This is an open thread. [Sorry WordPress ate the video all day today.- MHD]

117 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: The Next Generation”

    1. I’ve learned from this blog that NIMBYISM is a pejorative, so I just want to be clear, the Cherry Point coal train terminal opponents who live in Bellingham are NIMBYS, right?

      1. A NIMBY is someone who opposes a particular facility if it occurs close to them. Applying this definition gets fuzzy when a given facility is objectionable in general to that person but a given person only gets politically active against it when it is proposed nearby. In that case there is still the same element of self interest but without the same implied accusation of hypocrisy which the term NIMBY suggests. Maybe we need a better term.

      2. No, not all of them. Some of them are straight-up anti-coal activists who don’t want any coal terminals anywhere, and will fight any fight to reduce coal use. (And I’m actually on their side, since we have to stop using coal for global-warming reasons.)

        That’s not NIMBY. It’s only NIMBY if you say “I’m fine with coal terminals, but somewhere else!” And yeah, I’m sure there are some of them in Bellingham.

      3. Similarly, anti-frackers are opposing fracking everywhere, even if they’re mainly acting on a local level to keep it away from local areas.

        A NIMBY would say “No fracking here, but it’s fine to frack over there!”

      4. They can be both a help and a hindrance. An environmental NIMBY can raise overall awareness of a harmful activity. However, a victorious NIMBY often results in a harmful project simply being moved somewhere else. Once it’s out of sight and out of mind, awareness drops much further than if the project had been done in a populated area. Strict regulation of the harmful activity is less likely to happen if the activity occurs in a secluded place.

        And there are just as many anti-density/anti-transit NIMBYs as there are enviromentalist NIMBYs. So there’s those two sides of the coin as well.

      5. As long as NIMBYs don’t distract from the environmental argument with unnecessary hyperbole.

        Environmentalists need to make sure their arguments are targeted effectively and backed up by hard data.

    2. Joe, there is really only one point made in that WSDOT letter that is on-point, and that is the one about the impact on WSDOT’s wetland mitigation site. All of the effects from increased train traffic are also true if the trains are going to Point Roberts instead of Cherry Point.

      And for anyone who argues that we shouldn’t be sending our coal to China because of the GHG impacts, China will still be burning coal for many years into the future, they’ll just get their coal from somewhere else, like Australia. Since the Powder River coal is low sulfur, it may be better for the environment if China is burning our coal.

      1. Why should we help a communist dictatorship with their energy source, no matter the sulfur content?

        This deal stinks. The only people who will benefit are the stockholders for the coal companies and the BNSF. After all the taxpayer money that’s been poured into the BC – Eugene corridor, for both passenger service and commerce, I can’t believe we’re even considering this. But corporate greed must be served, I guess.

      2. China will still be burning coal for many years into the future, they’ll just get their coal from somewhere else, like Australia.

        Oh, I’m sure if we block the coal port up here, they’ll find a coal-friendly red county on the California coast willing to take the terminal. It’ll still get to China, it’ll just take more diesel to get the coal to the port.

      3. If they don’t get our coal, then they might get coal from somewhere else, but it will cost more. We know that, otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to buy our coal. Therefore, stopping the train will push up the cost of coal for the Chinese, if not in general. The higher the cost of coal, the more competitive other sources of energy are. Eventually, if technology continues on its current path, those other sources of energy become cheaper than fossil fuels (you can also consider improvements in efficiency as “other sources of energy”). It is really a matter of how soon everyone switches and how much coal (and other fossil fuels) we consume until then. The less we consume, the better.

        Low sulphur coal adds just as much to global warming as high sulphur coal (but it does reduce acid rain and the need for scrubbers).

      4. There was a piece on PNW coal exports on NPR last week. One hypothesis in the piece was that coal export from the US would raise prices here and accelerate the move away from coal in the US. I doubt that anyone can predict the macroeconomic effects with any certainty, but that doesn’t change the fact that the EIS on the Gateway project needs to follow the established law.

      5. Guys, I should mention that there are many governmental bodies calling for mitigation in the form of new rail infrastructure w/ this new terminal. Problem is, we transit advocates might come out ahead at the expense of some environmental concerns – make sure to read the Swinomish Tribal letter for what some of those might be.

    3. One thing that is often overlooked is that no matter where the coal is exported the trains will travel over the same tracks. Coal that is exported in Bellingham or Vancouver B.C. Will come up the Fallbridge sub (Columbia River Gorge), head north on the Seattle Subdivision from Vancouver, WA to Seattle, and Northward on the Scenic and Bellingham Subdivisions to their final destination. Returning south the empties will head to Auburn and eastward on the Stampede Subdivision in BNSF’s new “Iron Triangle”. If the coal is exported in Longview, They will come up the Fallbridge sub (Columbia River Gorge) to Vancouver, North on the Seattle Sub to Longview. Than the Empties will proceed North to Auburn on the Seattle Sub and East over Stampede. BNSF has this directional operation going on now, with all the coal and grain trains heading empty over Stampede pass. Really it comes down to do we want the Jobs in Washington or not? The Railroad will move the coal either way, and because its interstate commerce there is little a community can do about it. Instead of fighting the terminal and railroad, it would probably work better to work with them to make improvements for Amtrak Cascades, Grade Crossing, and other safety improvements.

  1. Is there a post in the works around Metro’s Low Income Fare Policy Advisory Committee? I have a lot to go over on that topic, especially the position paper of the Transit Riders Union. But if someone else is covering that, I’ll wait.

    1. But before Wednesday’s meeting, I’d just like to get your reactions to some of the efficiency opportunities I’d like to recommend to the committee as opportunities to mitigate the cost of rolling out a low-income ORCA:

      1. Travel time efficiency due to converting cash payers into ORCA users.
      2. Potential for future fare increases in other categories, made politically viable by the existence of the low-income ORCA.
      3. Travel time efficiency from eliminating paper transfers.
      4. Administrative efficiency from having some riders who currently go through temporary disability qualification instead qualifying as low-income.
      5. Opportunity to raise ACCESS fares to full adult fixed-route fare for those who ride ACCESS but aren’t on limited income.
      6. Potential for making cash fares higher than ORCA fares, within each fare category, made politically viable by the existence of low-income ORCA, and by the lack of administrative hassle from ORCA fares that are not multiples of $.25.
      7. Potential for significantly reducing cash-and-change fumbling by making cash fares in as many categories as possible multiples of $1.00.

      1. Re 5, fare levels are set by federal regulation at half the adult fare for people qualifying for a RRFP.

      2. #6 would be awesome and would go a long way towards spurring ORCA adoption in general (as I’m sure you’ve already surmised). If it’s acceptable to do this for tolling–electronic payments are cheaper than paper payments–then why not for transit? I’d love to see Metro do away with the $5 fee for buying an ORCA card but I understand they have objections to that (ORCA cards being “disposable?”). Instead, and if Metro is unwilling to lower the price in general, how about crediting the $5 to the card after the card has been used a certain number of times in two weeks, such as for 5 trips?

      3. Another way of reducing ORCA card cost could be to waive or reduce the fee with the pre-load of a certain value of e-purse or purchase of a monthly pass.

      4. @ aw: You are incorrect. The federal regulation limits the RRFP fare level *at off-peak hours on regular fixed route service* to 1/2 the general public fare. Full fares may be charged during peak hours, and special services like ACCESS are allowed to charge *double* the general public fixed-route fare. (Though I think the State of Washington doesn’t allow the ACCESS fare to exceed the general public fixed-route fare, which I think is fair, as no one should be punished for needing an accommodation even though the cost of providing that accommodation is more than double the cost of fixed-route service.)

      5. MLK County already charges a different fare for cash than for ORCA on its ferries. The youth cash markup is particularly steep.

        There are several different ways bus agencies handle rebating the cost of a contactless smart card. But, the most that any of them charge for the card, after rebate, is $2.50, and a majority of them that have such cards make the card free, after rebate. I would be less annoyed by the uniquely-high $5 fee if the low-income ORCA fee were rolled into a preload.

      1. Re redmondrider: I thought the fee was from the ORCA vendor, not Metro? I thought ORCA was owned and/or administered by a private firm?

      2. IIRC, the $5 ORCA charge is a significant markup over what the vendor charges the agency.

      3. I could write up something after Wednesday, but I’d really prefer to give someone from the Transit Riders Union the opportunity to do a guest post, as they have done a lot more research and organizing on the issue than I have.

        And, I do have my disagreements with their position paper, so I’d kinda like to let them defend their positions than have me put words in people’s mouths or guess at what they are thinking.

      4. Brent, you should write it yourself, since you’ve done a lot of comparative research on smartcard policies elsewhere and have been the staunchest advocate for fixing what is wrong with ORCA implementation yesterday.

        Isn’t the Transit Riders Union — with its emphasis on lifeline service and past opposition to any efforts to scale back cash payment or paper transfers — precisely the wrong group to invite to speak on this? Or has the Low Income Fare Policy Advisory Committee assuaged TRU’s most regressive tendencies?

      5. TRU did the legwork in getting the LIFPAC created. I think it would be good to engage them and maybe change their minds on some points. They might even give reasons that open our minds in the process.

        It is troubling that ORCA is not part of their position paper, as if it was written 10 years ago, but while we hash out our differences, we may find common ground, and that would make the exercise worth the effort.

  2. Walking past the massive amount of construction (including the complete closure of the intersection at 12th/Jackson) I am amazed by the number of drivers who think “ROAD CLOSED” signs only apply to others and not themselves and then verbally insult the police officers / flaggers who try to help redirect them.

  3. I believe that the real term we should be using in place of NIMBY is BANANA-
    Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.
    I also think that the coal trains will be a good thing for Amtrak Cascades, because once BNSF has gotten a couple of highly publicized black eyes for causing service disruption they might make some improvements to track in the area, as well as spur the construction of all the third mains around. Once all of those are in, it will vastly improve service for Sounder as well as Cascades. This might even spur WSDOT to get the Point Defiance Bypass finally built, since those trains will likely use the Seattle Sub up from the Gorge then run Empty via Stampede. At least that would make sense…

    1. I was reading that Amtrak Metroliner in the NE was moving to a segregated track. Also read there are plans to scrap the Acelas in favor of something lighter and faster.

      If anyone has hard information, would love to hear it…

      1. NorthEast Corridor services.

        The Metroliner name was retired once the Acela trainsets all arrived.

      2. Huh. I’ve always referred to the Northeast Regional service as “Metroliner” for some silly reason.

  4. I can’t wait till Metro is done rebranding all its bus stop, transit center and P&R signage. I know it will take them up to 10 years to get to all the stops, but I can’t wait. I’m not saying that I completely dislike the older-style signage (though there are some stops where service hasn’t changed since the daisy-logo days), but I like the newer-style signage better since the signs have the stop ID numbers on them (which the old-style signs lack) and I’ve regularly began using One Bus Away, so the stop ID is helpful.

    1. I’ve seen new symbols with buses under a semicircle, which represent tunnel routes. However, some of those are headed away from the DSTT. With the Link, Sounder, and ferry symbols, I’ve seen those mostly just on the stops where the route is headed toward the multi-modal connection. But I also saw a stop near the VA, IIRC, where both the southbound and northbound 60 were indicating heading toward Link.

  5. The Seattle Times has an article on Tacoma’s troubles, saying Tacoma’s development was looking up in the 1990s but has been on hard times since the 2001 recession. This relates to some recent discussions here: Pierce Transit’s upcoming transitmageddon, and my comment that in 50 years Bellevue, Lynnwood, and Shoreline will have thriving urban villages but one can’t be sure about Tacoma. In the Disarray news roundup, AlexKven asked why the Tacoma city council won’t come to PT’s help, and replied that it’s not that the council anti-transit but that it can’t even fund its firefighting equipment because people are so strongly anti-tax.

    Meanwhile, the Times article suggests the Port of Seattle should let the container business go to Tacoma which has better geography, and let SODO gentrify. It also says interestingly, “the latest report on city competitiveness by the Milken Institute ranks the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metro area No. 13, with Silicon Valley No. 1. Tacoma ranks No. 107, down from 64 in 2011.” That’s interesting both because of the numeric disparity, and because they put Everett in the Seattle metro area but Tacoma in a separate metro area. (Bad news for those who want to stop Link from going to Lynnwood and Everett, but good news for those who want to stop it from going to Tacoma. Of course, Everett is about as far from Seattle as Federal Way….)

    So where does this all leave us in terms of Tacoma’s present and future?

    1. It’s not a specific-to-this-report thing. It’s a U.S. Census Bureau thing:

      As defined by the United States Census Bureau, the Seattle metropolitan area is made up of the following counties:

      Seattle–Bellevue–Everett metropolitan division
      – King County: Seattle and its immediate vicinity
      – Snohomish County: north of Seattle

      Tacoma metropolitan division
      – Pierce County: south of Seattle

      Based on commuting patterns, the adjacent metropolitan areas of Olympia, Bremerton, and Mount Vernon, along with a few smaller satellite urban areas, are grouped together in a wider labor market region known as the Seattle–Tacoma–Olympia Combined Statistical Area (CSA), commonly known as the Puget Sound region.,_WA_MSA#Census_statistics

      The Census Bureau’s boundary-drawing, though (slightly) subjective (in an art+science kind of way), is influenced by a formula that weighs geographic distance, movement patterns, economic interdependence versus self-sufficiency, etc.

      It makes no value judgments about the relative importance or viability of a given municipality within its respective various agglomerations. (i.e. The existence of a Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall metropolitan division within the larger Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach MSA does not actually making any statement about the importance of Kendall or the need to prioritize its infrastructure over all else. Obviously.)

      1. Nope.

        I like Tacoma. I find it topographically/aesthetically interesting. It has history. Seattleites of all ages tend to crap on it, oblivious to the fact that their own city is full of blandness and mediocrity.

        I want to root for Tacoma.

        But I have no way to relate to the Tacomans who cling to their city’s most regressive tendencies, who take pride in what leaves the city dangerously outmoded and on the precipice of irrelevance.

        It’s not enough to be the anti-Seattle. You have to provide an interesting, attractive alternative.

        Otherwise, you’re just Spokane.

      2. Not that lists really mean much but on the CNN Money list of America’s 100 best small cities the only two in Washington are Redmond and Bellevue. Irvine, CA with a population of 213,000 is larger than Spokane or Tacoma so they weren’t eliminated for being to metropolitan. I’m not convinced I’d rather live in Cheyenne, WY than Kirkland but I guess if you want fair and balanced go to Fox :=

      3. One thing I’ve long noticed is that Tacoma, Spokane, and Portland kept a lot of their 19th century brick buildings than Seattle did.

  6. The new route 50 has been diverted westbound around North Delridge since last fall, due to the need for a light for the left turn at Genesee and Avalon. Now that the light is operational, does anybody know when the originally intended routing will be restored?

    Also, currently it appears that there will be no route 50 stops westbound between Delridge/Andover and 35th/Avalon — a distance of nearly a mile (the current stops at Delridge/Genesee and Avalon/Genesee are not reachable by a westbound coach). Does anybody know whether stops will be added along this portion?

    I’ve asked metro about these two points through their online form; I haven’t yet heard anything back.

    1. Even on dry days, car wheels are spinning out on the hillclimb at Genessee, when the red light turns green. So it will be interesting to see how buses perform there.

      1. Buses don’t tend to have traction problems starting on that type of surface. There are a lot more pounds on each square inch of contact patch. I think it will be fine.

        Now worn concrete where polished rocks are the bulk of the surface (such as headed up John St on the 43)… that’s a different story.

      2. Buses are heavier and have wider tires, and not all that much more torque. I’ve seen cars spin a bit at a number of intersections but I’ve never seen a bus do so except in snow.

      3. Usually cars that spin out on hillclimbs are front wheel drive. They’re at a disadvantage climbing hills because the hill and the acceleration both transfer weight to the rear wheels, making the drive wheels “light.” Buses are rear wheel drive, so weight transfer on hills actually works in their favor.

  7. So Metro appears to’ve done away entirely with automated schedule information via telephone. They’ve killed BUS-TIME, and if you call 206-553-3000, you get to wait on hold for 20 minutes to ask a customer service rep, assuming the office is even open. Considering that Metro still doesn’t advertise OBA in the field (553-3000 is the only phone number you’ll see on Metro signage), and that OBA is broken a lot of the time, and that many (most?) Metro stops don’t have posted schedules, this is absolute crap.

    Just the other night I went out to catch a 44, but saw it go by when I was a block away. I tried OBA, but since the shakeup it only gives accurate arrival times for the 44 once the bus has left the terminal—and since I was at 15th & Market, this means it regularly says that buses are running 20+ minutes later than they really are. So OBA is useless. Fine, I’ll check the schedule. Oh, but the paper schedule has been removed from that stop, just like it has been removed from many of the other stops that I use. Great. I try 553-3000, but all I get is a convoluted phone tree and hold music. So now I have absolutely no idea how long it’ll be for a bus. Are they still coming every 15 minutes? Every 20? 30? Or am I in one of those random schedule holes where the next one isn’t for 45 minutes? Good thing I grabbed that bus beer when I left the house…

      1. OBA thankfully deigned to give its users a touchtone interface so folks like me who don’t have a smartphone can still get information. Apparently Metro can’t be bothered.

      2. Relatedly, is there any data on what % of Metro customers have cell phones, what % of those have smart phones, etc? It may well be that the vast majority of Metro’s customers have smart phones and both know how to and are able to access schedules, real-time information, etc. But I suspect that they don’t. Abandoning touchtone systems seems like it will leave many users in the dark.

      3. My experience has been that living without a car in the Seattle area is vastly easier if you have a smartphone. Between the carrier subsidies and the fact that the data plan costs only a tiny fraction of what a car costs, the economic cost of having a smartphone doesn’t bother me.

      4. asdf: Thanks for the tip. After I sell my nonexistent car, I’ll use the nonexistent profit and savings to buy myself a smartphone. And then I’ll be able to access the information that I used to be able to find for free at most bus stops or for half the cost via my non-smart phone.

      5. Not necessarily. Until two weeks ago, I had a smartphone without a data plan that I used as the equivalent of an iPod touch. I used OBA at home and leveraged unencrypted wifi when possible; otherwise, crying, prayer, and sometimes texting friends to look things up for me were my usual recourse. I think I tried using OBA on Kindle with 3G once.

        It really sucks trying to use transit without a data plan, and I don’t see any reason it should be that way. Part of the reason I was so reluctant to get a data plan was that I’d forget the pain points of not having one; I’d also be curious to see survey results on %users with cell phones, smartphones, smartphones with data, etc.

      6. Even if you have a smartphone, schedule information on the signs is still useful if you forgot your phone or your battery dies.

  8. Great title topic. But I’ve always been curious: What’s a good working definition of a generation?

    Mark Dublin

    1. Anyone over 30 is the older generation… especially if you remember that.
      Extra points for knowing what “14 or Fight” is.

      1. I once argued with a Census Department official that the use of those terms was prejudicial. There is no reason for making statements like “Gen x thinks this…” or “Baby Boomers want…” Why would that be any better label for an individual than say a racially based comment?

    1. Sound Transit cannot count on my vote for any package that extends light rail to Everett or Tacoma.

      1. Okay… but Sound Transit cannot count on the votes of any Snohomish or Pierce County residents for any package that does not extend light rail to Everett and Tacoma.

      2. Okay, then, Sound Transit can count on my support for any revision of its governing statute to allow one subarea to pass local packages without needing to go to ballot in the other subareas.

      3. With aerospace and other manufacturing centers anchored in Snohomish County, the absence of light rail repels Asian and European-based suppliers otherwise eager to move here. Troy McClelland, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County, said that companies are stunned by the lack of a swift and rapid transportation system. McClelland said that one visitor expressed shock at the acres of cars parked at Boeing.


        “[Foreign] companies are stunned by the nightmare of suburban sprawl in which we’ve embedded ourselves, and the cluelessness apparent in our impotent attempts to dig ourselves our of it.”

        Fast-forward to 2040:

        “One visitor expressed shock that we spent billions of dollars shadowing the highway with a train no one uses, which couldn’t get him anywhere he wanted or needed to go, and was appalled by the acres of cars parked at every station… not to mention at Boeing.”

        Listen, if a supplier feels the need for a local presence to tap into King/Snohomish’s aerospace market, they’re going to locate here. Giving them a shiny train to point to (but never use) will not make an ounce of difference. The quote above is a spellbindingly dumb use of anecdotal evidence to bolster a specious priority.

        As Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson notes, Everett will support a population of 200,000 along with 180,000 jobs in 2040.

        Yeah. Everett’s not only going to bounce back from its tenuous position as an anachronistic, sprawl/flight-addled, post-industrial, single-industry, minor regional city… it’s going do double in size and importance!! Whoopie!

        Can we build a separate, dedicated transport system for the monkeys needing passage out of my butt?

      4. Give me a break. What’s the situation near Toulouse Airport or Finkenwerder near Hamburg?

      5. Given the current state of affairs at Pierce Transit, it may be more practical at least in the short term for ST3 to spend its money implementing more inter and intra county express routes that use surface streets much like the 522 does on major corridors in the county (6th Ave, S. 19th St, Bridgeport Way, SR7, SR 99, SR 161, 112th St, etc. With good base service (every 30 min) all day. Also fixing sounder’s Park and Ride problems would be a very good sell, as well as adding more trains. I’m still not sure extending Central LINK light Rail would be a big sell around here yet.

      6. What does Link to Everett have to do with Boeing anyway? I don’t think anyone is planning to build a Boeing station (or one near any SnoHoCo industry for that matter). Auto-age industrial facilities might be even harder for transit than auto-age residential developments.

      7. I agree with you to some extent, DP. But what are we supposed to do with Everett and Paine Field (one of the largest employment centers in the PNW) now? We can’t re-platt the streets or start from scratch. Is better commuter rail the answer?

      8. The article says foreign companies are shocked that Everett doesn’t have rapid transit, not that it’s too low-density to justify it. You can double-check the sources to see if they were quoted wrong, but that’s what it says. And it tallies with my understanding that Europeans and Asians would say you need to get moving with rapid transit in a large metropolitan area.

        There have been suggestions for a Boeing Everett station. There’s no official route to Everett yet so there’s no reason why it couldn’t. I see a line from Lynnwood TC to Alderwood Mall (station) and Ash Way (station), north on 525 and the Mukilteo Speedway (station at 99 transferring to Swift), a station somewhere around Paine Field and/or Boeing Everett (with some landscape changes to make it walking distance to these), east on Casino Road or 526 to Broadway (another station on 99), and north on Broadway to Everett. Maybe more stations along the way; this is just a quick sketch. By my estimate, the Boeing deviation would add only a couple minutes to the trip, which only those in the city of Everett would suffer. And they may like a way to get to Boeing from Everett and Lynnwood.

      9. Two other advantages of a Boeing routing. One, Boeing might help pay for it or at least donate land for the station and ROW. Two, it would put a station within the Mukilteo city limits, just a 10-minute bus ride from downtown Mukilteo. That would be the most effective way to kill Sounder North because the travel-time and traffic arguments for keeping it would vanish. Even if there is traffic around Boeing, it doesn’t compare to going through traffic to Ash Way or Everett.

      10. I think assuming Boeing will still BE here in 2040 is a bit of a stretch, d.p.. My guess is by then they’ll have moved everything to right-to-work states or lower-wage countries.

      11. So we should assume Boeing will not be here and leave it to its large parking lots and driving? That may be one factor in encouraging Boeing to leave. In any case, if ST decides to consider a Paine Field/Boeing route, it will ask Boeing and whoever owns Paine Field, and negotiate on routing and contributions. If they’re uncooperative, ST will simply fall back to I-5 which is presumably the default choice. That’s different from the Bellevue situation where 112th/Bellevue Way was the shortest path from South Bellevue to BTC. In this case, it would be a longer detour, so if the beneficiaries are uncooperative, f*ck them. But I bet Boeing would be very interested in a Link station, both for employees and tourists. And if it did have a station, it would have to make some plausably pleasant walk path for tourists.

      12. I have suspected the same, Orv, that they’re one term of a Republican Department of Labor(Busting) away from disappearing from Washington anyway. Bernie made the case that their new lines are more easily relocated than their existing ones, and that Seattle-area aerospace extends way beyond just one company anyway. For the sake of regional optimisim, let’s choose to believe him.

        The article says foreign companies are shocked… You can double-check the sources…

        The editorial, Mike, is a masterclass in the stupidity of anecdotal evidence. It doesn’t matter what the hypothetical visitors said or what the random Snohomish business rep thinks he heard, it is a ridiculously facile justification for a multi-billion dollar project.

        The two Airbus facilities Erik mentions are adjacent to Toulouse and Hamburg — major cities both — while Paine Field is in fucking Everett. That’s all you need to know about their respective mass-transit situations!

        As Erik and Buscommuter point out, neither Airbus location has all-day mass-transit service anyway, because such service would be pointless for an industrial facility with regimented commute times. Finkenwerder, on a direct waterway to Hamburg, has a ferry… plus plenty of parking! Airbus HQ, no further from central Toulouse than Ballard is from Seattle, has indirect bus 21/a>… oh, plus plenty of parking!

        What are we supposed to do with Everett and Paine Field (one of the largest employment centers in the PNW) now?

        James, if Boeing really cares about helping its employees avoid the traffic and monotony of driving commutes, it should institute a Microsoft-style shuttle system to take advantage of express lanes. Boeing has its own access highway already; no new infrastructure is required to reach existing, underutilized P&Rs or residential areas with concentrations of Boeing employees (if anything in Snohomish can be called “concentrated”).

        A shuttle or a fixed-route bus should also expect to serve the future Lynnwood station, which (contrary to rumors) I support as a means of bypassing the worst of I-5 traffic, even if it won’t have any of the other effects that the Lynnwood-boosters claim.

      13. Mike, I’m just saying, building extensive infrastructure designed to support a company that hasn’t shown any commitment to staying in the area could be an expensive mistake.

      14. Boeing has always wanted to maintain geographic diversity. If one area gets devastated by flood, volcano, earthquake they don’t want it to shut down the company. The company has recently pulled back military work from KC presumably because it’s more efficient to do the tanker work here than build the plane to commercial spec and then rebuild it in Kansas. Internationally it’s become crucial for sales to parcel out major subassembly to foreign countries. A competitive advantage Airbus can’t match.

        As for Everett the question is what will the market for Super Jumbo jets look like in 2040. Although the 747 has beein one of their most profitable planes Boeing has bet big on the future being more about smaller more efficient aircraft that can serve a greater number of direct flights. Airbus will continue to build the A380 even if it’s not profitable. That may mean the end of the line for the 747. Paine Field may take over more of the final assembly, retrofit, test and repair function currently done at Boeing Field (aka King County International Airport)

      15. Airbus HQ, no further from central Toulouse than Ballard is from Seattle

        Boeing, like Airbus is geographically diverse. It’s HQ is in Chicago on the NW corner of the Loop; which is a long way from Ballard :=

      16. Ha! I have no idea whether Airbus corporate is in central Toulouse, or with the rest of their sprawling flagship facilities, which are just to the west of Aéroport de Toulouse – Blagnac.

        Those facilities are precisely 5.5 miles from central Toulouse, which would be like having Boeing in Ballard.

      17. Speaking of facilities almost (if not quite) that close to the central city, though, I can’t believe that no one has mentioned how Boeing failed to go to bat — nay, failed to even lift a finger — to support the eventually-deleted Boeing Field Access stop on Central Link.

        Why would anyone give an ounce of credence to what an “Economic Alliance of Snohomish County” guy says in a silly Everett Herald editorial, when the employer in question has already demonstrated that it doesn’t give a shit?

      18. “Given the current state of affairs at Pierce Transit, it may be more practical at least in the short term for ST3 to spend its money implementing more inter and intra county express routes that use surface streets much like the 522 does on major corridors in the county (6th Ave, S. 19th St, Bridgeport Way, SR7, SR 99, SR 161, 112th St, etc. With good base service (every 30 min) all day…. I’m still not sure extending Central LINK light Rail would be a big sell around here yet.”

        I assume the PT cutbacks will tip the balance toward Tacoma streetcars rather than a Link extension. There’s also the 578, whose Puyallup-Tacoma segment was deleted because it duplicated PT 400. Will it be reinstated when weekend 400 goes away? The 400’s midday frequency will also go down to 90 minutes and terminate at Tacoma Dome, which I gather means a Tacoma Dome-Puyallup route. I don’t see ST adding other quasi-local bus service to replace PT, but who knows. There’s a big gap between 2013 when the cuts occur and 2017 or later when ST3 might have money to add routes in Pierce County.

      19. Does Boeing operate any kind of shuttle service to transit centers at times that line up with the start and end of work shifts? Or is everyone who commutes from Seattle simply expected to drive the entire way? If they care at all providing options for employees to get to work, shuttle service to either Everett or Lynnwood Transit Center seems like the least they could do.

        By contrast, Microsoft provides shuttle service from Overlake Transit Center to almost every Microsoft building, on top of giving their employees free bus passes and operating their own Connector service.

  9. Fuel cell buses with hybrid technology provide shuttle service at Davos

    The fuel cell stacks of the new Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid are identical to those of the Mercedes‑Benz B‑Class F‑CELL with a fuel cell drive system. Both stacks are located on the vehicle’s roof as was the case with earlier fuel cell buses. The lithium-ion batteries which, for example, store recovered power during braking are a new addition to the roof. The power provided by the energy reservoir means that the new Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid can travel several kilometres using only battery-electric power.

      1. Well quite frankly I wouldn’t put a big heavy (and as we now know, dangerous) LiON battery on top of a bus that already has a safe clean and lightweight fuel cell. Seems redundant.

      2. And just how would you do regenerative braking with just a fuel cell? Maybe run it backwards and electrolyze some water?

      3. All fuel cell buses have batteries as part of their electric drive chain. It’s nothing more than a serial hybrid with the diesel motor generator replaced with a fuel cell. The battery is required to provide peak power; starting, climbing steep hills, etc. Otherwise the fuel cell would have to be sized to meet peak demand which would be even sillier than putting one in a bus in the first place.

        Maybe run it backwards and electrolyze some water?… That would work actually…

        Sure, if you want to add a tank and top off the water like an old steam locomotive. Of course you run into the same fundamental problem of getting back less energy than you put in so fuel efficiency would actually drop.

      4. Bernie, the fuel cell makes water, so no problem there; you just need a tank to put it in. There’s already a tank for the hydrogen, but it would be under high pressure, so you’d need a compressor to use that (with some more energy losses there). Or you could add a low pressure tank and a smaller compressor.

        How much did those batteries weigh again?

      5. Doesn’t mean this technology can’t be sold here someday under license.

        Oh for sure. Or they could just import whole buses, like we did with the Bredas.

        But if we’re going to go that far, why not just run trolleywire?

      6. How much did those batteries weigh again?

        You mean the batteries that the fuel cell bus has to have anyway? The fuel cell generates water vapor. So you could add a still to reclaim the water to pump back and forth to the hydrogen electrolysis factory but pretty soon there’s no room for passengers and you still have a net loss of energy with the regenerative braking system. Oh, and don’t forget that the hydrogen has to be laboratory purity, not the common industrial grade or else it contaminates the fuel cells like leaded gasoline does to catalytic converters.

      7. The reason for the lithium-ion battery is to act as a buffer. Fuel cells don’t do well at producing sudden bursts of power for acceleration.

      8. John,

        Having batteries on a motor vehicle on the street is quite different than on a jet at FL 380.

  10. Does anyone know why one can routinely see Metro buses dead-heading (“To Terminal” and”To X Base”) running in opposite directions at the same time, for example some going north on I-5 and south on I-5 through the U-district during morning commutes? Seems like a big waste — why couldn’t the two buses & drivers just “swap” whatever they are trying to do? Is it related to drivers only being approved for certain routes? Or are there other reasons? (I also see the same thing happen with mixes of agencies — such as a ST bus and a MT bus, and I can see how this adds to the complexity.)

    1. The answer to this can be complicated. For example, Bus A is headed to the base, while bus B is To Terminal. Bus A could be headed to a different base than where bus B came from. Bus B could be doing a second trip while bus A is done. Bus A could be coming from a different route and/or terminal than where Bus B is headed. I can give a “real world” example of maybe what you see, since its AM, and you say “To X Base”, knowing the value of X could actually be more helpful. You might see, for example an East Base bus going south, back to East Base, while a To Terminal bus is headed north. The East Base bus just did a Lakeside school tripper from some East of the lake location to 130th/1st NE, while the To Terminal bus is either coming from Central Base going to the 5, or 70-something terminal, or from Ryerson going to the 16 or 48 terminal. This is just one possibility, and this shows the “swapping buses” could be completely un-related to each other, and would be a bigger mess later to sort out. I hope that makes some sense, or shines a light on the bigger picture. =)

    2. Simple answer, buses need to get back to the base where they will be needed in the morning or closest to where ever their next run will start.

    3. One cause could simply be fueling & range concerns. You could be seeing a bus leaving the base with a full tank and a bus returning to the base with an empty one. You could also potentially be seeing buses that operate out of different bases. Those are the two most likely options I can think of. AFAIK, apart from trolley and tunnel routes, any driver can run any route.

      1. Drivers have to be qualified on each route. Many drivers who operate only out of one base are only qualified on the routes out of that base. It requires some dedication to get qualified on the entire system: you have to spend a shakeup working out of each base (or, alternately, get training to approve a lot of out-of-base qualifying time) and ride each route once to qualify on it.

        I worked out of all seven bases during my first eight shakeups at Metro, and supplemented my income quite nicely by getting qualified on the entire system. Not all drivers want to spend that much time or go through that much trouble.

      2. But an active driver is generally qualified on all the routes out of “their” base, right?

      3. Not always. A driver who picks regular work and isn’t interested in picking up overtime only has to qualify on the routes in the regular work. This is especially relevant to a lot of part-timers (who are driving a lot of the deadheading buses the OP is talking about), who drive the same route every day and may have another full-time job. A lot of them don’t want to spend any more time qualifying than they have to.

    4. When buses say “To Terminal” that usually means that they are headed to their last stop … not necessarily going back to their base … this is done so people don’t get pissed when a bus passes them by in the rain.

      for instance, the 60 usually switches “To Terminal” when it gets to the stop at Broadway/E John … as there is only one stop after that (other than the layover space N of Republican. If everybody has gotten off at SCCC they might even change the signs there to avoid stopping which helps if they are behind schedule and need their break.

      1. “To Terminal” is a sign that you’ll find on any bus that is headed… to a terminal.

        That could be either a bus turning the corner from the last stop to the layover zone or a bus headed across town to start a new trip in an entirely different part of town. It really doesn’t tell you much, other than that the bus is not operating a revenue trip and is not headed to a base.

      2. The 550 says “To Terminal” when it picks up passengers at Convention Place, and only switches to the right sign as it’s heading toward Westlake. I pointed that out to the driver once, but it seems that the automatic sensors or whatever are placed just beyond the station, so as a passenger you just have to know that the “To Terminal” bus is your 550.

        Also, when RapidRide D is changing to C in Belltown or the 49 is changing to 7 on Pine Street, their in-bus stop indicator says “To Terminal” for a few blocks.

  11. I’ve learned how to make YouTube video excerpts from Sound Transit’s archived videos of Board meetings. My first efforts are posted at . One I prepared on a recent topic is the Board Capital Committee’s discussion on January 10th of the landslide situation that has impacted Sounder North. Another one covers the CESURA track bridge on I-90 (which I first learned about here at STB) and a third video shows the Citizen Oversight Panel report on it Sounder North investigation and recommendations.

    What Sound Transit wants us to see is on their YouTube channel at .

    1. John,

      How about some numbers on the costs of the Roadrunner Train shown in the video at top?

  12. I’ve noticed that several commenters on STB have advocated grade-separated transit to SLU and Denny Triangle. I have to say I agree with this, as the area has seen and will continue to see a lot of growth. My question is, how do you see this fitting into the current Link system and any potential extensions to Ballard or elsewhere?

    1. One popular proposal (with which I disagree) would split a line off from Central Link at CPS, and have that line double back roughly parallel to Denny with stops at Fairview, Westlake, 5th, and then on to LQA and Ballard.

      Another proposal is an entirely separate crosstown line of some sort, a elevated-or-tunneled version of the 8.

      In either case, it would be a kind of insane capital project. The combination of topography and lack of space would make for some very interesting decisions. It would be a huge help to local mobility when done, though.

  13. Bellevue church ready to sell in hot market

    Zoning allows towers up to 450 feet tall on the church’s property, on the prominent corner of 108th Avenue Northeast and Northeast Eighth Street… It’s important to First Congregational to remain a downtown church, Young says: That’s where the homeless and others in need tend to congregate, where transit service is best.

    It’s unclear if Mr. Young is saying that homeless congregate where transit is best or transit service is important to the congregation but parking seems to be a big issue. Unlikely to get a permanent easement for even weekend parking anywhere near DT I don’t see how purchasing enough land and building a low utilization facility can ever pencil out. I wonder if they have explored a long term lease of the land and negotiating for a new sanctuary and shared meeting space as part of a highrise. An interesting question would be what that sort of “mixed use” would mean with respect to the property tax exemption.

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