2015 has been a terrific year for us at STB. We made Zach Shaner (previously a longtime staff writer) our first-ever paid part-time reporter, and the move has tremendously improved our range of coverage. We added two fantastic volunteer writers to our team, Seattle’s Erica C. Barnett and Kirkland’s Dan Ryan. You, our readership, have grown in number–and continued to provide one of the most substantive and interesting comment sections to be found anywhere on the internet. We’ve had plenty of news to cover, between University Link restructures, Move Seattle, landmark legislative elections, increases to Metro bus service, and Sound Transit’s preparations for next year’s big vote.
Even in such a news-packed year, one topic clearly dominated the conversation: Sound Transit 3. In order, these are our most-read and most-commented posts of 2015.
1. A Transportation Solution for Today and Tomorrow, by guest poster Seattle Subway (July 14). This is an exhortation to Sound Transit to think big for ST3, in terms of both dollars and years. It appears to have worked, with ST expanding its preliminary 15-year time horizon to 25 or even 30 years in some scenarios put forth in the latest ST3 planning materials.
2. Dear Mercer Island: Public Space is for Public Use (Sept. 29). Zach’s on-the-scene report covering Mercer Islanders’ numerous requests for special treatment by Sound Transit — in exchange for locating the south Eastside’s best transit facility in a non-residential area of the island — struck a huge nerve. The report was cited in several local news outlets, and sparked a fascinating debate regionwide.
3. Seattle Subway’s Recommendations for the Sound Transit 3 Survey, by Seattle Subway (June 8). This feedback was reflected in a number of Sound Transit’s proposed options for ST3.
4. ST3 – Once in a Lifetime, by Seattle Subway (Dec. 1). Following up on the #1 post above, this post introduced Seattle Subway’s “STComplete” vision for a large ST3 proposal, with lines connecting essentially every transit-favorable community in the region.
5. Westside Seattle Transit Tunnel, by Seattle Subway (Feb. 18). This February post presented Seattle Subway’s vision for a two-headed downtown tunnel serving both Uptown and South Lake Union. Sound Transit ultimately did propose a second downtown tunnel as a core element of their ST3 vision, although the concept is somewhat different.
6. Sound Transit’s Conceptual Study: Should You Be Worried? (Apr. 24) Martin’s careful look at Sound Transit’s tentative, suburban-heavy batch of initial ST3 concepts triggered an outpouring of angst and of support for bigger, bolder, more urban projects. The agency’s later ST3 concepts turned out to be much closer to what we and many of our readers would like to see.
7. New Metro Buses Coming, by guest poster Ricky Courtney (June 22). A quick update on Metro’s fleet plans, as the agency scrambled to convert options and get more buses quickly in light of Seattle Prop 1 and a strong economy.
8. Seattle’s ST3 Input (July 28). Martin’s exposition, updated by another, later post, of SDOT’s input into ST3 station locations, focusing particularly on the Uptown-Ballard line.
9. Seattle Should Demand High-Quality Rail (Aug. 18), by Seattle Subway. Following up on Martin’s post above, Seattle Subway also covered SDOT’s input. The group continued to argue for a two-headed WSTT and, less controversially, complete grade separation.
10. The Full $15 Billion (June 29). In this post Martin celebrated the successful inclusion of the full amount of requested taxing authority for ST3 in the state Legislature’s final transportation bill.