BY SEATTLE SUBWAY

IMG_3806

Seattle Subway has submitted comments related to the Sound Transit 3 comment period that ends today for organizations and local governments.  As a signatory to the Transit Access Stakeholders letter to the ST board, Seattle Subway strongly supports the principles endorsed by this broad cross-section of community organizations.

As the Sound Transit Board develops a system plan over the coming months, we want to detail certain actions and choices that will be critical to fulfilling these broadly-supported goals.

Our additional recommendations to the board are as follows:

1. Seattle Subway supports Regional Operations Option 3:  A new Downtown Seattle light rail tunnel with a new operating plan to support regional transit capacity.

2. Provide a light rail connection between Totem Lake, Kirkland, Bellevue and Eastgate in ST3. Unlike E-03, this connection must provide stops in downtown Bellevue without requiring downtown users to transfer at Wilburton Station.

3. Include contingency lines in ST3. Our well-run transit agency can deliver projects under budget. We have seen this during the construction of University Link and further such opportunities are likely to arise even after we put a robust plan to voters. Good project management, along with local, state and federal grant funding over the course of the program can be used to build a more comprehensive system. Contingency lines could make the following possible if additional funding becomes available:

  • North King:
    • Ballard to Lake City as an extension of C-01g (with a transfer that improves 522 BRT)
    • West Seattle Junction to White Center (C-13)
  • South King:
    • Light rail to/through Burien (C13) to SeaTac and beyond (toward Renton)
  • Pierce County:
    • Extension of Central Link past downtown Tacoma
    • Additional Tacoma Link and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) investments
  • East King:
    • Light rail from Eastgate to Issaquah (southeastern segment of E-03 alignment)
  • Snohomish County:
    • North line routing through SW Everett Industrial Park (N-02a)

4. Study Ballard to Lake City now. As a robust investment is considered, it may be possible to fully fund Downtown Seattle to Ballard to UW as a single line. If contingency lines become possible, then the question becomes, “what’s the next investment?” Density, demand, and social equity point to serving the NE portion of Seattle with light rail, connecting to BRT serving 522 from Lake City through Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and Bothell to Woodinville.

5. West Seattle Junction to Downtown (C-03a), Downtown to Ballard (C-01c), and Ballard to UW (C-02) must be fully funded within ST3.

6. Sufficiently fund the Downtown to Ballard Line to go under the Ship Canal (C-01c) from day one. Ballard to downtown will eventually connect to an East-West line serving Ballard to UW (C-02).  Therefore, tunneling under the ship canal has the following advantages:

  • Reliability. Tunneling saves a rapidly growing city from having its mass transit stop for ships and leisure craft.
  • Connections. Because the Ballard to UW line must be underground, having an above ground Downtown to Ballard line complicates the eventual connection and forces an unnecessary transfer. Ballard to UW works far better as an extension of Downtown to Ballard.
  • Operational Efficiency. Ballard to UW needs a track connection to the system in order to efficiently operate the three mile line without having to construct and operate a separate operations and maintenance base.

7. Serve Belltown and Denny Triangle, South Lake Union and Uptown in ST3. This would require creating High Capacity Transit (HCT) connections for Belltown and Denny Triangle in addition to the baseline provided in the Downtown Seattle light rail tunnel plan (C-01c). As the second-densest neighborhood in Seattle, foregoing a well-planned, robust transit connection for Belltown would be a short-sighted decision that will require expensive corrections in the future.

8. Create connections between the Downtown Seattle light rail tunnel (C-01c) and transit that directly serves the Aurora Corridor.

9. Serve the entire West Seattle corridor with appropriate investment. Our high capacity transit in West Seattle must be entirely grade separated and reach White Center and Burien (via C-03a and C13). Importantly, the Delridge corridor must also be served with two stops on this alignment, at the north end and south end.

10. Forward Compatibility. All stations and lines should be built with an eye toward future expansion. Future completion of the long range plan should not require suspension of service on existing lines simply because station expansions or junctions were not planned or funded when the original station/lines were built.

11. Study Funding. Funding of a study for an extension from Belltown through South Lake Union to Capitol Hill, First Hill and the Central District must be included in the ST3 plan. This routing is colloquially referred to as the “Metro 8 Subway” by many as it mirrors the high-ridership, reliability-challenged Metro bus line 8 in many respects. This line would create the density of urban HCT connections the City of Seattle will need in the future.

These options represent what we believe are best courses of action to serve the entire region with the robust transit solution that voters are yearning for and our job growth and transportation challenges demand. We request that they be given proper consideration and inclusion in the final ST3 system plan and November ballot measure.

160 Replies to “Achieving a Robust Transit Solution in ST3”

  1. The Eastside solution that needs to be considered is for a branched East link into a Redmond line, Kirkland line and Issaquah line. From the ST2 design split off the Issaquah line at either MI or Wilberton, depending on if they (Issaquah) want a one seat to both Bellevue and Seattle or want a faster trip to Seattle, I think the route is sellable if you had a one seat ride to both. Split off the Kirkland line at Wilburton station and use the ESRC to Totem Lake. As to the number of trains, I’m much more concerned with the frequency between Bellevue and Seattle than the tips of the branches. So for peak if you use 6 trains to each that would provide 10 minute service to the tips and 3 minute service between Bellevue and Seattle. Off peak at 15 minute service to the tips would be 5 minute service between Bellevue and Seattle. If there is actually a capacity problem on the bridge then they could use the east bay solution and do some of the runs Totem lake to Issaquah.

    1. Issaquah to Seattle via downtown Bellevue is just too much a detour. Kirkland to Seattle via I-90 is also too much of a detour. In the case of Kirkland, the existing buses serve it pretty well. You could consider truncating the 255 to the UW Station in exchange for better frequency, but that would be it. Issaquah should be served by a frequent feeder bus to South Bellevue P&R. There is no need for rail to either destination.

      1. But would you be willing to accept rail to Kirkland/Issaquah if it allows the overall package size to increase accordingly? If the choice is between a package including at-grade Ballard LRT and improved bus connections to Kirkland/Issaquah or a package including fully grade separated Ballard LRT and Kirkland/Issaquah LRT…. is that a compromise you are willing to make?

        Of course that comparison only makes sense if the Kirkland/Issaquah LRT would actually be supported. And I’m not sure it will be with only the single transfer at Wilburton. If the new line is interlined with east link between Wilburton and South Bellevue and frequency is high enough for quick transfers I think it would be supported.

      2. Wait, what? Are you really arguing that we should spend money somewhere (east side) so that we can spend more money somewhere else (Seattle)? Using that logic, we should just dig a big hole and ask east side residents to throw their money in so that Seattle can tax themselves to build a better light rail line (as long as it would “actually be supported”).

        Look, it isn’t that complicated. Build what is most cost efficient for each area. Defer projects if you don’t have the money or one area doesn’t want to throw money into a pit.

      3. Once again, if you put East King money into a Montlake station you’d have a better bang/buck ratio.

      4. Agreed, Glenn.

        I even think it would be strategic for ST to be more explicit about fixing design mistakes — from missing down escalators and pedestrian walkways to rethinking connectivity at UW/520, Link at Boeing Access Road/I-5/Renton and Kent buses and 145th/I-5.

      5. Ross,

        Yes, I am arguing that. Like Travis said below, politics matter. Like it or not, we need good results from east side voters for ST3 to pass. If east side voters see that Ballard, West Seattle, Everett, and Tacoma are all getting huge light rail extensions and all the east side is getting is a short extension to Redmond and some buses, I really think that is going to be a hard sell to east side voters.

        You can’t depend on voters digging deep into the data and analyses to make an informed judgement call on what the best thing is for the whole system. Some people will do that, but I don’t think it is a stretch to assume that a huge number of voters will look at a much more personal cost-benefit analysis. And the benefit that they will be looking at is much more strongly connected to perception than it is to the actual data.

        Politics are give-and-take. If you want to take a whole lot of money from East King to help pay for expensive projects in Seattle you are going to have to give the east side something to make the feel good about the deal. As effective as things like 405 BRT and 520 bus stops probably will be for actually improving transit connections, I just can’t see them being perceived as big enough projects to keep East King from feeling like they are getting the screwed.

      6. Goonda, people do often look only at their own situation or own area. But they’ll also ask whether the proposed Kirkland-Issaquah line and 405 BRT and anything on the ERC meet the Eastside’s own needs effectively. And many people have come to the conclusion, “Not very well.” It’s easy for somebody in Rainier Valley to live three blocks from a station and walk to it and go to the U-District. It’s much more difficult for anyone living on 108th in Kirkland, or in Kennydale or Factoria or in various parts of Issaquah to get to a station and go to downtown Kirkland for instance. So how much will they help even if they’re built? That’s what we’re discussing, and trying to make the network the most effective for the Eastside’s needs and the most cost-effective.

      7. Regarding putting East King money into a Montlake station. I am under the impression that there aren’t any sufficient level, straight sections of ULink to allow building new underground stations. Is that correct or is there hope that new stations could be build in the future?

      8. I’m not saying that the currently proposed Kirkland/Issaquah line with only the single transfer point at Wilburton is the answer. I think interlining all the way to South Bellevue could probably work, if the Mercer Slough issues can be solved. I’m just saying that, no matter how much it may be the most transportation-effect and cost-effective solution, if you are only giving the east side a few tweaks to their bus routes it is going to be tough to get them to buy in on a $48 billion 25 year tax package which they’ll be paying for roughly 25% of.

      9. Just a note that 1/6th of the East side population is in Renton, and that’s way more voters than Issaquah has. If the Issaquah leg does this lame Wilburton transfer, its popularity even in Issaquah will suffer. At the very least, an Issaquah rail line will need to serve an interlined Downtown Bellevue station even if it needs to diverge as far north as the East Main station (South Bellevue is ideal).

        ST needs to rethink things on the East side completely. Mixing an aerial I-405 LRT with parts of the ERC and diversions where appropriate is the missing alternative that seems beyond the vision of ST board members and staff.

      10. Andy: stations don’t have to be level. MAX Orange Line has one at approx. 2% grade at Park Avenue. What’s the grade under Montlake?

        Anyone want to volunteer to help me get an actual measurement of how steep the MAX station actually is when they visit Portland next?

        Doing this on an active line would be expensive. BART proposed one that would have been in the $few hundred million range.

        Considering the mediocre results of so many expensive projects elsewhere and the potential huge benefits (buses from the east side serving SLU, UW and LQA?) it seems like the potential number of transit rider benefits to this additional station would be significant.

        At the very least, East King should be allowed to have input on if they like the idea or not. If it isn’t possible or practical then it isn’t. I’ve yet to hear anything so far that tells me anyone has really looked at if it is truly not possible or how much it would cost to make it possible.

      11. Oh, also: stations don’t necessarily have to be dead straight either. Slight curves work OK so long as they are set up to allow the driver to be able to see the doors before the train departs.

        Several platforms on the Green / Yellow / Orange MAX line through the transit mall in downtown Portland have the platform on the outside of a curve because that is the only way they could get the line to weave in and out of traffic the way it does. The platform curve is very slight, but it is still a curve.

        There shouldn’t be any worries about curves though. You can see the tunnel outlined on Google maps. in the Montlake area its a straight shot from Interlaken Park north under 22nd Avenue to the ship canal.

      12. Rather than a second station “right next door” at Montlake, how about ST paying for a second Montlake Bridge and making it bus-only? Connect it to the HOV off ramp on the lid and have it connect to 24th just south of the freeway so all buses can use it. Maybe it crosses by Mohai and enters the Husky parking lot by the boathouse? Yeah, that’s a beautiful area, but the bridge could be beautiful, too. Pedestrian access to the wetlands would underpass the new roadway, just like some of the paths go under SR520.

        Expensive? Oh yeah. Shocking? Unh-hunh. Outside the box? Very much. A big transit amenity? Definitely.

      13. Looking at the Lid Project map, WSDOT is already planning an intersection between 24th East and the HOV lanes. The new bus bridge could branch off from that intersection. Yes, the current plan has an off-ramp leading to Lake Washington Blvd, apparently replacing the truncated ramps being removed.

        That off-ramp plan could be modified to come to an intersection with the bus-bridge roadway just north of the freeway. The southbound “bus-only” restriction would end at that intersection.

        Maybe it doesn’t make sense to have the 48 make that jog, but it would save SR520-Husky Stadium-U District buses three to ten minutes per run depending on the time of day.

      14. That could work, but it doesn’t buy you the ability to run the 520 buses further west and get better service to SLU.

      15. Yes, I am arguing that … [see rest of argument above].

        Wow. So, let me get this straight. You want to build a crappy system, with crappy results, that you admit is essentially a money pit because … politics. You think that unless east side voters have their own hugely expensive, yet not very functional light rail line, they will reject ST3.

        That is just ridiculous from both from a political and policy standpoint. I understand trade-offs. Trade-offs happen every day. Certain areas build their good project before another area gets their better project. But the first one to get their project actually gets A GOOD PROJECT! Call me crazy, but I have this weird feeling that voters on the east side really don’t want to vote for crap. That has been their history (look at the first two votes for Sound Transit). This insane idea that voters on the east side won’t vote for buses ignores the fact that they did exactly that with ST1. This, after rejecting more light rail. Just look at the results: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19961106&slug=2358535

      16. I have this weird feeling that voters on the east side really don’t want to vote for crap. That has been their history

        People on the eastside do go into DT Seattle and I’d venture a guess that more trips are still made from the eastside to Seattle than have destinations ending on the eastside. Unfortunately the number one thing that gets votes on the eastside is more parking :-(

        Central Link was made possible because of eastside money. Since there wasn’t any big capital need on the eastside the excess tax revenue was loaned to the North Sub Area. It was a good arrangement for all. There’s no reason the same thing couldn’t be done under an ST3. The eastside puts “money in the bank” and in the interim gets to benefit from Seattle transit infrastructure. Win win.

      17. Who here wants to go from Ballard to Lake City? [Sound of crickets chirping]. Who wants to go from Lake City to Ballard? [More crickets].

        They why do you need a railroad between them?

      18. @Anandakos — The state looked at adding a new Montlake bridge or expanding the existing one as part of the 520 project. In both cases it was rejected because of strong local opposition. I think a second bridge would make a lot of sense — it could be bus, bike and pedestrian only, which means it would not only provide a much better bus connection to the station, but a better biking experience (since bikers wouldn’t be squished together with pedestrians like they are now). But the folks in the area rejected it. As of now, it is not part of the proposal.

      19. Sone time back I made a comment that you might just dig a hole under Montlake and have an underground moving sidewalk between the UW station and the 520 bus stop. That idea got shouted down by d.p. as impractical.

        Several years ago, someone sent me a YouTube video taken of a contraption that was used in a city in Italy. It was sort of a cross between an elevator and a people mover, so that it ran horizontal for a ways, then climbed vertically. Maybe a contraption like that could work, and maybe add one at UW station so that UW station connects to the UW.

        In any event, with all these expensive but not great routes floating around for ideas on the Eastside it sure seems like there has to be something better. This particular spot sure seems like it is a weakness for eastside transit.

    2. You may be more concerned about Bellevue to Seattle, but Sound Transit is doubtless concerned about adequate capacity to Microsoft. I was initially surprised that East Link went through Bel-Red rather than following the B via Crossroads, but then somebody pointed out to me that most of the current and future jobs in the Eastside are along the East Link route, along with the most moderately-priced housing and choice riders. The same person pointed out that Kirkland’s low ridership is due to its lower density and high cost of housing: students and people in lower middle-class jobs can’t afford to live there there so they live in Overlake-Redmond-Crossroads instead, which is right where East Link is. So any three-branch scenario should serve the central branch twice as often as the other two. I also don’t like to see any branch go below 10 minutes before 10pm, because that diminishes the effectiveness of rapid transit and raises the question of why built it in the first place.

      5-minute service between Bellevue and Seattle implies 2.5 minute service in the combined segment between downtown and Lynnwood. ST3 has a project to possibly increase frequency beyond 3 minutes in the DSTT, but it’s not guaranteed at this point so you can’t make the Eastside network absolutely depend on it.

      1. Politics matter, if areas think they are not getting there far share they will not vote for it and actively campaign against it especially if they think they are treated unfairly. Comparing Eastside project to North king projects doesn’t move the conversation forward because it’s a political nonstarter, we are going to spend a lot of money on the Eastside. We need the best plan in each subarea and preferable something that gets people excited or appears as a once in a life time opportunity. The branching line seems to be within the capital budget and provides one seat rides to most desirable areas.

        Ten minute service to the Microsoft Campus seems reasonable but if additional peak trains are needed, another 4 trains would create 6 minute service and that seems doable.

        As to the transit tunnel and potential Lake Washington crossing issue, running a line on the Eastside peak only (East Bay solution) would seem like a potential solution.

      2. I didn’t compare East King projects to North King projects. I compared your branch network to other unspecified East King projects. I mentioned Seattle in the context of tunnel capacity: your Eastside frequency would take up most of the space in ST’s 3-minute tunnel capacity which also has to serve Lynnwood. The capacity could possibly be raised to 2 minutes or less but that study hasn’t been done so we can’t count on it now or presume what the realistic maximum is. ST will not allow the Eastside to take 3/4 of the 3-minute tunnel capacity as long as it remains 3-minute, so that limits the number of Eastside trains that could go to Seattle.

        Also, Issaquah didn’t request a direct line to Seattle. The strongest advocate of a second Link line on the Eastside is the Issaquah boardmember, and he didn’t ask for a one-seat ride to Seattle either. Kirkland has considered a line but on 520, but that’s not in its ST3 request. ST bases its project decisions primarily on what the cities want.

      3. East side money was not in any way used for Central Link, not a dollar, not a loan, that is frankly untrue. Find a written report otherwise and I will eat a piece of paper.

      4. 2009 Subarea Report

        NOTE 9: LONG TERM DEBT AND INTER-SUBAREA BORROWING
        Check the table at the top of page 36. It shows how East King was the bank. You can dig back though previous years to see how and when the money was transferred from the East King subarea. To be clear, this is a loan and the numbers in that table represent repayment. It’s a good deal for all because it lowers the total cost of borrowing.

      5. Here’s a really good article for some historical perspective, Sound Transit Sounds Off

        Sound Transit’s chief communications officer, Ric Ilgenfritz (Feb 13, 2003)
        If you look at the East King sub-area, it’s piling up money. It’s the richest sub-area, and nobody foresaw that in 1996. But their project list won’t come close to spending the amount of money they have. Sub-area borrowing occurs…
        Sub-area borrowing enables us to manage our cash flow in the most efficient way possible to fund our projects in the order we’re sequencing them.

        There is no reason subarea borrowing can’t apply to ST3. As much as it’s maligned the subarea equity concept really does work when it’s done this way. Putting good value projects on the list rather than adopting the “everybody gets a pony” strategy has a much better chance of passing.

  2. “South King: Light rail to/through Burien (C13) to SeaTac and beyond (toward Renton)” That would be west-central King County, actually. King County is 36 miles north to south, with the midpoint being at 18 miles from the county line. That would be near the West Seattle Reservoir. But whatever. Politicians and Americans in general are geographically challenged and I shouldn’t expect any political boundaries or descriptions to make any sense.

    Second comment: BRT in Tacoma??? No thanks. We’ve learned here that bus routes (that’s what BRT is) can be de-funded or taken away far too easily. Example: Pierce Transit. Any infrastructure investment in Tacoma needs to be rail (i.e. extension of Central Link or Tacoma Link). You look a whole lot more stupid when you build a railroad and then not use it. Put in a glorified bus route then take it away a few years later – well, that was just budget cuts. So, given the track record of transit in Pierce County, not to mention the crooked politicians, we need to demand any further investments be rail. They can’t take that away from us without dooming themselves to political suicide.

    Thanks!

      1. C13 is in the North King Subarea: http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/C-13_WSJunction%20to%20Burien%20TC_FTemp.pdf

        Extending C13 through SeaTac, Tukwila, & Renton would technically be in the South King Subarea but would be a shared benefit between residents of South, East, and North King Subareas.

        Renton is in the East King Subarea: http://www.soundtransit.org/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/about/financial/20150326_2015_tip.pdf

        None of the contingency suggestions exclusively benefit South King, whereas two of the proposals benefit North King exclusively and one benefits East King exclusively. Low-income neighborhoods (South King) getting the shaft, as usual.

      2. @Engineer, you’ve got a point. What South King projects would you recommend? I’d go for all-day Sounder service, a really good BRT network, and some form of TIB/Southcenter connector (either Link or gondola?)

      3. William, my primary suggestion would be additional trips on Sounder or other Sounder improvements, including dedicated track sidings to avoid conflicts with freight and improve the ability to negotiate future added trips with BNSF.

        We really need to see improved local service in South King, but that’s more of a Metro issue, not ST.

        As far as Southcenter/TIB goes, it’s a non-starter for me short of other improvements. Southcenter to TIB is really more of a local service connection and really does more to benefit North King residents (i.e. get people from Rainier Valley to the mall) unless you can do something that links in with the rest of the ST system. It would absolutely need to be done INCLUDING an extension to Tukwila Sounder/Amtrak station, in conjunction with all-day and all-weekend Sounder service to provide continuous service to SeaTac from Kent, Auburn, and other points south via Sounder-“proposed connector”-Link. Mike Orr’s comment is spot on.

        Mike Orr, I understand that PT & ST are different, with different voter bases, but the reality remains that bus is something that can be taken away and often is. I saw the same thing happen in Ohio, as well. Pierce County needs transit service that is predictable for years and decades to come. We’ve seen how bus service in NE Seattle & Capitol Hill are being massively re-structured. (Again, I recognize, this is a Metro issue, not ST.) The transit that we have here is so sparse that somebody wanting or needing to live near transit (somebody with disabilities who can not drive, for example) almost needs to have something structural (rail, with a permanent station) in-place to make the leap to purchase a home (condo or house) near transit. Otherwise, what? In three years ST decides that this or that route is a poor performer and takes it away? We don’t have local service to fall back on, so the investments down here need to come with something a bit more permanent. Then you bring up the Eyeman effect. Can we exile that guy to some third-world country where government actually pays for nothing and you are on the hook to build your own roads, dig your own wells, and filter your own water???

    1. ST had better fund hourly Sounder with speed improvements before Burien-Renton light rail.

      Pierce Transit has a completely different funding base and votership and ability to be derailed than Sound Transit, and we’re talking about Sound Transit bus routes not Pierce Transit ones. Agencies around the country do sometimes reduce rail service to substandard levels due to budget shortfalls. In Sound Transit’s case, that’s unlikely because it’s collecting ten times what it needs for operations in order to build the capital projects. So if a recession hits, it will impact the capital projects first, and it would have to be impossibly deep to affect operations. (The exception I suppose would be an Eyman initiative that slashes ST’s funding. In that case existing bondholders would have first claim on the remaining revenue, and both capital and operations would be reduced or suspended.)

      1. Even hourly Sounder is still unfavorable compared at a route 594 that runs every 15-30 minutes at present. It is not worth waiting an extra half an hour just to be on a train instead of a bus.

      2. Of course half-hourly is better but we have to start somewhere, and I’m really glad ST is even thinking about hourly Sounder and a third track because for a long time there was no indication they ever would, or that it could possibly afford BNSF’s price.

      3. ASDF, 594 does not serve Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, or Kent either. Sounder is such an easy investment and serves a huge number of people. AND, both Kent and Auburn have committed to dense redevelopment near the stations.

      4. The only way to get hourly Sounder is to double-track the UP and run all through Black River Junction – Tacoma trains that way. Unfortunately, there’s a stretch through. pacific where the UP ROW is too narrow; it would require taking the Interurban trail for a few blocks.

        That’s probably worth doing, but you need to get Uncle Pete to agree, and anything having to do with “gubmint” is unwelcome in their part of Omaha.

  3. 1. Please remind me when the first of the projects noted here will “break ground”? Or any time-frame for progress? Very important for this reason, and “Wilburton Transfer” idea is perfect example. If anybody on this decade’s Bellevue Chamber of Commerce favors something like this,their kids on the Chamber certainly won’t.

    2. Tunneling techniques are bound to continue improving over the years. Every machine on Earth, however, needs competent hands at the controls at every level. First question about “Bertha”: what was the rank of the top official who finally looked over the complete project plan and signed the order to start the cutter turning?

    3. Between the Ballard area and Downtown, a full-bore subway is probably not necessary. But one tunnel each under the Ship Canal at Ballard and at Fremont, and reserved surface right of way for electric transit on each will probably allow transit as fast and reliable as the area needs. Also as enjoyable.

    4. Good time to start discussing and seriously planning. But also curious to know the unknowable when is ST3 scheduled to end? Or is answer a bad Bavarian accent ending any “Frankenstein” movie that dere are some things dot Mankind vas never meant to…?

    Mark Dublin

    1. 1. Right after the current Bear Market and world economic crisis is fixed, which is somewhere after EU immigration and Middle Eastern governments sign a lasting peace agreement among all parties. 2016 is not the year.
      2. Rank of top official was a Mayor and Council hiding behind a curtain in Oz, all flying high as kites in the ‘No Pants Zone’. Ever notice the correlation between the legalization of Pot, and some really stupid transportation decisions?
      3. Seattle will soon need vitamin D enhanced air-ducts for all the tunnels being planned.
      4. [see 1 above]. Every journey starts with a first step, even the one attempting to cross the Grand Canyon from rim to rim.
      Your Move, Sir.

      1. 1. Does Seattle a have an, economic crisis, or just the world? As water quality in a Flint and the capital of West Virginia show, every problem in the United States is completely self-inflicted.

        In Flint’s case, after putting Flint under State control for budgetary reasons, the Governor decided that non-poisoned water was too expensive. A quadrillion dollars worth of lawsuits will be just down payment on evacuating and relocating a whole city. Can’t figure out why ISIS hasn’t taken credit.

        Also, if world progress had to do with enforceable peace – in the Middle East, nothing would have gotten done anywhere on the globe after the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

        Though one of many very bad effects is that the money for ST3 is being blown all over former Turkish lands. Same place, different location as the main money the 1970’s needed to restore our industries got blown to shrapnel and napalm in Viet Nam.

        2. Real possibility, completely because when marijuana was legalized and its business chiefs went from being “Don Pedro” like Zorro to Doc Peterson the nice old corner druggist. Huge ingenuity lost, as well as onset overwhelming debilitating boredom. Which always makes people stupid.

        However, make espresso illegal, and watch renewed excitement of a substance always more mind-altering than weed rejuvenate our world. Don Howardo Schultze might finally make drinkable coffee to take down the other espresso lords.

        3. Right on Vitamin D, too. Only problem is that New York subways have always controlled about 300% of the world’s supply. In other words, “If we let you boids have any D, we’d end up in poimanent toid place insteada you, You got a problem wit ‘dat? An’ while yer at it, get yer geography right and name dat station Flatbush!”

        4. Well, we got across a lake about that wide on two lines of concrete boxes, one of which had its doors left open and went to Ivar Hagglund’s locker. All fixed now, so Eastlink can keep…well some kind of mollusk. Grand Canyon elevated would now be fully funded if recent transit project had had one more rail and fewer bolts loose bolts in its conceptual structure.

        Thanks for asking.

        MD

    2. The planning process takes five years on average, but smaller simpler projects take less. The Federal Way extension planning is already underway in ST2, because ST agreed to do planning through 320th to make it “shovel ready” in exchange for deferring construction of 200th-272nd. (Later 200th-240th was undeferred). I can’t think of any other pending corridor that has been planned that far, so Federal Way could be the first to start construction.And because an elevated line is faster to construct than a tunnel, it could possibly be done in the early 2020s. However, cash flow is another factor. The money comes in a trickle rather than all at once, and it will be tightest until the ST1 bonds are paid down. So it may have to wait until enough revenue has accumulated.

  4. How exactly would Ballard to Lake City rail run? Above ground, underground or on the surface? It makes a big difference in terms of cost, popularity and functionality.

      1. Fine, but how then is Seattle Subway so confident that this is “the next investment”? I see a lot of “well obviously, we should build this next”, yet they haven’t even considered, or perhaps haven’t bothered to actually say how it would be done. It is easy to draw lines on the map, but until you consider what it would actually look like, there is no way to tell if it would work or not.

      2. Seattle Subway tends to take shortcuts in its wording. The rhetoric suggests “Build all this now (exactly as our map shows)”, but if you talk to them in detail they actually just want ST to study the concepts as official alternatives give their expert opinion on them and whether an alternative might be better. Then they want ST to follow through on them in whatever way the studies show is appropriate. “The next line” is a value judgment, not a technical judgment. I.e., this is where the greatest transit need is and a line would be the most effective, so study it!

        We know the nature of Holman Road, Northgate Way, 130th, Lake City Way, Pinehurst, and 85th, so we can make a ballpark guess of the feasibility. Yes, an elevated line would be feasable. There are a variety of potential alignments, either going through Northgate Station (most likely, because of the urban growth center and transit center) or 130th Station (as some hope). The most difficult part would be going down eastern Northgate Way to Lake City way because of the hill, so I suspect that will rule out that alignment. (The street is also narrow and single-family, which would give further pause.)

      3. @Mike Orr

        One might be able to run elevated along NGW past 15th by taking away the center lane. It would be a bit like the monorail on 5th but with narrower streets. Not ideal for sure.

        The other option would be tunneling through the hill to get to LCW. Sounds expensive for what will likely be an express run between the two neighborhoods.

        Its also pretty tricky to figure out how you would connect across I-5 to a reasonable transfer point at 103rd where the current Northgate Station is going. Do you cut across I-5 at 105th with a giant freeway bridge? Do you follow Northgate Way and just have folks transferring walk through the mall to get to central link?

        If you went to 103rd to have a direct transfer… how would you get to Lake City from there?

        There are no easy answers. It needs to be studied though to see what even makes sense.

      4. I don’t see how an elevated line would be politically feasible. There are very few areas in the city where we have elevated. They considered it for Rainier Valley, but the neighborhood organized, and objected to it strongly. It would have been practical and better from an engineering standpoint (allowing for much higher frequency) but impractical politically. I see the same thing here for just about every route. I see no way that you can get to the Northgate transit center in an elevated line (from a practical standpoint). From a political standpoint, I can’t see any other route that works either. Run it elevated on Holman Road and Greenwood, then take a sharp right to get to NE 130th? I don’t see it. That is running a train right by a lot of people — the cars are noisy, but not in the same league as an elevated train (to say nothing of the property that would need to be removed to make that turn).

        There are only a handful of places where elevated is acceptable. One is the freeway right of way. The other is 15th (West and Northwest). The latter skirts an existing rail line, and may as well be a freeway for most of its distance (there are big overpasses and the like through most of it). But that pretty much ends in Ballard. I doubt you could get much support for elevated rail through Ballard (yes, I know, monorail — but that was one of the selling points — it was supposed to be much quieter than a regular train).

      5. It’s not an up-and-down hill. It’s all downhill from Northgate Way to Lake City Way, and I assume it’s too steep for light rail. So going “through the hill” would mean going underground east of Aurora and emerging at Lake City, with an underground Northgate station.

    1. If a Lake City to Ballard line gets built, and its not built all in one phase, would it be worth considering connecting Lake City’s line to Central Link first? Either ending at 130th or Northgate or interlining with Central link at that point to take some of the extra northbound capacity that would otherwise be running somewhat empty up to Everett (well at least most of the time).

      I doubt link to Everett is going to need 3-6 minute frequency any time soon….

    2. OK, I was trying to avoid going through each scenario, but I will anyway:

      I’m not going to focus on the bulk of the line. Just focus on the main connection here. The main value of a line like Lake City to Ballard is the connection it makes at Northgate. That would be the faster way from Lake City to downtown and by far the faster way to the UW. Surface is impossible, since the freeway is in the way. Above ground would be great, but I believe it to be politically impossible and extremely difficult from a practical standpoint. The station at Northgate is simply in a very awkward spot from an east-west standpoint. Directly east of the station are a couple of very tall buildings. An elevated line would have to make a sudden turn after connecting to the Northgate Station. I just don’t see it.

      So you are talking about making an underground line through there. This means it will be extremely expensive. It also means that your main connection — the main value of this line — involves a trip from underground to above ground. This just isn’t good.

      Imagine you build both this and a BRT line from Lake City to Bitter Lake. Now imagine you are in Lake City and want to go to the U-District. The BRT runs just as often (for the sake of argument — in reality it would probably run more often). It takes 5 minutes for a bus to get to the station at 130th*. The ride from 130th to Northgate takes another 2 minutes. It take four minutes to take the train to Northgate. So the train saves 3 minutes. Except that it doesn’t. If you count the time going down into the station and back up, you’ve now lost your 3 minutes.

      Consider another connection — Bitter Lake to the UW. Bitter Lake is one of the more densely populated parts of the city, and likely to grow faster than average. Run that scenario again. Take a bus south (on Aurora) then east to Northgate and make the transfer. Or take a bus east on NE 130th, then make the transfer south. It should be obvious that the latter is much faster.

      You are talking about spending billions on a light rail line, and your main connection point will be no better than a BRT service. Even just a regular bus is competitive. Making a fast connection from Lake City to Ballard would be nice, but spending billions on that isn’t justified. Those folks (and I would be one of them) would take a bus to 130th, then a train south and then west.

      * The times for the buses versus the train are very conservative. A five minute ride to NE 130th would mean the bus is traveling at 17 MPH. That is easy for BRT, and probably what a regular bus would do along that stretch with very little effort. A four minute ride from Lake City to Northgate assumes a stop in between. The two minutes from NE 130th to Northgate is based on similar stations.

      1. “The station at Northgate is simply in a very awkward spot from an east-west standpoint.”

        But there have been requests for a station on Northgate Way, which would be closer to Northgate North and other destinations and bus stops than the Central Link station is. This would be an opportunity for that. then you’d just need some kind of elevated walkway between the stations.

      2. This is why Lake City to Ballard has always been a silly idea.

        Topography is horrible. Yes, yes GRID! Love the grid. Not.

        The only easy way a train works to Lake City is to follow the natural contours and dodge the highway and skip trying to climb the escarpment.

        Interlining underground at Roosevelt, going surface to Lake City, going elevated through the Lake City core, and then you could go surface all the way to Bothell.

        I suppose instead of interlining at Roosevelt you could go south of Greenlake and tunnel through to Phinney, but that would be stupid. Just build the Ballard to UW line, and skip this grid-dream of connecting Ballard to Lake City. Once you consider topography and I-5, escarpment and neighborhood barriers Lake City to Ballard simply makes no sense, except as some abstract lines on a map.

      3. “This is why Lake City to Ballard has always been a silly idea”. What do you expect from Ballard Subway, I mean Seattle Subway. They think Ballard is the center of the Universe and all points go through it.

      4. For transit, all corridors have a ontogeny, supported by both ridership and development all along it. First a corridor is defined by a bus route which then attracts development which creates stops and riders. As riders increase and stops get consolidated, the bus route becomes a frequent bus route, which attracts more. Then, as if ridership and development supports the route, the route matures and becomes BRT or rail.

        In addition, buses are a tool to generate coverage, rail is a tool to increase ridership.

        We used to have a Lake City to Ballard connection, called the 75. How did the ridership work out? Lake City to Ballard currently would be a coverage route. And we cannot afford to use rail as a coverage tool, no one’s pocket is deep enough.

        Let’s develop a bus route first, especially one that plies along 125th/130th and covers those east west connections in North Seattle. As ridership increases, then we look at rail. I say that as a complete supporter of rail, even as a supporter of Lake City BRT where it is ridership at the peak and coverage mid-day.

      5. Looking at population and transit demand extending much further north and east than Greenwood and Holman Road from Ballard doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

        While I think Lake City and perhaps further out on the 522 corridor can justify rail service I’m not sure what a practical connection between Lake City Way and the spine looks like. The service wouldn’t have to interline with the spine but a non-revenue connection should be part of the plan along with platforms as close in horizontal and vertical distance as possible.

        All that said perhaps rather than spending money further expanding rail in the north end perhaps connecting dense neighborhoods in the heart of the city (hello CD and First Hill) would be a better use of capital.

      6. @Chris — Exactly. That is one of the things that bothers me about this set of proposals by Seattle Subway. I’m OK with studying things. But suggesting that a line from Lake City to Ballard is comparable to a “Metro 8” subway (which would include South Lake Union, First Hill and the CD) is silly. Lake City would be just fine with BRT from there to Bitter Lake. Areas like Greenwood and north Ballard will be fine with bus service that goes north-south on the main corridors. It is areas like First Hill, South Lake Union and the Central Area that have the high density and congestion that would benefit most from a large investment in rail. Given the distance, that investment would not only provide a bigger improvement, but cost less.

      7. I totally agree that the “Metro 8 subway” line that connects the Central District, First Hill and SLU is a huge need and would provide the most bang per dollar.

      8. The “Metro 8” line should clearly be a priority. It is a shame a vocal minority has convinced Sound Transit to defer connecting our dense Seattle neighborhoods to light rain in favor of suburban sprawl.

      9. Yes to finally bringing reliable and fast transit service to one of the densest and fastest growing neighborhoods in Seattle (the Central District) with light rail. This is long overdue and should not be delayed to accommodate suburban lines that will not be used as frequently.

      10. We all agree that the Metro 8 Subway could be a really great idea. If studies show the same things that all of us believe, such a line would be great, now. It would bring urban stop spacing to a dense urban core that Central Link never provided and improve the system.

        But politically, is now the right time to build that line, if other parts of the city are without a connection? Anyone outside the Downtown/Capitol Hill core will note that there has already been serious (albeit still not enough) investment there while still hoping to see something closer to them.

        Finally, a Metro 8 Subway is not on the Long Range Plan (LRP), which creates another impediment to building there. The LRP is the baseline for outlining what is available for HCT investment. Know what IS on the LRP? Bothell to the Spine via Lake City, meaning it is much more possible to get something completed to Lake City than a corridor that the Sound Transit board has yet to acknowledge is worthy of HCT investment.

        Bottom line, they could both be very valuable lines. However, the Metro 8 Subway has more hurdles to pass through than something to Lake City does–including addition to the LRP–meaning the best we can get out of ST3 is study of that corridor for future inclusion. Getting to Lake City, however, has fewer hurdles and therefore could potentially be advanced faster should studies show the cost benefit analysis merits inclusion in this package.

      11. Jonathan,

        The Central District is not connected to Link, so I don’t really see the distinction you are trying to make. But you are right that the Metro 8 line has not been studied (by Sound Transit…) with the same detail as their cherry picked projects for LRP. I find it crazy that the Metro 8 was not one of the projects selected for the LRP (and was not on the table for people to rate as part of the survey).

        A light rail line serving the Central District would certainly need to be studied before solidifying the route and breaking ground. But why not approve the funds and goal for serving this community now, and let the studies determine the precise routing/stops? If the Metro 8 concept does not make ST3, it will be another decade before it is seriously considered and we will be playing a losing battle of catch-up.

        I would also note that SDOT (or is it King County Metro?) has conducted some studies of the routes that would make up the suggested Metro 8 line, and have concluded that they are high priority.

  5. If Ballard to downtown and Ballard to UW are both approved– is there any reason (other than political) why Ballard to UW should not be built first? It should be quicker to build (no ship canal issues of going over or under it) and people would be able to use it quicker.

      1. Because going 7 stops downtown to Westlake, waiting for another train to go 2-3 stops northbound is completely moronic versus 4-5 stops directly eastbound that also serves other population centers in Fremont and Wallingford.

      2. Yeah no one would ever consider Ballard to UW via Westlake a viable transit substitute. Come up with a better reason to shoot it down.

      3. @JonCracolici that’s only if you proceed on the assumption Ballard-DT goes under the ship canal. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it looks more likely that we’re going to get the line running on a new Ballard Bridge which means a transfer would be required to the Ballard-UW line.

      4. @kevin
        All canal crossing options are very much on the table. It is not unreasonable to think that a tunnel could be the outcome.

        @mdnative
        Who knows? Those decisions would be made after a lot of other decisions get made. My choice would probably to start with the downtown tunnel.

  6. I think that it’s important to determine how the 520 buses will connect to the rail system in ST3. It’s been often discussed how the 520/UW Station connection is terrible and that it’s a regional design mistake. Now, we have early diagrams for the Totem Lake line that also skips any sort of interface with 520 buses.

    We’re spending billions and we’re not connecting regional bus services in 520?

    Hopefully, transit advocates will speak up to prevent us from making another major transfer mistake like we did on I-5 south (crossing the freeway twice south of Downtown with no express bus/HOV interface)!.

    1. I think this is a problem for the whole express bus network in the area – there are no good connection points for express buses. What we have is a collection of routes, not a network. 520 is a particularly good example. There’s regular (and possibly eventually BRT) service on 405. And there’s very frequent service on 520. But there’s no connection point at the 520/405 interchange. You can transfer at Yarrow Point, but it’s not a well designed station for that and there’s no fast way for buses to get from 520 to 405. The 522 is another example, though there there’s at least a transfer point at 195th/UW Bothell (though infrequent service and a long slog through Bothell make this not quite so simple).

      1. The problem is, short of completely rebuilding the whole 520/405 interchange, there’s no good way to allow a transfer there. You could conceivably have every bus traveling either 520 or 405 deviate into South Kirkland P&R to allow connections between them, but that would add several minutes to every trip, including the vast majority of trips that don’t involve transferring. Ultimately, I would rather just see the collection of routes we have today.

      2. The problem is, short of completely rebuilding the whole 520/405 interchange, there’s no good way to allow a transfer there. You could conceivably have every bus traveling either 520 or 405 deviate into South Kirkland P&R to allow connections between them, but that would add several minutes to every trip

        520 to 405 is getting an HOV center access ramp. No idea how they are going to do this but WSDOT knows how to pour concrete. The big loss was when S. Kirkland P&R got the TOD/Affordable housing make over that it wasn’t just moved via a land swap with WSDOT to being adjacent to 520. That wouldn’t make for a 405 transfer but it would have allowed a flyer stop transfer for all 520 buses, both Bellevue and Redmond bound. It would have also drastically cut the up to 5 minute waste some of the SB 134/135 NB 249 routes spend making the loopy loop-de-loop. C’est la vie.

      3. I don’t know if there’s enough space there, but why not put in a center station on 405 and a center station at 520 and then connect the two via stairs/elevators. Probably won’t be cheap but it would vastly upgrade the network, particularly if 405 gets BRT. Plus you can reduce service hours by doing things like cutting out some of the express buses. Not much pedestrian possibilities, but it’s close to the ERC and to Northup Way, so there’s probably some way to connect them.

        @Bernie: Where did you see that WSDOT is adding a 520->405 ramp? All I see is this page:
        http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR520Bridge/MedinaTo202/HOV.htm
        which states that a 520 WB->405 ramp is being planned. I have a feeling that will never help transit though, since by the time it gets built East Link will be here, so the ramp to SB 405 will have little bus traffic, and there are no buses from WB 520->NB 405 anyway.

      4. @Bernie: Where did you see that WSDOT is adding a 520->405 ramp? All I see is this page:

        WSDOT’s web site isn’t the best and it’s too late tonight to dig it up. But it’s part of the latest round of funding the legislature pushed through. I’ll try to look it up but keep hammering on the subject. I think it’s crucially important to know what WSDOT has planned and what they have funded to make an informed decision on a vote for what is being called ST3. It’s terrible that these votes are for pie the sky projects 15-30 years out that ignore the reality of what actually gets funded and build. Exhibit A, East Link over the wrong bridge because “nobody” thought the 520 sinking bridge would be replaced before ST needed to spend money on rail to Bellevue. Result, the new 520 sinking bridge is “rail ready”… like the tracks in the bus tunnel that had to be removed for Central Link; money under the bridge.

      5. Ah, the center station at a freeway interchange. Sounds like the Green Line/Silver Line transfer at the Harbor Freeway station in LA. A station so bad, so horrible, so “this is everything wrong with LA” that it should never be emulated anywhere. A station where you literally cannot talk to the person next to you, because you cannot hear them over the din of even Sunday morning traffic; a station where you can actually taste the fumes of all the cars and trucks whizzing past you; a station that, among other things, is a reason I will never again take transit from LAX to anywhere.

        Yeah, let’s put one of those here. (sorry for the snark, but that station is somebody’s version of transit hell)

      6. A station so bad, so horrible, so “this is everything wrong with LA” that it should never be emulated anywhere.

        To late, we already have one on I-90 on the Seattle side. Unpleasant yes, but it gets a lot of use. Same could be said for the old Montlake Flyer stop but that’s going to be vastly improved with the new lid. Neither of those is at the intersection of two freeways but I don’t think anyone is asking for a 405/520 transfer point. I assume that Kirkland’s request for an “in-line stop” is referencing NE 85th St.

      7. The stop doesn’t have to be in the middle of the 520/405 interchange. There are other service design options. But, why isn’t ST showing them? They are drawing rail lines on maps but not showing how they connect to the ST or Metro bus transit systems. At least Seattle Subway begins to recognize the importance of the connections but Seattle Subway is not ST.

        The big, BIG glaring disconnect is that all the buses in the region, including routes that use the 520 bridge, go to or through the Bellevue Transit Center. And yet ST proposes running the Kirkland-Issaquah rail line to Wilburton a half-mile away. We build 14 miles of rail track yet can’t figure out how to get a half-mile of aerial track so that the BTC can be near the line? It’s a blatant disregard for transit riders. Forcing a one-station double transfer for kirkland-Issaquah transferring rail passengers to catch most local buses is just wrong on so many levels.

      8. The I-90/Rainier one will be bad enough, but it’s nothing like Harbor Freeway station, which is at the intersection of two major freeways and has no visual or sound barriers, nor any attempt at such. The Rainier station is a median station in an area that is partly a park and is not directly over Rainier; it also is supposed to have walls and at least the attempt at sound mitigation. It will still suck, but the two aren’t even remotely similar.

      9. (the comment was referring to David’s idea of a 405/520 station, not one at 85th or other median stations, which–like Rainier–will not be pleasant but won’t be as bad as the middle of a freeway interchange.)

  7. I am happy to see the “Metro 8 Subway” line getting some attention, but am disappointed at the seemingly low priority placed on it by Seattle Subway. Long term and interconnected planning is definitely the way to go and the “Metro 8 Subway” line in particular, would provide the kind of reliable urban mass transit that Seattle residents living in dense, parking challenged areas need if they want to forgo a car. Connecting the Central District to the light rail system would also provide access to a dense population that is likely to use mass transit, but may not be as well connected to online polls or surveys on which Sound Transit bases much of its priorities.

    And what happened to Seattle Subway pushing for the ST Complete concept? Long term and interconnected planning is the way to go, and we have the voter motivation and economy to approve the long term vision now.

    1. Marc,

      STC is still very much our thing. This article is about that, prioritizing expandability, studying and planning for great future lines, and doing as much as we can as soon as we can.

      1. Jon,

        Has Seattle Subway had conversations with anyone from Sound Transit about the Metro 8 Subway line and/or connecting the Central District? I am curious what their initial response/attitude is. Why isn’t it a higher priority? Why hasn’t it already been studied as Ballard has?

      2. In my recollection, Ballard got studied because McGinn was willing to spend city money in partnership with ST to begin study work early. He was interested in a streetcar, and St was interested in a LR line.

      3. Jon,

        Thank you for your reply. But what about the first part of my question?

        Has Seattle Subway had conversations with anyone from Sound Transit about the Metro 8 Subway line and/or connecting the Central District? I am curious what their initial response/attitude is.

      4. Marc,

        It’s important to look at the history of ST and the Ballard studies. They were conducted because of external pressure from groups like Ballard Spur several years ago. That pressure to do the study work before the ballot measure makes putting the actual construction on the ballot simpler.

        It’s not that one line is higher priority, it’s that one line is further ahead of the other. Seattle Subway is pushing to have the Metro 8 studied (it hasn’t been) as part of ST3 to get the process underway, so that it may eventually be built, and so it gets factored into the projects that will be built right away.

      5. Neither ST nor Seattle has acknowledged a “Metro 8 Subway” as a project worth doing. It’s not in ST’s long-range plan, and no studies have been commissioned or done. The only thing the LRP has in that area is a “Madison HCT” corridor. The board left it in the plan in December 2014 because it wasn’t sure whether Madison BRT fully meets the long-term need. I have suggested that a Metro 8 subway could arguably be within the definition of that corridor, because it would be only a mile away from the initial concept, which is closer than other alternatives ST has considered for other projects (e.g., Lynnwood Link on I-5, Aurora, 15th NE, or Lake City Way). But ST has never officially accepted or acknowledged that argument.

        As to why not, you’d have to ask them. They won’t even acknowledge it as a valid need so it’s hard to get them to talk about it.

        McGinn prioritized Ballard-downtown as the next light rail line, so that’s what started the official momentum. ST had six corridors to study for ST3, but it wasn’t planning to study them for several years until ST2 was mostly finished. The city paid ST to accelerate the Ballard-downtown study and to add streetcar options as items to be studied. The other ST boardmembers said, “We want our corridor studies accelerated too! Our constituents are saying more light rail now!!! We want a vote in 2016, not 2020 or 2024.” So they accelerated all the studies. Then Murray succeded McGinn, and he was more open to the Ballard-UW corridor, but the momentum for Ballard-downtown remained, and the establishment in general still prefers Ballard-downtown-West Seattle.

        Part of the reason is that downtown-bound trips are still a large percentage, downtown has the most transfers available by far, people perceive that downtown lines are the most strategic asset, and ST is reluctant to acknowledge that its Ballard-UW study came out less expensive and higher ridership than Ballard-downtown. And ST’s refusal to plan a transfer station or junction at U-District Station now or five years ago, even though it would obviously become one of the highest-volume and productive transfers in the network.

      6. Mike Orr,

        You seem very well informed and active in this arena. Where do you place the “Metro 8 Subway” in terms of priority? How do we raise its profile among ST and other decision-makers? It seems painfully obvious to me that the central part of Seattle should be connected to light rail, but I recognize that this might be true for several parts of the city (hence my general preference for an STC type plan).

        Regarding efforts to expand the definition of the “Madison HCT corridor” to encompass the Metro 8 Subway line, aren’t John/Thomas/Denny and 23rd already designated as priority transit corridors? Is that the city’s classification and not ST’s? Do they share data? (they should!)

        This seems like a unique time in our city’s history where we have the public support for expanding subway-style mass transit and we need to take advantage.

      7. ST is pretty adamant that they don’t want to build a metro 8 in ST3 because it was part of the Long Range Plan (LRP) performed last year. Guess we f’ed up then not getting the project on the table.

      8. I forgot about that. The LRP at one point added what I called “The Seriously U-Shaped Line”, from West Seattle to Jackson to 23rd to Denny to Queen Anne (and potentially toward Interbay or Ballard). An ST staff said it got on there because one person had suggested it at an open house. I think it was only in a draft; I’m not sure if it was ever in a final LRP. I first heard about the corridor in December 2014 when the board was considering its near-final amendments for the revision. At that time I couldn’t think of any use for such a line; nobody would want to go from West Seattle to Seattle Center that way. Hardly anybody spoke up for it, and it was deleted in the final revision. Just before that happened somebody commented here that it would give the Central District access to Link, and that that’s a dense part of the city more deserving of a line than Ballard and Lake City are. So more people came to view Denny Way/First Hill/Central District as needing a line of some sort. But by then it was too late because ST had deleted the corridor thinking nobody wanted it much.

        The city has designated Denny Way and 23rd as transit priority corridors, but that doesn’t imply anything for light rail. It just means they’ll get RapidRide or sub-RapidRide lines.

      9. Thanks for the comments Mike.


        Part of the reason is that downtown-bound trips are still a large percentage, downtown has the most transfers available by far, people perceive that downtown lines are the most strategic asset, and ST is reluctant to acknowledge that its Ballard-UW study came out less expensive and higher ridership than Ballard-downtown. And ST’s refusal to plan a transfer station or junction at U-District Station now or five years ago, even though it would obviously become one of the highest-volume and productive transfers in the network.

        Wow, what a screwed up process. So basically, despite their own research (which always seems to ignore bus transfers — the obvious advantage to a UW to Ballard line), ST wants to pursue a less valuable route because they don’t want to admit that they screwed up. Or they are afraid that people are confused about geography and can’t understand that a trip from Ballard to downtown via the UW would only take two minutes longer.

        Meanwhile, they didn’t pursue a logical line that has been independently discovered many times here because no one over there thought of it. But they considered a long, crazy, looping line because someone somewhere made a comment.

        That is crazy. That is a messed up process, and it does not bode well for the future. I hope that things work out, but I fear that it won’t, and that we will have silly, very expensive, very low value proposals in the future. The big question is whether we will be so desperate for mass transit that we vote for them anyway.

      10. As Mike Orr notes, getting the Metro 8 Subway studied by ST as part of ST3 is the pathway to getting it on the LRP, which is the pathway to getting it built. But because it wasn’t added earlier (without study), we want it studied now so that error can be corrected.

      11. Jonathan,

        Above, in another comment stream, you pointed out that the Metro 8 line was not part of the LRP, so Sound Transit will not entertain it. But studying Metro 8 is also NOT part of the LRP, either. Is the Central District and other supporters of the Metro 8 line simply screwed out of a light rail connection for the next decades? Is there room to approve a study that was not part of the LRP?

      12. ST can probably approve a study, but it can’t build it unless it’s in the LRP. But ST could add it to the LRP anytime. It chooses to update the LRP every several years before each ST#, but I don’t see why it can’t amend it again if it wants to.

      13. @ Casey,

        An institution like Sound Transit just doesn’t change plans that fast. Metro 8 is not a possible project in their eyes because it is not a HCT corridor and zero study work has been done. We have to take those steps before ST will consider building it. We cant skip step 1 and go directly to step 5.

        Getting step 1 done will also make it easier to reach out to and organize effected communities. To my knowledge, there are no “supporters” of Metro 8 organizing anything other than Seattle Subway. Having a somewhat fleshed out plan would make it much easier to get people excited about it, and push ST to get it happening.

    2. I well understand that the Metro 8 Subway isn’t a priority for this time, but if the Ballard line needs to be planned around a line to Lake City then it seems to me it should also be planned around the eventual construction of a line that replaces the 8.

    1. “Funding of a study for an extension from Belltown through South Lake Union to Capitol Hill, First Hill and the Central District must be included in the ST3 plan. This routing is colloquially referred to as the “Metro 8 Subway” by many as it mirrors the high-ridership, reliability-challenged Metro bus line 8 in many respects. This line would create the density of urban HCT connections the City of Seattle will need in the future.”

  8. – issaquah needs to have a line to Seattle and also to Bellevue. I know the ESRC through wilburton is probably cheaper, but not really convenient to most issaquah commuters. Why can’t they build a bridge or tunnel to connect Factoria and south Bellevue p&r?! That will eliminate duplicating the rail between wilburton and south Bellevue…that’s my biggest gripe with their study.

    1. Why does Issaquah need rail? Why do buses not suffice? Issaquah is relatively low population with nothing between it and Bellevue (that area makes 405 look dense).

      As for why not build a bridge between Factoria and South Bellevue P&R, crossing the Mercer Slough is apparently difficult due to a combination of too many ramps through the 90/405 interchange, soil stability issues, and environmental issues.

      1. it’s a bit rich for Issaquah to expect two light rail lines

        Why not BRT on the old East Lake Sammamish rail line? Issaquah to Microsoft might actually have some ridership and more importantly it would torque all the rich waterfront property owners on Lk Sam. Why aren’t the CKC/ERC groupies pushing for this?

      2. Have you seen the kind of response the CKC neighbors have mounted? And Kirkland is actually trying to push transit on the CKC. Sammamish appears to be the complete opposite.

        I just took a look at the current status of that trail (King county is planning to pave it from Issaquah to Redmond) and Sammamish appears to be doing all in its power to stop even that from happening. The permit was issued with conditions that basically violated Sammamish city law. Take a look here:
        http://www.issaquahreporter.com/news/320662012.html

        I highly doubt the Sammamish property owners will just let anyone build an actual rapid transit line anywhere close to their houses.

        A better solution might be to expand East Lake Sammamish Parkway and add a bus lane in each direction. If you expand the road a bit and convert the shoulders into bus lanes during peak, you’d probably get 80% of the benefit for 10% of the cost of modifying the trail (and probably 1% of the headache involved in that).

      3. I highly doubt the Sammamish property owners will just let anyone build an actual rapid transit line anywhere close to their houses.

        I was being facetious but it’s telling someone would take this seriously. It shouldn’t be, any more that the Bellevue/Totem Lake proposed transit money pit. Issaquah to Microsoft might actually generate more ridership but both are so utterly ridiculous it’s… well, ridiculous.

      4. I’ve only driven there once or twice, but from what I understand, it actually is pretty bad at peak. If you provide a transit line that gives good access to Redmond and Microsoft, it will probably get a good amount of demand. Definitely not enough to justify a lot of investment, but some minor stuff would be good (e.g., peak only bus lane).

        The problem is that I don’t think Sammamish cares at all and, to be honest, I don’t think ST should have to work with an hostile city. It’s pretty telling what their priorities are when you compare the transportation section Sammamish’s master plan to that of Bothell or Kenmore. The former barely mentions a page of public transit information and sets some “goals” for multi-modal transportation. Bothell and Kenmore actually spend several pages talking about public transit, current levels of service, and possible improvements. Not ideal, but better than the former.

    2. Issaquah’s ridership is not very high compared to other corridors, and it drops off precipitously off-peak. Light rail is primarily for areas with high all-day demand. So it’s a bit rich for Issaquah to expect two light rail lines, one to Seattle and one to Bellevue/Kirkland. And in fact, Issaquah has not asked for a direct line to Seattle. It’s not in Issaquah’s request for ST3, and Issaquah’s ST boardmember has not requested it, even though he’s the biggest champion of a second Eastside light rail line (meaning Issaquah-Kirkland).

      As for what Issaquah should get instead in ST3, that’s what we and ST are considering. An Issaquah-Kirkland light rail line is a possibility, but its ridership and usefulness to the Eastside is mediocre, especially if it transfers at Wilburton rather than sharing East Link’s track between South Bellevue and Spring District (120th). Crossing the Slough is apparently too politically toxic due to presumed environmental lawsuits. There are various bus alternatives, the best seeming to be to convert the 554/555/556 into three frequent routes (e.g., downtown Issaquah downtown to South Bellevue, Sammamish to Issaquah Highlands to South Bellevue, and Issaquah downtown to UW Station, or something like these). I don’t feel strongly for or against most of the alternatives; I’m waiting to see which ones gain momentum.

      1. I agree that Issaquah doesn’t need light rail. Routing and frequency improvements to the bus routes that you mention could provide significant benefits at the tiny fraction of the cost.

        That being said, if light rail is going to be built, the proposed line that doesn’t go to downtown Bellevue and is borderline useless for downtown Seattle, can’t be it. The line really has to go through the slough to meet East Link near south Bellevue. While that route has significant engineering and political challenges, at least it would be useful and generate some ridership. The proposed line goes from an area without a lot of people (Issaquah) to an area that few want to go (Wilburton). From a financial perspective, the south Bellevue route may not be any more expensive than the proposed route. The bridge through the slough would be expensive, but it would save a couple of miles of track from Wilburton to Factoria, including a gigantic bridge at Wilburton.

      2. Yes, the easy thing to do (and probably politically expedient thing to do) is pursue better bus service. More routes running more often.

        The other alternative which ST seems to have ignored is bus based infrastructure. This does not mean BRT necessarily, but just improvements to various areas. Here is an example: https://seattletransitblog.com/2011/01/31/bellevue-college-and-eastgate/
        My guess is there are bunch scattered all over the place. Keep in mind, most of the rail plans, most of the BRT plans, and most of the express bus plans are centered around the freeway (the ERC being an exception). This makes some sense, as much of the growth of suburban areas followed the freeway. From a funding standpoint, it makes sense to leverage it.

        But often times, just getting to the freeway is the tough part. There are plenty of places where the streets connecting to the area clogged, but once the bus gets on the freeway, it moves quite well (because it is in HOV lanes). These are the places that could use some major capitol investment, which is what ST likes to do. I would love to see a list of projects like this, broken down by price, instead of grand plans focused on corridors.

  9. “Density, demand, and social equity point to serving the NE portion of Seattle with light rail, connecting to BRT serving 522 from Lake City through Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and Bothell to Woodinville.”

    Would love to see this analysis…

  10. Link seems to be the hot topic, I used to use Link and its fine for shorter trips, but commuting any distance on it is not practical, and I hope everyone thats raving about Link realizes this.

    In the time it takes Link to get from Seattle to Seatac, Sounder gets from King Street to Puyallup

    If there were express Sounder departing King St, and then only stopping at Pierce county stops, then you could get from Seattle to Tacoma in that time or less.

    If there was an airport connection at Tukwila from the Sounder stop you could get from downtown to the airport in 25 minutes or less in theory.

    Seattle’s transit and housing market problems could be greatly improved by providing fast transit to further out places where housing is a lot cheaper.

    1. The state, BNSF, and Sound Transit have been on-and-off planning and working on a third track for passenger trains. The ST3 list has a project to complete that. That would give more capacity to allow hourly Sounder, and more capacity on the other tracks for freight. It would also allow Sounder and Cascades to speed up. I think they’re capable of 90 mph if they had good track quality and low congestion. That could cut Sounder’s 60-minute trip to Tacoma to 45 minutes or less, which would be more competitive with driving and ST Express and would make it less of an ordeal to get to Tacoma. It would also make Sounder more effective for Kent, Auburn, Puyallup, and Tukwila. But it requires negotiating a price with BNSF, and BNSF will naturally try to get top dollar. So it may or may not be within cost reach.

    2. “In the time it takes Link to get from Seattle to Seatac, Sounder gets from King Street to Puyallup”

      Tens of thousands of people live in Rainier Valley, Beacon Hill, and along Pacific Highway, and thousands more go to the airport or work there.

    3. Light rail isn’t very good for serving long distances. There are very few subway systems in the world that extend a very long way from the city. Even big old cities like London and New York don’t build subways to areas way out there, even though the areas they could serve are far more densely populated than our suburbs. Newer systems (like Vancouver, Toronto or Washington DC) don’t do that either. The few that have (BART and DART come to mind) have not been very successful. Far from it. This makes sense, given the nature of the trips people take. A subway line from Northgate to Rainier Valley will be popular because there are lots of people making trips along the way. Northgate to Capitol Hill, Roosevelt to downtown, UW to Beacon Hill. All of these trips take a while, but they are much faster than driving. But there really aren’t that many people going from the Federal Way TC to Tukwila, or South 272nd to Angle Lake. Suburban residents tend to want to get to the city, and the stops along the way are merely a nuisance (slowing things down) rather than a net benefit.

      Which is why most cities don’t try to serve their suburbs with direct light rail connections. They end their subway at the outskirts of town (possibly with a giant park and ride) and call it a day. Bus service — direct bus service — connects to it (or an express goes straight to downtown). The result is much faster service for the typical rider (someone headed into town) while slower service for someone headed from one suburban location to another (e. g. Federal Way TC to Angle Lake).

      The other thing cities do is run commuter rail into town. But few build new commuter rail lines, because, like light rail, it is very expensive to do so. If the commuter rail line can’t be built in affordable manner, then they run express buses on the freeway.

      We are engaging in a transit experiment that will likely fail because similar experiments have failed — logical analysis suggests it will fail as well.

  11. I very heartily agree with the need to interline Issaquah-Kirkland and East Link from South Bellevue to Wilburton. It would allow for very high frequencies in that central Bellevue spine.

    1. … and allow Bellevue to start planning their own 2nd tunnel as the demand would be Crazy in the ‘Emerging Spine’.

      1. and allow Bellevue to start planning their own 2nd tunnel

        Oh, please NO! The first go around is painful enough. Ironically the council member that had the best plan based on cost is the one so called transit advocates hate the most. So now we get a station adjacent to 405 suspended like an aircraft carrier deck after spending all the additional money to tunnel under DT Bellevue. Go figure.

  12. Les, you have to e-mail Stephen Hawkings immediately with your firsthand confirmation that Ballard is in fact the Center of the Universe, as witnessed by the fact that since heavy speculation replaced light industry, no place else in the Universe sucks that powerfully!

    And Mic, reason you actually win all these encounters by the rule for things like swords and battle axes: the blade with the most metal removed always removes more from the enemy than, say an engine block.

    However, most of all, you have to be careful about ever reading anything written before Hemingway.

    You see, though nobody knows why, a huge goose-feather constantly dipped in ink can take down any word processor in the universe. I think the explanation is that Mark Twain or Ambrose Bierce (who wrote stuff that would make Steven King wet his bed) had to put every thing on the actual page. While the computer turns most the thoughts into little electric charges nobody can see- or care.

    So key to razor-sharp post-Hemingway brevity is like they say about food: Don’t Read Any Book Bigger than your Head!

    Mark

    1. Stephen and I had a falling out as of late and I’m doubtful he will respond to me. Regardless, it is not him I’m worried about, it is the kiddies at Ballard Elementary that concern me.

    2. The kiddies that think LCW is more interested in connecting to Ballard than they are UW, DT and points north.

  13. The two that I don’t support at this time are 2 and 3e.

    For #2 (a light rail connection between Totem Lake, Kirkland, Bellevue and Eastgate in ST3):
    (1) It violates a supposed ST board policy against having light rail on I-405, which is the board’s stated reason why the rest of I-405, most notably the severely-congested segment from Bellevue to Renton, has to get by with BRT;
    (2) I have yet to see what the need is for someone to travel from Issaquah to Totem Lake on light rail instead of bus, particularly the privilege of the coveted “single seat direct ride” that many otherlight rail riders won’t have (see: today’s diversion through the Rainier Valley for riders going points south of downtown and your advocated detour to Paine Field for those interested in going to/from Everett north);
    (3) This project is one of two outliers with the highest capital cost– almost triple that of all of the projects, less than half of the estimated ridership of the average project, and the highest capital cost per estimated rider, about triple the average.

    For #3e (North line routing through SW Everett Industrial Park):
    (1) While mid-way in price, it has the lowest ridership estimate of all of the northern options;
    (2) It would entail 1.5x the capital costs to get possibly fewer riders than option 3 (I-5);
    (3) It has 1.3x the annual operating expenses of option 3;
    (4) It inconveniences riders to the north by tacking on the equivalent of 2 weeks per year diverting to Paine Field, 24/7/365;
    (5) Current transit ridership to the Paine Field area is abysmal, with transit cutbacks of this decade never fully restored due to lack of demand;
    (6) It duplicates Swift BRT from the south as well as along Evergreen Way.
    In summary, this area is a great candidate for a light rail extension, and perhaps the politicians can garner the courage to get contributions to the project from the large employer this seems to be catering to instead of the other way around.

    On the other hand, I whole-heartedly support extending light rail to West Seattle and from Ballard to the University district, both of which are overdue for – and have long histories of – strong transit ridership. The former offers relief from the limitations of the West Seattle Bridge, while the latter offers another benefit outside of going to/from the University, which has been a heavily-traveled route for decades. With Ballard being an employment and housing center in its own right, an east/west line would mean that residents therein wouldn’t be forced to go downtown to go north on light rail and workers wouldn’t be forced to go downtown to go northwest to an employer in Ballard. In other words, not everybody works in downtown Seattle or Bellevue!

    1. “I have yet to see what the need is for someone to travel from Issaquah to Totem Lake on light rail instead of bus, particularly the privilege of the coveted “single seat direct ride” that many otherlight rail riders won’t have”

      It’s not for that; nobody thinks there will be lots of trips from Eastgate to Kirkland. The purpose of the line is to get both areas to Bellevue and to East Link. They’re interlined because it’s more efficient to have one line than two. People are trying to find a single line that reaches the largest cities left out of East Link, and this is what they’ve come up with. It forms an X with East Link, which is one way to serve the most neighborhoods.

      “Current transit ridership to the Paine Field area is abysmal, with transit cutbacks of this decade never fully restored due to lack of demand”

      That’s hardfly an argument against HCT. The current bus service is so awful that even dedicated bus riders debate whether to use it.

      1. Thanks Mike, yeah I’m a dedicated bus rider but service around Paine Field was so awful I’ve advocated for a streetcar and had my first ever Uber going from Historic Flight to Future of Flight Wednesday. Bad service = low ridership every time.

    2. “It violates a supposed ST board policy against having light rail on I-405, which is the board’s stated reason why the rest of I-405, most notably the severely-congested segment from Bellevue to Renton, has to get by with BRT”

      Even though I would directly benefit by having LRT on 405, even I don’t think it’s a good idea. There are no good destinations along 405 except the P&Rs, all of which have, at best, ok walksheds (Totem Lake is probably the best). And since you have to drive to the P&R, many people just keep driving from there. Since the ETLs are already there and doing a pretty good job (and will hopefully remain there despite various other people’s best attempts to get rid of them), it makes sense to just run buses on them instead of LRT.

      The problem with Kirkland/Bothell/Bellevue is that there are too many pockets of areas that could benefit from real transit but they are spaced too far apart. The ERC is better than 405 (it hits Houghton, the edge of DT Kirkland, and Totem Lake) but misses too many others. Unfortunately there are no good solutions out there.

    3. “Current transit ridership to the Paine Field area is abysmal, with transit cutbacks of this decade never fully restored due to lack of demand;”

      Uh, we’ve had this ongoing discussion about a certain Paine Field tenant……………………………..

      Uh, one of the reasons why Community Transit Prop 1 passed was so a certain Paine Field tenant finally would get a bus stop………………………..

      Uh, the Mayor of Mukilteo is FINALLY on the Community Transit Board.

      I’ll stop piling on. Have a good night futuristic flight.

  14. My biggest request is that all lines within Seattle should have urban stop spacing from day one. No excuses. We’ve seen the error of our ways with the existing Central Link line and a Graham Street station is on the table for ST3 to help fix that. We’re about to open a new extension to the UW and Capitol Hill with only two stops over several miles. Many folks on Capitol Hill were understandably upset with the tradeoffs Metro proposed to reroute buses to serve that single station; the neighborhood is easily large and dense enough for two or three stations at the very least.

    Let’s not make the same mistakes over again with the new lines, especially the ones underground where it’s difficult (if not impossible) to go back and add stations at a later date. The Ballard-UW line is a great example. NW Seattle already has a pretty decent grid-like set of bus routes serving the area in a logical pattern. There’s no good reason whatsoever to build this line in a way that would skip transfer points for any of these bus lines, or force Metro to make their routes less grid-like to serve Link stations that are too far apart. Yet the latest plan from Sound Transit shows one station somewhere between Route 5 and the E line (necessarily making a transfer inconvenient for one or both bus lines) and skips a transfer point for Route 28 entirely.

    1. We’ve seen the error of our ways with the existing Central Link line and a Graham Street station is on the table for ST3 to help fix that.

      Wrong. You can’t fix a route that goes nowhere by adding stations in the middle of nowhere. Graham adds zero net ridership; that’s why it was deleted (politely termed in ST speak as deferred). Another fluff fill station just exacerbates the problem for the line to airport. Like it or not Seatac and TIB ($40k per free parking spot) are the only reason Central Link has any ridership to speak of other than Sodo to Convention Place.

      1. Actually, Rainier Valley isn’t anywhere near the middle of nowhere, and it has quite respectable ridership.

        RV is a very transit oriented area. The deferred/deleted Graham St Station is the middle of nowhere. Really, it’s auto dependent hell. The existing RV stations suck because they aren’t on, guess what, Rainer Ave. Beacon Hill is a great neighborhood but leads in the $/suck ratio. It’s a billion dollar bus stop; albeit with artwork that puts the SAM Sculpture Park to shame. Why is it that it’s seemingly impossible to get station boarding numbers any more current that 2014?

      2. Where’s that $40k/parking spot figure come from, Bernie? Just curious–that’s generally speaking towards the upper end of structured parking pricing, and TIB’s parking is just at grade parking lots.

      3. Scott,
        You are correct, $40k is about what ST pays per stall to build structured parking; they always seem to be at the high end (gold leaf for striping, etc.). I was thinking TIB was a parking garage I guess because walking through the station it feels like one. I’ve only been there twice. The new southern terminus will be a parking garage, right?

      4. Angle Lake will have a 700 space parking garage and 400 surface spaces. They plan to turn the surface lot into TOD once Link goes further south.

    2. I agree completely. If there is one failing so far with Link, it is the failure to consider the stations. They seem more focused on the line itself (as if it will magically serve the needs of everyone in the area) instead of the stations. Not only have they failed to put them in, but they’ve failed to consider bus or pedestrian interaction with the stations. Given the relative cost of an underground light rail line versus a station, this is really inexcusable.

      1. Yeah, I’m probably going to vote no if there are obvious stations missing on underground lines. We get one shot at this. Let’s not settle for mediocrity.

      1. Yep, don’t care. I’d rather be able to get to the train than have it go speeding past without me on it. The train is useless to me if the nearest stop is more than a mile from my house and the most convenient bus route goes right over it without a connection.

  15. I notice Sound Transit is consistently projecting 4-car trains in there early feasibility studies. When looking out 25 years from now to around 2040, is there the potential for the stations to be too small? How easy would it be to expand these stations to accommodate 6-8 car trains?

    1. It probably isn’t feasible for lines that have surface stations, unless you want to close some crossing streets.

    2. If 4-car trains are too small, and ST has already done the DSTT improvements to bring the 3-minute frequency floor down to 2 or 1.5 minutes, then the next step is a parallel line that will draw away half or at least a third of the riders. Making trains longer doesn’t make them more convenient for people, but another line enables more neighborhoods to have stations and thus makes it easier to live without a car in more places. The problem is you have to start planning the new line fifteen years ahead of when the first line reaches capacity, and that can be difficult to predict and politically difficult to pass. The reason we have such acute overcrowding problems on Metro and ST Express now (although better now with Prop 1) is that we didn’t build these light rail lines and RapidRide+ lines earlier so they’d open in the 1990s, so we got caught in a multiyear supply shortage.

      1. I agree. Improved headways or new lines are the way to go. Both improve service substantially while also improving capacity.

      2. Keep in mind that a four car Link train is the length equivalent of a Chicago 8 car train. Someone is going to have to do something about zoning to get that level of traffic density attracted to a single line.

  16. I will be proudly voting NO on ST3. Why?

    First Reason. It increases property taxes. Property taxes are the most evil and unjust from of taxation we use. No one should have to keep paying for what they already own. Also, no one should have to risk losing what they have because the taxes are to much. I met a man at a Des Moines City Council meeting who claims that his property taxes will go up five hundred dollars a year. An amount he cannot afford.
    Second Reason. I do not trust Sound Transit. Link was supposed to have been done years ago at a much lower price. That was a joke. I guarantee that the ST3 projects will cost more than what they are asking. They are asking for what they think they can get. When the projects are started they will just keep collecting the money.
    third Reason. There is no real accountability. If there were the taxes would stop automatically when the agreed upon revenue amount was met. Then it would be resubmitted to the voters if more money is needed.

    1. 3) ST has promised to do exactly that.
      2) Yes, they’re behind their initial estimates from the 1990’s. I won’t defend ST’s first incarnation. But, they’ve met or come in under all the estimates made from after their reform.
      1) I sympathize with your position on property taxes, a lot. But we haven’t seen yet what ST3 will be; all we’ve seen is what the state legislature has allowed them to include if they want.

  17. The entire New York Subway System was built in the first decade of the 20th century including multiple tunnels under rivers, lighting, signaling systems, switchable local and express rail lines, stations, through bedrock and mud, above grade and deep within ground, no unsightly, dangerous overhead power lines, extending to the limits of all 5 boroughs of the city, over 150 miles worth of tracks, without the aid of computers or automated equipment ….IN JUST 4 YEARS!!!….why?….They had a comprehensive plan that exceeded their needs well into the future and guaranteed the future success and standing of the city as a world class example of what a modern city should be for more than a hundred years…Seattle has been it’s own worst enemy regarding transit for more than 70 years….THINK ABOUT THAT…

Comments are closed.