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The View Out the Community Transit Double Tall Down the Highway to Mukilteo
My photo from a Community Transit Double-Tall

I thought I’d share my comments to Community Transit on their annual Transit Development Plan update.  As I empathized last Friday along with some neat statistical quotes, please by 3 April e-mail planupdate-AT-commtrans.org your thoughts on the CT Draft TDP if we transit geeks want to give Community Transit input on their future goals.

I just copy-pasted my comments as well.  Figure this may or may not help you.

Joe


Dear Community Transit;

I just finished reviewing your 2015 update of your Transit Development Plan (hereafter TDP for brevity).  Rather impressed by Community Transit capabilities I’ve experienced and stated in the TDP, but the TDP does reflect vacancies around transit service for Paine Field so that’s where most of my comments are going to reflect.

But first, as a Republican and as a supporter of genuine congestion relief having sat last autumn in Skagit Transit 90X buses trapped in deep congestion and occasionally used Sound Transit-branded buses to get from Everett Station to Seattle – I hope all Community Transit staff take pride in providing 1% of the vehicles, but 25% of commuters on the I-5 corridor.

That said, I went over your TDP as an aviation photographer with a part-time gig at a Paine Field tenant not named Boeing.  I noticed no mention of any route restructures if Swift II came into being – which I hope Swift II does with the same awesomeness I’ve experienced with Swift I.  As such, I’m politely reminding Community Transit of some basic Paine Field geography:

  • There is a lease option on for a potential 2-gate Paine Field commercial aviation terminal along 100th Street SW.  Your TDP should have a plan to link service from that terminal to Swift II at the least, and at the most reroute Swift II to/from the terminal; just as the SeaTac International terminal is served by many transit providers.
  • Airport Road & 112th Street Southwest is the closest Swift II bus stop at 0.9 miles to Flying Heritage Collection.  I hope you agree please this Swift II potential station should come to fruition and feed service to Flying Heritage Collection.
  • Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour in the January 2015 Leading Edge newsletter revealed having 281,567 total 2014 visitors (1) yet has no regular transit service within half a mile.  One explanation given is that the Future of Flight requires a bus stop.  However, Everett Transit has commuter only bus stops #7375 westbound to the Mukilteo Ferry and #7380 eastbound to the Boeing Factory a mere 0.2 miles walking distance to the Future of Flight at 44th Avenue West & 84th Street Southwest.

Pardon my incredulity, but until you start serving a place averaging 777.8 visitors for the 362 days the Future of Flight is open annually… I just shake my head at your abandonment of your potential 777-8X bus stop.  I salute your service of Historic Flight Foundation & the neighboring “Windsock” via the Bernie Webber Drive bus stop, I appreciate Everett Transit’s service of the Museum of Flight’s Restoration Center but still.

            At this conjecture I remind you of two of your more robust your TDP assertions:

  • “We will provide fast, frequent, reliable and affordable public transportation connecting all major destinations in Snohomish County. People will enjoy the ease and comfort of being transported on buses in priority lanes. … Transit will be the first choice, not just for commuting to work but for all travel” on page 2.
  • “More connections to more places, more often and more reliably” on page 86.

The head-shaking failure to serve within half a mile a major Snohomish County destination by any definition with an average of 777.8 visitors for the 362 days and around 86 visitors per hour the Future of Flight is open annually without a strenuous hike from the Mukilteo Speedway or a hike up & down a trail to the Boeing plant 0.8 miles away is not conducive with your TDP goals.

            So what is my “call to action” as your TDP would put the issue?  Okay, you need to initiate planning with new revenue a route restructure to service Paine Field museums and follow through to, “provide fast, frequent, reliable and affordable public transportation connecting all major destinations in Snohomish County” by using the new revenue to provide, “More connections to more places, more often and more reliably”.  There you go.

—FOOTNOTE—

  1. This stat counts the 269,854 purchases of the full Boeing Tour (which includes access to the Gallery & Strato Deck) tickets & 11,713 Gallery & Strato Deck ticket purchases.  Not counted was the 1,850 students also served.  SOURCE: http://www.futureofflight.org/newsletter, select January 2015.

8 Replies to “North by Northwest View 11: Comments on Community Transit 2015-2020 Transit Development Plan”

  1. Good point about going to a future Paine Field terminal…perhaps a station will be added then, or even a shuttle bus. My understanding is that the Swift is for express, point-to-point trips. Perhaps there will be a local route underneath, such as the #105, which covers part of its routing? For instance, the #101, #8, and #7 are for the existing Swift. Also, Paine Field is on Everett’s border, why doesn’t Everett Transit provide service there, or perhaps they will once it’s known for sure that there will be air service there. Also, Everett and Snohomish County are pushing hard to divert Sound Transit light rail from a direct path along I-5 to cater to Boeing, 7 days a week, where the car is clearly king at present (transit coverage has been cut back, evidently due to weak ridership). Maybe their stop will be at the terminal. As for the museum, I don’t know how often folks would visit there once they’ve been there one time, and there are plenty of visits to that location now, obviously not transit users. Some sort of local service, like the Everett Transit #3, would seem the best option there rather than a costly diversion.

    1. Sorry for the late response. Been busy last few days.

      First, I barely support and with reservations light rail at Paine Field – and with only $12 Billion versus $15 Billion in Sound Transit authority, we got a problem giving up the Paine Field diversion may solve. I “get it” Seattle needs more high density transit, Everett-centric moneyed interests want high density light rail but won’t upgrade transit service with more buses to/from Boeing & a better marketing strategy. Already transit takes 20-25% of the potential vehicle traffic off of I-5…

      I certainly agree with you a Paine Field circular would be best and would definitely serve repeat Future of Flight customers who plane spot and aviation photograph (the difference being the former want to document airplane movements, the latter want to create art with photographs of aviation). Then there are those that come on (mostly) Saturdays for events the local Paine Field museums put on. I currently as a transit user have to hike over half a mile up either a muddy trail or a steep hill to the Future of Flight in no small part because of a crass viewpoint that it’s one thing to champion transit, another to serve a major tourist desitnation with transit.

      I will conclude with this, great points about the Swift & local service. Please keep the comments coming!

  2. There is no doubt that CT must step up their game in the Paine Field Area, especially. The Museum of Future Flight. I currently work in the hotel industry in downtown and many tourists inquire about public transport to the Museum. There are actually tourists, many of Asian nationalities, who make the trip to the Museum by bus. Now that the 113 no longer serves Ash Way, the trip is going to be much longer.

    I suggest, at least during the summer, that CT have one 113 trip per hour somehow deviate to the Museum.

    As for the possibility of a passenger terminal, I think it’s important to keep in mind that it’s only an idea floating around. Previous attempts at a passenger terminal failed due to heavy opposition to residents. But lets imagine if this time it succeeds: a 2 gate terminal is hardly worth serving. And most likely, as with any start-up air service, flights would most likely be time & slot restricted. Without having a centralized destination for those potential passengers (like downtown is for SeaTac travelers), it would be very hard to predict flyers choice of destination in Snohomish County. Some may go to downtown, but others may venture to north Snohomish county or Skagit County.

    1. Reyes, sorry I haven’t wrote you back yet, I too am hopeful Community Transit will step up and deal with this oversight in the near future. It’s rude, disrespectful and thoughtless to blow off a place with over 280,000 annual visitors… and several dozen employees next door to the international 747 Dreamlifter cargo operations center with several hundred employees.

      As to, “lets imagine if this time it succeeds: a 2 gate terminal is hardly worth serving. And most likely, as with any start-up air service, flights would most likely be time & slot restricted. Without having a centralized destination for those potential passengers (like downtown is for SeaTac travelers), it would be very hard to predict flyers choice of destination in Snohomish County. Some may go to downtown, but others may venture to north Snohomish county or Skagit County.” That’s why feeding into SWIFT service lines is vital to the terminal’s success.

      I am of the view if the Community Transit sales tax is going to go up for Community Transit, a Paine Field circular also makes sense. It would serve all four of the Paine Field museums, any potential airline terminal and link back up w/ the Swift II.

  3. A bit late, but I think I’ll share my opinion on the Paine Field situation:

    I’d rather see Community Transit not even bother to serve Paine Field beyond the existing Boeing commuter service and Swift II. After all, it is mostly within Everett city limits and per an agreement signed with Everett Transit in 2007 for Swift I, Everett Transit should be operating the routes in that area instead. I’d imagine that Everett Transit would be opposed to Community Transit encroaching even more on their turf, since they have complained in the past and forced CT to run their current express routing (e.g. skipping almost every stop) on North Broadway, for example.

    Paine Field is not a priority. Community Transit has bigger things to worry about. They need to massively expand service to keep up with Vision 2040 goals while planning ahead for Link Light Rail integration and a true Swift network. Until stable commercial service is established at Paine, any kind of work done here would be a waste of time and resources for the good folks at Merrill Creek.

    Besides, it would not look good for PR if CT was sending near-empty buses around Paine Field all day, especially when you have some light opposition to the sales tax increase.

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