U-Link Tunnel Washdown (Sound Transit)
U-Link Tunnel Washdown (Sound Transit)

This is an open thread.

94 Replies to “News Roundup: Something New”

    1. Interesting. The developer’s name was mentioned in the Bellevue residential development roundup blurb, but wasn’t mentioned in the Kent development blurb. There’s also two different tones. Rich Bellevue developer building more crap vs much needed TOD coming to Kent. Yet both are residential projects near transit centers. Hmmm.

      1. Kent is very business friendly..and this is a win/win/win…taking an eyesore in the center of town and making it into transit, pedestrian, bicycle friendly, shopping oriented apartments.

      2. John I thought you didn’t like development near transit stations because it leaves less room for parking lots.

      3. What “tone?” It would help if you used my words, instead of making up your own like “crap.” I fully support Kemper Freeman’s efforts to develop Downtown Bellevue.

      1. Judging by some of the people one sees in Kent, I don’t think finding a flaky roommate would be a problem ;-)

        In all seriousness, I think Kent is wise to invest this way. The suburbs that don’t have good solid transit connections and development will be the slums in the coming years as more and more poor people are pushed out of the cities.

        Now if we only had all-day 30 minute Sounder Service. I like to haunt the thrift shops on the south end, I’d much rather take a train to Kent or Auburn or Tacoma than drive there.

    2. It’s just what Kent and South King County need, so that people have a real choice between walkable and non-walkable neighborhoods without having to move to Seattle and pay higher rents. Over time hopefully these neighborhoods (including Burien Town Center, the Renton TC area, and proposed developments on 99 south of 200th and at Southcenter) will become larger, as downtown Bellevue and Kirkland have gradually done.

    3. It makes me more willing to possibly move to Kent some time in the future. My bf works in Kent so it’d be closer for him, but it would increase my commute from 1 hour to 2 hours. Well, 1:30 if I can manage to take Sounder both ways.

      Hmm, that raises an interesting tidbit about a Boeing Access transfer station. People who want it say it’ll make it easier to transfer between Link and Sounder. But if you’re going northbound on both (I’d be going to U-District or Roosevelt station), it would be significantly faster to transfer at Intl Dist rather than Boeing Access. So just who would be transferring at Boeing Access? People going to the airport? But they can take the 180.

      1. Oh, I forgot to subtract the half hour when University Link and North Link start. So it would be 2 hours now with the 71/72/73, or 1 1/2 hours with North Link.

  1. I know the rail/air market number has been discussed recently, but I don’t find this all that impressive. Rail’s realy competition between Seattle and Portland is I-5. By the time you account for airport travel, security delays and the need to arrive early, I bet flying takes nearly as long as the train trip.

    1. I agree. I expect that a good number of the people who fly do so because they have good connections to the airport. They might start or end at another airport. Likewise, if you live in Burien, then flying sounds like a much better deal than taking a train.

      On the other hand, driving is very simple. You can leave any time and just go. The biggest drawback is the actual driving (which is rather boring, in my opinion). To compete with cars, they need to make the trains a lot faster. Then it not only makes sense for folks who were planning on going down there anyway, but it makes sense for folks who just want to visit another city. If the train left every hour on the hour and took two hours to get there, I think you would have a lot of customers.

    2. I used to drive that trip alot and often considered rail. The things that worked in the car’s favor:

      (1) Schedule: Leave any time, return any time
      (2) Getting to and from stations
      (3) Needing a car when I got there. Portland is very much a dispersed city and region.
      (4) Needing a trunk for luggage, sleeping gear

      I took the train exactly once a long while back.
      The train appealed to me because

      (1) Trains are fun
      (2) Four hours on a train, not too bad.
      (3) I-5 after Olympia can get a bit winding driving and bad weather can make it tiring.
      (4) Coming back in traffic through Tacoma on a Sunday night..not good
      (5) Low cost.

      1. You know, you can always rent a car when you get to your destination.

        I just checked, it’s roughly about $25/day – unlimited mileage in Portland.

      2. At least one rental place was at or near the station and $25 a day is very reasonable…I think Enterprise can go lower with discounts.

      3. And it’s down quite a bit below 4 hours now too – far better than the old pre-Cascades, Starlight-is-your-only-option days.

  2. I have a solution to increasing toll collection on 99. Let’s get rid of the paralell highway built right above it. Bring it down to one lane each way for general traffic, and slow those lanes down as well using stoplights and curves. The other lanes can either be used for a waterfront streetcar or more ammeneties.

    1. I’ll toss out my solution again. Congestion tolling in DT like they use in London but work out a deal so that a good part or all of the CRC is rebated toward parking or ferry fare. That way people with business DT won’t be affected much but cut through traffic will be eliminated because it costs more than the Deep Debt Tunnel and takes longer. People will literally go out of their way to avoid DT and use 99 instead. FWIW, covering only $200 million of a $2B project is a pretty lame baseline to start with!

      1. I’m all for congestion charges downtown. My god that would be awesome. But what is “CRC” in this context? The existing “CRC” or this congestion charge?

        The rebate idea has merit although I’m worried about the No Toll on I90 crowd’s idea. If we had comprehensive system-wide tolling (I90, I5, I405, 522, 520, ???) with congestion charge zones (Downtown Bellevue, Seattle, ???…) and people could choose one leg to exempt themselves from, that might have merit… Idea needs a bit more cooking)

      2. CRC is “Congestion Reduction Charge”, which I believe is its name in London and places that have tried to imitate it (New York). I guess there’s two terms with the same name, because I think the $20 Metro fee is also called a Congestion Reduction Charge. Hmm.

        Seeing as how the largest and most urban city in the US couldn’t implement it without the state vetoing it, it’ll be a long time before it comes to little ol’ Seattle. Especially since it could have been an alternative to the Deeply Boring Tunnel but was dismissed out of hand.

    2. I think we should just not be afraid of congestion in downtown streets. Congestion is going to get more intense anyways with population growth, so we’ll have to deal with it eventually (bus priority lanes, cycletracks, new residents living closer to downtown, etc). Let’s accelerate the inevitable and reap the financial benefits of higher tunnel tolls in the meantime.

      Also, the more congested the city streets are, the more likely users will prefer the tunnel. Instead of trying to avoid diversion, turn the conversation around to focus on ensuring that the tunnel provides an appealing alternative, which will attract even more toll payers.

      1. Archie,

        That’s what I’ve been trying to tell my friends and co-workers. If the city streets(including the new waterfront street) are so congested, then hopefully the city will be allowed/forced to make changes to allow transit to move faster through the city. And, if the roads are congested then maybe people going from Ballard to West Seattle/Sea-Tac will figure it is better to pay $2 than fight the traffic.

      2. The problem with downtown street congestion is delays to buses. That is the only problem. I suggest bus lanes.

      3. Has any American city successfully eliminated or reduced traffic jams through policy?

    3. I’m pretty sure there are stoplights at every single intersection, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have a street with two lanes in each direction there.

  3. Are there any plans on interviewing the mayoral candidates and then grading their answers (similar to what the Municipal League does)? If so, I hope you can ask specific questions. Steinbrueck’s recent essay (which is much appreciated) serves as a good example of why vague questions and answers aren’t very helpful. I read that post and I still don’t know where he stands. For example:

    1) Do you think we should loosen the rules on mother-in-law apartments, to be like other cities (Portland, Vancouver, etc.)?

    2) Do you think we should loosen parking requirements and if so, where? If not, why not?

    3) Do you believe that parking requirements pushes up the cost of housing, and if not, why not?

    4) Do you think we should ease restrictions on the number of units per building and focus instead on the external parameters? For example, as long as a building is not too big, or takes up too much of a lot for a certain neighborhood, it can be configured to hold as many non-relatives as is appropriate from a health standpoint.

    5) Do you think the city should accept the rezone of South Lake Union as is or renegotiate?

    6) What should the city do to encourage link light rail in the area?

    7) What do you see as the advantages of surface rail over BRT or standard bus service and do you think the city should continue to invest in it?

    8) Should the city be studying gondolas (or similar aerial transport systems)?

    I could go on, but you get the idea. Maybe this should be a post of its own as folks a lot more knowledgeable than me could probably come up with lots better questions. I trust the writers of the blog to come up with good questions, but I also think soliciting other questions might lead to a few good ones.

  4. Group Health sells former Redmond campus to developer. Looking like the Overlake site will see significant redevelopment long before the Muffler Spring District. Although rumor has it that Amazon Fresh will soon be sharing part of the old Safeway Distribution Center with a new micro brewery. The smell of hops and malt will be like living in Woodinville again!

  5. Re: The Via 6 puff piece:

    If old Seattle was built by Boeing workers who raised their kids in suburban homes, you get sense of how different new Seattle will be, with single apartment dwellers and their dogs as the basic household unit.

    …a honey trap for a particular psychographic profile. The majority of its apartments are one-bedroom configurations, with only 15 percent being two-bedroom units, 13 percent, studios.

    The incongruity is strong in this one.

    Until Seattle is willing to build and support density in forms and locations where people can imagine settling, rooting themselves, and raising families, there is no sun-glistening sea change to be observed.

    Buildings like Via 6 will remain the province of tech-boom 20-somethings earning more money than they can figure out what to do with, for whom this “vertical community” as fundamentally transient, and who probably envision themselves in a Boeing-era house somewhere once they decide to settle down and raise a family.

    “Gaming centers” and “dog-owner amenities” don’t change the way people envision living their lives. That requires real urban placemaking. With family-friendly units. On enough variety of streets that you can choose whether or not your want drunk Amazonies yelling at each other outside your window.

    I’m not claiming that “vertical communities” are unattainable. But anyone who claims they exist in Seattle should be treated with the utmost suspicion.

    1. The article (like so many) perpetuates a new stereotype about urban versus suburban living. The old stereotype was that only poor minority folks lived in the city. Those that could afford to leave, did so. The new stereotype is that young hipsters live in the city, but those who are raising a family live out in the suburbs. Both are inaccurate, but perpetuate the pattern. If you come into the city with a family, you don’t expect to be able to find a nice three bedroom apartment downtown (let alone a nice house within walking distance of downtown). So you naturally settle in the suburbs. Builders assume that there isn’t the market for multi-bedroom places, so they don’t build that many. Of course, we all know families that live in two or three bedroom apartments spread throughout the city. The advantages of living close to a grocery store or park are immense. A family that doesn’t have to spend money on a car can save a ton. Just as folks successfully broke down the old stereotype (that cities were places to be avoided by anyone who could afford to) we need to break down the new stereotype (that cities aren’t appropriate for families).

      1. Funny… I just brought up this point with Councilmembers Bagshaw and Conlin last night. How do we end this circular debate that developers say they won’t build 3- and 4-bedroom units because there’s no market for it, and buyers/renters who say they can’t find any 3- and 4-bedroom places to choose.

        I have had developers insist to me there’s no market, and one or two suggest they can’t afford to do so. I pointed out that even 3-5 of these units in a 35+ unit building would do. Even a couple of condos Downtown that I’m aware of were combined after-the-fact by people who had the means to do so.

        Any thoughts?

      2. @Mickymse, this is my theory: When developers say there is no market for 3- and 4-bedroom units, they probably mean the market for those units just isn’t as competitive compared to what they can charge for 1- and 2-bedrooms. So hopefully we can allow the market to increase the supply of 1- and 2-bedrooms until their $/sqft rates come down closer to (or below!) the “marketable” rate of larger units. Can we build studio, 1- and 2-bedrooms fast enough to get to this point? Not sure.

    2. Yup.

      I mean, there’s nothing wrong with trying to win Amazon corporate housing business (Amazon rents quite a few units around DT Seattle for new hires and visitors) and convincing the residents to stay on when they need their own place (and until they need a bigger place). But the Via6 hype machine is ridiculous. It’s just a building of small, overpriced luxury apartments. Why are journalists writing ad copy for them?

    3. The rental rate and profit margin are also factors. Owners want a $100-500 premium per bedroom, and that puts a 3 BR at $2000+. Only some families can afford that. The profit factor is why we have overpriced tiny luxury units: “luxury” raises the profit margin, and “overpriced” they can get away with if there are enough rich people to keep demand up. I don’t know what the intrinsic profit-and-rent margin is on 3 BR vs 2 BR, but it seems it would be lower because you can charge more for a full unit rather than part of a unit unit in the smae space. That’s why developers aren’t eager to build 3 BR units. In the past, buildings were more one-offs and owner-built, and the owners intended to keep the building for a hundred years and had more community loyalty. Now buildings are owned by sight-unseen investors and financed by disinterested bondholders, who care more about the return rate than about families living downtown.

      1. At $2000+/mo a 3+ br apartment is also competing with rental SF homes and townhouses.

        Without some sort of incentive I doubt you’ll see many new 3br+ units until the market for studios, 1, and 2 bedroom units becomes much more saturated.

    4. If Seattle is going to do vertical desnity I wish it would be more like the slender tall narrow footprint of One57:


      And also they need to start tearing down a lot of their old crappy buildings too.

      1. Vancouver has been widely complimented for its skinny towers. But I’ve also heard they’re less efficient than wider buildings in terms of usable space (because the elevators take up proportionally more room), and you’re paying for more exterior walls and such. I don’t know whether this is true or what the balance point is.

  6. There is something simple Metro can do to speed up all the buses, on every route: Add a surcharge for cash payment.

    There is a simple action you can take to help make this happen: Go to the Low Income Fare Options Advisory Committee webpage, and submit a comment. You are also welcome to come to the next meeting Wednesday, March 27, and speak to the committee during the public comment period at the end of the meeting.

    Remind the committee that the savings created with such a cash surcharge could enable lower fares in general and/or enable more service to be deployed. By having separate cash and electronic fares, the electronic fares could be raised proportionally in pennies, rather than the regressive flat quarter increases that seem to be the tradition.

    The committee’s recommendations will be a primary piece of the fare restructure proposal that goes to the county council in July or August.

    1. Only if they do the following:

      – Get rid of the fee for an ORCA card.
      – Make day passes available

      We recently visited Seattle from Portland, and the lack of a day pass and the $5 ORCA up-front cost essentially forced us to pay cash fares every time we rode the bus.

    2. Those who advocate a cash surcharge do not understand what it means to be on a fixed income. Why force someone to load an ORCA card with more money than they need to take the bus with?

      1. That’s what low-income passes and private subsidies are for. There is a margin of very poor people who can only afford to scrape up a few dollars at a time for one bus trip. But these people are few, and we can target more subsidies to them if necessary. Most people can afford to put a week’s worth of money on their ORCA card at a time.

      2. No. What you are asking is to tell someone they have to make a choice between a) paying more for their fare or b) stopping by a TVM before taking the bus because they cannot afford to load large amounts of money onto their orca card.

        This is discrimination, it is wrong, and you should not attack people who make less money than you do in this way.

      3. Shitty bus service is far worse discrimination against the poor than requiring the use of a fare media for the most-discounted trip.

        Cash wastes time. Time costs money. Lost money means shitty bus service.

      4. Don’t forget that many grocers and drugstores in the Seattle area are able to refill ORCA cards on the spot. The only problem is that they can’t sell the ORCA cards. There is no mandatory reason to go downtown to find a TVM if you already have your ORCA card.

      5. Amazing how those whose yelling and screaming about the sanctity of cash fares and other legacies of inefficient routing and operation never seem to connect the dots that base fares have nearly doubled while they were pretending to advocate for the poor.

        Now which is the worse outcome for the poor: having to stop by a TVM, or a basic transit trip creeping up to $6 round trip?

      6. Ryan, we’re assuming there will be more TVMs and little bus ticket machines around town. It’s not like everyone will have to go downtown to fill up their ORCA.

      7. Ryan, do you realize that there will likely be a low-income ORCA card once the recommendations of the committee go into effect?

        Low-income riders will get a rebate. Is it too much to ask that, in exchange for that rebate, they use the ORCA? If you don’t like the phrase “cash surcharge”, how about “electronic payment discount” or “courtesy discount”?

        Those who don’t get the low-income card are, by definition, not low-income (or at least, not frequent riders), and so, they can afford to pay the cash surcharge. But they won’t, if they are doing the math. Which means that buses will be faster, the working poor can get to work on time more, and there will be more service for everyone (at least compared to if we don’t start incentivizing ORCA use on a per ride basis).

        Let me put it another way: If the choice is between everyone’s fare going up 25 cents, and the fares just going up 25 cents when paying with cash, which would be better for the poor?

      8. Actually, Mike, I do expect that ticket machines will be a downtown thing, while adding value will be something done at places like the 7-11.

        Granted, the low-income ORCA still doesn’t take care of no-income/no-savings riders. I’d love to come up with an ORCA-based solution for the free tickets, since the paper tickets have turned into an administrative nightmare for human service agencies.

      9. Why force someone to load an ORCA card with more money than they need to take the bus with?

        Because it results in vastly better bus service for everyone, the very poorest included.

        Very, very few people can’t afford to load $20 onto an Orca immediately when they get paid. We can’t gimp the entire bus system for those very, very few people.

      10. “Don’t forget that many grocers and drugstores in the Seattle area are able to refill ORCA cards on the spot. The only problem is that they can’t sell the ORCA cards.”

        It’s the opposite in the Bay Area. There you can’t get new Clipper cards from TVMs so you have to go to shops, and I’m not sure if the shops can refill cards. As a visitor for a few days, I’m not going to bother finding a shop, I’m going to pay cash for day passes. (And did last week.)

      11. For the clipper cards, yes, vendors can reload on the clipper card for any amount. Min $5, Max $300.

  7. I really don’t understand why taxpayers have to pay for mudslide mitigation work. I’m sure BNSF was holding back because they knew the Feds would grant the money (Buffet is of course a big Obama supporter). We already pay to use the tracks so we should expect reasonable service!

    1. It depends on who’s property is sliding. If it’s BNSF’s, they are doing the work.

      If it is an uphill landowner, should BNSF do the work for them?

      If it costs millions of dollars to fix and they landowner doesn’t or can’t afford it, does BNSF sue the uphill landowners?

      What if it’s a municipal property?

      We don’t bat an eye at the $50 million interchange built at SR522 and the UW/Cascadia Campus south entrance in Bothell.
      Look at the retaining wall holding back that hillside. Probably at least $10-15 million dollars worth of it was for that alone.

      And we’re supposed to wring our hands because ‘precious taxpayer dollars’ (taken from the mouths of babes, no doubt) might need to be spent to fix the mudslide problem?

      Spending Billions on questionable road projects(520,99,I405), is quite alright, though.

      Just raise that gas tax… must punish those naughty, naughty car drivers.

      1. I wasn’t saying anything about road spending. I’m talking about corporate welfare. BNSF doesn’t need our help to improve their private infrastructure. If we’re paying for improvements, we shouldn’t be paying to use it.

      2. How is it corporate welfare if BNSF is doing everything on their property to deal with the mudslides?
        What is your answer to the issue of uphill property owners not dealing with theirs?

        Some properties are municipaly owned, if so, wouldn’t using tax dollars be the logical approach?

        What should be done about private property owners with various ‘drainage issues’?

        Your ‘corporate welfare’ claim is a red herring.

    2. Yes, I’m sure that Warren Buffett called on President Obama and asked him to pay for a stretch of mudslide prone railroad in remote corner of the country, and that the President went to the closet in the Oval Office, and handed him a few bags of cash he had there.

      Wasn’t anyone else required to take Civics in High School?

  8. As an aside, I have emailed every one of the Seattle Council members to voice my support for the SLU up zone. And not one of them has replied back to me. No automated replies, no aides saying thanks for your support, and no direct answers to my emails.

    Is this strange? Shouldn’t I expect my elected officials to be better about acknowledging my note?

    1. Find out how many emails a day they get from constituents than say, a dozen, then no you should not expect a thoughtful personal reply. If you’re just after an automated reply then, yes they could set that up and not even read anything.

      1. If you send one to Burgess, he’ll put you on his mailing list for his Mayoral campaign.
        So you have that to look forward to.

    2. Yes, you should expect a better response. This is one of the key parts about being a representative. Jay Inslee, for example, was very good at this. He hired a staff that was extremely responsive. Maybe this wasn’t the case when he was a representative the first time, but it sure was the second time. The end result was that after a few years, folks liked him. Even the people that hated his stand on issues respected him. The end result is that he was able to parlay that support into a gubernatorial victory. A lot of the pundits didn’t understand that — but if you are extremely popular in your own district (and the district has long been considered a swing district) then you have a great chance of winning a bigger election.

      1. This has been my experience. I also used to work for the City years ago and letters to the Mayor can get stuck in the management food chain as they get routed to and from someone who is working on the particular issue.

      2. Executive Constantine’s staff is quite good at saying they’ve forwarded an email to a particular department for a response.

    1. Sounds good to me. I wonder how many mayoral candidates support this. I’m afraid it may have to wait until after the election. If McGinn supported it, I’m afraid it would further suggest (to some) that he is a bit spacey. I can bet some other candidate would support fixing potholes and adding sidewalks (don’t get me wrong — I love sidewalks). If some other candidate supports the study than things might get interesting. My guess is that McGinn will suggest using the money for just that (sidewalks and potholes) and force other candidates to prove that somehow they will be better than the status-quo.

    2. How about we fix our crumbling infrastructure? 1.8 billion dollar backlog anyone?

      1. The candidate calling for this also wants to spend lots of money timing lights for SOVs — not a “basic” in my book. Is that a high-pitched whistle I hear?

        Mr. Burgess can pan road diets all he wants (and then have someone point out he voted for them), but the basic math is that less speeding means fewer potholes, fewer car lanes mean fewer potholes, and fewer bicyclist and pedestrian deaths has a tangible benefit.

    3. For once I’m with Ryan on Summit. Let’s repair a few holes. My parochial pet project would be a new bus pad to replace the badly crumbled, holey asphalt at the southbound bus stop at southbound Lake City Way farside 125th.

      1. Another one: I rode the 358 last night, and the bus lane of northbound Battery/Aurora between 6th and Denny is pretty much unusable. I know it will be replaced anyway in 5 years, but come on… that’s a long time. Patch it up.

  9. Wow. I am as pleased as punch that Seattle-Tacoma-Portland rail passenger service is doing so well. Let’s keep it on the SCENIC Route. lol. Cocktails, anyone?

    1. Yes, it’s amazing how well it’s done despite being on an unreliable and slow route. Just think how many more riders would be attracted away from air and I-5 when it’s fully improved to 110 mph service on a reliable route.

  10. Nobody’s said anything about the BRT proposal in Clark County, so I will. The Yahoos here are agin’ it because C-Tran put it on the same ballot measure as the operating funds for the Yellow Line LRT last fall. Since anything that gets within 100 miles of an LRT train is permanently tainted with eau de Pepe in Clark County, the “conservatives” want to kill a proposal which will actually save $500K per year in operating cost.

    Yes, it will cost $40 million or so to implement, so the payback is eighty years. Not something to set a house flipper’s heart palpitating, grant, but it would provide a better level of service and revitalize the street.

    Well, it is Vantucky that it runs thorough,. so maybe “revitalize” is a stretch. But it would be prettier!

    1. “through”, not “thorough”.

      I like the BBC, but I haven’t been co-opted completely……

  11. I have a question I am honestly curious about knowing the answer to. I am not being a troll. Ok … King County is 71% white. But it seems to me Sounder’s demographics are far from diverse. If I had to guess, I would say about 99% of Sounder riders are white. If that is around the actual percentage, what is the reason for it?

    1. What are the demographics of suburban living Downtown office workers (9-5) with employer subsidized passes?

      1. So if we were at Kent Station, and saw a route 150 to downtown, and the demographics of the people boaring it were more in line with the demographics of south King County, but the people boarding the Sounder train at Kent Station, for the sake of argument, were about 99% white, that the reason for this discrepancy would be most people on the Sounder train have subsidized passes, but the riders going to downtown on the bus do not?

      2. Sam, are you arguing that Sounder should be subsidized further so as to not discriminate by income (and race, by proxy)? Or do you think we should be charging more in bus fare?

      3. Matt, I’m not arguing anything. I’m just being curious about why something is the way it is after observing something. I’m wondering why is a Seattle-bound route 150 from Kent is racially diverse, and the Seattle-bound Sounder from Kent virtually all white. Does it have to do with the fare? Does it have to do with passes being subsidized? Does is have to do with poor marketing?

      4. Yes, I think it has to do with the fare. Kent to Seattle via Sounder is $2 more a day than ST Express, so those with more money and/or subsidized passes are more likely to choose it. Also it has limited hours so those with service or manufacturing jobs that don’t fit the 9-5 schedule are more likely to take the 150.

        As we add Sounder trains and hopefully expand it’s schedule the later issue will diminish. The former will require fare restructure or ST accepting some kind of low income ORCA.

        Something that will be harder to fix is the fact that there is only one in-city stop, KSS. If you don’t work downtown Sounder is not that useful to you.

      5. Does it have to do with the fact that Sounder goes to Sumner and Puyallup and the 150 doesn’t?

      6. Mike, that wouldn’t explain why people at Kent Station going to Seattle are racially diverse when boarding the route 150, but just about everyone boarding the Sounder is white.

        I think this is a problem that needs to be fixed.

      7. The same problem exists on Link and on many other new-generation rail systems in the US. For some reason people see the NYC subway and Chicago El as dangerous ghetto systems you might get stabbed on, but they have the opposite reaction to light rail/streetcar/commuter rail systems built after 1970. It has something to do with the fact that the northeastern subways go back to the prewar era and then declined with the rest of the city after white flight, while in other cities it’s the buses that are seen as ghetto transit and rail as the new middle-class hotness. In time this distinction will break down and “everybody” will take the rail, especially as a new generation appears, but it sometimes takes several years.

        The route and schedule are also factors. Sounder is mainly useful for getting to jobs downtown, which pay above average and are whiter. A few people are using it to commute to industrial jobs in Kent and Auburn, but the number is still small. And the SLUT goes through a new district that really has nothing for poor people, so they rarely have any reason to go there. If it gets extended to the U-District, the ridership will look more like the 70, especially since the 70 would be eliminated and Link doesn’t stop anywhere near Eastlake.

  12. The image in this week’s news roundup makes me ill. Not in the construction, but if you think about it, you can clearly see the lack of planning when you have a station that is 2 miles apart with nothing in between. Perhaps the reason was lack of funding or experience, I don’t know. Maybe a transit freak knows, but what a dunce job this was. Route it to eastlake, then UW. Can they add a north capitol hill station in the future? The list goes on and on about Sound Transit.

    1. It is unlikely that a station can be added to the grade between CHS and the undercrossing of the Ship Canal, unless the engineers planned for it by having the TBM turn to bore a flat section of tunnel. There has been no discussion of a location or such planning that I’ve read. I could be wrong, though.

      Stations can’t be on grades; well, they can but it makes ADA access much more difficult. People would not like to use a tunnel station on a grade. It would be disorienting.

      1. They would probably rather use a tunnel station on a grade than walk a mile up to the top of Capitol Hill, if those are the two options available to them.

        I don’t know the details of the ADA, and I don’t know what the grade in that section of the tunnel is exactly, but I would hope that the ADA would permit a rail station at grade if that grade was less than a typical wheelchair ramp, and the platform was level with the train so that people in wheelchairs could get on and off.

    2. Eastlake was studied, but at the time of the study the only thing in SLU was a Denny’s and the only thing on Eastlake was the Zoo. Serving Capitol Hill and its established population was a bigger priority and had greater public support.

      A north Capitol Hill station was considered, but it had to be scrapped when the tunnel alignment was shifted east because tunneling under Portage Bay wasn’t possible.

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