ST Link 151 and 157 entering Beacon Hill Tunnel

This is an open thread.

199 Replies to “News Roundup: Openings”

  1. Obituaries:
    It is with sadness that d p has been banished from the Blog for offending others and repeated violation of the rules. He added so much to the discussion of wanting far better transit than what our local agencies and our taxpayers have been willing to offer up. He certainly captured our attention with rock solid logic, and the occasional hit on the head with a 2×4 was tolerable – IMHO.

    1. Several years ago, and back far enough in the mists that I can’t find it now, dp lost it during one of his posts and actually came right out and stated that his purpose for participating here was, “to bring this blog down.” After that I didn’t take his posts seriously and made it a policy to not respond to him. That was my way of dealing with him, but I welcome more assertive action by the moderators.

      This blog has gone off the tracks a bit lately. It is appropriate for the moderators to take a firmer hand in maintaining proper decorum.

      And that will be my only comment on this.

      1. If he ever said that, it’s not showing up in my comment search function (which doesn’t always work), nor do I recall him saying that.

      2. I’m with Martin — I never remember that. Oh, and isn’t that and unsubstantiated ah? I guess it doesn’t count because he isn’t part of the blog now.

    2. Someone needs to enlighten me: what are all the things in []’s that get peppered in the comments. I see [ah] and [ot] all the time, and I assume they were moderators editing people’s comments to consolidate a long winded comment. Here’s my impression of what they mean:

      [ah] = Ahhh, I get it now! But the comment was very long for such a simple response.
      [ot] = Off-topic. We have no time for such nonsense.

      Moderators, can you folks make it more obvious what you are doing/mean and when it’s you vs the commentor making the [] notations?

      1. I agree about adding some transparency in mod edits. In other blogs/forums I participate in the mods will add something along the lines of “mod note: deleted due to personal attack”. I don’t think it has to be much more though.

      2. I encourage those of you who haven’t done so to read the comment policy.

        The moderation technique is designed to not take a lot of time and/or effort. That’s the price of a moderated forum.

        Users get banned when I consistently have to spend 15 minutes of my evening on the deeply flawed Android WordPress app to clean up the latest extremely ugly, personalized argument on the blog, after repeated warnings. With board approval.

      3. How does banning work without accounts? And what’s to prevent d.p. from putting in the name field “d.p.2” and writing “you are such a [ah]”?

      4. I’m reluctant to explain the full technical details, but there’s a system in place that is largely successful and requires some effort to slip through.

        Someone desperate enough to jump through those hoops to comment on STB has a definite problem.

      5. Sharpening a knife always means removing metal. So my own sake: [MTDL]. Mark, Too (condemned to Perdition) Long.]

        Mark

      1. Constructive?

        DP was so into personally attacking me as if I am The Sellout Legislator who agreed in return for no referendum on a massive gas tax hike for highways to transfer $500 Million from Sound Transit to the WEA? Or the one who should be attacked for advocating for transit in Northwest Washington State as much as I was?

        Sorry that’s not the word I’d use. Try combative.

        I’m happy he’s gone and I’m grateful to be admonished to dial it back a bit or be next in recent weeks. I’m not here to pick fights but sometimes, I admit it, I comment to publicly register my anger with politicians who do Beyond Stupid things in regards to transit.

      2. Combative? Yes — but don’t call the kettle black, now, Joe. Last time I checked you were on some sort of rant about my representative. A rant that I let slide, but let’s face it, was a bit … combative (to put it mildly).

      3. You are exactly right RossB. Exactly right. “Your” Representative doesn’t represent you or any other transit advocate – no, she is a WEA Representative. The way the gun lobby has Rep. Elizabeth Scott in my legislative district.

        Good cop you are. I have attempted to admit last summer I was on the path to becoming another dp or asdf because of this.

    3. I’m glad he’s gone. The comment sections are already more interesting, with a greater diversity of views. He would really hammer people he disagreed with, and it made the comment section an unpleasant place.

      1. By interesting I mean more diversity of opinions, which reflect both man-on-the-street views, self-proclaimed-expert views, and expert views. For a while there it was only the middle one.

      2. Sorry, but every time he resorted to calling anyone who said anything positive about rail – “Foamers” I knew he couldn’t make the logical argument.

        Trust me, he DID NOT have all his data in order.

        Oh, and don’t judge all New Yorkers based on his obtuseness.

        At some point, even my NY acquaintances, family, friends, (having grown up there), will admit when they might be full of shit.

        Of course, if he was from Boston, then go ahead and judge. I hate the Bruins.

    4. I was wondering if it’s real, but now Martin has confirmed it. Here’s my DP obituary.

      DP brought a uniquely strong vision of a big city/traditional kind of subway+bus system, as seen in New York, London, Boston, Philadelphia, and other northeastern and European cities, where transit just goes everywhere all the time and the majority of people don’t bother owning cars. He pushed for a first-rate city network, and argued that people would use it heavily if it exists, as they do in those other cities. He pushed for more inner-city lines and stations than other visions (e.g., Seattle Subway’s), and would truncate it beyond that. He was a lone voice pushing for a higher-quality city network than anyone else was, and that moved the general consensus toward higher quality and less compromise. That in turn has pushed ST to include better alternatives than it was going to, although it’s hard to say whether it has had any impact on final decisions. DP was a lone voice with an important perspective, and I wish I knew who could fulfill that perspective in the future.

      The other thing is, he was one of the early voices for an underground Ballard-UW line. I had always thought such a line could serve either Wallingford or Fremont but not both, so one would be left out and would forever be harder to get to. But DP showed me that an underground line could serve both of them and still maintain a 10-minute travel time, because underground it could ignore the street grid and property lines and such a small zigzag would be minor.

      The problem of course was he wasn’t willing to make the political compromises necessary to get the suburban stakeholders on board, and ST’s structure and tax base depends on their consent, and they aren’t interested in a city network that doesn’t do something major for their areas. He let the perfect become the enemy of the good, and it’s unclear that the perfect is attainable in this political climate. So he came into conflict with those who just want something better than the status quo, and if the political support is lining up toward ST’s plans, then sobeit. His “colorful metaphors” and attacks were a reflection of the urgency and frustration he felt about these issues. But they mustn’t overshadow his primary goals and ideas and contributions to the transit discussion. Those were important and unique, and I hope somebody else will emerge to carry them along.

      1. I like to think that DP was the “bad cop” while RossB was the “good cop” of the Ballard Spur and West Seattle BRT ideas.

      2. Thanks for the thoughtful perspective Mike. I too am frustrated over the years (now decades) about transit in general. Yes, it is moving lot’s of people from the suburbs to the office buildings in the traditional downtown core during peak only hours and direction, but it’s region wide impact on general transportation (mode share) is still pathetically below 5% of all trips taken. I’ll let others judge the effectiveness of our spending since then. My opinions are well documented. I’m getting too old to have any impact on the transit system now, so will likely just read the blog and wish transit could have been a game changer for climate changes we are now seeing.

      3. I wish to associate myself with all of Mike’s comments, except that I think the basic viewpoint is still alive and well in the commentariat.

      4. Well said, Mike. I actually sought out his posts because, though I tended to agree with the vast majority of what he had to say, when I didn’t he could still be very convincing as with the Ballard-UW line. I appreciate someone who can change my mind on topics I am passionate about.

        The vitriol was a bit much and was probably not constructive. As someone who has been an expat I learned long ago that it’s generally not best to crap in your own bed; i.e. you don’t get much done by constantly denigrating the locals even when you are right. There are better ways, and you can always share your frustrations with fellow Bostonians/Californians/Americans/whatever over a beer or two away from the locals. I’ve never felt the need to stay somewhere I disliked as much as he apparently dislikes it here.

        I don’t know what warnings were given (I’m sure there were some), but in my mind it’s a shame he could not play nicely in the sandbox. I think on the whole the blog will be lessened without his trenchant comments, and I’m sorry he couldn’t find a way to make it work on what generally is a well-mannered blog. I’m glad there are other great voices out there (Mike, RossB, David Lawson and many, many others) but sometimes a kick in the arse is a necessary driver. Alas.

      5. Yeah, you really can’t separate the incredibly smart and often right (if overly black-and-white) DP from the asshole DP of Donald Trump level (but smarter) personal attacks and complete disdain for those who disagreed with him in even minor ways.

        Which is sad, because I think we need a harder eye to cost-effectiveness and quality urbanism, AND an ability to work well with others, if we are going to succeed in building transformative transit.

      6. >> I like to think that DP was the “bad cop” while RossB was the “good cop” of the Ballard Spur and West Seattle BRT ideas.

        Let the record show that I’ve never been a cop. I was a security guard once — but only for a short while (before I got a better job). :)

      1. I asked him that once, and he explained: he wants to start digging a well-designed subway with strict half-mile stop spacing under an urbanized area, get as far as we can with the money we have, and then stop and run trains that far while waiting for more money.

      2. He also got into arguments with Seattle Subway when they went into “Build All the Rail” mode, when as another commenter pointed out (which D.P. agreed with), he just wanted them to focus on Ballard to UW light rail and the WSTT- which were Seattle Subway ideas.

      3. And Seattle Subway deserved it, too. I’m sorry to say they’ve gotten almost as suburban-focused as Sound Transit – their newest maps extend to Sammamish and Everett, though at least they’ve added the Metro 8 line to the legacy Seattle rail on their plans.

    5. I will always stand behind the hard working moderators, but this is indeed unfortunate. I admit that with the little comment-reading time I’ve had lately I tend to scan for a few of the most knowledgeable and interesting commenters, and his is the top of that list.

      1. Amen.

        d.p. was willing to call out people who’d slipped their crania past their sphincters while insisting the world smelled like roses. One of this blog’s best functions is being a vehicle for d.p. to pour a cold dose of reality over the lofty, misguided, or deceptive messaging coming from KCM and ST. (U-Link tunnel headways, anyone?)

      2. +1.

        Thank G*d for them moderators. D.P. had to go. If I kept being angry ever since that 1 AM sellout of my Sound Transit neighbors, I too would have had to go.

        These comments only work when we’re focused on working through problems to find solutions as a transit advocacy community. D.P. was against the whole idea of community.

      3. d.p.’s comments were always worth reading; even the ones where he tore into people. He had more evidence-based arguments than anyone else here except mic.

        Hate to say it, but most of the polite people’s comments are not worth reading.

        Watch out for the groupthink, guys.

      4. Nathaneal,

        I think DP was the biggest enforcer of groupthink here, as much as he used that label to demean people he disagreed with. Which he did a lot of, as we all know. For a while anyone who deviated from the DP/RossB U-Spur/WSTT endorsement campaign was flamed hard, and given a good cop/bad cop routine. I’m glad that is over.

      5. I still haven’t seen any reasonable case against that “groupthink.” It seems to me that it was a consensus because it’s right.

      6. William,
        The reasonable case is that it is very unlikely to happen, and that it may be optimizing Seattle out of a much better and larger subway system.

      7. William,

        The “groupthink” focused purely on maximizing outcome per dollar, which is nice. Except any discussion of how that money is actually created (politics), or distributed(politics) was dismissed as some systemic failure or problem, rather than the only damn way anything is getting built. Focusing completely on outcomes, and totally ignoring process doesn’t make a good plan, it makes a great sounding reward with no chance of success.

        I was personally chastised by DP several times for bringing up political objections to his ideas. This was too bad since he was clearly smart. But being unwilling to consider the political dimension of multi-billion dollar government projects shows a lack of seriousness, not high standards.

      8. Jon, I used to believe that too, until Ross convinced me that BRT is plainly and simply better for West Seattle because of the lack of a transfer penalty.

      9. West Seattle BRT would be opposed by the residents of West Seattle, and both regional and municipal politicians. It is at best the preferred “fall back after disaster” position for those groups.

        This isn’t Sim City, we aren’t in charge. You have to convince A LOT of people(and some politicians) to adopt a position if you want to see it happen. BRT doesn’t have a constituency. ST will not change their plans and defy popular opinion and politicians because transits wonks on STB don’t think it is 100% the optimal solution. Talking honestly about the political landscape, what is do-able, and how to do it is at least as important as trying to design an optimized system.

        As I said before, a lot of my objections to the “groupthink” are political, not technical. Most people dont even know what the words “transfer penalty” means.

      10. That’s sadly a good point. Yes, sometimes – too often – compromise is necessary. But just the same, I think the trend is to come out with options already far too pre-compromised. In the long run, bad decisions will compromise support for the system, as (for instance) people in Ballard see their trips to the UW or Northgate aren’t improved at all, and people in Admiral or Delridge learn firsthand the meaning of “transfer penalty.”

        Where’s that tradeoff? I don’t know. But cheering for mediocre alignments long before a decision is made – without any acknowledgement they’re suboptimal, or a mere nominal “everything has tradeoffs” – is not it.

        You’ll see that I’ve had many good things to say about SDOT’s letter on the Ballard-Downtown line. But the objectively better Ballard-UW is still in the running. Let’s keep it there.

      11. Oh I agree that transit advocates should drive a hard bargain. But that must be in the context of helping neighborhoods accomplish their goals, not telling them that we know better. The best case scenario is one where everyone wants something good, and we have to make the pie bigger to not piss everyone off. I thought that BRT was a bad idea simply because you are preemptively disappointing a very active pro-transit community, without any clear gain from doing so.

      12. +1 Jon as to, “Oh I agree that transit advocates should drive a hard bargain. But that must be in the context of helping neighborhoods accomplish their goals, not telling them that we know better. The best case scenario is one where everyone wants something good, and we have to make the pie bigger to not piss everyone off.”

        I’m a BRT supporter. Especially as we have limited funds and a large surface area to cover with them…

      13. JonCracolici +1 to everything you said. I get the feeling every time I read the comments here, there’s no weight given to the political process it takes to get the funds to build a transit system.

      14. As a West Seattle resident, I’m cool with BRT provided it is the real deal w/ a great deal of right of way, e.g., WSTT, that enables residents to get to other parts of the city utilizing the bus w/o being obstructed by heavy traffic and car accidents/breakdowns as well as giving residents the opportunity to connect to Link. But BRT in the form of adding a few more bus runs w/ the same outdated limited capacity surface infrastructure shared w/ cars would be unacceptable (to me at least) and not real BRT.

      15. Subrookie,
        Thanks, and totally agree. The political process is how a system gets built, and trying to understand and influence that process is a huge part of being an effective transit advocate.

        Also, this whole conversation illustrates the new breathing room without DP enforcing his ideas. I hope that as time goes on more and more people get involved and bring their perspectives to the table.

      16. My experience as a consultant doing NEPA has been that even if you’re right if you’re going to scream at decision makers and other members of the public in a public meeting you’ll never get your point across because you won’t be taken seriously. Which, is what I always thought D.P. did, yell and demean if you don’t agree with him. That’s not how you get what you want in the political or planning climate in W Washington.

        You may design the greatest transit system on paper in the world, but if you ignore that it will require tearing down some popular church, school or business because stations *have* to be located 0.5 miles apart or whatever reason then its not going to work. The neighborhood rallies against you, writes/calls/visits their representative and they make a political decision not to have it built there. You lose then yell because it isn’t optimal.

      17. I think it is interesting to see how many people here are not only transit experts, but political experts as well. The weird thing is that no one talks about their political expertise. I’m surprised that more people don’t just come out and say the number of campaigns they’ve managed, or the personal relationships they’ve had with politicians.

        I’ll start. As the son of a politician who literally grew up working on campaigns, I can say quite honestly that I know a thing or two about politics. If I was a more callous man, I would probably bet on it. I could tell that Obama was going to beat Hillary eight years ago, or that Kerry was going to be the nominee after the first debate (when he trailed Dean and just about everyone else by a huge margin). I thought there was a very good chance that Nader was going to cost Gore the election (and fuck up the country and the world). Locally, I could tell Sawant was simply out hustling Conlin (whose heart wasn’t in it). Which is not to say that I am always right — certainly not. Like any gambling man, I am bound to lose sometime. But overall, I think my record is pretty good.

        With regards to ST3, I would call it a tossup. But I don’t think we can assume that a policy that is clearly worse is going to be more popular. I’ve never actually seen that. The closest we’ve come is probably the SR 99 tunnel. Eventually, people got tired of the process, and said, essentially, just build something. So now we have a tunnel that if it is every completed will be bad for everyone (car drivers, truck drivers, transit riders or anyone trying to get around in this town). But of course, there is a difference. The tunnel did not have to be approved by the voters. There was a vote (two in fact) but neither one was binding. ST3 is the opposite. If the powers that be propose something that is clearly inferior (because .. politics) then politically, it will be a very bad move. It will make it harder to approve. Call me crazy, but I think the best thing to do from a political standpoint is to propose the most effective set of projects for the area.

      18. I don’t see much of a correlation between working on a campaign and the work public officials have to do to develop consensus on projects like what we discuss here. I also doubt that many people who have that experience and post here are going to come right out and tell you what they do for a living.

      19. @subrookie — My point is that people here will claim that they are political experts — that they alone can tell the future when it comes to politics,and they fail to present any argument to back that up. Saying you got a PHD in political science at Georgetown would be backing it up. Saying you have managed several campaigns would be backing it up. Even presenting a history of past elections would be backing it up. But they fail to do this, and just spout out ideas as if they are fact — as if it is obvious. By the way, your previous post (about your work on NEPA) is an exception. That is a well thought out political argument that is rare here. I also agree with it, and it has been my experience as well (when working with representatives).

        One example of the problem I am talking about is the idea that people won’t vote for more buses in the suburbs. Again, none of the people making that claim have come close to backing up that claim with past evidence (past votes), current polling or by spouting out their bonafides. Quite the opposite. I’ve presented information that suggests the opposite (based on previous votes and the campaigns surround the votes) but those get ignored because, well, people like trains.

        As far as the actual work being done by public officials, many of the same experts seem clueless when it comes to how things actually work. So if there are a lot of people who know a lot about how public officials respond to citizen input or forge a compromise, they are often absent from the discussion.

        Perhaps the best example of that was the discussion surrounding the monorail and ORCA support. Go look it up if you want. By the way, you d. p. haters will love that thread (not exactly a great moment for him). I raised the subject (why isn’t there ORCA support on the monorail). A more knowledgeable person explained the reason. Basically, there is a ten year contract with the city to run the monorail, and it isn’t in the contract. Fair enough. But then someone mentioned that the contract is up for renewal. Again, ORCA support isn’t in the contract. I basically said “Wait a second — let’s make it part of the contract”. Comment after comment basically said it is too late, or the city council is too lazy or some such cynical response. d. p. joined in this negative rant. But I said the opposite and a few others did as well. We know how politics works and how things change. Next thing you know, a lot of emails are sent and the council actually did the right thing. The result is a six month study that will probably lead to ORCA support on the monorail. Just as I predicted.

        My point is not that I know more than the average person about politics (although I would bet that I do). My point is the arrogance and assumptions made by people when it comes to politics. I’ll be the first to tell you that I can’t predict who will win the next election, or how the council will come down on this issue or that issue. But I also don’t claim with certainty that an approach is doomed to fail because voters are stupid or politicians can’t be flexible.

        It seems to me that if your argument is that a particular policy makes sense, but will never be successful for political reasons, then the burden of proof is on you to show why. Very rarely — if ever — have I seen posts that admit that. More often that not someone will say essentially “That would be better for all involved, but it won’t work because I have a crazy hunch that the voters or the politicians won’t support it. I have nothing to back that up, but I can just feel it in my bones” This is my complaint.

      20. Ross,
        People aren’t going to catalog and provide minutes for every conversation that they have had with stakeholders and politicians. If they go around having those conversations, and some people here do, I take them at face value about their opinions on the political implications of ideas.

        The problem isnt that this comment section has become too politically flippant; it is that politics have been sidelined completely, or abstracted into Someone Else’s Problem. If you have an idea, show that it is politically viable. That is an important step in any plan.

        If you want to see if West Seattle BRT flies (politically), I suggest you reach out to Dow, and the current candidates for City Council, and the West Seattle Transportation Coalition, and see how they feel about it. Or pay for a poll. Presuming that people will support something that is not what they are asking for, well that needs evidence.

      1. I’m also commenting for the first time. DP was the reason I read the comment threads. Now there’s not a need to.

        Shame you had to ban a contributing, if sometimes difficult, voice.

    6. d.p., next time don’t argue with your fellow commenters. Invent straw men, make them say dumb stuff, then rebut and and belittle them. It will make you seem insane, but at least the bloggers won’t ban you.

      1. Ironies of ironies. The last thing d.p. ever said to me here was on an Aug 16 open thread where he called me a bad word in response to me telling my straw man to shut up. His comment got deleted.

      1. Yeah, I wonder how banning works on this blog. Logging in is entirely optional, and anyone could comment as “d.p.”, so naturally, d.p. can comment as anyone. Even if there’s a block on the name “d.p.”, he could make up an entirely new name like “Donald Trump” and comment as that.

      2. What did you have in mind?

        He’s quite intelligent. I’m sure he can figure it out if he is so moved.

        I found out about it quite by accident.

      3. Joe… you do know who I’m talking about, don’t you?

        If he’s this guy, then we should ‘out him’.

        And no, I haven’t met d.p., so I have no idea, but i seriously doubt it’s him, and I don’t care.

        We need more people devoting their energies towards their local governments influencing them to move off the car-centric thought processes. That’s where the real work is.

        His obtuseness was overshadowing any salient points he was making.

      4. @Jim — That’s not him. I’ve met him. I know his full name (and I don’t feel like sharing it). Keith Kyle (head of Seattle Subway) worked with him on the article that was sent to Seattle Times concerning the WSTT. Though those two disagreed quite a bit on this blog, they see eye to eye more often than not.

      5. “@Jim — That’s not him. I’ve met him.”

        I knew it wasn’t him…

        My comment that it was Don Phillips was a joke.

      6. He’s been to a couple STB meetups and one of the Ballard Link open houses, but not in the past couple years. At the Ballard open house Martin warned him in person about extreme comments, so the ban is a long time coming. DP himself left STB a couple times in between, but always came back a few weeks later. I’ve ran into him occasionally at bus stops outside STB events. He’s probably friendlier in person than online; it’s the online forum effect.

    7. +1. I’ve been a daily reader for a few years now and have ended up about as interested in d.p.’s commentary as the posts themselves here. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who spent the better part of the last decade in Boston using an old, flawed, yet car-free-lifestyle-enabling transit system. d.p. was one of the few people on here consistently advocating for such a functional transit system, full stop. Seattle isn’t some special and unique snowflake–contiguous density, distance, and current transit modeshare should be nearly the beginning and end of system efficacy discussions; most of the rest is politics. I’d prefer that you leave that to ST and advocate for functional transit. Or is this as much a political blog as a transit blog? As well-intentioned and otherwise bright as they may be, people who have only relied on transit for peak-hour commuting to a downtown core or as tourists have a tendency to say ridiculous things based on false models of how functional mass transit systems operate. Commuter rail isn’t enough and shouldn’t be Seattle’s first priority. Let the suburbs advocate for that and let city dollars be spent improving mobility within the city. I’m not totally against commuter rail (and that seems to be basically what we are building), but as someone who recently moved to the Bay Area for work, I ended up buying a car after a few months (the first time I’ve had to regularly drive since leaving Seattle), despite being within walking distance to their commuter rail. It’s a bummer. Seattle should fight for something better. In closing, free dp.

      1. Even as someone who primarily uses transit as a tourist, I recognize that d.p. is right about how rail systems ought to be designed.

        (Why? I suspect it’s because I’m a tourist who arrives without a car, doesn’t rent a car, and then goes to non-tourist places — friends’ houses, and businesses & events targeted at and frequented by locals. So I need the same sort of system the locals need. I probably overestimate the value of airport and intercity train station connections, and underestimate the value of connections to lower-class districts, but I don’t make the mistakes that peak-hour-commuters or “Disneyland tourists” make.)

      2. Nit: commuter rail as practiced in English speaking North America is practically non-existent in much of the rest of the world.

        When I showed the Sounder timetable to someone in Germany, his comment was “If a transportation group did that here, we would probably burn them in effigy for wasting so much money in equipment that sits around all day and is only used during a few hours a day.”

        What we think of as “commuter rail” probably shouldn’t exist in the first place.

        At the same time, an awful lot of highway infrastructure is also only really needed a few hours each weekday due to commuters, so it is understandable if you look at the USA’s transportation system as a whole.

      3. Germany also doesn’t have American land uses. There’s nothing like Renton or greater Southcenter or northeast Seattle where it’s so low density and car-oriented it’s hard for transit to serve and depresses ridership. Areas are organized into towns, and the center of town is a train station, which has been supported ever since trains first came. Everything is TOD, in the sense that it’s designed to be accessible by some kind of transit. Essentially Germany still follows the streetcar suburb model.

      4. To be fair to commuter rail fans, Germany, like most of Europe, has a very good city to city (even town to town) passenger rail system. It wasn’t built as a means to connect suburbs to the city, but it can function just fine as that. In this country, we have little of that. When we do, they work just fine for that purpose. For example, Baltimore to D. C. is a “commuter rail” type trip, but you can ride it throughout the day. Most commuter rail networks in this country leverage the freight lines, and do so at a very reasonable cost. That is why commuter rail is not that bad of a deal.

        The exception is BART, which is heavy rail and has stop spacing like commuter rail, but costs a huge amount. The ridership numbers from the far away suburbs are very low, but not that low for commuter rail. Which is why describing BART is very difficult. Either it is one of the worst performing urban rail networks in the country, or it is one of the most expensive commuter rail systems in the country. Either way it was a huge mistake — a huge lost opportunity for the region. Add a bunch more stops and a second line in East Bay and you would transform the region (making affordable housing a lot more convenient). But ridership to the suburbs that are no better than some of our buses is what they got instead.

      5. “Commuter rail isn’t enough and shouldn’t be Seattle’s first priority. Let the suburbs advocate for that and let city dollars be spent improving mobility within the city. I’m not totally against commuter rail (and that seems to be basically what we are building),”

        Being as you said you’re a 4th generation Seattlite, then you should be aware of the history of the region.

        We are steeped in an auto-centric culture here. Trying to get any transit service to work well enough to be THE chosen option, be it commute or in-city around here is.. worse than pulling teeth.

        Having been involved with the GMA and my town politics, when Bothell annexed the Canyon Park area (Snohomish County) I can still remember when Metro and CT wouldn’t even talk to each other, let alone admit the other one existed.

        Knowing some IT people from one of these organizations revealed just what a milestone getting the ORCA system going was.

        Sound Transit was specifically created as a regional agency, that is, they are geared towards the longer distance commute. To say that their agenda is in opposition to a better grid-based Seattle centered vision is creating a false dichotomy.
        WE NEED BOTH.

        We are spending a woefully inadequate amount of money on transit around here, and there are still municipalities that seem to stand in the way.

        Joe is correct with his statement “All politics is local”. The places I’ve lived here, if they don’t get a pet road project funded via a vote, will still channel tax money to these projects.

        This will only serve to keep transit share trips from improving.

        Remember, even if you don’t get exactly what you want from your government, then you can still be an influence to make their decisions better follow the course than they would have been if you had done nothing.

      6. @Jim — I agree, we need both (suburban and urban transit improvements). We certainly need better cooperation between jurisdictions (the whole point of Sound Transit). But there is something to consider:

        At this point, the major projects that would make a huge difference in transit travel time for the suburbs are built, or about to be built. If I live in Lynnwood, what difference does it make if Link goes further. I could get a faster ride to Everett, I suppose, but believe me, that ride — the reverse commute — is just fine every day of the week (in the car pool lanes). Even if you live in Everett, light rail to your town won’t be that big of an improvement. Put it this way, if you lived in Everett and worked in Ballard, once Lynnwood Link open, what is the worse part of your commute? It isn’t the part from the Everett Park and Ride to Lynnwood, that’s for sure. Maybe it is getting to the Everett station. Most likely it is getting from the UW to Ballard. The thing is, improving that Ballard trip is very expensive, whereas improving the other pieces is very cheap (add a lot more bus service, some Swift style improvements, etc.). What is true for Ballard is true for many areas around the city (First Hill, Fremont, Queen Anne, etc.).

        There is no question in my mind that extending Link beyond Northgate was essential for the northern suburbs. Northgate is a mess as a terminus. At a minimum you needed to go to Mountlake Terrace (where a station containing bus only ramps exists). Maybe it was silly or a waste of money to go farther, but it probably didn’t cost that much, and what is done is done. But extending rail any farther truly is a waste, and not what that area needs.

        At some point we should acknowledge the fact that different areas have different needs and that different solutions are appropriate for them.

    8. In many ways, Mike Orr’s summary of d.p. tells it pretty well. He did advocate for real, functional transit, but failed to recognize that, in the real world, compromise is essential to getting things done, and holding out for the perfect system results in getting nothing.

      I do have some disagreements with him, in particular, I think his ideals are a little bit too tilted towards the inner city at the expense of the suburbs. But having someone as an advocate for the city when the ST board seems dominated by the interests of Everett and Tacoma is most welcome.

    9. An open note to STB Administration:

      Tossing d.p. off the blog, permanently, is a bad move. STB has long been the leading source for discussion on these issues in Seattle, and I believe the blog’s influence has made a big mark in moving the conversation in this city.

      Through his long time advocacy for the best, most efficient solution, d.p., by shear brute force of will made hundreds of good arguments, and I would say, moved the needle on his own.

      Of all the commenters here, d.p. “got it.”

      I started as a transit fan / foamer, many years ago. As I’ve aged I’ve studied urban planning, and worked in transportation operations. I’m back in grad school now, working primarily on logistics systems and operations.

      One of the biggest blind sides I see here from both the STB staff writers and the commenters is they only get part of the equation. I view transit service has a three legged stool – planning, operations, and politics.

      Many of the posts and comments here get one, maybe two of the legs of the stools. Usually planning and politics, occasionally operations in combination with one of the other two. Rarely all three at once.

      d.p. got it. The whole thing. All three legs of the stool. He saw how it all integrated. Yes, he was very critical of the political environment. Some have taken this as not understanding it. I’ve never met the guy, but based on his writings, he got the politics. He just didn’t like it.

      d.p. got it all.

      I don’t post here much. Often times my operational knowledge is belittled or ignored in the comments. Recently when I posted about the coming crisis of paucity of north downtown layover space, one prolific commenter (and I’m paraphrasing) told me “that was an operational problem that shouldn’t interfere with route design.”

      What?

      d.p. understood this issues, and was a unique voice bringing them all together.

      The fact that Brent White (I’ve been kicking around long enough on STB to remember Brent, Bruce, and Zach S as prolific commenters that became staff writers) posted that he didn’t know what exactly d.p. stood for is really telling.

      There is a definite group think collation amongst some of the STB writers and commenters. The fact that can’t figure out what d.p. stood for indicates how important his voice was.

      He, generally, had the same goals as everyone else. Good transit, regional mobility, reduced congestion and pollution. But he pushed very very hard for optimal planning, operational excellence, and political recognition of the right choice. If the STB writers can’t see this, then there is a real problem here.

      d.p. could be very critical, and downright hostile, towards those he disagreed with. That shouldn’t be tolerated. But part of the responsibility of running a forum like this is dealing with those issues. Tossing him off forever, as he continued to ask tough questions and generate good topics for discussion is really a problem. There is not one person on STB staff, or currently amongst the regular commenters that can replace his perspective.

      And that is very, very disappointing.

      1. “d.p. could be very critical, and downright hostile, towards those he disagreed with. That shouldn’t be tolerated. But part of the responsibility of running a forum like this is dealing with those issues. Tossing him off forever, as he continued to ask tough questions and generate good topics for discussion is really a problem. There is not one person on STB staff, or currently amongst the regular commenters that can replace his perspective.”

        Thanks to his/her hostility towards others repeatedly and after repeated warnings, sorry but d.p. had to go.

        Quit mourning a sore loser. Get behind the real winners here.

        After all, who pep talked us up into getting almost the full ST3 authority? I did. D.P. pouted.

        After all, who helped hold the line against Island Transit and is helping them to clean house? Me, not D.P.

        After all, who helped stand up to show the Republicans in the state legislature a better way? This Republican who D.P. abused did.

        When all D.P. had to contribute was personal attack, loathing and fear I was done. Now I’m resting from defending the STB moderators who’ve had to reign me in for the good of the institution.

      2. Take it easy Joe.

        You’re another one whose unique opinion (often attacked) I very much enjoy. You, like d.p, add more than most, just by being willing to argue the point.

        I agree, you were coming off the rails, not too long ago. And you’ve reformed, great. I look forward to reading your perspective for a long time.

        But just because you have, and d.p. to this point, hasn’t, doesn’t mean he should be tossed overboard.

        There are dozens of commenters who pretty much parrot each others in these threads. There was only one d.p. And his was one of the most important voices.

      3. For those critical of DP (and granted, he did go overboard on the rhetoric and I can understand the banning, if not support it), do you think the outpouring of support would be written about you if you got the “ban hammer”?

      4. I wouldn’t care. It’s only a the comments section of a blog I infrequently read. And, you generally don’t get banned from any forum/blog if you are civil to others and follow commenting guidelines. If I didn’t do that and got banned then I have no one to blame but myself.

      5. Out of my own curiosity K H, in what ways did you see d.p. understanding politics particularly well in a way that other bloggers didn’t?

      6. Lame to censor D.P. off this blog. Having differing views on subjects helps create good dialogue and good solutions. Way too much group think and viewpoints which don’t represent the majority of people in Seattle. D.P.’s opinions were refreshing and thought provoking. Most of you in favor of having D.P. off this blog need to get off your high horse and open this blog up to others, otherwise this whole blog is worthless.

      7. chuck ramquist;

        Uh I’m a Republican and I feel as long as I’m civil I’m welcome to debate and inquire with the mostly Democrat fellow transit advocates here.

        d.p.’s cyberbullying made him/her/it time to go. Bullying so bad d.p. for all we know was a plant troll by an anti-transit political operative…

        Others will carry the ideals if not the ranting of d.p. forward.

    10. dp had a lot of good insight. His downfall was being insulting to those who disagreed with him. I will miss him.

    11. Worst problem in STB right now is not content of any individual’s comments, but how much column space goes to prolonged exchanges between a few people which have absolutely nothing to do with transit. Maybe I just haven’t read far enough, but only subject under discussion has no discussion to do with high speed ferry boats, unless we can get WSDOT to name one “The SS d.p.”

      Thing I fear most is that Donaldtrumpism is more even contagious than feared. Perpetrators use loud racist misogynistic public idiocy too suck out of public discussion all mention things like why neither major party can govern. Ever think we could really be dealing with d.t.?

      So rather than dropping malefactors, if anybody gets too transit-distractingly obnoxious, why not just put by their name a pic of them with a badger photoshopped onto their heads? Or even better, to keep things On-Topic, either a pantogaph hat, or Groucho Marx glasses and purple mustache?

      m.d.

      1. As to;

        Maybe I just haven’t read far enough, but only subject under discussion has no discussion to do with high speed ferry boats, unless we can get WSDOT to name one “The SS d.p.”

        We’re also discussing the concerning proposal to put a parking garage to park Skagitonians at Everett Station. This Skagitonian says no.

        As to;

        Thing I fear most is that Donaldtrumpism is more even contagious than feared. Perpetrators use loud racist misogynistic public idiocy too suck out of public discussion all mention things like why neither major party can govern. Ever think we could really be dealing with d.t.?

        I too am tired of Dpism and Donaldtrumpism and Jessynism and communism and COERism and fascism, Islamism, and all the other isms except AMERICANISM AND AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM! G*D BLESS AMERICA!

      2. Well, having started this Obit, I’ll end it by saying transit will be left poorer for lack of critical thinkers like d p to challenge us.
        When the taxation party comes to a screeching halt, and it’s time for transit supporters to sober up, just look around you and ask, “Is this all that 100 Billion bought us?
        Meanwhile, climate refugees will keep pouring into the Cascades west flank, saturating our transportation system to a grinding halt.

  2. The UW tower is such welcome news given the disastrous derelict space that could have been plopped atop the heaviest-used subway station in a fast-growing urban center.

    1. I agree. The U-District is already huge — the second biggest urban center in Washington* and this is just another sign that it is growing rapidly. One more reason to build UW to Ballard light rail.

      * According to Sound Transit. I’m not really sure what that means though. In any event, lots of offices, lots of housing and lots of places to visit.

    2. I wouldn’t rule out the efforts of those pushing for a windswept empty plaza just yet.

      I’ll believe it when the construction starts.

      1. No problem if we add a huge rectangular SLU-caliber office building with a ten-story high arch over the space. Featuring an-eight-story diameter wind turbine to help power NorthLINK and the Ballard Spur. Sound effect? Win Win Win Win Swoooosh!

        Mark

  3. 240 feet sounds tall, until you realize that’s just 3/4 the height of the current UW plaza tower next door.

  4. “The Tacoma Mall Neighborhood, as the city calls it in the latest effort to revive and breathe life into it”

    Sounds like the neighborhood needs a new name. Mall doesn’t sound like something pleasant. The Northgate neighborhood is not called the Northgate Mall neighborhood. The 38th Street Neighborhood would be better than that. If Center Street were further south it could be the Center Street Neighborhood. Then there’s the other interesting Tacoma names, like Cirque Drive, but that’s too far away too.

      1. In the ST Board letters from the cities that STB highlighted a few weeks ago, nobody said they wanted Link to the mall. Though I believe Tacoma, Lakewood, and perhaps University Place said they wanted BRT. Which is more appropriate.

      2. Tacoma didn’t write a letter. But their Mayor (on the board) asked for Tacoma Mall in the long-range plan in the first place.

    1. That’s an idea. Build a traditional outdoor pedestrian mall, and pretend the neighborhood was named after that.

      1. And you can put a Link station in the pedestrian mall, since Tacoma’s determined to end the Spine there! Maybe even get the developers to contribute something to the rail!

      2. It’s surprising that Tacoma is willing to have a Link line that bypasses downtown. I would have expected it to go downtown and west on 6th Avenue to Tacoma CC. This will mean it’s easier for somebody in Tacoma Mall to get to Fife, Federal Way, and Seattle than to their own city center. Unless they’re planning to build a second downtown there.

  5. Yesterday, the building that houses the Belltown bar Shorty’s just got designated as historic, scuttling a project that could’ve housed hundreds of people. Unfortunately, no one against the destination came out to voice their concern. So, terrible land use in Belltown is here to stay.

    1. “…the building that houses the Belltown bar Shorty’s just got designated as historic …” Everything I’ve read says those businesses and building are goners and 124 units are going in there.

    2. Wait, what? I thought the building was only submitted to the landmark preservation board yesterday. Do they really have a one-day turnaround time?

    3. I’m hoping the project does get scuttled, because removing that last strip of fun in Belltown would be really lame. More condo canyons with boutique shops and artisan restaurants is *just* what we need more of!

      1. Yes, we need more housing. And there’s no law that says the retail level needs to be filled with “boutique shops and artisan restaurants”. Using the government to enforce bad land use is totally bone-headed and destructive.

    4. In NYC, CBGB and Max Kansas City closed down as well as other clubs back in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. The Palladium (formerly the Academy of Music) was closed to build NYU student housing. Fun in NYC didn’t stop in NYC, it merely relocated to other parts of the city—Some to other areas of Manhattan and out to Brooklyn.

      Ya think in a “liberal city” like Seattle, people will find other places to open up shop for music/culture etc? As a matter of fact, it’s happening—-Recently, the Funhouse re-opened for music inside of El Corazon. and the Josephine, the all ages club (not legally a club from what I understood), lost their place in Ballard, but recently completed some successful crowd source funding and will be opening a new place for live music in the future.

      It’s tempting to mourn, and I miss the old Belltown—the Old Croc, Under the Rail, the Vogue on 1st Ave, and the record store across the street from mommas Mexican kitchen. But cool culture pops up elsewhere eventually.

      1. This is my view as well. Shorty’s is a fun bar, but it is just a bar. It is not even sort of historic. Nirvana didn’t play there every week for years or something.

      2. East! Coast! Cynic!? Ya bein’ redun’ant, E.C.C. But really, along with people of every outlook from east of Snoqualmie Pass, Seattle desperately needs cynicism that’s forthrightly aggressive, instead of the miserable, whiny passive transit-murdering variety here.

        But re: great old places of character being destroyed- every city’s history is that places that started out as filthy crowded rat’s nests, and then, after the bricks were sand-blasted and the rats paid a fortune in cheese to move, turned into overstarched stuffed shirt places nobody could afford to live. Where nobody interesting could stand to live. Though always keeping the name of the old rundown place.

        Forcing all the interesting energetic people to move into new places nobody else wants to live in until cool-starved rich people shove them out, as if they’d want to live there anymore amid marble countertopped restaurants with six figure menus and one-word names.

        You know that Seattle’s original non-native name was “New York Alki”- Big Apple Tomorrow. So we’ve just got to find a presently-unlivable replacement- mall of your choice- to be Seattle Alki.

        Mark Dublin

  6. For the (both) people on this blog that have asked about the MAX line opening ceremonies, they now have a more complete list of events but the actual ribbon cutting isn’t part of what is listed.

    I’m guessing this will happen at the Zidell Yards / South Waterfront site, simply because it is the only place I can think of that will handle a crowd of the size they are expecting.

      1. Well, since FHSC may in fact open at the same time as U Link (I am putting my pessimist hat on for this one), they could do a combined celebration at cap hill station.

      1. He’s not after affordable. He’s after transit access and walkability. The current location is already in an affordable location, in the middle of a triangle formed by three freeways and suburban sprawl that runs as far as the eye can see.

        TIBS is a suburban parking lot just like the mess he wants to move away from, and the airport station isn’t so great either.

        An office tower in the U district would work though.

        Though, admittedly, compared to where they are, even Federal Way or even DuPont would offer more urban stuff within a walkable distance.

      2. SeaTac is good if your within waking distance of the RapidRide. The A-line gives you frequent local access, and Link gives you frequent access to downtown Seattle. But there are also a handful of half hourly routes like the 180, 156 and 574. I feel like since “frequent” is cut off at 15 minutes, people on this blog tend to underestimate the value half hourly routes provide, and that’s unfortunate.

    1. Good for him. I’ve been out to their headquarters before and it’s a pain to get to by transit (you can, with a train/bus, but that area is very suburban windy-road). The place is pretty non-descript although they do cool development stuff inside.

    2. By the way, that born in Tokyo link is a link to an extended interview. It’s a bit interesting when it comes to urban design and similar topics.

    3. Back in the late 90’s I used to work for a company that was also out in the suburbs, just like Marriott. My job was to update bank software for Y2K. Our office park wasn’t near any good transit. Everyone drove, except this one weird guy who mumbled a lot. He took the bus. But freeway traffic was always bad. It was so bad one day a guy on the sidewalk with a walker was walking faster than my car! Unbelievable. I always wished our company would move closer to a light rail line so I wouldn’t have to drive to work. Unfortunately, our office building burned down, I lost my job, and moved out here to Washington State.

    1. Since this little section is on the wasteful POFFs (Passenger-Only Fast Ferries), let me just say I don’t think taxdollars should go towards enabling more sprawl, parking lots, wake wash and the like. If this is so damn important, have the private sector provide this premium service. There. Respectfully.

      1. What encourages the sprawl are the auto ferries, which charge less per auto trip than parking and walking on.

        Also, what encourages sprawl is the horrible land use planning in Kitsap County.

        If they would do a decent rezone of downtown Bremerton and get some apartments or condos on top of all those single level buildings that make up downtown Bremerton, they would help change things for the better. That really could be an ideal place for an upzone since so much of Seattle is reserved for single family homes.

        There are several historic storefronts that would be nice to preserve in downtown Bremerton. An awful lot of the rest is quite unappealing concrete stuff that is sort of a Mussolini Modern look. The parking structure that dominates parts of downtown is a horror of uglification.

        There’s a lot that could be done there that would make Bremerton more of a city and less of a convoluted mess.

        Of course, some method of getting from downtown Bremerton to the ferry terminal without getting killed or driving would also be nice. Right now there are crosswalks but no actual traffic lights to allow you to cross the streets until you get quite far from the Bremerton ferry terminal.

      2. Great thoughts Glenn. But again, I suspect this request for POFFs is to enable rich YUPPIES to have a shorter commute at the detriment and subsidy of everybody else. Uh, no.

        I know this will cause some consternation here when I say this, but one good thing of I-695 was that WSF users had to start making a bigger contribution to their own ride. I think we need to be very careful about any sprawl enabling investment when we can’t substantially maintain the transportation infrastructure we got now and we have transit deserts in important places in the Puget Sound area.

      3. “What encourages the sprawl are the auto ferries, which charge less per auto trip than parking and walking on.”

        The west sound has already rejected the alternative that would cause the most sprawl: bridges. A certain amount of auto ferries is necessary for lifeline service, supplies, people migrating, kids visiting their parents, etc. At what point does it become excessive? And how much should ferries cost before it becomes an unfair burden on people? We subsidize buses because $9 per trip is too much to expect people to pay, and it’s uncompetitive with driving. In some cases people can drive around to Deception Pass or the Narrows Bridge or Olympia avoid the ferries; do we want them doing that?

      4. “what encourages sprawl is the horrible land use planning in Kitsap County.”

        What’s Kitsap’s land use planning like? Does it disallow anything over two stories? Are there people in Kitsap wanting to build denser and the county isn’t allowing them?

      5. Like it or not, the auto ferries are one of the very few ways that highway money is allowed be spent on something that someone not in a car is able to use. If a bridge existed between Seattle and Bainbridge Island, there would likely no transit (outside of rush hour) and probably no bike lanes either.

      6. I agree. I’m not against conventional ferries – I’m against a premium service running alongside regular service and we ALL foot the bill.

        Last I checked there are transit funding issues and a need to recapitalize much of the WSF fleet in the next 20 years.

      7. That raises the question: Why is there a good bike path on the I-90 bridge, but not on the SR-520 bridge or (IIRC) the Hood Canal bridge?

      8. Because the I-90 bridge was built in the late 1980s when it was expected, but 520 was built in the 1960s when it wasn’t. The hourly 520 buses were considered sufficient for non-automobile access, and I think they used to be free for bicycles between Montlake and Evergreen Point. It’s the same mentality that thought a bus on 405 was sufficient multimodal support. (It went from Shoreline P&R to Burien.) The Hood Canal Bridge was rebuilt around the 1970s; it may have been a bit too early for the bicycle revolution.

      1. +1 Glenn. Bremerton has good bones. If they cut the commute time and increase frequency, more will make it.

        Joe, no Yuppies are moving to Bremerton. It’s not that kind of place. But regular people who work in downtown Seattle who want a walkable community at an affordable price might. I would consider it. And why not subsidize it if it means more tax receipts in downtown Brem.? It could be a net gain, not a loss.

      2. “why not subsidize it if it means more tax receipts in downtown Brem.? It could be a net gain, not a loss.”

        It’s a very premium, high cost, high maintenance service to shave a half hour off the trip. You apparently haven’t heard of the maintenance bill these fast ferries leave at the table after a race, er, day commuting people. It’s like using a Mercedes Bus when a Ford Bus or Gillig will do. Now the Airporter Shuttle can charge me a bit more to get Mercedes like these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeiULlnpvrU but I don’t want transit taxdollars to go to something ridiculous.

        But good point.

  7. Since this is an open thread – did any other commenter help ST their new TVM interface on August 25? Anybody else who did want to share their overall thoughts about it?

    I noted that the ST meeting had an item that in testing it took two minutes to get a ticket. I’m sure one of their data points was me.

    1. I tested out the machine. Overall the machine was easy to use with 2 exceptions:

      1 – No instructions for using a credit card. That is, do you insert face up or face down, stripe left or stripe right? Do you insert and leave the card in, or do you insert and immediately yank out? And if you don’t do it right within a time limit, the software times out and sends you back to the home screen.and you have to choose your ticket again from the beginning.

      2 – Despite being called a “Sound Transit” ticket machine, there’s no cross-ticketing. 1 of my “exercises” was buying a ticket from Beacon Hill to Everett, but the machine only sells Link tickets, not Sounder or ST Express bus tickets. Admittedly, ORCA takes care of that, but still not super-intuitive for a tourist..

    2. Oooh wow, interesting. I had a similar issue with cross ticketing, but I was a Sounder user at the Puyallup station. There was a thin line of instructions about credit card on the machine proper, but it was underneath the slot and hard to see especially when you were putting the card in. And that was hardware.

      The easy to use part for me: I could easily do a ticket to another Sounder station. Cash was straightforward also.

      What I found hard: the train to a game. I somehow ‘forgot’ (or maybe I’m a method actress) that the stadiums were close to the King Street. So no Stadium Station marked. And unfortunately I tried plan B which was to go to Tukwila and catch Link and completely boxed in. There was a touch screen button at a lower corner that was specific for events, but I missed it completely. We went through that button and interestingly enough you could get a transit ticket in the future. Could be helpful if you planned ahead, but who does that?

      The other exercise I had was with loading an ORCA card. This was hardware again. I found that the holder was way too far right for my taste and I nearly forgot the card as I left the machine.

      I think that the TVM is okay the second time around, which I think is a problem.

      The final thing is the tickets themselves. You get a ticket to the Sounder, but all the ST logos for their branded products are on the ticket. One of my wayfaring tricks is to match the logo on the ticket with the logo marking the station. If you get a ticket with all three logos, it is reasonable to assume that you have a ticket for all ST products, and you do not.

  8. +1. I’ve been a daily reader for a few years now and have ended up about as interested in d.p.’s commentary as the posts themselves here. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who spent the better part of the last decade in Boston using an old, flawed, yet car-free-lifestyle-enabling transit system. d.p. was one of the few people on here consistently advocating for such a functional transit system, full stop. Seattle isn’t some special and unique snowflake–contiguous density, distance, and current transit modeshare should be nearly the beginning and end of system efficacy discussions; most of the rest is politics. I’d prefer that you leave that to ST and advocate for functional transit. Or is this as much a political blog as a transit blog? As well-intentioned and otherwise bright as they may be, people who have only relied on transit for peak-hour commuting to a downtown core or as tourists have a tendency to say ridiculous things based on false models of how functional mass transit systems operate. Commuter rail isn’t enough and shouldn’t be Seattle’s first priority. Let the suburbs advocate for that and let city dollars be spent improving mobility within the city. I’m not totally against commuter rail (and that seems to be basically what we are building), but as someone who recently moved to the Bay Area for work, I ended up buying a car after a few months (the first time I’ve had to regularly drive since leaving Seattle), despite being within walking distance to their commuter rail. It’s a bummer. Seattle should fight for something better. In closing, free dp.

    1. “in Boston using an old, flawed, yet car-free-lifestyle-enabling transit system.”

      How do you think it grew that way?

      Through some ‘Smart Growth’ planning?

      The ‘elephant in the room’ is still here.

    2. I will continue to advocate for what I consider to be the most cost effective transit system for Seattle possible. I know a lot of other people will as well. d. p. is a solid, knowledgeable advocate for transit on this blog, but it isn’t like he is unique in that regard. For example, he likes the UW to Ballard light rail plan; Keith Kyle and I wrote in support of that. He likes the WSTT; Keith Kyle wrote in support of that (along with Matthew Johnson, who wrote the Seattle Times article with input from d. p.). He is a big fan of a transit grid with frequent buses, and David Lawson is a big proponent. Generally speaking, what d. p. has pushed for is what any expert transit planner would push for. So you can assume that other folks will take up the slack when it comes to pushing for it. He is an excellent writer — don’t expect anything close to that from me — but aside from that, and his often blunt tone, we really won’t lose that much. He basically advocated for common sense, standard solutions — I think you can expect a lot of other people to do the same.

      1. Well put RossB, but at least we won’t have flame wars between transit advocates lit by D.P. I mean D.P. calling me racist was really the last straw for me… and this was after he ran a long flame war after my request for help to defend the Tri-County Connectors.

        Let’s always keep that in mind. Those whom wanna divide & conquer us should go work for the WEA on the Left or the Road Bullies on the Right.

      2. With his passion, then he should do well when he testifies publicly in front of the city leaders of the region in support of the perfect transit vision.

        I look forward to seeing him move the conversation with those who are making the decisions.

      3. Of course, he might just be a very knowledgeable, very good writer who is deathly afraid of speaking in public. I know I am the latter. I would rather have a root canal than talk in front of a room full of people (at least my dentist uses anesthetic)

      4. “I will continue to advocate for what I consider to be the most cost effective transit system for Seattle possible” I’ll sleep better now.

  9. Germany is studying the feasibility of a national clockface schedule where the national network would be coordinated for ease of use across the entire country.

    As far as I know, the only other country that has done this is Switzerland.

    I’d definitely be willing to settle for a region wide Cascades clockface timetable, that wouldn’t have the bus to Olympia depart just as Amtrak is getting into the “Olympia / Lacy” station?

    Really, even a city-wide coordinated timetable would be kind of nice in some places….

    1. Wow, that’s impressive for Germany. Designing such a massive integrated timed-transfer network is certainly not easy–either from a geometric standpoint (having to design routes with just the right amount of travel time between hubs) or simply in terms of maintaining reliability. However, it has so many benefits that American agencies ought to be considering it, at least on a limited scale.

      I’m not sure what happened to the proposed Amtrak Cascades improvements, but it would be nice if it could be upgraded to say, 120-minute headways between Seattle and Portland. This would allow cities like Longview/Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, etc. to potentially design a “pulse” for their local bus systems around the Amtrak arrivals. Unfortunately, I don’t think Amtrak is reliable enough for this to work, especially since you wouldn’t want to hold the local bus for a long time just because a few people might be connecting from a late train.

      On a more local level, asdf and others have pointed out that the Seattle region can definitely do a better job with timed transfers, especially between local and express buses off-peak (when traffic shouldn’t be horrible). There are definitely challenges to implementing timed connections, but it seems like Metro and Sound Transit simply aren’t trying in some cases. Just as a random example, it seems like the connection between the 101 and 169 at S Renton P&R should be an important connection, as the fastest way to get from Seattle to the Valley Medical Center, for example. However, if you’re trying to take the 169 departing S Renton at 1:15pm on weekdays, you basically have to wait the full half hour if coming from Seattle (the 101 from Seattle arrives at 12:45pm and 1:16pm). There are cases like this all over the network.

      Out of curiosity Glenn, does Portland still do timed transfers? I know they used to use them in the suburbs, so I’m curious what happened.

      1. Not quite like they used to.

        There are still some places where it happens. MAX green line going south to Clackamas has several good transfers to the 79 to Gladstone and Oregon City in the early morning, which can be good for anyone on the east side headed south on Amtrak Cascades from there in the morning. The 15 minute walk between the station and the nearest useful bus stop is annoying, but for a number of people it is still faster than going all the way downtown to Union Station.

        Later in the day, timed transfers fall apart at the 79 to MAX interchange. I wrote TriMet about that and they said that they did it that way because they are trying to maintain the better timed connection at the other end of the route at the 79 to 33 connection in Oregon City.

        So, they have some effort at making timed transfers, but when given the choice they choose to maintain certain timed transfers over others.

      2. The 101+`169 may be bad at 1:15pm, but I have taken it the other way at several different times where the wait was ten minutes, and it seems to be the transfer Metro has timed best in Renton.

    1. Well, I suspect that the 99 tunnel would also count as a “low cost option” compared to the Big Dig.

  10. I love the idea of a tall tower on top of a station – if height/density are supposed to fall off away from stations/urban cores, then clearly, on top of the station should have the tallest height around.

    Question, though – what’s the status of the u-district upzone?

    It would be really cool if STB or somebody did pages for various major projects/legislative changes/ideas that kept all the information together in one place. That way you could click on the east link page and say, oh, here are the STB posts on it, this is the current status, what is coming up, etc.

    (Is there any intention of introducing a tagging system for STB posts? Seems like it would provide a lot of value for effort.)

    1. That’s a very good question. I’m not sure where the city is with the process. It might be on hold until after the election (and maybe after they discuss HALA). By then much of the area will have been transformed anyway. There is a lot of growth there, but very little of it is office space. I would guess just about all of is new housing. Depending on which option is picked, I think you will end up with roughly the same number of people living there. The difference is how much office space there will be.

  11. Since this is an open thread, how many of you share my anger at the obscene proposal of a Sound Transit-financed parking garage at Everett Station to serve……………… my fellow Skagitonians when there is a perfectly functioning Island Transit 90X?

    I need to decide next steps and if I’m the only one feeling… righteous at this.

    1. The City of Everett already proposed a parking garage to replace a surface lot at Everett Station alongside its effort to rezone the area for up to 80-ft-high multifamily units in 2012. (Source)

      I do agree that it’s ridiculous and would ask that Skagit County/northern Snohomish County chip in for it, but the former definitely needs to soak up as much transit tax revenue as it can. I wouldn’t mind turning a few empty/underused retail parking lots on the I-5 corridor up here in Marysville to new park-and-rides.

      Also, wouldn’t it be great for the 90X to have a flyer stop at Smokey Point (exit 206) to connect with Stanwood, Arlington and Darrington (via the nearby Smokey Point Transit Center)? I might be a bit biased living around that interchange, but it seems like a logical place to have a stop for an existing express bus. Even better, CT could probably fund a few extra trips as a gesture of goodwill.

      1. Bruce;

        I sincerely wanted to wait until after the Seahawks won to reply so I was thoughtful in response to your pithy comment and could respond in depth.

        As to this parking garage, I like the idea of Transit Oriented Development/TOD. But TOD to me is not putting a parking garage that may or may not be used by transit users but rather encouraging folks to use the neighborhood service already provided.

        As to, “I do agree that it’s ridiculous and would ask that Skagit County/northern Snohomish County chip in for it, but the former definitely needs to soak up as much transit tax revenue as it can. I wouldn’t mind turning a few empty/underused retail parking lots on the I-5 corridor up here in Marysville to new park-and-rides.” Well I like your thinking. I’ve got real concern to the point of consternation about the magnet of an Everett Station parking garage putting more Skagit cars to ride transit plugging up the very Skagit Transit route that can serve the same purpose.

        As to, “Also, wouldn’t it be great for the 90X to have a flyer stop at Smokey Point (exit 206) to connect with Stanwood, Arlington and Darrington (via the nearby Smokey Point Transit Center)? I might be a bit biased living around that interchange, but it seems like a logical place to have a stop for an existing express bus.” I agree. I would like to see the transit agencies come together and do just this. Already Island Transit at Board meetings has expressed the desire to have Community Transit or Skagit Transit meet them in Stanwood and ferry Camano Island folks to Everett if at all possible. The current state legislative grant system has never been intended to be a direct operations budget transfer to county-level transit agencies.

      2. I agree, more stops for the long distance routes to allow more people the opportunity to ride the buses. If parking garages are needed to get people to the bus stops, all the better.

    2. At the very least, could this parking garage be put directly above the acres of concrete that are the bus platforms? Bus riders get shelter from the wind and rain, and the parking structure gets a home that otherwise wouldn’t be used for anything else.

      1. Glenn, I doubt it but good thinking.

        My ire is I’m already using 90X and I’m sitting in traffic between Skagit & Everett. Why should I be mute while some people plot to make my commute longer?

    3. Any chance of making this a pay lot? It seems only fair since so many are coming from outside the SoundTransit district.

      1. Just asked for, “I’d like to see the e-mails in an Outlook PST file regarding please N-02a, N-02b, and N-02c the proposal of an “examination of a 1000 stall parking facility at Everett Station” please. Find this very curious.”

        I sure wanna know where that came from and what the story is. Then maybe one of the STB reporters can jump on it, do a story and we can discuss next steps – if any – in the comments.

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