Community Transit 2015 Alexander Dennis Enviro 500 15806

This is an open thread.

65 Replies to “News Roundup: Technical Problems”

  1. Folks, a little Joe-centric Community Transit update:

    1) Everett Herald editorial PRO Prop 1, but trolls pollute the online version

    2) Yours truly thanks Everett Herald and campaigns for Prop 1

    3) Yours truly lands a good sortie in the Mukilteo newspaper pro-Prop 1 & Future of Flight service

    Figured you’d appreciate this. Important we transit advocates speak up right now – and that means letters to the editor and a distant second counter-trolling efforts folks. Telling our own stories in our own words is immensely persuasive and the nice thing is we don’t have so much mainstream media filterling worried about length, ‘if it bleeds it leads’, car bias, ET AL!

    1. “”My prediction is that by the time we get this thing built or even under construction, Seattle is going to decide it wants to go with the monorail,” said Metropolitan King County Councilman Rob McKenna, a Sound Transit board member and light-rail critic.

      Most board members contacted this week, even those with concerns about the project, said they plan to vote in favor tomorrow. Some declined comment.

      McKenna, vice chairman of Sound Transit’s finance committee, said he’s a solid “no” vote”

      Ahh fine words by our almost governor…I wonder if he is enjoying his monorail rides to SeaTac.

      1. All that needs to be said by this RMK fan to you is this:

        Thank You Rob McKenna
        BY JOSH FEIT 7/20/2009 AT 12:00PM

        Rob McKenna, back in 2000, Sound Transit critic and savior

        One more note (from me) on light rail’s opening weekend.

        On Friday afternoon there was a parade of ribbon-cutting speakers—Mayor Nickels, Sen. Patty Murray, FTA head (and former Murray staffer) Peter Rogoff, King County Council Member Julia Patterson, Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon among others—at a press conference debut ride from Westlake to Tukwila and back.

        And all of them gave heartfelt shout outs to Sound Transit Executive CEO Joni Eearl. And rightly so. She saved the agency after it tanked in 2000.

        But had the crisis in 2000 gone undetected, stand up leaders like Joni Earl would never have been asked to step in. The project would have quietly failed, and the agency would have simply dissolved around 2003 or so. It took a loud crisis, to wake everyone up and get the project back on track.

        And while the press (and I’m proud to have played a role ) deserves some of the credit for spotlighting the agency’s financial disasters, it was dissident Sound Transit board member Republican Rob McKenna (the others were party line cheer leaders) who nudged the press to take the closer look. He already had taken a closer look—and his spread sheets were more than compelling.

        It was all toasts and shout outs galore on Friday—Greg Nickels, Patty Murray, Slade Gorton (?), Ron Sims (?!?)—but I’d say Rob McKenna (ironically, given that his agenda was to bring the project down) was one of the most important Sound Transit board members there has been.

        McKenna, now the state A.G., did not get a toast or a shout out on Friday. But he deserves, perhaps, the biggest one of all. (The only thanks he got? Back in 2002, Sims removed McKenna from the board, but by then McKenna had already saved the day.)

        I have a call in to McKenna to get his reaction to light rail’s opening weekend and to see what he thinks about my sense that he’s a Sound Transit hero. His super power: His honest watchdogging while other board members were cheer leading and lying.

        Thank G*d for Sir Rob McKenna. Sir Rob, he’s the man who opened up the government with hire one at minute one of his AGship, saved Sound Transit from financial disaster, and helped make teacher strikes truly illegal. Sir Rob McKenna deserves zero slagging versus a Democrat Governor who almost cut the small state funds of multimodal out of the transportation package for Inslee’s climate agenda, a Democrat Governor who helped champion the largest road expansion via the gas tax without a referendum clause – although Rep Jessyn Farrell deserves a lot of scorn & blame as well for selling out transit for the WEA special interest group, and a Democrat Governor who wants to go to Paris on OUR dime instead of staying home & negotiating a long-term solution to the Northwest Washington State county connector crisis.


      2. @Joe,

        Ha! I was actually onboard that “press conferance debut ride.” Good memories indeed. We have come a far way.

        I sort of miss the completely out-of-touch anti’s and their antics. Back in the day we had McKenna, Fimia and Niles — all making relatively outlandish criticisms of LR tech.

        Nowadays it has gotten a bit boring. The most diehard critics don’t even bother to argue about ridership anymore. Every new ridership report is greeted with nothing more than the sound of crickets from critics.

        Joni apparently won.

      3. @Joe,

        Wait until next year. 8 min travel from the UW to DT? Day-in and day-out? Regardless of traffic? And smooth and reliable too?

        The average Seattleite will stare gobsmacked like an amazon native seeing an airplane for the first time.

        And then we will do what Seattleites always do – claim we invented it first and our system is better than every other one.

        And the critics will get even quieter.


        “Legend tells that, in the fourth century, the first McKenna to arrive here was a Hugh McKenna, a minor king or prince from the Kells area of Co.Meath.

        An avid huntsman, he roused a huge stag on one occasion and pursued it for two full days and nights before finally catching up with it and plunging his dagger into the heart of the beast – at a fort, just north of Emyvale, which, to this day, is still called ‘Liskenna’ (from the Irish ‘Lios Sceine’ meaning ‘the fort of the knife’).”

        And not only that, but…

        “Through the centuries the McKennas became embroiled in the tribal wars that prevailed in Ulster right down until the demise of the Gaelic Chieftains at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

        They were frequently at war with O’Neills to the north and with the McMahons to the south, often helping the one against the other, and even occasionally at war among themselves as different branches of the family vied for over-lordship.”

        It’s heartening to see that Rob’s kinsmen have finally come to his aid by having their website reveal the real explanation for the course of his career.

        It’s tempting to say that the misguided animal rights advocates and the rabid carrot-murdering vegetarians savaged Rob’s chances to become Governor. But the truth is more complex. It’s like this:

        Even after seventeen centuries, the National Rifle Association still cannot forgive the clan Chieftain’s blatant contempt for firearms even before they existed outside of China. But even worse, strong chance his clan’s DNA could suddenly manifest itself first day of hunting season in a critical year.

        Breaking away from his “handlers”, Rob and a half dozen kinsmen would raid a riding stable near Redmond and after politely asking a little girl’s permission to borrow her horsie, swing up to the saddle and go thundering through a parking lot full of SUV’s.

        Chasing a deer and screaming in Gaelic that anybody who needs an AK47 “Caitheann fobhrístí lása bándearg!”

        One Google Translate cut and paste to Social Media, and thousands of cold live fingers rip the bumpers off their trucks along with the stickers. Great spirit for an attorney general, however, and still revered by us elderly in defense of whose savings Rob slaughtered piles of rabid swine.

        Reference to local politics very heartening. Renewed hope that a political order peeved over the Renaissance will eventually tear itself to kilted shreds, ushering in the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, the PCC streetcar, and ST’s exponential instead of numbered.

        Meantime, though, one well-deserved hope for Rob:

        “Article I, Section 9, Clause 8:

        No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

        If the old ancestral spirit still burns under the lapels of a tailored suit, this US Supreme Court will consign this lese majeste to the pit of campaign finance disclosure!

        Mark. (Too bad! Sources tell me the Vikings named the Irish capital.)

      5. I think you are applauding the wrong Republican, Joe. Look at what Dave Earling said way back when, after Sound Transit’s initial estimates were way off:

        I’ll copy the key paragraph:

        Dave Earling, chairman of the Sound Transit board, is pushing for a light-rail alternative that runs from Capitol Hill to Henderson Street and would carry about 60,000 passengers daily. “This is clearly the one that offers the highest ridership,” he said.

        We aren’t at 60,000 yet, despite the fact that the city has grown faster than just about any city in the country. Earling was (and is) one of the those bean counter, reasonable Republicans willing to adopt the policies that experts say will give us the best value. Too bad we don’t have more of those folks on the board, or we would have a much better light rail line by now (and into the future).

      6. @Joe,

        It’s the old adage about Washington state politics, “it’s East vs West and everyone against Seattle.”

        Everything this city has done we have done in spite of the rest of the state, and that isn’t likely to change. But I think we are on the cusp of some changes that might make a bigger difference.


        Earling was fundamentally wrong at the time. Everyone knew that the Cap Hill segment had the highest ridership and the best economics,but the problem was that nobody had a design to actually build it nor a funding plan to pay for it. Thank gawd calmer heads prevailed and ST was able to get its house in order before building Cap Hill. History has shown that to be the right choice.

      7. @Lazurus — You can’t be serious. How many ways can you be wrong in one paragraph. Of course they had a plan, that is how they got the 60,000 rider number. How the hell do you think they estimated the number? Did a bunch of guys sit down and say “Oh, I don’t know — 50,000 — No, how about 60,000.”. They didn’t pick the number out of a hat, they calculated the number based on the stations. The set of stations (and the line connecting) is the plan .

        As far as history showing we did the right thing, nothing can be farther from the truth. Link still pulls down paltry numbers. Sorry, I’m not impressed with 40,000, when, as shown, we should have 50% more than that right now. Besides, how many new riders has Link actually brought in? A very big percentage of the riders are just people who ride it in the tunnel (and just beyond it) and those people were able to ride that twenty years ago. The main reason Link is growing like crazy is because the city is growing like crazy. This is why the 60,000 number is so impressive. If we had built what Earling wanted to build, we would be well over 60,000 right now, probably approaching 80,000, with a lot of those new riders, the result not only of a growing city, but of a light rail line that offers significant advantages over other forms of transit.

        Meanwhile, history will wonder why the hell we forgot to build a stop in First Hill, give the obvious demand for it.

        History will also wonder how we managed to run a light rail line through the most contiguously densely populated area in Washington state, but only added one station, and that station does practically nothing to improve the bus situation for the area. Or haven’t you noticed that Metro, in a desperate effort to pump up Links numbers, has failed repeatedly to come up with a plan for the area that people can accept, let alone embrace? The obvious reason they have struggled is because Sound Transit gave them so little. They can’t truncate service very much because they still need to send buses from downtown to areas like First Hill. They can’t push people to the Capitol Hill station because it is so inconvenient. Hell, just look at what we are building and compare it to Forward Thrust. With Forward Thrust, the stations make reworking the stations fairly easy. With our current system, it is damn near impossible (as recent history has shown).

        Oh, I know. This is just urban bias. Earling must be one of those left wing urbanist types that doesn’t care about the suburbs, and only wanted to build something pretty for the city. Except that is the Republican mayor of Edmonds! Edmonds! But unlike the rest of the staff, he wasn’t terrified of a construction delay, nor was so he so focused on building something (anything!) that he was willing to build a half-ass system. You bet your ass he wanted the line to eventually benefit the suburbs — but he also wanted to get very good value for the money, and that meant building a good line, with good stop spacing in the city first.

      8. @RossB,

        Well….those of us who were actually here and lived through the saga that was the early days of ST know better. ST’s very existence was on the line and the sharks smelled blood in the water. ST only survived because they postponed the segment they stubbed their toe on (Cap Hill) and built the segment they knew how to build (RV). ST survived because of that decision

        And for the record, lines on a map do not a plan make. There is a lot more that goes into a real plan than just the marketing material that the average Joe Public sees. And ST hadn’t yet pivoted to the lower risk Montlake crossing anyhow, so even their original plan/marketing material eventually got junked.

        But the real important thing? The Cap Hill segment had become such a FUBAR that the Feds pulled back their $500 Million funding grant for Sodo to UW. When the happened the Cap Hill line was effectively dead. Eventually ST jumped through enough hoops to convince the FTA to release the money for DT to Tukwila instead – but at that point DT-UW was no longer on the table for Fed construction funding.

        But hey, you are entitled to whatever history you want to believe. Lines on a map, project in disarray, unknown costs, Feds pulling funding, $500M budget holes, ignore it all – we have a plan!! Not…

        And Earling eventually came around too. A Republican he might be, but I tip my hat to him for being a Pragmatic Republican. Must be his Spokane roots.

      9. While it is unfortunate that First Hill did not get a station deleting it made sense in context of the time it was made.
        1. Sound Transit was still recovering from its near death experience.
        2. There was considerable construction risk due to track geometry and geotechnical conditions associated with the First Hill station as proposed. To the point that some said it wasn’t really practical to build.
        3. The additional station lowered the scoring of the UW-Westlake segment due to the FTA formulas in use at the time. The lower score combined with a lower score due to construction risk meant Sound Transit would likely not be able to get New Starts grants for the UW-Westlake segment.
        4. No Federal grant meant no rail line.
        5. The issues surrounding the UW-Westlake alignment are why Sound Transit built Westlake-Tukwilla first. To build between Capitol Hill and Westlake would have required dealing with bothe the issues surrounding the First Hill Station and knowing to some extent what the alignment between Capitol Hill and the UW was going to look like.

      10. @chris,

        Excellent post. The problems with the First Hill Station were significant. That station was both problematic to build and problematic to delete. I was a supporter of the station in concept, but in the end deleting it was the right choice.

        The other thing that needs to be mentioned in the saga of saving ST is the role of Sen Murray. When the FTA wanted to cancel the $500M grant for Link Patty worked overtime to get them to put it on “hold” instead. That might seem like a small distinction, but it essentially allowed ST to retain future access to that funding. Without that we would have had to start completely over.

        At best we would have had a delay of 10 to 15 years. At worst Link would have been just another Forward Thrust type failure.

    2. Zach L, that’s great news!

      That said;

      In addition, Sound Transit officials say the agency will need hundreds of millions in additional funding to eventually extend the light rail to SeaTac and the U District. They’re not sure yet where all the money would come from. The agency has the option of increasing taxes, but “that’s really a last resort,” said Joni Earl, Sound Transit’s executive director.

      Thank goodness for ST2 to get light rail to U District.

  2. Assuming SDOT’s plan for Ballard to downtown is adopted, how much more would it cost if 1) Elliott and 15th are grade separated, and 2) If the Ship Canal crossing is a tunnel (rather than a bridge)


    1. I’m going to write a letter to Scott Kubly/SDOT soon urging them to rethink their plan for Ballard to Downtown. They seriously need to add something for Queen Anne and to “Old” Ballard if they want any serious ridership. The current routing is seriously lacking, and if ST adopts the plan, we’re going to be just as frustrated with it as we are with U Link for missing out on important stop locations.

      1. QA gets 1 stop from SDOT’s plan… And if anything, you should emphasize the importance of a Belltown stop – the most dense neighborhood in the state.

      2. Thank you. Queen Anne is decently served, but we sorely need something in Old Ballard where people actually want to go.

      3. Re: Ballard-CBD and Queen Anne Hill. Google up “SF Muni Forest Hills Station.” So petition for same specs, except named “Upper Queen Anne Avenue”, and located between Galer and Boston. Problem solved.

        Mark Dublin

      4. If they wanted serious ridership, they would have chosen the Ballard spur– which served more folks save for the really expensive Ballard to DT routing through Upper QA and Fremont.

        Someone at SDOT made a call that Amazon/SLU is more important than Belltown (not my call, just that powers that be/Bezos would be more in support of that routing) and/or Belltown could be served by the Central City connector.

      5. I’m going to write a letter to Scott Kubly/SDOT soon urging them to rethink their plan for Ballard to Downtown.

        I disagree. Given the constraints (we have to run a light rail line from downtown to Ballard — we just have to!) SDOT did a very good job. In general, SDOT is doing a very good job. Nothing they are doing is out of the ordinary or contrary to best practices. The exception is the streetcar, but as everyone knows, they inherited that mess.

        Just look at Madison BRT or Eastlake BRT. I guarantee you that if you asked Jarrett Walker or anyone with any experience with transit systems they would say, essentially, “it looks like a good value to me”. Same with the specific routing to Ballard. Again, a decent line. The only question he would have is “Hey, why didn’t you run a line from Ballard to UW first?”.

        Why indeed. Not that we shouldn’t do anything for Queen Anne (the best part of the Ballard to downtown line). The thing is, that can be done much cheaper just with WSTT. That is why the obvious choice is this: After that, build the Metro 8 subway.

        That is just common sense subway design. Unfortunately, Sound Transit is experimenting with a radical approach — one similar to BART. In the case of BART though, they were a bit lucky, in that the main city (San Francisco) actually has a decent subway system. So while BART has involved a huge amount of money spent for very little to show with it, the folks in the main city actually have a decent transit system. In other words, BART has left East Bay with a crappy transit system, but Seattle Transit is getting ready to leave the entire region with a crappy transit system.

      6. Lower Queen Anne gets a stop in the SDOT plan. The real trade off is Belltown vs. SLU.

        Based on everything I’ve seen so far it is unlikely Old Ballard would be served on any likely Ballard-Downtown line.

        For the ship canal crossing I’m pretty indifferent on a bridge vs a tunnel as long as the bridge is high enough to minimize openings,

  3. This being an open thread…
    The 372 I took to work yesterday was a Sound Transit bus. I’ve never actually ridden a ST bus, so it was interesting comparing the ST and Metro bus design even though the basic model appeared to be the same as some of the Metro buses.

    The ST bus has overhead luggage racks, though I don’t think they’d be useful for a city bus. Sitting, I have my lap. And standing, I might wind up 20 people away from the rack as people come and go.
    The fixed armrests make the aisle seat incredibly uncomfortable. My options were to sit so my leg was pressed up against my neighbor’s leg, or to have a quarter of my butt on the armrest.
    The stop display and audio announcements were the same. Good that Metro and ST made sure the buses were compatible.
    No sign up front reminding people this was a Metro bus with Metro fare and transfer rules, though I imagine most 372 riders have a U-Pass.

    1. FWIW, I’m pretty sure unless it was an ancient ST bus (or not one of Metro’s ST buses), the arm rests fold up or down.

    2. The onboard signage conform to that of the transit agency operating it. The 577/578 has Pierce Transit onboard announcements, which I think is less useful than Metro’s. Also, an unintended consequence of that is PT had an announcement about routes 13 and 14 once on their buses including ST routes, and that could more easily be misunderstood to be about Metro’s route 13 & 14 rather than Pierce Transit’s.

      1. On many ST buses I ride on, the seats themselves are very comfortable but there is very little legroom, making for a very uncomfortable ride. The 594 mostly, but also the 522. I also wonder why the Redmond-bound 522 can’t make its first stop in the U-district on 15th Street, where there are seats and a bus shelter, instead of around the corner on 50th, where there is neither.

      2. Duplicate route numbers is one reason why signage, way finding, and route branding needs to be regionalized and consistent across all the operators.

  4. I am looking forward to the WSDOT suit against STP. I put the over/under on when STP declares bankruptcy to be about 2018.

    1. STP can’t declare bankruptcy, it’s a Joint Venture between two giant construction firms. The lawsuit itself will confirm this.

      1. When do the two construction firms start suing each other to determine who has to pay WSDOT? That’s the next step.

    2. Sadly the WSDOT sleaze deuce bags dropped the news 6 days ago when Uncle Barrack was helping Auntie Patty raise money for another six years, possibly with Uncle Bernie as President.

      (Vance for Senate!)

      1. Somewhat off topic, but Vance will lose. Sen. Murray has been a huge friend to WA State transportation projects by helping to secure federal dollars. Sound Transit very likely would not have been able to build any light rail without her help.

      2. If you want more funding for passenger rail of all sorts in the US… vote Bernie. Only Presidential candidate who seems to give a damn.

  5. Since this is an open thread, I’ll mention that sometimes those ST monthly Agency Progress Reports make for interesting reading. I finished August, when TBM Brenda was restarting after her ‘erratic’. In the August report her due date to break through to the U District site was the first full week of October. She was close two weeks ago. Do we have a break-through date?

    1. I hear it will be very soon, followed soon after by Pamela. We might even have two TBM’s in the pit at the same time.

      Things appear to be miving along relatively smoothly.

  6. Re: 35th Ave SW Road Diet during peak hours, the re-channelization of the street has not appeared to have had a substantial impact on bus headways. However, SOV bus lane cheaters on Avalon and the usual traffic slowdown at the entrance to 99N on the West Seattle bridge have continued to plague Express bus service.

  7. Okay, I like the idea of the Move Seattle Levy’s “RapidRide Plus” pseudo-BRT proposals, but I want to say something about their proposal for a RR+ line on Rainier Avenue.

    As you know, Rainier already has the 7, a trolley route. Now, if you are like me, you probably don’t want to see the trolley wire on Rainier sit unused for eternity, so I am hoping that the people behind the Move Seattle RR+ plan to have the Rainier RR+ corridor electrified. Not all RR+ (or RapidRide proper, for that matter) have to be internal-combustion powered!

    1. I think that’s already the plan for the RR+ on Madison.

      Myself, I’m more disturbed by the tentative nature of all the improvements they identify. They “might” have reserved lanes and signal priority? Or they “might” have special left-side-boarding buses to freeze the routes in amber forever? No; tell us what they will have!

      1. Personally I’m not bothered by that at all. There has to be wiggle room with every project. That is what studies are for. It does open up the possibility that the city will wimp out, and not deliver solid services, but that could happen after they promise the development anyway. I would rather the city get the big bottlenecks out of the way for a particular corridor than spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to get that last 5%, especially if that last 5% costs more than a different entire corridor.

        I figure worse case scenario the money gets shifted around to sidewalks, bike lanes and road diets, which result in fewer people getting killed by cars and generally speaking, a better quality of life. That is a lot better than say, Sound Transit, who seem to be capable of blowing a huge amount more money with very little to show for it.

      2. They *always* wimp out on BRT — ti’s very consistent.

        Shifting the money to sidewalks? Sounds valuable!

    2. It says Rainier Beach to Little Saigon. “Little Saigon” means Jackson from around 8th to 23rd. The map is vague but it look like the line terminates at Madison BRT and has an east-west segment that could be either Jackson or Dearborn. Either of those would be different from the 7. It doesn’t quite make sense because neither Madison Street nor Intl Dist Station are in Little Saigon.

      Seattle’s Transit Master Plan has a corridor on Rainier-23rd from Rainier Beach to the U-District, so this seems to be superceding that. The other unofficial suggestions we’ve made is to reroute the 7 to continue north on Boren to SLU, or to break up the 7 into two or three routes going to the Link stations west of it. (I disfavor the latter because a large part of the ridership is between all parts of the valley, so it should be a unified route on Rainier.)

  8. That article about the Cross Kirkland Corridor seems to come out of left field. Kirkland turned their portion of the old rail line into a trail last year. It gets a lot of use. Google Kirkland is designing their campus around it. Now suddenly they’re talking about BRT along this trail? Some context would be helpful.

    1. The Cross-Kirkland Corridor is large enough for both a trail and a transit corridor if everybody plays nice and is sensitive to the needs of other users of the corridors. The City, unlike some of the other players, is looking for solutions that balance all of those needs.

      It’s always been the City’s intention that the corridor be used for both. The current trail is interim pending a Sound Transit decision. Once ST’s plans are clearer (and endorsed by voters), the City will be able to move ahead with a permanent trail.

      What they realized is that it’s harder to advocate effectively when all of the technical work is in the hands of other parties. A bigger city would do this through its own transportation department, but Kirkland needed to add resources by hiring consultants.

    2. Is the plan is to have so-called “BRT” buses crawl at 5 mph through the Google campus parking lot, it’s time to rethink the plan. We also need to think about what problem, exactly, we’re trying to solve. 108th Ave. is not congested, so I don’t see the need to run buses down the Cross-Kirkland trail, when the buses can just use 108th.

      1. Wait; the route 255 southbound schedule on 108th stretches from 10 minutes midday to 14 minutes in the AM rush hour. Several other commenters here have agreed that’s prohibitively congested; what would you say?

  9. The already-awful traffic congestion near UW campus on 15th NE between Pacific and 45th is made even worse by not having a left-turn signal for buses entering campus. Likewise for buses turning left onto Campus Parkway. Took an eternity for the campus-bound bus I rode today to be able to clear oncoming traffic on 15th and make a left turn. Makes me wonder how, or if, UW/SDOT/Metro communicate.

    1. Yeah, that jog from Campus Parkway to Grant Lane sucks, and primarily affects buses. It would be interesting to see if a TSP-style transponder on buses coming from either direction could request a left-turn phase off of 15th just in time, like a somewhat smarter version of the Latona/Thackeray jog at NE 50th Street. Or maybe that would just mess up traffic going through on 15th, which also includes lots of buses.

      1. Part of the problem at 15th and Grant is that there is no left turn signals. The 3 phases are all traffic on 15th, all traffic on Grant/40th St, and then all pedestrians including diagonal crossings. There’s a lot of pedestrian traffic, so I guess the logic is that it’s better to have all people cross in every direction at once to get them out of the way. But another result is that vehicles turning left onto campus never have priority. Also, the Burke-Gilman trail is currently detoured through that intersection through next summer which adds to pedestrian/bike traffic.

        A related thought occurs. If the new 71 and 73 will go directly from the Ave onto campus, then there won’t be any stops between 41st street and Grant Lane – meaning no stop on Campus Parkway. I’m not sure how big of an issue that would be..

      2. Yeah, we’d have to add left-turn signals; since I’d only want to use them when requested by buses, I’m probably proposing adding a lot of hardware to the intersection.

  10. Idea for post. Contact Metro’s PR or whoever and ask if you can ride along for an hour or two on the Proterra All-Electric Bus while they are testing it, then write about your experience. I saw it charging at the Eastgate P&R a few days ago. I hear they are just driving it around every day to put 35,000 miles on it.

    1. Good comment, Sam, and long overdue. Anybody who’s ever set up a business of same size that’s lasted more than a year might want to weigh in on this one. Because it seems “LEAP’s” business plan got absolutely everything wrong.

      It’s not the fact that, like my grandmother would have said in Yiddish, “their taste in luxury is in their feet!”

      Or that from their installed configuration, those slippery black seats make a three hour standing ride look like the height of Gilded Age lounge car comfort.

      Or that, along with the whole the passenger-shed of the Mountain View LRT line through San Jose, the eerie feel of the whole thing is conclusive proof that people who wear hoodies for business suits get their training in business parks on the planet Zorkon.

      Which is even less excuse, because the technology that can get a giant bulbous smoked-windowed white highway bus through an interstellar wormhole in Bay Area traffic should certainly be able to deliver what passengers most demand:

      To get to work on time. Am I wrong that there’s an app where your screen goes pink and little cartoon figures jump up and down and yell “You’re FIRED!” in Alvin the Chipmunk voices?

      So demand is really for a permanent transit only lane that will let passengers not only defy traffic, but app-select the historic year and country to have their coffee, like Vienna in 1890. Or see who can throw a half eaten leg of mutton farther over their shoulder, them or Henry the Eighth?

      Or temporally divide themselves so they can simultaneously show up on time to hit JP Morgan up for startup money, and the gunfight at the OK corral like in Star Trek.

      Sheesh, that must tick off the crew when the captain is facing down Ike Clanton while the Klingons fill the up refrigerator with those worms they eat for snacks, and the Sulabon redecorate the control room. While they use the Transporter for a urinal.

      Tell me the Sulabon didn’t design LEAP bus interiors. So I really wish Andrew Carnegie would arrive through the Trans-Bay Worm-Hole in his personal Palace car, locomotive roaring and howling, to set them straight:

      “Pay the taxes tae gie yer toon the braw an’ bonnie public transit system it deserves, ye wee bowfing eejit!” Street track through Milwaukee, 100 mph. to the Chicago city line, elevated around the “Loop” along with regular CTA trains. One segment of four was a restaurant car with white table cloths and real coffee.

      OR: one Kinki-Sharyo section per train should do it. With the car-end re-fitted with a glass roof, so you can charge extra fare when you can see Mt. Rainier on Central and EastLink. And a real espresso machine, like the Talgo trains have in Spain.

      Lord, it’s hard to imagine Jim Ellis founding Metro while wearing a hoodie to the office!


  11. Whew, Joe, I’ve really got to cut back on reading Sir Walter Scott in the coffee-houses all day! And also take some more advanced Gaelic lessons. Since, for very good historic reasons, everything in Gaelic sounds like a clan war cry.

    The serious truth is, I always thought Rob McKenna’s position on regional electric rail just didn’t “fit” – like a shadowy liege lord required it as a Medieval oath. Or General Barry Goldwater pretending he didn’t know how far air power alone would really get us in Viet Nam.

    Though any fourth grade boy wished he really could flush an atomic bomb down the toilet in the Boys’ bathroom instead of a cherry bomb. Khrushchev probably told the Kremlin janitor he’d push the flush handle himself if those toilets didn’t get fixed.

    My main transit memory of Rob was his idea that first priority- this was more than 25 years ago- might be to build transit-only ramps between the end of the E-3 and the I-5 express lanes. Which for a fraction of the cost, time and machinery of a middling war, we could then and still should do.

    Old “sweat first, PowerPoint later” thing, the spirit of the Downtown Seattle Transit Project. Even with LINK on one side and a bike trail on the other, E-3 will still have paved road, and DSTT or not, buses will keep needing those ramps.

    The vision of dangerous posers suddenly having skilled razor-sharp death come by at shaving-range is nothing against Clan McKenna. Well into the eighteenth century, life in the northern British Isles was terror of red-haired freckled Comanches with no fear of the flintlock. Worldwide, same fear, fewer freckles.

    “Hunt deer with an AK47 and you get your underwear from your boyfriend the King of France!” Gaelic, English, warhorse, SUV, or bicycle, a REALLY great bumper sticker! Whatever Rob’s actual feelings on that subject, remote possibility of these genetics axes political chances in the “Prefers…” world.


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