King County Metro XT60

This is an open thread.

108 Replies to “News Roundup: More Units”

  1. It’s been a fairly wet winter so far and I haven’t heard Sounder North closed for landslides once this season. Seems like whatever WSDOT did last year to stabilize the slopes has resulted in a lot better performance.

      1. “For years, mudslides have bedeviled the route connecting Everett, Mukilteo, Edmonds and Seattle, where 206 train runs were canceled in the wet season of 2012-13.” – from the Times.

        I’m sure a lot of those are freight runs, but in comparison to the what was probably a one time slide event with a mandatory ST 48-hour closure this season, it seems like an improvement. Someone more savvy could probably find the stats to prove or disprove what is admittedly just an observation.

  2. Supposedly ST will start simulated revenue service on U-Link this weekend. Trains will continue all the way to Husky Stadium — no more turnbacks in the stub tunnel.

    Getting closer.

    1. How many folks will ride a bus to convention place just to see if they can catch a glimpse of trains continuing north?

      1. @RDPence You can see the trains going north toward Capitol Hill Stn from a bus as it heads toward Convention Place Stn.

        Right before the bus turns towards convention you have a clear view of the tunnel north and (up to this point) trains waiting to return on a southbound run.

      2. Not to get too anal on such trivia, but by the time a NB bus loads and leaves Westlake Station, the NB train in front of it will be gone from view when the bus turns to enter Conv. Pl. Sta.

      1. Isn’t *hides under seat* the First Nations name for the cute little “Seat Hog” on the poster about things to do and not do on transit?

        The one that first has his luggage piled on the seat next to him ’til he realizes not to- probably being petted by a really cute girl- and puts his luggage under the seat except for the stuff he has in his lap.

        Should be good ST mascot!

        Mark

  3. We should all be skeptical of the proposed KC ferry routes. Even the most realistic cross lake options look like they might be uncompetitive with 520, 522 buses.

    1. I can’s see a way that UW is going to be receptive to a passenger ferry terminal on it’s already crowded waterfront. How about a Madison Park dock that ties in to Madison BRT?

      1. Not enough riders probably.

        There were already discussions with UW apparently. According to what I saw in the earlier release of this study:

        A) A new floating dock would be built
        B) UW would request investigation of an integrated service (Bus + ferry) that would connect to UW Bothell

        But more absurdly, a Golden Gardens to Seattle route would require construction of a new parking facility and have a park and ride operate from there. What a waste of money.

      2. Charles B (and the horde), has King County thought about extending the 44 to Shilshole Bay Marina (if this boondoggle gets approved)?

      3. @mdnative

        Its my understanding that the 44 is getting moved out toward Sandpoint (to children’s?) from Stadium as part of the RR+ project. By the time its complete though UDistrict station should already be open, so it should be a service upgrade.

        I know of no plans to extend to Shilshole though. At best, restoring service to 32nd appeared on Metro’s long range plans. That’s about it.

    2. As a Ballardite, the only reason I might take the ferry from Pier 50 (which is close to my office) to Shilshole marina is another Fishpocalypse/ afternoon cluster– since, from what I can tell there is no nearby transit from Shilshole (other than walking to the 44)

      1. Hey, why not a Ballard to UW light rail line? Wouldn’t that make more sense than a ferry from Shilshole to Pier 50 *hides under seat*

      2. wouldn’t a north sounder station at shilshole marina make the most sense, the trains already run through here and need more riders??

      3. @poncho
        Except almost no one lives near Shilshole. It’d be a waste to build any transit there unless its the end of something going through the heart of Ballard where people actually live in significant numbers.

      4. There’s a huge parking lot at Golden Gardens Park which is blocked off except, I think, for summer weekends. During the week, it would be more than adequate for cars from North Ballard, Blue Ridge, North Beach, etc. for residents catching a what, fifteen minute train ride, to KSS. Very early on there were plans for a [provisional] Ballard Station. NIMBY’s in part quashed that idea. As well as the Seattle Parks Department which for some reason didn’t want a station adjacent the park. Except for KSS, there is no Sounder station within the Seattle city limits. It’s about time Seattle got another station. One at Golden Gardens would also up the daily patronage numbers, which critics have long been calling for. As long as the train passes through the area, why not take advantage of it? So it would add a couple, three minutes to total travel time from Everett, Mukilteo and Edmonds.

      5. @Lightning

        So here’s a hypothetical commute for a Golden Gardens Sounder Station:

        Leave your house, around 65th and 32nd. Make the 5ish minute drive to the GG parking lot. Wait another 5 minutes for the train to arrive (hopefully on time!). Board the train and depart for King St. Station, let’s say 15 minutes from stepping on the train to stepping off the train. Next, get to your office; you’re taking Sounder, so you probably work within 10 minutes of KSS. We are now around 35 minutes, a pretty generous estimate of time.

        That same trip, on the 17 in the morning is slated as 34 minutes. Now granted you have to walk to the bus and to your office, so we’ll say 40 minutes.

        Is it really worth putting in a station that like 10 people will use to save MAYBE 5 minutes?

      6. Furthermore, a Golden Gardens Sounder Station would give ST the excuse to charge the north King subarea 1/4 of north Sounder’s egregious operating costs, since it would have 1/4 the stations, even if that station provides negligible benefit. The effective result would be a transfer of Seattle tax revenue from local projects into Link to Everett.

      7. how is this any different than building a ferry terminal in this same location, other than the train already runs through here and could stop? it would be the same parking lot that would be used or built.

        agreed shilshole marina area offers little, thats why I don’t think the ferry makes much sense, but if you are just go with the train instead. that said we really need to make/upzone places that have good transit service and access already, shilshole should be a place to target development so that it can be utilized plus its right on the highly desirable waterfront, who wouldn’t want to live there??? instead its seattle’s biggest parking lot

      8. one more thing is a station around shilshole could be intermodal hub for crosstown bus service especially the 44. but no means is this location ideal but the train already runs through here and has disappointing ridership yet its the fastest thing between the ballard area and downtown, its low hanging fruit to put a stop here!!! and a good number would use it. infact id make this (not KSS) the official transition point between north and south sounder.

      9. @poncho

        The point is that neither investment makes any sense, so we shouldn’t do either.

        You couldn’t use the ferry money for a train station if you wanted to. By law it can only be used for ferries.

        Now just because more folks riding Sounder would be less bad than building a mostly useless ferry terminal doesn’t mean we should waste precious ST funds for Sounder. Every penny of that money would be better spent almost anywhere else in the city.

        The ferry study is simply looking to see if any new ferry projects make enough sense to use more of the avaliable taxing authority to establish new ferry runs.

        The correct thing to do is look at the report, conclude this route is NOT worth building and not use the taxing authorty for the project.

  4. Hey guys, listen I kinda need your help again…

    The Skagit Transit Community Advisory Committee is working on new by-laws. Any similar organization you’d recommend we take a peek at.

    Thanks in advance. We are a community.

  5. Can I say on an open thread that Tim Eyman’s s—show is utter dirtbag and we should put the gas/highway expansion tax up for a vote too?

    Why is it so necessary for Tim Eyman to put up an initiative for taxation authority already going to voters? Oh and if Tim Eyman loves highways so much, why doesn’t he move to the Olympic Peninsula?

    This pisses me off. Why does the highway lobby get such a free lunch?

    1. Tim Eyman loves Tim Eyman’s paycheck, which he “earns” by paying himself to promote initiatives, using the money people donate to support those initiatives. I don’t think he actually cares, at all, what the initiatives are actually supposed to do, or whether they succeed in doing it; he just needs to get enough attention to keep his name in the news so that he can keep the donations rolling in for whatever crackpot idea he decides to start promoting next.

      1. Someone should hire him to promote a pro-transit initiative, or a “tax money from a county stays within the county” initiative.

      2. This country’s had worse than Tim, but in same business. Original idea for Prohibition was attempt to protect women, who having gotten the vote were finally in a position to protect themselves from their worst danger:

        Getting beaten to death by husbands who came home after a night drinking 1900’s liquid version of meth, bought with the last of the rent money. Nobody intended for the law to apply to beer or wine.

        Nobody but a much nastier version of Tim Eyman, who played to bigoted people who hated sudden invasion of people from Romania, Italy, and Jews from both places. Worse fear than for Syrian refugees now. Taking away an old, beloved, harmless and healthy pleasure out of spite.

        Nobody knows whether the activist believed his words. The important thing was the more people he agitated, the more politicians became afraid of him. Which really became his whole stock in trade. Same, I think, as the National Rifle Association now.

        Salary? Be generous to yourself! But once you’ve shown you can intimidate politicians on one issue, people and interest groups will start paying you
        generously to intimidate politicians for their own business purposes. You can even franchise your operations.

        Might be good to find Tim’s client list, as well as a list of who’s afraid of him. Might be worth some money to these elected people to begin paying us to intimidate people who got intimidated by Tim.

        This bulletin has been issued by the National Health Service Department of Infectious Diseases.

        Mark

    2. He hit so many spots on the anti-transit bingo board: Seattle-centric, unaccountable, boondoggle, choo-choo, and so forth.

      1. Henceforth we should respond to “choo choo” with “beep beep, vroom vroom”

        They just want more toy cars to play with. Its not a serious transportation solution that carries any number of people per vehicle…

    3. The article about the Eyman Initiative, had it right, Eyman’s living in the wrong decade. Things have changed since 2002, Central Link is now operational, and in about a month, we should be closing out ST1. I believe a radio host in those days, and maybe Eyman as well, compared Sound Transit at the time, to WPPSS, although Sound Transit has probably delivered more of what it promised than the latter.

      1. There are a few local radio hosts who will be instant supporters of this nonsense. You know the same ones who are always talking about the “war on cars” and who whipped their listeners into a froth over the 405 toll lanes.

        Thankfully Tim seems unable to write his initiatives in a way that is constitutional so whatever he does is very likely to get tossed out by the courts even if it is passed by the voters.

        Also given his habit of playing fast and loose with his campaign funds he may find himself sitting in a state prison for fraud when all is said and done.

  6. ST didn’t want the ST3 MVET in the first place; it wanted a tax mechanism that was less unpopular and more equitable. But what the legislature gave ST was a sales tax, an MVET, and something else I can’t remember. I think the MVET is the smallest one. ST was hoping not to use it because it’s so publicly unpopular. Although with 25-year dreams and people clamoring for soon openings, it may have to. If the legislature had given ST a property tax, a business tax, or something else, then MVET wouldn’t have been an issue.

  7. It is nice to see that there is almost seamless transfer point from 11 E Madison Riders to connect with Light Rail on Broadway. Hope Metro will publicise the tunnel entrance that is just north of the Community College on Broadway. The only time a street has to be crossed is when riders are going from Light Rail to the 11.

    1. It’s 1100 feet, which doesn’t sound like an almost-seamless transfer to me. But if people end up using it anyway, more power to them!

      1. I walk four blocks to and from the 11 when I use it, so 1100 feet is not bad. BTW, riders can also use the streetcar which stops on Pine and at the West entrance to the CHS.

      2. Studies have shown that a walk to transfer deters the vast majority of transit riders much more than a walk at the beginning or end of the trip. And, psychologically, I agree.

      3. Had it not been for certain opponents in Madison Park, the 11 would be stopping directly AT the Broadway and John entry to the LINK station, far more convenient, especially for persons of all interests heading north to the University. But the one seat ride to TJ’s MUST be preserved…

      4. Let me correct your statement, yes I was against the 19th Ave East solution for the 8 and 11, but the KCM accepted the proposal. After that, SDOT said NO to the idea since they were not willing to make the changes.

        We are all entitled to own opinion, but NOT our own facts. I was ready to accept the KCM passed Metro routing, and you should be willing to accept what SDOT has mandated for Metro routes 8 and 11! The BRT will change routings when it goes in on East Madison.

      5. You can’t move Pine Street and John Street closer together, so Link was inevitably going to serve one or the other, unless you think it should have been right in between which (1) the college may have obected to, (2) is further from the commercial core north of John. So inevitably one bus route or another is going to be further from the station. It’s not clear to me that either the station or the 11 are in the wrong place. Transfers may not be ideal, but Broadway is so close to downtown anyway is it a big deal if people stay on the bus? Sometimes they’ll be going to further stations, such as Northgate or Bellevue or Columbia City. Then people won’t begrudge the 3-block walk as much because it’s a smaller part of the trip, and it beats staying on the 11 to Westlake and transfering.

      6. Ideally, there would’ve been multiple Capitol Hill stations. Maybe Pine/Bellevue and Broadway/John; maybe Pine/John and Broadway/15th.

      7. >> Studies have shown that a walk to transfer deters the vast majority of transit riders much more than a walk at the beginning or end of the trip. And, psychologically, I agree.

        Interesting. I agree. I can’t help but think that a walk to transfer just means that the agency in charge screwed up. It suggests that you are doing something weird.

        To be fair, sometimes being weird means being clever. Drivers do this all the time — go the secret way and all that. It can happen with transit too. But transit is meant to serve the masses. It really is not supposed to have weird loopholes that allow the savvy rider to get ahead of the crowd. It is meant to serve the crowd — to serve everyone. That is the beauty of it. When you ride in the fast lane — above it all or below it all or sometimes just next to it all — you can laugh at the all guys sitting in their Mercedes Benz’s. You might be sitting next to a wino or the guy who just finished his shift sliming fish (I’ve done both) — but you are moving faster dammit! Ha — take that, rich guy!

        But not if you have a long transfer. A long transfer just means you lost all advantage, and feel like a poor schlep that maybe should pay for parking, or Uber, or get in shape so you can ride a bike to where you want to go.

      8. something weird

        Weird is routing the 245 going up 70th/Old Redmond Rd. through the P&R just so riders can “transfer” at the middle stop. For the 238 it makes sense to stop on 70th and then make three rights to go left (really it does, it’s weird). But the 245 makes a complete loop which includes sitting through two long light cycles for no reason but a very occasional transfer which could be handled with some signage pointing the person to walk ~300′ over to the stop on 70th.

        It’s also weird that the 234 and 235 use NE 38th Pl going NB to Kirkland TC but SB they slog down to Northup and then go all the way back up the hill to loop de loop S. Kirkland P&R. Why the “couplet” ?

      9. In the scheme of things the walk between Pine and the Link Station doesn’t really matter all much. We’re talking about 2 blocks here with no stoplights. The walking distance between 3rd/Pike and Westlake Station (including the walk through the mezzanine to the platform) is probably about this much.

        To a large extent, the walk from Pine to the station for transferees is an unavoidable consequence of routing buses in a straight line and not sending them on loop-de-loop detours every time there’s a transfer point.

        In general, long transfers are bad, but at the end of the day, what really matters is the total amount of time between getting off of bus A and getting on bus B. How much of that total time is spent walking vs. waiting makes absolutely no difference in terms of what time you need to leave home to arrive at a destination on schedule. For instance, consider all those hourly buses that leave Sounder stations right before the train arrives. Distance-wise, the walking distance is negligible. Yet the transfer still ends up taking an hour, and the result is nobody rides the connecting bus and everybody drives.

    2. I’m sorry to see that the 11 won’t be using the same stop as the 8 at Capitol Hill Station. It certainly would be nice to have them combine for a frequent corridor all the way from there to Madison Valley. Instead riders are stuck guessing which bus will come first.

      1. David,

        Your points about the 8 and 11 will have to be looked at after the Madison BRT goes in and would make sense at that time. Given that the 10 is no longer going to Pine, the 11 on it’s current route makes sense for now!

      2. I wish the 11 served CHS and the 10 stayed on Pine. the 10 makes little sense for a transfer to CHS given how short the line is and how much of the 10s route is in walking distance to CHS, the 10 is the kind of bus that is not worth getting off and transferring to link unlike the 11.

  8. I’m impressed that Bellevue is studying their “Grand Connection” but highly skeptical of what they’ll do with it. It looks like they’re thinking of aligning it with 6th St, which is already basically pedestrian only except for the part between 405 and the transit center. Hopefully this does mean they’ll provide a bike/pedestrian only connection between the transit center and the ERC, which I believe is an option for the current 6th St extension anyway. On the other hand, this is also going to mean having to deal with a lot of pedestrians on a bike path, which is going to be a problem and make at least some bikers move over to one of the nearby streets anyway (none of which are good for bikes).

    1. good lord, what a truly miserable downtown to walk around. anything helps but its still a drop in the bucket to making it remotely safe and comfortable to walk in that auto infested place.

    2. “what a truly miserable downtown to walk around”

      It’s better than 90% of the country. At least Bellevue is trying to build a walkable downtown and has succeeded to some extent. It has several of the components of an urban center: transit center, supermarket, park, library, apartments/condos, a variety of jobs. I lived near downtown Bellevue in the early 80s just before the skyscrapers, and even then it was refreshingly more complete than other suburban neighborhoods or downtowns — you could walk to more of your weekly needs, and transit was right there when you had to go somewhere else. It has gotten several times better since then, and the pedestrian-hostile one-story buildings with surface parking lots are mostly gone. Sidewalks are everywhere, 6th Street has a pedestrian path, and the only arguably unsafe pedestrian crossing is 8th Street over 405.

      Downtown Bellevue’s development is basically a “modern urban village” or “Los Angeles growth”. It’s not as good as pre-WWII development in several aspects, but it’s what we’re going to get in the Spring District, Southcenter, Lynnwood, etc, so we’d better reconcile ourselves to it. It’s better than large-lot cul-de-sacs with hourly buses a mile away.

  9. Agree with Mr. Hill; refunds should be given. Is the 405 mess to make money or to improve traffic?

    Great to hear money may be coming to support light rail. Now is when I wish we could vote on the candidates who support certain projects and their routes. I would say some of the proposed routes are not the best use of research or money, but for some reason against common sense and public input, they go forward.

    Just my two cents.

    1. The 405 toll revenues can be rolled back into the corridor to fund the extra GP lanes everyone wants.

      Sounds like a good investment to me !

      1. Or better yet, pay for bus improvements like median stations to avoid the weave that slows down the 532/535!

    2. How about “Your tolls go to maintain this road because your politicians are too spineless to find real funds to keep roads in good repair.”

      Anyone like that idea?

      Toll all freeways to fund maintainence on the freeway collected. Don’t want to pay? Ride the bus.

      1. And certainly toll mountain passes for snow removal and avalance protection and Columbia River crossings for bridge maintenance, both LONG overdue (like 50-60 ears?). How about $5/axle??

    3. If it refunds the money, where will the money come from to improve the section north of Bothell that everybody’s complaining about?

  10. Can we use that extra $600M of ST’s funding that is freed up to build 130th, 220th, Graham St, and BAR?

    1. Maybe, but it doesn’t go to Lynnwood Link’s and Central Link’s dedicated account. In fact, I can see politicians in West Seattle eying that. (runs, ducks) It means ST2 can be paid off earlier, or equally that ST3 would be slightly less expensive.

    2. Yes, the 130th St and 220th St stations were deferred pending funding, so if additional funding is available for Lynnwood Link, they should be added before extra money is reprogrammed to any other project.

    3. Its a nice idea, but is this extra funding? Is it not funding the project was already counting on?

      1. From what the article implies, Lynnwood Link was budgeted assuming $600M from the FTA. Since they’re considering allocating double, the $600M sourced from various other ST sources is probably eligible to be re-allocated.

        Also, what becomes of funds when a project comes in $150M under budget? Didn’t another project related to East Link come in $200M less than expected due to some wonky reasons?

      2. It cuts the assumed price by $600 million, so it;’s an opportunity to either build more or tax less.

      3. it;’s an opportunity to either build more or tax less.

        The taxes aren’t going to go down. It’s an opportunity to reduce debt by selling fewer bonds. The less bonding capacity they use now the more they have later. And by maintaining a stronger financial position they would be assured to get the best interest rate possible.

        They certainly could build more in the ST2 package. Completing the line from Overlake to Redmond comes to mind. But I doubt they’d do that because that’s a huge carrot they can dangle when asking for another tax increase.

  11. Two reasons ferry service is a good idea that will get better with time:

    All over northern Europe, there are hydroplane boats available that aren’t Your Grandfathers’ Mosquito Fleet.

    And our freeways aren’t packed solid with Your Grandfathers’ traffic jams! Frequent I-5 corridor travel gives me an ironclad theory: Carrying rush hour transit passengers anyplace but on a freeway is worth whatever it costs.

    Because operating expenses, as well as maintenance an damage by enraged passengers get lower by same factor as operating speed increases. By the balance sheet, stuck in traffic is budgetary bleeding red like a stuck pig.

    Any cost estimate involving cab fare costing less than ferry ride needs to remember that a taxi does not need to be moving for the meter to keep running. But….! I bet Uber and Lyft could do this really cheap, right?

    Seriously, though, I think major problem with any high-speed watercraft in confined waters is traffic control. Hydrofoil collision would not be Your Grandfather breaking some splinters in a collision.

    Also, though, Danny, you have to realize that your audiences don’t have Your Grandfathers’ patience with car traffic on bridges, especially the motionless kind. Maybe it’s because a Toyota compact really doesn’t have the magnificence of a ’59 Lincoln with a US flag on the antenna, stopped for an hour on a bridge over a sunny lake full of sailboats.

    Mark

    1. if any one of the ferry routes might make sense I think the UW-Kirkland route. of course the eastside is so autocentric that a ferry terminal in downtown Kirkland would turn the entire downtown into a parking lot with severe traffic a few minutes after the peak direction ferries arrive in the evening

    2. Not sure about the King County proposal, but I like the Kitsap County proposal. Coming back from Bremerton Saturday, a Passenger only ferry could have been better than the Stealth. For some reason it was limping on only one engine, took over an hour to cross the Sound.

      Kitsap Transit already has two passenger only ferry routes that do the work of buses. With no bridge, a bus route to Port Orchard would have to go around the inlet, via Gorst, probably taking an hour. The ferry, currently operated by the Admiral Pete, built in the seventies, and the Carlisle UK, built in 1917, take around 12 minutes to get to Port Orchard. The Port Orchard run is six days a week, the Annapolis run revolves around the Navy Yard commute.

  12. Seattle lands spot on top 10 densely populated US cities

    Seattle has cracked the top 10 most densely populated big cities in the United States for the first time in its history… jumping past Baltimore in terms of density and making giving it the No. 10 spot… If current growth continues, Seattle is on pace to bypass No. 9 Los Angeles within five years.

    I think there’s a qualifier missing because Wikipedia lists SF at #21. So possibly a cities over a certain size or combining metro areas? </p
    #6 New York City 27,016.3/sqmi
    #21 San Francisco 17,246.4/sqmi
    #51 Boston 13,321.0/sqmi
    #75 Chicago 11,868.0/sqmi
    #95 Philadelphia 11,233.6/sqmi
    #99 Miami 11,135.9/sqmi

    The Huffington Post explains that “metropolitan area” is often wrongly used interchangeably with “urban area”.

    The New York urban area covers the most land area in the world… The New York urban area is geographically bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Nonetheless, New York has fallen behind Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose in urban density.

    They come up with a very different looking list.

    1. They’re using a strange defintion of metropolitan area. To me the Pugetopolis metropolitan area is from around Smokey Point to Tumwater. It’s east and west boundaries are more iffy. But to say that all of the Olympic Penninsula is part of the metropolitan area because some people commute to Tacoma or Seattle and we have to count entire counties is rather silly, and at odds with the overwhelming understanding of metropolitan. That’s part of the issue I have with relying on census tracts. “The dark square says it, so it’s true.” Yes, every dark square will behave exactly the same, they all have the same amount of walkable businesses, and their residents are equally willing to use transit as the next dark square.

    2. City limits are rather arbitrary. That is why I encourage people to look at census maps. They are really quite fascinating and illuminating. I prefer to set the shading towards the data side, so that it shows density before it shows labels. See if you can pick out cities. For the most part you can, quite easily. But places like Everett are not really that easy, because they don’t have much in the way of densely populated areas. A place like Yonkers, on the other hand, is relatively small, but very dense — containing areas every bit as dense as Seattle, if not more so. Seriously. Lots and lots of places more dense than any in West Seattle (or Snohomish County, or Pierce County).

      Oh, the New York Subway system does not extend to Yonkers, despite the fact that is is closer to Manhattan than SeaTac is to Seattle. But some think light rail should be extended to Everett. Interesting.

      1. Its almost like politics decides where transit goes instead of census maps, and always has. Huh. I guess census maps aren’t that convincing to decision makers, and we should approach them with political rather than technical reasons for transit. Learn something new every day.

      2. Looking at boundaries in different ways can help with transit planning and understanding political realities. ST is able to run bus routes across county lines. Metro is able to plan routes without having to end because there’s a city limit sign. As we’re seeing with the letters from various mayors a great deal of the political input/output is based on feudalism. You don’t have to like it but you do have to play the game if you want something done.

      3. the New York Subway system does not extend to Yonkers, despite the fact that is is closer to Manhattan than SeaTac is to Seattle.

        The takeaway message I got from the Huffington Post article is that west coast cities are fundamentally different than “old” cities in the northeast. We can certainly learn from what works and what has failed but different schemes are likely to be more effective in the west than for say New York or Boston. San Francisco is an exception but it was a real city when Seattle was a logging town and it was constrained from sprawl by water on three sides.

    3. The Times article is about a ranking of population density among the 50 largest cities. The Wikipedia link is of all incorporated cities, including lots of small but densely populated ones.

      Neither list is about urban areas or metropolitan areas, which are completely different than cities (municipalities).

      1. Limited to 50 in population with perhaps Long Beach tossed out as being part of LA seems to be the key. These are the 2010 census numbers. Drops off pretty quick after Seattle, Minneapolis, Oakland. Actually, with the exception of NY and SF we’re a nation of sprawl. Interestingly San Jose, Vegas and Portland look much better when you look at the Urban Area (not metro area). An interesting list, but a lot of work, would be density by transit area (i.e. King County for Metro, ST taxing district, City of Everett, etc.).

        By Density City 2010 Density By Size
        1 New York 27012 1
        2 San Francisco 17179 13
        3 Boston 12793 24
        4 Chicago 11842 3
        5 Miami 11539 44
        6 Philadelphia 11379 5
        7 Washington 9856 22
        8 Long Beach 9191 36
        9 Los Angeles 8092 2
        10 Baltimore 7672 26
        11 Seattle 7251 20
        12 Minneapolis 7088 46
        13 Oakland 7004 45
        14 Milwaukee 6188 31
        15 San Jose 5359 10
        16 Detroit 5144 18
        17 Cleveland 5107 48
        18 Sacramento 4764 35
        19 Fresno 4418 34
        20 Portland 4375 28
        21 Las Vegas 4298 29
        22 San Diego 4020 8
        23 Denver 3923 21
        24 Columbus 3624 15
        25 Dallas 3518 9
        26 Houston 3501 4
        27 Mesa 3218 38
        28 Omaha 3218 41
        29 Atlanta 3154 39
        30 Albuquerque 2908 32
        31 San Antonio 2880 7
        32 Raleigh 2826 43
        33 Phoenix 2798 6
        34 Austin 2653 11
        35 El Paso 2543 19
        36 Charlotte 2457 17
        37 Wichita 2400 49
        38 Tucson 2294 33
        39 Indianapolis 2270 14
        40 Fort Worth 2181 16
        41 Colorado Springs 2141 42
        42 Memphis 2053 23
        43 New Orleans 2029 50
        44 Tulsa 1992 47
        45 Louisville 1837 30
        46 Virginia Beach 1759 40
        47 Kansas City 1460 37
        48 Nashville 1265 25
        49 Jacksonville 1120 12
        50 Oklahoma City 956 27

    4. and theres a huge difference between walkable density and autocentric sprawl density which is Miami or any edge city. yes Miami has high rises (yay its dense!!) except half the building is a parking garage and all residents drive in and out of the tower

      1. yes Miami has high rises (yay its dense!!) except half the building is a parking garage and all residents drive in and out

        It appears you wouldn’t get much disagreement from the locals. Wikipedia pegged Miami-Dade 2011 weekday bus ridership at 245k or about half of what Metro and ST move in King County even with a population that’s ~30% greater.

  13. “592 units going in next to the Auburn Sounder station.”

    According to the article, the development is actually here, not all that close to Auburn Station (nearly 1 mile as a best-case scenario)…

  14. I want to see if I understand this Seattle Public School ORCA card story. So the child of a jobless parent on welfare will get a free ORCA card, but the child of a working parent who is middle class will have to walk to school?

    1. People on welfare (both with jobs and without- and most of them have jobs, they just don’t pay enough money) have less money then people who are middle class and have jobs. People who don’t have enough money have a much harder time affording transit passes, but middle class people have the ability to pay for transit passes. Therefore, if you want to help the most people, you help the poor first.

    2. The school district does not have enough money to give a free Orca card to every student, so prioritizing the low-income students makes sense.

      It’s not like middle income students can’t ride the bus. They can buy a regular Orca card just like anybody else.

      Of course, for people living between 1 and 2 miles from school, unless the path happens to be right along a bus route, the bus may not be all that useful for them anyway. Typically, transit trips that involve something like walking 1/4 mile, riding a bus 3/4 mile, then transferring to another bus to go another 3/4 mile, then walking another 1/4 mile at the end, end up being no faster, door to door, than simply not bothering with the bus at all and walking the whole way.

    3. So then how are the the middle class students who live 1 to 2 miles from school able to walk to school, but the kids with poor parents aren’t able to walk the same distance, and need a free ORCA card?

      And Bob, it’s spelled than, not then.

      BTW, chaining people to poverty isn’t helping them, it’s hurting ultimately them.

      1. Also, poor people often have more money than the middle class, because the middle class don’t get income-tested reduced and free benefits. The middle class has to pay full, market rate prices for everything, like housing and daycare. The poor get housing at a greatly reduced price and get things like daycare and food for free. So poor people have more disposable income than the middle class, in many cases.

      2. Sam says: “Also, poor people often have more money than the middle class, because the middle class don’t get income-tested reduced and free benefits.

        Can you show your work?

      3. But those benefits at most only take them into working class spare income levels. The poor having more spare cash to spend then the rich is simply not true. And bus passes aren’t just for going to classes at school- poor kids can use them to get around without the burden of paying for a car.

      4. And bus passes help people get away from poverty, not chain them to it. Same with other welfare programs- you can’t find a good job if you don’t have enough to eat, a decent place to live, and an education to actually be well educated enough for a better job.

      5. One of the arguments for free ORCA cards was that people in Rainier Beach don’t feel safe walking to school. Poor people tend to live in less safe areas because they can’t afford anything else.

        As for poor people having more spending money, where’s your evidence? And did you count the time and effort it takes to qualify and requalify for these programs, and often get denied, or have to appeal it because the agency made a mistake?

  15. I wonder if Tim Eyman thinks the name of the agency is “Seattle-centric Sound Transit.” If so, it must be awkward for people who take Seattle-centric Sound Transit route 592 from Olympia.

    1. I’m not looking forward to people in Yakima gutting Sound Transit to save Puget Sounders from MVET.

  16. That proposal to include the whole county is what MadDog (David Madore) tried to do to C-Tran down here in Clark. The “No’s” want to add the 15% of Kitsap County voters who will never ever use the foot ferries to the voting area. That means they get an automatic 30% “No” for which they don’t have to convince people that it’s not needed for economic health in the County. (It is).

    Without the money brought in by ferry commuting, Kitsap would be indistinguishable from Mason County: an economic backwater with high unemployment and big Meth problems.

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