Bike Traps, otherwise known as Streetcars (Atomic Taco, Flickr)
Bike Traps, otherwise known as Streetcars (Atomic Taco, Flickr)
  • The streetcar tracks on Jackson St are hazardous to people on bikes, and there is no parallel facility. Seattle Bike Blog explores design changes to fix it.
  • Burien (1) and Kenmore (2) are feeling left out of ST3 planning, and are making noise about it. (B-Town Blog and Shoreline Area News)
  • Meanwhile, ST3 will go nowhere without Olympia, and new reports are saying that it’s not exactly going well, with transportation talks “put on ice” as the second special session nears its end. (Times, $)
  • Racism is alive and well, example 1,046: rental discrimination is rampant at many properties in Seattle, and “Director’s Charges” have been filed against 13 properties, including the Station at Othello. (CHS)
  • Block by block: how the Broadway bikeway extension will remake the street between Denny and Aloha. (CHS)
  • How Ballard and Fremont looked with a complete street network, and how mid-century, grid-slicing arterials scarred it. (The Urbanist)
  • Ferry fares are going up in October, by 2.5% for vehicles and by 1% for passengers. (KOMO)

This is an open thread. 

84 Replies to “News Roundup: Left Out”

  1. Lest you think that the attitude towards big scary looking apartment buildings is only a Seattle thing, Willamette Week last week had apartments as their primary focus, including

    Grow Up Portland! Why the Apartment Buildings You Hate are Good For the City

    And two main chapters of the article:
    Why My Apartment is Good for Portland
    5 Myths about Portland Apartments

    Much of this was in response to what Willamette Week describes as “hot as hell anger over web commercial for a new building.”

    1. …we pay $1,400 for a one-bedroom apartment that’s all of 592 square feet..

      When I moved to Seattle in 1986, I paid $220 a month for a one bedroom on Cap Hill.

      Using the CPI calculator, $220 in today’s dollars is $477.35

      Meaning, northwest urban rental prices have blown up 7x inflation!

      However, I do like that building, except it should be 7 to 9 stories instead of what looks like 4. And I would think that after building lots of them, the price might come down. Way, way down. And if it doesn’t someone has got some explaining to do…

  2. Does anyone have any insight into why the stop at Bellevue & Mercer (route 47) was removed? It seems like an odd choice for removal, since it’s the transfer point for the 8.

    1. Yeah, it was odd they put such a short bus route on a stop diet! They deleted a couple of stops on the route.

  3. It’s increasingly clear that ST3 is going down in a cacophony of selfish bloviation. The Republicans are going to get their wish. The Puget Sound economy will be strangled in the bathtub by the entitled unwillingness of so many people to pay for their services and capital needs.

    1. It isn’t all without hope. Seattle Subway is likely to run a ‘Plan B’ initiative if the legislature doesn’t authorize tax authority for ST3. Most likely it would fund the construction of a WSTT (though UW-Ballard is also a possibility).

      1. Given the proposed highway bill and the likely ST3 proposal, I would prefer that. It is too soon to tell, but Sound Transit doesn’t seem to be on right track in finding good ideas for Seattle, let alone the suburbs (where it is harder to find good proposals). Meanwhile, the 509/167 freeway proposal is crap, and takes up a huge chunk of the spending. I would hate to sacrifice ST3 because of a terrible freeway proposal, but if I was a state rep, I would. The fact that ST3 has so many problems (shown by Lake Forest Park and Burien now complaining) means that it will probably fail anyway. In other words, I would much rather the state abandon the highway bill and focus on maintenance, than see the state build some really stupid highways followed by ST3 being rejected anyway.

        All that being said, my guess is that a highway bill does get passed. Different versions passed the house and senate, so it really is just being delayed by politics. From Sound Transit’s standpoint, I could easily see them splitting the difference. That might be the best thing to happen to Sound Transit. It gives them an excuse to build cheaper things (like UW to Ballard light rail or the WSTT) that are actually more effective or a better value. In other words, they can go to West Seattle and say “We tried to build you an ineffective, inappropriate light rail line, but the legislature forced us to build you something better and cheaper”.

      2. When is the drop dead date for ST3? IIRC, I remember Keith Kyle saying something about April 2015 for a Seattle Subway ballot initiative.

      3. How? The Monorail authority specifies “High Capacity Transit that is not Light Rail” and probably has some sort of defintion of HCT that excludes a bus tunnel.

      4. @Anandakos: The relevant definition in the RCW is

        a transportation system that utilizes train cars running on a guideway, together with the necessary passenger stations, terminals, parking facilities, related facilities or other properties, and facilities necessary and appropriate for passenger and vehicular access to and from people-moving systems, not including fixed guideway light rail systems.

        Personally, I doubt that can be stretched to include a useful WSTT, but IANAL.

      5. William,

        Thank you very much. Since it doesn’t say “High Capacity Transit” but rather “train cars running on a guideway” [emphasis added], I agree. It can’t be stretched to build a WSTT that is explicitly “for buses until we decide to put trains in it”.

      6. WSTT as a rail convertible bus facility is a waste of money. Even I would vote against it, much the way I voted against the monorail. It is time for this city to put its Big Boy Pants on and do things right, and another bus tunnel is not doing things right.

      7. @Lazarus. I totally agree that a convertible bus tunnel is a waste of money, but vigorously disagree about why. The problem is the word convertible, not bus. There are vast swathes of the metro area, and even of the city that will continue to be best served by open BRT for at least the next 50 years. The only reason I can imagine for making the tunnel convertible is to make it arguable that the monorail authority is legally allowed to build it.

      8. @William. — I think the idea of making it convertible is just to future proof the line. It is by no means the most important part, and will surely be overemphasized by folks like Lazurus, who think that all our transit mobility problems can be solved by running a couple trains in a north-south direction. The most important part is the bus tunnel.

        But eventually I could see it being used by a train. I don’t think it will ever make sense to build light rail to West Seattle (just too expensive, too spread out and too easy to make BRT work really well). West Seattle would basically have to become like Bellevue (with skyscrapers and apartment complexes spread out over a much broader area) to make it worth it. I doubt it will ever make sense, but stranger things have happened, so I wouldn’t rule it out.

        But Ballard is a bit different. With the UW to Ballard light rail line, you eliminate the value of some of the open BRT routes in Ballard. The east-west rail line should extend out to 24th, which makes it unnecessary for the 17, if not the 18, to go downtown. Just shuttle people onto the train. I suppose Magnolia could use the tunnel, as well as West Queen Anne (SPU to 15th to downtown). That’s about it, though. You don’t have that many areas that converge on 15th the way that you have areas that converge onto the West Seattle freeway (once a UW to Ballard light rail line is done).

        Meanwhile, you have huge stops along the way. Belltown is the most densely populated area in the state. It is a bit close to Westlake, or it would probably be the biggest station in our system. For example, someone coming from Bellevue or the UW might just walk a few blocks, instead of making a transfer. But just getting from the other parts of downtown (Madison, I. D., Stadium) would be enough to make the station huge. Then there are the folks who are coming from the northwest, whether directly or indirectly. There will be people in Phinney Ridge who take the train west and transfer to a bus headed south, with a stop at Belltown. What is true of Belltown is true (to a lesser degree) of Lower Queen Anne. Those are really big destinations, and might justify the extra capacity of light rail.

        But I think one of the big arguments for light rail to Ballard (via the west side) is that there is no cheap way to get buses over the bridge. That is a major choke point — much bigger than the West Seattle freeway — and it isn’t cheap to fix it. My guess is would be roughly the same to fix that problem (build a big new bridge) for light rail as for buses. This makes it different than West Seattle. West Seattle can leverage the freeway (expand the lanes if necessary) at a lot lower cost than building a new light rail line, because the hillside is so steep. Buses can climb that steep freeway, but trains can’t (which is why adding just one station in West Seattle would cost billions). The Ballard/Interbay area is lot more flat. So basically, in Ballard (unlike in West Seattle) you have a situation whereby solving the bus problem is not much cheaper than building a new train line. At that point, you might as well add rail.

        But if I thought there were huge savings to be had by making this “just” a bus tunnel, then I would suggest that. Our current tunnel was designed as a bus tunnel, with only a passing thought to converting it a train tunnel. Despite the problems we are having now, it is working. The only reason joint operations are bad is because the situation is temporary. If people thought that buses and trains would share the tunnel for the next ten years then they would do something about it (off board payment for all the buses would be a good start). I don’t think it would break the bank to build that into the new tunnel. I doubt it would cost much at all, really. When the old tunnel was built, there was off board payment, in the form of a ride free zone. I think it is reasonable for every bus in the new tunnel to have off board payment the way that RapidRide does (at least for the tunnel). Level boarding is a given. So I’m not sure if there are that many extra costs associated with future proofing the tunnel.

      9. Whoa, Ross. Having a UW-Ballard subway will not intercept all riders to downtown on buses from farther north. You aren’t proposing truncating all routes at the Ship Canal are you? There will be plenty of people who would prefer to ride the bus all the way and not transfer twice. If you remove that option, you will lose some of those riders.

        And there are certainly many people who live south of Market/45th in “Frelard” and Wallingford who commute to and from downtown; those are favorite neighborhoods for downtown workers. Buses serving those neighborhoods will still need to go downtown. They’ll be excellent candidates for the tunnel.

      10. Let me be clear. I’m not proposing still running the high quality express services from North Seattle to downtown should a Ballard-UW subway be built. Some level of subtle coercion to get folks to use the HCT is appropriate. I expect that most daily commuters who regularly get stuck in traffic on Aurora or Denny Way will be very happy to make the two transfer ride. But there are people with physical limitations or those with plenty of time who would prefer to sit for a longer ride,

        It’s normal for light rail lines to have shadow bus routes which essentially parallel them — or even run exactly the same route. For instance, SFMuni runs the 6 Parnassus between UC Med Center and downtown; it winds back and forth across the route of the N Judah, and some people actually take it from the Med Center to the Market corridor. Maybe it stops at a place on Market that’s a few blocks from a Metro station. Maybe people like the view crossing Parnassus. Why knows why they do it, but that’s just the nature of human beings: some value speed, others prefer comfort.

      11. Given that the likely corridor of a Ballard-UW is somewhat North of the Ship Canal and that there are corridors between downtown and the Ship Canal worth serving I don’t see all service being truncated if Ballard-UW is built.

        At the very least I see RR D and E remaining along with buses on Dexter and Westlake serving Fremont and lower Wallingford.

        Assuming reasonable frequency on the N/S trunk routes and Ballard-UW the double transfer isn’t much of a burden, especially in the downtown direction. People seem to deal with rail-rail and bus-rail transfers well in other cities. The real objection tends to come with rail-bus transfers mostly due to infrequent and/or unreliable bus service.

      12. Chris,

        What you say is exactly true. Most people from north of a Ballard-UW subway will make the transfer with greater or lesser degrees of happiness about it. But some will not like it, and as you say, there have to be buses serving Dexter and Westlake anyway as well as 15th West and Aurora. Those buses, too, can enter the tunnel. I expect that the 26 will still need to run downtown all day and evenings; folks won’t want to ride all the way east to Husky Stadium to get Link if they’re used to an Aurora express (as they will be starting next March). It would be a tunnel bus too.

        Yes, there will be fewer base service buses that go downtown from North and Northwest Seattle than today, especially at the rush hour. But there will still be a need for frequent service on all four northwest arterials — heck, Dexter has just been remade as a “transit priority” street — plus some level of service for Magnolia. The WSTT wouldn’t be entirely for West Seattle and Southwest King County. There will be people using the north end accesses as well.

    2. I should have specified: “the boondocks Republicans”. There are Republicans in the Puget Sound region who definitely do not want the economy strangled. The rest of the state does, though, as punishment for Puget Sounders’ Sodom and Gomorrah lifestyle. Very shortsightedly I might point out, because without the cream S and G’s rich tax receipts, the Brethren of Grant County would be driving on gravel.

      1. Hmmmmm, I sense a bit of arrogance and ignorance here. Boeing requires aluminum for most of its jets. Smeltering aluminum requires extensive loads of electricty. Cheap, clean electricty and aluminum smeltering of Grant, Douglas and other eastern wa. counties are at the basis of the puget sounds survival numb nuts. Turn the power switch off in Grant county and we will all be taking a long nap.

      2. Who’s turning the power switch off? Grant PUD is its own master, I would hope.

        I’m talking about roads, schools, social services, “revenue sharing”, roads and on and on. Republican leaning counties in Washington State, every one save Kittitas and sort of Skagit which is exactly 50/50, get more from the state than they give it in taxes. King County gets back 62 cents for every state tax dollar it provides (and that includes all those state offices in downtown). I do not know if the analysts who produced the document used only the legislative budget or included the “autonomous” higher ed institutions.

        So if there’s welfare being sucked, it’s being sucked by folks on tractors, not Prii.

      3. I expect that Boeing, who is mostly an assembler these days and prefers to work in carbon fiber, can find somebody somewhere to sell it Aluminum should the Wenatchee (Chelan County, not Grant) works close.

      4. Most of the Eastern Washington alumnum smelters mostly closed long ago. The fuselages of Boeing’s most popular plane the 737 come fully assembled from Wichita Kansas as does the nose and cockpit (section 41) of every plane they make. Large chunks of the 777 come fully assembled from elsewhere as well. No need for cheap power in Grant County to keep Boeing going.

      5. I’m afraid Anandakos is right. There are very few Republicans like Dan Evans around anymore. I’m afraid what drives many of them is spite or demagoguery, not fiscal conservatism.

        At least that is the case with the transportation budget. Even if you are a hard core fiscal conservative, why do you care if Seattle pays for its own light rail system? It isn’t in your district, so your constituents won’t pay a dime. It is reasonable to suggest that allowing each area to approve (or oppose) a project would lead to wealthier areas getting important projects, and poorer areas getting nothing, but when it comes to transit, a lot of these Republicans are on record as saying they want nothing anyway.

        I could easily have seen how a different coalition could have easily done better. Get those fiscal conservatives together with the urban Democrats and hammer out a deal focused on road maintenance and locally funded mass transit. This would be a much smaller road budget. The fact that this coalition never happened is either the result of the dysfunction (and lack of creativity) of the parties involved (including the governor and chamber leadership) or the result of those Republicans being demagogues. Maybe they are more interested in making symbolic (losing) votes, rather than getting closer to their slated objective (less money spent on wasteful government projects). My guess it was a lot of the latter, which is why, sadly, I think Anandakos is right.

        So instead you have a handful of different Republicans, who aren’t so fiscally conservative, negotiate a plan that gets Seattle what it wants (the right to vote on transit) while you get the projects you want (more roads in your area). For a handful of swing district Republicans, this is what they got.

        Now the fiscal conservatives can vote no, and happily go back to the voters explaining how bad the transportation package is (and they have a very good point). Meanwhile, other Republicans can brag about those very same (terrible) projects, being built in their home town. What a mess.

    3. It’s the cart before the horse.

      First get rid of the cap on Property Tax.

      Then start to make Washingtonians fund Washington, instead of bilking my Federal income tax dollars for holes dug under Seattle.

      1. I have to say I agree with John on this. The “begger thy neighbor” competition in which almost all municipalities vis-a-vis their neighbors and citizen resistance will naturally keep property taxes down. The citizens don’t need the State to tell cities that they can’t tax at whatever level they wish.

      2. WA is a net-contributor to federal coffers. If you’re looking for a welfare queen to complain to, look for a redder state.

  4. Left out is right. Seattle Transit Blog really dropped the ball in not doing a post on how to get to the Chambers Bay U.S. Open yesterday. The first time in history a U.S. open has ever been held in the Pacific Northwest.

    And I’ll cut you more slack for failing to mention this story about Central Park banning cars, as I don’t expect you to read the New York Times a much as I do.

    1. Don’t worry, none of us that read this blog can afford to go to the US Open.

      1. RapidRider, then would you say that STB shouldn’t do a post on how to get to a Seahawks playoff game, because of how expensive the tickets are? I’m fascinated by your logic. I’d like to hear more.

      2. You might want to take your sarcasm detector into the shop, because it appears to be broken.

        But considering that public transit doesn’t get closer than 2 miles on an hourly bus, and the only other transport options (that I’m aware of) are to park in two lots 6 and 17 miles and stand in long security lines to board shuttles, I don’t think it’s a STB worthy article, unless it’s an article to shame the US Open and Pierce County for their half assed attempt.

    2. I’ve looked at getting there by transit once back when the walkway to the beach opened.

      As it turns out, the only way to get there by transit requires walking in a traffic lane for several miles.

      So, it is among the many places you don’t want to try to go by transit, and thus not really qualified for a blog entry as far as I am concerned.

      Had BNSF been cajoled into allowing Sounder service it would be a different matter.

  5. Toronto announces 10 minute or better service on 52 transit routes. And that’s not just at peak hours, but all day. The map in the link shows a pretty clear grid pattern to the 10 minute network, so it will be interesting to see how this plan plays out.

    1. Wow, that’s impressive. Also, note that their definition of “all-day” is from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., seven days per week.

      This makes Seattle’s standard for “frequent service” (every 15 minutes, 6am-6pm on weekdays*) look quite pathetic. Yes, Toronto is somewhat denser, but we definitely have a lot of room for improvement! Not surprisingly, Toronto’s transit ridership per capita is more than three times greater than Seattle’s, by some measures, showing that a well-integrated frequent grid can generate very high ridership even in areas that aren’t particularly dense.

      *To be fair, most of Seattle’s frequent lines exceed this standard somewhat, but very few run every 15 minutes until 1am, let alone every 10 minutes…

      1. The Frequent scenario in Metro’s long-term plan is 10-15 minutes for 20 hours a day. It was on the open house posters although it doesn’t seem to be mentioned on the website. I’m going to ask Metro if the posters are online somewhere.

    2. Great on paper but based on my experience living there, I believe the TTC is an insufferable organization.

  6. I was at Kenmore’s meeting on Wednesday, which was a kickoff for citizen action on ST3. The city’s three priorities are:

    1. Get BRT in ST3.
    2. Get more parking for transit.
    3. Get light rail in ST4.

    I’m not the biggest fan of #2.

    I think BRT in ST3 is feasible, especially since two of the 405 BRT alternatives Sound Transit has studied include Kenmore (in a trunk-and-branch model). I would love it if it continued westward past Kenmore and connected to a Central Link station.

    There were a couple of people with the city who expressed a slight us vs. Seattle sentiment, which I’m not really comfortable with since if we want light rail, we are certainly going to need to work with Seattle on that.

    1. How does one get “BRT” in the 522/523 corridor? Yes, you could have a RapidRide, and I’m not sure why Metro doesn’t seem to have one planned; the route has fare more potential riders than the F.

      But “real” BRT? Where do you find room to give the buses the lanes they need? The entire Northshore corridor is seriously “under-roaded” because of geography — it’s less than a mile from the north end of the lake to the SnoHoCo boundary — and topography. Some sort of east-west arterial is badly needed through the center of Lake Forest Park, though I’m sure it will never be built.

      Maybe the folks there would be OK with a busway to the 185th station, since it wouldn’t be a constant source of noise.

      1. There are plenty of bus lanes already. I don’t have a map that shows them all, but I think expanding them would not be a problem. I think in general the problem is the intersections. There can be some really long light cycles. The best solution would be overpasses or underpasses. These aren’t cheap, but a lot cheaper than running light rail the entire way (where you would have to do that anyway). But even cheaper solutions could be made. In Seattle (between 145th and 125th) there is room for more bus lanes, and it being Seattle, could happen without a lot of fuss. Signal priority is a possibility, especially since the bus is heading the main direction of traffic flow (forcing folks turning left to wait a few more seconds is hardly a burden). Its not clear how much difference off board payment and level boarding would make, but I think it would be significant. When the bus is running in the bus lanes, they are running pretty fast. Each stop is generally pretty big, so the time spent at each stop is probably a significant amount of time (like the 41, which doesn’t have many stops, but each one is a doozy).

        As I said below, the best line, in my estimation, extends through Lake City and goes up 125th all the way to Greenwood. That not only connects it to Link, but to a couple of very big corridors (Aurora and Greenwood) as well as decent destinations along the way (Ingraham High School, Bitter Lake and Greenwood apartments).

        I doubt it would ever be as free flowing as say, Link in Rainier Valley. The intersection Lake City and 125th is problematic. But that is not really as huge a problem as say, the traffic around Northgate (even though more people live in Lake City). Overall, BRT along there could work quite well without huge amounts of money. If they did spend serious money, it could be really good.

      2. Ross,

        OK, you’re right. There’s a long “BART” [bus and right turns] lane all the way southbound from Ballinger Way to 145th. I’m not sure what the compliance rate might be, but at least it’s there. That’s great, though there’s nothing comparable northbound. I guess the traffic engineers figure that the arterials leading to 145th and LC Way “meter” the traffic sufficiently that they don’t need one.

        North of Ballinger to Kenmore they’re on both sides. So, the lanes ARE there. So reasonable BRT can be created, which brings back the question, why hasn’t Metro done so?

      3. Yes, for the most part Kenmore and Lake Forest Park can have real BRT created without too much trouble. There are a few sections in LFP where there is no northbound bus lane, but there’s probably room to create it. There’s also bus lanes on 522 north of 125th, but there are occasional enforcement issues: People sometimes decide to park in the bus lanes, and they’re only bus lanes during peak hours, I believe.

        You cannot reasonably create bus lanes around Lake City Way & 125th, nor is it a trivial matter to create bus lanes up 125th or 145th. So that’s where BRT would be complicated.

      4. I agree, Mark, that is my understanding as well. As you said, Lake City Way & 125th is a problematic area. That being said, if bus lanes come within a block or two of there, then a bus should be able to make it through within a light cycle. Not ideal, but not horrible, either.

        125th or 145h are both very limited, but 125th simply has a lot less traffic. Part of the reason is the design of the freeway (only south bound ramps) but a lot of it has to do with the overall geography. If you are in Bothell or Kenmore and headed to I-5, you will take 145th. Alternatives, like going down to 125th and then over to 130th are worse because Lake City Way is heavy (and it is a lot farther). So it becomes the funnel point for all those cars.

        From Lake City Way and 125th, you can continue south or cut over on 125th. On Lake City Way, this is often where traffic gets lighter, so drivers will often just continue south (on Lake City Way) and get onto the freeway there. I believe that is what most express buses do now (make no stops after 125th, but get on the freeway at Lake City Way).

        When Link goes in, there will be big parking lots at both Northgate and 145th. This will increase the traffic around both Link stations. Meanwhile, 130th will not have a big park and ride lot, so the increase in traffic there will be substantially less.

        In general, traffic moves fairly well, but it would move better if they eliminated left turns (as they do on streets like Denny). This would speed up things quite a bit. At a minimum they could eliminate left turns during rush hour.

        The most radical (and fairly cheap) change would be to close the ramps at NE 130th once Link adds a station there. I don’t know if the city (or any city) has ever done that, but it would be better for everyone in the long run. If you do that, then that corridor goes over the freeway, but doesn’t connect to it. This would reduce traffic by a huge amount. I live close to there and use those ramps on occasion, and wouldn’t miss them, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who would.

        But even without radical changes it would be pretty good. 125th/130th moves fairly well, even at rush hour. I would guess that it is the fastest road for east-west travel between 155th and the ship canal.

    2. When you said BRT to Kenmore, I assumed you meant 522. That would make a lot of sense. But then I realized you meant 405, and remembered that Sound Transit is all about distance. So even with a suburb like Kenmore, the focus is not on the nearby corridor that connects it to a very populous area (and Link) but connecting Kenmore to places like Lynnwood or Totem Lake.

      All snark aside, BRT for 522 makes a lot of sense. I think the best line would go all the way from Bothell to Greenwood. From a service standpoint, this is probably cheaper than what the buses do now (slog in freeway and downtown traffic). A lot of the work for this corridor is already done. There are plenty of bus lanes, but they need to be expanded. Intersections are a problem, and might require some real money to solve (underpasses, etc.). That is a lot cheaper than light rail, though and just as effective (the volumes just aren’t there yet for trains). It also means the routes can be a little more “open” (e. g. Juanita to Kenmore and then south on 522). Even without the big investment in underpasses, you could still do a lot for the area. In Lake City (between 145th and 125th) you need more lanes, and this shouldn’t be hard to do on most of it. Signal priority would also not be that expensive (and make a big difference).

      Unfortunately, I don’t think Sound Transit is even studying it, even though it is pretty obvious. The best you can hope for in the short term is for cities (like Seattle) to make necessary improvements while Sound Transit adds express buses. Metro could also chip in and add a RapidRide along there. But none of that means that much unless street improvements (big or small) are made.

      1. AFAICT his comment seemed to indicate a branch of 405 BRT going all the way to a Link station (probably 145th, among the stations we’re sure to build). So that’s Bellevue-405-Bothell-Kenmore-145th-Link. I’m not going to go too deep on this, but…

        – The big destinations are Bellevue via 405 and, yes, Seattle via Link.
        – As there are a few other obvious branch candidates, and limited off-peak demand (see 532, 535), frequency will be limited!
        – Perhaps some overlap with a Bothell-Kenmore-Lake City-Link-Greenwood route provides better frequency to Link.

      2. 130th is currently a four lane road between Aurora and I-5 so the traffic does move fairly good even at rush hour. However I saw that the Bicycle Master Plan Implementation for 2016 shows that protected bike lanes would be added between Aurora and I-5 on 130th, so unless a bus had its own lanes it would get bogged down in traffic. The only way I see how to put in the bike lanes would be to give that stretch of road a diet just like was done on 125th between Roosevelt and Lake City Way, however I could be wrong and there is a way I am not seeing. Reducing the lanes on 125th has not caused any issues, but it is alot busier between Aurora and I-5. I agree that if the I-5 on-ramps would be removed then the traffic would be alot less, but as you said that would probably not happen.

  7. FedEx Tests Fuel Cargo Trucks at US Airport

    Hydrogen fuel cell-powered ground support equipment debuted at the Memphis International Airport this spring, marking the beginning of a two-year demonstration project at Federal Express’s airport hub location.

    The 15-vehicle fleet is expected to save more than 175,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 1,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the US Department of Energy.

      1. I’m doing some minor league speculating in fuel cell companies and out on the edge energy companies (but nickles and dimes stuff).

        This is a very new industry. (Well, old in terms of the ramp up but new to profit making product sales). So, it’s like trying to figure out which PC manufacturer was going to survive and thrive ad the beginning of the early 1980s…or which web company would survive the 2000 tech bust.

        As far as the distribution, that seems like it will be the traditional oil companies which are becoming gas companies. So not much to say there in terms of stratospheric growth.
        Water? Someone told me to buy water stocks back in 2007. And he’s been right about quite a few stocks. I guess I should listen to him more..

  8. I have an honest question. There’s a trend with younger people with not wanting to own a car as much as youth in generations past. But if a young male doesn’t own car, how is he supposed to meet a woman? Back in my day, the way you would get a female’s attention is to roll down the windows, crank up the music, then burn rubber in front of her. Women were impressed by that. But without a car to lay rubber with, how are the young males of today supposed to impress women?

      1. Assure her that a 2-hour long 2 transfer bus ride will not get in the way of a date, because she is worth it.

    1. They skillfully use their smart phones. As in, “Did you see that cute guy with the iPhone — he has some mad texting skillz”. (I’m pretty sure this is how young people talk)

      1. My impression is that they just string together emoticons… I’ll know more in a couple years when my kids enter the age group we’re talking about.

    2. I’ve never owned a car. My now-wife gave me rides home back in high school. Now we’re a proud no-car couple in Seattle. :)

  9. An observation about route 47:

    The map makes route 47 look really super short. Although Metro’s map exaggerates the shortness a bit, it still is only 1.5 miles long, which seems really short for a standalone route. I see the logic in deleting it like they did, but I’m not sure I see the logic in keeping it exactly as it is. It’s not even seeing any changes in Metro’s “Alternative 3,” although most of the routes around it are being changed. Wouldn’t it make more sense to with (a) combine service with another route (exactly which route is a difficult question to answer) or (b) extend the route east and make a connection between Summit and 23rd Ave?

    An interesting thing is that this route operates every 35 minutes off-peak, and (on average) every 18 minutes peak. This is a very unusual frequency for a route. I’m guessing it’s like this because one running bus can run the route every 35 minutes reliably. So if it were to be extended to 23rd Ave via Aloha St, it would probably be able to run every hour with one bus. I think that setup would make more sense than how it works now. It would be a good compromise between frequency and service capacity.

    1. It never made sense to me to cut the northern mile off of the 14 and make the 47. Now, for us folks living in the I-5 Shores, heading to Downtown, it’s a duplicate of the 43, except for my neighbors who are unable to walk to Olive Way.

      I miss the days when I could ride a bus from my neighborhood into Downtown – without a transfer at Westlake.

    2. When they broke off the 47 from the 14 a few years ago, I felt like the handwriting was on the wall for the route. I was surprised it came back. It was more useful when it was the 14, as you could access all of downtown, the ID and the train station without a transfer. (I know, I know, grid… but there is a time and comfort penalty to transfer, even when it’s a quick one.)

      1. Oh, there was a 14. That makes a little sense. Was the 14 a casualty of the Sept 2012 shakeup?

      2. Oh, never mind, I see it. Route 14 was split so it could be through-routed with route 1. Personally, I think it makes more sense to have route 1 as a stand-alone route than the 47, but I guess the planners at Metro didn’t.

      3. I’ve heard Metro is trying to minimize the number of buses turning onto or off of Third Avenue, a cause I can wholly support.

      4. The 14 was split because Metro wanted to eliminate turns on 3rd between Stewart and Yesler to avoid slowdowns. I think that was the September 2012 RapidRide restructure. Metro broke the 11/125 through-route at the same time, and of course the 7/49 split happened earlier although they’re rejoined evenings and Sundays. Since then Metro has pulled back on some of it’s proposals so I don’t know how committed it still is to eliminating turns, but someday the 3/4 are supposed to move to Yesler, and Metro has tried several times to reorganize the 2 but so far there has been too much neighborhood opposition.

        So the 47 was left all on its lonesome, and it went through various iterations of 30-minute service, losing evenings, and 45-minute service. It finally disappeared in the first wave of cuts last September. As you may remember, there were going to be three more waves of cuts but they were canceled due to the recovering economy, and then Prop 1 significantly boosted service. The 47 received about the most clamor for restoration of any route because the non-hardy can’t walk up the steep hill to the 49, and the north end of the route is several blocks away from the 43. It got 35-minute service to keep the cost down to one bus, because it’s slightly too long to cover in 30 minutes including driver breaks.

        Historically the street grid was complete all the way to Queen Anne, so it had a good walkshed on both sides. I-5 obliterated that in the early 1960s, and the Summit route has been struggling ever since.

        I thought earlier about making a Summit-John-15th (or 19th) route to connect it to Capitol Hill Station rather than downtown. But it’s hard to counter downtown-centrism, especially on a route so close to downtown. Routing it on Aloha would require new trolley wire, which Metro can’t afford right now. It might also require getting the city’s permission to put buses on Aloha Street, and determining if the street is suitable for buses. Some of the current route segments are grandfathered in and wouldn’t be allowed now because the streets are too small.

      5. Ironically, the 1962 World’s Fair was about the transportation of tomorrow. The Museum of History and Industry has an exhibit on it, with a movie clip of the then-mayor and city council saying that I-5 and 520 (which were not built yet but would open a few years later) would be the greatest thing for this city’s future. Some of us may question that.

  10. Pope To Cities: You Stink!

    44. Nowadays, for example, we are conscious of the disproportionate and unruly growth of many cities, which have become unhealthy to live in, not only because of pollution caused by toxic emissions but also as a result of urban chaos, poor transportation, and visual pollution and noise.

    Many cities are huge, inefficient structures, excessively wasteful of energy and water.

    Neighbourhoods, even those recently built, are congested, chaotic and lacking in sufficient green space.

    We were not meant to be inundated by cement, asphalt, glass and metal, and deprived of physical contact with nature.

    1. I think Pope Francis’ legacy will be to change the debate on global warming, leading to hopefully a sustainable planet. Up to now, it’s been my science against yours, and lefty v. righty, and business v. everyone else.
      I thought the picture of Earth taken from the Moon would put things in perspective, but that lasted only as long as $1.00 gallon gas did.
      Perhaps making this a moral debate can be the game changer. One can hope, as our lifeboat is taking on water.

      1. The ones who make great edicts they never want to get down to specifics for fear of taking a side and offending someone — especially a voting bloc or billionaire donor.

        And taking a side and driving it home is the only way to go if you’re fighting a war.

        I’ve picked my sides (which by now many of you know ad nauseam so I won’t repeat here).

        I fight my battles.

        I leave waffling strategies and grand pronouncements to the Armchair Generals of ecology.

  11. So the Seattle Bike Blog and CHS are both telling SDOT what they should have done or what they should do with regards to engineering and they have no qualifications and they are coming in after the projects are design complete?

    I’m just saying, this is most likely why transit agencies ignore arm chair generals like the people on this blog. You can’t just come in and complain after the decisions have been made. Even worse is the fact that CHS is trying to tell the city specifics on the height of traffic lights and placement. Something that actually has national and local standards. How do I know? I actually talk to real engineers who work on these projects and I don’t spend my time second guessing them in blogs all day with useless proposals that were probably never included because of time (ya being late isn’t going to change that) or because they were just not workable for reasons that an arm-chair general would not be aware of.

    1. I don’t know about CHS the height of traffic lights, but when it comes to cycling facilities literally any person that rides a bike for transportation regularly knows that SDOT/WSDOT designers and the standards bodies that influence their designs make serious mistakes routinely. When Tom of SBB draws up an MS Paint sketch of 14th/Jackson, this is obviously not an engineering diagram! But as far as he’s questioning the situation at 14th/Jackson, that needs to be taken seriously.

      SDOT kept sharrows in the left lane of the 2nd Ave Extension for a long time after streetcar tracks were installed on Jackson. SDOT apparently didn’t know it was a problem until normal people complained. Portland’s transportation department actually striped a bike lane for straight-through traffic between two right-turn lanes (IIRC on Broadway near the freeway), based on some state design standard saying they couldn’t put it farther than one lane from the curb. They followed the standard to build something completely nonsensical and didn’t fix it until normal people told them it didn’t work. The evidence doesn’t support the notion that if we shut up and trust experts and standards we’ll get something worthwhile.

      Clearly a non-expert shouldn’t go and design every bike lane in Seattle by drawing in MS Paint. Some of the engineering standards and practices amount to useful rules of thumb based on experience, and in many cases an amateur-designed facility would fail in predictable ways that standards-adherence would have avoided. At the same time, there are lots of dumb mistakes in the stuff that gets built, and these mistakes are mostly uncovered by experience. That experience comes from perspectives as different as Tom Fucoloro and Jan Heine, who are likely to prescribe very different fixes… but there can be little doubt that more practical cycling experience lies behind their assessments of a lot of so-called bike infrastructure than went into its design. If we aren’t going to insist that designers get the experience to do better, then we’d better be ready to listed to the peanut gallery.

    2. Relevant to Seattle transit specifically, both the 8 and 48 were instituted by popular demand, against significant skepticism from Metro planning. They’ve become popular and important routes despite being famously unreliable (not that the downtown-centric routes you’d have to take instead are any better). Not every popular demand taken to heart in Seattle transit planning has gone so well, not by a long shot, but the people advocating for those routes kept pushing against official skepticism and made our system better by doing it.

    3. They listen to us. Many transit agency staff and politicians read STB. Dow said he reads it every morning and often rushes to his staff saying, “This! We should do this. Why can’t we do this?” They generally say STB’s articles and comments have some of the most well-reasoned arguments around. But that doesn’t mean they always do what we want, because there are other political factors, differences of opinion, status-quo/NIMBY activists, etc. I don’t know about the Seattle Bike Blog or CHS since I don’t read them much. But generally, ideas with calm reasoning get noticed, while statements like “[agency] is the most incompetent group in the world!! Everybody knows that doing X is obviously stupid!!” get ignored.

  12. Who are the biggest land owners in Washington State?

    I “Asked a Librarian” at KCLS and they told me this:

    The 2014 Land Report: America’s Largest Landowners

    2014 Land Report The Reed Family

    Puget Sound Business Journal’s Reed family No. 9 on list of largest US landowners

    Although the following report does not cover the privately owned land, the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office’s State Wide Profiles breaks down the following for ownership of Public & Tribal Uplands:

    10 Largest Landowners acres

    USDA Forest Service ……………………………………………………. 9,104,373

    WA Dept. of Natural Resources ………………………………. 2,975,136

    National Park Service ……………………………………………………. 1,831,283

    Yakama Nation ………………………………………………………………… 1,152,539

    Colville Confederated Tribes ………………………………………. 1,119,269

    US Bureau of Reclamation ……………………………………………..468,808

    WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife ……………………………………………461,036

    US Dept. of the Army ……………………………………………………….404,313

    USDOI Bureau of Land Mgmt ………………………………………. 392,583

    US Richland Operations (Hanford) …………………………….. 362,696

    For further breakdown by each county, please see the report here:

    Lastly the NPR article titled “Group Makes Largest Private Land Purchase in Washington History” covers the Nature Conservancy 2014 purchase of nearly 48,000 acres of land from timber company Plum Creek, making it the largest private land purchase in Washington State history. Please see the following link for this article:

    1. The Reed Family alone own 770,000 acres

      That’s 33,541,200,000 sq. feet.

      If say it were used for houses, each with a 2000 sq ft lot, that would be 16,770,600 lots — a staggering 16 million homes…or 2 for each current resident of Washington

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