Very Seattle, Very Black & White

This is an open thread.

67 Replies to “News Roundup: Merry Christmas”

    1. A little over 10 years ago, I bought a ticket for the u-bahn in Berlin at a machine on the platform. I was having trouble getting it to validate, resulting in multiple stamps on my ticket. While their system is an honor one, they do have inspectors that prowl the cars for fare beaters. From what I understood, an un-validated ticket, or lack of one could result in an on the spot fine, 60 euros I believe? Anyway, an inspector came through my car looking at tickets and saw my stamped up ticket. I said “Ich bin Amerikaner” and made a motion with my hand/arm to indicate how I got the ticket stamped up in the machine. She replied in English to the effect of “next time, just once in the machine”. For the remainder of my trip, I purchased my tickets from newpapers vendors in the u-bahn station.

      That being said, I loved the u-bahn and the s-bahn—clean and efficient, with readerboard notification of arrival, and sultry female voice recordings telling you to please watch the doors/watch your step.

    2. I would guess the jail population goes up in the winter when …”Oh Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.
      At $125 per night cost per inmate in King County, 30 days in the clink would cost ~$4,000, which is a lot of Orca rides.
      Non violent criminals are “Catch and Release” now by the county to save money, so maybe they need to wear an ankle bracelet, which sets off some sort of follow spot light on the platforms.

      1. Thanks for attention to jail costs, Mic. Starting this morning, the law started hauling people back to jail because a bad algorithm let them out of jail, say, forty days early. So they’re now being hauled back to jail to make up the forty days- which they never knew they owed.

        Calculate the cost of that, and finally we’re seeing why the whole State legislature can safely stay in contempt of a court order: jail is now full of people who still need a month more jail time because a compute screwed up.

        So much for fare evaders!

        Mark

  1. Though a Seattle Times story this morning left the opposite (and incorrect) impression, the campaign for a revenue-neutral carbon tax (I-732) will go ahead and file its 350,000 collected signatures for the initiative.
    See http://carbonwa.org/carbonwa-yes-on-i-732/

    This is good news. Folks who would like to see more action on social justice, specific investments in clean energy technology, and so on still have the opportunity to organize and advocate towards those ends, and many of them would have my support. The I-732 campaign has already demonstrated broad support for pricing carbon emission, and we should continue to develop the consensus across the political spectrum on this critical issue.

    1. I hope you you are right about I-732 going forward. The important thing is to get a price on carbon and get it on soon. Going forward with a revenue neutral plan has the highest potential for success as it deprives conservatives of their easiest arguement against it – “it’s a tax increase!”

      Many of these other causes are valid, but if they are valid they should be able to make the case for their spending. They shouldn’t need to hide behind the carbon issue to get funding. Let them make their case after I-732 passes and we will see.

      1. I agree. I think the revenue neutral plan makes the most sense, both from a practical and political standpoint. It is simple, and easy to understand and implement. I could see small businesses rally in support, since B and O taxes are so high in this state.

  2. I read the reviews of UberHOP. One thing that seemed a bit disappointing is that you have to actually request a ride before it will tell you where the driver is beyond “every 15 minutes”. This would be analogous to OneBusAway not telling you when the bus is going to show up until you’ve already paid your fare in advance. What do you do if you simply want either Uber or the bus – whichever vehicle happens to be coming first?

  3. 1. Speaking as a liberal and proud of it, I hate regulations with no purpose, and infuriating destructiveness-because they make many otherwise sane people vote far right. I wish we had some decent Republicans back, because the ones I remember had less tolerance for bad rules than I do.

    2. The time when I’ll believe the “housing market” is giving people besides rich ones a break is when I-5 starts having jams only four days out of five, getting rapidly reduced. Besides, like every life and death things, sewers and health care for instance, housing shouldn’t have a “market at all.” Fine, though, for 72″ TV screens.

    3. Still think trail side transit opponents are right that both busways and Light Rail are intrusive. Show them streetcars size of Skoda cars on SLU and FHS- except with more sections, and add results to he discussions.

    4. Always thought that transit should learn from its evil brother the car transit mode, especially freeways, which although they were far from cheap, let alone free, did liberate users from nuisance. First step, Day Passes only, no need to “tap”. Moving to just adding to taxes. Like sewers did right after shift from spades and holes.

    Mark Dublin

    1. San Diego famously has one-ride tickets, day-passes, and monthlies — that’s all. Very clean fare system.

  4. TriMet has planned New Year’s Eve service that is free of charge after 8 pm, and MAX trains will be running until around 2:30 am or 3:00 am on some lines.

    The bad news? Portland really doesn’t do that much on New Year’s Eve. We save our fireworks display for Rosarian New Years (usually sometime in May or June).

    So, then I look at KCM and their schedule for New Years….

    No late night services beyond the normal schedule?

    1. Sure would be nice if Sound Transit would do the same. They’re running “ice trains” tonight and I wish Sound Transit Public Affairs understood the value of inviting a few transit bloggers as VIP passengers & photographers :-).

      Maybe next year?

      1. Most sports fans are heavy drinkers – I think that is what really brings in the $$$ at games/matches. Just more during daylight hours :-)

    2. Getting home from fireworks shows around Lake Union is awful for everyone. There are just too many parking spaces around, and when everyone leaves at the same time the streets just don’t move. Even if you ran a bunch of extra buses, what difference would it make? They’d all be stuck in traffic!

      The same thing, of course, happens every work day around South Lake Union. All the new office buildings add new parking garages, and we’re somehow surprised that traffic gets worse. Our willful blindness on this is like our willful blindness on fossil fuel extraction. Just as essentially every drop of oil drilled will be burned, so we ought to restrict drilling and leave oil (and coal, etc.) in the ground: essentially every parking space in an office development equates to another car on the road during rush hour, so we ought to restrict parking in office buildings. And every parking space available for event usage equates to another car on the road when an event lets out, so we ought to restrict the number parking spaces available for events!

      Once we develop the courage to tell people they can’t park their cars in numbers and configurations that will obviously cause awful traffic, then it will become worthwhile to pour money into street-running transit service. Until then any additional transit service would be guaranteed to be ineffective.

      1. It SDOT wanted to, they could carve out temporary bus lanes after the event that would make extra transit service worthwhile. They already do this for Husky games, and it works great, provided there are enough buses available to meet the capacity needs of the event.

        Of course, with an ST3-funded SLU Link station, things would get a lot easier. Even with just ST 2, a fair number of people would walk to Westlake Station and hop on Link to avoid the traffic. Provided, of course, that the trains are still running when it’s time to go home.

      2. Hello. . .traffic is not caused by having numerous parking spaces available. It is caused by everyone wanting to move from point A to somewhere else at the same time. In your dream world, instead of being stuck in a traffic jam in a car – which one could avoid by either commuting during a non-rush hour time or telecommuting, one will be stuck waiting for over-filled trains and buses and then having to stand up when you finally are able to get on one.

        If you really were serious about easing traffic congestion, you would be advocating for fiber broadband to the home as much as MOAR public transit.

      3. Kevin, a few rebuttal questions: Why wouldn’t parking spaces motivate traffic, at the very least? Driving around seeking a spot increases traffic.

        What is wrong with standing on transit? Thousands of people do it every day in every part of the globe, willingly. Are Puger Sound residents too out of shape to stand?

        Being able to telecommute makes a lot of assumptions that don’t have to be made by transit, such as having a job at all, having a job that allows telecommuting or flexible schedules, having a job that pays enough to afford high-speed connectivity at home, and having a manager who doesn’t subscribe to the theory that if he or she can’t see the employees then those employees are not working. Transit says “you want or need to go somewhere? Great, let’s go,” regardless of reason. (I’m very much in favor of municipal fiber, even though I subscribe to CenturyLink’s 1Gbps service, but home broadband isn’t a substitution for moving people where they want to go, nor is it a substitute for advocating for “MOAR” transit.)

      4. “one will be stuck waiting for over-filled trains and buses and then having to stand up when you finally are able to get on one… ”

        There’s an obvious solution to that. Run more trains and buses!

      5. “What is wrong with standing on transit?”

        It’s one thing to stand for fifteen or twenty minutes on a reliable train with plenty of standing room and easy-to-get-to doors. It’s another thing to stand on a bus in traffic when you don’t know whether you’ll reach your destination in the scheduled 20 minutes or actually 30 or 45. And where it takes three minutes to load the bus at every stop with people packing in, people paying cash fares, and people squeezing past others to get to the door. And again you don’t know how bad it will be because you don’t know how big the crowds at the next stops will be: did the previous bus just scoop up everybody one minute ago because it was fifteen minutes late, or did the previous bus not show up at all so twice the crowd is waiting?

      6. One interesting thing with North/Lynnwood Link when it opens: it will be around 18 minutes from Westlake to 145th. Half the train will have gotten off by then, so those who really want a seat will probably be able to find one. This will create a situation that”s not really possible right now: people willingly standing for 10-15 minutes knowing they won’t have to stand longer, with 90% reliability. That in turn could make people feel better about standing in general. And in the inner city, things like Madison BRT’s transit lanes will likely do the same in its own way. The D is predicated on people being willing to stand, but that becomes hollow when it stretches to 45 minutes or 50% longer than scheduled. But as we get more transit lanes and signal priority, that will happen less.

    3. The streetcar runs late when there’s fireworks at Lake Union Park. It’s one of those funny thing of “We’ll run extra trains but not buses”, as if everybody lives near a train station.

  5. At least Metro, Sound, and now Community Transits don’t shut down completely on Christmas Day. Dublin Bus, Bus Eirann (the “Sound Transit” of Ireland), and Luas Light Rail are all closed on the 25th. I have some coworkers who would be working then but can’t get to work, so…oops.

      1. I forgot that the 230 is a weekday-only service and would not have service on Friday. Substitute Darrington for Stanwood.

    1. Some countries take holidays more seriously than others.

      Getting around in Brazil is quite interesting when the national team is playing in a World Cup game. It’s basically a three hour holiday. Most businesses are open in name, but getting someone to look away from the TV can be a major undertaking. They were lighting off fireworks inside the lobby of the GRU airport.

      The situation of everything stopped for the match time is so surreal that I would not be exceptionally surprised to find a mugging stopped halfway through while both robber and victim watch on a storefront TV.

  6. Martin, it’s always a great present to see one of my pictures on your blog.

    That said, and most of this story is behind a paywall, but the Anacortes American reported yesterday that Skagit Transit’s Russell Wilson – aka Carolyn J. Chase – has a great plan:

    Taxi vouchers, on-demand bus service or no new services. Those are three options now on the table for providing bus service to South Fidalgo Island residents.
    Carolyn Chase, service development planner, presented the options to the Skagit Transit Board on Dec. 16 in Burlington.
    A taxi voucher/script service could be made available to certain eligible residents. Through a pilot program, Skagit Transit would likely enter into agreements with taxi companies, Chase said.
    The program would be offered to residents 65 or older and people 18 to 64 with a disability. Riders would have a Regional Reduced Fare Card to prove eligibility and be allowed up to 10 vouchers a month. They would be charged a $2 co-payment for each one-way trip, plus any amount that exceeds $17 on the taxi meter.
    Chase estimated $36,720 would need to be budgeted for one year of the program based on 20 riders using the maximum number of vouchers per month.
    A program evaluation at the end of 12 months would determine if the number of vouchers budgeted were sufficient and if the program works well for riders.
    The second option of a demand-response service named the South Fidalgo Connector would have no eligibility requirements. Rides could be scheduled seven days in advance up to 4 p.m. the day before. Riders would have a 10-minute window during which they would be expected to be waiting outside.

    The whole story is behind a paywall, but at least this clipping gives you the gist of what’s up. I oppose a demand-response service as that will drain from Paratransit, may have to be cut and will induce demand to serve more Sparsevilles with buses instead of public-private partnerships.

    1. Twin Transit in Centralia cut back on its regular routes some time back. There were so many that moved to paratransit that they wound up in deep financial trouble.

      There is a certain group that insists it would be cheaper to hire taxi services because “the buses are always empty” but the reality is quite different.

  7. Does anyone know if it would be legal for ST3 to tax subareas at different rates? Particularly the east side looks like it has no major projects worth doing. I think it would make more sense to maintain subarea equity by taxing subareas differently.

      1. That would make ST3 destined to fail in Snohomish County. I don’t think anyone up here really wants to see Paine Field service paid on their own dime.

      2. Frankly I think Boeing & IAM 751 & other big moneyed interests at Paine Field should write big checks to help with the Paine Field bill…. ;-). Also Paine Field Exec Director Arif Ghouse could get himself back into my good graces by starting a plan to charge for parking on Paine Field land to help pay for light rail.

      3. A local improvement district formed around the Paine Field industrial area (primarily the airport and Boeing, but with other large companies mixed in) should be the ones footing the bill for a Paine Spur.

        Link to Everett should be on Evergreen Way north of 128th Street and head into Downtown Everett via Everett Station (which would require some tunneling to transition from Evergreen Way).

    1. That’d be a great idea… except it’s not allowed.

      Hopefully the law will change, or any future ST packages are almost certainly going to fail for want of worthwhile projects outside Seattle and maybe South King.

    2. MAX yellow line was financed with a local improvement district. It isn’t so much a matter of having non-equal tax rates in the same district, but having a district that is made up of those that are specifically benefitting from the service beyond the rest of the region.

      That’s been how most of the MAX lines got financed: TriMet throws in some, cities and counties along the line throw in some, and sometimes a local improvement district or urban renewal district throws in some. Eventually, there’s enough of a multi-colored pie chart to finance the thing. (The red line was an exception sort of, with private financing coming from a developer that wanted the line there, but in many ways that is sort of the improvement district route.)

      At the same time, that also means we don’t have tunnels like Link does because the localized taxes mean a far more limited budget to work with.

      I’m not sure how you go about getting local government to do a buy-in with the ST3 financing package.

      1. I rather like the idea of a local improvement district for Paine Field. Got on my e-mail notifications for Paine Field today, Paine Field Community Council Nominations Sought.

        “The Paine Field Community Council was formed in 1980 as a result of the Airport’s Mediated Role Determination. A primary purpose of the Community Council is to review, assess, and make recommendations to the Airport Director and/or affected governmental entities with regard to the Airport, especially items impacting the spirit and letter of the Mediated Role Determination.”

        Just a hint folks…. and I know this is very likely off-topic, but a last-minute shock vote by the Paine Field Community Council helped the Snohomish County Council reject Historic Flight Foundation expansion. So being on that council does matter.

    3. Central Link was built substantially with eastside dollars.There was an agreement that the money would be loaned with “interest” paid depending oninflation and cost escalation until the eastside pot of gold was needed. It actually worked out well for both sides. Seattle got money for LINK much cheaper than going bond rates and the East suibarea got a much better return on investment than they would otherwise been able to park the cash.

    4. I have no idea of what the budget is, but from what I’ve seen, the east subarea has the best set of projects. Extend Link to Redmond and add a bunch of bus improvements. Sounds good and I would vote for that.

      It is the north end and south end that don’t make sense to me (so far). The infatuation with the spine is just silly. Extending our subway farther than the London subway seems crazy.

      Are you saying that plans for the east side are too cheap? That we can’t build something decent in Seattle without building something extravagant for the east side? That would make sense (it was bound to happen sooner or later), but I think the same is true for the north and south. Different tax rates makes sense. But if there aren’t enough decent projects on the east side (or the north and south) then we should just pass a smaller project and end it. We would have to go back to the legislature anyway, and we should just ask for the right for cities (and counties) to tax themselves (the same way that ST is allowed to tax). Seattle could certainly pass a transportation project (they just did).

      1. “The infatuation with the spine is just silly. Extending our subway farther than the London subway seems crazy.”

        Unless you live in Tacoma or Everett, then it seems great, and something that can unify the region together and make it seamless to get around in it. London didn’t just arbitrarily decide not to serve part of London. And lest you forget, it’s part of why Snohomish and Pierce voted for ST1 and 2 in the first place, and what Pierce has been saving up for.

      2. Well put Mike, I totally concur. Manifest Spine Destiny does matter. We already have a spine going north in 15 minute frequency buses from Seattle to Everett – and other places in between.

    1. Switching back and forth day-by-day wouldn’t do anything for network legibility, would it? Simpler for riders to find their bus if it’s rerouted for the entire holiday period.

  8. asdf2, couple of suggestions from d-crowding SLU at quitting:

    1. Arrange for Amazon and everybody else “stagger” their hours so everybody doesn’t arrive and leave at the same time. Seems that for IT, this would be easier than it was for manufacturing.

    2. Give the streetcar, as well as the Route 40, their own lane- at least at rush hour. Also, signal priority where Fairview comes down to the Lake.

    Mark

    1. Usually, in the IT business, work hours are somewhat flexible and are certainly not legislated top-down. People who want to work non-standard hours, by and large, are already able to do so, and, if they drive to work, they already have plenty of incentive to do so.

      Somewhat ironically, while traffic congestion encourages drivers to shift travel to off-peak times, it encourages transit riders to shift travel to peak times, because that is when the buses are running at maximum frequency, and also when express buses are running that can save as much as 20-30 minutes off the commute, compared to the midday schedule – even after factoring in the effects of rush hour traffic. Including more midday service, or at least increasing the service span of peak-only routes by an hour or two, would help in this regard.

    2. If the Roosevelt BRT project is any guide, the city could do a lot for South Lake Union, assuming they had the money. The “Full BRT” option (page six of this: http://1p40p3gwj70rhpc423s8rzjaz.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/FINALBOARDS_12-07-2015.pdf) would have blazing fast speeds from Roosevelt to the UW to South Lake Union to downtown. By blazing fast I mean competitive with Link. They will start looking at the other side (Metro 40) with Corridor 6. Eventually Bertha will do her job, which will enable the street grid to be connected (http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/docs/mercer/2013_0306__MWest_PhaseMap.jpg). This would enable a bus similar to the Metro 8 to avoid Denny and travel in its own lane on, say, Thomas (perhaps cutting through through the Seattle Center).

      That would mean that you could travel from South Lake Union in just about every direction very quickly. The only direction that would be challenging would be towards Capitol Hill/Central Area. You could get to Westlake very quickly (a couple minutes) but then you have to go into the tunnel, take the train, then get out of the tunnel and take another bus. What would be really nice is if the 8 used Eastlake and Belmont (avoiding Denny the whole way). I could easily see that being very fast and convenient. But even without that, the two or even three stop ride to various parts of the Central Area (Capitol Hill, First Hill, C. D.) would be faster than driving. In fact just about everywhere would be faster with transit versus driving.

  9. Hello. This past Sunday, I commented that we’re putting up new streetcar lines while keeping the scant remains of the discontinued George Benson Waterfront Streetcar line intact, and also how ironic it was that they stood for years after service was discontinued, especially when the City Council has no interest in restoring streetcar service to the waterfront.

    Now, I’ll say one thing about the politics in the city council regarding these streetcar lines–I’m really not that impressed with them, and the reason I am not impressed is because they had no interest in reviving an old streetcar line that many people want to see return, and you folks on the blog are not very helpful either (don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy reading the blog). They (the city council) are under the assumption that because the Center City Connector on 1st Avenue is in the works, a streetcar line on the waterfront is unnecessary. After all, why have two streetcar lines paralleling each other by only two blocks?

    Well, that’s wrong! The waterfront line serves a completely different market–I can’t stress that enough!

    Oh, what’s the use. For the most part people around here (both on the City Council and this blog) don’t want anything that uses “heritage” vehicles, something that makes stops spaced less than one-third of a mile apart, or something that parallels another route too closely.. They only want stuff like RapidRide and Link that is frequent and where stops are spaced wider apart, all the while making it inconvenient and inconsiderate for anyone who cannot walk several blocks or climb hills with grades steeper than 8%.

    1. I don’t exactly speak for the “STB/Walker-ite Consensus” all the time, but from that perspective, I don’t think there’s any question that 1st is different from the waterfront, just as Jackson is different from Yesler, MLK is different from Rainier, Dexter is different from Westlake, etc. The Walker-ite consensus seems to be quarter-mile stop spacing for local transit like the waterfront streetcar.

      Waterfront transit has never really boomed, despite its obvious tourist appeal. Part of the problem with demand is that the old line was weakly anchored on the north end for such a short line, with no obvious way to extend it to a stronger anchor. There is a timely opportunity: with Broad Street’s role as a collector/distributor for freeway traffic reduced, it has extra space, which could be used to extend the route toward Seattle Center. Some of the old Broad Street ROW east of 5th Ave N could be used for the maintenance barn. Running up Broad presents conflicts with trolleybus wires, a problem that can be surely be solved if there’s money for the extension in the first place. I actually think this sort of route would complement other local transit pretty well (compare the confounding duplications of the FHSC), serving unmet needs in Belltown and LQA (even western SLU after Aurora work is done).

      The “heritage” vehicles have their pros and cons. Modern vehicles should be faster, safer, more comfortable, easier to board, and cheaper to operate and maintain. I’m not sure that in practice they achieve all this in meaningful measure. Maybe the wire conflicts make the route easier to operate with FHSC-type vehicles that can run off-wire… and we’ll have a stable of those in a few years. Really, the route would be easiest and fastest to build out with rubber-tired vehicles (no maintenance barn needed, among other things), though this brings the specter of degraded quality, visibility, and appeal. There’s no question Metro route 99 was a vastly inferior quantity to the old streetcar.

      The big question is priority. If we look at where people live and travel, and where people will live and travel, where does waterfront transit rank in importance? I don’t think it’s one of the critical questions facing Seattle or the region. I don’t think the newly district-ed council is going to immediately focus a lot of attention on a downtown streetcar project… it would be bad politics and that attention and money could be spent elsewhere with more impact.

    2. Extending it up to Seattle Center could be good.

      It’d piss off all the Über and taxi drivers, but what about extending it north to the cruise ship terminal? You could also maybe pick up some of the traffic from the 33 and 24 at the Magnolia Bridge, RapidRide traffic at the Amgen/Expedia helix bridge, and maybe make it a faster alternative to the 15th Fiasco / Denny Disaster that stalls the 24, 33 and RapidRide?

    3. The old streetcars were quaint, but largely useless from a public transportation standpoint. The new streetcars aren’t quaint, but largely useless from a public transportation standpoint.

      1. From what I’ve seen the 99 isn’t doing too much better. I wanted to take it back in August, but I wasn’t able to find a stop for it.

        At least the Benson line had stops you could look down the street and find. The 99? Looking down 1st I could see nothing that looked bus stop like. Then, one went by and since it would be 40 minutes or something until the next one I wound up walking.

      2. If you really want to improve transit’s reach on the waterfront, however, a flat’ish, underground, pedestrian tunnel connecting the waterfront directly to the platform level of University Street Station? The elevation of the platform is probably not that much higher than the waterfront – it just feels that way because the current system has you doing a whole bunch of up and to get between the two areas.

      3. The 99 is doing much worse. The streetcar was every 20 minutes. The 99 was hourly for a long time, which rarely matches when people want to go. Now it’s peak-only. And it’s on 1st Avenue so it doesn’t really serve the waterfront. Maybe some 1st Avenue commuters are using it. I have never used it once since the streetcar was retired, because whenever I tried to use it it wasn’t coming for over half an hour.

      4. Mike Orr says

        December 27, 2015 at 10:17 am

        The 99 is doing much worse

        You got that right. Tourists will smile and take a picture of almost anything except a bus painted like a tolley that is never there. It’s probably cost a fortune in storage but the only good thing is that Metro hasn’t sold off the old Benson trolleys for pennies on the dollar and I believe they have been preserved.

  10. Thank you for the photo of what could have been the best transit system on earth.

    Of course…that didn’t happen because it was too expensive, used too much right of way and gave too much away to unions.

    But they built light rail anyway.

    But killed monorail.

    1. Who’s “they”? Eyman’s tax initiative dealt the first blow by taking the MVET funding out from under it. The monorail never did have a good financing plan: it wasn’t going to accept transfers or regional passes because it desperately needed all the fare revenue, but that would have turned off even cost-conscious monorail fans who wouldn’t want to pay one fare to get to a monorail station and a whole second fare for the monorail. It’s one thing to do that a couple times a year going to Seattle Center; it’s another thing to do that going to Ballard five or seven days a week. The monorail authority reduced it to single-track and then cut half the line to make it affordable. And it was maximum 35 mph, which would take a long time to get across the city. The group that was most against the Monorail were the 2nd Avenue businesses. And finally, it was the voters who killed it.

      In designing a good transit system, you first need to identify where it needs to go, the frequency, and the acceptable travel-time window. Then you can start looking at modes. If you start with the mode first you can end up with a distorted and non-optimal network. The monorail and ST’s light rail started at about the same time, but light rail is running and the monorail isn’t. Sound Transit didn’t do anything against the monorail: it kept its light rail lines away from where the monorail had designated, to avoid competing with it. Now that the light rail network is running, it makes more sense to expand it than to launch a completely different technology. If what you like about the monorail is the views from the elevated train, you can do that with light rail too. But in both cases you have the same problem: neighbors who don’t want to see elevated trains out their windows. That was the beef the 2nd Avenue businesses had with the monorail: that it would spoil their views and the would displace parking and both would drive away customers.

  11. the Publicola revelation about ST3 studies and parking should also be applied to ST2. ST has studied substantial parking; they need not actually built it. the land would be better used for apartments (TOD); the funds would be better used for service hours and infill stations (e.g., NE 130th Street, South Graham Street). consider the nice ST access policy. Examples: Northgate, Overlake, 130th Avenue NE in Bel-Red, South Bellevue, Mercer Island, NE 145th Street. to paraphrase Jacob: the agency name is sound transit, not sound parking.

    so, this is an exercise in budgeting and opportunity cost for ST.

    Seattle has a similar set of choices on the CCC and Broadway Extension streetcars. what better projects could use the scarce local and federal capital funds, local right of way, and local service hours? there are many. the streetcar projects are loopy, costly, redundant, and duplicative. Seattle now dreams of seven new BRT lines, electric trolleybus extensions, access improvements in SE Seattle.

    1. ST has a long-term goal of converting the parking lots at TIB and South Bellevue to TOD when society moves further away from cars and the lots are less full. So far there’s been no sign of it. Also, ST’s current reason for building P&Rs is to minimize hide-n-ride impacts on the surrounding neighborhood. Meaning that even if ST didn’t build the P&Rs, the cars would still come (as they do in Rainier Valley where the city forbade P&Rs).

      1. ST has a long-term goal of converting the parking lots at TIB and South Bellevue to TOD

        Only in your dreams. “Sound Transit” has no long term goals. If there were any long term goals at all they wouldn’t be going to the public months before an election to ask “what tax increase will you vote for?”. Sound Transit is run by political appointies that change with election cycles. There is no long term planing for that except in places like North Korea.

  12. at Northgate, Seattle addressed hide and ride decades ago with two-hour limits on parking and a bit of enforcement. if ST builds garages, it will be more difficult to convert to another use. better not to build the parking at all. they seem to be following the conservative adage that a bird in the hand (an auto access rider) is worth two in the bush (walk or bus access riders). but if they are building new parking, it is not really in hand, but just what they are used to.

Comments are closed.