10 years of subway growth

From zero to 338 stations in twenty years.

148 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Shanghai Metro Growth”

      1. Actually I would say Seattle looks favorable in comparison to Shangahi: they have a population 10x ours, and they have 10x our number of stations when ST2 is complete (338 to 34 I think). So in terms of stations per people we are right at par.

        The only difference is they work slightly faster: those 34 stations will have opened across 14 years (2009-2023) to Shanghai’s 10 years. But given the tradeoffs (eg we have due process, labor standards) I think moving 40% slower is actually very reasonable.

      2. @fil this was precisely my point anyways. Even Shanghai proper is so much more massive than the sprawling Puget Sound.

    1. What’s with the pink line towards the map center that suddenly goes dead and turns black around 2011?

    2. I don’t know that it is the model of government, or just their goals. The Dept of Interior in China is on record as saying their job is to create 50,000 jobs A DAY. China has married neoliberal capitalism with Keynesian economics to build a work creation machine.
      They dont have metrics like “$/rider”, they have metrics like “jobs per day”

      1. There ae highways in China where traffic has grown as much as 40% per year. Air quality is terrible and congestion is awful.

        Give any city in the USA that kind of urban migration and you would see every effort made at rapid rapid transit construction.

  1. Gee, that seems to be an awful lot of stations, when just a couple would do.

    1. Yeah, and what’s with all the criss-crossing lines in the middle of town — that is so old school. The way you build light rail is to pick destinations really far apart, then run a line between them with very few stops. That way, folks who ride will get a nice, comfy seat on the train with plenty of room to stretch out.

      1. Shanghai’s system is roughly 25 miles across. So pick any line from the center of the map and go to its end, which is roughly our DSTT to the airport

      2. Yeah, pretty much.

        There are a handful of outliers, of course. Pudong International is like a billion miles from the center of Shanghai (thus the 268mph “express” option). And there are a couple of regional-rail-cum-adjunct-metro that have been built into the hinterlands just because they can.

        These outliers are clearly demarcated on Oran’s GIFmap above, and notably tend to require a transfer into the core subway network, as well as a supplementary ticket purchase separate from the (already-zone-priced) fare structure of the primary lines.

        But as Mic says, the core of what you see filling in over those 2 decades, and the vast majority of the 20 million population that it serves, sits within an area that could easily fit between Tukwila, Shoreline, and Redmond.

        No “spine über alles” bullshit there.

      3. I’d argue that in the case of a city experiencing such rapid urban migration, it does make sense to build a few lines for urban expansion.

      4. The overwhelming majority of the urban expansion has taken place (and continues to take place) within that “inner” 10ish-mile radius.

        A city built that intensively, 20 miles across and 20 miles down, is still breathtakingly enormous. Without feeling as “placeless” as no-boundary Beijing.

      5. Yeah, I do see some long lines in the works. They’re planning to go to Suzhou and Wuxi (the latter is 85 miles from central Shanghai).

        But they built the dense (urban) core first. And, of course, Wuxi is no Everett – the Wuxi prefecture has 6+ million people all by itself.

  2. Question for the minds assembled here: would a land value tax create an incentive for neighborhoods to advocate for downzoning? The idea being that land zoned for multifamily housing has more revenue potential, and would thus be more valuable. So by advocating for downzoning, the NIMBY’s could save on their tax bill and keep out the riffraff at the same time. I like the idea of an LVT otherwise, but there does seem to be an incentive problem there.

    1. There are property taxes already, and that’s not going to force out some of the richer NIMBY’s in areas that would be ripe for development. That property tax includes the value of the land, so I’m confused why you would want to tax something that we already tax.

      1. A land value tax just taxes the value of the land, not the improvements that are constructed on it. The reasoning behind such a system is that the value of land is entirely dependent on context — an acre in Manhattan is not the same as an acre in Wyoming — and that the value that a piece of land derives from its context is due to public improvements. When you build a road to a piece of land, it’s more valuable than it was before. When you build a subway to a piece of land, it’s more valuable than it was before. When you improve the public school system, the land in the district is more valuable than it was before. So landholders get to reap basically a windfall benefit through no particular effort on their part. An LVT would let the public get a return on their investments, so to speak.

        It’s also a good thing to fully utilize valuable land (i.e., land that has been served by lots of public improvements/investments). So we would not want to tax improvements that the land owner *is* responsible for undertaking. This means that a LVT would have the effect of *encouraging* maximal utilization of valuable property (if you’re paying through the nose for the LVT, you’re going to want to build a nice big block of apartments so that you can cover your cost.) For the most part, when people talk about Land Value Taxes, they talk about them as a replacement for property taxes, not in addition to them.

        See the wikipedia article on Land Value Taxes for a good synopsis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_value_tax

        I guess, to answer my own question above, you could make your assessment for the value of the land absent zoning restrictions. Then you’d get a constituency to upzone pretty quick.

      2. I think there are a few political & moral hazards inherent in a tax that incentivizes “highest and best use” of any given property, as arbitrarily defined by the state.

        The first is that you make a liar of anyone who has ever worked to assure NIMBYs that upzoning doesn’t “force anyone to sell their house”. With “highest and best use” assessments, eventually it would. That encourages NIMBYs to double down on the growth quarantine, while placing further pressure to subject areas in the quarantine to wholesale replacement rather than organic evolution.

        The second is that you have the state defining every property as ideally dedicated to whatever would occupy the space most lucratively. Does your block work well as a small-retail incubator? Well, too bad — the state thinks you should have rebuilt to ideal specs for a Chase Bank and a Starbucks. Tenant is a non-profit community workshop? Sorry — you’re zoned for 6 stories, so we’ll charge you for a $2000-per-unit breadbox until you give us one.

        Assessing this way just seems a recipe for gross uniformity, unintended consequences, and political backlash to boot.

    2. A land tax has been suggested to get the owners of downtown surface parking lots to start building. It would also perhaps make it clear to the public that housing prices are going up because of land prices, not building prices or construction costs. However, it could have some bad unintended consequences. Maybe there’s aanother way to tax surface parking lots specifically.

  3. Over the past few months the tram line in Rio de Janeiro has been doing test operation of their new cars. They closed a few years back after a terrible accident when the brakes on one of the old cars failed. The new cars look much like the old ones.

    In 2003 I rode the whole system as it was operable at the time. This included the seldom used line to Silvestre, which was quite scenic and ceased operation around 2005. Other than tourist traffic there wasn’t too much reason for that part of the line to exist, but the rest of the system seemed well used by tourists and locals alike.

    Put ” Bonde Santa Tereza novo” into your favorite search engine for a few Portuguese language news reports.

    1. That’s good news–it sounds as if the line is open from Centro up to Santa Teresa as of today (at least I hope so anyway; I’ll be there in about a month and would like to ride it).

  4. I really do remember a TV documentary saying that New York City’s first subway was built in four years. Awhile after it became impossible for anybody even to walk up Broadway at rush hour.

    Therefore, history proves that our own regional transit’s individual best friend is every single-occupancy motorists trapped on I-5 a hundred percent of rush hours. Many thanks, kids! The average Chinese will likely tell you, though, that one reason for rapid progress is massive corruption.

    Too bad the political culture of Seattle rules out the bravery, initiative, and greed to be Tammany Hall.

    Mark

    1. Nerd moment… Tammany hall opposed the subway. The first expo line was built secretly and permitted as a pneumatic mail tube that kept subl.tly altering it’s sizing specs

      1. The half-block pneumatic demonstration subway near Brookyn Bridge/City Hall happened decades prior to the first real subway completed in 1904.

        The 1904 subway comprised the lower half of what is now the 6 and the upper half of what is now the 1, as far as 145th Street. It was 9 miles long. It was built entirely by cut-and-cover.

        It was not done in secret.

      2. http://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/Beach_Pneumatic_Transit

        You know, Jon, I’m pretty sure I wrote at least a comment about Alfred Ely Beach and his Broadway Pneumatic Underground Railway. Thanks for reminding me.

        The Tammany Hall part, according to an article I read about the project about fifty years ago- -Popular Mechanics, maybe- suggested that the secrecy about the fact that the system was operating was that the direction of the permission could be switched exactly like the fan. For a nominal fee. Still, hard to believe that the SDOT- or NCDOT- of the day didn’t know.

        My surmise is chance that Boss Tweed’s nephew got to put on one of those great fashionable uniforms and help run the train. Tell me transit here would ever have such a fast inexpensive permitting process, or such great operators’ ties and jackets!

        Really would be interesting, though, to do an on-site test to see how big a fan it would take to get a LINK train from WestLake to Northgate. Huge cloud of yowling cats and frantically flapping pigeons would get a lot more passenger attention than usual “in two minutes” announcement.

        Also, only prudent accounting to compare fees between Tammany Inc. and average consulting firm here.

        Mark

  5. Is STB going to do endorsements for the Port of Seattle or Bellevue City Council positions for the Aug 4th election?

  6. I wrote something about this in a previous thread but wanted to put it out here in the the open thread. My apologies – this is going to be long but I think worth reading since it’s very important.

    There’s been a lot of talk (and disappointment) about the Federal Way light rail alignment the last couple of days, and understandably so. However, something far more alarming has also emerged recently – SDOT’s comment letter to Sound Transit, which includes very prescriptive detail about what the Downtown to Ballard should look like in terms of routing and stations (by the way, thank you Poncho for alerting me to this.)

    It’s important to remember that – so far – Sound Transit has shown that they will do what it takes to please the jurisdictions in terms of alignments and stations. Forget the Ballard study and public comment – SDOT’s letter is potentially a far better predictor of what will happen. And this is why I’m so disturbed. Here is a portion of what they say regarding the Ballard alignment:

    “…we request Sound Transit analyze an alignment that includes a below grade station with pedestrian connections to the existing Westlake Station platforms, a station serving South Lake Union in the area of Westlake N and Denny Way, a station at State Route 99 and Harrison Street, serving Uptown and the Seattle Center, a station in close proximity to the Elliot Trail Bridge (near the future Expedia site), a station in the vicinity of 15th Ave and Newton (near Whole Foods), a station in the vicinity of 15th Avenue and Dravus St., a Station in the vicinity of 15th Avenue and Market, and a station at 15th Avenue and 65th Street.”

    There are several issues with this alignment, but by far the two most glaring are:

    1) There is no Belltown station. Yes, you could make the case that between Westlake Station and the proposed Harrison Station, the vast majority of Belltown is within a 15 minute walkshed of a station. That would be acceptable for most neighborhoods within the city – but in my opinion not for the densest residential neighborhood in the State and one of the city’s main entertainment districts. There really needs to be a Link stop in Belltown proper and if it doesn’t happen with the Ballard route it will likely not happen for a very, very long time (if ever).

    2) Despite SDOT’s claims, the Harrison/99 station is terrible for serving Queen Anne and it would be inexcusable to use this route and not have a station closer to the center of the neighborhood. This station actually better serves Belltown and SLU than Queen Anne. Yes, it serves the Seattle Center well and in many ways is not a bad location for a station, particularly given the city’s plans to turn that area into a pedestrian friendly zone with a plaza, to turn Thomas into primarily a bike/ped thoroughfare, and to make Broad between 5th and Elliot a complete street. Also, it’s obviously good for bus connections on Aurora.

    However, it does not serve Queen Anne well at all. I’ve done the walk from the Monorail to the main business district (around Mercer and Queen Anne Ave) and at a solid pace it’s a ~15 minute walk. And this station is a several large blocks East of the monorail, which adds 2-3 minutes. So for the dense residential west and north of Mercer and QA Ave, we are talking about potentially a 20-25 minute walk to the station. LQA is one of the densest neighborhoods in the city with great bones and a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene. To force people to trek all that way to get to the center of the neighborhood means it will not be a popular choice for getting to LQA – for tourists getting to Seattle Center, yes, but for residents and visitors who want to go to LQA who are coming from Downtown a bus will be the better choice. To spend all that money tunneling through and not having a stop in LQA would be a new low for Sound Transit.

    The lack of a Belltown station is bad, and I think the Belltown-LQA route is much better all around since SLU will likely eventually be served by Link either way and Belltown has far more residents – but I could probably begrudgingly live with no Belltown station.

    However, if they go the SLU route and don’t have station in LQA proper then this should be DOA. I know we’re talking about SDOT’s comments and not any sort of decision by Sound Transit, but this doesn’t bode well. It needs to be made clear that unless Sound Transit promises a station in LQA (it doesn’t have to be right at QA Ave and Mercer, but it can’t be as ludicrous as claiming Aurora serves LQA) ST3 will likely not pass and this would really be the straw that broke Sound Transit’s back. (The Federal Way alignment is bad, but missing LQA while tunneling through it would be an order of magnitude worse).

    I wanted to get this out there so that people can start advocating now that going to Ballard without providing an LQA station is totally unacceptable. It also makes sense to fight for a Belltown station over Denny/Westlake, but the absolute dealbreaker would be the lack of an LQA station. I don’t know what SDOT is thinking (maybe their main objectives for this route are “serve Gates, Expedia and as many Whole Foods as possible”), but we have to speak up to let Sound Transit know this is not acceptable.

    Here is the link to the comment letters (SDOT on pg.61): http://soundtransit3.org/Media/Default/Document%20Library%20Featured/ST3_Public_Comment_Documents/2015_0723_ST3_PublicComments_AgenciesandJurisdictions.pdf

    1. You’re right! I have a few emails composed which I will send out to Sally Bagshaw and SDOT (Scott Kubly and the other person mentioned in the letter you found) on Monday.

      Personally, I think the answer is Martin’s idea of non-connecting WS and Ballard lines. We’re trying to do too many things with only one line, so the answer is to build two or more!

      1. Yes, and the other answer is to build a proper LQA station and not claim an Aurora station serves LQA!

    2. I think this whole episode has shown us we really need to focus on targeting not just ST but various jurisdictions such as the cities if ST is going to be having their ear to them. I would be showing up to those meetings and mobilizing people that way so when it gets up the chain we will achieve desired results.

    3. I’m copying my comments from the other thread.

      OK, the crazy part of what you are suggesting (or what they are suggesting) is no station between Aurora and Harrison and Expedia (Elliot and 16th). That would mean going right under lower Queen Anne (one the more dense areas of the city) but failing to put in a station. That is nuts. A station at Queen Anne Avenue and Mercer/Roy would be essential with such an alignment, at a minimum.

      Not that I prefer that over a Belltown alignment, but I would say the choice is tricky. All the more reason to support the WSTT. It doesn’t make the Sophie’s choice that this route makes. It serves both. Not that it serves South Lake Union in a great way, but then neither does the other plan. Overall, WSTT serves more areas, for a lot less money (http://stb-wp.s3.amazonaws.com//srv/htdocs/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/WSTT-Initial-Service-Pattern.jpg). It also would serve as a great place holder until we build more rail (along that route) or build the Metro 8 subway (which would connect to the Uptown station).

      1. Martin – if youre reading this Id love to get your input, since I know you’ve had conversations with Seattle about this. Do they really think Harrison/99 will suffice to serve LQA? Are they willing to completely bypass Belltown? For the SLU route, are they talking about tunneling all the way to Elliot or emerging earlier in the route? Thanks.

      2. I have been asking for about six months for STB to ask either Kubly or the mayor regarding ST3– either they declined or STB did not ask. We know from Martin’s choices that he ranked the Westlake partially grade separated option equal to the Ballard spur— so he might be fine with this option, since you capture the Amazon crowd.

      3. I’m really not sure what all the fuss is about. If you look draw half-mile radii around both Westlake station and the proposed Harrison/Aurora station, you cover all of Belltown except a few buildings located down on Western. Likewise, the vast majority of LQA is within the same radius. That’s a 10 minute walk at the outside edge.

      4. Yeah, and Broadway is only, like, a 10 minute walk from REI headquarters. So, like, couldn’t the Capitol Hill stop have been down there?

        Cities! How do they work!?

      5. d.p., why bother to waste everyone’s time with snark as opposed to saying something useful? Also, Broadway is up a large hill, and more than 10 minutes away besides. Belltown, LQA, and SLU are largely flat compared to most of the city.

      6. And d.p., what’s with all the bizarre ‘likes’ in your comment to me? Are you assuming that I’m an uneducated surfer dude from the ’90s because I have an opinion regarding station service areas? Because that would require a lot of interesting logical leaps. Please try to dial back the anger and the rage. Or move back to Boston since you so clearly hate Seattle and everyone in it.

      7. You’re not wrong that I find the ostrich-level disinterest in understanding what makes shit work appalling in the extreme, and that somehow I never cease to be surprised that people wear their ignorance as a badge of honor.

        If you’re going to build billion-dollar transit, you do everything in your power to put the stops where the people and the stuff are. Will there be compromises and imperfections? Sure.

        But putting one stop next to a suburban-style office park and another by an auto sewer, and then calling it good because you ignored walking routes, pedestrian appeal, inconsistent frontage activation, a 356-days-a-year rainswept dead space, and the fact that 3-dimensional city grids require more than the outer edges of your protractor almost touching is just the height of insanity.

        This town has spent the last decade making the case that every last bus that passed anywhere near LQA had to pull right up to the business district — even though doing so on surface streets representing a whopping and therefore unsupportable time penalty to through riders. But we can send a billion-dollar subway directly beneath and not bother to stop!?

        Oh, and the proposed Elliott location is significantly below the grade of LQA’s main plateau, on top of the rather poor land use integration. So, like, maybe it’s not a bad idea to check your fucking facts before adding to the accumulating pile of stupid!

      8. d.p., I never suggested that anyone would walk between the Elliott station at LQA, though in fact many people will do that if these stations are built. I said that Westlake and Harrison/Aurora are actually pretty walkable for basically all of Belltown. I also said that Harrison/Aurora would cover most of LQA. Stop arguing with yourself and calm down.

      9. Hear, hear. If SDOT considers a stop at Elliot to be serving LQA, then Rapid Ride D should be rerouted to Elliot effective tomorrow, for a gain of innumerable service hours.

      10. Yeah, especially considering that Denny @ Queen Anne (where RapidRide could stop) is a heck of a lot better connected to LQA proper than the supposed Elliott rail outpost.

      11. That’s an amazingly circuitous route that begins at the wrong location and stops at an arbitrary location. Color me impressed.

      12. In that case, then RR D should be rerouted to Elliot, a new stop for RR E should be built at Aurora and Thomas, and Lower Queen Anne could be considered “served” between the two of them.

      13. ” I also said that Harrison/Aurora would cover most of LQA.”

        In that case, then let’s build a new stop for RR E at Harrison and Aurora, and reroute RR D to Elliot anyway.

      14. I guess I just don’t understand the point of comments like this. I offered my opinion about something, and then all I get back is snark. Why spend your time doing that?

      15. Well, you can’t go in a straight line from the proposed stop, because Bill & Melinda Gates built an office park in the way, and because the portion of the route that actually involves crossing part of a gridded city doesn’t allow you to fly like a crow.

        But all that vestigial 74 acres of permanent dead space dating from the last time that anyone thought this stupid-ass town was “forward thinking” does permit a bit of diagonal movement, shortening the walk a bit. Score one for your protractor!

        Even if the Monorail integrates with ORCA tomorrow, it will remain a blip on the transit network for people headed to, from, and through the area. Why? Because the Seattle Center is a vacuum, and in actual cities, people choose their modes based on the comparative convenience and intuitive comfort of their trips, which long hikes across vacuums invariably negate!

        I haven’t a fucking clue why anyone would want to spend billions tunneling subways around without bothering to understand why and how actual cities make subways work.

      16. Why, Jason? Because stupidity is killing this town.

        And you, standing there with your protractor and apparently having no clue that this isn’t coverage, are actively contributing to the problem.

      17. And for the record, it is .4 miles (8 minutes) just to laterally cross Seattle Center. No additional north-south blocks considered, no 5th Ave light to wait for, no 3 additional blocks to the wasteland of Aurora.

        Your attempt to include any part of LQA proper within the 10-minute walkshed — not the business district, not the southern and southwestern slopes of the hill that are the only statically dense tracts in the area — is false on its face.

        And a 10-minute walkshed should already be stretching it, when you’re talking about a full-on subway right in the middle of the goddamned city!

      18. d.p., the station can’t be built right at 99/Harrison for a multitude of reasons. You read SDOT’s comment too literally. If ST listens to SDOT and puts a station there, it will be much closer to the SE corner of 5th/Harrison. This will be due to constructability and acquisition issues.

        And I wasn’t saying that any of the proposed stations are in good locations, or that they couldn’t be improved. I was simply pointing out that they aren’t exactly in the middle of nowhere. I happen to think there are valid reasons for the suggestions, but personally I would rather see an additional station or two.

      19. I guess I just prefer to promote stuff that would actually work, rather than apply endless speculative ameliorations to the endless manifest-destiny implementations of absolute worst practices.

        But I guess I’m the only one who doesn’t think it’s awesome to build billions in trains and still have nearly everyone driving most of the time, because the choice to drive remains a preferable experience to a ludicrous degree.

      20. Jason, it’s 15 minutes at a brisk pace to Dick’s from the Harrison/Aurora station. And that’s a few minutes from the true core of the neigborhood, which is 5-10 minutes from much of the residential around there. I used to live there and know that walk pretty well. If the Harrison/Aurora station existed when I lived there, I would have taken the bus instead. I’m pretty sure most would.

        As for Belltown, not quite as agregious but it is one of the few truly urban environments in Seattle and really should have its own station. Definitely over Denny and Westlake, no matter how much the city wants to push SLU.

    4. I’d also rather serve Fremont (and Queen Anne Hill though much less importantly) than Interbay. Interbay is purely an unwalkable un-urban pass-thru area. Put me down for ‘Option D’ but add a Freelard station for targeted infill development.

      Serve SLU with longterm Metro 8 subway, Roosevelt/Eastlake BRT, Rapid Ride extension from the south and a rebuilt SLU streetcar track that is center running and dedicated transit lanes (which would be shared with Roosevelt BRT from Westlake Station to MOHAI where they diverge, the streetcar then stay on Westlake to Fremont in a rebuilt Westlake along the lake that is a boulevard, and again with dedicated transit lanes).

      1. The D Option has been excluded. There will be no Ballard-Fremont-Upper QA-Lower QA subway, even though it would be a more heavily used system that Ballard via 15th West.

      2. Since when was it excluded?!?! I guess I’m starting to share d.p.’s perspective that apparently the goal in this town is to spend billions building the shittiest transit system possible.

      3. Yeah, the D line is prohibitively expensive if they’re also planning to go to West Seattle (which they are). I think that would be by far the best choice, but I could live with the B line as well and I believe it is doable. That route hits Belltown, LQA, two stations along interbay, and then 3 in Ballard along 15th.

        Really, hitting Belltown and LQA on the way to Ballard is a slam dunk – it is the lowest hanging fruit and if you’re going to spend the extra money on a Downtown-Ballard route instead of Ballard-UW, it is absurd not to hit those two areas and incredibly absurd to tunnel under LQA and not have a station there. I was totally blindsided by SDOT’s comments – it sounds like they were written by people who know little to nothing about Seattle.

    5. SDOT asked ST to study Ballard to UW (although Ballard to downtown is “top priority.” I guess, to prevent STB from a 500 comment post

      1. I hear ya, MD. And obviously there is an important discussion to be had regarding whether Downtown -> Ballard or Ballard -> UW should be built first.

        However, the idea that ST3 might include a Downtown -> Ballard Link route that doesn’t have a Belltown or an LQA station is absolutely insane and trumps any other concern I have right now. To choose stations at Denny & Westlake and Harrison & 99 over – say – ~4th Ave & Bell and ~Harrison & 1st Ave N (just throwing out general vicinities) will dramatically hurt mobility in the region for many decades to come. It shows zero understanding of basic land use and transportation principles – frankly, I’m surprised given that SDOT is one of the agencies that I’ve generally respected more than most.

        And it is absolutely mind-blowing that SDOT would even consider tunneling under LQA without including an LQA station!

      2. James

        I also agree there should be a legit LQA station–ST seems to be interested in getting people to work and back (and nothing else)

    6. The Expedia station and the “Whole Foods” station would be fairly close together, but then there would be the huge gap to Aurora. I’m all for “urban station spacing” so the 1/3 to 2/5 mile spacing between the Elliott Trail Bridge and Whole Foods is fine by me. [However, I’m wondering about that HUGE parking lot at Whole Foods, the giant storage unit building across the street and the otherwise low density there; perhaps the City knows Whole Foods is willing to cover the lot and the storage building is on the way out].

      But the giant gap through LQA is very poorly planned and must be the result of some belief by SDOT that the neighborhood does not want a station. There can be no other explanation for such irregular station spacing through one the city’s very densest areas.

      1. Sorry, forgot.

        At the risk of being cast into outer darkness, the truth is that Belltown can be very well served by an extension of the Central City Connector up First Avenue, if the Ballard Line is sent by SDOT eastward into SLU. The Connector Extension would have to go all the way to the Lower Queen Anne station that SDOT omitted in order to provide entertainment access to Ballardites riding the LRT line, but in fact a streetcar with exclusive lanes is better for the low speed access that is best for an entertainment district. And it’s close enough to downtown offices that frequent stops along the way wouldn’t be terrible for commuters, if there are exclusive lanes to keep the cars moving between stops/stations.

        People can ride to within a block of their destination with stops every other block, allowing them to wear the sort of flashy clothing popular there; they can hop on and off: “bar-hopping” made real. A fairly low-speed but frequent vehicle at street level is more in tune with what’s happening in the area.

        Now personally I’d prefer the WSTT and Open BRT for the Ballard trunk (and that would provide a regional station for Belltown), a Metro 8 for full SLU connectivity across the district, and a Connector Extension to the WSTT LQA station to provide active transit through Belltown.

        But the WSTT is clearly not going to happen if Seattle doesn’t push for it. If it’s going to be Ballard-West Seattle via SLU their must be a Lower Queen Anne station. A streetcar with reserved lanes can handle the gap.

        To make the connection to Link at Westlake, eventually Pine should be a two-way transit only street, and half the cars running on the Connector Extension should turn at Pine and run up it to somewhere just east of the Convention Center.

        I have my helmet on; let the incoming begin.

      2. “there must be”, not “their must be”. Arrgh! I HATE it when I get that kind of brain burp.

      3. I would prefer to see a station just north of the Magnolia Bridge. People who want to get to Whole Foods and still do that, but it’s a bit better access from Magnolia.

        Ideally, there would also be a sidewalk on the north side of the Magnolia bridge so that you can actually get to the station from Magnolia, without having to deal with the awful crossing (from a pedestrian perspective) at Galer and pretty much anything.

        It would also be nice to have some sort of access between the station, the Pier 91 Bike Path, and the Magnolia Bridge. Right now, the route between the sidewalk on the bridge and the Pier 91 Path isn’t great.

        It would also be nice to get a pedestrian bridge across 15th at Howe, to get access from the Queen Anne side of things.

      4. I’d feel better about serving the Whole Foods if it were a more urban-designed building like the branches on Denny Way and 63rd.

      5. Glenn,

        It is a LONG walk from Magnolia across that bridge, easily a half mile from the first houses at Magnolia Way, and there are only single-family houses at the west end. Would riders actually use such a station? At least Newton is an entrance to the fairly dense housing on the west side of QA Hill. At the Magnolia Bridge the east side of 15th West is a steep hill covered with trees.

        So far as “serving Whole Foods”, it does seem like a luxury unless the City knows that the store plans to cover the parking lot and other development will come there.

      6. Anandakos – I would definitely prefer that there were a Belltown station (over an SLU station), but I agree with you somewhat that Belltown could be well served by an extension of the Center City Connector.

        The real dealbreaker for me would the lack of a Link LQA station. That is totally unacceptable and again would lead me to vote against ST3. It would just be insane to go from Downtown to Ballard with no LQA station – I have no idea what SDOT is thinking.

      7. James,

        Agreed on the LQA station. I can only think that SDOT has surveyed the neighborhood and found a surprising resistance to building a station — probably from long-time residents who fear that their buildings would be torn down for high-rises. That’s speculation, true, but I can’t imagine any other reason. T

        he staff isn’t a bunch of incompetent anti-density reactionaries and Kubly certainly doesn’t seem so either.

      8. I’ve walked across that bridge a few times, as well as walked the entire Pier 91 Path from the area around Dravus. There may not be that much pedestrian traffic on the bridge, but there is a little bike traffic.

        That bike traffic would probably be better if you could actually get more directly to the Pier 91 Bike Path from the bridge.

        The Pier 91 Bike Path is quite popular in the mornings and evenings. Allowing that traffic to get over to a station would be nice, I would think.

        Also, 24 and 33 cross that bridge. It would be kind of nice to be able to get from those buses to a station without some sort of long, circuitous route between the bridge and a station that only serves Whole Foods.

        The platforms are about 400 feet long (four cars worth). A properly placed station could easily have an entrance to the bridge and to the area around Newton. So long as there is some sort of additional pedestrian bridge to get over 15th….

      9. William,

        So you’re going with the reactionary anti-density incompetents explanation then?

        Because pretty hard to see a possibility other than one of these two.

        Budget? Perhaps, but it would have behooved them to specify that ST make the necessary adjustments to the tunnel alignments to allow the addition of a station at a later time.

        They didn’t.

      10. Glenn,

        Yes, you’re right that a station a half block north of the bridge could have an entrance at that end and reach far enough north to be well within walking distance of Newton and the store.

        But that assumes four-car trains as you noted and in all honesty, I don’t think Ballard-West Seattle will need four car trains for forty years. Remember that ST actively dislikes breaking and assembling trains in the middle of the day, so you’d either be running 15 minute headways of four car trains in the middle of the day (with pretty darn empty ones south of the Pioneer Square station) or shorter trains around the service clock. The single (or if we’re lucky, two) station(s) up on the West Seattle bluff won’t fill the trains any better than do Airport, TIBS, four stations along MLK, and Beacon Hill fill South Link today, and during the middle of the day two cars are plenty any time except on a sports event day.

      11. Glenn,

        Oh, and so far as the 24 and 33 are concerned, the natural transfer point for them would be the Expedia stop at the trail bridge. Otherwise there would have to be a stop on the new viaduct over 15th for westbound buses. I don’t think there’s room for that, though it might be possible to squeeze one in.

      12. Is it possible that an SLU/ “Amazon” station would mean you get Amazon money to support ST3?

      13. The trail bridge is the logical place to transfer if you are headed into downtown Seattle but based on the number of people I see on the 31, not everyone in Magnolia has downtown Seattle as their primary destination for every single trip.

        They already have a stop on each side of the bridge at the staircase that goes down to the cruise ship terminal. Having them there doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue.

        If the transfer point is so popular that it causes a traffic jam behind the bus, then maybe its time to do something.

        If the transfer point is as popular as those staircases are, then it’s probably not a huge issue to not have bus pull-out space.

        Sure, it’s not likely that four car trains will be there, but I would imagine the station platforms will be built to accommodate four car trains.

        I just don’t want to see the current “you can’t get there from here (or you can but it’s convoluted and difficult)” continued into the placement of the station and its access points. If a station goes there, you should at least have the choice of being able to access it from somewhere other than Whole Foods or the Queen Anne side of things. At the very least, that bike path is busy enough to get a few riders that way.

      14. uh, queen anne is the neighborhood that got the chain drug store to build a custom store in a new mixed use building (as did cap hill notably several years back), I don’t think its a particularly nimby neighborhood and everything ive heard about those who are in charge and speak up would be in absolute favor of a station in LQA

      15. Interbay is such a shithole, it is completely unwalkable, complete fly through as fast as possible area, an industrial zone, away from residential (and what is nearby is mostly single family), its all an expressway, and they still allow new buildings to be built auto-oriented. I can not believe that we would put a light rail line through this corridor. Downtown to Ballard via Belltown, LQA, Westlake Ave N/Dexter & Fremont neighborhood is way better… at least theres high density housing along Westlake/Dexter and its pedestrian oriented.

    7. I’m going to complain real quick about one of the smaller issues: no station at Ballard Ave and Market St. Right now the plan they’ve put forward is like a hybrid of the 40 for the southern stations and the D line for the northern stations. While the D line sees tons of ridership, I contend that the 15th ave corridor isn’t nearly as urban as the area around Ballard Ave. Not only is it the area of Ballard where all the restaurants, shopping, etc happen, but it’s also right next to the Swedish hospital. The only justifiable reason not to put a station there is because it would be hard to build a station without tearing down old buildings. I think this is a silly reason that wouldn’t be an issue if ST didn’t build every station with a huge surface footprint. It’d be much easier to build a station at 15th Ave NW and Market, especially if they level the gas station on the corner, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best place to put it.

      1. You are certainly right about the promise of near-coastal Ballard, but I think the reason for no station there is that the new bridge will be high enough that the engineers can’t add a flat spot in the descent. Stations must be horizontal.

      2. Gas station is getting built upon next year.

        Millions and millions of wasted comments in, the best place for a Ballard subway stop remains:
        – in a cut-and-covered-over trench
        – directly beneath either 54th or 56th
        – with an entrance at 17th and another at 15th
        – on an east-west subway line

      3. Why are the comments wasted, d.p.? Do you not think it would be absurd to tunnel under LQA but have no LQA station?

      4. I no longer believe that ST gives even the faintest whiff of a shit about quality outcomes, about common sense, or about rational discourse.

      5. SDOT staff hinted that the 7-11 at 17th and Market would be where the light rail stop would be.

      6. Ok, but not including an LQA station on a Downtown-Ballard route would be a new low. It would be the single worst decision ST ever made, and that’s saying a lot. Of course, it was SDOT who drafted this route, but given ST’s penchant for doing what the jurisdiction asks for, this is a really bad sign.

      7. mdnative,

        If the LRT stop is to be at 17th and Market, then why is SDOT advocating a “multi-modal bridge in the 15th Avenue corridor? How do they propose to get from wherever such a bridge “lands” on the north side of the Ship Canal to a tunnel station at 17th and Market?

        Are you sure about your post?

      8. Ananda, that is what the SDOT folks were saying to me at a Ballard HS forum. (they also poo-poohed the idea of a Ballard Spur). This is before the idea of a partially non-grade separated line was suggested– IIRC, it was back when Option D was their favorite.

      9. mdnative,

        OK, two views at different time. Thanks for clarifying. Their current position is stations at Market and 65th, nothing south or west of there.

  7. From Wikipedia: “Shanghai Metro lines 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 are equipped with CBTC systems capable of headways as low as 90 seconds.”

    1. This mostly surprises me because the dwell times on lines with full-height platform screen doors are really long. Palpably and teeth-pullingly long, in a way that starts to add up if you’re traveling a ways. Worse than I’ve experienced anywhere in the world, including on Link.

      You’ll get especially sick of the dwell times if traveling back and forth repeatedly to Hongqiao Station — the high-speed-rail outpost that has also, unfortunately, become the primary terminal for many regional trips. Built from scratch in the distant western fringes of the city, out past the domestic airport, it requires a really long ride on the 2 or the 10 subways.

      Imagine King Street Station moving to Tukwila. And man, those dwell times…

      Shanghai has achieved jawdropping progress in the last two decades, but I would hardly call the results flawless.

      1. Also, on more than one occasion a driver overshot the platform screen doors, and actually had to back up a couple of feet in the tunnel before the doors could be opened.

        I’m not sure I’m thrilled to know there could have been another mostly-human-controlled train barreling down on us so closely behind.

      2. d.p.

        In China, with its rich Confucian intellectual history and their experience with large populations in cities, the government has mastered the science of having two apparently solid objects occupy the same space.

        The keyword here is “apparently“. Since all “matter” is an astoundingly five 9’s percentage of empty space, President Xi Jinping recently announced that The Party has declared that the One Child Policy with regards to mass collections has been revoked, making it quite possible for two subway trains both to occupy the same platform simultaneously.

        The Party expects to use this new discovery to decrease headways on the more heavily used Shanghai lines to five microseconds. That is the shortest time interval that the sensors on which the latest iteration of the CBTC train control system can discretely identify different trains.

  8. Honestly, I don’t see how 20 years became 10 (gif starts in 1994)…
    But yeah, they don’t have to do env assessment, they come and just take the land where they want it and most likely you cannot sue them. So yeah, they build fast…

  9. It’s interesting to look at the different reactions cities have to the coming of light rail. For Des Moines, Kent, and Federal Way, they see it as this mostly negative thing that will close businesses and put people out of work, so it needs to be kept away from businesses and people. But as far back as ten years ago, Bellevue had a different reaction to the coming of rail (at least for one section of town). They had the vision to see East Link as an opportunity to transform the Bel-Red corridor, one of their lowest rent districts filled with the kind of businesses you would see along highway 99 in Kent, like auto repair shops and warehouses, into TOD in the form of the Spring District. Early on, they got to work on changing the zoning of the area, and worked with developers and Sound Transit.

    Homework assignment. Explain the contrast of reaction. Why didn’t those south end cities see Link as an opportunity to spin straw into gold, like Bellevue did with the Spring District?

    1. Let me remind you Sam, that some Bellevue City Council members thought it would be a good idea to place the downtown Bellevue station on 114th Ave. The current station location is better than that, but it could have been even better.

      It’s also worth noting that in the process of evaluating alternernatives in the Final EIS that they came up with a better way of getting between the downtown station and those Spring District stations.

      1. BTW, when I was viewing the board meeting video, I got the impression that the board accedeed to the city’e wishes mostly because they didn’t want to go through the crap that the BCC bombarded them with during East Link PE.

      2. That’s why I was only talking about the Spring District, and no other ST/Bellevue issue.

        And if you think local cities are legally more powerful than Sound Transit, let me remind you ST rammed the rail yard down Bellevue’s throat despite it’s objection. ST can be the big dog when it wants to.

      3. A rail line has to have a maintenance yard like it needs to have stations: it can’t function otherwise. There were three prospective sites: Bel-Red, near Lynnwood Station, and the third I can’t remember. None of the host cities wanted it, so ST had to choose one. If Bellevue didn’t want the yard it could have just said it didn’t want light rail at all.

    2. Mike, have you ever seen those online videos showing a large dog, that could easily defeat it if it wanted to, being frightened by a very young kitten who is hissing at it? Sound Transit is that dog and local towns are that hissing kitten.

  10. So whatever happened to the plan to improve service on the C/D Lines to 12 minutes on Sunday?

    As of the June shakeup it’s still every 15 minutes.

    Is it one of those things where the service hours went somewhere else or is it simply that Metro doesn’t have enough drivers to fill the runs?

    1. Might be a combination of few drivers and a September start date. A lot of service starts in September.

      1. That might very well be the case, but the agreement between SDOT and King County Metro doesn’t mention any service being added to the C/D Lines in September.

        Of course it would have been easier to know if SDOT ever planned to improve service to 12 minutes on Sunday if it wasn’t listed so cryptically on the agreement: “C/D Line – Improve frequency to about: 7- 8/12/15/15/12/15”

        Here’s a link to the agreement: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/TransitServiceFundingAgreement.pdf

      2. I’m pretty sure that represents “peak/mid-day/weekday-eve/Saturday/Saturday-eve/Sunday”, implying that Sunday is staying at 15 minutes for the time being.

        But take heart. The 40 is now a full-time urban-style frequent service, the first central Ballard and Fremont have ever had….. 6 days a week. But for the foreseeable future, it remains stuck at 30 minutes at all times on Sunday.

        RR is the rare route in this town that no longer makes its users put up with gigantic schedule holes.

      3. If by “the foreseeable future” you mean September 2015.

        Under the agreement Sunday frequency on the 40 will improve to 15 minutes in September.

        Then central Ballard and Fremont will have full-time urban-style frequent service, 7 days a week.

        Hope that makes your Sunday a bit better!

      4. It does… thank you!

        I had honestly thought I read that a 7-day frequency allocation had barely missed the cut-off for both rounds of added service.

        For the record, I have been both surprised and pleased at the degree to which Ballard’s growth as a multifaceted and all-day urban participant has been reflected in its transit ridership.

        For the first time in history, we have full-on spontaneous-level service stretching in three directions from our hub, and all of these services are seeing robust ridership, in all directions! I never thought I’d see the day when 7.5-minute trunk service — like a real city — saw respectable bi-directional loads, but that day is here, and it is multi-directional!

        Hooray for growth, hooray for contiguousness, hooray for networks!

        (Such success is notably absent in, say, the isolated and sprawling wilds of West Seattle. #DeathToFalseEquivalencies)

  11. A commitment to clearing accidents quickly so that roads can be reopened made the front page of the Seattle Times last Sunday. Police and SDOT are committing to do that and State Patrol already does. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/traffic-experts-tell-seattle-to-fix-car-wreck-response/

    How can we get that same commitment to clearing Link, Sounder and Amtrak train service after accidents? Whether vehicle or pedestrian, there’s really not much to be gained from a 2-hour investigation. Link trains have a ton of cameras that can viewed at leisure. People and cars aren’t supposed to be on the tracks. Most police probably have zero experience and just close everything down while they figure out what to do. Let’s get the same commitment to quickly restore service.

    1. Well put. Listen, I don’t mean to be callous, but if you choose to cross the tracks LOOK BOTH WAYS. No need to shut down Link light rail for every winner of a Darwin Award.

      Just like come one December, a special super Sounder Darwin trophy will be given to Sounder North cheerleaders after The Big Landslide takes a Sounder North into the drink. I hope it’s while SAR units are busy rescuing people from floodplains…

  12. For a somewhat smaller-potatoes discussion…

    I think that in another generation or so we’ll start thinking seriously about a Fairview-Boren bus. At its core this is basically like the 8 as “the Denny bus” — it would go to a bunch of places with existing downtown-centric service (probably Campus Parkway, probably Rainier or maybe Beacon Hill, depending on how other stuff works out), but skirt downtown on Fairview and Boren. Some parts of this corridor have a long way to go regarding land use, and even at its best it might not be the slam-dunk Denny is.

    One potential regional wrinkle for this route would be avoiding downtown for connections to 520 routes at the planned Olive Way freeway station. People along much of this route will never have particularly convenient access to 520 routes that terminate in the U District, but a bus up Boren sort of connects to Olive Way and Stewart/Yale. Obviously this has its own problems. The walks needed to make the transfer are pretty long and pretty unpleasant. And I certainly understand many people’s desire not to spend bus-hours in traffic on I-5 and downtown post-U Link. But the U District transfer situation is going to be really bad for anyone whose Seattle-side destination isn’t right next to a Link station, and I don’t have any confidence we’ll fix that in a generation, unless concussions kill football or something.

    1. I thought of the same thing. I’ve argued that if we build the WSTT (and I think we should built the WSTT) that it should include a station at Madison and Boren. That would not only serve an area that Link managed to avoid, but provide a great connection with a bus like that. From Yesler Terrace to South Lake Union (if not farther on each end) would be a very popular bus route. I’m thinking every couple minutes.

      1. Ross,

        I really cannot agree with a deviation to Madison and Boren. It would deprive riders from throughout the city west of I-5 from access to the office core from Yesler to University. You’d force thousands of transfers per hour at ID station or Westlake. Even if you placed the south end of the southern station next to the north end of ID, you can’t extend it anywhere north of about Washington and still swing east to Boren and Madison, at least, not without having a ridiculously twisting alignment.

        And that station would be deep! unless the guideway erupted from the hillside above the ID just west of the freeway south of Yesler on a high structure. Nobody is going to agree to that!

        The geometry just does not work, aside from the forced transfer problem.

        No, service to First Hill will always be less important than access to the high-rise office core. It’s by no means unimportant; we need some way to get HCT up there. But it won’t be easy nor will it be cheap. And deviating the WSTT is not the way to do it.

      2. Sorry, but…. meh.

        Not every city on earth comes with a linear downtown barely 5 blocks across.

        Painless subway-to-subway transfers to get closer to where one is actually headed within the center city are beyond mundane in pretty much every big city in the world.

      3. Painless subway-to-subway transfers to get closer to where one is actually headed within the center city are beyond mundane in pretty much every big city in the world.”

        Yes, they are, d.p. But lines rarely make a zig away from the densest sections of a what a “straight line” alignment would be just before traversing it.

        First Hill will always be subordinate to the high rise core; many more people will be heading to Fourth and Madison from Ballard, Green Lake and West Seattle than will be heading to Boren and Madison. Remember we were talking about the WSTT; those neighborhoods would be its catchments.

        Therefore the trunk line serving Ballard, Green Lake and West Seattle should give direct service to the office core and the relative minority of riders headed to the top of First Hill should be the ones making any transfers. That simply makes sense. That transfer can be handled by the Madison BRT for most riders until HCT makes it to the top of the hill, probably from a connection at the north end of downtown and/or by intercepting Central and East Links in the RV. Getting there from the ID end of the CBD by any kind of train is going to be extremely difficult without a 250 foot deep station and the resultant elevator waits.

        IOW, bordering on the irresponsible.

      4. Meh.
        Meh.
        Meh.

        If there’s even a tiny piece of you that genuinely believes this zillion-dollar city-remaking transit enterprise might accidentally remake the city — both physically and in the way people mentally map it, and approach their daily usage of it — then this is truly a non-issue.

        Real cities activate in three dimensions. They are emphatically (and sometimes messily) multipolar. That you can’t help but continue to think in radial effects shows just how lame and resistant to urbanity this town truly is.

        (And I didn’t even address the details of the location in question. Could there be a better example of the lame American single-facet skyscraper-in-plazas downtown, congested at rush hour yet rolls up the sidewalks at 6pm, than the one found between Madison and Jefferson, 3rd and 6th?)

      5. (Frankly, I should’ve led with that last parenthetical paragraph. Half of our downtown is a wasteland most of the time. Nothing “densest” about it, destination-wise.)

      6. No, the skyscraper core is not a 24/7/365 transit destination. But it is the single greatest trip attractor in the region. Boren and Madison probably does have more night time transit demand that Fourth and Madison, because of the hospitals. But over the 168 hours in one “ordinary” calendar week, there are probably eight times as many people who would use a station at Fourth and Madison than one at Boren and Madison.

      7. …And yet, in real cities, hundreds of thousands of people transfer every day from the part of the center city through which their primary line happens to pass, to the part of the center city where their workplaces happen to be.

        It’s not that I think any of the other plans proffered are without fault. It’s just that you seem so goddamned sure that immediately-adjacent parallel redundancy is the only possible answer! Even if this were to become the second and final subway ever built in Seattle.

        As ever, ask yourself why is Seattle is so damned special that its transit must serve fewer places at greater expense than anywhere else.

      8. I mean, I’m trying to brainstorm 2-core-line subway in the world. With very few exceptions, the lines cross! On their way to additional places!

        Because perpendicularity maximizes your investment, while parallel running emphatically does not. Why is our boring financial district a special snowflake this time?

      9. And WHAT relevance do Budapest, Manhattan and Washington DC have to the 150 elevation difference between Boren and Madison and Fourth and Madison? I don’t know about Budapest, but the areas highlighted in your Google Maps links in Washington DC and New York are both flat as a pancake (Capitol “Hill” notwithstanding).

      10. All right, whatever. Go ahead and argue for the Worm Shaped Transit Tunel (WSTT). Nobody will vote for it, that’s for sure.

      11. You said that no subway would ever turn rather than bee-lining through the arbitrarily-defined epicenter of a city’s downtown, or would ever skirt laterally to serve a different part of the center city, because existing transit already has the supposed epicenter covered.

        All three examples show precisely that. (Try taking an F train to Wall Street sometime.)

        I can’t even begin to imagine why you’re arguing that the ability of underground transit to reach places where the surface topography creates pedestrian impediments would be less of a reason to aim for broader coverage?

      12. Really? Throwing up your hands, because you can’t locate another example of a city that built tunnel after tunnel after tunnel in immediate parallel, insisting that every inch of downtown must be a grade-separated one-seat from every other inch of the city?

        It’s not that I enjoy giving you a hard time, Anandakos — honestly, I don’t — but that I’m tired of every damned discussion around here being founded upon “snowflake truisms” that don’t have any precedent, and don’t make any sense.

        This is one of those.

      13. You know, it’s not like I’m claiming there even is any perfect solution to Seattle’s geometric quandaries.

        Putting First Hill on the first line — that was a “worm shaped” plan too! — was probably the closest to a good solution as we were ever going to get, which is why it profoundly sucks that our representatives didn’t go to bat hard enough for it.

        I think it’s fair to say that a perfect alignment for future downtown tunnels objectively does not exist. Which is why I find it infuriating that the STB-commenter modus operandi is to insist that the way they see things playing out is handed down by God itself, and therefore must be a direct corollary of objective reality.

        Look again at a map of the downtown/First Hill grid. Pretend it isn’t sliced by I-5. Now lay the parallel subways of Montreal — the closest example I could find to what you insist is an appropriate model — over that grid. One runs up 3rd. The other is under Boren. They cross at both ends.

        There may be cases to be made that running a second, inherently-kind-of-redundant tunnel the length of downtown would work better than any remaining alternative. But “how cities work” is not that case.

    2. There have been suggestions to reroute the 7 this way. Thus far it has been blocked by the debatable concern that most people are going downtown, and the more critical concern that most transfers are downtown, and the number of people who take it to Chinatown.

      1. Just off the wires from ST:

        “THANK YOU 25,000 TIMES OVER!
        Last week, the Sound Transit Board discussed an unprecedented volume of public input and support received during the first round of public involvement to shape a Sound Transit 3 (ST3) ballot measure.
        Thank you for your feedback! Nearly 25,000 people took an online survey. This response was double the amount of feedback heard when we engaged Puget Sound residents in June 2014. In addition, a total of 1,025 people submitted written comments at meetings across the region and by email and mail, and more than 70 local governments and organizations sent comment letters.
        Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the Draft Priority Projects List was a good list of projects to study, and approximately 5,000 people responded to an open-ended question seeking input on other potential projects to study.”
        .
        25,000 people can’t be wrong, or at least 78% of them. FULL STEAM AHEAD, SEATLLE

  13. Last week I developed a new second least favorite intersection to walk through.

    My least favorite intersection if I can be called as such is the suicidal horror at the Bell Steeet Pier pedestrian bridge, which dumps out onto what is essentially a freeway on ramp for the 99 viaduct.

    My second least favorite, at least in the northwest, is the awful mess just west of the Amtrak station in downtown Salem, Oregon. Usually, I hear directly north from this station.

    It turns out, if you head directly west from the station the traffic light there is set up to cause pedestrians crossing from downtown to the station to wait through three light cycles to get across. The first cycle gets you from the station to an island between northbound traffic and left turn traffic. The next cycle gets you across the left turn traffic only, and to another island. Then, at the third cycle, you are finally allowed to get across the intersection and continue on your way.

    One of the things ADA advocates do is put officials in wheelchairs and have them navigate the results of their planning decisions.

    We need to start doing that with everything else. Just once per session I would like to see state legislators get to work without driving.

    1. Next time you’re in Bellevue, try walking from Bellevue Transit Center to the Whole Foods via the most direct route (8th St.). Besides excessive wait times at all the stoplights, you also have to cross freeway on-ramps via very dangerous unmarked crosswalks.

      Fortunately, for Bellevue, you can avoid the mess by detouring to 10th St. After stoplights are taken into account, the detour may arguably be faster than the direct route.

      1. At least at that intersection, you can sort of see what is coming at you, and the sharp curves slow stuff down a bit.

        At the Bell Street Crosswalk Catastrophe you can’t really see what is coming at you until it is too late, and traffic seems to speed up as it comes off the viaduct.

  14. My idea for Federal Way Link alignment has always been this: at grade, down the median of 99. Have stations like Link stations on MLK in Rainer Valley, or Union Station in Tacoma. Bus to train transfers would take the same amount of time as bus to bus transfers. Replace the A-line, and put the A-line hours toward local buses that connect to Link. Have stops less frequent than the A-line but more frequent than Link on MLK, but be twice as fast as the A-line. Link will never be a good FW-Seattle express, so don’t pretend to be by going on I-5. Be a great rapid transit line that goes where people go and also connects the strip of 99 from Federal Way to Tukwila to places north (and eventually south).

    1. That simply adds to the main issue of reducing frequency later on and would not be as reliable as a grade separated alignment. Vancouver has a fully elevated rapid transit line and had it since 1986 along a major corridor.

      My thinking is at some point, Link may go through Renton to Bellevue, creating a Federal Way-Redmond corridor. Given 405 along the Renton S curves has chronic congestion, this will be a necessary corridor to pay attention to. The 405 ETLs with BRT running buses will be part of the solution but once those buses are filled, it will be time to go for rail.

      1. As I recall, increasing service along 405 isn’t on ST’s radar because ridership isn’t high enough to justify it. What makes you think it’s going to get rail?

      2. Probably not for the forseeable future but if 405 BRT sees success, we might see it.

        Why? Look at the 95% reliable travel times to Bellevue from Federal Way.

        Just a random look, for most days if you need to be in Bellevue by 7 am, you need 62 minutes of travel time.

        If I’m not mistaken, I am fairly certain Link could do that in around 45 minutes (best guess) to Downtown Bellevue. 15 minute savings isn’t too bad and time competitive most of the day. We will see how BRT ridership is first though but it could be in the cards. Can’t say no to 405 for East King.

  15. Sad when a Communist government does the job faster (and no doubt cheaper) than our local governance.

    Vancouver is another example that was built fast, and regional and provides rapid transit.

    LINK still is not regional and it’s certainly not rapid…the two things the public asked for, In 1993.

  16. Has anyone considered this conspiracy theory? ST is purposely designing slow, meandering alignments so that it can come back a couple decades from now and say Link isn’t cutting it as quick rail travel, and that now they need tens of billions more dollars to create a completely new rail system that’s quicker.

    1. Remember this is being done by the various communities through which Link will run.

      It’s more likely a conservative conspiracy to build a thoroughly awful line, then use it as an example of light rail not working.

      One of the reasons we got such an awful route for MAX orange line is the garbage from the libertarian think tank Cascade Policy Institute. It was primarily aimed at trying to keep MAX out of populated areas.

    2. Considering you can watch all their meetings, that is a crazy theory that makes no sense.

    1. Anyone who is suggesting the system be privatized in Kitsap is simply DOA when it comes to elections.

      I am not sure how many of those voted for specific candidates but I would like to see some equality. I want to see how much the roads truly pay for themselves. The peak season surcharge should be a little higher I think given the insane demand this summer. In order to improve system capacity, I would say at least $1 billion would have to be poured into the system.

      We are talking terminal, vessel, and connecting infrastructure to said terminals. Edmonds really needs a new site, the Mid-Waterfront proposed is probably the best from an environmental and cost stand point not requiring the clearing of wetlands and paying for a new mutli-modal terminal for rail and parking while increasing capacity to 420 vehicles in Phase I, just go for one less slip. Kingston would need more holding, likely do a remote holding lot and a 2nd exit lane to the intersection of SR 104 since most split off there to go to Hood Canal.

      Bainbridge could redo the entire slanted parking lot and turn some of that into development. Mostly needs new overhead loading given the age of the facility.

      Clinton, just relocate the current Slip 1 further into the water and restripe to utilize the rest of the holding lanes.

      Anacortes just needs a new passenger terminal.

      Edmonds-Kingston, Clinton-Mukilteo, and Seattle-Bainbridge could all use 3rd boats, and Port Townsend-Coupeville could use some more 2nd boat service.

      Of course we have to pay for more freeway megaprojects first but I am Kitsap self centered.

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