The city councils of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and Bothell (photo by the author)
The city councils of Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, and Bothell (photo by the author)

On Tuesday night in front of a joint meeting of the city councils of Bothell, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, and Shoreline, Sound Transit presented ST3 options for the SR 522 corridor. The tag team of Ric Ilgenfritz and Karen Kitsis presented the lone proposed projects for the area, planning money for light rail on SR 522 (Project P-08, page 18), and BRT from Woodinville to the NE 145th St Link station (Projects N-09 and N-10).

The meeting began as so many of these meetings do, with electeds and staff trading war stories of how long it took them to drive there, with Fred Butler’s drive from Issaquah taking the provisional title for bragging rights. But even these anecdotes often serve as useful icebreakers, creating a unanimity of purpose among officials to build better transit not to solve congestion, but rather to give people a way out of it.

And unanimity there was. There was neither disagreement nor controversy, with the joint councils all expressing strong interest and support for bus rapid transit on SR 522 and a seamless connection to Link at NE 145th. Kenmore Mayor David Baker expressed the four cities’ intent to write a joint jurisdictional letter to Sound Transit, saying they should be unified on their “3 key asks”, namely BRT in the corridor, light rail planning, and structured parking (ST’s proposal includes three 400-space parking facilities). Lake Forest Park councilmember Phillippa Kassover noted her city’s historically high voter turnout of 80-90%, quipping to Sound Transit (paraphrased) “I suggest you have us on your side this November.” A Bothell councilmember described the county line that separates his city’s transit services as “our own DMZ”, expressing hope that Sound Transit’s regional mandate can fix the service gaps inherent in having Community Transit serve half the city and King County Metro serve the other.

The general feeling in the room was one of composed eagerness to get new investments in their respective cities. The 522 Transit Now coalition also had a strong turnout, with roughly half the public attendance being composed of their bright yellow shirts. Mark Abersold from the coalition spoke to the meeting, and councilmembers repeatedly praised their group for their effective and positive organizing. Consultants Fehr & Peers also praised the coalition (and Seattle Transit Blog) for informing their corridor analysis.

The 522 Transit Now Coalition
The 522 Transit Now Coalition

Councilmembers seemed particularly keen on the lower capital version of BRT, which ST models as only taking 1 minute longer than the more aggressive option, while reducing capital costs by $30-85m. In some sense, however, this is a relatively painless ask for these councils, as the BRT project would in many places widen the roads to accommodate buses without the loss of any general purpose capacity, going from two lanes to three in each direction.

Notably absent from the discussion was Lake City. With neither a station at 130th nor a BRT connection to Lake Forest Park and Woodinville, the southern half of the 522 corridor gains little from these proposals. If enacted, Lake City will depend on Metro for a good network of connections, likely including long-term investments in the Route 41 and 372 corridors for connections to Link at Northgate, UDistrict, and UW.

91 Replies to “North King Governments United in Support of Bus Rapid Transit”

  1. “Notably absent from the discussion was Lake City.”

    That is because Lake City is not a City. It is a neighborhood in Seattle. Its representatives are the Seattle City Council.

    1. Understood, but from a corridor and agency integration perspective, not having Lake City/Seattle in the discussion is a missed opportunity. I would love to see new Councilmember Debora Juarez engaging her suburban counterparts on this issue, and I hope D5’s needs will be reflected in SDOT’s letter to Sound Transit.

      1. Agreed that Debora Juarez should get involved. Zach, why not route the 72, 372 and 312 buses to terminate at the Roosevelt Link station instead of Northgate or the UDistrict?

      2. If the 372 terminates at Roosevelt Station, that would leave 25th Ave. and the U-Village without any bus service.

    2. The city could also just do its own thing. Its pretty clear when you look at the area that most of the people and most of the demand is in Seattle. So, for example, a BRT line from Greenwood and North 130th to Lake City and then up to Bothell would have a lot of riders, but most of those riders would be in Seattle. That’s where the density is. That’s where the most connections are. From a rider per mile (or per minute) perspective, it is much, much higher.

      A route that is extended (to the suburban cities) is fine — you would just need to add turn back spots (similar to the old 73, which has two versions — one that goes to Jackson Park and one that goes to Cowen Park). But it is obvious that the suburban cities aren’t interested in serving Lake City. They want to go as quickly as possible to Link. Meanwhile, it isn’t clear at all where this would end if it went through Seattle. At a minimum it should go to Greenwood and 130th. But then it could go down Greenwood, maybe as far as Ballard or downtown. There are a lot of possibilities, and it is clear the city isn’t sure what it wants to build for this corridor (nor am I, even though I have thought about it a lot).

      With that in mind, I don’t think my city councilmember (Ms. Jaurez) — whom I’ve met and voted for — should do anything. I think she should just stay put. Not our fight, really. Let the north end cities work out the details of this project as best they can. If it succeeds, then great. If not, then better luck next time.

      Meanwhile, Seattle should focus on doing things themselves when it comes to transit funding (as Jarrett Walker told me he encourages every core city to do).

      1. The Bothell/Kenmore/Shoreline/Lake Forest Park city councils are responsible to their citizens. If Lake city is not a major destination for their citizens (and I’m guessing it’s not) then the question for them is whether it’s faster to go straight to Link or to go through Lake City. My guess is that going to 130th will be substantially slower, if it was even feasible to add bat lanes. On top of that, if you went to 130th, you’d probably have to involve SDOT (and the city of Seattle) much more substantially than on 145th. My guess is that unless Seattle actively gets involved, then Lake City’s concerns won’t be heard.

      2. Seattle can get actively involved in a Metro route from Lake City to wherever Lake City wants to go. Which I assume is 130th Station first, 145th Station second, Northgate Station third, and Roosevelt Station fourth (or possibly third).

      3. I agree David. Putting traffic issues aside, it is simply farther (about 50% farther) and requires an extra turn to get to NE 130th. Lake City is not a major destination for people (it is no UW). It isn’t worth the political effort needed to convince the north lake suburban leaders to go through Lake City.

        I still go back to my main point. The area northeast of the city has very little density. The “522 to 145th” route is a minor route. If you ignore jurisdictions for a second and consider a north end cross town route, then you would start by building the part in Seattle. A line starting at at Bitter Lake, cutting over to NE 130th, continuing to Lake City and then north would probably very quickly after crossing the city line. Extending it farther is questionable — way less bang for you buck. Folks in Lake City want to piggy back on a “the 522 to 145th” route, but it should be the other way around. The city will, eventually, build fast, frequent HCT service connecting Bitter Lake to Lake City (although it probably won’t be a subway). Folks on the north end should be begging us to extend it. If they build something else instead, then all the better (for both parties).

        @Mike — Yes, I expect Seattle to get more involved in this area as the dust settles with Lynnwood Link. It is still several years away. NE 130th station will happen, we just don’t know when. Meanwhile, there is a ST3 vote, and I assume that NE 130th will be in there. If not, or if it fails, there will be talk of Seattle simply paying for the station. Then there will be talk of spending the money on a HCT corridor through there. This is “where Lake City wants to go” (since it is the fastest way to Link) but more importantly, would provide the best overall transit network for the city (and the region).

      4. All fair points, Ross, but if I’m going to depend on Metro to take care of the in-city “heavy lifting” for my neighborhood, or one where I have vested interests, why should I vote to spend money on Sound Transit? I’d much rather spend that money on Metro/SDOT if they are going to be the agencies that are actually going to provide infrastructure and increase service to the areas I have interest in. I have no problem whatsoever with the suburbs taxing themselves and paying for infrastructure and service that they want; I do have little interest in taxing myself to pay for infrastructure and service that specifically goes out of its way to avoid me.

        A decent Ballard line might be a tiebreaker, although for me personally it’s much less useful than a Ballard-UW line would be, but sending rail to West Seattle and consciously not spending a dime in NE Seattle would be a hard pill to swallow, and at that point I’d rather work for Metro and SDOT to get the funding they need to help people in the city than to an agency that tries its best to ignore it. Best case scenario then is to somehow get the legislature to allow for differential taxation in different areas, and for Metro/SDOT to have authority to fund rail transit projects (contracted to ST if they want; for all their planning mistakes, political or otherwise, they at least have shown they can build a railroad).

      5. Scott, in the morning commute, the 522 is full before we reach Lake City with passengers from Woodenville, Bothell, Kenmore and LFP. Nearly all the riders that board in Lake City have to stand.

        It is the reverse on the homeward leg leaving Seattle at 5:20. Standing room only until LFP.

        If 2/3rds are sitting and 1/3 standing, that would indicate only 1/3 of the riders are Seattle residents, the rest are from the outlying urban areas.

        You have to remember, less than 1/3 of King County residents live in Seattle.

  2. “In some sense, however, this is a relatively painless ask for these councils, as the BRT project would in many places widen the roads to accommodate buses without the loss of any general purpose capacity, going from two lanes to three in each direction.”

    While I agree this is mostly painless for the councils, there’s no reason to insinuate that they’re anti-transit. I’d point out that despite the general sense that the suburbs don’t support transit, 522 already has BAT lanes for a good chunk that were built by the cities themselves and that the cities (and residents) have actively been campaigning for this. And compared to many suburban projects, this is actually a relatively good value. Totem Lake – Bellevue BRT costs double this for half the riders. Totem Lake – Issaquah is almost 10 times the cost for only 1.5 times the ridership.

    1. Didn’t mean to insinuate that they’re anti-transit, just that they don’t really have to make any hard choices. They can have their cake and eat it too, and you’re right the value proposition for them is clear and the project performs admirably compared to many of the Eastside options.

    2. This route popped into my head this morning while riding the 522 south from Lake City: https://goo.gl/maps/AcqtxSEKFPy

      The Roosevelt HCT project can’t figure out how to all the way up to Northgate on Roosevelt (they’ll probably have to take 5th for a stretch because there’s no room to get from Roosevelt to Northgate except on Northgate Way, which is too congested. 522 BRT is going to dry up most of the Express service on 145th South of Lake City Way.

      How about put some dedicated lanes on Northgate Way. Route Roosevelt HCT on them, but also add this frequent feeder route with these transfers:
      Roosevelt HCT at 75th (and Northgate)
      552 BRT at 145th and LCW
      Link and Roosevelt HCT at Northgate TC.

      I haven’t thought this through in depth, however. An alternative option would be to do something similar, but along 125th rather than Northgate Way (possibly serving the 130th Street infill station instead of or in addition to Northgate). It wouldn’t help the Roosevelt project, though.

      1. At this point, for the time period that 145th will exist without a 130th, how about at lengthening the NB 65 to go to it? As such, it hits 125th/LCW, goes north to an end at 145th and NE15th.

      2. Hmm baselle… A frequent 65 that serves 130th St station (and ideally also the Roosevelt/65th station – it takes sooo long to go through the UW campus) would be great for me- it passes right by my house. Also change the 312X to terminate at Roosevelt and 65th (and make it all-day frequent), for Link transfers to Downtown, UW and Northgate.

        That plan doesn’t get the Roosevelt HCT off 5th, but I guess by the time this all happens the folks in that neighborhood can bike-share to 5th or take the new 67 and transfer if necessary. The south end of Lake City proper would also be presumably be served by a frequent east-west 41 on 125th.

        Ok, I feel better now. A T-shaped route would have been a pain anyway.

      3. And upon reflection, when it goes along up 30th, the 65 skirts the west edge of the Lake City density. Hopefully we can get some sidewalks and some robust bus stops there.

        Just get it those 15 blocks west.

        From my typing to Debra Juarez’s eyes.

      4. Brent,

        Because people want to go to Northgate but they don’t want to go to 130th Street Station. At least, most of the people along Roosevelt north of 65th don’t. If they want to go north, it’s because they want to go to the Northgate area.

        Yes, the 65 will go to Northgate, and maybe that’s enough. But if it’s enough then having the BRT continue north of Roosevelt Station is redundant.

      5. “A frequent 65 that serves 130th St station (and ideally also the Roosevelt/65th station – it takes sooo long to go through the UW campus) would be great for me-”

        How can the 65 serve Roosevelt Station without either abandoning 35th Ave NE (which Metro has specifically built up the past decade) or going around the south end of the U-District and back up (which would be very time-consuming and pass two other Link stations in between).

    3. Their pain is the speed limit of 522 compared to the freeways, so they’re already experiencing it rather than it being something new.

      1. That it’s too slow? I’m not sure about that. Kenmore and Bothell have worked to integrate 522 into the city. They certainly could have separated it more but haven’t done so despite rebuilding a good chunk of the road.

      2. I don’t understand what you mean about the freeway comment – most of the day (and all of the really busy hours), Bothell Way is nowhere near the posted speed limit, due to congestion. And Bothell and Kenmore both have been bringing down speed limits and adding intersections. Kenmore in particular has been looking for ways to bridge across 522 for 15 years.

        If the city had the money, we’d be talking a ped/bike tunnel extension off Burke-Gilman at Aidine/68th Avenue NE just for starters. That’s one of the dream projects, really – particularly with all the high-density construction going on two and three blocks north. But there are several. Hopefully now that all the reconstruction work there is finally underway, we can shift focus back to more things like that.

      3. If the city had the money,

        @Dara
        But they don’t. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Kenmore build a fire station and then recently have to sell it and it’s now a daycare? Kenmore was banking on big revenue from developing the old cement plant and that turned into a liability. They have no money and really should just ask to be absorbed into Bothell. Of course tin pot politicians are never going to give up their power.

      4. @Bernie: That… doesn’t even make sense. Kenmore is part of the Northshore Fire Department district, and while that did start with Kenmore Fire Department that merger across several cities happened decades ago.

        So – first, it wasn’t even a City of Kenmore project (tho’ the city may have contributed, I dunno) and second, no, last I looked, it’s a fire station. (And it’s listed as one on the NFD website.)

        Maybe the old one got sold – again, by Northshore Fire, not City of Kenmore – and now houses a daycare? But of course they were going to sell off the old building, it wasn’t usable as a fire station anymore. At least, not without repairs and extensions that would’ve cost more than the new building they built.

      5. @Bernie: That… doesn’t even make sense. Kenmore is part of the Northshore Fire Department distric

        I stand corrected. The fire station in question was the old fire station (circa 1976); it’s now a Montessori School. The sale was recorded as “for $10 and other valuable considerations” so King County doesn’t show the actual price it was sold for.

        Kenmore seems to be on sound financial footing right now though I can’t find their bond rating. They definitely have a revenue problem, especially sales tax. The document Price of Government and Tax Comparison Report to City Council 7-21-2014 shows revenue dropping (Graph I) with sales tax collections being the big shortfall.

  3. Since the proposal involves using NE 145th St and avoiding Lake City, Route 372 would have to continue to Lake Forest Park on weekends (Weekdays, it would continue to Bothell as it will in March 2016), since there is really no place to turn a coach around at NE 145th/Lake City Way.

    1. Why? People heading to the U will just ride to 145th Station and ride Link. Swooooosh!

      Metro can find a place to turn the coach at 145th and LCW.

      1. I agree. It isn’t ideal, but there are several options (the issue is similar to Madison BRT — where SDOT struggled with where to put both a turn around and layover spot). There are several options. My first choice is this:

        Put in a left turn light at 143rd and Lake City Way. This (like the much of the corridor) could be triggered by the bus. The bus would head up Lake City Way, turn left at 143rd, then take three rights and be heading south again.

        The city of Seattle should fund its own thing. The city can build BRT that ends at the city limits (145th and Lake City Way). From there a bus would go south on Lake City Way, turn right and go to the NE 130th station. It should go at least as far as Greenwood Avenue. After that, who knows? Maybe it just ends there, and becomes a super fast, super frequent connector. Or maybe it keeps going, heading south (on Greenwood) towards Ballard. I don’t feel strongly either way, but I do know that if the city continues to build high value projects (as they should) then this corridor will certainly be on the list.

      2. @Mike — You could continue the 372 (as Warren suggests) or simply ask people to transfer. Both corridors (Lake City Way from 125th to 145th and the one that is the subject of this post) will have frequent service (assuming this occurs). A transfer for the number of people involved is not a bad thing at all.

      3. Metro can find a place to turn the coach at 145th and LCW (the issue is similar to Madison BRT — where SDOT struggled with where to put both a turn around and layover spot).

        Déjà Vu all over again :=

      4. Yes, they can transfer, if the 372 can have a stop close enough to where the 522 turns. But Warren says there’s no room to turn around, so there may be no room for a stop except at like 143rd. Anakandros says there is room, but I can’t evaluate transit intersections myself, so how do I know he’s right?

      5. I would be very surprised if you can’t make the turns I suggested. Let me walk through it:

        1) Northbound Lake City Way to 143rd. Lake City Way is very wide, and 143rd is four lanes (two general purpose and two parking lanes).

        2) 143rd to 32nd. Both streets are similar and wide enough (four lanes).

        3) 32nd to 145th. Four lanes to four lanes.

        4) 145th to Lake City Way. Another easy turn. The Metro 330 (essentially a school bus) makes this turn.

        All these turns are 90 degrees. The streets are plenty wide. Most of the curbs are curved already.

        Work would have to be done, though. A left turn signal would have to be added to Lake City Way at 143rd. This should be triggered by the bus. It would probably make sense to add a signal at 32nd and 145th, so that the bus can more easily make the right turn. This would also be a pedestrian signal, which I assume we be welcome for the neighborhood. Sidewalk improvements could be made.

        It isn’t clear whether you would need layover space. It depends on where the bus goes. If the bus ends in west Bitter Lake (e. g. Greenwood and 130th) then you could easily layover west of there. But if the bus goes downtown, then you could easily layover at 143rd or 32nd. Neither the layover challenges, nor the turning challenges are even close to what Madison had to deal with. These are big, wide, 90 degree turns with plenty of parking outside of the highways.

        A loop like this would enable a fairly seamless connection to a “522 to 145th” BRT route. Heading north, the bus stops would be shared (assuming both are BRT). Heading south, it would require crossing the street. But that’s it.

  4. It’s clear that steel rail has some major grade and ROW challenges around the region, and that BRT has some appeal den though it isn’t wildly advocated in many places. It also has limited capacity per bus. In an effort to make a rubber tire solution attractive, should ST look at a rubber tired “bus” that approaches rail? We are already talking about paid fare areas and left handed doors for Madison. Are there more design options that could enhance this?

    1. Bi-articulated buses. Although trickier to maneuver, these larger buses with platform boarding, could provide dwell times and train car capacity similar to rail. The use these in Europe, Brazil and other places but I don’t think that there is a US application.
    2. Electronic guidance at stations. If technology can self-park a car, could a similar technology guide buses to be adjacent to curbs, leaving no gap? Just punch a button when close to the station and the steering becomes controlled automatically.
    3. A cab-trailer design that could allow for the building of a rubber-tired train consist. There was something like this in Southern California at one time, and amusement parks have these designs (of course at a less safe and more modest design that what we would need). Similarly, there are rubber-tired subway lines in several cities around the world.

    It’s great that local elected officials are visioning lines. Shouldn’t we get them to vision future vehicles too?

    1. It would be interesting to try the bi-articulated bus concept, but it has its challenges. Passenger vehicles longer than 60 feet aren’t allowed on roads in the USA, so it would have to be private right of way, which isn’t bad.

      1. Glen,
        Oregon and Idaho permit “road trains.” These are semis hauling three trailers often longer than 75 ft. Oversized loads are permitted all the time to haul prefab concrete bridge girders, silos, etc. I’ve seen permits for over 150ft lengths. These require numerous axles, even additional steering axles and specialized routes.

        I don’t think the proposal is at all otherworldly. It’s doable.

  5. It’s a bit disappointing that the focus was on BRT instead of rail. I understand that there might not be the demand for LRT in the area just yet, but we might as well build it now in anticipation of the future. I can imagine a wonderful connection of a WA-522 LRT line that connects with the spine, continues west and connects up with the Ballard-Downtown line via Greenwood and Crown Hill. That may be just a pipe dream, but it sounds reasonable to me.

    1. OTOH, getting SR 522 light rail studied in ST3 gives hope Seattle won’t have to go it alone on an ST4 in the distant future.

      Also, Bothell Way suffers the half-walkshed problem North Sounder does for a good chunk of its length, without ferry traffic to feed into it. I’m not sure the numbers will crunch to make light rail around the north side of Lake Washington cost-effective. Nor will residents tolerate a superstructure in the way of their views.

      1. ST4? Pierce and Snohomish will bail once they have their spine. WS and Ballard won’t give a rats ass once they get their lines. 522 will be fending for itself.

    2. If you expand all of 522 to include a BAT lane then adding LRT in the future shouldn’t be too difficult. You’d probably want to run it in the center (requiring some expansion). My understanding is that the cities are pushing for BRT now + study of LRT for future expansion.

      1. That’s exactly it. We all knew that we weren’t getting light rail in ST3, so we made the decision to push for BRT instead. The hope is to vote on light rail in ST4, if there is one.

      2. When the BRT is running (1) people can use it, (2) people can evaluate how well it’s working and how urgent an LRT upgrade is, (3) it’ll be a fallback in case LRT funding (ST4) doesn’t come through.

      3. Yeah, what Mark said. We can’t get rail now, but we can get a study, and get the bus lanes in place along the road, which will handle most of the right-of-way issues before the next round.

        Separately HEY I’M IN YOUR PHOTO! I’m in the yellow shirt. XD

    3. One of the big challenges of rail in this area is the steep grades. Can you run on the surface along 522? If not, then things start getting complicated really quickly. For the numbers of people we are talking about, underground is crazy. Elevated is rare in this area, and has never been done in such a previously untrammeled location. I know it is a big noisy highway, but it is a big noisy highway that has houses next to it, with views overlooking the water. I have no idea of the politics, but I would imagine you would have plenty of people objecting to above grade service. Nor is above grade that cheap (and opponents would rightfully point that out).

      But if you could just run on the surface and it didn’t cost much more, then for this corridor, it isn’t a crazy thing. Ridership here will have a huge spike. During commute hours there will be lots of riders. After that, not so much. So a train that runs every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 20 minutes outside of rush hour might be just the ticket. That would probably be a lot cheaper to operate. Of course that assumes that it wouldn’t be much more expensive to build. If it is, then sending a bunch of buses is the way to go. It would probably result in much better service (lower headways) but higher operating costs. Not huge, either, just higher. The number of people we are talking about here (especially if it skips Lake City) is pretty darn small.

      1. I don’t think grades are that steep on the 522 past Lake City. From Lake Forest Park to Bothell it’s practically flat. And getting to 145th shouldn’t be too difficult (looks like a few hundred foot rise over a few miles). After that though, yes, it does look much hillier, but if you continue down 522 (which would make sense if you’re build LRT), that area would actually make sense to invest money in.

        I’m guessing LRT is not going to be terribly expensive to put in once you finish expanding 522. Swap the current outside BAT lanes for the inside lanes and construct stations as necessary. 522 already has relatively high speed limits so as long as the trains can run faster than the (standing) cars around then it should be fine. The only place that it will get trickier is Bothell where LRT would have to run straight through DT Bothell. The easiest thing to do would be to run in mixed traffic for that mile, but since the area is basically being rebuilt right now, you could maybe get something nicer.

      2. I do think the section from 145th to Lake Forest Park is too steep. I could be wrong, though.

        Assuming it is, then what exactly do you mean in terms of “investment”? If you mean tunneling, then that is a possibility. You would have to find a spot to actually go into the ground (in Lake Forest Park) and that does have political as well as practical ramifications. But if that worked, then you could tunnel under Lake City Way (through Lake City) and then towards one of the other stations.

        But connecting to any of the stations is problematic. Both Northgate and NE 130th sit relatively high on the hill (higher than Lake City). The station there is elevated. So now you are talking about a connection from a relatively deep tunnel to an elevated line. The time saved with grade separation would probably be eaten up by the transfer penalty (and then some).

        The obvious answer (as suggested previously) would be to interline the routes (and thus eliminate the transfer penalty). That would mean digging a tunnel probably to Roosevelt. That’s a very long tunnel, unfortunately. There is very little in the way of density or destinations between Lake City and Roosevelt, which means spending a bunch of money without adding a station (or adding a mediocre station or two).

        The distances we are talking about are not minor, either. State Route 522 gets steep around NE 165th. Here are some distances from there:

        145th — 1.05 miles
        125th — 2.10 miles
        130th station – 3.5 miles
        Greenwood Avenue (via NE 130th) – 5 miles
        Northgate station – 4. miles (as the crow flies)
        Maple Leaf Portal – 4.3 miles (as the crow flies)
        Roosevelt Station – 5.3 miles (as the crow flies)

        I just doubt it will ever pencil out. I would be thrilled with the idea of a Lake City to Bitter Lake subway. Looking at the connections as well as the density, you can make a great case for it (better than you can for West Seattle light rail, for example). If the station at NE 130th was underground (like Roosevelt) then I think it would make a lot of sense. But it isn’t, and the transfer penalty would be too harsh, in my opinion (deep bore to elevated). Surface transit is the way to go, and for those streets, that means buses.

      3. I’m more optimistic about that than you, Ross. 130th is ground-level, not elevated. Northgate is elevated, yes – but the subway can rise a lot in 4 miles. With 5% grade, it can climb up to 1056 feet – and Northgate is only 262 feet above sea level.

        Myself, I’d see if we can get the west end of that subway to 85th and Greenwood.

      4. I’m pretty sure Lake Forest Park to 145th St is fine. If I plug it in to Google biking directions (which gives elevation change which is roughly accurate from what I know) and force it to use 522 (a few waypoints and it gives up on routing me via the Burke Gilman), then it shows 210 feet over 1.5 miles or so, which I believe is fine. Continuing south to NE 125th, the road drops 98 feet over a mile, which, again, I think is fine. Lastly, even from 125th to I-5, the road only climbs 200 feet over 1.4 miles, although not as smooth as before so there might be some issues somewhere. Those are all approximate and small hills usually don’t show up on Google, but it doesn’t look bad at first glance.

      5. LRT: Elevated through Lake City, at-grade 120th to 90th or so, and when the road starts to climb, dive down to interline with Roosevelt. At let Kenmore et. al, have their bus to 145th, and 52 demolished homes you need to accomplish it.

      6. The steepest segment on Lake City/Bothell Way is from around 145th north to about 160th, which is a decrease in elevation of about 100′ in 0.6 miles (or 1.8% give or take). It’s another 110 or so feet down to Lake Forest Park, another 1.2 miles, which is at or below 1% grade. The rest of the route from about NE 100th all the way to Woodinville has a much gentler profile than even that. I don’t believe rail, if/when it ever comes, would have a terrible problem with the profile. It’s the one planned for in 1968 and it is the route that’s always been used as a road, as opposed to the railroad on the shore, since automobile traffic began. It was likely a route of travel even before then.

        @ David – it may only be 200 feet elevation change over the 1.4 miles from Lake City Way to I-5 on 125th, but almost all of that takes place between 15th NE and 23rd NE! That escarpment is nearly a cliff to the immediate west of Thornton Creek, and it separates Northgate/Jackson Park from Lake City in a fairly dramatic manner between about 85th and 145th.

    4. The fact that 522 Transit Now and the cities are united in supporting BRT tells me they think it’s adequate (even if not ideal). And my impression of 522 Transit Now is that they have enough transit knowledge to evaluate the realistic potential of BRT in this corridor and how well it meets the need, so if they’re satisfied with it then I am.

      (Unlike some cities like Kirkland and Des Moines, which I don’t trust because they seem to have no idea how a particular BRT or LRT proposal would really meet the needs of non-drivers, and they underestimate how critical city-center and neighborhood-center stations are to fulfilling the line’s potential.)

  6. One thing I find curious is that Woodinville is not part of these efforts. The current 522 bus runs there but the BRT proposal terminates at 405. Does Woodinville not care at all? It seems they’re working on densifying their downtown as well.

    1. That wasn’t visible when I went to the 522 terminus a few months ago and it was a godawful sprawl shopping center around there. The newish-looking Haggen did not inspire confidence. I’d intended to hike back to Bothell on the Sammamish River Trail, but when I couldn’t find the trail, didn’t know how far away it was, and found the whole area a depressing suburban nightmare, I hightailed it back to UW Bothell which seems to be the furthest edge of civilization. Is downtown Woodinville somewhere else?

      1. Oh and the only “town” part of Woodinville outside of the “Town Center” where the Haggen and a sea of parking lots that I am aware of is the “commons” which is a few restaurants, a cafe and wine tasting rooms on the edge of farmland… and a little bit of housing.

      2. For some reason I don’t understand, the 522 goes to Woodinville P&R without stopping in Woodinville itself, even though downtown Woodinville is right on the way.

      3. The 522 terminus is at the Eastern edge of town, which as asdf2 mentions, is somewhat stupid. If you walk about half a mile west along NE 175th you reach fewer parking lots and more downtown-type area, along with the trail (at the western edge of downtown, maybe a mile from where the 522 stops). 2.5 miles south of there are the wineries. Woodinville (from my understanding) is actually getting some apartment buildings in the downtown area and there are several complexes right now right next to the trail. They definitely don’t seem to be pursuing densification to the extent Bothell and Kenmore are but there is some movement in that direction.

        Moreover, 4.5% of current 522 riders are from Woodinville (based on the SIP). I wouldn’t encourage a ton of investment there but it just seems weird they’re not engaged at all. The 372 does stop along 175th St, so maybe they just don’t care about losing the 522.

      4. Hey, having bought our first home out in Woodinville in 1984 (because we couldn’t afford anything in Lake City where we were renting at the time) and living there until 2008 and renting the home until this year I can tell you a lot about Woodinville. In fact my first summer job was on a race horse farm on highway 9 just north of Woodinville circa 1975. Nobody lives in DT Woodinille except for the apartments at the east end of town. The main grocery store was an Albertsons. It was the only game in town for years and had great local employees. It went down hill over the years and because of the Safeway/Albertsons/Haggens/SuperValu deal it’s now closed. Turning back the clock the first competitor was a Stockmarket across the street in what was a new strip mall just south of the P&R (that didn’t exist yet). Stockmarket had much lower prices and local employees but not the service at the meat market, bakery, deli, etc. It was one of the first 24 hr groceries back when Albertsons closed the doors around 10PM. Stockmarket became QFC with the Freddies buyout. It didn’t work trying to go from the budget leader to an upscale, really just more expensive grocery store and is now a Value Village. Before it folded the tent, and maybe part of the reason why Haggens opened the store which is now the last man standing. It was originally the bargin replacement for the Stockmarket turned QFC. It’s no longer a bargain or a quality store. The only reason it’s still there is it’s the only game in town. Haggens is in serious trouble and it may not be there much longer. The area has become very affluent since the days I bought out there because it was dirt cheap. I’d expect a Whole Foods or Metropolitan Market to take over the space. FWIW the McClendons was really the original grocery store; Mark-It foods (sort of like a Prairie Market) where you wrote the price of each item on it with a grease pencil. There was also one in Redmond which turned into a health club near City Hall. This was before bar codes!

        Getting the house ready to sell last year I drove out there in the morning and then took the bus to Totem Lake from the P&R. That’s a slow slog. Even thought the 236 milk run would have been a one seat ride with an 8 min walk and left at the same time it was much faster to take the 237 that uses 522 and 405 and was a 17 minute walk from the flyer stop. And that was before the Express Toll lanes. If the 255 stops in that area were such that you could get either a Brickyard or a Totem TC version that would have helped. But at the time because of construction not even Totem TC version of the trit-zophrenic 255 was an option. The buses from Wdnvl P&R go through the shopping center with a couple of stops. I think the next stop is the on ramp to 522 which, surprising to me, people actually use. There are apartments now in walking distance.

        The major attraction of “downtown” Woodinville is Molbacks. I don’t know how many acres that is but that pretty much says it all about density in Woodinville. It is an awesome nursery and hard to get out of without buying something but for cheapskates like me it’s mostly an idea store. If you’re going on a weekend then transit is a great option because it creates it’s own traffic congestion black hole.

        @Mike Orr
        Sorry you couldn’t find the Sammamish Slew trail. It’s at the opposite end of town and the closest stop is the freeway on ramp. But it’s really just a short walk from the shopping center and they do have sidewalks. There is a large park now at the intersection that used to be where the old Post Office was that became an Armadillo BBQ. That place was great at first but after it became trendy just got expensive and quality went down hill. It’s now all soccer/baseball fields with “turf” and lights and gets constant use. Access to the trail is on the other side of the “bypass” road at Gateway Park which has bathrooms and is a pretty decent stop when biking the slew. There’s another secret access with parking but that’s a local’s secret :=

        Long winded comment but it reflects just how the east was won; or lost depending on which side of the red/blue line you stand on.

      5. A year or two ago I walked up the trail from the 248 terminus (Avondale Power Line Trail + Sammamish River Trail), and it went adjacent to a well-used park with ball fields in Woodinville, so that must be it. I was impressed with the park. I started walking north from there assuming there would be a 522 stop within a few blocks, but I got to a huge empty intersection and it was dark by then and I didn’t know how far the stop was, so I went back to the trail and continued to Bothell and Kenmore. So I guess I’ve seen both ends of town but not the middle.

      6. The PSE trail from Avondale over the ridge to the Sammamish River Trail is a pretty good haul on a bike. Walking it and planning to continue on or even turn around and walk back is epic. The other connection from Avondale to the Sammamish River Trail is the Tolt Pipeline That’s even more of an epic walk but it’s the only way you’d be close to Woodiville rather than Redmond (hint, the section from 202 up Hollywood Hill is colloquially known as Heart Attack Hill, that’s due east of Red Hook). I suspect you did the PSE trail and were looking at 60 Acres which is a huge soccer complex. That’s Redmond, not Woodinville. It’s also real grass, or real mud, and has no lights. The Tolt Pipeline trail is still well south of DT Woodinville.

      7. I started walking north from there assuming there would be a 522 stop within a few blocks, but I got to a huge empty intersection and it was dark

        @Mike Orr
        From what you’ve described I’m guessing you were at where 124th crosses the valley. Good choice to turn around unless you had a sleeping bag. You would have made a 522 connection sometime the next morning. I think I’ve take the ST 522 exactly once when my employer wanted me to attend a trade show down at the convention center. I suspect it’s well used but Woodinivlle has nothing to add to the BRT discussion. They’ll piggy back on whatever Bothell/Kenmore work out. The Woodinville politics are pretty much the DeYoung familly. The feed store is closed (which is a shame) but that family owns Woodinville almost like Kemper owns Bellevue.

      8. “The 372 does stop along 175th St, so maybe they just don’t care about losing the 522.”

        Starting next March, the 372 will not go to Woodinville any longer. It will be truncated at UW bothell. (The 238 will pick up a new tail from UW Bothell to Woodinville to retain coverage provided by today’s 372, albeit with less frequency).

        I won’t argue that downtown Woodinville especially dense. But if the 522 is already serving Woodinville P&R, why not? Going through downtown Woodinville is not a deviation – it’s actually considerably shorter in distance than than the 522’s current route, and even with stoplights, probably about the same travel time.

      9. Starting next March, the 372 will not go to Woodinville any longer. It will be truncated at UW bothell. (The 238 will pick up a new tail from UW Bothell to Woodinville to retain coverage provided by today’s 372, albeit with less frequency).

        The 238 and the 236 are the same bus/driver. Currently the bus winds it’s way south from UW Bothell to Totem Lk TC, Lk WA Tech and Lk WA HS to Houghton P&R and then takes the great circle route back north to Kirkland TC. At the TC the driver rolls the reader board back and it becomes a 236 that goes through N. Kirkland, Juanita, Totem Lake and Woodinville via Totem Lk and Kingsgate.

        Rather than just extend the 238 and have it turn back it would seem to make sense to close the loop and have the 236 roll it’s number to 238 and continue to UW Bothell and the 238 to continue from UW Bothell to Woodinville P&R and roll it’s number back to 236. Clear as mud?

        You still only get 1/2 hour frequency between Wdnvl and UW Bothell but since both routes “kiss” at Totem Lake TC you could at least have nominal 15 min frequency from Totem Lk TC to Bothell and Woodinville (i.e. jump on the first bus 236/238 going north).

      10. @Bernie: thank you for the history lesson! I only moved here a few years ago so haven’t seen that much change. There are now a bunch of apartments on the west side though, next to the trail. There’s at least two complexes right on the trail (off 131st Ave/171st St) and there’s a large multi-use complex being built between 171st and 173rd called Woodin Creek village with supposedly somewhere between 800 and 1000 apartments and 50 thousand square feet of commercial space – the first building just opened a few months ago apparently. Hence why it sounds like Woodinville is at least going in the right direction.

      11. There’s at least two complexes right on the trail

        Right, those have been there for a while and hide the secret access to the trail… sshhh! That road is what people call the Woodinville by-pass. It was built with the idea that it would be a one way street and the main road through DT would be one way the other direction. About the time they built it Redmond had switch their DT to a one way loop and it turned out to be a disaster. So the one way loop in Woodinville never happened. And the by-pass is still a by-pass. I also forgot about all the senior living that was built just south of City Wall and what is more of a Woodinville landmark, Sorenson. They have a really cool car show there (senior center) that’s not pubiziced and if you just sort of walk up you can score on the free food! But if you drive don’t poach parking in the reserved spaces… oops.

      12. Maybe I started further west than Avondale then because it was all flat. (I did go to Avondale but that may have been a different bus trip.) I don’t remember exactly where I started but it was somewhere in Redmond and I was on an east-west trail that intersected with the Sammamish River Trail. When I looked on Google Maps yesterday, the only plausable trails I saw were the Tolt Pipeline Trail and the Power Line Trail. But the Tolt Pipeline Trail crosses at 150th, and I’m pretty sure I’d reached the Sammamish River Trail significantly south of 145th because I passed the winery in the middle of my saunter on that trail rather than at the beginning. Also, the map shows a significant gap+detour in the middle of the Tolt Pipeline Trail, and I specifically avoided that area. So it must have been the Power Line Trail or another one parallel to it.

        I’d expected the walk from Redmond to Woodinville would take two hours but it ended up taking four or five hours. (When I lived in the U-District, I used to ride the Burke Gilman and Sammamish River trails through Marymoor to 180th and that took two hours each way.) No wonder asdf2 told me a walk from Snoqualmie to Duvall would not be feasable in a day and would require camping overnight.

        In Woodinville I’m pretty sure it was Gateway Park because it was a ballfield right on the trail and the name “Gateway” sounds familiar, and the area beyond it “looked like” Bothell and Kenmore where 522 and 175th Street are just a few blocks north of the trail. (I’d never been to Woodinville so I assumed it was oriented like those cities.)

      13. No wonder asdf2 told me a walk from Snoqualmie to Duvall would not be feasable in a day and would require camping overnight.

        I wouldn’t go from Duvall. The trail is great from Carnation up to Snoqualmie. I know it’s an easy bike pedal. I think it would be a day trip on foot. And I’d definitely recommend starting in the low lands and walking downhill for the second part of the trip. Snoqualmie Falls in the summer has a hot dog vendor that’s good for lunch.

        Sounds like you made it from the PSE trail up to Gateway Park. That’s a serious walk when you don’t have a sag wagon and have to walk back. You can get a bus from there but better luck getting to DT Seattle than back to Redmond.

        I think the best hiking available via bus is the Issaquah Alps.

  7. While they consider their choice well-intentioned, politically there’s less voters in Shoreline to be opposed to that location, 145th Street won’t be ready for Link due to a lack of foresight by Shoreline’s leaders and staff as the one of the multiple jurisdictions that own the street which pushed the hardest for the station on it. With a 60-foot right-of-way, it’s going to be an extremely costly and time-consuming widening project, but that was the primary goal of getting 145th as a station to begin with (“that was the only way to get the street improved”).

    Some of the politicians in the picture have complained about the up to 60,000 vehicles/day that they say ply the 522 corridor, yet on the other hand they ponder that folks from as far away as Monroe (!!!) and regularly from Woodinville (!) will plow through this traffic to get to the 145th Street station despite there being quicker, less-trafficked options to many of them, including: (1) Lynnwood, a mostly-freeway drive from Bothell/Woodinville – or Sound Transit 535 bus ride – away, with triple the parking spots of 145th and the promise of the first seats on the trains; (2) Lynnwood via 61st (from Kenmore); (3) Mountlake Terrace Transit Center, with at least double the parking spots, over the hill from Kenmore and Lake Forest Park; and (4) 185th, via Perkins Way or SR-104 and 5th NE. The saying that commonly applies to human behavior that applies here is: “taking the path of least resistance.”

    1. Yeah, that is a weird phenomenon. People have a hard time going “the wrong direction”, especially when it comes to transit. They do it when it comes to taking the freeway, but driving the opposite direction towards a train station just seems bad to a lot of people. Maybe it is because it wasn’t the way they were used to going (there is a lot of that when it comes to transit). The crazy thing is, that is exactly what you want to do. If you live in the north end and head north in the morning, you avoid traffic. I’m sure some people will figure it out, and laugh at all the bozos who don’t (until the bozos figure it out).

      1. Freeways often have only one realistically feasable way. I’ve met people that drive from Bothell up 405 and back down I-5 and say it’s “only a little bit farther” to the interchange, and a 65 mph freeway looks better than a 45 mph road with stoplights. When I lived in Bellevue we were halfway between 520 and I-90 so it was one-half dozen to the other, but if you lived further south or north there’d be no question which one to use. But a commuter rail line or subway line with stops every mile or two is different: people see the line of stations and think they should go to the one that avoids backtracking, unless the other station is much closer to them.

      2. The issue with backtracking is that the time cost of traversing the backtracked-area is doubled, so unless it’s really, really fast, it adds up really, really fast.

        This can make a difference even at the inter-city layer. Last Sunday, when planning a daytrip to Bellingham, was able to leave a few minutes later by taking the 512 from the U-district to Everett and getting on the Amtrak at Everett, rather than going through King St. Station. On the way back, I put with the backtracking (on BoltBus), which was acceptable only because the rest of the trip was non-stop and I-5 was free-flowing all the way into downtown.

        In the future, as I-5 congestion worsens, and Link extends northward, I would almost rather see inter-city buses to Bellingham or Vancouver get truncated to Link stations in Northgate to Lynnwood. That would eliminate backtracking for a huge swath of the city, while protecting the buses from I-5 traffic congestion (not so for the south end, for the same reason that the 594 should not be truncated). And for those that would need to take Link to get downtown anyway, it wouldn’t even be an extra connection. The tradeoff is that people staying in downtown hotels would need to ride the train with luggage to reach their final destination. It would also preclude thru-service from Vancouver B.C. all the way to Portland (not sure if anybody actually rides this far, when flying is so much faster).

      3. Backtracking is counter intuitive, but as rational human beings, we should be able to handle it. It is a matter of avoiding assumptions, and sometimes doing the math. The attitude is not limited to backtracking, but comes up quite a bit when discussing subway routes. The first thing someone usually says when discussing Ballard to downtown via Interbay or via the UW is that it will take too long to go through the UW. They think in terms of driving. But if you do the math (and I did) we are talking about two minutes. The time it takes to actually get to the platform or the time spent waiting is a much bigger concern.

        In this case, the additional time spent on the train is still tiny, even with the huge distances involved (much bigger than anything involving Ballard). So yes, asdf2, it is really, really fast. Consider this scenario. You are at Lake Forest Park, and have to decide whether to go to 185th or 145th. Using 185th will only cost you three minutes in additional train time. That’s it. You should decide based on which route is the fastest (given traffic), easier to park at, etc. Yet my guess is most people will choose 145th, even if it takes an extra five minutes to get there.

        In general though, the area does suffer from a lack of good cross streets. There are only a handful, really between 405 and 522. None of which really go straight across. 228th doesn’t, and it is more straight than most. I have no idea how congested this street is in the morning, but I could easily see this being a popular route for north Bothell. For example, from 228th and Bothell Everett highway, you can go a number of routes to a station. The obvious one is to head south (on the Bothell- Everett highway) then follow 522 to 145th. This will be full of congestion. Even if you cut off at Lake Forest Park (up to 185th) you still would be in the thick of it for quite some time. But cutting straight across on 228th might be the way to go. There is some winding streets you have to deal with, but you would get to the 236th station fairly quickly.

        185th has similar connecting streets, but they tend to wind even more. My guess is that folks will cross at 228th, then decide at the last second whether it makes sense to go to the closer station (in Mountlake Terrace), or the one at 185th. I think people traveling along 522 will make similar decisions. If it is moving, they will plow through to 145th. If not, they will cut up to 185th. I’m not sure if smartphone apps can handle this (“Take me as fast as possible to a Link train station, Siri”) but I expect that there is some app somewhere that can do that.

        All of this means that it is quite possible that traffic along 522 will actually decrease. You can do the same sort of thing now (cut across, instead of down) but that just puts you on the freeway faster. When it is congested, that is not a great thing. But getting to the train faster is a good thing. I would certainly rather spend an extra couple minutes on the train than spend twice that amount of time stuck in traffic.

      4. You see it all the time with plain ol’ feet in the downtown tunnel. If you want a seat on the 41 and you are at Convention Place, wait at the opposite side for ANYTHING, take that ANYTHING backwards and wait in the ID.

        And that’s when one transfer penalty is at its least because you are taking nearly anything. There is a second transfer penalty waiting for your bus, but at least you get a seat.

      5. baselle: I used to do that sometimes with the 71/72/73X northbound, but I found that going two or three stations south and back north ends up taking half an hour with waiting 5-10 minutes for one bus, going to University Street or further, going up the escalator, walking across the mezzanine and down the escalator, and waiting 5-10 minutes for another bus. Now I just suck it up at Convention Place, and try to go northbound before 7:30am (or after 10:30am). Or sometimes I’ll take a bus from Bellevue Ave to Westlake Station and start from there.

        Southbound, I avoid the 71/72/73X between 4:30pm and 6:30pm, and take the 43 or 49 instead.

    2. How long would it take to get from Bothell or Woodinville to Seattle if you took an improved 405 BRT bus to Lynnwood Station and transferred, as opposed to taking 522 BRT to 145th Station? Is it feasable to even encourage this? Link’s travel time from Westlake to Lynnwood is estimated at 28 minutes, and Westlake to Northgate at 16 minutes, so Westlake to 145th will be around 18 minutes. What about for trips from Bothell or Woodinville to UW? (Subtract 12 minutes for Link.)

      1. How long would it take to get from Bothell or Woodinville to Seattle if you took an improved 405 BRT bus to Lynnwood Station and transferred, as opposed to taking 522 BRT to 145th Station?

        If you’re doing the “normal” commute, that is going into Seattle in the morning, your idea has a lot of merit. 405 going north in the morning is wide open; 522 going into Seattle… not so much. It’s only 6 minutes drive time on 405 from 522 to I-5. Someone earlier was trying to come up with cut through routes north of 522 and there aren’t any. There are three options from Bothell to I-5 north of the lake. That’s 145th, Ballinger Way and 405 to Lynnwood. I’ve often taken the great circle route to avoid 522. It’s the fastest way from Bellevue to the Edmonds ferry for example.

        Currently I don’t think any of the Everett Lynnwood ST buses stop at Woodinville or Bothell so this would be new service. Bothell to Lynwood might get decent ridership the standard direction. If it was supplemented with riders looking for a Link connection it might pencil out.

      2. The 532 between Bellevue and Lynnwood does stop at Bothell. Ridership’s currently pretty low; I suppose Link to Lynnwood might raise it.

      3. The 532 between Bellevue and Lynnwood does stop at Bothell. Ridership’s currently pretty low; I suppose Link to Lynnwood might raise it.

        Mike did qualify is suggestion predicated on there being new or better BRT on 405. Assuming ST can get back on track and offer something like the trunk and feeder service they had presented, maybe a route from Lynnwood (or Everett) that went to the DT Kirkland TC would garner enough ridership to pencil out? It wouldn’t have to be packed to the gills like the 532 to Bellevue if it got semi-decent reverse peak riders. Kirkland TC is a happenin’ place. It’s also got good transfer potential to a large area of the eastside. If the terminus is Kirkland TC then not having direct HOV access isn’t such a deal breaker.

      4. The 535 stops in DT Bothell, UW Bothell, and Canyon Park. The few 532 northbound trips in the morning only stop at 195th and Canyon Park. Neither are very pedestrian friendly. All those stops are pretty busy in the peak direction from the SIP reports.

        But in terms of backtracking, your suggestion works if you live in Woodinville or near 405 in Bothell, particularly since the 405 BRT proposal drops DT Bothell. If you live in Western Bothell or Kenmore, you’d have to backtrack east, then north, and then finally south – I highly doubt it’s worth it at that point.

      5. If you live in Western Bothell or Kenmore, you’d have to backtrack east, then north, and then finally south – I highly doubt it’s worth it at that point.

        Right, from Kenmore you are stuck in 522 traffic either direction. There’s a huge volume trying to fight their way to 405 to get to Bellevue and Redmond; worse with the tolls on 520. Scheduled run time from UW Bothell to Lynwood TC is 23 minutes in the morning. Add 28 min on the train to DT and you’ve got a reliable sub one hour commute. The 522 scheduled says it makes the AM commute trip in 54 min; I don’t ride it so I can’t say for sure but I’m betting it’s conically late. Of course writing BRT with lipstick on the side of the bus and only having to get to a 145th station will improve reliability some what. But if I had my choice I’d opt for the route that takes the counter commute up 405. Even from Totem Lake I think I’d seriously consider that route for getting to DT vs fighting the southbound traffic all the way to Bellevue on 405 or slogging it out on the 255 for a little over an hour although that should improve with the new 520 and U Link.

      6. Bernie – What makes you say Kirkland TC would make a better terminus than Bellevue TC? There’s much more happening in downtown Bellevue than downtown Kirkland; why would Kirkland give even more reverse-peak ridership?

      7. Bernie – What makes you say Kirkland TC would make a better terminus than Bellevue TC?

        What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. What I was trying to ask is what if there was a new route that went to Kirkland TC. Obviously the major demand for 405 ST Express is going to be Bellevue TC. Kirkland isn’t peanuts but it is really “off the grid”. I do see a pretty good ridership base (by eastside standards) on the 540 doing the reverse commute.

  8. “But even these anecdotes often serve as useful icebreakers, creating a unanimity of purpose among officials to build better transit not to solve congestion, but rather to give people a way out of it.”

    Seriously, this is a dawning breakthrough in understanding the relationship between transit and automobile traffic congestion. Hopefully we’re not going to hear too many more arguments as to whether or not transit solves congestion. But:

    “Councilmembers seemed particularly keen on the lower capital version of BRT, which ST models as only taking 1 minute longer than the more aggressive option, while reducing capital costs by $30-85m. ”

    First of all, I hope whoever wrote “only taking 1 minute longer” is still young enough to be shoved into the driver’s seat of a rush-hour bus behind a one-breakdown blockage, where he’ll be able to evaluate his estimate firsthand.

    Figure like above means painted-stripe lane in 3AM traffic. One rush hour fender-bender…then calculate the speed differential between a streamlined bus in a painted-diamond lane and an ordinary artic in a lane with a Jersey barrier on each side!

    I’ve never had any patience with pink lines and dots as planning tools for transit. Anybody’s opinion about any transit line has to start with a car ride, a bike ride, or in critical locations a walk along the proposed alignment itself.

    I wonder how many people in the picture have any idea of the actual amount of space any mode of transit needs in order to be Rapid. Really would be most honest and realistic to call service “Limited”, which back in Detroit used to mean “Buses that by-pass some stops.”

    Not saying that true rapid transit, bus or rail, can’t come to the Lake City corridor. But be ready to do some serious earth-moving and buy quite a lot of property. And when people can’t stand either losing traffic lanes or gaining elevated structure…on SR522 north of 145th, 3rd Place Books, will be on the mezzanine of a subway station.

    Above bookstore has cafeteria room for public meetings. Lake Forest Park Subway Station, I mean Shopping Center. SR522 and Ballinger Way. Excellent location for many future transit meetings.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Dig into the cheaper option and see that it misses the 20th/145th bus stop. The minute+ comes from skipping a stop to get through traffic. The skipped over stop includes the King County Housing Authority Paramount House and similar housing in Seattle just south of this stop. This has disadvantaged riders climbing the large hill to 25th or wheeling over to 15th. Real publicly minded. 145th is turning into value engineering with ride time and cheap as the “driving” forces disregarding anything else like creek and wildlife issues closer to the freeway. The science of their proposal may impact single car more than transit, the scoping exercise is throwing a lot under the bus (so to speak).

      1. The 145th corridor upgrade is also ignoring a section of road between 5th and 15th that was “leveled” with fill and consolidated over time. The right of way is 60 feet and there are steep drop offs on either side. Lookup liquefaction and predict what happens to a 40 foot tall ribbon of dirt 60 feet wide with a 4 foot water pipe and a gas main in it. Widening it isn’t the same as fixing it. I hear bridges are expensive, but there are real costs to expanding the roadway 24 feet with appropriate fill and applying an appropriate external skeleton to it. Too bad 130th doesn’t have a complete set of freeway ramps, I guess we get out the bandaids instead of detouring traffic to actually fix a problem.

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