F-Line Meet-Up Sunday

The F-Line, running between Burien and Renton
The F-Line, running between Burien and Renton

A group of STB hangers-on will get together for a group ride on King County Metro’s brand new F-Line on Sunday, June 8. (Actually the F-Line is merely an upgrade of the about-to-be-discontinued route 140.) This is a slight break from the tradition of having a group ride on the first day of a new service, but the organizer has to work this Saturday.

We will start at International District/Chinatown Station and, in celebration of the newly-public Link schedule, depart at 9:04 a.m. sharp. Look for us in the rear car if you get on further down the line. Thank you, Sound Transit, for the Link schedule! Approaching Stadium Station, we will glance to our left, and see the brand-new Greyhound Station. Arrival at Tukwila International Boulevard Station is estimated at 9:32, and that is where we will depart the train. We will catch the F-Line bus eastbound at 9:46, arriving at Renton Landing at 10:22. Along, the way, we will see the new Tukwila Sounder Station, which opens to the public this Saturday. But due to popular demand, we will stay on the bus and keep moving. We will catch the F-Line going back from Renton Landing at 10:28 and arrive at Burien Transit Center at 11:18.

From Burien Transit Center, we will take a short walking tour of downtown Burien and Olde Burien, and probably take refreshment there. That will be the formal end of this informal meet-up.

Some of us will then go on a hike to Eagle Landing Park, about a mile west of Olde Burien. It is a somewhat steep hike, but all on well-used paths and stairs, so be sure to bring plenty of water.

Reminder: North Rainier Upzone Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the next Planning, Land Use, and Sustainability (PLUS) Committee meeting, 2pm, at Seattle City Hall. The committee will discuss some generally malign microhousing legislation, but the main event is discussion and a possible vote on the North Rainier rezone. You can click through the history of the legislation starting here.

This may be the meeting where this bill finally goes to full council, a significant milestone in itself. However, there are two important modifications currently under consideration:

  • An amendment by Councilmember Bruce Harrell to reduce maximum height at the Lowe’s site from 125′ to 85′ — reducing its potential to encourage growth or host something really great; and
  • An addition to the upzone of two blocks immediately south of Mt. Baker station. It is truly astonishing that parcels across the street from the station have made it this far into the process without more consideration in the upzone.

If you have strong feelings about this legislation, the best thing to do is show up a little before 2pm and sign up to speak. If not, the second best thing is to email the committee members (Mike O’Brien, Tim Burgess, and Nick Licata) and share your thoughts.

In Defense of Burien/Renton

Screenshot 2013-06-20 at 10.57.14 AM

When Sound Transit released its West Seattle/Burien/Renton conceptual study earlier this month, most of the discussion understandably centered on West Seattle. David Lawson sifted through the West Seattle options and found the hybrid that would make the most sense there, but dismissed Burien/Renton as “not a corridor where existing demand suggests a need for true high-capacity transit.” I agree that current 140 ridership is not spectacular, but the question of what “needs” HCT is a subjective one. The corridor is in desperate need of better transit right-of-way, ties together several adjacent areas with municipal enthusiasm for development, and is competitive with its peer projects.

ST’s study says the best of the Burien/Renton options would attract 42,000-51,000 riders. My simple attempt to parse the segment costs by distance suggests this segment would cost $2-3 billion. It’s in the ballpark of Central Link in both respects, although considerations of network effects and study years makes this comparison complex.

Potential All Along the Line

David is right that this proposal is more about potential then current ridership, but then there aren’t many South King corridors with existing robust all-day boardings. Meanwhile, this corridor has potential, west to east:

  • A modest town center in Burien.
  • A superior connection at TIBS between the Rainier Valley and its mall, Southcenter.
  • Dramatically improved movement through Southcenter (on which more later).
  • Robust development plans for Southcenter that will largely eliminate easy surface parking, add traffic generators of all kinds, and make the existing road network hopeless given that driving there is already painful.
  • A connection to Tukwila Sounder at one end of the new development, providing high-quality peak and event connectivity between the heart of Renton and Downtown Seattle, and between South King County and the Boeing plant. The time for trains to go from Renton to downtown through West Seattle is largely irrelevant given this connection. It will be superior or equivalent for the majority of riders: King St. to Renton TC, 19 minutes on Sounder plus about 4 minutes on Link, vs. 30 minutes plus traffic for the 143*.
  • Between downtown Renton and Tukwila, big box, car dealerships, light industrial, and office parks — not single-family neighborhoods.
  • An old-style suburban downtown Renton, with the imperfect-yet-walkable Renton Landing area beyond.

Flow Through Southcenter

Continue reading “In Defense of Burien/Renton”