Martin and I took some time to record a podcast this week.  Topics include:

You can find the podcast feed here if you’re inclined to subscribe, although I can’t promise when another episode will appear.

71 Replies to “Podcast: ST3 Options”

  1. I made it to the end, thought the length was fine at about an hour. Neat idea. I know it’s probably hard to do these on a regular basis, but I did like it.

    You won’t always have a topic like ST3 to talk about, but when there’s enough subject matter, a podcast is a great way to explore ideas.

  2. I’ve only had the chance to listen to the first 15 minutes so far, but overall found it to be interesting. With the SDOT routing to Ballard discussion, I was expecting to hear some discussion of at-grade vs elevated for 15th Ave W, which looks like it’s shaping up to be a sticking point. If that doesn’t get touched on later in the conversation, I’d be interested to get your thoughts on it in the comment section.

    1. The at grade sections will be “MLK-quality.”
      https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/05/07/st-staff-submits-draft-draft-st3-project-list/

      Personally I think at-grade could work even better on 15th than on MLK, since there’s even less east-west traffic, and what east-west traffic does exist is already grade separated and would continue to be (i.e. Magnolia/Expedia, Dravus, etc).

      Whether or not “better than MLK” is “good enough” will be a question for the voters, I guess. It’s a tradeoff, for sure.

      1. Also, the higher speed limits on the roads would be a big plus :)
        I wouldn’t mind some concrete barriers on both sides though, that should help with safety and reliability.

      2. I think that’s a very naive perspective, in what world is the poor compromise of MLK a good outcome? You don’t start from the good and negotiate to bad, you start with the best and negotiate to a compromise.

      3. I would be strongly opposed to at-grade along 15th Ave W because of potential reliability and frequency issues compared to an elevated route. However, it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me – I would still begrudgingly vote yes for ST3 if at-grade along 15th Ave W (south of the Ballard Bridge) was in the system plan.

        However, what would be a dealbreaker for me is an at-grade alignment between the Ballard Bridge and Market along 15th Ave NW, with an at-grade station on Market and 15th (similar to Columbia City, for instance). The idea of Link crossing Market (either now or in a future extension) and the other East-West streets along that half-mile stretch at-grade is a complete non-starter. As is a station that isn’t compatible with an East-West line to the U District (and an at-grade station wouldn’t be).

        I think if they make the regrettable decision to go at-grade along 15th Ave W, the bare minimum they need to do would be continue elevated past the Ballard Bridge and then curve onto an elevated station along Market around 15th. Obviously a tunnel and underground station would be even better, but if cost is an issue an elevated station should work because an East-West line wouldn’t require a tunnel until past 8th Ave NW.

      4. BNSF is “at grade” with no crossings north of Alaskan Way. Maybe enough space could be found to shoehorn in a light rail line with no significant crossing the way the Pier 96 bike path was.

        The problem with ML King is the road is too wide and fast. If Portland were doing this, 15th would probably get chopped by one lane each direction and through auto traffic would wind up preferring to be on Westlake due to increased congestion. It slows the parallel auto traffic down a bit. I’m thinking that’s maybe part of the reason E Burnside or N Interstate seem to have fewer turning left into trains type collisions than what seems to happen on ML King.

      5. SDOT recently lowered 15th’s speed limit to a geometrically-preposterous 30, which is actually slower than MLK’s.

        SDOT, like Martin (but not Frank) in the podcast, seems to be incorrectly presuming that minor regulatory shifts and a whole bunch of wishful thinking can turn Interbay into a “place”.

      6. It’s probably part of the mayor’s plan to lower speed limits citywide. Arterial streets are to go down to 30, and side streets to 20. I think that’s too low for 15th W or Rainier or Aurora. Yesterday in Columbia City I saw a sign in a traffic circle that said “20 is fast enough” or something like that. I wasn’t sure if it was a city educational message or a citizens’ campaign to push for slow speeds.

      7. So why are we as transit proponents STARTING WITH:
        -routing via Interbay, a highway & industrial corridor not suited for transit or TOD or any pedestrian orientation, nor ever will become a ‘place’
        -suggesting turning 15th into a freeway with transit running at-grade in a median

        Just wait until this route does get selected then gets all the NIMBYs, sprawl and industrial interests up in arms along here about losing left turn access which of course ST will cave to.

      8. A Westlake route wouldn’t serve Lower Queen Anne. Westlake also lacks the bridges over 15th that already exist at Emerson, Dravus and Magnolia Bridge, so it would be harder to have a private right of way through there without a bunch of money.

        Westlake could at least serve part of Fremont though, and start the effort at Ballard to UW.

      9. “up in arms along here about losing left turn access which of course ST will cave to”

        … because ST caved on left turns on MLK, not.

      10. “So why are we as transit proponents STARTING WITH:
        -routing via Interbay… -suggesting turning 15th into a freeway with transit running at-grade in a median”

        We started with wanting full grade separation and a line with stations for upper Queen Anne and Fremont. That was 75% of the feedback to the Ballard-downtown corridor studies 2-3 years ago, and it made ST add that alternative to the list. Now it’s a later phase and we’re looking at what can fit into a possible budget, remembering that Ballard is not the only place in the city that needs HCT.

        The most important issue is travel time. ST’s estimates for Westlake-Market all underground/elevated were 11 minutes. The 15X is 23 minutes. The D is 30 minutes. So my opinion is that 15 minutes is excellent, 20 minutes is OK, and 30 minutes is unacceptable. We won’t know until ST studies it and sees how it can optimize it how long these newer routes might take, but there’s a good chance they’ll come in in that 12-20 minute range. That would likely be acceptable to me even if 10 minutes would be ideal.

        15th Ave W has been a freeway for some sixty years. The exits were built sometime in the 1930s or 40s. Putting Link in the center lanes would not be a big deal. The worst consequence is it might be limited to 30 mph instead of 55.

    2. At-grade does not mean grade crossings. They are two different things.

      As long as 15th Avenue NW has grade separations for the cross traffic streets, at-grade is fine. Why elevate if there is already a separation?

      In fact, there are existing bridges over 15th Avenue NW and if the track was elevated, either the track will have to be high enough to also go over the bridge overpasses, or those bridges would have to be replaced by signalized intersections, or those bridges would have to have rail grade crossings. None of these situations are desirable!

      I trust the design engineers to work through the details about what grades need to be. The goal should be “fully grade separated” and not “elevated”.

      1. Yes, grade separated. Lynnwood Link in Shoreline and the I-5 proposal for Federal Way have the line at-grade along the freeway but going down in a trench underneath cross-streets for stations. That’s the kind of inexpensive grade separation that should be Link’s minimum standard.

      2. Yep. That’s why Seattle Subway has made it a point to emphasize our opposition to ‘at grade crossings’ or ‘interacting with traffic’ not to at grade in general.

  3. I made it to the end as well. How about interviews on podcasts? Maybe politicians, Dow, Kubly, ST guys….

  4. Seattle ST3 situation as I see it: A limited pot of money with essentially 3 neighborhoods at play. There are of course more neighborhoods (Belltown!!!!!!), but really 3 that are absolutely screaming for transit (and ready to vote):

    1. Ballard
    2. South Lake Union
    3. West Seattle

    Seattle officials want to serve both 1 & 2 *fore sure*. Beyond Seattle, those in power in King County and Sound Transit either have an affinity for West Seattle or believe WS will get out the vote and their future political fates (or that of the organizations they lead) could be determined on this issue alone.

    Here are 3 or 4 projects in play: Ballard Spur (BS), WSS (West Seattle Spur) or WS BRT, and finally a Ballard – West Seattle line with new downtown tunnel.

    BS WSS or WSBRT B WS
    Ballard X X
    SLU X
    WS X X

    As you can see, the only project that satisfies (relative term) all three neighborhoods is B WS line with new downtown tunnel.

    If I were King, I would build the Ballard Spur as well as a tunnel from SLU to downtown assuming that tunnel would eventually be extended either south or East to the Central District and would also eventually be extended North/West. For WS, maybe you could build the West Seattle Spur or some or all of Ross’ BRT plan. But the voices from WS are pitchforks for anything less than light rail. So elected officials are lining up behind B WS.

    1. Okay I messed up the tabs on my Table. What I meant to show is that Ballard Spur benefits Ballard (and Fremont and U District), WSS or WSBRT benefits West Seattle, but Ballard WS benefits Ballard, West Seattle, and probably SLU if they choose SDOT’s routing.

      1. I guess there are two possibilities – they are screaming and I just don’t hear it, or they aren’t screaming.

        If I were King Belltown would be high on my list (higher than West Seattle, for example). That said, a whole lot of buses pass through there, and I suspect many Belltown residents have the option to walk to many of their destinations due to the density of the area.

      2. Id also say… Most people in Belltown assume that they will get a stop on the way to Ballard. It has always been on the map. Only hardcore nerds even know about some letter SDOT wrote to ST.

    2. Belltown would vote better than SLU, because people vote not jobs. That said, I think we could serve both for a very incremental increase in investment.

      1. I guess I think of it this way: Doesn’t the SLUT serve SLU and connect it to Westlake? If our absurd streetcar were really the transit solution Kubly thinks it is, why choose an alignment that basically screws Belltown forever by routing through SLU? SDOT’s preferred alignment tells us everything we need to know about their streetcar expectations.

        Made it all the way through the podcast. Would have liked harder hitting commentary. There just seems to be general acceptance by the wise authors and commenters of SDOT’s preferred alignment, which I can’t understand for the life of me. Or simplistically, given the time/cost/quality constraints of these projects, why are you guys so willing to give away quality? If you are the urbanists you claim to be, then you should support transportation alternatives that enable people to live here car-free. As discussed in the podcast, these station choices and alignments are really about a car-free commute only. Please, can we get some rail to Belltown, UQA, First Hill? I don’t live or work in any of those places – but I would love to hop on ST and head there for dinner. It’s fun to think about what Interbay can become (if you build it, they will come), but guess what? They’ve already come to Seattle, and they aren’t in fucking Interbay! So why don’t we just build it where they are, even if it costs more and takes longer? The people who live here for next 150 years will thank you.

        Stepping down from soap box.

      2. IMO a station in UQA isn’t feasible technologically nor monetarily. I think they’d be better served with gondolas up and down the hill to the Uptown station!

        First Hill doesn’t necessarily need a stop with the streetcar there IMO.

      3. Husky,
        Totally agree with your gist. We should build a system that serves the city we have, and if we have extra money send it on to neighborhoods that might grow. But we shouldn’t skip everything that exists to serve things that might…maybe… one day be there.

        Also, Zach is prolly right about UQA. It would be a deep deep deep stations. Like twice as deep as Beacon Hill, around 300 feet. Normally you don’t dig that deep unless there is platinum or something at the bottom.

      4. Anything east of First Avenue in Belltown is not that far of a walk to any of the proposed stations. Between the LQA Station, Denny/Westlake Station (with an exit south around Lenora) and the Pine/Westlake Station, it appears that 90 percent of Belltown residents and businesses will be within a half-mile (more like just 2,000 feet) of a station entrance — a fairly reasonable walking distance in rail planning. That’s pretty similar to the distance between Columbia City Station and the Columbia City business district on Rainier!

      5. “Belltown would vote better than SLU, because people vote not jobs.”

        Nearly everybody who commutes to SLU lives somewhere within the ST district, even if they don’t live in Seattle or the north King sub-area. These people will have plenty reason to vote for a line serving SLU.

        For those living in Belltown, the incentive to vote “yes” would be much quicker access to Ballard, even if it means walking 1/3 mile or 1/2 mile to the nearest station. For just getting to downtown, most of Belltown doesn’t really need a subway – they can just walk. (and the north end of Belltown could walk to the 5th and Harrison or Lower Queen Anne stop).

      6. @ asdf2,
        I think you have it a bit backwards. When people decide the path of their commute, the mode needs to be near them. So the commuters you pick up with this plan all live in either ballard of LQA, which are places voting yes anyway since they get stops. On the other hand, having a subway stop near where you live allows you to plug into the system for any other trip you may want, which is actually the majority of trips in Seattle.

        @ asdf2 and Al S.
        1/2 mile is the outside perimeter of conceptual walksheds. In practice, people often just skip making the trip. and not even all of the densest neighborhood in play is within that.

        We don’t have to choose between serving Belltown or serve SLU. We can do both. That would be the really effective thing to do.

      7. Jon, how are you suggesting we serve both Belltown and SLU? My plan would be to go up Westlake instead of 15th, but that’d be a radical redesign of the plans.

      8. “We don’t have to choose between serving Belltown or serve SLU.”

        How? A straight line from north Seattle would have to zigzag heavily to serve both.

      9. You mean making Ballard and West Seattle separate lines that overlap downtown? That’s significantly more expensive and not something ST has shown itself willing to consider. And it’s not “a line” at that point, but two lines.

  5. Martin, did you read about the nice upgrades they’re making to the connector? They’re adding bigger buses to the high ridership lines [Belltown, Cap Hill] and more stops. So, yay!

    Though I doubt I’ll take connector when the 545 has full bus separation to get out of the horrendous 520 traffic.

    1. It will be interesting to see how 542+Link compares with the Connector for getting to the area around the Capitol Hill Link Station. I would not be at all surprised if the 2-seat ride ends up being faster than the 1-seat ride for a good number of people, especially in the afternoon direction, where the average wait time for the connection is as little as 3 minutes.

  6. Affordable Brooklyn link:

    “…you’re greeted by a solid wall of new six-story brick buildings…”

    Exactly what this region needs. For example, they are looking at developing Rainier Avenue..putting it on a road diet, adding bike and bus lanes.

    You could line both sides of Rainier Avenue with these same buildings from Seattle to Renton, keeping space for the many delicious restaurants on that corridor. It would take some active policing to clean it up, and the road diet of course to turn it from a highway back to slower moving people friendly street. But it can be done.

    This guy is selling his apartments for $500,000 for a 3-bedroom. Based on our market, I would think the equivalent price, if you build enough of those, would be about $200,000. A most affordable mortgage for almost any one.

  7. I made it to the end.

    Since many of the regular posters have views that are well-known, the podcast format could easily come across as uninformative and frankly a bit self-indulgent. It has to invite outsiders or it’s not going to be very interesting.

    I think that this would be a good way to hear about perspectives who aren’t regular blog posters. I’d love to hear a focus group perspective of seniors with walkers, blind users, residential builders, new freshmen at UW or new immigrants from other countries. Another idea would be to have interest group mash-ups (Sierra Club with a Chamber of Commerce, for example).

    1. I thought that was its purpose: to engage a wider audience on the issues, including those who don’t read all or any of the articles, or don’t read them regularly.

  8. Great work gentlemen. You should do this once a month or so.

    I am willing and available to talk about Island Transit with you anytime. Might want to seek me out after the state audit in the fall.

    Joe

  9. Made it to the end. Good stuff! I think if you guys could tighten it up a bit… not necessarily make it shorter, but just keep the focus and energy up throughout. I’ll tune in for sure if you record another!

    1. … and Wallingford, and Fremont.

      A line running East-West north of the ship canal would hit a lot of places people actually want to go to.

    2. And the current options (44) are slow and could be vastly improved with rail transit.

      With the 15th Ave routing of this Ballard proposal, it sort of suffers from the West Sesttle syndrome: you have to transfer if your destination is anywhere in the Ballard activity area. It could work for the commuters, but the restaurants and movie theatre and all that that draw people to Ballard in the off hours probably aren’t going to use this line due to the off-hours transfer penalty.

      1. The walk from 15th to Leary or even 24th is not that far. Certainly not far enough to be worth waiting for a connecting bus, or spending twice as long on the 40, just to be dropped off a few hundred feet closer to the destination.

      2. The 40 is presently no slower than RapidRide.

        It remains to be seen whether any final radial-rail proposal will be truly quick enough to compensate for the 10-minute access penalty.

        But 10 minutes’ walk is not negligible when considering urban transit that has even the slightest speed, routing, or access flaws hobbling its usefulness elsewhere as well. Flaws compound.

      3. I agree it’s not that far, but it takes longer than it might appear on the map, depending on where you are going. For example, Leary Ave has no traffic signals on it and is one of the several different roads through there that can be time consuming to cross due to the unfortunate anti-pedestrian nature of some of the street planning.

      4. True, but if I have a tight schedule, I’ll choose a 15-minute train trip + a 10 minute walk over a 25-minute bus trip any day. With the former, I can make up delays waiting for the train by walking faster at the end. With the latter, all delays are completely beyond my control and there is no way to make up time.

      5. The distance from 15th to Ballard Ave (23rd at that point) is enough to be noticeable and mildly annoying. That’s compounded by the minimal street-level activation between them. There are street-level shops but not a lot of pedestrians. DP has mentioned that most of the residents in the new apartments walk down to the garage rather than out the front door, so that’s a significant number of pedestrians lost, compared to Summit or Broadway where there’s always pedestrians around 24 hours. Ballard could also do more with sidewalk furniture to liven up the space. And Bergen Place park and Swedish hospital have too much concrete. Then there’s the paucity of pedestrian destinations on 15th. So having the D or Link on 15th is intrinsically non-ideal, but there are non-transit factors that could mitigate it significantly.

      6. It’s not that your approach to trip optimization is exactly wrong, ASDF, or without plenty of precedent in the world.

        That precedent, however, largely applies to subway-enabled cities without the extreme access penalties we like to build into ours, and with trains generally routed as near as possible to the actual destinations described in their literature. All of which adds up to an unequivocal speed advantage over any competing front-door bus options.

        Put another way: the subway stop fully half a mile walk from the major intersection is really not a thing in New York/London/Montreal/wherever. People might walk long distances down (dense, visually engaging) residential streets to access the train from their starting point, but the implicit deal is that any primary, high-volume destination to which they head will be made extremely convenient on the other end.

        In our Ballard example, you are talking about a 10-minute access penalty just from the area’s major density center. Anywhere more exclusively residential is even further. And 10-plus-minute walks are being presumed acceptable on the other end, even to reach busy parts of Queen Anne, SLU, Belltown, or the vast majority of Capitol Hill.

        Any version of this train will be faster than the 40 bus. But 10-20 minutes faster? That will be vanishingly rare, even at rush hour. More frequent? Not necessarily either. More reliable? Only for about an hour each day.

        Seattle absolutely has corridors in which a segregated light rail can make such an inarguable difference that some degree of access penalty becomes worth it. SE Seattle has absolutely proven one of these. The crawl up Capitol Hill is another. Crosstown corridors (44 or 8) could see 500% speed improvements and ∞ reliability improvements from the day they opened, justifying the access penalties inherent in our built form.

        But even then, corridor choices, stop spacing, and stop placing are unbelievably crucial, which is why our habitual botching of all three is so profoundly destructive. We’ve all seen what havoc U-Link’s paltry stop pattern has wreaked on quality access, ensuring that any bus restructure involves painful compromises and ensuring that some trips needlessly lose out in any restructure plan.

        I presume we’ll see the same in Ballard, with the 40 awkwardly rerouted to serve Market Street, thus potentially rendering both the one-seat-ride or the walk-far-to-train options slower than the bus trip is today.

      7. Exactly.

        I can see the 10 minute walk from the primary Ballard core of restaurants and all that working for commutes from Ballard to elsewhere. For those coming to Ballard from elsewhere to visit the restaurants and etc. in the evening, I think with the routing as it is proposed most people are going to just continue to clog up the few parking spaces that are available.

        How many people walk from the Columbia City Link station to get to the restaurants and so on along Rainier Avenue? Spinnaker Bay Brewing? Columbia City Theatre?

        Yes, I realize that Link’s primary purpose wasn’t to serve that section of Rainier Avenue, but that is not what is being promoted here. When people hear of a light rail line to Ballard, they are probably thinking it will make getting to their favorite nightlife spot much easier and faster. They may not necessarily realize that it won’t go there.

        On the other hand, I can sort of see some justification for saying on 15th because of possible future expansion northward.

        Maybe this whole thing from Ballard to West Seattle needs to be reconsidered as a true BRT system? Give RapidRide a speed boost with dedicated lanes and a new bridge, a tunnel through downtown, and a branch line to the main event in the Ballard CBD, and give the 24 and 33 dedicated lanes / tunnel into downtown as well?

      8. “The walk from 15th to Leary or even 24th is not that far. Certainly not far enough to be worth waiting for a connecting bus, or spending twice as long on the 40, just to be dropped off a few hundred feet closer to the destination.”

        But it is long enough to make some people think twice about taking transit for it, and other people to not make the trip. Every little step of inconvenience — walking distance, infrequency, travel time — loses a few riders, so the issue is at what point does it lose too many riders to be acceptable? I don’t think 15th reaches that limit, but at the same time it cuts into the line’s potential ridership and ability to transform the area significantly over the line’s lifetime.

        “On the other hand, I can sort of see some justification for saying on 15th because of possible future expansion northward.”

        The original arguments for 15th were that there’s more development potential there, and it would be a straight shot for continuing north. Since then there’s been a surprising amount of development on 24th, and a decided lack of development on 15th. The underlying reason for 15th may be that it’s a wider street, so that makes it easier and cheaper from an engineering standpoint.

    3. Seriously. I now better understand Martin’s obscene fascination with rail to West Seattle because it’s out of self-interest in getting to lesser Ballard (Alaska Junction) which is closer to his South Seattle home.

      1. As if taking the 50 from the Junction to Columbia City is faster or more pleasant than transferring to the Red Line downtown.

      2. “obscene fascination?” From the one post I wrote about it?

        The only reason I ever to go West Seattle is because my kids go to school there. They will be long done with that by the time this is built.

    1. I listened to it today (Tuesday). I just played it in the background while I was doing other things that didn’t require thinking in words. With that I can listen to two or three hours of talk shows and not miss anything.

  10. Nice first podcast, Frank and Martin!

    Seems like this might be a good format for longer/in depth discussions of particular issues.

    A couple of notes:
    1. With STComplete, Seattle Subway isn’t saying “tax forever and let us know how it goes” – we’re saying define a relatively complete regional system and then build it using existing taxing authority by extending the collection period. It would still follow all the same rules of project definition, oversight, and funding authority of the current system.

    2. Ballard is a regional destination and growing employment center. Examples: Ballard Locks, Golden Gardens, Ballard Farmers Market (largest FM in the NW), events like Seafood Fest and Syttende Mai, booming restaurant and entertainment district, etc. West Seattle has similar (if more spread out) features from a regional perspective.

    1. Thanks Keith. I can certainly get behind STComplete as a concept.

      Yeah, due respect to the Farmers Market and the Seafood Fest, but they’re not of the same magnitude with SeaTac or CenturyLink in terms of draw.

      Anyway, I think this thread is a bit of a red herring. Martin and I both agreed light rail should serve Ballard. The question was whether Ballard is primarily a source of riders or a destination. Currently it’s the former. Should it be a job center as well? Maybe! But that would probably require going toe-to-toe with the maritime industry, the charismatic megafauna of Seattle employment, to re-zone the industrial areas for office development.

      1. Re: Ballard.

        Ok – makes sense. I was thinking of it more for jobs and offices that are opening soon w/o upzones plus entertainment jobs.

        And yeah, Ballard isnt a regional destination on par with Seatac at all.

        I think its being limited by what a pain in the ass it is to get to now (and vice versa – Ballard folk are notoriously impossible to get to other parts of town.).

      2. Ballard is primarily a source in the sense than more than 50% of the riders live in Ballard, but in the podcast you seemed to underestimate the importance of the other minority. People from Bellevue and southeast Seattle and other places go to Ballard for the Locks, the farmers’ market, to work, to attend shows, to go to bars when their friends are going there, as a tourist attraction (Viking town and all that), to visit friends, attend small-group meetings, etc. Some of them go a few times a year, like they do to the airport or stadiums or malls. These are the kinds of things transit is for, and can mop up a significant number of car trips.

        I worked in Ballard for four years, and I lived there for several months, and over the years I’ve gone to it at various times. When I worked there, my coworkers came from a wide area, including Snohomish County. The farmers’ market is larger than the others (although University is about the same size), is open year round, is on Sunday, and has the Ballard atmosphere, so people come from out of the neighborhood to it. When I had an international guest, I took him to see the Ballard neighborhood and the Locks and fish ladder, as many people do. So non-resident trips may be a minority but they’re important to the city’s overall circulation.

        The West Seattle Junction is like that but on a significantly smaller scale. There are few tourist attractions in West Seattle, and the biggest one is Alki which is not exactly close to the Junction. So some people never go to West Seattle. But some people do, and they’re enough to make it a regionally-significant place. And with the development, more people will probably go to it for more reasons.

    1. I did as well and I would like donate my XSP (eXtra Special Points) to Matt (D) Johnson, for being a good sport about me jokingly calling him out for being a copy cat. ;)

  11. Thanks very much for making it into something I could download and listen to on the bus and/or train. I did in fact make it to the end.

    My only complaint now is that I have no way to go back and read earlier segments to be able to quote and comment.

    Some thoughts though:

    1. Regarding the regional planning and “If Martin Was King”, when light rail lines are presented here there may be some discussion of their cost, but very rarely do we see estimated ridership numbers. That would really help with showing if a line is worth building now or later.

    Yes, sometimes the process for determining that is deeply flawed. Maybe a better process would be to show what the current ridership is?

    2.l Regarding circulator routes as “only amateurs do that”, another possible use for them is as appeasement routes. I will use an unfortunate example from Portland:

    As bus routes are changed in the next few years after MAX orange line opens, the following changes are among many proposed:

    Route 19 on Woodstock and Bybee will be straight-lined, and no longer provide a long, bizarre deviation through the Eastmoreland housing development or to the West Union Manor retirement home. This will make the 19 much more rider friendly for the vast majority of riders. However, in order to appease the residents of Eastmoreland (the vast majority of whom don’t actually use the bus route they fight so hard to maintain) a circulator route will be added that will keep service there.

    Route 70 will become a straight-through route on 17th avenue, no longer deviating on the occasional “via 13th” routing it currently has.

    Both areas will be served by the new “Line Y” shown on the Southeast Vision Map.

    Chances are, ridership will be awful in the non-peak hours, so that this route will only operate during peak hours. That way, the current huge waste of hours being spent on routes 70 and 19 on these deviations will be limited in scope on a single schedule.

    3. Regarding the 24 route end in Magnolia, it’s definitely an interesting concept. It basically ends in a circulator. It attempts to serve the entire Magnolia peninsula with a single route. If you want a grand tour of SFH in Magnolia, that’s your route. There’s a decent view looking south from Ella Bailey Park.

    1. »Chances are, ridership will be awful in the non-peak hours, so that this route will only operate during peak hours.«
      Other cities might expect ridership to be awful even in the peak hours, so that such routes would only run during off-peak hours, using buses that would otherwise sit idle between peaks.
      (A peak-only route for a retirement home? Really?)

  12. Keith I think made most of the substance comments I was thinking of.

    On the format part, both from my perspective and those that I work with (transit wonks) an hour is a long time. I realize (and pointed out) that due to you both having crumb snatchers at home setting aside time to meet up at a studio is likely a rarity. Maybe instead of an hour a month podcast, you plan ahead and try and BS about a few topics with that studio time. Have the first two be time sensitive and the others evergreen. Then divide them up into 20-30 minute chunks and post them weekly.

    1. I like the idea of 20-30 minute chunks. Listened all the way to the end a few times.

      I think a weekly podcast focused on one particular issue – e.g. grade-separated transit, transit oriented development, Community Transit, ST3, the ST3 negotiations from Jessyn’s side, Island Transit fiasco, et al. Maybe be brave enough to have Bob Pishue on… once.

      As I’ve said before, I’m eager to come down and let you record a podcast. I can think of a few boardrooms at a certain museum off of the Metro 124 route if you don’t mind some background jet noise. Or if you’re up to a hike, I can book a Future of Flight boardroom. You guys got my e-mail…

  13. Made it to the end! I love my podcasts but I’m a bit meh on this one.

    I like podcasts that are more focused on a topic or a theme, even if its not serious – this one jumped around. Agree that if you have more than three people at once it does get confusing.

    Also, I did not catch whether you mentioned a date of the podcast, I find that important as you are talking about time-sensitive topics while listeners can download and listen at any time even for years. A date clearly mentioned at the front allows the listener to figure out whether its present or past or historical past.

  14. I made it to the end. Not sure, but perhaps 30 minute chunks would be easier to digest for busy people. I don’t know, as I don’t really consume podcasts that frequently.

    Thank you for mentioning the negative tone of the comment threads recently. I don’t know how to address individuals who make good points, but with more cynicism and bile than civility.

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