King County Metro 2015 New Flyer XT40 4380

This is an open thread.

109 Replies to “News Roundup: Despite the Complaining”

  1. I would urge Pierce Transit to make their network as much as Whatcom County’s as possible. Mostly this means:

    * Several 15-minute frequency corridors in Tacoma, and maybe some smaller cities (this may mean combining more than one route on a street in cases, such as Meridian in Puyallup)
    * Truly hourly service (that is, it goes past your stop at 15 after the hour at all times of day)
    * Flexible routes in low-population rural areas that go to Tacoma, not to some third-rate suburb

    While Whatcom County is certainly a lot more supportive towards the WTA than Pierce county is to Pierce Transit, Whatcom is running a much better system in a much smaller community.

      1. They do cover some areas that would benefit from this type of service, though, such as Spanaway or Dupont.

    1. “Several 15-minute frequency corridors in Tacoma, and maybe some smaller cities (this may mean combining more than one route on a street in cases, such as Meridian in Puyallup)” Have you tried to drive down Meridian lately? It’s a nightmare.

      1. Which is why ST3 is including BRT-style improvements for that street.

  2. As far as 405, if WSDOT changed them to all day HOV lanes without tolls, I think a lot of the anger would disappear. It ain’t the HOVs pissing people off, it’s letting SOVs pay to use them.

    1. Why would the anger disappear? You would move a bunch of SOVs back into the GP lanes and increase congestion and reduce revenue, which means the state would have to cut back on other projects to pay for maintenance. What are the first projects to go? Bike/ped. In the meantime you would either have underutilized 3+ Carpool lanes or broken down over used 2+ Carpool lanes.

      1. It would make GP worse, but Donde is saying people’s anger is driven more by the spirit of HOT Tolling rather than the actual performance of traffic on 405

    2. I’m with you on transit-only, Donde. It’s not only numbers of cars in front of the bus slowing things down. It’s crashes and breakdowns to which privately maintained vehicles, and self-trained drivers are prone. Concrete Jersey barriers between them and transit good idea too.

      But if I drove I-405, which I try not to, thing I’d hate is to have to make a decision while I’m moving as to which lane to be in. Or have to be in traffic with other drivers making up their minds. What’s other people’s experience?

      I think we’re dealing with ideology kicking practicality to the curb. Could be age, but paper price-tags that store owners would have to physically tear off to change made me a calmer and more willing customer. Wherever she is, Alyssa Rosenbaum, I mean Ayn Rand, will agree.

      She’s probably her dad’s vice president in his pharmaceutical business. Which is definitely in the I-405 corridor of the next world.



    3. That’s what pisses me off about them and I don’t even have to use them. It just makes my skin crawl, that we’re offering rich people a chance to buy their way out of trouble the rest of us are stuck dealing with. I don’t think anyone in the DOT is trying to make inequality worse on purpose, but they do seem to be suffering from tunnel vision here.

      1. While I agree on the inequality part, there is a another way to look at it. For people who cannot afford the sky-touching rents and mortgage payments for homes in Bellevue / Redmond, the toll lanes offer a cheaper option to live further up in Lynnwood / Bothell and still have a 20-30 mins commute to jobs in Bellevue. The rent differential is a lot more than the average toll an average household will pay thus extending the benefit of shorter commute to people much beyond the unaffordable Eastside cities

        While this does not help contain sprawl (might even encourage it), it is the reality until meaningful transit on Eastside is in place.

      2. asdf2 – that’s exactly the problem. Normal people have to make a choice. Turning the transit lanes into toll lanes means that rich people don’t have to: they can keep all the convenience and comfort of a private car while zooming along in a reserved lane. The rest of us have to make a choice between the slow, inconvenient option of public transit or the slow, inconvenient option of driving.

        Public transit always starts out at a disadvantage; it doesn’t leave from where you are, travel on your schedule, or arrive where you want to go. Grade-separation gives public transit an advantage that helps make up for these intrinsic disadvantages, and an HOV lane is effectively a mild form of grade separation.

        So then of course we go sell this advantage off to anyone rich enough to pay for it.

      3. But what about the fact that HOT tolling revenue is invested back into the roadway? Buses don’t pay a toll to use the lanes. The HOT tolling pays for the on ramps. and can be used to expanding HOT lanes and on ramps elsewhere in the 405 corridor, which benefits transit users. The HOT lanes have excess capacity, so we are monetizing that capacity by allowing in some SOV vehicles. When traffic is heavy during peak commute times, and there are the most transit users, toll prices rise to exclude more SOVs.

      4. That’s a very functional way of looking at it, but people aren’t mad about the HOT lanes because they’re sitting there with a spreadsheet running the numbers; people are mad about the HOT lanes because it feels bad to have them there.

      5. I hear you — I was opposed to them as well, but it is obvious it that isn’t just rich people that use the lanes. The more I think about the scenarios (and I forget who suggested them) the more I like them. One great example is someone who has to pick up a kid at daycare. This is exactly the type of person who benefits from this. Maybe transit doesn’t work for her, because it is too slow, so they drive. Paying a couple extra bucks is nothing compared to what some daycares charge for picking up your kid late. Meanwhile, maybe transit now actually does work for them (depending on where they work, it might be faster now to ride the bus).

        I would prefer a more equitable form of payment, similar to the way some countries have speeding tickets. That would be ideal (pay an amount relative to your income) but it would be extremely complicated in this case.

        Sometimes it makes sense to not worry too much about whether something is fair or not, and just whether it is practical. HOT lanes seem to working, which is more than I can say about a lot of HOV 2 lanes. It is a shame they aren’t more popular, but I think that may be due to setting expectations too high. Hopefully over time they will be used more, and transit will improve as a result.

      6. I see it as “if you really need to get there faster, you can, in exchange for some money.” Isn’t that better than having only one possible speed?

    4. The anger that struck fear in the state legislature was the opposite. People are complaining that WSDOT took away a GP lane when they converted it to HOT, and they want it back. Previously it had one HOV lane, now it has two HOT lanes. The people who are complaining loudly don’t care SOVs in the toll lane or the speed of transit; they care about congestion in the SOV lanes, and some of them are opposed on principle to tolls and non-GP lanes. If Donde were correct, people would be asking the state to expand the HOT system, such as by requiring 3-person carpools so that buses can run full speed (including the proposed 405 BRT!). Instead they demanded the suspension of tolls evenings and weekends. This morning on the radio the announcer said something about 405 congestion this weekend and added, “But the good thing is that tolls will be off starting Friday evening through the weekend.” Is that really a good thing?

      1. The problem with evening and weekend tolls is that the transit option to bypass the tolls largely doesn’t exist. You’ve got the 535 running once an hour from Lynnwood to Bellevue on weekday evenings and Saturday daytime, and that’s it. No service at all on Sunday. 520, at least, has decent halfway transit across the bridge on evening and weekends. 405, not so much.

      2. I think Mike is on to something – people are mad that they lost something they thought they had. If that GP lane never existed, and the road was widen and the new lane was immediately transit only, there would be less anger.

        It’s similar to the ERC … if there was never a temporary trail, people would be less upset about “re-purposing” that corridor for transit.

    5. i agree with Donde.

      People are more frustrated (irrationally) by cars in neighboring lanes going at 50 mph than they are by congestion in their own lane. Both, anecdotal experience and WSDOT data seem to indicate that average commute times haven’t got any worse than before in general purpose lanes. 405 was always a hellish commute. What has changed is the feeling than someone can pay money to bypass it while you are stuck in traffic sticking to your ‘principle’ of not paying tolls. I do not agree with this feeling but it is what most people i have talked to seem to infer.

    6. ” a cheaper option to live further up in Lynnwood / Bothell .. While this does not help contain sprawl (might even encourage it),”

      The sprawl is already there and is much bigger than the number of people who benefit from this 405 policy. Bothell is built up through Canyon Park to Mill Creek, and Woodinville has gotten a bunch of development, 405 or no 405. The only sane thing to do is to get BRT up there somehow so that people have a viable non-driving choice including non-work trips. All the other handwringing about how this or that will “encourage sprawl” ignores the fact that the lots are already built and will be occupied, and future development will happen whether or not we build BRT or widen 405. If people who work in Bellevue/Redmond don’t take those houses, people who work in Bothell and Lynnwood and Paine Field will.

      The only way to change this sprawl population and its upward trajectory is to fundamentally change the laws and public policy to discourage unwalkable developments and greenfield tract houses in these areas. And change the land uses in those cities to infill walkable development.

      1. HOT lanes and 405 BRT will support the densification of Totem Lake and Canyon Park, both of which are PSRC growth center and will hopefully be absorbing most of the growth on the East Side. Having robust transit to support these neighborhood will encourage people to move to these areas and commute without cars, which will in turn encourage developers to build more TOD-ish in these centers. I think there is a good opportunity for a virtuous cycle here.

    7. It would be interesting to see a poll about the HOT lanes. My guess is a lot of SOV riders don’t like them, because they want to drive in them, but don’t want to pay the 75 cents. In that case, changing to HOV won’t change the attitude at all. Some may want to drive in them with one other person, and are ticked off that the lanes aren’t like a lot of other HOV lanes (HOV 2+). Then there are the people who oppose this for class reasons (I’ve seen the term Lexus lanes).

      My guess is the first group is the biggest group. The problem (of course) is that many of these people don’t think. A good example is the conversion of HOV lanes to general purpose lanes during off peak. This makes no sense. If traffic is heavy, then the HOV lanes are still needed (to encourage more efficient forms of travel). If traffic isn’t heavy, then you don’t need the extra lane. It is pretty obvious, but people often just want that lane, even if getting that lane won’t make things go any faster.

      1. By definition, one can go faster if there is an extra lane, even if traffic is not heavy. Do you not understand the concept of flows? This is why HOV/HOT lanes with no time limits is so aggravating. To restrict lanes outside of rush hour times comes off as a deliberate “F-you” to SOVs, creating A LOT of bad will. This is not done in CA – don’t know about other places.

        BTW, this whole thread just demonstrates how spiteful, envious, and hateful some Progressives tend to be. You really think that normal Americans spend their lives obsessing “I don’t have what you have, so you should not have it either.”?

      2. “By definition, one can go faster if there is an extra lane, even if traffic is not heavy.”

        I assume “traffic is not heavy” means everyone is going at the speed limit. So adding a lane would not make it faster unless people go above the speed limit. Meanwhile, evening or weekend congestion may occur, which would make the HOT/HOV lanes beneficial, and would allow them to fulfill their purpose. When congestion occurs there’s no time to get the policy changed; it has to be in place already. I don’t know how common evening/weekend congestion on 405 is. On I-5 it happens every game evening and on many weekends. But if evening/weekend congestion on 405 is more than a rare occurrence, then opening the HOT lanes then is a problem. However, I wouldn’t mind giving the second lane back to GP and making the first lane HOV-3. Transit only needs one lane. But it must be an uncongested lane.

    8. I think the “Lexus Lanes” aspect can be overblown. The value of the lanes will differ from person to person and circumstance to circumstance, but there may well be times when the lanes will be worth it for someone who is too frugal to use the lane every day.

      For example, the benefit of getting to an expensive doctor’s appointment could well outweigh the cost of the toll on a particular day. Of course rich people can afford the toll easier, but that’s a tautology they can afford everything easier, because they’re rich. If missing an appointment is going to cause you to miss your rent payment then the toll may be well worth it and the existence of the HOT option will be proportionally of much greater benefit than to somebody who uses it to shave a couple minutes off a routine commute.

  3. As I’ve said, I think streetcars the size of the SLU and FHS will work very well on the Kirkland Trail. Having walked the trail Google to South Kirkland Park and Ride to Bellevue Transit Center, I think that Bellevue Way has room for reserved transit lanes.

    Past the park and ride, the trail still has tied and tracks. And it also seems to go nowhere anybody lives all the way down the east side of I-405 to Bellevue.

    I think that a really good landscape architect could Save the Trail that would let transit increase neighbors property values. But I also don’t think the homeowners are anywhere near the main obstacle.

    How do passengers get from Google to the Kirkland Transit Center? And what route is possible either north or south of South Kirkland Park and Ride?

    I wonder if anyone can tell me who I can get in touch with for answers. Many thanks.

    Mark Dublin

    1. At a minimum, any kind of transit, be it bus or train needs ROW space on the order of at least 30 feet wide, for two-way travel. That’s a lot of green space that would be lost in the construction. Safety issues would also result in a bunching of fencing that would cut off access to the trail from surrounding neighborhoods. Furthermore, from a service perspective, transit service on the trail would not be an adequate replacement for bus service on 108th/Lake Washington Blvd – especially service that has no stops between South Kirkland P&R and Google. Nor are the parallel streets congested enough to warrant taking trail space to build a transit corridor. Even during rush hour, the delay crossing 68th St. on 108th is 5 minutes, max. Off-peak, waiting for the light is less than 1 minute. And if the plan is to use the trail as an alternative to 405, slowing down every trip along route 535, that would piss off a lot of riders.

      What Kirkland really needs is just better frequency on the bus routes it already has, not a whole new light rail line.

      1. Is there enough traffic to justify a two track line?

        EmX does pretty well with a single lane and passing sidings at platforms. It consumes maybe nine feet of width, but only about four feet of it is paved (two 2 foot sections for each tire side).

  4. The link for a Willows Road Link routing points to an STB article “22 Years to Ballard”. I’m guessing it was supposed to be a Seattle $ome-Times piece?

    Extending Link from DT Redmond to Woodinville on the old BNSF spur makes a lot of sense. First, there’s no reason to turn that into a dedicated trail. It parallels the Sammamish Slough trail and there are decent bike lanes and sidwalks along Willows. And although still some room for improvement a combined bike and transit ROW there wouldn’t piss off anybody (except golfers at Paul Allen’s Willows Run course). DT Redmond, like Kirkland is geographically difficult to get to and even more than Kirkland a “victim of it’s own success.” Intercepting 522 traffic and even transferring from 405 commuter buses makes a lot of sense during morning and evening peak. Mid-day there’s not much demand but that’s true of any eastside route. It’s unfortunate that UW Bothell/Cascadia CC is in such a difficult location to serve with transit. There’s a Y at the west side of Woodinville that heads out along the old (unused) Burke Gillman ROW but it’s on the wrong side of the Slough. It might be worth looking into extending north across the slew using the 405 ROW and terminating in the business park at Beardslee Blvd.

    1. The Toby Nixon proposal to divert from the Redmond sub. to go toward Totem Lake makes no sense. There isn’t a lot of density along Willows Road in the first place; it suffers from the same problem as a corridor along a seashore or a cliff. The walkshed is halved. Paul Allen’s golf course, Sixty Acres and the turf farm are all built on “agricultural” lands that won’t be redeveloped. The businesses on the west side of the road aren’t dense and wouldn’t generate a lot of ridership. Diverting off the ROW to get to Totem Lake would involve lots of property acquisitions without a lot of ridership gain.

      Bernie’s right that there’s no need for a duplicative ped-bike trail here, but maybe a single-tracked route from Redmond to Woodinville with stops at the winery district would be interesting for weekend excursion trips.

    2. It’s a zigzag too. Do people in Bellevue or Seattle want to go to Totem Lake via Radmond? Do a lot of Redmondites want to go to Totem Lake all day? Or is this just for people from north Kirkland to commute to Microsoft? In that case, is Willows Road congested? Can we just put a peak express bus on it and call it a day? A zigzag line seems really screwy unless Redmond and Totem Lake are two large cities. But the large cities are Bellevue and Seattle.

      1. Willows is very congested. I see Willows as being a parallel alternative to 405. The CRC doesn’t make a straight shot (i.e. parallel 405) north of Bellevue because of the grade. It zig zags through nowhere along the side of a steep hill to end up crossing back under 405 at Totem Lake and from there it goes to Woodinville. Better to take the old Redmond spur to Woodinville since Link is already going to be that far north. Run bus routes east/west on NE 85th and NE 124th street to serve DT Kirkland and Totem Lake. Granted this doesn’t do squat for Kirkland/Totem Lake to Seattle but neither would light rail on the CRC. From Woodinville you’ve got strong demand from every direction.

  5. For those of you that read site plans, the 145th link has a link to the Shoreline City Council report that includes a station site plan on the last page.

    Looking at the ways in which drop off or pick up will happen here make me fear for the lives of those that do it. I don’t see why a loop that mixes buses and drop-off/pick-up and parked vehicles, makes all station vehicles make multiple turns to get to it from 145th Street and requires a signal for all the vehicles to exit the station is going to work in real life. People are going to just jump out of cars on 145th!

    What’s even more amazing is that the Shoreline mayor admits that the station activity will make things more unsafe at the high-collision interchange area once Link opens!

    The 2015 BART station profile data show that drop-off/pick-up is now well over 25 percent at several stations, particularly those at freeway interchanges ( This is going to happen here too.

    I understand that property takes are unpopular and expensive. Still, there comes a time that not doing them puts Link riders getting out of cars in danger.

  6. Of course Lisa Herbold is siding with the NIMBYs. After that horrible op Ed on this blog about duplexes before the election, it was clear she’s against urbanism (despite saying she “values it”) and for single family exclusion.

    Those 8 votes she won by really screwed the city for the next four years.

    1. I beg to differ. Herbold is just one of nine votes. Ideological diversity on the council is a good thing, in my book. I did not vote for her, and certainly have no plans to do so in the future, but at least I have two at-large reps I can talk to, and may even find an open door with others who represent other districts.

      But it does strike me as odd that Herbold was a major champion of district-based representation, and is now acting like she represents the whole City. Now, I *like* when city councilmembers vote based on the interests of the whole City, rather than treating their districts like fiefdoms, or quarreling over distribution of pork.

      I hope she respects the right of the other 8 council members to vote to allow more housing in her district, even when she is against it.

      It is also good that a few other council members attended the forum, and did not say much in front of an SDC-organized audience. Those coundil members who listened politely, but will still allow more housing and more growth of high-paying jobs in the U-District (and if not the U-District, then where?) represent me more than my district representative does.

      BTW, growth opponents, there is a plan in place to deal with traffic in the U-District. There will be a subway running right under the neighborhood, with a station there.

      1. There is a plan in place to deal with traffic in the U-District. There will be a subway running right under the neighborhood, with a station there.

        And, if Metro gets its way, five separate bus lines serving the area upgraded to RapidRide standards.

    2. >> Herbold was a major champion of district-based representation

      Given the editorial you mentioned, it is no wonder. It wasn’t the position she took, either. I disagree with a lot of people, but respect their positions. It was the muddled mess of an argument she made. If I was a high school debate teacher, I would giver her a ‘D’ (if that).

      I can think of three candidates who ran in my district that I think are smarter. But that is the nature of districts, I’m afraid. It would be like assembling the 100 best basketball players, two from each state. You are bound to get some poor ones from states like Idaho and Montana, while plenty of great players from California get left out.

    3. As one who lives in Herbold’s district, I would have gladly voted for a better opponent if he/she had been available. From the debates, she seemed a bit more informed on the issues than her main challenger, Braddock. And a difference maker for me was that she came around to supporting light rail after initially suggesting early on in her campaign that the bus lane could be lengthened to support more transit to and from WS. As a SODO Arena supporter, I am highly disappointed in her vote on the street vacation–in the face of the economic and transit benefits shown by the FEIS study, the unsuitability of Key Arena for long term use, and her initial support of the MOU with Hansen–a backstabbing move if there ever was one.

  7. Note about Bertha: that 2,000 ft mark was as of May 18. There was another update on May 23 of 2,145 ft. That puts progress at 29 ft per day, or about 247 days remaining (if they can average that pace for the remainder).

    Progress updates are expected on Mondays and Thursdays.

    1. Thanks for that. I was wondering how it was doing. I think it is stupid project, but I hope it gets completed soon. The best part about it is connecting the grid north of Denny, over Aurora. That will be a great thing, especially as buses (like the 8) start using it.



    The Sound Transit board is set to release an update today on its ST3 proposal to run light north to Everett, south to Tacoma, East to Issaquah, plus two new lines in Seattle (Ballard to Downtown and West Seattle to Downtown.)

    The price tag on the $50 billion plan hasn’t been a polling problem, so I’d look for that number to tick up sightly ($54 billion?) as they try to solve other problems such as the daunting 25-year timeline.

    1. Come onnnnn grade separation to Ballard, tunnel under Salmon Bay and expedited schedule!

    2. Seattle projects might also get perkier if they move the Downtown tunnel to be regionally funding. East Side has the capacity to pay their part, and Snohomish will be able to pay for it with the cheaper Paine-BRT options. I hope South King or Pierce projects don’t get worse, though. We shall see

      1. Pierce was already on the hook for 20% of the tunnel anyway, so probably nothing cut there. Not sure about South King.

  9. Lindblom at the Times gives Renton some love ($). Renton now wants two BRT stations in ST3, one at a relocated transit center at the South Renton P&R and the other at NE 4th Street, with 2,700 (!) parking spaces between them. Renton’s complaint that it has paid into ST without getting much in return has gotten the ear of boardmember Balducci, who will propose unspecified amendments to ST3 giving Renton more service.

    The article also says why Renton wants to move the transit center: it’s “a bulky hinderance to shopping and housing [in downtown Renton].” That can be interpreted in both a good way and a bad way. The bad possibility is, it could make it harder to get to downtown Renton on transit to get to the walkable destinations, and it could hinder transit trips from one part of Renton to another. The good possibility is, maybe it’s the layover space that most perturbs the city. A transit center is where buses meet and people transfer, and some of those routes terminate there and layover. The meeting and transferring are useful to passengers, but the layover is dead space taken up, like a parked car but bigger. If Metro keeps substantial routes running through downtown but relocates the termini/layover, that could be a net benefit. And if Renton develops the “two main stations” pattern I’ve recommended, with a pedestrian-oriented transit center downtown and a car-oriented P&R on the outskirts — like Bellevue Transit Center and the South Bellevue P&R — that could be a good thing.

    It says several Eastside cities are asking for the multi-line BRT project. That would have several overlapping lines on 405 going to different cities. That would solve the problem of downtown Kirkland being off the corridor, other cities being off the corridor, etc. It would cost $2.3 billion rather than the $341 million in the draft plan. I can see that as a good investment for the Eastside, worth pulling money from other projects… like Issaquah Link. One multipolar corridor would be a substantial benefit for much of the Eastside. And Issaquah could get its own BRT line “in interim until light rail is feasable” — the same deal highway 522 is getting.

    1. Move the transfer center to Rainier Beach Station, and I think we’d have a deal.

      1. And by “transfer center”, I mean an easy transfer to the light rail, not a pull-out area that adds a couple minutes to get in or out of, and involves crossing two streets to get to the train station.

        Let the buses go through Renton, without forcing a transfer, and come to RBS via Skyway and Sunset Blvd. Give riders from Kent East Hill, Renton Highlands, and various other neighborhoods a one-seat ride to the transit spine.

      2. Boeing Access Road would also be awesome! It’s two miles from the South Renton park-and-ride, on I-5, the proposed end of RapidRide A, has less expensive land for a parking structure — and could even tie to Sounder and Amtrak.

        Frankly, I would feel much better about South Renton if the access plans had better ways to tie into 405. It feels more like the site was chosen first and we have to spend hundreds of millions to reach it quickly from 405, rather than define what sites would be the most effective and cost-effective for 405 BRT.

      3. Al S,

        I’m talking about people riding into Renton and Seattle without having to drive, and without having to get on a jammed-up “freeway”. A parking lot at Boeing Access Road would only increase freeway congestion, and do little to connect neighborhoods.

      4. I guess you don’t understand what I’m saying. The Boeing Access Road station is off of MLK and closer to Renton than Rainier Beach station is. Plus, it could also serve a ton of express buses on I-5 and could even serve as a transfer point for buses to go through Renton to reach 405.

        I detect hostility towards parking dismiss an idea for a Union Station type hub for South King that could provide multiple transit to transit connections. Do you like transit or hate park-and-ride more?

      5. A station at the Boeing Access Road makes sense.

        A lot depends on whether you want to be aggressive when it comes to truncating buses. Theoretically, you could truncate the freeway based buses (from Renton, Tacoma, etc.) here. But I don’t see it. I think it takes too long (although that might be sped up as dwell times decrease and the tunnel clears out). If the plan is to do a lot of truncation, then Rainier Beach is a much better place, and work should be done to make the last mile to the station much faster (rather than build a new station).

        So, assuming that you don’t truncate this far south (if at all) then a freeway based station makes a lot of sense. As Al said, it serves as a connection point for all the express buses. It would need more than a station, though. You would need HOV ramp access from both directions (both on and off) like on 520 and Mountlake Terrace. That means that every express bus from the south stops off here, then gets back on the freeway and heads into downtown Seattle. The result would be much better transfers for the entire region.

      6. I agree, Transit center on BAR would be of limited use and would rerequire way too much road work and engining to get to work. We have to put a transit center in that area, move it down the line about a 1/4 mile to about here,-122.2888415,308m/data=!3m1!1e3

        less engineering to get it to work, the only downside is its a bit far from the railroad tracks but you would have space for parking, and even some TOD style light manufacturing/office space.

        Heck there is room there for a NHL/NBA arena if the Port doesnt claim the empty lots are vital to the world economy or something

      7. But what can you walk to from BAR station? They talk about an emerging urban village at 144th, and the Museum of Flight and Aviation High School, but you’d have to take a bus to all of them from BAR. If there were an urban village right across from the station then it would make more sense. The BAR proponents I’ve heard say things are close but they seem to be thinking in terms of driving distance rather than what people without cars would do. Yeah, BAR is close to Southcenter and Renton in a driving sense but not if you don’t have a car and are walking or transferring buses.

    2. I’m definitely in favor of the multi-line BRT approach. It is simply not possible to serve all of the eastside with just one line, without significantly bloating travel times.

      Perhaps one option could be improved frequency on existing routes 535 and 566 (with route 566 truncated at Bellevue TC, rather than duplicating Link to Overlake), supplemented by a peak-only express route between downtown Kirkland and downtown Bellevue via I-405. Off-peak, when the ETL lanes aren’t so critical, perhaps the 535 could serve Houghton Freeway Station to at least provide some semblance of service to Kirkland. While the transfer might not be any faster than riding out the 234/235 to Bellevue, it would still save a lot of time over the existing network for trips to Bothell or Lynnwood.

    3. The cities aren’t asking for multi-line BRT; they’re asking for lots of Metro service to get riders to the otherwise poorly accessible I-405 stations. (I am sympathetic to the idea that they ought to be asking for multiline BRT).

      There’s a joint letter from the I-405 Cities Coalition in the last round of jurisdictional feedback. (It’s primarily Bellevue and Renton).

    4. I’ve said these on earlier posts – give Renton some love to support South King to East King transit riders! The commentary on Renton focuses mostly on access to Seattle, which is really a question of how to connect Renton to Link. Connecting to the Eastside has to solve buses on 405, which is a totally different issue.

      I do like the dual BRT station design. The north station doesn’t need to be super pedestrian oriented, I’d rather it be on 405 so the BRT route doesn’t have to deviate much. HOWEVER – this would be coupled with robust intra Renton bus service between the two bus stations. And hopefully no P&R on the north station, because there is real TOD opportunity there next to the lake.

      Renton “within” the 405 can be a real city with dense (2-6 story) development and walkable neighborhood, with good transit connections to job centers within Renton and elsewhere (SeaTac, Seattle, and Bellevue/Redmond). Renton “outside” the 405 loop is probably destined to be suburbs and those people are best served with P&R and Express commuter buses. One city, bus two very different solutions.

      1. my intra-Renton route can basically be a rapid ride route that effectively shuttles between the two stations, serving Renton and feeding people to and from the two BRT stations.

  10. My summation of a New York Times article on home renters vs owners: Renters are bad people. They commit more crimes than home owners, and they are people of questionable morals. They are less likely to clean up their neighborhood, be social toward other neighbors, and volunteer for activities to help improve the neighborhood. A neighborhood that is all owner-occupied will be safer, cleaner, friendlier, and more honest.

    1. “In hundreds of neighborhoods that once attracted first-time home buyers, investors have stepped in, buying up tens of thousands of homes for the rental market. That has helped put paying tenants in a number of homes that were vacant or becoming eyesores.”

    2. Sam, that’s because renters are poorer, and long-term poverty causes more crime. The solution is not to stop any renters from coming in, but to redistribute wealth and create good-paying jobs for everyone.

  11. I do not like Herbold at all and I’m very much looking forward to voting her out of office when her term is up, but I think her comments in this case are pretty innocuous. I agree that some inclusionary zoning should be mandatory, but with zoning exceptions for affodable housing beyond a base level.

    1. If every property requires some affordable housing, no commercial property could be built. I think she’s muddying water that was already pretty clear under HALA.

    2. She’s in the Trotsky bloc of votes with Sawant and sometimes O’Brien/Gonzalas that go hand in hand with the nimbys for some reason. All they need to do is social justice warriorize burgess (who’s up for reelection next year) and bagshaw to get a nimby agenda on the docket. it’s close to happening, thanks to herbold.

    1. Three years for most three lines. ST magically pulled those out of their hat. Although I suspect it had to do with some expedited permitting agreements with local jurisdictions.

      The email I got made it seem like ST was doing a huge service getting a $3 billion streetcar (can’t call it LRT anymore, because it’s not) to Ballard in 19 years instead of 22 years.

    2. But it is. It’s elevated again. No more grade crossings. Just the bridge. (I didn’t hear anything about changing the bridge.)

  12. I can actually see the Gorge on transit, yaay. I might do that someday. I’m going to Portland this weekend actually, from Saturday to Thursday. I won’t make a last-minute trip to the Gorge because it would take too much time. But does anyone have other recommendations on what to do? First I intend to take the gondola to the hospital (if it runs Saturday or Sunday). Then I want to see the new MAX lines and streetcar and revisit the west side side line. And maybe the food truck village and Washington Park and the Willamette waterfront. I would try the tiny house hotel but it’s so isolated and I’ll be mostly in another part of town. I’ve seen Powell’s enough and Hawthorne Street and the Bagdad, and the South Park Blocks. Anything else recommended to do?

    1. Oh, on the Westside:

      Tualatin Hills Nature Park is nowhere near as big as Forest Park (lines 17, 15 or 20 depending on where you want to go) but it is just south of the Merlo Road / 158th MAX station.

      Hillsboro has a nice downtown area compared to Beaverton. Most of this is within a two block circle of the Hillsboro Central MAX station. South of Baseline everything is a bit more auto centric as Baseline and Oak are Highway 8.

      The arial tram has a nice observation deck at the top. You have to go through a couple of doors and down a hallway to get to it. You will be able to see the deck from the tram station.

      1. Behind OHSU and a short walk from the tram, there’s a cool brand new mixed use apartment building hidden away in the trees and on a steep site with a ground floor brewpub with like 40+ beers on tap. I haven’t seen anything quite like this building. “Feathered Nesst Public House”

        Also new food cart pod and pop-up beer garden right at the base of the tram in South Waterfront.

        Division is worth checking out if you haven’t seen it, great food and lots of 4 story infill. Also one of the nicest food cart pods called Tidbit. #4-Division bus here

        New markethall in Old Town Portland called Pine Street Market. Portlandia food brands and kind of feels like Seattle’s Via6 Assembly Hall.

        When you explore the eastside streetcar, the new massive (esp by Portland standards) Hassalo & 8th development is worth seeing and walking around.

        North Williams is another high growth urban neighborhood that pretty much didn’t exist less than 10 years ago and is now lined with mixed use buildings with restaurants and cafes.

      2. By the food court at the base of the tram, do you mean what is called The Gantry?

        The South Waterfront was once industrial, and the one obvious piece that is still there is the Zidell Shipyard. It isn’t especially active now, and their old gantry crane now serves as the centerpiece for the food cart pod

        Milwaukie (second to last stop on the Orange Line) has its farmer’s market on Sundays. They have a small waterfront park that could be a nice place to be, but unfortunately it is cut off from the city of Milwaukie by highway 99. Like much of the Portland area, it’s yet another place that has a lot of potential for being a really nice and popular place for people, but it has a huge busy road right through the middle of it. There’s several traffic lights to cross and it works OK, but you can’t do much with the traffic noise.

    2. Been up to Council Crest yet?

      The bus route that goes there from the Rose Garden area (2 blocks or so east of the east entrance to Washington Park) follows a streetcar line, so you can see what a steep streetcar is capable of. One two block section east of where you would get on is not on the old line and it’s pretty obvious because it is very steep.

      What types of things interest you?

    3. A few years ago, I took the train to Portland and went all over the city by bus and MAX. But the one trip I needed a Zipcar for was Multinomah Falls. Had the bus existed back then, I totally would have used it.

      I’m under illusions that bus is actually going to alleviate congestion – whatever parking spaces are freed up by people riding the bus, induced demand will easily will up. But the opportunity to bypass the parking crunch, plus the $90 expense if you don’t already have a car with you, will be very nice.

      Hopefully, whoever’s running this bus won’t be dumb enough to make it Monday-Friday. If anything, it should run Saturday-Sunday, with holiday service on 4th of July and Labor Day a must.

      1. It’s partly funded by the US Forest Service, so I don’t think they have any illusions about when the service is going to be most heavily used. It will be 12 times per day, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

        The thing of it is, I’ve been there on rainy weekdays in November and not been able to find any parking. There will always be parking problems there.

        i’m somewhat entertained that the one intermediate stop will be Rooster Rock State Park, which is somewhat infamous as a nude hangout.

        I think this is only the second time a state park in Oregon has gotten public transit service. The first one to get service was LL Stub Stewart State Park, which has transit service from the Columbia County bus route that goes from Hillsboro to Vernonia.

        I’ve gotten to several state parks on public transit in Washington (including Deception Pass, Fort Worden, South Whidbey, Saint Edwards, and Dash Point), plus a couple others on privately operated transit service (Lime Kiln Point and Moran – San Juan Island Transit might not be publicly run but the $20 round trip fare and $15 day ticket is cheaper than bringing your car over on the ferry). Compared to Oregon, Washington has done a much better job of getting public transit to good recreation areas. We’ve got some, but there is a long way to go.

    4. I like things like trails and evergreen trees, places where people gather like Alki, urban villages like the U-District, train lines, maybe art stuff.

      1. Been to Mt Tabor park on the far east end of the Hawthorne strip? 15 Belmont or 71 are closest. Lots of people like to gather there in the afternoon on nice days. Wednesdays in particular as they close a bunch of roads that have auto traffic the rest of the week.

        If you’re into seeing the goofy stuff people do that fits the Portlandia stereotype, there’s a thing nicknamed Monday Funday. They do this at Colonel Summers Park, which is in the near east side. Don’t know the prospects on Memorial Day. Probably be something going on there, but I can tell already a lot of people have left town just by traffic levels.

      2. Pittock Mamsion can be a good place too. In theory you can get there on the 20 going west and get off at the Wildwood Trail section that runs north from the Rose Garden. The reality is that part of Burnside is terrible to walk on, even for the short distance from the nearest bus stop to the Wildwood Trail crossing. If you value your life it’s probably better to come from the 15 and the MacLeay Park end of things.

  13. I’m curious on what everyone’s policy is on getting involved or interceding while on transit. When do you say something to someone else, if ever? A couple of weeks ago a gay man on the route 271 was beat up for closing a bus window, and the victim said nobody helped him. But here’s a video from a week ago of bus passengers beating up and subduing a man on an LA bus brandishing a knife. A couple of decades ago, Hillary Clinton lectured Americans that “It takes a village to raise a child.” So, if I see a mother on the bus feeding her baby a Coke and French Fries, it’s my duty to educate her, correct? After all, the child is all of ours to raise. I believe it was the 18th century Irish philosopher Navin R Johnson who said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent.”

    Video from LA of men beating up misbehaving bus passengers.

  14. After two weeks of track replacement, service MAX returns to normal. How did riders cope?

    Mostly, they didn’t. Bus ridership increased 10,000 per day. Speculation from some expert interviewed by the Oregonian is that it must be really terrible to not have any options other than MAX, since so few abandoned MAX service instead of deciding to drive.

    My thoughts? MAX really wasn’t that bad during the construction, and perhaps to find out how people really feel they should actually interview some actual MAX riders.

  15. I actually don’t mind a Willows route … I promise I’m not trolling! It basically assumes that north East King is more interested in getting to East King job centers than Seattle. I think I saw a quote from Claudia Balducci basically saying there are more North-South trips in East King than East-West. I’d be curious to see data supporting/refuting that.

    It also punts on Kirkland center, which upsets people because it’s a classic walkable down center. But it’s also not a growth area, and the real growth is Totem Lake and up towards Bothell / Canyon Park, which would be served by Willows road. If you live in Bothell and you can to get to Seattle, you aren’t going to try to get to East Link, you’ll take BRT to North link and get on at 145th … the Willows routing is really competing with 405 BRT, with advantages and disadvantages over that routing (BRT vs LRT, interstates vs trail alignment, getting to Bellevue or Redmond first, etc.)

    1. The problem with a Willows route is that it would serve a tiny number of riders and accordingly would be an astronomical waste of money. Rail should be built along corridors with a proven history of high bus ridership. The three bus corridors a Willows route would replace, combined, don’t even come close to having enough riders to justify an all-day frequent bus. (Those are the 930, 244, and northernmost portion of the 245.) For the bus corridors that actually have ridership in Kirkland — which are those to Bellevue and Seattle — Willows Link would be substantially slower than existing buses.

      1. Willows Road rail is the answer to the question – “What do we do if rail is the only mode, and we must serve Totem Lake, and we can’t use the obvious rail corridor through Kirkland to get there, and we’re indifferent to serving anybody else in Kirkland?”

        It’s got some value as a thought exercise because it shows up a lot of the common policy blind spots among Eastside leaders. If nothing else, it might spur some thinking about the premises behind what the policies ought to be.

      2. But I think some of that is because there isn’t good bus service serving some of these regions, so there is no ridership to begin with. It would require induced demand, which is admittedly very speculative. It’s probably

        I’ll also point out that a Willows routing doesn’t prohibit LRT to central Kirkland, whether it’s a stub to south Kirkland, a spur to downtown Kirkland as Zach proposed, or eventually a tunnel to Seattle. The Willows routing is intended to serve people north of central Kirkland … whether those people can be adequately served by car & buses is to be seen. 405 BRT is a nice step forward to serve north East King / Snohomish, but if buses prove to be inadequate, the Willows alignment is an interesting alternative. But this is all probably conversation for ST4 projects, given the current low ridership David brings up.

        I was just interested to see what y’all had to say.

      3. The Spring District isn’t a corridor with a proven history of high bus ridership. The CKC/405 isn’t a corridor with a proven history of high bus ridership.

      4. Even if you doubled demand by inducing it, you’d be running trains with three or four people on them north of downtown Redmond.

    2. How does WIllows Road serve Totem Lake, exactly? It’s a mile and a half away and 200 ft lower.

      1. I think Toby Nixon’s idea was that the Willows route would “switchback” at Woodinville following the established BNSF ROW to make the climb up out of the valley. I don’t think that makes any sense at this point. But if instead of doing that you build out to Beardslee or just follow the existing ROW to the Woodinville P&R then it makes sense as far as getting people into an extension to the extension from Overlake. One advantage is that it’s pancake flat and should be cheap. The switchback to Totem Lake however would be very expensive to double track which ST seems bent on doing whether it makes sense or not.

      2. Just checked on Google Earth, there’s about a 90 feet elevation gain on that 0.22 mile stretch of NE 124th St that connects the two rail lines

      3. “I think Toby Nixon’s idea was that the Willows route would “switchback” at Woodinville following the established BNSF ROW to make the climb up out of the valley.”

        You’d go from Bellevue to Redmond to 190th Street and back to 124th Street? Is this supposed to be the polygon line?

      4. You’d go from Bellevue to Redmond to 190th Street and back to 124th Street? Is this supposed to be the polygon line?

        Makes about as much sense as going from DT Seattle to the airport via the Rainer Valley. Of course that involved tunneling under Beacon Hill so maybe to follow precedent ST should just go direct from Redmond to DT Kirkland and build a really cool Rose Hill station. Hey, it’s got more development going on right now than the station area at Beacon Hill :P

    3. On the contrary, Sam. The CKC parallels two bus routes that together serve over 10,000 riders/day. The Spring District is only a few blocks north of the Eastside’s highest-ridership internal bus corridor.

    4. “I think I saw a quote from Claudia Balducci basically saying there are more North-South trips in East King than East-West.”

      She said that at the TCC forum (2nd paragraph). She also said the largest Eastside cities have 500,000 people. That’s not that much less than Seattle.

      “It basically assumes that north East King is more interested in getting to East King job centers than Seattle.”

      East King job centers include downtown Bellevue and Factoria. Is a Totem Lake-Redmond-Bellevue trip something people would reasonably do on Link? Perhaps it’s not much worse than Bellevue-downtown-UW, which is also indirect.

  16. Also today the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1366 is unconstitutional. 1366 attempted to blackmail the legislature into forcing a public vote on making all future tax increases require a supermajority of two-thirds, by lowering the state sales tax if they didn’t comply. It was ruled unconstitutional for violating the single-subject rule.

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