57 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Philly Without Cars”

  1. If God didn’t want people to eat meat He wouldn’t have made animals so tasty.

    If Gillig didn’t want people to block the entry door they wouldn’t have made the front axle cover so comfy.

  2. Just curious, could Seattle Subway use the monorail authority in 2016 as an “Insurance policy . for ST3? e.g., IF ST3 doesn’t pass here is a Seattle only measure for Ballard spur or WSTT, key point being only built if ST3 doesn’t pass (instead of all or nothing, here is something)

    1. Would be better to use the monorail experience to put the design of the technical side of ST3 in the hands of mechanical and structural engineers.

      Rather than leaving such things to the kind of electorate produced by taxpayers too cheap to decently fund technical education in their schools.

      Voters who assent to putting a massive transit project under the control of a group who consider engineers too backward to let powerful belief overcome the goose quill drawn techniques of the past.

      But also, know to design the ST3 project so that nobody asking attention to a long-overdue transit necessity like a corridor to West Seattle gets kicked to the curb and told to shut up and get in line for another thirty years.

      Starting with remembering that if ST and the city had actually been underway designing the light rail depicted on the anti-monorail literature and posters, the initiative would never have gotten off the card tables.

      But last question…did the taxes collected for the monorail, including for my license plates with monorails on them, leave us with any soils and geological information to help us get ST3 across the slightly dirty water constituting the ground south of Jackson?

      If so, by accounting so old it’s got wheat sheaves and diapered little angles on the parchment, monorail books might finally balance.

      Mark Dublin

    2. The monorail authority could be a backup plan. I don’t remember what SS thinks of the WSTT. It would seem to go against SS’s maximum rail vision. But if regional rail is blocked and an ST3 redo looks unlikely in 2017 due to the more conservative electorate, then maybe there will be room for a different citywide plan, and the WSTT is more “citywide” than the other alternatives so far.

      As for a Ballard spur, it would depend on interlining with the Link mainline at U-District station. Since ST has never accepted that for ST3, it’s hard to see how ST would allow it in a non-ST measure.

      1. Just to be clear, interlining in the sense that a one seat ride from Ballard to downtown via the UW is possible is really a bonus (https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/03/23/ballard-uw-downtown-link/). But you would need cooperation from a maintenance standpoint (which would mean interlining, but no one would ride the connecting section). You also would need cooperation with the station itself (an expansion of the Brooklyn station with an easy pedestrian connection). That would all have to be worked out with the support of ST3, but I think it would happen. It is one thing to say “we don’t want to do that”, but it is another thing to say “we won’t do that even if you pay for it”.

      2. Ballard spur could interline with the Ballard-WS line, perhaps. Doesn’t need to interline with the spine, necessarily.

      3. It’s not a spur then, and it’s confusing to call it that. If you want a separate line that terminates at a separate station, then ST wouldn’t need to be involved. Except who would build it if not ST? SDOT?

      4. To be clear, the idea was to have ST3 and the Ballard spur on the 2016 ballot as two separate measures , but Ballard spur only gets built if ST3 loses

      5. If you “interline” it is by definition a “Light Rail Facility” which is expressly forbidden by the Monorail Authorization legislation.

      6. And this reflects the law of unintended consequences. The provision was inserted on behalf of monorail activists who were afraid it would be watered down to slow surface light rail, as had happened to pretty much all US light rails at the time. But now it’s several Eyman initiatives later and the tax-adverse legislature would never consider giving Seattle a monorail authority or city transit authority now, and ST has shown it’s willing to build grade-separated rail. I’m reading the Twilight Zone 50th anniversary book now; there’s a kernel of a story there.”A mid-sized American city decided to build a monorail… and fell into the Twilight Zone.”

      7. Mike;

        I just hope there’s a way for Seattle to deal with its own high-density transit needs within Seattle and if that means Sound Transit has to build either below ground or preferably elevated rail – OK. Not too optimistic of the state legislature willing to partner for further transit expansion.

      8. My understanding was that the Snohomish representatives would veto any Ballard->UW line. If it interlines, it would preclude 3-minute frequency to Lynnwood, due to the capacity limitations of the tunnel. It would also increase crowding on the line so that people headed to Lynnwood might (got forbid) have to stand for the first few stops.

        I personally think these kinds of arguments are rediculous for reasons explained numerous times on this blog, but from the perspective of an ST board member who cares exclusively about Lynnwood->downtown and not at all about Ballard or Wallingford, arguments like these become quite powerful.

      9. Four cars every three minutes to Lynnwood is ridiculous on its face. That is 80 cars per hour or roughly 12,000 riders in the peak direction assuming 50% standees. That will never occur north of 145th. There’s just no “there” there and, with the exception of downtown Lynnwood itself — which will be more of a reverse commute destination if it turns into North Bellevue — there never will be. The people who live there will refuse to allow it.

      10. There is already enough ridership on CT commuter buses to use up a big chunk of Link’s capacity.

        There are ways of increasing that capacity, including installing the Spanish solution at stations that turn out to be a bottleneck. Failure to install those center platforms when it would be easiest to do so (before Northgate Link opens) may turn out to be one of the major policy and engineering failures of the current Board.

        Martin asked previously whether the lack of a center platform is the limiting factor. He should have asked ST to rank the limiting factors, and got ST on record for what those limitations are. Instead, we got a shell-game answer from ST.

        Failure to do the engineering patches now (though they seem to have come up with one in the U-Link tunnel, at least) to increase the future capacity of the line is a very expensive can-kicking that could reduced the value of the line by billions of dollars.

      11. >> There is already enough ridership on CT commuter buses to use up a big chunk of Link’s capacity.

        Not really. Look at Anandakos post. A train can carry a huge number of people — and there won’t be a huge number of people coming from Lynnwood. There aren’t now, there won’t be then.

        There are ways of increasing that capacity, including installing the Spanish solution at stations that turn out to be a bottleneck.

        The Spanish solution (doors open on both sides) would increase dwell time. This is because the operator has to make sure both sets of doors are closed. It is never added to make things faster. It is added to allow for a functioning system. It is only needed when a train is ridiculously crowded, which simply won’t happen with our line.

        Back to interlining. As I said, it is a bonus (please read that link). It isn’t absolutely necessary. What is necessary is a good connection between the two platforms. Once you do that, it would be trivial to time the two trains (as I mentioned in that post).

        The ideal system (for everyone) would involve interlining. I can understand why Lynnwood riders want the line all to themselves, even if it isn’t necessary from a capacity standpoint. Frequency is frequency. It is always nice to have more (in this case, more for yourself). So it would make sense (from their perspective) to run the trains every four minutes during rush hour, even if they aren’t needed from a capacity standpoint. The rest of the day, though, they would run at six (if not a lot less frequent). During those times, it would make sense to interline (have the Ballard train keep going to downtown). That would enable high frequency on the only section of our system that will ever need really high capacity — UW to downtown (inclusive).

        If what asdf2 says is true — that Snohomish County reps would veto a UW to Ballard line — then it shows the depth of ignorance within our system. As stated, there is no reason that this would negatively effect a Snohomish County rider. You could get an agreement that they run 4 minute trains during rush hour.

        Meanwhile, having the UW to Ballard train benefits those in Lynnwood dramatically because it would enable a quick trip from Snohomish County to Ballard, Fremont or anywhere else along that line. This is the part that Snohomish County folks don’t seem to get. There is a reason that I-5 is clogged every day. It is because not everyone is going downtown! The rate of transit usage in downtown is very good. Of course it is. One bus and you are there. But if you work in Ballard or Fremont it is terrible. Those are the people who drive. I’ve know people who work in Fremont and live in Lynnwood. Of course they drive. Ballard to UW light rail would completely change their life in ways that North Link won’t (you would shave more time off the Fremont to UW part of your trip then you would the part from the UW to Lynnwood).

        Imagine commuter rail from New Jersey to New York without the New York subway system. Imagine BART without Muni. Hell, imagine the frequent Amtrak runs from Baltimore to D. C.. In all cases, the commuter rail (or city to city long haul line) benefit greatly from the urban rapid transit system. Of course they do. Not everyone is going downtown. Furthermore, the trend in urban development (towards areas like Ballard and Fremont) will probably only increase. Places like Fremont are part of a national trend. It is really the third stage in office development. The first was towards the downtown, the second was to the suburbs, and now the third is to secondary (but still very urban) neighborhoods.

        This isn’t a case of one set of reps being selfish. This is a case where one group of people just don’t understand transit. This isn’t rocket science, either. A few seconds of thought should lead these people to conclude that a UW to Ballard line (paid for entirely out of someone else’s pocket!) would be a great addition to the system for folks from Snohomish County.

      12. Oh, back to Mike’s original point. Another possibility is that a new state legislature would simply allow subareas (or jurisdictions) to approve their own measures. Of course you would need to have cooperation with the bigger agency (ST) if you wanted to mix the systems (share equipment and so forth). But I seriously doubt that objections would be insurmountable. You would basically be pushing for one region (e. g. Seattle) completing projects on their own dime, while other areas stay the same. It would be similar to what Seattle did with the Metro vote a while back. The city paid for it, but the county still runs the buses (and there really wasn’t much in the way of independence on the part of the city when it came to new routes). Another example is the streetcar. The city paid for it, but the county runs it.

      13. “there won’t be a huge number of people coming from Lynnwood”

        The nature of a train line is that it had better not fill up near the terminus or there will be no room in the middle. So Snohomish County would meet its quota and capacity ceiling if the train is 25% full. That leaves 25% for Shoreline and Roosevelt, and 50% for the U-District and Capitol Hill. Another thing, if the train is 50% full at U-District, that means all the seats are full, so passengers in the U-District and Capitol Hill would have a 0% chance of ever getting a seat in the daytime. That sounds like a certain trio of routes that begin with 7.

        “If what asdf2 says is true — that Snohomish County reps would veto a UW to Ballard line — then it shows the depth of ignorance within our system.”

        Earlier I said that the reason we don’t have more Capitol Hill stations or a 520 station is that that wasn’t the goal. I’ve now thought of a way to articulate this better. The difference between city-centric networks (Vancouver, Germany, maybe DC) is that they start with the premise of “Which lines would serve the largest cross-section of the transit-riding public and/or address the biggest transit bottlenecks?” That leads naturally to a city-centric line in the largest urban-village corridors. Link is based on a different premise: “What’s the common denominator between what North King, East King, South King, Snohomish, and Pierce want?” and “Let’s use what representative cities in the subareas want as proxies for what the entire subareas want.” That there is why you don’t have those Capitol Hill stations or a Ballard Spur or a Denny Way line, but you’ll soon be able to go to Federal Way and there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll be able to go to Boeing Everett.

  3. I think that, one way or another, whatever religion they profess- of which both atheism and Communism are examples-the vast majority of people believe at the core of their thinking that what happens to them from what they and their fellow humans do.

    For instance, it’s both possible and very human to think that if someone deliberately sticks their hand into an operating gear-box, the result is Divine punishment.

    To which God, though slightly ticked with being distracted from, say, Syria, would remind the person that if He hadn’t wanted tool-making creatures like monkeys and crows to have man’s assistance as tool-making creaturs, He would have left Creations tools at different-caliber sticks.

    Recent proof, caught on video, shows a girl monkey whacking a drone out of the air with a branch, and smashing it to small pieces of straight solidified petroleum eminently useful for scratching.

    Demonstrating the reflex wisdom to modify chance negative intrusions into her world into a method to get ants out of their burrows so she could eat them without getting bitten.

    And also an earnest amount of sufficient religion to recognize and righteously destroy abominations created by Somebody Else Besides God.

    Giving wicked humans, as God intended, a way to speed their own deserved destruction by unleashing same mechanisms to violate the rights He gives to humans- read the Declaration of Independence!

    And immediately ridding Creator of the mistake of their creation by turning off their God-given brains to ignore the illicit information before ordering brave young soldiers to their deaths decades before God intended for them to die.

    But also: “A thousand years, O Lord, are as a watch in the night, or as yesterday when it is past.” Meaning that the time humans need figure out to putting the wheels at the very front of the coach is a lightning flash compared to the time needed to make a political decision in Seattle.


    1. Hi there Mark;

      How did the visit to Portland go?

      Naturally today transit is screwed up thanks to an event they are calling “Run Like Hell” which leads to some interesting alerts on the bus stop arrival signs, twitter and TriMet’s web site.

      Nine bus lines experiencing delays Run Like Hell. Hope you get where you need to go during you visit to Portland.

      I guess we have had some issues at the new bridge, particularly with conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians at the crosswalks at each end across the bike pathways.

      1. Hey, Glenn, thanks for helping save today’s posting from having God decide that cars breed less violent schismatic fanaticism like BRT vs. LRT.

        And whether the Mead Johnson company can sue for royalties every time their respected product name is usurped by reference to Public Radio and Luke Bank.

        Convincing the Eternal to repave the whole planet with molten lava, interspersed with stripes and dotted lines of white quartz. With a lot more dinosaur ages for gasoline.

        To me, the outstanding thing about the Tillicum Bridge is its proof that five travel modes- walking, bicycling, standard buses, streetcars, and light rail can efficiently run the same corridor with minimal or zero hassle.

        Though operating considerations are different from a dual-mode tunnel, there’s more than one place in our own region where same configuration will work just fine.

        Proving what I’ve been uselessly telling our Waterfront Project for the last several years: that the only travel mode completely incompatible with any or all others is private automobiles.

        Am I right that the buses, trains, and LRV’s operate by “line of sight?” In any case, smooth ops seem to be the rule. I wonder how much extra training transit operators are being given, or need, to run the bridge?

        I think that this country’s present intermodal conflicts owe chiefly to lack of experience. Again, proof’s in the flan and the creme brulee: Oslo and Gothenburg prove that like any sport, this one mainly takes coaching and practice. With the TiIlicum, I’d give this about a year to settle out.

        Might work to incorporate traffic rules for all modes into the same set of ordinances as for trains and buses. With similar enforcement. Nothing to lose by trying.

        Also discovered and highly recommend taking Tri-Met Route 8 out Fifth and up to Oregon Health Science University- and take the Aerial Tramway down to the waterfront, quarter mile or so from the Tillicum Bridge.

        No fare downward, four dollars back up. Think of the neighborhood and hospitals that are still owed for the loss of a promised regional subway station.

        And bill your trip to the ST accounting department- for checking out how a lot of red ink can turn black, and with interest. Though we should definitely find the engravings showing the Cincinnati streetcar incline.

        Because Switzerland’s most advanced tramway cabins still can’t carry a single horse and wagon.


      2. The bridge has block signals that are part of the traffic lights and track switches at each end. I’ve not noticed any halfway across the bridge, so I think it is one block and only one bus / train / streetcar is allowed in the block at a time.

        Probably less complicated than the bus/ train mix in the transit mall. That does have situations where the drivers have to use line of sight with the block signals.

        When you visit OHSU, don’t forget to visit the observation deck that is part of the upper level station on the Arial Tram.

  4. What have I always taught you people? Don’t just lap-up the pablum you’re fed. Do your homework. What isn’t being said? More specifically, Bing how Philly businesses did cuz of all the road closures during that dude’s visit.

    1. You’re showing your age, Sam. Nobody born since 1950 even remembers what pablum is, let alone throwing your bunny-bowl off a high-chair and drooling it all over your pajamas.

      Now in order to be both condescending and diatetically correct, you have to accuse people of believing the same old Quinoa! Meantime, thanks for reminding me it’s breakfast time.


      1. Mark, your reply was totally jv. You know pablum is now a word, right? It’s no longer just a product that existed in olden times. It’s a noun and stuff. It means “bland or insipid intellectual fare.”

      1. …because people were trying to avoid the crowds caused by the Pope’s visit. If Philly had decided to ban all but service cars and taxis as a normal measure, business would be normal, it’s just people would either take transit all the way in or park their cars at a park and ride and take transit in (like they do in Europe).

      2. Same is probably right about this particular aspect of this particular event; disrupting normal access patterns will usually disrupt business.

        In general this isn’t how you’d plan for less-car access to a big area with lots of uses, it’s just one event. So there’s only so far you can extrapolate from this event.

      3. Al, your typo gave me a great insight. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-To-Avoid-Comment-Whining is henceforth officially “Insame”.

  5. OK, Sam. But the trouble is that all the resistance my system ever built up against pablum has now been overwhelmed by the intellectually insipid intellectual fare hourly delivered by Public Radio.

    And the Dave Ross’s replacement by Luke Burbank has kicked my high-chair out from under me. Damn. If Larry King isn’t still alive, only hope is that The Divine will restore Spiritualism.

    Would rather have dinner on a table whacked by a machine-gun full of Spirits than to listen to one more stock market report!


  6. Helping out of town visitors get around brings KCM’s flaws clearly into focus. Friends tried to get from gates foundation to pike place market at about 4pm. One 3/4 was Mia and the next was 28 minutes away. Peak fare was going to cost 5.50. They ended up taking Uber for $4.

    It’s a steal to take bus to Snoqualmie, but it’s a crummy deal to take it a dozen stops in Seattle.

      1. I feel like this is the wrong response, Zach. Why should they have just taken the monorail? There’s a sign on the road saying “get on this bus to go to this place at this time.” It’s not unreasonable to expect the bus to show up at the specified time and go to the specified place.

        I love riding the bus and I think that Metro does a good job and I continually vote to give them more money so they can do a better job. But anything Metro can do to push down the number of no-shows is important because whatever tourists experience as a one-off is something that residents see a lot more often.

      2. Most of the problems that cause no-shows are outside Metro’s control, namely traffic. This is why we need transit lanes.

      3. “Uber still cheaper and much quicker than walk into armory.”

        Not necessarily. It all depends on wait time and traffic. The Monorail at least has the advantage that you know for sure you won’t get stuck in traffic.

      4. I bet the view would have been better from the monorail. Also waiting 15 minutes for an Uber driver is probably more than the 5 it would have taken to walk to the monorail.

    1. Wait a minute. Are we talking about the Gates Foundation headquarters a few yards from the elevator to the IDS northbound platform?

      If so, what route in the fleet would have a 28 minute headway either in the DSTT or sixty feet over it? And what would the 3 or the 4 have to do with this trip at all?

      If the answer is because the used the Trip Planner, then Metro should imitate the Gothenburg fare inspectors whose grey windbreakers (not allowed to wear their Securitas uniforms so they don’t look too militaristic-honest!) have little flower decals saying: “If you have a question, please ask me.”

      However, one deal so classified that neither Edward Snowden nor Julian Assange has revealed it yet: a Regional Day pass is available for $8.00, and $4.00 for seniors, from any TVM.

      I think somebody’s been watching too many Night Stalker reruns, and are afraid of the blood-stealing-and-self-injecting Civil War doctor in the Pioneer Square Underground.

      Can’t figure out why the Times is hushing this one up, except that maybe they bought out Kolchak’s publisher sold his paper, and the editor that never believed Kolchak about the monster came over.

      Could explain a lot- except for fact that Times now thinks that ST3 IS a monster! “Bbbbbbt, Chief! It’s down there!” “No if we can help it, Karl!”


      1. I think that would be the Gates Foundation campus bordered by Harrison, 5th Ave N, Mercer, and the Highway 99 construction zone. Hence the 3/4. I didn’t think their frequency/reliability were that dismal on weekends, but I’m not exactly shocked by the story.

  7. And BTW, Glenn, easy fix to problem with multiple “Runs” across the Tillicum:

    As the Stuttgart system does by coupling flatcars with bike racks in front of their LRV’s, Tri-Met can do the same by putting treadmills on the flatcars.

    Enabling the runners to cross the bridge without either interfering with transit or breaking stride. Though the flatcars will probably have to have horizontal bars on the sides to prevent competitors from elbowing each other off into transit traffic because they can’t pass them.


  8. I mentioned this on Twitter, but didn’t get a reply: when is STB going to do a front page post about the North Link TBM delays? We did it for Bertha; it’s only fair.

      1. It was covered in the ST Board meeting thursday. STB tweeted about it, so you can check it there.

    1. Either the psychiatric community foresaw this LINK-relocation trauma and designed an intensified super-Prozac to help victims…or this company had been planning its departure for even longer.

      And/or used the move as billing for the sale they’d been planning, which is conveniently going to happen as Halloween becomes Thanksgiving becomes Christmas begins Post-Christmas. Or again, maybe these people are just being conspicuously brave.

      In any event, nobody shown looks to have been anywhere near a Syrian barrel-bomb lately. Also- let’s see some estimates on how many businesses the average Interstate relocates through any built-up area.


    2. I can’t believe that any system comparable to the one we’re planning would do anything but be sure their 45th and University-area subway station had good elevator and escalator connections between Ballard and Downtown lines.

      Meaning company that all pertinent representatives of the company that did ST’s CentralLINK stations be chained to a motel radiator out on Aurora ’till the bidding is over.

      But for our system, I can’t think why the headways will ever be long enough to slow anybody’s trip enough to even annoy them. Any tunnel engineers want to weigh in on construction implications of the necessary underground curve?


    3. “I can’t believe that any system comparable to the one we’re planning would do anything but be sure their 45th and University-area subway station had good elevator and escalator connections between Ballard and Downtown lines.”

      Exactly. This will be the most critical feature north of downtown and ST is completely ignoring it.

  9. Just out of curiosity – approximately how many miles of subways and rail are shown on Seattle Subways regional vision map? 150 miles?

    1. Everett to Lakewood alone on Sounder gets you about 80 miles. Existing + planned Link spine plus Eastside must be in the 59 mile range.

      Adding Seattle Subway stuff probably adds another 30 or so, depending on which map you are talking about. They’ve made several over the years, but in terms of miles a lot of what is there is already on the ST map.

      Ballard to UW is only about 3 or so. The Metro 8 subway is what? Maybe 4? Since it only hits the north end of the Rainier Valley. That West Seattle to Burien thing is maybe 10 or so.

  10. Seattle used to be without cars during much of the day.

    Back when I moved her in 1986, by 10am much of Broadway was still a ghost street, disturbed only by the occasional trolley bus. I remember I used to walk home from work downtown around 4:30pm relatively undisturbed by cars. And when I moved to Wallingford, 45th Street was easily crossable at any point say at 2pm in the afternoon.

  11. I have a question about fare recovery.

    I take Link to Sounders games from the south. For the last couple of games, I’ve stayed and kept counts of people entering Stadium Station after the game was over. Although far from scientific, my estimate for how many people swipe an Orca or stop at the ticket machine on their way onto the platform is only about 45%. Based on the time of day and location (and choice of clothing), I think it’s reasonable to assume that most if not all are coming from the game directly and not transferring from another transit method.

    My question is, does this mean that around 60% of riders are not playing a fare? The only thing I can think of is that many in this area have ORCAs paid for through their employer and simply don’t swipe because they know they will still pass validation if checked. Even is that is true, that’s still quite a few uncounted people boarding which won’t help with accurately tracking rider counts.

    1. or if it’s like what I see with Sounder, the game-day riders aren’t regular transit riders, so they don’t use/have

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