Oran (Flickr)
Oran (Flickr)
  • Two groups appeal the Waterfront EIS, joining the bike and pedestrian community in decrying the “8-lane highway”. But it’s mixed messaging at its best: the Alliance for Pioneer Square wants fewer buses, the Historic Seattle Waterfront Association wants more surface parking, the transit community wants bus lanes, and the bike/ped community wants a more human street. We’ll write up our thoughts soon.
  • ReachNow is looking to take on Uber and Lyft.
  • Mostly forgotten in the ST3 campaign, Tukwila talks up its future Boeing Access Road station.
  • “We owe you one”, says the Tacoma News Tribune’s Matt Driscoll to King and Snohomish Counties in the wake of ST3.
  • Sticky note therapy at Capitol Hill Station.
  • The final Federal Way EIS has been released. Read the full document here. The extension is slated to open in 2024.
  • Elizabeth Kiker out as Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club.
  • Rents are starting to fall in Seattle, if only slightly.

65 Replies to “News Roundup: Appealed”

  1. This is a good round-up, but I’d add one more – although I’m the author of this:

    Editor, The Beacon:

    I’m going to be acute here as the most outspoken Paine Field transit advocate out there – I’m joyful ST3 passed. We will now see light rail to Paine Field and Everett Station.

    As much as Mayor Jennifer Gregerson and others worked so hard to get ST3 passed for the true believers in public transportation, there is still a problem.

    How will Mukilteo and the myriad of Paine Field destinations connect to the light rail spine? Especially on weekends when Everett Transit routes 18 and 70 aren’t in service?

    Well, next year, both Everett Transit and Community Transit will begin strategic planning to connect to Sound Transit. It’s really important folks realize a ST3 win means the true believers in transit still have work to do, meetings to attend and compromises to make.

    We Paine Field boosters sat patiently while the Future of Flight is dramatically underserved, while the Mukilteo Park & Ride fell through, while Amtrak trains whizz by Mukilteo with a new multimillion dollar Mukilteo Station sitting pretty.

    The line needs to be drawn, with the help of the Mukilteo mayor and City Council, please.

    Basically folks, we got a lot of good process next year in the North by Northwest. My message to all is going to be this: ST3 passed, we could use more republican democracy & innovation in transit, and we have a mandate to be at our best at our boldest. Don’t screw this up.

    1. And when I put a sticky note that I wanted a bus stop somewhere on 5th /148th, so I could walk into the station and avoid the inevitable dog pile between cars parking, cars stopping at the kiss & ride, cars searching for parking, and transit at the front entry bottleneck, I got a hurt look. “We have this nice loop for you”. Hey, the buses will be stopping along 5th anyway for the above reasons, right?

      And I’m used to hiking…at Husky Stadium station.

      The ‘nice loop’ also has a lay-over, which is helpful to Metro drivers (I know they need a place to pee) but severs the bus rider’s dream of an E/W bus connection along 145th.

      1. baselle, a bus along 145th really isn’t nearly as good as one across 125th/130th. Por favor, Dios, let ST understand the necessity that there be an under-130th walkway along the tracks (similar to the one planned to cross Rainier) so that the much needed cross-town service can be developed along that corridor. The west end could go north or south at Greenwood.

        And actually, there is something to be said for another bus from Lake City up to 145th, across to the 145th Station, make the loop but no layover and continue on north of Fifth to 155th and over to Shoreline CC. If that came about, the west end of the 130th bus should turn south, maybe to “downtown” Greenwood? Given the obnoxious transfers-to-be at Northgate, it might become the preferred Greenwood to far north Link connector.

      2. Richard, that bus basically already exists. It’s the 330. Sure it only runs weekdays, and has hourly frequency, but it wouldn’t take too much editing to make that a Lake City – 145th St Station – Shoreline CC route.

        Interesting question about the 41. The Northgate-downtown portion would be deleted, but what would remain? A Lake City – Northgate local route, or a Lake City – 130th feeder route or a Lake City crosstown route?

      3. Metro’s long-range plan in 2025 has:
        (145th) Frequent #1019: Campus Pkwy – 35th Ave NE – 125th – 30th – 145th – 5th NE – 155th – Aurora – Shoreline CC.
        (130th) Frequent # 1996: Campus Pkwy – Sand Point Way – 125th/130th – 5th NE – Northgate.
        (130th) Frequent # 1997: Lake City – 125th/130th – Greenwood – Shoreline CC.
        (LCW) Rapid #1009: Bothell – LCW – 25th NE – UW Station.
        (LCW) Frequent #1010: Lake City – Northgate Way – Northgate – zigzag to 85th – 15th NW – Fred Meyer.

        (145th) Frequent #1019 same.
        (130th) Frequent #1007: Campus Pkwy – Sand Point Way – 125th/130th – Greenwood – Shoreline CC.
        (LCW) Rapid #1009: same.
        (LCW) Rapid #1010: same as Frequent above.
        (LCW) Express #2515: Woodinville – Lake City – Roosevelt Station – I-5 – SLU (Fairview Ave) – Boren Ave – E Cherry St – 18th & Jefferson.

      4. Thanks Mike. If none of these routes terminate there, does it make sense to build a bus loop (and layover space) that would add a diversion and several minutes of travel time to each trip on each of those routes? Or will ST build this out and then have it just be unused (except for 522 BRT)?

      5. @Richard – 125th/130th is the dream for us also (2024-5, according to the Metro contact at a North District Council meeting I sat in on where transit was discussed.)

        And per getting to 145th the 330 is a good one, along with (for me in Lake City) extending the 65 about 10 blocks. The layover would make sense there as the 65 is coming from UW Husky Stadium. Great for NE Seattle. But wouldn’t that layover and loop orphan NW Seattle and NW Shoreline? Shoreline City Hall and the area around it (175th/Midvale) was a very nice, highly active commercial area. But on the W side of the freeway.

        All indications that I’ve heard is 41 deletion. Wouldn’t it be an interesting idea to have a truncated Lake City 41 heading east from Northgate, and a Haller Lake/Aurora/Broadview heading west from Northgate?

      6. Here’s your friendly reminder that many of the problems with the 145th Street station could have been avoided if the station had been put at 155th instead. Lesson for the future: the freeway is a bad enough neighbor for a transit station; a major interchange makes it much worse.

      7. What’s surprising is Rapid and Express routes to Bothell and Woodinville after 522 BRT is launched. Does Metro think 522 BRT won’t have enough frequency or capacity? I expected the Seattle routes would terminate just north of 145th or maybe Lake Forest Park if that’s the closest feasible layover point.

      8. I wish Metro and Sound Transit would put a moratorium on new loop-de-loop bus stops, and re-examine those already in place. They take minutes out of the lives of everything riding through them, and do nothing for those getting on or off.

        Thanks, but not thanks.

      9. I just realized that terminating the Sand Point route at Campus Parkway breaks 31/32/75 interline that connects Fremont to Laurelhurst and has become pretty popular. So I looked to see what the LRP has. 2025 keeps the 31 and 32 but extends them to Children’s. 2040 replaces them with a Frequent #1018 on Magnolia – Nickerson St – Fremont – 34th – Wallingford Ave – 40th – UDistrict – NE 50th/55th Street – Princeton & SPW.

      10. Drew, ST is building the station for its own best use. The BRT line to Kenmore/Bothell will terminate there and it’s supposed to be frequent service so there will probably always be a bus waiting to house transfers from the train.

  2. The Alliance for Pioneer Square seems to primarily operate as an anti-bus organization, as far as I can tell. They fight against bus layover (on or off street), buses on the waterfront, buses through Pioneer Square itself, etc. The only transit thing they fought for was the dumb First Hill Streetcar.

    1. Bruce, you’ve finally explained a disappointment that’s puzzled me for a couple of years. I spent quite awhile walking between Jackson Street and Myrtle Edwards park, laying our a transit plan that would work for both Pioneer Square and the Waterfront, involving both buses and streetcars.

      A track would have curved north on Occidental through Pioneer Square to Yesler, and west across First to Alaskan Way. Where it would swing into a two-way busway along the east side of the boulevard. Which would carry former viaduct routes to transit lanes up and down Columbia.

      The streetcar track would continue north, creating a pleasant presence for the outdoor seating facing the plaza between Marion and Union Street. With a large station in the structure between the Market and the Aquarium.

      It would then proceed north on existing trackway to Myrtle Edwards Park, with a station at the Victoria Clipper Terminal- giving inbound passengers a seamless ride from Victoria Harbor, down the Waterfront to IDS, LINK to Sea-Tac, and a flight to anyplace including England.

      Providing, of course, that no Andy Capp impersonator had previously told an innocent Chairman of the Pioneer Square Merchant’s Assocation that only an idiot (true, but irrelevant) would come up with such a dumb scheme. Well, good we can get that straightened out.

      After same Wide Boy sheepishly admits that Brexit is only Boris Johnson’s idea of a joke. Good thing Democratic centrists kept Bernie from letting things get out of hand on our side of the pond!







      No Clockwork Orange costumes in Pioneer Square next Halloween, right?


  3. “Two groups appeal the Waterfront EIS, joining the bike and pedestrian community in decrying the “8-lane highway”.”

    We’ve been through this before. People complained about the street width during the EIS, they looked at ways to narrow it and they said the only things they can drop are the transit lanes. Because the state insists on four traffic lanes, the port’s financial contribution came with an agreement for two ferry lanes, and something else requires the parking lane, so the only thing left with no external requirement is the transit lanes.

    Personally I’m not concerned about the street width if it’s only a couple blocks and south of Marion. The gem of the waterfront park is north of Columbia. South of Yesler is an industrial/shipping area with a lot of large surface roads around it anyway.

    1. Hence why the 1st Avenue streetcar should be designed as a shared bus-streetcar transitway and have these buses use 1st instead from the south. Extend center bus lanes southward from Jackson if needed.

    2. Serious question. Does anybody know if there are major utilities underground between viaduct piers? If not, The column foundations seem they could be used to support cut and cover tunnel shoring for a fairly cheap undergrounding of freight corridor between Ballard and sodo.

  4. Looking at the FEIS for the ST LINK Federal Way Extension, why is ST keeps on looking at the KDM station options along I-5. Those should been eliminated, since ridership will drop with being further away from Highline College.

    1. They’re looking at it because the mayor and council for Federal Way preferred that alignment and they are trying to build it without another standoff. You have to get permits to build it and if the city won’t permit a better alignment, their hands are tied.

      1. The K-DM Road station is in Kent, which seems to be much more amenable to building density around it. Let Federal Way suck vacuum. Highline College is in Des Moines, and the city boundary is in the middle of SR99 intermittently south of K-DM Road. So maybe the City is being a collective jackass and forbidding a station on SR99. But one could be put on 30th South, right in the middle of Kent’s big development, where it ought to be.

        The more I hear about Des Moines the more I want it to merge with the one in Iowa…..

      2. That’s a good point. ST could put the station on the east side of 99 and rightfully say it’s following the City of Kent’s wishes, and Des Moines has no standing to complain because it’s not in Des Moines.

    2. How will students get to college from a freeway station though? Isn’t in Des Moines’ interest to make it easy for students to get to college (and patronize the nearby businesses)? There will be a RapidRide line on KDM Road but does Des Moines understand the inefficiency of waiting 5-10 minutes for a bus and having it sit at the stoplight to turn just for the last 3/4 mile? Probably not, since the people who want Link on the freeway drive to P&Rs, otherwise they’d be more concerned about pedestrian access to transit.

  5. I think the comparison to Mercer Street is the most powerful argument against the plans for the waterfront.

    We’ve built a tunnel at fabulous expense to replace the viaduct, but now we are simultaneously planning for all the traffic from the viaduct to be able to move along the waterfront. There are enough destinations on the waterfront to plan for without adding capacity for through traffic which should be on one of the highways.

    1. wait until the tunnel is in financial turmoil from not meeting projections in revenue and and WSDOT has spent money to make that happen with this poorly designed free surface freeway

      1. It’s not a freeway. Freeways don’t have twenty-four stoplights in a 1 1/2 mile stretch. That’s one of drivers’ complaints about the boulevard, all those stoplights. The tunnel will have no stoplights and a higher speed limit, so that will convince some people to pay the toll. And while the models show the tunnel won’t be popular because of the toll, the experience on 405 has been the opposite. On 405 so many people are paying the toll that it reaches maximum too quickly and then cars slow down the buses.

  6. Huh. Here everyone thought that running along the freeway was going to be a large chunk of yummy chocolate cake, but instead it turns out they’ll have to bulldoze houses and trailers and slosh around some toxic goo. You would have thought that angering the “masseuses” would have been much more toxic, but who knew?

    So far as the K-DM Station, why don’t they just go ahead and put it on the east side of I-5 so nobody uses it? What a waste that it will be only 2/5 of a mile from Highline College. Why aim so low, ST? Go for the gold and make ’em walk under the freeway on K-DM Road!

      1. What the effyouseek does Federal Way have to do with a station in Kent???? Jesus on a shingle, it might take thirty seconds longer to make the wiggle over to 30th South and at least be away from the noise of the freeway and somewhat closer to Highline.

      2. You’re conflating the I-5 alignment with the station location. The station was always going to come back to the college even if the alignment north and south of it is on I-5. The question is how close it will get: all the way to 99, partway, or not at all.

      3. Mike,

        I understand that the they ARE going to build the tracks along I-5. I’m just reacting to the UNBELIEVABLY lousy placement of the station in the EIS. How the effyouseekay are they going to bring buses to the damn thing? It’s three blocks south of K-DM road slammed right next to the roadway envelope. Sure, it’s within walking distance of most of the Kent upzone. But the other half of the walkshed is twelve lanes of freeway and a cliff.

        By running down I-5 instead of SR99, they’ve eliminated any possibility of a 216th station, one at 260th and one at 304th. Yes, I know, those are fairly close together, but everyone has already said “Well, nobody will ride it from Federal Way to Seattle, it’s just for Tacoma to have access to the airport”.

        Well, um, gee, if it’s not going to be used heavily by commuters that far south, why the hell NOT stop more often, then? Maybe someone will use it, eh?

        The idea of linking the cities of the region together is a good one, but for Dios’ sake, do it right!

      4. That;s why I’m concerned about a station at the KDM P&R. It’s a long unpleasant walk to anything.

      5. Mike, OMG, NOOOOOO! Surely they wouldn’t do that! My post above was supposed to be sarcasm; I had no idea they’d even consider such a thing!

        Say it ain’t so, Joe. (Not you AV Joe; just an expression).

      6. The track is on the west side of the freeway, so the station would be on the west side. I just meant that it’s most of a 10-minute walk from 99 to the P&R, and a very unpleasant concrete-and-asphalt environment. Looking at Exhibit 2-9 in the EIS, the station options are further south than I thought.

        Preferred option: 237th on west side of 30th (about the size of two back-to-back fast-food joints, or twelve RV’s parked side by side).
        I-5 option: 238th on west side of I-5. (2.5 – 3 times as far.)
        I-5 at-grade option: 241st on west side of I-5.

        KDM Road crosses 99 at 232nd. Highline College (not “Community” any more) is between 236th and 240th. So the first two options are straight east of the college. The third option is southeast of the college, and a longer walk from 99 because of 99’s southwesterly angle (3-4 times the distance of the first option). Although that block has a large Lowe’s which could theoretically become TOD.

        So all of these options are better than right on KDM Road and I-5 as I thought. But I want to know how the RapidRide and Express buses from Kent will be able to get to the station without wasting ten minutes at traffic lights and turns.

      7. So the 30th South location is the preferred option? I clearly misread the EIS then, but I’m very happy that I did. I guess I misinterpreted the black and yellow as being secondary and primary rather than the opposite.

        My apologies for freaking out. Thirtieth South will be an excellent location for all-day pedestrian access.

        But you are very right to be concerned about the bus access, especially from the east. From the west buses live-looping or laying over can just turn right into 30th South then turn right again at 240th and right onto Pacific Highway South to return to K-DM or continue north on PHS if that’s the way they came.

        Eastbound “through buses” (e.g. a Rapid Ride say from Burien to downtown Des Moines to Kent could turn turn right on 16th or 20th South to South 240th, turn left and run east to 30th South, turn left, visit the station and turn right onto K-DM to continue to Kent. Several Metro routes already use South 240th to the west of PHS.

        But westbounds, whether “through” or layover are screwed. Thirtieth South is way too close to the interchange to allow even bus-only left turns there. So the buses seem like they will be caught in the horrible left turn bays for traffic from westbound K-DM to southbound PHS. And then there’s the problem that there is no public right of way connecting PHS to 30th South, never mind the hassle of turning left across traffic to get to the station. It woul seem they’ll have to go all the way south to 240th, turn left, turn left again to 30th South and return north to the station. That will take at least an average of five minutes to accomplish.

        But, here’s the way around it. It wouldn’t be cheap but it is necessary.

        There’s a “refuge” section between the westbound left turn bay at Military Road and the through traffic lanes. It is very nearly wide enough as it is to be a Red Turn Lane, and there’s plenty of room on the north side of the street to push it out three or four feet. There’s nothing abutting it now, and it looks like WSDOT has it classified as “limited access” because there are no driveways connecting to the weird complex of empty roads directly to the north.

        Then, the first block or so of Military Road south of the intersection has two southbound lanes. So, it would be entirely possible to have add that bus-on left turn lane and have the bus turn into the short right-hand lane, maybe even with a queue jump, but it really wouldn’t be necessary. That’s because most of a normal block south of the intersection a little stub road which forms the entrance to the Century Motel angles off to the southwest. It ends in a turnaround bulb with a dumpster and electrical distribution box.

        Right behind the trees at the end of the little street is the northbound off ramp, which drops down pretty steeply to K-DM Road. It would be relatively easy to build a retained cut just east of it and parallel to the off-ramp leading to a one-way tunnel under the freeway to South 240th Street. Voila! Access from the east with a relatively uncomplicated left turn. Buses coming from the south on Military Road could turn left into the little stub street and use the busway as well.

        Buses returning to the east could live-loop or layover temporarily on 30th South, turning right at K-DM upon departure.

        There is currently no “public” right of way between 30th South and Pacific Highway South, so some sort of (ideally bus-only) street would be required to connect them just north of the station. This would allow the westbound version of the “through” RapidRide discussed above to turn right onto PHS far enough south that it would be feasible to move into a left turn lane at K-DM Road.

        OR, rather than connecting the streets a simple bus-loop on the west side of the street just north of the station would allow the through buses to return to 240th and use the reverse routing to the south of Highline College.

        Whatever they do I sincerely hope it involves an elevated walkway across Pacific Highway South for the students at Highline College. It doesn’t have to be a “landbridge” like the Northgate Extravaganza. Just a reasonably wide walkway with ramps and stairs at each end will be fine thank you.

      8. I went down there yesterday to check the walking distances. I took the A to 240th because it’s the only east-west street and the two freeway options are just north and south of it. It’s a 1.5 minute walk from Pacific Highway to 30th Street. At 236th it would be slightly shorter because of the angle of PH. At 236th & 30th a driveway goes east and a parking loop goes west. So that’s the most likely place for a pedestrian path to the preferred station. The second option (I-5 northern) mentions “construction of a new S 236th Street”. 236th is the northern periphery of the college.

        The third option (I-5 southern) is southeast of 240th & 30th. I walked partway toward the dead-end but at two minutes I turned around. Loew’s is southwest, a one-story sewer-department office park is north. A few apartment buildings are on 240th. 30th is narrow two-lane, no sidewalks, 25 mph, apartments on the corner but single-family houses beyond. I did not go further on 30th to see if there’s more than houses.

        I went back to PH and wanted to have lunch but the only thing there was Church’s chicken and a convenience store, and further north at KDM Road I’d glimpsed a couple other things on the west side. Where do college students eat? The Ave this is not. A bus to Kent was coming so I grabbed it, knowing better options would be there. On the way I passed two Mexican restaurants and a taco trick on the east side of PH. On KDM Road & 30th I looked to see if a left turn could be put there, but there’s a raised barrier in the middle of the street that WSDOT would have to consent to open. This was the bus that makes the detour on Military Road and Reith Road. I’ve long thought there should be a frequent bus on KDM Road that bypasses those. Miltary Road has a few apartments, a strip mall, a preschool and a school that should at least have something. Metro’s LRP splits this route up, with RapidRide on KDM Road (PH & 240th to Kent and 124th in Auburn), a Frequent route on Reith Road (SW Federal Way to kent), and a Local route on Miltary Rioad (Federal Way to Des Moines).

        The part of the EIS is chapter 2, section, page 27.

  7. Would love to see a concrete plan for how Boeing Access Road station could be made useful.

    It is truly a walkshed of nowhere.

    1. Ditto on the plan, psf. Because not only can I not see anything remotely allowing a transit station there, but absolutely no way to create any of those things there.

      Brings to mind a visionary architect of forty years ago who dreamed of cities that were actually single giant buildings. Generally in deserts, though. Doubt the ground at Boeing Access would hold one. But check it out.


      One important thing I can see, though. A transfer station between the present Rainier Valley Line and the express line that any other transit system in the world would build between Downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. If King County Airport needs it too, it can have a station.

      Know and agree with the passenger load calculations to date. MLK will keep on being a valuable supplementary line. But it’s always been too slow and easily-block-able for transit to an international airport.

      Mark Dublin

  8. I’m also having a hard time figuring out the ‘why’ of the Boeing Access Road station. Is it there mainly to serve buses maybe?

    And why don’t they also make it a joint Sounder/Link station? The tracks go right through there.

    1. Tukwila wants Metro to extend RapidRide A to it. A new urban village is planned around 144th, which is between TIB and BAR. Tukwila also talks about access to the Museum of Flight and Aviation High School.

    2. There was some talk of a Sounder station there, but that didn’t make it into the final package. Could be done in the future?

      BAR was a deferred station from before, right?

      BAR has good access to Boeing field – I believe there are a chunk of Boeing jobs along Marginal Way, plus the airport itself is busy with cargo & private flights. If Tukwilla grows like gang-busters, maybe 144th could be yet another fill-in station. But I think BAR makes sense for now.

      A Rapid Line (A?) along Int’l Blvd and Marginal Way (with a bus lane?) should serve the area between TIB and BAR just fine, no? Could run it all the way up to Georgetown.

      1. “BAR has good access to Boeing field”


        If you don’t mind walking down an six lane car sewer with tiny sidewalks, surrounded by giant Boeing parking lots, it has mediocre access to the Museum of Flight and the office park around it. All the general aviation/cargo is handled at the Airport Way terminal, which may as well be in Kansas, for all the public transit options you’ll have for getting there, BAR or not.

    3. Tukwila wanted both the Link station and the Sounder station. (Never mind that it already has a Sounder station.) ST considered the Sounder station for ST3 but didn’t include it. It could be added later. I doubt it would be used much, Did I mention Tukwila already has a Sounder station a couple miles away? Some transit fans think people would transfer between Link and Sounder there. I doubt they would much. There are other options from Kent and Auburn to the airport, and if you’re going to downtown or beyond you should remain on Sounder which is much faster. So who would transfer there? People going from Kent to Rainier Valley? In any case it would only start to be worth it when Sounder is hourly. A Link-Sounder transfer for just a few Sounder runs a day is overkill, worse than RapidRide F going to the Sounder station even though 95% of the time there’s no train.

      BAR was a deferred station in ST1.

      Tukwila only asked for the A to be extended to BAR. I think that doesn’t help access to the Museum of Flight very accessible. Hmm, so what does Metro’s LRP say about that?

      In 2040 Metro has four routes on Boeing Access Road.
      Rapid #1027: Rainier Beach station – highway 99 – Federal Way. So that’s the RR A successor.
      Frequent #1049: Rainier Beach station – Interurban Ave – Southcenter – Kent, (150)
      Frequent #1088: downtown – 4th Ave S – E Marginal Way – BAR – south Beacon – zigzag a la the 107 to S Renton P&R, (parts of 124/107)
      Local #3053: Rainier Beach station – BAR – E Marginal Way – 40th/42nd S – Military Road – S 200th Street (Angle Lake Station) – 199th & 1st Ave S.

      So Metro is bullish on BAR, and the A is extended to Rainier Beach.

      By the way, the LRP is at http://www.kcmetrovision.org/plan/service-map/ .

  9. The waterfront is turning into a generational lost opportunity. It really should be a regional gem and not a fricking car exhaust cancer inducing and planet killing zone. So sad.

    1. Later when people drive less maybe we can do that. Right now too many people are concerned about car access between southwest and northwest Seattle, and don’t want to pay the tunnel toll. And WSDOT won’t hear about moving the ferry terminal to the industrial district. And walk-on ferry passengers are glad it stops right downtown. That allows a lot more walk-ons than Fauntleroy or Edmonds or Mukilteo have.

      1. Given ballooning traffic these last few years and no end in sight, more-than-maybe people are ready for other ways to get between diagonal corners of Seattle. And anywhere else.

        Considering cost of car maintenance, lost personal time, and ditto with your job, tunnel tolls are a good bargain. Guarantee sitting stuck for hours in traffic and honking will lose out. This isn’t New York City.

        WSDOT answers to elected officials and their employees, and will do what they tell it. Which depends on what us, their voters, tell them.

        Who by Nature’s own term limits, don’t drive their great-grandfathers’ Oldsmobiles anymore. It took me twenty years to realize hub-caps were gone. Are there still Oldsmobiles? Wish I had my ’51 Olds 98 back again, sun-shield and all.

        Nobody’s going to move the car ferry landings until the whole foot-ferry fleet is up “on-plane”, screaming turbines, rooster-tail and all. Meaning that car-ferry users will be headed someplace else besides Downtown Seattle, and won’t mind motoring down a ramp onto an Interstate instead of stuck on Marion.


      2. If people avoiding tolls crowd up Alaskan Way, that leaves the tunnel wide and clear for toll-payers going from north Seattle to the airport or the southwest. Which is what they wanted in the first place: an uncrowded expressway that bypasses the I-5 traffic.

    2. If the road width in that area is an issue, then just put some pedestrian bridges in between the uphill parts of town and the waterfront. There already is one at the ferry terminal and a couple more wouldn’t be too bad.

      My biggest problem in that area was when I was attempting to get one of the water taxis, and the ferry queue was operating, so that it was a 15 minute wait to get across to the south side of the ferry terminal. Their only priority is to get everything off the ferry at the same time. It its understandable, but it is also completely incompatible with pedestrian access to the walk-on ferries.

      Put some sort of platform above the car staging area at Coleman, and make it into something more useful, and make it so that people can get from the walk-on ferries to everywhere else even when the state ferries are unloading.

      At least you don’t have the situation we have with Portland’s Eastside Esplanade.

      It could be a very pleasant place, and it is fairly popular as it is, but it could be so much better if the 1950s methods of planning hadn’t demolished the waterfront business district and replaced it with 12 Lanes of Impenetrable Freeway that separate the public space from everything else.

      1. There is the Marion Street bridge, so you don’t have to wait for cars if you’re going from the ferry to 1st Avenue and downtown proper. I assume there will be some enhancement of the bridge concept. They’ll have to rebuild the bridge anyway because it’s attached to the viaduct they’re removing.

      2. The Marion Street bridge doesn’t work if you are headed to the water taxi pier. You have to cross at ground level to get south, and that crosses the entrance/exit area for the ferries.

    3. What cracks me up is that the WSDOT was so against the street level option. And now we have the tunnel and a street freeway, awesome. Tell me again why this tunnel was such a great idea?

      1. I think where it really fell apart was when WSDOT finally admitted they intend to toll it. So people who use the viaduct today are freaking out because not only does the tunnel not have direct downtown access, but they have to pay for the privilege. So queue up panic like we saw for the 520 bridge tolling and you have people huffing and puffing about getting access which requires the street to be almost a highway at least on the north and south end to get cars out of downtown.

        I’m amazed there hasn’t really been any data on how many cars are passing through downtown via the viaduct today, versus entering and exiting with it. I know a few friends who use it to get from north of downtown to SODO, Georgetown, West Seattle, etc, but I don’t know what percentage of the total vehicles their cases represent.

      2. There are people who drive from north Seattle to southwest Seattle and the airport, without stopping downtown. Those are the people the tunnel is for. That and trucks passing through that area, although they’ll have to use 85th or Northgate Way at the north end to get to I-5. If anybody really wants to take 99 downtown, there are exits at the north and south periphery; it’s not like the nearest exits are three miles away. And SLU is becoming part of downtown and the Mercer exit goes right to it.

  10. I’ve always divided Waterfront car access like this. Colman dock is both East end of the State highway called the Washington State Ferry System, and the North end of that highway’s southward continuation.

    Though still think that Spokane Street Bridge bus traffic should have a set of two-way bus lanes between the bridge and Columbia Street- level with Colman Dock- where they’ll enter and leave Downtown.

    I can see Elliott Avenue continuing above state highway northward, carrying traffic pretty much same direction as the Viaduct did. With the climbing grade likewise separating main traffic flow from Alaskan Way north of Pine Street, where Elliott comes to grade.

    Though in view of the cash value of that scenery (ask any developer), let alone the moral cost of the way the sound-wall looks to ruin it, would be worth it to condemn and demolish every building west of the roadway.

    But north of Pine, the BN crossing permanently limits Alaskan’s use as a major through corridor. The still-existing streetcar right of way can be repaired and rejuvenated. And put to joint rail and bus transit from Columbia north. Battery pack can now power buses across the track, to rewire at First Avenue.

    For automobile passengers visiting the Waterfront itself, though, best access to the new Waterfront will be fast reliable transit from the most convenient parking outside the farthest point from the Waterfront where traffic begins to jam.

    With all the beauty we’ve been given, and the effort we’ve put into to be able to enjoy it, the need to see it from a car should no longer impose the certain penalty of being trapped in traffic.

    Mark Dublin

  11. Just get BNSF to park trains going into the grain elevator across the crossing at the north end of Alaskan regularly. That will cut the through traffic down quite a bit.

    1. Ha! Great idea, except the FRA says “10 minutes and no longer!” There’s a pretty stiff fine if someone calls and complains.

  12. Does anybody know whether the foot of Broad Street is anybody’s regular freight route? While it’s tempting to talk about trolleybuses dropping poles and motoring across those tracks to First, I hate to think of breaking down there. A lot easier for car passengers to escape from a stalled car than a stuck bus. So might be a good idea to limit that crossing to emergency and utility vehicles after the Elliott slope goes in.


    1. The foot of Broad Street is the GN main line; I/M, export coal, oil unit trains and even some FAK’s go by there. About the only thing that doesn’t (much) is grain. What little uses Stevens Pass unloads at Everett or by Smith Cove. So, Yes, you don’t want to drop poles there.

  13. “We owe you one” – Amazed Pierce co rejected ST3. Pierce co is probably best served by ST with Sounder – we can work in Seattle and live in affordable cute little Pierce co towns like Sumner and Puyallup thanks to speedy Sounder.

    Next Tacoma will get a Link connection with the rest of the system on the west side of I5 – Calling the airport Seatac and having a rail connection to Tacoma will finally make some sense.

    Whats to hate about that? Only other thing that’ll make a big difference is if Pierce transit pulled its head out of its a$$ and ran more Sounder connector buses which would ease park and ride pressure, and get some more cars off the roads.

    1. Tacoma voted for ST3. It was southeast Pierce that voted against it, including Puyallup and Sumner. I assume they were voting against light rail; if it had just been the Sounder part they might have been more favorable. ST3 includes a budget for possibly hourly Sounder depending on how negotiations with BNSF go. I can see southeast Pierce not being enthusiastic for Link: it goes to just a corner of Pierce County not near them, and even if they drive to Tacoma Dome to take it it would take over an hour to get to Seattle. That part about the airport connection is really for the city of Tacoma and Lakewood; they’d be more likely to use it. Southeast Pierce is a different kind of area, more exurban. Puyallup and Bonney Lake got built up only in the 1990s. The equivalent parts of King and Snohomish are outside the ST district. People self-select to live in exurban areas, and the ones that do have a high value of driving and a low value of transit. Only something like Sounder would they take. That’s just the majority; there are exceptions, and those are the ones who would use ST and PT for more than a Sounder peak commute.

      But Mark Dublin who lives in Olympia has been trying to make the point that highway traffic is getting steadily worse, and at some point people will take transit even if it isn’t perfect just to avoid driving in it. That’s been happening with Sounder as its ridership just continues to increase. ST3’s bet is that by the time increased Sounder and Link come online, the demand for them will be that much higher because of the worsening traffic. Mark believes and I agree that hourly Sounder to Olympia would get decent ridership and would continue to grow. It’s just an issue of getting the financial and jurisdictional barriers out of the way. (BNSF holds the keys, ST can’t afford it, Olympia is outside the ST district, the state doesn’t care because it’s busy trying to fix education without raising taxes, etc. Some have suggested the state should buy the track from BNSF and freight can use the parallel UP track, but so far none of the people in power are willing to do so.)

      Pierce Transit went through a budget crisis in the recession and most routes are hourly and go to bed at 7pm, so it has a lot of catchup to do. It expects to make up some of that next year, but it doesn’t have extra hours around for Sounder connectors. And southeast Pierce left the Pierce Transit district a few years ago so they’re not owed any service. PT did have shuttles to Sounder but when the district shrank those were deleted, and when southeast Pierce freaked out when they realized that not paying PT taxes meant the buses were going away, they convinced Sound Transit to take over a shuttle route.

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