Metro’s latest bunker on wheels (zargoman/Flickr)

This is an open thread.

97 Replies to “News Roundup: Little Treatise”

  1. KUDOS to Jim Howell of AORTA for thinking outside the traditional straightjacket of the criminally insane big spenders. WSDOT and the insiders have ignored these approaches for years now. Maybe holding an empty bag ‘wishful thinking’ for a while will get their attention.

  2. I think no new bridge over the columbia is needed, so as long as neither side of the river budges, we may get the best outcome.

    1. As a Portlander, I completely agree with you. The current bridges are fine, and Clark County does not want mass transit. They chose a long car commute when they moved there, and that’s what they will get.

    2. if Vancouver thinks they can block this and have a good outcome and employers moving there they’ve got another thing coming. the jobs will stay south of the bridge until it gets built right.

      1. the jobs will stay south of the bridge until it gets built right.

        Do people who live in Washington and work in Oregon pay income tax in Oregon?

      2. I’m guessing the Vancouverites who are blocking rail already have jobs, so they couldn’t care less about the jobs outcome.

  3. Why doesn’t the ST 522 stop at Convention Place & Union on SB trips in the morning? This would make transferring to the Capitol Hill buses easier.

    It used to be that one could get off the 522 at 6th & Union, and catch the 10/11/49 at 6th & Pike. However, local buses no longer stop at 6th & Pike, meaning one must either get off at 6th & Union and walk to 9th & Pike, or get off at 4th & Union, and walk to 4th & Pike, both of which take longer, and make a successful transfer less likely. This often cancels out the faster speed of the 522 compared to the 312, which maintains the quick transfer by stopping at Convention Place & Union. Is there a compelling reason why the 522 shouldn’t stop there as well?

    1. I am guessing that ST does that for consistency.

      The 522 does not pass the Convention Place stop when the express lanes are closed, so it would have to be made clear on timetables that only certain trips serve that stop. The 306 and 312, running only at peak hour in the peak direction, don’t have that issue.

      1. The 512 will soon have stops in downtown Everett only on certain runs. The 554 has been doing that for some time. The Capitol Hill stop on the 545 has also been depending on which run.

        I think ST knows how to handle stops that are dependent on the run.

    2. The 510 and 511 both have different stop patterns during peak commuting hours in the peak direction than all other times. during peak no stops on 45th or 145th and they stop at different stops approaching i5. that will change in Sept when the 510 and 511 switch to peak only and all off peak service replaced by route 512.

  4. Do any buses from W. Seattle use the Transit Tunnel? Why did they not build ramps from the newly expanded Spokane street viaduct to the SoDo Busway?

    1. Do any buses from W. Seattle use the Transit Tunnel?

      No.

      Why did they not build ramps from the newly expanded Spokane street viaduct to the SoDo Busway?

      For two reasons. First, West Seattle buses traveling through Sodo serve the Starbucks Center, so they use the 1st Ave ramps. Second, even if they did not serve anything on 1st Ave, the busway would be slower than 4th Ave for those buses.

      1. It would be convenient to ride from the tunnel to anywhere, but the tunnel can only handle so many buses.

      2. I haven’t heard any interest from anyone except Fil in putting a West Seattle bus in the tunnel. Any tunnel bus to West Seattle has to cross the BN&SF tracks somewhere. This means low reliability. Given ths support for the C/D Line split, I detect that a portion of West Seattle ridership is hypersensitive about reliability.

      3. I have pushed that idea before, but folks — both City and public — seem set on a post-Viaduct desire to run in bus-only lanes or along 1st/Utah.

        Currently you can take LINK to access the Route 50 on the busway by SoDo Station. I often take this combo in-bound for my morning commute.

      4. If an entrance ramp to the Alaskan Way Viaduct from southbound 4th Ave S had been part of the rebuild, then the SODO approach would have been on the table for more than just the 21 and 50. Alas, the rebuild was not designed with transit in mind. Maybe we need a Complete Highways law.

        Meanwhile, Pioneer Square seems to have succeeded in putting up the “Not Welcome” sign for renters and transit. Roosevelt, Eastlake, Capitol Hill, South Lake Union, Pioneer Square … Can anyone point me to the neighborhood in this town where more renters would be welcome?

  5. Does anyone remember when the Downtown transit tunnel was being built why it didn’t get any direct access to I-5 at it’s north end?

    1. It does have direct access to I-5 — but only the express lanes. Building access ramps to and from the regular lanes would have been an extremely difficult, expensive, and disruptive undertaking, because there is just no room.

    2. plus they originally intended for the rails to use the High Capacity ROW, commonly know as the current reversible lanes – you know – the highest and best use thing.
      Then politicians chickened out, making it easy for WSDOT to say no, “find your own ROW”.
      That’s how we get tunnels to Husky Stadium with one stop along the way, and other oddities of transit around here.

      1. The tunnels to husky stadium with one stop along the way are still going to provide better service than a train in the middle of the freeway would have with no stops along the way. It might have been a blessing in disguise.

      2. There was never a decision or commitment to use the express lanes for rail, it was just an idea. To them rail was so far in the future it might as well be on the moon, so they left it for a future generation to decide. Their immediate desire was to connect the DSTT directly to the express lanes. Obviously they didn’t think about reverse commutes or off-peak service, until it was too late and buses started getting stuck behind stoplights and backups.

        Anyway, there was opposition from the beginning about the Express Lakes/Eastlake train idea. Because any subway has to stop at Broadway and University Way where the pedestrians are, otherwise Seattle would lose its biggest opportunity. Because people on a pedestrian street aren’t going to walk down a steep hill to a nowhere station, and the potential number of Eastlake riders is only a fraction of the number of Broadway riders. So it was never a settled decision, and fortunately the urbanists ultimately won.

      3. An Express lane alignment would not have served the University District well. It would have turned Link into a commuter rail system with a few unpleasant out of the way stops along the freeway.

  6. So, what would make a good TIGER grant recipient here in Washington? Do we know if Seattle, Sound Transit, or State of WA have anything in mind?

    1. I’d personally like to see SDOT apply for the capital work needed to implement Madison BRT, but the timeframe is likely too tight for that.

      1. Much slower than BRT. No thanks.

        Streetcars are generally a good thing on balance. Cable cars are not, and speed is the reason.

  7. There are some very amusing commenters on the WSB post about the transportation bill complaining that the 120 gets improvements while Arbor Heights is stuck with an hourly 22 bus and no service to downtown.

    I suppose next we should cancel University Link so we can quadruple the frequency of the 25 through the Laurelhurst loop.

    1. I’ve found that reading the comments on that blog cause me to start questioning my faith in humanity, so I’ve stopped. Hyperbole is the style du jour over there.

      1. Read the comments on the Shoreline blog. UN! Agenda 21! Gubmint comin’ to take all the world’s resources and spit on old ladies too!

        This is the kind of stuff I got used to in South Carolina, which is demonstrably insane. It hurts my head to read it here.

    2. I was also enjoying the WSB comments. A different mix of opinions than here, and obviously more of them don’t know much about transit. But still it was a good variety, and it shows what West Seattle blog commentators are thinking.

  8. How much would fares have to go up to get those wraps off the windows of our buses?

    Mark Dublin

    1. Love how they’ve provided the mimimum rectangle to be able to claim they’re not blocking views. I’m guessing the next round will only have individual eye holes punched out.

      1. Particularly great since the ones in the front are well above eye level (and probably above head level) for anyone sitting in the seats. I’m rolling my eyes at this, but you can’t tell because the wrap is in the way.

    2. I hear the idea behind those bloody wraps is so when a bus isn’t completely full it doesn’t trigger whining from anti-transit voices. Also for privacy purposes.

      I don’t like them either and frankly when I ride the bus, I prefer fellow riders to enjoy the view, let the driver drive and speak softly. But that’s me.

      1. Wonder if some of us citizens could speak to elected officials with police-oversight responsibilities, including the King County Sheriff, to discuss possible outcome of police arriving on-scene unable to see deserving targets aboard buses, who would have no trouble seeing them.

        Really surprised there isn’t more objection from passengers to being deprived of this region’s scenery, which people from elsewhere pay a lot to come see. Or from all the route-side local businesses whose own on-site advertising gets blocked from being seen by passengers.

        Evidence, I guess, that public really does spend its ride with eyes as well as ears and brains plugged into i-whatever. So I’d go with the sheriff, and maybe Medic One.

        Mark Dublin

      2. “Really surprised there isn’t more objection from passengers to being deprived of this region’s scenery…”

        The wraps don’t bother me as much since they typically are mostly see-through but I get that they can be annoying. (I actually enjoyed driving the Lifesaver’s bus with the window decals that gave passengers Lifesaver’s halos) What I REALLY hate are these BICYCLE CONDUCT stickers that are completely opaque and take up most of a window. I’ve seen a proliferation of these types of stickers as well as holders for “Rider Alerts” that block windows.

        One has to wonder if the people who made the decision to block windows even discussed the impact on passengers. I can think of better places for these alerts and rule descriptions – Why can’t the people downtown?

  9. Nice to see the power and the glory and the gorgeousness, that is King Street Station, opening their nicely refurbished waiting room to us railfan foamers.

    Hopefully, the Empire Builder and the Coast Starlight won’t disappear in the near future. In spite of what bus geek Bruce Nourish is “chomping at the bit” for.

    Your thoughts, d.p.? Uff da. Never mind.

    1. I absolutely love the Empire Builder, but it really should be a privately run tourist line. Even with the current prices being higher than flying and renting a nice hotel room, I can only imagine the subsidies our country pays me to ride it.

      I’m not sure about the Coast Starlate. Part of me wants to dump in more money to make it high speed rail to CA, despite the fact it still won’t have the ridership required to justify that expense. There’s always peak oil looming on the horizon, and when it hits we can say goodbye to most air travel. But maybe we wait until then to invest.

      1. Sorry to state the obvious, but money’s pretty important. If we’re talking about cross-country train ridership, I’d rather use those funds for higher ridership corridors since that’s where the demand is.

        Your Spokane point is interesting though (less so the straw men you brought with it). I’m not very familiar with the line. When was service cut? Did ridership fall in the ’70’s along with deregulation of the airlines (and the associated drop in prices and increase in ridership)? Did demand drop because of cars? Why I ask is that I would doubt they’d cut from 8 trains a day if they were packed with people.

      2. Yeah, the thing is, so much has changed since the heyday of trains. Intercity rail loses its advantage over driving when the cities it connects aren’t accessible via walking and transit. The private auto didn’t just displace trains as a way to travel between cities, it also drastically changed how cities grew, shrinking the utility of a service that drops you in the center of a city on foot. Without strong intra-city transit and walkability inter-city rail cannot regain its glory.

      3. Based on recent personal travel between Seattle and SF, here’s thought for greatly improved non-airplane ride:

        Seattle to Eugene on Cascades, and California Amtrak to variety of BART stops east of the Bay.

        Given speed possible on I-5 at night, would have been willing to pay near-air fare for comfortable intercity bus ride between Eugene and Sacramento, run by a company that Federal courts wouldn’t forbid to serve the California Department of Corrections.

        Hope somebody does our country’s flag the honor of scraping it off the side a few yards ahead of the dog, after a ride like my last one.

        ‘Til the trains get installed.

        Mark Dublin

      4. Al Dimond

        “The private auto didn’t just displace trains as a way to travel between cities, it also drastically changed how cities grew,… “

        And money is still pouring into the highway system, far, far beyond the dollar amounts that we argue here.

      5. I too will appreciate the new King Street, when I travel to Vancouver and Portland. And for whatever it may be worth to you, I’m a huge fan of improving Cascades, especially the very successful SEA-PDX segment, because it connects two decent size cities, both of which, as Al alludes to, are quite navigable without a car. Cascades, even in its current somewhat-unreliable form, operates at a reasonable level of operating subsidy, which a train to Spokane is never likely to do.

      6. What we really need to Seattle->Spokane service is BoltBus. Today, there is only type of bus service available to Spokane that doesn’t have tons to stops and arrives in Spokane at a reasonable hour. And that is Amtrak and only on days when mudslides or something else prevents the train from running.

      7. @Jim: Yeah, absolutely. The best transportation investment we could make would be removing urban freeways. Until then, we’ve gotta be realistic.

        I haven’t lived here long, but I’ve been to Spokane. There’s a part of it I nicknamed Big Island in honor of the Mario 3 world because everything is built so aggressively to automotive scale. You don’t have to look too hard to find those parts of our city, either, and they’re some of the fastest growing parts, both for residence and business.

        If we keep building car-centric cities, the car will be the vehicle of choice for traveling between them, and 8 trains per day between Seattle and Spokane will run mostly empty.

      8. Matt,

        It will never be a tourist train. If BNSF didn’t have to provide the slot as a part of the Amtrak agreement, no passenger trin would run over the Highline, at any cost. MRL might be willing to host the train from Sandpoint east, but not many people would like to ride from there to Billings.

      9. For the long haul trains I’d love to figure out some way to allow private tour operators to use Amtrak trackage rights with perhaps some EAS like obligation to serve some of the whistle stops along the way.

        Also remember that without the long-haul trains there wouldn’t be the stations, crews, maintenance facilities, or equipment to support corridor or regional service outside the NEC.

        Once you factor out pension and retiree medical obligations the subsidy to Amtrak is a pittance in the larger context of Federal transportation spending.

        Experience in Europe and Canada shows routes that aren’t time competitive with flying or driving can still work. At the very least the amount of subsidy required can be reduced. The trick is to get out of the cost/service reduction death spiral Amtrak has been on with long-distance service.

        If Amtrak’s sleeper service was as good as VIA’s they might get more takers and be able to charge more. There are also opportunities for sleeper set-out services like you can find in Europe.

        Heck just improve the food in the cafe/snack bar on the long haul trains. I spend a fair bit of money on-board when I ride Cascades. When I’ve ridden the Empire Builder to Spokane or the Starlight I don’t buy anything unless I really have to as I find the offerings inedible and the snack bar area unpleasant to be in (at least as compared to my seat or the observation area upstairs).

        The long-haul services have been set up for failure from day 1 and never given a real chance to succeed. Why are people shocked when they fail as they have been expected to?

      10. I love the idea of taking the train to LA with my family instead of flying (I hear the views in California are amazing), but I don’t love the idea of sleeping in my seat with my extremely poor-sleeping youngest…and the cost of a sleeper car is ASTROMONICAL. I mean, all four of us could fly round-trip for the cost of the train with sleeper car one-way. And, it takes under 3 hours to fly instead of a day and a half. It’s hard to justify that trip given limited vacation time. Maybe someday when the kids are grown and I’m retired, if the Coast Starlight still exists.

      11. @Al Dimond

        @Jim: Yeah, absolutely. The best transportation investment we could make would be removing urban freeways. Until then, we’ve gotta be realistic.

        This needs a litte background.

        “Being realistic” in what infrastructure is being built, and how much money is being spent should include a look at the I-405 Corridor Program Study FEIS.

        It would be worth a good headache to try and wrap your brain around how the Cost Benefit analysis works (along with everything else).

        Something to note: In that analysis, the HCT modes were designated as LRT, and BRT, and excluded commuter rail.

        The reason Eastside Commuter Rail on the BNSF corridor is not in the I-405 Corridor Program’s Cost/Benefit analysis?

        Only one was needed to keep it from going that far – The City of Renton, and the Kennydale Neighborhood Association submitted a letter to the I-405 Program’s Executive Committee asking that it go no further than what was a preliminary analysis.

        At the time of the C/B analysis Light Rail costs were estimated using a $4.5 Billion figure, BRT a ~$1.5 Billion figure.

        The LRT Only (Alternative 1) C/B ratio was dismal.

        As to what level of BRT, look to these two items: the 2003 WSDOT BRT White Paper and Sound Transit’s 2005 Eastside HCT analysis.

        You will need to revise the high end cost estimate of the Sound Transit study due to a miscommunication between WSDOT and ST, and some other technical adjustments. The high end was revised downward to around $3.5 Billion, as opposed to the $5+ Billion in the linked ST BRT study.

        If you want to entertain yourself you can make the comparison to Commuter Rail (high end cost $1.3 Billion), that analysis was done later, in December of 2008

        No call is being made by me to remove urban freeways.

        However, what is happening now, as evidenced by the current Transportation Package being looked at by the state, is that the answer to mobility is – adding more highway capacity. The SR 167, SR 509 connections, and in the case of the I-405 Corridor, 4 additional GP lanes through most of the corridor.

        This is the default mode. Highway projects are already in the pipeline, so the idea that HCT will follow density is moot.

        Mobility is being answered with more pavement.

        Please, don’t believe me, read the documentation, take the time to understand it.

        I’m at a loss to explain why Amtrak Long Distance service is considered a threat to local transit, but I defer to the wisdom of the STB Bloggers and commentators.

        I await the upcoming endorsement of this blog by the entity going by the initials ST.

      12. I don’t think Amtrak long-distance service as it is is a threat to anything. I also don’t think if we greatly expanded the number of trains on many of those lines there would be much impact from that at all because the majority of our cities are nearly unnavigable without cars. A few people want to say Amtrak routes don’t draw riders because there aren’t enough trains; I say the trains were cut because people didn’t ride them, and if we don’t address the reasons people don

        I honestly don’t know what you’re on about with 405. In the short term the only way to improve mobility in that corridor is more roads because most of the homes and businesses are built in such an extreme auto-centric way that transit could only serve a tiny fraction of the trips. But adding more roads only digs the hole deeper. In the long term the only way to unravel this is to change land use.

      13. @al dimond

        “In the short term the only way to improve mobility in that corridor is more roads…”

        Then you need to understand the process, especially the Cost Benefit Analysis process.

        If you read and understand the FEIS, then you will see that the value of congestion relief will last only until the year 2025.

        If the question is posed again, with the horizon year set the same amount of time into the future from that time, you will get the same answer, add more lanes.

        No problem.

        The road to better transit is obviously to spend multiple tens of billions of dollars first on highway improvements.

      14. Matt: the Empire Builder provides the following services:
        (1) intercity service from Chicago (via Milwaukee) to Minneapolis-St. Paul
        (2) “lifeline” service to a bunch of tiny towns in North Dakota and Montana which don’t have air service, don’t have Interstate highways, and where the buses run north-south. This includes, right now, the oil boom district.
        (3) Spokane-Seattle and Spokane-Portland service.

        Of these, the service from Spokane west is actually the least defensible. Most of the rest of it pays for itself in terms of Senators voting for Amtrak funding. (Yes, there’s another issue of whether we should be subsidizing the empty rural states. But until we abolish the Senate, which is explicitly biased towards them, we’re stuck with it.)


      15. Sorry to state the obvious, but money’s pretty important. If we’re talking about cross-country train ridership, I’d rather use those funds for higher ridership corridors since that’s where the demand is.

        The money’s not fungible that way politically.

        Now if you somehow cut 10% from the military budget (that would be roughly $50 billion) or managed to raise taxes on dividends (that would be several billion), some of that money might go to support Amtrak corridor service.

        But if you cut the Empire Builder, the Montana and North Dakota senators would add up how much it cost, remove slightly more than that from Amtrak’s budget (hurting Amtrak), and demand that that much money be spent on their states one way or another.

        I’d be amenable to cutting the Sunset Limited, because most of those states’ Senators vote against Amtrak funding *anyway*.

  10. I am working San Jose this week and I saw that the VTA trains ( light rail) actually offer wi-fi on board!

    Any plans for Sound Transit to do so? Or do they, I haven’t been on Link for awhile.

    1. I’d love to at least see this in the tunnel stations. That would finally give us access to One Bus Away. How hard can that be? A few commercial grade wifi boxes, a network connection, and power. Give me the materials and I’ll install it myself.

      1. You’d think they could get a sponsor. Some airports provide free wi-fi you just just view a quick ad video…

  11. I read Chris Karnes’s article about the arithmetic of adding stations. It works great for explaining the value of Link serving the Ranier Valley, rather than going directly from downtown to the airport.

    But, for Tacoma Link, we overlooks one crucial fallacy – when the stations are already close enough together that everything alone the line is only a short walk away, adding another station in between doesn’t really increase the number of origin-destination-pairs served. All it does is save people going to one destination a couple of minutes at the expense of everyone passing through. And even people going to that new station lose much of the time gained from the shorter walk standing at the train station, due to the longer headway resulting from the longer end-to-end travel times. This is the part of the arithmetic of adding stations he conveniently ignores.

    1. I assume he understands that there is a saturation point with stations, and Metro’s every-two-blocks is going too far. I personally think the 11th Street station is excessive, especially when it lowered the frequency from 10 minutes which should be the absolute minimum. But we needn’t quibble about one station. The problem is when there are many excess stations, not just one.

  12. The C/D split was the only goofiness amidst some really good news. I’m sure Rep. Fitzgibbon understands that that wierd proposal is not just a capital investment, but an increase in operating costs of a few million dollars a year in perpetuity. Who is behind that idea?

    Why not spend the bulk of that money on downtown projects that will reduce travel time and improve reliability for *all* the 3rd Ave buses?

      1. Not as much. Sure, it added platform hours, at least until Capitol Hill Station opens. But it didn’t cut one-seat crosstown rides, since those wanting to go directly between Rainier Valley and Capitol Hill can take the 9. After CHS opens, I predict the 49 will no longer go downtown at all.

        If you want to zing me, pick a different route split. ;)

      2. The biggest point of wierdness is that the state legislature is attempting to cement a couple route paths into state law. Very, very bad idea.

        It’s bad enough when the County Council does that.

    1. I continue to believe that the same money would be better spent to increase the frequency of the C/D to 7.5 peak/10 midday, rather than to split it. But the split would increase reliability, no question about it, especially for outbound C riders.

    2. What if the C was sent to LQA, then over to 15th for a transfer to the D, and the D was rerouted to skip LQA?

      1. That would add even more hours than a straight split. Buses would be overlapping for about 20 minutes of in-service time per trip. But if you could find the money it would provide good service.

        I’d terminate the C in LQA, rather than sending it down to 15th where there is really no place to turn around. The 32 can handle the passengers needing to go down the hill.

      2. We already have plenty of service for LQA to downtown, without the C or the D. The only real value of the D serving LQA is the one-seat ride to Ballard (without walking half a mile), which a C line that terminated there wouldn’t fix.

    3. I say they should hold on to that money for a bit and invest it in staving off the 17% cuts until North Link, or at least U-Link, can take some of the pressure off.

      1. Earmarking it for capital investments to improve speed and reliability is okay, if they give us a funding source to keep existing operations going. Giving us a white elephant gift ($15 million to increase operating costs by a few million annually in perpetuity, and forcing that increased cost on Metro) is not.

      2. It’s a token gesture to get people like us to vote for billions of dollars in new taxes to fund new highways. I think most of us know better than to fall for this.

  13. Just an observation about this blog. Rail accounts for what percentage of public transit passengers in the tri-county area? 2%? 4%? Then why does it seem that about every fourth blog post’s picture is of a train or something relating to rail?

    1. I’m sure the editors would gladly entertain a guest post from you about a non-rail related public transit topic. Maybe you could title it “I’m acting like I have something germane to say, but really I’m trolling…” :-)

    2. Because agenda item #1 for almost every author here (and most of the readership too) is to build more rail, in ways that will make it serve way more people.

  14. I am currently seeing why this country doesn’t work politically.

    I live in an area of dense apartments where a lot of lower income and immigrant families live. Many of us walk and ride bikes and take buses as well as cars.

    Hence the sidewalks are some of the most used.

    The City of Kent wanted to improve one very much used street which has no sidewalks. There are many kids who have to stand waiting for school buses in what amounts to a gravel pit. There is a day care center that sits there like something out of the old south.

    The big spenders at City Hall proposed a project that, while a solution, was probably 10 times what was needed and imposed high real estate taxes and created a whole governmental management group. The Republicans, of which I am a member shot it down…the whole thing.

    So here’s where the system fails. All we needed is was an extra wide sidewalk for both people and bikes. The liberals turn it into a boondoggle. The republicans shoot it down. The end result is the People suffer.

    1. Right, because only liberals propose boondoggles…

      In the past, situations like you describe would have resulted in a compromise, not just having the idea shot down to the detriment of everyone. I don’t know enough about how the Kent government operates to know whether compromise is particularly difficult to come by (although I did find out that the Kent City Council council is ostensibly non-partisan).

    2. The difference between now and the past is that now Republicans won’t compromise to un-boondoggle-ify solutions they feel to be boondoggles. They have decided it is more to their political advantage to pick up their toys and go home than to try to compromise to solve problems, because their base will primary any official who tries to work with Democrats.

      1. Exactly this. Character assassination has turned into the political weapon of choice and unfortunately for the people it is very effective.

        McCarthyism is alive and well.

    3. Having only your side of the story, and few details, I’m not convinced that the solution proposed was “10 times what was needed.” I hear the same complaints in Delridge about lack of sidewalks from people who think all the City has to do is come in and pour some concrete, so it should cost nothing and require very little planning. Unfortunately, the reality is we have a number of issues regarding drainage and flooding and the like in the area, which requires SPU to conduct considerable analysis prior to any installation of sidewalks, which drives the cost and planning time up considerably. But the average homeowner doesn’t understand that.

      1. Sidewalks (concrete pouring) are actually very expensive to start with.

        Drainage work is much more expensive.

        My town in upstate NY is slowly adding sidewalks to places where they are much needed. Very slowly, because there’s very little in the way of state and federal funds, and there’s only so much that can be done with property tax. The 1994 transportation plan — which mostly consisted of about a dozen sidewalks and bike lanes! will probably not be finished in my lifetime at this rate.

    4. I think it’s amusing when people in this region blame our problems on Republicans. We live in a city run by a Democrat, within a county run by a Democrat, within a legislative district represented by a Democrat, within a state run by a Democrat, and within in a state represented by two US Senators, within a country run by a Democrat.

      1. The US is run by the Congress (Article I of the Constitution). At the moment, the Congress is run by the “do-nothing cabal” in the Senate, who believe that constant filibusters are the way to go.

        The majority of the do-nothing cabal are Republicans.

      2. (To be clear, some of the do-nothing cabal are Democrats. The Republicans wouldn’t have a majority for doing nothing if they didn’t have some Democrats on their side, waxing on about how important it is to allow the minority to filibuster everything.)

  15. Would love to see a post on the “special” routes like 994 that serve private schools. Are students only allowed to ride them? What is the financing set up?

  16. King County Council. The Council’s Transportation Economy and Environment (TrEE) Committee will hold a public hearing on April 30 before voting on whether to move the ordinance for the proposed changes to Snoqualmie Valley service to the full council.

    Affected routes are 209, 215, 224 and a new route 208. Route 209 will become peak-only, 215 will bypass Issaquah TC and 224 will be truncated to Duvall with a reroute in Redmond Ridge.

    208 will be a new all-day route serving Issaquah TC, Snoqualmie and North Bend. There will also be a new inrta-valley shuttle serving Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie and North Bend.

    http://metrofutureblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/new-mix-of-transit-service-proposed-for-snoqualmie-valley/

    1. For anyone that wants to hike Mount Si by bus, these changes should be good. The proposal does retain Saturday service to North Bend, which is good.

      The proposal does not say anything about whether route 208 will continue to serve the stop at I-90/exit 20 for the Tiger Mountain Trailhead. I hope it does and, I’m guessing it will, since they didn’t say anything about deleting that stop.

      I am also hoping that Metro can use the opportunity to adjust the schedules on Saturday mornings to better coordinate with the 554. Currently, travel from Seattle to North Bend on a Saturday morning requires a 35-40 minute wait in Issaquah.

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