This is an open thread.

105 Replies to “News Roundup: Informative Reports”

  1. That accident on northbound I-5 near S 200 St this morning? 197 was 24 minutes late at Kent-Des Moines Rd.

  2. High ridership corridors are typically those with frequent service that have strong anchors at both route ends. [550, 245, B Line cited as examples]

    Ridership on routes with a circuitous neighborhood routing ([246]) has not gone up as consistently as the high frequency corridor routes. Balancing the needs of lower density areas with continued ridership growth in high density and growing corridors will be an on-going challenge for the City of Bellevue

    Coverage routes in low density areas are inefficient, not competitive with the car, and receive low ridership? Shocking stuff.

  3. I have a few questions about the SLU Upzone I’m hoping the smart readers of this blog will be able to answer:

    1) As discussed on this blog and elsewhere, building family sized units is critical if we are going to attract families (duh), does the rezone include any language about this?
    2) It looks like the rezone will require a better streetscape for pedestrians than Belltown currently offers. Are there other Belltown mistakes that the rezone addresses or does not address?
    3) Livability in a dense neighborhood requires not only walkability but also quality biking and transit facilities. Perhaps this isn’t the responsibility of the developers, but will the plan begin to put in place any of these improvements?


  4. Strollers… The first place I ever lived where this was an issue was Minneapolis back in 1999. They did not have a policy in place. So passengers would just load their strollers on the bus, kid inside, and park them in the wheelchair tiedown areas. Wheelchair comes on, they move the stroller to the back.

    Not keen on it.

    Fast forward to 2008, Olympia, WA. Stroller policy allows strollers to remain open with kid inside, preferably in the wheelchair tiedown. Passengers who need seats are supposed to be given priority, but often are not as the stroller women (98%, maybe more of the stroller policy users are females) threaten issues if told to fold their stroller.

    I hated that policy so much I fought to change it, with no success.

    1. Mom’s with strollers stereotypically aren’t the most compromising or reasonable people. There are many that are aware of others and very polite and will make way, but it’s the oblivious, unaccommodating stroller moms that, unfortunately, become the archetype of the rest of them.

      1. Mom’s with strollers stereotypically aren’t the most compromising or reasonable people.

        Two things:
        1) That stereotype isn’t wholy accurate, and is also fairly offensive.

        2) It’s “moms” not “mom’s”.

      2. Aye, we all make grammar mistakes [Ad hom].

        Also, if you read my whole post, you’ll notice the mention that it’s a small population of stroller moms that make the stereotype. And stereotypes do tend to be offensive, but some still hold truth to them.

      1. Or by having more fold-up seats that can be used to sit on when there are no wheel chairs or strollers.

    1. I’m from Lacey, but I didn’t get to experience the earthquake because I was living out of the country at the time. My family told me all about it, though.

    1. Of course they struck it down. But expect Tim to run it again — it’s what he always does. It’s how he makes his money.

      But this makes the path forward somewhat easier for the transportation package. I still expect it to not be directly passed, but…..

      At least now the R’s will need to stand-up and take a stand instead of hiding behind the 2/3’s *supposed* requirement.

      1. Tim has run it every two years because under the constitution, the initiative can be repealed by simple majority vote of the legislature after 2 years.

        This is different. The court ruled that a 2/3 requirement to pass ordinary legislation, including tax increases, cannot be imposed by statute, only constitutional amendment.

        The courts wouldn’t stop Tim from putting it on the ballot again, but I doubt his donors will be so generous for what they know would be an empty gesture.

        Luckily, any attempt to change the constitution has to originate in the Legislature and be passed in each house…by a 2/3 vote.

      2. Matt’s key point is that there is no *initiative* procedure for Constitutional changes in Washington. (Unlike in California, where constitutional changes by initiative have completely messed up the state government.)

    2. So what does this mean for the 2/3 rule on school levies? Is that in the constitution or is that simply statute?

      1. I’m pretty sure you’re talking about the three-fifths requirement on property tax levies, which is in the constitution.

  5. In regards to exempting Mercer Island residents fro I-90 tolls, then I think Vashon residents should be exempt from ferry fares.

      1. Indeed, it’s much more justifiable to exempt Vashon residents from ferry fares. Mercer Island residents can take the bus — or, soon enough, Link — if they want to avoid the tolls.

  6. More driverless car spam. The article has some solid numbers for death, injury and lost time due to congestion. Whether the driverless car can cut that by 90% is TBD. If remotely close you can bet the auto industry is going to fight it bumper and tread.

    1. The industry is in the forefront of developing driverless cars. We see baby steps in that direction in cars for sale today: lane-keeping systems, automatic emergency braking systems, radar cruise control, intelligent real-time route suggestions from integrated nav systems. The industry really doesn’t care if cars have a driver or not as long as it can sell them, and driverless cars will expand the potential universe of car owners.

      They may even reduce congestion, or at least allow additional growth in driving at the current level of congestion. But what they won’t do is solve parking issues or make autocentrism and urbanity coexist any better.

      1. The driver assist technologies you mentioned will one day become ubiquitous. I expect that the driverless car movement will be more evolutionary than revolutionary.

        Autonomous cars could ease parking problems because they can go to where parking is available, even if it’s far from the user. If universal car sharing is adopted, more efficient parking could be done by packing the cars together like in a valet lot or a ferry queue, but even better since you don’t need to take the same car home that you took to work. Also that car can be out on the road serving other users instead of just sitting around all day occupying a parking space.

        There could be fewer cars around overall, but I don’t think it will be anywhere near 90% fewer as claimed in the article.

      2. I think quite a few people will choke on universal car sharing even if cars become fully autonomous. People will want cars with fancy features, comfortable interiors, privacy, and no one else’s dirt. Some will go with car sharing, but they will be counterbalanced by the people who couldn’t drive before but can now, which is why I wouldn’t expect the number of vehicles to go significantly down.

      3. I think you’re right about 90% fewer cars being significantly exaggerated. They probably extrapolated from the figure that your car sits idle 90% of the time (some cars sit idol 99% of the time :=) The flaw of course is that, in very rough numbers 90% of us all need to get to work at the same time. Things that would drive down the number of cars besides car sharing being much more attractive would be high cost of insurance for non-automated cars, people forgetting how to drive (or never learning in the first place) and a drastic reduction in the need to “run” errands since it will be more efficient for retailers like Amazon to simply send out your order in an automated delivery drone.

      4. “…a drastic reduction in the need to “run” errands since it will be more efficient for retailers like Amazon to simply send out your order in an automated delivery drone.”

        But then you couldn’t have a missed connection in the bus or at the supermarket or Walmart. :)

      5. The largest group of people who could drive autonomous cars, but can’t drive today is teenagers. Today, a teenager’s primary mode of transportation is parents shuttling them around. But this is very inefficient because the parent has to drive from home to school, then back home again each morning, then from home to school, then back home again in the afternoon. This is twice as much driving compared to the alternative of the kid driving himself to school. So there’s a little bit of congestion reduction there.

        However, on the other hand, once you own an autonomous car, you can now drive anywhere in your own car while maintaining the flexibility to do anything that you could do on a bus or train. You can also drive downtown anytime without needing to worry about parking downtown because, worst case, the car could just drive itself empty back home and park during the day in your driveway. With these two factors, anyone who owns an autonomous car will have zero reason to ever ride transit, as long as the bus has no exclusive lane to bypass congestion nor has a fare significantly cheaper than what the gas to drive would cost. In the short term, this means more driving and a lot more congestion. In the long term, maybe this congestion leads to pressure to build a real subway system, since bicycle and transit will be the only ways to bypass it.

      6. One factor about driverless cars that very few people have given thought to at present is the impact on parking. With a driverless car, anyone will be able to drive downtown (or anywhere else with a parking shortage), hop out of the car, and leave the car to figure out what to do with itself until it’s time for the owner to go home.

        The simplest option is to just turn around and go back to the owner’s driveway. But the desire will always be there to have the car stay closer in a big to save fuel, wear, and tear, and also, to reduce the amount of time the owner will have to wait for his car to pick him up when it’s time to go home. Considering this, the optimal algorithm to parking (at least from the owner’s perspective) starts to look like this:

        1) Park somewhere nearby, even if it’s illegal
        2) Wait for a cop to arrive
        3) Before the cop has a chance to write the ticket, drive off to close by, but out of sight of that same cop
        4) Park there until another cop shows up, then repeat.

        Needless to say, if every driverless car owner programmed his car to do this, the result would be massive congestion and chaos. Yet parking enforcement, as we know it today, is not equipped to deal with cases like this. One potential solution that comes to my mind is for autonomous cars to be charged a fee for each minute they spend inside a congestion zone around a city center – thereby, encouraging cars to exit the zone as quickly as possible, while simultaneously providing an economic incentive to leave the car at home and use transit.

      7. @asdf, you’re missing the whole point of game changing technology; assuming the whole driverless car thing really does work. Teenagers going to soccer practice, school functions, etc. would automatically be carpooled by an autonomous vanpool. This is exactly the sort of demand that is tailor made for the technology. As for driving home or circling the block that too would be the natural purview of Car2Go or Zipcar. But it’s the peak demand commute that’s hard to shake. Granted that efficient routing software would drastically improve “transit” options and huge reductions in labor costs would make it very competitive.

    1. Why can’t Island Transit go to the ballot for a tax increase? Why does the state have to fund it?

      1. Got it. That makes more sense.

        If the state doesn’t approve the funding then, is there no recourse at all?

    1. She makes a great point. Mercer Island residents should pay their fare share! And if people who aren’t rich have to pay, why shouldn’t rich people have to pay?

      1. All but a tiny handful of Mercer Island residents are well-off enough that I don’t feel bad about the toll for them. Most of those few who aren’t live in places where transit access is decent.

        Businesses on the island, on the other hand, will be more affected. They will have to raise wages and prices in order to retain employees, and may become uncompetitive with businesses elsewhere.

      2. Any upward pressure on wages will be small since there’s usually someone willing to fill those jobs for less pay. Besides, adding 50 cents to a dollar an hour to wages is a pretty small percentage of costs. I think businesses will actually see a benefit since the majority cater primarily to Island residents and it’s going to be more expensive for them to make the trip to an off island competitor.

      3. Seriously, the businesses on Mercer Island can probably find workers who can commute there by bus. Oy.

      4. Or by walking. The business district in Mercer Island has a fair number of apartments and condos close by.

    2. If it’s unfair for Mercer Island residents not to pay an I-90 toll, then it’s doubly unfair for them to have to pay a user fee for a bridge they will never use. The toll is a fundamentally unfair idea, no matter how you slice it; we should pay for 520 with a regional tax.

      1. Why, so we can ALL pay for a bridge we’ll never use?

        I’ve lived here six years and I’ve crossed the 520 bridge twice.

  7. Can someone explain the benefits of a streetcar? I know that sounds stupid, but every time I take a stab at defending them, I am corrected. This is how I would guess they make sense: They are cheaper to operate if they are close to full. In other words, rather than run two buses right after each other, run one street car. but when I make this argument, folks usually point out that they don’t save much money.

    I ask this because I would like to see a streetcar used the (north/south) length of downtown. Basically, this could replace the old free ride zone. It could even be free, which would make for fast boardings and exits. The buses that run through downtown (on the surface) could then simply unload everyone and then just turn around. This only makes sense if the streetcar is running every couple of minutes. The big savings is that the buses could spend more time serving the places outside downtown. The city could pay for the streetcar (since they aren’t too expensive) and the county could increase frequency. This means one more transfer, but that seems like a small price to pay if it added significant frequency improvements.

    1. Someone (possibly you) keeps proposing this idea every so often, and I know I’ve explained why it’s a terrible idea before, but I’ll explain it once again.

      What you’re missing is that forcing a transfer only saves money if the trunk line has significantly (several times) higher capacity than the feeder line (i.e. you’re feeding a well-used bus route onto a high-capacity rail line, e.g. A Line onto Link), or if the feeder line is very weakly patronized (e.g. 61 onto the D Line). The hassle of the transfer is only worth it to riders if it saves them a significant amount of time, so the trunk line needs to be much faster than the existing bus.

      A streetcar through downtown will be no faster than a bus, and its capacity isn’t much higher than an artic. Turning buses around at the outskirts of downtown might allow for pulling one or two buses out of the schedule, which would not provide for much higher frequency on those routes, setting aside the question of where you’re going to find the money to run the streetcar.

      The effect of what you’re proposing would be to make trips into downtown slower and less convenient, at no financial savings.

      A much smarter thing to do would be to go cashless downtown, to make buses faster. Those would cost a shitload less than a streetcar to build, would cost much less to operate, and thus actually make sense.

      1. OK, but you didn’t answer my question. If all of that is the case, when does a streetcar ever make sense?

      2. Oh, well, that’s a much easier question: I don’t think they do make sense, and I have not (since becoming an STB author) advocated for them.

      3. No transit that competes with cars and has to adhere to traffic lights in a major city makes sense.

      4. A streetcar which *has its own lane* frequently makes sense. This is better than a bus lane because bus lanes need to be wider. (Streetcars stay on the tracks and so they pass through a very well-defined space; buses are weaving back and forth like everything on rubber tires.

        A streetcar which runes entirely in mixed traffic rarely makes sense. Yes, if it’s bigger than a bus, it has advantages. And it *can* be *much* bigger than a bus…. (look up the streetcars in Budapest…) but at that point you really need to give it its own lane, and we’re back to what I said before.

    2. I my opinion there are four primary benefits of streetcars:

      – They can be funded through grants and LIDs. Essentially they open up money to invest that would not otherwise be available.
      – Encouraging redevelopment in an area/corridor that wouldn’t otherwise see that type or level of development. It puts a place “on the map” in a way that buses don’t.
      – Increased capacity over buses for what it’s worth. Capacity issues are almost never the reason streetcars are built.
      – Because “premium” design and service features are ensured (ex. TSP, Real-time info, better vehicle circulation and windows, stops, etc.). Dedicated ROW not usually.

      1. In the case of Portland, the Downtown corridor along the streetcar route has seen upwards of $3 billion dollars in redevelopment. If you look at photos before the streetcar system opened up in the Pearl District and South Waterfront areas, it is a dramatic difference from “nothing” to medium to high density housing.


        I will have to dig up a photo sometime of what it used to look like but in short, it was a few warehouses, mostly just “dead” land that was doing nothing.

        This development trend is already happening on South Lake Union and Capitol Hill. There is no denying that streetcars encourage mass development. Seattle and Portland are both examples of those transformations.

      2. I guess maybe another reason I would add is the idea that streetcars are easier to use and understand, especially for non-bus riders. This kind of fit in with the idea of being “on the map”.

      3. Adam,

        That is typically what I always here from users of rail systems. Don’t need to guess where it is going to go. It is on a fixed guideway and thus, can’t wander off.

        That is one of the many reasons why the Canada Line took off. A lot of non-bus riders started to take the service, even though the 99-b bus was pretty much the same thing, it is just faster and more reliable.

      4. “That is one of the many reasons why the Canada Line took off. […] it is just faster and more reliable.”

        Indeed, SkyTrain is faster, more frequent, and more reliable than any mixed-traffic streetcar or bus will ever be. That is the primary why people use it.

      5. I don’t know about Portland, but I would guess that the Seattle streetcar had little impact on South Lake Union. That area was primed for a major redevelopment. Everyone knew it, which is why Vulcan bought up so much of the land. It was pretty obvious if you walked around there and knew the city. To begin with, the UW has done really well and continues to grow. Since the UW is north of downtown, it makes sense for the area between the two to grow (especially since they aren’t that far apart). Once the Hutch moved in, it didn’t take a genius to see why biotech would grow really fast around the area.

        Second, the geography is rather pleasing. It is fairly flat, with the only major blocking geographic feature being a very nice lake. That is unusual for Seattle. The folks I know who work in South Lake Union take advantage of this. They ride the bus downtown and then just walk to work a few (pleasant) blocks. I doubt many people do the same if they work (or go to school) at Seattle Central. It is (in many cases) the same distance, but it is a lot more tiring (and crossing the freeway doesn’t help).

        Furthermore, there are plenty of other areas that have grown like crazy. One is south Queen Anne. Despite losing the Sonics, the area has done really well. Plenty of two story buildings and parking lots have been replaced with big buildings. All of this despite the fact that transportation around there is pretty poor. I guess you could make the case that all the buildings around there are the result of the nice new pedestrian bridge across Western, but I won’t.

        Ballard is another area that has grown like crazy. I guess that is due to the Monorail. Oops, maybe not. OK, to be fair, I know transportation systems can definitely drive development. But for the most part, Seattle grows independent of them. I would say that zoning has a lot more to do with it. Allow 30 story building on the top of Queen Anne and you will see them very quickly. Resurrect the counter-balance and you won’t see much of a change.

        Based on the comments here, it seems like a streetcar only makes sense as a marketing move or because of different financing. I guess the other reason (already stated) is because it works well for novice transit users. It is pretty obvious where a trolley goes and they do look pretty cool.

        All of this suggests that we should simply paint some of our buses special colors. Paint a stripe down the middle of the street matching the bus. That sounds like it would be a lot cheaper and just about as effective.

      6. “All of this suggests that we should simply paint some of our buses special colors. Paint a stripe down the middle of the street matching the bus. That sounds like it would be a lot cheaper and just about as effective.”

        That didn’t work for the 99.

      7. All snarkiness aside, I don’t see any area in Seattle that really needs a streetcar. In other words, I don’t see any area in Seattle that needs a “facelift” or will benefit much from the instant coolness of a streetcar (oops, sorry, now I’m getting snarky again). Seriously, though, maybe the waterfront and Pioneer Square, since this area could become more touristy. I’m not worried about the area, though. Once they remove the Viaduct, this area will really pick up steam. It will start to look like South Lake Union. The same for most areas I can think of. Leary Way? This is already changing rapidly. Within ten years you will see lots of six story buildings and a lot of warehouses converted to retail and breweries. What is slowing down most of these places is real rapid transit. It takes too long to get to Fremont (by bus) so folks would rather work downtown (including South Lake Union, which is basically north downtown). Transportation is even worse to Ballard. In other words, most of these areas don’t needs something pretty and cool to attract business, they are doing just fine. The biggest thing that would help them is a faster way to get around, and for the most part, streetcars aren’t it.

        Maybe Tacoma will benefit from the charm of a streetcar. Then again, Tacoma suffers from the same big problem (it takes too long to get there from most areas of Puget Sound). Maybe if Sounder ran express trains from Seattle to Tacoma all day, then people from Seattle would hop on a train and visit the area. Once there they could travel via streetcar. Sounds good to me.

      8. We don’t need express trains; comparing the Sounder (59 min) to the Amtrak Cascades (55) between Seattle and Tacoma leads me to be sure we just need trains.

      9. Seattle-Tacoma on Amtrak is actually 43 minutes, and Sounder 55 minutes. The rest is padding. Look at the Cascades schedule and you’ll see that each train is allotted 56 minutes inbound TAC-SEA but only 43 minutes outbound SEA-TAC.

      10. FWIW, in the case of Portland, the Portland Streetcar actually *does* have some stretches of exclusive right-of-way. I believe it also has signal priority in some places.

        The SLU streetcar route is weird and unusual in being *entirely* shared with cars. If you’re building a streetcar, it’s worth making the extra effort to keep the cars out of its way in at least some locations!

      11. RossB: There has been *direct* comparison of “tarted-up buses” with streetcars, in quite a lot of cities. *The streetcars get more riders*. Usually about 10% more, though it varies by city.

        There is something called “rail bias”. A certain percentage of people will ride trains but will avoid buses.

        So that is an advantage of streetcars. This advantage is rarely enough *by itself* to make it worth building a streetcar.

        It does mean that if you’re planning to build exclusive, not-shared-with-cars right-of-way, you should build a train or streetcar rather than a busway, bus lane, or HOV lane.

        Now, Tacoma’s a good example here for where rail bias and “visible tracks on the ground” can call for a streetcar. Suppose someone visits Tacoma by train, arriving at Tacoma Dome station. If their next option is “catch a bus” or “rent a car”, they probably rent a car. If the option is changed to “take the streetcar” or “rent a car”, they are more likely to take the streetcar. Visible, obvious signs of “this is the right place”, like tracks and platforms, matter more to *visitors* than to locals.

      12. Oh, I should also make the usual point as to why *if you are building exclusive right-of-way* you should make it for trains: trains (including streetcars) stay on the tracks. So they always platform perfectly (none of this “bus stopping out in the middle of the street”), and a train right-of-way can be substantially narrower than a bus right-of-way — while moving more people.

    3. My understanding is in Seattle, streetcars exist basically as a dodge around budget rules. If X amount of money goes to Metro to run buses, a certain percentage has to be spent outside the city limits. If the city builds a streetcar instead, they control it and can spend the money however they want.

  8. I just received an alert that the Tri-County Connector for Island, Skagit, and WTA as well as the Everett Connector for Island and Skagit are both threatened for full cuts by June 30, 2013 if Olympia does not act for funding.

    1. I thought Biden was already taking Amtrak. Maybe he did it at the beginning of his term and then slacked off.

      1. According to the article, he was as a senator, but then the Secret Service felt Amtrak was too insecure.

      2. He took the train when he was a Senator. Once he became VP he needed Secret Service protection and he also had a government provided airplane.

        As it says in the article,

        the Secret Service made him travel by air because the Amtrak “gives too many opportunities for people to interact with me in a way they wouldn’t like to see.”

      3. The Secret Service forced Biden to use airplanes, and now Biden has managed to use the sequester to get the Secret Service off his back. :-)

      1. This is one of two Elizabeth Campbell initiative (the other being a prohibition on tolling any interstate highway in Washington). The initiative would prohibit ST from receiving any money from a city transportation authority unless it’s for the exclusive betterment of a monorail system. It seems her motive is to kill Seattle Subway via a statewide initiative. Ugh.

      2. It looks to be an initiative to make some changes to the existing state monorail law. I think it’s a precursor to a local initiative that will later be submitted for Seattle… while also attempting to stop Seattle Subway.

      3. Even if you get enough signatures to put it on this year’s ballot, how are you going to convince people outside the Seattle metro area to vote for it?

      4. “Make Seattle pay for their own toy trains”

        A lot of people are totally unaware of Sound Transit’s subarea equity rules or the pitiful lack of state funding for transit. I think you could spin this in a way to get the “Seattle’s a spoiled brat” folks to vote for it.

      5. What would the local initiative be? Another monorail? Although I doubt anybody who’s morally opposed to highway tolls would be interested in a monorail….

      6. Right, I have a hard time believing that this effort to push for monorail is going to garner very much support at all. And why monorail? So we can catch up with Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook?

      7. I’m not sure this is about actually proposing a monorail at all; as Bellinghammer suggests, this is probably more about killing Seattle Subway, though I’m not sure how you get Eastern Washington to care about it either way, since it doesn’t really affect them.

        “A lot of people are totally unaware of Sound Transit’s subarea equity rules or the pitiful lack of state funding for transit.”

        How come none of the pro-transit or anti-anti-transit voters’ pamphlet statements ever mention either of these two things?

  9. Imagine my surprise when I finally had reason to take RR B beyond the short stretch between the transit center and 116th and saw that the countdown displays at stations show every route that serves that stop, not just RR B. So, in effect, a bus will have real-time information at a stop if – and only if – it shares that stop with RapidRide.

    I remember becoming fascinated when I saw the little “Transit Watch” monitors at Northgate Transit Center, and as I cooked up my own little fantasy transit system I toyed with the idea of putting a similar monitor at damn near every stop. As a whole, I’m embarrassed by that system today; I was a teenager and I’m not sure the transit blogosphere existed at the time.

    I’ve since come to the opinion that real-time information is more of a luxury than anything else and that people vouching for its vitality are suffering from a textbook case of first-world-problems. But if getting real-time information at a stop is as simple as turning it into a RapidRide station, what would stop Metro from installing it elsewhere? Considering the Northgate Transit Watch monitors sometimes actually still work, I’m surprised they seem to be in place nowhere else, not even at Bellevue TC.

    Here’s a big idea: How much would it cost to install an OBA monitor at every stop with a shelter?

    Failing that, what are the most popular stops in the Metro system? I would think a starting point for installing real-time info monitors would be in the transit tunnel and on 3rd Ave where a few independent monitors have already started going up. Next up would be all the transit centers, Link stations, and 2nd/4th Ave stops, followed by “transfer points” and maybe park-and-rides, and beyond that I don’t know.

    1. The biggest cost would likely be the wires for a power and internet connection, so doing it at every shelter would likely be cost-prohibitive, at least with present technology, so you would have to prioritize which stops are most important.

      IMHO, the first priority for real-time arrival signs should be the downtown tunnel stations. Not only do they all serve a large number of riders at all times of day, but there is also no cell phone reception down at the platform level. At other stations, people with smartphones can still consult OBA. In the tunnel stations, even people with smartphones have nothing to go on besides the printed schedules posted on the tunnel walls.

      (Aside: The fact that in the 21st century, the downtown transit tunnel still has no cell phone reception does not make sense. The New York subway has cell phone service, and cruise ships have cell phone service too. We really need to install whatever equipment is necessary to get cell phones working in our transit tunnel too).

      1. Ideally, the real-time arrival info would also be posted at the street level, not just at the platform level, so you know whether you need to run down the stairs to catch your bus, or whether you have time to walk, or even stop and refill your Orca card on the way down.

      2. Um. The New York subway most certainly does not have cell phone service. Except an experiment in one or two stations. And in the stations that are above ground or shallow enough that ground-level cell service gets there.

        That said, that cell service just works in shallow stations is yet another argument for the ST’s-giant-mezzanines-and-deep-stations-are-wasteful pile.

    2. The 520 ramp stops at NE 40th have them too. All of the Metro operated routes show up (e.g. 545, 542, and 232 do, but 566 does not). They weren’t working for awhile but seem to be back up now. Rumor has it similar upgrades are coming to the 520 flyer stops at Montlake too.

      1. Worth noting that the 40th stops are part of Overlake Transit Center, which RR B serves. Montlake is another matter, though, though I’m not sure it should be the highest priority.

    3. It would be far cheaper to sticker each RR station with a QR code that users could scan and receive arrival info.

      The tunnel is different, of course, but there are enough people in the tunnel to warrant the expense of installing signs with real-time info.

      1. “It would be far cheaper to sticker each RR station with a QR code that users could scan and receive arrival info.”

        If you’re requiring a cell phone, you might as well just advertise OBA’s existence.

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