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This is an open thread

85 Replies to “News Roundup: Tough Job Ahead”

  1. RE: Tacoma Link, what the hell is the point of years of public process if a Councilman can derail it at the last minute with a (literal!) back-of-the-napkin idea? Ridiculous.

  2. Why is it that the Metro stops between Summit and Belmont on Pine are named after the street they are farther from? I.e., eastbound the stop is called “Summit” when it’s much closer to Belmont and vice versa westbound. Are the stops named after the street that the bus actually passes before stopping or something?

    1. I think that is a remnant from when those stops used to be farside the streets they are still named after, before the block was rebuilt.

  3. A Blaine stop for Amtrak is on the priority list, at least in my book and a lot of Canadians and others in the area.

    Would love to see this come to fruition. The platform would also benefit White Rock, and South Surrey.

    Hoping, hoping….

    1. Really? I guess I’m just skeptical how many passengers would use it an dwhether its worth the time to stop when we are trying to make rail faster…

    2. A Blaine Amtrak stop would be even better if there existed a public transit option between Blaine and White Rock that didn’t involve hoofing it 2 miles across the border. In order to work, though, this Blaine->White Rock bus would have to get priority treatment in the line at the border crossing. Otherwise, accumulated delays mean hour+ waits at bus stops, which means unusable service that nobody in their right mind will bother to ride.

    3. Since the coast line is going to be overwhelmed between Everett and Ferndale in the very near future, I expect that you will see the end of the Cascades north of Seattle within five years.

      So revamping the station is Blaine would not be a good use of WaDOT funds.

      That will be sad; it’s a beautiful ride.

    1. Absolutely. This could be an opportunity to obtain more funding than we might otherwise get, as long as we can leverage needed routes in a way that takes advantage of potential Games infrastructure. Vancouver and SLC certainly did this.

      1. The financial downside risk is considerable (see Montreal, Athens, maybe London), and borne mostly by the city.

        In general I think cities need to drive a harder bargain — the companies profiting can afford to bear more financial risk, while cities need financial stability because the services they provide are essential and they have little opportunity for windfall profit. The IOC pits cities against eachother in competition for the bid, obscuring their common interest.

      2. I thought it was interesting that it said infrastructure wouldn’t be a big deal because the DBT and ST2 Link will be finished by 2025. But how can they assume these will address the Olympic’s needs? And how can they even determine that until they decide where the Olympic venues would be? Speaking of which, have they suggested any potential locations yet?

        Although I feel like, don’t try for the Olympics. It keeps ending up costing a lot more than the benefits are. And even more when you don’t know what the economy will be like in a decade.

      3. +1 Mike. I have little faith that our leadership would be smart enough to get transit out of an Olympic push; this feels like one more instance of ‘hey, see us? We’re important!’ Seattle is just fine without the Olympics, and there are plenty of other ways we get attention on the world stage.

      4. The funny thing is, there was this thing in 1999 that was supposed to get us noticed as a world-class city and bring tons of economic benefits. But the WTO ministerial didn’t quite come off as planned….

      1. C’mon Joe, the Olympics is about branding and product placement, like almost everything else is. ;-)

        I do think I’ve seen some athletes hanging around them, though….

      2. Well, Joe, I’ve actually attended the Olympics on several occasions and enjoyed them immensely, and I would love to see them here. Sorry if the snark does not translate well in the written word….

    2. We could also use it to build density – fans and atheletes have to stay somewhere.

      I’d prefer a World’s Fair (you end up with better buildings, fewer empty stadia), but I don’t think I’d oppose an Olympic bid.

      1. I don’t think Seattle has a realistic chance. The last time the Summer Olympics were hosted by a city with a population close to that of Seattle was the ’96 games in Atlanta but Atlanta’s metro area is twice that of Seattle. The only comparable city that’s hosted the modern games was Helsinki. That was back in 1952 when the games were still very much an amateur sporting event. World’s Fairs OTOH seem to have lost most of their cache. Expo ’74 in Spokane, yawn. Who remembers Knoxville, 1982 World’s Fair (International Energy Exposition)? The only memorable one in decades is London 2000 and the city pretty much created it’s own event to celebrate the Millennium. Stick to hosting World Cup, maybe another Final Four if the new arena is up to it. Pray for a World Series ;-)

      2. Most cities seem to end up with something like this…Vancouver’s new neighborhood is particularly nice and London’s will likely be as well.

        Seattle already has most of the major facilities; others can be built in a demountable fashion. It’s likely that Kent, Everett, Tacoma etc. would also see events. Seattle already has the requisite number of hotel beds in the region, and that market isn’t slowing right now anyway.

        We’ve done well in this region in hosting a major event every 50 or so years–the 1909 AYP gave us the UW campus (although only 4 buildings remain) and of course the 1962 World’s Fair gave us the Center. Something like this could be a great boon to the area and maybe get us away from the damn navel-gazing our “leaders” have done for the past several decades.

      3. Seattle lost any hope of hosting a final four or regional finals once we blew up in the Kingdome. Those events are exclusively held in NFL sized indoor stadiums these days.

        That said, the new arena would be more than capable of first and second round games, which would be awesome.

      4. @Bernie the exposition in Yeosu, Korea last year sold 8.3 million tickets, compared to 7 million for the London Olympics. And Shanghai Expo 2010 sold 73 million tickets.

        Yeosu’s population is 296k.

      5. Mmmm, I totally missed the coverage of the USA Pavilion. In fact until now if you’d said Yeosu I’d have said Bless You. The Fairs are apparently alive and well in Asia. Given this region’s ties to Japan in particular but also China and other Asian countries we might do well IF it was well planned and the region went all in to do it up big.

      6. PSF: No, they destroyed the track in order to lower the field, move seating closer to it, and get better sight lines.

        There will be fewer seats in the new Husky Stadium.

  4. 2012 ridership of the streetcar’s South Lake Union line where there were 30% more riders than forecast but farebox revenue came in 14% under predictions thanks to a list of factors SDOT planners are sure to explain in Tuesday’s session.

    How do you shatter the ridership forecast and only bring in 86% of the projected revenue? My guess is either fare collection isn’t working or the apportionment considers cost of service provided and the lions share of transfer revenue goes to ST or Metro because SLUT is only providing last block service.

    1. My guess is that fact the the streetcar doesn’t have an ORCA card reader probably plays into this?

      1. Yeah… I’d guess the projections didn’t count on the smart people of SLU figuring out how easy it is to get (marginally) free rides.

        Getting ORCA readers working would almost certainly increase revenue and decrease ridership.

      2. It would probably go up by like 800%, which seems ridiculous, but almost everyone that uses it has a company sponsered ORCA card…

      3. It also doesn’t seem to have fare inspectors. Whenever I travel with people or a visitor is on the train, I tell them they should go get a ticket at the machine, and they find it so cumbersome for three stops they don’t bother. Plus when I travel with habitual drivers (on any transit), they often don’t have enough cash because they’re used to driving everywhere and not needing cash, so I end up buying their tickets or lending them an ORCA card. That gets a little bothersome, so sometimes I just let them ride free on the SLUT without pushing it. But in any case, it’s a bit rich that the council is shocked, shocked that the SLUT’s revenue is low when its payment situation is widely known and has been going on since it opened.

    2. The ridership might be a lot less once it is no longer free for anyone with an ORCA in their pocket.

      1. Could be. But we know the absolute floor for ridership. Start with 14% under predicted, assuming every single person that rides with an ORCA decides to stop riding when they have to pay their share. Then consider the percentage of people with passes or employer-paid ORCAs is well over 50% (IIRC). Those people will surely keep riding, so we can safely put the floor at the predicted point. Now, that’s assuming that everyone that will have to start paying will stop riding, which is more than a little pessimistic.

        It sounds like ridership will continue to do fine even after we get ORCA readers. What’s the hold up, anyway? That’s a significant amount of lost revenue.

      2. If we’re going to invest more in the SLUS, I think ROW improvement and signal priority come before setting up ORCA readers. I don’t think any revenue is being lost, unless there are ORCA-carrying people who only ride the SLUS. The distribution may be off, but does it matter that much?

    3. It’s so convoluted to pay, and there is apparently no enforcement, so I assume they wish me to treat it as a free amenity – I gift to yuppie techies. I’m not one, but I can pretend.

      If you want something in the farebox, you have to make at least a small effort to make it convenient to pay.

  5. Anderson Cooper and CNN have declared the Cascades project a boondoggle! Unfortunately the reporter seems to be oblivious to the fact that construction hasn’t yet happened and the 10 minute time savings hasn’t happened yet. Also, saving 10 minutes isn’t the only purpose of spending $800 millionL: more trips, more freight capacity, greater overall reliability and long term cost savings aren’t mentioned.

    Also, the idea that Greyhound is cheaper and sometimes faster to Portland than a 79 mph train misses an important point. What is more cost effective over the long term: spending money to maintain the 3:30 bus trip or investing in the infrastructure to build a faster rail system that will get travelers to Portland in 2:30?

    1. My first thought was to run the numbers and see what sort of price tag this puts on people’s time. The result does point to this not being a great value. Using today’s ridership rather than accounting for an increase but also not assigning any value to the money in the form of interested earned/paid should balance out as a first approximation. I also didn’t try to factor out ridership that gets zero benefit because it doesn’t cross this segment. Rough numbers over 20 years comes out at close to $300/hr. I think to dispute the boondoggle allegation there needs to be some quantification in terms of dollar$ of the additional benefits.

      1. You said you used current ridership data, but part of the impact of the improvements will be to add more trains. More convenient departures along with added capacity and reduced travel time should bump up ridership considerably in my estimation. Also for the cost, did you use the project cost of the Point Defiance Bypass (where the 10 minutes reduced time comes from), or did you use the entire $800M award amount?

      2. I used the $800M. Yes ridership will increase dramatically over 20 years but I also didn’t account for the time value of the money or ridership that isn’t affected by this portion of the route so as I said, first approximation. Ah, I see the Bypass cost according to WSDOT is only $90 million. So that’s a factor of 10 bringing the value of peoples time down to around $30/hr. Much better. But isn’t some of the time savings also attributed to a yard bypass track near Fort Vancouver? And where exactly does the “spare” $700M end up being spent?

      3. At least part of the $800M is for PTC which needs to be added to the trains and wayside by 2015 (at Amtrak or state or BNSF expense otherwise) and part of it is for rolling stock.

        The time savings are all from the PDB (and I’ve previously heard 16 minutes, not 10 minutes). The other projects improve reliability, but these may allow some recovery time to be squeezed out of the schedule, further reducing the travel time.

        I’m not sure that the time value of the money is all that important, since most of the money hasn’t been spent yet.

      4. But which costs more: the lost time going around Pt. Defiance, or the time standing in a queue to board the train?

    2. What a crock. Plenty of us want bullet trains to Portland. She waxes on about a one day business trip, has she ever done that on the current train? It is ridiculous, takes nearly an entire day just to travel to and from.

      1. Lots of people make one day business trips to Portland. It’s a long day on the train, (leave SEA at 730am, return at 945pm), but I’ve done it plenty of times and seen lots of the same faces on both trains. But the time spent on the train is less stressful and can be more productive than spending 6-7 hours gripping a steering wheel on I-5. It’s also much cheaper than flying, but if someone else is paying, I’ll gladly fly.

        Twenty years from now the time needed to fly to PDX will likely be the same as it is today. But a train could make the trip in about 2.5 hours if we come up with about $2 billion for infrastructure improvements. How much will have to be spent on operating, maintaining and improving I-5 if we want to guarantee a 3 hour road trip to Portland? Would investing in higher speed train service provide a better benefit/cost ratio?

    3. What a hack job. Most of the $12 billion has yet to be spent. The “journalists” seem to have no understanding of the way capital projects work, and how long they take to construct, particularly when they are being fought the entire way by NIMBY’s and the oil lobby.

      It is misleading that the administration has sold these projects as “high speed rail”. They should have called it “rail infrastructure improvements”.

      Absolutely no mention is made of the 10s of billions of dollars spent in the last decade to bail out the highway trust fund. What did we get for that?

      1. no mention is made of the 10s of billions of dollars spent in the last decade to bail out the highway trust fund.

        That’s because it never happened. The only thing the transfer of money from the general fund to the highway trust fund has done is offset the amount take from the fund to pay for transit. That’s not to say everything is dandy with the HTF. It’s not as there is insufficient money in it to replace our literally crumbling infrastructure leading to the catastrophic collapse of bridges around the country.

      2. Total hack job.

        But I like how he compares Amtrak Cascades to Greyhound and claims that Greyhound is actually faster. Has anyone looked at a Greyhound schedule lately? It’s actually slower! It’s 4 hrs to Portland by Greyhound, but only 3 hrs 40 mins to Portland by Cascades. And that is before the PDB time savings even kick-in.

        Now if you want to compare to Bolt Bus you have a problem. Bolt Bus achieves its time savings by cherry picking end-point to end-point riders and ignoring the intermediate cities where 2/3’s of the ridership comes from. If Amtrak ran an express between Portland and Seattle you could compare that to Bolt Bus, but Amtrak would still be faster (and more pleasant).

      3. No money was ever taken out of the trust fund to pay for transit.

        There was an agreement (under Reagan?) to increase the money going into the trust fund, but a condition of that was that a small percentage would go to transit. If that agreement hadn’t been reached then NO new money would have gone into the trustfund — for roads or transit.

      4. The original appropriation was for a “High Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail” program, but over time the ampersand has disappeared leaving HSIPR and critics (like CNN) are now accusing the Administration of failing to deliver on its alleged promise of High Speed Passenger Rail across America.

        Twelve billion bucks won’t build a HSR network and the Administration knew it, but it does get the ball rolling and it does provide smoother operations for Amtrak’s corridor trains, which is reflected in Amtrak’s increased ridership.

      5. If no money was taken out for transit why does the GAO report in it’s Highway Trust Fund Obligations, Fiscal Years 2009 to 2011:

        FTA obligated about $24 billion–about 17 percent of the total obligations–from the HTF, almost all of it through grants to local and state transit agencies and governments to provide transit service, including grants for capital projects, planning, and operating assistance.

        That was found by simply typing “highway trust fund transit funding” into the Google search bar. Not only is it not a secret it’s common knowledge.

      6. That is exactly the money that was earmarked for transit per the agreement to boost the funds going into the HTF. That is fundamentally transit funding and always has been.

      7. And like I said, “The only thing the transfer of money from the general fund to the highway trust fund has done is offset the amount take from the fund to pay for transit.” There is no 10s of billions of general fund dollars going into the HTF to subsidizing the Interstate Highway system.

      8. So the fact that they haven’t raised the gas tax since the early 1990s, even to adjust for inflation, while fleet fuel economy averages have greatly increased, along with vehicle weight, has no bearing here? I have a hard time believing that nearly $100 billion in general fund transfers during the past decade has been just for transit funding.

      9. So the fact that they haven’t raised the gas tax since the early 1990s, even to adjust for inflation,

        That’s by and large why the US hasn’t keep up with maintenance and every couple of years a major bridge collapse is in the news. The HTF needs more revenue and I’m all for it coming from increases in the fuel tax and increased impact fees on heavy vehicles.

        I have a hard time believing that nearly $100 billion in general fund transfers during the past decade has been just for transit funding.

        I’ve pulled numbers from past budgets and posted them here before. Whether by design or chance the GF transfer match up pretty close to amounts pulled out of the HTF for purposes other than building and maintaining the Interstates. FY 2012 $7.199 billion was apportioned for transit programs; $8.328 billion for FY13 and $8.444 billion for FY14. MAP-21 transfers $18.8 Billion from the general fund for FY13&14. There’s also money pulled out of the HTF for Safe Routes to Schools, Recreational Trails, Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and Ferry boats. And as part of the bill revenue raisers (closing tax loopholes) are included that offset the transfers made to the HTF.

    4. I saw the piece on his show and was disappointed. They did say that the money is being spent on “slow” trains to make them better, but we are not getting HSR. They did not mention how much or how long it would take to get true HSR up and going. I guess the piece could have been worse.

      1. Read/skimmed that blog post. IF that’s the best defense against liberal media attacks on tax dollars spend on Cascades rail then wow, what a waste of tax payers dollars Cascades must be.

      2. @Bernie, a rather worthless response. Please critique with substance to instigate a debate. Otherwise, why insist on simply provoking?

  6. I heard Nick Licata on KUOW this morning talking about his “Licata leap” proposal to extort assess additional fees from developers in South Lake Union and it got me thinking about how contradictory our housing/development policies in this city are:

    1) Policy is to promote multifamily/dense residential development in areas that have the infrastructure to accommodate growth.
    2) Policy is to protect the 70% land area currently occupied by single family zoning.
    3) Policy is to allow the single-family zoned residents to have a stake/veto in the development of the aforesaid multifamily/dense residential development areas.
    4) When developers interested in infill in the multifamily/dense residential areas to the maximum extent allowed by law, policy is to have them pay for the privilege of using their property in various and multiple ways.
    5)If landlords and renters want to find creative living/contractual relationships around some of the aformentioned policy restrictions, Policy is to bar those relationships.

    It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

    1. The arguments for raising the fees defy modern taxation principles as I see them. These include:

      1) Progressiveness. Arguments can be made for or against this, but I believe that there is a strong case for this.

      2) User fees to cover the cost of things that only the users enjoy (such as the zoo).

      3) Sin tax. This includes alcohol and tobacco taxes. I would add the gas tax to this list (although some would consider it a user fee).

      I’m afraid that too many people think we should discourage the building of higher towers. To them this is a simple sin tax. Everyone suffers because these towers are higher, so we should discourage them. Of course, this is ridiculous. The opposite is true. I would argue that we all benefit (overall) when a higher building is built. But that argument isn’t even happening. It is a given (to some) that this is a bad thing, and should be punished.

      Then again, this additional fee is now often labeled as something that developers can pay, whether or not it makes for good tax policy. I think there are two thoughts to this, both of which are very old fashioned (by old fashioned I mean when kings and queens ruled the land). The first is that these are folks who deserve to be taxed higher. I’m not a developer, so why should I care? This is a very dangerous and bad principle. We tax tobacco even though there aren’t that many smokers because even most smokers agree that it is a bad thing. Does anyone think that developers are somehow engaged in a bad practice? If so, should we establish an additional tax rate for lawyers and bankers?

      The second is that people will simply pay it. In other words, raise the tax just because we can get away with it. The developers will still build everything they planned on building. This is ridiculous. The developers still live and work in a free market. This will, of course, push up the cost of building. If the cost of building goes up, then other markets start sounding more appealing. Big buildings in Bellevue, Kirkland or Lynnwood start sounding good. If the cost of housing in these areas goes up, then housing costs throughout the region go up. Sooner or later, building new houses in Federal Way sounds a lot more appealing.

  7. Looking up Cascades ridership I noted the outlyer dot in the Q1 of 2011 On Time Performance graph labeled “Mudslide Dip”. I wonder what it’s going to look like for this winter which I believe was the worst on record. I also can’t help linking this to the humungous landslide overnight on Whidbey Island. I know this doesn’t affect any rail lines but the picture is eerily reminicent of the development all along the bluff between Edmonds and Mukilteo.

    1. Bernie, since I live on the island and just heard the news earlier today I can only wonder how the residents south of me are coping with such a large slide.

      Once again, the hotspots seem to be Milepost 11.5 and 24.5. Everyday I look at the hillside, and something new caught my attention two weeks ago. The curve that rounds to the east when going by Golden Gardens has a huge possible slide above it. Sigh…..

  8. Why all the breathless excitement over the south 200th extension? There’s nothing there. Whip out your Google Street View and see for yourself. There’s no large apartment buildings nearby. There’s no large, popular businesses. No college. It’s not an employment center. No hospital. There’s a gas station on two corners, a 7-11 on one, and a restaurant on the other. They should keep the terminal at SeaTac until they actually have the money to go someplace. Extending Link to the middle of nowhere doesn’t make sense.

    1. I agree, especially considering that area already has rapid, frequent, 24/7 transit (RR A, anyone?).

    2. I don’t know that there’s been a lot of ‘breathless excitement’ over the S. 200th extension.

      Incremental expansion makes a lot of sense to me. And isn’t the next southward exension after this supposed to end up at a community college?

      1. Speaking of incremental expansion, it would be nice if ST could figure out how to open East Link as far as SB P&R (aka the middle of a swamp) in less than ten years.

      2. That would be a terrible idea. The incremental cost of operations to serve nothing but a few peak commuters at two P&R lots would set back the funding for completion of the project. At the very least it pushes out any hope of funding the extension to Redmond which was supposed to happen before an eastside MF was required.

      3. Correction: One P&R lot, a freeway station next to a suburban downtown and another freeway station near a Seattle arterial. Since the train would probalby be able to operate as far as Northgate, it could be a part of increased North Link service levels.

      4. Don’t kid yourself, M.I. is a P&R lot near a tiny suburban shopping center where everybody drives. The Rainier stop would be worse than useless without the train going to DT Bellevue as it would displace the 550 which actually picks up a lot of people going to jobs in Bellevue that don’t support the cost of living in Bellevue.

      5. Link to Mercer Island wouldn’t necessarily have to displace the 550. For example, Link to TIBS did not displace the 194 until the airport station was complete and open for service.

      6. WRT the 200th Street extension, any thoughts of charging $10 per day to park their car and ride Link one stop to the airport?

      7. wouldn’t necessarily have to displace the 550

        The 550 would have to continue to run meaning even though the expense of operating trains to nowhere would cost much more than the existing bus service and the 550 wouldn’t be able to maintain it’s freeway stop. Lose, lose, lose situation.

      8. any thoughts of charging $10 per day to park

        You mean like at TIB? Oh wait, free parking is a right guaranteed by the constitution.

      9. why would 550 continue to run in that scenairo? Personally, I think they should build it to s b r&r (which would be really easy since it’s just laying track on existing row), and extend RRB from DT bellvue to s bellevue p&r. I think they’ll need to do this eventually because if you dissolve the 550 you get rid of frequent service on bellevue way, which generates a huge amount of ridership.

        I does cause one transfer for dt bellevue residents, but it’s on two frequent routes so it’s not that bad. plus it might be good time savings since 90 often gets backed up.

    3. A parking lot mogul will buy up the cantina, the 7-11, and the two nearby houses, demolish them, and build a huge pay parking lot. Since SeaTac has a no-city-eminent-domain law, SeaTac will have no recourse.

      As people pay extra to park further away when the garage is full, ST will continue to study the possibility of charging for parking, but not take action.

      1. ST will continue to study the possibility of charging for parking, but not take action.

        Your crystal ball is crystal clear. ST exists to spend all the money it is legally entitled to collect from taxes and studies are it’s bread and butter. Money from parking just creates something like real work.

  9. I get the importance of a Blaine Amtrak stop but how bout one somewhere near a skytrain station in Surrey area. It find it quite amazing that for a 4 hr amtrak ride seattle to vancouver, that a full hour or more is spent slowly chugging along BC’s meandering track.

    1. Except that’d mess up the strategy of pre-clearing passengers through US customs before boarding the train, which is what lets it run straight through the border. Unless it’s coupled with closing the current Vancouver station, of course?

    2. Where? I would love to see a stop near Scott Rd station, but the tracks aren’t located conveniently next to either Skytrain or the roads.

      In all reality, probably the best spot would on the New West side right near the wye.

  10. Look for an announcement about the 17% cut scenario from Metro next Monday. I believe it will be unveiled at a press conference.

    Does anyone want to take bets on whether the 158 and 159 will be left alone or cut entirely?

    1. Completely uninformed speculation: combined with the 157 and 161, so that the one-seat ride is still there, but is at a major disadvantage.

  11. Went to Vancouver BC for a Canucks game last night.

    Drove down. Originally considered rail, but end of last week tracks were still out so there was only bus. When I checked back, seemed like there were only a few trains and they would have gotten me there too close to game time.

    Going there was a breeze except for getting from Kent East Hill to I-405. The West Valley Highway interchange has to be one of the worst in the state. A highway that exits directly into a traffic light — and hence ties all the highway traffic continuing to I-405! And the HOT/HOV lane is a complete ends half a mile before the real traffic starts. Canada doesn’t have interstate highways and the ones they have don’t go into the city, so it turns into avenues. Still it was smooth sailing, no line at Peace Arch.

    Coming into the city there was one very dramatic site off these high rise apartment/condos. It was eerie because they were all the same design, concrete, and had this tinted green glass. It was like a movie set, hard to fathom, a little scary even…a whole city with one type of building! They were pleasant buildings…but is the complete design regulated?

    Stayed in walkable density, downtown not very far from Rogers Stadium. Walked to the game, and also around in the afternoon. Very nice cosmopolitan place. Trendy restaurants. Hipster avenues.

    Oh, and two lane segregated cycletracks right down the main streets! And bicycles have their own traffic lights, with a little bike symbol like the pedestrian lights. In fact, I had to be careful stepping into the bike lane to take photos as commuters were whizzing by!

    Took a joy ride on the skytrain on the way back, only two stops. Very bland, but serviceable I guess. Signage was very poor (also in much of Canada). There were no signs on the stations. The maps did not light up with each station inside the train. The audio was difficult to hear. But again, clean, fast and sturdy…and the lines go way out to the suburbs. If I wanted to do my trip cheaper, I guess I could find an express hotel in the suburbs, get free parking, and Skytrain in to the city to walk around.

    On the way back, 50 minute wait at customs…sequestration I guess.

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