There are several regional awards for transit-friendly employers, which usually recognize their implementation of programs that subsidize commute modes other than driving alone to work, or provide some other amenity or scheduling framework that supports car-free commuting. And that’s great, because there should be incentives for pro-social policies.

However, the best pro-transit policy is to choose a location that has good transit service in the first place. Cut-price transit passes and shower facilities only do so much if employees have to pay an enormous time penalty when getting out of their cars. If you’re an employer interested in attracting talent that doesn’t want to stare at taillights all day, here are some recommendations from your friendly local transit experts.

The criterion here is how much of the region is reachable with minimal time penalty over driving. If your employees want to live in Ballard or Capitol Hill or Puyallup or Bainbridge Island, can they get to your office in a reasonable amount of time or not? Since Seattle lies at the center of the region, its best-connected neighborhoods are among the most accessible ones. And of course, to be on this list there has to be an appreciable amount of office or industrial space.

10. Northgate. The minor office park district just south of the Northgate Transit Center is already a hub for bus service for prosperous North Seattle, including the freeway express #41 to Downtown. It’s also six years away from light rail, which will provide very quick connections to points in Central Seattle and the Eastside, and later will stretch into Snohomish County. The City also has ambitious plans for more commercial development here. If making a long-term siting decision, Northgate moves up a bit on this list when Link offers an alternative to the daily nightmare on I-5 reverse-commute to downtown.

9. Rainier/I-90. The modest commercial district strung along Rainier Avenue on either side of I-90 also surrounds the intersection of a very intense-yet-slow transit corridor (Rainier) and an intense-and-fast express bus corridor (I-90) with rapid, frequent connections to the downtown hub and the Eastside. In 8 years, Link will improve connections to the Eastside and transform its relationship with North Seattle.

8. Downtown Tacoma. The hub of the sadly-declining Pierce Transit, Downtown Tacoma draws a particularly large amount of two-way ST Express service, and has rapid (but infrequent) Sounder Connections to the Kent Valley and Lakewood. Tacoma Link is a pretty good way to get around downtown.

7. Sodo. A short hop from the downtown transit hubs, Sodo is on the way for commuters from points south and has light rail service. If it were easier to walk around Sodo once transit gets you there, this neighborhood would rank higher. Due to lack of pedestrian pathways, much less decent ones, this rating only really applies to locations along the 5th Ave busway, north of Lander Street, or close to a cross street.

6. The U-District. Seattle’s “second downtown” is a major transit hub for Snohomish County, Northeast Seattle, and the Eastside. It is mere months from a fast but somewhat inconvenient bypass of I-5 when Link comes to Husky Stadium. In 2021, this will move up substantially as the U-District Link station makes all other means of getting downtown obsolete.

5. Capitol Hill. In months, Link will make the intersection of Broadway and John three minutes from the Montlake and Westlake transit hubs. Capitol Hill also has the most intensive grid of local bus and streetcar services, providing frequent omnidirectional connectivity.

4. Belltown. Belltown is down the road from the downtown Seattle hub, connected by a rivers of buses along 3rd Avenue and closer than downtown for commuters from Northwest Seattle. Although for most riders the transfer adds a bit of inconvenience, the time penalty is less than ten minutes.

3. Downtown Bellevue. The transit hub of the Eastside, downtown Bellevue also has excellent bus access to downtown Seattle and decent express service in all directions. It’s also less than a decade away from its own traffic-separated rail line to Seattle and Overlake.

2. Westlake. At one end of the transit “downtown,” and only a short tunnel or busway ride away from the Pioneer Square terminii, Westlake is the first downtown stop for Metro and Sound Transit buses from points North, Capitol Hill, and SR520. Unlike Pioneer Square, Lower Queen Anne and South Lake Union are directly connected to it via rail. Thanks to the Columbia St. onramp, it’s also a more straightforward trip to West Seattle.

1. Pioneer Square. Pioneer Square sits at the hub of regional transportation. Of all downtown locations, it is closest for many Community Transit riders, anyone South of James St. not in West Seattle, and anyone that commutes on I-90. Most core routes from the north also stop there before ending their run. It is also uniquely well positioned for ferry and Sounder, two modes with a time advantage over even low-traffic driving. Even the few hardy souls who commute via Amtrak will find it convenient. No matter where in the region your employees live, they are likely to find transit an attractive alternative to driving. And of course, the historic nature of the neighborhood means less available commuter parking, perhaps the single largest factor in giving transit a relative advantage.

59 Replies to “Top 10 Locations for Transit-Friendly Employers”

  1. And somewhere on the other end of the list would be Woodinville. I turned down a job prospect there several years ago after trying to find a way to get to the office that didn’t abjectly suck and simply not finding one. Minimal (or no, in most areas) transit service and available roads were all highly congested. And of course sprawl zoning had prevented any housing being built an easy walking distance from the office.

    The kicker was no easy way to simply live near work and commute by bicycle; the commercial area north and east of Woodinville is very poorly interconnected with adjacent residential areas. The only roads connecting the two were both heavily-congested and of a design (40+ speed limits, no shoulders) that made them unsafe for cycling.

    There was, so far as I could determine, simply no alternative for commuting save to drive and sit in congested traffic twice daily.

    1. Which is unfortunate, because Woodinville could be a nice place to live/work with a bike. The “downtown” is relatively compact with most stores you might want, great access via bike to Bothell, Seattle, and Redmond, and wineries just down the trail! Unfortunately, there’s almost no transit from there to anywhere except Seattle on the 522 which looks like a slow and painful ride. You can get to Bellevue on the 237, which runs only a few times a day, or by connecting to a 405 bus, but none of those are timed well for transfers. And the buses stop, at best, in the commercial area, and ignore the denser residential area near the trail.

    2. I took the 522 to Woodinville a couple months ago to see what’s there, and I also wanted to walk on part of the Sammamish River Trail and see how the downtown Bothell park is progressing. I got to Woodinville intending to walk back to Bothell but it was such a heavily car-oriented, superblock area and it looked like it might be hard to get to the trail that I hightailed it back on the next westbound 522 to UW Bothell. I did see a cluster of big-box-like stores in Woodinville that had apparently just been built, so it has become a power center. (power center = village of big-box stores, especially a cluster around a common parking lot.)

      Metro’s alternative 3 includes truncating the 372 at Bothell and extending an Eastside milk run to Woodinville to replace it.

      1. Woodinville actually seems to be encouraging densification of the downtown area. Yes it’s a lot of box stores, but there’s a large mixed-use development just south of that that’s supposed to open soon. And their capital improvements plan for the next 5 years is supposed to add pedestrian and bike facilities to the bigger roads around downtown and lower the number of vehicle lanes. The area is not going to approach Seattle levels of density anytime soon, but it would be a shame to not have any transit there or to discourage densification of the downtown in Woodinville, Bothell, etc…

        As for getting to the trail, if you got to the box stores, it’s pretty easy to get to the trail. It’s about 3 or 4 blocks southwest of them. If you walk past the fields and city hall, there’s a crosswalk with traffic light to Wilmont Gateway park which the trail runs through. The issue with the 522 is that it goes only to the northwest corner and northeast corners of downtown Woodinville. Which is not very good access to the denser development just south of downtown.

    3. It’s not just Woodinville, Bothell’s transit options are pretty subpar but it’s what you would expect for suburbs their size. The real issue is the companies that decide to locate in business parks there. Both cities put in cheap low quality business parks that appealed to the SOV approach to city planning. Those ideas are dead but the business parks persist.

      For instance AT&T and T-Mobile both have giant call centers out there. So there’s hundreds of cars rushing down 405 every day so that Telecoms can babysit the employees that are there to make remote phone calls around the country.

      1. The upcoming McMenamin development should also make Bothell enough of a destination to warrant good transit service.

      2. @Elbar: Both Bothell and Woodinville are densifying their downtown, which is great. But even though I live in Bothell, I wouldn’t advocate spending much more money there. The downtowns are very walkable and small; with a bike, it’s trivial to get anywhere you want. I’d say both are similar to downtown Redmond except slightly smaller. You don’t need transit to get around them. It would be good to have connections to both though – here I would say Bothell is much better served since it has both the 522 and 535 for transit from Seattle, the Eastside and Snohomish. Woodinville has much less service.

  2. Funny you say Pioneer Square is more of a transportation hub than Westlake, because yesterday David Lawson said, the trouble with a Lake-to-Bay Madison St bus route is that commuters heading to the south end of downtown are not the bulk of the downtown ridership” and therefore all Madison St corridor riders should be routed towards Westlake instead. Thanks for the reminder that there is more to Downtown Seattle what’s between Stewart St to University St. He is aware that Weyerhouser is moving to Pioneer Square, right?

    1. I think this article is stating the Pioneer Square is the most transit friendly, which doesn’t mean it’s where most riders are heading. You’re right that Weyerhaeuser will increase the number of workers going there.

      1. You are correct, Mike, by about 900+ people. The biggest majority of Weyerhaeuser workers all live in the south sound and will be taking the Sounder train to King St. Station. I suspect the south end Sounder stations will see the biggest impact in that move, with additional parking and ridership issues.

    2. Martin is using non-transit-geek terminology for what we would call the Intl Dist/King Street Station area, so it’s more the south edge of Pioneer Square than the center. It’s certainly the multimodal transit hub of the northwest. But the center of downtown retail and livability and in-city bus transfers is Westlake (or more generally, Pike/Pine from 1st to 5th). Pioneer Square still needs to work on sprucing up its dinginess, Seattle needs to provide alternatives to homelessness, and I find the apartment blocks in Pioneer Square “too dense and concrete” for me although others love them. But for a business looking to recruit transit-riding employees from everywhere, the Union Station office buildings and the area northwest of them can’t be beat.

      But where a business locates is a different question from where people on central/eastern Madison are going. I believe the majority and widest cross-section are going to destinations and transfers around Pine. A smaller group is going to destinations around Madison (lower downtown, hospitals, library, King Street Station, ferries). But “smaller” is still a lot of people: San Francisco has parallel frequent bus routes a few blocks apart in a similar area (north of Market). Madison is growing: 31 projects underway, one office-tower renovation, and future possibility of more 24-hour life when the office-tower ghetto renovates someday. So it may grow into the Madison route while still supporting a Madison-Pine route. I won’t get into how far east both of those routes should go; that’s a third complicated question.

      1. The point I was trying to make yesterday is that us central/eastern Madison bus riders go more places than just the Pike/Pine Corridor. Martin’s recognition of Pioneer Square as a bigger transit hub than Westlake supports my point. When University Link opens, riders from Madison Valley will have good transit service to Westlake Center via the 8 combined with Link, transferring at Broadway and John. Rather than having both the 11 and 8/Link transport me to Westlake, I’d rather have the 11 go where the 8/Link doesn’t. The fact is that the 11, going directly down Madison St, can get me to Madison St downtown faster than the 8/Link could. When BRT improvements come, that will become even more obvious, but its true even without BRT improvements.

  3. Was the I.D./Chinatown not included because of there not being an appreciable amount of office space, or because it’s already included in Sodo or Pioneer Square?

    1. Yeah, I would consider the I. D. to be the best single location for transportation in a few years.

  4. I would add in the transit-rich Kent Downtown and Kent Valley between Kent Station and Southcenter.

    No only is there generous office space (Kent Space Center) but there are hundreds of employers in retail, warehouse, and light industry whose employees depend on buses, Sounder and yes, bicycles and walking.

    1. While it may be possible to get to Kent Valley by transit, from anywhere, except perhaps Kent Station, it’s a pain in the ass.

      The people who work there and depend on buses do so not because the buses work well, but because their employers don’t pay them enough to be able to afford both a car and rent.

      1. For those who live and work in Kent, the 169 is a well used circulator on East Hill, as is the 150 along West Valley Highway.

        People also walk a lot here, and I don’t mean half a block from the condo tower to the coffee house. Here “walkability” sometimes means going a couple of miles from a bus stop to a warehouse.

      2. Kent is not transit-rich. A transit-rich place is like the U-District or Belltown, where you can go the highest-volume directions every 5-15 minutes full-time, and every direction every 15-30 minutes (although the 30-minute dropoff is substandard). That’s the kind of environment that attracts lots of choice riders to transit. The 45th corridor is like this to a lesser extent.

        In Kent, Bailo lives in the precise location where the 164, 168, and 169 overlap, giving 15-minute service to Kent Station, although it alternates at different stops and drops off evenings and Sundays. Most Kent residents have significantly less transit access than that. The bulk of the population lives east of Kent Station, and the bulk of jobs are northwest of it. There is no one-seat ride between them; everyone has to transfer at Kent Station. Kent has higher ridership and level of transit service than most of south King County, but it’s not anywhere near transit rich. A transit-rich area does not drop off to hourly evenings and weekends (168), or have no Sunday service at all (164). That’s lifeline coverage service. Only those who don’t have cars, or put up with it for certain kinds of trips (airport, symphony), or are hardcore transit fans, use it. Everybody else drives.

        Walking two miles to a warehouse is not “walkable”. Those are people who can’t afford to drive or love exercise. We can respect their determination but that doesn’t mean it’s a good transit system or good land-use policies, or something we can expect most people to do. The average limit that people are willing to walk to transit is 10 minutes, not 40.

      3. However, Kent has the potential to reach the top 10 or 20 if it makes a serious effort. That would start with much more lowrise/midrise housing west of Kent Station (since Bailo doesn’t don’t want any growth on East Hill, and because it’s closer to the station and jobs). And upzone the northwest industrial area to encourage multistory buildings and filling in the open space around buildings. Talk with the business owners about what combination of things would allow densification without disrupting existing business needs. These changes would prepare the way for better transit, and people would use it for more of their trips, and they wouldn’t be walking two miles to the warehouse door anymore.

  5. Am I wrong that the firms you’re talking about, except for building maintenance, employ only office workers- which for purpose here include writing apps?

    And have no manufacturing connection at all, from shop-floor to sales? It’s true that nationwide, maybe first-world wide, there have been an steadily-fewer percentage of people working to make anything.

    Like, for instance, the PCC streetcar. But if trends were destiny, this blog would not have a subject- the question of transit-free living patterns would be forever settled.

    Taking a cue from the interurban electric railways of the past, there’s no reason that light rail and streetcar infrastructure can’t carry machine parts.

    The fifty odd years since our manufacturing workforce started to be junked out have also included technical advancements that permit factories to work without poison.

    Which could finally permit their workers to live walking distance from their jobs. And create an industrial workforce that doesn’t reliably vote against measures for transit.

    Mark Dublin

    1. The big problem there is the push to move manufacturing jobs to the suburbs, where transit access is terrible. For example, there’s lots and lots of industrial space around Kent, but getting there from most anywhere requires quite a long slog on local buses, unless you live in one of the sprawl houses nearby.

      1. And ironically part of that push is being facilitated by the redevelopment for residential purposes of former close-in industrial areas like the Pearl District or South Lake Union, where it was far easier for workers to commute to by means other than a personal vehicle. In other words, many of the much-vaunted New Urbanist success stories are in fact a continuation of the postwar pattern of urban areas becoming more dependent on personal vehicles.

      2. The problem is that manufacturing jobs and walkability don’t really mix. It’s a direct consequence of factories needing lots and lots of contiguous space.

      3. I see your point Dave B., but when we’re talking about densification, diversification and access, SLU is now much more pedestrian friendly than it was 15 years ago. In the 90’s I used to walk daily through SLU from high school to where I grew up on LQA, and there were very few pedestrians or cyclists to be seen anywhere. Denny was virtual parking lot, surrounded by actual parking lots and low slung manufacturing and office buildings. My twin later lived in a 100 yo building in SLU, just before the transition started, and there was no economical or practical place to buy groceries, necessitating a frequent and time consuming trip w/o a car to LQA or Cap Hill. As the use changed, so did the amount of amenities and actual users of the neighborhood. Now, it’s bustling with transit users, pedestrians and cyclists. This doesn’t address the (much smaller number) of jobs that moved to Kent, etc., or the immigrant families that moved to Des Moines, agreed. These places are affordable on paper, but are often car dependent and / or lack mixed use and close proximity access to the real amenities that make a neighborhood functional and affordable. The SLU of 15+ years ago lacked many of these, too, which is why it flourished with immigrants, small manufacturing businesses and the like – they could afford the rent.

      4. @asdf2: Then what does one say of still functional warehouse and manufacturing areas in SODO and Georgetown, where a regular public street grid connects a great variety of small businesses? The marine-focused areas on both sides of the ship canal? I think there’s even some small manufacturing and food processing in the ID (I think the Field Roast factory is there?). Not every factory builds 787s, and not every goods transport facility is the size of the Port. Some of the businesses involved have had difficult relationships with ped/bike advocates because of controversies like the Missing Link, but then the Duwamish Trail extension past through industrial parts of South Park seemed to go through with little drama.

        During times of day/week when there isn’t heavy truck traffic these can be interesting places to go running, because all the different businesses provide varied scenery. I’ve taken the 131/132 up 4th Ave a couple times in the afternoon, and seen a steady trickle of boardings between the Duwamish and the railyard.

      5. New Urbanism failed to get frequent transit to its areas and failed to convince its residents to use transit. But it succeeded in building houses close together, mixing housing types, including a shopping area with big-box stores that residents use, and having pedestrian paths where the street grid is incomplete. It’s possible to live carfree in a new urbanist neighborhood, unlike Woodinville above where it’s much harder.

        Originally New Urbanism was intended for both city neighborhoods and suburbs. To me Capitol Hill’s growth is both new urbanist and old urbanist (they mean the same thing). The problem New Urbanism had was that zoning in infill areas wouldn’t allow their density, so they were forced to build new exurban towns as their showcase places/test cases. Eventually suburbs became more amenable to it in their commercial/industrial areas; that’s what the Spring District is. Cities also became more amenable to it, although most New Urbanist developments are suburban or exurban. They never stopped building isolated exurban neighborhoods, like Snoqualmie Ridge and Redmond Ridge. Both of those have only a coverage bus route and maybe a peak express, and the coverage route is barely used.

        Also, central Issaquah has a ton of multifamily housing now on several square blocks, so it’s a little similar although the buildings are further apart and the shopping areas harder to walk to.

        Some people say New Urbanism is bad because of the exurban locations. I say it’s not ideal but it’s better than low-density sprawl.

      6. Manufacturing imposes some intrinsic limits on walkability, and different manufacturers are different scales. But Georgetown and SODO and south Ballard show that it’s possible to put buildings closer together and have a tighter street grid than the Kent Valley does. Boeing’s factories are necessarily huge and adjacent to airports, but its offices and ancillary industrial work don’t have to be that way. They could be more clustered and vertical around the factories, and a frequent bus could stop there, and it could look more like a (non-residential) neighborhood with sharp boundaries rather than just more sprawl.

      7. SLU was not an industrial district. It was a neighborhood that was torn up by 99 and I-5 and the Mercer Mess left to rot. The city wanted to redevelop it for decades but never got around to it until finally it did… after Paul Allen bought up land and proposed the Commons and it failed and then he tried a biotech hub but that didn’t go anywhere and then he came up with the current plan and the city rezoned it and it got built.

    2. It would be possible to have dense industrial areas housing the blue collar jobs in the Kent Valley if the people writing land use codes would require a reasonable amount (not an excessive amount) of parking, not require roads that are wide enough to be small freeways, and would not require idiotic requirements like landscaping in industrial parks. Say what you want about the factories of the 1920s & 1930s versus the factories of the 1990s & 2000s, but I don’t see any benefit from having gigantic roads conducive to excessive speeding and islands of scrawny almost-dead trees within the seas of vacant pavement. I grew up a few blocks from several factories that had minimal setbacks to neighboring roads and no “amenities”. So what? They were factories and we would have expected no different. City officials’ desire for “aesthetics” has killed any sort of functionality or ability to develop the density needed to support transit. Without the “aesthetic” requirements of City officials, I’ll bet all of the industry from Sumner through Pacific, Algona, Auburn, Kent, and the south end of Renton could probably fit within the footprint of just Kent and Renton. In conjunction with a stronger GMA, we could really eliminate a lot of the unnecessary sprawl now happening in Pierce & Snohomish Counties. It’s time for voters to start demanding common-sense land use requirements. Out-of-context landscape areas and other excessive requirements within industrial parks bring very little, if any, public benefit.

      1. Good point. It’s not really the factory which kills the walkability of the area… it’s acres of surface parking surrounding the factory. It’s the tendency of the factories to build 1-story buildings instead of the former multi-story factories. Et cet.

      2. Earlier more factories belched smoke and soot chemicals and and soot were noisy. That’s why they were separated from residential areas and other uses and led to long walks to them. Nowadays that’s not an issue for many industrial facilities, so they could be right next to apartments and other businesses, as long as there’s enough road space and turning distance for the trucks.

      3. Having been in quite a few machine shops, they work better when they are one level rather than multiple levels.

        Also, machine shops and other factories are still noisy and can be obnoxious to people trying to sleep at night and such. So keeping them at least some distance from residential areas is a good idea.

  6. “Unlike Pioneer Square, the Lower Queen Anne and South Lake Union streetcar are directly connected to it via rail.”

    Unless they rebranded the RR D a streetcar, due to it’s slow, frustrating grind through LQA, I think that’s a typo?

    1. I think he’s talking about the Seattle Center Monorail, which might be integrated into Orca in the next year or so.

  7. MUST MUST MUST do the Northgate ped bridge. Will connect the Meridian Ave area (with college and businesses) to Northgate and discourage car trips. This is a no-brainer. it MUST be done.

  8. I have no idea why Sodo is ranked above Northgate and Rainier. With the death of the first ave buses, there’s a serious last mile problem west of the busway/light rail tracks. It’s a lousy place to walk.

    And while I have never felt personally endangered (although the more petite women in my office have, in fact, been threatened and followed) I have been concerned that if I fell and twisted my ankle on the way to the train, no one would find me for hours and hours. It’s especially bad in the winter.

    As a car-free person, I hate having an office in Sodo. And most of the office employers down here (including mine) have low frequency private shuttles from pioneer square to put a band-aid on the problem.

    And don’t suggest biking. The freight trucks are vicious.

    1. Even if you’re right by the busway, SODO is a pain-in-the-ass to get to from anywhere north of downtown because you have to ride the crawl all the way through downtown to get to it. When one end of downtown to the other is on the order of 20-30 minutes, this is not insignificant.

      This will improve significantly when Link expands north and buses are removed from the tunnel.

    2. Not if you transfer at Westlake to a southbound tunnel bus and get off anywhere between Stadium and Spokane Street.

      1. Mike, that has not been my experience. My stopwatched walk time from Stadium station/SODO busway to First Ave S is the same as my walk time from King St Station to First Ave S.

      2. The places I go are more around 4th and 6th. 1st is the most isolated part of SODO, especially since you can only cross the railroad track in certain places. There used to be buses on 1st Avenue South to West Seattle; I’m not sure if there still are any.

      3. No buses on 1st between Jackson and Lander. Metro decided that routing was too unreliable on game days.

        If I were transit dictator I’d have either a streetcar or a shuttle bus running between 1st/Lander and Uptown, along 1st all the way. It’s a great short-distance transit corridor even if it’s a lousy long-distance one.

    3. I was personally threatened and followed last Tuesday while walking in SODO on 4th Ave. I was walking about 5-6 blocks which isn’t too far either. I give SODO a walkability score of about -40 after that situation, but at least there’s lots of transit options. That’s assuming you can walk to them without getting threatened or mugged in the process, no small feat for anyone.

  9. I would have considered TIBS/ SeaTac Airport as a place with good transit access.

  10. It is telling that the region’s fastest growing office district, South Lake Union, isn’t even on the list.

  11. You’re right, David B. But you know, every problem in land-use patterns involves a failure of imagination. Or more kindly, how impossible it is to read the future.

    Exactly like with natural resources like timber, fresh air, and water, it’s normal for people for people who see an abundance to be unable to believe that living and driving space would ever run out.

    Or that there would always be enough public transit to assure that land use and private cars would always have room for a new and better life.

    Contemporary renderings show that after World War II, the New Urbanists saw Heaven itself in all the surrounding land where people could escape cities that really were dirty, crowded, and falling apart.

    What’s also always missing is how natural it is for societies, especially rich ones, to find different ways to live when the old ones cease to work. Major factor is generational: young people decide to change the scene when they grow up.

    Not through any deep philosophy, but because things their parents loved, like driving giant cars everywhere, have long since stopped providing freedom and fun. Fifty-five model Edsels aren’t even funny anymore. Nobody remembers them, or would drive one if they could get even a 1990 Camry.

    Or voluntarily spend a whole day stuck in traffic driving either.

    Good reason to support school outings aboard LINK. I’ve frequently had eight year old fellow passengers, and their escorting teachers, tell me that whatever museum or game the kids were going to, they like riding the train more.

    Age eight is ten years from voting age. Excellent time to be tracking future-voter numbers, and adjusting political approach accordingly. In the New Urbanist-to Now time-frame, quick enough for us not to be discouraged, but sufficient time for us to start putting down road-bed.


  12. “Tacoma Link is a pretty good way to get around downtown.”

    It’s currently mediocre. It stops every block downtown for traffic lights and sits for longer than the buses do. It’s slower than the SLUT, if that’s possible, and it doesn’t have the SLUT’s “I’m on a red streetcat!” feel to make up for it. If they extend Tacoma Link they really should upgrade the downtown segment.

  13. Seriously, take downtown Tacoma off the list. PT has reduced service on most of its corridors to every 40 minutes or less, and most of the nearby housing stock is not within walking distance to transit. Employees in Tacoma demand free or cheap parking, too, since so many of them live in places like Lacey, Eatonville, Fircrest, Orting, Gig Harbor, or Port Orchard, where transit literally does not exist. Even being at the endpoint of a handful of ST routes that connect to Seattle or South King County, I’d say that downtown Tacoma is hardly transit-friendly. Anywhere in Seattle, including South Lake Union, Ballard, First Hill or Wallingford, or even downtown Renton, would be more transit-friendly than Tacoma, because there is at least a critical mass of workers who can functionally get to transit, are willing to use it, and can get to work efficiently using it, and a network of useful bus routes that connect the area residential neighborhoods to the job centers.

    Last time I attempted transit in Tacoma (to get to and from an oil change), I missed a transfer by about 30 seconds (I saw the bus pull away; the schedules said I had 10 minutes of transfer time) and ended up walking 2.5 miles to pick up my car because that particular route only ran every 90 minutes during midday.

  14. The big problem with I-90/Rainier as a transit-friendly employment site is the interchange. If you have to walk across Rainier the crosswalk just south of the freeway has lots of conflicts with turning traffic. If you have to walk across the interchange face, you have grade separation for the northeast ramp and a pretty reasonable intersection southwest of the interchange. But crossing the southeast ramp (the ramp from NB Rainier to EB I-90) or the pair of northwest ramps (one from WB I-90 to SB Rainier, one from SB Rainier to WB I-90) is not for the faint of heart.

    I don’t think little underpasses like the one under the northeast ramp would be that hard to build, and I think in this particular case they’d be appropriate. It would be great to rebuild the interchange to eliminate merging on Rainier, but I don’t think there’s any plan to do it.

  15. Caviot on Northgate. There needs to be a significant upzone and/or infill development in the office parks in order to provide the kind of office space a lot of these new companies are looking for.

    It would be a pretty long term investment, but if downtown prices continue in their upward trend it may well be worth it.

    Its also worth noting that Northgate will soon (this summer) have more frequent reverse peak connections by bus to popular neighborhoods like Ballard and the UDistrict. Also, with ULink opening next year, connections to Capitol Hill may finally not be so ugly.

      1. I agree that the ped bridge needs to happen. Investment isn’t the major reason though.

        Without major zoning changes, the lion’s share of the redevelopable land is actually on the East side of the freeway.

        Not to say that it won’t help, but I would emphasize community connections over development strategies.

  16. South Lake Union is clearly missing from the list. SLU could be a lot better for transit but its not as bad as many that made the list. IMO it should be somewhere around the middle of this top 10 list.

  17. So is Expedia’s move from Downtown Bellevue to Interbay worse, same or better for transit?

    1. For Expedia’s employees, probably worse. For transit overall, I don’t think it makes a difference. Some other company will move into Expedia’s space in Bellevue, just like some other company would have gone into the Amgen campus. So the net result is we’ll still have to move the same number of people to the same places.

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