I encourage thoughtful readers who live in immediate area of likely U-Link service changes to apply to serve on Metro’s sounding board. I have no idea what changes Metro is planning, but I did serve on the sounding board for Southeast Seattle reorganization in  2008-9 and found it to be a rewarding experience.

In that process, staff presented several service options and asked for feedback about them. Although the sounding board didn’t win every battle, it prevailed in many of these binary choices. Its input reflected the lived experience of the board about the way that people use transit in the area.

If you live on Capitol Hill or near Montlake, and live and breathe the route planning principles that STB staff writers go on about, then obviously I think you’d be a great candidate for the board. Even if you’re not sold on STB’s values, a knowledgable reader familiar with the principles of transit planning, and with vision beyond the specific routes that they ride, would be an asset to the process.

15 Replies to “Apply for the Sounding Board”

  1. As a UW student, Ballard resident/employee, I can say that I sincerely hope the presence of Link forces punctuality on the 44. Running to 8th and Market to miss a bus that shows up a minute early and then waiting for the next bus to be eleven minutes late and have two more busses behind me when I reach campus is a bit… frustrating.

    1. University Link isn’t going to ease traffic on 45th all that much, which is what causes the bunching and delays you see on Route 44. What would really fix the issue is an underground Ballard-UW Link line that replaced the 44.

      1. You can’t “replace the 44” by building a subway with four stops total including Brooklyn Station, and you’re unlikely to get more than that. SoundTransit only proposed three, orphaning 5 and E-Line riders, by far the largest transfer contributors to 44 ridership.

        You can certainly reduce the number of buses required on the 44 by diverting most folks transferring from 15th NW, Fremont/Aurora and Meridian to the train, but there will still be a need for the a local circulator if for no other reason than the long gap between 15th NW and Fremont including the long diagonal up Phinney Ridge and the stretch east of Meridian to the freeway.

        In the meantime there is plenty to be done to improve the 44’s performance given sufficient political will for investment in signal improvements on all three of 40th, 45th and 50th in order to divert through traffic to 40th and 50th with priority and more queue jump lanes on 45th.

      2. The number of stations is not set in stone yet, and will not be until the project is (1) included in ST3, (2) approved by voters, (3) gone through the EIS alternatives analysis, (4) gone through the draft EIS, (5) reached a final EIS. It’s possible to add stations at any of these points, and the feedback from the studies probably suggested them.

        The reason Capitol Hill missed the opportunity for more stations is that all these steps occurred early in ST1 when hardly anybody was asking for more stations. Then the north part of Link was deferred, and it was resumed at an odd point between ST1 and ST2, and a new viable ship canal crossing was found and the stations were moved, but there was no consideration of adding stations to the new alignment and no public pressure to do so. So maybe ST should have reopened the stations issue, but activists also should have spoken up about it then, and it does no good to complain about it later when construction is underway.

      3. Even if Ballard-UW gets built with 5 or 6 stations there probably will need to be some sort of shadow local circulator much like with MLK and the 8.

        That said corridor improvements are certainly worth doing today and will help any remaining buses in the corridor if/when a Ballard-UW line opens.

      4. Not necessary. Link gaps on MLK range from a minimum of one mile to a punitive and demonstrative-of-neophyte-cluelessness 1.6 miles.

        A Ballard-UW line with just the 4 most obvious stations (17th/15th, 8th, Fremont/Aurora, Wallingford/Meridian) would have an average spacing of 0.75 miles, with no gaps at all above one miles (along the street grid, less as the crow flies).

        5 or 6 stops, though unlikely, would enhance the complete walkshed even more.

        Unlike the ST draft study with only 1 intermediate stop (mirroring the MLK/Capitol Hill errors), anything with 4+ stops provides total corridor penetration. Similar lines in other parts of the world do not require local shadows along the identical corridor.

        On a related note, I appreciate that the new ST map up top admits, through its accuracy of stop-spacing (if not cardinal) scale, and through its large amounts of empty space, that the line is pretty abysmally anti-urban/

      5. Aren’t the lot of you counting stations differently?

        Anandakos: Four stations including Brooklyn

        Chris Stefan: 5 or 6 stations with unspecified endpoints

        d.p.: Four stations, not including Brooklyn

      6. the closer we get to link light rail capitol hill station opening the more I find it crazy that there is only one capitol hill station nevermind the route actually runs under pike/pine and 15th avenue. anyhow.

      7. AW,
        The stops aren’t decided yet, ST only had 3. It does appear DPD forgot counting the U District stop.

        My 6 stops for the record:

        Add a stop at 22nd/24th if the line goes further West.

      8. Indeed. I was addressing Chris’s MLK comparison, without directly referencing Anandakos’s prognostication.

        It’s not worth building the line with fewer than 4 stations (not including Brooklyn), precisely because it misses out on the corridorization/ubiquitous-transfer-access potential that every successful modern mass transit agency recognizes is crucial to success in urban areas.

        This is, I’ve mentioned before, a good reason to cut-and-cover west of the slope of Phinney, as the deep-n-costly nature of stations along bored segments seems a key factor in our wide-noded folly. (Contrast to the exponentially more successful Canada Line.)

      9. (Chris, the best outcome for Latona, and for Stone as well, is going to be a stop with entrances at both Wallingford and Meridian. That puts it within 7 minutes easy walk from anywhere along the continuous commercial corridor. Latona isn’t getting its own stop, for the boring-related cost reasons that are unavoidable in the Wallingford segment.

        ST’s Fremont-ignoring 1-stop study aside, Stone shouldn’t count on a stop either, as it is so close to Aurora/Fremont, and has weaker transfer potential and none of Fremont in its walkshed.)

      10. d.p.
        I certainly hope a 3 station line isn’t what we see when this line gets closer to reality.

        At the same token I wouldn’t eliminate the possibility of seeing 6 stations just yet. Certainly the station area around Latona has more ‘there’ than many link stations or a potential station at 8th & Market.

        You are right that with the right stops shadow service isn’t needed.

        If this line doesn’t make it into ST3 (or ST3 doesn’t happen in 2016) then perhaps something Canada Line style (automated, short trains, modest stations) could be built in the corridor using the Monorail tax authority.

        In any case any improvements to the corridor for bus service will be useful in the interim.

      11. Indeed, it’s amazing that Seattle know-nothings will call the “Canada Line” underbuilt, when its easy-access shallow stations and high frequencies — and most importantly, complete urban-scaled corridor access — carried more people from opening day than the entire Link system is ever likely to. Meanwhile, our stations are $400 million moneyholes each, ensuring that there will never be nearly enough of them to assume the penetrative mass-transit function that Euro-wannabe frothers crave.

        With the same know-nothings denying the thoroughly precedented and (in this case) geometrically justified idea of interlining and through-routing the Ballard spur, we’re looking at such a short shuttle that automation wouldn’t even be necessary for high frequencies. You could run 6-minute headways with just two drivers per shift, which would provide plenty of capacity even with 2-car trains (for cheaper stations).

        That said, I still think you can forget about Latona. The topography of the Phinney-Wallingford plateau, the I-5 underpass, and a deep Brooklyn station ensures that this part will be bored. Doubly so because 45th is too skinny to keep open while digging a trench, whereas you could easily dig under half of Market as they did for Cambie. (I would also suggest a less invasive, but maybe more controversial, cut-and-cover under 56th in Ballard. The Ballard grid has much more parallel redundancy than the Wallingford grid.)

        So unlike 8th, Latona would need to be a deep station, and thus exponentially more expensive. And whereas 8th/6th would be just over half a mile from 17th/15th, Latona is a mere 7-minute walk from Meridian. There’s stuff there, but not much — certainly a whole lot less than at Broadway & Roy, the same short walk from Link.

        Furthermore, like the Phinney/Upper Fremont station, the transfer potential at 8th is surprisingly strong. If I hadn’t witnessed it on a regular basis, I too would be surprised how strong the all-day ridership on the 28 tail is. I don’t really know how to explain it. It must be the various odd-shift jobs in locations from Holman to Frelard, the multiple micro-commercial districts, and the suprisingly large, three-dimensional, uninterrupted walkshed of residential on pre-zoning-minimum lots (density similar to much of the C.D.). Even without much right at the 8th & Market intersection, the transfer potential here is admirable. Especially if the station is small, immediately sub-surface, and built as cheaply as possible.

        By contrast, the 26 tail is a ghost town most of the day. Thanks to a blockaded walkshed, the part north of 45th is the weakest part even at rush hour. And I’m always surprised how few people use the Thackeray/Latona stops on the 44 even today. It seems like people are for the most part already walking to the U-District or to the 16.

  2. Northbound Metro service from UW station that does not meander through campus and the U-district. This means service To U Village and north along 25th, a very busy corridor that deserves better service than what it gets now. Also direct service to Sand Point Way, Childrens Hospital, Magnuson Park, etc.

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