Slack Action/Flickr

This is an open thread.

71 Replies to “News Roundup: Opus”

    1. I wonder who the car2go user is who lives at the southeast tip of Lauralhurst?

      1. There’s pretty much always a car or two that spends 12 overnight hours parked at the southern tip of Laurelhurst Drive.

        At least one person has obviously begun using car2go as their quasi-private vehicle: it’s guaranteed to sit outside their remotely located house all night and to be available in the morning, yet it costs nothing to park downtown.

      2. Back of the envelope calculations suggests that driving a c2g from Lauralhurst to downtown for a round trip during rush hour traffic is actually more expensive than simply driving your personal car downtown and parking it in a garage.

        My guess is that this person works at the UW, not downtown. That makes the commute short enough so that even c2g round trip would be cheaper than parking on campus.

    2. I think it’s funny to see all of them pile up right on the northern edge of the home area along 130th/125th. It’s very convenient for being in Lake City. I wonder how people finish their journey or if it’s all people who live right in that corridor.


      1. Most are probably taking c2g as close as possible and walking the rest of the way. Others could be continuing their journey on the 522. Service along the Kenmore/Bothell corridor is very downtown oriented, and there are many neighborhoods in north Seattle where taking c2g to Lake City to catch the 522 saves a ton of time over existing pure transit options. For instance, without c2g, Fremont to Bothell requires either multiple transfers, or a backtrack all the way to downtown.

      2. Or a really long ride… 32 -> 75 -> transfer to 522.

        I’ve discovered that riding the 75 all the way around and staying on as it turns into the 32 is actually faster than any other way of getting to Fremont from my house very near Lake City. That shows just how broken our system is.

      3. David – I had no idea 75 turned into 32. Do drivers always let riders stay on? Is it the same going the other direction? That’s a useful trick that might be good to know since I live right near the last primary stop before Sand Point.

        I should have thought of the 522 being the primary next step considering I use it everyday to/from work.

      4. 65 and 75 are through-routed with 31 and 32 in the U-district, and together form a 15-minute crosstown corridor from Children’s Hospital to Nickerson Street via Fremont. There is no problem riding through in either direction.

        Most trips, the 75 and 32 are through-routed and the 65 and 31 are through-routed. But there are quite a lot of exceptions — check the timetable for your particular trip.

      5. Stupid question, and I hope I’m not veering too off-topic*: How can I tell which trips are routed through? I’m looking at the online schedule page for route 75 and it doesn’t have the column for “continues as route ##.” Do I just match up times and hope for the best? Oh, I just looked at the page for 31/32. So I’m looking for the ones that don’t have dashes under the column for either route 65 or 75 in the far right (“To University District”) or far left (“To Queen Anne, Central Magnolia”)?

        * Wait, can open threads ever be off-topic as long as they’re transit-related*?

        ** When is too many*** questions?

        *** Now?

      6. Going eastbound, use this page on OneBusAway (Pacific/Brooklyn is the stop where the eastbound headsigns change) and select “Continues as Route 75” and the runs will be highlighted.

        Going Westbound, the headsigns change at Sand Point Way/50th, so use this page on OBA.

        Also, if using OBA on your phone, call up the stop nearest to you, select your route, then select “Show as list” and it will say “Continues as Route 75”.

      7. Even if it is possible to use the 32->75 thru-route as a 2 seat ride, the trip is still vastly slower than driving. And with c2g, you can time your arrival in Lake City to match the 522’s schedule – something you cannot do with a connecting bus.

        In the past, I have had nothing but very bad experiences connecting between local buses and the 522 in Lake City, bad enough so that in the pre-c2g days, I was willing to plop down $35 on a taxi to avoid it.

  1. Those biodomes are an office building. Office buildings aren’t just made up of cubicles, they need conference spaces, meeting spaces, places to have chats over coffee, places to sit and write employee reviews in peace, etc.

      1. OMG, a “Silent Running” reference… I suppose it’s the perfect Bailo movie – you can’t get much more exurban. :-)

  2. “Who decided that our transit system had to be the most newfangled one in the country? Shouldn’t our primary focus be the passengers and the good of the community?”

    Another fine example of why Unions are on the decline. Instead of intelligently describing a potential issue and suggesting solutions, use words like “newfangled” in a shrill rant against any sort of progress that makes life easier for the customer. Keep it up, Mr. Hansen…

    1. “Five to 7 percent per transaction will go to GlobalSherpa. Another 4 percent pays for card purchasing. Those fees are not added to the cost of the ticket.” — so 9-11% of the fare goes to the vendor? I’m curious how this compares to Orca.

      That seems like a lot of fare revenue to lose, so the union could have a point. Or can you gain that much efficiency by reducing change fumbling, speeding boarding, etc?

      Also, what’s to stop people from buying ticket with my smartphone as soon as I see a fare inspector on the train, and riding free the rest of the time?

      1. Reportedly, TriMet’s fare collection costs with the new system will be lower than what they are with the current antiquated paper ticketing system, even with GlobeSherpa getting its take.

        As far as union opposition goes: I don’t see any objection from ATU to the electronic ticketing per se–there aren’t any union cashiers or conductors who will be thrown out of work because of this. However, ATU and TriMet have been sniping at each other for years, and ATU has been objecting to pretty much any expenditure from TriMet that isn’t spent on paying for operators’ and mechanics’ salaries, pensions, and benefits.

        Fare inspectors will reportedly be able to tell when a ticket was purchased within the past few minutes.

      2. “what’s to stop people from buying ticket with my smartphone”
        I would suggest you don’t let them use it.

      3. But a ticket purchased in the last few minutes could very well be legit, especially if you spontaneously decided to hop on the bus because you saw it coming.

  3. Jealous: Check out the stations for Ankara’s new 4-station, 5+ mile long gondola system opening next year. 2,400 passengers per hour per direction. Miss your gondola? Don’t worry, another one will be by in 15 seconds.

  4. With regard to California’s High Speed Rail, Elon Musk suggested during the Wall Street Journal’s “AllthingsD” D11 interview that something called HyperLoop would be a more sensible approach. He declined to say exactly what it is and instead described it as “a cross between the Concorde, a rail gun and, an Air Hockey table.”

    1. I call it another way for his bureacrat favoring technologies to get advanced funding.

      1. huh? Oh you’re just jealous that he got a DOE venture loan to kick start the electric automotive industry. You should at least be pleased that he has singlehandedly extended the viability of “cars” into the future.

      2. Charles – you mean the DOE loan he already paid back many years early? ;)

  5. The picture prompts this comment: I wish our planning overlords would locate a First Hill Streetcar stop right in front of King Street Station. Yes, there is one 2.5 blocks east, and there is one 2.5 blocks west, but there should be one right in front of it, at the street end of the new brick sidewalk. A 2.5-block bag schlep can turn a potential streetcar rider into a taxi rider.

    1. Actually I’d be more concerned about the DSTT transfer than King Street. It looks like they’re putting a stop a block east of IDS for some reason instead of on the same block! That’s pretty disappointing, considering a big part of the rationale for the streetcar line is facilitating connections between First Hill and the Link stations on either end!

      1. WAT

        I love the huge bus icon on the “Westlake Hub” on 5th, as if that’s a thing. Is that going to be a thing? I guess a bunch of ST routes go there. Some people seem to think the 40 will go there eventually?

        Anyway I don’t know that there’s ever been any point to a downtown streetcar.


      2. There just taking advantage of ‘rail bias’, which allows them to scatter stops all over the map. I’m especially impressed with the color scheme.

      3. I wonder if that’s just a poorly drawn map or that’s where they’re really proposing the “Westlake Hub”.

        The 1st Avenue line actually seems pretty reasonable (maybe just in comparison?).

      4. @Kevin: It’s not a poorly drawn map, it’s a misleading map. If they drew the “hub” where the bus and subway activity is it would make the streetcar plan (including the already built SLUSC) look stupid, so they drew it where the streetcar lines converge.

      5. I still prefer the 4th/5th Ave connector and reinstating the Waterfront Streetcar…

      6. You mean the “5th->Main->4th->Virginia->multipleverylongstoplights->Westlake / 5th Ave connector”? Devil’s in the details!

        Seriously, picture yourself coming from Capitol Hill or points north on Link. How would you even access this thing? Which tunnel exit would you even use to reach a platform on the right side of 4th Ave, north of Stewart?

      1. They’re called switchbacks, which goes to show you there’s more than one way to conquer our our unique topography. I can’t wait to see the extension discussion for ST3.

      2. Are you telling me if I just run around my block enough times I’ll get to work? That’s fantastic! I can skip the bus ride altogether.

      3. I didn’t realize that Tacoma was so unique to only have 1/4 mi walksheds for rail or bus.
        This same logic, if applied to Seattle would have a streetcar starting at the ferry terminal going up 1st Ave, running to Virgina, up the hill to 9th, then down to Harborview. Stupid us, we just run up James for the 1/2 mile trip.
        And what’s this business about branching out 6th in ST3. I guess it works down there too.
        Amazing what you can do for 3,000 riders per day while your bus system packs its bags.

      4. Well, to be fair, Tacoma Link is slow as mud. How far would you bother to walk for that?

      5. Mic: Considering how close together many of Pierce Transit’s stops are, they must be subscribing to the same philosophy. Don’t get me started on how many shopping centers in Tacoma have *two* stops.

        At least the most egregious example of poor stop placement is gone: There used to be two separate stops on the southwest corner of S. 47th & Oakes. Coaches traveling northbound on Oakes would serve a stop at the near side of the intersection, then turn right and serve another stop about 50 feet away that was shared with routes coming from the west. Someone finally had enough sense to realize they could take out the first stop.

    1. You preferred 6th Avenue? Half of the extension will be shared with a future 6th Avenue line, so it’s a down payment on it. Or did you prefer a tunnel through downtown?

      1. What’s done is done, so I preferred 6th Avenue — which at least would have taken people someplace they couldn’t get to just as quickly by walking. I suppose you’re right that Tacoma might still get it in 2025 or so

  6. The experiment begins:

    The additional Seattle-Bellingham roundtrip, using Sounder commuter train equipment, is loaded in the Amtrak computer system.

    (no food service and facing seats)

    Looks like the fares are priced the same as the bus @ $23.00 one-way.

    Depart Seattle at 8:15 a.m.
    Depart Bellingham at 5:15 p.m.
    2:40 running time.

    Northbound makes sense if it is just using a South Sounder trainset, but the return trip puts it in Seattle at 7:30-ish, too late for any southbound evening trip to Lakewood.

    Anyone with any insights?

    1. Looks like it’s running weekends too! I may have to make a day trip to visit the parents in Bellingham, just for the novelty of riding Sounder all the way up there.

      1. And if you need to make a quick exit, it leaves earlier than Tr #517!

        Actually, this schedule works for a day trip to Bellingham, since the #510/#517 combination makes for a 9 1/2 hour day, and the #512/#515 r/t has you there only for about 6 hrs.

  7. The picture prompts this additional comment:

    I love how obvious it is that the Washington Shoe Mfg. Co building has expanded upwards on two separate occasions, doubling its density while providing distinct yet complementary architectural forms to please the eye.

    Unfortunately, in present-day Seattle, we’ll eradicate the functional portions of a landmark building, replace five retail spaces with one or two, fill much of the ground floor with a parking garage, and then claim it’s well and good because the developer “kept the facade” — all for the lack of a cornice and because “taller (but w/fewer units) + less permeability + more cars = density???”

  8. So, about TriMet’s smartphone ticketing proposal. What’s to stop someone from activating their ticket only if a fare inspector shows up, and saving the ticket for another time otherwise? This system looks ripe for abuse.

    1. One way to limit the potential for abuse would be to require a ticket to be used on the same day it’s purchased. That way you still pay a minimum of one fare per day even if you are gaming the system.

      If fare evasion is still a problem with that restriction, remove the single-ride option and only sell day passes through the app.

      1. On TriMet, a day pass costs 2x a single ride ticket. Of course, a single ride ticket is good for two hours of travel, and can include a return journey…

    2. Fare evasion is already too easy. When I was there, I was only inspected for fare when I got off at the Rose Quarter TC. One could ride for free and not get caught if they just avoid RQTC.

      1. That would be bad advice…. TriMet has really amped up the fare inspection recently (though one place they can be counted to be checking fares is for events at Jeld-Wen Field and/or the Rose Garden…)

  9. Good News Dept. – The 16 reroute has been great. I’ve found the bus to be both more reliable and faster – even with the Aurora construction.

    1. When did that start? There was a bunch of talk about it a month ago, but when I rode it southbound must’ve been two weeks ago, it still went to 5th Ave N.

  10. STB needs to start flushing out some of the other mayoral candidates on where they stand on public transportation and how they would like to proceed on it.

    Bruce Harrell appears to take a similar mealy mouthed position on mass transit to Lesser Seattlebrueck.

    “Don’t expect Harrell to toe the pro-bus, pro-bike, pro-light rail line. “I care as much as about people being able to park as I do about bike trails,” he says. ”

    1. I honestly don’t think Harrell knows a thing about transit. Great story, nice guy, but not very well informed at all on this issue. And he is also aiming at some (not all) outer neighborhoods for votes, which usually ends up translating into pandering to raw fear about parking.

      1. I think you’re right on with this comment. He does seem really well intentioned and a smart guy that could do really well with social justice issues. But he seems to have a very weak grasp on the urban planning portion of being a mayor, which I would argue is probably the most important part of being a mayor.

        It’s probably just ignorance on the issue and it sounds like he just needs to be educated a bit on it. Maybe STB can buy him a book or two regarding urban and transit planning that he can read? I’ll admit the book “Walkable City” by Jeff Speck was a watershed book for me and it was very engaging and a quick read.

    2. To add… it’s more than a little depressing. In a race for mayor of the city–the place where you find the most transit users, the most need for better transit, and the best economic payoff from improving transit–we have:

      – one candidate who has Post-Legislative Stress Disorder and has therefore drunk the “regional” kool-aid that the highest and only purpose for high-speed transit is to connect downtown with suburbs;
      – one candidate who wants to channel all growth into a few tiny strips of 6-story apartments and then connect them with RapidRide (or maybe streetcars if you’re lucky), freezing everything else in amber so the lucky existing property owners can make out like bandits as housing prices skyrocket;
      – one candidate who just doesn’t know about the issues but needs votes from a parking-friendly constituency; and
      – one (incumbent) candidate who is decent (although not perfect) on transit issues but has managed to make most of the people he should be collaborating with hate him.

      I honestly don’t know how to vote, although if you handed me a ballot today I’d check McGinn’s name.

  11. I see that the new Metro bus schedules are now bilingual, in english and spanish. But not everything that’s in english on the schedule is also in spanish. Whether certain information is bilingual or not seems arbitrary. Emergency/Snow Route explanation, english only. Holiday information, bilingual.

    1. I have a homework assignment for the people who run this blog.

      It would be idiotic and irresponsible for Metro to make schedules bilingual without first conducting a study, checking things like how many spanish-only speakers ride the buses, how many complaints there have been about english-only schedules, etc.

      Your task is to get ahold of Metro’s exhaustive study, and repost it here.

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