Seattle Streetcar 303 Inekon Trio (Obliteride/Fred Hutchinson wrap)

This is an open thread.

67 Replies to “News Roundup: Rattling Houses”

  1. One of the things Vancouver BC did well with the Compass Card is putting card readers at all bus doors.

    1. San Francisco MUNI did the same thing a couple of years ago. Probably around the time KC Metro decided to start collecting fares at one door of Tunnel buses.

      At which time, Sound Transit should have given the word that until the County stopped holding LINK trains in the tubes behind drivers and passengers discussing and arguing about bus fares, LINK would turn at Stadium.

      Where people can easily transfer to buses. Standard procedure for any blockage.

      Mark Dublin

    2. Yeah… except TransLink’s rear door card readers were supposed to be so passengers can tap as they exit (since they have distance-based zone fares).

      It turned out to be a logistical nightmare in testing, so TransLink made all buses a 1-zone fare.

      Rumor is that *eventually* the agency wants to bring back zone fares on buses. They’d probably save more money by allowing rear-door boarding.

      1. Except for one, all the routes I rode on this past visit allowed all door boarding. The 354 didn’t have a back door.

        At least, the drive didn’t say anything about people getting on in back and tapping there.

      2. You know, Ricky, as a former driver with a preference for heavy-hauling routes like the 7 and all the DSTT routes, and also a lifelong transit passenger, I think that anything that slows or complicates transit is worth a top-of- the-line Caterpillar bulldozer to remove.

        We can learn from our evil brother the automobile that nobody cares about county lines or time of day, and doesn’t want to be reminded. One leaf we can take from The Competition is car-tabs.

        Yearly passes used to be available. I’ve always preferred monthly ones, since many of us haven’t, and maybe won’t, settle into a years-long pattern. But the point is that it’s fairest and easiest all around to look at a pass same as plates.

        You’re not paying for a ride. You’re buying access to the system. Which can then within itself worry about dividing up the money.

        Mark Dublin

    3. ST should demand that Metro pay millions of dollars for ORCA readers? When the ORCA admins are already exploring technologies to replace it?

      1. I was under the impression the card readers aren’t even available any more, and that this was one issue with allowing the monorail into the system.

      2. Readers have to be available… how else would we get readers at the new Link and streetcar stations?

      3. VixERG have a stockpile of equipment that can be used to expand the system, somewhat, but supplies are limited. Here in San Francisco, Clipper (which is based on ERG’s tech, but is now operated by Cubic) has a similar issue. When a new rural agency was added to Clipper a few months ago, they had to use Cubic readers, because there isn’t enough old ERG equipment left.

      4. The lack of ORCA readers has been mentioned several times on this blog, including

        ORCA equipment production is already over in preparation for ORCA 2.0, so Seattle would have to borrow reserve equipment from the sponsoring agency.

        So, I don’t expect that anytime soon there would be card readers at all doors of any buses in Seattle.

        However, doing so seems to work well in Vancouver.

  2. The U-PASS article mentions that the unions are also asking for lower parking fees for UWMC workers, which would seem to be a pretty bad idea considering parking fees subsidize U-PASS substantially.

    Parking for UW employees has a lengthy waiting list at $450/quarter. Seems like raising the parking fees could help limit or prevent cost increases for U-PASS.

    1. One thing to remember about parking for UWMC staff is that many work odd hours since the hospital operates 24/7 and many surgeries start very early in the morning. Driving in from the suburbs may have minimal impacts but transit is unlikely to be feasible for a segment of these workers, not all of whom are well paid.

      1. I’ve occasionally run into people working 7 PM-7 AM shifts taking transit to/from work at hospital jobs. Even if they’re working in the middle of the night, as long as that’s no when the commute is, transit may still be a feasible option. Routes serving the UW Med Center, such as the 44 and 48 run pretty late.

      2. Just like Seatac airport has activity almost 24 hours day (work shifts ending as late as 2am, work shifts beginning as early as 3am), so does a hospital. Link really should offer 24 hour service, even if the headways are 30 minutes in the overnight hours.

      3. When I worked at Harborview doing data entry on the nurses’ schedules, I saw that a lot if them have shifts 7am-7pm, 7pm-7am, 7am-3:30pm, 3pm-11:30pm, 11pm-7:30am, 10am-6pm, 10am-3-pm, 16-hour shifts, on-call staff, etc. Other hospitals without ER departments or trauma centers have fewer evening/night staff and last-minute changes, but they all have some. However, shifts rarely started or ended between 11:30pm and 7am, so night owl transit was insignificant. And many of the off-hour shifts are peak hours one direction (e.g., night: AM peak), and most commonly evening the other direction.

        My roommate works in a Kent warehouse where shifts start at midnight, 3am, 6am, etc, so the lack of night owl transit is a bigger issue there, but hospitals don’t operate that way.

    2. Also important to note that a U-PASS costs the same regardless of salary and if one is a full-time or part-time employee. So any rate increase would disproportionately effect lower income employees.

      1. Plus it’s pre-tax, so employees in higher tax brackets get a larger effective discount. It’s $50 a month now, but I essentially get 28% of it back (due to wife’s salary pushing us into that bracket), lower income folks might only get 15% or so.

    3. Parking there is going to be highly prized after ULink opens. People with a patking permit will park there and take the train to all manner of events.

      Or is there some limit that only those working park their car there?

      1. You have to be affiliated with the UW in some way to get a parking permit. But I don’t think there is any way for UW to determine if you are working when you are parking.

  3. ” 2,164 arrests and infractions by Metro Transit Police — in ranking order: warrants, alcohol, fare evasion, drugs, unlawful bus conduct. These enforcement actions occur on buses, bus shelters/zones and transit facilities.”

    In other words, by far the vast majority for things that aren’t even crimes. Some other pertinent stats I’ve seen. One being that the largest mental hospitals in the State are jails.

    Another couple of things our State can be proud of. Washington State has the highest number of children and teenagers in jail for skipping school in the United States, which given our general world record for incarceration, probably makes us World Champion.

    And while I really hate for my State to be second to Texas in anything, we’re just runner up in poor people jailed because they can’t pay court costs. Often for missing a court dated, adding more jail time. Leading to..

    Not a lot of attention to it, but for a long time before the kid got shot, Ferguson Missouri was probably well int the running. And they recently blew off, before the ink was dry, a signed agreement with the Justice Department to cease and desist. Wonder when their court date is?

    Let’s cut to the chase. Nationwide, a very large number of city police cars need to have the emblem on their doors switched to the Jolly Roger. In Long John Silver’s day, commoners got flogged for missing court dates. But extortion and armed robbery meant hanging.

    Well, probably not for the police. But at least they made do with uniforms pretty much like Long John Silver’s, and their contract didn’t provide parrots.

    From the judges putting poor kids in jail for skipping school. From the towns using fines and jail for parking violators, same excuse: “Our hands are tied (should be handcuffed.” Because ” the Legislature isn’t giving us any money!”

    Thereby making our State Consitution, which forbids debtors’ prison, a budget item.Leaving out the second cuff on the hand-thing: “Because the people and corporations who can most afford it won’t pay any taxes.”

    No, I’m not saying do nothing about people making transit unusable. Am saying that for what-all else we need the police for, and for expense of jail over mental hospitals, we’d be a fortune ahead by providing what we really need.

    Incidentally, another really shining honor: In this country, one third of the population has at one time in their life been arrested. Ever notice those online ads for information about “Who’s Been In Jail? Who all are fashion models?

    No wonder Vladimir Putin is mad at us all the time. We beat his record all hollow!

    Mark Dublin

  4. The news from mountain view is very good news! Silicon valley has literally no urban development (OK, there’s a handful of blocks of downtown San Jose that are not terrible, but its still low, boxed in by single family zoning, and the part with a real street grid sits in a box surrounded by four freeways, so even if those became multi-family, walkable – yeah, it’s terrible).

    The redevelopment in Mountain View is a great place to start. It looks like they’re doing all the right things with street level retail, increased building heights, limits on parking, etc. If they create a neighborhood that people like, you can bet every Silicon Valley municipality will try to copy their model; if it flounders, or gets pushback once it is being developed, or doesn’t create a place that people like, it could be a while before we see change in the Valley.

    1. I do find it hilarious that the post implies that Mountain View is a model for Seattle. Seattle has been approving 10,000 new development units basically every five years, then Mountain View does it once, and it’s Seattle who has to step up?

      1. The proper comparison is Seattle is like San Fran, with the Eastside more akin to Silicon Valley. But most of the cities here have downtown they are trying to develop & build up multifamily development. Even Kirkland is gunning for big development in Totem Lake. So yeah, I think the cities here are planning just fine.

        As an aside, my understanding is the issue in the Bay Area has to do more with the tax code & how municipalities are highly dependent on commercial properties to raise money, so no city wants to build up residential, which costs more to serve w/ a strong tax revenue. This is compounded by the small size of all the town in the Valley. The large size of Seattle suburbs is a big plus for planning, especially because cities like Redmond, Kent, and Lynnwood have aspirations to be actual cities (at least in official planning documents), so it’s less problematic when a city like Medina is nothing but suburban residential.

        I think the post is more pushing for Seattle to identify new areas for growth. SLU, Ballard, Lower QA – those areas will be built up soon, and built up to the current zoning limits. So to continue to facilitate growth & address housing shortages, Seattle needs to either identify new areas for multifamily development (Roosevelt? Crown Hill?), or change zoning for even bigger developments (Lower QA, Northgate?)

        Mountain View is allowing buildings up to 12 stories, which in Seattle simply wouldn’t fly outside of downtown or U District. Seattle does needs to step up it’s game: Allow 12 story buildings in the middle of neighborhoods like Ballard, the Junction, etc.

      2. There’s a third option: expand urban village boundaries. HALA recommends this. It remains to be seen whether the city will do it.

      3. I would add a very important difference between here and California. Here, city are required by state law to plan for future population growth, which in greater Seattle is managed by a regional planning group that issue targets that all cities must meet. Because of this you see tiny little suburblets like Ruston, and richvilles like Medina and Mercer Island building high-density and low-income housing.

        California has no such requirement. The general approach to population projections there is to put their fingers in their ears and sing “La La La La I can’t hear you!”

      4. AJ – small towns in Silicon Valley? What exactly are you talking about? Silicon Valley towns like Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, etc. are massive and far bigger than Seattle suburbs. And unlike a place like Shoreline or Lynnwood at least Sunnyvale has a small walkable downtown. In fact, between Palo Alto and San Francisco you have a bunch of towns with downtowns that have excellent urban bones: Downtown Palo Alto and California Ave. in Palo Alto, Downtown Redwood City, Downtown Burlingame and Broadway in Burlingame, Downtown Menlo Park, etc. Sorry, but Seattle suburbs rarely have downtowns as pedestrian friendly as most of these.

      5. Except for Issaquah, Kirkland, Auburn, Edmonds, Burien, Des Moines waterfront, and the couple I’m sure I’m forgetting.

      6. I also forgot to mention Downtown San Mateo. These peninsula downtowns are far more urban and walkable and have a lot more business than downtown Issaquah or Des Moines.

    2. EHS and everyone else on this topic, tastes in architectural style are personal. I’d rather work to renovate the old “Art Deco” (like the one beautiful tall building) themed downtown San Jose, than spread the “Earthling-Imitating Alien Invasional” style of the new Mountain View.

      But in every region in the world these last several decades, every change along VTA light rail owes to an economy shifted from orchards to IT. Ddefinitely no nostalgia for the former economy. For one thing, when the old building was new, it faced same feelings like mine about Mountain View now.

      Also, and too little discussed, a lot of those orchard people, and better-paid factory workers ordered their kids into college. And the time of the beautiful old building had legal racial segregation. In the North. And factory jobs killed and injured for life many well-paid people

      But the changes also resulted in the death of an economy where young people with excellent skills and values could start a well-paid working life at 16. Without needing the decades more in school that’s now starting young working lives in lifelong debt.

      One result? A rural economy with a hundred percent trade of one meth lab for every farm, logging, or shake mill shut down. Worse for cities. In this country’s history, from every WWII Axis air force to the Warsaw Pact Missile Command, no foreign enemy has managed to leave a US city in the condition of Detroit for 40 years. Or poison a single city water supply.

      True, the world’s New South Lake Union residents are sorry for people in Aberdeen. But they honestly think it’s like a spell of bad weather. Same as the right wing says about Global Warming.

      Both sides equally wrong. But I think the climate deniers know they’re lying. While the sorry-but-can’t fixers think they’re being truthful. Which is both less true, and much more dangerous.

      Mark Dublin

  5. Speaking of airport services, this just in from the Mukilteo Beacon with my emphasis:

    The three-judge panel said the FAA’s findings were based on reasonable projections of potential air traffic. Should other airlines decide they’d also want to enter the market here, further reviews and approvals would be required, the court noted.

    However, it’s not clear if any airlines are interested in serving Paine Field now.

    Alaska Airlines previously had expressed some interest in using the airport through its Horizon division, but mostly, airline officials said, if other airlines planned to enter the market.

    Allegiant Air, which specializes in secondary markets like Bellingham where it now provides service, had previously been interested in Paine Field, but didn’t want to commit to a long-term agreement with Snohomish County.

    Gregerson noted that opponents still have a county appeal of the lease option, and “should Propeller successfully find interested airlines, they’ll need to move forward with their own environmental review.”

    “We will be at the table ensuring all impacts are considered and accounted for,” the mayor said.

    She said residents also will be able to participate and provide comments during that review.

    Now why is this relevant to STB? ST3 will likely go right past Paine Field but nobody and I mean nobody not named Joe is raising the issue of transportation mitigation.

    At least ST3 with the Paine Field option won’t end there but will go into Everett. As Jarrett Walker wrote, “What matters is not just the train to downtown, but the whole transit network and the airport’s position in it. Where can you get to on that network, and how soon?” Please keep this in mind when you critique ST3. ST1 was Downtown-to-SeaTac, ST2 is South of SeaTac to Lynnwood and hopefully Bellevue.

    Let me add as well one reason why there was an appeal to have a fast downtown Toronto to Pearson International train is a good chunk of Toronto & friends of Toronto didn’t want its downtown airport on the lake to expand to allow jets with all that noise… see for yourself.

    1. From an airline’s perspective, there’s not much of a benefit in serving Paine Field (PAE). They would have to pony up on terminal upgrades, expansion and manpower. And if they were to actually start service, flights would be sparse a few in between – nowhere near the hundreds that fly in/out of SEA. The costs simply outweigh the benefits.

      1. Reyes;

        I agree. Considering the very public community opposition, ongoing litigation and sustained demands & requirements for mitigation… plus just the costs in material & personnel to run an airline service out of Paine Field, this thing is going to likely stall out. But hopefully Sound Transit, Community Transit & Everett Transit will plan to serve the terminal just-in-case…

      2. Look to Bellingham, though. Located in a smaller city but close enough to the big one (Vancouver) to snag some passengers. It’s got several airlines, some flights operating daily. And Bellingham started with basically no passenger terminal at all. So, even without terminal improvements, I could see similar types of traffic and flights at Paine as there is in Bellingham.

        And I’d rather see passenger flights at a Paine with a train station that at one without.

      3. I’d fly in and out of PAE exclusively if I could, and I think anyone living north of Lynnwood would do the same. For regional flights (say to Spokane, San Jose, or even Portland) it would especially be worth it as it would cut down door to door travel times significantly.

    2. ST1 was 45th to SeaTac. It was changed to downtown-SeaTac due to budget problems and unexpected engineering risks. And University Link was later restarted before ST2.

      Jarrett was speaking of active airports, or at least definitely-planned ones with sizeable traffic. Paine’s passenger flight are still speculative and uncertain, and no airline has proposed anything except regional flights. We don’t need to go to much effort to support flights to Portland, Bellingham, and Spokane because that’s mostly a niche market for the rich, and we’re trying to improve surface transit to them instead. When most people fly they’re going to California or back east or international, and for those they’ll have to go to SeaTac. If anyone flies in from Bellingham to transfer to a longer-distance flight, they’ll have to go to SeaTac and the airline will probably give them a discount on the regional segment. If somebody has to transfer between airports, that’s at least a 90-minute trip on Link and an hour to get through airport security and the corridors to the gate, so a very undesirable transfer, enough that most transferring passengers will use SeaTac instead even if it costs more and is less on-time.

      1. The only time I hear of people flying from Portland to SeaTac it is because they have a ticket to someplace long distance and its part of the ticket.

        That isn’t a market that exists to any other airport near Seattle. Fly into Everett to get to SeaTac really doesn’t work.

        An express bus from the King County airport to SeaTac would work far better for that sort of traffic. You could shove all local flights into a single airport that already has commercial traffic, but no transit connections.

        If you wait until after the airport is in consideration for commercial flights, you could apply for FAA grants for the transit line segments on airport property. I don’t think that works for an airport that doesn’t have commercial traffic yet.

    3. If Seattle continues to boom like it is, it will eventually need a third airport (Boeing is currently a cargo & private airport). Most major US cities have two airports, with one being the primary. Seatac has only so much capacity, and if it establishes itself as a true gateway airport with LAX, SFO, and YVR, there is going to be a lot of through traffic. I think Paine field can establish itself as a strong secondary option, a la Midway airport in Chicago, which nearly shut down in the 1990 and is now in the top 25 in passenger boardings. Paine-Oakland on Southwest will be much cheaper than Seatac-SFO on Delta, once Seatac runs out of capacity and has to raise landing fees to ration flights. We may never get there, but if you are planning of major, long term growth I think it’s something to seriously consider. I’d rather build out Paine field than drop $10B to give Seatac some extra capacity.

      I can understand why the business community leaders in Everett are pushing for it. While very much speculative, I think ST3 route through Paine Field is a strong bet on the future of Snohomish county being able to support a 2nd airport. I hadn’t thought about it this way, but the current design is very much backed up by this article, of building it into the network rather than building a spur to Paine.

      1. I think a spur can work. A mainline following Evergreen or 5, and a spur starting at Everett Mall, or at Evergreen @ 100th. For actual trains, run a Red line from West Seattle to Paine, Blue line from Redmond to Everett, and an Everett line from Everett to Paine, that uses single cars most of the time, but full trains at Boeing shift changes. This means building less infrastructure, a direct route from Everett to Seattle, no transfers required for anybody.

      2. Chicago, LA, and the Bay Area are three times Seattle’s size. How many decades out is the point where Seattle’s population triples, again?

        Another thing that must be considered if we’re talking airports is carbon. A future where we don’t address carbon emissions and climate change is a non-future for human civilization — it’s not even worth planning for. Air travel is one of the few sectors that’s both extremely carbon-intensive and has no plausible path to serious carbon reduction. Is there room in our carbon budget to grow flying?

      3. I think what the article was trying to argue is the best airport service are lines that serve a corridor while also serving an airport. Lines created with the primary intent of serving an airport, especially when dead-ending at an airport, simply don’t generate the same volume. The data says that designing a line so that airport fliers have no transfer isn’t good design. Design it for daily users, and then people who need to catch a flight will still take the slower route and/or transfer to get to the airport.

      4. If by Boeing you mean the King County airport, it has some commercial passenger flights too. The cheaper runway based flights to the Ssn Juans leave from there. I think I ran into a couple other places that are served from there.

      5. The problem with the push for a Paine Field routing is that there it ignores the alternative of an I-5 mainline with a Paine Field shuttle line. An automated shuttle line that follows SR 526 between Evergreen Mall, Boeing and Paine Field seemingly has most of the benefits of the Paine Field line (access to Boeing and Paine Field) without most of the costs (indirect routeing for Everett riders and costly non-freeway running elevated segments. This is relatively similar to how BART added access to Oakland International Airport in 2014.

    4. Interesting conversation on Paine Field. As a “flexible flyer,” I believe that Paine Field (or Boeing Field or Renton Municipal, or any other suitable airfield) actually does have a potential to serve passenger flights. Paine Field’s location opposite SeaTac and at the centroid of the Boeing workforce actually makes it pretty attractive for a budget airline. Personally, I fly routinely to the Midwest to visit my family. My list of airports that I’ve flown to or have considered flying to numbers seven, as my parents live in a rural area and I face a minimum one hour drive to them from their nearest airport, and the big cities are pretty closely spaced. So, for example, a SkyBus (now defunct) flight from Bellingham to Columbus or a Frontier flight from Seatac to Cleveland both work equally well for me, as long as the price is right. I can also choose a pricier Delta or Alaska flight to Detroit, or shave an hour or two off of my drive time while adding on three or four hours of layover if I fly to Dayton, usually at double the fare. The bottom line is for domestic flights (particularly to the rust belt and the east coast), people can often be a lot more flexible, and budget airlines are willing to take full advantage of that. Most of us choosing to fly Allegiant or Frontier or Spirit aren’t interested in the expensive fancy terminals offered at SeaTac.

      So, yes, there may be a lot of community opposition to added flights at Paine Field but….. it is an airport, and they chose to live next to it. And for a budget airline, avoiding the shared cost of amenities at SeaTac may make modest terminal improvements at Paine pencil out, particularly if they can attract enough customers with lower fares. Bottom line: don’t count Paine Field out of Link.

    5. There is zero evidence that SeaTac is running out of capacity. They are planning some major expansions that will provide enough gate capacity for decades to come. The runways are nowhere near max capacity. Down the line, they can shift freight operations to Boeing Field and Paine, which will provide room for even more passengers.

      Paine might WANT passenger service but there’s no indication the region NEEDS it.

      If Link ran down 99 as it should a Paine stop would make sense. But Snohomish County wants Link on I-5 so that is what they should get.

      1. From Lynnwood, you follow I-5 to 128th, then head north on 4th Ave W, and have a junction station where it meets Everett Mall Way and Evergreen, one line goes west to Paine and Boeing, the other northeast to the mall and Everett.

      2. @Donde I like splitting the line, esp if it’s built so that the “Paine line” eventually becomes a line that runs from Paine to Bellevue, intersecting w/ the Seattle-Everett line. Start as a junction and later evolve into an intersection.
        If it starts out as a split from the Seattle line, but it becomes a separate line years from now when rail get built from Kirkland to Everett allowing it to merge with the Issaquah-Kirkland line, that seems like a reasonable phased approach.

      3. @ Barman . . Last year, SeaTac was the fastest growing airport in the country. The fact they are planning expansions supports this pattern. Anyone who has gone through SEA customs is well aware of how cramped, outdated and outright uncomfortable the processing facilities are (hence the expansion). Though moving cargo operations elsewhere seems like a logical idea, it’s not an ideal one for airlines that operates out of SEA. Most airlines who offer passenger service, especially Alaska, Delta & United, have substantial cargo operations on the north aprons of the airport – not to mention maintenance facilities as well. Logistically, it would be a pain in the neck to have separate operations at separate airports. If Seattle’s growth doesn’t slow down, then we’re gonna need a second airport in 30 years. Until then, things are fine now and will subtly grow more cramped and crowded as the years progress.

      4. I’m of the general view…

        a) Mukilteo and surrounding communities do not WANT Paine Field to be improved in this manner. As some of you know, I have experienced what happens when a loud segment of a community – namely Central Whidbey – turns on an airport.

        b) IF this terminal goes from the courtroom to the planning phase, then I am going to publicly insist transportation mitigation be a huge part of this. I do not want an even bigger, more painful version of the problems that happened and are happening with the Future of Flight because transit was not planned 11-16 years ago.

        c) I have said many times and will say again that if light rail comes to Paine Field, then there better be a plan to have feeder bus routes to the stations to feed ALL of Paine Field. ALL.

      5. There’s a lot of evidence that the current airport will become constrained in the future or else they wouldn’t be building more gates. Even the managing director of the airport has said that even with the planned expansion, “Does the Puget Sound area need a second or relief airport? Reis says he doesn’t think so, at least for 20 years. After that, the airport that’s served Seattle and Tacoma since 1947 really starts running out of room.”

        I have never understood the NIMBYism of people in the area around Paine Field. That airport has been there forever and a modest number of additional flights would hardly be noticeable. It really doesn’t take that much for a Low Cost Carrier to develop a small terminal that allows a small number of flights to move into a new city/airport. Landing fees alone may drive that move by an airline like Allegiant.

    6. It might be way too late to stop the Paine train (as I call it) advocated by our politicians, but I really don’t want to see it happen. If Paine Field was to be served by light rail in conjunction with the start of commercial service, it must be a spur off the main line. And it should be funded by an independent source (LID or what have you) that would not jeopardize the delivery of high-quality transit for downtown Everett (a much more important all-day destination that is the jumping point for the rest of the county).

      1. Don’t worry, Bruce. Paine Field service right now is dead. It won’t be resurrected until another 30 years or so when the region becomes like the likes of San Francisco and SEA is at capacity.

      2. Bruce;

        To be brutally honest I am in general agreement with you. I wish the Sound Transit Board was given the option of a spur and imposed a requirement on BOTH Everett Transit & Community Transit to flesh out bus service for ALL of Paine Field since this is so damn important – terminal or no terminal.

        My biggest fear of this diversion is some taxpayer watchdog going to these stations and filming nobody using them… to justify denying other areas their transit needs. Some of us – me included – are openly concerned about if and how will a ST4 play out.

    1. Thanks Glenn, the article was a good read. Especially for me and the Skagit Transit advisory committee I’m on where an emphasis is on civic engagement, there were some good ideas to take up north from what Sound Transit has done.

    1. I took that train once while on layover at YYZ. It was nice, but super expensive as you obviously see, though I did get half off since I was visiting downtown for less than six hours. The train was mostly empty. Blue Line to ORD and Orange to MDW are how you do it.

  6. London Underground is experimenting with having passengers stand on escalators and having a second escalator for those wanting to walk.

    This was sparked by a determination that most people don’t walk on the longest escalators, so half of their capacity is unused with the stand to the right convention.

    1. … which is fine, if elevator capacity is actually a bottleneck.

      I’ve never seen serious elevator capacity bottlenecks any place in the US, certainly not on transit in the sparse northwest.

  7. My phone just prompted me to join an open wifi network in ID Station called “Tunnel WIFI”- just for fun I connected & it sent me to so it does look to be from Metro. I was able to browse other sites as well.

    I know cell service is planned for later this year, but is this an unannounced stopgap in the meantime, maybe for the ULink opening?

    I was headed south so I didn’t get to see if it’s at any other stations.

    1. According to a recent comment this is active at all tunnel stations.

      I don’t know if it should be called a stopgap or not. If I had a choice I would prefer wifi.

  8. A couple of other interesting stories:
    Transportation budget includes improvements to I-405 express toll lanes
    An incremental approach that’s unlikely to make the toll trolls happy or make much immediate difference in commute times but I think this sort of thing applied over the course of the next couple of years will assure that there’s no turning back.
    World Trade Center Transit Hub a $4B ‘Symbol of Excess’
    Makes Beacon Hill look like a bargin basement… until you start to calculate cost per rider :(

  9. This week in gondolas:

    I’ve had several tell me the reason we’ll never build any here is the Seattle Process, and privacy. Even running on public ROW, there apparently is some expectation of privacy as these cabins pass by apartments and homes. Whether or not there’s a legal case for that, I can certainly imagine enough of a fight to kill any elevated project.

    But today there’s the Brest cable car. Privacy glass will turn on and off as it passes sensitive areas.

  10. Anything on Pronto being saved and Seattle electric vehicle initiative? I’m wondering in particular about more aggressive trolley bus expansion implications

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