• Better enforcement coming to regional Park & Rides, with KIRO highlighting a recent crackdown. (KIRO)
  • More First Hill Streetcar delays: SDOT and Inekon are another 30 days behind their most recent goal of having all cars certified by the end of June. (KING 5)
  • Mercer Island’s development moratorium has been extended another six months. Meanwhile, the Stakeholders Group was tasked with writing a news article from 2035 describing Mercer Island, and the submissions are fascinating. (MI Reporter)
  • Ready for the 90° heat this weekend? Take heart that this is the last summer in which you’ll have to suffer through the  stagnant swelter of Metro’s current trolley fleet. (KIRO)
  • The Mayor announced a new Office of Planning and Community Development, tasked with coordinating and directing growth. Both neighborhood groups and urbanists are cautiously optimistic, which really just means it’s an unknown quantity. (The Urbanist)
  • Dueling ST3 editorials from the usual suspects, local electeds on the Pro side and Niles and co. on the other. (Seattle Times, $)
  • Gag order: in a sign that things are about to get mighty litigious, the state pulls the plug on Bertha’s Expert Review Panel, because “hav[ing] an ongoing three people out making opinions which are public …could hurt taxpayers.” (Seattle Times, $)
  • In a recent PSRC survey, only 1 out of 5 solo drivers said that they could be persuaded to stop driving. (Seattle Times, $)

This is an open thread.

89 Replies to “News Roundup: Cracking Down”

  1. For the parking problem, why not mandate ORCA use for people who park.

    Change ORCA database so riders add their drivers license(s) to their record.

    When they check rider, their car checks in too!

    Transit Police can then use handhelds to scan licenses and validate parkers are transit riders.

    1. WMATA in Washington D.C. actually charges for weekday parking at their rail stations. And, the only way to pay for it is with a SmarTrip card (their equivalent of Orca). The way it works, you can enter the lot for free, but if your card doesn’t have enough money on it to cover the $5 parking fee, you must add money to it at the station before you can exit.

      Of course, WMATA is not exactly helping to ration parking by also charging money for bus transfers. On weekends, when their giant parking garages are virtually unlimited, the schedules for the connecting buses are greatly cut back (to either once an hour or nothing, depending on the route). And they still make you pay for a bus transfer, even when parking is free.

    2. I just watched the “cracking down” video. The only thing missing from it was any actual cracking down. Show a warning ticket being placed under a windshield wiper or a car being towed or something. Reiterating what the parking rules are isn’t cracking down.

      1. What would you expect from KIRO 7, obviously they are going to exaggerate it into an attack on motorists?

    3. Because those of us who use transit 4 times per year and pay cash wouldn’t be able to use transit at all, and would instead be forced to drive 35 miles in heavy traffic, sit through heavy traffic at stoplights downtown, and pay $30 for parking at our venue when the logical solution is to pay $6 and use the transit system and parking garage that I am subsidizing. That’s why we can’t use Orca cards as an exclusive admission source at the park & rides.

      And why don’t I regularly use transit??? Because a transit route does not go to my place of employment. Pretty simple, huh? Yet, I continue to subsidize your routes and vote for pro-transit ballot measures and candidates because I know in the long run, that is what is best for our region, and someday I might have a job with transit access.

      1. Glad you support transit. I hope your employer either gets connected to transit or moves to a place that is so you can have a more stress-free commute in the future.

      2. You can buy an ORCA card online and it will be mailed to your home.

        Also, if ORCA was required to use P&Rs, just install ORCA vending machines at Park and Rides.

      3. You can also look into king county metro’s vanpool program. It has over 1000 vanpools and a lot of them go to non-downtown locations with subpar transit. If there’s no vanpool for your route or hours, maybe create one yourself if you can find 4 other riders.

      4. I echo Engineer’s sentiments regarding parking and the lack of availability of parking for those infrequent users (many of whom pay into RTID). While living close to work is attainable for some, the cost of housing in many locales is increasingly unaffordable. For example, my rent is going up $200/month, and soon, I may be one of those commuting 30 miles each way for a reasonable rent.

      5. If you use transit 4 times a year, you still have to go to the ticket machine and buy a pass.

        When you buy the pass, it will ask one more question:

        Did you park in the lot..if so, what is your license number.

        Then it goes into the same database as with ORCA.

    1. I’m just not a huge fan of MAX, and I think the ridership numbers bear out that it’s not nearly as effective as it should be (currently under 120K daily ridership with 4 lines, and they project at most 140K with 5 line once Orange opens). No grade separation Downtown (or anywhere) is a major reliability and frequency issue. Coverage is generally poor within the City of Portland with many key inner neighborhoods missed, bad station placement and design, and a clear orientation around serving commuters from the suburbs. This line seems to continue in that tradition.

      1. It would be great to have something better in inner northwest and inner southeast. Sadly, we have the same basic problem as SoundTransit. The local planning group insists that Urban Centers must be served by transit. Never mind that at one time SE Hawthorne filled a bus every 15 minutes until 10 at night: Milwaukie is an “urban center” because it has been declared as such, even though TriMet is hard pressed to fill the buses that go there, and virtually all riders that go or come from there are transfers from other routes.

        The line will at least tie together a few of the southeast bus routes that are decently popular. The 17 and 19 will become a bit better connected to a few places.

      2. I always though the Hawthorne district is where MAX should have gone through; it’s a mixed-use pedestrian area like University Way although not as dense. But MAX is a mile further north with single-family blocks in between, and even from Stark or Burnside it’s easier to take an east-west bus downtown than to walk to MAX. It’s good for people in Gresham, but not so good for people in east Portland except the few who live right around to the stations. There is increased multifamily housing around 82nd and either Hollywood or 60th where I’ve stayed sometimes, but not enough for everybody who wants to live in east Portland near MAX, and the station areas are not complete villages if you want that too.

      3. I think we all know why MAX follows I-84: it was the first line and nobody wanted to spend more than $0.25 on it. By placing it along the freeway when it was going to have some ramp work it saved quite a bit. Following Hawthorne would have required a subway which was never going to happen for a first line, just as it didn’t in Seattle.

      4. That’s the UP main line. It’s still there.

        They were widening I-84 to three lanes each direction from two lanes each direction, so it was a major reconstruction of the entire freeway. Adding a little bit more for MAX wasn’t too big a problem.

        I don’t have a problem with Gresham being a priority in the 1970s and 1980s, as they needed better service of some sort.

        The problem I have is with the declaration of certain areas being “urban centers” when there are far better places to go. Fine, Milwaukie increased their zoning and a three story apartment complex got built on the site of an abandoned Safeway store. It houses maybe 150 people. That doesn’t make Milwaukie an “urban center” worthy of a billion dollar light rail line. This is a place that makes Everett look like Manhattan.

  2. With respect to P&R enforcement:

    1) Eastgate is particularly absurd. Technically, a student headed to Bellevue college could park there if they are willing to wait for a bus to ride 1 stop, but not if they just walk to class directly from their car. I don’t know what the legal status of the car is if the student rides the bus one direction and walks the other. I guess walking back to the car in the afternoon is ok, as long as you ride some bus in the morning.

    2) I do hope Sound Transit can restrain their P&R enforcement to weekdays only. Lots of hiking and skiing groups use P&R lots to carpool to trailheads on weekends, and they would be significantly impacted if Sound Transit suddenly started cracking down. It would be bad for everyone (both drivers and non-drivers) if such groups started abandoning carpooling altogether due to overzealous enforcement. Often, trailhead parking is way too limited to handle every single person driving out there in a separate car.

    3) Presumably, when Roosevelt Station opens in 2021, some people are going to drive to Green Lake P&R, walk 3 blocks, and hop on the train, as all the street parking closer to the station than this would probably be either time-limited or a residential parking permit zone. Since such users would technically be leaving the P&R on foot, is it legal? Somehow, I can’t envision enforcers following drivers all 3 blocks between the lot and the station to make sure they are getting on the train.

    4) What about Northgate P&R if you want to first visit the mall, then hop on a bus to go downtown? I guess you would legally be expected to move your car between the mall visit and the downtown visit. In practice, I would expect most users to just park once at the P&R and walk to the mall from there.

    5) It would be nice if an option existed to use a P&R lot to ride public transportation to the airport, at least for weekend trips where parking tends to be under-utilized. Even if not quite free, it might get some takers if the price were cheap enough. For instance, $5 for overnight parking, either Friday-Sunday or Saturday-Monday, payable online (and specifically excluding the lot at TIBS due to crowding), it may get some takers.

    1. I wish more trail heads were transit accessible so we didn’t to abuse park and rides to make hiking more fuel/parking space efficient.

      1. @Charles B.
        I don’t see why you feel you are (ab)using park and rides by leaving your car there on weekends to carpool to the trailheads. It seems like a very efficient use of a parking resource.

      2. The P&Rs are empty weekends; why not make the space useful for hiikers, and cut down on the vehicle-miles traveled to the trailheads. If every one or two people in the group is coming from different directions, they’ll all have separate cars, and it’s better for those cars to be in an otherwise-empty P&R than to build parking for them at every trailhead.

    2. On the Northgate issue, I know there are more than a few people who park their cars, get a coffee in the mall and then hop the bus on the weekends. This is because the coffee stand at the transit station (amazing we even have one) is frequently closed at times when the mall itself is still open.

    3. “Sound Transit lots not at capacity do allow carpoolers to use some spots,” the article says, so I think the weekend hiking groups are safe (fortunately).

      And I think Green Lake P&R is run by Metro, so policies there would be different.

    4. This enforcement is Sound Transit, not KC Metro, Community Transit, Pierce Transit, Everett Transit, or WSDOT (who also own and operate P&R lots in the region).

      There should be some effort to coordinate similar policies between agencies even if the operating agency doesn’t wish to fund extra enforcement. The policies on vanpool and carpool use are likely to be the biggest sticking points. In particular I doubt WSDOT will want to discourage vanpool or carpool use at its lots.

      That said those using the TIBS lot (or any other P&R lot) for airport parking should be fine as long as they take transit to the airport and don’t exceed ST or agency time limits.

      Northgate will be a mess to enforce as 3 different agencies will manage the P&R lots. WSDOT, KC Metro, and Sound Transit all operate (or will) lots near Northgate Station. Two of the Metro lots (the Northgate garage and the Thompson Place garage) have special agreements with the property owner allowing joint use. In the latter case you can’t really ticket someone parking then shopping as the joint use agreement allows for that.

      1. By the northgate lots, I don’t believe anyone is referring to JCPenny’s lot which allows carpoolers to park, I think we are just talking about the metro lots west of the Thornton Plaza.

        This is clearly just a park and ride lot and belongs to metro. After the station opens in 2021 though metro will sell these lots for redevelopment, so it may not matter that much.

        I believe the replacement garage (the underground one) will be a Sound Transit lot so they will probably be in charge of enforcement.

  3. It will also be interesting to see the UW’s reaction in a year when they discover that their Husky Stadium lot is filling up on Sundays (when parking is free) whenever the Seahawks are playing. Charging for just that lot would push the football fans to other lots on campus, such as the triangle parking garage. And charging for all lots would likely generate significant push-back from students, who are used to free parking on Sundays since forever.

    1. Maybe they should require students to put stickers on their windshields that prove they are a student. The lot near the station would be ideal for additional revenue for stadium parking… all other spots should prohibit parking for downtown sports games.

    2. I’d expect that the UW will start charging in lot E12 (the lot immediately adjacent to the station/south of the Stadium) if they feel there is a demand (and, frankly, ST should charge at their station P&Rs as well). Those lots are barely used on non-game day weekends. The Triangle Garage may be charged as well, likely with a validation of some sorts for hospital visitors. I don’t think they will care if the huge lot (E1) to the north of Hec Ed gets any traffic, and several of the smaller lots nearby on campus are permit only all days. They may expand that. They are likely not worried about substantial Seahawks traffic from as far away as Padelford garage–students will have that lot, E1 and the other lots they have always used still available to them on Sundays (plus free on-street parking in the U District, of course).

      1. The Triangle Garage already charges by the hour 24 hours a day. A visitor to the hospital can get a “get out of jail free” pass.

  4. For the existing SOV drivers, its not a surprise that most of them don’t want to give up driving. Some of them probably can’t due to where they currently live.

    The real task here is to prevent converting even more of our new neighbors who come from transit rich communities into SOV drivers because they feel have no other choice.

  5. 1 out of 5 solo drivers could be persuaded to stop driving solo. I am one of those. Get transit routes from the Tacoma Dome out into the Tacoma neighborhoods (6th Ave, Proctor, Old Town, Stadium, etc) that COORDINATE timing with the southbound Sounder arrival, and I’d be on the train at least 1 to 2 days per week. (I carpool the other 3 to 4 days per week.) Pretty simple. Pierce County voters have no vision of what transit should be, though.

    1. Rather than coordinating the Sounder runs, I believe they are just going to add more of them.

    2. No matter what anyone says about Island Transit, the fact that they are (or at least were) able to have true best of industry practice European style timed transfers shows that someone there is paying attention. You get on route 1, you arrive at the ferry, and three minutes later you are pushing off from the ferry terminal.

      It’s a half a freaking hour wait between ST 594 and PT 13. For Sounder it is in the 20 minute range.

      1. I agree, the lack of timing coordination between agencies is ridiculous. I can’t ride the Sounder because the last evening bus to my neighborhood leaves five minutes *before* the train arrives.

      2. In many ways, apathy towards transit connections and ample parking at the station go hand in hand. As long as most people are able to drive and park, nobody in charge seems to care how functional the bus is – not enough enough to synchronize the schedules.

      3. Or maybe our buses in the local region can’t maintain a schedule well enough to make a timed transfer work? Because in order to make a timed transfer work you need to have schedule reliability on both sides of the transfer point, and schedule reliability does not seem to be a core competency of our local bus systems.

      4. “apathy towards transit connections and ample parking at the station go hand in hand.”

        And where people choose to live. Pierce Transit is so anemic because Pierce County is so tax-adverse. Tacoma and Lakewood are the most open to transit but they’re outvoted. A lot of those people wouldn’t take transit even if it were comprehensive because driving is why America is better than Europe, and the bus is for the poor or when your car is in the repair shop. If they did want to take transit or thought that someday they might want to, they would have lived somewhere else.

      5. By the way, Jarrett Walker has an interesting stat. Only 2-10% of people take transit, but the majority of households have at least one member who takes transit, either to work or school or because they’re elderly or injured or below driving age. The rhetoric focuses on how many individuals take transit regularly, but what if it focused on how many households benefit from transit.

      6. Pierce Transit is so anemic because Pierce County is so tax-adverse.

        Which is all the more reason to make those connections that do happen work well.

        You can get from downtown Seattle to Port Townsend by transit in about 2 1/2 hours or so, thanks to well planned connections at several locations. It may be very anemic due to a lack of population and thus tax base, but at least those times it does happen it happens very well.

      7. By the way, for those that do risk the annoyances of the PT 13 to Seattle connection, there is a little seafood grocery store down on the waterfront in Old Tacoma that has really good chowder. It’s the first thing to the northwest of the Chinese Reconciliation Park.

        I actually walked from downtown Tacoma to Old Tacoma one night using this really awful narrow sidewalk along Ruston Way. Horrible because of the speed of the traffic on the road, but it is at least possible to do if you are desperate and cheap.

    3. We do in Tacoma/Lakewood/downtown Puyallup? In the exurban parts of the county? Hah, good luck with that.

    4. Pierce County’s Transit systems suffer from a few problems in general. The biggest one is lack of overall frequency and span of service. You can have the best connections in the world, but when the bus runs hourly and the last one is at 6:05 it does not do you much good. The route network, while actually being very through in design, does have a lot of legacy pre Sound Transit features. The biggest, is the legacy timed transfer design. This features a matrix of Transit centers, at popular local destinations that are roughly 25 minutes apart from each other (well at least when they were designed). There is a little bit of cross pollination, however largely the agencies each serve their own facilities with little effort to reduce duplication. This leads me into issue #3, everyone has their own facility. You have some cross-pollination, but largely, Sound Transit serves Sound Transit facilities, Pierce Transit serves Pierce Transit Facilities, Metro serves Metro facilities. Same goes for Park and Ride lots. For example, At last count Metro had over 1300 unused P&R spaces in federal way alone (Q4 2014 P&R utilization report), While Federal Way TC was at 98% utilization. Is it a difficult maneuver to have some ST routes serve the KCM facilities to increase ridership, system usability, and retain the value of the community investment in these facilities? Personally, the few extra minutes added to a trip to serve one or more of these facilities within reason isn’t bad. Kent is a similar situation, the former Kent P&R (Kent/James St) has according to the report 516 open spaces (28% occupancy), while Kent Station, and its overflow lot are at 97 & 105% capacity. Granted it takes some service hours to run a shuttle and divert buses to also serve this facility, but there is an opportunity here to make good use of this facility with a shuttle to Kent Station for Sounder, and more opportunity for riders on the 566 & 567 to be able to park and use the service. Finally, I also believe a modest charge should be paid by riders to use the P&R facilities. This is especially true for P&Rs with garages. You should be able to pay with cash, credit card, or orca epurse, with a gate system enabled to help keep the facilities more secure (less ability for people to drive through and prowl).

  6. I took the 7:35 bus 15X from Ballard to downtown this morning. The 7:20 bus is an extended bus (with the accordian middle) but the 7:35 was a shorter bus, and was standing room only/packed. When I asked the driver if this is a common occurrence, he said yes. When I asked if Metro would get the bigger bus for the 7:35 route, he stated it would take a couple of months, at least.

    Just out of curiosity, how does Metro track overcrowded “smaller” buses and decide to switch buses. I.e, how many months of ridership data is needed, citizens screaming to their rep, etc.?

    1. Multiple sources from driver reports, supervisor observations, customer reports, and APC (passenger counts) data downloaded off selected buses that are assigned to routes on rotational basis.
      Schedulers note the overloads, talk to drivers, find available buses and hours, and poof – problem solved within months to years.

      1. I can’t tell if your last sentence is sarcastic or not. Months to years seems way too long a timeframe for a transit agency. It seems like there should be some sort of automatic report whenever a bus has to pass up passengers because the bus is full. If you get multiple reports for a route within a couple of weeks then that route gets on a shortlist to be upgraded from a single bus to an accordion bus. And if that bus is all accordions, it gets put on a shortlist to have trips added at the next service change. Perhaps a lower priority tier of reporting for when the bus is nearly full.

        Wouldn’t that solve problems within a few weeks, and maybe 1-2 months if it has to wait for the next service change. What am I missing?

      2. Money! If funds are short, nothing gets done.
        Cronic overloads are well documented after the recession, but nothing could be done to solve them.
        So, no sarcasm this time.

      3. Metro would put a 60-foot articulated bus on your run if it could, but it simply lacks the equipment to do so. During peak Metro is putting out basically every bus it possibly can. Current coach availability is complicated by several things:

        1. Due to the Seattle Prop 1 funding, Metro has been pulling buses out of retirement and delaying the retirement of buses to have enough to go around. This is part of the reason for the phased approach to adding service (lack of buses).
        2. The trolley fleet is increasingly unreliable due to its age, requiring the use of more and more diesel/hybrid buses to maintain service. This should start to resolve itself soon as the new trolleys enter service, but it will take until early next year for all the new trolleys to enter service.
        3. Lead time to purchase new buses is roughly 12-18 months, minimum. These aren’t vehicles you just buy off a lot. While the basic bus is pretty standard, many things are options, including number of doors, number and style of seats, fare collection equipment, headsigns, drivetrain, etc. Buses are also expensive; a new hybrid artic configured to King County Metro specifications costs almost $1 million.

        Sarcasm aside, months to years is a pretty fair estimate of how long it might take to resolve an overcrowding issue.

      4. Ah, I guess I had the idea that for every single bus that was crammed full, there was an accordion bus that wasn’t being used to its full potential. But if bus availability is the limiting factor, then I suppose it will take a while to resolve the overcrowding.

      5. I used to think that all those peak expresses were virtually empty wastes of money, but then I rode the 218 one afternoon to the Issaquah Highlands P&R for a transit hike and it was packed full. I looked more closely and saw that almost every peak express is packed full, including ones like the 74 and 76 (How many people live on low-density 55th and 65th Streets anyway? Enough to fill several peak buses somehow. Dunno why all those people vanish off-peak and weekends.)

      6. Mike, they “disappear” into their cars, as is entirely rational. People, largely speaking, are not stupid. They use transit for daily commuting in the peak hours to and from downtown Seattle because it makes sense. They don’t pay nosebleed rates for parking, they don’t have to put up with the execrable jerks in other cars, and they save money hand over fist compared to the wear and tear on the fine automobiles.

        But none of the externalities of the Monday to Friday commute are true on any weekend day except Football Days. And guess, what? They ride the bus to the football game, too. At least, many of them do.

        But ride the bus to the grocery store or the park? It doesn’t pencil out if you’ve got a family and it’s a heck of a lot more hassle.

      7. Meanwhile in the U-District they don’t disappear into their cars; they take buses all day, evening, and weekend.

  7. In a scientifically conducted survey of more than 6,000 households in King, Snohomish, Pierce and Kitsap counties, the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) asked participants….

    Hmm. It’s almost as if a massive, sprawling, still largely-greenfield geographic megaboundary might be the wrong scale at which to attempt a THD (Transit Hypothetical Development) quest!

      1. Its all sprawl in Kitsap outside of Bremerton. You might be able to go carless in Kitsap if you lived in Bremerton and worked in Seattle… maybe.

      2. I suspect you might also be able to in part of Bainbridge Island, maybe. But you couldn’t in the vast majority of Kitsap.

        Of course, there almost certainly *are* carless people in various places in Kitsap, but I can’t imagine there are a lot (and I would suspect many are seniors)

      3. You can’t go carless in any of the places the PSRC believe they can shove growth and send a million miles of transit. It’s not just Kitsap.

        Dumb agency. Dumb survey. Disastrous plans.

      4. You could almost do it on Bainbridge Island in one of the apartments right next to the ferry terminal, as there is a grocery store there.

        However, if you ever need to go somewhere west of Puget Sound you can’t get to on a bike or bus, riding the ferry into Seattle to pick up a rental car, only to ride the same ferry back with the car the other way, then repeat all over again when it’s time to return the car…this looks like a non-starter. So, even if you only really need a car once every month or two, you still effectively have to own one.

      5. If you live right in Winslow and can find everything you need in the neighborhood or across the water — or you’re a bike enthusiast and don’t mind hills — then you could live in Bainbridge without a car. But the rest of the island is like… the outer edge of Marysville or Snohomish (town) or Duvall.

      6. Of course there are other people who live elsewhere and don’t have access to a car or can’t drive. They commute to Seattle on the bus, or they go to appointments or local jobs in the midday. But they can’t go anywhere evenings or Sunday, so they’d better not run out of band-aids or coffee or toilet paper.

    1. this is a dumb, troll-y comment.

      please explain why this survey is dumb.

      also, what does that even mean “wrong scale”? the agency is a regional one, conducting a survey about regional travel behavior. but if i understand you correctly, it should only conduct this survey about behavior at a scale that confirms your particular biases. am i missing something here?

      i await the erudite-seeming response that doesn’t actually respond but makes everyone else seem like some troglodytic fool.

      1. …expect an evasive reply that doesn’t actually answer the question (which was, as a reminder, why is the survey dumb and at what scale should a survey of regional travel behavior happen?)?

        got it.

      2. At a scale where information is useful and solutions can possibly be meaningful.

        Which does not mean “massive 4-county inescapably-car-dependent area.”

        But apparently common sense is beyond both the PSRC and you.

  8. First Hill streetcar delayed again… Wow. Are they waiting for nuclear fusion or something? Back when we thought the streetcar would open in spring 2014 (that’s right, folks, spring 2014), did they have anything planned out?

    Maybe this thing will even be finished sometime.

    1. I wonder how many delayed deliveries a few decades of PCC streetcars delivered? I can’t decide which is worse about the near-to-absolute death of transit vehicle design and manufacturing in this country:

      1. That we can’t get a single new vehicle on time that works…

      2. Or that nobody on earth can get one because the United States of America doesn’t make one anymore?

      For me, transit museums, stationary and rolling like the wonderful San Francisco F-line aren’t for tributes and nostalgia. They’re for studying successful street rail for future techniques and materials that will make machines classic “Made In USA”.

      Meaning simple and tough.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Brookvillle’s cars are operating in Dallas just fine. They were a bit late in opening, but there was a political fight about construction that threw a wrench in the works. Even though those were the first overhead + battery cars to be built in the USA in modern.times, I think the political delays far outweighed the technical issues.

        There is a company in California that builds 100% battery cars for resorts and the like. TCM/I or something like that. They have a 100% solar streetcar at some resort in Mexico.

        Gomaco still occasionally builds replica heritage cars also.

        Obviously all the companies have a limited market, but they do exist.

        Also, it’s not like the consolidation and merger mania hasn’t impacted everyone else. Some pretty significant consolidations have happened around the world. I don’t think there are any British companies left either.

        Besides, the biggest rolling stock maker is in Canada, whose entry into the rail industry was started by the purchase of Montreal Locomotive Works, makers of ALCO (American Locomotive Company) designs in Canada.

    2. I’m really looking forward to hearing about ‘Rider Strategies’ for moving along Jackson St.
      Center running platforms for the tram and curbside stops for the buses that run more frequently in combination are one problem. The stops are not co-located, so the initial choice of where to stand may be offset by intersection signal timing to jump from one system to the other.
      Of course, car dodging will become an art-form.

  9. After we get done with a whole posting full of comments about Park and Ride cheating…When do the buses to Olympia leave for the massive demonstration which the murder of the Expert Revue Panel on the Waterfront Tunnel.

    Talk about a political “Hands Up Don’t Shoot!” Maybe it’s either I’m not an attorney or that I know so many attorneys I deeply respect, like Jim Ellis, the main founder of the original Metro Transit.

    I’m only a taxpayer and former transit professional. As well as a citizen of both State of Washington and The United States. So I think that as both a financial proposition and a civic one, my interests are best served by personally knowing the facts of a problem so I can instruct my officials how to solve it.

    If that means not being able to sue- that’s best outcome of all. Outcome of recent vehicle procurements shows results of design and build by attorneys.

    And question for Jay and Judy to think about: Do things get buried because they stink, or the other way around? Or both.

    OK, back to Park and Ride fees and enforcement.

    Mark Dublin

  10. Absolutely hilarious that people on Mercer Island seem to think their ban on development will lead to a thriving downtown. Hilarious and delusional.

  11. Re Mercer Island:

    If those pedestrian trails across the entire island are built, how many people will actually use them to walk to the Town Center and Link station rather than driving? What precedents are there in communities similar to Mercer Island? How do you know you’re not overestimating the number of people who will walk 20-40 minutes, especially in this affluent, single-family, car-oriented area? What about bicycling, it could be popular too.

    What intra-island transit would the future city have? Why did nobody mention it, except one person who said “local shuttles” in passing. Perhaps some residents would prefer a bus over a 20-40 minute walk or bike ride, or are too disabled to do the latter. What about municipal taxis at a bulk discount/subsidized rate? That would be perfect-sized for an island.

    The region’s population is rising, and housing prices are going up rapidly in the Seattle-Eastside area because the supply is not keeping up with the demand. What responsibility, if any, does Mercer Island have to provide more housing? Is a 2-3 story limit consistent with this? If not, why should Seattle/Bellevue/Redmond absorb all growth and let Mercer Island grow barely at all?

    The town center is described as a pleasant place to live without a car, with many things within walking distance. More people may wish to live in that environment than the proposed housing would allow. Should they be denied the opportunity to become productive Mercer Island residents (and taxpayers)? How can those “many things” fit in a few 2-story buildings?

    Is there anything worth walking to beyond the town center and adjacent parks? Would non-residents want to go to any other part of the island?

    This would be a good exercise for Seattle. What do we want the city to look like in 20 or 25 years?

      1. Also this:

        Like many residents, the garages of their older homes don’t accommodate cars…


        And random fearmongering local guy does understand that when he U-turns in today’s fast-moving lanes in order to always park right in front of his house, his kids are not protected by a forcefield, does he not?

      2. There’s some in my neighborhood that you couldn’t get anything more recent than something from the 1920s into. The transition from the sidewalk to the pit under the house is too steep for anything other than a “horseless carriage”. Even if you had a great big high clearance pickup, you would then not be able to get it into the garage once at the bottom of the incline.

        One house near me they jacked up and raised the foundation four feet or so to make the driveway with modern vehicles.

        But then, since there is a certain group of individuals in both your area and mine that want their community stuck in the 1920s, perhaps that is what they should drive anyway.

  12. My vision for a 2040-2050 Seattle is: something like Chicago’s north side from Ballard to U Village, the Ship Canal to 65th. With 3-10 story buldings everywhere, mixed-use throughout the artierials, and a few single-family houses sprinkled among them. Another such district in Northgate-Pinehurst-Lake City. Three or four Link lines in the city (not counting East Link which has only one unique station). Frequent bus routes a half-mile apart, 5-10 minutes daytime, 15-20 minutes evening. 30-minute night owls a mile apart. Comprehensive bike greenways.

  13. Be on the lookout for a colorful passenger car moving north in a freight train. It is the first of four cars rebuilt in California for Rocky Mountaineer. The car is headed to Vancouver BC, but there have been several industry articles suggesting Rocky Mountsineer is interested in increasing the number of trains that come as far south as Seattle.

    It should be on its way through Seattle sometime today or tomorrow.

  14. How much is it worth to you to live in a walkable neighborhood with good transit?

    This is inspired by CharlotteRoyale’s comment above, “For example, my rent is going up $200/month, and soon, I may be one of those commuting 30 miles each way for a reasonable rent.”

    To me, living in a place like Capitol Hill or the U-District is worth around $200 a month, and whenever I look around at places like Greenwood or Lynnwood the difference is less than that, which makes it not worth it to me given the isolation and longer trips that would accompany it. People say those places are significantly cheaper but I haven’t found it much so. Maybe because I consider places the closest to frequent transit and those are the most expensive in the neighborhood. I also haven’t moved since 2010 so maybe the difference has spread.

    So for those who value walkability and frequent transit, what does that translate to in terms of how much extra a month you’re willing to pay? At what point do you turn away? I don’t mean “Absolutely can’t afford it” (which is a different issue), but where it doesn’t seem worth the price.

    1. So for those who value walkability and frequent transit, what does that translate to in terms of how much extra a month you’re willing to pay? At what point do you turn away?

      First, a humorous reply: For me? About -$350. Yeah, that’s a negative sign over there. My 3br/2ba apartment in the far northeast corner of Redmond–with access to a whopping one, half-hourly bus route and walking distance to a PCC–is now listed for $2,186 per month on a 12 month lease. My 3br/1ba standalone house in Seattle–which is within a few of blocks of routes 3, 4, 48, 84, and a bit farther away, routes 8, 14, and 27–has a mortgage payment (with mortgage insurance and other escrow tidbits) of $1,850. It’ll even go down after I manage to get rid of mortgage insurance next year, which my apartment rents never did. So I’ll totally take having a yard, the ability to make all of the (interior) noise I want, two off-street parking spaces, gigabit fiber optic Internet, and a tax deduction along with a “free” $350 each month.

      Now, a serious answer: A lot. I’d be willing to spend a lot more for a dense, walkable area than living away from things. I’ve lived in the suburbs, where everything is a 15-minute drive away, and having lived in the city for some years now, I’m not going back unless it’s the only standing between me and insolvency. An extra $200 to live in the U District or Ballard or even Lake City or the Central District with one (or no) car, quick access to shopping and interesting things, and the ability to take transit basically whenever I want? Hands down worth it. $300? Yes. $400? Sure. $500? Might be pushing it. $1,000? Very unlikely.

      That means I’m also sensitive to those who can’t afford it and for whom this isn’t just a theoretical question. I’m lucky and prosperous enough to be able to make the choice to spend more on housing and I have sufficiently good credit (and luck) to buy an inexpensive house in the city. That’s why I’m willing and able to both pay the freight–if it means higher property taxes to build parks, public housing, transit, and infrastructure, bring it on–and accept density as part of city life. I don’t mean to go all “Holier Than Thou,” but you asked… :) Because that extra $500 might just be my family or someone I care about soon enough.

      But -$350? For sure.

    2. “How much is it worth to you to live in a walkable neighborhood with good transit?”

      For me, it was overridden by other factors (wheelchair accessibility, and need to stay in the same metro area). Control for those and it would be worth a lot.

      This has a significant effect in metro areas where the urban housing stock is mostly pre-ADA.

  15. I live about a mile and a half from the park and ride in the video. Perhaps the biggest reason that lot fills up quickly is that connecting local bus service is pretty pathetic.


    At best the Everett Transit route 29 runs about every 40 minutes, usually just once an hour otherwise. By comparison the ST busses run every 15 minutes.

    The Interurban trail is not far from there so it offers one alternative provided the weather’s decent and one is in reasonable shape.

  16. Who could have predicted that ignoring a decade of professional studies, and ignoring every expert opinion from every expert in anything whatsoever, in favor of a smoky backroom deal, to spend a monumental amount of money on a tunnel which wasn’t even expected to achieve any of the goals it was supposed to, to be constructed by methods never done before (largest boring machine in the world) through exceptionally difficult terrain, and then contracting to a company known for self-dealing and extracting money-for-nothing from governments, would work out badly?

    The Bertha business is really spectacularly awful.

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