Pierce transit 2000 Chance AH-28 331

This is an open thread.

70 Replies to “News Roundup: On Track”

  1. I’m amazed at ST’s inability to have signage at Sounder stations indicating which track is operating in which direction. The lack of signs creates situations where people dash across the tracks as trains approach, a behavior that shouldn’t be encouraged by a lack of effective communication.

    Sure they could do expensive fancy electronic signs controlled from a centralized dispatch in a hear or two. I’d like to see them at least have a couple of A-boards or some other sign for the agent to flip around at attended stations in the mean time.

    While they are at it platforms should have ticket vending machines on both sides, Sumner doesn’t and once again creates a situation which may lead to people crossing track as the train approaches.

    1. While I understand the problem and the solution, as a taxpayer — how much does this cost me? Considering the anemic ridership on Sounder north, how much does this new hire cost per passenger?

    2. I’ve found the signage really confusing at the Tukwila station waiting for an Amtrak train. There were many people asking which platform to be on and emerging on one platform or another only to come over to what seemed to be the consensus platform. There may be signage somewhere, but to me it clearly isn’t doing the job.

    3. BNSF Railway dispatches Sounder, and it is at the whim of the BNSF dispatcher in Ft Worth Texas as to which track the train arrives at when it comes to the ‘wrong’ platform. Sounder trains have to be routed around freight trains and Amtrak trains and vice versa.

  2. On the WIFI front I wish that ST, Metro, and other public WIFI operators would quite requiring a click-through agreement via a web browser every time one connects. I’m pretty sure it is the root of the problem on Sounder and is a PITA if I just want to check email or use One Bus Away. I’m not sure it actually discourages problematic use anyway. At the least they could track MAC addresses and only force you to agree weekly, monthly, or when they agreement changes. I’d be fine with technical measures to throttle individual users to curtail one guys streaming video from ruining it for everybody else.

    1. I hate those in general. Is there really a belief that if we don’t explicitly agree to do nothing illegal then the Wi-Fi provider is assumed to be responsible for all our behavior? Some kind of “common carrier” notion would seem to be at play. Or, it could be handled with a posted notice: Wi-Fi is only for legal stuff.

  3. The “landscaping” at Capitol Hill Station is becoming something of a pet peeve with me. I’m glad they opened the station because the utility of the station is so much more important than the aesthetics, but as the weeks go by what was obviously a work in progress is starting to feel like a permanent design choice. Does anybody know what the plans are for the area surrounding the station?

    1. Reading a couple more of the links I see it’s footprints for TOD. Maybe they could be put in some planters in the meantime?

    2. Definitely could use more acanthus. But complaining about the landscaping is a new level in creative complaining.

    3. There is always buying flowers in a can and doing a little guerrilla planting on your own.

    4. Should turn the large blacktop area into a skate park. It looks all set up for one! Only half-kidding.

  4. I don’t know if STB management want me to write a page two about this so I’ll be acute:

    The Paine Field Commercial Terminal is starting to work through the permitting process as per http://www.snohomishcountywa.gov/3651/Propeller-Project-at-Paine-Field . Here’s some basic facts for you:

    About “574 stalls of automobile parking for airline passengers, waiting, rental cars, and terminal employees” give or take a few, according to your website. I’m led to believe parking will remain free – so basically a MASSIVE subsidy from lower income to higher income folks, a MASSIVE subsidy of priceless airport land for free parking to a commercial terminal with minimal income back to fund the airport’s operations!
    956 daily trips have been calculated in the traffic study – if you trust proponents’ math
    • No current plan for an Airporter or shuttle to Community Transit or Everett Transit services
    • A traffic study with a grand total of ONE mention of the word transit. ONE.

    Folks, folks you really need to get your comments in by 5 PM on 5 July. I’m against the free parking and I want a plan for transit to serve this terminal now.

    I mean we’ve decided as a transit community rightfully or wrongfully to have ST3 extend the spine past Paine Field – let’s make the absolute most of this, ok? OK?

  5. BART police aren’t going to be cracking down on seat hogs. It’s an empty PR threat. You can’t ticket something you don’t see. And BART police, much like the lazy cops at KC Metro, prefer to do all their patrolling from the safety and comfort of their cars, rather than riding the transit they are paid to protect.

    Sam. Transit Police Expert.

    1. Oh, come on! The little Seat Hog is cute! Since he looks to be about the size of a wood chuck himself, only danger is if he doesn’t put his luggage under the seat, somebody will sit on him. I think ST could make some money selling little stuffed Seat Hogs. Choice of either ST T-shirt on him or Husky one.

      And like they had a really cute girl in a mole suit during DSTT boring, it’s time for a Seat Hog suit. And also for hanging on inside rear view mirrors if it isn’t against the law.

      Maybe wind up NoBunnies could have mp3’s inside with most inane conversations in history.

      Perhaps recorded from real ones, like detailed description of some surgery I recall listening to that got me my secret brain surgery degree- except case in point was other end of the spine.

      But the Octopus is species-shaming. These creatures, unlike human passengers that do that, are intelligent creatures, and also quite shy. Although they do have personalities. One aquarium had one named “Lucretia McEvil”, who destroyed everything in the tank just for fun.

      They can also use their “syphons”- the water jets they use for propulsion, to knock over plastic bleach bottles. And it wasn’t only Lucretia McEvil who’d nail her trainers. I can just see some ceremonial award-winner get his mortarboard shot off his head and still leave his hair dry.

      Even though the Second Amendment says nothing about the right to keep and bear syphons- including the ones with ink that squids use- I don’t think the breed worries about storm troopers -Navy Seals refuse to do this- in black flippers confiscating their scientist- drowners.

      Which could create common ground (well water) on weapons debate. I don’t think there’s ordinance one on squirt guns. Though closed carry is definitely requires at least a plastic bag, because they all leak. However, have personally been a witness to a drive-by hit, I mean squirt, with half a dozen battery-powered full automatic assault squirt guns.

      Nearly drowned the guy. Not sure if it could immobilize a bullet in the chamber, like with a muzzle-loader. But could definitely spoil shooter’s aim and really make him mad. Never been tried on ISIS- given water shortage in the desert, not likely. But loaded with Holy water would definitely put an end to mass bitings by vampires.

      But faced with some usual behavior from human passengers, average LINK-riding octopus would somehow disappear with nobody seeing them get off. Until whenever things calmed down enough that they could come back out of a ventilation duct or a door mechanism, or inside a wall-panel where they’ve flattened themselves like a rubber sheet.

      Tell me nobody here has never wished they could. Or maybe we just figured you’d gotten off and nobody saw you.


    2. Seriously, Sam, thanks for attention to BART’s new seat enforcement policy, because it’s a perfect example of a trend these last few years that’s really dangerous to this country’s way of life. And perhaps worst result of forty years’ under-funding everything public.

      Since the coercive parts of law enforcement are the only public things our elected reps at all levels nationwide will fund, we really are becoming, literally, a police state. Though by far not from any conspiracy within the police.

      The corrections system is far and away the largest mental health agency in the country. The exact equivalent, contagion and all, of the same happening with the regular hospital system. In jail, nobody mentally ill gets anything but worse.

      And grade school children are regularly taken away in handcuffs, and given a criminal record, for things a classroom teacher would have kept somebody after school for. For some years the State of Washington has led the nation in the number of kids in jail for skipping school.

      Though word is that the Legislature has now repealed rules that said truants had to go to criminal court, and would now be given counseling. Except the places that don’t have budget for the new system. Unfairly hurts our ratings though.

      Because now we’re second to Texas for keeping poor defendants in and out of court on contempt charges because they can’t afford accumulating “court costs.” Hate being second to Texas. And hundred percent excuse? “Well, the legislature isn’t giving us any money!”

      Meaning, as legislators can say in their own defense, that the people who can most afford taxes because they get the most return from them, can now, secretly, order our Government not to charge them any.

      Look at the sleeping man in that picture! He’s “homeless”, isn’t he? Meaning he’s about to get a criminal record for, let’s see…Being sick? And hell yes, addiction is as much an illness as cholera. So is schizophrenia Or maybe he really does have cholera.

      Given failing water systems, strange everybody doesn’t! Hope the BART board room’s drinking fountain is on the same tap as rest of Oakland. And somebody is secretly supplying bottled water to the members that voted against the policy.

      Or maybe he’s from Aberdeen or Hoquiam here in Thurston County. Where the last factory shut down a year or so back! Or maybe he wandered away, or got sent away for lack of coverage, from treatment for a brain injury.

      Does the policy say anything at all about first encounter starting with question of whether the subject needs any help? Underneath it all, this is real definition of a police state: First official encounter over anything automatically opens the hallway to jail.

      Swift progression to several hundred dollars penalty- with jail for contempt at one hundred dollar level. Five hundred dollars, key lands on Catalina Island. Like anybody with the income of a sandwich sign carrier would get caught sleeping on a seat at all, let alone five times?

      And tell me, at your wildest trip on LSD (one Presidential candidate this year has proven record what happens when college hippies get campaign donors who see to it they don’t have to smoke banana peel), how many mortgage malefactors get record-checked for a briefcase on a seat!

      Equal Treatment my drivers’ seat-cushion-cover cover! Well, desperate times, desperate measures. Come back, Grace, all is forgiven! This winter STB readers will keep shoveling streets even after we get the South Lake Union line switch clear!

      And BART, if you’d start maintaining your trains, sure bet fewer people will fall asleep in the seats they’ve been trapped in all night.

      Mark Dublin

  6. I had family in town last week- my mom, aunt, and brother. A quick few transportation related notes from their visit:

    * My mom had always wanted to try Amtrak’s Empire builder from Chicago to Seattle, so she and my aunt took Amtrak from Dallas to Chicago, stayed in Chicago for a day, then took the train from Chicago to Seattle. Neither of them will ever take Amtrak again, partly because sleeping on the train was difficult, even with a sleeping car, but also because they felt the service was abysmal.

    * They and my brother were staying in a hotel in the U-District on Roosevelt, so I got a chance to watch traffic on Roosevelt. A lot of the time it flows at least moderately well, but when it’s awful, it can be awful for hours. On one of my trips to the hotel, I ended up getting off the bus and walking the last few blocks instead.

    * We had taken a taxi from King Street Station to the hotel, and I5 traffic that seemed moderately bad to me seemed awful to my mom and aunt.

    * My mom has a mobility impairment- she can walk, but slowly, and stairs are difficult for her. The low-floor buses are much easier for her compared to the buses with stairs.

    * We took Link from UW Station to have breakfast in Capitol Hill, and they were all impressed by how fast and clean it was.

    * We spent some time at Pike Place Market and Steinbrueck Park, and they all thought it was crazy that cars were allowed to drive in the market area along Pike Pl and Western Ave, while the street was filled with hundreds of people.

    1. It’s way past time for patriotic Americans to take the fight against flag-desecration into our own hands, and rent battery powered sandpaper wheels to put an end to our flag being disgraced by being put on Amtrak. And also Amtrak itself. Sounds like that cult that used to harass people into joining it.

      Really, really tempted to do same to the one on the last Greyhound bus I rode. Fourth of July weekend. Treason! Maybe better idea, though, would be to plaster a Turkish flag over it, and point it out to some Turks, and watch them rip off the side of the bus. Because Turkey, incidentally, like much of the world, has intercity buses as classy as Greyhound used to be when I was twelve.

      I understand that in India, it’s possible to order a curry dinner, and have the order telegraphed up the line so your dinner will be handed to you through your window half an hour or so later farther up the line. I don’t think plastic wrap or lack or flavor is even optional.

      Granted, hard to hand anything through a bullet-train window, though only because you can’t smell the curry and worry about damaging railroad property later.

      Buy: Absolute requirement of necessary perspective on passenger travel:

      “The Lunatic Express: Discovering the World . . . via Its Most Dangerous Buses, Boats, Trains, and Planes” Paperback – June 7, 2011
      by Carl Hoffman (Author)

      Congressional-deserving writer deliberately headed off around the world on the transportation available to vast majority of the world’s people. Bald-tired buses that fall off the Andes Mountains, ferry boats that sink with all 300 hands (with ships, that means all 300 people aboard, not 150 with both hands counted), and airlines whose planes at least have the excuse of crashing for always being late.

      Author had a crowded though great trip all the way around- fact is that in most of the world, people are more comfortable packed than lonely. Only really awful part of trip was last leg, San Francisco to New York City on Greyhound. Another writer said recently was that while bus travel used to mean freedom, Greyhound was like being in jail.

      The two drivers I rode with would’ve been fired from the California Department of Corrections and also banned for life from jail.


    2. Curious, Phillip. Why wasn’t there a clearly-marked and preferably human-attended place at King Street Station to direct you across the street? Though first time in town, with luggage, transfer not that easy to negotiate.

      But raises and interesting luggage-related point. As part of its passenger service, perhaps transit can start delivering passengers’ luggage from both the airport and King Street Station to their hotels by van. And reverse trip too.

      Really would free up a lot of passenger space on trains. And remove major obstacle to transit use at the time a favorable first impression is both easy to get, and necessary. Might want to give the vans a human driver for a year or two break-in. Like I said, first impressions….


      1. Mark-

        If you’re asking why we didn’t use Link and a bus to get to their hotel from King Street Station, it basically comes down to the transfers at UW station being pretty terrible. I’m in above-average shape and walk faster than anyone I know, and I think most of the transfers there are a PITA. My mom walks slowly, they had luggage with them, and they were exhausted from a long train trip. Walking to Link, Taking Link to UW Station, then either walking almost a quarter mile to catch the 65/67 on Steven’s Way, or catching the 44/45/71/73 on Montake to the Ave or 15th, or maybe catching a 48 on Pacific then walking to Roosevelt wasn’t appealing.

        I think restructuring NE Seattle bus service around Link was the best (or least worst) choice- even if some of the details could be improved- but most of the transfer situation there is lousy and probably always will be given the station location, street layout, local traffic, and Metro’s finite budget. The Northgate Link Extension will solve at least some of these problems, though we’ll have to wait about 5 years for it.

        If U-District Station was already open, we might have taken Link there. Looking back, taking Link to UW, then a taxi/Uber/Lyft to the hotel might have been a good choice- that’s what my mom will probably do next time she flies into SeaTac.

    3. Make sure Amtrak hears about it, please. Rude employees may or may not stick around after a negative report, but if nothing is said you can be sure nothing will be done.

  7. Sound Transit officials, I know you’re probably cutting out early today to make it a 4 1/2 day weekend at your summer home on the shores of Lake Tapps, but when you get back to work on Tuesday, is there any way you could put the bay number on the same page as the leave times in your schedule book? Thanks.

    1. +1 to the suggestion – Metro already does that; it’d be a great idea for ST.

  8. There’s an electric “Self-Driving Bus” (it’s actually remotely monitored by a human) wandering around in National Harbor, Maryland.

    The thing is also equipped with IBM’s Watson technology, which allows riders to ask the computer most any question you might normally ask a bus driver.

    1. Since place name has “Harbor” in it…I seem to remember incident in Germany that turned a Mercedes into a submarine (probably covert Nazi way to avoid limits on battleships) when program didn’t see any problem with having a line on a map cross water between land parts.

      Stopped worrying a minute ago when I followed your link and saw that the bus is obviously waterproof, and definitely floats like a bathtub toy. Though if Air Conditioning fails, like every other vehicle where windows are considered too expensive, solar heating definitely proves it can heat.


      1. I think the most common question I’ve heard over my years as a rider is “Do you have change for a $20?”

  9. Several commenters have commented about Link needing some solution that would allow for better capacity.

    Open gangway (having a wide walkway between cars) still doesn’t exist in a light rail or streetcar model, but the Maryland Purple Line is getting what will be the longest light rail cars in use by any light rail operator. These will be 136 foot long 5 section variants of the CAF Urbos model.

    More information is on the Greater Greater Washington web site and a more brief summary on the Railway Gazette International web site.

    1. Errr…..Longest light rail cars in use by a North American operator.

      Much longer cars are in use outside North America, and the Urbos range goes as high as cars with 9 sections, with similar longer products offered by Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier and others.

  10. On the recent peak period crowding thread, one thing that was suggested was banning bicycles during peak periods.

    I recently found out that, taking completely the opposite tack, the Toronto Transit Commission did / has an experiment with bike repair stations inside subway stations.

    1. Bike repair stations probably encourage a pattern where you ride to the station in the morning, get on the train, and pick up your bike at the end of the day, not a take-your-bike-on-the-train pattern.

      1. Glenn, if LINK can’t handle bike-rack flatcar like in Stuttgart, I’d seriously propose that especially airport trains have one car with few or no seats, with racks and space for bikes and luggage.

        Al, excellent idea. I don’t know if they still do this in France, but have read that there were services that kept your car both garaged and completely maintained until you needed it. Driver would then bring it to you wherever you were- very often at outermost terminal of a rail line.

        After your drive, another company driver would pick up your car, while you ride, say LINK, back home. Certainly would solve a huge amount of the parking problem. Quite serious about this, though:

        For both service like this and taxicabs, I’d trust a passenger vehicle computer program only if it’s designed by one of Seattle’s either a Somali, Ethiopian, or Eritrean cab driver. From behind the wheel of a new Prius or the keyboard of a Dell, anything these drivers will tell a vehicle is right.

        Am nowhere reading that automatic vehicle craze has even thought about this. A computer is only as smart as its last and dumbest human input. Including the one advantage the stupidest and worst trained human has over a computer: caring in their DNA if they get killed.


    2. Bellevue Transit Center had a bike repair station. It went out of business. The county is still in a lease for the storefront even though it contains only restrooms and bus schedules. And worse, the restrooms close at 5 or 5:30pm and aren’t open weekends.

      1. That bike repair station was assinine. Politicians make decisions on what sounds good today. I don’t think anyone ever really looks at research in Bellevue.

      2. The article says these are self-service bike repair stations. Probably something like the ones in a couple of parks in The Dalles:

        There’s another type I’ve seen some other place, but I don’t remember where.

        In any event, I doubt any sort of self-service bike repair station will go out of business unless it is tuly terribly managed.

      3. I hadn’t either until I stumbled across (nearly literally) the one along the waterfront trail in The Dalles) a couple of months ago.

        You need a smartphone to access its instruction manual though.

      4. I’ve seen these around the Harvard campus – basically a bike stand with some tools attached.

  11. “An art critic ranks Link stations” is a great read. Can there be any doubt Beacon Hill is #1!

    On a different note, has the “Notify me of follow-up comments by email.” option quit working for anybody else?

    1. I think my top 5 are (1) Westlake, (2) Beacon Hill, (3) Capitol Hill, (4) Tukwila, (5) Pioneer Square (just for the old cable car pulley. The murals at Westlake will be treasures 50 years from now, Beacon Hill and Capitol Hill are a virtual tie. I once saw a blind passenger get tangled up with the metallic origami at IDS so I don’t love it as much as the art critic does.

    2. Beacon Hill no question, Bernie, for a very good reason. The theme was deliberately designed to reinforce understanding of every passenger under five that transit is GREEAAAT! Meaning 13 years ’til lifetime of positive transit votes. Plenty of time to schedule elections accordingly.

      By my observation, this voter group polls a hundred percent pro-rail. Though maybe I just haven’t been around when an eight month old in a starts demanding and pointing when being wheeled by a RapidRide platform when horn blows, instead of a DSTT station when a train rings its bell.

      But maybe that’s ’cause BRT doesn’t yet have a stretch that lends itself to going “Wheeeeeeee!” Work on it! Kids love it too.

      Not sure where there’s material on the whole art program for the DSTT and the rest of LINK. Library 10th floor archives, maybe. Chief artist was Jack Mackie, who did the bronze dance steps on Broadway but told me twenty years ago he never wanted to hear anybody say it again because as soon as a piece is finished, real artists forget it and get into next one.

      So don’t rat me out to Jack or I’ll end up bronzed in station nearest a dog-park!

      Problem of work quality has been twenty years of complaints that the other 99% of project money went into the art-work instead of the Federall-mandated 1%. We really are still world champion on this. Was privileged to be union rep on the committee overseeing the art project.

      Came away knowing that whatever’s arrogant, elitist, and wasteful in the art world, artists themselves aren’t part of.Having done quarry labor, artists work a hundred times harder, and are more brutally demanding of their own work quality than the hardest-nosed foreman. Meaning mine, in Maryland. Wish these traits were as contagious as their opposite.

      Even worse than forgetting which broom closet DSTT signals disappeared into two weeks into service, have lost 20 years off my blood pressure over neglect of all that deservedly prize winning art. Feds ought to demand Metro sandblast and then spotlight (bright ones!) the clock on each mezzanine railing at Pioneer Square.

      Numerals on both are actual tools. And face of one is left-over bricks and marble from the project, and the other pieces of rubble dug out during construction. Cable car pulley and cooling cans on south mezzanine… wonder if anyone even notices them?

      Handling of waterfall fountain at CPS was an obscenity. Once again, very short time into service, somebody discovered its pump was a little less substandard than the system-wide elevators and shut it down permanently. The elevators have been shut themselves down for two decades. Turning the platform level reflecting pool into a very large wet garbage can without a removable plastic bag.

      Really should have publicly demanded to our Reps that the Federal Government take back that couple of hundred thousand when Waterfront cars were covertly almost Argentine torturing secret police-caliber Disappeared. The Feds very closely could have, which would have been a desperately needed lesson over a major top-level Agency character flaw.

      Whether an art piece is recognizable as a person, animal or object, or only a shape, an artist’s worst criticism is: “It’s lazy!”

      Mark Dublin

    3. Worst use of public money ever. I know it’s “only” one percent, but that’s one percent that could be aggregated to invest in more transit. Here, in a country where teachers are paid such low salaries that they cannot afford to live in the districts where they teach, where millions of Americans go bankrupt because of medical debt, where we have the some of the worst public transit systems in the world despite having the critical mass to support them… we’re installing transit “art.” Priorities, folks.

      1. It’s much less than 1% on Sound Transit projects. There is a $750K cap per project.

        I think it’s worth it. Public places can be more than minimally functional.

      2. How do you define “art”; I know it when I see it? Seems to me that any decent job of architecture for a public space would by default be spending more than 1% for “art”. Any essential object, like say a door pull, can be turned into a piece of art. That said, Beacon Hill station is clearly over the top, or is that under ;-)

  12. Woo, BART, taking names on the seat hogs. A little harsh without a warning, but I like it. Double plus good if it dinks up your TSA pre-check status.

    1. The article states that fines won’t be assessed until the third offense.

      Obviously, this has nothing to do with TSA pre-check.

    2. “Double Plus Good” is classic literary reference. George Orwell devoted whole essay at the end of 1984 to the language structure he’d invented for the Big Brother administration.

      Words and terms were being constantly amputated precisely for identical effect on thought. Which really is the way the building of human thinking works. Some say reason for the popularity of English around the world is that it’s a good language for accomplishing work.

      Although others would argue that Hell is a place where all the lovers are American. Now that so many Indians live there, the food is no longer English. Though is “Bubble and Squeak” really a good food name in any language?


  13. Re: Route 62 night/weekend Sand Point loop.

    Metro rolled over a few years ago when the Parks Department kicked route 30 out of the Magnuson Park layover. Parks claimed that the roadways in there couldn’t handle the weight of a bus. Never mind they were built to handle military equipment and heavy vehicles. Now Metro find they can’t turn a bus around, anywhere, in that area, after NOAA closes.

    Metro, the city, and the parks department should all be on the same page when it comes to things like transit access. Metro should have fought hard for that layover loop on the 30 five years ago. They rolled over then and are up a creek now with the same issue on the 62. Before the buses looped through the park, they used to turn around at the north entrance (74th Street) to Magnuson Park (around the little island in the entrance). The Parks Dept made that island bigger and buses couldn’t make the turn any more about years ago, hence the inside the park route.

    What a mess.

    1. It was a bus stop in the park, not a layover. The bus laid over at the northbound 74th stop. It started the run by going into the park and back out again. That somehow took ten minutes and there was hardly ever a passenger on it when it came out. A talkative driver told me somebody at Metro had pushed for the stop in the park to serve the park, and retired with a nice commendation before it became clear that the stop was a waste of time and gas because nobody used it (and only slightly more than zero rode the evening/weekend 30 when it made the park stop).

      Making a shorter turnaround in the park just to turn around would be an idea, but isn’t the problem that one of the hangars gets so crowded during events that it throws the bus off schedule, and the bus really has to stay south of 65th Street to avoid it? That seems to be the impetus for the reroutes,.

      1. The bus ran through the park to turn around. As I mentioned, they used to turn around at the 74th street entrance until the island was reconfigured such that a bus couldn’t turn around there any longer. This was more than 15 years ago.

        I have it on good authority that the Parks Dept threw Metro out of the park due to concerns about bus weight on the roads inside the park. It was non-negotiable, to them. It’s not about a shorter turnaround … its about the Parks Dept not wanting to maintain the old roads inside the park to the standard they were built for (to handle heavy vehicles).

  14. Am I right in thinking that boring the main tunnels for Northgate Link is about 6 months ahead of schedule? From the Northgate station design presentations, it looks like the tunneling was scheduled into Q1 of 2017.

    1. Sounds right.

      Other than the utility relocation that has already been completed, Northgate Station itself has yet to have ground broken, which seems to me to be approaching a late start. (Not referring to Maple Leaf Portal which has had tons of work and TBM launches for years, just the actual station.)

      I believe ST got rid of a selected contractor for the station construction piece and that had to go back out for bid, and these new bids were due June 15. So now they are undertaking the contract award process.

      1. Thanks for the info!

        At this point, does it look like the date construction starts on Northgate Station will determine the date the Northgate Link extension will open?

      2. I’m only responding as a total layperson and fan here, but my guess would be no.

        I base this on Northgate Station being an elevated station. I imagine it to be a simpler feat than an underground station, or all the other work that must occur in the tunnels. Thus, U District Station, Roosevelt Station, Maple Leaf Portal and the tunnels have been under construction for years already. I only have my eye on the station area because it is close to me, I am excited for it, and being above ground the progress will be visual to behold, once it starts.

    2. I don’t think so. Boring isn’t the end of the tunnel construction. A series of man-sized safety passage have to be dug out every 450 – 800 feet between the two tunnels. I understand this involves freezing the ground first to keep it stable and that this work could carry on for a year.

    3. Phillip, just so my answer gets through to you, I realized that until at least the station at “The Ave.” opens, journey ending at present UW station is going to mean go into the hospital and get a cab.

      But I did say, and will repeat, that the transit system really should be looking at its own system for delivering luggage between the airport and a hotel of the passenger’s choice.

      In this connection, I also think every airline coming into Seattle should have a program whereby Seattle passengers can buy, or be given as airline advertising, a packet including luggage delivery, and also a transit map. And an ORCA card with a day’s fare on it, and option to load weekly pass as well.

      Right now, passenger ground transportation phone across from baggage is a tiny black wall phone by a sign the size of a postage stamp, on a booth by bus schedule racks that used to be transit info and is now police. With mesh grating permanently pulled down.

      Frequently ride out to the airport with passengers who tell me they wished someone would have told them about LINK when their plane landed. ST should just move into the terminal and set up a booth, a large one, and dare Port Police to come remove it. In front of TV cameras.

      Portland has long had a nice and highly visible counter right near the MAX station, which is right in the Terminal building. For 30 years, Portland has even had an architecturally excellent Greyhound Station across the street from the Amtrak one, with a MAX stop across the sidewalk.

      Doesn’t the Seattle Chamber of Commerce have any marketing organization where they can get a guy with a straw hat and a cigar at the Airport, waving people toward LINK because “Everything’s Up To Date In The Emerald Ci-ty!!!!”


      1. Arthur;

        Now I’m having these dreams that I win the MegaMillions and after I take care of the PBY Memorial Foundation in Oak Harbor I start my own public transportation museum in Everett. The building would have a triangle structure with offices up the spine. The 1st floor is for museum ops, the 2nd floor will be the “Shefali Op Center” for Transportation Choices and the 3rd floor would be much smaller my foundation offices. We wouldn’t be too vehicle-centric but I certainly would pay Sound Transit market value for a new light rail train which we’d call the Dow Train. Heck we’d even buy MEHVA’s vehicles and try to keep a few running.

        NOW WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE A) GET ME THE WINNING #S (if I don’t already have them) AND B) HOLD ME TO THIS!!!!!!

        Damn, this is a blood-boiler. I’m finally able to photograph living history and one of my key…. targets is dying.


      2. Before the seawall construction started, there was talk that the trolley barn would be replaced at a location between Occidental Park and the Waterfall Park in Pioneer Square. It would be on the ground floor of a building with other uses above it. Then the economy went kablewey, and the building was put off until now. It is the building slated for the new Weyerhaeuser headquarters. I don’t know if the ground floor is still reserved for the trolley barn, but I doubt it. They should have built it to leave space for a future trolley base, and use it as a trolley barn-themed pub in the meantime.

  15. I know it’s paranoid and probably not true, but I can’t help but wonder if metro isn’t trying to sabotage the 62 before it has a chance. They’ve always been lukewarm about investing in new crosstown service.

    1. Metro proposed it in the first place. It didn’t have to propose an aggressive restructure but it’s what the planners had wanted to do for years. The fact that 65th was connected with Dexter was probably just fitting puzzle pieces together; it could have been connected to something else or been a short route. But when the 26 and 28 became full-time express, something had to replace them on Dexter, and the 2012 proposal to put the 5 there ran into community resistance. So it seems that Metro wanted the 62 throughout the U-District restructure and was glad it got community support. It’s now in Metro’s long-range plan as a RapidRide line, so that’s how bullish they are on it. (The RapidRide line would be straightened out in Tangletown.)

  16. I just took Amtrak to Edmonds this evening round trip for dinner using the RailPlus, wow so easy and fast… 25 minutes from Edmonds to King Street Station. Despite all the ranting on here about Sounder North, I’m convinced this corridor is so underutilized because of a lack of trains and the complications of using the existing trains for the majority of people without access to RailPlus. Every time I’ve taken Sounder North its had full trains, it just has 4 trains in each direction a day in a short 2-3 hour window in peak direction, no wonder its limited. Reliable rail service with more runs and at more times would really make Edmonds, Mukilteo and Everett a popular place to live or visit. Edmonds is a really nice small town.

    1. I agree poncho. The problem is the route Sounder North takes. I so hope inland light rail will make Sounder North irrelevant.

      I also love Amtrak Cascades. Was really nice one week ago to step onboard and chimp photos on the way home after we transit advocates got ST3 out to voters!

  17. In the past couple of weeks I have taken multiple trips from the SR-520 Yarrow Point stop to Safeco Field leaving around 6pm weekdays, and I’ve compared staying aboard routes 255/545 via downtown with taking the first bus that comes (255/540/541/542/545/555) and transferring to Link at Montlake/UW/Husky.

    In my sample, even with congestion on I-5 and Stewart Street, it’s by far faster to take a 255/545 and stay on the bus. Even with congestion, the bus is downtown before you can reach the Link platform. I would say the average time savings to reach my destination was 15 minutes via 255/545 to downtown. I didn’t even get hit be a Montlake bridge opening on the days I tried the Link alternative, but I believe bridge openings are allowed starting at 6pm.

    A couple of observations. It seems too early to be dropping Link frequency to 10 minutes at 6pm. Seems like Link ought to keep operating at 6 minute headways until 7pm. Second, the departure signs at UW are beyond useless. They showed trains departing in 3 minutes, 13 minutes and 23 minutes, they counted down, and then the first departure disappeared off the video screen without a train appearing, and it showed 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. So they just show scheduled times without any real-time information.

    It was about equal in time to walk from the Montlake Flyer stop (255/545/555) as to ride to Pacific St (540/541/542) and then cross back. Extra traffic lights vs. walking time. Neither transfer is particularly quick, and the time to descend from the surface to the platform is lengthy. The DSTT was fairly slow for travel by both Link and 255.

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