This is an open thread.

102 Replies to “News Roundup: Town Hall”

  1. Has anyone heard whether the FH streetcar is nearing ready to open? I plan on visiting in November and would love to take a ride.

    1. I would say it would be a pretty good chance. Then again it is over a year and half late but they are now testing cars during the daytime without police escort.

      1. Does anyone know why the testing period needs to be so long for new transit service? It’s not like streetcars are a new invention. Seems like a few test runs on the new tracks should be sufficient to make sure they were installed correctly, and it needn’t be a months-long process. What am I missing?

      2. Because if something goes wrong, nobody wants to get tangled in the lawsuit avalanche that would follow.

      3. I’ve heard that braking performance was not up to snuff in early testing and they are making adjustments. Supposedly the regenerative brakes work well in that they recover more electric charge on the downhill leg than initially projected, so I imagine its the friction brakes that are the issue.

        It’s all hearsay though, so caveats involving large grains of salt apply.

      4. Seeing the test cars go by late at night when you’re crossing Broadway is pretty surreal, still. This mirage of “transit”.

      5. I understood that the cars themselves (specifically the traction motors) had lengthy break-in periods as well, something to the tune of several hundred miles. This might be a federal requirement of some sort?

      6. DC’s streetcar has been in this testing limbo phase for about 2 years. I’d say the FH streetcar is unlikely to open before 2016.

      7. Well, actually, the testing periods can be quite short if everything was done correctly.

        Usually there turns out to be a “punchlist” of items which WEREN’T done correctly. The punchlist was very, very long at DC Streetcar, and was quite long for the First Hill Streetcar.

  2. So the Vancouver BRT is, in fact, not BRT. Exclusive lanes matter folks.

    Why do we keep wasting federal funds on this crap? (Rapid Ride Included!!)

    1. Because republicans control Clark County and they’re always trying to pull one over on the more urban constituents.

      1. We’re just going to have to build a real BRT here in the city somewhere to show them how its done. This isn’t rocket science.

      2. I think Seattle is a very bad city for BRT. The travel corridor densities are very high due not only to high traffic volume but also to the fact we squeeze it through narrow corridors. BRT works best in open grid cities like Phoenix, El Paso, Vegas and etc. Chances of pissing off communities here because of implementing dedicated lanes is much greater when you consider what you get.

      3. This is also a city that had streetcars in the distant past. Our corridors are wide enough if we want to re-dedicate the ROW.

        We could even manage to squeeze a BRT through Wallingford (route 44) if we’re willing to make sacrifices to benefit mobility over car storage and sidewalk bulbs.

      4. removing parking is not like removing yards. Its already public space, just misallocated for storing cars.

      5. Why, exactly, should we bother with “real BRT” or any kind of BRT? People are willing to vote for real transit solutions, so what’s the motivation to cheap out?

      6. They’re willing to vote for one, maybe two, maybe four rail lines. They’re not willing to vote for rail on every arterial.

      7. To your typical business along 44th removing parking is akin to removing a front yard. Putting a dedicated bus lane would not be welcomed.

      8. The businesses in Wallingford claimed they’ll lost most of their customers if the street parking is replaced by transit lanes.

      9. They’re wrong about the parking loss. They will gain customers, especially during rush hour when its essentially impossible to get to Wallingford now.

        Many, many more customers can reach them by buses that are not stuck in traffic than can get there, park and walk in.

        I know they will fight it, but its just as important that we push back. Investing any money in a 44 without giving it exclusive lanes through Wallingford will be a tremendous waste of resources.

        We will have spent a ton of money just to put a fancy ribbon on a bus line that will continue to be monumentally unreliable and almost unusable during rush hour.

      10. les is right. BRT in Seattle will never be very good. Oh, the express buses on I-405 (not truly “Bus Rapid Transit” no matter what they claim) will be “successful” — at least, successful at carrying lots of people though not at transforming the built environment — if the pitchfork carriers can be kept away from the bus lanes. BRT works where lanes can be taken in the middle of the roadway and operated like light rail with pretty stringent signal priority and other vehicles physically excluded from their right of way. Basically it’s a great success when volumes are at the low end of the LRT spectrum.

        But the right hand running “BAT” lanes that Seattle seems to love will always be at the mercy of the American motorist’s mindless narcissism.

      11. Charles, the right of way was never dedicated. That’s why the streetcars went away. Had they been running reserved right of way they’d still be running, as in Pittsburg, Cleveland, Boston, and San Francisco. Reserved right of way makes transit great.

      12. The part-time curb-side BAT lanes along RR routes are better than what was there before; expanding hours and coverage will continue to improve them. We’ve built a commute modeshare not far from Chicago’s out of little but BAT lanes, HOV lanes, and a west-coast refusal to pay for parking. We’re a city where Nathan Vass can say “the full 99% ride the bus” and be basically right. There aren’t many US cities that have done more with buses.

        Part-time curb-side BAT lanes on 45th would be a godsend, and would get a foot in the door for transit ROW there. Even the odd queue-jumps we’ve built so far for the 44 have brought reliability from horrific to merely bad. There’s a great case for more. Wallingford has more off-street parking than people realize and it’s really not all that well utilized in aggregate; it certainly could be used more efficiently if less street parking was available, and would be less necessary if Link extension was combined with better reliability on the 44 and E Line.

      13. I bet we could replace most or all of the on-street parking in Wallingford along 45th with a single parking structure. Possible locations would be at Wallingford Center or the Uptown Espresso lot (45th & Corliss). Even as a person without a car, I would be OK with the city using Move Seattle funds to help build it, as long as we get guaranteed bus lanes in perpetuity along 45th.

      14. Wallingford is also a reliability killer for the 16. And, if the U-link restructure goes through, Wedgwood will gain transit access to Wallingford in something less than the full-hour-each-way they have today.

      15. BRT is a joke around here. It is really BST instead. “Buses Stuck in Traffic” or Transit with the emphasis on the “BS”. Exclusive lanes, priority signals and off coach payment helps the most.

    2. Actually, “Bus rapid transit uses extra-large buses to move more riders faster. Often such systems use dedicated lanes of traffic, but the system in Clark County will have dedicated right-of-way only at stations. Buses leaving the stations will get priority at traffic signals” sure sounds to me a lot like Community Transit Swift.

      I’ll just leave that here.

    3. Clark County BRT started out with high intentions, then BRT Creep happened, note the first image… http://www.nc3d.com/portfolios/bus-rapid-transit

      I’m still holding out hope for Seattle’s Madison BRT to actually be BRT and a good example of it done right… I’m hoping center running dedicated lanes with right side boarding (islands), unfortunately the left turn lanes at the major cross streets are taking priority over locating the stations at the main locations in the latest plan.

      With these BRT projects though many including Madison BRT I think really could be done cheaply with paint and building normal transit islands (like on Dexter), why they need to do a full street rebuild for BRT other than to get Federal money, I do not understand.

      1. Based on the comments above, we should do nothing on Madison until we can build light rail there.

        Just about every city that has a great transit system has a combination of great rail and bus service. The key is to build what you can build, as well as you can. It also makes sense to leverage what you have — to build what makes sense for the area. Madison makes sense for light rail, but we can’t build it. So rather than sit on our hands, we are at least making a solid improvement. UW to Ballard makes sense for light rail, but until then, improving the bus corridor makes sense.

        Other areas make sense for open BRT, such as West Seattle. But obsessing over whether something is BRT or not misses the point. The key is whether it works. The old bus tunnel for example had off board payment and grade separation. Who cares if it was BRT or not? It worked. Link is not completely grade separated, but people call it light rail. Its biggest weaknesses have nothing to do with grade separation, but rather its stations (and the way they interact with buses).

        I very much agree — we should push for high quality bus improvements. But we should do the same for the trains. By far the biggest “watering down” of our system has occurred on Link, when only one station was added between the UW and Westlake. A much bigger mistake would be to build inappropriate investments for ST3. To build a system based on mode obsession and political foolishness, rather than effectiveness, would likely screw up transit for many years in the area.

      2. Last I heard SDOT was leaning toward center-running closed BRT for Madison. I commented that I’d prefer it to be open BRT so that the 2 or 12 or future routes could potentially use it in it rather than being delegated to the slow lane.

      3. @poncho – I meant light rail in a tunnel (of course).

        But your comment shows how silly the semantic debate over BRT is. You could build surface light rail curving around the hill and call it a substitute for rail in a tunnel. Is it light rail? Who cares, it won’t work very well. Oh wait, we are doing that.

  3. Also, Community transit is about ti waste 2 mil because WSDOT refuses to change the HOV lanes to HOV 3+.

    WSDOT says basically “We could fix that for you ST… but nah, maybe next time”

    Don’t know why Snohomish County puts up with that.

    1. The Community Transit routes that get stuck in traffic are just stopgap routes until Link reaches Lynnwood. Eventually, they’ll all get truncated, which will free up a ton of service hours for local service. Until, taxpayers will just have to accept that they’ll keep getting less and less value for their money, the worse traffic gets.

      Also, along I-5, changing HOV lanes from 2+ to 3+ wouldn’t even really fix the worst of the problem. The worst of the problem is all the deadhead buses running inbound during the afternoon, while the express lanes are all running outbound, as Northgate to downtown during that time is a giant parking lot. Drive north along I-5 on a weekday afternoon and every few hundred feet, you’ll pass another Community Transit bus going the other way, stopping in traffic, with “Out of Service” printed on its headsign.

      1. Is there the possibility for CT to park them somewhere in SoDo and “van” the drivers back from the buses in the morning and to the buses in the afternoon? Maybe then only one CT bus would have to make the out-of-direction slog.

        Just a crazy thought.

      2. Even still, changing from HOV 2+ to HOV 3+ is a pretty cheap short term fix until the light rail is ready.

        Remember, we’re talking roughly 8 years until Lynnwood Link is open. That’s 8 years where folks might not have to lose hours of their lives in traffic.

        As for the dead heading, are buses not allowed to use the HOV lanes to return to base when they are heading back? Seems like giving the buses an exemption when out of service would be a pretty obvious fix…

      3. Anandakos, CT does that. But many of those buses make two trips in the afternoon, so they have to deadhead back once.

      4. Charles B, buses are allowed to use the HOV lanes with only the driver. It’s that HOV lanes do not exist south of Northgate (and are congested in many locations where they do exist).

      5. I know there’s issues with it but at this point, given how difficult it is to get buses onto I-5, I’m seriously wondering why nobody has proposed repurposing the express lanes are bi-directional bus only. It has dedicated on and off ramps in certain places which would also help. Of course there’s definitely some big issues to overcome with such a plan, but it appears cheaper and easier than other options.

        We already decided to build a north/south LR spine so probably too little too late, but you have to figure, if we can convert them on I-90 for LR, why not for buses on I-5? Just think, if SDOT ever completes truly separated lanes on city arterials into and out of DT, they could actually get onto the freeway as well and not just sit waiting on Mercer, Denny, Olive, etc.

      6. Because it’s too much of an investment to make for a temporary solution that would be replaced with Link in just over 5 years. It would also piss off a large number of drivers who use the express lanes.

      7. Drew,

        Thanks, and good for them. Certainly any two-trip schedule will need to deadhead a minumum of one time. Has anyone thought of switching over at Northgate Way and using the Red Lanes on Aurora? I know that right now Aurora is a bad idea. But the tunnel-related work will be done in six month? A year?

        Now grant, using Aurora would dump them at the wrong end of downtown unless they use the “Blue Streak” routing of south of second or third up Yesler and Terrace and into the HOV tunnel under Columbia Center via the contra-flow lane. I seem to recall reading that at least some CT buses do use that route.

        Or, is there enough capacity on the Viaduct to run them down to SoDo that way?

        Seems like the Aurora BAT lanes are an underused facility in a corridor that is begging for transit priority.

      8. Aha, about half of the CT express routes do exactly that. Their first stop is nearside Ninth and Stewart and then they go down Second Avenue to Yesler to Terrace and north on Fifth to the HOV entrance. At the very least those buses should go via Aurora and make a first stop somewhere on Seventh just north of Stewart. That would mean that folks served by the Ninth and Stewart stop would not have the same service, but if it’s important the bus could go east on Virginia to Terry and loop around to that stop.

        I would hope that somebody from CT reads this and evaluates it.

    2. @Jon – I have read something about redoing the express lanes as bidirectional. I think it was on a bike blog. It had nothing to do with buses. It was more of a general traffic management proposal. That being said, it doesn’t seem cheap.

      As to the larger point, the logical end to north Link is Mountlake Terrace. It avoids the Northgate problems, and already has bus lanes. With HOV 3, someone from Everett can get to Seattle faster on the bus (transferring at Mountlake Terrace) than by a train from Everett. The buses are express (because there is little demand for the stops in the middle). The train won’t be.

  4. I would say the Tacoma Link has $145million of the $165million needed, but I guess that all depends on how you view the $75million Small Starts grant that it has been awarded by USDOT. Evidently that grant is not final, because the federal Transportation bill has not passed, but it is hard to imagine a bill being passed that gets rid of the Small Starts program.

  5. Two of the stations on MAX Orange Line have bike parking shelters that are part of BikeLink and I had never heard of them before.

    In looking at their Seattle map, I notice that they have several such shelters around the Seattle area, but nothing anywhere near UW, which to me seems like it would be a prime market for such a service.

    1. We’d better not build apartment buildings then. The single-family house advocates keep telling us apartments are unsafe, and here’s another example.

    2. Wow. Especially when you consider that this is a freeway express that crosses Lake Washington, the fact that the driver lost consciousness and no one got injured, and the only damage done is minimal damage to a building and damage to the front of the bus, that’s pretty miraculous. That’s literally the best outcome you could ever hope to have for a driver losing consciousness while driving a bus.

  6. From Vancouver, BC

    Excerpt (and see if this sounds familiar)

    Still, Jackson said the city will need to be creative to create more affordable housing. One way, he said, is to rezone arterial roads like Nanaimo, Main, Fraser and Arbutus streets for townhouses.

    “Simply put, we need more townhouses. It won’t be easy because it is adjacent to single-family neighbourhoods and this is uncharted territory,” he said. “It will be hard, gritty and messy and it will take some time. It will mean talking to people in our single-family neighbourhoods for a type of development they have not seen before.”

    1. Luckily Nanaimo and Main Street already have Skytrain stations. And Fraser and Arbitus have BRT every couple minutes, and would have Skytrain if they ever get that Broadway extension underway. So when they get the townhouses up the transit will already be there.

    2. If they’re going to go through all the trouble of provoking the SFH neighborhoods they should be able to do more than townhomes. townhomes are great and all, and should be allowed all over the city. But this is an arterial here. You can’t get your groceries from a townhouse. You can’t get your hair cut, or get a drink after work. That walkable urbanism we seek needs mixed use areas

  7. http://www.king5.com/story/news/2015/09/18/spd-sdot-transit-lane-enforcement/72380042/

    Is this a one off event or is SPD stepping up to the plate to actually enforce bus only lanes? There are spots, the “exclusive” northbound SLUT lane approaching Mercer being a notorious one, where an officer on foot could hand out 100 citations/hour by themselves and not break a sweat.

    The people violating bus only lanes have no excuse, unless they are legally blind.

    1. Officers should get a 10% bonus for every one of these they issue. There’s no ambiguity here; it’s not something which could be abused. But police are typically members of the drivers’ team, so they don’t do it unless ordered in a “sting” operation. But if they got $13.60 per ticket they’d be “incentivized” to keep the lanes clear.

      1. Yeah, police getting to keep part of the fees they enforce is a terrible, terrible idea. First rule of anti-corruption: law enforcement don’t profit (beyond salaries) from enforcing the law

      2. Better idea: have each officer ride some of these buses a few times to see how it feels to be stuck when cars fill you bus lane.

        That should work better than any financial incentive.

  8. Darnit Mercer Island! Dam you and your special privileges!

    How’d you even get them in the first place is beyond me!

    Bend the knee!!!!

  9. If there were some law that said all high tech companies had to provide on-campus housing for its employees because of the detrimental effect high tech has on an area’s cost of living, wouldn’t that make housing more affordable than tweaking zoning and housing laws? “Sam, but then high tech companies wouldn’t locate here, or the one’s that were here would move out!” So? Win/win. They could go ruin some other town’s housing prices, and we could go back to being affordable again.

    1. You call driving jobs away from Seattle a win? It would make prices more affordable… but it would make the area much less of a good place to live.

    2. In general yes, it would remove one of the factors that’s pushing rents up in the rest of the city. (And we’d have to include Redmond/Kirkland/Bellevue since that’s where many of said campuses are.) But in order to fit the housing the campuses would have to have a larger footprint. That’s essentially taking one apartment lot to provide another apartment lot, so if there was going to be another apartment building adjacent to the campus anyway the net difference is zero. But to the extent that those adjacent lots wouldn’t have apartments otherwise (and instead a SFH or strip mall), then the company apartment there frees up space for another apartment building elsewhere, which increases the supply of housing and keeps rent from increasing so fast.

      On-campus housing would raise other issues. Only some employees would want to live there, or in such small units, or so close to work. Would this be 1:1 housing for all employees like parking often is? Or just for the subset of employees who want to live there? Would some of the units be as small as parking spaces, for those who want that, to avoid enlarging the campus footprint compared to a garage? Would employees have to move if they’re laid off? How can they get a regular apartment if they’re unemployed? Landlords demand a job, and some of them are now requiring a salary 3X the rent.

      1. Zach, let me answer that by asking you a question. If Google, Apple, and Microsoft all uprooted and moved their headquarters to Tukwila, WA, would the average current Tukwila resident still be able to afford to rent an apartment there a year from now?

    3. Better yet, why don’t we just crash our city’s economy or wreck its environment? Housing prices are only going up because so many people keep moving here, and people only keep moving here because we have lots of great jobs available in a lovely place to live. Clearly, the solution is to make our city undesirable. Let’s hire Exxon to crash a supertanker into the new MOHAI – flooding all of South Lake Union with crude oil ought to wreck things good and proper. Shouldn’t be more than a few weeks before pawn shops and payday loan outlets start popping up along Westlake Avenue and desperate landlords drop rents on a 2-bedroom apartment back down to $500/month as the teeming hordes roar on south along I-5 trying to get a piece of that boomtown Portland action.

      1. “…the solution is to make our city undesirable.” I think you’re onto something, and it’s already happening. The wholesale changeover of one-time sleepy and desirable neighborhoods (e.g. Ballard) into high-rise people warehouses. Car traffic growing far faster than transit or bicycles can keep up. Cost of living rising faster than ever. Urbanist ideologues, most of them newcomers, working hard for a city that no longer accommodates middle-income families in SF homes.

        Yes, the city I moved to (for college) 47 years ago is becoming undesirable to many. The next generation of my family is already buying their SF homes in the ‘burbs; there’s little future for them in Seattle.

        We’ll probably reach an equilibrium at some point, with Seattle accommodating the rich and near-rich in upscale housing (high-rises and the remaining SF homes) and low-income people in subsidized housing, with most of the middle-class out in the non-sprawl suburbs. That’s not my ideal by far, but it’s clearly the trend, and it appears to have lots of support.

      2. “out in the non-sprawl suburbs”

        There is no such thing, at least, not since places like Shaker Heights and Upper Darby were built. That is, since the 1930’s. Any suburb built since the end of World War II can never be termed “non-sprawl”. And that of course includes every East King and all South King County cities and towns except for Renton, Kent and Auburn.

        And why is your predicted future not not your ideal? Seriously. Since Seattle’s location is by far the most desirable in Puget Sound — it’s directly opposite the Olympics yet has great views of Mt. Rainier, shoreline on every mile of both sides of the city, and a spectacular harbor for its waterfront — to think that the “rich and near-rich” would choose any other location except perhaps the east shore of Lake Washington is to attempt the repeal of human nature and economics.

      3. “out in the non-sprawl suburbs”

        “There is no such thing, at least, not since places like Shaker Heights and Upper Darby were built. That is, since the 1930’s. Any suburb built since the end of World War II can never be termed “non-sprawl”. ”

        The banning of streetcar suburbs (Shaker Heights, Upper Darby) through oppressive zoning laws is the big problem here. Streetcar suburban form needs to be re-legalized.

    4. What’s wrong with thinking outside of the box and throwing out a different idea to solve a problem? What if Microsoft on the eastside had also built on-site housing along with all it’s offices, offered at a discount to employees? Maybe that would have kept the surrounding neighborhoods a bit more affordable for less well paid non-MS employees. But instead of that, we now have to change for them. We have to ban sf zones. We have to allow boarding houses next to ramblers. We have to build and live in micro apartments because they’re more affordable. Etc. I’m suggesting maybe there’s a simpler, more direct, and more effective way to keep housing prices in check. Yes, prices go up because people move here. But in decades past, our region has seen growth, yet it still stayed affordable. What’s the variable?

      1. Demand is outpacing supply. Also people now think they have a right to live in houses they cannot afford.

      2. Well, now you’re going back to a really old model: the one where the corporation provides on-site housing for its workers. Pullman, Illinois, comes to mind. It sort of works, but…

        Turns out the workers *don’t like it* because they want to get away from the oppressive thumb of their boss.

  10. HOV lanes in the Seattle area used to all be 3+. IIRC some time in the 90s they were changed to 2+ after some studies showing that would increase overall carpooling, because (a) there was plenty of extra capacity at 3+ at the time, and (b) some commuters would switch from driving alone to carpooling with one other person.

    If volume has built to the point where they routinely get congested at 3+, that’s a very strong argument for bringing 3+ back.

      1. At least a few others started out that way–the joke in UW architecture school when I was there and they changed them to 2+ was that they went from carpool lanes to datepool lanes.

      2. I seem to remember more of the carpool lanes being 3+ than just 520 back in the 80s. I could be remembering wrong, as I wasn’t old enough to drive back then, but that is what I remember.

  11. Community Transit spending $2m to add service hours solely to make schedules reflect reality due to congestion.

    Aren’t they already spending this money in the form of OT?

  12. Buses need their own separate full-time lanes on I-5 period. Not this shared-lanes with HOV cars nonsense. Give HOV vehicles their own separate lane as well. Non-HOV vehicles can share whatever is left over.

    1. Sounds nice, but the big problem (as noted above) is the HOV Express lanes. They are not bi-directional and will forever make bus lanes ineffective through downtown Seattle in the direction they are not serving.

      1. Maybe they will be ineffective through downtown, but they can at least be effective north and south of downtown.

  13. Re banning Right Turn on Red at certain downtown intersections. Has anyone seen the data on how many car-ped accidents have occurred at these intersections, data to justify the ban?

    1. I haven’t seen specific data, but SDOT has some detailed data from 2009. 479 people were hit by cars in 2009. Of those, 83 were hit by cars turning right. That would of course include right-on-green cars as well as cars turning at 4-way stops or uncontrolled intersections.

      130 people were hit by left-turning cars. So, it would seem that right-turns are actually safer than left turns (people make more right turns than left turns, usually, because of traffic restrictions). I wonder why SDOT isn’t more concerned with left turns. That’s how I was hit, left-on-green.

      1. Before banning right turns on red, I think that becomes a question of what does the data say already?

        If there are a few problematic intersections, I would focus there. Seeing rush-hour last night, I think no right on red would cause more paralysis than is already present from some critical disconnections of the street grid (9th at Denny).

        I did get to ask the question of SR 99 over I-5 at that King 5 town hall although it was meant for not a technically savy audience (in the traffic engineering world etc.) nor was I expecting it to be.

        Mayor Balducci came up to me at the TCC dinner thanking me for asking the question and outlining how Bellevue did well for LRT. I am at a point of at least it is grade separated but the sections toward Redmond still leave a disappointment in me. I think the routing might have been a little better but I’m not going to judge since I haven’t set foot in Bellevue.

      2. However, Mayor Balducci needs to put left turn signals on 112th Ave NE at NE 6th St (both north and south). For southbound to eastbound would facilitate HOV access to I-405. For Northbound to westbound would facilitate transit access to Bellevue TC. It can be frustrating to wait for cars while making the left turn.

      3. “83 were hit by cars turning right.”

        Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of pedestrians were not hit by cars turning right. We need to keep things in perspective. Banning right on red seems excessive.

    2. It should also be pointed out that, in many cases, banning right on red also can help with box blocking behavior. Any time you’re waiting at a green light for a space to open up across the intersection, anybody turning right on red is almost guaranteed to get to that space before you which leaves you blocking the box. Ruthless enforcement of box blocking, while welcome, will only mean frustrated drivers will just stay put at a green while open space in the lane is filled by other drivers turning right on red.

  14. Just a 3 month experiment for Grays Harbor Transit Sunday service. That is very little time to see results and especially during the summer when riders tend to take vacations. If you seen Grays Harbor Transit timetables, I swear they are hard to read.

  15. According to Community Transit’s new schedules, it will take as long as 73 minutes to travel from Mariner P&R to 2nd and Washington. According to Google Maps, that trip is 21.9 miles. That is an average of 18MPH for a “freeway express” route. That is absurdly slow. The buses need their own dedicated lanes, and they need them now.

    1. Not too long ago, I asked Google maps for the best transit routing from King Street Station to Mount Vernon. Its preferred route was RapidRide to Swift to the 90x, completely ignoring the freeway expresses to get to Everett.

      Is a switch to local streets at peak periods warranted?

      1. Google Maps still recommends the RR/Swift/90X routing alongside Amtrak Cascades.

        Perhaps an “express” Swift that runs from Downtown Seattle to Everett along 99 making a stop at Aurora and maybe in Lynnwood could work out. I’d be interested to see a pilot project. Imagine seeing Double Talls in Swift livery.

      2. Not too long ago, Google Maps didn’t know about the 512 because it was operated by Community Transit. That is probably the reason why it recommended the RR/Swift over it. Today, when I click your Link, Google Maps indeed recommends the 512->90X.

        In general, the 512+90X is superior to Amtrak if the schedule happens to work, since it comes at 1/10th the price at the cost of just 20 additional minutes. And, if you’re actual destination in Seattle is anywhere north of King St. Station the 512+90X becomes better still, since it will take less time riding local buses to get to the 512 than to get to King St. Station.

        There’s also an Amtrak bus from Seattle to Mt. Vernon, which is useful to be aware of because it’s the only service that runs during the middle of the day, with one single trip leaving King St. Station around 12:30. The 90X is rush hour only, and Amtrak’s two daily trips are morning and evening.

  16. It’s an open thread, so considering today is a UW game day, I just wanted to jeer Metro for A) as of yesterday not putting updated signs up at bus stops that are closed today (those stops still have signs up from 9/12), and B) botching up their pdf files on the alert page so that many of the bus diversions and alternate stops for today’s diversions aren’t even listed (pre and post game diversions for the 65, 68, and 75 at least).

  17. Good bye Greyhound Station.
    “The entire city block where one of Seattle’s oldest transportation hubs has stood since 1927 is slated for redevelopment next year” http://www.ooyuz.com/geturl?aid=8391095

    I guess my great grand father owned this parcel before greyhound. They gave it up to take on dairy farming in eastern washington. Big Mistake!

  18. As a practicing witch, I have to say that I haven’t “felt” anything different with tunnels being dug in the city.

    On the other hand, my current usual commute involves only Community Transit. No light rail digging yet in Snohomish County. So perhaps something will happen here later…….

    Or not.

  19. Still missing the point with LINK, having a line from Everett to Tacoma doesnt do much for people who commute into the city to work, LINK is slow.

    High speed rail and/or a system of dedicated uninterrupted bus lanes between Everett and Tacoma might allow people to live further out and still keep a reasonable commute time.

    ST and friends should be focusing on transporting people further in less time.

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