Commute Times at 8:34 AM, 13 Oct 2016

This is an open thread.

66 Replies to “News Roundup: Lukewarm”

  1. Also, “It is incoherent to support climate action and oppose density.”

    YES votes on Regional Prop 1 at the bottom of your ballot will induce density… it’s like what Martin said on the podcast, every transit advocate becomes a land use advocate.

    Thanks to the hard work of poverty advocates, Sound Transit planner geeks, and more a YES vote on Regional Prop 1 means as per Sound Transit:

    Consistent with the 2015 amendments to the Sound Transit enabling
    legislation (RCW 81.112.350), Sound Transit will “implement a
    regional equitable TOD strategy for diverse, vibrant, mixed-use and
    mixed-income communities consistent with TOD plans developed
    with community input by any regional transportation planning
    organization within the regional transit authority boundaries.”
    This strategy includes transit planning and project development.
    Sound Transit 3 distributes $12 million (2014$) among identified
    capital projects to support inclusive and collaborative planning for
    TOD during the transit project planning and development stages.
    These funds will be available for:
    § Considering TOD opportunities throughout the alternatives
    analysis, conceptual station design and preliminary
    engineering processes.
    § Where appropriate during the property acquisition phase,
    considering TOD potential on property that is necessary to
    construct or operate the transit facility, but that may later
    become surplus to construction-related or ongoing transit
    operations to increase the likelihood that it is supportive of
    being used for TOD.
    § Evaluating alternative land development strategies that meet
    Sound Transit’s ongoing and construction property needs
    and facilitates for the realization of equitable transit-oriented
    development in station areas.
    § Using TOD objectives adopted by the Sound Transit Board,
    including consideration of local government TOD supportive
    land use policy and regulation, to analyze and inform
    alignment and station location decisions in order to support
    development of mixed-income, mixed-use communities around
    transit stations.
    § Developing station design policies that appropriately facilitate
    and accommodate TOD on and adjacent to agency-owned
    properties in light of the space needs of transit-supportive
    facilities and services as well as local community development
    plans and priorities. This includes planning for station areas
    designed to evolve over time as the communities Sound Transit
    serves mature and transition from auto-dependent to
    multimodal station access.
    § Working with local jurisdictions on station area planning,
    zoning, and/or other opportunities to leverage the ST3 transit
    investment to support local and regional growth plans.
    § Seeking input through public engagement that informs,
    involves and empowers people and communities. Inviting
    people to play an active role in shaping Sound Transit
    alignment and station design plans. Sound Transit will make
    efforts to include organizations and affordable housing
    developers who represent communities most at risk for
    displacement, including low-income communities, communities
    of color and immigrants and refugees.

    I know that was a big blockquote from page 12 of but I think people who want to complain about transit expansion enabling sprawl need to stop and think for a moment. A moment.

    Voting NO on Regional Prop 1 means voting NO to improving the status quo ante. Please think about this.

  2. Recently, I’ve been a bit disappointed with the graphs from the link ridership updates on here. Not that you guys are necessarily doing anything wrong. I’m just one of those weird people who enjoys playing with spreadsheets and is interested in a bit more detail. So I’ve created my own spreadsheet from the daily ridership numbers I was able to find on the PITF website. However, I have only been able to find data through June 2014. The links on the PITF website for July 2014 onward don’t seem to be working.

    Does anyone have a source for daily ridership numbers, short of doing a public records request directly from Sound Transit?

  3. Taking the following two statements for the sake of argument:
    – BRT is not cheaper than light rail (the title of an Urbanist article linked here)
    – Light rail is better and higher quality than BRT (the official position of STB)

    Given that, then why does ST3 include light rail along I-405 and SR-522, and not light rail, if light rail is better and not more expensive?

    1. Good BRT is not cheaper than light rail.

      Mediocre BRT is cheaper, but it’s mediocre.

      1. Not necessarily.

        Eugene’s BRT is probably the best in the northwest. I see no way for them to have done light rail cheaper.

      2. Mediocre BRT can be super cheap when there is existing road infrastructure to leverage. Here, bus lanes on 522 and HOT lanes on 405. If you remove the cost of parking from each projects, they are very cheap.

        Both of these lines will be closer to RapidRide+ lines than light rail. It’s a reasonable middle point between ST Express routes and actual LRT.

    2. Because BRT is what those folks want… and a little cheaper than light rail. ;-) IT’s the consequence of all those Eastside voices led by Kemper Freeman clamoring for more BRT.

      Pardon me preaching but I hope this whole ST3 process is a rude awakening to you folks that type, type, type, “POST COMMENT” is only the beginning. You need to INVEST in transit advocacy – that means donating to Seattle Transit Blog, to Mass Transit Now and a full charm offensive with the transit planners. OK?

    3. Because the 522 and 405 projects don’t include more right of way, so they skip 70% of the cost and 70% of the benefit. As to why they aren’t light rail, it’s because of the limited money available and the public perception that these corridors are less dense and have lower ridership potential than other corridors. They are envisioned to have light rail eventually (at least Northgate to Bothell and Bellevue to Bothell); this is an interim step. Building new bus/rail lanes would either require deleting other projects or increasing the size of ST3 significantly, and there’s already complaints about the current price. And do you really mean a light rail line from Lynnwood to Burien on 405? That would be longer than either of the Everett or Tacoma extensions we’re considering. It would be about as long as Lynnwood to Federal Way, and we didn’t build that all at once but in three phases.

      1. I thought most of the cost of the 522 project was more right of way. Otherwise, why the hell is it so expensive?

      2. Mike, No, just where the existing shoulder lanes are interrupted because of adverse development. They’ll probably have to tear down a few very close to the roadway buildings, but mostly it will be taking parking on the north and maybe some trees on the south side.

      3. Roughly half the capital cost of 522 BRT is spent on parking garages.

        There is some new ROW being generated to ensure bus lanes are continuous on the route.

      4. OK, thanks for the info (it is mostly parking). But I also thought they were expanding 145th? That can’t be cheap. Are they also adding bus lanes on parts of 522? If so, I would imagine that is expensive, as they have already picked the low hanging fruit. In other words, they have already made the cheap improvements (the ones that make the biggest bang for the buck) but now they want something that is pretty close to 100% traffic free.

    4. In general it is a silly argument. Sometimes a busway is cheaper than a railway and sometimes it isn’t. A lot depends on where you build it. Buses can go up steep hills, so they have an advantage in that regard, but often it doesn’t matter (e. g. when building a tunnel). The biggest difference in both cases is leveraging what exists already. In most cases, this means leveraging the busway. This enables you to create a busway for smaller segments at a very low cost.

      One example is Ash Way to South Everett Park and Ride. It sure appears to me that you can build the entire thing for very little money, as there is sufficient space in the median for new bus lanes and now significant obstacles. A busway would easily connect to the existing HOV lanes. This means that a bus heading north from Lynnwood would run in an HOV lane the Lynnwood bus ramps to the Ash Way bus ramps, but from there run in exclusive bus only lanes.

      Building a railway from Ash Way to South Everett could actually be just as as cheap, but it would be silly. It would be a standalone train, serving a very dubious purpose. For the railway to have value, it needs to connect to another railway, and that means going all the way from Ash Way to Lynnwood, which is actually very expensive. You have to go over or under I-405.

      What is true of Ash Way to South Everett is true of a lot of places, even the stretch from Lynnwood to Ash Way. The bus lanes can be extended quite a ways without interfering with the big overpasses. You get 80% of the benefit for 20% of the cost. Not a bad deal when you consider that improving what is already pretty good (one particular corridor) is arguably not the most important thing to spend money on (maybe we should improve serving on SR 99 or make it easier in general to get to Link).

      1. One example is Ash Way to South Everett Park and Ride. It sure appears to me that you can build the entire thing for very little money, as there is sufficient space in the median for new bus lanes and now significant obstacles.

        If there is sufficient space in the median for new bus lanes, there is sufficient space for Link tracks. Most of the cost of either is building up a solidly engineered roadbed/foundation to support the pavement or rails, the actual cost of the pavement/rails on top of that bed is relatively trivial. The linked article makes all this plain. You don’t just get to drive the buses on the unimproved grass, you have to spend basically the same amount building a bus-supporting roadway as you would laying rails. So there is no 80% cost reduction. The only cost you are saving is the cost of buying ROW, which is a savings Link also can leverage by building in that very same median.

        A busway would easily connect to the existing HOV lanes.

        The existing HOV lanes are not working for transit. They are congested, unreliable, and all the cheap fixes for them (i.e. going 3+ HOV or transit-only) are politically impossible. Connecting to them gets us nothing.

      2. Ross, and everybody else on this subject, what do you think about the way we handled the start of our LINK system, a subway graded and curved for light rail- more demanding than streetcar- paved for buses and signaled for joint operations?

        And intended for rail only operations as the track network was built out into the region. Turning the signals off after two weeks wasn’t in the design, but we’re talking about the idea developing a system in sequential phases.

        I’m surprised no one ever calls the DSTT a busway. But I think it’s our only example of a real one. So we have some design and construction stats, and enough experience to assess the costs, benefits, and drawbacks of the concept.

        My own guess is that this is an expensive way to build a railroad. But in balance, passengers have a properly designed busway until we can build enough connecting trackage to use trains. Including an interim period using both modes.

        This way, passengers will not have to pay taxes for a lifetime for a system stuck in traffic, lucky to get a decent ride of any kind by the end of their life. But my guess is also that there could be very few, if any places on ST-3 where this method will work. What’s everybody think?


      3. Lack,

        Snohomish County has decided that north of Ash Way Link will run via Paine Field, so the argument whether or not LRT could be built in the median is moot. I think on this one Ross is right; the express buses from north of there should not be truncated at South Everett, making every bus rider Feel the Paine, but rather at Ash Way. So building the center HOV facility makes sense.

        But make it bus-only or at a minimum HOT so that the buses can get through reliably. As I understand it, the plan is to have the Bellevue trains terminate at Ash Way, so ST must be planning to use Ash Way for the primary bus intercept. It’s a straight shot from there on south, and express service to Bellevue could be collected there as well.

      4. @Lack — Read my comment again. I don’t you get it. It is pretty simple:

        1) A brand new railway or busway from Ash Way to South Everett park and ride would be very cheap to build.
        2) A railway would not connect to anything.
        3) A busway would connect easily to the HOV lane.
        4) Therefore, a busway would be way more useful.

        Thus you could greatly improve the speed of a bus from Everett to Lynnwood without spending much money, but you can’t with a train.

        What is true here is true all over the place. Aurora is another example. There already are HOV lanes for much of it. Building those wasn’t that expensive. It manages to make things a bit faster, although not as fast as everyone would like. It might not be that expensive to convert those lanes to rail. The problem is, you would need to build a brand new bridge, and that is extremely expensive.

        In other words, for most projects, building a railway means building it the entire way. This can extremely expensive. With busways, you can build small pieces that are cheap, but gain you really big savings. Even projects that are extremely expensive are often much cheaper if you build a busway. West Seattle to Ballard is another example. Build a bus tunnel and leverage the existing busways and you don’t need to build brand new bridges. That saves you billions.

      5. That second sentence should read “I don’t think you get it”. Sometimes I don’t get typing.

  4. I may have missed an article or post somewhere, but has anyone examined how the South Lake Union transit improvements (dedicated lanes, etc.) are working out?

  5. Is the assumption of the “Lid I-5” folks that I-5’s elevated portions would be rebuilt before the rebuild?

    1. First I’ve heard of this effort, Frank, but I think what’s intended is to finish an original plan, developed, I think, by Metro founder Jim Ellis, for a linear park system over the whole “cut” through the CBD, pretty much like the part south from the patio of the Convention Center.

      From what I’ve been reading, first order of business for the elevated section is to repair or replace every single pillar so we don’t get a mile long combination wrecking yard and graveyard in the first 20 seconds of a quake.

      Might be good if we can wait until LINK reaches both Northgate and at least Bellevue before we start these projects, because I-5 will definitely need a load off its back for their duration.


  6. I think Metro should consider extending 3rd Avenue skip-stop operations north to include Virginia as a skip-stop.

    Currently every route continuing north on 3rd Avenue stops at Virginia – roughly 20 routes at rush hour. In the PM peak this creates a significant bottleneck as buses queue to stop there. Dwell times at the stop have worsened as more people are boarding there.

    A lot of the skip-stop time-saving benefits are lost when you’re often waiting 3-5-7 minutes to cross Virginia because of bus traffic ahead.

    1. Only if we fix the mess where the routes going to West Wallingford/North Fremont stop at different stops on 3rd. The fact that E, 62 and 5 all stop at Virginia is awfully convenient.

      It’s not clear to me why the northbound E doesn’t stop at Pine with the 5 and the 62. Or rather, I know the reason why: I understand Metro wanted all RapidRides to stop at the same stop for branding reasons, but I think that’s enormously silly.

      1. The Rapid Ride routes all stop at the same place because that’s where the ORCA pylons are. There’s considerable expense to installing those, and they aren’t usable for all the other routes. Branding is probably a minor consideration.

      2. The routes overlap so much it’s hard to separate them without splitting somebody’s buses. The 40’s rider base overlaps with both the D and the 62. The D overlaps with the 40 and the 1, 2, and 13. The 1, 2, and 13 are trolleybuses so they go with the 3 and 4. I usually get on at Pine Street so if I’m going to Ballard I have to guess whether the D or 40 will come first, or stand in between and run to the stop, and one or the other is always on the other side of an intersection so I have to wait for the light and if the bus is waiting for the light too, it can accelerate faster than I can. So Virgina is convenient in that all the buses you may want to take are in one place, and that’s sometimes worth walking further to.

  7. Apparently in Seattle it is not legal for campaign yard signs to be placed in the public right of way unless they are in the planting strip adjacent to a private use where the with owner consent. I’ve been noticing a lot of “No on ST3” signs lately in the Beacon Hill area. Most of the ones I’ve seen are in the public right-of-way along Beacon Ave S…usually in the median or next to public uses. The “Find-it, Fix-it” App is going to get a work-out on my ride home tonight. I suggest if folks are noticing this in their neighborhoods to do the same.

    SDOT policy on campaign signs:

    1. Considering that Halloween and the election happen pretty much same time- in a few weeks- might be better politics to sneak out with a spade and a plastic or wood fake gravestone, and put the negative sign in the grip of a fake plastic arm with a ragged sleeve coming up out of the dirt.

      Or hang a skeleton from a tree holding the sign. Could be as effective as it is appropriate. Because it pretty well fits the MO of a lot of the organized opposition.


  8. The most interesting thing about Forward Thrust is where they expected growth to occur and how ideas have changed. Seattle’s population started falling in the 1960s with suburban flight and began rising again in the mid 80s. The map shows the existing population in a pie shape between Lake City and Renton, and narrowing in the west to NW 85th Street and the West Seattle Junction. Conspicuously absent are Northgate (new mall), Southcenter (new mall), SeaTac (new airport), Kent and Federal Way (farmland), and Shoreline. Lynnwood was outside the county so off-limits for a county-based project, but Kent is inside the county so choosing the Eastside seems arbitrary and adds the significant complication of a lake crossing.

    This relates to Christopher Leinberger’s theory that every American metro has a “favored quarter” where the richest business leaders live, ideally in the opposite direction from downtown of where the industrial/minority district is. In Seattle the Sound blocks anything west so the industrial district is south and the favored quarter is east.

    To this we can add the freeways. I-5 and 520 were built in the late 60s. 405 was built a bit after, and the Southcenter owner moved the mall plan from Burien to the 405/I-5 intersection to take advantage of it. I-90 was designated on the existing highway 10 but wasn’t renovated until the 80s. So Southcenter and Northgate were up-and-coming but not considered important enough at that point. Or is it because they thought I-5 and its express lanes were sufficient for everything north and south of Seattle? Then why didn’t they think the same about I-90 and 520? Perhaps because the bridges would obviously be bottnecks while I-5 was eight lanes wide? In any case, they predicted growth in the Eastside but not in south King County or Shoreline/Lynnwood.

    By the way, the podcast said the subway went to Issaquah but it doesn’t actually. The terminus is at about 160th Street, the current edge of the Eastgate/Factoria development. It’s just east of Bellevue College. I know there were plans for a lot of development in the I-90 corridor but it didn’t happen. I’m not sure why, whether it was just the loss of the subway or factors too. But instead what happened was a little development in the 1960s/70s (the college, Factoria mall, Loew’s plaza) and then stagnation; then in the 90s was a bit more development with those boxy office buildings (completely unwalkable and hardly transit’able).

    So in the gap between 1972 and 2016, the Eastside was built up, the Kent farmland turned industrial and residential, and Lynnwood and Federal Way grew into large chunks of population. I don’t know how much that was inevitable. The first Kent development was a few years after Forward Thrust and Southcenter mall, so perhaps it was about to burst anyway, but if so why didn’t the Forward Thrust people know about it?

    One explanation may be in the freeways. After 520 was built the Eastside’s population grew far beyond expectations, so much that the construction tolls were removed seven years early. And in the early days of I-5 people didn’t use it because their commute patterns weren’t there: they went from Beacon Hill and Rainier Valley to Renton Boeing. I-5, as its name implies, was primarily intended for inter-city, inter-state trips. But a funny thing happened after the freeways were built: people began settling along them in large scale, and in twenty years they had the highest concentrations of population around them. The government in its wisdom put buses on the freeways, as if an hourly bus with stops at freeway exits unwalkable from population centers would solve the transit problem. (The 340 was to its credit half-hourly in the daytime, from Shoreline P&R via 405 to Burien, but the other corresponding routes were hourly, or in the case of the 210 (I-90) less than hourly.) So that was coverage transit and barely usable, but still we should give credit to their experiment of putting infrequent buses on freeways rather than no buses at all. But it shows how transit was so much an afterthought and lowest-priority. And the rise in population along the freeways shows our major loss in not installing high-capacity transit in an area and channeling growth to that area. We can only mitigate it now, we can’t wholesale move the populations and cities.

    1. It’s also notable the the central Bellevue branch of Forward Thust’s rail ended north of Lake Bellevue.

    2. When I first saw the Forward Thrust map I thought the east line was on NE 8th Street to Crossroads, because that’s where the existing population and buses were. I didn’t realize that was I-90 rather than 8th. The northeast branch looks like a proto East Link, so perhaps there was an earlier plan for a Spring District that we don’t know about. It’s hard to see how anyone would consider the Coca-Cola plant and Safeway distribution center the second most important thing in Bellevue. Maybe for workers commuting from Seattle? But if Bel-Red Road is good for large-scale development now, then it was then too, and maybe they intended it, and perhaps some kind of waterfront on Lake Bellevue. I’m sure they expected it to be expanded to Redmond in a later phase, although since this was B.M. (Before Microsoft) that couldn’t have been urgent.

    3. The 1970 map also doesn’t include service to the airport.

      A 1970s era light rail system would also have been built with limited ADA facilities and the rolling stock would likely have been designed and built by Boeing. Then consider the state of land use laws in 1970. What would that 40 year old light rail system look like today? And how much would we be spending today to modernize and improve that aging and inefficient 1970s era light rail system?

      1. It wouldn’t have been “light rail”. Edmonton and San Diego hadn’t yet happened. It was going to be full metro heavy rail. And in fact it became “full metro heavy rail”, but in Hotlanta instead of Seattle.

    4. One lesson could be that while a few corridors are likely to be permanent, it’s best to build as flexibly as possible, precisely because nobody ever can know for sure exactly who’s going to need to be where in twenty years. Or want to. My thinking as to bus to busway to rail.

      The years since the last Forward Thrust haven’t only showed the effects of economic cycles. The exact kind of highly skilled short-learning-curve work that gave this region its voting rosters, residential locations , and tax bases got sent to sleep wit’ da fishes (as Marlon Brando’s pre-Post Industrial Waterfront oriented associates would’ve put it.)

      One effect being sprawl personified. Followed by the new economy (l liked a Boeing Company Town better than an Amazon one) that made the new suburbanites’ newer children, who could afford a lot more than a well-paid factory worker, decide to put South Lake Union residence far beyond their parents’ means (the little rats!)

      But history shows one thing that could give public transit the some power to influence land use. In the 1920’s, not only streetcar companies, but the electric companies who often owned them, built whole communities with streetcar lines attached.

      If laws don’t permit ST to do this directly, maybe they can find developers who also favor this concept. Would certainly be better than waiting to see what other forces are making people move and always struggling to catch up.


    5. Air travel was less common in the 60s when the airlines were regulated and the prices were high. It was before the multiple fare wars that got people to start flying casually several times a year.

      The 1970s design of the subway is what I fear most. I’ve seen MARTA and BART and the cars are big and clunky and the stations are all plain and the same, and either don’t have places to sit or have huge inhuman benches like Freeway Park that point more to modern abstractions than human comfort. Actually no, there’s one thing I fear more. Unwalkable two-story construction around the stations so that few people can live near them and the area is depressingly boring. That was the same era that built downtown Renton superblocks and Kent East Hill, when they didn’t even understand the importance of walkability and subsumed everything to maximum car thoroughput. If they built 70s era structures around the stations it may be difficult to replace them later, both because of scattered private ownership and nimby reasons.

      But on the other hand there were more inner city stations, and it would have been possible to live in Renton or Lake City on a subway line. So if the most exclusive set ignored the subways and bid up the price of real estate in car-dependent areas, then it would be possible to live near subway stations without having an aboove-average income.

    6. The article mentions something about had Forward Thrust happened, the Seattle area would developed better density.

      Maybe yes. Maybe no.

      Interstate Avenue MAX caused a few of the sketchy hotels to be redeveloped or rebuilt into something a bit better. It hasn’t led to vast square miles of rezoning along its route, so except for some efforts here and there it hasn’t led to density increases.

      You can’t density along rail transit if that density is expressly forbidden.

    7. “had Forward Thrust happened, the Seattle area would developed better density.”

      It wouldn’t have developed perfect density without a Vancouver-type land use policy alongside it, but it would have increased the factors for somewhat better density. Trains intrinsically give an incentive to live/work/shop near them if you want to use them. The majority in the 1970s wouldn’t use the trains anyway but some people would, and that would cause some level of demand for housing around the stations so that more people could fully access the system. Without the subway everything is peanut butter: there’s no advantage to living or working in any one place. With the subway there’s a specific advantage to living in Renton or Lake City or Ballard rather than Kirkland, Shoreline, or Tukwila. Only some people are sensitive to that advantage, but they are people who cause demand for their preferred kind of neighborhood. And companies would have a little more incentive to locate in Renton, Lake City, and I-90 rather than Kirkland or Redmond. So it would have some impact on where the most development and density is.

      And while we lament MAX’s miles of single-family stations, the only reason MAX is there is it’s on the way to a multifamily/commercial station. The lack of upzones there prevents MAX from reeaching its potential, but that’s less important than the fact that MAX goes to the commercial/multifamily areas at all. It’s a side problem rather than a fatal problem. Link in Seattle has shorter single-family stretches. Outside Seattle it’s constrained by the requirement to get to downtown Bellevue, SeaTac, Lynnwood, and Everett: it has to get there somehow. (Although it would have been better on Bellevue Way and Aurora.)

      The main problem for both MAX and Link is it’s hardest to upzone single-family areas and both regions have the majority of their land like that. Forward Thrust didn’t have to worry about that because it wasn’t on people’s minds: all they cared about was getting to the cities and growth areas at the ends , and single-family areas in between wasn’t something to be concerned about.

  9. It sounds like “The Alliance” is every right-winger’s cartoon of clientelist rent-seekers. I’m voting “Yes” on 732 and will be sure to vote “No” on whatever they offer as an alternative, because it will be riddled with “gimme my share” corruption. They’re as transparent as Mitch McConnell vowing to make President Obama a “one-term President”.


    1. Me too. I-732 is responsible tax reform. I don’t like the alternatives – either on the left or the right – one bit.

      [ot] As in I just LOOOOOVVVVEEE light rail!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Me too. I-732 is responsible tax reform. I don’t like the alternatives – either on the left or the right – one bit.

      I’m sure the fact I voted for this and would so much vote for Regional Prop 1 make me a leftist or a socialist. I prefer the term SoundTransitite. As in I just LOOOOOVVVVEEE light rail!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Mitch McConnell really gets credit for doubling his success. The 2010 election left Mr. Obama a half term President able to do nothing but get blamed for results of everything Congress refused to do. For another three half terms’ residence in the White House.

      But like with another hell-of-a-lot-too-likely Election outcome, the incumbents themselves chose the defeat they, meaning us the President’s voters have had to live with ever since.

      President Obama’s choice was to save the lives of institutions who by the rules of Capitalism deserved to die, and leaving ’til later the employment of the voters who deserved to work on the repairs our country deserved to have.

      Who (sorry, Mitch) cut three quarters off the President’s term by finding something to do around the house on Election Day, and then realizing they couldn’t a for a stamp.

      So I wish everybody, especially if you call yourself liberal, dumb enough to say out loud that the world is too Post-Industrial for above workers to ever have a decent job again, put it on Twitter where you don’t have to sign it.

      Or sign it “The Democratic Candidate’s Opponent.”


    4. I was more or less always leaning yes on I-732, but what really tipped me over the edge was a ‘No on I-732’ ad. The ad featured a suburban looking soccer mom, with her two perfect little kids, looking concerned, at her side. She then rambles incoherently about how I-732 will be terrible for all the rest of the perfect suburban families and that we need to save the children, or some garbage.

      Then you see the sponsors at the end: “Kaiser Aluminum, Ash Grove Cement Company, Inc, Northwest Pulp & Paper Association, Nucor Steel Seattle, Inc., Western Petroleum Marketers Association.” Now I want to vote on I-732 just to stick it to these polluting, societal leaches.

  10. Maybe I’m the only one, but it seems like I haven’t seen all that much in the way of campaigning from Mass Transit Now. Are they planning on ramping up closer to November 8, or have I just missed everything?

    1. Maybe they secretly agree with Ross and hope that it fails so they can develop something better?

    2. What Mass Transit Now is doing is a ton of phonebanking and (way too many) press conferences. Also some TV ads. Seattle Subway is out doing street marketing – waving signs, painting chalk and more.

      The best ways to help are to go to and fill out the form. Of course donating to Seattle Transit Blog, Seattle Subway or Mass Transit Now is a good choice.

      You can also send in a letter to the editor. Please do.

  11. Maybe best thing for ST-3 supporters is to start planning right now for something to do to get things moving in the right direction, no matter how the election comes out.

    Because that way the “Something Better” will already be on the boards tacked to our drafting tables, giving it the chance of actually being better. So next election, we’ll get votes of the “Sheesh Build it A’Ready! side.

    But the Wait and Build Something Better side will look at the Status Quo and see our Better Thing. Knowing that if they win the election, they’ll already be looking at their own defeat going by, and always will.

    Since those plastic gravestones and glow-in-the-dark zombie arms and hands will be coming out of the closet along with the candy that traditionally tastes like wax.


    1. Mark;

      I think the general consensus is to wait until we know the results of ST3.

      If it’s what most of us here hope it is, well then we are going to have to huddle with Sound Transit Planning and back up the offense. There are some local governments and moneyed interests that are going to put up a fight if ST2 implementation is any indication. We better be ready.

    2. Seattle Subway has said they have something up their sleeve if ST3 fails but they don’t want to talk about it now. For anyone else starting from scratch now, three weeks is not enough time to put a plan together. And it doesn’t really have to be November or even December. If people think we need high-capacity transit, they aren’t going to stop feeling that if the next plan comes out later. There could be an argument for keeping up activist momentum rather than letting it dissipate and having to build it up again, but how much would that really make a difference when we’re talking about a long-term steady problem?

  12. I heard back from Tristan Cook regarding my belief that my neighborhood, Lakeland Hills in Auburn, should be classified as Zone 3 in the Metro Connects plan, instead of Zone 4. It’s dense for suburbia (and apparently for great swaths of Seattle as well.) He agreed that it should be and will pass the recommendation onto the Regional Transit Committee. I was pleasantly surprised!

    1. I took a walk to the bottom of the hill at A Street and Lakeland Hills Drive. It was twelve minutes from the 180’s terminus if I remember right, and the bridge over the river is depressingly car-oriented. What I could see in the hills were rows of single-family houses I didn’t go up there because I was afraid it might be just more of that and nothing more and I’ve seen enough rows of houses in hills. But you did say there are some apartments and condos somewhere. Is there a commercial district or row houses? How far up or how far beyond the line of sight are they?

      Afterward I walked bit on the White River Trail, which I’ve been wanting to do for two years. I tried last winter to get to the river from the Interurban Trail in Pacific but there was a flood wall blocking the river and shore.

      1. Continuing up Lakeland Hills Way, there are apartments, condos and townhouses up the hill, another apartment complex and condo complex towards the bottom of the hill at the other entrance. The further up you go, the denser it gets, mostly. The commercial district is at the top. The elementary school is about halfway up. The killer is getting up the hill, as you may have figured.

  13. We have a family member that lives in Lakeland Hills; I won’t pretend to be an expert on Lakeland Hills, but I sometimes make several trips (by car) into LH a month. The neighborhood may be dense but it lacks walkability. Transit service consists of PT 497–a peak hour connector to Auburn Station–and the prospects for adding more transit service are pretty unlikely due to the layout of the streets (lots of cul-de-sacs and loop-de-loop streets that don’t lend themselves to good transit service).

    I suspect the density comes from the fact that LH has a high concentration of households with kids (compared to most Seattle neighborhoods) and most of the houses are built on lots that are smaller than the traditional suburban plot, although the 2 car garage seems to be ubiquitous.

    1. It seems walkable to me, but maybe I have a low bar. It’s not all single family — there are apartments, condos and townhouses.

      They’ll never run transit all throughout the neighborhood, but there should be something.

  14. Great picture Joe. This is a classic example of how ST2 will be hugely important for Everett to Seattle travel, while ST3 is overkill. Two hours to Seattle and over an hour and half by HOV lane. Brutal. That is terrible, although it obviously doesn’t happen very often (just as Link shutdowns don’t happen very often).

    You only save 22 minutes by using the HOV lane. It is impossible to tell where you save the minutes (before or after Lynnwood). If the HOV savings occurred all before Lynnwood, then you would be going close to 60 MPH in the HOV lane. This is obviously not the case (if it was, then the sign would show 13 minutes to Lynnwood). Likewise, it is impossible that the savings all occurred before Lynnwood, since that would mean that traveling in the HOV lane would be faster than 60 MPH. If I had to guess, I would say it took 20 minutes to get to Lynnwood, then over an hour from Lynnwood to Seattle. A train from Everett to Lynnwood might have saved some time, but not a lot.

    Of course from where the picture was taken, it isn’t that far to South Everett Park and Ride. I assume that it was smooth sailing to there. From there, you encountered most of the congestion. Thus you could build what I suggested above (a busway connecting the Ash Way and South Everett) which would provide a bus only bypass for some of the congestion. You would still have that last section, which is a couple miles, from Ash Way to Lynnwood. At the average speed of the worst part of this, that would take a minute or two longer than it would if there was not traffic.

    In short, even on the worst days this is competitive with Link — from Everett Station. But with a bit of effort, it would be much faster.

    1. Aaach. I really messed that up. That second sentence is messed up. The third sentence should read

      If the HOV savings occurred all after Lynnwood, then you would be going close to 60 MPH in the regular lane.

      Sorry about that (that is confusing enough as is).

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