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The Future of Flight W/ A Dreamlifter Nose Sticking Through...
My Aerial Photo: The Future of Flight W/ A Dreamlifter Nose Sticking Through…

Well folks, it is my displeasure and sadness to report that any short-term fix to the Future of Flight getting transit service is a nonstarter.  Last week, I learned Community Transit has vetoed changing Community Transit Route 113 to support the Future of Flight due to scheduling concerns and inconveniencing local Community Transit users for international Future of Flight visitors.  This defeat of getting public transit services to the Future of Flight however in the short term is ultimately because the better argument won inside Community Transit; and I accept full and total responsibility for the failure to succeed this time around.

I acknowledge the difficulty of asking a transit agency to change a transit schedule broadly advertised and should be reliable to the taxpayers to magically change a community’s main route to service a major tourist-powered economic engine.  A proposal that the Mayor of said community was apprehensive about in a North by Northwest Big Interview.

Some will ask, “Why not Everett Transit?”  Believe me, I have.  I went to the Everett Transit August 2015 Service Change Proposal public meeting at Thursday, April 16, 2015 where senior Everett Transit leaders and I discussed potential options for the Future of Flight.  One option thoughtfully proposed was an express shuttle linked to Everett Station.  One option frankly is insulting – and that’s the Everett Transit Planner’s demand of direct Future of Flight funding for Everett Transit service as if magically the nonprofit Future of Flight can write a check.  I also learned at this meeting from the Everett Transit Planner that hourly Everett Transit service to Boeing’s Paine Field factory and even with three Boeing employees helping get Boeing employees to choose transit first was not going so well so there’s understandable Everett Transit reluctance to further service Paine Field.  One would hope the Everett Mayor will listen rationally to Everett Transit staff before further championing light rail to Paine Field without firing Everett Transit professionals championing data-based contrarian viewpoints.

Speaking of comments, let me be clear, read carefully trolls: To lob from the dark corners of the room the hecklers’ veto and snipe at a major nonprofit doing good works is a classless disgrace and speaks volumes about how some transit advocates misperceive their role.  Make no mistake, I am confident other nonprofits who need transit service are going to keep their hands down and point to your sniping as a reason why not to ask for help. Running a mostly positive campaign clearly has less weight than that of anonymous coward internet trolls sniping because some people are unhappy with their transit service levels now means less transit for all.  Some heckler’s veto to celebrate.

That said this is all in the past. There is one good option left not just for the Future of Flight but also for giving Mukilteo a fair slice of transit service.

If we can get the City of Mukilteo City Council to please pass a resolution as a part of this Community Transit levy lift to request a bus route from 84th Street & Mukilteo Speedway to Seaway via Future of Flight so as to link Seaway Transit Center to the Mukilteo Multimodal Terminal in 2020 & the City of Mukilteo… but this route request requires Mukilteo community support, a bold investment of the City Government of Mukilteo’s political capital, and Community Transit to get its levy lift at the ballot box.

Arguably best to get the Seaway to Mukilteo connection is via commenting on the 2016 Transit Development Plan (TDP) for Community Transit.  In a recent public records request, Community Transit’s Public Records Officer wrote, “The full text of each comment received was provided to board members, initially to the board committee reviewing the plan, and then to the full board.  Comments were discussed in the context of the plan.  The final adopted plan includes the full text of each comment.”  When asked to share route planning for the Seaway Transit Center, Community Transit also replied, “There is no specific route planning for the transit center at this time. It’s too early in the process.”  Therefore a letter from the Mukilteo Mayor coupled to a Mukilteo City Council Resolution would certainly influence Community Transit’s “route planning”.

I will conclude with the genuine concern I have a Community Transit levy lift is going to require transit advocate enthusiasm to win. I know many share my fear a Sound Transit 3/ST3 package that rewards Seattle/North King insufficiently will not be pushed over the top.  So I legitimately fear a Community Transit levy lift transit package that insufficiently excites Mukilteo and Everett will ultimately fail.

Over to hopefully thoughtful comments at 777 words…


Programming Notes: Tomorrow I will post a North by Northwest View 18: What Should I Ask North by Northwest Transit Agencies about…

Also since I am no longer able to edit what’s posted to Seattle Transit Blog and writing this post is rather emotional for me, I drafted in Microsoft Word.  I encourage other Page Two writers to do the same.

24 Replies to “NORTH BY NORTHWEST 65: FUTURE OF FLIGHT DEFEATED IN GETTING IMMEDIATE TRANSIT SERVICE”

  1. Thanks for the update, Joe. I’d love to hear more about this if you have further details.

    “I also learned at this meeting from the Everett Transit Planner that hourly Everett Transit service to Boeing’s Paine Field factory and even with three Boeing employees helping get Boeing employees to choose transit first was not going so well so there’s understandable Everett Transit reluctance to further service Paine Field.”

    1. Dan,

      Sorry for being late to reply on this one. I had to dig out of my notes from the meeting. Part of the problem is the free parking capacity at Boeing. I’m sure IAM 751 would strike to keep the parking free without even having to ask them what they think.

  2. Light rail or transit service to Paine Field will not get justified since the public will not use because there is no flights out of Paine Field or near it houses.

    If Boeing decides to pack up the anti- light rail people would have valid agreement that could fail Sound Transit because they could say that light rail is servicing nowhere since there is nothing that is public needs or uses their.

    If Boeing wants light rail or transit service to service Paine Field they should pay the full construction and operation costs of it and Sound Transit does not need to pay for it because taxpayers money should being going to benefit the most people instead of select few.

    1. Zach;

      Let’s separate light rail from transit service.

      Light rail and your comments I mostly agree with. I think there is a real fear light rail to Paine Field will not be cost-effective as it will mainly service shift workers – many of whom through their union have won free parking. Also without good bus service to the four museums, many flight schools & other manufacturing facilities at Paine Field; the ridership will be minimal at other times. I “get it” many in the STB community are at best concerned, at worst opposed to the Everett Mayor’s request for light rail to Paine Field. One last thing – Boeing is likely going to stay now that new 777X facilities are being built, the 787 is in quite some demand, and a new delivery center has been built.

      Then there’s the whole commercial terminal wild card. May happen, may not happen, currently before the courts.

      As far as transit service – hey there are some commuter runs that are standing room only like Everett Transit 70. I think more buses and better marketing are best here and I ask for your unqualified support please on that. I’m not decrying others’ need for more service, I ask for the same please. Thanks.

    2. Would it even serve shift workers? Before we can tell whether any line would serve many Boeing workers, we need to how how many workers live where. Does Boeing or the county have a map of this?

      A Link line in the presumed Lynnwood – Payne – Everett CC corridor would serve as “transit’ only for those living south of 164th or right around downtown Everett and the college. By transit I mean replacing a significant portion of a car trip. But is that where most Boeing Everett workers live? I assume that actually most of them live in south Everett, or west or east of there, or in northwest Everett or Lake Stevens or Marysville-ish. For those living north of 164th but not right downtown, Link is a dubious a parking shuttle. It wouldn’t cut VMT (vehicle miles travelled) much. It would cut congestion only on Casino Road, but that shouldn’t be a major goal of a regional transit line. And how would workers get from Payne Field Station to their scattered jobs? And for those living west of Link’s primary access points — Ash Way Station, 128th Station, and Everett Station — Link is completely irrelevant because it’s out of the way.

      1. Mike;

        I’m not sure as to the answers to these critical questions. I’ll make sure to plant the seed into Sound Transit Planners’ minds.

  3. ” many of whom through their union have won free parking”..

    I doubt this was a hard won union demand, How many manufacturers charge their employees to park in there own parking lot? They could offer better insentives to use transit but not charge to park in the boeing parking lot.

    1. I’m sure IAM 751 would get righteous if the free parking was taken away because it’d be a hit on their hard-earned wages. Think about it.

      1. no employer with thousands of employees charge them to park in their own huge parking lots. obviously all the union and non union employees would be “righteous” if no free parking. If it was important to boeing they would offer incentives (beyond paying for bus pass) to take bus.

        It would be better for ct to increase frequency on existing routes than to add new routing that would likely carry very few .

      2. Increasing frequency on current routes to the Boeing Factory – that I support.

        The Seaway-FofF-Mukilteo shuttle I also support.

        Good thinking.

  4. Joe,

    I haven’t heard anyone say a single thing against The Future of Flight. Not one thing. We’re not against service to non-profit organizations. When you said that the museum gets fewer than 800 visitors per day, that sealed the deal against a dedicated shuttle. There’s no way that such a two- or even three-trip ride for tourists completely unfamiliar with the are is going to attract useful ridership. If the bus got a 5% mode split it would be a miracle. That’s 40 people per day or 80 trips.

    The museum is open 8:30 to 5:30 PM daily, which means the bus would have to run maybe 7:45 to 6:15 to include the base leg. I expect that it could go back and forth to a useful transit center (not Seaway which has terrible connecting service; how about 112th?) two round trips per hour. That’s doable; Google says it takes 9 minutes without traffic, which gives a five minute recovery window at each end.

    Now of course the First Student drivers are going to need comfort breaks so maybe twice an hour isn’t doable, so shall we say every 45 minutes each way? I hate frequencies greater than 30 minutes, but it’s a little questionable.

    Anyway that would be ten and a half bus hours per day; I don’t know what CT’s base is but it’s probably close to $80/hour. That means it would cost somewhere between $750 and $1000 per day to serve the museum. The fares collected would be $160 per day or a recovery between 16 and 21%. Assuming of course that the thing gets the 5% modal split which is a generous estimate.

    I expect that there are some CT “coverage” routes that do as poorly, or even worse. But they are serving the people who pay the taxes. This would be serving tourists who, yes, pay lodging and sales taxes, but only for a brief time.

    Which group do you prefer to serve on a daily basis?

    1. Anandakos;

      I’m going to respond point-by-point even though I would prefer on my posts first name, last name on all comments going forward. Sadly Community Transit gives your opinion about as much weight as mine. So here goes:

      “I haven’t heard anyone say a single thing against The Future of Flight.”

      I percieved differently from “asdf” and aw and others.

      “When you said that the museum gets fewer than 800 visitors per day, that sealed the deal against a dedicated shuttle.”

      I know “a dedicated shuttle” wasn’t really proposed but rather rerouting current bus routes.

      “If the bus got a 5% mode split it would be a miracle. That’s 40 people per day or 80 trips.”

      Well here’s the daily ridership table for the stops near the Future of Flight:

      Stop Stop Name Daily Average
      1393 14
      1455 3
      1456 9
      1457 24
      1458 8
      1459 17
      1465 131
      1468 11
      1469 8
      1470 3
      1472 4

      1465 is for the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal, 1457 is Hwy 525 & 84th St SW, Mukilteo with at the east end of 84th Street the Future of Flight. Some of this average is Future of Flight. With a horrible path to/from.

      “The museum is open 8:30 to 5:30 PM daily, which means the bus would have to run maybe 7:45 to 6:15 to include the base leg. I expect that it could go back and forth to a useful transit center (not Seaway which has terrible connecting service; how about 112th?) two round trips per hour”

      There is now a proposal to serve in 2020 or earlier the Seaway Transit Hub to Hwy 525 & 84th St SW. The hub will have Swift 2, Everett Transit bus routes. Hwy 525 & 84th St SW has three Community Transit bus routes running through it – two commuter to/from Seattle, the other for the Mukilteo community that will service a new Mukilteo Multi-modal Terminal with WSF, Sounder North and many bus routes in 2020. Some bad connection, stop smearing.

      “Now of course the First Student drivers are going to need comfort breaks so maybe twice an hour isn’t doable, so shall we say every 45 minutes each way? I hate frequencies greater than 30 minutes, but it’s a little questionable.”

      I will leave the fine details to transit planners to fix. Even if once an hour, it’d be a simple fair slice of new service with new funding to connect two major transit hubs and also a world-class facility in the Future of Flight.

      “I don’t know what CT’s base is but it’s probably close to $80/hour.” Then don’t bring it up until you find out.

      “The fares collected would be $160 per day or a recovery between 16 and 21%.”

      Okay Community Transit gets 25% farebox recovery according to their last TDP.

      “Assuming of course that the thing gets the 5% modal split which is a generous estimate.”

      Well out of 777.8 daily mean visitors and many of which being international plus surveys requesting transit let’s not be taking guesstimates on ridership numbers. Because any ridership estimate for a unique facility like this is out of thin air. Stop smearing.

      But if I can pull out of thin air, I’d say at least 20% would go. 155 per day with the proper marketing in place and the Swift 2 route to the new Seaway – of which the route planning is underway.

      “I expect that there are some CT “coverage” routes that do as poorly, or even worse. But they are serving the people who pay the taxes. This would be serving tourists who, yes, pay lodging and sales taxes, but only for a brief time.”

      Nice try but there are many workers & volunteers at the Future of Flight who pay into both Community Transit & Sound Transit who get little in return. Ditto the Boeing Dreamlifter ops center shuttling 787 parts to the main factory right next door. Ditto the hotel right across from the Future of Flight.

      “Which group do you prefer to serve on a daily basis?”

      That is divisive, because quite frankly when I go to Seattle as a tourist I use transit. Am I now your enemy?

      I’m for serving both. Not one group of transit groups versus another. Only road bullies who want to crush transit want transit users against transit users fighting each other over crumbs so they can shut us down.

      I ask you think about that in future comments please.

      1. Well, you certainly got up on your hind legs, didn’t you Joe? The reason I asked the question is that CT only just now restored Sunday service. Remember? They’re not a rich plutocrat of a bus system. They have to live within their budget, otherwise they’ll end up like the over-generous folks in Island County.

        You seem to know about plans for upgrading the Seaway TC service, and that’s great. I don’t know about it and haven’t seen anything written. Right now it has one bus an hour, the #8. As recently as last year the ET book showed the #8 not making the Boeing loop except at rush hour, so apparently there is some motion toward better service there.

        In any case it was your proposal to have a “shuttle to Seaway” in your original post, not mine. Then you heard about the idea to reroute the CT bus on the Speedway to FOF and went that way. Apparently CT won’t agree so it’s back to the Seaway shuttle, apparently. Now, since it’s only about a five minute drive, if that, the thing could certainly run four round trips per hour OR it could be extended to the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal and cease being a dedicated shuttle for FOF.

        Even if it only ran twice an hour or even hourly that would be a bus line worth having. The ferries would be linked directly to downtown Everett (ET), Lynnwood TC (CT) and the Seaway TC with connections to southeast Snohomish and eastside King County. That’s decent service that the ferries deserve.

        And of course it will piss the Timster off to see ALL. THOSE. BUSES rolling by his front door.

      2. ANANDAKOS;

        Let me just say I find your comments very close to annoying.

        I get, “They [Community Transit] have to live within their budget, otherwise they’ll end up like the over-generous folks in Island County.” Oh I get that. Every request made has been either to alter a current route or create a new one serving multiple destinations.

        “You seem to know about plans for upgrading the Seaway TC service, and that’s great. I don’t know about it and haven’t seen anything written.”

        Thanks because the route structure for the new Seaway Transit Center has not been built yet. This will be a good place for Everett Transit & Community Transit to come together.

        “In any case it was your proposal to have a “shuttle to Seaway” in your original post, not mine. Then you heard about the idea to reroute the CT bus on the Speedway to FOF and went that way. Apparently CT won’t agree so it’s back to the Seaway shuttle, apparently. ”

        Nice try at scrambling me. Okay, CT dropped the Route 113 restructure proposal. There is a proposal when the full Seaway Transit Center is built out to create as you said, “be extended to the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal”. I never said a special shuttle to the Future of Flight here.

        As to, “Even if it only ran twice an hour or even hourly that would be a bus line worth having. The ferries would be linked directly to downtown Everett (ET), Lynnwood TC (CT) and the Seaway TC with connections to southeast Snohomish and eastside King County. That’s decent service that the ferries deserve.” Absolute agreement. Now we have a run Mayor Gregerson can champion if she desires, a run that links the Future of Flight to two transit centers making it much easier to market the service, and a logical link for a lot of people that’s a win-win. If this run was guaranteed with the CT levy lift, the levy lift would be championed broadly.

        Thank you.

      3. Oh, and Joe, this isn’t your blog. But if you don’t want me to post, I’ll honor that. Sayonara, Joe.

  5. If I visit the Future of Flight museum and take a tour of the Boeing Everett factory… how does the museum transport you between the two locations?

    1. Chartered special buses take people to/from the Future of Flight to the Boeing Factory.

      A request was made a while ago to also have Boeing buses help link Future of Flight to transit. Answer was no due to “liability” :-|. Like moving a wall – not gonna happen.

      Time for Community Transit, City of Mukilteo & Future of Flight to agree to a levy lift, get the Mukilteo-to-Seaway TC link going.

      1. That just flies in the face of the museum’s previous statement that they aren’t “in the transportation business.” I’d love to see some sort of dedicated, branded shuttle between the FOF, SWIFT (at Casino Dr) and Sound Transit (at South Everett Freeway Station). But if the concerned parties have dug their heels in… I guess it won’t happen.

        Here’s the thing, I know I pitched a diversion of route 113… but that’s a pretty miserable connection considering the 113 is already such a milk run. Even with the diversion it would take John Q. Tourist two hours to travel from Westlake Center to the Future of Flight. The 512 takes you 2/3rds of the way to the Lynnwood TC… but half the trip time would be spent on the 113 as it takes them on a scenic tour of the Alderwood Mall, North Lynnwood, Picnic Point, Harbour Pointe and Mukilteo.

        Long term the best bet will be some sort of new Seaway Transit Center-Mukilteo route or a shuttle bus from the Seaway Transit Center (I mean the Boeing buses are already travelling RIGHT. THERE. to take people to the factory).

        Short term –and you probably aren’t going to like this answer– the best answer to getting tourists to the FOF would be to partner with a private tour company who can bundle a ticket to the museum with transportation to/from Seattle. I know there are companies who provide this service… but there’s no mention of them on futureofflight.org and creating an “official” partnership could allow the museum to negotiate a schedule and get lower prices. That takes care of the tourists and people who live in Seattle like me… but it does little to help the locals in Snohomish County who want to visit.

      2. Ricky,

        “The locals in Snohomish who want to visit” will drive. Easily 99+% of people who live in Snohomish outside downtown Everett have cars, and it’s not that far. And the traffic isn’t that bad if you avoid the Boeing shift changes.

        And if you have a family it’s cheaper to drive, assuming that insurance and car payment are sunk costs anyway.

        Just as rail is not a solution to every transit problem, transit is not a solution to every mobility problem. It just isn’t. It works where lots of people who don’t live in a spread out area all want to go to a destination regularly (e.g. not football games, though it helps with them some). Providing bus service to infrequent destinations is just as poor a use of public funds as is building rail lines through suburbs.

      3. Private tour companies can provide reasonably affordable prices when there’s huge demand and lots of competition. For instance, Stonehenge is located out in the countryside, where no bus not specifically oriented towards tourists would go anywhere near. But, between Stonehenge being a must-see tourist destination for travelers visiting from all over the world, and the vast majority of out-of-town tourists staying in central London not having cars, the result is a robust transportation market for Stonehenge visitors. You can either take the national rail system to the nearest town and take a tour bus from there (arriving every half-hour), or take a bus operated by a different company direct from downtown London, albeit with a more limited schedule.

        Moving back to Puget Sound, however, we are confronted with the reality that Future of Flight does not have the draw of Stonehenge, and driving in Seattle is not nearly as crazy or expensive as trying to drive in London. So, coming up with a privately-funded tour bus with cheap enough fares to get people to actually choose it over a rental car is going to be difficult. The best way to keep the costs down would be to just run a minivan shuttle to Lynnwood Transit Center and connect with the 512, rather than run a bus all the way to Seattle. Even then, it had better be advertised prominently on the museum’s web site, or else tourists won’t realize it exists until they’ve already paid for their rental car.

      4. There actually exists such a bus, but it comes with a tour included and is absurdly expensive for what it is: http://toursnorthwest.com/boeing_factory.html

        About two years ago I was living in Seattle for the summer and a friend who is both an aviation and a ship geek came over to visit. We decided we wanted to do the M/V Coho and the Boeing Tour. Since we planned on going to the Coho, renting a car was the obvious choice, but I also looked into car free options for both: even renting the car for a single day, for the two of us, just for the factory tour, was an absurd ~90% savings.

  6. An idea that I had been toying with is to split the 113’s service: a 113 as-is, and a 114 that starts at Seaway/75th, goes to the Future of Flight, and uses SR 525, possibly skipping Bev Park Rd and going straight to 35th/36th W… of course, this would destroy the half-hour frequency in Harbour Pointe, to save on time. Another something would be like, Everett Station > (Evergreen Freeway Station) > Seaway > Mukilteo Ferry Terminal, but Community Transit would object to it, over grounds of not being in the PTBA… though the 201/202 pair don’t follow this rule.

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