Yesler Cable Car, 3rd & Yesler, 1940 (Rob Ketcherside/Flickr)

This is an open thread.

217 Replies to “News Roundup: Openings”

  1. I agree with the prospect of a transit-only bridge near Fremont, as it’s necessary to ensure that any sort of streetcar investment is worthwhile. The problem is, the proposed location would bypass the heart of Fremont entirely, and the streetcar would still be subject to the usual backups on Westlake when the Fremont bridge itself is open. These two points need to be weighed very heavily if such a bridge comes to fruition.

    1. Where’re you seeing this? The linked article says “The city hasn’t identified sites for a bridge” yet.

      1. They haven’t formally identified a place yet, those maps are just illustrative, but 3rd Ave W -> 3rd Ave NW is the obvious place for any new bridge.

      2. Operating urban rail on a drawbridge, while less than ideal, is hardly unprecedented.

        But the new bridge should definitely be built taller than the Fremont Bridge. It’s far too low to the water and all but the smallest sailboats require it to be opened.

      3. The bridges in Chicago don’t open all that often, true — Chicago gets boats across in batches because there are so many low bridges that are vital to surface transportation in downtown Chicago. Want to get under a bridge whenever you feel like it? Get a shorter boat.

        But when they do open, the trains can clear up their backup pretty quickly because they aren’t stuck in the backup on the street. And there’s significantly more train traffic using those bridges than would be using any drawbridge in Fremont. Personally I don’t think bridge openings are that big a deal unless transit vehicles get stuck in the car backups behind them.

        So I’m a lot more concerned with separation from traffic than avoiding drawbridge openings. A train that runs in traffic until getting to a high bridge might not even be able to get to the high bridge because of traffic backups when the low bridge opens.

    2. Why not build a new auto bridge at 3rd ave NW, and keep the current Fremont bridge for bikes, peds, and transit? That would put transit close to where people want to go, and remove much of the through-traffic from the Fremont core. I think that could be a major boon for Fremont businesses.

      1. It would also take a lot of pressure off of Nickerson St between 3rd W and the Ballard Bridge given that virtually every car trip off the top of Queen Anne Hill to Ballard goes that way. I’m not a big fan of new auto infrastructure, but this spot fix would go a long way to improving traffic flow for cars and giving transit and bikes more space on the existing Fremont bridge. It’s a brilliant idea.

      2. I think that’s a great idea as well. Transit shouldn’t be forced to bypass the central Fremont commercial area. As the Fremont Bridge is four lanes wide, you could probably even leave the middle two lanes for automobile traffic while reserving the outer lanes for transit.

      3. I confirmed at the meetup last night that this is definitely a possibility, and the study would consider it.

      4. I’m afraid it would do little to ease traffic, though. I think Fremont would still be a bottle neck. If you are coming from the east (say, UW) and want to go to Magnolia or North Queen Anne or West Queen then you will likely still go through Fremont. I suppose you could go higher, but all of those routes are problematic. 45th is a nightmare and 50th is messy once you get to Stone Way. You can go on 40th/Bridge/39th but that is already pretty crowded. It will likely be even more crowded as soon as they remove the onramp/exits to the Viaduct. Many of the folks who used to go from Ballard to Southwest Seattle via 15th and the Viaduct will will instead go across 39th and onto 99 that way.

        Then you have the politics of it. A lot of people who drive across the Fremont bridge will want to continue to drive across it. In other words, I just don’t see this happening because I don’t think it would make traffic worse for many people. I wish that wasn’t what people cared about, but it is.

      5. Aach — I garbled the last couple of sentences. What I meant to say:

        I just don’t see this happening because I think it would make traffic worse for many people. I wish that wasn’t what people cared about, but it is.

    3. What Ryan said. Love the idea of a bridge, but not one that misses the Fremont core. Curious to see what any study says about a new crossing east of the existing bridge. Otherwise, like the idea of building a new bridge at 3rd West for vehicular traffic and converting Fremont Bridge to at least primarily serve transit and non-motorized travel.

  2. Why does the headsign on the 47 say DOWNTOWN SEATTLE when all other routes in the Seattle area simply say DOWNTOWN (I think…)? Seems a little strange.

    1. From what I’ve observed, “DOWNTOWN SEATTLE” only shows up on signage either on new/renumbered routes (like the 47 or 40) or on modified signage (like the 120 when “WHITE CENTER” was changed to “WESTWOOD VILLAGE” for northbound trips). This started with the September shakeup (although I did see “28 DOWNTOWN SEATTLE” prior to that).

    2. Because Metro is occasionally inconsistent.

      “Downtown Seattle” was what appeared on the roller signs that Metro had before electronic sihas been slipping into a number of signs lately.

      When they went electronic, they were pretty consistent about using “Downtown” on city routes and “Seattle” on suburban routes.

      But lately there has been less consistency.

      1. Sigh. Can’t make comprehensible comments today.

        What I meant was: “‘Downtown Seattle’ was what appeared on the roller signs that Metro had before electronic signs appeared.”

    3. I’ve seen the same on the 28. I think that Metro is slowing moving towards “Downtown Seattle”. Why? I don’t know. It’s really hard to read due to condensed lettering.

  3. No, Pierce Transit, please stop destroying yourself. Please. PLEASE. Eating on a bus is not that bad. You are acting like you don’t ever want anyone to vote for you again.

    1. Second your sentiment about effect on future elections, Alex- though would like to see bus camera video before passing final judgment.

      The key word here is “enforcement”- which thankfully no one in a transit operator’s uniform has any authority to do under any circumstances. Notice how seldom individual police officers attempt to enforce anything before backup arrives.

      A polite request. A call for police presence where enforcement is necessary- including calls in advance if trouble seems likely to develop, with accurate and concise information. An incident report after work- which used to yield a half hour’s pay. Does that still hold? None of these involves ignoring violations or “not doing anything.”

      Mark Dublin

      1. “A polite request”

        I had to call the Police to have an irate passenger removed after I politely reminded a passenger of the no eating policy when he boarded with a bag of potato chips. I used to get pretty snippy with folks who ate on the bus until I realized I was “enforcing”, something I could (and likely should) be disciplined for doing. I’ve since switched to polite reminders and using the PSA but sadly, not even that is enough to avoid conflict. Sigh…

      2. I’ve ridden Pierce Transit for many years and I can tell from witnessing many incidents that there is far less tolerance for disruptive behavior than on Metro. There’s clearly a “corporate culture” that expects their drivers to be more assertive in having passengers follow the rules, calling for people to be removed, enforcing fares, etc. Many of the drivers are ex-Army guys and have a pretty short fuse for putting up with B.S., whether it is justified or not.

        If you read the RCW for Unlawful Transit Conduct, it specifically refers to “the lawful commands of an agent of the transit authority,” so while Metro may not encourage their drivers to take an enforcement role, it is provided for in the law.

        And you really don’t want to mess with the Pierce Transit security officers… they don’t work for a contractor, they are “peace officers” that work for PT. One time, I saw three of them get physical with an intoxicated passenger coming off a late-night 594 at the Tacoma Dome Station and I quickly realized they aren’t your everyday rent-a-cops. They carry tasers, too, but at least they didn’t use them that night.

        Don’t forget that Tacoma is generally a more conservative place than Seattle and you’ll get thrown out of many public places (not just the bus, but the Tacoma Mall, etc.) a lot quicker. So, while the PT spokesman had to give the standard “we’ll investigate the matter” response, I doubt much will come of this.

    2. I think part of the problem is the crap frequency on most routes. In NYC or DC, if you’re finishing your sandwich, the next train/bus might be 5 or 10 min away. While here, you might be waiting a half hour or more.

      In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be any eating on the bus, but it’s not very practical around here.

      1. Also, the primary reason for the anti-food crusade on systems like DC Metro is to keep rat populations from taking hold inside the permanent infrastructure.

        Metro and Pierce: you have NO permanent infrastructure.

        Eat a sandwich. Over the bag you brought it in. Don’t eat a whole boiled lobster in the shell. Be a good citizen and leave no mess.

        But treating already-suffering passengers of slow, degraded transit like they should have to choose between starving or being massively late is evidence of an agency oblivious to its own suck.

      2. I think part of the problem is the crap frequency on most routes. In NYC or DC, if you’re finishing your sandwich, the next train/bus might be 5 or 10 min away. While here, you might be waiting a half hour or more.

        I sort of sympathesise with this, but it assumes:

        1) You are so hungry you have to eat your sandwhich now and can’t wait utnil after the bus ride
        2) You are so skin-of-the-pants with your bus experience that you haven’t given yourself enough time to get eat your sandwich before you’re on the bus

        In this case, I think you likely have some more serious issues, and you can be vouchsafed a sandwich (though you may want to do a bit of self-introspection and ask why you can’t seem to give yourself enough time to eat normally). Anyway, no one really cares about sandwiches; it’s the fried chicken, cans of beer, and bowls of curry that people don’t like. But you can’t make exceptions.

      3. In this case, I think you likely have some more serious issues, and you can be vouchsafed a sandwich (though you may want to do a bit of self-introspection and ask why you can’t seem to give yourself enough time to eat normally).

        Heh. I’ve occasionally been guilty of this. I was on Greenwood on a Sunday, so the 5 had 30 min headways. I had been walking around a while and wanted some food, and had just gotten a gyro. I checked OBA and saw the bus was coming in 2 min. I hopped on with my sandwich, which while I didn’t eat it (that would have been impossible), it definitely smelled. I apologize to everyone who was on the bus that day.

      4. When it takes less than a freaking hour to make a basic trip across town (not counting the arbitrary wait before the first leg, which is likely long enough to procure food but too short to eat it), I’ll have greater sympathy for the “you should budget your time better” argument.

      5. “Be a good citizen and leave no mess.”

        And there is the problem… I’ve seen enough “good citizens” leave behind crumbs and greasy potato chips to know that you really shouldn’t eat on the bus. The vehicle is moving and we don’t have the tools to properly clean up spills. And that’s not even including the “bad citizens” who obviously don’t give a crap. I’ve seen large open containers of Thai food, buckets of chicken, and open faced slimy meatball subs. No tolerance is the best policy.

      6. Your food stinks. Don’t force other passengers on the bus to endure the smells. It’s just rude.

      7. Your bus service stinks. Don’t force passengers to pay you $90/month to never get anywhere and then think you have the right to any kind of moral high ground. It’s just asinine.

      8. So now any sort of odor, no matter what it is, constitutes abuse?

        We really are a prissy city, aren’t we?

      9. I think the sharp and apparently-universal revulsion at people doing some as basic as obtaining sustenance while in motion boils down to two problems, both of which are fundamentally anti-urban at their root:

        First is the obsession with anti-septic living: Delineate my soil from yours. Wipe the counters with Clorox fifty times a day. My home is my castle. Don’t you dare clutter up the “open space” with uses and activities.

        This is late-20th-century suburban living. The real threat is not Sam’s hantaviruses, but the antibiotic-resistant superbacteria that to which said suburban cleanliness obsessions have already given rise.

        The second problem is internalized notion of transit as “for commuting”, as distinct from part of living our lives. Commuting is routinely compartmentalized in this way; if commuting is your primary use of transit, it makes sense to see it as a standalone space, not to be blended with the rest of one’s daily functions and activities.

        But if you use transit for everything, those lines start to blur. You might or change plans while on the bus. You might take truly spontaneous trips far more often. You won’t make a regular habit of eating three-course meals while rolling slowly across town, but there will likely come a time when you will not have time to eat before grabbing your bus, and know that you will not have time to eat once you’ve arrived.

        Snacks have been sold from kiosks in New York transit facilities since the beginning of time. Rats, too, have scurried between the tracks since the beginning of time (better there than on the surface, frankly).

        You won’t see rats on the trains, though, because New York has an actual full-time cleaning department — something that a city the size of Seattle also should have, but apparently doesn’t, which is why our vehicles are actually far more disgusting than New York’s despite the no-eating rule.

        So yet again, the question is what kind of city you want us to be: an entrenched suburban backwater where commuting is all you can/will ever do on transit? Or a living, breathing, busy, messy, interesting city?

      10. The Tokyo link says nothing about not eating. It says not to leave your trash behind (duh!) after you do.

        The London one says to avoid smelly food, which you insist on mischaracterizing as all food. You are wrong. It also says to avoid spilling coffee, which is common sense, and also presumes there is plenty of coffee being consumed on the Tube.

        The Paris guide says eating is acceptable on the platform, which is about the only place you’d have room to eat (or move) on Paris trains anyway. Also, time spent on any single train in Paris is relatively short.

        As for Seoul… well, Korea was a dictatorship for like three decades. The excessive regimentedness hasn’t worn off quite yet. Should we adopt Park Chung-hee’s curfews too?

      11. The Tokyo link certainly does mention eating!

        I think all eating is worse than no eating, but smelly is the thing that really can’t be tolerated (and people who can’t eat quietly, but that’s whole other thing). If you’re having a candy bar, whatever, right? Eating poutine, that’s bad go. Some people can’t understand the difference.

        If you have to bring shit up from before I was born (Park Hee Chung) to have an argument, I’m pretty sure you are the one who is wrong.

      12. d.p., the idea that living in a busy and interesting city requires us to put up with the noxious odor of someone’s onion rings or tuna sandwich in a small confined space is just ridiculous. Case in point: the D.C. Metro. Eat a tuna sandwich on that very busy and increasingly urban system and you will get told off by passengers, and possibly even kicked off the train if someone in authority happens to be around.

        A city has restaurants, homes, offices, parks, benches, and street corners, all of which are places where you can eat without subjecting everyone else to the exact details of what you are eating the way you do on a bus or train.

      13. And, yes, all food smells to varying extents. If I am in the seat right in front of you when you eat a candy bar, I’m going to smell it, I’m going to hear it, and I’m going to either give you a dirty look or ask you to stop.

      14. David,

        If you are really bothered by the sound of SOMEONE EATING A CANDY BAR (and the absolutely minimal smell), you really need to get over yourself. Give me a break.

      15. Really?


        If everyone ate quietly, maybe I’d be overreacting. Most people don’t. Not at all.

      16. Schuyler nails it.

        This is one of those unbelievably precious/self-righteous “my right not to be offended trumps all else” things that convinces me Seattleites are all a bunch of spoiled suburban-raised brats who express political interest in density and city living but can’t be bothered to adapt to it.

        It’s like hogging the sidewalk at a snail’s pace, or yelling at someone for jaywalking safely and efficiently, both also egregious Seattle habits.

        Andrew, from your Tokyo link:
        Image 8: “Please take your trash with you. Do not leave it on the train.” (How did the food packaging become trash while in transit? Perhaps because it was consumed in transit!)
        Image 22: “Please consider the people around you when you consider eating or drinking on the train.”
        (That seems reasonable. I’ve already said as much. Consideration ≠ prohibition.)

      17. d.p., this is not precious Seattle. It’s virtually anywhere in the first-tier industrialized world other than the disgustingly filthy East Coast (which I love, but let’s be honest… those cities are dirty). People don’t eat, or if they do they do so very discreetly, on urban mass transit in continental Europe. You cite Tokyo, but you would never see someone in Japan slorping away at a tuna sandwich on the train. Name a big city in Germany or Switzerland and you will find a place where it is possible to have true city life and a lack of disgustingness at the same time. I want us to grow into Munich, not Philly.

      18. Boston is a hell of a lot cleaner-feeling than Berlin.

        And any part of central Boston is a hell of a lot cleaner-feeling than Belltown, Pioneer Square, and 3rd Ave in the Seattle CBD.

      19. I’ll keep sneaking carrots and candy bars whilst in transit. There are so many ways I might offend someone in Seattle, I might as well not be hungry on the bus. Don’t worry everyone, I rarely smack my lips, and I’ll time my crunches with bumps in the road.

      20. Obviously you can drink soft drinks on the train, but you can’t eat food. If you understood Japanese culture even a tiny bit, you would know that “consideration” in this case does mean precisly prohibition. Plus the Japanese version is the important one (being a sign in japan after all). The Japanese version of the text literally says “Stop yourself from eating”, that’s what “Taberu te wo tome” (食べる手を止め) means. The whole thing is “Taberu te wo tome, mawari ni ki wo tomete” (食べる手をとめ、まわりに気をとめて), which is a sort of poetic way of saying, “Think of others, stop yourself from eating”, or as you might say in English, where we’re more direct and rely less on guilt-tripping, “Eating is not allowed”.

      21. Commuter trains are different. Last I checked you’re allowed to eat on the Sounder. It’s not quite so tight an environment, though, and unlike Metro they seem to clean occasionally.

        I’ll admit I’ve violated this rule before on a bus. When my blood sugar gets low I get irritable and light-headed, so sometimes eating something discreetly is the lesser of two evils.

      22. “This is one of those unbelievably precious/self-righteous “my right not to be offended trumps all else” things that convinces me Seattleites are all a bunch of spoiled suburban-raised brats who express political interest in density and city living but can’t be bothered to adapt to it.”

        I’m not sure it’s being suburban-raised so much as our computer-based economy encouraging a certain sort of weirdly anti-social person who might be best off in the suburbs.

        I have Asperger’s syndrome. At this point, the bus is the worst part of my day because I’m trapped on it and who knows who’s going to get on it. Just seeing people moving – tapping on their smartphones, bouncing to the beat of their music, tapping their foot – can drive me crazy, and don’t even get me started on music leaking from their headphones (music most people might not even be able to hear actually drives me more nuts than loud talkers). I’ve also complained on this blog in the past about the noise leaking through the wall when I lived in a quadruplex, and given my sensitive hearing I’m not convinced the most well-insulated studio apartment in the world can solve that problem entirely.

        Based on what I’ve heard, I wouldn’t be surprised if a computerized economy, with its decreased focus on actual face-to-face interaction and in the sort of skills it seeks, is relatively tailor-made for and thus encourages people like me. Yet on the other hand, I chafe at the idea that we should re-organize all of society for people like me – let the people who can and want to live in the city while I have my peace and quiet in the suburbs. In other words, I’m not sure a lot of people who support making Seattle more urban actually intend to live there, for the same reason they keep saying “think of the future residents, not the current ones”.

        (On the other hand, I don’t even want to know what I’d be like driving a car – I think my ideal state is one where I can walk everywhere, but of course that presumably requires good transit, limited parking and dense living. I’d like to see how well a well-insulated studio apartment could work, I’m just skeptical until I do.)

      23. Morgan: I highly recommend you get some earplugs, or one of the pairs of headphones that go into the ear canal. It really makes a big difference for me, and also tends to discourage people from trying to converse with me. Also, I figure all that road noise can’t be doing my ears any good.

    3. I know few agree with me on this, but I think people who eat on the bus deserve flogging. If their food is particularly smelly, or they can’t chew with their mouths shut, the only solution is to bring back drawing and quartering, or at least burn them at the stake.

      1. “Burn them at the stake”, all you’ve done then is create BBQ – something else not to bring on the bus.

    4. The following are all facts.

      Rodents are attracted by food particles. Eating often leaves behind traces of food. Deer mice can carry the hantavirus. This virus is spread through the inhalation of mouse urine, saliva, and droppings dust. Hantavirus is often fatal.

      1. And yet all those people who routinely eat in their cars still haven’t died of the hantavirus. So weird.

      2. And yet all those people who routinely eat in their cars still haven’t died of the hantavirus. So weird.

        A great many of them are dying of obesity, so swings and roundabouts, really.

      3. No, but their cars reek. It’s amazing what odors people will put up with in a place they occupy for a substantial chunk of the day.

        A car that is eaten in every day smells almost, but not quite, as bad as a smoker’s car.

      4. Only if you’re a slob and don’t take the wrappers out when you’re done. I’ve seen a lot of cars that look like a set from ‘Hoarders.’

      1. And your point was stupid, as hantaviruses is exceedingly rare, and not a single person has every contracted it directly or indirectly as the result of anyone eating on public transportation.

      2. I think in the city, the native mice that can carry hantavirus have been pretty well displaced by the European house mouse, which cannot. So I’d call that a stretch.

        Honestly I think this is mostly Metro’s attempt to avoid having to clean bus interiors.

      1. 1.6 billion subway rides per year, and we’ve all seen that one video already.

        Here’s a video of a man being struck by lightening. That’s more likely to happen to you.

        No doubt about rats owning the New York subway tracks, and that there are many more rats in that city in general than in most places. But I’d still rather eat a feast off the floor of a number 6 train than pick up a dollar bill off the floor of a KC Metro 44 bus.

      2. Well, if the true worth of a cities transit system is the food you would be willing to eat off the floor then my vote goes to Chicago. I would eat a Giordanos off the floor rather than pocket a dollar off a Metro bus. A friend from NY that I knew in Chicago tried to convince me when I was in NYC that their pizza was the best but it was frozen from a box compared to Chicago. For those keeping score at home, I’d take the dollar from Metro vs the frozen box pizza.

  4. So, let’s say we decide to build a new rail line connecting West Seattle, downtown and Ballard, and it’s not going to go into the existing DSTT. How do we build the new line in such a way that provides easy connections and transfers to Central Link and East Link?

    I’ve heard a second avenue alignment discussed, but it seems to me that it would be difficult to make easy transfers to Westlake station from 2nd.

    1. 2nd Avenue tunnel. A Pine/Pike stop should have an entrance less than one block from the DSTT entrance at 3rd/Pine.

      The really fun part is getting this tunnel around the DBT at the south edge of downtown.

      1. If you have to go up to the street level and back down again, this is less than desirable. But I’m assuming any kind of direct underground connection would be too expensive to be considered.

    2. Fifth Avenue tunnel, with stations next to the ID station and Westlake, plus one more in the middle around the Library.

      1. I think it’s critical to have a parallel tunnel on 2nd Avenue, with the same stations. It’s the only way to ensure easy connections and integrate as much as possible with existing lines.

      2. The 5th Avenue idea is interesting. If it’s feasible to build a new north/south line either over, under, or across the existing line, both tunnels could share a station at Westlake (since the existing station spans to 5th Avenue already). This would make transferring between lines as simple as hopping on an escalator. By contrast, a 2nd Avenue tunnel would require walking a block, either by going back up to the surface or through the construction of a pedestrian tunnel underground.

      3. Via First Hill/Little Saigon tunnel with connections at Westlake and International District?

    3. OK, let’s say we decide to NOT build a second tunnel until the current one is maxed out, saving a couple of Billion.
      You could put the entire days riders of Central Link through the existing DSTT in about a half an hour (48,000 riders per peak direction, both ways, crush loaded at 200 on 2 min headways per ST engineering and DSTT specs)
      You might want to reconsider your premise of needing a 2nd set of tubes until LINK proves it warrants such expense.

      1. Seriously.

        Before Ben comes in here wailing about SOPs, we don’t need 4 minute headways to Lynwood. Full stop.

        We don’t even need 4 minute headways to Northgate.

      2. I asked the question because I was interested in people’s ideas for connecting a second rail line to the existing line, should we go that route. Discussions over whether we could put a third line in the DSTT are worth having – but that’s not the question I asked.

        Also, regarding the premise of needing a second tunnel – when did I say it had to be a tunnel?

      3. Sorry Mark, that’s all we’ve argued about ‘ad-nauseum’ for a couple of years now, and you never once said tunnel. My apologies to the surface/aerial/tram lobbyists out there. Me Bad.

      4. Joni Earl confirmed last night that nobody’s adding more to the existing tunnel for technical reasons. What’s it take, guys?

      5. OK, no more lines in the DSTT, cause the hills and soil, and now it’s all very ‘Technical’.
        I’m feeling better! Thanks Joni.
        So, it’s either an extra 2Bil or a streetcar or nothing. Hmmmm… I’m guessing streetcar.

      6. I think the thing to do is this:

        Propose a full solution that involves tunneling from Ballard to West Seattle (via downtown). Put it up for a vote. Watch people vote it down because it is too expensive.

        Come back with the “cheap” alternative: A tunnel from Ballard to the U-District plus a second line from West Seattle to the Sodo station. Watch it pass with flying colors.

      7. I strongly prefer a gondola line to West Seattle. First, it would go straight to downtown without needing to dig a second tunnel. Second, it could connect Alaska Junction, the Admiral District, and the beach on a single line – instantly ending all the complaints about the 56 and 57. Doing this could also promote Seattle’s beach and let us end the water taxi altogether. Third, it wouldn’t require any tunneling in solidly-built West Seattle.

      8. What’s the technical reason? You said something about fire codes which I didn’t understand.

      9. He said that U-Link tunnel headways have been reduced, because ST opted to forgo one vent structure in order to not piss off a certain cantankerous land-owning family.

        If that’s true — and I’m certainly curious to know if it’s true — it reflects an almost unbelievable degree of short-sightedness.

        One still has to believe outrageous Northgate and Lynnwood ridership projections to think that 20 four-car trains in each direction per hour represents a capacity that prevents branching (especially since branching would not necessarily need to be 50/50 at the peak hour).

      10. So, 20, 4 car trains, at 200 crush load each car would be 32,000 riders going both directions in one hour.
        That’s still more than ALL of a normal Central Link ridership for the whole day. Throw in ULink and were up to 3 hours of day usage.
        My head is hurting with all this ‘Technical’ stuff swirling around.
        Oh wait, throw in the emerging mega-metropolis of Lynnwood Park n Go/swamp/city and were maxed out on DSTT capacity.
        IF ST GAVE AWAY 50% (going from 2 minutes to 3 as the minimum headway)of the total system capacity to appease a land owner and got NOTHING in return, then tax payers deserve a 50% rebate on all their investment in this tunnel folly. That’s a hell of an embezzlement of a public asset, if true.

    4. if you have another tunnel under 2nd ave then you could dig up Pine Street and have an underground mezzanine that would connect to the westlake station … inside it you could have shops, etc …

      New York city does this in many places and it works quite well

      1. In fact I’ve already seen official plans somewhere for extending the Westlake Station mezzanine across the street with additional entrances between Second and Third on Pine. I’m guessing we wouldn’t end up with shops in it but it would be very easy to have a one-block long 40-foot-wide passage between the two stations.

    5. Ideally the tunnels would connect at least at the Westlake and Intl Dist multimodal stations. However, a 2nd Avenue tunnel may be able to connect to the existing 2nd Avenue entrance cheaply, so that would be a tolerable alternative. Ultimately I don’t care where the second tunnel is as long as it has at least one transfer to the first tunnel. Some other considerations:

      – Madison Street needs a station, especially with Madison-BRT coming, and also because the First Hill station was dropped.
      – The library needs a station. 5th & Madison would do that. I wish the station could be right in the library basement, like some cities have stations in shopping/office complexes.
      – Redesigning Intl Dist would allow it to become center platform, so that people transferring from Eastside to south end trains or vice-versa wouldn’t have to go up to the surface and back down.

  5. I was in the back of the crowd at last night’s open house and didn’t catch all the details about the award STB won (congrats!). Could someone on the staff provide more details?

    1. For Democrats (like me), any Dem as skeezy as Reardon is bad news for the party. I’m honestly glad to see him go, although I’m not in his county.

  6. It still boggles my mind that passenger rail service is not the top priority for the eastside rail corridor.

    1. There is no concentrated demand — none, zero — anywhere the freight line goes. All the demand that exists along the corridor, packing 405, is diffuse.

      1. d.p. is on the money. The only place it goes that is even close to anything is in Kirkland near downtown, and it doesn’t even get that close. The rest of it is in the middle of no where.

      2. The eastside corridor is primarily wandering though the middle of nowhere but it’s only brush with density is actually the section that will be shared with East Link in downtown Bellevue. The Kirkland section does go through Totem Lake which is Kirkland’s major jobs center and has aspirations of being the next Bel-Red. Er, well technically we’re still waiting on Bel-Red to become the next Bel-Red but Wright Runstand is saying they are going to break ground on a scaled back Spring District any year now. The south end of the line goes right past The Landing in Renton. The line also intersects the S. Kirkland P&R (the next Overlake Village, oh boy) where there are decent connections to the U District and DT Seattle.

      3. @Bernie: Remember last time we talked about Totem Lake? Going by what you said (as you’ve been there much more than I have) the part of Totem Lake that the tracks go through is the least walkable part of Totem Lake, and cut off from the rest (including its biggest employer) by its poor local street network. A train on these tracks could serve Totem Lake about as well as it could serve downtown Bellevue.

        These tracks are freight tracks. They were built for freight, and all development in the area turned away from them.

      4. That’s really thorough analysis d.p.

        NYC, Boston, any major city with good RAPID transit was built up with the housing density first, in place

        and THEN they built the rail systems, right?
        Is that what you really think?

        You know why Rapid Ride, especially your beloved ‘D’ is failing?
        Because you’re trying to do exactly that, create high capacity transit AFTER the fact. Want performance? Grade Separate it, or at least in exclusive ROW.

        Ben’s Seattle Subway is the right idea, but they would both have the same price tag to perform the same.

        So, in your expertise, what solution on the Eastside works?
        Depending on whose “BRT” scheme you buy into, the cost is even higher than commuter rail on that rail line, even using Sound Transit’s figures.

        But, you know, they’re Eastsiders, and love their cars, so who cares.

        The gas tax will get raised, and the 4 General Purpose lanes will be added to I-405, and the transit choices will be moot.

        And people here are surprised by the latest state transportation package?

      5. tracks could serve Totem Lake about as well as it could serve downtown Bellevue

        That’s a fair analogy but keep in mind ST is putting a Link station right on the BNSF ROW and it’s a stones throw from RR B. If they changed the RR route to the way I think it should go today, cross 405 on 12th and go down 116th to NE 8th the connection would be seamless. Totem Lake is a blank canvas. Where the rail line goes under 405 it’s about 1000′ from where Kirkland is building it’s new Courthouse/Public Safety Center (right behind Freddie Krogger). That’s the south east corner of an existing large corporate office park expected to be highrise in the next 20-30 years. East of 405 it’s much like Bel-Red is today; all auto service centric which Kirkland also has big plans to develop around the actual lake from which the area gets it’s name. Keep sight of the fact this is not about a line today it’s about not being able to build a line tomorrow because Trails to Rails rarely ever happens.

      6. Jim, your reply makes far too little sense to even try to parse it all.

        Yes, the vast majority of Boston and New York’s rapid transit systems served places with 50-350 years of pre-existing density.

        The only exceptions were expansion developments in places like Brooklyn and Brookline where the housing developers and transit builders were one and the same, with every reason ($) to ensure that the development and the transit worked together to ensure the success of both.

        Even then, the new transit lines connected the new developments to hundreds of pre-existing destinations.

        The Eastside freight corridor connects nothing to nowhere. There is literally no amount of money you could throw at it to get it to do what 405 does, which is to send people from disparate points of origin to disparate destinations.

        405 is exactly the kind of corridor that should be served by excellent express buses in unimpeded express lanes. At least that can get someone from a P&R to their workplaces (if they happen to be among the very small percentage of people who work somewhere concentrated). But rail that leaves you screwed at the destination end can be used by precisely no one.

      7. You should take the time and re-read my post, d.p..

        You made a previous proclimation “Google has already sent a modified Street View camera down the future trail ROW.

        This discussion is over.”
        I find that telling.

        The NYC subways were expanded into Harlem, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, which were all farmland.

        Plus.. what you ignore is the role of the suburban commuter lines, The New Haven, the New York Central Harlem and Hudson (and maybe the Putnam) divisions, the Boston-Westchester, the Long Island Railroad, and all the others in that far away land on the other side of the Hudson.

        These line are what delivers commuters to the core transit system, and NOT in their cars.

        This most certainly makes the Eastside rail corridor an essential… and Economical part of the regional system.

        Rant all you want about the shortcomings of Rapid Ride D, but what you invite with your comments is “Who Cares?”.
        I actually agree with you about Rapid Ride D, it is a half hearted attempt at HCT.

        Which is exactly the comparitive analysis that is missing on the Eastside.

      8. Quite honestly, I find this statement, coming from a supposed transit advocate incredible:

        @d.p. [concerning the eastside rail corridor]
        “There is literally no amount of money you could throw at it to get it to do what 405 does, which is to send people from disparate points of origin to disparate destinations.”

      9. The Google thing was a joke. That should have been obvious. I even included a little winking emoticon to make it more obvious.

        As for the rest of your spew:

        New York’s outer fringes were not farmland by the time high-capacity transit was constructed, and all of New York’s commuter rail lines snake along the same paths that were used to connect to existing, walking-scaled town centers as far back as the 1830s.

        All of New York’s transit expansions connected new & dense development to older & denser developments after or concurrent with the creation of those expanded areas of the city, and those expanded areas were, without exception, contiguous with areas of existing activity.

        The propensity of the West Coast to propose billion-dollar projects out of sheer cross-fingered hope that something will magically appear nearby as a result is utterly baffling.

        Build an Eastside commuter rail ring line, and nobody will be able to get to it. Nobody will be able to get anywhere from it. Nobody will use it.

        (RapidRide, as you say, is half-assed. And part of that is that it takes a far too circuitous and delayed route to serve one activity center, and misses the other promised activity center by more than half a mile. But at least it goes somewhere on one end, which is more than anyone can say for the Eastside Circle To Nowhere.)

      10. Let’s see, over ten thousand employees at Boeing Renton, comes within 300′ of Renton Transit Center and Tees into the BNSF mainline just north of the Amtrak/Sounder platform. Sort of like DT Bellevue, nothing but acres of blueberry fields. Never going to amount to nothin. Zero chance of growth in the coming decades.

      11. Bernie, the Renton terminus of this line would be more than five miles from Renton Boeing. With the current bus network, you’d have to take two buses, neither of which is frequent service (until the RR F extension), to get from the terminus to Renton Boeing. Not a single employee will do that.

      12. And people could only get off and the terminus and it has to be heavy commuter rail just exactly why? If you insist on devising schemes that won’t work then, well sure, they won’t work.

      13. @d.p.

        The propensity of the West Coast to propose billion-dollar projects out of sheer cross-fingered hope that something will magically appear nearby as a result is utterly baffling.

        Build an Eastside commuter rail ring line, and nobody will be able to get to it. Nobody will be able to get anywhere from it. Nobody will use it.

        The plans for Eastside BRT is a multi billion dollar project.

        How ‘multi’ depends on who is planning it.

        WSDOT’s BRT-light Express buses, or Sound Transit’s exclusive-ROW BRT, which, by the way, uses the rail corridor through Kirkland.

      14. There aren’t a lot of guarantees in Seattle-area transit, much less an expectation that wise decisions will be made.

        But one thing is for sure: anything that actually happens on the Eastside will serve a hell of a lot more places a hell of a lot better than this ridiculous commuter rail idea, and it won’t cost North Sounder-style $30/passenger subsidies to do it.

      15. People talk about the areas around the eastside rail corridor like they’re a blank slate, waiting to be turned into rail-oriented TOD suburbs. But that isn’t really true. There’s already a huge amount of car-oriented infrastructure built up in those places that’s hostile to pedestrians and effective transit patterns in ways that would be really expensive to fix.

        Freeways with no crossings for miles. Massive superduperblock single-use developments of various sorts with massive parking lots. Street layouts that prevent pedestrians making short trips from taking direct paths. Traffic lights with super-long cycles. Over by where the tracks used to cross 405 there’s an office park surrounded by a fucking moat (if I could make this up I’d be an author).

        And as for there not being people to oppose development… there are lots of places along the line people will oppose development because the way in and out of the development will be on “their” residential streets. This isn’t a line through rural greenfields. Ever walked through Richmond Beach and seen the yard signs about Point Wells? Good luck finding some in favor.

        Because of the existing development patterns and existing residents the railside environment in these places would have to resemble that around suburban BART stations more than that around east coast commuter rail stations. Often a big chunk of the walkshed would be occupied by a freeway; often nearby subdivisions would remain sparse and hard to access; and the nearby commercial districts would remain largely giant car sewers. 40 years after they built the system most of the suburban stations are pretty dismal places to walk to — overcoming what’s already been built, even things that people don’t like and would just as soon remove, is hard to do.

        It would be easier to graft HCT TOD into environments that were built up somewhat before auto-domination; where street networks were built for walking, where nearby development is human-scale. Easier, that is, if we could convince ourselves that these are places where we should allow building-up.

      16. @Al Dimond

        “It would be easier to graft HCT TOD into environments that were built up somewhat before auto-domination; where street networks were built for walking, where nearby development is human-scale. “

        Why isn’t East Link coming into Old Bellevue, then? What about Crossroads? It is easier? Is it cheaper?

        If that’s the ONLY criteria for a rail line, then roads are the only answer now. You’ve described a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        And here’s the key…
        You can start this rail line up for a fraction of the cost of Sound Transit’s proposal. In stages. As long as Kirkland doesn’t rip up the tracks.

        Eventually, it can be built up to Sound Transit standards.

      17. Thank you! Faith-Based Transit Planning(tm) is out of control lately!

        (I’d also like to point out that this thread has 155 comments, and I was not the first person to use the adjective “fucking” as an cathartic expression of outrage at the insanity of land use in the Seattle area.)

      18. Al, that “thank you” was for you.

        Jim, early plans for East Link had a stop at Main Street and 108th, 106th, or even Bellevue Way in a preliminary western-access alignment. Any of these would have been less than 1/4 mile from Old Bellevue. It is unfortunate that no version of the downtown tunnel plan ever managed to retain a Main Street stop, just as it’s unfortunate that the tunnel has been knocked over to 110th and that the station may wind up outside and closer to 112th.

        And as Al said, land-use problems around places like Crossroads are intractable. A detour to Crossroads would provide almost no benefit for anyone not headed precisely to the mall itself. Link already serves like 6 malls; wishing to serve a 7th suggests exactly the same kind of cluelessness and waste that commuter-rail-to-nowhere proposals suggest.

        start this rail line up…in stages

        Of course! Because the only thing better than a train from nowhere to nowhere is a train half way from nowhere to nowhere!

    2. It boggles my mind that people want to build a heavy commuter rail line for four commuters.

      Remember, it doesn’t get within reasonable walking distance of [i]any[/i] downtown. Not Kirkland, not Bellevue, and not Renton.

      1. It’s not about building heavy commuter rail. It’s about maintaining a presence with rail because once it becomes the equivalent of the Burke Gilman the opportunity for rail is gone forever. It actually makes more sense as a freight and tourist line for the present. If Bel-Red, Totem Lake, Houghton (aka Googleville) all expand as Bellevue and Kirkland envision then those become viable station sites which along with direct connections to 520 buses, 522 P&R users, East Link, Amtrack/Sounder all make it a very viable route for DMU passenger service. Any concurrent freight use would be so light in volume it could run outside of the hours used for passenger service so heavy commuter rail use is a gross mischaracterization.

      2. Jim, usually when people say things like that they have in mind an imaginary corridor that actually connects Downtown Kirkland, Downtown Bellevue, and Downtown Renton, rather than leaving people in a freeway wasteland 3/4 or more of a mile from each one.

        But even the imaginary corridor wouldn’t justify a heavy rail line.

      3. The infrastructure that connects all the ‘downtowns’ in the area was costed out at (in year 2000 budget dollars) at $4.5 Billion.

      4. Which, as of today, would probably be a waste of money.

        East Link is justified, particularly from Seattle to Bellevue. No other corridor on the Eastside connecting two activity centers has that kind of volume. 405 express buses can handle the current demand. Spend a few hundred million making them faster. Don’t spend that few hundred million renovating a rail line to nowhere, and don’t spend $5+ billion building a rail line that actually goes places but won’t have enough riders for 30 years.

      5. That’s 2 in each direction, for a total of 4 GP lanes through the corridor, up to Bothell.

      6. And those lanes will fill up in about 20 years, and the same question will be asked.

        But by then the rail system will cost $10 billion, and its payback won’t fall into the more immediate congestion relief time frame (Travel time benefit portion of the C/B analysis), but new GP lanes will.

        Same answer as now.

        More highway lanes.

      7. Put in HOV lanes. Include HOV-exclusive entrances and exits. Help with transit lanes between the highway corridor and actual destinations.

        Rail to nowhere will never be a solution, because no one can use it even if they wanted to.

      8. This whole discussion is completely bassawkwards.

        You’re right, there’s not very high density along the freight corridor through Kirkland. BUT, right now, Kirkland is resisting higher density along that very freight corridor because, allegedly, the roads can’t handle the additional traffic.

        This is a complete chicken and egg problem. No HCT because no density, no density because there’s no HCT.

        The reality is that the corridor from 520 up until Totem Lake is absolutely perfect for a Link line. So much of that area along the track is filled with low density or warehouses, and yet, it’s an insanely expensive area because of constrained housing and it’s close to everything. Additionally, putting in a Link line and up-zoning along the corridor is relatively painless because nobody lives there yet. It’s perfect.

      9. @d.p.

        “Put in HOV lanes. Include HOV-exclusive entrances and exits. Help with transit lanes between the highway corridor and actual destinations.

        Rail to nowhere will never be a solution, because no one can use it even if they wanted to”

        Are you even reading any of the studies WSDOT and Sound Transit did on BRT?

        Your “HOV with transit lanes” answer is a $4 billion solution!

        Or better yet, a NON-solution, but that’s the point, isn’t it?

      10. If they’re suggesting adding lanes to 405 rather than converting more lanes, then I can see why it would cost billions.

        Of course, at least people will be able to get places on it, unlike this fantasy rail corridor.

      11. It’s obvious you aren’t reading any of the documentation about the I-405 Corridor, d.p.

        Don’t let me stand in the way of your religious beliefs.

      12. Jeffrey:

        New developments with sufficient density to walk around in (and therefore to reach by high-capacity transit) do not just happen anywhere, no matter how much you upzone. Invariably, they grow from pre-existing places. That’s why small-but-cute downtown Kirkland and downtown Redmond are slowly but surely getting larger. That’s why the monumental growth in downtown Bellevue has occurred immediately adjacent to the first inklings of a city that were plunked down there in the early-to-mid-20th century.

        Anything that gets built in the deep sprawl — which is all the rail corridor touches — is going to wind up getting built for cars. This is unavoidable, because 99% will have no way to reach the train even if it opens exactly as you envision it. So the buildings get built for cars, which makes them bad for those attempting to arrive by train.

        The real growth keeps happening at existing downtowns — which really means downtown Bellevue and to a slightly lesser extent downtown Kirkland. And since your train doesn’t touch any of these places, it is a total boondoggle.

      13. Maybe the abandoned rail line will become a decent transit corriodor 50-bajillion years from now and maybe not. But I do know this much – it would make a great bike trail, right now. And to say that we shouldn’t be allowed to walk or ride our bikes down there until we come up with a bajillion dollars to run trains alongside is just preposterous.

      14. shouldn’t be allowed to walk or ride our bikes down there until we come up with a bajillion dollars

        You’re falling into the fallacy that we must spend a gajillion dollars now to tear out the rails or it can’t be a bike trail. I want this to be a bike trail. I will use it a hundred times a year or more. But the rails don’t have to be ripped up to accomplish that. The only reason to spend extra money on doing that now is because a lot of well healed Kirkland residents along the Houghton slope want to commit infanticide against any possible HCT use in the future. If the east lake Sammamish debacle is any indicator, ripping up the rails will actually make constructing the trail more expensive. And BTW, you can walk along it right now. The grass is kind’a high so maybe if walking along it is really your agenda you’d support not spending the money on rail removal.

      15. Honestly, that rail corridor is just not much good for any kind of rail traffic. It doesn’t run near much of anything, it goes right down the middle of a street in Renton, and it’s been so poorly maintained that you’d probably have to rip everything out and replace it anyway.

        IIRC that line was originally built to haul coal out of the Green River Valley.

    3. I definitely don’t support commuter rail service along the BNSF corridor as it is now, since it so widely skirts around major employment and residential centers, but that doesn’t mean there should never be rail along the general corridor. I think a light rail line from Totem Lake to Renton, with future extensions to Bothell/Lynnwood, would work very well mostly using the BNSF corridor, but with a few detours. It could have a combination of elevated/tunnel through Downtown Kirkland, share the East Link tunnel through Downtown Bellevue, jog to the other side of the freeway at the 405, and elevated/tunnel/dedicated lanes at-grade into Downtown Renton. We’d end up with just a few miles of new ROW, with the rest at-grade along a pre-existing corridor with few grade-crossings (which could be eliminated), serving many major destinations, among them Totem Lake, Downtown Kirkland, Houghton, South Kirkland P&R, Downtown Bellevue, Factoria, the Landing/Boeing Renton, and Downtown Renton, for a relatively low cost.

      1. alexjonlin, you are a visionary. Visionaries see past thing like, it was originally designed for steam locomotives so the only thing it can ever be is heavy steam locomotives. Deviate from the original route? Why, didn’t you read Tootle as a child? Stay on the rails no matter what!. Of course d.p. isn’t anti transit, he’s anti Seattle, anti west coast, pretty much… if it ain’t in Beantown it’s crap. So Frack you left coast losers.

      2. The River Line does everything Alex describes, including new trackage into two small cities, and offering transfers to the Delaware-crossing subway line and the main line trains to New York.

        It’s still a trolley from nowhere to nowhere, with barely anybody on it.

      3. The River Line is nothing like this, at all. I actually just rode it last summer. It starts in the south in an extremely economically depressed small city, then goes through very low-density, almost rural suburbs with no major destinations before ending up at another, slightly less economically-depressed small city. As far as I can remember it had basically no grade-separation, the majority of it was single-tracked, leading to terrible frequencies, and most of it was very slow. A line similar to what I described would be half the length of the River Line, but connect several thriving, rapidly growing urban centers, retail destinations, and park-and-rides, and provide same-platform transfers between all of those places and East Link to Downtown Seattle.

      4. but connect several thriving, rapidly growing urban centers, retail destinations, and park-and-rides.

        Not unless you built like 70% of it along new ROW would it do any of those things, much less all of them.

      5. Don’t forget:

        @d.p. [concerning the eastside rail corridor]

        “There is literally no amount of money you could throw at it to get it to do what 405 does, which is to send people from disparate points of origin to disparate destinations.”

      6. Still true, Jim!

        Even if you build a brand new ring rail to every minor downtown that rings Lake Washington, plus a dozen strategic park-and-rides, plus multiple connections to Link, it would still only be useful for about 4% of Eastside origin-destination pairs.

        Sprawl is very, very hard to serve. No amount of money can conquer that.

      7. I’m happy to give your message the mileage it deserves.
        Why, some of my best friends are roads people.

      8. Point being that you don’t go building very expensive from-scratch infrastructure when you can actually do a better job serving the demand that does exits in the very-very-hard-to-serve sprawl without that very expensive from-scratch infrastructure.

    1. It might be kind of late, but maybe you should try to get to the Eastside TRailway Alliance meeting on Thursday, February 21, and ask Bruce Agnew yourself, VeloBusDriver

      1. Ah, yes, that connective-transit utopia that is the Corporate Winery District. Indeed, they know what’s up.

      2. Fitting the meeting would be where the Dinner Train stopped before WSDOT ripped out the Wilburton Tunnel to wide I-405.

  7. I love how the artist’s rendering of the Rainier Beach beach is this beautiful sunny day and next to it is a normal grey, dark, Seattle experience.

      1. It’s not a bad idea. $25 is not enough to make the difference between buying a bike and going without, especially if it’s applied only on $500 and above. It would be an antidote to the Normans of the world complaining that bicyclists aren’t paying for their infrastructure.

      2. Except there’s not guarantee that WSDOT will build cycle infrastructure. They seem to hate providing any ever. 520 may be the only example to the contrary. I have no faith that they will actually use that money for a reasonable purpose but build roads-to-nowhere. What an awful organisation.

      3. @Mike: It’s a terrible idea.

        – It’s a tax of up to 5% (and down to about 1%, really) on specifically bike sales when the max additional sales tax on cars is 0.3%.

        – But I hate the above argument. It’s based on the assumption that if cars and bikes are on equal footing for taxation and spending all is well and fair. But the state has been neglecting bike infrastructure and building car infrastructure that thwarts people’s ability to get around without a car for decades. No matter the state’s funding priorities, if it doesn’t change its design priorities it’s just cementing auto dependence.

        – Driving has some real negative externalities, and cycling has some real positive ones.

        – Trolls will be trolls, and I don’t want to pay $25 to the state in a vain attempt to shut them up.

      4. My only quarrel with the flat $25 fee is that it’s one more incentive, on top of the already 10% sales tax in King County for someone to order their $500 bicycle from JensonUSA at the expense of the local bicycle shop.

      5. Increase the cost of a bike by $25, no problem. Increase the cost of gas by $2 to the oil companies, no problem. Two cents of gas tax, what a minute, how dare you do that? I have a constitutional right to buy a Humvee that can be operated for free! I know it’s in the constitution somewhere!

      6. Not to mention bikes cause essentially no wear and tear on roads at all, so after the initial (very small, relative to road projects) cost of striping bike lanes, each car trip that turns into a bike trip means that the government gets to pay less for maintenance.

      7. John, we need an all approach: carbon tax, excise tax on cars, tolls, emmissions fee based on bands of pollutants on cars, base registration fee and CTR fee for cars, property taxes, business tax for funding CTR, greater expansion of CTR to most businesses to require subsidising passes, and sales tax authority. Property taxes alone are not a solution, but they are part of the cumulative solution. Just as an aside, some of these fees and taxes would also go to other transportation programmes as well and to environmental remediation.

      8. Washington’s property taxes are extremely low for a state that demands premium government services. Even a modest increase coupled with reassessments would bring in more than enough to not have to bother citizens with nuisances and we should be even able to lower the sales tax which hurts the poor the most.

      1. I’m fine with the gas tax increase, it’s the expansion projects and lack of maintenance funding that is absurd. Even if there weren’t a dime for transit, I’d be for approval of the measure if 509, 167, 405, 5, and 95 were off the table, except they aren’t. Why are we building roads-to-nowhere?

      2. The 509 project is a good one. It will shift more traffic into the DBT and away from the overtaxed Spokane St/I-5 interchange.

      3. I don’t have a problem with them raising revenue. I have a problem with using all of the .10 cent increase for bonding new projects instead of maintenance or operations. If they use all of the .10 cent gas tax increase to just bond new projects, WSDOT will come back to the voters 5-10 years from now asking for another increase.

        The problem is a few things.

        1. The public’s’ lack of understanding of how projects are financed and paid for. This can be seen in comments on the issue in newspapers etc, wondering what WSDOT did with all the money from the last gas tax increase( Answer: tied up in debt repayments).

        2. The Financing Model itself. The issuing of 30 year bonds based on ALL of the revenue that will be generated thus guaranteeing all of it is tied up in debt repayments rather than being able to be used for actual cash flow once the projects are finished.

        3. Lack of political will or ability to sell the public on the financial reality of the situation. Instead of being straight up and saying all of our money is tied up in debt repayments, politicians will say “due to inflation over x number of years , we need more money to continue to finance our operations.” While inflation is a factor, the fact that money is tied up in debt repayments is a larger one.

    1. I can’t stand how they’re putting billions towards major suburban highway expansion projects in this day and age, especially when they’re not even putting any money towards the two projects in Seattle that are already under construction and both already have funding shortfalls! The amount of money in there going towards alternative transportation options is negligible, and anyways it’ll be undermined by those sprawl-inducing highway projects.

      1. This state has not established a single major new highway route over the last decade even with adding 2 million additional people! (And I don’t mean widening or resurfacing). In fact, the addition of HOT lanes reduced available existing routes to cars!

  8. Good to hear that John Bailo will be able to park his car in the new Pike Place lot when he comes to Seattle.

      1. ST needs to give him the 578.

        The current 578 routing is a waste of resources.

        Have the 594 stop at Federal Way, and reroute the 578 to Kent. Bingo, vastly improved Seattle-Kent service, and a true Sounder shadow, at no cost except 2-3 minutes for off-peak Tacoma travelers.

      2. That would also allow Metro to convert the current 150 and 180 — a couple of dual-purpose Frankensteins with mismatched ridership between their segments — into a much more logical service pattern:

        1) RR between Southcenter and Auburn via West Valley and Auburn Way
        2) Half-hourly service from Southcenter to downtown during extended mall hours (enough for employees), relying on RR F + Link at other times
        3) Half-hourly service between Kent and the airport
        4) Half-hourly shuttle between Auburn and S Auburn, with reduced span to match demand

      3. I would like a frequent connection between Kent and some Link station. If not SeaTac then Rainier Beach.

      4. Having the 578 switch to going via Kent Station, and then express to Angle Lake Station (or just Highline Station, when that opens), would be awesome!

        In the short term, I would nominate Bailo to chair a task force of local Kent riders to recommend where to redirect the wasted platform hours on the 158 and 159 between Kent Station and downtown Seattle. Pretty soon, Sounder will have better headway than either of those routes.

      5. Yes, exactly. Bailo is being pro-active about bicycle infrastructure in Kent. And I was joking about parking in Pike Place because he does take transit when he goes to Seattle. And it looks like there’s agreement on truncating the 158/159 in some form. I’d like to see David L’s restructure get some traction.

    1. Hey, now, if his posts here reflect his general behavior he typically parks at Kent Station and catches a bus downtown.

      I’m not sure why anyone should be building more parking in downtown Seattle, though… I thought there were plenty of garages and lots downtown below capacity an easy walk from Pike Place, and it’s not like we really want to encourage more car traffic around the market.

      1. I think it’s meant to replace the parking that’s going away due to viaduct/waterfront construction.

      2. If only we could use that money to replace the full buses Metro is pretending it is going to cut.

      3. After first parking downtown, then driving to LINK Tukwila, I settled on Sounder inbound at 5pm and 150 back out at 10pm (for my concert excursions). Of course my trip would be somewhat better if I could take Sounder back as well.

      4. No one denies the appeal of a 20-minute train ride over an hour-long bus ride. However, the economies of scale just don’t work out. There simply isn’t enough demand for Sounder at off-peak, precisely because Kent and much of the Kent Valley are very suburban. DMUs might make operation cheaper (assuming you have the train slots from BNSF–or we could just be bold “nationalise” the alignment into public hands as a state).

      5. So what exactly is DMU? Recently I saw it described as “self-powered light rail”. But all the DMU systems I’ve seen (or at least I think they were DMU) look like Sounder.

      6. I think DMU means a passenger car with motive power built in, much like a light rail train, as opposed to a locomotive hauling unpowered cars.

      7. Run an elevated LINK down the Sounder/BNSF ROW.

        Can they squeeze trestle posts between the tracks?

      8. A locomotive-pulled commuter-rail vehicle is bulkier and heavier, with slower acceleration and deceleration, which makes it less effective if you have any segments with tight turns or stop spacing closer than main-line distances. It probably uses much less fuel than a locomotive-led train, too.

        Basically, a DMU looks and functions just like the kind of train that would normally contain electric multiple units (light rail or subway). The difference is that you haven’t bothered to invest in the electrification, because you’re not intending to run it very often and don’t really expect many passengers. Thus the joke that they’re the vehicle of choice for peripheral lines with few riders.

      9. DMUs scale much better than the Loco train paradigm. It’s like using a Sprinter van to haul a dozen people and then adding another and another as demand increases instead of starting out with a 4,000 hp locomotive that hauls zero people and then adding cars in increments of 200 people.

  9. I wonder if the cost of running the lights in the DSTT over all these years has caught up with the cost of building a subway from the get-go…

      1. Yeah, kinda tongue-in-cheek. I just noticed the lights in the actual tunnel segments of the DSTT and started wondering how much energy they have consumed over all these years.

  10. I take it there’s still no word on when the routing change of the 16 onto Aurora will be implemented?

    1. Interestingly, the 26 and 28 have been rerouted around the construction along Seventh northbound, for which I don’t remember getting any notice, but the 16 thing is just languishing.

    2. I haven’t heard anything – tonight it went the regular route and then over to Dexter due to the reroutes caused by the Aurora Bridge closure.

  11. At Wednesday’s meeting, the mayor indicated that a canal crossing isn’t going to be cheap (plus others saying anything over water will require an environmental impact statement that will take time, etc). Is it time to reexamineconsider supporting some version of the Ballard Spur?

    1. Any light rail line will require an EIS. This study will give us some numbers by next year, and maybe some preliminary results this year. Let’s not dismiss a Ship Canal tunnel prematurely. If it starts looking bad for it, we can make noise about accelerating the 45th corridor study. Which ST is also doing by the way. It’s not considering a spur per se, but whatever it does will have to transfer at U-District station, so we’ll have to see how they’re looking to do that and whether a spur alternative can be studied as part of it.

  12. Acta S.p.A. has signed a letter of intent with Ecoisland Partnership CIC to offer a domestic renewable energy storage solution for the Isle of Wight. The Ecoisland project intends to make the Isle of Wight – an island of 140,500 inhabitants just off the south coast of England – self-sufficient in energy, water, food, and fuel by 2020. Acta will provide to the project a domestic renewable energy storage system that integrates solar panels with an Acta EL500 electrolyser, hydrogen storage cylinders, and a 5 kW Dantherm Power fuel cell.,000-homes

  13. Apparently Metro is beta-testing a new timetable format on their website. I saw a little thing on the right side when I looked at a timetable the other day.

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