and bedrooms (with `free’ cheeseburgers).

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