More Voting Sites, Including Union Station, Open Starting Today

Union Station at night

Union Station, where thousands of voters will queue up starting today to vote privately at accessible voting devices, instead of filling out their ballots at home and dropping them off at one of the many conveniently-located drop boxes, including the drop box on the east side of Uwajumaya, just east of Union Station.

Photo by SounderBruce / flickr

Yes. This coming Tuesday, November 8, is election day.

Two more walk-in voting sites, featuring accessible voting units, open today in King County:

Union Station, 401 S. Jackson St — the building upstairs from International District/Chinatown light rail and bus station, and just to the east of King Street Sounder Station.
Friday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 7, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Election day, Nov. 8, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Bellevue City Hall, 450, 110th Ave NE — just to the east and a half block south of Bellevue Transit Center.
Friday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 5, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 7, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Election day, Nov. 8, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The King County Elections HQ, 919 SW Grady Way, in Renton, will also continue to be open for voting.
Friday, Nov. 4, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 7, 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Election day, Nov. 8, 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Pierce County will have six walk-in voting sites starting Saturday:

  • Clover Park Technical College, Rotunda Building 3, 4500 Steilacoom Boulevard Southwest in Lakewood
  • Gig Harbor Civic Center, 3510 Grandview Street in Gig Harbor
  • Pierce County Maintenance Facility, 4812 196th Street East in Spanaway 
  • Pierce County Annex East Entrance, 2401 South 35th Street in Tacoma
  • Puyallup Library, 324 South Meridian in Puyallup
  • Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities, 6315 South 19th Street in Tacoma
  • .
    All are open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. The Pierce County Annex is already open for walk-in voting.

    Snohomish County will have a couple more voting sites Monday and Tuesday:

  • Lynnwood Sno-Isle Library, 19200 44th Ave W in Lynnwood
  • Medallion Hotel, 16710 Smokey Point Blvd in Arlington
  • .
    The Snohomish County Administration Building, 3000 Rockefeller Ave, 1st Floor Admin W Bldg in Everett remains open today for voting 9 am – 5 pm, and then next Monday and Tuesday 8 am – 8 pm.

    There will be no walk-in voting sites open on Sunday in any of the three counties.

    You must be in line by 8 p.m. Tuesday to vote at one of these sites.

    You also have dozens of conveniently-located drop boxes available, 24/7, including four within a block of various light rail stations, if you just want to return your filled-in ballot and not have to pay postage. Drop boxes will cease accepting ballots at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

    If you do mail your ballot back, it must be post-marked by Tuesday. If mailing it from home or dropping it at a mailbox, get it in the mailbox by Monday night. Dropping your ballot at a mailbox Tuesday does not guarantee a Tuesday postmark. Be sure to include first-class postage worth at least 47 cents (or 68 cents if returning Snohomish County’s huge ballot).

    Whether mailing or dropping off your ballot, sign and date the return envelope, and include contact info in case your ballot gets challenged.

    An additional newer option for voting is a markable online ballot at the Secretary of State’s website. The site includes a lot of other info regarding accessible voting. King County has its own markable online ballot page, as does Pierce County. Pay careful attention to the directions to make sure you have completed the process.

    The Secretary of State’s website can show you your personalized text-based voters’ guide. You can also view TVW’s video voters guide for statewide offices and ballot questions online.

    Check out STB’s general election endorsements, and review our ST3 library if you are still pondering how you will vote on Regional Proposition 1.

    Kitsap Transit Goes All In on Foot Ferries

    Sound Transit 3 isn’t the only “Proposition 1” on the ballot next Tuesday. Kitsap Transit has an ambitious proposal for year-round passenger ferries from Bremerton (July 2017), Kingston (July 2018), and Southworth (July 2020).

    From May-September, the ferries would operate with all-day, bidirectional service from all 3 terminals, with an impressive span of service from 5am-9pm Monday-Thursday, 5am-11pm on Fridays, and 9am-11pm on Saturdays (no Sunday service). From October-April, the service would operate only during weekday peak periods.screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-11-24-37-am

    Fares would be $12 round-trip, and travel time advantages would be enormous. Current state ferries from Bremerton are infrequent, and the trip takes a full hour due to speed and wake restrictions in Rich Passage. The Bremerton foot ferry would take only 28 minutes via a special high-speed, low-wake vessel. Travel time advantages would be even more pronounced for Kingston and Southworth, negating the need to transfer to Sounder or RapidRide C.

    The service would be very expensive to operate, with the goal of 28% farebox recovery rate on a $12 retail fare meaning a round-trip cost of $30-40 per passenger, and a subsidy per boarding in the $20-$30 range depending on the route. Ridership is projected at 775,000 per year.


    The current foot ferries between Bremerton, Port Orchard and Annapolis would also be funded by the new plan, freeing up $1.5m per year for local and feeder bus service, with a dividend of 23,000 additional bus hours due to Kitsap’s low service-hour cost of $65. This would enable Kitsap Transit to improve frequency on a handful of bus routes, but wouldn’t likely enable a full restructure of service (for reference, the SLU extension and splitting of RapidRide C/D cost 50,000 hours).

    Kitsap Transit would also take a Sound Transit-like approach to operations, being responsible for capital costs, marketing, and fare policies, while the service would be operated by the King County Marine Division, meaning there would be a single operator at Pier 50 for the 5 separate foot ferry destinations (West Seattle, Vashon, Southworth, Bremerton, and Kingston).


    News Roundup: A Little Differently

    This is an open thread.

    Judkins Park Station: Nexus of Bus Transfers, Bike Trails, and Rock-n-Roll

    Rendering of 23rd Avenue entrance to Judkins Park Station (Sound Transit / Hank Willis Thomas / Authentic Hendrix)

    On a quiet Tuesday night last month, Sound Transit held its final design open house for Judkins Park Station, located at the site of the Rainier Freeway Station on Interstate 90. The open house, hosted at the Northwest African American Museum in the Central District, was attended by a few dozen members of the community and regional advocates for transit, cycling and walking.

    At the meeting, Sound Transit staff, architect David Hewitt, and artist Barbara Earl Thomas presented elements of the station’s designs, divided into three sections (the west entrances on Rainier Avenue, the platform itself, and the east entrance on 23rd Avenue). With an emphasis on pedestrian, bike and bus access to both entrances, which build upon existing bike trails and bus routes that converge on I-90, Judkins Park will become an important transfer point between modes, especially to access the Central District.

    Artwork on the Rainier Avenue entrance (Sound Transit / Hank Willis Thomas / Authentic Hendrix)

    One of the most notable and visible features of the station —and surrounding area— is the incorporation of Jimi Hendrix imagery in the art and nearby parks. The entrances will feature two archival photos of a young Hendrix, who was raised nearly a mile north of the station, rendered in a dot-matrix pattern by artist Hank Willis Thomas; the design will be harder to distinguish from close up, but come in focus from further distances.

    Judkins Park Station site plan (Sound Transit)

    The station itself will stretch over 1,300 feet from end to end, with station utilities and auxiliary rooms located mid-way between the Rainier entrance and platform. From Rainier Avenue, riders can use one of two entrances on each side of the street, with the west side connected by a pedestrian bridge over the street attached to the westbound lanes of I-90, and converge into a common ticketing area. Once in the station, riders will walk under a sheltered walkway attached to a maintenance building and cross over the westbound track in order to reach the platform in the middle of the tracks. Sound Transit officials told me at the open house that a configuration with the station entrance between the two tracks would have not brought enough daylight onto Rainier Avenue and require more new ramps to be constructed at additional cost and risk.

    From the east end on 23rd Avenue, station access is much simpler. A single entrance, located next to a bulbed-out pedestrian signal and two bus stops, and a series of stairs, escalators and elevators descending straight onto the platform. Both sides of the station will also feature a wide variety of trees and shrubs meant to mask the concrete sound walls that shield the station from Interstate 90.

    Overall, the Judkins Park Station is much more interesting than it would appear at first glance. It will bridge the gap between Rainier and 23rd avenues, both in distance and elevation, and serve as an important transfer point for bus routes 7 and 48, as well as for cyclists coming off the Mountains-to-Sound Trail. With the amount of thought, work, and sensible compromise put into the station by Sound Transit and Hewitt Architects, I can foresee few design decisions that we will come to regret after opening day.

    The new station will open in 2023 as part of East Link and replace the current Rainier bus station, as well as the express lanes of Interstate 90. To accommodate this, the bus station will be closed next summer alongside the HOV lanes on Interstate 90; construction on the station will begin in 2018 and service will begin in 2023. Sound Transit has also posted the slides from the presentation on their website, which has a full set of renderings and other notes.

    Future site of Judkins Park Station
    Looking west from 23rd Avenue at the future site of Judkins Park Station

    Uber Invests In the Future, Endorses ST3



    “Double down on cars and buses.” That has essentially been the “No” campaign’s position in opposition to Sound Transit 3’s mix of light rail, commuter rail and BRT. Despite the likelihood of 800,000 more residents here by 2040, the opposition assumes, without showing their math, that self-driving cars can make rail obsolete within 20 years. Though experts say it’s too soon to tell how autonomous vehicles will impact traffic flow and volumes, transit opponents promise us that autonomous Ubers are going to fix everything by themselves, perhaps combined with buses stuck in traffic next to them.

    Well, Uber came out with a surprising statement a week ago Monday:

    Uber is dedicated to the future of cities—to making transportation reliable everywhere, for everyone. What we provide will just get us part of the way there, though. To fully realize the vision, we need strong partners among transit agencies and local governments. This is why we are urging voters to support Proposition 1. [emphases ours]

    Uber joined the ranks of Amazon, Alaska Airlines, Microsoft, Vulcan, Costco, Expedia, and other companies proclaiming ST3 as critical to our region’s future. But Uber’s endorsement particularly stands out. As the undisputed market leader of app-based ride hailing, the company set aside its own non-endorsement traditions to support the nation’s largest transit-only measure. It was the first prominent and explicit political recognition by Uber that ride hailing apps and transit need each other. But you are likely to see opponents continue to make magical claims that the company itself no longer supports.

    The statement aligns Uber and Sound Transit’s objectives, both seeking to “reduce congestion and pollution by moving more people with fewer cars, and provide better mobility options for all people living in the region.” In Seattle, facets of mobility and affordability account for 6 of the top 12 issues on people’s minds, according to an open ended question posed by Strategies 360 earlier this year.

    Continue reading “Uber Invests In the Future, Endorses ST3”

    Do I-732 and Regional Prop 1 Mitigate Each Others’ Rough Edges?

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    We are used to a debate about regressive taxation every time a transit proposition is on the ballot.

    Sound Move (ST1) in 1996 was funded by a 0.0.5% 0.4% sales tax increase, a vehicle license fee of $30 per $10,000 value, and a 0.8% car rental sales tax. Sound Transit 2 in 2008 was funded by a 0.0.4% 0.5%% sales tax increase.

    The failed King County Proposition 1 in 2014 featured a 0.1% sales tax increase and a $60 vehicle license fee increase, with a potential $40 rebate for low-income car owners who requested it. (Unsurprisingly, opponents of Regional Transit Proposition 1 who are now championing bus rapid transit were nowhere to be seen during that campaign, except for those who opposed that bus-only measure.) Seattle Proposition 1 in 2014 used the same revenue menu as the failed county proposition, which had passed handily in Seattle.

    Community Transit Proposition 1 in 2015 consisted of a 0.3% sales tax increase within its district. Pierce Transit’s narrowly-defeated Proposition 1 in 2012 consisted of a 0.3% sales tax increase.

    Regional Transit Proposition 1, a.k.a. Sound Transit 3, if approved by voters, will be funded by a 0.5% sales tax increase, a vehicle license fee increase of $110 $80 per $10,000 value, and a property tax of $25 per $100,000 value.

    Property tax, which disproportionately taxes the wealthy, was added to the mix by ESSB 5987 last year. When the Sound Transit Board opted to make use of this much more progressive tax source for Regional Transit Proposition 1, some among the well-to-do started decrying the funding for RP1 as regressive. Sure, an income tax would be even more progressive. But if we had to wait until one is adopted in this state before we start funding essential services, like transit, we’d likely have to wait a long, long time.

    So, back to sales tax, about which the well-to-do are complaining much less …

    Continue reading “Do I-732 and Regional Prop 1 Mitigate Each Others’ Rough Edges?”