First Hill Streetcar Trams under Construction

This is an open thread.

89 Replies to “News Roundup: Welcome”

  1. So, the Mercer Island City Council doesn’t want the business of all the riders who would buy a latte or snack, or stop to eat at a restaurant or buy groceries, while waiting for their connecting bus? Is the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce paying attention to what their city council is up to?

    1. If Mercer Island wants parking, they can pay for it themselves! Blows my mind they would hold ST hostage like this, but knowing ST, they will cave to every City Council demand put forward. Their cringeworthy whining about potential tolls on I-90 wasn’t enough, apparently. Never mind Mercer Island is one of the richest communities in the state – let’s subsidize their parking too!

      1. I think it would be more reprehensible if a small town’s city council kowtowed to a large regional government agency at the expense of their constituent’s needs. No, they are doing exactly what they supposed to do which is fight for their own town’s local interests.

      2. If this small town didn’t have the accessibility to the mainland it has now it would be a hell of a lot more like Vashon.

      3. “That parking would then convert to City control [when the South Bellevue P&R reopens]”

        I’d like to change it to, “The City would then buy the parking.”

      4. Wow, another snarky Mercer Island link.

        At it’s current state, parking at the Mercer Island park and ride after about 7:15am is extremely difficult. It is, on average, completely full by that time. Who fills it? Off islanders….

        I have, on many occasions, sat at the intersection SE 27th st and 80th Ave SE and watched car after car after car get off of I-90 and head straight into the park and ride. One day I counted 17 cars in a row get off the highway and into the park and ride…

        I see no problem with the City of Mercer Island making it a priority for Mercer Island residents having guaranteed parking in their own city. MI does not have a very good bus network, they just don’t. If Islanders seek to use mass transit to get off the Island than they will need to drive to get to it. It is INFURIATING when the only available (see all day) parking is taken by Eastside residents too lazy to use their own park and rides. (that last sentence wasn’t very nice now was it?)

        For the record I live in Fremont/Wallingford, but snarky intolerant view points just make my head explode. It does not open for a thoughtful dialogue.

      5. There are two ways to look at P&Rs. The traditional way here is that they’re part of the transit service so they should come out of the transit budget. The other way is typical in the east coast, that they’re extraordinary city demands so the cities should pay for them if they want them, because the benefit of the train station alone is self-evident.

        Transit budgets are severely limited and come far short of reaching our transit needs or ridership potential. (Compare Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, which have much more transit service and much more ridership.) So paying for a P&R out of transit dollars comes at the expense of much-needed routes and frequency. It’s time for the cities to step up and take responsibility for the P&Rs they want, and to treat Link and Sounder as assets to be utilized rather than as liabilities to be mitigated against. (The P&Rs are paid by transit “mitigation funds”, the same as I-90’s sound walls.)

      6. @CP: Let MI have its residents-only P&R… by building it itself. Or a P&R open to everyone for a price. Telling the regional agency to build a residents-only P&R is nonsense.

      7. I see no problem with the City of Mercer Island making it a priority for Mercer Island residents having guaranteed parking in their own city.

        I don’t either. They should use some of their ample money to purchase land and construct their own P&R, and set their own rules. They shouldn’t demand, or get, special treatment from ST that no other municipality receives.

      8. @djw:

        Yeah see here the problem with your view point is not that everyone on Mercer Island is rich. Seems like a lot of people on this blog have some old, deep rooted grudge against the island based completely on assumptions or what they can google…

    2. Considering the affluence and entitlement of Mercer Island residents, I doubt the city council or its residents gives a dang about those who live off the Island or are just passing though on those buses.

      But I’m not shocked to see this happening. Imagine if some other city tried this. Like Lynnwood. Shoot, everyone else is tickled to be getting a Link station. Shoreline is rolling out the red carpet for theirs.

      1. To be fair Mike B, there is PLENTY of affluence and entitlement in Seattle and Bellevue.

        Also, why should they care?

    3. Can ST move all the dollars, planning, and buses to South Bellevue?
      Transfer P&R to MI now, and just build the most basic possible station on Mercer Island?

      If I understand the plan of record, HOV lane access to Bellevue way is supported in all directions.

      1. Why build a station on Mercer Island at all? They don’t want to pay for transit infrastructure, they don’t get transit infrastructure for free.

      2. You have to think about how people in Issaquah are going to get to downtown once Link is finished. With the express lanes taken over by the train, running a direct bus downtown in general-purpose traffic lanes is asking for trouble. Similarly, truncating the bus at South Bellevue P&R would entail a significant route deviation that would add several minutes to the trip. Mercer Island is the logic place for such a transfer point.

        The problem, of course, is if the 554 is going to be truncated to Mercer Island, will Issaquah residents simply abandon the 554 and drive directly to the train instead, so as to eliminate the transfer? At least on weekdays, limited parking at Mercer Island will greatly limit the number of people who do this. But if people headed to work very early in the morning, before the parking fills up, decide to drive directly to the train, in the name of avoiding the transfer, it would impact the number of parking spaces for Mercer Island residents.

        A bigger problem is on weekends, when the train stations will have no shortage of parking capacity, will enough people continue to ride the 554 to or from Eastgate or Issaquah to keep the route viable? Theory dictates that a route truncation that shortens running time should boost frequency. However, if frequency is strictly based on what’s needed for 60-foot articulated buses to meet capacity needs, the result is that the route truncation means less frequency, not more, and, ultimately, a potential death spiral.

    4. Passing along the thoughts of Mercer Island Deputy Mayor Grausz re both the Bus/Rail Integration project and the P&R issue. This is from a mass mailing letter to his constituents.

      —————————-

      1. Trains, Buses and Automobiles: although the first Sound Transit light rail train will not roll through Mercer Island until 2022 or 2023, decisions are being made now that will greatly impact how this will work for Islanders. Of immediate interest is what is called the Bus/Light Rail Integration Project under which Sound Transit and Metro are proposing to turn certain Eastside buses (primarily from Issaquah) on Mercer Island so that passengers can utilize the trains between Mercer Island and Seattle for that portion of their ride. While this was not part of the original light rail plan, the proposal makes economic and environmental sense as it means not having buses that are expensive to operate caught in slow bridge traffic emitting pollutants into our air while a train going between the same two points is passing them. Offsetting these benefits are our having more buses on Mercer Island during peak commuting hours, having to create a turn around route on Mercer Island for buses, finding places for buses to park while waiting for passengers, and dealing with increased pollution from waiting buses.

      First, however, we have to put this in perspective. Even after this is implemented, the total number of buses on Mercer Island during a day will actually be about the same as or less than we now have as some existing buses, such as the 550, are discontinued entirely once light rail begins. While that does not eliminate the impacts of this project, it does mean that Mercer Island is not going to be turned into a bus base or anything even close to that.

      So far, Sound Transit and Metro have suggested three options for bus turnaround routes, all of which have serious downsides. One option would put a rotary at the corner of North Mercer and 77th Ave. SE, which would mean having to remove two existing homes. A second option would instead put a rotary at the corner of 77th Ave. SE and Sunset Highway, which would mean losing part of the Outdoor Sculpture Gallery and creating a significant barrier between the 77th Ave. SE light rail station access point and Town Center. The third option would route the buses through Town Center on SE 27th St. and 77th Ave. SE, creating the potential for significant traffic congestion. The City has already started to look at other options and will spend several months before deciding whether there is, in fact, an acceptable way to do this.

      The only time period during which Metro would actually have to park buses on Mercer Island would be during the afternoon peak period as the buses wait to pick-up rail passengers coming from Seattle. At all other times, the buses would be on Mercer Island only as long as it takes to discharge and/or pick-up passengers. Even so, we have made it clear that we do not want buses being parked on multiple streets and instead strongly favor limiting bus parking to North Mercer Way. As to pollution, Metro’s policy is that bus drivers not let their engines idle while parked; that is a policy that we need to insist be adhered to.

      Please remember that bus/light rail integration will not happen until light rail begins operating at least 8 years from now. Consequently, we have time to make sure this gets done correctly.

      2. Commuter Parking: the City Council has made it clear to Sound Transit that we will not even consider the Bus/Light Rail Integration Project unless Sound Transit also solves the need for dedicated commuter parking. We will not benefit from light rail if we are unable to use it. After many years of refusing to consider dedicated parking for Islanders, Sound Transit is finally relenting but not as to the existing Park and Ride. Instead, they are proposing a new Park and Ride that would eventually only be accessible to Islanders.

      The problem with a new Park and Ride has always been to find available land. Right now, Sound Transit is studying what it would take to add parking capacity to the Community Center parking lot, most likely by expanding the lot further to the north (without impacting the Pea Patch). All of us understand the community impact of doing this as well as the need to solve the resulting traffic consequences. I am encouraged, however, by Sound Transit finally being willing to work with us to solve the commuter parking issue.

      3. Town Center and the Mercer Island Center for the Arts: another consequence of light rail will be that living in our Town Center will be very attractive to persons working in Seattle or Bellevue. As a result, I fully expect to see significant additional development pressure on our Town Center in the next several years. That is why the Council is revising our Town Center zoning and development rules to ensure that the Town Center we end up with is one that works for Islanders and can be a model for responsible urban development.

      1. Thank you for sharing.

        What a bigoted letter, I can’t believe those entitled and affluent people voted for a Mayor like this! Really reveals the truth on the matter doesn’t it…

      2. I certainly share the mayor’s opposition to building another parking lot next to a light rail station on land that has far higher and better potential uses. Let us celebrate that common ground.

        We just happen to disagree about how to make sure the existing parking is enough. The mayor wants it limited to Mercer Islanders. I want it to be priced to clear the market. Perhaps there is some happy medium, where a section is limited to Mercer Islanders, but Mercer Island pays for the cost of running the program, including enforcement. If there isn’t enough parking, raise the price.

    1. Thanks, Sam. Interview ought to be posted very large on bulletin boards at every Metro base, and in Local 587 News Review. And also +A lot cubed on Facebook.

      Mark

  2. Caught on cam. 7 gang member surround two innocent young men at a CTA train platform earlier this week, then pull out a machete and start attacking them.

    http://abc7chicago.com/news/7-charged-in-cta-brown-line-machete-attack/301518/

    Question. The two were just minding their own business. The train station was well-lit and had security cameras. My question is, should people who have to take public transit very late at night carry some sort of protection like pepper spray? If a friend of yours was new to taking public transit and got off work at midnight and they asked your advice, what would you tell them?

    1. Woman shoots man in face at Kent Starbucks

      http://mynorthwest.com/11/2566541/Woman-shoots-man-in-face-at-Kent-Starbucks

      Question. The man was just minding his own business. The Starbucks was well lit and had security cameras. My question is, should people who go to a suburban Starbucks in the middle of the afternoon carry some sort of protection like pepper spray? If a friend of yours was new to going to Starbucks and got off work at 3:00pm and they asked your advice, what would you tell them?

      1. Oooh, sweet burn. Touché. You got me! Crime happens everywhere. ‘Cept one thing. This isn’t a coffee blog. It’s a transit blog. So barman, is that what you would really tell a first time transit user friend who will be getting off work at midnight? You would reply sarcastically to them? S… happens and you can’t do nothin’ about it?

      2. Yes s*** happens and you can’t do much about it. Terrible things happen every single day in Albany Park, Chicago on and off the train platform. It’s just as dangerous walking down the sidewalk.

      3. I believe the details of this case were a “domestic dispute” (unclear whether it was bf-gf or a cash transaction).

        So other than a stray bullet, it’s not really something that would involve the average citizen like a robbery or rampage.

      4. Sam and barman, along with a lot of similar video footage worldwide now, real message is that a security camera is only as good as constant human attention to the screen and swift and effective response at the other end of the wire.

        Which would be a lot better, cameras or not, if transit assigned many more sworn police officers to the work, under commanders with authority and motivation to ensure their presence in machete range or closer. Short knife is deadly too.

        With enough manpower also available to handle inevitable outbreaks at Starbuck’s as well, especially with customers who first experience automatic espresso machines better left at all night gas stations. That’s real purpose of all that military hardware!

        Mark

    2. don’t play with a smart phone. be cognizant of one’s surroundings. don’t look like a victim. Basic first grader street smarts stuff.

      1. Eh, it didn’t sound like basic first-grader stuff would have necessarily helped, outnumbered and probably cut off from any plausible escape before any danger was obvious. For that matter, apropos to the Chicagoan ABC affiliate’s (whose call sign IIRC is WLS) comment section concealed carry (a big issue around Chicago right now, since the city’s ban was struck down) probably wouldn’t have helped them either unless they were a lot quicker to pull a gun than would generally serve in civilization.

  3. What if we oppose density until there is a concrete transit plan and identified opportunities to fund it? Otherwise, density will continue while transit flounders and our city becomes unlivable due to terribly underbuilt and underfunded transportation.

    I guarantee you that if you tied increased development with increased transit, you would have developers beating on the doors to the respective government agencies demanding them to grow transit. It would be a win-win for our city.

    1. > What if we oppose density until there is a concrete transit plan and identified opportunities to fund it?

      Then you get Mountain View.

      > I guarantee you that if you tied increased development with increased transit, you would have developers…

      …building the absolute largest they could under whatever building codes exist, just like now, because prohibiting all forms of construction is likely unconstitutional and would never pass besides.

    2. As a Ballardite who sat through a community meeting with a rep from DPD on microhousing, one of the issues brought up was about the bus cuts, lack of light rail, etc. in Ballard. I told the DPD rep afterwards that, I am generally supportive of microhousing, but folks like me who are on the fence or supportive will be grabbing their pitchforks if Ballard does not get more transit. If ST3 has a Ballard light rail option on it and is on the ballot for 2016, this would lessen the pitchforks and torches crowd.

      1. MDNative,

        Unfortunately, ST3 will not pass; the folks outside Seattle got what they want in ST2 and will not vote for “subsidies” for Seattle. You need to start demanding that the City step up and start funding its transit itself. Throw curtain tolls on all the freeway ramps to and from the U-District and anywhere near downtown to help fund it. Put a per stall tax on all non-retail commercial parking, including “free” employee spots to add to the funding.

        These are taxes which the city can enact on its own without running into property tax limitations, and they’d mostly be levied on suburban commuters who refuse to use transit.

      2. 1. I’m pretty sure that’s Anandakos, mis-logged.

        2. Yes, he’s heard of it. That’s why “subsidies” is in irony-quotes.

        3. He’s right.

      3. “the folks outside Seattle got what they want in ST2”

        What’s this I hear in Pierce and Snohomish counties? “Extend Link to Tacoma and Everett now!!” It doesn’t sound like they got what they wanted in ST2. Issaquah and Federal Way also want Link.

        It’s actually the other way around. I, as an urban transit fan, think ST3 is less critical than ST2, because ST2 reached the most critical places of the U-District and Northgate and Bellevue and Lynnwood and Des Moines.

      4. What’s that you hear? Mostly the clamorings of internet obsessives, overzealous politicians, and the fantasists at the Puget Sound Spread ‘Em To The Fringes Council.

        But apparently you’re deaf to the rational decision-making processes of real voters with real senses of where they really move about in their lives, and how utterly the proposed horrible-access-penalty sprawl-rail fails to comport with that. These voters will take one look at a proposal that doubles their sales tax apportionment, for the sake of returns with excruciatingly obvious diminishment, and they will vote “hell, no!”

        Pretty fucking sad to be back to square one in 2016 (or 2020), but that seems to be the path that our professional delusionals intend to follow.

        Anyway, Mike, if you really think Seattle’s “critical” mobility problems will have been solved by the five barely-urban stations in ST2, then I’ve been wrong about you for years. You have absolutely no idea how transit-enabled urban movement works.

      5. I didn’t say it would be solved. I said that those lines are the most critical ones. Taking the 44 from Wallingford or Ballard to U-District station is better than not having Link at all, and we really did need to focus on U-District – downtown, U-District – Capitol Hll, and Seattle – Bellevue first. Northgate and Lynnwood are bringing a large number of advantages that no other suburban extension can equal. If there had been a proposal for several Seattle lines before any suburban lines I would have voted for it and said it’s a great and effective thing, but that was never politically possible. Maybe if Seattle Subway had started in the 1980s it could have done that, but those days are long gone, and it was harder to convince the public of high-quality transit then.

      6. Mike and the horde, would a 44 express run with the same stops as Seattle Subway’s proposal of Ballard-UW (with a few more stops in between beside the 4 stop/A4 plan) make any sense during peak hours? Or would that not save much in terms of time?

      7. I think a 44X would have a lot of potential, Metro, if anything, seems to be moving in the opposite direction, favoring a consistent service pattern over peak-only express service. For instance, the 48X is on the chopping block, even though its trips are quite full.

      8. The 44 is pretty much the dictionary definition of a bus line so terrible as to change almost nobody’s calculus even once it is deemed a “Link feeder”.

        From Ballard, the only time 44->Link would be remotely useful would be for trips to Roosevelt or to Capitol Hill, and in the latter case only well outside of rush hour, and only if headed to a destination in the immediate vicinity of the Capitol Hill station. For Northgate, downtown, South Seattle, SeaTac, the sub-optimal 40 will remain appreciably better than anything involving the 44. Ditto for First Hill, the C.D., much of south Cap Hill, and even Broadway for the many hours a day when east-west on 45th is a shitshow.

        So no, it’s not all that helpful on a daily basis. Which shouldn’t come as a shock — it’s a single wide-spaced line far from the median axis of a 3-dimensional city.

        And no, a 44x would be of little benefit. The last round of stop consolidations got rid of the very worst-placed stops, and while the route’s propensity to attract bag ladies and bike-rack fumblers and other assorted slow boarders is part of the frustration, those delays pale in comparison to the effects of traffic, dozens of primary cross streets, myriad signals, traffic, literal bottlenecks (i.e. actual narrowing of the street to a sub-bus-standard lane), traffic, zigs, zags, highway ramps, left-turners, traffic, and traffic. That it takes 17 minutes to go just over 3 miles even late at night, when the streets are abandoned, should tell you everything. That it can take 30-40 in the peak should tell you the rest. It isn’t about stop spacing.

        I doubt you’ll even see Wallingforders trade their laborious one-seat 16s for the risks and the unpleasantness of a 44-Link connection. The 44 is truly that terrible.

        Maybe you were exaggerating your own opinion earlier, Mike, when you claimed the sprawl elements of a hypothetical ST3 were more “critical” than any potential urban elements. But I think a part of you truly believes what you implied: that sheer distance supersedes quality, access, or utility. That it’s more important to enable hypothetical trips from Mountlake Terrace to Paine Field than the real trips that people in urbanized areas make half a dozen times a day. That nominal “transit to everywhere” — no matter how geometry-defyingly pointless — should take precedence over the sort of effective intermodal three-dimensional coverage of urbanized areas that is the definition of “transit” in every single fucking place where “transit” isn’t a dirty word.

        Here’s what I know: Mobility in Seattle is crap. We’re about to vote on the Rasmussen-Cruickshank Amendment To Ensure That Metro Never Gets Any More Useful Ever. ST2 will barely put a dent in the mobility disaster that is this city. And flights of fancy about a revived downtown Everett populated with people wishing to commute to skyscrapers in Lynnwood will cause ST3 to go down in flames.

        Start thinking about urban function, urban coverage, urban access, and urban funding. Now. Because the suburbs will do fine with their strip malls and their park-and-rides. It’s time for the city to start dealing with the truly “critical” on its own.

      9. A 44X? Where would it go? How would it work? The old 46, running on 40th east of 8th NW, functioned as a pseudo 44X for Ballardites, but a 44X serving more of the important stops on the Market/46th/45th route wouldn’t save much time at all by eliminating stops, since it would be stuck in the same horrific peak traffic. The only way that would make any sense would be to get a bus lane by taking away street parking, and good luck with that. When I lived near 8th NW and Market, I thought the 46 saved me probably ~5 minutes on average over a similarly timed 44. I’d support bringing that back, but it’s weak tea for the E-W mobility issues on that corridor.

    3. Seems to me can move to a “clustered” density rather than a ubiquitous model if we implement fast regional transit like we’ve done with Sounder.

      You can have lots of downtowns, linked in a Density Archipelago. As you move further out, less density. Further in, more density.

      This would also let more more live in density at lower costs and at the same time enjoy those facilities like major employment centers and sports arenas that can really only be built in one place.

      1. Seattle itself is clustered density, unlike the continuous density in Chicago and San Francisco et al. The suburbs are all about clustered density — only in their downtowns and a few other areas. So unless the policy changes (which I wish it would), that’s what you’ll get.

        A half-hourly Sounder could do what you’re talking about. Peak-only Sounder is not enough for urbanish or car-free living. And it’s only feasable out to Kent or Auburn. Pierce County is too pro-sprawl and anti-density to change much from what it is now. Only the city of Tacoma has some hope, and Sounder is irrelevant to that because of its long detour and out-of-the-way Tacoma stations.

    1. Of course it’s damaging. Did you notice that it touts the “partnership” between Amtrak and the states on routes less that 750 miles. That’s a hoot; it’s only a “partnership” in that Amtrak operates the trains paid for in full by the states. PRIIA mandated the cessation of “subsidies” for routes less than 750 miles in length over a five year period. There may be a little residue this year, but in three and a half months they’ll be gone for good except for the costs of the national reservation system. “Partnership” my ass.

      Then, it mandates that Amtrak come up with a plan for “profitability” on the long distance routes. Well, with the possible exception of the Empire Builder and Southwest Chief, they’ll never be operationally profitable, because of the high crew costs.

      Yes, wingers, they are a national luxury item. They provide some little bit of public transportation for places in the country too thinly populated even for the regional airline subsidies to support. They provide people who fear flying and are unable to drive with a means to travel. And they offer lots of people a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the vast expanses of the west without the hassle of driving. These are such impossibly horrible things that they must be cast out of the national books so that Mitt Romney’s and George Bush’s “base” can have more tax cuts.

      1. I was assuming it wouldn’t be good … but I have spent little time studying the hows and whys Amtrak is the way it is.

      1. They have shares owned by BNSF and some junk bond salesman in Pennsylvania, and thus as with any publicly traded company they have to issue a shareholders report by law. You can find their annual report online if you look.

  4. Seattle’s TIGER grant request for the Northgate Bike/Pedestrian bridge was denied this morning.

    as Publicola writes …

    Without the $15 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, the city’s $5 million matching funds go away and Sound Transit’s $5 million won’t be locked in to the bike/ped project. The city has until July 2105 to come up with the money.

    1. Well, yeah, but we got a cool pedestrian tunnel for who-knows-how-many dollars UNDER A TWO LANE STREET that already has signalized intersections. So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.

  5. The lead photo reminds me that we’re overdue for testing of the First Hill Streetcar. Does anyone know when the cars will arrive and testing begin? Are we still on track for a November 2014 opening or has that slipped?

    1. those photos are like from a week ago.

      FHS1 is ready and being shipped … so testing will probably start in NOV … but I have no idea how long it will take to ship them here from the Czech Republic.

      The photo shows FHS2/3/4

      FHS5/6 + SLU4 will be sent over here for assembly along with any others purchased (Broadway extension needs 1 more and I do not know about the CCC but I would imagine that both SLU and First Hill Streetcar will require at least 1 if not 2 extra trams.

  6. I cannot for the life of me understand how 2nd Ave is now “improved.” They have completely taken away all curbside pickup for every carpooler downtown on 2nd Ave. That is absolutely asinine, considering it was replaced with a northbound bike lane that already exists on 4th. Nevermind the fact that 2nd ave bikers use the traffice lanes anyways due to the grade and speeds.

    This was a huge mistake, IMO.

      1. Says someone who is on 2nd Ave every day of his working life.

        Again, why are carpoolers the ones getting screwed over here? We could have achieved the same results for bikers by shifting the bike lane to inside the parking/pick up lane and adding the bike signals. There is absolutely zero logic or reasoning for northbound bike traffice on 2nd Ave.

      2. your convenient dropoff point is not more important than bicyclists not being killed by left turns.

        Have your carpool swing around the block to drop you off.

      3. @Charles actually, I’m a fan of leaving parking in place next to the bike lanes. Parking makes for a great steel barrier between moving cars and bikes, at least between intersections. It’s unfortunate that they remove this steel barrier during peak hours – the exact times it’s needed most – in the name of keeping an extra lane for cars.

        To be clear about the current setup (because as a frequent 2nd Ave user it took me 3 days to figure this out): the left car lane along 2nd is a parking lane. This parking lane converts to a traffic lane during commute hours.

      4. Carpoolers are 9-5, for work only. Bicycling is 24 hours for work and everything else. And why can’t carpoolers meet at one of the P&Rs rather than driving to downtown? I don’t mind leaving parking spaces in place, as long as it doesn’t prevent transit lanes or bike lanes. For instance, it’s the street parking on 45th and Aurora and Elliot that’s preventing full-scale BRT, because there’s not enough room to add transit lanes and leave the parking lanes alone, and converting two traffic lanes to transit lanes would leave way too little traffic capacity.

      5. I don’t advocate for street parking for its own sake – it’s absolutely not worth the travel lane space to store personal vehicles if we have a better use for it*. But I strongly, strongly advocate for a barrier between fast moving cars and bikes that’s solid enough to stop a car. Rather than waste space installing jersey barriers everywhere, parking between a bike lane and traffic is a good dual-use solution.

        * this is almost never another lane of car traffic

      6. Because, Mike Orr, some people are actually required to have cars as a function of their job. People like my carpool partner. This has a benefit that it allows me to to not drive nor spend extra money on transit. Hooray! One less car on the road.

        Charles B, it isn’t about convenience, it is about the fact that there literally are no more drop off points available. All of 2nd Ave is now unavailable. All of 3rd Ave is bus only with no stops during peak hours. 4th Ave is dominated by parking and valets. 5th ave has no stops available. 1st Ave requires you to sit in nightmare traffic and risk your life to make an unprotected left hand turn.

        Next time, learn what you are talking about before you posting condescending nonsense.

      7. There probably are drop-off points on east-west streets, ‘eh? Given the orientation of downtown Seattle, where so many bus routes need to be north-south and car drivers can be take more flexible routes, that’s what we should encourage.

      8. Anyway, if you’re blaming the uphill bike lane for the loss of parking/drop-off space you’re probably barking up the wrong tree. An one-way downhill bike lane with an adequate door-zone buffer of a parking lane is hardly narrower than a two-way lane. Swapping the bike lane and parking lane with the same widths was never a real option because the old bike lane wasn’t nearly wide enough and anyone with a lick of sense either (a) rode in the general purpose lane (b) rode on 5th, 1st, or 3rd instead, or (c) didn’t bike downtown. The inadequate width of the old lane would have been magnified if it was stuck between a row of parking and a curb, allowing cyclists no flexibility to maneuver around all-too-common obstacles.

      9. So encouraging carpooling is barking up the wrong tree?

        E/W streets are great, except that they require ridiculous amounts of left hand turns in order to get back to where you start.

    1. Signs/stripping in front of my building on 2nd indicate a 3 min load and unload, and they are being used. When all parties (picker-upper, picker upee) get the swing of it, does it really take more than 3 minutes?

      1. The signs also state no stops from 6-9am and 3-7pm. So yeah, for commuters, that is a bit of a problem.

    2. Might be worth looking over at the Seattle Bike Blog for comments on why this bikeway was a good idea. It is not reasonable to expect bicyclists to bike up to 4th in order to travel northbound. We all know the hills in Downtown Seattle are formidable – this is especially an issue when you’re on a bike. If a biker is traveling north to Pike Place or Belltown, forcing them to travel up a steeper/taller hill is not a good option.

      And though it may not be perfect, a big reason behind this is to prevent bicyclists from, you know, dying. If that’s not a good reason, I don’t know what to tell you.

    3. Bus lanes* and protected bike lanes share a certain important characteristic – they both support forms of transportation denser than cars. Without a doubt, implementing them on a busy street will reduce car capacity, but it is a loss calculated to increase the ROW’s total capacity and ease congestion, ultimately for cars as well. Incremental improvements to an individual piece of a bus or bike network generally doesn’t immediately make a massive change in mode choice. These things take time and perseverance. Obviously your car is denser than the standard SOV, but most don’t carpool. The bike lane is a positive step in increasing bike usage in our dishearteningly congested core.

      Now, I’m thinking, maybe the above bit about denser modes was obvious to most readers of this blog, and what Possibly Ignorant was really calling into question is whether the the bike lane will ever get enough usage to justify the limitations it places on loading zones like the one he used to use. I clearly think it will get enough usage, though all I have are anecdotes in support. Being cycling is a large part of my life, it often creeps into conversations wherever I go. In Seattle, people often volunteer that they would like to cycle but don’t due to safety concerns. It’s never the weather. Every once in a while I hear the hills. As far as hills go, it simply increase the barrier to entry because you need to train up a bit on flats. As far a safety goes, I have nothing good to say. Even as a very experienced cyclist, I know it’s just a matter of time before I get in a serious accident. The new setup on 2nd is the first time I can say this is a road designed for cyclists. Even with the left turns not quite sorted out, I felt very safe one it. When there is a real network of protected bike lanes, I believe they will be heavily used.

      *I refuse to call them BAT lanes. It sounds like it’s reserved for bat mobiles or like it’s likely covered in guano.

      1. Often you can skip most of the hills by finding the steepest hill. Then it’s only one or two bloocks up, and the rest is flat.

        Also, 10th Ave E is less steep than it appears, and with Lakevew Blvd you can entirely eliminate the hill between Roanoke Street and Pine Street. The biggest difficulty is Phinney Ridge; I haven’t found a way to get from 65th to the Ship Canal without a long hill.

  7. I know that the City Council want’s to run the SLU streetcars to 5th/Jackson as the SB portion of the CCC line overlap … but that’s not going to work. The track should have had a double-crossover in the intersection of 6th ave. Unfortunately it does not. This means that any tram reversing direction will have to go all the way to the yard lead at 8th ave.

    UNLESS

    They decide to make the center lanes of Jackson St. from 5th-Maynard Tram Only. Otherwise the trams will have to reverse direction IN traffic which is not going to work out well for anybody.

    Note: this is why through-running the trams actually is a good idea (avoids this issue).

    Another issue will be the car barn.

    SLU will be stretched to capacity w/4 trams.

    FHS can hold 8? and that would be pushing it. So where do the extras stable for the night? A third Car Barn? or can the FHS one be expanded (not sure of where the city mx trucks will go then)

    1. I bring the car barn up because if a 1st ave line to Seattle Center is built … that means more streetcars than just the 16 they are now planning on having. so we need a REAL yard like Link.

      1. They could extend tracks down past the stadums on 1st and put another yard down there to serve the LQA/Uptown branch.

        they probably need to install a few more pocket tracks in the center lane on Jackson to facilitate turning around.

    1. The mezzanine, used for almost nothing other than art.

      It still bugs me that we waste this space. Why can’t ST at least lease out some space to a coffee vendor or some snack machines?

      It would better to have ANYTHING else useful in this space.

  8. Y’all see the SDOT blog post? Looks like they’re going to be supporting left turns from the bus lane on NB 1st onto Denny, and opening it during the morning peak. Should be a minor improvement for QA, Magnolia, and Ballard-bound routes.

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