This is an open thread.

166 Replies to “News Roundup: Going It Alone Together”

  1. I hope I don’t sound too contrarian when I say that I’m not wobbly at all about linking Everett and Tacoma into the regional light rail system since it makes sense and is the plan all along. (Though I still question the idea that BRT in dedicated right of way is “just as expensive” as light rail.)

    What I am wobbly about is accepting massive amounts of road sprawl just in the minor hope that a transit package can go to a vote while pavement gets an immediate pass towards construction. That’s the same to me for Everett and Tacoma as it is for Ballard and West Seattle. Do like Bellevue Mayor Claudia Balducci suggests and make it a balanced package, preferably with roads and transit both going to the ballot as separate measures (since we can count on a vote being required; can’t have those dastardly regional transit boards being trusted with the power of the purse), and that’ll be grand.

      1. The simple fact is if we want more rail in Seattle the best current hope is ST3. That means a regional package and projects for Snohomish, East King, South King, and Pierce as well as Seattle.

        Seattle going it alone is not likely to get any support from the legislature any time soon. This means it will be many more years before we see additional funding for rail in Seattle if ever..

      2. And when Pierce and South King vote ST3 down by a margin of 3:2, it loses in Snohomish and East King despite the politicians’ best efforts, and the Seattle supermajority that has been relied upon to carry past initiatives withers under the mediocre details of what is proposed for us… what then?

      3. You may be right, Stefan, but I don’t think it does anyone any good to simply accept a flawed design simply because we think it is our only choice. We may never know what comes next. I voted for the “Roads and Transit” because I figured “Mostly Transit” would lose. Guess what? I was wrong.

        The biggest thing we can do is oppose proportionality when it comes to subarea equity. They aren’t the same. I think both ideas are terrible, but it is much easier to oppose proportionality. That means Seattle will just “suck it up” or “take one for the team” and pay for a system that will benefit the region a lot (unlike light rail to Federal Way). In other words, ask the state to allow Seattle to pay a higher proportion for their transit package than any other region in ST3. That would allow the other regions to pay what they feel is necessary. If Everett really, really wants light rail, then they will pay for it. Same with Tacoma. But my guess is that once they look at the price tag, and the options, and what BRT (or express bus service) could look like once it gets built to the suburbs, they will take the cheaper solution. Seattle, meanwhile, will have to pay a lot of money to solve its transportation problems. The good news is that the area is growing, so that we Seattle people may not take as big of a hit as they would have just a few years ago.

      4. Again I say we see what happens with ST3. If it is a no-go for 2016 then yes, let’s revisit having the tax rates the same between each sub-area

      5. If ST3 fails there will have to be a Plan B, and Seattle Subway is already thinking of one it will reveal next year. But I don’t think we should discourage ST3 or vote against it hoping Plan B will be better. Because maybe it won’t pass, and maybe Plan C will be less than we want, and in any case those would push out the opening date to the mid 2030s.

        What we should press for next year, and ST, and the counties and cities, and the PSRC, is a separate ST3 vote, and different tax rates between the subareas. If the legislature gives us both of these, wonderful. If it gives us only the first, that’s better than nothing and we tried and it’ll make it easier to get it later. We should also ask for separate votes for the other transit agencies, because every county needs more bus service too.

    1. d. p. said it best in his other comment (the one he linked to). If they build light rail to Tacoma, someone somewhere will have the following conversation:

      “So, you live in Tacoma and work in Seattle, I assume you take the train?”

      “No, I tried it for a while, but it is pretty slow. Slower than the old bus, actually. Besides, I don’t work downtown, I work in Fremont, so I just drive. I do take the train when I go to SeaTac, though.”

      “Oh, how often is that?”

      “Every year or so”.

      That is really the key thing, here. The bus is fast, or could be made fast with very little effort. That is why the editorial is bullshit. BRT can be built for pennies on the dollar because the state has already built most of it. All you need to do is change HOV from two person to three person and build a ramp from I-5 to the SoDo busway (which the state is considering doing). If you just did that a bus would be able to get from Tacoma to Seattle way faster than light rail. Around twice as fast, by my estimation.

      It’s really quite simple, actually. Fast light rail works great if you have multiple destinations along the way. Tacoma has maybe two or three decent destinations. SeaTac is a decent destination. That is it until you get into the Seattle city limits. No one in Tacoma is looking at Link and saying “If only they build light rail to Tacoma, I’ll be able to get a fast ride to Angle Lake (or Tukwila)”. The Central Link is so devoid of destinations that Link itself spends miles and miles without a station from Tukwila to Rainier Beach (itself a minor destination by Seattle’s standards).

      This is in huge contrast to Northgate to downtown. While Northgate and Roosevelt are minor Seattle locations (like Rainier Beach) the UW is the second biggest destination in the state. Capitol Hill is third. So someone from Northgate can pick up the three biggest destinations in the state (right after each other) with one trip. Someone in Northgate issalivating over the fact that they can finally get to Capitol Hill with one very fast ride. Someone from Roosevelt is doing the same thing about their trip to the UW Hospital.

      But after that things change quickly. North of Northgate (or even including Northgate) the destinations are few and far between. Is someone from Everett thinking “all right, I can get to Shoreline — right next to the freeway”. Or is someone from Mountlake Terrace thinking “excellent — my commute to Lynnwood will be so much easier”. Of course not. All those folks will do the same sort of thing they always do: commute to the big city. That is why it is ridiculous on both ends to continue the light rail. Add a really good station close to the freeway and be done with it. In the case of the north end, this work has been done (thanks WSDOT!). In the case of Tacoma, all you need to do is have South Link end at a freeway station. Then buses from Tacoma stop off at that station (to let off folks heading to SeaTac) and then continue on to downtown. Meanwhile, Seattle should build important light rail to places like the CD, South Lake Union, Fremont and Ballard so that when these Tacoma or Everett riders get into Seattle, they can get to their final destination very quickly.

      1. RossB has clearly stated the case why extending Link to both Everett and Tacoma is a waste of limited funding for transit. Using those dollars to both lower the relative tax rate for both those sub-areas, while improving bus/BRT travel would give those residents something tangible to point to for not sinking billions of local dollars into something sub optimal. d.p.’s post from last year should be a must read again for all politicians from those areas. Or perhaps a trip on BART during mid-day or early evening from Fremont would send the same message.

      2. And speaking of speed and stations, in my opinion there should have been several more stations on University and North Link. Here we spend the money to go underground then don’t take full advantage of it by having so few stations. Yes additional stations would slow it down some, but this was the place for it. In addition to what we have, how about Pike/Pine around Summit, 15th Ave/Volunteer Park, maybe even swung a bit more to the east and picked up Madison/23rd, Montlake, an additional University District station, swing over to hit Green Lake commercial district. That would be a “subway”, not merely a tunnel.

      3. Good luck replacing HOV lanes with bus lanes. Seriously. You’ll need it. Even trying to get HOV3 is going to be practically impossible.

      4. As someone who lives in Snohomish county and commutes to the city every day on packed buses for 90 minutes I can say with absolute clarity that you’re wrong on most points. Yes, we won’t be taking the light rail from Lynnwood to Shoreline but we will be taking it. There’s 300 buses a day going down I-5 from Everett to Seattle each way (although overlapped, not all go all the way). There would be a lot more if the park and rides weren’t all full by 7am and the journey didn’t take an hour at 10 mph. It takes that long because the freeway is full of people not taking the bus because it’s going 10 mph just like them.

      5. Poncho,

        Check out the Downtown -> Denny Triangle -> Pike/Pine -> Union/23rd -> Madison Valley -> U-District -> Roosevelt -> Lake City line that we could have built by 1985:
        https://www.flickr.com/photos/viriyincy/3685408132/in/photostream/lightbox/

        That’s real urban mass transit.

        Grant,

        You just made an excellent case for fixing the express-lane situation, and for right-sizing service patterns to meet demand for long-distance point-to-point commuting. You made no inherent case for ultra-long-distance, frequent, de novo fixed-rail, many-stop mass transportation.

      6. “RossB has clearly stated the case why extending Link to both Everett and Tacoma is a waste of limited funding for transit.”

        It’s less effective than other ideas. That doesn’t mean it’s a “complete waste”. It’s not black or white but a continuum.

        I want to hear Pierce activists acknowledge that Link will be slower than ST Express and explain why they want it anyway. There’s a disconnect there.

      7. d.p.

        I agree that “fixing” the express lanes would solve a lot of problems. However if you give someone a choice between a concrete plan to avoid freeway congestion and a theoretical plan to mitigate it that has no momentum whatsoever, Snohomish County voters would be fools to pick the latter.

        After all, we don’t even need Ballard-UW light rail if we made 45th St bus-only. There are lots of theoretical ways that buses can do an excellent job, but they never seem to materialize despite our best efforts.

      8. “Yes, we won’t be taking the light rail from Lynnwood to Shoreline but we will be taking it.”

        You won’t be taking light rail from Lynnwood to Shoreline but I would be taking it if I lived there, or people I’ve known who live(d) there.

        “There’s 300 buses a day going down I-5 from Everett to Seattle each way (although overlapped, not all go all the way). There would be a lot more if the park and rides weren’t all full by 7am and the journey didn’t take an hour at 10 mph. It takes that long because the freeway is full of people not taking the bus because it’s going 10 mph just like them.”

        You have to think in terms of all-day demand, not just peak demand. 80% of those buses are peak hours and that’s when I-5 is most congested and what drives the P&R crowding. But Link is an all-day service, so the case for it has to be both peak and full-time uses. There’s a general trickle off-peak, which will grow to a minor extent, and would have grown majorly if Link had been on Aurora. There’s also another case in your favor: ballgames and other events. There are several off-peak traffic spikes a year, and there are really several spikes every month (mostly peak but extending to the shoulders) — it’s just that people think of them one-by-one and don’t notice the aggregate. Link will help with spikes too, and that will be a significant advantage and ridership-generator as time goes by.

        But note that Shoreline and Lynnwood have a better case for Link than Tacoma does. Distance is shorter, transit use is higher, there’s more density in between, and Shoreline’s street grid is better. Everett is somewhere in between. There’s more justification to extend Link to Ash Way than to Everett. And downtown Lynnwood could have a second station away from the P&R if it creates a pedestrian city center for it.

      9. @Martin — Sorry, that analogy is ridiculous. Make 45th bus only? Yeah, right. You would have to kick out thousands of cars that use that everyday — forcing them to side streets or 50th, making those other streets a complete mess. Besides, it still wouldn’t go that fast. There are more than a dozen intersections from Market to Brooklyn. You could try and get signal priority, but the main flow of traffic is north-south, not east-west. In other words, a little too much signal priority and you could completely screw up traffic in the entire north end. That is why the city wouldn’t let you do much at all. Central Link has really long headways because the city won’t let them get that much signal priority on MLK, even though MLK is the main arterial in the area, and goes the same direction as the other main arterials. 45th is the opposite.

        Meanwhile, most of the work from Northgate (let alone Lynnwood) to Everett has already been done:

        Build HOV only lanes? Check
        Build HOV only ramps? Check
        Build HOV stations accessed by HOV lanes and ramps? Check

        Basically you are saying that we should throw away billions of dollars of top notch infrastructure because we don’t have the guts to tell car pool drivers to get another passenger? We can’t tell them what we have told folks on 520 for years — 3 person only? We should, instead, spend billions more on a system that will be slower for most riders and add unneeded capacity and stops?

        Sorry, that sounds crazy. That is like someone who owns a new BMW getting a flat tire, and saying he needs to buy a new Mercedes. I guess that is fine if you are extremely rich, but last time I checked, Snohomish County wasn’t.

        Besides, since we are building light rail to Lynnwood anyway, we could change the rules there. From Lynnwood to Everett the HOV lanes are three person — from Lynnwood to Seattle it is two person.

      10. As to Grant’s other issues, they can and will be addressed substantially when Link gets to Lynnwood. Specifically:

        Connecting — This will still be possible, but it won’t be done the same way. Instead of bus-train-bus, it will be bus-bus. For example, imagine trying to get from Everett Community College to Edmonds Community College. If we build light rail to Everett, it will work like this:

        1) Take a bus from Everett CC to the train station.
        2) Take a train to the Lynnwood station.
        3) Take a bus from the Lynnwood train station to Edmonds CC.

        Without light rail to Everett, it will work like this:

        1) Take a bus from Everett CC to the Lynnwood station.
        2) Take a bus from the Lynnwood train station to Edmonds CC.

        In effect, the Lynnwood transit center (or wherever the north end of Link is) becomes the main hub for all buses coming form the north. If that is too much out of the way — if that is too inconvenient for folks wanting to go from, say, Lake Stevens to Mukilteo, then it is trivial to have those buses make an additional stop along the way. But making them stop at every possible stop (the way a train would) is silly. That only makes sense if that is your final destination. But it isn’t. There is nothing there. At best you have a mall or two. Big deal. Light rail to Everett will skip over the few destinations in the area (and there are very few).

        Overcrowding — Buses that go from Lynnwood to Seattle (whether they start in Lynnwood or not) will be substantially truncated. This is huge. Lynnwood is about half the distance from Everett to Seattle. A bus from Everett to Seattle thus gets cut in half. Buses from Lynnwood can be even more substantially truncated. All of the extra hours can go back into adding more service. That is a huge amount of new service. Obviously it would get even better if light rail went to Everett, but that is a huge amount of money, when you could add that service by simply putting it into bus service directly.

        Speed — Like I said above, it would cost very little to speed up the HOV lanes substantially. I don’t know what else causes the congestion. But the distance (from Everett to Seattle) will be cut in half, which should lessen the chance of congestion substantially (even without HOV lane changes). I would expect less drivers on the section between Lynnwood and Seattle. This is often a cause of congestion (traffic backs up from this section or causes waves of congestion later) so it wouldn’t surprise me if things get substantially better as a result of the changes we already have planned. Again, I think the best solution is to change the HOV 2 lane to HOV 3 once Lynnwood Link is done (if not sooner) but it wouldn’t surprise me if things get much better on their own because of Lynnwood Link.

      11. >> But note that Shoreline and Lynnwood have a better case for Link than Tacoma does. Distance is shorter, transit use is higher, there’s more density in between, and Shoreline’s street grid is better. Everett is somewhere in between. There’s more justification to extend Link to Ash Way than to Everett. And downtown Lynnwood could have a second station away from the P&R if it creates a pedestrian city center for it.

        Shoreline and Lynnwood will have light rail, so I feel no need to argue that point. Everett will benefit tremendously from that light rail, even if goes no further than Lynnwood. Folks wanting to get from Everett to downtown Seattle, Shoreline and various places in Snohomish or north King county will have far better bus service (whether it involves a train or not).

        Anyway, extending light rail to Everett to Tacoma makes for an interesting contrast. I would say this:

        1) Everett has a substantially better HOV bases infrastructure. Once Link comes to Edmonds, Everett is in great shape. For the cost of changing a few signs (from HOV 2 to HOV 3) the average Everett rider would get service that is as fast, if not faster than if light rail is built to Everett (fewer stops means faster service).

        Tacoma would have to do some work. You need a terminus for the light rail, and it needs to be easily accessible by the freeway. Based on what has been planned, this would be in Kent, east of Highline CC. This would be a substantial transit center, built above the freeway (as so many are built in Snohomish county). A bus should be able to stop there on the way north or south without much delay. This would allow riders to connect to Link for access to SeaTac or Tukwila (or even Rainier Valley if they didn’t want to backtrack). South end buses would also need the ramp that I mentioned earlier (the one the state is considering building). I’m not sure what exists in Tacoma as far as ramps are concerned, but they might need to be added down there as well (the rest of the HOV lanes will soon be complete). None of this is cheap, but it is substantially less than extending light rail to Tacoma, and would benefit lots of other folks as well. Obviously the ramp could benefit everyone southeast of downtown (like Renton) while the transit station would benefit everyone in the southern suburbs (like Kent).

        2) Light Rail to Everett would be faster and more frequent than light rail to Tacoma.

        3) Tacoma has more people than Everett.

        4) Between Everett and Lynnwood there are more destinations within walking distance of a station than between Tacoma and Kent. That assumes, though, that a more expensive, slower route is taken.

        Keep in mind, all of these arguments apply to both cities, it is just that in certain cases, they apply more strongly to one versus the other. For example, the work needed for Tacoma is still substantially cheaper than building light rail. Both cities are relatively small (compared to Seattle) and have really weak stations within walking distance of any intermediate station. Once you get to the cities, the stations are just fine, but getting there would involve passing through miles and miles of emptiness with the occasional commuter-rail type station. That simply doesn’t make for a good light rail system.

      12. Snohomish is asking for Link to terminate at Everett CC. That would make it a two-seat ride from Everett CC to Edmonds CC.

      13. Martin,

        I came to say some of what Ross said, though uncharacteristically, I actually might’ve been gentler this time in saying it than he was.

        Everyone is talking about the congestion, bi-directionally, as it impacts distance-commuting and as it impacts rush hour. That’s a legitimate concern. It’s also one that Lynnwood Link is poised to pretty much solve in the near future.

        ST3 could even put a mega-P&R at Ash Way and fully solve the pre-405-junction problem. There is no insurmountable congestion beyond that point (not to mention no intermediate destinations). Everett proper has congestion, but the HOV lanes through it do not.

        Grant, who has a long history of overstating the latent demand for various forms of long-haul and not especially fast rail-for-the-sake-of-rail, does not even begin to successfully make a case for a one-seat ride on technology and a service pattern that is fundamentally inappropriate for intercity connectivity.

        And Ross is right: the 45th comparison is silly. When I-5 functions as slowly as 45th does even in the off-hours, and has literally thousands of real and adjacent human destinations per mile, we can revisit that analogy.

      14. Obviously I was trolling a bit about 45th, because I get annoyed when people come up with ways buses theoretically can be awesome as a reason not to build rail, when in fact we’ve never cracked the code in this region to make good bus lines. To answer Ross’s question, no, we can’t make drivers accept minor inconveniences to enhance bus flow. We can barely do it in downtown Seattle and certainly not on I-5.

        I think it’s great that many people in Everett want to tax themselves to build awesome transit. It may not be the peak-productivity line but it’s a lot better than the alternatives. It won’t be crush loaded but people will use it for stuff. If it also helps to get the lines I really care about then so much the better.

      15. I think you make legitimate points about the value of Lynnwood and Ash Way. But I think you’re too sanguine about the ability of a mega-p&r to absorb all the demand, especially with moderately optimistic assumptions about growth and mode preference over the next 30 years.

      16. Well, I’m sure the PNW missed out on all that hard earned wisdom.

        However, when I visit the NY metropolitan area, I am quite thankful for the effort that all 6 year olds were putting into building their efficient transit system.

      17. I suppose in an ideal world it would be great if the entire $15 billion ST3 budget were spent inside Seattle. But reality is that isn’t going to happen. Similarly for trying to get ST3 on the ballot in 2016 this isn’t the time to debate if each sub-area should be able to set different tax rates.

        Sure, if the legislature doesn’t grant the tax authority or the voters reject ST3 then we can debate the financial structure. Certainly it is a discussion to have for expansion beyond ST3.

        The thing is if we had sub areas setting their own budgets it is very likely Snohomish County would go for Light Rail to Everett CC via Paine Field.

        Similarly South King would demand light rail at least as far as Federal Way and Pierce would want it to the Tacoma Dome.

        Of course all three sub areas are already demanding this for ST3.

        Of the two light rail to Everett is somewhat more justified, especially if a decent route is chosen. Certainly light rail should extend at least as far as Ash Way.

        Going North, Link can replace both peak and all-day CT and Sound Transit bus service to downtown and the U District. Indeed this is largely happening when Lynnwood Link opens.

        Going South the peak expresses to Federal Way and Tacoma (and beyond) will likely need to stay.

      18. Just a reminder that there’s no “$15 billion budget”.

        It continues to blow my mind that people are trying to dream up “expensive projects” in subareas like East King, where no obvious rail-serviceable need exists aside from possibly downtown Redmond, as if $15 billion were about to fall from the sky.

        $15 billion equates to something like $10,000 for every man, woman, and child in the ST district, before bond service. This is not magic-sky-money. It’s not an existing levy to be rolled over from finished projects. It’s not found in the general fund.

        It’s new money. So it isn’t to be treated as an exiting “budget” ripe for apportionment.

        Delineate the useful projects, then calculate the monetary needs.. Starting with the money is absolutely backward.

      19. That’s $15 billion in year of expediture dollars, spent over decades. For all your Kemper-esque scare numbers, it’s actually about the same size as ST2.

      20. “What the hell are you even talking about!!!!??”

        What constructive things outside of this blog have you done to further the effort for good transit at all?

      21. Here’s what you can do d.p.:

        Come out of the Internet closet, put together your regional transit proposal, where you can eliminate sub-area equity, include the $billion+ Ballard Subway, and tell the suburban residents they can go suck buses, and put a measure in front of the voters.

        I look forward to your next public News Release.

      22. “Similarly for trying to get ST3 on the ballot in 2016 this isn’t the time to debate if each sub-area should be able to set different tax rates.”

        It doesn’t hurt to ask in 2015. “We want A, B, C, and D.” “You can have A, B, and C.” If we don’t as then, when will we ask?

        “Of course all three sub areas are already demanding this for ST3.”

        And what’s the chance that disparate projects will happen to add up to the exact same tax rate?

        Mike Lindblom’s ST3 article today mentioned taxes and Everett, Redmond, and Federal Way, but for some reason it didn’t mention Tacoma. Did Pierce change its mind? Unlikely.

      23. Yes, it’s about the size of ST2.

        A.k.a. “a lot”.

        And collected and bonded and paid back concurrently with ST2 moneys.

        And intends to contain a whole lot of significantly less useful stuff than ST2.

      24. >> tell the suburban residents they can go suck buses

        Since when did fast, frequent bus service become an insult? I really don’t get this. Look, I want a station at 130th NE because it will be great for buses. With a station there, folks from Lake City or Bitter Lake could take a bus, then a train. Lake City will probably never have a light rail line (don’t kid yourself) even though it is more populous than anything north of there (and that includes Everett). But a fast, frequent bus on 130th, connecting to a rail line, and connecting to BRT on Aurora, as well as other major north-south streets would be fantastic. Does that mean that I’m saying Lake City should “suck buses”? No. I’m saying Lake City will have way better bus service connecting it to the rest of the city.

        Folks talk about “light rail to Tacoma or Everett” as if Tacoma or Everett are small neighborhoods (like Lake City). Same with Kent or Federal Way for that matter. Everett is huge and spread out. You can’t put a station anywhere and expect huge numbers of people to walk to the station. Even the Ballard to the UW line, which would have a fair number of walk up passengers (a huge number compared to anything north of Northgate) will still get the bulk of their passengers via the bus. That is why I think it is a great idea. Buses on 15th, connecting to a station on 15th. Buses on 8th connecting to a station on 8th. Same with Aurora and Phinney and Meridian. This would be a dramatic improvement to bus service in the area, as riders could easily transfer to a train heading to the top destinations in the city (UW, Capitol Hill, downtown).

        But just as importantly, there is no alternative being built that will do anything to improve bus service in the area. That is the big difference. When Link gets to Northgate, does that change the route of a bus along 15th NW? How about 8th NW, Aurora or Phinney Ridge? Surely the Wallingford buses will change. Right, Right? Of course not. They won’t change one bit. They can’t suddenly take an east-west route because an east-west route (already heavily in demand) is so horribly slow.

        That is the big contrast with Link to Lynnwood. Suddenly bus service to Everett gets dramatically different and better. Extending light rail to Everett would be a minor improvement for the vast majority of the riders. Again, a bus traveling from Everett to Lynnwood (in the HOV lanes) will beat a train 90% of the time, just because it will make fewer stops. For those that walk to an Everett station (or a station between Everett and Lynnwood) a train would mean one less transfer. But as I said before, there will be very few people doing this. The vast majority of folks will arrive by bus. It really doesn’t matter which station they transfer at. Of course a light rail line to Everett would improve bus service substantially, but look at the map and consider the speed at which buses travel along I-5. The vast majority of redundant service will be eliminated when Link gets to Lynnwood. Extending to Ash Way would eliminate another substantial chunk. But Ash Way is only two miles further. So, basically, this would eliminate two or three minutes of service on every bus route in Snohomish County that goes along the freeway north of Lynnwood. Sorry, but compared to those that go south of Lynnwood on the freeway this is nothing. Things get even worse from there. It’s simply a matter of diminishing returns.

        Building light rail is extremely expensive. It makes sense when it can make a dramatic improvement in service for a substantial number of people. This just won’t happen by extending light rail from Lynnwood to Everett. Light rail to Lynnwood has already done that (or is about to do that) for everyone in Snohomish County, including those living in Everett. Spending billions more on incremental improvements for a relatively small population seems crazy.

      25. “Since when did fast, frequent bus service become an insult?”

        I go with the flow… if the only retort to arguments promoting rail service is ‘ooooohh… you’re a FOAMER’, then what’s the problem?

        It’s all entertainment, without the pay wall.

        And I never had a problem with fast-frequent bus service in Seattle, I have NEVER argued against it. This region has needed both for a long, long time.

      26. “Building light rail is extremely expensive. It makes sense when it can make a dramatic improvement in service for a substantial number of people. This just won’t happen by extending light rail from Lynnwood to Everett. Light rail to Lynnwood has already done that (or is about to do that) for everyone in Snohomish County, including those living in Everett. Spending billions more on incremental improvements for a relatively small population seems crazy.”

        And that’s the point of the whole argument.
        * Build NO RAIL LINE Before Its Time * gets you Los Angeles.

        Shoreline is completing their Santa Monica Boulevard clone, in part to accomodate ‘fast buses’ (but not too much after all, they must be BAT lanes), Bothell has its downtown redevelopment project that includes an ever widening SR527-SR522 intersection,( which funding for was rejected by the voters by the way). I-405 is paving every available piece of the right-of-way to accomodate congesetion relief, and without any public vote as to how my tax money gets spent.

        I do have a problem with my gas taxes, property taxes, etc. being used for highway capacity increases, with no say on how or why.

        RossB…. just like I said to d.p. put together the package that you think is what voters will go for, with fast buses and all, and see what they go for.

        While your at it, QUANTIFY it with $ amounts. For ALL corridors.

        If it’s too rail-heavy and too expensive, then they will reject it.
        If it doesn’t have enough rail, they might reject it also.

    2. Honestly, as a resident of Tacoma, I’d be much, MUCH happier seeing greatly expanded Sounder service and the expansion of our streetcar system all over the city than the extension of Central Link down here. Unfortunately, people want a fancy train that will be slower than the 59x busses and not even time competitive with the Freighthouse Square – King Street Station segment.

      1. Exactly. I’ll admit, I like Tacoma, and unlike everything in between Tacoma and Seattle (with the exception of SeaTac) I could see myself visiting Tacoma once in a while if they build light rail there. But Sounder makes much more sense. Tacoma is a city. Seattle is a city. The only destination between those two cities is an airport. Cities should be joined by commuter/high speed rail, not light rail. Maybe express buses, if the state has already built up 95% of the infrastructure already (as it has). Light rail is for joining different neighborhoods, whether in Tacoma or Seattle. Besides, as you pointed out — Link would be slow. Really slow.

      2. What I don’t understand is why Tacoma or Everett citizens would think it’s in their interest to prefer a massive park and ride to Seattle a mile from their downtown over local light rail systems designed to serve each city’s business district and growing their own economies. How did “connecting the region’s cities” end up being all about commuting to Seattle from everywhere? I think if anyone could step back for a moment and think about what’s best for themselves, we’d be focused on providing access to employment in each area.

      3. ‘How did “connecting the region’s cities” end up being all about commuting to Seattle from everywhere?”

        Because those people only get on buses to commute because driving sucks. Driving doesn’t suck when you’re just driving around Everett so building out transit there makes no sense. Building it to the city does. I own a car and live in Snohomish county and I drive it to the store, and to my kids schools and sometimes even to a movie but I ride buses to work in the city.

        I’d love to have great transit in the suburbs but it will never happen because it will never make sense.

      4. Because those people only get on buses to commute because driving sucks.”

        More generally, those people only get on buses when they go to Seattle, because I-5 is congested and parking costs $10+. To them, that’s the benefit of transit and what’s worth paying taxes for. They recognize the need for lifeline local coverage but they won’t use it. That’s why local service in the burbs is so sparse. When CT had its 2008 cuts, it proposed to shift hours from the Seattle expresses to local routes, but public feedback was overwhelmingly against it. It’s not that they didn’t want local service to increase (and Sunday preserved), but the express runs were a higher priority for them.

        However, there are suburbanites who would take local buses if they were frequent, and more riders would appear over time.

      5. Wow, you guys are basically saying that Everett is a suburb, and wants good commuter rail into the city. Fair enough. But I doubt most people in Tacoma feel that way. If they do, light rail isn’t the answer. Express buses or commuter rail is the answer (and both can tie into light rail). Light rail makes sense if there are numerous destinations and connections that you want to make along the way. Light rail makes sense if it speeds up travel to the point where driving on a regular basis in your town becomes unnecessary. That is the really big contrast we are seeing in this region. People in Seattle want light rail because they know it can deliver what light rail is good at delivering. People in Everett want light rail because they think it is the only way to get a fast ride into the city.

      6. “We” would rather give Pierce better in-county service — perhaps Tacoma Link lines, and jack up Sounder to as close to half-hourly and weekends as possible, and BRT from KDM Station. But that’s not Pierce’s priorities. The Pierce ST boardmembers and some of the Pierce public are saying “build the Spine first”, and that’s drowning out alternatives. The most effective way to change this is for enough Pierce residents to tell their ST boardmembers to change their priorities. We King County residents can’t do that ourselves.

      7. Not to be too provocative here, but…

        I’m puzzled why Snohomish and Pierce are so eager to spend billions on a rail spine. At the same time, they were unwilling to come up with comparatively puny amounts to maintain bus service during the recession. It’s not that long ago that CT cut all Sunday service, and Pierce transit cut half of its service hours. It seems completely disconnected.

        Obviously, the Pierce and Snohomish subareas don’t quite line up with the county boundaries, but not that different either. Those are largely the same taxpayers. What is the mental model of transit ridership that the leaders there are relying on?

        Issaquah is lobbying hard for a rail line. But I’m not recalling Issaquah lining up to buy service hours from Metro last year either. Even for bus lines serving the same destinations as a future rail line.

      8. @Dan — I think there are several reasons why:

        1) Rail bias. There are folks who will take a train even when a bus will get you there faster.
        2) The buses have been slow, and people assume they will be slow.
        3) People assume that this is the only way to get major improvements to the area.
        4) People haven’t “done the math”, and compared a fast bus based system to a light rail line.
        5) A lot of people probably do have a “small town” commuter rail attitude. Drive everywhere in town, and when you want to get to the big city, drive to the station and take the train.

        Of course, this is assuming that people actually feel this way. I haven’t looked at the polls, but I wouldn’t be surprised if people actually don’t feel this way. It wouldn’t surprise me if the same people who opposed improving the buses also oppose extending light rail (especially when they see the cost/benefit ratio). Meanwhile, my guess is the same folks who want the spine connected were the same folks that voted for improving the bus service.

      9. d.p.

        A $15 billion package is what the ST board is going to ask the legislature for.

        Given the can of worms it would open up I don’t think now is a good time to have the debate over either removing sub-area equity entirely or to allow different tax rates in each sub-area.

        So as things stand now if you want any more rail in Seattle beyond streetcars it is best to let the suburban sub-areas have what they want.

        I don’t see it as likely that Seattle will be given the tax authority by the legislature to build all of its grade-separated rail needs any time soon.

        Heck even if we got variable tax rates or some other alternative to the current ST financial structure for building grade separated rail it is entirely possible we would see the same suburban projects you are complaining about.

      10. Aside from A) the politicians looking for a legacy; B) the handful of civic boosters who treat light rail as a signifier for their fringe burgs “making it”; and C) the handful of loudmouth foamers on this blog, I just don’t think anyone really “wants” something that will be of so little use to their lives!

        Do you realize that nobody in those three categories even seems to be thinking about transportation when they flog the spine? That’s a problem.

        And I continue not to appreciate that those same people intend to rely on a Seattle supermajority to pass things that their own constituents will (even by the “regionalist”‘s math) likely reject by a margin large or small.

      11. especially when they see the cost/benefit ratio””

        RossB,

        You sound knowledgeable,

        Can you explain what goes into a Cost/Benefit analysis to come up with that ratio?

  2. I know East Madison St is going to be reconfigured more permanently in the near future, but can SDOT get rid of all on-street parking on the Madison corridor to 19th Ave E now? Then the 12 doesn’t have to change lanes to dodge parked cars, like it often has to do EB at 13th. What is the point of a 4-lane street if one block randomly allows on-street parking?

    Yes, car drivers should yield to buses, but we all know how often that happens.

  3. Phooey to the TNT, phooey to Tacoma Link, and phooey to this regionalist myopia. If Tacomans like Seattle so much, they should be pushing for increased density in this city so they can move here.

    1. (I’m sorry, phooey to Link to Tacoma. The Tacoma Streetcar is un-phooeyed. But it should also probably not be called Tacoma Link anymore.)

    2. Transit to Tacoma really is important; ridership on existing buses and trains demonstrates that — it’s not the most important thing we’re doing, and there are clearly lots of Pierce County commuters that don’t get much out of fixed-stop transit service to Tacoma, but there is demand that can be usefully served by it.

      What’s questionable is whether it makes any sense to serve that demand by extending Central Link to Tacoma. All the people making these sorts of commutes by car today because it’s faster and more convenient than taking the bus from where they live aren’t going to switch to a Tacoma train with very similar stops on the Tacoma end, and whose additional stops on the Seattle end aren’t in major employment centers.

      1. What’s questionable is whether it makes any sense to serve that demand by extending Central Link to Tacoma.

        Right. Whatever it’s value, it won’t be competitive with express buses/Sounder because it’ll take considerably longer.

      2. Exactly.

        All of this brings up an interesting thought experiment. Imagine that Sound Transit builds Link all the way to Tacoma. Then imagine that the state builds a ramp connecting I-5 to the SoDo busway (the second item on this link: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/HOV/hovprojectslist.htm). Also imagine that all HOV lanes from Seattle to Tacoma are three person only. Assume that HOV lanes from Tacoma are completed (which will happen soon).

        Now imagine that we have redundant services — an express bus from Tacoma swings by the light rail station and then continues on to SoDo. How many people get off the bus to get on light rail? My guess is only those heading to SeaTac.The rest of the folks simply stay on the bus, and get on an earlier train in SoDo (or continue their journey into downtown). The bus ride will be, by my estimation, more than 15 minutes faster.

        Now imagine the same thought experiment from Northgate. Who gets off the 41 and gets on Link? Well, lots of people. People who are headed to the U-District. People who are headed to Capitol Hill. But what about the people who are headed to downtown? Guess what, it is about the same, and that’s only when the express lanes are headed your way (and there isn’t too much traffic).

        That’s the big difference. Once light rail gets built to Northgate, no one will miss the old 41 (despite being a hearty workhorse of a bus). But build light rail to Tacoma, and lots of people would rather take the bus.

    3. Seattle cannot get more rail for ourselves unless we support bringing rail to the suburbs. And that’s fine by me – it’ll help reduce pollution and CO2 emissions while the stations will serve as a node to support new density. The TNT is absolutely right about this. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

      1. Empty vehicles traveling 70 miles every 12 minutes do nothing to “reduce CO2 emissions”.

        Environmental transit = effective transit. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

    4. If you want more grade-separated rail in Seattle, due to subarea equity you need a large package in the suburbs as well. Tacoma wanting Link and Everett wanting Link is the best way for Ballard to ever get a subway. We need people throughout the ST area pushing for more rail construction.

      1. 1. I don’t think the “whiz bang” project hunters repping Snohomish on the ST Board or shooting off an editorial at the TNT necessarily predict the actions of the voting public, especially after the price tags are revealed.

        2. Even if they did, it would remain incredibly unwise to prioritize projects based on the cravings of people who don’t understand the basic geometry of transit, simply because that’s the terrible framework we came up with two decades ago. That’s the way to wind up with $40 cumulative billion worth of rail and none of it useful.

      2. Then, d.p., you need to stop commenting here and instead spend all your effort petitioning the state to allow variable tax rates between subareas. We recognize these packages we’re proposing are much less useful than ideal. But given identical tax rates between subareas, every .01% spent on the vitally-needed Ballard, CD, and SLU lines requires the same .01% in Snohomish and Pierce. Please don’t call us unwise or ignorant because we’re trying to get something useful out of this broken system.

      3. Right. Exactly. That is not just what d. p. needs to do, but what EVERYONE needs to do. That means you, William. Variable rates for each subarea is politically feasible (unlike more sensible alternatives) and good for everyone. Otherwise, we are just trying to bullshit everyone. “Look Tacoma, you’ll love your nice light rail — it’s slower than buses — it doesn’t come that often — it is expensive as hell — but hey, look at the pretty colors on the side.” “Hey Everett, same thing! One stop ride to the airport! Whoopee!”.

        No, we (meaning everyone) needs to petition the legislature about this very issue. We need to get rid of the proportionality clause. I personally think thing we should eliminate the subarea equity nonsense — call me crazy, but I think we should do the greatest good for the greatest number — but I know that will get nowhere these days. But proportional subarea equity is now out of date. It has its purpose (otherwise Bellevue might not have paid for light rail) but now is completely out of date. There are no big cross border projects, nor any big projects that will benefit those in different areas (with the exception of Seattle and possibly Kirkland). But Kirkland seems comfortable just muddling along (not wanting to spend billions on a new light rail line) and Seattle is the other extreme. We really don’t care if anyone else builds up their infrastructure. This was evident in the latest transit vote. Seattle residents didn’t suddenly oppose bus service because it would only serve Seattle, they just went ahead and voted for it. Likewise, I think most people in Seattle (now that East Link is planned and Central Link goes to the airport) could care less about the suburbs and what they do. What they want is a fast way to get from Ballard to the U-District, the CD to South Lake Union or West Seattle to downtown. From a political standpoint, subarea proportionality is dead. No one supports it. We should try and kill it before it kills a project that would otherwise be really popular.

      4. The problem with differential tax rates is that you gain approximately zero votes by making the tax smaller, but lose lots of votes by making the transit worse. What you’re really talking about is a go-it-alone Seattle plan.

        It may come to that, but as it turns out rail projects in the suburbs are very popular – the buses melt down anytime I-5 does. Suburban legislators aren’t going to let Seattle satiate itself with transit taxes until the suburbs get to have a say as well.

      5. “The problem with differential tax rates is that you gain approximately zero votes by making the tax smaller, but lose lots of votes by making the transit worse.”

        I’m not sure about that. But if we did have differential tax rates, the logical next step would be subarea-only plans, and each subarea voting at its own pace.

        I do believe the suburbs want HCT and are willing to pay for it, maybe not as much as the maximum proposals, but something. Still, as we’ve seen in the reaction to Seattle’s Prop 1, it would force the suburbs to put their money where their mouth is. Maybe going at their own pace and size would suit them better raise their yes vote.

      6. I also agree with Mike as well. Keep in mind that any proposal would have to go through the board. The east side members of the board would presumably have the most influence on the east side part of the proposal. If they want lots of extra rail, then go for it. Likewise with the north and south. But they wouldn’t be tied to the overall limit. I agree that aiming too low might doom the project in some circles, but so could aiming too high. Without proportionality, each area would have a better chance of aiming at the level it would feel will win.

        I want to emphasize that proportional subarea equity made a lot of sense (from a political standpoint) with previous projects. Lots of people from Seattle really wanted light rail to the east side (or good express bus service for that matter). Now there is a lot less that can be built in the suburbs that will make a huge difference for a Seattle voter. On the other hand, Seattle will, if allowed to, come up with some really big ticket items. Since it should be made clear that it is Seattle that is paying for that (subarea equity won’t go away) then I think this will be popular, or at worse be met with apathy on the east side.

      7. “I do believe the suburbs want HCT and are willing to pay for it,…”

        The 5 million dollar question is.. what kind of HCT?

  4. Absolutely horrifying news regarding our 88-year old route 2 night driver.

    Hoping he can recover and has the strength to get back to work.

    Can’t let total sociopaths and criminals win.

    1. This sort of totally unprovoked attack is terrifying. This is of the reasons many people I know don’t want to ride Metro. Since some of these mentally ill riders seem to be well known to Metro, perhaps some type of picture ‘gallery’ of them should be readily available to drivers so they can push a panic button if one of them enters.
      The 88-year-old driver must be in excellent health to be driving a bus at that age. A source of envy for those of us who are decades younger. Best wishes to him for a fast recovery frin this awful incident.

    2. I’ve encountered him a numbe of times while riding the 2 in the evening. He’s a good driver and good at dealing with the passengers. Hope he is able to get back behind the wheel when he recovers.

    3. It definitely feels extra-shocking because the victim is such a recognizable and familiar face of Metro — and also because he’s a bad-ass who can seemingly take care of himself in the face of the late-night 2’s most intense passengers (I have no doubt he’ll bounce back from this sneak attack) — but this incident would be equally horrifying no matter to whom it happened.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if just as many of us as recognize the driver would also be able to pick the perp out of a line-up. The West Coast habit of foisting all its ill-tracked mental patients, aggressive inebriates, and chronic public-space depreciators onto the transit system and its passengers remains one of the great barriers to building a culture that values the public realm over the sectioned private, and public transit over the false security of the automobile.

      The West’s minimum-standard services try to offer carrots, and fail. Dixie is all about the stick, and the quality of public life is low there too. There needs to be an adequate offering of health/sanity maintenance services, and also consequences for causing havoc by refusing them. Carrot+stick.

      Overnight faux-shelter loop buses and averting our eyes at altercations spilling from the McDonald’s has never worked before, and it ain’t going to start working anytime soon.

      1. +1 for everything you said, D.P.

        After this incident, a close friend of mine who is a part timer that will most likely go full time in the next class called me up.

        She knows this operator. Everyone knows this operator. He’s a damned good driver (considering his age) and manages to keep every thing in check on his coach. He’s driven the 2 for most of his 25 year career.

        My PT operator friend said “what chance do I stand out there, when I go full time, and have to drive much more dangerous routes than the 2, if some nut job will just go and take a whack at an 88 year old operator that is nice as can be, who is a fixture in the neighborhoods he drives through.”

        She’s right. Its a dangerous world out there. And senseless crime like this against an operator that so many that read this list know, and know the quality of his work, really makes the world seems a lot more frightening.

      2. The lack of facilities comes down to nobody wanting to pay the cost: not the state, not the feds, not the cities. So the (mostly mentally ill) homeless default to the legacy public spaces: transit, parks, libraries, under the freeway. Cities are now responding with more housing and services because they’re the ones directly impacted, but it’s still not enough to eliminate the problem.

        My friend from Dallas said something similar to DP: “Why do you guys let the homeless take over? In Dallas we run them out of town.” But running them out of town would not be acceptable here. And in the South, everybody has low services, so it’s not like other people are getting healthcare or other assistance either. Only those who afford to buy those things get them.

        But what about the northeast and midwest? Surely they can’t be the same as the south.

      3. Amen. When people start complaining about drivers’ salaries on internet comment sections, we should point them to this story

      4. Mike,

        Most of the Midwest is basically as inhospitable as the South, and many of the West’s troubled characters are transplants from the middle.

        In the Northeast, I can speak most to New York and Massachusetts, both of which have had a flurry of recent press about rising long-term homelessness, exacerbated by expensive housing region-wide that makes it harder to cycle people out of state-run temporary housing even as new individuals come in. Boston also faced the sudden loss of 400 beds at a primary single-males shelter when the access bridge was found to be deficient (it’s on an island), leaving the brand-new mayor scrambling to find beds and roofs.

        But here’s the thing: both states have a right to shelter. That means that anyone who wants can get a roof over their head, a meal, a shower, a check-in with a social-service professional, some human contact to remain sane.

        I was shocked recently to read that Massachusetts census lists more homeless than Washington’s (19,000 versus 16,000). You would never know it walking around, because the state has been 96% successful in bringing individuals of all stripes into the shelter and transitional housing and sanity maintenance and don’t-just-rot-on-the-street-or-in-a-camper system!

        And you know what? It turns out to be both cheaper and healthier for society at large, because you don’t blow millions on maintenance for parks that the public refuses to visit, for buses that loop around all night serving no one, for a zillion ambulance calls a day, and for all the intangibles lost from relinquishing the public realm to the lowest common denominator and reinforcing the existing fetishization of the privatized realm (cars, yards).

        Watch the video I linked above. What’s the first thing you notice when then interview the displaced shelterees? They’re articulate, self-aware, empathetic to each other and to the social service workers from the shelter. In Seattle, they’d be allowed to turn feral. And everyone around here would think that’s empathy, or at least a fact of urban life.

        Fuck that. Fuck tent cities. Fuck lax enforcement of loitering laws and laissez-faire tracking of people off their meds and throwing up our hands about the daily downtown shitshow. The West has a strange habit of confusing not solving problems with being “liberal”.

        Oh, and that sudden shelter crisis in Boston. Already on its way to a resolution.

      5. Part of the problem with trying to solve problems in each region is that you often have a race to the bottom. This is true with homelessness, as well as other issues. If Seattle suddenly decided to fully fund housing for everyone who needed it, word would get around. Pretty soon, every teenage runaway or every guy or gal who is just down on his luck would make their way here (opportunity plus safety is very appealing). OK, not everyone of course, there are plenty of people who couldn’t make it, but the number of needy individuals would grow very high. These are people who aren’t necessarily in need of psychiatric help, but just need a bed (and a job). This would suddenly increase the demand on the system, and Seattle couldn’t handle it. No city could. This means you would be back to waiting lists.

        That is why the New Federalism passed by Reagan was so effective. It was portrayed as being simply a transfer of control from the feds to the states, but it was purposely a race to the bottom (which had happened before with welfare before FDR). Move control, watch funding dry up, let the rich build their own secure enclaves and let the poor fend for themselves.

        Like you said, d. p,, the ridiculous part of this is that it all costs more money. Paying money on social programs seems expensive, but the alternative is way more costly. We know that, and there are plenty of studies to support that, but people are ignorant or prefer to lie (or focus on meaningless issues). Hopefully someday folks will wake up and we will end this long running failed right wing experiment we’ve been on since the 1980s, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. As cites try and “go it alone” they will struggle. Until folks really look at the issues and change things nationally, we will continue to muddle along.

      6. Absolutely. Homelessness and atrophied social services are national problems, and it is unfair to foist so many of its costs on the West Coast merely because the climate is mild and the people out here confuse impotence for tolerance.

        That said, homelessness is already concentrated. California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts together contain more than half of the national homeless census. And two of those states have rights to shelter, and public spaces populated by the actual public.

        So Washington really has no excuse.

      7. Funny thing is we’ve tried the housing first approach and found it saved money, at least when applied to the worst of the street drunks.

        However the city caught a lot of flack from those who don’t like the idea of “handouts” to the less fortunate. So far inspire of the success there has been no expansion of the program.

        On the other hand Utah has decided to end homelessness by providing housing to everyone who needs it.

      8. Mike,

        New York City has the most absolute right-to-shelter mandate in the nation: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/html/housing/housing.shtml

        Massachusetts has the only state-wide statute, and it is not quite as total as NYC’s (I believe it is absolute only for families with children and for women escaping abuse), but the state has established a framework and underlying logic for providing universal safe haven to all, including to single adults. The city of Boston may have a policy stronger than the statewide one.

        Again, the flip side is that these places are no longer laissez-faire tolerant of those who would refuse to avail themselves of services but than wreak havoc upon the public commons. You would never see the same wandering crackhead howling Excuse me… pleas in every downtowner’s face for a decade straight.

        Civil society requires the structural support of civility.

    4. Yeah exactly, and why is it so hard to clean up the endless criminal activity and insanity at 3rd & Pike? Apparently Seattle hasn’t heard of the whole Broken Windows concept.

  5. What would be the obstacles to redeveloping Seattle golf courses? The Jefferson park golf course for instance is 100 acres and the land could be used for hundreds of SFH houses, or thousands of units at higher densities. There could also be a ice rink, basketball court stadium, a community college opposite the VA, another park and playground on the south end to complement what is already on the north end, and almost anything else I can think of all co-existing simultaneously.

    The land is worth probably hundreds of millions for sale and several million a year in property taxes with the lowest density uses. I haven’t found the numbers but it is hard to see the existing use of the land generating that much money, or serving that many people since the throughput of a golf course is so limited. Golf in the U.S. has been steadily declining in popularity over the last decade, and this course in particular is a giant impediment to north/south and to a lesser extent east/west connectivity, and is divisive to the Beacon Hill community.

    1. Why is everyone obsessed with redeveloping the Jackson Park golf course? It’s municipally owned, and I can’t imagine it is nearly as big of a an ecological disaster as golf courses in other cities since we have rain for nine months of the year here.

      There is plenty of infill to be had farther south; why do we need to raze public amenities?

      1. There are other people advocating this? Are they organized, have a facebook page or something?

        I don’t know anything about the Jackson course, the one I’m thinking of is the Jefferson one (on the south end). Some or all of the land can still be used for the public, it’s just that golf seems to be an extremely poor use of land versus other potential amenities. If a big chunk of it were sold to developers the money could be spent on other parks elsewhere around the city and be more accessible to many more people.

        If it is generating many millions of dollars in profit to pay for other parks or something else useful maybe that would be a persuasive argument against redevelopment.

      2. Forget humblebragging, I’m here to flat out brag, because I said this October 7, 2013: “Jackson Park Golf Course … owned by the City of Seattle. Zero property taxes on the giant 160 acre parcel. Here’s why Seattle isn’t working to turn the property into TOD like Bellevue did with the Spring District. Bellevue is more forward-thinking than Seattle. Seattle lacks vision and ambition when it comes to this kind of long-range planning. Seattle is passive. Seattle should be looking, with the Link station in mind, looking to sell off this golf course to a developer, and create a Spring District or Renton Landing there.”

        Visionary: thinking about or planning the future with imagination or wisdom.

      3. Six-story apartments along a 65 foot wide strip along the north & west edges of Jackson Park would be wonders for 145th St Link ridership, while having almost no impact on the golf course.

      4. I’m no fan of golf and the golf lifestyle (and I’m also a big density proponent) but I think its great that we have this municipal golf course for everyone to use and play a sport more often associated with snooty exclusive country clubs.

    2. I’m not familiar with the other courses, but the Interbay 9-hole course is located next to an extremely loud and very large BNSF rail yard and was built on a reclaimed landfill. Not exactly prime real estate. That is the perfect use for golf courses, actually – repurposing an ugly, blighted piece of unused land. Chambers Bay near Tacoma was built on an abandoned quarry, for example.

      I also don’t want to have an undeclared war against certain sports just because the majority of people don’t play that specific sport. Many people enjoy playing a sport, but I doubt a majority plays any single one. Golf may be the easiest target since the courses are large, but we have a lot of tennis courts, baseball fields, and swimming pools that most people don’t use either. I’d rather maintain a variety of sports venues, as long as they are being used, and focus on redeveloping the unused and underused land that the city owns.

      1. Golf on a full size 18-hole course is inherently an underuse of land, especially in a major city. How many people per acre can a golf course support as compared to any other sport? The driving range and executive course could remain, and every sport you listed and a dozen more could be supported in the same space plus tens of acres devoted to any other purpose.

        The Jefferson course area is fairly desirable land for housing, the worst thing is probably the airplane noise. I believe the land is identical in character to what is north or south of it, barring any enhanced soil toxicity due to heavier use of pesticides or something like that. Different portions of it are within a mile of either the Beacon Hill light rail station, the Mt. Baker, or Columbia City stop, though the ability to traverse the hill to the east to the latter two is not as good as it could be.

        I know it’s not as important as developing vacant lots and parking lots closer to transit and in high density locations, but it sure is a HUGE amount of space to look at for better use further into the future.

    3. Seattle shouldn’t be decreasing the amount of parkland and recreation space while its population is increasing. These may be golf courses, but they are used a fair bit and they are publicly owned, so they shouldn’t be expected to turn a profit or get sold off to the highest bidder.

      If the golf courses ever shut down for some reason, they would most likely be fully turned into parkland, recreation space, or sports fields.

      1. “Seattle shouldn’t be decreasing the amount of parkland and recreation space while its population is increasing.”

        I would argue that selling off 10 acres of park used by 100 people if it somehow allows creating a 1 acre park used by 1000 people is great a per-capita increase in parkland, but decreasing the size of the space isn’t central to my suggestion, just one of many many possibilities.

        “If the golf courses ever shut down for some reason, they would most likely be fully turned into parkland, recreation space, or sports fields.”

        The ‘some reason’ could be that golf doesn’t serve as many people as all of the above, in addition what is currently a giant fenced off barrier to travel could be made usable to at least bicycles and pedestrians.

        It would be awesome for instance if it were merged with the Cheasty greenspace and trees planted on all the greens, and a giant trail system ran through it all with multiple trailheads on all sides. It would be much more accessible to transit than Seward Park.

    4. Great question and great idea. To answer your question, I think golfers would object. I don’t know if it is feasible, but it might be possible to buy and develop land in the southern suburbs that would be cheaper. Then you could redevelop land within the golf course and actually make a profit. After all, the golf courses were built there because land was cheap there. Now it isn’t. Meanwhile, most golfers drive to the golf course. This makes it different than a regular park. You can’t tell the Ravenna neighborhood “Hey, we are going to take away your park, but we built a new park five miles away and it is bigger and cooler”, but you might get away with that for a golf course.

      One of the big problems with most golf courses is that they cut off the neighborhood. It isn’t, strictly speaking, just the land they use. It is the fact that they are all enclosed (typically) and don’t allow much in the way of egress. For example, a park full of soccer fields still has gaps in between the fields. This allows someone to walk right next to the fields, or on them if no game is occurring at the moment. Likewise with most parkland. But golf courses typically have big fences around them which prevent someone from “cutting through”, let alone enjoying the park.

      I could easily see some of the golf courses being converted into a mix of uses. A little development, a little open parkland, some ball fields and a smaller golf course. Greenlake has a putting green, for example, and it fits in just fine with the area. The closest thing I can think of is Magnuson Park, which has buildings as well as parkland. Add mixed income housing to the mix and you might actually have a chance. The golfers would lose out on most (if not all) of their course, but it would be for a good cause (more people would have a home). You would probably come out way ahead, and the new parks department could use some of the profit to build new parks. For example, I would love to see freeway park expanded (northward).

      Other than inertia, I can’t see a strong argument against it.

    5. There is so much space available for infill and development in this city already that there is almost no need for this idea. If we were out of space, you might have a point. But we aren’t.

  6. Re: SLU traffic directors: What’s funny is how little traffic there is in SLU off-peak. From Eastlake to Aurora, Valley to Denny, the streets are deserted just an hour or two after peak — even Mercer flows easily unless there’s an event. What happens during peak hours should have been totally predictable during planning, comparing the number of garages built to the amount of road capacity. For some reason we’ve continued to allow more parking to be built. Of course developers will build a garage downtown if they can; parking there is lucrative! But its impact on our overall transportation network is too great. It’s time for a moratorium on new parking spaces in greater downtown.

    1. It’s time for a moratorium on new parking spaces in greater downtown.

      This sounds like a good idea at first, but how many projects’ funding are contingent on parking? Would we simply stall projects that are otherwise good for the region economically? Simultaneous with that, we’d hand a monopoly on parking to the builders who got there first, arbitrarily increasing their land value.

      Of course, the answer Isn’t to try and accommodate more automobiles. The biggest part of the answer is to actually provide real transit options to South Lake Union. The burden for that should be spread equitably among all SLU demand generators.

      Beyond that, I learned last night that under state law Transportation Benefit Districts can charge tolls—including London-style congestion charges—on city and county streets. Now that Seattle has its own freshly-minted TBD, perhaps it’s time to start charging for bringing a car into or out of downtown during peak.

      1. The problems with a moratorium on parking are more abstract and less severe than the problems that come from overbuilding parking. All that traffic really does jam up important transit routes. And it drives our transportation department to install the kinds of massively pedestrian-hostile traffic signals we see all over SLU (not just on Mercer).

        There’s lots of real transit that goes to SLU. Unfortunately it runs mostly on the surface, and will for a long time. The best thing we can do for it is stop using our streets as parking aisles.

        If you’re concerned it’s too sweet a deal for people with existing garages, there are a few existing garages I’d close, too, because their access isn’t safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

      2. I am working on a blog post on just this topic: the City can charge their own PM peak tolls on streets that lead to I-5, decongesting SLU and downtown streets so they are available for use, not just storing cars waiting to get on I-5.

      3. We already have more parking spaces than cars that can fit on downtown streets, and adding more garage entrances in more places has real impacts on pedestrian convenience and safety. Greater-downtown Seattle is a pretty hot market right now, which means that we really do have the power to shape our city by requiring things of developers without worrying they’ll all leave for the suburbs.

        Kyle, you’re framing this like it’s a property rights thing, when in reality there are many justified limits what people can do on their own property. Nowhere more than in big-city downtowns. This is less of a property rights situation than a tragedy-of-the-commons situation, where the common good is street space, and building owners claim it by building garages. While sometimes it might be OK to just let building owners duke it out, in this case there’s more at stake than just how much of the good is snatched up. The proliferation of curb cuts is tangibly bad for pedestrians, for one thing. And increasing traffic pressure downtown limits our ability to do more intelligent things with our streets.

        Meanwhile, congestion pricing would be a political disaster, and restricting new parking garages could actually be made a winner.

    2. Amazon subsidizes parking for its workers. That is a huge problem. There was a long waiting list for Amazon garage parking – I don’t know if that is still the case, but I would imagine it is.

      A modest proposal: before SDOT or SPD commits to doing anything about SLU traffic, SDOT should demand that Amazon eliminate parking subsidies. Amazon already gives employees free full-value ORCA cards and Amazonians certainly make enough $$$ to pay the true cost of garage parking.

      1. I didn’t realize there was a subsidy — most people just complain that the line is long and the spot costs too much. Removing the subsidy / wait list would solve another problem, which is that the waiting list is currently ordered only by when you got on. This means that those who wanted a parking spot for the final months of pregnancy either had to plan exceptionally well and be very lucky, have a spot when they didn’t need it, or have no way to bump (…intended) their position in the queue. With free market pricing, this problem would go away.

      2. But… But… But…

        I was told SLU employment was booming and Amazon had come to the area only because every last soul was arriving on the SLUT!

      3. It’s particularly stupid for a greater-downtown employer to subsidize employee parking only in certain buildings. If they even simply offered a general subsidy in response to messing up the commutes of all the people that lived down south because it was convenient to the old offices, many people would choose lots and garages easier to access from whatever route they took on the way in. Often these lots/garages are on otherwise undesirable land near the freeway anyway.

        It would be silly to pretend this would solve the problem completely, and obviously all subsidies for parking pretty much suck.

      4. Nice snark, d. p. Seriously though, the answer (obviously) is to build better transit to the area. A streetcar doesn’t cut it. There are plenty of parking garages in other parts of downtown, but no one cares. You can ride the bus (or train) and go under the city just fine. We should do the same with South Lake Union. Until then, maybe we can build a gondola.

      5. The point of the SLUT is not to ride it, but to look at it out your office window. The ability to do that is why Amazon came to the area.

      6. So even long term what would be the transit solutions for SLU? What kind of HCT/rapid transit could we see? Would it be Denny HCT? A rebuilt Westlake streetcar track running in the center with dedicated lanes, then going up to Fremont? Gondola? A subway tunnel branching off DSTT or this talked about 2nd Downtown transit tunnel?

      7. LOL, ASDF.

        Sadly, you’re not really exaggerating, not even a little bit. The streetcar looks just great outside the window in the corporate communications, and employees feel all sorts of smugly “urban” as it ambles by them on the walk from their parking space.

        See also: Whole Foods’ statement about the First Hill Streetcar.

  7. I have an honest question. If cars and parking lots are evil, as some transit advocates say, why does Sound Transit plan on building parking lots at many future Link stations?

    Also, the call went out about a month ago to take pics of transit and post them to the STB Flickr Group. I checked to see how many have taken pics since the request, and I’m pretty disappointed in the results. Many of you haven’t taken any pics at all, completely ignoring that simple favor that was asked of you. I’m not sure what your excuse is. There’s a camera on your phone.

    1. Suburbanites prefer to drive to transit, since connecting bus service is often lacking in frequency and speediness without bus/BAT lanes and HOV lanes. ST-owned parking could be turned into TOD in the future as local connections improve, so Sound Transit should be actively planning their parking lots for partial and total conversion.

    2. Water isn’t evil, but having too much of it in the wrong place causes death and destruction.

      Car’s aren’t evil but having too many of them in the wrong place causes death by congestion.

    3. If cars and parking lots are evil, as some transit advocates say,

      Who says cars and parking lots are evil? Citations, please.

  8. Transit photo idea: One early evening near the OTC I noticed the glow of about a dozen laptops emanating from the darkened interior of a Shuttle Connect van. I think that would be a fantastic shot. You’ll probably want take it looking down into the van a bit. Maybe be standing on an A-frame ladder? But I’ll leave it up to you how to take it.

    1. Very interesting. The area is certainly one of the more intriguing areas from an architectural standpoint. It is too bad there are so many freeways in the area or it would be one of the nicest areas in Seattle.

  9. A quarter million people on day 1? That’s astounding! How can there be that productive a line that is not already built (and they’ve built plenty) in a city with the same population as Seattle? Truly remarkable.

    About our own, equally expensive and vastly less traveled mass transit system, it’s good to hear the Tacoma Tribune’s strong endorsement. Obviously I disagree with their assessment that Seattle is resting because we’ve got transit. We still don’t have nearly as much of it as we need, and we’re the part of the region that’s growing. But if Tacoma and Everett really want to be on link, those are votes we’re gonna need for a complete ST3 package.

    I’m becoming more convinced that ST3 needs to address SLU. It wasn’t on the map when planning started, but it’s already a mess. Perhaps we could build a Y off Ballard to Downtown that would branch from Belltown, stop in SLU, and end at the cap hill station?

    We also need to get exclusive ROW for the SLUS, and double the frequency. Does anybody know average vehicles per lane per hour? What frequency is required for an streetcar to exceed the capacity per hour of roads?

    Hopefully exclusive ROW will be more politically feasible when the CCC goes in, so that 1) the SLUS actually goes somewhere, and 2) we have an example of what a streetcar that’s actually useful for transit, thanks to ROW.

    1. Half of the SLU streetcar’s problem is that it gets blocked by traffic going the same direction as it. The other half is that it gets blocked by traffic going across it (i.e. at stop lights and even a few stop signs). This half of the problem is greatly exacerbated by Westlake running diagonally through the Denny Triangle’s street grid and thus encountering a lot of intersections at wacky angles. So just getting reserved ROW would only solve half of the streetcar’s problems.

      I think we should consider mostly deleting Westlake in the Denny Triangle… if we don’t (it would be a really huge project) we should consolidate and shrink the intersections along it (much as we should along Denny), to improve transit flow and shorten pedestrian crossings.

      1. Well, and the other half that is low frequency, and the other half that is it doesn’t go anywhere. The SLUT has problems, is what I’m saying.

        But yes, the diagonal street grid is a problem. I’m curious what you mean by “consolidate and shrink” the intersections – are we consolidating by making some streets not go through?

      2. @EHS: Consolidating and shrinking is essentially making some streets not go through (mostly minor streets — drivers would use major streets to get across, like they mostly do today), and making some of the streets intersect it at closer-to-right angles.

        Take 8th/Denny, for example. It’s stupidly wide for pedestrians, and it would be silly to do anything there except turn right. We should consider removing the intersection, cul-de-saccing 8th, and making the sidewalk continuous. Failing that, 8th could be much narrower west of Bell, and the west edge of the street could curve a bit so it hits Denny at a right angle, shortening the crossing distance for pedestrians a lot.

        Boren/Lenora/Denny is even worse; in that case, Lenora could be cul-de-sacced and Boren angled to meet Denny at a right angle… or, alternately, both could be cut off, since at this point Boren continues north as Fairview. My rule of thumb is something like, “If we can’t support a pedestrian crossing of Denny here, it’s questionable that a full vehicle intersection is a good idea”. Virginia/Minor/Denny is similar to that, and even Stewart/Yale, though the latter is a tougher nut to crack because of the I-5 interchange setup.

        The intersection of 9th/Westlake/Blanchard is the sort of thing we might aim for along Westlake — since all the intersections come together a little differently, appropriate solutions differ case by case, and in that case, 9th and Blanchard are connected to eachother across Westlake, and the result is a relatively compact intersection with reasonable pedestrian crossing distances. 8th/Lenora/Westlake might be an opportunity to do something similar.

      3. Really: Yes, the diagonal is a problem, but it’s a problem for cars, too. If we want transit to be relevant, it has to be able to compete with cars on speed. That requires, at a minimum, exclusive ROW where traffic is heavy. SLUS may not ever be fast on Westlake, but it could be as fast as or faster than cars.

        But, drivers are loathe to give up travel lanes in areas where traffic is heavy. And with long headways, we should be, too: the transit lane would have less capacity than a general traffic lane, and thus discourage density. But where demand is high enough to run very frequent transit, like SLU, exclusive ROW is a game changer.

        I think an awesome, and super-cheap transit project would be to go through the city and map out all the places where enough buses/streetcars go that they have more capacity than a lane of transit, and then fight like dogs for exclusive right of way in those places. They’re all going to be in high traffic areas, so the fight would be epic, but suddenly it would be faster to take transit through those areas. The resulting riders become a powerful voice for transit.

        Anyway, just some transit daydreams, but I think it makes a ton of sense to measure ROW projects by the capacity of the routes running on the ROW vs. cars. And it would be way cheaper than tunnels.

      4. It doesn’t matter if the streetcar runs as fast as cars on Westlake. The SLU Streetcar’s nominal purpose is to connect the homes and businesses of SLU to regional transit services at Westlake Station. The corresponding driving routes involve staying on limited-access highways as close to the destination as possible. That’s what the SLU Streetcar has to compete with, and it’s not going to win if it has to cross an off-angle intersection every hundred feet, no matter what sort of ROW it has. Last time I took the streetcar I’d barely have been slower walking, and there was barely any traffic along Westlake itself.

      5. Preemptive traffic signal priority would do the most good for the streetcar (of the Link-Rainier valley sort, not the Rapid Ride sort). Most of the travel time is spent waiting at stoplights. Current ridership and travel demand may not justify it, but at some point a fast transit connection between SLU and downtown will outweigh car traffic delays on cross-streets.

        There may be a few points where exclusive lanes are needed, but aggressive traffic signal priority would be the gamechanger for the streetcar.

      6. Sam, you can check me out on this, but it seems like at pm rush, the streetcar lane up Westlake is generally fairly clear, with the left lane jammed with traffic.

        Northbound, the main blockage is from traffic turning right just past the Whole Foods zone. One solution could to give transit operators, streetcar and Route 40 ability to activate a special signal to hold right turns until they clear the corner.

        Lane to Thomas doesn’t look that bad, but could be reserved. Cross streets on Terry could have flashing yellow lights for Terry, and flashing red for cross streets. Or streetcar-only stop signs, like on MLK.

        But re: Open Thread, wonder how much money, effort, and politics it would take at every relevant level to give those damned parking garages fixed exit hours. Which don’t include rush hour.

        A lot of agencies and citizens were really asleep at the streetcar switch to permit those garages in the first place. Am I right that it wouldn’t hurt at least one of the companies involved to understand it can’t get its own complete way about everything?

        A four year old generally not only has no problems when adults are firm about limits- and always learns they get more of their own way if they cooperate.

        But I really think a company up-to-date and generous enough to give SLU an extra streetcar should at least go along with my rush hour plan- which would definitely give its streetcar more ridership. Really win-win. People who really need the car could still use the garages. Work hours can be rearranged. In this case, to employers’ benefit. Jammed traffic, less easy, helping nobody.

        Mark Dublin

      7. Even if the streetcar had signal priority, the fact still remains that the 10’ish minutes you spend waiting for the streetcar to show up is enough time to ride a Pronto bike all the way from one end of the line to the other.

    2. No “Y”. A cross-town line, and if Ballard-Downtown is built via Fremont, the cross-town should extend west to the area around Elliott and 15th West, with a couple of “urban stop separation” stations west of the crossing of the Ballard line.

      1. If the Ballard line goes through Belltown and Lower Queen Anne, I don’t see a lot of room for a line to the west of that. The walkshed of a Myrtle Edwards or a 15th and Elliot station would be pretty bad.

        But I totally agree about urban stop spacing in Denny Triangle, and have no problem with a pure east-west connector, so long as headways are really good. East-west in Denny triangle would actually be pretty awesome, because going diagonal to the streetgrid you can put stops really close to eachother and have them far apart by the streetgrid.

      2. EHS,

        There is already quite a lot of office development alone Elliott, and the north side of the street hasn’t yet been touched. The bluff is high enough that some pretty tall buildings could go in between Elliott and the base of it and not obstruct the views from the populated upper part of the hill. Elliott Bay views are worth a lot…….

      3. Oh, and I wouldn’t run an East-West line through the triangle but a couple of blocks north of Denny. Most of the triangle is well within walking distance of Westlake Station, especially with the access through the department stores.

    3. SLU would be a great place to have two lines intersecting: a Downtown-Aurora line using the new transit tunnel to be built for Ballard Link and West Seattle Link, and a east-west line to replace Metro Route 8 from the Seattle Center to the CD (also known as Oddball Corridor 25).

    4. If the SLUS went to Fremont and University District it would go somewhere and be useful, it was crazy to stop it just at the south end of the lake (as it was to also put it in mixed traffic shoulder lanes). Westlake should be a trunk line for these two branches with dedicated lanes in this key spine as they enter downtown.

      1. Poncho, we agree about the next thing the South Lake Union Streetcar needs to do. But in general for transit projects, until the system can raise the money and develop a plan for the entire route, it’s standard practice to build the line in stages.

        It’s also easier to get support and funding for the rest of the line once the first part is already there, than to wait- while hostile traffic patterns develop- until the whole thing can be done at once.

        I think you’ll find that the Interstate Highway System was done the same way.

        Mark Dublin

    5. Al and EHS: The First Avenue Connector would not only extend the SLUS to Pioneer Square, it also funds significant time improvements to the existing segment. Details are in one of the appendices to the proposal released a couple months ago.

    6. “A quarter million people on day 1? That’s astounding! How can there be that productive a line that is not already built (and they’ve built plenty) in a city with the same population as Seattle?”

      It has just taken a long time to get approved and built. The stopgap is a regular and a limited-stop bus running every few minutes from Broadway station to UBC, but they are overwhelmed. It’s similar to our downtown-UW situation.

      1. Well, except that our 70-series is a lot less frequent and not nearly as full, and that as a region we are so poorly set up for high concentrations of demand that lots of people still drive to the UW because they are unable to access anything resembling worthwhile transit, a problem Link won’t fix.

        I’m told that in the next round of Metro quarterly ridership reports, RR D is beating the entire 70-series, and D + 40 ridership demand is whopping. The pent-up demand for corridorized service to NW Seattle is beating even our most glorified “node”.

        You know what isn’t kicking ass in ridership numbers? Everett to downtown Lynnwood.

      2. The 250,000 number is high, but there is some explanation. The Broadway Subway is just an extension of the Millennium Line, and the Broadway Subway boarding statistics are counting every passenger on the Millennium Line that will stay on the trains and continue west on the new section. The Millennium Line currently has daily boardings of around 70,000 and when the Evergreen Line is completed, that will add another 40,000 boardings per day. Both of those will continue to grow, so by the time the Broadway Subway could be completed in 2020, there will be 150,000 boardings on the rest of the Millennium/Evergreen Lines. Not all of that traffic will continue on to the Broadway Subway part, but probably 75,000 will. And the current Broadway Bus Lines have 100,000 boardings per day, and some of the parallel routes on 41st Ave and 4th Ave are just overflow from the packed #99 on Broadway. Obviously some of these bus riders will continue on the local trolley bus, the #9, but again there is basically 100,000 bus boardings that will switch over. So the planners are assuming that there are 175,000 bus and transit boardings that will immediately move to the Broadway Subway. The remaining 75,000 is the “lift” expected from the added convenience. That lift expectation comes from the Canada Line which experienced higher ridership than expected right from the start. And obviously the added convenience would continue to attract new riders so boardings would continue to grow from 250,000.

        Vancouver has a similar population to Portland, but both are considerably smaller than Seattle. In round numbers it is 2.5m versus 3.5m.

  10. I think that happiest news in this round-up is that Complete Street treatment is closer to happening on Rainier Avenue South through Columbia City. The street is too narrow for four full lanes and would be much better served by a three-lane treatment with bus bulbs.

    MLK was just recently rebuilt into an excellent urban arterial with the Link construction; its capacity is significantly greater than Rainier’s now. Rainier can stand to be traffic dieted south of the MLK crossing. Columbia City is already a really nice urban village, Hillman City just to the south is getting fixed up by businesses which would like to be in Columbia City but can’t afford the rents, and the whole area is a great family area.

    Slowing the cars down will make it all the better.

    1. I’m hoping the diet/rechannelization does happen spring 2015 as suggested/promised and has a few months to operate and generate data, and then we can move on to coming up with possible reconfigurations at the MLK Rainier intersection (which may be less of a mess once Rainier south of it has been improved, and also when the 23rd ave intersection with Rainier a bit north of there is redone as a part of the 23rd ave corridor project).

    1. Watched that on TV last night. I also overheard a driver mention once that the coffee house at the 48 terminus won’t let drivers use its bathroom facilities.

  11. I love how Seattle passing Prop 1 has put the State and our more rural legislators on the defensive. Kudos to the Mayor Murray and the city for doing that, it’s a welcome change.

    And kudos to our other regional leaders who recognize that Seattle’s path forward might be the only path forward for them too. Regionalism (or Balkanizm if you prefer that term) will really favor the more urban areas whose citizens are willing to raise their own taxes for their own benefit.

    Also, it is interesting how our more rural legislators have dropped trying to connect transportation spending to “congestion relief.” Originally they were pushing that idea because they thought it would allow them to raid transit spending on the (shaky) premise that transit doesn’t reduce congestion.

    However, now that it has become clear even to them that 98% of statewide road congestion occurs in the Puget Sound region they seemed to have dropped the concept altogether. Obviously if your road spending is tied to congestion relief, and congestion mainly occurs in the PS region, then that is where your road spending should mainly occur to. That would obviously cut them out, so they seem to be dropping the concept.

    1. those folk east of the mtns need a good slap of reality every once in awhile. i don’t think they appreciate who butters the most bread in this state.

      1. Two years ago, Okanogan County actually voted to raise the sales tax a little bit to fund a transit system. Soon we’ll be able to take a bus from Winthrop to Pateros and/or Okanogan or Omak and back again. It’s not near as snazzy a system as ST or Metro, but still it’s better than hitchhiking.

      2. East and West is a mutually beneficial relationship for Washington. This kind of arrogance from those in Pugetopolis is both obnoxious and ignorant.

      3. Sorry, no. The urban populace has a much greater grasp of mutual beneficence than the anti-tax and anti-social-service voters in the net-receiver parts of the state.

        This is just a political fact of our times, and acknowledging it is in no way obnoxious and ignorant.

        The only thing that will eradicate the hypocritical discourse in the welfare counties is a statewide measure to apportion state funding proportionally to revenues, with all the inevitable short-term pain that would entail.

        We even have a term for that already: we could call it “subarea equity”.

    1. I can not believe the travails Metro drivers have to endure to maintain a job.
      I would not be able to do their work.
      TV last night said this non-available bathroom break was to reduce Metro’s costs.
      I think someone needs to take the bean counters to the woodshed.
      This is a feudal working condition, it is beyond wrong.
      Fix the damn schedules.

  12. Maybe the city can also declare illegal those awful flashing lights and audible warning announcements to pedestrians that a car is exiting a garage. These seem exactly in the same category of illegal private traffic directing against official traffic laws as the flaggers. The worst in town is a garage near Pike Place Market but more in Belltown that actually repeatedly screams Warning Car Exiting.

    1. I assume it’s a safety requirement now. Developers wouldn’t do something like that on their own, and politicians don’t like to repeal requirements will cause people to blame them after the next accident. Not that I’ve ever heard of an accident at office-building exits.

  13. Looking at East Link’s path, it’s really too bad they didn’t have the line run closer to, and have a station near Sears and Fred Meyer. Those last two stations are really on the edge of the commercial neighborhood, and backed up against a wall that is called 520. I would have liked to seen have a stop around 148th and 20th, then go do the Overlake Village Station and finally Overlake Transit Center Station. A station near Fred Meyer would have save a lot of back-tracking and bus connections. And the station gap between 130th and OVS is too long.

    That said, has anyone seen whats been going on at the old Group Health site on 152nd, which will be very close to the OVS? The first crane went up a few days ago. Here’s an article about what all will be going in there.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/techflash/2014/09/urban-cool-redmond-mega-project-near-microsoft-to.html

    1. I biked down 152nd yesterday and saw those cranes; thanks for the link. There’s a lot of potential on that site, especially when they connect it to 156th.

      And I agree with you about the station locations – Redmond’s planning to build a ped/bike bridge over 520 from Overlake Village, which should put a number of offices there in the station’s walkshed, but placing it further south would be much better.

  14. i hope ST spends ST3 wisely. They should focus LR within the city limits of Tacoma and Everett and not worry about connecting these cities to Seattle’s Link. Maybe later with a ST4 or ST5 but not now, its not justified. Everett would best be served by connecting the Boeing plant, the community college, the Sounder station and etc. Add a few more Sounder trains if they need more trips to Seattle. Same holds for Tacoma. Seattle needs to address Ballard/UW/Kirkland which will be spendy followed by Ballard-Seattle-West Seattle-Des Moines.

    1. North Sounder is a total joke. Even if the frequency was decent it takes longer than buses most days and really isn’t useful for anyone south of Everett.

      Given what BNSF would charge for increasing North Sounder service we’d be better off extending Link to Everett.

    2. Many of us want to cancel Sounder North and put the proceeds into replacement buses and extending Link to Everett. But Snohomish County won’t hear of it, and Mukilteo and Edmonds especially won’t hear of it.

    3. It will be interesting to see what the ridership numbers for North Sounder are for October.

      I got the nod that the trains are filling up.

      1. You “got the nod”?

        That the four pathetically shortened train consists per day are “filling up”?

        And you wonder why you’re impossible to take seriously?

      2. and the thumbs up..

        But given your total lack of railroad operations and local history, you wouldn’t have a clue d.p.

  15. My “total lack of railroad operations”.

    Jesús, Jim.

    It doesn’t take an expert to spot the difference between a many-car train running full towards Kent and Auburn and a hilariously short train running less often northward with seats available.

    So maybe the subsidy will drop from $32/foamer to $29/foamer. Big whoop. It’s still a disaster of a commuter line.

    1. Whooops,…

      hit before editing the accidental delete of

      “Lack of Knowledge.”

      Did that offend you d.p. ?

      My post merely said “It will be interesting to see what the ridership numbers for North Sounder are for October.

      I got the nod that the trains are filling up.”

      The ‘nod’ was a reference to an humorous situation I ran into when I asked the question, since it was this person’s observation that the trains are filling up, along with some of the parking lots.

      However, unlike you, I am willing to wait for the real data.

      Don’t let that stop you, though.
      It’s your blog, after all.

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