The original Mark I trains still sound the same but the areas around the station have developed greatly.

90 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Vancouver Skytrain in 1988”

  1. This article in the New York Post … 8 surprisingly fun adventures at the end of NYC’s subway lines, has given me and idea for a similar post for our area: 1 surprisingly fun idea at the end of Seattle’s subway line. Get on a plane and fly to NYC. Seriously, though, someone should write a similar post for this area. Could be for our one light rail line, or our Rapid Rides, etc. Doesn’t have to be fun adventures at the end, either, but maybe best nearest restaurant, etc. I’ve noticed a lot of you here don’t contribute anything in the way of guest posts or Page 2 submissions. This could be your opportunity to contribute something.

    1. I could write something like that I suppose, but you’ll have to wait until after I retire, and then wait until after all the post retirement travel is done too. So, maybe in 80 years or so I’ll be able to contribute something.

      One problem is that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Things like the Georgetown Museum aren’t mentioned in most Seattle guidebooks since they only appeal to certain people.

      What about Constellation Park? That’s one place that is never mentioned in Seattle guide books, as far as I have found. Transit isn’t great to get there, but it exists.

      1. Ozone Park-Lefferts Blvd

        That’s where I grew up (South Ozone actually)!

        My Mom and Dad did all their shopping here –before malls appeared in and around New York City– along Liberty Avenue which intersected with Lefferts. (The A train actually runs over Liberty avenue and ends at the intersection with Lefferts. But Liberty continues on. So there was this split of stores that were in the open, or underneath the El. The A train here, along with the one on its other branch at North Conduit, and the E/F at Kew Gardens, were my routes into “The City”.)

        It was great because each block was different and full of different shops…cameras, jewelery, pharmacy, toys.

        The A elec

    2. We have the Link Excuse of the Month articles. Focusing on the ends of the lines has some value, but what’s most important is things anywhere on the line.

      1. Especially if your lines end at massive parking lots.

        Quick now, which is a better destination: the airport parking garage or the Lynnwood parking garage or the Federal Way transit center parking structure?

    3. I had heard that one of the trolley bus routes has a great view of Rainier from Rainier Beach. I took the 7 out to the end, but either that wasn’t the route or someone moved the mountain.

      1. As the Route 7 takes the right turn from Jackson onto Rainier Avenue, when conditions are right, Mt. Rainier really names the valley. But any overcast between Seattle and the peak, and it’s like the mountain isn’t there.

        If you ride to the very far end of the line, uphill from Rainier Beach at 62nd and Prentice- make sure your bus doesn’t turn at Henderson- you’ll have some pretty views in the other direction.

        Also- as SB LINK starts to swing right and uphill past Southcenter, Rainier can be spectacular. Headed downhill, just as the track curves right, before entering Tukwila International Station, the whole Cascade crest is on display, from Mt. Baker south.

        On the I-90 floating bridge, Rainier often shows above Mercer Island.

        Down here in Olympia, Rainier is generally on view in sunny weather. However, I don’t find it a particularly comforting presence.

        It’s weirdly out of scale, like the Moon has already collided with the Earth and the dust has just settled. There’s also something suspicious about the fact that there aren’t any other mountains anywhere near it.

        It’s also a live volcano, and prone to freeway speed mudflows down every creek and river leading to the cone. From time to time, the acid fumes from the crater eat and melt away huge amounts of ice, mud, and giant boulders.

        Which brings along whole forests full of full-growth trees on its way to the beach. Still waiting for somebody in the State Legislature to demand we pour enough cement into the volcano to shut it off.

        Come on, somebone set my mind at rest about chance that the world will blow up if the law is enacted and executed.


      2. The lakeside terminus of Route 2 in Madrona often has a beautiful view of the lake and the mountain

      3. The route 2 one looks like the one I was told about, and which appeared on an STB post someone’s back.

  2. This blog’s always talking about affordable housing, so that made me curious. Which bus route in all of King county has the most affordable housing/low-income housing along its route? The A Line from Tukwila to Federal Way?

  3. Just out of curiosity, does having a bus stop influence whether you go to a museum or not?

    What if the choice was between a bus and a taxi?

    1. One of several factors.

      My problem with the Future of Flight is not just how far it is to a bus stop, but the walking route suggested by Google is a freeway shoulder. At one time the KCM / Soundtransit trip planner suggested a safer route, but still right next to a busy road.

      I visited SAM during a special show when they were open in the evening. Most museums in the northwest keep bankers hours, if that.

      1. I agree that more museums should have evening hours beyond the First Thursday of the month. :-)

        The current trail I have to walk on the Everett Transit Director & I agree is unfeasible. The problem is getting Community Transit to respect the fact $1.6 million and more comes to them from Future of Flight…

      2. This point goes ‘way beyond museums. Luckily for me, the Seattle Art Museum is just downhill from the west entrance to University Street station.

        And the Frye, which is really my favorite, is a quick trolleybus ride uphill on the 3 and the 4.

        But for other destinations, like my dentist in Ravenna, and my eye-doctor on Queen Anne Hill, I’ve had to take cabs more than once, for no other reason that Metro is just plain too slow.

        Two hours each way from Olympia is about an hour too long. But I’ve at least learned some comfortable routing.

        But it really is stupid that I can’t get two errands done in Seattle- pharmacy at Fred Meyer on Leary Way and another important location in Ravenna- on the same day.

        Unless I go by cab. Yes, I could make the trip on buses. But would mean about same time to go about six miles per direction on Metro as sixty back to Olympia.

        I wonder if Metro could either make permanent arrangements with cab companies- or either Uber of Lyft- or run cabs of its own- to let people use Seattle as a city?


      3. Mark, I think you’re being a bit impatient with public transit. That said, any transit agency that cannot get signal priority really should shake it’s head in embarrassment.

      4. We have a lot bigger fish to fry than to get transit to the future of flight museum. The average person who goes there goes on the order of once per lifetime. It is not a huge deal to have to take a cab or rental car for a once-per-lifetime trip.

        The real problem is that the city of county chose to build roads that are hostile to pedestrians and destinations that cannot be effectively served by transit without a dedicated bus oriented specifically at that particular destination.

      5. asdf,

        Actually about a third of Future of Flight visitors are locals and there are quite a few repeat visitors. I don’t care for your sniping. Do I snipe at Seattle transit needs? No. That’s my response to your first paragraph.

        I agree 100% there is a genuine, “problem … that the city or county chose to build roads that are hostile to pedestrians and destinations that cannot be effectively served by transit without a dedicated bus oriented specifically at that particular destination”. Really bad land use all around…

      6. Lots of things went wrong with Future of Flight.

        I agree the city, county, and state building the surrounding roads without any safe pedestrian paths was a huge fail.

        Second the museum didn’t need to be in quite so pedestrian-hostile an area of Paine Field. It is like those building the museum ever considered some might want to arrive via methods other than driving.

        Third fail is on CT and/or ET for not providing at least some nearby coverage service.

      7. Absolute agreement. Now the problem is going to be a lot bigger to clean up than it could have been 10-15 years ago. Might require some new roads. Joe is not happy…

        Oh and as far as pedestrian-hostile & Paine Field museums go? That’s Flying Heritage Collection/FHC as well – it’d be very difficult to get a bus through the side-roads to get to it. Oh and FHC? Won’t release their annual attendance numbers and they offer a shuttle to-from a park & ride that’s not exactly served by Community Transit for Skyfair (annual airshow last Sat. in July). Just wanted to bring that up.

        Again, I absolutely agree with you. This is a fiasco and it’s not going away. Especially as Community Transit has its hands outstretched for another sales tax increase…

      8. Looking at the map, I looks like the CT route to Mukilteo comes fairly close. Granted, it’s still a half-mile walk on a very skinny sidewalk next to speeding cars, but Google street view seems suggest that there at least is a sidewalk.

      9. A sidewalk up a very steep incline so steep it’s not wheelchair friendly. It’s not the end of the world to reward a $1.7 million or so involuntary donor to Community Transit with a bus stop once every hour.

        For a world-class facility that again gives $1.7 million to Community Transit annually, I would think you’d be more appreciative of the Future of Flight contribution asdf2. Or are you going to be the kind to demand it be $2 million and the Future of Flight Foundation membership’s silence come tax increase time with nothing in return?

        I will keep this issue alive and in the forefront.

      10. I agree about the Frye. Most cities are satisfied with a single art museum, let alone four.

      11. Yes, the Everett Boeing issue is not just about the roads, but the whole land use in the area, and where they put the museum.

      12. Third fail is on CT and/or ET for not providing at least some nearby coverage service.

        Actually, Everett Transit 70 goes right by the place. It just doesn’t stop there, and is horribly inconvenient unless you happen to be commuting from Whidbey Island to Boeing.

      13. I’m only able to use Route 70 at 5:15 PM on the way home. I use it to get to Mukilteo to take the Mukilteo to Everett Station bus being I don’t like Sounder North in the wet season.

      1. I asked this before but didn’t get an answer. Why do the 60 and 124 travel several blocks on a street with traffic circles every block (S Carlton St)? Or conversely, why does a street with two bus routes have traffic circles that the buses can barely get around? Is it a temporary routing? Or is it a case of Metro and SDOT not talking to each other?

      2. @Mike Orr

        It’s not really an explanation, but I did post a 1975 timetable for the 23 South Seattle route on page 2. Despite the traffic circles, Carleton is a fairly wide street. The other options would be Corson or Ellis.

    2. When I vacation somewhere, I almost never rent a car. If I can’t get to where I am trying to go either by transit or by bike, I probably won’t go at all. So – yes – a museum having bus service does influence whether or not I end up going.

      1. Me too, many thanks. In fact where I take my Seattle skyline photos having transit nearby is how I plan that part of my Seattle vacations!

      2. There also fact that if you want a flight museum, why not go to the one in South Seattle, which has a half-hourly bus stopping right at the front door, direct from downtown Seattle?

      3. The Boeing tour starts from the Future of Flight for one. ASDF2, you/CT can handle Community Transit giving something back for the millions taken involuntarily over the last ten years to fund its operations.

        Why you resist this so much I dunno, except I find it beneath the Seattle Transit Blog community to want to deny transit service of any time to an area. I am not asking for light rail, I am not asking for a subway, I am not even asking for double tall bus service – I am just asking as a member of a foundation operating the most successful tourist attraction in Snohomish County for a Return On Investment/ROI for CT taxes. Just as there’s a clear ROI on all the taxes for First Responders, roads, utilities, the like.

      4. ” to want to deny transit service of any time to an area” should read ” to want to deny transit service of any type to an area”

      5. My problem is your obsession with the flight museum as a must-serve destination. In reality, it is just one destination among many. Snohomish County is filled with destinations that are reachable only by roads with lousy sidewalks – or no sidewalks at all. It is not feasible to organize a bus network around front-door service to every one of these destinations.

        It is easy to just yell out in a blog that agency X needs to serve the front door of destination Y and pretend that the money to add the bus to serve the front door of destination Y will just appear out of thin error, allowing such service to be added without impacting the rest of the network.

        In the real world, money is fixed and you can’t add a bus to the flight museum without taking away a bus from somewhere else. I ask you, whose service you would take away to pay for this bus? Do you reroute the 113 to take a detour loop down 84th and turn around the flight museum’s parking lot before continuing on to Mukilteo? If so, you’re effectively adding an extra 5-10 minutes to people’s daily commutes, in exchange for front-door service to a destination one might visit once every few years a best – hardly a win with the locals. Do you cut some other route, or reduce it from half-hourly to hourly, in order to pay for an hourly shuttle between the museum and Lynnwood TC? Or, do you reroute the 113 to take Paine Field Blvd. to 84th St., rather than Mukilteo Speedway, effectively forcing everyone near the 113’s current stops to make the horrible walk to the museum just to catch the local bus to Lynnwood?

        Even if overall levels of transit funding increase in the future, adding a new bus route to serve the Future of Flight would still not be a good use of funds – Snohomish County is filled with routes that run hourly, or less than hourly – and it still doesn’t have Sunday or holiday service. Again, there are better uses for the money than that.

        If you really think that the future of flight deserves special service, you should be lobbying the museum to pay for the a shuttle to/from the nearest major transit hub, which would operate independently of Community Transit’s regular budget. Several casinos operate such shuttles, who would otherwise have no transit service whatsoever, so some amount of precedent exists. That said, I still think it would be an exceedingly tough sell, as most tourists aren’t going to care about needing a rental car.

      6. ASDF2, weird that you compare an educational facility with a casino. I realize to some extent, you didn’t mean to be rude and I accept that. Actually since you mention it, there is a Community Transit bus stop just outside the Tulalip Resort Hotel – which has a link to the Bellair Airporter. Easy 2-4 minute walk across level pavement between the two. I intend to use such a link.

        Also, as far as Community Transit’s coffers, I’ve asked Community Transit’s spokesman to tell us if/when they’ll respond to comments in the Transit Development Plan. No response. I don’t expect one at this rate. I think frankly it’s time those of us leading the STB community stopped blindly backing Community Transit until we see if/how they respond to Transit Development Plan update comments & the Future of Flight transit hole. We have Community Transit over their tax increase request, let’s use it for making that agency more responsive to public input & community contributors to their coffers. Nobody’s asking for one-seat rides here… just some respect.

        Now, as to routing where ASDF2 really got serious, I simply propose two routes. CT 113 is on a half-hour schedule on the current routing & schedule. So we simply have CT 113A and CT113B. 113A keeps the current routing. 113B changes the routing to detour along Paine Field Blvd & 84th Street. No riders would or should lose their ride. Rather, the Boeing Dreamlifter ops center & Future of Flight would gain service at a simple 3-5 minute dog leg as a ROI for the $1.7 million annually the Future of Flight pays into Community Transit.

        As far as Mukilteo’s two commuter routes, that can stay the same. No need to touch those.

        This is simply being fair to a major investor of Community Transit and keeping outspoken Future of Flight Foundation members like I from turning on Community Transit at a politically sensitive time. Now ASDF2, I’m sure you’ll find a problem with even this. Please go ahead all of you, poke holes in my modest proposal.

        Oh and modest? It’s certainly a lot more modest than what some think the Future of Flight really deserves – namely Boeing paying for a shuttle from its parking lot and the future transit center to Future of Flight. Or a Swift Bus Route linking the Mukilteo Mutimodal Terminal, Future of Flight, Historic Flight Foundation all the way to the Swift I Original? Or Everett Transit stretching a bus route over almost a mile? Or a Paine Field circular that would be sweet, but would require serious investment that no transit agency can or will put up the money for?

      7. ASDF, the reason why comparing the Bellingham Airport to the Future of Flight is off-base with respect and appreciation this time is simple:

        Most Bellingham Airport folks drive from Canada for cheap airfare. They don’t want to go into Bellingham or Whatcom County. Therefore it would be nice to give them a bus, but most flights aren’t when government transit is appropriate – however taxis & private sector services like Bellair Airporter are serving that destination. Plus for flying, paying a little more for a taxicab or Airporter really isn’t that much of a burden.

        Most Future of Flight & Boeing Tour visitors come from around the world, including many places with public transportation – but a third are locals. The request is a top request in surveys. There are many who would like to go but can’t to a top tourist destination. The museum unlike a casino or airport cannot pay for direct operating costs. But the Future of Flight pays $1.7 million and more to Community Transit which just takes the money with little to no return on investment/ROI. How is that going to sound ASDF2 when Community Transit wants $2 million or even more? It doesn’t take much to defeat a tax increase…

      8. How much taxes is Boeing paying after its sweetheart tax break?

        And why doesn’t Boeing speak up to demand more transit, and design and locate its facilities so they could be more easily served by transit? Those things would have really made a difference the past five decades, and could make a difference now. The whole “Swift II to Boeing and Link Payne Field detour to entice Boeing to stay in Everett” is a bit looking at the situation backward. You have to start with where the workers and visitors live, what transit routings could get them to the facility, and how the facility could be designed to make it easy to walk in from the bus stop. If a large company is active in that, it will get good comprehensive transit. But Boeing has been more about the free parking model and ignoring transit. It needs to start with the basics, and the RapidRide F station in Renton Landing is a start. Then it would have more credibility to demand a Swift II routing or Link detour or other big-ticket items.

      9. Mike;

        First Future of Flight is not Boeing and gets no tax break.

        Second I and some in Everett Transit and most of ya in the STB community share your consternation at the Boeing situation. The free parking staying while current transit is underutilized as Boeing Paine gets faster transit is unhelpful.

      10. Joe,

        I assume that $1.7 million figure you quote is the amount of sales taxes paid to Community Transit (0.9%). If so there is an equal amount going to Sound Transit.

        Doing the math that is a significant chunk of change both in terms of gross revenue and in terms of total sales tax collection.

        Imagine Future of Flight was a retail center with $150 million a year in gross revenue. Would we debating if it should get transit service or not?

        (Also had no idea Future of Flight was so popular, way to go guys!)

      11. Thanks Chris, I agree if the Future of Flight were a mall with 777.8 daily mean visitors we would not have this debate. Getting the Future of Flight transit service after paying well over a million into Community Transit is only fair so the nonprofit can also tap into Sound Transit into a realistic way and get that Return On Investment (ROI).

        As a Future of Flight Foundation Member, I’ve got real concerns about our ability to do our missions to the best of our ability if we’re being forced to kiss away hundreds of thousands of dollars to Community Transit with no ROI. We deserve our fair share – not a light rail stop, not status quo of no service but something in between.

        So I really appreciate your enthusiasm Chris! Hope to hear more of it :-).

      12. I wouldn’t make the 113B a dog leg. I would make it a new route that goes all the way to South Everett P&R. You know better because you ride it, but it seems crazy to dead end so many buses at Boeing. Sure, they need to tangle it up a bit to get to the entrances, but if they then exited the tangle and continued in a different direction. Say, extend the 12 to Mukilteo, and give up on it making a complete loop around the east edge of the complex.

        The whole multiple loop concept
        just doesn’t seem like it really serves the area very well. Sure, there are a lot of problems with the road configuration, but the bus route configuration seems to make it worse. There are a lot of duplicative loops.

        Jefferson Transit over in Port Townsend would probably figure out how to have a single transit center in the center of all the loops with a timed connection between them, and through route the routes so those actually trying to get someplace could just stay on the same bus.

      13. I don’t know Glenn how open Community Transit would be to a new route, or even some of STB here. But it’s an idea worth considering.

        I kinda like the idea of a bus every hour going from Mukilteo terminal to Future of Flight to Beverly Park & 112th St SW (0.8 mile walk on pavement to/from Flying Heritage Collection) and then over to the Park & Ride. :-)

      14. I agree wholeheartedly with asdf2.

        Community Transit has way more service issues (in terms of coverage and frequency) that need to be addressed first and foremost. The Future of Flight Center (which I see as Boeing’s own casino, basically) should really be served on Boeing’s dime, either through a contract with CT or their own private shuttle system (from the Swift II terminus at Seaway TC or Everett Station or Mukilteo Station). I’d much rather see service to local destinations (such as Sno-Isle Library branches, high schools, walkable downtowns, parks, the Centennial Trail) than to a privately-owned museum.

      15. Bruce;

        Actually sir you’re a bit off about Future of Flight.

        In reality, “The Future of Flight Foundation (an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) opened the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour on December 17, 2005. In addition to operating and managing the Future of Flight, the Foundation embraces the important role of stewardship of an active and healthy Culture of Philanthropy. Education, events, Aviation Center exhibits, and financial assistance for needy schools and non-profits are key areas of impact. The Future of Flight Foundation is proud to partner with The Boeing Company and Snohomish County. Under the leadership of the County, the Future of Flight facility is partially funded by the Snohomish County Public Facilities District. The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors of up to 36 members, with representation from The Boeing Company and Snohomish County.”

        Boeing has refused a request to use their employee shuttles to serve the Future of Flight :-(. This perception Future of Flight = Boeing is not new, understandable but harmful. The Future of Flight is also very much a local destination.

        I get your concerns and I share some of them but hopefully now I’ve addressed yours you can understand mine. Hopefully we can work together to find a fair Return On Investment/ROI for the Future of Flight considering its contributions to Community Transit.

        Thanks in advance.

      16. Note the use of Boeing Private Shuttles in the above.

        That’s just it: Everett Transit provides a bunch of out-and-back service to various Boeing entrances, then Boeing operates its own shuttles. Essentially, there are two sets of Boeing shuttles, one of which is being paid for by Everett Transit.

        Add Communtiy Transit and SoundTransit, and you have basically four different bus systems aimed at Boeing and surrounds.

        Rather than say that one place or another on the map needs to get transit service, it seems to me the whole area needs to be rethought.

        Please, get realistic here: Everett Transit 12 provides a loop service from the various Boeing entrances to the Everett Mall? Sure, it is listed on Everett Transit’s map as a “Transit Center”, but as best as I can tell only Everett Transit goes there. Meanwhile, just slightly past Everett Mall, there is South Everett Freeway Station that could provide transfers to two CT routes and three ST routes, but Everett Transit only touches that with a different route.

        Re-thinking the entire tangle means not just how to serve the Future of Flight Museum, but also all these other locations that are not currently served very well.

        I’m not at all convinced that a slow milk-run service connecting the Boeing parking lots with a suburban shopping mall during normal working hours is really providing that much useful service.

      17. If Everett Transit 12 were turned into a Mukilteo – Future of Flight (or at least a stop near the traffic light) – Central Boeing – South Everett Park & Ride route, I would probably have taken it several times already, as it is very likely to have provided a much better Mukilteo to Seattle connection than the slow tour of Mukilteo neighborhoods provided by CT line 113. Such a route would hit the transfers to the express routes further north. It would take a bit more service hours maybe, but ET might be able to get rid of the 70 then, and combine the routes into something that would make a bit more sense.

        A bit over a year ago we had the Aleksandra Culver plan for South King County. I see asdf2’s point about there being a lot of priorities in the Community Transit service area. However, with there being a huge number of higher priorities than the Future of Flight, perhaps a list of next priorities is the wrong way to go about thinking of this? Rather than try to come up with a list of priorities that need service, perhaps the real solution is going to be an Aleks Plan level rethinking of service that covers a bunch of different underserved and unserved places.

        It is probably time to start rethinking service reorganization anyway. TriMet started doing its pre-MAX major bus reorganizations in 1982, so you don’t necessarily have to wait for light rail to show up before slowly moving in that direction. It may seem too early to consider what could be done now to prepare for Link, but experience gained now with reorganized routes could help determine what Link winds up doing. Also, while those 1982 restructures may have been four years ahead of MAX, the planning of how to implement those changes happened well before 1982.

      18. Glenn;

        I really like your route idea. It’s not going to be the main thing I’ll champion but the secondary option.

        I do agree that a route restructure is going to have to be done for Mukilteo at some point…. especially after the Bernie Webber Park & Ride.

      19. My thoughts on the 12 are just part of what could be done up there with a bit of re-thinking of how all that works together.

        The way Port Townsend works is that there are basically three loops that cover the most populated part of Jefferson County around PT. A bus will operate one of those loops, then through route onto one of the local downtown loops, then through route onto one of the other loops. So, if you are going from one side of town to the other you can just stay on the bus. If you just look at the schedules separately you don’t see how all this works. You just see half hourly service around downtown and hourly service on a few loop routes outside of town, plus a few further distant routes (and those get through routed through town too at part of maintaining the half hourly downtown loops).

        Community Transit should be part of the restructure also. One of the problems I see with them is that they operate a fair number of one-way buses to Mukilteo that are rush hour only. This means you have a pile of out of service buses going the opposite direction. If some sort of agreement between Everett Transit and Community Transit could be reached, some of those empty not-in-service buses headed one way to/from Mukilteo might be a good source of added trips. Having these buses deadhead seems really unfortunate since Sounder is already there, and with the buses running peak period it means they aren’t acting as Sounder feeders, but instead are acting as Sounder leaches.

        For example, say CT 880 runs north to Mukilteo. Rather than deadhead somewhere, have it turn into some service that replaces Everett Transit 70 and actually serves as something that an arriving Sounder passenger could use to get from Mukilteo to somewhere else. Run that bus across the Boeing facilities and then into neighborhoods nearby and then to Interstate 5, and maybe you’ve added something.

        I’m sure I’m missing a bunch since I don’t live or work up that way. You and others closer to the situation have a better handle on specifics and a better idea of what could be done. These are just some things that seem like they would be important to consider.

    3. Yes. I haven’t been to the Nordic Heritage Museum because it’s on 67th NW & 30th, and while it’s not that far from a bus stop it’s still a negative factor in making it worth it. Plus for north Seattle, the fact that you have to transfer to a north-south route for ten blocks because there’s no east-west route, and the closest north-south route was the 17 which was half-hourly and now no longer exists. This is something in the 70th Street hole in east-west transit (15 blocks south to the 44, 15 blocks north to the 48).

      I’ve thought about going to the Everett Boeing tour a few times, but was always afraid that a walk that looks like it might be 20 minutes might actually be an hour and I’d miss the starting time of the tour. Reports from Avgeek Joe and others have confirmed that it’s a long way from a bus.

      When I was visiting someone in DC, he took me on a surprise trip the Marine Corps museum in Quantico, Virginia. As we approached the museum, naturally I thought about how you’d get there by transit. It looked pretty isolated. Although, to its credit, the website now has a transit itinerary. It’s two buses from the Metro. “Please allow 1-hour total time to reach the Fuller Heights and Old Triangle stop from the Franconia/Springfield Metro stop via bus.’ And then you can either take a cab or walk. “Be aware that the distance from the bus stop at Fuller Heights and Old Triangle to Museum is approximately ½ mile, but you will be crossing a busy highway at the light and there are no sidewalks along the Museum’s entrance road itself for a few yards.”

      Then there are places that aren’t museums but have the same access issues. I might want to go to the Herbfarm someday but it’s who knows how far from the Woodinville P&R, and probably hard to get back from in the evening, so I haven’t.

      1. +1. Great stuff.

        Mike, I’ve had to at times pay for a taxi-cab ($12 one-way) to or from mass transit. One time because I was on photo assignment and that’s okay. Just the price we pay…

      2. The transit situation in Woodinville Wine Country is ridiculous. There are a number of bars, tasting rooms, restaurants, and even hotels popping up in the area around NE 145th in the Sammamish Valley. Unfortunately the nearest transit is miles away. Your best bet for a car-free wine country tour is to take a bicycle as the whole area is fairly convenient to the Sammamish River trail.

        Unfortunately the primary Metro service between Woodinville and Redmond takes the long way around via Avondale Rd and Woodinville-Duvall road.

        There is some logic to this as the zoning for the valley is rural and any development is supposed to be directed to the surrounding hills.

        Still the current situation makes for a very slow infrequent, and lightly ridden coverage bus between Woodinville and Redmond, horrible traffic on SR 202, and a major regional attraction that is completely inaccessible by transit.

        Given the price for a dinner at the Herbfarm, I’d either rent a car for the day or just budget for a cab ride.

      3. I agree Chris, Woodinville needs good transit. Problem is, the voters there don’t exactly champion transit.

      4. There’s a huge difference between what you’re willing to accept if you’re going somewhere on a one-time basis and if you’re going somewhere for a home->work commute 5 days a week. If you’re only going somewhere on a one-time basis, you can just arrange the trip so that you get some outdoor exercise getting there and make a day or half-day out of it. Or just pony up some cash for a ride or rental car, and since it’s a one-time trip, it’s not going to break the budget.

        For instance, a one-time trip to wine-tasting in Woodinville, just make a day out of it a ride the Burke-Gilman/Sammamish River Trail to get there. If the weather is lousy one day, just reschedule it for another day – it’s your time and you’re out to have fun!

      5. ASDF I see your point. You are looking at this as if transit’s sole purpose is to serve commuters.

        But if that one trip were multiplied by say 77 or 154 folks a day on average I’m sure you’d support a little reroute to serve a facility with 777.8 daily visitors paying heavily into both Community Transit & Sound Transit? Especially since both agencies want an increased contribution?

  4. Uh- someONE. Theoretically the whole disaster could be prevented if there was a really, really large fossil down there somewhere. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t happened lately.

    Meantime, it’s the fossils under the dome just across the lake from Evergreen Park that worry me.

    In all manner of progress, they may actually have stopped or reversed plate tectonics, making sure that however slowly transit and education funding has been acted on in the past- we may already become stuck in reverse.

    With the throttle glued down. Or jammed full-on by a brontosaurus legbone stuck into the linkage.


  5. I was thinking about the NIMBY-ism that is a neverending barrier to creating a denser city (in order to support transit, increase housing supply, create walkability, etc).

    Even though many NIMBYs object to higher density itself, surely some of that is an architectural objection. People hate the “blocky” or “modern” or “out of character” buildings. But these aren’t necessarily complaints against density – after all, people complain about blocky, modern single family homes just like they complain about upzones.

    Have any cities tried offering a neighborhood stricter architectural building requirements in exchange for a density upzone?

    In other words, they could say, “Ravenna/Delridge/CD/etc, we need to make your neighborhood denser through an upzone, but we’re willing to require all bigger buildings to be of a Queen Anne or Victorian style. That way, your neighborhood won’t change in character so much.”

    Would that work? Or perhaps more trouble than it’d be worth?

  6. Having known one of the engineers on the Skytrain project, who is also one of Canada’s foremost streetcar advocates- and technicians- there is one interesting thing that transit people ought to know.

    The motors under these cars have no moving parts. “Linear” motors are basically a flat row of electromagnets along the middle underside of the cars. This strip interacts with an electrical flow through another linear conductor in a pad between the rails.

    I’d be interested if anyone familiar with Skytrain to write in and give us an update on how this power collection system is working over the years. Given the very fine tolerance between the train motors and power strip, it’s quite an accomplishment that they work at all.

    Thirty years is quite a tribute to anything in public transit, especially something that innovative. Very advanced, and very simple. As opposed to…well, we’re replacing them with Canadian trolleybuses next year.

    Mark Dublin


        Joe, here’s a link to the linear motors. I believe I was told that the first order was built by, of all things, the Bata Shoe Company.

        Read about this company, and you’ll see it’s not unlikely.

        Thanks for helping put the lead posting here somewhere in today’s blog. Really getting some insights here as to why Seattle has such a hard time with actual machinery:

        When did anybody ever invent a machine to apportion and calibrate density? However, check out the Bata link. If anybody ever did invent that, it would have been this company!


    1. There was a lot of criticism out there when linear induction motors were chosen. Parts are not easy to get.

      However, you don’t have to worry about grades too much or loss of traction due to wet rails. There are no sanders to maintain as there aren’t any. Wheel wear and tear should be a bit less as the wheels don’t have to deal with acceleration and braking stresses.

      Had they been thinking about it at the time, they probably could have a much more spacious interior since there isn’t any traction control equipment on the car itself.

      There’s a lot to like about the technology.

      1. Vancouver still have has criticism for our use of linear motors because they TransLink can only go with Bombardier for trains.
        See this blog:

        I know this kinda stupid because they say they want elimate SkyTrain to keep cost effective when SkyTrain is one most cost effective rapid transit in North America.

        Here is an person who is actually truth full:

        If you guys read thru the blogs they vast different opinions about SkyTrain.

        For interior here some photos of the interior of the trains.
        Mark one interior:

        Mark two 1100-1200 series interior:

      2. I must say I really don’t understand transit politics in Vancouver.

        First I don’t get the level of opposition to one of he most obvious needs for rapid transit in North America after the Second Avenue Subway (in other words Skytrain to UBC down Broadway). This goes way beyond just rich NIMBYs out in Point Gray. Subway to the Sea in LA faces opposition from neighborhood groups (and foot-dragging by the City of Beverly Hills) but the overwhelming consensus of the region seems to be that this is much needed infrastructure.

        Second is the level of criticism at the use of Bombardier Skytrain technology. I mean yes it is a bit of odd duck but construction, operating, and maintenance costs are all very good when compared to other systems in North America or even just Canada.

        Third is the way the region can spend billions on roads (particularly water crossings) with nary a peep, but transit has to fight for everything it gets every step of the way.

        All very odd for a city with the third highest transit use in the US and Canada after NYC and Toronto.

        (Though to be fair the transit fights in Toronto strike me as even stranger given how over the top the anti-transit crowd there is)

      3. Transit politics in Toronto has been totally poisoned by Rob Ford. Ford wasn’t so much anti-transit as manically pro-car and anti war-on-cars. He wanted subways not for better transit service, but so that he didn’t have to see it. But because Rob Ford wanted subways, subways got a bad name. Even now Toronto newspaper writers will take it as a given that subways are ridiculous wastes of money and that their only purpose is to shield Rob Ford from having to look at transit.

        The Toronto planning agencies also got the LRT bug in a big way, and transit studies started to get fudged to make LRT look better. In evaluating BRT, the capacity of a bus was given as 50. Obviously the capacity of the type of articulated bus that you would use for BRT is more like 120. Fifty isn’t even the capacity of an ordinary bus. Just clownish. Instead of looking at Vancouver or Washington DC as models, the planning agencies looked to Portland, Seattle and Denver as examples of the future of urban transit with light rail.

        Costs have also gone totally mad in Toronto. They are building LRT lines at $270 million per km. More than double what entirely automatic, grade-separated metros cost in Vancouver. And the subway costs are more like $350 million per km. (With the better service and ridership of subways, they still come out ahead, but still, both of these costs are out of control.)

        Out of this strange admixture of politics and LRT fascination came two plans: the Transit City plan based on LRT lines and the Ford plan based on subways. The Establishment went for Transit City and a scaled down version of it is what is actually being built, but oddly it was the Ford plan that would actually have more riders. Ford just couldn’t sell it because he was right for the wrong reasons (and because of his other failings).

    2. At the time that the linear induction motors were chosen they had and advantage in acceleration and braking, but with better traction control for regular powered wheels, there really isn’t any difference now. The power pickups are on the side of the guideway, so the plate you see between the rails is just the reaction plate, basically a plate of metal. One of the criticisms about the system was that it needed tight tolerances between the reaction plate and the coils on the car itself, about one centimetre plus or minus a millimetre or two. However, those tolerances are actually no tighter than the tolerances between the rails, so there is nothing new there. It’s also a myth that only Bombardier supplies this equipment. The only thing that is proprietary is the train control system. The guideways and the cars can be made by anyone.

      I agree that the opposition to the Broadway extension is odd, but a surface light rail or streetcar has become something of a touchstone for Vancouver progressives. People who ought to know better say things like “Rapid transit down Broadway to UBC is a silly notion when other regional needs are so much greater” when it is clear that the Broadway Subway will have the highest ridership of any of Vancouver’s rapid transit lines. The “progressives” seem to focus on the surface option being lower tech, more people friendly, never mind that the speed, frequency and ridership will all be lower, and that it will have negative pedestrian impacts on Broadway. And railforthevalley is a one man anti-skytrain machine. He writes letters and opinion columns constantly and has done so for years. His arguments are lousy, but he is a volume producer.

      1. A Vancouver Broadway subway is needed, but it will not have greater ridership than the Expo line. It will have greater ridership than the Canada Line.

      2. I was under the impression that Expo Line boardings were about 200,000 per day and that Broadway Line boardings would be about 250,000 per day.

  7. LOL….Sounder Snafu this morning on the Mariners’ Special.

    First the Lakewood train I was on pulls in to King Station, everyone gets off, and….the gate at the top of the stairs to the skybridge is locked.

    So everyone walks the other way to the Pioneer Square exit. Locked!

    Then the Edmonds train pulls in, lets everyone off. Gates still locked and we’re all bunched up. It’s now about 12:15, stuck as if we were captured humans like in Planet of the Apes.

    Then finally a Metro Security guy comes around, and — get this — he pulled the gate up halfway, and is standing there, using his shoulder to hold up the (presumably heavy metal) gate for us to squeeze under to get to the game!

    On the way back they explained there was a power outtage…

      1. Sounder is the only truly rapid, and regional, part of our transit system.

        Being both rapid and regional, it is the one system (line) that the majority of people thought they were paying for when they voted for.

      2. John, good points. I just think Sounder North is a disaster waiting to happen. Plus Sounder South isn’t much better, I understand.

        Light rail and express buses sure are working out great though!

  8. Let’s talk more about Totem Lake. Why is it doing so badly? Are Kirklandites really shunning it and refusing to shop there? Is it impossible for redevelopment to improve this? I haven’t been to Totem Lake much because I’ve always lived further south, but when I have been there it hasn’t struck me as particularly bad, just a typical 1970s commercial district like Factoria/Eastgate, Southcenter, downtown Renton, etc. Is Totem Lake really worse than the others and immune to transformation? It has a large freeway through the middle, but so do Seattle and Eastgate. Is that the only major problem? Would it be possible to lid or build over the freeway to lessen its impact? Or would that be too high up above everything else? Are there other reasons Kirklandites aren’t shopping in Totem Lake and it’s in danger of blight? Are they just being hypercritical, demanding land-use policies that cause development like Totem Lake, and then recoiling in horror like Frankenstein to his monster, but being in denial about that horror? Or is there more to it than that?

    1. What does the shopping at Totem Lake have that you can’t buy somewhere else a few miles away that doesn’t involve dealing with the horrible traffic caused by the hospitals?

      The reason why Kirkland is so giddy about upzoning Totem Lake is basically NIMBY’ism. They want to be able to say they are pro-growth, without actually having to deal with any growth in their own backyard. They probably figure that will the freeway and all the concrete, plus some fairly large buildings already there, that an upzone could hardly make things worse.

      Of course, the current levels of transit to Totem Lake are at nowhere near a level of service where it would have any real effect in stimulating development.

  9. I lived in Vancouver from 1994 – 2001. Even back then the single Skytrain line was invaluable. Sad to see Vancouver doing something stupid like a plebiscite on whether they should continue funding transit or not.

    1. It is the provincial governments stupid idea they promise it during the election. The mayors nor NDP, even some taxpayers did not want this plebiscite they want to reform TransLink into a better transit authority while the Board of Directors more accountable to the taxpayers for not wasting money on they bonus and taking some blame for SkyTrain failures.

  10. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. I first visited Vancouver in 1988, and it was astounding how fast that city’s urban core grew skyscrapers during the 1990s.

  11. What’s wonderful about the Skytrain – and I took the opportunity to ride it for the 1986 Expo Fair – is: (1) Ease of use, unlike Link with its unique tap on, tap off; (2) Reliability, a.k.a. grade separation throughout, unlike Link, where we’ll forever be paying for delays and the costs of accidents with at grade trains; (3) Connectivity to other modes (Amtrak across an open space, the Sea Bus to North Vancouver perhaps 500 feet to walk); (4) Interconnectivity (as I recall, tickets are interchangeable on buses). In addition, it was built much faster than ours was, i.e. with less bureaucracy intervening. Of course, they have a single transit agency, so it is far more efficient than having to negotiate between several competing fiefdoms (

    1. “they have a single transit agency”

      This is a huge part of it as well as the fact that their “transit” authority (TransLink) deals with roads too. Here we have WSDOT plus 6 transit agencies. That’s not only incredibly wasteful, it makes it harder to plan and harder to get funding.

      Not to say that a single transit agency solves everything. The provincial government is often at odds with TransLink (similar type of rural vs. urban tensions that we have here) and as a result, TransLink is currently doing a plebiscite (ballot measure) to decide if they get funding for their plans or not. Apparently the BC government looked south and realized this was a good way to derail the Greater Vancouver Regions incredibly successful transportation system.

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