Seawall Construction (SDOT Photo – Flickr)
Seawall Construction (SDOT Photo – Flickr)

On Tuesday I reported council testimony from the Office of the Waterfront that disclosed the new possibility of eliminating dedicated transit lanes on the future Alaskan Way. The Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) will include a new option that rechannelizes the roadway from 8 lanes to 6, retaining two general purpose lanes and a turn/ferry queuing lane in each direction. In his testimony before Council, Office of the Waterfront Director Marshall Foster strongly implied that the inclusion of this new option was at the behest of community groups in Pioneer Square, including long-time friends of the blog Feet First, and to that end my reporting included a 2013 blog post from Feet First that corroborated Foster’s testimony. The post called for shifting transit lanes away from Alaskan Way to the Sodo busway instead.

In subsequent correspondence with both Foster and Feet First’s Executive Director Lisa Quinn, they both strongly denied any intent to deprioritize transit. Lisa Quinn commented on STB yesterday:

In no way did Feet First propose eliminating a bus lane. Marshall Foster was mistaken and this was said out of context. The City made compromises to make the 8 lane highway work for people such as adding refuge islands etc. But, quite frankly, at the end of the day, there needs to be less lanes along the waterfront for people to cross. We have proposed other options to solve this safety issue for people crossing by eliminating the 2 turn lanes for the ferry to 1 lane. Additionally, we have called for more flexible lanes shared by freight and buses. Walking and transit are intrinsically connected. We need a transportation system that puts people first. The elimination of buses on the waterfront is not something Feet First has ever proposed.

In response, Feet First wrote a forceful blog post and quickly uploaded a joint letter from August – cosigned by TCC, Cascade, and Washington Bikes – that called for a narrower roadway but included suggestions that retained transit priority, either with shared freight/transit lanes or with expanded transit lanes from Dearborn to Columbia Street.

And that’s where the process gets a bit confusing. In Foster’s testimony he merely said “we got a lot of feedback from Pioneer Square and groups like Feet First” for a narrower roadway and then immediately proceeded into a discussion of eliminating transit to achieve it. But in a phone call this morning, Foster clarified that none of the groups he mentioned either asked for or support eliminating transit priority. So why the disconnect? Basically, the State and the Port.

Foster said the total number of comments asking for a narrower roadway hit “a tipping point” that forced the City to formally respond to their request, necessitating a SDEIS that studied a narrower roadway. However, Foster said the funding agreement between the State and the Port explicitly codifies two general purpose lanes in each direction, effectively prohibiting the City from studying reducing those lanes in the SDEIS:

Section II, A, 5: The Central Waterfront from Pine Street to Colman Dock will have two lanes in each direction plus a turning lane; the segment south of Colman Dock will have 3 lanes in each direction plus a turning lane.

So the City is in the odd position of being required to study a narrower channelization because enough of the community asked for it, but since the only mode not explicitly protected in its right-of-way allocation is transit, the City will study eliminating transit priority even though neither the City nor advocacy groups see that as a preferred outcome. Isn’t process fun?

We stand behind our reporting of Monday’s committee meeting, which relied on direct quotation of official testimony and published material, but we failed to grasp the full complexity of the situation and regret any hasty criticisms of groups such as Feet First.

Foster took a glass-half-full approach in our phone call, saying the DEIS is likely to show unacceptable impacts from eliminating transit lanes, and that such an outcome would actually backhandedly and belatedly codify the need for transit priority. And Mayor Murray’s office has been clear about its priorities while also deferent to process, telling us by email, “While the Waterfront EIS is considering more than one alternative, the Mayor is clear his priority is a new waterfront roadway with dedicated transit lanes.” And of course, all of us will have a chance to comment before the Final EIS is developed next summer. I hope that the walk, bike, and transit communities can coalesce around a vision for a walkable waterfront that also takes the mobility needs of 25,000 transit riders seriously.

86 Replies to “City’s Response on Waterfront Transit Lanes: Don’t Worry, It’s Just Process”

  1. However, Foster said the funding agreement between the State and the Port explicitly codifies two general purpose lanes in each direction, effectively prohibiting the City from studying reducing those lanes in the SDEIS:

    Section II, A, 5: The Central Waterfront from Pine Street to Colman Dock will have two lanes in each direction plus a turning lane; the segment south of Colman Dock will have 3 lanes in each direction plus a turning lane.

    I don’t see this as requiring two GP lanes. A bus lane is also a lane no?

    Smells like a cop out.

      1. Agreed. Just read the document, and it does not say “general purpose lane” or define “lane” anywhere to exclude dedicated transit or dedicated transit+freight lanes.

        Seems like Michael Foster is copping out of actually studying a real lane reduction.

        This is a city street, not a suburban thoroughfare, the current design is nothing short of shameful and reflects poorly on Mr. Foster, Director Kubly, and the Mayor.

      2. What about freight trucks running slowly, or so numerous that they cause congestion in the shared lane? Could freight be persuaded to schedule itself off-peak? It may do that already to avoid traffic.

      3. A transit-freight lane has one advantage: I think that the worst compatibility between any two elements is where one of them is private automobiles.

        But this one is going to take some research. One, have we got any examples of doing this through a well-used plaza?

        And two, exactly how many trucks, and carrying what? And how to clear a break-down with either mode?

        And can freight traffic be scheduled toward night? And what kind of exhaust?

        I like the concept. But its details need an Exorcism. Remember the movie where the possessed little girl has her head spin around?

        Though average mother of a two or three year old girl generally finds this kind of thing pretty routine.


    1. There might be some additional context in the agreement that makes clear what is meant by “lane”.

      1. If you give the port a preferred lane, they won’t use the tunnel.
        Diversion is already going to be a problem

        Diesel belching trucks are bad for all uses on the waterfront.
        Please don’t encourage truck diversion.

        A line semi’s can block access just as effectively as a line of buses.
        Address the requirements of two GP lanes, instead of being positive about trucks belching diesel over what should be our embarcadero.

      2. The problem is that the Port can’t use the tunnel anyway, because it doesn’t connect to Western/Elliot. Trucks going to I-5 will be heading south anyway, so the only ones using the tunnel will be local trucks going north on Aurora… why are we building this thing anyway?

      3. psf, according to the very models that WSDOT used to justify the tunnel, freight will not use the tunnel. For the entire duration of this clusterfuck of a project, it has always been planned that most freight originating at the waterfront will use Alaskan Way.

      4. “why are we building this thing anyway?”

        We’re building the tunnel so that drivers from northwest Seattle can keep their private back freeway to to the airporrt and southwest and avoid I-5 traffic. The tunnel lacks an exit to the Interbay industrial area presumably to keep freight trucks out of the tunnel so they won’t slow down the cars. So the trucks have to use Alaskan Way because there’s no other big road.

    2. “The Central Waterfront from Pine Street to Colman Dock…”

      Best nine words I’ve read in a long time. Because in effect, we now know that the state highway begins at the foot of the ramp that will connect Elliott and Western with Alaskan Way. Which will possibly work very well for every interest.

      South of Pine Street, bus transit can have its own two-way corridor along the east side of Alaskan Way until it turns into the Central Business District on Columbia. Waterfront transit can have its own right of way east of the car lanes to Pine.

      North of Pine, the transitway can run parallel wherever on the shore it’s convenient. One lane each way for freight and emergency vehicles. Incidentally, do we have any stats about how many trucks, and what cargo?

      So we’ve got a the chance to have a Waterfront that’s more than an ordinary street with some trees and extra benches. Thanks, Zach, for this posting.

      Mark Dublin

  2. I thought it didn’t make sense that Feet First would advocate against transit lanes. This makes more sense.

    The real problem here is a state mandated 6 lane highway through the waterfront. We need the transit lanes too, so I suppose this can’t be helped. Finding a way to make this corridor safer for pedestrians needs to be a top priority.

    Can SDOT rearrange the lane layout to make this less complicated to cross? In a corridor this wide, a center lane bus corridor might actually make sense to create a safer center median space. You could also divide the 8 lane stroad into smaller, more manageable, 2-3 lane segments to cross.

  3. Nor a lawyer, but that funding agreement says two lanes, not two GP lanes. Is a transit lane or transit/freight lane not considered a lane?

  4. 8 lanes is insane, I don’t care if they are for transit or for anything else. If a lost transit lane is the price to make the road only six lanes (still insane), I’d happily pay that price.

    1. If you’re not commuting from SW Seattle and losing the fast easy express entrance/exit from downtown, it’s easy to say that.

      1. You are saying 8 lanes are needed because the current viaduct has an “express entrance/exit” from West Seattle?

      2. No, we’re saying that some way for buses to get to and from downtown without traffic delays is needed. SDOT can figure out how to achieve that.

      3. Build a light rail line to West Seattle immediately :)

        I’m sure China could have that line built and up and running in under two years. Shit, the Empire State Building was built in 8 or 9 months I think.

      4. I’m sure China could have that line built and up and running in under two years.

        There’s more here to it than first seems obvious:

        1) Certainly the biggest reason it takes so long is that they are expensive and it takes a long time to raise the money.
        2) There’s also a slow-moving and arduous review process (including election cycles) that add to the time it takes.
        3) The way the projects are designed and bid on also adds delay.

        2 & 3 also increase cost, which goes back to 1. But cost is the biggest thing. If we could build these at the price point Vancouver gets away with, we’d already be on west-seattle.

        If we could build them at China-level prices we’d have completed the network by now.

    2. Why do we need two ferry queueing lanes on the waterfront? We know how many boats leave the ferry dock, how many cars fit on each ferry, and how often they depart. Therefore it should be easy to put enough car storage inside the terminal itself. Am I missing something? Or is WSDOT just cheaping out and storing cars for its own ferry system on city-owned streets?

      1. +1.

        In Friday Harbor and Orcas, there is a secondary queue area up the hill from the ferry dock. They load what they can, and then they move the secondary queue into the first.

        With the reservation system, do people really need to sit in line for hours on end any more?

      2. Ferries said its because if there as a single turn lane, the time it would take to move through the number of vehicles that can be processed would take twice as long as if there were a dual turn pocket, So that would back up southbound traffic on Alaskan Way, and not allow traffic to leave downtown Seattle. The amount of queuing/storage in those two holding lanes is less than what had existing beneath the Viaduct prior to the recent changes. Land for off site storage is cost-prohibitive in downtown Seattle. Reservations wouldn’t change that fact that all those reserved for 5:30 pm (for example), would still fill the two lanes.

      3. And the dock can’t realistically get any bigger because of the marine habitat effects an engagement would have. They had proposed an over water road structure to the south that would have solved this whole dilemma by having ferry traffic access the dock closer to the stadiums, but it was taken out of the final plan for shoreline restoration.

      4. And the dock can’t realistically get any bigger

        You can’t make it any bigger by length and width, but you could make it taller to increase its capacity.

        You can’t make the oversize vehicle levels compact but parking garages that are primarily for autos can provide as little as 8 foot clearance. If you add another level above the existing lanes you don’t necessarily have to make the thing some huge ugly monster. Just another level would solve so many issues.

        You could even have it be more attractive than the existing queue area too. Add a third level and make it a public access walkway and maybe a restaurant or two like Bremerton has, and the big flat paved expanse of auto staging area gets hidden underneath all that.

      5. For those who remember the queue lines on Alaska Way under the viaduct on summer days, wsdot isn’t exaggerating the loads of people waiting for the ferry.
        You can go up on the existing ferry parking pier but the structural requirements for that would likely involve substantial in water work and major disruption for Coleman dock.
        They could provide off site queueing, maybe build a structure above or around that massive south portal for the tunnel. An elevated ramp from the structure to Coleman dock could easily eliminate that two turn lanes and direct ferry traffic away from the waterfront.

      6. With the viaduct gone, it really would t be difficult to run elevated ramps across to the ferry terminal much like the 4th avenue ramps.

      7. I think the more interesting question is why can’t the queuing lanes be placed on the western most part of the road? This alignment would provide a better buffer between the promenade and fast moving cars as well as ensure that queued ferry traffic doesn’t need to make left turns across southbound traffic. It would also create a natural place for a refuge as these lanes would not generally be heavily trafficked.

        In ASCII art it might look like this looking north where Q is the Ferry Q and R is the pedestrian refugee.

        _________ ___ ___ __ ____ ___ ___ ___ ___ ____ ___
        Prominade Q Q R BUS GP GP GP GP BUS Sidewalk

      8. Pretty simple solution here. Up the ferry fare to cover the cost of running the boats. Instantly, poof… no cars queuing up. Keep in mind the hysterical context of WSF into Seattle. They were a temporary measure until cross Sound bridges were built (seriously, you can find the plans). Not going to happen so stick a fork in it, well done.

  5. WSDOT has great staff people and all, but man alive I wish non Seattle area politicians and WSDOT had no influence on high density center city design decisions. OK, for that matter I wish we did like Vancouver BC and never allowed I-5 to be constructed.

    The Bertha tunnel was an idiotic expenditure, an eight lane anything in downtown Seattle is stupid, and to not maximize buildings, parks, sidewalks and bike lanes on the waterfront is so dumb. the only lanes on the waterfront should be fire safety access and local business delivery.

    1. and let me add the Port of Seattle does nothing good to our urban fabric, and is a retrograde economic entity that has outlived its usefulness.

      Privatize the airport and the port functions already and be done with its ignorant and damaging political influence.

      1. I don’t know that I agree about privatizing them, but we should separate them.

        We have an airport that seems to break even.
        And attached to that we have a money losing seaport – that keeps doubling down on more and more trucks.

        The conjoined port taxed at 73 million this year – or $95 for the median house.

        Harbor island has plenty of rail, but all focus is on more and more trucks.

      2. For Sale:

        “A retrograde economic entity that has outlived its usefulness. And even more, does nothing good to our urban fabric!”

        Sounds like property a guy with a badger for a toupee would by just before he went into bankruptcy.

        Though somebody from Pakistan, Lebanon, or Somalia really could really make both a profit and a great ongoing commercial enterprise.

        Syria too. Those people have been entrepreneurs that would make any giant US corporation look like lazy spongers since the beginning of time. Angela Merkel, nobody’s idea of a liberal, just ordered 800,000 of them.

        Maybe she’s got public property like your description of our Port, ronp. But meantime if you talk to the first guy…just don’t annoy his toupee or you’ll lose a hand.

        Mark Dublin

      1. The only people who run for Port Commissioner most election cycles are people with large axes to grind in favor of maximal “profit” for the principals at the ports. It’s only when they do something colossally offensive to the community that their incestuous little club is challenged by outsider candidates.

  6. “WSDOT has great staff people and all”

    Who? Where? What evidence is there these hypothetical great people have any influence in decision-making?

    (Okay, the 405 Express Toll lanes are nice in concept, but even there, the layout is rather poorly-managed.)

  7. What about separate roadways? A general roadway and a transit roadway next to it, with a nice planted strip in between?

    1. That would make it really simple to convert to a streetcar if the demand rises enough to warrant it. I’m all for this plan.

    2. Eugene’s EmX has places where they had to work with a single lane which is used for bidirectional running. If you only need 2-3 blocks of it, you just have to plan around it in the schedule.

      By separating the transit lanes into a separate roadway you could do this, while in mixed traffic it would be more confusing for drivers.

      Doing this where necessary would let you drop one of the transit only lanes.

      What about making a general lane that is bi-directional? Highway 99 through Stanley Park in Vancouver is that way.

      1. From watching pedestrians, bicyclists, children and transit inn public places like our Waterfront, I do think that people are more comfortable with streetcars close-up than buses- even on busways.

        No transit on our Waterfront is going to be “Rapid”, or needs to be. Though a marked right-of-way of its own will keep it at best steady speed through a park.

        But a couple of technical questions, Glenn, for you and anybody else who knows about trucking through spaces like ours. One, how many trucks are we talking about, what size, and most important, where are they going?

        Also, do we know if anybody else has designed a corridor for trucking and transit together, through a pedestrian area that is supposed to be relaxed and beautiful?

        I don’t doubt it can be done. But have we got any pictures of it?

        Mark Dublin

    3. Good idea. This would also make accessing southbound buses from pioneer square much easier. Crossing an 8 lane monstrosity to catch the C to W. Seattle would be a real pain.

      1. Will there be stops along Alaskan Way? There are none on the viaduct so why should there be new ones on AW?

  8. Mark Lindblom in the Seattle Times writes, “Foster said Seattle’s choices are constrained because the area is part of Highway 519, and the state insists on for traffic lanes plus the ferry entrance, including access for through traffic that can’t use the tunnel.” So it may be more than just the agreement; the state’s general authority to override things when it involves a highway.

    And, “Washington State Ferries insists two left-turn lanes are essential, to reduce backups on Alaskan Way that would add congestion for all users. ‘The two lanes help us get through the intersection quicker,’ said Nicolle McIntosh, termin-engineering director. In other words, having only one left-turn lane would force a longer green arrow, and slow down all travel.”

    (Of course, if there were better transit and walkability in the west sound, then more people could walk onto the ferry.)

    1. Our ferry system is truly insane in the amount of automotive priority it provides. Most ferries I have ridden, seen or heard of elsewhere only carry a handful of cars. If we could find a way as a state to provide better transit, walking and bike access on both sides of each ferry run, maybe we could reduce this need to have each ferry terminal look like a cross between a big box store parking lot and a metered freeway onramp.

      1. Mostly because the state ferry system is part of the state highway system. In 1994, the legislature actually designated each ferry route as part of the system (mostly by extending existing routes over onto the ferries), including the passenger-only Seattle-Vashon run that’s now part of the water taxi system.

    2. The very concept of a massive car ferry on the waterfront next to downtown is actually mildly crazy, and is really mid-twentieth century. It’s one of those things that once you build, it’s really hard to get rid of, but it’s still bizarre it exists.

      1. Yep, Vancouver’s terminals are miles west or south of the city, with frequent transit to both Horsehoe Bay and Tsawwassen. Dumping a couple hundred cars at a time every half hour onto Downtown streets with no mechanism for managing demand is a bit nuts. I’d love a Sodo-ish terminal instead, tho it’s never happen.

      2. The idea of moving car ferries to Harbor Island would be intriguing, but the WSF Bainbridge run carries more walkons than cars, and it’s close on Bremerton, so you lose foot traffic if Colman Dock relocates.

        These dual purpose ferries are, in fact, included in the National Transit Database. If you move the car docks, then you need a double ferry fleet, and modern passenger-only ferries have been a fiscal nightmare. Anybody want to pay for that? (This is not meant as an endorsement of the double left-turn lanes.)

      3. Kitsap County seems chomping at the bit to pay for fast / low-rip water taxis from all over the county to Seattle, at a huge subsidy per ride.

        I have no idea where on the waterfront they will find space for the water taxi dock(s).

        The whole idea seems nuts when the car ferries almost never run out of room for passengers.

      4. Don’t knock the ferries or the state legislature will demand a tunnel from Edmonds to Kingston.

      5. I think that the future will see a terminal built for highway vehicles like cars and trucks down the shoreline south of downtown- not for park aesthetics, but because the needs of the highway-oriented will demand it.

        Leaving Colman dock perfectly located for foot ferries. Also, as Central Waterfront develops, I can see not only foot ferries across the Sound, but smaller boats right down to gondolas (not the cable-way kind, but the ones with the guy with a mustache singing “Santa Lucia.”)

        The floating equivalent to the golf-carts and bicycle rickshaws that current Waterfront designers plan to use instead of streetcars.


      6. “The very concept of a massive car ferry on the waterfront next to downtown is actually mildly crazy, and is really mid-twentieth century.”

        My relatives were stationed in Bremerton in WWII and said the ferries were running then. They must go back to the early 1900s.

      7. A Jumbo II can hold what? 210 cars?

        If it were any other situation there is no way this much infrastructure gets devoted to 210 cars every half hour or so. Movie theatre getting out? You would just have a traffic light and let short term congestion sort itself out.

        There has to be some better way of handling this than devoting valuable street space to stationary vehicles.

      8. Brent,

        The SeaBus carries only passengers. It’s not a car ferry. Big difference, but the state won’t pay for foot ferries and Kitsap County is to poor to do so.

    3. That’s *Mike Lindbolm of the Times.

      I feel the need to make such a minor correction only because I think it’s such a rare blessing to have a good transportation reporter at the local paper.

    4. The state will pay for car ferries, but not water taxis. If we move the car ferries away from downtown, we lose most of the pedestrian ferry capacity in the process.

      I would love it if WSDOT did a better job enticing those crossing the Sound to walk on, but as it is, the passengers walking on are subsidizing the car space.

      It’s time for WSF to consider accepting the PugetPass and LIFT.

  9. Can someone tell me, are these transit lanes supposed to run all the way up the waterfront to Belltown, etc., or are they just in the southern part of downtown to replace the loss of the freeway for buses going towards West Seattle?

    1. Just to Columbia Street where the buses turn to 3rd Avenue.

      There’s also supposed to be a waterfont bus route, but it’s unclear whether it would use these transit lanes. The transit lanes may have fewer stops than the waterfront route needs.

      1. Would the waterfront bus route run up to Broad Street, and then up Broad to Denny Way/Seattle Center? If not, how are people supposed to take this route north then east.

      2. I suggested that because I thought tourists at Seattle Center might want to go directly to the waterfront. But it’s not in the official plan, and traditionally transit has not served that area. You either walk up the hill on Broad Street or take a bus downtown and back. The former waterfront bus did a little bit because it was a loop on both Alaskan Way and 1st Avenue, but it was hourly so nobody used it.

      3. >>You either walk up the hill on Broad Street or take a bus downtown and back.<<

        So the northern end of the route isn't going to connect to any east-west routes?

        What kind of retarded network design is that? It should go up Broad not because tourists want to go to/from the Seattle Center, but because how else is it going to connect to any east-west line? It would just (presumably) dead-end and it's northern terminus?

        That would make it useless to anyone who doesn't live within easy walking distance of the north end of the route.

        So if I'm at the aquarium and want to get to Westlake/Denny, the waterfront bus route will be completely useless to me even though it's the only route that will serve the aquarium?

      4. I forgot that the northern part of the waterfront hasn’t been designed yet, so it’s not really a plan but a default assumption based on the previous transit. The new waterfront design only goes north to Pike Street where the highway moves away from the water. The northern part is a later phase. So we don’t know where the bus would terminate, just that there would be some kind of transit up and down the waterfront.

      5. >>I forgot that the northern part of the waterfront hasn’t been designed yet, so it’s not really a plan but a default assumption based on the previous transit. The new waterfront design only goes north to Pike Street where the highway moves away from the water. The northern part is a later phase. So we don’t know where the bus would terminate, just that there would be some kind of transit up and down the waterfront.<<

        Well, I found a website called where the plans are detailed, and it looks like the bus route will indeed dead-end at Broad Street.

        You don't even have to have visited Seattle in your life to see that it's a stupid idea. How is one supposed to travel east-west across the northern end of downtown if it doesn't connect to any east-west bus routes? And no, asking people to walk 4 or 5 blocks up a steep hill so they can get to Route 8 doesn't cut it. This route needs to connect to it. It's basic Transit101.

      6. It looks like they’ did plan some concepts north of Pine. I wouldn’t assume they’re set in stone though. But here’s their final waterfront transit report, which “would extend from the Olympic Sculpture Park to Pioneer Square”.

        Page 9 recommends a rubber-tire bus or minibus and says it “could be extended to Seattle Center”. The waterfront team may not have included that in the design because it’s outside their study area. Page 17 says, “Final routing and a potential extension to Seattle Center would be decided in the next phase of design work.” Page 24 has a concept map, on Broad Street to a triangle on the east side (Broad-Tohn-Thomas).

  10. How much to build parking garages at the inbound terminals? Probably be a rounding error in this project no?

    Do that and cut BOTH ferry waiting lanes. Only allow people in the lot who have reservations for next ferry.

  11. With 8 (or even 6) lanes are we considering keeping/rebuilding the pedestrian overpass at Marion st? Or building more like it? I know there’s lots of bums and graffiti up there, but it does feel safer than crossing Alaskan Way and it’s one of those moments when I think to myself that I actually live in a city.

    1. The Marion street pedestrian bridge is being replaced. I don’t think the design has been finalized yet.

  12. The lanes are paid for by the Taxpayers and thus ALL tax payers should able to use them

      1. Um no, sidewalks are for pedestrians and roads are for driving motor vehicles.

  13. You know, Mike- whew, got that right- and Matthew- when automobiles started appearing on streets and roads, the vast majority of taxpayers reacted with savage fury over the suffering of their horses.

    State legislatures passed laws like whenever a horse drawn vehicle approached, the motorist had to quickly dismantle his car and bury it until the coast, I mean the hog-wallow, was clear.

    In cities, it was the bicycle-riding taxpayers who militated for paved streets. Maybe those giant front wheels were better for street rail- let’s do some tests on SLUTrolley and FHS. And have the bike team uniform have derby hats and checkered pants. And spats.

    But nature provides a remedy:Young people’s chief motivation is to do the opposite of what their parents tell them to. And say: “Hey, Dad.Go bury your horse!”

    So Renn-D, your best hope is telling your kids how great streetcars are, and how bad you’ll whop them if they ever ride anything with rubber wheels. Because cars need the taxpayers to buy so much paving!

    And Mike, just be sure your kids know how to spell your name. If he’s lucky, Mark Lindblom will someday have an Irish setter named Mike, like we did.

    Mark (because my mom always did the opposite of what other people named their kids in 1945.)

  14. Nice to know SDOT isn’t being ridiculous, but terrible to know that we are bound by law to build a monstrosity between us and the waterfront this whole project is to provide access to. Well done, WSDOT/port.

    I think we need to get some lawyers to look into whether we can interpret lane as bus lane, and keep it down to six. Also, at six or eight, pedestrian islands make sense for easier crossing. That could be integrated nicely with bus lanes, either center running or in a separated busway.

    Idea: since the ferry turn lanes are there primarily for car storage rather than car travel, can we do something to make them feel less a part of the road than like parking? Parking lots are nobody’s favorite place, but the ferry que is still typically a lot more pleasant than a highway, and a lot safer for pedestrians, too. I’m thinking maybe raised slightly on red brick pavers, with signs reminding people to turn off their engines when waiting for the ferry. It wouldn’t make the roadway good, but a good bit less awful, at least.

  15. On the subject of the north end of the Waterfront: In the archives section on the tenth floor of the Downtown library, there’s a study by either Kaiser or Parsons Brinckerhoff Engineering

    Detailing several plans for taking the (then-existing) Waterfront Streetcar headed over to South Lake Union. And a matching exit to the south.

    This is one more reason why I’m considering the removal of street rail on the Waterfront to be “Just Process” – meaning easily reversible before serious project construction starts.

    The new trolleybuses could also be of a lot of use here. Inadvisable- and probably impossible- to hang trolley wire over the BN tracks. But very steep hill up to First Avenue really requires a trolleybus.

    So new trolleybuses with off-wire capacity would be perfect, crossing the track on batteries. Overhead wiring, different approaches, depending on experience and testing.

    Both buses or new hybrid streetcars could possibly run the whole Waterfront on batteries. Or trolleybuses could run the whole line by themselves on transit-only right of way, providing electric transit both the length of the Waterfront and up toward Queen Anne.

    Where there’s a will- we’ve already got the machines.


  16. The way to solve this is to use the area south of Coleman Dock as the Ferry access. There’s a waterway which is currently unused and the derelict pier next to it and then another waterway and derelict pier on which the spoils handling system for Bertha is currently housed. Just put a four lane roadway across that down to the King Street connection to SR99.

    I understand some people think that such a thing would hurt fish. I don’t see how it would hurt fish more than having a dozen huge electric cranes for moving containers and all the sailings and ballast duimpings from the ships that call at them hurt fish.

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