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60 Replies to “News Roundup: Northgate Bike Lockers”

  1. I think that video pretty well captures the joy of cycling in Seattle. Excitement about the eventual completion of projects that, for now, totally screw up your commute; derping around looking for stuff, finding it only after giving up; forgetting things because you’re in a hurry. Yep.

    1. Yes, and it’s absolutely HILARIOUS. If you’re going to bike happily in this city, you better not leave your sense of humor in the panier.

      1. And let’s not forget a bike infrastructure that doesn’t take into account that half the year you’re commuting in the dark both ways.

  2. It’s not just the lack of a (current) transportation package that makes eventual tolls on I-90 more likely, it is also the increasing level of cost overruns on the SR-520 project. No State Senator/Representative from Eastern Washington is going to gut E WA transportation projects to cover the costs of SR-520. They are going to play to their base and make King County residents pay – which means tolls on I-90.

    So we will certainly see tolls on I-90. While this is predominantly a result of our dysfunctional State government and Republican control of the State Senate, in the end it is actually the right thing to do anyhow. Bring it on.

    Now if we can just get early tolls on the DBT. Ditto for I-5 through DT Seattle. It’s good all around.

    1. Bring on the tolls! All mountain pass highways, all trans-Columbia River bridges, Lake Washington crossings, and any bridges on/over Puget Sound. Yesterday!

      1. Given the size of the project, and the State’s tight budgets, there certainly can be a case made for tolling I-90 at SnoPass and the new N-S Freeway in Spokane. It’s hard to imagine why those projects should remain “free” to the user when SR-520, the DBT, the CRC, and soon I-90 will all have tolls.

        But, ya, all these projects could benefit from tolls.

  3. For some reason, the 15th Ave OBA Kiosks link doesn’t work. If I can find the actual link, I’ll post it.

  4. Getting the ‘Camels Nose under the Tent’ has really caught on with financing plans lately.
    Mercer Island has a strong backer to keep her constituents immune for being tolled on I-90, which the Sen.Chair thinks is just fine for everyone else but them. A think tolling I-90 is but a couple of years away if the truth be known.
    Likewise, OR pols and LRT buffs in Clark Co. admit that tolling for the CRC is the answer, but just get one of them to admit that tolling the bypass route I-205 across the Columbia River is sitting on the back burner. From the article:
    “The data project that daily traffic counts on the I-5 Bridge will drop from 124,000 vehicles today to just 78,400 in 2016 — a drop of more than 45,000 vehicles per day. Meanwhile, I-205 traffic on the Glenn Jackson Bridge will jump from nearly 140,000 vehicles per day now to 187,500 per day in 2016, and push the freeway to its capacity within 10 years, according to the Cortright analysis.”
    Anyone smell a camel sniffing around the tent? and is that a bad thing? Maybe just leave the flap open and invite them in.

  5. Those darn kids (and low income people) will live in a 150 sq ft cubby hole and share their kitchen and living room with 8 strangers and they’ll like it by golly!

    1. To be fair, Mercer Island residents are vocal about tolling and anyone representing that district will have a similar attitude. But it would be useful if she weren’t the transportation chair.

  6. When rail fans attack anti-densitists for wanting to keep the poor out, remember, keep to your eye on the ball. Remember what the end-game is. The goal of rail enthusiasts is more rail. Density is only a means to more rail. And any talk of low income or affordably is ancillary. In a rail enthusiast’s mind, when you are against density, you are attacking the thing that will help grow his baby: Rail.

    1. Using a similar argument, supporting less density means more driving as well as highway and roadway growth. The less density we have, mixed with the surge of people moving into our region, means we have to continue to expand highways to maintain any basic level of service with our road network. Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Diego, Huston, are all living examples of this method of growth. Also, the more we continue to argue for single-family housing everywhere, the more we support foreign oil interests, terrorist organizations, and the acceleration of climate change.

      Remember to keep your eye on the ball: less density, more driving, more congestion, more roads.

      1. Density + extensive rail network + more multi-family than single family homes = paradise? No, it equals India. Density and rail are not a panacea. I’m for rail, but I disagree that is solves anything. That’s the only reason I’m here stinking-up this comment section. To counter the hyperbole of the benefits of rail.

        I have a question. How come I haven’t been blocked? Norman was much more civil than me, and he was banned.

      2. For an expert on everything you’re fairly ignorant. Believe it or not, India consists of more than a few dense cities. And if you look at migration patterns, the people who are actually live in India are voting with their feet, choosing dense, urban India over rural poverty.

      3. There’re other effects in play in India; density won’t inevitably lead there. Look, for instance, at New York City.

      4. “Density + extensive rail networkP + more multi-family than single family homes = paradise? No, it equals India.”

        Perhaps New York, London, Tokyo, or Singapore are better examples. You know, countries that have a history of improving standard of living and investment in how to move people, not cars.

    2. Reality is actually the opposite for good quality rail services. A good quality rail service attracts density to its stations as people want to live near it, so there is no need to plan it that way. Of course, in the USA there are a lot of examples of poorly planned and executed rail projects. Thus, they don’t do this on their own.

    3. Most of us could care less about building densities, at least as it relates to government restrictions on development. We advocate for new rail lines, bus lines, trails, etc that give people options other than a car. If a new transit line is built, I could care less what developments go in around it. Provided the government isn’t restricting the freedom of property owners adjacent to the stations, the free market will function properly and development at the density level the market demands will be built.

  7. I’m noting that the Sounder replacement bus service is really just the normal 510/416/417, when in the past I seem to remember hearing about special buses. Is my memory wrong, or is this a change?

    1. If that’s the case, that special buses are no longer running to replace North Sounder, that’s a pretty damning indictment of its current ridership. If North Sounder’s ridership is so low that you can accommodate all passengers within current bus capacity, you should be actively rethinking your train service.

      They did mention adding a couple 510 runs for overloads, but still…

      1. I don’t know about CT’s buses out of Mukilteo and Edmonds, but the ST51x buses out of Everett run at capacity in the peaks and with a full seated load through the early evening. A year ago, ST restructured the I-5 north corridor, and deferred the retirement of some coaches, to squeeze out more peak service for overcrowding; buses/hr for the rest of the day were figured out by dividing the passenger counts by 60 and rounding up to a whole coach.

        The face-smackingly stupid thing about Sounder North isn’t just that it’s horribly underused and inefficient in an absolute sense, but that it robs resources from an incredibly effective freeway-running bus service on a similar corridor, which, for much less than the price of Sounder North’s gold-plated, diamond-encrusted BNSF easements, could be made into an excellent freeway-running BRT service.

      2. What of them? The easements could be leased back to BNSF, the cars put in the rotation for Sounder South, and the operations money put towards more buses and more trips for the 51x. The train stations aren’t particularly expensive, compared to the easements, and serve useful purposes as local TCs/P&Rs for buses and ferries. The train platforms could be mothballed for the hoped-for future of plausible levels of ridership out of Mukilteo and Edmonds.

        No, Sounder North is kept alive by Puget Sound’s dumb regional politics and the unwillingness or inability of a still-young, still-weak agency to admit that one of its banner, founding services has turned out to fail, by any serious test of viability.

      3. Coal trains are going to fill the tracks if they come, so that will make BNSF interested in leasing back slots.

      4. Seattleite:

        The easements confer on ST the right, but not the obligation, to run passenger trains on BN’s line. ST’s board could decide that it was in the public interest, and consistent with the agency’s goals and plans, to stop running those trains and run more buses. They could then offer BN to not run the trains, in response for some amount of money. BN gets paid when freight moves, and this is their main line; it’s worth something to them. If Cherry Point happens, it’ll be worth a lot to them.

        The ST board has changed major elements of its plans before: deferring Link to Federal Way; punting on a station at First Hill, then building a dumb streetcar instead; moving the elevated I-5/65th station into Roosevelt, at the behest of that neighborhood’s masterfully-effective neighborhood association; and punting on the north side Ash Way direct-access ramps, which would cut five minutes off every Seattle-Everett bus trip. Only political pressure prevents a similar decision regarding Sounder North.

        Pricing the leased-back easements would be hard, but then pricing rail easements is hard in general; through inexperience, ST got totally robbed on the north line easements. It’s notable that most serious all-day commuter rail services in the US operate on publicly-owned track, with trackage rights leased out where there’s demand for rail freight.

    2. I received e-mails saying they ran three buses:

      Evening bus service – Tuesday, January 14, 2014
      Seattle – Edmonds: Special buses with direct service to Edmonds Station will pre-board at 5th and King Street and will depart from 4th Ave. S. and S. Jackson St at 4:05 p.m., 5:05 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. Riders may also board regularly scheduled Community Transit Route 416 at 5th and James at 3:56 p.m., 4:27 p.m., 4:58 p.m., 5:31 p.m. and 5:57 p.m.

      Seattle – Mukilteo: Special buses with direct service to Mukilteo Station will pre-board at 5th and King Street and will depart from 4th Ave. S. and S. Jackson St at 4:05 p.m., 5:05 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. Riders may also board regularly scheduled Community Transit Route 417 at 4th Ave S and S Jackson St. at 3:09 p.m., 3:59 p.m., 4:22 p.m. 4:50 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

      Seattle – Everett: Special buses with direct service to Everett Station will pre-board at 5th and King Street and will depart from 4th Ave. S. and S. Jackson St at 4:05 p.m., 4:33 p.m., 5:05 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. Riders may also board regularly scheduled ST Express Route 510 at 4th Ave. S and S. Jackson St. departing approximately every 10 minutes.

      NOTE: The 4:05 p.m., 4:33 p.m. (Everett only), and 5:05 p.m. departures will be operated by Starline. The 5:35 p.m. departures will be Sound Transit buses.

  8. I have a sincere question. I am not trying to post a link to the demonic robot baby under the guise of asking a tenuously related transportation question. The “vehicle” in this short video is remote controlled. My question is, should this be in the same category as a driverless car?
    [embedded video]

    1. Can’t watch the video now, but in the abstract: No, I don’t think remote-controlled cars should be in the same category as driverless cars. In my mind, the great advantage of driverless cars is that they can drive themselves – they can go park themselves, they can go pick someone up by themselves, and they can transport children without drivers’ licenses; all without needing anyone to control them. Remote-controlled cars don’t have any of those benefits: someone who knows how to drive still needs to be paying attention to the car, even if he doesn’t need to be in it anymore. Yes, remote-controlled cars are a significant technical advance, but they’re not the same as driverless cars.

    2. You might as well delete my entire comment. Contrary to what I claimed, I did just want to slip that devil baby video onto this blog. I don’t care about the driverless car aspect to it.

  9. The CRC needs to die. It is beyond absurd that my state government (Oregon) wants to put itself on the hook for billions of dollars to improve the commute for Vancouver drivers. It’s lose-lose for my state. The only thing I can conclude is that their relationship with the construction unions is so strong that they will do whatever the unions tell them. Unbelievable.

    1. You’re right, the businesses that employ those vancouverites could just pack up and move to vancouver and stop paying whatever Oregon tax they owe. And all the goods shipped between Oregon and WA on that bridge could just stop, and the tourists that spend money in Portland and beyond could go away.

      1. The only thing restricting interstate commerce right now is SOV commuter traffic from Vancouver to Portland. The bridge is congested because people choose to work in Oregon and live in Washington. That is their choice, but I don’t see why Oregon taxpayers (those of us that pay income tax AND property tax here) should subsidize their commute. The bridges do need to be replaced at some point, but they are perfectly safe and functional now. We have dozens of bridges in the state with lower structural ratings.

        Businesses do not locate in Portland so they can have access to Vancouver workers. They could care less where their employees live, so I’m not sure why you float the idea of businesses here “packing up and moving”. There is plenty of room in Oregon for more housing.

      2. Don’t Washingtonians working in Oregon pay income tax? I know there is some cross-bridge traffic from Vancouverites that want to avoid sales tax, but a bridge toll would discourage that to some extent.

      3. I thought that’s why people live in Vancouver and shop in Portland, so they can avoid both income tax and sales tax. I’m not sure if there’s an advantage in working in Oregon though, or it’s just that that’s where most of the jobs are.

  10. It would be interesting to know where the mudslides on Scenic sub occurred.

    Two of the mitigation projects have been completed, but BNSF has IIRC, 3 more to complete.

    1. (Cue dramatic music!) And it could be even worse in Seattle, where the expense and inconvenience of obtaining an ORCA causes residents, encouraged by the connected insiders of the Seattle Transit Blog comment section, to hold multiple ORCAs for their visiting guests.

      Stay tuned for next week’s exciting story about airline miles balances (which similarly must be accounted for as liabilities).

      1. I am one of those people who do hold an Orca for visiting guests, but it’s less useful than it might at first appear. It often gets forgotten when it’s needed. When two guests visit at once, only one can use the card. Finally, it’s no good for the visiting guests’ trip to or from the airport.

        A better way to get out-of-town tourists on the Orca system would be to introduce a special deal where if you buy an Orca card and return it within 7 days, the $5 card fee would be waived. Since this is intended to be a tourist feature, the number of machines that would allow cards to be picked up and returned this way would be limited – perhaps SeaTac airport station and Westlake Station only.

      2. I also keep a guest ORCA, but since I don’t have guests in quick succession, I ask the guest to take it with them to the airport, and then mail it back to me. I get non-spammy physical mail out of it, as well as their mailing address so that I can send them holiday cards. Win-win.

      3. perhaps SeaTac airport station and Westlake Station only.

        Don’t forget to add Westlake Station for tourists arriving by Amtrak.

        (BTW, speaking of tourists – is the Link ticket still valid as a day-pass on ST Express?)

    2. That’s the scam with all agencies that have stored-value cards. It’s the same reason why stores love gift cards — people forget about them or die or never spend the last $2.25.

  11. Is UW demolishing dorms to replace them with new buildings of identical capacity? I was just reading about the new Lander getting filled with students from Terry, which will be dismantled this year. Why is the new Lander only five stories high, and would the building to replace Terry be no larger, or even smaller?

    This at 650 students, and is at 850, though the article mentions only 600 students having to move. I’m guessing part of the discrepancy is that they had been packing in students three to a room, but only want two per room in the new building.

    The logic cited for justifying the higher prices of the new rooms was odd, it was to the effect of “We have lots of interest in the new rooms so it must be okay to charge more for them.”

    1. It’s the same thing other landlords do. Charge what the richest available market segment will pay. I’m not sure that UW Housing specifically does this, as its basic mission is to house most students, and it can’t do that by excluding students. But at a larger level the UW as a whole has been focusing on rich foreigners and out-of-staters for several years now, so those who can pay the most tuition can probably afford expensive housing too.

    2. I’ve been watching this happen with great frustration. I wish all the new dorms were more than 5 stories; it’s crazy to me that they’re building them so short when there is so clearly more demand than that.

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