800px-Aerial_Paine_Field_August_2009

SEATTLE SUBWAY

Light Rail to Everett will provide a fast and reliable transportation option in a corridor where congestion is currently getting worse to the tune of a minute every three months. Business and political leaders in Everett have long favored a detour to Paine Field over a more direct line to Everett, in order to serve the Boeing Industrial Center and Paine Field, which is expected to have passenger air service in the future. We agree that ST3 should provide rapid transit to Paine Field but it is clear that the current Paine Field detour has unacceptable time impacts on transit riders, and the alternatives are much better for Snohomish County.

The Paine Field alignment would add nearly 10 years to the schedule for delivery of light rail to Everett. Once constructed, the detour would add 13 minutes to a trip from Everett to Seattle (and add fifty cents to the distance-based passenger fare). Further, the sprawling nature of the manufacturing center the Paine Field detour attempts to serve has so many “last mile” problems that most employees will continue driving to work, with or without light rail.

A better alternative for Everett

  1. Build a direct rail alignment with a junction for later rail expansion to Paine Field. This is a similar setup to both the Oakland and San Francisco airports, which have 3 and 14 times, respectively, the air traffic that is anticipated at Paine Field.
  2. Serve the Boeing Industrial Center with a robust BRT connection integrated into Community Transit’s popular Swift network, including Swift II, which is scheduled to begin serving Paine Field in 2018. Since the Boeing Industrial Center is so vast and dispersed, a combination of BRT routes would serve it better than a single rail stop. While the precise alignments require further study, BRT could allow new connections from downtown Mukilteo’s ferry dock and Sounder Station, through Paine Field, to the light rail “spine.”

This option would:

  1. Reach Everett up to 10 years before an alignment with a Paine Field detour;
  2. Reduce the length of trips to Everett by 7-13 minutes, while providing better service to dense South Everett destinations that will increase light rail ridership;
  3. Serve more areas of the Boeing Industrial Center than the Paine Field detour would allow; and
  4. Allow future extensions of light rail to Paine Field if and when commercial air service increases in the future

Sound Transit should also seek to move as much of the line to the west towards highway 99 as possible. This will increase the transit oriented development potential and serve more existing population centers and better serve transit-dependent riders.

Please join us in supporting this alternative plan, which provides the greatest benefits for Snohomish County and the region.

How can you help?  Please do any or all of the below!

  1. Email the Sound Transit board with your input
  2. Fill out the online survey  and encourage BRT over light rail to Paine Field
  3. Attend the Everett Open House, TONIGHT, Monday, April 25th, from 5:30-7:30, with a presentation at 6pm. IMPORTANT: Transit opponents are organizing for this meeting. You can support the pro-ST3 side by showing up.
  4. Encourage the community, business and neighborhood groups to which you belong to support light rail expansion to Everett and BRT to Paine Field. This plan will help us solve our transportation mess and get light rail to your door faster.

123 Replies to “Everett should choose speed and utility for ST3”

  1. I was annoyed by the spur to Boeing but found it to be a necessary evil due to the airport becoming more publicly-utilized. Knowing it would cost me an extra $1/day to spend the extra time making that trip has caused me to change my mind and want to push even harder for a route directly downtown. I learned a lot from these points, excellent read!

    1. Yeah, the Paine Field detour means Everett riders will spend an extra $1 for the privilege of spending 26 more minutes (round trip figures) commuting to Seattle. That’s bad for Snohomish County, bad for Everett, and bad for the region.

      1. Except that everett riders wont take link to seattle. For commuters, it will be way faster to take an express bus on i-5.

      2. “Everett riders wont take link to Seattle.” Exactly. If you build the Paine Field detour, it does destroys the utility of a line from Everett to Seattle.

      3. There won’t be any express buses to Seattle. Both ST and CT have said they’ll truncate all express buses at Lynnwood in 2023. You’d have to try to get the 510 reinstated when Everett Link opens, and fat chance of that.

        PS. If Snohomish canceled Sounder North it would have plenty of money for replacement buses and accelerating the Link extensions.

      4. Huh? Link will be faster than the 510… if they pick a more direct route it will be a lot faster… along with being more reliable.

      5. fil is right, he just didn’t finish the sentence. Let me do it: For commuters, it will be way faster to take an express bus on i-5 to Lynnwood.

        When people write things like “Everett riders” it gives the impression that all of Everett sits right next to the Everett Station. Tens of thousands of riders will walk to the station, and take the train as it whisks them along to their jobs in Seattle. Sorry, but that simply isn’t the case. The Paine Field routing, as bad as it is, will pass by more Everett riders than the I-5 routing. It has two stops on SR 99 (OK, one of them is provisional). The I-5 routing has none. Everett Station itself is a very low density industrial area. It makes SoDo (our worst performing station) look like Manhattan. It’s primary value is as a transfer station. Well, people can transfer in other places — like Lynnwood.

        An I-5 routing depends almost entirely on park and ride lots and bus transfers for ridership. There just aren’t that many people living close to the freeway, or at Everett Station. With bus transfers, the time spent getting to the station is often dependent on the station layout. It is often faster to get on the freeway than it is to get to the station. For example, here is the freeway ramp heading south towards I-5, from SR 526: https://goo.gl/maps/Xu6UWfvzvr72. You can see that there is an HOV lane there. Now look at the entrance to the Eastmont Park and Ride (where a station would likely be placed): https://goo.gl/maps/Sx4Gh16Buwv. You have no HOV lanes and a traffic light. This is in contrast to Lynnwood Park and Ride, which has bus-only ramps heading to it.

        Imagine we built both. Imagine that we built light rail to Everett TC, and ran buses to both Lynnwood and the nearest station (in this case, Eastmont). Now imagine a race. Two buses right next to each other, one headed southbound towards Lynnwood, and the other headed to the Eastmont Station. Even if there was no traffic by the park and ride, a Lynnwood bound bus would be miles down the road before the other bus pulled into the Eastmont station. Let’s say that the train arrives just when the bus did. As the train pulls away, the freeway bus (headed to Lynnwood) has a huge lead. The train stops at Ash Way, Mariner, and Alderwood Mall. If traffic is so terrible (in the HOV lanes) that the Lynnwood bound bus has to come to a complete stop three times, wait for a while, then get moving again, the bus is still ahead. By the time the bus pulls into the Lynnwood TC, it is still comfortably ahead of the train.

        Do we really want to spend billions on the losing trip?

      6. “Link will be faster than the 510… if they pick a more direct route it will be a lot faster”

        A 55 mph train with two dozen stations can’t be a lot faster than a 65 mph but with only 2-3 stops along roughly the same corridor. ST’s estimate for Westlake-Lynnwood is 28 minutes, which is the average of the 512’s times, and if Link runs mostly along I-5 north of there it will be about the same as the 510. The only time Link will be “a lot faster” is during heavy congestion peak-of-peak and when there’s a blocking accident, but those come under the category of “reliability” rather than “speed”.

        In contrast, Sounder South is 79 mph, and track improvements that are half-assed underway will bring it up to 90 mph and 110 mph eventually. Seattle-Kent is 20 minutes on Sounder, 48 minutes on the 159; the improvements would bring it up to a lightning-fast 15 minutes (I assume downtown and SODO will remain slow for safety). Seattle-Tacoma has a huge detour via Puyallup that slows it down, but it should still go down from 59 minutes to 40 minutes compared to 50 minutes on the 594. Sounder North has constrained right-of-way between the shore and a cliff so it can’t achieve similar improvements.

      7. What am I missing here Mike?

        Everett to Westlake is scheduled to take > 1:05 around rush hour. http://www.soundtransit.org/schedules/ST-Express-Bus/510/weekday/inbound

        I’ve heard tale told that major backups regularly lead to extreme commutes as well of > 1:30.

        I-5 Link estimated times are: Westlake to Lynnwood is 28 Minutes, Lynnwood to Everett is 25 minutes = 53 minutes.

        Your point on Sounder is well taken, but it has access issues, is infrequent, and has reliability issues due to mudslides.

      8. What you’re missing is that the express buses stop in Seattle when they get there and don’t wait to get back on schedule if they’re early. I took an early morning from Tacoma Narrows to Seattle and arrived 20 minutes early. BUT, a trip that randomly takes 40 minutes one day and 120 minutes the next is completely unacceptable.

      1. Ligjt rail is but one tool in transit tool box. Sno Co does not have the density for light rail to be appropriate. BRT yes. Light Rail no.

      2. His opinion is based on evidence and logic:

        http://arcg.is/1QyHJ3a — Density

        http://stb-wp.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/01141338/METRO-AND-ST-RIDERSHIP.png — Existing ridership. The buses of relevance are hard to find (since the list is ordered by ridership) but the number of people coming from north of Lynnwood to Seattle number less than 10,000 a day.

        https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/12/04/sound-transit-presents-st3-options/ — The ST3 options all follow highways. BRT along those same corridors is significantly cheaper than light rail.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DART_Light_Rail — One of the many examples of similar systems that have failed to provide a meaningful improvement in transit for the area. DART runs every 15 minutes during rush hour, and every 20 minutes in the middle of the day.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swift_Bus_Rapid_Transit — Swift runs every 12 minutes maximum. Light rail makes sense when buses run under a minute.

        Light rail works well when there are closely packed dense areas, which means people making lots of midpoint trips. These don’t exist in Snohomish County in the quantity required to build a successful system.

        Really Joe, do you have any example, anywhere of a similar system working out well?

      3. RossB, frankly we in The North want what is rightfully ours: LIGHT RAIL.

        When you demand Tacoma sacrifice as well, we’ll talk…. Until then, enjoy your light rail starter set. We in The North in the White Shirts want it aalllllllll

      4. The existing plan does make Tacoma sacrifice; it adds 15-35 minutes to a Tacoma-Seattle trip. Light rail is a great technology for travel within a city; it’s not so great for travel between cities (Tacoma-Seattle) or between a city and a major-but-distant suburb (Seattle-Everett). The best way to serve the Pierce-South King area with ST3 is to improve South Sounder (the spine we already have), implement the Sierra Club proposal for light rail *within* Tacoma (extension to TCC and Dome-Mall line, the O&M base can be adjacent to the existing streetcar O&M base, especially since the TCC extension necessitates upgrading the streetcar to proper light rail status), and spend the remaining billions on lobbying to get WSDOT to *let our buses move*! If the lobbying costs less than that, we can significantly expand STEX service for much less than the cost of the Link extension, and get equal or better service.

  2. How about no light rail to everett? How about ST uses the money for HOV lanes, ramps and brt for SR526, hwy 2, and extend hov lanes on i-5 to smokey point. Sno co needs more hov lanes and brt. Not light rail.

    1. +1 if the politicians and voters can agree to drop Link north of Lynnwood (or 164th or 128th or wherever) without scuttling the rest of ST3. However, the ST district ends at Everett so it can’t build into Marysville or along Highway 2 unless somebody else funds it. That “somebody” would presumably be Community Transit or Snohomish County.

      1. @Joe, I agree with a lot of your points. But I’m going to differ with you on Tacoma. The Puget Sound is growing rapidly. Within our region, Tacoma is a legitimate urban center with the bones to be an even more solid city in the future. Having light rail to the airport (regardless of whether it takes Tacomans to Seattle) will be a boon to jobs and convention access to the City of Destiny (it’s closer to SeaTac than Seattle is). Employers will be able to make it a lower-cost location for large numbers of jobs, in addition to being a commuting hub for some who work in Seattle for those trying to escape the ever rising costs of the region.

        I say this all as a Seattle resident. There may be questionable transit investments in our region, but connecting Tacoma to the rapid transit is not one of them. It’s good for Tacoma, and also good for our economically powerful megaregion.

        Everyone deserves good transit! Thanks for being such a transit supporter.

      2. Jonanthan, its not that light rail is bad. Its that its innapropriate and a waste of tax dollars in the low density places that ST wants to expand to. BRT yes. light rail no.

      3. An ideal network would have Link to Lynnwood, Des Moines, and downtown Redmond; half-hourly Sounder South; and as much BRT as you want to Tacoma, Everett, Federal Way, Issaquah, and other cities. There’s room for debate on whether Link should be extended a little bit beyond that to Federal Way, 164th, or 128th. But the highest rate of return is the ST2 extent. That’s the area of maximum ridership and density and freeway congestion. There will be express buses from Everett and Mukilteo and Lynnwood when ST2 is finished, and people’s experience will be tons better compared to the existing buses to downtown. Their experience with Everett Link will be only a bit better than that. Likewise, when Kent-Des Moines opens, all of ST’s planning scenarios truncate the buses there. That will be a tradeoff for south end riders because Link’s travel time is longer. Extending Link to Tacoma will be only a minor benefit beyond that. However, Pierce has plenty of money to spend on its extension, while Snohomish wants more than it can afford.

        I support whatever the politicians and voters can agree on as long as it has the proposed Seattle lines or an equivalent level of in-city service. Because some transit is better than no transit, these quarters of the city can’t be left behind, and a seamless light rail network between Tacoma, Everett, and Redmond would be more useful than not having it. But at the same time it’s not necessary, and there are other things we could do instead that would still be an adequate network for those who don’t want to drive but still want to get around in a reasonable time.

      4. While I may agree with you, this reasoning only makes sense when purely looking at efficiency/ridership potential. But politically we need these lines for ST3 to pass, and we need ST3 to pass to get the critical Seattle lines we desperately need. The reality is that all we can do is try to make the best of these suburban lines and turn out to vote come November, however disappointed we may be with a few unnecessary lines.

      5. @Jonathan — Tacoma has character (or “good bones”) but density is not that high. But that isn’t the point. It is too far away from Seattle. As the DC light rail line extends farther outward, no one is bothering to build a line to Baltimore, which is roughly the size of Seattle (or three times the size of Tacoma) and is much more densely populated. Seriously, look it up. Baltimore: http://arcg.is/1qQmsx6. Tacoma: http://arcg.is/1qQmHbg. Yet the DC Metro doesn’t go to Baltimore, because it is too far. No one would take it. It wouldn’t run often enough to enable spontaneous trips, while an express (train or bus) would simply be faster.

        Successful subway systems the world over are small systems. They don’t extend outward thirty miles in a couple directions. They criss-cross in a tight, urban area, with plenty of stops. They compliment the urban subway with commuter rail and express buses. The current plan is based on ignorance and symbolism, nothing more.

        @QA Rider — Why should we assume that voters are that ignorant? Isn’t is possible that the voters in the suburbs realize how silly it is to build these expensive light rail lines, and will vote them down.

        Besides, the lines in Seattle were built with the same meaningless symbolism as those in the suburbs. Why wouldn’t they be? Why would ST suddenly change their methodology from “that sounds good” to “let’s figure out how to save riders the most time” when they started looking at city projects? Just as BRT (of bus improvements in general) would be much better for the suburbs than light rail, this — https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/11/30/an-alternative-for-st3-with-something-for-everyone/ — would be much better for Seattle than what ST has proposed.

      6. @RossB. Note though that there is light rail from Baltimore to BWI, and that Washington and Baltimore don’t really share an airport the way that Seattle and Tacoma share Seatac.

      7. I support whatever the politicians and voters can agree on as long as it has the proposed Seattle lines or an equivalent level of in-city service. Because some transit is better than no transit …

        Would you support literally anything? Doesn’t it make sense to wait until they get it right (or at least close to right)? Given the fact that these projects won’t be started for years (because of their very high cost and the bonding restrictions) I see no reason to support something so poorly designed, just because it is “better than nothing”. I would rather live with whatever the city can do, even if it doesn’t involve one more inch of rail. There efforts are far more likely to save more people more time than ST3 (and be done a lot sooner to boot).

      8. “Yet the DC Metro doesn’t go to Baltimore, because it is too far. No one would take it. It wouldn’t run often enough to enable spontaneous trips”

        You’re making a lot of assumptions here. The DC Metro doesn’t go to Baltimore because it doesn’t go to Baltimore. We’d have to poll the local area to determine whether anyone would take it. What alternatives are there? When I flew into BWI it was on a weekend so MARC didn’t run so I had to take a shuttle to DC. I wanted to visit Baltimore while I was there, but again MARC didn’t run weekends and I didn’t know any alternative.

        As for whether a Metro line would run often enough to enable spontaneous trips, all the other lines do so why shouldn’t that one? You’re assuming what DC Metro’s policy would be, which we don’t actually know. They might run it frequently simply because that’s what makes a metro most useful and maximizes ridership.

      9. BWI to Washington Union Station is also served by Amtrak. Takes 25 minutes and the first train on Saturday is around 3:30 am. Only certain regionals stop there, but it’s probably enough to meet weekend demand.

        Just like Baltimore, Everett would get better service if it were viewed as an intermediate stop on a regional network than a terminus station.

      10. When were you last in BWI? MARC now runs on weekends beginning a few years ago. There’s also the B30 bus from BWI to Greenbelt Metro to continue to DC and light rail from BWI to Baltimore. The last two directly serve the terminals.

        “what DC Metro’s policy would be”

        We do know. Check out ConnectGreaterWashington, which is their 2040 regional transit system study. They have studied many possible projects and evaluated them using criteria based on jobs/population/ridership density and walkability.

        The ridership criteria, measured by riders per route mile, is interesting. Suburban Metrorail needs at least 3,500 riders/mile and light rail needs at least 2,500 riders/mile for a project to be recommended. Link with U Link is about 3,000 riders/mile which is considered “medium”. The Lynnwood-Everett Link extension via I-5 is 12.6 miles with the project ridership estimate of 36.5-45k. That’s 2,896-3,500 riders/mile or rated medium for light rail and barely passing if considered suburban Metrorail.

        Meanwhile, Metrorail to BWI fails badly on nearly every criteria.

      11. Jonathan – Tacoma being a legitimate urban center does not justify blowing a bunch of money on building a slow train all the way out here. It justifies further investment in light rail within the city, like the TCC expansion and the Sierra Club plan for the spine (Dome-Mall instead of Star Lake-Dome). To be worthwhile, investments in a rail connection between Tacoma and Seattle must take the form of increases to speed, frequency, and span-of service on South Sounder, the spine we’ve already got. If you want a connection to the airport, we’ve already got that; it’s called the 574. Too infrequent? boosting frequency costs much less than building a train. Too slow? I don’t know what it will take to get WSDOT to stop criminally mismanaging our freeways, but it will probably be less than a billion dollars.

        Also, so that I’m not completely ot, I’ll bring it back to the topic of the article: while stopping light rail at both Lynnwood and Star Lake (or KDM) makes the most sense, it would be more reasonable to continue Link north from Lynnwood than south from Star Lake for two reasons. 1) North Sounder just doesn’t work as well as what we’ve got down here in South Sounder. 2) Link travel from SnoCo to downtown Seattle our the U does not get slowed down by the pesky stretch of Link actually doing what light rail is supposed to do in the Rainier Valley. The Paine Field diversion eliminates that second advantage, and a wye or spur would serve Snohomish much better.

      12. I don’t see it wise to run light rail from the Dome to Tacoma Mall for the obvious reason that South Sounder already goes there. Add a South Sounder station for Tacoma Mall instead. Run light rail down Pacific, eventually to PLU.

      13. South Sounder does not go to the Tacoma Mall; it goes through the Nalley-less Valley about a mile and a 100 feet of elevation away from the Mall. As a Parklander, I would like better transit connecting the PLU area to the rest of the area, but we are too far out for light rail to make sense over sending it to other areas. The Tacoma Mall has a subarea plan being produced and will get much more dense; it is designated as a major urban center. Parkland will be best served by BRT on Pac Ave, a 581 STEX from Parkland to Puyallup Sounder station to meet each train, and possibly EMU’s on Tacoma’s ERC. We don’t have the density to justify light rail, and we’re unlikely to get that density before many areas that are being left out in ST3.

    2. Sound Transit should not be paying for “HOV lanes” which come under WSDOT’s supervision. If gold or silver level BRT is to be chosen in a specific corridor Sound Transit should build its own exclusive busway within the freeway envelope. That might mean double decking in some places.

      WSDOT cannot be a reliable manager of HOV because of the meddling legislature. Even if they want to deliver a consistent travel time for the buses, they simply can’t because they’re micro-managed by the autoistas in Olympia.

      1. Except that the legislature and WADOT have been good about distinguishing HOV lanes built from the highway budget from those built with ST money… That’s the most significant reason that the daytime only nature of HOV provision is applied so spottily.

        Do you actually believe that the legislature will give up precious ROW to allow exclusive access to a bus every couple minute?

      2. Who owns the highway? Who would ST have to get permission from to built its own lane? Doesn’t that have to be part of the freeway design, or where would the land come from?

    3. Enough with the goddamn HOV lanes. The region needs dedicated bus lanes that aren’t shared with any cars. If other regions can have them there’s no reason this one can’t.

      1. The public said no tolls evenings so they could have more SOV lanes. What makes you think they’d be willing to give up another lane on top of the toll lanes, or convert one of the toll lanes to transit only?

  3. It would be a tragedy if in the middle of construction to PAE that Boeing were to fall on hard times and fold. That’s my number one fear about this project.

    1. If Boeing suddenly moves a bunch of stuff to North Carolina it might actually benefit this line. A hell of a lot of something else could go there that would generate more trips.

      1. Glenn, I forgot which Carolina might delay Boeing’s arrival while the legislature concentrates on bathroom admission rules.

        A moving-delay exacerbated by how many things like decrepit schools and collapsing highways are ahead in the long line of essential State projects the reps are desperate to avoid dealing with.

        But meantime, I think the Boeing Field segment would be the perfect place for the approach I’ve been advocating: a track-bed graded, curved, and otherwise equipped for rail, but operated with buses until passenger load justifies trains.

        With its right of way a hundred percent reserved, line easily electrified for buses. 30 years after DSTT was designed, it’s probably possible to raise voltage for trains with fewer delays.

        With much wider and flatter operating area than DSTT, conversion should go a lot faster.

        I think it would be a lot harder to turn down this plan with a straight face than to start work immediately with an even bigger ceremony than the last two.

        Mark

  4. What are the comparative (estimated) riderships to Paine Field / Boeing vs downtown Everett? I have an acquaintance, a retired Boeing employee who commuted from West Seattle for most of her career. Is that common?
    Yes, shuttle bus feeders are needed to serve both Paine Field and Boeing industrial center whether ST has a light rail stop there. Do those site have workshift surges of commuter demand vs, possibly, a continuous flow to downtown Everett?

    1. Boeing Factory has 3 shifts. And the office workers have typical office schedules…so 1st shift commute will last longer. And idk what the schedules are for the surrounding office/manufacturing parks, but I’m assuming more usual 9-5 and not on the Boeing cycle. But I could be wrong.

  5. Just out of curiosity, is Seattle Subway going to urge a no vote on ST3 if this demand (which is a reasonable request) isn’t met come June? (they have gone on record saying Ballard to downtown must be grade-separated or else).

    1. I hope that they do. ST3 needs to be scalled back if it is going to pass. 50 billion $ and 25 years is too big of a package to ask for all at once.

      1. Too large? The number one complaint I hear is that it’s going to take too long to build out. That means it’s too small, not too big.

      2. Living in Kitsap County I’m mostly sitting on the sidelines here because I can’t vote in ST elections, but my gut feeling is that $50B is just too huge a number and too many voters are going to balk at it. Thankfully, there’s plenty of time after the probable failure of the first ST3 measure* to re-strategize and come back with something more modest.

        * ST is going to be busy building ST2 for a while yet. The main thing in my book is to keep building. That way ST3 won’t suffer any extra costs from having to recruit specialized workers from around the country after they’ve dispersed when ST2 ended.

      3. Too large and too stupid. Massive investments should result in a massive improvement. This doesn’t. It is pretty easy to go through the various areas and see why this doesn’t change things very much:

        North of Lynnwood: The people who will be able to walk to a new station number in the hundreds. With or without ST3, then, your life is the same. For a trip into Seattle, you take a bus to Link. For other trips, you take the bus or drive. A fast ride to West Seattle is meaningless, as the buses work fine for a reverse commute. Likewise with Issaquah light rail. Taking a train to Ballard would be silly — it is faster to transfer to a bus in in the U-District rather than transferring to the train at Westlake. It might make sense to take the Ballard subway to some place around South Lake Union. But the surface options may be better in many cases (depending on how much the surface options are improved and where exactly you are headed)

        Between the U-District and Lynnwood: The reverse commute to Everett is faster with a bus
        than it is with a train, so you get nothing from Everett Link. Service to Ballard, Issaquah or West Seattle is no better. For a handful of trips (but not Ballard) Ballard light rail is better.

        You get the idea. Everyone north of the ship canal is only marginally better off with the new rail. That is quite a significant part of the region. But the same is true for most of the area.

        Hardly anyone gets anything from West Seattle, Everett or Issaquah rail. Depending on their location and destination, they may get something from Ballard rail. But folks from the most densely populated part of the city — Belltown — get nothing from this. I really can’t see any trip that would be more convenient for someone living there if ST3 passes. The 1015 — visible on this map http://www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/service-map/ by first selecting the 2040 button, then the line that goes down third in Belltown — would be a bigger benefit for those types of trips. But Belltown is not alone. It is just the most egregious example of a light rail system that fails to help all but a handful of trips.

        Even those from the various areas supposedly being served get little out of this. For Ballard you have a quick trip, but only one direction. Any trip to any place north of the ship canal is no faster. For West Seattle, only the folks that are near the stations will benefit (and realistically, that means one station, since a couple of them are under the freeway). For those traveling in the middle of the day, or on a different corridor (such as Delridge) it makes sense to ride the bus all the way into town. This is why Metro didn’t bother trying to force everyone onto the light rail when the came up with their long range plan — they knew it didn’t make sense.

        But no one gets less out of a rail system than the folks that live in Issaquah. Right now, if you live in the highlands and want to go to downtown Seattle, you take a bus that goes from your neighborhood to downtown. In a few years, you will be forced to make a transfer in Mercer Island. But at least the train will come fairly often (and many will take the train the other direction). With ST3, to get to downtown Seattle, you will have to take a bus to a train, then transfer to the other train. The first train (the one that goes between Bellevue and Issaquah) will not run that often. Why would it? The number of riders will number in the hundreds (like the faster buses do right now) and it is a long ways to get to Bellevue. Long distances plus low ridership equals very low frequency. This means that most people in Issaquah will look forward to a very slow three seat ride to Seattle.

        Now imagine this for Seattle, https://seattletransitblog.com/2015/11/30/an-alternative-for-st3-with-something-for-everyone/, along with massive investments in bus infrastructure in the suburbs. Those from the north end actually get something out of the rail, even though we are talking about a tiny amount compared to ST3. Lake City to Ballard, Lynnwood to Fremont, Everett to Ballard all made much faster. Huge numbers of people in West Seattle have a much faster and more frequent ride to downtown (including Belltown). Speaking of which, Belltown finally gets the transit that makes sense for them — very fast and very frequent service to everywhere. Ballard, meanwhile, gets fast service going both directions. A fast train ride to the UW (faster than driving, even in the middle of the day) as well as a fast ride to Interbay, Queen Anne and Belltown. Getting to the rest of downtown is fast either way. South Lake Union would still have a fast connection to the rest of the system, but with the added connection to Belltown. Those along the Aurora/Greenwood corridor headed downtown would have a much faster, more frequent trip to and through downtown.

        For the suburbs there could be similar improvements. Fast, frequent buses going in various directions, connecting into a much better transit network. If we spent the kind of money we are talking about, almost everyone would have a significantly better set of transit options. This stands in great contrast to ST3, where only a handful will benefit.

    2. Folks, remember this is only a DRAFT PLAN. ST employees have hinted that the plan could significantly change between now and the end of June when The Board makes a final(ish) plan. Remeber ST2? That package changed dramatically between its first draft and the actual ballot measure. Much of the draft may also have been calibrated for a political response (i.e. justifying to the suburbs spending more on a 100% grade separated Ballard line by citing the outrage after proposing at grade through Interbay). Everyone needs to take a deep breath and focus on pushing ST to modify this plan to something more acceptable instead of declaring a final voting decision over six months before this thing actually goes on the ballot.

      1. From the articles here and elsewhere, the outcry of Ballard to downtown has been it taking 22 years. I am not sure how much that changes in the final draft.

    3. I wouldn’t be surprised. All they care about is the fastest alignment to get into Seattle. The same reason Southcenter got skipped.

      1. Southcenter got skipped because Tukwila objected to a surface segment on 99. ST was all ready to put a station there.

  6. Detour to HCC, good. Detour to Southcenter, bad. Detour to Rainier Valley, good. Detour to the densest neighborhood in Bellevue, bad. Detour to Microsoft, good. Detour to Boeing/Paine Field, bad. Direct rail to SeaTac passing by Boeing Field, bad. Detour by bus to popular tourist and employment area Seattle Center, bad. Detour and unnecessary dt Bellevue tunnel, good.

      1. I was also talking about some of the commenters here, who on one post will argue against direct, straight alignments, then a month or two later say the opposite; that detours makes no sense.

    1. If we wanted direct rail to SeaTac what I would do is get the BNSF a spur over to SeaTac one track and have it meet at baggage claim. Most of the world has a rail spur to the airport. Even Palermo on Sicily has rail directly to the airport via a spur. Adds redundancy too but the trains could also be made to accommodate the luggage too.

      1. In your dreams. Sea-Tac is about three hundred feet higher than the BNSF at SouthCenter. The Link trains struggle to make the climb and they’ve got motors on every truck! There is no way in hell that locomotive hauled heavy rail is ever going to be on the top of the Sea-Tac plateau.

      2. Well, not “every” truck; apologies. The middle ones are idlers. But two powered trucks per car.

      3. Duesseldorf has an S-Bahn to the airport but it runs every 20 minutes, not peak only and maybe someday hourly.

    2. We all wanted SR 99 but of course every mayor along the alignment said no. It wasn’t even much of a detour except along I-5 and the 4 bends I didn’t even like nor wanted. Adding a branch to Southcenter off the main line without Rainier Valley grade separation kills frequency from Tukwilla south. If we didn’t have grade separation in Bellevue, potential frequencies would get killed off since there is the one grade crossing in Surrey Downs for emergency access only.

  7. I’m wondering about adding something like an automated connector feeder like the San Francisco or JFK AirTrain.

    The system at SFO is cable-hauled, so it could be built to go down hill to Mukilteo and still work ok.

    An autated system could, for example, be programmed to have a train at the

    I’m just trying to come up with a decent feeder option other than a full rail line and separated from traffic.

    1. Sorry. Finger hit the post button before finishing that second to last paragraph.

      Imagine having the automated system programmed so that the train would be at Paine Field when one of the several flights landed, or would depart Boeing for the transfer station just as a Link train left Everett so that they both would be at the transfer station at the same time? Or, programmed to put a train right at the Boeing exit just when Boeing finishes its shift? Or only runs down to the ferry terminal every half hour to coincide with the ferry schedule? Lots could be done with a fully automated system here, and it could be cheap to operate because it could be programmed to go to those places where and when the actual demand happens to be.

      1. Is the Boeing shift the right target?

        If Paine Field is still mostly Boeing and their suppliers in 2032 or 2041, then the whole idea is stupid and should be killed with fire. The kind of land use these companies require looks nothing like a place to put either rail or BRT.

        The only (weak) case for rail to Paine Field is if you believe the area is going to look very different. What are Snohomish’ plans for future development at Paine? Are they realistic? Do they look like something that would usefully be served by a large transit investment and where would those travel patterns be?

    2. That’s not a bad idea.. it’d have to be quick, automated trams that run round the clock. Adding in that extra mode of travel though could kill ridership.. Bus to train, train to tram, tram to Boeing…might be too much for most people. That is why a direct light rail stop would be beneficial.

      1. Transfers aren’t very bad if they can be synchronized really well. Right now, with all the buses on congested streets, synchronized transfers don’t work.

        Link has a fairly nice signal system, and input from the track occupancy detectors could be used to control the automated trains so that they basically would act like an extension to Link in terms of transfers.

        Ever hear that “you have to change trains in Jamaica” as way of life for those on the Long Island Rail Road?

        Drop the automated train onto a middle track between north and south bound Link trains so that all you have to do is walk across one or the other platform to go north or south. Synchronize the timing of train arrival and departure. Your transfer now takes less than 10 seconds.

    3. Glenn, isn’t it the Oakland Airport Connector that is cable-hauled? I believe BART goes directly to a terminal at SFO.

      1. Yes, you are correct. For some reason I was thinking there was some sort of connector at SFO as well, but apparently not.

        It doesn’t have to be cable hauled, especially if it doesn’t go down the hill to Mukilteo. Lots of automated people movers are motorized.

      2. Is a cable-hauled train like a cable car? Does it have a continuously-moving cable and a gripper on the train?

      3. The Oakland Airport Connector is a Doppelmayr cable-pulled system. It is one of several systems like this, including one in Las Vegas.
        https://www.doppelmayr.com/en/products/cable-liner/

        The SFO confusion is likely because the airport is so big that there is a Bombardier rubber-tired people mover shuttle internal to the airport that users to/from Terminals 1 and 2 usually take the people mover to get to BART — even though someone could walk through the terminals to reach BART adjacent to Terminal G. It’s like the people movers in SeaTac that connect the north and south terminals.

      1. HOW IS IT YOURS? ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE BREAKING SUBAREA EQUITY TO TAKE OTHER SUBAREAS’ TAX DOLLARS FOR LINES THEY’LL ALMOST NEVER USE?

      2. And Seattle voted for the regional government that’s giving the North its 510/511/512/513, Lynnwood Express Link, and North Sounder, so we’re even there. As for loans, I’d be fine with lending the money (from East King, maybe, since we’ve got fewer projects there?) if we had some guarantees of an ST4 when it’d be repaid.

      3. … though on second thought, perhaps projects funded by loans should be held to a higher standard. I’d be reluctant to loan money for a train if the money could do so much more good if invested in buses, like Ross argues cogently.

  8. In all honesty this is probably the best compromise that I think many of us are willing to accept that Paine should be a lesser priority and people sound like they are behind that too. If that saves money and moves the time frame closer, then the next battle will be Tacoma and getting something much better than what is currently there.

    It really should be Sounder through the corridor but given I could not get a travel time a little lower by about 5 minutes of Link it likely would not pencil out financially. Either way, I think it is time to push the gold plated BNSF for Tacoma.

    1. Thank you Daniel. I think BRT for Paine + 2031 Light Rail to Everett Station will do the best to resolve the time and yes money issues. But this leaves the option for light rail to Paine Field & Mukilteo in a ST4…

      If ST3 is, “ST3: Spine Destiny”, then…

      ST4: Where The Trusses Belong?

      I know it’s obnoxious to bring up ST4 often but I do because I think we need to realize Seattle WILL need more east-west trusses and unless the state legislature takes the hands off of Seattle’s transportation taxing authority, Sound Transit is Seattle’s only option for addressing that real need. At some point Pierce County will need more light rail and Thurston County + Skagit County will see merit in Sounder.

    2. I’d have to disagree. That’s a little short-sighted. In 25 years, that area will be different (hopefully!). A new generation of workers who grew up on transit and expect transit will be working in that area. There will be pedestrian improvements and hopefully greater job-density as well. Paine Field might operate commercial flights. To dismiss that entire area and the potential of that area to save a few minutes to get to Seattle is disappointing. I’m glad the Snohomish County council think otherwise. That area needs to be connected to light rail!! Most of the jobs should be within a half mile of the stop..

      1. Build Link along I-5 (or better but alas forbidden by the used car industry er, ah, “important economic pillars of the central Snohomish County community” SR99) with a full wye stubbed in at either Mariner or 526. Preserve parcels of land necessary to host a future rail line.

        I’d personally choose 526 but let the pros make the choice.

        In the meantime use BRT lines from both stations, and IF Paine Field actually becomes an air terminal and the area develops in a way that makes it less Boeing-centric, build the spur in the 2040 era when things have gelled in and around the airport.

        This of course assumes that ST3 passes, which certainly isn’t a slam dunk.

      2. JK, unfortunately, Snohomish County leaders are facing a reality problem, as in there really isn’t enough money in their budget to give them everything they want. The choice we’re faced with is spending $1.8 Billion extra for a line that will add just 1,000 riders, or using that same money to serve tens of thousands of other riders, today. I’m all about TOD, but you’re not going to see that in the middle of an industrial wasteland. If that area really does change in 25 years, then the growth will be just when we have budget capacity to build a spur in ST4.

      3. “In 25 years, that area will be different (hopefully!).”

        Where’s the county or city plan for a denser Paine Field area with more businesses and hopefully housing? Are they just going to let Siemens walk in and build a 10-acre one-story building with a huge parking lot and open space because that’s the way Paine Field is now and what other American industrial parks are like? Or is the county going to be pro-active and come up with better land use plans? Most especially I’d like to know what will be within walking distance of Paine Field Station? How many businesses? Can I catch a bus to Mukilteo or Swift II to Canyon Park? Can I do anything else there besides going to (A) one Boeing facility -or- (B) the non-airport.

  9. While I have only a little respect for Boeing being close to my home and providing jobs, let’s not forget they are currently actively trying to reduce their workforce by 10%. Just wait, we will build a pointless expansion to Paine field and all the jobs will be gone off to North Carolina..

    1. Are they making noises about moving the North Carolina now? You’re the second person who has said that. The other Dreamliner factory is in South Carolina at Charleston.

    2. Boeing employment goes up and down. A 10% reduction now does not say anything about what level of employment it will have in twenty years.

  10. So, many users have made comments along the lines of Everett travelers being better served by buses rather than light rail because buses are faster. First and foremost, I seriously dispute that buses are faster. But more importantly, there is more to better served than fast.

    Trains are reliable. They are comfortable. They are smooth. Wealthy car owners who don’t live in Seattle are willing to use them. Buses are none of those.

    1. It’s not just that the buses will be faster, but that a single light rail line isn’t going to serve a whole lot of needs in Snohomish County because things are too spread out. For the same investment into a single light rail line, you could get bus improvements that fit the actual needs.

      1. Bus improvements for buses that are stuck in traffic (since Seattle is the unfixable bottleneck in the highway system). Or you could build rail and then reroute all the no longer needed buses to serve a wider swath of Snoco. People forget or ignore that – the light rail line opens up a huge number of bus hours that currently are expressing to Seattle. A bus that connects to reliable rail is way better for Snoco than yet more buses stuck in traffic.

        And, of course, if more people on transit is a real goal here, trains meet it way better than buses do.

  11. Light Rail to Everett will provide a fast and reliable transportation option in a corridor where congestion is currently getting worse

    For whom? Seriously, who will be provided a fast and reliable transportation option?

    You’ve basically just repeated the ridiculous notion that is the basis for all of Sound Transit spending. Just put rail down where the traffic is, and everything is better. It doesn’t work that way.

    it is clear that the current Paine Field detour has unacceptable time impacts on transit riders

    Again, where are these transit riders? What trips are they taking? Isn’t it possible that the so called detour will have stops that are much closer to where people live?

    the detour would add 13 minutes to a trip from Everett to Seattle

    What part of Everett and what part of Seattle? This is another wonderful example of how vague promises are used to justify bad subway design. You are treating a subway like a freeway. That makes sense if you want to sell the spine to a bunch of ignorant voters, but it really doesn’t belong on a transit blog. Don’t insult your readers.

    Since the Boeing Industrial Center is so vast and dispersed, a combination of BRT routes would serve it better than a single rail stop.

    Yes, now you are getting somewhere. What is true of the Boeing Industrial Center is also true of all of Everett. Run buses — BRT or otherwise — to the various places in Everett from Lynnwood and call it a day. Doing so might — just might — enable Link to run the train to Snohomish County with some regularity. Run it all the way to the warehouses in Everett, and you can count on 15 minute headways during rush hour, and 20 minute headways in the middle of the day.

    Just to review here, this is the area that you think should be our focus: https://goo.gl/maps/QTiJ9avhUCy. Godspeed to Lowe’s I guess. There is so little there that the brewery nearby — Scuttlebutt — doesn’t put their restaurant there. That is in another part of town (where the people are). Population density in the area is about 1,250 per square mile. In comparison, Medina has over 2,000 and West Magnolia has over 4,000 (most of Seattle is over 10,000). This is not a fluke. Most of Everett is this way. Just look at the map: http://arcg.is/1pBHb6W. There are only three moderately dense areas north of SR 526. What passes for density in the area is to the south, close to (you guessed it) Paine Field. Everett Station is just a transfer station. With ridership in the low thousands, Sound Transit isn’t going to subsidize running half empty trains trains for miles and miles when it obviously doesn’t have a lot of extra cash lying around. You are looking at very low headways, and thus a very annoying transfer.

    It is stupid to run a rail line farther north than Lynnwood. But if you are going to run a line north of Lynnwood, it should have more stops than what they suggested, and end at the intersection of SR 99 and Evergreen Way. There aren’t a lot of people there (certainly not enough to justify rail) but there are still a hell of a lot more than there are with an I-5 routing. ST made a lot of mistakes, but give them credit for not being that stupid.

  12. “You’ve basically just repeated the ridiculous notion that is the basis for all of Sound Transit spending. Just put rail down where the traffic is, and everything is better. It doesn’t work that way.”

    It does work that way, actually. The actual ability to get someplace on time is way better than relying on our failing freeway network.

    1. This is how you use a freeway: First you get into your car, which is typically located very close to where you live. Then you drive the car on roads to the freeway. Then you drive on the freeway until you get to the closest stop to your destination. Then you drive from the freeway to your destination.

      This is how someone would use a subway station close to the freeway: First you take a bus. This typically involves a walk, then a wait. Then the bus picks you up and takes you to the train station. Then you wait some more. For a line like this, expect somewhere between 15 to 20 minute frequency, so a sizeable wait. Then you take the train to a different stop. Typically this means stopping several times before you get to where you want to go. The longer the trip, the more extra stops you make. Eventually you get to your stop, then either walk to your destination, or take another bus.

      Do you understand the difference? If not, I suggest you read what I wrote before: https://seattletransitblog.com/2016/04/25/everett-should-choose-speed-and-utility-for-st3/#comment-720020.

      You might also read what transit experts say about the subject. Thinking of transit in terms of automobiles is very common, and leads to bad decisions. There are plenty of examples of cities that have run light rail (or heavy rail) out to the suburbs and for the distances we are talking about, it always works out the same: failure. They fail to account for travel patterns and distance. Inside a densely packed city, there are riders taking trips from everywhere to everywhere all day long. So the delay is worth it for most riders. For example, there will be plenty of people who will miss the old 41, which quickly goes from Northgate to downtown. But the penalty is not that huge (there aren’t that many stops) and is more than made up for the trips along the way: Roosevelt, UW, Capitol Hill. But that doesn’t happen with suburban lines. Folks want a quick trip to the city, and they tend to want it during rush hour. For those sorts of trips, express buses or commuter rail make a lot more sense. It results in better outcomes for everyone.

      1. “For a line like this, expect somewhere between 15 to 20 minute frequency, so a sizeable wait.”

        You keep saying that without evidence. Even if only one line goes to Everett, that’s 10-minute frequency. If both lines go, it’s 5 minutes. 15 or 20 minutes only comes into play if ST changes its policy or it runs alternate branches to Everett and Paine. Alternate branches depends on there being tracks to both Everett and Paine, which ST has not said whether it would consider.

      2. I keep saying that Mike, because every other system like this has frequency like that. BART, DART (Dallas), TRAX (Salt Lake City), the W Line in Denver, etc. It is the standard for low demand, suburban routes. Commuter rail is like this too (and this is a commuter rail type route). No one has made a case why this would be any different. Why would this run more often than BART, when the suburbs that BART serves are more dense, the cities are much bigger and BART runs much faster? It is not about capability, it is about demand.

  13. Let’s make sure the bus travel time issues are clear. Link on Westlake-Lynnwood is 28 minutes. Westlake-Everett without the Paine deviation is about an hour. That’s in the midrange of 510/511/512 travel times: faster than peak-of-peak but slower than Sunday morning. Also, it’s immune to traffic congestion/accidents, more frequent (3 min peak; 5 min off-peak -vs- ? peak, 15-30 min off-peak), and more direct destinations (two U-District stations, Northgate, Roosevelt, Capitol Hill, Stadium, SeaTac).

    In 2023 ST and CT will truncate all express buses at Lynnwood. Hopefully they’ll also be more frequent and serve more areas but I haven’t seen a plan yet. So people who currently go to Lynnwood TC or MT TC will see an averaging out of travel time. People who currently go to Everett Station, Mariner P&R, etc, will see mostly an averaging plus a 5-minute transfer. Waiting for the bus will be the same as now at worst.

    If Link to Everett on I-5 is approved a la Seattle Subway and opens in 2032, the Everett-Lynnwood shuttle will be replaced by the Link extension. This would cause further averaging of the travel time and eliminate the Lynnwood transfer. Other origins (Paine, Mukilteo, Edmonds) would continue as they were. Paine BRT and/or a light rail spur/branch could proceed leisurely if it wishes.

    If Link to Everett with a Paine Field deviation is approved and opens in 2041, then Westlake-Everett travel time would increase 10 minutes and 50 cents each way. ST/CT might continue the Everett-Lynnwood express bus in that scenario, just as they would continue buses from Mukilteo and Edmonds.

    In the south end, ST released a few scenarios for 2023, and all of them truncated the express buses at Kent-Des Moines. That would add a travel time overhead of 10-20 minutes I think. The 574 wouldn’t be affected much because it’s already effectively truncated, and it has unique night owl service (early morning for airport workers), and I’m not sure ST would force a transfer for such a short distance.

    If Link is extended to Federal Way or Tacoma Dome in the 2030s, then the truncation point would move south with it. (Although the 574 might still go to SeaTac.) Travel times would still have the Link overhead but not much more (55 mph vs 65 mph if no traffic). Federal Way might still have Metro expresses to downtown, as hinted in Metro’s long-range plan, either peak-only or all-day. Tacoma will have Sounder, which will get faster and more frequent as the track improvements are finished and more ST2/ST3 runs come online. Current Sounder travel time Tacoma Dome-King Street is 59 minutes; the improvements should bring it into the high 40s, and if all the optimistic scenarios happen, I think down to 40 is possible. At that point Link+buses travel time will be less of an issue.

    On the Eastside while we’re at it, ST’s/Metro’s scenarios call for truncating the express buses at Mercer island or South Bellevue in 2023. How Issaquah Link would affect the 554 I don’t know. I assume ST or Metro will rescue Issaquah-Seattle travelers with a 554 from South Bellevue to Issaquah to someplace new to replace its ridership and not force people to transfer at East Main. But who knows.

    1. Do you have a source for the specifics of the Sounder improvements? I’ve been looking for them but unable to find them.

      1. It was in the December potential project list and verbally elaborated at the December 2015 board meeting if I recall. That’s what I’m going by. What I don’t know is whether all of that is in the draft system plan project or only part of it, because the project description there is very vague.

      2. To clarify, the December projects were for a third passenger track, hourly Sounder into the evening (8-something pm?), and some weekend Sounder. It’s not the speed improvements. The speed improvements are based on WSDOT’s long-term projects to increase the maximum speed to 90 and 110 mph for high-speed rail. That’s a longer timeline than ST3, and the current legislature is less committed to passenger rail than past legislatures have been, so it’s uncertain when/if these milestones will be reached.

  14. Photos from last night: https://www.flickr.com/photos/avgeekjoe/albums/72157667602566855

    Enjoy;

    Joe

    P.S. #WhiteOut is based on the Huskies Blackout games (e.g. http://seattle.sbnation.com/2012/9/27/3416308/washington-huskies-blackout-uniform ) You’ll see in the photos the white t-shirts as we bring the fire, the righteousness against the TROLL opposition. I’m sure many of these trolls never have taken good photos, given a woman flowers, or wore a white t-shirt face forward for a good cause…

    Yeah, I’m on fire. FIREBALL!

  15. More reason to shut up and salute light rail to Everett… (not Paine Field):

    “I can’t see why it’s taking so long to get here,” says Judy Frederick, who lives in Everett. “Where have the taxes gone that we’ve been paying?”

    That’s what many people asked at a Sound Transit public hearing Monday night. They say if Sound Transit wants Snohomish County taxpayers to approve another $50 billion ballot measure in November, their service should be a priority over places like West Seattle or Ballard.

    “I’ve got a 5-year-old and 1-year-old at home,” says Patrick Pierce, CEO of Economic Alliance Snohomish County. “They’ll be my age before we see a train coming in this station. I think that’s something people just don’t see as acceptable.”

    SOURCE: http://q13fox.com/2016/04/25/everett-commuters-say-they-want-to-see-light-rail-in-their-lifetime/

    You get why we in The North are going #WhiteOut in the T-shirts? You get why we’re going to turn up the sugar in public? I hope so.

    To me, I’m a Skagitonian peering down in my early 30s looking at my late 40s before light rail to Everett… That’s if we can come together and compromise for the Sound Transit dream that’s propped Seattle up – and rightfully so. I don’t begrudge Seattle anything, now don’t begrudge us in The North.

    1. “I’ve got a 5-year-old and 1-year-old at home,” says Patrick Pierce, CEO of Economic Alliance Snohomish County. “They’ll be my age before we see a train coming in this station.

      Someone in Ballard could say the same thing. We’re all impatiently waiting for good transit… and I hope the North, and Seattle, and the South and East too, all get the best value possible for their transit taxes!

      1. Ballardites also built up, despite heavy opposition from the locals. On my block near 15th and Market. There are at least one apartment building under construction while at least three are proposed (based on the signs) within two blocks of 17th and Market. If I was a Seattle politician (Ed Murray, Dow Constantine, and to some extent, Mike O’Brien), I would be nervous about any future election where I have to rely on N. King to provide the winning margin in my next election.

  16. I agree. The best way is obvious to all except the politicians, who are motivated by something el$e that they haven’t disclosed. Professional planners found their recent modified proposal was found to be too optimistic by 5 years, wait until 2038, and they were reportedly upset by getting presented alternatives, their minds obviously closed a long time ago (why have public comment?). If you compare their plan to the best of the alternatives, the choice would be obvious to most…

    Their plan:
    √ Light rail loop by 2041, perhaps 2038.
    √ Virtually nothing for today’s commuters.

    Alternatively, for the same money, a plan balanced between today’s and tomorrow’s commuters, with more transit options and higher ridership projections:
    √ BRT loop by 2020, perhaps earlier. This is before Northgate Link is open! The Seaway Transit Center east of Boeing should be opening in 2 years, from where northbound buses could jump onto 526 east, exit at Evergreen, and follow Swift’s routing to Everett Station. No right of way, acquisition, negotiation, eminent domain. The improvements to travel time that ST planners envision could probably be implemented in a couple of years.
    √ Light rail up I-5, completed 10 or more years earlier than their proposal.
    √ With the up to $1 billion saved from the ST proposal, finish direct access ramps at 164th, which keeps the buses to/from Everett in the HOV lanes vs. crossing general purpose traffic between 128th and Lynnwood Transit Center. This could probably also be completed before Northgate Link opens.
    √ Provide $ to construct a bus overpass at 128th, removing buses from the most-congested part of that street, the parts approaching and crossing I-5. This could probably also be completed before Northgate Link opens.

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