An anonymous Sound Transit employee created this video, which captures the good humor of crowds waiting in long lines:

51 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Parade Crowds”

  1. iOS and Andfroid OS need to make video to default to landscape (horizontal) vs. portrait (vertical) mode. I love seeing videos but I’d like it even better if I didn’t have to look at video that looks as if it was shot through a keyhole. Think horizontal peeps!

  2. As a Transit Philosopher, my comments are usually designed to educate and enlighten. But I thought I would take a break this morning from reading the New York Times (and 9 other national and international newspapers), to make this comment which has no message or lesson. This is just a simple parade day video taken on a Metro bus of it driving through the downtown crowds. It looks like the driver handed his camera or cell off to a passenger to document the historic day. I’m not sure what bus route this is. Does anyone know?

    1. Well, it looks like the bus was prepared to go on the 47, 49, or 43, because those are the schedules I see there. However, it’s nowhere near any of those routes, so I can’t say. Do any of our resident bus drivers here recognize the driver in the video?

      1. The driver at the beginning of the video is different from the driver at the end of the video. The first bus may have been deadheading from AB or CB (it didn’t appear to be full of passengers). The 2nd bus shows a reflection of its destination sign at about 3:31. It’s signed as 43 DOWNTOWN, even though it’s clearly headed away from downtown.

      2. It looks like it’s the 43. The fellow you hear at the beginning is the Brit fellow who commonly has Sounders and other soccer (football) clubs’ scarves by his windwhield. All during Seahawks week however he had a Seahawks scarf as well as the “12” flags on the front of the bus. Looks like drivers were changed from the beginning of the video to the end. At the beginning there was another driver and then the Brit fellow took over later. The Brit guy was there all along though.

    1. People flock to where the affordable housing is within commuting range of where the jobs are.

      (Source: Look around the Great Plains.)

      1. Thank you for clarifying that people who work in L.A. county aren’t moving to the Great Plains because of lower housing prices.

    2. That’s 35,000 people out of 9.9 million in LA County — or 0.3% — over four years. Annually that’s 0.12%, or the equivalent of 719 people moving from Seattle to Kent. Woohee, a small church decided to relocate. And it only counts movements between these specific counties, which is probably dwarfed by the total population change in those counties.

      Of all the people I know in Snohomish and Pierce Counties, almost all of them have lived there a decade or longer. I can think of exactly two who moved from Seattle to Lynnwood or Lake Stevens to buy a house since 2005.

    3. O Great Transit Philosopher, Reader of Nine National and International Newspapers, Grand Pooh-Bah Extraordinaire, we kneel before your shining radiance and gleaming purity of heart!

      This little factoid is interesting, but it leaves out the critical statistics: what happened to the gross population of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties during the period from 2007 to 2010. (Both grew in total population, SBD county more rapidly as befits an area with remaining “greenfield” opportunities). In fact the article states clearly, “Beyond Southern California, “Los Angeles is a giant pump that pulls in people from other countries and all across America, then recirculates them” to other areas, Myers said.

      It’s no secret that people with families want to have a back yard if there’s any way in which they can afford it. It happens in California and in Washington too. But so what? There are plenty of people “flocking” to the central cities of these desirable coastal megalopoli, and they are the reason that there are ANY jobs for the folks moving to the burbs. The folks who make less money and are therefore forced into the long commutes (and to put up with the Santa Ana winds by the way) out in the orange groves are serving the creative people who live in the city, in one way or another. Either they’re construction workers building housing or work facilities for them, office support staff, or personal services providers. Without the megabucks that the entertainment and tech businesses that LA (and Seattle) host, they WOULD be back in the Midwest.

      We all get that you’re hate creative people and urbanists. Fine; why don’t you move in with Bailo. You guys could spend whole days dissing the folks who actually bring in money to country.

      1. We all get that you’re hate creative people and urbanists.

        You may wish to view this presentation from King County:
        (Click on 2013 Powerpoint).

        If you click through the slides, you will see that growth in this region has been occuring not because of well heeled artisans flocking to high rise apodments, but due to some very poor people immigrating from all over the world.

        Increasingly these people have had a harder and harder time moving up the economic ladder with housing being an increasing burden on them and by extension on everyone else

        In many areas, half of households were
        paying 30% or more of their incomes for
        housing in 2008-2010.

        They can be driven and want to succeed however, they landed in a place where the rents are eating away at any ability to build wealth. They find themselves in regions of “food deserts” where the only choices are fast food and there are no supermarkets. They get substandard expensive housing.

        We are very far from building your urbanist dream and very near to have truly turned King County into what Joe Biden may very well refer to as a 3rd World Country.

      2. John,

        As the PDF makes clear, it’s now your holy suburbs that are the hotbed for poverty. The smart people have moved back into the city because they got sick and tired of suburban jerks cutting them off in traffic with their Romney/Ryan MegaTank SUV’s.

        Over and over you complain about the cost of housing in the city. Why can you not understand that housing is expensive when and only when it is desirable? There’s not some cabal of evil developers forcing people to pay nose-bleed rents and purchase prices in a vacuum. If you lived here in the 1980’s consider yourself damn lucky to have experienced “empty Seattle”, because most of the rest of the world had not then discovered Puget Sound country.

        Well, they have now and lots of people want to move in. I realize it’s a nasty, double-edged sword, success for a city. It gives incumbent residents who own property a huge and essentially completely undeserved bump in real wealth: it’s a bit like winning the Lotto. But it also means that increasingly people with ordinary middle class incomes are locked into their current home; they can’t trade up because the increase in ownership costs is too great.

        But there is nothing to be done about it, except pray for an economic collapse. That’s the only thing that will stop people wanting to come to Puget Sound. It’s way too beautiful for its own good.

      3. While the rates of poverty have grown faster in the suburbs, and the numbers, that is possibly because that was where there was more growth of population in general.

        Looking at the chart on page 25, the absolute percentages for Seattle are higher and climbing than for King-less-Seattle.

        What you can say is that King on average is getting poorer, but Seattle has always had a large share of poor.

      4. “But there is nothing to be done about it…”

        That’s completely untrue. There is everything that could be done about it.

        I keep thinking Wallingford. Why doesn’t someone just take a section of it, and build it exactly as it, but in a different part of region, and near a train station.

        That would give you the lifestyle and access to the amenities like the stadiums and job centers.

        But again, the answers are two extremes. High rise apodments or isolated McMansions.

        You want us to believe that the situation we’re in was inevitable. I say it was driven by stupidity, malfeasance and outright chicanery on the part of the leadership.

      5. “I keep thinking Wallingford. Why doesn’t someone just take a section of it, and build it exactly as it, but in a different part of region, and near a train station….”

        I was about to ask you the same thing. The ones who can enable this are the suburban governments, and the people they listen to are their residents. So you, suburbanites, need to take the lead on this. Tell your representatives to allow small-lot developments, and set up a pilot project somewhere near a good transit stop. Kent and Auburn and some other burbs are former railroad towns, so they only have to revive their own history, not import something alien.

        But you’ll still run into problems of economics. New units will be more expensive than 1970s units no matter what size or shape they are. The 1970s units are (A) old, (B) undesirable, and (C) built at a time when real-estate costs were negligable. People complain about sticker shock from new dense developments, but you have to compare it to a new, lower-density development in the same location. New small-lot houses or small (<10 unit) apartment buildings in the same location as a proposed midrise would be more expensive per unit, because each unit would have more land and probably a larger dwelling. It would also make less impact on the walkable housing shortage, meaning future citywide rents would trend higher than if you’d allowed the midrise in the first place.

        Kent is already planning a boxy lowrise development near Kent Station. I don’t remember if it’s four stories or what. What you need to do is allow these developments in residential-commercial areas (Kent Station and East Hill), and convert single-family blocks to Wallingfordesque residential-commercial nodes. That would lead to the most affordable housing citywide, and maximum opportunities for walking. And sketch out a RapidRide line connecting all these nodes and Kent station and KDM Link station. Then the city can tell Metro, “We want this”, and it can also explore streetcar opportunities in that corridor.

        “But again, the answers are two extremes. High rise apodments or isolated McMansions.”

        That’s the de facto result of NIMBYs resisting change. They won’t allow change in the middle — moderate changes in the bulk of neighborhood-commercial areas and single-family areas — so development gets squeezed to the high and low extremes where it’s allowed.

      6. JB, nobody wants you to believe the “McMansions or High-Rise Apodments” dichotomy but yourself.

        1. There’s no such thing as a high-rise apodment. Apodments are designed to maximize residences in low-rise multi-family areas, which is why they’re built at low-rise heights with low-rise construction methods in low-rise neighborhoods.

        2. Residential units are being added in a variety of forms throughout the area. Mid-rise large-area apartment buildings on large blocks in Ballard, parts of Fremont (some with significant green space), Kent Station, The Landing, the fringe of downtown Bellevue. Hillside apartments and condos with long view frontage in Westlake or similar buildings on the waterfront in Kirkland. True high-rises in Belltown, Bellevue, SLU, and the CLink parking lot. Skinny townhouses and small apartment buildings in Fremont and Beacon Hill. SFH-duplex conversions in every neighborhood where it’s legal. Townhouses with yards and rather private park access on cul-de-sacs off of MLK (backing up to the Cheasty greenbelt). Big lots near downtown Kirkland divided into small-lot free-standing houses that are legally condos (similar situations exist in other suburbs where land values are high but zoning prevents taller buildings — one of my friends lives in something like this, I think in Mountlake Terrace).

        3. There actually are significant analogs to central Wallingford in the suburbs here. Downtown Kirkland is probably the closest. A bit of the old part of Issaquah. Main Street in Bothell. Downtown Edmonds. White Center, Burien. There aren’t passenger trains to any of these places. Why don’t newer developments look like that? Kent Station, The Landing, downtown Mercer Island, U Village, Northgate, Bellevue? From 10,000 feet the answer looks like highways and parking, mixed with cities’ unwillingness to be on the hook for maintenance of a public street network.

      7. Well again, if they had spent the last 20 years building cheap ribbons of elevated concrete for an extended monorail (now looking like a better idea than what we have) or for elevated LINK across all of Puget Sound, instead of getting mired in tunnels and density for just Seattle proper, we’d all be in a lot better shape with many lower cost options that can access the amenities speedily and without sprawl.

        Again, the current situation is not something that “had to happen”. It happened because of inept leadership.

      8. The ultimate problem is that all those car-dependent neighborhoods were built in the 1960s and 70s, with their large-lot houses and strict land-use separation. If they had been built as row houses and small-lot houses along transit streets, our problem would disappear. Then they would be affordable yet not car-dependent now. Urbanists would not shun vast parts of the county, but would instead disperse across all the county’s neighborhoods. Everyone who wants an affordable house with a yard and car would have one. Their yard and house may be smaller, but they can just deal with that. But if they don’t want to drive every day they’d have a more viable alternative.

    4. That was the case in Seattle during the big migration from California. But at that time house prices in CA were still three times what they were in Puget Sound. That meant a person could not only get a better house, with a good lifestyle (albeit trading endless sun for NW weather), but also accumulate a small fortune and get a fully paid off house in the process.

  3. Schedules, Breda bus, and route uptown indicate inbound Route 7, turn up Pike probably means 49. Usually these routes are separated, but no big deal to through route them exactly as Route 7 did for many years. Full Route 7 from 47th and 12th in the U-District to 62nd and Prentice above Rainier Beach, local trolley service with huge passenger loads its whole length, was a huge amount of work but some of us loved to drive it. Should have been renamed in honor of Sam Darbrous.

    Still, it was impossible to keep on time. Metro seriously considered wiring the 7 into the Tunnel via a ramp onto I-90 at Dearborn Street. Figure I got was $12 million. Wasted opportunity. Would have picked nothing else ’til I had to leave driving.

    Last week, happy crowds and beautiful weather very welcome. Though constant comments about temperature made one think people have the idea that climate change means it’ll stop getting cold in February. But from transit’s point of view, no special cause for self-congratulation. What if both pieces of luck suddenly went bad?

    Yes, thanks to a lot of very good operating people, nobody got hurt, no equipment got damaged, and no one had to be arrested. In San Francisco after a game SF won, a mob of idiots burned a 60′ bus. But for hours, service in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel went from slow to crippled when it most, for one main reason: platforms were full of southbound LINK passengers who never meant to go north of Stadium Station.

    And the main flaw in their thinking was an idea that their chances were better if they could board further north. Worst of all, many of them believed that they would be allowed to stay on a train during the turnback under Pine Street. Very possible someone in a uniform told them this was true. I hope not. But crowds don’t critique rumors very well. Like any other vacuum, absence of strong, positive, accurate information sucks in airborne trash.

    Was there any effort at all on the part of the system to “stage” southbound LINK passengers at Stadium? Maybe taking down some fences to make room? The sense I got, which others can confirm or refute, was that DSTT transit from Stadium north was “winging it” from the time the pressure went on. Exactly the same as from event immemorial, certainly since the Tunnel opened in 1990, and at least one rush hour or game night every week.

    Time and again at Westlake, I watched supervisors, one at each bus door, ordering drivers not to collect fares. Bus fareboxes around DSTT are an expensive piece of political idiocy that wrecks service every rush hour and game night, and should be removed if it takes same measure for one or two County Councilmembers. Parade day, Tunnel drivers should have had paper towels taped over the boxes when they left base. Passenger communication trouble, bad enough. Between operations people? Somebody besides me put in right word.

    Platform guards, as usual, often went out of their way to advise passengers, and as often, and as usual, told me that their superiors gave them no information to transmit. Likely management and union think these people are working out of grade being helpful- again, confirm or deny, anybody? But system evidently considers necessary station agents to be same luxury as bathroom breaks for drivers.

    I’m proud of our system, and glad passengers were patient and civilized. And that weather was unseasonal. But for transit professionals, it would be good if some people in real authority with good technical knowledge could spend the next month meeting and critiquing events incident by incident, to see to it next time at least communications work.

    Without any of them, Sound Transit or King County Metro taking the position failures were the other agency’s fault. Between the ears of every single official of both agencies should be an entrenched belief that they’re all working for the same outfit. If they can’t voters need to make legislators give all their paychecks the same signature.


    1. This is so trivial it’s a grain of sand compared to your report, but the 7 and 49 are still interlined evenings and Sundays. Which is convenient for me because it makes up for the 14 split going from Chinatown grocery shopping to the Summit area.

      1. Of course, if we had a good grid network with routes running in a straight line, nobody would have an interest in the 7/49 thru-route – they simply take a direct bus up Ranier/Boren instead.

  4. So Friday evening I went to DT Seattle in the late afternoon, going there and coming back on the 550 with my bike. The ride inbound was very calm, with about 40-45 people when we entered the tunnel.

    Outbound I observed activity at University Street Station from the mezzanine for about 20 minutes then decided to make my way down to the platform to actually catch the bus. I waited in line a very short time, as I was in the timeframe when 550 runs every 5 minutes, then loaded my bike on the bus when it came and found a seat in the hinge. All seats were full by the time we left the station and a bit less than a dozen people boarded at PSS, with only a few moving past the hinge. At IDS there were more than a dozen waiting.
    A handful get on, driver plays the automated move-back announcement. Nothing happens for 10 seconds.
    I shout: “there’s plenty of space in the back”, people move back and everybody gets on. And it was true, there was plenty of space in the back, even seats in the high-floor section.

    So for those of you that are wondering, the 5-minute headways on the 550 did help, at least compared to back in the summer when the bus was completely full after we left USS, but I’m pretty sure that with a bit of rider education we can increase the capacity of the route. And also, put handles in the hinge! The bus had none, and thus its capacity was reduced by 4 or so people.

    1. When all is said and done the coaches used for the 550 are pretty bad for standing all the way around. Most of the aisle has no proper hand holds, but rather requires standing passengers to hang onto the bottom edge of the luggage rack. While it seems sturdy enough, it sure would be reassuring to have something more obviously designed to work as a hang bar. Moreover, some of the edges are sharp. The lack of handles in the hinge is just icing on the cake.

  5. Mumbai monorail a hit, 136,000 use it in a week

    It is official. India’s first monorail, which was started here on February 2, is a hit. The ticket sale in the first week itself crossed 100,000 and on the whole, the new mode of transport has run to its optimum best. A total of 136,865 passengers had travelled in the monorail till Sunday.

    While the total token sale for the week was 132,523, total revenue for the week reached Rs 14,24,810. On Sunday, over 29,000 passengers travelled in the four-coach pink, blue and green monorail trains and the total collection was about Rs 3,00,000. All throughout the week, Mumbai’s monorail made 512 trips. The Smart Card option is also getting popular by the day. So far, during the first week, more than 1,400 Smart Cards were sold.

    1. Isn’t English an official language of India? How do they get away with such terribly written articles?

      1. The “official languages” of India (English, Hindi) act as linguae francae for communications between those from linguistically differing regions, and for national media.

        Many or most speak these languages adequately. Only some speak them fluently.

      2. Only some 1% of Indians speak English. And only a fraction of those have studied it enough to not make these kind of mistakes. It’s not just studying English (as required for domestic use), but studying it for international communication (what people from English-speaking countries expect). Russian English has similar issues. What matters for a domestic newspaper is what domestic expectations are, not what international expectations are.

        In countries like Germany and the Netherlands, English instruction is universal, average education is high, and domestic English use is high (e.g., among teenagers, and among businesspeople communicating with Brits and other Europeans), so the domestic standard is closer to the international standard.

      3. Indian English borrows from Hindi (and other Indian languages… there are dozens) in many idiomatic and grammatical ways that make its structure quite different from the Queen’s English or American English.

        It’s been that way almost as long as Americans have been misspelling aluminium and colour and treating companies and government agencies as singular nouns.

      4. Minor but necessary correction: it’s the international community who are getting aluminum wrong.

        Humphry Davy isolated the element in 1808, and he eventually decided on “aluminum”, as was his prerogative. That’s the name. That’s how naming works.

        A random Quarterly Review blowhard then suggested that aluminium might sound more “classical”, as it would conform to his (totally false) understanding of elemental syntax.

        The -ium suffix conformed to the precedent set in other newly discovered elements of the time: potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, and strontium (all of which Davy isolated himself). Nevertheless, -um spellings for elements were not unknown at the time, as for example platinum, known to Europeans since the 16th century, molybdenum, discovered in 1778, and tantalum, discovered in 1802. The -um suffix is consistent with the universal spelling alumina for the oxide (as opposed to aluminia), as lanthana is the oxide of lanthanum, and magnesia, ceria, and thoria are the oxides of magnesium, cerium, and thorium respectively.

        Sorry, long-dead jerkass Quarterly Review guy and the legions who have mimicked him, but a word that sounds British-ier is not necessarily more correct. Davy gave the element a name, and that remains the element’s name.

  6. Hey, is there still a flake of snow left on the ground anywhere within city limits?

    Up here in the sea-level part of the northwestern quadrant, the roads melted clear by about 11am, and the pavements have been bone dry since mid-afternoon.

    I can’t figure out for the life of me why Metro still advertises a universal reroute.

    1. Last thing I knew this afternoon the buses still had cable chains on. Maybe just an exercise in caution safe but not sorry perhaps.

      1. So they’re still sending buses where people can’t find them, and they’re mangling the pavements with chains?

        The city is melted and well above freezing, and has been pretty much all day. There is a 0% chance of more snowfall. This is “sorry but not warranted”.

      2. How long does it take to remove chains from a Metro bus? With the lack of recovery time in many routes, it is entirely plausible that once a bus goes into service, there is simply no opportunity to remove the chains before the bus goes out of service without beginning the next run way late.

      3. I suppose chain removal is done only by the maintenance personell, but I await input from the knowledgeable sources.

      4. Now historical interest only, but I got these two emails from Metro:

        First, at 5:10 PM:

        As of 5:00 PM, Metro is beginning the process of returning bus routes to
        their regular Sunday routing and stops.

        Initial temporary exceptions are routes 1, 105, 106, 107, 128, 148, 156
        and 345, which will stay on their designated snow routes until further notice.

        This transition may take time

        Then, at 7:32 PM:

        As of 7:06 PM, Metro is beginning the process of returning routes 1, 105,
        106, 107, 128, 148 and 156 to their regular Sunday routing and stops.

        This transition may take time.

        And then, finally, 4:10 AM:

        As of 4:10 AM, all Metro bus routes have returned to their regular routing.

      5. Chain removal is a task for maintenance personnel only (and should be; bus chains are very heavy and dangerous for those not trained in their use). It takes about 5 minutes per bus. On a Sunday there are about 500 buses out system-wide, so you can do the math. The bottleneck is typically getting maintenance crews to the buses, especially for routes that don’t travel through a place like downtown, the central University District, or the BTC.

    2. Ca. 5:00 p.m., I saw a Metro maintenance crew convert a section of 3rd Ave into a tire-chain disassembly line. Heroic effort, shop crew!

    3. There were some nearly melted bits still left this morning on the dirt trail that leads to the “Sidewalk Closed” sign—either an art installation on the inanity of transportation in America, or perhaps from a lack of appropriate “Hillside Closed” signs—on that well-walked slope in the northeast quadrant of the University Bridge.

      1. Dirt is not pavement.

        Pavement-wise, the melt was quick and even and thorough enough that second-shift buses shouldn’t have been leaving base with chains in the first place.

        And even if some buses were stuck in chains for the remainder of the day, it is baffling that they — with all their superfluous traction — would be kept on “snow routes” until 5:10, when the snow was already a memory six hours prior.

        Do you all really not understand how irrational and unreliable this makes a Metro seem to the lay public?

      2. There are almost no “second-shift buses” on Sunday. Nearly all leave the base as daylighters and continue in service, with road reliefs, through the end of service (evening or late night, depending on route). Chain removal on a Sunday is going to be on the road.

        No knowledge of why it took so long to cancel the snow reroutes. Most arterials in the city, except at the highest elevations, were bare and wet by 10 or 11 a.m. Residential streets took longer (such as my own, that was pretty much undriveable until about 3 p.m.), but most of the reroutes were not avoiding residential streets.

  7. There was enough crowding on the ferries that people were waiting for the next departure a number of times as well.

    It seems to me this would have been much better done on a weekend, as equipment normally used for commuting could have been used for parade crowds.

    For LINK, it seems like it would have been useful to start a run with a platoon of empty trains. Suppose you send a group of four empty trains through the tunnel from the north end. The first one runs empty to the Stadium station where it loads up. The one released right behind it starts making stops at the International District station. The one behind that starts making stops at University Street, etc. This helps with the unable to board due to overcrowded trains problem as the first station doesn’t fill every single train.

    Double stopping at stations is a major pain in the rear because it adds time to the timetable. However, for the case of Sounder this might have helped, had there been enough equipment to do it. What you wind up having to do is make the train longer than the platform – preferably a double length consist. At stations coming into Seattle you would wind up boarding some cars but not others, as only part of the train fits the platform. When you get to Seattle, you have to double stop: detrain the first half of the train, then pull forward and detrain the second half. Going home in the afternoon, you would probably have to double stop at each station, as there is no separating the people going to one outlying station from the other. Operating more trains is certainly a better option, but if BNSF doesn’t allow it and there aren’t enough crew available then there is no choice but to add length to the existing trains.

  8. In the “door roulette” vein, one thing I appreciated about Denver’s light rail system was that the door locations were marked on the pavement, so people waiting for a train could line up in an orderly fashion while waiting for the train. On the flip side, there were 2 or 3 relatively steep stairs to climb when boarding the train, which made me really appreciate Link’s level boarding doors/platforms. It was a pain the ass to lug a suitcase up those stairs.

    NB: I didn’t right the Denver light rail system extensively so I don’t know if this was done universally, but I noticed it at the few downtown stops I did use.

    1. There is no alternative. In Denver, the only way to board at floor level is to be in a wheelchair and board at the special raised platform.

      In the meantime, much of Europe has gone to 100% low floor cars for its tram (streetcar) lines. Light rail cars will probably never get there due to the size of the motors required for higher speed, but maybe one day.

  9. Fast-forward to the future and try to imagine what Wednesday would have been like if everyone who owned a car owned a driverless car. Everybody at once would have tried to get their car to drop them off downtown, then drive back empty to their driveway. The result would have been complete and total gridlock, and any transit that didn’t have a grade-separated route would have been next to useless.

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