133 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Ride Cascades”

    1. “During peak times, buses will run every 2-3 minutes;”

      I want buses every 2-3 minutes. That cuts down on wait time.

      “I-405 is close to at least as many people and businesses as the Cross Kirkland Trail”

      The freeway exits are not close to people. How will people get from the stations to downtown Kirkland, Totem Lake, Google, Houghton Center, or to walk along the waterfront? Will they wait 10-20 minutes for a feeder bus? Will there be a feeder bus?

      “safety concerns with buses on the Cross Kirkland Trail: It is near many parks and schools”

      Oh no, buses as hazardous to children! Never mind that some children might want to ride the BRT to school.

      “Pedestrian and bicycle connectivity is a stated priority of the city; buses on the trail impede connectivity by making it less safe to get on and off the trail”

      Transit is also a stated priority.

      “To say the least I think this is an insane idea. I cannot possibly fathom how any potential benefit of a bus line across this path is going to do anything remotely tangible to help any traffic problems.”

      It won’t.

      “All I seem to get from the council are excuses like, “It was always part of the plan”, or “$250,00 was spent on a study and that study showed, blah, blah.” The idea is terrible in theory, but the bus idea specifically is really stupid.

      What other kind of transit on the trail would be merely terrible rather than really stupid? Would light rail make you feel better?

      1. Sounds like a bunch of old retired NIMBY homeowners who don’t need to travel anywhere especially at rush hour.

        And how old is this trail? Like 2 years? Please, getting more out of this right of way than merely a trail has been in the plans for a long time, way way longer than this trail has been open.

      2. And do they ever ride a bus? Or do they ride it only when it involves driving to a P&R for an express bus?

        “to help any traffic problems.” “It won’t.”

        I should have elaborated. It won’t decrease traffic, but it will give people an alternative to bypass the traffic.

      3. This is one of the very, very few situations where I actually agree with the troll here.

        One needs to consider the following from a transit perspective:
        – Trips between Totem Lake and downtown Bellevue, currently served by the 535 would lengthen considerably if the bus is rerouted down the ERC. The total distance is longer, due to curves in the road, and safety/noise constraints will not allow buses to tear through neighborhoods at 60 mph. The actual speed limit for buses on the ERC would probably be more like 30 mph. The section through the Google parking lot would be more like 15 mph.
        – The BRT bus would not actually serve downtown Bellevue. It would terminate at the Whole Foods Station, requiring a connection to EastLink, which would add an additional 10 minutes or so, including wait time. And that’s not including the much-discussed walk between the downtown Bellevue Link Station and the actual downtown Bellevue.
        – The BRT proposal has just four stop locations in all of Kirkland – Totem Lake, downtown Kirkland, Google, and South Kirkland P&R. This is a wide enough gap that local shadow routes would be needed. So, the proposal would require a significant increase in total service-hours, in addition to the capital investment. A subset of these service hours could alternatively fund a nonstop express route connecting downtown Kirkland to downtown Bellevue via I-405, that would get people where they need to go much faster than the BRT.
        – The BRT proposal would also not eliminate the need for some form of direct Kirkland->Seattle bus service, since detouring all the way to I-90 for EastLink is too roundabout for anybody heading to anywhere in Seattle north of the football stadium.
        – Congestion on 108th Ave. is only really an issue during rush hour, and even then, only a 5-minute or so delay in the peak direction, crossing the light at 68th. Off-peak, route 255 buses breeze down 108th with minimal traffic, and also blowing by most of their bus stops, due to nobody getting on or off. The result is fast service while still providing the coverage of local stop spacing. My only gripe is the detour into South Kirkland P&R, which could still be fixed someday, independently of routing buses down the Cross Kirkland Trail.

        …And the following from a trail user perspective:
        – Any roadway wide enough for two-way motor vehicle traffic of any form (including buses) has to be at least 2-3 times as wide as a standard trail width, by the time shoulders and a center line have been added. That’s a lot of concrete to look at in what’s now mostly green space. While the ROW may be 100 feet wide on paper, if you go out and visit the trail, many sections of it are far less than 100 feet wide.
        – The Cross Kirkland Trail is a very rare place where you can get away from the noise of cars and trucks without having to drive out into the mountains. This proposal would take away the quiet by running buses through there. (I did read that the city of Kirkland plans to ask Sound Transit to use battery powered buses that are quieter than diesel buses, but I’m skeptical that Sound Transit would honor such a request, in practice).
        – To maintain safety, Sound Transit would have to erect fencing, restricting crossing of the busway to designated crosswalk points. This would result in the closure of numerous informal paths between the trail and nearby neighborhoods. A business owner also spoke up at Thursday’s open house, indicating that the busway would block customers traveling by foot or bike down the trail from being able to reach his business.
        – A construction project of the magnitude proposed would take years to complete, and the impact on trail users during construction would be large. Like one section of the trail closed for 6 months, then another section of the trail closed 6 months later.

        Also, FWIW, my ad-hoc experience visiting the trail and riding the buses around Kirkland suggests that, outside of rush hour, there may actually be (depending on the weather) more people walking or riding the trail than riding parallel bus routes.

      4. I lived in Kirkland for five years during Dinner-Train days and often walked along the railroad tracks up to Totem Lake. It is too bad the rails were in such poor condition that they had to be torn out, otherwise this Renton-Woodinville stretch would have made a great transit corridor to bypass the perpetual 405-congestion.

      5. Their condition didn’t necessitate them having to be torn out. The track could have been rehabilitated with platforms and shelters added at about 1/2 of what Sound Transit estimated for the cost of their style upgrade.

      6. “The BRT bus would not actually serve downtown Bellevue. It would terminate at the Whole Foods Station”

        That doesn’t sound right. Kirkland’s map in the Kirkland’s BRT Design article has it terminating at Bellevue Transit Center. And I’m sure Sound Transit takes it as a minimum requirement of the project, since that’s the primary destination and ridership. Getting no closer than Wilburton Station is only in the context of a light rail line that continues south to Issaquah bypassing downtown Bellevue, and that’s only to avoid crossing Mercer Slough.

        “The BRT proposal has just four stop locations in all of Kirkland – Totem Lake, downtown Kirkland, Google, and South Kirkland P&R.”

        Kirkland’s map has six stations between Kingsgate and South Kirkland P&R, plus two more potential stations. Or are you talking about one of ST’s alternatives from last year? At this point, Kirkland’s alternative has as much viability as those, since it’s a year more recent and supported by the primary city the BRT being built for (because it’s not on East Link).

      7. So the net alternatives are: BRT on CRC, BRT on 405, BRT on 108th, or light rail on CRC. The light rail option is really a dud since it doesn’t go to downtown Bellevue and ST is afraid of offending the wetland-environmental interests, and Eastside north-south ridership is not spectacular. If the CRC is out (I could go either way, and asdf2 has the best arguments against it), and 405 would serve Kirkland as bad as the 535 does, then that leaves 108th. Do we just make 108th RapidRide and call it a day? Are transit lanes possible (i.e., is there enough space for two transit lanes, two car lanes, bike lanes if they exist, and no parking)?

      8. asdf,

        What do you mean, “the BRT buses would not serve downtown Bellevue”? That’s either completely uninformed — original post stated clearly that the system would depend on completion of the Sixth Avenue bridge over to the rail right of way — or deliberately disingenuous. Take your pick.


        “The BRT proposal would also not eliminate the need for some form of direct Kirkland->Seattle bus service, since detouring all the way to I-90 for EastLink is too roundabout for anybody heading to anywhere in Seattle north of the football stadium.”

        is flat out WRONG! There are two lines which head to seattle in the Kirkland plan, one from Totem Lake and one from Juanita. RTFP!

        “This is a wide enough gap that local shadow routes would be needed.

        but also

        “Off-peak, route 255 buses breeze down 108th with minimal traffic, and also blowing by most of their bus stops, due to nobody getting on or off.”

        Which is it? “The poor oppressed people of Kirkland will have to walk miles to get to and from their bus stop” OR “There’s nobody riding in Kirkland anyway, so forget it!”? Hmmm? You can’t have it both ways.

      9. While the bus stops along 108th get low enough use that the delay of serving such stops is usually minimal, the usage of such stops is still not zero. On a typical trip, the bus might stop once or twice between Google and South Kirkland P&R. Much less than the 10’ish stops the bus serves on paper, but still enough usage so that you can’t just leave those people that depend on the bus without any service.

        A circulator shuttle route down 108th that goes nowhere would attract near zero ridership, and would be a big waste money. It is much more efficient to get the necessary coverage by having the bus stops along the main route, provided it can be done without delaying the main route too much. From what I’ve seen of the 255, that is not an issue.

    2. Wait, why NY Times? I happened to have started reading it this year due to free ones appearing where I eat lunch. Decent paper, but me reading it hasn’t significantly impacted who I am, yet I’ve accidentally through this circumstance avoided your 2nd lowest person catagory. I don’t follow.

      1. Jim, as somebody who believes in grade separation for transit, SCREW rails to trails.

        Not you, not the link, not anybody in particular but we have enough trails.

        We don’t have enough inland rail & bus rapid transit.

    3. By far the loudest thing on the new Tilikum Crossing is the Portland Streetcar.

      Give me a trail 6 inches away from transit traffic (the way that bridge is) any day compared to the deafening roar of auto traffic.

      1. Glenn, I’m trying to think of the closest place where actual street rail lines- either streetcars or slow-moving sections of light rail- go by peoples’ homes at close quarters. Because I think that a visit to several European cities would show some Kirkland homeowners that whatever they think of busways, there’s another form of transit they might like better for a neighbor.

        Portland and San Francisco have excellent systems. But neither of them come past people’s property at close enough range to make the point. More than one European cities would prove my point with a single visit. So about ten plane tickets- five couples- would go many times farther than same dollar amount in public meetings and advertising.

        Any ideas on this one, both for destination and travel expense sources?


      2. @Mark: I haven’t spent much time in Portland, but I’ve stayed with friends in SF right on Taraval, and the L train ran right down the street in front of their apartment!

        Speaking of “L trains”, the L in Chicago runs through alleys near people’s houses all over the city.

        Both are pretty loud for the most part, to be honest; they would be poor advertisements for CKC transit. But I think the surface-running parts of the Chicago L at the end of the Brown and Pink Lines, and the whole Yellow Line (most similar to what a CKC line would be) are quieter… they certainly should be, running on a nice railbed instead of a steel elevated structure, and both, IIRC, having track maintenance done within the last decade. Cicero would be unconvincing to Kirkland NIMBYs, for reasons other than the train. Ravenswood might do.

        A CKC rail line wouldn’t be a slow tram through the NIMBY-field. It would be more “Skokie Swift” than “L Taraval”. Running along a steep hillside without destinations along the tracks or even much in the way of pedestrian routes up and down the hill, the reasons to use the corridor would be crossing 520 and 405 without getting caught up in surface traffic, serving South Kirkland P&R without being held up by so many goofy turns, and avoiding surface congestion on Market Street between downtown Kirkland and Totem Lake. The benefits are harder to achieve with a train, because running it across 405 and into downtown Bellevue as a train is no small project and stopping on the wrong side of 405 is a non-starter… and Kirkland doesn’t seem to like the potential stop locations closest to downtown Kirkland or Totem Lake either (personally I think a stop along the corridor at 6th St S might be fine, and I’m not sure any existing transit infrastructure around Totem Lake is worth building around any more than the corridor is, but fortunately for us all, I’m not the one in charge).

        I’m really conflicted about the whole idea of using the CKC for transit, especially if that transit ends up running in mixed traffic to and from Kirkland TC. I think it’s worth a look, but I’d mostly be interested in using a fairly fast version (i.e. not diverting to Kirkland TC) to replace the parallel stretch of 405 BRT. It inherently can’t replace local routes that serve Market Street (as terrible as traffic is there, it needs local bus service), and if it goes to Kirkland TC it’s too slow to replace 405 BRT… should there really be three levels of Bellevue-Totem Lake service? On the other hand, it seems like we should be able to do better than the 234/235 for Kirkland-Bellevue service, and better than Market Street for Kirkland-Totem Lake service… and in neither case are arterial improvements promising.

        And there really is something to lose by adding transit on the corridor. The natural aspect wouldn’t totally be lost with a transitway, it would just be pushed a little farther back (the nice forested parts are all adjacent to larger forested parks). But access to the trail and across the corridor would have to be more restricted. In the part that’s been converted to a trail, connections to and across it have improved pedestrian connectivity, but nearby land use have limited the benefit largely to runners. Along Northup Way and 116th Ave, additional connections across the corridor would be connections between different sorts of land use — making it easier for people to walk to jobs and transit immediately, and encouraging further development to take advantage of this in the long term. As these areas are, the inconvenience of walking anywhere makes it hard for anyone living or working there to even envision non-auto-oriented development or policy going well.

      3. Use of the CKC would not prevent goofy turns into South Kirkland P&R. In fact, it would actually make the goofy turns worse, as buses would have to backtrack down 108th for a block, after exiting the P&R, to return to the ERC.

        For Totem Lake->Bellevue trips the 405 Express Toll Lanes are already doing their job at keeping the buses out of traffic. A switch to the ERC would simply serve to slow things down. It would effectively function as a fancy form of a deviation to serve downtown Kirkland and Google.

        For Kirkland->Seattle trips, route 255, as it stands today, is pretty good, at least between Kirkland TC and Montlake. In the future, when the new Montlake lid opens with the HOV-only exit ramp), the 255 can be truncated to the UW Station to increase frequency (along with alternative 1’s proposal to chop off the tail to Brickyard P&R), but that’s really about it. The 255 moves well, and the numbers of ons/offs between Kirkland TC and South Kirkland P&R is small enough to make it almost like an express in practice, while still providing the coverage of local service.

        I agree that the travel time between Kirkland and Bellevue is not ideal. But before building any super-expensive infrastructure to improve it, I would first test the market by creating a new express route that would run nonstop between Kirkland TC and Bellevue TC via I-405. It could initially begin as a peak-only route, and gradually expand its hours of operation as demand warrants. I think that this, along with the 255, would serve Kirkland rather well, and riders from south of Kirkland TC could simply take the 234/235 they have always been taking.

      4. The noise level can depend quite a lot on the equipment used and the way the line is built.

        The concrete encased track of, say, MAX along NE Halladay. is terrible because the whole thing acts as a huge vibration magnification device. This is even worse with ties on steel elevated structure like Chicago has.

        Ballasted track does a bit better at absorbing sound, and places in east Portland along Burnside are much less noisy than NE Halladay.

        The best stuff I know of is “Green Track”, which TriMet is only just now experimenting with, and unfortunately doing so in a way that uses concrete (making it not as effective as methods used in Europe at dampening noise.

        This document gives a pretty good look at what they are trying to do in Europe with “Green Track”:

        In the USA the transit agency that I think has done the most in that direction is New Orleans but their 1990s rebuilding project was an effort at reproducing a similar park-like right of way that they had had for nearly a century.

      5. “I would first test the market by creating a new express route that would run nonstop between Kirkland TC and Bellevue TC via I-405.”

        I thought the 535 or some variation did that (since it’s named after the 235). If there’s no express route to downtown Kirkland there should certainly be one, and as you say it could be the baseline for future improvements. But the timeline is compressed: there’s no way to create a new ST Express route and evaluate its performance before ST3 is finalized next summer.

      6. Mark, you’re forgetting the diversion between 20th and 22nd on the J-Church south of Dolores Park. The streetcar tracks bend east about a half block on a reserved right of way which is right next to peoples’ back windows!. House wall, retaining wall down to right of way, track, track, retaining wall, house wall. It’s tight in there and walking is strongly forbidden; there’s no space between the cars and the walls.

      7. @Mike: The only ST route that serves South Kirkland P&R or Kirkland TC is the 540. The 535/235 thing is a coincidence.

        @asdf2: They’d use the regular loop at South Kirkland P&R instead of building a platform along the corridor? That’s completely insane! It would be hard to convince me to support a line that threw away the advantages of the corridor at every stop!

        A Kirkland-Bellevue shuttle via 405 would be… interesting. Sort of like the Skokie Swift of the eastside (I have the Skokie Swift on the brain today — I only ever rode it once, to buy a tube of cork grease for my clarinet; I have to believe there were closer music shops that just didn’t have an online presence because they’d always built their business through teachers’ referrals). I’d also consider sending the test route up to Totem Lake, also by 405… but I’m pretty sure splitting Kirkland-Totem Lake ridership from Market Street ridership would be inefficient, with Totem Lake in its current state. If we could find some way to get buses quickly across the Forbes Creek bottleneck then transit could provide an alternative to sitting in traffic and making it worse… as long as the buses just sit there with the cars there’s no point riding them.

      8. It would take less engineering work to build an on-street stop for South Kirkland P&R today – all they’d really need are some bus shelters and sidewalk widening. The horizontal and vertical distance between one’s car and the bus would be greater with a stop on the railroad corridor than a stop along 108th Ave. next to the P&R.

    4. Maybe something like the Sierra Club or PETA could help prevent urbanists from destroying this greenbelt and endangered species habitat?

      1. BTDub, what do urbanists and densitiests keep on telling us? “We have to concentrate people into limited areas in order to save nature in outlying areas.” The Cross Kirkland Trail is proof that statement is a lie. They HATE nature. They see nature as an obstacle to growth and transit. It’s expendable. What’s a greenbelt to them? A future busway.

      2. “The Cross Kirkland Trail is proof that statement is a lie. They HATE nature. They see nature as an obstacle to growth and transit.”

        It’s possible to include nature in cities. Gardens, rooftop gardens, trees, bioswales, parks. Put open space on raised shelves where it can complement inviting pedestrian spaces rather than replacing them with empty lawns. And break up large spaces into smaller ones. All these are not just aesthetic but they make people healthier and the cities more sustainable. Wall-to-wall concrete is not an urbanist ideal; it’s a modernist mistake. Urbanists want to concentrate people in a smaller area than low-density suburbs. Modernists — at least some of them — want to separate everything into abstract spaces of only one kind of thing each. That’s not nature: nature wants different kinds of things to be together. Urbanists want different kinds of things together, in a way that can acomodate a neighborhood of people in a smallish space.

        Kirkland has not only the Cross-Kirkland Connector, bit a linear waterfront park, St Edwards State Park, and Bridle Trails. It also has the downtown waterfront park and Peter Kirk Park. So it’s not exactly devoid of nature.

      3. Mike Orr, you and your type gives standing ovations to putting a piece of plastic astroturf over a parking spot and calling it a parklette. But thats not a substitution for real nature, is it? We now have a tranquil, bucolic nature trail on the eastside. Why can’t you just leave it alone? If not for us, protect it for future generations.

      4. Hey, I’m all for a park, if Kirkland would play like the rest of the eastside and widen Lake Washington Blvd and Market Street to 4 lanes.

      5. Sam – even though we are on the same side of this, I’m going to have to call you out on the comment about endangered species. There are no endangered species living in Kirkland.

      6. That picture has nothing similar to what a transit way in the CKC would look like, especially the presence of the black fellow. [ah]

      7. Take away the general traffic lanes in the background of the Eugene photo and I don’t see why it couldn’t look that way.

  1. I’d likely ride Cascades again if it stopped in Mukilteo. Why a WSDOT run train doesn’t service one of the busiest WSDOT run ferry terminals is beyond me. Hopefully with the new Muk station platform opening soon, Cascades will finally service that major transportation hub.

      1. Yeah the fact that Cascades stops in Stanwood and not a more populous (and relevant) area like Mukilteo is quite baffling.

      2. I believe Tim Eyman is from Mukilteo. It would not at all surprise me if he pushes through a statewide initiative to block it.

      3. More inland is an understatement. Wenatchee is a good start. For many years, Route 2 over Stevens pass has been the rush-hour I-5 of the Cascades. And considering how beautiful the ride over the pass is, it would be great if whatever new lanes are added up there be paved with steel.

        Mark Dublin

    1. As a Boeing employee in Portland, I would be very tempted to take Cascades up to the Everett factory if they had aa Mukilteo stop. Riding to Everett and backtracking is far too time consuming.

    2. Also as Seattle-Vancouver user, please add an express train that skips the small stops… If you look at the data, 80%+ of the ridership and revenue (if not 90%) comes from the stops at the major cities – Portland, Seattle, Vancouver. Everything in between needs transit too, but there is a huge need for an inter-city express.

      1. Would love to see it as well. For as nice as the ~4 hour ride Seattle-Vancouver is, if they added another once-a-day train that just went straight between Seattle and Vancouver (same for Seattle & Portland) I bet it’d get popular.

        I’m not sure exactly how much time it’d save, but I could easily see it dropping an hour off of the travel time Seattle-Vancouver. That’s pretty huge.

      2. Seattle Transit Blog did an analysis of this some time ago. They concluded that while the ridership of each intermediate station between Seattle and Portland is small, collectively, they add up into something that isn’t small, and there still aren’t enough total trips where intermediate stops could be skipped without severely affecting one’s ability to get around in those places.

        Between Seattle and Vancouver, the real time sink is not stops, but the slow crawl between Bellingham and Vancouver, a segment which does not have any stops.

      3. The bigger issue is that the faster the train operates over all the freight that clogged the line, the more effective track space it uses. Thus, the BNSF probably wouldn’t let an express move that much faster than a local.

        The exception is how the schedule is set. With an express you could schedule it for whatever BNSF says they can do most of the time, but it wouldn’t matter if it arrives early. You can’t arrive early with all the local stops as they need to be served at the time listed.

        So, it all depends on what the BNSF is able to provide.

  2. Rainier Valley has lost 2 of its local grocery stores in the last month. Both the Viet-Wah at MLK/Graham and the Saars in Rainier Beach have closed. This leaves Safeway with a near monopoly in the south end of Rainier Valley. Hopefully something useful will step in and take over those prime locations; but for now, “new urbanism” has brought less diversity and more homogeneity to Rainier Valley grocery shoppers–particularly those looking for bargains or ethnic items.

    I saw both properties listed on commercial real estate sites last spring which usually indicates that landlords and tenants were not coming to agreement about lease extensions. Both sites could become fantastic mixed use projects but I’m not aware of any plans that would raze the existing buildings and create anything dense, vibrant and walkable.

    1. Guy, congratulation, your comment has attracted my much sought-after attention and I would like to know more. I’d like to you to do some more research into why these stores left the area, and then do a followup comment with any new information you’ve found.

    2. It looks like the Wah space will be re-opening as an Island Pacific grocery store. From their website, it looks like Island Pacific is a CA-based, Filipino-American grocery chain kind of like Seafood City at Southcenter. I’ll be checking them out once they open.

      So, other than Safeway, a trip to the grocery store will require going to the Beacon Hill Red Apple, QFC at Mt. Baker Station, PCC in Columbia City or the Grocery Outlet in Skyway.

      1. There’s also Uwajimaya at Intl Dist and all the Chinatown shops on Jackson. There’s a meat/seafood based supermarket at Othello kitty-corner from the north entrance. And another Safeway on Rainier south of Henderson. If you don’t like Safeway or PCC, I’d recommend Chinatown above the others, either Uwajimaya, the gray warehouse-like building at 8th & Jackson, or the store at the souteast corner of 12th & Jackson. There’s also Fred Meyer at the near edge of downtown Renton.

    3. Any effort to reverse present trend of “Corporatification” – at least gentry at their worst were still individual people- needs to start with some talks with the children of the displaced owners about their own feelings about taking over their parents’ enterprises. Especially in the locations the business is being priced out of.

      And similar conversations with the founding generations themselves. Now that there are trades that don’t take a lost finger or one’s hearing to learn, or require a life of noise, sweat, grease an poison, very often neither generation wants to see the other one in the family business.

      And so not only don’t fight Safeway, but thank it for the retirement, and the high-tech education they can now afford. And for many new business-starters, the new monstrosity, I mean development, attracts customers who are looking for a nearby alternative store. Or something Safeway doesn’t sell, especially a quality product that tastes good, or won’t fall apart before it gets unpacked.

      Not the whole fight. But a good beginning.

      Mark Dublin

      1. LLoyd, I like any PCC better than any Safeway. Spend most of my Columbia City time at the Empire Cafe, which I think has top echelon espresso and a really nice courtyard for computer work in the summer. Tutti Bella has a great lever-action espresso machine.

        For a place where the clientele is most comfortable to me is the Safari Njema restaurant in a little mall a couple blocks south of Hudson Street. I spent a couple of years in East Africa a long time ago, the owner and most of the clientele are Kenyans, the prices are fair, and the food is delicious.

        But from my days and nights driving the Route 7 twenty five years ago, I’ve got mixed feelings about Columbia City in general, and the PCC in particular.

        While the area is in much better repair, and arguably much safer than back then…virtually none of my former passengers could afford to either live there or shop in either the cafe or the grocery store. I really wonder where they have gone.

        One persona; problem is that the east-side store of the Food Cooperative probably used to be a small store, or a garage, or a farm building. Thick wood siding, and interior of the original wood laths and timbers, painted white.

        Delicious organic food too, and more fresh produce than packaged meals, And largely staffed by volunteers. I’m a lot more comfortable there than any Seattle PCC- which may still be cooperatives, but feel suspiciously like they’re not. Seattle PCC’s used to look a lot more like the Olympia Co-op.

        We can argue economic theory ’til the world explodes, but I’m counting on free-market dynamics to take care of the present sole qualification for residence in Seattle. Which means enough income to pay not only today’s exorbitant rent, but also a future where housing costs go nowhere but up.

        It would be good if we had a community college system that could turn this place back to small industry, after the world of heavy real estate speculation is left splattered on the pavement, begging for bailouts from a government that, whether it an afford it or not, will no longer feel like swinging the bucket.


  3. As a sometimes Amtrak Cascades user up in Skagit, I simply must say I sure wish we could have a mass transit link that was reliable and met up with Skagit Transit limited Saturday services to/from Everett.

    That said, I really enjoy riding the Amtrak Cascades. Heck, one reason – not THE reason which is at the link under tour request – I want to make a spring trip to Portland is to take the Amtrak Cascades down. I also like being able to lounge back and enjoy the view, or if I so desire filter & rate images on my camera on the ride home.

    1. If Skagit Transit goes to Everett on Saturdays, that’s news to me. I always thought that bus ran Monday-Friday, only, and only during rush hour. The only Saturday options I’m aware of (excluding Greyhound) between Seattle and Mt. Vernon are two round trips on Amtrak Cascades and one round trip on an Amtrak Thruway bus.

      1. asdf2, one thing I would like is Skagit Transit Everett Connector to run on Saturdays – even if only a few runs.

        Greyhound has failed me three times.

        Amtrak Cascades doesn’t mesh well with Skagit Transit services.

      2. I should though stress in my original comments I meant, “we could have a new mass transit link that was reliable and met up with Skagit Transit limited Saturday services within Skagit County to/from Everett.”

  4. I wish Amtrak Cascades had priority over freight trains. I’ve only taken Cascades twice, once to Vancouver, BC and nice to Portland. Both times the journey took over 2 hours longer than driving, and the condition of the rails north of Bellingham was truly deplorable, with low speeds and a poor ride.

    And I speak as someone who loves train travel.

    1. Amtrak does have priority over freight, (in the States, with BNSF), it’s just that so much of that route is single tracked.

      Plus, track curvature does limit speeds to the ~50mph range for most of that.
      (Highway travel is limited only by speed traps… ergo – 70 mph is just a suggestion, not so for the train)

      Besides, it was and is still (re: Sam’s post on the CKC) more important that the inland route be a bike trail…
      along with more.. and MORE ‘Investment’ in higher speed SOV travel. Bring on that Gas Tax !!

      However, one hopes the new Canadian Prime Minister will be good for some improvements on the other side of the border… After all, It is 2015 !

      1. There’s a bunch of stuff going on.

        The line is double track between Seattle and Portland except for the Point Defiance tunnel (which really should be converted back to double track but won’t be). The big issue there is the line is just terribly overcrowded for the 1910 infrastructure.

        The Talgo trains could take the curves a bit faster. However, they are limited by a misapplication of a test done in the 1950s that got converted into federal law. Also, the locomotives are really too heavy for higher speed running through curves.

      2. @Glenn in Portland: Once the Point Defiance Bypass is up, it should be a lot faster going through Tacoma and it should be able to be converted to double track fairly easily (the railroad crossing near Clover Park Technical College even has a second track across the roadway already in place for future expansion plans for both Sounder and any Amtrak Cascades service through Tacoma.

    2. Rails north of Bellingham (which is to say north of the Canadian border) can not be upgraded by WSDOT as state law prevents the spending of capital on projects that are outside the state lines. It is up to BC to spend the money, which they have zero incentive to do, since the trains run already and they are already benefitting without expenditure so why start now?

      Meanwhile, WSDOT is going all out for two extra round trips this year… Two round trips from Seattle to Portland total…


      1. The problem is that the BC provincial government has shown no interest at all in spending money on passenger rail, whether it’s SkyTrain or the passenger rail link to the USA. That’s the same government that approved billions in new highway lanes and bridges but demanded a public vote – which they knew would fail – for SkyTrain expansion.

        The line from the Peace Arch to Pacific Central Station is ancient and that’s putting it favorably. One option for the provincial government would be to upgrade that route by adding West Coast Express-style service to Surrey, Delta, and White Rock. But Surrey wants SkyTrain, Delta is actually a bit west of where the tracks are, and that leaves White Rock which might not be large enough to justify the investment on its own.

        The new Canadian federal government is probably more interested in helping build out SkyTrain than it is in upgrading the tracks from the border to downtown Vancouver. But ideally they and the BC provincial government would come together on a plan for improvements. There are a lot of Americans who would love to spend more time in the Lower Mainland if only the rail service were faster and more frequent.

      2. Robert;

        As to:

        The problem is that the BC provincial government has shown no interest at all in spending money on passenger rail, whether it’s SkyTrain or the passenger rail link to the USA. That’s the same government that approved billions in new highway lanes and bridges but demanded a public vote – which they knew would fail – for SkyTrain expansion.

        Well actually the BC Libabes fighting for freedom Liberals are kind enough to expand SkyTrain via the Canada Line under Gordon Campbell’s stellar Olympic Premiership and now Christy Clark is building the Evergreen Line to her old stomping grounds of Coquitlam-Port Moody.

        I do think though nobody expected the spectacular success Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation was able to pull off except for some of Jordan’s friends (full disclosure, I am an acquaintance of Jordan and a friend of one of Jordan’s friends). For a good behind the scenes report, go here for some lessons to be learnt before next year’s ST3 vote.

      3. It’s hard to say. Right now UBC is low hanging fruit that should’ve been picked years ago and that has priority for Lower Mainland transit investment. White Rock is a contributor to the Bridgeport crushing from all the suburban buses transferring there. A new rail line would not serve just White Rock but you could also serve South Surrey Park & Ride and have an express line from Scott Road, that would unload Skytrain users potentially from further south and give them an express trip into Vancouver.

      4. If the Amtrak is that slow getting into Vancouver, perhaps the train could simply be truncated in Surrey. As long as the Amtrak ends at a SkyTrain Station, a transfer may actually get people where they’re going more quickly, especially if they would ultimately need to transfer to the SkyTrain from Pacific Central Station anyway. The reduced operating cost that would come with the shorter distance would also be good.

      5. “Surrey wants SkyTrain”

        Surrey has SkyTrain. I assume you mean an extension toward Cloverdale, but doesn’t Skytrain already reach the majority of Surrey’s population?

        “If the Amtrak is that slow getting into Vancouver, perhaps the train could simply be truncated in Surrey.”

        If the Canadian and US border guards are willing to meet a train in Surrey, and it would require a customs building.

      6. Surrey has Skytrain only in the northwest quadrant. It would benefit hugely from an extension towards Langley and BRT on King George. Such a system would get 200,000 daily boardings in 25 years. Problem with Skytrain to Amtrak connection in Surrey is that an extension of the train line would have to be built. Only the Scott Road station is close to the train line, and they aren’t right next door, and there is no train station there.

        There have been various plans to speed up this rail corridor and at the same time take the line off the waterfront. But it has been a question of funds and transportation priorities.

      7. As someone else said above, SkyTrain only goes into part of Surrey. The city wants, and deserves, an extension to the city center and to other neighborhoods.

        But the bigger point is that nothing is going to happen as long as the BC Liberals govern the province. Just look at their 10 year transportation plan. Although respondents ranked transit as a higher priority than highway capacity expansion, the provincial government is doing the reverse. Their plan focuses heavily on highway expansion and barely mentions transit.

        Perhaps if the BCNDP wins the 2017 election, we might see a more sustained effort by the province to invest in passenger rail, including upgrading the tracks from the Peace Arch to Pacific Central Station.

        (And I do think it makes sense to send the trains all the way to downtown Vancouver.)

      8. Good comment, but the BCLibs are helping out Skytrain.

        That said, let’s be honest about the free enterprise party (aka BCLiberals, BCLibabes, Christy Party): They represent more rural areas than the cities so won’t advertise helping Skytrain as much. Nor helping BC Transit which is a provincially managed service.

        A vote for the BCNDP is a vote for socialism, higher taxes, less resource development, less freedom, et al. I swear as much as certain antics of the Christy Party torque me off, the BCNDP are worse.

        I do think though that the US Ambassador to Canada should start raising the issue of improving and increasing Canada & BC’s fair share of investment into Amtrak Cascades. Like long ago. :-)

      9. It would probably be easier to truncate it in Blaine and send an assortment of buses to different major areas from there. Have one do the hotel roundabout that the current Amtrak Cascades bus does, and one go to downtown, and one go to a few of the likely suburbs.

        That way you don’t have to move customs either.

    3. “It is up to BC to spend the money, which they have zero incentive to do, since the trains run already and they are already benefitting without expenditure so why start now?”

      So that Canadians could get to Seattle, Bellingham, and Portland easier?

      1. 174 miles in 90 minutes translates to an average speed of 116 mph. Good luck going that fast for 174 miles without getting pulled over by a cop or crashing into someone. I’m also doubt the average car is even capable of going 174 miles at 116 mph on one tank of gas – gas mileage at those speeds is extremely shitty.

        (source: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Seattle,+WA/Portland,+OR/@46.5590049,-123.7400132,8z/am=t/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x5490102c93e83355:0x102565466944d59a!2m2!1d-122.3320708!2d47.6062095!1m5!1m1!1s0x54950b0b7da97427:0x1c36b9e6f6d18591!2m2!1d-122.6764816!2d45.5230622)

      2. Exactly. 2 hours longer than driving from Seattle to Portland indicates to me that there was something else going on. The scheduled time for the Cascades train is about 3.5 hours, so 2 hours less than that is 1.5 hours.

        Then again, sometime in 2012 or so I did drive from Portland to Seattle and it took about an hour and a half longer than the scheduled time for the train.

      3. The last time we drove to Portland it was exactly 3 hours from Ballard. Cascades used to be scheduled for 3:30, now it’s 3:40 and 3:50, and the Coast Starlight is 4:15. If the driving time from SODO is 2:30, then even the Coast Starlight is within two hours of it.

        I’ve seen Cascades go from slow segments in Washington to being fast from Seattle to the Oregon border and then slow to a crawl. So I suspect the “something else going on” is in Oregon.

  5. Wow. . this Sunday post became negative QUICK.

    Up until last week’s windstorms, it’s been give years since I rode the Cascades. I stayed in downtown after work, missing the last Sounder North. So I decided to take advantage of the RailPlus program. Even though my train was 30 minutes late, it was still a faster commute than taking the E line and transferring to an hourly CT bus. Once on board, the interiors were noticeably different from five years ago. They were clean and had a European feel to it. My only concern was the comfort of the new seats. The Cascades now features much thinner chairs, very similar to the new slimline seating every airline is installing on their planes. The previous seats were thicker, much larger and more comfortable. Last week, I almost felt like I was on a plane – or in Europe : )

    1. That’s one of the Oregon trains. They were designed with interiors suitable for 90 minute trips from Milwaukee to Chicago, since Oregon just tacked an order onto Wisconsin’s order.

      We’re you able to figure out the seat reclining mechanism?

      1. I didn’t bother reclining since it was only a 30 minute ride and I was too distracted by attempting to keep track of power outages as we trekked north.

      2. Yeah whatever happened to those Wisconsin railcars? Did WA/OR pick them up for a steal? Or are they sitting rusting away in WI in honor of Scott Walker?

      3. The WI trainsets are unused. I think they are currently sitting in Indiana. Michigan was looking at using them on the 110mph Chicago to Detroit run, but that plan got sidetracked by legislative opposition.

      4. I can’t believe there’s no Ohio state train. Not even a one a day Amtrak train linking Cleveland to Columbus and Cincinnati. Obviously there was the plan with the 3C/Ohio Hub train but thanks to their horrible governor who killed it. Instead they ravage the state with more unnecessary highway projects like Cleveland with the “Opportunity Corridor” highway boondoogle. Ohio has such potential but pisses it away and scares off everyone under 40.

    2. FYI,
      If you are using Sound Transit’s website, the online schedule for Sounder North is showing the WRONG TIMES for Amtak Cascades trains #513.

      It lists departure for Everett as 10:02 AM, and Edmonds as 10:27 AM. The printed versions have
      the correct times for Everett as 9:52 AM, and Edmonds for 10:17 AM.

    3. “The Cascades now features much thinner chairs, …”

      That’s the way Oregon ordered them. The two Mater trains are set up that way, along with the 1/2 & 1/2 fwd/backward seating.

      Glenn in Portland, can you do something about that, please? ;-)

      1. When they were having a show-off of those new trains before they went into service, it was explained by the Talgo guy that those seats were new and modern and clever, but they could not make them rotate because of those fancy reclining mechanisms. Personally, I think they’re uncomfortable compared to the Series VI sets (original five). Oregon probably cheap’d out as much as it could on these.

      2. I think the bigger problem with trying to make them rotate is the incorporation of the 120v outlets into the seat rather than into the baseboard heater or wall.

  6. On a few occasions recently OneBusAway has measured bus already departed in meters instead of minutes. Is this a new feature or just one I have not had occasion to chance upon before?

    1. Thanks for noticing this, Elbar! In Iceland, there’s a place called “Thingvellir”, where a shallow valley is has a stream flowing down its whole length, marking the line where two tectonic plates emerge from the earth’s crust.

      And at a speed of about an inch per 25 million years, one heads east and one west. So there’s a good chance that Metro has finally despaired of doing anything about permanently-jammed freeways, and decided to just come out and measure trip time of a vehicle saving power and wear by using plate-tectonic propulsion.

      True, an east-west trip will be problematic. But honestly, who’ll notice the difference? And after all, it will still fit within Metro’s slogan “We’ll Get You There!”


  7. I know the math on the “Point Defiance Bypass”, but I’ll miss the best scenery of the trip to Portland. Still, I don’t look at the future as a permanent zombie apocalypse (Brad Pitt should have quit after “Huh-huh-huh! You think a Schwinn is a Bicycle!” the best line in his career, in “Burn After Reading.”)

    So I’ll repeat: the real solution will come maybe two decades in the future, when we’ll have a border to border super- bullet railway with separate tracks. Leaving lengths of shoreline already under rail, perfect for scenic railroading. Ok, also including this generation of bullet trains.


    1. At least at the Point Defiance end, considering the amount of residential along the peninsula it seems to me that the line should wind up with some local passenger service.

    2. I’m with you, Mark. Going through Lakewood is projected to save ten minutes on the trip from Seattle to Portland. (I suspect it will be less.) But to me, ten minutes is a tiny price to pay for views of Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains from the train. Several of the shots in that ad Martin posted are from the section that Amtrak will no longer be using.

  8. How can we get WSDOT to scrap that idiotic check-in process? What’s wrong with a uniformed person checking tickets at the door to get onto the platforms to make sure you have a ticket then having the conductor collect your ticket on board after you’ve located your own seat?

    The precedent exists on other Amtrak trains that ‘Reserved Coach’ does not necessarily mean ‘Stand in a line for half an hour to get a little slip of paper’, why can’t we grow up and do the same here? This is not an airline, and if they’re trying to make it seem ‘classy’ then it’s the wrong approach.

    1. Not only does the precedent exist for smoother checkin on other Amtrak lines, I’m pretty sure Cascades is the ONLY line that operates this way. I’m interested in learning why.

    2. Unfortunately I think someone will say “because security” and then you’re never going to change it. Especially in the current environment. That’s not a very good argument, however, because these checks only happen at certain stations.

      In the Northeast Corridor, I’ve had varying experiences. The main stations seem to have lines (Boston (South Station), New York Penn, and Washington DC). The line “minder” is also checking your ticket at the front of the line before you get to the platform.

      At other Northeast Corridor stations that are fairly busy, but not the main stations (I’ve seen this at Boston Back Bay, BWI Airport, and New Haven) you can just walk off the street. Once the platform is announced, everyone walks to the platform without any intermediate checking of tickets.

      1. Not having ridden the NEC regularly, and only having done it once from Wash DC. they might be more concerned with passengers getting on the wrong train, especially when trains leave for multiple destinations in different directions.

        Intermediate stations are fairly simple, in that you’ve got only 2 directions to choose from, Northbound platform/Southbound platform.

        KSS has the added issue of 2 Vancouvers, also.

        People in the US, and especially out in the Wild West here, are just not train savvy.

        Until KSS has modern, European style platforms, forget about being able to wander out to the platforms until they begin the boarding process.

    3. You don’t have to wait a half an hour in line. You can show up 10 minutes before departure. People wait in line out of habit.

      However, if you show up 10 minutes before departure, expect that the line of passengers has already taken all the good seats, and that you will wind up with a seat up against the wall that won’t recline and is facing the wrong way.

      I’ve shown up at King Street about 3 minutes before departure (thanks Denny Disaster) and they were nice enough to let me on.

    4. The last time this came up somebody said the seat assignments are a WSDOT requirement. Confirmation?

      1. Supposedly said by a conductor when asked, but no validation from anyone at a higher level.

        I was down at KSS once and a conductor was scanning tickets at the door and sending people out to specific cars, but not with an individual seat assignment.

        Said that he only does the seat assignments when it was a full train.

        C’mon Mike, you’ve been around the block enough times to have heard the reasons why any discipline does things. Can’t tell you how often I’ve heard it in the different professions I’ve had.

        To keep things in balance.

    5. As I’ve written before when this topic comes up, I won’t be a part of this ridiculous seat-assignment process, so I spend a little more and travel by business class on the Cascades. You still get a seat assignment, but it is at the ticket window, where the lines are short to non-existent. You are not guaranteed an unobstructed view, but can at least choose on which of the train you prefer, unless as a single pax you are given a seat on the single-seat side of the coach. The only downside is when I board in VAN for the return trip. There is no seat assignment at that station, where it would really actually help, so I have to choose among the slim pickings left after the business coach is nearly totally occupied upon departure from PDX. So for me, there will always be seating “issues”–and I don’t read a book or talk–I like to look out the window! I WAS pleasantly surprised when I had to take the Empire Builder to Wenatchee a couple of weeks ago. No seat assignment there. I got a seat on the side I wanted, with a nice big picture window with an unobstructed view.

      1. Lightning, I normally take business class for two reasons:

        a) To pay my own way on Amtrak Cascades.
        b) To avoid the riff-raff and screaming little kids. Sorry young families but business class = QUIET ZONE.

    6. After having only ridden Amtrak corridor trains for the last 15 years, I recently rode a long distance Amtrak train in Texas. I assumed on those trains you just board with your ticket and sit down and the conductor come by (like a normal train). To my surprise my name gets called on the PA to see a conductor who scolds then me for just boarding the train. I don’t understand why we have to reinvent boarding a train to have all the hassles of an airplane. What’s the point of having all these conductors when they don’t deal with tickets?!?

      1. On the Coast Starlight, and Amtrak Cascades in Oregon for that matter, you do just board the train but you have to board specific cars based on where you are going.

        Places such as Kelso and Centralia have very limited platform capacity when the train winds up boarding on the track that is furthest from the platform, and sometimes BNSF puts the train there.

        Also, some of these stations are not staffed or are only staffed part of the time, though some have Quik-Trak machines. So, there are an assortment of different ticket types that could board at these intermediate stations: electronic ticket printed out beforehand or on the phone, ticket printed on the Quik-Trak machine (which must be processed different as it comes as a pile of different slips), or needing to purchase a ticket from the conductor.

        One of the issues that has continually come up in National Transportation Safety Board processing of derailments is that in the days when Amtrak had a less controlled ticketing process they could not necessarily produce an instant list of all the passengers on the train that might have been involved. “The airlines are able to produce such a list of all their passengers on a plane so why can’t Amtrak produce a list of all the passengers they have on a train?”

        Therefore, there were demands that Amtrak produce a system that makes absolutely certain they collect everyone’s name and have it in their database so that they can produce such a list in the event of a derailment or other accident.

        So, some of this is in response to demands from elected representatives and NTSB officials that made assorted demands that the ticketing process be tightened up so that such a list is available.

        The seat assignment line seems to be a specific thing with Washington, as in Salem, Albany an Eugene passengers are simply told they need to board into a specific car number and the conductor handles the seat tags once the train is moving.

      2. This was the Texas Eagle from Austin to San Antonio.

        Just what I thought, more federal BS anti-rail rules.

      3. Amtrak always had a list of passengers who boarded a train.
        Back in the days of paper tickets, the portion of the ticket the conductor took was kept in their office, which is up at the crew’s car.

        The 2011 Nevada crash between a semi truck and the Zephyr forced the issue of moving to electronic ticketing.

        Since that incident, along with killing the conductor, destroyed the one place where the ‘passenger list’ was.

        Now, with electronic ticketing, the information is uploaded about an hour after a station stop.
        Amtrak can now reconcile who has purchased a ticket, versus who has actually boarded.

        Before they would just know who purchased tickets, but until all the paper was turned in, not who might have just missed the train.

        Not exactly something to ‘blame on the Feds’, but maybe the conductor was just ‘politely’ inferring that it was important to check in, to make sure you were recorded.

        By the way, poncho, was your ‘corridor travel’ in the NEC?

      4. On the Coast Starlight, if you got sleeping accommodations they print the car and room number on your ticket. When the train pulls in to the station and you’re waiting on the platform you just go to your car. If you go to the wrong car, the attendant there will point you the right way.

      5. The train number is also printed on the ticket.

        If they know multiple routes pass by, they verify that you’re getting on the right train, too.

      6. Oh yeah, the Texas Eagle is part of the Sunset Limited consist.
        Then the conductor has to verify you’re on the right part of the train.

  9. Al, I’m sorry it took so long to get to answer your comment. I picked up my electrolyte addiction (fine particles of carbon and copper dust get into the bloodstream, leaving the victim listless and drifting through life except within thirteen feet either side of catenary centerline) in Chicago before 1955.

    Along with the roaring old North Shore interurbans, the CTA’s ’40’s model cars were also a force of nature, pretty much like an elevated earthquake. The Blues Brothers’ hotel room showed ‘El-side life perfectly. The building was quieter when Carrie Fisher blew it up than when CTA went by five feet away from the window sill.

    Monorail opponents were wrong about one thing though: effect on property values. Apartment same age and trackside clearance as Jake and Elwood’s hotel room gets fortunes in rent, now that the bricks have been sandblasted. Like they say in Al Bundy-land, “Go Figya!”

    But CTA did have actual streetcars. I recall the actual day when PCC’s, known as “The Green Hornets” after a radio superhero, replaced the old enormous George-Benson style cars that everybody said were painted with cattle blood every time the car went past the Stockyards. PCC’s probably could have been quiet enough for residential travel.

    I’m pretty sure I saw PCC’s in Pittsburgh going pretty much down tracked alleys past old single-family homes. The badly overweight Ansaldo cars on San Francisco’s MUNI-Metro like the L Taravel, like every other Breda in the world, have tectonic problems that prohibit them from being “Light” anything. Technically, they’re LRV’s on track designed for PCC’s.

    Market Street F-Line is good show-case for actual streetcars, which I think a lot of lettered-line neighborhoods with they had back. So I think there are better examples to show Kirkland home-owners. Present Skoda cars might be a lot more convincing,

    Been thinking about Trail-to-Kirkland: street-running spur or loop off the main through track. Single track and paint-stripe, with a couple of signal pre-empts could work. So street cars and schedules could be marked for either mainline train or loop through Kirkland.

    Will stand by what experience has shown me: due to impossibility of lateral motion, streetcars fit where buses don’t. And as for track costs- for heavy buses, pavement’s ride quality is short-lived, and repair expensive.

    Mark Dublin.

  10. Took transit here to catch a flight at Sea-Tac today.

    Man, the old neighborhood (East Hill) has changed over the summer.

    Whereas before there was nothing but a broken wooden fence and a vacant lot with trash, there is now:

    A nice little bus shelter
    Brand new sidewalk
    Brand new street with bright lines
    A bike lane
    Clear signage for the bus and where it stops

    168 always a pleasure (wish it ran 15 minutes, but 30 will do)
    180 a bit of milk run to Airport but for $2.50 x 2 I can save on a $35 cab or shuttle or a $60 parking lot space

    It’s not that I’m a cheapskate (well, I am) but I am only nine miles from SeaTac and the costs of other transport seem excessive to me. At the same time I realize plenty of businesses will pay for that. Today, however, as always, I am on my own.

    They’ve really brightened up the LINK access area at SeaTac. Best of all there are now huge signs everywhere that say “Train To Seattle”. Finally! A sign that means something to people coming in. The other signage leading to LINK seems a bit cleaner but is not quite as on target especially for people who have never been here.

    The SeaTac terminal is also one of the best food court malls. Great shops. Free wifi. Nice marble tables. Food choices are superior. Of course I don’t have to have a boarding pass to eat at Southcenter!

    Anyway, thanks Metro for saving me money I’d rather spend on 21 when I get to the MGM Grand.

    1. Addendum:

      One thing Sea-Tac could use more of are:

      Power outlets (as in I want to use my netbook before boarding, but want to take it onboard fully charged)
      Computer tables (rather than just seats, benches)

  11. Can you believe this nonsense KING 5 just reported on?

    Kitsap Transit wants to jack up the sales tax…. 2 or 3 cents on a $10 purchase… (which adds up)

    To run fast ferries to Seattle…

    With $10 tickets. (Right now only $8.70 one way WSF passenger only).

    So everybody in the Kitsap Transit district pays for a few privileged folks to get a premium service – assuming even more privileged folks don’t call a lawyer to slow the fast ferries down?

    This I hope gets the veto. I would rather the private sector be allowed to use WSF docks and run the service without a subsidy. Kitsap Transit really needs to be spending money on other things.

      1. Small typo between $8.10 and $8.70.

        Still, this is a really bad idea for a public transit agency to do between wake wash & accelerating sprawl & high maintenance bills for fast ferries, this is not the smartest of ideas for a public transit agency. Let the private sector take the risks and recover the costs.

  12. If Madison BRT has the 7pm rule and the left-side doors are behind the driver or toward the middle of of the bus, will passengers have to walk around the driver to tap their card and then turn around to get to their seat, and will there be room for them to walk back while other people are walking forward to pay?

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