CT 15809 in Downtown Seattle

This is an open thread.

113 Replies to “News Roundup: Nominations”

    1. Looks like the FAA is following standard procedure for this. Hope it get cleared in review

  1. Wish there were a good way to anonymously shame transit lane blockers–while walking over to the office this morning I noticed a contractor’s truck was blocking the bus lane on Stewart at 6th, running with nobody in it. Sure enough, eventually a guy walked out of Starbucks with his beverage and got in his truck–then proceeded to sit there without moving (I snapped a photo and wandered off before he ever did move).

    Better than that would be lane enforcement, but that never seems to be particularly evident–or front mounted bus cameras that can provide citable evidence. If you run the risk of getting a ticket for forgetting to tap with a valid pass, it’s the least we can do to those who think they are more important than the thousands of people trying to get around on transit.

    1. If we can have red-light cameras catching law-breakers in droves, we ought to be able to have similar transit-lane cameras. Once that proves profitable for the City, the City might finally decide to allow more 24-hour transit lanes.

    2. Somebody needs to create a wall of shame blog site or something where we can publicly post pictures of blatant offenders, be it SOV in HOV, parking or driving in the bus lane, parking in bike lanes, etc. Include license plate numbers that can be picked up by Google.

      About two weeks ago, a very large semi truck was parked perpendicular across the Westlake parking lot, with his nose almost in the street and his back pretty much to the water. Pedestrians and cyclists alike had to basically walk out on to the Westlake roadway. The truck driver was nowhere to be seen. I snapped some pictures of his license plate, trucking company and DOT registration number. I’m not really sure what to do with these pictures. I just ended up putting them in my own personal wall of shame folder on my computer.

      1. Tweet the photo @SeattleDOT , @SeattlePD , and maybe the blog as well, or Mike Lindblom of the Seattle Times … or if something is blocking a bike lane, tweet the aforementioned agencies and Seattle Bike Blog. In 5 seconds you are providing photo evidence of a problem, telling the agencies responsible for mitigation, and also informing the media who holds them accountable for doing something. Twitter is amazing.

        For example, my video of the Ride the Ducks behemoth using the bus lane on Battery St led to a Seattle Times story, and then to a promise from the company that they would not use these lanes any more. And the few times I’ve Tweeted photos of trucks parked in the 2nd ave bike lanes, SPD/SDOT response has been fast.

      2. I like this idea – I have no interest in publically putting my name on anything–hence no interest in tweeting, Facebooking it or whatever–but if there was an anonymous way to post on such a “wall” that might work. Most people would never know (or care) if they were on there, of course, but certainly some companies might not appreciate their employees and property showing up on such a site, and do something about it. The other benefit is that enforcement agencies would get a look at where these things are occurring on a regular basis (I’ve never seen it where I did today, but I’m sure there are locations where it happens frequently).

        Honestly, though, the transit agencies and traffic enforcement should ideally be the ones handling all of this and strategically placed cameras might help there. Most of us don’t really like to snitch if we don’t have to and sometimes there are just things that happen–construction etc.–I’m just not a big fan of the more blatant “F you, I don’t give a sh*t” attitude that some of these people like the guy I saw today have.

      3. “Shaming” speaks to a much younger audience. How about “pics” of truck and it’s license plate to its company, and also to the Seattle Police?

        Mark Dublin

      4. I agree on the shaming working better than Find it Fix it. When someone was parking a commercial vehicle every night that was over the size limit for overnight parking in residential. The request was ignored by SPD but when I took the time to shame the person by contacting the business that owned it, the issue was gone within 24 hours as the employee was “dealt with”.

        Obviously this won’t work for private vehicles but when commercial vehicles are breaking the rules in some way, 9 times out of 10 it’s not company sanctioned and it’s just some driver thinking they are smart and getting away with it. So when the company finds out, they get in more trouble than if SPD has to actually do something about it (which is rare that they will).

      5. It’s all about numbers. You can email pics, or use find it-fix it, but because there’s only you and the agency involved, nothing will happen, or if it does, it will not be quick. No public accountability.

        To be held publically accountable, and fix a problem in a timely manner, agencies and companies need a crowd. Because your picture can really resonate with lots of other twitter users, who then retweet it. And suddenly it’s a crowd, one that might get the attention of media. And nobody likes bad PR.

        Use whatever word you want, Mark. You could even call it “just getting things done.” And maybe it is youth, but we should have high expectations of our representative government and companies that want our business to respond to our concerns.

      6. Scott, that person is using the infrastructure you pay for in an illegal and dangerous manner. Do not feel bad about speaking up. There are plenty of people who need a job who will be more than happy to be safe.

      7. I don’t have Twitter and don’t particularly care to sign up, hence my desire for an anonymous site. Just for the hell of it, here’s the pictures of the truck parked across the Westlake parking lot on 01/05/2016:


        As you can see, there’s no company to complain to. SDOT/SPD can’t really do anything after the fact.

        And as a bonus, here’s an unmarked news van that was parked on the Westlake multi-use path on 11/02/2015. They were likely reporting (not at this particular time, thought) on the marina fire that had happened the night before. In this picture, you can see that there are, in fact, multiple, nearby, empty parking spots available in the Westlake parking lot. I was very tempted to deflate their tires because of their blatant disregard for pedestrians and cyclists:


  2. Two Airport lines seems a bit superfluous.

    Would it terminate at the airport then, or continue on somewhere else? Having Seatac be a major transfer point between lines seems a little weird.

    Would this actually be a faster ride to the airport than central link?

    1. Also, looks like the Tacoma effect is pretty strong. After Tacoma lost Russell Investments to Seattle “Because Link goes to the airport” now every city seems to be chasing a fast connection to Seatac.

      Would Burien accept a transfer connection to TIBS? Are they pushing for a whole new airport station? Do they want to interline south of TIBS to share the existing airport station?

      1. A new station AND a new terminal to serve it on the west side of the airport so they don’t have to ride so darn far, of course!

      2. Planes would go to the new terminal first for pickup and drop-off, ensuring that Burienites have easy loading, then proceed across the three runways to the existing terminal to pick up the proles.

      3. Personally I’d like to see it go down the hill to Kent Station and Auburn, there needs to be a cross Kent Valley line eventually

    2. Faster than taking light rail up to downtown, then transferring for the hour-long sightseeing tour down Rainier Valley? Heck yes. It would be faster for everyone downtown heading to the airport too, turning our original airport line into a vestigial boondoggle, useful only for maybe some residents at the southern end of Rainier Valley. I’d guess from Columbia City northwards it would be faster to take the horseshoe route.

      1. It’d turn the original line into, like, an actual light rail line, instead of an “airport line”. Sounds good to me as an Othello-ite.

      2. I think a detour to west Seattle and a detour to the Ranier Valley would be a wash on time, at least for downtown->airport trips. For West Seattle to airport, of course, a direct line would be a lot faster. Even with a transfer at TIBS, it would still be quite a bit faster.

        Whether actually building it would be the best use of limited funds is, of course, a different story. However, if the ST board is dead-set on building rail at least as far as downtown to West Seattle junction, it’s probably worth at least studying how much more an extension to the airport would cost.

      3. @asdf2 One other interesting consequence is it reduces the need of transfers downtown. Essentially nearly all lines lead to the airport…

      4. I can’t blame Burien for asking for optimum connectivity. It’s no different than any other cities’ motivations when discussing ST.

        I do think that Burien could be more politically savvy by having a lower cost initial project strategy, given the pressure to spend South King money on the spine first (side topic of why does all South King money go to Federal Way.) A two-station shuttle with a single-track middle (two tracks at each station) between Burien and TIBS would be a great way to get a rail connection that could be expanded to their dream when more revenue becomes available.

        Finally, I would think that a West Seattle alignment that goes from a SODO 5th Ave S meridian to a 43rd Ave SW meridian before returning to the SeaTac 28th Ave S meridian is not going to be significantly faster than going through the Rainier Valley, which is at 43rd Ave S at its easternmost point — despite the at-grade restrictions and the Tukwila zig-zag. Where the Rainier Valley is 15 blocks out of the way, West Seattle is 48 blocks out of the way.

    3. What’s interesting is that the maps of what the folks over at Seattle Subway would like include light rail continuing from Burien to TIBS but it continues to Renton after that (RapidRide F-line subway, sort of). Seattle Subway also has a lot of unrealistic goals as well, though, like a Boeing Field bypass, which, although this would make Sound Transit’s apparent plan to truncate all express service at Link stations more tenable, seems like a political impossibility given its redundancy and high construction cost.

      1. “and highlow construction cost.”

        Build a mostly-single-track alignment on the ground between the railroad tracks and I-5, use the existing flying junction at the MF and you can do it for around $300 million. Seriously. There’s even an old rail spur between Georgetown and Spokane which could be used to approach Spokane east of Airport Way so it can continue on the surface. Airport Way would probably have to be lowered to pass under the line between Eighth South and Hinds.

        No, it wouldn’t serve the vibrant transit ridership of the Museum of Flight or the soaring highrises of South Park or Georgetown. It would just provide a peak hour route that bypasses five — soon to be six — station stops and 35 mph running in the Rainier Valley making truncation practical.

      2. By the way I say “mostly single-track” because with a couple of ten car length sidings in wide spots (there are a few) it could provide a great way to deadhead double-length trains back and forth to the far south end, even against the dominant traffic flow. A train entering or leaving service can be scheduled to sit “in the hole” for a few minutes and still take less time than running in needless extra off-peak-direction service, stopping at every station, because that’s the only route.

    4. ST studied a Burien-Renton line, possibly part of a downtown-West Seattle-Burien-Renton line. So it’s unlikely it would stop at SeaTac. But it’s not in the list of most-likely projects for ST3, while the downtown-West Seattle project is. The Burien-Renton study showed it would be more expensive and fewer riders than similar segments (West Seattle and Burien), partly because of the elevation change over the I-5 ridge. And RapidRide F’s ridership is also pretty low, especially in Renton. These all may be why Tukwila’s mayor didn’t ask for the Burien-Renton line in ST3. Instead he asked for a Boeing Access Road Link station and/or a Boeing Access Road Sounder station. He mentioned that the Link station would serve a planned urban village centered on 144th Street, Aviation High School, an extension of the A, and better access to the Museum of Flight.

      Burien can ask for an extension to it and to the airport, but I doubt ST will put much priority on it. It would cost more than terminating in West Seattle, and South King also wants Central Link improvements, more Sounder runs, and a passenger track for Sounder. The BAR station would be less expensive than any of these, so it could go in as a small addition.

      1. If the line does go as far south as Burien, an extension to TIBS wouldn’t be very far away, and switching trains at TIBS to get to the airport isn’t that big of a deal.

        That *might* be doable without the expense of a new station. Whether it makes it to the projects worth doing in ST3 or not is an open question though.

      2. What is the big deal about a LINK line from Burien to Sea-Tac? The track could switch in to the main line far enough north or south of Sea-Tac Station that the station itself wouldn’t have to be touched.

        However, I really hope nobody here thinks we need to worry about LINK from Burien in the near future. But if and when ridership justifies, wouldn’t hurt to have some plans ready. And since this is a steadily expanding region, same goes for any other potential line.

        Last time I rode to Sea-Tac to Burien, service seemed ridiculously slow. Did somebody above mention extending the Rapid Ride that goes past the Vashon ferry landing? And advertising it?

        Mark Dublin

      3. Or, ST could team up with WSDOT to add a northbound shoulder Red Lane to 509 and build a new transit-only span at the First South crossing for a LOT less money. Grant that doesn’t insulate the buses from kerfuffles on 99 north of Michigan/First, it is more appropriate for any possible future transit volumes in the region of west Sea-Tac and Burien. They’re mostly built out already.

        If people are arguing that West Seattle is not dense enough for LRT — and most here are — then how much less “dense enough” will the area south of White Center ever be?

      4. There are variations on this in the I-405 BRT projects. Segment D1 runs Tukwila to Angle Lake via SeaTac Airport. Alternative D2 is Tukwila to Burien.

    5. How about some sort of timed express from Burien to SeaTac to the Tukwila Sounder station?

      Currently, the trip from SeaTac to the Tukwila station takes half an hour. That’s better than the hour that showed up on the trip planner a few years ago, but is a significant time barrier to making Sounder a core regional service.

      1. Right on, Glenn. But my favorite regional target is a solid connection at SR512 Park and Ride between an all-day version of the present rush-hour only ST 592, and the ST 574.

        Meantime, until the 592 runs all-day, as it should, same arrangement with Intercity Transit out of Olympia shouldn’t be a problem. Though I think there’s an informal agreement between ST and IT, I usually see the 574 leave 30 seconds before my 603 comes in.

        With some advertising, I think both companies could get a lot of additional ridership. An airport van from Olympia costs $40.

        Mark Dublin

      2. Metro used to have essentially that in the 340. No, it didn’t run on the freeway between Burien and SR99, but it did once it left the airport, at least to Southcenter.

    6. Ultimately, lots of people … like the idea of a subway to the airport — because they can imagine using it occasionally. This can yield a disconnect between the political popularity of a service and its actual ridership potential. Just something to watch out for.

      Jarrett Walker

    1. No. Although they must have run a few test trains in the tunnel so far, they won’t test regular service until mid-February. At that time, the train line will still terminate at Westlake station, but after all passengers are dropped off, the train will continue to Cap Hill & UW as a test run, so by the time the line opens, service there will already be routine for their drivers. Kind of like what the First Hills Streetcar is doing, but it will actually open soon.

  3. Wow, just wow. Burien, home to maybe 50,000 people spread out over seven and a half square miles for a “aren’t you squeezed in NOW” density of 7,000/square mile, thinks it needs a light rail line. Doubtless one which is elevated for the entire distance and has but one station north of 128th to ensure that the burgers [sic] of the humble metropolis are sped quickly to their jobs in downtown Seattle.

    1. The density of Burien is about 4500 p/mile**2, Seattle’s is about 8000 p/mile**2.

      That makes Burien more dense than I would have thought, and actually makes it substantially more dense than, say, Bellevue @ 3900 p/mile**2. And of course we are spending billions to bring LR to Bellevue.

      None of this is to say Burien is equivalent to Bellevue, but neither is it a total backwater, and the opportunities for TOD are substantially greater than in Bellevue (route dependent of course).

      1. Dude,

        You fell for the same idiotic computation that whoever wrote the Wikipedia entry did (50,188/13.23). Hint: water doesn’t count!

        • Total 13.23 sq mi (34.27 km2)
        • Land 7.42 sq mi (19.22 km2)
        • Water 5.81 sq mi (15.05 km2)

        Population (2010)[2]
        • Total 33,313
        • Estimate (2014)[3] 50,188
        • Density 4,489.6/sq mi (1,733.4/km2)

        I used the 2014 estimate divided by the actual, you know, build-able land and rounded up. Houseboats by definition are not dense; they float.

        Thus, 50,488/7.42 = 6763.88.

      2. Calculating the population density of Burien is a little tricky, since they annexed a bunch of “North Highline” in 2011, so data from 2010 census is not accurate.

        Washington State OFM keeps track of annual population estimates and land areas, so here is the Burien data for 2015:

        Population: 48,810
        Land area: 9.92 mi2
        Population density: 4,920 ppl/mi2

        Washington OFM has been more conservative than the US Census with populations recently. The US Census estimate for 2014 is (combined with the land area from the state):

        Population: 50,188
        Land area: 9.92 mi2
        Population density: 5,059 ppl/mi2

        5,059 doesn’t sound like much, but it is enough to rank Burien as the 4th most densely populated municipality in the State. Burien is bested only by Seattle, Mountlake Terrace and Mattawa.

        So yeah, lets built some Link.

      3. It’s interesting that Mountlake Terrace is the densest place in King or Snohomish County outside Seattle.

      4. “It’s interesting that Mattawa is more dense than Bellevue…..”

        “It’s interesting that Mountlake Terrace is the densest place in King or Snohomish County outside Seattle.”

        I think Bellevue has a lot of factors going against it when you compare residential density. There are lots of low-density land uses in Bellevue. Three golf courses that I can think of, three freeways going through the city, horse-acre lots in the north and view lots in the east, south and north. There are a couple of large parks, two bus bases and innumerable car lots. Lots and lots of non-residential commercial real estate.

        I wonder how Mattawa would compare with downtown Bellevue between NE 12th, 112th NE, Main St. and 100th NE. I wonder how the employment density of Bellevue compares with Burien, Montlake Terrace and Mattawa.

      5. So, yeah, let’s build some Link”

        “No”, just “No!” Buses with lane reservations are appropriate and completely adequate for any possible future transit demand there.

        There are currently seven northbound 120 buses scheduled to leave Burien TC in the 7:01 AM to 8:00 AM hour. There are eight expresses in the “12X” series leaving Burien TC in the same hour, and five locals in the “13X” series of routes. That totals twenty buses taking four different routes to Downtown Seattle. If one figures that they’re all artics, at two artics per Link car that’s ten cars from Burien to Seattle, or in the most optimistic scenario, five two-car trains.

        Does Burien have an aggressive plan to raise height limits along Ambaum, at least at a SW 128th Station location? I mean genuine “aggressive”, not three story garden apartments.

        How about downtown Burien within walking distance of the TC? How’s the upzone going there?

        But making this thing work for West Seattle and Burien involves drilling a three mile tunnel from the Junction through White Center. Yes, it worked for North Link, but there’s no forty buses per hour waiting at Burien TC like there is at Lynnwood.

        Link to Burien is premature in the most optimistic scenario.

      6. Mattawa is <5,000 people. It's density works out to ~10 people per acre. Pretty easy to fit 5 mobile homes on a level acre lot. So who needs Paris when you can just live two to a trailer. Of course Mattawa is mostly Hispanic farm workers living way more than 2 to a trailer. Interesting anomaly but you can walk from one end of town to the other in less time than I walk home from the bus.Of course the jobs are spread out over hundreds of square miles.

        For perspective, the town of Mattawa(474 acres) is smaller than Bridle Trails State Park(482 acres).

      7. @Bernie,

        Mattawa has been on a huge growth binge. Mints growth rate has been far higher than Seattle’s, and has been sustained over a few decades now. Mtoday’s Mattawa is not the Mattawa of the 70’s and 80’s.

      8. Looking at the average population density of cities misses the point. Light rail does not serve cities. It serves neighborhoods. Every station serves a very small neighborhood (a few blocks in every direction). There is no need to figure whether a city is more or less dense than another city. What matters is the neighborhoods (and the possibility of complementary bus service).

        It’s really not that hard to read a census map. They break things up into smaller areas (called census blocks) which are essentially neighborhoods. Like all statistics, you need to take some of the information with a grain of salt, but it is a lot better starting point than city density lines, which are rather arbitrary.

        One of the reasons that Seattle is not that dense overall is because it has lots of neighborhoods of relatively low density. This includes much of West Seattle. You can see this from the census maps. There are dozens of low density census blocks. A line from downtown to West Seattle would also cross into the really low density area (the Duwamish). Burien isn’t much better. The entire area west of the Duwamish is a land of only a handful of even moderately dense areas. Nothing over 25,000 people per square mile. No large groupings of 10,000 people per square mile. In short, an area inappropriate for light rail.


      9. It’s really not that hard to read a census map.

        Maybe I’m just “dense”. I seem to recall getting useful information from census maps but both the link you provided and what I was looking at from the City of Seattle when looking at the colored cesus blocks you lost all roads and have no reference points. Looking at my area the cenus block includes residential R1 and the comercial Bel-Red area. None of this is dense. The commercail area is deserted as far as anyone living there but it’s still a jobs generator and happens to be the route for East Link. Similarly when looking at Lake City and the area between 130th and 145th there’s a golf course taking up a huge portion of it that skews results. And then there’s the granularity. It is either <10 per acre or 10-20 per acre a the bottom end. Zero per acre is reported the same as 10 per acre. Zero is as low a density as you can get but 10 per acre is over 6,000 per square mile which is not great but 50% more than Bellevue. 20 per acre and you're at 50% greater than the average for Seattle. The threshold for transit being viable is oft quoted as being 8k per sq mi.

    2. Just remember, Anandakos, that according to legend, our city got its name when an early immigrant ship rounded Alki Point and every new resident on board burst into tears at the sight of the miserable pile of shacks they were going to live in rotting there in the rain.

      Including some of the women, and also the captain and all the crew. So someone, probably the real estate speculator said: “Well, cheer up, folks! What we’re looking at is “New York Alki!” Meaning NYC “in a little while” in the former property owners’ language.

      Unrecorded what First Nations word was for “In Ya Dreams!” Though it’s extremely possible that in addition to other innocently-misleading exaggerations, the speculator also promised whatever the word was for “Light Rail to Sea-Tac.”

      Well, like Tom Paine had said awhile before: “Time makes more converts than Reason.” In this case, wouldn’t be bad to be ready when Times’ results are tallied. For transit to have a fair chance, Eternity and not the newspaper.


      1. Mark, have a little patience.

        It was only 164 years ago that the settlers declared “New York Alki.”

        164 years after New York City’s incorporation in 1653, New York had only recently platted the forested northern section of the Manhattan Island. In 1820, 167 years after founding, New York City’s population was only 152,000.

        Perhaps by 2213 Seattle will be one of the top global financial centers.

      1. Bertha already started, then they had a minor barge mishap. ULink announcement soon, reportedly.

      2. Yep, I knew that. In other words, Bertha’s stopped again. At least the barge is easier to fix than Bertha itself.

      3. Ulink – March sometime. Its not a day, but its pretty good.

        Bertha – didn’t that already happen? I thought it was running.

      4. @TGC Re FHSC, supposedly they have an internal target date that is fairly soon, but no word yet on whether or not they expect to meet it or have set an announcement date yet.

        @William Re U-link, you won’t have to wait long. Or so I’ve been told. STB will get to put their countdown clock up soon.

        It will be fantastic to have both of these open, particularly U-Link. The transportation game in Seattle is about to change.

      5. Correction: FHSC does have a firm date and it will be announced very soon. STB, get ready to start your countdown clock.

        I should check my email more often…..

    1. How is it that TriMet knows to the day when its lines will open literally 7 years in advance (always the Saturday after Labor Day) and here we cant even find out when a subway tunnel and a streetcar that have both been testing non-stop for 6 months will open?!?

      Denver knows and announces the day when its Airport line will open in April. WSDOT knows and announces the day when 520 will open in April. And both of these are after ULink & FHSC are to open!!!!

      1. Not always the day after labor day. The Yellow Line opened at the May quarterly schedule revision date instead of the September one because it was simply ready to go four months early and there was no point in four extra months of letting the thing sit there when bus route #5 was horribly overcrowded, expensive to operate and horribly slow.

        In the TriMet world, the big schedule shift occurs at the end of the fiscal year, which is on that particular day. They work with the contractors as much as possible to make sure that the line opens on that day so they can do the entire schedule revision on that day as much as they possibly can.

        If SoundTransit were responsible for all the King County Metro bus routes, they would be doing the same thing.

      2. Yeah but you get my point. (WES opened in a February too). But Blue-East, Blue-West, Red, Green, Orange opened in September around 10-13th and Yellow was going to but as you mentioned was moved up several months.

        Why is it so hard to pin down a date to open at least a few months before here in Seattle when these other places had the very day picked out damn near a decade before?!?!?

      3. @poncho,

        ST won’t take the risk of announcing the date and then missing it – even by a day. It’s a big giant project and they are pushing hard to get it ready before the restructure. But ST knows the date, they will announce it soon.

        Now SDOT? I have no idea what is taking them so long. They supposedly have an internal target date, but…….

      4. @poncho,

        correction. SDOT does have a firm date for FHSC — soon to be announced, and soon to open.


  4. While I still hope STB interviews SDOT head Kubly, it would be nice if STB interviewed Johnson on his take on the SDOT proposal for ST3, the Ballard to UW option, West Seattle, etc.

  5. The suicide-by-train mentioned in the train safety story was hit by the SB Coast Starlight on the 2nd. I was on board; it caused about a three hour delay. A Depressing way to start one’s vacation.

  6. Any news on the most recent pedestrian vs. light rail accident near Rainier Beach station? Saw a couple “at-grade is the stupidest thing ever” tweets and a few “the bus/shuttles connections were great and very smooth” tweets. That said, Sound Transit continues to have mostly terrible communication skills.

    Starting around https://twitter.com/SoundTransit/status/686732860980477952 and moving up.

  7. Was walking on Steilacoom Boulevard near Clover Park Technical College and saw that they’ve started laying the second track in that area for the Point Defiance Bypass.

    1. That is good news. I need to take a Talgo trip to Portland before they move the route inland. That sure is a scenic line.

  8. So California can build 22 miles of high-speed rail for less than $500 million (if I read that article right), but smaller segments of Link light rail cost ~$3 billion?

    1. This contract does not include any rail, OCS, signalling, stations or vehicles. It’s just for constructiing the ROW to be rail-ready. See http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/newsroom/2016_Authority_Announces_Bid_Results_on_Next_22Miles_of_Construction.pdf

      Work on Construction Package 4 will extend approximately 22-miles through the Central Valley stretching from one mile north of the Tulare/Kern County line to Poplar Avenue north of Bakersfield. The work will include construction of at-grade, retained fill and aerial sections of the alignment, relocation of four miles of existing Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) tracks, construction of waterway and wildlife crossings and roadway reconstructions, relocations and closures. This phase of construction received state and federal environmental clearances in 2014.

      It’s equivalent to the tunneling contract for U-Link, but not underground through the middle of a city.

    2. 22 miles of railway in the middle of nowhere with no tunneling, vs. 3 miles of exclusively tunneled railway in a dense urban environment. Apples-to-oranges isn’t strong enough.

    3. I wonder where we can get some figures as to how much it would cost to undercut every major arterial crossing LINK tracks, and to see to it that all other smaller streets have their traffic turn right or left across MLK. And fence the tracks, with pedestrian bridges or their own underground passages?

      The undercuts would be correct a radically-wrong-from-the-get-go source of sudden delays for passenger with flights to catch. Especially international ones. Accomplished without the elevated structure the community really hated. I still think that any other major city would have long since laid express track past King County Airport, joining the present line at Boeing Access.

      MLK can still deliver good fast local service through Rainier Valley, with the Route 8 serving more stops- again pretty much standard. But until we can get the express track, which could be awhile, I think we owe our passengers some reliable service where it counts.


      1. You’d need to know what is under there. A major sewer or water line would increase the costs.

      2. Mark,

        Yes, exactly. And running it on the ground between the UP tracks and I-5 makes it $30 million per mile over most of the distance. Add a couple of ten car long sidings so that out-of-service trains can use it to access the OMF and you have yourself a very valuable facility for not much money.

        Heck, there’s even a flying junction at the OMF you can use. Gotta construct a similar facility at the south end, and that’s actually most of the money other than moving a few old businesses between the railroad and freeway.

  9. By the way, I’ll miss the red and white Tacoma Rail locomotives hauling freight and tank-cars along the causeway across Deschutes Parkway and Capitol Lake, to disappear into the tunnel under Capitol Avenue.

    But really curious about BN’s plans. Especially if there’s anything happening that will make it easier to get Sounder into Downtown Olympia. Anybody know anything about the upcoming change?


  10. Way cool bus in the cover photo. Is that a Bike Friday on the rack? So it’s obviously a route 417. What’s the 246 in the lower left of the front window?

      1. And that needs to be on the front of a bus why? My best guess would have been time of day. Knowing what “transit time” is might be useful to customers. Thanks for the response and how in the hell did you know that but the question is why is it there? Hopefully this was an early training run and that space will be used for something useful to riders (or left blank if it’s just confusing information with nothing anybody reading it comprehends.

      2. It’s a fairly common sight on buses across the US and Canada.

        The road supervisors need to use it to identify drivers and runs. This is for transit operations management.

  11. Johnson is a wonderful pick. And good call, Zach.

    Good call Zach. Are you going to remain commandant of STB after you win Powerball? But re-reading the article you say:

    If, sensibly [emphasis mine], Executive Constantine feels that the new Bellevue mayor should serve on the board

    A year or two ago I would have agreed with that statement. After seeing how bad the Bellevue City Coucil FU’d the route but especially the tunnel/TC station I hope to hell no current or former Bellevue City Council members are on the board. Let the mayor of Auburn screw things up; they can’t do any worse and at least they can’t commit Bellevue money.

  12. Is there any talk or thoughts about how Link will serve Tacoma, being that its a given its going to happen? It seems Downtown Tacoma has always been bypassed in the 1960+ era (which dare I suggest might have a lot to do with its decline)

    – I-5 bypasses Downtown – later consolation prize of I-705 spur after the bypassing damage done, given the geography of Tacoma and downtown on a peninsula and most of the population south and west of downtown Tacoma I suspect it was just easier to hop on I-5 to Tacoma Mall
    – Sounder bypasses Downtown – consolation prize of Tacoma Link shuttle
    – Central Link sounding like it is to bypass Downtown and have to use Tacoma Link as a transfer

    Might there be some way to serve the heart of Downtown direct, either in routing from the east on a more northerly route through the port or upgrading the original Tacoma Link line and having trains coming in from the I-5 corridor terminate in the heart of Downtown? I suspect though Downtown will be bypassed yet again in favor of a route to Tacoma Mall and the suburbs of Tacoma to the south.

    1. I-5 bypasses Downtown

      Not having the interstate bisect your DT is a good thing! Link, Seattle light rail, ain’t never going to Tacoma. Well, never is a long time but there will not be a rail line from the north until Tacoma is so dense it needs light rail to serve it’s own DT. Tacoma Link is pathetic and one of the reasons Pierce has little money to actually do something useful. But they are doubling down on dumb and building more streetcar to nowhere. The fare you pay on Tacoma Link is worth every penny of what you get. I guess the idea is to be a real city like Seattle you must have useless street cars.

      1. Actually, Tacoma Link, even in its current form, is popular enough that local businesses literally agreed to pay a subsidy to keep Link free for longer. Once we get lines down 6th Avenue to TCC and to Stadium and Salishan, ridership will go up even further.

      2. I totally agree freeways are bad for cities but I do get the sense I-5, and with it Tacoma Mall, pulled the center of gravity away from downtown, more so that typical.

        What I’m talking about is the Jarrett Walker Be-On-The-Way concept. Due to geography, Downtown Tacoma is on a peninsula and most likely Link will come thru along the I-5 corridor, when it comes to Tacoma Dome it has a decision to make… go west & southwest to Tacoma Mall and suburbs like Lakewood or go north into Downtown? One will win and historically, at least for the half century, its been to bypass downtown, be it I-5 or Point Defiance Bypass. Sounding like the plan is to go to the mall, at the expense of downtown. Whereas coming in thru the port and therefore further north, it could hit the heart of downtown (say around 11th Street) and then continue south to the mall and/or other destinations to the south and west. Tacoma Link would then not be a downtown shuttle for the last mile to downtown and instead would provide a transfer to more close-in residential neighborhoods in the center of Tacoma Link (when its extended). Having the transfer at one end of Tacoma Link as in at Tacoma Dome requires going west, then north thru downtown, then north to Stadium District then all the way south for several miles… crazy.

      3. I-705 managed to do the same destruction and damage of an urban freeway but without the benefit of being the through main travel route of I-5. Its just a short spur branch.

    2. A port route would have to deal with going through various industries’ land and facilities, as well as cross at least one major waterway with cargo ships. It would also be much more expensive. Better to have a transfer to Tacoma Link, since it’s really fast.

      1. Yeah, while routing through the port, its not at all about serving the port. Its just about being able to have the Link line come into the heart of downtown Tacoma without a branch or shuttle to Downtown (as in Tacoma Link) AND then have Central Link be able to continue southwest to Tacoma Mall (which seems to be the big desire). Its either Tacoma Mall or Downtown Tacoma that gets the direct service and unfortunately it will most likely be Tacoma Mall at the expense of Downtown, which has unfortunately been the story of Tacoma for the last 50 years.

      2. I’m not talking about serving the port. Better way to do this would be to just go north from TDS and stop in downtown instead of going through the port. Much cheaper and less disruptive of port operations.

    3. I think the best thing Tacoma can do for its downtown is to remove lots of parking and revamp all the PT bus routes to allow for more frequent service on high capacity corridors. I think TDS is close enough, and the LINK actually works pretty well to connect the downtown with it.

      1. Though Tacoma LINK tracks could end about 60 yards further and connect better to the buses.

      2. That’s what Pierce Transit is trying to do with Routes 1-4- build up frequent service corridors as they get more funding.

    4. Zach will doubtless have an article for it, as he and Ryan have done for all the other corridors from the December workshop, as soon as he has time among all the other articles.

      Downtown Tacoma is geographically “not along the way” of any simple regional alignment. More significantly, Tacoma has never asked for Central Link to downtown. It asked for Tacoma Link instead, which is smaller slower surface trains and platforms (aka a streetcar). So Tacoma recognized this situation from the beginning and planned accordingly.

      I would have expected Central Link to go up 705 to 9th & Commerce and then perhaps west to 6th Ave and Tacoma Community College, and perhaps meet another line down Bridgeport Way to Lakewood, but Tacoma never asked for anything like that. Instead it asked for several Tacoma Link extensions (or at least to study which one of them would be feasable), and to terminate Central Link at either Tacoma Dome or Tacoma Mall.

      The Tacoma Mall routing looks a lot like a suburban bypass that misses the most walkable parts of Tacoma, plus its closest downtown point is a giant P&R beyond the very edge of downtown, so I have some reservations about it. But again, the geography of the penninsula can’t be changed without moving downtown and the inner-city neighborhoods. And if Tacoma is serious about a Tacoma Mall urban center, then that area could become a more walkable, transit-using area in the future.

      1. I believe the plan is to have a streetcar network with downtown Tacoma and TDS as its hub, with people making regional transit trips transferring to South Link at TDS.

      2. Also, there is some relatively dense development in the form of high-rise condos round Tacoma Mall, although they’re not really located in transit or walking friendly areas for the most part. I believe there are apartments that are located close to transit, through.

  13. Light rail extension
    The Council directed the city staff to push for a light rail connection extending the proposed light rail line from Burien to West Seattle on to Sea-Tac Airport instead of terminating it in Burien.

    What line is this??? Just looking at the density maps I threw out the idea a while back of a West Seattle line following “the ridge” and ending at a Boeing Field connection to Central Link.

  14. Big mixed-use complex ($) headed for Downtown Kirkland.

    Big is relative. The article says “A plan to build Kirkland’s largest ever commercial development, totaling nearly 1.2 million square feet”. Meanwhile, over in Bellevue, “Microsoft is vacating floors four through 10, or a total of nearly 166,900 square feet of space. That’s a sliver of the more than 2.3 million square feet of space that the company has in Bellevue.” I was a big fan of Kurt Triplett but seems he was a good transit wonk but a terrible city manager. Kirkland used to have their act together; now, not just “not so much” but FAIL! ”

    Kirkland Parkplace Cinemas 6 will stop showing its regular lineup on Sunday. The movie theater opened in 1981 and has been under its current ownership since 2001, said manager Heather Jannsen.

    “We’ve been a huge part of the community and we’ve loved it,” she said.

    The cinema will hold its last screening at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. The movie: “The Last Picture Show.”

    Bulldozing development from the ’80’s that was a defining element of DT Kirkland while consitantly failing to redevelope Totem Lake Mall, mmmm?

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