New Xcelsior coach at Bellevue TC (Atomic Taco – Flickr)
New Xcelsior coach at Bellevue TC (Atomic Taco – Flickr)

This is an open thread.

75 Replies to “News Roundup: 140 Minutes”

    1. Malibu is one of the few places in SoCal where I would side with NIMBYs. Nothing should have been built north of PCH due to the extreme fire hazard. Density belongs to the south and east of Sunset, given the long distances involved in getting from the core of Malibu to Santa Monica or DTLA.

      SoCal NIMBYism is starting to crack, especially in parts of the city of Los Angeles. It’ll take a little while longer to spread from there, and there will be holdouts like Beverly Hills…

      1. At the very least SoCal needs to stop building things in fire prone canyons.

        It is probably one of those fundamental truths that the richer the residents of a community are on average the more local policies will tend toward NIMBYism.

  1. The thing that really makes Sound Transit’s proposed route 580 so nice as far as logistics goes is that it operates so close to Pierce Transit’s (PT will run this route) headquarters that there will be almost no deadhead time between the route and the bus base (When I go to Pierce Transit HQ, I just walk from the 512 P&R). Another advantage is that route 578, the Sounder shadow between Puyallup and Seattle, only runs during off-peak times, so extra peak 580 trips could simply turn into northbound 578 trips once the peak period is done. It would also make a lot of sense to interline route 578 with 580 during off-peak times as well, so when a southbound 578 arrives in Puyallup, it continues as route 580 to Lakewood and vice versa.

    The only bummer about this route is that it terminates at Lakewood station and doesn’t continue to Lakewood Transit Center. A lot of PT routes only go to Lakewood TC, and the only ST express bus that goes there is the 574. If route 580 were extended to Lakewood TC, it would, for example, make commuting from Stielacoom or around there much more feasible.

    1. Totally agree with your last paragraph. 512 and Lakewood Station are great if the goal is merely to serve as park and rides and have people drive to their buses. But if they want people to use local service to connect to regional expresses, they’re absolutely useless. 512 P&R is served only by the 204 and 300, Lakewood Station is served only by the 51 and 300. (Somehow, PT decided it was a fine idea to have the 206 just barely miss Lakewood Station.)

      Essentially in Lakewood, it’s as if local service and express service are two wholly separate entities, and absolutely zero thought was given to facilitating connections between the two.

      1. ST Express 594 terminates at Lakewood Station. And ST Express 592 (AM and PM- rush hours only) to and from Olympia also stops there. So do all Olympia IT buses.

        All make SR 512 Park and Ride

        All have good connections with Sounder, which also terminates at Lakewood Station. Just north of Lakewood, all stop at SR 512.

        But be careful (about a $10 cab ride worth) about difference between Lakewood Station and Lakewood Town Center. The 574 stops at SR 512, but not Lakewood Station. ST schedules and other information should note this more clearly.

        Neither 512 nor Lakewood Station or SR 512 have restrooms for passengers. 512 has port-a-potties- unless health department has been there lately. Problem can sometimes be taken care of re: Sounder having toilets. aboard.

        Prefer Seattle trip via ST 600-series because even though it makes no stops between 512 and Downtown Seattle, it still takes an unforgivable two hours to make a freeway trip.

        Problem is that both Hawk’s Prairie and Dupont P&R’s can each add ten minutes’ running time, due to distance of P&R’s and freeway, and also to red lights. On early trips, for zero passengers.

        The IT service features half that diversion time north side of Olympia- 10 min. faster to Sounder than 592. But mainly like IT better because it’s got a coffee and bathroom stop at the Anthem Cafe at the history museum.

        Then 6-minute streetcar ride to Freighthouse Square, and Sounder. Or the 574 for airport trip.

        One really good thing about now-permanent traffic jams- starting at 5AM on I-5 where every car from the coast east hits the freeway: pretty sure there’s a lot bigger constituency for Thurston ST membership than a few years ago.

        Just lie BART: Olympia or Everett, fast rail- or some decent bus lanes in the meantime- may not take a single car out of traffic. But it’ll see to it that hundreds of other passengers won’t be stuck in it.

        Another good point about sixty-mile long traffic jam, especially past the fort: nobody going legal speed will be tailgated at 70 mph. Including by the State Police with flashers off, indicating not on police business.


      2. Some sanity is certainly called for in deciding which of SR512 P&R, Lakewood Station, and Lakewood Transit Center to serve.

        Through express routes really shouldn’t serve anything more than the P&R and maybe Lakewood Station. Routes originating or terminating in Lakewood should serve the Transit Center and maybe Lakewood Station as well as the SR512 P&R.

        PT certainly needs to improve local service to both SR512 and Lakewood station. One option would be to extend routes terminating at Lakewood TC at one or the other.

        It could be worse, all of the express buses currently serving SR512 could be deviating to Lakewood TC.

      3. I think a good solution would be to have one extra Sound Transit route shuttling passengers between Lakewood TC and Sr. 512 Park and Ride during commute times. Two buses running at once could reliably come every 10 minutes.

  2. What if the greatest thing about the wonderful (not being sarcastic) neighborhood I live in is the beautiful city I live in, and the state with a lot of possibility and the country as soon as the Union Army retakes out Capital?

    You, Sam? Gated community is just fine by me. So long as the gate has a checkpoint on the same side as my community is on.

    And also speaking of I-5 thru Fort Lewis: there’s railroad track alongside to the west. Double track it and it’s set to go- soon as spur into downtown Oly, which goes by the brewery on its way to my favorite cafe gets upgraded.

    As soon as same army above retakes another capital. Glad there’s presently a lake full of deadly invasive snails between it and my neighborhood time being. Until then: NIMBY squared and cubed!


    1. And clarification: reason I like IT is that ST 592 is a blue and white slug. Also, of all ST buses, only the 574 terminates at Lakewood TOWN CENTER- bad thing to discover at 10 pm.


  3. Boren Ave is one of those “4-lane Death Roads” that needs to be ended sooner rather than later.

    1. Boren is heavily traveled, so there would be some severe opposition to cutting it down to one travel lane each way. I don’t know if Boren exactly fits the street of death moniker – traffic is very slow much of the day. At rush hour it can be backed up for blocks with cars heading for I-5, which would could worsen in a one-lane setup. The speed limit is already 30 with heavy signalization so cars don’t spend much time above 25mph, unlike 15th W or 23rd where cars can really get going.

      Boren does seem narrow in parts, but it is wider than a lot of other 4-lane streets because it has the 5th lane for left turn pockets at several intersections. Assuming Boren has 5 ~10′ lanes in those sections, then leaving 3×11′ lanes would allow for 17′ of roadway to be removed from car use. That makes room for a 2.5′ wide hard barrier (fences, concrete, etc.) and 6′ cycle track in each direction. That’s just one way to design it, back of the envelope.

      There are a lot of right-turning cars at several intersections (NB Boren to Howell for one) where there would be significant car-bike conflicts to resolve.

      1. 23rd is much more the classic “4 lame death road” profile. The 4 lanes present are fairly narrow. Motorists travel at high speed. The sidewalks are narrow and for a good portion of the ROW right up against the curb without so much as a parking/planting strip.

        23rd could very well diet down to 3 lanes without having much impact on traffic.

      2. 23rd is dieting down to 3 lanes when the reconstruction is done. Construction on John to Jackson starts in January (wow, so alliterative, very grammar). We’re supposed to get 1 lane each way, a turn lane, wider sidewalks, and maybe even better planting strips.

      1. There might be an opportunity to rework Denny once the tunnel portal project is over and there are some new street grid connections north of Denny across the current 99 corridor. I believe Harrison, Thomas, and John will all be rebuilt to become through streets to help relieve some of the pressure on Denny. Right now Denny really needs all four lanes.

        Again, like Boren, Denny doesn’t have the high speeds seen in other corridors because of the short, choppy block lengths, signals at every intersection, and extremely bad traffic for much of the day. The 8 has awful reliability right now; with only 1 traffic lane, I fear it would be almost worthless as a bus service.

    1. I’m hoping February but they haven’t said. Vote certification is in late November; I don’t know how far they can proceed without it. Then they have to negotiate a contract, which could take a month or two. Hopefully Metro has already started making a plan based on the city’s announced priorities. Getting it implemented right away means the city would have to rubber-stamp it; any chances would take further time. Then Metro has to write the schedules and hire the drivers. If it’s just filling in hours on existing routes, that should be easy, but it still takes a few weeks to hire and train people. The sooner the service starts, the less likely there will be any good reorgs because those take more time. Then the money has to actually start coming in; it could take a few months to accumulate to a meaningful amount. So it take a huge amount of work to pull off a “February surprise”, and Metro’s typical speed is more like June or September. But would Metro hold it back till the following service change if it wasn’t ready in February? That would generate disappointment and bad will among the public. So could it do it in the middle of a service season, especially if it’s just filling in hours on established routes? Metro has also talked about reducing the service changes to two per year, but I hope that wouldn’t mean we’d have to wait till September.

    2. “…SDOT goes on record proposing to use Prop 1 to split the C/D lines…”

      I just danced a little jig!

  4. Interesting article in this month’s Seattle Magazine called Is it Time to Bring Back Rent Control in Seattle? In the article, a Seattle City Council member says increased housing supply or increased density doesn’t lower rent costs.

    1. Of course it doesn’t if by “increase” he just means the small trickles we’ve had so far, delayed and constrained by zoning and long permitting processes and design reviews. Reverting rents to 2010 levels or 2000 levels would require several times more housing. And developers would stop building if rent decreased significantly [1], so somebody else (e.g., nonprofits) would have to step in to build and finance buildings.

      [1] But the odd thing is, landlords were still making a profit in 2000 and 2008 in spite of lower rents, and inflation has been low throughout. So the idea that they would lose their profit margin is bogus. They’re raking in a windfall now, and rolling back rents a few years would still keep them in business, or if not somebody would buy the buildings and take their place.

      1. You didn’t read the article. He is a she.

        “For her part, Seattle City Council member Sally Clark doesn’t think we’ll see a removal of the ban anytime soon and doesn’t buy the density solution. “The argument is that if there are enough cans of Pepsi, the price of Pepsi will come down,” Clark says. “It may work for Pepsi, but not for housing.” She and others point to Ballard as an example of the failed maximum-density theory, where rental rates (and vacancies) are at a citywide high despite increased supply.”

      1. Any new housing built beyond population growth will reduce rents somewhere, just not in Seattle. Cities are open systems competing for regional housing, and supply and demand does work. But there’s so little urbanity in our state, or even in our country, that demand is likely bottomless for the foreseeable future, limited primarily by lack of stock and bad policy. I think we’ll get more expensive regardless of what we do, we just have to choose what type of expensive we want. We can build with abandon and have millions more people fill a bustling, creative, expensive city, or we can put on the brakes and have a provincial, exclusive, expensive city. Rents will fall in South King County or Maple Valley, but Seattle’s trajectory is one-way at this point. Given those two general choices, I think we have to go with the former: unleash supply, build meaningful transit, subsidize the poorer among us, aggressively bring down construction costs we can control (parking, etc), and make townhouse-level density the lowest baseline we allow.

      2. Robert –

        Do you have any evidence that Sally’s statement is true? The experience of Tokyo suggests that indeed housing acts the same as any other product and that enough new supply will, in fact, reduce price.

        This article is a good primer and can direct you to deeper research:

        This is not to suggest that there are not other societal costs and considerations to a “density first” approach, but it definitely suggests that those who deny that the economic law of supply and demand applies to housing are wrong.

      3. Harold,
        I’m not sure Robert is saying the laws of supply and demand don’t apply to housing. I think he is pointing out, exceptions like Tokyo aside, that cities like Seattle rarely build enough new housing to cause prices to drop.

        The danger for Seattle currently is not so much “density first” but that those who fear change will try to freeze the city in amber like has happened in places such as San Francisco or Santa Barbara.

        Basic economics says that when housing in Seattle becomes a collectors item prices will skyrocket even more than they already have.

    2. Mike Orr, your statement about not buying a magazine shocks me. You realize you can read almost any article online for free. Bing the title, and there’s the article.

      1. As Emperor of the comments section you should set a good example by linking to the articles you cite, along with a summary of the part that’s relevant to your argument in case the site is down or the page is deleted or the reader can’t view it from her location or computer. It’s not my responsibility to go chasing down articles you use in an argument, or to check if a magazine I’ve never read has articles online, and I’m especially against unnecessary dependencies on search engines. I always link and summarize the articles I mention, except when I don’t remember where the article was, and in that case I don’t expect others to have read it.

    3. That Pepsi example is one of the dumbest economics comments I’ve ever seen from an elected official. It shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how business operate and how markets function. Clark seems to think Pepsi operates as if it is managed by some ex-Communist central planners. Any first year economics student can draw shifts in the supply and demand curves to show an increase in quantity and an increase in prices.

      Denying fundamental economics principles is no different than denying climate change science; ignoring the vast preponderance of scientific evidence and scholarly research to find one tiny example that “disproves” the entire theory. Just as the “it snowed in March so climate change is fake” argument is absurdly ridiculous, so is the “more apartments were built in Ballard and rent still increased so supply and demand is wrong” argument. Even worse is the argument that new housing supply is actually causing rent to increase. Try drawing that on a supply-demand diagram.

      Does anyone want to run for Council who believes in basic, mainstream economics?

      1. I have to agree, I’m really disappointed Clark is sounding like the John Fox crowd.

        Sadly there are a growing number of people around here who seem to believe that if the city stops all new development prices will go down.

      2. +1
        “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” — Upton Sinclair

      3. There is value in people living near eachother in cities — there’s value in being within the “Marchetti’s Constant” of a lot of things, by any mode of transportation (but more so for the most accessible modes), and big dense cities are therefore self-sustaining engines of productivity, value, culture, and whatnot because of it (loosely ripped from the pages of this blog and Jane Jacobs’ The Economy of Cities). This is something urbanists that oppose NIMBYs on development issues mostly believe. That there’s more value in togetherness than isolation. OK, well, then couldn’t development that brings a bunch of people together be part of a cycle of rising prices in a particular place?

        I’m not saying that stopping the development would make the prices stop rising — by the time anyone organizes to stop displacement in response to increasing prices the kernel of demand among some group of rich people has already been planted and if big development stops they’ll just buy all the small places. There’s really very little that can be done about it (even angry and occasionally destructive protests in SF haven’t been effective), and that isn’t what anyone wants to hear. But maybe there’s a point at which keeping a sufficiently isolated and small neighborhood isolated and small really does keep the money out.

    4. Interesting conversation re: rent costs. Young lady nurse presently living in a new building in Downtown Bellevue told me that she’d been curious about Ballard, but discovered that rents in Ballard were higher, but also that several condominiums she looked at were already shabby.

      Which accords a hundred percent with my experience of the takeover of the apartment that was my home for fifteen years. Owned by a fine man who had no corporate affiliation- he’s a professor- who honestly believed that no more than a quarter of a tenant’s income should go for rent.

      Until this fine man was forced to sell, the place was wonderfully managed, maintained, and tenanted for decades. Now? Due to worse changes than raised rent, wouldn’t live there free rent lifelong. Same as with Ballard itself.

      Before I’d discuss rental costs in the abstract, I’d demolish at least one soggy crate whose siding temporarily makes it look like a building.

      And most of all,regs that multifamily building ownership, where it’s not a member-owned cooperative, be limited to actual human landlords, whose business is capably managing nice places where good people can live their lives for money that their (often) lifetimes of hard work afford. Business-licensed for providing homes. Not for speculation.

      Mark Dublin

  5. So the past few weeks on Lake City Way have been hell. I’m a longtime 306/312 rider, and change post 306 removal has been way worse then I expected.

    It seems like the Monday after the shakeup, the traffic on LCW slowed to a crawl. I’ve never had day-after-day of clogged traffic waiting to get on I5 at the end of LCW. It’s now like this everyday.

    I now also get passed up by at least one fully packed bus each morning. I’m not sure what if anything can be done here, other then the addition of a few more 312 runs. But, I just needed to vent. My formally pretty reliable 30 minute commute to work is now a minimum of 45 minutes and sometimes an hour.

  6. 140 minute commute from Everett to Seattle? Good! It’s called negative reinforcement. Maybe this will teach people not to look for a home 5 time zones away from their job!

    1. Yes. Exactly.

      But if we aren’t going to widen the roads then we, as a collective government/people/what have you, need to go on a massive city building spree in south king county. Tukwila/Renton/Federal Way are massively under-built in terms of walkability and desirability. Just adding units to federal way won’t fix very much if you can’t walk/bike/bus to a grocery or entertainment space. I should point out I’m not asking for 15 story buildings every block. More like a uniform 4-7 story I.D./Caphill/Paris/London/Copenhagen style of city, human scale and dense enough to support more than just the car.

      1. Burien, Seatac, Tukwila, Renton, Kent, Auburn, and Federal Way are all designated as regional growth centers by the PSRC. So far Renton has seen most of the demand for new development in recent years. Kent has seen a lot of new development in the recent past and probably will pick back up in the near future.

        The question is what has each of these cities done in terms of walkability along with appropriate land use and zoning. Is the relative health of the redevelopment in Renton due to the city’s planning and infrastructure efforts? Or is the success mostly due to having a large land owner with deep pockets driving most of the new construction?

    2. It may also teach them that there is NO PLACE for them in the Seattle area for residential purposes. A great deal of the increase in freeway traffic over the past few years (even during the slump) seems to me to reflect the fact that many folks can no longer afford to live ‘close in’ whether they be home buyers or renters.

      As to PNW drivers and tail gating, I just spent a few days in Chicago and Milwaukee and can report that the drivers there are as good at tailgating as any PWN drivers. I suspect tailgating may be put down to the present state of our society and the me-first mentality that has been evolving over the past decade.

    3. With you on this one, Sam! When your MBY contains same number of people as Hong Kong and Calcutta combined- and none of the public transit of either city- it will be great to come shop at the fascinating exotic street markets.

      But you’ll be in luck on one score: Your back yard won’t need its own morgue for the electric rail line, like Mumbai does. All that will happen is that huge clouds of vultures will carry away motorists starved, suffocated, kidney-failed, or dead of rage-induced stokes.

      And some of these birdies will be so well fed they’ll grow big enough to remove cars too. Huge flocks will doubtless migrate all the way from India, where civilized advancements are reducing their food supplies so they have to find other places of business. Fact.

      Thanks for inviting every creature above, feathered or not, to join you to fight off threats like cottage homes and modern transit. Would still rather live there than present-day Ballard.


    4. @Sam – that’s easy for you to say, but if you work for an employer like Boeing that decides to randomly move you around between Everett and Renton, where exactly are you supposed to live to avoid that kind of a commute? You can’t just pack up and move every couple of months, when the boss decides to switch you over to a different work site.

    5. This is the worst kind of false logic. There literally isn’t enough space in Seattle for everyone to live there. I live in the suburbs because I have to, not because I want to. I hate commuting.

  7. That Nalley Valley Viaduct. I used to drive over the old one every day, and Even as someone who at the time loved freeways, I looked at the plans for the new one and did a HUGE WTF! They’re just decimating the nalley valley, and even 16-year old, minivan driving me could understand that. Building a forest of concrete pillars and about 17 unnecessary stretches of roadway….. Eegad.

    1. You’re looking at the glass half empty. The Nalley Valley viaduct is going to make an amazing High Line someday!

  8. On the HWY-167 expansion or finished connection.

    As someone who lives in auburn, and goes to tukwila with some regularity. Why is 167 soooo backed up from 1pm – 7pm. And while I realize that adding more lanes won’t, in the long run fix the problem. What will. Most of these drivers are people trying to get from somewhere in the valley back to puyallup/sumner/etc. What are we to do for them. They don’t live in dense Tacoma, they already live in the burbs.

    I’d throw my voice behind making 167 a toll roadway. Like simply $1 every time you use an on-ramp during peak direction in peak flow. Nothing crazy. Just some incentive to use the road less and make trips when only completely necessary.

    It would also seem to those who will shout transit! (and I’m one of you/us) that more busses, per say won’t really fix the problem cost-effectively. Most of the 167 user base is in low density suburbs. Places where you have to walk 1+ mile to reach a bus stop, and then, if you are lucky, wait 45min to 4 hours for the next bus. For instance, there is a bus line near my house, the 186/915 metro, but it runs so sparsely that it looses all functionality expect for a handful of commuters and the poor trying to make it around Auburn Way S (the main street in south Auburn) between the library, casino, doctors office, and grocery store. Like there are plenty of us living alone just this one road to make a bus work if it would just run every 30 mins. And not waste money going all the way to Enumclaw for 5 people.

    So back to the point, 167 traffic, not an easily fixable problem, but we really do need to find a way to improve people’s lives. The thing is a mess every day. And Armageddon on a concert night.

    1. Yes, they came to Rail~volution last year. The ones I talked to seemed with it on the importance of transit and walkaibility. The problems must be at the top of WSDOT, or the priorities it’s getting from the legislature.

      1. I would point the finger mostly at the Legislature and also auto-centric design standards that have evolved over the past several decades. Design standards and approaches are changing but it takes awhile to change the direction of a big ship.

    2. Does the WSDOT building in Olympia still have those lovely Highway with Butterflies artwork in the upper lobbies?

  9. Inner city IKEA in Hamburg wants more customers with cars. That particular IKEA store was the first inner-city / transit-oriented IKEA and became the most frequented IKEA in Germany from opening day. 90% of customers walk, bike, or use transit. A third of them use the delivery service. But now the 700 spots of the parking garage sit virtually unused.

    “The solution to the problem: ‘We want to inform our customers that … there is also plenty of parking available,’ says a Ikea spokeswoman.”

    1. Better solution: Expand the showrooms into the unused parking garage.

      You could do something like what they have at the Fremont Farmer’s market to start…

    2. I love machine translations.

      “Why are not the numbers of visitors. The are excellent according to own data, from a standing branch in Altona had become of the most visited in Germany, said Ikea CEO Michael Mette the “Handelsblatt”. The problem is rather the arrival of customers: 90 percent use public transportation to furniture shopping. Every third person also can send the device back home, instead of squeezing into his own car.”

      It almost sounds like a poem. Just add a few words: “They are excellent according to their own data.” (Sounds like Sam.) “90 percent use public transportation for their furniture shopping.” (Wow, definitely not in the US.)

      IKEA could also enclose the space and lease it to another company. Even one that has complementary customers to IKEA, so that if they go to one store they may drop into the other store too since they’re there.

  10. That KUOW page has a nice list of bus routes that would likely receive additional service if Prop 1 passes. Does anyone know of a more detailed list of roughly how many hours would be added to each route, or has that not been determined yet?

  11. With respect to the Stranger challenge, I note that the route was down the hill, from their Capitol Hill offices to the U district. No mention of who won coming back the other way. I suspect one of the car-sharing service users would have won that one.

    I’ve ridden up that hill from U district all the way to Seattle U. It’s no joke.

    1. I love these examples because they highlight the real-life transportation needs of regular people and how different modes can serve those needs. However, in this case the Stranger really set it up for the bikes to win (who goes out for happy hour several miles from the office anyways?).

      They went at rush hour, downhill, in decent weather conditions, and had no cargo and no attire constraints. Change some of those around and you’ve got a very different scenario, though perhaps one the Stranger writers would be less enthusiastic about actually doing (say, Queen Anne to SAAM at Volunteer Park at 8pm on a Saturday in February for a formal wedding reception. Or the reverse later at night).

    2. The Times had a similar “race” back in the Spring, from Ballard to Capitol Hill, with Uber coming in first and the bike tying for second. My thought at the time was that when I was 22 years old, I would have easily met the time that the bike contestant logged. But now that I’m 52, I could still make the ride, but with the climb up Capitol Hill from any direction, I probably would have come in either last or next-to-last in front of the bus rider.

      There’s probably too many variables there to make that a good test. But it does make for good reading.

    3. I made it once from the U-district to Capitol Hill (11th and Pine) in 29 minutes on a Pronto bike (my own bike is a bit faster than this). While obviously not as fast as going down the hill, even the climb up the hill still beats the #43 and #49, door-to-door (10-minute walk to the bus, plus a 10-minute wait for the bus to arrive, plus 20’ish minutes of riding adds up to about 40 minutes, total).

      Only when U-link opens, will it be possible to get from the U-district to capitol quickly without a lot of effort.

  12. Glad to hear we will extend the Rapid Ride C and D through downtown if this passes, but we ought to extend the D up to Northgate as well… or at least as far as far east as Aurora.

    The fact that the D and E come so close to each other on the north end but have no realistic transfer possibility is a waste. These are some of the few buses frequent enough to make transfers viable most of the day.

    1. Agreed. It seems to me like that (or extending the 40 to First Hill) would be significantly more beneficial than breaking the through-route. Separating the C/D would simply put more buses on the already-frequented Third Avenue, which is the single easiest place in the city to transfer; extending the D would actually enable more transfers. Or am I missing some obvious benefit of breaking the through-route?

      1. The main reasons people want the through-route broken are:

        – Reliability. The combined route is very long and has a ton of traffic bottlenecks and potential delays. Breaking the through-route would isolate Ballard riders from West Seattle delays and vice-versa.
        – Direct connections that aren’t dictated by the through route. That means Ballard-Pioneer Square/stadiums and maybe (maybe maybe maybe, as it’s been proposed ’round here but not indicated anywhere official) West Seattle-SLU. These connections are, at least in theory, an easy transfer away, though complaints about getting back to Ballard after late stadium events abound… and downtown-SLU service is far from fast and reliable (extending the C Line wouldn’t fix this problem generally, but it would at least add service, sort of similar to how extending the 40 to First Hill).

        I tend to agree with y’all — that there are probably more effective ways to spend a bunch of new money than breaking the through route. But I’m not totally sure of that.

      2. If we broke apart the routes and extend them outside of the downtown core as well (such as extending the D to Aurora or Northgate) I would have no problem with it.

        It just seems like there are lots of buses that go downtown now, we need better connections out of the core. Ballard has a growing center of gravity that could be better served by the N/S spines that reach out of the city… without requiring folks to go downtown first.

    2. Supposedly Metro wanted to terminate the D at Northgate in the first place but it didn’t have enough money to, so it sent the 40 there instead (because regular buses are cheaper than buying more hotdog red buses). So if money’s the case, here’s some money. But Seattle has a lot of higher-priority needs first. And the supplemental funding can only be used on operations, not capital. Metro would have to order more hotdog red buses for the longer route, and those would take a couple years to build. It can’t run regular buses on the D, at least not with any regularity, or it would run afoul of the RapidRide grant that requires a distinct brand. That was as I heard the original reason why the 15X is still in service, because Metro didn’t have enough hotdog red buses for all the peak demand. (There may be another reason for the 15X now, all the opposition to the time-sucking Uptown detour.)

      1. How much would it cost to add some reverse-direction trips on the 15X. Under the assumption that the buses are coming to and from Central Base and are deadheading the route anyway, why not put them into service? Given that most D-line passengers are really headed to and from downtown, and are only slogging down Mercer Street because they have too, I’ll but a reverse-direction 15X would get plenty of riders.

  13. Transit will do NOTHING to solve JBLM congestion. What causes the traffic is service members who are commuting onto the base from the suburban sprawl of south Pierce County and north Thurston County. They are all going to different places on the base that are far enough apart (read: miles) on base that there is ZERO incentive to run any transit service because it will not get used.

    Do not read me wrong: they are doing nothing wrong, there are simply more cars that go to and from the base than I-5 can handle and still be running at posted speed.

    1. Yep. But do we add lanes?

      It would seem adding lanes will just continue to grow the problem. More lanes and sprawl restrictions as well as a comprehensive plan for getting the base employees and service men/women to move closer would seem the best option.

      1. But herein lies the problem: They do not want to live closer. They want to live in a rural area where they can grow their families and have a bunch of dogs and hunt and have their extremely conservative views (disclaimer: Your political views may vary) and be left alone. Who is ANYBODY to tell them that they cannot pursue what they see to be as the American Dream™ by driving a lifted pickup truck that gets 5 mpg and spews black diesel smoke? This is the type of person we are dealing with.

        If you were to have an overarching grand master scheme of Park and Rides and service in the peak direction on five minute headways that connected to a massive on-base collection-distribution system, maybe you might put a dent in the traffic through the area. However, in my opinion, you are going to be very hard-pressed to do such a thing, because I’d be willing to bet heavily that none of these service men and women are going to give up driving because it inhibits their lifestyle.

        Spoiler alert: You and I are directly funding it with the income taxes that we pay to the US Government and our children and grandchildren are funding it with their future enslavement to whichever creditor decides to call up the notes. It is inevitable in my opinion.

      2. While I don’t think demomising people for having different opinions than you or I is helpful. I understand your message. And yeah, we would be fighting a culture in a sense. Saying, “welcome to JBLM, here’s how things work around here.”

        I’m also not saying we have to do more park and rides or whatever, I’m saying we have to end the expansion of sprawl. Through pretty direct no-develop zones. Not no build, people can still have their 50-acre houses and farms. Just no subdivisions. And NO more OFF/ON ramps.

        We tie the no-spawl to the annoying-but-needed extra lane and HOV lanes in the corridor. That *should* help ease the congestion and encourage denser redevelopment near or on base. Which sets the stage for providing real, meaningful, useful, not terrible, transit.

      3. A fair number of the active duty personnel and their families live on base. Demand for on-base housing far exceeds supply.

        A fair portion of the traffic jam at the JLBM gates is caused by civilian employees and contractors. They are probably easier to serve with transit than the active duty personnel. Still the spread-out nature of the base and worksites makes such a thing a challenge.

        To my mind working with the Army, Air Force, and civilian contractors to encourage carpooling and van pooling probably has the most chance of making any real dent in the traffic.

        As to what the base personnel prefer, that varies widely. While those who serve in the military and who work for the military as civilian employees skew more conservative than the population at large a wide range of viewpoints and preferences is still represented.

        There are a lot of people who work at the base who have decided to live in Lakewood, Steliacoom, DuPont, Tacoma, or Parkland precisely because they are relatively close by.

  14. It’s with great excitement I’m introducing a new and regular feature to Page 2: Transit Trivia Tuesday! My part is done now. I came up with the idea. Now I just need someone to post transit-related trivia every Tuesday.

  15. “small towns” — there’s small and then there’s small.

    I’m in a small town of 30,000. I went to college in a smaller town of 20000. That size still seems to be attractive…

    … however, the smaller the town gets, the less it has, and at some point you drop below the critical threshold. Of course, college towns may remain more attractive than non-college towns of similar size.

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