centralIn addition to the vast new stretches of track Sound Transit will consider for a November 2016 ST3 ballot measure, there are a number of infill stations on existing track segments that ST is considering for inclusion. In December, they presented cost and ridership estimates for these infill stations.

All figures are in 2014 dollars, and boardings are estimated for 2040.

North Stations

N-04: 130th Street. $79-85m; 2-3,000 riders. This is the rare station that receives strong support from Seattle and highly negative response from others (Shoreline and points north). It has also been the focus of organizing. These numbers are both more expensive (up from $30-50m) and lower in ridership (5,100) than the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) ST released last year.

ST spokesman Geoff Patrick says that the increased costs are due to the difficulty of constructing the station during revenue service. The project also has access and sustainability allowances, as well as a pedestrian plaza, which were not in ST2 planning. Ridership is lower due to updated PSRC land use targets, and a ridership model with 2014-2040 projections as a base instead of 2011-2035.

N-05: 220th Street. $86-92m; 1-2,000 riders. Compared to last year’s study, ridership remained steady but this got much more expensive (from $50m). As Lynnwood actively opposes this station and even Mountlake Terrace considers it a secondary priority, its prospects are doubtful.

Central Stations

C-08: Graham Street. $66-71m; 4-5,000 riders. A priority for the City of Seattle, and the big carrot for people in Southeast Seattle to vote for ST3. The approved “Move Seattle” measure envisions $10m for this project, perhaps reducing the load for Sound Transit.

C-09/10: Boeing Access Road, Link and Sounder. $124-129m; 3-4,000 (Link) + $94-100m; 1-2,000 (Sounder).  The City of Tukwila’s stated top priority, building both segments of this relatively expensive project would provide a superior transfer point between South Link on the I-5 corridor and South Sounder in the SR 167 corridor, enable potential development in the area, and arguably address some of the time penalty of truncating buses from South King County (although see some skepticism here). The Link station alone would break up the longest nonstop stretch of Link, which would alleviate some egregious trip planning issues (e.g. Rainier Beach to the Museum of Flight via TIBS.) The ridership estimates assume both are built together.

Also, two of the “Green Line” Link stops that SDOT requested in its letter didn’t make it into the base analysis of a line to Ballard. The study instead evaluated them as infill stations:

C-01e: 99 & Harrison. $367-393m, 3-4,000 riders. As an underground station, this is a higher order of cost. It’s unclear how this might interact with the nearby Deep Bore Tunnel portal, but this station would preserve urban stop spacing in the urban core below Mercer. It also improves the walkshed in South Lake Union and is critical to ensure that virtually all of Belltown is within a half-mile of a station.

C-01f (Interbay): $90-97m; 1,500-2,000 riders. The 15th & Newton station visualized here would be at-grade. The study suggests fewer than 1,000 new riders. Most curiously, the study assumes a 200ft., 2-car station because the concept assumes surface light rail through downtown, which limits train length. For that reason, determined partisans for this station (if there are any) would probably dismiss these results as insufficient.

131 Replies to “ST3 Infill Stations”

    1. Agreed about Boeing Access Road Station – this was part of the original plan and was tabled when Tukwila insisted the line be re-routed. This is the only place I know of where link light rail and sounder rail intersect – it could be a HUGE benefit to have as a transfer point… and please consider park & ride lots at as many of these stations as possible

    2. As multiple people have pointed out, BAR is a terrible location, with nothing at all useful nearby.
      If tukwila actually needed a station, S 133rd is just as close to I-5, closer to 99, has actual jobs nearby and some potential walkability.

      1. I agree. The Sounder Transfer is less than useful and BNSF isn’t likely to allow it to be built. If we are going to put a station in this stretch do it at 133rd.

      2. Nothing at all useful? The Museum of Flight is a respectable institution and also is a Seafair Air Show hub that attracts a ton of people. Plus multiple Boeing Field tenants that could use a light rail station such as flight schools and helicopter ride programs and general aviation hangars.

      3. Joe, the Intersection of BAR and the link tracks appears to be about 1 mile from the Museum of Flight. Based on what we know about transit use, that’s simply too far for many choice users. There aren’t good reasons to think many Museum goers will sign up for that walk. As others have noted, 133rd St is near a number of businesses, schools, and homes, within the 1/2 mile walkshed, which is what the vast majority of people are willing to walk to use transit.

      4. Joe,

        Google maps says 1.2 miles walking to Museum of flight entrance. Aviation high school 1.4.
        Unsafe conditions throughout.

        This 2x to 4x what a realistic walkshed could be. The hangers are all on the Georgetown side of Boeing field, all 2-3 miles away.

        What destinations are you considering attractive, and how close are they?

      5. The A is every 15 minutes and has transit lanes and real-time signs. The 124 is every 30 minutes and doesn’t. That makes people view the 124 as coverage service and they won’t wait for it or plan a trip around its schedule; they’ll drive.

      6. Yup -133 is a better place for a stop,
        the BAR it’s self would be a terrible spot for a stop, but the stretch of east marginal from the BAR to s112th might make a good spot- there is empty or under Utilized land there that could be made into a work center. No mater what, the Flight Museum will not be in the walk shed of anything along central link and would have to depend on shuttle buses or the few harty soles willing to walk along marginal to it.

      7. Joe,

        “A Seafair air show hub” does not a transit destination make. Seafair is two weekends per year. And the truth is, just like The Future of Flight, tourists won’t want to learn about the local transit system to go to it. They’ll take a narrated tour.

      8. The helicopter rides are where it’s at. By 2030 traffic will be so bad people will flock to this station to take a helicopter to their final destination. UberLyft is going to be huge.

      9. Joe,

        If Link went right to the Museum some portion of tourists would probably take it. But it never will. Even in the event of a full splash Bypass via South Park and Georgetown (your statement about Georgetown noted, Bernie), there won’t be a station at the Museum.

        To ask them to find the train in a tunnel, ride it to a noisy, windy, and lonely transfer at the end of an airport runway and then get on the proper bus to the Museum is fanciful at best.

  1. “These numbers are both more expensive (up from $30-50m) and lower in ridership (5,100) than the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) ST released last year.”

    In other news, Sound Transit continues to pretend that buses do not exist.

    How can we fire their planning department?

    1. To do that you would need to fire the suburban voter, who doesn’t like busses. The suburban voter who projects his/herself as a “train person”.

    2. By “pretend that buses do not exist” do you mean “manage the largest commuter bus system in the US?”

      1. Consolidation has been brought up several times before, but it’s not an automatic panacea. It works in cities that have top-down planning and a basic commitment to urbanistic transit. But we have a situation where every suburb and neighborhood expects to micromanage lines directly to their preferences, and vote on them individually, and isn’t willing to upzone or give car lanes to transit, and that dampens what you can do even with a single agency. Jarrett Walker has also written about the tradeoff between unified transit agencies or transportation agencies vs more localized agencies: integrating the transit agencies means disintegrating them from their cities and counties. They’re the ones who control the roads and construction permits, and they can turn against the transit agency and refuse to accommodate its needs.

    3. This is about the 125th/130th route that Metro could theoretically provide to get people from Lake City and Bitter Lake to the station, perhaps as a segment of a longer route. Since it doesn’t exist now and Metro hasn’t committed to it, ST can’t count on it. At the same time Metro is loth to announce restructure proposals more than a year before they occur because it drags an opposition battle through the entire time. So it’s a Catch-22. The only way out of it is for Metro to commit to at least some level of service in that corridor, even if it can’t say which buses would be rerouted or how many service hours it will have after truncations that haven’t been decided yet.

      1. I think you give ST too much credit. They really have no interest in (or at best, have no ability to manage) bus to rail integration. The Ballard to UW line would literally run right under a bunch of different crossing bus routes, but they had to be dragged into even considering stations at those locations (and even now have trouble with 8th NW). Maybe the planners simply don’t trust the other transit planners. I’m not talking about ST not trusting Metro (Metro has bent over backwards now to accommodate their flawed decisions). I’m talking about ST planners trusting the folks that build the stations. From a big picture standpoint, the Mount Baker station should be huge. It should be the biggest station outside of downtown. The 7 carries about a third of the riders of the entire Link system, and it intersects “Central Link” right at Mount Baker. But very few people make the transfer, because the transfer is terrible. So maybe the planners just assume that no one will bother to make a transfer from a bus to a train because ST will make it miserable. Fair enough. Either way, someone on the planning team should be fired.

    4. @William C,

      In large part you can blame O’Brien for the price escalation. His compromise of making 130th St infill ready actually drove the costs up by creating a more difficult construction problem. Most people close to the problem at the time understood the trades though: a vocal group of advocates was temporarily silenced while ST saved roughly $5m over the basic design. The flip side though was that an infill station got more expensive and thus less likely, and the local neighborhood now has a more visually and acoustically more intrusive LR line that they will have to live.

      And while the construction cost issue could be mitigated by building 130th St as part of Lynnwood Link, that train has effectively left the station. The Feds have already reviewed the project without 130th St Station and qualified it for Federal funding with a line item in the most recent budget proposal. ST is unlikely to put that money at risk by reopening the evaluation with a new design.

      And I believe the station still scores as a net zero ridership to the system.

      And, yes, you could theoretically reroute buses to feed the station and thus manufacture ridership potential where such potential does not reasonably exist today, but Federal guidelines usually ban such things when evaluating station/project potential. Basically they don’t want you gaming the system by lavishly applying lipstick to the pig.

      ST understands this very well, and they qualified for Federal funding by following the rules.

      And besides, Bitter Lake already has RapidRide. To say that Bitter Lake now needs a bus feeder to Link is to suggest that BRT doesn’t work, or at least that RR doesn’t work

      1. Wow. So many profoundly ignorant statements, all in one little comment. I don’t know where to begin.

        How about: there is no way in hell this system will be even remotely successful without bus to rail integration. There aren’t that many people close to the stations in Lynnwood. There aren’t that many people close to the stations in Shoreline. There aren’t even that many people close to Roosevelt or Northgate. Seriously — it is a fifteen minute walk from Northgate Way and 5th NE (the center of the Northgate neighborhood) to the station. Unless you are counting only on a handful of people arriving at that station (and damn near every other station) you better count of buses.

        Second, it is quite rich to say that estimating a few thousand people at the Lake City station (at NE 130th) is “manufacturing ridership” when they project ridiculously high numbers for Lynnwood and Shoreline.

        As to Bitter Lake: Dude, learn how to read a map. Really. Or, just answer me this — how the fuck is someone supposed to get from Bitter Lake to the UW, once Link is built?

        Oh, and the RapidRide E line does not serve just Bitter Lake. It goes all along Aurora, which mean that its existence — its success — is an argument for a station at NE 130th, not against it.

      2. The point of the line is not ridership numbers per se, but to make it easy to get to most of the largest population/activity centers on transit. ST’s numbers do not include numbers from a frequent east-west bus because such a bus does not exist yet. If it did exist, you’d have at miniimum most of the riders who are currently on the 41 and 522, and more would come because it’s higher-quality service. But even if the net ridership were zero (because all these people would go to Northgate Station or 145th Station if 130th Station didn’t exist), I would still advocate for 130th because it would make the city significantly more transit-oriented (i.e., more like Chicago, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles !egads!). ST doesn’t have to cook up inflated numbers, it just has to say this is what we want to do and see how much the feds will acommodate. (The feds might even agree it’s a wise decision when they see the size of Lake City.) In any case, we can’t assume the feds will say no, ST should at least research the issue and talk with the feds before assuming it can’t.

      3. Well said, Mike. It isn’t just ridership, it is the amount of time that someone saves that is important.

      4. Thanks, Ross and Mike. Well said. I think all three of us have either lived or now live in that area, and frankly the comment you responded to is steeped in ignorance. Watching what ST has done with ridership numbers in the suburbs (d.p. once had a majestic takedown of ST’s Lynnwood numbers) compared to that in the city tells me this: if a 130th station is not included, particularly because the suburbs want a slightly faster choo-choo, I will not hesitate to vote NO on ST3 nor will I hesitate to work against it, which will shock those who know me and know I’ve been an advocate for HCT/rail in this region for 35 years. We need a SYSTEM, not some straggly-ass lines that give the marketing staff at ST a chance to put in their shiny brochures that “OMG ST has 923 miles of rail!!!1!!” without mentioning that it consistently goes out of its way to serve the far-flung auto-oriented areas while willfully skipping denser areas that could actually use it, and use it for more than just getting to/from work. If that takes blowing it up and allowing the city to go it alone, so be it. Once Lynnwood/Redmond/Federal Way get their trains, it’s not like they’re likely to vote for more anyway.

        Station placement is such a great symbol of not caring how people in bus-heavy areas use the rail system; even if you aren’t certain what will be done with buses once the rail lines open, there should be some common sense that tells you “hey, the Northgate P&R is not really a great place for rail as it’s difficult to get to–let’s put it closer to (better yet, over) Northgate Way.” Pretty easy to guess that Metro would immediately re-route their cross-town service that now jogs around the mall so that one could get off the bus and directly upstairs to the train. Same with the crappy placement of Mount Baker, or TIBS, or Capitol Hill, or no station at 520, or a station at 145th, which has exponentially worse traffic than 130th and lacks a direct connection to either of the far north end (of Seattle)’s major neighborhoods.

        Grrrrr.

      5. Light Rail “acoustically intrusive”? Right next to an Interstate freeway? Your trolling for the sprawl magnates of Snohomish County is getting less effective by the day.

      6. Light Rail “acoustically intrusive”? Right next to an Interstate freeway?

        Absolutely! It was one of the reasons for not using the East Link B7 alignment, too much noise from light rail for the condos that had a freight line as a noise buffer between them and I-405. Most of the people on this blog took a big swig of that ST Kool-Aid.

  2. Is there an possibility of adding stop on the ulink line? I know the cost would be high but it seems like only the one stop between Westlake and Husky stadium is a missed opportunity. Somewhere close to 520 would be awesome for eastside transfers and I think Capitol Hill could support another stop.

    1. A stop at 520 seems like the most plausible. If ST knew what they were doing, there would probably be a station or two closer to Capitol Hill station, but the tunnel they dug is probably nowhere near a useful station location (e. g. Madison). But it most certainly crosses 520. Unfortunately, it probably crosses 520 at an angle. This means that a new station would not only mean lots of digging, but some leveling, too. I would like an estimate of the cost, but my guess is we won’t get it until there is a change of administration. To come out and explain that it relatively expensive (say 400 million instead of 100 million) would mean admitting that we made a huge mistake, and ST really doesn’t like to do that. To the best of my knowledge, they have never done that.

      1. If it were $400M, it would be a great fit for East King money in an expanded ST3, wouldn’t it? That station would be, I bet, far more useful in terms of time saved for eastside commuters than laying track out to the hinterlands at multiples of $400M.

    2. Somewhere close to 520 would be awesome for eastside transfers

      As an eastside bus rider I agree and would suggest putting it right in front of Husky Stadium.

  3. Why are there no stops between Capitol Hill and UW? I don’t know much about the Eastlake area (other than passing through it a few times on the bus), but that seems like an awfully long stretch of rail very close to the city center without a station.

    1. Primarily SFO houses north of Mercer above the route of the tunnel. The line travels neither directly under 23rd nor anywhere near Eastlake.

    2. The original Link proposal was in the I-5 express lanes and/or Eastlake. Urbanists pressed hard and got it routed to Capitol Hill. It went under Broadway and Portage Bay with three or four (Pine/John, Roy, southwest UW, and I don’t remember about First Hill). Then the Roy station was deleted as excessive. Then the Ship Canal estimates were too expensive and high risk, and the UW objected to trains so close to its seismic monitors. ST deferred Westlake-45th, and proceeded with Westlake-SeaTac. Several years later in the mid 2000s, ST determined that a different Ship Canal Crossing via Husky Stadium would be cheaper and less risky, and found enough leftover funds in ST1 to restart it. However, ST didn’t revisit the number of stations, so the ones left from the last alternative were carried forward. Activists did not pay enough attention at the time and were not vocal about more stations, and STB didn’t exist yet or was just getting started. Then First Hill Station ran into trouble: engineering estimates were again expensive and had risky soils, and ST was concerned that including First Hill would make the segment ineligible for federal grants under its riders-per-mile formula or whatever it was using at the time. So it deleted First Hill Station. That’s how we came to the current situation.

      1. The tunnel rises at maximum grade from Westlake to CHS and it’s still a really deep underground station. Then the roller coaster plunges down below sea level to cross the Montlake Cut. the only way another station could have been added would have been to make a much much longer tunnel that did a giant S under Capitol/First Hill. Add in the cost of extra deep underground stations and the cost would have be 3-4X meaning it wouldn’t be built for another 20 years assuming enough taxing authority was granted for the increase in project scope. For once ST built something in a reasonable time frame on budget that’s going to likely give a 2-3X boost in ridership. And people are still backseat driving?

  4. So not only does ST want to send Ballard-Downtown to the hinterlands of Interbay, they now want to chop off half its useful stations?

    Disgrace. Punt the entire project and put a tube under 45th where it belongs.

    1. +8,000,000,000. Without those stations, and without a good UW-Ballard line, I will vote against ST3.

    2. The savings from Interbay rather than a Queen Anne tunnel can pay for part of your 45th line.

      1. Further evidence that an Interbay alignment is a travishamockery of urbanist ideals. Why don’t we do the hard engineering work and build a useful line? Better to build higher quality rail over a longer timeline than to throw down tracks through hinterlands now, forever baking in a cheap and less-useful route.

      2. It’s not hard engineering work; it’s more expensive construction costs. ST seems to have decided that a Queen Anne tunnel going to Fremont and then Ballard is not worth the cost. Therefore, we could use some of that money saved on a 45th line, which would be much more worth it. (Fremont/Ballard de facto urban center, Wallingford urban village, demonstrated need for Ballard-UW HCT -vs- upper Queen Anne tiny village that strongly opposes upzoning).

      3. I get that resources are fungible and the associated tradeoffs. But Queen Anne was never even discussed publically. It’s an urban village and will be upzoned eventually. We are bypassing it to save a few bucks today because we are obsessed with delivering a million miles of track, when maybe we should focus on half a million miles of high quality track over a longer period of time. What will it take to learn the lessons of the mess that is Link?

      4. There are huge technical problems with providing service to upper Queen Anne and Fremont on the Ballard-Downtown line. First we really don’t know what is under the surface. The deeper you go with a tunnel the more likely you are to encounter something completely unexpected. Second any upper Queen Anne station will need to be deep mined. In fact I believe the UQA station would be the deepest urban rail station in the world. Third the geometry required to dive under the ship canal to serve Fremont would force the tunnel and station even deeper.

        Could it be done? Probably but the cost and the risk is great for minimal gain.

      5. Queen Anne was discussed publicly. We made a huge issue at the Ballard open houses about the need for 100% grade separation, and how a Seattle Center-Upper Queen Anne-Fremont-Ballard routing would serve the most transit markets and also solve the Queen Anne access problem. We pieced that option together from several of ST’s alternatives.STB was the first one to publicly propose it. When ST tallied the public feedback from the studies, 3/4 of it was for 100% grade separation and the Queen Anne alignment. That led ST to add it to an alternative in the corridor study results. ST has since preferred the Interbay alternative as a better cost/benefit ratio, but that doesn’t erase the consideration of Queen Anne.

      6. >> The savings from Interbay rather than a Queen Anne tunnel can pay for part of your 45th line.

        Meanwhile, the savings from building the WSTT instead of Interbay and West Seattle Junction rail can be used to build all of the Ballard to UW subway, along with some nice surface improvements, and the down payment on the Metro 8 subway. The end result is a way more people save way more time for less money.

      7. Well yes, but we can only work with what ST decides, not what it doesn’t decide. ST has pretty much come out against the WSTT and West Seattle BRT unless something unexpected happens in March or June. But there’s still the possibility of the Ballard-UW line, and as for 130th I’d say the board is divided.

  5. Nice to see reality creep for the 130th station. Northerners badly don’t want this station and it would turn off many northern spine voters.

      1. There’s a group of Shoreliners that don’t want 185th either. Last I checked they were Northerners too.

      2. Shoreline the city really wants 185th. There will always be a few people who don’t want any station, but they’re canceled out by a few people who do. Sound Transit listens mostly to the city governments.

    1. Yes, heaven forbid we add less than 5 minutes of travel time to the hour+ it’ll take to get from Everett to the CBD. Let’s divert everyone on a jaunt towards Paine Field but heaven forbid we add another stop in the Seattle city limits.

      1. hmmm, dt through Paine, that’s an interesting concept. there is no utility for link to paine, However there is for Lynnwood to Seatac, dt and uw.

      2. Except Paine Field will become the next regional airport to serve the N. Puget Sound when link gets built. Think SFO in the Bay Area trying to serve all the SJC and OAK flyers. At some point you run out of runway space, and SEA is nearing that point after building the 3rd runway (which is really just 2 spread out to accommodate simultaneous operation).
        The port is already rattling the chains as we speak, about nearing capacity.

      3. Mic;

        That’s not a forgone conclusion Paine Field will service commercial traffic… several lawsuits under way, a public air campaign against the proponents and more. Don’t count on it. Light rail to Paine Field is for the MANY diverse tenants there…

      4. What I mean is, Snohomish County is fighting the 130th St Station because it will add to the travel time to downtown Seattle. They are simultaneously pushing for Link to serve Paine Field. You can’t win both arguments – either getting to Seattle as fast as possible is your priority OR zigzagging and stopping to serve every possible point of interest is important.

        The funny thing is Sound Transit will probably bend over backwards and eagerly please the politicians in Snohomish County because they are beholden to their every desire.

      5. Except Paine Field will become the next regional airport to serve the N. Puget Sound when link gets built.

        No, it won’t. At best, a couple of airlines will lose money for a few years and bail on it. See the Toledo Express Airport for a glimpse of the future for Paine Field passenger service.

      6. barman: the large majority of Lynnwood riders will be toward dt where minutes will accumulate rapidly. The only folk heading north will probably be heading to Paine. And the only Link utility for Everett is also to Paine.

      7. I wouldn’t look at Oakland as a predictor of Paine Field’s contribution to transit. They only have about 3,000 people through there BART rail connector, and that’s adding those both boarding and leaving.

      8. Al is exactly right. It’s mind-blowing people are so hellbent on spending millions of dollars and wasting countless time on building infrastructure to support something that might never happen. There are airports all over the world with traffic volumes higher than SeaTac that don’t have direct train access.

        If Link ran down 99, as it should have if Snohomish County didn’t fight it, Paine Field could have easily been served by a quick shuttle from stop at Airport Road. Instead we’re willing to waste millions more dollars to make Snohomish County happy, as if North Sounder weren’t enough.

        Also: SeaTac isn’t anywhere near runway capacity. After terminal upgrades are finished, they’ll have enough gate capacity for decades to come. There is literally zero evidence that commercial service at Paine Field is necessary let alone imminent.

      9. Folks;

        Link to Paine Field is for tens of thousands of Boeing employees, almost 1,000 Future of Flight average daily visitors, thousands of aviation geeks on many summer Saturdays to Paine Field, and thousands of folks dispersed among many Paine Field tenants like flight schools, remanufacturing 737s and Flying Heritage Collection.

        With Lyft & Uber, a light rail station close by means dispersed Paine Field tenants can be served by transit until a proper bus net can come into place… ;-). Chill everybody… look at the big picture, Boeing’s gonna stay. Paine Field is > Boeing.

        Plus Mukilteo folks will want to use a Paine Field light rail stop as a midpoint to their journey around the Puget Sound. Nobody thought of that, eh?

      10. Joe, literally everything you just said would be moot if Link ran down 99 as it should. IMO it doesn’t matter what Link does past Lynwood. No matter what, it’ll be a slow jog through shopping malls and P&Rs. It’ll also be mostly empty except during peak-of-peak, despite what you might think are droves of people just itching to get to flight museums if only they had a train to get them there.

        I just don’t understand how Snohomish County can say no to a 99 alignment because of the construction impact. Then fight a stop at 130th because of the speed impact. Then, despite all this, they demand a jaunt to Paine Field. And ST will of course do what they say.

        It’s the same senselessness down south. They don’t want Link to run down 99 but they want to serve Highline, FWTC and all the important destinations. So we end up with nonsense like this: http://i.imgur.com/fvJcwlv.jpg Or in Bellevue how we’re spending over a billion dollars on a tunnel for literally ZERO conceivable reason. They did that AFTER fighting ST to keep them from crossing downtown.

        Again, I don’t plan on frequently visiting exotic destinations such as Federal Way or Alderwood Mall. So this doesn’t really affect me or the majority of Seattleites. What bothers me is we’re throwing money around at total, unmitigated bullsh** while places that have actually NEEDED infrastructure for DECADES are still left to fight over every penny.

      11. barman;

        As an avgeek and a Skagitonian, the ridiculous & farcical & beyond stupid politics of Snohomish County’s elite causing problems for its neighbors both in-county (e.g. Mukilteo) and with Sound Transit are theatre of the absurd and bizzare to me.

      12. All this 130th issue happened because Lake City wasn’t considered must-serve like Northgate and Lynnwood. The Lynnwood Link alternatives included Aurora, I-5, 15th NE, or Lake City Way. The latter would have served Lake City, but they were all considered either/or alignments. I-5 was the presumptive nominee in drafting ST2, and later decisions confirmed it based on that and a couple other factors in the alternative comparisons. It was assumed that Lynnwood Link would not serve Lake City; it would have to wait for the Lake City/Bothell line. Lake City was not considered an urban center at the time so not must-serve. But during all these alignment alternatives, the Aurora one happened to have an extra station at 130th. That got actvists thinking that Lake City could be indirectly served by a 130th Station and a bus. So when the I-5 alignment won out, they pushed to transfer the extra station to it, because if it was feasable in one alignment it should be feasable in the other. ST would not commit to the station but made an option for it in the EIS. That brought us up to now, with the Seattle mayor and council unanimously supporting it along with a lot of transit activists, and Shoreline and Lynnwood opposing it for the 20 seconds of travel time it would add. But what goes for 130th also goes for BAR and Graham: the additional usefulness of the inner part of the line arguably outweighs the slightly longer travel time of the outer part. Lynwood and Everett should be glad Link matches the speed of ST Express and not complaining, because the south end has it worse. And if they really wanted an utra-fast train to Seattle, they should have supported 85 mph heavy rail in the first place. Light rail was chosen because it can do surface, elevated, and underground, with the expectation that a lot of it would be surface (Mt Baker to SeaTac). Later the public said, “We want more of it underground and elevated, and we’re willing to pay for it.” But that still won’t make it go faster than 55mph.

      13. Link to Paine Field is for tens of thousands of Boeing employees

        As with your argument about the Museum of Flight, you’re simply ignoring significant accumulated knowledge about human behavior here. There’s no location for a Paine field station that’s likely to put any more than a small fraction of those jobs within the station’s walkshed. It’s very unlikely to be a successful station for this purpose, because of the sprawling geography of Paine field.

        Relying on widespread use of app-enabled car services to bolster your argument here gives away the show. That’ll drive up the cost quickly, making driving, which the vast majority of these employees and other visitors will continue to do anyway, even more comparatively attractive.

      14. Joe, in the grande scheme of things, a Link station at I-5 would be just as (in)convenient for the vast majority of Boeing workers.

        Also I’m curious about the number of Boeing Everett workers who live anywhere near a proposed Link station. Seems to me there are just as many if not more Boeing workers who live north of Everett. At any rate I promise the vast majority of Boeing workers will drive to work, just as they do today, because driving into Everett isn’t very inconvenient. The biggest transportation problem in the state is getting in and getting around Seattle – not Snohomish County.

      15. barman;

        Those workers could always take a bus TO the light rail :-). I know, foreign concept.

        Heck I take a bus from Everett Station to Westlake Station to board light rail + the streetcar and one special time the Monorail.

      16. Joe you’re not being realistic if you think Boeing workers, who work very irregular shifts btw, are going to drive to a P&R, bus to Link, bus to their Boeing plant, walk to whatever section of said plant they work in. Then do the same to go home. Every single day.

        That’s unequivocally not going to happen. Nothing you say would convince me that’s realistic. The vast, vast majority of Boeing workers are going to continue driving because: 1. Traffic in/out of Everett is manageable. 2. Boeing has free parking. 3. Bus schedules are terrible off-peak. 4. Many more intangible reasons I can’t list.

        YOU are not a good case study for what the majority of people are willing to endure every day. I am a transit advocate much like yourself but even I don’t think I could handle a daily transit commute like that. Driving is just way too much more convenient for cases like this.

    2. “it would turn off many northern spine voters”

      People are not going to switch their vote to No just because 130th is there. Lynnwood is against it and is trying to keep it out, but that doesn’t mean it’s the #1 biggest factor. If they really want Link, they’ll think 130th Station makes it slightly less perfect, not that it totally destroys is. Single-issue voting is more likely the other way, with people who would benefit from the station wondering why they should vote for ST3 without it. Although I don’t think that will be that many people either.

  6. How much travel time would a stop at 130th add? Less than a minute, right?

    The densest neighborhood in the entire ST region north of the U-district will be cut off from effective access to Link if we don’t build 130th. It may not be quite as bad as skipping First Hill, but it’s not far off.

    1. More like a minute to a minute twenty. Don’t forget the deceleration and acceleration time; the train doesn’t approach the platform at 55 mph and magically cease moving. There will be another station just a bit more than half mile away at 145th, so the penalty isn’t as great as it would be for 220th where the train would at least in theory be moving through the “station influence area” at 55 mph regularly. The train can’t reach full speed between two stations a half mile apart.

      A good example of a station in the middle of a long fast run is Washington Park on the MAX. On the westbound runs the trains get up close to maximum speed (you can tell by the motor whine) for a few seconds after entering the straight part of the tunnel west of Goose Hollow, then they almost immediately start to slow down. They come to a halt in the station for about 30 seconds while the track request is processed, then start up again. It takes about 45 seconds before the motor whine is back to the “full tilt boogie” of 55 mph which they maintain for the last few hundred yards of the tunnel and then on the downhill toward Sunset.

      Each of those seconds consumed in decelerating and accelerating is an increasingly or decreasingly severe penalty against the average speed of the train.

      Say it takes 20 seconds to decelerate and 45 to accelerate. The first second of the deceleration and the last second of the acceleration are each very close to the average velocity of the train; it covers very nearly as much distance as it would have had the station not been visited. But the 12th second of deceleration and the 20th of acceleration where the train is traveling perhaps half of full speed is a significant penalty; it goes only half as far in that second as it would in theory have without the station. And of course the during 20th second of deceleration and first of acceleration the train is barely moving and as a result travels over very little trackage. It’s almost like sitting still as regards its progress toward the end of its run.

  7. C-01e: 99 & Harrison really needs to happen. I’m curious how much future SLU growth their report took into account.

    If this infill station isn’t included, they should spend 1/3 of the money and add the gondola.

    1. 99th & Harrison doesn’t look very close to Belltown. How does it serve Belltown any better than Westlake or Seattle Center (West) would? Isn’t it further than the Denny Way station?

      1. You are exactly right. Mike. Harrison is for north SLU (“north South Lake Union…. Hmmmm), the Gates Foundation and the band between Mercer and Aloha at the foot of Queen Anne Hill. That is ripe for redevelopment.

      1. Short monorail cars hanging from a wire rope, suspended between steel towers, playing “Rise Above It All” from the external loudspeakers- or
        Gondolas, if you prefer

    2. 3000-4000 riders?!?!? for that location? I would have thought a lot higher given its urban location. then again it is right at a no-mans-land in the highway 99 vacuum

      1. Given a decent pedestrian crossing of Mercer Street, the band between Mercer and Aloha and between Aurora and about Fourth North would be in the walkshed of this station. That area is ripe for redevelopment; it’s not that different from what SLU was when The Vulcan landed.

        It’s in what you call the “Highway 99 vacuum”. And therefore, it’s extremely valuable for redevelopment with a station at 99/Harrison or Republican.

        I expect those 4-5,000 riders ST credits it with are mostly the Gates Foundation and Seattle Center workers and perhaps some tourists. But the neighborhood could become a major urban village very quickly. It’s an ideal location in which for people who work in SLU to live.

      2. Continued,

        In fact, the more I look at the area the more convinced I am that the station should be at Republican. 99th/Harrison is only six (“big”) blocks from Denny and Westlake. That’s not “too close” for stations in a dense city environment, but it is close enough that the station could be moved one block north to Republican and not leave a gap. With it at Republican the Mercer-Aloha strip which actually still has a bunch of parking lots in it would be securely within the walkshed.

        I expect they chose Harrison because Bill and Melinda don’t want a drill under their building, and that might be sufficient reason not to move north a block. But it would be a better placement. And if the station were aligned on a 315-135 heading the trackway could pass just east of the building before swinging into the Mercer right of way.

        SDOT, please think about this alignment.

  8. I can’t help but feel that any infill station should have a station area land use proposal to accompany it. These baseline demand numbers use the existing land uses in their forecasting process, and doesn’t tell us what market potential exists there. Only the supporting cities can realistically come up with that.

    Consider how any of these sites would have a clear justification with something like a large, 20-story mixed use development, a sports arena, or a new college campus.

    To use my Santa Claus analogy, each supporting city needs to be a good girl/boy and demonstrate how badly they want the station to be well-utilized if they want ‘the present’ of an infill station.

    1. If only the original stations could have that too. But since they didn’t, it’s unfair to hold infill stations to a much higher standard.

  9. From $66 million for an at-grade station Graham street to over a third of a billion (or “beelion” as Donald Trump says it) to add a station to a tunnel that hasn’t been built yet, do these figures seem exorbitantly high to anyone else? Does it cost Trimet, for example, $66,000,000 minimum to put a shelter and TVM on some at-grade MAX tracks? The at grade infill station should be very cheap. Like, below $10 million.

    1. When ST rebuilt Martin Luther King Jr Way South in the 2000s they didn’t make the street wide enough at Graham to accommodate the platforms needed on either side of the track. To do that they will need to buy additional land on either side of MLK, and then tear-up/relay the street to make room to build the platforms. As is the case in the rest of the city, land prices are quite a bit higher than they were circa 2003.

      1. Yet another example of SoundTransit’s penny wise pound foolish insistence of building exactly and only what was on the ballot. Spend 1% more to make MLK wide enough at Graham Street to add station platforms? Why that would be a criminal offense at least, a mortal sin at worst.

        No, we cannot countenance such a perversion of the will of the people!

      2. Maybe they didn’t widen the road because there’s no intention of putting a station there? Of the projected ridership, how much of it is just bled from other stations. That was the original assessment of Graham and the only difference now is we know ST’s estimates for RV are vastly overblown.

        The other issue which apparently nobody in charge of ST thought important is for bus intercepts to work south of SeaTac time does matter and it already takes too long to be competitive. BAR helps that slightly but not much unless a Georgetown bypass is built.

      3. Bernie,

        You’re right about the current system being un-competitve with buses because of the RV “detour”. And Graham Street would make that another minute or so longer. It is less “expensive” in time than 220th or 130th because the train is going only 35 mph down the median of MLK.

        Which means that, even though the ST Board thoughtlessly removed the “Duwamish Bypass” from the long-term list of projects, if there is to be any reason whatsoever for extending Link beyond Highland College, it will have to return, and soon.

        The thing is that like the “costs” for 130th which have been nearly doubled in an attempt to frighten voters away from it, the “costs” for the Bypass are based on an expensive and not-that-much-faster belly out to the west via South Park and central Georgetown. While a tremendous boost for those two largely neglected Seattle neighborhoods, it would end up being only about five minutes faster than MLK, because of the two additional stops.

        The right way to do a bypass is along the east side of Boeing Field, in fact between the freeway and BNSF/UP tracks. It is massively less expensive because it can be done nearly 100% at grade. It doesn’t initially need two tracks; one track with a couple of sidings along the way would do and could be used initially only during peak hours and for non-revenue runs to the Maintenance Facility.

        In fact, it would use the existing flying junction at the Maintenance Facility to get back onto the main line. There is an old railroad spur parallel to the freeway which leads right up to the Spokane Street interchange at a point high enough for the trains to pass under the bridge structure without even undercutting the tracks. There is only one building between the old tracks and the freeway, and it’s owned by WSDOT! There wouldn’t even be much in the way of land acquisition since the State already owns most of the land between the freeway and the rail ROW.

        Airport Way would have to be in a cut just north of Spokane and the track raised as high as possible in order to access the southeastern corner of the MF land, and that would be a non-trivial cost.

        The major cost would be the junction at the south end of the line. If the Bypass were ever double-tracked and used in all-day service it would need a “flyover or “flyunder” for northbound trains, but initially it could be accessed by a cross-over and single track junction on the north side of the existing structure.

        It would be essentially a “one-way” track in the peak direction, but trains entering or leaving service or running like “express” buses out of service in the off-peak direction would be “inferior” the revenue trains and take the sidings. It would still be quicker for them to move from the MF to “BAR Junction” than running out of service via MLK.

        I sincerely believe that this could be done for under $200 million dollars. A double track LRT trackway at-grade is something on the order of $30 million per mile, but only the grading would be done in one direction for most of the length of the project, so the track structure would be half of normal. Say $20 million per mile. It’s five miles so $100 million initially for the at-grad structure. Add $50 million for the elevated trackwork and structure across BNSF at “BAR Junction” and $50 million for the bridge across Airport Way and you have saved peak hour commuters from all points south of Tukwila about 10 minutes each way.

        Right now of course such riders are nearly non-existent but if ST3 passes and Link goes to Tacoma they will be many more of them. If they have to take the MLK zig-zag and compete for seats on the southbound ride, they will demand continuation of their express buses and leave South Link ridership anemic to the point of impeachable embarrassment.

        This form of Bypass would avoid that catastrophe.

      4. Sounds like a plan but ST is anathema to single track ROW. Recent revelations (or recently made more public) about air quality and other environmental concerns lead me to question if the City (or Port or Feds) should just buy up all residential property in Georgetown. It’s simply an unhealthy place to live and a small isolated enclave. The Port bought out far more residences north and south of SeaTac airport.

        As far as the by pass the critical thing is 55+ mph running which means total grade separation. I floated the idea in a previous post of light rail to Delridge using a route far enough south that a high level bridge wasn’t required. This “missing link” might fit well with that.

        As far as time savings with an Express Bus intercept the comparison should be with the time it takes to exit the freeway and transfer at Angle Link, SeaTac or TIB vs a transfer at BAR. And of course that depends on I-5 traffic so it’s a bit tricky to predict but to make it work 10-20+ years out I think it’s a safe bet that HOV/Transit lanes and access improvements are going to be needed. One advantage of BAR might be buses from Kent and Renton would benefit significantly vs TIB (or maybe not?). The alternative would be to keep the transfer farther south and then it’s just the RV meander vs the bypass time. As far as Sounder I have a hard time believing this transfer is going to save any money or time vs continuing to use King Street. In fact my guess is it loses on both counts.

      5. Looking at the map I’m not sure that Graham is such a good station. The greenbelt on the east side of Beacon Hill comes quite close to it on the west, and there’s a school and playfield a block to the east. Between MLK and the school/playfield is already a developed shopping center.

        So there isn’t a lot of opportunity for redevelopment.

        There is already an apartment complex in the north half of the eastside block, so that’s good, but they’re just three story “garden apartments” and, so, probably only house a couple of thousand people.

        There are quite a few empty lots between the greenbelt and MLK which would certainly be occupied quickly were a station built. But they’re scattered and most would become at best three or four unit micro-developments. Not to dis that; it’s better than blackberries. But it wouldn’t generate huge numbers of people.

        Now there is Graham Street itself. It’s the only street between Alaska/Columbian Way and Orcas which crosses both Beacon Hill and the Rainier Valley. It could have a collector distributor line on it. It’s quite hilly so they’d probably need to be Proterras, but they’d be quiet and a very small impact on the community.

      6. Bernie,

        Because there are only a couple of places where there are buildings between the BNSF and the freeway (and you can elevate those three or four block stretches for surety of speed), there is absolutely no reason to elevate the route I proposed. None. There are several places in the United States where at-grade LRT trains run 55 mph — or more — reliably on the ground. Here are three: the Norristown High Speed line where speeds are 70; the Riverside Line in Boston, and the Shaker Heights line in Cleveland which shares trackage with the Cleveland Rapid Transit for a couple of miles east of Terminal Square.

        The freeway and railroad railroad right of way essentially provide “grade separation” here. Cars — and even people — can’t trespass because they can’t approach the tracks. That’s what grade separation is for: trespass protection. There’s nothing magical about riding on a structure on in a tunnel except that!

      7. The argument for a station is not just future development but current riders. The 45th corridor is ripe for a line because the potential ridership is already high, and it’s an insult to urbanism to not give such an area HCT. Likewise, a school is a concentration of people who could take transit to it. I assume this is an elementary school so their parents will think they’re too young to take Link alone, but if it were a high school that would absolutely be a positive factor for a station. And the argument for Graham Station goes back to when ST initially deferred it: that the existing residents and customers would have to walk 12-20 minutes to a station and that meant they got the negative impacts of a train passing but not the benefit of it. The argument is that Graham is already populous enough for a station, and when the McDonalds and the other corner redevelop that will be more riders.

      8. Every time I look out the window on a train as it goes by Graham St., I fail to seem a compelling need for a station, at least based on current development. Mostly a few single-family homes, plus a small shopping center, whose parking lot is actually bigger than the shopping center itself.

        The walk to the nearest existing station (Othello station) is less than it seems because MLK is diagonal and most of the development is east of MLK, not west of it. For instance, to walk from 42nd/Graham to Othello Station, going west to MLK, then south, is longer than simply taking 42nd south to Myrtle, then heading one very short block west. Total distance is 0.6 miles, all flat, which is hardly outlandish.

        If a Graham St. station ends up bringing future development to the area, I’m all for it. Existing development, kind of borderline. The trip between downtown to the airport is already long enough as it is.

        As to a BAR station, that makes absolutely no sense. Maybe when Sounder is running all day, every 15 minutes, it will make sense then. But currently, absolutely not. If a bus intercept from the south is desired, just use the Ranier Beach Station that’s already there.

      9. You all need to go back and do some homework. First, Graham St station was never in Sound Move. It was looked at in the EIS, but never actually included in the project. More importantly, there was a vicious poltiical fight in the RV about the Graham St. station. The landowners at the intersection did not want to sell, and they had a champion on the ST board and city council in the late Richard McIver. Because of its proximity to Othello, and the home-grown opposition, and ST’s desire to figure out how of pay for Beacon Hill station, it went by the wayside.

        In other words, the width of the road today is what the neighborhood WANTED in yesteryear. Add it up: buying property in all four quadrants of the intersection, demolishing and re-building a brand new road, with brand new sidewalks, curb cuts, storm drains, etc, the need to move the brand new Cedar River water main under there, and the brand new underground utility vaults the city insisted on in 2001, then the station facilities themselves — platforms, shelters, signals, ped safety, storm water, utilities, etc. — and you start to see why the costs are higher than one might think for a surface station.

        Whether it’s a good investment or not is up to others to debate. My point is you all should go easy on ST history and ST math because they tend to be extremely deliberate on this stuff and land their numbers pretty close to the mark.

  10. Jesus H. Christ. They inflate the cost of the 130th Street station because it will be “construct[ed] during revenue service”. They haven’t even built the track through there! Do they even have the engineering finished???

    If the “add on” is included in the ST3 plan and it passes in just eight months, is it not even slightly within the realm of possibility to PLAN FOR THE DAMN THING NOW?????? So that when it comes time to actually pour the concrete the tracks are properly flat and uncurved, there is room between them and the support structures on the revamped NE 130th bridge?

    Oh what a concept, Geoff!

    1. Well expletive aplenty put Anandakos, Sound Transit Planning is losing esteem points in my book. Better to plan now and measure twice, cut once than the very expensive alternative.

      ST4 may or likely may not happen in any event….

      1. Exactly Joe: measure twice (heck when you’re spending billions, why not three times?) and cut once. EXACTLY.

    2. Even BART was smart enough to build the platform for the West Dublin station even though the station was unfunded.

      If ST isn’t looking at doing that for any infill station, the Board needs to do their job and demand it! The 130th excuse is particularly appalling.

      1. Al,

        You have just consigned ST to the Seventh Circle, down there with old Beelzebub. Worse that BART!!!! Ouch!

      2. But, Lake City is not a city. It doesn’t have a mayor, or a jurisdiction to add to the number of jurisdictions served. And it’s still not an urban center with that level of job/housing growth committed. :)

    3. I agree. They haven’t done any work on either the 130th bridge (which the city will rebuild) or the light rail line up there. The city wants the station — they are willing to pay for the station — this should be designed from the beginning with that station in mind, even if a lot of the work needs to be done later.

  11. Of course this will never happen, since it would involve spending ST money on adjustments to I-5, however they should also build a In-line flyer stop for ST Express (57x, 59x), plus Metro at Boeing Access Road. That would make the stop even more useful, otherwise you might as well close it when Sounder is not running.

    1. BAR has other uses such as transferring to the A and 124, which are all-day. And it could be a truncation point for the 101 and 150 if Metro is ever willing to. And Sounder will be all day if another ST3 project is included.

      1. The 124 transfer perhaps, however the “A” does not go that far north, nor do I see adding that much time to the already long drag it is. Also I still don’t buy the whole freeway>Link truncation pipe dream pitched on this board. The transfer penalty and increased travel time of having to loop through the rainier valley is too great. Also, I’m a bit concerned about overall system capacity which with two car trains are getting comfortably full as it is, if you start feeding more buses into it, adding more riders, and opening more extensions you will need 4 car trains and better headways relatively quickly. As for Sounder, I think its a good spot to transfer, and I still think a freeway station for 57x and 59x buses to allow riders to transfer to link for journeys into the south end or even back towards the airport is a plus. However, last I heard that ST will not spend money on moving freeway lanes for their facility’s, and will only build facilities when the ROW is already there to do so.

      2. I’ve actually used transit to go from the Museum of Flight. Visiting with family I, like any young lad wanted to stay hours longer than everyone else. I took a bus north to DT and caught the 255 in the Bus Tunnel. The wait out on E. Marginal Way (or was it runway west) was pretty miserable other than having a docent waiting with me who had some interesting facts and stories to tell. The ride is an adventure in it’s own. If there was a BAR station I wouldn’t have even considered making the hike or taking an out of direction bus to get there. Had I known I would have used one of the helicopter ride sharing services and touched down on Kemper Tower :=

  12. “ST spokesman Geoff Patrick says that the increased costs are due to the difficulty of constructing the station during revenue service.”

    If it is included in ST3, can’t they hurry up and build the station before the Lynwood extension opens? That seems far enough out, and stations have a much smaller footprint than an actual line extension, I feel like you could do most of the disruptive work before full service north of Northgate. Even if you have to defer Lynnwood opening by a few months to get this finished, it makes more sense to me to open the line with its full complement of stations

    1. This is all about maximum costs. If it turns out that ST can slip it in without delaying anything or requiring more than reengineering, then the cost and the concerns evaporate and the budget can be reduced.

      1. No, it isn’t. It’s about making people psychologically recoil and say, ‘It’s not worth THAT much!” They don’t want to build the station so they’re chumming the trolls.

  13. So, Graham street is the highest value, $ per supported rider, of anything on the list. I completely understand that expanding reach expands ridership throughout the system, but Graham seems like a no-brainer for inclusion.

    Give more infrastructure to the people who use it. Time wasted on public hearings and meetings alone will save the agency even more compared to these others. Graham passengers already know what light rail looks and feels like. The public response will look like “Yep, ok, get it done.”

  14. I am proud to be an exception, as I’m a “Shoreline north” person who favored the 130th over the 145th station, along with a 155th station, which were superior locations for density (130th) and infrastructure (155th). A key Sound Transit board member even admitted to walking the corridor – but not until after the board had made their decision! This is a flawed process!

    As for 220th, there’s less of a case to be made there. As I’ve pointed out before, capital cost and annual operating and maintenance cost estimates are far closer to a “sure thing” than are ridership estimates…the same can be said for existing demand in that area being superior to what politicians who rarely ride transit think might be good.

  15. Let’s compare cost vs. ridership for the proposed infill stations.

    N-04: $79-85 million, 2-3,000 riders = $26.3k-42.5k/rider*
    N-05: $86-92 million, 1-2,000 riders = $43.0k-92.0k/rider
    C-08: $66-71 million, 4-5,000 riders = $13.2k-17.8k/rider
    C-09: $124-129 million, 3-4,000 riders = $31.0k-43.0k/rider
    C-10: $94-100 million, 1-2,000 riders = $47.0k-100k/rider
    C-01: $367-393 million, 3-4,000 riders = $91.8k-$131k/rider
    C-01f: $90-97 million, 1,5-2,000 riders = $45.0k-64.7k/rider

    From this perspective C-08 and N-04 make the most sense, C-01f and N-05 are questionable, and all the others should be off the table.

    *Assuming the increased cost numbers are correct and proper. Were it built pre-revenue service, costs would be $10k-25k/rider. As pointed out above, it seems odd to spend more money redoing something which hasn’t even been done yet.

    1. I don’t understand why you say that C-01f and N-05 are questionable while C-09 is off the table. If cost/rider is your sole criterion, C-09 rates higher than both C-01f and N-05. Which is not to say that I agree that should be the only measure used for evaluation of the alternatives.

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