This is an open thread.

97 Replies to “News Roundup: Reviews”

  1. I hope the American flag is not a part of the standard paint scheme for the new Cities Sprinter. Hideous. But bravo to Amtrak for procuring a decent locomotive!

    1. I thought the same thing. It also makes me wish we had an electrified corridor for Cascades. Has BNSF or UP looked into electrification? Probably doesn’t make sense given the size of their networks, and the long stretches through sparsely populated areas.

      1. A long range plan for the Cascades Corridor (from 2006) puts the going rate at $20 million per mile for electrification of the current alignment in 1993 dollars. The impact on the BNSF mainline during and following construction would be unjustifiable given the corridor’s relatively low usage. I think we are almost better off waiting it out for a new alignment…

      2. Electrification isn’t nearly as hard as most of those estimates think it is. The main trouble is overhead clearance, which isn’t an issue on large portions of the Cascades route.

        The UK is developing an “automated electrification train”.

    1. Wait. I just realized that the USPIRG study is related to the NYT article. I am very proud of myself for stepping up and admitting my oversight. It takes a big man to admit he was wrong.

  2. Since local NBA seems not to be an immediate option can I put a new spin on it.

    Build High Speed Rail from Vancouver BC to Portland and unite our five northwest teams into a Unified NW venue.

    With HSR you can dart up to BC for the Canucks or down to PDX for the Trailblazers.

    Even with Cascades, how about some Sports Packages with discount tickets, hotel rooms and GroupOns tied to game times.

    Canucks, Trailblazers, Mariners, Seahawks, Sounders are all our teams.

    1. Rose City til I die…

      Other than that, I agree with you. In Portland, we think of the Mariners as our baseball team, and Seahawks for football. Seattle should start thinking of the Blazers this way.

      1. We’ve got empty seats at Safeco waiting for some loyal Portlanders and Vancouverites to take a trip in!

    2. Timbers, Whitecaps? I think you have much stronger demand for intercity travel with regional rivalries. Bring back the Sonics and Metropolitans.

      1. The biggest issue with supersonic is no longer the sonic boom, but the much, much higher fuel usage. Supersonic will only work on routes where enough people will pay outlandish prices for it to fill a plane. That is only a handful of routes in the world. It will be very difficult to put together a business case to spend upward of $10 billion to develop an all-new supersonic jet if there is only a market for 25 or 50 copies of it.

      2. On the old Concorde, allegedly, NY/Paris was never profitable, but NY/London was still a profitable route even through it’s last flight, despite rising fuel costs and the post-9/11 air travel slump. The Concorde was a fuel hog not only because it was supersonic, but also because it was pretty obsolete. It seems reasonable that any new supersonic airliner would be significantly more efficient and cheaper to maintain.

        If the boom could be reduced enough so that it could be legally allowed to fly over US land at supersonic speeds, that could open up some new markets, and maybe make the jets worth building.

        The current subsonic passenger traffic for the Concorde’s two old US connecting routes are:
        NY/London = 3.9 mil/year
        NY/Paris = 1.2 mil/year (unprofitable)

        In terms of long, 5+ hour cross country routes, NY/LA traffic is 4.4 mil/year, so it seems like that would be a big enough market to support a supersonic route. NY/San Franciso is at 3.0 million, which might also be enough. NY/Vegas is 2.0, probably borderline. So there are some viable routes in the US that quieter booms could open up.

        Carbon impact would be bad. Better to build high speed electric trains down the whole east coast.

      3. There may not be a market for supersonic airliners, but I’d wager there *is* a market for supersonic business jets. The 1%-ers don’t have to care about fuel costs.

      4. Orv, agreed. Rumor has it that a couple of supersonic bizjets are in development.

  3. Good news for pedestrians: McGinn to bring us a Portland Loo in Pioneer Square, using developer money.

    For those that don’t remember, Seattle paid over a million bucks each for our last public toilets, which were very private and would automatically clean themselves. They turned into mini homeless shelters almost immediately and were later sold for a few thousand each. Portland went a different direction, paying just $60k each for very basic toilets with little privacy and planning on janitors cleaning them twice a day (costing just $12k/yr each). Here’s a great article comparing the two. I think it’s a strong move for Seattle to admit our mistake and just copy what works.

    1. Agreed and agreed. I hope this is not a one off thing, on both counts. We need more of these public toilets around the city (start with every major transfer point) AND we need to get overselves and stop trying to reinvent the wheel on every issue. There is nothing wrong with copying what works.

      1. What I find amazing is how self cleaning toilets have worked wonderfully in Paris can’t work in Seattle because we’re that special. Over there the close at night and they initially cost money. As as it’s used the door shuts and cleans itself. You can either stay in and get hosed down or you can step out and stay dry. They also lock at night after a certain time making them off limits for sleeping.

        We could have even asked the Paris police force how much trouble they’ve been instead of trying to invent our own way and looking like fools when it failed.

      2. I’m guessing that Paris doesn’t have the homeless problem that we have in Seattle, particularly the area around the downtown/pioneer square; So it’s easier for them to maintain the public toilets without dealing with a resident.

      1. I’m tired of seeing human feces on the sidewalk. If a few crack deals move to a bathroom instead of an alley, it seems like a fair price.

      2. Matt, as a respected addiction specialist and sociologist, I can tell you with great authority that the type of person that currently urinates and defecates in Pioneer Square alleys isn’t going to go out of their way to use the loo.

      3. Wait, Sam, you’re a respected addition specialist and sociologist in addition to being “one of the world’s most respected and leading street car experts” (see https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2013/05/05/sunday-open-thread-streetcar-construction-2/)????

        Mocking Sam aside, I too, would much rather have crack deals go on in the bathroom than slip in human feces again (yes, again). The giant whiffs of urine in Pioneer Square would not be missed.

      1. From HistoryLink:

        “The restrooms have marble stalls, brass fixtures, oak chairs, white-tiled walls, and terrazzo floors. These are believed to be the world’s most luxurious underground toilets.”

        “There were free toilets and pay toilets, with separate entrances for men and women. In the men’s free room there were 10 toilets, five lavatories (wash basins), four urinals, and one sink. In the men’s pay room, there were six toilets that opened with a key, five lavatories, and four sets of urinals. The women’s room had nine toilets (two paid toilets opened with a key), six lavatories, and one sink. The men’s and women’s rooms each had an anteroom with oak chairs and a shoeshine stand. The men could purchase a cigar.”

        They would need a little work

      2. Oh, I would love to see that done. Make the whole thing auto-paid, or have an attendant collect payment a la some European public restrooms. But given we won’t do that, the Portland loo is a very good idea.

    2. I remember reading about them when the first went up in Portland. I’m amazed it’s taken this long to get them here.

      Downtown wouldn’t smell so much like piss if there were actual plentiful public restrooms.

  4. Thanks for using my photo.

    This one was a bit tough from the SeaTac parking garage walking to the airport shuttle home to Skagit, but I really wanted to have the background blurred and the train in at least some focus. Very beautiful sight.

  5. Living Large in Tiny Apartments

    designs for attractive and affordable apartments from 250 to 370 square feet in size. Called “My Micro NY” (MMNY), their proposed housing project features 55 studio apartments, each smaller than a typical two-car garage. Now slated to become one of the first modular-unit projects in Manhattan, the apartments will be prefabricated in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and shipped overnight to a site on East 27th Street, where they will be stacked atop each other like Lego® bricks.

    Harken back to the days of the mail order house from Sear & Reobuck. Order up the apodment of your choice from Amazon and have it overnighted to the your new address. Hint, sign up for Amazon Prime and get free shipping :=

    1. pretty much how cruise ships are built…

      A few years ago on the podium roof of the Rainier Tower there were some 40′ shipping container-sized modular housing units on display. They were actually surprisingly pleasant.

    2. This was tried in Japan; it wasn’t very successful in that individual units quickly had their specialized infrastructure become outdated, and swapping them out for new ones (as was originally planned) turned out to be uneconomic.

      Britain also experimented with modular construction for public housing, but stopped after a gas explosion in one unit caused a whole wing of a building to collapse like a house of cards.

      1. Ditto to 47’s spottings. Curiously, one of the vehicles I saw near 6th & Pike didn’t have a license plate mounted on the rear.

    1. $45 seems like a lot, especially given the 1 hour 15 minute headway on the route serving Ballard and the Zoo. And, no matter what city I visit, I find diesel “trolley” buses to be tacky looking.

      1. Show your ORCA card and I’m sure the driver will just waive you on – It’s the Seattle way.

      2. It’s for tourists who don’t know any better.

        However, what especially cracks me up is the section on getting to the trolley. Lots of suggested parking lots (nearly all paid), not one mention of mass transit.

        If the target audience is out-of-towners who already have a rental car, asking them to pay $10 to park downtown only to pay another $45 to ride the trolley to the zoo…it just insane.

        Even people who don’t have a rental car and have managed to convince themselves that riding a bus is beneath their dignity, they could ride taxis everywhere this trolley goes and still come out ahead.

      1. Looks like someone took the old Busview interface (works with IE v4.01 – v6!) and finally modernized it. Essentially it takes the same back-end Metro location data that OneBusAway uses to estimate upcoming arrival times, but instead plots the current locations.

      2. The developer can’t fix the quality of the data.

        Only King County Metro can, because they’re the ones releasing the data that this (and every other bus-tracking app) relies on.

      3. The developer can’t fix the quality of the data.

        No, but he can use a different data source which is know to be more accurate.
        The current one is actually from the UW.

      4. The UW ITS system just relays it. The bad data still originates from Metro.

  6. How is the Times still in business? In the Car2Go article, Brier Dudley notes how often they move around and then complains about how they sit around so much.

    1. It was a pretty bad article. It was like listening to someone complain about complaining. Sometimes I read a Seattle Times article and I feel like I’m reading the “Suburban Seattle Times.” Then I read in the comment section of their articles and I feel like I’m quite literally reading crazy people’s comments. As in institutionally crazy.

      1. Ha! So very, very true. Often seems more like a suburban perspective rather than the Seattle one is being spewed. And, reading the comments is like being transported to a bizzaro alternate reality.

      2. The comment sections of daily print news outfits are the worst possible forums for discussion on the internet. They’re nothing but trolls and astroturfers arguing. Local TV news sites are pretty similar.

      3. Seattle is a small portion of their readership, so they really do customize their content for the suburbanites.

      4. A comment I saw a few years ago explains what’s going on. The paranoid comments aren’t new, and they aren’t specific to the Seattle Times. It’s just that in earlier days they were letters to the editor, and they were routed to the editor’s wastebasket. Now with the Web they’re self-published. Nowadays “Letters to the Editor” has migrated to website comments and everyone sees them.

      5. The people who run the Seattle Times live in Bellevue, Medina, and Mercer Island. That is all you need to know to explain the tenor of the Seattle Times’s coverage. It’s not just for the suburbs; it’s for residents of the very wealthiest suburbs.

  7. Happened to find myself at a midday business meeting in downtown Bellevue today. While I was there, I walked the distance from my meeting site, in a building along 108th, to the new, worse location of the future Link platform. Yes, it’s a long way, and it will be too far for many choice riders to walk.

    But what I had forgotten (although I grew up there, I don’t walk around downtown Bellevue much anymore) is how uninviting the environment is for pedestrians. It’s almost designed to make you feel “I’m a chump for not driving like all these people whizzing by,” whereas in downtown Seattle when you are walking you feel like the drivers are chumps. Congratulations, Kemper: you’ve singlehandedly made Bellevue into your own vision of car paradise, one that it would cost billions and take decades to make truly inviting for pedestrians.

    1. One other thing I saw, that may just be relevant to certain debates about possible cuts: the following buses (all at midday).

      Outbound 234 leaving BTC for Kirkland: zero people aboard
      Inbound 226 coming into BTC from Bel-Red: about 6 people aboard
      Outbound 226 leaving BTC for Bel-Red: 4 people aboard
      Eastbound 271 arriving at BTC: about 12 people aboard
      Southbound 566 leaving BTC: about 20 people aboard
      Southbound 550 leaving BTC: mostly full

      1. Cutting 17% with a scalpel isn’t sensational, and won’t scare people or get the legislature to act. They are cutting with an ax for a reason. It’s the same reason cities blackmail their residents into raising their own taxes or pass levies by threatening to cut police and fire fighters, and not mid-level city hall paper pushers.

      2. Sam, that’s not the reason that all the cuts aren’t centered on the Eastside. There are two other reasons they aren’t all centered on the Eastside: 1) the Eastside encompasses part or all of four of the nine council districts; and 2) the Eastside contributes enough of the county’s tax revenues that it would make a big noise if its bus service were halved overnight.

        But I will continue to argue that the Eastside has more truly painless cuts available than anywhere else. And I think you will see that Metro itself agrees with me.

        Out of all of the routes on the entire Eastside (defined as north of Renton and south of Bothell), the only all-day route not on The List is the 240, and the only commuter routes not on The List are the three highest-ridership I-90 expresses and two SR-520 routes.

      3. South and East King combined provide about 60% of Metro local tax revenue, yet receive about 40% of the service hours. Seattle has better farebox recovery, so there’s an argument to be made that net subsidy is probably close to being equitable as things stand right now.
        That said, there’s plenty of non-productive trips on all sides of the lake for the taking.

      4. I don’t think we can cut the 234, as you can’t just tell everyone who wants to travel between Bellevue and Kirkland that they need to either call a cab or detour all the way to downtown Seattle.

        As to the 234, I did ride the section through Kirkland and Juanita once about 6:30 on a Friday night. I was a bit surprised to see the bus mostly full.

        226, however, does have a lot of fat. Even if you cut it completely, it’s not that big deal for riders to take the B-line and walk. I’m willing to bet that most of the 4 people you did see on the 226 just happened to use it because they were waiting for a B-bus and saw the 226 happen to come first.

      5. @David L, how do you work it to cut only half a route. The buses at the end of the direction with the better ridership just deadhead back and start over? That doesn’t sound very productive. I take the 234 often from S. Kirkland P&R to DT Kirkland in the AM because it is faster than the 255 to DT Kirkland and if a 255 is just leaving as my 249 is pulling in about 20% of the time I can catch up to it at Kirkland Transit Center by hopping a 234 that’s just pulling in. Ridership that direction isn’t great in the AM but there’s a regular crew of about a dozen riders and Kirkland has plans for significant new development along Lake Washington Blvd. The 249 used to be only to MSFT in the AM and reverse in the PM. It’s been slowly building ridership since it went bidirectional (and the only reason a bus option is even feasible for my commute). Off peak it’s pretty much empty and should probably be eliminated entirely. I mean its not like there is a transit dependent population along Northup/NE 24th St and Metro would really do better long term to make it clear that that’s not where you want to locate if you intend to rely on public transit.

      6. When people distinguish between “cutting with a scalpel” and “cutting with an axe”, what they usually seem to mean is “cutting things I don’t care about” versus “cutting things I care about a lot”.

        If you propose cutting span of service and off-peak frequency of many routes, some people will call this an indiscriminate butcher job and others a tailored cut depending on their notion of what transit should do. If you propose cutting or truncating lots of low-performing routes that don’t run very often, some people see the huge number of routes cut and think it’s an indiscriminate cut or shock tactic.

        On the eastside, despite various restructures, it seems theres

      7. ‘s still a fair amount of duplication or near-duplication, and therefore opportunities to save money in ways that aren’t all that painful. Unfortunately in a lot of places the infrastructure isn’t there to make really efficient service happen… and in a few cases we’re in the middle of building infrastructure that locks us into inefficient patterns.

      8. Even if there’s not a particularly large transit-dependent population there, it is still important to provide some service. For instance, when I grew up, my parents had three cars, but there were still reasons to ride the bus from time to time. For instance, getting home after locking the keys in the car, getting home after dropping a car off at a repair shop, getting to school the last year before I was old enough to get a driver’s license, etc.

        Maybe midday 249 service could be cut back from half-hourly to hourly, but eliminating it altogether would provide a big hit to coverage – especially if the 226 were eliminated as well.

      9. I have no doubt that there are well-used trips on the 234 and 235. But there is zero reason (and this is backed up by the ridership numbers, not just my one observation yesterday) to have a 15-minute corridor between downtown Bellevue and downtown Kirkland outside of peak hour. Cut the Bellevue-Kirkland portion of whichever route has fewer through riders (likely the 234).

        We could provide the minimal coverage asdf is talking about to areas with low ridership with many fewer service hours than are used today. The issue, as mic observes, is that then political resentment would bubble up among people who don’t use the bus but who pay taxes for it.

        Still, Metro has put Eastsiders on notice with its jeopardy list. It’s worth at least noting in any discussion how many of the routes with poor performance, systemwide, are on the Eastside.

      10. getting home after locking the keys in the car, getting home after dropping a car off at a repair shop, getting to school the last year before I was old enough to get a driver’s license

        What a great list of reasons to not run scheduled bus routes and a succinct summary of why Metro has a spending problem not a revenue crises.

      11. “226, however, does have a lot of fat. Even if you cut it completely, it’s not that big deal for riders to take the B-line and walk. I’m willing to bet that most of the 4 people you did see on the 226 just happened to use it because they were waiting for a B-bus and saw the 226 happen to come first.”

        The 226 and 249 are detritus from earlier reorganizations. When Metro consoldates the higher-ridership portions of routes (in this case the 230/231 and 253 into RapidRide B) it left lower-ridership segments behind. Rather than delete those entirely, Metro often strings them together into a milk run. So these are pure “coverage” service. The assumption behind it is that they might be deleted later if ridership doesn’t improve or a budget cut comes, but this avoids cutting off people now who would complain loudly and possibly scuttle the entire reorganization. I won’t get into whether they “should” be deleted or how many riders is enough, except to note that I grew up on the darkest part of the 226 and it was the only bus around. If it hadn’t been there I couldn’t have taken it to junior/high school and Bellevue/Seattle and would probably have gotten a car at age 16 and be driving now.

        “I don’t think we can cut the 234, as you can’t just tell everyone who wants to travel between Bellevue and Kirkland that they need to either call a cab or detour all the way to downtown Seattle.”

        Pre-RapidRide B the 230 went from Bellevue to Kirkland via Bellevue Way/Lake Wash Blvd, and there was no bus on 116th. Metro decided that north 116th (the “hospital district”) was a growing area that needed frequent service, and north Bellevue Way needed to be downsized. So the 230 was moved to 116th/108th and turned to the 235, and the 234 was added to complement its frequency. (It may have already existed north of Kirkland TC and was extended to Bellevue.) Demographically there’s a growing number of elderly who take buses to Overlake Hospital and Evergreen Hospital and their surrounding clinics, and they are one of the target markets of the 234/235. Also, Bellevue and Kirkland are the two largest cities on the Eastside and should have frequent service between them. Even if ridership is low now, it will surely grow if the bus service is there to encourage it.

      12. Correction: the 234/235 are still on Lake Wash Blvd, not 108th. (The 249 has taken over north Bellevue Way.)

      13. Demographically there’s a growing number of elderly who take buses to Overlake Hospital and Evergreen Hospital and their surrounding clinics, and they are one of the target markets of the 234/235. Also, Bellevue and Kirkland are the two largest cities on the Eastside and should have frequent service between them. Even if ridership is low now, it will surely grow if the bus service is there to encourage it.

        All that would be well and good if we weren’t staring down the barrel of a 17% cut in the worst case, and in a situation where existing corridors elsewhere are badly oversubscribed and need more service just to keep up with demand in the best case.

        The current off-peak demand along 116th and between Bellevue and Kirkland can be served just fine by half-hourly service. In fact, it’s arguably overserved by half-hourly service, but I understand your point that this is an important regional corridor.

        But, to name just one example, having 15-minute service on that low-use corridor while the perennially full 164, 169, and 180 (on the Kent-Auburn segment) are half-hourly is absurd. It’s a display of naked political power by the Eastside members of the council. And I’m just using suburban examples to stay away from the city versus suburbs debate — there are plenty more in the city.

      14. “would probably have gotten a car at age 16 and be driving now”

        Er, gotten a license. It’s not like I could afford a car then!

      15. “having 15-minute service on that low-use corridor while the perennially full 164, 169, and 180 (on the Kent-Auburn segment) are half-hourly is absurd.”

        Oh, I agree! Metro needs to look at its entire service area wholistically, with the top priority of relieving overcrowded buses. (Today I got bumped from the 71/72/73 and for the first time took the 255 to Montlake. I knew that the 70/43/49 were absorbing overflow from the 71/72/73, but I never realized the 255 was also.) Bellevue-Kirkland is a mid-level priority, lower than some corridors but higher than others.

        “It’s a display of naked political power by the Eastside members of the council.”

        Um, maybe. Or a recognition that the Eastside has the second-largest commerce in the region, that Bellevue and Kirkland are its largest cities, and 116th is one of the Eastside’s fastest-growing areas given the new clinics and upcoming Spring District.

      16. To be clear, I accept that some routes may have to be sacrificed to relieve overcrowding and underserved corridors in zero-sum environment. But it’s still worthwhile to have the medium-priority corridor designated on paper, so that it can be built out when funds are available. The fact that it’s on paper means that new hours will someday be allocated to it rather than peanut-buttered in an even worse area.

      17. The 234 isn’t up for being cut. In the 2012 Performance Report it received a B at Peak and C’s for off peak and nights. Everyone is forgetting that it serves more than just a Bellevue to Kirkland function. It goes to S. Kirkland P&R which is a major transfer point and it goes to Juanita which has a whole bunch of new multifamily development and Kenmore which also is a major transfer point. And along a good portion of it’s route it’s the only game in town. “Potential for Major Reduction” is listed as low and it rates as one of the “High Productivity Routes”.

        The 249 OTOH is a prime candidate for cutting back to peak only. It’s barely justifies it’s existence then. The only part of it’s route with any density is Overlake and DT Bellevue and there are numerous better options linking those destinations.

      18. Bernie, the 234 isn’t going to be cut altogether, but it is on Metro’s list for partial cuts or restructures in the 17% cut scenario. And the part that can be cut is the south part, because (except possibly at peak) the 235 provides more than enough service along the corridor to meet demand by itself. And the longer-distance connection the 235 provides between Bellevue and Totem Lake is more important than the one the 234 provides between Bellevue and Juanita/Finn Hill.

      19. 116th is one of the Eastside’s fastest-growing areas given the new clinics and upcoming Spring District.

        Na, not north of NE 12th it isn’t. The 234/235 just use it because it’s the best route from S. Kirkland P&R to BTC and it would be goofy to run a bus from Totem Lake all the way to the P&R and terminate there instead of DT Bellevue. That said, there’s very little along the route of the 235 that wouldn’t have other options if it disappeared. However, it’s also a long way from being at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to unproductive eastside routes.

      20. the longer-distance connection the 235 provides between Bellevue and Totem Lake is more important than the one the 234

        The 234 is by far the longer route as it goes all the way up to Kenmore. To get from Bellevue to Totem Lake you’d be crazy not to use ST 532/535. The 235 is a tiny spur that serves North Rose Hill. It barely generates enough ridership to warrant a single Workhorse type shuttle peak or DART service off peak. There’s virtual nobody at those stops even during the commute.

      21. If you’re looking for a cheap way to save service hours on the 234/235, cutting the deviation into South Kirkland P&R looks like an obvious choice. Some might say “but it’s a transfer point”, but when you look closely, there are actually very few origin-destination points where connecting there would be significantly better than other options.

        For example, Kirkland->Seattle – just take the 255. Juanita->Seattle – make the connection to the 255 at Kirkland Transit Center instead. Bellevue->Seattle – take the 550 or 271. Kirkland->Overlake – take the 245.

        There are simply two few trips that really need that point to make a connection to justify the service-hour cost and the delay it imposes for everyone else. And that’s before you even consider that for the really tiny number of people that need to make a connection there – the street stops on Northup Way and 108th St. would still be available.

      22. cutting the deviation into South Kirkland P&R looks like an obvious choice.

        Deviation? Where the hell else do these routes go? South Kirkland is in a crappy location because it just misses 520 for a flyer stop but it’s the only game in town (major missed opportunity to do a land swap with WSDOT, thank you ARCH… not!). You’ve obviously never ever ridden any of these routes and have no clue regarding eastside connectivity that doesn’t involve the old school; just go to DT Seattle and catch the bus to where you really wanted to go. I’ve rattled off several connections there that make a two seat ride almost useable by eastside standards. What we don’t need is the 235 and 234 duplicating service south of Kirkland and the 235 is the extremely weak link. And I could actually use it in place of the 255 except it adds 10 minute to my walk to/from work and runs so infrequently as to be worthless. As it exists it’s an alternative to a better solutions save for a handful of condo/apartment dwellers on 124th north of 85th Street.

      23. South Kirkland P&R is certainly a fairly useful and well-used transfer point (though it might have been more useful to have built a freeway stop on 520 and moved it down there with the current construction, that’s water under the bridge, and it remains useful). It would be better, though, if the buses didn’t have to make a bunch of extra turns into the transit center, and just made stops on the street. They’re installing a traffic signal at 38th which should improve pedestrian crossings of 108th. The only remaining concern is adding congestion on 108th, but (a) it’s not exactly heavily congested as it is and (b) this would also mean far fewer buses making left turns across 108th, which would at least mitigate a little (as well as speed up the buses quite a bit).

      24. So, how about this – cut the 235 completely, and eliminate the South Kirkland P&R deviation of the 234, making a stop on the street at 108th and Northup instead?

      25. cut the 235 completely

        Could happen. Really the only people that are SOL are the ones in the six pack and apartment/condos along 124th from NE 85th to NE 116th. Kirkland has made a push to increase density in this area so I think a peak hours route between Totem Lake and Kirkland transit Center is in order. But all day transit; you really shouldn’t buy a place on 124th and expect to live car free.

        eliminate the South Kirkland P&R deviation of the 234

        Better for the bus but hell on riders. Most of my transfers to the 134 are because it’s literally right behind my 249. The whole idea of a transfer point is that it’s a “point”. Having to guess and run up/down a fairly significant hill doesn’t work. It’s a good 5 minute walk from Northup up to the P&R. Nice theory but it just makes a really bad situtation at S. Kirkland even worse. What’s sad is all the money spent on creating a parking garage that nets zero new spaces and renders the bus routing no better, probably worse than before…. Thank you ARCH and Federal Stupidity Grant Program. I’m sure our mom in tennis shoes will gush enthusiastically at the grand opening.

    2. Admittedly, it has been a while since I’ve walked around Bellevue, but I think a lot depends on which part of Bellevue you are talking about. I have no doubt that the area you were in is, well, for want of a better word, ugly. But there are nice parts of downtown Bellevue, too. The skyline is actually rather nice. So is the park. The other parts will probably change rather quickly into something resembling a busy, albeit somewhat sterile downtown. I’m thinking of 5th Avenue downtown. After all, if you own a five story building, you think twice about destroying it to put up a skyscraper. But if you own a lot that has a one story building and a parking lot …

      1. At 10 pm, if you seek a walk light to cross NE 10th anywhere east of Bellevue Way, you will wait through an entire cycle of lights including left hand turn arrows during which not a single vehicle will pass. Then, when you finally get the walk light, it will turn to a flashing red with a countdown after about three seconds. That is part of the gestalt of trying to walk in what should actually be a very walkable part of downtown Bellevue, where there are real residences and destinations that aren’t all that different from Ballard. People who live in them, though, are pretty much encouraged to drive any distance rather than walk.

      2. That is why you quickly learn that when there are no opposing cars coming, you go ahead and cross anyway – regardless of what the walk/don’t walk sign says.

      3. Redevelopment is nice, but it won’t change the street landscape for the most part. The street landscape is 6- and 8-lane streets, with sidewalks generally not separated from the street by any buffer such as parallel parking or a planting strip. When you are walking midblock you feel very exposed to traffic and isolated by the lack of other pedestrians. When you are crossing streets you feel hurried and like someone is going to right-on-red straight into you without looking. Regardless of how many good destinations there are, you will have to improve traveling between them to make Bellevue pedestrian-friendly.

  8. Went to the East Link open house this evening at Bellevue City Hall. Have no problem with where the station will be with regards to the BTC. Think the traffic light took longer than the walk to/from the 550

    1. I was there too.

      I proposed a pedestrian tunnel to help avoid the lights. Should help some people make their transfers.

      Now to wait a couple months to see if it amounts to anything.

      1. As long as we’re building tunnels in Bellevue for no good reason, how about a car tunnel to avoid all the pedestrians transferring between the train and bus?
        It could serve as a modern-multi-modal-model for armchair planners.

      2. can’t … the tunnel is too shallow under the street …also why this station doesn’t have an island platform … it’s all about the curve radius from NE 6th onto 110th Ave NE

        caveat to my initial post. I don’t go to Bellevue very often. Last time was on the 550 when they still used Breda Dual Mode buses on the route.

      3. The tunnel needs to be deep enough to get under the entrance to the City Hall garage upper level which is downhill on NE 6th a little ways. That should be deep enough to allow a pedestrian passage to cross over the tracks.

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