SEATTLE--Brill TC 798 at South Base, with Link 134 OB

This is an open thread.

94 Replies to “News Roundup: Pumped”

    1. They’re making the change between 2025 and 2040, so it might be the Rapid Ride upgrades to the 8. But more likely, it’s the West Side (Ballard) Link, with a stop at LQA.

    2. What I’m wondering is that in the 2025 map, they join the 38 to a new Boren-Denny route to SLU and LQA. Why don’t they do something like that in September, instead of having it duplicate service on Jackson?

      1. 1) They can tell ACRS they added the service but it was superceded by later events.
        2) The council hasn’t seen the long-range plan yet so it hasn’t noticed this. This also may show that Metro doesn’t consider the 38-Jackson important.
        3) 2025 is several years away so we can assume a solution will emerge by then, it will be a future council’s problem, or demand for the duplicative route will dissipate by then.
        4) The 2025 map is just tentative ideas; the routes haven’t each been vetted by public comment yet.

    3. These days, it takes 22 years to build light rail and apparently 25 years to put in a traffic light at 3rd and Denny.

    4. I find the 2040 Issaquah line connection south of the East Main Station in Bellevue rather curious.

  1. The seattlemet article was interesting, but the only comment about why West Seattle before Ballard was this.
    Asked about the possibility of phasing in the Ballard to downtown line to get a portion of that route up and running sooner (and as a way to make Seattle voters happier), Ilgenfritz said that would simply “build support for some and cost support for others” (a nod to the regional political challenges of prioritizing Seattle projects over projects in the suburbs.)

    That doesn’t seem to make sense. Perhaps ST meant that they couldn’t build both West Seattle and Ballard at the same time?

    I’d like to hear any justification for building the low ridership West Seattle segment first, over Ballard – Westlake, or over Ballard && new DSTT.

      1. I’d understood there were more voters in ballard….
        fewer city/county councilmembers, perhaps?

      2. Seems like the downtown portion of the Ballard line would be of great use to West Seattle (and the region as a whole?) by taking tens of minutes off of commute times to SLU, LQA, etc.

        Not to mention adding tunnel redundancy for when accidents shut down the current downtown line

        If just that tunnel were completed first, under the premise of getting the line ready to split to West Seattle, would there still be as much pushback?

    1. psf, and everybody else:

      I think STB needs some civil and structural engineers as regular contributors. The natural forces that make this place beautiful also make it very hard to build fast transportation fast. Which I think seriously outweighs (literally) every political problem.

      Reason I keep mentioning “section views” (looking at the ground, and water, cut open and viewed sideways) is that viewers can immediately see the digging and and elevating needed to connect Ballard with West Seattle.

      Two crossings of major industrial waterways. Possible subways through Queen Anne Hill, Seattle CBD, and West Seattle. Dangerously muddy ground from Jackson South.

      Necessary and possible, definitely. But water-crossings and soil conditions, among a lot else make this work probably a lot harder than line to wherever in Everett. Which is probably true for most of our rail construction. Meaning “Spines” might be easier, and cheaper per mile than arteries and capillaries.

      Also: our discussion needs to shift from terminology especially “light rail” to exactly what kind of trains and tracks we’ll really need. Our LINK cars are “the heavy side of light rail” – meaning largest current cars able to run street track if necessary- whether they do or not.

      But for distances like Everett to Olympia- remember we are talking thirty or forty years ahead- passengers will deserve and demand a larger car. Could add yellow to the purple paint job:

      With bathrooms:

      Second link better advertising image than first. And for any system serving this country’s public, least mentioned but most important. African country I know is sweeping the wildlife preservation world with brand-new constantly mopped toilets. There and Europe, coin toilets everywhere. Except the ones on trains.

      So for our distances, maybe light rail can be incorporated into same rights-of-way and stations as above regional lines- rather than whole very long length. Which might be a more realistic way of “staging” combination of short and long-term work.

      And finally: Even more repetitiously aggravating than “section views”, reason I won’t let go of DSTT progression from buses to joint use to all-rail is that this mode was specifically designed to get both long-term development and present passengers moving at the same time.

      CPS to IDS world’s best example. Structured and signaled for trains. And grooved rail real for joint ops. Not display, this time. But convertible to first joint use and then trains without a two-year shut-down between phases.

      No question these track-ways and their tunnels and bridges need heavier structure and more lateral space than trains alone. But for places where Train 1 is two decades away, might be worth the cost to put lines into heavy passenger service ASAP.

      We’ll have several more years to keep watching joint rail-bus operations. Which might finally give ST and KCM some motivation to get those 1.3 miles under the control they were designed to have.
      Knowlede could be a lot of use over the next 25 years.

      Mark Dublin

      1. “I think STB needs some civil and structural engineers as regular contributors.”

        That would be helpful. We get some people saying “This would be easy” or “This would make it faster or cheaper” or “Other cities did this” or “ST is incompetent because …” but they don’t demonstrate that it’s plausable or that the have the engineering expertise to evaluate it. It would be nice if somebody could review ST’s plans and alternatives and peer city approaches from an engineering perspective.

      2. Anyone that has the technical expertise to critique ST in a meaningful way would never do so in a public forum like this because they would never get a project from ST again.

      3. Who’s to say there aren’t civil engineers commenting on here now? Including Oran who has a masters’ degree in engineering.

      4. I’m a civil engineer, but I don’t usually know enough about the particulars of the specific area to be able to say anything too specific.

      5. Any civil engineers in the field who do comment here will likely do so under a pseudonym. I can recognize them. Like Donde, although I am a civil engineer, railway engineering is not my specialty so I can’t really comment on such things with authority.

    2. It isn’t the voters, it’s the access to the MF and funding. They can build the stub to West Seattle and access the MF because the line will run right by it. You can’t do Ballard until you do the tunnel, unless you replicate the MF somewhere in Interbay. Nobody wants more rail yards in Interbay.

      1. For all of the ST3 extensions additional storage tracks will be needed. I believe ST2 maxes out the current OMF and the Bellevue storage yard.

        Interbay is not a bad place for a storage yard as there is available land that is already zoned for industrial use.

        In any case the current phasing for the Ballard line is to build the downtown and Queen Anne tunnel first then do Interbay, the ship canal crossing, and Ballard as a second phase. Amgen to 15th & Market isn’t a terribly useful line so I suspect the phasing would stand even if Ballard was built before West Seattle. Since the plan is to run trains from Central Link in the new tunnel there will have to be connecting tracks somewhere at or south of IDS.
        I suspect the real reason Sound Transit proposes building West Seattle first is the construction and environmental review is not expected to take as long for West Seattle and because West Seattle is much cheaper and therefore the money will be available much sooner.

      2. @’Dakos
        Good point about maintenance barn holding back Ballard. But I see a workaround. Have Ballard run temporarily at-grade through the city on the hypothetical Belltown extension of the City Center Connector (along 1st starting in LQA), while the tunnel is being constructed. This would get a Ballard line running potentially 10 years sooner, allow the Ballard line access to the SODO maintenance yard prior to the tunnel, and throw Belltown a bone with a branch CCC streetcar that can be implemented when the new tunnel is completed.

      3. Chris,

        And what exactly about your comment was a chastisement to mine? Other than it was longer of course.

      4. Andy,

        I like the lateral thinking that shows, but truly, what makes Ballard-Downtown useful is not Ballard-Downtown, it’s Pier 91-Downtown via LQA and SLU. And that requires the tunnel. Truly, how is service on First Avenue with what will have to be streetcars better than a better RapidRide using Third? By the time you get down to Spring the hike up from First to the office towers is pretty substantial.

        In the absence of the Board’s unwillingness to sell more bonds in order to build more simultaneously, the time line is about as good as it gets.

      5. Anandakos,
        Really two things:
        1. The notion that more rail yards in Interbay would be a bad thing. (In fact Interbay may make more sense for additional yards than trying to find more space in SODO, especially given the large tract of unused Port land)
        2. That the non-tunnel portion of the Downtown-Ballard line is in any way useful as a transit service. Perhaps if connected to Ballard-UW, but that isn’t what is under discussion.

      6. Andy,
        This is simply not possible due to the different loading gauges and platform lengths between Seattle streetcars and Link. The streetcars are much narrower and have 60′ platforms that are closer to the railhead. There may be an issue with turn radiuses as well as the streetcars are designed to deal with sharper turns.

    3. I’m not going to argue for West Seattle as more important, but I can give a few points to think about:

      1) It’s not safe or comfortable to have lots of standees on buses that use 99 and the West Seattle bridge. While many other routes also have standees, it’s just not safe at higher speeds.

      2) The amount of tunneling for Downtown, SLU and LQA is significant and it cuts through an urban center with lots of buried utilities as well as adjacent tall buildings that require lots of cautious construction considerations. That adds delay that West Seattle won’t have.

    4. As a West Seattle voter, I would support building Ballard before West Seattle given their density as long as I knew we were going to get it.

    5. “I’d like to hear any justification for building the low ridership West Seattle segment first, over Ballard – Westlake, or over Ballard && new DSTT.”

      ST will have only 1/3 the revenue until 2024 because the ST1 and ST2 tax streams are committed to ST2 projects until then. So it can either build Ballard and DSTT2 slowly and still not finish it, or build West Seattle and get something open sooner to show outcomes for the money.

  2. If ST3 passes in November, could Sound Transit run a Seattle-only ballot measure (ST3.5?) that includes just the Metro 8 subway and Ballard-UW?

    1. No. But it could run an all-subarea adjustment if it wants to make miscellaneous adjustments to the promises. But the ST1/2/3 taxes will be maxed out through 2041, so nothing else could start until after that. There may be a small amount of money for North King a few years earlier since I think all its projects finish around 2038. But subarea loans, you know.

      1. But the city of Seattle could sponsor a ballot initiative, ala Move Seattle, yes?

    2. Can Seattle run a Seattle-only ballot measure (ST3.5?) that includes just the Metro 8 subway and Ballard-UW? I know ST can’t, but can Seattle?

    3. I should also mention, the tax rate has to be the same across subareas since it’s one taxing district.

      Seattle has an unused monorail tax authority, so you may see it tapped after ST3 is decided. Formally it would have to be “not light rail”, but the statute doesn’t define light rail so there’s some wiggle room maybe. But I’m told it can raise only 1-2 billion dollars, so maybe enough for either Ballard-UW or Denny Way but not both. And maybe not enough for all of it.

      1. As much of a bad idea pre-deciding a technology is, I suspect quite a number of folks would even vote for a monorail run by a competent authority* if it could add even one crosstown line anywhere in the city limits.

        *incompetence is always a deal killer

      2. I agree with Charles. Hell, I’d be willing to consider a moving sidewalk as a replacement for the 44 some days.

      3. Skytrains with additional pantographs to run on Link tracks for heavy maintenance are the ticket for Ballard-UW and the Metro 8. Lower operating costs and smaller tunnels are valuable.

      4. Skytrain uses linear motors. If the track doesn’t have the reaction plate the train isn’t going anywhere no matter what sort of current pickup it is using.
        Skytrain is also propeitary to Bombardier which is never a good position to be in with transit vehicles.
        Finally I doubt there would be much of a savings from being able to use slightly smaller tunnels.

        Now the underlying concept is good. Build a heavy rail line with cars that can clear the current LINK curves and structure gauge. “Not light rail” without the problems a small isolated line might otherwise have with O&M.

  3. Talking about the Yesler Bridge rebuild… there go hopes of using the 27 as a fast alternative to the 3/4’s James Street traffic jam. Any timeline on when the 3/4 will themselves move to Yesler?

    1. I haven’t heard that the trolley wire work has been funded or scheduled. In any case it would have to be during or after the bridge rebuild.

  4. The whole NE restructure still has me figuring things out, and the differences in the trip planners isn’t helping.

    For example, I was checking out going from the north u-dist to the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall on a weekday afternoon. Years ago you could simply walk a bit and hop on a 74 on 50th and soon end up in the seattle center area.

    KC trip planner shows only one option: walking up to 65th and catching the 62 to dexter & mercer and walking to the hall.
    Google maps shows four options: take a bus down the ave and hope you don’t miss the transfer to the 32, take the 45 up to green lake and hope you don’t miss the transfer for the 26, take the 45 up to aurora and hop on the e line, and (lastly) walk up to 65th and hop on the 62.

    Because it takes 18 minutes to supposedly get form the upper part of the ave to the UW Station it doesn’t show options that use Link. Also, it took me a awhile to realize that the UW Station only pops up in google if you start typing the full “University of Washington station”.

    Visiting the queen anne area is a hassle now.

    1. I was doing some route planning on Google Maps today, and it has a bias against Link.

      I could only get route options including Link if I forced “Light Rail/Tram” in the settings, even though the total travel time was the same as the all bus options it gave by default.

      1. I found a point on Montlake, a little north of the IMA center, that if I started the route there it would have me walk to steven’s way for a 32 and a 55 or so min trip. But if I moved the start point a pixel south it had me go to Link for a 43 or so min trip.

    2. If you develop a willingness to walk a half mile to eliminate a transfer then transit riding becomes a whole lot easier. With that in mind, the most direct option is probably to take the 70 to SLU and walk from there. The new underpass of Mercer St. underneath Aurora is much more pedestrian-friendly than the old one. You can also walk south to Campus Parkway and take the 32 all the way to Seattle Center, but it’s a much longer bus ride than the 70, has only slightly less walking (depending on how far north in the U-district you are), and runs much less frequently.

      1. Yeah, I do a lot of walking so I’m currently willing to walk. The 70 option is a good one, it’s just shy of a mile from Fairview to the Exhibition Hall so easy enough in nice weather.

        I actually used the 70 last week to go down to a show at the Paramount. Usually I’d take a 7X right to Convention Place Station. That convenience is now gone. I almost took Link for fun, but the 70 and the walk between Stewart/Virginia and the Paramount is about the same as between the westlake platform and the Paramount. The 70 worked out pretty well though, and no transfers were needed.

      2. “If you develop a willingness to walk a half mile to eliminate a transfer then transit riding becomes a whole lot easier.”

        This is worth publicizing, and I’m not sure how to do it. When a friend moved to the top of Queen Anne and I commented how limited the transit access was there, he said, “It’s not limited at all if you’re willing to walk a mile,” and was not bothered by walking to the Fremont buses. asdf2 does the same thing from 25th & 55th, and all of northeast Seattle and north Seattle can be approached that way if you have the right personality. I don’t really, I take long walks but I don’t like to do it every day or have no other choice, so I often live where there’s a frequent bus a short distance to a trunk line, and then I sometimes take it and sometimes don’t. But if you want to live at 55th & 25th or many other places, or you don’t want to be limited to the high-rent areas, then that’s what you would do.

        There’s an opportunity for promotional material or a rider’s guide tailored to that, although I’m not sure what would form be effective. A typical access map focuses on the 5- and 10-minute walksheds, and for that you can have circles around every station and trunk stop. But 20- or 30-minute circles would be so vague and overlapping I’m not sure they’d do much. There’s something like that in Metro’s LRP site, which shows the future 15/30/45/60-minute transit circle from Highline CC, Ballard, and Overlake. The problem is the 60-minute circles overlap between them and then it becomes impossible to tell where the circle ends. Greenlake is in the 45-minute color, so does that mean I can get to Greenlake from Highline CC in 60 minutes? Or is it interference from the other circles? At the same time it shows that it takes 60 minutes to get from Highline CC to Alki or Renton, so that shows how limited you are off the Link network. So a map with 20/30-minute walksheds would have the same kind of problem. But it could be done with a separate map for each start point. Or start points far enough apart that the circles don’t overlap. That would give people at other start points an idea of what to expect, but not really because Latona is quite different from Fremont even though they’re close together and a naive person would assume they have the same level of access.

      3. Yeah, walking a mile or even longer occasionally for discretionary trips is much different than doing so every day for work, when time is of the essence, especially if you are not a morning person.

  5. Isn’t it a little early for the Seattle Times to be going crazy and recommending their usual no-vote on ST3? It’s still Apil and the package to voters hasn’t even been finalized.

    1. It’s not exactly a No recommendation, it’s a list of questions they have, or the criteria they’d decide it on. As such, it can plausably be called appropriate feedback for the comment period, or questions for readers to consider as they form their feedback. I loved the first one:

      “Would suburbs get a fair return on their Sound Transit investment, especially compared to costly tunnels and spurs proposed for Seattle neighborhoods?”

      The irony is that Seattlites are wondering the same thing, whether they get a fair return given their ridership and ability to use transit most effectively. It speaks to DJ’s Snohomish “delusions of grandeur” below. More gems:

      “What effect would at-grade rail and dedicated bus corridors have on roads? Would ST3 increase congestion by further reducing road capacity for cars, which will continue to be used for most travel in the region?”

      What effect would not building ST3 have on those trying to get around the region without a car, or who would rather sit in a train not stuck in traffic? Even if drivers are the majority, should we cater to their very inefficient use of space and infrastructure? I also note that the same article says that light rail can move the same number of people as 14 car lanes, and the current buses currently carry 4 lanes’ worth. So why should we be very concerned about reducing car capacity? Isn’t it the efficient thing to do?

      “What would be the cumulative effects of transit funding on living costs, including the effect of ST3’s new property tax on rents and housing costs?”

      How about we also look at the benefit to people of having high-capacity transit, not just the cost of it as if there’s no benefit.

    2. No, they and other right-wingers have been telegraphing this for months. The only reply is to get ST to advance the timeline so we can tell people “either you can sit in traffic for decades or we start building rail now so people have other options.”

      But, especially after the 2014 countywide Metro vote and the 2015 Vancouver BC transit vote, we should not take anything for granted. Right-wing opposition is potent and will have to be smacked down hard.

      1. Robert,
        I fully expect the usual suspects to crawl out of the woodwork for the ST3 vote. This sort of measure is like catnip to anti-tax, anti-government, anti-transit, and/or “war on cars” types.

        That said about the most pro-transit electorate you can expect is a general election ballot in a Presidential election year. The higher the turnout the more liberal the electorate as a general rule.

        I’m somewhat worried as I’ve heard complaints about cost and the construction timeline from people who normally have no qualms about voting for additional taxes, especially when the taxes are for transit. Though without polling it is hard to know just how much of a hill ST3 needs to climb for passage.

        As to the Metro vote, I’m not sure how reflective of support for transit out in the suburbs that is. As a special election it almost guaranteed the most conservative electorate possible. If the vote had been held when the Seattle Prop 1 vote took place it might very well have passed.

        I discount the BC vote a bit both due to very different election dynamics in Canada and specific circumstances surrounding anger with trans link, a demagogue fanning the flames for a “no” vote, and the “yes” side being slow to realize they needed an effective response to the “no” campaign.

        I am worried ST3 will fail to get an endorsement from some of the usual groups who support transit measures locally. I’m also worried elected officials from Snohomish County will throw a temper tantrum because they can’t have their gold-plated wet dream on the shortest timeline possible.

      2. Measures that transit fans are united on usually win although not always. Measures that they’re divided on often lose, perhaps usually lose. Seattle had a transit-and-pothole measure a few years ago that half our commentariat said was “too much streetcar”, and it lost. Roads and Transit lost, although that was before STB so there wasn’t any organized transit voice. So we should be concerned about an ST3 that transit fans are divided on. However, if Everett and Tacoma and West Seattle are non-negotiable and inherent in ST’s structure, then it’s inevitable that transit fans will be divided.

        The general public has been getting more supportive of transit, originally for peak-only solutions, now for all-day solutions. And they’re listening to what STB and the commentariat say more and more. Sometimes it’s directly if they read the article, or indirectly if they read an article in the Times that mentions an STB alternative or what the transif-fan community is saying. So I think we can take STB and the Transit Riders Union as representative of what transit fans think, or at least as close to representative as we can find, and that’s increasingly influencing the part of the public who has a casual interest in transit. So we can assume that if the STB commentariat is divided, the greater transit-fan community is divided, and those with a casual interest in transit are divided too.

    1. “Snohomish County legislators suggest other subareas pay more to accelerate construction to Everett.”
      Yeah, not gonna happen. What they could do is work toward the middle, though. Start with downtown Everett and work south, and at the same time go north from Lynnwood and meet in the middle. Everett gets their connection to Paine quickly that way.

      1. That would piggyback off one advantage of the Paine Field route: ample industrial land for an O&M base. Hell, if you built north up to ECC and south to Paine you’d have a reasonable independent operating segment.

      2. Snohomish country can die in a fire. They are already getting large transfers from other sub-areas to pay for Lynnwood to Everett. I don’t care what they build but they have to use only Snohomish sub-area money.

      3. Ron has an excellent point. The only reason to go the Everett via any route any time before 2070 or so (maybe!) is that the industrial district and air service could be a great shot in the arm for Everett proper. So building a detached segment that will eventually be included in the main Link stem makes a lot of sense. In the meantime BRT from Lynnwood on 525 and Paine Field Blvd with lines serving both side of the airport to Seaway would do very nicely.

    2. Well Snohomish could always have Bus Rapid Transit serve Paine Field & Mukilteo… and light rail go up I-5 or Hwy 99… ;-).

      One might wonder if in 25 years the 777-X, KC-46 Pegasus and 787 lines will all peter out all at that time… and considering the last oh 15 years it’s a wild guess if light rail is best to serve Paine Field.

  6. I contributed to the decline in Amtrak Cascades ridership. Between 2011-2013, I used to be a regular Portland to Seattle rider (a few times per month). The price (in business class) has since increased to near the cost of an Alaska Air-Horizon shuttle flight. Add in the 20 minute increase in duration and lack of reliable arrival/departure times, and the choice to switch modes became clear.

    I hope WSDOT can succeed in improving the Cascades service and regaining ridership. But, it likely will take a bit more to bring me back. The increased frequency of 2 more trips per day, plus giving back the 20 minutes of construction induced delays and the 10 minute savings of the Pt. Defiance bypass will all help tremendously. But, it won’t actually win over the competing modes (bus, car, plane) until they can increase speed along at least some of the trip to 110 or 125 mph. As I understand it, that will take at least triple tracking much of the line and improved signaling/train control. They should also do electrification to make this the economically minded choice. I would then certainly switch to Cascades. Sadly, I am quite certain that Washington politics is incapable of achieving this during my generation/lifetime. I am still hopeful that my children’s generation of politics will achieve that.

      1. Does that include the 2 hour TSA line you have to go through just to catch your short hop? (unless you have TSA Pre or some other similar program)

      2. @Warren

        You can use the elite frequent flier ID check line simply by showing your Alaska boarding pass to Portland or Spokane. It is still not Pre but it cuts down a lot of the time. I skipped ~300 people on Tuesday using that. Alaska knows that people would just drive if security was really slow.

      3. I do as well, and there are times you just walk through. At O’Hare Monday it took three minutes.

        Even when you’re in the main lines I have never had it take more than 25 minutes, which does seem like an eternity when you’re standing there and have a flight to catch.

        You do still have to get there early, of course, but I find an hour/1:15 before departure more than sufficient. If Amtrak allowed you to pre-book your seat it would help; the lack of security necessary to travel is an advantage, and it’s certainly more comfortable than the plane (by a loooooong way), but if fares are even remotely close sometimes the plane just works better.

        I would love it if the state sped up their current long-range plans to achieve higher speeds that are competitive not only with flying but with driving. That drive gets really old after a while. I’d love even more to see it to Vancouver, but apparently there are some issues on the other side of the border as well that are in the way of that.

    1. Yeah, when a round trip train ride to Portland is $90 and takes more than 3.5 hours each way, you’d be hard pressed to ride as a solo traveler. If you travel with someone else, you could rent a car, pay for parking downtown and still probably be less than the $180 you’d pay for Amtrak. Yes I know I-5 is subsidized; why can’t Amtrak be to the point where it makes economical sense?

  7. I’ve noticed recently that the FHSC has changed their destination signage to include a number before the destination. While looking much like a route number on Metro, being a full height (2 row high) character on the left side of the sign, I believe it is in fact the vehicle or run number, as I’ve seen a 1, 2 and 4 in recent days. This would seem very confusing for an out of town visitor, who could easily think, “I rode in on the 4, so heading back, I shouldn’t catch this 2, but wait for the next 4.” Or worse, catch a No 4 bus, thinking they share the route.
    I’ve never seen any system in any other city prominently display a vehicle number on the destination sign.

    1. I’ve noticed that too; it looks inadvertent. Why they think the run number should be in the line/destination sign is beyond me.

    1. with that excuse, discussion even of a single track solution is precluded.
      the ops expense of keeping all the stations open is real, but that doesn’t sound like how the systems should work.

    2. I don’t think that’s a fair representation – he’s saying they need that time period with the tracks cleared to run tests when they update software. It’s not needed every night, but when they run tests, the tracks need to be fully cleared & there needs to be a long enough time period to troubleshoot before service restarts.

      1. Seriously. Running later Fridays and Saturdays should not completely break their maintenance program. Why are they so busy listing reasons they can’t do this rather than listing out what would be needed to do it?

      2. The intent of 24-hour service is more relevant for workers and air travelers than for weekend club-goers. That’s why some sort of 24-hour service is needed.

        It would seem fairly easy and cost-effective to just have ST routes that mostly follow the rail lines during periods when the rail is not operating. ST could operate them at 30-minute frequency and accomplish most of what they need for track maintenance. It’s much cheaper to hire 10 overnight bus drivers than pay for all the staff to keep the rail system open for 24 hours.

      3. Solving 5/7 of the problem is better than solving none of it. However, I can see an argument against a 97 night owl. Nighttime demand is diffuse and is better served by the 7 and 36 and 49 and such which go directly to where people live rather than a station some distance away, and they’re already running and could be made more frequent. When ST2 Link is complete it will be competitive for U-District to Rainier Valley, Eastside, north Seattle/Shoreline, but not totally necessary for 45th to Broadway. The biggest issue is getting to/from the airport, and for that the 124 should be extended and made more frequent, and some kind of easy transfer from southeast Seattle.

  8. Community Transit likes 405 tolling because it really does help people going from Lynnwood to Bellevue. It makes traffic hell for anyone going from, say, Redmond to north Kirkland.

    I-405 tolling benefits people who have chosen, for whatever reason, to live far away from where they work. And it drives local traffic onto the local streets. As someone who cycles to work, I consider that an overall loss. I’d prefer cars stay on the highways where they can’t hurt pedestrians.

  9. So what if Seattle taxed itself to fund a mezzanine bus level above this new Downtown Light Rail Tunnel, much like the Market Street Subway in SF? Run several Seattle serving buses on this level.

    1. poncho,

      That won’t work because the Fourth of Fifth Avenue Tunnel will be bored and in fact the “Midtown” Station may be mined rather than cut-and-covered.

      The BART/Muni tunnel was fully cut-and-cover all the way from Castro to Embarcadero. I was there in San Francisco for two years while it was under construction. It was amazing to see how they “hung” the existing utilities from a latticework while they excavated the dirt from below them. It was a tour de force of tunneling.

      When most of the New York Subways were built the streets were not nearly as complicated underneath as they were even in the 1960’s. A quick check will tell you that the Second Avenue tubes are being bored for exactly that reason.

      1. The complexity of utility relocation and the improvement in TBM technology has changed the equation of when cut-and-cover vs bored tunnels make sense. Generally using bored tunnels is cheaper unless the tunnel is short or the street you are running under has few utilities. My understanding is this is why they were able to use cut-and-cover for the Canada Line in Vancouver.

        Mining out a new station under Westlake is going to be complex, time-consuming, and expensive.

      2. Chris,

        What about “A quick check will tell you that the Second Avenue tubes are being bored for exactly that reason.” and “the Fourth or Fifth Avenue Tunnel will be bored” did not say essentially what you said?

        If you want to reply to the original post, reply to the original post! Replying to someone who is saying pretty much the same thing as you without some sort of acknowledgement or an “and also” seems pretty jerkish, frankly. It’s just not very polite or positive.

        Now maybe you don’t agree that it would be a good idea to mine Midtown; if so say so. But you did mention mining the extension to Westlake, which pretty much has to happen as well since part of the Mezzanine will be underneath the DSTT tubes.

  10. I’m still trying to understand some of the decisions in the draft plan, if anyone can help…

    1) Why isn’t the Graham St. infill station being brought online *immediately*? It’s slated to show up fully *8 years* after the first LRT improvements appear. This seems like one of the simplest improvements to the existing network. Why not schedule it for an early, easy win?

    2) Why all the focus on completing a North-South spine to Everett and Tacoma when we already have commuter rail connectivity to these places via the Sounder? Why not just keep the transfer at King Street? Wouldn’t this be *much* more cost effective without diminishing service range?

    1. 1) That’s a good question.

      2) Because of the Snohomish and Pierce boardmembers, mayors, and voters. They’ve made light rail their last-stand cause.

      1. why have the outer county boardmembers done that? why not try to maximize ridership?

      2. Because they want something that benefits their county, not another county. Their voters want their tax dollars going to something they can use.

    2. 1) In the short-sightedness of the MLK segment design, ST and Seattle did not design a placeholder for the station. As a result, some sort of street widening and right-of-way take is needed.

      It points to a larger design problem with ST: The inability to design for contingencies such as infill stations and track branching. Value engineering would suggest removing any elements not in a funded plan, bus honestly it is terribly stupid because it’s harder to change things on an operating track than it is to change things before the line is built.

      2) All-day, frequent service is not the same as occasional commute period service.

      I do have to question the wisdom of even operating Sounder once a parallel Link line opens, especially for North Sounder. It will be interesting to see how demand moves to Angle Lake once it opens and that will be an early test of the Sounder-Link tradeoff.

      1. In addition ST failed to build a track junction for East Link at IDS. We’re going to need some weekend closures to put it in because of that. Also no space was provided for down escalators at Mt, Baker. Hopefully Sound Transit does better in the future, most notably in building Lynnwood Link in such a way so a 130th station ca easily be added.

      2. As to Sounder vs link/ST Express they serve very different markets. For South Sounder it serves the river valleys (Tukwilla, Kent, Auburn, Sumner, Puyallap) while Link/ST express serves I-5/99 (West Tukwilla, Seatac, Des Monies, West Kent, Federal Way, Fife). For North Sounder it serves the coast (Edmonds, Mukelteo) while Link/ST express again serves I-5/99 (Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, S Everett).

        North Sounder suffers from limited access and a trip that is longer than ST Express busses on all but the worst days. Due to the route being part of the Northern Tracon BNSF is unlikely to give up enough slots to make North Sounder any kind of frequent or all-day service.

      3. Because many of the Sounder riders are driving to stations, wouldn’t some of these riders at least consider driving an extra 2 or 3 miles to have frequent, all-day rail access back to their cars?

    1. Multi-swipe was a common occurrence when I was in New York in the mid-2000s. The display says to keep swiping at this turnstyle until it goes through, and that if you go to another turnstyle you’ll be charged a second fare. It has something to do with communication system unreliability or reader deterioration. I thought it would be fixed by now.

      1. The readers get abused. Based on entrance patterns some readers get used more than others (those closest to the stairs, for example) and MTA’s preventative maintenance program is basically nonexistent. The swiping technique takes some practice too. Tourists struggle with it.

        You learn really quick which turnstiles have bad readers at your station. That being said, I got waylaid by a “swipe again” just last week in NYC.

  11. I’m asking for commute advice for my spouse, hopefully this won’t come across as whining. They work 2 jobs and take 7 buses each day. Live in Ravenna, work mornings at North Seattle College, work afternoons at UW.

    Ravenna–>NSC: 62–>67–>345/346/40 (feel that the 62 and 26 aren’t reliable enough to transfer in Green Lake)
    NSC–>UW: 345/346/40–>67/556–>372/75 (work far enough north on UW campus to not want to walk from Campus Parkway or UWMC)
    UW–>Ravenna 372

    Any tips to shorten the commute would be appreciated. Also, he’s kind of annoyed because it seems that with the Metro restructure, each leg of the commute has gotten worse. Leg 1 – no more direct 68 between Ravenna and Northgate, Leg 2 – 67/68 had same frequency between Northgate and UW, and both buses travelled through campus. Leg 3 – The 372 has 1/2 mile stop spacing in Ravenna, while the 68 had 1/4 mile spacing in Ravenna.

  12. ST3 is going down smoldering. I doubt it will even catch fire enough to have flames in which to go down. There is too much parochial me-me-me. The folks in Ballard are pissed at West Seattle for “stealing” their grade separation. The folks in the Aurora Corridor aren’t getting anything. Burien is furious because Link will end at the Alaska Junction. And all the Burbistas are arguing about who gets what.

    It’s time for Plan B in Seattle and it should be Paint The Town Red!. Especially the arterials leading outside the City.

    1. It’s not just “the folks in Ballard”. It’s people everywhere who see that Ballard is the largest urban village the furthest from ST2 Link, and the limited amount of multfamily areas or employers in West Seattle. In Aurora’s, Burien’s, and Everett’s cases the local people understandably want Link, but others recognize they don’t have enough need to be first, and even some locals recognize that. So there’s a difference between areas where only locals are saying me-me-me, vs areas where others are also saying them-them-them.

      1. I would simply point out that North Link is not far from Aurora, and that L-shaped bus routes to a Link station would provide some wonderful connectivity to the Aurora corridor. If that isn’t enough, the 99/Harrison Station or one near there could easily provide an intercept for Aurora bus riders. In fact, at some point after 2041, we may seriously consider having a system where we pull many buses out of Downtown, as they won’t be able to move very easily. That’s how Downtown Boston is structured today — a system with few Downtown bus routes and instead having many of the city routes feeding a T station..

      2. SDOT and Metro have been planning to decrease the number of buses downtown. That’s part of their support for the second tunnel, more RapidRide lines, and other things. A few high-volume routes can move people more efficiently than a spaghetti of local and express routes going everywhere, because seats go a-wasting when there’s excess capacity on the Leschi route but not enough capacity on the Kent routes, and people can’t feasably use the capacity on routes that go somewhere completely different. Link is effectively a very long DSTT that people can connect to from outside downtown, and the overlapping RapidRide lines will provide something like that along with intra-downtown circulation. Having a few frequent routes leads to more even headways, as opposed to e.g., the 3/4 and 27 which are uncoordinated with each other.

  13. Just noticed something in the project documents – the 405 BRT is split into two operating segments, joining at Bellevue TC. So Renton will only need to be the steward of quality for the southern half of the route.

    I think this is great, as most of the traffic will be to and from Bellevue, and anyone needing to travel beyond Bellevue should hopefully have a quick transfer between segments. I’d imagine the buses will get stuck in congestion much more around Renton, so this isolates the northern half of the section from that.

Comments are closed.