Crowded Link train at rush hour

This is an open thread.

66 Replies to “News Roundup: Hiring”

    1. I suspect MI’s city leaders know they don’t have an argument here but they need to put up a good fight for the sake of optics & politics. There will be lots of noise but ultimately they will lose their SOV access in HOV lanes. Perhaps FHWA, as an out of state agency, can be the scrapegoat to help kill this debate.

      1. Living in Queen Anne throughout the Mercer Street Cooridoor project and the ongoing closures of 99 causing every way in and out to turn into a parking lot during closures, I really don’t have any sympathy for them. The rules change just because they have more money and it’s an interstate and not a Washington highway apparently.

      2. They could get Congress to pass a law saying Mercer Island SOVs have access to the lanes. The could call it the Mercer Island Mobility Freedom Act.

      3. Sine this is now s federal issue:
        Donald Trump is coming to town. MI could ask him to spout off some of his usual no sense about the situation. If nothing else it could be entertaining.

  1. I think this whole letting Eyman write the ballot statement opposing is a crime against history. Eyman is about to be found in contempt of court and yet he gets to define all the opposition to ST3. No thanks… and this is coming from somebody who had serious issues last March thru May with ST3 before becoming a champion of ST3.

    1. Eyman’s arguments are more direct. He doesn’t want to pay for transit.

      The other No campaign’s (if you can call it a campaign) arguments are mostly a laughable attempt to paint themselves as something other than the consisent long–time transit critics, legal obstructionists that they are. There are good arguments against ST3, but this group totally misses them because they think someone somewhere will be taken in by their BRT insincerity.

      Eyman will sway lots of voters. The other group, maybe a few dozen.

      1. There is no practical difference between Eyman and the saveourtrail/CETA coalition. It’s just that the latter prefers to wrap their anti-ST3 position in a “we’re not against transit, just against this transit” wrapper.

        Eyman thinks that’s a waste of time which muddles the message. He may be right. The protestations of Frank Dennis and the other South Kirkland homeowners that they have a credible transit alternative were never going to fly anyway.

      2. @Dan, there may not be a practical difference but there is a rhetorical difference, which does matter for the ballot statement.

      3. The partisan part of me loves watching Tim Eyman just put himself and his E-G-O ahead of stopping ST3.

        The patriot part of me screams in agony at that thought. I mean why not let Adonaldex Tsimmermannazi (SP?) or whomever he calls himself go ahead and write the opposition to ST3. I can just see it now, “Stand up America! You’ve got only once chance to stop them commie fascism trains with total mafia principles! Donald Trump for President!”

        I’m sure then ST3 will pass by 90%. Oh and with all the maternity wards full in June & July 2017, maybe a light rail train or two will also have to be a Sound Transit maternity ward…

        :-) A man can dream on the open thread, right?

    2. I think Eyman writing the opposition statement can do less damage than Eyman filing initiatives. The statement against was going to be “Light rail is a waste of tax money” in any case.

  2. WSLCB changes rules about fencing for sidewalk cafes, opens up opportunities for Euro-style sidewalk seating without fences

    Tangentially-related illuminating quote from SDOT, presented without comment: “Although the fence-free sidewalk cafes are intended to activate streets, create more vibrant neighborhoods, and support economic vitality, ultimately SDOT is committed to ensuring that our streets and sidewalks serve the traveling public.”

    1. I think that quote is fair – you can’t have a sidewalk cafe or a parklet completely blocking a sidewalk, forcing people walking by to either step into the road or cross the street to get by.

  3. I want someone from here to cover, in-person, the UW’s first day of class on Sept. 28 @ UW Station. More specifically, report on how the elevators and escalators are handling the crowds. You can either live tweet it, or comment. Include pictures with your report.

    1. If at least one elevator and two escalators are not out of commission by noon, I would be surprised. Sound Transit really shopped at the low end elevator/escalator store.

      1. Are design – build – operate – maintain contracts illegal in Washington? Some places have gone that direction so that the lowest bidder isn’t just construction, but also 20 years or so worth of operating expense.

    2. Sam;

      I’m just giggling here. Not just do we need maternity wards on the light rail, but also drone launchers apparently. G*d help us all Sam. We’re just going to have light rail every minute on the minute at the rate we’re going here.

    3. Thank you, Sam, for being the first commenter to agree to sponsor an on-site live-tweet post.

  4. Let the silly season begin with the pro/con campaigns of ST3.
    I found the story about Eyman and the supposed fact check from Seattlish to be the first volley. The pros will tell you it’s only $14 a month per adult, and Tim is quoting $1,000 per family per year.
    Some 4th grade math of dividing ST’s current service area population of 2.8m, with half the expected rise of .8 m over 35 years, gives a midpoint population of 3.3m. Most everything up to this point has been expressed as cost per household (about 2 people per household), so dividing the $54 bn by 1.65 gives a cost per household of $32,727. Further divide that by 35 years gives $935 per year.
    The final analysis for voters will be if the ‘squeeze is worth the juice’.

    1. The $54 billion includes all revenue sources not just tax funds. I’m not sure why you would divide a number that includes fare box revenue, federal and state grants, and federal apportionments by all current and future households in the region?

      1. Fair enough. I’ll concede the firebox revenue if you’ll include bond repayment after 2040. The fed and state contributions are not huge, and ultimately come from the same household, so you don’t get a pass on those.
        But we’re mincing words. The public has heard the $54 bn number enough, so it is what it is and closer to the truth than using Y2014 cost estimates on something that won’t evan be built for decades.

    2. And the tax burden is not equal among all taxpayers either. People with very expensive homes and cars will pay more than average, and probably have enough money that they won’t notice; the rest will pay less.

  5. Thank gawd the Feds are finally (at least it seems that way) going to eliminate Mercer Islands privileged SOV access to the HOV lanes. That should never have been allowed in the first place.

    It’s nice to see the change coming, but I suspect it would have happened anyhow under the old 45 mph criteria. I can hear the wailing now….

    1. I propose that we maintain Mercer Islands SOV in HOV privilege, but demolish all westbound onramps and eastbound offramps. They’ll have to circle up to 405 to turnaround and access the island.

    2. Think of all the deaths because doctors choosing to live on Mercer Island cant get to the hospitals solo :)

  6. Since it’s an open thread, I’ve been getting a quirk with the website when viewed on my phone- it takes me to the very bottom of the page and I have to scroll all the way up. It’s been the case for a couple of weeks, not happening for other websites. Anyone else having this problem?

    iOS/safari user

    1. I have this on Windows 10 mobile on phone. I opened a link a while back to one of the earlier U-link restructure posts and I didn’t even bother trying to scroll all the way up.

    2. Android/Chrome

      I notice it most when I click a “Comments” link, it seems to go to the Sponsorship header instead.

  7. What I’d like to see are parking permits that are priced based on how many people carpool, like $20/mo drive alone, $15 2-person carpool, and $10 for 3+ (so per person that’s $20, $7.50, & $3.33), plus some spots reserved for “show up and park” (which could be $3-$4 per day), and use the revenue to reduce the Link per-mile marginal fare of $0.05 per mile so that when Federal Way and Tacoma lose their express buses, riders won’t have to pay more for the privilege of getting their travel time doubled.

    1. I don’t think that is necessary because there is an implied discount by charging people per car and not per rider. If you carpool with 4 people, each person pays half of what a two person carpool pays.

      Additionally, parking revenue under ST3 is committed to paying for station access improvements, so fare mitigation for our friends in Federal Way & Tacoma will need to come from elsewhere.

      1. To that I would say:

        1. It’s really, really hard to get more than two people in a car (heck, more than one person). It’s why we have HOV2+, and when we try HOV3+, there is so much resistance to it. I think compounding incentives is what it will take to get a lot of 3 and 4-person carpools.
        2. Even if it is cheaper per person, the illusion is still there that it costs the same, because presumably it would be one person paying ST. And I think there is a positive effect to be had for a single driver to go “You know, if I can find a friend to ride with me, I could save $5, or $10 for two friends!”

        Also, in a world where parking costs $80,000 per space, having 4 people to a spot is a really REALLY good thing. Ideally, a parking garage with 1000 spots would be able to serve 4000 people, getting Sound Transit $320,000,000 out of an $80,000,000 investment, plus modest revenue!! Sound transit should definitely encourage that, so maybe it would make sense to throw in $5/month for 4+ carpool and free for 5+ in there as well.

      2. I don’t see how this would be enforced. Pay a couple of ex Seahawks players to go wander the parking lot, giving wedgies to those that park using the wrong permit for the number of people?

      3. Or both people have to tap their ORCA card on a special reader. The parking space could have a large red light or something that requires the joint permit-holders to tap before turning off. This could also be used to pay for one-time parking as well.

  8. I think the complaints about Alaskan Way are much ado about nothing, and frankly the advocacy groups are missing the forest for the trees. We are getting a great waterfront north of Columbia, and south of Yesler is the actual Port – no one is strolling along Alaskan Way south of Yesler … 1st Ave South is a beautiful street, let the cars, buses, and trucks have Alaskan Way.

    All the noise about safety for people access the ferry is irrelevant because Coleman Docks has a pedestrian bridge that crosses Alaskan Way. As long as that bridge still exist, most pedestrians will never interface with Alaskan.

    1. I’d divide the Waterfront at Columbia, and let the roadway south of Colman Dock be considered a State highway. A continuation of the one called the Washington State Ferry System.

      The sharp curve a the grade crossing over a very heavy freight railroad seriously limit the roadway north of Colman as a freight corridor. I’d also place a two-way transit way between Yesler and Columbia, CBD buses can turn upthill, while streetcars head on north.

      Planning Marshall Foster s right that the Colman Dock segment has to handle a lot of uses. But I’m sure the streetcar world has precedents we can use when the time comes. Of all transit modes, streetcars are the most comfortable for outdoor cafe patrons to watch go by.

      The Director is talking about ST3. But it’s major progress to deliberately design the roadway itself for conversion to rail in the future. . Where, unlike the past, interest and hard sustained work can finally have a good result. However long it takes.

      Thanks, Marshall. You look to be of an age you’ll still be around to cut the ribbon.

      Mark Dublin

      Mark Dublin

  9. Another interesting real estate deal…

    The Park at Northgate Apartments has been sold for $33 million. This complex is located about 2 blocks from the future Northgate Station and consists of 146 units in six 3-story buildings with plenty of surface parking. The sales price works out to $226,000 per unit.

    The buyer is a company affiliated with Wallace Properties of Bellevue whose COO is Bellevue City Councilmember Kevin Wallace. Some of you may remember the dubious plan Wallace fronted to route East Link far to the east of downtown Bellevue and connect the Link station to downtown Bellevue via moving sidewalks. I guess Kevin Wallace has decided that light rail might be a good investment after all–at least in north Seattle.

    1. Wallace actually has a lot of properties in Seattle. I see his signs all over the place.

  10. Something recently changed in the STB website, where every time I post a comment, I have to re-enter my name and e-mail address. As of a week ago, it would just remember the information from the last time. Does anybody know what’s going on, and can this change, whatever it is, be reverted?

    1. It happens to me if I close the window. It remembers me so long as I don’t close the browser window.

      I figured it was instituted by WorldPress to keep down comments that are actually advertising.

      Though, that “genuine Persian flying carpets made in China handmade by the best quality robots” guy a couple of weeks ago was entertaining.

      I’m probably one of the few people other than the staff that sees those as they seem to happen really early in the morning and are deleted by 5am or so.

  11. So, I visited Puyallup a few weeks back. They have a nice little downtown area, though an awful lot of space is consumed by surface parking. Most of this is 2 hour limited to prevent hide and ride. The Sounder lot was already full at 7 am or so.

    It seems like the Washington State Fairgrounds could, most of the time anyway, provide additional parking capacity for the town and for Sounder – though you’d probably need a shuttle bus for most passengers as it isn’t very close to the station.

    Park and ride lots are one thing, but if huge expanses of pavement are going to be built they might as well be given as much use as possible.

    There’s a big parking structure right next to the Sounder station, but that lot is only for the office building that is there and not for public use. The Sounder lot is surface only and not that big.

    1. I believe the Fairgrounds Red Lot is advertised as a Park & Ride, with both a PT route and an ST route providing service to Sounder.

  12. Decent and simple way to deal with insufficient funds would be to tell the public that due to shortage of money, some runs will simply be scheduled to run on longer headways until money becomes available for shorter ones. “Headway” means space of time between actual vehicles.

    With announced and printed schedules accurately both to honestly reflect these service cuts, and let passengers plan accordingly. As a passenger, I’d say that as soon as any route starts having buses routinely left out for lack of drivers, the runs themselves should simply be canceled. And so posted.

    If this results in more buses and drivers being available while not specifically assigned, put them on the streets as extras. Run them as second sections behind scheduled buses, or dispatched into service to fill in spaces, as observed by street supervisors.

    Maybe the posted schedules whose service has been reduced can run as printed, and service,with filled in with available extra buses running strictly headway. My guess is that for practical effect, passengers won’t notice any difference, since average person doesn’t have a run-card.

    Some drivers already space themselves out by line-of-sight at rush hour. Can be taught and practiced. Should become policy. In place of letting your leader carry an overload while you hang on his back bumper empty. As should be a major infraction.

    It’s exactly skills like this that separate tradespeople from temps. Hire for that attitude and pay, train and supervise accordingly, and transit will save enough operating time and passenger good-will to run service through the whole range of economic cycles.

    Mark Dublin


    Aiming for five, ten, or fifteen minutes between buses. In DSTT, fixed schedules are often really in the way. As with many places on every run now, rush hour schedules should at most apply to departure from staging- and even there, asterisked as advisory.

  13. Tunnel part, badly edited. Ten fifteen minutes probably merit being scheduled, at least from portals. But for rush hour DSTT service, main point still holds.

    Tunnel should be run on same principle as a conveyor belt. Buckets come by on a moving chain, load quickly, and get on down the line. Main thing is to keep buckets smoothly moving and evenly spaced. Generally without posted schedules.


  14. The first paragraph in Lindblom’s story in the Seattle Times is:
    “After six years of running trains too empty, Sound Transit is suddenly wrestling with a quite different dilemma — light rail is becoming crowded enough that passengers are clamoring for more railcars.”

    Who was complaining about the trains being too empty? I thought ridership had exceeded expectations from the very first.

    1. The anti-Link crowd complained that trains had only two or three people in the evenings, and ridership was below ST’s 1996 estimates. The ST1 estimates were overoptimistic, and assumed that U-District Station would open in the 2000s. That didn’t happen due to construction risks with the first Ship Canal crossing, so ST started with the Westlake-SeaTac segment. The anti-Link crowd also complains that unless Link gets as many riders as the NYC subway it’s not worth the capital cost. Ridership has been growing more slowly than the 1996 estimate, and maybe more slowly than the 2008 estimate, but suddenly with U-Link it started growing faster than the 2008 estimate. (I’m not sure how it compares to the 1996 estimate.)

  15. 131/132 more late than usual today. At 6:15pm Lander Street southbound OBA said 18 minutes, 10 minutes late. Across the street a 131 and 132 passed together. They’re supposed to alternate every 15 minutes. I walked to Costco and when I got out around 7:30pm OBA said the northbound buses were “22 minutes, 15 minutes late” and the following one in 24 minutes. So I walked to the train station. I complained earlier that before the U-Link restructure the 131/132 were always late by 5-10 minutes and sometimes 30 or 45 minutes. I wasn’t sure if the restructure had made them more punctual. But it was one of theiir worst days today, and I didn’t see anyone in tribal ballgame jerseys to explain it.

  16. Turns out people pay more than WADOT thought to skip traffic. They assumed $3.4M in revenue, but got $12.4M. Bad news: this money goes into road building. Good news: it’s a pretty clear indication of the value of not waiting in traffic – perhaps the transit world could use this to their advantage.

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