Option 9

Last week, Sound Transit and the City of Seattle released eight options for rail from downtown to Ballard. When they presented these options, they said “mix and match” – don’t just take these as complete lines, consider each segment of each line and piece together what you’d really like to see. I wrote up a complex explanation of what a best case scenario might look like, but I got feedback that we really need a map.

Fortunately, an anonymous designer agreed to help, and voila – Option 9. The great thing about this map is that it also includes the study area’s urban centers and urban villages. These are where growth is expected to go in the next decades, so they’re a good indicator of what we should be connecting. So this map combines what we could do here, in Seattle, with what Sound Transit could build, to serve everything.

At the Ballard farmers market this Sunday, I got almost universal positive feedback about this map (and a huge sunburn). Let’s cover the frequently asked questions I got there:

Why not Interbay? – Interbay would be just fine. While it’s ideal to serve urban villages first, Interbay wouldn’t be a terrible fallback. But we shouldn’t start there – if we ask for Queen Anne, and help organize people in Queen Anne to help, we’d tap an area of strong transit support and ridership, and we’d make sure Sound Transit is asking the legislature for as much authority as they possibly can. We could need it later.

Why two Fremont stops? – As I noted in Thursday’s piece, a station under the canal could serve Fremont’s growth westward over the next century. It would also serve SPU, a major institution that’s likely to grow, and open up the opportunity for the car-centric business area on the south side of the Canal to become walkable and urban. There’s no way to get out of stopping in Fremont for a rapid streetcar to Phinney/Greenwood, so you end up with a major stop and a little stop. I think this makes sense. One of the project staff pointed out to me at the Thursday open house that in combined housing and employment, Fremont’s expected to grow as much as Ballard, and maybe even a little more, in the 2035 Comprehensive Plan.

What about cross-town? – That study starts soon, and I expect to recommend a line starting in West Ballard (it’s not just Fremont that should have more than one stop) and running to UW. That’s just outside the scope of this study – I totally support it! West Seattle starts soon as well.

How do we get there? – This is the exciting part. There will be a lot of opportunities to help build a better city.

  • First, in 2014, let’s make our streetcars into one awesome streetcar. In a ballot measure we’ll talk more about soon, let’s build the downtown connector, the Broadway extension, and Fremont – creating one line that serves the urban core well. We’ve heard the downtown connector study may recommend upgrading the SLU line to its own right of way – and we could keep that going right up to Fremont, giving our city immediate results. We have the right of way on Westlake already.
  • Then, in 2015, let’s fund a new bridge crossing in Bridging the Gap. A new car bridge – not something you usually see a transit advocate fight for. With that bypass, Fremont could create a new paradigm for great urban places. We could take that town center back for human beings – not just during the Solstice Parade, but year round.
  • In 2016, Sound Transit 3. If we spend the next two legislative sessions helping Sound Transit get the authority they need, we can connect Ballard and West Seattle with great transit.
  • And finally, in 2017 or 2018, with Fremont’s new rapid streetcar open, we extend it to Phinney and Greenwood, also meaning better connections for families – with a one seat ride from places like Pike Place Market and MOHAI to Woodland Park Zoo.

Help us ratchet the city forward in great transit access. Go to Sound Transit’s Ballard study page and toward the end, in the Additional Questions section, comment in favor of a tunneled ship canal crossing, a tunnel downtown, and most importantly, tell them you want Option 9.

221 Replies to “Option 9”

  1. I like it! Best of all plans mashed into one!
    A little off subject, but does anyone know why Magnolia hasnt been made into an urban village in any of the city growth plans? Is it push back from the residents or difficultly getting transportation? The south end of 34th has a small shopping/ condo area that I could see becoming a pleasent high density little village.

    1. Matt L, while I agree the Magnolia Voice is likely written and read by troglodytes, much of Eastern Magnolia is denser as Fremont and has serious transit ridership. We shouldn’t say “f*ck [any neighborhood]” when it comes to the future of our city.

      David John, Magnolia has the potential to be made into a very nice place, not just the second largest geographic neighborhood in the city. It’s a lot of development potential to ignore. I think no one has framed the arguments well in any of the hillier neighborhoods.

      1. As you know, Seattle has a list of urban centers and villages, which are the places where pretty much all new growth is expected to go. As David John points out, Magnolia isn’t on the list — not even as a “residential urban village” (like Upper Queen Anne), let alone a “hub urban village” (like Ballard and Fremont) or an “urban center” (like Uptown/LQA).

        So, not only is Magnolia not growing, but it isn’t really “on the way” to anywhere that is. That’s a recipe for an eternally low-performing transit service.

        Option 9, as Ben has proposed it, would hit every urban center and village west of I-5. Reaching Magnolia would mean skipping at least one of those urban centers/villages, and possibly several. That doesn’t strike me as a good trade.

        Instead, let’s just focus on getting better bus service to Magnolia, like the proposed 24. Maybe this will be an easier sell when it also connects to a train station in Ballard.

      2. I agree. East Magnolia is quite dense. The other thing worth mentioning is that Magnolia is a peninsula. There are only a handful of ways off of the peninsula, and all of them feed onto 15th. This makes the area well suited for a feeder system, even with the relatively low density of the rest of the neighborhood. I could also see Magnolia village one day being an urban village. Let’s not forget that these designations are not set in stone.

        With the right zoning, the Interbay area next to Dravus could also be big. I used to rent one of those houses next to the ball field. Unlike a lot of parts of the city, I don’t think you would get much objection to putting up high buildings there. For the most part, you only block views of the railroad tracks. At worse you block the views of folks looking at the other hill (West Queen Anne folks looking at East Magnolia folks and vice versa). It isn’t like when you block the view of Rainier or the Olympics. Apartment buildings would be really popular there with good transit. You could get to Ballard really quickly and it wouldn’t take long to get to downtown. With a little bit of work, you could make it easier to get on the bike path which then leads you quickly to SPU, Fremont and beyond.

      3. I’m sick of this Seattle schtick that all neighborhoods are created equal when in reality only a fraction of our neighborhoods contain a few blocks of land zoned for actual urbanity, and the rest of the “neighborhoods” inside the city limits might as well be suburbs for how much they’re actually a part of the city.

      4. Maybe, someday, Magnolia will be an urban village. But Upper Queen Anne is an urban village *today*. Fremont is a hub urban village *today*. Lower Queen Anne is an urban center *today*. Skipping all those urban villages and centers, to serve a place that maybe someday could be a residential urban village, seems like a huge mistake.

        Regarding Interbay, note that there was a recent discussion about Interbay zoning, and the option to rezone it as an urban village was highly unpopular.

        I don’t necessarily disagree with that decision; it’s important to preserve industrial land. But again, which is the better place for a subway: a corridor that will never have any urban villages, or a corridor that’s full of them?

      5. Ben has told me individually that Interbay might be more ready for an urban village in a decade or so, so it could be in a later wave of major transit improvements; e.g., “ST5”. We can imagine the same for Magnolia. So if we just give them more time to warm up to the idea, there may be urban villages and transit improvements in their future. Of course, I hope that incremental bus improvements in the D and 24 corridors happen in the meantime.

      6. Yeah. But Interbay, even if it did become an urban village, would never grow as much as Queen Anne would. There’s just not much space there (and of course there are hills). The top of Queen Anne is a huge amount of opportunity, especially if routes served a station.

      7. Ben, while Queen Anne may be very pro-transit, the neighborhood, especially the top and sides of the hill, are anti-growth. It seems to me that Interbay, like Bellevue’s future Spring District, has much more potential for growth in the decades ahead than Queen Anne. In fact, many of the businesses in Interbay remind me of the type of business that occupy the Spring District. And can’t we all agree that it’s only a matter of time before the golf course land gets developed?

      8. That’s why we need to force their hand. How much support is there on Queen Anne for expensive major improvements, vs inexpensive bus consolidations (last year’s 13 and 4N proposal), vs the spaghetti status quo. If Queen Annians majorly want this alignment, we should support them. If they’re lukewarm or hostile to it, that doesn’t necessarily mean we shouldn’t support it (because it would still be a significant long-term improvement to the transit network), but maybe we’ll give more consideration to other ways to spend that money (as in, extending the line to 85th or something like that).

      9. Oh, and another assumption of mine is that we need to make sure Queen Annians understand what the benefits would be (as well as the costs), so that we can be sure they’re making an informed decision about what to support.

      10. Sam, Mike’s got it. We push there, and if they oppose, we have Interbay as a backup. If they don’t oppose it, they get growth and we get Fremont too. Win-win.

  2. Re: Magnolia. Would it be totally implausible, if Option 9 does end up looking like something we could get, that a spur from the Queen Anne Stop through Interbay/Dravus area to the center of Magnolia could also work?

    1. At the end of the day, there’s still a finite amount of money. There are probably a dozen rail lines or segments that I’d like to build in the city before building to Magnolia:

      1. Ballard to Downtown
      2. The Westlake/Fremont/Greenwood streetcar that Ben describes
      3. Market/45th St crosstown
      4. West Seattle
      5. Boren/First Hill crosstown
      6. Eastlake
      7. Marginal Way
      8. Delridge
      9. Lake City
      10. Denny crosstown

      If we’re building through Interbay anyway, and if the numbers work out so that building in Magnolia doesn’t cost anything more than the station, then sure. But personally, I don’t see how we could justify the expense of a whole rail spur — and the long-term operating cost overhead — for a neighborhood that isn’t even an urban village.

      1. I would put the West Ballard Sounder stop in that is already approved and that would help West Ballard commuters get to the south end of downtown. The rail is there, the approval process is done. The train already runs half empty from Edmonds to King St Station. We don’t need to wait. We can have that now.

      2. Sounder North has four southbound trips in the morning, and four northbound trips in the evening. And that’s when the whole service hasn’t been cancelled because of mudslides.

        I just can’t believe that this stop could ever attract more than a trivial number of riders. If building it were completely free, then I wouldn’t be opposed, but it seems like any amount of money would be better spent on virtually anything else.

      3. If building it were completely free

        The government is footing the bill. Doesn’t that mean it’s free?

  3. This is truly an awesome start to the concept! But do you realize you’re serving Fremont with at least 4 stations once the Ballard to UW study is conducted, what do you say when people tell you that’s overkill? What are you going to propose as acceptable alternative when the cost of all that comes in as too high?

    1. Two streetcar platforms hardly count as “stations”. If that’s a problem, look at the ten stations the ID gets! E-W transit at 45th is also not exactly downtown Fremont!

    2. It’s not certain that Fremont will be in the east-west line. It might go straight to Aurora and Wallingford. DP has shown that an underground line could swoop down to Fremont and up to Aurora and Wallingford with only a trivial impact on travel time. But we can’t assume it’s a for-sure. Conventional thinking is that you can serve either Fremont or Wallingford but not both because it’s a diamond pattern. (The same as Queen Anne and Interbay or, in some opinions, SeaTac and Southcenter.) We’ll have to make sure that the all-three scenario is included in the alternatives analysis. And I’m assuming that underground is the only practical route for east-west, because 45th and 40th are so narrow, and single-family NIMBYS would scream at an elevated line in those areas.

      1. Mike is correct that you could serve both Fremont and Wallingford centers on an east-west line with a minimal impact on travel time. The real difference between that and a route that stops at 45th & Fremont (for connection both to Aurora and to a better, straighter 5) is in construction cost.

        Of course, you could make a better case for the more expensive east-west line if you didn’t promise to blow $3-4.5 billion on other lines first.

      2. Right now, today, in the literally thousands of people I have spoken with at markets and other events, not one has said “we already spent too much on transit” in reference to building more. I believe your argument in that respect to lack merit.

      3. 45th & Fremont is not close enough for a transfer to RapidRide E or a future Aurora line. That’s why I’m pushing for a separate station around 46th & Aurora.

      4. Fremont Ave, not Phinney.

        I always get off the 44 eastbound there to transfer to the 358 southbound. It’s shorter than the length of a subway platform.

        A well-designed subway could have direct connections to both.

      5. Absolutely. Hence why the purple line will be what I help advocate for next.

  4. I am in favor of much of this, but I think our fallback option ought to be better: a Queen Anne tunnel with stop that swings over to interbay with the tall (non opening) bridge segment over salmon bay. You could even combine this with the bridging the gap fund you suggested and do a combined (but separated with barriers) rail and car bridge like the rainbow bridge in Japan (albeit much smaller and with a single layer).


    The second fallback option could be a lower queen anne stop with the elevated interbay corridor.

    If we can’t get the under the the canal options (which should be what we fight for first), our fall backs should be as nice as we can imagine…
    but perhaps showing off those designs should held back unless we know the tunnel under the canal option doesn’t make it.

    1. Those fallback options are only possible if we have enough money to do them.

      Remember, right now is the equivalent of three years before ST2 passed – and all the final decisions about ST2 alignments (aside from Northgate) happened after ST2.

      This is about getting as much revenue authority as possible from the legislature, so that we have the flexibility to discuss options in a couple of years.

  5. I’m totally convinced on your HCT line.

    I’m not convinced on your streetcar. I think it’s likely to be slower than existing bus service through SLU, at least unless there is money for capital improvements — which seems unlikely given that you are digging the longest tunnel from among all the options. That’s not great for people in Fremont, but it could be really damaging to people at the north end of Phinney Ridge and in Greenwood. My eyeball estimate suggests a trip downtown could be as much as 12-15 minutes slower than the existing 5 for riders from those areas. Would you plan to run a redundant 5X bus service full-time; find money for real speed improvements through SLU; or just tell residents of those areas to suck it up, because, hey, it’s a train?

    1. I’m not sure how you think that a streetcar, largely in its own right of way, would be any slower than a bus that doesn’t even have signal priority?

      1. Route 5 runs on Aurora between Fremont and downtown. During this part of the trip, it has its own right-of-way for much of the distance, the speed limit is 40 MPH, few stops exist, and there aren’t any signals that the bus would even need to receive priority for. All this adds up to a quick ride. A streetcar may well be faster in the section north of the ship canal, but I simply don’t see a streetcar on Westlake outracing a bus on Aurora.

      2. What Eric said. I’m also not sure how you’d get exclusive ROW north of 43rd, given the narrowness of many sections of Fremont and Phinney/Greenwood.

      3. You probably don’t get its own right of way north of 43rd. But it’s south of there where all the congestion happens. We get exclusive right of way downtown, in SLU, and on Westlake, and then likely in the center of Fremont. That alone makes it faster than the bus, and signal priority north of there does even better.

      4. The exclusive ROW does help, but it’s still 30 mph with traffic signals where Aurora is 40 mph without signals. This will be about as fast as the 5 would be on Dexter — a plan that has advantages, but speed is not one of them.

      5. So:

        1) don’t get rid of the 5 – that really has ended up being a big straw man in this discussion.

        2) Consider that I’m only proposing building to Fremont in 2014 anyway

        3) Please please comment – arguing here does nothing to help.

      6. The streetcar’s comparison is with the 40, not with the 5. There has been discussion about putting the 5 on Dexter to replace the 26/28 segment. While Metro withdrew that proposal last year, it might come back later. So we can’t assume that the 5 on Aurora is forever. And as people have noted, the 5 is not close enough to downtown Fremont (34th) for many riders, especially with the hill up to the 5’s stop.

      7. I continue to ask, why put the streetcar on Fremont rather than putting it on Aurora — at least until north of the ship canal?

      8. Nathanael, I’ve never seen you ask that before – clearly an oversight on my part, sorry!

        Aurora, like any freeway, isn’t a pedestrian corridor, and it’s not where the hub urban village and residential urban village are. Also, as it’s a state route, we don’t have the authority to do that even if it were a better idea.

        We have right of way available on Westlake, and the streetcar we have already goes right up to it.

    2. I’ve said it many times, but I’m of the opinion that rather than rapid-streetcar-to-(Phinney/Greenwood/Ballard), we should have regular-streetcar-to-Fremont via Dexter. There’s a ton of residential on Dexter—both extant and potential. Splitting off the Fremont-SLU demand from the rest of the system makes sense to me; forcing a transfer at Fremont isn’t terrible if the other half of your trip is a 5-minute HCT ride.

      1. Westlake would be more rapid, but Dexter is where growing local ridership is. I could see it either way. Fremont doesn’t need grade-separated service as much as Ballard does, and with the option 9 light rail it would have a grade-separated alternative anyway. That would be sufficent reason to slow down the streetcar to serve Dexter. (Although Greenwood might not think so, and that’s a point. But Greenwood will also have RapidRide E which has also been suggested for a future Link line.)

      2. I think Dexter is something we keep serving with buses for now – Westlake is more about having a bypass that gets to Fremont and then can get past that up Phinney in a timely fashion.

      3. Why do we want the streetcar to be its own right-of-way? Why do we want a “bypass” to get to Phinney quickly? Because we’re using it as a lame replacement for real urban rail.

      4. Morgan, it’s probably 19 years *best case* before the blue line even went on the ballot (assuming red, then purple, then blue, with 8 year cadence of measures). That means you and I will have retired by the time it’s built.

        I think it’s ideal to have all of this be fast and grade separated, but I believe I’ve made a very strong case for why we should at least build SLU-Fremont. That’s where our density is going right now, and it needs more capacity than it has right now. A streetcar can be built in five years or less. Let’s do that, and then later use it as the local service for a subway.

      5. As for Dexter vs. Westlake as a route between downtown and Fremont, Westlake isn’t actually any faster than Dexter today. Westlake is fast from the Fremont Bridge down to Aloha or so, and then it loses its entire advantage between there and downtown.

        There’s probably more potential to speed up the slow parts of Westlake than Dexter, though — Dexter is slow because speed is limited by local conditions… traffic doesn’t come into it so much because the in-lane bus stops keep the traffic backups behind the buses and it gains a lane as it approaches downtown so there’s not a bottleneck. Westlake is slow because of traffic backups, so even without grade separation truly dedicated ROW and TSP could make a big difference. Also, while Dexter serves more destinations between Mercer and Fremont, Westlake is better at serving the heart of SLU and the Denny Triangle, places where there’s actually some room to grow a bit instead of being in the middle of a steep slope; south of Mercer the 26/28 route is pretty sparse all the way until it hits 3rd Ave (some of that is construction now, but there’s a lot of surface parking, backs of buildings, and buildings with nothing at the street level). So if we’re actually going to invest appropriately in these corridors, Westlake probably wins. (FWIW I have in the past preferred Dexter for HCT, but I’ve been convinced by Westlake arguments… anyway Dexter was recently rebuilt, and is a pretty good cycle route, so why mess it up with more construction and trains?)

      6. (That said, if we can’t get at least real dedicated ROW on Westlake in the vicinity of Mercer the route is screwed on that basis alone. Getting across Mercer from Westlake, especially SB, is a nightmare.)

      7. The big reason Dexter isn’t faster than Westlake is because we haven’t used the right of way on Westlake (which is in almost every Westlake option in the study).

        Getting from SLU to Dexter would be incredibly convoluted anyway, and couldn’t be done until after the tunnel construction, and even then might not be feasible.

    3. With the proposed streetcar’s stops about 3/4 miles apart from each other, I really don’t see it being an effective replacement for route 5, even if the streets are magically re-engineered to allow a streetcar to get downtown faster than the 5 can drive down Aurora.

      That’s the biggest criticism I have for both of these lines: the stops are just too far apart. I understand each new stop makes the ride take longer for those who are already on the vehicle, but you have to balance that against how much extra time the average person riding the vehicle would have to walk if that stop didn’t exist. Between 43rd and 85th (inclusive), the 5 stops 14 times (which is a few too many). This streetcar would stop 4 times. That isn’t enough. Nobody who lives near or visits a business near 75th and Greenwood, for example, is going to find that their transit options have improved when you replace their nearby bus stop with a streetcar that requires walking 10 minutes to either 85th St or 65th St to access.

      1. Isn’t the 5 going to be replaced with RR E anyway? But if not, you keep the 5. The first measure to build to Fremont wouldn’t replace the 5 anyway.

      2. If RR E is going to replace the 5, this is the first I’ve heard of it. Making everyone on Phinney Ridge walk over to Aurora to catch a bus seems like a really dumb idea.

      3. Oh, of course, the 358. But seriously, what a straw man. I didn’t suggest getting rid of the 5 with this line. Don’t get rid of the 5! Duh.

      4. Frankly, what’s the point of running a streetcar on the same route as the 5 if you don’t intend to replace it? Couldn’t those bus service hours be better deployed elsewhere if we thought about the whole transit system for a second and designed a streetcar with stops close enough together that we wouldn’t have to run a bus on the same route forever?

      5. I thought the argument was largely that it *wasn’t* the same route? :)

        The point of running a streetcar in this corridor is because it would serve a ton of people. It could be just a little slower than the 5 getting downtown, or if it were side-running on Westlake, it could go 50mph instead of 30.

        It could also be that it’s faster than a bus simply because of boarding times, and that it would make sense to run it to replace the 5.

        I’m saying “let’s push forward with this and see what travel times and ridership is like” – that’s the next step of the study. I’m primarily interested in making sure every growth area is connected.

      6. Link is limited-stop (i.e., a corridor express like Swift or the 7X), so it needs a local shadow. Nowhere on any Link line has Metro proposed deleting the shadow, and sometimes Metro has made it more frequent (e.g., the 8). Metro seems committed to making both Aurora and Greenwood full-time frequent, the way it has done with 15th and 24th NW. (Although of course, it hasn’t succeeded yet with the evening 24th.) Part of the aborted 5-Dexter proposal was to make it 15-minute frequent evenings and I think Sundays, so that shows Metro wants to do it.

      7. There’s a reasonable argument for making a grade-separated rapid transit service have stops that are farther apart, so that you can maximize the speed benefits you get from grade separation.

        If your streetcar needs a “local shadow,” you’re doing it wrong.

        It will not be significantly faster than a bus (especially if you’re comparing it to a bus like the 5 that runs on an expressway for part of its route). The primary mobility benefits of the streetcar will be added connections to lower Fremont and Westlake areas. These benefits will occur regardless of whether or not you continue to operate the bus. Assuming the stops are close enough together that most people along its route can actually walk to it, I can think of no good reason to operate the two modes on top of each other.

      8. The flip side is that the streetcar would replace the local bus in its corridor, whether Westlake or Dexter. It’s too early to say whether that would mean axing the 40 or the 5. But Metro might be clever and reroute the bus to a different final destination, and that might justify overlapping service on Westlake or Dexter. It will be clearer when they narrow down the alignments.

      9. The flip side is that the streetcar would replace the local bus in its corridor, whether Westlake or Dexter.

        I see this as the ideal outcome. A streetcar operates at the exact same speed as a bus running on the same right-of-way with the same signal priority. The main benefit you get from a streetcar is that it has a higher capacity than a bus. For that reason I think it’s foolish to invest in any streetcar on a corridor that has few enough riders that buses could serve it in an efficient manner, at least not until we have secured funding to finish building out grade-separated Link rail to all corners of the city.

        So yes, the streetcar should replace the 5 south of 85th Street and the 40 south of the ship canal. For northern riders, the 5 could be replaced by an all-day 355, providing a connection to the streetcar at its northern terminus for more local riders and an express ride to downtown for people going there. The northern part of the 40 could terminate with a connection to the streetcar in Fremont. Downtown riders could choose to instead transfer to the RapidRide D line, which could gain additional frequency from the hours saved by eliminating the southern portion of the 40 and converting the 5 into a Greenwood/Shoreline express route.

        For the love of all that is good in this world, don’t plan a new streetcar in a vacuum, as if the rest of the transit system should just keep humming along without any changes after the streetcar begins operating. Any new streetcar proposal should come with a plan for exactly which bus routes can be replaced or modified by the streetcar, how much net operational savings the project will create from these changes to the bus network, and which bus routes might be able to see increased frequency as a result.

      10. The 355 should be all day. Alternatively, it could continue on Banner Way to Roosevelt station. If that’s not fast enough, it could turn on 105th to Northgate station. That would leave a gap between 85th and 105th, but perhaps the 48 is sufficient for that area.

      11. I think dropping the 355 segment between 105th and 85th might work. The 355 is for people going downtown, not for people going south to 85th or Phinney. If the 355 turns on 105th to Northgate station, the only people outside its walkshed are those south of 95th, and they are within the 48’s walkshed.

    4. find money for real speed improvements through SLU

      That’s your answer. Exclusive ROW on Westlake is one of the biggest improvements, of course. Signal priority would really help as well.

    5. It’s supposed to be in its own right of way? I was assuming it was using the current SLU trackage. It would also need some form of even the barest signal priority to have a chance.

      1. In the post, I note that we’d upgrade the SLU right of way.

        The SLU Streetcar also already has priority. If it wasn’t stuck behind cars as much, it would fly. :)

      2. If it has TSP, it’s the most ineffectual TSP ever. Every time I’ve been on it, it seems to miss every light along Westlake and Terry.

      3. It’s not as bad as you’re making it out to be – I actually work at Westlake and Terry! :) It would work very well if it didn’t get caught behind cars. Curb separating it as Tacoma Link and RV light rail are, which is part of what we’d put on the ballot next year, would almost completely eliminate that problem.

  6. Somewhat off topic, but it’d be great if University Link was open before ST3 would be voted on. Last I heard scheduled opening was December 2016. Any chance we’ll get it open a few months early?

    We’re also going to need a better legislature to get any funding authority for ST3, let alone enough funding to build our ideal system. Once you count a new 2nd avenue tunnel and rail to West Seattle, I could see the cost of the Seattle portion of ST3 with something like Option 9 easily approaching $6 billion. Hopefully we can knock off a few “MCC” Senators in 2014.

    Awesome map by the way. Add in a cross-town line at some point in the future and that’s pretty much perfect.

    1. Jesse, University Link is promised for “fall” 2016 – earlier than December. Right now they’re running just over five months ahead of schedule, They could be open in June 2016.

    2. Let’s hope that ahead of schedule-ness continues. I would love the goal post move more in our direction… Spring 2016? Maybe late 2015? :)

      1. It can’t really move – it’s the padding in the schedule that gives us this early finish.

  7. Since the under-canal stop will essentially also be a tunnel from the Ship Canal Trail to the Burke-Gilman Trail, I wonder if it can also be designed to serve as a bike/walk route for those not even accessing the station…

    1. It could be, but because we won’t vote on that until after we fund Bridging the Gap 2, I’m not sure we need to worry about it yet, past getting the ship canal crossing study funded ASAP. With BtG 2, we could build a new car bridge like Bruce’s post (I linked to it) and convert the existing Fremont bridge to primarily bike/ped/transit.

      1. How big of a bridge do you propose for btg2? Does it make sense to ask for enough lanes so that we might one day be able to convert some of them to additional streetcar lanes? (Depending on placement).

      2. I propose funding the ship canal crossing study so that we know what to do.

  8. Excellent analysis and presentation. I appreciate the thought and work you’ve put into it. Here are some things I really like about the light rail proposal:

    1) It is fast. Not only is it all grade separated, but it doesn’t zig-zag. This means you can have several stops along here and still get things moving very quickly. For example, I would add another stop half way between the Fremont stop and the Ballard stop. That particular area is likely to grow quite a bit. I think that area will grow faster than Fremont proper for the same reason that various parts of Ballard have grown much faster than old Ballard. Fremont and Old Ballard are charming and contain very profitable old buildings. Other parts of Ballard and Fremont have old warehouses and old houses that are quite reminiscent of South Lake Union before its transformation. You can already see this happening if you go by either area.

    2) I like the stop in the canal. I agree that a stop like would be very popular.

    I’ll list some of the things I don’t like in a different thread.

    1. Haha. Why don’t you email me the things you don’t like, as we only have a few days to comment on this and I really don’t want to just have everyone go in circles until it’s too late?


      1. Oops, sorry, too late (I saw your comment after I posted). I’m not sure if email is appropriate, anyway. My objections are not on the particulars (which I think are great) but on the overall strategy. If we only build one line out of Ballard for the next fifty years, then your line is the best. My belief is that by pushing for Corridor 3 and making it clear that we like it because it allows us to spend money on other things we will indeed spend money on other things. I believe the mix of things will also be more popular for more people, thus increasing the likelihood of them getting passed.

      2. I really wish I didn’t see the same comment made everywhere throughout the thread. :(

        One of my stated reasons for aiming for the Best Possible Solution is that it would increase the amount of authority Sound Transit asks for from the legislature. That gives us more room for other projects, and means that we could dilute this one a bit and move money elsewhere too.

    2. As I’ve said before, these stations are just the must-serve ones for illustration. It doesn’t mean they have to be the only stations. ST will consider stations at a later date after the corridors have been narrowed down. The same has has been happening in the Lynnwood Extension, where ST is considering additional stations at 130th NE and 220th SW.

      It didn’t happen with Central Link/University Link, much do DP’s regret, I think because of the fact that it was the first line and had a convoluted evolution with setbacks. When ST identified the Montlake possibility at a late date, and found money for it between ST1 and ST2, it didn’t reopen the issue of the number of stations, it just moved the alignment. And nobody (at least nobody I heard), asked at that time for ST to add stations at 15th and 23rd/24th.

  9. Not to channel d.p. here (and declaring my own bias as a resident of 24th Ave NW), but the light rail option really ought to travel up or near 24th.

    15th is a through-route for cars. No amount of pedestrian-friendly construction is going to occur there. While there are some large buildings going in at 15th and Market, there are equally many new residential units coming online at 24th and Market, along with a bustling nightlife center. Once you get north of Market, there is absolutely no contest for walkability—24th wins hands down, all the way to Loyal Heights.

    I really appreciated ST’s plans to put the downtown Ballard light rail stop at 17th. Appropriate siting could have an entrance on 20th Ave NW, which is close enough to the Ballard commercial district to be usable. From there, Loyal Heights is as deserving, if not more, of a light rail station than Crown Hill. I’d love to see a station in both communities, with a terminus oriented towards connecting with Aurora and Northgate.

    1. Kyle,

      I agree with you that the ideal would to build a subway tunnel that roughly follows the route of the 40, staying underground until 85th St or further north. At that point, you could run elevated on Holman up to Northgate.

      Another point in favor of this is that 15th West still needs bus service. There’s something to be said for building a rail line that approximates the 40, and then keeping RapidRide D to provide direct service on 15th and Elliott (though skipping the LQA detour, of course).

      However, there are two bad things that might happen with a line on 24th. It might be elevated, which would forever ruin 24th as a pedestrian street. Or it might be at-grade, which would make the line impossible to automate, and would forever ruin headways.

      I agree with you that we should ask for the moon, and wait for the legislature to tell us we can’t have it. But, for me, the second-best option to a 24th St tunnel is a 15th St elevated.

      1. That’s the biggest part – 15th has the zoning and the near-term growth, and has the right of way.

      2. Kyle… what on earth, man?

        None of the 8 options would actually serve 24th with reasonable transit.

        If you commented in favor of this option, and Sound Transit went and asked for enough authority to build it, you’ve got years to push the line over to 24th, and the taxing capacity to build it.

      3. The “actual density that exists today” is why we’re going to Ballard in the first place rather than just skipping the line. Better a line that goes 8 block from “real” Ballard than no Link nearer than U-District.

    2. Not quite as much room on 24th as there would be on 15th (24th also has the bicycle lanes). Also, 15th had streetcars before, so it seems less study would be needed to me:

      (Map of the old street car routes)

      15th also has better crossings for pedestrians and bicycles before Holman Rd. We would need to enhance those crossings no matter which option we chose though.

      1. oops, I thought you were referring to the streetcar. I don’t yet have an opinion on the light rail placement north of the canal…

    3. I think it makes sense for an east west line to go at least as far west as 24th (and to have a stop there) but I’m not sure about going north on 24th. As mentioned, if it is elevated, then it makes sense for it be elevated on 15th. Not only would it be better for 24th, but it would be easier to make it elevated. If you tried to make it elevated on 24th, then you encounter a lot more opposition. This would probably end up killing it, making them go along the street (like they did in Rainier Valley). This would make the system much slower, and remove the chance of having it be automated, or reliable, etc.

      Also, is there really that much more development along 24th versus 15th? It seems like a wash to me. Plus, Ballard High School is on 15th. If we make these stops as far as we will probably make them, then this seems like a much better stop than the equivalent (65th and 24th). The neat thing about that is that Franklin could play Ballard and everyone could take a train from one school to the other. OK, a silly argument, but I sure would have liked better service back when I was a student.

      1. I know, Ross.

        Take my advice and steer clear of the STB thought loop. You’ll save so much in “opportunity sanity”.

        Every time a lousy transit consequence comes to fruition,
        STB will pretend we arrived at “the good” by arguing for the perfect. Even when the result is objectively not good (e.g. FHSC, downtown Bellevue).

        And no one with ever admit to having been wrong. Remember when Ben was insisting the joint study task mandated building two lines? As in, both was inevitable? He was still saying so only last week! I’m still waiting for my apology.

        The Ballard Spur will never happen, because it makes way too much sense.

      2. You just agreed with his points supporting my line and then told him to steer clear? :)

      3. Replied to the wrong Ross post.

        My warning stands; STB can be an assault on sanity.

        Are you going to apologize to me for saying I was “crazy” to suggest the joint study tasks would wind up proposing a single line?

        (Ben v. duh)

      4. Yeah, you were crazy to suggest that now that I’ve documented clearly that it’s picking four options, something Sound Transit continues to confirm.

        Also, the DSTT stuff, you were crazy about that too.

      5. What does the proposal above have? Two lines. What does ST want to build? Light rail. What does the city want to build? A streetcar to complement the light rail. But if the light rail line serves both Fremont and Ballard, do we even need the streetcar? Sure, it’s a nice extra but it’s not like Fremont – SLU and SLU – Leary Way are must-serve like Ballard – downtown, Ballard – Fremont, and Fremont – downtown are. And as for the streetcar going to “real” Ballard, you won’t be taking it because it will be as slow as the 40, and you can’t sneeze at 11-minute travel time to 15th (not to mention 10-minute frequency).

      6. The city and the transit agency do not intend to implement separate plans separately!

        If there is one fact made abundantly clear last week, it is that.

        Want to prove me wrong? Get a fucking statement from either entity that suggests otherwise (you can’t).

        This is the very assault on sanity that I’m talking about.

      7. Did none of you notice that 5 out of 8 plans combined the “separate” options, and combined light rail and “rapid streetcar” elements? And that there was ZERO separation between what Ben claims is ST’s implementation domain and SDOT’s implementation domain?

        You are arguing outside of the realm of fact. I have utterly lost respect for Martin for indulging this fact-free conversation.

      8. Yes, it’s an assault on sanity. :)

        I plan to put together a transit ballot measure for next year. It will do these things:

        – Broadway + Center City + Fremont. One Awesome Streetcar.
        – 23rd TMP bus improvements
        – UW-Ballard TMP bus improvements
        – ST design/engineering for W. Seattle – DT – Ballard

      9. “Did none of you notice that 5 out of 8 plans combined the “separate” options, and combined light rail and “rapid streetcar” elements?”

        #2 and #3 are grade-separated rail like we asked for. #8 is the streetcar we all expected. The rest are just variations. Of the last four, I liked the south half of #5 (Queen Anne tunnel) and the north half of #6 (Fremont, Ballard underground). I found it odd that there was no option with all that, but I didn’t think any of the Fremont light rail options had much chance anyway because they’d be so close to the streetcar. (That was before I heard about the Fremont – Greenwood streetcar idea.) #7 is a slower variation of the streetcar. #1 and #4 I don’t think will go anywhere because surface in Belltown will get shot down immediately as too slow.

        Before I forget again, if ST decides not to do the Queen Anne station, it can go from Mercer Street either northwest or southeast around the side of the hill to Interbay or Fremont, so it’s not true that the Fremont station depends on the Queen Anne station.

        “And that there was ZERO separation between what Ben claims is ST’s implementation domain and SDOT’s implementation domain?”

        I tried to understand that sentence but I have no idea what it means.

      10. Or another way to look at it, considering underground/elevated/high bridge as “light rail” and surface/low bridge as “streetcar”, and looking at the north/south halves of each option:

        #1 rail/streetcar: not likely because of Belltown congestion.
        #2 rail/rail: good.
        #3 rail/rail: good.
        #4 streetcar/streetcar: not likely because there’s so much pressure for the streetcar to be at Fremont, not Interbay.
        #5 streetcar/rail: accetable IF the bridge is raised to 140′ (non-opening). Leary Way is wide and uncongested and has few stoplights, so surface there would be OK.
        #6 rail/streetcar: unlikely because the SLU/Westlake alignment would slow it down so much that it would make the Ship Canal tunnel and Leary subway look too silly to build.
        #7 streetcar/streetcar: not that likely because too many shared lanes, but would get some Dexter support.
        #8 streetcar/streetcar: the line to replace the 40 that we all expected.

        So overall it looks like light rail and streetcar are both represented, and the hybrid lines will fall by their own weight and impracticality. And any of the “streetcar” segments could be made much better with MLK-style routing,if the grade-separated segments are rejected.

      11. What it means, Mike, is that the supposed “two tasks” distinction evaporated the moment the eight hypothetical routing were released.

        The eight ranged from pure streetcar to pure subway, with various partial permutations between. But all the maps contained a single line, between the only two endpoints that the combined study has pledged to connect.

        Nowhere in the release was more than one line even hinted at as a possibility. Unsurprisingly, given the price tags for some of the single lines.

        Ben is basically failing English Literacy 101 by still trying to construe the two delegated study tasks as two “inevitable” construction tasks. His reading is bullshit, plain as day.

      12. The maps contained a single line, so only one map would be chosen? Dude. They’re advancing four options, just like the study says, just like Sound Transit told us at the press briefing and again at Uptown Alliance last week.

        Why won’t you stop doing this?

      13. “There were eight candidates in the primary. We’re advancing two to general. Why would you possibly suggest we’re not going to have two Presidents?”

        Get your dumbassed interpretation in writing, Ben, or shut up about it.

        I see a whopping “I told you so” in your future.

      14. Yeah, it’s my all fault.

        That the process is clearly designed to produce a single outcome has nothing to do with it.

      15. Show me where it says single outcome. I showed you where it says two.

      16. ‘corridors’ ‘results’ How are you getting only one corridor will go through?

      17. By reading the text.

        “Evaluation results” ≠ “We fully intend to advocate for multiple construction results.”

        You guys have echo-chambered yourself into ridiculous presumptions.

        I will not relish the eventual “I told you so”, because it will almost certainly arrive with news of a very, very crappy plan that does 100-year damage to Seattle.

        Good luck on your delusional endeavor.

  10. OK, so my biggest problem with this is that it is expensive. I think we would both like to see this line, and believe this line makes sense, but it is unlikely that we will have everything. For example, would you rather have this line, or one the following:

    Corridor 3 + a spur line (all underground) from Ballard to the UW.

    Corridor 3 + a spur line (all underground) from West Seattle

    A Ballard spur line + a West Seattle spur line*

    I realize this objection and our disagreement is based on strategy. I believe you want to ask for what is ideal, then settle for something like Corridor 3. My fear, though, is that if we push for this line, we will get it, but it won’t be underground. It will be a mix of above ground and surface (at best). This will make it worse than Corridor 3. Keep in mind, the only reason that Corridor 3 is so cheap is because it is elevated for a long distance. Also keep in mind that I’m basing my estimates on bits and pieces of data, so the estimates are very rough.

    Along with all this is the argument that the spur lines are just as important, but much cheaper than another north south line. There are a few reasons for this:

    Simple geography. It is much closer from Ballard to the UW than it is from Ballard to downtown. This doesn’t matter much if people live and work the way they did fifty years ago. In other words, it doesn’t matter if everyone works downtown and lives in the neighborhoods like Ballard. But they don’t.

    Specifically, the UW is a huge employment center and will continue to grow (the UW hospital isn’t going anywhere). Fremont will also grow as an employment center (as you mentioned).

    The simple geography and changing employment dynamics mentioned above mean a lot for the practicality of a system. Few will take the train from the north end (or the UW) all the way downtown, then back to Fremont. It will just take too much time and there are faster driving alternatives. On the other hand, folks coming from the east side or the south end will gladly take the spur line to Ballard since driving would entail going through downtown anyway. Likewise, it is unlikely that anyone from Ballard will ride the train downtown and then back to the UW. On the other hand, someone from Ballard heading downtown (or further south) may gripe about going west before going south, but the hit won’t be that big (and the alternatives are terrible). Going to the east side becomes even more interesting. For someone working in downtown Bellevue or Factoria, the rider will want to go as fast as possible to downtown. So, the added stop (and transfer) would be annoying. But if the Ballard rider wants to go to Kirkland, then getting quickly to Kirkland is just as important. As it is, there will still be a transfer from Husky stadium to the bus stop, but my guess is that it would still be much faster than any alternative that exists today (and that includes driving).

    In other words, it is quite likely that a Ballard spur line, by itself, would get more people out of their cars than a line like yours (which is probably the best single line you can make from Ballard to downtown).

    However, my argument is that we can have it both ways (to a certain extent). I believe Corridor 3 plus a spur line to Ballard will move way more people from their cars to transit than your suggestion (as good as it is). If my assumptions are correct (and I believe they are, based on all the available data) then they would roughly cost the same amount of money.

    * I realize that this brings up the problem of crush loading, but I don’t think this is an issue. Or, I believe it is an issue that can be solved by improving the overall system. If it turns out we build the way I want them to build (which is to have both a line from Ballard to downtown as well as a spur line) then it isn’t an issue.

    1. The big *reason* is that it’s expensive.

      If we fight for this, Sound Transit asks for enough authority from the legislature that we *can* build everything we want. If they ask for less, we can’t.

      1. How does that process actually work? In other words, can we fight for this, along with a new (underground) spur to Ballard and service from West Seattle to downtown?

        If so, then I’m still not convinced this is the best route. If we get the northwest side of Seattle along with the Ballard to UW spur, then the only thing your line adds is faster service from Fremont to downtown along with a new station at the top of Queen Anne. Corridor 2, for example, has the same stops on lower Queen Anne as Option 9. Therefore, the trade-off is two stops on the west side (Dravus and Magnolia Bridge) versus the stop on top of Queen Anne (and faster downtown to Fremont service). Personally, I would rather have the west side service, but I can understand why you would prefer the other route.

      2. The routing specifics are something that we probably have ten years to change. Look at Lynnwood – five years after passing ST2, they’re adding a station.

        The process here is that ST picks a couple of options to go into their long range plan. They don’t even pick just one – they pick two. A lot of that is based on public comment right now. My Option 9 would probably only pick one of those options, ST would keep another one as well (probably the Interbay option).

        Then, they go to the legislature, and say “this is what we want revenue authority for”. We just need to make sure that’s as much authority as possible. :)

        Then they put together a ballot measure, and even THAT isn’t totally solid on the lines. Then we fight for them more…

  11. Is there no way to bring the two Fremont stops closer together? People are inevitably going to want to transfer between green and red, and that interface looks horrible on the map.

    1. It’s not a good interface, no. However, realize that there will be a UW-Ballard line a bit further north, and the transfer there is the one that should be prioritized. It just doesn’t show up on this map, because that’s a separate study.

    2. Exactly as Will says.

      If you consider origin-destination, few people would transfer there anyway, especially once a cross-town line exists.

  12. I guess I’m going to have to be the one to point out the elephant.

    While I like this map — really, it makes me salivate — a “both” plan is not on the table here! As I’ve been warning all along, as Ben has been denying, and as the materials released last Thursday made perfectly clear.

    Meanwhile, Ben’s left-hand line would be more expensive than any of the eight presented last week, some of which hit $2.5 billion even without a direct pedestrian connection to the existing DSTT. Thus the compromises to each of those eight plans (including the silliest example of a full subway to the ship canal, followed by miles of surface running).

    Unfortunately, nothing as pricey as Ben’s left line is available as an option as part of this process, much less the “both” plan shown above. If we want the best result, we need to stop being delusional.

      1. I don’t understand how you think asking for less than you want gets you something better than asking for exactly what you want.

        The study will carry forward four alternatives, and they’ll be mix-and-match of what we see here. So basically, not commenting just screws you.

    1. Option 9 is two rail lines, on top of the 3rd being built, all heading north out of town.
      Meanwhile, Olympia has given transit the big middle finger for more funding.
      So, does anyone think it remotely reasonable to lobby for massive increases in taxes to restore Metro, CT and PT to to levels that keep pace with growth,
      fund Option 9
      add new taxes for ST3
      address the growing backlog of taxes needed for roads, highways, and bridges to keep congestion in check?
      When they ask you to choose one or two, who do you give your middle digit to?

      1. I don’t choose one or two. I say “you lost your highway projects and you need our voters to get anything now. Do what we want.”

        Option 9 isn’t an “and” with ST3, either. It would be part of ST3. The surface part could be city.

    2. “a “both” plan is not on the table here! As I’ve been warning all along, as Ben has been denying, and as the materials released last Thursday made perfectly clear.”

      You keep asserting that without evidence. The idea that ST, the city, and/or the voters will reject light rail in favor of only a streetcar is just a wild assumption. As for what the state allows us, that’s a separate issue. The state is not concerned about minor details like the $1 – 2 billion difference between grade-seprated rail and a streetcar. The state is either going to give us authority for all (both lines and Metro expansion), or nothing (no lines and Metro contraction), or something in between. It’s unlikely to fall on the precise fault line of Ballard light rail vs Ballard streetcar.

      1. The materials explicitly contradict any “both” intention. The study tasks have never suggested otherwise. “Both” has always been Ben’s fiction.

        You are wrong, Mike. And an affirmative assertion such as “we are guaranteed both” is the asserter’s burden to prove. You speak like a Theist claiming the Atheist must prove an absence of God. Sorry, but no. Dogmatists cannot simply expect others to believe their Faith-based assumptions in the absence of all evidence.

      2. The city gave ST money to piggyback the streetcar study alongside the light rail study that ST was going to do anyway, rather than ramping up a separate consultant to study the streetcar line in isolation. ST has never indicated it would use that as an excuse to water the light rail line down to a cheap streetcar; that’s your own wild guess. In fact, ST has said the opposite, that it’s mainly looking for something in its own right of way. That could go down to the level of MLK, but not to a streetcar. As I’ve said repeatedly, if we get the light rail line, I don’t care if the city decides not to go ahead with the streetcar line. The reason the city gave ST money was that a separate streetcar study would have duplicate costs and wouldn’t be able to study how the streetcar line could complement the light rail line. It wasn’t because the city wants to squash light rail.

      3. Mike, it’s not worth it. I linked to the exact language in the study scope of work document. He doesn’t care. He’s just destructive.

      4. The study tasks are divided between two agencies.

        The project, as every damned document up to and including this week’s outreach survey makes clear, is designed to yield only one line.

        Ben, you’re wrong. As any independent observer can easily see. I resent your dragging Mike into your wrongness, and I resent the damage you will do to our ability to achieve a successful result.

      5. The scope of work document.

        Task A, Task B. Two different reports on two different pairs of lines (four total will be advanced through level 2 planning).

        If an independent observer can’t read, we have a severe education problem. But, they can. Which is why everyone is trying to talk sense into you. :)

      6. Yes… I understand that the study tasks have been delegated to two separate agencies.

        Do you understand that nothing whatsoever in that document implies proceeding to build both, rather than presenting the final results for an eventual compare/contrast?

      7. No one has promised to build any of it. That’s the work we have to do. If only you would help do that instead of wasting all your time attacking the people trying!

  13. I think the LQA stop should be closer to QA and Mercer, which is the center of the commertial hub, rather than in no mans land in Seattle Center.

    1. The actual stop locations are something we’ll have years to work with. Just like now, five years after ST2 passed, the Lynnwood area stops are being moved around a lot, it’ll happen here too.

      1. Hey, remember last week when two lines were “inevitable”, and you yelled at me for suggesting that the joint study was aiming at a single, woefully compromised line?


      2. Yeah, and I’m about to yell at you again.

        This study produces four options, two of which go into ST’s long range plan, and two of which go into city planning.

        Sound Transit confirmed this again at the Uptown Alliance meeting on Friday.

        If you want to repeat over and over again “there will be only one line”, you can probably make that happen by making people fear that there will be only one line.

        If you start saying “it’s important to fight for more than one line”, as I do, we are very likely to get more than one line, especially the way I’ve laid out over the next few years.

        We want the same things. I’m creating a path to get to them. Could you please help me with that path rather than trying to hurt me over and over again?

      3. My god. Are you still denying what the materials released last Thursday made patently obvious?

        [ad hom]

      4. And how come things only ever get “confirmed” through your mouth, when all materials released in text explicitly contradict what you say?

      5. You haven’t said one single thing about what makes it obvious. What in the alternatives or in the officials’ statements confirmed that for you?

      6. d.p, it’s because you never go and ask them yourself, so you set up the self-fulfilling prophecy of me always being the one doing the work.

      7. “I believe in God. Therefore God must exist. How dare you demand evidence of me?”

      8. The thing that makes people aware that you’re dishonest is that you’ve never bothered to go ask these questions and report on the responses.

      9. [ah]

        You’re the one with the supposed direct line to Sound Transit. Why don’t YOU get the “dual construction actions” pledge in writing?

        (Oh, right, because you can’t.)

      10. Because if I do, like I got the DSTT thing in writing, you will come up with another thing to scream at me about. [ot]

      11. p.s. What does an after-the-fact admission of a bypassed vent that significantly reduced promised capacity have anything to do with a basic description of the end-goal of the Ballard planning process?

        You can’t get so much as a statement of intent that backs up your exceptionally specific claim that the process is designed to yield two separate construction projects? That’s quite telling.

      12. The scope of work document. I linked it above.

        Task A, Task B. Two different reports on two different pairs of lines (four total will be advanced through level 2 planning).

      13. Misreading. No affirmative evidence for it.

        Two studies, two reports, compare and contrast, one outcome.

        Occam’s razor. Sorry.

      14. You’re making up the “compare and contrast” part. Show me where that is.

  14. OK, now for my objection to the Rapid Streetcar. I’m not anti-streetcar, but I think we can do better. A streetcar has its advantages (people enjoy riding them more than they enjoy riding a bus) but is essentially as fast as a bus (although each streetcar can move a lot more people). By and large, I’m not that fond of most BRT systems in the area, either. For example, BRT along 15th will always get bogged down because of the side streets. You can mitigate that (by controlling the lights) but that will only get you so far. To be really fast, you have to be on an expressway, like Aurora.

    It is my understanding that a streetcar will be paid for by the city of Seattle. Fine. If we are going to do that, I propose we spend some real money doing things for a BRT. Specifically, I would like to see the following:

    1) Have the highway 99 line go through the tunnel.
    2) A stop on Fremont (already talked about in a previous post).
    3) Elevators or trams for Queen Anne and Fremont
    4) Add stops in the tunnel. I don’t know what this would entail. Extra exit and entrance ramps (just for buses) like they have for the bus tunnel, maybe? Perhaps it simply holds up the carpool lane (with flashing lights) while people get on and off the bus.

    If this last one isn’t practical, then how about an exit and entrance map from Aurora to a new tunnel around the Battery Street tunnel area. This new tunnel would connect to the bus tunnel, more or less. If that doesn’t work (because it is too expensive) then build a tram from the Westlake station to the first bus stop for the BRT after the Battery Street tunnel.

    I’ll admit, this is napkin sketch type of things here. I don’t really know how much these pieces cost. But I do know that building new bridges is really expensive, and simply adding rail (and running it) isn’t cheap either. A BRT system that leverages the already expensive freeway that was built a long time ago seems like a relatively cheap way to get very rapid service to Fremont. We just have to make sure the system doesn’t spend half of its time just trying to get out of downtown.

    1. I would love to do something like that, but it’s a long way from the options the city presented. What I’m proposing pushes the envelope *while* being something they’ll be comfortable with.

      We have four days to comment. There’s no way to organize people around something that’s just now a napkin sketch, you know? :(

      1. OK, but do you really think the city is going to do anything now, anyway? I really think the mayor and city council will more or less do nothing until after the election. Perhaps it was a bit off topic to even suggest this I hope other folks can speak to the practicality of it (although this may not be the best thread to do so). Then, after the election, we lobby our city representatives really hard for these proposals. This includes trams or gondolas. There is no way the mayor is going to touch that subject right now. But winning a reelection would give him a chance to talk about things that are more creative than simply building more streetcars (which aren’t even that popular, but at least don’t earn him ridicule).

        I guess I’m not really sure of the process, but I would assume (for the city anyway) that it is more fluid (less bureaucracy). In other words, regardless of what we ask for now, when can change our mind later, especially if lots of people write in for support of that idea. I agree, though, for the purposes of this study, comments are needed and will be read soon.

      2. “Now” is subjective. To have a ballot measure for next November (2014), we have to be building the political support around it *now*, then we put it on the ballot early next year.

        You’re right that after the election we’ll be able to do more, but we don’t need to lobby our councilmembers if we just put it on the ballot ourselves. :)

  15. the downtown connector study may recommend upgrading the SLU line to its own right of way – and we could keep that going right up to Fremont

    Would you split the line? Or get to Fremont via the eastern side of Lake Union?

    1. Split, for sure. Then SLU-UW can come in a, say, 2018 measure. Or it could even be earlier than that, like part of ST3 if Sound Transit gets no new revenue.

  16. I know you say that the streetcar stops aren’t necessarily the [only] ones, but it’d be nice to explicitly consider a stop near where we expect an E-W line to go to maximize the chances of having a good transfer there.

    1. That’s there – the stop south of 45th. But we really don’t know what the scope is for the E-W study. I’d only build the first round to downtown Fremont, so we’d figure it out after that.

    1. (note: little thought went into actual routing. just an e-napkin sketch)

    2. If Magnolia falls madly in love with density and can’t wait to be the next Fremont, that might justify an additional Ship Canal crossing just for Magnolia. But I highly doubt it. If the Ballard Link crossing and the Fremont automobile bridge and another Lake Washington crossing actually go through, then it might happen after that.

    3. I’m not a Magnolia lover, but know it well. If Magnolia village was an “urban village” than this would certainly send a message to the rest of the city. Be an urban village if you want light rail. But it isn’t. Most of the people in Magnolia live on the east side, close to 15th. You can see this from Queen Anne (lots of apartments on that side, lots of houses on the rest of it). Magnolia is geographically large. It is also a peninsula. This means that a feeder system makes sense even if Magnolia gets huge. For example, lets say that the Magnolia village area becomes a giant urban village, with 15 story apartment buildings. How will people get there? Unless they get there by boat, the answer is 15th. So, if that area does get big, then they will get stuck in traffic, either on 15th, or more likely, on the way to 15th. Even now there is dreadful traffic leaving Magnolia during rush hour. So, while that map is really cool, I’m afraid it really wouldn’t make life easier for most Magnolia residents, or force them out of their cars any faster than a nice system serving 15th. If Magnolia does get big, then a feeder bus system will work really well. Until then, the buses should run really fast, since there aren’t any traffic lights on Magnolia.

      1. Magnolia is so un-walkable that I can’t imagine a subway station working anywhere. Yes, a feeder bus might do it, with a transfer or as an express downtown. But that’s no way to build density.

        What I can imagine is their core downtown building up. There’s already city parks and a pool and a downtown strip. If you add a subway station you could absolutely “force” people to take transit, as roads are an inconvenient way of getting in and out of that area. It would be a 1-minute ride to the core of Ballard from there, and this could almost become a transit-based suburb of Ballard as Ballard itself grows with its transit connections.

        Anyway, just a dream.

  17. I like this thinking that we need to plan rail in sectors, rather than in a line-by-line approach. The strategy also provides for less battling about who in the area “wins” rail. I really hate the way that rail transit in this city is done on a line-by-line basis rather than a section-by-section basis.

    I’m bothered though that the lines don’t tie into each other or into North Link. This forces everyone using any of these lines to go all the way south to Westlake Station to transfer and then have to walk at least a block to do when they get there. Do we really want to make everyone go out of direction for transfers? At the very least in my dream, I’d suggest that the extended streetcar either jog east to North Link or west to the Ballard line – or both.

    1. Seattle Subway envisions extending the downtown-Ballard line to Greenwood, Northgate, Lake City, and Bothell. ST’s long-term plan doesn’t quite say that but it’s within the alternatives posibilities. ST does intend to address a Lake City line, and it seems most logical to me to connect it to the Ballard line. Otherwise if it terminates at Roosevelt, there’ll be an awkward three-seat ride from Ballard to Lake City because you’d have to transfer at U-District and Roosevelt. If it terminates at U-District, it would either put three lines in a congested area, or if it’s through-routed to Ballard it would eliminate the possibility of Link for University Village and Children’s Hospital. If it terminates at Northgate, then people will inevitably say, why not extend it to the Ballard line? Curving around like the 40 would improve connectivity to Greenwood and Lake City, all with one line.

      1. What would have been MOST logical was what was proposed 50 years ago: Ballard–Northgate—north and U District–Roosevelt—Lake City—(Bothell). However, we managed to do exactly what that BART-era study specifically recommended NOT doing due to BART’s example (running a single linear corridor up a freeway) and we managed to somehow make it impossible to interline North (I-5 Link) and Northeast lines at Roosevelt and run at 90-120 second headways due to something as simple as an air vent. Now, instead of following the path of travel used the past 120 years from Bothell–Lake City–Roosevelt and into downtown, we get some weird Lake City–Ballard routing where everybody from the northeast will transfer at Northgate to get downtown. (Nobody from inside the city limits would ride it to the UW–the transfer penalty would make it faster to take a bus). It would almost make more sense to tie Lake City and the NE to a 45th Street UW-Ballard line by traveling down 25th Avenue NE with stops at Ravenna and at U Village. Brooklyn would be a bi-level station with perpendicular lines N-S and E-W.

        I’m not adverse to transferring–I’ve lived and worked in enough places where it was second nature to transfer between lines–just shaking my head that a reasonable, simple X-shaped plan that could have been tied together with cross-town lines turned into something like this.

        That being said, I support the efforts made to expand the system and have commented as such…thanks for all the hard work, and let’s get trains into Ballard ASAP!

      2. and yes, I’m considering that to interline at 90-120 seconds the line needs to be automated, which can’t occur due to Rainier Valley, but it’s far enough in the future that perhaps that could change. (The LCW–25th–45th–Ballard route would avoid that problem.)

  18. Something tells me if Magnolia were a low income, mostly minority neighborhood, the people in this comment section who are now saying “screw Magnolia,” would be singing a different tune. Maybe we’re witnessing a little prejudice toward the wealthy, hmmm?

    1. I’m balancing neighborhoods – making sure there’s something for everyone in the city – and making sure it can be done within the taxing limits of a Transportation Benefit District. The next item I would have on my list would be West Seattle TMP improvements, and then Madison. But I think we’d already be looking at a $400 million measure, and that’s already iffy with a TBD.

  19. ST has stated there is no more room in the DSTT for another line. So be it.
    90 sec headways are now double, or another way of saying it – half the original design capacity has been lost. But without ANY explanation as to why, we will have to duplicate the DSTT with a parallel interconnecting tunnel costing ~2 bil or more.
    I should think ST owes its taxpayers an explanation why they have lost a 2 bil asset, and must replace it.
    I should think people at STB would like to know the official reason 90 sec. headways are no longer feasible in ST3.
    Maybe this is ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ turf, but it certainly is relevant for any LRT line terminating at Westlake on paper.

    1. It’s been explained a few times, hasn’t it?

      Kemper Freeman owned the Hop-In Market. Because they expected him to try to nuke ST2, they didn’t build a vent facility there. That vent facility is necessary to vent smoke during a fire if you want to go below three minutes between CH and UW.

      With that facility added later, we could go to 2 minutes, but the problem is still in the unreliability of trains coming in. You need padding between them. That’s not a limitation of the tunnel. I have yet to find ANYTHING Sound Transit has said on the topic to be false or misleading.

    2. “I should think ST owes its taxpayers an explanation why they have lost a 2 bil asset, and must replace it.”

      What a ridiculous statement, you act as if they’re filling in the tunnel and starting over.

      1. Not so fast Zed. If WSDOT built a 4 lane bridge, but shortly after opening, permanently closed 2 of them, saying only that it didn’t have the capacity to carry more traffic, you’d be all over that one.
        How is losing half the future capacity of our spine rail system much different?
        ST has clearly stated no more than 3 minutes between trains with NO explanation. Ben is a great organizer, but he is NOT Sound Transits official voice. The agency making the statement should be willing to share the reason(s) why capacity has been lost, and why interleaving trains from another line between 3 minute Udist trains is not practical, when other systems ‘routinely’ do it.
        2 bil is not chump change. It’s worth an answer – here – in public – or on their website – but not through Ben.

      2. mic, ST never promised anyone 2 minute service. You’ve got your burden of proof backwards.

      3. Remember, Mic: Official engineering documents don’t “prove” anything. The only valid proof is a poorly-remembered conversation Ben had with someone at a farmers market.

        Ben, I like that you’re now explicitly shirking the burden of proof for your habitual outlandish claims onto everyone but you. Your assholery truly knows no bounds.

      4. ST documents have been posted here many times saying the DSTT was designed for 90 sec. headways, plus a 30 sec dwell for 2 min scheduled times. Look it up.
        ST1 and ST2 has compared Link’s 2 min headways to a huge fucking freeway many times in many documents.
        Now, ST (not Ben, or Zed or even the smartest guy in the world – Mr. Bailo) please tell us why the DSTT has been ‘de-rated’. It’s a simple 2 bil. question.
        It bears directly on what is possible for future lines through Seattle.

  20. I think this would be great, although I do think Interbay has merit if you’re going to do two lines. (Passing up Fremont would be idiotic though, if you were only to do one line.) Though I question to what degree cost really determines peoples’ votes on transit measures, my main concern with this proposal is the cost of the Ballard line. I was at the open house last week, and based on my discussions with officials I suspect the cost of the western line would be around $4b, possibly more. Add the ~$500m of the streetcar and you’re pushing $5b total.

    Some of my discussions with attendees considered something similar to this, though passing up Queen Anne for Interbay so that you could exit the tunnel quickly and travel Interbay as an elevated line, do a massive 70 or 140 ft bridge across ship canal, then keep on heading north on 15th Ave.

    Assuming the east-west route is going to be on the same ballot, this would also leave Leary free for a line to travel all the way from West Ballard to UW, via Fremont, up Stone Way or something, then onward down 45th. If you do it as depicted in Option 9, you’re either redundantly sending the light rail eastward on the same route as the downtown-Ballard line, or you’re moving down a relatively low density area like Market and 50th St. And as a side note, since much of the east-west line would need to be tunneled, the cost of these two north-south lines increases somewhat as a concern.

    1. I think $4B is way high. Something ST staff mentioned in the press briefing is that these aren’t actual costs – they’re just proportionate to each other to show about what you’d be looking at.

      But also, what if it is $4B? Isn’t it good for us if ST asks for that kind of authority from the legislature? If they do, and we get it, that means they poll that, and if the poll responses say hell yes, then we *actually get it*. If we do anything else, we preclude even finding out.

      If it turns out to be too expensive during polling pre-measure, then we get Interbay, and everyone is still happy, except a few folks in Queen Anne.

      In the meantime, we connect Fremont.

      1. I agree on the issue of cost–you can’t know what’s possible if you don’t try.

        But the issue of how you do the east-west route with this proposal still seems like a significant problem. I think you’d be better off heading north til you hit Queen Anne then veering off to have an elevated stop at Dravus, then up 15th from there. The connection between Fremont and Ballard can be done with the east-west route.

      2. I don’t think there’ll be an east-west proposal in ST3. They seem pretty into Ballard and West Seattle, which I suspect are both doable with one shot.

        East-West will come in 2024. BUT, in the meantime, my 2014 measure would do all the TMP improvements for Ballard-UW.

      3. Hmm, in that case I’m not sure which I’d prefer. I’m very averse to the idea of building a line that would be partially redundant in a decade though, especially if it were a tunnel.

      4. @Shane Phillips,

        I don’t understand why you think the line between Ballard and “West Fremont” would be “redundant”. The trains could share tracks if the curves at the north end of the Ship Canal station and at 15th and Leary were “stacked”. I agree with the poster who said “put a station around NW 9th and Leary”; that area has fantastic possibilities for TOD along the waterway and at the base of the Phinney Ridge.

        A station there would also serve as a very-little-extra-travel “turnback” connection for U-District or Wallingford to Queen Anne and Seattle Center riders. And it’s a LONG way from the Ship Canal station to 15th and Market. There’s an opportunity there.

        Actually, if the thing is going to be in a tunnel all the way to Market and the Ballard-U District trains will start at the Market Street Station, swing west to NW 17th for the station to better serve the centroid of the Ballard Urban Village. Portal somewhere in the middle of 15th about 60th. Yes, it would add the costs of an extra underground station, but it really would serve the area better and more aesthetically.

        Fifteenth and Market is feeling a bit like another Bellevue CBD station, although there is a lot of residential going in along Market there.

        However, if the Ballard end of the cross-town is expected to continue west say to 24th or even 32nd, then having the north-south station at 15th and Market is less worrisome. People could get on a U-District bound train and transfer at the NW 9th station to a following downtown-bound train.


        As far as the Rapid Streetcar, I’m less sold. Unless you intend to put a sizable cluster of pretty tall buildings along the crest of Phinney Ridge every mile at the stations, the extension north of Fremont won’t serve that many people. You could do that without blocking anyone’s view, but you’d certainly get push-back about the shadows.

        By taking the Ballard-Fremont part of the city’s proposal and giving it to Link, you’ve definitely made the streetcar less useful.

      5. Anandakos, the “shadows” arguments never really stop things, just slow them down a bit. We’re building infrastructure for the next century. There will be plenty of people for a streetcar (there are already). Phinney/Greenwood is already zoned at 65′, and in the next decade, as energy prices go inexorably upward, it’ll be 85′ or higher.

      6. “But the issue of how you do the east-west route with this proposal still seems like a significant problem.”

        That’s why we need the east-west study soon. But studies are different from construction. ST will probably have the east-west study results in hand before selecting a north-south alignment. And even if the study drags on with its aspirations to Redmond, ST can ask for expedited results for the Seattle portion so that it can integrate the Ballard lines.

  21. Option 9 looks like overkill. I wouldn’t support it. I can see rapid streetcar going up eastlake and perhaps slightly into the UW area. But not going to Fremont since lightrail will serve this area; just use bus transit to feed into lightrail from Fremont and points north.

    1. I don’t see how it’s overkill for the next century of this city’s growth.

  22. I actually really love this proposal in theory. As I said in the other thread, Queen Anne has horrible transit connections to the north, and this would definitely improve the situation. I also love the idea of a streetcar between Greenwood and Fremont, and it makes a lot of sense to connect that streetcar with SLU.

    I agree with the folks who say if you live at 85th & Greenwood, no way you’d take that streetcar all the way downtown. Of course you wouldn’t, that’s silly. What you’d take is the 5X. And that’s what should happen to the 5 if a streetcar does happen between Greenwood and Fremont, all of its runs should be like the 5X, so it bypasses Fremont and goes directly from Phinney Ridge to downtown. (Except, it shouldn’t end at 85th like the current 5X does–it should continue to Shoreline.) The streetcar would be great for trips from Greenwood to Fremont, and for longer trips, you’d have a faster bus to downtown.

    Think of it this way: if you live near 105th & Greenwood and you need to go to your 9-to-5 downtown, do you take the 40, or do you take the 355? It’s a no-brainer. But not every trip from Greenwood and 105th is to downtown–some of them are to Ballard or Fremont or Westlake. And for those trips, you’ve got the 40, which is a great route for shorter trips. The streetcar can’t be everything to everyone, just like the 40 can’t. That’s why you keep “express” service to downtown, like the 5X and the 355.

    1. I think a streetcar is massive overkill for Greenwood-Fremont demand. If you can’t make the streetcar usable for Greenwood-downtown and Greenwood-SLU trips, it’s not worth extending to Greenwood.

      1. Why wouldn’t the streetcar be usable for SLU and downtown? That’s the whole point here, to give it its own right of way on Westlake to be fast.

      2. As of today, I’m not sure what you’d do for Greenwood to SLU trips. I guess the 5 to Mercer (or someplace nearby since the Mercer stops are closed) and then walk? Or, the 5 to Fremont, then walk to the 40? Unless I’m forgetting something, the proposed streetcar sounds better for that trip.

        I’d like to see what kind of demand there actually is between Greenwood and Fremont. Whenever I ride the 5 on that stretch, it’s pretty well-used, lots of folks getting on and off. Anyone have a study they can link to?

      3. As covered in our previous discussion, even with ROW on Westlake, going through Fremont, across the bridge, and then through Westlake is going to be significantly slower than flying down Aurora at 50 mph without stopping (or 60 depending on how leaden your 5 driver’s foot is). You’d have to show me a lot of details to convince me this streetcar could be a viable replacement for the 5, or even for walking from Greenwood to the 358/RR E.

        For SLU, once the tunnel is complete, riders could easily get off the 5 at Harrison and walk through the newly completed street grid. I think even with the walk that would be faster than a streetcar that’s in mixed traffic through Fremont and has to stop for lights on Westlake.

      4. To be clear, because I’m giving you a very hard time about this, I appreciate the work you’ve put into it, and I want to see the streetcar between downtown and Fremont. I’m just skeptical about the Greenwood part.

  23. I think the light rail line is great. I think the streetcar requires work – due to the difference in mode, it should have much more frequent stops. There especially needs to be more stops between SLU and Fremont along the waterfront, but even the rest of the route should have the stops at least twice as frequent. The streetcar should work as a bus on rails with signal priority, not a train that drives on the road.

    1. Absolutely – I just plopped in a few stops to say “these definitely make sense”. Even after an option like this is adopted, there will be lots of discussion about where the stops should go. It’s the second half of this study where they’ll figure out ridership.

  24. Option 9 visualizes precisely what I was trying to describe in my Sound Transit comments! Nicely done! This is exactly the line that should be built.

  25. I love Option 9! I think a future 2 stop branch off the subway line headed west just north of the Queen Anne Station would be a great way to serve Interbay and Magnolia in the distant future. Alternatively, an east west crosstown line from the Streetcar to Interbay and Magnolia with a transfer to the subway would be another way to “complete” the system.

  26. PEOPLE, we need to protest. These official city plans are garbage. They plan to go to Ballard and Fremont, but NOT stop in Queen Anne? SERIOUSLY??

    1. THEY have not decided anything yet. They’re asking US how important we think a Queen Anne station is. The initial concept did not have Queen Anne, but that’s why we’re having an alternatives analysis now, to evaluate that concept and see if it needs to be modified.

      1. UGH, they didn’t even include in the voting when they’re asking us! So yes, I agree we should push for it, but the fact that it wasn’t even included in any of 8 options is downright unacceptable. They’re not thinking straight.

  27. I told them I don’t want a stupid little streetcar that takes 30+ minutes to downtown, gets stuck in traffic, and stops every 10 feet, and if I did want a ride like that, I’d take the bus. Give me the fastest possible, grade-separated, automated option! I’ll pay whatever it takes to do it right!

  28. As someone who owns property near the Ballard stop, needless to say I’m happy with the light rail proposal (aka left side of map) of this option. But if there is pushback on the streetcar part of the line (right side of map) to combine with the left/light rail– what is acceptable to the horde? (I realize we may be revealing our BATNA) Would the Fremont light rail stop be closer to the streetcar stop be OK? Queen Anne stops (lower and upper) more on the East side of Queen Anne– which would lessen a potential zig zag line? Or would folks just fight for the one line (the left side/light rail portion), knowing we catch part of Fremont and Queen Anne (saving the other part of Fremont for a future E-W line)?

  29. My thought is, move the QA stop southwest some, head west to hit Interbay, then north to Ballard. Actually if you go that way, you could swing by Magnolia too. If you’re hitting Fremont twice with the streetcar, I don’t think you need to throw in a subway stop. Is Fremont really going to get double the expansion of QA… or twice infinity that of Magnolia?

    Bring the red streetcar closer to Green Lake proper, too. Make it part of the lake area’s green-urban landscape.

  30. I’m not very happy with the piecemeal planning being done. It would be helpful and efficient if there was a programmatic study that defined the whole system, which would then be used as the basis for making decisions about specific corridor like this one. Doing the planning one segment at a time makes it impossible to accommodate future lines (like knowing where we should be designing a station to allow access to another line, where we should plan for a junction) during design. Also, it could help choose the location for a route. For instance, if we knew the plan was to eventually build an extension of the Downtown-Ballard line to Northgate/Lake City/Bothell, we could make sure the decisions made in the near term work well with that long term plan.

  31. “A new car bridge…Fremont could create a new paradigm for great urban places. We could take that town center back for human beings”. Wow, could not agree more here. That place is STARVED for quiet. Let’s face it, the Ballard Ave restaurant/shopping district is a blossoming all-the-rage destination because the automobile presence is manageable – Fremont deserves this too.

  32. I like option 9, but the more I ask the question “What line comes next?” the less I like it. So let’s ask that, and then I have a slight modification to it.

    What comes next? Ballard-UW, of course. So when I want to go from west Fremont to Wallingford, how do I go? Transfer at Ballard, of course! And it gets weirder if the eventual goal is something like the Seattle Subway map — once you’ve added an Aurora/Greenwood line and an Interbay/Magnoiia line, the long tunnel from Fremont to Ballard becomes useless.

    The problem is trying to serve two N/S corridors, but that doesn’t have to be a long term problem if you make the jog a part of the E/W corridor you eventually want to serve. So add one more station north of the West Fremont station. Logical locations include 46th&Fremont/Aurora, or Phinney/Zoo. Then jog west to 15th&Market. Make the extra station a center platform station. The Ballard-UW line needs to jog to the north here anyway to get to market, so assume we’ll have an East/West line eventually intersecting a North/South line here and sharing the same platforms for easy transfers. So this change puts Ballard one stop further a way while increasing coverage of the general Fremont/Phinney area and improving transit connections. For the time being it looks like a zig-zaggier line than you propose, due to it trying to do too many jobs. But it does those jobs as well as can be done with one line, and as you add more lines to do more jobs in the future, it will turn into a less zig-zaggy solution than the one you propose.

    The other change I would make is, continue west from 15th&Market rather than north to Crown Hill. The most important question you have to ask when prioritizing stations is not “Where do people live?” or “Where will people live?” but “Where do people want to go?” Trip destinations are denser than sources, and it’s much more important to have the best transit at the end of the trip, where people are the most constrained (they can’t take a car from the park&ride!) and where people may be less knowledgeable about bus schedules. Get people to where they want to go, and let them figure out how to get from where they are to the system. (Okay, also make sure lots of buses take people to subway stations.) And when you want to go to Ballard, you are very likely to want to go to Market&22nd. 15th is half a mile away, and it would be a pain to catch a bus for that trip. If you have a station in central Ballard, someone going from Redmond to Ballard might consider taking the 545 to get to the subway. But if there’s an extra half mile to walk, then it’s much less likely.

    1. Oh, the other change I would make: A station under the canal is a cool idea given the status quo, but if a new crossing at 3rd Ave (N)W is happening, it won’t be any better than a station north of the canal at 2nd Ave NW. Though I suppose we’d need to extend the 13 to connect to it in that case.

  33. My favorite part of option 9 is the absence of a station in interbay/ industrial ballard. The ballard/interbay maritime industrial property behind the locks may become priceless in the future as sea level rises. Keeping LR stations away from the industrial areas should at least slow the conversion to residential.

  34. See map and ST and SDOT materials; why does world end at NW 85th Street? Would we not want a frequent line to extend to Northgate?

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