71 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Off the Rails”

      1. A couple months ago very favorable. There was a significant amount of polling on st2 so I would look at that.

  1. How does Sound Transit get it’s ridership/boarding data? Is it based off of sensors at the doors, ORCA card taps, or something else?

    1. It is primarily sensors at the doors, but ORCA and ticket/pass sales are compared to find anomalies.

  2. One thing I would have liked to see ST do that would have been an easy “early win” for ST 3 would have been to improve frequency on the ST2-funded lines. Even if SDOT won’t allow trains to run more than every 6 minutes through the Ranier Valley, perhaps the all-day frequency could go from 10 minutes to 8 minutes, or from 15 minutes to 12 minutes after 10 PM. It would be easy to do, and would help with transfers, since a lot of people are going to be switching lines downtown once ST3 is fully built out. It would also provide people who already have light rail from ST2 an additional reason to vote for ST3.

    I am voting for ST3 regardless, but more frequency would be an excellent way to win votes from people on the existing line who are on the fence.

    1. Running trains more frequently during the day makes it harder to run more 3-car trains during peak. Fewer 3-car trains, combined with corking behavior by relatively new riders, is still likely leading to some passengers waiting for the next train, and play into Niles’ porridge-is-now-too-hot narrative.

      ST needs to keep playing that “Please move away from the doors” message, especially in Pioneer Square Station southbound during the PM peak.

      1. Keep in mind that spending near-term money on operations will just mean that there is less money to devote to capital projects. That could lead to stretching out the (already too long) schedule for construction of LRT extensions.

    2. There is an easy way to get rid of the Ranier Valley speed limit: Elevate the Ranier Valley section. I personally think that would be a better solution than building a bypass thru Georgetown, as the ROW is already obtained and ready for construction.

      1. Could be easier to undercut the major intersections, Lukas. But your main point is absolutely right. Nobody with an international flight to catch should have to worry about anything a texting motorist or pedestrian can do to transit.

        But like the rest of LINK, the Rainier Valley line has been an important part of the step by step approach our conditions dictated. By the end of the ST3 time-frame, plans will be on the boards a ten minute ride to the airport. Along with five more stops between Everett and Tacoma.


      2. Mark is right; that is the best way to solve that problem. But I seriously doubt it is worth the money. So far as I can tell, once Graham Street Station is added, the biggest gap in Rainier Valley is 1.1 miles. Has anyone done the math when it comes to this? My guess is that it really doesn’t make much difference. Most of the time spent on Rainier Valley is spent at a station, or speeding up or slowing down. The tiny amount of time spent at 58 MPH or 35 MPH (?) would probably add up to savings of under a minute.

        The greatest benefit is that we could up the headways. Right now it is six minutes max, and I could see running trains more often. But then again, why bother? The pairing actually works out quite nicely, with trains from the U-District running every 3 minutes and half of them heading south and the other half east. In other words, we have bigger fish to fry.

        One of those fish, of course, is what asdf2 suggested. The difference between six and three minutes isn’t huge, but the difference between fifteen and six is enormous. At fifteen minutes i check a schedule, run after the train and curse loudly if I happen to miss it. I start looking around for surface buses, or maybe think about that Uber thing the kids have been talking about. But if I miss a train that I know will be around again in less than six minutes, I just exhale and look for a place to sit down.

      3. It would be one solution. Unfortunately, it’s not been studied. A mere study is also not funded in ST3. ST just spent millions of ST2 money studying new lines for ST3 and now proposes to spend more ST3 money on new line studies for ST4 — but they have not identified needed studies to resolve this or other operational challenges in the current system.

        Not only is the MLK surface rail segment disruptive for Link, but the cross-streets are sometimes a traffic mess because of train delays. Also, Link riders who transfer to Metro buses are running across congested streets and waiting several minutes to get to Link trains to/from nearby Metro bus stops.

        The biggest engineering challenge appears to be how to build a support structure above active light rail tracks. It may look like a wide right-of-way, but erecting earthquake-safe piers 8-10 feet across could be a real problem. ST could possibly have to build a temporary bypass track (maybe taking a lane of MLK in each direction) before elevating the main tracks.

        Another approach would be to leave the tracks alone, and change the roadway design of MLK — say raising it higher than the catenary wires or lowering enough to put in a vehicle or pedestrian underpass. Street profiles can be steeper than rail profiles, for example, which make them a bit easier. It may sound very disruptive, but taking the congested traffic out of station areas through an overpass or underpass could create a pleasant pedestrian environment around a station and even the platforms could be less “barrier-ed” from businesses across a converted low-speed or a ped/bike-only street.

        The community challenge with an elevated option is dealing with the large number of residents that live facing MLK who are afraid of the noise intrusion and people looking in their windows. There are hundreds of new apartments and townhouses that face MLK with more coming. I have heard that ST originally wanted to build an elevated section but the existing communities screamed that they didn’t want it. The new housing makes this an even bigger political problem.

        In sum, it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s why the Duwamish bypass strategy is attractive. I used to think this is the best solution like you. I used to think that the bypass was proposed because riders had hang-ups about going through the Rainier Valley — but now I understand that a bypass along I-5 right-of-way would probably be much cheaper and easier than trying to change out the Link Rainier Valley profile.

        Still, there is no interest at ST to examine alternatives on this segment. That’s the most immediate deficiency. Without some sort of study, no one can really know what’s best.

      4. “A mere study is also not funded in ST3.”

        Did anyone put it in their feedback to ST when ST3 was being decided? Or was it like the “Metro 8” line whose community support was too little, too late?

        “The biggest engineering challenge appears to be how to build a support structure above active light rail tracks.”

        That’s why the trough idea is looking attractive. Just lower the track like they’re doing to Aurora in Uptown/SLU, and no more trains at intersections.

        “The greatest benefit is that we could up the headways.”

        That and the lack of collisions. No more children being killed crossing the street, no more single-tracking during Husky+Mariners+rush hour days, no more halting trains for 30-60 minutes while somebody is trying to catch a flight. The cost of all these over fifty years should be included in the cost of surface alignments, then they wouldn’t look so artificially cheap compared to elevated and underground.

      5. We have far larger fish to fry them this proposal. Let us revisit in the 40s when ST3 is nearing completion. Sometimes “mistakes” get made that we have to live with. Can anyone say “Bertha”?

    3. “Running trains more frequently during the day makes it harder to run more 3-car trains during peak.”

      Why? We’re going to have 4-car trains running all day very soon anyway. The only downside of more frequent trains is operating costs, but ST 3 provides additional money to pay for such operating costs. Besides reducing wait time, it would also increase capacity, thereby reducing crowding, and increasing the odds of people getting on in the U-district or Ranier Valley being able to find a seat.

  3. Pierce Transit’s Comprehensive Operations Analysis will be reviewed by the Board of Commissioners tomorrow morning. There are two alternatives, one which increases span of service and upgrades frequencies on more routes to every 30 minutes, and another which reorganizes routes, eliminates duplicative routings, and attempts to equalize service according to demand.


  4. Martin and everybody else, thank you for a wonderful start to a grey morning and a wet fall week.

    Recalling the decades when my passengers on Metro’s heaviest routes were often glad to see an overloaded bus show up in half an hour, in really just a few weeks our public is now furious that they can only have service every six minutes.

    And how many State Legislators have 101,000 voters in their whole district? Any way we can get a Constitutional amendment so trains get representation? Kind of a shame, though, that both our politics and our football culture are so tame that we don’t need the police to stage post-game loading so Husky and Cougar fans never get on the same train.

    Though might be time we drill transit police to say, “Ullo, ullo, ullo and what ‘ave we ‘ere?” And delay-apologies that finish with “We’re seein’ a lo’ o’ that lytely!” And whatever “corking” means -didn’t Basil Fawlty on “Fawlty Towers” get into it with guests about bad wine?- some polite requests that Liverpool and Manchester United fans not leave each others’ bitten off ears on DSTT platforms where bomb-sniffing dogs can get sick eating them?

    But best of all is that John Niles is a human dishrag of conflicted emotions. Realizing that his only way to save at least one ear from The Beatles’ former neighbors is the complete failure of his system. But simultaneously waking up to discover that anybody gives a rat’s Bottle and Glass what he thinks about anything.


    1. I assume you are referring to the 101,000 boardings on Link one Friday?

      Shouldn’t we assume that most of those riders made at least 2 boardings on Link that day (one round trip) and at least some made more than 2 boardings? So, the actual number of different individuals who rode Link that day was probably fewer than 50,000?

      1. Asotin County has 22,000 people. No chance whatever that in a tight election, 50,000 voters could make some difference? But really trying to stress the change the Ship Canal crossing has made in our transit world.

        My main point that most of our passenger-handling problems have to do with whole trainloads of people who’ve never before ridden a transit system anything like ours. And that if majority have any complaint, it’s that we didn’t have it sooner. And they don’t have one.

        That’s all. I bitch to High Heaven to anybody in hearing range about DSTT operations, from long experience and close contact. And among visitors from places that have had much more, and much less transit longer, my negative comments are always outvoted.

        Might be good, though if we could arrange some high school field trips from the rest of the State to ride with us. Problem with people that age is that the closer they get to voting, the fewer outstate elections they’ll ever vote in again.

        With less expensive field trips, today’s kindergarteners from ST service area will win us elections in 13 years.


    2. This is sort of an interesting point that I had never thought about before — how many Link riders are actual “voters” in the ST voting districts?

      Obviously, you have to divide the boardings by at least 2, because most Link riders make at least 2 boardings per day. But, of those, how many are actual voters?

      Here are some groups I can think of who are not likely to be “voters” in the ST voting districts:

      Out-of-town business people and tourists who fly into SeaTac and ride Link to downtown or elsewhere

      High school or younger students who are not old enough to vote

      UW students from out-of-state, or even international students, or in-state but not registered to vote in ST tax districts

      Recent immigrants who are not U.S. citizens yet

      Children attending events like the M’s or Huskies games or concerts, etc.

      Young children with their parents for any reason (shopping trips, visiting friends, etc.)

      People who might live in the ST districts but are not registered to vote — there is a significant percentage of all adults in WA State who could register to vote but don’t bother

      And then there is a significant percentage of all registered voters who just don’t bother to vote, for whatever reason.

      So, of the 50,000 or fewer unique riders on Link the Friday of 101,000 boardings, there could easily be 25,000 or fewer people who are actually going to vote in November. There might have been fewer than 25,000 unique riders who are even registered to vote in the ST districts.

      But, obviously, not close to 101,000 different “voters” boarded Link that Friday.

      1. Chad, we’re talking about one day, very early on, in the beginning weeks of future years of serious transit operations. We’re not even at Northgate yet, or any of EastLINK. I do think we just got a very positive indicator.

        But also:

        On their return home, out-of-town business people and tourists spread the word that Seattle has just become a one step more attractive place to do business, and move to, and register to vote.

        Thousands high school or younger students who are not old enough to vote will be before every election following this next one. And parents have told me first-hand that on every outing, their children are more excited about LINK than main purpose of the trip.

        Many recent immigrants who are not U.S. citizens yet come from countries where excellent public transit is an assumed fact of life. And will vote to give our country perhaps the one thing that presently now works better in the country they left.

        No law, or repression, separates eligible non-voters from the poles. Generally problem is sense that their vote isn’t going to change anything worth the chump-change that gasoline or transit fare will cost. Exactly the outlook a bad Status most wants for its Quo.

        Powerful obstacle. But not plate tectonics


      2. We the voters are supposed to morally represent the children who can’t vote, the same way we support schools. Visitors are good for our economy, and they also pay Sound Transit sales taxes. You forgot those who live just outside the ST district but commute [1] in it, like our friends Joe and Mr Dublin. But I look at it a different way than subsidizing those individuals or them not being able to vote for what they want. I look at it in terms of the size of the metropolitan area and what level of transit such an area should ave [2]: the society benefits when people can get to work and errands and personal events, in terms of a better economy, cultural life, and health.

        [1] commute = traveling regularly, not just traveling for work

        [2] My keyboard is dropping h’s like a cockney kid. Sigh, time to get a keycap puller and wash it.

    1. https://seattletransitblog.wpcomstaging.com/2015/07/06/st-unveils-new-link-station-pictograms/

      Lukas, in one of his hundred percent fine postings, Oran covered this in 2015. I don’t think that many people use them when identifying stations. Let alone catching references, even among locals.

      Would make a great posting about the meaning of these symbols. It’s merciful that since people will believe anything online, we’re not being threatened about barely-veiled brainwashing attempts.

      But like historic accounts of the Pioneer Square Underground (and overdue, Alaskan Way Viaduct and the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, the story of how each pictogram was conceived would at least make people regret the relocation of both Elliott Bay Books and the Waterfront Streetcar enough to put them back.

      The opera glasses (Don’t you dare believe they were prototype for Google) were good choice for the basement of Benaroya Hall. Settling an ongoing dispute, seriously, as to symbol for the Financial District. Luckily, designers realized just in time Seattle thankfully didn’t have one.

      In 2008, we’d have had to hastily change the name. But pictogram of 1920’s derivative creator plunging off the Smith Tower, with a top hat and watch chain instead of a historically correct modern business hoodie would have been a shame not to have.

      So make next “click” start a crowd-source for your book, I mean CD. Gentrifiers eat these things up. Also be thinking of SLU pictogram. Amazon hoodie patch.


    2. It’s a state law that have those. It’s a way for the nutcase fringe in the legislature to force transit agencies to waste money on stuff, then complain about transit agencies wasting money.

      That said, it is supposed to be helpful for those who don’t deal with the Roman alphabet regularly to help find their way around. Think visitors from Asia. It’s modeled after what Mexico City has done on their Metro.

      The fact that, oh, maybe a kajillion other systems worldwide don’t do it that way seems to have escaped the legislators that approved this.

      1. Hey, Glenn, pictograms remind me. What happened to Portland’s program where snowflakes and leaves and I think some animals designated which part of the city a bus was going to?

        Was problem that the gopher looked too much like a beaver? Or that two sections both claimed the same critter?

        Because maybe we could sign every connecting bus with the opera glasses or Great Blue Heron of the LINK station it serves.

        True, everybody in most kids’ families who ever actually used opera glasses is probably sitting next to Abraham Lincoln, watching “Our American Cousin” in a place where nobody needs bodyguards anymore.

        And John Wilkes Booth has forgiven his older brother Edwin for being a better actor, and finally given up trying to shoot Lincoln again just to upstage him, which is why he did it in a theater the first time.

        But however many symbolic animals go extinct, at least kids can match their pictures and remember them. Woolly mammoth for Brooklyn and brontosaurus for Northgate?


      2. The symbols system was used in the transit mall to separate stops by destination direction. They were at the top of the signs so they needed to be something large that couldn’t be allowed by bus route numbers.

        These no longer make sense. The southeast lines are mixed between the 10 and 14, which are no longer on the main part of the transit mall, plus MAX stops (formerly 31, 32, 33 and 99), plus the remaining bus routes (4, 9, 17, 19, 35), but those have been separated to separate stops to prevent congestion on the mall.

        It’s quite a bit harder to navigate if you are used to how things used to be arranged. However, it has also made the bus speed through the mall quite a bit faster.

      3. Oh, I should point out that the situation I mentioned is just for southeast former green leaf stops. It gets even more of a tangle when you throw in all the regions.

        They do say that they might bring those back at some point, but they didn’t want to make the new stop system further confusing by having the old stop symbols. They thought it better to eliminate those, perhaps permanently or perhaps temporarily, to keep things less confusing.

      4. When I visited Copenhagen this summer I noticed many pictograms inside public toilets in areas where tourists were likely to visit, illustrating how to use the toilet. Some of these made my six-year-old granddaughter burst out laughing.

    3. Pictograms are also potentially useful for children — get off at the fish station or flag station. I can see that they have limited value in a larger context though. What local business would put a nearby station symbol like that in their advertising, for example? Probably not many..

      I do think that the pictograms are too tiny to be useful. I would have been happier with two letter initials or enumerating from a central point (like Westlake or International District) instead. But it is what it is.

      1. The station displays in the trains aren’t capable of displaying the pictograms either. They’d need to go to one of the more fancy and expensive displays with an LCD screen.

        That wouldn’t be such a bad thing though. Those can be very informative. The ones I saw on the tram lines in Potsdam displayed the next several stations in graphical form plus what routes you could transfer to at each of those.

      2. “What local business would put a nearby station symbol like that in their advertising”

        The same businesses that tell how to get to them on transit. It’s more common in places like New York or London where a major part of your sales depends on transit riders, and listing the station may make a measurable difference to your bottom line. It’s the opposite of the attitude in e.g. Wallingford where te companies are afraid that losing street parking will decimate their customer base and drive them out of business. The apartment buildings that advertise “Live on light rail” are a start. I hope it spreads to other businesses. In Seattle there are at least three obstacles:

        1) Businesses don’t perceive the number of walk-up customers as significant. When Link first opened and the Columbia City restaurants had a “liight rail sale” for several months (mention Link and get a discount), some of them said their customer counts didn’t change at all.

        2) There’s not enough room in an ad to describe, “X Station, go east two blocks and turn right one block”. We have fewer addresses right within a block or two of stations.

        3) When you have twenty stations rather than two hundred stations it can get redundant. Of course a Capitol Hill business is near Capitol Hill Station, Roosevelt near Roosevelt Station, Columbia City near Columbia City Station. The benefit of listing the station is more to remind people that light rail exists. (Which is sometimes needed even in cities with more extensive transit. I’ve seen people in San Francisco who drive practically from BART station to BART station, and they’re probably only vaguely aware that the station exists and may not even know where the line goes.)

    4. I had a lengthy email exchange with Sound Transit trying to figure out why Tacoma Link doesn’t have pictograms. Commerce St station was constructed after the law took effect. ST told me it was a City of Tacoma project, Tacoma told me signage was ST’s responsibility.

      I ended up talking to a frustrated ST employee who basically told me the pictograms were useless. All I really wanted to know was WHY Tacoma Link doesn’t have them and if they will for the planned extension. Also, the law doesn’t define the definition of ‘light rail’ – does the Seattle Streetcar count? Technically it should.

      1. Does the law actually say, “Light rail shall have pictograms”, and not “High-capacity transit shall have pictograms”. Because if it’s good for Link it should be good for Sounder and BRT too.

      2. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=81.112.190

        RCW 81.112.190
        Requirements for signage.
        Each authority shall incorporate in plans for stations along any light-rail facility signing that is easily understood by the traveling public, including, but not limited to, persons with disabilities, non-English speaking persons, and visitors from other nations. The signage must employ graphics consistent with international symbols for transportation facilities and signage that are consistent with department of transportation guidelines and programs. The signage must also use distinguishing symbols or pictograms developed by the authority as a means to identify stations and may identify points of interest along the corridor for persons who use languages that are not Roman-alphabet based. These requirements are intended to apply to new sign installation and not to existing signs, installed before July 24, 2005. The authority may replace existing signs as it chooses; however, it shall use the new signing designs when existing signs are replaced. All signage must comply with requirements of applicable federal law and may include recommendations contained in federal publications providing directions on way-finding for persons with disabilities.

  5. Joe here.

    Uh the NoST3 camp is of many camps, including the Vulcan-esque RossB Caucus, but there is one camp in the NoST3 Caucus that needs to be stood up to.

    It’s the Tsimerman-Trump Caucus. I would like it if we all agreed that NoSoundTransit3 the campaign had to publicly distance themselves from Tsimerman: https://youtu.be/ipSzI5Qep2I?t=1m53s

    For those of us pro, well it’s blatantly obvious that when a NoST3 spokesman tells a Joe groaning at Tsimerman’s outbursts the NoST3 campaign owns the Tsimerman mouth. A simple NoST3 campaign condemnation of Tsimerman & Trump will do.

    One last thing: I don’t think RossB or any of his people are responsible… unless they’re on the NoST3 campaign. RossB would never address the Sound Transit Board the way Tsimerman has.

    I admit it: It would be nice if Tsimerman was stood up to. I don’t appreciate our best friends Dow, Claudia and Frank (for starters) being talked to in the manner they are. It’s abuse if not bullying. I’m not a fan of no tresspass orders, but Tsimerman after getting a certified mail letter to fundamentally change his conduct would be where I start.

    1. Claudia can look out for herself, Joe, and fact that Dow and Frank are still around proves she takes care of her people. But for my sake, please don’t deprive a sheriff’s deputy of his overtime.

      Because the person he’s assigned to is in a position to influence his candidate’s friend Vladimir Putin to use his influence let me drive the 50 mile long trolleybus line over the mountains in Crimea.

      Also, if my run doesn’t get knocked off a mountain by a speeding “Tiger” Russian armored car, when I get back maybe I can work a Deal to get the Route 7 extended to Ellensburg.

      Sad to say, Joe, but we’ve all got our price.


  6. OK, on to more awesome subjects than a dirtbag bully who needs to be stood up to… by ALL of us. ALL.

    Thanks Martin for bringing up this Aspergian film. Guess who also has Asperger’s and is pro-transit? ME.

    I don’t approve of and never will stealing government equipment & impersonating government employees. That’s misbehavior.

    I wish instead of welfare & warehousing autistic people, we’d have more employers like (cough, cough) the Navy and transit agencies find a ware to hire us. Guys like I want to do cool stuff and love our country.

    Over to you.

    1. Thanks for bringing this up, Joe, starting with today’s topic video. We the USA, really are Number One! in percentage of our population in prison. Our State legislature by law belongs there for contempt, but for lack of funding, all jail space is occupied by kids who skip school and poor people who can’t pay fines.

      The Statue of Liberty still has to change her torch to either a mace can or a taser. Though Officer O’Toole would’ve been sorry to see his billy-club miss the cut, he’s likely proud of his darlin’ great great grand-daughter Kathleen’s position in Seattle.

      Online contest for our National Anthem. Texas says “Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos”. Shout-out to the sugar industry. Though might settle for “Midnight Special”, which STB should support for rail reference. Better name for issue-ridden schedule than “South Sounder Train 1507. Though truly can’t imagine any of us 300 million convicts, I mean citizens, not on our feet yelling for “Folsom Prison Blues!”

      The video subject? Long precedent. How often have corporate and National Security agencies offered a cold-blooded psychopath with a billion dollars of computer crime and ten dead operatives under his belt lifetime employment detecting weaknesses in their own systems?

      Considering condition of their own most life-, death-, and liability defenses, starting with control of access to the controls of an office-mail cart, NYC should triple above employee’s salary and tenure for this boy. Anybody in demolitions, shut up about subways in skyscraper basements.

      But most important, Joe the case history of every male who knows the difference between a pantograph and a trolleypole and reason for each should make the American Psychiatric Association reverse its decision that Asperger’s Syndrome does not exist. The man himself probably did the Strassebahnen line for Karslruhe!

      Or failing that, at least give us some credit for being, in their own words, High Functioning autistics! How many regular people connected with transit, by election or appointment, function at any level but flat? Somebody put the APA on Seattle Subway’s contribution solicitation list!

      Mark (The Opicina line in Trieste, which though in Italy now formerly belonged to Austria Hungary, operates regular street rail through the city, and then couples to an automatic trailer that grips a cable, It was invented by Franz-Josef Asperger.) Dublin.

  7. I am going to ask again on this open thread, because I don’t check past threads often, and someone may have answered this question, and I just missed it. But I have not seen this information in any media at all:

    How many boardings is the Angle Lake station averaging per weekday, and how much has the total weekday boardings on the entire Link line gone up since Angle Lake Station opened? We know that ST must have some figures on this, since they announced the boardings on the Friday of the Huskies Stanford game, and Angle Lake opened the Saturday before that.

    If ST is refusing to divulge this information, it makes me suspect that those numbers must be really disappointing, and not close to the 5,400 boardings and deboardings per weekday that ST was expecting. Why else would ST keep those figures a secret?

    No matter what the figures happen to be, as a public agency, ST should report them, just as they reported the boardings at UW and Capitol Hill stations just a few days after those stations opened. ST should not be playing political games with Link ridership statistics.

    1. Why are you obsessed with avg. boardings at Angle Lake just a few weeks after it has opened? The U-Link extension had an immediate and dramatic impact on total Link ridership (as was to be expected). That alone makes it newsworthy because it affects the daily commute of many people, especially with the somewhat controversial bus network changes that happened at around the same time.

      The September and 3rd quarter ridership report should be coming out in about a month and will likely have something to say about the effect of Angle Lake on total ridership. Keep in mind that the ridership projection is for some time in the future, and people may not have yet adjusted to the possibility of using it. There is development planned or being built for the area and that is likely to affect demand.

      Have you used the station for your commute since it opened? If so, maybe you could comment on your own perceptions of ridership and whether the garage is regularly filling up.

      1. Why are you apparently not interesting in boardings at Angle Lake and ridership on Link since Angle Lake opened? ST made a big deal of the opening, including a party and dignitaries at the station that day. And since then…nothing. It’s as if that station never opened.

        ST could have waited until the September and 3rd quarter reports came out to give the ridership on that Friday of the Stanford Husky game, too, but they gave that information out almost immediately. Why didn’t they wait to put out that information?

        I don’t like a a public agency putting out information selectively, especially in what appears as an obvious attempt to influence voters in an upcoming election. Give us all the news, not just news that ST believes is positive.

      2. I am interested in the ridership at Angle Lake and its effects on station ridership patterns at other stations. Will there be fewer or more boardings and alightings at Sea-Tac airport station? What will be the effect on TIBS? Will its ridership hold steady with another more southerly station with ample free parking?

        It will all come in time. When the final 2017 SIP comes out, it will have copious data on station ridership counts. The ridership on 101,000 was newsworthy because it was record single day ridership. ST also changed their operational plan for that day to handle the crush.

        They had an event the day of the station opening. Fine, all new stations will have an opening day ribbon cutting. That may be a bit much when Linwood Link and East Link open, because of the number of stations in the extensions, but there will certainly be a big event and potentially many little events.

        ST of course wants to look good to the public especially with the upcoming vote on ST3. They rightly caught flak for the extravagance of the U-Link opening, but by all accounts, it was well-managed unlike the SR-520 bridge opening.

      3. I don’t think Angle Lake Station will have have much of an impact on ridership at TIBS. There is plenty of pent-up parking demand in Tukwila to fill the spaces vacated by people from further south who would switch to Angle Lake Station.

        Sea-Tac airport, I’m also getting not much an impact. A few people transferring from the A-line might switch to Angle Lake, but the vast majority of the riders there are airport travelers, not people connecting to the A-line. Whatever effect the loss of transferrees does have for SeaTac/airport station will be dwarfed by general growth in air traffic.

        There may also be a few people traveling between Angle Lake Station and SeaTac/airport station itself. Particularly travelers visiting Seattle, staying at a hotel by Angle Lake Station. Even if the hotel offers an airport shuttle, Link would be faster and more reliable.

      4. I was wondering if anybody had any anecdotal evidence. Does anyone here use the station?

      5. ST made a big deal of the opening, including a party and dignitaries at the station that day.

        They hardly mentioned that the station was opening. The party was tiny. What do you expect they do? Something like the First Hill Streetcar where nobody knows that service started until the cars just start opening their doors?

    2. Chad, the reason I don’t think there’s any official dishonesty over the numbers at Angle Lake Station is that nobody has any motive at all to make the effort. For perspective:

      ST and KC Metro would have had an election-losing lot to answer for if anywhere near the stated number of passengers had gotten trapped in, or blocked from entering, UW station. Especially as members of standing loads aboard a whole tube-full of stalled trains.

      If you’re looking for transit- political matters more easily smelled than seen, start paying close attention to affairs at Convention Place. Because there’s a good chance that there’s going to be some serious interference with transit operations by forces with a large amount of money they’re not required to discuss.

      None of this is likely to affect the vote. But the problem, and even more the way it’s handled could make a lot of difference the way the system’s most critical part handles passengers for many years to come. If you’re looking to uncover things that badly need air and sunlight, shift focus from Angle Lake to CPS.

      Mark Dublin

      1. Was the usefulness of CPS to Link ever considered? I look at all those new condo towers and apartment towers and office buildings east of 8th Avenue and kept help but wonder why it didn’t emerge once the First Hill Station was pulled.

      2. Dropping Convention Place station was decided around 2005. The SLU boom and mad rush of Denny Triangle apartment construction wasn’t apparent until around 2013. In any case, Convention Place was dropped for technical reasons: the angle for going under I-5 was too sharp and steep. Also, Convention Place Station had underperformed for decades: it was supposed to serve the convention center and Capitol Hill but it didn’t very much. The mass of convention riders never appeared: they oo from the airport to their hotel, not straight to the convention center, and Westlake Station is just as convenient to the Convention Center and a more pleasant place to be at. The station is not very useful for Capitol Hill because only a tiny corner is close enough to it and you have to walk across the freeway and the eastbound bus stop was a block away for years. Convention Place was my closest station so I used it almost every day but I was glad to say good riddance to it even though now I have to walk or take a bus to Westlake or Capitol Hill Station.

      3. CPS will be of value at the exact time it is removed, Al S. is right, look at all the development around it, new, under construction and proposed. The Convention Center expansion would greatly improve the scar of I-5, if only it kept the station under it. Score it up as another one of Seattle’s endless transportation mistakes.

    3. Personally, I don’t expect the daily totals to be anywhere near to 5,400 in station activity (that’s 2,700 boardings) for awhile. Wikipedia references 2018. I personally would be impressed if they had 2,000 riders (1,000 boardings) by the end of 2016, and 4,000 riders (2,000 boardings) by early 2018. I think ST will have to work harder than it currently is to get to that 5,400 forecast by 2018.

      Consider that the projections are mathematically based on a theory of perfect knowledge and choice based on travel times and reliability/availability of parking. It’s going to take a several months or a few years for a person already used to driving to a nearby ST Express park-and-ride lot or Sounder station to weigh a switch to Angle Lake and then try it out and be happy with it — at least for awhile. People will also begin making housing decisions, particularly rental housing decisions, so that they can use the station — and it takes time for that market to develop too.

      I don’t think that ST has yet worked with WSDOT to put up a station sign on I-5 directing possible riders to Angle Lake. Has one been spotted? It would be really great there was one, especially if it included a changeable sign that announced the estimated number of spaces available. That would be helpful to both diverting traffic from I-5 as well as reminding people of that option the next time they are driving I-5.

      Is Route 574 going to move slightly to go by Angle Lake station? Will ST consider other adjustments to ST Express over time? I know that it’s already been mentioned that there hasn’t been an ambitious Metro restructuring proposed that would use the station.

      It will be interesting if any employer or hotel shuttle programs emerge to get riders to and from Angle Lake. Is anyone aware of any that are running or being considered? Would ST consider programs to actively promote Angle Lake as a shuttle destination?

      Regardless, attracting ridership will be a work in progress — and it’s going to depend on how committed ST organization is to growing that total.

    4. Unlike the U-Link and forthcoming Northgate and East Link stations, Angle Lake Station was not supposed to be a high ridership station by day 1, so your post comes off more as a concern troll than anything else. Considering where it is located, it’s ridership is really currently limited by the parking garage and the few people that transfer from a bus.

      The reasons for building Angle Lake Station are (but not limited to):

      (1) One time I heard that the FAA didn’t like trains laying over on airport property and wanted a quick resolution to that and pushed for federal funding to extend Link out of the airport. This seems suspect, as other airports (O’Hare) have trains laying over pretty much in the terminals.
      (2) Feds gave a large sum of money to build the extension, but I believe stipulated that it had to be completed before a certain date (end of 2016?). This was major, because getting Link out of the airport was a pretty big undertaking, compared to getting it into the airport, based on the infrastructure challenges combined with agency issues.
      (3) There is potential for TOD in the area, plus proximity to 99 and easy access to I-5 (bus realignments will happen), and a regional bike trail nearby. By building Angle Lake early, the hope is to utilize all these amenities to the fullest by the time the line is extended south towards Federal Way.

      Is ST purposefully withholding numbers? Considering the hand waving coming from the Times, maybe. But I think their motive is that it’s easier to withhold numbers than to defend the expected onslaught from the Times if ST releases numbers that aren’t cause for celebration. And you know the Times would absolutely pounce on a single station, of a larger and very well performing LRT system, not having great numbers.

    5. “Is Route 574 going to move slightly to go by Angle Lake station?”

      No. Angle Lake Station is just not significant enough to reroute buses to it when you have a massive ridership generator less than a mile away at the airport. When half the riders are going to the airport it makes little sense to force them to transfer a mile away or make the bus detour. Angle Lake Station is mainly about the P&R. There’s no room for a P&R at the airport, and air-passenger parking would interfere massively with it. (Everybody parking in it to avoid the airport garage fee. Angle Lake Station is less susceptible to that because you’d have to pay the train fare and that would eat into your savings.)

      This is similar to the Northgate station situation. The express buses will not be truncated at Northgate because Lynnwood will open two years later. Truncating buses at Northgate would require a lot more layover space and expensive off-ramps from I-5 (because Northgate Way is close to capacity now). It’s not worth it for two years.

      “Will ST consider other adjustments to ST Express over time? I know that it’s already been mentioned that there hasn’t been an ambitious Metro restructuring proposed that would use the station.”

      Yes. ST’s 2023 planning drafts anticipate truncating all 57x and 59x routes at Kent-Des Moines Station. The board hasn’t approved this yet but it was in all the alternatives in January.

      If ST3 passes KDM will be delayed a year to open simultaneously with Federal Way. In that case presumably the truncation point would move to Federal Way too.

      1. Northgate and Angle Lake are very different beasts. Angle Lake is just half a mile from SeaTac, and truncating the 574 wouldn’t save any significant amount of time off the bus runs, nor help much in reliability.

        By contrast, Northgate to downtown is much further, and, the time each bus takes to drive from Northgate to downtown, plus drive all the way through downtown is on the order of 45 minutes, each direction. So the amount of hours that could be saved, and the amount of frequency that could be bought, by truncating routes is huge. As to layover space, the space is actually right there – we just choose to use the space for people parking their cars, rather than Sound Transit parking their buses.

        Yes, there’s going to be a little bit of stoplights and traffic getting into and out of Northgate, but won’t be anywhere near as much stoplights and traffic as going all the way into and through downtown Seattle.

        Then, there’s the I-5 clusterfuck that the 512 has to go through in the reverse-peak direction.

        So, yes, truncating the 512 makes sense, but truncating the 574 does not.

  8. I’m moving to Wallingford. What can I do to advocate for a high quality RapidRide 45th corridor?

    1. Dead serious.

      With as many interested neighbors as you can get, regularly walk 45th between Stone Way and University Way, and take a lot of pictures. Including movies at critical points. Would be good if your group includes someone who can do civil drafting in AutoCAD.

      Come up with as many realistic alternatives as you can for adjusting the street for best Rapid Ride operations. Be ready to carry weight of the first stage yourselves, but early on, get with your city and county council members often as possible, and keep them briefed on what you discover.

      And publicly encouraged to act on your findings. SDOT could finally be ready to either help or not interfere. But keep informing them and let everybody know you’re doing it.

      Because over the years, worst weakness in most citizen transit efforts is that proponents see the project as a matter of symbols, not machinery and its human demands. You’ll be getting the perfect experience for a lifetime of effective transit advocacy. And building.


      1. Step 1: Vote YES on ST3.

        ST3 will do nothing to hinder RapidRide.

        ST3 will be a glorious victory for the true believers, the believers who in difficult times kept the faith!

        Kyle S, stay in San Fran and fix Bart.

      2. Joe, San Francisco doesn’t need “fix Bart” as its first priority. Bart has exactly one corridor in the city, and it’s thinking of adding one more. What it needs is a fixed MUNI. Muni already has six rail corridors, plus innumerable more buses, and it isn’t being held hostage by peak-focused suburbs.

        This’s the same problem which ST3 has: it’s slapping down one or two rail corridors on a map and saying each city is served, rather than examining what they actually need.

      3. SF needs a frequent conventional urban subway under Geary and the 19th Ave corridor, then rezone the Sunset and Richmond to high rises. Its adding lots of housing to a desirable convenient close-in area with almost no sense of place or historic architecture and makes a big dent in the lack of housing in SF. This is a model for all thriving urban areas in the country, most certainly Seattle.

  9. Elsewhere,

    Does anyone know if MassTransitNow going to organize the production/distribution of yard signs?

    I’ve never really gotten a feel for whether deploying signs accomplishes much in a campaign…. But.

    I’m seeing more & more anti-prop 1 signs (like right down the middle of the SR522 divider in Kenmore) and I feel like we’re losing the public awareness / get-out-the-message competition.

    1. Feel free to yank those No signs if you see ’em in Seattle. Municipal code prohibits political signs in the public right-of-way. There’s probably something similar statewide or in most jurisdictions, but don’t know for sure.

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