54 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: BART’s Next 40 Years”

  1. There is a big week ahead foe Link LR. If the schedule holds, both Brenda and Pamela should relaunch on Monday. Brenda is sporting 41 new teeth. I’d hate to be her dentist.

  2. The question is, will the Puget Sound region *also* suffer 40 years of spine-oriented paralysis before ST adopts an operations plan that focused growth where the people are?

    Or will the brave citizens vote down ST3 and avoid freezing their “light rail” system in a sprawling operational nightmare for the next half-century?

    1. Whhaaattt?
      These are all 100 year systems, NO? So ST5 will likely be ST1-redo.
      I have to agree with Kyle on this one. The cost per rider to move people from the extremities of the system into OAK-SFO is really high, just like moving riders from TAC or EVT will be very expensive on a per trip basis. Just look at per rider costs on Sounder North.

      1. When built, rail is a 100-year perpetual-motion-machine of awesomeness that induces infinite “operational efficiencies” just by existing, and whether or not anyone rides it.

        40 years later, it’s a “victim of its own success” because occasionally someone at rush hour doesn’t get to ride in one of the 28 lounge chairs per car, and it needs $16 billion in ameliorations because it has been proving so damned operationally efficient!

      2. $16 billion is kind of a lot of maintenance money. Only really makes sense for a well-designed system operating up to its potential.

        But please, continue to bore us with true-faith regurgitations about modal inherency.

      3. Could be, Mic. But is there any budget column analyzing differential of cost to passenger aboard BART at top speed and one stuck in a car at exact same point in time and location?

        Depends also, I suppose, how much each person is able to bill for their time. Given the likely profession of someone able to buy a very expensive car to be stuck in, could be a win-win situation for him.

        Which explains his reticence to pay taxes for faster transit. Longer he’s stuck, the more expensive car he can upgrade to.


      4. That number probably includes the Altamont Tunnel to serve the new Stockton Low Income Housing Station.
        Fremont will also be connected to the Salinas Farm Worker Station.
        Jobs and Housing, what’s not to like.

    2. You’re absolutely kidding yourself if you think that there’s gonna be another ST# in the next 3 or 4 decades. If you don’t like the way ST3 is headed, then get involved over and above an internet comment. Come to the ST board meeting and testify this Thursday. Don’t deny me and people of this region expanded transportation options because you’re lazy.

      1. I have responded to ST regarding ST3, but my fear is that ST, much like WSDOT and SDOT, are so stuck in their ways that any thought outside the Seattle-conformity box will be discarded.

        There are a few half-assed projects by ST1 and ST2 that get overlooked by shiny sexy new things like light rail to Issaquah. For example, let’s look at the Ash Way P&R direct access interchange. I don’t see it’s southbound off-ramp and northbound on-ramp programmed to get completed anywhere! …yet the 510/512 continues to slog around to 164th Street SW, weave again to the HOV lane to eventually exit at the South Everett P&R when headed north. Conversely, the buses heading South weave through GP traffic to exit to 164th St SW.

        Depending on structure costs, this shouldn’t be more than $5-10 million. Pennies compared to new LR R/W acquisition (or lease) and construction.

      2. If ST measures are defined to be regional, we don’t need another ST. We need a Seattle-specific measure funded by Seattle employment and sales taxes.

      3. “my fear is that ST, much like WSDOT and SDOT, are so stuck in their ways that any thought outside the Seattle-conformity box will be discarded.”

        Seattle-conformity box? It’s Seattle that’s asking for more urban Link lines, and the suburbs that are asking for the Spine. The problem is insufficient concern for Seattle, not too much concern.

        Interestingly, I read an article about Mayor Murray a few days ago (can’t find it now) where he said the ST3 will run from Ballard to West Seattle. Not “Might run if the Board chooses these alternatives” but “Will run”. That indicates (1) he’s sure of the Board’s future decisions, and (2) he expects an ST2 level high enough to include both as light rail. One question is how much is he revealing the Board’s internal direction, vs how much is he promising people things that aren’t certain yet? If we take his prediction as accurate, it doesn’t leave room for other alternatives such as Ballalrd-UW. Unless it’s in addition to Ballard-downtown rather than instead of it.

      4. @CharlotteRoyal: Come to ST’s board meeting this thursday and tell the board that. Or talk to your Everett ST representatives. Do something! Also ” ST, much like WSDOT and SDOT, are so stuck in their ways that any thought outside the Seattle-conformity box will be discarded. ” what? ST disregards lots of Seattle ideas like running Link along 99 to FWTC.

        @Kyle S: That’s a lovely thought, but it’s not realistic. I’d love a pony and a Porsche, but it’s not in the cards. What *is* in the cards is the last ST# put forth to the voters in several decades. Do NOT be a slackivist on this: go to the ST board meeting this Thursday and ADVOCATE. It would be *incredibly* selfish of you to vote against ST3 without even trying to influence it’s direction.

      5. @Zach L. ST Board Mtgs aren’t convenient to those working outside of the CBD (I live/work in Shoreline). With meetings held on Thursday at 1:30pm, I’d need to dedicate an entire afternoon of leave to it and leave Shoreline via either the E or 5 just before noon.

  3. Rode and photographed three of the new trolleybuses on Saturday service yesterday (only on route 12, oddly enough). They’re really comfortable on the inside.

  4. Idea for an Open Thread video. Go buy a camera drone with extra batteries. Then fly the drone along the future East Link alignment, following behind with bike or car. Take drone home and edit in iMovie. Intersperse video at appropriate locations with artists renderings of future projects.

    We need more in-house videos here. Too many slickly produced PR pieces. Think indie, not Hollywood.

  5. They broadcast the new Portland MAX / bus / bike-ped bridge last night on a Periscope feed. It’s probably a YouTube video by now someplace.

    I couldn’t get it to work last night as apparently my system is too out of date and/or I don’t have the right stuff installed. However, if it is any interest to anyone, this is what TriMet sent on Twitter last night at 7:25 pm:

    @trimet: LIVE on #Periscope: Orange Picnic + Fireworks Spectacular! https://t.co/TjeXZIn6oz/s/7EOk


    I assume that once the event is over thePeriscope link goes dead, but not having gotten it to work I wouldn’t know.

    1. Careful, Glenn! Haven’t you seen even one WWII submarine movies about depth charges? For time being, just don’t let a drone with a red circle on the wing see your periscope.


  6. Thanks for topic posting, Oran. In Bay Area a few months ago. Remember standing on the Walnut Creek platform while the PA discussed a broken rail in Downtown SF.

    Equipment conditions I saw both then and in this posting raise question whole country should be asking: Are we in the United States of America or present day Russia?

    Washington DC, Sacramento, and no money. Substitute ever local name in the country in the formula, cast it into bronze in Latin, and put it on the tombstone of the United States of America.

    As a hundred percent common with people with Grace’s job description, same standard assessment leaves one fact out: the lack of money from the pertinent capitals is different from reason both our States are on fire.

    It’s not natural forces like the weather or plate tectonics doing the damage. For more or less the exact forty years since BART opened, the type of people, many of them executives of prosperous industries, saw it as their duty to pay the taxes to keep our country in the First World.

    Since these people have more or less been thrown out one major party and given up on the other one, this country’s governing philosophy is that public service neither is nor deserves to be any individual citizen’s business.

    And something worse. In addition to blaming and demonizing poor Haitian laborers brain-damaged by poison (every movie title should be “The Dead Don’t Unionize”) I remember exactly when and wht the genre took root.

    Because 1972 pretty much marked the change in this country’s view of the future which will very likely wipe us out. Both BART and the Space Needle showcased the idea that The Future would be our tool for solving our every present problem.

    Cause and effect, product of its own time or reason for, I personally believe that Viet Nam survived the war, and the USA got KIA. Fits the facts.

    Because from then on…in our people’s minds and experience, factual rotting cities are more horrible than hordes of fake dead killers. Same with similar collapse of all truck inspection and speed laws in Australia.

    Strangely, about that same time, our real-life industries fell out from under millions of our workers, whose families haven’t made a decent living since. THE drug problem. THE gang problem. THE dropout problem. And THE Bart broken rails and decrepit trains.

    Wherever Alyssa Rosenbaum is right now, Ayn Rand has plenty of leisure to see the results of her ideas. Now that last week Atlas just shrugged about his job getting outsourced.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Wow. Have you ever considered that the biggest problem is that the “public servants” do not focus on serving the public but rather feathering their careers and lining their pockets, and that this is why most publicly-operated services disappoint? Can you say education? transit? healthcare?

      1. Can’t say, Kevin.

        Been so long since I’ve seen any public service that isn’t a starving skeleton, all I can pronounce is “cut-rate contractors hired to run things that public employees get the blame for when they don’t work.

        So since everything public is now run by private corporations, you’ve got a case about bad service from overpaid management.

        They’re just not public anymore.


      2. Sweeping generalizations are inaccurate. Some public servants serve the public, others feather their careers and line their pockets. It’s like when people say Metro and ST and county management don’t take transit: some do and some don’t.

  7. Approximate quote from the movie This is 40. Bike crashes into car door scene. Paul Rudd and Phil Hendrie.

    Bicyclist: “You opened your door on me!”

    Man in car: “I didn’t open my door on you. I opened my door.”

    Bicyclist: “But you’re supposed to look to see if a bicyclist is coming through!”

    Man in car: “It’s not my job to look out for you. It’s your job to look out for yourself.”

    1. One motorist to another: “You drove into my car!”

      “I didn’t drive into your car; I just took a left turn.”

      “But you’re supposed to look if someone’s coming in the other lane!”

      “It’s not my job to look out for you. It’s your job to look out for yourself.”

      1. Hey, Sam and William, I’ve got a movie for you. It translates as either “Wild Tales” or “Savage Tales” (second is better description) about five instances of interpersonal revenge in Argentina.

        Including one involving a good lesson about why one should not drive a car at all in Argentina, or give any Argentine any other reason to take revenge on you. No info on public transit there.

        Though accident reports from transit drivers probably make good reading, as well as informative lessons on Argentine terms and phrases that can get you killed.

        If you’ve done anything to your kids you’ve got a guilty conscience over…don’t bring them to this movie.


    2. Another situation: A driver opens his door after parking his car. Another car comes by and smashes into the door, and rips it right off. Who is at fault?

      Short answer is, it depends. If the car didn’t have time to stop, then the driver with the missing door is at fault. If the car did, then the car is at fault. Same with the bike. Not that complicated.

    1. “Worse, it hadn’t rained since the Fourth of July. The wet side of the mountains was experiencing drought and forest fires. There were great conflagrations in the Olympics, smaller outbreaks throughout the area. Choking smoke hung over the whole region.

      The sun hadn’t been seen for days. Twain, who contributed to the pollution by smoking his usual 10 cigars a day, was suffering from a nasty carbuncle on his neck, a heavy cold and sore throat. He was scheduled to give six lectures in 10 days before sailing from Vancouver for Australia.”

      The famous author and the Mayor of Seattle also exchanged sonorous late 19th century regrets that the visitor “was unable to view our glorious northern forests, which, as you say, are now presently on fire.”

      Would be great if politicians talked like that again. Would also look more stately in the suits of those days.

      Democrats should send tour groups to Silvester Park, middle of Downtown Olympia, to visit the statue of Governor John Rankin Rogers.

      “I would make it impossible for the covetous and avaricious to utterly impoverish the poor. The rich can take care of themselves.”

      Off the plaque, into the Democratic Party platform. Any chance?



    2. Uh? You serious? Wow what a stretch. Let’s see, for starters it was 108 in Clarkson the other day, and It is mostly pine and grassland burning, and there are freeways near fires.

      1. I’m talking about the current smoke above Seattle, which makes everything very hazy. Just assuming we have the same population and minimal transit like some cities and you could get that level of pollution.

    3. I’m guessing Seattle pollution would have to be Chinaesque to be comparable to the Okanagon area right now. Apples are covered with ash, visibility is less than a 1/4 mile, and you can’t leave your residence. I had to leave it was sooooo bad.

    1. Yes, and it will be more proof that fringe stations can do better than many urban stations in regard to ridership miles vs subsidies. The current endpoint (a Mesa P&R station) of the Phoenix line was its 2nd busiest as of a few years back when I did a contract there. These new ones may supplant it.

  8. Anybody know why there’s always at least one Metro and/or Sound Transit-branded bus roaming around 520 in the middle of the night? I work overnights on the Eastside and when I go out for lunch between 2am and 3am, I almost always see a bus (sometimes two) going some direction–east or west, doesn’t seem to be a pattern–on 520 through Redmond.

    They’re signed “TO TERMINAL” but sometimes the driver has a sense of humor or just wants to try out new signs because all of them I saw two weeks ago said “FAIR SPECIAL” and last week a couple said “OUT OF SERVICE” (like Community Transit).

    1. I don’t know about the bus operations there, but I can speculate based on what MAX does.

      Ruby Junction is the only shop in the Portland area that can handle big stuff like traction motor rewinding and axle assembly grinding.

      Consequently, every once in a while at these very early hours you will see a Portland Streetcar moving over the MAX line from its home shop in downtoen Portland to get to the shop where the heavy equipment is located.

      There is probably some similar bit of movement that needs to happen with your buses being moved from one base to the other. Say, transmission rebuilding or some similar heavy work where it is not economical to do at every single base, but to have one base that specializes in heavy machine shop work.

      1. The easternmost bases are East Base and Bellevue Base that are across the street from each other and west of Redmond so such maintenance moves wouldn’t account for the activity.

        Regarding eastbound ST coaches, there is a 554 run starting from 185th Ave NE & Redmond/Fall City Rd at 4:28 and a 545 run starting from Bear Creek P&R at 4:27, but those would probably be going to their layover at some time after the time in question.

      2. Yes. But is one of those equipped to perform some sort of repair that North Base or Ryerson isn’t? Or do they lack something that North Base has? Either way you would wind up with repositioning moves between the two as the fleet is cycled through the maintenance process.

    2. Metro buses are only supposed to display “Out of Service” when authorized by a supervisor as that indicates they are under no obligation to pick up passengers on a deadhead. If you’re seeing a coach with that sign in the middle of the night, it is probably a mechanic out on a test drive.

      1. What do you mean “under no obligation to pick up passengers on a deadhead?” I thought the only time a bus would stop for passengers is if it was actually on a route. “To Terminal,” “Atlantic Base,” and so on all mean, to me, that the bus is not in service and not picking up people.

    3. I would imagine that graveyard shift mechanics are test driving the buses after they repair them.

      And where do you go out to eat on your break at 2 am?

      1. Not very many places to eat, usually McDonald’s or the Subway sandwich shop on E Lake Samm.

  9. The article about Everett Transit, and the fact that they kept Sunday service, and the fact that Community Transit had to abandon Sundays for a while during the recession, had me wondering:

    How many other cities the size of Salem (according to the Wikipedia Entry, with a population of 154,000) completely lack all weekend transit service?

    As best as I can tell, the only other place on the Amtrak Cascades system that doesn’t have any weekend service at all is Albany. Oregon City doesn’t have any useful transit at its station on any days – but there is a major bus transit center about a 12 minute or so walk away.

    Skagit Transit manages to serve Sakgit Station in Mount Vernon with at least the 204 on Saturdays and Sundays, and Community Transit manages to get Stanwood all weekend as well with the 240. Intercity Transit hits the Amtrak station at the southern edge of Lacy all week long, with the 64 at the very least. Twin Transit serves the Amtrak station with route 30 on Saturdays only.

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