The current ST3 plan

[UPDATE: PLEASE do not overreact to the original alliterative title. As the the text makes clear, I am agnostic as to whether this is a spur or a wye.]

The fundamental ST3 tension in Snohomish County is between extending to Everett via I-5 or via I-5/Paine Field/SR99 (see map above). I-5 offers the cheapest construction and fastest trip between Everett, Lynnwood, and points south. Paine Field is a major, if sprawling, jobs center and the most obvious destination in the area. It also contains Snohomish County’s hopes for broadening its economic base beyond Boeing,* and has a chance to be the region’s second commercial airport. The SR99 option, superior in many ways, is dead due to perceived impacts on existing businesses.

The downsides of Paine Field are the construction expense (which would push arrival in Everett to 2041) and the added distance (with a trip that is 10 minutes longer and a fare $.50 higher) for Everett-Seattle trips. Together these make it less competitive with other modes and cancel out the ridership gains from Paine Field itself. So the choice is: wait 25 years to serve relatively speculative development, or build faster via I-5 and forego much of that chance. Local leaders recently floated an idea to speed things up a bit (make it cheaper) by avoiding travel on SR 99 altogether. This might save a few years, but both exacerbates the lost development opportunities and likely increases travel time even further.

It seems straightforward, however, to get to Everett faster while also avoiding difficult travel time tradeoffs. A rail spur or wye junction allows Everett-Lynnwood travel to follow I-5. Moreover, ST could build that segment on essentially the same timeline as a pure I-5 alignment,  delivering real progress faster. The Paine field branch would follow later as development necessitates, probably around 2041.

The deluxe version would build both approaches to Paine to reduce travel time, but this would add another I-5 segment to the existing plan and therefore be more expensive. A single spur to Paine effectively replaces the other leg of Paine Field with a segment along I-5, so that the construction cost ought to be lower than the current Paine Field plan. But the beauty of the branching is that it can be done incrementally as funding allows, while easily delivering the core objective of completing the spine to Everett.

The drawback to branching is reduced frequency, but in this case that’s a small price to pay. One operational question is whether trains would follow a spur coming from Everett or from Lynnwood, or a wye that allows both. This ought to depend on where Paine Field demand comes from. You’re welcome to your opinion on this, but really ST should look at future study results or local input to decide. Recall that the spine can readily support three minute headways. That leaves three possibilities:

  1. Spur from the North: 3 minutes through Everett, 6 minutes to Paine Field and Lynnwood, and additional trains south from Lynnwood to resume 3-minute headways.
  2. Spur from the South: 6 minutes each to Everett and Paine Field.
  3. Wye Junction: 6 minutes Lynnwood-Everett, 6 minutes Everett-Paine Field, 6 minutes Lynnwood-Paine Field.

There’s no plausible scenario where these train frequencies are insufficient for demand.

ST hasn’t studied a branch or wye at all, at least publicly. But it’s self-evident that it would deliver rail to Everett faster. After construction ends, it makes rail trips more competitive with I-5 while still not abandoning the County’s hopes for economic development around Paine Field. It even hedges the possibility of commercial airline service at Paine Field. A branched Everett line is a win-win for everyone involved, and Sound Transit should seriously consider this alternative.

* presumably intensifying the land use to be more conducive to transit.

134 Replies to “Win-Win With a Wye Junction (or Spur)”

  1. Martin, I’m of the view that there is so much of Paine Field that needs buses that discussing light rail is putting the light rail cart well before the horse & buggy (aka buses) needed now. I can see considering the anxiety of most transit advocates for the laundry list of reasons we’ll see in the comments (again) why a Wye Junction makes sense. Let’s complete the spine first, then talk about spurs.

    Also while talking about spurs, why am I one of the only few guys wanting stuff left over for a ST4? We all know Seattle needs light rail plus elevate some of its current light rail and with regionalism the key plank of the only means to fund Seattle light rail, a ST4 becomes inevitable.

    Oh and one last thing regarding ST3 to Paine Field: Monday, 1730 Hours, Everett Station, floor four. Be there or forever hold your peace.

    1. Can ST3 fully fund BRT along the Paine ‘branch’ of the Wye (I think this is basically half of SWIFT II?) to go live when LRT hits Mariner, and then fully fund EIS & some preliminary engineering of light rail to Paine field. This way Snohomish gets service to Paine, and then if the region decides the corridor merits LRT investment, we’ve tee-ed it up so that a ST4 vote in the 2020/2030s could deliver rail in the early 2040. If we conclude the service doesn’t merit light rail, we have a nice BRT line that feeds the Spine & connects with the existing SWIFT Hy 99 corridor.

      In this case ST3 fully fund LRT to Everett via I5.

      Speaking of ST4 – in the future we can mirror the Wye junction with another one that peels off of the Spine south of Ash Way, going down I405 to replace the north half of the 405 BRT once demand/congestion merits LRT over BRT.

      1. Instead of a future Wye at Ash way, plan a full cross at Alderwood mall, one branch heads south east on 405, the other branch heads north west on 525 to 99 and on to Pain/Mukilteo

      2. I think it would be cheaper to junction north at 128th St, as you have to build less rail. Both lines can then use the same line along I5 between 128th and Alderwood. You have to build less rail if you interline the routes a bit rather than just intersecting them.

        But otherwise, yes. It’s in the same spirit.

        And I confirmed Swift II is running on 128th. Maybe S3 can target Swift II capital investments east of I5 as an “early investment” to throw SnoCo a bone if they get them to downgrade Paine from LRT to BRT. Similar to Route 1 in Pierce, ST pays for capital investments but the local agency runs the route & covers O&M

      3. Thanks Joe! I think for a lot of these alignments where the complaint on this Blog is that the current land use doesn’t yet merit LRT, but there is strong political reasons to create/improve transit along a corridor, the best option is to build strong BRT that can be “upgraded” to LRT in future planning & funding cycles. That way we both meet the political needs to today and support induced demand and denser land use over the next few decades to merit LRT in the future.

    2. If Snohomish County comes out for I-5 plus Paine BRT, I’m fine with that, but the point of this is to find a way to satisfy all the competing interests.

      1. But if the Snohomish County subarea spends less, then all the other subareas do also? Cutting Paine Field could be cutting Ballard, or the 2nd downtown tunnel?

      2. Chad the cut described above for Painfield would probably free up enough to run Link to EvCC, and pay for additional studies and engineering (I-5 to Pain Field with an additional extension to Mukilteo, Alderwood Mall / Ash way to County line on 405, etc)

      3. The Snohomish county sub-area is receiving nearly $2 billion from other sub areas (largest chunk is from East King) to build their Paine Field boondoggle. Money not spent in Snohomish can be used to build Ballard faster and allow full grade separation.

  2. While it’s good to plan for a full wye I suppose, I’m not convinced that anything other than a simple branch at each end of the split is necessary.

    Is there any demand for a train to go from some random location along I-5 between Evergreen and Mariner Park and Ride and then curve back north at Mariner Park and Ride to go to Boeing? Would that train operate as a loop service to bring passengers from some of the park and ride lots to Paine Field?

    It looks like the north end of the line goes through downtown Everett from Evergreen Parkway with no station before getting to Everett Station (which really isn’t that close to downtown Everett)?

    It also seems to me that the real junction that is being left out of the planning is at SR99. One day a line along SR99 is probably going to be desirable, even if today’s business climate doesn’t want such a line.

    1. Exactly. There are two lines planned to run all day as far as Lynnwood already. It would be a no-brainer to simply split them – Seattle-Everett and Seattle-Paine (or even Seattle-Mukilteo). The line is already so long now that an operations plan is going to have to figure out how to operate more empty trains at the north end while people won’t be able to board at some stations in the City of Seattle because of overcrowding at certain times. With a wye, everyone benefits because trips are all direct and no one has to go out-of-direction for a few miles.

      If in the future there is enough demand to connect Everett with Paine, all it would take would be a third line that could operate at a frequency that suits its demand.

      I sometimes wonder if those advocating the current circuitous strategy understand anything about transit operations and cost.

      1. Everett to Paine would already be served by trains going the other direction on that branch, no?

        To me it looks like the only thing that would be a problem would be South Everett P&R to Boeing, and if you are driving that far chances are you already are going to the big parking lot at Boeing anyway.

      2. The Everett-Paine line could be set up to be frequent at commute or shift change times and infrequent at other times. One of the beauties of a third line like this is that the operation can be designed to serve heavy demand when it occurs, and offer little to no service when it isn’t.

      3. I’m fine with branching from the South, but it’s premature to say that’s correct until we understand where the Paine Field demand would come from. At the moment, I have no idea.

      4. OK. For some reason I figured you were proposing a full split line with both going to Everett

      5. “There are two lines planned to run all day as far as Lynnwood already. It would be a no-brainer to simply split them – Seattle-Everett and Seattle-Paine”

        I haven’t heard that both Central Link and East Link will run north of Lynnwood. Originally East Link was going to run north of Northgate peak only, but they later extended it to Lynnwood full time believing the capacity would be needed. I haven’t heard that Everett/Paine definitively needs two lines of capacity.

      6. True enough, Mike.

        The last ST3 service plan I saw had East Link and West Seattle (“West Link?”) going to Lynnwood with Central Link going to Ballard. (It would help if ST would start talking about line colors ASAP, as talking about segments and not diagramming operations on maps reinforces ST as a builder rather than an operator.)

        My understanding of Martin’s suggestion is that this is a new conceptual way to approach operations in SnoCo and that more study of operational details is needed. The most powerful advantage is that Everett would get quicker rail service into King County – at least 5-10 years earlier.

      7. I struggled with what to call the lines because Central Link won’t be Central Link anymore if it goes to West Seattle, and I don’t know if the Blue Line and Red Line designations are still accurate, or if Ballard-Tacoma is now red or a new color.

    2. The “Wye” should be at 527 and only be built if and when Link is extended to North Everett and Marysville. There will always be little demand for Paine Field riders from the south.

      1. The reason to build the Wye now, and not later is that
        1. it’s an implied promise to Snohomish that Paine Field will be included in ST4 (if it is warranted)
        2. It eliminates the need to close segments of he line at some far future point when it is time to connect to the backbone.

      2. As a Marysville resident, I don’t think light rail all the way across the Snohomish River delta would pan out financially or ridership-wise, unless the downtown core densifies around a potential Sounder station (after demolishing that god-awful mall).

        Definitely need a terminus at Everett Community College/Providence Hospital at Colby.

      3. Bruce,

        OK, you’d know best since you live there.

        Lor Scara,

        Oh, sure, stub in the wye now to make it cheaper and easier to build the spur in the future. ST has a poor track record of planning for future extensions, so this would be a good time to start.

        All I’m saying is that IF there is to be a spur to Paine Field it really should branch off at the closes point in order to reduce the hit to frequency to the shortest possible distance. If you make a big “Y” shaped branch from Mariner you’d be making the end likely to have the most travel (Everett to Paine) go farther.

  3. If there isn’t a lot of demand for Everret – Paine Field travel, a simple junction from the south would be simpler. The Everret to Paine riders could transfer at the next station south or at a station co-located with the junction. ST could plan for putting in a full wye later if demand requires it. They just to make sure to acquire enough land around the junction. Use the excess land for a P&R until needed for the wye.

    1. There may be demand from downtown Everett to Paine Field but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re willing to go to Mariner and backtrack; they might demand a direct bus instead, and ST might assume that and prefigure it into the plan.

      Martin also raises an interesting point that the deviation costs not just time but money since Link is distance-based. If I were traveling between Everett and Seattle five or six days a week, I might be dissatisfied with the $1 overhead per round trip because of the deviation. That’s $22 a month.

  4. I’m confused: would you continue the line up to Everett along I5 and make a spur to Paine field? Your analysis seems to suggest so, but your map says otherwise.

    1. Yeah the map is simply of the existing preferred route. I don’t think an official map exists of the Spur routing.

  5. The Pain Field loop included in the draft plan is a really terrible idea. It forces the line to make a 270 degree turn west at 128th, rather than taking a more direct route into Everett. It also soaks up all of Everett’s funding, forcing them to forego a station in downtown Everett itself.

    It will take decades for Paine Field to have enough passengers to require light rail. The terminal that’s been proposed will have 2 gates and just 16 flights a day. A wye junction plans for the future, gives Snohomish a reason to vote for ST4, and prevents Snohomish county from shooting themselves in the foot with a terrible route that skips their biggest downtown.

      1. The whole area needs the buses first. There is not a single station north of the Lynnwood that will be worth the money to reach it. For the same amount, you could double the frequency on Swift, make speed improvements to Swift and Swift 2, make improvements to dozens of other bus corridors, add extra routes, add lots of extra service, and still afford to give every family in Everett a new TV when you are all done.

      2. RossB;

        I respectfully believe Paine Field needs more bus service, but also that the spine needs to go to Everett and eventually Marysville. There’s going to be Skagitonian ridership on that spine…. quite a bit actually.

      3. @Joe — Dude, come on. I love Skagit County. I have spent more than my fair share of time in Skagit County. But come on, man, there are only 120,000 people in the entire county. Seriously, that’s it. Do you think the folks from Mount Vernon, Sedro-Woolley, or Anacortes or the dozens and dozens of places smaller than that are going to take a bus down to Everett so that they can then take a train to Paine Field? We are talking hundreds of riders from Skagit County, if that. You really have to get into the hundreds of thousands of riders — more than the entire county of Skagit — before you really need to worry about whether you can serve the public transportation needs with rail or buses.

        Buses, whether BRT or otherwise, can carry a huge number of riders. In the case of Everett, we really don’t need them to. We don’t need to worry whether we need to go full BRT and run the buses every ten seconds or not. There just aren’t that many people. The only reason Snohomish County even flirts with BRT is because of the speed savings, not the capacity. Fine with me — flirt away. Run the Swift every thirty seconds if you want — but don’t pretend it is because it is too crowded. Come on.

      4. People on the Mt Vernon to Everett express do that very thing. There’s not many but they do exist.

      5. RossB;

        No offense taken. Problem is, I’m thinking by 2050 the spine should be at Marysville and preferably points farther north….

        But for now I’ll settle for Everett. How the Paine Field problem is dealt with is another matter entirely. I’ve made clear I have deep concerns unless buses feed all of Paine Field – the museums yes but also the general aviation hangars, whatever commercial terminal MAY arise from there, the flight schools full of students taking on significant debt, and the industrial properties NOT owned by Boeing. I would prefer a spur – either the wye or BRT doesn’t matter – but The North Wants In!

        Frankly buddy I am going to get in serious trouble for saying this out loud but I want my own Sound Transit with Sound Transit-esque express bus services for Island, Skagit and Whatcom Counties…. or start heading in that direction. I also want Seattle to get ample light rail too… ample. Never said, never will say deny or hurt Seattle to address somebody else’s transit needs.

      6. People on the Mt Vernon to Everett express do that very thing. There’s not many but they do exist.

        Exactly. Not many. We are talking hundreds, like I said. Do you think those folks want to wait a half hour for a half empty train, or ten minutes for a half empty bus? Even if the entire town of Mount Vernon decided to do the same trip on the same day, it wouldn’t justify a light rail line to Everett. Sometimes the right tool for the job is the cheaper tool for the job (ever try and parallel park a Humvee?).

      7. RossB, I’ll never drive but yeah I see that it might, just might be better to have more Skagit Transit 90X to Everett Station to link to ST3 light rail…….. but I just love light rail!

        But I also think Marysville might eventually justify light rail in ST4.

  6. Maybe ST should skip Paine Field on the spine and include a planning study/EIS in ST3 for a South Everett/Paine Field-Bellevue line with a shared station at Alderwood Mall? It would be a much simpler operating pattern than a wye branch would involve.

    With concurrent planning, perhaps an actual junction with the spine could be planned that would allow for Bellevue-Paine Field and Bellevue-Everett routes?

    1. Yes! This is exactly what I just emailed the Board about:

      Dear Board members,

      When reviewing alternatives for the Lynnwood-Everett corridor, I strongly recommend serving the Paine Field industrial area with BRT service, allowing the LRT line to follow the I5 alignment, reducing capital costs and delivery time while supporting faster service between Everett and destinations south. The BRT line could perhaps follow the proposed Swift II corridor and go live once Light Rail reaches the Mariner/128th St station.

      In the short term, ST3 could fund capital investments to bring Swift II into service, similar to the investments proposed for Route 1 in Pierce county as an “early win.”

      In turn, ST3 should fully fund EIS and some engineering for a spur Paine Field that would eventually replace the BRT line with Light Rail in the future, as denser land use & steady population growth over time will tip the scales towards Light Rail over BRT.

      Further, there may be opportunity with a “ST4” planning and funding route to combine this Paine Field spur with an a second spur south of Ash Way that would follow 405 to Bellevue and replace the proposed 405 BRT. This would create a single line from Paine field to Bellevue that would interline with the Spine, allowing easy transfers between the two light rail lines, interfaces with multiple Swift lines, and strongly connect Snohomish with East King.

      I believe this second line, serving Paine field & East King, is superior in the long term to a Spine alignment that serves Paine field. Unfortunately, the budget simply doesn’t exist to build this before 2040, so in the short term this need can be met with two BRT lines, which in the long term will be replaced with a new Light Rail line.

      For clarity, the two lines are the proposed 405 BRT and my recommended “Airport Rd BRT”, which is effectively Swift II west of I5. These two BRTs are connected by both the Spine between Alderwood & Mariner and the eastern half of Swift II between I5 and Canyon Park.

      Thank you for your time,

  7. For the distances and time frame we’re now talking about, I wouldn’t grieve over the loss of any right of way on SR99, or even think about ten minutes here or fifty cents there.

    By 2025, 99 and everything semi-local will merit a fast local route, either surface rail, with Aurora like MLK now, or BRT. MLK really should have main arterials undercut- but cease to be the sole Airport line.

    Fast straight track from International District, with stop at Boeing Field and Boeing Access Road to Sea-Tac. Name me any other major city in the world with that present gap in the ST route map.

    But for LINK- and let’s at least have a contest for another name- we need to think about comfortable seats, bathrooms, express track, and speeds well above 60. At this early stage, might be good to think about proposed second DSTT for this line.

    For project thinking, if voters understand that this project conceives of itself as the beginning of, literally, our grandchildren’s transit system, time frame might fall into sensible perspective.

    Making it important also to be constantly delivering things we can get quickly or immediately- including the local light rail and the busways- while constantly showing how everything we build is also part of the future plan.

    And also address screaming present-time weekly-worsening emergencies like every inch of I-5 from Everett to Olympia. How or where exactly this element fits into everything anywhere in ST3 to date good question. Not fair that situation blew up while ST3 was still on the boards.

    But answer can’t be “Pretend it’s not there.” Ignoring it will bring more “No” votes than “Yes” ones.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Mark,

      “99” already has BRT: Swift All the way from Everett Station to Aurora Village TC.

      1. It has BRT, but as good as Swift is, an elevated line could be faster. Also, Swift ridership falls off at the south end because transferring to RapidRide adds a bunch of time if you are continuing south.

        Plus, there’s nice development potential through there.

  8. Glenn, I think you may have been around discussions about fitting equipment to distance. Engineer friends have told me that LINK classes as “the heavy side of light rail.”

    From the purple trains I’ve seen in Southern Sweden, serious recommendation here is a close decision for me. Especially in the time-frame we’re talking about. Can we spec out upgrades of the trains we’re using? Or do we really need a whole new railroad, like requiring its own tracks?

    Would save a lot if we could use new equipment that would fit our tracks. In Chicago all those years ago – not nostalgic, but saw and rode exactly these trains- high speed interurbans ran same tracks as city elevated trains.

    Bathrooms and all. Cafe car too. Smoking rooms too- not recommending, just measure of which vehicles can share tracks. But again from years past, my guess is that we could easily run nest-generation-LINK, Sounder, and Amtrak down through same area, headed different places.

    Notice I’m not naming years or decades here. But really do think constant future outlook from the get-go will let us take every advantage of unforeseen opportunities to advance ahead of schedule. While maintaining solid real-time operations.

    Like the pioneers said, “New York Alki” Fulfillment of prophecy only awaits decent corned beef sandwich at 4AM. “Chicago Alki” same thing. Remember, they had Frank Lloyd Wright!


    1. There are several issues with mixing Link, Sounder and Amtrak.

      The most obvious one is the difference in width. Amtrak and Sounder will be 10 foot wide equipment, and Link is probably built to be somewhere around 8.5 foot width.

      I’m not sure how they do things on the San Diego & Arizona Eastern / San Diego Trolley or CSX / New Jersey RiverLINE service where light rail is mixed with freight traffic.

      Light weight DMUs or EMUs aren’t going to be particularly heavier than Link trains, but when you throw something like an Amtrak or Sounder locomotive into the mix you are talking about a whole new type of structure.

      It’s far easier to get Link trains onto a big, wide, heavily built railroad (assuming proper approvals or temporal separation such as New Jersey RiverLINE) than it is to get something like the current Sounder trains onto Link lines.

      That said, they make versions of the Stadler GTW that are only about 7.2 feet wide. They also have made versions that have been built with toilets for regional service, and 1,500v overhead. I don’t know that anyone has ordered anything that narrow with toilet facilities and all that, but the adaptive car designs like that seem like they should be able to accommodate many different needs.

      1. Thanks, Glenn. But my point about the separate train lines, LINK, Sounder, and Amtrak in the same general neighborhood being lines of different equipment each, and different purposes.

        In Chicago, the Milwaukee Road ran long distance diesel streamliners headed for Milwaukee a few blocks west of my house. A few blocks east, Chicago’s own transit system, the CTA ran what we’d call “heavy rail” -like ’50’s model BART, downtown.

        The Chicago and North Western Interurban happened to use the same gauge tracks as the CTA- but I think they only shared a few stations- in any between city line and downtown.

        My point was not that each system was either in competition with the other ones, or forced to share facilities. It’s that the lines weren’t intended to be competitive. Each one had its use.

        So north and south of Seattle, there’s no reason not to run both Sounder and LINK. Same with Tacoma south area.

        But with so much time gone by since the interurbans, which LINK so closely resembles-trainsets that can run street track if they have to, but can do as much high speed as necessary too- seems to be the mode requiring the most innovation.

        Nobody’s done this for quite a while.


  9. The wye is an interesting idea it’s just that The Herald article is somewhat vague as to whether that’s what’s proposed.

    “Their version would, like the earlier plan from Sound Transit staff, follow the I-5 corridor north until 128th Street in south Everett. From there, both versions would head northwest toward Paine Field.

    The new plan aims to save money by following Highway 526 and I-5 to Everett Station. That differs from the earlier proposal, which would have gone up Evergreen Way to reach downtown.

    The proposed line would include seven stops: Everett Station, Highway 526 at Evergreen Way, Paine Field, Highway 99 at Airport Road, 128th Street near I-5, the Ash Way Park-and-Ride and a stop near Alderwood mall.”

    Might be poor editing in their article. An earlier one in the Herald suggests the wye or spur plan would be built faster and would cost about $758 million less than the original ST3 draft.


  10. The Paine field branch would follow later as development necessitates, probably around 2041.

    Shouldn’t both branches wait until development necessitates?

    Just to be clear, I think a light rail line to Paine Field is silly, but what is the hurry to get to Everett Station? Here is a picture of the area, and if someone threw you a folder with this page, you could be excused if you confused it with the Southwest Industrial Area: https://goo.gl/maps/yv5zeFshWYr

    The station sits inside an industrial area, inside single family houses. This is not an odd place for Everett, but typical. Population density is shockingly low (http://arcg.is/26kGyjK). Billion dollar investments in light rail is the last thing the area needs. Better bus service makes way more sense (just improving Swift would be a much better value). You don’t rent a Kenworth to go the grocery store — you don’t build light rail to places like Everett.

    1. This x1000

      We’ve already wasted millions on anemic Sounder North service. I understand ridership is low for a number of reasons but what is this drive we have to repeat the same mistake?

      1. Yeah, that’s why I said “I understand ridership is low for a number of reasons”. Do you have a problem with reading comprehension? Because you certainly can’t deny the amount of misplaced investment we’ve already poured into Snohomish County. Personally, I believe we are repeating that mistake by not investing in buses over light rail.

    2. ST will spend 4.3 Bil on this proposal for 15 miles of track, 6 stations to draw ~40,000 riders.
      Tacoma Link is 2.6 B for 9.7 miles, plus 4.4 miles tacked onto the existing Link for ~50,000 riders.
      Both have huge meanders along the way. The big difference is Tacoma is designed as a low cost streetcar running at surface, ala FHSC, after Tacoma Dome, while Everett is holding out for the full enchilada Link treatment all the way.
      Maybe subarea equity should require Everett to purchase the full meal deal on their own dimes.
      $62k/rider for Tacoma is less than $107k per rider in Everett, NO?
      OK Shohomish County, cough up the extra 1.8 bil to move this along.

      1. mic;

        I’d love to see Snohomish County Economic Alliance told straight up to accept your challenge :-).

        Monday, 5:30 PM, Everett Station… be there.

        My ax to grind is more this sense I have some folks will vote down ST3 out of spite that Paine Field is getting transit… and I have been very public of my doubts about light rail for Paine Field.

    3. Well of course Sounder isn’t going to attract as many and also you have to compete against CT bus service too. Once Lynnwood Link is online I am curious to if Sounder North will finally be put to bed or not.

      1. Daniel,

        On this I’m with you and I think once ST3 passes, once the presidential election year is over we can come together and force the end of Sounder North. The sad reality is we transit advocates who want to stop the very real service hour bleeding are a minority of Sounder North critics and our Transit Advocate-in-Chief Dow Constantine can only do so much.

      2. The best way, politically, to eliminate Sounder North is to replace it. This would mean Link to Everett *and* to Mulkiteo. I do have a proposal below; I have no idea how much it would cost but it seems like it does the most important things.

  11. The Paine field branch would follow later as development necessitates

    The Wye to nowhere. Sorry, but I can’t help but think of the freeway ramps that folks used to jump off of that are now being destroyed. I don’t think you will ever need a line to Everett, let alone a branch.

    Spur from the South: 6 minutes each to Everett and Paine Field …

    There’s no plausible scenario where these train frequencies are insufficient for demand.

    That’s for sure. Realistically, you are looking at 20 minutes per line, if that (for a combined 10 minutes coming from Lynnwood). If you are lucky, you might stretch it to 15 minutes a line, like BART (my guess is you won’t be that lucky).

    I applaud your ingenuity, Martin, and think this is a reasonable proposal, given a set of ridiculous assumptions. The main one being that building light rail to Everett makes sense. It doesn’t. There isn’t the density, the midpoint destinations, the proximity to an urban area, nor the lack of alternatives to justify the high cost. Just improve the bus service (whether BRT or plain old buses) and call it a day.

    1. Ross, given the the rapidly-increasing population coming into this area, isn’t there any chance that a major industrial city won’t once again get busy and populous enough to become part of our regional transit system? Attractive area, good transportation Interstate and water, much zoned for industry…whatever its condition now, any reason you think it will never revive?


      1. Sure, there is a chance. Just like the Sonics have a chance of winning the championship this year. First they have to move back …

        Anyway, the population is growing, but not in the suburbs and not in the satellite cities. It is growing in Seattle. It is one thing to say we need a Metro 8 subway, or a UW-Ballard subway; systems that many transit experts would scoff at given our relatively low density, and need for basic bus service. But it is another thing to think that a city that has never been big, never been been dense, never been populous, will suddenly become so. This is not the case of a revival, this is a case of being something it has never been. Everett is doing as well as it ever has. But people aren’t interested in buying up perfectly good houses on perfectly good (big) lots and then putting up really high buildings, so they can pay very high rents. Until they do so, light rail doesn’t make sense there. What makes sense for the folks in Everett and the rest of Snohomish County is good bus service.

      2. “Anyway, the population is growing, but not in the suburbs and not in the satellite cities.”

        Oookay, The population of Everett has doubled in the 25 years I’ve lived here but according to you we’re not growing. My once semi-rural Silver Lake neighborhood is overwhelmed by apartments.

        You really need to get out more.

      3. @Mark — Right. And in the last 150 years the city of Seattle has grown 350,000 per cent. So, therefore, we need subways everywhere. Look, I hate to break it to you, but Everett had its big boom. It consisted of knocking down trees and putting up houses (and yes, the occasional apartment). But it isn’t Brooklyn.

        Look at a census map (http://arcg.is/1SA9xZq) and you will find that there isn’t a single block over 10,000 people per square mile by Silver Lake. In the entire Snohomish County, there is no place over 25,000 per square mile. But hey, those numbers are several years old, and everyone knows that the high minority population of Snohomish County tends to sway the data. Everett is booming now, right? Well, not so much: http://stb-wp.s3.amazonaws.com//srv/htdocs/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Regional_Growth_Chart_2.jpg. It is lagging every city in the region except Lakewood. Seattle is way bigger, and Seattle is growing faster, in both absolute numbers and proportion. This, despite the fact that Everett still has way more undeveloped land than Seattle.

        Look, I’m not saying Snohomish County doesn’t deserve good transit. All I’m saying is that light rail is horrible transit for Snohomish County. It is borderline for Seattle (it only makes sense for parts of Seattle). It sure as hell doesn’t make sense for areas that are “semi-rural”. Spending money on light rail is like spending money on an 18 wheeler when all you want is something to drive every Sunday to visit your mom. Not only will you have paid too much, but you will simply hate what you got. When a train runs 2 miles from your apartment every half hour, and you complain that your bus stops running after 10:00 PM, know that the latter problem is caused by the former.

      4. Sure, if we’re appointing a transit dictator, you could do a lot worse than Ross to produce a system that matches my values.

        But instead, we have stakeholders and public votes and a meddling legislature. The product will therefore reflect something more than the interests of a few transit nerds.

      5. Exactly Martin.

        A ST3 drawn up here would have for Paine Field several CT bus routes around Paine Field and Sound Transit-funded Mukilteo Streetcar and Sound Transit-funded BRT…

        For the Seattle-Tacoma spine, all-day Sounder South.

        For Seattle, as much as can possibly be done in light rail. Certainly elevating the Rainier Valley line would be openly discussed.

        The problem is Sound Transit has an unelected board, something I have a problem with. Many commentators and STB bloggers have championed this fearing Kemper Freeman (and maybe the Snohomish County Economic Alliance). So enjoy… shoulda listened to me, let voters put Martin H. Duke on the Sound Transit Board ;-).

      6. Prior to the 2008 recession Everett and surrounding areas in Snohomish County grew rapidly, but the tide has turned. Since 2010, Seattle has grown 9% while Everett grew 2.5%.

      7. The Wye to nowhere.

        That says it all. Two lines splitting less than marginal ridership is twice as bad as one; it costs twice as much to build and operationally is twice as expensive to run. Maybe three times as bad since riders get their service cut in half.

        Perhaps the worst thing about Boonie Link (and I’d include Issaquah in that) is that it will sink the chances of an ST3 ballot measure and perhaps result in a significant delay in capital spending where it is actually useful. The package as proposed is too loaded with pork and more lipstick on the pig is not the fix.

    2. Thanks Ross, I think?

      Personally, there’s no form of package in Snohomish County that will affect my vote one way or the other. I want to make sure that it’s close enough to what people there want to pass the projects that I do care about.

      However, realistically, there will be rail to Everett in ST3. I think this spur/wye proposal is better both in terms of transit outcomes and electoral prospects. Do you agree?

      1. I think it is silly to extend rail farther north. But if you have to build such a line, I don’t think it makes that much difference. There is definitely value in getting over to SR 99, but I have no idea where the most cost effective way to do that is. 44th?

        Anyway, assuming you have to spend the money on rail in the area, and assuming that would include a line up I-5 to 128th, then a split there makes as much sense as anything else. Except I would build the western end first. Not because Paine Field is so great, but because of all the stops along the way. What passes for density in the area is right along 128th/Airport Road, which would have several stops. ST only plans one stop for sure — at the Mariner park and ride close to the freeway. I would have another one at Gibson, as well as one at SR 99 for sure (to not only serve the people around there, but provide a decent connection to Swift).

        Ridership along there would not be huge (it is just too far from the really urban areas) but it would be decent (similar to what Swift carries). An express to Everett Station (with a couple more freeway stops) would carry fewer people. Freeway stations like that are almost entirely dependent on park and ride lots and shuttle bus service. The former will never be big enough to justify a rail line, and the latter is no better with this alignment then the other one. If you are riding a local bus, it doesn’t make much difference if the bus works its way to Everett Station or Mariner. I don’t see a huge difference in terms of service hour savings either (and service hour savings for these changes are relatively low). So, right now, with density very low in central Everett, and employment not exactly booming, it makes sense to run the line west from 128th, where the people are.

  12. “SW Everett Industrial Center” lol – we’re spending enormous amounts of money to get light rail to their front door and we can’t even sell station naming rights to Boeing? I bet they wouldn’t even drop a dime on it. Just like “Redmond Technology Center”.


      Sometimes I swear Congresshitters-in-training come here to play, but I am NOT the comment police.

      1. Although, after thinking about it some more, maybe a generic name is more apt. Boeing will probably invest a significant amount of production in China by the time this station is finished.

      2. barman;

        Let me put it this way: Will you bite the bullet and back ST3 if there’s light rail to Paine Field anyway?

        I will support it, however reluctantly.

        We need the spine. Badly up here.

      3. Joe,

        Actually, “No, you don’t.” What you really need is legislators who will back WSDOT’s attempts to give buses and other high occupancy vehicles effective priority on the public roads. That’s what you need “up there”

        Buses from all over Central Snohomish County (and yes, the non-ST areas to the north) can feed the train at Lynnwood TC or maybe a big bus interface built right over the I-5/I-405 interchange just north of Alderwood Mall. That’d be better because after they dump their Seattle rider they could just head down I-405 toward Bellevue. Two flocks with one BB shot.

      4. If that is not the most articulate, most pro-transit anti-ST3 point-of-view I’ve ever heard, correct me.

        I don’t share those views. One reason why is the light rail spine is vital to congestion relief. BRT can only go so far and unless you’d like to get voters to volunteer to HOV+3, forgetaboutit. Sorry.

      5. light rail spine is vital to congestion relief.

        No, it’s not. It’s not even marketed that way. As an alternative to sitting in congestion you can spend just as long sitting on a train. Of course when you look at total drive time door to door Link will be slower than a bus/rail transfer or driving. The funding black hole building “the spine” cripples the regions ability to invest in effective transit for decades.

        But this mistaken idea shines a light on why light rail to Everett and Tacoma is such a folly. Neither city pins any hope of significant ridership too their city center. And any serious thought on the matter leads to the inevitable conclusion that this “commuter rail” project only reinforces those cites position as being bedroom communities to Seattle.

      6. OK Bernie, two questions…

        1) Define “effective transit”

        2) How the hell is Seattle going to house all of “its” employees at a price that is accessible and not require bedroom communities?

        Sorry bud, but we need a spine of high capacity transit from Everett to Tacoma. The lack of criticism of serving Tacoma with light rail proves my point – folks realize deep down the only way to prevent I-5 expansion is to build a reliable light rail spine. I agree with Nathaniel, Sounder North should go as a condition of this spine… which is why we’re advocating for Amtrak to serve the money pit/upper middle class welfare that is Sounder North’s Mukilteo Station.

        Over to you.

      7. Seattle. population density 6,717/mi². San Francisco is at 18,187 people per square mile. Land area of Seattle 84 sq miles. At SF level of density there’s room for 870,000 more people just within the city limits. It could double just reaching Boston’s level of density. That’s not even counting Lynnwood, Renton, Kent and the eastside. That’s how you build a city with effective transit instead of Sprawlsville.

        Joe, think with your head instead of your heart.

      8. Bernie,

        Almost the same to you, think with your head and your heart not just your heart bro.

        You aware the price of housing of any kind in San Francisco?

        The goal of Sound Transit should not to be BART North but rather be reflective of Puget Sound values…

        I hate to admit this, I was resistant to housing & density being part of the transit conversation but now I see why.

      9. Housing is expensive in New York, London and Paris. It’s cheap in Detroit. Housing prices are driven by desirability; the price of success. Link already serves RV where housing is cheap. What’s the impact? Transit that takes over an hour once you even get to it doesn’t help people looking for affordable housing in Seattle. TOD, taxpayer originated development, has been a bust. Overlake Village is a classic. S. Kirkland, when you factor in the cost of building a parking garage is nickle and dime compared to billions spent on a light rail system to “help the poor people.” Joe, every reason you throw out is just a sham. There’s nothing at any level that makes sense for this region to spend the majority of it’s capital budget on “completing the spine” to Everett and Tacoma. The “spine” is from the U Dist to International Station. That’s it. Now it’s time to flesh out the ribs to Ballard, the CD, Lower Queen Anne. Come back in 20-30 years and we can talk about the little toe and pinky.

      10. Bernie;

        Your urbanist light rail for Seattle-only attitude……………….. ain’t gonna work. Shoulda tried it in the 1990s when Sound Transit was spun up.

        As to

        Housing is expensive in New York, London and Paris. It’s cheap in Detroit. Housing prices are driven by desirability; the price of success. Link already serves RV where housing is cheap.

        RV? Where’s that? Rainier Valley, oh housing isn’t cheap.

        What’s the impact? Transit that takes over an hour once you even get to it doesn’t help people looking for affordable housing in Seattle.

        Take a look at the travel times of the Sound Transit 510/512… still highly popular.

        TOD, taxpayer originated development, has been a bust. Overlake Village is a classic. S. Kirkland, when you factor in the cost of building a parking garage is nickle and dime compared to billions spent on a light rail system to “help the poor people.” Joe, every reason you throw out is just a sham. There’s nothing at any level that makes sense for this region to spend the majority of it’s capital budget on “completing the spine” to Everett and Tacoma. The “spine” is from the U Dist to International Station. That’s it. Now it’s time to flesh out the ribs to Ballard, the CD, Lower Queen Anne. Come back in 20-30 years and we can talk about the little toe and pinky.

        So much of what you said is a sham….

        The spine will be Lynnwood to south of SeaTac Aiirport when ST2 is built out.

        I have no problem with ribs/trusses to other areas.

        But Everett and Tacoma are no laughing matter. You just hate the suburbs, admit it. People with your attitude are why there’s this dangerous us versus Seattle metric.

      11. Yes Joe, the 510/512 combine to transport 3,048 people daily into Seattle (latest ST SIP). Instead of throwing crap out there to see if anything sticks try posting your own numbers instead of asking everyone else to “prove it”. Or, you can just keep digging a hole and eventually you’ll complete that transit tunnel all the way from Stanwood Station to Orting. I’m done responding to your trolling.

      12. What you really need is legislators who will back WSDOT’s attempts to give buses and other high occupancy vehicles effective priority on the public roads.

        End of story. Unfortunately running on a reality platform will never get you elected. Unless maybe someone with money could pull off an upset by giving away hats that say “Make the GOP Grand Again”.

      13. Good idea Anandakos. I think ending this at 405 would make a lot of sense. It wouldn’t be cheap, but it would be a lot cheaper than what they are proposing. More importantly, it would be better.

        Worth mentioning is that from a bus versus light rail standpoint, for most trips, the bus wins, even with HOV 2. When you consider the time spent at each station, there is little benefit to taking the train versus an express. The biggest factor is the time spent actually getting to the station. This is why, at this point, ST (or the state) should invest in exactly the type of infrastructure you mention. A new station up the road would be nice, but it would probably be a lot cheaper just to add HOV ramps connecting 405 to I-5 (to the south). That way a bus would go from the Lynnwood Park and Ride, then head north, then southeast, towards Bellevue. For someone coming from the north it would be a five minute detour compared to your solution, but a lot cheaper.

      14. Basically the “anti” position on ST3 boils down to “we think you only need busses” while believing the entire region should gamble on making their vision of BRT a reality as if that’s what they’d get if ST3 was voted down.

        The region has aligned behind LR as the great unifier and the spine has been a promised feature of achieving that since the beginning. We’ve gotten a squabbling set of conflicting interests lined up behind that at the very least and that’s been no easy feat.

        The core spine should be Link light rail – Everett to Tacoma. Not BRT, Gold-level or otherwise. The region has been pretty unified behind this basic idea even in the face of the Kemper Freemans and transit blog commenters pushing busses at them as a substitute.

      15. Pridge;

        I generally hold those views. But, but I also believe asking questions about light rail to Paine Field and maybe Tacoma is appropriate.

        At the end of the day though, I only want to hear from people who want to make ST3 better – not torpedo ST3 or in some cases Sound Transit. It will be another four years before another go-around, the package will be smaller and with subarea equity that means Seattle will get less inner-city light rail.

      16. Pridge

        That is honestly a bunch of hogwash. There are people in this group alone who are not for ST 3 and we have reasons behind it.

        1) LRT is not the mode to Tacoma nor should it be to Everett, too long too slow, too expensive. Sounder should be the mode of choice especially to Tacoma since there are potential gains for freight rail, intercity passenger rail, and all day rail service with 45 minute or less travel time to Tacoma every single trip every single time.

        2) Many projects like Ballard have to go through SLU and having a stop at a non-TOD stop without serving SLU very well. This line leaves an established Seattle neighborhood out in the cold being Belltown.

        3) West Seattle would be served by a spur for 8 years requiring a transfer to an already packed Link at SODO. Because of the at grade sections, capacity is maxed out at 6 minute frequency.

        4) Ballard isn’t fully grade separated, you will have a time when the bridge gets stuck before the rush hour let alone planned for at-grade intersections. For a line with the ridership of Canada Line to start with, why are we planning for mediocrity?

        5) No Ballard-UW, a large travel market that would have ridership from Day 1.

        That is the huge issue I have is the mediocrity of the current plan, you put light rail where it should not go and then ST wants people to accept it because it is better than nothing. They need to understand that if we are going to spend billions we need high quality projects that will deliver not half-assed compromises that don’t even plan ahead for potential connectivity.

      17. Daniel;

        I see your concerns but to me ST is the only funding vehicle to solve Greater Seattle’s transit problems. The state refuses to make direct contributions for laying light rail. The feds can only do so much. Sound Transit is the only vehicle out there…


    2. Joe,

      I am then curious as to how many employers and employees are located within the area and how many of those employers are linked to Boeing.

      Over here in Kitsap we have plenty of private contractors that do work for the Navy with PSNS next door. If Boeing pulls up shop then so do those businesses.

      However the point remains. An industrial area does not justify an all day rail corridor.

      1. Excuse me, but SoDo and the Port of Seattle is what exactly?

        I would prefer more buses to more of Paine Field, but if we get light rail ok then. Take it. It’s time to get real here….

        I said in another thread some tough calls and shared sacrifices are going to have to be made.

      2. If I looked at SoDo station ridership, I am willing to bet it is on the lower end of ridership on the Central Link system. It just so happens it was located close to the OMC and a Seattle Public Schools administration building.

        I am sick of just giving into ST and that is what they are hoping on, people will bend in because it is better than nothing. There is a huge difference between a station on the way versus pulling an entire line the other way.

        I would be deciding not to give in with this case given the major political motivations and lack of sense versus the alternative and it seems ST is only listening to politicians who use it for economic justification rather than transportation sense. It is what has been wrong in transportation in this state for awhile. It is why you have folks like Eyman who are successful in deception and riling up the people without them even thinking. If we have a $50 billion price tag it better be something that we won’t regret a few years later like Rainier Valley.

      3. Daniel;

        I see your point. The problem you have is that as much as I agree the Rainier Beach stretch of light rail needs elevation, as much as I agree light rail to Paine Field is NOT optimal the only way we are going to provide genuine congestion relief to reduce the I-5 pollution spine and more light rail for Seattle (and inner Tacoma) is via this vehicle.

        I want it clear to Sound Transit that we transit advocates are nervous and although some of us are well aware we’re getting through to the agencies about why our anxiety, this stretch is clearly dividing suburban vs. Seattle transit advocates. The fact Boeing and their Snohomish County Economic Alliance pals are front and center in this debate while we transit advocates hear… oh, silence from SPEEA & IAM 751 – you know, the organizations for the worker bees – is not helping matters…

        Regionalism isn’t so bad, not everybody can or wants to live in the Big City. Regionalism got you the light rail you got now. Regionalism will also serve the Tacoma you want served so bad… you know, where the splash park is. Smirk.

        It’s ST3 or bust.

      4. Joe that is where i have a massive disagreement.

        The whole ST3 or bust has not played out in Seattle. Move Seattle passed by a an almost 10 point margin in an off election year. I am now seeing what wasn’t possible back then is possible now. If enough people are pissed at the Rs in 2018 in Congress there will be a more transit friendly electorate. CT barely passed in an off election too, that would have likely gotten passed in November.

        Until there is a willingness for the agency to correct its shortfalls in the planning stages I am not inclined to support such a measure that does not deliver effective projects.If these are not high quality and go where people are located, it will not deliver the expected results.

        We have the other issue of how many CT buses are currently going to and from Snohomish County and based on the current frequencies how much capacity is there at the end of the line and will it fill before UW even with maxing out frequency? If you max out capacity before UW with Lynnwood Link, there will be no room once you get further up the line. There will be some desires for creature comforts along the way and people would not mind standing for 30 minutes and less but after that I am not sure if people would convert over just for the time savings that only occur during the peak of peak. With an I-5 alignment I was hearing about a 50 minute travel time but I was not 100% sure.

        If ST 3 passes, my bet is they will go ahead with many projects as is and this will say to Sound Transit these projects should be done in the way as is. Their ears are with the politicians which politically motivated planning doesn’t lead to great projects as we have seen with WSDOT.

      5. Daniel;

        I’d listen to you if you’d slam a lot harder light rail to Tacoma as well… I really would. Light rail past a water theme park and much of the same density as Link to Everett?

        Sadly and I know I’ve said this before, this is what happens when transit advocates don’t run for election. We have too few Jennifer Gregersons in elected office right now… way too damn few so this is what we get.

        ST3 or bust. You can forget about more light rail in Seattle without ST3. I know that’s tough for you urbanists to swallow but again, I’d listen more if you’d slam light rail to Tacoma too since that’s equally part of the spine.



      6. Joe,

        I had brought the portion about Tacoma up with All Aboard Washington back in September I was told the conversion of UP to all freight and double or triple track was a non-starter. Just this April I have started to get traction. Troy Serad had a proposal back in September of last year on this one and I agree that I find it ironic there isn’t as much focus on Tacoma.

        However when it comes to ST 3 or Bust along with LRT to Paine, that is where we will have to disagree at. I do appreciate the civility.

        I do live in the burbs myself over in Kitsap County where I have a job but I understand that allowing people to have options has many benefits and allowing higher densities and better mass transit helps when I visit. I also see myself as eventually going more urban and a good foundation is necessary. We do not want to repeat the mistakes of BART of extending a system further than it should have gone and yes that includes Tacoma. Where BART going to San Jose is the equivalent of Tacoma LRT. It should be high speed commuter rail tracks and we have a good chance of doing it but I am only once voice and not sure how to push the envelope for the gold plated Sounder option.

        I was half tempted to make the trip down but given what I heard about Ballard my question would likely not have been answered about all day Sounder. I am working on my end to be a part of our Kitsap Transit Citizen Advisory Board so I will see how that goes given our transit system is needing a clean slate and revamp being focused so much on fast ferries.

        Have a good evening,


      7. Um, the SoDo station is a transfer point for collector/distributors in Southeast Seattle and West Seattle. It has even been mooted as a bus intercept for south end expresses if downtown gets too clogged when the buses are kicked upstairs.

        Nobody goes there to go there, because there’s no “there” to go to there. They go there to go somewhere else.

      8. Sodo and Stadium Station for that matter could close and it would barely be a blip in Link ridership. The difference between Sodo and Paine field is about two billion dollars. Other than that, yeah, pretty much the same.

      9. Bernie;

        Tacoma Link and Everett Link are relatively close in price. Plus there’s Link going deep into King County…

        Yet most of the griping I hear is fixated on Paine Field and the Snohomish County Economic Alliance wading in…

        Heck I had to warn a conservative friend off of going to Monday’s ST3 meeting since I have a bad feeling the only conservatives there will be me and the aforementioned Economic Alliance.

  13. OK folks, I’ve had my fill of Beyond Sanity and Boeing-bashing here… Why am I not seeing a tenth of the same Seattle passion and vigor bashing extending the spine to Tacoma?

    Tacoma has twice the population true, but a good chunk of the jobs down there are to a military mega-base. Not exactly the best place for transit outcomes…

    I guess everybody wants light rail to Wild Waves and Enchanted Village but not where the industrial jobs and no less than three high quality aviation museums & a bus connection away from the historic Mukilteo Waterfront are…

    My lament is this:

    One, I want you guys to start realizing the sniping is getting to me.

    Two, I “get it” some of you have issues with Boeing corporate’s misbehavior the past 15 years but….

    Three, the Snohomish County Economic Alliance is behind this campaign and can’t be blown off or dismissed.

    Four, it seems to me the only time some of you support buses to more of Paine Field is when light rail to Paine Field appears.

    I think it’s time we realized this sniping at other transit advocates is only going to hurt all of us. Whether Seattleites like it or not, the only way you got or would ever get your rightful light rail spine was because of regional Sound Transit and only regionalism will provide high capacity transit & true congestion relief.

    Now it’s time to please share, so share kindly and politely with your neighbors. Thanks.

    1. Believe me, Joe, that I’m not advocating eliminating Paine Field, just not making every Everett train rider endure the extra time. This group would probably be just as snarky if elected officials were requiring every Tacoma light rail trip to deviate through Southern Fife on the way to get closer to those jobs.

      Martin’s wye proposal here could save enough money to even pay for another station in SWEIC. It really is a win-win-win thing – faster rider trips, sooner opening day, and cheaper construction costs.

      1. I support the wye proposal – if it can be done.

        I too prefer BRT, difference is I won’t hold ST3 to that. I want ST3 to pass and a serious conversation about the needs ST4 will have to address…

        I don’t see how a few extra minutes is that much of a time penalty. But then again I commute from Skagit County to other counties.

      2. There’s a guy whose post complaining about the 45 seconds a 130th Station would add to northenders commute which is “Featured” on The Crimes. The post is absolutely swimming with incorrect information: he thinks its stupid to build Link that far north because he like his 41! Wow, what a stupid guy.

        But 130th has all of Shoreline and SnoHoCo boiling mad because they’d have to spend a minute and a half a day in order to provide quick decent access to Link for the folks in Lake City and Bitter Lake.

        What a bunch of selfish mechanic implements. Yeah, that kind.

      3. I’m not advocating eliminating Paine Field, just not making every Everett train rider endure the extra time.

        But maybe more people ride from southwest Everett, then Everett Station. Looking at the I-5 alignment, I can’t find a single station of merit north of 128th. It would be next to the freeway, in an area that doesn’t bother with bus service east of I-5 (and the Paine Field alignment would better serve the area west of I-5). Everett Station itself is crap. It is merely a connecting point. But connecting points can happen anywhere — Lynnwood, for example. Worrying about a fast ride to Everett Station is pointless if hardly anyone benefits from it.

      4. “What a bunch of selfish mechanic implements. Yeah, that kind.”

        It probably bears repeating here that nobody–NOBODY–outside the city and near Eastside would have (i)anything(/i) without Seattle (and possibly Bellevue) votes. I don’t believe any of the ST projects, bad or good, would exist today without the large margins of victory Seattle voters provide these projects–and that includes the ST bus service that are transit lifelines to several of these areas.

        I have little problem letting the sub-areas spend their tax dollars on whatever they want so long as they do not take away from service to the areas that most need it. The whinging about the NE 130th station over at most a minute’s delay coming from people in districts that voted against ST is an example of this, as is the horrendous design of the NE 145th station, meant specifically to NOT serve people on local bus routes. People in Lake City and Bitter Lake are for the most part not wealthy yet their needs–despite the fact that both areas have overwhelmingly voted for ST projects in every election and elected a city councilwoman who is a strong supporter of transit–are somehow less important than those of folks who often vote no on transit projects.

        Our rail system–actual and proposed–is trying to be two different things at the same time–an urban metro and a suburban commuter system and, as often happens in these cases, will do neither particularly well. Again, if this passes let the sub-areas do whatever they like with their money. If they feel it best to spend millions on facilities that will serve more people outside the taxation district than inside, so be it. Just don’t take service from other areas who need it and support it so that you can save 60 seconds on your commute.

    2. You make a valid point Joe. The founding name of Sound Transit and it still goes it on official documents is the Central Puget Sound REGIONAL Transit Authority. It’s mission is to connect the major cities in the region of which Everett is one.

      Personally I have mixed feelings about running to Paine Field however it appears the spur option would be $700 million less than the original route presented on the ST3 draft. It’s worth a look.

      1. Thanks MarkS. I have no problem with a spur option.

        I just a general agreement by fellow transit advocates we support light rail to Everett. If it goes to Paine Field, grrrrrrrrr but we’ll back ST3 anyway so we get the good stuff for Seattle and yes, sigh, Tacoma.

      2. Why the hell does regional transit equal light rail? That is insane. I would be in favor or regional transit from Whatcom to King County (cheap bus rides to Bellingham? county me in) but I sure as hell don’t want billion dollar light rail lines through Mount Vernon. Without a doubt, there is a huge demand for cross jurisdictional transit. I don’t want Swift stopping at the county border, nor do i want RapidRide doing the same. Give me more cooperation, more service that makes sense, because people don’t only travel within their own county.

        But light rail only makes sense if there is the density, the midpoint destinations, the proximity to an urban area and the lack of alternatives to justify the high cost. This isn’t the case with all but one of the lines that ST has come up with (and in that case, they still managed to pick the weaker line, in Ballard to downtown instead of Ballard to UW).

      3. The congestion is south of Lynnwood. Get on am effyouseeking bus to Lynnwood and then get on the train there. With Link to Everett via I-5 people will either drive to garages or take feeder buses to a station along I-5. Let’s hope enough do the latter to make it work, because they simply can’t build enough parking stalls to fill the trains. So just extend the feeder buses to Lynnwood TC or maybe that huge bus intercept directly above I-5/I-405 I mentioned earlier. Then get on the train there.

        Not rocket science, folks.

      4. Still is quite a bit of congestion north of Lynnwood…

        Although I gotta say I would rather see Skagitonians paying a discount share of the Sound Transit commuting cost (only fares & some sales tax) and pay for more 90X to Everett Station than a big parking garage at Everett Station.

    3. This topic is about Everett not Tacoma.

      I have had a huge problem with Tacoma because I want the BNSF dedicated line for Sounder and Cascades.

    4. For what it is worth, Joe, I think light rail to Tacoma is just as stupid as light rail to Everett (with or without Paine Field). As I said up above, none of those places make sense for light rail. There isn’t the density, the midpoint destinations, the proximity to an urban area, nor the lack of alternatives to justify the high cost. You will simply get much better bang for your buck by investing in bus improvements (BRT and otherwise). Build what makes sense for the area, and for those areas, it isn’t light rail.

      But I would say of all the projects, the Issaquah light rail proposal takes the cake. A three seat ride to Seattle for most of the people in Issaquah is just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Compared to that, Everett light rail sounds brilliant.

      1. Thanks RossB for helping me lay ideological markers. I “get it” you want more buses, and that’s great.

        But I’m concerned and remain concerned ST3 has to pass so we can get good regional transit. I do believe fundamentally the best spine provides congestion relief for the suburbs along I-5, and over time trusses for the truly urban areas…

        I also think the Rainier Valley needs elevated light rail. Badly. Baldly. Boldly.

      2. Well, I’m concerned that if ST3 passes, it will destroy any hope for good regional transit. Seattle will likely be screwed, waiting 30 years or more for a Ballard to UW or Metro 8 subway. That is a long time to wait for what are the second and third most cost effective transit segments in the state (the first being downtown to UW). The vast majority of people in West Seattle without a car will still feel isolated, wondering why they have to get off their bus to go down into a tunnel and wait for a train that runs every 20 minutes. Folks in Lake City will still get to Ballard the way they have always got to Ballard (either a very slow bus or driving).

        OK, things won’t be quite that bleak. Seattle itself will still make improvements (most of which will be built way before any of this rail is built). But they will be hamstrung by a populous that is not that eager to keep raising our horribly regressive taxes on transportation, while we have other obvious needs (health and human services, education, day care, police, to name but a few).

        But the other regions will be screwed. This is Swift 2: http://www.commtrans.org/BusService/Images/Swift-II-Map.jpg. I find this interesting, in that both the ST light rail plan and Swift cover some of the same areas. Swift would have six stations between Mariner Park and Ride and SR 526. Link would have three at the most. Swift is obviously better. More frequent with more stops. These aren’t obscure, “why not” stops. Both these lines cut through the densest parts of Snohomish County (such as it is). But Swift would actually serve it, while Link just passes right by.

        What worries me is not only Swift and Swift 2. They will lack the kind of speed improvements that could make a big difference, but they will probably do OK. They won’t have be that frequent, but they will be much more frequent than Link. What worries me is that there won’t be an addition to that kind of service, or just regular old bus service. We will build a system similar to that in Texas. There is light rail to the suburbs (running every 15 minutes during rush hour and every 20 minutes in the middle of the day) but the regular bus service that regular people depend on every day won’t exist (or at least be really poor). I’m not talking about the downtown commuters, but the guy working at the restaurant, the woman working as a nurses aid. These are folks that can’t afford a car, and they will be screwed. As someone who was once in that very situation (in that very county) I can say that the last I would have wanted back then was anything like what ST3 is likely to be (if it passes).

      3. RossB, maybe I have poor reading comprehension but, where’s the threat in ST3 to “the regular bus service that regular people depend on every day won’t exist (or at least be really poor).”?

  14. One of the reasons that the east end of the Portland airport will aleays be a sprawl oriented mess is that there is no way the FAA will approve any sort of height that close to the runway.

    (….except of course the reduculous IKEA sign, which was probably purchased at a very pretty penny as it violates a bunch of city sign codes as well as being in the approach pathway to the airport)

    In looking at the Paine Field and [not Boeing] Industrial Park stations, I’m wondering what would be possible to do there? It looks like those spots are in locations the FAA would not be too restrictive with.

    Sure, I know it’s sprawl areas and all that, but if an upzone happened, there is some land next to those stations that suddenly could become really valuable.

    Give it a mixed use zoning that allows industrial on the ground floor and residential or office space on top and you might be able to build up some density around those stations.

    If you think that it’s too far, just think about the news roundup article yesterday about there just flat out not being enough housing. People have to live someplace, and if Seattle stays majority single family then the only place to go is further out.

  15. ST is really swinging for the fences with ST3. I just get the feeling that a strikeout is coming and not a home run. Sno Co needs more HOV lanes and BRT, not rail. We all need to be thinking about whats next for ST if ST3 fails this fall….

  16. There’s better places for branches off the mainline than this waste of mainline capacity to Paine Field… say, Lake City or Edmonds

      1. In theory, yes. But it would be very tricky (as discussed before). There are areas where MLK type surface running makes sense, but areas where it doesn’t. Elevated would encounter huge opposition (as it did on MLK). The result is that you are talking tunnels most of the way, and that isn’t cheap. So I could see a spur to Lake City, coming from Roosevelt, but that is a lot of miles of rail ($$$) for a handful of good stations (in Lake City).

      2. Lake City is a good endpoint for a line (it is already a reasonably dense destination with a lot of room both underbuilt under current zoning and possible for upzoning without too much NIMBY-ism); there are also future extensions that make sense such as UW Bothell and the communities on the way there. However, for this go-around the line that would have best served Lake City is the Ballard-UW one–in conjunction with the NE 130th station–as it would have opened up the entire north end. Not only Ballard, but the zoo, Wallingford, Fremont–a number of places where people want to go but where taking the bus is an onerous task.

        The Roosevelt spur does not do that, but it does give direct service to the UW and downtown and follows the historic travel patterns in that part of the city; it also would someday directly connect UW and UW Bothell.

  17. OK. Here’s an ST3-alternative proposal for the north end.

    North side:
    Extend to Everett Amtrak Station via I-5 as proposed.

    Include provisions for a spur pointing towards Paine Field. Preferably at 128th St.

    Also start working on right-of-way preservation/acquisition towards Paine Field for a branch (as this proposes) — furthermore, continue this right-of-way preservation all the way from Paine Field to Mulkiteo Station. But do not actually build the branch until there’s a working plan for bus connecting service, enough demand, and the arguments over routing are hashed out. (I really believe the correct route is 128th St / Airport Road / Route 526 / Boeing railway line — NOT Mulkiteo Speedway.)

    Eliminate North Sounder once Link to Everett opens; sell the rights to the slots to WSDOT for potential future Amtrak Cascades service. Have all Amtrak Cascades (to BC and Bellingham) and Empire Builder trains stop at Mulkiteo (at Sound Transit expense if necessary — funded from North Sounder budget), providing some train service. Meanwhile, run a limited-stop fast bus service from Mullkiteo via Paine Field to Link (also funded from North Sounder budget).

    In the event of mudslides, Amtrak Cascades from the North and Empire Builders from the East will reverse at Everett and passengers will be handed Link tickets, providing a better alternative than the current bus substitutions.

    1. Nathanael ;

      This is an alternative that has my 100% support.

      #1. Faster to Everett Station – that’s important
      #2. Ends Sounder North – we all know that’s a debacle
      #3. Gives Mayor Jennifer Gregerson something to save face
      #4. Finally puts Amtrak at Mukilteo – something an Island County Commish is also keen on
      #5. Good thinking using Link as an Amtrak substitute come mudslide time – one more reason why the Link spine must get to Everett Station ASAP.

      Might want to start a petition for this…


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