81 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Portland Streetcar”

  1. So, with this being an open thread and all, I thought this would be a good place to plug my Windows 10 app.


    It’s called OneAppAway, and it’s like OneBusAway, but has a few more features, like downloadable bus schedules. And it’s a Windows 10 universal app, so if any of you have Windows Phones that can be upgraded to W10 mobile later this year, it will work there too.

    Let me know what you think ?

      1. It works with Windows 10 PC, too. There’s 110,000,000 people using those.

        Also this is Seattle. More people have Windows Phones in Seattle than most places.

      2. I just bought a Windows 10 netbook….the ASUS X205…this is the machine I’ve been wanting for nearly a decade.

        So I’ll try your app.

  2. OK, Glenn, I know that if you had any warning Martin was going to do this, you’re probably in Stuttgart by now. I’m also pretty sure that Tri-Met probably had you chained to a radiator in a motel while they filmed this video. Also when they designed out the streetcar line.

    So I’m going to ask if anybody besides me is still running the piece for the tenth time trying to figure out how he missed hearing the word “lane.” Or is still wondering about how a four-fold increase in business property values and four billion dollars municipal revenue in one column isn’t matched by enough street right of way that anybody not on a bicycle or a skateboard can even get to anybody’s business in a single week. With all those rubber and steel-wheeled vehicles stuck on top of the grooved rail, anybody getting a bike tire hooked in a rail needs training wheels.

    This is how you know you’re either looking at an ad or listening to Public Radio. Or listening to any of the present generation of incumbents in business, politics, or the foreign policy chairs at any prestigious university with the ear of Washington DC. Gut reaction to the underlying question in any discussion same as Dan Quayle’s response to reminder he wasn’t Jack Kennedy.

    Innocent face, wide teary eyes. “That was uncalled for!” So ’til we can get there with a hacksaw to get you loose, is anybody else in Portland working on those lanes? And also, any estimate minimum Jeff Bezos will need to give the word for same in South Lake Union?


    1. Nope. I decided to hot foot it over the border to Vancouver for a few days. As I have a USA only phone, they couldn’t even send me alerts.

      Of which I received a pile when the thruway bus crossed back over the border.

      1. Thanks, Glenn. You know, LINK did something exactly like this a couple of years ago. Two-car train, I seem to remember jazz group in one car, gospel in the other.

        First thing I noticed how effectively a packed standing load smoothed out the ride. I get the sense that these cars are built to ride best under this kind of weight. Which will be another ongoing benefit from increasing ridership.

        I was a little surprised how happy regular Airport passengers were to be packed aboard on this ride. Which is also a helpful guide to ways we can improve the mood of the riding public in the future.

        I read a fantastic book called “The Lunatic Express”, by Carl Hoffmann, who deserves public transit’s version of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Round the world trip deliberately riding the transportation available to a majority of the world’s people:

        Bald-tired buses that fall off mountains, airlines that routinely crash, ferry boats that sink with hundreds of casualties. Everything packed to the rivets with people. In Mumbai, I think, the commuter railroads have their own morgue. Think I’ll put rumor on Facebook for the King County Medical Examiner to think about.

        But the most interesting thing is how the author noticed he was really starting to enjoy the compressed company. People were universally kind and helpful to him, and each other, and he realized that what we Americans think is rolling squalor personified, the majority of the world considers comfortingly reassuring.

        An interesting facet to what we fear from overpopulation. The author’s conclusion was that it’s we who pay a serious psychological price for our cultural demand for seclusion as life’s highest form of dignity and freedom.

        A Pakistani friend recently told me that he was hesitating over bringing his sister to this country, for fear that she’d be painfully lonely here. Granted, he does live in Lynnwood.

        But I’ve noticed that for many current immigrants, many family members, especially children, are definitely more of a pleasure than a nuisance.

        Concluding Lunatic Express experience I can personally relate to: the only leg of the trip the author really loathed was his final trans-continental ride from San Francisco to New York on Greyhound.

        Everything about the trip was worse than miserable- it seemed like Greyhound’s own statement that everybody it carries is a wretched loser to blame for their own misery. My overnight ride from Sacramento to Eugene exactly.

        As attested by the list of rules on the back of a schedule I picked up, listing rules against taking pictures of Greyhound anything, and drinking alcohol less than eight hours before departure- “Cross-country bus travel used to mean freedom. Greyhound is like being in jail!”

        Back to our musical ride: Most important finding was that as soon as the rock band in front of ST headquarters fired up, every pigeon in the service area lifted off in a cloud for a whole evening’s absence. So maybe the pilgrims of the pigeon world can be persuaded to perch somewhere else to die.


  3. Oh, and before I forget. Which will be both more expensive and embarrassing at the same time, either finishing or abandoning the Deep Bore Tunnel, or getting passenger one past Swedish Hospital. Either in the lane with wire overhead, or the other one?


  4. I’ve got an honest question. STB is always lecturing us that we need to tax the things we wish to discourage, and not tax, or tax less, the thing we wish to encourage. So why the more a person makes, the higher their income tax bracket? Why do we want to discourage people from making more money? Mic drop.

      1. Les, if you file under head of household, as soon as you make more than $49.4/yr, you go from a 15% to a 25% rate. You disagree with that, right? You disagree with the more you make, the higher the tax rate, correct? Remember, the more you tax something, the more you discourage it.

      2. People earning more money have more flexibility. Someone earns $20,000 a year, taxing 25% of that will probably leave them without enough money to buy food or clothing or some other necessity. Someone earns $200,000+ a year, taxing 25% will leave them with more than enough money to get by.

        The cost of necessities like food / rent / transportation don’t scale at nearly the same rate as income. The more money someone has, the higher the fraction of their income is disposable, and the more they can be taxed.

        That’s why it surprised me that a liberal state like Washington has no income tax, but a very high sales tax. I think Oregon does it right having it the other way around.

      3. Can’t edit posts, but I wanted to add this.

        The federal income tax brackets are marginal. So when you cross from the 15% to 25% bracket, only the amount over the boundary gets taxed at the higher rate.

        So it’s not like we’re telling anyone “Hey if you earn $1 more you’re going to owe us an extra $4000 in taxes”. So there’s no actual punishment from earning a bit more, ignoring some of the tax credits that do phase out with income, but that’s considerably more complex.

      4. At least give everyone subsistence and then tax what is above that. You won’t find too many people living at subsistence or below with much to tax, a pretty simple notion. Sure you don’t want to discourage people from trying to attain more, but if someone like Trump, who admits the wealthiest need to be taxed more, has such a high buffer from subsistence then certainly there has to be a scale of relativity to what can be taxed.

      5. “If I happened to be rich, then that phrase would make me inclined to move away, in which case the amount of tax from me you would get would be $0, and that helps no one.”

        Where would you move to? The only choices are a low-tax state or an international tax haven. Low-tax states are mostly in the south where you may find their racial-tinged extreme inequality repugnant, and tax havens are tiny dinky islands where you’ll get bored quickly. Another possibility is that some authoritarian regimes occasionally set up a tax-free economic zone to attract western tycoons. So that’s a possibility if you want to live in an authoritarian country that’s perhaps culturally very different from your ideal society. If never paying a tax is indeed your highest priority. I think some poor countries charge a flat annual expatriate fee in lieu of taxes; you may find that less distasteful than other taxes. Don’t make the mistake Rush Limbaugh did of vowing, “If Obamacare passes, I’m moving to Canada!” Because Canada and Europe have higher taxes than the US. In case you’d forgotten. So they’re out.

    1. Sam, I’m glad I’m not the only commenter on this blog who gets this. The fact is it does discourage people from making money. If “tax the rich” is the motto, then why would you want to be rich? If I happened to be rich, then that phrase would make me inclined to move away, in which case the amount of tax from me you would get would be $0, and that helps no one.

      It also encourages people to be poor. I am from a large family that qualifies for a lot of welfare programs, and my mother is quite open about the fact that she is careful that our family makes just a small enough income to qualify for these. I described it to her as “gaming the government,” and she didn’t disagree.

      It’s interesting that many people think that a system that discourages making money and encourages people to stay “poor” (and the standard of living for being “poor” is on the high side. I often forget that my family is “poor”) is “progressive.”

      1. I don’t think Sam was referring to welfare recipients, was he? Welfare is a whole another issue and I don’t see any tax revenue being generated from them regardless of how much or little they cheat the system. Sterilization anybody? :(~

      2. Alex, James R. Ellis, the attorney who spearheaded the founding of the Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle, somehow resisted any impulse to escape from the taxes necessary to pay for it, regardless of the high bracket where his income placed him.

        Government as we know it was invented about five hundred years ago by businessmen with direct Medieval commercial experience. Like that lice, the Black Death, and government by rival gangs of raping, murdering, and system-gaming congenitally-diseased Titled wasters of family fortunes were Hell on profits.

        They therefore gladly accepted paying a disproportionate amount for the strong civil government necessary both to increasing and keeping their wealth, and also surviving to enjoy their hard-earned breakfast the next morning.

        Just as they saw, and smelled, every day that a majority population in misery, fear, and hunger were life’s worst disincentive to work.

        From your own writing ability, you’ve managed to defeat Welfare’s every effort to make you proud to not work. But while I don’t know your family’s circumstances, I really don’t think it would take very many years of a decent working income to persuade your every relative to follow your example.

        Meantime, I think you’d get a kick out of Alexander Hamilton- the only Founding Father who knew anything about money except how to lose it.

        He often said that government by the rich and successful (business, not heredity) was better than by the opposite brackets.

        But he learned the business world as a teenager working as chief clerk for his mother’s ship-supply company, after his father abandoned both of them in the West Indies.

        Where life around arrogant, abusive, account-delinquent gentlemen ship’s captains made Hamilton despise bad budgeting and sloppy books on a completely class-blind basis.

        And BTW, when he was Secretary of the Treasury, he sent the Army into the Appalachians to force business people to pay taxes on the whiskey they sold. Not drank.

        Both sides had legal, Constitutionally-protected firearms. But the Well-Regulated troops got the taxes paid. (“The Whiskey Rebellion” – William Hogeland. I promise you won’t be able to put it down.)

        Mark Dublin

      3. Anyone who thinks that you aren’t going to have more disposable income with more money because of higher taxes doesn’t understand taxes. There are several comments in this thread that explain it so I won’t go over it again. However, it’s myth that when you cross the border into a higher bracket you end up with less take home cash.

    2. Thanks for labeling your comments as honest or dishonest so I can distinguish the trolls without reading past the first sentence. Fil’s “what taxing pholosophy do you agree with? A flat tax?” is obviously a non-starter because it assumes you have a taxing philosophy and know the difference between a flat tax and a bumpy tax. Now, on to the original issue. The question becomes, “What makes one kind of tax worse for the individual than another tax? Is it the nominal rate?” No. because a rich person can easily pay a 24% tax without cutting into the weekly five-star dinner or the Audi, while a poor person struggles to pay a 12% tax and get their children school supplies as well as food, or in this day and age, a roof over their head. Then there’s the fact that the top 1% have captured all the wealth from the workers’ productivity increases since the 1980s, so all that extra money they have they cheated lower-income workers out of by lobbying Congress to stack the playing field. You may not have heard of that if you mostly read The Wall Street Journal rather than The New York Times. But in any case, it turns out that a progressive tax rate does not burden the high-income worse than the low and middle income, in fact it doesn’t even make the burden equal. Some progressivity. Since it doesn’t burden them, it doesn’t disincentivize them from making money. The reason they hate taxes is twofold: one, Ayn Rand says taxes only benefit moochers, and two, making money is a kind of gambling game: they want to make $3 billion rather than $2 billion (even though they can’t find enough to spend it on) because it’s a higher number.

      1. As long as we’re name-calling (the t-word is a vile, offensive word to my people), Mike Orr, at least I contribute something unique to this comment section. At least I have original ideas, such as the edible transfer ticket. Besides being another echo chamber +1’er, what exactly do you do here? You come here and bark “More trains! More frequency!” But, so does everyone else. What do you bring to the table that’s different?

    3. Why do you have to preface your question that it’s “honest”? Which of your past questions were not honest questions?

      But substantively, you’re right: taxing income does get less income. That’s why most economists believe that a progressive consumption tax would be the most preferable tax scheme, and it’s easy to calculate too (your income – the value in your bank accounts = your consumption). But progressive income taxes is what constituents and politicians know, so that’s where the tax momentum is at the moment.

      1. Zach,

        In the pure clear world of Economics thought experiments, a progressive consumption tax is the clear winner. Don’t want to pay taxes? Don’t buy anything! You have absolute freedom to grant yourself tax exemptions.

        However, the problem is “hidden assets”. Income is pretty easily tracked; it comes from someone else who has a vested interest in tracking it, because the payment to you is usually a deduction for him or her. But adding up “the value in your bank account” would be devilish hard, and people would have a huge incentive to hide assets, because one sequestered, they could be spent freely at any time with no tax penalties.

  5. A family member is reporting that the 50 is again diverting thru the VA grounds, although the new route path is much faster than the old route path.

  6. Some time back, I asked if any of you had any original or creative transit or land use ideas you wanted to share. Not surprisingly, I got zero replies. Not one of you has an original idea about anything related to transit or land use, just as I suspected. I’ve now thought up another original idea after my vitamin-infused paper transfers that people can eat after the ticket expires. Introducing, The Low Line. If the Waterfront Tunnel project is ever abandoned, I think it should be turned into an underground park.

    1. How about a streetcar running from Montlake/UW station up 25th 35th or 40th that goes to Lake City? Changes to the 65 and/or 75 necessary of course.

    2. Um, the purpose of a park is to be in natural sunlight. People feel cooped up in their houses; they don’t want to spend hours in an underground park.

      But there are some other uses it could go to, like tons of housing for the homeless. Or space for loud music bands and nightclubs. There was a suggestion earlier to reopen the underground city in Pioneer Square and expand it to put the nightclubs and other loud things down there. I think it’s a good idea. There’s also supposed to be a grand old bathroom downtown that should be restored and reopened.

      1. Esactly! Which is one reason the monorail caught on with it’s ‘Park-like’ views of our town and waterfront. Riding from Northgate to Sodo each day in a grey, dank, concrete tube is a slightly better ride we give our sewage each day after flushing.

    3. A while ago I suggested a bus through the Seattle Center. This would occur after Bertha does her job, and you can cross Aurora north of Denny. So basically, something like this: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z-ZcpzpzqRA0.kIsVYT705qEM&usp=sharing

      Since this goes through the Seattle Center, the only way to make it happen (from a political standpoint) might be to make it a streetcar. I could live with that. Either way, this is a fairly short line in a very popular area. Much of it could be transit only, since no one goes that direction right now (since they can’t). Thus you have no “taking”. It would connect (or intersect) a BRT line on the east side, and intersect a couple subway lines on the west side (either via the WSTT or a new light rail line).

      The combination of being a short, fast, high demand route would mean that it could run quite often (say, every five minutes) without that much cost.

      Is that creative enough for you?

      1. It’s not only creative, it’s one of the biggest potential winners for SLU circulation. It could probably make it possible to defer a Metro 8 subway for another ten years.

      2. Could also use the 2nd Ave through corridor in Seattle Center to loop north or south…. is the thought that it’s a faster 8?

      3. Thanks Anandakos. Just to be clear to anyone else who might not know, I am a big fan of the Metro 8 subway idea. If you look at a census map and an employment map (or just imagine what they look like now) then it is clearly one of the best projects we could build for the city. It makes way more sense than other projects we are considering. I honestly think that if we built this: https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2015/08/28/seattle-projects-for-st3/ and the Metro 8 subway, we would pretty much be done with light rail for the city. Obviously there are other high density areas (e. g. Lake City) that are not covered, but with fast, frequent bus service, those areas will be fine. A system like that reminds me of Vancouver BC — yes, they could get better (and tried with the last referendum) but just getting that much light rail gets us to the point where almost all trips are fast, even if some could be made faster.

        Until then, we will have to muddle along, and a line like the one I proposed would be the best way to help South Lake Union in the short term.

      4. @stevesliva — I hadn’t thought of that. Interesting idea. It is definitely worth considering. But at first glance, I don’t think it gets you much.

        The main advantage of cutting though the Seattle Center on Thomas is that it allows you to go quickly in an east/west direction. That is the big challenge in the area. If you go north on Second Avenue North, then you would have to either end in the Seattle Center, or make a turn on Mercer. I don’t think either one is a good idea. Turning on Mercer seems more problematic, more likely to be bogged down than turning on the west side of the Center. I could be wrong, though, which is why I would be open to studying it. Mercer has been redone, and maybe it is now well suited for a bus. There is another negative, though, and that is that it means a bus or train spending more time in the Seattle Center, which could be politically difficult (and very problematic during festival times). It is one thing to skirt three blocks in an area that doesn’t get that many pedestrians; it is another to cut through the busiest part of the park.

        You could, of course, just end in the Seattle Center, to the west or north. Ending at the north doesn’t get you much. There are no buses there, so connecting to any other bus would mean walking several blocks. Ending at the west end would at least reduce the walking, but it still isn’t great. Most of the riders on such a line would come from Lower Queen Anne or South Lake Union. To force those on one end of the line to walk a lot farther or take two buses seems like a big waste. If you live on First and Roy (in a big apartment in one the highest density spots in Washington State) what would your options be for getting to South Lake Union (one of the major employment centers in the state)? Walk six or seven blocks and pick up this trolley*? Take the Metro 1 or 8 a few blocks, then transfer? Neither seem like a great option considering the relative demand for an area like this.

        It would also reduce the value and popularity of the line substantially. You would still get people from the WSTT or subway on Aurora to catch this trolley, but that is about it.

        There is also the option you alluded to, which is making this more like the Metro 8. This means heading across the freeway, though, and that isn’t easy. What might make the most sense, though, is using the Belmont overpass (after heading north from Eastlake). That is full of its own set of political challenges, though (residential streets that don’t have buses would now have buses). On the positive side, though, it would connect you to Capitol Hill (and beyond). Given the steep streets, though, that would kill the idea of a streetcar (not that I’m a fan of streetcars).

        * I’m calling this a trolley, because it is likely that this would be either a trolley or streetcar. This would remove one of the arguments against it (folks not wanting “stinky buses” going through the Seattle Center).

      5. Ross,

        Even if/after a Metro 8 came into being, having a reserved right of way very frequent surface bus or streetcar across the neighborhood would still be useful.

        I too am a big fan of the Metro 8 idea, but having a subway doesn’t mean that one doesn’t have surface transit in the same corridor. And nobody has defined where the stations would go.

        One thing I’d suggest is finding some way to live loop around Third West, probably one block north to Harrison and then back to use Queen Anne to return to Mercer. There are a lot of buildings going up around there and there’s that great walkway across Elliott to the buildings on the other side. It’s about time for the city to think about how to heal the gash between Capitol Hill and SLU. The streets above the freeway aren’t wide enough for transit, but they could sure be a great bike/pedestrian way with a bridge for humans across the freeway there. Many people would walk to and from the shuttle as it’s envisioned and then to and from the buildings on Elliott at the other end.

    4. Sam, you left out “people”, as in “I asked you people”. Lese majeste, Sam, lese majeste. If you’re going to communicate with the underlings, at least remind them every time of your contempt.

  7. Come on, Sam, the hour I got up this morning grants me the monopoly on monopolizing this posting. But it really is time that both Government and Business came clean on the real reason for high taxes on profitable business.

    Every CEO who actually understands and cares about their publicly held company’s product must spend their life keeping greedy ignorant shareholders who couldn’t run a lemonade stand from selling their precision machine firm to Holiday Inn.

    On the accusation that the CEO is being stodgy, old-fashioned, and worst of all, non-Disruptive. So higher taxes give the conscientious CEO credible cover when he asks them for enough money to prevent his trillion dollar CNC machinery from turning itself into a brillo pad.

    He can also dangle the vague promise that kissing up to Government by paying taxes could put the firm ahead for a ruggedly Henry Ford-like enterprise like running a prison on the Government’s dime.

    Unfortunately, the old rationale about keeping their Lamborhini’s axles from being splintered by a pothole has gone down to last year’s Tea Party converstion of the tax on personal helicopters to a write-off.

    On the Government side, at least the one that controls Congress, the thundering war on taxes is an even better diversion than Donald Trump from embarrassing politically motivated campaign questions about why they can’t govern.

    Now that stats show how little of a crap the average voter cares about either abortion of gay people getting married. Which itself contributes carrier fleet level revenue from the catering industry, whose execs and shareholders alike are floating on a whip cream covered pile of 14 karat bricks.

    Topped by little candy statues of Alexander Hamilton and JP Morgan holding hands.

    Also, zombie movies are no longer able to distract from the real horror of Continental militia captains digging their way out of their graves to demand Amendment-mandated Well-Regulation like dry powder and clean five foot long barrels. And banging on doors at midnight to shove malingering citizens out in the freezing rain to drill on the Village Green.

    So taxes provide badly needed defense for business itself. Oh crud. Just like public radio, STB now has a whole hour devoted to finance.


  8. Rumor has it that Dembowski’s desire to save the 71 is mainly based on his wife’s commuting patterns. If so, he should recuse himself from all efforts to save it.

    1. 1: Yes, he should absolutely recuse himself.
      2: He should maybe tell his wife that she could take the 78 to UW Station, then enjoy an 8 minute ride to downtown from there.

      1. Like I mentioned earlier:
        I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to keep the 71 when there will be so many othwr great options available. I lived in Wedgwood for ten years and had to ride this route by necessity, dreading what I thought of as the ‘Dumb View Ridge Detour’ where the bus had to maneuver through some very narrow streets, so narrow that often the bus drivers had to leave the bus and re-adjust parked cars’ mirrors in order to be able to pass. I rode this route at all times of day and did not see many passengers on the tail end from 35th and 65th onward.

      2. @Elbar,

        It’s not about the relative merits of the 71 in a post U Link world, it is about the integrity of the political process. Dembowski should not be using his position as a public official to maintain what would be a publicly funded benefit for a family member. In a perfect world he would simply follow the data, but in a less than perfect world he should at least remove himself from the decision.

        Remember that what resiurces he might squander keeping a ghost of the 71 operating are resources that aren’t available for other riders in NE Seattle.

      3. I might add that this is all subject to confirmation. We are operating in an information vacuum here. If we had a real investigative paper in town that might change, but we don’t.

  9. I have noticed that the 2 and 12 (probably other routes as well) run non-electrified diesel buses during the weekends. Why is this? I don’t think they drive a different route than on the weekdays. There is a lot of investment in expensive trolley wire along these routes, and Metro, as well as most people on this blog, would prefer that these buses run on Seattle electricity which is generated almost entirely from renewable sources.

    Why is it that they don’t run trolleybuses on these routes on the weekend? Why not get the most service days possible out of this trolley wire?

    1. The 47 was diesel yesterday evening too. It’s generally due to construction or maintenance. If one block is de-energized, the whole route has to be dieselized.

    2. The other reason is that the old trolleys require a lot of maintenance. One strategy that Metro uses is to bring in a lot of trolleys for repair on weekends, at a time when a lot of diesel buses are just sitting at the base, unneeded for extra rush-hour trips on those days.

    3. I live on Capitol Hill and it is very annoying when the neighborhood fills with (cough) diesels every weekend. Via the Metro website I signed up for a “motorization alert” that sends me an email each week telling me what trolley routes will be replaced by diesels. Nearly every weekend, it’s all of them, which makes their weekly email pointless. Here’s the text of their latest email:
      “On Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and11, the following Metro trolley routes will be
      motorized in order to maintain service and operate safely during construction or events in
      Metro’s trolley service areas:
      Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 36, 43, 44, 47, 49 and 70.
      Thank you for riding and for using Metro’s services.”
      The metro website should just say “no trolley buses on weekends” and be honest about it, rather than sending out an email each week saying “Once again,every single trolley route is blocked by construction this weekend so we’re running diesels.” I frankly don’t believe that and it bothers me when people lie. Maybe as the Bryan says it is for trolley maintenance, but if so, why not say that. Maybe there aren’t enough trained operators to run trolleys on weekend. I wrote to “ask Metro” about this and although a response was promised, none came. Maybe my email was too snarky for them. Regardless, I think it’s pretty rinky-dink of them to have stopped running trolleys on weekends. The excuse for dieselizing the whole system on weekends starting a couple years ago was construction of the First Hill Streetcar overhead which required de-energization of a large chunk of the overhead; but that is done now. The current “construction” excuse is disingenuous when they used to run trolleys 7 days a week with the occasional motorization of one or two routes for a specific purpose.

      1. I get those alerts too, it is almost all weekends though not the weekends near holidays. Also if you look closely at that alert, sometimes a couple routes will be electric. I think it’s usually more about vehicle maintenance than anything else.

        I understand Dayton is similar in only using their older trolleys on weekdays.

  10. Seattle times ran an editorial penned by Eugene Wasserman, President of a made up organization funded by old ladies who inherited lots of property. Our local paper of record.

    1. whoa whoa whoa there. The Seattle Times is NOT our local paper of record. That’s the Puget Sound Business Journal.

    1. Enjoying your photos. I remember walking through the whole length of the tunnel before it opened for bus service some 25 years ago, it was some sort of fundraising project by the police dept to purchase teddy bears for abused children. It was a dark and spooky walk, with ceiling and walls dripping.

  11. Are there any plans to run any bus routes down the NE 4th Street extenstion in Bellevue? Like maybe rerouting rte. 271 to run along it and down 120th Street? Looking at maps, there doesn’t seem to be any bus routes serving the Home Depot and Best Buy stores. It would only make sense to give such major retailers some transit service.

    1. I would love to take my brand new 50″ TV and new lumber for my front deck to the U-district on the 271. I’m not sure why the 271 doesn’t go there if Best Buy and Home Depot are major transit destinations.

      1. Yeah, why bother serving major retailers with transit if it won’t be a realistic choice for 100% of the people going there.

        What a stupid response.

    2. Bellevue has talked about bus service there but I haven’t seen any specific routes.Maybe it’ll come up in the Eastside restructure that might happen next year. Although I can’t really see where such a route could go without duplicating the B too much. 120th to 100th would be too short a route. It could be attached to the Clyde Hill/Medina service. And when East Link and the Spring District open, it could be extended north to there. Then there will need to be something to backfill the 550 in south Bellevue. So maybe it could stitch together some of those segments.

    3. I don’t know where it would go from 120th Ave NE. Down to SE 2nd (or whatever that steep twisty street is that gets there) to turn on to 116th SE? 116th Ave NE will be fairly close to the stores with the new streets. And as AlexKven says, many of the things you might buy at Home Depot or Best Buy will be a bit awkward to take on the bus. If you’re buying some hardware or light bulbs or maybe a computer peripheral or laptop, a six block walk each way isn’t a big deal.

  12. In other news, I’m now on the Skagit Transit Citizen Advisory Committee. I got a major concession which is that we’re going to start giving the Skagit Transit Board feedback via the staff.

    Really looking forward to discussing policy.

  13. What would a streetcar do that the 65 wouldn’t? It might be given a narrow lane down Montlake, directly to UW/Montlake station, that a bus on the HORRIBLE Montlake Blvd could not access. Having Montlake station in isolation of the ability to access it it foolish. And asking people to walk from Stevens Way in the rain, from the 65 or 75 doesn’t cut it. We need easy access to the station from NE Seattle. We are not getting it.

      1. Excellent idea. Just the way to get northeast Seattle to use public transportation.

        We’ve built a station in a location that is a car-traffic nightmare jam. The whole Montlake/Pacific area should be rethought in terms of how we move people to the station via other transit options. The current plan simply relies on the easy access to the UW by bus because non-UW cars are kept off campus. But it’s a half-assed way to feed that station.

      2. You should see what the full-assed solution looked like…

        Unfortunately, the UW holds a lot of the credit for what happened here. About the only group they seemed swayed by is their own staff, which rejected a better solution to one of the access points due to “security” over the parking area.

        Universities tend to listen to alumni groups. Maybe someone needs to appeal to them?

      3. It was never intended to be the primary transfer point in north Seattle. It only is for five years until North Link opens. Then it will revert to just UW people, northeast Seattle routes (i.e., east of 22nd), 520 routes, and 48 transfers. Everyone else will avoid the station like the plague because it’s in the middle of nowhere.

      4. I know the UW gets a lot of blame, but they are a public agency. I guarantee you if the governor walks into the office of whoever is in charge and says “get it done”, it will get done. There are bean counters who may be interested in serving their little provincial interests, but when push comes to shove, those folks respond to pressure and can be told to do the right thing. This is in great contrast to a private company, which can basically say “screw it, sue me” and we are left with nothing.

        Another public agency is the city of Seattle. One of the arguments for electing Murray as mayor is that he had a lot of experience in Olympia. He could, as they say, work the system. Well, Mr. Mayor — time to work it.

        I’m tired of excuses. Between Sound Transit, the UW and the city you have every major power player in the state (the governor, the King County executive and the mayor). So, people, time to fix this problem.

    1. “What would a streetcar do that the 65 wouldn’t? It might be given a narrow lane down Montlake, directly to UW/Montlake station, that a bus on the HORRIBLE Montlake Blvd could not access.”

      No, it wouldn’t, as the street is not wide enough to include a transit lane. Whether the transit vehicle is running on rails or rubber tires makes no difference.

      There’s also the fact that the real reason the 65 doesn’t take southbound Montlake is that the existing route 65 would riders would revolt at the prospect of a longer route to campus that would drop them off further from where they want to go. For them, sitting in southbound Montlake traffic jams would be especially infuriating.

      Of course the reason for the mess to begin with is that UW held all cards since, being a public institution, Sound Transit lacks the authority to take land from it via eminent domain. Since the UW is too big of an institution to skip (and everyone knows it), the UW essentially got the power to dictate the station location. They chose Husky Stadium primary to minimize the short-term construction impact, figuring that for their own students, the walk from station to class would not be a big deal after the Montlake Triange re-make. As to people making connections, the UW decided at the time that they didn’t care, since those people are not affiliated with the UW anyway, and how to re-jigger the buses to serve NE-Seattle’s needs would be Metro’s problem, not UW’s problem.

      It will be interesting to see what the UW does with its parking policies when the Husky Link Station opens, as they’ve got a big parking lot right next to the station, which is current free on Saturday evenings and all day Sunday. Sunday parking could be especially tempting for people going to Seahawks games. Even on weekdays, it is not impossible to imagine people, at least some of the time, shelling out the $15 the UW charges to park right next to the train. $15/day is still cheaper than many of the parking garages downtown, and, in rush hour traffic, it would probably be faster than driving directly to downtown, at least coming from NE Seattle. And, at least for the next 5 years, such people would have absolutely no trouble finding seats!

    2. They need to open up Mary Gates Lane somehow to allow buses such as the 78 direct access to the station from the backside thus bypassing the Montlake slam jam. They also could build a parking garage on the huge lot north of the station, something like U-ville has done.

      1. Even if the University was congenial to the idea — extremely unlikely — there are way too many pedestrians along Walla Walla Road by the Shell House and Intramural facility. If you built a bridge across the little inlet to the Shell House from Walla Walla Road behind the Dempsey Center directly across to Canal Road that might work, but it would be a pretty severe impact on the Natural Area.

      2. I suggested this to Metro staff several months ago and never heard back. It would be a struggle to get the UW to approve such a route. My personal solution will be to bike the BG trail from my house, cross Sand Point at 36th Ave NE, cut through Laurel Village, ride past the golf driving range on NE Clark Rd. etc. Should take me 15 minutes to the Station. Not too bad, biking to downtown takes me 40 minutes.

  14. I presume that most STB readers aren’t country music listeners, but a new song by Toby Keith has an unconventional urbanist connection. Keith’s song, “35 MPH Town,” is a drudging, cliche song about how the past was better and today is terrible, but what is relevant for us is how the speed limit, 35 MPH, is used as a metaphor for cultural values.

    “Cause the streets ain’t safe for a bike to ride down/Since they planted a prowler in this 35 mile-an-hour town/No they’re going nowhere fast tonight no matter how fast they drive this 35 mile-an-hour town.”

  15. What is the deal with the collapsed wall on the North Metro Base underpass? I get the impression that it is more serious than Metro is implying.

    1. this from komonews.com:

      SHORELINE, Wash. — A concrete wall backed up with wood collapsed Saturday after a strong storm caused flooding in some areas.

      The wall is part of the underpass at I-5 and 165th Street that leads to the King County Metro Transit Center.

      Travis Phelps, with the Washington State Department of Transportation, said the wall has had water buildup behind it over time and caused the wood underneath the concrete to weaken. The massive amounts of rain that fell on Saturday only added to the pressure behind the wall, which made it collapse, according to Phelps.

      Crews will be working around the clock to make repairs in hopes that it will be restored by the Monday morning commute.

      The north and southbound HOV lanes are closed on I-5 at 165th Street. Drivers can use exits on I-5 at 145th and 175th Streets.

      Phelps said the highway is safe, but the HOV lanes at 165th will remain closed until the repairs are made to the wall.

      (note: go to article at
      for photos )

  16. Someone at SoundTransit must read Seattle Transit Blog.

    Some time back there was a complaint about the “passback” message when tapping an ORCA twice at a Link station. I did this and found the message displayed “Trip Cancelled” which seemed clear to me.

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