Sound Transit released a pair of videos showing Northgate Link’s progress.  First up, if you’ve ever wanted to see a tunnel boring machine (TBM) up close, here’s your chance:

Next, a rubber-tire vehicle makes its way from Roosevelt to U-District station, showing the completed tube, sans tracks:

This is an open thread.

93 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Inside the TBM”

  1. OK folks, I’m up and early today. Got a lot of work to do for an aviation museum north of Paine…. nice videos, BTW. Just lay some rail down and get some hustle in getting light rail more places, more often.

    Gotta say I hope people listen to my interview on PDX Transit Lane and give an honest review of my slagging of Trimet:

    Also this ORCA leak… absolutely disgusting… somebody needs to be fired for cause. Below is what I e-mailed the Sound Transit Board and cc’d the CEO Peter Rogoff, Sound Transit Board Chair Dow Constantine, Washington Policy Center, & Washington Coalition for Open Government about the leak of 173,000 names & e-mails:

    Sound Transit Board;

    Note the CCs. I really wish I could attend Thursday’s meeting but I have longstanding Portland commitments that go back many months.

    So instead I will simply say that somebody at the department head level or higher needs to be sent to Peter Rogoff’s office and told to resign. Or fired.

    I still support ST3. But I can’t condone the transfer of very personal information for illegal use (for a campaign I just donated to several days ago).

    There are serious, genuine issues around electronic fare media such as the usage of electronic fare media to track movements. Considering one of the top two candidates for US President sounds like a tyrant-in-waiting and the other has a spotty civil rights record, your little leak raised the issue of data privacy.

    If ORCA data can be given to a campaign I support, then ergo individual, private ORCA card data can be given to law enforcement without a warrant and the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution – a key plank of the US Bill of Rights – is dead. The privacy of individual citizens before the government is a key bulwark of liberty in an era of data mining and mass surveillance.

    What next? Are our movements as private citizens throughout an American city now a matter of public record for anybody and anyone to access our ORCA records?

    There are also potential RCW violations at hand here as noted in your own privacy statement that mentions RCW 42.56.330(5) which states as “exempt from disclosure” … “The personally identifying information of persons who acquire and use transit passes or other fare payment media including, but not limited to, stored value smart cards and magnetic strip cards, except that an agency may disclose personally identifying information to a person, employer, educational institution, or other entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for payment of the cost of acquiring or using a transit pass or other fare payment media for the purpose of preventing fraud. As used in this subsection, “personally identifying information” includes acquisition or use information pertaining to a specific, individual transit pass or fare payment media.”

    Bluntly, Sound Transit needs to fire somebody in a supervisory capacity at Sound Transit for breaking public trust. Note the CC line, people are being yanked out of wedding planning and bed for this. I will stop there.

    Bluntly stated;

    Your fan Joe A. Kunzler

    P.S. The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Cheers! Respond as you see fit… I’m sure some will slag me, some will applaud me.

      1. Let’s just say I keep a close eye on Trimet… and some of its critics I will say push the boundaries of common decency. I will be riding Trimet Thursday and be so grateful so much of Sound Transit light rail is high quality.

        What happened to Lane was an overreaction to automated text messages because Trimet PR quite frankly isn’t doing their jobs. Twitter is flooded, I mean flooded like over-primed, with criticism of Trimet.

        One of the things I ask in the Podcast is where are the fans of Trimet? No, seriously…

    1. KOMO provided a lot more detail, including how the accident happened, and what actions Sound Transit took to remedy the mistake and as follow-up.

      1. I appreciate that Brent, I appreciate internal processes were changed and I appreciate Geoff Patrick’s work on this file. I know Geoff, he’s a man of honor.

        That said, I want somebody fired for this. This is the kind of mistake that taken to its next logical step means insecure ORCA data.

        I have to do this as a civil libertarian (who happens to be a fan of public transportation): Let’s say some felon got enough ORCA data to start manipulating it. Said felon manipulates the data to plant suspicion that somebody else was at the crime scene. Especially being we’ve already had crime at and near light rail stations. Could easily lead to a bigger tragedy…

        My point is: ORCA data should be firewalled, double-checked and under tight lock & key. It’s a record of people’s mode of transport, where they go and when they go places and as such, ergo, is a civil liberties issue.

        Let me submit this YouTube of a West Wing clip: I have to be Sam Seaborne here. “In a country born of the will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?”

        G*d BLESS America!

      2. So civil liberties for the department director who fouled up but not for the citizens? Nice. No wonder the Libertarian Party is going to be the replacement to the Republican Party currently in “The Trumpster of Dumpster Fires”…

        I just hope Sound Transit doesn’t have Trimet level of benefits:

        I also hope some of you guys quit defending the indefensible. Somebody needs to be accountable, take responsibility and fall on their sword.

      3. There was a time, not too long ago, when the USA was civilized enough that a letter to the editor of the newspaper was published with the full street address of the writer.

        It’s obviously not a good thing, but at least nobody can show up at your email address with an angry mob, torches and garden implements.

      4. Glenn;

        Well put, well put.

        I’m all for not putting the street addresses into letters to the editor, but I think online comments on newspapers should instead have one of these two standards:

        #1. You pay say $10 a year to comment and some of your comments become print letters to the editor. That’s the Mukilteo Beacon way.

        #2. Same verification standards & editorial limits as letters to the editor.

        While we’re talking about it, I want to acknowledge I’ve reviewed the revised STB comment policy. I “get it” as STB grows bigger, gets read by Sound Transit Board Members, spawns other websites & blogs, gains sponsors and we ARE in a big election year the high dynamic, afterburner comments of mine really need to dial back to the purr of a Merlin engine. Otherwise my welcome here will be gone.

      5. It’s sad that some people are so willing to say that other people should be fired when they have no firsthand knowledge of the situation.

      6. Mike Orr;

        People get fired and/or lose press credentials and other such consequences for a lot less of an honest mistake than leaking sensitive information….

        This leak never should have happened. This incident happened during a critical time in Sound Transit’s history. This incident will likely trigger a State Auditor’s Finding – the highest level of write-up. This incident brought dishonor and shame upon Sound Transit as an organization. This incident is fanning the flames of people who won’t accept my pre-incldent answers to “why should we trust Sound Transit”.

        I hope CEO Peter Rogoff realizes bureaucratize won’t make this go away. He’s got a golden opportunity to show he has some… toughness & spine.

      7. That’s for somebody else to judge who has full access to the situation and issues firing as a last resort. I don’t think we need to armchair-judge people and throw out sentences that could ruin somebody’s life permanently. If a mistake was made, fix it, don’t go “Off with their head!” As for firings for lesser things, I have an even bigger problem with that, especially one-size-fits-all rules.

      8. Mike;

        I think we find agreement that it isn’t our role on the STB comment threads to assign blame to particular ST staff. But I do think somebody needs to be shown the door for this…

    2. In response to Joe, of course I’m concerned about the specific personal info (emails) being leaked.

      But I’m equally surprised and concerned that according to the Seattl Times, no one in Metro appears to be using the data in aggregate, stripped of personal data, to better the network. The Seattle Times ran that article about UW students and their attempts to work with it.

    3. Um folks here’s some BREAKING NEWS from the Sound Transit hiring page at

      The following positions are new hiring positions as heads must have rolled at Sound Transit (GOOD MAN PETER ROGOFF, OH YEAH… KEEPING SOUND TRANSIT GREAT):

      (Information Security Risk Management and Compliance Monitoring)




      [extended comment policy whining]

    1. They sound the horns when required, I’m sure.

      The company I work for once got an OSHA notification that our forklift driver wasn’t sounding his horn in some obscure set of circumstances that required it. So, he just started blowing it at random and that seemed to do the trick.

  2. Sam,

    I saw the following electronic message on the RapidRide real-time-arrival sign at SeaTac Airport, southbound:

    “RapidRide riders: Tap ORCA at stop & board bus at any door
    Otherwise pay as you board at front door”

    You’re welcome.

  3. Enough construction is going on at Surrey Downs Station that it warrants a post. STB, send your eastside bureau senior reporter to investigate and report.

      1. I wanted an update post. No binging it. No drudging it. No linking to some other news site’s report on the subject. I want to see some good, old fashioned, in-person reporting from STB themselves. Close the laptop, grab a pencil and pad, put a press pass in the bond of your fedora, hop on a bus, and go out to the site and interview, take notes and pics, then report back here with your story.

  4. Fare payment method I’m most comfortable is a paper pass, day, week, or month. Would even sacrifice being able to have it replaced if I lose it. Like Vancouver BC and San Francisco used to have- maybe still do.

    in addition to being untraceable, as the US Constitution pretty well mandates, won’t ever have to have my ID photographed because I tapped my card one too many or too times a pass proving I’ve paid for an unlimited number of rides.

    Without getting a dime back for rides I didn’t take. Understand other systems do carry over credit.

    But real blood chilling information horror is how many people not only accept without question but gleefully participate in the complete shredding of our personal privacy without a lifted Government finger.

    Ever notice how much political and criminal justice news coverage starts out with Twitter as a source? Creepy how people will enthusiastically discuss and detail their crimes, victims, and accomplices before they even do it. Good side- torture only necessary if you’ve got black leather underwear and are getting paid to do it. Isn’t that right, Stranger?

    But absolute unprotested horror: dozens of websites advertising arrest records (let alone convictions!). (Proving how most felons are also fashion models.) And guaranteeing nobody will know you looked. And your address. And who you “May Know”. And real-time video of your house. KGB vets must be banging their heads against walls knowing their careers were futile.

    But I’ll make you a deal, ST and ORCA.You can post on your information screens and onboard announcements, in between apologies for trains being late, my crimes whether I got caught or not, my failed modeling career, and everybody that knows me, after giving them time to flee the country. Including every ST Board Member present for Public Comment.

    In return, get those prostate adds out of my e-mail. Needle biopsy says I’m fine. And since you’ve got the video for that too, knock yourself out.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Mark Dublin;

      As to:

      real blood chilling information horror is how many people not only accept without question but gleefully participate in the complete shredding of our personal privacy without a lifted Government finger.
      Ever notice how much political and criminal justice news coverage starts out with Twitter as a source? Creepy how people will enthusiastically discuss and detail their crimes, victims, and accomplices before they even do it. Good side- torture only necessary if you’ve got black leather underwear and are getting paid to do it. Isn’t that right, Stranger?
      But absolute unprotested horror: dozens of websites advertising arrest records (let alone convictions!). (Proving how most felons are also fashion models.) And guaranteeing nobody will know you looked. And your address. And who you “May Know”. And real-time video of your house. KGB vets must be banging their heads against walls knowing their careers were futile.

      Yes, we have a real, genuine problem in western civilization. Some like Heather “Newsbrooke” Brooke would say we live in an era of mass surveillance.

      Now I for no second think the young transit campaigner pups in Shefali’s care at Mass Transit Now ever intended to open this Pandora’s Box. But in life, many but not all roads to Hell are paved with good intentions.

      But the young transit campaigner pups have arguably done something beautiful for America or at least Puget Sound. Just as many inventions happen by accident, this accident raises the alarm of just how much does “the government” know about “we the people” and who is “the government” sharing this data with. Innocent, friendly campaign today sending out an e-mail starting with “Hi friend –
      You love riding transit, from Pierce and Community Transit buses to Sound Transit’s Sounder Commuter Rail and Link Light Rail trains. … This fall, you will have a historic opportunity to vote connecting light rail from Tacoma to Everett, Ballard to West Seattle, Issaquah to Kirkland, and Downtown Seattle to Downtown Redmond. The campaign train for Regional Proposition 1 is Mass Transit Now and we’re about to leave the station. Jump on-board!” …

      Who knows tomorrow who will get our ORCA data? Newsbrooke said herself back in 2011 at that:

      The investigative journalist and campaigner says the attempt to sell the electoral register was just one example of data dealing – the burgeoning trade in personal information that could affect any citizen with an online profile.

      “I don’t think people have any idea that this goes on all the time. There are corporate private investigators, companies doing very forensic background checks on people. They buy data, they get their own data … They don’t want their industry publicised”, she says.

      . . .

      Brooke warns corporations and governments are a “customer” for information, and they want it for a reason: “It’s trying to predict the behaviour of different people and it’s making decisions about who it thinks are going to be trouble makers, not based on what you’ve actually done but based on what they think you’re going to do in the future.”

      She doesn’t subscribe to the ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about’ philosophy: “If you believe the promise that an authoritarian state makes that if it has enough knowledge on every citizen it will keep people safe. I think that’s a false promise. It doesn’t actually happen. If that was the case then East Germany would be a really incredible place to live and in fact it wasn’t, it was really horrible, most of these places were really horrible.”

      And as the amount of data about people increases – google searches, text messages, emails, chat logs, purchases – so does the value of what it says about you. The websites you like to go to, the products you like to buy, and what exactly you might get up to in your spare time. And with more data comes opportunity for democracy – or suppression.

      I really, truly wonder who the h-e-double-l has my ORCA data right about now? It’s one thing for Abigail Doerr to have it, but who’s next? Should we just scrap ORCA and just use paper tickets?

      The civil liberties issues are huge and they’re now out of the bag. Geoff Patrick, man of honor, can only do so much to get it back. We will have to see if CEO Peter Rogoff will fire somebody for this… and just how much will Washington Coalition for Open Government President and anti-ST3 pamphleteer Toby Nixon will keep this story alive otherwise.

      1. Joe, I agree that releasing digital point-to-point ORCA usage linked with e-mails is a serious offense. But “No, we’re not “living in an era of mass surveillance.” Yes, our photos show up on security cameras as the 7-11 and the bank. They appear in the video streams of public streets on which we walk or cycle.

        But nobody looks at you! They just don’t give a damn what you do. So effectively they aren’t recording. Now, if you commit a crime they might look for you, but if you committed a crime in the pre-security camera era they’d get a police artist to rough up a drawing of you and carry it around to possible witnesses. What’s really changed?

      2. Got a solution, Joe, but, as these websites keep warning you as a build-up, you need to brace yourself for the crimes you’ll see for the first time unless you really did commit them.

        Then, also…can’t really verify, because would you give your credit card number to these loathsome slime creatures?

        So I guess we’ll both have to learn from our evil brothers Fox News and all its listeners never to apologize for anything, especially for the things we did where they haven’t found the bodies yet.

        But also face the fact that none of those sullen “My mangy boyfriend ratted me out”- looking models will either be in prison with us or write us letters. Let alone send us a cake with a file in it.

        Also, look at mass surveillance this way. Imagine if you’re the private security guy who has to monitor 24-7-365 the men’s room at any Greyhound Station.

        How many shifts ago do you think he switched his viewing. Not only do cats not care what you think about anything they’re doing, or what human is watching them chase touch screen Pokemons, they’re not going to stop doing it.

        ‘Til you finally litter-box them off and they’ll knock your most expensive china off the fireplace and make kitty litter out of your sofa. Meaning if you get one “For a Limited Time You Can Win a Vacation In Angle Lake” promotion…

        See to it every bathroom in Union Station is immediately so deep in shredded toilet paper that vengeance will be yours when they discover the International District pet store is gone, and with it their last hope for a litter box.

        Good warning to both major parties and this year’s Presidential candidates what will happen to them first time anybody nominates a cat.

        Mark Dublin

    2. Vancouver did away with paper tickets last year and moved to the Compass Card. You can still pay cash but there are no transfers issued.

    3. Anyone with a checking account/mortgage, driving license, passport or who has served in the US Military “sacrificed” her/his “privacy” LONG ago.

      1. More than 10 years after closing my Bank of America accounts, I still get the annual nastygram from them that reminds me that they are still allowed to sell my personal information to their “business partners” and anyone else that gives them enough money.

  5. Why are ORCA card readers not on the entrance/exit doors of the vehicles instead of outside either on a post or in the stations?

    1. They are on the entrance to buses. On the ttains and on Swift it is payment of all types before boarding. It works better due to the amount of people entering and leaving. It would slow things down too much, plus there is no way for cash payers to pay once on board so it would mean two different pay structures.

      It’s also a pretty universal way of paying on transit trains. There are a couple of commuter rail operations where you can buy a ticket from a conductor, but they are not the way most operations work in most places on earth, so it makes sense to do things the same way that most everyone else does. That prevents confusion when people from one city visit another.

    2. If the readers were inside the trains, that would reduce available passenger space, just for the sake of making it easier to cheat the fare enforcement.

      If readers were attached outside the trains, that becomes a hazard to bystanders.

      Readers just outside the doors but on the platform would slow down boarding.

      Having the readers at station entrances makes it harder to defraud fare enforcement and keeps them out of the way of the boarding process.

      The one time I got a warning for double-tapping was because I tapped at the station entrance and then again at the platform. For me, the biggest nuisance is the lack of distinct on/off/cancel tones.

  6. Sound Transit still hasn’t announced the opening date for Angle Lake station yet, right? Given a tentative September release, I wonder when they are planning on telling us the date of the opening.

    1. They will probably announce the date in a few weeks, but it will probably be in late September.

      1. Maybe instead of an opening party they just have a community bonfire to burn thousands of unsold Seattle Times newspapers?

      2. Yup, no party. No confetti. No chrome train paper models. to take home. No impromptu Transit Geek Fest. No flirting.

        Good grief, don’t let the bullies win! Hold the September Sound Transit Board meeting right there!

  7. Now. Since all our comments above make it unnecessary for Twitter to banner headline our crimes, identities and accomplices. ISIS, in addition to not giving us a + swears they never heard of us, :( …..!

    Let’s get back to Frank’s posting. Which really is one of the best things Seattle Transit Blog has ever done. Though it don’t think video really shows real world implications of driving something that big without being able to see into the ground. Though do recall having my artic’s wiper linkage fall off at 60 mph on I-90 in a rainstorm.

    Interesting trick from that Channel Tunnel book (The Chunnel). All the way across the English Channel while under it, machines had to stay in a very narrow stratum of chalk- like the (hated it!) blackboard stuff markers replaced. White Cliffs of Dover, don’t you know.

    Few wrong degrees up or down, whole crew drowns. So they ran a narrow core drill through the hub of the cutter to bring in rock samples ahead of the machine. Which a marine biologist would study for a type of fossil that only exists in the correct layer.

    Doesn’t say what instruments were used to extract the biologist’s academic record from her fossil identification exams. Or to make sure she didn’t cheat. Evidently they all worked.


  8. Does anyone know of a good map of the interior of UW station? Something like

    I ask because I seem to perennially get lost trying to get out of the station towards Rainier Vista. If I take the elevator I’m fine. But if I want to let other passengers use the elevator and I take the escalators, I always seem to wind up far from the bridge over Montlake Blvd regardless of which way I walk when I exit the train. I know there’s an escalator between the bridge and street levels, and I often take it going down, but I can never seem to find that escalator going up.

    I also have never seen the real-time bus displays supposedly inside the station, so maybe I’m just bad at finding things…

    1. Frankly I’d like way better signage at these stations. Westlake is starting to get better.

      You know what I want? Big arrows with labels on the floor like “This Way to Streetcar”, “This Way to UofW Pedestrian Bridge”, “This Way to Sounder & Amtrak”, “This Way to Buses, That Way to SeaTac Airport Terminal” and at SoDo “This Way to Washington Policy Centre ;-)”.



      1. Agreed. There needs to be better signage. By the time I get from the platform to street level I’m completely disoriented from all the escalators.

        Here’s the closest to a map I could find, assumng it’s accurate.

        Is that picture right that regardless of how you exit the platform, there’s only 1 escalator from the mezzanine (#6 in the picture) to street level? Also it seems my mistake is that once I reach street level, I need to turn around and walk south AWAY from the pedestrian bridge and then hang a U-turn to get to the escalator. That’s non-obvious and needs better signs.

    2. It took me a while to figure out the clues to distinguishing the north escalators from the south. I won’t say them now in case I get them reversed. But at the platform level, one end wall has a mural of Husky Stadium and the other has a mural of Suzzallo Library. One end has the tunnel opening to Capitol Hill; the other end has a closed roll-up door. When you get to the top of the long escalator, at one end the turnaround corridor is left of you and that the other end it’s right of you.

      An interesting thing at Capitol Hill Station is right after you step on the escalator from the mezzanine to the platform, you can look across and see the opposite escalators in the distance. They look so identical it looks like a reflection. You have to see that the people are different to know it’s not. And there’s a science fiction story in there somewhere.

    3. Best thing, Larry- note which way train is going. I think you want to head forward.


    4. Thanks for that Westlake map. Every time I use Link and exit at a DSTT station, I discover some new exit that delivers me to the furthest point possible from where I wanted to be.

      1. I explored all the DSTT entrances early on but last year I discovered one I’d somehow overlooked. I thought there were two entrances to Pioneer Square Station, but then I was at the northwest corner of James & 3rd and discovered a third entrance at the bottom of a building.

        There used to be a fourth entrance to Westlake from the old Nordstrom building at the southwest corner of 6th & Pine at the mezzanine level. When Nordstrom moved across the street, the building was somehow reconfigured and the entrance has been closed ever since. I can’t believe the building owner would neglect such a major asset.

    5. This is something ST is simply horrible at compared to other cities, and I don’t understand why. There is no simple way to find any information about their stations at all on their website; when you finally find a link to their list of stations it gives you almost no information. The mailing address? Driving directions? (I guess marginally useful if you’re getting a ride/Uber, but not as part of a transit system). But they DO tell us that “the next train…northbound…is arriving in…two minutes.” Except when it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong–I use the line daily and am not displeased with its operation in and of itself, but the experience could be made so much better for those trips that aren’t the daily commute.

      Randomly selecting a system, the DC Metro, as an example, has a large amount of information on their stations including a list of neighborhood businesses, number of bike stalls/storage, and a printable PDF showing entrances, bus stops and what buses stop where (and their destinations). It’s easy to find intuitively on their website. Atlanta’s MARTA isn’t quite as useful, but still much better than ST’s. BART is decent. San Diego isn’t great…but still better than ST. Tri-Met is a mixed bag – some stations on their list give connecting bus info, some at transit centers have a map showing the stop locations, some say “many bus routes serve this station.” Yet all of these give more transit system information than ST, some a great deal more–and ALL were much easier to find on their agency website.

      If you (non-intuitively) go to ST’s map page, which opens showing all of Western Washington, you then have to toggle on the service you want, then know where the station you are looking for is on the map, then click on it–and even then it only shows the information for what uses that stop (literally!). Other than in the tunnel where buses stop at the exact same location, it DOES NOT SHOW any connecting buses at any other station! Capitol Hill? No buses stop there. UW? No buses stop there. Mount Baker? No buses stop there. You get the picture.

      In the stations, signage sucks. Neighborhood wayfinding sucks. Information on connecting bus times and locations (except at UW)…wait for it…sucks. At least the new wifi service will help me access OneBusAway so that I can tell before deciding which direction to exit Capitol Hill station and walk to catch the 11, or catch the 8 and walk home from there. Now I usually guess wrong and have to backtrack on the surface to get to where I wanted to go in the first place.

      ST needs to make a serious effort to design for the occasional user and the visitor. If the system is understandable to them, it is understandable to everybody. Either have someone who has traveled extensively and used transit elsewhere–and can empathetically think as a visitor would–work on improving this, or hire someone from outside to make things better (Oran’s firm did nice work in Phoenix, for example). We want to make it so easy to use that it becomes a default for non-commute traffic, so that we can be like other cities where businesses in their advertisements always mention the nearest station (Mark’s Espresso, Link: Beacon Hill). We want basic information like “where is the bus stop? What routes stop there and where do they go? What time is the last train of the day in each direction?” That last one is vital information when going out; Santiago’s Metro as an example has all operating hours for THAT station specifically posted prominently above the entrances. Very useful stuff to know!

      This lengthy post came about because I was trying to find the station plan for UW Station, something I know exists because I referenced it several times during construction. At that time it was in the “projects and plans” section of the website but now is not there as the line is open. How hard would it have been to have linked it to the station page when the station opened?

  9. Looks like cross-cutting is nearing completion as well. I count…4 more to go if they’re going North to South till U-District?

    Already cross-cut at least one of the passages there…

    1. Two data points: ST’s general publicity and the float in the schedule. ST is saying 2001. Last I heard the remaining contingency float was 9 months. That means it could open 9 months earlier than… some date. If ST’s target date is September 2021, that would imply December 2020 if all goes well. U-Link had a chance of opening in 2015 but it didn’t quite make it, so it appears to have advanced from September 2016 to March 2016. North Link looks headed for the same trajectory, give or take six months. This is just a general guess; I have no specific knowledge of North Link’s project status.

      1. It will be interesting to see what happens. Interstate avenue gets a bit more service than usual, plus a direct tie to the Westside.

        I’m not so sure the “service will be terrible during the construction, so please stay away from MAX” combined with the “service will be terrible so MAX riders don’t have to pay a fare” is a great combination of messages, but it worked ok during the last round of track rebuilding.

        I like the fact that they decided to have the customer service hotline staffed extended hours today and tomorrow. Probably need to have it run longer during the week though.

        As best as I can tell, the transit tracker is correctly showing arrival countdowns on the website and on PDXBus.

        I’ll try to be free on Thursday so that if you need any help finding your way around I can help you do so. I usually enjoy playing short term tour guide.

        I’ll try to monitor this thread of comments too and answer any questions you or anyone else who happens to need visitor’s transit advice has, but I can’t promise a speedy response.

      2. Thanks Glenn, I really do appreciate your offer of help and the tips above. I’m nervous entering into the “World of Trimet” considering all I’ve cumulatively seen on social media from many social media accounts.

        I will be reentering “Trimet World” sometime in the winter to reattempt to see Evergreen Aviation Museum. I hope Trimet won’t be doing maintenance then.

      3. August is a low ridership month, so they tend to do this sort of stuff then. I think half the regulars on the bus I take to work haven’t been there this past week.

        I don’t think December has enough daylight hours for them to want to do this type of thing, When they redid the track on 1st Ave I ate in a Thai place overlooking the track and they were still working at 8 pm, but there was still lots of light to work with.

      4. Based on what I am seeing on the departure board, they are running the MAX Transit Mall Shuttle. This is good, as it means that there is still reasonably frequent service going north and south through downtown on the Transit Mall, despite the reduced service everywhere else on MAX. Not sure what sort of mobile device you might have, but if you have one you can text message the stop number to 272-99 to get arrival information. Smartphones or iPod Touch have other options.

        If you have an iPhone let me know, because there is a way to set that up to look at multiple stops with one display screen. I don’t know how to do that with anything else.

        Southbound from Union Station, the closest MAX stop is three blocks south at 5th and Glisan (stop # 7601).

        If things on MAX get really screwed up upon your arrival, you might also want to check bus stop 9890. This bus (#16) doesn’t run very often, but its about as close as you can get to Union Station with a bus alternative going south. You have to go over the pedestrian bridge over the tracks to get to Front Avenue/Natio Parkway to get there.

        Another stop to look at is #12805. This is #17 going south at Hoyt and Broadway. It’s about as far from the station at the MAX stop is (three blocks) so it might be a good option depending on what is coming.

        Otherwise, there is a stop at 5th and Davis that also goes south. This is stop # 9301, and has #4, 8, 9, 35 and 44. Three of those are pretty frequent routes so one of those should be coming unless there is a major problem on the Steel Bridge or some other mess going on.

        Or, you could just have lunch at the station while you are waiting for things to be unscrewed up. Wilf’s Restaurant just south of the station main entrance (but unfortunately today it has a separate entrance) is a bit more expensive than average but at least its right there at the station.

      5. Oh, and if you are wanting to go directly out to the west side, you might want to look at going all the way down to Burnside and getting the 20 out to Beaverton. This is 7 blocks south of the station, and unfortunately only every other bus goes all the way to Beaverton. However, if the timing works right it might be a good option. The stop at Burnside between 5th and 6th is #782. However, Burnside is also where a couple of the homeless shelters are, so there are definitely a few homeless people wandering that part of Burnside.

    1. That’s right where MAX was blocked the second-last time I was in Portland. I was attending Rail~volution downtown and wanted to meet a friend at 82nd Avenue. But Obama came to town and was in the Lloyd district so no trains were going through. I didn’t have time to take a bus further south so I just canceled it. But you might find the east-west buses further south useful, depending on where you’re going.

      1. The 77 and 20 can be very useful as well. The bad news with the 20 is that it has become a very long route, so it has a lot of opportunity for mischief.

  10. Good evening. I’m taking public transit up to Vancouver this Friday and at least to the border everything seems to resemble what oran did some time ago. I’ll have to look up things on the translink side but it looks like a go. Not much of a money saver but i do have a monthly pass for orca so only $1 to Everett. Then it’s $4 to bellingham and $2 to the border. $10 Canadian all day pass plus compass card rest of the way which I wojld have gotten anyway. Wish me luck.

    1. How are you getting your Compass Card? Just tried to order one online and it’s Canada addresses only. So be prepared to have coins to feed the farebox on your first leg. Also be prepared to be questioned by the border agents.

      Good luck.

      1. I’m not sure. I’ll find out the retailers. There is a couple of miles between the checkpoint and the bus stop and there’s got to be a retailer that sells them. I’ll look it up. If it’s too much work I’ll just stuff the box full of coins like you say. And as far as the border goes, I’ll have everything printed out (I have to; otherwise how will I know how to get to Olympic Village) and my return ticket will be in hand. And my list shows every step from Renton to Olympic Village, with the walk split up in two legs (USA and Candian Leg).

        And on that note looks like good luck to anyone getting a Compass Card as Canada Post might go on strike and people’s commutes would grind to a halt.

        Oran’s list works from Seattle up until the Skytrain Station. And use ST 512 instead of ST 510 from Seattle.

    2. Good luck!

      There’s been one change since Oran’s trip: there’s a faster bus from Bellingham to Blaine, the 70x. Hope it works with your schedule!

      1. The 70X runs too early for it to be useful, and too late in the afternoon as well (I’ll be at the checkpoint close to 1 PM). But it’s nice for those taking the late trips :).

    3. I did it a couple years. The buses do work. One thing that is not super-obvious from the map – after walking into Canada, you can avoid walking along the highway by making an immediate left onto Beach Road, ignoring the “Dead End” signs. About two miles down the road, there’s a footbridge crossing a river, with the town of White Rock immediately on the other side. When I did this, I continued to walk another 3 miles through White Rock directly to the express bus, rather than taking a “bus to the bus”.

      That said, there are two things you need to watch out for:
      1) It’s unfortunate, but walking seems to be treated as a special cause of suspicion by the Canadian border patrol. Expect to be grilled much more thoroughly than you would if you were driving across, and be prepared to show written confirmation for your lodging on Canada and your ride back. That said, after an extended grilling session, the Canadians eventually did let me through.

      2) Unless you already have a compass card, finding the right currency to pay for the White Rock->Bridgeport bus can be tricky, since the Canadian buses don’t accept American currency, and the vending machines that dispense the cards aren’t available until after you get off the White Rock->Bridgeport bus. My suggestion is to pre-order a Compass Card online and have it shipped to your Seattle address, loaded and ready to go. Then, you can use your credit card for all non-transit-related expenditures and avoid dealing with Canadian cash altogether.

      1. This shows up on Google maps, and I was thinking of trying this the next time I am up there, if for no other reason than just to get to Peace Arch as that three times per day bus is quite a bit less service than the bus in White Rock.

        This is the pedestrian bridge:,+BC,+Canada/@49.015758,-122.7798055,266m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x5485c376dc9d8043:0x50135152a7b09c0!8m2!3d49.0253085!4d-122.802962?hl=en

  11. I have a silly question: When (and, if anyone knows, why) did route 41 stop serving 6th Ave S / S Atlantic St, out in front of the base? The March service change? Not a big deal, I suppose. It was a nice shortcut/additional capacity route when leaving Safeco Field and going back up to Lake City that now requires getting on the jam-packed train and riding up to IDS. (Yes, route 522, but very crowded after games.)

  12. I know ORCA is being reimplemented and they are in the news for other reasons this week, but I continue to find its current implementation a drain on my own use of public transportation.

    I use the ePurse and had about $6 left so before I rode the bus on Thursday I reloaded the card with $20 online. I tapped the card twice on Thursday running the balance down to about $1 but the reload never took. Presumably the reload is pending and will take the next time I ride, but I now have a card with a $1 balance which will not get me on the bus if the reload doesn’t happen. If I wait long enough the reload will be refunded and I’ll have to go through the process again.

    It’s just one more little annoyance which can make the difference between me choosing to ride transit or not. The idea that I can’t ride without quarters in my pocket feels increasingly anachronistic. Why can’t my phone or my credit card be used to get me on a bus in 2016? And, why can’t my ORCA card be reloaded online without a whole sequence of Rube Goldberg actions having to occur in the right order for me to use the funds?

    The ORCA 2 rollout cannot happen fast enough and hopefully nobody who had anything to do with ORCA 1 will be allowed anywhere near it.

    1. Considering the clean house I mentioned above, I think you have reason to hold hope ORCA 2 will be much better.

    2. I haven’t heard that any decisions have been made re what ORCA 2 will be like.

      You can ride a bus with a low balance; it will just say “Owe $2.00” or whatever the remainder is and you pay it with cash.

      1. It really shouldn’t take too much to reprogram the existing card system. Compass in BC can go negative to the purchase price of the card. This gives some compensation for the card purchase price.

        I don’t know that ORCA 2 will be any better. The issue you have is the data access. The buses need to have the card data loaded onto them as the buses don’t have a good enough data connection to perform the transaction instantly. So, take Link, Sounder or tap at a RapidRide station reader and the card should update as those have a hard wired network connection that can handle the transaction with the main database.

      2. Improving data access for the fixed readers would solve a lot of my problems. It apparently can take twenty four hours for an online reload to be propagated out to the fixed readers at RapidRide stops. This means that a reload which occurs on Thursday morning won’t be transferred to my card until I ride Friday morning. This is inconvenient if you are doing the reload to ride Thursday afternoon.

      3. I was under the impression that RapidRide fixed readers have a data connection. The readers on the buses themselves are the ones that take the 24 hours to propagate as the buses need to return to the shop where the card update information gets loaded.

        I would think that RapidRide would have the ability to be updated faster since the buses on RapidRide have WiFi on board – so they at least should have a decent data connection.

        Is this data link a wireless WiFi connection at the shop? If so, then maybe the solution would be to have the major transit centers have a WiFi connection that updates the bus readers as they pass by? I don’t know enough about ORCA to know if that is possible.

  13. I don’t know if something has changed in the last couple of months but now when I view STB on Sadari on iPhone after loaded it jumps to the bottom of the page and I’m forced to scroll all the way back to the top. Someone at STB may want to test this.

    1. PS: Looking closer. It seems to be the Trivago ad down under sponsorship that is somehow grabbing the focus.

      1. Yes, it demands a cursor, and when the cursor moves to the ad it makes everything scroll all the way down there.

  14. The escalators at UW station are still stopped regularly. Sometimes one of the long ones, sometimes one from the surface, and yesterday and today one from the platform. Sometimes they remain open when they’re stopped, and sometimes they’re closed. It’s high time ST gave an explanation for these. Are they really so defective that they broke down after two weeks and resist repair? I’ve seen people replacing the steps a couple times but usually they’re just closed with no visible reason. If it’s true that ST has to close an escalator when somebody falls down it until it’s inspected, are there really people falling down them every week?

    Another thing is the escalator/elevator interaction. You’d think ST would try to keep people away from the elevators to leave room for the disabled and bicycles, but ST is practically forcing people to take the elevator by having one escalator closed and its companion going down, so people either have to use the elevator or walk twice as far to the other escalators. Once they start using the elevators they may never stop using them.

    1. Not really addressing your comment, but a question I’ve always had about escalators and travelators in the US as compared to Europe. I’ve never seen an escalator or travelator in the US that wasn’t on constantly whereas in Europe I’ve seen both escalators and travelators that only work if someone approaches assuming that there’s a motion operating switch. It seems to me that this would cut down on wear and tear and also not consume as much electricity.

      1. Could it be because only some American leaders believe in saving energy and climate change?

        Although starting and stopping a heavy motor can use more energy than leaving it on, and cause wear on the motor that would take energy to fix and replace. The escalators at UW station get somebody every minute, maybe every five minutes at night. Except that one to the bridge, which I may be the only one who uses.

      2. I’ve seem them in the US, but they are much less common so far than elsewhere (have also seen them in South America, Asia, Australia and even in Cape Town, so they are certainly not unusual).

        Mike’s point about starting/stopping with heavy usage is a good one, although in very heavy usage they’d be mostly on like they are now, and even at six minute headways with trains arriving in either direction exactly three minutes apart, there would still probably be a minute or two between trains where the up escalators aren’t being used once the platforms are cleared (more with longer headways, of course).

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